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Full text of "Home & the homeless : A novel. By Cecilia Mary Caddell, ... In three volumes"

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HOME & THE HOMELESS. 



A NOVEL. 



BY CECILIA MARY CADDELL, 

Aathoress of ** Thx Littlb Snowdrop," " Blind Agnbsi," fte. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 



T. CAUTLEY NEWBY, PUBLISHER, 

80, WELBECK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE. 
1858. 

[The Right of Translation is stricHjf res§rved,'\ 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



CHAPTER 



" A VERY pretty spot indeed ! " said Dr. Spencer, 
striking his walking stick into the ground while 
he stood with Evelyn beneath the window of the 
library, and suflfered his eyes to roam over the 
flower garden which we have already described 
as one of the chief attractions of " The Ferns," 
Your taste, no doubt. Miss Evelyn, as it would 
have been your poor mother's before you, (God 
rest her,) for I well remember how she used to 
say she would like to end her days in a cottage 



6 



HOME A5D THE HOMELESS. 



eorered with clematis, and set in a wilderness 
of mignonette and geraniums." 

*^ And yet she died in the city — the hot dreary 
city," Evelyn murmured with a sigh. 

" In the hot dreary city," repeated Dr. Spencer 
— " and — not happy." 

" I fear not," replied Evelyn, hesitating a 
little. " She was uneasy, you may remember 
about Wyllie, who promised to be very delicate; 
and she fancied Mr. Sutherland would not trouble 
himself much about him." 

" Which he doesn't," said the Doctor, gruffly. 
"I can see it by the way he speaks of him 
even now. He never has cared, and doesn't now 
care two straws whether the boy were dead or 
alive." 

It would almost seem so. He has never re- 
fused to go to any expense about him, but yet 
his whole soul was always wrapt up in the 
\, eldest." 

" Hasn't a soul to wrap anything up in," re- 
sponded the Doctor shortly ; " and, after all, a 
pretty mess he's made of it with that boy — turned 
out a regular scamp, I hear." 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



7 



" He has got into bad company," said Evelyn, 
sighing heavily. "His father either will not 
try, or has not succeeded in detaching him from 
it, and I tremble to think what the end may be. 
But shall we go in. Doctor?" she added,. as if 
glad to change the subject. " They are waiting 
I think, for tea." 

Doctor Spencer was a tall fine looking man of 
sixty, with grey hair, verging upon white, 
and a face embrowned by exposure to many an 
ardent climate. Without being positively hand* 
some, all his features were good, and there was a ^ 
frankness in his manner and his laughter loving 
eyes, that won you at pnce to like him, while the 
mingled expression of benevolence and resolution 
which sat upon his brow, and made itself very 
manifest in the character of his mouth, inclined 
you at the same time to trust in his goodness, 
and confide in his power. Nor could even his 
rough ways, and wholesale animadversion on every 
creature that came beneath his notice shake you 
in this confidence. There was an atmosphere, 
of honest gopd nature round him that robbed 
his bitterest sarcasms of their sting, making you 



8 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 



feel that so long as he was suffered to scold 
without retort, he would have your real interests 
at heart, and if they demanded aid, would em- 
ploy, as a matter of course, his best energies upon 
them. He had been in India for many years; 
but having recently resigned a lucrative situation 
in the army, had at last settled himself at South- 
ampton, from whence he had already paid more 
than one flying visit to his old friends at the 
Ferns. Among these, Evelyn was confessedly 
his favorite. The world said (and for once the 
. world was not far wrong) that he had loved her 
mother in his youth, and there was enough of 
this sentiment still lingering in his strong, warm 
heart to make him turn with peculiar interest to- 
wards her child, from the first hour of their re- 
newed acquaintance. After a little time this ri- 
pened to a feeling divided between parental affec- 
tion and something warmer still, so that at last it 
seemed as if almost unconsciously to himself, he 
had given to the living daughter all that love 
which, under another form, had been the pos- 
session of the dead mother. For the same reason 
also he took considerable interest in Wyllie; and 



HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 9 



the boy having been all but given over by his 
present medical attendants, Dr. Spencer had 
consented to take him under his care, in hopes of 
devising some better plan for his recovery than 
any they had contrived to hit on. For the 
London faculty in general he entertained, and 
professed indeed a most profound contempt, 
grounded chiefly on his horror of humbug to which, 
however wrongly, he attributed the position of 
some of them in the fashionable world; and it 
was quite characteristic of his ideas on this sub- 
ject that he positively refused to meet them in 
consultation now; insisting upon their being 
summarily dismissed before he would even enter 
into an investigation of Wyllie's case. 

We have only to add, in order to put our 
readers into full possession of the Doctor's 
character, that he was fond of argument, inclined 
to be positive, and addicted to quaint and 
startling views, which he loved to put before his 
antagonist in such a way as to puzzle and per- 
plex, wherever he felt it impossible to convince 
or persuade. In this point of view it was one of 
his especial delights when staying at the ' Ferns' 
B 2 



10 HOME AND TB£ HOMELESS. 



to have what he called a * tussle ' with Mrs. 
Montgomerie on the subject of religion, puzzling 
her exceedingly at times as to the real merit of 
her pet theories, and yet almost always con- 
triving to leave her in doubt as to whether he 
had been arguing in earnest, or merely amusing 
himself at her expense. She was, in fact, 
precisely the kind of person whom he delighted 
to mystify, being narrow-minded, and a bigot, as 
all narrow-minded people are; and invulnerable 
to argument, simply because she was unequal to 
follow its windings, or perceive its force. She 
was what the world understands by the term of 
a ^ serious christian,' and without at all intending 
it, managed to make her religion oppressive to 
every one around her. Drawing her own ideas 
on the subject entirely from the bible, she would 
not, and in truth she could not comprehend how 
any one else could arrive by the same means at a 
different conclusion. The laxity of her son's 
opinions, therefore, when he came first from 
college, had puzzled quite as much as it had 
shocked her. She had not mind enough herself 
to comprehend or even to enquire into the cause. 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. ll 



She saw the result it is true, but neither knowing 
its origin, nor guessing at the mental struggle 
through which it had been attained, instead of 
wisely leaving him to time and his own earnest, 
love of truth, which having partly betrayed him » 
into his present position would be as likely as 
not to rescue him from it again in the end, she 
at once vexed him by harassing cuts at his 
supposed opinions, and hazarded his scorn by a: 
narrow-minded mode of disputation which could* 
not satisfy the lightest of his doubts, since it 
never even glanced at the root they sprang from. 
Feeling herself foiled at lai^t in every attempt to 
make an impression upon his mind, she changed 
her tactics, and ceasing to speak at all upon the 
subject, simply endeavoured to oppose bigotry 
to sceptism, restricted her amusement to ser- 
mons, teetotal parties, and pious meetings for 
the conversion of the infidel and the Irish, struck 
out of her visiting list the names of all those 
whose opinions were not the echo of her own, and 
inflicted such a martyrdom of mental and bodily 
quietude upon herself and all around her, on the 
first day of the week, that Sunday at 'the Ferns' 



12 HOME AND TUB HOMELESS. 



might have shamed the very sabbath of the Jews 
themselves in the mode and manner of its keep- 
ing. It would have been well if she had reserved 
this mental regime for her own use and benefit 
only ; but anxious, and very naturally so, for her 
young daughter's principles in her daily contact 
with a brother so capable of , moulding them to 
his own, poor Mrs. Montgomerie could devise no 
better remedy for the danger, than that of in- 
cluding her in all her own weary round of 
exercises and devotions. It never once occurred to 
the good lady's mind that the unnatural re- 
straint thus imposed by religion upon her child 
was the very way to make that child cast oflf 
religion altogether. It is easy to anticipate the 
result. Sermons, lectures, cold and comfortless 
Sunday dinners, and scripture readings without 
end, soon taught Lily to look with horror on a 
system that compelled her to suffer such things, 
and to turn with an exquisite sense of relief to 
her brother's free and easy method of con- 
sidering the subject. Thus, it happened, that he 
being a man, and a clever man too, while she 
was yet a child, she easily learned to look up to 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 13 



him with a reverence which she never gave her 
mother, became with Frederick, who was nearly 
ten years her senior, his pupil, and almost his 
child, and grew up at last amidst all the specula- 
tive fancies and dreamy, vague ideas which a 
mind like hers, destitute of faith, and yet consti- 
tuted for its possession, would be apt to engraft 
upon the sterner opinions of her instructor. 

But we have kept Evelyn and her guest too 
long waiting in the garden; therefore we will 
follow them at once to the library where Mrs. 
Montgomerie welcomed the doctor as an old 
and valued friend. 

" As in fact we are," cried the doctor. " I 
don't know of how many years standing, but I 
am certain. Miss Evelyn here was not much 
higher than this table, when we two first shook 
hands together." 

" Then pray say as little about it as you pos- 
sibly can," laughed Evelyn. " When ladies are 
verging within three years of thirty, it doesn't 
do to remind them of the time when they were 
this height or that, my dear doctor." 

" Verging on thirty ! God bless my soul, it 



16 HOME ANP TH£ HOMELESS. 



in the village wanting petticoats it seems, and 
mama has kept me working for their worship^ 
until my head aches, and my eyes, I am sure, 
are as red as an albino's." 

" No they're not," said the Doctor, gallantly. 
" They are as blue as if you had stolen a bit of 
an Italian sky withal to paint them. So be 
easy on that score, my dear young lady, I en- 
treat you." 

" I will not have you flatter Lily that way," 
interposed her mother. " If she had sat steadily 
to her work in the morning, she would not have 
been obliged to continue it all the evening instead 
of walking out with Evelyn and you. But to 
come to more important matters, my dear doctor, 
I have not heard precisely your opinion of our 
dear little Wyllie." 

My opinion, ma'am, if you must have it, 
my opinion iff that he has been drugged and 
drenched by your London big wigs until I 
wouldn't give the value of a brass farthing for 
his future chances." 

*^ Indeed that is very strange, doctor, for I 
am sure my brother has spared no expense/' 



HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 17 



"Just SO, ma'am," said the doctor coolly; "as 
you say, he has spared no expense, and the sharks 
knew well he wouldn't, and so they've come and 
gone and come again, giving phy sic and taking fees, 
until the boy's constitution could no longer stand 
it. Why, you've only to look at him to see that 
he's half way into a decline already by the pure 
force of coddling." 

" But the doctors are the very first in London, 
and what more could we do?" cried poor Mrs. 
Montgomerie, extremely shocked at these hete- 
rodox opinions. 

" Send them about their business, ma'am, 
that's what you could do, and moreover, that's 
what you must do, if you want to save the boy's 
life, or at all events to preserve him the use of 
his limbs, which he has almost lost, as it is, for 
want of being encouraged to try them." 

" Good gracious, doctor ! send away the medi- 
cal men ! the first medical men in London ! and 
vsrhat then is to be done for the poor child?" 

"Nothing, ma'am, just nothing," replied Dr. 
Spencer deliberately helping himself to snuff; 
"you have tried everything you say without 



18 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



success, now then let us reverse the practise, 
and see if nothing won't serve the purpose 
better." 

" And suppose the poor child were to die under 
such outrageous treatment," cried the indignant 
lady. 

" Take my word for it, ma'am," replied the 
ruthless doctor, " Wyllie is not such a fool as to 
quit this world just when he is allowed to enjoy 
it without worry. At any rate, now or never he 
must make the experiment, or it will be too late ; 
so I've just been trying to persuade Miss Evelyn 
here, to pack up her traps and come down with 
me for a month to Southampton, in order better 
to see what can be done for the boy." 

And, if I may venture to ask it, what do you 
intend to do for him, doctor?" 

" Give him plenty of fresh air and exercise, 
ma'am." 

" Exercise ! but do you not know that his 
spine is affected?" 

" And do you think," replied the doctor, turn- 
ing his chair short round in his excitement, that 
he might more entirely frown down his antago- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 19 



nist; "do you think, Mrs. Montgomerie, you 
will set it to rights by keeping him all his life 
long in a state of inaction on a sofa, to say 
nothing of compelling him to breathe an atmos* 
phere in which nothing short of a pine apple 
could flourish. Bah, ma'am ; I repeat it, the boy 
has only one chance, and that is fresh air and 
cold baths, and a judiciously regulated exercise 
of the muscles, and if Miss Evelyn will only 
trust me, and give me full permission to do as I 
please, 1 have very little doubt but I shall be able 
to make a man of him at last." 

" But Doctor," said Mrs. Montgomerie bridling 
a little as she spoke; "you are not a married man 
and Evelyn is not a married woman, and *you 
must excuse me for mentioning it, but it hardly 
seems correct that under such circumstances you 
should receive her as a guest at your villa." 

" My dear Mrs. Montgomerie," said Evelyn 
laughing, "you certainly forget my all but 
thirty years of experience and grey hairs." 

"I do not forget, Evelyn; but you know, you 
don't look anything like your age, and people 
will naturally judge you by your looks, rather 



20 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



than by the actual state of the case, of which of 
course they can know nothing." 

Until the next census comes round, which 
thank Heaven won't be for five years to come," 
muttered Lily, and I shall be married by that 
time, I hope." 

" The proprieties ! Bless my soul, I had quite 
and clean forgotten the proprieties," cried the 
doctor, much amused at his old friend's prudery. 
"Well, Mrs. Montgomerie, I quite agree with 
you that Miss Eveljn doesn't look twenty, but 
then you know 1 am sixty, and show like 
seventy, which makes, I should say, satis superque 
in favour of the visit." 

" I don't at all agree with you there," Mrs. 
Montgomerie answered gravely. Men do marry 
at sixty, doctor." • 

"Pshaw ! ma'am ; only fortune's favorites," the 
doctor grujffly replied ; " and I am too modest to 
set up for one of the lucky ones. So on tlie whole, 
1 think Miss Evelyn may consider herself safe 
for me. What do you say yourself, young lady ?" 

" I say that for so great an object as Wyllie's 
health, I am quite ready to encounter a little 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 21 



gossip," said Evelyn ; " though indeed I should 
think you were too well kuown at Southampton 
by this time to be likely to incur it.'^ 

" Lucky you are to have the chance of a little 
novelty," said Lily, with difficulty strangling a 
yawn ; " and after all, if you are so wonderfully 
afraid of being convicted of matrimonial inten- 
tions, why not put on a widow's cap at once ; look 
sei^timental and bereaved, and let the Southamp- 
ton wise one's write you down a widow come to 
consult the doctor for the health of heronly boy." 

As if it signified a straw what fools and 
gossips say either at Southampton or any where 
else," said Frank, closing the book over which 
be had been poring in a distant corner, and ap- 
proaching the tea-table with a look of scorn for 
shams and gossips that abashed his sister, and 
made her feel as if she were caught tripping in 
his favorite moralities. He had a real horror of 
shams, a real contempt for the silly gossips of the 
world, and she thought she had. It made all 
the difference, however, in their characters, and 
it was a fatal one for her — that love of truth 
which penetrated and strengthened every fibre of 



22 mm£ jm m mmsoLMss^ 



^ofUd eebQ mprng^ dKrrfore dietdhMgS&t dbe 
sh:ar^ hiiB feeUngi, l!alliiig inio tdke nol ancoai- 
flm of cooioaoding talk mboot morality 
with tiie &et of heiog moral. Hers was not a 
mtnm to briog forth goodness as its spontaneous 
fruit, VrmVn mental guidance therefore only 
lad Im jiint mfsitM her own instincts prompted, 
but naver to anything above them, or beyond 
them. Nothing, in fact, except religion, and the 
ftrin unyielding principles only derivable from 
roliglon, cotild have given depth and tenacity to 
thttt unstable mind, and penetrated it with 
fiuinali^nt itrength of purpose to rule its own 
wild promptingi by the dictates of a conscien- 

O^rti^lulyi It OAU bo of no possible con- 
»^4U^W\>^ whftt i>^opk lay or think," she stam- 
i\^>W| In ^xoul|wtioii of her previous 

N^WVih^^^ U Iv^ lUwaya right to avoid 
|N^\NV\vkin)jt \>|>liu^^' Mid ber mottar 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 23 



rash," Frank answered, coming to his sister's 
aid. 

" It is always worth something^ however," re- 
plied Evelyn, " for we have no right wantonly to 
give scandal. I would not therefore brave public 
opinion without some stern necessity for doing 
so, but in this case, even if the doctor's seventy 
years of looks, and sixty years of spotless repu- 
tation were not a sufficient safeguard, I think I 
ought not for a squeamish fear of what the world 
might say, deny poor Wyllie such a chance of 
recovery." 

And won't you even have a consultation 
with the London men, before you try this rash 
experiment?" sighed Mrs. Montgomery, turning 
from the question of propriety to another which 
she considered almost of equal importance, the 
removing Wyllie with all necessary etiquette 
from his present medical attendants. 

" To what purpose, ma'am? Do you think I 
have time to throw away in listening to all the 
did woman^s twaddle these fellows are paid a 
guinea a day for retailing? Bah, my dear lady, 
I have never had any opinion of the wisdom of 



24 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



eonsultations since one, which an old lady, after- 
wards a patient of my own, described to me as 
haying been called to decide upon her case. 
After half an hour of private jaw among them- 
selves, they came in a body to her, as they always 
do, the hungry old cormorants, to swallow their 
fee, and telling her the Bath waters were the 
very things for her disease (which of course they 
made out to be of a most serious description), 
they advised her to lose no time in trying them. 
They presented her at the same time with a note 
of introduction to an eminent physician in that 
city; which note they assured her would put 
him quite au Jait of all the most intricate 
features of the case. The old lady expressed 
herself most grateful for their kind attentions, 
and most docile to their instructions; after 
which she .presented them with their money and 
the scoundrels went on their way. No sooner 
were they fairly out of the hall door, however, 
than my old friend, who was excessively nervous 
and living in continual terror of angina pectoris^ 
thought it would be no great breach of confidence 
just to unseal the letter and see if they had men- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 25 



tioned that as one of her symptoms. She found 
the missive to contain but a very few lines, too 
few she thought for the money they'd cost her, 
but in their way they were explicit enough, 
being something in this fashion: — 

" ' My dear So-and-so, — We send you an old 
goose to pluck. Keep her six weeks and send 
her back. — Yours, i&c., So-and-so.'" 

"0, how funny cried Lily, who standing 
rather in awe of the doctor, had not as yet ven- 
tured to address him directly. 

Funny !" shouted the indignant doctor, " let 
me tell you. Miss Lily, it was rascally roguery. 
Neither more nor less. But they are all alike," 
he added, taking a pinch by way of consolation, 
" rascally rogues all of them. The London ones 
of course I mean." 

"Of course," repeated Evelyn maliciously, 
" The country ones are all angels, no doubt; but 
are you quite sure now, doctor, that you did not 
manufacture this little anecdote for the benefit 
of your present audience?" 

The doctor was occupied with his snuff box at 
the moment when she insinuated this objection, 

TOL. II. C 



26 HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 



and perhaps that was the reason he vouchsafed 
it no other answer than such as was conveyed 
by a very Lord Burleigh like shake of the head. 

" Franzie talks of being a doctor some day," 
Lily observed in her heedless way ; "do you think 
he'll be a rogue too, doctor, if he lives in Lon- 
don." 

" Most likely," said he gravely, but with just 
such an imperceptible laugh in the corner of his 
grey eye, as showed he knew he was treading on 
the tender places in Frank's soul. " Why 
shouldn't he be a rogue as well as the best of 'iem, 
hey?" 

" Apparently, you have not much faith in my 
principles then," said Frank, a little indig- 
nantly. 

" I have every possible faith in principle, pro- 
perly so called, my dear sir," Dr. Spencer replied 
with the least possible stress upon the latter words; 
"but I confess I have very little faith, or rather, 
I should say, I have no faith at all in that kind 
of vague principle which finds its only reason 
and support in wishy washy talk about the fitness 
of doing right — the beauty of morality — the 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



27 



divine teaching of dame nature, and all that sort 
of thing, upon which your poetical moralisers of 
the nineteenth century, ring the changes until 
they almost incline one to hate everything that 
is good and fair, except indeed the ladies," he 
added, with a profound bow towards the table, 
" whom under any circumstances whatever, it is 
impossible to find otherwise than charming and 
delightful." 

" My principle," said Frank, rising, and 
taking a turn up and down the room as was his 
custom when the subject in discussion roused 
him. " My principle is, and always has been, 
to do what is right for right's sake, unmoved 
by considerations either of fear or favor." 

" And a very good principle too (with a few 
others to back it) no doubt, Mr. Frank. Only 
having got thus far, we have then to decide upon 
what is right, and what is wrong ; and where is 
the good angel to do this for us?" 

" I shall take good care to settle that point 
for myself," Frank responded almost haughtily ; 
so entirely did the tone of the conversation jar 
upon all his pet prejudices and opinions. Be 
c 2 



wrmt xm rm bomiixss. 



it num 6rmf^flf r^^t amwredj I will pat my mind 
hfA f^f^ for w> one,'' 

^ Unt ^me f^me eke may hare quite different 
ikfej^ ^ f6 what is right, and what is wrong,'* 
ftff^i^ fhr. Sp«icer, ** apd then of necessity one 
^ jm mmt he in error on the subject. For in- 
«t*ft^^ md not to go farther than present com- 
paiiy^ Mm Erelyn, here doubtless, will tell you 
H if^ no barm to dance upon the Sunday, while 
Mim Lily, on the contrary, I'll be sworn has been 
t^fi^ht to consider it an occupation profane in 
th^ #fxtreme, and only fitted for a witch's 
^i^bbath/' 

Yes, indeed ! I am never even allowed to 
run after PrUky/' groaned Lily, with a look so 
mournfully comic, that no one, save Mrs. Mont- 
gomierie, could refrain from laughing. 

There, you see the difference at once," cried 
thu doctor, triumphantly. "And if a difference 
In wuch minor matters, how much more inevitable 
in those where man's passions as well as his pre- 
Judicen arc interested in the decision." 

That's as may be," replied Frank. " But 
I, for one, at any rate, consider my judgment 




HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 29 



in such matters quite as good as any one else's, 
and therefore, neither priest nor parson shall 
rule my actions." 

" To be sure," cried Lily. " It is quite im- 
possible to mistake! When I am at one with 
myself and nature, then I have never even the 
shadow of a doubt that I am right." 

" Indeed," said the doctor, with a look of 
curiosity which the young girl not unnaturally 
mistook for approbation. * ' When you are at one 
with yourself! I am not sure that I overheard 
the expression before, so perhaps I may ask in 
what this thrice blessed oneness consists, and 
under what circumstances it occurs? " 

" Oh," cried Lily, enthusiastically, " It is a 
thing far easier to be experienced than described. 
But I ever feel it most when the sun is bright, 
and the soft summer breeze comes sweeping to 
me over flowers, or when beneath the midnight 
skies I bathe my soul in floods of moonlight. 
Whenever, or wherever, in fact, our great earth- 
mother spreads her beauty and magnificence 
around me, then the divine spirit of nature 
speaks to my heart an 1 penetrates to my inmost 



30 HOVE JOTP THE HOITELES?. 



bejng. and I walk the worid in God-Uke joy, for 
mj soul, self-coascioasand lifted abore the coarse 
realities of life, cries oat. as it were alood* that 
the beautiful is still the true, and the true the 
beautiful; aud therefore that he who adores the 
one must needs be an absolute worshipper of the 
other/' 

" Humph/' SJiid the Doctor, " and that's 
what you call being at one with yourself, is it? 
Well, I only hope, young lady, that the coarse 
realities of life will soon bring you to your 
senses, otherwise you have as good a chance as 
any one I ever met with, of worshipping this new 
fangled god or goddess of yours in a mad 
house." 

" But the Sabbath," urged Mrs. Montgo- 
merie, returning to the only part of the subject 
which she cared for or understood. About 
the Subbath, there can be no question, since we 
find our mode of keeping it in the Bible." 

" Very good history, no doubt," Frank an- 
swered contemptuously. " Yet, no reason either 
why I should square my practice by its precepts." 
Good history 1" his mother almost screamed 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



31 



in her horror. Good history do you call it? 
The book inspired by God himself." 

" Madre mia, that is just what I deny. The 
fact of its having been inspired." 

" Never mind Mr. Frank, my dear madam," 
the Doctor observed, in his roost provoking man- 
ner, for poor Mrs. Montgomerie's indignation 
had well nigh made her speechless. " Why 
should you let his theories trouble or astonish 
you?" 

" Why, Doctor, why?" cried the indignant 
lady, "not be shocked and astonished, when 
my own son shamelessly avows such infidel 
opinions !" 

" Infidel opinions ! pooh, pooh, my denr lady, 
take my word for it, your son is a consistent 
protestant for all that.*' 

"Doctor, I am surprised at you! Do you - 
mean to tell me that you consider a protestant 
and an infidel as synonymous terms?" 

" Not by any means, Mrs. Montgomerie. But 
what I do mean to say, ma'am, is, that to 
doubt is the natural privilege of a protestant, 
the thing to which his boasted right of private 



82 BOMB AND THE HOMELESS, 



judgment inevitably compels him. Now, this 
being the case, I really do not see why you 
should quarrel with Mr. Frank, because he 
chooses to push his privilege a little farther than 
you are inclined to do yourself, or why, so long 
as you consider yourself free to hesitate on one 
point, (as for instance, the infallibility of the 
church), you should not give him equal liberty 
to hesitate on another; as for example, the in- 
fallibility of the Sacred volume itself." 

" Really Doctor," replied Mrs. Mongomerie, 
now beginning to feel not merely shocked, but 
offended. 1 knew already that you Romanists 
cared little for the Bible, yet I never could have 
dreamed — " 

" Bah, my dear friend," the Doctor here 
peevishly interrupted, who knows what a woman 
might not dream ? or fancy at any rate, that 
she had dreamed. Why look ye now; in this 
very matter of the Sabbath, I say, and will prove 
it too, that you never with all your care kept a 
Sabbath in your lifetime according to the ordi- 
nance of the Bible." 

" Sir!" cried the lady bridling — and while 
Evelyn upset a cup of tea, in her endeavours to 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 33 



conceal her amusement, Frank roared outright, 
and Lily with uplifted hands exclaimed — 

"If cold dinners and no letters, — if lots of 
sermons and no novels constitute the keeping 
holy of the Sabbath day, then I am certain 
mama has never missed one since I came to the 
use of reason." 

" My dear child," replied the Doctor, simply 
and gravely, " all these little privations of which 
you speak, were practised on the first day of the 
week, whereas it is the last that the Bible com* 
mands us to keep holy." 

" Oh, is that all," said Mrs. Montgomerie, 
evidently much relieved. " But then we live in 
the christian dispensation. Doctor," and there she 
paused, very evidently considering that in these 
words she had presented a full and undeniable 
solution of the difficulty. 

" And how does that alter the case I should 
like to know?" demanded her antagonist. " To 
you who accept the Bible as your sole rule of 
faith, it is no answer ; for you will not find the 
change mentioned in the New Testament, or the 
Acts, or the epistles of either Peter, John, or 

c 5 



JttSkeE. — Wr I ff; ffg e^ — ^Larit&^ kos^ lay^dbed 
Jmsi^ ^ ^ h&9d hfsf hh pr«f«sm«9«s 

^ Bnint if we are anti-scriptHral^ so are too, 
DKjictor,** cried Mre. M^t gom erie, *^fec too 
j^intr SAkhttii on tlie tctt same da j that 

^ Aje, mailaiii. But then the Clinrth to 
vhkb I bekmg does not damoor morning, 
mon^ and night, for the Bible, the whole Bible, 
and nothing bnt the Bible. She attaches also a 
eerimn Talue to tradition, and bj tradition and 
iradttion only, pretends to justify the change of 
wbieb we have been speaking. Now, as you 
and yours refuse tradition, of course you cannot 
nfe it as an argument, and therefore, I repeat, 
timt with all your care and trouble, you never 
httve yet, and moreover, never will keep the Sab- 
bath daj correctly until you become either a 
jew em or a papist/' 

Here the Doctor snuffed triumphantly, and 
Mrs. Montgomerie looked as if she did not know 
whether to beat him or to cry. Evelyn began to 
think it was high time to interpose between them. 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 35 



" It is time to fetch Wyllie," she said rising 
from the table, " I promised he should stay half 
an hour with us this evening. So I bind you 
two over to keep the peace until I return to see 
fair play between you." 

The doctor laughed and offered his snuff* box 
in his most conciliatory manner to Mrs. Mont- 
gomerie, and Evelyn feeling sure that the battle 
was over for the present, left the room in search 
of her brother. 

" Don't you find dear Evelyn looking exces- 
sively handsome^" Mrs. Montgomerie imme- 
diately demanded, thinking she had hit upon a 
subject where no possible difference of opinion 
could be found between them. 

Unfortunately the doctor, like many other 
people, had an instinctive dislike to anything re- 
sembling over praise. He could not indeed run 
Evelyn down, as under similar circumstances he 
would unscrupulously have done any one else, 
but he took a long pinch of snufl^ and doubtfully 
replied : 

*' She is well enough and fair enough, for that 



36 HOME AND TFIE HOMELESS. 



matter; but not half so fair or handsome as her 
mother." 

Well enough ! fair enough !" cried Lily, all 
her lurking fear of the doctor quite forgotten in 
astonishment at this very moderate computation 
of Evelyn's charms. Why her profile is perfect, 
and so are her manners. If she were not such 
a bigot she would be positively delightful.*' 

" My dear young lady" replied the doctor, knit- 
ting his eyebrows at her, and yet showing such 
good natured eyes beneath them, that Lily could 
no longer fear him, " may I ask for your defini- 
tion of a bigot?" 

A bigot— a bigot," hesitated Lily, ''oh. Til 
tell you all about that another time, doctor, for 
here comes Wyllie and I have promised to sing 
for him." 

" Aye indeed," cried the doctor, who was 
nearly as fond of music as of argument, " by all 
means let us have a song." 

And off he bustled to open the piano; but 
Lily loved better to trust to her own sweet notes 
alone, and as soon as Wyllie was settled comfort- 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 37 



ably on his sofa, she sat down on a low stool be- 
side him and began : 

LILTS SONG. 

" Stonny water — stormy water, 

What is this thy waves are bringing? 
Stormy water — stormy water, 
To thy wild embraces clinging. 

Stormy water — stormy water, 

Golden hair like sea weed twining; 
Stormy water I stormy water. 

On thy treacherous bosom shining 1 

Stormy water — stormy water — 

Face and feet of dazzling brightness; 

Stormy water — stormy water. 

Like to snow drifts in their whiteneit! 

Stormy water — stormy water — 

Death upon thy breast has laid her; 

Stormy water — stormy water — 
None may ever more upbraid her. 

Stormy water — stormy water — 

Softly smooth her rolling pillow; 
Stormy water — stormy water. 

Bear her gently, foam-crowned billow I 

Stormy water — stormy water — 

None may ever weep the maiden 1 
Stormy water — stormy water. 

Sin distained and sorrow laden I 

Stormy water — stormy water — 

Therefore let thy wild winds o'er her; 

Stormy water — stormy water, 
Sing her requiem and deplore her." 



Lily's voice was nof very powerful, but it was 
singularly sweet and touching, and therefore 



38 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



peculiarly calculated to give their full expression 
to the mournful cadences of the air she sung, and 
the strange wild words that had been wedded to 
their music. 

Tears were stealing from Wyllie's half-closed 
eye-lids long ere the voice of the singer had died 
away, and Frank flung his book impatiently on 
the table, saying : 

" Why will you sing that song, Lily? It was 
sad enough even when he was here who wrote it; 
but now every note seems to say we shall never 
see him more." 

" I don't see why rt should say any such thing," 
pouted Lily ; " and it's no reason because you 
all choose to forget him, that I should do so 
also, or that I shouldn't sing his song either, 
when I never had any that I liked as well." 

She was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. 
Sutherland from the garden. He was deadly 
pale, and she saw by the expression of his face 
that he too had been listening to her song. He did 
not speak, however, until he had reached the 
spot where she was sitting; and then grasping her 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 39 



hand so tightly that she could have screamed for 
pain, he said aloud : 

" Lily,' never you dare to sing that song again 
in this house;" after which he strode once more 
out of the window, without vouchsafing a word or 
look to any one else. 

" Come ! come 1" cried the good-natured doctor, 
who saw that if Evelyn was silent, she was yet 
suffering intensely, and that all the rest of the 
party were more or less ill at ease, " I won't 
have you give my little patient here the blue-devils, 
Miss Lily. So here goes for an antidote to your 
salt water-dismals, in the shape of a song which 
I wrote nearly twenty years ago for some young 
friends of mine who were getting up the Grerman, 
and then little known luxury, of a christmas- 
tree;" and without further preface, in a good 
manly voice, the doctor sung : — 

" Oh, the christmas-tree I the old Christmas- tree I 
It is laden with fruit, and fair to see ; 
And we'll dance around it on Christmas night 
With bosoms that bound, and with footsteps light I 

See ! lights upon lights on its branches shine ; 
And garlands a thousand around them twine [ 
And our friends have each sent a ^ft to be 
Hung up on the boughs of the chnstmas-tree ! 



40 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



Nay, pause, dearest children, amid your glee. 
Come here a moment and listen to me, 
While I tell of Him who brings Christmas night 
With its merry dance and its tree of light. 

He lay upon straw while you garlands twine — 
He was wrapt in rags, while in silks you shine — 
And He came in tears that your dance might be 
All sinless and glad round the christmas-tree. 

Oh, give Him a thought as you dance away. 
Your dance will not be for that thought less gay ; 
And give for His sake to the poor who came. 
Before kings to bow to the Saviour's name I 

And gladder than ever your step will be 
As lightly you bound round the christmas-tree; 
And your hearts be filled with more glorious light 
Than the tapers yield to its branches j[)right." 



nOMB AND THE HOMELESS. 



41 



CHAPTER II. 



I HAVE seen a maiden's chamber in which you 
might have stood as within a sanctuary of reli- 
gious peace. The snowy purity of the hangings, 
the modest simplicity of the arrangements, but 
above all the prie-dieu with its crucifix and 
madonna, every thing bore witness for her of the 
Spirit that ruled her lonely hours, and of the 
haven to which her heart was turned the 
moment it was relieved from the pressure of the 
world. You felt instinctively that hers was one 
of those pure spirits that never consider them- 
selves alone, for that she only passed from the 
visible presence of her fellow mortals to move 



42 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

yet more consciously in the invisible presence of 
One, whose demands upon her conscience would 
be far more searching and exact than theirs; and 
therefore, that whether in society or alone, the 
zone of religious modesty would still be about her 
soul, chastening alike her interior. though t,*and 
her exterior actions, until angels themselves 
might not have blushed to share the one, or be 
witnesses to the others. Not such a chamber as 
this was thebovver of our fair friend Lily, though 
it was perhaps even more gracefully and prettily 
arranged. Books, and flowers, and pictures 
were scattered lavishly about, but the fair face 
of the virgin mother was not there to breathe an 
atmosphere of purity thoughout the chamber, 
nor the crucifix to hallow it with the recollec- 
tions of Mount Calvary; and the books were 
books of poetry and romance, destined evidently 
to kill time rather than to employ it — to fling 
flowers over the present life, rather than to lay 
up fruit for that of eternity. Other books there 
were, alas! less harmless. But these were so 
arranged as to escape the notice of any casual 
visitor, for Lily's conscience told her that not 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



43 



one of all that household, (with the exception of 
her banished cousin), but would have condemned 
her for their possession. 

Verily, Frank's favourite principles had been 
turned by his young pupils against himself. He 
had taught them to escl^ew all idea of authority 
in matters of self guidance, and they applied the 
principle by acting absolutely in contradiction to 
his own. He had exalted the intellect above 
every other gift in their estimation, and they 
saw in this suflScient reason for gratifying the 
wildest of its cravings after knowledge and ex- 
citement. He had tried to limit their conviction 
to the evidence of the sense, and they, with 
young ardent spirits still thirsting after that 
immortal existence which alone can fling glory 
and sunshine upon this one, they revenged them- 
selves for the hard dry doctrine he thus forced 
upon them, by plunging into the wildest regions 
of idealism, and pouring forth their excited 
feelings in that worship, compounded of nature, 
beauty, and moral goodness, which the style of 
literature that occupied their secret hours offered, 
all too lavishly, to their acceptance. 



44 BOMB ANP flOJ!El.E99. 



Alas t in these ecstacies of the soul, (as they 
would themselves have termed them), all was 
theory and nothing practice. Their visions 
were bright and beautiful, and glowing as the 
colors of the kaleidoscope, but like these also, the 
beauty most indispensable, the beauty of design, 
was wanting to the pattern. Little chance there 
ever is of such vague prettinesses taking root] in 
positive acts of virtue. The path is followed so 
long as it is of primrose beauty, but the first 
opposing briar sends the travellers to another. 
And so it was with these young spirits, though 
unused to self examination it was long ere they 
themselves were conscious of the fact. They 
thought themselves virtuous, because they loved 
to talk of virtue, and they bilked of virtue long 
after they had left its paths, to wander in the one 
which leads to sin. Not that Frank's teaching 
tended directly to this end, but indirectly, most 
assuredly it did. 

The more immediate cause of their ruin might 
be found in the literature which their lawless 
contempt of all authority laid open to their 
notice. Germany, America, and England, each 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 45 



supplied a portion of the poisoned stream, 
until their senses were dazzled and their reason 
utterly bewildered, amid those glittering sophis- 
tries and virtuous vague declamations, which 
tend to nothing save the exaltation of man as 
man, and, as a necessary consequence, to the de- 
preciation of God as Grod. Then came the worst 
school of French romance to fill up the measure 
of the evil, and in weeping over the fortunes of 
the chance Indianna of the volume they were 
engaged on, they learned, almost unconsciously to 
themselves, and even while still discoursing 
eloquently of virtue, to range their admiration 
and sympathies on the side of vice. 

What wonder, therefore, that when, with his 
natural ideas of right and wrong thus blotted 
and confused, with his passions just awakened, 
and without any habit of mental discipline by 
which to bridle their excesses, Frederick Suther- 
land went forth young, high spirited, and wealthy, 
to try the pleasures of the world, he should have 
become an easy prey to its worst seductions; 
should have fallen from one abyss of folly to ano- 
ther deeper yet; and even in that last and lowest 



46 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



in which our »tory finds him, should still have 
Imn Ma to turn aside the stings of conscience 
hy the pleasant faith with which his reading had 
^ui^plied him ; namely — that the Creator, if there 
were one, would be too beneficient to punish his 
cr^^ature* for those derelictions from morality 
to which they had been urged by the human na- 
ture wherewith He Himself had clothed them; 
for that sooner or later, without pain or eflforton 
their part, all should be purified and made re- 
generate in Him, and the wicked as well as the 
good be gathered indiscriminately together into 
the paradise of the blessed. 

Not less fatal was the efiect of Lily's education 
on her conduct, though it was less visible at first, 
for, as almost necessarily must be the case with 
women, the innocence of her soul was sullied long 
ere the taint could be discovered in her outward 
actions. So far, these last were innocent or at 
least not deeply guilty, but it needed small ac- 
quaintance with the course she was pursuing 
to have prophesied thac her very next step would 
be a plunge into ruin. 

And yet so rapidly does evil ripen, that to all 



' HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 47 

appearance she was still almost a child, and of 
those around her, Evelyn alone suspected (and 
even she never dreamed of the magnitude of the 
danger), that Lily's childish love for Frederick 
was rapidly assuming a form inimical to her 
future peace. Alas, there was already a canker 
in the rosebud ! And a very rosebud indeed she 
looked one summer evening, as she sat at her 
open window, with her bright hair falling around 
her, her small hands clasped together, and leaning 
on the sill, and her large, restless e) es, so like 
the restless eyes of infancy, roaming anxiously 
over the pleasure grounds beneath. 

Once or twice she rose as if impatient of delay, 
and put her head cautiously out of the window, 
but nothing could she see there, save the gloomy 
clumps of evergreens on the lawn, their upper 
leaves now glistening in the moonshine, while 
their long shadows looking inky black by con- 
trast, fell darkly on the turf. 

Not a sound stirred the air, not a breeze sighed 
among the laurels, and the very perfume of the 
flowers seemed to come heavily upwards, as if 
it had scarcely found wherewithal below to waft 



48 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

it on its way. Lily thought she had never known 
a night so still before. Too still it was inde ed 
for the passions that stirred her breast, and the 
purpose that chained her to the window. The 
calmness of nature seemed not only like a reproach 
to her for the tumultuous throbbings of her heart, 
but gave her time and opportunity also, for the 
still small voice of conscience to upbraid her. 
She never willingly listened to that voice, so 
she longed for the song of a nightingale, for the 
ripple of a stream, for anything in short, to break 
the spell that was creeping over her, and dissipate 
the sense of responsibility that for the first time in 
her life perhaps, was asserting itself in her soul. 

" Twelve o'clock," she muttered to herself, as 
the clock of a distant church tolled out the hour; 
" surely he cannot have forgotten, or perhaps he 
is only fearful of being seen." 

And then in a soft mezza voce she began to 
sing: 

" Lo, softly now the moon is shining, 
O'er mountain dark and silvery sea, 
And hark ! the nightingale is twming, 
Its sweetest notes in songs to thee. 
Thee, lady— thee! 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 49 



Lily paused for a moment on the burthen of 
her song, as if she expected it would have been 
repeated from below ; but as no sound met her 
ear, she proceeded to the second stanza : 

"For thee do roses shed their bloom, 
And from their lone and distant lea, 
Young violets with their breath perfume 
The still night air that visits thee I 
Thee, lady— thee!'* 

Again the singer stopped to listen, thinking 
she really had distinguished something like a 
faint echo of the last line, in the direction of 
the laurels; and it was with a heightened color 
and very perceptible smile of triumph that she 
again took up the song : — 

" Sweet sovereign thou, of beauty art ! 
Ah, let thy rule in mercy be, 
And pardon this too daring heart 
That breathes perforce its vows to thee, 
Thee, lady— thee I" 

• This time, at any rate, there could be no 
doubt ! Not only was Lily accompanied through- 
out the whole of the stanza by a rich but sub- 
dued voice from below; but by the dexterous 
VOL II. D 



i 



HOME A5D THE HOMELESS. 



mi^titution of the word * only * for ' lady ' in 
tiu^ hurthen of the song, the invisible performer 
hiid given double force to the declaration it con- 
tHitied^ and sent a thrill of gratified vanity to the 
htart of its fair object. 

*Mt is he!" she murmured, starting to her 
fmtf and once more straining her eyes in the 
direction ot the evergreens. " The third time is 
tUa charm then ; but I wish he would give some 
sign, for I am afraid to go down without having 
seen him first. No need to be so cautious now 
that Evelyn is at Southampton." 

Even as the thought passed through her mind, 
something moving cautiously among the laurels 
caught her eye, and directly afterwards a hat 
was raised so as to be visible for a moment above 
some of the lower branches. It was the precon- 
certed signal; and satisfied that Frederick was 
below, she blew out the candle, took a small 
parcel from the table, and stepped forth (as she 
thought for the last time probably) over the 
threshold of her chamber. The library, with its 
windows opening on the lawn was directly 
beneath it, and hither she addressed her footsteps. 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 51 

At that lat^ hour, of course, the windows were 
closed, and the shutters bolted. It was no more 
than Lily had expected, and was prepared for ; yet 
there was such a lurking consciousness of guilt 
about her that, for a second, she felt as frightened 
as if it had been done on purpose. With a 
beating heart she set the little lamp she carried, 
on the table, and drawing a chair towards the 
window, applied herself to the removing of the 
shutters. They were fastened by a heavy iron 
bar, but of late she had been only too well used 
to lift it, and with a few dexterous movements 
it was laid quietly on the floor. A moment's 
pause was all she needed then»to assure herself, 
that the house was still as quiet as night and 
sleep could make it; and this important fact once 
ascertained, she stept out through the window on 
the turf beyond. That night set a black seal 
on Lily's future destiny ! Not that there was 
any positive will for evil in her heart, as she 
thus recklessly tempted danger; but neither was 
there any positive resolution to avoid it. In 
this, as in all things else, she acted vaguely, 
simply following the impulse of the hour, with- 
D 2 



52 



HOME AKD THE BOMFLESS. 



out ever questioning her&elf as to its ultimate 
influence on her conduct. 

Thus while a movement of love and pity urged 
her to follow the fortunes of her rou^ cousin, 
there were no fixed principles by which to guide 
such sentiments aright; no keen pangs of 
conscience to warn her against their undue 
indulgence; no sufficient strength of purpose 
to make her say to herself and them — " thus far 
shall you go — no further." 

Never, in fact, was that strong purpose farther 
from Lily's mind than at the moment when she 
most required it. Alone in her room up-stairs 
conscience had dimly disturbed her quiet; but 
now, with Frederick's voice yet ringing in her 
ears, and Frederick himself but three yards from 
her, her only thought was how to reach him, her 
only fear lest Frank might be keeping one of his 
late vigils, or her ever timid, ever watchful 
mother be roused by the sound of her footfall, 
light as it was, and discover her from the 
window. 

Fortune, however, or what she thought for- 
tune, favoured her again. The broad gravel 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



53 



walk with its bright bit of raooasbine, was passed 
over safely, and under the shadow of the trees 
beyond, she was once more received, eager and 
trembling, into her cousin's arms 

" Dear, dear Frederick," she murmured almost 
convulsively " Oh, Frederick, I have lived an 
age since I got that last dear scrap of paper 
which told me you would be here to-night." 

" Hush, Lily, for Heaven's sake speak lower," 
he replied, and in the midst of all his love there 
was impatience both in voice and manner as he 
led her out of sight of the house to a seat be- 
neath a spreading beech tree. 

" There is no one there," said Lily, " even 
Frank has put out his light and buried his book 
' certain fathoms deep' in slumber, for I looked 
up at his window as I came along." 

" Aye, they are all asleep, perhaps," replied 
the other jerking his finger in the direction of 
the Ferns to indicate the persons of whom he 
spoke. *' But who knows if others are not more 
wakeful? or can you tell me, Lily, what yonder 
clump of hawthorn may contain, or whether 
eyes and ears may not be prying on us from 



51 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



behind that paling, with its impenetrable drapery 
of roses?" 

"Don't, Frederick, don't," whispered Lily, 
creeping closer to him as she spoke. " How can 
you frighten me? Su,rely, surely, your father 
is the only person that you need to fear; no one 
else can hinder or distress you?" 

" I wish I were as sure of that as you are," 
replied her cousin, biting his fingers with an air of 
moody abstraction ; " but unluckily it is not the 
truth; for look ye, Lily, I don't say that I would 
rather meet my fnther face to face, but humanly 
speaking it would be better ten thousand times 
to do so, than to fall in with some other of the 
sneaking scoundrels that may be on the look out 
for me this moment." 

" Oh, then, why not come back to my uncle 
this very instant?" cried the frightened Lily; 
" he might be proud and all that, just at first; but 
he would forgive you in the end, 1 know, for 
there is no one that he really loves but you^ 
and at any rate he would protect you; — you 
would be safe with him." 

" Safe!" Frederick echoed her words in bitter 



HOME AND THE iI0ME:LES8. 



55 



mockery. " Safe, Lily ! Is there a house in 
England where a man is safe froQi the clutclies 
of the law?" 

" The law ! But oh, Frederick, what has the 
law to say' to you? You cannot have done any- 
thing against the law?" 

''Perhaps not," he answered through his 
closed teeth, and in such a way that his manner 
was a direct contradiction to his words. " Per- 
haps not. But, Lily, even if it were so, do you 
not know that I have broken irrevocably with 
my father?" 

"No, indeed, Frederick, you never told me 
so. But when?" 

" About two months ago. He sent me a fairish 
enough offer of reconciliation, and I refused it." 

" Alas, Frederick, how could you do so?" 

" Because I am in the power of those who 
will peach upon me the instant they suspect me 
of trying to shake them off, Lily. In a cursed 
moment, and when pressed hard for money, I 

went shares in one of their d d transactions, 

and ever since I am their slave, to travel hither 
and thither wherever they please." 



5^ BOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

^miy^ miel, hard-hearted things !" said Lily 
Ui Vigmntly; ^and now it is all over, Frederick, 
for I am sure rny uncle will never unl>end 

" Xiivcr!'' said Frederick, in a strange sepul- 
chral tone, and therefore it is, Lily," he added 
fujftly^ that, as 1 hinted in my note to-day, the 
time* is come at last when hesitation can no more 
STutl you— we must part to-night for ever, or 
you, sweet love, must make up your mind at 
In^t, to follow wherever my vagrant fortunes lead 

Lily had known all along that this was 
coming; yet now it almost' seemed to take her 
by surprise, so momentous was the decision 
that she was called upon to make. 

To follow your fortunes; and olr, Frederick,'' 
she faltered, with some little of that involuntary 
misgiving which the character of her cousin 
would naturally inspire; "will you love me 
always; and shall I always be your little wife 
indeed, as you used to call me in our days of 
childhood?" 

" My little wife or anything else you please," 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 57 



said he carelessly, and drawing her yet closer to 
him by the arm which was round her waist. "So 
long as you always look upon me with those blue 
eyes as you are looking now, so long, my Lily, 
must 1 always love you ; and I care not one straw 
by what name you call the tie that will bind us 
to each other." 

Strange thoughts and fears without a name, 
began to crowd thickly upon Lily's mind — yet a 
natural reluctance prevented her from avowing 
even to herself the nature of her anxieties, 
though in hopes of finding a clue to his real 
meaning she ventured at last to say, — 

" But I am afraid Frank will be angry, he is 
so very particular — and Evelyn also." 

Frederick laughed, such a laugh! Even on 
the ear of the inexperienced girl it grated harshly 
—but as he made no other answer, she proceeded 
a little further. 

" Might I not consult them about it? Evelyn, 
at any rate. She would not be hard upon 
me when it comes to the point I am certain." 

" No ! Lily, no ! " Frederick here broke in 
abruptly, and decidedly ; " I will have no con- 
D 5 



58 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



fidences, or confidants in my aflfairs. If you like 
Frank — stay with Frank. If you like me — come 
with me. But once, and for ever, you must 
choose between us.'' 

"Frederick! Frederick! You know that I 
love you best of any ; you know that I can have 
no other choice," sobbed Lily, unused to the 
harshness of her lover's manner. 

" Then why does my little Lily talk such 
nonsense?" said her relenting cousin. "What 
is Frank, or even Evelyn to me, that my 
aflfairs should be made common talk among 
them?" 

*^ But, Frederick, one word more— when — 
when?" 

" To-morrow night," he answered promptly, 
seeing she was vainly struggling to put her 
thought in words, and mistaking or choosing to 
mistake the nature of that thought. " The city 
is getting too hot to hold me just at present; 
and I am going westwards. Therefore, Lily, it 
must be to-morrow ! All things shall be in 
readiness for our flight, and I willmeetyou here 
at the usual hour." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 59 



" I shall be quite ready, Frederick ! But it 
was not exactly about that I meant to ask. It 
was about the marriage you know. How will 
that be managed? We shall be married directly, 
shan't we? " 

"To be sure,'' said Frederick, coldly, "if 
you wish it, Lily ; and if you really think that a 
man in sleeves and surplice, or a vulgar registrar 
clipping the Queen's English can add to the 
security of such a love as ours, — married as we 
shall be already in our own eyes, and the eyes of 
Heaven." 

Heaven," repeated Lily, wounded by the 
indifference with which he spoke; yet since he 
had promised all she asked, hardly knowing in 
what manner to resent it. " Do you really think 
there is a Heaven, Frederick, and that there 
be those in Heaven who look down upon us 
here?" 

" A Heaven ? And wherefore not, dear Lily ?" 
he answered; glad of anything that changed the 
subject. " Wherefore not, for such as you?" he 
went on tenderly. "Surely if in this wide, universe 
creation there be an appointed place for all 



60 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



things beautiful 'ind good, there must be high 
above yon galaxy of stars, a bright, abiding home 
for YOU, the best and most beautiful of any ! " 

" But where really is that resting place, dear 
Frederick, and in what do its joys consist?" 

Nay, trouble not yourself to ask the question, 
denrest. Travellers need not to enquire the 
nature of the country towards which they very 
certainly are tending. It would be but idle 
waste of time to do so! Therefore, while we 
repose in the arms of our beautiful mother-nature 
hvrv, we may well afford to wait in patience 
that appointed hour when the great mystery of 
the future shall unveil itself to our wondering 
vision/' 

Then if there be a Heaven, Frederick, do 
you think it follows (and all unconsciously, Lily 
lowered her voice as she asked the question), 
do you think it follows that there is a hell for 
punishment likewise ? " 

I thought my Lily could better and more 
largely estimate the mercy and beneficence of 
that universal Providence which legislates for all 
creatures, than even to have asked the question 



nOME AND THE HOMELESS. 61 



Frederick answered in a voice of subdued re- 
proach. 

"But if it were true," persisted Lily, "and 
if that Providence (whatever it is) did punish 
us hereafter for doing wrong here ; oh, Frederick, 
how terrible it would be !" 

" But, Lily, it cannot be true, I say ; it would 
be an infinite injustice to the sublime goodness 
that rules the universe, scattering abroad with 
a lavish hand, light and glory, beauty, freshness 
and perfume, for the enjoyment of his creatures; 
it would be an infinite injustice, I say, to sup- 
pose even for a moment, that he could under any 
circumstances whatever, have contemplated 
plunging those creatures into an abyss of tor- 
ments." 

" Oh, it is dreadful, dreadful only to think of 
it," murmured Lily clasping her hands, and lean- 
ing her head for a moment upon her cousin's 
shoulder ; "and if there be a God, dear Frederick, 
He would be a cruel God indeed, could He thus 
fearfully avenge Himself upon His creatures." 

"And all for what?" continued Frederick in his 
softest and most persuasive manner; "He made 



62 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



the violet for the delectation of your senses, and 
lie would plunge you, forsooth, into eternal fire 
(the bigots say), only for some small condescen- 
sion to those very faculties, for which He in the 
halls of His eternal love has already so indus- 
triously and so minutely catered." 

" Then you do not believe in the punishment 
of sin at all?" the wavering girl questioned 
anxiously. 

No more than I do in the existence of that 
sin itself," replied her lover. " Pshaw, Lily ! 
according to the old philosophy, evil itself is good 
in the making; and if carrion in sunshine will 
convert itself into flowers, wherefore I pray you 
may not man, whether on a gibbet or in jail, 
be still on his way to the good and true? 
know not indeed how such a purification will be 
brought about, but of this, at least I feel quite 
certain, that the largest must ever be the truest 
sentiment. Therefore there is less of the generous 
spirit of truth in your christian men and women, 
doling out eternal reward and punishment accor- 
ding to their small notions of right and wrong, 
than in the sentiment of the Indian vishnu; * I 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 63 



am the sa lie to all mankind and there is not 
one worthy of my love or hatred.' 

" Which is as much as to say," commented 
Lily, that He cares not for the little deeds we 
do in this little life of ours. And indeed that idea 
seems most consistent with His greatness, for 
with the universe to harmonize and govern, 
what can it be to Him, how each small atom of 
that universe employs its brief hour of exist- 
ence." 

" Aye," responded Frederick, " and even were 
it true, (which I do not believe), that He has ap- 
pointed laws and forbidden them to be broken ; 
still would I most emphatically deny that such a 
diabolical invention as a place of eternal misery 
could have been included in his scheme of 
retribution ; and still would I maintain that it is 
an insult to the eternal Trinity of truth, beauty, 
and goodness embodied in our idea of Him, only 
to suggest it." 

" Ah," said Lily at last half convinced, and 
sighing a long sigh of relief from mental pres- 
sure. T can believe, or at least I can think I 
believe, in heaven, since it gives the last note of 



64 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



harmony wanting to our being; but roy soul 
utterly abhors and rejects the idea of hell which 
would dim the beauty of the eternal vision, and 
degrade Ilim from a bright dream of love and 
goodness, into a phantom of revenge and 
hatred/' 

" Most certainly would it,'' Frederick a little 
impatiently replied ; " but after all, why waste the 
precious moments in discussing such far off things 
as tlie8e,dear Lily ? Surely our hearts have many 
a sweeter theme to discourse upon to each 
other." 

" Forgive me, dear Frederick, I hardly know 
why I named the subject at all," Lily faltered, 
half feeling that she was speaking falsely and 
yet not quite certain. She did not herself al- 
together understand the sentiments that were 
stirring in her bosom, and therefore never 
thoroughly grasped the fact, that in trying to as- 
sure herself of her own irresponsibility to a higher 
power, she was merely endeavouring to impose 
silence on the still small voice within, which 
whispered that under any circumstances what- 
soever, her elopement must be a fault. Some 



HOME AND THfi HOMELESS. 65 



thing even in Frederick's words and manner yet 
more painfully suggested that were he not 
merciful as she was weak, that fault a little later 
might be terribly developed into crime. 

" Then think no more about it, dearest," 
Frederick replied, with passionate and enthu- 
siastic affection in his looks and tones; "think 
no more about it, but promise, my beautiful, my 
adored, that you will be mine — mine own — 
bravely and heroically — heedless of the bigot 
blame of others, untrammelled by the traditions 
of a worn out age, invented for the management 
of children. Believe me, nothing less than such 
high trust will assure me of the intensity of your 
love, for nothing less will satisfy the immensity 
of my own." 

"And you at least will never blame me?" 
Lily faltered in one last lingericg expression of 
the doubt that filled her soul. 

Blame you!" he enthusiastically exclaimed, 
" when by such noble independence you will 
have lifted yourself to my idea of the sublime! 
Blame you indeed! Remember what a great 
man has said ; that self trust is the essence of 



66 HOME AKD THE HOMELESS. 



heroism; and believe (for you may) that you 
never are so true to the noble instinct which 
nature has implanted within your breast as when 
you most thoroughly put in practice the great 
stoical maxim, which tells you to obey your- 
self/' 

" Then by this token I promise, Frederick," 
replied Lily, putting a ring upon his finger, " I 
promise to be here to-morrow night." 

Frederick only answered by a passionate em- 
brace, and then the lovers parted. He to return 
to the evil men who had used his theories to 
guide him to his ruin, she to dream once more, 
and perhaps for the last time, of some enchanted 
island where, amid never-failing summer airs and 
never fading flowers, she might fulSl her dream 
of perfect joy, with Frederick worshipping at 
her feet for ever. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



67 



CHAPTER III. 



I SAY, Miss Evelyn," said Dr. Spencer, as he 
sat with her one evening drinking coffee in his 
garden, close by the low clematis-covered wall 
that separated it from Southampton common, 
*' did you ever refuse to marry Frank Mont- 
gomerie?" 

" Did Frank Montgomerie ever propose for 
Evelyn de Burghe? ought perhaps to have been 
the question first in order," said the lady laugh- 
ing, and scarcely even colouring beneath the 
glance of the keen eye fixed scrutinisingly upon 
her. 

" Pshaw, child, don't tell me. Of course he 



68 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



did. Do you think I am such a ninny as to be- 
lieve that he has been living ten years under the 
same roof with such a pretty creature as you 
are without popping the question? Why I'd 
have done it in half the time when I was his 
age." 

" But you- are an Irishman, sir, whereas Frank 
is a cold-blooded Saxon." 

"Well, that does make a difference certainly," 
resumed the doctor; "but even rating your influ- 
ence over him at half the power it would have 
exercised over me, it has been at work in his case 
for double the number of years that would have 
been required in mine ; and therefore ought by 
this time to make up in quantity for what is 
wanting in quality." 

" Ten years in all ordinary cases would have 
gone far towards annihilating the sentiment alto- 
gether," retorted the smiling Evelyn. 

" In all ordinary cases, yes," replied the other; 
" but in extraordinary cases, no ! Now this is 
an extraordinary case, I say, for you are an ex- 
traordinary woman, he is an extraordinary man 
— ergo, according to my theory he must have 







HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



69 



fallen desperately in love with you, and if he did 
so, just as undoubtedly has uiade you acquainted 
with the fact." 

Miss De Burghe coloured a little and did not 
reply. Possibly Frank Montgonierie was not in 
her thoughts at all that moment, nor did the 
doctor himself feel quite certain that he was, 
therefore he urged her yet more closely. 

" You are hesitating. Miss Evelyn. Come! 
come! make a clean breast of it at once, and 
confess that he did propose for you, and you 
refused him." 

"No, indeed, sir, I can confess no such a 
thing; for in fact he never did propose for me, 
and, therefore, as a matter of course, I did not 
refuse him." 

" Humph 1 are you quite sure it was not that 
fellow in India that made you so unkind to 
Frank!" 

But I never was unkind to him, I tell you," 
said Evelyn, the blood rushing tumultuously to 
her temples, and then as suddenly retreating; 
symptoms by no means lost on the keen observa- 
tion of her tormentor, " and besides, sir, you 



70 HOME AXD TRE HOMElXSSw 



may be overheard — any one passing outside 
that wall can bear every word you say."* 

" If they thought it worth while to Ibten, my 
dear/' replied the Doctor, which is not very 
likely at this time of evening, and with the 
Southampton fair in full vigour below. But to 
return to what 1 was saying. I never will be- 
lieve that Frank has not been singed by your 
charms. lie is a very cool-headed fellow, I 
know, but I should hate him if I thought him 
80 cool-headed as that" 

Or cool- hearted," amended Evelyn. But 
really, sir, I think you are rather hard upon 
Frank — for love they say needs sympathy, and 
ever since I can remember, we have always 
been (joke or earnest) antagonists to each 
other." 

" A much better material for true love than 
sympathy and all that sort of trash," replied the 
Doctor. Lovers have always been antagonis- 
tic to each other, from Benedict and Beatrice 
downward." 

^^But Benedict and Beatrice did sympathise 
on one point," urged Evelyn. " They agreed in 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 71- 



abusing matrimony, nvhereas there is not a 
point of union between Frank and me !" 

" You must have snubbed him," reiterated 
the Doctor, in his most obstinate manner. " There 
is no other way of accounting for it, unless he 
had a previous attachment?" 

That I am sure he had not, sir. In fact, 
his mind has always been too much taken up 
with grave matters to think — " 

" Of treading the primrose path of love, " 
interrupted the Doctor. " Well, on the whole I 
am rather glad of it than otherwise, for though 
he is a noble fellow, you would have fought like 
cat and dog, if once you had been fairly buckled 
together." 

*' Should we, sir? And why?" 

" Because, as you say, you are antagonistic to 
each other on every point." 

" But I thought you considered discord the 
proper element to begin with." 

" Aye, but not to end with ! For do you see, 
Miss Evelyn, though April showers may bring 
forth May flowers, they are not so well suited to 
ripen the fruits of August; and just upon the 



72 HOM£ AKD TH£ HOX£L£SS. 



same principle, while a little gentle tilting may 
be a very good means to make young love blos- 
som, still it never would do to carry that practice 
into matrimony* Either man or woman must 
knock under then^ if there's to be peace between 
them, and I don't know how in wedded life they 
are to get on without it." 

"Nor I either, I am sure,'' said Evelyn. 
" Therefore, you see it is quite as well that 
Frank and I never came to closer quarters, since 
we are much too strong in our several creeds for 
either of us to be willing to knock under, as you 
call it." 

" Don't dignify Frank's loose notions with the 
appellation of a creed," cried the doctor impa- 
tiently. " A creed is a profession of faith in 
something; whereas he only professes to have faith 
in nothing." 

" He believes that he doesn't believe," said 
Evelyn smiling sadly ; " that is a kind of creed, 
isn't it, sir?" 

" No, it isn't," said the doctor shortly ; " it 
is a simple exertion of intellectual pride. 
Moreover, it isn't true in his case ; for whatever 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



73 



he may choose to say upon the subject, Frank 
has a soul too noble far ever to be able 
thoroughly to carry out such materialist opinions 
to their just conclusions." 

"What then, has he faith in, sir?" Evelyn 
asked incredulously ; " for I am certain there is 
nothing that he does not deny." 

" Except love of truth aad virtue, Evelyn. 
He believes in these things because they are in 
him, and he knows well they are. You smile; 
but I tell you, his is eminently a truth loving 
spirit, and what is more, he has great natural 
virtue too — the virtue that inclines to good, 
though without the grace of God it can never 
be a sure preventive of evil — " 

"And therefore?" questioned Evelyn with 
considerable interest. 

' " And therefore," pursued the doctor, " even 
while denying it— and certainly without being 
conscious of it, he has faith in something higher 
still, because, (can'tyou understand, MissEvelyn), 
vice and virtue, as such, cannot exist without the 
law that makes them. But a law implies the 
existence of a law giver ; therefore if Frank be- 

VOL. II. E 



74 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



lieves in virtue, he must believe, though he may 
not think it, both in the law that constitutes the 
virtue, and the Being that makes the law." 

" I think he would fall back upon the natural 
structure of the brain prompting a man in 
various proportions to good and evil," said 
Evelyn, recollecting a recent conversation at the 
* Ferns.' 

" He would fall back, upon nonsense then, 
and break the back of his argument altogether." 
the doctor testily retorted. Why, the wickedest 
brain that ever was hatched by Dame Nature 
(and to do her justice, she is mighty ingenious 
in such matters) possesses a consciousness of good 
and evil, which is altogether independent of, 
and superior to the action to which that brain is 
prompting. A man may be urged, indeed, by 
the accident of his constitution with greater 
force towards good or evil : but still his conscience 
/riW be over all to warn him and rebuke, and I 
should like Master Frank or any of his clique 
to tell me, what is this conscience, and whence it 
comes? Neither of nature nor from her certainly, 
since it is generally opposed to, and frequently 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 75 



oyemiles her. Surely this one fact alone might 
teach us, that we are not mere animal compounds 
of flesh and blood and instinct only, but that we 
possess a something higher than all these within 
us, something which acknowledges to the ex- 
istence, and holds itself amenable to the laws of 
a Supreme Creator — " 

It ought I am sure," said Evelyn with a sigh; 
"but yet I am very certain that it does not." 

" Because they must have logical proof for- 
sooth," replied the doctor, " or they will not be- 
■ if God would be God if he could be 
explained and defined like a mathematical propo- 
sition! And mark the consequence," he con- 
tinued, striking his cane upon the ground as 
vigourously as if Evelyn were opposing his 
opinions; "mark the strange perversity of feeling 
which grows out of this haughty incredulity. 
They refuse to acknowledge the existence of a 
God creator, because His very immensity puts 
Him beyond the reach of their limited human 
reason ; and by that proud denial are they forced 
to the stranger humility of cutting themselves 
off from all the high and stirring promises of im- 
£ 2 



76 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



mortality which such a faith presents them, and 
of reducing themselves to a level with the brute 
creation, whose only possession is of this life and 
whose only hope is in it But hang it, we have 
hnd enough of this folly," he cried, rising and 
pushing his chair impatiently away, what do 
you say to giving Master Wyllie a sight of the 
fair instead?" 

" My dear sir," she rather anxiously enquired, 
" are you not afraid the heat and excitement 
will be too much for him ?" 

" Perfect repose of mind and body, an atmos- 
phere redolent of attar of roses and of India; 
opium and henbane to give him sleep, and chicken 
panada to keep him puny," replied the doctor, 
putting his hands behind his back« and training 
his words to a lisping accent; 'Hhat is what 
them London fellows would say to you, Miss 
Evelyn , but / say," he continued, changing his 
manner, and rather enhancing than diminishing 
his natural allowance of the brogue, " cease to 
coddle the boy in the name of heaven ; try to 
make him forget that he has been reared in a hot 
house; withdraw his mind as much as possible 



nOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 77 

from himself by exercise and amusement; and 
give him as much of the former as you can in- 
duce him to take, and as much of the latter as 
will make it pleasant to take it. I don't say, 
my dear young lady," he went on kindly, for the 
tears were standing in Evelyn's eyes; " I don't 
at all mean to say that poor Wyllie is not a very 
suffering child, and that he does not demand 
great care. But I do say, that such care to be 
useful, must be judicious, and that his sufferings 
are precisely of thatkind which may be irrevocably 
established in the system by unwise tenderness; 
while a more hardy mode of treatment may, and 
I have little doubt will, eradicate them alto- 
gether. Now can you not trust me, Evelyn?" 

" I should be uugrateful indeed if I did not," 
Evelyn answered smiling through her tears. 

" But can't you say you do though?" persisted 
the doctor impatiently. " I hate all those civil 
speeches about ungrateful and so forth. Nine 
times out of ten they are nothing on earth but 
polite negations." 

"Mine was not at all events; for it came 
f traight from the heart," said Evelyn. " But if 



78 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



you like it better I will say that I do trust you, 
and with a heart and a half, moreover, as our 
country folks have it. Does that content you, 
doctor?" 

" Yes, yes," replied the mollified doctor, 
shaking the hand heartily which Evelyn put into 
his; that is brave speaking, and no mistake. 
And now for Wyllie. Denis can draw his<5hair, 
for even I would not recommend his trying to 
walk. Here, Denis, you idle dog. Denis, I say !" 

" Here, sir," cried the individual in question, 
suddenly emerging from behind a clump of lilacs 
where he and Wyllie had been amicably seated 
together. 

He was a tall, weather beaten looking man, 
from whose carriage long years of military ser- 
vice had not been able entirely to eradicate the 
air of inertness consequent upon the natural in- 
dolence of his disposition. He was an Irishman, 
of course, and united to his master by such an 
instinct of affectionate fidelity as the commercial 
feelings of the nineteenth century have almost 
expunged from the relation of servant and supe- 
rior. His fortunes and those of his master were 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



79 



in his mind irrevocably bound up together, and 
so they had been, ever since the day when he, a 
tenant's son, had been appointed to follow Dr. 
Spencer, the youngest then of a family of seven, 
through the world, and to share in more lowly 
fashion in whatever good things could be extracted 
from it. 

The common idea, therefore, of the present 
day, by which servants are continually tempted 
to quit the service they are actually engaged in, 
in hopes of bettering their fortunes, as they call 
it, in another, never could have occurred to 
Denis j for it never even could have entered into 
his head to imagine, that he should at any time 
ever be thrown upon those fortunes for support; 
or, indeed, that " the master" could manage to 
keep his own afloat, without aid from the supe- 
rior wisdom of the servant. Master and man 
they loved each other heartily, albeit with no 
such effeminate affection as either excluded 
quarrels, or expired in them. The one was idle 
the other was testy, and frequent were the alter- 
cations induced by these constitutional defects ; 
innumerable the warnings which they mutually 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



administered to each other, in the desperate de- 
termination of relenting no more. An hour or 
two of stately solitude in the drawing room was, 
however, generally speaking, more than sufficient 
to bring "the masther to his sinses,'' and no 
sooner had this favorable change taken place, 
than the bell was rung; some trifling order, 
framed with particular care to avoid all reference 
to the original cause of quarrel, given, and Denis 
retired, triumphant and chuckling, to his pantry, 
where he usually observed to the boy who acted 
as his sub, " that the masther was of the raale 
good ould blood of Ireland, that never bore 
malice and was all the better natured for a bit 
of a row." 

Such a system wasnot.likely to mend any man's 
habits as a servant, and when the doctor having 
partly inherited, partly acquired a sufficient for- 
tune to enable him to abandon his profession, 
settled finally at Southampton, Denis grew, if pos- 
sible, more indolent than before. That is to say he 
left the house to the care of the woman, the stables 
to that of the boy, and spent his own time chiefly 
in the garden, which he chose as the scene of his 




HOM£ AND TUl^ UOM£LESS. 



81 



peculiar labours, varied, however, and made 
lighter by an almost daily saunter on the com- 
mon, or a walk by the say-side, his mode of 
designating the muddy banks of the Southampton 
waters. Fortunately he was as good-natured as 
he was indolent, or even more so; and having 
taken a great fancy to Wyllie, worked harder in 
carrying salt water for his baths than he had 
ever been known to work for years before; was 
not only always ready and willing to carry him 
in and out, and to wheel him for longer ex- 
cursions in his chair; but spent most of the time 
he could steal from these occupations in fashion- 
ing boats of various sizes, which he and the 
invalid afterwards amused themselves sailing on 
the smooth waters of the river. 

Here, sir," he repeated, walking, in answer 
to his master's not over-patient summons, 
straight up the doctor, and then suddenly halting 
and standing at ease. 

"Oh, you are there, are you?" cried the 
doctor wrathfuUy ; " and pray where have you 
been all the afternoon, you idle rascal, that you 
left Susan to bring in our coffee? " 

£ 5 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



Deed then, sir, 1 have been the best part of 
three hours drawing wather for master Wyllie's 
bath. It takes a power of wather to fill it, and 
when the tide's down, it's a good three quarters 
of-a-mile through the shallows to fetch it." 

You are a lying rascal," replied the master. 
" The tide was in at three o'clock this afternoon, 
and you could have drawn the whole river in an 
hour if you had put your heart as well as your 
lazy shoulders to the job." 

" An hour ! " cried Denis, lifting his hands 
and eyes in unutterable astonishment to Ueaven. 
" May I never sin, docthor, if it isn't an hour's 
walk to the say-side itself, let alone the drawin 
of the wather afterwards, which makes it a good 
two and a half besides." 

" Don't you aiiswer me, sir. I say you could 
have done the whole thing in an hour if you had 
worked with a will. . But I see how it is, you 
rascal ! Your hair is all wet, and so I suppose 
you've been rolling like a great porpoise in the 
* 3ay ' as you call it, while; the horses were 
whinnying in the stables for their oats." . 

" Well, and if I did take, a bit of a. swim>" re- 




HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 



83 



plied the unabashed Denis, carelessly brushing 
up the lank locks that had betrayed him; 
" Where's the harum I wonder. Your honor is 
a pheesician, and must know for sartin that 
there's nothin' in this woreld like salt wather for 
presarving the complexion." 

" Preserving the complexion ! " shouted his 
master. *'Why you ugly, brown, ox-hided 
creature; do you dare to tell me you have got a 
complexion to keep. Heaven and earth! who 
ever heard of a creature with the skin of a 
buffaloe talking of his complexion ? " 

"Ah, then, and why wouldn't I, docthor? 
Haven't the very naygurs themselves got a 
complexion, only it's a mighty dark one entirely; 
and why not an Irishman, and a Milesian to 
boot, as glory be to God the o' Daly's are, and 
ever war, long before Sthrongbow and his English 
spalpeens set foot in the land — worse luck to the 
day whon they ventured that same? " 

This was meant for, and, indeed, it proved a 
hard hit at his master, whose paternal ancestors 
had gone over to Ireland in the train of Strong- 
bow, but who nevertheless was always inclined 



84 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



to sink his Saxon origin in the Milesian blood 
with which it had in process of time been 
blended. It was a weakness of the doctor's, and 
Denis knew it so well that he never applied the 
match without stepping a little on one side to 
avoid the explosion that was sure to follow. On 
the present occasion he took refuge by the side 
of Evelyn, just in time apparently to avoid the 
cane which the doctor shook at him, angrily ex- 
claiming, at the same time : 

" I tell you what, you rascal — Strongbow and 
his spalpeens, as you have the impudence to call 
them, found club-law an uncommon good settler 
of your confounded Milesian notions, and I've 
more than half a mind to try if it can't be made 
quite as efficient in the hands of one of their 
descendants." 

Nay, sir," cried Evelyn, catching the cane 
before it could reach the tall sun-flower in the 
neighbourhood of Denis, upon which it was about 
vigourously to descend ; " you mustn't quite 
kill Denis until he has given me his receipt for 
the .complexion. Ladies are curious in such 
matters, you know, although I confess I have 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 85 



hitherto been shamefully deficient in the 
science." 

" Why, then, Miss, if you ask my opinion,*' 
replied Denis, with a share of additional im- 
portance at being so appealed to, visible in his 
manner; I know nothin' better, as I said 
before, nor salt wather, barrin it be butter-milk, 
and that you won't get here for love or money, 
for the rayson Tm towld that they give it to 
their pigs. And a sin, and a burning shame it 
is more betoken to throw the licker that would 
make an Irish boy's heart ring for joy, to a set 
of lazy, gruntin craythures that pitaty-palins 
would be much too good for, since they don't 
pay the rint here as they do in their own 
counthry." 

" It seems like an extravagance, certainly," 
laughed Evelyn. " But, Denis, you haven't 
told me yet how to apply the water. Is it as a 
poultice or wash? or, how is it?" 

"Apowltice!" repeated Denis. •^God help 
you. Miss, is it in airnest you are? Troth, and 
if you war to wrap up your purty faytures in 
sich a powltice as that, it's little enough skin 



86 HOME AND XnE HOMELESS. 



you'd find on them next mornin. And jist for 
that same rayson I wouldn't recommind it to you 
in the way of a wash, but only jist to swally a 
little of the wather interiorally every mornin." 

To swally the water interiorally; more 
wholesome than pleasant, I trow" growled the 
Doctor, but Evelyn only laughed ; and encouraged 
by her smiles, Dennis went on with an air of 
offended dignity directed against the " master/' 
for venturing to dispute the merit of his prescrip- 
tion. 

" To swally it interiorally — that's just it Miss 
Evelyn. Sure I knew a boy once, who was 
mighty unaisy about his complexion, because of 
a young girril he was sweet on, and d — be from 
me, if he didn't swally a quart of the wather every 
blessed day of his life till the one that he — " 

" Was married on, I suppose," Evelyn could 
not refrain from interrupting. 

" The day that he died, I was goin to obsarve, 
if you'd waited a minute, Miss," Denis an- 
swered gravely, and without moving a muscle of 
his countenance. 

" Small blame to him," cried the Doctor. " A 



HOME AND TH£ UOMELESS. 87 



quart of salt water ! Why, man alive, a horse 
would have kicked the bucket over half that 
allowance." 

May be," said Denis, doubtfully. " How- 
somedever, although horses are sinsible enough 
bastes in the long run, Vve seen them kick 
before now, at what was intended for their good, 
all as one as if they'd been christians and didn't 
know betther." 

" But the boy who was so particular about 
his complexion," asked Evelyn. " Did he die 
of love, Denis, or of salt water, which ?" 

" Ough, myself doesn't well know what he 
died of," replied Denis, scratching his head with 
an air of considerable perplexity. " Some said 
it was the blue cholera, and some said it was the 
salt wather, — whatever it was, howsomdever, it 
kilt him entirely, and may I never sin, if the 
girleen he was so fond of didn't strike up a coort- 
ship with one of his cousins on the very day of the 
burial, and the two war buckled together before the 
month's mind was over. Devil a. lie in it. Miss 
Evelyn, for as quare as it sounds." 

And BO much for love and salt wather," said 



88 



HOME AND TU£ HOMELESS. 



Evelyn laughing, " I don't feel quite sure that I 
will try your receipt after all, Denis." 

Ah, and why would you then, Miss?" re- 
turned Denis politely, " sure isn't your com- 
plexion for all the woreld like strawberries and 
crame already, and what for would you be 
worrying yourself to improve it? Now if it 
war the masther there, there might be some sinse 
in the notion, for he was done yallow many a 
long day ago, in furrin parts. Ingee is a ter- 
rible place for the complexion. Miss. I'm dark 
enough myself in all conscience, since I lived in 
it, but the masther's face bates banegher in re- 
gard to the colour of it altogether; surely it do." 

"Lookee here, my fine fellow," roared the 
doctor, now breaking in as it were by main force 
upon his servant's volubility; "I promise you, 
you shall be done brown in ten minutes, and no 
mistake, if you don't look sharp. There's the bay 
mare been standing ungroomed in her stall these 
two hours I'll be sworn, while you have been 
trying to wash the blackamore white in the 
Southampton waters." 

" 'Deed, sir, but you are all out there now," 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 89 



D enis answered composedly ; " for I towld the 
boy to do it I did, jist to see if I couldn't insinse 
him a little into his business." 

" Hold your tongue, sir, or Fll discharge you 
on the spot. Idle, good-for-nothing rascal that 
you are ! " 

Oh, bedad, and bedad, and if I am then, I 
wonder who made me so," retorted the unabashed 
Denis; " why now. Miss," he continued, appeal- 
ing to Evelyn, "I give you my honour, what with 
fish in', what with shootin', what with drivin' 
afther elephants, and tigers, and sarpints, and 
what not, when we war together in Ingee, the 
masther has spiled me entirely for anything else. 
Sorra taste of raal work I've ever been able 
to put my hand to since, with anything like aise 
and comfort to myself." 

" Confound your impudence," said the doctor, 
turning on his heel, and smiling in spite of him- 
self. Here, Mr. Idleman, put your shoulder 
to Master Wyllie's chair, and see if your strength 
will enable you to wheel him to the common. 
We are going to give him a peep at the humours 
of the fair." 



90 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Thb fair with its business and bustle, its merri- 
ment and amusements had nearly reached its 
climax of noise and gaiety; and bells were ring- 
ing, punch was shrilly squealing, merry- go-rounds 
were in full swing, and fifes and drums were 
making medley music over all, by the time the 
Doctor and his companions arrived upon the 
scene. There were tents for music and dancing in 
every direction, and booths also for more useful 
trafiic; while stalls tricked out in all such arti- 
cles of spurious jewellry and dress as might 
tempt simple country folk to purchase, were 
lighted up until they glittered like glow-worms, 
amid the dark masses of the moving crowd. 




HOME AND THE HOMELIiSS. 91 



Among these various appliances for business 
and pleasure the Doctor led them, in and out, 
here and there ; threading his way so as to obtain 
a glimpse of all the most striking character- 
istics of the fair. Now pausing, to Wyllie's great 
delight, to let him listen for a few minutes to the 
witticisms of Punch ; anon to allow his contem- 
plating at his leisure the picture of a gaudily 
attired Romeo with Juliet in his arms, which 
graced the entrance to a temporary theatre, on 
wheels ; and, finally, to point out to him the effigy 
of the " Fat Lady," which from the canvass 
covering of her tent, announced very intelligibly 
to the public, that the original of that pleasant 
portrait was exhibiting within. 

They were still engaged in laughing specula- 
tions as to her probable resemblance in color and 
proportions to the brodignag picture before their 
eyes, when a girl stept forth from a little knot of 
dark brown gipsies who had been gradually draw- 
ing near them, in hopes of being permitted 
to tell the fortunes of the bright-eyed Evelyn 
and her sickly looking brother. 

"Won't you have the pretty lady's fortin 



92 



HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 



told, sir?" she asked, addressing the Doctor. 

Only cross my hand with silver, and I'll tell 
her all about the handsome lord that's awaitin 
for her somewhere, with gold enough in his two 
pockets to make . her glitter in diamonds as 
bright as her eyes are." 

My eyes, what a prophet you be !" cried a 
man who evidently belonged to a rival party. 

Don't you see as the lady has had her fortin 
told out already, and that if the ring ain't on her 
finger this minute, it's bespoken, at all events for 
to-morrow morning at latest." And he jerked 
his thumb over his shoulder at the Doctor, in 
such a way as to convey his impression to 
the crowd, that the individual thus indicated 
was betrothed at the very least, to Evelyn, 
if he had not the honor of being actually her 
husband. 

Evelyn laughed; for the Doctor nudged her 
arm so triumphantly, that she could not help it. 
But even as the first fortune-teller retired — dis- 
comfited, it appeared, by the man's superior 
penetration — another of the same trade stepped 
forward, and lifting her dark penetrating eyes 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 93 



to Evelyn's face, then in a cursory manner to 
the Doctor's, contemptuously observed. 

You ain't hit the nail on the right head yet, 
my master, for as wise as you thinks yourself, 
May and December never come together, and 
besides, the lady's bespoken already for some one 
beyond the seas. But, if you'll put silver in 
my hand, lady," she continued, lifting her eyes 
again to Evelyn's, as she addressed her more 
particularly ; " I'll tell you that which will please 
you better than any' thing I could say of yourself : 
for I will tell you the very day and hour when 
strength will visit the dear little gentleman yon- 
der, and when — " 

But before she could complete the sentence, 
the Doctor had moved indignantly away, drag* 
ging the laughing Evelyn with him, and continu- 
ing to growl out whenever any stoppage in the 
crowd gave him breath to do so. 

" May and December ! The impudent hussey ! 
Not but what you are a very May, and all that 
is beautiful besides in May, my dear," he po- 
litely added, in a sort of parenthesis. " But to 
call rriP. December ! Now, if she had said Septem- 



94 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



ber, or even October, I should not have objected, 
but December ! Pah, I feel as if I had icicles 
clinging to my beard already. The black-eyed 
brazen-faced son of a gun ! Take my advice, 
Wyllie, and never listen to a gipsy as long as 
you live, you'll get nothing but lies and rubbish 
for your pains." 

" I don't think she is a gipsy," Evelyn ob- 
served, when the laugh *vas over. " At least, she 
does not talk like one, and evidently does not be- 
long to the same set as the girl who spoke first." 

AtWyllie's earnest request, they lingered another 
hour in the fair, but by that time the evening 
was closing in so rapidly, that they had just de- 
cided upon returning homewards; when Denis, 
who had been lingering a little in the rear, sud- 
denly brought himself and his convoy into a line 
with the others, and touching his hat to the 
Doctor, said — 

" If you plaize, sir. Do you think there's mny 
likehood of Miss Lily's being in the fair to- 
night?" 

"Lily — Impossible!" Evelyn and the Doctor 
exclaimed almost in the same moment. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



95 



" Well, Sir, if it's impossible, of coorse it is, 
and in that case its only her fetch that is in it," 
Denis answered composedly. '*But ghost or 
girril, I seen her just now, as plain as I see you 
and Miss Evelyn this minute." 

"What — you saw her this minute, Denis?" 

" This minute, sir. At the door of the tent 
foment you; " and Denis Indicated with his finger 
a booth for dancing, round which a little knot of 
idlers were collected. Looking in at the 
dancers she was, along with the others, and she 
hooked on to Masther Frederick's arrum." 

"Frederick. Oh, no! no! Surely not with 
Frederick," cried Evelyn, struck with a sudden 
presentiment of evil. 

" Then, may be it was my eyes decaived me 
afther all. Miss ; " said Denis, feeling sorry to 
grieve her, and yet, too certain of the fact he 
had stated, to be able to retract with any show 
of real conviction. " Any ways, what with the 
turn of the head and the cock of the hat, it was 
the very moral of the young masther for all 
that." 

It cannot — it must not be," cried Evelyn, 



96 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



unwilling to admit of such confirmation of Lily's 
elopement, as the association of Frederick with 
the lady in question afforded. " You must have 
been mistaken, Denis. Why, you can hardly 
know him by sight! you never saw him but 
once, and then only for a minute." 

" Thrue for you, Miss — but that wanst I took 
his measure from head to foot; (with my eyes of 
coorse, I mane); and let Denis O'Daly alone 
for remembering a boy after wanst he has taken 
his inches." 

"It cannot be Lily," said Dr. Spencer, in 
answer to Evelyn's appealing glances. " We 
should certainly have heard before now, if she 
had left the * Ferns.' Frederick it might be, to 
be sure, and if we can only get hold of him, it 
may be the saving of him yet." 

" Then, pray let us follow him," cried Evelyn 
eagerly, but the Doctor kept her back, while he 
questioned Denis. 

" He had a lady with him, you are certain, 
Denis?" 

" Miss Lily — or her fetch, sir, arrum and 
arrum, quite sisterly and confidential like." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 97 



If it is not Lily," observed the Doctor turning 
very gently and tenderly towards Evelyn, " it 
is too probably some one whom he would rather 
his sister shouldn't see in his company — rather, 
most likely, his sister shouldn't meet at all; 
therefore, it would do more harm than goo I, my 
dear, if you attempted to follow him just now." 

"But you, at least, will try and save him, 
won't you, Doctor?" 

" I will do my best. But in the first place we 
must try and discover who are his companions, 
and wl:at he is doing in this old world — out of 
the way sort of place; and Denis will be the 
best person for this purpose, because — " 

" Will I go afther him at wanst, sir?" cried . 
Denis, trembling with eagerness. 

" You'll do nothing of the sort, you omad- 
hawn," replied his master. " Because you see, 
my dear," he continued, explaining himself to 
Evelyn, " though Denis did measure his inches, 
it is not likely that Frederick returned the com- 
pliment ; and therefore the chances are that he is 
still in a lamentable state of ignorance as to the 
fact even of Denis O'Daly's existence at all ; to 

VOL. II. F 



98 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 



say nothing of the extra circumstance of his 
being my servant — " 

" Of coorse, sir, of coorse," cried Denis. " He 
doesn't know me no more nor the babe unborn. 
Why would he ? when he never seen me but wanst, 
and that wanst his back was to me, and he 
talking and laughing like mad with Miss Lily, 
and never an eye in his head for any one else. 
Small blame to him neither, for a purtier little 
crayture he is not likely to meet with between 
this and the Shannon ; barrin, may be, his sister 
— if it war manners to say so — " 

"But the boy — the boy!" cried the doctor 
impatiently. "You eternal prate box, where is 
Frederick gone to now ?" 

" In undher that tent, sir. Miss Lily cotched 
sight of me, I think, for I seen her nudge his 
arrum, and then the two went in together. I 
never tuk my eye off it since, so unless there's a 
doore at the other end they couldn't come out 
unknownst, and if you and Miss Evelyn will 
just say the word, I'll be afther them in a 

jiffy." 

" No, you won't, dunder head !" cried the 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 99 



doctor; "you'll do nothing of the sort. In his 
present company if he suspected your purpose, 
he would do his best to defeat it. What you 
will do is just this; you'll contrive to dodge in 
and out of the tents, as if you were the idle 
man (that, confound it, you are), until you 
have made sure of your game. But once that 
is done, Denis; run him down, I say, run 
him down, and never you dare to exhibit that 
bronze face of yours at my door until you can 
tell me something of his company and where- 
abouts, in Southampton." 

Denis was about to plunge forward at once, 
but suddenly remembering himself he drew back 
and hesitated. 

" If I am to folly that plan, I mayn't be back 
before midnight, docthor." 

''What of that?" said the doctor gruffly, 

you're not afraid of the moon spoiling your 
complexion, I suppose, are you?" 

" Oh, sorra fear I have of that, for all your 
jibin' and jeerin', docthor. Only if I do not come 
back before midnight, I hope you'll remember it 
was at you're own biddin' I done it, and not be 
F 2 



100 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



scrimmagin' and dischargin' of me as if it was 
my fault and not yours that I didn't." 

Of course not, of course not, Denis ; always 
provided, you don't come back so — " 

And the doctor crooked his little finger signi- 
cantly, and shook it in his servant's face. 

"You understand me — hey, Denis?" 

" P'raps I do," replied the latter indignantly : 
" but the worst enemy ever I had, would never 
have daured for to say that when there was work 
to be done Denis O'Daly was the boy to spile 
sport by licker. And sure your honor ought to 
know that far better nor any one else, for devil a 
dhrop you ever diskivered upon me on the hottest 
day in Ingee when wanst we were afther a 
tiger or a leppard — " 

"Well, mind you don't try a drop this time,'' 
said the doctor; "for the very salvation of this poor 
boy may depend upon your keeping your wits 
about you." 

" I won't, sir, let me alone for that; I won't," 
said Denis, and he was just starting off again, 
when the doctor, who never could resist a joke, 
caught him hastily by the arm and said, — 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 101 

'*Stop, Denis, what are you in such a hurry 
for, man? Tve a good raind to make you take 
the pledge on the spot, in order to set my mind 
at rest on the subject." 

" Ah, don't now, don't, sir," cried Denis in a 
tone of such real or affected terror, that Wyllie 
laughed outright, and even Evelyn, in spite of 
her anxieties could hardly refrain from smiling. 
" Sure you wouldn't be so hard upon an ould 
faithful sarvant. or upon yourself either," he 
added in an undertone; " for d — be from me if 
ever you'd see a bit of fun in the house again, if 
wanst you banished me and the whiskey from 
each other." 

" Well, I won't, then," said the doctor, 
affecting to suffer himself to be persuaded. 
" But mind, only on condition that you bring me 
back some certain intelligence of the boy to-night. 
And now be off with you at once. I'll see to 
master Wyllie's chair, so you needn't look as if 
you thought his life depended on your exertions." 

Thus dismissed, Denis darted gladly towards 
the crowded tent; while taking his place at the 
handle of Wyllie's chair the good old doctor 



104 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



words, therefore, and they seemed even in the 
very fullness of their pity to be pronouncing a 
harsher judgment upon Lily than Evelyn in 
her sisterly love for Frederick could believe to 
be deserved. She ventured to remonstrate — 

Oh, do not speak so harshly, sir ! I know," 
she added, the proud blood mounting scarlet to 
her forehead — " I know that to be Frederick's 
wife, as he is at present, is to possess no very 
honorable position in the estimation of the 
world; but still, surely, surely it does not entitle 
her to the epithet of out-cast? " 

" We must hope so, at any rate ! " replied the 
doctor sadly, and evidently checking some very 
strong expression of his own feelings in deference 
to those of his companion. And yet, I cannot 
but tremble when I think about her ! A child ! 
aje, indeed, a very child she is; but mark me — 
a child without any habit of obedience, any idea 
of restraining her own wishes, any fixed prin- 
ciples of any kind, to guide and control her 
actions. A child forsooth! who prates like a 
parrot of bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and 
thinks she can prove her own claims to in- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 105 

tellectual superiority, by throwing off the whole- 
some bondage of religion. A child, in one word, 
who unites the fatuity of her apparent age with 
the passions and independant spirit of a woman. 
Evelyn ! Evelyn ! One need only listen to her 
for a quarter-of-an-bour to feel that her principles 
are like shifting sands; and woe to the woman 
in whom they are thus unsettled. Let her heart 
be ever so lightly stirred to love — and moral ruin 
is sure to follow." 

" But, after all, Denis may have been mis- 
taken," observed Evelyn, falling back upon 
another kind of consolation when the first had 
failed her. " And it may have been neither 
Frederick nor Lily he has seen." 

"Certainly he may have been; and most 
fervently do I hope he has — " the doctor broke 
off abruptly, for his quick ear caught the sound 
of voices on the other side of the hedge, along 
which he and Evelyn had been walking during 
their present conversation. 

" It must be wrong, Esther ! " said the sweet, 
sad voice of a child apparently, and in a slightly 
foreign accent. 

F 5 



106 HOME AND THE HOMELKSS. 



Evelyn moved forward with the intention of 
warning the speaker of their presence, but the 
doctor held her back and whispered — 

Not for your life, Miss Evelyn. Sit down 
and be quiet, can't you? I like to study natural 
history, and this is too good a chance to be 
neglected. Surely my ears deceive me, or 
yonder is the lamb preaching to the wolf." 

But there was nothing to justify the doctor's 
idea of a wolf in the mournful tones that 
answered after moment's pause, apparently of 
thought : 

"May-happen it is, Aileen, though I can't 
say PS I sees it so clear as you do." 

" Jim thinks it wrong too," observed the first 
speaker, with an emphasis on the first word, that 
seemed to say Jim's opinion settled the question 
in her own mind altogether. 

" And what can Jim know about it more nor 
you and I knows already ?" replied the other 
coldly, and with evident scepticism as to the 
infallibility of the individual alluded to. 

" Not more, but as much, Esther; and I am 
sure besides, that there is something in one's own 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. L07 



heart which almost always tells one, when one is 
doing wrong." 

"Good," muttered the doctor, "didn'tl'say it? 
Natural religion that. — surely its possessor is of 
the genus ' sheep.' " 

Hush," whispered Evelyn ; for the same voice 
was speaking still, an l she felt herself strangely 
taken by the earnestness, yet child-like freshness 
of its tones. 

" Besides, even without that feeling, I know 
it is wrong, and so does Jim, for the catechism says 
so : fortune telling is particularly mentioned." 

" Capital, capital !" and the doctor had some 
difficulty in expressing his approbation in the 
undertone needed to prevent discovery, some- 
thing more than natural religion there! Sheep 
of the fold Catholic, or universal, of course! 
But hist, the wolf makes answer." 

"Well, my birdie, it may be as you say 
surelie; though I don't see exactly the great 
harm you talk of. Howsomdever, as no one ever 
learnt me the difference between right and wrong, 
it follows in course that I know nothing wot- 
ever about it." 



108 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



"Bad, bad!" commented the doctor in a 

whisper, " No harm to tell a heap of lies and 

nonsense (May and December to wit), to a pack 

of giggling girls and their left-legged lubberly 

lubins! Black sheep that, or rather goat — left 

side and so on. But hist, the lamb does baa 
again." 

"But, Esther,* it isn't true what you t^ll 
them." 

" Of course it isn't," growled the doctor from 
his side of the hedge while Esther from hers made 
answer : 

" Why blessee, child they knows it ain't, quite 
as well as I do myself." 

" Oh, Esther !" cried the other, " I am sure 
they don't all know. That girl with the pink 
ribbons, for instance, who was to be, you said, 
married to a rich young farmer with quantities 
of cows and sheep; — she believed every word 
you said I'm certain." 

" Lor' love 'ee, wot a innocent you be. Why, 
Aileen, the werry man himself was there. Didn't 
you>seehim? the cove in a blue coat and red 
choaker close to her elbow. When I come up first 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 109 



to tell her fortune, I seed him nudge her like, 
and she began to giggle directly, and color up as 
red as a rose. That were all I wanted for to 
help me to a good guess at the rest; and if he 
hadn't the ring in his pocket that moment, I'm 
blessed if it ain't there now, for I seed 'em agin 
as we came down here, a cheapening of jewellery 
at old Heskott's booth." 

" But even then, Esther, it was only a guess, 
and you said it, as if you were quite certain. 
Besides, it isn't true that you are a gipsy, or that 
your face is that walnut colour. It is all a lie 
from beginning to end, and that makes me feel 
sure it is wrong, even without the catechism and 
Jim to tell me." 

" Sharp little casuist that," said the doctor, 
"sit still for a minute. Miss Evelyn, will 
you, while I try if I can't get a peep at its reve- 
rence." 

Evelyn did as she was desired, and he walked 
cautiously up and down the hedge, looking for 
such a gap as might enable him to accomplish 
his design. In a few minutes afterwards he 
beckoned her to approach, and holding her care- 



110 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS, 



fully by one hand while he parted the interven- 
ing branches with the other, she was enabled by 
bending a little over to obtain a full view of the 
speakers in the field beyond thein. 

It was a very pretty picture. 

A girl with eyes as black as night, and dark 
hair banded smoothly across her brow, from 
whence it was yet more effectually prevented 
straying by a scarlet handkerchief, tied gipsy 
fashion beneath the chin, sat within the shadow 
of an overhanging larch tree, looking down with 
an expression of countenance half scornful, half 
relenting upon a young child who reclined at her 
feet, and who with her golden hair and delicate 
wild rose bloom, made just such a contrast as a 
painter would have loved to copy, to the eastern 
looking apparition at her side. 

A boy was stretched at a little distance, sleep- 
ing apparently on the grass, his face being half 
hidden by the arm on which his head was pillowed ; 
but neither Evelyn nor the doctor took much 
notice of him, so engrossed were they both with 
the group more immediately before thenu 

" Well it's my own skin and Fve a right to 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. Ill 

make it wot color I please," argued the dark 
eyed girl; " fine folks do as much for theirs, and 
excepting that they dyes pink while I dyes 
brown, I can't say as I sees much diflFerence be- 
tween us." 

" But you do it for money, Esther!" 

Esther only answered by a laugh ; such a laugh ! 
Happily the meaning of its bitter irony was lost 
on the innocence of her who had called it forth ; 
but it was not until she had repeated the obser- 
vation that the other answered, impatience 
visibly striving with the usual kindness of her 
manner : 

" In course I do, and where's the harm I 
wonder, when Dick would blow me skies high 
without, and it's better than stealing any how." 

Jim says it is stealing^^^ said the child, 
shaking her head with a dreamy, thoughtfnl 
movement, while she looked straight into Esther's 
eyes. 

" I'll buy her ! by G-eorge and St. Patrick I 
will!" cried the delighted doctor aloud; and for- 
getting in his enthusiasm that he was occupying 
no very safe position on the top of a steep bank, 



112 HOxME AND THE HOMELESS. 



he stept hastily forwards, and slipt, slid, and 
stumbled in consequence, (having luckily let 
Evelyn go when he found himself falling) until 
he finally plunged head foremost into the midst 
of the very group whose proceedings he had been 
so unceremoniously watching from above. 

The gipsy girl stood up, looking dark as thun- 
der at this unexpected invasion of her territories, 
and drawing Aileen at the same time towards 
her, with a frown which boded little welcome to 
the guest whom fate had sent her. It had always 
been the doctor's boast, however, that he had 
never under any circumstances whatever found 
himself at a loss either for brass or politeness 
and certainly the vaunt was justified by his con- 
duct upon the present occasion. No sooner 
had he recovered his footing, than picking up 
hia hat, which had escaped from him during his 
enforced descent, he advanced towards the sulky 
looking gipsy, and with a bow that would have 
passed muster at the court of Louis the Magni- 
cent, politely commenced : 

" I beg pardon, madam, but may I ask what 
is the price of the little girl at your side? I 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 113 



have taken a singular fancy to her, and would be 
very willing to give a good one." 

" Sir," said the girl proudly, and evidently 
puzzled as to whether he was in joke or earnest, 
" our people don't sell their kinchens ; you must 
look elsewhere for that." 

Indeed," he answered, with affected astonish- 
ment. " I thought you stole them for no other 
purpose." 

Esther's eyes flashed fire, and she looked as if 
about to fling back a passionate reply, but sud- 
denly checking the impulse, she answered with 
an evident effort at seeming calm : 

" But though I can't sell the child, I can 
tell your fortin for you, and may-happen it's 
written in your hand that you'll yet be the father 
of many a such as she, without the expense of 
buying other people's." 

" No, I thank you. Queen Esther," replied the 
doctor, recognising by this time in the dark face 
before him, that of the very gipsy whose remarks 
on his age had so insulted him at the fair. " It 
needs neither ghost nor gipsy to tell one how 
December ends — frost and snow, and all that 



114 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



sort of thing, you know, which it certainly isn't 
worth sixpence to hear of." 

" But the pretty lady, sir," replied the girl 
with a half smile, which revealed her conscious- 
ness of having given offence; and turning as she 
spoke towards the gap in the hedge, (now consi- 
derably enlarged by the doctor's plunge,) where 
Evelyn was standing to watch his proceedings; 
*'the pretty lady, sir; her fortin has never 
been told her yet, and may be she would not 
object to it now." 

Thus appealed to Miss De Burghe leaped down 
and joined the others, but almost instinctively 
she took the doctor's arm as she did so, for 
Esther still looked dark and threatening, even 
while doing her best to keep the feeling under, 
as she added : 

"If you'll first cross my hand with silver, I 
will tell her anything she wishes to know, either 
for herself or the little gemman on the other 
side of the hedge." 

"Whew, whew!" cried the doctor. "Why 
you know the whole generation by heart already, 
my girl. Now I wonder," he added, laying his 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 115 

hand upon Aileen's golden curls, while his eye 
glanced meaningly towards the sleeping boy, I 
wonder if you could give quite as accurate an 
account of your little companions here, supposing 
I were about to ask it." 

" The gal is my niece," replied Esther with 
unhesitating effrontery, and withdrawing Aileen 
at the same time from beneath the doctor's ca- 
ressing fingers, " and the boy a sleepin' on the 
grass is her brother. We travelled all last night 
to be in time for the fair, which is why he's 
so heavy this blessed arternoon. And now, 
pretty lady," she continued, turning to Evelyn 
and once more resuming for her benefit the official 
tone appertaining to her present calling. " Won't 
you let me look at that lily white hand of yours 
for a moment? My mind misgives me, but 
there's a wonderful fortin writtin in that 'ere 
broken line that I sees across it." 

" Thank you," replied the doctor ; before 
Evelyn, who was occupied extracting a thorn 
from the very hand which had won this enco- 
mium from the gipsy, could find time to answer. 
" You are very condescending, no doubt. Queen 



116 HOME AND THE HOMFXESS. 



Esther; but unfortunately my fair friend here 
has an objection to your pell mell method of 
diving into the future. She doesn't approve of 
omens, dreams, and such like fooleries," he added, 
fixing his eyes on Aileen, whose blue orbs in- 
stantly flashed intelligence, while her cheek 
glowed crimson ; " and what is more, and may 
perhaps seem stranger still to you, she doesn't 
believe them either." 

"Like enough," the girl coldly answered; 
** yet for all that p'raps she wouldn't be sorry 
to hear sommut of one as she knows of beyond 
the seas, or to be learnt when he is coming back 
to claim her for his bride." 

Evelyn changed color in spite of herself; 
the doctor saw that the shot had told, but not 
wishing her to feel that she had betrayed herself, 
he went on lightly . 

" Then, since you know so much of his affairs 
already. Queen Esther, perhaps you can also do 
us the favour to say whether he has yet led the 
young lady you wot of, whom he met during his 
wanderinjrs abroad, to the hymeneal altar. In 
plain English, is he married yet?" 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



117 



He is faithful," said the gipsy in her mcst 
oracular manner. 

*'To the girl he left behind him?" Doctor 
Spencer did not exactly say the words, but he 
did whistle the air to which they of right belong, 
and was understood and answered as if they 
had been spoken. 

" Tou are about right there, old gemman. He 
couldn't if he would, be unfaithful to such as 
she." 

" Very satisfactory indeed," replied the doctor, 
" ^ind pray may I further enquire. Queen 
Esther, whether it was the spirit in the walnut 
tree that has revealed all these interesting items of 
our household anxieties to your prophetic soul?" 

The girl looked keenly at him, her bold, 
bright eyes fairly glittering with suppressed 
amusement, though the rest of her face was as 
grave as ever, while she answered with a solemn 
affectation of demeanour : 

"I don't know nothin' wotever about walnut 
trees, but I have heard tell as stone walls have 
ears sometimes, and may happen they are those 
of the spirit you speaks of." 



118 



HOM£ AMD TH£ HOMELESS. 



''Very possible; that is to say, always sup- 
posing that spirits have ears/' said the doctor, 
now laughing outright. " But you haven't an- 
swered me yet about the little girl, Queen 
Esther. Have her I must, so you can ask what 
you like for her. You'll come with me, my dear, 
won't you ?" he added, addressing himself 
directly to Aileen; "you'll come with us? and 

" * Roses shall crown you, and ever green myrtle, — 
And diamonds to fasten your light flowing kirtle.* ^ 

A flash from Esther's dark eyes interrupted 
his impromptu stanzas, while it seemed to 
transfix Aileen to the spot with fear; and grasp- 
ing the child yet more tightly by the shoulder 
she answered in a tone intended to put a stop to 
all further jesting : 

" I've telled you already. Sir, that she is not 
on sale." 

" But if she likes to come?" said the doctor, 
appealing as a last resource to Aileen's own pos- 
sible wishes on the subject. 

"But she don't though," replied Esther 
promptly, " Do you, Aileen ?" 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 119 



" No," she answered faintly; and the expres- 
sion of her face as she said it puzzled the doctor, 
for skilled in physiognomy as he boasted him- 
self to be, he saw at once that if there was 
regret in those speaking glances, there was love 
for Esther also; and that of whatever or whom- 
soever the child might be afraid, it certainly 
was not of her present companion. Neverthe- 
less, the more he thought about it, the more he 
felt as if there were some unpleasant mystery in 
the business, though the child's expressed assent 
to Esther's proposition made it nearly impossible 
to unravel it at present. The truth was, how- 
ever, that much as Aileen longed for liberty, 
Esther had succeeded in persuading her, that her 
only chance of ever being restored to her mother 
depended upon her remaining quietly in her 
present position, so long as her uncle saw fit 
that she should do so. She had, in fact, by 
the exercise of a steadfast, quiet will, accom- 
panied by a kindness that never varied or 
faltered for a moment, acquired unbounded in- 
fluence not only over the mind of Aileen but of 
Jim as well. For he also had been confided to her 



120 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



guardianship, and she had made use of this in- 
fluence to impress them both with such an 
everwhelming idea of the power and omniscience 
of the wild beings among whom their present lot 
was cast, and of the fearful punishment awaiting 
them if they made any attempt at escaping ; that 
even had the opportunity actually presented itself 
to them, it may be doubted whether either of them 
would have had courage to accept it. 

So now the poor child answered as she was 
desired ; and chancing moreover to see some of 
the men returning from the fair, clung all at once 
so timidly to her companion that the doctor's 
doubts as to their relationship began unwillingly 
to vanish; and when Esther impatiently repeated, 
" You see she don't want to ; so cut your luckie 
will you, for yonder's some of our people, and 
they won't be over pleased to find you here," he 
did not see fit to pursue the adventure further, 
but slipping a crown into Aileen's hand, and 
patting her lovingly on the head, turned his 
back upon the party and returned with Evelyn 
to the place where Wyllie was awaiting them in 
his chair. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



121 



CHAPTER V. 



That night, long after Wyllie was fast asleep, 
Evelyn sat in the moonlit garden with Dr. Spen- 
cer, waiting the return of Denis from the fair. 
Sometimes they talked in low, sad tones of 
the living dear ones, for whom their hearts were 
beating anxiously ; and sometimes of the long de- 
parted, over whose memory they might weep 
indeed, but with no mingling of the shame and 
sorrow which threatened to darken their recol- 
lections of the former. 

Aileen and her strange protectress were not 
forgotten either. But after a long discussion on 
the subject they had come unwillingly to the 

TOJ* II. G 



122 



conrinsian* t&a% a? cfexMrro cannot easSy be 
stolen with Inipunttj m these iBjs rf ard€r and 
policemen^ and as t&e litrie girf bersrif iiad made 
no attempt whacerer. ettber to en&t tfteir pttr, 
or appeal to tfreir assistance, ^er most hare 
been misled hj the romance of her appearance^ 
into a fidse estimation q( her real position, and 
therefore that it wonM he a simple ahrarditr to 
trr to rescue her from it. 

^ And nov^ m j dear.^ continued the doctor, 
who, to do him oolj justice, had been talking 
far less for the sake of talking than in the hope 
of beguiling Ereljn's tlKHights from more dis- 
tressing sabjects oi conjecture, ^now that we 
hare settled Queen Esther^s hash, what is all this 
she told us about the gentleman orer the water ? 
Ah, slj little puss, I hare found you out you 
see, and it was not for nothing that you were 
talking this evening so fast and so freely of 
Mr* Frank's opinions. You thought to lure me 
from the real object did you? but you see it was 
written in the book of fate, or the palm of your 
lily white band, as Queen Esther would phiase 
it, that I was to come at the truth to-night." 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



123 



" Oh, spare me, sir," cried Evelyn in a voice 
of such unfeigned distress and with such a look 
of real pain upon her brow, that the doctor 
would probably have desisted, if it had not sud- 
denly occurred to him, that there might be more 
real kindness in laying bare this secret sorrow, 
than in suffering it to lie rankling still, in the 
hidden places of her soul. 

"Only one word, my dear; Evelyn, your mind 
is true as steel and clear as crystal. In one word, 
tell me frankly, did Walter St. Clair ever pro- 
pose for you ?" 

" He did, sir." 

" And you refused him." 

" I refused him." 

" And yet you loved him," rejoined the doctor, 
and there was something of gentle reproach in 
his voice; "nay, never shake your head at me! I 
know you women well enough, and I say you 
loved him — and yet you refused him — Evelyn, 
how could you?" 

My mother was on her death bed, and I 
could not leave her," Evelyn answered in a 
smothered voice. 

G 2 



124 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



Good ! but Walter could have waited. No 
need, poor fellow, to banish him for that to 
India." 

" She was not happy," continued Evelyn in a 
soft dreamy way, as if she were quite unconscious 
of this last observation; "she had not one 
thought or feeling in common with her husband ; 
she was the humblest and gentlest of creatures, 
he the proudest and the hardest. She cared for 
money only as a means of doing good to others, 
he worshipped it as the power which was to 
restore his ancestral name to the place it had well 
nigh lost by poverty in his father's life time." 

"Very bad indeed, my dear, no doubt; but 
still not a case for you to meddle with. You 
were not born to be Mr. Sutherland's keeper. It 
was not for you to bid him * bend the knee at 
any other shrine.'" 

" Her eldest son," continued Evelyn in the 
same abstracted manner, " was already enstalled 
as a pupil of Frank; and too well, poor mother, 
she foresaw nothing but evil for him in the 
training and example both of father and of 
tutor." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



125 



" Still here again you were quite powerless to 
mend matters. You couldn't teach him greek 
and latin, you know ; and if you could, I doubt 
if Frederick was a lad likely to take bis lessons 
kindly of a woman." 

And as if this were not enough of sorrow 
and anxiety for her, Wyllie not only promised to 
be sickly, but his father took a dislike to him, 
because he fancied him in some degree the cause 
of his mother's failing strength, and too rapidly 
approaching death." 

Wyllie had nothing whatever to say to it," 
replied the doctor indignantly. " It was his 
own mammon-worship and hard unbending 
temper that broke her down, poor soul, and 
crushed her. The earthen vessel and the iron — 
an old story, but a true one ; true a hundred 
times it has been, and true a hundred times it 
will be, so long as human beings of unequal 
temper get wedded to each other. No, my dear, 
believe me, Wyllie is innocent of his mother's 
death, whatever his father may have to answer 
for on that score." 

'*His father unhappily thought otherwise," 



126 HOME XSJ> IDE HOMELESS. 



said Evelyn. Whatever might be the cause of 
her decline, howeyer, my poor mother was djing 
and she knew it; bat certainly she sank more 
rapidly after the doctors had given it as their 
opinion that Wyllie would grow up a cripple." 

The doctors were idiots, every one of them," 
replied their brother by profession; " and I wrote 
to her to tell her so, but she would not believe 
me. Sharks! they wanted their guinea a day, 
and so they made poor WylHe's weak back and 
spindle legs an excuse to get it. But we are 
wandering from the main point. I want to come 
at your reason for refusing poor Walter, my 
dear?" 

**My dear sir, havn't I said it? Surely you 
must be satisfied with the reasons I have 
given." 

*' Devil a bit," he answered bluntly. "If 
Wyllie had been ten times the cripple they pre- 
tended that he was, surely his father was rich 
enough to buy nurses and nursing for him." 

*' But he could not buv a mother's love," said 
Evelyn in a low voice, " and it was a mother's 
love she wanted for him. She dreaded his father's 




UOM£ AND TH£ HOMELESS. 127 

future harshness towards hitn when she should 
be here no more to shield him from it; for it was 
evident even in those early days that while Mr. 
Sutherland worshipped Frederick for his boyish 
strength and beauty, he looked with disgust 
upon the eflfeminate loveliness of poor Wyllie. 
She dreaded also the after tutorship of Frank. 
She dreaded — poor mother! — she dreaded every 
thing, and with reason, for the little Benjamin 
of her failing years ; and so she made me promise 
that I would never leave him until I could 
honestly and conscientiously feel that he was in 
hands as safe and loving as my own." 

" And I must say. Miss Evelyn, it is the only 
thing your mother ever did for which I cannot 
thoroughly forgive her and approve her. 
Evelyn," he went on, in a voice so different 
from his usual cheery manner, that she turned 
towards him in surprise, " do you not know 
that it is a fearful thing a woman does, when she 
says 'no' to a man who loves her? I do not 
mean any man or all men, but a man par excel- 
lence) such a man as, from all my former know- 
ledge of him, I judge Walter to have been. 



128 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



It is the fashion to talk a deal of sentimental 
nonsense about the enduring nature of a woman's 
love, and yet believe me, a man's love, when it 
is love, and not a shadow and a vanity instead, 
is stronger and more enduring still. True, a 
disappointment will not throw him into a con- 
sumption, or make his hair turn grey ; nor will 
it change the settled current of his life, nor draw 
him from its business and its pleasures, or even 
prevent him, when his hour is come, from choosing 
another helpmate. He will be happy, too, if 
be is fortunate in his choice, but not with the 
fresh, young happiness he would have enjoyed 
before. Something will have gone out from him 
which never can return again, and in the deep, 
lone places of his heart there will be a void, 
which, however an after growth of happiness 
may cover it, will be a void for all that still. 
Just as an oak tree will bear leaf and fruit, and 
never give you reason to suspect that for all its 
exterior beauty, there be hollow places within its 
sturdy stem." 

The doctor paused abruptly ; for all at once it 
occurred to him that Evelyn was weeping, but 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 129 



after a moment's thought he took her hand re- 
verently and affectionately in his own, and went 
on again : 

" Nay, nay, my dear, I don't by any means 
want to distress you, or to make you think that 
Walter is unhappy. I dare say he is well enough 
consoled by this time ; so do not cry, I beg of 
you, for I cannot bear to see it." 

" It would make me so wretched if I thought 
anything I had ever said or done had thrown 
such a shadow as you talk of on his path," 
Evelyn murmured in a low voice. 

Then for Heaven's sake do not think any 
thing of the sort," cried the doctor, forgetting in 
his good-natured perplexity that he himself had 
very strongly suggested the idea. **Nay, my 
dear, believe me, it is very possible that you are 
one of his most sunny memories of the past." 

Evelyn tried to smile, but she did not dare to 
trust her voice^to answer. It was evident that 
her heart had been startled out of its enforced 
quietude, and that it would be some time yet ere 
it recovered its composure. 

" After all, my dear," continued Dr. Spencer, 
65 



130 HOME AKD THE HOMELESS. 

after a long pause, during which he had arrived 
at this very conclusion — After all, I was only 
(after man's selfish fashion) thinking of myself 
while I was discoursing of another, for I also 
have been a rejected man ; and that, too, by your 
mother, Evelyn." 
" My mother ! " 

" Aye, Evelyn ! I loved her from the very 
hour I first knew her, as the daughter of Monsieur 
de St. Arnoul, a French emigr^, of noble birth, 
but scanty means, eking out his daily-bread, and 
hers, as a teacher of his own language; but I 
could not propose to her then, for I was a 
seventh son, and as poor in reality and expecta- 
t on as herself. I loved her still when she 
became the happy wife of your good father, 
Evelyn ; and when he died — well, well, it is no 
matter now — but she would not have died as she 
did, a broken-hearted woman, if she had listened 
to me then. She married Mr. Sutherland instead, 
yet still, I loved her too well to be angry with 
her, and so I went on loving her till her death, 
with a love which I have never given to any 
<>ther woman upon earth, and which y d no^ 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 131 



even allow me to quarrel with her for not loving 
lue enough. And now it is my pleasure and my 
pride to think that she knew the worth (alheit, 
she could not return it) of such a love as mine — 
that at the very moment, when she was thwarting 
my wishes as a lover, she confided fully in me as 
a friend, — and that the last letted she wrote upon 
her death-bed was to me, recommending her 
children to my love and care, and thereby making 
them all (but you more especially, my dear,) as 
precious to this old foolish heart as if they had 
been my own. But we will not talk any more 
about this just now, so dry your eyes and smile 
whilst I tell you why ; or, at least, partly the 
reason why I felt vexed at your having given 
such a promise to your mother as you did. Do 
you not see, my dear, that it was all as one as 
condemning yourself to old maidery at once." 

" And is that such a very dreadful sentence 
in your eyes?" asked Evelyn, unable to refrain 
from smiling through her tears. 

" Not in a general way certainly. I had a 
couple of maiden aunts once, so good, so charit- 
able; but above all, so self-denying in their 



132 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



charity, that were it hut for their sakes alone, I 
should repudiate with indignation all the fashion- 
able cant of the present day about the selfishness 
of the single life. Selfishness! why bless me! 
those dear old women did more good in a general 
self-sacrificing no-thanks-getting fashion in a 
week, than any married twain, shackled as they 
needs must be by those home interests which 
become their first duty from the moment they 
became parents, could have effected on the same 
means in a twelvemonth. Therefore, my dear, I 
greatly admiie the single life (chosen or accepted 
for God's sake of course) in a general sort of way 
as I said before; but still, when it comes to in- 
dividual cases, I can't say I much like to picture 
you to my mind's eye with a hideous yellow front 
by way of a wig, and a brown gown and bunch 
of keys, and jam pots and preserves and all that 
sort of thing, you know — a regular old maid." 

" But I mean to wear my own hair grey," 
cried Evelyn, laughing, " and a black gown and 
no keys; and as to jam pots and preserves, I 
never shall trouble my head about them, so I 
hope to be able to vindicate the entire sisterhood 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 133 

in my own proper person from any undue weak- 
ness you may be inclined to impute to them on 
that score." 

In that case, you will be quite a model old 
maid, my dear, and I will cite you accordingly 
as an example to others. And, one word more, 
Miss Evelyn — you will never feel discontented or 
lonely, will you? " 

" Discontented, no," replied she after a mo- 
ment's thought. " But lonely — yes : at least, I am 
afraid I shall feel so at times. While Wyllie 
lives, and remains all in all to me as he is at 
present, of course, my hopes and fears for him 
will make my feelings more like those of a mother 
than an old maid ; but should God please to take 
him to himself, or should the boy, from any 
cause, just, or unjust, ever cease to love me 
dearly, then it would be hard indeed for a heart, 
so covetuous of sympathy, as I fear mine is, not 
to feel lonely sometimes." 

" No, you won't, my dear," replied the Doctor 
suddenly, and turning round his chair so as to 
sit face to face to Evelyn, he took one of her 
fingers lightly between his own^ and went on 



134 HOME AND TU£ HOMELESS. 



earnestly; "you made a great sacrifice once 
for God's sake, and depend apon it, God is too 
just to let you be the loser by it." 

Yes, if it had been for God's sake wholly and 
entirely, I should feel quite sure of that," said 
Evelyn. " If he had called me, I mean, to his 
especial love and service in religion." 

" Well, my dear. He called you, not indeed 
to that especial love of which you speak, but yet 
to an especial duty which had its origin, at least, 
in love as especial as itself. And do you think 
that He will be less mindful of your reward, be- 
cause that your obedience to His inspiration has 
been a duty only and not a gladness, also. 
Evelyn, 1 say a gladness, because, had he called 
you as he called an Agnes or a Cecilia, you would 
undoubtedly have thrown yourself into your 
sacrifice, with a joy which would have mingled 
with, and in a manner neutralized the pain. And 
do you think that He will regard it as less heroic, 
that you took up a cross without any unction of 
gladness to make it lighter? That you voluntarily 
put on a crown, which had never a single rose to 
shed beauty and perfume among its thorns?" 



HOM£ AND TH£ HOMELESS. 135 



Again, Evelyn was weeping and could make 
no answer, but this time her tears were not all 
of sorrow! 

Hitherto, with the wonderful spirit of endu- 
rance which was a portion of her nature, she had 
closed her lips upon her secret, and frank and 
confiding as she was in all things else, had re- 
coiled with instinctive delicacy from disclosing 
the wounded feelings of her heart to those 
among whom she lived, and for some of whom 
the sacrifice had been made. But now, at last, 
she had found a friend, who, notwithstanding the 
roughness and downrightedness of his outside 
manner, possessed much of the intuitive tact and 
delicacy of a woman ; and it was an inexpressible 
relief to her, to feel that while almost as it were 
in spite of herself he had fathomed her secret 
sorrow, he was also capable not only of yielding 
most reverend sympathy to it, but a full and 
hearty appreciation also, of the motives for 
which she had embraced it. As strange as it 
may seem, it never had occurred to her before, 
that there was more than her common duty in the 
promise she had given to her mother. Hers was a 



136 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



character of more than ordinary simplicity and 
strength, and therefore she could do heroic things 
as if they had been merely in the ordinary 
routine of her daily life. 

It had been simply impossible, she thought, to 
allow her mother's death hour to be disturbed by 
anxious cogitations concerning her child^ or to 
see that child himself abandoned by his mother's 
death to the cold cares of an unloving father, 
without coming forward at once to remedy the 
evil. And though by the one act of self-abnega- 
tion consequent upon this resolution, she knew 
that she had blighted all her days, and had put the 
damp and mildew of repressed affection on her 
soul, and had denied herself to her own voca- 
tion, and had injured, perhaps irrevocably, the 
happiness of another ; and all for the sake of one 
sickly, little child, who might any day fall a 
victim to the natural delicacy of his constitution, 
thus depriving her even of the very motive of 
her sacrifice ; still not only had it never occurred 
to her to consider it as heroic, but she had been 
almost inclined to reproach herself with it as a 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 137 



fault, that she coald look upon it in the light of 
a sacrifice at all. 

Quick at reading characters and motives, the 
doctor guessed all this from the very few words 
which she now let fall upon the subject; and 
feeling quite sure she had not yet derived all the 
comfort she might have done from a clearer per- 
ception of the duty she had accomplished, he 
endeavoured to rouse that consciousness within 
her, by showing how in fact her life had hitherto 
been one of higher self abnegation than under 
any ordinary circumstances she would have been 
called upon to accept of. 

In this he succeeded beyond his hopes, and for 
the first time in her life perhaps, it flashed across 
her mind that God in His love had tested hers by 
making heavier demands upon it than lay 
within the ordinary routine of His providence 
towards His creatures, and that her own had 
neither failed nor faltered in the trial. It was a 
delicious feeling, and doubly so to one like Evelyn, 
whose standard of excellence was at all times 
high, and demanding great things of herself and 
others. It was a delicious feeling ; and yet perhaps 



138 



KOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 



sbe never so thoroughly comprehended the great- 
ness of the suffering she had endured for years 
as at the very moment when she could measure 
it by the depth of joy and gratitude she was 
feeling then towards God, for having given her 
grace at once to accept the trial, and strength and 
patience (so far at least,) to achieve the purpose 
for which it had been intended. Therefore, 
although the conversation had called up many a 
vision of long and reluctantly abandoned happi- 
ness, and had renewed the memory of much 
sorrow, which time indeed might deaden, but 
could never entirely efface from her soul, — there- 
fore were her tears as full of sweetness as of 
sorrow; and therefore could she confess to God 
and to herself that she would not exchange her 
present lot, lonely as it might prove to be, for a 
cup filled high and brimming over with all the 
most innocent delights, that the path she had 
turned aside from, could have offered to her ac- 
ceptance. 

Doctor Spencer saw and was satisfied with the 
effect which his words had so evidently produced ; 
and for a little time he suffered her to weep 



HOM£ AND TH£ HOMELESS. 139 

without interruption, but at last he laid his 
hand gently on her arm to bespeak her atten- 
tion, and continued softly : 

" I do not mean to say, my dear, that the 
sacrifice of an Agnes or an Agatha was not 
higher, because founded on a higher motive, the 
love of God unalloyed by any love for creatures 
whatsoever; but I do say that a sacrifice made 
to a mother's love, that love which God himself 
seems to have appointed as the most sure and 
perfect image of His own for us, I do say, and 
feel most certain too, that a sacrifice made from 
such a motive must be of incalculable value in 
His sight, and must draw down incalculable 
blessings upon her to whom He has happily 
given grace and fortitude to meet it." 

The doctor paused, took a pinch of snuflf, and 
after hesitating a little, once more resumed : 

I hope, my dear, I did not annoy you by 
what I said about old maids. I was only joking, 
of course you understood; because my own opinion 
is, that even if a woman has not expressly chosen 
the single life, but that God has put it on her 
by the obstinacy as it were of His great love, 



14U ^ HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



which persisted in calling her to a higher state 
than she would have selected for herself; still I 
say, we should look upon her with reverence, as 
one who, if she cheerfully conform to the will of 
God in her regard, and if her life be at all cor- 
respondent to her calling, may some day be in 
possession of the inestimable privilege accorded 
to the virgin only, namely, to follow the lamb 
wheresoever He goeth. Surely this thought 
alone should make us Catholics, who admit the 
virtue of the single life, chary of joining in the 
senseless hue and cry against old maids, and in 
all the twaddle of our fashionable novels, about 
the selfishness of their vocation and the heaven 
appointed duties on the contrary of the wife 
and mother; which I don't deny, mind you, tho' 
I do flatly oppose myself to the popular prejudice, 
that she who exercises the charities of her nature 
in the very channel in which nature bids them 
flow, has more merit than she who, for a super- 
natural motive, and in the strength of a super- 
natural inspiration, brings them to bear upon 
those who have no other claim upon her than 
such as religion and pity can inspire — therefore I 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 141 



say again, we should be reserved in our talk and 
feelings about old maids." 

" Even if they do choose to wear a yellow wig 
and carry a bunch of keys," said Evelyn, now 
smiling really, while she brushed away her tears, 
for the doctor's long speech had given her time, 
as he meant it should, thoroughly to recover her 
composure. 

" Even in that case ; and be sure, my child," 
the old man added affectionately, that if you 
choose to wear a whole rosary of keys, and to 
mount a wig as hideous as that of my old house- 
keeper within (and let me tell you that's not 
saying a trifle for its ugliness), even in that case, 
I should still look upon you with more affec- 
tionate admiration, than if you had been the 
wife of an Indian Nabob; for that Grod having 
called you to a most noble duty, you had per- 
formed it nobly and in a noble spirit. And now 
brush away the last of those tears I beg, for I 
cannot bear to think that I have made you shed 
them." 

" Indeed, my dear sir, you would not be sorry 
if you knew what a relief to me they have been, 



142 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and how they and your kind words together, have 
made my heart seem lighter." 

" Then I am very glad indeed that I ventured 
to speak as I have done ; and that is all I will 
say at present on the subject. And now you 
had best go in, for you must be weary, and it will 
be quite in vain to wait for Denis any longer. 
If he brings good news, I promise you shall know 
it. So go to bed — but stay — one moment longer, 
and give me both your hands, while I make you 
promise that you will from this day forward, 
look upon me as a father — a grandfather if you 
like it better — I care not which you call me, so 
only that you will believe you may command me 
as if I were one in earnest, at any time, and in 
any way that suits you; and, in short, so that 
you feel as certain as I am myself that I would 
go to the ends of the earth to serve you." 

Evelyn could not speak; and for only answer 
flhe raised the two hands by which he held her 
own gratefully to her lips ; and then he drew her 
yet a little nearer to him, and pressed, while he 
bade Grod bless her, a kiss of fatherly affection on 
her brow. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



113 



And if she did not sleep that night for weary 
thoughts about Lily and her brother, still did she 
lay her head upon her pillow with such sweet 
consciousness of parental solicitude, watching 
over her, as had never gladdened her slumber yet 
since the day of her mother's death. 



144 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



CHAPTER VI. 



When, on the morning after the event we have 
recorded in our last chapter, Evelyn entered the 
sunny little sitting room which had been appro- 
priated to Wyllie for the prosecution of his 
studies, she found him (his lesson books flung 
contemptuously on one side) with flushed face 
and discontented looks, laying on the sofa. 

" What is it, Wyllie ?" she demanded. " It 
is a long time since I have seen you with a face 
like that." 

" It is because of my crutches, Evelyn ! That 
stupid old Deborah flung them into the corner 
while J was busy with my Latin, so here I am 



nOME AND THE HOMELESS. 145 



lay ing as helpless as a flat fish on the sands, for 
I can't walk without them ; the old doctor may 
say what he pleases ; I can't." 

" Well, Wyllie," replied his sister gravely, 
here are the crutches at last, and it is a small 
matter to look so wonderfully cross about, after 
all." 

" Small thing, indeed !" he answered petu- 
lantly. " Do you call it a small thing to be 
growing up as helpless as a baby; dependent 
on any chance woman or child who is passing, 
for the mere power of changing my position." 

Dear Wyllie, it is not a small thing in itself, 
but it is a small thing compared to many other 
things which many other people have to suflfer." 

'Tis no comfort to know there are others in 
the same boat as myself," grumbled Wyllie. 

" No comfort certainly, Wyllie, but a lesson, 
that we should not repine too intensely at our 
own lot." 

" After all there can be nothing worse," Wyllie 
went on in a half-complaining, half-apologetic 
manner, " than to be a cripple; for a cripple I 
shall be, let old Dr. Spencer say what he likes ; 
VOL. II. H 



l46 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and I don't believe he knows a bit more of the 
matter than the London doctors he is so fond of 
abusing." 

" Wyllie, you know I never talk to you when 
you are in these moods. Bye and bye I will 
come back, and then I am sure I shall find you 
more reasonable, and more inclined to do justice 
to the kind intentions of our dear old friend, 
the friend of our mother, Wyllie, long before 
either of us were born !" 

" Oh, don't go, dear Evy !" cried Wyllie, his 
brief impatience already vanished ; " my crutches, 
where are they !" 

And seizing them he hobbled to the door ^o 
rapidly, that he caught Evelyn just as her hand 
was on the lock. 

" Don't go, dear Evelyn, don't go; I am so 
sorry to have been such a savage." 

And dropping the crutches he flung his arms 
round her neck and i)urst into tears. Evelyn 
half led, half carried him back to the sofa, put 
her arms round his neck, and waited quietly 
until he had mastered the sobs that choked him. 
This was soon accomplished, for Wyllie was 



HOME AXD THE HOMELESS. 147 



jealous of his manly dignity, and all the more 
so perhaps, because of the bodily infirmity by 
which it was endangered; so in a very fewr 
minutes he had swallowed down his hysterical 
sobs sufficiently to enable him to say, with a 
desperate attempt at a laugh : 

" There, Evy, isn't that quite enough to jus- 
tify a savage word; at least," he added, correct- 
ing himself, " a savage word to any one else, for 
nothing can excuse my giving it to you, who 
have had nothing but love and patience for me 
ever since I was born." 

" What is enough to make you savage and to 
justify you for being so? I don't quite see yet 
either the cause or justification of all this 
sorrow." 

"Oh, Evy, don't you see?" cried Wyllie, 
" can't you see cause enough ? It was bearable 
when I was only a baby, but now that I am 
growing up (Denis says that in a few years I 
shall be really quite a man) can't you under- 
stand, Evelyn, that it is horrible to be obliged 
to be dragged about as if one were nothing but 
a log of wood, or a sick woman, or a baby?" 
H 2 



148 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

" I do see, dear Wyllie," replied his sister, 
folding him affectionately in her arms. Be- 
lieve me, I can both see and understand, that 
such helplessness is very trying to our proud 
human nature, and that it requires a strong 
mind and strong patience to bear up against 
it. And^ perhaps, yours is not strong enough, 
Wyllie, and that it is for this reason God, 
who never permits us to be tried above our 
strength, has sent you our kind friend. Dr. 
Spencer, who, (now that you are reasonable 
again,) you will, I am sure, acknowledge, has 
done more to put you on your legs, than any 
other Doctor you ever had before. 

" But, Evelyn. If he shouldn't succeed?'' 

" And even in that case, Wyllie, I shall not 
be anxious on your account, because I shall feel 
so sure, that if our good Grod sends you this 
affliction. He will send you grace to merit by it, 
—and in the mean time you will bear the suspense 
patiently, my little brother, will you not? A 
little for my sake, perhaps, but yet more for His 
who died on the cross for yours." 

" Yes ! for His. And as you say, a little for 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 149 



yours as well, dear Evy. But, oh, it will be very, 
very dreadful ! I used to think so, even when I 
was quite a little fellow; and when I used to 
hear the nurses, (never dreaming that I was lis- 
tening), talk about it among themselves — 
but it is much worse to think of it now, Evelyn, 
— and every day it seems to become more 
so." 

" Poor child," said Evelyn. " And yet I was 
so afraid of this very sense of depression and 
infirmity being inflicted on you, that they were 
forbidden even to name the subject in your 
presence." 

" Oh, they used to stop fast enough when they 
heard your foot on the staircase. But it didn't 
signify in the least what they did, for I should 
have known it any how, without them." 

" But how, any how, Wyllie?" 

" By my father's face. He, who used to look 
so proudly upon Frederick, never passed me 
without a sort of sighing vexation in his 
manner." 

" Might it not have been a sort of sighing 
affection, Wyllie?" 



150 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" No," said Wyllie sliortly, for ray father 
does not love me, Evelyn." 

Evelyn did not answer immediately, and 
Wyllie went on hastily, and with a sort of sup: 
pressed indignation in his manner. 

" He despises me, Evelyn — be is ashamed of 
me. He looks down upon me, I know, because 
I am a cripple." 

We cannot dive into other men's mind, 
dear Wyllie, with any certainty of being right 
in our conjectures; and therefore, perhaps, your 
father's thoughts about you are very different 
from those which you imagine. They would be 
at any rate, I am certain, if he considered for a 
moment how independent mental and bodily 
strength are of each other, and how immea- 
surably superior the first is to the last." 

" Still, Kvelyn, strength in a man is a glo- 
rious thing! And when I look at Frank, with 
his firm, strong stride, and proud, determined 
forehead, I can't help longing for it." 

"Yes, Wyllie; because in Frank, strength of 
body is united to strength of mind and purpose. 
But it is not always thus you know, and there- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



151 



fore, Goliah has come down to us in history, as 
the strong man only, while David will be loved 
throughout all time as IsraeFs sweetest minstrel." 

" Am I clever, Evelyn?" 

" You would be, if you were not idle." 
My idleness comes from illness — doesn't 

it?" 

" Partly, but only partly, Wyllie. Indolence? 
even when it arises from disease, can be always 
more or less controlled by reason, and in your 
case more especially it ought; because if you ever 
should recover, as we have good reason to ex- 
pect, the habits acquired on a sick bed will be 
very prejudicial to your success in the active 
walks of life." 

The active walks of life," said Wyllie, 
sighing. How fresh and strong that sounds, 
dear Evy; and how I shall exult if ever I am 
set free!" 

"And how I shall exult with you, dear boy," 
cried Evelyn, her own hopes kindling in the 
eager gladness of his eyes. 

" And, Evy," pursued the boy, "I will exult 
for you as well as for myself, because I know 



itOfT — T begin m inuimsaanL hdw — dnor I may 

**'«&raft I Jim tSOTUsemai ox: least: tiiQiis&. I wiS 
tu%t anfi^v« fbr what yaa nuor samettmBs Iretc 

Evy ^aid- tiie Soy. ytitting" Bia^ arm: cuuibi 
fttfrneeft. ami liufih^ ftuf fiice o^iL&ierii&uiilifier^ 

m«l dfie 6r ir9r(> ^io^ wfi^ 

Ute^&fde^ I wwt to of ctwrae 

kAi^r fwtt lie ^pAe m hmd^ I cQ«iUB''t bdp 
k. Aj^ fto^ I ksMm wfcat I urrer knew bc£>re, 
^kmt I K^re made joa rahappf smkIww — 

^ 9f>^ lola^'' cried Erdjii; that I do most 
&»p}Mi€Mj deny. Toa nerer made me im- 
hfippyf WylHe. Nerer! excepting when I was 
un%im» ahont jmr health/' 

^^l^iil) there was something or other; I know 
ih#f6 w^; dear Evelyn, do tell me. I shall be 
§\¥fHyn tincomfortable now if you leave me in 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 153 



" Well, Wyllie, if I do tell you, I hope it will 
help to make you contented with your own lot, 
whatever that lot may prove hereafter. At any 
rate it will convince you that none of us are with- 
out our trials, and that such trials are sent more 
over quite as abundantly to the strong and 
healthy, as to-the weak and ailing. Wyllie, I 
was to have been married once, and to one 
who loved me well." 

" And did you love him, Evelyn?" 

"I couldn't have married him without, 
Wyllie; and he deserved my love, for he was good 
and generous, and noble; but on the other hand 
my mother was weak, and ailing, and not too 
happy either. She was uneasy also about you, 
because you were very delicate, and the doctors 
thought that you would become yet more so." 

'^And because my father did not love me, 
Evelyn?" 

" And because she thought only a woman 
could take a mother's place in your regard," 
said Evelyn, smiling, as she parried the in- 
sinuation conveyed in Wyllie's question. 

" And so you would not marry, and you stayed 
H 5 



IM mmK jay twe Si 

at hr/fse^ «fid all fcr l&p siL^ if a p>:t, !sker- 
afe^. wT^tidairf fitde crippfe a laisg Bke me, 
did ErelTTi?' 

*• AjwJ fo I arooM litjc !mjtt,^ liie aBsarerefi, 
with her qtuiec Hml<e; ^and I staid at heme to 
§ee a smile on mj drmz modier*? face, and to 
hear her whisper, that since her little one would 
hare in roe a mother, she no longer feared to die. 
I staid to watch orer an innocmt, hdpless, suf- 
fering creature, whom I soon learned to lore as 
a son and a brother all in one ; to hare with me 
both night and day the glad thought, that while 
I soothed his bodilj pains, I shared also with his 
guardian angel in the nobler task of leading him 
to Heaven ; and to look forward to the moment, 
Wyllie, when the child, becoming conscious of all 
or anything I had sacrificed for his sake, should 
give me back the love of a son in return for the 
wealth of maternal affection I had lavished upon 
him/' 

There was a pause; for Wyllie had again 
hidden his face on his sister's shoulder, and 
Evelyn knew that he was weeping; but after a 
little hesitation she continued softly : 



HOME AND THfi HOMELESS. 155 



" And oh, Wyllie, shall I tell you the moment, 
which of all others would, I always thought, re- 
pay me most entirely for my love and care. It 
was that, in which, when no longer a child, nor 
even a boy, but a man, and with all a man's 
reluctance to your crippled state, you would 
yet nerve your will to that highest eflfort of which 
the will of man is capable, that effort which, 
unassisted by Divine grace, no human will could 
attain to, no human wisdom ever dream of — 
that heroism which in the eyes of angels, dims 
the brightest deeds of conquerors, and which 
would enable you to look with a sad, but resolute 
soul upon your infirmity, and knowing its extent, 
and submitting to its necessity, to bend your 
will to the will of God, and to say, ' Not mine, 
but thine be done.' " 

The boy sobbed irrepressibly, and Evelyn 
went on — 

" And believe me, Wyllie, when once that word 
is spoken, and that calm and grand resolution 
has taken possession of your soul, your life will 
neither be intolerable to yourself nor useless 
to your fellow creatures. Those, who possess 



masc mmmmai imsr 'fwiiMirw iB ^ ant "Smtr rvn 

AttH nude 

k» sosoer b«sr^ jBoq^ Sstr jo?- Lf^ this be 
^ iB»3VKS!i s^sprjT JOT iif 1 cao;^ fzr aB yow 
car? mmd sgrmw ! Ilesr E^andSniL'^ cMtisiwd, 

mmmd hsr wdk; piiiiiTMw> jsvu froa benee- 
Ibr^ and fer erer. to be stroap asd patient. 
Ccmt wbat wiD, I baTe oaJhr id tbiiik irf* all 
joa bare girea ap f^r Me^ to be silent for Tery 
shame when I am IndEuDed to gnimhle at my 
lot.'' 

" And if yon do as yon say, dear Wyllie, yon 
will have fulfilled my fondest wish and prayer,'' 
said his sister, affectionately returning his pas- 
sionate embrace* 

And you will be happy, Evelyn?" 
Surely; why should you doubt it?" 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 157 



" I don't know, but still I do. I wish he, who 
ever he is, would come back." 

" And perhaps he will bring a wife and half-a- 
dozen children with him, Wyllie,*' said his sister 
laughing. 

" Should you mind that, Evelyn?" 

" I don't know, dear Wyllie ; T have not thought 
about it yet." 

But would you like his wife " 

" As my sister, Wyllie." 

"And his children?" 

" As his children." 

" I don't want him to come back with a wife and 
children," said Wyllie, after a moment's pause. 
" I want him to come back just as he went, and 
to marry you, Evy. Do you know if he is 
married?" 

"I have never sought to know, dear Wyllie; 
for I gave him up entirely, and therefore I 
thought it my duty not even to ask myself 
whether I were remembered or forgotten." 

"Was he angry with you for refusing him?" 

" He was like himself, noble, unselfish, 
generous, and religious. He admitted the claim 



158 Hom Ain> m homeless. 



my mother had upon me, and he did not come 
between as. I have sometimes thought he did 
not write from the same high principle, that he 
wished neither to shake me nor disturb me in 
the duty 1 had undertaken." 

" Th It was noble ! " cried Wyllie. " But oh, 
dear Evelyn, your heart is so strong and warm ! 
Tou must hare suffered terribly if you loved 
him." 

Even at that distance of timfe, there was 
suffering on Evelyn's face as she recalled the 
past. 

Yes, dear Wyllie, I suffered greatly. Yet I 
must acknowledge it was in some measure at 
least, suffering of my own causing, since I never 
sufficiently tried to check it. Whether through 
my own fault or not, however, I was more sorow- 
fttl than I can tell you ; and when our mother died 
especially, the sense of desolation was overwhelm- 
ing. I knew so well all that he might, and would 
have been, to me, in that sad hour, when instead 
of his deep sympathy and support I had to weep 
alone — " 

Or to listen to the squeals of a miserable 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



159 



little rat of a baby," said WylUe, in a tone of 
remorse that made his sister laugh. 

Yes, Wyllie ; but those squeals as you call 
them carried comfort to my soul; for they re- 
minded me how sacred was the duty I had 
undertaken. Still, as I said before, I suflFered 
more than I need have done ; because instead of 
fixing my thoughts entirely upon that duty, I 
sufiered them to wander where they ought not, 
vexing my spirit, and irritating my heart by 
counting the long lonely years that lay yet before 
me, and dwelling I am afraid at times, on all that 
might otherwise have been my portion." 

" I am sure that was very natural, Evelyn." 

" Very natural, but not very wise, dear Wyllie, 
nor very religious either, I am afraid. I had 
undertaken a duty from motives not natural, but 
supernatural; and therefore it should have been 
accomplished not in the weakness of a natural 
regret, but in the strength of a supernatural 
purpose." 

And you did not? " 

" Not for a long time. Not until one day, (I 
never shall forget it) I was feeling particularly 



160 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



wretched and lonely I remember, and I took up 
the life of St. Ignatius in a sulky sort of way, 
and went into the conservatory to read it. The 
book opened accidentally at that part where St. 
Ignatius being tempted to abandon his peniten- 
tial way of living, because of the number of years 
he might have to endure it, overcame the tempta- 
tion by saying to himself, * And how do you 
know that you may live a day?' Wyllie, it 
seemed like an answer to my own thought; and 
in the truth of that saying, I took heart. Since 
that moment I laid down for myself a rule of 
mental discipline, which I never have since set 
aside, and which has grown to be a habit with 
me now. I shut my eyes as much as possible to 
the past, and resolutely refused to speculate on 
the future; but above all, I tried to trust im- 
plicitly in God, that He would give me daily 
strength for the daily duties that He sent me. 
In the morning I implored this of Him; in the 
evening I thanked Him that it had been given 
to me. Neither did I refuse, as I had hitherto 
done, any little gleam of mental sunshine or 
worldly recreation that presented itself; and so 



HOME AND THB HOMELESS. 161 



by degrees the bright side of my soul came 
uppermost again, and the world went almost as 
smoothly as it had done before." 

"The bright side," repeated Wyllie musing. 
" But then there is a dark one too, dear Evelyn, 
and I am so sorry." 

I do not know, dear Wyllie. I never ask 
myself whether there is or not. God knows and 
will repay accordingly ; and that should be enough 
for any of us. Only you must believe with a 
firm, fast faith, that whatever is or has been dark 
to me, you have it in your power to atone, and 
more than to atone for it, by your present and 
future conduct " 

There was a sincerity in Evelyn's voice and 
manner, that left no room for doubt or question ; 
and while she smoothed with the loving touch 
of a mother's hand the soft curls of his hair, 
Wyllie laid his head upon her shoulder, and 
looked with eyes brimful of love and gratitude 
in hers. 

" And I was such a cross, discontented brat, I 
know," he said, at length, in a half laughing 
and half repentant manner. 



162 



HOME AND TBE HOMELESS. 



" Poor child," replied Evelyn, " you were a 
siiiTering brat, so it would have been no wonder 
if you had been a cross one also. But you were 
not cross, dear Wyllie, after once you had begun 
to understand the difference between right and 
wrong ; and I have often looked on, very grave 
indeed, as it may have seemed to you, but still 
wondering in my heart to see how a little thing 
like you could curb your temper." 

" I never could when Frederick was in the 
nursery ; that I know," replied Wyllie. " He 
used to teaze and mock me so unmercifully — and 
besides, it was very aggravating, as nurse Taylor 
used to say, to see him look so strong and 
happy while I was miserable, and weak, and 
ailing." 

" Oh," said Evelyn. " It was precisely 
about Frederick that I came to speak to you, 
when you put it out of my head by your sor- 
rowful looks and bodings. Denis searched the 
fair thro' and thro' last night, he says, and could 
see nothing more of Lily ; so we hope after all, that 
he was mistaken in supposing that she was there 
at all." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



163 



"And Frederickr said Wyllie, '-Didn't he 
see anything of him." 

" He caught a glimpse of some one very like 
him ; but whoever it was, he evidently avoided 
observation, and Denis couldn't get another 
view. But good heavens ! Here is Frank and 
the Doctor with him. Something dreadful 
surely must have happened !" 

They certainly were coming at a pace which 
justified some apprehensions as to the object of 
their mission. Evelyn had hardly time to open 
the window before they were in the room, Frank 
as pale as death, and the Doctor with looks full 
of wonder and amazement. 

" Good God, Frank!" cried Evelyn. '*What 
is it?" 

He wrung her hand with a vehemence, that 
at another time would have made her shriek 
for pain. 

" Evelyn, she is gone ! It is nearly three 
weeks now, and up to this moment we have not 
obtained the slightest clue 'lis to where she has 
absconded." 



164 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



CHAPTER VII. 



As our readers will have already guessed, Lily 
had left her home about a fortnight after the 
Doctor and his party had departed for Southamp- 
ton. Unwilling, however, to blazon the fact 
abroad before it could be considered irretrievable, 
and never for a moment doubting that ,her elope- 
ment was in consequence of some preconcerted 
arrangement with Frederick, Mr. Sutherland 
and Frank had agreed to keep it concealed from 
the Southampton party, until they had either 
discovered the fugitive, or received the announce- 
ment of her marriage.^ 

The last few weeks had been therefore spent 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 165 



by them in ceaseless endeavours to discover her 
place of concealment, but so far, every eflfort had 
ended alike in failure ; while the obstinate silence 
which she lierself persisted in observing, filled 
them with mostdismal forebodings, as to the nature 
of the connexion which she had contracted with 
her cousin. 

Nor was this the only shadow which had 
fallen upon "the Ferns," since Evelyn's departure 
from that once so bright and beautiful abode. 
From the moment when Lily's flight had been 
first discovered, Mrs. Montgonierie (so Frank 
now told Evelyn), had been as one smitten by a 
mortal blow. She neither spoke, nor eat, nor 
slept. Her days were spent in watching for 
some token from her child, and when night came 
and brought no tidings with it, then she sank 
into a sort of stupor from which she only roused 
herself when daylight once more recalled her to 
this fever of expectation, in which her life was 
wasting itself away. 

At her age and in her delicate health, such 
a state ol things could not long endure, and on 
the evening preceding that of Frank's arrival at 



166 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

Southampton, when both he and his uncle had 
thought it necessary to acquaint her with their 
conviction, that Lily had succeeded in putting 
herself entirely beyond their reach, and that her 
fate must remain a mystery, until she should 
choose to reveal it to them herself, the poor 
mother after one faint effort to address them, for 
the purpose, as Frank conjectured, of urging an- 
other and more stringent search, was suddenly 
seized by paralysis, and had been laying ever 
since in a helpless and almost hopeless state. It 
was this circumstance, in fact, more especially 
that had brought him to Southanipton. He 
wanted Evelyn to return with him to ' the Ferns,' 
for he could not bear to see his mother sur- 
rounded by hirelings only, in the time of her 
bitter sorrow. Miss de Burghe was but too 
happy to undertake the duty which he proposed 
to her acceptance, and it was therefore resolved, 
that she and Wyllie should return to town that 
very day, under the care of the Doctor, while 
Frank himself was to follow on the next. 

Dr. Spencer had acquainted him with the 
fact of Lily's supposed appearance at the fair 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 167 



the preceding evening; and Frank's brow had 
flushed darkly crimson at the bare idea of the 
possible scenes into which her connexion with 
Frederick might have introduced his sister. Mr. 
Sutherland, indeed, had never named, even to 
him, that knowledge of Frederick's lawless com- 
rades and pursuits which he had obtained from 
Dick. Pride, the ruling passion jof his life, 
having effectually closed his lips on the fact of 
his son's degradation. 

Nevertheless, in the first moments of agitation 
consequent on Lily's disappearance, some dark 
words and hints he had unwittingly let fall; and 
these had guided Frank to almost as clear a 
knowledge of the case, as he was himself pos- 
sessed of. Dr. Spencer's information there- 
fore only strengthened the young man's foregone 
conclusion, that Frederick was leagued with des- 
perate characters, who might find the best harvest 
of their fortune in such places of popular amuse- 
ment as the one in question. And if this, indeed, 
were true, by what sort of persons was his young 
sister at this time surrounded, and amid what 
scenes of vice might she not be moving? 



168 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



He shuddered as be asked himself the ques- 
tion. Pride and tenderness, however, for Lily's 
reputation, prevented his even hinting at his 
suspicions, and contenting himself by assuring 
Evelyn, as he handed her to the carriage, that 
whatever he might discover should be scru- 
pulously revealed to her, he returned to his 
weary search — a search once more destined to 
be all in vain, since those who were its objects 
had left Southampton many hours previous to 
his arrival there. 

From the time of her elopement with her 
cousin, Lily had in fact lived continually on the 
road, never halting long at any place, and 
always departing from it in some unforeseen and 
mysterious manner. This, with the frequent 
change of name and style adopted by her lover, 
would have suggested fears to any one possess- 
ing the smallest knowledge of the world. But 
Lily was a perfect child in all such matters, and 
being ready like any other child, to believe 
whatever she was told, never for a moment 
doubted the truth of Frederick's assertion ; that 
these precautions had been adopted for the sole * 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



169 



purpose of shielding her from the pursuit of her 
own family. Leamington had been the last 
place at which they had made any stay, and 
there after a secret interview with some persons 
who met him by appointment, Frederick sud- 
denly abandoned his intention of going to the 
west, and started instead for Southampton. He 
was sulky and ill-tempered all the way ; and this, 
combined with one or two words that escaped 
him in his moodiness, had suggested to Lily the 
unpleasant idea that the persons with whom he 
had been closeted, at Leamington, exercised 
some mysterious influence over his proceedings, 
and that he had been sent to Southampton 
against his will. 

This opinion was yet further strengthened by 
the fact, that on reaching that city, instead of 
going to one of the first-rate hotels as had been 
hitherto his custom, he took up his abode instead 
at a straggling tumble down old-fashioned tavern 
situated in the oldest and dirtest part of the 
town; alleging that his Leamington acquaintance 
had recommended him to try it. Lily wept and 
pouted over this indignity in vain. Her lover 

VOL. II. I 



170 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



was sufficiently out of temper himself to be 
thoroughly indiflferent as to the state of hers; 
and so far, this was fortunate, for when she 
found he was deaf to her complaints, she dried 
her eyes in much less time than such an effort at 
self-control would have demanded at the Ferns, 
and applied herself resolutely to the chasing o{ 
his gloom. A good dinner greatly assisted her 
endeavours on his behalf, good wine set the seal 
upon his recovery ; and after he had drank far 
more than she had ever before imagined any hu- 
man being could imbibe without intoxication, he 
proposed that they should amuse themselves, and 
pass the evening by taking a look at the humours 
of the fair. He had no fear of meeting any of 
his own family by doing so. Knowing the 
invalid h{ibits of his brother, and quite unaware 
of Dr. Spencer's vigorous upsetting of the old 
system, it never occurred to him for a moment 
that even if Evelyn were still at Southampton, 
(a fact of which Lily doubted) she would have 
dreamed of exposing Wyllie to the excitement 
of such a scene, or have thought of going there 
without him. One glance at Denis, however^ 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 171 

or rather at the invalid chair which Denis drew, 
made him fully aware of the proximity of his 
sister; and seizing Lily by the arm he dragged 
her into the tent without a word, and through it 
to the other end, where luckily there was an out- 
let. She also, as Denis fancied, had caught a 
glimpse of Wyllie and his party; and never had 
she been so thoroughly awakened to a sense of 
her own degradation, as at the moment, when 
she lelt Frederick rush forward to shield her in- 
stinctively from the presence of her relations, 
and to hurry her on, she scarce knew whither — 
scarce cared indeed, so only that he took her far 
from those, whose bare vicinity had power to 
bring the blush of shame to her burning brow — 
the sob of a guilty conscience to her heaving 
bosom. 

She was tongue-tied, however, from very 
shame ; and, ^las ! he had no word of consolation 
to offer, as silently and she thought sullenly, he 
pursued his way amid the various impediments 
of the fair; until reaching the top of High Street 
he plunged at once into all the dark intricacies 
of lanes and narrow passages that lie between 
I 2 



172 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



that thoroughfare and the river. There he 
slackened his pace, and Lily also breathed more 
freely, for there was little chance of those she 
fled from, meeting her in such gloomy alleys. 
Alas! their lines were cast in more pleasant 
places. They moved among the honorable and 
well-born of the land, while in lanes like these, 
and among those who dwelt therein, it seemed all 
too likely now, that her future lot was cast. And 
all for what? No wonder she shuddered as she 
asked herself the question; it was so certain 
that the answer, whatever it might prove, would 
be all too late to save her. 

Seldom indeed does a woman thoroughly 
comprehend the length, and depth, and breadth 
of her own degradation, until she has measured 
it by the contempt of him, at whose instigation 
and for whose sake she has incurred it. And it 
was thus with Lily now. That she was a fallen 
creature, that she might never again look upon 
her mother, or lift her eyes to Evelyn's without 
blushing, she felt bitterly enough already ; for 
there is always something in a woman's breast to 
convince her of her shame, by whatever sophistry 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 173 



she may delude herself about her sin. But that 
Frederick should despise her was a thought that 
had never even occurred to her for a moment 
before ! 

It was a fearful blow ! She had relied so im- 
plicitly upon his absorbing love, upon his unfail- 
ing approbation to bear her through the future 
trials of the life which she had chosen; and nov 
in his eager and almost as it seemed his intuitive 
avoidance of their mutual friends, she saw, and 
for the first time even she suspected, to how low 
a level she had sunk in his esteem. No wonder 
that her very soul seemed to die within her as 
she read her sentence in his averted eyes, and 
felt that for the future she would be but an. 
object of pity or contempt to him for whom and 
to whom she had sacrificed all. No wonder that 
she felt bitter as well as sad, or that forgetting 
the justice of the sentence in indignation at its 
rigour, she reached the hotel at last amid feelings 
far more prone to blame the tempter for having 
tempted, than to condemn the weakness which 
had yielded to temptation. 

Up to that moment she had, however, sufficient 



174 HOUE A^D TUE HOMELESS. 



command over her feelings to remain silent; but 
no sooner did she find herself in the privacy of 
her own apartment^ than she gave them toll vent 
in a burst of tears and vehement reproaches. 
Tears, unfortunately, Frederick was' well accus- 
tomed to already, but reproaches for his conduct 
towards herself, Lily had never hitherto thought 
of bestowing on him. Heard thus for the 
first time, they perhaps moved him for the 
moment to compunction ; at any rate he listened 
more patiently than was his wont, having taken 
care to fortify himself against the storm by 
a couple of glasses of brandy from the side^ 
board. In fact, he had never before seriously 
considered the injury which he had done to 
his hapless cousin. It was only when their un- 
expected meeting with those, who having once 
been her friends and companions, his conscience 
and knowledge of the world assured him could 
be so no longer, brought it out in glaring 
colours to his eyes, that he began really to fieel 
compunction on the subject. If Lily had only 
dispassionately watched him then, she would 
have seen that now, if ever, was the moment in 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 175 

which he might be lured to better things — pos- 
sibly even to the renouncing his present life and 
returning to the paths of virtue. 

But she thought not of him in that first hour 
of recrimination and upbraiding ! She thought 
but of herself, poor child! In selfishness she 
had sinned, (by whatever sophistry she had 
persuaded herself to the contrary) and in selfish- 
ness was she now repenting; while with grief 
and bitterness of soul she weighed the balance 
of their fortunes, and marked the difference of 
the position in which their common guilt had 
placed them. 

He, when he chose it, might return to the 
world, and none of its noblest paths would be 
closed against him ; and she was an outcast from 
its bosom for ever. He might win back its good 
opinion, and wrest from it even honour and ap- 
plause; and she, who had only shared his guilt, 
who was not perhaps so guilty in the eyes of 
heaven, since she was the tempted and he the 
tempter, upon her was the whole retribution of 
society to fall! She alone the object to be 
trampled on — the mark for scorn to point at — 



176 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and while he would pass on his way unscathed, 
and scarcely mulcted of the esteem of men ; she, 
like a crashed violet, would be flung aside to 
wither unheeded, and despised of all! 

Writhing beneath such thoughts as these, Lily, 
unfortunately for herself, soon passed from tears 
and scoldings, which were galling enough to 
Frederick's proud soul already, to taunts that 
were far more galling still; taunts of all that he 
once had been, and of all that he meant to be, 
when in the self-sufficiency of untried youth he 
had vaunted so loudly of his virtue. 

The shaft told home, and told in a way all the 
more terrible that it was received in silence. For 
a few moments, Frederick tried to control his 
passion; but Lily still raved on, and darting 
forward, he seized her by the hair. Terrified by 
the action and its suddenness, she looked up. 
There was that in his face that made her tremble, 
and extricating herself by a mighty effort from 
his grasp, she flung herself, face downwards, on 
the floor. For one brief, but fearful instant, he 
stood above her, with pale face and lifted hand, as 
if he would willingly have dashed her into atoms. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 177 

It might indeed, be that her very life itself was 
trembling that hour in the balance; but putting 
aside the fierce temptation, he shook his clenched 
fist menacingly in the air, and rushed from the 
room. Lily no sooner felt herself alone than she 
burst into tears, and so absorbed was she in her 
own wild sorrow, that she was unconscious of all 
things else, until she heard a voice, reproachful 
but not unkind, of some one near her, saying; — 

" Wot ails you, young woman, that you risks 
rousing the whole house this way, with your 
screeches and lamentings?" 

Lily looked up. A dark, gipsy-looking damsel 
was standing at her side with full, black eyes 
fixed curiously upon her. Prudence had never 
been one of the young girl's cherished virtues; 
but even if it had been, it could scarcely have 
competed now with her desire to complain of 
Frederick, so she answered petulantly, and not 
quite truly either : 

" What ails me, do you say ? What ails me, 
indeed! Haven't I been dragged in spite of 
myself, to this nasty, vulgar Inn, which, for 
aught I know, is nothing but a den of thieves; 

I 5 



178 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and can you wonder that you see me weep- 
ing?" 

" And if indeed it bees so, and there be those in 
the house as are wot you call 'em; surely you 
ought to know there is danger in saying it out 
so boldly," Esther gravely answered. 

"If I am?" replied Lily, now really roused to 
fears, which before she had half aflfected, " Then 
of course, I am, or you would not say it so 
quietly. Oh, misery ! misery ! why did I ever leave 
my home? What madness was it brought me 
hither? 

"Your home! Did you say your home?" 
cried Esther, in a voice so singularly full of feel- 
ing that Lily, who had hardly deigned to look at 
the intruder before, now dashed aside her scattered 
tresses and her blinding tears to gaze on her more 
fully. Heedless of this scrutiny the other went 
on earnestly : 

" Oh, if indeed, you ever had a home, and if 
there war one, but one within it even, whose heart 
was beating for you, and whose eye looked kindly 
on you, and if of your own free choice, you have 
left that home and them that were a dwelling in 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 179 



it,— weep, lady, weep — for well you may — a 
sorrow is on your life that tears 'ull never wash 
out — a judgment is on your path that sooner or 
latei*' will crush you in the falling." 

"Who are you?" cried Lily, who, unused at 
any time to blame, could bear it less than ever 
now that misery had made her frantic. " Who 
are you, that dare to threaten me in such 
fashion." 

" I am one that never left a home," said Esther 
solemnly; and there was a pathos in her 
voice, beneath which even Lily's angry grief was 
shamed to silence, " because I never had one ! 
But oh, lady, if so be as I had ever knowed wot 
it were to have a home, though it were but a 
cabin by the wayside, or a garret, or a cellar, in 
the great city that I comes from, and if so be as 
I had ever had a mother, or a father, or any 
human creetur wotsoever ; ah, I had well nigh 
said any senseless beast ; a dumb dog, or a birdie 
on its perch, for to need my tending and to ask 
it, — then, lady, I wouldn't ha' been beside 
you now; and if you had left your home, I never 
would ha' know'd it, for of my own free would I 



180 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



never have gone out from mine, for to dwell in 
such a house as this is." 

" A home," cried Lily, bursting into a pas- 
sionate fit of tears; "yes, indeed, I had a home, 
and birds, and flowers, and a dog that followed 
all my footsteps, and a mother too, affectionate, 
though cold, and a brother that loved me dearly ; 
and now I have left them all ; they are gone from 
me for ever! Oh, fool that I have been, and 
miserable wretch that I am become! Pariah 
and outcast from the world for ever!" 

More and more, as Esther looked and listened, 
her heart was learning tenderness and compassion. 
Used as she was by hard necessity to exercise 
strong control over her own feelings, Lily'schild- 
like ebulition of passion had in the beginning 
chiefly excited her contempt, but this feeling gra- 
dually softened into pity as she looked at the 
child-like figure extended on the floor, and lis- 
tened to the piteous sobs, so like the plainings of 
an ill-treated child, that burst ever and anon from 
her panting bosom. 

Conscious, however, that every word she had 
hitherto uttered, had in some way or other 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 181 

tended rather to excite than to assuage the grief 
of Lily, it was some time ere she ventured to 
speak again ; and when she did so, it was in a 
hesitating and uncertain manner. 

" Why not go back to that home at once then, 
. if you love it well enough to take on so for 
having left it? Your pal won't be back these 
two hours, I daresay, and you would be half way 
to Lonon by that time, if you took the train 
that leaves this by and bye." 

Go back ! At the bare suggestion, Lily's sin 
stared her in the face again, in all its appalling 
reality, and she uttered such a cry of agony that 
Esther recoiled in terror and amazement. 

" Go back! go back!" shrieked the wretched 
girl, sitting upright on the floor, and wildly re- 
peating the words that had so moved her. "And 
tell me who would receive me now, a guilty and 
dishonoured thing? Why, my very mother would 
shrink from my embraces, and my brother spurn 
me, though I were dying at his feet. Oh, know 
you not, you who talk so lightly of returning, 
that the dead may sooner look for welcome 
from their living friends, than a sin-soiled 



182 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

woman hope for it in the home of her guiltless 
childhood." 

Half in sorrow, half in wonder, Esther lis- 
tened to the words of Lily. In fact, she could 
only in part comprehend the agony that rent the 
poor child's bosom at that moment. For the 
street girl had no recollections of a former home to 
make her present loneliness more appalling ; no 
consciousness of a former state of innocence to 
deepen the shadows of her present degradation; 
no bright antecedents of any kind to compare 
with the life she was leading now; happy in 
this, at least, that desperate as her portion 
was, it was free at all events from the bitter- 
ness of contrast. Lily's genuine burst of misery, 
however, had given her an insight into the 
awfulness of sin such as she had never been before 
possessed of, and after pondering a little while 
upon the possible turpitude of that deed, which 
could compel a mother to disown her child, she 
bent her eyes on Lily, while in softness and 
almost in humility, she asked : 

" Did I hear you rightly, lady ? or sure-lie I 
was mistaken? You never did — you never could 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 183 



have meant for to say that your own mother 
would look coldly on you if you went right home 
at once and thro wed yourself on her bosom ?" 

" She would give me food and shelter, I sup- 
pose," sobbed Lily, " but she would blush to be 
seen beside me, and if a stranger came, she 
would be glad to hide me in my grave, so that 
she might be spared the shame of my presence 
in her household." 

Esther groaned aloud. 

"I thought," she continued, after another 
painful pause, " I thought I had heard it said, 
that a mother's love could triumph over all." 

" Over all but a daughter's shame," Lily mur- 
mured in a smothered voice. Then covering 
her face with her hands, she lapsed into mourn- 
ful silence, while Esther gazed upon her with a 
heart too full of sorrow and perplexity to be 
able to give her the comfort that she needed.. 

This continued for a little time, but just as 
the silence was beginning to be oppressive, the 
door was cautiously unclosed, and putting in his 
head, Dick beckoned Esther to follow him to the 
passage. Lily had never moved her hands from 



184 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



her eyes, so she was unconscious of the interrup- 
tion. 

"Wot is it, then?" asked Esther, with a 
slight shade of impatience in her manner as she 
obeyed the summons, carefully closing the door 
of the room behind her. 

"Is the gal better now? I heard her screech- 
ing at no rate when I comed by just][now." 

" Yes, yes, she's quiet enough now, and sad 
enough, too, poor thing, if that were all," said 
Esther mournfully. " No great wonder neither, 
if all as she says is true, which I can't bring 
myself altogether to believe as yet." 

" Quiet, is she?" said Dick, judiciously ignor- 
ing every part of this speech except that which 
jumped with his present purpose. So much 
the better, for a whimpering 'ooman were always 
my awersion. But if she's quiet now, just you 
step in again and tell her, will ye, to mind her 
eye and look sharp, for the cove she comed with 
means to be off next train for Lonon." 

"Why now I wonder," said the girl, "I 
thought he comed down here because the other 
lay were too hot to hold him." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS* , 185 

"All serene," said Dick; "but a cove as 
knows him has been a dodging of he all through 
the fair, he tells me, which makes it ill conwe- 
nient his remaining; and for the same reason I 
means to cut my own luckie also; so when you've 
spoke to the young ooman within, you'd best get 
ready for a start yourself." 

" Where's the use now," replied Esther, visibly 
annoyed by this last piece of intelligence. " I 
thought you promised Aileen and I a couple of 
months in the country ?" 

''Where's the use, indeed?" repeated Dick; 
" you are sharp enough when you likes it, 
Esther. Now carn't you see that as all our coves 
are sailing in the same boat, if the beaks are 
arter one to-night there is no saying which of us 
mayn't be under the same complerment to them 
to-morrow; therefore T say that if you don't 
want to see none of us jugged before daylight, 
you must be ready to start from Southampton 
in an hour." 

Esther nodded her head in token of intelli- 
gence, but the fate of Aileen was heavy at her 
heart, and she was deadly pale as she withdrew. 



186 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



Dick, on the contrary, walked away care- 
lessly whistling a tune, and inwardly congratu- 
lating himself on the facility with which he had 
contrived to hoodwink the usually keen-eyed 
Esther as to the actual reason of their depar- 
ture. He had always carefully concealed Mr. 
Sutherland's real name as well as his relation- 
ship to Frederick from her knowledge, therefore 
he did not choose to tell her now, that having 
learned from the latter how Denis had been sent 
in his search, it had occurred to his own astute- - 
ness to fear, lest the emissary instead of dis- 
covering Mr. Sutherland's son, might stumble 
by some mischance upon the child whom Mr. 
Sutherland had committed to his care. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 187 



CHAPTER VIIL 



Jim and Aileen were fast asleep when the train 
they came by arrived at Vauxhall. They found 
on waking, that Dick had got out at some pre- 
vious station, leaving them alone with Esther, 
who immediately made them enter an omnibus 
which was plying towards the city. After they 
had proceeded to some distance in this manner, 
she stopped the vehicle and descended ; consoling 
the weary children at the same time by the as- 
surance that they would not have far to walk 
before arriving at their destination. At first 
the streets were so deserted that it almost seemed 
as if they were the only living creatures awake 



188 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and stirring in the great crowded city. Tliey 
had not gone far, however, before carts laden 
with vegetables for the early market began to 
roll in from the country, and these were soon 
followed by large droves of cattle of various 
kinds, which sometimes filled up the whole width 
of the street, and every now and then, when 
their weary drivers lagged behind, encroached 
even on the pavement. 

Terrified by these chance encounters, and only 
half awake besides, Aileen at last began to sob 
hysterically, and occupied by vain attempts to 
soothe her fears, Esther never saw or heard a 
drove of bullocks that were coming pell mell 
down the street, until she and the children were 
actually in the midst of them. 

Aileen now fairly shrieked aloud, and frightened 
by her vehemence, Esther caught her in her 
arms, and turned into a lane close at hand, in 
order to avoid the animals which had excited 
the child so strangely. Never doubting, then, 
that Jim was following close at her heels, 
instead of stopping quietly until the cattle had 
passed by, she continued to walk forward to 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 189 



a considerable distance, trusting to her own 
knowledge of the locality for enabling her to 
strike into the direct path again. When she 
paused at last, she found that she was alone, 
and in considerable fear and perplexity re- 
traced her steps to the spot where she had left 
the main street. But not a sign of Jim could 
she discover on the way, nor did she dare to en- 
quire of the chance passers by, lest she should 
draw more attention upon Aileen than she knew 
would have been considered desirable by Dick. 
The little girl was sobbing s^P bitterly besides, 
partly from nervous excitement, partly from her 
fears and anxieties about Jim, that Esther re- 
solved at last, instead of pursuing her searches 
further, to go straight on to the tramp house, and 
to confide to some other of the community, the 
task of discovering and reclaiming the fugitive. 

In the mean time the missing boy was nearly 
in as sad a state of perplexity as she was herself. 
Thrown down by the suddenness with which she 
had darted past him, the cattle were over him 
before he could find time to rise, and the hoof of 
one of them striking him on the head, the whole 



190 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



drove were far on their way to Smithfield before 
he had recovered from the stunning eflfects of 
the blow. When he did come to himself indeed, 
the street was quite deserted, and it took 
a considerable time before he could even re- 
member how he had come there at all, or how he 
had managed to get separated from the rest of 
his companions. No sooner, however, had he 
succeeded in recalling to his memory all the par- 
ticulars of his late adventure, than the poor boy 
became so pcJssessed with fear lest Dick should 
come suddenly uppn him and punish his unin- 
tentional evasion, that scarcely knowing what he 
was about, he commenced wandering up and down 
the street, in hopes of falling in with Esther, who 
would do her best, he felt very certain, to screen 
him from the brutality of her comrades. 

Unluckily, as he would at the time have 
thought it, he chose quite an opposite direction 
to that which she had actually taken; and after 
walking about for some time in a very vacant 
and purposeless manner, he sat down at last on a 
door step to ponder sadly on what he should do 
next. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 191 



But he was weary and confused by more than 
one night's sleepless travel ; his head, never very 
strong at any time, was giddy moreover from his 
fall, and aching from its concussion with the 
bullock's hoof. The more, therefore, he tried to 
think the less was he capable of thinking; past, 
present, and future all seemed careering in a mad 
sort of country dance through his brain, and 
giving up the attempt for the present in despair, he 
chose one of the steps upon which he was sitting 
for a pillow, and stretching out the rest of his 
person on the pavement, in less than a minute 
was fast asleep. How long he was suffered to 
remain there in peace he never could exactly 
tell, but the sun was high in the heavens, and 
the street was rapidly beginning to fill, when he 
was roused by the rough grasp of the shop- 
keeper, whose door way he had thus ventured 
to desecrate by turning it into a temporary bed- 
room. 

"Young scapegrace!" cried that worthy in- 
dividual, bestowing upon the terrified boy 
another and another shake, " why can't you lay 
a bed at once, I wonder, respectable like and 



192 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



comfortable, instead of corain' in this ere dis- 
graceful fashion invading people's premises^ 
Here, Jack," he added, addressing his assistant, 
"you run and fetch rae a policeman, will yer, and 
we'll see if we can't get this young midnight 
committed for a wagrant." 

By this time a little crowd had begun to collect 
about the door- way, and Jack being a good 
natured fellow, ventured before obeying his 
master's commands, to linger a little moment 
longer, in hopes that some one or other of the 
spectators would put in a good word for Jim. The 
poor lad was far too bewildered as yet to be able 
to speak for himself, but, with his face covered 
with blood and dirt, and considerably swelled 
moreover by his recent mis-adventure, he looked 
most decidedly more like an object for pity than 
for vengeance. No one, however, thought of put- 
ting in such a word as Jack had hoped for, though 
many a question was addressed to the boy as to 
the cause of his present unfortunate appearance ; 
but as all the querists spoke at once, and as the 
shopkeeper continued to shake him so violently, 
as to create a sort of physical impossibility to 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. * 193 



his giving an audible reply, Jim's adventures 
would probably have terminated for that morn- 
ing in his being marched off to the next station, 
if a lady who happened to be passing by, had not 
chanced to cast a compassionate eye upon him 
during the brief moment that her steps were 
impeded by the crowd. 

" Pauvre petit malheureux ! vot for he done 
she asked in broken English of the man who held 
him. 

" Nothing wotever, to say down right bad, 
marra," cried the good natured Jack, eager 
to enlist her sympathies in Jim's favour, 
"only you see we found him a snoozin' on 
our steps this mornin', which is wot master 
never can a bear from no one, 'specially from a 
wagrant." 

The lady shook her head with a puzzled air, 
to indicate that she did not understand ; but ia 
the midst of his bewilderment, Jim had by this 
time recognised her, as the person in whose be- 
half he once ventured to incur John's anger; and 
as the grasp of his captor's hand prevented his 
rushing towards her as he wished, he endeavoured 
VOL II. K 



194 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



to attract her attention instead, by saying in 
most piteous accents : 

" Ah, lady dear, won't your ladyship spake 
up for me? Sure I'm the boy that wouldn't sell 
you the rose tree, and so of coorseyour ladyship 
knows that I am honest." 

Though the person whom he addressed evi- 
dently did not understand one word in three 
that he uttered, still it was clear by his manner 
that he was trying to recall himself to her recol- 
lection, and this circumstance rousing her cu- 
riosity, she fixed her eyes upon him, until not- 
withstanding the blood and dirt in which his 
features were disguised, she recognised him for 
her honest little champion of the rose tree. 
Never was a deed of probity more fully or effi- 
ciently repaid. In three parts French and one 
third English, she tried to explain to the shop- 
keeper her reasons for perfect reliance on the 
good character of his prisoner, and a young city 
clerk who was present, good naturedly translat- 
ing her words to the crowd, poor Jim was unani- 
mously pronounced not guilty, and his captor 
compelled by the mere force of public opinion, 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 1 95 



(rather discontentedly it must be acknowledged) 
to relinquish his prey. 

Beckoning the boy to follow, his benefactress 
walked on quickly, until at the corner* of 
the next street, she fell in with one of those 
itinerant vendors of coffee and black dough 
bread, who are always to be found in London, 
in similar positions, during the early morning. 
Before this stall she paused, and taking a shil- 
ling from her purse gave it to Jim, making signs 
that he was to purchase some breakfast with it, 
and then nodding him a good natured adieu left 
him to enjoy his meal. 

The boy's grateful eyes pursued her until the 
turning of the street concealed her from his view, 
and then suddenly remembering his breakfast, the 
was about to follow the coffee vendor who had 
moved a few paces on in pursuance of his voca- 
tion, when he perceived something glittering on 
the pavement. It proved to be a small trinket 
set in diamonds, and never doubting that it had 
been dropped by his benefactress, when she took 
out her purse, he rushed after her at once. But 
the street which he had seen her enter was nearly 
K 2 



196 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



empty by the time he reached it, and after going 
quite down to the further end without even 
catching a glimpse of any one like her, he was 
forced to conclude that she must have turned 
into one of the many other thoroughfares which 
opened from it on the either side, and that it 
would be labour lost to pursue her further. 

Having come to this conclusion he paused to 
consider what was to be done next; and 
taking care not to choose a doorway again for 
the scene of his meditations, he commenced a 
strict examination of his prize, in hopes of dis- 
covering some name or initials on it, which might 
lead to a discovery of its owner. 

He had hardly even thought of glancing at it 
before; but now no sooner did it meet his eye — 
then — oh, wonder of wonder! could it be so 
indeed ? Again, and again, he looked. Surely, 
there could be no mistake ! The blood rushed 
to his temples — his eyes fairly danced in his head 
for gladness, and giving up all idea of attempting 
to discover the lady, he set off at once in another 
direction, bravely and resolutely determined to 
find out the tramp-honse at any cost, in order 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 197 

that he might have the joy of telling Aileen how 
he had found out that her mother was living still, 
and was actually in London. Yes, for Jim's 
faithful heart told him at once, that the blue eyes 
and golden hair that gleamed, on him from the 
fairy miniature in his hand, could belong to none 
other than his little loved Aileen. .That she 
who bore that picture so lovingly about her 
person must be the mother of the stolen child, it 
never would have occurred to bim to doubt, even 
if he had not been well aware already, that 
Aileen's mother also was a French woman, 
totally unacquainted with any language but her 
own. 

Undoubtedly it will occur to certain of our 
readers, that Jim might have taken many a much 
^ wiser course for the accomplishment of his object, 
than the one that he was now pursuing; that he 
might, for instance, have put the matter into the 
hands of the police, and trusted with a safe 
conscience to their almost omniscent power for 
the discovery alike of the mother and the child. 
But, besides, that our poor little hero possessed 
a very dim idea of the power of the constabulary. 



198 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



and a very exaggerated one of that of the gang, 
from whose clutches he had so recently escaped, 
the events of the last twenty-four hours had 
thrown his brain (always easily unsettled) into 
such a fever of exaitement, that he was no longer 
capable of reasoning on the business; or, in fact, 
of doing more than keeping to the one fixed idea 
which he had conceived in his own mind, of return- 
ing at once to Aileen, and aiding her escape, at 
whatever risk to himself, from the hands of the 
wretches who held her captive. 

In coming to this generous resolution, (for 
generous assuredly it was, if it were not wise), 
though he had sufficiently counted the cost, he 
had not calculated on the difficulties inseparable 
from its execution ; nor was it until after he had 
walked through at least a dozen streets, where he 
never had been before, that the impractibility of 
his undertaking began to impress itself on his 
mind. ^ Where, after all, was the tramp-house 
that he was seeking? or how was he to find it? 
He had been brought to it by night — he had left 
it by night — he was utterly ignorant of the part 
of the city in which it was situate ; and, moreover 



HOME ANT> THE HOMELESS 199 



he would not dare to enquire for it, from anyone 
whom he might meet with on the way. In fais 
perplexity he slackened his pace^ and chancing 
to fall in with a crowd assembled round a couple 
of dancing dogs, he lingered a moment, rather to 
collect his ideas than to watch the performance. 
Scarcely, however, had he done so, ere feeling 
the eye of some one in the mob fixed curiously 
upon him, he looked up to see who the individual 
might be. There was no mistaking the scowling 
glance that met his own, and eager as Jim was 
to discover Aileen, he yet shrunk with no very 
unnatural reluctance from learning it of John 
Nightshade, 

Half-hoping that he had not been recognised 
as yet, he resolved to pursue his way at once ; 
but hardly had he cleared the crowd before a 
heavy hand was laid upon his shoulder, and he 
felt, rather than could be said to know hy the 
actual evidence of his eye-sight, that he and his 
former tyrant were walking side by side, appa- 
rently upon the most amicable terms with each 
other. In spite of himself, Jim, trembled violenly. 
For aught he knew, the man might intend his 



200 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

murder ; but the first words the latter uttered, 
though sufficiently coarse and brutal, freed him 
at any rate from all apprehension of immediate 
danger. 

So, you managed to hook it, young dung- 
hill, did you? And pray how many Queen's 
soldiers and policemen are you bringing to fight 
your battles for you and to take us into quod ? 
Answer me at once, you brazen faced young vil- 
lain — answer me, I say, at once." 

" I havn't got one at all at all," Jim earnestly 
responded; "and if you'll believe me, sir, I was 
jist lookin' for some one to direct me to the 
tramp house when I met you, because I didn't 
rightly know the way of it myself." 

" Oh, you were looking for the house, were 
you?" said the other in a musing manner. 
" Well, my covey, it is no great wonder that you 
did not find it, because you see, since you were 
with us in the spring, it has been burnt clean 
down to the very ground." 

" Burnt down ! ochone, and where is Aileen 
gone to, then?" cried Jim, too much taken aback 
by this intelligence to think even of questioning 



DOME AND THE HOMELESS. 201 

its truth ; " and me lookin' for her all this 
blessid mornin' through every street and lane 
that 1 could think of, that it was likely they had 
tuck her to." 

" Oh, she's safe enough, never doubt it," said 
the other with a sneer; ''angels like she have 
wings, you know, and can fly away whenever 
the notion takes thera." 

" Wouldn't it be the worreld's wondher, then, 
if she had escaped as well as meself last night," 
thought Jim, without, to do him justice, a single 
regret for the danger, so unnecessary in such a 
case, into which he had plunged himself for her 
sake. 

He did ndt dare to put the question directly 
to John, however, but by way of sounding him 
on the subject, ventured to ask him humbly : 

"If you plaize, sir, I'd like to run up to the 
ould place for a minute or two this morning, 
just for ould acquaintance sake, if your honor 
has no objection." 

" Didn't I tell you it was burnt?" replied John, 
" but if it's the white faced kinchen you are 
thinking of, you had better follow me now, for 
k5 



202 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

I am going straight on to the place where she 
has folded up her wings/' 

Jim expressed himself not only willing hut 
eager to accept this invitation, since in no other 
way could be hope to discover Aileen. Never- 
theless, the other did not see fit to leave him 
much choice in the matter. He clutched him 
at once so tightly hy the arm as to render escape 
impossible, and then starting oflF at a rapid pace, 
hurried him through street and lane, suburb, 
field, and bye road, until he landed him safely at 
last at the old Red House, where Aileen had 
really arrived some hours before with Esther. 

This abode had certainly not been their original 
destination, but Jim's escape had created a uni- 
versal panic among such frequenters of the tramp 
house as had any especial reason for shunning 
the inquisitions of the law ; since it seemed more 
than likely, from what was known of the missing 
boy's disposition, that once he had regained his 
liberty, he would not only complain of his own 
detention, but of Aileen's also, and thus bring 
the eye of the police on the whole concern. To 
provide against any contingency of the kind, 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 203 



Aileen was despatched at once to the Eed House 
under the care of Esther. Others of the gang 
dispersed in different directions, and John, who 
was more deeply implicated in the business, (so 
far as Jim was concerned,) than any of the others, 
sallied forth at once, in hopes of recovering his 
captive before any real mischief had occurred. 
In this, as we have seen, he was far more suc- 
cessful than he had any reason to expect; and 
having succeeded in re-entrapping Jim, he 
resolved to lose sight of him no more, but to 
keep him close prisoner until after the police en- 
quiry (if there should be one) had blown over^ 
and then to dispose of him in the best way that 
he could. 

What that best way might be, he did not care 
to ask himself at present, though assuredly, had 
he been free to follow his own impulses, nothing 
less than murder would have been their inter- 
pretation. Happily, however, for his captive, 
this was a point of iniquity to which none of the 
associates of the Eed House had attained as yet. 
Dick, whose devilry having often a spice of good 
nature in it, had always resolutely set his face 



204 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



against bloodshed. Feeling therefore, that the 
force of public opinion would be against him, in 
any deed of extra violence of which he might 
be guilty, John was fain to content himself with 
the stern resolve of wreaking a very sufficient 
measure of vengeance on his foe, in the shape of 
what he termed, a jolly good licking, as soon 
as ever he had him safely stowed away from 
observation, in the cellar of the old Red House. 

Scarcely, in fact, had the doors of that re- 
spectable mansion been opened by Hurdy Gurdy 
Bill, who, during the present panic had been 
appointed to the office, in lieu of old Judy, than 
pushing his prisoner violently into the passage, 
John exclaimed with an oath so frightful, that 
we must hold ourselves excused from repeating 
it in these pages : 

" And now, my fine fellow, Vl\ teach you what 
it is to be found peaching on your betters. 
What do you think of this, and this and that," 
he continued, dealing two or three blows about 
the head and ears of his victim. These, violent 
and unmeasured as they were, were yet intended 
by the ruffian as mere preliminaries to the ulti- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS, 205 



mate measure of punishment he would have in- 
flicted, if Jim, worn out by fatigue, fear, inci- 
pient fever, and excitement, had not fallen at the 
third blow, insensible to the ground. 

" Down already," cried John in huge disgust at 
this un warlike proceeding. "The d — d, cowardly 
white-livered sneak. Couldn't he stand up and 
take his licking like a man? Why an infant 
wouldn't have whimpered over such a feather 
blow as that." 

" Werry likely," observed Bill, who had been 
an attentive observer of the scene. But asking 
your pardon, old cock, I'd rayther not be the 
infant that you picked such feathers as that for. 
Why Vm blest if I don't think you've done for 
him altogether this time, and no mistake about 
it," he added, as he stooped to examine the 
prostrate body of Jim. 

"Done for him? — not a bit of it," said the 
other sullenly, " I wish I had, but one don't get 
rid of such vermin so easy. Here, open that ere 
door, will you, and I'll carry him to the cellar to 
come to at his leisure." 

Bill did as he was commanded; and seizing 



206 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



upon Jim, and still expressing the most unlimited 
disgust at his want of pluck, Nightshade carried 
him to the underground abode, called by cour- 
tesy a cellar, where, flinging him carelessly on a 
heap of straw, he left him, as he had threatened, 
to revive at his leisure. 

Bill would willingly have lingered with the 
prisoner a little longer, for there was no cruelty 
in his nature, and the sight of Jim's disfigured 
face filled him with compassion ; but John called 
to him from above, and in a voice which he knew 
better than to disobey, bade him return to his 
guardianship of the door, and " leave the 
cowardly whelp to his own devices." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS, 207 



CHAPTEE IX. 



The nature of Bill's charge kept him continually 
on the alert during the rest of the day, and it 
was not until the house was shut up for the night, 
that he found time at last to go in search of 
Aileen. He found her as he had expected, 
sitting in a remote corner of the kitchen, apart 
from all the others, and looking more than usually 
desolate and lonely, in consequence of Esther's 
haying been obliged to leave her on a summons 
from Dick Daredevil, who wanted her (she said) 
for a few days in the city. Bill took a stool 
directly^ and sitting down just opposite to the 
little girl, waited quietly until she should have 



208 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

become aware of his presence ; but as this did not 
happen directly, Aileen's eyes being fixed on the 
ground, he coughed and hemmed a little, by way 
of more speedily attracting her attention. 

Wot is it then ? " he asked, in answer to the 
questioning glances of the violet-blue eyes that 
were instantly raised to his, and as instantly 
withdrawn in the fear of attracting observation. 

" Have you heard anything of Jim ? Do you 
think he will come back?" 

"Won't he though?" said Bill, in great glee 
at the intelligence he had to impart, for he knew 
that Aileen had wept bitterly for the lost boy. 
" I should think so, rayther ! Why bless ee, little 
queen, he's been in the house these three or four 
hours at least, and in such a plight too, as will 
most likely pervent he ever trying to hook it 
again in a hurry." 

" Not dead ! " cried Aileen, in terrible alarm ! 
"Oh, Bill, surely, surely! they havn't killed 
him?" 

" Killed him ! " repeated Bill with a ridiculous 
grimace. " Now ain't you a werry, unkind, little 
jily of the walley for to think we such fools, as to 



V 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 209 



run the risk of being scragged for a milk-sop like 
that? One, too, as has done nothing wotever 
that I knows on agin us." 

"Nothing?" replied Aileen, who had been long 
enough among thieves to understand their 
language, if she did not use it: "Why Esther 
told me herself that they thought him a spy, and 
would punish him severely if they managed to 
catch him." 

" Well, and so they have," said Bill. " John 
Nightshade has served him out this arternoon, 
for anything as he has ever done agin us, or 
maybe hasn't; for I don't myself think as he's 
been at any worse tricks nor giving us the leg. 
But, as I was sJ^^pg, John has served him out 
for that^ and nothing more will come of it, in 
course, for though wengeance may be werry sweet, 
it ain't hardly worth a halter." 

" But what did John do to him?" asked 
Aileen, her tearful eyes fixed anxiously on 
Bill. 

" Wot did he do? Why he jist gave he a 
thump on his knowledge box, as I raythur think 
he ain't likely to forget in a hurry. My eye, 



210 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



wot a blow it was ! John's a brute, and I hate 
hira, I do. I know you won't peach on me for 
saying it, Aileen." 

" But he isn't dead, is he?" repeated Aileen, 
still feeling anxious and fearful on the subject. 

" Why, wot a precious little goose you be, to 
be sure," cried Bill. "Didn't I tell you I left 
him rewiving. He won't be on his pins, however, 
for the next six days at the nearest, and we have 
at least, two jolly plants to come oflF before then, 
which the unfortunate little beggar will miss by 
this haccident," and Bill wound up this speech by 
a grimace, which he meant to be expressive of 
his conviction, that Jim would not be rendered 
absolutely broken hearted by the loss of such a 
chance as he spoke of. 

Thank God for that, at least," said Aileen, 
folding her small hands very gravely and piously 
together. 

" Blest if ever I seed sich a queer little body 
as you!" cried Bill. "I thought you wai 
werry fond of Jim, and that he'd been your 
reg'lar chum ever since the first night that you 
seed him." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS 211 



"So he is, and so he was," cried Aileen 
eagerly. " But for all that. Bill, Td rather a 
thousand times over see him sick, or even dead, 
than see him become a thief like you." 

Thank ye for the complerment," replied the 
boy — half mortified, half amused. " So that's 
all I gets for my pains, arter fighting your bat- 
tles for you with every cove in the ken since first 
you come to it. You don't care a brass button 
about me, the moment a sleek, smooth spoken 
feller like Jim turns up in the wheel." 

" Indeed, but I do care a gireat deal about you 
too, for you have been very, very kind to me Fm 
sure. But, then, Jim is an honest boy, and 
you are a thief. Bill — and that makes all the 
difference, you know, between you." 

" Oh, that makes all the difference though, do 
it? Well, I suppose it may with some folk — but 
as for I," (Bill could not help adding a little re- 
proachfully,) "Pc? like you all the same, Aileen, 
wotever you were. And I'm bio wed, too, if Ij don't 
think I'd like you a precious sight better than I 
does, if you were a little more, a werry little 
more like one of we, Aileen." 



21? mm AOT TEEE TOMELESft. 

^ 5^^ Btn^ yon waold nat^"^ said lie Iitde 
gr rl with, a look aad tMae of raofft imconipraraismg 
Am^ic^n. ^ Toa may be as 6ati as yaa please 
fonrsifif^ hat yaa wooHa^'t I3ke me half so well, 
yfvn wwMa^t like me at all^ I thinks if I said bad 
wrifffU *nrl picked pockets like the others." 

Bill did mt eodtradiet her; for something 
there was in the riKJe, wild heart of the untutored 
boy, that responded to Ais opinion. Few indeed 
eren of the most abandoned^ who do not confess 

the virtue that they will not practice, by 
an attitude of almost inroluntary respect in its 
^emtce; and it was^ in fact, the innocence of 
Aileen, eren more than her pretty face and en- 
gaging manners — the innocence that was round 
her like a halo in the midst of the sin-tainted at- 
mosphere in which she moved, that had won her 
a sentiment of unconscious veneration, not from 
Bill alone, but from many of the younger and 
Ibnn hardened members of the community. Some 
of them would even occasionally repress of their 
own free will their hideous blasphemies, and 
hii»h their ribald speech when the little girl was 
obHurvcd among them. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 213 



Bill was consequently silent now, and finding 
that he did not answer, Aileen almost imme- 
diately changed the subject by saying in a low 
voice : 

" Bill, I must see him." 

"Wot to do?" said Bill a little rudely. 

He was in truth more jealous of Jim than he 
would have liked to acknowledge, though far 
too light hearted and good natured to feel really 
unkind. 

" Won't I do for your fancy man till he comes 
round again. Hey, little Queenie, won't I tho'!" 

" I must see him, and this very night, more- 
over," repeated Aileen, as if she either had not 
heard or had not heeded this reply. 

" Easy enough if your 'art is so set on it, 
Queenie. The door is locked, to be sure; but John 
has left the key on the outside, because it were 
too heavy for his pocket." 

" Bill," said Aileen, " you need not tell them 
anything about it, you know, unless, indeed, 
they ask you." 

" And if I'm asked, my bird of paradise, wot 
must I say if I'm asked?" 



214 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" Say ! why the truth, to be sure, that you 
think I have gone to see Jim." 

" The truth to — be — sure," repeated Bill, 
mimicking the grave, womanly tone in which 
she had spoken. " Darn me if 1 do though ! 
"Why it would be as much as that white skin of 
yourn is worth, to say nothing of my own, which 
ain't may be altogether so lily like to look at, 
but which has an uncommon objection to strap 
sarce for all that. So remember wotever you do, I 
knows nothing wotsomever about it, which werry 
likely will be the case too," he added with a 
yawn, " for I am dead beat I am. No great 
wonder neither, sich a round as that ere fat gent 
from the city led me, and all for nothing at all 
arter all, for he had no ticker about him, and Fm 
blest if his wipe were worth a farthing." 

And grumbling all the way at the ill usage he 
had met with. Bill walked oflF to his lair; never 
dreaming, to do him justice, that Aileen would 
have courage to keep her word, and to visit poor 
Jim in his dungeon cellar. Hardly, however, 
bad he composed himself to sleep, ere a light 
touch on his arm aroused him, and starting up 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



215 



he beheld Aileen standing at his side, and locking 
in the pale moonlight that gleamed through the 
shutterless window above her head, as white and 
delicate as the fairy, to whom it was sometimes 
his good pleasure to compare her. 

" Well, wot's the row ?" he demanded, vexed 
at being disturbed even by such a pretty appa- 
rition as the one before him. 

" Bill," whispered Aileen, heedless of his an- 
noyance, and speaking in that unhesitating 
manneV to which his good nature had accustomed 
her. " Get up, please, and follow me. FU wait 
for you on the outside." 

Half cross, half curious. Bill jumped up, 
shook himself and his garments straight, and then 
followed to the place where Aileen was standing, 
as she had promised, just outside the door. 

" Bill," she said, scarcely waiting in her 
eagerness until he had reached her side, " Bill, 
he must have some water." 

" He must wait until mornin to get it then," 
said Bill doggedly, " I ain't agoin' to that ere 
old pump at this hour of the hight only because 
of such as he." 



216 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" You must go for me, then, if you will not 
go for him," said Aileen earnestly, " and you must 
fill the little bucket that hangs outside the 
kitchen door. They are all asleep," she added, 
looking round her rather fearfully. So if you 
only step quietly, they will never hear you " 

" Cuss me, if you ain't a re'glar, downright, 
little, she tyrant, and no mistake," said Bill 
scratching his head, and yawning hugely. "Why 
carn't he wait like his betters till morning?" 

" Because he'll go mad before that without 
it. Oh, Bill! he's crying out, crying out for 
water, and he must have it, too, if I go to the 
pump myself to fetch it." 

While Aileen was speaking, she continued to 
urge her companion gently forward until they 
had nearly reached the kitchen, and then as she 
probably expected,BiIl finding he had been coaxed 
thus far, wound himself up fairly for action, 
found, and filled the bucket she had indicated 
with cold water, and set it close by the dirty 
straw upon which poor Jim was laying. 

" Poor feller ! * ain't he in a reg'lar fix, I 
wonder now?" said Bill, lingering a moment 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 217 



longer, to contemplate by the light of a straggling 
moon-beam, the flushed cheek and wandering eye 
of his quondam companion. 

" A reg'lar fix," he repeated pensively ; " but 
now I thinks of it, little queenie — you can bring 
a 'orse to the water to-be-sure; but how will 
you make him drink it?" 

" Oh dear ! " cried Aileen, glancing wistfully 
round the bare and blackened walls, in the vain 
hope that some fragment of a cup cr bottle 
might gladden her sight. " What shall I do? I 
had quite forgotten that." 

" Wait a bit," said Bill, who was gradually 
warming up into something of the same interest 
which Aileen already felt for her patient. 

"Wait a bit, till I see if there ain't nothing 
above as will serve your turn.'' 

And into the dark passage he plunged once 
more, but only to re-appear in a few minutes 
with a broken jug, and part of a tallow-candle ; 
which last he proceeded, with many expres- 
sions of glee at his own luck in having found it, 
to light by means of a match-box, that he had 
likewise purloined from the kitchen. 
VOL. II. L 



218 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

See, now," he cried, " If I warn't in luck to 
pounce on this ere bit of a glim ! But, in course, 
you won't say so, Miss Aileen. In course, you 
are too proud to acknowledge a obligation from 
any one as you honors with the hepithet of 
thief" 

" Indeed, Bill, I am very much obliged to you,'* 
said Aileen, earnestly; "and so will poor Jim, I 
am certain, when he knows all you have done for 
him. But couldn't you get me a bit of a rag to 
lay on his forehead. It is so burning hot." 

" Wather ! wather ! " moaned poor Jim, as if 
partly conscious of what she had been saying. 
"Mother dear! for Christ's sake, some wather." 

" You see is thinking of his own home, and 
his mother, poor fellow," cried Aileen, tears 
starting to her eyes as she listened. " Do, Bill, 
do give me a bit of rag to lay wet upon his 
forehead — mamma often did it when she had 
a headache." 

" Werry sorry, but I never keeps no such loose 
toggery about me, Miss Aileen. Howsomdever 
it's a pity you didn't ask me before supper," he 
added, with a comical smile, " for then I had 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 219 



half-a-dozen silk choakers in my pocket, and any 
or all of them would have been quite at your 
service." 

Aileen could not resist a smile, but it was 
only a half smile, and she instantly tried to 
counteract its influence by a grave shake of the 
head, while she continued to implore him. 

" Do, dear Bill — try and find me something 
or other, won't you?" 

This endearing epithet had never yet been 
applied to Bill in vain, and cunning little Aileen 
knew it well. So powerfully, indeed, did it 
work in the present instance, that he instantly 
contrived to recall to mind a certain lumber room 
where all sorts of ill-gotten goods were usually 
stored, until the proper moment had arrived for 
disposing of them safely. To this place, he at 
once proceeded, and returning in less time than 
could have been expected, threw a small cambric 
handkerchief towards her, triumphantly ob- 
serving — 

" It's a precious sight too small and fine to be 
of much use to any one, except^ in course, a fairy 
like yourself — but it were the whitest and 
L 2 



220 HOME iNP THE HOMELESS. 



cleanest I seed in the lot, and I didn't want to 
dirty yer fingers, more nor I could help to." 

The blood mshed suddenly and violently to 
Aileen's forehead, as she eagerly seized the prof- 
fered gift, and there were tears in her eyes, and 
a quiver in her voice as she whispered, 

" Oh, Bill, where did you find it?" 

" In the rag homnibus, to-be-sure. Well, 
wot is the kinchen arter now, I wonder. I'm 
blest if she ain't a crying her eyes out." 

It is mine. Bill, it is mine !" sobbed Aileen, 
through her tears. 

" Well, and wot then," said the boy good 
naturedly. " It's all serene now, and you've got 
your own agin. My eyes! but it was green, 
not to pick out the mark !" 

" They couldn't, Bill— they couldn!t," cried 
Aileen, with a little triumph in her voice. " See, 
it is printed!" and Bill saw by the light of the 
tallow candle, that in the middle of the little 
treasure of embroidered muslin and mechlin lace 
which Aileen spread out before him, the words 
" Rosalie de St. Arnoul," were printed in very 
distinct and indelible letters. 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 



221 



Mamma, did it that way in joke," con- 
tinued Aileen softly, " because I worked it all my 
own self, and because I was so proud of it. She 
little thought of where I should find it at last, 
and of all that would have happened before then 
to her poor, little, lost Rosalie." 

This thought woke up all Aileen's long 
smothered grief, and covering her face with 
her hands, she wept those quiet, heart-broken 
tears, that ever betoken the deepest grief of 
childhood, the grief that is neither alloyed by 
anger or by fear; while Bill, feeling thoroughly 
embarrassed between his real sympathy and his 
awkward consciousness of inability in the art of 
giving consolation, continued to shift from leg to 
leg, ever and anon uttering such broken sen- 
tences as these, 

" Don't now, Aileen — don't now, dearie. Dry 
your peepers, will you? there's a good little 
fairy, and if you'll give me back that cussed rag 
as has made you cry, I'll leave it where I found 
it, and no one will be the worser or the wiser 
for my stoopid diskivery ? " 

To give up her handkerchief was, however, the 



223 MOMZ THE HOMEU^* 

lait thing that Aiken desred to doy so she 
squeezed it aD more tigiitij between her 
fingers while she sobbed^ '^Oh^ don't take it 
awaj, Bill; do let me hare it, I lore it so 
mndi, it reminds me of mamma.'' 

And if anjT of our pals shonld twig it, 
wouldn't thej make me pay for m j precious per- 
liteness, I wonder," remonstrated the boy, 
divided between his wish to gratifj Afleen, and 
his not unnatural fear of die possible consequences 
in such a case to himself. 

" Bat they won't miss it; and they shan't even 
see it," cried the child, cramming it hastily down 
into the bosom of her frock. And if they did, 
Bill, they should never know where I got it ! Not 
if they tore me with wild horses, they shouldn't." 

" I believes you, my lassie," Bill heartily re- 
plied. *^ For there ain't a stauncher-hearted gal 
for your years atween this and Newcastle ; but 
still, if you puts it on Jim's peepers they'll be 
sure to twig where you got it." 

"Couldn't you get me another for Jim?" 
asked Aileen, pressing her little treasure yet 
closer to her bosom. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 223 



" 'Spose I must, then," said the other, with a 
roguish look, producing at the same time fro ja his 
pocket a larger, and for mere mortal use, a far 
more eflBcient specimen of what Aileen called a 
handkerchief, and he a choaker or wipe, accord- 
ing to the use for which it was intended. 

" Oh, that is just the thing," cried Aileen. 
''Where did you get it, Bill?" 

" Where I got the other most like," said Bill, 
putting his tongue in the approved fashion of 
young pick' pockets into his cheek. " I thought 
if it were lawful to prig for number two, which 
is you, you know, it couldn't be altogether so ob- 
jectionable to do as much for number one — which 
is I. So while I were a picking up that ere 
stoopid little bit of nothing at all for you, I 
just made bold to help myself to a couple of 
choakers aginst the cold weather set in — regular 
good'uns they are, too — real cambrics, and no 
mistake ! " 

Even in the midst of her doubts and per- 
plexities, Aileen could not resist a smile at this 
speech; but just then a moan from poor Jim re- 
minding her of her more immediate duties as a 



224 HOME A^D TTTB ffOMKLEffi, 

iiarse, s^h6 ^zed tfie handkercfairffirom Bill, and 
(fipping it mtt) water, laid it at once^ wirfi that 
troev w^omanly instinct for tie alleviatioa of sof- 
fering, which circnmfttances had cansed to be 
prematarely developed ia her case, npon the 
burning forehead of the sick hov. The sense of 
relief seemed almost instantaneonsv causing some- 
Aing like a smile to play upon Jim's features; 
and the delighted Aileen turned with eyes grate- 
ful and OTerffowing towards her partner in the 
good work she had accomplished, 

^ He likes it, Bilir Ton see he likes it! " she 
criedj almost clapping her bands in her childish 
gke. ^ And now,'^ she continued, in quite ano- 
ther manner^ as the habitual caution acquired by 
her long residence among enemies gradually re- 
sumed its sway upon her mind; '*you can do 
nothing more for him to-night, so you had better 
go away, for if John catches you and me to- 
gether here, he will perhaps prevent us from 
coming again. So good-night, dear Bill, and 
thank you so much for your kindness to Jim/' 

Good-night! " echoed the other, in a tone of 
surprise* *'Why, Aileen, I say, you ain't agoin, 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 225 



are you, to sit here all the long night through 
with that poor cove as has no more sense left in 
his brain pan — than — than — " Bill hesitated for 
a minute, and then added, than the himage at 
the gate of St. PauFs." 

"Indeed, but I am though," said Aileen; for 
there is no one else to do it, and he would have 
done as much for me, poor fellow, and more if 
he could, I am certain. So now do get away, 
Bill, for you know it will be worse for both of 
us if you don't. 

" I believe you, my gal ! But if I cut my 
luckie now, because you wish it, never you go 
ar'terwards for to say, as I wouldn't ha' stayed 
with you, and gladly too, if it hadn't been alto* 
gether dangerous and unpossible.to attempt it." 

" Indeed, I am quite certain that you would, 
Bill." 

" And once the day light's fair-lie in," con- 
tinued Bill, " you'd best cut your own stick also, 
Aileen ; for John Nightshade will be sure to come 
sneaking in, for to see wot is the measure of his 
ugly fist, against the next time he may 'appen to 
want it. And lookee, my lassie, I've kivered up 

l5 



JSK M\m\ JBBs: 's: wi .^ftfr. 



v.'ftc. JLiflOL^ iBBceer -iat my. hsiI Tfigfe'iu^ 

^ Tsaak yvLT sat ATiarT, wi; I vzs. acre 
tib^ voL ^se: im£ hefScdtE^ AxL lam er «nj 
4k. B^fcr I TafaklMsET KMC lae Kir r i a g 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 227 



CHAPTER X. 



Under Dr. Spencer's vigorous and judiciou 
treatment, Mrs. Montgomeriewas soon sufficiently 
recovered from the mere bodily effects of her 
seizure to be carried to the drawing room^ but 
her intellect had well nigh departed from her, 
and faint indeed were the hopes which the doctor 
gave them, that it ever would be restored. Lily 
was her only thought, her only care, and of Lily 
she raved continually, in a way very distressing 
to the feelings of all the party, but positive 
agony to those of Frank, inclined perhaps as he 
was just then, to dwell more on the anguish bis 
sister's conduct had inflicted on her mother than 



sm -jns tsz skelzs. 

^ -irs ^wi ii'^jc. :zi-r* TTisz. 7Zi3e :irr^i i^*^ 

asi^rr rs?rjT. - md if 77a aav isoxncr vi'ri :ipoa 

ditm'gfEaL and make my bow. Bar ncTer re- 
turn. Erelyii. mind :iiat: 50 praj count die 
e^>«t fcirfo:e yea get rid of your medico fiir 

^ Nay, then,"^ said Erelyn smiling, ^ I shall 
not nay another irord upon the sabjeci. you 
may be certain. Indeed, you would give me 
ere^llt for disinterestedness in nrging your de- 
parture, if you only knew what a comfort your 
pregerjce here has been to all of us in general^ 
and to me in particular." 

" No doubt of it, my dear," replied the doctor, 
who was not a man to refuse a compliment when 
he considered it his due. " Nevertheless, and 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 229 



though it would be the dearest wish of my heart 
to give you comfort, you must not flatter your- 
self that I am staying for your sake only. 
There is yet another in this family, Miss 
Evelyn, who may hereafter need support and 
consolation far more than you do." 

" Frank!" cried Evelyn, catching the expres- 
sive glance which Dr. Spencer threw towards 
that individual, as he sauntered slowly past 
the open window. "I should have thought," 
she added, that he would have been the last 
among us to have asked for comfort." 

" And for that very reason he may be the 
first to need it," said the doctor significantly. 
"Can't you see, can't you guess how sorely 
how terribly he may yet be tried, with his 
pride, his conscience, his refined ideas and in- 
tensity of feeling? What will become of him 
when he comes to measure the depth of guilt 
into which his sister may have fallen? Mind, I 
only say may," he added, in answer to the im- 
patient denial of Evelyn's lip and eye. " I only 
say may, and yet, good Heaven!" he cried, 
starting from his seat and pacing the room with 



^ JB;: arrmy ^ vubkc jis ^nmr words 

]Katt:n^ lets vtti xonor u^ sur. - JLuc ndiere s 
lifer «sSrr;BBft;. Z wvjttifts:. iieimst isErnip m ^BOt 

iftso?;^ ^ri2i|: 91 iau'C i&acr ycK msu to 

' I •i.^i iii:sji J^yuaoii f««r BCT&i itScsr ite 
^ 1 41^^^ i Tw;. JEat Itwil It a 

)i4>iKi«» .' Im^v dwsneii mim^ imidhi sinm the 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



231 



parish! if it were in the power of every rag-tag 
and bob-tail who chose it, to help himself to a 
new wife as soon as he was tired of the old 
one." 

"True," said Evelyn, thoughtfully; "apart 
even from the morality of the question, I can 
hardly imagine how there can be two common 
sense opinions as to the fatal working of such a 
law." 

" The morality of the question !" replied the 
doctor, scornfully, " Pah ! — pah ! the men who 
advocate divorce care little enough for that part 
of the business; and, after all, why should they? 
For if it be not against religion to buy divorce 
as they do at present, why should it be so, to give 
it gratis, as they want to do in future? Excepting 
indeed," he added, with a smile, " that there is 
a sort of poetical justice in the system as it 
exists just now; for money is so often the only 
connecting link in marriage, that it seems only 
fair it should sometimes at least possess the 
power of severance also." 

" But," said Evelyn, willingly abandoning the 
argument, in order to recur to that new depth of 



232 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



woe and wretchedness which the doctor's first 
words had opened on her view; "you do not 
— oh ! sufely you cannot think that Frederick 
has wronged this poor child otherwise than by 
making her his wife, though that, in his present 
position would be ruinous enough, God knows." 

"Faith! don't I though?" replied the doctor. 
'*For once then, my dear, you are mistaken. 
This making her his wife is just the very 
thing that I am afraid Master Frederick has for- 
gotten to do ; and I would give a thousand pounds 
this moment down, only just to see the poor child 
walk in with her wedding ring on her finger." 

" Oh ! Doctor, this is too horrible even to think 
of. It is impossible Frederick could have been 
Buch a villain." 

^' My dear Miss Evelyn," replied the doctor, 
suddenly dropping the tone of banter, which it 
was often his pleasure to adopt at moments when 
he was in reality feeling most intensely ; " I do 
not wish to distress you; but this is a question 
which you must learn to look at in all its aspects. 
Therefore it may be as well to ask yourself 
at once, what was to be expected from a lad, who 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 233 



with strong passions and precocious intellect had 
no better or more solid support against tempta- 
tion, than that vague cant about universal benevo- 
lence and morality which it is so much the 
pleasure of the present age to accept as a substi- 
tute for religious culture. Bah ! it makes me 
sick to think of it. Do they not feel them- 
selves, these men of impossible moralities and 
moral impossibilities, do they not feel themselves 
that ours is a two-fold nature, and that the good 
and the bad are for ever fighting furiously within 
us? And how, I pray you, was this poor, lost 
boy to find in such a shadowy system a real 
antidote to his passions? He, who had never 
been taught that there was a divine law existing 
expressly for his guidance, a God above him to 
witness all his actions, an immutable hereafter 
to reward them or to punish ! There, there," 
cried the doctor, breaking off suddenly in his 
oration, I have done now, for I will not have 
you cry, my dear. Remember, that God often 
contrives good things out of the evil ones men do; 
(though not quite in the way some of these fancy 
moralists suppose,) and so it is that from the 



234 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



very humiliation to which sin has brought her, 
the soul sometimes rises to her regeneration. We 
will hope and pray that it may be so in this case, 
and in the mean time I will stay here if you will 
permit me, for I feel certain that I may be 
wanted yet, though how, to say the truth, I have 
not the smallest notion. God will teach me ia 
his own good time; and now let us speak of 
something else, and let alone for the present this 
unhappy topic." 

Evelyn willingly agreed to this proposal; but 
with her powers of observation thus put in a 
right direction, a very few days sufficed to con- 
vince her that the doctor was probably right in 
his conjecture, and that Frank did really enter- 
tain serious fears as to the nature of the con- 
nection which his sister had contracted with 
Frederick. Not that he ever spoke of his sus- 
picions either to Evelyn or to any one else; he 
he was far to proud for that; but she saw that 
while he talked much and eagerly on all the 
common topics of the day, while he affected even 
a higher tone of spirits than was natural to his 
disposition, any chance word that reminded him 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 235 



of the past, any pause even in the conversation 
that suffered his thoughts to subside into their 
ordinary channel, was sufficient to call a look of 
gloom upon his brow, that ti>ld ill for the happi- 
ness of the mind beneath it. She saw, too, that 
while he seemed rather to shrink from Mr. 
Sutherland's society, perhaps, as the father of 
one who might have wronged his sister, he yet 
tended his mother in her helpless dotage with a 
child-like love and tenderness, that often brought 
tears into Evelyn's eyes. It seemed as if he 
were not only endeavouring to atone to her in 
his own person, for the absence of that other child, 
whose conduct had reduced her to such a pitiable 
condition; but as if he wished to show to all the 
world by a double reverence, that no failing of 
her mental powers could lessen the dignity of his 
mother in his eyes. Frank had, in fact, had his 
own suspicions of Lily's possible fate from the 
beginning, though he had never spoken to any 
one on the subject; and when at last that sus- 
picion grew almost to certainty in her continued 
silence, then all at once his efforts for the dis- 
covery of his sister ceased. In his pride he 



236 HOME AND THE HOM£LESS. 



would far rather have felt certain that she had 
perished than have listened to the tidings of her 
ruin and degradation ; and from the moment that 
the probability of the latter began to prepon- 
derate in his mind, he endeavoured, with all the 
strength of his strong will to efface her image 
from it altogether. Henceforth his once loved 
and petted Lily became as though she had never 
been in his regard — her name was never heard 
upon his lips — he never even thought of her 
when he could help it, and anxious as he was 
in all things else to soothe and gratify his mother, 
he never seemed to hear or understand her 
passionate ravings about her child; her querulous 
inquiries for her * Lily flower/ 

Mr. Sutherland fully agreed with his nephew 
in this line of conduct, and everything that could 
remind them of the missing girl was by degrees 
banished from their presence. Her birds were set 
free, her dog was given away, her room put just 
in the state in which she had left it, locked up, 
and Evelyn and the doctor (both as anxious 
as ever, and as much from principle as affection, 
to rescue Lily, not from the disgrace, since that 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 237 



was irremediable, but from the criminality of her 
position) were compelled, to their infinite discom- 
fort, to see days and weeks pass by, without being 
permitted to take other steps for her recovery, 
than such as consisted in the most feryent 
prayers. 

In this state of things it certainly seemed 
nearly useless for the Doctor to remain, yet* still 
he lingered on; Mr, Sutherland being the only 
one of the party who did not wish earnestly for 
his presence, albeit, he perfectly succeeded in 
concealing this feeling from the others. He 
had always, in fact, regarded that gentleman as 
his wife's friend rather than his own ; and in any 
case it would have been impossible for two men 
so thoroughly dissimilar in all their notions, to 
have been on more than merely civil terms with 
each other. Moreover he dreaded the Doctor's 
superior penetration, and lived in hourly fear 
of his discovering, that he had another secret, 
darker even than the possible fate of Lily, 
weighing on his soul — the secret of poor Aileen's 
destiny, which every day rendered more liable to 
detection, and which had begun to haunt his 



238 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



mind, as hidden crime will ever haunt the mind of 
the man who commits it. And yet, such slaves 
do men become to fear, when even one bad deed 
has put them in its power, his very longing to rid 
himself of the Doctor's presence, prevented him 
from accomplishing his wishes. It seemed so pro- 
bable that the guest thus summarily dismissed, 
would first imagine a cause for such unwonted 
rudeness, and then succeed in divining its 
nature. 

Things were in this position at the 'Terns/' 
when, one morning, contrary to his usual custom, 
Doctor Spencer was absent from the breakfast 
room, where all the family in deference to Mr. 
Sutherland's city habits, were in the custom of 
assembling early. 

" How late the Doctor is," said Wyllie, as he 
took his place at his own little table, which since 
his return he had always shared with his invalid 
aunt. 

" So late that some of us will wait no longer," 
observed Evelyn, pouring out Mrs. Montgome- 
rie's tea, while Frank threw down his book in 
order to cut her bread and butter. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 239 



" Here he comes," cried Wyllie from the win- 
dow — " and Denis with him carrying a bundle of 
— what is it? A girl, I do believe, and dripping 
wet besides." The boy stopped short suddenly 
— ^he was frightened, though he scarce knew 
why! 

At this startling announcement, Evelyn looked 
up — and for one brief moment her eyes met those 
of Frank — they were burning like lurid torches 
beneath his ashy brow. "A girl!" cried Mr. 
Sutherland, starting up, while Frank sprang to 
the window, but the Doctor had already opened 
it from the outside, and Denis entered with his 
dripping burthen, which he laid carefully on a 
distant sofa. 

"Lily!" screamed Mrs. Moritgomerie, as the 
inanimate object was borne quickly past her. 
Evelyn could not speak for very fear, but Mr. 
Sutherland made one step hastily forward, and 
then as hastily retreated with a scornful " pshaw, 
it's only an infernal little beggar girl after all " 

" Ough, and by the powers, if she is infarnal," 
muttered Denis in a low voice, for he was too 
much in awe of Mr. Sutherland to express his 



240 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



disapprobation of this cold-hearted speech in a 
more open manner. " She's been havin' a dose 
of cowld wather that would have cooled the ould 
gentleman himself, if he'd got it. Sure it's 
dripping wet the crayture is, let alone drownded 
entirely into the bargain." 

"Drowned! Good God !" cried Evelyn, while 
Mr. Sutherland once more ensconced himself 
behind his newspaper, and Frank, on the con- 
trary, who had hitherto hung back, at once came 
forward. " Oh, Wyllie, Wyllie," cried Evelyn, 
as she knelt down beside the sofa, " only think; 
it is the poor little cress girl who used to come 
here in the spring." 

"Aye, like enough," replied Dr. Spencer; 
"let her have a teaspoonful of brandy. Miss 
Evelyn (Frank rang the bell violently for the 
restorative recommended), for," continued the 
doctor, " she was gathering them down yonder 
in the deep pool near the road, when in she went 
head foremost, and instead of letting her flounder 
out again as she had got in, yonder omadhaun 
must needs jump after to fetch her. As if a 
drowned child wern't enough on a doctor's 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 241 



hands, without the care of a rheumatic old fool 
besides." 

Hear to that now !" ejaculated Denis, " as 
if he hadn't his own leg in right up to the calf 
before I could even get down to the wather at 
all. And didn't I jump in then for no other 
rayson in life but just this, that if there war to 
be a rheumatic old fool in the business, I thought 
it more shutable it should be the man nor the 
masther." 

" As if I were such a donkey !" said his master. 
"Why I only held my stick to her from the bank, 
and if you had but waited a moment longer she 
would have been safe out without giving either 
of us any trouble at all." 

" I am afraid you didn't remember to wait 
yourself, sir," said Evelyn, pointing to his drip- 
ping trousers with a smile. 

*' I held on by a confounded bramble," said 
the old man, laughing and reddening up to his 
bald forehead at having been detected ; and it 
gave way, like a sullen, sulky Saxon of a bramble 
as it was, too glad of a chance for tumbling the 
wretched Celt into deep water. But here comes 

VOL. II. M 



242 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



the brandy ; though I don't think our little pa- 
tient will need it now, for I see that she is be- 
ginning to revive already." 

" Then perhaps it would be as well to carry 
her tip-stairs and put her to bed while her clothes 
are drying," said Evelyn; "and by the time you 
have changed your own things she will be quite 
ready for your further advice." 

" You are always right, my dear Miss Evelyn. 
I only wish I had had you for a doctor's assis- 
tant in India, and between us we should have 
done wonders. Bed and a cup of tea will, I hope, 
put her all to rights in no time, without other 
aid from the doctor than what her foot, which 
she has sprained, I am afraid, may require." 

Frank instantly and without being asked, took 
the little girl gently and tenderly in his arms, 
and, accompanied by Evelyn, carried her up- 
stairs. 

The doctor and his servant disappeared at the 
same time, and muttering something about not 
being permitted to eat his breakfast in peace, 
Mr. Sutherland immediately followed their ex- 
ample. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 243 



" Lily dead ! Lily drowned," moaned poor 
Mrs. Montgomerie, who had hitherto sat gazing 
without any apparent consciousness of the real 
nature of the scene before her; but who no sooner 
felt herself alone with Wyllie, than yielding to 
the one idea which it had impressed upon her 
mind, commenced rocking herself backwards and 
forwards to the burthen of the same mournful 
plaining. 

"Lily, dead! Lily, drowned! quite dead — 
quite drowned — and I shall never gee her 
more." 

" No, indeed, dear aunt," cried Wyllie, unable 
to bear that pitiable cry. " It is not Lily, it is 
only a poor little girl." 

A poor little girl," repeated the old lady. 
" Then she must have run away from her home, 
and that was naughty, and no one will pity 
her but her mother and me — poor little girl." 

She didn't run away," answered Wyllie, 
trying to make her understand. She was 
gathering water-cresses, which she sells after- 
wards to buy bread for her mother and 
sisters." 

M 2 



244 HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS. 



" Bread ! " said Mrs. Montgomerie, the word 
suddenly conveying a new idea to her mind. 
" Do you think Lily wants bread. Oh, I hope 
not. I hope not," she added quickly, for no one 
would pity her, Wyllie. No one would pity 
her." 

" I would for one, I am sure," said Wyllie, 
with tears in his eyes, " and — " 

Would you though ? " said the poor mother, 
lowering her voice, "then hush, little Wyllie, 
and I will tell you a secret. Frank said a hard 
thing of her once, and I have had it in my mipd 
night and day ever since; but I have never told 
it to any one till now. He said that she had 
closed the door herself, and that he would never 
be the one to open it to her again. He didn't 
think I heard him, but I did ; and it has been 
like a heavy weight deep down in my heart ever 
since that day to this." 

" That was only just at first, when he was 
vexed," said Wyllie. " He wouldn't say so now 
I'm sure." 

" Do you think he wouldn't," cried the mother 
eagerly. *'And do you think that supposing 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 245 



they carried her in here, only just supposing now 
that they carried her in here drowned, and 
dripping like that other? do you think he would 
carry her up stairs gently and lovingly as he did 
that one?" 

" I am sure he would," said Wyllie, stoutly ; 
" and if he didn't, I would, and Evelyn, too, you 
may be certain, auntie." 

"Ah, if she would but come," sighed the 
mother wearily. " If she would but come ! If she 
were ever so wet and dripping, and they would 
only let her in, I would fold her to my bosom, 
and cherish and nurse her just as I did when she 
was a little one in my arms — my own baby — my 
lily flower — and you think, then, that Frank 
would let her in," she added anxiously. " You 
think so, Wyllie, do you ? " 

" To be sure he would," said Evelyn, who at 
that moment re-entered the room with her clear, 
bright face, and steadfast determination to make 
the best of all things. " But how is this, dear 
lady ? the bread and butter all untouched, and 
the tea quite cold ! " 

"There were no water- cresses," said the in- 



246 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



valid, her puzzled thoughts reverting to the child 
up- stairs. 

" Precisely ! and here is your son coming 
in with a basketful," replied Evelyn, catching a 
glinipse of Frank, who after depositing Lizzy in 
bed had walked off to the scene of .her late ad- 
venture, and was now returning from it, with her 
basket, which had been forgotten, and which almost 
directly afterwards he laid in triumph on the table. 

Evelyn immediately commenced washing the 
cresses, while Frank cut them up and laid them 
daintily on the neglected bread and butter. It 
was pretty indeed to see these two, so opposite in 
all their feelings and opinions, yet working so 
eagerly together for the comfort of the invalid; 
and prettier still, to see Evelyn afterwards kneel 
down beside her, and coax her with almost more 
than a daughter's love and tenderness, to the 
eating of her breakfast. So at least thought 
Frank, and after watching her a moment longer, 
he could not refrain from saying : — 

" How good you are, Evelyn." 

" Not half so good as you would be," cried 
Evelyn eagerly, looking up : " If ! if — " 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS 247 

" If what, dear Evelyn?" 
If you had the same clear faith to guide 
your actions — the same bright hopes to cheer 
- you to their fulfilment — the same charity or 
love of God which, while it prompts us to our 
better deeds, gives them their only real value in 
His eyes, in this, that it is for His dear sake they 
have been performed alone." 

" Evelyn," said Frank hastily. I cannot 
argue with you this morning." 

" I don't want you to argue, Frank. Faith is 
not, and never has been the fruit of argument, 
but of lowly prayer alone. A contrite and hum- 
ble heart, God, thou will not despise !" 

" Aye, when it is contrite and humble," s'lid 
Frank moodily. "When it is, Evelyn." 

When it is," she answered laughing. She 
saw with her quick woman's perception, that 
his pride shrank from the bare possibility of 
her guessing how deeply his heart had been 
seared already by Lily's conduct, and so thought 
it best to dismiss the subject for the present, as 
lightly as she could. 

" When it is, Frank; — and in the mean time, 



248 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



perhaps you will look after the teapot, while I 
settle your mother to her breakfast. Wyllie 
dear, I dare say papa is in his study, cannot 
you manage to scramble so far, just to tell him 
we are ready for breakfast now. He will be 
pleased, I am sure, to see you growing so 
active." 

Wyllie took his crutches. Two months ago he 
would have fainted, really fainted over the ex- 
ertion, but he had gathered strength wonder- 
fully under the regime of the Doctor, and if, 
when he returned, there was a flush upon his brow 
and tears in his clear, blue eyes, it was evidently 
not fatigue which had called them there. 

"What is it, Wyllie?" said his sister, who, 
accustomed to interpret his slightest looks, 
guessed at once that his father had rebuffed 
him. 

" He has had his coffee, he says," said Wyllie 
with a hardly suppressed sob. " And he told 
ine to go about my business, because, amongst 
us, we have bothered him enough for one while 
already." 

Never mind," said his sister encouragingly. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 249 



" Papa had been kept waiting when he was 
hungry — and hungry men are — 

" Mere animals, as I know from my own pro- 
per experience," said the Doctor, as he returned 
to the room, "I am hungry enough to eat a 
little child to my own share, if I had one ready 
cooked, at this moment. Miss Evelyn, will you 
be kind enough to come and look after your tea- 
pot — that fellow won't leave us a flavour of 
Bohea to our second cup, to judge by the way he 
is turning on the water. Wyllie, be so good as to 
give me the half of that fowl ; it will save you 
the trouble of helping it again. How is my 
friend, the water rat, up stairs?" 

" Very comfortable," said Evelyn. " More 
so, perhaps, than she has ever been in her life 
before, and yet fretting her heart out to go back 
to Mammy." 

" She mustn't walk," said the Doctor, hastily. 
" Tea, not coffee. Miss Evelyn, and if you'll put 
your little finger in, it will be a saving to your 
grocer's bill. The child has hurt her foot, and 
mustn't attempt to walk for a fortnight, at 
least." 

M 5 



250 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" I will go and order the carriage," said Frank, 
" and then, Evelyn, if you like to take her back, 
I will look after Wyllie for the rest of the morn- 
ing." 

" Yes do, Frank," murmured his mother from 
her distant corner; " her mother will be uneasy; 
mothers always are so anxious. '^^ 

A look of intense pain crossed Frank's open 
brow, but he only patted his mother soothingly 
on the head and left the room. 

" What a heart that fellow has," said the 
doctor, lool^ing after him, " if his pride would 
only allow it to expand at pleasure. And now, 
Miss Evelyn, I don't think I can finish the 
chicken altogether this morning, so if you please 
we'll adjourn up stairs and look after our 
patient," 

Evelyn's maid met them at the door of the 
chamber : 

"I was just goin' to look for you. Miss; the 
poor child is fretting sorely because she has 
hurted her foot, and is afraid it will keep her for 
a long time from helping her mammy with her 
living." 



HOM£ AND THE HOMELESS 251 



" Hut, tut," said the doctor, sitting doyrn be- 
side his patient, and cleverly extricating the 
little, red foot from beneath the bed clothes ; 
" and pray what sort of a living do you and your 
mammy contrive to get between you?" 

" Wather cresses, your honor. Them and the 
rags is all we do have to live by." 

" Water cresses and rags !" said the doctor. 
" Humph ! a goodly mode of living that, I trow, 
in this christianized, civilized, progress-raving, 
belly-starving England. Nay, Missey, I won't 
hurt you more than I can help it," he added 
kindly, seeing that the child shrank timidly from 
his lightest pressure on the suffering ancle. 
"Miss Evelyn, I think we will try the cold 
water cure for this; a poultice, or plenty of rags 
dipt in water will serve the turn as well, and be 
more convenient besides ; if you have a bit of 
old linen that we can cut up into strips." 

" Tou sell water cresses," said Evelyn, after 
she had fetched the articles required by the 
doctor; " but what do you do with the rags, are 
they also intended for sale?" 

"We pick them for the paper men," said 



252 UOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

Lizzy, "but it's hot and dusty work it is, and the 
room do be very close, because we are forced to 
keep the windy shut all the time. Mother says 
she has never been the same woman since she 
tuck up wid the rag trade." 

"Likely enough," observed the doctor; "but 
why shut the windy? I should have thought a 
little fresh air would have done a deal of good 
even to the rags themselves, to say nothing of 
the christians who pick them." 

" Mammy shuts the windy because when the 
wind is high it would blow the rags all to 
smithereens," the child answered, opening her 
eyes wide in astonishment at the ignorance dis- 
played by her questioner. 

" True for you, my little maid," replied the 
doctor, laughing. " I never thought of that, I 
acknowledge, when I recommended fresh air." 

" Mother, didn't always pick rags," continued 
the child, in a plaintive voice, " and she wouldn't 
be doing it now, if any other work war as handy 
to be got at." 

"What then did she do instead?" asked 
Evelyn. 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 253 



" Worked for the bootmakers, Miss, until Jim 
ran away ; but after that, she couldn't work fast 
enough, on account of having no one to help her, 
to say nothin' of the sickness and loss of sight 
that was on her besides." 

"Loss of sight, indeed, and how did that 
happen?" asked the doctor, all his professional 
zeal awakened at this mention of a " case." 

" Troth meself doesn't very well know, sir, if 
it warn't frettin' about Jim that may be wakened 
her eye sight. Howsomdever, she's got over it 
finely now (glory be to God for that same!) but 
for a long while she was next doore to ' dark' 
altogether, and couldn't crass the street widout 
one of us to guide her." 

"Very wrong, indeed," said the doctor; "of 
course she weakened her eyes by crying. What 
did she do that for? Silly woman, it couldn't 
bring Jim back again." 

" Av coorse not, sir, and so the parish docthor 
towld her. But for all that, as mother said to 
him, mothers will cry when anything goes 
wrong wid the childhre. It's the nature of 
'em, and they can't help it, no more nor the 



254 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



bird on the bush can help mournin' for its 
young ones." 

"Confound the parish doctor!" said our 
worthy friend ; thoroughly put out at the bare 
idea ol having been caught in accordance with 
any such official, and especially one who was re- 
sident in London. On second thoughts, my 
dear, I believe it is much more likely that it 
was the rags and water cresses (poor living and 
hard work, in fact) that injured her eyes, thM 
any amount of crying of which -she could have 
been guilty; and you may tell Monsieur the 
Parish Doctor so, with my best compliments, 
whenever you chance to meet him." ^ 

"Tis, sir," said the child; not, of course, 
catching at the real drift of his speech, but per- 
ceiving at all events that it was meant to justify 
her mother. knew mammy was right. 

Mothers must cry, in coorse, whether they will 
or no when they've the misfortin of losing any 
of the childhre." 

Of course they must," said Mrs. Montgomerie, 
who, disturbed and made anxious by the events 
of the morning, had managed, unperceived by 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 255 



any one, to make her way into Evelyn's room ; 
" of course they must. Mothers become mothers 
for nothing on earth but to cry for their little 
ones. All day long, all day long," she repeated 
piteously, as she sank into an easy chair, which 
luckily happened to be close to the door." 

Almost at the same moment Frank came 
running up-stairs to announce the carriage, and 
caught a glimpse of his mother, lialf laying, 
half sitting in the arm chair where she had 
flung herself, too much exhausted by her un- 
wonted exertion to move a step farther. 

" My dear mother," he exclaimed, " what are 
you doing here? Do let me carry you back to 
the sitting room." 

" Yes, pray do, Mr. Frank," said the doctor, 
" and after that perhaps you will be good enough 
to come back and help to bring this young lady 
to the carriage, for she must not put her foot to 
the ground for at least a fortnight, if she intends 
ever to be able to use it properly again. Nay, 
never you put on a crying face about it," he 
added kindly, seeing poor Lizzy's eyes fill with 
tears, " for I promise to visit you every day, 



25« 



aord Tiiis JCMmg l^j vilL take care. I am 
eertaiiL mat aooe of tc^ feeii ihe for Ae 
adTtctare." 

Frask carried his mciher dovn-stairSs settled 
ber oiiM more on ber own particalar 9o£^ and 
was then jast abont to kare the room when she 
called after him in piteous accents : 

^ Frank, do go out to Lilj and tell her to 
come in. It is getting very late and cold, and 
I cannot wait here much longer." 

Something like a shudder passed through his 
frame at the strange, sad meaning these words 
seemed to take in his imagination, but he only 
said, "Yes, yes, mother;" and hastily left the 
room. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 257 



CHAPTER XL 



" Did you say it is at number eight, your mother 
lives?" Evelyn asked as the carriage stopped in 
Dorset-street, a few yards from Gray's Buildings ; 
and she sprang out with the intention of seeing 
the poor woman first, in order to break more 
gently to her the misfortune that had befallen 
her child. " Did you say it was at No. 8 ? " 

"Yes, Miss, and ring the attic-bell, if you 
plaize," screamed Lizzy ; but Evelyn was already 
at the door of the house in question, where 
happily unconscious of any difference in the three 
rusty looking bells that invited her touch, she 
ang inadvertently at the lowest. 




«bc xT'per 2ieL ^iii £ cjk di^rs. lierseit 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 259 



tall janitress retreated to her own premises, 
driving her reluctant little ones before her, 
with a stolid indifference to the evident embar- 
rassment of the visitor, that told more forcibly 
than many words of the savage recklessness 
and carelessness of all but self, which is some- 
times to be found among the inhabitants of such 
places; and which, steeling the heart, as it does, to 
every softer feeling, may be styled the last worst 
curse that poverty puts upon her victims. And 
Evelyn was embarrassed. Eesiding as she did 
at a certain distance out of London, it had never 
been her lot to track poverty to those dark dens 
in which it lies jealously hid from the gaze of 
the luxurious city that surrounds it. Her 
knowledge of the poor and their abodes had 
been hitherto almost entirely confined to 
those immediately in the neighbourhood of the 
* Ferns,' and it was therefore with no very un- 
natural feeling of timidity, that she commenced 
the ascent of the creaking staircase, which the 
woman had indicated with her finger ; and which, 
reeking, filthy, and unwashed as it proved to be, 
seemed provided with every possible ingredient 



mi 



rcnz ^n^nL ".^.^tTrrrx vtacaRa. k "ic tmut- 
Irtgf '>f rcif: -ji/t V.stris rrr^ jcries; if Tac adinen 

f^JrjiA, rhift trrjt-mrrT wizhi^ mj wisest afam 

tiu^ pr^?54n:KrT 'arirg> ▼ifck peeped ofit at the 
ir/^^r "ti ^ ^^ccnfl-^jcr back, snd eoatnuied to 
fi"-i« 40dVr^4mrjdj ar b:r Turl tiie tommg of tlie 
ttaJr'»ie h^r firom icniriaT. 

Xmrtd at last at her destination, ETdjn 
f^tmA a mocaent. both to recorer breath and to 
comifUnr to which of the two rooms before her 
ihn woman had directed her. The door of each 
was closed, bat from that to the front came the 
found of many Toiees, men, women, and children 
engaged either in quarreling or noisj lamenta- 
tion ; while in the other, which after a 
moment's thought she decided to be the one 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 261 



she wanted, the very stillness of death itself 
seemed reigning. 

Evelyn almost held her breath to listen; yet 
she could neither catch the sound of a voice, nor 
detect even the chance movement of a chair to 
tell her there were human beings alive within. 
Her first knock too, was apparently unheard, or 
at all events unnoticed, and it was only after 
repeating it pretty sharply that a hoarse voice 
told her to come in. The lock of the door was 
difficult to manage, but no one came to aid her 
from the inside. It almost seemed indeed as if the 
wretched inmates had forgotten in their misery, 
the most ordinary forms of civilized life, or had 
laid them wilfully aside ; and Evelyn ceased to 
wonder at it, when having succeeded in efiecting 
her entrance, she stood and looked in sorrow and 
dismay at the scene which presented itself to her 
eyes. Of furniture, the room was absolutely 
guiltless ! She might have waited long enough 
for the moving of a chair, for neither a chair, 
nor yet a table, nor yet a bed of any kind did 
that desolate den contain. Yet were there 
human beings enough within those four bare 



262 HOM£ AND THE HOMIXESS. 



walls to call loudly for such luxuries ; a mother, 
and more than half-a-dozen nearly naked chil- 
dren being seated in squalid misery round a 
heap of rags, placed in the middle of the 
room. These, the elder children were helping 
their poor, pale, broken- hearted looking mother 
to pick and sort according to their different 
degrees of quality and cleanness; while the 
youngest, a baby not yet two years of age, having 
succeeded in nestling himself into the half-empty 
sack, which had contained them, and finding it 
the softest bed, save his mother's bosom, that he 
had known for many months, was sleeping 
soundly on the rerilainder. 

Evelyn only became aware of all these par- 
ticulars by degrees, for what with the involun- 
tary tears that filled her eyes, and the dust that 
rose from the unsavoury looking materials on 
the floor, she was nearly blinded at first. But 
long before she recovered her eye-sight, her 
other senses had compelled her to confess that 
Lizzy's verdict was only too correct, when Ae 
had designated the room as ^ close.' 

Possibly even a stronger epithet may have 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 263 

suggested itself to Evelyn; for at the moment 
when she entered, the rays of an October sun were 
pouring in hot and brilliant through the thick 
panes of the carefully shut window, making 
the dusty cloud that filled the room more dis- 
tinctly visible to the eye, and increasing the 
heat and horrors of an atmosphere, already 
rendered almost unbearable, by the effluvia of a 
heap of rags unwashed, time soiled, and greasy, 
just as they had passed from one filthy hand to 
another, or been picked up in the street or 
kennel. One or two of the children paused in 
their occupation to stare at the strange lady, 
while the others went on with their rag picking 
as stolidly as if even the insatiable curiosity of 
childhood had been stifled by want and misery 
in their bosoms ; but the poor mother rose at once, 
and curtsied to Evelyn with an absence of all 
hope or asking in her countenance, that told, as 
words could have hardly done, how all expec- 
tation of human aid had entirely departed from 
her. In fact, it never even occurred to her to 
imagine that Evelyn had come upon her account 
at all, and merely supposing she had made a 



264 



30ME. aHD the 303EEXESS» 



mistake is zo zhe room she wmireiL obsHred 
bet* »re lier visitor iiad rime ro speak : 

•* M:iy be it's uhe room beiow rhat rour lady- 
ship is looking for — the ioore jist iindher this 
one. There rhe ladies io be jftwi oomin*" 

Xo." said Ereiyiu '* I riiink you are die 
persi^n I came co see: chat is ro say^ — your 
name is Darviile. is it aor? ' 

Ochone, my sorroTr^ hut it is* my lady^ fiir 
a arief and a shame that same name has betm ta 
me ever since I bore it. And simre it iai't my 
own at all at but the poor man's tdiat dead 
and gone^ tor Fm a widdy these three months^ 
and more, my lady ; thongh p raps your ladyship 
doesn't know it.'" 

Yes, ' said Evelyn, ^ so at least I Lire un- 
derstood." 

" There wam't a lighter stiep nor a merrier 
heart in the wide west of Ireland nor mine waft, 
when I was called Mary SuniTan,"^ sobbed the 
poor woman ; and now see to what he's brought 
me wid his dbrink and his eril ways. The 
ebildbre half kilt wid cowld an' hunger, an' 
meself a widdy, widout a rag to corer them or 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 265 



a bit to put into their bellies, or anything but 
the bare walls we live in, to set betune them and 
the four winds of Heaven, as your ladyship need 
only look round in order to sartify for yoursilf." 

" Indeed it is all very sad," said Evelyn cora^ 
passionately ; " but still you must try and hope 
for better things, and I trust when these little 
ones grow up, they may make your husband's 
name so respected by their honesty and industry, 
that it will become as dear to you again as when 
first you took it for your own. I come from the 
far west myself, you must know; though I have 
not been there since I was quite a child." 

'* Musha, and I might have guessed that same, 
by the soft word and .the kind look that few 
here do be willin' to give to the widdy and the 
orphan. It seems quare enough to say it, but 
an' your ladyship will believe me, there's many 
a worse sin less hardly punished, nor the sin of 
bein' poor in this grand, rich city." 

And has the parish done nothing for your 
relief?" asked Evelyn; who did not at all feel 
herself called upon to speak in defence of the 
chief city of the nation. 
YOL II. N 



res:. ^ 'SS: ^^mrrr^ 



*- : i- ^i?r is cal. ^ attest 

^ ^ XI.. luui ^ wase. an: ^o mr 

iTii rr*. . sspmsL Tssncme^. irrcra:, witfa 
K xoast soiisfc> Tric^. «c Ihr tti iminij 

••'i^v ipoiiL 1. mj:^ jar; mrtiun. ^fiiuiEP 
c xn' •y^ jiZTi jsxk xx. icr i: ise iMmk: mfl 

JFtfUin: tf tie nofttgrmLtiBr nniWim:. J^^iifiAe 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



267 



" you think you would be better oflF by remain- 
ing where you are?" 

" Troth, do I, my lady. For you see, all the 
neighbours hereabouts know me and respect me 
too (if it isn't too proud to say it); so what 
betune the odd jobs they give me, and the rag 
thrade, and the girleen's airnins upon wather 
cresses, we do contrive to get a livin' somehow, 
— a starvin' one, it's thrue, but still a livin'." 

" And how many have you got to support by 
such means?" asked Evelyn, her eye running 
over the motley group upon the floor, in order to - 
ascertain their number. 

" Nine, my lady — but, och, wirra, wirra!" she 
cried, immediately correcting herself; shure it's 
nine we ought to be, if one, and that the best 
and dutifuUest of them all, hadn't been lost en- 
tirely these six months. Lost ! my lady, and 
whether he's in his cowld grave this day, or 
whether he is still on the face of Grod's earth, 
myself don't know, nor any of the neighbours 
neither, — no more nor your ladyship, nor the 
babe unborn." 

A pause ensued, broken only by the sobs of 
n2 



wua ji t^casQiiaL 'mine ner jt "'vwi n: "tnt 

r!j*r iHODTXTIffiTer ^eii I Tie TOOT ^nCHL 

▼tuejr Hie: jad saner tone, 'ixan ^ nt 

Jir ikkm^ UL m jseBore jaur laoY^ia. taar if 
^ * • « 

iitr ire loK .tiTn, BfeatyriecL in isyitSu ^ I mj 
^ 5nr ti&isL ti&eK -wx zisst loam Us 
wmia^ tuu^ isa Tgntspn ami nnw ^saxf^ *]«iie 

mil ^hasSuM whau wmr haLws ^sippaed g> kim." 
^Wd be kanre jw ^ free mill?* 

^ If ^ ttj ladj, I can't saj bat wkmt he maj 
t»#r# iOf \mtl don't eren know tliml mnch 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 



2€9 



rightly. He'd been working a little while before 
wid a bad set, he had ; though it warn't alto- 
gether his fault, poor boy, for shure them as has 
their bread to get, can't always be asking 
questions. So whether he war ticed away, or 
whether he went of his own free will, it's jist 
exactly what I can't spake to for sartain." 

" But you rather incline to the belief, that he 
was coaxed away, and afterwards prevented from 
returning." 

" If he warn't, my lady, he's done what he 
never done before, least ways for more nor a day 
or two at a time," she added, correcting herself. 
" Why, many's the time his fader, that's dead 
and gone, (God rest him,) did bate the boy to 
that degree, that I've wondhered to myself I 
have, whether wanst he got out of the house, 
he'd ever darken the doore again. But he 
always did afther a while, poor lad, for it warn't 
in him, you see, my lady, to lave his mother 
and the childhre to starve, and he to the fore 
to help it." 

" And did you never apply to the police to 
seek him?" 



272 



HOME AND THE HOMRLf.SS. 



"It certainly seems unlikely," said Evelyn, 
soothingly. " But you mentioned your little cress- 
girl just now, and it was precisely about her that 
I came to speak to you this morning." 

Ev( lyn paused, for a heavy foot on the stair- 
case warned her that the doctor's patience was 
at last exhausted, and that he was coming him- 
self to the scene of action ; in fact, she had only 
time to add : " She met with a slight accident 
this morning,'' before a very determined bang at 
the door announced the presence of her impatient 
countryman on the outside. 

Poor Mrs. Darville grew a shade whiter, if 
that were possible, than she had been before, but 
stunned by the bare announcement of anew mis- 
fortune, she neither attempted to reply to Evelyn, 
nor seemed conscious of the loud sumnions of the 
doctor. 

" It won't be of the slightest consequence, I 
assure you," continued Evelyn, shocked at the 
effect of her communication, and rising herself to 
admit the visitor. " Her foot is a little lamed, 
but a few days rest will set it all right again ; 
you may feel quite assured of that." 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 273 



" A few days ! " sighed the widow, with a look 
of blank dismay, which told too plainly how 
days of rest in such a household as her own, must 
she knew be days of famine also. " Well, well," 
she added, recovering herself with a stifled sob, 
" it's the will of God, it is, and shure He knows 
best;" and without another word of murmur 
or lament, she turned to Lizzy, whom the doctor 
had by this time deposited on the rag-sack, close 
to little Patsy, now wide awake and staring with 
all his might at the strange visitors, whom fate 
had assembled on the premises during his 
slumbers. 

"Is it much hurt, you are, alanna? Arrah 
how did you do it at all at all? " sighed the poor 
mother, going down on her knees as she spoke? 
and taking hold of the bandaged foot in a vacant 
and hopeless manner. 

" She really is not hurt in any way to speak 
about, my dear madam," said Dr. Spencer, who 
always made a point of speaking to the poor 
with as much respect, to use his own expression, 
as if they were first cousins to the Queen her- 
self. " A very few days will put your little girl 



274 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



on her legs again, and in the meantime I must 
lequest you not to think of sending for the 
parish doctor, as I promise myself a great deal 
of pleasure in attending to this case myself." 

" She fell into a pool of water and twisted her 
ancle," said Evelyn, perceiving that Mrs. Dar- 
ville had by no means arrived as yet at a full 
understanding of the case. " That is all, so you 
must not fret about it more than you can help, 
and 1 will take care that you want for nothing 
until Lizzy is able to get about again. And 
that reminds me, doctor," she added, turning to 
that gentleman, " you have forgotten the basket; 
but never mind, I will go for it myself." 

Miss de Burghe had left the room before the 
doctor could oflfer any remonstrance; but she was 
back again in five minutes afterwards with a large 
basket of provisions, which she had taken care 
to provide before leaving the " Ferns," for the 
starving family. These she gave to Mrs. Dar- 
ville to distribute among the older children, while 
Patsey she undertook to feed herself, in order 
that the poor half-starved mother might have 
sufficient time for her own refreshment. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 275 

No sooner, however, did that young gentlernan 
find himself on the knee of the stranger lady, 
than he went off into such a sturdy roar of 
terror and dismay, that Evelyn was fain to 
resign him to the keeping of the widow, who, 
poor soul, was only too happy to suspend her 
own meal in order to cram her half-starved 
nursling with such thick lumps of bread and 
meat, as neither he nor any of his brethren had 
ever before enjoyed, excepting perhaps, in the 
unreal ecstacy of a dream. 

" And now," said Evelyn kindly, rising from 
the floor, upon which she had been fain to sit 
during her brief intercourse with Patsey, " we 
will leave you to your dinner, Mrs. Darville; 
but we will come again to-morrow, shan't we, 
doctor, to see after our little patient?" 

" And in the meantime," observed that gen- 
tleman, addressing Mrs. Darville, " you will be 
so good as to keep the rags round the foot con- 
tinually moist. Don't tighten the bandage, 
whatever you do, and keep the patient, if pos- 
sible, in a horizontal position. Ah, you've no 
bed, I see," he added, scanning the room with 



-r^ liiisr ''b^- ^^s^ -sia awit 

~ 1 ::.'>r-i: * -e-JLiHW T^wtc sjci-.tiff 

iift ^iiaiTi r -tsfcs^ k-fa ineK T^irrrHiL •viitt:£bir 

^*iipift li'VTiTT^ iml iie jitsr it i die iif anew 
Tjf, vv: It 1117 arnns dir :^ mmccfc''" 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 277 



lend you one for the present?" asked Evelyn 
anxiously. 

" The woman below has a spare palliasse 
she lends at odd times to passengers that do be 
askin' at late hours for a bed; but God mark 
your soul to grace, shure she never would let it 
to the likes of us. Musha agra, never fret 
yourself for that/' she added, seeing the trouble 
depicted on Evelyn's face, " we'll make Lizzy a 
very good bed in the rags to-night, and I dare- 
say to-morrow as well; for it'll take more nor 
another day, I'm afeard, to pick them and sort 
them rightly." 

" Let us first see if I cannot persuade ' the 
woman below' to be kind for this once," said 
Evelyn, with one of her brightest and most hope- 
inspiring of smiles. 

And patting the baby's sturdy head, she ran 
down-stairs to undertake the negociation, with so 
quick a step and so good a will, that by the time 
the doctor could overtake her, he found her deep 
in examination of the coveted palliasse, which, 
if none of the best of its kind, was at any rate 



2r> :^WL miTi.KSHs 

''ptt^- iurt ^^TFT^nan iiiTTtdnsr "schtf* vibHr ir 

^TOiii»s! rVrta he .rTa?ir-r*TFd .masjonaiy \rniisirp;. 

^i»frtrti "tie insmess ~o -tiesamnaKrion jf ^SL 
%-^ru»t»m*>rL uuL -iie: wimaii Trnmiaed intt: in. Ie» 

V ^Uu^eri ir rhe ; tisnosai tf ''.i«r ioii^er. !!!« IflQBr 
r^rrunaitir liiie t> ieaerifae ;w ^u«Ep 

lite ^^imrr nuut;. md "hai; :tiii& in. smft: x ton 
.▼fiR ^^priniut . \f m ^VPT imsratang anxfiS&rr fir 
die paym«ir. -if lify irmtL 

£tv^yn. liuui atiier places tzi o^er kaving: 
IWville^ ami it wro nearly tjBimfflr 1amt 
Wnr^ anil die Dnetar r^tannm^ to the 

Frank t&i^ mcmeat he entered 
ilt^ ^tM>ii5ig'f6«»u ^Ifhst WCTTS of ov little 
l^t— ^ rartW of dift fiNadrorX lie had 
t}^ f^^yr (4 e»tehii»g it. She b srfdy deponted 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 279 



On the contrary," replied Evelyn with a 
smile, we left her snugly rolled up in a bundle 
of rags, which, if not exactly her native element, 
seems at any rate the one to which she is most 
accustomed. By the-bye Doctor," she added, 
addressing thatj gentleman, " did you chance to 
observe the striking resemblance between the 
cress girl and that boy, whom we saw with the 
gipsy at Southampton?" 

' "What boy? — what gipsy?" asked the Doc- 
tor, after the manner of one thinking of other 
things. 

" Oh, don't you remember?" cried Evelyn im- 
patiently. " The gipsy with the marvellous 
little girl, whom she called her niece. Surely 
you cannot have forgotten that lovely child, 
with her dark blue eyes, and hair that looked as 
if there was a perpetual sunshine woven among 
its tresses? Don't you remember now. Doctor?" 

Mr. Sutherland looked sharply up from be- 
hind the newspaper he was studying, but there 
was nothing in Evelyn's face to justify his sus- 
picions, and wishing to hear more, he asked her 
carelessly : — 



HOME aXD the HOMELZSS. 



A '^ild Wiere iid you meesc ien Efdyn? 
— ^outiuunpton ?^ 

T 3 be sure. I reaiGnber now^*^ criisii lie 
Do#!ror. b#^tbre Eveiyn had dme to iiDswer. 9ie 
spoke like a foreigner, ami I couldn't gesc ix; out 
of mj head, bur what she had be«3i stzileiu 
Doa'c you remember what a rage Quesi Jjtdus 
was in when I wantied jo buy her? It just 
after we ha^i met, or fancied that we had met 
poor Frederick, and that put it nearly out of my 
head, or I yeril v believe^ if I had remained a few- 
days longer at S<)uthampton, I should have taken 
more stringent mea^^nre for discoTering to whom 
my litde catechiat (they called her Ailem by the 
way), really belonged^ and what right Qoeen 
Esther bad to carry her about in her train.'^ 

Mr. Sutherlanl grew deadly pale, and a 
gtrange light filled bb eyes, but he spoke no more, 
though from behind his newspaper he continued 
to listen anxiously to what was going on among 
the others. 

The likeness between Lizzy and that boy who 
was with Esther and the little girl, had occurred 
to me, even before poor Mrs. Darville told me of 



HOME AND THE ^OM£L£SS. 



281 



her having lost a son in a most unaccountable 
manner," continued Evelyn. " Surely, Frank, 
some steps should be taken towards ascertaining 
whether the lad was enticed away, as his mother 
seems to think, or whether he went of his own 
accord." 

"The police are the proper people for that 
job," said Frank. " What like was the boy you 
speak of? " 

"I can hardly say exactly," said Evelyn. 
" He was asleep, and his arm partially covered 
his face; but he was dark and good-looking, and 
very like Lizzy." 

" We must have a clearer description than 
that," ^observed Frank. "What says the 
doctor?" 

" The doctor says," replied that gentleman, 
laughing, that what with the rose-bud, Aileen, 
and the dark- eyed houri who acted as her keeper, 
he was by no means in a condition to observe 
anything else. However, now you remind me 
of it, J have some recollections of a boy, dark- 
haired certainly, but by no means so good-looking 
(to my taste at least) as Miss Evelyn fancies. 



282 HONE A5D THE H01CELES8. 



who was with the party of ruffians that droTC 
us so ignominiously from the field." 

Oh, that was the other/' cried Evelyn. " The 
boy / mean, was laying under the hawthorn, on 
the other side of Queen Esther." 
. The other/' cried the doctor, taking a very 
long pinch of snuff. " Well, if there was another 
boy, all I can say is, that there must have been 
an universal resurrection that day, of all the 
children that have ever been stolen or otherwise 
maltreated, since the days of King Herod." 

" Frank," said Evelyn, after a moment's pause. 
" Did I not hear you say this morning that you 
would have to go out after dinner to-day ? " 

I promised to meet a man in the ^ity on 
business. It's well you reminded me, Evelyn, I 
had almost forgotten." 

" Would it be very much out of your way just 
to call at Grey's Buildings, and question this 
poor woman concerning her boy? I daresay you 
will be able to get at the truth much better than 
I could." 

" Certainly, I will do it with pleasure," said 
Frank. " What did you say is the number ? " 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 283 



" No. 8 ; and mind fon pull the upper bell/* 
replied Evelyn, remembering her own rebuflF from 
the denizen of the kitchen. 

" And don't forget to ask for Lily," chimed in 
his mother, never alive to what was passing 
around her, but when there was question of seek- 
ing for some one. 

Mr. Sutherland suddenly quitted the room, 
and when after dinner Frank set forth to execute 
Evelyn's commission and his own, his uncle pro- 
posed to go part of the way with him, in order 
as he said to post a letter. He was back in 
about a couple of hours, but not so Frank. Tea 
time came, and then his mother's hour for re- 
tiring to bed, and then that of the rest of the 
family, and still he had not returned. Mr. 
Sutherland took his candle and walked oflF, and at 
last Evelyn yielded to the doctor's entreaties, so 
far as to retreat to her own room likewise. But 
not to bed — her mind was too much oppressed 
by strange misgivings for repose. It was unlike 
Frank to be out at that hour at all ; it was still 
more unlike him to be out at this especial time, 
when care and sorrow were making such sad 



284 HOME AND THE HOMF.LESS. 

havoc in the household, and so with a thousand 
vague fancies, and scarcely understood anxieties 
thronging through her brain, she sat by her own 
fire-side until long past midnight, when at length 
she heard the hall-door open, and Frank's rapid 
footsteps passing to the drawing-room. 

For a little time she waited patiently, expect- 
ing that he would come up directly, and that 
she could speak to him on his way to his room; 
but in this she was mistaken, and after a quarter 
of an hour of almost unbearable suspense, she 
went down to seek him. He was seated with his 
feet upon the fender, and his eyes fixed intently 
on the dying embers; but when she put her hand 
on his shoulder he looked up, and said abruptly — 

" Evelyn, I have seen her !" 

She almost dropped the candle in her sur- 
prise. 

" Good God, Frank!— and where?" 

" In the street — under the lamp-post, Evelyn." 
Frank answered with a frightful emphasis on the 
words. 

" Oh, Frank," cried Evelyn, stung for the 
sake of Lily beyond all power of keeping silence. 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 285 



" Where was your manhood ? Where was your 
mercy ? Why did you not compel her to come 
back?" 

" Evelyn," cried the young man, starting to 
his feet with flashing eye and cheek on fire : " I 
scorn to deceive you. I failed precisely how and 
where you said I should — I failed." 

You failed," repeated Evelyn, scarce con- 
scious of the words she uttered. 

" I failed. Her destroyer was at .a little dis- 
tance — every evil passion which before I thought 
I held in mastery, raged at that moment within 
my bosom. Pride, anger, hatred, and revenge ! 
Evelyn! could I have overtaken him at that mo- 
ment, son though he be of a man whom I love 
as my own father — I would have killed him on 
the spot." 

" But you did not?" repeated Evelyn, speak- 
ing with difficulty through her whitened lips. 

" I missed him in some of those confounded 
alleys. I am glad of it now, Evelyn," he con- 
tinued after a fearful pause; but at the moment 
I oould have shot myself for my stupidity in 
letting him escape me." 



288 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



It shall be my business. But, Eveljn," he 
continued in a voice of terrible emotion. * JIf I 
find her in the society of her destroyer, I cannot, 
and will not answer for the consequences." 

The tone in which these^few emphatic words 
were uttered, made Evelyn's blood run cold. For 
a moment, she stood like one paralysed by her 
fear; but then recovering herself, she put both 
her hands again in both of Frank's, and looking 
full in his face, said solemnly : 

Frank, you have given your mother to my 
care, and henceforth she shall be to me as if 
she were my own. But, oh, remember it is no 
mean price which I ask of you in return. I put 
Frederick's life and safety in your hands. It is 
a great trust I know ; but I am certain also that 
you are equal to it." 

" Evelyn, after this night's events, I dare not 
promise," Frank answered after a gloomy pause. 
''But on this at least you may rely, that for 
your sake and my uncle's, I will fly from all temp- 
tation." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 289 



CHAPTER XII. 



It will be needful now to go back a little, in order 
to give some particulars of that meeting with 
Lily, which Frank had mentioned in so cursory 
a manner to Evelyn. On parting from Mr. 
Sutherland, at the post office, he went at once to 
Grey's Buildings, and finding the door of the 
house to which he had been directed open, walked 
in without the preliminary ceremony of ringing 
at the bell. The door of Mrs. Darville's room 
was partly open, and on arriving there he found 
to his great satisfaction, that by keeping within 
the shadow of the threshold, he could examine 
the chamber and its inmates without much fear 
VOL. II. o 



290 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

of being discovered in his turn. - Like many other 
English people, Frank always entertained a 
sort of unacknowledged doubt in his own mind 
as to the habits of the Irish poor — an unavowed 
conviction that if they were starving it was only 
because they would not work; and that if they 
asked for charity, it was only that they might 
drink it. This feeling made him doubly glad of 
an opportunity of observing them in their own 
haunts, before they had had time to get up a stage 
effect for the benefit of a stranger. 

A rushlight which was burning on the floor 
greatly assisted his observations, enabling him 
to discover the shaggy heads of the children 
as they lay huddled together upon the paliasse 
which Evelyn's charity had procured them, and 
at the same time giving him a view of their 
mother also, as with her back full upon the door, 
she knelt beside them, apparently engaged in 
prayer. This she performed earnestly and aloud, 
as is the custom of her people; and he would 
certainly have suspected her of doing it for 
effect, if she had either expected him to come, or 
there had been the slightest possibility of her 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 291 

supposing that he would. As it was, in his 
immeasurable contempt for what he called 
superstition, he listened with a withering smile 
upon his lip, to various exclamations, ridiculous 
enough perhaps in their mode of utterance, but 
made beautiful by the spirit of devotion which 
prompted and breathed through them, until in 
the very climax probably of her gratitude for 
the relief she had received that day, she threw 
her hands above her head, clasped them with a 
sound which told like a blow on the listener's 
startled ear, and crying out " Oh, blessed Jasus, 
it is too much entirely — too much — " fell face 
downwards on the coverlet where her little ones 
were sleeping, and burst into tears. Then, in- 
deed the smile vanished from his lip, for his own 
heart had leaped up in answer to the mother's 
cry of joy, and he felt as if it were an evil thing 
to mock, and as if only an evil spirit could have 
suggested mockery of the world of gratitude and 
love which that broken ejaculation had revealed. 
Satisfied, at any rate, that she was not acting, 
he lingered good naturedly a few minutes longer 
in the shadow of the door-way, in order to give 
2 



292 



nOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



her time to recover her emotion, and then step- 
ping quietly into the room, laid his hand upon 
her shoulder. In a moment she was on her feet, 
and carefully dusting one of the low settle-stools 
which by virtue of Evelyn's donation had found 
their way into her abode with the bed that 
morning, she presented it to her visitor. Frank 
would have infinitely preferred standing, but 
finding that she obstinately refused to sit so long 
as he remained upon his feet, he accepted the 
proffered accommodation, and making her take 
another for herself, plunged at once into con- 
versation by rather abruptly asking : 

" How the little girl went on?" 

" Is it Lizzy, your honor manes? Musha, but 
she's doin finely, thanks be to God, and the good 
jantleman that bound up her fut, and the sweet 
lady that wasn't too proud to bring her home in 
her own carriage. And sure it's the lucky fall 
it was for her and for us all, your honor; for 
the great God He knows, it's dyin of cowld 
and hunger they'd have been by this time, if he 
hadn't sent the kind young lady to us. May 
the saints receive her some day to glory." 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



293 



" She found you in sad distress, she told me," 
observed Frank, anxious to lead the conversation 
towards the subject of the missing boy, but afraid 
of putting her on her guard by introducing it 
too suddenly. 

" Thrue for you, sir, — but then your honor 
knows that God is over all, and it is most often 
when we are at the worst that He shows His fuce 
to help us." 

" So you think it was God threw your child 
into the water, in order that Miss de Burghe 
might come to your assistance," replied Frank, 
with an involuntary sneer at the poor woman's 
superstition, as he called it. 

"I do not, sir," she answered composedly. 
" But what I do think is jist this, that it was 
God gave the young lady the soft heart and 
tindher feelin's that (the Lord look down upon 
her) she has for sartain, and Lizzy's fall was the 
manes he tuck to make our misery beknownst to 
her and the good jantleman that came with 
her." 

" But He might have managed all that in a 
different manner," observed Frank. 



294 H031E AND THE HOMELESS. 



" Troth might He, your honour, Shure hasn't 
He a thousand ways, and no one of them all 
impossible to Him?" 

" But I mean,'' persisted Frank, who was 
curious to ascertain the tone of thought which 
religion would impart to the mind of this un- 
educated woman : " I mean, that He might have 
chosen a way rather less disagreeable and dan- 
gerous to your child, for had she fallen into the 
pool a little lower down the road, she would pro- 
bably have been drowned." 

" He might, your honor — but then He didn't," 
she answered with a grave composure that 
almost gave her words the semblance of rebuke. 
" But sure He knows best whether it's the north 
wind or the south that should blow upon our 
heads; and it's not for us poor sinful craythures 
to grumble at the manes, when the end either in 
this world or the next, is intinded for our good." 

" And, supposing Lizzy had been drowned 
after all," urged Frank, half ashamed of tam- 
pering with her simple faith, and yet curious to 
see how far it would lead her. " Would you not 
have thought Him a cruel God to choose such a 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 295 



means as that, when according to your own be- 
lief, there are so many others that He might 
have chosen?" 

" I would not, sir. And may the Lord for- 
give you, for only sayin sich a hard word as that 
about Him. Not but what it would have been 
a weary day to me, if any thing had happened 
to poor Lizzy, for my heart is wid the chil- 
dhre — why wouldn't it? or who have they got 
to look to, if it isn't to their mother? Still an' 
all, if the young lady had brought her to me 
dead, and dhrowned as you say she might have 
been, I would have said, ' Glory be to God,' all 
the same, for I would have felt as sartain as I 
am that your honour is sitting there forenint 
me, that if the Lord tuck her so airly from me, 
it would have been only to receive her into glory 
wid Himself and His blessed mother." 

" And you really believe in all that trash ?" it 
was upon Frank's lips to say, but yet he did not. 
Something in fact deeper even than that con- 
temptuous thought was springing up within his 
heart just then, and responding, spite of all his 
intellectuality and pride, spite even of himself 



29$ SOME JLfT) THE HQMSLISS. 

and his own strong will, to lie fiuth of liat un- 
lettered woman, and to the intense heauty of a 
creed, whieh, by giving her a fature full of hope 
to atone for the harsh realities of tiie present, 
enablt d her. poor and trampled danghter as she 
was of this low earth of oora^ to lift her eyes 
heyond, and without any sense of incongruity, 
to behold in spirit her ragged ofepring among 
the princes of the sky. 

A long panse ensued; for he was struggling 
with these unwonted and unwished-for notions, 
while something in his tone and manner had 
jarred so painfully upon her religious feelings, 
that she did not care to speak again, until he 
should hare either replied to her last obser- 
ratf on, or adverted to the real object of his visit. 
This he was just about to 'do, when there 
rose a sound of wailing from some other part of 
the ,building, which gradually increased in volume 
and intensity, until it seemed to fill even the 
room they sat in. He turned to the widow for 
an explanation. 

The gorsoon that died next doore — it's 
wakin' him, they are," she answered quietly. 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 297 



" Poor felbw," replied Frank, his eye wander- 
ing mechanically over the garret where he found 
himself, while a chill went through him at the 
bare idea of. sickness and death being added to 
the desolation that he saw everywhere around 
him ; " poor fellow ! Sickness must be terrible, 
indeed, when ijt is added to the every day 
miseries of the poor." 

" Troth, and you may well say that, your 
honor. The boy that's cowld in his coffin this 
night was the only support that his family had 
to look to, and the Lord Almighty only knows 
how they are to maie shift widout him." ! 

"Poor creatures! Is the mother, then, a 
widow?" 

" Ough, no, your honor. The father is to the 
fore still, and a dacent, hard working sort of a 
man he is too, but he hurted his head next 
Christmas come twelvemonth it will be, wid a 
bad fall that he had (it's a bricklayer he is, your 
honor, by thrade), and since then he's never been 
able to get up a ladder by rayson of a giddiness 
that do come over him at times. So he's been 



HOC Jm 3D -MnM^ i 

jiuii. T^:u'^.l. ^TiCii; TnrnfiDmgmg tut jma.7 
-c-. Ju.^ ?«: "Tfr. srrtff:-. rf^weoisr: isuhkl m 

7 rjxi::: n«r urrr i]iiTi2ii£eir& 

rj: .i.>v jui^wa: Ti it w*: "cciur . 3Vl7 

vr* rz T, : T. sixiSh Uti jma. iiiii«tiF jmi 
I-;. ^\ t:::i ^ ->a:.Ni:nir uai^;- in At 'iraii&"* 

:,:;r " -s.;u iii^* Ji orr uc KrriiiaL L?- 

Hue :iiu iiT 71:11: 7ie^7 ^'ic ;T»j5aHyiay."'' Kj-Sdi 
T.ui.»v * Air^iim Tiii vniuir iu^ Aumjiia 
It iur jeu. 2siun* fa J jr zsiicj *' lafa aie 



DOME AND THE HOMELESS. 299 



Mick, he gev them a couple of testers also, 
which will keep them well enough, plaize God, 
until after the berryin is over to-morrow."^ 

There was a simplicity in the way in which 
the poor woman spoke of her own donation that 
struck Frank greatly. Evidently she felt she 
had done the commonest thing in the world, a 
thing quite undeserving either of reward or 
praise. Common enough, in fact, such deeds 
of charity are among the class to which she be- 
longed ; for no people sympathise so truly with 
each other as do the Irish poor; and it would be 
rare indeed to find an instance, where any indi- 
vidual of that suflFering community ever refused 
to share a meal (albeit his only one) with any 
whom he considered more destitute than him- 
self. 

Frank, however, was by no means aware of 
this peculiarity, and he could not refrain from 
saying in a tone, half of doubt and half of ad- 
miration. 

" And poor as you are yourself, do you mean 
to say that you divided your own scanty store 
to-day with them?" 



300 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" Ah, then, and why wouldn*t I, your honor? 
And who's to help the poor if they don't help 
one another, I wondher? Musha, but it's little 
enough they'd get, if they did be always waitin' 
until the fine folk came to their assistance. And 
afther all," she added, fixing her eyes on Frank 
with an instinctive consciousness that her next 
sentence would contain an idea unpalatable to 
him, "afther all, isn't God above to see to all; 
and if I help the poor neighbour what I can to- 
day, wouldn't it be only like Him to send some 
one to help me and the childhre in our turn to- 
morrow !" 

And if He doesn't?" Frank could not for- 
bear asking, with a contemptuous expression of 
lip and eye. 

" And if He doesn't," repeated the poor woman 
with an involuntary exhibition of pettishness at 
this continual recurrence of, to her, most strange 
and chilling doubt; "and if He doesn't, sure doesn't 
He know best, and so where's the use of talking? 
Wouldn't it be the black day for the poor, the 
day they could think He had forgotten them ; and 
how would we bear hunger and cowld and bitin' 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. ^ 301 

poverty, as, God help us, we are so often forced 
to do, if we didn't feel sartain sure that He 
knows the sorrow that's in our hearts, and 
aither in this worreld or the next will give it 
back to us in joy." 

"And why not in this one?" suggested 
Frank. 

" Beca'se He knows best," the woman 
answered almost sternly. " And what are we, 
poor, ignorant, sinful craytures that we are, to 
daur for to say a word against it?" 

Even as she was speaking the withering 
nature of his own belief was forced again in his 
own despite upon Frank's attention. He could 
not but feel that it would indeed be a terrible 
thing to rob the poor of that grand idea of 
eternity by which and in which alone the equal 
rights of man are vindicated and enforced ; and 
by which, and in which alone, spite of the dif- 
ference of rank, and the disparity of mental 
culture, the beggar may measure himself with 
the King — his equal by the rights of the im- 
mortal soul, his superior possibly in the sight of 
God by the rights of a superior virtue. He 



302 HOME AND inE HOMELESS. 



was not a man, however, to be scared from an 
opinion merely because it might cost something 
to maintain it; but fortunately if he remained 
unshaken in his own belief, he saw no reason 
why he should inflict it upon others; and ceased 
to pursue a subject which he felt might deprive 
the poor creature whom he had come to visit, 
of the only earthly comfort she was possessed of, 
without substituting anything better or half so 
consoling in its place. 

" Was that Father Mick, as you call him, that 
I met just as I was coming to the door?" he 
asked, by way of changing the conversation. 

Like enough, your honor," the widow 
answered, evidently relieved by the change of sub- 
ject. "For wherever sickness and sorrow is to be 
met with in the parish, there will Father Mick be 
always in the midst of it, wid the kind word for 
every one, and the sixpence for the poorest, 
though his own dinner do be often wantin' for 
that same, as the housekeeper towld me the other 
day. The Lord reward him with a crown of 
everlastin' glory for his charity to the poor." 

And again Frank's conscience twitched him 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS, 303 



for the feeling of proud contempt with which 
he had eyed Father Mick in passing ; the rev. 
gentleman's frank, rosy, and joyous mien having 
in fact, suggested ideas of a jolly cupboard and 
easy life, very incompatible with his real habits, 
as they were thus incidentally revealed by the 
widow. It did not occur to him, that had the 
rev. father been the very opposite to that which 
he actually was in his personal appearance, he 
would still have found cause for suspicion and 
dislike, and that in the grave, thin, sad-eyed 
ecclesiastic, he would have discovered an am- 
bitious, hypocritical, and designing churchman, 
just as in Father Mick, who was the very anti- 
podes of all this, he had pictured to himself one, 
sensual and self-seeking. So difficult is it for 
even the best intentioned man, to see either things 
or human beings in any other light than that, 
which his own pet prejudice casts upon the object ! 

" And did you never tell this rev. gentleman, 
who, you say, is so good and kind, of the loss of 
your poor boy?" he asked, feeling that his visit 
had been too long already, and that it was high 
time to advert to its real object. 



304 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



" I did not, sir. For I don't know, Father 
Mick barrin' by hearsay, and seein' him at the 
altar. But I did tell my own director, and he 
made some enquiries at the time which came to 
nothin' in the end. So when he died. Lord rest 
his sowl, some months ago, I resolved, for a 
rayson I had, not to let on to any one else, that 
I was unaisy about the boy at all, but just left 
the neighbours to think that he was somewhere 
in sarvice." 

" Because you were afraid of the consequence 
of the enquiry to your child? But the young 
lady told me you had changed your opinion as 
to the cause of his absence. Had you any par- 
ticular reason for doing so?" 

" I had, sir, — for a few days ago (this day 
se'nnight it was), I met a boy by accident as 
knew my poor Jim, and he towld me he seen 
him the first day he was missed, a walkin' with 
John Nightshade, (the forester he had worked 
with, your honor), and he, John I mane, had a 
fast holdt of him by the showlders, and was 
puUin' him along like, as if he war unwillin' to 
go wid him. The boy that seen them has been 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



305 



costermongering ever since in the counthry, or 
I'd have hard it long ago, but he watched them, 
he says, till they turned sharp round a corner, 
and there he lost sight of them altogether. So 
the Lord God in heaven only knows what that 
black villain done to the poor gorsoon that 
night, or whether it was for the ruination of his 
body or sowl that he 'ticed him so far." 

" Was it very late when the boy met them in 
this manner," asked Frank, rousing up eagerly 
at a tale that sounded very like murder. 

" Not so late, as dark like," replied the widow. 
" The airly spring days do close in so soon in 
this black city, as your honor no doubt knows 
already." 

" This must be looked to, my good woman, 
and that without loss of time, too — too much un- 
fortunately has been suffered to elapse already. 
What like did you say your boy was?" 

" Very like the girleen that your honor may be 
seen this mornin' wid the young lady," replied 
the widow. "Dark hair and blue eyes that I've 
hard tell, isn't often to be met wid together out 
of Ireland — and he warn't to say, that tall for 



306 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



his age — but strong enough and likely enough to 
look at for all that, though it's his mother that 
says it, why wouldn't I? and he not to the fore 
to say it for himself?" 

" Very well," replied Frank, noting down 
these particulars in his pocket book. I will 
speak to the police this very evening; but I 
must not deceive you my poor friend, the busi- 
ness has an ugly look altogether, and I would 
not have you too sanguine in your expectations." 

" Ah, sir. Ah, your honor," cried the poor 
woman, struck by the expression of Frank's coun- 
tenance, and clasping her hands fearfully to- 
gether, "you don't mane to say — sure you can't 
mane to say, that you think he has been made 
away wid altogether?" 

Frank was silent. He thought in fact all that 
she besought him not to think; but he could not 
bring himself to say so to her. 

" The thought has often come to my own self 
of late," sobbed the poor woman sadly; " and 
whiles I seem to see him in my sleep, bleedin' 
and dyin' of a bad wound, may be, or screechin' 
to me to help him. But shure I always waken to 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS 307 

find it's only a bad dhrame that's troubled me, 
and wirra, wirra, but a bad dhrame it must be, 
and nothin' more, for it can't be true," she con- 
tinued, struggling to fight off the fear and anxiety 
that really beset her ; " shure it can't be true, 
your honor, that the boy so keen and full of life 
when last I seen him, is lyin' bloody and cowld 
in his grave this minit." 

^ " You must not fret," replied Frank, who, 
with one of the warmest and most feeling of 
human hearts beating within his bosom, was yet 
often driven by the nature of his creed or non- 
creed to very frigid and common-place topics of 
consolation; "life is no great boon, believe me, 
to the happiest, and to him, poor fellow, with 
want and misery for ever on his path, it 
must have been of still less value. Perhaps 
even of no value at all, which seems more likely 
still." 

" Of no great value ! Is it a christian you 
are to say it?" cried the woman, now really in- 
dignant, even more than astonished. " Of no 
great value ! Shure isn't the price of heaven in 
his life all as one as it is in your honor's, yerra ! 



"rr^ia^-re-- II — 

Tan, tf iiioe :Le' ^wur OTrr Ji!i£ "ray 
-nfifi -TrouizL" ^ « Sam n wl iar^ 

^PT^ JUL rTO^ j>«r c ^ :nrR?nim 'xar 

Tiace ai^BRE. mdi f ir ipc» mast 

^iJ'encft^ ▼net ^^alf jnorafflKt iniin: 
xaxui ma ivir nxB i'(*:n^ ttcnriTu TitgTtr 3e iiB»fe 

4ft Uii- ift^i- vnmif u raraBS jn i^icti » iiai- 

nf^ Tuntr Sx'^.rr'i: fjr tare rdSssff «f tke 

H.<^ mjLZ ^(TJic^ -w^ zhft po&e cfice, and 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 309 



ties there, he proceeded to accomplish the busi- 
ness which had brought him in the first instance 
to the city. 

This took him rather a longer time than he 
hud expected, and it was past eleven o'clock 
before he found himself in Fleet Street, on liis 
way back to the "Ferns." He would not call a 
cab, however, but continued to walk on, lost in 
thought, and quite unconscious of every thing 
around him, until he reached a crossing where a 
crowd was rapidly collecting round the barrow 
of an old apple woman, which had been upset. 

This' accident compelling him to pause, he 
stood for a moment beneath a lamp post just 
opposite a wretched alley which at this point 
joined the main street, and he was looking, as an 
idle or pre-occupied man will look, listlessly down 
it, when he caught sight of a woman at the 
other end, running wildly towards him. An- 
other moment^ and she was in his arms; but was 
it, or could it be his own bright Lily, the little, 
dainty idol of his luxurious home, that now lay 
panting upon his bosom, with loosened hair and 
shawl scarce wrapt around her, and blood stained 



3tO aom Jkm the imMmM^ 



Sice, giinin^ svck dviilKice it x pot&ouse bruwt 
anon [ler. cimc invaiuntariiy im muter^ Betiwetat 

his "eeriu D don,, she is ifrnnk^'^ 

'^feirceij^ Iiiui Tords gaifflKtl his Gp^ «re 
aniiriier fisnrs showed hsdt ol the hiiu^. not fit- 
lowing Lily however,, bur gnnur die other witj. 
In vviisr bur a angte gGmpse causrht m. tdie gEnt- 
xnnr of x <£scaat: himp^ bur Fnmi Mt ijertaiaj 
tiiat oe WIS not: misGiken^ Lny"* seduiser mas 
fti^c c^rv himdretlyrirdsbrfirehniiraaii&cg^^ 
aJI OL t&e iiesre of Teix^:£ni% thsKtr in^ajifidj 
hr» breast, be fim^ b:ci bsipllss^ sister firtDUB 
klni^ regJinfleaSy or perfukps- meenaciows of the 
iiitat: cry ^Brot£i«rl Brt^cirerr' tftat Iroke 
from ber pale Hips, anti mshel after Frederick. 
FoTtuc^telj huAg before he coold r^eh the spot 
wbere be had seen hira^ the latter had tamed 
into another street^ and after a rain search 
through at least faalf-a-doizen of the fames 
that branched off on either side of the one 
be ha^l entered first, Frank was fain to confess 
that bis enemy had escaped him. Then it was 
indeed, that with a double pang of shame and re- 
morse he remembered his wretched sister ! His 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



311 



chase after Frederick had occupied a much longer 
time than he had supposed; and the bells of the 
city were already chiming midnight. Almost 
an hour had therefore elapsed since he had flung 
her from him, as much in shame (so he now con- 
fessed with bitter sorrow to himself) at the de- 
gradation of being claimed by her publicly in 
her altered guise, as in his desire of revenging 
himself on her destroyer. What might not have 
happened to her in the mean time? and whither 
had she come from after all? From whence, or 
from whom had shebeen endeavouring to escape? 
He shuddered as he asked himself the question, 
for his first idea that she had been engaged in a 
drunken brawl was shaken by an after recollec- 
tion of the piteous eyes she had raised to his, 
and the soft despairing cry she had uttered, when 
he cast her so proudly from him. Unheard and 
unheeded both had been, in the storm of passion 
which convulsed him then, but now that he was 
calm again, they returned to wring his very soul 
with sorrow and remorse. That cry was still 
ringing in his ears, those blue eyes seemed to haunt 
him.' Why had he been too proud to question 



31;! 



HUJC£ AXD TH£ HOMELESS. 



her? Why had he not paused to listeu to her 
tale. Tet should that tale have proved what he 
had at first suspected, how could he have taken hU 
dishonoured sister to his bosom, — how have stood 
quietly to listen to the story of her wrongs, and 
his own disgrace in the midst of the gaping 
mob by whom they had been surrounded? At 
the bare thought, all the strong passions of 
his nature, before which reason perforce stood 
powerless, and which religion had never taught 
him to control, rose up once more to do battle 
in bis bosom. Alas! for the man who has no 
better prop than reason in the hour of his worst 
temptation ! Frank would infallibly have killed his 
cousin, had he come across him at that moment; 
he felt almost as if he could have killed his sister 
also. He was still struggling with the fierce 
temptation, as he retraced his steps to the place 
where he had left Lily ; but when he reached it, 
she was there no longer. The revulsion of 
feeling had well nigh killed him. Scarcely 
knowing what he was about, he looked round 
him in a vacant manner. He was almost alone. 
The crowd had moved away, the pale girl her- 




HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



313 



self had vanishei like a a dream, and the streets 
so busy and full before, were now silent and 
deserted as the grave. Only the old Irish 
woman, whose barrow had been the original cause 
of his adventure, still lingered on the scene; and 
even she was busily engaged in packing up her 
goods, previous to her final departure for the 
night. One short hour before, and Frank 
Montgomerie would have sooner died than have 
addressed such a person upon such a subject ; but 
now, pride was swallowed up in remorse and fear 
of what might have happened to Lily in his 
absence, and after one brief, bitter moment of 
hesitation, he inquired — " If she could tell him 
what had become of the young girl who had 
passed that way an hour before." 

" Troth, and wherever she is, she's wid them 
as 'ill take betther care of her, nor may be you 
done yerself, young man," was the surly and un- 
compromising reply ; for old Judy had witnessed 
both the appeal of Lily and its repulse, and never 
for a moment suspecting their real relationship, 
had concluded naturally enough, that Frank was 



VOL. II. 



p 



314 n03l£ AND TH£ HOMELESS. 



ber seducer, and had giiren all the sympathy of 
her brave old heart to the girl whom she thought 
ill used. 

" But where is she gone to," repeated Frank ; 
thrusting what he hoped might prove a sufficient 
bribe into the old woman's horny fingers. 

" You'd have done wiser mabouchal, not to 
have paid for your answer afore you got it," re- 
plied the hag in a tone of cool derision. Be- 
cu'se you see Judy Flanagan isn't the woman to 
get her frinds into throuble at any price, let alone 
a poor, purthy, frightened little colleen like that. 
Shure wasn't her face all stramin' down red blood 
already, and how do I know but what you done 
her a mischief afore I c.ime on yez — or that ) ou 
mightn't be for murdherin her entirely if you 
cotched her again. Hovvsomdever I don't mane 
to charge you for what I won't sell you, so 
here's your blood money for you, and mind you 
don't choose Judy Flanagan, when you do be 
wanting any dirty work done for yez another 
time." 

And right into his face .the ^ blood money' was 




HOM£ AND m£ HOM£L£SS- 



316 



flung that instant, after which vigorous expres- 
sion of her feelings, old Judy stumped away, 
leaving Frank to return, harassed and very 
wretched as we have seen, to relate his adventure 
to Miss de Burghe. 



Xnn^'Z J.'^::.^^j iaa mi: mi: mii i>¥f tii: r* 

SiTv^JH^ vwimpi: 3«r5^«rr:V TnffniaHiri; fiirtL. 
^Ai: ^hi^^ ▼'Will 'aiift rmoiiur hvR trm&Usp fty anj 
6iri*ir^fe?*su^j^ V ri time ■Tnarr«t& .raif ((xswmm& nis 

jii'.^.sr L3t Suw£ 

l/y f^itiititi^ « l^rr asne w t&e ^^tkrarltor, who 
fa^^ fxiftj !^ rmmA the poior gtrriL and desalted 
\m fifiin^rw^rdM;^ and fhe was about to offer ret 
m^n((t <f0ki/ent «jr»pathy in tlie shape of assist- 
utm^ wbm another person stepped forward^ while 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 317 

she was still trying to disentangle herself from 
the barrow. 

It was Esther, who happened to be passing 
by at the moment, and who caught Lily just as 
she was falling to the ground. The Irish woman 
came up directly afterwards, and between them 
they carried the wretched and almost insensible 
girl to the low bench, which was Judy's usual 
accommodation by the side of the barrow. 

Is your lodgins far from this," Esther 
asked abruptly — " or do you know any one 
nigh handy, who would give this poor gal shelter 
for the night?" 

" Troth I won't say that I live so (ar off my- 
self, that we couldn't carry her there betune 
us," replied old Judy, divided between the pity 
she really was feeling for poor Lily, and that 
same jealous love of the "respectable" which in 
part, at least, had driven Frank from his sister's 
side that night. "Butshure it isn't wid the 
likes of her that Judy Flanagan has ever been 
in the habit of consortin' ; and how do I know, 
young woman, that I mayn't get into throuble wid 
the polls myself, av they find her along wid me." 



3I» 



Il£Sr. TTTT .JT'^SfiJl. *OrT JT VUXISI JB91lic» 

is. know?, m die bead if tiiis mmapp^' 

OTttnr. 'mr !ior x an js am %ares fixr id 
punish. %e^7 Ktiicr n tinef 
— ^nd ^ee.*^ $he added. Iiftnie the earte that && 
Lilj'i fac^- and :hns rercafing- the exceed- 
mg jofithAiinesg of dbe poor ?hfld wfawe cause 
ihe pleaded. *^^ie is almost a in&nt still — 
and §he has a modi» as has leTcsr eeaaed ti> 
Bionni her. and jl bime to which she can return 
ao more."* 

Mnsha. bat ir a mighty fiind of all joa 
do be grown upon a raddint.^ repKed Ac old 
woman, eyeing Esther rather snspicionslj, as her 
irtreet experience most eertainlj entitled her to 
do. " Maybe it's friends or relations of yoor 
own^ tbey are. yonng woman, that jon are taking 
their thronble to heart so." 

Exceptin' this 'ere child, I never set eyes on 
none of 'em, and I don't know nothin* woteyer 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 319 



about her, even to her name," said Esther, so- 
lemnly. " But if so be, as they are human critturs 
like ourselves, there must needs be sorrow and 
shame among 'em over this young gal, as has 
fallen so low in life, and as maybe they ex- 
pected would have soared so high. - Howsomdever 
you needn't trouble about her if you don't like 
to^ for I knows a many a one as good and better, 
who arn't altogether to say so partic'lar." 

"Hoity, toity," exclaimed old Judy, more 
moved than it suited her purpose to appear, by 
Lily's pale face and Esther's earnest manner. 
" But it's in a hurry you are, me lady ! And 
who towld you pray, that Judy Flanagan was 
ever the baste to dhrive any one from her doore, 
that axed for its shelter? No, no, I mind me too 
well of the sorrow and heart break that was on 
myself, when I came first to London, a slip of a 
thing, maybe just her hoith; and the Lord, He 
knows it, a black, bitther London it would have 
been to me, if He hadn't sent a friend to stand be- 
tune me and harrum ! I mind me too well of that 
time, ever to refuse to a fellow-craythur the help 
that I got myself, when I'd have died, or (Lord 



Z20 B^UZ 15D THI nOXZLESS. 



•ciTe n« dasie wcrae p'raps, if Td faappeKd to 
vant ft. So bear a kand. vill tool hit voaiajiu 
sod veHi iksre her as (laite aal comfortai^le is if 
ihte war the qaeen herself, at mj littie j^ace. in 
ajiffr." 

So iooner «aid than done. One Iwown. brairnj 
arm was roond Lilj in a minute, and Showing 
ber war manftdlj, or womanfallj throng the 
crowd with the other, the stroog old woman 
easilv succeeded, eren without the aid of Esther, 
in bearing Lilv from the street, and depoeiting 
her in the damp, black looking cellar, which she 
bad go boastfally designated as her little 
place/' No sooner was this done, and the sick 
girl safely deposited on the torn-down bedstead 
in the comer, than remembering the jeopardy 
in which she had left her barrow, old Judy 
stamped off again to remove it from the street. 
It was while in the act of doing this that, en- 
countering Frank for the second time, she re- 
fused him that knowledge of Lily's whereabouts, 
which she firmly believed he only sought for 
the purpose of inflicting bodily injury upon 
her. 



HOME AND TH£ HOMELESS. 321 

Poor Judy was not very skilful in reading 
countenances, or she would certainly have been 
moved by the agony that was depicted on Frank's 
as he walked away. Supposing, on the con- 
trary, that he was merely disappointed at missing 
his prey, she could not resist a sly chuckle at 
his expense, and the grin was still on her 
face when she reached her own abode, though it 
changed into a look of real anxiety the in- 
stant her eye fell upon Lily. 

" How is the poor colleen now, alanna? How 
is the poor colleen now?" she enquired of Esther. 

" Better I should say," returned the other. 

But she seems stupified and stunned like, and 
I carn't say, as I quite like the looks of her eyes 
— I doubt if she sees much, for as wide as she 
opens 'em now and again, as if she war frightened 
still." 

" Maybe a cup of tay would revive her, it's an 
iligant thing for the sperits, when it's tuck, as it 
ought to be, screechin hot; and if you'll jist 
hand me that owld match box on the shelf for- 
nint you, my dear, I'll light a bit of fire and have 
the wather bilin like mad, in a twinklin." 
p 5 



^cfier '.Id .IS ^ae- -^fg ^ uau g iL >uni' a rimw^ ea- 

ia. aanmc 'tie -anus '^mi :ser ^ "iasi wLe jm£ 
rrsaedr: :-rr ;s -wa ^ sse xai wmss^aui. bx 

rlii»::rae- mui -*irr "n'tie •iniitnaurrf 'j«PP3iii;.w5iu&- 1 

what: ^.li min ind the winil ia &e nbray? 
^rnn' nra isninach* uuE sira. t&mie but * 

•* Give her piscoi at ume^ tStau.'' wui EstAbGr, 
jAor^7; * *::n ilT lie Tuicfetir nor fe^rar. Look 
ier*'^ a cint cn hec &«ul may grro trocWe 
^ngJi tvir.hr.ni; jcmr pctafieat tto 3«t fcor mad^ 

iVe j^et^ It; do m^mT tme^ atrotigo' and more 

^ Ihe ljf>rd he httnne as and harrom," said 
old Judtf crofting berself deroatly. " But if 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 323 



that is to say any ways likely, wouldn't it be 
betther to get a docthor to her at wanst. There's 
a mighty clever gentleman lives only three doores 
from this one." 

"I don't knows as that will be altogether 
needed neither," said Esther, who had a pro- 
fessional reluctance, that was quite unconquer- 
able, to the bringing more eyes than were abso- 
lutely necessary upon herself or her companions. 
" Cuts like this one heals quickly enough when 
they ain'ttoo much fussed about in the beginning ; 
and as to the heart sickness that over and above 
all the rest is upon her now, there ain't never a 
doctor in all this great, rich city, as could give 
she or any of us the real remedy for that." 

" Thrue for you," said the old woman gravely. 
" It's God alone can do that for her, poor colleen, 
may His blissed mother watch over her, and keep 
her to repintance. But see, Tve made a roarin' 
cup of tay, and if you can only pervail on her to 
swaliy a mouthful, she'll be twiced the girril she 
was an hour agone, or my name isn't Judy 
Flanagan, and I never sowled apples or cringes at 
the corner of Fleet-sthreet ! " 



324 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

Judy Flanagan was right, and the tea did 
revive Lily; but, alas! a return to consciousness 
was necessarily, in her case, a return to misery 
also. As the terrible events of the past evening 
began to force themselves on her recollection, 
she moaned so sadly, and the tears gushed «o 
thickly and despairingly from her eyes, that 
Esther could not find it in her heart to leave 
her, even for a few hours, as she had at first in- 
tended. 

The good old Irish woman would have gladly 
watched over her sick guest during the night, 
notwithstanding that the nature of her avocations 
compelled her to be in the streets at an early 
hour of the morning ; but when she found that 
Esther was willing to take this duty on herself, 
she assented readily enough, rolled herself up in 
a tattered cloak, (Lily was in possession of her 
only bedstead) and putting an old basket under 
her head, by way of a pillow, was soon fast asleep 
in a warm corner near the fire place. 

Left to herself, and her own reflections, Esther 
could not but feel very uneasy at the turn which 
affairs had taken. She saw that Lily would be 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 325 



ill for many days, and both in body and mind, 
would require constant tending. The first she 
felt might safely be entrusted to old Judy, for she 
was a keen eyed observer of those with whom she 
came in contact, and she read at a glance the 
genuine good heartedness of her hostess ; but not 
so the latter. " Who shall minister to a mind 
diseased?" This was the substance of Esther's 
thought, though not precisely the form in which 
it presented itself to her mind ; and the answer 
suggested by her own good sense was to the effect, 
that while she, from her knowledge of the chief 
circumstances of Lily's case might have a chance 
of soothing, any one in ignorance of them could 
only irritate and annoy. Over and above too, this 
natural and womanly desire to sympathise with 
the sufferer, she felt that there might be danger 
to herself and her associates in the nature of 
Lily's possible communication with old Judy. 
With her impetuous temper the former was 
little likely to conceal anything she knew about 
them ; and how much, or how little that might 
be, or how far Frederick's imprudence might 
have betrayed the real nature of his occupation 



326 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

to his young companion, Esther was absolutely 
ignorant at the moment. Vaguely, and like a 
shadow also, the thought had begun latterly to 
float through her mind, of the possibility of in- 
terposing successfully between Frederick and his 
victim, and of restoring the poor girl to her 
friends. How this was to be done without the risk 
of more danger to herself and to her comrades, 
than Esther had by any means as yet made up 
her mind to incur, did not appear very clear at 
present. Nevertheless the first step towards such 
a consummation evidently consisted in remaining 
constantly at Lily's side, and guarding against 
Frederick's discovery of her present retreat. 
This she accordingly made up her mind at once 
to do, with all the promptitude and steadiness of 
her bold, determined nature. To carry out her 
plan, indeed, it would be necessary to separate 
herself for a time from Aileen ; a thing she could 
not even think of, without a pang of sorrow. 
However, she hoped It would be but for a few 
days only; and partly to recommend the poor 
child in the meantime to Dick*s care, partly to 
acquaint him with her present purpose and 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 327 



abode, she determined to take advantage of the 
sleep into which Lily had fallen at last, in order 
to obtain an interview with him. 

Being acquainted with the precise locality in 
which he was at present carrying out his pecu- 
liar avocations, she had no difficulty in doing 
this. The spot happened to be close at hand, 
and her business was accomplished, and she was 
seated again by Lily's bed, long before her ancient 
hostess had roused herself from her first slumber. 
The latter event, in fact, did not occur until the 
exact moment when habit had made it second- 
nature to her to bestir herself ; and then, precisely 
at the same hour in which she had done the same 
thing for years before, old Judy opened her eyes, 
yawned, stretched herself, and rose from her hard 
couch, to commence her double preparations for 
the breakfast table and toilette. Neither the one 
nor the other, it must be confessed were of a very 
onerous description; but to make amends for the 
little time they cost her, no sooner was the fire 
lighted, and the kettle placed in a favourable 
position on the coals, than old Judy went 
pltt mp down upon her knees, and proceeded in 



328 HOME UTD THE HOMELESS. 



a rerj audible Toioe to perform ber QKMning 
derotiofis. 

From the side of Lily's bed, where, with the 
short exception of her intenriew with Dick, she 
hal been sitting through the lire long night, 
Esther watched the old woman from beneath her 
half closed eye-lids. She thought upon Aileen's 
prayers on the night of her appearance at the 
Red-house and at first it seemed strange to her, 
that the young child nursed in the lap of luxury, 
and the old woman grown grey in the squalor 
of the street and cellar, should yet be united and 
made resemblant to each other by the same 
earnest desire and necessity for prayer. The 
vision of the young child kneeling, had indeed, 
touched her heart at once, while at first, perhaps, 
she was more amused and puzzled than other- 
wise affected by the self-same action in poor Judy. 
But uneducated as she was, there were yet deep 
sources of thought in Esther's soul ; and now she 
revolved the past and present in her mind^ until 
she learned almost to feel as if there were more 
positive beauty in the devotion of the ancient 
woman than in that of the child, heightened 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 329 



though the latter was, by the irresistible adjuncts 
of grace and beauty. 

Prayer is so naturally the language of child- 
hood, so inevitably the expression of its depend- 
ence on others, that every spoken wish resolves 
itself unconsciously into prayer upon its lips. 
But the prayer of the aged — that prayer to 
which they have not thought it humiliation to 
have recourse, even in the days of their utmost 
vigour — prayer which throughout a long, troubled 
life time has been alike their defence in the hour 
of danger — their cry of gratitude in the day of 
joy — their strength and solace in that of sorrow 
— prayer which has bound each day to the 
service of the God who gave it, and linked time 
and eternity for them in a golden chain together 
— the prayer of the aged with all it tells of faith, 
and hope, and charity, and long suffering — of 
distrust in self and confidence in God, — that 
prayer appealed to Esther's imagination in a 
way that the prayer of the child had had no 
power to affect her. She thought upon it, and 
upon all it might be to the heart of the woe worn 
sinner, until she entirely forgot the bodily 



— mTT:r — yeoiv^ ^sitiJBe — jMMD iiirot 5l 
"her :»^3s£. -mKTT "luh -^irrr ^ liua: grasnHr :» 

-Tseagfr at r .TfieafiefRiyeii ike: i»resur nr tStf 

iresfctiieri .r inwftt^i& 

ir -^rm ~iie stme arasiaioii dioc w ^wlbiA 
iirai towTU Tier -TODR idrrjiit TOCTiiy irt fcer 
ound iir ifl zhxa:^ sad. iiibeix^ ide^ isiuiif Ditr hxn 
guc ine af dienc inni wrjrr^ bcEi sack 

power zo nfinifcB lier wee^^ c&oc dtiP l^ia to 
hide her fiicE in botb ber lionife;. dam bcr tms 
mi^t he oiiliieii also. ESsn j&e w% Mt long 
left t;o nheir ijuiotjenjce.. liEr j »36t err as she 
woke froox Ker nciieaOT d[]uiiber. sooa called Iier 
tfy bifsr nie} soii wMIe ^ applicil herself to 
foothing the oerrcnxs fears which the unwonted 
]4ace in which she found h^rsel^ had excited 




HOME AND THE nOMELESS. 331 

in the invalid, old Judy fulfilled her own idea of 
the duties of a nurse, by concocting a cup of 
tea, as hot and strong, as the most unconscion- 
able lover of the fragrant herb could possibly 
have desired. This, with a morsel of toast, 
which the kind-hearted old woman had almost 
burnt ofi^her fingers in making, she delivered to 
the care of Esther, with an intuitive delicacy of 
feeling, which taught her that the invalid would 
be far more willing to take it from the latter, 
than herself. She then proceeded to search 
her stores, for all manner of old cloaks and pet- 
ticoats, which, after they had been rolled up 
into a good sized bundle, she placed behind the 
bolster, in order, as she expressed it, to give the 
poor colleen a " back," and enable her to " sit 
up aisy and comfortable to the atin' of her break- 
fast" 

" You see, acushla," she observed in explana- 
tion, for she fancied that Esther was looking with 
some wonder in her eyes, at the vast variety of 
articles thus brought to light : Fm forced to 
keep more nor one kind of coat (petticoat), by 
rayson of there bein' so many difierent sorts of 



332 



BOMC A» THE HOM£US& 



weather in this big nmpageoos, eitj. There^s 
tb^ jallow fog^^ she eontiniied, b^inning to 
reckon on her fingers — though to be shore that's 
not so bad as it looks, in r^ard that it neither 
wets, nor is, that to saj, cowM nor chiDy — and 
there's the Febnairy mbt that sticks round yon 
like a wet blanket, and sinds the shirers throngh 
you as though you had an ague — and there's the 
aisterly wind, wid sleet and hail nippin' you all 
to pii'ces, as if you war a cabbage leaf, or a 
young pitaty — and as if all them changes wam't 
enough, and too much, besides, there's the ever- 
lastin' drizzle, drizzle, drizzle of small rain, 
which is by far the worst of them all^ bad cess 
to it, soakin' you down to the bare skin, and 
makin' you feel as if your very bones were run- 
ning in cowld wather — glory be to God, all the 
same," she concluded, crossing herself devoutly 
— for shure it's His own weather, and it's He 
that sinds it, whatever it is, the Lard Jasus 
forgive me for swearin' at it jist now." 

" Be'ant there no rain in the country as you 
comes from ?" 

Esther could not resist the question^ for with- 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



333 



out possessing any very extensive geographical 
knowledge, she had somehow a vague impression, 
that Ireland was situated in the rainy quarter of 
the globe. 

" Musha, to be sure there is, aroon. Why 
wouldn't there! but then it's God's own rain 
coming straight down from the skies above yez, 
fallin' light and bright, and pure, and sweet as 
the dew upon a primrose; while your London 
showers look for all the worreld as if they'd been 
sweepin' chimlies, and dhrivin aginst dead 
walls, and washin' oflF the mud and dirt from 
every house top in the street, afore ever they 
come nigh you, Divel a lie I tell you, jewel, but 
av you'll believe me, you might wash the very 
duds (clothes), on your back, by only walking 
down Sackville Street, in a shower of rain, and 
troth if you thried that same in Fleet Street, it's 
as black as the naygur that sweeps the crassin 
you'd be, for only a single wipe of them dirty 
drizzles." 

"That I would, sure-lie," replied Esther, who 
seeing she had touched upon a tender subject, 
was very willing to confess herself defeated, in 



Black jfhifl& JSttd Endsey woobeysy whicit sIiieiEa^ 
Si»i»Ti the oW womaa don that momrn 

Xot in fine weatbeTy"" was tfre aahierftating: 
r»*pTT, *^ Bat rt look* mighty black oxer kexd^ 
aad rra fearfiil of a storrm bje-a^id-bye.'^ 

Esther was sHenty bat she couH no^t refrain 
from smSing^ for^ as tf m flat contrafiEctio'ii of 
this a«5ertfoT^ the son came darting in that rerj 
m>aieQt throagh the diogr wiodow, filling the 
low cellar with unwonted brightness. 

^ Shure, if it isn't rainin', it will rain^ so 
where'rf the use of talking?" persisted old Judy, 
ciwslj. ^ An J way, I most hare my iligant 
Sanday coat, for I can't afford to hare it either 
spiled or stolen.'^ 

In porsoance of this intention, she walked 
straight up to the bed, for the purpose of taking 
the petticoat in question from it. But it so hap- 
pened, that Lily had fallen asleep with her head 
resting on the very article she prized so 
highly, and her fair hair looked all the fairer 
and the brighter, and her pale cheek, all the paler 
and the softer for the dark coarse texture that 
relieved their beauty. Something there was in 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 337 



the picture surely, which touched the old woman's 
heart, and triumphed even over the very natural 
desire of saving her property from the chance 
of robbery. 

"The poor, purthy, broken hearted little 
darlint," she muttered half aloud, as she bent 
over the sleeping girl — " Ochone ! but it makes 
the heart heavy widin one, to think of 
what she, and the likes of she do come to, in 
this great, big, blackguard of a city. Well I 
well ! come what will of it, I'll lave it wid her, 
for troth it 'ud be a sin and a shame, it would, 
to be stirin' her up now, when her dhrames 
are most likely brighter, and betther, nor her 
wakin' thoughts will be ever agin — the cray- 
thur!'' 

And as she finished this soliloquy, old Judy 
moved away with a firmness that was really 
heroic, if we consider that it was not the safety 
of her favorite garment only that was at stake, 
but that also of an old worsted stocking, which 
she had plunged for security into the deepest 
of its pockets, and which actually contained 
more half crowns, sixpences and shillings, than 

VOL II. Q 



338 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 



their owner knew well how to reckon — the 
result of many a day of sunshine and of shower, 
spent in her vocation in the streets of London. 

Esther had been no unmoved observer of this 
little scene; and she was hardly less touched by 
the tenderness which had shrunk from depriving 
Lily even of such shadowy happiness as a dream 
could give her, than humbled at the suspicion of 
her own honesty which it evinced, and which 
conscience whispered, was but too well justified 
by the nature of her previous habits. 

Alas! for poor Esther! She had already 
learned all too bitterly in the course of her short 
life, how inadequate mere professions are for the 
recovery of that good opinion we have justly for- 
feited. Naturally anxious therefore though she 
was to reinstate herself in the good graces of old 
Judy, she made no other effort towards doing so, 
than^by placing half a sovereign in her hand, 
and saying, with a timidity of voice and manner 
very unusual to her : 

" Trouble J[and worry we must be to you, I'm 
afeard so long as we bide with you ; but expense 
we needn't, and if this will do for the present — " 



HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 339 



But Judy stopped her short by putting back 
the money, and saying sternly : 

" Put up your gould, young woman, and if so 
be as you came honestly by it, may it prosper 
wid you into thousands. But if you didn't," and 
Judy laid a very perceptible stress upon the 
alternative ; " if you didn't, may the Lord wash 
out the sin, and keep you to repintance." 

Tears rushed to Esther's eyes at this unexpected 
rebuff, but she made no answer. Her silence, 
however, did more for her than the most passionate 
denials could have done, and Judy's heart soon 
smiting her for what seemed like over harsh- 
ness to a fellow-creature, she added earnestly : 
"Well, well, acushla, it's no use crying over 
what can't be minded now, and sure what are the 
best of us but sinful craythures after all — the 
Lord look down on us and keep us from timpta- 
tion. So dry your eyes, alanna, and who knows 
but what at the great day you mayn't be putting 
some of us to shame that do be cocking up our 
noses at you now, for wasn't Mary wickeder nor 
Martha; and yet, who but she was to sit at the 
feet of the Lord Jasus, like a lady, while the 



340 HOME AND THE HOMELESS. 

other was kep' all as one as a sarvant at His . 
ilbow." 

This oration was no sooner ended than old 
Judy bundled off to her own affairs; and if in 
the midst of the bustle and excitement of the 
daj, of the chaffing with old customers, and 
enticing new ones, some anxious thoughts would 
turn towards the ' iligant Sunday coat/ with its 
secret hoard of silver beneath the pillow of the 
invalid, still this fact in no ways interfered with 
the habitual charity of that good, old, Trish heart, 
or with the sending up of many a fervent prayer 
for the poor, pretty, broken-hearted colleen whom 
Providence had conducted to her door. 



END OF VOL. II. 



T. C. New by, Triuter, 30, Welbeck-street, Ca^endisU- square.