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m 



//' 



B088MOTNE. 



I 



BT THE AUTHOR OF 

•PHTLLM," "molly BAWN," " PORTIA," SN. 






** Who set this ancient quarrel new ahroaoh f— > 
Speak, nephew, were jou by when it began ? 

"Here's much to do with hate, but mpre wjth loYe."*" 

/- RpyEO.AJ^r'J 



i>HILADELPHIA: 

jr. B. lippij^tcott company. 

1906. 



7/ o 



TO NEW YOPK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

ASTOP, LENOX AND 

TILDEN ECVNDATIUNS 

R 1024 L 



OOI^ENTS. 



OHAPTBB L 

wum 

How » Doreooi ww flattered in KoMmoyiie . . • f 

OHAPTBR n. 
Bow two Old Maidi are made acquainted with a rery Tonng One . 17 

CHAPTER JIL 
How Monica studies tlie landscape 38 

CHAPTER IV. 

How Monica makes a most important disooyery, and changing sud- 
denly from *' liyely to seyere," is reprehensibly cruel to a most 
unoffending young man ■ . . 86 

CHAPTER V. 

How Monioa is put in possession of a dreadful secret — And bow Kit 
]ftmtasw afainst the ii^justice of the world 48 

CHAPTER VI. 

How Monioa goes to Aghyohillbeg, and meets there an old friend 
and a yery new one 68 

CHAPTER VII 

How Monioa listens to strange words and sufters herself to be led 
away — ^How Cupid plants a shaft in Mars, and how Miss Priscilla 
finds herself &oe to face with the enemy ' 811 

CHAPTER Vni. 

3ow Brian, haying instituted inquiries, condemns his Uncle secretly 
— H«w Ten^ throws light upon a dark subject; and how. for ti>* 

third time, LoTe" finds out his way" W 

!♦ 6 



6 CONTENTS, 

CHAPTER IX. 

PAOI 

How Terrj is put in the Book — And how the two Misses Bl&ke baffle 
•zpectationy and show themselyes in their trae colors . . .116 

CHAPTBR X. 

How Monica falls a prey to the green-eyed monster- How Mr. 
Kelly improTes the shining hours — And how Brian Desmond 
suffers many things at the luLnds of his ladye-love . . • 127 

CHAPTER XL 

How Kit sees a Vision, and being exhorted thereto by it, pleads a 
certain cause with great saccess 14tt 

CHAPTBR XII. 

Uow Monica with faltering footsteps enters the mysterious moon- 
light, and how she ^ares therein 163 

CHAPTBR XIII. 

How Kit reads between the lines — How the Misses Blake show 
themselves determined to pursue a dissipated course — and how 
Monica is led astray by an apt pupil of Machiayelli . . . 168 

CHAPTBR XIV. 

How Kit's plot is betrayed, and how a walk that begins gayly 
ends in gloom 176 

CHAPTER XV. 

How the Misses Blake discover a gigantic fraud — How Terence is 
again arraigned, and brought before the Court on a charge of 
duplicity — and how he is nearly committed for contempt . . 1 92 

CHAPTBR XVI. 

How the afternoon at Moyne proves a great success — How Olga 
Bohun is led into a half confession — and how Monica, growing 
restless, seeks a dubious solitude 200 



CHAPTBR XVII. 

The marvellous history of how Monica finds the green-eyed monster 
in a beeoh-tree — and how single-handed she attacks and over- 
comes him 307 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

How, after much disonssion, the devoted, if mistaken, adherents of 
Thalia gain the day — and how, for onoe in his life, Owen Kelly 
feels melancholy that is not assumed 318 

CHAPTER XIX. 

How Deemond asserts himself, and shows himself a better man than 
his riral — And how a bonch of red roses causes a breach, and 
how a ring heals it . . . 337 

CHAPTER XX. 

How gossip grows rife at Aghyohillbeg — How Hermia |»arries the 
quMtion — and how Olga prores unkind 3t9 

CHAPTER XXI. 

How Mrs. Herriok grows worldly-wise and Olga frirolous — How 
Mr. Kelly tells a little story ; and how, beneath the moonlight, 
many thhigs are made dear 36S 

CHAPTER XXII. 

How Olga drowns a faithful servant — How Mr. Kelly conjures up 
a ghost — And how Monica, beneath the mystic moonbeams, grants 
the fAit she first denies 367 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

How Mary Browne makes confession, though not by creed a Ro- 
manist; and how those who receive it are far remo?ed from 
being holy fathers! — Moreover, I would have you see there is 
more acting off the stage than on it 383 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

How Madam O'Connor tells how lovers throve in the good old days 
when she was young ; and Brian Desmond thrives with his love 
in these our days, when he and she are young .... 397 

CHAPTER XXV. 

How The Desmond's mind is harassed by a gentle maiden and two 
ungentle roughs ; and how the Land League shows him a deli- 
cate attention 308 

CHAPTER XXVL 

How rations fall short in the enemy's camp; and how Monica, 
armed with a strange ammunition, marches into the hostile land 816 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



PIM 



How Monica's gift receivee due attention, and is thorongbly appre- 
ciated ; and how a torpedo fUls into the morning-room at Moyne 8U 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

How the Misses Blake reeeiye the Nephew of thetr sworn Foe — 
How Monica at all hazards proclaims her truth — and how Misi 
Priscilla sees something that upsets her and the belief of yean • tSl 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

How Miss Priscilla is driven to enter Coole — How she there receiTcs 
an important proposal, but with much fortitude declines it — and 
how The Desmond sufifers more from a twinge of conscience than 
from a bullet 837 

CHAPTER XXX. 

How Madam O'Connor gives her opinion on certain subjects — How 
Fay electrifies an entire audience— and how Olga makes up her 
mind 348 

* 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

How Monica's heart fails her — and how at last Hope (whose name 
is Brian) comes back to her through the quivering moonlight . 881 



ROSSMOYNE. 



OHAPTBR I. 

How a DoTe-oot wu flnttervd in Boflsmoyne, 

Thb old-fashioned clock is ticking loudly, ponder- 
ously, as though determined to betray the flight of 
fickle time and impress upon the happy, careless ones 
that the end of all things is at hand. TThe roses knock 
their fragrant buds against the window-panes, calling 
attention to their dainty sweetness. The pigeons coo 
amorously upon the sills outside and even thrust their 
pretty heads into the breakfast-room, demanding plain- 
tively their daily crumbs ; but no one heeds. 

A deadljr silence has fallen upon this room at Moyne, 
albeit life is fully represented here, and two eyes, in 
which the light of youth is quenched, are looking anx- 
iously into two other eyes that have also seen the best 
and the sweetest of their days. 

Hopelessly the golden roses scatter their petals. In 
vain the white and tawny birds entreat backsheesh. To 
no purpose does the elderly clock count out its num- 
bers. The urn is hissing an^ly, the two cups of tea so 
carefully prepared are growing cold. So are the crisp 
little hot cakes, so is th e 

No! by the bye, it isn't I Honey can't. What a 
chance I was* near giving the reviewers I 

One bird, growing annoyed at the prolonged qtiet, 
flies from the open window to the back of miss Penel- 
ope's chair, and settles there with an indignant flutter 
and a suppressed but angry note. This small suggesr 

9 



10 ROSSMOYNE. 

tion of a living world destroys the spell that for the 
last few minutes has been connecting the brain with a 
dead one. 

Miss Penelope, raising her head, gives words to her 
thoughts. 

" Poor, poor Katherine !" she says, gently smoothing 
out the letter that lies upon her knee. " How her hap- 
piness wao wrecked 1 and what a sad ending there has 
been to everything ! Her children coming home to us, 
fatherless — motherless I Dear child ! what a life hers 
has been I It is quite twenty years ago now, and yet 
it all seems to me as fresh as yesterday." 

"She shouldn't have taken things, so easily; she 
should have asserted herself at the time,'^ says Miss 
Priscilla, whose voice is always a note sharper than her 
sister's. 

" It requires a great deal of thought and — and a great 
deal of moral courage to assert one's self when a man 
has behaved abominably to one, — has, in fact, jilted 
one I" says Miss Penelope, bringing out the awful word 
with a little shudder and a shake of her gentle head, 
that sets two pa'e lavender ribbons in her cap swaying 
mildly to and fro. 

"Why was she so fatally silent about everything, 
except the one bare fact of his refusal, at the last mo- 
ment, to marry her, without assigning any cause for his 
base desertion ? Why didn't she open her whole heart 
to me ? I wasn't afraid of the man 1" says Miss Pris- 
cilla, with such terrible energy and such a warlike front 
as might well have daunted " the man,'' or indeed any 
man, could he have seen her. " She should have un- 
burdened her poor bruised spirit to me, who — if my 
mother was not hers, and if I was many years her 
senior-^had at least a sister's love for her." 

"A true love," says Miss Penelope, with anothet 
sigh. 

" Instead of which," regretfully, " she hid all her sot- 
rows in her own bosom, and no doubt wept and pined 
for the miscreant in secret." 

" Poor soul 1" says Miss Penelope, profoundly affected 
by this dismal picture. Tears born of tenderness spring 



BOSSMOFNE. 11 

to her eyes. '*Do you remember, Priscilla, how she 
refused to show his letter, wishing, I suppose, even 
tJien to spare him ?" 

"I forget nothing I" with some acerbity. "Often, 
when saying my prayers, I have wished I could forget 
him, but I can't, so I have to go on being uncharit- 
able and in sin, — if indeed sin it be to harden one's heart 
against a bad man." 

" Do you remember, too, my dear Priscilla, how she 
refused to go to church the Sunday after she received 
his cold-blooded missive telling her he wished his en- 
gagement at an end ? I often* wonder in what language 
he could have couched such a scandalous desire ; but 
she tore the letter up. Dearl dearl it might have 
happened to-day, it is all so clear to me." 

" Too clear," says Miss Priscilla. 

"I recollect, too," says Miss Penelope, leaning her 
elbows on the table, pushing her un tasted tea from her, 
and warming to the dismal memory, "how she would not 
come down to dinner on that eventful evening, though 
we had the red-currant tart she was so fond of, and how 
I took her up some myself and knocked at her door 
and entreated her to open to me and to eat some of it. 
There was whipped cream on it ; she was very fond of 
cream, too." 

"And she refused to open the door?" asks Miss Pris- 
cilla, with the satisfied air of one who has often heard 
the thrilling recital before, yet was never tired of it. 

" Absolutely I so 1 laid the plate on a little table out- 
side her door. Some hours afterwards, going up to bed, 
I saw the plate was gone and her door slightly ajar. 
Stealing into her room on tiptoe, I saw she was sleep- 
ing peacefully, and that she had eaten the red-currant 
tart. I felt so happy then. Poor dear child*! how fond 
she was of that tartl" 

"She liked everything that had sugar in it," says 
Miss Priscilla, mournfully. 

" It was only natural. * Sweets to the sweet,' ' says 
Miss Penelope, letting one little white jewelled hand 
£bM slowly, sadly upon the other. 

There is a lengthened pause. 



12 ROSSMOYNE. 

Presently, stooping slightly towards her sister, Miss 
Penelope says, in a mysterious whisper, — 

" I wonder, my dear Priscilla, why she married James 
Beresford a month afterwards." 

" Who can read the human heart? Perhaps it was 
pride drove her into that marriage, — a desire to show 
George Desmond how lightly she treated his desertion 
of her. And James was a handsome young fellow, 
whereas George was •/' 

" Ugly," says Miss Penelope, with quite an amazing 
Amount of vicious satisfaction, for her. 

" Strikingly so," says Miss Priscilla, acquiescing most 
agreeably. " But then the Desmond estates mean half 
the county ; and we used to think he was the soul of 
honor." 

" It was our father's expressed desire upon his death- 
bed that Katherine should many him." 

'* Yes, yes ; a desire to be held sacred. And Kath- 
erine gave her promise to our dying parent. Nothing," 
says Miss Priscilla, in a solemn tone, " should induce 
any one t<^ break such an oath. I have often said so to 
the dear child. But she appeared not only willing, but 
anxious, to marry George Desmond. His was the 
traitorous mind." 

" I dare say he has had his own punishment," says 
Miss Penelope, mildly. 

" I hope so," says Miss Priscilla, sternly. Then, with 
a return to sadness, " Twenty years ago it is, and now 
she has been a twelvemonth dead and in her quiet grave." 

" Oh, don% my dear Priscilla," says Miss Penelope, in 
a broken voice, burying her face in her pocket-hard- 
kerchief. 

*' Ah I well, well, we had better look to the future ; 
the past has no charms for us," says Miss Priscilla, with 
a ghastly attempt at cheerfulness. " Let me see," re- 
ferring through a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles to 
the letter in her hand: ''That the dear children have 
landed we know, and — h'm — yes, this very — yes, 
plainly, very respectable person, the captain, writes to 
say they will be with us to-morrow." 

" To-morrow! and that was written yesterday," says 



ROSSMOYNE. 18 

MiB8 Penelope, putting down her handkerchief and 
starting once more into life, " Why, at that rate, my 
dear Priscilla, they will be here to-day /" 

" Bless me I you don't mean it !" exclaims Miss Pris- 
cilla, again applying her glasses to the letter. '< Mon- 
day, and this is Tuesday: yes, sure enough you are 
right. "What a head you have, my dear Penelope !" 

'^ Oh, not at all," says Miss Penelope, flushing with 
pleasure at this tribute to her intellect. 

" To-day, — ^in a few hours. Now, what is to be done 
about the beds ?" 

** But surely they are aired ?" 

"Aired? — ^yes. They have been aired every day 
regularly for the past two months, ever since I first 
heard the children were likely to come to us. But 
still I am uncertain about them. I know they will 
want hot jars ; and then the rooms, they will want 
flowers and many things — and " 

" Can't I help you ?" demands Miss Penelope, eagerly. 

" My dear girl, not at all," says Miss Priscilla, with 
a calmly superior air, arising from the fact that she is 
quite eighteen months her senior. "You can assist 
me with your valuable counsel, but I would not have 
you disturb yourself for worlds. You must be cool 
and collected, and hold yourself in readiness to receive 
them when they come. They will be shy, no doubt, 
coming here all the way from Palestine, and it must be 
your part to make them feel quite at home." 

This to Miss Penelope, who is afraid of strangers in 
any guise, appears such a fearful mission that she pales, 
and says, tremblingly, — 

" But you too will l)e present at our first meetii-g ? 
I must indeed beg you to be present, my dear Priscilla." 

" Of course, of course," says Miss Priscilla, encour- 
agingly. Then, doubtfully, " 1 hope the boy won't take 
a dislike to us." 

" I wonder how we shall get on with children," says 
Miss Penelope. She is evidently growing extremely 
nervous. " It seems so strange they should be coming 
here to the old house." , 

"Monica cannot be a child now. She must be at 
2 



14 ROSSMOl'NE, 

least eighteen," says Miss Priseilla, thoug itfully. " It 
was in 1863 that " 

" 1864, I think," interrupts Miss Penelope. 

" 1863," persists Miss Priseilla. 

" You may be right, my dear," says Miss Penelope, 
mildly but firmly, " you often are, — but I know it wa« 
in '64 that " 

" What?" asks Miss Priseilla, sharply. 

" The Desmond jilted our Katherine." 

" You are wrong, Penelope, utterly wrong. It wa? 
in '63." 

"I am nearly always wrong," says Miss Penelope, 
meekly, yet with a latent sense of suppressed power. 
" But I cannot forget that in the year George Desmond 
behaved so shamefully to our sweet Katherine, Madam 
O'Connor's cow had two calves, and that" triumphantly, 
"was in '64." 

"You are right,— quite right," says Miss Priseilla, 
vanquished, but not cast down. " So it was. What a 
memory you have, my dear Penelope !" 

"Nothing when compared with yours^" says Miss 
Penelope, smiling. 

At this moment the door opens and an old man enters 
the room. He is clad in the garb of a servant, though 
such wonderful habiliments as those in which he hae 
arrayed himself would be diflScult of purchase nowa- 
days : whether there are more wrinkles in his forehead 
or in his trousers is a nice question that could not read- 
ily be decided at a moment's notice. 

He is quite ten years older than either of his mis- 
tresses ; and, indeed, both he and his garments plainly 
belong to a by-gone generation. His knees are bent, 
80 is his back ; his face is like a Eibston pippin, his coat 
is a marvel both in cut and in texture, but his linen is 
irreproachable, and what hair nature has still left him 
is most carefully brushed. There is, too, in his small 
gray Irish eyes a mischievous twinkle, and a fund of 
honest good humor that goes far to defy the ravages 
of time. In spite of his seventy years and his quaint 
attire, he still at times can hold his own with many a 
younger man. 



ROSSMOYNB. U 

" Well, Timothy," says Miss Priscilla, looking up as 
he approaches the table, '^ we have had news of Miss 
Katherine*s — I mean Mrs. Beresford's — children." 

" Eest her sowl !" says Timothy, in a reverential tone, 
aUuding to that part of the late Mrs. Beresford. 

" It seems they have landed and will be with us to- 
day." 

" The day, miss ?" growing brisk at this unexpected 
announcement. 

'^ Yes, they have reached England in safety, and are 
now in Dublin. What a long, long Journey it has been 
for them," with another dreamy glance at the lettoi, 
" all the way from Palestine I" 

"An* so it has, miss, poor little crathursi" says Tim- 
othy, who knows as much about the whereabouts of 
Palestine as he does about the man in the moon. 

" You mustn't think they are very young, Timothy," 
says Miss Penelope, hastily. " Miss Priscilla and I have 
been talking it over, and we believe Miss Beresford 
must be now seventeen. Master Terence sixteen, and 
Miss Kate fourteen," 

" And so of course they must be, miss. Thrue for 
ye, ma'am. Dear, dear, though only to think now ; it 
seems only the other day the dear young lady was 
married to Mister Beresford. But you aren't eating a 
bit, miss," anxiously; "you haven't tasted a morsel, 
ma'am. What can i get ye now ?" 

" Nothing, Timothy. The fact is " 

" There's an iligant ham down-stairs, ma'am," says 
the old man, now really concerned for the mistresses, 
who still always appear to him as " the young ladies :" 
" let me bring it up to you." 

" No, thank you, Timothy : we are just a little upset 
by this sudden news. We cannot help wondering how 
the old house will be with children in it, after all these 
years of calm and quiet." 

" Sure an' a grand change it will be for us all, miss , 
'twill indeed, ma'am," saysTTimothy, cheerfully, though 
his mind misgives him. "There's nothing like chil- 
dren, when all's told : sure's there's music in the very 
sound of their footsteps." 



16 ROSSMOYNE, 

" I hope they will bo good/' says Miss PeLelope, with 
a doubtml sigh. 

" Paix, what else would they be, miss?" says the old 
man, with assumed reproach. " 'Tis well 1 mind ot 
poor Misis Katherine herself, — the soft tongue she had 
m her head, an' never a cross word out of her, save to 
Nelly Doolin — an* she was the divil himself, savin* your 
presence, miss, and enough to provoke all the saints — 
gloiy be " 

" I trust they will be happy here," goes on Miss Pen- 
elope, still wistful. 

" An* whv not, miss ? Sure the counthry is the finest 
place at all for the young ; and whei )*s a finer coun- 
thry than ould Ireland ?** 

" Much can*t be said for it of late, Timothy,** says 
Miss Priscilla, sadlv : " all it can boast of now is rebel- 
lion, sedition, and bloodshed.** 

^' Sure every one must have a kick up sometimes, 
miss,** says Timothy, with youthful lightness; "an*, 
afther all, isn*t the ould place only doin* what she can 
for herself, more power to her?** 

Kyan,** says Miss Priscilla, sternly, addressing her 
butler by his surname, — a thing that is never done 
except in dire cases, — and fixing upon him an icy 
glance beneath which he quails, " I regret you should 
so far forget yourself as to utter such treasonable sen- 
timents in our presence. You ought to be ashamed of 
yourself.** 

" So I am, miss. I humbly ask yer pardon, ma*am,** 
says Mr. Eyan, promptly. " But all the different opin- 
ions one hears addles the brain. *Twas only last night 
the Murphys had a meeting, and they do say, miss,** 
lowering his voice confidentially, " that the Squire down 
there,** pointing apparently through the breakfast-room 
wall, " is in a bad way with the League boys.*' 

"The Desmond?" 

"Yes, miss. He*s been evictin* again, ma*am^ an' 
ihere*s queer talk about him. But,'* with a relapse mto 
former thought, " if he*s a bad landlord, what can he 
expect?" 

" No, no, Timothy. He is not a bad landlord," says 



ROSSMOTNB. Vl 

MiBS PrisciUa, hastily, though this all<»wance of grace 
U} her enemy causes her a bitter pang. <* He has been 
most patient for years. That I know" 

"Well, maybe so, miss," says Eyan, deferentially, 
but with a reservation in his manner that speaks vol- 
umes. " It isn't for the likes of me, ma'am, to contradict 
the likes of you. But did ye hear, miss, that Misther 
Desmond's nephew has come to stay with him ?" 

"At Cooler 

" At the Castle. Yes, miss. Paix 'twas meself was 
surprised to hear it. But there he is, safe enough, an' 
another gentleman with him ; an' they do say that the 
ould masther is as proud as Punch of him. But his 
blood's bad, I'll no doubt." 

" No doubt," says Miss Priscilla, severely. 

Miss Penelope sighs. 



CHAPTBE II. 

How two Old Maids are made aoquamted with a rery Toung One. 

Albeadt we have reached the afternoon. In these 
warm June days, when all the earth is languorous and 
glad with its own beauty, time slips from us unan- 
nounced, and the minutes from morn to eventide, and 
firom the gloaming to nightfall, melt into one another^ 
until all seem but one sweet, lengthened hour. 

Just now the hot sun is pouring down upon garden 
and gravelled walks at Moyne ; except the hum of the 
industrious bees, not a sound can be heard ; even the 
streamlet at the end of the long lawn is running 
sleepily, making sweet music as it goes, indeed, but so 
drowsily, so heavily, that it hardly reaches the ear; 
and so, too, with the lap-lapping of the waves upon the 
shore below, as the tide comes and goes. 

Not a breath of air comes to disturb the languid 
erandeur of the huge elms that stand staring up to 
heaven just opposite the hall door. The crows swing- 
b 2* 



18 ROSSMOYNB. 

ing in their branches up above are all subdued ; hardly 
have they energy enough to flap their great, broad 
win^B. 

Little stationary clouds lie like flecks of silver upon 
the pale-blue sky ; far, far away, in the woods of Coole, 
a cuckoo may be heard at long and yet longer inter* 
vals, — last remnant of a vanished spring ; but all the 
other birds have succumbed to the power of the great 
god of light, and are wrapped in silence. 

Certain stray little sunbeams, half wild with glee, 
rushing hither and thither through the roses, discover 
Miss Penelope Blake sitting in the drawing-room at 
Moyne. She is dressed in her very best lavender silk, 
that would stand alone, and be glad to do it if it was 
let, but unabashed by her splendor Apollo's saucy 
babies dance down upon her, and, seizing on her 
knitting-needles, play hide-and-seek among them, until 
the poor lady's eyes are fairly dazzled. 

Fortunately, at this instant Miss Priscilla, entering 
the room, draws down the blind and restores order ; 
after which she seats herself almost directly opposite 
her sister. 

The Misses Blake are not pretty old ladies at all. I 
don't want to deceive you in this matter. They are, 
in &ct, quite ugly old ladies. Their noses are all 
wrong, their cheeks are as wrinkled as Timothy's fore- 
head, and their mouths are out of all drawing. 

Miss Priscilla's eyes are brown, — a deep * startling 
brown, that seems to look you through and through 
and compels the truth. Her hair is brown, too, and 
soft, and silky, and pretty, though thickly sprinkled 
with gray. She has a great dew of this hair, and is 
secretly very proud of it. 

Miss Penelope's eves are pale blue, — with very little 
blue, — and but for her long lashes (sole remnants of 
goodlier days) would be oppressive. Her hair is pale, 
too, and sandy, and is braided back from her forehead 
in severe lines. 

There is a pensive air about Miss Penelope that 
might suggest to the casual observer an early and dis- 
astrous love-affair. But all such imaginings on his 



ROSSMOFNE. 19 

part would be vain. No winged cupld ever hid in Miss 
renelope's ear, or played bo-peep in her virgin bosom, 
or nestled in her sandy locks : she is free from all taint 
of such wild frivolisms. 

" All is ready now," says Miss Priscilla, — who is the 
Martha at Moyne, while we may regard Miss Penelope 
as the Mary. **The rooms are prepared, nothing is 
wanting, and the flowers smell so sweet. I have sent 
the carriage to meet them, though I know the train 
cannot be here for quite an hour yet ; but I think it 
wise always to be in time." 

"There is nothing like it," says Miss Penelope, 
placidly. 

" Now I shall rest here with you a little while," goes 
on the elder maiden, complacently, " and think of all 
that is likely to happen." 

"Eeally," says Miss Penelope, lowering her work 
and glancing restlessly at her sister, " I feel more ner- 
vous than I can sav, when I think of their coming. 
What on earth should we do, my dear Priscilla, if they 
took a dislike to us ?" 

" I have thought of that myself," says Miss Priscilla, 
in an awe-struck tone. " We are not attractive, Penel- 
ope : beyond a few — a very few — insignificant touches,*' 
with an inward glance at her fine hair, " we are abso- 
lutelv outside the pale of beauty. I wonder if Monica 
will be like her mother ; or if " 

Here something happens that puts a final stop to all 
conversation. The door is opened, quickly, impetu- 
ously ; there is a sound as of many footsteps on the 
threshold without. 

The old ladies start in their seats, and sit upright", 
trembling excessively. What can have happened ? 
Has the sedate Eyan come to loggerheads with Mrs. 
Beilly the cook ? (a state of things often threatened) j 
and are they now standing on the mat outside medi- 
tating further bloodshed? 

A moment surcharged with thrilling suspense gocb 
by, and then, not By an or the cook, but a much more 
perplexing vision comes slowly into the room. 

It is a very radiant vision, though it is clothed Id 



M EOSSMCFNE. 

mooming garments, full of grace and beauty. Very 
shy, with parted lips, and brilliant, frightened eyes, but 
perfect as an opening flower. 

Is it a child or a woman ? is the first question that 
strikes Miss Penelope. As for Miss Priscilla, she is too 
surprised for thought of any kind, too lost in admira- 
tion of the little, gracious, uncertain figure, with its 
deep-blue eyes glancing up at her with a half-terrified 
yet trusting expression, to give way to speech of any 
kind. 

She is slight, and slim as a hazel wand. Her hair is 
nut-brown, with a red gold tinge running through it. 
Her nose is adorable, if slightly tilted ; her mouth is a 
red, red rose, sad but sweet, and full of purpose. Her 
eyes are large and expressive, but touched, like her 
lips, with a suspicion of melancholy that renders them 
only a degree more sweet and earnest. 

There is a spirituality about her, a calm, a peace that 
shines out of these dark Irish eyes, and rests upon her 
perfect lips, as it were a lingering breath of the heaven 
from whence she came. 

She stands now, hesitating a little, with her hands 
loosely clasped, — brown little hands, but beautifully 
shaped. Indeed, all her skin owes more of its coloring 
to I^hoebus Apollo than nature intended. She draws 
her breath somewhat quickly, and then, as though 
anxious to get through the troublous task assigned her. 
says, nervously, in a low, sweet voice, — 

" I am Monica." 

As she says this, she glances entreatingly from one 
old lady to the other, with some trouble in her great 
eyes, and some tears. Then all at once her lips trem- 
ble to a smile, and a soft light breaks upon her face. 

" You are Aunt Priscilla," she says, turning to Miss 
Blake ; " I know you by your dark eyes, and by your 
pretty hair I" 

At the sound of her voice the two old ladies wake 
from their abstraction. 

" Yes, yes, it is your aunt Priscilla," says Miss Penel- 
ope, eagerly, with a sudden pleased smile. Had the 
compliment been made to herself she could not possi- 



R0S8M0YNE. 21 

biy have appeared more delighted, and eertainly would 
not have betrayed her satisfaction so openly. "Her 
hair," she says, " was always beautiful." 

As for Miss Priscilla, she is smiling too, but in a 
shamefaced fashion, and is blushing a warm pretty 
crimson, such as a girl of seventeen might be guilty o^ 
listening to a first word of love 

She takes Monica's right hand in hers and pats it 
softly ; and Miss Penelope takes her left ; and then the 
two old ladies stoop forward, and, one after the other, 
kiss the pale, girlish cheek, and with the kiss take her 
at once and forever into their very hearts. 

" But surely, dear child, you did not come alone ?" 
says Miss Priscilla, presently, calling to remembrance 
the fact that there ought to be two other Beresfords 
somewhere. 

" No ; Terence and Katherine are with me." 

" But where, my dear ?" 

" Well, I think they are standing on the mat, just out- 
side the door," says Monica, blushing and laughing; 
and then she says, rather louder, " Terry and Kit, you 
may come in now. It is all right." 

As to what was evidently supposed not to be " all 
right" up to this, the Misses Blake have no tinra to de 
eide upon before a fresh^ nephew and niece present 
themselves to their view. They come in quite gayly, 
— reassured, no doubt, by Monica's tone: Terence, 8 
tall slim lad of about sixteen, and a little girl somewhat 
like Monica, but more restless in features, and even a 
degree more pallid. 

" My dear children, why didn't you come in before ?" 
says Miss Priscilla, aghast at the inhospitable thought 
that they had been shivering with needless nervousness 
in the hall for the last five minutes. 

" They said they wouldn't come in until I paved the 
way for them," says Monica, with a slight shrug of her 
shoulders that is a trick of hers. " They always put 
everything upon my shoulders : a little shabby of them 
/call it.*' 

" I am afraid you must have pictured us as ogres," 
Bays Miss Priscilla, which idea strikes the old ladies an 



22 R0S8M0YNE. 

Buch a delicious flight of fancy that they laugh outright, 
and look at each other with intense enjoyment of their 
littlejoke. 

" Well, of course we couldn't tell what you would he 
like," says Monica, gravely. "You might have been 
lie likely to impress one with awe ; but, as it is- 



This is Terry," laying her hand upon her brother's arm ; 
" and this is Kit. She is really Katherine, you know, 
but no one ever calls her by so long a name. She isr'* 
worth it." 

At this the three Beresfords laugh among themselves, 
as children will, at time-worn fun, knowing no fatigue; 
after which Katberine and Terence are embraced and 
made much of by their new-found relatives, and freely 
commented upon. 

But ever and anon the eyes of both old ladies wan- 
der thoughtfully, admiringly, to where the lissome 

Monica stands, like a pale, pensive lily. 
********* 

" But how have you managed to be here so soon ?" 
asks Miss Priscilla, when the impromptu luncheon, im- 
provised by the startled Timothy, has come to an end. 
The children were all hungry, and have eaten a great 
deal, and have talked more. Indeed, though Miss Pris- 
cilla has been dying to ask this question for a long 
time, it has been impossible for her to do so, as there 
has not been so much as a comma in the conversation 
for the last hour. 

The Beresfords are like so many clocks wound up, 
and bound to go for a certain time whether they like 
it or not ; and, apparently, they do like it. Now they 
have run down a little, Terence being exhausted after 
his last laughing attack, and Kit wrapped in contem- 
plation of an old-fashioned hair brooch that is fastening 
an equally old-fashioned piece of priceless lace that 
adorns Miss Penelope's throat. 

"Well, I can't think how they do it I" she says, lost 
in admiration of a little slim hair lady bending over a 
miniature hair urn in the most lacnrymose attitude 
conceivable. " But :he^ have put her eye in wrongly 
•he looks as if she is dying with laughter." 



ROSSMOYNE. t8 

Here Miss Priscilla edges in her question, as to how 
they have contrived to be at Moyne at so early an 
hour. 

" We came by the wrong train," says Terry. " We 
generally do. Ever since we left the South of France 
— where we were staying with the Bohuns, you know, 
on our way here — we have been missing our trains 
right and left, and turning up at all sorts of unexpected 
places. Haven't we, Kit ?" 

" You have," says Kit, with suspicious emphasis. 
"You have such a pretty trick of rushing into the first 
train you see, without ever asking any one where it is 
going. No wonder we always turned up at the wrong 
end." 

" You've a pretty trick of putting everything down 
on other people's shoulders," says Terence, with open 
disgust. " Whose fault was it we were always so late 
at the stations that we hadn't time to make inquiries, I'd 
like to know ? Could you," with fine irony, " tell us?" 

" Certainly ; it was nurse," replies Kit, with dignity. 

"Dear me I and where is your nurse now?" asks 
Miss Priscilla, anxiously. The query is a fortunate 
one, in that it turns the conversation into a different 
channel, and checks the eloquence of Kit and Terry, 
who are plainly on the brink of an open war. 

" When last /saw her," says Terence, " she was sit- 
ting or the top of our biggest box, with everything 
else strewn around her, and her feet resting on two 
brown-paper parcels. — I wonder," says Mr. fieresford, 
addressing Monica, " what on earth she had in those 
brown -paper parcels. She has been hugging them night 
and day ever since she left Jerusalem." 

"Dynamite," suggests Monica, lightly; whereupon 
the two Misses Bls^e turn pale. 

"At that rate. Aunt Priscilla, we needn't trouble 
about her," says Terence, pleasantly, " as she m'ust be 
blown up by this. None of those clock-work affairs 
could be arranged to go on much longer. Poor thing I 
when in the flesh she wasn't half bad. I forgive her 
evervthing, — even her undying hatred to myself.'* 

" if she is in fragments, so are our things," sayi Kit 



24 ROSSMOrifE. 

*^ I think she needn't have elected to sit on them at th« 
supreme moment." 

" You don't really think," says Miss Penelope, in a 
somewhat troubled tone, remembering how an innocent 
baker in Eossmoyne had had some of the explosive 
matter in question thrown into his kitchen the night 
before last, — " you don't really think that these parcels 
you speak of contain infernal machines ? — Yes, that is 
what they call them, my dear Priscilla," turning to her 
sister, as though anxious to apologize for having used 
a word calculated to lead the mind to the lower regions. 

By this time both Kit and Terence are convulsed 
with delight at the sensation they have created, and 
would probably have gone on to declare the innocent 
Mrs. Mitchell an advanced Nihilist of the most danger- 
ous type, but for Monica's coming to the rescue and 
explaining matters satisfactorily. 

" Still, I cannot understand how you got up here so 
quickly," says Miss Penelope. "You know Moyne — 
home I hope you will call it for th^ future, my dears," 
— with a little fond pat on Monica's hand, " is quite 
three miles from the station." 

"We should have thought nothing of that," says 
Terence, " but for Kit ; she has had a fever, you know," 
pointing to the child's closely-cropped, dark little head : 
" so we said we would just stroll on a little and see what 
the country was like." 

" And lovely it is," puts in Bat, enthusiastically. " We 
got up on a high hill, and saw the sea lying like a great 
quiet lake beneath us. There was scarcely a ripple on 
it, and only a soft sound like a sob." Her eyes, that 
are almost too big for her small face, glow brilliantly. 

" And then there came by a man with a cart filled 
with hay, and he nodded to us and said, * Good-morrow, 
sir;* and so I nodded back, and said, *How d'ye do?* 
to him, and asked him was it far to Moyne House. * A 
good step,' he said ; * three miles at the very least.' " 

" He didn't ; he said Uiste" says Kit, who is plainly 
in a litigious mood. 

" At that," says Monica, breaking in eagerly, feeling, 
no doubt, she has been left too long out in the cold, and 



R0S8M0TNE. 25 

that it is time her voice were heard, ^< I suppose I looked 
rather forlorn, because he said, quite nicely, 'Maybe 
ye'd not be too proud, miss, to get into me cart, an* 1*11 
dhrive the lot of ye up to the House, where, as luck 
has it, I*m goin* meself.' '* She mimicks the soft South- 
em brogue very prettily. 

" So up we got," says Kit, gayly, " and away we went 
in the nice sweet hay, jog trot, jog trot, and so comfor- 
table." 

The Misses Blake by this time are filled with dismay. 
In Bossmoyne, where families are few and far between, 
and indecent scandal unknown, the smallest trifles are 
seized upon with avidity and manufactured into moun- 
tains. " A good appearance," Miss Penelope was taught 
at school, "is the first step in life," and here have these 
children been making their appearance for the first time 
in a common hay-cart. 

What will Madam O'Connor say? Madam O'Con- 
nor's father having always laid claim to being a direct 
descendant of one of the old kin^ of Munster, madam*s 
veins of course are filled with blood royal, and as such 
are to be held in reverence. What worCt this terrible 
old woman say, when she hears of the Beresfords' 
escapade ? 

The Misses Blake sit shivering, blinking their eye- 
Lids, and afraid to say anything. 

<*We got on splendidly," Terence is saying, "and 
might indeed have finished our journey respectably, but 
for Monica. She laid our reputation in the dust." 

Monica turns upon him an appealing glance from her 
large soft eyes that would have melted any heart but 
that of a brother's. 

" Aunt Priscilla," says this adamantine youth, " what 
is the name of the house with the big gate, about half 
a mile from this ?" 

" Coole Castle," replies she, stiffly, the very fact of 
having to mention the residence of the detested Des- 
mond making her heart beat violently. But Terry is 
a person blind to speaking glances ana deaf to worded 
hints. In effect, Terry and tact are two : so he goes on 
iinheeding his aunt's evident disrelish for the subject : 

B 8 



26 ROSSMOYNE. 

"Well, just as we got to Coole, I saw a fellow stand* 
ing inside the entrance-gate, smoking a cigar. I fancied 
be looked amused, but would bave tbougbt notbing of 
tbat, only I beard bim laugb aloud, and saw he was 
staring over my bead — I was driving — to where Monica 
and Kit were, on the top of the hay. It occurred to 
mo then to see what tlie girls were doing, so I stood up 
or the shaft, and looked, and " 

Here he pauses, as though slightly overcome. 

" What, my dear ?" asks Miss Priscilla, anxiously. 

" There was Monica lying in an aBsthetic attitude, — 
very »8thetic, — with her chin in her hands, and her eyes 
on the horse's ears, and her thoughts I presume in 
heaven, or wherever young ladies keep them, and with 
her heels " 

" It isn't true I — ^it isn't T interrupts Monica, blushine 
furiously, and speaking with much indignation. "I 
don't believe a single word of it I" 

" And with her heels " 

" Terence r 

" In mid-air. She was kicking them up and down 
with delight," says Terence, fairly bubbling over with 
joy at the recollection. " It was the most humiliating 
sight for a modest brother. I shall never forgive her 
for it. Besides, the strange young man was =" 

" If you say another word," says Monica, white with 
wrath and with tears in her eyes, " I shall never speak 
to you again, or help you out of any trouble." 

This awful threat has the desired eflfect of reducing 
Mr. Beresford to subjection. He goes down before the 
foe, and truckles to her meanly. 

" You needn't take it so much to heart," be says, 
soothingly : " there wasn't much in it, after all ; and 
your shoes are very pretty, and so are your feet." 

The compliment works wonders; Monica quite 
brightens up again, but the two old lad es are hopelessly 
scandalized.- 

" I feel assured, Terence," says Miss Priscilla, with 
mHeh dignity, "that under no circumstances could • 
niece of mine show too much of her her " 

Here Miss Priscilla blushes, and breaks down. 



ROSSMOTNE. 2T 

"LegB?** suggests Terry, politely. 

" But who was the strange young «ian ? askb Miss 
Penelope, curiously. 

" Our friend of the hay-cart said his name was Des- 
mond, and that he was nephew to the master of the 
house behind the big gates,'' returns Kit, fluently. 

"Desmond!" says Miss Priscilla, greatly agitated. 
" Let me never hear you mention that name again 1 It 
has been our bane I Forget you have ever been so un- 
fortunate as to encounter this young man ; and if ill 
luck should ever drive him across your path again, re- 
member you do not — ^you never can — know him." 

" But I'm certain he will know Monica if he sees hei 
again," says Kit. " He stared at her as if she had seven 
heads." 

"No wonder, considering her equivocal position 
And as to knowing Monica, I'm not certain of that, o] 
course, but I'm utterly positive he could swear to ho 
shoes in a crowd," says Terence, with unholy delight 
"He was enchanted with them, and with the clocks oi 
her stockings : I think he was taking the pattern of 
them." 

" He was not^^* says Monica, almost weeping. " H( 
couldn't see them. I was too high up." 

" What will you bet he doesn't know the color ol 
them?" asks her tormentor, with a fresh burst ot 
appreciation of the undignified scene. "When I see 
him again I'll ask him." 

" Terence," says Miss Priscilla, growing very pale 
" you must never see him again, or, at all events, you 
must never speak to him. Understand, once for alL 
that intimacy between us and the inhabitants of Coole 
is impossible. This feud I hint at touches you even 
more closely than it touches us, but yon cannot feel it 
more than we do, — ^perhaps not as much. The honor 
of our family has suffered at the hands of the Master 
of Coole. He is the enemy of our house I" 

"Priscilla I" murmurs Miss Penelope, in a low and 
trembling tone. 

" Do not try to check me, Penelope. I will spoak,' 
■ftys Mi98 Priscilla, sternly. "This man, years ago 



28 R088M0YNE. 

offered one near and dear to us an indignity not to be 
lightly boine. The world is wide," turning to the 
astonished children, " you can make friends where you 
choose ; but I would have you recollect that never can 
a Beresford and a Desmond have aught in common." 

"But what have the Desmonds done to us. Aunt 
Priscilla?" asks Monica, a good deal awed by the old 
lady's solemnity. 

"Some other time you shall know all," says Miss 
Priscilla, in the low tone one might adopt if speaking 
of the last appalling murder. 

"Yee some other time," echoes Miss Penelope, 
gently. 



CHAPTER III. 

How Monica studies the landscape. 

•*Is it thrue, ma'am, what I hear, that ye'U be 
wantin' a maid for Miss Monica ?" asks Mrs. Reilly, the 
cook at Moyne, dropping a respectful courtesy jus 
inside the drawing-room door. "Ryan let dhrop a 
word to me about it, so I made so bould, ma'am, as 
to come up-stairs an' tell ye I think I know a girl as 
will come in handy to ye." 

"And who is she, Reilly?" asks Miss Priscilla, 
anxiously. 

" She's a very good girl, ma'am, an' smart, an* nate, 
an' I think ye'U like her," replies cook, who, like all 
Irish people, finds a difficulty in giving a direct answer 
to a direct question. Perhaps, too, there is a little 
wiliness in her determination not to name the new 
servant's parentage just at present. 

"I dare say; I place great reliance upon your 
opinion, Reilly. But who is she? Does she come 
from the village, or from one of the farms ? I should 
prefer the farms." 

"She's as tidy as she can be." says Mrs. Beilly, 



R0S8M0YNE. 29 

amiably but still evasively, ''an' a bit of a K^bolard 
into tbe bargain, an' a very civil tongue in Ler head. 
She's seventeen all out, ma'am, and never yet gave her 
mother a saucy word." 

" That is as it should be," says Miss Priscilla, com- 
mendingly. " You feel a great interest in this girl, 1 
can see. You know her well ?" 

" Yes, miss. She is me uncle's wife's sisther's child, 
an' as good a girl as ever stepped in shoe-leather." 

*' She is then ?" asks Miss JPriscilla, faintly, puzzled 
by this startling relationship. 

" She's that girl of the Cantys', ma'am, and as likely 
a colleen as ever ye met, though / say it as shouldn't, 
she being kin-like," says Mrs. Reilly, boldly, seeing her 
time is come. 

"What I that pretty blue-eyed child that called to 
see you yesterday? She is fipom the village, then?" 
with manifest distaste. 

"An* what's the matther wid the village, ma'am?" 
By this time Mrs. Beilly has her arms akimbo, and has 
an evident thirst for knowledge full upon her. 

" But I hear she is flighty and wild, and not at all 
domesticated in anv way." 

" An' who has the face to say that, ma'am ? Give 
me the names of her dethractors," says Mrs. Eeilly, in 
an awful tone, that seemed to demand the blood of the 
"dethractors." 

"I feel sure, Eeilly," says Miss Priscilla, slowly, 
"that you are not aware of the position your arms 
have taken. It is most unbecoming." Mrs. Eeilly's 
arms drop to her sides. "And as for this girl you 
speak of, I hear she is, as I say, very flighty." 

" Don't believe a word of it, ma'am," says cook, with 
virtuous indignation. " Just because she holds up her 
head a bit, an' likes a ribbon or two, there's no holdin' 
the gossips down below," indicating the village by a 
oackward jerk of her thumb. " She's as dacent a little 
BOwl as you'd wish to see, an' has as nate a foot as there 
is in the county. The Cantys has all a character for 
purtv feet." 

"Pretty feet are all very well in their way," says 
«* 



80 ROSSMOTNE. 

Miss Priscilla, nodding her head. " But can she pew? 
and is she quiet and tractable, and " 

*• Divil a thing she can't do, ma'am, axin' yer par- 
don," says Mrs. Keilly, rather losing herself in the ex- 
citement of the moment. " Just thry her, ma'am, an' 
if ye don't like her, an' if Miss Monica finds even one 
fault in her, just send her back to her mother. I can't 
say fairer nor that." 

**No, indeed. Very well, Eeilly, let her come uj) 
to me to-morrow ; and see that her inside clothes are 
all right, and let her know she must never be out after 
dark." 

" Yes, ma'am," says the triumphant Eeilly, beating a 
hasty retreat. 

Half an hour afterwards she encounters Monica upon 
the avenue. 

" Why, where are you going, Mrs. Eeilly ?" asks 
Monica, seeing that cook is got up in all her war-paint, 
regardless of expense. 

" To mass first, miss," says Mrs. Eeilly. 

"Where's that?" asks Monica, with foreign igno- 
rance. 

"Lawl to the chapel, miss," savs Eeilly, with an 
amused smile. 

" But it isn't Sunday ?" 

" No, miss. It's a saint's day — may they be good to 
us I" crossing herself " It's diflPerent with you, miss, 
you see ; but we poor folks, we must say our prayers 
when we can, or the Virgin will dhrop us out of her 
mind." 

" Is your chapel pretty ?" asks Monica, who has now 
been a week in the country, and through very weari- 
ness feels a mad desire to talk to somebody or any- 
body. 

" Faix, it's lovely, miss, since Father Jerry took it m 
hand I There's the finest pictures ye ever saw on the 
walls, an' an altar it 'ud do ye good to look at." 

" Would it ? Then I'll go some day to see it," says 
Monica, smiling, not knowing that her aunts would as 
soon let her enter a pandemonium as a Eoman Catholio 
chapeL 



R08SM0YNE, 31 

Dear old ladies I frightened by shadows, they have 
been bred in the belief that the Evil One dwells be- 
neath the shade of the Bomish Church, and will there- 
fore surely die in it. 

" Do, then, agra 1" says Mrs. Eeilly, who has, of course, 
like all the other servants, gone down before Monica • 
" it's proud we'd be to see ye there." 

There is no thought of conversion in the woman'i 
mind, you must remember, — ^merely a hospitable desire 
to let her know she will be welcome anywhere. 

" By the same token, Miss Monica," says she, " there'8 
something I was near forge ttin' to tell ye.'' 

" Yes 1" says Monica. 

" Ye're goin' to have me uncle's wife's niece for yer 
own maid, miss." 

" Am I ? I'm glad of that," says Monica, with native 
courtesy. '* Is she" — with some hesitation and a faint 
blush— "is she pretty, Eeilly?" 

"She's the purtiest girl ye ever set eyes on," says 
Mrs. Eeilly, with enthusiasm. 

" I'm glad of thM ; I can't bear ugly people," says 
Monica. 

" Faix, then, there's a bad time before ye wid the 
ould ladies," mutters Mrs. Eeilly, sotto voce, gathering 
up her cloak and stepping onwards. She is a remark- 
ably handsome woman herself, and so may safely de- 
plore the want of beauty in her betters. 

Monica, turning aside, steps on a high bank and looks 
down towards the village. Through the trees she can 
see the spire of the old cathedral rising heavenwards. 
Though Eossmoyne is but a village, it still can boast its 
cathedral, an ancient edifice, uncouth and unlovely, but 
yet one of the oldest places of worship in Ireland. 

Most of my readers would no doubt laugh it to scorn, 
but we who belong to it reverence it, and point out with 
pride to passers-by the few quaint marks and tokens 
that link it to a by-gone age. 

There is a nave, broad and deep, comprising more 
than a third of the whole building, with its old broken 
•tone pavement, and high up, carven upon one of its 
walls, the head of St. Faughnan, its patron saint, — ^a 



32 R0S8M07NE, 

hideous saint, indeed, if he resembled that ancient canr 
mg. How often have I gazed upon his unlovely visage 
and wondered in my childish fashion why thu grace 
that comes from so divine an origin had not the power 
to render his servant's face more beautiful I 

In these later years they have improved (?) and 
modernized the old structure. A stone pulpit, huge 
and clumsy, erected by subscription to the memory of 
some elderly inhabitant, stands like a misshapen blot 
before the altar-rails ; a window, too broad for its length, 
and generally out of proportion, throws too much light 
upon the dinginess within ; the general character of the 
ugly old place has lost something, but assuredly gained 
nothing, by these innovations. It is hard to put "a 
piece of new cloth on an old garment'* successfully. 

The village itself stands upon a high hill ; the ocean 
lies at its ^et. From Moyne House one can see the 
shimmer of the great Atlantic as it dances beneath the 
sunbeams or lashes itself into furious foam under the 
touch of the north wind. The coast-guard station, too, 
stands out, brilliant in its whitewash, a gleaming spot 
upon the landscape. 

To the left of the station lies Ounahincha, — a long, 
deep line of sea-beach that would make its fortune as a 
bathing-place under happier auspices and in some more 
appreciated clime. 

Monica, looking down from her height, takes in all 
the beauties of the landscape that surround her, and 
lets the music of the melancholy ocean sink into her 
very soul. 

Then she lets her eyes wander to the right, and rest 
with pardonable curiosity upon Coole Castle, where 
dwells the ogre of her house. Above Coole, 4ind about 
two miles farther on, lies Aghyohillbeg, the residence 
of !Madam O'Connor, that terrible descendant of one of 
Ireland's kings ; whilst below, nestling among its firp 
and beeches, is Kilmore, where the Halfords — a merry 
tangle of boys and girls — ^may be seen at all hours. 

Then there is the vicarage, where the rector liveb 
with his family, which is large ; and nearer to the vil- 
lage, the house that holds the curate and his family, 



ROSSMOTNE. 33 

which, of course, is larger. Besides which, Monica can 
hist see fipom her vantage-ground the wooded slopes of 
Durrusbeg that have lately called young Eonayne maa 
ter, — a distant cousin having died most unexpectedly 
and left him all hisproperty. 

Six months ago, tflic Konayne was spoken of by anx- 
ious matrons as a wild lad, with nothing to recom- 
mend him save his handsome face and some naughty 
stories attached to his name. Now he is pronounced 
charming, and the naughty stories, which indeed never 
had any foundation, are discovered to have been dis- 
graceful ' fabrications. Marriageable daughters are 
kinder to him than words can say, and are allowed by 
the most cautious mothers to dance with him as often 
as they choose, and even to sit out unlimited hours 
with him in secluded corners of conservatories unro- 
buked. 

Truly, O Plutus I thou art a god indeed. Thou hast 
outlived thy greater brethren. Thy shrine is honored 
as of old I 

After a last lingering glance at the distant ocean and 
the swelling woods that now in merry June are mak- 
ing their grandest show, Monica jumps down from her 
bank again and goes slowly — singing as she goes — 
towards the river that runs at the end of Moyne. 

Down by its banks Moyne actually touches the hated 
lands of Coole, a slight boundary-fence being all that 
divides one place from the other. The river rushes 
eagerly past both, on its way to the sea, murmuring 
merrily on its happy voyage, as though moclsiing at 
human weals and woes and petty quarrels. 

Through the waving meadows, over the little brook, 
past the stile, Monica makes her way, plucking here 
and there the scarlet poppies, and the blue cornflowers 
and daisies, " those pearled Arcturi of the earth, the 
constellated flower that never sets." 

The sun is tinting all things with its yellow haze, 
and is burning to brightest gold the reddish tinge in 
the girl's hair, as she moves with dallying stops through 
the green fields. She is dressed in a white gown, decked 
ndth ribbons of a sombre tint, and wears upon her head 



34 ROSSMOYNE. 

* huge poky bonnet, from which her &ce peeps out, 
half earnest, half coquettish, wholly pure. 

Her hands are bare and shapely, but a little brown ; 
some old-fashioned rings glisten on them. She has the 
tail of her gown thrown negligently over her arm, and 
with her happy lips parted in song, and her eyes serene 
as early dawn, she looks like that fair thing of Chau- 
cer's, whose 

" Berthe was of the wombe of morning dew, 
And her conception of the joyous prime." 

And now the sparkling river comes in sight. Near 
its brink an old boat-house may be seen fast crumbling 
to decay ; and on the river itself lies, swaying to and fro, 
a small punt in the very last stages of decline. It is a 
very terrible little boat, quite at death's door, and might 
have had those lines of Dante's painted upon it with- 
out libel : 

" Abandon hope, aU ye who enter here." 

But Monica, in happy ignorance of rotting timbers, 
thinks only of the joy she felt last evening when the 
discovery of this demoralized treasure was made. In 
the mouldering boat-house she had found it, and so had 
claimed it for her own. 

She has told no one of her secret, not even Kit, who 
is, as a rule, her prime minister, her confidante, and her 
shadow. She has, indeed, had great difficulty in escap- 
ing from " her shadow" just now, but after much diplo- 
matic toil had managed it. To find herself upon the 
calm and gentle river, to dream there her own sweet 
thoughts beneath the kindly shade of the pollard wil- 
lows, to glide with the stream and bask in the sunlight 
all alone, has been her desire since yester-eve. 

To-morrow, if to-day proves successful and her row- 
ing does not fail her, of which she has had some prac- 
tice during the last two years of her life, she will tell 
Kit and Terry all about it, and let them share her 
pleasure. But to-day is her own. 

The boat is connected with the shore by a rope tied 
round the stump of a tree by most unskilful handa 



itossMorNE. ap 

Flinging her flowers into the punt, she strives dili- 
gently to undo the knot that she herself had made the 
night before, but strives in vain. The hard rope wounds 
her tender hands and vexes her gentle soul. 

She is still struggling with it, and already a little 
pained frown has made a wrinkle on her smooth brow, 
when another boat shoots from under the willows and 
gains the little landing-place, with its pebbly beach, 
that belongs equally to Coole Castle and to Moyne. 

This new boat is a tremendous improvement on our 
heroine's. It is the smartest little affair possible, and 
as safe as a church, — safer, indeed, as times go now. 
Not that there is anything very elaborate about it, but 
it is freshly painted, and there are cushions in it, and 
all over it a suppressed air of luxury. 

Besides the cushions; there is something else in it, 
too, — a young man of about six-and-twenty, who steps 
lightly on to the bank, though it is a miracle he doesn't 
lose his footing and come ignominiously to the ground, 
so bent is his gaze on the gracious little figure at the 
other side of the boundary-fence struggling with the 
refractory rope. 

It doesn't take any time to cross the boundary. 

'* Will you allow me to do that for you ?" says the 
estrange young man, raising his hat politely, and taking 
the rope out of Monica's hand without waiting for 
permission. 



CHAPTER IV. 



How Monica makes a most important disoovery, and, changing suddenlj 
from "lively to severe/' is reprehensibly cruel to a most unofifending 
yonng man. 

"You are very kind," says Monica, slowly, feeling 
not so much embarrassment as surprise at this sudden 
advent. 

Then the young man looses the rope, and, having 
done so, casts a cursory glance at the boat to which it 
is attached. As he does so, he lifts his brows. 



M ROSSMOFNE. 

" Surely you are not dreaming of going on the nvci 
In thatr he says, indicating the wretched punt by a 
nontemptuous wave of his hand. 

" Yes. Why not T' returns she. 

** Tiiero isn't a sound bit of timber in her. What can 
your people be thinking of, to let you trust yourself in 
«uch a miserable affair?'' 

" My people have nothing to do with it," says Mon- 
ica, somewhat grandly. " I am my own mistress,** 

She has picked up her flowers again out of the de- 
spised punt, and now stands before him with her hands 
filled with the June blossoms, blue, and white, and red. 
They show bravely against the pallor of her gown, and 
seem, indeed, to harmonize altogether with her excess- 
ive fairness, for her lips are as red as her poppies, and 
her cornflowers as blue as her eyes, and her skin puts 
her drooping daisies all to shame. 

**As you are your own mistress," says the young 
man, with a suspicion of a smile, as he takes in the 
baby sweetness of her mouth, and each detail of her 
slight girlish figure, that bespeaks the child rather than 
the woman, " I entreat you to have mercy upon your- 
self:' 

"But what is the matter with it?" asks Monica, 
peering into, the boat. " It looks all right ; I can't see 
a hole in it." 

"It's nothing but holes, in my opinion," says the 
strange young man, peering in his turn. " It's a regu- 
lar coffin. You will be committing nothing less than 
suicide if you put your foot in it." 

" Dear me," says Monica, blankly, feeling impressed 
in spite of herself, " I do think I am the most unfortu- 
nate person alive. Do you know," lifting her eyes to 
his, " I didn't sleep a wink last night, thinking of this 
row on the river to-day, and now it comes to nothing I 
That is just like my luck always. I was so bent on it; 
I wanted to get round that corner over there," pointiuff 
to it, " to see what was at the other side, and now 1 
can't do it." It seems to the young man looking at nor, 
as though her glance is reproachful, and as if she con- 
nects him, innocent as he is, with her disappointment 



ROSSMOTNE. S7 

« There is n reason why you shouldn't," he is be- 
ginning, anxiousiy, when she contradicts him. 

"After all," she says, doubtfully, bending over to 
look into the clear bed of the river, " I don't believe. If 
thin^ came to the worst, and I did get swamped, I 
shomd be drowned." 

" Certainly not, if you could swim, or if there was 
any one watching over your welfare from the bankb 
that could.'; 

" Well, I can't," confesses Monica, with a sigh ; " and 
unless you," with an irrepressible laugh that shows all 
her white and even teeth, " will promise to run along 
the banks of the river all the afternoon to watch over 
me, I don't think there is much chance of my escaping 
death." 

" I shouldn't mind in the least being on guard in such 
a cause," says the stranger, politely, with the same 
carefully-suppressed smile upon his lips (which are very 
handsome) as had moved them a while ago. ^*- Com- 
mand me if you will; but I would have you remember 
that, even though I should come to the rescue, it would 
not save you an unpleasant ducking, and — and your 
pretty gown," with a glance that is almost affectionate 
at the white Indian cotton, "would be completely 
ruined." 

" Even that dire idea doesn't daunt me," says Monica, 
gayly : " you forget that the more limp I am the more 
SBBthetic 1 shall look. Well," with a sudden relapse 
into melancholy, " I suppose I must give it up, and not 
go round the comer to-day." 

" But why not ?" exclaims he, eagerly. " My boat ih 
at your service. Do take it. I have quite done with 
it, I have indeed, and it is lighter than it looks.*' 

" Too heavy for me, I am afraid," says Monica, with 
a sigh. . 

"Is it? Then," with desperate boldness, "let me 
row you." 

" Oh, no /" returns she, blushing warmly. " You for- 
get," with a swift glance at Mm, "you are quite a 
stranger to me." 

Tet he is not quite such a stranger as she thinks. 
4 



88 jttOSSMOFNE. 

She is not such a stranger to him at least, hecAUse her 
face, seen for a minute ahout a week ago, has haunted 
him persistently ever since. 

" As we live in the same neighborhood, We cannot 
long continue strangers," he says, gently ; " and, in the 
mean time, why lose this lovely afternoon, and that 
comer you were speaking of? The view of the sea, 
when you get round it, is really worth seeing." 

"Yes, yes, I dare say," reluctantly turnijig to leave 
aim. " I shall see it some day." 
. " Look here," says the young man, veiy earnestly, 
following her as she moves. "If you will come with 
me you will see it now, I will only be your oarsman ; 
I won't say a word to you unless you wish it ; I won't 
even look at you. Think of me as a common boatman 
you have hired by the hour ; or, better still, don't think 
of me at all. With a little care you might bring your- 
self to imagine I wasn't there." 

" But if we met any one ?" says Miss Beresford, visi 
bly relenting. 

" Impossible I There is never a soul on this stream 
save myself. I have been here now every day for ten 
days, and never yet came upon even the ghost of any- 
thmg human." 

" Very well," says Monica, though still with palpable 
hesitation. " Now, remember, you have pledged your- 
self not to speak to me, or to look at me." At this he 
fixes on her so prolonged a gaze that one may readily 
understand he means it to be a last one for some time. 

Then he turns aside, and, having brought his boat to 
her side of the fence, holds out to her his hand. As he 
does this he keeps his eyes bent upon the ground, as 
though determined to let her know his penance has 
already begun. 

"I am not in the boat yet," says Monica, with a 
quaint little smile, laying her palm on his. Whereupon 
he looks at her again ; and then, as their eyes meet, 
they both laugh joyously, as youth will when it meets 
fouth. 

Lightly she steps into his boat, and slowly, lazily, he 
rows her down the little river, — ^flower-clad ca either 



HOSSMOyjifK 80 

bank, — ^letting the boat drift almost at its own sweet 
wUL 

The willows, drooping towards the water's edge, woo 
them as they pass ; the foolish weeds would hold them 
in embrace ; the broad flag-flowers would fain entwine 
them. But they, though loving them, go by them, 
thinking their own thoughts and wondering vaguely 
at the beauty of the 

" Starry river-buds among the sedge, 
And floating water-lilies broad and bright, 
• ••••• 

And bulmshes, and reeds of such deep green 
As soothes the dasiled eye with sober sheen." 

So far silence has been scrupulously kept. Not i» 
word has been spoken since they left the bank, not a 
look exchanged. Monica is letting her little slender 
fingers trail through the water and the flat leaves of 
the lilies. He, with his coat off, is pretending to row, 
but in reality is letting his body grow subservient to his 
mind. He has even adhered honorably to his promise 
not to look at her, and is still mentally ambitious about 
being true to his word in this respect, when an exclama- 
tion from her puts an end to all things. 

" Oh I look at that lily I" she says, excitedly. " Was 
there ever such a beauty? If you will row a little 
more to the right, I am sure I shall be able to get it." 

*' Don't stir. I'll get it," returns he, grateful to the 
lily for this break in their programme ; and presently 
the floating prize is secured, and he lays it, wet and 
dripping, in her outstretched hands. 

"After all, you see, you broke your promise," she 
says, a moment later, most ungratefully, glancing up 
at him coquettishly from under her long lashes. 

*^ But who made me do it ?" asks he, reproachfully, 
whereupon she laughs and reddens. 

" I never confess," she says, shaking her pretty head; 
" and after all — do you know ? — I am rather glad you 
spoke to me, because, though I like being quit« by my- 
self at times, still I luite suence when any one is with 
me." 



40 ROSSMOFNE. 

*'So do I," says her companioa, with the atmc^st 
cheerfulness. 

" I think," leaning towards him with a friendly smile, 
" I cannot do better than begin our acquaintance by 
telling you my name. It is Monica Beresford." 

"Monica," lingering over it lovingly; "a beautiful 
name, I think. 1 think, too, it suits you. Mine is not 
to be compared to yours ; but, such as it is, I give it 
you!" 

He throws a card into her lap. 

" I hope it isn't John Smith," says Monica, smiling 
and picking up the card. But, as she reads what is 
printed thereon, the smile fades, and an expression of 
utter dismay overspreads her face. 

"* Desmond' — Oh I not Desmond I" she says, implor- 
ingly, her lips growing quite pale. 

"Yes, it is Desmond," says the young man, half 
amused, half puzzled. " You really think it ugly, then ! 
Do you know I rather fancy my surname, although my 
Chris " 

"You are not — ^you cannot be fAe Desmond," inter 
rupts she, hastily. 

" No ; that's my uncle," says the young man, inno- 
cently. 

"Oh I then you acknowledge the crime?" in deep 
distress. 

" I didn't know that an old Irish title must necessa- 
rily be connected with guilt," says her companion, fairly 
puzzled. 

" Eh ?" says Monica, puzzled in her turn. " I don't 
understand you : I only want to know if you are one 
of the particular Desmonds ?" 

"I suppose not," he replies, now openly amused, 
" because I regret to say we have never yet done any- 
thing worthy of note, or likely to distinguish us from 
all the other Desmonds, whose name is legion." 

" If you are going to tell me you live at Coole," says 
Miss Beresford, in a tone that is almost tragic, " I warn 
you it will be the last straw, and that I shan't be able 
to bear it." 

" I am not going to tell you anything," protests he. 



ROSSMOTNE. 41 

•* But you must," declares she, illogieally. " I may 
as well hear the worst at once. Go on," heroically : 
•* tell me the truth. Do you live there ?" 

" I'm awfully afraid I do," says Mr. Desmond, feelmff 
somehow, without knowing why, distinctly ashamed 
of his name and residence. 

" I knew it I I felt it !" says Monica, with the calm- 
ness of despair. " Take me back to the bank at once, — 
this very instant, please. Oh, what a row I should get 
into if they only knew 1" 

Yery justly offended at the turn affiairs have taken^ 
Mr. Desmond rows her in silence to the landing-place, 
in silence gives her his hand to alight, in silence makes 
his boat safe, without so much as a glance at her, 
although he knows she is standing a little way from him, 
irresolute, remorseful, and uncertain. 

He might, perhaps, have maintained this dignified 
mdifference to the end, but that, unfortunately lifting 
his eyes, he catches sight of her in this repentant atti- 
tude, with her head bent down, and her slim fingers 
toying nervously with the lilies of his own gathering. 

This picture flings dignity to the winds. Going up 
to her, he says, in a would-be careless but unmistakably 
offended voice, "May I ask what I have done, that 
* they,' whoever thev are, should consider you had dis- 
graced yourself by being with me for half an hour ?" 

" You have done nothmg," says Monica, faintly. " It 
was your uncle." 

** My uncle ! — George Desmond I "Why, what on earth 
can he have done ?" demands he, bewildered. 

" I don't know." Feeling this is indeed a lame an- 
swer to a most natural question, she goes on hurriedly, 
" It all happened twenty years ago, and— — " 

"Bi^t what happened?" asks he, with pardonable 
impatience. 

"Something dreadfully wicked," says Monica, sol- 
emnly. "Something really very, very bad, because 
Aunt Priscilla can't hear you spoken of with common 
patience." 

''Mer 

^Not so much you, perhaps, as your name. She 
4* 



42 R0S8M0YNE. 

hates the very sound of it. There isi.'t a doubt about 
that; because, though I have not heard the exact storv 
vet, I know both my aunts grow actually faint with 
horror when your uncle's name is mentioned." 

" Good gracious I" says the horrified nephew of this 
apparently disreputable old man. He is staring at 
Monica, but in reality he does not even see her. Be- 
fore his mind's eye is a picture of a stout old gentle- 
man, irascible, but kindly, with a countenance innocent 
of guile. Yet how can he doubt this girPs story? 
Twenty years ago, as it seems, George Desmond had 
done something too bad to be discussed. After all, how 
impossible it is to trust to appearances ! As a rule, the 
most seemingly harmless people are those who are 
guilty of the vilest misdemeanors. And, yet, what on 
earth could George have done twenty years ago? 
Visions of forgery, murder, homicide, rise up before 
him, but, try as he will, he cannot connect Mr. Des- 
mond's face with any of them. 

" You don't exactly know yourself what the crime is 
with which he is charged?" he asks her, with growing 
diffidence. 

" No. But I shall find out, and tell But that will 

be impossible I" — with a glance full of liveliest regret. 
" I cannot tell you, because after to-day I shall never 
see or speak to you again." 

" That is the most insane nonsense I ever heard in 
my life," says Mr. Desmond. 

The girl shakes her head sadly. 

" If you won't speak to me I shall speak to you 
whether you like it or not," says Desmond, with de- 
cision. 

" That will be out of your power, as you will never 
dee me." 

" Do you mean to tell me I may not call at Moyne?" 

" Certainly I do. They wouldn't hear of it. They 
wouldn't, in fact, receive you." 

" But why must they visit my uncle's sins upon my 
shoulders? I have heard of a father's sins being en- 
tailed upon his heir, but never an uncle's." 

^ It is your name," says Monica. Then she laughs a 



ROSSMOYNE. 4S 

little, in Bpite of herself, and quotes, in a low tone, 
"Oh I Borneo, Eomeol wherefore art thou Borneo?" 

But he takes no heed of this frivolous quotation. 

" You mean me to understand, then, that I am nevej 
to speak to you again ?" 

"1 do, indeed." 

" What ! Do you know we are to be close neighbors 
for the future, you and I ? This is to be your home, 
Goole is to be mine. At the most, only a mile of road 
lies between us, and here not quite a yard. And yet 
you calmly tell me I am from this day forth to be only 
a common stranger to you." 

"You look as if you were angry with m^," says 
Monica, with sudden tears in her eyes at his injustice. 
" It isn't my fault : I haven't done anything wicked. 
Blame your uncle for it all." 

" The whole thing is simply absurd," says the young 
man, taking now the superior tone that is meant to 
crush the situation by holding it up to ridicule. " You 
forget, perhaps, that we shall have to meet sometimes. 
I suppose the people down here give balls occasionally, 
and tennis-parties, and that ; and when I meet you at 
them, is it your wish that I shall pretend never to have 
seenyou before, — never to have known you ?" 

" 1 es," says Monica, with as much hesitation as lets 
him know how she hates saying it. " When next you 
meet me, you are to look right over my head, and 
pass on I" 

" I couldn't do it," returns he, gazing at her steadily. 
" 1 couldn't, indeed. In fact, I feel it is just the last 
thin^ in the world I could do." 

" But you must," says Monica, imperiously, terrified 
to death as she coniures up before her Aunt Priscilla's 
fiw5e as it will surely be if this Philistine dares to ad- 
dress her : " I tell you my aunts would never forgive 
me if they knew I had interchanged even one syllable 
with you. From this moment you must forget me. 
There will really be no difficulty about it, as our ac- 
quaintance is but of an hour's growth. You have seen 
me for the first time to-day, and a chance meetirg such 
as this is easily driven from the mind." 



44 ROSSMOFNE. 

" That is your opinion," says the young man, moodily 
" It is not mine. I dare say you will find it very easy 
to forget. I shan't I And this isn't the first time I 
have seen you, either. It seems to me as if years have 
rolled by since last I looked upon your face. I was 
standing at the gate of Coole, and saw you pass by, 
the day of your arrival in Eossmoyne. So, you see, 
we are — in spite of you — almost old friends." 

A bomb-shell flung at her feet could hardly have pro- 
duced a greater sensation than this apparently harm- 
less speech. All at once there rushes back upon her 
the recollection of that fatal day when she lay upon a 
cart-load of hay and (according to Terence) kicked up 
her heels in the exuberance of her joy. Oh, horror! 
she grows crimson from her spft throat to her forehead ; 
even her little ears do not escape the tint, but turn a 
warm and guilty pink. 

Never until this unlucky instant did it occur to her 
that this strange young man must be the detested one 
who had stood in the gateway and laughed at her un- 
dignified position and taken the clocks of her stockings 
into careful remembrance. 

The one absorbing thought that he was nephew to 
Aunt Priscilla's bugbear had swallowed up all others ; 
but now, as he himself reveals this other truth to her, 
she feels that her cup is indeed full. 

Deeper and deeper grows the crimson tint that dyea 
her pale, shy face, until her cheeks are all aflama 
Something like anger, too, is rendering her sweet eyes 
brilliant beyond their wont. Delicately but haughtily 
she gathers up the train of her white gown and casts 
one expressive glance upon the way she came. This 
glance says much. Somehow it tells him as distinctly 
as though she said it aloud that she is sorry she ever 
came down to this river, and that her sorrow arises 
from the fact that it was here she encountered him. 

While he is still sore perplexed by her sudden change 
of demeanor, she turns away from him. Then, paus- 
ing, she turns again, and bestows upon him so indig« 
nant a look as completely finishes this ill-used young 
fQan. 



ROSSMOYNE. 45 

• "1 object to hasty friendshipB," she says, icily. 
•* And," pausing as if to make the effect greater, * if 1 
were you^ I think I should seek some better employ- 
ment than standing idling all day long at your uncle's 
gate." 

With this parting shaft, and before he can recover 
&om his consternation, she goes swiftly away from him, 
op through the meadows, home. 



CHAPTBJR V. 



How Monioa is put in possession of a dreadfal secret — ^And hnw Kit pro- 
tests against the injustice of the world. 

"An invitation from Madam O'Connor," says Miss 
Priscilla, in a pleased tone, glancing at them all, over 
the top of her spectacles. She has the card in her 
hand, and slowly reads aloud the information printed 
upon it, to the effect that Madam O'Connor will be at 
home on Friday the 15th, from four to six o'clock, etc. 

" I am very glad she has asked Terence and Monica," 
iays Miss Penelope. " Excessively attentive I call it." 

"Will you go. Aunt Priscilla?" asks Monica, in a 
sneaky sort of tone. Her young soul hankers after the 
world, and will not be subdued. Upon Miss Priscilla's 
" yes" or " no" she waits with an anxiety that surprises 
even herself. 

" Certainh", my dear," says Miss Blake, drawing her- 
self up. " 1 shall feel it my duty to take you to all 
such places as will enable you to mix with people in 
your own rank of life. I am not one of those who 
think it well for young girls to lead the life of nuns. 
No, indeed I" 

" I quite agree with you, my dear Priscilla," says Miss 
Penelope, who is an echo of her elder sister. " Yes, 
we will rouse ourselves, and once more seek the world." 

"But I would not have you make yourselves un- 
happy," says Monica, falteringly. 



46 R0S8M07NE. 

"Nay, my dear, it will be a pleasure, for yaw 
flake." 

Not for worlds, even to themselves, would these two 
old ladies acknowledge that they are right glad of the 
chance that has come to them of introducing so beauti- 
ful a niece to the gay world around them, and of min- 
gling, even in a subdued and decorous fashion, with the 
amusements that for the last five years they have (most 
unwillingly, be it said, but on the score of age) d^ 
clined. 

"I wonder who will be there," says Monica, in a 
fresher tone, striving vainly to drown the hope that is 
taking possession of her, a hope that connects itself 
with a certain blue-eyed, dark-haired young man, last 
seen in boating flannels. 

" Everybody," says Miss Priscilla, — " the entire coun- 
try. Madam O'Connor may not be — is not — there may 
be certain points about her — that" — floundering hope- 
lessly — " I mean" — with a rush — " there are a few who 
object to her manners^ but her birth is undeniable, and 
she has a large fortune ; you must know, my dear, her 
father was a direct descendant of King O'Toole, and 
her husband the head of one of the oldest families in 
Ireland." 

" Is that the old woman who called here the day be- 
fore yesterday ?" asks Terence, irreverently. They are 
all sitting in the drawing-room, Terence being rather 
on the balcony perhaps. 

" Yes. — I regret you were not in to receive her. I 
should have liked you to make her acquaintance, 
Monica, before going to Aghyohillbeg." 

" Oh I I saw her," says Terence, contemptuously, 
"She's got an eye like a lance, and a man's figure. 
She drove herself, and held the reins like this," throw- 
ing himself into position. 

" If you are going out, Terence, you may as well go 
at once," says Miss Priscilla, with dignity, pretending 
neither to hear nor see him. Whereupon Terence 
gladly departs. 

"Go on, auntie," says Monica, slipping down on a 
footstool close to Aunt Penelope, and leaning both he? 



ROSSMOYNE. 4H 

arms across the old lady's knee. " Who else will be 
there?" 

" Yes, tell her everything, Priseilla," says Miss Penel- 
ope, smoothing the girPs hair softly, and feeling a 
strange thrill of pleasure in her heart as she notices 
the little confident gesture with which the girl nestles 
close to her. 

"Well, there will be her own guests, of course, 1 
mean those staying with her, for she always has her 
house ftiU," says Miss Priseilla, after a slight pause, be- 
ing still somewhat ruffled by Terry's remarks. ** The 
Fitzgeralds will be there, of course. Bella is consid- 
ered a very handsome girl, but I don't think you will 
like her much." 

" No, no, she is not at all our Monica's style," says 
Miss Penelope, stroking the pretty cheek near her with 
her mittened hand. " Yet she has a fine skin." 

" Ay, and a fine temper under it, or I'm a Dutch- 
man," says Miss Priseilla. " And she is more peculiar 
than handsome ; but men admire her, so we say noth- 
ing." 

" Is she tall ?" asks Monica, anxiously, who is a little 
thing herself, and looks even smaller than she really is 
because of her slender, girlish figure. She wonders in 
a vague, uncomfortable fashion whether — whether most 
men like tall women best. 

" Tall ? yes, and large in proportion ; and as for her 
manners,'' says Miss Priseilla, in her severest tone, " ir 
my opinion they are simply unbearable. Modesty in 
my days was a virtue, nowadays it is as naught Bella 
Fitzgerald is never content unless she has every man 
in the room at her side, and goodness alone knows what 
it is she says to them. The way she sets her cap at 
that poor boy Konayne, just because he has fallen in for 
that property, is quite revolting." 

" And a mere lad, too," says Miss Penelope. 

Monica draws a breath of relief. Perhaps if Mise 
Fitzgerald likes Mr. Eonayne she will not care to prac- 
tise her fascinations upon any other man. 

" How old is she ?" she asks, feeling deeply interested 
in the conversation. 



18 R08SM0TNE. 

"She Bays she is twenty-four," says Miss Priscilla 
with an eloquent sniff. " There is nothing easier to sa; 
than that. I worCt he uncharitable, my dear Penelope,— 
you needn't look at me like that, — but this I must say, 
Hhe looks every hour of eight-and-twenty." 

" Her mother ought to know," says Miss Penelope. 

" She ought, indeed," grimly. " But as from the way 
she dresses we may reasonably conclude she thinks her- 
ielf nineteen, I suppose she has lost her memory on all 
points." 

"Her' father, Otho Fitzgerald, was the same," says 
Miss Penelope, reflectively. " He never could bear the 
idea of age. He was one who saw nothing honorable 
in it. Gray hairs with him were a crime." 

" So he used to dye them," says Miss Priscilla, mali- 
ciously ; " and when he got warm the dye used to melt, 
and (unknown to him) run all down his cheek." 

" Oh, Priscilla, how you remember thingsJ ' Dear, 
dear, I think I see him now," says Miss Penelope. And 
here the two old ladies, overcome by this comical recol- 
lection, laugh until the tears run down their faces. 
Monica joins in from sheer sympathy ; but Kit, who is 
sitting in the embrasure of a distant window, and who 
has been strangely silent ever since the invitation came 
from Aghyohillbeg, maintains a stern gravity. 

"Poor man," says Miss Penelope, wiping her eyes, 
" I shall never forget the night your sweet mother, my 
dear Monica, most unintentionally offended him about 
the diamond — ^you recollect, Priscilla? Tell Monica 
of it." 

" He always wore a huge diamond ring upon his little 
finger," says Miss Priscilla, addressing Monica, "of 
which he was very proud. He was at this time about 
fifty-three, but used to pose as a man of thirty-nine. 
One evening showing tne ring to your mother, then 
quite a girl, he said to her, in his stilted way, * This 
jewel has been in our family for fifty years.' * Ah ! did 
you buy it, Mr. Fitzgerald ?' asks your mother, in her 
sweet innocent way. Ha, ha, ha I" laughs Miss Pris- 
cilla, "you should have seen his face. It was a pic- 
ture 1 and just when ho was trying to make himsel^ 



R08SM0YNE. 49 

agreeable to your yoor mother, and acting as if he wa« 
a youthftil beau of twenty-five, or at least as young a? 
the beet of us." 

" That was so like mother," says Monica, in a low 
tone. " She always knew where to touch people." 

" Oh, no, my dear, not at all like her," says Miss 
Penelope, hastily. " She didn't mean it, you must un- 
derstand ; she was the very soul of sweetness, and would 
not willingly affront any one for the world." 

For just an instant Monica lifts her eyes and gaees 
earnestly at her aunt ; but the old face is so earnest and 
sincere that with a faint sigh she lowers her eyes again, 
and makes no further remark. 

" Alter that he married his cousin's wife, a widow 
with one child, this girl Bella," says Miss Priscilla, still 
fiill of reminiscences, as old people will be. " A most 
unpleasant person I thought her, though she was con- 
sidered quite a belle in those days." 

" She always appeared to me such a silly woman," 
says Miss Penelope. 

" She is worse than that now," says Miss Priscilla, 
who seems specially hard on the Fitzgeralds. " She is 
a shocking old woman, with a nose like a flower-pot. 
I won't say she drinks, my dear Penelope, because I 
know you would object to it; but I hear she does, and 
certainly her nose is her betrayer." 

" Do you remember," says Miss Penelope, " how anx- 
ious she once was to marry George Desmond ?" This 
she says in a very low tone. 

" Yes, I remember." The bare mention of her enemy's 
name has sent a flush of crimson into Miss Priscilla's 
cheeks. " But he never bestowed a thought upon Aer." 

"Oh, no, never," says Miss Penelope, after which 
both the Misses Blake grow silent and seem to be slowly 
sinking^ into the land of revery. 

But Monica, having heard the " enemy's name" men- 
tioned, becomes fillea with a determination to sift the 
mystery connected with him, now, to the end. 

" Aunt Priscilla," she says, softly, looking at her with 
grave eyes across Miss Penelope's knees, " tell me, now, 
why Mr. Desmond is our enemy." 
C d 6 



M ROSSMOTNE. 

" Oh, not noM7," says Miss Penelope, nervously. 

" Yes, now, please," says Monica, with ever-increasing 
gravity. 

'^ It may all be said in a few words, Monica," says 
Miss Priscilla, slowly. " And what I have to say affects 
you, my dear, even more than us." 

" Yes, in that it affects your mother. Twenty yean 
ago Greorge Desmond was her affianced husband 
Twenty years ago, wilfully and without cause, he de- 
liberately broke with her his plighted troth." 

" He threw her over ?" exclaims Monica, aghast at 
this revelation. 

" Well, I never heard he used actual violence to her, 
my dear," says Miss Penelope, in a distressed tone; 
" but he certainly broke off his engagement with her, 
and behaved as no man of honor could possibly behave.'* 

'' And mother must have been quite beautiful at tha: 
time, must she not ?" says Monica, rising to her kneee 
in her excitement, and staring with widely-opened eyes 
of purest amazement from one aunt to the other. 

" * Beautiful as the blushing mom,' " says Miss Pris- 
cilla, quoting from some ancient birthday-book. " But, 
you see,' even her beauty was powerless to save her 
from insult. From what we could learn, he absolutely 
refused to fulfil his marriage-contract with her. BLe 
was false to the oath he had sworn over our father's 
dying bed." 

Nothing can exceed the scorn and solemnity of Miss 
Priscilla's manner as she says all this. 

"And what did mother do?" asks Monica, curiously. 

" What could she do, poor child ? I have no doubt It 
went nigh to breaking her heart." 

" Her heart ?" says Monica. 

" She suffered acutely. That we could see. or rather 
we had to guess it, as for days she kept her own cham- 
ber and would see no one, going out only when it was 
quite dusk for a solitary ramUe. Ah I when sorrow 
afflicts the soul, there is no balm so great as solitude. 
Your poor mother took the whole affair dreadfully tc 
heart." 



R0S8M0YNE. 61 

''You mean that she really fretted f'^ asks Monica, 
still in tLe same curious way, with her eyes fixed on 
her aunt. There is, indeed, so much unstudied surprise 
in her whole manner as might have produced a corre- 
sponding amount in the Misses Blake, had they noticed 
it. 

"Yes, my dear, of course. Dear, dear, dear I what a 
sad thing it all was I Well, now you understand all 
that it is needful you should, Monica," says Miss Pe- 
nelope, with a glance at her sister, who really seems 
Suite overcome. "So we will say no more about it. 
►nly you can see for yourself how impossible it is for 
any of our blood to be on friendly terms with a Des 
mond." 

" They may not all be like that Mr. Desmond," says 
Monica, timidly, coloring to her brow. 

" Yes, yes. Like father, like son ; you know the old 
adage ; and a nephew is as close a relation almost. We 
can know no one at Coole." 

" I would almost rather see you dead than intimate 
with one of the name," says Miss Priscilla, with sudden 
harshness. 

" I don't think we told Monica about the other guests 
at Affhyohillbeg," says Miss Penelope, hastily, with the 
kindly intention of changing the conversation. "A 
very pretty young woman came there about a week 
before your arrival, child, and is to remain, I believe, 
for some time. She is a widow, and young, and — by 
the bye, I wonder if she can be any relation to your 
friends in the South of France." 

"Why?" 

" Her name is Bohun. and " 

" Not Olga Bohun ?" says Monica, springing to her 
ftjet. " A widow, you say, and young. Oh I auntie, if 
she onlv might be Olga I" 

"Well, certainlv she has a heathenish^I mean, a 
fiussian — ^name like that," says Miss Priscilla. " She 
is a very little woman, with merry eyes, and she laughs 
always, and she has the prettiest, the most courteous 
manners. Quite a relief I found her, after the inanities 
of Bella Fitzgerald." 



M ROSSMOFNE. 

"She is even smaller than I am. Yes, and her €>yei 
do laugh!" says Monica, delight making her cheeks 
warm. " She is the prettiest thing. Ah ! how happ} 
T shall be if I may see her sometimes !" 

" You shall see her just as often as ever you and she 
wish," say the two old maids in a breath, glad in the 
thought that they can make her home at Moyne happy 
to her. 

" I hope you like her," says Monica, '^lancing from 
one to the other of them. 

" Yes. I thought her quite fascinating," says Miss 
Penelope. " Some people say she is rather — rather 
fast, I believe is the word they use nowadays," getting 
the word out with difficulty, as though afraid it may 

fo off and do somebody an injury. " But for my part 
don't believe a word of it. She is quite natural, and 
most pleasing in manner, especially to those who are 
older than herself. A great charm in these times, my 
dear, when age is despised." 

Plainly, the little widow at Aghyohillbeg has been 
playing off her sweetest graces upon the two Misses 
Blake. 

" I dare say Monica will like young Eonayne," says 
Miss Priscilla. "He is quite nice, that lad. But I 
hope, Monica, that, even if circumstances should throw 
you together, you will take no notice of young Mr. 
besmond. I myself would not exchange a word with 
him if a queen's diadem were offered me as a bribe." 

*' You might speak to him without knowing him," 
says Monica, blushing again that nervous crimson of a 
while ago. 

" Impossible, my dear. Instinct, sharpened by hatred, 
•rould tell me when one of the race was near me." 

" Well, as it is your first party here, dear child, I 
hope you will enjoy it," says Miss Penelope, quickly^ as 
though again anxious to throw oil on the waters by 
changing the conversation. " It is a charming place, 
and its mistress, if a little rough, is at least kindly." 

At this moment Kit, emerging from the curtains thai 
have hidden her for the past hour, comes slowly to the 
£ront. Her face, her very attitude, is martial She h 



R0S8M0YNB. fta 

plainly in battle-array Fausicg before Miss Pnsciila, 
Bhe directs her first fire upon her. 

" Am I not asked at all ?" she says, in a terrible tone, 
that contrasts painfully with the ominous silence she 
has maintained ever since the invitation was brought 
by Mrs. O'Connor's groom. 

" My dear child, you must remember you are only 
fourteen," says Miss Priscilla, who is sincerely sorry 
the child has not been included in the invitation, and, 
in fact, thinks it rather unkind she has been left out. 

"I know that, thank you," says the youngest Miss 
Beresford, uncompromisingly, fixing her aunt with a 
stony glare. "I know my birthday as well as most 
, people. And so, just because I am a child, I am to be 
slighted, am I ? I call it unfair I I call it beastly TTiean, 
that every one here is to be invited out to enjoy them- 
selves except me." 

" Young people are seldom asked to grown-up par- 
ties," says Miss Priscilla, in her best conciliatory man- 
ner. " W hen you are as old as Monica, of course you 
will go everywhere. In the mean time you are only a 
child." 

" I am old enough to conduct myself properly, at all 
events," says Kit, unmoved. ** I suppose at fourteen^' — 
as if this is an age replete with wisdom — " I am not 
likely to do anything very extraordinary, or make my- 
self unpleasant, or be in anybody's way." 

" That is not the question, at all : it is merely one of 
age," says Miss Priscilla. 

"Is it? And yet people say a great deal about 
childhood being the happiest time of one's life," says 
Kit, almost choking with scornful rage. "I should 
just like to see the fellow who first said that. Mayb« 
I wouldn't enlighten him, and tell him what a hypo- 
crite he was. Whoever said it, it is a decided untruth, 
and I know I wish to goodness I was grown up, be- 
cause then," with withering emphasis, " I should not 
be trampled upon and insulted !" 

This is dreadful. The two old ladies, unaccustomed 
in their quiet lives to tornadoes and volcanoes of any 
kind, are almost speechless with fright. 

6* 



54 ROSSMOTNK 

" Dearest," says Monica, going up to her, ' how cam 
you look at it in such a light?" 

" It's all very well for you," says the indignant Kit : 
** youWe going, you know. I*m to stay at home, like 
that wretched Cinderella I" 

" Katherine, I am sure you are quite unaware of the 
injustice of your remarks," says Miss Priscilla, at last 
finding her voice. She is hent on delivering a calm re- 
buke ; but inwardly (as any one can see) she is quak- 
ing. " And I have frequently told you before that the 
expression * I wish to goodness,' which you used just 
now, is anything but ladylike. It is not nice ; it is not 
proper." 

" I don't care what is proper or improper, when I 
am treated as I now am," says the rebel, with flashing 
eyes and undaunted front. 

" There is really nothing to complain of," says Miss 
Priscilla, earnestly, seeing censure has no effect. 
'^ Madam O'Connor would not willingly offend any 
one ; she is a very kind woman, and " 

" She is a regular old wretch I" says the youngest 
Miss Beresford, with considerable spirit. 

" My dear Katherine I" 

" And it's my belief she has done it on purpose /" 
with increasing rage. 

" Katherine, I must insist " 

" You may insist as you like, but I'll be even with 
her yet," persists Kit, after which, being quite over- 
come with wrath, she breaks down, and bursts into a 
violent fit of weeping. 

" My dear child, don't do that," says Miss Penelope, 
rising precipitately, and goinff over to the weeping 
fiiry. "Priscilla," in a tremblinff tone, "I fear it u 
selfish. I think, my dear, I shaU stay at home, too, 
the day you all go to Madam O'Connor's." 

This kills the storm at once. 

" No, no, indeed, Aunt Penny, you shan't," cries Kit, 
subdued, but still in tears. She is overcome with re- 
morse, and blames herself cruelly :n that her ill temper 
should have led to this proposal Df self-sacrifice. Tc 
give in to Kit is the surest and quickest method of 



A08SM0TNE. 55 

gMnii^g your own point. She throws her arms, as she 
speaks, around Miss Penelope's neck, and nearly stran- 
gles that dear old lady in her remorseful agitation, to 
say nothing of the deadly havoc she makes of her firiUs 
and laces. 

" But indeed, my Kitten, it will be no privation to 
me to stay at home with you, and we will be quite 
happy together, and we will have our tea out in the 
orchard," says Miss Penelope, soothing her with sweet 
words; while Miss Priscilla, who is thoroughly fright- 
ened by the sobbing, pats the refractoiy child on the 
back, with a view to allaying all fear of convulsions. 

" You shan't stay at home, Aunt Penny, — ^you shan't, 
indeed," cries the inconsistent Kitten. " I like being 
alone, I love it ; if you don't go to that place with the 
long name, and enjoy yourself very much, I shall be 
miserable all my life, though I love you very, very, 
very much for wishing to keep me from being lonely. 
Tell her I mean it, Monica." 

" Yes, I am sure she means it," says Monica, earn- 
estly, whereupon peace is once more restored to the 
breasts of the terrified aunts. 



CHAPTBE VI. 



How Monioa goes to AghyohUlbeg, and meeti there an old Mend and a 
yery new one. 

Time flies, and no man can reach his hand to stay it 
A very good thing, too, thinks Monica, as she stands 
before her looking-glass putting the last pretty touches 
to her white toilet. 

It is Friday. Madam O'Connor's garden-party lies 
before her, and, probably, other things. Here she 
blushes at herself, as she sees that pretty soul in the 
glass, though, indeed, she has no cause to do so ; but 
possibly the vague thought of those << other things'* 



56 ROSSMOYNE. 

has something to do with it, and perhaps it is for theu 
sake too that she places with such care the heavy, 
Wood-colored rose beneath her chin. 

This is the only suspicion of color about her. Her 
gown is white ; her hat is white ; long white silk gloves 
run up her rounded arms as though bent on joining 
her sleeves far above the elbow. A white Surat sash 
is tied round her dainty waist. She is looking " as fair 
as the moon, as lovely as a rose/' and altogether dis- 
tinctly dangerous. 

Perhaps she half recognizes this fact, because she 
smiles at her own reflection, and — vain little girl that 
she is — stoops forward and kisses herself in the happy 
glass that holds her even for so brief a minute ; aiter 
which she summons her maid from her dressing-room 
beyond. 

"Canty," she says, as the "uncle's wife's sister'e 
child" enters, " I am dressed now ; and;: " 

" Shure, so you are, miss ; and lovely ye look, more 
power to ye." 

" Make my room very tidy," says Monica, giving her 
her directions before starting. "And, Canty, I shall 
want my blue dress for dinner. You can put it out." 

"Yes, miss," whereupon Monica prepares to leave 
the room ; but the new maid stops her. 

" If ye please. Miss Monica," she says, hesitating, and 
applying her apron to her lips. 

"Yes, Canty?" 

** I'd be very thankful to ye, miss, if ye wouldn't call 
me that." 

"Call you what?" 

" Canty, miss." 

" But," astonished, " isn't it your name ?" 

" No, miss ; me name is Bridget." 

" But surely Canty is your name, too ?" 

" Well, it's me father's name, miss, no doubt ; but faix 
[ feel just like a boy when ye call me by it, an' ye 
wouldn't like me to feel like a boy, miss, would ye?" 
days the village beauty, casting an anxious glance at 
Monica from her dark Irish eyes, and blushing deeply. 

"Certainly not," says Monica, laughing a little. 



ROSSMOFNE. 67 

* Very well, Bridget: for the future I shall try to Ibr- 
^et you ever had a surname." 

"Thank ye, miss," says Bridget with a sigh of pro- 
[bund relief 

Then Monica runs down-stairs, where she finds her 
Etants in the drawing-room, dressed in their very best 
ailk gowns, waiting for the carriage to come round. 
There is a little delay, which wasted time the two old 
Ladies spend in endeavoring to drill Terence into shape. 
Something of this sort is goin^ on as Monica enters. 

" When I introduce you to Madam O'Connor or Lady 
Rossmoyne, my dear boy, be sure you make a very low 
bow. [Nothing distinguishes a gentleman so much from 
the common herd as the manner of his salute. Now 
make me a bow, that I may judge of your style." Thus 
Miss Priscilla. 

" I couldn't make one to order like that," says Ter- 
ence; yet he sulkily complies, making a very short, 
stiff, and uncompromising nod that makes both aunts 
lift their hands in dismay. 

" Oh, no, my dear I — that won't do at all! Most un- 
graceful, and totally devoid of the dignity that should 
inspire it. Now look at me. It should be something 
like this" making him a reverence that might well have 
created admiration in the court of Queen Anne. 

" Ah, yes I that is something like what it should be,'' 
chimes in Miss Penelope, paying a tribute to the talent 
of her sister. " Priscilla has caught the true tone. 1 
wish, Terence, we could see you more like your deai 
grandfather : Jie was a man to bow." 

Terence, calling to mind the portrait of his " dear 
grandfather," as represented in the elaborate gilt fram^ 
m the dining-room, in a court suit and a periwig, and 
with an abominable simper, most devoutly thanks hip 
sods that he is not like unto him. He is, indeed (feel 
mg goaded to the last degree), about to break into un- 
seemly language, when, fortunately, the arrival of the 
ancient equipage that has done duty at Moyne as state 
carriage for generations is announced. 

The coachman, who is considerably older than Tim- 
othy, draws up the old horses before the door with a 



58 ROSSMOTNE. 

careful manner that impresses the beholder with the 
belief that he thinks they would run away in a minute 
if he relaxed a muscle on the reins ; and a small boy, 
who acts as footman and looks decidedly depressed, lets 
down the rickety steps. 

Miss Friscilla Blake then enters the carriage. She is 
followed with much ceremony by Miss Penelope. After 
which Monica, who is impressed by the proceedings, 
and Terence, who is consumed with secret mirth, step 
in and seat themselves. Then the coachman says, 
'^ Gee up !" in exactly the tone he has employed for 
forty years ; and, the gloomy boy settling down beside 
him, they are all presently on the fair road to Aghyo- 
hillbeg. 

The drive is a very pleasant one, though filled with 
injunctions of the most obsolete from the Misses Blake 
as to their behavior, etc. The fact is, that the two old 
maids are so puffed out with pride at the thought that 
they will presently introduce to the county the hand- 
some lad and beautiful girl opposite them that they 
have ^rown fidgety and over-anxious about the niceties 
of their presentation. 

"Surely," say the Misses Blake to themselves and 
each other, " not half so pretty a pair could be produced 
by any family in the South I" 

Whirh is saying a great deal, as in the South of Ire- 
land a pretty face is more the rule than the exception. 

Over the dusty road they go, calmly, carefully, the 
)ld horses being unaccustomed to fast ways of any sort ; 
slowly, with much care they pick their aged steps, never 
stumbling, never swerving, but as certainly never giving 
way to frivolous haste. 

Then, all at once, as it seems to Monica, the hill-side 
seems to break in twain, and a great iron gate appears, 
into which they turn to drive in their solemn fashion, 
down a dark avenue shaded by swaying elms. 

It is a perfect place, old as the bills that surround it, 
and wild in its loveliness. To right and left great trees, 

fnarled and moss-grown, and dipping tangles of black- 
erry and fern ; patches of sunlight, amidst the gloom, 
that rests lovingly upon a glo i^ing wilderness of late 



ROSSMOFNE. M 

bluebeUsi. and, beyond all these, broad glimpses uf tht 
glorious, restless ocean, as it sleeps in its bay below. 

Grazing at all thip natural beauty, Monica's soft eyefi 
and heart expand, and 

'* Joy rises in her like a rammer mom." 

And then she sees an old house, low, broad, picturesquo, 
with balconies and terraces, and beyond the house 
slanting lawns, and at one side tennis-courts, where 
many gayly-clad figures are moving to and fro. There 
is a sound of subdued laughter, and the perfume of 
many flowers, and a general air of gayety : it is as 
though to-day care has utterly forgotten this one 
favored comer of the earth. 

Then they all descend from the time-honored chariot, 
and cross the lawn to where they can see their hostess 
standing, tall and erect and handsome, in spite of her 
sixty years. 

" Your niece ?" says Madam O'Connor, staring hard 
at Monica's pure little face, the girl looking straight back 
at her with a certain amount of curiosity in her eyes. 
— " Well, I wish you no greater fortune than your face, 
my dear," says the old Irishwoman. " It ought to be 
a rich one, I'm thinking. You're like your mother, 
too ; but your eyes are honester than hers. You must 
know I knew Kitty Blake very well at one time." 

"I have heard my mother speak of you," says 
Monica. 

" Ay — so ? Yet I fear there wasn't much love lost 
between us." 

Then she turns a little aside to greet some one else, 
and Monica lets her eyes roam round the grounds. 
Suddenly she starts, and says out loud, — 

"Ah! thereisOlgal" 

" You know Mrs. Bohun, then ?" says her hostesn, 
attracted by her exclamation and her pretty vivaciout 
expression. 

" So very, very well," says Monica. She has flushed 
warmly, and her eyes are brilliant. " I want to speak 
to her ; I want to go to her, please" 

" Bless me 1 what a shame to waste that lovely blush 



60 ROSSMOTNE. 

on a mere woman!" says Madam 0*Contor, ^'ith % 
merry lauffh. " Here, Fred," turning to a young man 
standing close to her with a very discontented expres- 
sion, " I am going to give you a mission after your own 
heart. You are to take Miss Beresford over there, to 
where Mrs. Bohun is dealing death to all those boys. — 
This is Lord Eossmoyne, Miss Beresford : he will sec 
you safely over your rubicon." 

" Oh, thank you I" says Monica, gratefully smiling at 
her. 

" Tut, child I thank me when I have done something 
for you. It is Fred's turn to thank me now," says 
Madam O'Connor, with a merry twinkle in her gray 
eyes. 

She is a large woman close on sixty, with an eagle 
eye and a hawk's nose. As Monica leaves her she con- 
tinues her gossip with the half-dozen young men round 
her, who are all laughing at some joke. Presently she 
herself is laughing louder than any of them (being 
partial to boys and their " fun," as she calls it). Be- 
stowing now a smart blow with her fan upon the 
youngest and probably therefore most flippant of her 
attendants, she stalks away from them across the lawn, 
to where two ladies are sitting together. 

One is elderly, but most ridiculously dressed in juve- 
nile attire, that might have well suited the daughter 
sitting beside her. This latter is a tali girl, and large 
in every way, with curious eyes and a rather harsh 
voice : she is laughing now at some remark made by a 
man lounging at the back of her chair, and the laugh 
is both affected and discordant. 

" Have you seen that girl of Kitty Beresford's, Edith f 
aflks Madam O'Connor of the elder lady. 

" That little washed-out-looking girl who came witu 
those two old Miss Blakes ?" asks the youthful old 
woman, with a profoundly juvenile lisp. 

"Faith, I dor't know about her being washed out," 
says Madam O'Connor, bluntly. " I think she is the 
prettiest creature I've seen this many a day." 

" You are so impulsive, my dear Theresa I'* says heF 
friend, with a simper : " all your geese are swans." 



ROSSMOTNE, 61 

" And other people's swans my geese, I suppose," says 
Madam, with a glance at the tall girl, which somehow 
brings the conversation to a full stop. 

Meantime, Monica is crossing the soft turf, with the 
moody man called Eossmoyne oeside her. She can see 
her goal in the distance, and finds comfort in the thought 
that soon she must be there, as she cannot bring her- 
self to be agreeable to her new acquaintance ; and cer- 
tainly he is feeling no desire just at present to be 
agreeable to her or to anybody. 

As Monica comes nearer to her friend, she gazes 
anxiously at her, as though to see if time has worked 
a change in her. 

Sbe is quite a little woman, about five^and-twenty, 
but looking at least four years younger than that. Her 
eyes are large, dark, and niischievous. Her hair is so 
fair as to be almost silvery ; naturally wavy, it is cut 
upon the forehead in the prevailing fashion, but not 
curled. Her mouth is small, mutinous, and full of 
laughter; her nose distinctly retrouss6. Altogether 
she is distractingly pretty, and, what goes for more 
nowadays, very peculiar in style, and out of the com- 
mon. 

She is exquisitely dressed in a costume that suggests 
Paris. She is a harmony in black and white, as Lord 
Rossmoyne told her an hour ago, when he was not 
wearing his discontented expression. Seated beside her 
is a tallpallid woman with a cold face, but very velvety 
eyes and a smile rare but handsome. Every now and 
then this smile betrays itself, as her companion says 
anything that chances to amuse her. She is a Mrs. 
Herrick, a cousin of Olga Bohun's, and is now on a 
visit with her at Aghyohillbeg. 

There are several men grouped round Mrs. Bohun, 
all in various standing positions. One man is lying at 
her feet. He is a tdl slight young fellow, of about 
twenty-three, with a lean mce, dark hair, and beautiful 
teeth. He has, too, beautiful eyes, and a most lovable 
expression, half boyish, but intensely earnest and very 
sensitive. 

Xist now he appears happy and careless, and alto- 



62 R0S8M0YNE, 

gother us if he and the world are fr.endR indeed, and 
that he is filled with the belief that every one likes him ; 
and, in truth, he is right in so believing, for every one 
does like him, and a great many are fond of him, and 
Rome love him. 

He is looking up at Mrs. Bohun, and is talking 
rapidly, as Monica and Lord Eossmoyne come up be- 
hind them. 

"What I another bit of scandal?" exclaims Mrs 
Bohun, lifting her brows in pleased anticipation. " The 
air seems full of it. An hour ago I heard of the dire 
discomfiture of two of my dearest friends, and just now 
I listened to a legend of Bolgravia that was distinctly 
fifi and had a good deal to do with a marchioness. It 
is really quite too much happiness for one day." 

" My tale does not emanate from such an aristocratic 
region as Belgravia," says Ulic Eonayne, the man at 
her feet : " it is, I blush to say, from the city." 

" Ah !" in a regretful tone ; " then it will of course 
be decenter. Don't trouble to expend color on it, as I 
dare say there isn't a blush in the whole of it. Well," 
resignedly, " go on." 

In the usual quick manner habitual to him, and with 
the slight but eloquent amount of gesture common to 
Irish people, Eonayne tells his news, which is received 
with low laughter by those around. 

" I've heard bettor stories," says Mrs. Bohun, discon- 
tentedly ; '* and it isn't a bit like what Lord Tommy 
would do. It is more in Eossmoyne's line. I don't 
think I believe it. And the roundabout way in which 
you told it reminds one of a three-volume novel : the 
first leads up to the point, the third winds up the point, 
the second is the point. I confess I like the second 
volume best. When I grow funny over my friends I'm 
all second." 

" Then don't be funny about me, please," says Eo- 
nayne, lazily. 

^^ Are you my friend?" asks she, glancing at him 
Lifting his eyes to hers, he pauses, and then says slowly 
the smile dying from his face, — 

" Well, perhaps noV 



ROSSMOTNE. |S 

Then he lowers his eyes again, and gc vM back to his 
idle occupation, of decorating with daisies some of the 
fantastic loops upon her gown. 

At this moment Lord JElossmoyne, coming forward, 
says, sullenly, " May I hear the story that just now 

reminded you of me ? But first " He pauses, and 

glances at Monica. Mrs. Bohun, following his glance, 
rises hurriedly from her seat, and, going up to the girl, 
embraces her warmly. 

" Ah I my pretty Monica I my little saint !" she cries, 
in her sweet, gay voice, *• what happy breeze has blown 
you hither?" 

" I am living here, — at Moyne, — ^with my aunts," in 
a happy, breathless ^ay. " Some days ago they de- 
scribed you to me, and I knew it must be you. I was 
right. And to-day I have found you." 

" I'm always found out. as a rule," says Mrs. Bohun, 
with a light laugh. " That is my standing grievance. 
You know Hermia, don't you?" indicating the tall, 
cold-looking woman near her, who so far unbends as to 
take Monica's hand kindly and bestow upon her one of 
her handsome smiles. " She has come here to look after 
me and see that I don't get into a scrape or make 
myself unhappy." 

"Could you be unhappy?" says Kossmoyne, from 
behind her chair, in so disagreeable a tone that every 
one looks at him. " Decidedly," thinks Monica to her- 
self, " he has either neuralgia or an execrable temper." 

"Miserably so," says the pretty widow, airily. 
"Though, after all," reflectively, "I believe I have 
even a greater talent for making others so. That, 
however, is my misfortune, not my fault. I was * born 
•0,' like that poor man with the twisted neck." 

" Well, this is not one of your miserably unhappy 
hours, at all events," says Hermia Herrick. "You 
have been in magnificent spirits ever since you came 
to Aghyohillbeg." 

" You've learned it ?" says Olga, staring at her with 
pretended surprise. " The name, I mean. Well, you 
are clever. It takes most people four long weeks. Oh, 
yes, I am blissfully happy here. I ought to be. It 



f4 ROSSMOTNE. 

would be the grossest ingratitude if I were otherwisd 
as all the men have been good enough to fall in love 
with me, and that, of course, is the principal thing." 

At this the young man at her feet smiles openly and 
presses his face unperceived against her gown; but 
Kossmoyne throws up his head and glances with a 
coldly displeased expression into the vague distance. 

" Have you been hel-e long ?" asks Monica, turning 
to her friend. 

" Very long," pettishly. Something — perhaps Boss- 
moyne — has annoyed the capricious beauty. 

" Only a fortnight," says Mrs. Herrick, briefly. " You 
must know that." 

"I don't judge time by days and weeks; it seems 
long," says Mrs. Bohun, "years, — an eternity almost 1" 

A sudden gloom appears to have fallen upon the 
group. Eossmoyne's dark face grows darker still ; the 
smile fades from Eonayne's face, a shadow falls athwart 
his eyes. 

" I think I like the country," says Monica, suddenly. 
" It is so calm, so quiet, and there are moments when 
the very beauty of it brings tears to my eyes." 

" I love it too," says Eonayne, quickly, addressing 
her pointedly in a friendly tone, although no introduc- 
tion has been gone through between them. " I wonder 
how any one who has once tasted the sweetness of it 
can ever again long for the heat and turmoil of the 
town." 

" Yes, for a time it is charming, all-sufficing," says 
Mrs. Bohun, " but for what a little time I Perhaps,— 
I am not sure, — but perhaps I should like to live for 
throe months of every year in the country. After that, 
I know I should begin to pine again for the smoke and 
the smuts of my town." 

" If you are already wearied, I wonder you stay 
here," says Lord Eossmoyne, sullenly. 

" And I wonder what has happened to-day to your 
usually so charming temper," returns she, laughingly 
uplifting her face to his, and letting her eye rest on 
him with almost insolent inquiry. 

" Desmond says good temper is a mere matter of 



ROSSMOTNE. ^ 

lEigoistion/' says some one at this moment. Monica 
itaits more at the name mentioned than at the exceed- 
mgly worn-out words uttered. She glances at the 
speaker, and sees he is a very ugly young man, with a 
nice face, and a remarkably dismal expression. He is 
looking at Eossmoynel " Sit down, dear boy," he says, 
9M0 voce and very sadly. " There's too much of you ; 
you should never stand. You appear to so much better 
advantage when doubled in two. It don't sound well, 
does it? but " 

" But really, when you come to think of it," Mrs. 
Bohun is saying, feelingly, " there is very little in the 
country." 

"There is at least the fascinating tulip and lily," 
says the sad man who mentioned Desmond's name. 
" I)on't put yourself beyond the pale of art by saying 
you had forgotten those ©sthetic flowers, — blossoms, I 
mean. Don't you yearn when you think of them ? 1 
do." 

" So glad you are awake at last, Owen !" says Mrs. 
Bohun. 

" That silly craze about tulips," says Mrs. Herrick, 
contemptuously, " I have alwavs treated it with scorn. 
Why could not the art idiots have chosen some better 
flower for their lunatic ravings ? What can any one 
see in a tulip ?" 

" Sometimes earwigs," says the man called Owen. 

"Nonsense! I don't believe even earwigs would 
care for it. Foolish, gaudy thing, uplifting its lanky 
neck as though to outdo its fellows I There is really 
nothing in it." 

" Like the country," says Owen, meekly, " according 
to Mrs. Bohun." 

"And like Bella Fitzgerald," says that graceless 
person, with a little grimace. 

" My dear Olffa," says Mrs. Herrick, glancing quickly 
to right and left. " Do you never think .^" 

"As seldom as ever I can. But why be nervous, 
Kormia ? If any one were to compare me with a tulip, 
I should die of — no, not chagrin— Joy, I mean, of coursai 
IConica, what arci you saying to Owen ?" 
• «» 



06 ROSSMOYNB, 

" I don't think I know who Owen is," says Monica, 
with a glance at the gentleman in question, that is half 
shy, ha& finendly. 

** That argues yourself unknown," says Olga. " He 
is Master Owen Kelly, of Kelly's Grove, county An- 
trim, and t)ie bright and shining light of the junior 
bar. They all swear by him in Dublin, — all, that isj 
except the judges, and they swear at him." 

Monica looks at Master Owen Kelly in a faintly 
puzzled fashion. 

" It is all quite true," says that young man, modestly 
in a reassuring tone. 

" Now tell us what you were saying to each other," 
says Olga. 

" It was nothing/' returns Monica. " We were only 
talking about this Egyptian war. But I don't really," 
nervously, " understand anything about it." 

"You needn't blush for your ignorance on that 
score," says Mr. Kelly. " You're in the general swim : 
nobody knows." 

" It is the most senseless proceeding altogether," says 
Hermia Herrick, in her decided way. " Gladstone's 
wars are toys. He has had three of them now, dear 
little fellow, to amuse himself with, and he ought to be 
proud of his victories." 

"According to Erasmus, war is the ^malady of 
princes,' " says Lord Eossmoyne, sententiously. 

" Eossmoyne isn't well," says Mr. Kelly, softly. ** He 
is calling the wood-cutter a prince. It reminds one of 
Hans Andersen's fairy-tale ; all hewers of wood and 
drawers of water were blood-royal then." 

" Yet Gladstone has intellect," says Mrs. Herrick, in, 
oh, such a tone: would that the master of Ha warden 
could have heard her ! 

"Some!" said Mr. Kelly. "He is indeed *a thing 
apart.' I know nothing like him. * Once, in the flight 
of ages past, there lived a man,' In ages to come they 
will say that of our modern immortal William. They 
wiU probably add that no real man has ever livecS 
since." 

" How silly you can be at times I" says Olga. 



ROSSMOFNE. CRT 

**It isn't mine; it*s Montgomery's nonsense," says 
ifr. Kelly, sadly. " Blame him, not me." 

" I don't want to blame any one," says Olga, with a 
skilfuUy-supppessed yawn ; " but, taking your view of 
the case, I tDink it will be an awful age when there 
doesn't live a man." 

" Your * occupation will be o'er,' indeed," says Boss- 
moyne, with an accentuated biUemess, "when that 
time comes." 

(" He must be very much in lov^ with her," thinks 
Bf onica, with a touch of inspiratioik, " he is so exces- 
sively rude to her !") 

"lord Eossmoyne," says Mrs. Pohun, turning to 
him with ineffable sweetness, " will you do something 
forme?" 

The transition from coldness to tender appeal is too 
much for Kossmoyne : his face brightens. 

" You know there is nothing I would not do foi you," 
be says, gravely but eagerly. 

" Then," promptly, " please take that ugly frown off 
your forehead and put it in your pocket ; or — no, throv 
It away altogether ; if you kept it near you, you migL 
be tempted to put it on again." 

" I did not know I was frowning." 

" You were," sweetly. " You are all right again now, 
and so shall be rewarded. You can't think how un- 
becoming frowns are, and how much better you look 
when you are all * sweetness and light,' as now for ex 
ample. Come," rising, " you shall take me for a nice 
long walk through these delightful old gardens." 

As she moves she sees the daisies still clinging to her 
gown that Ulic Konayne has been amusing himself with 
during the past half-hour. More than this, she sees, 
too, the imploring gaze of his dark eyes upturned to 
hers. 

" Silly boy !" she says, stooping to shake away the 
daisies with her hand ; but her words have a double 
meaning. Involuntarily, unseen by all the others, — 
excejDt Monica, — his hand closes upon hers. 

" Do not go with him," he says, with deep entreaty. 

" I must — now." 



eS ROSSMOYNE. 

" Then let me come too ?" 

"No." Then she raises herself, and rfays, g^yly, 
" You shall stay and make love to Miss Beresford.— 
Monica, I have desired Mr. Bonayne to stay here and 
amuse you." 

She moves acrosiF the lawn with Kossmoyne beside 
her. Mrs. Herrick and Mr. Kelly are strolling lazily 
n another direction. Monica and ITlic are alone. 

" Is there anything I can take you to see ?" asks he, 



«•;& 



To, thank you. I am quite happy here." 

Then, noticing the extreme sadness on his beautiful 
face, she says, slowly, " But you are not, I am afraid." 

" I should be, with so fair a companion." He smiles 
as he says this, but his smile is without mirth, and she 
does not return it. Suddenly leaning forward, she says 
to him, very tenderly, — 

" You love Olga, do you not ?" 

She never afterwards thinks of this speech without 
blushing deeply and wondering why she said it. It 
was an impulse too strong to be conquered, and it over- 
powers her. His face changes, and he colors percep- 
tibly; he hesitates too, and regards her inq[uiringly. 
Something, perhaps, in her expression reassures him, 
because presently he says, bravely, — 

" Yes, I do. I love her with all my heart and soul ; 
as I never have loved, as I never shall love again. This 
thought is my happiness : my sorrow lies in the fear 
that she will never love me. Forgive my saying all 
this to you : she told me to amuse you," with a faint 
smile, " and I have wofully neglected her commands." 

" You must forgive me," says Monica. " I should not 
have asked you the question." 

" Do not be sorry for that : it has done me good, 1 
think. I am glad I have said it out hud to somebody 
at last. It is odd, though, — isn't it ? — I should have 
made my confession to you, of all people, whom I never 
saw until ten minutes ago I" 

Then Monica remembers that this is the second 
young man she has found herself on friendly terms with 
since her arrival at Moyne, without the smallest intro- 



R0S8M0YNE, 69 

duction having been gone through on any side. It all 
eounds rather dreamy, and certainly very irregular. 

" Ah ! there is Madam O'Connor beckoning to me," 
says Ronayne, rising lazily to his feet. " I suppose she 
wants me for a moment. Will you mind my leaving 
you for a little, or will you come with me ? I shan't 
be any time." 

" I shall stay here," says Monica. " There, go : she 
seems quite in a hurry. Come back when you can." 

He runs across the grass to his hostess ; and Monica, 
leaning back in her chair, gives herself up to thought. 
Everything is strange, and she is feeling a little lonely, 
a little distraite^ and (but this she will not allow even to 
herself) distinctly disappointed. She is trying very 
hard to prevent her mind from dwelling upon a certain 
face that should be naught to her, when she suddenly 
becomes conscious of the fact that some one has come 
to a stand-still close beside her chair. She turns. 



CHAPTER YII. 



How Monica listens to strange words and suffers herself to be led awaj 
— How Cupid plants a shaft in Mars, and how Miss Priscilla fi^Js her- 
self face to face with the enemy. 

" You see I failed," says Brian Desmond. 

A quick warm blush has dyed Monica's cheeks 
crimson. 

" Ah I it is you," she says. ** I thought you had not 
come." 

This betrays the fact that she has been thinking of 
him, but he is far too wise a young man in his own 
generation to take count of it. 

" Yes, I came. Three days ago I thought I should 
have been in London now, and then I heard you were 
to be here to-day." 

"In what have you failed?" asks she, abruptly, 
alluding to his opening sentence. 



TO ROSSMOTNE. 

"Can't you guess? Have you foreotUn vh^ msX 
cruel injunction you laid upon me? * When next we 
meet/ you said, * you are to look straight over my head 
and pass on.* Will you believe that twice to^ay I 
obeyed that mandate ? The third time was the charm : 
it conquered me ; I broke my sword in two and came 
to you." 

" I wish you hadn't," says Monica, sincerely, if im- 
politely. " 1 wish you would go away now, and promise 
me never to speak to me again. You Jinow I am afraid 
of you," looking nervously around. 

" I don't, indeed ; I can't conceive such a situation. 
You do me a great injustice, I think. I verily believe if 
I tried my very hardest I couldn't instil terror into the 
smallest child in the village." 

"You know what I mean. Of course," scornfully, 
" I should never be afraid of a man : it is Aunt Pris- 
cilia I am afraid of. And see, see there /" in an agony, 
" she is standing quite close to us, talking to somebody." 

" If that is your aunt Priscilla, she is safe for an hour 
at least. The old lady with her is Lady Kossmoyne, 
and she never lets any one (unfortunate enough to get 
into her clutches) go free under a generous sixty min- 
utes. She is great on manures, ana stock, and turnips, 
and so forth. And your aunt, I hear, is a kindred 
spirit." 

"But then there is Aunt Penelope," says Monica, 
timidly. 

" She too, is arranged. Half an hour ago I met her 
so deep in a disgraceful flirtation with the vicar that I 
felt it my duty to look the other way. Depend upon 
it, she is not thinking of you." 

" But some one may tell them I have been talking to 

fOU." 

" I always thought I had a proper amount of pride 
until I met you," says Mr. Desmond. " You have dis- 
pelled the belief of years. * Is thy servant a dog,' that 
70U should be ostracized for speaking to him ? Never 
mind ; I submit even to that thought if it gives me five 
minutes more of your society. But listen to me. No 
one can tell tttl^s of us, because we are both strangers 



BOSSMorNE. 71 

in the land. No one knows me from Adam, and just ae 
{ew know you from — let us say Eve, for euphony's sake.** 

She laughs. Encouraged by her merriment to be- 
lieve that at least she bears him no ill will, Brian says, 
hurriedly, — 

" Come with me to the rose-garden. It is stupid sit- 
ting here alone, and the garden is beyond praise. Do 
come." 

" Why ?" lifting her heavy lashes. 

"For one thing, we shall be free from observation, 
and you know you dislike being seen with me. For 
another " He pauses. 

" Well T rather nervously. 

"It is just this, that I must speak to you," says the 
young man, his gay manner changing to one of extreme 
earnestness. " You were unkind to me that day we 
parted. I want you to tell me why. I understand 
quite that I have no right to demand even the smallest 
favor of you, yet I do entreat you to come with me." 

For another moment she hesitates, then — 

" Yes, I will come with you," she says, raising her 
soft eyes to his. In her whole manner, voice, and hear- 
ing there is something so sweet and childish and trust- 
ins as to render Desmond her slave upon the spot. 

The path to the rose-garden leads away from Miss 
Priscilla, so they avoid detection as they go. 

But they are singularly silent and crave : when the 
garden is reached they pass between the rows of grow- 
ing blossoms mute, if rich in thought. At last, when 
silence is becoming too eloquent to bo borne, her com- 
panion turns to her. 

" It wasn't true what you said to me that last day, 
was it ?" he asks, with far more anxiety than the occa- 
sion seems to demand " Not really, I mean. You said 

it for ftin, perhaps — or It has been with me ever 

since. I can't forget it. You said you disliked sudden 
friendships, and the way you said it made me think you 
disliked me. Tell me I thought wrong." 

"Quite wrong," in a low tone. She is plucking a 
rose to pieces, and keeps her eyes downcast. " When 
I said that, I was angry about somethmg." 



n ROSSMOTNE. 

" About something I said V 

" No. Nothing you saidy 

"Something I did, then?" growing more and mere 
anxious. 

" Ye-es." 

"What was it r 

"It doesn't matter now ; not in the least now ; and 1 
cannot tell you, indeed^ 

" But I wish very much you would. Perhaps, being 
in wretched ignorance, I shall be so unhappy as to do 
it again some day, and so make you hate me a second 
time." 

" I didn't hate you." 

" No ? Yet there was a look in your eyes I wouldn't 
Like to see there again. Do tell me, lest I once more 
fall into error." 

" Oh, no," coloring deeply, as though at some un- 
pleasant recollection. " That would be impossible. It 
could never happen again. I shall take care of that. 
I shall never as long as I live get into a — that ist— I 

mean — I Eeally I have forgiven it all now, so let 

us forget it too." 

Though still greatly mystified, Mr. Desmond wisely 
forbears to press the point, something in her pretty 
distressed face and heightened color forbidding him. 

"Yery good," he says, pleasantly. "But there is 
another thing I have not forgotten. Have you ever 
cleared up that mystery about my uncle and your 
aunts?" 

" Oh I that. It cannot be cleared, I am afraid : it is 
too muddy a tale for any help; but I have at least 
found out all about it." 

" Would it be indiscreet if I said I would give any- 
thing to be as wise as you on this subject ? In other 
words, win you divulge the secret ?" 

" It is a story that doesn't redound to the honor and 

flory of your house," says Miss Beresford, stepping 
ack from him with a gay little laugh, and glancing at 
him mischievously from under her big " Patience" hat. 
" If I were you I should shrink from hearing it." 
" I decline to shrink," with unparalleled braveiy. " I 



R0SSM07NE. 73 

§ refer to rush upon my fate. Life has no longer any 
avor for me until I hear what the old reprobate at 
Coole has done.*' 

"Well, if you will insist upon the sorry tale, 'tis this. 
Once there lived a wicked knight, who wooed a maiden 
fair. But when that her heart was all his own, his 
loTe grew cold, and, turning from her, he refused to 
fulfil his plighted troth and lead her to the hymeneal 
altar. In fact, he loved and he rode away, leaving her 
AfS dismally disconsolate as the original maid forlorn.'* 

"Alas for the golden age of chivalriel" says Mr. 
Desmond. 

" Alas, indeed I That wicked knight was your uncle ; 
the maid forlorn my mother!*' 

" You have been giving me a summary of a fairy- 
tale, haven't you ?" asks he, in an unbelieving tone. 

" No, indeed ; it is all quite true. From what I have 
heard, your uncle must have treated my mother very 
badly. Now, aren't you thoroughly ashamed of your- 
self and your family ?" 

"One swallow makes no summer," says Mr. Des- 
mond, hardily. " Because my uncle refused to succor 
a distressed damosel is no reason why I should so far 
forget myself. Besides; the whole thing seems incredi- 
ble. Report says, and," with an expressive glance at 
her, " I can well believe it, your mother was the most 
beautifril woman of her time in all the country-side ; 
while my uncle, bless him, is one of the very ugliest 
men I ever met in my life. He might take a prize in 
that line. Just fancy the Beast refusing to wed with 
Beauty 1" 

" To be ugly, so far as a man is concerned, is noth- 
ing," says Monica, with a knowledge beyond her years. 
" Many singularly plain men have been much beloved. 
Though" — ^with an unconscious study of her compan- 
ion's features, who is decidedly well favored — "i confess 
I should myself prefer a man whose nose was straight, 
and whose eyes were— had no inclination to look round 
the comer, I mean." 

" A straight nose is to be preferred, of course/' s^ys 
Mr. Desmond, absently strolnng his own, which is aU 



V4 ROSSMOYNE, 

that can be desirea. <<But I never Bince I was born 
heard such an extraordinary story as yours. ] give 
you my word," — earnestly, — "my uncle is just tht sort 
of man who, if any girl, no matter how hideous, were 
to walk up to him and say, * I consent to marry you,* 
ought to be devoutly grateful to her. Why, talking of 
noses, you should just see his : it's — ^it*s anyhow,^ with 

f rowing excitement. " It's all up hiW and down dale, 
never before or since saw such a nose ; and I'd back 
his mouth to beat it !" 

" He must be a very distinguished-looking person," 
says Miss Beresford, demurely. 

" I know very little about him, of course, having 
been always so much abroad ; but he looks like a man 
who could be painfully faithful to an attachment of 
that kind." 

" He was not faithful to her, at all events. I dare 
say he fell in love with some other girl about that time, 
and slighted my mother for her," 

" Well," says Mr. Desmond, drawing a deep breath, 
" he 15 * a grand old man I' " 

" I think he must be a very horrid old man," replies 
Monica, severely. 

" You have proofs of his iniquity, of course," says 
Brian, presently, who evidently finds a difficulty in be- 
lieving in his uncle's guilt. 

"Yes. He wrote her a letter, stating in distinct 
terms that" — and here she alters her voice until it is 
highly suggestive of Miss Blake's fine contralto—" * he 
deemed it expedient for both parties that the present 
engagement existing between them should be annulled.' 
Those are Aunt Priscilla's words: what he really/meant, 
I suppose, was, that he was tired of her." 

" Your mother, I should imagine, was hardly a woman 
to be tired of readily." 

" That is a matter of opinion. We — that is, Terry 
and Kit and I — thought her a very tiresome woman 
indeed," says Miss Beresford, calmly. She does not 
look at him as she makes this startling speech, but 
looks beyond him into, possibly, a past where the "tire- 
some woman" held a part. 



ROSSMOYNE. T5 

Brian Desmond, gazing at her pale, p ire, spiritnal 
face, suBtainB a faint shock, as the meaning of Ler woids 
reaches him. Is she heai*tless, emotioiiless ? Could 
not even a mother's love touch her and wake her into 
life and feeling ? 

" You weren't very fond of your mother, then ?" he 
aaks, gently. The bare memory of his own mother is 
adored by him. 

" Pond ?" savB Monica, as though the idea is a new 
one to her. " Pond ? Yes, I suppose so ; but we were 
all much fonder of my father. 'Sot that either he or 
mamma took very much notice of us." 

" Were thev so much wrapt up in each other, then ?" 

" No, certainly not," quickly. Then, with an amount 
of bitterness in her tone that contrasts strangely with 
its usual softness, " I wonder why I called my mother 
* mamma' to you just now. I never dared do so to her. 
Once when she was going awav somewhere I threw 
my arms round her and called her by that pet name ; 
but she put me from her, and told me I was not to 
make a noise like a sheep." 

She seems more annoyed than distressed as she sayb 
this. Desmond is silent. Perhaps his silence frightens 
her, because she turns to him with a rather pale, ner- 
vous face. 

" I suppose I should not say such things as these to 
you," she says, unsteadily. " I forgot, it did not occur 
to me, that we are only strangers." 

" Say what you will to me," says Desmond, slowly, 
" and be sure of this, that what you do say will be 
heard by you and me alone." 

" I believe you," she answers, with a little sigh. 

'' And, besides, we are not altogether strangers," he 
goes on, lightly : " that day on the river is a h'nk be- 
tween us, isn't it ?" 

" Oh, yes, the river," she says, smiling. 

" Our river. I have brought myself to believe it is 
our joint property: no one else seems to know any- 
thing about it." 

"I have never been nef.r it since," says MonicsN 

" I know that^'^ returns he, meaningly. 



76 ROSSMOVNE. 

" How ?" is almost framed upon her lips ; but a sii gib 
glance at him renders her dumb. Something in his 
expression suggests the possibility that he has spent 
pretty nearly all his time since last they met, and cer- 
tainly all his afternoons, upon that shady river just 
below the pollard willows, in the vain hope of seeing 
her arrive. 

She blushes deeply, and then, in spite of herself, 
laughs out loud, a low but ringing laugh, full of music 
and mischief. 

This most uncalled-for burst of merriment has the 
effect of making Mr. Desmond preternaturally grave. 

" May I ask what you are laughing at ?" he says, 
with painful politeness; whereupon Miss Beresford 
checks her mirth abruptly, and has the grace to blush 
again even harder than before. Her confusion is, in- 
deed, the prettiest thing possible. 

" I don't know," she says, in an evasive tone. 

" People generally do know what they are laughing 
at," contends he, seriously. 

" Well, I don't," returns she, with great spirit. 

" Of course not, if you say so ; but," with suppressed 
wrath, " I don't myself think there is anything pro- 
vocative of mirth in the thought of a fellow wasting 
hour after hour upon a lonely stream in the insane but 
honest hope of seeing somebody who wouldn't come. 
Of course, in your eyes the fellow was a fool to do 
it ; but — but if I were the girl I wouldn't laugh at him 
for it." 

Silence. 

Monica's eyes are bent upon the ground ; her face is 
averted ; but there is something about her attitude that 
compels Mr. Desmond to believe she is sorry for Ler 
untimely laughter; and thinking this breeds hatred 
towards himself for having caused this sorrow and 
makes him accuse himself of basest ill temper. 

" I beg your pardon I" he says, in a contrite tone ; 
"I shouldn't have spoken to you like that. I lost my 
temper most absurdly, and must apologize to you for 
it DOW. It was ridiculous of me to suppose you would 
ever come again to the river ; but one hopes against 



ROSSMOTNE, 7t 

hope. Yet, as Feltham tells us, ^ he that hopes too 
much shall deceive himself at last :' that was my fate^ 
you see. And you never once thought of coming, did 
you ? You were quite right." 

"No, I was quite wrong; but — ^but — you are quite 
wrong too in one way," still with her eyes down- 
turned. 

"By what right did I expect you? I was a pr^ 
Humptuous fool, and got just what I deserved." 

" You were not a fool," exclaims she, quickly ; and 
then, with a little impulsive gesture, she draws herself 
up and looks him fair in the eyes. " If I had known 
you were there," she says, bravely, though evidently 
frightened at her own temerity, " I — I — am almost sure 
I should have been there too I" 

" No I would you really ?" says Desmond, eagerly. 

Then follows a rather prolonged silence. Not an awk- 
ward one, but certainly a silence fraught with danger 
to both. There is no greater friend to Cupid than an 
unsought silence such as this. At last it is oroken. 

" What lovely roses there are in this garden I" says 
Desmond, pointing to a bush of glowing beauty near 
him. 

" Are there not ?" She has taken off a long white 
glove, so that one hand and arm are bare. The hand 
is particularly small and finely shaped, the nails on it 
are a picture in themselves; the arm is slight and 
childish, but rounded and very fair. 

Breaking a rose from the tree indicated, she examines 
it lovingly, and then, lifting it to his face, as though 
desirous of sympathy, says, — 

"Is it not sweet?" 

" It is indeed I" He is staring at her. Very gently 
he takes the little hand that holds the flower and keeps 
it in his own. He detains it so lightly that she might 
withdraw it if she pleases, but she does not. Perhaps 
she doesn't please, or perhaps she sees nothing remark- 
able in his action. At all events, she, who is so prone 
to blush on all occasions, does not change color now, 
but chatters to him gayly, in an unconcerned manner, 
about the 'scented blossoms rour.d her, and afterwards 



78 HOSSMOFNE. 

about the people yonder, behind tLe tall floweriag 
shrubs that surround the tennis-ground. 

And still her little slender fingers lie passively in his. 
Glancing at them, he strokes them lightly with his 
other hand, and counts her rings. 

" Four — ^five," he says ; " quite a burden for such a 
little hand to carry." 

"I like them," says Monica: "brooches and ear-rings 
and bracelets I don't care for, but rings I love. I never 
really feel dressed until they are on. To slip them on 
my fingers is the last thing I do every morning before 
running down-stairs. At least, nearly the last." 

"And what is the last?" 

" I say my prayers," says Monica, smiling. " That is 
what every one does, isn't it?" 

"I don't know," says Mr. Desmond, not looking at 
her. It seems to him a long, long time now since last 
he said his prayers. And then ho suddenly decides 
within himself that he will say them to-morrow morn- 
ing, " the last thing before going downstairs ;" he can- 
not have quite forgotten them yet. 

He is examining her rings as he thinks all this, and 
now a little pale turquoise thing attracts his notice. 

" Who gave you that?" he asks, suddenly. It is to a 
jealous eye rather a lovable little ring. 

" Papa, when I was fourteen," says Monica. " It is 
very pretty, isn't it ? I have felt quite grown up ever 
since he gave me that." 

" Monica," says Brian Desmond suddenly, tightening 
his hold on her hand, " had you ever a lover before ?" 

"Before?" 

"Yes," slowly, and as if determined to make his 
meaning clear, and yet, too, with a certain surprise at 
his own question. " Had you ?" 

"Before?" as if bewildered, she repeats the word 
again. " Why, I never had a lover at all /" 

" Do not say that again," says Brian, moving a step 
nearer to her and growing pale : " 1 am your lover now 
— Skud forever r 

" Oh I no, no,*' says Monica, shrinking from him. ''Do 
not say that." 



RuSSMOFNE, 79 

" I won't, if you forbid me, but," quietl/, " I am, and 
shall be, all the same. I think my very soul — teiongs 
to you." 

A crunching of gravel, a sound of coming footsteps, 
the murmur of approaching voices. 

]\ionica, pallid as an early snow-drop, looks up lo see 
her aunt Priscilla coming towards her, accompanied by 
a young man, a very tall and very stout young man, 
with a rather drilled air. 

'* Ah I here is Aunt Priscilla," says Monica, breath- 
lessly. " Who is that with her ?" 

" Kyde, one of the marines stationed at Clonbree," 
says Mr. Desmond, cursing the marine most honestly 
in his heart of hearts. Clonbree is a small town about 
seven miles from Eossmoyne, where a company of 
marines has been sent to quell the Land League dis- 
turbances.- 

Miss Priscilla is looking quite pleased with herself, 
and^eets Monica with a fond smile. 

" 1 knew I should find you here," she says ; " flowers 
have such a fascination for you. You will let me intro- 
duce you to Mr. Eyde, dear child I" 

And then the introduction is gone through, and 
Monica says something unworthy of note to this big 
young mail, who is staring at her in a more earnest 
manner than is strictly within the rules of etiquette. 
Somehow, too, she presently discovers she has fallen 
into Hne with her new friend, and is moving towards 
the lawn again with Aunt Priscilla following in her 
train with Mr. Desmond, 

Quaking inwardly, Monica at first cannot take her 
mind off the twain behind her, and all the consequences 
that must ensue if Miss Priscilla once discovers a Deo- 
mond is being addressed by her with common civility. 

She is, therefore, but poor company for the tall 
marine, who seems, however, quite satisfied with the 
portion allotted him and maunders on inanely about 
the surroundings generally. When the weather and 
the landscape have been exhausted, it must be con- 
fessed, however, that he comes to a stand-still. 

Miss Priscilla, pleased with her day and the satia 



m BOSSMOYNE. 

factory knowledge that every one has been nving 
about Monica, is making herself specially agreeable to 
her companion, who, nothing loath, draws her out and 
grows almost sycophantic in his attentions. She be- 
comes genial with him, not knowing who he is, while 
he becomev^ even more than genial with her, knowing 
right well who she is. Indeed, so merrily does he 
make the time fly that Miss Priscilla is fain to confess 
to herself that seldom has she passed so pleasant a five 
minutes. 

In the mean time, Monica, strolling on in front with 
Mr. Eyde, is feeling both nervous and depressed. This 
chance meeting between her aunt and Mr. Desmond, 
and the memory of all the strange exciting things the 
latter has said to her, render her mute and unequal to 
conversation, and her present companion is not one 
likely to enchain her attention by any brilliant flashes 
of intellect. 

He is, in truth, a very ordinary young man, of the 
heavy, stupid type too often met with to require either 
introduction or description. He had arrived in Queens- 
town about a fortnight before, with nothing much to 
guide his conduct in a strange country beyond the 
belief that Hibernia, as he elects to call it, is like 
Africa, a " land benighted," fit only to furnish food for 
jests. He has a fatal idea that he himself can supply 
these jests at times, and that, in fact, there are mo- 
ments when he can be irresistibly funny over the Pad- 
dies : like many others devoid of brain, and without 
the power to create wholesome converse, he mistakes 
impertinence for wit, and of late has become rude at 
the expense of Ireland whenever he has found anybody 
kind enough, or (as in Monica's case now) obliged, to 
listen to him. 

Just now, there being a distinct and rather embar- 
rassing pause, he says, amiably, — 

" Awfully jolly gown you've got on I" 

" So glad you like it 1" says Monica, absently. 

" Got it from town, I suppose ?" 

" From Dublin— yes." 

*• Oh I by Jove, you call Dublin town, do you T says 



R0S8M0TNE, 81 

Mr. Byde, with a heavy lau^h that suggests danger of 
choking, he being slightly plethoric hj nature. 

" Yes : what do you call it ?" says Monica, regarding 
him steadily. She has hardly looked at him till now, 
and tells herself instantly that young men with fat faces 
are not in her line. 

" Always thought it was a village, or sc mething of 
that sort, you know," replies he, with a continuation 
of the suicidal merriment. 

Monica stares, and her color rises, ever so little, but 
unmistakably. 

"You ought to read something, papers and articles 
on Ireland, now and then," she says, deep but suspicious 
pity for him in her tone. " Considering what education 
costs nowadays, it is shameful the way yours has been 
neglected. Your college, or wherever you were, ought 
to be ashamed of itself. Why, I don't believe you know 
what a capital means." 

"A capital? — ^in writing, do you mean?" asks he, 
puzzled. / 

" N — ; I wasn't thinking of that. You can write, I 
suppose," with malicious hesitation that betrays doubt. 
" 1 was speaking of the capitals of Europe. Dublin is 
one of them." 

Unable to grasp the fact that she is mildly snubbing 
him, Mr. Eyde smiles gayly, and says, " Oh, really ?" 
with an amused air that incenses her still more highly. 
" Was there ever," she asks herself, angrily, "so hateful 
a m^n, or so long a gravel walk 1" 

Having racked his brain to find something further 
wherewith to beguile the monotony of the way, and 
finding it barren, Mr. Eyde falls back upon the original 
subject. 

" I L*ke a white gown on a woman better than any," 
he says. " And so they really can make gowns in Ire- 
land ? I've been awfully disappointed, do you know ? 
— ^reg'lar sold. I came over here in the full hope of 
seeing everybody going about in goat-skins and with 
beads round their necks — and — er — ^that." 

"And why are you disappointed?" asks Monica, 
mildly, with a provoking want of appreciation of this 

/ 



HS HOSSMOFNE. 

brilliant sally. ''Are you fond of goat-skms and beadaf 
Do you wear them when ' your foot is on your native 
heath'?" 

" Eh ? — Oh, you don't understand," says this dense 
young man, fatally bent on explanation. "I meant to 
imply that the general belief with us over there" — 
pointing to the horizon, which would have led him to 
America rather than to England — " is that everybody 
here is half savage — d'ye see— eh ?" 

" Oh, yes, it's quite plain," says Miss Beresford, her 
eyes immovably fixed on the horizon. " * Over there^ 
must be a most enlightened spot." 

" So of course I thought the goat-skins, etc., would be 
the order of the day," goes on lir. Eyde, with another 
chuckle. 

" You do think sometimes, then ?" says Monica, ihno^ 
cently. 

" I have been thinking of you ever since I first saw 
you this afternoon," returns he, promptly, if unwisely. 

There is an almost imperceptible pause, and then — 

" Don't trouble yourself to do that again," says Mon- 
ica, very sweetly, but with a tell-tale flash in her blue 
eyes : " I am sure it must fatigue you dreadfully. Re- 
member what a warm day it is. Another thing : don't 
for the future, please, say rude things about Ireland, 
because I don't like that either.'' 

The " eithef is the cruellest cut of all : it distinctly 
forbids him even to think of her. 

" I am afraid I have been unlucky enough to offend 
you," says young Mars, stiffly, awaking at last to a 
sense of the situation, and glancing down uneasily at 
the demure little figure marching beside him with her 
pretty head erect. " I didn't mean it, I assure you. 
What I said was said in fun." 

"Are you always like that when you are funny f 
asks she, looking straight before her. " Then I think, 
if I were you, I wouldn't do it." 

Then she is a little ashamed of her severity, and, 
changing her tone, makes herself so charming to hira 
that he quite recovers his spirits before thoy come up 
with all the others on the lawn. 



ROSSMOTNE. S3 

Yet perhaps her smiles have wrought him more harm 
than her frowns. 

Madam O'Connor, going up to Miss Friscilla, engages 
her in some discassion, so that presently Monica finds 
Brian beside her again. 

<< You will let me see you again soon/' he says, in a 
low tone, seeing Byde is talking to Miss Fitzgerald. 

"But how can I r 

" You can if you will. Meet me somewhere, as 1 
may not call ; bring your brother, your sister, any one^ 
with you ; only meet me." 

" If I did that, how could I look at Aunt Prisoilla 
afterwards ?" says Monica, growing ereatly distressed. 
" It would be shameful ; I should ^el like a traitor. I 
feel like it already." 

" Then do nothing. Take a passive part, if you will, 
and leave all to me," says Desmond, with a sudden de- 
termination in his eyes. " L would not have you vexed 
or made unhappy in any way. But that I shall see 
you again — and soon — be sure." 

"But " 

" I will listen to no * huts* : it is too late for them. 
Though all the world, though even you yourself, should 
forbid me your presence, I should still contrive to meet 
you." 

Here somebody addresses him, and he is obliged to 
turn and smile, and put off his face the touch of earnest 
passion that has just illumined it; while Monica stands 
silent, spell-bound, trying to understand it all. 

" Is it thus that all my countrymen make love ?" she 
asks herself, bewildered. At the very second meeting 
^she always, even to herself, ignores that ignominious 
nrst) to declare in this mastenul fashion that he must 
and mil see her again I 

It is rapid, rather violent wooing ; but I do not think 
the girl altogether dislikes it. She is a little frightened, 
perhaps, and uncertain, but there is a sense of power 
about him that fascinates her and tells her vaguely 
that faith and trust in him will never be misplaced. 
She feels strangely nervous, yet she lifts her eyes to 
his, and gazes at him long and bravely, and then thr 



84 ROSSMOFNE. 

very faintest glimmer of a smile, that is surelj ftdl of 
friendliness and confidence, if nothing more, lights up 
her eyes and plays around her pensive mouth. A 
moment, and the smile has vanished, but the remem< 
brance of it lives with him forever. 

Yes, the wooing is rapid, and she is not won ; but 
" she likes me," thinks Desmond, with a touch of rap- 
ture he has never known before. " Certainly, she likes 
me ; and — ^there are always time and hope." 

" My dear Monica, it grows late," says Miss Prisciila 
at this moment. " Say good-by to Madam O'Connor, 
and let us go." 

" Oh, not a bit of it, now," says Madam O'Connor, 
hospitably, in her rich, broad brogue, inherited in all 
its purity, no doubt, from her kingly ancestor. " You 
mustn't take her away yet: sure the day is young. 
Mr. Eyde, why don't you get Miss Beresford to play 
a game with you ? In my time, a young fellow like 
you wouldn't wait to be told to make himself agreeable 
to a pretty girl. There, go now, do I Have you brought 
your own racket with you ?" 

"I left it at home," says Mr. Eyde. "Fact is," af- 
fectedly, " I didn't think tennis was known over here. 
Didn't fancy you had a court in the land." 

This speech fires the blood of the O'Tooles' last de- 
scendant. 

Madam O'Connor uprears a haughty crest, and fixes 
the luckless lieutenant with an eagle eye, beneath which 
he quails. 

" There is no doubt we lack much," she says, taking 
his measure with lofty scorn ; " but we have at least 
our manners,*^ 

With this she turns her back upon him, and com* 
mences a most affable discussion with Miss Penelope, 
leaving her victim speechless with fright. 

"Have a brandy -and-soda, Eyde?" says Mr. Kelly, 
who is always everywhere, regarding the wretched 
marine through his eye-glass with a gaze of ineffable 
sadness, "!^^othing like it, after an engagement of 
this sort." 

" I thought Ireland was the land for jokes," says tho 



ROSSMOTNE. 06 

injured Eyde, indignantly, — "stock-in-trade sort of 
thing over here; and yet when I give 'em one of 
mine they turn upon me as if I was the worst in the 
world. I 4ion*t believe any one understands *em over 
here." 

" You see, your jokes are too fine for us," says Mr. 
Kelly, mournfully. " We miss the point of them." 

" You are all the most uncomfortable people I ever 
met," says the wrathful marine. 

" "We are, we are," acquiesces Kelly. " We are really 
a very stupid people. Anything, delicate or refined is 
lost upon us, or is met in an unfriendly spirit. I give 
you my word, I have known a fellow's head smashed 
for less than half what you said to Madam O'Connor 
just now. Prejudice runs high in this land. You have, 
jierhaps," in a friendly tone, " heard of a shillelagh ?" 

" No, I haven't," sulkily. 

"No? really f It is quite an institution here. It's 
a sort of a big stick, a very unpleasant stick, and is 
used freely upon the smallest diflference of opinion. 
You'll meet them round every corner when you get 
more used to us : you'd like to see them, wouldn't you ?" 

" No, I shouldn't," still more sulkily. 

" Oh, but you ought, you know. If you are going to 
live for any time in a country, you should study its in- 
stitutions. The best way to see this one is to make 
cutting remarks about Ireland in a loud voice when two 
or three of the peasants are near you. They don't like 
cutting remarks, they are so stupid, and jokes such as 
yours annoy them fearfully. Still, you mustn't mind 
that ; you must smother your natural kindliness of dis- 
position and annoy them, if you want to see the shil- 
lelagh." 

"I said nothing to annoy Mrs. O'Connor, at any rate," 
Bays Mr. Eyde. "She needn't have taken a simple 
woi-d or two like that." 

"You see, we are all so terribly thin-skinned," saj» 
Mr. Kelly, regretfully, " I quite blush for my country- 
people. Of course there are noble exceptions to every 
rule. / am the noble exception here. I don't feel in 
the least annoyed with you. Now do try gome brandy, 



86 R0S8M0YNE, 

my dear fellow: it will do you all the good in the 
world." 

'^ I don't know this moment whether you are laugh- 
ing at me or not," says the marine, eying him douht- 
fully. 

" I never laugh," says Mr. Kelly, reproachfully. " I 
thougiit even you could see that. Well, will you have 
that B. and S.r 

But Mars is huffed, and declines to accept consola- 
tion in any shape. He strolls away with an injured 
air to where his brother officer. Captain Cobbett, is 
standing near the hall door, and pours his griefs into 
his ears. Captain Cobbett being a very spare little 
man, with a half-starved appearance and a dismal ex- 
pression, it is doubtful whether poor Eyde receives 
from him the amount of (sympathy required. 

" Well," says Madam O'Connor, turning round as she 
sees him disappear, and addressing the three or four 
people round her generally, "*pon me conscience, that a 
the silliest young man I ever met in my life I" When 
disturbed, elated, or distressed, Madam O'Connor al- 
ways says, " Ton me conscience 1" 

" Don't be hard upon him," says Mr. Kelly, kindly. 
" Though very mad, he is quite harmless I" 

" He plays tennis very well," says Miss Fitzgerald, 
the tall girl. " So nice, isn't it ? to have these ancient 
games reproduced I" This with the learned air of one 
who could say more if she would. 

^^AndentV says Madam O'Connor. "Faith, 1 
thought it was a game of yesterday." 

" Oh, dear, no I" says the erudite Bella, with a lenient 
smile. " Tennis was first brought from France to Eng- 
land in the reign of Charles the Second." 

" There now. Miss Beresford, don't forget thai," says 
Madam O'Connor, turning to Monica with an amused 
smile : " it is essential you should remember it, as it is 
part of one's education." After which she moves away 
towards some other guests, having said all she has to 
say to those near her. 

" May I see you to your carriage. Miss Blake ?" saya 
Desmond, finding she and Miss I^enelope are bent on 



ROSSMOTNB. 91 

goin^; and Aunt Friscilla, who has taken quite a fancy 
to this strange young man, gives her gracious permis- 
sion that he shall accompany them to the fossilized 
chariot awaiting them. 

" Who is he, my dear Priscilla ?" asks Miss Penelope^ 
in a stage whisper, as they go. 

" Don't know, my dear, but a vastly agreeable young 
man, very superior to those of his own age of the pres- 
ent day. He is marvellously polite, and has, I think, 
quite a superior air." 

" Quite," says Penelope, " and a very sweet expres- 
sion besides, — so open, so ingenuous. I wish all were 
like him." This with a sigh, Terence having proved 
himself open to suspicion with regard to* plain dealing 
during the past few days. 

Now, it so happens that at this instant they turn a 
comer leading from the shrubbery walk on to the 
gravel sweep before the hall door ; as they turn this 
comer, so does some one else, only he is coming from 
the gravel sweep to the walk, so that consequently he 
is face to face with the Misses Blake, without hope of 
retreat. 

The walk is narrow at the entrance to it, and as this 
new-comer essays to pass hurriedly by Miss Priscilla he 
finds himself fatally entangled with her, she having 

fone to the right as he went to the left, and afterwards 
aving gone to the left as he went to the right, and 
so on. 

Finally a passage is cleared, and the stranger — ^who 
is an amazingly ugly old man, with a rather benign 
though choleric countenance — speeds past the Misses 
Blake like a flash of lightning, and with a haste credit- 
able to his years, but suggestive rather of fear than 
elasticity. 

"My uncle!" says Brian Desmond, in an awe-struck 
tone, to Monica, who literally goes down before this 
iorrible annunciation, and trembles visibly. 

It is a rencontre fraught with mortal horror to the 
Misses Blake. For years they have not so much as 
looked upon their enemy's face, and now their skirt£ 
hare actually brushed him as Le passed. 



88 ROSSMOTNE. 

" Come, come quickly, Monica," says Miss Penelope, 
on this occasion being the one to take the initiative. 
" Do not linger, child. Did you not see ? It was out 
enemy that passed by." 

If she had said " it was the arch-fiend," hor voioe 
oould not have been more tragic. 

" I am coming. Aunt Penny," says Monica, nervouslv. 

Kow, it is at this inauspicious moment that Mr. Kelly 
(who, as I have said before, is always everywhere) 
chooses to rush up to Brian Desmond and address him 
in a loud tone. 

" My dear boy, you are not going yet, are you ?" he 
says, reproachfully. " I say, Desmond, you can't, you 
know, because Miss Fitzgerald says you promised to 
play in the next match with her." 

The fatal name has been uttered clearly and dis- 
tinctly. As though petrified, the two old ladies stand 
quite still and stare at Brian.; then Miss Priscilla, with 
a stately movement, gets between him and Monica, and, 
in tones that tremble perceptibly, says to him, — 

" I thank you for the courtesy already received, sir ; 
but we will no longer trouble you for your escort : we 
prefer to seek our carriage alone" 

She sweeps him a terribly stiff little salute, and saile 
off, still trembling and very pale, Miss Penelope, scarcely 
less pale, following in her wake. 

Desmond has barely time to grasp Monica's hand, 
and whisper, " Eemember," in as mysterious a tone as 
the hapless Stuart, when she too is swept away, and 
carried from his sight. 

Not until the gates of Aghyohillbeg are well behind 
them do the Misses Blake sufficient^' recover them- 
selves for speech. Terence, who has been a silent wit- 
ness of the whole transaction, creating a diversion by 
making some remark about the day generally, breakii 
the spell that binds them. His remark is passed over 
in silence, but still the spell is broken. 

" Whoever introduced you to that young man," begins 
Miss Priscilla, solemnly, *• did a wrong thing. Let us 
hope it was done in ignorance." 

At this Monica shivers inwardly and turns oold, ifl 



nOSSMOFNE. 89 

ghe remembers that no introduction has ever been gone 
through between her and " that young man/' What 
if Aunt Priscilla persists, and asks the name of the 
offending medium ? Fortunately, Miss Blake loses sight 
of thip idea, being so engrossed with a greater. 

" For the future you must forget you ever spoke to 
this Mr. Desmond,'' she says, her face very stem. 
" Happily he is an utter stranger to you, so there will 
be no difficulty about i%. You will remember this, 
Monica?" 

" Yes, I will remember," says the girl, slowly, and 
with a visible effort. 

Then Moyne is reached in solemn silence so far as 
the Misses Blake are concerned ; in solemn silence, too, 
the two old ladies mount the oaken staircase that leads 
to their rooms. Outside, on the corridor, they pause 
and contemplate each other for a moment earnestly. 

" He — he is very good-looking," says Miss Penelope 
at last, as though compelled to make the admission even 
against her will. 

" He is abominably handsome," says Miss Priscilla, 
fiercely ; after which she darts into her room and closes 
the door with a subdued bang behind her. 



CHAPTER Vin. 



How Brian, having institnted inquiries, condemns his Unole seoretly— 
How Terry throws light upon a dark snhject, and how, for the third 
time, Love " Ands ont his waj." 

It is the evening of the next day, and dinner at Coole 
has just come to an end. Mr. Kelly, who has been 
Brian's guest for the last fortnight, and who is to re- 
main as long as suits him, or as long after the grouse- 
shooting in August as he wills, has taken himself into 
the garden to smoke a cigar. This he does at a hint 
from Brian. 

Now, findinj( himself alone with his uncle, Brian 
ft* 



M ROSSIdOTNE. 

Bays, in the casual tone of one mak pg an indifferent 
remark, — 

'^ By the bye, I can see yon are not on good termt 
with those old ladies at Moyne." 

As he speaks he helps himself leisurely to some 
Btrawberries, and so refrains fi'om looking at his uncle. 

" No," says The Desmond, shortly. 

" Some old quarrel, I have been given to understand." 

'<I should prefer not speaking about it," says the 
Squire. 

" Twinges of conscience even at this remote period," 
thinks Brian, and is rather tickled at the idea, as he 
lifts his head to regard his uncle in a new light, — that 
is, as a regular Don Juan. 

** Well, of course, I dare say I should not have men- 
tioned the subject," he says, apologetically ; " but I had 
no idea it was a sore point. It was not so much bad 
taste on my part as ignorance. I beg your pardon I" 

" It was a very unhappy affair altogether," says Don 
Juan. 

" Very unfortunate indeed, from what I have heard." 

" More than unfortunate I — right down disgraceful I*' 
says the Squire, with such unlooked-for energy as raises 
astonishment in the breast of his nephew. (" By Jove, 
one would think the old chap had only now awakened 
to a sense of his misconduct," he thinks, irreverently.) 

"Oh, well," he says, leniently, "hardly tJuitj you 
know." 

" Quite that," emphatically. 

" It has been often done before : yours is not a soli- 
tary case." 

" Solitary or not, there were elements about it inex- 
cusable," says the old Squire, beating his hand upon the 
table as though to emphasize his words. 

" I wouldn't take it so much to heart if I were you," 
says Brian, who is really beginning to pity him. 

" It has lain on my heart for twenty years, I can't 
take it off now," says the Squire. 

" You have evidently suffered," returns Brian, who 
is getting more and more amazed at the volcano he has 
rorsed. " Of course I can quite understand that if you 



ROSSMOTNJ^. n 

were onoe more to find yourself in similar circnmstMiceB 
you would act very differently." 

" I should indeed I — very differently. A man seldom 
makes a fool of himself twice in a lifetime." 

(" He's regretting her now," thinks Brian.) 

But out loud he says, — 

" Yon didn't show much wisdom, I dare say." 

*' No, none ; and as for Aer, — to fling away such a lov« 

as that " Here he pauses, and looks dreamily at 

the silver tankard before him. 

This last speech rather annoys Brian : to gloat over 
the remembrance of a love that had been callously cast 
aside to suit the exigences of the moment, seems to 
the younger man a caddish sort of thing not to b^ 
endured. 

(** Though what the mischief any pretty girl of nine- 
teen could have seen in Atm," he muses, gazmg with ill- 
concealed amazement at his uncle's ugly countenance, 
" is more than I can fathom.") 

" Perhaps it wasn't so deep a love as you imagine," 
he cannot re^in from saying d prapos his uncle's last 
remark, with a view to taking him down a peg. 

" It was, sir," says the Squire, sternly. " It was the 
love of a lifetime. People may doubt as they will, but 
I know no love has superseded it." 

" Oh, be is in his dotage I" thinks Brian, disgustedly ; 
and, rising from the table, he makes a few more trivial 
remarks, and then walks from the dining-room on to 
the balcony and so to the garden beneath. 

Finding his friend Kelly in an ivied bower, lost in a 
cigar, and possibly, though improbably, in improving 
meditation, he is careful not to disturb him, but, mak- 
ing a successful d6tour, escapes his notice, and turns 
his face towards that part of Coole that is connected 
with Moyne by means of the river. 

At Moyne, too, dinner has come to an end, and, • 
tempted by the beauty of the quiet evening, the two 
old ladies and the children have strolled into the twilit 
garden. 

There is a strange and sweet hush in the air — a stiU- 



92 ROSSMOTNE. 

nesB fall of life — but slumberous life. The music of 
streams can be heard, and a distant murmur from the 
ocean ; but the birds have got their heads beneath their 
wings, and the rising night-wind wooes them all in vain. 
Shadows numberless are lying in misty comers ; the 
daylight lingers jQ\y as though loath to quit us and 
sink into eternal night. It is an eve of "holiest mood," 
full of tranquillity and absolute calm, 

" It is that hour of quiet ecstasy. 
When eyery mstling wind that passes by 
The sleeping leaf makes busiest minstrelsy." 

"You are silent, Priscilla," says Miss Penelope, 
glancing at her. 

" I am thinking. Such an eve as this always recalls 
Katherine; and yesterday that meeting, — all has helped 
to bring the past most vividly before me." 

" Ah, dear, yes," says Miss Penelope, regarding her 
with a furtive but tender glance. " How inust he have 
felt, when he thought what grief he brought to her 
young life I" 

"You are talking of mother?" asks Kit, suddenly, 
letting her large dark eyes rest on Miss Penelope's face, 
as though searching for latent madness there. 

" Yes, my dear, of course." 

" He would not have dared so to treat her had her 
father been alive, or had we been blessed with a 
brother," says Miss Priscilla, sternly. "He proved 
himself a dastard and a coward." 

"Perhaps there was some mistake," says Monica, 
timidly, plucking a pale blossom and pretending to 
admire it. 

" No, no. We believe he contracted an affection for 
some other girl, and for her sake jilted your mother. 
If so, retribution fit and proper followed on his perfidy, 
because he brought no wife later on to grace his home. 
Doubtless he was betrayed in his turn. That was only 
just." 

" There seems to be reason in that conjecture," says 
Miss Penelope, " because he went abroad almost imme- 
diately. I saw him shortly before he left the countiyi 



ROSSMOYNE, 93 

RQd he was then quite a hroken-down uiin. He must 
have taken his own misfortune greatly to heart." 

"Served him right!" says Miss Priscilla, uncom- 
promisingly. "He deserved no greater luck. Your 
mother suffered so much at his hands that she almost 
lost her health. I don't believe she ever got over it." 

" Oh, yes, she did," says Terry, suddenly ; " she got 
over it uncommonly well. We didn't know who Mr. 
Desmond was then, of 'Course ; but I know she used to 
make quite a joke of him." 

" A joke I" says Miss Priscilla, in an awful tone. 

" Yes, regular fun, you know," goes on Terence, un- 
daunted. "One day she was telling father some old 
Btory about Mr. Desmond, a * good thing* she called it, 
and she was laughing heartily; but he wasn't, and 
when she had finished, I remember, he said something 
to her about want of * delicacy of feeling,* or something 
like that." 

" I was there," says Kit, in her high treble. " He 
said, too, she ought to be ashamed of herself." 

" Oh, that was nothing," says Mr. Beresford, airily. 
** Father and mother never agreed for a moment ; they 
were always squabbling from the time they got up till 
they went to bed again." 

The Misses Blake have turned quite pale. 

" Terence, how can you speak so of your sainted 
mother?" says Miss Penelope. "I'm sure, from her 
letters to us, she was a most devoted mother and wife, 
and, indeed, sacrificed her every wish and pleasure to 
yours." 

" I never knew it cost her so much to keep away from 
us," says Terence. " If she was dying for our society, 
she must indeed have sacrificed herself, because she 
made it the business of her life to avoid us from morn 
to dewy eve." 

" Doubtless she had her duties," says Miss Penelopo, 
in a voice of suppressed fear. What is she going to 
hear next ? what are these dreadful chiHren going to 
say? 

"Perhaps she had," says Terence. *If so, they 
dlda't agree with her, as she was always in a bad tern- 



M ROSSMOFNE. 

per. She nsed to ^ive it to papa right and left, until 
he didn't dare call his soul his own. When /marry, I 
shall take very good care my wife doesn't lead roe the 
life my mother led my father." 

" Your wife I who'd marry you f " says Kit, scornfully, 
which interlude gives the discussion a rest for a little 
time. But soon they return to the charge. 

" Your mother when here had an angelic temper," 
says Miss Penelope. Miss Priscilla all this time seems 
incapahle of speech. 

"Well, she hadn't when there" says Terence; and 
then he says a dreadful thing, as vulgar as it is dread- 
ful, that fills his aunt's heart with dismay. " She and 
my father fought like cat and dog," he says ; and then 
the Misses Blake feel their cup is indeed full. 

" And she never would take Monica anywhere," says 
Kit; "so selfish I" 

It is growing too terrible. Is their idol to be shat- 
tered thus before their eyes ? 

"Monica, was your mother unkind to you?" says 
Miss Penelope, in a voice full of anguish. After all 
these years, is the Katherine of their affections to be 
dragged in the dust ? 

Monica hesitates. She can see the grief in her aunt's 
face, and cannot bear to add to it. The truth is that . 
the late Mrs. Beresford had not been beloved by her 
children, for reasons which it will be possible to con- 
ceive, but which would be tiresome to enumerate here. 
Perhaps there seldom has been a more careless or dis- 
agreeable mother. . 

So Monica pauses, flushes, glances nervously froiii 
right to left, and then back again, and finally rests her 
loving, regretful eyes full upon Miss Penelope's agitated 
lace. 

Something she sees there decides her. Sinking to 
her knees, she flings her arms around the old lady's 
neck, and lays her cheek to hers. 

" I will say nothing, but that I am happy here" she 
says, in a low whisper. 

Miss Penelope's arms close round her. The worst 
has oome to her; yet the e is solace in this clinging em* 



ROSSMOTNE. 95 

farAoe, and in the dewy lips that seek hers. If she has 
lost one idol, who can say she has not gained another, 
and perhaps a worthier one ? 

Tet heyond doubt the two old ladies have sustained 
a severe shock : they hold down their heads, and for a 
long time avoid each other's eyes, as though fearing 
what may there be seen. 

" Let us walk round the garden, Aunt Priscilla," says 
Monica, feeling very sorry for them. " The evening is 
lovely, imd the roses so sweet." 

"Conie, then," says Miss Priscilla, who is perhaps 
glad to escape from her own thoughts. And so they 
all wander to and fro in the pretty garden, bending 
over this flower and lingering over that in a soft, idle 
sort of enjoyment that belongs alone to the country. 

Terence has disappeared, but, as he is not great on 
flowers, his presence is not indispensable, and no one 
♦akes any notice of his defection. 

Presently they come upon the old gardener, who is 
also the old coachman, upon his bended knees beside a 
bed. The whole garden is scrupulously raked and 
scrupulously weeded till not a fault can be found. But 
Miss Priscilla is of those who deem it necessary always 
to keep a servant up to his trumps. 

Stooping over the bed, therefore, she carefully ad- 
justs her glasses upon her nose, and proceeds to ex- 
amine with much minuteness the earth beneath her. 
A tiny green leaf attracts her notice. 

" Comey, is that a weed f" she asks, severely. " I 
certainly remember sowing some seeds in this place ; 
but that has a weedy look." 

" It's seeds, miss, says Comey. " Ye'd know it by 
the curl of it." 

" I hope so, I hope so," says Miss Priscilla, doubtfully ; 
^ but there's a common cast about it. It reminds me 
of groundsel. Comey, whatever you do, don't grow 
careless." 

''Faix, I'm too ould a hand for that, miss," says 
Comey. " But, to tell the truth, I think myself, now, 
not to desaive ye, that the leaf ye mintioned is uncom- 
mon like the groundsel. Tou ought to be proud of yei 



96 R08SM0TNE, 

eyes. Miss Priscilla; they're as clear as they were 
twinty years ago." 

Greatly mollified by this compliment, Miss PriscOla 
declines to scold any more, and, the groundsel forgotten, 
moves onward to a smooth piece of sward on which a 
cart-load of large white stones from the sea-shore has 
been ruthlessly thrown. 

"What is this?" she says, indignantly, eyinff the 
stones with much disfavor. " Comey, come nere I 
Who flung those stones down on my green grass ?" 

" The rector, miss. He sent his man wid a load of 
em, and 'tis there they left 'em." 

" A most unwarrantable proceeding I" says Miss Pri«- 
cilla, who is in her managing mood. " What did Mr. 
Warren mean by that ?" 

" Don't you think it was kind of him to draw them 
for our rockery, my dear Priscilla ?" says Miss Penel- 
ope, suggestively. 

" No, 1 don't," says Miss Priscilla. " To bring cart- 
loads of nasty large stones and fling them down upon 
my velvet grass on which I pride myself (though you 
may think nothing of it, Penelope) is not kind. I must 
say it was anything but nice, — anything but gentle- 
manly." 

<^ My dear, he is quite a gentleman, and a very good 
man." 

<< That may be. I suppose I am not so uncharitable 
as to be rebuked for every little word ; but to go about 
the country destroying people's good grass, for which 
I paid a shilling a pound, is not gentlemanly. — Kath- 
erine, what are you laughing at ?" 

" At the stones," says Kit. 

" There is nothing to laugh at in a stone. Don't be 
silly, Katherine. I wonder, Monica, you don't make it 
the business of your life to instil some sense into that 
child. The idea of standing still to laugh at a stone P* 

" Better do that than stand still to cry at it," says 
the youngest Miss Beresford, rebelliously. Providen- 
tially, the remark is unheard ; and Monica, scenting 
battle in the breeze, says, hastily, — 

" Do you remember the roses at Aghyohillbeg, auntief 



ROSSMOTNE. 9T 

Well, I don't think any of them were as fine as this,** 
pointing to a magnificent blossom near her. It is the 
truth, and it pleases Miss PrisciUa mightily, she having 
a passion for her roses. And so peace is once more re- 
stored. 

" It grows chilly," says Miss Penelope, presently. 

" Yes ; let us all go in," says Miss PrisciUa. 

" Oh, not yet, auntie ; it is quite lovely yet," says 
Monica, earnestly. She cannot go in yet, not yet; the 
evening is still young, and — and she would like so much 
to go down to the river, if only for a moment. All this 
Bhe says guiltily to herself. 

" Well, we old women will go in, at least," says Miss 
Penelope. " You two children can coquet with the dew 
for a little while; but don't stay too long, or sore 
throats will be the result." 

" Yes, yes," says Miss PrisciUa, following her sister. 
As she passes Monica, she looks anxiously at the girl's 
little slight fragile figure and her slender throat and 
half-bared arms. 

'' That dress is thin. Do not stay out too long. Take 
care of yourself, my darling." She kisses her pretty 
niece, and then hurries on, as though ashamed of this 
show of affection. 

A little troubled by the caress, Monica moves me- 
chanically down the path that leads towards the 
meadows and the river, followed by Kit. By this time 
che latter is in Aill possession of aU that happened yes- 
terday, — at least so much of it as relates to Monica's 
acquaintance with Mr. Desmond (minus the tender pas- 
sages), his uncle's encounter with her aunts, and Brian's 
subsequent dismissal. Indeed, so much has transpired 
in the telling of all this that Kit, who is a shrewd child, 
has come to the just conclusion that the young Mr. 
Desmond is in love with her Monica I 

Strange to say, she is not annoyed at his presump- 
tion, but rather pleased at it, — he being the first live 
lover she has ever come in contact with, and therefore 
interesting in no small degree. 

Now, as she follows her sister down the fiowery path- 
way, her mind is full of romance, pure and sweet and 

Mi 9 



96 ROSSMOTNE, 



\ 



great with chivalry, as a child's would be But Monica^ 
is sad and taciturn. Her mind misgives ner, her coIJ^"" 
science pricks her, her soul is disquieted within her. 

What was it she had promised Aunt Priscilla yester*"*" 
day? Aunt Priscilla had said, "For the future yor^^ 

must forget you ever spoke to Mr. Desmond. You wil ^ 

remember this ?" and she had answered, " Yes." 

But how can she forget? It was a foolish promifle^::^^! 
for who has got a memory under control? 

Of course. Aunt Priscilla had meant her to unde r — -^ 
stand that she was never to speak to Mr. DeBmoncl^E=l 
again, and she had given her promise in the spirit— ^^ 
And of course she would be obedient ; she would at^r^^t 
least so far obey that she would not be the first to^c^:^ 

speak to him, nor would she seek him — ^nor But::::^^ 

why, then, is she going to the river? Is it because^^^ 
the evening is so fine, or is there no lurking hope of 

And, after all, what certainty is there that — ^thal 
any one will be at the river at this hour ? And even 
if there should be, why need she speak to him ? she 
can be silent ; but if he speaks to her, what then ? Can 
she refuse to answer ? 

Her mind is as a boat upon a troubled sea, tossed 
here and there ; but by and by the wind goes down, 
and the stanch boat is righted, and turns its bow 
towards home. 

" Kit, do not let us go to the river to-night," she says, 
turning to face her sister in the narrow path. 

"But why? It is so warm and light, and such a 
Uttle way I" 

" You have been often there. Let us turn down this 
^ide of the meadow, and see where it will lead to." 

That it, leads directly away from Coole there cannot 
be the least doubt ; and the little martyr treading the 
ground she would not, feels with an adcfitional pang of 
disappointment that the ftilfilment of her duty does not 
carry with it the thrill of rapture that ought to suffuse 
her soul. Ko, not the faintest touch of satisfaction at 
her own heroism comes to lighten the bitter regret she 
is enduring as she turns her back deliberately on the 
river and its chances. She feels only sorrow, and the 



ROSSMOFNE. 99 

9bkT that some one will think her hard-hearted, and she 
could cry a little, but for Kit and shame's sake. 

"Monica, who is that?" exclaims Kit, suddenly, 
staring over the high bank, beside which they are 
walking, into the field beyond. Following her glance, 
Monica sees a crouching figure on the other side of this 
bank, but lower down, stealing cautiously, noiselessly, 
towards them, as though bent on secret murder. A 
second glance betrays the fact that it is Terence, with 
— ^yes, most positively with a gun I 

" Where on earth did he get it ?" says Kit ; and, un- 
able to contain her curiosity any longer, she scrambles 
up the bank, and calls out, " Terry, here we are I Come 
here I Where did you get it ?'* at the top of her fresh 
young lungs. 

As she does so, a little gray object, hitherto unseen 
by her, springs from among some green stuffs, and, 
scudding across the field into the woods of Coole beyond, 
is in a moment lost 'to view. 

"Oh, bother r cries Terry, literally dancing with rage; 
" I wouldn't doubt you to make that row just when I 
was going to fire. I wish to goodness you girls would 
stay at home, and not come interfering with a fellow's 
sport. You are always turning up at the wrone mo- 
ment, and just when you're not wanted I — indeed you 
ever are /" 

These elegant and complimentary remarks he hurls 
at their heads, as though with the wish to annihilate 
them. But they haven't the faintest effect : the Misses 
Beresford are too well accustomed to his eloquence to 
be dismayed by it. They treat it, indeed, as a matter 
of course, and so continue their inquiries uncrushed. 

" Terry, where did you get this gun ?" asks Monica, 
as breathless with surprise as Kit. " Is it" — ^fearfully 
— *^ loaded? Oh I don't I — don't point it this way I It 
will surely go off and kill somebody." 

Here she misses her footing and slips off the high 
bank, disappearing entirely from view, only to reap- 
pear again presently, flushed but uninjured. 

" What a lovely gun I" says Kit, admiringly. 

" Isn't it ?" says Terence, forgetting his had temper 



Va'^G^-^^'^ 



100 R0S8M0TNE. 

in his anxiety to exhibit his treasure. " It's a bi^ech- 
loader, too ; none of your old-fashioned things, mind 
you, but a regular good one. I'll tell you who lent it to 
mo, if you'll promise not to peach." 

" We won't," says Kit, who is burning with curiosHv. 

" Guess, then." 

"Bob Warren?" says Monica. Bob Warren is the 
rector's son, and is much at Moyne. 

" Not likely I Pegs above him. Well, I'll tell you. 
It's that fellow that's spoons on you," — with all a 
brother's perspicacity, — " the fellow who saw us en the 
hay-cart," — ^Monica writhes inwardly, — ** Desmond, you 
know 1" 

" The enemy's nephew ?" asks Kit, in a thrilling tone, 
that bespeaks delight and a malicious expectation of 
breakers ahead. 

" Yes. I was talking to him yesterday, early in the 
day, at Madam O'Connor's; and he asked me was 1 
your brother, Monica, to which I pleaded guilty, 
though," with a grin, "I'd have got out of it if I could; 
and then he began to talk about shooting, and said I 
might knock over any rabbits I liked in Coole. I told 
him I had no gun, so he oflfered to lend me one. 1 
thought it was awfully jolly of him, considering I was 
an utter stranger, and that ; but he looks a real good 
sort. He sent over the gun this morning by a boy 
and I have had it hidden in the stable until now. I 
thought I'd never get out of that beastly garden thin 
evening." 

"Oh, Terence, you shouldn't have taken the gun 
from him," says Monica, flushing. "Just think what 
Aunt Priscilla would say if she heard of it. You know 
how determined she is that we shall have no intercourse 
with the Desmonds." 

" Stuff and nonsense I" says Mr. Beresford. "I never 
heard such a row as they are forever making about 
simply nothing. Why, it's quite a common thing to jilt 
a girl, nowadays. I'd do it myself in a minute." 

"You won't have time," says Kit, contemptuously. 
" She — whoever she may be — will be sure to jilt you 
first." 



ROSSMoy^E. 101 

*• liook here," says Terence, eying his younger lister 
frith much disfavor; "you're getting so precious sharp, 
you know, that I should think there'll be a conflagra- 
tion on the Liffey before long; and I should think, too, 
that an outraged nation would be sure to fling the cause 
of it into the flames. So take care." 

" Terence, you ought to send that gun back at once,** 
says Monica. 

" Perhaps I ought, but certainly I shan't," says Ter- 
ence, genially. "And if I were you," politely, "I 
wouldn't make an ass of myself. There is quite enough 
of that sort of thing going on up there," indicating, by 
a wave of his hand, the drawing-room at Moyne, where 
the Misses Blake are at present dozing. 

" You shouldn't speak of them like that," says Monica ; 
"it is very ungrateful of you, when you know how kind 
they are, and how fond of you." 

" Well, I'm fond of them, too," says Terence, remorse- 
fully, but gloomily ; " and I'd be even fonder if they 
would only leave me alone. But they keep such a look- 
out on a fellow that sometimes I feel like cutting the 
whole thing and making a clean bolt of it." 

" If you ran away you would soon be wishing your- 
self bafck again," says Monica, scornfully. " You know 
you will have no money until you are twenty-one. 
roople pretend to be discontented, at times, with their 
lives ; but in the long run they generally acknowledge 
* there is no place like home.' " 

" No, thank goodness, there isn't," says Terence, with 
moody fervor. " I'll acknowledge it at once, without 
the run. To have frequent repetitions of it would be 
more than human nature could endure. I have known 
two homes already : I should think a third would be 
my death." 

So saying, he shoulders the forbidden gun and 
marches off. 

Monica and Kit, getting down from their elevated 
position, also pursue their path, which leads in a con- 
trary direction. 

"Monica," says Kit, presently', slipping her slendei 
brown fingers through her sister's unn, " what did Terry 

»« 



lOS ROSSMOTNE. 

mean just now, when he spoke about some one bein^ 
' spoons' on you ? Does that mean being in love witk 
your 

No answer. 

" Is Mr. Desmond, then, in love with you ?" 

No answer. 

"Is her 

" Oh, Kit, how can I answer such a question as that f 

" In words, I suppose. Is he in love with you ?** 

** I don't know," says Monica, in a troubled tone. " If 
I ever had a lover before, I should know ; but " 

" That means he is," says the astute Kit. " And I'm 
sure," with a little loving squeeze of her arm, " I don't 
wonder at it." 

"You must not say that," says Monica, earnestly. 
" Indeed, he said a few things to me, but that is nothing ; 
and " 

"You think he likes you?" 

" Yes," reluctantly. 

" I believe he adores the very ground you walk on." 

" Oh, no, indeed." 

" If you say that, he isn't a real lover. A real one, 
to my mind, ought to be ready and willing to kiss the 
impressions your heels may make in the earth." 

" That would be the act of a fool ; and Mr. Desmond 
is not a fool." 

" Ergo, not a lover. And yet I think he is yours. 
Monica," coaxingly, " did he say any pretty things to 
you?" 

" What should he say ? I only met him twice.'N 

"You are prevaricating," gazing at her severely 
* Why don't you answer me honestly ?" 

" I don't know what you call * pretty things.' " 

" Yes, you do. Did he tell you your eyes were deepy 
deep wells of love, and that your face was full of 
soul?" 

" No, he did not," says Monica, somewhat indignantly; 
" certainly not. The idea I" 

" Well, that is what Percival said to the girl he loved, 
in the book I was reading yesterday," says Kit, rather 
east down. 



\ 



ROSSMOrNE. 108 

" Then I'm very glad Mr. Desmond isn't like Perci- 
val." 

" I dare say he is nicer," says Kit, artfully. Then 
Bhe tucks her arm into her sister's, and looks fondly in 
her face. " He must have said something to you," she 
says. " Darling love, why won't you tell your own 
Batten all about it?" 

A little smile quivers round Monica's lips. 

" Well, I will, then," she says. In her heart I believe 
she is glad to confide in somebody, and why not in Kit 
the sympathetic ? " First, he made me feel he was de- 
lighted to meet me again. Then he asked me to go 
for a walk alone with him ; then he said he was — my 
lover!" 

" Oh I" says Kit, screwing up her small face with 
delight. 

" And then he asked me to meet him again to-day 
with you" 

"With mel 1 think that was very delicate of him." 
She is evidently flattered by this notice of her existence. 
Plainly, if not the rose in his estimation, she is to be 
\reated with the respect due to the rose's sister. It 
is all charming! she feels wafted upwards, and incor- 
porated, as it were, in a real love-affair. Yes, she will 
ie the guardian angel bf these thwarted lovers. 

"And what did you say?" she asks, with a gravity 
that befits the occasion. 

" I refused," in a low tone. 

"To meet him?" 

"Yes." 

" With met" says this dragon of propriety. 

"Yes." 

"But why?" 

" Because of Aunt Priscilla." And then she tells her 
all about Aunt Frisoilla's speech in the carriage, and 
her reply to it. 

" I never heard such a rubbishy request in my life I' 
says the younger Miss Beresford, disdainfully. " It is 
really beneath notice. And when all is told it means 
nothing. As I read it, it seems you have only promised 
to forget you ever spoke to Mr. Desmond : you haven't 



104 R08SM0TNE, 

Jromised never to speak to him again." Thue the littla 
esuit. 

" That was not what Aunt Pri«cilla meant." 

"if she meant anything, it was folly. And, after 
aU, what is this dreadful quarrel between us and the 
Desmonds all about ? It lives in Aunt Priseilla's brain. 
I'll toll you what I think, Monica. I think Aunt Pris- 
cilla was once in love with old Mr. Desmond, and 
mother cut her out; and now, just because she has 
been disappointed in her own love-affair, she wants to 
thwart you in yours." 

" She doesn't, indeed. Any one but Mr. Desmond 
might show me attention, and she would be pleased. 
She was quite glad when Mr. Ryde — well — when he 
made himself agreeable to me." 

" From all you told me of him, he must have made 
himself ^i5-agreoable. I*m perfectly certain I should 
hate Mr. Ryde, and I*m equally sure I should like Mr. 
Desmond. What did he say to you, darling, when you 
refused to meet him even with me f " She lays great 
stress on this allusion to herself. 

" He said I might do as I chose, but that he would 
meet me again, whether I liked it or not, and soon /" 

"Now, that's the lover for mer says Kit, enthusias- 
tically. " No giving in, no shilly-shallying, but down- 
right determination. He's an honest man, and we all 
know what an honest man is, — * the noblest work of 
God.' I'm certain he will keep his word, and I do hope 
I shall be with you when next you meet him, as I 
should like to make friends with him." 

At this moment it occurs to Monica that she never 
before knew how very, very fond she is of Kit. 

" Oh, well, I don't suppose I can see him again for 
ever so long," she says. But even as the words pasa 
her lips she knows she does not mean them, and re- 
members with a little throb of pleasure that ne had 
said he would see her again soon. Soon! why, that 
might mean this evening, — now, — any moment! In- 
stinctively she lifts her head and looks around her, and 
there, just a little way off, is a young man coming 
^uicMy towards her, bareheaded and in evenin^r dress. 



ROSSMOTNE. 10ft 

•' 1 told you how it would be," savft Kit, in a nervous 
whisper, taking almost a bit out or poor Monica's arm 
in her excitement. " Oh, when / have a lover I hope 
he will be like Ae." 

Her grammar has gone after her nerve. 

Monica is silent: some color has gone from her cheeks, 
and her heart is beating faster. It is her very first 
affaire^ so we must forgive her : a little frightened 
shadow has fallen into her eyes, and altogether she 
looks a shade younger than usual : she is troubled in 
spirit, and inclined to find fault with the general man- 
agement of things. 

After all, she might as well have gone to the river 
this evening for what good her abstinence has done 
her : the poverty of our strength to conquer fate and 
the immutability of its decrees fills her with conster- 
nation and a fretful desire for freedom. Yet above and 
beyond all these vain imaginings is a gladness and a 

{)ride that her power is strong enough to draw b^r 
over to her side in spite of all diflfliculties. 

The bareheaded young man has come up to her by 
this time, and is holding out his hand : silently she lays 
her own in it, and colors treacherously as his fingers 
close on hers in a close, tender, and possessive fashion. 

" I found the river too chilly," he says, smiling, " so 
I came on here. Having been unsuccessful al) the after 
noon and morning, I knew I should find you now'' 

This might be hieroglyphics to others, but is certainly 
English to her, however she may pretend otherwise ; 
she doesn't pretend much, to do her justice. 

"This is your sister?" goes on Desmond, lookin/r at 
Kit, who is regarding him with an eye that is qui te a 
" piercer." 

" Yes," says Monica. " Kit, this is Mr. Desmond." 

" I know that," says this enfant terrible^ still fixing 
him with a glance of calm and searching scrutiny that 
is well calculated to disconcert even a bolder man. 
Then all at once her mind seems made up, and, coming 
forward, she holds out her hand, and says, " How d'ye 
do ?" to him, with a sudden, rare sweet smile that con- 
vinces him at once of her sisterhood to Monica. 



106 ROSSMOrNE. 

"We are friends?" be says, being attracted co tba 
child for her own grace alone, as well as for tbe cbarm 
of her relationship to tbe pale snow-drop of a girl be- 
side her. 

" Yes. If you prove true to my Monica." 

"Ob, Kit!" says Monica, deeply shocked; but Kit 
pays no heed, her eyes being fastened gravely upon the 
man before her. He is quite as grave as she is. 

" If our friendship depends upon that, it will be a 
lasting one," he says, quietly. "My whole life is at 
your sister's service." 

Something in his tone touches Monica : slowly she 
lifts her eyes until they reach his. 

" I wish, I toish you would not persist in this," she 
says, sadly. 

" But why ? To think of you is my chiefest joy. 
Do you forbid me to be happy?" 

«l!^o--but " 

" In the morning and the afternoon I went to the 
river, to look for you — in vain ; after dinner I went too, 
still hoping against hope ; and now at last that I have 
found you, you are unkind to me I" He speaks lightly, 
but his eyes are earnest. " Miss Katherine," he says 
appealingly to Kit, " of your grace, I pray you to be- 
friend me." 

" Monica would not go to the river this evening be- 
cause she remembered an absurd promise she made to 
Aunt Priscilla, and because she feared to meet you 
there. It is the most absurd promise in the world: 
wait till you hear it." Whereupon Kit, who is in her 
element, proceeds to tell him all about Miss Priscilla's 
words to Monica, and Monica's answer, and her (Kit's) 
interpretation thereof. " She certainly didn't promise 
never to speak to you again," concludes she, with a nod 
Solomon might have envied. 

Need it be said tha» Mr. Desmond agrees with her 
on all points ? 

" There is no use in continuing the discussion," says 
Monica, turning aside a little coldly. "I should not 
have gone to the river, anyway.^' 

This chilling remark produces a blank indescribablet 



ROSSMCTNE. 107 

ftcd conversation languishes: Monica betrays an in- 
terest in the horizon never before developed ; Mr. Des- 
mond regards with a moody glance the ripening har- 
vest; and Kit, looking inward, surveys her mental 
"tesonrces and wonders what it is her duty to do next. 

" For aught that eyer I could read, 
Could eyer hear hj tale or history. 
The course of true loye neyer did run smooth." 

This much she knows ; and to any one blessed with 
a vision sharp as hers it is very apparent now that there 
Ib a roughness somewhere. She knows too, through 
many works of fiction, that those in attendance on lov- 
ing couples should at certain seasons see cause to ab- 
sent themselves from their duty, and search for a sup- 
posititious handkerchief, or sprain an unoffending ankle, 
or hunt diligently in hedge-rows for undiscpverable 
flowers. Three paths therefore lie open to her ; which 
to adopt is the question. To return to the house for a 
handkerchief would be a decidedly risky affair, calcu- 
lated to lead up to stiff and damning cross-examination 
from the aunts, which might prove painful ; to sprain 
an ankle might prove even painfuUer ; but to dive into 
the innocent hedge-row for the extraction of summer 
flowers, what can be more effectual and reasonable ? 
she will do it at once. 

" Oh, what lovely dog-roses I" she says, effusively, in 
a tone that wouldn't have deceived a baby ; " I really 
must get some." 

"Let me get them for you," says Desmond, gloomily, 
which she at once decides is excessively stupid of him, 
and she doing all she can for him too ! She tries to 
wither him with a glance, but he is too miserable to 
be lightly crushed. 

"iNo, thank you," she says; "I prefer getting them 
myself. Flowers are like fruit, much more enjoyable 
when you pick them with your own hands." 

So saying, this accomplished gooseberry skips round 
the comer, leaving Monica and Mr. Desmond tite-d-tete. 

That they enjoy their sudden isolation just at first 
ii questionable : Monica discovers blots on the perfect 



108 ROSSMOYNE. 

horizon ; and Mr. Desmond, after a full minute's pftuse, 
gays, reproachfully, — 

" You didn't really mean that, did you ?" 

"Mean what?" uncompromisingly, and without 
changing position. 

" That even if matters had been quite — quite com- 
fortable with us, you would not have gone lo moot me 
at the river?" 

" I don*t know," in a low tone. 

" Say you didn't mean it." 

" I — suppose I didn't," even lower. 

" Look at me, then," says Mr. Desmond. 

Kit, in her high, sweet voice, is warbling that little, 
pretty thing about a " lover and his lass," in the next 
field. The words of her song, and its silly refrain of 

'' A hej, and a ho, and a hej nonino/' 

come to them across the corn and the scented meado'^* 
Monica, with her hand in his, smiles faintly. ^ 

" You hear what she sings, — * that life is but a flow©^'* 
is it wise, then, to set your heart upon " 

"You?" 

" I meant, an impossibility." 

"Which you are not. You shall not be. I do^^.^l 
believe in impossibilities, to begin with ; and, even ^ 
it were so, 1 should still prefer to be unwise." 

" You are defiant," she says, lightly ; but her smile ^^ 
still very sad. 

" I have hope. * Affection's ground is beyond tim^ ^' 
place, and all mortality,* as we read. I shall conqu^^^ 
yet; yes, even your prejudices. In the mean tim^ 
give me fail play; do not harden your heart again^* 
me." 

" I wish mine was the oply hard heart you had t>^^ 
contend against," returns she, with a faint sigh. Bii-^ 
this remark seems to drop so carelessly from her lip^ 
that, though elated by it, he is afraid to take any ope^^ 
notice of it. 

" I hope your aunts were not cross to you last evett-*^ 
ing on my account ?" he says, anxiously. 

" 'So, Nothing was said, more than Kit told jam^m 



ROSSMOTNE, 109 

except that Aunt Priscilla touched upon the point of 
introduction. Oh, what a fright I got then ! If she 
had persisted in her inquiries, what would have become 
of me ?" 

" Couldn't you have " begins Mr. Desmond, and 

then stops abruptly. A glance at the face uplifted to 
his checks his half-uttered speech effectually, and ren- 
ders him, besides, thoroughly ashamed of himself. 

^' If I had had to confess there had been no introduc- 
tion," goes on Monica, laughingly, " I don't know what 
-would have been the result." 

" The deluge, I suppose," returns her companion, 
thoughtfully. 

" What a pity you have an uncle at all I" says Monica, 
presently. " It would be all right only for him." She 
omits to say what would be all right, but the transla- 
tion is simple. 

" Oh, don't say that," entreats Desmond, who has 
St wholesome affection for the old gentleman above at 
Coole. " He is the kindest old fellow in the world. I 
think, if you knew him, you would be very fond of 
him ; and I know he would adore you. In fact, he is so 
kind-hearted that I cannot think how all that unfortu- 
nate story about your mother ever came about. Hs 
jooks to me as if he couldn^t say * Bo to a goose' where 
a woman was concerned, and yet his manner to-night 
confirmed everything I beard." 

" He confessed ?" in a deeply interested tone. 

" Well. jiiSt the same thing. He seemed distressed 
shout his own conduct in the affair, too. But his manner 
^vas odd, I thought ; and he seems as much at daggers 
drawn with your aunts as they with him." 

^' That is because he i^ ashamed of himself. One is 
ulways hardest on those one has injured." 

" But that is just it," says Mr. Desmond, in a puzzled 
tx>ne. " I don't believe, honestly, he is a bit ashamed 
of himself. He said a good deal about his regret, but 1 
oould see he quite gloried in bis crime. And, in fact, 
X couldn't discover the smallest trace of remorse about 
laim." 

" He must really be a very bad old man," says Mon- 
10 



110 ROSSMOYNE. 

ica, severely. " I'm perfectly certain if he it ^re »qf 
uncle I should not love him at all." 

" Don't say that. When he is your uLcle you will see 
that I am right, and that ho is a very lovable old man, 
in spite of all his faults." 

At this Monica blushes a little, and twirls her rings 
round her slender fingers in an excess of shyness, and 
finally, in spite of a stem pressure laid upon herself 
gives way to mirth. 

" What are you laughing at now ?" asks he, laughing 
too. 

" At you," casting a swift but charming glance at 
him from under her long lashes. " You do say such 
funny things I" 

** Did you hear there is to be an afternoon dance at 
the Barracks next week ?" asks he, presently. " I was 
at Clonbree on Thursday, and Cobbett told me about 
it." 

"Who is Cobbett?" 

" The captain there, you know. He was at Aghyo- 
hillbeg yesterday. Didn't you see him, — a little, half- 
starved-looking man, with a skin the color of his hair, 
and both gray ?" 

" Oh, of course — now I remember him," says Monica, 
this fetching description having cleared her memory. 
" I thought to myself how odd he and the other man, 
Mr. Eyde, looked together, one as big as the other was 
little." 

" I think there is more matter than^ brains about 
Eyde," says Desmond, contemptuously. "Do you 
think your aunt will let you go to this dance at Clon- 
bree?" 

" Oh, no ; I am sure not. My aunts would be certain 
t() look upon a dance in the Barracks as something too 
•wfully dissipated." 

" For one reason I should be glad you didn't go." 

" Glad ?" opening her eyes. 

" Yes. That fellow Eyde never took his eyes off von 
yesterday." 

" Is that a crime ?" 

" In my eyes, yes^ 



ROSSMOYNE. HI 

"And you would wish me to be kept a prisoner at 
lome, just because one man looked at me ?" 

"I don*t want any one to look at you but me*" 
l^hen he comes a little closer to her and compels her, 
►y the very strength of his regard, to let her eyes meet 
lis. " Do you like Kyde ?" he asks, somewhat impe- 
iously. " Monica; answer me." 

It is the second time he has called her by her Chris- 
ian name, and a startled expression passes over her 
Ekce. 

"Well, he was very nice to me," she says, with a 
tudied hesitation that belongs to the first bit of co- 
uetry she has ever practised in her life. She has 
asted the sweetness of power, and, fresh as her knowl- 
dge is, she estimates the advantage of it to a nicety. 

" I believe a man has only to be six-feet-one to have 
very woman in the world in love with him," says Des- 
lond, wrathfuUy, who is only five-feet-oleven. 

" I am not exactly in love with Mr. Eyde," says Mon- 
3a, sweetly, with averted face and a coy air, assumed 
>r her companion's discomfiture ; " but " 

"ButM?Aa^r 

" But, I was going to say, there is nothing remark- 
ble in that, as I am not in love with any one^ and hope 

never shall be. T wonder where Kit can have gone 
3: will you get up there, Mr. Desmond, and look?" 
breaking off a tiny blade of grass from the bank near 
er, she puts it between her pretty teeth, and slowly 
ibbles it with an air of utter indifference to all the 
rorld that drives Mr. Desmond nearly out of his wits. 

Disdaining to take any heed of her " notice to quit," 
nd quite determined to know the worst, he says, de- 
antly,— 

" If you do go to this dance, may I consider myself 
Qgaged to you for the first waltz ?" There is quite a 
*own upon his face as he says this ; but it hasn't the 
kintest effect upon Monica. She is not at all impressed, 
nd is, in fact, enjoying herself immensely. 

" If I go, which is more than improbable, I shall cer- 
ainly not dance with you at all," she saiys, calmly, 
because Aunt Priscilla will re there too, and she 



112 R08SM0TNB. 

would not hear of my doing oven a mild quadrille nT^^ 
a DeBmond." 

" I see," with a melancholy assumption of composi:^^* 
" All your dances, then, are to be reserved for Ryde ^ ^ 

" If Mr. Ryde asks me to dance, of course I shall ^^ot 
refuse." 

" You mean to tell me" — even the poor assumptS^ ^^ 
is now gone — " that you are going to give him all ifc^^ 
me none f " 

" I shall not give any one all: how can you talk lH i« 
that? But I cannot defy Aunt Priscilla. It is v^^*y 
unkind of you to desire it. I suppose you thinkz I 
should enjoy being tormented from morning till ni^lt 
all about you ?" 

" Certainly not. I don't want you to be tormentr^d 
on any account, and, above all, on mine," very stifli^^. 
" To prevent anything of the kind, I shall not go *o 
Cobbett's dance." 

" If you choose to get into a bad temper I can't helj) 
you." 

" I am not in a bad temper, and even if I were I har^ 
cause. But it is not temper will prevent my going to 
the Barracks." 

"What then?" 

"Why should I go there to be made miserable? Yom 
can go and dance with Ryde to your heart's content, 
but I shall spare myself the pain of seeing you. Did 
you say you wanted your sister? Shall I call her now? 
I am sure you must want to go home." 

" I don't," she says, unexpectedly ; and then a little 
smile of conscious triumph wreathes her lips as she' 
looks at him, standing moody and dejected before ber. 
A word from her will transform him; and now, the day 
being all her own, she can afford to be generous. Even 
the very best of women can be cruel to their lovers. 

" I don't," she says, " not yet. There is something 1 
want to ask you first." She pauses in a tantalizing 
fashion, and glances from tbe grass she is still holding 
to him, and from him back to the grass again, before 
she speaks. " It is a question," she says tl en, as though 
reluctantly, "but you look so angry with me that I am 



R08SM0YNE. 113 

afraid to ask it." This is the rankest hypocrisy, as he 
is as wax in her hands at this moment ; but, though he 
knows it, he gives in to the sweetness of her manner, 
and lets his face clear. 

" Ask me anything you like,** he says, turning upon 
her now a countenance " more in sorrow than in anger." 

" It isn't much," says Miss Beresford, sweetly, " only 
— ^what is your Christian name ? I have been so longing 
to know. It is very unpleasant to be obliged io think 
of people by their surnames, is it not? so unfriendly I" 

He is quite staggered by the excess of her geniality. 

"My name is Srian," he says, devoutly hoping she 
will not think it hideous and so see cause to pass judg- 
ment upon it. 

*' Brian I" going nearer to him with half shy eyes, and 
a little riante mouth that with difficulty suppresses its 
laughter. " How pretty I Brian," purposely lingering 
over it, " with jmq * i' of course ?** 

"Yes." 

" I*m so glad I know yours now!" says this disgrace- 
ful little coquette, with a sigh of pretended relief " You 
knew mine, and that wasn't fair, you know. Besides," 
— with a rapid glance that might have melted an an- 
chorite and delivered him from the error of his ways 
— " besides, I may want to call you by it some day, and 
then I should be at a loss." 

Though by no means proof against so much friend- 
liness, Mr. !Uesmond still continues to maintain an 
injured demeanor. Monica lays one little hand lightly 
on his arm. 

" Won't you ask me to call you by it?" she says, with 
the prettiest reproach. 

"Oh, Monica," says the young man, seizing her hand 
and pressing it against his heart, "you know your 
power; be merciful. Darling," drawing her still nearer 
to him, " I don't think you quite understand how it is 
with me; but, indeed, I love you with all my heart and 
soul." 

" But in such a little time I How can it be true ?" 
8ays Monica, all her gayety turning into serious won 
derment. 



114 ROSSMOTNEL 

" * Love is a thing as any spirit free/ " quotes he^ 
tenderly. " How shall one know when the god may 
come ? It has nothing to do with time. I have seen 
you, — it little matters how often, — and now I love you. 
Dear heart, try to love me." 

There is something in his manner both gentle and 
earnest. Impressed by it, she whispers, softfy, — 

"Itintttry." 

"And you will call me Brian?" 

" Oh, no I — no, indeed I — not yet," entreats she, step- 
pin^ack from him as far as he will allow her. 

" very well, not yet." 

" And you will go to the Barracks for this dance ?" 

"I will do anything on earth you ask me. You 
know that too well, I fear, for my peace of mind." 

" And you won*t be angry with me if I don't dance 
with you there?" 

"ifo. I promise that, too. Ah I here is Miss Kit 
coming, — and without the roses, — after ail." 

It is true she has no roses ; she has, indeed, forgotten 
she even pretended to want them, and has been happy 
while away with her song and her own thoughts. 

" I think, Monica, we ought, perhaps, to be thinking 
of coming home," she says, apologetically, yet with 
quite a motherly air. Has she not been mounting 
guard over and humoring these two giddy young peo- 
ple before her ? 

" Yes, I think so too ;" and the goodness of Kit, and 
something else, strike her. 

" If we are asked to this dance at Clonbree, and if we 
go, I should like Kit to go too," she says in a soft 
aside to Desmond, who says, "That is all right: I 
settled it with Cobbett, yesterday," in the same tone \ 
and then a little more energetically, as he sees the 
moments flying, he goes on, " Before you go, say one 
thing after me. It will be a small consolation until I 
see you again. Say, * Brian, good-by.* "^ 

" Good- by, Brian," she whispers, shyly, and then she 
draws her hand out of his, and, turning to the studi- 
ously inattentive Kit, passes her arm through hers. 

" Good-by, Mr. Desmond I I trust we may soon meet 



ROSSMOTNE. 115 

agaii^" says the younger Miss Beresiord, with rather 
a grand air, smiling upon him patronizingly. 

" I hope so too," says J/esmond, gravely, " and that 
next time you will graciously accord me a little more 
of vour society." 

Quite pleased with this delicate protest against her 
lengthened absence, Kit bows politely, and she and 
fiionica take their homeward way. 

Once Monica turns, to wave him a little friendly 
adieu, and he can see again her soft, bare arms, her 
pretty baby-neck in her white dinner-gown, and her 
lovely, earnest eyes. Then she is gone, and her passing 
seems to him "like the ceasing of exquisite music," 
and nothing is left to him but the wailing of the rising 
night-wind, and the memory of a perfect girl-face that 
he knows will haunt him till he dies. 



CHAPTER IX. 



How Terry is put in the Dock — And how the two Misses Blake haffle ex- 
pectation, and show themseWes in their true colors. 

Monica and Kit reach the house in breathless haste. 
It is far later than they imagined when lingering in 
happy dalliance in the flower-crowned field below, and 
yet not really late for a sultry summer evening. But 
the Misses Blake are fearful of colds, and expect all the 
household to be in at stated hours; and the Misses 
Beresford are fearful of scoldings, carrying, as they do, 
guilty hearts within their bosoms. 

" Conscience makes cowards of us all ;" and the late 
secret interview with Brian Desmond has lowered the 
tone of their courage to such an extent that they 
Bcarcely dare to breathe as they creep into their aunts' 
presence. 

The lamps are lighting in the drawing-room as they 
enter, though the windows are open, and Dies pater, 
the all-great, is still victorious over Nox. The Misses 



lie ROSSMOFNE. 

Blake both start and look up as they come in, and shon 
general svmptoms of relief which is not reciprocated 
by the culprits. Mrs. Mitchell, the nurse, who has fol- 
lowed almost on their heels, stands in the door-way, 
with bayonets fixed, so to speak, seeing there is every 
chance of an engagement. It may be as well to remark 
here that Mitchell has not "got on" with the Misses 
Blake, having rooted opinions of her own not to be 
lightly laid aside. The Misses Blake's opinions have 
also e home in very deep soil, so that the " give-and- 
take" principle is not in force between them and the 
foreign nurse, as they term Jane Mitchell, though she 
was bred and born on Devonshire soil. 

" Mitchell," say the Misses Blake in confidence to 
each other, " is not altogether what one would desire 
in a servant assigned to the care of children. She is 
not nice in many ways ; there is far too much of the 
fine lady about her," etc. 

" H'elderly ladies as 'asn*t bin to the h*altar," says 
Mrs. Mitchell in confidence to cook, " can't be supposed 
to kpow what is right and proper for motherless lambs." 
And so the war rages. 

Just now Mrs. Mitchell is plainly on the defensive 
and eyes her baby — as she still calls Kit (having nursed 
her) — with all the air of one prepared to rush in and 
rescue her by bodily force, should the worst come to 
the worst. 

" My dear Monica, what a late hour to be abroad I" 
says Miss Priscilla, reproachfully. " The dew falling, 
too, which is most unwholesome. For you. Kit, a mere 
child, it is really destruction. Nurse, as you are there" 
regarding the bony Mitchell with distrust and disfavor, 
" I think it as well to let you know I do not think this 
is a proper time for Miss Katherine to be in the open 
air. It is far too late." 

" It isn't late, miss. It is only nine o'clock." 

" Nine o'clock I What is the woman thinking about 7 
Nine I why, that means night !" 

" Not at this time of the year, miss." 

" At any time of year. With all the experience yoc 
$ay you have had, I wonder you do not consider it a 



HOSSMOYNE. 117 

most mjuriouB hour for a child of Miss Katherine's age 
to be out of doors." 

" I don't hold with making a child puny, miss. Cod- 
dling up, and that sort, only leads to consumptions and 
assmas, in my hjumhle opingion.'* 

" I must request that for the future you will show 
deference to our opinion, nurse: which is directly op- 
posed to yours," says Miss Priscilla, straightening her- 
self. 

" I suppose I can manage my own young lady, miss," 
says Mitchell, undaunted, and now, indeed, thoroughly 
braced for conflict. 

'^ I have grave doubts about that, Mitchell, and at 
least you should not answer me in this wise." 

"If I brought my young lady safely all the way 
from Jerusalem, miss, I suppose I can take care of her 
'ore." 

" Her ear ?" questions Miss Priscilla, not meaning to 
be rude at all. 

"She means Aere," says Miss Penelope, in a stage 
whisper. 

" Oh I" says Miss Priscilla, rather shocked at her mis 
take, which has been accepted by Mitchell as a delib- 
erate insult. "Katherine, go up-stairs with Mitchell, 
and change your shoes and stockings: they must be 
damp." 

" 1 don't consider Mitchell at all a nice person," says 
Miss Priscilla, when the door has closed upon that vet- 
eran ; " but still I hope I did not offend her with that 
last thoughtless slip of mine. But really, over here in 
Ireland, we are not accustomed to the extraordinary 
language in which Mitchell indulges at times. She 
seems to me to be saving up her aspirates for a hypo- 
thetical dearth of that article in the future." 

Miss Priscilla is so pleased with this long word that 
•he quite recovers her temper. 

" Certainly, from Jerusalem is a long way to bring a 
child," says Miss Penelope, thoughtfully ; and, indeed, 
this journey from Palestine has been, and probably 
always will be, Mrs. Mitchell's trump card when dis- 
puting with the mistresses of Moyne. 



118 ROSSMOFNE, 

Miss Priscilla has walked to the window, and is now 
gazing in thoughtful fashion over the fast-darkening 
utndseape. Perhaps her mind is travelling that long 
journey to Palestine, perhaps it is still occupied with 
the inimical Mitchell : he that as it may, she keeps her 
senses well about her, and a keen eye behind her speo- 
tacles, because presently she says aloud, in a tono cal- 
culated to attract attention, — 

" What is that in the meadow, creeping along beneath 
the ha-ha, Katherine?" — ^Kit has returned with dry 
shoes and stockings: — "come here, your eyes are 
sharper than mine !" which is a distinct libel upon her 
own orbs. 

" Where ?" says Kit, recognizing the crouching form 
of Terry with a pang of terror. Is she to be compelled 
to inform upon her own brother ? Perish the thought I 

" Over there" says Miss Priscilla, in an awful tone, 

Eointing to where the luckless Terence is crawling 
ome in the fond belief that he is defying all detec- 
tion; whereupon Kit, with much presence of mind, 
looks scrutinizingly in just the opposite direction. "It 
is somebody carrying a gun. Good gracious 1 it is re- 
markably like Terence!" 

At this Monica starts perceptibly, and lets the book 
she is holding fall heavily to the ground. 

"Perhaps it is a poacher," says Kit, brightly, her 
general reading being deeply imbued with those char- 
acters. 

" Perhaps," says Miss Priscilla, grimly. " Yet I feel 
sure it is your brother!" Then she throws wide the 
sash, and calls aloud to the culprit, — 

" Terence ! Terence, come here !" 

At this, Mr. Beresford loses his presence of mind, 
and stands bolt upright, gun in hand : the words have 
come to him distinctly across the soft green grass, and 
fallen upon his ears with dismal distinctness. Throw- 
ing up the sponge, he shoulders the offending weapon 
and marches upon the foe with head erect and banners 
flying. Even if death is before him (meaning the con- 
fiscation of the gun), he vows to himself he will still 
die game. 



EOSSMOFNL. 119 

"Eeally, it is Terence," says Miss Penelope, as he 
approaches ; '^ hut where can he have got the gun ?" 

"J knawf" says Miss Priscilla, whereupon Monica 
feels positively faint. 

Feeling she is growing very pale, she rises hurriedly 
from her seat, and, going to the lower window, so stan(U 
that her face cannot he seen. 

If Terence is cross-examined, will he tell a lie ahout 
the ohtaining of the gun ? And if he does not, what 
will happen ? what dreadiul things will not be said and 
done by Aunt Priscilla? Her breath comes quickly, 
and with horror she finds herself devoutly hoping that 
Terence on this occasion will tell a lie. 

By this time Terence has mounted the balcony, and 
IB standing in a somewhat defiant attitude before his 
inquisitors. 

" Where have you been, Terence ?" begins Miss Pris- 
cilla. 

"Shooting, aunt." 

" And where did you get the gun, Terence ?" 

Silence. 

" You certainly had no gun yesterday, and none this 
morning, as far as I can judge. Kow, we want the 
truth from you, Terence, but we do not wish to coerce 
you. Take time, and give us an answer your heart can 
approve." 

Such an answer is evidently difficult to be procured 
at a moment's notice, because Terence is still dumb. 

"I am afraid your nature is not wholly free from 
deceit, Terence," says Miss Priscilla, sadly. " This hesi- 
tation on your part speaks volumes ; and such unneces- 
sary deceit, too. Neither vour aunt Penelope nor I 
have any objection to your borrowing a gun if you find 
such a dangerous weapon needed to your happiness. 
But why not confide in us?" 

" Is it possible she would not be really angry if she 
knew?" thinks Monica, breathlessly. I regret to say 
that both Kit and Terence take another view of Miss 
Blake's speech, and believe it an artful dodge to extract 
confession. 

" I — " says Terence, to gain time, and because speech 



120 ROSSMOrNK 

of some kind at this moment is absolutely necessaTy- • 
« I didn't think- " 

" Of course you didn't think, Terence, or you would 
not have recorded your poor aunts, in jour secret 
thoughts, as hard-hearted and ungenerous. If you "had 
told us openly that Mitson, the coastguard, had lent 
you a gun (as I strongly suspect, and indeed felt sure 
from the first moment was the case), we should not 
have been at all angry, only naturally anxious that you 
should use an instrument of death with caution. !Bnt 
you have no confidence in us, Terence." 

Intense relief fills the breasts of the three Beresfords. 
Kemorse that the trusting nature of the old ladies 
should be so abused touches Monica keenly, but of the 
other two I must again declare with grief that they 
feel nothing but a sense of delivery from peril, and no 
contrition at all for their past suspicions. 

"I thought you might be angry, aunt," says Terence. 
He is looking very dirty indeed, and his hands are 
grimy, and altogether even Monica cannot bring her- 
self to feel proud of him. There is, too, a covert desire 
for laughter about him that exasperates her terribly. 

"Not angry, my dear; only nervous. I hope you 
know how to load, and that. I remember a cousin of 
ours blowing off his first finger and thumb with a 
powder-horn." 

" This is a breech-loader, auntie," says Monica, softly. 

" Eh ? One of those new-fangled things I have read 
of Oh, well, my dear boy, I dare say there is more 
need for circumspection, iet me look at it. Ah I very 
handsome indeed I I had no idea coast-guards were so 
well supplied; and yet I cling to the old guns that 
your grandfather used to use." 

"Did you shoot anything?" asks Miss Penelope, 
who has grown quite interested and regards Terence 
with a glance of pride. 

" Only one thrush," says Terence, drawing the dilap- 
idated corpse from his pocket, " and a sparrow, and one 
rabbit I fired at and wounded mortally I know, bu* It 
got away into its hole and I lost it." 

"EabbitsI" says Miss PrisciUa. "Am I to under 



^OSSMOFNE. 121 

stand — ^nay, I hope I am not to understand — that you 
crossed the stile mto Coole ?" 

" There are plenty of rabbits in our own wood," says 
Terence ; " more than I could shoot. I am glad you 
don't object to my having the gun, auntie." 

" I don't, my dear ; but I wish you had been more 
ingenuous with us. Why now, Terence, why do you 
steal along a field with your back bent as though de- 
sirous of avoiding our observation, and with your gun 
under your coat, as if there was a policeman or a bailiff 
after you?" 

" I was only trying to steal upon a crow, aunt." 

"Well, that may be, my dear, out there are ways of 
doing things. And why put your gun under your coat ? 
I can't think such a n-auduient proceeding necessary 
even with a crow. Now look here, Terence," illus 
trating his walk and surreptitious manner of conceal- 
ing his gun beneath his coat, " does this look nice ?" 

" If I do it like you, auntie, it looks very nice," says 
Terence, innocently, but with a malevolent intention. 

" What a pity you missed the rabbit, Terry 1" says 
Monica, hurriedly. 

" Oh, he is dead now, I'm certain ; but I should have 
liked to bring him home. His leg was broken, and I 
chased him right through the rushes down below into 
the furze brake at Coole." 

Sensation ! 

It is too late to redeem his error. " Murder wol out, 
that see we day by day," says Chaucer, and now, in- 
deed, all the fat is in the fire. The two old ladies draw 
back from him and turn mute eyes of grief upon each 
other, while Kit and Monica stare with heavy reproach 
upon their guilty brother. 

The guilt^ brother returns their glance with interest, 
and then Miss Priscilla speaks. 

" So you went into Coole, after all," she says. " Oh, 
Terence !" 

" I couldn't help it," says Terence, wrathfully. " I 
^wasn't going to let the rabbit go for the sake of a mere 
whim." 

'* A mere whim /" Words fail me to convey Miss Pris- 
r 11 



122 R0S8M0YNE. 

cilia's indignation. " Are you destitute of heart, boy, 
that you talk thus lightly of a family insult? Oh I 
shame, shame !'' 

" I'm very sorry if I have made you unhappy," says 
Terence, who is really a very good boy end fond. " I 
didn't mean it, indeed'' 

But Miss Priscilla appears quite broken-hearted. 

" To dream of bringing a rabbit of Coole into this 
house !" she says, with quite a catch in her voice that 
brings Miss Penelope into prominent play. 

" If, when you came to the stile that leads into 
Moyne," she says, " you had said to yourself, * My good 
aunt who loves me so dearly would not wish me to 
enter this forbidden land,' you would, I hope, have 
paused, and come back here. But^ you did not. You 
went recklessly on, and trod upon ground where your 
foot is unwelcome'' 

"Dear Aunt Penelope, do not talk like that," says 
Monica, entreatingly, slipping her arm round her. 

" And this to his poor old aunts who love him so 
fondly !" says Miss Penelope, in so dismal a voice that 
the two Misses Blake break into sobs. 

" It wouldn't seem so bad if he hadn't equivocated 
about it," says Miss Priscilla, presently. "But he pur- 
posely led us to believe that he had not set his foot on 
that detested land." 

"He has indeed been much to blame," says Miss 
Penelope. " Terence, what was it it said about lying 
in the Bible this morning ? I am afraid your chapter 
to-day — ^that awful chapter about Ananias and Sapphira 
—did you little good." 

A growl from Terence. 

"He will be more careful for the ftiture, auntie," says 
Monica, interpreting the growl after her own gentle 
fashion. " And now you will forgive him, won't you ? 
After all, any one, even you, might forget about for- 
bidden lands, if you were racing after a rabbit." 

The idea of the Misses Blake racing through rushes 
and gorse after a rabbit strikes Kit as so comical that 
she forgets everything, and laughs aloud. And then 
the Misses Blake, who are not altogether without • 



ROSSMOFNE. 123 

sense of fun, catching << the humor of it," laugh loo, and, 
drying their eyes, give Terence to understand that he 
is forgiven. 

Just at this moment the door is opened, and Timothy 
enters, bearing not only an air of mystery T^ith him, 
but a large envelope. 

"Why, what is this at this time of night?" says Miss 
Priscilla, who is plainly under the impression that, once 
the lamps are lighted, it is verging on midnight. She 
takes the envelope from Timothy, and gazes at the 
huge regimental crest upon it with a judicial expression. 

"A sojer brought it, miss. Yes, indeed, ma'am. 
A-hossback he come all the way from the Barricks at 
Clonbree." 

Redcoats at Bossmoyne are a novelty, and are re- 
garded by the peasantry with mixed feelings of admira- 
tion and contempt. I think the contempt is stronger 
with Timothy than the admiration. 

"From the Barracks?" says Miss Priscilla, slowly, 
taming and twisting the letter between her fingers, 
while Monica's heart beats rapidly. It is, it must be 
the invitation ; and what will be the result of it ? 

" Yes, indeed, miss. I asked him what brought him 
at this hour, ma'am; but he took me mighty short wid 
his answer, so I give up me questions." 

Never having been alble during fifty years to make 
up his mind whether his mistresses should be addressed 
as maidens or matrons, Timothy has compromised mat- 
ters by putting a "miss" and a "ma'am" into every 
sentence he dedicates to them. 

" Ah, an invitation from Captain Cobbett for Friday 
next — um — um — ^four to seven — um — um. All of us 
invited, even Kit," says Miss Priscilla, in a decidedly 
lively tone. 
' "Me! am 7 asked?" cries Kit, excitedly. 

"Yes, indeed, you are specially mentioned. Very 
nice and attentive, I must say, of those young men, 
particularly when we have not shown them any kind- 
ness 05 yet, I thought that Mr. Eyde a very superior 
young fellow, with none of the discourteous antipathy 
to age that disfigures the manners of the youth of the 



124 ROSSMOYNE. 

present day. Penelope, my dear, perhaps you had ^ 
oetter indite the answer to this. Yours is the pen of a 
ready writer." 

" V ery well,",says Miss Penelope, rising slowly — OKI 
80 slowly! thinks Monica — and going towards the 
davenport. 

" Is the soldier outside, Timothy ?" asks Miss Pri* 
cilia. 

" Yes, miss. He said he wanted a bit of writing from 
ye for the captain." 

" It is a long ride. Take him down-stairs, Timothy, 
and give him some beer, while Miss Penelope prepares 
a reply." 

" ^^ggi^^g your pardon, miss, and with due respects 
to ye, ma'am, but he's that stiff in his manners, an' 
tight in his clothes, I doubt if he'd condescend to 
enther the kitchen." 

"Timothy," says Miss Priscilla, with much dis- 
pleasure, " you have been having hot words with this 
stranger. What is it all about?" 

" There's times, miss, as we all knows, when a worm 
will turn ; and though I'm not a worm, ma'am, no more 
am I a coward, an' a red coat don't cover more flesh 
than a black ; an' I'm an ould man, Miss Priscilla, to 
be called a buffer!" 

It is apparent to every one that Timothy is nearly in 
tears. 

"A buffer?" repeats Miss Priscilla, with dignity 
blended with disgust : she treats the word cautiously 
as one might something noxious. " What is a buffer ?'' 

Nobody enlightens her: though perhaps Terence 
might, were he not busily engaged trying to suppress 
his laughter behind a huge Japanese fan. 

"Perhaps, Timothy," says Miss Priscilla, gravely, 
" as we all seem in ignorance about the real meaning 
of this extraordinary word, you are wrong in condemn- 
ing it as an insult. It may be — er — a term of endear- 
ment" 

At this Terence chokes, then coughs solemnly, and 
finally, lowering the fan, shows himself preternaturallf 
grave, as a set-off against all suspicions. 



R08SM0FNE. 126 

'* I wouldn't pin me faith to that, miss, if I ?v4a you,'* 
<4ays Eyan, respectfully, but with a touch of the fine 
urony which is ored and born with his class in Ireland. 

" Well, but as we cannot explain this word, Timothy, 
and vou cannot, perhaps the best thing for you to do 
will be to go to the originator of it and ask him what 
he meant by it," says Miss Penelope, with quite aston- 
ishing perspicacity for Jier. 

" Shure I did that same, miss. *Twas the first thing 
I said to him, ma'am. * What do ye mane, ye spalpeen, 
ye thief o' the world,* says I, * by miscalling a dacent 
man out of his name like that ?' says I. I gave him all 
that, miss, an' a dale more, though I've forgotten it be 
now, for the Eyans was always famous for the gift o' 
the gab I" 

" If you said all that to the poor marine, I think you 

five him considerably more than you got," says Miss 
enelope, " and so you may cry peace. Go down now, 
Timothy, and make it up with him over your beer." 

Timothy, though still grumbling in an under-tone 
death and destruction upon the bated Sassenach, re- 
tires duteously, closing the door behind him. 

" Now, Penelope, says Miss Priscilla, with an air of 
relief, glancing at the pens and ink, at which Monica's 
heart fails her. She has no doubt whatever about the 
answer being a refusal, but a sad feeling that she dare 
make no protest renders her doubly sorrowful. 

" Dear me I" says Miss Penelope, leaning back in her 
chair with pen well poised between her lingers, and a 
general air of pleased recollection full upon her, " it 
sounds quite like old times — doesn't it? — to be invited 
to the Barracks at Clonbree." 

" Quite," says Miss Priscilla, with an amused smile. 

" You remember when the Whiteboys were so trouble 
some, in our dear father's time, what life the oflficers 
stationed here then, threw into the country round. Such 
routs! such dances I such kettle-drums I You can still 
recollect Mr. Browne — can you not, Priscilla? — that 
fashionable young man I" 

" You have the best right to remember him," returns 
iiiss Priscilla, in a meaning tone. " It would be too 

11* 



126 ROSSMOFNE. 

ungrateful of you if you did not, considering what i 
life you led him." 

And at this the two old ladies break into hearty Iftugb 
ter and shake their heads reproachfully at each other. 

" You know you broke his heart," says Miss PriBcillft. 

" Tell us about it, auntie," says Kit, eagerly, who is 
always sympathetic where romance is concerned; but 
the old ladies only laugh the more at this, and Aunt 
Priscilla tells her how her aunt Penelope was a V617 
naughty girl in her time, and created havoc in the af- 
fections of all the young men that came within hor 
reach. 

All this delights Aunt Penelope, who laughs con- 
sumed ly and makes feeble protest with her hands 
against this testimony. 

" Poor fellow !" she says, sobering down presently, 
and looking quite remorseful. ^^ It is unkind to laugh 
when his name is mentioned. He was killed in the 
Indian Mutiny, long afterwards, in a most gallant 
charge." 

"Yes, indeed," says Miss Priscilla. "Well, well, 
things iDiU happen. Go on with the answer now, Penel- 
ope, as the man is waiting and it is wofuUy late." 

Monica trembles. But Kit starts into life. 

" Oh, don't refuse. Aunt Priscilla I" she cries, darting 
from her seat and throwing her arms round Miss 
Blake's neck. " Don% now I t do so want to go, when 
I have got my invitation, and all." 

"But " begins Miss Priscilla; whereupon Kit, 

tightening her hold on her neck, with a view to staying 
further objection, nearly strangles her. 

"No *buts,'" she says, entreatingly : "remembei 
how disappointed I was about Madam O'Connor's, and 
be good to me now." 

" Bless the child I" breaks out Miss Priscilla, having 
rescued her windpipe and so saved herself from instant 
suffocation by loosening Kit's arms, and then drawing 
the child down upon her knee. " What is she talking 
about? who is going to refuse anything? Penelope, 
accept At once, — at once, or I shall be squeezed t' 
death I" 



R0S8M0YNE 127 

"Then you mU go?" exclaims lloiiica, joining the 
group near the davenport, and turning brilliant eyes 
upon her aunts. " Oh, I am so glad !" 

" Why, we are dying to see the inside of the Bar- 
racks again, your aunt renelope and I, especially your 
aunt Penelope," says Miss Blake, with a sly glance at 
her sister, who is plainly expecting it, ^^ because she has 
tender recollections about her last visit there." 

" Oh, now, Priscilla I" says Miss Penelope, modestly, 
but with keen enjoyment of the joke. After which an 
acceptance of his kind invitation is written to Captain 
Cobbett, and borne to him by the destroyer of Tim- 
othy's peace. 



CHAPTER X. 



How Monica falls a prey to the green-eyed monster — How Mr. Kelly im- 
proves the shining hours — And how Brian Desmond suffers many 
things at the hands of his ladye-love. 

For the next few ds^s the sun is conspicuous by its 
absence, and Jupiter Tonans, with all his noisy train, 
is abroad. There is nothing but rain everywhere and 
at «dl hours, and a certain chill accompanying it, that 
makes one believe (with " Blia," is it not ?) that " a bad 
summer is but winter painted green." 

The light is dimmed, the winds sigh heavily, all 
through these days, and on the hills around, ^Hhe 
hooded clouds, like friars, tell their beads in drops of 
rain." 

But on Thursday evening it clears a little, — not suf- 
ficiently to allow one to wander happily through shrub- 
bery or garden, but enough to augur well for the mor- 
row, when the much-longed-for dance at the Barracks 
is due. 

And, indeed, when Friday dawns all nature is glo- 
rious. 0*er sea and land there floats a brightness inde- 
scribable, with no fleck or flaw upon its beauty. In 
every nook and glade and hollow is glad sunshine, and 



128 ROSSMOFNE. 

ft lofb rushing breeze that bids the heart rejoice, ano 
uplift itself in joyous praise to the Great Power above . 
who calls the heavens His Throne. 

Birds are singing upon every bough, to give the day 
" good-morrow/* and the small streamlets, swollen by 
past rains, are chanting loud but soft harmonies to the 
water-pixies, as they dash headlong towards the river 
Icwn below. 

''No tears 
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears/' 

but rather a smile is on leaf, and flower, and waving 
bracken. And on Monica, too, as, with glad eyes ana 
parted lips, she steps lightly into the shadow of the 
old porch at Moyne. No sweeter presence ever hon- 
ored it. Leaning against one of the pillars, she stoops 
forward, and gazes almost gratefully at the merry sun- 
beams, as they creep up in homage to her feet and then 
go swiftly back again. 

She is dressed to-day in a pale-blue batiste gown, that 
rivals in hue the delicate azure of the skies above her. 
Her large black hat is a mass of Spanish lace, her long 
gloves are of the same sombre shade, and so are her 
shoes, though relieved by buckles. With that smile 
upon her lips, and the subdued expectation in her eyes, 
she looks the personification of all that is tender, pure, 
and lovable. 

" Are you ready?" asks Kit, joining her. " The ca^ 
riage is coming round." 

" Quite." 

" All but your fan : where is that ?" 

"Ah I true; I forgot it It must be on my table. 
1 " 

" No, do not stir. I will get it for you. It would 
be a shame to send you on any errand that might de- 
stroy your present pose, you look so like a cloud, or a 
thing out of one of Kate Greenaway's books." 

" It is very rude to call me a thing; it is dishearten- 
ing, when I believed I was looking my best," says Mon- 
ica, laughing. Somehow Kit's praises alwavs please her. 

Then the carriage does come roun i, and they all get 



ROSSMOYNK 129 

mto it, and start for their Beven-miles drive, a very slow 
seven miles, at the end of which they find themselves 
in the small town of Clonbree, mounting the steep hill 
that leads to the Barracks, which are placed on a most 
unsavory eminence, — all the narrow streets leading up 
to them bein^ lined with close cabins and tiny houses 
that are anything but " sweets to the sweet." 

Entering the small barrack-yard, and finding a door 
hcepitably open, the Misses Blake go up a wooden 
itaircase, and presently find themselves on the landing- 
place above, where they are welcomed effusively by 
Sir. Ryde, who is looking bigger and hotter and stouter 
than usual. 

Captain Cobbett in the largest room — there are but 
two available in these rustic barracks — is trying vainly 
to find a comfortable corner for old Lady Kossmoyne, 
who is both deaf and stupid, but who, feeling it her 
duty to support on all occasions (both festive and other- 
wise) the emissaries of her queen, has accepted this 
invitation and is now heartily sorry for her loyalty. 

She is sitting in durance vile upon a low chair, with 
a carpet seat and a treacherous nature, that threatens 
to turn upon her and double her up at any moment if 
she dares to give way to even the smallest amount of 
natural animation : so perforce the poor old woman sits 
still, like " patience on a monument smiling at grief," 
and that her own grief, too, which, of course, is harder 
to bear I 

" 80 glad you've come I We were quite in despair 
aDout you ; but better late than never, eh ?" says Mr. 
Byde to Monica, with a fat smile. There is rather 
much of " too solid flesh" about his face. 

" I dare say," says Monica, very vaguely : she is 
looking anxiously round her, hoping, yet dreading, to 
see Desmond. 

In the next room can be heard the sound of music. 
** My Queen" is being played very prettily upon a piano 
bv somebody. Dancing is evidently going on, and 
Monica, who adores it, feels her toes trembling in her 
shoes. 

"May I have the pleasure of this?" says Mr. Byde 



130 ROSSMOFNE. 

" I've kept it for you all along, you know. If fou tdl 
me you have already given it away, I shall fee. myielf 
aggrieved indeed." 

" Was there ever so silly a ycung man ?" thinks 
Monica, and then she says aloud, " No, it is not proia^ 
ised," and lets him place his arm round her, and relao 
tantly mingles with the other dancers. To do hvam- 
justice, he waltzes very well, this fat young marine, scp=^ 
it cannot be said that she has altogether a bad time, 
and she certainly feels a little ^low of pleasure as she 
pauses presently to recover herT)reath. 

As she does so, her eyes rest on Desmond. He, too, 
is dancing, and with Olga Bohun. He is whispering to 
his partner, who is whispering back to him in a some- 
what pronounced fashion, and altogether he is looking 
radiantly happy, and anything but the disconsolate 
swain Monica has been picturing him to herself. He 
is smiling down at Olga, and is apparently murmuring 
all sorts of pretty things into her still prettier ear, be- 
cause they both look quite at peace with each other and 
all the world. 

A pang shoots through Monica's heart. He can be 
as happy, then, with one pretty woman as with an- 
other I She by no means, you will see, depreciates her 
own charms. All he wants is to have "t'other dear 
charmer away." 

At this moment she encounters his eyes, and answers 
his glad start of surprise with a little scornful lowering 
of her lids. After which, being fully aware that he is 
still watching her in hurt amazement, she turns a small, 
pale, but very encouraging face up to Eyde, and says, 
prettily,— 

" You said I was late, just now. Was I ?" 

" Yery. At least it seemed qo to me," says Byde, 
with heavy adoration in his glance. 

Feeling, rather than seeing, that Mr. Desmond has 
brought his fair companion to an anchor close behind 
her, Monica says, in a soft sweet voice, — 

" I didn't mean to be late. No, indeed ! I hurried all 
I could ; but my aunts are slow to move. I was longina 
to be here, but they would make no haste." 



ROSSMOYNE, 181 

"You redUy longed to be here?'* asks he, eagerly. 
" Well, that was good of you ! And now you have come 
you will be kind to me, won't you? You will give 
me all the dances you can spare ?" 

" That would be a great many," says she, laughing 
a little. " You might tire of me if I said yes to that. 
Tho fact is, I know nobody here, and certainly there Ia 
no one I care to dance with." 

" You will have another tale to tell later on," returns 
he, gazing with unrepressed admiration at her chainning 
face. " Before the avalanche of worshippers descends, 
promise me all the waltzes." 

" Are my dances, then, so necessary to you ?" with 
a swift upward glance. 

" They are, at all events, the only ones I care for," 
returns he, clumsily, but heartily. " All the others will 
lie in the scale -v^ith duty." 

" * Every subject's duty is the king's ; but every sub- 
ject's soul is his own,' " quotes Monica, lightly. " Why 
dance unless you wish it ?" 

" Because my soul is not my own," responds he, with 
a sigh. " I am bound to dance with every undanceable 
woman here to-day, or they will go home and revile 
xne. You ought to be sorry for me if you aren't." 

" Well, I am," says Monica ; " and so you shall have 
every waltz on the programme." 

"With this she lets him take her in his arms again, 
ctnd float away with her to the strains of the waltz then 
playing, and far away from Desmond's jealous ears. 

" Well, I had no idea it was in her," says Mrs. Bohun, 
In a breathless sort of manner, when Monica has quite 
vanished. " All that was meant for you, you know ; 
sind how well she did it 1" 

" But why should it be meant for me ? What have I 
done that she should so ill use me ?" says Desmond, 
also breathless. " And you speak of her as if you ad- 
mired her and she ought to be praised for her conduct, 
when you have just heard from my own lips how de- 
votedly I am attached to her I" 

" I cannot help admiring genius when I see it," sayi 
Olga^ with a gay laugh. "She made up her mind — 



132 ROSSMOTNE. 

naughty little thing I — to make you miserable a minui^ 
ago, and — she succeeded. What can compare Y/itl^ 
success 1 But in very truth, Brian," tapping his art^ 
familiarly with her fan (an action Monica notes frod^^ 
the other side of the room), " I would see you a victo^^^ 

too, and in this cause. She is as worthy of you as yoi ^ 

of her, and a fig for one's cousins and sisters and aunts-;^ ^' 
when Cupid leads the way." „^-*^f 

She has thrown up her head, and is looking full of*'^ 
spirit, when young Ronayne, approaching her, says ^ 
smiling, — 

" This is our dance, I think, Mrs. Bohun ?" 

" Is it? So far, so good I" She turns again to Brian: ^ * 
" * Faint heart never won fair lady,' " she says, warn- -^ ^' 

" I cannot accuse myself of any feebleness of that ^* 
sort," says Desmond, gloomily. "As you see, it all *--^ 
rests with her." 

" Perhaps she is afraid of the family feud," says Olga, «* 
laughing. "One hears such a lot about this Blake- — ' 
Desmond affair that I feel I could take the gold medal -' 
if examined about it. There I — what nonsense! Go ^^ 
and speak to her, and defy those dear old ladies at ^ 
Moyne." ^ « 

"You were talking about that pretty Miss Beres- ^ 

ford ?" says Ronayne, as Brian moves away. 

" Yes. But, sir," archly, " how dare you see beauty ^ 

in any woman when I am by ?" ^ 

" Oh that I could see you really jealous, and of meT 
returns he, half sadly, looking at her with longing eyes. 
" If I thought I could raeke your heart ache for even 
one short minute, I should be the happiest man alive." 

"JJoy, you mean! Oh, traitor! And would you 
have me miserable for your own gratification ?" 

" It would be for yours later on. For that one mo- 
ment you would gain a slave forever." 

" And unless I am wretched for that one moment, I 
cannot gain my slave ?" 

" You know the answer to that only too well," re- 
turns he, with so much fervor that she refuses to cuU' 
tinue the discussion. 



ROSSMOTNE. 133 

Iking of jealousy," she says, lightly, with a side- 
at nim, " it is the dream of my life to make 
oyne jealous, — ^to reduce him to absolute sub- 
a. He is so cold, so precise, so English, that it 
be quite a triumph to drag him at one's ehariot- 
i. Shall I be able to do it ?" She turns up her 
ing face to his, as though in question. She is 
g her very sweetest, and is tenderly aware of the 
ind, indeed, so is he. 

appose so," he says, in answer to her, but slowly 
proachfully. 

Lt I must have help," says Olga. ^^ Some one 
lelp me. You ? — is it not ?" 
' with strong emphasis. "What should I have to 
h it?" 

)t much, yet I count upon you. Why, who do 
ink I am going to make him jealous about ? Eh ?" 
)w should I know ?" 

>w shouldn't you? Why, it is of you, — youT 
uite a delicious little laugh. " So you will have 
ice round after me all day for the future until 
lission is fulfilled, and try to look as if you really 
ne." 

u have mistaken your man," says Eonayne, 
' : " you must get some one else to help you in 
atter. It is not for me, even if I did not love 
'. should scorn so low a task." 
ve is an idle word," she says, her eyes flashing, 
may be — to some. But I tell you that no man's 
9 of so poor value that it can be flung hither and 
• at any one's pleasure, — no, not even at the 
'e of the woman he adores. You will seek some 
omplaisant lover to be your dupe on this occa- 
I decline the office." 

u forget how you speak, sir I" she says, proudly; 
m as she gives way to this angry speech a gleam 
3est admiration so lights her eyes that she ia 
[ to let her lids fall over them to cover the tell- 
sneath ; her breath comes and goes quickly. 
3thing like relief comes to her when Lord Rosa- 
stretching his long neck round the curtain that 
12 



134 nOSSMOVNE. 



\ 



half shields the cushioned recess of the window wher"^^ 
they are sitting, says, with considerable animation, for^^^ 
him, — 

" Ah I so I have found you, Mrs. Bohun." ^ 

'' You have, indeed, and in good time. I am plning^^K 
in prison, but you have come to deliver me." 

"If I may." 

" Such a dreary little spot, is it not ? I don't Kno^ ^^ 
what could have induced me to enter it." 

* Ronayne, possibly," says Rossmoyne, with an un- — -•• 
pleasant smile. 

" Oh, dear, no I" contemptuously : " I came here of ^ 
my own free will. We all do foolish things at times. ^ * 

I have not danced this last because Mr. Bonayne pre- 

fers pleasant converse. I don't. I thought you would ^ 
never come to seek me. What were you doing?" 

"Hunting for you, and thinking every minute an -^ 
hour. These curtains" — touching them — "werejealouo ^^ 
of you, I believe, and sought to hide you."- 

" Well, don't be so long next time," she says, looking "3 
up at him with a smile that a little more pressure would * 
make tender, and laying her hand on his arm. 

She moves away. Eonayne, drawing his breath some- "^ 
what savagely, sits down on the sill of the window and ^ 
ffazes blankly into the barrack-yard below. He has still * 
her programme in his hand, and is crumpling it uncon- ^ 
scionably, hardly knowing what he does. But, if dis- ^ 

turbed in mind, it is always such a comfort to smash ^ 

something, be it a paltry piece of pasteboard or one's * 

most intimate friend. 

She had forgotten her card, probably, and now it is * 

almost useless. Ronayne's heart is full of bitterness, « 

and he tries to swear to himself that for the future he ^ 

will cleanse his heart of this coquette, who cares no ^ 

more for him — nay, far less — ^than she does for her little ^ 

toy terrier. Yet, even as these stem resolves seek 
vainly to root themselves in his breast, his eyes turn 
\g&in to the room beyond, and make search for the 
siren who is his undoing. She is still, of course, with 
Rossmoyne, and is all smiles and pretty blushes, and if 
evidently both content and happy. 



ROSSMOYNE. 136 

^' I am a fool I — a madman !" he says to himself; and 
oven as he says it his eyes light on Owen Kelly, who 
by chance is looking at him too. 

Crossing the room, the latter (as though drawn by 
tlie melancholy eyes that have met his) soon reaches 
biie ^window where Eonayne stands disconsolate. 

" Why so pale and wan, fond lover ?" he says, gayly, 
but with so kindly an intonation that even the most 
pugnacious could not take umbrage at it. 

Now, Mr. Kelly's knowledge on all matters is so clear 
&nd precise that Itonayne does not dream of deceiving 
hitn in this matter. 

"Of course you will laugh at me," ho says; "but 
Bomehow I don't mind your ridicule much. It means 
only this, that I have just found out that she cares 
nothing at all for me." 

" She, being Mrs. Bohun ? Well, my dear lad, if ar 
elderly gentleman's experience is of any use to you, 
you may have it cheap. 1 believe she cares a great 
deal for you. Lookers-on see most of the game, and I 
V70uld back you against Eossmoyne any day." 

" You are a very good fellow," says Ulic Eonayne, 
** the best I know ; but I understand you. You are only 
saying that to console me." 

'^ I am not, in faith : I say it because I think it." 

" I wish I could think it." 

"Try. /Kat first you don't succeed,' you know, 
follow out the inestimable Watts's advice, and *try 
&gain.' There's nothing like it : it gets to be quite a 
^ame in the long run. I thank my stars," laughing 
*'I have never been a slave to the Apathetic fallacy' 
called love ; yet it has its good points, I suppose." 

" It hasn't," says Eonayne, gloomily. 

" You terrify me," says Mr. Kelly, " because I feei 
positive my day is yet to come, and with all this misery 
'fcefore me I feel suicidal. Don't, my dear fellow I don't 
look like that I Give her up ; go and fall in love with 
Bome little girl of your own age or even younger." 

The " even" is offensive, but XJlic is too far gone in 
melancholy to perceive it. 

" It is too late for that kind of advice," he says : *^ I 




136 ROSSMOTNE. 

want her, and her only. I don't know ho'vi to descrilM^^'^** 
it, but " 

" * Thor« are choirs,' " quotes his friend, gravely. 

"Just so," says the miserable Eonayne, quite as^ 
gravely ; which so upsets the gravity of his companion 
that it is with difficulty he conceals his ill-timed mirtL 

" What is that mutilated article in your hand ?" he 
asks, at length, when he has conquered his muscles. 

" This — eh ! — oh, her card, I suppose," says Eonayne, 
viciously. Yet even as he speaks he smooths out the 
crumpled card, and regards it with a dismal tenderness 
as being in part her, 

" You're engaged to her for the next," says Mr. Kelly, 
looking over his shoulder : " what an unfortunate thing i 
If I were you," mournfully, " I should go home. Get 
ill. Do something" 

" And so let her think I'm wasting in despair because 
she prefers another? No, I shan't," says Eonayne, 
with sudden animation. " I shall see it out with her. 
If she chooses to cancel this dance, well and good, but 
I shall certainly remind her she promised it to me." 

"Eash boy !" says Kelly, with a sigh. "As you re- 
fuse to hearken to the voice of common sense, and afflict 
yourself with a megrim, I leave you to your fate." 

So saying, he turns aside, and, having gone a step or 
two, finds himself face to face with Miss Seresford. 

" This dance is ours," he says, mendaciously, knoTv- 
ing well this is the first time they have met this even- 
ing. 

Monica laughs : to be angry with so sad a visaged 
man as Owen Kelly would be a cruelty. 

" I am glad of it," she says, " because I do not want 
to dance at all ; and I think you will not mind sitting 
with me and talking to me for a little while." 

"You remember me, then?" he savs, shifting his 
glass from one eye to the other, and telling himsebf she 
is as pretty as she is wise. 

" I think so," shyly, yet with a merry glance : " you 
are that Master O'Kelly, of Kelly's Grove, coun^ An- 
trim, who is the bright and shining light of the Junioi 
Bar." 



juOSSMOFNE. l?n 

" You do indeed know me," returns he mildly. 

" * Thy modesty's a candle to thy merit/ " quotes she, 
vicke»dlv, in a low tone. 

At this he smiles sadly (a luxury he rarely permits 
iimself ), and, taking up her hand, lays it on his arm. 

" Come," he says, " I will sit with you, and talk with 
rou, when, and where, and for as long as you like. 
Plie longer the greater bliss for me. The spaciousness 
^f these halls, fair madam, as doubtless you have per- 
ceived, gives wide scope for choice of seats. In which 
secluded bower will it please you to efface yourself?" 

Monica glances from one small room to the landing- 
)lace, and from the landing-place to the other smful 
room beyond, and naturally hesitates. 

^' There is another stairs besides the one we as- 
cended," says Mr. Kelly. " I saw it when first I came : 
e^ould you like to see it too ?" 

" 1 should indeed," says Monica, grateful for the hint, 
and, going with him, suddenly becomes aware of a 
staircase, leading goodness knows whither, upon the 
third step of which she seats herself, after a rapid glance 
around and upwards that tells her nothing, so myste- 
rious are the working^ of a barracks. 

Mr. Kelly seats himself beside her. 

" I suppose it is my mission to amuse you," he suys, 
calmly, " as I dare not make love to you." 

" Why not ?" says Monica, quite as calmly. 

" For one thing, you would not listen to me ; and fur 
another, I don't want mv head broken." 

Monica smiles, more because it is her duty to than 
for any other reason, because afber the smile comes a 
Bigh. 

" I know few knights would tilt a lance for me," she 
says ; and Kelly, glancing at her, feels a quick desire 
Tise within him to restore sunshine to her perfect face. 

" One knight should be enough for any one, even the 
direst ladye in the land," he says. 

" True ; but what is to be for her who has none ?* 
asks she, pathos in her eyes, but a smile upon her 
lipo. 

*'She must be a very perverse maiden who hab tluii 



138 ROSSMOTNE. 

Btory to tell," returns he; and then, seeing she 
tamed her face away from him, he goes on quietly, — 

" You know every one here, of course." 

" Indeed, no. The very names of most are unknot 
to me. Tell me about them, if you will." 

" About that girl over there, for instance ?" pointing 
to a dingy-looking girl in the distance, whose face is ae 

like a button as it well can be, and whose general ap- ^• 

pearance may be expressed by the word " unclean." 

" That is Miss Luker," says Kelly. " Filthy Lucre i 
is, I believe, the name she usually goes by, on account 
of her obvious unpalatableness (my own word, you wiD 
nqtice), and her overwhelming affection for coin smab 
and great." 

" She looks very untidy," says Monica. 

" She does, indeed. She is, too, an inveterate chatter 
box. She might give any fellow odds and beat him ; I 
don't believe myself there is so much as one comma in 
her composition." 

" Poor girl I What an exertion it must be to her I" 

" Mustn't it ? Especially nowadays, when one never' 
goes for much, real hard work of any kind being such - 
a bore. That's her mother beside her. She is always < 
beside her. Fat little woman, d'ye see ?" 

"Yes. A nice motherly-looking little woman, she 
seems to be." 

" Horribly motherly I She has a birthday for every' 
month in the year I" 

** How ?" says Monica, opening her eyes. 

" I don't so much allude to her own natal day (whicn m^^- -^ 

by this time I should say is obscure) as to her chil ^** 

dren's. They came to her at all seasons, from January ^'SifJ 
to December. There are fourteen pf them." 

"Oh, it carCt be possible I Poor, poor soul!" says^s*^^ 
Monica, feeling quite depressed. 

" She isn't poor ; she is very well off," says Mr. Kelly. ^ '^^^'^ 
obtusely. "Much better than she deserves. So don't-:^ '^ ^ 
grieve for her. She glories in her crime. Well, it*s *a ^"3^ * 
poor heart that never rejoices,' you know ; so 1 suppotje^^*® 
she is right. There's Miss Fitzgerald : do you aamiw^^^"^ 
her?" 



ROSSMOFNE, 139 

**I am sure 1 ought,'* says Moniot simply; "bat I 

**You have the courage of your opinions. Every 
a.© down here admires her tremendously. I agree with 
ou, you know, but then," softly, " I am nobody I" 

'''Perhaps you think I am jealous," says B£v,>nica. 
3But indeed I am not." 

**What a baby you are I" says Mr. Kelly. " Who 
ovild suppose you jealous of Bella Fitzgerald ? * Two 
t&Ts keep not their motion in one sphere,' and I 
hooldn't think the fair Bella would have much motion 
^ put in comparison with you. She always calls * a 
pade a spade, and Branson's Essence of Coffee,* etc. 
II fact, she is material." 

**That means, she has common sense. Why call her 
iriateriar ?" 

** Never mind. It is quite immaterial" says Mr. 
Slelly, tranquilly, after which silence reigns trium- 
^iiantly for a moment or two, until a new figure presents 
te^lf on the small platform below them. 

•*AhI there is Desmond," says Kelly. "He looks," 
^xiocently, " as if he was looking for somebody." 

**I hope he will find her," remarks Miss Beresford, 
^ith some acerbity and a most unnecessary amount of 

"Perhaps he is looking for me," says Mr. Kelly, 
•^vely. 

"Perhaps so," dryly. 

"At all events, whoever it is, she, he, or it seems 
difficult of discovery. Did you ever see so woe-begono 

countenance as his ?" 

" I think he looks quite happy enough," says Monica, 
Without sympathy. 

Kelly lets his languid gaze rest on her for a moment. 

" What has Desmond done to you ?" he says at last, 
l^wly. 

" Done ?" haughtily. " Nothing. What could he do ?" 

" Nothing, 1 suppose, — as you say. By the bye, 1 
^^ve not seen you dancing with him this afternoon." 

"No." 

"Howie that?" 



i40 ROSSMOFNE. 

It IB an indisputable fact that some people may 6^5 
with impunity what other people dare not say und«^ 
pain of excommunication. Owen Kelly, as a rule, sftj^ 
what he likes to women without rebuke, and, what ^ 
more, without incurring their displeasure. 

"How is what?" 

" I thought that day at Aghyohillbeg that you an<* 
Desmond were great friends." 

" Friends I when we have only seen each other tv^<^ 
or three times. Is friendship the growth of an hour ?*' 

"No But something else is." He looks at ho'T 
almost cheerfully as he says this. "But neither yo^* 
nor I, Miss Beresford, have anything to do with thtf*'^ 
flimsy passion." 

" You mean " 

"Love I" 

"7s there such a thing?" says Monica, wistfuUy* 
whereupon Mr. Kelly says to himself, "Now, what o^^ 
earth has that fellow been doing to her?" but aloud Im^ 
says, in his usual subdued tones, — 

" 1 don't know, I'm sure, but they say so, and pe:*^ 
haps they, whoever they may be, are right. If so, J^ 
think it is a dangerous subject to discuss with you. L^^ 
us skip it, and go on. You haven't told me yet wh^^^ 
you are not dancing with Desmond." 

" Why should I dance with Mr. Desmond ?" 

" Because it is not always easy to have a refusj»-^ ^ 
ready, perhaps, or He has asked you ?" 

She would have ffiven a good deal at this instant tc:^-^ 
be able to answer "No ;" but the remembrance of ho w£S^ 
he pleaded with her for one waltz that evening at th€ 
end of the Moyne meadow comes between her and hei^ 
desire. So she says, " Yes," instead. 

" And you would none of him ?" 

"iVb." 

" It isn't my part to ask why," says Kelly, with quitch 
a miserable air ; " but still I cannot help wondering ho^i — 
any one can dislike Desmond." 

No answer. Miss Beresford is looking straight befori^ 
her, but her color is distinctly higher, and there is a^- 
determination about her not to be cajoled into speech^ 



i 



ROSSMOTNE. 141 

Ch&t is unmistakable. Having studied her for a little, 
Jfr- Kelly goes on : 

**I never know whether it is Desmond's expression 
or manner that is so charming, therefore I conclude it 
is ^ loth. Have you noticed what a peculiarly lovable 
^«i»y he has with him ? But of course not, as, some- 
l^o^ he has the misfortune to jar upon you. Yet very 
^^'^ hate him. You see, you are that excellent thing, 
arx exception." 

^^ I do not hate him," says Monica ; and, having thus 
Ax^ locked her lips against her inclination, she feels Owen 
^^Uy of Kelly's Grove has won the game ; but she bears 
^i »3tt no ill wUl for all that. " It is the cause, it is the 
c^xise, my soul !" 

** No I well, hate is a bitter word, and an unmannerly. 
^ ^k,m ^OTrjy then, that you dislike him." 
«*Not even that." 

** You mean, you regard him with indifference I" 
•* Yes, exactly that," says Monica, with slow deliber- 
ation. 

•* I am sorry for it. He is a man upon whom both 
^*=^ ^n and women smile, — a rare thing, — a very favorite 
o«" Fortune." 

**8he is fickle." 
_ ** She may well be dubbed so, indeed, if she deserts 
'^i:«n at his sorest need. But as yet she is faithful, as 
* •^^ ^ ought to be, to the kindest, the sincerest fellow 
'^Zt^on eanh." 

** Sincerest?" 
. Ji& this repetition, and the fine sneer that accompanies 

*^^^ escape her, she becomes aware that Desmond him- 
f^^if has come to the foot of the stairs and is gazing at 
*^ ^^r reproachfully. 

^^Here is fickle Fortune's favorite literally at our 
^^"^t," says Owen Kelly ; and, before Monica can say 
J^^^::fcything, Brian has mounted the two steps that lie 
^^^"tween him and her, and is at her side. 

^* If I may not dance with you, may I at least talk 
^'^^> you for a moment or two ?" he says, hurriedly. 
^* Certainly," with cold surprise. 
•*I don't think three of us could sit together com- 



142 R08SM0TNE, 

fortably on this one stex)," says Mr. Kelly, with i 
thoughtful glance at its dimensions, — "not evon if we 
squeezed up to each other ever so much ; and I am 
afraid," mournfully, "Miss Beresford might not Uke 
that, either. Would you, Miss Beresford ?" 

"Not much," says Monica. "But why need you I 
stir? Mr. Desmond has asked at the most for two 
moments ; they will go quickly by : in fact," unkindly, 1 
" I should think they are already gone." 

" And yet he has not begun his ' taW Make baste, 
Desmond. Time, tide, and Miss Beresford wait for no 
man. Hurry I wo are all on the tiptoe of expectation." 
As Mr. Kelly says all this in a breath, l^e encourages 
Desmond generously to "come on" by a wave of hie 
hand ; whereupon Brian, who is^ not in his sweetest 
mood, directs a glance at him that ought to annihilate 
any ordinary man, but is thrown away upon Kelly, who 
is fire-proof. 

"Some other time, then, as I disturb you now," 
says Brian, haughtily, addressing himself pointedly to 
Monica. 

"By no means," says his whilom friend, rising. 
" Take my place for your two moments, — not a second 
longer, remember I I feel with grief that Miss Beres- 
ford will probably hail the exchange of partners wit^ 
rapture. * Talke,' says Bacon, * is but a tinkling cymbal> 
where there is no love ;' and as she would not let dc^* 
discourse on any topics tenderer than the solar syste*^ 
and the Channel Tunnel, I have no doubt she has foui>^ 
it very slow. Now, you will be the — er — other thioi 
quite I" 

With this speech, so full of embarrassing possibiliti^ 
he bows to Monica, smiles at the gloomy Desmond, a^^ 
finally withdraws himself gracefully from their vio"^ 
Not without achieving his end, however: they bo^ 
heartily wish him back again even while he is going* 

" What have I done ?" asks Desmond, abruptly, tur^^ 
ing to Monica, who is gazing in a rapt fashion at h. ^ 
large black fan. 

" Done ?" 

" Don't answer me like that, Monica. I have oflFend ^ 



ROSSMOYNE. 143 

jrou. I can see that. But how ? Every moment of 
this wretched afternoon, until you came, I spent wonder- 
ing when you would arrive. And yet when at last 1 
dui see you, you would vouchsafe me neither smile nor 
glance. In fact, you looked as if you hated me I" 

" Every moment?" sardonically.' 

" Every one." 

" Even those spent with Mrs. Bohun ?" To save her 
life she could not call her " Olga" now. 

" With her ?" staring in some surprise at his inquisitor 
" Well, it certainly wasn't quite so bad — the waiting, ) 
mean — then. Though still, with my mind full of you. 
[ was " 

"You were indeed!" interrupting him hastily, with a 
contemptuous smile. 

" Certainly I was," the surprise growing deeper. 

" I wonder you are not ashamed to sit there and con- 
fess it," says Miss Beresford, suddenly, with a wrathful 
flash in her eyes. " I shall know how to believe you 
again. To say one thing to me one day, and another 

thing to another person another day, and " Here 

she finds a diflSculty in winding up this extraordinary 
speech, so she says, hurriedly, " It is horrible /" 

" What is horrible ?" bewildered. 

But she pays no heed to his question, thinking it 
doubtless beneath her. 

" At least," she says, with fine scorn, " you needn't 
be untruthful." 

"Do you know," says Mr. Desmond, desperately, 
** you are making the most wonderful remarks I ever 
heard in my life ? There is no beginning to them, and 
I*m dreadfully afraid there will be no ending." 

" No doubt," scornfully, "you are afraid." 

" If I allow I am," says Desmond, humbly, " will it 
induce you to explain ?" 

"You want no explanation," indignantly. "You 
know very well what you confessed a while ago. — ^that 
— that—* you were' I Therer 

*' Where r 

"Flirting wth Olga Bohun!" 

"What?" 



144 ROSSMOFNE. 

" Tou did. You know you did. Oh, what perfidy 
Only a moment since you declared it openlyj shame* 
lessfy; and now you deny it! Why, I wouldn't have 
believed it, even of you. flow can you pretend to forget 
it?" 

But that there are tears bom of real emotion in her 
^at eyes, Mr. Desmond would assuredly believe she 
IB making a vast joke at his expense, so innocent is he 
of any offence. 

" If by some unfortunate method," he says, qalmly, 
" you have metamorphosed any speech of mine into a 
declaration relative to a flirtation with Mrs. Bohun, you 
have done an uncommonly clever thing. You have 
turned a lie into truth. I never said even one spoony 
word to Olga Bohun in all my life." 

"Then why," in a still much-aggrieved tone, but 
with strong symptoms of relenting, " did you say you 
were?" 

" I don*t remember saying it at all," says poor Mr. 
Desmond, who has forgotten all about his interrupted 
remark. 

" Then what were you saying to Olga just as I came 
in?" 

"Oh I tJiatr — brightening into a remembrance of the 

East by the greatest good luck, or the quarrel might 
ave proved a final one (which would have been a sad 
pity, as so many right good ones followed it). " You 
stopped me just now when I was going to tell you- 
about it. When you came this evening i was dancing 
with Olga, and talking to her of you. It was some 
small consolation." 

" But you were smiling at her," says Monica, falter- 
ing, "and whispering to her — whispering T 

" Of you. You believe me ? Monica, look at me. — 
Do you know I really think that " 

But this valuable thought is forever lost. Glancing ^ 
at his companion, he sees a change come over the spirit^ 
of her face. Her eyes brighten, out not with pleasura — 
ble anticipation. Quite the reverse. She lays hez^ 
hand suddenly upon his arm, and gazes into the land - 
ing-place beneath. 



ROSSMOFNE, 145 

** There is Aunt Priscilla I" she sayS; in an awe-struck 
ione. " She has just come out of tnat room. She is, I 
knaWy'* — a guilty conscience making a coward of her, — 
"looking for me. She may come here! Go go I" 

" But I can't leave you here alone/* 

"Yes, you can; you can, indeed. Only tiy it. Mr. 
Desmond, please go." This she says so anxiously that 
he at once decides (though with the utmost reluctance) 
there is nothing left him but to obey. 

And, after all, Aunt Priscilla never looks up those 
stairs, but passes by them, dimly lit as they are, as 
though they had never been built ; and Desmond, un- 
knowing of this, goes sadly into the dancing-room, os- 
tensibly in search of Kelly, but with his mind so full 
of his cross little love that he does not see him, although 
he is within a yard of him at one time. 

Now, Mr. Kelly, when he quitted the fateful stair- 
case, had turned to his right, with a view to getting 
some friend to lounge against a door way with him, but, 
failing in this quest, had entered the dancing-room, and 
edged round it by degrees, — not so much from a desire 
for motion as because he was elbowed ever onwards by 
tired dancers who sought the friendly support of the 
walls. 

Eeaching at length a certain comer, he determines 
to make his own of it and defend it against all assail- 
ants, be they men or Amazons. 

It is a charming corner, and almost impregnable ; it 
is for this very reason also almost unescapable, as he 
learns to his cost later on. However, he comes to an- 
chor here, and looks around him. 

He is quite enjoying himself, and is making private 
comments on his friends that I have no doubt would be 
rapturously received by them could they only hear them, 
when he wakes to the fact that two people have come 
to a stand-still just before him. They are engaged in 
not only an animated but an amicable discussion, and 
are laughing gayly : as laughter is even more distin- 
guishable in a crowd than the voice when in repose, 
Sir. Kelly is attracted by theirs, and to his astonish- 
jaent discovers that his near neighbors are the deadly 
G k 18 



146 ROSSMOYNE. 

enemies of an hour agone, — t.e., Mrs. Bobun and TIHe 
Eonayne. 

No faintest trace of spleen is to be discovered in th«i 
tones. All is once more sunshine. Past storms ftt^ 
forgotten. They have evidently been carrying on theit 
discussion for a considerable time whilst dancing, be- 
cause it is only the very end of it that is reserved (o^ 
Mr. Kelly's delectation. He, poor man, is hemmed in o^ 
every side, and finds to his horror he cannot make b** 
escape. This being so, he resigns himself with a gri^ 
sense of irony to the position allotted him by fate, an^> 
being a careful man, makes up his mind, too, to deri'^^ 
what amusement from it that he can. 

"So you see everything depends upon judgment^ ^ 
says the fair widow, fanning herself languidly, bc^-^ 
smiling archly. 

** A good deal, certainly." 

^^ Everything, I say. Determination to succeed, an ^ 
the power to do it, are strong in themselves ; but judg 
ment tempers all things. And how few possess 
three!" 

" I, at least, am grateful for that. If every one wa_ 
endowed with those three irresistible forces, I shoul^^ ^ 
have a bad chance. I should be but one among s*^ -^, 
many. Then it could only be decided by brute force. 

" What could ?" asks she, turning a fair but amazes -^ 
face up to his. 

"Oh, nothing!" returns he, with some confusioic-^^* 

" Only some silly thought of my own private brain, ' 

not* the part I was devoting to your argument. Yor^^=^^' 
give me. You were saying ?" 

" That there is a tremendous amount of feeblenesi ^^^ 
in most natures. The real clever thing is to be able \m^^^^^ 
see when an opportunity for good arises, and thee \ m ^♦ ^ 
grasp it. Most people can't see it, you know." 

" Others can V says Mr. Eonuyne. As he speaks h^-^=^ 
passes his arm round her pretty waist and smilet^ "^ 
saucily into her eyes. 

"What!" exclaims she, smiling in turn, "am 1 
opportunity, then ?" 

" The sweetest one I know, and so I seize it," saj 



ROSSMOYNE. 147 

laciooB youth ; while Mr. Kelly, behind, feeU M 
going to sink into the ground. 
1 don't understand what the word means, you 
y," says the widow, laughing gayly. 
a't 1 1 I only wish I might parse and spell it 
3U," says Eonayne, his spirits rising ; at which 
, I regret to say, prettj Mrs. Bohun laughs 
merrily, and suffers him to lead her away into 
icing-circle without a rebuke, leaving Mr. Kelly 
ith fear of discovery. 

, his imprisonment being at an end, he leaves 
ner, and, braving };he anger of the dancing poo- 
Iks straight through their midst to the door be- 
'eady to endure anything rather than the eaves- 
ig, however innocent, of a moment past, 
d therefore with courage, he sallies forth, and on 
iding outside encounters the two Misses Blake 
[ for departure, with Monica and Kit beside them, 
e is still bidding adieu to Miss Fitzgerald, whose 
irms have worked a way into his youthful affec- 

Qond is standing at a little distance from this 
Mr. Eyde is in the midst of it. He is expostu- 
with Monica about the cruelty of her early de- 
3, in a tone that savors of tenderness and rouses 
Desmond's breast a hearty desire to kick him. 
iir. Eyde carries on his expostulations to where 
PrisciUa is standing ; and Brian tries vainly to 
last glance from Monica, if only to see whether 
aty of peace between them — interrupted a while 
las been really signed or not. 
Monica, either through wilfulness or ignorance 
near locality, or perhaps fear of Miss Priscilla, 
I to meet his longing eyes. For my part, I bo 
1 the wilfulness. 

who is always like the cockles of ancient fame 
0," sees his disconsolate face, his earnest, unre- 
glance, and Monica's assumed or real indiffer- 
nd feels sad at heart for him. Deliberately, and 
k sweet, grave smile, she holds out to him her 
band, and, regardless of consequences, gives hif 



148 R08SM0TNE, 

a hearty sqneeze. Most thankfully he acknowledge* 
this courtesy ; whereupon, of her still further charit^i 
she bestows upon him a glance from her dark eyes t1^*^ 
speaks volumes and assures him he has iri* her a fiiaJ^^ 
at court. 

Then all is over. The two Misses Blake go slo^^^^T 
and with caution down the steep staircase, Monica aX^^ 
Mr. Kyde (who grows more devoted every minut>^) 
following, Terence and Kit bringing up the rear. 

During the drive home the Misses Blake (who ha"^^® 
thoroughly enjoyed themselves) are both pleasant aK^^^ 
talkative. As the old horses jog steadily along tfc*® 
twilit road, they converse in quite a lively fashion ^^^ 
all they have heard and noticed, and laugh demurelB-J 
over many a small joke. 

Kit, of course, is in raptures. Her first party, ar^- ^ 
such a success I She had danced one set of quadrill^^^ 
and one polka ! two whole dances I Ye gods, was the^cre 
ever so happy a child I She chatters, and laughs, a i^ ^ 
rallies everybody so gayly that the old aunts are fa»— ^ 
to die of merriment. 

Yet Monica, who might — an she chose — have htfc — ^ 
two partners for every dance, is strangely silent an^^^ 
depressed. No word escapes her : she leans back wit ^^"^ ^ 
her pretty tired head pressed close against the cushion -^ 
Perchance little Kit notices all this ; because when an -^7 
one addresses Monica she makes answer for her in th^c=3** 
most careless manner possible, and by her sharp wfi ^^^ 
turns the attention of all from the sister she adcres^^^* 
yet in her heart she is angry with Monica. 

Once only during this homeward drive somethin -^^8 
occurs to disturb the serenity of the Misses Blak^ -*®* 
Kit, in one of her merry sallies, has touched upon Mi^^ -^ 
Fitzgerald ; whereupon Aunt Priscilla, mindful of tha^^^^* 
late and lingering adieu of Terence, says, suddenly, '^ 

" And how do you like Miss Fitzgerald, Terence ?" 

"She*8 delightful, aunt I" says the stricken Terenct^ ^^•'^ 
enthusiastically. " Perfectly enchanting I You nevc^^^^' 
met so nice a girl I" 

" Oh, yes ! I think I have, Terence," says Miss Piw^-^^ 
cilia, freezingly. " I am, indeed, sure I have," 



ROSSMOFJfE. 149 

" There's something about her right down fetching," 
%y& Mr. Beresford, giving himself airs. " Something 
-er — there, but diflScult to describe." 

"A * je ne sais quoi young man/ " quotes the younger 
[iss Beresford, with a sneer. " She's tall enough to be 
ne, at any rate. She's a horrid girl, I think." 

" You're jealous," says Terence, contemptuously. 
Because you know you will never be half as good to 
)ok at." 

"If I thought that," says Kit, growing very red, 
I'd commit suicide." 

" Tut ! You are too silly a child to be argued with," 
ays Terence, in a tone that is not to be borne. 

Kit, rising in her seat, prepares for battle, and i in- 
leed about to hurl a scathing rebuke upon him, when 
liiss Priscilla interrupts her. 

" What is this great charm you see in Miss Fitz- 
rerald, Terence ?" she asks, slowly. 

" That is just what I cannot describe, aunt." 

" I should think you couldn't, indeed i" puts in Kit, 
vrathfully. 

" But, as I said before, she is delightful." 

" She may be," says Miss Priscilla, the most damning 
ioubt in her tone. "She may be, my dear. Forbid 
hat P should deny it I B^t there are some delightful 
)eople, Terence, that are not good for us." 

Somehow, after this, conversation dwindles until it is 
rone. Terence sulks; Monica moons; Kit ponders; 
he Misses Blake snooze : and so at last home is reached. 



CHAPTBE XI. 



3ow Kit sees a Vision, and, being exhorted thereto, by it, pleads a oertaio 
oanse with great success. 

It is ten o'clock, and as lovely a night as ever ovor- 
bung the earth. The moon is at its fullest, the wind 
has fallen, all is calm as heaven itself, through which 
Dictynna's unclouded grandeur rolls. 

The Misses Blake, fatigued by their unusual dissipa 
18« 



150 ROSSMOFNE. 

tion, ordered an early rout an hour agone, wheret>^ 
bedroom candlesticks were in demand at nine or hB^' 
past nine o'clock. 

Now, in Monica's room, Kit is standing by the op^"^ 
window, gazinff in rapt admiration at the dew-spangl^^^^ 
garden beneath. Like diamonds glitter the grass at^-^ 
the flowers beneath the kiss of the queen of night. 

Moonbeams are playing in the roses, and wrestling*^ ^ 
the lilies, and rocking to and fro upon the bosom of tl^^-® 
stream. 

There is a peace unspeakable on all around. Oe^^® 
holds one's breath and feels a longing painful in its ir" ^* 
tensity as one drinks in the beauty of the earth an ^ 
sky. *Twere heaven to be assured of love on such * 

night as this. 

Stars make the vault above so fine that all the worlc^^^) 
methinks, should be in love with night and pay n^- -•^ 
worship to the garish sun. There is a rush of feelin^^-^S 
in the air, — a promise of better things to come, — olfc ^ 
hope, of fflad desire, of sweet love perfected I 

** How lovely a night it is !" says Kit, leaning far ou -^cut 
of the window, and gazing westward. She is at hear-— "^^r* 
a born artist, with a mind, indeed, too full of strange^^ -®» 
weird thoughts at times to augur well for the happiness ^^^ 
of her future. Like many of her Irish race, she i»-*^ i® 
dreamy, poetical, — intense at one moment, gay, wildfc^ -^) 
impulsive the next. 

" See what a flood of light there is on everything I**" X ^' 
she says. " * Bathed in moonlight,* what a good though' .^J^W 
was that I Monica, when I am as old as you, in a ver^^T^*^ 
few short years I shall be a poet." 

" No, you won't, darling : you will be a musician. Se^^^'^ 
what fairies lie beneath your fingers even now when j(kM^^^^ 
touch the piano or violin ; be content, then. With jovXiM-^^ 
great gift, which most surely is yours. And to me^^_^,^ 
indeed, it seems a grander thing to thrill and enchait«r-K^-^w 
and draw to your feet all hearts by the power of harr*^'^^ 
mony that dwells within you, than by the divine gi^^^-*^ 
of song that poeto have." 

" But their songs are harmony," says the child, tut 
Ing quickly to her. 



I: 



ROSSMOFNE. 151 

, the interpretation of it, but you have its very 
No ; search the world over, and you will fi:3d 
ng so powerful to affect the souls of all as music." 
^ell some day I shall want to do something/* says 
aguely ; and then she turns to the window again, 
ets her mind wander and lose itself in a mute 
a to the fair Isis throned above, 
i di*aws me," she savs, presently, rising slowly and 
ssing Monica, but always with her gaze fixed upon 
eeping garden down below. " It is so bright, — so 

^hat, Kitr 

he moonlight. I must," restlessly, " go down into 
a little moment, or I shall not sleep through 
ig for it." 

ut the doors are closed, my dearest, and Aunt 
11a is in bed, and so are the servants." 
) much the better. I can draw the bolts myself 
ut being questioned. You said just now," gayly, 
ve a fairy beneath my fingers. I think I have a 
■fairy in my heart, because I love it so." 
.ay here with me, then, and worship it sensibly 
my window." 

hat I do you look for sense in * moon-struck mad- 
' No ; I shall go down to my scented garden. I 
a fancy 1 cannot conquer to walk into that tiny 
white path of moonlight over there near the 
. Do you see it ?" 

BS. Well, go, if Titania calls you, but soon re- 
and bring me a lily, — I, too, have a fancy, you 
a tail lily, fresh with dew and moonshine." 
3u shall have the tallest, the prettiest I can find," 
Kit from the door-way, where she stands framed 
)wingly, looking such a slender, ethereal creature, 
eyes too largo for her small face, that Monica, 
I sudden pang of fear, goes swiftly up to her, and, 
ng her to her heart, holds her so for a moment, 
know what you are thinking now," sayo Kit, with 
ler laugh, — " that I shall die early." 
it! Kit I" 
es. Isn't it strange ? I can read most people's 



152 ROSSMOYNE. 

thoughts. But be happy about me. I look fi-agile, 1 
know, but I shall not die until I am quite a respectable 
age. Kot a hideous age, you will understand, but with 
my hair and my teeth intact. One keeps one's hair 
until forty, doesn't one ?" 

" I don't know. I'm not forty," says Monica. " But 
hurry, hurry out of the garden, because the dew is 
falling." 

Down the dark staircase, through the darker hallg, 
into the brilliant moonlight, goes Kit. The wind, soft 
as satin, plays about her pretty brows and nestles 
through her hair, rewarding itself thus for its enforced 
quiet of an hour ago. Bevelling in the freedom she 
has gained. Kit enters the garden and looks lovingly 
around upon her companions, — the flowers. 

Who would sleep when beauty such as this is flung 
broadcast upon the earth, waiting for man to feast his 
slothful eyes upon it ? 

Lingeringly, tenderly, Kit passes by each slumbering 
blossom, or gazes into each drowsy bell, until the moon- 
lit patch of grass she had pointed out to Monica is at 
last reached. Here she stands in sl^do^v, glancing with 
coy delight at the fairy-land beyond. Then she plunges 
into it, and looks a veritable fairy herself, slim, and tall, 
and beautiful, and more than worthy of the wand she 
lacks. 

Walking straight up her silver path, she goes to 
where the lilies grow, in a bed close by the hedge. 
But, before she comes to them, she notes in the hedge 
itself a wild convolvulus, and just a little beyond it a 
wild dog-rose, parent of all roses. She stays to pluck 
them, and then — 

" Kit," says a voice subdued and low, but so distinct 
as to sound almost in her ear. 

She starts, and then looks eagerly around her, but 
nothing can she see. Was it a human voice, or a call 
from that old land that held great Zeus for its king ? 
A message from Olympus it well might be, on such a » 
night as this, when all things breathe of old enchant- 
ment and of mystic lore. Almost she fears yet hopes 
to see a sylvan deity peep out at her from the esealonia 



R0S8M0TNE. 153 

7onder, or from the white-flowered, sweetly-perfumed 
syringa in that distant corner, — Pan the musical, per- 
haps, with his sweet pipes, or a yet more stately god, 
the beautiful Apollo, with his golden lyre. Oh for the 
chance of hearing such godlike music, with only she 
herself and the pale Diana for an audience ! 

Perchance the gods have, indeed, been good to her, 
and sent her a special message on this yellow night. 
Fear forgotten, in the ecstasy of this hope, the strange 
child stands erect, and waits with eager longing for a 
second summons. 

And it comes, but, alas! in a fatally earthly tone, 
that ruins her fond hope forever. 

" Kit, it is I. Listen to me," says some one, and then 
* hole in the hedge is cleared, and Mr. Desmond, step- 
ping through it, enters the moonlit patch, flushed, but 
shamelessly unembarrassed. 

Kit, pale with disappointment, regards him silently 
with no gentle glance. 

" And to think," she says, at length, with slow scorn, 
looking him up and down with measureless contempt, 
— ** to think I was mad enough to believe for one long 
moment that you might be Apollo, and that your voice 
was a cry from Parnassus I" 

At which, I regret to say, Mr. Desmond gives way to 
mcst unseemly mirth. "I never dreamed I should at- 
tain to such great glory," he says. "I feel like *the 
rapt one of the godlike forehead.' " 

" You may^^^ says the younger Miss Beresford, who 
has awaked from the dim dusk of " faerie lands forlorn" 
to the clearer light of earth. " You may," witheringly, 
"/ee^ like it, but you certainly don't look like it." 

" I am not complete, I know that," says Mr. Desmond, 
still ftiU of unholy enjoyment. " I lack * bright Apollo's 
lute strung with his hair;* but if you will wait a 
moment I will run back to Coole and get the nearest 
thing to it." 

He turns as if to fulfil his words, but Kit stops him. 

" Don't go," she says, laughing gayly, now herself 
" Even the very orij^inal lute would not transform you 
into a god. Stay if you want to. After all, now I am 



154 ROSSMOTNE. 

again ii. my senses, I dare say you are as good to talk 
to as a heathen deity.'' 

" Oh, no," says Mr. Desmond, humbly. " They always 
fchundered when they spoke: so think how imposing 
and convincing their arguments must have been I" 

" Horrid, I should think," says Kit. " And now tell 
me what brought you here ?" 

This is abrupt, but, taking her in her own mood, 
Desmond answers, bluntly, — 

" Monica." 

" She told you to come ?" 

" No. But I want to see her." 

" She has gone to her room." 

"Make her leave it again. Tell her I cannot rest 
until I see her ; tell her anything ; only bring her to 
me for even one short moment." 

" But it is some time since I left her : perhaps she is 
in bed." 

"But not asleep yet, surely. She loves you^ Kit: 
induce her, then, to come to her window, that I may 
oven catch a glimpse of her, if I may not speak with 
her. But she cannot be in bed ; it is so early," says 
Mr. Desmond, desperately. 

"Well," says Kit, relenting, and striving to forget 
(he blank occasioned by the substitution of an ordinary 
Desmond for an extraordinary deity, "111 see what can 
be done." 

"You will," eagerly, "really?" 

"Yes, really. I will stand your friend," says Kit, 
solemnly, feeling now that, even if the old gods have 
denied her an intimate acquaintance with them, still 
they have devoted her to the service of Cupid, and have 
vocretly commanded her to help on the machinations 
of his naughty little highness. 

" Then will you tell her I want to see her — kere^ now 
—for only a bare second if she so wills it? Will you 
tell her this from me ? Dear Kit, sweet Kit, I entreat 
you to do this." 

"Oh! ho»7 sweet I am when you want me to df 
ifomething for you!" says she, with a little smile 
" There I I c*in see thron^h you as clearly as though 



R08SM0YNB. 156 

you were 3iy^al ; but I like you all the same. Tou 
must have some good in you to fall in loVe with my 
Monica." 

" Others can fall in love with her, too," returns he, 
with moody jealousy. 

"Ah, yes! I saw that," says Kit, lifting her hands 
excitedly. 

"Who could fail to see it? Who could fail to love 
her ?" says Desmond, sadly. Then, being in such very 
poor case, and looking sorrowfully for comfort from 
any source, however small, he says, nervously, — 

" Kit, answer me truthfully — ^you have sworn to be 
my friend ; tell me, then, which do you count the better 
man, — him, or me ?" 

But that a sense of honor forbids him to pry into his 
love's secret thoughts, he would have asked whom 5^ 
counted the better man. 

" You," says Kit, calmly. " I have no doubt about 
it. I hate fat men, and — and so does Monica. I have 
heard her say so, over and over again." 

" Oh, Kit I what a dear little girl you are I" says Mr. 
Desmond, with grateful fervor. 

" Well, I'm glad you like me," says Kit, "because" — 
frankly — "I like you. It was very good of you to lend 
that gun to Terry; I haven't forgotten that, though, 
goodness knows, I only hope he won't do himself to 
d«ath with it" (she delights in old-world phrases such 
aci this) ; " and I like you, too, for loving Monica. Isn't 
she — " laying her hand upon his arm, and looking trust- 
fully into his eyes, — " isrCt she pretty?" 

" She is like an angel," says Desmond, feeling all his 
heart go out to the fragile, ethereal-looking child before 
aim, as he listens to her praises of her sister. 

"Or a saint, perhaps. Monica is a saintly name. 
Was she not the mother of St. Augustine ?" says Kit, 
quickly. After the old gods, a passion for the saints, 
and their lilies and roses and fiery trials, animates her 
childish bosom. "Oh I and that reminded me," she 
sayq : " she told me to bring her in a lily, fresh with 
dew,— one of those lilies over there in that dark corner. 
Do you see them, — tall and white ?" 



156 JtOSSMOVNE. 

**l8ee. Let rae pick one for her. Here, lake it U; 
her, and," laying his lips upon it, " this with it." 

" I will. And now let me run in and try my utmost 
to persuade her to come out here. But," doubtfully, 
as she remembers how Monxa refused with studied 
coldness to meet his parting glance at the Barracks a 
few hours ago, " do not be too sure of her coming. She 
may refuse, you know. She is peculiar in many ways 
and she thinks herself bound in honor to Aunt Priscilla 
not to look at you. But st^ here, just in this spot, 
and think all the time that I am doing my very best 
for you." 

Her little face is so earnest as she says all this, so 
fearful that he may have to endure disappointment, 
that he is greatly touched. Pushing back her hair from 
her forehead with both hands, he lays a light but loving 
kiss upon her brow. 

" Go, my best friend. I trust all to you," he says, 
after which the slender sprite springs away fix)m him, 
and, entering the shadows beyond, is soon lost to him. 

Eeaching the house, she mounts the stairs with swift 
but silent footsteps, and, after a nervous hesitation be- 
fore the door of her aunt Priscilla^s room, finds herself 
once again face to face with Monica. 

That pretty cause of all this plotting is not in be<3-> 
as Kit had predicted might be the case. She is not ev^^**^ 
undressed. She has only exchanged her azure gow^ 
for a loose white morning robe, long and trailing, an 
lavishly trimmed at the throat and wrists with soi 
rare old Mechlin lace that Aunt Penelope had give ^^^^ 
her a week ago, glad in the thought that it may pe^^ ^ a, 
chance add another charm to the beauty of her darlio^% ^j. 

Her hair is rolled up in a small, soft knot behincUt-^ ' 
her face is a little pale ; her eyes, large and luminoa^ ^^^g! 
nave great heavy shadows lying beneath them, sugge^^ ^^^^ 
live of fatigue and tiring thought. Altogether, she i^ 
looking as lovely as any heart can desire. 

" Ah, you have returned I" she says, as Kit ®^t®'-v^L^ 
** How long you have been I I gave you up. I thougic^^-^ 
some pixy had become enamoured of you and had can:- * 
ried you off to his kingdom." 



ROSSMOYNE, 167 

as in danger of nothing bo insignificiknt ua a pixy 
the great Apollo's Belt* I feared," says Kit, with 
umorous smile. " And here is your lily : he sent 
3U with his love and a kiss.** 
olio?" smiling. 

[ly, yes. Who else could it be at this hour?" 
t there is something strange in your manner.** 
at is as it should be. On such a night as this, 
ould one escape a little touch of that ^ moon- 
madness* I spoke of a while since? Go out 
If, walk through that moonlit garden just where 
ed, to where in that corner over there the raye 
ito shadow, and try if there be nothing in it to 
j^our heart beat faster." 
ould do it, and return calm as I am now.** 
en you are no true woman.'* 
lat I must a woman be so foolishly romantic as 
ible in the moonlight, to be true ?** 
onlights differ. There is a witchery abroad to- 
Go, and judge for yourself if there be not truth 
words.** 

jan see enough of it from this," says Monica, 
^ her bare snowy arms — from which her loose 
have fallen — upon the window-ledge, and turn- 
• eyes to the pale sky studded with bright stars, 
witch me, if indeed it has the power you ascribe 

jd in her first effort to send her to Desmond*s 
^it flings herself upon the ground beside her, and 
ir arms upon her lap and looks lovingly but roi 
fully into her eyes. 

link you were a little unkind to that dear Briai. 
ening," she says. 

at dear Brian will recover from my cruel treat- 
I make no doubt,** says Monica, 'vith affected 
ss, though, in truth, remorse is gnawing at her 
trings. 

he does, he will show his very good sense. He 
ou: why, then, do jou flout and scorn him?*' 
le ancient library below, the young ladies in the 
always flouted their lovers. Not having the 
14 



168 ROSSMOYNE. 

faintest idea how they perform this arduous task, Kit 
still adopts the word as having a sonorous sound, and 
uses it now with — as she hopes — great effect. 

"I do not flout him," says Monica, indignantly 
''But what am I to do? am I to make Aunt rriBcilla 
wretched, then, because of him, and break her poor 
heart perhaps ?" 

" Oh, bother her heart I** says the younger Miss Beres- 
ford, with more candor than decency: "think of At« 
poor heart, if you like, wasting and wearing away bo- 
cause of your unkindness. If /had a lover, that is not 
how I should treat him. I should do anything in the 
world he asked me. I should defy everybody in the 
world for him, and think them well lost. I should run 
away with him at a moment's notice if he asked me. 
Nowr 

" Oh, Kit I" says Monica, aghast at all this energy. 

" I should indeed," nothing daunted ; " I shouldn't 
hesitate. And, at all events, I should be civil to him 
at all times. Why, the way you treated that wretched 
young man to-day at Clonbree Barracks was, I con- 
sider, shameful I And you call yourself, I dare, say, 
soft-hearted. To look at you, one would think you 
couldn't be unkind if you tried ; and yet the barbarity 
of your conduct today, to a person who literally wor- 
ships the ground you walk on, was '* 

" But what did I do ?" interrupts poor Monica, trem 
blingbefore this whirlwind. 

" W hat didn't you do ? you mean. You would noi 
even grant him one kind parting glance. I cnld have 
cried for him, he looked so sad and forlorn. 1 think he 
looked like suicide, — I do, indeed, — and I shouldnt 
wonder a bit if in the morning we heard " 

"Oh, Kit, don't I don't T says Monica, in an agoD}. 
as this awful insinuation gains force with her. 

" Well, I won't, then," says the advocate, pretending 
to surrender her point by adroitly changing her front 
A very Jesuit at soul is this small Kit. " After all, I 
dare say he will grow tired of your incivility, and so— 
forget you. Some one else will see how dear a fellow 
he is, and smile upon him, and then he will give you up.* 



ROSSMOYNE, 169 

This picture, being m Monica's eyes even more awful 
Uian the former, makes great havoc in her face, render- 
ing her eyes large and sorrowful, and, indeed, so suffused 
with the heart's water that she seems upon the very 
verge of tears. She turns these wet but lovely orbs 
Qpon her tormentor. 

" That would be the best thing he could do for hirnr 
m(^/' she says, so sadly that Kit insensibly creeps closer 
(o her; ^'and as for me, it doesn't matter about me, of 
course." 

"Monica, you like him, then," says Kit, suddenly, 
rising on her knees and looking into her sister's averted 
eyes. " I am sure of it : I know it now. Why did you 
not confide in me before ?" 

" Because it seems all so hopeless ; even — if I loved 
him enough to marry him — triey would never give in" 
(moaning, presumably, her aunts) : " so why should he 
or I waste time over so impossible a theory?" 

"Why should it be impossible? Why should you 
not be married ?" 

"Because the fates are against us. Not," quickly, 
"that that so much matters: I don't want to marry 
anybody! But — but," lowering her lids, "I do want 
him to love me." 

" My dear child, talk sense if you talk at all," says 
Dhe material Kit. " There never yet was a heroine in 
my novel ever read by me (and I have had a large 
sxperience) who didn't want to marry the man of her 
beart. Now just look at that girl of Ehoda Brough- 
bon's, in * Good-bye, Sweetheart 1' We can all see she 
iidn't die of any disease, but simply because she couldn't 
36 wedded to the man she loved. There's a girl for you I 
yive me a girl like that. If ever I fall in love with a 
man, and I find I can't marry him, I shall make a point 
>f dying of grief It is so graceful; just like what I 
aave heard of Irving and Ellen Terry — I mean, Eomeo 
md Juliet I" 

" But 1 can't bear to deceive Aunt Priscilla," says 
Monica. " She is so kind, so good." 

"Stuff and nonsense I" says Kit promptly. " Do you 
suppose, when Aunt Priscilla was young, she would 



160 ROSSMOFNE. 

have deserted — ^let us say — Mr. Pesmv^nd the elder, »t 
the beck and call of any one? She has too much spirit. 
to do her credit. Though I must say her spirit is rather 
out of place now, at times." 

" What would you have me do, then ?" asks Monica, 
desperately. 

■ " Oh, nothing," says Kit, airily, — " really nothing. I 
am too young, of course, to give advice," with a little 
vicious toss of her small head. " And of course, too, I 
know nothing of the world's ways," with another toss, 
that conveys to her auditor the idea that she believes 
herself thoroughly versed and skilled in society's lore, 
but that as yet she is misunderstood. "And it is 
not my place, of coui*se, to dictate to an elder sister." 
This severely, and evidently intended as a slap at 
Monica because of some little rebuke delivered by 
her, the other day, on the subject of age. "But," 
with concentrated energy, " I would not be brutaly if I 
were you." 

"Brutal?" faintly. 

" Yes, brutal, to keep him waiting for you all th^ 
time in the shadow near the ivy wall!" 

Having discharged this ^hell, she waits in stony silen^^® 
for a reipiy. She waits some time. Then — 

"Are you speaking of — of Mr. Desmond?" aB^^* 
Monica, in a trembling voice. 

" Yes. He is standing there now, and has been, :C^ 
— oh, for hours,— on the bare chance of gaining C^^ 
word from you." 

"Now?" starting. 

" Yes. He said he would wait until I had persuac^-' 
you to go out. If I had such a lover, I know 1 sho^-^ 
not keep him waiting for me all the evening shiver^^ 
with cold." 

(It is the balmiest of summer nights.) 

"Oh I what shall I do?" says Monica, torn in t^^ 
between her desire to be true to her aunt and yet *^^ 
unkind to her lover. ^ 

" As I said before," says the resolute Blit, tum'M-^i 
her small pale face up to her sister, " I know I am ■m:mo\ 
entitled to dictate to any one, but this 1 know, too, tlMt 



R08SM0YNE, 161 

f I were you, and twenty Aunt Priscillas were at my 
ide, I should still—go to him I There I" 

She conquers. Monica rises slowly, and as a first 
Qove in the desired direction goes — ^need I say it ? — ^to 
he looking-glass. Need I say, also, that she feels di»- 
atisfied with her appearance ? 

" Then I suppose I had better dress myself all over 
^in," she says, glancing with much discontent at the 
£arming vision the glass returns to her. 

"No, no!" says £it, decidedly. She has now ar- 
■anged herself as Mistress of the Ceremonies, and q[uite 
rives herself airs. " Do not add even a touch to your 
oilet. You are quite too sweet as you are, and * time 
)resses'" (another loved quotation from one of her 
nouldy volumes). 

" But fAi5," says Monica, plucking at her pretty loose 
rown, that hangs in limp artistic folds round her slight 
igure and is pranked out with costly laces. 

" It is perfect I Have you no eyes for the beautiful? 
There, go, you silly child : Nature has been so good to 
^ou, you now deride her prodigality, and make little 
>f the gifts she has bestowed upon you. Go to " 

" Good gracious I" says Monica, pausing to stare at 
tier, aghast. " Where did you learn all that ?" 

" It is in a book below ; 1 learned it by heart, to say 
t to you some day, and now I have done it. There, be 
luick I He will be gone if you don't make haste. His 
mtience by this time must be exhausted. Think what 
le has been enduring! I only hope he hasn't fainted 
rom sheer fatigue, that's all !" 

" Will you stay here till I come back," says Monica, 
lervously, " or will you come with me ?" 

" I sh^l stay here ; and don't hurry on my account. 
L shall be quite happy with this lamp and your Chaucer. 
There, go now ; and tell him I sent you. And," mis- 
jhievously, " don't be civil to him, you know, but rate 
iim soundly for presuming to disturb your worship at 
ihis hour." 

" Oh ! if any one sees me !" says Monica, quaking. 

" You will never get hanged for a big crime," returns 
Kit, laughing ; and then Monica steps out lightly, fear 
I 14* 



lee ROSSMOYNE 

fully, upon the corridor outside, and so, with her h<)Art 
dying within her, creeps past her aunts' doors, and 
down the wide staircase, and through the hall, and at 
last into the silver moonlight 1 



CHAPTBE XII. 



flow Monica with faltering footsteps enters the mysterious moonlight, 
and how she fares therein. 

What a noise the tiny gravel makes beneath her 
feet, as she hurries rapidly towards the garden ! How 
her heart beats I Oh that she were back again in her 
pretty safe room, with the naughty Kit to scold I Oh, 
if Aunt Priscilla were to rise, and, looking out of her 
bedroom window, catch a glimpse of her, as she hastes 
to meet the man she has been forbidden to know I A 
thousand terrors possess her. The soft beauty of the 
night is unseen, the rushing of sweet brooks in the 
distance is unheard. She hurries on, a little, lithe, 
frightened figure, with wide eyes and parted lips, to 
the rendezvous she has not sought. And what a little 
way it had seemed in the glad daylight, yet what a 
journey in the silent, fearsome night I There are real 
tears, born of sheer nervousness, in her beautiful eyes, 
as she runs along the garden path, and at last — at last 
— finds herself face to face with Desmond. 

" Ah, you have come I" cries he, gladly, going to meet 
her while yet she is a long way off. 

" Yes." She can say no more, but her fear has do- 
parted at sight of him, and once more she grows calm, 
oollect(u»d, and mistress of herself She keeps well away 
from him, however, and holds out to him — ^that " white 
wonder" — her hand, from a very great distance, as it 
seems to him. Does she distrust him, then ? Thinking 
of this, Brian takes the extended hand, and holds it in 
a clasp that though tender is light, and refrains witb 
much forbearance from pressing his lips to it. 



ROSSMOFHiE. 163 

" To oome A^re, and at this hour I It is madness !" 
says Monica, hastily. 

" A very blessed madness, then, and with method in 
it : it has enabled me to see you" 

" Oh, do not talk like that. You ought not to see 
me at all. And, now, what is it ? Kit said you wanted 
me sadly." 

" And so I do, and not only now but always." 

*• If," reproachfully, " it is nothing pressing, would 
not to-morrow have done ?" 

" To-morrow never comes. There is nothing like to- 
day ; and how could I have lived till to-morrow ? I 
could not sleep, I could not rest, until I had seen you. 
My heart seemed on fire. Monica, how could you have 
treated me as you did to-day ?" 

She is silent. The very fact of her not answering 
convinces him her coldness at the Barracks was inten- 
tional, and his tone takes an additional sadness as he 
speaks again. 

** You meant it, then ?" be says. " You would not 
throw me even one poor glance. If you could only look 
into my heart, and read how cruelly I felt your unkind- 
ness, you might " 

" I don't know what you mean," says Monica. " Why 
should you talk of unkindness? Why should I be 
kinder to you than to another ?" 

" Of your grace alone : I know that," says the young 
Tuan, humbly. He has paid court to many a town-bred 
damsel before this, and gained their smiles too, and 
their sighs ; yet now he sues to this cold child as he 
never sued before, and knows his very soul is set on her 
good will. 

" Why must you choose me to love, — me, of all the 
■world ?" says Monica, tremulously : " it is wide, there 
are others — and " 

'' Because I must. It is my fate, and I am glad of 
it. Whom worthier could I love ?" says the lover, with 
fond, passionate reverence. 

" Many, no doubt. And why love at all ? Let us 
be friends, then, if it is indeed decreed that our lives 
naeet " 



164 R0S8M0YNE. 

" Thoro could never be mere firieDdBhip betweeo you 
and IDA. If your heart sleeps, at least your sense must 
tell you that." 

" Then I could wish myself without sense. I want 
to know nothing about it. Alas I how sad a thing ia 
love I" 

'* And how joyous ! It is the one emotion to be fed 
and fostered. * All others are but vanity.* I will pe^ 
Bist in loving you until I die." 

" That is a foolish saying ; and, even if you do, what 
will come of it all ?" says Monica, with a sigh. 

" Marriage, I trust," returns he, right cheerily. "Be- 
cause, to give you another ensample of love's endurance, 
and to quote old Southey to you, I will tell you that he 
savs, — 

" * It ifl indestructible ; 
Its holy flame foreyer banieth : 
From heaven it came, to heaven retnmeth ;' 

but not yet awhile, I hope." 

" You are a special pleader," says she, with a sudden 
smile. 

" For the cause that I plead I would that I were » 
more eloquent advocate." 

"Tou are eloquent enough," glancing at him fo^** 
moment, and then again turning away from him ; " ^^oo 
eloquent," she says, with a little sigh. 

He is still holding her hands, but now he does ^^ 
speak or answer her in any wise. A silence falls u;^^ 
them, calm as the night. In "full-orbed glory" * 
moon above sails through the skies. 

** A dewy freshness fills the silent air ; 
No mist obscures, nor doad, nor speck, nor stain, 
Breaks the serene of heaven." 

" There is one thing I must say, Monica," says 
voung man at last, lifting her face gently with ^ 
hand until her eyes look into his own : " remember, - 
life iE in your hands." 

" Do not overburden me," she answers, quickly, ^ 
in so low a voice that it can scarce be heard. X^^ 
hears. 



ROSSMOFNE. 166 

" My darling, must I be a burden to you ?" he says. 
** Monica, if this my courtship is hateful to you, or more 
than you can bear, dismiss me now, and I will go from 
you, no matter what it costs me." 

" You are no true lover, to talk like that," she says, 
with a shadowy smile. 

" I am lover enough to wish you no pain or weari* 
ness of spirit." 

" I doubt you are too good* for me," she answers, witii 
a little burst of feeling. 

" I must be a paragon indeed if that be so," returns 
he. " Oh, Monica, if you could only love me !" 

" I dare not." Then, as though sorry for these words, 
she holds out her hands to him, and says, with a quick 
smile, "Oh, Eomeo, Eomeol wherefore art thou 
Komeo?" 

" I wish I knew," returns he, sadly. " Yet if I were 
sure of one thing I should not despair. Monica, tell 
me you don't like Eyde." 

"I can't," says Monica. "He is very kind to me 
always. I am sure I ought to like him." 

" How has he been kind to you ?" 

" Oh, in many ways." 

" He has brought you a cup of somebody else's tea, 
I suppose, and has probably trotted after you with <» 
camp-stool : is that kindness ?" 

" If one is hot or tired, yes." 

" You are the most grateful specimen of your sex. 
I wish there was anything for which you might be 
grateful to me. But I am not great at the petits soins 
business." 

" I shouldn't have thought so this afternoon," says 
Monica, maliciously, " when you were so happy with 
Olga Bohun. But see, the moon has risen quite above 
the elms. I must go." 

" Not yet. There is something else. When am I to 
Bee you again ? — when ?" 

"That is as fate wills it." 

" You are my fate. Will it, then, and say to-morrow." 

"No, no I" exclaims she, releasing her hands from 
his, " I cannot indeed. I must not In being here with 



*66 R0S8M0YNE. 

yon now I am doing wrong, and am betraj ing the two 
people in the world who are most kind to me. How 
phall I look into their eyes to-morrow ? No ; I will 
not promise to meet you anywhere — €vex>* 

" How tender you are with them, and with me how 
cruel I" 

" You have many joys in your life, but they how 
few!" 

" You are wrong there. The world has grown use* 
less to me since I met you. You are my one joy, and 
you elude me ; therefore pity me too." 

"Who made you so gracious a courtier?" asks she, 
with a little shrug of her rounded shoulders. 

" Now you cast scorn upon me," says Desmond, half 
angrily, and as he says it the thought of Kit*s word 
flout comes to her, and she smiles. It is an idle thought, 
yet it is with difficulty she cleaves to the less offensive 
smile and keeps herself from laughing aloud. 

" Why should I do that ?" she says, a little saucily. 
Indeed, she knows this young man to be so utterly in 
her power — and power is so sweet when first acquired, 
and so prone to breed tyranny — that she hardly turns 
aside to meditate upon the pain she may be causing 
him. 

" I don't know," a little sadly ; then, " Monica, you 
like me?" 

" Yes, I like you," says Miss Beresford, as she might 
have answered had she been questioned as to her opin- 
ion of an aromatic russet. 

Eepressing a gesture of impatience, Desmond goes 
on calmly, — 

"Better than Eyde?" 

" Than Mr. Eyde ?" She stops, and glances at 'the 
gravel at her feet in a would-be thoughtful fashion, and 
pushes it to and fro with her pretty Louis Quinze shoe. 
She pauses purposely, and msi^es quite an affair of her 
hesitation. 

" Yes, Eyde," says he, impatiently. 

" How can I answer that ?" she says, at length, with 
studied deliberation, " when I know so little of either 
him— or you?" 



ROSSMOYNE. lOT 

His iridignation increases. 

" Knowing us both at least equally well, you moBi 
nave formed by this time some opinion of us." 

" I should indeed," says the young girl, slowly, al- 
ways with her eyes upon the gravel; "but unfortu- 
nately it neve'r occurred to me, — the vital necessity of 
doing so, I mean." 

Though her head is still bent, he can detect the little 
amused smile that is curving her mobile lips. There 
can be small doubt but that she. is enjoying his discom- 
fiture immensely. 

" Certainly there is no reason why you should waste 
a thought on either him or me," he returns, stiffly. 

" No ; and yet I do waste one on — you — sometimes," 
says she, with a gleam of tenderness, and a swift glance 
from under her long lashes that somehow angers him 
intensely. 

" You are a coquette," he says, quietly. There is 
contempt both in his look and tone. As she hears it, 
she suddenly lifts her head, and, without betraying 
cha^in, regards him steadfastly. 

"Is that so ?" she says. " Sometimes I have thought 
it, but " 

The unmistakable hope her pause contains angers 
him afresh. 

" If you cove: the unenviable title," he says, bitterly, 
"be happy. You can lay just claim to it. You are 
more than worthy of it." 

" You flatter me," she says, letting a glance so light 
rest upon him that it seems but the mere quiver of her 
eyelids. 

" I meant no flattery, believe me." 

" I do believe you : I quite understand." 

"Not quite, I think," exclaims he, the sudden cold 
Hess of her manner frightening him into better behavior. 
'* If — if I have said anything to offend you, I ask youi 
forgiveness." 

" There is nothing to forgive, indeed, and you have 
failed to offend me. But," slowly, "you have made 
lUe very sorry for you." 

'' Sorry r 



168 ROSSMOFNE. 

" Yes, for your most unhappy temper. It is quite ^* 
worst, I think, I have ever met with. G^ood-night, Hr- 
Desmond: pray be careful when going through that 
hedge again ; there are some rose-trees growing in i^ 
and thorns do hurt so dreadfully." ^ 

So saying, she gathers up her white skirts, and, wit»' 
out a touch of her hand, or oven a last glance, flits V^^ 
a lissome ghost across the moonlit paths of the gardo^*^» 
and so ib gone. 



CHAPTBE XIII. 

How Kit reads between the linefl— How the Misses Blake show tbe*^' 
selyes determined to pursue a dissipated ooorse, and how Monica ia ^"^^ 
astray by an apt pupil of Machiayelli. 

Early next morning Bridget, Monica's maid, ente:*"^ 
Kit's room in a somewhat mysterious fashion. Glancir*^ 
all round the room furtively, as though expecting ^-^ 
enemy lying in ambush behind every chair and tabi^» 
she says, in a low, cautious tone, — 

" A letter for you, miss." 

As she says this, she draws a note from beneath Yi^^ 
apron, where, in her right hand, it has been careftJA^ 
hidden, — so carefully, indeed, that she could not h^"^^^ 
failed to create suspicion in the breast of a babe. 

" For me I" a&ys Kit, off her guard for once. 

" Yes, miss." 

"Who brought it?" 

"A bit of a gossoon, miss, out there in the yard ^^ 
yant. An' he wouldn't give me his name ; but sur^ * 
k Qow him well for a boy of the Maddens', an' one of i>l^® 
Coole people. His father, an' his gran'father befio*^ 
him, were laborers with the ould Squire." 

" Ah, indeed I" says Kit. By this time she has xr^" 
covered her surprise and her composure. " Thank y^o"*^ 
Bridget," she says, with quite a grandiloquent air : " I>^^ 
it there, on that table. It is of no consequence, I d^ 
say : you can go." 



ROSSMOYNE, \^ 

Bridget — who, like all her countrywomen, dearly likes 
ove-affair, and is quite aware of young Mr. Desmond's 
Bsion for her mistress — is disappointed. 
^*The gossoon said he was to wait for an answer, 
ss," she says, insinuatingly. "An' faix," waxina 
ufidential, " I think I caugnt sight of the coat-tails of 
ether Desmond's man outside the yard gate." 
^*Tou should never think on such occasions, Bridget ; 
d coat-tails aio decidedly low^'^ says the younger Miss 
^lesford, with scathing reproof. 
^* They weren't very low, miss. He wore one o' them 
t-away coats," says Bridget, in an injured tone. 
'* You fail to grasp my meaning," says Kit, gravely, 
however, let it pass. If this note requires an answer, 
u can wait in the next room until I write it." 
**Very well, miss," says the discomfited Bridget; 
d Kit, finding herself in another moment alone, ap- 
oaches the table, and with a beating heart takes up 
o note. " It is — ^it must be from Brian I" 
The plot thickens ; and she has been selected to act 
ibremost part in it I She is to be the confidante, — 
B tried and trusted friend ; without her aid all the fair 
ifice Cupid is erecting would crumble into dust. 
And is there not danger, too, to be encountered, — 
rhaps to be met and overcome ? If perchance all be 
^covered, — if Aunt Priscilla should suddenly be ap- 
ieed of what is now going on beneath her very spec- 
kles, — will not she, — Kit, — in her character of " guide, 
ilosopher, and friend" to the culprits, come in for a 
uble share of censure ? Yes, truly there are breakers 
ead, and difficulties to be overcome. There is joy 
d a sense of heroism in this thought ; and she throws 
lier small head defiantly, and puts out one foot with 
ite a martial air, as it comes to her. 
Xhen she tears open the envelope, and reads as fol- 
v^s:— 

'*Dear Little Kit, — Owing you all the love ana 
Bgiance in the world for having helped me once, I 
3Qe to you again. How am I to pass this long day 
thout a glimpse of her ? It is a love-sick swain who 

H 16 



no ROSSMOYNE. 

doth entreat your mercy. Does any happy 
run through your pretty head ? If so, my man is wwl- 
ing for it somewhere ; befriend me a second time. 

" Ever yours, 

"Brian." 

Prompt action is as the breath of her nostrils to Kit 
Drawing pen and ink towards her, without a moment'fl 
hesitation, she scribbles an answer to Desmond : — 

" We are going towards Ballyvoureen this afternoon, 
to take a pudding to old Biddy Daly : any one chanmq 
to walk there also might meet us. Count upon me 
always. Kit." 

This Machiavellian epistle, which she fondly believefl 
to be without its equal in the matter of depth, she folds 
carefully, and, enclosing it in an envelope void of ad- 
dress or anything (mark the astuteness of that /), calls 
to Bridget to return to her. 

" You will find the boy you mentioned as being by 
birth a Madden," she says, austerely, " and give him 
this ; and you will refrain from gossiping and idle talk- 
ing with him, which is not convenient." 

It would be impossible to describe the tone in which 
she says this. Bridget, much disgusted, takes the note 
silently, and with sufficient nervousness to make itself 
known. Indeed, she is so plainly impressed by Kit's 
eloquence that the latter's heart sings aloud for joy. 

" Yes, miss," she says, in a very subdued voice, and 
goes away with indignant haste, to tell cook, as sbe 
passes through the kitchen, that '^ Faix, Miss Kit might 
be her own grandmother, — she is so ould an' quare in 
her ways." 

Kit meantime goes in search of Monica, with a mind 
stored with crafty arguments for the beguiling of that 
unconscious maiden. Hearing voices in the morning- 
room, she turns in there, and finds the whole family m 
conclave. 

Kiss Priscilla is speaking. 

" Yes, I certainly think hospitality of some sort should 



xiOSSMOFNE. 171 

be shown them," she is saying, with quite an excited 
flush on her dear old ugly face. " We cannot, of course, 
do much ; but afternoon tea, now, and some pleasant 
people to meet them, — and strawberries, — and a little 
stroll round the gardens — eh ? A nd, Penelope, you used 
to be a great hand at claret-cup in our dear father's 
time; and then there is tennis. I really think, you 
know, it might be done." 

She quite bridles with pleasure at the bare anticipa- 
tion. To entertain once more, — again to welcome guests 
beneath the old roof! For many years a nightly game 
of patience has been the sole dissipation the Misses Blake 
have known, and here of late days they have been going 
hither and thither to dances and garden-parties, and 
have 'acknowledged to themselves secretly that the 
change is sweet. And now they are actually discussing 
the idea of indulging in wild festivities on their own 
part I Surely these children from Jerusalem have much 
to answer for I 

" Is there going to be a party here^ Aunt Priscilla ?" 
asks Kit, with enlarged eyes. 

" Well, my dear, we are debating the possibilities of 
it,— just the pros and cons," says Miss Priscilla, pre- 
cisely. "Your aunt Penelope agrees with me that 
come attention is due to those young men in Clonbreo 
JBarracks." 

**You are going to ask Captain Cobbett and Mr. 

^J'de here I Oh, what fun I" cries Kit, seating herself, 

^nixius invitation, on Miss Priscilla s knee, and twining 

^^Ji^ arms round her neck. " Do you know, when with 

'Mother we didn't dare call our souls our own ; but with 

y<^xx we are having real good old times I Aren't we, now ?" 

** Oh, Kit I — my dear Kit I — ^you must not speak so of 

yo-txr lost mother," cry the old ladies in a breath, both 

S**^athr distressed. 

** Well, I shan't if you don't wish it; but it is true, 
*^^^ all that. And so you are really going to ask that 
^^^^ young man and his little captain to come here ?" 

. ** Your aunt Penelope and I both feel that some hos- 
fij^^^ility should be shown to Her Majesty," says MLw 
"*^**i«cilla, pompously. 



172 ROaSMOYNE. 

" The queen I" says Kit, aghast. * You aren't gomg 
to ask her to Moyne, are you ? Windsor Ih a long way 
oflF, and she is pretty well on now, you know, and 1 
don't believe she'd come." 

" Not personally. But we shall pay her the compli 
laent through her trusty servants the marines, lifot 
that we owe her much,'* says Miss Priscilla, shaking 
her head. "I cannot think she has behaved quite 
fairly towards us in many ways. Never coming to see 
us, I mean, or sending the prince, or having a residence 
here, or that " 

"Still," breaks in Miss Penelope, coming to Her 
Majesty's relief, with the evident and kindly desire of 
showing her up in a more favorable light, " I have al- 
ways understood that in private life she is a most ex- 
emplary woman, — a blameless wife so long as she was 
allowed to be so, and a most excellent mother." 

" And grandmother," chimes in Miss Priscilla, grace- 
fully, as though ashamed of her former acrimonious re- 
marks. " From what I can glean from the papers, she 
seemp quite devoted to those poor little motherleso girls 
of Hesse." 

It is quite plain that the Misses Blake regard their 
sovereign more as Victoria and sister than queen and 
mistress. 

" She has seuo these men to Clonbree to protect our 
lives and properties in these perilous times," goes on 
Miss Priscilla, in her clear, soft voice, " and so I think 
we are bound to show them any civility in our power." 

" More especially the life and property of old Des- 
mond," says Terry, at this moment, with a noble dis^fr- 
gard of consequences. He is sitting at a distant win 
dow, tying flies, and makes this unfortunate remark 
without the faintest appearance of malice prepense. 
" They say he is running a regular rig with his tenants, 
— playing old Harry with 'em, in fact," he goes on, de- 
bonairly ; " but they'll stop his little game for him with 
a bullet before long, I shouldn't wonder." 

As the forbidden name is thus cavalierly thrown into 
tboir midst, like a bomb, Monica flushes first t, warn 
orimson and then turns cold with fright. 



ROSSMOYNE, 173 

The old ladies stiffen in their chairs but never a word 
B&y they; they are too much overccme for ordinary 
rebuke. Kit, however, to whom any excitement lu 
welcome, betrays an open admiration for the bold Ter- 
ence,- and waits hopefully for what may come next. 

It is even worse than might be expected. Terenco, 
either unaware or careless of the sensation he has pro- 
duced, closes one eye to examine with pleased scrutiny 
the gaudy fly he has just completed, after which he 
says, with a suggestion of jocoseness that under the 
circumstances is perfectly abominable, — 

" I say. Aunt rriscilla, as Cobbett has been sent to 
look after old Desmond in particular, don't you think, 
if you entertain him, it will be to old Desmond, and not 
Her Majesty, you will be paying attention, after all ?" 

He stops and smiles blandly. If, indeed, I said a grin 
illuminates his countenance, I might be nearer the 
truth. It is apparent to everybody that he {^jesting on 
this sacred subject. 

" Terry I" says Monica, with a little gasp. 

" Well ?" says Mr. Beresford, amiably, purposely mib 
understanding the horror of her tone, and looking up 
as though thirsting for the remainder of her speech. 
It doesn't come. Monica, fearful of provoking him to 
further monstrosities, forbears from answer of any kind. 

" Terence," says Miss Prisoilla, with slow solemnity, 
" I have frequently told you that we object to hearing 
that detested name mentioned in our presence. It of 
fends both your aunt Penelope and me. I must again 
beg that for the future we may be spared a repetition 
of it. ' 

"When I was going to give Tim Daly a sound 
thrashing for his impertinence yesterday, you stopped 
me and bade me forgive my enemies," says Terence, 
calmly, question ingly. "Why don't you forgive old 
Desmond ?" 

" Because That is quite another thing altogether. 

I mean 1 it seems to me No matter what it 

seems now ; we can't discuss it," says Miss Priscilla, 
making a desperate effort to catch the horns of her 
dilemma and to escape from it. 

16* 



174 ROSSMOYNE. 

" Let us discuss our party instead," says Kit, cheer 
fully, who is really of the greatest use at times. " When 
is it to be, Aunt Pris ?" 

"Kext week, I suppose," says Miss Penelope, 
promptly, seeing that Miss Priscilla is still too agitated 
to reply. " And I think, perhaps, it would be rather 
nice to have tea in the orchard." 

" Oh ! how quite too lovely I" says Kit, clasping her 
bands. 

"Quite too utterly, consummately, preciously in- 
tense ?" mutters Terence, sotto voce^ regarding Kit side- 
ways, who returns his rapturous glance with one full 
of ineffable disdain. 

" I hope Michael won't object," says Miss Penelope, 
nervously. Michael is the gardener, and they are all, 
without exception, afraid of him. 

"Nonsense, my dear I why should he?" says Miss 
Priscilla. " It isn't because he has been here for years 
that he is to forbid us the use of our own grounds, and 
of late I consider there is great fault to be found with 
him. Long service should not generate neglect, and of 
late there has not been a good lettuce or a respectable 
dish of asparagus in the garden." 

" There wasn't even any thyme last week," says Kit, 
who maintains an undying feud with Michael. "He 
had to get some fresh plants from Cahirmore." 

" Time was made for slaves," says Terence, medita- 
tively. " You aren't a slave, are you ?" 

" I should hope not," says Kit, icily. 

" Then you can't want time : so don't worry that 
poor old man in the garden about it. He hasn't a 
scythe, or a bald head, or a dismal forelock : so he canH 
know anything about it." 

" You are so clever," says the younger Miss Bereo- 
ford, with unmixed scorn, " that I wonder something 
dreadful doesn't happen to you." 

" So do I," says Terence. 

" Well, auntie, and whom shall we ask to meet these 
men of war?" says Kit, ignoring him, — ^publicly, to his 
great delight. 

" I suppose Madam O'Cpnnor and all her party, an^ 



R0S8M0YNE. 175 

the Ffrenohes, and Lord Eossmoyne, — who 1 hear is 

still in the country, — and Penelope, my dear, will 

you sit down and write the invitations now for Friday 
next, as I must ^et ready to go to the coast>guaixi 
station ? That gin of Mitson's is ill, and wants to see 
me." 

Monica rising at this moment to leave the room. Kit 
follows her. 

" It is really too amazinff," she says, when they find 
themselves in the hall. "To think of their hlossoraing 
into a real live party I I feel quite overcome." 

" So do I," says Monica, laughing. 

" There is only one drawback to it," says Kit, softly • 
"I am so sorry Brian can't be asked." 

Monica flushes furiously, and swerves away from her 
somewhat impatiently; but reply she makes none. 

" There are cobwebs in my brain," says Kit, raising 
her hands languidly to her head, with the oppressed 
air of one who is bravely struggling with a bad head- 
ache. " I think I shall go for a walk to Biddy Daly's 
to try and rout them. I promised her old mother a 
pudding the last day I was there, and to-day cook has 
it ready for me. Will you come with me, Monica? 
Do." 

" Not to-day, I think," says Monica, lazily. 

" I wish you would I I do so hate going anywhere by 
myself. And, somehow, I am half afraid to go alone 
to-day, I feel — so — so faint. However," with a resigned 
sigh, " never mind : I dare say if I do drop in a deadly 
swoon, somebody will pick me up." 

" My dear Kit, if you feel like that, don't go," says 
Monica, naturally alarmed. 

" I have promised old Mrs. Daly ; I must go," replies 
Kit, with the determination of a Brutus. " If I am not 
back in time for dinner, you will understand what has 
happened." 

This is awful ! Monica turns quite paie. 

" Of course I shall go with you," she says, hurriedly. 
"Is your head so very bad, darling? How bravely 
you carried it off in there I" pointing towards the morn 
mg-room they have just left. " However, "t would b« 



176 R08SM0YNE, 

only like you to hide your worries from us, lest they 
should make us unhappy." 

At this, it must be allowed to her credit, Kit feels 
some strong twinges of remorse, — not enough, how- 
over, to compel confession. 

" It is really hardly worth talking about," she says, 
alluding to the headache ; and this, at all events, is U)e 
«trict truth. 



CHAPTBE XIV. 



flow Eif 8 plot is betrayed, and how a walk that begins gajlj ends is 
gloom. 

The road to Mrs. Daly's is full of beauty. On one 
side of it runs Coole, its trees rich with leafy branchsB ; 
upon the other stretches a common, green and soft, with 
a grand glimpse of the ocean far down below it. 

" Why walk on the dusty road, when those fields are 
green in there?" says Kit, pointing to Coole; and, 
after a faint hesitation, Monica follows her over the 
wall and into the dark recesses of the woods. The 
grass is knee-deep in ferns and trailing verdure ; great 
clumps of honeysuckle, falling from giant limbs of elm, 
make the air sweet. Some little way to their right- 
but where they cannot see because of the prodigality 
of moss and alder and bracken — a little hidden brooz 
runs merrily, making 

''Sweet music with th' enamell'd stones, 
Qiying a gentle kiss to every sedge 
He overtfl^eth in his pilgrimage." 

Some thought belonging to the past night coming w 
Kit, she turns to Monica with a little laugh. 

" How silent you have been about last night's ad- 
venture !" she says. " I watched you from your own 
window until the shadows caught you. You looked 
like a flitting spirit, — a — a bhoot." 

"A hootr says Monica, very justly surprised. 



ROSSMOYNE. 177 

" Yes," loftily. Kit's educational course, as directed 
by herself, has been of the erratic order, and has em- 
braced many topics unknown to Monica. Prom the 
fiolitical economy of the Faroe Isles, it has reached 
oven to the hidden mysteries of Hindostan. 

*• I must have struck you then as being in my 
liveliest mood," says Monica, still laughing. " Terry 
told us yesterday he was as gay as old boots. As I 
looked like one, I suppose I was at least half as gay ai 
he was. After all, there is nothing like leather, no 
matter how ancient." 

" There's an h in my bhoot," says Kit, with some 
disgust. Keally, the ignorance of some people — even 
the nicest — ^is surprising. 

" Then why don't you take it out ?" says Monica, 
firivolously. " Not that I know in the very least what 
harm a poor innocent letter could do there." 

" You don't understand," says Kit, pitifully. 

" I don't, indeed," says Monica, unabashed. 

" A bhoot is an Indian ghost." 

" And so you thought I looked like an Indian ghof t ! 
with a turban I and an Afghan I and a scimitar I Oh, 
Kit I Did I really look like the mahogany table be- 
neath the silver moonbeams ? and did my eyes glitter ?" 

" What a goose you are !" says Kit, roaring with 
laughter. " No, you looked lovely ; but I was reading 
an Indian story yesterday, and it came into my head." 

" You read too much," says Monica. ** * Much learn- 
ing will make you mad,' if you don't take care. Ke- 
member what Lord Bacon says, 'Beading maketh a 
full man.' How would you like to be a full woman, — 
like Madam O'Connor, for example ?" 

" Francis Bacon never meant it in that sense," says 
Kit, indignantly. " I really wonder at you, Monica." 
And, having so scolded her idol, she relapses into 
silence for a considerable time. 

" Oh I what lovely dog-roses I" says Monica, pres- 
ently, pointing to a hanging spray of pink blossoms, 
Batisfying as a happy dream. " I must get them." 

She sprinffs up a mossy bank as she speaks, regard- 
less of the blackberry branches that cross her path^ 



178 ROSSMOYNE. 

barring her way, and catching viciously at her skirte, 
as though to hinder her progress. 

"Oh, take care I" cries Kit, forgetting all about 
Lord Bacon in her terror lest her pretty sister shall 
not show to the best advantage in her lover's eyea 
" Your gown will be torn. Wait, — wait, until I set 
you free from these dreadful thorns." 

"*AlasI how full of briers is this working-day 
world,' " quotes Monica, gayly. "There, now I am all 
right, and I have got my pretty rosos into the bar- 
gain. Are they not sweet? — -sweet V^ holding them 
right under Kit's nose. 

" They are, indeed. And, by the bye, * here we are,' 
like the clown," says Kit, pointing to a low farm-house 
in the distance. 

Beaching it, and finding the door afi usual open, they 
enter what might be the hall in another house, but is 
here the kitchen. There is no leading up it. From 
the moment you cross the threshold the kitchen lies 
before you. 

It is a large room, if it may so be called, with a huge 
fireplace in which a dozen fires might be stowed away 
and forgotten. Just now there is a flame somewhere 
in its backmost depths that cannot possibly annoy 
these June visitors, as one has to search for it to 
find it. 

An old woman, infirm and toothless, yet with all the 
remains of great beauty, sits cowering over this hidden 
turf fire, mumbling to herself, it may be. of golden 
days now past and gone, when she had been the fairest 
colleen at mass or pattern, and had counted her lovers 
by the score. Yea, those- were good old times, when 
the sky was ever blue and all the world was young. 

Two younger women, sitting near her, but farther 
from the chimney-nook, are gossiping idly, but per- 
sistently, in the soft, mellifluous brogue that distin- 
guishes the county Cork. 

As the Beresford girls enter, these two latter women 
rise simultaneously and courtesy with deep respect 
The youngest of them, who is so like the nandsome 
old woman in the corner of the fireplace as to be on- 



ROSSMOYNE. 179 

miBtakably of kin to her, comes quick y forward to 
greet her visitors with the kindly grace and the ab- 
sence of consciousness that distinguish the Insh peas- 
antry when doing the honors of their own homes. 
This lack of mauvaise honte arises perhaps from the 
fact that they are so honestly glad to welcome a guest 
beneath their roof that they forget to be shy or back- 
ward. 

She makes a slight effort to pull down her tucked-up 
sleeves, and then desists, for which any one with a 
mind artistic should be devoutly grateful, as her arms, 
brown as they are from exposure to the sun, are at 
least shaped to perfection. She is dressed in a maroon- 
colored skirt and body, the skirt so turned up in fish- 
wife fashion (as we wore it some seasons ago) that a 
dark-blue petticoat beneath, of some coarse description, 
can be distinctly seen. 

Her throat is a little bare, her arms, as I have said, 
quite so, far up above the elbows. She is stout and 
comely, with a beautiful laughing mouth, and eyes of 
deepest gray, merry as her lips. Outside, lying about, 
half naked in the warm sunshine, are three or four 
boys with the same eyes and mouth, undeniably her 
children. 

" Wisha I 'tis meself s glad to see ye," she says, with a 
beaming smile. " Good luck to yer purty faces. 'Tis a 
long time now. Miss Beresford, since ye came, or Miss 
Kit there." 

"I promised your mother a pudding, and I ha^je 
brought it," says Kit. 

"Look at that, now! *Tis a trouble we are to ye 
entirely. Mother, wake up a bit, an* thank Miss Kit 
for what she's brought ye." 

** Ye're too kind, asthore, too kind," mumbles the old 
woman in the corner, turning eyes that are still full of 
light upon the child, " to think of an ould 'ooman now 
in the grave as it might be. Ay, faix I An' the bells 
aringin' too. I can hear 'em sometimes, whec the 
wind's down — eh " 

" Nonsense, mother I the yard [church-yard] will be 
lonely for ye yet awhile," says Mrs. Daly, junior, cheer 



180 ROSSMOYNE, 

fully. " See, now I taste this : 'twill do ye ftood. An' 
vou'll sit down, Miss Monica, I hope. Take care, 
honey, till I dust the chair for ye." This is dexter- 
ously done with the corner of her apron. " An* ye' J 
take a dhrop o' tay too, maybe ; oh, ye will, now, if 
only to plaze me, aflher yer long walk, an' all to honor 
the ould woman." 

" Ah, there is Mrs. Moloney I" says Kit, addressing 
the second ybunger woman, who is a thin little peasant 
with a somewhat discontented expression. " The sun 
blinded my eyes so that I could not see you at first 
Have you heard from your boy at sea ?" 

" Yes, miss. Praises be above I He's doin' well, he 
says ; but it's belike I'll never see a sight of his hand- 
some face again." 

'" Oh, nonsense, now, Mrs. Moloney, me dear I What 
are ye talkin' like that for?" says young Mrs. Daly, 
who seems to be the parish consoler. '* Sure it's back 
he'll be wid ye before the new year." 

" Oh, yes, I hope so," says Monica, softly. 

" *Tis hard to hope, miss, wid the rowling wind o' 
nights, an' the waves dashin' up on the beach." 

" Ye're an ould croaker," says Mrs. Daly, giving her 
a good-humored shake. "An' now sit down, Miss 
Monica an' Miss Kit, do, till I get ye the sup o' tay. 
Mrs. Moloney, me dear, jist give the fire a poke, an' 
make the kittle sing us a song. 'Tis the music we 
want most now." 

It would have been considered not only a rudeness, 
but an act of hauteur ^ to refuse this simple hospitality: 
so the girls seat themselves, and, indeed, to tell the 
truth, are rather glad than otherwise of this chance of 
securing their afternoon tea. 

■* An' how are the old ladies up above ?" says Mrs. 
Daly, meaning the Misses Blake. 

'* Quite well, thank you," says Monica. "It waa 
only yesterday Aunt Priscilla was saying she should 
come down and see old Mrs. Daly." 

" She's as welcome as the flowers in May whenever 
she comes," says the daughter-in-law. ^^D'jq hear that, , 
mother ? Miss Priscilla's comin' to see ye, some day ' 



R0S8M0YNE, 181 

Boon. Ay, 'tis a good friend she always was to the 
poor, summer an* winter ; an* isn't it wondherful now, 
Aliss Monica, how she's kept her figure all through? 
Why," raising her hands with an expressive gesture of 
astonishment, "'twas Friday week I saw her, an' ] 
said to meself, says I, she's the figure o' a young girl, 
I says. Ye'U take a taste o' this home-made cake, 
alanna." 

She is made happy forever by Kit's unmistakable 
enjoyment of this last-named luxury. 

"Ay, she's an iligant figure even now," says Mrs. 
Moloney, in her depressing voice. "But time an' 
throuble is cruel hard on some of us. I had a figure 
meself when I was young," with a heart-rending sigh. 

"Ye were always slight, me dear, an' ye're slight 
now too," says Mrs. Daly, tenderly. " I niver see the 
like o* ye for keepin' off the flesh. Why, I remember 
ye well as a slip o' a girl, before yer blessed babby was 
born, an' ye were a screed, me dear, — a screed." 

" Yes, I was always ginteel," ,says .Mrs. Moloney, 
openly consoled. Still she sighs, and sips her tea with 
H 'mournful air. Mrs. Daly is drinking hers with much 
appreciation out of her saucer, it being considered dis- 
courteous to offer anything to a guest without partak- 
ing of the same one's self. 

At this moment a little cooing sound coming from 
the other comer of the fireplace makes itself heard. 
Instantly the old woman stooping over the turf embers 
rouses herself, and, turning, puts out her withered hand 
lovingly towards what looks like a box covered with 
colored stuff of some sort. Young Mrs. Daly rises, too, 
precipitately, and, hurrying across the kitchen, benda 
over the box. 

" Ay, she's awake sure enough I" says the old womau, 
who has quite brightened into life. " See how she )ook« 
at ye, Molly I The colleen of the world, she wast 
asthore machree-sthig." 

Many another fond name is muttered, such as " pulse 
o my heart," and such like, before Mrs. Daly junior 
emerges from the supposed box, but not empty-handed. 

"Oh I it is the baby I" cry Monica and Kit. in a 



\ 



182 ROSSMOTNE, 

breath. "Oh I what a darling baby I and what red^ 
red cheeks, just like a June rose I" 

It is the only daughter of the house, so the mother 
is of course inordinately proud of it. She places it, 
with quite a little flourish of triumph, in Monica's arms, 
to Kit's terrible but unspoken disappointment. 

" She grows prettier every day. She is really the 
Bweetest baby I ever saw in my life I" says Monica, en- 
thusiastically, to whom babies are an endless joy. 

The mother is pleased beyond doubt at these com* 
pliments, yet a shade of anxiety crosses her brow. To 
praise a child too much, in the superstition of these 
simple folks, is to " overlook" it ; and when a child is 
" overlooked" it dies. The smile fades from Mrs. Daly's 
bonny face, and her mouth grows anxious. 

" You should say, * God bless her,' miss, when ye give 
her the good word," says Mrs. Moloney, timidly, who is 
also bending over the beloved bundle, and notes the 
distress in her neighbor's eyes. 

" God bless her !" says Monica, with pretty solemnity, 
after which the mother's face clears, and sunshine i6 
again restored to it. 

" I think she knows ye," she says to Monica. " See how 
she blinks at ye I Arrah ! look, now, how she clutches 
at yer hand I Will ye come to yer mother now, darlin', 
— will ye ? Sure 'tis starvin' ye must be, by this." 

" Oh I don't take her yet," says Monica, entreatingly. 

A little figure with naked legs and feet, creeping into 
the door-way at this moment, draws near the baby as if 
fascinated. It is Paudheen, the eldest son of the house, 
and baby's nurse, — save the mark I 

" Come nearer, Paddy," says Monica, smiling at him 
with sweet encouragement \ but Paddy stops short and 
regards her doubtfully. 

" Come, then, and kiss your little sister," continuee 
Monica, gently ; but Paddy is still obdurate, and de- 
clines to hearken to the voice of the charmer, charm 
she never so wisely. There is, indeed, a sad lack both 
of sweetness and light about Paddy. 

" An* what d'ye mane be standin* there, an' niver a 
word out o' ye in answer to the lady, ye ill-mannered 



ROSSMOYNE. l%% 

eaubogue?" cries his mother, deeply incensed. The 
laughter is idl gone from her face, and her eyes are 
aflame. " What brought ye in at all, ye ugly spalpeen, 
if ye came without a civil tongue in yer head ?" 

** I came to see the baby an' to get me dinner," says 
the boy, with hanging head, his silence arising more 
from shyness than sullenness. The potatoes have just 
beon lifted from the fire by Mrs. Moloney, and are 
steaming in a distant comer. Paudheen looks wistfully 
towards them. 

" Dickens a sign or taste ye'll get, then, if only to 
tache ye betther manners, fee off, now, an' don't let 
me see ye agin." 

" I'm hungry," says the boy, tears coming into his 
eyes. 

" Oh, Mrs. Daly I" says Monica, in a distressed tone. 

" A deal o' harm it will do him to be hungry, thin I" 
eays the culprit's mother, with an angry voice, but 
with visible signs of relenting in her handsome eyes. 
*' Be off wid ye, now, I tell ye." This is the last burst 
of the storm. As the urchin creeps crestfallen towards 
the door-way her rage dies, its death being as sudden 
as its birth. " Come back here !" she cries, inconsis- 
tently. " What d'ye mane be takin' me at me word 
like that ? Gome back, I tell ye, an' go an* ate some- 
thing, ye crathur. How dare ye behave as if I was a 
bad mother to ye ?" 

The boy comes back, and, raising his bonny head, 
smiles at her fondly but audaciously. 

"Look at him, now, the blackguard," says the 
mother, returning the smile in kind. " Was there ever 
the like of him ? Go an' ate yer praties now, and 
thank yer stars Miss Monica was here to say a good 
word for ye." 

Paddy, glad of his rescue, casts a shy glance at 
Monica, and then, going over to where his grand- 
mother and the pot of potatoes rest side by side, sits 
down (close cuddled up to the old dame) to fill his 
little empty stomach with as many of those esculent 
roots as he can manage, which, in truth, is the poor 
ohild's only dinner from year's end to year's end 



184 ROSSMOTNE. 

And yot it is a remarkable fact that, in spite of thu 
scanty fare, the Irish peasant, when come to man's 
estate, is ever strong and vigorous and well grown. 
And who shall say he hasn't done his queen good ser- 
vice, too, on many a battle-field ? and even in these 
latter days, when sad rebellion racks our land, has not 
his name been worthy of honorable mention on th« 
plains of Tel-el-Kebir? 

" I don't think he looks like a bad boy, Mrs. Daly,*' 
says Monica, reflectively, gazing at the liberated 
Paddy. 

"Bad, miss, is it?" says the mother, who, having 
made her eldest bom out a villain, is now prepared to 
maintain he is a veritable saint. "You don't know 
him, faix. Sure there niver was the like of him yet. 
He is a raal jewel, that gossoon o' mine, an' the light 
of his father's eyes. Signs on it, he'd die for DiJy ! 
There niver was sich a love betwixt father an' son. 
He's the joy o' my life, an' the greatest help to me. 
'Tis he minds the pig, an' the baby, an' ould granny 
there, an' everything. I'd be widout my right hand 
if I lost him." 

" But I thought you said " begins Monica, mys- 
tified by this change from righteous wrath to un- 
bounded admiration. 

" Arrah, niver mind what I said, acushla," says the 
younger Mrs. Daly, with an emphatic wink. " Sure 
'twas only to keep him in ordher a bit, I said it at all 
at all I But 'tis young he is yet, the crathur." 

^^Very young. Oh, Mrs. I)aly, look at baby I See 
how she is trying to get at my hair !" Monica is be- 

f inning in a delighted tone, — as though to have one's 
air pulled out by the roots is the most enchanting 
sensation in the world, — when suddenly her voice dies 
away into silence, and she herself stares with great 
open violet eyes at something that darkens the door- 
way and throws a shadow upon the assembled group 
within. 

It is Desmond I 

Kit, feeling as guilty as though she were the leading 
character in some conspiracy, colors crimson, and r% 



&OSSMOYNE, 185 

tireB behind Mrs. Moloney. She lowers her eyes, and 
is as mute as death. But Monica speaks. 

" Is it you ?" she says. Which, of course, is quite 
the silliest thing she can say, as he is standing there 
regarding her with eyes so full of life and love that 
the cleverest ghost could not copy them. But then 
she is not sillier than her fellows, for, as a* rule, all 
people, if you remark, say, " Is that you ?" or " Have 
you come ?" when they are actually looking into your 
face and should be able to answer the question for 
themselves. 

" Yes, it is," says Desmond, with such an amount of 
diffidence (I hope it wasn't assumed) as should have 
melted the heart of the hardest woman upon earth. 
Monica is not the hardest woman upon earth. 

Still, she makes him no further speech, and Desmond 
begins to wonder if he is yet forgiven. He is regard- 
ing her fixedly ; but she, after that first swift glance, 
has turned her attention upon the baby on her knee, 
and is seemingly lost in admiration of its little snub 
nose. Why will she not look at him ? What did he 
say to her last night that is so difficult to forgive? 
Can wrath be cherished for so long in that gentle 
bosom ? Her face is calm as an angePs ] surely 

" There's nothing Ul oan dwell in such a temple." 

"Ah! come in, Misther Desmond," says Mrs. Daly, 
hospitably. " I'm glad *tis company I have before ye 
the day. Maybe 'twill coax ye to come again. Where 
have ye been this week an' more ? Faix, ye were so 
long in comin', I thought 'twas angry wid me ye 
were." 

"Nobody is ever angry with a pretty woman like 
you," says Desmond, saucily. 

" Oh, now, hark to him I" says Mrs. Daly, laughing 
heartily. "I wonder ye aren't ashamed of yourself. 
An' is the ould Squire hearty ?" 

"He's as well as even you could wish him. How 
d'ye do. Kit ? Won't you come and speak to me ?" 

He has been afraid to shake hands with Monica up 
t: this, but now she turns suddenly towards him and 

16* 



186 ROSSMOYNE. 

holds out to him one slender fair hand, the other being 
twined round the baby. She does this musingly. 

He grasps the little snowy hand with almost senile de* 
light, and holds it for — as long as he dares. During this 
undefined period he tells himself what a perfect picture 
she is, witn her clear,^ pale, beautiful face, and her nut- 
brown hair, and the tender sweetness of her attitude, 
as she bends over the smiling baby. Could any vaunted 
Madonna be half as lovely ? At this moment a grow- 
ing contempt for all the greatest masterpieces of the 
greatest masters permeates his being and renders him 
weak in faith. 

" Won't ye sit down, thin ?" says Mrs. Daly. Being 
a woman, she grasps the situation at a glance, and 
places a chair for him close to Monica. "What's the 
matther wid ye to-day, Misther Desmond, that ye 
haven't a word to ffive us ?" 

" You ought to know what I'm thinking of," says 
Desmond, accepting the chair, and drawing it even a 
degree closer to Monica. 

"Faix, thin, I don't," says Mrs. Daly junior, her 
handsome face full of smiles. A love-aifair is as good 
as a saint's day to an Irish peasant ; and here she tells 
berself, with a glance at Monica, is one ready-made to 
her hand. 

" I'm thinking what a lucky man Daly is," says Des- 
mond, promptly. 

" Oh, git along wid ye now, an' yer blarney I" says 
Mrs. Daly, roaring with laughter; whilst even Mrs 
Moloney the dismal, and the old granny in the corner 
chime in merrily. 

And then the visit comes to a close, and they all nse 
and bid Mrs. Daly and the others "good-by j" and Mon- 
ica, mindful of his late affliction, bestows a soft parting 
word upon the subdued Paddy. 

And now they are all in the open air again, and, turn- 
ing down the boreen that leads to the Dalys' homestead, 
reacih the road that leads to Moyne. It is Desmond's 
way as well as theirs, so he accompanies the girls with* 
out remark. 

" What brought you to see the Dalys, to-day ?" aski 



ROSSMOTNE. 187 

Monica, su^enly, without any ulterior meaning beyond 
the desire (of making conversation ; but to Kit's guilty 
soul this question seems fraught with^ mischief. 

" Oh, I often go to see Daly. I want him to come 
fishing with me to-morrow : he's the best man about 
here for that, and trudges behind one for miles without 
complaining/' 

« Poor Daly I" 

" Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit to-day," says 
Kit, blithely, glancing at him mischievously from be- 
neath her broad hat. 

" There was a drawback," says Brian, unthinkingly. 
" I went there full of hope, and, after all, she never 
offered me any of your pudding I" 

Tableau I 

Kit's agonized glance and Monica's questioning eyes 
awake Wr. Desmond to a knowledge of what he has 
done. 

"How did you hear of Kit's pudding ?" asks Monica, 
looking keenly from Brian to Kit, and then back again. 

" Oh I — the pudding," stammers Desmond. 

" There I don't commit yourself," says Monica, in a 
tone that trembles. " Oh, Kit I" 

Both culprits are afraid to look at her. Does the 
tremble mean tears, or anger, or what? Perhaps 
horror at their duplicity, or contempt. Is she hope- 
lessly angered ? 

Then a suppressed sound reaches their ears, creating 
a fresh panic in their breasts. Is she positively choking 
with indignation ? Cautiously, anxiously, they glance 
at her, and find, to their everlasting relief, that she is 
convulsed with laughter. 

" When next you meditate forming a brilliant plot 
such as this," she says to Kit, " I think I should look 
out a more trustworthy accomplice if I were you." 

" Catch me having a secret with him again," says Kit, 
now her fears are appeased, turning wrathfully upon 
Desmond. 

" I quite forgot all about it, I did, indeed, ' exclaims 
he, penitently. " Forgive me this time, aijd I'll promise 
never to do it again." 



188 ROSSMOYNE. 

" Aiid 1*11 promise you you. shan't have the chance* 
says Kit, with fervor. 

" Why was I to be deceived?" says Monica. "1 
think I have been very basely treated. If you, Kit, 
desired a clandestine meeting with Mr. Desmond, I 
don't see why I was to be drawn into it. And it was a 
stupid arrangement, too : two is compan' \ three trum- 
pery. I know, if 1 had a lover, I should prefer " 

" Monica I" says Kit, indignantly ; but Monica onlj 
laughs the more. 

" It is my turn now, you know," she says. 

" Kit had nothing to do with it : it was all my fault," 
says Desmond, laughing too. ** If you must pour out 
the vials of your wrath on some one, let it be on me." 

" Yes, give him a good scolding, Monica," says Kit, 
viciously, but with a lovely smile. **I am going to 
pick some ferns for Aunt Pen ; when I return 1 hope I 
shall find that recreant knight of yours — I mean mine 
— at the point of death I" 

At this she flits away from them, like the good little 
thing she is, up a sloping bank, and so into the fields 
beyond, until Desmond and Monica are as much alone 
as if a whole sphere divided them from their kind. Dear 
little Kit I When her own time comes may she b© afl 
kindly dealt with I 

" You are angry with me stiU, — about last night," 
says Desmond, softly, " and, I own, with cause, fiut 1 
was hiiserable when I called you a coquette, and miseiy 
makes a man unjust. I wrote to Kit this morning,— 
I was afraid to write to you, — and she was very good 
to me." 

" How good ?" plucking a leaf from a brier, as she 
goes slowfy — very slowly — dowm the road. 

"She brought me you. Do you know, Monicl^ 1 
have been as unhappy as a man can be since last I sft^ 
you, — a whole night and part of a day ? Is it not 
punishment enough ?" 

" Too much for your crime," whispers she, softly, 
turning suddenly towards him and letting her gret* 
luminous eyes rest with forgiveness upon his. She 
smiles sweetly, but with some timidity, because of the 



ROSSMOYNE. 189 

ardor of the glance that answers hers. Taking her 
hand with an impulsive movement impossible to re- 
strain, Desmond presses it raptaroasly to his lips. 
Drawing it away from him with shy haste, Monica 
walks on in silence. 

" If I had written to you, and not to her, would you 
•till have been here to-day?" asks he, presently. 

"I think not." 

" Thi-t is a cruel answer, is it not ?" 

" Would you have me belie my nature ?" asks she, 
with quick agitation ; " would you have me grow 
fidse, secret, deceitful ? My aunts trust me : am I to 
prove myself unworthy of their confidence ?" 

"I am less to you, then, than your aunts' dis-' 
pleasure !" 

"You are less to me than my conscience; and 
yet " 

With a violent effort, that betrays how far her 
thoughts have been travelling in company with his, she 
brings herself back to the present moment, and a recol- 
lection of the many reasons why she must not listen to 
his wooing. " Why should you believe yourself any- 
thing to me ?" she asks, in a voice that quivers audibly. 

" Ah, why, indeed ?" returns he, bitterly. There is 
such pain in his voice and face that her soul yearns 
towards him, and she repents her of her last words. 

" I am wrong. You are something to me," she savs, 
in a tone so low that he can scarcely hear it. But 
lovers* ears are sharp. 

" You mean that, Monica ?" 

" Yes," still lower. 

" Then why cannot I be more to you ? Why am 1 
to be denied a chance of forwarding the cause in which 
all my hopes are centred ? Monica, say you will meet 
me somewhere — soon^ 

" How can I ?" she says, tremulously. Her voice is 
full of tears. She is altogether different from the 
coquettish, provoking child of last night. " You forget 
all I have just now said." 

"At least tell me, then," says he, sadly, "that if you 
ooold you would." 



190 ROSSMOYNB. 

There is a pathetic ring in his tone, and tears rise to 
her eyes. Can anything be so hopeless as this love* 
affair of hers ? 

" Yes, I would," she says, almost desperately. 

" Oh, darling—^arZm^ /" says the young man with 

Eassion. He holds her hands closely, and looks into 
er troubled eyes, and wishes he might dare take her 
into his arms and, pressing her to his heart, ask her to 
repeat her words again. But there is something in the 
calm purity of herT)eautiful face that repels vehemence 
of any sort ; and as yet — although the dawn is near— 
her love has not declared itself to her own soul in all 
its strength. 

" I have at least one consolation," he says, at last, 
calling to mind the quietude that surrounds Moyne 
and its inhabitants, and the withdrawal from society 
that has obtained there for many years. " As you are 
not allowed to see me, — except on such rare occasions 
as the present when the Fates are kind, — you cannot at 
least see any one efee,— often, that is." 

"Meaning? " 

" Eyde." 

She lau^s a little, and then colors. 

" Aunt Friscilla has asked him to come to Moyne 
next Friday," she says, looking at the ground : " she 
is giving an At Home on that day, for him and Cap- 
tain Coobett. She says she feels it is a duty to her 
<iueen to show some attention to her servants." 

In her tone, as she says this, there is a spice of 
that mischief that is never very fai from any pretty 
woman. 

" He is to be invited to Moyne, — ^to spend an entire 
day with you I" says Desmond, thunderstruck by this 
last piece of news. 

" Oh, no 1 only part of it," says Kouica, meekly. 

" It is just as bad. It is disgraceful I Your aunt« 
are purposely encouraging him to keep you away froiD 
me. Oh, WJAy," wretchedly, "should this unlucky quar- 
rel have arisen between ^ur house and yours ?" 

" "Well, that's your fault," says Monica. 

"Mine?" 



ROSSMOTNE, IM 

" Your uncle's, then. It is all the sin.e," unjustly. 

" I really can't see that,^* says Mr. Desmond, very 
ighteously agrieved ; " that is visiting the sins of the 
mcles upon tne nephews with a vengeance ! Monica, 
.t least promise me you won't be civu to him." 

** To your uncle ?" 

" Nonsense I You know I mean Eyde." 

" I can't be rude to him." 

" You can. Why not ? It will keep him from call- 
ng again." 

sSo answer. 

" Oh, I dare say you want him to call again," says 
)esmond, angrily. 

At this moment, the gates of Moyne being in sight, 
,nd those of Coole long passed, Kit suddenly appears 
•n the top of a high stone wall, and calls gayly to 
>esmond to come and help her to alight. 

"And now go away too," she says: "you are for- 
ddden goods, you know, and we must not be seen 
alking to you, under pain of death." 

" Good-by," says Desmond, with alacrity, who is, in 
ruth, sulky, and undesirous of further parley with his 
)eloved. " Good-by, Miss Beresford." 

" Good-by," says Monica, shortly. 

" We shall see you again soon, no doubt," says Kit, 
dndly, in her clear, sweet treble. 

" I think it very improbable," returns he, raising his 
lat gravely and taking his departure. 

" STow, what have you been saying to that wretched 
jroung man, Monica ?" says Kit, severely, standing still 
n the middle of the road, the better to bring her sister 
3eneath the majesty of her eye. 

"Nothing. Nothing that any reasonable being could 
>bject to^*' declares Monica, with such an amount of 
Tigor as startles Kit. "But of all the ill-tempered, 
bearish, detestable men I ever met in my life, he is the 
worst'' 

Which unlooked-for explosion from the gen ie Monict 
Has the effect of silencing Kit for the remainder of the 
walk. 



192 MOaSMOrWE. 



CHAPTBK XV, 

How the Misses Blake disooyer a gigantic fraiv — How Terenoe if 
arraigned, and brought before the Court on a charge of daplieity— »'*'** 
kow he is nearly committed for contempt. 

Beaohinq home, they find the atmosphere there d^ 
cidedly clouded. Miss Priscilla, who has returned froir^ci 
her drive just a moment before, is standing in the haUy 
gazing with a stern countenance upon the old-fashion&<] 
eight-day clock, in which two or three people might V>^ 
safely stowed away. The clock regards her not at aXl, 
but ticks on loudly with a sort 3f exasperating obst>iL- 
nacy, as though determined to remind every one of 
the flight of time. 

"Who has wound this clock?" demands Miss Pris- 
cilla, in an awful tone. With a thrill of thankftdn&^Mi 
the girls feel they can answer truthfully, " Not I.'' 

"Bear me I" says Miss Penelope, timidly, advanciri^^ 
from the morning-room; "7 did. You were so lorrn.^ 
out, Priscilla, and I feared — I mean, I thought it woii^Xa 
save you the trouble." 

" Trouble in winding a clock ! What trouble eoii.^d 
there be in that? And it is never wound until SatuM^x- 
day evening. For twenty years I have wound it ^i^n 
Saturday evening. A good eight-day clock nearly fif^ y 
years old can't bear being tampered with. Now, E^o- 
nelope, why did you do that ? You know I can't endm^^i^ 
old rules to be upset." 

"But, my dear Priscilla, I only thought as 1 yr^^^ 
passing " 

" You thought, Penelope ; but I wish you tDoutc^-^^*^ 
think. There are other things you ought to thi:«3lf 
about that you often neglect ; and " 

" Now, Priscilla, is that just ? I think — ^I Tiope I ^^ 
dom neglect my duty ; and I mutt say I didn't exp^^ 
this from yow." 

Here Miss Penelope dissolves into tears, to Honioii'i 
grief and dismay. 



R088M0TNE. IM 

^ Oh, Aunt i^riscilla, I am sure Aunt Pen only meant 
«ave you trouble," she says, earnestly, putting her 
Q8 round Miss Penelope, who sobs audibly on her 
mlder. 

*And who says I thought anything else?" says poor 
IBS Priscilla, fiercely, though her voice trembles with 
lotion : it is terrible to her to see her faithful friend 
id sister in tears of her causing. " Penelope, I meant 
rtbing, but I have heard something that has grieved 
id disturbed me : so I must needs come home and 
''enge my ill temper on the best creature in the world, 
las I I am a wicked woman." 

" Oh, no, no," cries Miss Penelope. " My dear Pris- 
Ua, you will break my heart if you talk thus. My 
K)d soul, come in here and tell me what has happened 
distress you." 

In truth, it is quite plain now that something has 
.ppened during her drive to take Miss Priscilla's well- 
Janced mind off its hinges. 

" Where is Terence ?" she asks, looking from one to 
her of the group in the hall. 

" Here," says Terence himself, coming leisurely to- 
irds her from a side-passage. 

"Come in here with me," says Miss Priscilla; and 
ey all follow her into the morning-room. 
Here she turns and faces the unconscious Terence 
th a pale, reproachful face. 

** When I tell you I have just come from Mitson the 
BSt-guard, and that I thanked him for having lent you 
8 gun, you will understand how I have been grieved 
<i pained to-day," she says, a tremor in her voice. 
Terence is no longer unconscious j and Monica feels 
at her heart is beating like a lump of lead. 
**OhI what is it, Priscilla?" asks Miss Penelope, 
eatly frightened. 

'*A tale of craft and cunning," says Miss Priscilla, in 
hollow tone. "Mitson tells me he never lent him 
at gun. Terence has wilfully deceived us, his poor 
nts, who love him and only desire his good. He has, 
Pear, basely mystified us to accomplish his own ends^ 
id has indeed departed from the precious truth." 
In 17 



1^4 ROSSMOYNE, 

" 1 never said Mitson did lend it to me," says Ter 
enee, sullenly : " you yourself suggested the idea, and 1 
let it slide, that was all." 

"All! Is not prevancation only a mean lie? Oh, 
Terence, I am so deeply grieved ! I know not what to 
say to you." 

The scene is becoming positivelv tragical. Already 
a sense of crime of the blackest and deepest dye is ove^ 
powering Terence. 

" Whom did you get that gun from, Terence ?" asks 
Miss Priscilla, sternly. 

No answer. 

" Now, Terence, be calm," says Miss Penelope. " Sit 
down now, Terence, and collect yourself, and don't be 
untruthful again." 

" I have told no lie, aunt," says Terence, indignantly. 

" Then tell your good aunt Priscilla who gave you 
the gun;" 

Dead silence. 

" Are we to understand that you worCt tell us, Ter- 
ence?" asks Miss Priscilla, faintly. She is now much 
the more nervous of the two old maids. 

Terence casts a hasty glance at Monica's white face, 
and then says, stoutly, — 

" I don't want to tell, and I won't T 

" Terence I" exclaims the usually mild Miss Penelope, 
with great indignation, and is going to further relieve 
her mind, no doubt, when Miss Priscilla, throwing up 
her hand, checks her. 

" Let him alone, Penelope," she says, sadly. " Perhaps 
he has some good reason : let us not press him too far. 
Obduracy is better than falsehood. Let us go and pray 
that heaven may soften his heart and grant him a right 
understanding." 

With this the two old ladies walk slowly and with 
dignity from the room, leaving the criminal with his 
sisters. 

Monica bursts into tears and flings her arms round 
his neck. " You did it for me, I know it ! — I saw it 
in your eyes," she says. " Oh, Terence, I feel as if i1 
was all my fault." 



ROSSMOVNE. 195 

•' Fiddlesticks I" says Mr. Beresford, who is in a boil- 
ing rage. '^Did you ever hear anything like her? and 
all about a paltry thing like that I She couldn't behave 
worse if I had been convicted of murder. I'm con- 
vinced" — ^viciously — "it was all baffled curiosity that 
got up her temper. She was dying to know about that 
gun, and so I was determined I wouldn't gratify her. 
A regular old cat, if ever there was one." 

" Oh, no I don't speak like that ; I am sure they lovo 
you — and they were disappointed — and " 

" They'll have to get through a good deal of disappoint- 
ment," says Terence, still fuming. " What right have 
they to make me out a Sir Galahad in their imagina- 
tions ? I'd perfectly fiate to be a Sir Galahad ; and so I 
tell them." This is not strictly correct, as the Misses 
Blake are out of hearing. " And as for their love, they 
may keep it, if it only means blowing a fellow up for 
nothing." 

"Aunt Penelope was just as bad," says Kit. "I 
really" — with dignified contempt — " felt quite ashamed 

nt m * * * * * 

Miss Priscilla keeps a diary, in which she most 
fiiithfully records all that happens in every one of the 
three hundred and sixty-five davs of every year. 

About this time there may be seen in it an entry 
such as follows : 

"Saturday, July 3. — I fear Terence told a lie! Ho 
certainly equivocated I Penelope and I have done our 
best to discover the real owner of the sun, but as yet 
have failed. The secret rests with Terence, and to 
force his confidence would be unchristian ; but it may 
transpire in ifime." 

After this come sundry other jottings, such as — 
'^Monday, July 5. — Past four. Fanny Stack called 
Penelope in the garden, as usual. All the trouble of 
entertaining falling upon my hands. Still, I do not 
repine. Providence is good ; and Penelope of course, 
dear soul, should be allowed the recreation that per- 
tains to her garden. And, indeed, a sweet place she 
makes of it." 



196 R08SM0TNE. 

After this a^ain comes a third paragraph : 

" Tuesday^ July 6. — Terence again most wilful, and 

Kit somewhat saucy ; yet my heart yearns over these 

children. God grant they be guided by a tender hand 

along the strait and narrow way !" 

******* 

It is the next day, July 7, and the two Misses Blake, 
standing in the dining-room, are discussing Terence 
again. They have had a ffreat shock, these two old 
ladies, in the discovery of a duplicity that they in 
their simplicity have magnified fourfold. How is it 
possible they should remember how they felt thirty 
years ago ? 

^^ I doubt we must keep a tight hand upon him, 
Penelope,*' says Miss Priscilla, sorrowfully. "The 
rector is very lax. He goes to him day by day, 
but beyond Greek and Latin seems to imbibe little 
else. And morals are the groundwork of all, and 
surely superior to the languages spoken by those 
who believed in heathen gods. I wonder at the 
rector, I must say. But we must only make up for 
his deficiencies by keeping a tight hand, as I said 
before, upon this unhappy boy." 

" Yes, but not too tight, Priscilla : that might only 
create a rebellious feeling and destroy all our chances 
of success. And we are bent on leading this poor dear 
boy (poor Katherine*s boy, Priscilla) into the way of 
truth." 

" Yes, yes ; we must be cautious, most cautious, in 
our treatment," says Miss Priscilla, nervously, " and 
very careful of his comings and goings, without a'p- 
gearing to be so I Dear me ! dear me ! I wonder if the 
greatness of our cause justifies so much deceit. It 
rounds Jesuitical, my dear Penelope, say what we can." 

" The end justifies the means," says Miss Penelope, 
as solemnly as if this speech emanated from her throat 
as an original remark. 

" Oh, don't, my dear Penelope I" says Miss Priscilla, 
with a shudder: "that is their principal argument." 

"Whose? The children's?" asks Miss Penelope, 
startled. 



nOSSMOYNE. 197 

" No ; the Jesuits, — the Inquisitors, — those dreadful 
people we read of in * Westward Ho,*" says Miss 
rriscilla, protestingly. "Still, I agree with you; se- 
crecy is the part we have to play. We must keep one 
eye" (as if there was only one between them) " upon 
him without seeming to do so. And there he is," 
— pointing through the window to where Terence 
may be seen coming slowly towards the window in 
which they stand in a most unhappy frame of mind. 

" I wonder where he can have been for the past 
half-hour," says Miss Priscilla, presently, in a nervous 
whisper, though Terence is so far off that if she spoke 
at the top of her lungs he could not have heard her. 

" Perhaps if we ask him he may tell us," says Miss 
Penelope, equally nervous and decidedly with great 
doubt as to the success of her suggestion. 

" Well, you ask him," says Miss JPriscilla. 

" I am greatly wanting in force on occasions such as 
these," says Miss Penelope, hurriedly. " No, no, my 
dear ; you ask him. But be gentle with him, my deai 
Priscilla." 

" Why can't you do it ?" persists Miss Blake, plainly 
anxious to shift the obnoxious task from her own 
shoulders to another's. "You have great influence 
with the children, I have remarked many times." 

"Nothing to yours,'' says Miss Penelope, with an 
agitated wave of her hand. " I couldn't do it ; indeed 
I couldn't, my dear Priscilla," openly quaking. " Don't 
ask me. See, here he comes I Now be firm, — be^rm, 
Priscilla, but lenient, very lenient : he is only a boy, re- 
member, and even the great Luther was strangely 
wanting in principle when young." 

"It is my duty: I suppose I must go through with 
it," says poor Miss Priscilla, sighing; and then she 
throws wide the window and calls to Terence to come 
to her. 

"Where have you been, Terence?" 

" At the back gate, aunt." 

" But, my dear Terence, why at the back gate ? Such 
a nice day for a ffood long wholesome walk I Why 
spend it at the back gate ?" 

17* 



198 JtOSSMOriTE. 

" Because — that is — I " 

" My dear boy, be calm. Wait a moment now, Ter* 
ence, and don't hurry yourself. There is no occasion 
tor haste." 

" I was only going to say, aunt " 

"Pause now, Terence: consider well before yon 
speak. Though, indeed, there should be no need for 
consideration when only the simple but lovely truth is 
required. Truth is always lovely, Terence; it is a 
flower of great beauty. Collect yourself, now." (This 
is a favorite formula with the liusses Blake.) " Don't 
tell a lie, Terence!" 

"Whv should I tell a lie?" says Terence, fiercely, 
feeling at this moment that death, when compared 
with nagging, would be sweet. 

" Oh, Terence, what a tone I and to your good aunt 
Penelope, who loves you ! Such a tone as that, my 
dear, is unchristian. Now, we don't want to know 
what you were doing at the back gate. Why should 
you be afraid of us ? Are we not your greatest friends? 
But what could you have been doing for half an houi 
at the back gate, Terence ?" 

" I went up there with Michael, aunt." 

" I didn't ask you that, dear. I am afraid you have 
no confidence in us, Terence. I didn't ask you who 
went with you. Can't you say yes or no, Terence? 
Were you long at the gate ?" 

"No, aunt." 

" Was any one but Michael with you ?" 

"Yes, aunt." 

"Was it Adams?" 

"No, aunt." 

"Can't you say anything but yes or no, Terence T 
Have you no command of the Queen's English, after 
all the money, too, your poor father wasted on your 
education, — and now the rector ? Speak up, ray dear 
child, and tell us everything honestly and nobly." 

" But there is nothing to tell, aunt, except that " 

" Now, collect yourself, Terence ; take time, my^lear. 
iVbtr, answer me : who was with you, besides Michael f 

" Timothy, aunt." 



ROSSMOyjNE. 199 

The boary-headed butlor being, like CsBsar's wife, 
al)Ove suspicion, the Misses Blake are pulled up pretty 
short, — so short, indeed, that they forget to ask if any 
one besides the respectable Timothy was at the obnox- 
ious back gate. Perhaps had they known that the 
smith's son, and two or three ether young men, had 
been there, and tbat all had been talking the most 
violent politics, their fears for Terence's morality would 
have increased rather than diminished. 

As it is, they are well pleased. 

" But why didn't you say that at once, my dear boy Y 
We are so afraid of your mixing with evil companions." 

Terence thinks of the smith's son, and his unqualified 
opinion that all landlords and aristocrats and sovereigns 
should be " stamped out," and wonders if he would come 
under the category of evil companions, but he wisel} 
refrains from speech. 

" And," says Miss Penelope, softly, " why didn't you 
tell us before leaving the house where you were going ? 
I am sure, if you had, both your aunt Priscilla and I 
would have been delighted to go with you, busy though 
we were." 

This is the climax. Again in Terence's fevered 
imagination the smith's son arises, wielding his brawny 
brown arm like a sledge-hammer, as he noisily lays 
down the laws of extermination : he can see himself, 
too, joining in the fray, and defying the smith's son's 
opinion with an eloquence of which he had been only 
proud. He feels he is deceiving these two old ladies, 
and is angry with himself for doing it, and still more 
angry with them for making him do it. 

" I am glad we have heard the truth at last, Terence," 
9ays Miss Priscilla. " There is nothing so mean or con- 
temptible as a lie." 

" You are enough. to make any fellow tell a lie," burstp 
out Terence, with miserable rage, " with your question 
ings and pryings I" 

At this awful speech, the two Misses Blake burst int< 
tears, and Terence dashes in a fury from the room. 



800 ROSSMOriTE. 



CHAPTER XYI. 

How the afternoon at Moyne proves a great snocess — How (ga Bdhoi 
is led into a half confession, and how Monica, growing rest leaf, leekl 
a dubioas solitude. 

" It is quite the loveliest old place in the world !*' sayi 
Mrs. Bohun, in her soft plaintive voice, speaking very 
enthusiastically. " We ought to be more than grateful 
to you, dear Miss Blake, for letting us see it." 

Miss Priscilla reddens with suppressed satisfaction, 
but says, — 

'* Tut tut, my dear I It is only a funny old-fashioned 
spot, after all," in quite an off-hand manner. 

It is Friday, — the Friday, — as the Misses Blake have 
been thinking of it for days, in fear and trembling, as 
being the date of their first hospitable venture for many 
years. 

All the Aghyohillbeg party, and the men from Clon- 
bree Barracks, and some other neighbors, are strolling 
through the sweet antiquated girdens of Moyne, hedged 
with yews fantastically cut. The roses, white and red 
and yellow, are nodding their heads lazily, bowing and 
courtesying to the passing breeze. The stocks and mig- 
nonette are filling the air with perfume. Tall lilies are 
smiling from distant corners, and the little merry burn, 
tumbling over its gray boulders through the garden, is 
singing a loud and happy song, in which the birds in 
the trees above join heartily. 

The lazy hum of many insects makes one feel even 
more perceptibly how drowsy-sweet is all the summer 
air. 

Mrs. Bohun has now flitted away with Monica, who 
m her white gown looks the prettiest flower of all, ir 
this " wilderness of sweets," with the tall, infatuated 
Hyde and handsome young Eonayne in their train. 
Mrs. Bohun, who is in one of her most mischievous 
moods to-day, has taken it into her head to snub Lord 
Bossmoyne and be all that is of the sweetest to Ulio 



ROSSMOFNE. 201 

JElonayne, a proceeding her cousin, Mi's. Herrick, regards 
with dismay. 

Not so, however, does Bella Fitzgerald regard it. She, 
tall, and with a would-be stately air, walks through the 
grounds at Lord Eossmoyne's side, to whom she has 
attached herself, and who, f ante de mieuXy makes himself 
as agreeable as he can to her, considering how he is 
inwardly raging at what he is pleased to term Olga'a 
disgraceful behavior. 

Miss Priscilla has now been seized upon by Madam 
O'Connor and carried off for a private confab. 

" And you really must let her come to us for a week, 
my dear," says Madam O'Connor, in her fine rich brogue. 
" Yes, now, really I want her. It will be quite a favor. 
I can't withstand a pretty face, as you well know : 'tis 
a weakness of mine, my dear, and she is really a pearl. 
Olga Bohun is talking of ^rotting up tableaux or some 
such nonsense, and she wmas your pretty child to h«lp 
us." 

" I should like her to go to you. It is very kind of 
you," says Miss Priscilla, but with unmistakable hesita- 
tion. 

"Now, what is it? Out with it, Priscilla!" says 
Madam O'Connor, bluntly. 

Miss Priscilla struggles with herself for yet another 
minute, and then says, quickly, — 

" That young man Desmond, — will he be staying in 
your house ?" 

" Not if you oWect, my dear," says Mrs. O'Connor, 
kindly ; " though I do think it is a pity to thwart that 
affair. He is as nice and as pleasant a young fellow as 
I know, and would make a jewel of a husband ; and 
money — say what you like, my dear Priscilla — is alwaj s 
something. It ranks higher than revenge.'' 

" There is no revenge. It is only a just resentment." 

" Well, I'll call it by any name you like, my dear, but 
T must say " 

" I must beg, Gertrude, you will not discuss this un- 
happy subject," says Miss Priscilla, with son: ^ agita- 
tion. 

*• Well, I won't, then. There let it lie," says Madaic 



202 R0S8M0YNE, 

O'Connor, good-humoredly. "And tell me, row, if I 
come over to fetch Monica on Monday, wiL she le 
ready for me ?" 

" Quite ready. But we have not consulted her yet," 
says Miss Priscilla, clinging to a broken reed. 

" Olga is talking to her about it. And, if she's the 
girl she looks^ she'll be glad of a change, and the chance 
of a sweetheart," says Madam O'Connor, gayly. 

4e 4e ' ♦ 4: ♦ * * 

•* What lovely lilies I" says Mrs. Bohun, standing be- 
fore a tall white group. 

" Oh, don't !" says Owen Kelly, who has joined her 
and Monica. "Whenever I hear a lily mentioned 1 
think of Oscar Wilde, and it hurts very much." 

"I like Oscar Wilde. He is quite nice, and very 
amusing," says Olga. 

** I wonder if I could make my hair grow," says Mr. 
Kelly, meditatively. "He's been very clever about 
his ; but I suppose somebody taught him." 

"Well, I think long hair is dirty," says Mrs. Bohun, 
with an abstracted glance at Eonayne's lightly-shaven 
head. 

Then, as though tired of her sweet role and of its ob- 
ject (Eonayne) and everything, she turns capriciously 
aside, and, motioning away the men with her hand and 
a small frown, sits down at Hermia Herrick's feet and 
plucks idly at the grasses near her. 

"So we are dismissed," says Kelly, shrugging bin 
shoulders. Monica has disappeared long ago with the 
devoted Eyde. "Your queen has her tempers, Ro- 
nayne." 

" There are few things so cloying as perfection," says 
Konayne, loyally. 

" I entirely agree with you, — so much so that I hope 
Providence will send me an ugly wife. She — I beg 
your pardon — Mrs. Bohun does pretty much what she 
likes with you, doesn't she ?" 

" Altogether what she likes. She's been doing it for 
so long now that I suppose she'll go on to the end of 
the chapter. I hope it will be a long one. Do you 
know," says the young man, with a rather sad little 



ROSSMOYNE. 203 

laugh, " it sounds of course rather a poor thing to say, 
but I really think it makes me happy, being done what 
she likes with ?" 

" It is only to oblige a friend that I should seek to 
understand such a hopelessly involved sentence as that/* 
says Mr. Kelly, wearily. "But I have managed it. 
You're as bad a case as ever I came across, Eonayne, 
and I pity you. But, *pon my soul, I respect you too," 
with a flash of admiration : " there is nothing like being 
thoroughly in earnest. And so I wish you luck in your 
wooing." 

" You're a very good fellow, Kelly," says Eonayne, 
gratefully. 

In the mean time, Olgu, tiring of tearing her grasses 
to pieces, looks up at Hermia. 

" How silent you are I" she says. 

"I thought that was what you wanted, — silence. 
You have been talking all day. And, besides, if I speak 
at all, it will be only to condemn .1* 

" Nevertheless speak. Anything is better than this 
ghastly quiet ; and, besidep, frankly, I need not mind 
you, you know." 

" You are flirting disgracefully with that Eonayne 
boy." 

"What harm, if he w a boy?" 

" He is not such a boy as all that comes to ; and, if 
you don't mean it, you are overkind to him." 

" He is my baby," says Olga, with a little laugh ; " 1 
often tell him so. Why should I not be kind to him ?" 

" Oh, if you are bent on it I" 

" I am bent on nothing. You do run away so with 
things !" 

"I think you might do better." 

"I'm not going to do anything," says the widow. 
She throws off her hat, and ruffles up all her ])retty 
pale gold hair with impatient fingers. 

" Oh I if you can assure me of thtit I" 

" I don't want to assure you of anything." 

" So I thought. That is why I say you might do 
better." 

" I might do worse, too." 



204 ROSSMOTNE. 

" Perhaps. But still I cannot forget there was W 
verhampton last year. A title is not to be despised; 
and he was devoted to you, and would, I think, ha^e 
made a good husband." 

"I dare say. He was fool enough for anything. 
And I liked hfra, rather; but there was something in 
him — wasn't there, now, Hermia? — something posi- 
tively enraging at times." 

"I suppose, then, your fancy for young Eonayne 
arises fi om the fact that there is nothing in him," says 
Hermia^ maliciously: "that's his charm, is it?" 

Mrs. Bohun laughs. 

" I don't suppose there is very much in him," she 
says : " that in itself is such a relief. Wolverhampton 
was so overpowering about those hydraulics. XJlic 
isn't a savant, certainly, and I don't think he will ever 
set the Liffey afire, but he is ' pleasant too to think 
on.* Now, mind you, I don't believe I care a pin 
about, Ulic Eonayne, — he is younger than I am, for 
one thing, — but still I don't care to hear him abused." 

" I am not abusing him," says Hermia. " It was 
you said he was no savant, and would be unlikely to 
set the Liffey afire." 

" For which we should be devoutly grateful," saya 
Olga, frivolously. "Consider, if he could, what the 
consequences would be, both to life and property. 
Poor young man I I really think Government ought 
to give him a pension because he can'V* 

" And what about all the other young men ?" asks 
Hermia. And then she yawns. 

Here Monica — who has been absent with Mr. Eyde 
for the best part of an hour — comes up to them, and 
presently Terence, with the Fitzgeralds. and Miss 
Priscilla and Lord Eossmoyne. 

" I heard a story yesterday I want to tell you," 
says Terence, gayly, singling out Miss Fitzgerald and 
Olga, and sinking upon the grass at the former's feet 
He is such a handsome mern^ boy that he is a favorite 
with all the women. Miss Priscilla stands near him ; 
the others are all conversing together about the 
coming plays at Aghyohillbeg. 



JiOSSMOlNE. 205 

"It is about the curate," says Terence, gleefully. 
.** You know, he is awful spoons on the ugliest Ffrench 
girl, and the other day he wanted to run up to Dublin 
to get her a ring, or something, but " 

" Now, Terence, dear, surely that is not the way to 
pronounce that word," says Miss Priscilla, anxiously ; 
"such a vulgar pronunciation — *bu-ut.'. How you 
drawled it I How ugly it" sounds — * bu-ut I* Now put 
vour lips together like mine, so, and say ^ but,' shortly. 
Now begin your story again, and tell it nicely." 

Terence begins again, — very good-humoredly, th'nks 
Olga, — and has almost reached the point, when Miss 
Priscilla breaks in again : 

" Now, not so fast, my dear Terence. I really can- 
not follow you at all. I don't even understand what 
you are at. Gently, my dear boy. Now begin it all 
over again, and be more explicit." 

But the fun is all out of Terence by this time, 
though Olga is so convulsed with laughter that it 
might have been the best story on record, which 
somewhat astonishes though it consoles Terence, as 
when his funny incident is related in a carefully modu- 
lated voice, and with a painful precision, it strikes 
even him as being hopelessly uninteresting. How- 
ever, Mrs. Bohun certainly enjoys it, — or something 
else, perhaps: fortunately, it. never occurs to Terry 
to ponder on the " something else." 

"Hermia, Olga, come now, my dears. You can't 
stay here for ever, you know," cries Madam O'Connor's 
loud but cheery voice. " It is nearly seven. Come, I 
tell ypu, or the Misses Blake, our good friends here, 
will think we mean to take up our residence at Moyne 
for good." 

"Oh, now, Gertrude I" says Miss Priscilla, much 
shocked. But Madam O'Connor only laughs heartily, 
and gives her a little smart blow on the shoulder with 
her fan. Olga laughs too, gayly, and Hermia lets hei 
lips part with one of her rare but perfect smiles. If 
she likes any one besides Olga and her children, it is 
bluff and blunt old Gertrude O'Connor. 

One by one they all walk away, and presently 
18 



206 ROSSMOrNE, 

Moyne ia lying in the dying sunshine, in all its usual 
quietude, with never a sound to disturb the calm of 
coming eve but the light rustling of the rising breew 
among the ivy -leaves that are clambering up its 
ancient walls. 

Kit and Terry are in-doors, laughing merrily over 
the day, and congratulating themselves upon the bucv 
cess it has certainly been. 

" Yes. I do think, Penelope, they all enjoyed them- 
selves," says Miss Priscilla, in high glee ; " and your 
claret-cup, my dear, was superb." 

But Monica has stolen away from them all. The 
strange restlessness that has lain upon her all day is 
asserting itself with cruel vigor, and drives her forth 
into the shadows of the coming night. 

All day long she has struggled bravely against it; 
but, now that the enforced necessity foF liveliness is 
at an end, she grows dreamy, distraite, and feels an in- 
tense longing for solitude and air. 

Again she walks through the now deserted garden, 
where the flowers, *^ earth's loveliest," are drooping 
their sweet heads to seek their happy slumbers. Past 
them she goes with lowered head and thoughts en- 
grossed, and so over the lawn into the wood beyond. 

Heref Coole and Moyne are connected by a high 
green bank, that in early spring is studded and dia- 
monded with primroses and now is gay with ferns. 
Not until she has reached this boundary does she re- 
member how far she has come. 

She climbs the bank, and gazes with an ever-grow- 
ing longing at the cool shade in the forbidden land, at 
the tall, stately trees, and the foxgloves nodding 
drowsily. 

It is a perfect evening, and as yet the god of day- 
great Sol — is riding the heavens with triumphant 
mirth, as though reckless of the death that draweth 
nigh. Shall he not rise again to-morrow morn in all 
his awful majesty, and so defy grim Mars? It is, in- 
deed, one of those hours when heaven seems nearest 
earth, " as when warm sunshine thrills wood-glooms to 
gold," and ^^ righteousness and peace have kissed each 



HOSSMOFNE. 207 

other," and Nature, tender mother, smiles, and all the 
forest deeps are by " a tender whisper pierced." 

Conscience forbidding her, she abstains from enter- 
ing these coveted woods, and, with a sigh, seats herself 
apon the top of the green bank. 

" Monica I" says a voice close to her, yet not close to 
her, — mysteriously, far up in mid-air, right over her 
head. She starts I Is the great wood peopled with 
fiatyrs, ouphs, or dryads? 



CHAPTBE XVll. 



Tbe maryeUoas history of how Monica finds the green-eyed monster ^n 
a beeoh-tree — ^and how, single-handed, she attacks and overcomes him. 

It Is not a tender voice. It is not even a gentle or 
coldly friendly voice. It is, when all is told, a dis- 
tinctly angry voice, full of possible reproaches and 
vehement upbraidings. 

Monica, raising her head with extreme nervousness, 
has just time to see Mr. Desmond in the huge fir-tree 
above her, before he drops at her feet. 

" What on earth were you doing up there ?" asks 
she, thinking it wise to adopt the offensive style, so as 
to be first in the field, feeling instinctively that a scold- 
ing is coming and that she deserves it. 

" "Watching you,*' returns he, sternly, nothing dis- 
mayed by her assumption of injured innocence, so her 
little ruse falls through. 

" A charming occupation, certainly I" says Miss Bor- 
esford, with fine disgust. 

•* I climbed up into that tree," says Mr. Desmond, 
savagely, " and from it saw that you had spent your 
entire day with that idiot, Eyde." 

"Do you think," says Miss Beresford, with awful 
calm, " that it was a gentlemanly thing to climb into 
that tree, like a horrid school-boy, and spy apon a 
person ?—do you V 



208 ItOSSMOFNE. 

" I don't," vehemently ; " but I was driven to it 1 
don't care what is gentlemanly. I don't care," fiiri- 
ously, " what you think of me. I only know that my 
mind is now satisfied about you, and that I know you 
are cae most abominable flirt in the world, and that 
you ouffht to be ashamed of yourself." 

" Well, I'm not," with great self-possession. 

" The more to your discredit I That only means tliat 
you are bent on doing it again." 

" I shall certainly always talk to any man who talki 
to me. That is," cuttingly, " any man who knows how 
to conduct himself with propriety." 

" Meaning — I don't, I suppose ?" 

" Certainly you don't." 

" Oh, if it comes to that," says Desmond, in tones of 
the deepest desperation, and as if nothing is left to ex- 
pect but the deluge in another moment. 

And, in eflfect, it comes. Not, as one has been 
taught to expect, in sudden storm, and wind, and 
lightning, but first in soft light drops, and then in a per- 
fect downpour, that bursts upon them with passionate 
fury. 

As they are standing beneath a magnificent beech, 
they get but a taste of the shower in reality, though 
Desmond, seeing some huge drops lying on Monica's 
thin white gown, feels his heart smite him. 

" Here, take this," he says, roughly, taking off his 
coat and placing it round her shoulders. 

" No, thank you," says Miss Beresford, stiffly. 

"You must," returns he, and, to his surprise, she 
makes no further resistance. Perhaps she is cowed by 
the authority of his manner ; perhaps she doesn't like 
the raindrops. 

Encouraged, however, by her submission to a further 
daring of fortune, he says, presently, — 

" You might have given Cobbett a turn, I think, in- 
stead of devoting yourself all day to that egregious 
ass." 

"He prefers talking to Hermia. I suppose you 
don't \vant me to go up to people and ask them to bo 
civil to me ?" 



ROSSMOYNE. 209 

" Some other fellow, then." 

" You would be just as jealous of him, whoever he 
was." 

" I am not jealous at all," indignantly. " I only ob- 
ject to yoir saying one thing to me and another to 
W." 

" What is the one thing I say to you ?" 

This staggers him. 

" You must find me a very monotonous person if I 
Bay only one thing to you always." 

" I haven't found you so." 

" Then it — whatever it is — must be one of the most 
eloquent and remarkable speeches upon record. Do 
tell it to me." 

" Look here, Monica," says Mr. Desmond, cautiously 
evading a reply : " what I want to know is — what you 
see in Kyde. He is tall, certainly, but he is fat and ef- 
feminate, with * a forehead villanous low.' " 

" Your own is very low," says Miss Beresford. 

" K I thought it was like his, I'd make away with 
myself. And you listen to all his stories, and believe 
them every one. I don't believe a single syllable he 
says ; I never met such a bragger. To listen to tim, 
one would think he had killed every tiger in Bengal. 
In my opinion, he never even saw one." 

" ^ Les absents ont toujours tort, " quotes she, in a 
low, significant tone. 

This is the finishing stroke. 

" Oh I you defend him," he says, as savagely almost 
as one of those wild beasts he has just mentioned. " In 
your eyes he is a hero, no doubt. I dare say all women 
see virtue in a man who * talks as familiarly of roaring 
lions as maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs.' " 

" I don't think maids of thirteen, as a rule, talk much 
of puppy-dogs. I'm sure Kit doesn't," says Monica, 

frovokingly. " And "really, to do Mr. Eyde justice too, 
never heard him mention a roaring lion. Perhaps 
you are thinking of Arteraus "Ward's lion that goes 
about ^seeking whom he may devour someboay.'" 
She smiles in a maddening fashion. 
"I am thinking of Eyde," says Desmond. "I ara 
o 18* 



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ROSSMOYNE. 211 

Desmond having received the coat, and put himself 
into it once more, silence ensues. It does, perhaps, 
strike him as a hopeful sign that she shows no haste 
to return home and so rid herself of a presence-she has 
inadvertently declared to be hateful to her, because 
presently he says, simply, if a little warmly, — 

"There is no use in our quarrelling like this. I 
won't give you up without a further struggle, to any 
man. So we may as well have it out now. Do you 
care for that—for Eyde ?" 

" If you had asked me that before, — sensibly, — ^you 
might have avoided making an exhibition of yourself 
and saying many rude things. I don't in the least 
mind telling you," says Miss Beresford, coldly, " that 
I can't 6ear him." 

" Oh, Monica I is this true f " asks he, in an agony of 
liope. 

" Quite true. But you don't deserve I should say it." 

" My darling I My * one thing bright' in all this 
hateful world I Oh !" throwing up his head with an 
impatient gesture, " I have been so wretched all this 
evening I I l;>ave suffered the tortures of the " 

1* Now, you mustn't say naughty words," interrupts 
she, with an adorable smile. " You are glad I have 
forgiven you ?" 

This is how she puts it, and he is only too content to 
be friends with her on any terms, to show further fight. 

"Jlfore than glad." 

"And you will promise me never to be jealous again?" 

This is a bitter pill, considering his former declara- 
tion that jealousy and he had nothing to do with each 
other ; but he swallows it bravely. 

" Never. And you — ^you will never again give nio 
cause, darling, will you ?" 

" I gave you no cause now," says the darling, shak- 
ing her pretty head obstinately. And he doesn't dare 
contradict her. "You behaved really badly," she 
goes on, reproachfully, "and at such a time, too, — 
just when 1 was dying to tell you such good news." 

"Grood? — ^your aunts — " eagerly, "have relented — 
they " 



212 ROSSMOTNE. 

"Oh, no! oh, dear^ no I" says Miss Beresford, 
"They are harder than ever against you. Adamant 
is a sponge in comparison with them. It isn't that; 
but Madam O'Connor has asked me to go and stay 
with her next Monday for a week I — there !" 

"And me too?" 

"N — o. Aunt Priscilla made it a condition with 
regard to my going that you shouldn't be there." 

" The And Madam O'Connor gave in to such 

abominable tyranny ?" 

" "Without a murmur." 

"I thought she had a soul above that sort of thing," 
says Mr. Desmond, with disgust. " But they are all 
alike." 

"Who?— women?" 

"Yes." 

" You mean to tell me I am like Aunt Priscilla and 
Madam O'Connor?" 

"OZ(Z women, I mean," with anxious haste, seeing a 
cloud descending upon the brow of his beloved. 

" Oh !" 

" And, after all, it is good news," says Brian, bright 
ening, " because though I can't stop in the house foi 
the week, still there is nothing to prevent my riding 
over there every one of the seven days." 

" That's just what / thought," says Monica, ingenu- 
ously, with a sweet little blush. 

"Ah! you wished for me, then?" 

She refuses to answer this in any more direct man 
ner than her eyes aflfbrd, but says, quickly, doubtfully, — 

" It won't be deceiving Aunt Priscilla, your coming 
there to visit, will it? She must know she cannot 
compel Madam O'Connor to forbid you the house. 
And she knows perfectly you are an intimate friend 
of hers." 

" Of course she does. She is a regular old tyrant,— 
a Bluebeard in petticoats ; but " 

" No, no ; you must not abuse her," says Monica : 
so he becomes silent. 

She is standing very close to the trunk of the old 
beech, half leaning against it upon one arm which if 



ROSSMOFNE. 213 

slightly i-aised. She has no gloves, hut long white 
mittens that reach above her elbow to where the 
sleeves of her gown join them. Through the little 
holes in the pattern of these kindly mittens her white 
arms can be seen gleaming like snow beneath the faint 
rays of the early moon. With one hand she is playing 
some imaginary air upon the tree*s bark. 

As she so plays, tiny sparkles from her rings at 
tract his notice. 

"Those five little rings," says Desmond, idly, "al- 
ways remind me of the five little pigs that went to 
market, — I don't know why." 

" They didn't all go to market," demurely. " One 
of them, I know^ slayed at home." 

" So he did. I remember now. Somehow it makes 
me feel like a boy again." 

"Then, accord^ing to Hood, you must be nearei 
heaven than you were a moment ago." 

• 1 couldn't," says Desmond, turning, and looking 
into her beautiful eyes. " My heaven has been neai 
me for the last half-hour." If he had said hour he 
would have been closer to the truth. 

A soft, lovely crimson creeps into her cheeks, and 
her eyes fall before his for a moment. Then she 
laughs, — a gay, mirthful laugh, that somehow puts 
sentiment to flight. 

" Go on about your little pigs," she says, glancing at 
him with coquettish mirth. 

"About your rings, you mean. I never look at 
them that I don't begm this sort of thing." Here, 
seeing an excellent opportunity for it, he takes her 
hand in his. " This little turquoise went to market, 
this little pearl stayed at home, this little emerald 
got some — er — cheese " 

" No, it wasn't, hastily. " It was roast beef." 

" So it was. Better than cheese, any day. How 
stupid of me I I might have known an emerald — I 
mean, a pig — wouldn't like cheese." 

" I don*^ suppose it would like roast beef a bit bet* 
ter," says Monica; and then her lips part, and she 
bursts into a merry laugh at the absurdity of thd 



il4 ROSSMOFNE. 

thing. She is such a child still that she finds tht 
keenest enjoyment in it. 

" Never mind," with dignity, " and permit me to tell 
you, Miss Beresford, that open ridicule is rude. To 
continue : this little pearl got none, and this little 
plain gold ring got — he got — what on earth did the 
tittle plain gold pig — I mean, ring — ^get?" 

^^ Nothing, Just what you ought to get for such a 
badly-told story. He only cried, * "Wee.' " 

"Oh, no, indeed. He shan't cry at all. I won't 
have tears connected with you in any way." 

She glances up at him with eyes half shy, half 
pleased, and with the prettiest dawning smile upon her 
lips. 

He clasps the slender fingers closer, as though loath to 
part with them, and yet his tale has come to a climax. 

" If 1 have told my story so badly, perhaps I had 
better tell it all over again," he says, with a base as- 
sumption of virtuous regret. 

"!No. I would not give you that trouble for the 
world," she says, mischievously, and then the dawning 
smile widens, brightens into something indescribable, 
but perfect. 

" Oh, Monica, I do think you are the sweetest thing 
on earth," says the young man, with sudden fervid 
passion ; and then all at once, and for the first time, 
he puts out his arms impulsively and draws her to him. 
She colors, — still smiling, however, — and, after a brief 
hesitation, moves slowly but decidedly back from him. 

" You don't hate me to touch you, do you ?" asks he, 
rather hurt. 

" No, no, indeed I" hurriedly. " Only " 

"Only what, darling?" 

" I hardly know what," she answers, looking bewil- 
dered. " Perhaps because it is all so strange. Why 
should you love me better than any one ? — and yet you 
do," anxiously, " don't you ?" 

The innocently-expressed anxiety makes his heart 
glad. 

"I adore you," he says, fervently; and then, "Did 
no one ever place his arm ound you before, Monica T 



ROSSMOVNE. 215 

He finds a difficnlty in even asking this. 

" Ob, no," with intense surprise at the question, ana 
a soft, quick glance that is almost shamed. " I never 
had a lover in my life until I met you. No one ex- 
cept you ever told me I was pretty. The first time 
you said it I went home (when I was out of 3'our 
sight," reddening, " I ran all the rest of the way) and 
looked at myself in the glass. Then," naively, " I 
knew yx)u were right. Still I had my doubts : so I 
called tot and told her about it ; and she," laughing, 
" said you were evidently a person of great discrimina- 
tion, so I suppose she agreed with you." 

" She could hardly do otherwise." 

" Yet sometimes," says Monica, with hesitation, and 
with a downcast face, " I have thought it was all mere 
fancy with you, and that you don't love me really.** 

" My sweetheart, what a cruel thing to say to me I" 

" But see how you scold me I Only now," nervously 
plucking little bits of bark from the trunk of the tree, 
" you accused me of dreadful things. Yes, sometimes 
I doubt you." 

** I wonder where I leave room for doubt ? Yet I 
must convince you. "What shall I swear by, then?" 
he asks, half laughing : " the chaste Diana up above — - 
the lovers* friend — is in full glory to-night: shall I 
swear by her ?" 

" ^ Oh, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, 
lest that thy love prove likewise variable,* " quotes she, 
archly ; " and yet," with a sudden change of mood, and 
a certain sweet gravity, " I do not mistrust you." 

She leans slightly towards him, and, unasked, gives 
her hand into his keeping once again. She is full of 
pretty tender ways and womanly tricks, and as for the 
best time for displaying them, for this she has a nat- 
ural talent. 

Desmond, clasping her hand, looks at her keenly. 
His whole heart is in his eyes. 

" Tell me that you love me," he says, in a low, up- 
steadv voice. 

" How can I ? I don't know. I am not sure," she 
•ays, falteringly ; " and," shrinking a little from him, 



216 ROSSMOYNB!, 

" it is growing very late. See how the moon has ram 
above the firs. I must go home." 

" Tell me you love me first." 

" I must not love you : you know that." 

" But if you might, you could ?" 

"Ye— es." 

" Then I defV all difficulties, — aunts, and friends, and 
lovers. I shall win you in the teeth of all barriers, and 
in spite of all opposition. And now go home, my heart's 
delight, my best beloved. I have this assurance from 
you, that your own lips have given me, and it makes 
me confident of victory." 

" But if you fail," she begins, nervously ; but he will 
not listen to her. 

" There is no such word," he says, gayly. " Or, if 
there is, I never learnt it. Good-night, my love." 

" Good-night." A little frightened by his happy ve- 
hemence, she stands well away from him, and holds out 
her hands in farewell. Taking them, he opens them 
gently and presses an impassioned kiss on each little 
pink-tinged palm. "With a courteous reverence for her 
evident shyness, he then releases her, and, raising his 
hat, stands motionless until she has sprung down the 
bank and so reached the Moyne fields again. 

Then she turns and waves him a second and last 
good-night. Eeturning the salute, he replaces his hat 
on his head, and, thrusting his hands deep in his pockets, 
turns towards Coole — and dinner. He is somewhat late 
for the latter, but this troubles him little, so set is his 
mind upon the girl who has just left him. 

Surely she is hard to win, and therefore — how de- 
sirable I "The women of Ireland," says an ancient 
chronicler, "are the coyest, the most coquettish, yet 
withal the coldest and virtuousest women upon earth." 
Yet, allowing all this, given time and opportunity, 
they may be safely wooed. "What Mr. Desmond com- 
plains of bitterly, in his homeward musings to-night, 
is the fact that to him neither time nor opportunity is 
aflfbrded. 

" She is a woman, therefore to be won ;" but how is 
his courtship to be sped, if thorns are to beset his path 



ROSSMOFNK 217 

on every side, and if persistent malice 'blocks his way 
to the feet of her whom he adores ? 

He reaches home in an unenviable frame of mind, 
and is thoroughly unsociable to Owen Kelly and the 
old Squire all the evening. 

Next morning sees him in the same mood ; and, in- 
deed, it is about this time he takes to imagining his 
little love as being a hapless prisoner in the hands of 
two cruel* ogres (I am afraid he really does apply the 
term "ogres" to tnetwo old ladies of Moyne), and finds 
a special melancholy pleasure in depicting her as a 
lonely captive condemned to solitary confinement and 
dieted upon bread and water. 

To regard the Misses Blake in the light either of 
ogres or witches required some talent ; hut Mr. Des- 
mond, at this period of his love-aflfair, managed it. 

He would go about, too, singing, — 

" Oh, who wiU o'er the downs so free," 

taking immense comfort out of, and repeating over and 
over again, such lines as — 



and — 



" I sought her bower at break of day, 
Twas guarded safe and sure ;" 

** Her father he has looked the door, 
Her mother keeps the key ; 
But neither bolt nor bar shall keep 
My own true love from me," — 



antil bars, and bolts, and locks, and keys seemed all real 



i« 



218 ROSSMOYNK. 



CHAPTBE XVm. 

How, after mnoh diMiiMion, the devoted, if miitaken, adhereiiti of Tbilii 
gain the day — and how, for onoe in his life, Owen Kelly feelf melM* 
•holy that ii not assumed. ' 

" 1 WISH you would all attend," says Olga BohunJuBl 
b littlo impatiently, looking round upon the assembled 
group, with brows uplifted and the point of a pencil 
' thrust between her rose-red lips. 

" Thrice-blessed pencil !" murmurs Mr. Kelly, in a 
very stage whisper. " Man is the superior being, yet 
he would not be permitted to occupy so exalted a posi- 
tion. Are you a stone, Eonayne, that you can regard 
the situation with such an insensate face ?" Mr. Bo- 
nayne is at this moment gazing at Mrs. Bohun with all 
his heart in his eyes. He starts and colors. *' I cannot 
help thinking of that dear little song about the inno- 
cent daisy," goes on Mr. Kelly, with a rapt expression. 
" But I'd * choose to be 2k pencil^ if I might be a flower I* " 

" Now do let us decide upon something," says Olga, 
taking no need of this sally, and frowning down the 
smile that is fighting for mastery. 

" Yes ; now you are all to decide upon something at 
once," says Mr. Kelly, gloomily. " There is a difficulty 
about the right way to begin it, but it must be done ; 
Mrs. Bohun says so. There is to be no deception. I 
shall say one, two, three, and away, and then eveiy 
one must have decided : the defaulter will be spumed 

from the gates. Now I one, two Desmond," sternly, 

"you are not deciding I" 

"I am, indeed," says D(»i!»mond, most untruthfully 
He is lying on the grass av Monica's feet, and is play 
ing idly with her huge white fan. 

"You are not doing it properly. 1 dare sayMisa 
Beresford is making you uncomfortable; and I am 
sure you are trying to break her fan. Come over here 
and sit by me, and you will be much happier.' 



ROSSMOYNE. 219 

" Penance is good for the soul. I shall stay here," 
gays Desmond. 

" If we mean to get up tableaux, we certainly ought 
to set about them at once," says Hermia Herriek, in- 
dolently. 

"There doesn't seem to be any work ::i anybody," 
says Olga, in despair. 

" Try me," says Lord Eossmoyne, bendinff over her 
chair. He has only just come, and his arrival haft been 
unannounced. 

"Ah I thank you I" — with a brilliant smile. "Now 
you do look like business." 

It is Monday, and four o'clock. Aghyohillbeg lying 
basking in the sunshine is looking its loveliest, — which 
is saying a great deal. The heat is so intense on this 
sweet July day that every one has deserted the house 
and come out to find some air, — a difficulty. They 
have tried the grass terraces, in vain, and now have 
congregated beneath a giant fir, and are, compara- 
tively speaking, cool. 

Just before luncheon Madam O'Connor brought 
Monica home in triumph with her from Moyne, to find 
Desmond, handsome and happy, on her door-step, 
waiting with calm certainty an invitation to that meal. 
He got it, and one to dinner likewise. 

" We have set our hearts on tableaux, but it is so 
difficult to think of any scene fresh and unhackneyed," 
Bays Olga, gazing plaintively into Lord Eossmoyne's 
sympathetic face. 

" Don't give way," says Mr. Kelly, tenderly. " It 
must be a poor intellect that couldn't rise superior to 
such a demand as that. Given one minute, I believe 
even I could produce an idea as novel as it would be 
brilliant." 

" You shall have your minute," says Olga, pulling 
out her watch. " Now — begin " 

" Time's up," she says, presently, when sixty seconds 
have honestly expired. 

" You might have said that thirty seconds ago, and 
I should not have objected," says Mr. Kelly, with an 
assured smile. 



220 ROSSMOYNE. 

" And your idea " 

" The Huguenots r 

Need I say that every one is exceedingly angry? 

•* Ever heard it before ?" asks Mr. Kelly, with ag- 
gressive insolence; which question, being considerSi 
as adding insult to injury, is treated witn silent con- 
tempt. 

" I told you it was not to be done," says Olga, petu- 
lantly, addressing everybody generally. 

" I can't agree with you. I see no reason why it 
should fall to the ground," says Miss Fitzgerald, 
warmly, who is determined to show herself off in a 
gown that has done duty for " Madame Pavart," and 
the " Bohemian Girl," and " Maritana," many a time 
and oft. 

" I have another idea," says Mr. Kelly, at this op- 
portune moment. 

" If it is as useful as your first, you may keep it," 
says Olga, with pardonable indignation. 

" I am misunderstood," says Mr. Kelly, mournfully, 
but with dignity. " I shall write to Miss Montgomery 
and ask her to make another pathetic tale about me. 
As you are bent oh trampling upon an unknown 
genius, — ^poor but proud, — I shall not make you ac- 
quainted with this last beautiful thought which I have 
evolved from my inner consciousness." 

"Don't say that I do tell it to us," says Monica, 
eagerly, and in perfect good faith. She knows less of 
him than the others, and may therefore be excused foi 
still believing in him. 

" Thank you. Miss Beresford. You can soar aboTo 
a mean desire to crush a rising power. You have 
read, of course, that popular poem by our poet-laureat^t 
called 'Enid.'" 

** Yes," says Monica, staring at him. 

" I mean the poem in which he has so faithfully de- 
picted the way in which two escaped lunatics would be 
sure to behave if left to their own devices. Considered 
as a warningto us to keep bolts and bars on Colney 
Hatch and Hanwell, it may be'regarded as a delicate 
attention. Dear Tennyson t he certainly is a publie 



ROSSMOYNE. 221 

oenefaotor. There is a scene in that remarkable poem 
wrhich I think might suit us. You remember where, 
\fter much wild careering in the foreground, the prin- 
npal idiots decide upon riding home together, pillion 
&shion ?" 

" I — ^I think so," says Monica, who plainly doesn't, 
being much conftised. 

" * Then on his foot she set her own and climbed/ — 
and then she threw her arms round him in a most un- 
maidenly fashion, if I recollect aright ; but of course 
mad people will be vehement, poor souls; they can't 
help it. Now, supposing we adopted that scene, 
wouldn't it be ©flfective ? One of Madam O'Connor's 
big carriage-horses, if brought forward, — I mean the 
one that kicked over- the traces, yesterday, — would, 
I firmly believe, create quite a sensation, and in all 
probability bring down the house." 

" The stage, certainly," says Desmond. 

" Ah ! you approve of it," says Kelly, with suspicious 
gratitude. "Then let us arrange it at once. Miss 
Beresford might throw her arms round Ryde, for ex- 
ample : that would be charming." 

Desmond looking at this moment as if ho would will- 
ingly murder him, Mr. Kelly is apparently satisfied, 
and sinks to rest with his head upon his arms once 
more. No one else has heard the suggestion. 

" I think you might help me, instead of giving voice 
to insane propositions," says Olga, reproachfully, turn- 
ing her eyes upon Mr. Kelly's bowed form, — he is lying 
prostrate on the grass, — which is shaking in a palsied 
fashion. "I really did believe in yow," she says, 
whereupon that young man, springing to his feet, 
flings his arms wide, and appeals in an impassioned 
manner to an unprejudiced public as to whether he 
has not been racking his brain in her service for the 
last half-hour. 

" Then I wish you would go* and rack it in somebody 
else's service," says Mrs. Bohun, ungratefully. 

"Hear her I" says Mr. Kelly, gazing slowly round 
him. * She still persists in this unseemly abuse. She 
is bent on breaking my heart and driving sleep from 

10*, 



222 ROSSMOY^JL, 

mine eyelids. It is ungenerous, — the more so that she 
knows I have not the courage to tear myself from hei 
beloved presence. You, fionayne, and you, Ross- 
moyne, can sympathize with me : 

** * In duranoe rile here mnst I wake and weep^ 
And all my frowzy oouch in sorrow steep.' 

Fancy a frowzy couch saturated with tears! yon 
know," reproachfully to Olga, " you wouldn't like to 
have to lie on it." 

" Oh, do come and sit down here near me, and be 
silent," says Olga, in desperation. 

" Why not have a play?" says Captain Cobbett,who 
with Mr. Eyde has driven over from Clonbree. 

" * The play's the thing/ " says Brian Desmond, 
lazily ; " but, when you are about it, make it a farce." 

" Oh, no r says Miss Fitzgerald, with a horrified ges- 
ture ; " anything but that I Why not let us try one of 
the good old comedies? — *The School for Scandal,' for 
example ?" 

'^Whatr says Mr. Kelly, very weakly. He is 
plainly quite overcome by this suggestion. 

" Well, why not ?" demands the fair Bella, with just 
a soupgon of asperity in her tone, — as much as she ever 
allows herself when in the society of men. She makes 
up for this abstinence by bestowing a liberal share of 
it upon her maid and her mother. 

" It's — it's such a naughty, naughty piece," says Mr. 
Kelly, bashfully, beating an honorable retreat from his 
first meaning. 

"Nonsense! One can strike out anything dis^ 
tasteful." 

" Shades of Farren — and Who would be Lady 

Teazle?" says Olga. 

" I would," says Bella, modestly. 

" That is more than good of you," says Olga, casting* 
curious glance at her from unde^ her long lashes. " But 

I thought, perhaps You, flermia, would you not 

undertake it? You know, last season, they said yoD 
were " 

" No, dear, thanks. No, indeed^** with emphasis. 



ROSSMOTNE, 223 

**Cobbett does Joseph Surface to perfection," breaks 
in Mr. Eyde, enthusiastically. 

"Oh, I say now, Kydel Come, you know, this is 
hardly fair," says the little captain, coyly, who is look- 
ing particularly pmched and dried to-day, in spite of 
the hot sun. There is a satisfied smirk upon his pale 
little lips, and a poor attempt at self-depreciation about 
his whole manner. 

" You know you took 'em by storm at Portsmouth, 
last year, — ^made 'em laugh like fun. You should see 
him," persists Hyde, addressing everybody generally. 

"Perhaps you mean the part of Charles Surface," 
nays Bonayne, in some surprise. 

" No. Joseph : the sly one, you know," says Kyd«, 
chuckling over some recollection. 

" Well, it never occurred to me that Joseph's part 
might be termed & funny one," says Mr. Kelly, mildly; 
" but that shows how ignorant all we Irish are. It will 
be very kind of you, Cobbett, to enlighten us, — to show 
us something good, in fact." 

" Eeally, you know, you flatter me absurdly," says 
Cobbett, the self-depreciation fainter, the smirk broader. 

Lord Bossmoyne, whose good temper is not his strong 
point, glances angrily at him, smothers an explosive 
speech, and walks away with a sneer. 

"And Sir Peter, — who will kindly undertake" Sir 
Peter?" asks Olga, with a smile that is faintly sarcastic. 
"Will you, Owen?" to Mr. Kelly. 

" Don't ask me. I could not act with Cobbett and 
Miss Fitzgerald. I mean, I should only disgrace them," 
says Kelly, who is a member of a famous dramatic club 
in Dublin, and who has had two offers from London 
managers to tread the real boards. " I feel I'm not up 
to it, indeed." 

" I suspect you are not," says Hermia Herrick, with 
a sudden smile that lights up all her cold impassive 
face. Kelly, catching it, crawls lazily over to her, along 
the grass, Indian fashion, and, finding a fold of hei 
gown, lays his arm on it, and his head on his arm, nnd 
relapses into silence. 

"Kyde has done it," says Captain Cobbett. 



ti4 ROSSMOYNE. 

" Indeed I" says Olga, raising questioning eyes io the 
big marine standing behind Monica's chair. 

" Ye— es. We— er — do a good deal of that sort of 
thing in our country," says Kyde, with conscious worth. 
" I have done Sir Peter once or twice ; and people have 
been good enough not to — " with a little laugh — " hisi 

me. I have a style of my own ; but-— er " with an 

encouraging glance at the other men, " I dare say there 
are many here who could do it as I do it." 

"Not onCy I am convinced," says Desmond, promptly; 
and Monica laughs softly. 

" We must think it over. I don't believe anything 
so important could be got up without deep deUhera- 
tion " Olga is beginning, when Kelly, by a move- 
ment of the hand, stops her. 

" Do let it go on to its bitter end," he says, m a 
whisper, with most unusual animation for him. " Mrs. 
Herrick, help me." 

" Why not, Olga ?" says Hermia, in a low tone. " The 
principal characters are willing ; we have not had a real 
laugh for some time : why throw away such a perfect 
chance ?" 

" Oh ! that " says Olga. 

Here a slight diversion is caused by the appearance 
of a footman, a tea-tray, a boy, a gypsy table, a maid, 
a good deal of fruit, maraschino, brandy, soda, and 
Madam O'Connor. The latter, to tell the truth, has 
been having a siesta in the privacy of her own room, 
and has now come down, like a giant refreshed, to see 
how her guests are getting on. 

** Well ! I hope you're all happy," she says, jovially 

" We are mad with perplexity," says Olga. 

"What's the matter, then, darling?" says Madam. 
** Hermia, like a good child, go and pour out the tea." 

" I'll tell you all about it," says Brian, who is a special 
favorite of Madam O'Connor's, coming over to her and 
stooping behind her chair to whisper into her ear. 

Whatever he says makes her laugh immoderately. 
It is easy to bring smiles to her lips at any time, — hor 
heart having kept at a stand-still whilst her body grew 
old, — but now she seems particularly fetched. 



ROSSMOYNE. 226 

"Yes, yes, my dear Olga, let them have their own 
way,** she says, merrily. 

" Very good. Let us consider it settled," says Mrs. 
Bohun. " But I should like some tableaux afterwards, 
as a wind-up." 

"Yes, certainly," says Konayne. "What do you 
think, Madam?" 

" I've set my mind on them," says his old hostess, 
gayly. "You're such a handsome boy, TJlic, that Pm 
bent on seeing you in fancy clothes ; and so is somebody 
else, I dare say. Look at the children, how they steal 
towards us : were there ever such demure little mice ? 
Come here, Georgie, my son, I have peaches and pretty 
things for you." 

The kind old soul holds out her arms to two beauti- 
ful children, a boy and a girl, who are coming slowly, 
shyly towards her. They are so like Hermia Herrfck 
as to be unmistakably hers. The boy, coming straight 
to Madam O'Connor, climbs up on her lap and lays his 
bonny cheek against hers ; but the girl, running to her 
mother, who is busy over the tea-tray, nestles close to 
her. 

" Gently, my soul," says Hermia, in a sott whisper. 
Though she still calmly pours out the tea, with Kelly 
beside her, she lets the unoccupied hand fall, to mingle 
with the golden tresses of the child. As her hand meets 
the little sunny head, a marvellous sweetness creeps into 
her face and transfixes it to a heavenly beauty. Kellj- , 
watching her, marks the change. 

Going round to the child, he would have taken her 
in his arms, — as is his habit with most children, being 
a special favorite in every nursery; but this little dame, 
drawing back from him, repels him coldly. Then, a« 
though fearing herself ungracious, she slowly extends 
to him a tiny, friendly hand, which he accepts. The 
likenesi) between this grave baby and her graver mother 
is so remarkable as to ba almost ludicrous. 

" I think you haven't given Mr. Kelly even one kiss 
to-day," says her mother, smiling faintly, and pressing 
the child closer to her. " She is a cold little thing, is 
she not?" 



S26 ROSSMOYNE. 

"I suppose she inherits it," says Owen Kelly, with 
out lifting his eyes from the child's fair face. 

Mrs. Herrick colors slightly. 

" Will you let me get you some tea, Fay ?" says Mr. 
Kelly, addressing the child almost anxiously. 

" No, thank you," says the fairy, sweetly but de- 
cidedly. " My mammy will give me half hers. I do 
not like any other tea." 

" I am not in favor to-day," says Kelly, drawing back 
and shrugging his shoulders slightly, but looking dis- 
tinctly disappointed. It may be the child sees this, 
because she comes impulsively forward, and, standing 
on tiptoe before him, holds her arms upwards towards 
his neck. 

" I want to kiss you now," she says, solemnly, when 
he has taken her into his embrace. ''But no one 
efl^. I only want to kiss you sometimes, — and always 
mamma." 

" I am content to be second where mamma is first 
I am glad you place me with her in your mind. 1 
should like to be always with mamma," says Kelly. 
He laughs a little, and kisses the child again, and places 
her gently upon the ground, and then he glances at 
Hermia. But her face is impassive as usual. No faint- 
est tinge deepens the ordinary pallor of her cheeks. 
She has the su^ar-tongs poised in the air, and is appar- 
ently sunk in abstruse meditation. 

" Now, I wonder who takes sugar and who doesn't," 
she says, wrinkling up her pretty brows in profound 
thought. " I have Deen^ here a month, yet cannot yet be 
fture. Mr. Kelly, you must call some else to our assist- 
ance to take round the sugar, as you can't do every- 
thing." 

" I can do nothing^'' says Kelly, in a low tone, after 
which he turns away and calls Brian Desmond to coita 
U> him. 



ROSSMOFNB. tXt 



CHAPTBE XIX. 

How I>esmoud asserts himself, and shows himself a better man than hii 
ilTal — And how a bnnoh of red roses causes a breach, and how a ring 
heaJs it. 

" Then it is decided," says Olga. " * The School for 
SoandaP first, and tableaux to follow. Now for t?iem, 
I suppose four altogether will be quite sufficient. We 
must not try the patience of our poor audience past 
endurance." 

" It will be past that long before our tableaux begin," 
says TTlic Konayne, in a low tone. He is dressed in a 
tennis suit of white flannel, and is looking particularly 
handsome. 

Olga makes a pretty little moue, but no audible 
response. 

" I have two arranged," she says, " but am distracted 
about three and four. Will anybody except Mr. Kelly 
come to my assistance ?" 

"Oh, you're jealous because you didn't think of 
*Enid' and the carriage-horse yourself," returns that 
young man, with ineffable disdain, — "or that Dollj> 
Varden affair." 

" Well, that last might do, — modified a little," sayft 
Olga, brightening. "Mr. Eyde is enormous enough 
for anything. Quite an ideal Hugh." 

" Quite," says Ronayno, with a smile. 

" Then it has arranged itself; that is, if you agree, 
dear?" says Olga, turning to Monica. 

" It shall be as you wish. I mean, I know nothing 
about it," gently ; " but I shall like to help you if I 
can." 

"I mean you don't object to the subject, — or Mr. 
Byde ?" says Olga, kindly, unaware that Mr. Rydo has 
come away from the tea- table and is now close behind 
her. Monica, however, sees him, and smiles cour- 
teously. 

" Oh, no," she says, as in duty bound. 



228 HOSSMOFNE. 

And then the fourth is found and grasped, and all 
trouble is at an end. 

" So glad I can now take my tea in peace," says 
Olga, with a sigh of profound relief. " Who would be 
a stage- manager?" 

" Ah I you don*t do much of this kind of thing iL 
Ireland, I dare say," says Mr. Kyde. 

"What kind of thing?" asks Olga, sweetly, who 
Joesn*t like him. ".Tea-drinking?" 

" No — acting — er — and that." 

" I'm afraid I'm quite at sea about the * that^* " says 
Olga, shaking her blonde head. " Perhaps we do a 
good deal of it, perhaps we don't. Explain it to me." 

(" Awful stoopid people ! — not a word of t^'uth about 
their ready wit," says Mr. Eyde to himself at this 
juncture.) 

" Oh, well — er — let us confine ourselves to the act- 
ing," he says, feeling somehow at a loss. " It is new 
to you here, it seems." 

" I certainly have never acted in my life," begins 
Monica; "but 

Mrs. Bohun interrupts her. 

"We are a hopelessly benighted lot," she says, 
making Kyde a present of a beautiful smile. " We are 
sadly behind the world, — rococo'' — shrugging her slioul- 
ders pathetically — "to the last degree. You, Mr. 
Ryde, have opened up to us possibilities never dreamt 
of before; touches of civilization hitherto unknown." 

" I should think in your case a very little tuition 
would be sufficient," says Ryde, with such kindly en- 
couragement in his tone that Ronayne, who is at 
01ga*8 feet, collapses, and from being abnormally 
grave breaks into riotous laughter. 

"You must teach us stage effects, — is that the 
proper term? — and correct us when we betray too 
crass an ignorance, and — above all things, Mr. Ryde," 
with an arch glance, " you must promise not to lose 
your temper over the gaucheries of your Dolly Varden." 

" Whose Dolly Varden ?" asks Desmond, coming up 
at this instant laden y^ ith cups of tea. 

"Mr. Ryde's." 



ROSSMOFNE. 229 

" He is to be Hugh to Miss Beresford's Dolly," says 
Rop^rne. 

" 1 es, isn't it good of Monica ? she has consented to 
take the part," says Olga, who is really grateful to her 
for having helped her out of her difficulty. 

"-ffare you?" says Desmond, turning upon Monica 
with dilated eyes. 

" Yes. Is that tea for me ?" returns she, calmly, with 

freat self-possession, seeing that sundry eyes are pon 
er. 

" For you, or any one," replies he. Tone can con- 
vey far more meaning than words. The words just 
now are correct enough, but the tone is uncivil to the 
last degree. Monica, flushing slightly, takes a cup 
from him, and Olga takes the second. 

There is a short silence whilst they stir their tea, 
during which Madam O'Connor's voice can be dis- 
tinctly heard, — it generally can above every tumult. 
She is discoursing enthusiastically about some wonder- 
ful tree in her orchard, literally borne down by fruit. 

"You never saw such a sight!" she is saying, — 
" laden down to the ground. The finest show of pears 
in the country. 1 was telling Williams he would do 
well to prop it. But I suppose it will ruin the tre*^ for 
the next two years to come." 

" What, the propping ?" says Eossmoyne. 

"No, the enormous produce, you silly boy!" says 
nis hostess, with a laugh. 

Monica, who is growing restless beneath Desmond's 
angry regard, turns to her nervously. 

" I think 1 should like to see it," she 8ays,"8oftly. 

" Allow me to take you to it," says Eyde, quickly, 
coming to her side. 

*/Miss Beresfordjs coming with me" interposes Deg 
mond. His face is pale, and his eyes flash ominously. 

" That is for Miss Beresford to decide." 

•'She Tuis decided," says Desmond, growing even 
paler, but never removing his eyes from his rival's 
He is playing a dangerous ^ame, but even in the dau 
ger is ecstasy. And, as Monica continues silent^ a 
great joy fills his soul. 

20 



230 ROSSMOYNE. 

" But until" — begins the Englishman, doggedly—"! 
hear " 

<^ Mrs. Bohun's cup is causing her embarrassment 
See to it," interrupts Desmond, unemotionally. And 
then, turning to Monica, ho says, " Come," coldly, but 
with such passionate entreaty in his eyes that she i& 
borne away by it, and goes with him submissively 
acu'oss the lawn, until she has so far withdrawn her- 
self from her companions that a return would be un- 
dignified. 

They go as far as the entrance to the orchard, a good 
quarter of a mile, in silence, and then the storm breaks. 

" I won't have that fellow holding you in his arms," 
says Desmond, pale with grief and rage, standing still 
and confronting her. 

" I thought you said you would never be jealous 
again," says Monica, who has had time to recover 
herself, and time, too, to grow angry. 

" I also said I hoped you would never give me cause." 

** Mrs. Bohun has arranged this tableau." 

* Then disarrange it." 

"But how?" 

" Say you won't act with Eyde." 

" You can't expect me to make myself laughable ui 
that way." 

" Then Til do it." 

"And so make me laughable in another way. 1 
can't see what right you have to interfere," she breaks 
out suddenly, standing before him, wilful but lovely. 
" What are you to me, or I to you, that you should 
order me about like this ?" 

•*You are all the world to me, — you are my mfe*^ 
says the young man, in a solemn tone, but' with pas- 
sionately angry eyes. " You can refuse me if you like, 
but 1 shall go to my grave with your image only in 
my heart. As to what / am to you, that is quite 
another thing, — less than nothing, I should say." 

" And no wonder, too, considering your awful tem- 
per," says Monica, viciously ; but her tone trembles. 

At this he seems to lose heart. A very sad look 
creeps into his dark eyes and lingers theio. 



ROSSMOrHE. 231 

* WoU, do what you like about these wretched tab- 
leaux," he says, so wearily that Monica, though vic- 
torious, feels inclined to cry. "If they give you a 
moment's pleasure, why should I rebel ? As you say, 
I am nothing to you. Come, let us go and look at this 
famous pear-tree." 

But she does not stir. They are inside the orchard, 
btanding in a very secluded spot, with only some green 
apples and an ivied wall to see them. Her eyes arc 
downcast, and her slender fingers are playing nervously 
with a ribbon on her gown. Her lips have taken a re- 
morseful curve. Now, as though unable to restrain 
the impulse, she raises her eyes to his for a brief 
second, but, brief as it is, he can see that they are full 
of tears. 

" Brian," she says, nervously. 

It is the first time she has ever called him by hid 
Christian name, and he turns to her a face still sad in- 
deed, but altogether surprised and pleased. 

" Now, that is good of you," he says. 

"There is nothing good about me," says Monica, 
tearfully. " I am as horrid as I well can be, and you 

are Brian, I will give up that tableau. I will not 

be Dolly Yarden ; no, not if Mr. Kyde went on his 
knees to me." 

"My dear, dear love!" says Mr. Desmond. 

" Do you indeed love me," says Monica, softly, " in 
spite of all I do?" 

" I love you because of all you do. What is there not 
commendable in every action of yours ? I love you ; 1 
live always in the hope that some day you will be more 
to me than you are to-day. A presumptuous hope, 
perhaps," with a rather forced smile, " but one I wiU 
not stifle. I suppose every one lives in a visionary 
world at times, where some *not impossible she* reigns 
as queen. I dare say you think my queen is impos- 
sible, yet you little know what dreams have been my 
playmates, night and day." 

"Am I your queen?" sweetly. 

" Yes, darling." 

" And you are glad I have given up this tableau V* 



2M ROSSMOTNE. 

"I don't know what I should have done if yon 
hadn't." 

"Then, now you will do something for me," sayti 
Miss Beresford, promptly. 

"Anything," with enthusiasm. 

" Then to-morrow you are to come here withoiit the 
roses I heard you promising Miss Fitzgerald this after« 
noon." 

Her tone is quite composed, but two little brilliant 
flecks of color have risen hurriedly and are now flaunt- 
ing themselves on either pretty cheek. She is evi- 
dently very seriously in earnest. 

" She asked me for them : she will think it so un- 
generous, so rude," says Desmond. 

" Not ungeneroifs. She will never think you that, 
or rude either," says Monica, gauging the truth to a 
nicety. " Careless, if you ^ will, but no more ; and — I 
toant you to seem careless where she is concerned." 

" But why, my Nearest ?" 

" Because I don't like her ; she always treats me as 
though I were some insignificant little girl still in short 
petticoats," says Miss Beresford, with rising indigna- 
tion. " And because — because, too " 

She pauses in some confusion. 

"Gro on: because what?" with gentle encourage- 
ment. 

"Well, then, because I know she wants to marry 
you," says Monica, vehemently, but in a choked voice. 

"What an extraordinary idea to come into your 
head I" says Desmond, in 8 choked tone also, but from 
a different emotion. 

" What are you laughing at ?" severely. " At me T* 

" My darling, it seems so absurd, and " 

*^ 1 forbid you to laugh," in a tone replete with anger 
out highly suggestive of tears. " Don't do it." 

" I'll never laugh again, my pet, if it offends you so 
dreadfully." 

" But your eyes are laughing ; I can see them. 1 
can see a great deal more than you think, and I know 
that hateful girl has made up her mind to marry you 
%s soon as ever she can." 



RO8SM0YNE, 233 

" That will be never." 

" Not if you go on bringing her roses i*. d thirg*." 

" What harm can a simple rosedo ?** 

" If you are going to look at it in that light, I shjill 
«ay no more. But in a very little time you will find 
she has married you, and then where will you be V 

Her jealousy is too childishly open to be misunder- 
stood. Mr. Desmond's spirits are rising with marvel* 
lous rapidity ; indeed, for the past two minutes he feels 
as if he is treading on air. 

" As you won't nave me, I don't much care where 1 
shall be," he says, with the mean hope of reducing her 
to submission by a threat. In this hope he is doomed 
to be disappointed, as she meets his base Insinuation 
with an unlowered front. 

" Yery good, go and marry her," she says, calmly, as 
if church, parson, and Miss Fitzgerald are all waiting 
for him, in anxious expectation, round the corner. 

** No, I shan't," says Desmond, changing his tactics 
without a blush. ^' Catch me at it ! As you pei*sist in 
refusing me, I shall never marry, but remain a bachelor 
forever, for your sweet sake." 

" Then say you will not bring those rose* to-morrow. 
Or, better still, say you will bring them, and" — all 
women, even the best, are cruel — "give them to me 
before her." 

"My darling! what an unreasonable thing to ask 
me I" 

" Oh ! I dare say I when people don't love people they 
always think everything they do unreasonable." 

This rather involved sentence seems to cut Mr. Des 
mond to the heart. 

"Of course, if you say that, I must do it," he says. 

'* Don't do it on my account," with a wilful air. 

" No, on my own, of course." 

" Well, remember /don't ask you to do it," with the 
most disgraceful ingratitude. " Do as you wish about 
it." 

" Your wishes are mine," he says, tenderly. " I have 
had no divided existence since that first day I saw you, 

— how long ago it seems now " 

20* 



234 ROSSMOYNE. 

^^Yery long. Only a few weeks in leality, but it 
seems to myself that I have known and — ^liked you all 
my life." 

" Yet that day when I saw you on the hay-cart is 
hardly two months old," says Desmond, dreamily. 

As a breath of half-forgotten perfume, or a longloBt 
c'lord fresh sounded, brings back the memories of a 
lifetime, so does this chance remark of his now recall 
to her a scene almost gone out of mind, yet still fraught 
with recollections terrible to her self-love. 

"Two months, — only two? — oh, it must be more," 
she says, with a pang. Surely time ought to lessen the 
feeling of shame that overpowers her whenever she 
thinks of that fatal day. 

" So wearisome a time, my own ?" asks he, reproach- 
iblly. 

" No, it is not that. It is only . Oh, Brian, that 

day you speak of, when I was on that horrid hay-cart, 
did you — I mean — did 1 — that is — did I look very un- 
graceful?" 

The word she is dying to say is (disgraceful, but she 
dares not. 

"Ungraceful?" 

" Yes. Terry says that when we were passmg you 
that day I was — was," with a desperate rush, "kicking 
up my heels I" 

She is trembling with shame and confusion. Crim- 
son has sprung to her cheeks, tears to her eyes. 

" I don't believe a word of it," says Mr. Desmond, 
comprehending the situation at last. " But, even sup- 
posing you were, — and, after all, that is the sort of 
thing every one does on a bundle of hay," — as though it 
is quite the customary thing for people generally to go 
round the world seated on hay-carts, — "I didn't see 
you — ^that is, your heels, I mean ; I saw only your face, 
— the prettiest face in the world. How could I look 
at anything else when I had once seen that ?" 

" Brian I" turning to him impetuously, and laying 
both her hands upon his shoulders, " I do think you are 
the dearest fellow on earth." 

"Oh, Monica! am 1 the dearest to you?" He ha» 



ROSSMOFNE. 235 

twined his arms round her lissome figure, and is gazing 
anxiously into her eyes. 

" Yes, — yes, certainly,^* And then, with a naivete in- 
describable, and with the utmost composure, she says, — 

•' I think I should like to give you a kiss !" 

Is the blue dome still over his head, or has the sky 
fallen? The thing he has been longing for, with an 
intensity not to be portrayed, ever since their first 
meeting, but has not dared to even hint at, is now 
freely offered him, as though it were a thing of naught. 

" Monica I" says her lover, the blood rushing to his 
face, " do you mean it ?'' He tightens his clasp round 
her, yet still refrains from touching the sweet lips so 
near his own. A feeling of honest manliness makes 
him hesitate about accepting this great happiness, lest, 
indeed, he may have misunderstood her. To him it is 
so great a boon she grants that ho hardly dares believe 
in its reality. 

"Of course I do," says Miss Beresford, distinctly 
offended. "1 — at least, I did, I don't now. I always 
want to kiss people when I feel fond of them ; but you 
don*t, evidently, or else, perhaps, you aren't really fond 
of me at all, in spite of all you have said. Never mind. 
Don't put yourself out. It was merely a passing fancy 
on my part." 

" Oh, don't let it pass," exclaims her lover, anxiously. 
"Darling life, don't you know I have been longing, 
longing to kiss you for weeks past, yet dared not, be- 
cause something in your eyes forbade me ? And now, 
to have you of your own accord really willing to give 
my dear desire seems too much." 

" Are you sure that it is that, or " 

" My angel, what a question !" 

" Yet perhaps you think Don't kiss me just to 

oblige me, you know. I don't care so much about it 
as all that; but " 

She finds it impossible to finish the sentence, be- 
cause 

« :|e :|e * ♦ :|e 4c 

Dexterously, but gently, she draws herself away from 
him, and stands a little apart. Looking at her, he can 



236 ROSSMOTNE. 

see she is troubled. He has opened his lips to speak, 
but by a gesture she restrains him. 

" I know it now," she says. This oracular spe ich is 
accompanied by a blush, vivid as it is angry, and there 
are large tears in her eyes. " I should not have asked 
you to kiss me. That was your part, and you have 
taught me that I usurped it. Yet 1 thought only that 
I was fond of you, that you were my friend, or like 
Terry, or — " here the grievance gains sound, "you 
nhould not have kissed me like that." 

" You didn't suppose I was going to kiss you as 
Terry might ?" asks he, with just indignation. " He if 
your brother ; I am — not." 

" I don't know anything about it, except this, that it 
will be a very long time before you have the chance of 
doing it again. I can't bear being hugged" 

" I am very sorry," says Mr. Desmond, stiffly. "Let 
me assure you, however, that I shall never cause you 
such offence again until you wish it." 

" Then say never at once," says Monica, with a pout. 

" Yery good," says Desmond. It may now be reason- 
ably supposed that he has met all her requirements, 
and that sh© has no further complaints to bring for- 
ward ; but such is not the case. 

" I don't like you when you talk to me like that," she 
says, aggressively, and with a spoiled-child air, glanc- 
ing at him from under her sweeping lashes. 

" How am I to talk to you, then ?" asks he, in despair. 

" You know very well how to talk to Miss Fitzger- 
ald," retorts she, provokingly, and with a bold attempt 
at a frown. Yet there is something about her naughty 
little face, a hidden, mocking, mischievous, yet withal 
friendly smile as it were, that disarms her speech of itt 
sting and gives Brian renewed hope and courage. 

He takes her hand deliberately and draws it unru- 
pulsed through his arm. 

" Let us go up this walk," ho says, " and leave al) 
angry words and thoughts behind us." 

He makes a movement in the direction indicated, ard 
finds that she moves with him. He finds, too, that hei 
slender fingers have closed involuntarily upon his arm 



ROSSMOrHE. 23'J 

Plainly, she is as glad to be at pe..ce wflh him as he 
with her. 

Coining to a turn in the path, shaded by two rugged 
old apple-trees now growing heavy with their green 
burden, Desmond stands still, and, putting his right 
hand in his pocket, draws out something from it. Ah 
he does this he colors slightly. 

" You wear all your rings on your right han(!l,'* he 
Bays, with loving awkwardness, " and it seems to me 
the other poor little fingers always look neglected. I — 
I wish you would take this and make it a present to 
your left hand." 

" This'' is a thick gold band, set with three large dia- 
monds of great brilliancy in gypsy fashion. 

"Oh ! not for me I" says Monica, recoiling, and clasp- 
ing her hands behind her back, yet with her eyes firmly 
festened upon the beautiful ring. 

" Why not for you ? Some day I shall give you all 
I possess ; now I can give you only such things as this." 

" Indeed I must not take it," says Monica ; but even 
as she utters the halfhearted refusal she creeps uncon- 
sciously closer to him, and, laying her hand upon his 
wrist, looks with childish delight and longing at the 
glittering stones lying in his palm. 

" But I say you must," says Desmond, taking a very 
superior tone. " It is yours, not mine. I have nothing 
to do with it. It was never meant for me. See," 
taking up her hand and slipping the ring on her en- 
gaged finger, "how pretty your little white hand 
makes it look I" 

It is always a difficult thing to a woman to bring 
herself to refuse diamonds, but doubly difficult once 
she has seen them positively adorning her own person. 

Monica looks at the ring, then sighs, then turn^ it 
round and round mechanically, and finally glances at 
Desmond. He returns the glance by passing his arm 
round her shoulders, after which there is never another 
WDrd said about the ownership of the ring. 

" But it will put my poor little pigs in the shade, 
won't it?" says Monica, looking at her other hand, and 
then at him archly. " Oh I it is lovely — lovely /" 



238 ROSSk OTNE. 

** I think I might have chosen you a prettier one, had 
I rim up to Dublin and gone to Waterhouse myself," 
Bays Desmond ; " but I knew ii I went I could not pofl- 
sibly get back until to-morrow evening, and that would 
mean losing two whole days of our precious seven." 

This speech pleases Monica, I think, even more thao 
the ring. 

" I am glad you did not go," she says, softly. 

" So am I — especially as— — " Here he pauses, and 
then goes on again hurriedly. " If I had gone, Monica, 
you would not have forgotten me ?" 

" How could I forget you in two little days ?" 

" They would have been two very big days to me. 
But tell me, if I were to go away from you for a far 
longer time — say for a whole month — would you still 
be faithful ? Should I find you as I left you, — indif- 
ferent to others at least, if not wholly mine ?" 

"Why should I change?" 

"Darling, there are so many reasons." He draws 
his breath quickly, impatiently. " Some day, you may 
meet some one else — more suited to you, perhaps, 
and " 

" I shall never do that." She interrupts him slowly, 
but decidedly. 

" You are sure ?" 

"Yes." 

The answer in words perhaps is meagre ; but he, look- 
ing into the depths of her soft eyes, sees a surer answei 
there, and is satisfied. 

The shadows are growing longer and slower. They 
do not dance and quiver now in mad glee, as they did 
an hour agone. 

" I think we must go back," says Monica, with uncon' 
cealed regret. 

"What I you will throw me again into temptation! 
into the very arms of the fair Bella?" says Desmond, 
laughing. " Refiect, I beg of you, before it is too late." 

"After all," says Monica, "I don't think I have be- 
haved very nicely about her. I don't think now it 
would be a — a pretty thing to make you givo me the 
roses before her. !No, you must not do that ; and you 



nossMorNE. 2d> 

must not manage to forget them, either. You shall 
bring the handsomest you can find and ^give them to 
her, — but publicly, Brian, just as if there was nothing 
in it, you know." 

" There is nothing like adhering to the strict truth," 
says Brian. " There shall be nothing in my rosen, 1 
nromise you, — except perfume." 



CHAPTER XX. 



How gossip grows rife at Aghyohillbeg — Hott Hermia parries the 
qaestion, and how Olga proves unkind. 

"She's disgracefully ugly I — I saw hor quite clog«," 
says Mr. Kelly, to an injured tone. " I wonder what 
on earth Madam O'Connor means by asking her here, 
where she can be nothing but a blot upon a perfect 
landscape ; all the rest of us are so lovely." 

It is four o'clock, and hopelessly wet. The soft rain 
patters on the leaves outside, the grass and all the gar- 
dens are drowned in Nature's tears. There can be 
no lounging on sunny terraces, no delicious dreaming 
under shady boech-trees, this lost afternoon. 

Giving in to the inevitable with a cheerful resigna- 
tion worthy of record, they have all congregated in the 
grand old hall, one of the chief glories of Aghyohillbeg. 

Through a vague but mistaken notion that it will 
add to their comfort and make them coseyer and more 
forgetful of-— or at least more indifTerent to — the sun- 
shine of yesterday, they have had an enormous fire of 
pine logs kindled upon the hearth. When too late, 
they discover it to be a discomfort; but, with a stoi- 
cism worthy a better cause, they decl no to acknowl- 
edge their error, and stand in groups round the aggres- 
sive logs, pretending to enjoy them, but in reality dying 
of heat. 

Meanwhile, the fra^ant pieces of pine roar and 
crackle merrily, throwmg shadows up the huge chiiA- 



240 ROSSMOYNE. 

ney, and casting bright gleams of li^ht up^n the tz 
quisite oaken carving of the ancient chimney -pieoe that 
reaches almost to the lofty ceiling and is now bl&ck 
cned by age and beautiful beyond description. 

Olga, in a sage-green gown, is lying oack listlesslj 
in a deep arm-chair ; she has placed an elbow on either 
arm of it, and has brought her fingers so far towards 
each other that their tips touch. Hermia Herrick, in a 
gown of copper-red, is knitting languidly a little silk 
ROck for the child nestling silently at her knee. 

Monica, in plain white India muslin, is doing nothing, 
unless smiling now and then at Brian Desmond be any- 
thing, who is lying on a bear-skin rug, looking su- 
premely happy and full of life and spirits. He has 
come over from Coole very early, being generously 
urged so to do by Madam O'Connor when parting with 
him last night. Byde is not on the field, so the day is 
his own. 

Miss Fitzgerald is looking rather handsome, in a 
dress of the very tiniest check, that is meant for a 
small woman only, or a child, and so makes her appear 
several sizes larger than she really is. Ulic Eonape, 
standing leaning against the chimney-piece as close to 
Olga as circumstances will permit, is silent to a fault; 
and, indeed, every one but Mr. Kelly has succumbed to 
the damp depression of the air. 

They have had only one distraction all day,— the 
arrival of another guest, a distant cousin of their ho8^ 
ess, who has been lauding her for a week or so. On 
inspection she proves to be a girl of nineteen, decidedly 
unprepossessing in appearance, — in fact, as Mr. Mur* 
phy, the butler, says to Mrs. Collins, the housekeeper, 
" as ugly as if she was bespoke." 

A tall girl oppressed by freckles and with hair of a 
deep — well, let us emulate our polite French neighbors 
and call it blond ardent 

" Who is she ?" asks Lord Eossmoyne, who arrived 
about an hour ago, to Ulic Eonajme's discomfiture. 

"She's a fraud!" says Mr. Kelly, indignantly,— ;'' * 
swindle! Madam assured us, last night, a charming 
^1 was coming, to turn all heads and storm all hearts; 



R088M0YNE. 241 

and to-day, when we rasbed in a body to tbe window 
and flattened our noses against tbe panes to see her, 
lo I a creature with red hair and pimples " 

" No, no \ freckled, my dear Owen," interrupts Olga, 
indolently. 

" It is all tbe same at a distance I general effect fatal 
in both cases," says Mr. Kelly, airily. " It makes one 
positively uncomfortable to look at her. I consider 
her being thrust upon us like this a deliberate insult. 
I think if she continues I shall leave." 

" Oh, don't," says Desmond, in a tone of agonized 
entreaty. " How should we manage to get on without 
you?" 

" Badly, badly, I know that," regretfully. " But it 
is a question of breaking either your hearts or mine. 
Some of us must go to the wall ; it would be unfair to 
the world to make it me." 

"I don't believe you will go far," says Mrs. Herrick, 
slowly. Kelly glances at her quickly, but she does not 
lift her eyes from the little sock, and her fingers move 
rapidly, easily as ever. 

" London or Paris," he says, — " the city of fogs or 
the city of frogs. I don't know which I prefer." 

" Better stay where you are," says Brian. 

" Well, I really didn't think her so very plain," says 
Bella Fitzgerald, who thinks it pretty to say the kind 
thing always. "A large mouth is an affliction, cer- 
tainly J and as for her complexion — but really, after all, 
it is better to see it as it is than painted and powdered, 
as one sees other people." 

This is a faint cut at Olga, who is fond of powder, 
and who has not scrupled to add to her charms by a 
little touch of rouge now and then when she felt pallor 
demanded it. 

' * I think a little artificial aid might improve poor 
Miss Browne," says Hermia Herrick. Miss Browne is 
the new arrival. 

" I don't. I think it is an abominable thing to cheat 
the public like that," says Miss Fitzgerald doggedly ; 
"nobody respectable would do it. The demi-monds 
paint and powder." 

L f 21 



M2 ROSSMOFNE. 

**Do they? how do you know, dear?" asks Olga 
Bohun, sweetly. 

Miss Fitzgerald, feeling she has made a faux-pas^ 
colors violently, tries to. get herself out of it, and 
flounders helplessly. Lord Kossmoyne is looking su^ 
prised, TJlic Eonayne and Desmond amused. 

" Every one says so," says the fair Bella, at last, in 
a voice that trembles with inger: "you know very 
well they do." 

" I don't, indeed, my dear Bella. My acquaintance 
with— er — that sort of person has be^n limited : I quite 
envy you your superior knowledge." 

Here Olga laughs a little, low, rippling lau^h that 
completes her enemy's defeat. After the laugh there 
is a dead silence. 

" I think somebody ought to remove the poor little 
child," says Mr. Kelly, in a low, impressive tone, point- 
ing to Mrs. Herrick's little girl. At which everybody 
laughs heartily, and awkwardness is banished. 

"Browne? — I knew an Archil!>id Browne once : any- 
thing to this girl ?" asks Lord Eossmoyne, hurriedly, 
unwilling to let silence settle down on them again. 

" Big man with a loose tie ?" asks XJlic. 

" Ye-es. There was something odd about his neck, 
now I remember," says Eossmoyne. 

" That was her father. He had an idea he was like 
Lord Byron, and always wore his necktie flying in the 
wind." 

" He couldn't manage it, though," says Mr. Kelly, 
with as near an attempt at mirth as he ever permits 
himself. "It always flew the wrong way. Byron's, 
if you call to mind his many portraits, always flei? 
over his left shoulder ; old Browne's wouldn't. By the 
bye," thoughtfully, " Byron must have had a wind of 
his own, murtn't he? our ordinary winds don't alwayn 
blow in th'e same directioii, do they ?" 

" I would that a wind could arise to blow you m 
some direction, when you are in such an idle mood as 
now," says Mrs. Herrick, in a low tone. 

" If it would blow me in your direction, I should say 
amen to that," in a voice as subdued sts h^r own. 



ROSSMOTNE. 243 

** May the Fates avert from me a calamity so great I" 

" You will have to entreat them very diligently, if 
you hope to escape it." 

" Are you so very determined, then ?" 

" Yes. Although I feel I am mocked by the hop© 
within me, still I shall persist." 

" You waste your tim^." 

'' I am content to was€o it in such a cause. Yet I am 
•orry I am so distasteful to you." 

" That is not your fault. I forgive you that." 

"What is it, then, you can't forgive in me?" 

"Not more than I can't forgive in another. *Grod 
made you all, therefore let you all pass for men.' I 
don't deal more hardly with you than with the rest, you 
see. You are only one of many." 

" That is the unkindest thinff you ever said to me. 
And that is saying much. Yet I, too, will beseech the 
Fates in my turn." 

" To grant you whp^ ?" 

" The finding of you in a gentler mind." 

The fkintest flicker of a smile crosses her lips. She 
lays her knitting on her knee for an instant, that she 
may the more readily let her taper fingers droop until 
they touch the pale brow of the child at her feet ; then 
she resumes it again, with a face calm and emotionless 
as usual. 

" Old Browne's girl can't owe her father much," Des- 
mond is saying, d propos of something both lost and 
gone before, so far as feelly and Mrs. Herrick are con- 
cerned. 

** About a hundred thousand pounds," says Eonay ne. 
" She is quite a catch, you know. No end of money. 
The old fellow died a year ago." 

" No, he didn't ; he demised," says Kelly, emerging 
from obscurity into the light of conversation v,nce more. 
" At least, so the papers said. There is a tremendous 
difierence, you know. A poor man dies, a rich man 
demises. One should always bear in mind that im- 
portant social distinction." 

" And the good man I What of him ?" says Desmond 
looking at his friend. " What does Montgomery say ?** 



244 ROSSMOTNE. 

" Yes, that is very mysterious," says Kelly, vrith 
bated breath. " According to Montgomery, * the good 
man never dies.* Think of that I Never dies. He walki 
the earth forever, like a superannuated ghost, only 
awfuUer." 

" Have you ever seen one ?" asks Olga, leaning for- 
waixl. 

" What ? a man that never died ? Yes, lots of 'em. 
Here's one," laying his hand upon his breast. 

"No. A man that never will die ?" 

" How can I answer such a question as that? Per- 
haps Eonayne, there, may be such a one." 

**How stupid you are! I mean, did you ever meet 
a man who couldn't die ?" 

" Never, — if he went the right way about it." 

" Then, according to your showing, you have never 
seen a good man." She leans back again in her chair, 
fatigued but satisfied. 

-"I'm afraid they are few and far between," says 
Hermia. 

" Now and again they have appeared," says Mr. Kelly, 
with a modest glance. " Perhaps I shall never die." 

" Don't make us more unhappy than we need be," 
says Mrs. Herrick, plaintively. 

" How sad that good men should be so scarce I" says 
Miss Fitzgerald, with a glance she means to be funny, 
but which is only dull. 

" Don't make trite remarks, Bella," says Mrs. Bohuii, 
languidly. " You know if you did meet one he would 
bore you to death. The orthodox good man, the op- 
pressive being we read about, but never see, is unknown 
to me or you, for which I, at least, am devoutly grate- 
ful." 

" To return to old Browne," says XJlic : " he wasn't 
good, if you like. He was a horrid ill-tempered, com- 
mon old fellow, thoroughly without education of any 
kind." 

" He went through college, however, as he was fond 
of boasting whenever he got the chance." 

" And when he didn't get it he made it." 

" In at one door and out at the other, that's how h« 



ROSSMOYNE, 245 

went through TriniQr," says Mr. Kelly. " Oh, how I 
hated that dear old mao, and how he hated me I" 

"You admit, then, the possibility of your being 
hated ?" says Mrs. Herrick. 

" I have admitted that ever since — I met — you ! But 
old Browne bore me a special grudge." 

" And your sin against him ?" 

" I never fathomed it. * The atrocious crime of being 
a young man,' principally, I think. Once, I certainly 
locked him up in his own wine-cellar, and left hiiii 
there for six hours, under the pretence that I believed 
him to be a burglar, but nothing more. He quite dis- 
liked being locked in the cellar, I think. It was very 
dark, I must admit. But Fm not afraid of the dark." 

" That's a good thing," says Madam O'Connor, enter- 
ing, "because it will soon envelop you. Did any one 
ever see so dark an evening for the time of year ? Well, 
I dp think that fire looks cheerful, though it is warm. 
Has Mary Browne come down yet ?" 

" No. Come here. Madam ; here's a cosey seat I have 
been keeping sacred for you for the past -hour. Why 
have you denied us the light of your countenance all 
this weary time ?" 

" Get ojit with you now, and your fine compliments 
to an old woman I" says Madam, laughing. " if I were 
your sweetheart, Owen, I'd never believe a word out 
of your lips." 

Mrs. Herrick, laying down her knitting, raises hei 
head, and looks full into Kelly's eyes. As she does 
so, a smile, lovely as it is unexpected, warms all her 
statuesque face into perfect beauty. 

" And this to me I" says Kelly, addressing his hostesi*, 
and pretending to be blind to Mrs. Herricks glance 
" All the afternoon I have been treated by your sex 
with the most consummate cruelty. With their tonguoe 
they have been stabbing me as with so many knives. 
But yours is the unkindest cut of all. It is, in fact^ 
the — or — carving-knife I" 

"Oh I here's the tea," says Oiga, in a pleased tone 
" Madam, please let me pour it out to-night ?" 

" Of course, my lovo, and thank you too." 
21* 



246 ROSSMOTNE. 

"And may I to-morrow evening?" asks Monica, 
with childish eagerness and a quick warm blush. 

" You may, indeed, my pretty one ; and I hope it 
won't be long before you pour me out my tea in your 
own house." 

Monica laughs, and kisses her, and Desmond, who is 
standing near them, stoops over Madam O'Connor and 
teUs her he would like to kiss her too, — ^first, for her 
own sake, and secondly, for that sweet hope of hers 
just uttered. 

" Not a bit of it," says she, in return, in a tone as 
spriffhtly as it was twenty years ago, though too low 
for Monies to hear. " Your first and second reasons 
are all humbug. Say at once you want to kiss me be- 
cause you think this child's caress still lingers on my 
lips. Ah ha I — ^you see I know more than you think, 
my lad. And hark you, Brian, come here till I whisper 
a word in your ear; I'm your friend, boy, in this 
matter, and I wish you luck, though Priscilla Blake 
kill me for it ; that's what I want to say." 

" I couldn't desire a better friend," says Brian, grate- 
fully. 

"And where on earth is Mary Browne?" says 
Madam O'Connor. " She is such a nice girl, though 
hardly a Yenus. Owen, my dear, I want you to take 
her down to dinner, and to make yourself charming to 
her." 

" I shall be only too pleased," says Mr. Kelly, faintly ; 
and then he sinks back in his chair and covers his face 
with his hands. 

" We were talking about Miss Browne's father : he 
was quite a millionaire, wasn't he?" says Lord Eoss- 
moyne, who is standing at the tea-table beside Olga. 
He is a very rich man himself^ and has, therefore, a 
due regard for riches in others. 

" He was, — and the most unpleasant person I ever 
met in my life, into the bargain," says Madam O'Con- 
nor. "I'm sure the life he led that poor Mary I — ^I 
never felt more relieved at anything than at the news 
t< his death." 

" I feel as if I could weep for Mary," says Mr. Eelly, 



R08SM0TNE. 5S47 

in an aside to Mrs. Herrick, who takes no notice of 
him. '' I wonder if she has got a little lamb/' he goes 
on, nnrebuked. 

" What about the lamb ?' says Madam, whose ears 
are young as ever. 

" 1 was only conjecturing as to whether your cousin 
Mary had a little lamb," says Mr. Kelly, genially. 
" The old Mary had, you know. A dear little animal, 
with its 

' Fleece as white as snow ; 
And ererTwhere that Mary went 
The kimb was sure to go.' 

You recollect, don't you? What does Miss Browne 
do with hers ? Has she got it up-stairs in her room, 
now ? After all, — though the idea is sweetly pretty, 
— ^I think there might be certain places into which it 
would be awkward to have even the whitest lamb 
trotting after one. Eh ?" 

" I suppose Miss Browne is rich enough to indulge in 
any vagaries that may occur to her," says Bella Fitz- 
gerald. 

"There's nothing like money," says Olga, with a 
sigh; at which Lord Eossmoyne looks hopeful, and 
young Bonayne despondent. 

" Like leather, you mean," says Owen Kelly : " that's 
the real thing to get hold of" 

" Some people would do anything for money," says 
Miss Fitzgerald, with a spiteful glance in Olga's direc- 
tion. " They would sell themselves for it." Here she 
turns her cold eyes upon Bonayne, who is standing 
erect, handsome, but unmistakably miserable. 

" They could hardlv sell themselves for a more prof- 
itable article," says Olga, with a fine shrug of her soft 
shoulders. 

" So they think. Croesus, we know, was, and is, all- 
powerful." 

"Oh, no," says Olga, with a little silvery laugh; 
"you forget, my dear Bella. Bead it up again, and 
you will see that Croesus was once conquered by Cyrus. 
What became of his power then ?" 

Her lashes cover her eyes for a moment, and when 



248 ROSSMOFNE. 

she lifts them again they are fixed on Bonayna By 
some coquettish art she gives him to understand in 
this single glance that he is Cyrus, Lord Bossmoyne 
Croosus. He can conquer this rich lord if he will 

" How idle you are, Mr. Eonayne I" she says, aloud. 
" Come here directly and help me. You know I can- 
n3t do without your help." There is the most delicate 
emphasis possible upon the pronoun. Obedient to her 
command, he comes, as Eossmoyne, armed with the 
cups, crosses the hall to Hermia and Miss Fitzgerald. 

"Did your eyes speak true just now?" he asks, 
bending over her under pretext of helping her with 
the cups. 

" What is truth ?" asks she, in turn, with a swift up-^ 
ward glance. " Who knows aught of her ? She lies 
buried in a deep well, does she not ? Who shall drag 
her forth ?" 

She smiles, yet in a somewhat constrained fashion, 
that assorts ill with the inborn self-possession that as a 
rule characterizes her. She glances at him hurriedly. 
How young and handsome and earnest he looks 1 How 
full of tenderest entreaty I There is, too, a touch of 
melancholy in his dark eyes that never came to the 
birth (she is fain to acknowledge to herself with a pang 
of remorse) until that day when first they looked on 
her. 

He loves her, — that she knows; but Eossmoyne 
loves her too ; and though Eonayne^s rent-roll is by no 
means to be despised, stul it counts but as a small one 
beside that of Eossmoyne's. 

And Hermia is right I a title is of use in the world, 
and nothing is so lasting or so satisfactory as a respect 
table book at one's banker's. A good match (Hermia 
again) is the one thing to be desired ; it covers all sins. 
Advice such as this coming from Mrs. Herrick is thor- 
oughly disinterested, as the late lamented Mr. Herrick, 
having behaved to her like a brute during their merci- 
fully short married life, had died in the odor of sanc- 
tity, leaving her complete mistress of all his enormous 
wealth, and quite free to make a second marriage of 
her own choosing. 



ROSSMOYNE. 249 

With her (Olga), however, the case is widely differ- 
ent ; she is indeed without encumbrances so far as chil- 
dren may so be termed, and she has sufficient means to 
enable her to get her gowns and things from Paris, but 
there her independence ends. 

As she runs over all this hurriedly in her mind, the 
desire for riches grows upon her. Yes, there is cer- 
tainly a great deal of good in Eossmoyne, besides his 
income ; and perhaps a solid sternness is preferable to 
an airy gayety of manner (this with an irrepressible 
leaning towards the " airy gayety") ; and — and — what 
a pity it is that Eossmoyne is not TJlic I 

" I will,'* says Eonayne, alluding to her last remark, 
in a low but determined tone. "Olga, tell me I am 
more to you than Eossmoyne." 

" The boy you are I" says Olga, with an adorable 
smile that reaches him through the flickering flashes 
of the firelight. " The baby I" He is bending over 
her, and with a light caressing touch she brushes back 
the hair from his temples. "In a year, nay, in a 
month, once we are separated, you will see some othev 
face, newer, more desirable, and forget you ever carea 
for mine." 

" If I could believe that, I might find peace. Yet, 
for all that peace could give me, I would not so believe 
it. I am yours forever, boy though you deem me; 
and, yet, is one ever a boy again when one has once 
truly loved ?" 

" How often have you truly loved ?" with an attemjit 
at lightness that is down-trodden by the intensity of 
her regard. 

" As often as I have seen you. Nay, more than that, 
every moment since I first saw you ; because night and 
day, whether absent or present, I have been yours in 
heart and soul." 

" You have fatigued yourself I — ^A long two months '" 
laughingly. 

" A short two months." 

" There has been no time for fickleness." 

" There never will be, so far as I am concerned. So 
sure am 1 of that, that I do not mind praying that 



250 HOSSMOFNE. 

Cupid's curse may light upon me if ever I prove un 
fkithful. You know it ?" 

*' I have but small acquaintance with cursing of aaj 
sort." 

" Then learn this one : 

' They that do change old lore for new, \ 

Pray gods they ohaage for worse I' 

Willyou repeat that after me ?" 

"Wait until I finish my tea; and — unkind as you 
are — ^you will give me a little bit of cake, won't you ?" 

" I would give you everything I possess, if I could." 

" You don't possess this cake, you know : it is Madam 
O'Connor's." 

"Oh, Olga, why will you always press me back- 
wards ? Am I never to be nearer to you than I am 
now?" 

"I don't see how you could conveniently be very 
much nearer," says Mrs. Bohun, with a soft laugh. 

" After all, I suppose I come under the head of either 
madman or fool," says Konayne, sadly. "You are 
everything to me ; I am less than nothing to you." 

"Is Lord Kossmoyne to come under the head of 
• nothing' ? How rude I" says Olga. 

" I never thought of him. I was thinking only of 
how hopelessly I love you." 

" Love I How should such a baby as you grasp even 
the meaning of that word ?" says Olga, letting her 
white lids droop until their long lashes lie upon her 
cheeks like shadows, while she raises her cup with in* 
dolent care to her lips. "Do you really think you 
know what it means ?*' 

'"The dredeful joy, alway that flit so yeme. 
All this mene I by Lore/ " 

quotes he, very gently; after which he turns away, 
and, going over to the fireplace again, flings himself 
down dejectedly at Monica's feet. 

"Are you tired, Mi. Ronayne?" says Monica, very 
gently. Something in his beautiful face tells her that 
mattery are not going i^qU with him. 



ROSSMOFNE. 261 

** Tired? no," lifting his eyes to hers with a smile 
that belies his words. "It is good of you to ask, 
though. I wish," earnestly, "you would not call me 
*Mr. Eonayne.* I ean*t bear it from anyone I like. 
Desmond, tell her to call me XJlic." 

It strikes both Monica and Brian as peculiar that he 
should appeal to the latter as to one possessed of a 
nertain influence over the former. It strikes Miss Pitz- 
fferald in the same light too, who has been listening to 
his impetuous entreaty. 

Seeing there is something wrong with him, some- 
thing that might be termed excitement in his manner, 
Desmond whispers to Monica to do as he desires. 

" He is unhappy about something ; let him feel you 
are his friend," he says, in a low tone. 

" Come a little farther from the fire, XJlic, — a little 
nearer to me," says Monica, in a tone of shy friendli- 
ness, " and I think you will be more comfortable." 

He is more than grateful, I think, though he says 
nothing, only he moves a good deal closer to her, and 
lays his head against her knee in brotherly fashion, — 
need I say unrebuked ? 

Something in this little scene sends the blood rush- 
ing with impatient fervor through Olga's veins. But 
that she knows Monica well, and that the girl is dear 
to her, she could have hated her heartily at this mo- 
ment, without waiting to analyze the motive for her 
dislike. As it is, she gives the reins to her angry spirit, 
and lets it drive her where it will. She laughs quite 
merrily, and says some pretty playful thing to Lord 
tiossmoyne that all the world can hear, — and Eonayne, 
iC assured, the first of all. 

Desmond, with a subdued touch of surprise in his 
)yes, turns to look at her. But the night has dark- 
ened with sullen haste, — tired, perhaps, of the day's ill 
temper, — and standing as he does within the magic 
circle of the firelight, he finds a difficulty in conquer- 
ing the gloom beyond. This makes his gaze in her 
direction the more concentrated; and, indeed, when 
he has separated her features from the mist of the fall- 
ing night, he still finds it impossible to pierce the im- 



252 ROSSMOFNB. 

penetrable veil cf iDdifference that covers ner every 
feature. 

His gaz ? thus Decessarily prolonged is distasteful to 
her. 

" Brian, don't keep staring at the teapot in that 
mean fashion," she says, playfully, yet with a latent 
sense of impatience in her tone. " It is unworthy of 
you. Go up to Madam O'Connor nobly, cap in hand, 
and 1 dare say — if you ask her prettily — she will grant 
me permission to give you a cup of tea." 

Desmond, recovering from his re very with a start, 
accepts the situation literally. 

" W ill you, Madam ?" he says, meekly. " Do." His 
tone is of the most abject. There is a perceptible 
trembling about his knee-joints. "Is this the ^air 
noble' ?" he says to Olga, in an undertone. " Have I 
^iau^titr 

"You'll catch it in a minute in real earnest, if you 
don't mend your manners," says Madam, with a laugh. 
" Give him his tea, Olga, my dear, though he doesn't 
deserve it." 

" Sugar ?" says Olga, laconically. 

" Yes, please," mendaciously. 

" Then you shan't have even one lump, if only to 
punish you for your misconduct." 

"I thought as much," says Brian, taking his cup 
thankfully. " Fact is, I can't bear sugar, but I knew you 
would drop it in, in an unlimited degree, if I said the 
other thing. Not that I have the vaguest notion as to 
how I have misconducted myself. If I knew, I might 
set a watch upon my lips." 

" Set it on your eyes,'' says Olga, with meaning. 

At this moment a light footfall is heard, and some^ 
body comes slov^ly across the hall. A merry tongue of 
fire, flaming upwards, declares it to be the plain Miss 
Browne. 

Mrs. O'Connor has just passed into an adjoining 

room. Olga is busy with her tray and with her 

thoughts. Mrs. Herrick, partly turned aside, and ob- 

8^ livious of the approaching guest, is conversing in low 

"^^^ones with Lord Kossmoyne. 



ROSSMOYNE. 253 

No one, therefore, is ready to give the stranger wel- 
come and put her through the ceremony of introduc- 
tion. Awkwardness is impending, when Monica comes 
to the rescue. Her innate sense of kindly courtesy 
conquering her shyness, she rises from her seat, and, 

e>ing up to Miss Browne, who has come to a stand-still, 
ys ner hand softly upon hers. 

" Come over here and sit by me," she says, nervously, 
yet with such a gracious sweetness that the stranger's 
heart goes out to her on the spot, and Brian Desmond, 
jf it be possible, falls more in love with her than ever. 

" Thank you," says Miss Browne, pressing gratefully 
the little hand that lies on hers ; and then every one 
wakes into life and says something civil to her. 

Five minutes later the dressing-bell rings, and the 
scene is at an end. ' 



CHAPTER XXL 



ilow Mrs. Herriok grows worldly-wise and Olga frivoloiu — How Mr. 
Kelly tells a little story; and how, beneath the moonlight, many things 
are made clear. 

DiNNEB has come to an end. The men are still dally- 
ing with their wine. The women are assembled in 
the drawing-room. 

Olga, having drawn back the curtains from the cen 
tral window, is standing in its embrasure, looking out 
silently upon the glories of the night. For the storm 
has died away; the wind is gone to sleep; the rain has 
sobbed itself to death ; and now a lovely moon is rising 
slowly — slowly — from behind a rippled mass of grayest 
cloud. From out the dark spaces in the vault above a 
few stars are shining, — the more brilliantly because of 
the blackness that surrounds them. The air is sultry 
almost to oppressiveness, and the breath of the roses 
that have twinod themselves around the railings of 
the balcony renders the calm night full of sweetest 
fraficrance. 

22 



254 ROSSMOYNE. 

Evon as she gazos, spell-bound, the clouds roll back* 
ward, and stars grow and multiply exceedingly, until 
all 

'' the floor of heaven 
Ib thiok inlaid with patines of bright gold." 

Madam O'Connor is talking to Miss Browne of co^ 
tai n family matters i nteresting to both. Miss Fitzgerald 
has gone up-stairs, either to put on another coating 
of powder, or else to scold her long-suffering maid. 
Her mother has fallen into a gentle, somewhat noisy 
snooze. 

A sudden similar thought striking both Monica and 
Mrs. Herrick at the same moment, they rise, and make 
a step towards the window where^ Olga is standing all 
alone. ' 

Hermia, laying her hand on Monica's arm, entreats 
her by a gesture to change her purpose; whereon 
Monica falls back again, and Hermia, going on, parts 
the curtains, and, stepping in to where Olga is, joins 
her uninvited. 

" Dreaming ?" she says, lightly. 

"Who would not dream on such a night as this? 
the more beautiful because of the miserable day to 
which it is a glorious termination. See, Hermia, how 
those planets gleam and glitter, as though in mockery 
of us poor foolish mortals down below." 

" I don't feel a bit more foolish than I did this morn- 
ing," says Hermia. " Do you, dear ? You were giving 
yourself a great deal of credit for your common sense 
then." 

"^Common sense,' — worldly wisdom, — how I hato 
the sound of all that jargon I" says Olga, petulantly. 
" Let us forget we must be wise, if only for one night 
The beauty of that silent world of flowers beyond naa 
somehow entered into me. Let me enjoy it. *How 
sweet the moonlight sleeps upon that bank' down 
there I Watch it. Can you see how the roses quiver 
beneath its touch, as though stirred by some happy 
dream ?" 

"It is indeed a perfect night!" says Hermia, lookinjf 



BOS&MOTSE. 256 

at her in some surprise. There is a suspicion of excite- 
ment in Olga's manner — arising, as it were, from the 
desire to hide one emotion by the betrayal of another — 
that strikes her listener as strange. 

"How softly the air beats upon one's face I" says 
Mrs. Bohun, leaning a little forward. " The night is, 
as you say, perfect. Yet I don^t know what is the 
matter with me : the more I feel the loveliness of all 
arouud, the sadder my heart seems to grow." 

"What!" says Hermia, lifting her brows, "am I to 
learn now that you — the gayest of all mortals — have 
at last succumbed to the insufferable dreariness of this 
mer^ world ?" 

"You run too fast. I am a little perplexed, per- 
hat)s ; but I have not succumbed to anything." 

" Or any one, I hope, unless it be to your advantage. 
You are playing a silly game, Olga." 

" The world would be lost unless it had a fool to 
sport with now and then." 

"But why should you be the one to pander to its 
pleasures ?" 

"Who more fitting? I am tired of hearing you 
apply that word * silly* to me, morning, noon, and 
night." 

" It is too late to believe it possible that you and I 
should quarrel," said Mrs. Herrick, in a perfectly even 
tone : " so don't try to get up an imaginary grievance. 
You know you are dearer to me than anything on 
earth, after the children." 

" Well, don't scold me any more," says Olga, coax- 

" I never scold ; I only reason." 

" Oh I but that is so much worse," says Olga. " li 
means the scolding, and a lot more besides. Do any- 
thing but reason with me, my dear Hermia." 

" I will Ba,y that I think you are throwing yourself 
away." 

" Where ? Over the balcony ?" — wilfully. " I assure 
you, you misjudge me : I am far too great a coward." 

" You are not too great a coward to contemplate the 
oommitting of a much ndore serious hStise, To-night 



166 ROSSMOTNE. 

his aitentioDS were specially marked, and you allowed 
them." 

" I can't think what you mean." 

"Will you deny that Mr. Eonayne paid you very 
marked attention to-night ?" 

"Marked I Where did he make his impression, 
then ? He didn't i^incA me, if you mean that." 

" (Tf course you can follow your own wishes, dearest, 
and I shall neither gain nor lose ; hut it does seem a 
pity, when you might be a countess and have the 
world at your feet. I know few so altogether fitted 
to fill the position, and still you reject it. You are 
pretty, clever, charming, — everything of the most de- 
sirable." 

"Am I?" She steps into the drawing-room, and 
brings herself by a swift step or two opposite a huge 
mirror let into one of the walls. Standing before it, 
she surveys herself leisurely from head to foot, and 
then she smiles. 

" I don't know about the * clever,' " she says ; " but 
I am sure I am pretty. In town last season— do you 
remember? — my hair created quite a furore, it is so 
peculiarly light. Ever so many people wanted to 
paint me. Yes, it was all very pleasant." 

"Do you think it will be as pleasant to live here 
all your days, and find no higher ambition than the 
hope that your ponies may be prettier than Mrs. 
So-and-so's ?" 

" Do you remember that fancy ball, and how the prince 
asked who I was, and all the rest of it ? He said one 
or two very pretty things to me. He, like you, said I 
was charming. Do you know," naively, " I have never 
got over the feeling of being obliged to any one who 
pays mo a compliment ? I am obliged to you now." 

" And to the prince then. But you won't see many 

Erinces if you stay in Ireland, I fancy: they don't 
anker after the soil." 
" Poor Ireland I" says Mrs. Bohun. 
" And compliments, I should say, will be almost ai 
ncarce." 
** Ah I now. there you are wrong : they f^j beneath these 



ROSSMOYNE. 2W 

iiiui*ky skies. We absolutely revel in them. What true 
Irishman but has one tripping freely from his mouth 
on the very smallest chance? And then, my dear 
Hermia, consider, are we not the proud possessors of 
the blarney-stone ?" 

"I wish, dearest, you would bring yourself to think 
seriously of Eossmoyne." 

" I do think seriously of him. It would be impossible 
to think of him in any other way, he is so dull and 
pompous." 

" He would make an excellent husband." 

*' I have had enough of husbands. They are veiy 
unsatisfactory people. And besides " 

"Well?" 

" Bossmoyne has a temper." 

" And forty thousand a year." 

" J>rot good enough." 

" If you are waiting for an angel, you will wait for- 
ever. All men are " 

" Oh, Hermia I really, I carCt listen to such naughty 
words, you know. I really wonder at you I" 

"I wasn't going to say anything of the -kind," says 
Hermia, with great haste, not seeing the laughter lurk- 
ing in 01ga*s dark eyes. " I merely meant that " 

"Don't explain I — don't t" says Olga; "I couldn't 
endure any more of it." And she laughs aloud. 

" Eossmoyne is very devoted to you. Is there any- 
thing against him, except his temper ?" 

" Yes, his beard. Nothing would induce me to marry 
a man with hair all over his face. It isn't clean.'* 

" Give him five minutes and a razor, and he might do 
%way with it." 

" Give him five minutes and a razor, and he might 
df> away with himself too," says Olga, provokingly, 
" Really, I think one thing would please me just as 
much as the other." 

"Oh, then, you are bent on refusing him?" saye 
Hermia, calmly. With very few people does she ever 
lose her temper ; with Olga — never. 

" I am not so sure of that, at all," says Olga, airily. 
^' It is quite within the possibilities that I may marry 
r 22* 



158 ROSSMOTNB 

him Bomo time or other, — sooner . r later. There is i 
delightful vagueness about those two dates that gives 
me the warmest encouragement." 

" It is a pity you cannot be senous sometimes" says 
Mrs. Horrick, mildly. 

A little hand upon her gown saves further expostu- 
lation. A little face looking up with a certainty of 
welcome into hers brings again that wonderful softness 
into Hermia*s eyes. 

"Is it you, my sweetest?" she says, fondly. "And 
where have you been ? I have watched in vain for you 
for the last half-hour, my Fay." 

"I was in the dining-room. But nurse called me; 
and now I have come to say good-night," says the child. 

"Good-night, then, and God bless you, my chick. 
But where is my Georgie ?" 

" I'm here," says Georgie, gleefully, springing upon 
her in a violent fashion, that one would have believed 
hateful to the calm Hermia, yet is evidently most grate- 
ful to her. She embraces the boy warmly, and lets her 
eyes follow him until he is out of sight. Then she turns 
again to the little maiden at her side. 

" I must go with Georgie," says the child. 

" So you shall. But first tell me, what have you got 
m your hand ?" 

" Something to go to bed with. See, mammy I It is 
a pretty red plum," opening her delicate pink fist, for 
her mother's admiration. 

"Where did you get it, darling?" 

" In the dining-room." 

" From Lord Sossmoyne ?" - 

" No. From Mr. Kelly. I would not have the on* 
Lord Eossmoyne gave me." 

Oiga laughs mischievously, and Mrs. Herrick olon. 

'^Why?" she says. 

« Because I like Mr. Kelly best." 

" And what did you give him ?" 

« Nothing." 

" Not even a kiss ?" says Oiga. 

" No," somewhat shamefacedly. 

"Her mother's own daughter!" Hays Oiga, caro» 



ROSSMOYNE, 269 

ing the child tenderly, but laughing still. "A chilly 
mortal." 

" Good-night, my own," says Hermia, and the child, 
having kissed them both again, runs away. 

Olga follows her with wistful eyes. 

" I almost wish I had had a baby !" she says. 

"Youf Why, you can't take care of yourself I You 
are the least fitted to have a child of any woman I know. 
Leave all such charges to staid people like me. Why, 
you are a baby at heart, yourself, this moment." 

" That would be no drawback. It would only have 
created sympathy between me and my baby. I would 
have understood all her bad moods and condoned all 
her crimes." 

" If you had been a mother, you would haVe had a 
very naughty child." 

" I should have had a very happy child, at least." 
Then she laughs. " Fancy me with a dear little baby I" 
she says, — " a thing all my own, that would rub its 
soft cheek against mine and love me better than any 
thing I" 

" And rumple all your choicest Parisian gowns, and 
pull your hair to pieces. I couldn't fancy it at all." 

Here the door opens to admit the men, the celestial 
half-hour after dinner having come to an end. With 
one consent they all converge towards the window, 
where Olga and Hermia are standing with Monica, who 
had joined them to bid good-night to little Fay. Miss 
Fitzgerald, who has returned to the drawing-room 
freshly powdered, seeing how the tide runs, crosses the 
room too, and mingles with the group in the window. 

" How long you have been I We feared you dead 
and buried," she says to Kelly, with elephantine play- 
fulness. 

" We have, indeed. I thought the other men would 
never stir. Why did you not give me the chance of 
leaving them ? The faintest suggestion that you wanted 
me would have brought me here hours ago." 

" If I had been sure of thai, I should have sent you 
a message ; it would have saved me a lecture," saT« 
Olga, flashing a smile at Hermia. 



260 ROSSMOYNE. 

" I should disdain to send a message," says the proud 
Bella. " I would not compel any man's presence. * Comft 
if you will ; stay away if you won't/ is my motto ; and 
I cannot help thinking I am right." 

" You are, indeed, quite right. Coercion is of small 
avail in some cases," says Olga, regarding her with thu 
calm dignity of one who plainly considers the person 
addressed of very inferior quality indeed. 

'* A woman can scarcely be too jealous of her rights 
nowadays," says Miss Fitzgerald. " If she has a proper 
knowledge of her position, she ought to guard it care- 
fully." 

" A fine idea finely expressed I" says Kelly, as though 
f^mitten into reverence by the grandeur of her manner. 

"I wonder what is a man's proper position?" says 
Olga, lazily. 

" He will always find it at a woman's feet," says Miss 
Fitzgerald, grandly, elated by Kelly's apparent subjec- 
tion. 

That young man looks blankly round him. Under 
tables and chairs and lounges his eyes penetrate, but 
without the desired result. 

" So sorry I can't see a footstool anywhere I" he says, 
lifting regretful eyes to Miss Fitzgerald ; " but for that 
I should be at your feet from this until you bid me 
rise." 

" Hypocrite I" says Olga in his ear ; after which con- 
versation becomes more general; and presently Miss 
Fitzgerald goes back to the fire under the mistaken 
impression that probably one of the men will follow 
her there. 

The one — whoever he is — doesn't 

" Do you know," says Mr. Kelly, in a low tone, to tbo 
others, " the ugly girl's awfully nice I She is a pleasant 
deceit. ' She has no winsome looks, no pretty frown- 
ing,' I grant you ; but she can hold her own, and is so 
good-humored." 

"What a lovely night!" says Monica, gazing wist- 
fully into the misty depths of the illuminated darkness 
beyond. "I want to step into it, and — we have noi 
been out all day." 



ROSSMOYNE, 261 

" ThoD why not go now ?" says flermia, answering 
her glance in a kindly spirit. 

" Ah ! will you come ?*' says Monica, brightening into 
glad excitement. 

" Let us go as far as the fountain in the lower gar- 
den," says Olga: "it is always beautiful there wneo 
the moon is up." 

"Avoid the grass, however; wet feet are dangerous,'* 
says Lord Eossmoyne, carefully. 

" You will die an old bachelor," retorts Olga, saucily, 
" if you take so much * thought for the morrow.' " 

" It will certainly not be my fault if I do," returns 
JRossmoyne, calmly, but with evident meaning. 

"Mrs. Bohun, bring your guitar," says I)e8mond, 
" and we will make Konayne sing to it, and so imagine 
ourselves presently in the land of the olive and palm." 

"Shall we ask the others to come with us?" says 
Monica, kindly, glancing back into the drawing-room. 

"Miss Browne, for example?" suggests Owen Kelly. 
— If he hopes by this speech to arouse jealousy in any- 
body present, he finds himself, later on, mightily mis- 
taken. 

" If she is as good a sort as you say, I dare say sh«. 
would like it," says Olga. " And, besides, if we leave 
her to Bella's tender mercies she will undoubtedly be 
doneto death by the time we return." 

" Oh, do go and rescue her," says Mrs. Herri ck, turn- 
ing to Kelly. Her tone is almost appealing. 

" Perhaps Miss Fitzgerald will come too," says Mon- 
ica, somewhat fearfully. 

"Don't be afraid," says Olga. ^^ Fancy Bella run- 
ning the risk of having a bad eye or a pink nose in 
the morning! She knows much bettor than that." 

" Tell Miss Browne to make haste," says Mrs. Her- 
nek, turning to Kelly. "Because we are impatient, 
— we are longing to precipitate ourselves into the 
moonlight. Come, Olga ; come, Monica ; they can fol- 
low." 

Miss Browne, however, on being appealed to, shows 

80 honest a disregard for covering of any sort, beyond 

"'what decency has already clothed -her with, that she 



268 ROSSMOVNE. 

and Kelly catch up with the others even before the 
fountain is reached. 

It is, indeed, a fairy dell to which they have been 
Buminoned, — a magic circle, closed in by evergreena 
with glistening leaves. "Dark with excessive light" 
appears the scene; the marble basin of the fountain, 
standing out from the deep background, gleams snow- 
white beneath Diana's touch. "The moon's an arrant 
thief" Perchance she snatches from groat Sol some 
beauties even rarer than that " pale fire" he grants her 
— it may be, against his will. So it may well bo 
thought, for what fairest day can be compared with a 
moonlit night in languorous July? 

The water of the fountain, bubbling ever upwards, 
makes sweet music on the silent air ; but, even as they 
hark to it, a clearer, sweeter music makes the night 
doubly melodious. From bough to bough it comes and 
goes, — a heavenly harmony, not to be reproduced by 
anything of earthly mould. 

" nightingale, that on yon gloomy spray 
Warblest.at eve, when all the woods are still. 
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill." 

Clear from the depths of the pine woods beyond, the 
notes ascend, softly, tenderly. Not often do they en 
rich our Irish air, but sometimes they come to gladdeb 
us with a music that can hardly be termed of earth. 
The notes rise and swell and die, only to rise and to 
slowly fade again, like "linked sweetness long drawn 
out." , 

Seating themselves on the edge of the fountain, they 
acknowledge silently the beauty of the hour. Olga's 
hand, moving through the water, breaks it into little 
wavelets on which the riotous moonbeams dance. 

"Where are your bangles, Olga? you used to be 
famous for them ?" asks Desmond, idly. 

" I have tired of them." 

"Poor bangles!" says Ulic Eonayne, m a low tone 
heard only by her. 

" What a heavy sigh I" 



ROSSMOTNE, 2G3 

"A selfish one, too. More for myself than for the 
discarded bangles. Yet their grievance is mine." 

"I thought they suited you," says Desmond. 

** Did you ? W ell, but they had groi;v n so common ; 
every one used to go about laden with them. And then 
they made such a tiresome tinkle-tinkle all over th^ 
place." 

" What place?" says Lord Eossmoyne, who objects to 
slang of even the mildest description from any woman's 
lips, most of all from the lips of her whom he hopes to 
call his wife. 

" Don*t be stupid I" says this prospective wife, with 
considerable petulance. 

" You are fickle, I doubt," goes on Eossmoyne, un- 
moved. "A few months ago you raved about your 
bangles, and had the prettiest assortment I think I ever 
saw. Thirty-six on each arm, or something like it. 
We used to call them your armor. You said j^ou were 
obliged to wear the same amount exactly on each arm, 
lest you might grow crooked." 

"I know few things more unpleasant than having 
one's silly remarks brought up to one years afterwards," 
says Olga, with increasing ill temper. 

^^ Months, not years" says Eossmoyne, carefully. 
Whereupon Mrs. Bohun turns her back upon him, and 
Mrs. Herrick tells herself she would like to give him a 
good shake for so stupidly trying to ruin his own game, 
and Ulic Eonayne feels he is on the brink of swearing 
with him an eternal friendship. 

" Bangles?" breaks in Owen Aelly, musingly. " Harm- 
less little circular things women wear on their wrists, 
aren't they? But awkward too at times, — amazingly 
awkward. As Olga has feelingly remarked, they can 
make a marvellously loud tinkle-tinkle at times. I 
fenow a little story about bangles, that ought to be a 
warding against the use of them. Would any one like 
to hear my little story ? It is short, but very sweet." 

Every one instantly says "Yes," except Olga, who 
has drawn herself together and is regarding him with 
a stony glare. 

"IV^ell, there was once on a time a young woman, 



264 ROSSMOYNE. 

who had some bangles, and a young man ; she had other 
things too, such as youth and beauty, but they weren't 
half so important as the first two items; and wherever 
she and her bangles went, there went the young man 
too. And for a long time nobody knew which he loved 
best, the beauteous maiden or the gleaming banglei. 
Do I make myself clear?" 

" Wonderfully so, for yow," says Mrs. Herrick. 

" Well, one day the young man's preference was 
made * wonderfully so' too. And it was in this wise. 
On a certain sunny afternoon, the young woman found 
herself in a conservatory that opened off a drawing- 
room, being divided from it only by a hanging Indian 
curtain ; a hanged Indian curtain she used to call it 
ever afterwards ; but that was bad grammar, and bad 
manners too." 

" I feel I'm going to sleep," says Desmond, drowsily. 
" I hope somebody will rouse me when he has done, or 
pick me out of the water if I drop into it. Such a 
rigmarole of a story I never heard in my life." 

" Caviare can't be appreciated by the general ; it is 
too strong for you," says Mr. Kelly, severely. " But 

to continue Anything wrong with you, my dear 

Olga ?" 

" Nothing I" says Mrs. Bohun, with icy indignation. 

"Well. In this conservatory my heroine of the 
bangles found herself; and here, too, as a natural con 
sequence, was found the young man. There was near 
them a lounge, — skimpy enough for one, but they found 
H amply large for two. Curious fact in itself, wasn't 
it? And I think the young man so far forgot himself 

as to begin to make violent and just as he was 

about to emb the young woman, whose name was 

, she very properly, but with somewhat mistaken 

haste, moved away from him, and in so doing set all 
her bangles a-tinkling. Into full cry they burst, where- 
upon the curtain was suddenly drawn back from the 
drawing-room side, giving the people there a full view 
of the conservatory and its — cortentsi The ddnoue- 
ment was full of interest, — positively thrilling I I 
ihould advise all true lovers of a really good novd 



ROSSMOrirJS. 265 

to obtain this book from their libraries and discover it 
for themselves." 

Here Mr. Kelly stops, and looks genially jround. 

" I think I shall take to writing reviews," he says, 
sweetly. " T like my own style." 

A dead silence follows his 'kittle story," and then 
Mrs. Herrick lifts her eyes to his. 

"*I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor 
Benedick: nobody marks you,*" she quotes, with a 
touch of scorn. 

" You do, my dear Lady Disdain, or else you would 
not have addressed me that contemptuous remark." 

"An absurd story, altogether!" says Olga, throwing 
up her head, a smile lightening her eyes as they meet 
Kelly's. At her tone, which is more amused than an- 
noyed, Konayne lets his hand fall into the water close 
to hers, and doubtless finds its cool touch (the water's, 
I mean, of course) very refreshing, as it is f\illy five 
minutes before he brings it to the surface again. 

" True, nevertheless," says Kelly. " Both the prin- 
cipals in my story were friends of mine. I knew — 
indeed, I may safely say I know — them well." 

" I am glad you said * were,' " says Olga, shaking her 
blonde head at him. Lord Bossmoyne, by this time, is 
looking as black as a thunder-cloud. 

" A questionable friend you must be, to tell tales out 
of school," says Mrs. Herrick. 

" I defy any one to say I have told anything," saya 
Kelly, with much-injured innocence. " But I am quite 
prepared to hear my actions, as usual, grossly ma- 
ligned. I am accustomed to it now. The benefit of 
the doubt is not for me,*' 

" There isn't a doubt," says Hermia. 

" Go on. I must try to bear it," — meekly. " I know 
I am considered incapable of a pure motive." 

" Was it you drew back the curtain ?" 

"Well, really, yes, I believe it was. I wanted my 
inend, you see, and I knew I should find him with the 
bangles. Yes ; it was I drew the curtain." 

"Just what I should have expected from you," sayi 
Mrs. Herrick. 



966 ROSSMOTNE. 

" Ah I Thank you I Now at last you are beginLlng 
to see things in their true light, and to take my part," 
says Mr. Kelly, with exaggerated gratitude. "Now, 
indeed, I feel I have not lived in vain I You have, 
though at a late hour, recognized the extraordinary 
promptitude that characterizes my every action. While 
another might have been hesitating, I drew the cur- 
tain. I am seldom to be found wanting. I may, 
indeed, always be discovered just where " 

" You arerCt wanting," interrupts Mrs. Herrick, with 
a sudden smile. 

" How can that be," says Kelly, with reproachful sad- 
ness, " when T am generally to be found near you ?" 

At this Hermia gives in, and breaks into a low soft 
lau^. 

"But I wish you had not told that story of Olga and 
Kr, Eonayne," she says, in a whisper, and with some 
regret. " You saw how badly Eossmoyne took it." 

"That is partly why I told it. I think yoil are 
wrong in trying to make that marriage : she would be 
happier with Konayne." 

" For a month or two, perhaps." 

" Oh, make it three,'' says Kelly, satirically. " Surely 
the little winged god has so much staying power." 

" A few weeks ago you told me you did not believe 
in him at all." 

" I have changed all that." 

" Ah I you can be fickle too." 

"A man is not necessarily fickle because when lie 
discovers the only true good he leaves the bad and 
presses towards it. I think, too, his mentor," in a low- 
ered tone, " should be the last to misjudge him." 

" Nothing is so lasting, at least, as ricnes," says Mft». 
Herrick, with a chastened but unmistakable desire to 
change his mood. " Olga with unlimited means and an 
undeniable place in the world of society would be a 
happier Olga than as the wife of a country gentleman." 

" I don*t agree with you ; but you know best— j?«r- 
Kaps, You speak your own sentiments, of course. A 
title is indispensable to you too, as well as to her 7" 

His tone is half a q^uestion. 



ROSSMOYNE, 261 

"It count8,"8he says, slowly, trifling with firm though 
slender fingers with the grasses that are growing in the 
interstices of the marble. 

"Pshaw I" says Kelly. Eising with a vehemence 
foreign to him, he crosses to where TJlic Konayne \» 
^^.anding alone. 



CHAPTBB XXIL 

i£ow Olga drowns a faithful servant — How Mr. Kelly conjures up a gticflt 
— ^And how Monica, beneath the mystic moonbeams, grants the gift she 
first denies. 

" Why so pale and wan, fond lover ?" he says, lightly, 
laying his hand on Ulic*s shoulder. The latter turns to 
him with a bright smile that renders his handsome face 
quite beautiful. Seeing its charm, Kelly asks himself, 
in half-angry fashion, how Olga can possibly hesitate 
for one moment between him and Eossmoyne. " But 
they are all alike heartless," he decides, bitterly. 

" I am feeling neither pale nor wan," says Konayne, 
still smiling. " It must be the moon, if anything. 
Look here, Kelly, something to-night has told me that 
it will all come right in the end. I shall gain her 
against the heaviest odds." 

" If you mean Eossmoyne, he's the heaviest mortal 
I know," says Kelly. 

"Well, he isn't suited to her, is he?" There is a 
strange excitement in Eonayne's manner. " Putting 
mo out c€ the question altogether, I don't believe he 
could mjike her happy. If I thought he could, of 
coarse I should then go away somewhere, and find con 

tentment in the thought of hers ; but you don't think 

she would do well to marry him, do you, Kelly ?" Ho 
has controlled his features to an almost marvellous calm, 
but the agony of his question in his eyes cannot be 
hid. 

" I think the woman who could even hesitate between 
you and him must be a fool, and worse," says Kelly, 



268 ROSSMOTNE, 

whose temper is not his own to-night. " He is a pedan- 
tie ass, more in love with himself than he can ever be 

with anything else. "While you Look here, Ke- 

nay ne : I wonder if any woman is worth it." 

" Oh, she is," says Ronayne, with tender convictioc. 
** I don't think she is at all like other people : do you ? 
There's something different — something special — about 
her." 

" I dare say," says Kelly, gently, which is rather 
good of him, considering his frame of mind. 

" You're an awfully kind sort of fellow, Kelly, do you 
know?" says Eonayne, slipping his arm through his. 
" You are the only one I ever talk to about her. And 
I suppose I must bore you, though you don't say it 
It's the most generous thing 1 know, your sympathizing 
with me as you do. If you were in love yourself I 
could understand it. But you are not, you know." 

" Oh, no ; of course not," says Mr. Kelly. 

" Is that your guitar, Mrs. Bohun ? I wish you 
would sing us something," says Miss Browne at this 
moment 

" I don't sing much, — and never out of doors, it hurts 
my throat so," says Olga, smiling at her ; " but if any 
one else will sing, I will gladly play to them." 

"Mr. Eonayne, — Ulic, — come here," says Monica, 
half shyly, but very sweetly. " You can sing, I know." 

"Yes, come here," says Olga, turning to him, and 
away from Lord Eossmoyne, who is talking to her in 
low, short, angry tones. But the latter, laying his 
hand on her arm, half compels her XX> turn to him 
again. 

" Let some one else accompany him if he must sing/* 
he says ; " any one but you." 

" No one else can." 

" I object to your doing it." 

" You won't when you hear him ; he sings so sweetly," 
with the prettiest, most enthusiastic smile. " You really 
should hear him." 

"You persist, then? you compel me to believe tho 
worst, — ^to regard you as implicated in that story of 
KeUy's?' 



ROSSMOYNE, 269 

" I compel you to nothing. And as for the 8t( ny, I 
thought it very amusing : didn't you ?" 

**^o/" says Eossmoyne, with subdued fury. 

"Do you know, I often said you lacked humor?" 
says Mrs. Bohun, with a little airy laugh ; " and now 
I am sure of it. I thought it intensely comic ; such a 
situation ! I should like to have seen your face when 
the curtain was drawn, if you had been the young 
man." 

" I must beg you to understand that such a situation 
would be impossible to me" 

"I am to understand, then, that you would not 

* emb * that was what he said, wasn't it ? — a woman 

if you loved her ?" 

"Not without permission, certainly," very stiffly. 

" Oh, dear I" says Olga; " what a stupid man I Well, 
I shouldn't think you would do it often. And so you 
wouldn't have liked to be that particular young man ?" 

This is a poser ; Lord Eossmoyne parries the thrust. 

" Would you have liked to be that young woman, — • 
who, as it appears to me, wasn't at all particular ?" he 
asks, in turn. 

" That is no answer to my question," says Olga, who 
is angry with his last remark. " Are you afraid to say 
what you mean ?" 

" Afraid I No. To give publicity to a thing means 
always to vulgarize it: therefore, on consideration, I 
should not have cared to be that young man." 

" Ah I I should have thought otherwise," says Olga, 
in an indescribable tone. " Well, there must be conso- 
lation for you in the thought that you never can be. — 
Mr. Eonayne," calling to Ulic lightly, " are you coming, 
or must I sit fingering my lyre in vain ?" 

Ulic, coming slowly up to her, stands beside her, as 
she seats herself again upon the marble edge of the 
fountain, and runs her fingers gracefully over its strings. 

His voice, a rich sweet tenor, breaks upon the air, 
blends with the beauty of the night, and sinks into it. 
until all seems one great harmony. "'Tis I" is the 
song he has chosen, and a wonderful pathos that bor- 
ders on despair enriches every note. He has forgotten 

28* 



270 ROSSMOFNE. 

every one but her, the pretty dainty e: eature who holds 
his heart in the hollow of her small band. She must 
bear the melancholy that is desolating and thereby 
perfecting his voice; but, if so, she gives no sign. 
Once only her fingers tremble, but she corrects herscll 
almost before her error is committed, and never after 
gives way to even the faintest suspicion of feeling. 

Through the glade the music swells and throbs 
Biary Browne, drawing instinctively nearer, seems lost 
in its enchantment. Monica, looking up with eyes full 
of tears into Desmond's face, finds his eyes fixed on her, 
and, with a soft, childish desire for sympathy, slips her 
hand unseen into his. How gladly he takes and holds it 
need not here^ be told. 

As he comes to the last verse, Eonayne's voice grows 
lower ; it doesn't tremble, yet there is in it something 
suggestive of the idea that he is putting a terrible con- 
straint upon himself: 

'* If regret some time assail thee 
^or the days when first we met, 
And thy weary spirit fail thee, 
A nd thine eyes grow dim and wety 
Oh, 'tis I, love, 
At thy heart, love, 
Murmuring, ' How oouldst thou forge^ V " 

The music lingers still for a moment, ebbs, and the/*, 
dies away. Ronayne steps back, and all seems over. 
How Olga has proved so utterly unmoved by the pas- 
sionate protest is exercising more minds than one, 
when suddenly she rises and with a swift movement 
bends over the fountain. Another moment, and she 
has dropped the guitar into the water. Some little 
silver ornament upon its nock flashes for an instant in 
the moonlight, and then it is gone. 

" Oh, Olga I" says Hermia, making an involuntary 
step towards her. 

" I shall never play on it again," says Olga, with a 
gesture that is almost impassioned. An instant, and it 
is all over, — her little burst if pas^don, the thought that 
led to it, — everything I 

"I hate itl" she says, w^ith a petulant laugh. "1 



ROSSMOYNE, 271 

am glad to be rid of it. Somebody made me a jresem 
of it wbom I learned to detest after wards. No, Owen, 
do not try to bring it to life again ; let it lie down there 
out of sight, where I may learn to forget it." 

" As you will, madame," says Owen Kelly, who has 
been fruitlessly fishing for the drowned guitar. 

" It is curious how hateful anything, however pretty, 
can become to us if we dislike the giver of it," says 
Mary Browne, pleasantly. 

" Yes," says Hermia, quickly glancing at her with a 
sudden gleam in her eyes, — of gratitudi;, perhaps. A 
moment ago there had been a certain awkwardness 
following on 01ga*s capricious action ; uow these few 
careless, kindly words from this ugly btranger have 
dispelled it. And is she so plain, after all? The 
fastidious Hermia, gazing at her intently, asks herself 
this question. Surely before that bright and generous 
"^leam in her eyes her freckles sink into iuaignificance. 

" I knew you would like her," says Mr. Aolly, at this 
moment, speaking low in Hermia's ear. 

"When a woman is startled she is generally angry. 
Mrs. Herri ck is angry now, whether because of his 
words, or the fact that she did not know he was so 
close to her, let who will decide. 

" You are very, very clever," she savs, glancing at 
him from under drooping lids, and then turning away. 

" So they all tell me," returns he, modestly. 

Eossmoyne, crossing the brilliant moonlit path that 
divides him from the group round Hermia, seats him- 
self beside her, thereby leaving Olga and Ulic Eonayne 
virtually alone. 

" You will regret that guitar to-morrow," says Eo- 
nayne, — " at least not the thing itself (/ can replace 
that), but " 

"I regret nothing," says Mrs. Bohun, carelessly, — 
" unless 1 regret that you have taken an absurdly ill- 
tempered action so much to heart. I am ill-tempered, 
you know." 

" 1 don't," says Eonayne. 

" So courteous a liar must needs obtain pardon. But 
let us forget everything but this lovely night. Was 



272 ROSSMOYNE. 

there ever bo serene a sky ? see how the stars shine 
and glimmer through the dark interstices of the blue* 
gray clouds 1" 

" They remind me of something,— of some words," 
aays Eonayne, in a low voice. " They come to ae now, 
I hardly know why, perhaps because of the night itself 
and perhaps because — " he hesitates. 

Olga is staring dreamily at the studded vault above 
her. 

<< About the stars?" she asks, without looking at 
him. 

"Yes:— 

'A poet loTed a star, 
And to it whispered nightly, 
Being so fair, why art thou, lore, so far. 
Or why bo coldly shine who shin'st so brightly T" 

The poet was presumptuous, it seems to me." 

" Was he ? I don't know. All things come to him 
who knows how to wait." 

" Who's waiting?" says Kelly's voice from the other 
side of the fountain ; " and for what ?" 

" Toujours Owen," says Mrs. Bohun, with a shrug of 
her pretty shoulders. " "Well, no one even in this life 
is altogether without a taste of purgatory : mine (this 
is a delicate compliment to you, Owen, so listen to it) 
might have been worse. Do you know I have some 
times thought " 

" She has really I" interrupts Mr. Kelly, turning with 
cheerful encouragement to the others. " You wouldn't 
think it to look at her, would you? but /know her in- 
timately, and can vouch for the truth of her words. 
Go on, my dear Olga." 

But ^^ my dear Olga" has turned aside, and declines 
to take any notice of his remark beyond a faint gri- 
mace. 

" She's very shy," says Mr. Kelly, in an explanatory 
aside, " and so retiring. Can't bear to hear herself pub- 
licly praised, or feel herself the centre of attraction. 
Let us haste to change the subject." This with many 
** becks, and nods, and wreathed smiles," meant to ex- 
plain the delicacy of the feeling that prompts him to 



ROSSMOFNE, 273 

this course. " By the bye, Desmond, doesn't this fairy- 
like spot, and the moonlight, and the bathos of the 
silent night, and everything, remind you forcibly of old 
O'Connor?" 

" But I always heard " begins Monica, in a voice 

of much amazement ; then she stops confusedly and 

Presently goes on again, but in a different key. " Was 
'he O'Connor, then, sesthetic ?" she says. 

At this even Lord Eossmoyne, who is in the lowest 
depths of despair, gives way to open mirth. 

" Well, no, not exactly," says TJlic Eonayne. " There 
was a fatal healthiness about his appearance that dis- 
agreed with that idea. But he certainly was fond of 
this little place ; he put up the fountain himself, had 
it brought all the way from Florence for the purpose ; 
and he had a trick of lying here on his face and hands 
for hours together, grubbing for worms, — or studying 
the insect world I think he used to call it." 

" I have always tfiought," says Mr. Kelly, in a tone 
of reflective sadness, " what an uncomfortable position 
that must be." 

"What must be?" 

" Lying on one's face and hands. What becomes ot 
the rest of one ? Does one keep one's heels in the air 
whilst doing it? To me it sounds awful I Yet only 
last week I read in the papers of a fellow who was 
found on a road on his face and hands, and the doctors 
said he must have been in that position for hours ! 
Fancy — your nose, for instance, Eossmoyne, in the mud, 
and your heels in the air, /or hours T 

Lord Eossmoyne, having vainly tried to imagine his 
dignified body in such a position, looks distinctly 
offended. 

" No, nobody would like it," says Kelly, pathetically, 
answering his disgusted look exactly as if it had been 
put into words.^ " There is a shameful frivolity about 
it not to be countenanced for a moment. Yet good 
and wise men have been said to do it. Fancy the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, now, balancing himself on his 
nose and his palms 1 Oh I it carCt be true I" 

His voice by this time is positively piteous, and h« 



274 R0S8M0TNE. 

looks eftrnestly around, as though longing for some oie 
to support his disbelief. 

" You are really excelling yourself to-night," says 
Mrs. Herrick, in a delicately disdainful tone. 

" Am I ? T am glad,"^ humbly, " that you have bad 
an opportunity of seeing me at my poor best." 

" 1 wonder," says Desmond, suddenly, " if, when old 
O'Connor revisits the earth at the witching hour, he 
comes in the attitude so graphically described oy 
Kelly ? In acrobat fashion, 1 mean." 

At this Monica breaks into laughter so merry, so 
full of utterly childish abandon and enjoyment, that all 
the others perforce join in it. 

'^ Oh ! fancy a ghost standing on his head !" she says, 
when she can speak. 

" I shouldn't fancy it at all," says Mr. Kelly, gloomily. 
" I won't Far from it. And I should advise you, Misa 
Beresford, to treat with less frivolity a subject so 
fraught with terror, — especially at this time of night. 
If that * grand old man' were to appear now," with a 
shuddering glance behind him, " what would become of 
us all?" 

" An unpleasant idea I" says Miss Browne, — " so un- 
pleasant, indeed^ that I think I should like to go foi 
a little walk somewhere, — anywhere, away from the 
scene of the late Mr. O'Connor's nightly visitations." 

" Come to the end of the shrubbery, then," sayu 
Desmond, " and look at the sea It should dq worth 
the trouble on such a night as this Come you too, 
Olga." 

" I should like it, but my head aches so," says Mrs. 
Bohun, plaintively. And, indeed, she is very pale. 
" I*^ is either the moonlight which oppresses me, or — 1 
doi t know what. No I I shall go in- doors, I think." 

" Then I shall go with you," says Mrs. Herrici, re- 
garding her with a certain anxiety. " But you," turn- 
ing to Mary Browne, " must not miss a glimpse of the 
coast by moonlight. . Mr. Kelly will show it to you." 

She slips her arm through Olga's, and turns towards 
the house ; Ulic Eonayne accompanies them ; but Lord 
Rossmoyne and Owen Kelly move in the contrary di«' 



ROSSMOYNB. 275 

rection with Miss Browne. Monica and Desmond have 
gone on before; and even when the others arrive at 
the point in the shrubbery from which a glimpse of 
the ocean can be most distinctly seen, these last two 
people are not to be discovered anywhere. 

Yet they are not so distant as they seem. Desmond 
has led Monica to a rather higher spot, where the de- 
sired scene can be more vividfy beheld, and where too 
they can be— oh, blessed thought I — alone. 

Through a belt of dark-green fir-trees, whose pale 
tips are touched with silver by the moon, can be seen 
the limitless ocean, lying in restless waiting in the bay 
below. 

A sort of enforced tranquillity has fallen upon it, — a 
troubled calm, — belied by the hoarse, sullen roar that 
rises now and again from its depths, as when some 
larger death-wave breaks its bounds, and, rushing in- 
land, rolls with angry violence up the beach. Soft 
white crests lie upon the great sea*s bosom, tossing 
idly hither and thither, glinting and trembling beneath 
the moon's rays, as though reluctantly subdued by its 
cold influence. 

Across the whole expanse of the water a bright path 
is flung, that has its birth in heaven, yet deigns to 
accept a resting-place on earth, — a transitory rest, for 
there in the far distance on the horizon, where the dull 
grays of sea and sky have mingled, it has joined them, 
lind seems again to have laid hold of its earliest homo. 

The birds are asleep in their sea-bound nests; the 
wind has died away. There is nothing to break the 
exquisite stillness of the night, save the monotonoua 
beating of the waves against the rocks, and the faint 
rippling murmur of a streamlet in the ash-grove. 

The whole scene is so rich with a beauty mystical 
and idealistic that Monica draws instinctively nearer to 
Desmond, with that desire for sympathy com mm to the 
satisfied soul, and stirs her hand in his. 

Hero, perhaps, it will be as well to mention, once for 
all, that whenever I give you to understand that Des- 
mond is alone with Monica you are also to understand, 
without the telling, that he has her hand in his. What 



276 ROSSMOYNE, 

pleasure there can be for two people in standing, oi 
sitting, or driving, as the case may be, for hours, palm 
to palm (this is how the poetical one expresses it), I 
leave all true lovers to declare. I only know for ceiiiain 
that it is a trick common to every one of them, rich and 
poor, high and low. I suppose there is consolation in 
the touch, — a sensation of nearness. I know, indeed, 
one young woman who assured me her principal reason 
for marrying Fred in a hurry (Fred was her husband) 
lay in the fact that she feared if she didn't she would 
grow left-handed, as he was always in possession of the 
right during their engagement. 

"Ah I you like it," says Desmond, looking down upon 
her tenderly, — alluding to the charming view spread out 
before them, — the dark firs, the floating moon, the tran- 
quil stars, the illimitable ocean, " of Almightiness itself 
the immense and glorious mirror." 

Monica makes no verbal answer, but a sigh of in tensest 
satisfaction escapes her, and she turns up to his a lovely 
face full of youth and heaven and content. Her eyes 
are shining, her lips parted by a glad, tremulous smile. 
She is altogether so unconsciously sweet that it would 
be beyond the power of even a Sir Percivale to resist 
her. 

" My heart of hearts 1" says Desmond, in a low, im- 
passioned tone. 

Her smile changes. Without losing beauty, it loses 
something ethereal and gains a touch of earth. It i« 
more pronounced; it is, in fact, amused. 

" I wonder where you learned all your terms of en- 
dearment," she says, slowly, looking at him from under 
her curling lashes. 

" I learned them when I saw you. They had then 
birth then and there." 

An eloquent silence follows this earnest speech. The 
smile dies from Monica's lips, and a sudden thoughtful- 
Less replaces it. 

" You never called any one your * heart of hearts' 
before, then ?" she asks, somewhat wistfully. 

" Never — rieoer. You believe me ?" 

" Yes." Her lids drop. S me inward thought poft- 



ROSSMOYNE. 277 

fteeses her, and then — with a sudden accession of tender 
ncss very rare with her — she lifts her head, aLd laye 
her soft, cool cheek fondly against his. 

" My beloved I" says the young man, in a tone broken 
by emotion. 

For a moment he does not take her in his arms ; some 
fear lest she may change her mind and withdraw her 
expression of affection deters him ; and when at last ho 
does press her to his heart, it is gently and with a careful 
suppression of all vehemence. 

Perhaps no man in all the world is so calculated to 
woo and win this girl as Desmond. Perhaps there Ir 
no woman so formed to gain and keep him as Monica. 

Holding her now in a light but warm clasp, he knows 
he has his heaven in his arms ; and she, though hardly 
yet awake to the full sweetness of "Love's young 
dream,'* understands at least the sense of perfect rest 
and glad content that overfills her when with him. 

" What are you thinking of?" she says, presently. 

" * Myn alderlevest ladye deare,' " quotes he, softly. 

" And what of her ?" 

" * That to the deth myn herte ia to her holde,' — ^yes, 
for ever and ever," says Desmond, solemnly. 

" 1 am very glad of that," says Monica, simply ; and 
then she raises herself from his embrace and looks 
straight down to the sea again. 

At this moment voices, not approaching but passing 
near them, reach their ears. 

"They are going in," says Monica, hurriedly, and 
with a regret that is very grateful to him. " We musi 
go too." 

"Must we?" reluctantly. "Perhaps," brightening, 
" they are only going to try the effect higher up." 

" No. They are crossing the gravel to the hall door.'' 

" They are devoid of souls, to be able to quit so divine 
a view in such hot haste. Besides, it is absuidly early 
to think of going in-doors yet. By Jove, though 1" 
looking at his watch, " I'm wrong : it is well after 
eleven. Now, whc would have thought it?" 

" Are you sure you mean eleven f" with flattering 
incredulity. 

24 



878 ROSSMOrNE. 

"Only too sure. RasrCt the time gone by quickly? 
Well, I suppose I must take you in, which means 
candles and bed for you, and a dreary drive home for 
Kelly and me, and not a chance of seeing you alone 
again." 

" This time last week you couldn't have seen me at 
all," says Miss Beresford. 

" True. I am ungrateful. And altogether this has 
been such a delightful evening, — to me at least : were," 
doubtfully, "yow happy?" 

" Very, very happy," with earnest, uplifted eyes. 

"Darling love I 1 am afraid I must give you up 

to Mrs. O'Connor now," he goes on, presently, when 
an ecstatic thought or two has had time to come and 
go. " But, before going, say good-night to me here." 

" Good-night, Brian." 

He has never attempted to kiss her since that first 
time (and last, so far) in the orchard ; and even now, 
though her pretty head is pressed against him, and her 
face is dangerously close to his, he still refrains. He 
has given her his word and will not break it ; but per- 
haps he cannot altogether repress the desire to expos- 
tulate with her on her cruelty, because he gives voice 
to the gentle protest that rises to his lips. 

"That is a very cold good-night," he says. "You 
would say quite as much as that to Kelly or any of the 
others." 

'' I shouldn't call Mr.^elly by his Christian name." 

" No ; but you would Eonayne." 

" Well, I shan't again, if you don't like it." 

" That has nothing at all to do with what I mean. 
I only think you might show me a little more favor than 
the rest." 

"Good-night, then, dear Brian. Now, I certainly 
shouldn't dream of calling Mr. Eonayne dear Ulic." 

"Of course not. I should hope not, indeed! But 

still there is something else that you might do for 

me." 

Miss Beresford draws herself a little — a very little— 
away from him, and, raising her head, bestows upon 
him a glance that is a charming combination of mii* 



ROSSMOYNE, 279 

ehief and coquetry. A badly-suppressed smile is curv- 
ing the corner of her delicate lips. 

" What a long time it takes you to say it !" she says, 
wickedly. 

At this they both break into low, soft laughter, — ie- 
licious laughter! — that must not be overheard, and is 
suggestive of a little secret existing between them, 
that no one else may share. 

"That is an invitation," says Desmond, with deci- 
sion. " I consider you have now restored to me that 
paltry promise I made to you the other day in the or- 
chard. And here I distinctly decline ever to renew it 
again. No, there is no use in appealing to me : I am 
not to be either softened or coerced." 

"Well," says Miss Beresford, "listen to me." She 
stands well back from him this time, and, catching up 
the tail of her white gown, throws it negligently over 
her arm. "If you must have — ^you know what I — at 
least you shall earn it. I will race you for it, but you 
must give me long odds, and then, if you catch me be- 
fore I reach that laurel down there, you shall have it. 
Is that fair?" 

Plainly, from her exultant look, she thinks she can 
win. 

" A bargain !" says Desmond. " And, were you Ata- 
lanta herself, I feel I shall outrun you." 

"/So presumptuous I Take care. * Pride goeth be- 
fore destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,' and 
you may trip." 

" I may not, too." 

" Well," moving cautiously away from him, " when 
1 come to that branch there, and say one, two, three, 
you — will-^ — NowT 

At this, before he is half prepared, she cries, " one, 
two, three," with scandalous haste, and rushes away 
from him down the moonlit path. Swift and straight as 
a deer she flies, but. alas 1 just as the goal is all but 
reached, she finds the race is not to her, and that she 
is a prisoner in two strong arms ! 

" Now, who was presumptuous ?" says Desmond, gaz- 
ing into her lovely face. Qer head, with a touch of 



280 ROSSMOTNE. 

exhaustion about it, is thrown back against his chest j 
through her parted lips her breath is coming with a 
panting haste, born of excitement and her fruitless 
flight. He bends over her, lower, and lower still. She 
feels herself altogether in his power. 

"As you are strong, be merciful," she whispers, 
faiatly. A warm flood of crimson has dyed her cheek§; 
her smile has faded ; she struggles slightly, and then 
all in one moment Desmond becomes aware that team 
have sprung into her eyes. 

Instantly he releases her. 

"Darling, forgive me," he says, anxiously. "See 
how your heart is beating now, and all for nothing 1 
Of course I shall let you off your bargain. What do 
you take me for? Do you think I should make you 
unhappy for all the world could offer? Take those 
tears out of your eyes this instant, or I shall be— - 
seriously angry with you." 

Monica laughs, but in a rather nervous fashion, and 
lets her lover dry her eyes with his own handkerchief. 
Then she sits down with him upon a rustic seat close 
by, wishing to be quite mistress of herself again before 
encountering the glare of the drawinff-room lamps and 
the still more searching light of her mends' eyes. 

For a full minute not a word is spoken by either 
of them. She is inwardly troubled; he is downcast 
Presently she rises with a little restless movement. 

" No, do not stir just yet," she says. " I only want 
to pick some of that syringa behind you, it is so 
sweet." 

Disinclined for action of anv sort, he obeys hei. 
Sh ^ slips away behind him, and he sits there waiting 
listlessly for her return, and thinking, somewhat sadly, 
how small a way he has made with her, and that she 
is almost as shy with him now as on that day by the 
river when first they met. 

And then something marvellous happens that puts 
all his theories and regrets and fears to flight forever. 
Two soft arms — surely the softest in this wide dad 
world — steal round his neck; a gold-brown head is 
laid against his ; a whisper reaches him. 



ROSSMOTNE , 291 

"You were very good to me about thatT says some- 
body, tremulously; and then two warm childish lips 
are laid on his, and Monica is in his arms. 

" I wonder what it was that frightened you ?" says 
Desmond, in a tender whisper, drawing her down on 
his knees and enfolding her closely as though she were 
in form the child that verily at heart she still is. 
"Tell me." 

" 1 don't know." She has twined her bare beautiful 
arms around him, and is rubbing her cheek softly up 
and down against his in a fresh access of shyness. 

" I think you do, my dearest." 

"It was only this; that when I found I couldn't get 
away from you, I was frightened. It was very foolish 
of me, but whenever I read those stories about prison- 
ers of war, and people being confined in dungeons, and 
that, I always know that if I were made a captive I 
should die.** 

" But surely your lover's arms cannot be counted » 
prison, my life !" 

" Yes, if they held me when I wanted to get away." 

"But," reproachfully, "would you want to get 
away?" 

She hesitates, and, lifting one arm, runs her fingers 
coaxingly through the hair fashion has left him. 

' I don't want to go away now, at all events," she 
temporizes sweetly. Then, a moment later, " But I 
must, nevertheless. Come," nervously, " we have been 
here a long time, and Madam O'Connor will be angry 
with me ; and besides," pityingly, " you have all that 
long drive home still before you." 

" I forgot all about the time," says Desmond, truth- 
fully. "You are right: we must go in. Good-night 
again, my own." 

Without waiting for permission this time, he stoops 
and presses his lips to hers. An instant later he knows 
with a thrill of rapture that his kiss has been returned 

24« 



ROSSMOrNK. 



CHAPTER XXni. 

low Mary Browne makes confession, though not by ereed a Romaaiit, 
and how those who receive it are far remoyed from being holy faUiersl 
— Moreover, I would have you see there is more acting off the stagi 
than on it. 

Monica's week at Aghyohillbeg is drawing to a close. 
The day has dawned that is to usher in at even the 
famous representation of " The School for Scandal," as 
given by Miss Fitzgerald, Captain Cobbett, etc. 

The whole house is topsy-turvy, no room being sacred 
from the actors and actresses (save the mark I), and all 
the servants are at their wits' end. There have been 
men down from the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, who have 
seen about the stage, and there have been other men 
from the village of Rossmoyne to help in the decora- 
tion of the ball-room, and between these two diflFerent 
sets of men an incessant war has been raging for many 
days. 

l^ow at last the house is comparatively quiet, and, as 
four o'clock strikes, Madam O'Connor finds herself in 
her own special den (the only spot that has not been 
disturbed), with a tea-equipage before her, and all her 
ladies-in-waiting round her. 

These ladies, for the most part, are looking full of 
suppressed excitement, and are in excellent spirits and 
irreproachable tea-gowns. Mary Browne, who has de- 
veloped into a general favorite, is making some laugh- 
ing remark about Lord Rossmoyne, who, with all the 
other men, is absent. 

" D ye know what it is, Mary ?" says Madam O'Con- 
nor, in her unchecked brogue; "you might do some- 
thing els© with Rossmoyne besides making game of 
him." 

" What ?" says Mary Browne. 

" Marry him, to be sure. A young woman like yon, 
with more money than you know what to do with, 
ought to have a protector. Faith, you needn't laugh. 



ROSSMOTNE. 285 

for it's only common sense I*m talking. Tenants, anr' 
the new laws, will play the mischief with your soft 
"heart and your estate, if you don't get some one to 
look after them both." 

" Well ?" says Mary Browne. 

" Well, there's Kossmoyne, as I said before, actually 
going a begging for a wife. Why 'not take him ?" 

" I don't care about beggars," says Miss Browne, with 
a slight smile. '^ I am not one of those who think them 
picturesque." 

" He isn't a beggar in any other sense than the one 
I have mentioned. He is a very good match. Think 
-f it, now." 

"I am thinking. Indeed, ev^r since my first day 
jcre I have been thinking how deeply attached he is to 
Mrs. Bohun. Forgive me, Mrs. Bohun." 

Olga laughs lightly. There is something about this 
plaingirl that repels the idea of offence. 

" What on earth put that idea into your head?" says 
her hostess, opening her eyes, who talks too much both 
in season and out of it to be able to see all the by-play 

foing on around her. " You aren't setting your cap at 
im, are you, Olga my dear ?" 

"Indeed, no," says Olga, still laughing. "How could 
80 absurd a notion have got into anybody's head ?" 

" How, indeed ?*' says Monica, gayly. 

" There's Owen Kelly, then ; though he isn't as well 
off as Eossmoyne, still he will be worth looking after 
by and by, when the old man drops off. He's as good- 
hearted a fellow as ever lived, when you know what 
he's at, — which isn't often, to do him justice. It struck 
me he was very civil to you last night." 

"He was," says Miss Browne, whose merriment is on 
the increase. " But I never met any one who wasn't 
civil to me: so I found him commonplace enough, Ahl 
if he had only been uncivil, now I" 

" Well, there he is, at all events," says Madam O'Con- 
nor, sententiously. 

"I hope he's comfortable," says Miss Browne, kindly. 
"I shan't try to make him less so, at least. Why don't 
you recommend Mr. Desmond or Mr. Eonayne to my 



284 ROSSMOTNE, 

notice?" with a mischievous glance at Monica and 01g» 
Bobun. 

" I*m afraid they are done for," says Madam, laughing 
now herself. "And I only hope that handsome boy 
Ronayne isn't laying up sorrow for himself and living 
in a fooPs paradise. Indeed, Olga, pretty as you arc 
ril be very angry with you if I hear you have been 
playing fast and loose with him." 

The"old lady shakes her head grimly at Mrs. Bohun, 
who pretends to be crushed beneath her glance. 

" To prevent you oflPering me any more suitors," says 
Mary Browne, steadily, but with a rising blush, "I may 
as well tell you that I am engaged to be married." 

"Good gracious, my dear! then why didn't you say 
so before?" says Madam, sitting bolt upright and letting 
her pince-nez fall unheeded into her lap. 

" I really don't know ; but I dare say because you 
took it for granted I wasn't." 

"Mary," says Mrs. Herrick, speaking for the firsl 
time, and for the first time, too, calling Miss Browne by 
her Christian name, " tell us all about it." 

" Yes, c?o," says Monica, and all the women draw their 
chairs instinctively a degree closer to the heroine of the 
hour, and betray in her a warm interest. After all, what 
can equal a really good love-affair? 

"Go on, my dear," says Madam O'Connor, who ib 
always full of life where romance is concerned. "I 
hope it is a good marriage." 

" The best in the world, for me," says Mary Browne, 
simply, "though he hasn't a penny in the world but 
what he earns." 

As she makes this awful confession, she isn't in the 
least confused, but smiles brightly. 

" Well, Mary, I must say I wouldn't have belit ved it 
of you," says Madam. 

" 1 would," says Monica, hastily laying her hand od 
one of Mary's. " It is just like her. After all, what 
has money got to do with it ? Is he mce, Mary ?" 

" So nice 1" says Mary, who seems quite glad to talk 
about him, " and as ugly as myself," with a little en- 
joyable laugh, " so we can't call each other bad names: 



ROSSMOYNE, 285 

wid his name is Peter, which of course will be consid- 
ered another drawback, though I like the name myself. 
And we are very fond of each other, — I have no aoubt 
about that ; and that is all, I think." 

** No, it is not all," says Madam O'Connor, severely. 
" May I ask when you met this young man ?" 

"I must take the sting out of your tone at once, 
Gertrude," says her cousin, pleasantly, " by telling you 
that we were engaged long before poor Eichard died." 
(Eichard was the scampish brother by whose death 
she inherited all.) 

" Then why didn't you marry him ?" says Madam. 

" I was going to, — in fact, we were going to run 
away," says Miss Browne, with intense enjoyment at 
the now remote thought, — " doesn't it sound absurd ? — 
when — when the news about Dick reached us, and then 
I could not bring myself to leave my father, no matter 
how unpleasant my home might be.^ 

"What is he?" asks Olga, with a friendly desire to 
know. 

"A doctor. In rather good practice, too, in Dublin. 
He is very clever," says Miss Browne, telling her story 
so genially, so comfortably, that all their hearts go out 
to her, and Madam O'Connor grows lost in a revery 
about what will be the handsonrest and most suitable 
thing to give " Peter" as a wedding-present. As she 
cannot get beyond a case of dissecting-knives, this 
revery is short. 

"Perhaps if you saw some one else you might 
change your mind," she says, a new thought entering 
her head (of course there would be a difficulty about 
offering dissecting-knives to a barrister or a quiet coun- 
try gentleman). 

" 1 have had five proposals this year already," says 
Miss Browne, quietly, " but, if I could be a princess by 
doing so, I would not give up Pc^er." 

" Mary Browne, come here anu give me a kiss," says 
Madam O'Connor, with tears in her eyes. "You are 
the best girl I know, and I always said it. I only hope 
your Peter knows the extent of his lu ik." 

Miss Browne having to leave the room some fo^w 



286 ROSSMOYNE. 

minutes later, Olga raises herself from the loungiie 
position she has been in, with her hands clasped behind 
her head, and says, slowly, — 

" I don't think she is so plain, after all." 

" Neither do I,'* says Monica, eagerly, " there is 
tsomething so sweet about her expression." 

" I am perfectly certain that man Peter is awfully in 
love with her," says Mrs. Herrick, solemnly. " and that 
without the slightest thought of her money." 

"What would he think of her money for?" says 
Madam O'Connor, testily, who had firmly believed him 
a fortune-hunter only two minutes ago. " Isn't she a 
jewel in herself?" 

" By the bye, where is our Bella all this time ?" says 
Olga, suddenly. " It now occurs to me that of course 
we have been missing her all this time." 

" I know," says Monica, mysteriously : " she is asleep^ 
— getting herself up for her Lady Teazle. I was run- 
ning along the corridor, outside her room, half an hour 
ago, when her mother came out on tiptoe and implored 
me to go gently, lest I should wake her." 

" Gentle dove," says Mrs. Herrick. 

" I shall go and dance the can-can up and down that 
corridor this moment," says Mrs. Bohun, rising to her 
feet with fell determination in her eye. 

'* I think you had all better go to your rooms and get 
ready for dinner. It is painfully early to-night." says 
Madam, "on account of all this nonsense of Olga's. 
But no dressing, mind, as I have told the men to como 
as they are. There will be plenty of that by and by." 

One by one they all dwindle away at the word of 
'iommand, Olga, true to her word, making such a clat- 
ter as she passes Miss Fitzgerald's door as might readily 
be classed with those noises popularly supposed to be 
able to wake the silent dead. Whether it wakes Mise 
Fitzgerald is unknown to all save her mother and her 
maid. 

It makes Monica laugh, however, who, sitting in hei 
own room, is gazing with dreamy delight at the prettj 
gown Miss Priscilla has ordered from Mrs. Sim's for her 
all the way from Dublin, and which has been spread 



ROSSMOYNE, 287 

apon her bed by Olga's maid, Mrs. Bohun having in- 
Bisted on sharing that delightful young person with 
her ever since her first night at Aghyohillbeg. 

Yet Aunt Priseilla will not be here to-night to see 
her favorite niece dressed in her charming present. 

.At the last moment, not two hours agone, had come 
a letter from Moyne to Madam O'Connor telling how 
&£iss Penelope had been seized by a bad neuralgic head- 
ache and was in such pain that Miss Priseilla could not 
find it in her heart to leave her. Kit, escorted by Ter- 
ence, would arrive, however, in time for the opening 
act; and it would be impossible to say how disap- 
pointed the two old ladies were (which indeed was the 
strict truth), and they hoped all would be successful, etc., 
etc. 

With a remorseful pang, Monica acknowledges to 
herself now that she had felt a secret gladness when 
first the news had been retailed to her by Madam 
O'Connor. A sense of being under an obligation to that 
dire neuralgic headache is oppressing her. It is wicked 
of her, and most cruel, but the secret exultation cannot 
be denied. 

And see how the case stands. Poor Aunt Penelope 
in vile suffering, Aunt Priseilla enduring bitter disap- 
pointment, — for she had, as Monica well knew, set her 
heart on witnessing these theatricals, — and Monica her- 
self actually glad and light at heart became of the mis- 
fortunes that have befallen them. Alas I how fiendish 
it all sounds I 

And again, to add to the iniquity of it, for how slight 
a cause has she welcomed the discomfiture of her best 
friends I For a few dances with their enemy, a freedom 
for happy smiles and unrestrained glances, — all to be 
made over to the enemy. For how, with Miss Pris- 
cilia's reproachful angry eyes upon her, could she have 
waltzed or smiled or talked with a Desmond ? 

And what is to be the end of it all ? A vague feeling 
of terror compasses her round about as she dwells on 
her forbidden lover. Will she have to give him up at 
the last? — it must be either him or Aunt Priseilla; and 
she owes so much to Aunt Priseilla; while to him— oh, 



286 RJSSMOFNE. 

no I she owes him nothing ; of (M>ar8e he is only— onljf 

— and yet 

A bell sounds in the distance ; she staite and glances 

at the tiny clock upon her chimney-piece. Yes, it ifl 

almost six, and dinner will be ready in ten minutes. 

And afterwards comes " The School for Scandal," and 

^er that the tableaux, and after that again, dancing, 

— delights threefold for happy eighteen. Her spirits 

rise ; her fears fall ; self-contempt, remorse, regret, all 

sink into insignificance, and with a beating heart she coils 

afresh her tinted hair, and twines some foreign beads 

about her slender throat to make herself a shade more 

jovable in the eyes of the man she must not encourage, 

And whose very existence she has been forbidden to 

acknowledge. 

♦ ♦«♦♦♦ 

The curtain has risen, has fallen and risen again, and 
now has descended for the last time. A flutter — ^is it 
rapture or relief? — ^trembles through the audience. 
*•' The School for Scandal" has come to a timely end! 

I selfishly forbear from giving my readers a length- 
ened account of it, as they (unless any of the Aghyo- 

hillbeg party takes up this book) have merci that 

is, unfortunately, been debarred by fate from ever wit- 
nessing a performance such as this, that certainly, with- 
out servile flattery, may be termed unique. Words 
(that is, my words) would fail to give an adequate idea 
of it, and so from very modesty I hold my pen. 

"It was marvellous," says Sir Mark Gore, who is pay- 
ing a flying visit to Lord Eossmoyne. He says this 
with the profoundest solemnity, and perhaps a little 
melancholy. His expression is decidedly pensive. 

" It was indeed wonderful," says the old rector, in 
perfect good faith. 

And wonderful it was indeed. Anything so truly 
remarkable, I may safely declare, was never seen in 
this or any other generation. 

Miss Fitzgerald's Lady Teazle left nothing to be de- 
sired, save perhaps an earlier fall of the curtain, while 
Captain Cobbett's Joseph Surface was beyond praise. 
This is the strict truth. He was indeed the more nappy 



ROSSMOFNE. 289 

m his representation of the character in that ho gave 
his audience a Joseph they never had seen and never 
would see again on any stage, unless Captain Cobbett 
could kindly be induced by them to try .t on some 
other occasion. 

A few ignorant people, indeed, who plainly found 
»uch a splendid rendering of the pact too much for 
their intellectual capacity, were seized with a laughter 
profane, if smothered, whenever the talented captain 
made his appearance, giving the rest of the company 
(who could see them shaking behind^ their fans) to 
understand that they at least were " not for Joe," — 
that is. Captain Cobbett's Joe. But the majority very 
properly took no notice of these Philistines, and indeed 
rebuked them by maintaining an undisturbed gravity 
to the very end. 

Sir Peter (Mr. Eyde) was most sumptuously arrayed. 
Nothing could exceed the magnificence of his attire. 
Upon an amateur stage, startling habiliments copied 
from a remote period are always attractive, and Mr. 
Ryde did all he knew in this line, giving even to the 
ordinary Sir Peter of our old-fashioned knowledge cer- 
tain garments in vogue quite a century before he could 
possibly have been born. This gave a charming wild- 
ness to his character, a devil-may-care sort of an air, 
that exactly suited his gay and festive mood. After 
all, -why should Sir Peter be old and heavy? why 
indeed ? 

The effect was altogether charming. That there 
were a few disagreeable people who said they would 
have liked to know what he was at (^such a phrase, you 
know I), what he meantj in fact, and who declared that, 
as a mere simple matter of choice, they liked to hear a 
word now and again from an actor, goes without tell- 
ing. There are troublesome people in every grade of 
society, — gnats that will sting. Silence is golden, as all 
the world knows ; and Mr. Ryde is of it : so of course 
he forgot his part whenever he could, and left out all 
the rest I 

This he did with a systematic carefulness very praise- 
worthy in so young a man. 
V i 26 



290 JtOSSMOYNE. 

On the whole, therefore, you will see that the affaj 
was an unprecedented success ; and if some did go away 
puzzled as to whether it was a hurlesque or a tragedy, 
nobody was to blame for their obtuseness. There cer- 
tainly are scenes in this admirable comedj'^ not provo- 
cative of laughter; but such was the bad taste of 
Madam O'Connor that she joined in with the Philin- 
tines mentioned farther back, and laughed straight 
through the piece from start to finish, until the teara 
ran down her cheeks. 

She said afterwards she was hysterical, and Olga 
Bohun, who was quite as bad as she, said, " no wonder.'' 

Now, however, it is all over, and the actors and ac- 
tresses have disappeared, to make way for the gauze, 
the electric light, and the tableaux ; whilst the audience 
is making itself happy with iced champagne and con- 
versation, kind and otherwise (very much otherwise), 
about the late performance. 

Olga Bohun, who is looking all that the heart of 
man can desire in white lace and lilies, leaving the im- 
promptu theatre, goes in search of Hermia, who, with 
Owen Kelly, is to appear in the opening tableau. She 
makes her way to the temporary ffreen-room, an inner 
hall, hidden from the outer world hy means of a hang- 
ing velvet curtain, and with a staircase at the lower 
end that leads to some of the upper corridors. Here 
she finds Ulic Eonayne, Miss Browne, Monica, Des- 
mond, and Kelly. 

She has barely time to say something trivial to Miss 
Browne, when a pale light appearing at the top of the 
staircase attracts the attention of aU below. Instinc- 
tively they raise their eyes towards it, and see a tall 
figure clad in white descending the stairs slowly and 
with a strange sweet gravity. Is it an angel come to 
visit them, or Hermia Herrick ? 

It resolves itself into Hermia at last, but a beautiful 
Hermia, — a lovely apparition, — a woman indeed still, 
but " with something of an angel-light" playing in her 
dark eyes and round her dusky head. Always a dis- 
tinguished-looking woman, if too cold for warmer 
praise, she is now at least looking supremely beautifiil- 



R0S8M0YNE. ft^) 

She is dreesed as Galatea, in a clinging garment of 
the severest Greek style, with no jewels upon her neck, 
and with her exquisite arms hare to the shoulder. One 
naked sandalled foot can he seen as she comes leisurely 
to them step by step. She is holding a low Etruscan 
lamp in one hand upon a level with her head, and there 
is just the faintest suspicion of a smile about her usually 
irresponsive lips. 

No one spef^s until her feet touch the hall, when a 
little murmur, indistinct, yet distinctly admiring, arisen 
to greet her. 

"I hope I don't look — ^foolish," she says, with as 
much nervousness in her tone as can possibly be ex- 
pected from her, 

" Oh, Hermia, you are looking too lovely," says Olga, 
with a burst of genuine enthusiasm. " Is she not, 
Owen?" 

But Mr. Kelly makes no reply. 

A slight tinge of color deepens Mrs. Herrick*8 com- 
plexion as she turns to him. 

" Poor Mr. Kelly I" she says, the amused flicker of a 
smile flitting over her face, which has now grown pale 
again. "What a situation I There I don't sully your 
conscience : I will let you off your lie. That is where 
an old friend comes in so useful, you see." 

" At all events, I don't see where the lie would come 
in. But, as you do, of course I shall say nothing," says 
Kelly. 

" What a Pygmalion I" says Olga, in high disgust. 
" And what a speech I Contemptible ! I don't believe 
any Galatea would come to life beneath your touch. It 
would be cold as the marble itself I" 

So saying, she moves away to where Monica is stand 
ing, looking quite the sweetest thing in the world, as 

"A mm dwmra, of lowly port." 

"She has pronhesied truly," says Kelly, in a low 
tone, turning to Mrs. Herrick. " I fear my Galatea wiU 
never wake to life for me." 

A subdued bell tinkles in the distance. 



292 ROSSMOFNE. 

•*Our Bummonfl," says Mrs. Herrick, hastily, as 
though grateful to it ; and presently she is standing 
upon a pedestal, pale, motionless, with a rapt Pygma- 
lion at her feet, and some Pompeian vases and jugs 
(^confiscated from the drawing-room) in the back 
ground. 

And then follow the other tableaux, and then the 
stage is deserted, and, music sounding in the distant 
ball-room, every one rises and makes a step in its direc- 
tion, the hearts of some of the younger guests beating 
in time to it. 

" Where are you going ?" says Ulic Ronayne, seeing 
Olga about to mount the stairs once more. 

" To help the others to get into civilized garb, — Her- 
mia and Monica, I mean. Lady Teazle I consider ca- 
pable of looking after herself." 

"H*ml you say that? I thought Miss Fitagerald 
was a friend of yours." 

"Then you thought like the baby you are. No 
Women, like princes, find few real friends. But one iu 
a hundred can fill that character gracefully, and Bella 
is not that one." 

She turns to run up the stairs. " Well, don't be long," 
says Mr. Ronayne. 

" I'll be ready in a minute," she says ; and in twenty- 
five she really is, 

Monica, who has had Kit to help her, — such an ad- 
miring, enthusiastic, flattering Kit, — is soon redressed, 
and has run down-stairs, and nearly into Desmond's 
arms, who, of course, is waiting on the lowest step to 
receive her. She is now waltzing with him, with a 
heart as light as her feet. 

Hermia's progress has been slow, but Miss Fitzger- 
ald's slowest of all, her elaborate toilet and its accesso- 
ries taking some time to arrange themselves ; she has 
been annoyed, too, by Olga Bohun, during the earlier 
part of the evening, and consequently feels it her duty 
to stay in her room for a while and take it out of her 
maid. So long is she, indeed, that Madam O'Connor 
(most attentive of hostesses) feels it her duty to come 
up-stairs to find h(^^ 



ROSSMOTNE, 293 

She does find her, giving way to diatribes of the most 
rirulent, that have Olga Bohun for their theme. Mrs. 
Fitzgerald, standing by, is listening to, and assisting in, 
the defamatory speeches. 

"Hey-day! what's the matter now?" says Madant, 
with a bonhommie completely thrown away. Miss Fitz- 
gerald has given the reins to her mortification, and is 
prepared to hunt Olga to the death. 

" I think it is disgraceful the license Mrs. Bohun allows 
her tongue," she says, angrily, still smarting under the 
little speech she had goaded Olga into making her an 
hour ago. " We have just been talking about it. She 
says the most wounding things, and accuses people 
openly of thoughts and actions of which they would 
scorn to be guilty. And this, too, when her own actions 
are so hopelessly faulty, so sure to be animadverted upon 
by all decent people." 

" Yes, yes, indeed," chimes in her mother, as in duty 
bound. Her voice is feeble, but her manner vicious. 

" The shameful way in which she employs nasty un- 
guents of all kinds, and tries by every artificial means 
to heighten any beauty she may possess, is too absurdly 
transparent not to be known by all the world," goes on 
the irate Bella. "Who run may read the rouge anl 
veloutine that cover her face. And as for her lids, they 
are so blackened that they are positively ciirty / Yet 
she pretends she has handsome eyes and lashes !" 

" But, my dear, she may well lay claim to her lashes. 
All the Egyptian charcoal in the world could not make 
them long and curly, Nature is to be thanked for 
them." 

"You can defend her if you like," says Bella, bysteii. 
cally, "but to my mind her conduct is — ^is positively 
immoraL It is cheating the public into the belief i hat 
she has a skin when she' hasn't." 

"But Fm sure she has: we can all see it," says Madam 
O'Connor, somewhat bewildered by this sweeping re- 
mark. 

"No, you can't. I defy you to see it, it is so covered 
with pastes and washes, and everything; she uses every 
art you can conceive." 

26* 



tM ROSSMOTNE. 

" Well, sapposing she does, what then?" says Madamj 
stoutly. She is dressed in black velvet aid diamonds, 
and is looking twice as important and rather more good- 
humored than usual. "I see nothing in it. My grand- 
mothei* always rouged, — put on patches as regularly as 
her gown. Every one did it in those days, I suppose 
And quite right, too. Why shouldn't a woman make 
herself look as attractive as she can ?'' 

^'But the barefaced fashion in which she hunts down 
ihat wretched young Konayne," says Mrs. Fitzgerald, 
'*is dreadful I You can't defend that, Gertrude. I quite 
pity the poor lad,^-drawn thus, against his will, into the 
toils of an enchantress." Mrs. Fitzgerald pauses after 
this ornate and strictly original speech, as if overcome 
by her own eloquence. "I think he should be warned," 
she goes on, presently. "A woman like that should 
not bo permitted to entrap a mere boy into a marriage 
he will regret all his life afterwards, by means of abom- 
inable coquetries and painted cheeks and eyes. It is 
horrible I" 

" I never thought you were such a fool, Edith," says 
Madam O'Connor, with the greatest sweetness. 

"You may think as you will, Gertrude," responds 
Mrs. Fitzgerald, with her faded air of juvenility sadly 
lost in her agitation, and shaking her head nervously, 
as though afflicted with a sudden touch of palsy that 
accords dismally with her youthful attire. " But I shall 
cling to my own opinions. And I utterly disapprove 
of Mrs. Bohun." 

"For me," says Bella, vindictively, "I believe hei 
capable of anything. I can't bear those women who 
laugh at nothing, and powder themselves every half- 
hour." 

"You shouldn't throw stones, Bella," says honest 
Madam O'Connor, now nearly at the end of her 
patience. " Your glass house will be shivered if you 
do. Before I took to censuring other people I'd look 
in a mirror, if I were you." 

"I don't understand you," says Miss Fitzgerald, 
turning rather pale. 

" That's because you won't look in the mirror. Why, 



ROSSMorNE. 296 

there's enough po-wder on your right ear, my dear, to 
whiten a Moor I" 

" I never " begins Bella, in a stricken tone ; but 

Madam O'Connor stops her. 

" Nonsense I sure I'm looking at it," she says. 

This hanging evidence is not to be confuted. For a 
moment the fair Bella feels crushed ; then she rallies 
nobly, and, after withering her terrified mother with a 
glance, sweeps from the room, followed at a respectful 
distance by Mrs. Fitzgerald, and quite closely by Madam, 
who declines to see she has given offence in any way. 

As they go, Mrs. Fitzgerald keeps up a gentle twitter, 
in the hope of propitiating the wrathful goddess on 
before. 

"Tes, yes, I still think young Bonayne should be 
warned ; she is very designing, very, and he is very 
soft-hearted." She had believed in young Bonayne at 
one time, and had brought herself to look upon him as 
a possible son-in-law, until this terrible Mrs. Bohun had 
cast a glamour over him. " Yes, yes, one feels it quite 
one's duty to let him know how she gets herself up. 
His eyes should be opened to the rouge and the Egyptian 
eye-stuff." 

While she is mumbling all this, they come into a 
square landing, off which two rooms open. Both are 
brilliantly lighted and have been turned !nto cosey 
boudoirs for the occasion. 

In one of them, only half concealed by a looped 
curtain from those without, stand two figures, Olga 
Bohun and the "poor lad" who is to have his eyes 
opened. 

They are as wide open at present as any one can 
desire, and are staring thoughtfully at the wily widow, 
who is gazing back just as earnestly into them. Both 
he and Olga are standing verv close together beneath 
the chandelier, and seem to be scanning each other's 
features with the keenest scrutiny. 

So remarkable is their demeanor, that not only Bella 
but her mother and Madam O'Connor refrain from 
further motion, to gaze at them with growing curiosity. 

There is nothing sentimental about their attitude; 



t96 ROSSMOFNE. 

fitr from it ; nothing even vaguely suggestive of tender 
ness. There is only an unmistakable anxiety that 
deepens every instant. 

"You are sure?" says Olga, solemnly. "Certain? 
Don't decide in a hurry. Look again." 

He looks again. 

" Well, perhaps I A very little less would be suffi- 
<;ient/' he says, with hesitation, standing back to ex- 
amine her countenance more safely. 

" There ! see how careless you can be !" says Olga, 
reproachfully. " Now, take it off with this, but lightly, 
very lightly." 

As she speaks, she hands him her handkerchief, and, 
to the consternation of the three watchers outside, he 
takes it, and with the gentlest touch rubs her cheekfl 
with it, first the one, and then the other. 

When he has finished this performance, both he anrt 
she stare at the handkerchief meditatively. 

" I doubt you have taken it all off," she says, plain- 
tively. " I couldn't have put more than that on, and 
surely the handkerchief has no need of a complexion ; 

whilst I It must be all gone now, and I was whiter 

than this bit of cambric when I put it on. Had I better 
run up to my room again, or " 

"Oh, no. You are all right; indeed you are. Td 
say so at once if you weren't," says iJonayne, reas- 
suringly. " You are looking as lovely as a dream." 

" And my eyes ?" 

" Are beautifully done. No one on earth could find 
vou out," says TJlic, comfortably; after which they 
both laugh merrily, and, quitting the impromptu bou- 
doir, go down to the ball-room. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald shows a faint disposition to sob, aa 
they pass out of sight. Madam O'Connor is consumed 
with laughter. 

" I don't think I should trouble myself to open * tnat 
poor young Ronayne's* eyes, if I were you, Edith," she 
says, with tears of suppressed amusement in her eyes 

" Ho is lost I" says Mrs. Fitzgerald, with a groan ; 
but whether she means to Bella or to decency nevei 
transpires. 



MOssMOFifB. 2an 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

How Madam O'Connor tells how lovers throve in the good old days when 
■he was young ; and Brian Desmond thrives with his love in theM 
onr days, when he and she are yonng. 

The day is near ; the darkest hour that presages tho 
dawn has come, and still every one is dancing, and 
talking, and laughing, and some are alluring, by the 
aid of smiles and waving fans, the hearts of men. 

Kit Beresford, in spite of her youth and her closely 
3ropped head, — which, after all, is adorable in many 
ways, — has secured, all to her own bow, a young man 
from the Skillereen Barracks (a meagre town to the 
west of Eossmoyne). He is a very young, young man, 
and is by this time quite bon camarade with the sedaio 
Kit, who is especially lenient with his shortcomings, 
and treats him as though he were nearly as old as 
herself. 

Monica is dancing with Mr. Eyde. To do him jus- 
tice, he dances very well; but whether Monica is dis- 
satisfied with him, or whether she is tenderly regretful 
of the fact that at this moment she might just as well 
—or rather better — be dancing with another, I cannot 
say ; but certainly her fair face is clothed with a pen- 
sive expression that heightens its beauty in a con- 
siderable degree. 

"Look at that girl of Priscilla Blake's," says Madan* 
O'Connor, suddenly, who is standing at the head of 
the room, surrounded, as usual, by young men. " Look 
at her. Was there ever such a picture ? She is like a 
martyr at the stake. That intense expression suits 
her." 

Brian Desmond flushes a little, and Kelly comes tu 
th6 rescue. 

"A martyr?" he says. "I don't think Eyde would 
be obliged to you if he heard you. I should name him 
as the martyr, if I were you. Just see how hopelesply 
silly — ^I mean, sentimental — he looks." 



298 ROSSMOYNE. 

" Yet I think she fancies him/* says Lord Bossmoyne, 
who is one of those men who are altogether good, r^ 
8peetable, and dense. 

"Nonsense!" says Madam O'Connor, indignantly 
* What on earth would she fancy that jackanapes for, 
when there are good men and true waiting for hei 
round every comer?" 

As she says this, she glances whole volumes of en- 
couragement at Desmond, who, however, is so de- 
pressed by the fact that Monica has danced five timef^ 
with Eyde, and is now dancing with him again, that 
be gives her no returning glance. 

At this apparent coldness on his part, the blood of 
all the kings of Munster awakes in Madam O'Connor's 
breast. 

" 'Pon my conscience," she says, " I wouldn't give a 
good farthing for the lot of -you, to let that girl go byl 
She came into Eossmoyne on the top of a hay-cart, 1 
hear, — more luck to her, say I ; for it shows the pluck 
in her, and the want of the sneaking fear of what he 
and she will say (more especially sAJ) that spoils halt 
our women. When I was her age I'd have done it my 
self. Eossmoyne, got out of that, till I get another 
look at her. I like her face. It does me good. It is 
so full of life et le beaute du diable" says Madam O'Con- 
nor, who speaks French like a native, and, be it under- 
stood, Irish too. 

" We like to look at her, too," says Owen Kelly. 

" To look, indeed I That would be thought poor 
comfort in my days when a pretty woman was in ques- 
tion, and men were men I" says Madam, with consider- 
able spirit. " If I were a young fellow, now, 'tis in the 
twinkling of an eye I'd have her from under her aunt's 
nose and away in a coach-and-four." 

" The sole thing that prevents our all eloping with 
Miss Beresford on the spot is — is — the difficulty of find- 
tng the coach-and-four and the blacksmith," says Mr. 
Kelly, with even a denser gloom upon his face than 
usual. Indeed, he now appears almost on the verge of 
tears. 

"We never lost time speculating on ways and r\eani 



ROSSMOFNE. 299 

m those days," says Madam O'Connor, throwing up her 
head. " Whoo I Times are changed indeed since my 
grandfather played old Harry A\rith the countrymen 
and my grandmother's father by running away with her 
without a word to any one, after a big ball at my great* 
grandmother's, and that, too, when she was guarded as 
if she was the princess royal herself and had every 
man in the South on his knees to her." 

" But how did he manage it ?" says Desmond, laugh* 
mg. 

"Faith, by making the old gentleman my great- 
grandfather as drunk as a fiddler, on drugged potheen," 
says Madam O'Connor, proudly. " The hutler and he 
did it between them ; but it was as near being murder 
as anything you like, because they put so much of the 
narcotic into the whiskey that the old man didn't come 
to himself for three days. That's the sort of thing for 
me" says Madam, with a little flourish of her shapely 
hand. 

" So it would be for me, too," says Kelly, mournfully. 
" But there's no one good enough to risk my neck for, 
now you have refused to have anything to do with me." 

" Get along with you, you wicked boy, making fun 
of an old woman I" says Madam, with her gay, musical 
laugh. " Though," with a touch of pride, " I won't 
deny but I led the lads a fine dance when I was the 
age of that pretty child yonder." 

" I wonder you aren't ashamed when you think of 
all the mischief you did," says Desmond, who delights 
in her. 

"Divil a bit I" says Madam O'Connor. 

" Still, I really think Kyde aff'ects her," says Boss- 
moyne, who, being a dull -man, has clung to the first 
topic promulgated. 

" That's nothing, so long as she doesn't affect him," 
says Kelly, somewhat sharply. 

"But perhaps she does; and I dare say he has 
money. Those English fellows generally have a 
reversion somewhere." 

" Not a penny," says Mr. Kelly. " And, whether w 
DO, I don't believe she wculd look at him." 



300 ROSSMOTNE. 

*' Not she," says Madam O'Connor. 

" I don't know that. And, even allowing what you 
say to be true, women are not always to be won by 
wealth" (with a faint sigh), '* and he is a very good' 
looking fellow." 

"Is he?" says Desmond, speaking with an eflfbri 
" If flesh counts, of course he is. * Let me have men 
about me that are fat ; sleek-headed men, and such as 
sleep o* nights.* To look at Ryde, one would fancy he 
slept well, not only by night but by day." 

" I feel as if I was going to be sorry for Ryde pres- 
ently," says Mr. Kelly. 

" Well, he's not the man for Monica," says Madam 
O'Connor, with conviction. "See how sorrow grows 
upon her lovely face. For sh&me I go and release her, 
some one, from her durance vile. Take heart of grace, 
go in boldly, and win her against all odds." 

" But if she will not be won ?" says Desmond, smil- 
ing, but yet with an anxious expression. 

" * That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man if 
with his tongue he cannot win a woman,'" quotes 
Madam, in a low voice, turning to Desmond with a 
broad smile of the liveliest encouragement ; " and as 
for you, Desmond, why, if I were a girl, I'd be won by 
yours at once." 

Desmond laughs. 

" I'm sorry I'm beneath your notice now." 

"Where's your uncle? Couldn't even my letter 
coax him here to-night?" 

" l^ot oven that. He has gone nowhere now for so 
many years that I think he is afraid to venture." 

" Tut 1" says Madam, impatiently ; " because he jilted 
a woman once is no reason why the rest of ue should 
jilt Aim." 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ :|e 3K « 

It is an hour later, and all the guests have gone, ex- 
cept indeed Kit, who has been sent up-stairs tired and 
sleepy to share Monica's room, and Terence and Bnan 
Desmond, who with his friend Kelly are struggling 
into their top-coats in the hall. The rain 8 descending 
in torrents, and they are regarding with rather ruefd 



R0S8M0YNE, 301 

countenances the dog-cart awaiting them outside, in 
which they had driven over in the sunny mcrning that 
seems impossible, when Madam O'Connor sweeps down 
upon them. 

"Take off those coats at once," she says. "What 
do you mean, Brian ? I wouldn't have it on my con 
science to send a rat out of my house on such a night 
as this, unless under cover." Her conscience is Madam's 
strong point. She excels in it. She ofttimes swears by 
it I Her promise to Miss Priscilla that Desmond shall 
not sleep beneath her roof during Monica's stay is for- 
gotten or laid aside, and finally, with a smile of satis- 
faction, she sees the two young men carried off bv 
Ronayne for a final smoke before turning in. 

" I don't feel a bit sleepy myself," says Monica, who 
is looking as fresh and sweet as if only now just risen. 

"Neither do I," says Olga. "Come to my room, 
then, and talk to me for a minute or two." 

They must have been long minutes, because it is 
quite an hour later when a little slender figure, clad in 
a pretty white dressing-gown, emerges on tiptoe from 
Mrs. Bohun's room and steals hurriedly along the de- 
serted corridor. 

Somebody else is hurrying along this corridor, too. 
Seeing the childish figure in the white gown, he pauses ; 
perhaps he thinks it is a ghost; but, if so, he is a 
doughty man, because he goes swiftly up to it with a 
glad smile upon his lips. 

" My darling girl," he says, in a subdued voice, " I 
thought you were in the middle of your first happy 
dream by this." 

Monica smiles, and leaves her hand in his. 

" I am not such a lazy-bones as you evidently thought 
me," she says. " But I must hurry now, indeed. All 
the world is abed, I suppose ; and if Kit wakos and 
finds me not yet come, she will be frightened." 

" Before you go, tell me you will meet me somewhere 
to-morrow. You," uncertainly, ^^ are going home to- 
morrow, are you not ?" 

"Yes. But— but — how can T meet you? I have 
almost given my word to Aunt Priscilla to do nothing 
26 



302 ROSSMOFNh. 

-^clandestine— or that; and how shall I break itf 
You are always tempting me, and" — a soft glauce 
stealing to him from beneath her lashes — " I shoiUd like 
to see you, of course, but so much duty I owe to her." 

" Your first duty is to your husband," responds he 
gravely. 

She turns to him with startled eyes. 

"Who is that?" she asks. 

" I am," boldly ; " or at least I soon shaU be : it is alJ 
iLe same." 

" How sure you are of me !" she says, with just the 
faintest touch of offence in her tone that quickens his 
pulses to fever-heat. 

" Sure /" he says, with a melancholy raised by pas- 
sion into something that is almost vehemence. " Was 
I ever so unsure of anything, I wonder ? There is so 
little certainty connected with you in my mind that 
half my days are consumed by doubts that render me 
miserable I Yet I put my trust in you. Upon your 
sweetness I build my hope. I feel you would not will- 
ingly condemn any one to death, and what could I do 
but die if you now throw me over ? But you won% 1 
think:' 

" No, no," says Monica, impulsively, tears in her eyes 
and voice. Tremblingly she yields herself to him, and 
lets him hold her to his heart in a close embrace. 
" How could you think that of me ? Have you forgot- 
ten that I kissed you ?" 

Plainly she lays great stress upon that rash act com- 
mitted the other night beneath the stars. 

^^ Forget itr says Desmond, in a tone that leaves 
nothing to be desired. " You are mine, then, now,— 
now and forever," he says, presently. 

" But there is always Aunt Priscilla," says Monica, 
nervously. Her tone is full of affliction. " Oh, if she 
could only see me now I" 

" Well, she can% that's one comfort ; not if she were 
the hundred-eyed Argus himself." 

"I feel I am behaving very badly to her," says 
Monica, dolorously. " I am, in spite of myself, deceiv* 
ing her, and to-morrow, when it is all over, I " 



ROSSMOYNE. 303 

" It shan't be over/' interrupts he, with considerable 
irigor. " What a thing to say I" 

" I shall feel so guflty when I get back to M )yiie. 
Just as if I had been doing something dreadful. So 1 
have, I think. How shall I ever be able to look her 
in the face again ?" 

" Don't you know ? It is the simplest thing in the 
world. You have only to fix your eyes steadily on the 
tip of her nose, and there you are !" 

This disgraceful frivolity on the part of her lover 
rouses quick reproach in Monica's eyes. 

'^ I don't think it is a nice thing to laugh at one," she 
says, very justly incensed. " I wouldn't laugh at you, 
if you were unhappy. You are not the least help to 
me. What am I to say to Aunt Priscilla ?" 

" ' How d'ye do ?' first ; and then — in an airy tone, 
you know — ' I am going to be married, as soon as time 
permits, to Brian Desmond.* !No, no," penitently, 
catching a firmer hold of her as she makes a valiant 
but ineffectual effort to escape the shelter of his arms, 
" I didn't mean it. I am sorry, and I'll never do it 
again. I'll sympathize with anything you say, if you 
will promise not to desert me." 

" It is you," reproachfully, " who desert me, and in 
my hour of need. I don't think," wistfully, " I am so 
very much to blame, am I ? I didn't ask you to fall in 
love with me, and when you came here all this week 
to see Madam O'Connor I couldn't possibly have 
turned my back upon you, could I ?" 

" You could ; but it would have brought you to the 
verge of suicide and murder. Because, as you turned, 
I should have turned too, on the chance of seeing your 
face, and so on and on, until vertigo set in, and death 
ensued, and we were both. buried in one common grave. 
It sounds awful, doesn't it ? Well, and where, then, 
will you come to meet me to-morrow ?" 

" To the river, I suppose," says Monica. 

" Do you know," says Desmond, after a short pause, 
" I shall have to leave you soon ? Not now ; not until 
October, perhaps ; but whenever I do go it will be foi 
a month at least." 



304 ROSSMOYNE. 

''A month r 

"Yes." 

"A whole long month!" 

" The longest month I shall have ever known," sadly. 

" I certainly didn't think you would go and do a 
thing like tJiat,'' says his beloved, with much severity. 

" My darling, I can't help it ; but we needn't talk 
about it just yet. Only it came into my head a mo- 
ment ago, that it would be very sweet to get a letter 
from you while I was away : a letter," softly, " a letter 
from my own wife to her husband." 

Monica glances at him in a half-perplexed fashion, 
and then, as though some thought has come to her 
for the first time, and brought merriment in its train, 
her lips part, and all her lovely face breaks into silent 
mirth. 

" What is it ?" asks he, a little— just a very little — 
disconcerted. 

"Oh, nothing; nothing, really. Only it does seem 
so funny to think I have got a husband," she says, in 
a choked whisper, and then her mirth gets beyond her 
control, and, but that Brian presses her head down on 
his chest, and so stifles it, they might have had Miss 
Fitzgerald out upon them in ten seconds. 

" Hush I" whispers the embryo husband, giving her 
a little shake. But he is laughing, too. 

" I don't feel as if I honored you a bit," says Miss 
Beresford ; " and as to the * obey,' I certainly shan't do 
that." 

"As if I should ask you I" says Desmond. "But 
what of the love, sweetheart ?" 

" Why, as it is yours, you ought to be the one to 
answer that question," retorts she, prettily, a warm 
flush dyeing her face. 

'* But why must you leave me ?" she says, presently. 

"The steward has written to me once or twice 
Tenants nowadays are so troublesome. Of course I 
could let the whole thing slide, and the property go to 
the dogs ; but no man has a right to do that. 1 am 
talking of my own place now, you understand, — yours^ 
as it will be soon, I hope." 



ROSSMOVNE. 305 

** And where is^owr place ?" 

The hesitation is adorable, but still more adorable are 
the smile and blush that accompany it. 

" In Westtoeath," says Brian, wben some necessary 
preliminaries have been gone through. " I hope you 
will like it. It is far prettier than Coole in every 
way." 

"And I think Coole lovely, what IVe seen of '.t,** 
•ays Monica, sweetly. 

Jlere the lamp that has hitherto been lighting the 
corridor, thinking, doubtless (and very reasonably, too), 
that it has done its duty long enough, flickers, and goes 
out. But no darkness follows its defection. Through 
the far window a pale burst of light rushes, illumining 
in a cold and ghostly manner the spot on which they 
stand. " The meek-eyed mom, mother of dews," has 
come, and night has slipped away abashed, with covered 
front. 

Together they move to the window and look out 
upon the awakening world ; and, even as they gaze 
enraptured at its fairness, the sun shoots up from yonder 
hill, and a great blaz^ of glory is abroad. 

" Over the spangled grass 
Swept the swift footsteps of the lovely light, 
Turning the tears of Night to joyous gems." 

•* Oh, we have delayed too long," says Monica, with a 
touch of awe engendered by the marvellous and mystic 
beauty of the hour. " Good-night, good-night I" 

" Nay, rather a fair good-morrow, my sweet love,'* 
nays Desmond, straining her to his heart 



806 BOSSMOrNB. 



CHAPTER XXV 

How Th« Desmond'a mind ii harassed by a. gentle mflden and two m- 
genUe ronghf ; and how the Land League showa him a delieate attoA 
tion. 

" By the bye," says old Mr. Desmond, looking at his 
nephew across the remains of the dessert, ^^ you've been 
a good deal at Aghyohillbeg of late : why ?" 

It is next evening, and, Monica being at Moyne and 
inaccessible, Brian is at Coole. Mr. Kelly is walking 
up and down on the gravelled walk outside, smoking a 
cigar. 

"Because Miss Beresford was there," says Brian, 
breaking a grape languidly from the bunch he holds 
in his hand. 

" What /" says Mr. Desmond, facing him. 

" Because Miss Beresford was there." 

" What am I to understand by that?" 

" That she was there, I suppose," says Brian, laugh- 
ing, " and that I am head over ears in love with her." 

" How dare you say such a thing as that to me ?" 
says the Squire, pushing back his chair and growing a 
lively purple. " Are you going to tell mo next you 
mean to marry her ?" 

" I certainly do," says Brian ; " and," with a glance 
of good-humored defiance at the Squire, " I'm the hap- 
piest man in the world to-day because she last night 
told me she'd have me." 

" You shan't do it I" says the Squire, now almost apo- 
plectic. "You shan't I — do you hear? I'm standing 
m your poor father's place, sir, and I forbid you to 
marry one of that blood. What I marry the dauffhtei 
— of — of — " something in his throat masters him nere, 
— " the niece of Priscilla Blake, a woman with a tongue ! 
Never I" 

" My dear George, you wouldn't surely have me marry 
a woman without one ?" 

" I think all women would be better without them 



ROSSMOYNE. 307 

and as for Priscilla Blake's, I tell you, sir, Xantipp xas 
an angel to her. I insist on jour giving up this idea at 
once." 

" I certainly shan't give up Miss Beresford, if that is 
what you mean ?" 

"Then V\\ disinherit you I" roars the Squire. "1 
will, I swear it I I'll marry myself. I'll do something 
desperate I" 

" No, you won't," says Brian, laughing again ; and, 
going over to the old man, he lays his hands upon his 
shoulders and pushes him gently back into his chair. 
" When you see her you will adore her, and she sent 
her love to you this morning, and this, too," laying a 
photograph of Monica before the Squire, who glances 
at it askance, as though fearful it may be some serpent 
waiting to sting him for the second time ; but, as he 
looks, his face clears. . 

" She is not like her mother," he says, in a low tone. 

" I never met such a remorseful old beggar," thinks 
Desmond, with wonder; but just at this moment a ser- 
vant enters with a message to the Squire ; so the pho- 
tograph is hastily withdrawn, and the conversation — 
or rather discussion — comes to an end. 

" Two of the tenants are asking to see you, sir," say» 
the butler, confidentially. 

"What two?" 

"Donovan, from the East, and Moloney, from the 
Bog Eoad, sir." 

" Very well ; show Moloney into the library, and tell 
Donovan to wait down-stairs until I send for him." 

"Yes, sir." 

" Well, Moloney, come to pay your rent ?" says the 
Squire, cheerfully, entering the library and gazing 
keenly at the man who is awaiting him there. He is 
a fellow of ordinary build, with a cringing, sei'vile ex- 
pression and a shifting eye. He smiles apologetically, 
and shuffles uneasily from one foot to the other as he 
feels the Squire's eye upon him. 

" No, sir ; I can't bring it, sir. I'd be in dhread o' 
my life wid the boys to do it." 

" I don't know who the gentlemen in question you 



308 ROSSMOTNE, 

designate as 'the boys* may be," says the Squire, calmly. 
" I can only tell you that I expect my rent from you, 
and intend to got it." 

"That's what I come to spake about, yer honoi. 
But the Land League is a powerful body, an' secret too; 
look at the murdber o* Mr. Herbert and that English 
Lord in Faynix Park, and the rewards an' all, an* what's 
come of it ?" 

" A good deal of hanging will come of it, I trust," 
says The Desmond, hopefully. " In the mean time, I 
am not to be deterred from doing my duty by idle 
threats. I thought you, Moloney, were too respectable 
a man to mix yourself up with this movement." 

" I'm only a poor man, sir, but my life is as good tc 
me as another's ; an' if I pay they'll murdher me, an' 
what'll become o' me then? An', besides, I haven't it, 
sir ; 'tis thrue for me. How can I be up to time, wid 
the crops so bad this year ?" 

"It is as good a year as I have ever known for ci'ops," 
says Desmoild. " I will have no excuses of that sort : 
either you pay me or turn out ; I am quite determined 
on this point." 

" Ye wouldn't give me an abatement, yer honor ?" 

" No, not a penny. Not to men such as you, who 
come here to demand it as a right and are very well to 
do. There are others whose cases I shall consider; but 
that is my own affair, and I will not be dictated to. On 
Monday you \^ill bring me your rent, or give up the 
land." 

" I think ye're a bit unwise to press matthers just 
now," says the man, slowly, and with a sinister glance 
from under his knitted brows. " I don't want to say 
anything uncivil to ye, sir, but — I'd take care if I were 
you. The counthry is mad hot, an', now they think 
they've got Gladstone wid 'em, they wouldn't stick at 
a trifle." 

"The trifle being my assassination," says old Des- 
mond, with a laugh. He draws himself up, and, in spite 
of his ugly face, looks almost princely. " Tut, man I 
don't think, after all these years among you, I am to be 
intimidated : you should know me better." 



ROSSMOFNE. 309 

The man cowers before the haughty glance tho old 
Squire casts upon him, and retreats behind his cringing 
manner once again. 

"I thought ye might take into considheration the 
fact that I'm of yer own religion," he says, cun- 
ningly. 

"That you are a Protestant does not weigh- with me 
one inch. One tenant is as worthy of consideration ai 
another; and, to tell the truth, I find your Eoman Cath- 
olic brethren far easier to deal with. I will have no 
whining about diflferences of that sort. All I require 
is what is justly due to me ; and that 1 shall expect on 
Monday. You understand ?" 

"Ye're a hard man," says Moloney, with an evil 
glance. 

" I expected you to say nothing else. All the kind- 
ness of years is forgotten because of one denial. How 
often have I let you off your rent entirely during 
these twenty years we have been landlord and tenant 
together I There, go I I have other business to attend 
to. But on Monday, remember." 

"Ye won't see me that day or any other," says the 
fellow, insolently, sticking his hat on his head with a 
defiant gesture. 

" Very good. That is your own lookout. You know 
the consequences of your non-arrival. Denis," to the 
footman, "show this man out, and send Donovan here." 

"Yes, sir." 

•'Well, Donovan, what is it?" says Desmond, a few 
minutes later, as the library door again opens to admit 
the other malcontent. He is a stout, thick-set man, 
with fierce eyes and a lowering brow, and altogether a 
very "villanous countenance." He has mercifully es- 
caped, however, the hypocritical meanness of the face 
that has just gone. There is a boldness, a reckless, 
determined daring about this man, that stamps him as 
a leading spirit among men of evil minds. 

"I've come here to spake to ye to-night, Misthei 
Desmond, as man to man," he says, with a somewhat 
swaggering air. 

" With all my heart," says The Desm')nd ; *• but be at) 



310 ROSSMOFNE. 

fair to me as I have ever been to you and yoan, and 
we shall come to amicable termR soon enough." 

"As to fairness," says the man, "I don't see how anj 
landlord in Ireland can spake of it without a blush." 

Strange to say, the aggressive insolence of this mao 
fails to rouse in Mr. Desmond's breast the anger that 
the servile humility of the last comer had brought into 
active being. 

" Look here, Donovan," he says, " IVe been a good 
landlord to you; and I expect you, therefore, to be a 
good tenant to me. You hint that I, along with the 
rest, have dealt unfairly with my people ; but can you 
prove it? You can lay to mv charge no tales of harsh- 
ness. In famine times, ana when potatoes failed, in 
times of misfortune and sickness, I have always stood 
your friond, and the friend of every man, woman, and 
child on my estate ; yet now what harvest do I reap, 
save grossest ingratitude ? yet what more can I hope 
for in this most unhappy time, when blood is unright- 
eously poured upon the land, and the laws of Grod and 
my queen are set at naught ?" 

There is a touch of passionate old-world grandeur in 
the Squire's face and manner that works a sense of ad- 
miration in Donovan's breast. But it quickly gives 
way to the carefully-cultivated sense of injury that has 
been growing within him for months. 

" Ye can talk, there's no doubt," he mutters ; " but 
words go for little ; and the fact is, I've got no rent to 
pay ye." 

His tone conveys the idea that he ?ias the rent, but 
deliberately refuses to pay it. 

" You will bring it on Monday, or I shall evict you, * 
says the Squire, quietly. " You hear?" 

" I hear," says the man, with an evil frown. " But 
ye can't have it all yer own way now, Misther Des- 
mond. There's others have a voice in the matthor." 

" I don't care for innuendoes of that sort, or for any 
insolence whatever; I only mean you to fully know 
that I must live as well as you, and that therefore T 
must have my rents." 

" I know well enough what ye mane," says the man, 



ROSSMOFNE. 311 

with increasing insolence. " But I'd have you know 
this, that maybe before long ye'U whistle another tune. 
There's them I could mention, as has their eye upon 
ye, an' will keep it there till justice is done." \ 

* Meaning, until I give up Coole itself to the mob," 
says the Squire, with a sneer. 

"Ay, even that, it may be," says the man, with un- 
iwerving defiance. 

"You dare to threaten me?" says The Desmond, 
throwing up his head haughtily, and drawing some 
Bt^ps nearer to his tenant. 

"I only say what is likely to prove truth before 
long," returns the man, sturdily, not giving in an inch. 
"That we'll have no more tyranny, but will have a 
blow for our rights, if we swing for it." 

" You can shoot me when and where you like," says 
Desmond, with a shrug. " But I am afraid it will do 
you no good." 

" It will be a lesson to the others," says the man, be- 
tween his teeth. 

" To you others, — ^yes ; because it will make my heir 
somewhat harder on you than I am. The Desmonds 
never forgive. However, that is more your lookout 
than mine. A last word, though : if you were not the 
consummate idiots this last revolt has proved you, you 
would see how you are being led astray by a few 
demagogues a (butcher's boy, perchance, or an attor- 
ney's clerk pushed by you from absolute obscurity into 
a !rarliaraent ashamed to acknowledge them), who will 
save their skins at the expense of yours at the last, and 
who meanwhile thrive royally upon the moneys you 
subscribe I" 

" That's a damned lie for ye," says Donovan, losing 
his temper altogether. 

At this outbreak The Desmond rises slowly, and, 
ringing the bell, calmly pares his nails until a servant 
comes in answer to his summons. 

"Ask Mr. Brian to come here for a moment," he 
«ays, calmly, not lifting his eyes from the fourth finger 
of his left hand, upon the nail of which he is just now 
employed. 



812 ROSSMOTNE. 

Brian lounging in, in a few moments, his unole 
pockets his penknife, and, waving his hand lightly in 
Donovan's direction, says, gravely, — 

" This man, Donovan, will be one of your tenantS; 
some time, Brian," — plainly, he has forgotten all about 
his determination to marry again, and so dispossess hi(> 
nephew of Coole and other things, or else one glance at 
Monica*s portrait (in which she had appeared so unlxki 
her mother) has done wonders : " it is therefore as well 
you should learn his sentiments towards his landlord, 
especially as he is apparently the mouth-piece of all 
the others. Oblige me, Donovan, by repeating to Mr. 
Brian all you have just said to me." 

But the man is far too clever a lawyer to commit 
himself before a third party. 

" I have nothing to say," he answers, sullenly, " but 
this, that times are hard an' money scarce, an' " 

" We will pass over all that. It is an old story now ; 
and, as you decline to speak, I will just tell you again, 
I intend to have my rent on Monday, and if I don't 1 
shall evict you:" 

" Ay I as you evicted N'ed Barry last month, throw- 
mg him on the open road, with Jiis wife beside him, an' 
a baby not a month old." 

^^ ^nsense I the child was six months old, and Barry 
was better able to pay than any tenant I have, and 
more willing, too, until this precious Land League tam- 
pered with him. He has proved he had the money 
since, by paying a sum to Sullivan yonder for boaid 
and lodging that would have kept him in his own house 
for twice the length of time he has been there. I 
know all about it : I have made it my business to find 
it out." 

" Ye're mighty well informed entirely," says Donovan, 
with a wicked sneer. 

" If you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, you 
had better leave this room," says Brian, flushing darkly 
and making a step towards him. 

" Who are you, to ordher me about ?" says the man 
with a fierce glance. " Ye're not my master yet, I cai 
tell ye, an' maybe ye never will be.** 



ROSSMOTNE. 313 

*• Leave the room," says Brian, white vith rage, 
pointing imperiously to the door. 

*' Ourse ye I" Bays the man ; yet, warnea by the ex- 
pression on Brian's face, he moves in a rebellious man- 
ner to the door, and so disappears. 

* 4c 4c 9|c 41 4c j|( 

" They are the most unpleasant peasantry in the 
Aorld," says the Squire, some hours later, — the words 
coming like a dreary sigh through the clouds of to- 
bacco-smoke that curl upwards from his favorite meer- 
schaum. 

He and Brian and Owen Kelly are all sitting in the 
library, the scene of the late encounter, and have been 
meditating silently upon many matters, in which per- 
haps Love has the largest share, considering his votaries 
are two to one, when the Squire most unexpectedly 
gives way to the speech aforesaid. 

" The women are very handsome," says Mr. Kelly. 

" Handsome is as handsome does," says the Squire 
with a grunt. 

"Don't the Protestant tenants pay?" asks Owen, 
presently, who is in a blissful state of ignorance about 
the tenant-right aflTair generally. 

" They're just the worst of the lot," says old Des- 
mond, testily; "they come whimpering here, saying 
they would gladly pay, but that they are afraid of the 
others, and won't I let them off? and so forth." 

" I wonder," says Brian, dreamily, — it is very late, 
and he is in a gently, kindly, somnolent state, born 
of the arm-chair and his pipe, — " I wonder if one was 
to give in to them entirely, would they be generous 
enough to " 

"if you can't talk sense," interrupted his uncle, 
angrily, "don't talk at all. I iim surprised at youj 
Brian I Have you seen or noticed nothing all these 
years, have you been blind to the state of the country, 
that you give sound to such utter trash? Pshaw! the 
weakly sentiment of the day sickens me." 

"But suppose one was to humor them, — I am not 
alluding to you, my dear George," to his uncle, — " I 
know you have humored them considerably, — but I 
«7 



814 ROSSMOTNE. 

mean landlords generally: would not peace be re- 
stored? That fellow Donovan to-day was beyond 
doubt impertinent to the last degree ; but of course 
he meant nothing : they would, I should think, hesi- 
tate, in their own interest, before falling foul of you." 

" You don't und 3rstand them as I do," says the SquirOv 
slowly. 

" I still think peace, and not war, shoidd be instilled 
mto them," says Brian. " Too many landlords are harsh 
and unyielding in an aggravated degree, when a little 
persuasion and a few soft words would smooth matters. 
They, of course, are visited with the revenge of the 
League, whilst such as you escape." 

These complacent words are still upon his lips, he has 
had time to lean back in his chair with the languid air 
of one who has given to the world views not admitting 
of contradiction, when a sharp whirring noise is heard, 
followed by a crash of broken glass and the dull thud 
of a bullet that has found its home in the wall right op- 
posite the Squire. Eight ojpposite Brian, too, for they 
had been side by side with Owen Kelly,' fortunately noi 
quite^ but very nearly, opposite. 

For a moment nobody quite knows what has hap- 
pened, so sudden !s the thing ; and then they spring to 
their feet, full of the knowledge that a bullet has been 
fired into their midst. 

It had passed right over The Desmond's shoulder, 
close to his ear, between him and Brian, and had grazed 
tne sleeve of Kelly's coat, who, as I have said, was sit 
ti ng almost opposite. 

With an oath Brian rushes to the window, tears open 
the shutters, throws up the sash, and jumps down into 
the garden, followed by Kelly and the Squire. 

It is a dark night, murky and heavy with dense rain- 
laden clouds, and so black as to render it impossible to 
see one's hand before one. Search after a while is found 
to be impossible, and the cowardly would-be assassin so 
&r is safe from arrest. Dispirited and indignant, they 
return to the room they left, to discuss the outrage. 

" Now, who will preach to me of peace again ?" sayi 
the Squire, turning to Brian a face pale with excitement 



ROSSMOYNE. 315 

"Not I," says Brian, with a face pale as his own, and 
eyes that burn fiercely with the wi'ath of an incomplete 
revenge. " I retract every foolish word I said a few 
minutes since. Henceforth it shall be war to the knife 
between me and mv tenantry, as well as yours.*' 

" War to the bullet would be more in harmony," says 
Mr. Kelly, seriously. He has extracted the bullet in 
question from the wall with the aid of a stout penknife, 
and is now regarding it mournfully as it lies in the palm 
of his hand. " Don't you think they take a very unfair 
advantage of you ? " he says, mildly. " They come here 
and shoot at you ; why don't you go to their cabins and 
shoot at them ?" 

" Let them keep their advantage," says Brian, disdain- 
fully. " We shall conquer at last, no matter how many 
lives it costs us." 

" At all events, they won't get a glimpse of the white 
feather A^re," says the Squire, who is looking quite ten 
years younger. There is nothing like a row for an Irish- 
man, after all. 

" Still, I think I wouldn't sit with my back to that 
window any more, if I were you," suggests Mr. Kelly, 
meekly, seeing the Squire has sunk into his usual seat 
again. 

" It will be a bad winter, I fear," says the Squire, 
shaking his head. 

" A lively one, no doubt. I quite envy you. I should 
rather like to stay here and see you through it. My 
dear sir, if you and that enormous chair are insepara- 
bles, let me entreat you to move it at least a little to the 
left." 

" I love it, I love it, and who shall dare 
To chide me for loving this old arm-chair 7** 

quotes the Squire, with quite a jolly laugh. " Eh ? well, 
Kelly, this is hardly a pleasant time to ask a fellow on 
a visit, and I expect you'll be glad to get back to more 
civilized parts ; but we'll write and tell you how we're 
getting on, my lad, from time to time. That is, as long 
as we are alive to do it." 

" You shall hear of our mishaps," says Brian, lau^rb 
in^ to*). 



316 ROSSMOYNE. 

" It is rather inhospitable of you not to t&ke the hint 
I have thrown out," says Kelly, with a faint yawn. 
" Won't you ask me to spend this winter with you ?" 

"My dear fellow, you really mean it?" says Brian, 
looking at him. 

" Oh, yes, I really mean it. Excitement of the sort 
1 have been treated to to-night seldom comes in my 
way. I should like to see this affair through with 
you." 

" You're a brave lad !" says the Squire ; " but there 
is always a risk in this kind of thing, and it is quite 
probable you will have the roof burned over your head 
one of these dark nights to come. You will have to 
chance that if you stay, as I intend to persevere with 
these blackguardly tenants and fight it out with them 
to the last." 

" To the very last," says Brian, regarding his friend 
meaningly. 

"That's why I'm staying," returns his friend, lan- 
guidly. Which is half, but not the whole, truth, as the 
uict that Mrs. Bohun and her cousin Hermia are going 
to spend the winter at Aghyohillbeg has a good deal to 
do with it too. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



How rations fall short in the enemy's oamp; and how Monica, 
with a strange ammunition, marches into the hostile land. 

" Did ye hear, miss ? Oh, faix, there's terrible newb, 
ma'am I" says old Timothy, trotting into the break&st- 
roora at Moyne the following morning, his fece pde 
with excitement. 

" You alarm me. By an I what is it?" says Miss Pria- 
cilla, laying down her fork. 

" Oh, it's beyant everything, ma'am I Oh, the black- 
guards o' the world ! It was last night, miss, it Jbap- 
pened. The ould Squiro, there below, was sittin' in his 



ROSSMOYNE. 317 

library, as paceable as ye plaze, ma'am, when they fired 
a bullet at him, an' shot him, an' wounded Misther 

Brian No, be the powers, I b'lave I'm wrong ; they 

kilt Miflther Brian an' wounded the Squire ; an' there's 
the greatest commotion ye iver see down below, miss." 

For one awful moment Monica thinks she is going to 
faint. A mist rises between her and Timothy's face ; 
his voice sounds far away, in the next county as it were, 
and then ceases altogether. Then a sharp sting of pain 
rushing through her veins rouses her, and sends the 
blood back with a tumultuous haste to cheek and neck 
and brow. The pain is short but eflPective, and is, in- 
deed, nothing more than a pinch of a pronounced type, 
administered by the watchful Kit, with a promptitude 
very creditable to her. 

"He is exaggerating," says the astute Kit, in a 
subdued whisper apparently addressed to her plate. 
" Don't believe him ; take courage ; and, at all events, 
remember their eyes are upon you I" Her tone is great 
with mystery and kindly encouragement. More re- 
vived by it than even by the pinch, Monica takes heart 
of grace, and listens with maddening impatience for 
what is yet to come. Glancing at Miss Priscilla, she 
can see that her aunt is as pa^e as death, and that her 
hands are trembling excessively. Miss Penelope is 
looking with anxiety at her, whilst trying to elicit the 
truth from Eyan. 

" Collect yourself, Eyan," she says, severely. " Who 
was killed ?" 

" No one outright, I'm tould, miss — ^but " 

"Then who is wounded?" 

" The bullet went right through them, miss." 

"Through both! But that is impossible. I must 
beg you again to collect yourself, Timothy : all this is 
most important, and naturally Miss Blake — ^that is, we 
— -a]*e much upset about it. Through whom did the 
bullet go ?" 

" The ould Squire an' his nephew, miss." 

" Through their bodies ?" cries Miss Penelope, throw- 
ing up hope and both her hands at the same time. 

"No, ma'am, j'st between them, as it might be bo- 
27* 



818 ROSSMOYNE. 

tween you an' Miss Priscilla now." He illustrates the 
real truth as he says this. 

" Bless me, man ! sure they weren't touched at all 
BO," says Miss Penelope. 

"No more they were, miss. Sontt a bit, praise 
bo " 

"Then why did you say they were killed?" say* 
Terence, indignantly, who has been stricken dumb bj 
the appalling fate of his dear Desmond. 

"An* sure how much nearer could they be to it*i 
What saved thim, but maybe the hitch of a chair ? Oh \ 
wirrasthrue this day I" says old Kyan, beginning to cry. 

" Timothy, sit down directly. Terence, get him a 
glass of whiskey," says Miss renelope. " Now, don't 
excite yourself, Timothy : you know it is very bad for 
you at your age. Take time, now. Collect yourself I" 

"Have the assassins been discovered?" asks Miss 
Priscilla, in a trembling tone. 

" No, miss. But I'm tould the polls is very eager 
afther 'em." 

"Was nobody hurt, Timothy?" 

" No one, ma'am." 

Here Monica, feeling the relief greater than she can 
support, gives way to a dry but perfectly audible sob. 

" Don't be afeard, miss, dear," says old Ryan, with 
heart-felt but most ill-judged sympathy: "the young 
gentleman is all right. Not a single scratch on him, 
they say : so you needn't be cryin* about him, honey.'' 

" Miss Monica is in no wise anxious about Mr. Brian 
Desmond," says Miss Priscilla, recovering from her 
nervousness with as much haste as though she had 
been subjected to an electric shock. " She is only dis- 
tressed — as I am — by these lawless proceedings." 

" An' we hear they're boycotted, too, ma'am," says 
old Ryan, still oppressed with news that must be worked 
off. "John Bileman, the Protestant baker in the village 
they always dealt wid. has been forbidden to give 'en 
another loaf, and the butchejr is threatened if he gives 
*em a joint, an* the Clonbree butcher has been tele- 
graphed to also, miss, an' there's the world an' all to 
payl" 



ROSSMOFNE, 319 

*' Do you mean that they are going to treat him as 
they did Mr. Bence Jones ?" says Miss Penelope, indig- 
nantly. 

" Troth, I believe so, ma'am." 

" Will Mr. Brian have to milk the cows ?" says Ter- 
enee, at which astounding thought both he and Kit 
break into merry laughter until checked by Monica's 
reproachful gaze. How can they laugh when Brian 
may be starving f 

"Faix, it's awful, miss; an* the ould man to be wantin' 
for things now, — he that alius kep' a fine table, to spake 
truth of him, and liked his bit an' sup amazin', small 
blame to him. I'm thinkin' 'tis hungry enough he'll be 
now for the future, the crathur! Oh, wirral wirral" 
says Timothy, sympathetically, as he shambles towards 
the door. 

When he is gone. Miss Priscilla turns upon Terence 
and Kit. 

" I must say, I think your mirth at such a time most 
unseemly," she says. " I am glad Monica takes no part 
in it. Terence, did you go up to the widow DriscoU 
with my message this morning?" 

"Yes, aunt." 

She had evidently expected him to say " no," because 
her tone is considerably mollified when she speaks again. 

" Was she pleased, do you think ?" 

"Yes, aunt." 

" She said so, perhaps ?" 

"No, aunt." 

" Then what did she say? I wish, my dear boy, you 
would try to be a little less reticent." 

"She said, *Her duty to you, aunt, and her very coarse 
▼eins were worse than ever.' " 

" Varicose, Terence, — ^varicose I" 

"She said very coarse, aunt, and I suppose she known 
more about them than any one else." 

He has a very sweet face, and it is mere than usually 
. 80 as he says all this. 

"And her son, how is he, poor soul?" asks Miss Penel- 
ope, as Miss Priscilla withdraws, beaten, into the back- 
grounu. 



820 R0S8M0TNE. 

"His daty to you, too, and 'he is bettor, but Ikii 
been much afflicted with the egg-cups for the last two 
days.'" 

" The whatr says Miss Penelope, shifting her pince- 
nez uneasily, and looking perplexed in the extreme. 

"Oh, Terry! how can you be so silly?" says Kit, with 
another merry laugh. 

" How am I silly ?" with an impassible countenance. 
" Young DriscoU is silly, of course, and evidently looks 
upon part of the break last- ware as enemies of some sort. 
But that is not my fault." 

"Hiccoughs he must have meant, my dear," says Mise 

Priscilla, hastily. "Dear— dear — dear! what a terrible 

shock he — they — must have got last night at Coole !" 
******* 

When day is deepening into eventide, Monica, finding 
Kit alone, kneels down beside her, and lays her cheek 
to hers. 

All day long she has been brooding, miserably ovei 
her lover's danger, and dwelling with foolish persist- 
ency upon future dangers born of her terrified imagi- 
nation. 

She had been down to their trysting-place at the 
river, hardly hoping to find him there, yet had been 
terribly disappointed when she had not found him, 
Brian at that very moment being busy with police and 
magistrates and law generally. 

" What is it, ducky?" says Kit, very tenderly, laying 
down her book and pressing her pretty sister close to 
her. 

" Kit," says Monica, with tearful eyes, " do you think 
\i is all true that Timothy said this morning about 
their — their starving at Coole ? Oh, Kit, I can't bear 
jO think he is hungry T^ 

" It is dreadful ! I don't know what to think," says 
Kit. " If nobody will sell them anything, I suppose 
they have nothing to eat." 

At this corroboration of her worst fears, Monica 
dissolves into tears. 

" I couldn't eat my chicken at lunch, thinking of 
liim," she sobs. " It stuck in my throat." 



ROSSMOriTE. 321 

" Poor sweet love I — ^it was dry," says Kit, expanding 
into the wildest aflfection. She kisses M!onica fondly, 
and (though you would inevitably have suffered death 
at her hands had you even hinted at it) is beginning 
to enjoy herself intensely. Once again this luckless 
couple look to her for help. She is to be the one to 
raise them from their " Slough of Despond," — difficult 
but congenial task I " Then you have been existing on 
lemon tart and one glass of sherry since breakfast- 
time?" she says, with the deepest commiseration. 
" Poor darling 1 I saw it; I noticed you ate nothing 
except the tart. You liked that, didn't you ?" 

"I didn't," says Monica. " I hated it. And I was 
a cruel, cold-hearted wretch to touch it. But it was 
sweet — and — I — it — somehow disappeared." 

" It did," says Kit, tenderly. 

** Oh, Kit, help me I" 

" You mean you want to take him something where- 
with to stave off the pangs of hunger," says the younger 
Miss Beresford, with that grandeur of stylo she usually 
affects in moments of strong excitement, and with the 
vigor that distinguishes her. " I see : certainly." She 
irrows abstracted. " There's a leg of mutton hanging 
m the larder, with some fowl, and a quarter of lamb," 
she says, presently. " But I suppose, if we took them^ 
Aunt rriscilla would put us in the hue-and-cry." 

"It mustn't be thought of. No, no; think of some- 
thing else." 

" Bread, then. Ordinary, of course, very ordinary, 
but yet the staff of life." 

"I couldn't take him anything so nasty as mere 
bread," says Monica, in despair. " But, if cook would 
make us a cake " 

"A big one, with currants! The very thing T says 
Kit, with decision. " And she will never betray us. 
Reilly, in little affairs of this kind, — though sadly 
wanting where soups are cincemed, — is quite all she 
ought to be." 

" When will it be baked ? He must get it to-night," 
says Monica, who is evidently afraid her lover, if not 
succored, will die of want before morning. 



322 ROSSMOTNE. 

" Leave all to me," says Kit, flitting away from her 
through the gathering gloom to seek the lower regions 
and its presiding goddess. 

Leaving all to Kit means that when dinner is over, 
about half-past eight, the two Misses Beresford may be 
seen crossing the boundary that divides Moyne nrom 
Coole with anxious haste and a hot cake. 

This last is hugged to Monica's breast, and is plainly 

causing her the greatest inconvenience. It is a huge 

cake, and has to be carried parcel wise, being much too 

big for the smaller basket they had, and much too 

small for the bigger. But Monica — though it is heavy 

beyond description (though, I hope, light m every other 

way, for the sake of Eeilly's reputation) and still ap- 

pallingly hot — ^trudges along with it bravely, resisting 

all Kit's entreaties to be allowed to share the burden. 
******* 

"Who are those coming towards us through the elms 
down there ?" says Mr. Kelly, suddenly. 

He and Brian Desmond are sitting upon a ^rden- 
foeat outside the dining-room windows, enjoying an 
after-dinner cigar. 

*• There ?" says Brian, following his glance. " Eh ?— 
What ?" There is a second pause, then, rising to his 
feet with much precipitancy, he flings his cigar to the 
winds, and, before Owen has time to recover from his 
astonishment at these proceedings, is well out of sight. 
A turn in the lawn has hidden Brian and the advancing 
figures from his view. 

" Monica I" says Desmond, as he reaches her; " what 
has brought you here at this hour? My darling I how 
pale and tired you look I" 

" She has been much perturbed," says Kit, solemnly. 
She has been meditating this remark for some time. 

" We heard all about last night," murmurs Monica, 
with a sweet troubled face, out of which her eyes look 
into his, full of a tender pathos, like violets drowned. 
" And you were not at the river this afternoon, and so 

I came here to find you, and " Her voice trembles 

ominously. 

" I was obliged to be with the sergeant and the othev 



ROSSMOTNE. H23 

men aU day/' says Desmond, hurriedly. " Do not blame 
me, my love. When I went to the river towards even- 
ing it was then of course too late. I meant to go up 

to Moyne when the moon was up But what have 

you got there, dearest?'* pointing to the enormous 
thing she is still holding tightly to her breast. 

She colors and hesitates ; seeing which, the faithfu) 
Kit comes once more to the rescue. 

^' It's a cake I" she says, with a nod of her sleek head. 
" We knew of your being boycotted, and we thought 
you would be hungry, so we brought it to you. But," 
eying him with disfavor, and as one might who feels 
herself considerably done^ "you are evidently not. You 
are looking just the same as ever, and not a bit pinched 
or drawTiy as people are when they are found starved in 
garrets." 

" Yes, I was afraid you would get nothing to eat," 
says Monica, timidly. There is in her lovely eyes a 
certain wistfulness suggestive of the idea that she 
hopes her cake has not been made in vain. 

Mr. Desmond, seeing it, grasps the situation. 

" I am hungry," he says ; and I hope, and think, the 
gentle lie will be forgiven him. " We have had nothing 
m the house all day but bread, and that is not appe- 
tizing." 

" There /" says Monica, turning to Kit with sparkling 
eyes ; " I told you he wouldn't like bread." 

" But," goes on Desmond, with a view to making her 
future happier, "to-morrow all will be right again. 
We know of a few faithful people who will smuggle us 
in all we may require. So do not be unhappy about 
me again, sweetheart, what a terrible weight you 
have been carrying !" 

" It is a fine one, isn't it ?" says Kit. " But give it to 
me now, Monica," taking the cake from her, " while 
you talk to Brian : when you are ready to come home. 
I can give it to him." 

So saying, this inestimable child withdraws herself 
and Monica's offering to a safe distance, and pretends 
for the remainder of the interview an absorbing inter- 
est in some wild flowers growing near. 



S24 MK)SSMOrNE. 

" I have only a moment to stay," says Monica, nerr. 
oualy. "^ I shall be missed ; and now I have seen you 
safe and unhurt," with a very sweet smile, " I shall be 
able to sleep. But all day long I have been haunted 
by timid thoughts," she sighs. 

" I doubt it was a sorry day for you, that first ontj 
when we met," says Desmond, remorsefully. " I have 
brought Tou only trouble. By and by you will regret 
fou ever knew me." 

** Do not say that. I have no regrets, — none ! Even 
if — ^if — we cannot be — ^" reddening vividly, "more to 
each other than we are now, I can still be happy in the 
thought that you love me and are near me, and that 1 
cam sometimes, in spite of every one — " with a reckless- 
ness that sits very funnily upon her — " see you." 

** But we shall be more to each other, Monica," says 
the young man, earnestly. ^ We shall be all in all to 
each other. No human being has the right to separate 
two hearts for the sake of a mere whim." 

''There are so many things. But now, indeed, 1 
must go. Good-night." 

" GrW)d-night, my own. But I shall go with you a^ 
far as the boundary fence." 

"No, no, indeed!" 

" But indeed I shall ;" and of course he has his owu 
way, and parts firom her and Kit there, and answers 
her parting injunction " to take care of himself for her 
sake" — ^this last very low — ^with a lingering lover's 
kiss, and watches the two slight figures with a beaticg 
heart, until they are out of sight. 

Then, picking up the cake, he goes back again U* 
where Mr. Kelly is still awaiting him. 



MOSSMOrNB. S25 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Bow Monica's gifbreceiyes due attention, and is thoroagi I7 a| preciattd { 
and how a torpedo falls into the morning-room at Moyne. 

" Well," says Kelly, " was it Miss Beresford ?" 

" Yes, and her sister. I saw them back to the boun- 
dary fence, but they would let me go no farther. It 
was rather " 

" What on earth have you got there ?" says his friend, 
sticking his eyeglass in his eye, and staring with bent 
head and some suspicion at the mysterious thing in 
Desmond's arms. 

" This I oh, ah I yes." Then, desperately, " Kelly, if 
you laugh at it I'll never forgive you." 

Mr. Kelly drops the eyeglass and looks afflicted. 

" My dear fellow, do I ever laugh ?" he says. 

" Well, it — it's a cakeT says Brian, who (in spite of 
the warning just delivered to his friend) is now indulg- 
ing in wild mirth and can scarcely speak for laughter. 
** She — Monica — heard we were boycotted, and, think- 
ing we were starving, the dear angel! she brought this 
up herself to us." 

" Desmond, I'm ashamed of you," says Kelly, who 
has not moved a muscle of his face. " Such an action 
as hers calls for reverence, — not this unseemly gayety." 

"It's not the action I'm laughing at," says Brian, 
Btill convulsed ; " it's the cake. The action is divine — 
the cake hot!" Here he sinks upon the garden-seat 
again, as if exhausted, and dries his eyes. 

" I see nothing to laugh at in that, either. It seems 
an excellent cake, and, as you say, Aof," says Mr. Kelly, 
prodding it meditatively with his finger, — " a merit in 
a cake of this sort, I should say ; and nicely browned, 
too, as far as I can see. I can see, too, that it is quite 
the biggest cake I ever made acquaintance with. An- 
other merit ! Did she carry it herself all the way ?" 

"All the way, poor darling! and just because she 
aitt 



326 ROSSMOTNE. 

was afraid we should be hungry.'* Mr. Desmond't 
laughter has subsided, and ho now looks rather absent 
" It quite weighed her down," he says, in a low tone. 

" Poor child I I said yesterday, vou remember, that 
I thought her one of the nicest girls I have met. The 
cake has finished me. I think her now the nicest." He 
says this with a cheerful conscience. Between girls and 
widows a deep margin lies. 

" But what are wo to do with it ?" says Brian, re- 
garding the cake, which is now lying upon the garden- 
seat, with a puzzled expression. 

" Say a repentant tenant — no, that sounds like tau 
tolog^r — say a remorseful tenant brought it to you." 

"That wouldn't do at all." 

" Then say you found it in the garden." 

" Nonsense, Kelly I they don't grow. Think of some* 
thing more plausible." 

"&ive me time, then." As he speaks he absentlj 
breaks off a piece of the cake and puts it in his mouth. 
Desmond, in quite as abstracted a manner, does like- 
wise. Silence ensues. 

" I think the idea was so sweet," says Desmond, 
presently, his thoughts being (as they should be) with 
Monica. 

"As honey and the honeycomb I" says Mr. Kelly, 
breaking off another piece. With a far-off, rapt expres- 
sion. 

" She said she couldn't be happy, thinking we were 
hungry. Her dear heart is too big for her body." 

" Her cake is, certainly," says Mr. Kelly : here he 
takes a third enormous pinch out of it, and Desmond 
follows his example. 

" I didn't tell her we had had our dinner," says Brian. 
" It would have taken the gloss off it." 

"Off this?" pointing to the smoking structure be- 
tween them. " I don't believe it." 

« No, the deed." 

Another silence. 

" It's a capital cake," says Mr. Kelly, pensively, who 
has been eating steadily since the first bite. " After all, 
give me a good, sweet, home-made cake like this t Those 



JtOSSMOVNE. 327 

boagbt ones aren't to be named in the same day with 
it. There is something so light and wholesome about 
a cake like this.*' 

" Wholesome 1" doubtfully: "I don't know about 
that. What I like about it is that it is hot and spongy. 
But, look here, you haven't yet said what we are to do 
with it." 

" I tliink we are doing uncommonly well with it," 
says Kelly, breaking off another piece. 

" But what are we to do with the remains, provided 
we leave any, which at present seems doubtful ?" 

" Keep them, of course. You ought to, considering 
she gave it you whole as a present." 

" You are right : no one shall touch a crumb of it 
save you and me," says Mr. Desmond, as though in- 
spired. " Let us smuggle it up to my room and keep 
it there till it is finished." 

" I feel as if I was at school again with a plum-cake 
and a chum," says Mr. Kelly. 

"Well, come and follow me up with it now, and dis- 
tract my uncle's attention if we meet him." 

" To my room or yours ?" insinuatingly. 

" To mine" firmly. 

" I'll take the greatest care of it, if you like to trust 
it to me," with what Kit would certainly have termed 
" an obliging air." 

" I don't doubt you," sardonically. " But certainly 
not It was given to me, and I feel myself bound to 
look after it." 

"Pity we can't have it petrified," says Mr. Kelly, 
thoughtfully. " Then you might hang it round your 
neck as a trophy." At this they both laugh, and 
finally the trophy, after much difficulty, is satismctorily 
stored away. 



It is a fortnight later, and desolation has overtaken 
Monica. Brian has passed out of her active life, has 
ceased from that seeing and hearing and that satisfac- 
tion of touch that belong to a daily intercourse with 
one beloved. Only in thought can she find him now 



328 ROSSMOrNB. 

He has gone upon that threatened journey to thoM 
detested estates of his in Westmeath. 

Yesterday he went; and to-day as she wakes it 
seems to her that a cold and cruel mist has wrap} ed 
her world in its embrace. We never know how we 
prize a thing until we lose it (N.B. — Mark the novelty 
of this idea) ; and now, for the firat time, Monica finds 
herself fully awake to the fact of how necessary Des- 
mond is to her every-day happiness. 

Sqo had gone down to the river-side to bid him fare* 
well, and had been calm, almost careless, throughout the 
interview, — so calm that the young man's heart had 
died within him, and a latent sense of hope deferred 
had made it sick. 

But just at the very last she had given way, and had 
flung herself into his embrace, and twined her arms 
round his neck, — dear, clinging arms, — and had broken 
into bitter weeping. And — 

"Don't be long, Brian I don't be long T she had 
sobbed, with deep entreaty, and with such a tender 
passion as bad shaken all her slender frame. 

So they had " kissed and kissed," and parted. And 
Desmond, though sad as man may be at the thought that 
he should look upon her face no more for four long 
weeks, still left her with a gladder heart than he had 
ever known. Her tears were sweet to him, and in her 
grief he found solace for his own. 

And, indeed, as the days flew by, thej'^ found the pam 
of absence was checkered by dreams of the reunion 
that lay before them ; and each day, as it was born, 
and grew, and died, and so was laid upon the pile of 
those already gone, was a sad joy to them, and counted 
not so much a day lost as one gained. 

" We take no note of time but from its loss." This 
loss in the present instance was most sweet to Monica 
and her lover. To them Time was the name of a slow 
and cruel monster, whose death was to be desired. 

And now the monster is slain, and to-day Brian will 
return to Coole. A few lines full of joyful love and 
glad expectancy had been brought to her yesterday by 
the sympathetic Bridget, who affected an ignorance 



ROSSMOTNE. 329 

about the whole n .atter that utterly imposed on Monica, 
who would have found a bitterness in sharing her heart*? 
secret with her inaid. Yet Bridget knows quite as 
much about it as she does. To Kit alone has Monica 
unburdened her soul, and talked, and talked, and 
talked, on her one fond topic, without discovering the 
faintest symptom of fatigue in that indefatigable person. 

Yes, to-day he comes I Monica had risen with the 
lark, unable to lie abed with the completion of a sweet 
desire lying but a few short hours away from her, and 
had gone through the morning and afternoon in a 
dreamy state of tender anticipation. 

Yet surely not short, but of a terrible length, are 
these hours. Never has the old clock ticked with such 
maddening deliberation ; yet — 

^ Be the day weary, or never so long, 
At length it ringeth to evensong;" 

and at last the old clock, tick it never so slowly, must 
bring round the hour when she may go down to the 
river to meet her love again. 

Eut the relentless Fates are against her, and who 
shall interfere with their woven threads? As though 
some vile imp of their court had whispered in Misa 
Priscilla's ear the whole story of her forbidden attayh- 
ment, she keeps Monica in the morning-room with her, 
copying out certain recipes of a dry nature, that could 
have been copied just as well to-morrow, or next ye^ir, 
or never. 

As the hour in which she ought to meet her lor^r 
comes and goes by, the poor child's pulses throb and 
her heart beats violently. Kit has gone to the village, 
and so cannot help her. All seems lost. Her eyce 
grow large and dark with repressed longing, her hand 
trembles. 

" There, that will do, dear child ; thank you," says 
Miss Priscilla, gratefully, folding up the obnoxious 
papers and slipping them into the davenport. 

It is now quite half an hour past the time appointed 
by Desmond in his letter. Monica, rising impetuous! y^ 
moves towards the door. 

28* 



830 ROSSMOFNE, 

" Is the writing at an end ?" Miss PeneL pe's voicb 
comes to her from the other end of the room, with a 
plaintive ring in it. It casts despair upon the hope that 
IS kindling afresh within her bosom. " Dear, dear I I'm 
so glad I Monica, come to me, and help me with this 
wool. It has got so entangled that only bright eyes 
like yourSjV with a loving smile, " can rescue it from its 
hopeless state." 

Poor Monica I after one passionate inclination to 
rebel, her courage fails her, and she gives in, and, tak- 
ing the tangled skein of wool (that reminds her in a 
vague, sorrowful fashion of her own hapless love-story) 
between her slender fingers, bends over it. 

Her cheeks are aflame. Her eyes are miserable but 
tearless. It all seems too cruel. There sits Aunt Pris- 
cilia at the davenport, with a smile of triumph on her 
lips, as she finds her accounts right to a halfpenny. 
Here sits Aunt Penelope fanning herself with soft com- 
placency, because the day, though of September, is sul- 
try as of hot July. And all this time Brian is walking 
impatiently to and fro upon the tiny beach, thinking 
her cold, unloving, indifferent, watching with straining, 
reproachftil eyes the path along which she ought to 
come. 

This last thought is just too much. A great fire 
kindles in her beautiful eyes ; the spirit of defiance 
seizes on her gentle breast ; her lips quiver ; her breath 
comes from between them with a panting haste. " Yes! 
she will go to him, she will I" She rises to her feet. 

Just at that moment the door is flung wide open, and 
Desmond enters the room. 



R0S8M0TNE. 'SHi 



CHAPTER XXVIU. 



How the Misses Blake receive the nephew of their sworn foe — How 
Moniea at all hazards proclaims her truth — And how Miss Priioilla 
sees something that upsets her and the belief of years. 

One moment of coma ensues. It is an awful mo- 
ment, in which nobody seems even to breathe. Thf* 
two Misses Blake turn into a rigidity that might mean 
stone ; the young man pauses irresolutely, yet with a 
sternness about his lips that bespeaks a settled purpose 
not to be laid aside for any reason, and that adds some 
years to his age. 

Monica has turned to him. The tangled wool has 
fallen unconsciously from her hands to her feet. Her 
lips are parted, her eyes wide: she sways a little. Then 
a soft rapturous cry breaks from her ; there is a simul- 
taneous movement on his part and on hers ; and then 
— she is in his arms. 

For a few moments speech is impossible to them: 
there seems nothing in the wide world but he to her, 
and she to him. 

Then he lifts her face, and looks at her long and 
eagerly. 

" Yes, I have found you again, my love, — at last^' he 
Bays. 

'* Ah ! how long it has seemed !" whispers she, with 
tears in her eyes. 

The old ladies might have been in the next county, 
BO wrapt are they in their happy meeting. Theii 
hearts are beating in unison ; their souls are in their 
eyes. She has reached her home, — his breast, — and 
has laid her heart on his. The moment is perfect, and 
as near heaven as we poor mortals can attain until 
kindly death comes to our aid. 

It is but a little moment, however. It passes, and 
recollection returns. Monica, raising her head, sees the 
two Misses Blake standing side by side, with folded, 



332 R0S8M0TNE. 

nerveless hands, and fixed eyes, and horror-stricken 
faces. Shrinking still closer to her lover, Monica re- 
gards them with a troubled conscience and with growing 
fear. She is at last discovered, and her sin is beyond 
redemption. 

She trembles in Desmond's arms, and pales visibly. 
But the frantic beating of her heart against his renders 
him strong and bold. He throws up his head, with the 
action of one determined to fight to the death. No one 
shall ever take her from him. He is only too anxious 
to enter the lists and do battle for his love. 

And then, a«^.'iiis eyes light upon his foes, his spirit 
dies. Poor old ladies, so stupefied, so stricken ! are they 
not already conquered ? Looking at the frail front they 
present, he feels his weapons must be blunted in this 
fight, his glov/rs anything but steel. 

A terrible sLence fills the room, — a silence that grows 
almost unheal ab^e, until at length it is broken by Miss 
Priscilla. Her voice is low, and hushed and broken. 

" Monica, wh^ did you deceive us ?" she says. 

There is rerroach, agonized disappointment, in hei 
tone, but no anger. 

To these poor old women the moment is tragical. 
The child of their last years — the one thing they had 
held most dear and sacred — has proved unworthy, has 
linked herself with the opposition, has entered the lists 
of the enemy. They are quite calm, though trembling. 
Their grief is too great for tears. But they stand to- 
gether, and there is a lost and heart-broken look about 
them. 

Monica, seeing it, breaks away from her lover's re- 
straining arms, and, running to Miss Priscilla, falls down 
on her knees before her, and, clasping her waist with 
her soft, white arms, bursts into bitter tears. She clingfi 
to Miss Priscilla ; but the old lady, though her distress 
is very apparent, stands proudly erect, and looks not at 
her, but at Desmond. The tears gather slowly in her 
eyes — tears come ever slowly to those whose youth lies 
far behind — and fall upon the repentant sunny head ; 
but the owner shows no sign of forgiveness ; yet I think 
she would have dearly liked to take the sweet sinner in 



ROSSMOFNE. 333 

her arms, to comfort and forgive her, but foi the pride 
and wounded feeling that overmastered her. 

" Your presence here, sir, is an insult," sho says to 
Desmond, meaning to be stern ; but her grief has washed 
away the incivility of her little speech and has left it 
only vaguely reproachful. Desmond lowers his head 
before her gaze, and refrains from answer or explana- 
tion. A great sorrow for the defeneelessness of their 
sorrow has arisen in his breast for these old aunts, and 
killed all meaner thoughts. I think he would have felt 
a degree of relief if they had both falle/* upon him, and 
said hard things to him, and so revenge ' themselves in 
part. 

Monica is sobbing bitterly. Not able to endure her 
grief, Desmond, going even to the feet of Miss Priscilla, 
tries to raise her from the ground. But ; he clings even 
more closely to Miss Priscilla, and so mu ely refuses to 
go to him. 

A pang, a sudden thought, shoots through him, and 
renders him desperate. Will they be '^ad to his poor 
little girl when he is gone ? will they sc61d her ? 

" Oh, madam," he says to Miss Priscilla, with a break 
in his voice, " try to forgive hor ; be gentle with her. 
It was all my fault, — mine entirely. I loved her, and 
when she refused to hear me plead my cause, and shrunk 
from me because of the unhappy division that separates 
my family from yours, and because of her reverence for 
your wishes, I still urged her, and induced her to meet 
me secretly." 

" Tou did an evil deed, sir," says Miss Priscilla. 

" I acknowledge it. I am altogether to blame," says 
Desmond, hastily. ** She has had nothing to do with it. 
Do not, I beseech you, say anything to her when I am ^ 
gone that may augment her self-reproach " He looks 
with appealing eyes at Miss Blake, his hand on Monica's 
shoulder, who has her face hidden in a fold of her aunt's 
gown. 

"Sir," says Miss Priscilla, drawing herself up, with a 
touch of old-world grandeur in her manner, but a sad 
tremulousness in her tone, " my niece has been with us 
now for some time, anH we have dared to hope she has 



834 ROSSMOrNE. 

been treated in accordance with the great love we M 
for her." 

"The great love," echoes Miss Penelope, gently. 
Though deeply distressed, both old ladies are conscious 
of a subdued admiration for the young man, because of 
the tenderness of his fears for his beloved. 

" But if," says Miss Priscilla, with a mournful glance 
at the pretty bowed head, — "if sAe thinks we have failed 
in our love towards her, as indeed it seems it may be, 
by your finding it necessary to ask us to treat her with 
-kindness in this trouble, — we can only say to her that 

we regret, — ^that we " Here she breaks down, and 

covers her sad old face with her trembling hands. 
. Monica springs to her feet. 

"Oh, auntie I" she says, a world of love and reproach 
and penitence in her voice. She throws her arms round 
her aunt's neck; and, Miss Priscilla clasping her in turn, 
somehow in one moment the crime is condoned, and 
yguth and age are met in a fond embrace. 

" Go, sir," says Miss Priscilla, presently, without lift- 
ing her eyes. There is so much gentleness in her tone 
that the young man is emboldened to ask a question. 

" You will permit me to come to-morrow, to — to — 
plead my cause ?" he says, anxiously. 

Miss Priscilla hesitates, and a pang of apprehension 
rushes through his heart. He is almost in despair, 
when Miss Penelope's voice breaks the oppressive 
silence. 

"Yes. Come to-morrow," she says, pressing Miss 
Priscilla's arm. " To-day we are too tired, too upset. 
To-morrow let it be." 

" I thank you, madam," says Desmond, humbly; and 
then he turns to go, but stUl lingers, with grieved eyes 
fixed on Monica. 

"Monica, you will give me one parting word?" he 
says, at last, as though the petition is wrung from hinir 

Still holding Miss Priscilla's hand, she turns to hink, 
and, raising her other arm, places it softly round his 
neck. Holding them both thus, she seems the embodi- 
ment of the spirit that must in the end unite them. 
Her position compels her to throw back her head a 



R0SSM07NE, 33ft 

litde, and she smiles at him, a sad little smil^, but 
bright with love and trust. 

" Not a parting word," she says, with a sweetness so 
grave as to be almost solemn. 

"You will be true to me?" says Desmond, reckless of 
listeners. He has his arms round her, and is waiting 
for her answer with a pale, earnest face. Something in 
the whole scene touches the two kindly old maids with 
tt sense of tender reverence. 

" Until my death," says the girl, with slow distinct 
Dess, laying her head against the gray sleeve of hia 
coat. 

A great wave of color — bom of emotion and lovo 
that is stronger than the grave — sweeps over his face. 
He stoops and lays his lips on hers. When he is gone, 
Monica turns suddenly upon Miss Priscilla. 

" Do not say a word to me I" she cries, feverishly j 
" I could not bear it — now. I may have done wrong, 
but I am not sorry for it. I love him. That should ex- 
plain everything to you ; it means all to me I Nothing 
can alter that I And 1 will have nothing said, — nothing ; 
and " 

" Nothing shall be said, dear child," says Miss Penel- 
ope, gently. " Everything shall be as you wish with 
regard to us. Can you not trust us to spare you where 
we can f" 

" I am ungrateful. I must go and think it all out," 
says Monica, stonily, pressing her hands against her 
head. She turns away. A little cry breaks from Miss 
Priscilla. 

" Oh 1 not without kissing us toOf Monica I" she says 
in a broken voice, holding out her arms to her niece 
Monica throws herself into them. 



Long and eager is the discussi m that follows on the 
girl's disappearance. 

The two Misses Blake, side by side, argue (with what 
they erroneously term dispassionate calmness) the case 
just laid before them. 

" I don't know what is to be done." says Miss Pris- 



336 ROSSMOFNE. 

cilia, at length : <' all I do know is that, for her sake^ 
consent will be impossible.'' 

" And what is to be said to him to-morrow ? He 
looks so earnest, so— full of her. W?iat is to be said to 
himr 

" So his uncle looked at her mother," says Miss Pris- 
oilla, with terrible bitterness; "and what came of that? 
Is this young man to steal from us our best and dearest 
— as he did ? Be firm, Penelope. For her sake crush 
this attachment before the fickleness that is in his blood 
asserts itself to break her heart." 

" I fear it will be broken either way," says Miss Pe- 
nelope, who has a secret hankering after all true lovers. 

" At least her self-respect will be spared, and for that 
she will thank us later on. She must give him np I" 

" Priscilla," says Miss Penelope, in a low tone, " sup- 
posing she refuses to do it ?" 

" When I have fully explained the matter to her, she 
will withdraw her refusal," says Miss Priscilla, very 
grandly, but her expression is not up to her tone in any 
way. It is, indeed, depressed and uncertain. 

"He struck me as being a very attractive young 
man," ventures Miss Penelope, absently. 

" Humph I" says Miss Priscilla. 

" And — ^but that would be impossible in one of hie 
name — a very lovable young man," says Miss Penelope, 
timidly. 

" Hah I" says Miss Priscilla : this ejaculation is not 
meant for surprise or acquiescence, but is merely a war- 
like snort. 

" And very loving, too," says Miss Penelope, dream- 
ily. " I never saw such eyes in my life I and he never 
took them off her." 

" Penelope," says Miss Priscilla, with such a sudden 
and awful amount of vehemence as literally makes 
Miss Penelope jump, " I am ashamed of you. What- 
ever we — that is" (slightly confused) " you may think 
about that young man, please keep it to yourself, and 
at least let me never hear you speak of a Desmond in 
admiring terms." 

So saying, she stalks from the room, and drives down 



I 



R08SM0YNE. 337 

to the village to execute a commission that has been 
hanging over her for a fortnight, and which she chooses 
to-day to fulfil, if only to prove to the outer world that 
she is in no wise upset by the afternoon excitement. 

Yet in a very short time she returns from her drive, 
and with a countenance so disturbed that Miss Penel- 
ope's heart is filled with fresh dismay. 

" What is it ?" she says, following Miss Priscilla into 
her own room. " You have heard something further ; 
you have seen " 

" Yes, I have seen Mm — young Desmond." says Miss 
Priscilla, with an air of much agitation. " It was just 
outside the village, on my way home; and he was 
carrying a little hurt child in his arms, and he was 
hushing it so tenderly j and — the little one was looking 

up in his face — and he kissed it — and Why isn't he 

a had, wicked young man?" cries Miss Priscilla, in a 
frenzy of despair, bursting into tears. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



How MifliB Priscilla is driyen to enter Coole — How she there reoelTee 
an important proposal, bat with much fortitude declines it — And how 
The Desmond sufferi more from a twinge of conscience than from a 
boUet. 

In the morning, a certain amount of constraint pre- 
vails with every one. Kit is, of course, aware of all 
that has happened, and of the day's expected visitor 
for Monica, who has refused to come down to break- 
fast, and who is as unsettled and miserable as she well 
can be. Kit has espoused her cause con amore, and is 
(I need hardly say) ready for open war at a moment's 
notice. She has indeed arranged a plan of action that 
will bring her on the battle-field at a critical moment 
to deliver a speech culled from some old novels in her 
room and meant to reduce both her aur ts to annihila- 
fcion. 

r to 29 



3g8 JtOSSMOTNE. 

When breakfast is over she disappears to study hei 
part afresh, and the Misses Blake, too, separate and go 
to their own rooms, with an air of careful unconcern, 
that would not have imposed upon ar one-year babe. 

When again they reappear, they seem desirous of 
avoiding each other's glances, whereupon it occurs sud 
denly to everybody that they have both put on their 
very best silk gowns and lace caps, aqd have in fact 
got themselves up with elaborate care to receive — n 
Vesmond! No wonder tney are ashamed of thero 
selves I 

Still keeping up the outward symptoms of supreme 
indiflference, they seat themselves in the drawing-room. 
Miss Penelope attacking her knitting with tremendous 
vigor, whilst Miss Priscilla gets apparently lost in thu 
pages of " Temple Bar." Monica, sliding in presently 
like a small ghost, in her clinging white gown, slip^ 
into a seat in the window that overlooks the avenue, 
and hides herself and her pretty anxious &ce behiLd 
the lace curtains. 

An hour glides by with aggravating slowness ; and 
then a sound of wheels upon the gravel makes Monica'is 
heart beat almost to suffocation. The two Misses 
Blake, suddenly forgetful of their role of unconcern, 
start from their seats and go to the window where 
Monica now is standing. A brougham and pair oi* 
horses drive up to the door, and a young man, opening 
the door, springs to the ground, it is Desmond. 

" To come here in a close carriage I" says Miss Pris- 
cilla, with much contempt. "Is he afraid of catching 
cold, I wonder ? I never heard of such foppery in my 
life." 

" He is not a fop," says Monica, indignantly, and then 
tfhe catches sight of her lover's face, and something in 
it awakes within her a prescience of coming evil. 

Then the drawing-room door is thrown open with 
rather unceremonious haste, and the young man, enter- 
ing, goes straight to where Miss Priscilla is standing, 
merely taking and holding Monica's hand as he reaches 
her, but addressing to her neither word nor look. He 
seems greatly agitated, and altogether unlike the man 



ROSSMOTNE. 99|f 

who stood here yesterday and almost defied theip. Hia 
face is very pale, and full of honest grief and indi^ 
nation. 

" My uncle is at death's door,*' he says, in :• voice that 
quivers with rage and excitement. "Coming home 
late last night he T^as shot at hy some ruffians from 
oehind the blackthorn hedge on the Coole road. He 
wants you, Miss Blake" (to rriscilla). " He is asking 
for you. You will not refuse to come to a man who 
fliay be dying, for all we know I I have brought the 
carriage for you, and I implore you not to delay, but to 
come to him at once." 

Miss Priscilla has sunk into a chair, and is quite 
colorless ; Miss Penelope clasps her hande. 

" Oh, poor George I" she says, involuntarily, almost 
unconsciously. His present danger has killed remem- 
brance of all the angry years that stand between to-day 
and the time when last she called him by his Christian 
name. 

" When did it happen ? How ?" asks Monica, tight- 
ening her fingers round his, and trembling visibly. 

" About ten o'clock last evening. Both Kelly and 1 
were with him, and a groom. Two shots were fired. 
Kelly and I jumped off the dog-cart and gave chase, 
and succeeded in securing one of them. There were 
four altogether, I think. We did not know my uncle 
was wounded when we ran after them, but when we 
came back we found Murray the groom holding him in 
his arms. Ho was quite insensible. I left ELelly and 
Murray to guard our prisoner, and drove ray uncle 
home myself. He is very badly hurt. Miss Blake," 
turning again to Miss Priscilla, "you will come with 
me?" 

" Oh, yes, yes," says Miss Priscilla, faintly. 

" And I shall go with you, my dear Priscilla," says 
Miss Penelope, heroically. "Yes, you will want me. 
To find yourself face to face with him after all these 
years of estrangement and in so sad a state will be 
distressing. It is well I should be on the spot to lend 
you some support." 

Miss Priscilla lays her hand on her arm. 



340 ROSSMOYNE. 

" I think I shall go alone, Penelope," she says, falter 
ingly. For one moment Miss Penelope is a little sur- 
prised, and then in another moment she is not surprised 
at all. But I believe in her heart she is a good deal dis< 
appointed : there is a flavor of romance and excitement 
about this expedition she would gladly have tasted. 

" Well, perhaps it will be better so," she says, amiably, 
•* I am glad he has sent for you. He will be the easier 
for your forgiveness, though he cannot obtain hers^ now. 
Come up-stairs: you should not keep Mr. Desmond 
waiting." There is a kindly light in her eyes as she 

fiances at the young man. And then she takes Miss 
•riscilla away to her room, and helps her carefully 
with her toilet, and accepts the situation as a matter 
of course, though in her secret soul she is filled with 
amazement at The Desmond's sending for Miss PrisciUa 
even though lying at death's door. 

And indeed when the old man had turned to Brian 
and asked him to bring Miss Blake tcT Coole, Brian 
himself had known surprise too, and some misgivings. 
Was he going to make her swear never to give her con- 
sent to his (Brian's) marriage with her niece ? or was 
he going to make open confession of that dishonorable 
action which caused Miss Blake's pretty step-sister to 
suffer dire tribulation, according to the gossips round ? 

" I should like to see PrisciUa Blake," the old Squire 
had said, in a low whisper, his nephew leaning over 
him to catch the words, and then he had muttered 
something about "old friends and forgiveness," that 
had not so easily been understood. 

" You shall see her," the younger man says, tenderly. 
" I'll go for her myself. I am sure she won't refuse to 
oome." 

" Refuse /" There is something in the Squire's whis- 
per that pu:zzles Brian. 

" I am certain she will not," he repeats, mechanically, 
whilst trying to translate it. But the look has faded 
from the old man's face, and his tone is different, when 
he speaks again. 

" if she is afraid to come," he says, generously, having 
evidently settled some knotty point of inward discussion 



R0S8M0YNE. 341 

to bis entire gatisfaction, " tell her from me that I am 
ready and willing to forgive aW^ 

" You mean you are anxious to obtain ber forgive- 
ness/' says Brian^ with the kindly intention of assisting 
the old man's wandering imagination. 

" Eh ?" says the Squire, sharply. " What d'ye mean, 
Brian ? Speak, lad, when I desire you." 

" Look here, Greorge I if you excite youraelf like this, 
you know what the consequences will be," says Brian, 
sharply, in bis turn. " I only meant that, as you — er 
— jilted their step-sister, I supposed you were anxious 
to obtain their pardon, now you feel yourself pretty 
low. But I'd advise you wait and see about that when 
you have recovered your strength a little." 

" And you believed that old story too I" says the poor 
Squire, forlornly. " I didn't jilt ner at all, Brian. It 
was she jilted meT 

" What /" says Brian, turning to see if the bullet bad 
touched his brain instead of his ribs. 

" 'Tis true. I tell you, that girl broke my heart. 
She was the prettiest creature I ever saw, with soft 
dove's eyes, and a heavenly smile, and no more heart 
than thaty** striking the post of the old-fashioned bed- 
stead with bis uninjured arm. " I gave myself up to 
her, I worshipped the very ground she walked on, and 
within a fortnight of our wedding she calmly wrote to 
tell me she could not marry me !" 

" Giving a reason ?" 

" No. Even she^ I presume, could not summon suf- 
ficient courage to tell the wretch she had deluded of 
ber love for another. She gave xne no reason. She 
entreated me, however, to keep silence about the real 
author of the breach between us, — that is, herself. 1 
was to be the one to break off our engagement! I was 
to bear all the blame I She implored me to conceal her 
share in it, and finally demanded of me, as a last favor, 
that I would give the world to understand /bad thrown 
Jier over.'* 

"A charmingly disinterested specimen of woman- 
kind," says Brian, raising bis brows. 

" And this to me," says The Desmond, an indignant 
29* 



a42 ROSSMOYNE. 

8ob making his weak voice weaker, — << a man who dad 
always kept himself straight in the eyes of the world. 
I was required to represent myself as a low, despicable 
fcillow, one of those who seek a woman's affections only 
to ignore them at the sight of the next pretty face." 

"But you refused to comply with her request ?" says 
Brian, hastily. 

"No, sir, I didn't," says the Squire, shame struggling 
with his excitement. " On the contrary, I gave in to 
her in every respect. I believe at that time I would 
cheerfully have allowed myself to be branded as a thief 
if she had desired it and if it would have saved her one 
scrap of discomfort. She was afraid of her sisters, you 
see. I blamed them then, Brian, but I think now her 
fear of them arose from the fact that they were as true 
as she was Well, well I" 

" This is indeed a revelation," says Brian. 

"Yes; you wouldn't think they would behave like 
that, would you ?" says Mr. Desmond, eagerly. 

" Who ? The Misses Blake ?" says Brian, startled. 

" Yes. It wasn't like them to keep silent all these 
years, and let me bear the brunt of the battle, when 
they knew I was innocent and that it was their own 
flesh and blood who was in fault. Yet they turned 
their backs upon me, and have treated me ever since as 
though I were in reality the miscreant they have suc- 
ceeded in making me out." 

" There is a terrible mistake somewhere," says Brian. 
" They do verily believe you to be the miscreant you 
describe." 

" Brian, come here I" says the old man, in an omin- 
ously calm tone. " Do you mean to tell me Priscilla 
Blake believes me guilty of having behaved dishon- 
estly to her sister Katherine? You positively think 
this?" 

" I know it," says Brian, who feels it is better to gel 
out the plain unvarnished truth at once. 

" You have no doubt ? Think, Brian ; think." 

" I needn't. There is no doubt on my mind." 

"Then she deceived us aW," says the Squire, in a 
stricken tone. Then he rouses himself again. H« 



ROSSMOYNE, UM 

Beems to have recovered his strength wDnderMly 
during the past hour. " Go get me rriscilla Blake," 
he savs. " Hurry, boy I hurry I I must make it right 
with her before I die." 

"Before you recover, you moan," says Brian, cheerily. 
** There ! lie down now, and keep yourself quiet, or ^ou 
won*t be looking your best when she comes." 

3|e ^ 3|e 3|e * 3|e 3|e 

And now Hiss Priscilla has come, and is standing be- 
side the bed of her quondam friend, looking down upon 
him with dim eyes. 

" I am sorry to meet you again like this, George 
Desmond," she says, at last, in tones meant to be full 
of relentless displeasure, but which falter strangely. 

**Sho made as great a fool of you as of me, Priscilla," 
is the Squire's answer, whose tired mind can only grasp 
one thought, — the treachery of the woman he had 
loved I And then it all comes out, and the letter the 
false Katherine had written him is brought out from a 
little secret drawer, bound round with the orthodox 
blue ribbon, and smelling sadly of dust, as though to 
remind one of the mortality of all things, of warmest 
sweetest love, of truest trust, and indeed of that fair 
but worthless body from whose hand it came, now 
lying mouldering and forgotten in a foreign land. 

" Oh, I wouldn't have believed it of her I" saye Kiss 
Priscilla, weeping bitterly. "But there must have 
b^en something wrong with her always, though we 
could never see it. What an ansel face she had 1 But 
the children, they speak terribly of her, and they 
say — that she — and James Beresford — did not get on 
at all." 

"Eh?" says the squire. He raises himself on his 
sound elbow, and quite a glow of color rushes into his 
pallid cheeks. Then, with a groan of self-contempt, 
he sinks back again, and the light in his eye (was it 
of satisfaction ?) dies. 

" You have met Brian," he says, presently. " What 
io you think of him, Priscilla? He is a good lad, — u 
wry good lad." 

" Bie looks it," says Miss Priscilla, shortly. 



a44 ROSSMOFNE. 

"He does," heartily. "Well, I'm told this boj of 
mine is in love with your girl." 

" Who told you ?" says Miss Priscilla. 

" Brian himself," says the Squire. 

"I like that in him," says Miss Priscilla. "Well. 
George, if you will look upon that as settled, so shall I." 

" So be it," says the Squire. 

" Eh, my dear ? but doesn't it make us feel eld to be 
discussing the love-affairs of these young things, when 
it seems only yestwday that we — that you and I, 
Priscilla " 

" That is all buried long ago : don't rake it up. It 
died when first your eyes fell on A^r," says Miss iBlake, 
hurriedly. 

" I was a fool," says the Squire. " But, somehow 
since I have been talking to you, I don't think I'm 
going to die this time, and old scenes come back to me, 
and — I suppose it is too late now, Priscilla ?" 

There is no mistaking his meaning. 

" Oh, yes ; a whole lifetime too late," says Miss Pris- 
cilla, with a soft, faint blush that would not have mis- 
become a maiden in her teens. " But I am glad we 
are friends again, George." 

She presses his hand with real affection, and then 
colors again warmly, as though afraid of having dis- 
covered herself in the act of committing an inoiscre- 
tion. Could that gentle pressure be called forward, or 
light, or unseemly ? Terrible thought 1 

" So am I, my dear," says the Squire. And theft 
again, " You won't think of it, then, Priscilla?" 

"^o, no," says Miss Blake, feeling flattered at his 
persistence, and then she actually laughs out loud, and 
The Desmond laughs too, though feebly ; and then the 
doctor comes in again, and Miss Priscilla goes home, 
to tell Miss Penelope, in the secrecy of her chamber, 
and with the solemnity that befits the occasion, all 
about the Squire's proposal, its reception, and its re- 
jection. 

Be assured no minutest detail is forgotten; Miss 
Penelope is soon in possession of every smallest look 
and word connected with it, and deeply gratifyingf ip 



HOBSMOYNE. S40 

the manner in which the great news is receivwi by 
that gentle maiden. 

" Though late in the day, Penelope," says Miss Pris- 
cilla, as a sort of wind-up to her recital, " it was an 
offer of marriage any woman might be proud of, be she 
youn^ or old; and he meant it, too. He was quite 
pressing. Twice he asked me, although my first was s 
most decided * No.* " 

" It seemb terrible, your having been so cold to him, 
poor fellow I" says Miss Penelope, with a regretful sigh 
for the griefs of the rejected Desmond. 

" What could I do ?" says Miss Priscilla, with an aii 
of self-defence. This thought, that she can actually be 
accused of having treated the sterner sex in a hard 
hearted fashion, is cakes and ale to her. 

"We must not talk of this, Penelope," she says, 
presently. " It would be unfair. It must never tran- 
spire through us that George Desmond laid his heart 
and fortune at my feet only to be rejected." 

To her these old-world phrases sound grand and 
musical and full of fire and sentiment. 

" No, no," says Miss Penelope, acquiescing freely, yet 
with a sigh i she would have dearly liked to tell her 
gossips of this honor that has been done her dear Pris 
cilia. And, after all, she has her wish, for the story 
gets about, spread by the hero of it himself. 

The Squire, tired, no doubt, of keeping secrets, and 
perhaps (but this in a whisper) grateful to her because 
of her refusal, goes about everywhere, and tells people 
far and near of his offer : so that when their friends 
flock to Moyne, and, giving The Desmond as their au- 
thority for it, accuse Miss Priscilla of her refusal, and 
she still, with maidenly modesty, parries their ques- 
tions. Miss Penelope, feeling herself absolved from fur- 
ther reticence, comes to the front and gives them a fulJ 
and true account of the wonderful event. 

" Yes, Priscilla might indeed have reigned as queen 
at Coole had she so wished it, and well graced the posi- 
tion too," winds up Miss Penelope, on all these occa- 
sions, with much pride and dignity. 

Brian, who had been busy fQl the morning swearing 



846 BOSSMOFNK 

infonnationB, and so forth, with Mr. Kelly and the 
groom, before magistrates and others, coming into his 
UQcle's room about half an hour after Miss Blake's de- 
parture, finds him considerably better both in mind 
and in body, though feeble in spirit, as is only natural. 
Indeed, the bullet had done him little harm, causing 
merely a flesh-wound, but the shock had been severe 
to a man of his years. 

" Come here, Brian : I want to tell vou something," 
he says, as the young man leans over nim. 

"You are not to taik," says his nephew, peremp- 
torily. 

" ff you ^on't listen to me, 1*11 send for Bailey, the 
steward,** says the Squire. "Nonsense! it does me 
^ood." And then he tells him all the particulars of 
Miss Priscilla's visit relating to his engagement with 
Katherine Beresford, with one reservation. 

"It is all right between us now," he says, in a 
^leased tone. " She told me everything, and it appears 
^e were both sadly taken in, though 1 don't wish to 
say anything against her even now. I dare say she 
had her own grievances, poor soul; and indeed Pris- 
cilia said " 

Here he pauses, and a guiltv flush covers his pale 
face. He hesitates, and then oeckons Brian to come 
even nearer. 

"Look you, lad I I'm not quite at ease even yet 
There's something wrong here 1" laying his hand upon 
his heart. 

" Is it pain ?" asks his nephew, anxiously. " I told 
you you were talk " 

" No, no, boy. It's only mental pain. I want to be 
ashamed of myself, and I can*t I'm feeling a satisfac- 
tion about something that I shouldn't. It's not right, 
Brian. It's not a gentlemanly feeling, but I can't curh 
it. The more I think of it, the more pleased I feeL 
Eh ? You don't look as if you understood me." 

" I don't, much," confesses Brian, seating himself on 
the edge of the bed. " You see, you haven't told me 
what it is all about." 

" It is about Katherine Beresford. Priscilla told me, 



ROSSMOYNE, 847 

and I should like to tell you. I say, Brian, you won't 
throw it in my teeth, now, when I*m better, eh ?" 

" I awear I won*t," says Brian. 

" Well, she told me Katherine led a regular devil ot a 
life with her husband, and Tm glad of it! There!" 
says the Squire ; after which disgraceful confession he 
regularly scrambles under the bedclothes, with a view 
to hiding his shame and his exultation from public 
view. 

Brian fairly roars with laughter. At the sound of 
his welcome mirth, the old man slowly emerges from 
the sheets again, and looks at him doubtfully, out with 
growing hope. 

" She had the best of it, of course : any one would 
have the best of it with James Beresford," he savs. 
"But she couldn't have been altogether comfortable; 
that's what I mean. I don't want you to think I 
should rejoice at her having received bad treatment at 
her husband's hands. He had all the bad treatment to 
himself, I expect." 

" So do I," says Brian, who is laughing stilL 

"And you don't think so badly of me for it?" says 
the Squire, anxiously. 

" Not I," says Brian. 

"Still, it's rather a mean sort of feeling, isn't it, now? 
It's very low— eh ?" 

" Low or not," says Brian, with decision, " I'm per- 
fectly certain if it was my case I should feel just like 
that myself." 

"You're the comfort of my life, Brian," says his 
uncle, gratefully ; and then he indulges in a covert smile 
himself, after which he drops off into a ^lumber, sound 
and refreshing. 



XOSSMOrNB. 



CHAPTER XXX. 



flow Mmdfcm O'Connor giyes her opinion on certain snbjeeta — How Fiy 
eleoirifies ui entire andienoe — ^And how Olga makes np her mind. 

It is growing towards evening, and as yet at Aghyo 
hillbeg they have not grown tired of discussing the 
terrible event of last night. 

" When I called just now, Priscilla Blake was with 
him," says Madam O'Connor. "Brian told me The 
Desmond had sent for her. I suppose the old quarrel 
about Katherine will be patched up now, and I shouldn't 
wonder if our two lovers, Monica and Brian, get mar- 
ried quite comfortably and in the odor of sanctity, after 
aU." 

" 1 suppose they couldn't have managed it without 
the old people's consent," says Mrs. Herrick, who is 
rocking herself lazily to and firo in a huge American 
chair. 

" Nonsense, my dear I" says Madam, throwing up her 
?hin. " Accredit them with some decent spirit, 1 beg 
^f you. Of course they would have got married 
v^hether or not, — ^there is nothing like opposition for 
that kind of thing, — and no doubt would have enjoyed 
it all the more for the fun of the thing, because there 
must be an excitement in a runaway match unknown 
to the orthodox affair." 

"I don't think I should like to run away," says 
Olga Bohun : " there is always a difficulty about one's 
clothes." 

" What's the good of being in love if you can't get 
over a few paltry obstacles ?" says Madam, whose heart 
is still young. " Well, I expect we shall have a gay 
wedding here before long, and be able to give wiat 
pretty child our presents without any trouble." 

" How long the day has been !" says Olga, with a 
little affected yawn, meant to reduce ulic Eonayne to 
despair, who is sitting in a distant window touching np 



ROSSMOVNE, 349 

I me of her paintings. " I don't know when I have 
been so bored, — no one to speak to. Madam, darling, 
you shall never go out again without me; remember 
that. Nobody has called, — I suppose they are afraid 
of being shot, — not even Owen Kelly ; and one would 
like to see him and Brian, to make sure they are aU 
there." 

" Talk of somebody," says Madam, looking out of 
the window, " here comes Owen." 

As Olga puts her hand in his presently, she sayg, 
laughing,— 

" Madam O'Connor says you are, in polite language, 
his sable majesty himself. So you must be, to escape 
as you did last night. Now tell us all about it. We 
have heard so many garbled accounts that a reed one 
will set our minds at rest." 

Then he tells them all about it, dropping as though 
unconsciously into a low chair very close to Hermia's. 

"So, you see," he says, when he had finished, "it 
might have been a very sensational affair, and covered 
us all with glory, only it didn't." 

"I think it did," says Mrs. Herrick, gently. She 
doesn't raise her eyes from her work to say this, but 
knits calmly on: only a very careful observer could 
have noticed the faint trembling of her fingers, or the 
quivering of her long, downcast lashes. 

"How can you say such a thing, Owen?" says Olga. 
"Look at all the cases we have known where the 
assassins have got away quite free, and here we have 
the principal secured." 

"Yes, that was very clever of Brian," says Mr. 
Kelly. 

"Did he capture him, then, single-handed? Were 
not you with him? Were you in no danger of your 
life, too f exclaims Hermia, with such unwonted ani- 
mation that every one looks at her. She takes no 
notice of their regard, but fixes her kindling eyes on 
Kelly, who, in returning her mute protest, forgets 
that any other more open answer may be required of 
him. Then she lets her eyes fall from his, and her face 
glows calm and statuesque again, and only the rapid 

80 



360 ROSSMOTNE. 

olicking of hor needles show the perturbation of the 
mind within. 

" Did the fellow ^ve you much trouble, Kelly ?" asks 
Ronayne, who in his secret soul is bitterly regretfiil he 
had not been on the scene of action. 

" Not he, the fool 1" says Mr. Kelly, with something 
approaching a smile. "Brian fired his revolver and 

f razed his arm slightly, — a mere scratch, you will un- 
erstand, — and the miserable creature rolled upon the 
ground, doubled himself in two, and, giving himself up 
%s dead, howled dismally. Not knowing at that time 
that the poor Squire was hurt, Brian and I roared 
with laughter : we couldn't help it, the fellow looked 
so absurd." 

They all laugh at this, but presently Olga, holding up 
her finger, says, seriously, — 

"Owen, recollect yourself. You said you laughed. 
Oh ! it can't be true." 

" I regret to say it is," says Mr. Kelly, with intensesi 
self-abasement. "For once I forgot myself; I really 
did do it; but it shan't occur again. The exquisite 
humor of the moment was too much for me. I hope 
it won't be placed to my account, and that in time you 
will all forffive me my one little lapse." 

"Well, Owen, you are the drollest creature," says 
Madam O'Connor, with a broad sweet smile, that is 
copied by Olga and Eonayne. Mrs. Horrick remains 
unmoved, and her needles go faster and faster: Mr. 
Kelly stares at them uneasily. 

" They'll give out sparks in another minute or so,' 
he says, warningly, "and if they do there will be a 
general conflagration. Spare me that: I have aad 
anough excitement for a while." 

Mrs. Herrick lets her knitting fall into her lap. 

" The Squire may be thankful he got off so easily," 
•ays Madam O'Connor at this moment. 

" He may, indeed," says Kelly. " Fay," to the child 
who is standing at a distance gazing thoughtfully with 
uplifted head at the blue sky without, " what are you 
wondering about now ?" 

The child turns upon him her large blue eyes, blue 



ROSSMOTNE. 361 

as Nankin china, and answers him in clear sweet tones, 
indifferent to the fact that every one in the room is 
regarding her. 

" I was wondering," she says, truthfully, " why XJho 
says his prayers to Olga." 

A most disconcerting silence follows this speech. 
Madam hums a tune ; Mrs. Herrick loses herself in 
her knitting; but Mr. Kelly, who is always alive, says, 
•'Ehr 

" I saw him," says Fay, dreamily. 

Olga, who is as crimson as the heart of a red rose, 
makes here a frantic but subdued effort to attract the 
child's attention ; Mr. Kelly, however, gets her adroitly 
on to his knee before she can grasp the meaning of 
Olga's secret signals. 

" Where did you see him ?",he says, mildly. 

" In the summer-house, this morning. He was kneel- 
ing down before her, just as I kneel to mamma, and he 
nad his head in her lap, and he was whispering his 
prayers. I could not hear what he said." At this in- 
stant an expression of the most devout thankfulness 
overspreads Mrs. Bohun*s features. "But they were 
very long prayers ; and I think he was sorry for some- 
thing he had done." . .. ' ^ 

"I haven*fr>a doubl of it," says Mr. Kelly, mourn- 
fully. " Go on, my child." 

"Pm not your child; Pm mamma's," says Fay, 
firmly ; but, having so far vindicated her mother's char- 
acter, she goes on with her tale : " When he got up he 
didn't look a bit better," she says. " He looked worse, 
I think. Didn't you, XJlic ?" addressing the stricken 
young man in the window. " And I always thought 
it was only children who said their prayers to people, 
and not the grown-up ones. And why did he choose 
Olga? Wasn't there mamma? And wasn't there 
Madam ? You would have let him say his prayers to 
you, Madam, wouldn't you ?" turning placidly to her 
hostess. 

" I should have been only too charmed, — too highly 
flattered," says Madam, in a stifled tone ; and then she 
gives way altogether, and breaks into a gay and hearty 



352 ROSSMOYNE. 

langb, under cover of wbicb Olga beats an ignominioiiB 
retreat. 

Mr. Ronayne, feeling ratber than seeing tbat bis col- 
league in this disgraceful affair has taken flight, puts 
down his brushes softly and jumps lightly from the 
open window to the grass beneath. Then, with a speed 
that belongs to bis long limbs, he hurries towards 
that corner of the house that will lead him to the hall 
door: as he turns it, he receives Olga almost in his 
arms. 

« You here ?" she says. " Ob, that terrible child I" 

" She didn't understand, poor little soul." And then^ 
as though the recollection overcomes him, be gives way 
to uncontrollable mirth. 

" Such unseemly levity I" says Mrs. Bohun, in a dis- 
gusted tone; but, after the vaguest hesitation, she 
laughs too. 

" Come to the orchard," says Eonayne ; and to the 
orchard they go. Here, finding a rustic seat at the 
foot of a gnarled and moss-grown apple-tree, they take 
possession of it. 

" It is very unfortunate," says Olga, with a sigh. 
Her fair hair is being blown like a silver cloud hither 
and thithor, and renders her distractingly pretty. 

" You mean our betrayal by that child ?" 

" Yes. 1 hope it will cure you of ever being so silly 
as to go on your knees to any woman again." 

" I shall never go on my knees to any woman but 
you, whether you accept or reject me." 

" I am sure I don't know how I am ever d faee 
those people inside again." Here she puts one dainty 
little finger between her lips and bites it cruelly. 

"There is nothing remarkable in having one's ac- 
cepted lover at one's feet." 

" But you are not that," she says, lifting her brown 
and seeming half amused at his boldness. 

" By one word you can make me so." 

** Can I ? What is the word ?" 

This is puzzling ; but Mr. Eonayne nothing daunted 
Mys,— 

" You have only to say, ' you are,' and I am." 



ROBSMOTNE. 353 

"It isn't Christmas yet," says Mrs. Bohun: "you 
shouldn't throw conundrums at me out of season. It 
is too much I < you are and I am.* I couldn't guess it, 
indeed : I'm anything but clever." 

" If you say the * I will,' you will find the solution to 
<yar conundrum at once." 

" But that is two words." * 

"Olga, does the fact that I love you carry no weight 
with it at all?" 

" But do you love me — really V* 

" Need I answer that?" 

" But there are others, younger, prettier." 

"Nonsense I There is no one prettier than you in 
this wide world." 

"Ah I" with a charming smile, "now indeed I believe 
you do love me, for the Greek Cupid is blind. What a 
silly boy you are to urge this matter I For one thing, 
I am older than you." 

" A year or two." 

"For another " 

"I will not listen. * Stony limits cannot hold love 
out :' why, therefore, try to discourage me ?" 

"But you should think " 

" I think only that if you will say what I ask you, I 
shall be always with you, and you with me." 

" What is your joy is my fear. Custom creates weari- 
ness I And — *the lover, in the husband, may be lostl' " 

" Ahl you have thought of me in that light," exclaims 
the young man, eageriy. " Beloved, if you will only 
take me, you shall find in me both lover and husband 
until your life's end." 

The smile has (tied from Olga's lips ; she holds out 
her hands to him. 

" So be it," she says, gravely. 

" You mean it ?" says Bonayne, as yet afiraid to believe 
in his happiness. 

" Yes. But if ever you repent blame yourself." 

"And if you repent?" 

" I shall blame you too," she says, with a sudden re- 
turn to her old archness. 

" And you will refuse Eossmoyne?" 



:t54 ROSSMOYNE. 

She laughs outright at this, and glances at him from 
under drooping lashes. 

"I can't promise that," she says, with carefully-simn- 
latod embarrassment, — " because " 

'* What ?" haughtily, movir^ away from her. 

*^ Idid so yesterday" 

"Oh, darling, how cruelly I misjudged you I I 
thought— I feared " 

" Never mind all that. I know — I forgive you. IV« 
a lovely temper," says Olga, with much self-gratulation. 

"Why did you refuse him? Was it," hopefully, 
" because you didn't like him ?" 

" N— o. Not so much that — as " again this shame- 
less coquette hesitates, and turns her head uneasily from 
side to side, as though afraid to give utterance to the 
truth. 

" What ? Explain, Olga," says her lover, in a fresh 
agony. 

" As that I loved you /" returns she, with a heav- 
enly smile. 

His arms close round her, and at this moment she 
lets all her heart be seen by him. The mocking li^ht 
dies out of her eyes, her fece grows earnest. She lets 
her heart beat with happy unrestraint against his. The 
minutes fly, but time was never made to be counted by 
blissful lovers. 

A gong sounding in the distance rouses them from 
their contented dreaming. 

" I must go and tell Hermia," she says, starting to her 
feet : " that is the dressing-bell." 

"You wpn'tlet her influence you against me?" 

"Nobody could do that." She moves away from 
him, and then runs back to him again and lays hei 
armo round his neck. 

"You are more to me now than Hermia and the 
world /" she says, softly. 

Yet presentiv, when she finds herself in Hermia's 
calm presence, her courage somewhat fails her. It ia 
not that she for a moment contemplates the idea of 
having to give up her lover, but she is afraid of hot 
cousin's cold disparagement of both him and her. 



R088M0YNE. d55 

"I have ju8t promised to many TJlic," she says, 
plunging without preface into her story, with a bold- 
ness born of nervous excitement. 

" To marry him I Why, I thought you looked upon 
him as a mere boyl Your 'baby,' you used to call 
him." 

** Probably that is why I have accepted him. A baby 
should not be allowed to roam the world at large 
without some one to look after him." 

« Do you love him, Olga ?" 

" Yes, I do," says Olga, defiantly. " You may scold 
me if you like, but a title isrCt everything, and he is 
worth a dozen of that cold, stiff Eossmoyne." 

" Well, dearest, as you have given him the best part 
of you, — ^your heart, — it is as well the rest should fol- 
low," says Mrs. Herrick, tenderly. " Yes, I think you 
will be very happy with him." 

This speech is so strange, so unexpected, so exactly 
unlike anything she had made up her mind to receive, 
that for a moment Olga is stricken dumb. Then with 
a rush she comes back to glad life. 

"*Do I wake? do I dream? are there .visions 
about ?' " she says. " Why, what sentiments from you ! 
You have * changed all that,' apparently." 

" I have," says Hermia, very slowly, yet with a vivid 
blush. Something in her whole manner awakes sus- 
picion of the truth in Olga's mind. 

" Why," she says, " you don't mean to tell me that 

Oh, no I it can't be true I and yet I verily 

believe you have Is it so, Hermia ?" 

" It is," says Hermia, who has evidently, by help of 
some mental procens of her own, understood all thii 
amazing farrago of apparently meaningless words. 

There is a new sweetness on Mrs. Herrick's lips. 
One of her rare smiles lights up all her calm, artistic 
face. 

"After all your vaunted superiority I" says Olga, 
drawing a deep sigh. " Oh, dear!" Then, with a wicked 
but merry imitation of Mrs. Herrick's own manner to 
her, she goes on : 

"You aie throwing yourself away, dearesv The 



SM ROSSMOFNE. 

world wiU think nothing of you for the future ; and 
you, so formed to shine, and dazzle, and " 

** Me will be a baronet at his father's death/' says 
Mrs. Herrick, serenely, with a heavy emphasis on the 
first pronoun ; and then suddenly, as though ashamed 
of this speech, she lets her mantle drop from her, and 
ories, with some tender passion, 

" I don't care about that. Hear the truth from me 
If he were as ugly and poor as Mary Browne's Peter, 
[ should marry him all the same, just because I love 
him I" 

" Oh, Hermia, I am so glad" says Olga. " After all, 
what is there in the whole wide world so sweet as love? 
And as for Rossmoyne, — why, he couldn't make a tender 
speech to save his life as it should be made ; whilst Ulic 
— ohj he's charming!" 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

How Monica's heart fails her; and how at last Hope (whose name is Brian) 
comes back to her through the qniyering moonlight. 

And now ni^ht has fallen at last upon this long day. 
A gentle wind is shivering through the elms ; a glorious 
m Don has risen in all its beauty, and stands in " heaven> 
wide, pathless way," as though conscious of its grandeur, 
yet sad for the sorrows of the seething earth beneath. 
Now clear, now resplendent she shines, and now through 
a tremulous mist shows her pure face, and again for a 
space is hidden, 

«Asif herheadshebow'd 
Stooping through a fleecy cloud." 

Miss Priscilla, with a sense of new-found dignity upon 
her, has gone early to bed. Miss Penelope has followed 
suit. Terence, in the privacy of his own room, is rub- 
bing a dirty^oily flannel on the bright barrels of hia 



JtOaoMOYNE. 357 

beloved gun, long since made over to him as a gift by 
Brian. 

Kit is sitting on the wide, old-fashioned window-soat 
in Monica's room at her sister's feet, and with ber thin 
little arms twined lovingly round her. She is sleepy 
enough, poor child, but cannot bear to desert Monica, 
who is strangely wakeful and rather silent and distraite. 
For ever since the morning when he had come to carry 
Miss PrisciUa to Coole, Brian has been absent from her ; 
not once has he come to her ; and a sense of chill and 
fear, as strong as it is foolish, is overpowering her. 

She rouses herself now with a little nervous quiver 
that seems to run through all her veins, and lets her 
hand fall on Kit's drooping head. 

" It grows very late. Go to bed, darling," she says, 



gently. 

«:noi 



Tot till you go," says Kjt, tightening the clasp of 
her arms. 

" Well, that shall be in a moment, then," says Monica, 
with a stifled sigh. All through the dragging day and 
evening she has clung to the thought that surely bt** 
lover will come to bid her " good-night." And now it 
is late, and he has nort come, and 

She leans against the side of the wide-open casement, 
and gazes in sad meditation upon the slumbering garden 
underneath. The lilies, — "tall white garden-lilies," — 
though it is late in the season now, and bordering on 
snows and frosts, are still swaying to and fro, and giving 
most generously a rich perfume to the wandering air. 
Earth's stars they seem to her, as she lifts her eyes to 
compare them with the " forget-me-nots of the angels," 
up aoove. 

Her first disappointment about her love is desolating 
her. She leans her head against the wood-work, and 
lifts her eyes to the va^ely-tinted sky. Thus with 
face upturned she drinks in the fair beauty of the night, 
and, as its beauty grows upon her, her sorrow deepens. 

"With how sad steps, moon I thou olimb'st the skies I 
How silentlj, and with how wan a face. 
Thou feel'st a lover's case I 
I read it in thj looks ; thj languish'd graoe, 
T« me, that feel the like, thy state deseriei.'' 



8U R0S8M0TNE. 

As she watohes the pale moon, Sidney's sad words 
return to her. Just now Diana is resting in a bath of 
piJest azure, whilst all around her clouds, silver-tinged, 
are lying out from her, trembling in mid-air. 

Great natches of moonlight lie upon the garden 
sward. One seems brighter than its fellows, and as 
ner eyes slowly sink from heaven to earth they rest 
apon it, as though attracted unconsciously by its bril- 
liancy. And, even as she looks, a shadow falls athwart 
it, and then a low, quick cry breaks from her lips. 

" What is it ?" says Kit, scrambling to her knees. 

" Only Brian," says Monica, with a hastily-drawn 
breath. A rich color has rushed into her cheeks, her 
eyes are alight, her lips have curved themselves into a 
happy smile. 

"It's all right now, then, an^ I can go," says Kit, 
joyfully. 

" €k) ? To bed, you mean, darling ?" 

" Yes, now I know you are Aappy," says Kit, ten- 
derly; and then the sisters embrace, and presently 
Monica is alone, but for the shadow in the moonlight. 

" It is you, Monica ?" says Brian, coming close h^ 
neath her window, and looking upwards. 

She leans out to him, her white gown gleaming 
softly in the moon's rays. 

" Oh, why venture out at this hour ?" she says, nerv- 
ously. Now he is here, — woman like, — ^fears for his 
safety, forgotten before, arise in all their horror. 
" They may have followed you ; they may " 

" Come down to the balcony," he interrupts her, 
with a light laugh. "1 want to talk to you. Non- 
<i}ense, dear heart 1 I am as safe as a church. Who 
would touch me, with an angel like you near to protect 
me?" 

His shadow, as he moves away, may again be seen 
for an instant, before he turns the comer of the old 
house; and Monica, opening her door softly, runs 
lightly down the corridor and the staircase, and across 
the hall and the drawing-room floor, until she reaches 
the balcony beyond, where she finds his arms awaiting 
her. 



EOSSMOFNE. 369 

<< Tou have missed me all* day ?" he s&ys, after a 
pause that to them has been divine. 

" Oh, Brian, what a day it has been !" she clings to 
him. " Ail these past hours have been full of horror. 
Whenever I thought of your danger last night, I 
seemed to grow cold and dead with fear; and then 
when the minutes slipped by, and still you never came 
to me, I began to picture you as cold and dead, and 

then Ah I" she clings still closer to him, and her 

voice fails her. "I never knew," she whispers, 
brokenly, "how well I loved you until I so nearly 
lost you. 1 could not live without you now." 

" Nor shall you," returns he, straining her to his heart 
with passionate tenderness. "My life is yours, to do 
what you will with it. And somehow all day long I 
knew (and was happy in the knowledge, forgive me 
that) that you were lonely for want of me; but I 
could not come to you, my soul, until this very mo- 
ment. Yet, believe me, I suffered more than you 
during our long separation." (If any one laughs here, 
it will prove he has never been in love, and so is an 
object of pity. This should check untimely mirth.) 

" You felt it long, too, then ?" says Monica, hopefully. 

" How can you ask me that ? Your darling face was 
never once out of my mind, and yet I could not come 
to you. I had so many things to do, so many people 
to see, and then the poor old fellow was so ill. But have 
we not cause to be thankful ? — at last the breach between 
our houses is healed, and we may tell all the world of 
our love." 

"You should have heard Aunt Priscilla, how she 
talked of you when she came back to-day from Coole," 
says Monica, in a little fervent glow of enthusiasm. " It 
was beautiful! You know she must have understood 
you all along to be able to say the truth of you so well. 
She said so much in your favor that she satisfied even 
me." 

She says this with such a graceful ndivetey and such 
an utter belief in his superiority to the vast majority 
of men, that Mr. Desmond does well to feel the pride 
that surges in his heart. 



3if ROSSMOFNE. 

" I really think she has fallen in love with y >u," layi 
Miss Beresford, at the last, with a little gay laugh. 

" Perhaps that is why she refused the Squire," says 
Brian ; and then he basely betrays trust, by telling her 
all that tale of the late wooing of Miss Priscilla, and ita 
result, which awakens in the breast of that ancient 
lady's niece a mirth as undutiM as it is prolonged. 

" And what were you doing all day ?" she says, when 
it has somewhat subsided. 

" Trying to keep my uncle— did 1 tell you he has 
fiillen in love with your photograph ?— from talking 
himself into a brain-fever, and I was swearing hardC 
and " 

'' Brian r 

"Only informations, darling! And I wouldn't have 
done that either, only I had to. They made me. Lay 
the blame on * they.* It wasn't my fault, indeed. If I 
had thought for a moment you had the slightest objec- 
tion to that sort of " 

" JNonsensel don't be silly; go on," says Miss Beres- 
ford, austerely. 

" Well, then, I listened patiently to a good deal of 
raving from Kelly on the subject of Hermia Herrick 
I don't suppose I should have exhibited as much 
patience as I did, but for the fact that I was waiting 
on George — my uncle — at the time, and couldn't get 
away. And after that I listened with even more 
patience to a perfect farrago of nonsense from our sub- 
inspector about the would-be assassin we have caught, 
and his fellows ; and, besides all this, I thought of you 
every moment since last I saw you." 

^^ Every moment. Not one neglected?", asks she, 
smiling. 

" I'll swear to that too, if you like. I'm in good prac- 
tice now." 

" No, no," hastily. " I can believe you without that." 

"Did you hear about your Rydo?" asks Desmond, 
suddenly. 

"I disclaim the possession," says Monica. "But 
what of him ?" 

" He nas been ordered, with his regiment, to Bgypi, 



XOSSMOTNE. Ml 

(o fight Arabi, where I hope he will be si ot. And th« 
S6tb are coming in his place." 

" How can you say such shocking things ?" 

" Is it shocking to say the 36th are coming to CloD- 
bree?" 

"No, bat what you said about Mr. Ryde." 

'* Ob, that I Well, I hope, then, if they don't knock 
tho life they will knock the conceit and the superfluous 
flesh out of him : will that do ?" 

" Very badly. He was a horrid man in many ways, 
but he did you no harm." 

*^ He dared to look at you." 

*^The cat may look at the king." 

" But the cat may not look at my queen. So now, 
madam, what have you to say ?" 

" Well, never mind, then : tell me about Hermia. So 
Mr. Kelly is engaged to her?" 

" Yes. He has just discovered her to be the most 
superior as well as the loveliest woman upon earth. 
He told me so. I ventured, mildly but firmly to differ 
with him and enter a protest on your behalf, but he 
wouldn't hear of it. In his opinion you are nowhere 
beside the majestic Hermia." 

" I know that. He is right," says Monica, meekly. 
But there is a reproachful question in her eyes, as she 
says it, that contradicts the meekness. 

" He is wof," says Desmond, with loving indignation, 
pressing her dear little head so close against his heart 
that she can hear it throbbing bravely and can find joy 
in the thought that each separate throb is all her own. 
" Tho man who thinks so must be insane. A fig for 
Hermia I Where would she be if placed beside you, 
my * Helen fair beyond compare' ?" 

" You are prejudiced ; you tell too flattering a tale," 
says Monica, with soft disparagement; but the fond, 
foolish, lover-like words are very dear and sweet to her, 
all the same. 

He has his arms round her ; in her tender, childish 
fashion she has laid her cheek against his ; and now, 
with a slow movement, she turns her head until her 
lips reach his. 

<k SI 



Se2 ROSSMOTNE. 

"I love you," she whispers. 

Almost in a sigh the words are breathed, and a sense 
of rapture— of completion — ^renders the young man for 
the instant mute. Yet in her soul so well she knows 
of his content that she cares little for any answer save 
that which his fond eyes give. 

A breath from the sleeping world of flowers below 
oomes up to the balcony and bathes the lovers in its 
iweets. The "wandering moon" looks down upon 
them, and lights up the dark windows behind them, 
till they look like burnished silver. A deadly silence 
lies on grass and bough ; it seems to them as though, 
of all the eager world, they two only are awi^e, and 
alone 1 

" Do I count with you, then, as more than all ?" he 
says, at length ; " than Terence or than Kit ?" 

" You know it," she says, earnestly. 

Suddenly he loosens his arms from round her, and, 
pushing her slender, white-robed figure gently back- 
wards, gazes searchingly into her calm but wondering 
&ce. 

"Tell me," he says, — some mad, inward craving 
driving him to ask the needless question, — " how would 
it have been with you if I had been killed yesterday ? 
Would you in time have loved again ?" 

I am not sure, but I think he would have recalled 
the words when it is too late. A quiver runs through 
the girPs frame; a great wave of emotion sweeping 
over her face transfigures it, changing its calm to 
quick and living grief. The moonbeams, catching her, 
folds hor in floods of palest glory, until he who watches 
her with remorseful eyes can only liken her to a fragile 
saint, as she stands there in her white, clinging £*a- 
peries. 

" You are cruel," she says, at last, with a low, gasp- 
uigcry. 

He falls at her foet. 

" Forgive me, my love, my darling I" he entreats. " 1 
should never have said that, and yet I am glad I did. 
To feel, to know you are altogether mine ^" 

" You had a doubt ?" she says ; and then two large 



ROSSMOYNE. 863 

tears rise slowly, until her beautiful eyes look pas- 
sionate reproach at him through a heavy mist. Then 
the mist clears, and two shining drops, quitting their 
sweet home, fall upon the back of the small hand she 
has placed nervously against her throat. 

" A last one, and it is gone forever** He rises to his 
feet. "Place your arms round my neck again," he 
says, with anxious entreaty, " and let me fed myself 
forgiven." 

A smile, as coy as it is tender, curves her dainty 
lips, as she lifts to his two soft, dewy eyes, in which 
the light of a first love has at last been fully kindled. 
She comes a step nearer to him, still smiling, — a lovely 
thing round which the moonbeams riot as though in 
ecstasy over her perfect fairness, — and then in another 
instant they are both in heaven, <' in paradise in one 
another's arms I" 

" You are happy ?" questions he, after a long pause, 
into which no man may look. 

" I am with you** returns she, softly. 

" How sweet a meaning lies within your words I" 

" A true meaning. But see, how late it grows I For 
a few hours we must part. Until to-morrow — ^good- 
night!" 

" Grood-night, my life ! my sweet, sweet heart !" sayi 
Desmond. 



nut ivp. 



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