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Full text of "The tenants of Malory : a novel"

L I B RAR.Y 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

OF 1LLI NOIS 

823 
L5l3t 

M.2 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/tenantsofmaloryn02lefa 



THE 

TENANTS OF MALOEY. 

(Reprinted from the " Dublin University Magazine.") 



THE 



TENANTS OF MALOEY 



% lofol. 



BY 

JOSEPH SHERIDAN LE FANU, 



AUTHOR OF " UNCLE SILAS, '* " GUY DEYERELL." " THE HOUSE 
BY THE CHURCHYARD," ETC. ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



LONDON : 

TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18, CATHERINE ST., STRAND. 

1867. 

[The Bight of Translation in reserved.] 



LONDON : 
BRADBCHT, EVANS, AND CO.. PRINTERS, WH1TEFRIARS. 



TO 



CONTEXTS. 



CHAP. PAGE 

I. — IX THE OAK PARLOUR— A MEETING AND PARTING. 1 

II. — JUD.EUS APELLA 12 

III.— MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYN . . . . 21 

IV. — MR. BENJAMIN LEVI RECOGNISES AN ACQUAINT- 
ANCE 32 

V. — A COUNCIL OF THREE 44 

VI.— MR. DINGWELL ARRIVES 56 

VII. — MR. DINGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE . 68 

VIII. — THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADV ... 76 

IX. — IN WHICH MR. DINGWELL PUTS HIS HAND TO 

THE POKER 87 

X. — CLEVE VERNEY SEES THE CHATEAU DE CRESSERON 102 

XL— SHE COMES AND SPEAKS 112 

XII. — CLEVE VERNEY HAS A VISITOR . . . . 125 

XIII. — THE REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH ON A MISSION 136 

XIV.— OVER THE HERRING-POND 146 



VI 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. PAGE 

XV.— Mi:. CLBVE VERNKV PAY8 A VI8IT TO ROBEMABY 

157 



. OURT 

XVI. — IN LORD \t.i:m:v\s LIBRARY . 

XVII. — AN OVATION 

XVIII. — OLD FRIENDS ON THE GREEN 
XIX. — VANE ETIIERAGE GREETS LORD VERNEY 

XX.— REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER 
XXI. — BY RAIL TO LONDON .... 
XXII. — LADY DORMINSTER's BALL 



176 

191 
205 
222 
235 

252 
264 



THE 



\h 



TENANTS OF MALORY, 



CHAPTER I. 

IN THE OAK PARLOUR A MEETING AND PARTING. 

" Gossiping place Cardyllian is," said Miss 
Anne Sheckleton, after they had talked on a 
little in silence. " V> T hat nonsense the people do 
talk. I never heard anything like it. Did you 
ever hear such a galamathias ? n 

The young lady walking by her side answered 
by a cold little laugh — 

" Yes, I suppose so. All small country towns 
are, I believe," said she. 

" And that good old soul, Mrs. Jones, she does 
invent the most absurd gossip about every body 
that imagination can conceive. Wilmot told me 
the other day that she had given her to under- 
stand that your father is a madman, sent down 
here by London doctors for change of air. I 



2 THE TENANTS OF B1ALORY. 

make it a point never to mind one word she says; 
although her news, I confess, does amuse me." 

" Yes, it is, very foolish. Who are those Ethe- 
rages ? M said Margaret. 

" Oh ! They are village people — oddities/' 
said Miss Sheckleton. " From all I can gather, 
you have no idea what absurd people they are." 

" He was walking with them. Was not he?" 
asked the young lady. 

" Yes — I think so," answered her cousin. 

Then followed a long silence, and the elder 
lady at length said — 

" How fortunate we have been in our weather ; 
haven't we ? How beautiful the hills look this 
evening!" said the spinster; but her words did 
not sound as if she cared about the hills or the 
light. I believe the two ladies were each acting 
a part. 

" Yes," said Margaret ; " so they do." 

The girl felt as if she had walked fifty miles 
instead of two — quite worn out — her limbs aching 
with a sense of fatigue ; it was a trouble to hold 
her head up. She would have liked to sit down 
on the old stone bench they were passing now, 
and to die there like a worn-out prisoner on a 
march. 

Two or three times that evening as they sat 
unusually silent and listless, Miss Anne Sheckleton 



A MEETING AND PARTING. 3 

peeped over her spectacles, lowering her work for 
a moment, with a sad inquiry, into her face, and 
seemed on the point of speaking. But there was 
nothing inviting to talk, in Margaret's face, and 
when she spoke there was no reference to the 
subject on which Miss Sheckleton would have 
liked to speak. 

So, at last, tired, with a pale, wandering smile, 
she kissed the kind old spinster, and bid her 
good night. AVhen she reached her room, how- 
ever, she did not undress, but having secured her 
door, she sat down to her little desk, and wrote a 
letter ; swiftly and resolutely the pen glided over 
the page. Nothing added — nothing erased; each 
line remained as she penned it first. 

Having placed this letter in its envelope, and 
addressed it to "Cleve Yerney, Esq., Ware," she 
opened her window. The air was mild ; none of 
the sharpness in it that usually gives to nights at 
that time of year, a frosty foretaste of winter. 
So sitting by the window, which, placed in one 
of the gables of the old house, commands a view 
of the uplands of Cardyllian, and to the left, of 
the sea, and the misty mountains — she sat there, 
leaning upon her hand. 

Here, with the letter on her lap, she sat, pale 
as a meditating suicide, and looking dreamily 
over the landscape. It is, at times, some little 



4 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

incident of by-play, or momentary hesitation of 
countenance, that gives its whole character and 
force to a situation. Before the retina of Mar- 
garet one image was always visible, that of Cleve 
Yerney as she saw him to-day, looking under 
Agnes Etherage's bonnet, with interest, into her 
eyes, as he talked and walked by her side, on the 
Green of Cardyllian. 

Of course there are false prophecies as well as 
true, in love ; illusions as well as inspirations, 
and fancied intimations may mislead. But Mar- 
garet could not doubt here. All the time she 
smiled and assumed her usual tone and manner, 
there was an agony at her heart. 

Miss Fanshawe would trust no one with her 
secret. She was not like other girls. Something 
of the fiery spirit of her southern descent she had 
inherited. She put on the shawl and veil she 
had worn that day, unbarred the hall-door, and 
at two o'clock, when Cardyllian was locked in the 
deepest slumber, glided through its empty streets, 
to the little wooden portico, over which that day 
she had read " Post-office," and placed in it the 
letter which next morning made quite a little 
sensation in the Post-office coterie. 

Under the awful silence and darkness of the 
old avenue, she reached again the hall-door of 
Malory. She stood for a moment upon the steps 



A MEETING AND PABTING. 5 

looking seaward — I think towards Ware — pale as 
a ghost, with one slender hand clenched, and a 
wild sorrow in her face. She cared very little, I 
think, whether her excursion were discovered or 
not. The messenger had flown from her empty 
hand ; her voice could not recall it, or delay it 
for an hour — quite irrevocable, and all was 
over. 

She entered the hall, closed and barred the 
door again, asceDded to her room, and lay awake, 
through the long night, with her hand under her 
cheek, not stunned, not dreaming, but in a frozen 
apathy, in which she saw all with a despairing 
clearness, 

Next day Cleve Yerney received a note, in a 
hand which he knew not; but having read — 
could not mistake — a cold, proud note, with a 
gentle cruelty, ending all between them, quite 
decisively, and not deigning a reason for it. 

I dare say that Cleve could not himself de- 
scribe with much precision the feelings with 
which he read this letter. 

Cleve Yerney, however, could be as impetuous 
and as rash too, on occasion, as other people. 
There was something of rage in his soul which 
scouted all consequences. Could temerity be 
imagined more audacious than his ? 

Right across from Ware to the jetty of Malory 



6 THE TENANTS OF MALOEY. 

ran Lis yacht, audaciously, in open sea, in broad 
daylight. There is, in the Dower House, a long 
low room, wainscoted in black shining panels 
from floor to ceiling, and which in old times was 
called the oak parlour. It has two doors, in one 
of its long sides, the farther opening near the 
stairs, the other close to the hall door. 

Up the avenue, up the steps, into the hall, and, 
taking chance, into this room, walked Cleve 
Yerney, without encountering interruption or 
even observation. Fortuna f civet fortibus, so runs 
the legend in faded gold letters, under the dim 
portrait of Sir Thomas Verney, in his armour, 
fixed in the panel of the hall. So it had proved 
with his descendant. 

Favoured by fortune, without having met a 
human being, and directed by the same divinity 
it would seem, he had entered the room I have 
described ; and at the other end, alone, awaiting 
Miss Sheckleton, who was to accompany her in a 
little ramble among the woods, stood Miss Fan- 
shawe, dressed for her walk. 

In came Cleve pale with agitation ; approached 
her quickly, and stopped short, saying — 

"Fve come; Fm here to ask — how could you 
— my God ! — how could you write the letter you 
sent this morning ? " 

Mi>s Fanshawe was leaning a little against the 



A MEETING AXD PARTING. 7 

oak window-frame, and did not change this pose, 
which was haughty and almost sullen. 

" Why I wrote that letter, no one has a right 
to ask me, and I shall say no more than is con- 
tained in the letter itself." She spoke so coldly 
and quietly that there seemed almost a sadness 
in her tones. 

" I don't think you can really mean it," said 
Cleve, "I'm sure you can't; you can't possibly 
think that any one would use another so, without 
a reason." 

"Not without a reason," said she. 

"But I say, surely I have a right to hear it/' 
urged Cleve. " Is it fair to condemn me, as your 
letter does, unheard, and to punish me, in igno- 
rance ? M 

" Not in ignorance ; at this moment, you know 
the reason perfectly," replied the girl, and he felt 
as if her great hazel eyes lighted up all the dark 
labyrinths of his brain, and disclosed every secret 
that lurked there. 

Cleve was for a moment embarrassed, and 
averted his eyes. It was true. He did know ; he 
could not fail to guess the cause. He had been 
cursing his ill luck all the morning, and wonder- 
ing what malign caprice could have led her, of all 
times and places, at that moment, to the Green 
of Cardyllian. 



8 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

In the "Arabian Nights," that delightful 
volume which owes nothing to trick or book- 
craft, and will preserve its charm undimmed 
through all the mutations of style and schools, 
which, projecting its images from the lamp and 
hues of a dazzling fancy, can no more be lectured 
into neglect than the magic lantern, and will 
preserve its popularity while the faculty of imagi- 
nation and the sense of colour remain, we all 
remember a parallel. In the " Sultan's Pur- 
veyor's Story," where the beautiful favourite of 
Zobaide is about to make the bridegroom of her 
love quite happy, and in the moment of his adora- 
tion, starts up transformed with a " lamentable 
cry," and hate and fury in her aspect, all about 
an unfortunate " ragout made with garlic," and 
thereupon, with her own hand and a terrible 
scourge, lashes him, held down by slaves, into a 
welter of blood, and then orders the executioner 
to strike off, at the wrist, his offending hand. 

" Yes! you do know, self- convicted, ichy 1 think 
it better for both that we should part now — 
better that we should thus early be undeceived ; 
with little pain and less reluctance, forget the 
precipitation and folly of an hour, and go our 
several ways through life apart. You are fickle; 
you are selfish ; you are reckless ; you are quite 
unworthy of the love you ask for; if you are 



A MEETING AND PARTING. 9 

trifling with that young lady, Miss Etherage, how 
cruel and unmanly ! and if not, by what right do 
you presume to stand here ? " 

Could he ever forget that beautiful girl as he 
saw her before him there, almost terrible — her 
eves — the strange white light that seemed to 
flicker on her forehead — her attitude, Italian 
more than English, statuesque and wild ? 

On a sudden came another change, sad as a 
broken-hearted death and farewell — the low tone 
— the fond lingering — of an unspeakable sorrow, 
and eternal leave-taking. 

" In either case my resolution is taken. I 
have said Farewell; and I will see you no more 
— no more — never." 

And as she spoke, she left the room by the 
door that was beside her. 

It was a new sensation for Cleve Yerney to 
feel as he did at that moment. A few steps he 
followed toward the door, and then hesitated. 
Then with a new impulse, he did follow and open 
it. But she was gone. Even the sound of her 
step was lost. 

He turned back, and paused for a minute 
to collect his thoughts. Of course this must 
not be. The idea of giving her up so, was simple 
nonsense, and not to be listened to. 

The door at which the young lady had left the 



10 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

room but two or three minutes before, now 
opened, and Miss Sheckleton's natty figure and 
kind old face came in. Quite aghast she looked 
at him. 

"For God's sake, Mr. Verney, why are you 
here? How can you be so rash?" she almost 
gasped. "You must go, instantly" 

" How could you advise the cruelty and folly 
of that letter? " he said, impetuously. 

" What letter ? " 

u Oh ! Miss Sheckleton, do let us be frank ; 
only say what have I done or said, or thought, 
that I should be condemned and discarded with- 
out a hearing ? " 

Hereupon Miss Sheckleton, still urging his 
departure in frightened whispers, protested her 
innocence of his meaning, and at last bethought 
her of persuading him, to leave the house, and 
meet her for the purpose of explaining all, of 
which he soon perceived she was honestly igno- 
rant, in their accustomed trysting-place. 

There, accordingly, among the old trees, they 
met, and discussed, and she blamed and pitied 
him ; and promised, with such caution as old 
ladies use in speaking for the resolves of the 
young of their own sex, that Margaret should 
learn the truth from her, although she could not 
of course say what she might think of it, taking 



A MEETING AND PARTING. 11 

as she did such decided, and, sometimes, strange 
views of things. 

So they parted kindly. But Cleve's heart was 
disquieted within him, and his sky this evening 
was wild and stormy. 



CHAPTER II. 



JUD.EL'S APELLA. 



Ox the stillest summer day did you ever see 
nature quite still, even that circumscribed nature 
that hems you round with densest trees, as you 
lounge on your rustic seat, in lazy contemplation, 
amid the shorn grass of your flower-beds, while 
all things are oppressed and stifled with heat and 
slumber ? Look attentively, and you will see a 
little quiver like a dying pulse, in the hanging 
flower-bells, and a light faint tremble in this leaf 
and that. Of nature, which is, being interpreted, 
life, the law is motion, and this law controls the 
moral as well as the physical world. Thus it is 
that there is nowhere any such thing as absolute 
repose, and everywhere we find change and 
action. 

Over Malory, if anywhere, broods the spirit of 
repose. Buried in deep forest — fenced on one 
side by the lonely estuary — no town or village 
lying beyond it; sea-ward the little old-world 



JUD.EUS APELLA. 13 

road that passes by it is quite forsaken by traffic. 
Even the sound of children's laughter and prattle 
is never heard there, and little but the solemn 
caw of the rooks and the baying of the night- 
dog. Yet chance was then invading that quiet 
seclusion with an unexpected danger. 

A gentleman driving that day to the " George 
Inn" at Cardyllian, from a distant station on the 
Great London line, and having picked up from 
his driver, a Cardyllian man, all he could about 
Malory, and an old Mrs. Mervyn who lived there, 
stopped suddenly at the corner of the old road, 
which, two miles below Cardyllian, turns off 
inland, and rambles with many pleasant windings 
into the road that leads to Penruthyn Priory. 

This gentleman, whose dress was in the cheap 
and striking style, and whose jewellery was con- 
spicuous, was high-shouldered, with a very de- 
cided curve, though not exactly a hunch. He 
was small, with rather long arms. His hair, 
whiskers, and beard were glossy black, and his 
features Jewish. He switched and twirled a 
black walking-cane, with silver knobs on it, in his 
hand, and he had two or three rings on his 
fingers. 

His luggage had gone on to the " George," 
and whenever opportunity occurred along that 
solitary road he renewed his inquiries about 



14 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Malory, with a slight peculiarity of accent which 
the unsophisticated rustics in that part of the 
world had never heard before. 

By this time it was evening, and in the light 
of the approaching sunset, he might now, as the 
view of the sea and the distant mountains opened, 
have enjoyed a pleasure for which, however, he 
had no taste ; these evening glows and tints were 
to him but imperfect light, and he looked along 
the solemn and shadowy hills as he would have 
run his eye along the shops in Cheapside — if 
with any interest, simply to amuse himself with 
a calculation of what they might be worth in 
money. 

He was now passing the pretty church-yard of 
Llanderris. The gray head-stones and grass- 
grown graves brought home to him no passing 
thought of change and mortality; death was to 
him an arithmetical formula by which he mea- 
sured annuities and reversions and policies. 
And now he had entered the steep road that 
leads down with an irregular curve to Malory. 

He looked down upon the grand old wood. 
He had a smattering of the value of timber, and 
remembered what a hit Rosenthal and Solomons 
had made of their purchase of the wood at East 
Milton, when the railway was about to be made 
there ; and what a nice bit of money they had 



JUD.EUS APELLA. 15 

made of their contract for sleepers and all sorts 
of other things. Could not Jos. Larkin, or some 
better man, be found to get up a little branch 
line from Llwynan to Cardyllian ? His large 
mouth almost watered as he thought of it ; and 
how that eight or nine miles of rail would devour 
every inch of timber that grew there — not a 
branch would be lost. 

But now he was descending toward Malory, 
and the banks at the right hand and the left shut 
out the view. So he began to descend the slope 
at his leisure, looking up and about him and 
down at the worn road for material for thought, 
for his mind was bustling and barren. 

The road is not four steps across. It winds 
steeply between high banks. Over these stoop 
and mingle in the perspective, the gray stems of 
tall ash trees mantled in ivy, which here and there 
climbs thickly among the boughs, and makes a 
darker umbrage among the foliage of the trees. 
Beneath, ascending the steep banks, grow clumps 
of nettles, elder, hazel, and thorn. Only down 
the slope of the road can the passenger see any- 
thing of the country it traverses, for the banks 
out-top him on either side. The rains have 
washed its stones so bare, wearing a sort of gulley 
in the centre, as to give it the character in some 
sort of a forest ravine. 



16 THE TEXAXTS OF MALORY. 

The sallow, hatchet-faced man, with prominent 
black eves, was walking up this steep and secluded 
road. Those sharp eyes of his were busy. A 
wild bee hummed over his head, and he cut at it 
pleasantly with his stick, but it was out of reach, 
and he paused and eyed its unconscious flight, 
with an ugly smile, as if he owed it a grudge for 
having foiled him. There was little life in that 
secluded and dark track. He spied a small dome-.^ 
shaped black beetle stumbling through the dust 
and pebbles, across it. 

The little man drew near and peered at it with 
his piercing eyes and a pleasant grin. He 
stooped. The point of his pale nose was right 
over it. Across the desert the beetle was toiling. 
His path was a right line. The little man looked 
across to see what he was aiming at, or where 
was his home. There was nothing particular 
that he could perceive in the grass and weeds at 
the point witherward he was tending in a right 
line. The beetle sprawled and stumbled over a 
little bead of clay, recovered his feet and his direc- 
tion, and plodded on in a straight line. The 
little man put his stick, point downward, be- 
fore him. The beetle rounded it carefully, and 
plodded on inflexibly in the same direction. Then 
he of the black eyes and long nose knocked him 
gently in the face, and again and again, jerking 



JUD.EUS APELLA. 17 

him this way or that. Still, like a prize-fighter 
he rallied between the rounds, and drove righw on 
in his old line. Then the little man gave him a 
sharper knock, which sent him a coup^ of feet 
away, on his back; right and left sprawled and 
groped the short legs of the beetle, but alas ! 
in vain. He could not right himself. He 
tried to lurch himself over, but in vain. Now 
and then came a frantic gallop with his 
little feet; it was beating the air. This was 
pleasant to the man with the piercing eyes, who 
stooped over, smiling with his wide mouth, and 
showing his white fangs. I wonder what the 
beetle thought of his luck — what he thought of it 
all. The paroxysms of hope, when his feet worked 
so hard, grew shorter. The intervals of despair 
and inaction grew longer. The beetle was making 
up his mind that he must lie on his back and 
die slowly, or be crushed under a hoof, or picked 
up and swallowed by a wandering farm-yard fowl. 
Though it was pleasant to witness his despair, 
the man with the prominent eyes tired of the 
sight, he gave him a poke under the back, and 
tumbled him up again on his feet, and watched 
him. The beetle seemed a little bothered for a 
while, and would have shaken himself I'm sure if 
he could. But he soon came to himself, turned 
in his old direction, and, as it seemed to the 

VOL. II. c 



IS THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

observer, marched stumbling on with indomitable 
perseverance toward the selfsame point. I know 
nothing of beetle habits. I can make no guess 
why he sought that particular spot. Was it 
merely a favourite haunt, or were there a little 
beetle brood, and a wife awaiting him there ? A 
strong instinct of some sort urged him, and a 
most heroic perseverance. 

And now I suppose he thought his troubles 
over, and that his journey was about surely to 1 ! 
accomplished. Alas ! it will never be accom- 
plished. There is an influence near which you 
suspect not. The distance is lessening, the green 
grass, and dock leaves, and mallows, very near. 
Alas ! there is no sympathy with your instinct, 
with the purpose of your life, with your labours 
and hopes. An inverted sympathy is there; a 
sympathy with the difficulty — with "the Adver- 
sary" — with death. The little man with the 
sharp black eyes brought the point of his stick 
near the beetle's back, having seen enough of his 
pilgrimage, and squelched him. 

The pleasure of malice is curious. There are 
people who flavour their meals with their revenges, 
whose future is made interesting by the hope that 
this or that person may come under their heel. 
Which is pleasantest, building castles in the air 
for ourselves, or dungeons in pandemonium for 



JUTLEUS APELLA. 19 

our enemies ? It is well for one half of the 
human race that the other has not the disposal of 
them. More rare, more grotesque, more exqui- 
sitely fiendish, is that sport with the mysteries of 
agony, that lust of torture, that constitute the 
desire and fruition of some monstrous souls. 

Now, having ended that beetle's brief life in 
eternal darkness, and reduced all his thoughts 
and yearnings to cypher, and dissolved his perse- 
vering and resolute little character, never to be 
recombined, this young gentleman looked up 
among the yellow leaves in which the birds were 
chirping their evening gossip, and treated them 
to a capital imitation of a wild cat, followed by a 
still happier one of a screech-owl, which set all 
the sparrows in the ivy round twittering in 
panic; and having sufficiently amused himself, 
the sun being now near the horizon, he bethought 
him of his mission to Malory. So on he marched 
whistling an air from an opera, which, I am bound 
to admit, he did with the brilliancy and precision 
of a little flageolet, in so much that it amounted to 
quite a curiously pretty accomplishment, and you 
would have wondered how a gentleman with 
so unmistakeable a vein of the miscreant in 
him, could make such sweet and bird-like 
music. 

A little boy riding a tired donkey into Cardyl- 



20 THE TENANTS OF MALORY.. 

lian, pointed out to him the gate of the old place, 
and with a jaunty step, twirling his cane, and 
whistling as he went, he reached the open space 
before the door steps. 

The surly servant who happened to see him as 
he hesitated and gaped at the windows, came 
forth, and challenged him with tones and looks 
the reverse of hospitable. 

" Oh ! Mrs. Mervyn ? " said he ; " well, she 
doesn't live here. Get ye round that corner 
there, and you'll see the steward's house with a 
hatch-door to it, and you may ring the bell, and 
leave, d'ye mind, by the back way. You can 
follow the road by the rear o' the house." 

So saying, he warned him off peremptorily with 
a flunkey's contempt for a mock gentleman, and 
the sallow man with the black eyes and beard, 
not at all put out by that slight treatment, for he 
had seen all sorts of adventures, and had learned 
unaffectedly to despise contempt, walked listlessly 
round the corner of the old house, with a some- 
what knock-kneed and ungainly stride, on which 
our bandy friend sneered gruffly. 



CHAPTER III. 

MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYN. 

And now the stranger stood before the stew- 
ard's house, which is an old stone building, just 
three stories high, with but few rooms, and heavy 
stone shafts to the windows, with little diamond 
lattices in them, all stained and gray with age — 
antiquaries assign it to the period of Henry VII. 
— and when the Jewish gentleman, his wide, 
loose mouth smiling in solitary expectation, 
slapped and rattled his cane upon the planks of 
the hatch, as people in old times called " house ! " 
to summon the servants, he was violating the 
monastic silence of a building as old as the by- 
gone friars, -with their matin bells and solemn 
chants. 

A little "Welsh girl looked over the clumsy 
banister, and ran up with his message to Mrs. 
Mervyn. 

"Will you please come up stairs, sir, to the 
drawing-room ?" asked the child. 



22 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

He -was amused at the notion of a " drawing- 
room" in such a place, and with a lazy sneer 
climbed the stairs after her. 

This drawing-room was very dark at this hour, 
except for the patch of red light that came 
through the lattice and rested on the old cup- 
board opposite, on w r hich stood, shelf above shelf, 
a grove of coloured delf candlesticks, tea-cups, 
jugs, men, women, tea-pots, and beasts, all in an 
old-world style, a decoration which prevails in 
humble "Welsh chambers, and which here was a 
property of the house, forgotten, I presume, by 
the great house of Verney, and transmitted from 
tenant to tenant, with the lumbering furniture. 

The flighty old lady, Mrs. Mervyn of the large 
eyes, received him with an old-fashioned polite- 
ness and formality which did not in the least 
embarrass her visitor, who sate himself down, 
smiling his moist, lazy smile, with his knees 
protruded under the table, on which his elbows 
rested, and with his heels on the rung of his 
chair, while his hat and cane lay in the sunlight 
beside him. 

"The maid, I think, forgot to mention your 
name, sir?" said the old lady gently, but in a 
tone of inquiry. 

" Very like, ma'am — very like, indeed — because, 
I think, I forgot to mention my name to her," 



ME. LEVI VISITS 1CR& MERVYN. 23 

he drawled pleasantly. " I've taken a deal of 
trouble — I have — to find you out, ma'am, and 
two hundred and forty-five miles here, ma'am, 
and the same back again — a journey of four 
hundred and ninety miles — is not just nothing. 
I'm glad to see you, ma'am — happy to find you in 
your drawing-room, ma'am — hope you find your- 
self as well, ma'am, as your numerous friends 
could wish you. My name, ma'am, is Levi, 
being junior governor of the firm of Goldshed 
and Levi, well known on 'Change, ma'am, and 
justly appreciated by a large circle of friends, as 
you may read upon this card." 

The card which he tendered did not, it must 
be allowed, speak of these admiring friends, but 
simply announced that u Goldshed and Levi" 
were " Stockbrokers/' pursuing their calling at 
" Offices — 10, Scroop Street, Gimmel Lane/' in 
the City. And having held this card before her 
eyes for a sufficient time, he put it into his pocket. 

"You see, ma'am, I've come all this way for 
our house, to ask you whether you would like to 
hear some news of your governor, ma'am V 

" Of whom, sir ? M inquired the tall old lady, 
who had remained standing all this time, as she 
had received him, and was now looking at him 
with eyes, not of suspicion, but of undisguised 
fear. 



24 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

u Of your husband, ma'am, I mean," drawled 
he, eyeing her with his cunning smile. 

" You don't mean, sir " said she faintly, 

and thereupon she was seized with a trembling, 
and sat down," and her very lips turned white, and 
Mr. Levi began to think " the old girl was look- 
ing uncommon queerish," and did not like the 
idea of " its happening," under these circum- 
stances. 

" There, ma'am — don't take on ! "Where's the 
water ? Da-a-a-mn the drop ! " he exclaimed, 
turning up mugs and jugs in a flurry. " I say 
— Mary Anne — Jane — chick-a-biddy — girl — be 
alive there, will ye ? " howled the visitor over the 
banister. " Water, can't ye ? Old woman's 
sick ! " 

"Better now, sir — better — just open that — a 
little air, please," the old lady whispered. 

With some hurried fumbling he succeeded in 
getting the lattice open. 

" "Water, will you ? What a time you're about 
it, little beast!" he bawled in the face of the 
child. 

"Much better, thanks — very much better," 
whispered, the old lady. 

" Of course, you're better, ma'am. Here it is 
at la-a-ast. Have some water, ma'am ? Do. 
Give her the water, you little fool." 



MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYN. 25 

She sipped a little. 

" Coming round — all right," he said tenderly. 
" What cattle them old women are ! drat them." 
A little pause followed. 

"A deal better now, ma'am?" 

" I'm startled, sir." stea 

"Of course you're startled, ma'am." 

" And faint." 

"Why not, ma'am?" 

Mrs. Rebecca Mervyn breathed three or four 
great sighs, and began to look again like a living 
woman. 

" Now she looks quite nice," (he pronounced it 
ni-i-ishe) doesn't she? You may make tracksh, 
young woman; go, will you?" 

" I feel so much better," said the old lady 
when they were alone, " pray go on." 

"You do — quite — ever so much better. Shall 
I go on?" 

" Pray do, sir." 

"Well now, see, if I do, there must be no 
more of that, old lady. If you can't talk of the 
governor, we'll just let him alone," said Levi, 
sturdily. 

" For God's sake, sir, if you mean my husband, 
tell me all you know." 

" All aint a great deal, ma'am j but a cove has 
turned up who knew him well." 



26 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Some one who knew him?" 

" Just so, ma'am." He balanced whether he 
should tell her that he was dead or not, but 
decided that it would be more convenient, though 
less tragic, to avoid getting up a new scene like 
the other, so he modified his narrative. " He's 
turned up, ma'am, and knew him very intimate ; 
and has got a meogny" (he so pronounced ma- 
hogany) M desk of his, gave in charge to him, 
since he could not come home at present, con- 
taining a law paper, ma'am, making over to his 
son and yours some property in England." 

"Then, he is not coming?'' said she. 

"Not as I knowzh, ma'am." 

" He has been a long time away," she con- 
tinued. 

" So I'm informed, ma'am," he observed. 

"I'll tell you how it was, and when he went 
away." 

"Thank ye, ma'am," he interposed. I've 
heard — melancholy case, ma'am; got seven pen- 
n'orth, didn't he, and never turned up again?" 

" Seven what, sir? " 

" Seven years, ma'am ; seven penn'orth we call 
it, ma'am, familiar like." 

" I don't understand you, sir — I don't know 
what it means; I saw him sail away. It went 
off, off, off." 



MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYX. 27 

" I'll bet a pound it did, rua'ain," said Mr. 
Levi. 

" Only to be for a very short time ; the sail — I 
could see it very far — how pretty they look on 
the sea ; but very lonely, I think — too lonely." 

"A touch of solitary, ma'am," acquiesced 
Levi. 

" Away, in the yacht," she dreamed on. 

** The royal yacht, ma'am, no doubt." 

" The yacht, we called it. He said he would 
return next day; and it went round Pendillion 
— round the headland of Pendillion, I lost it, 
and it never came again ; but I think it will, sir 
— don't you? I'm sure it will — he was so con- 
fident ; only smiled and nodded, and he said, 
'No, I won't say good-bye.' He would not have 
said that if he did not mean to return — he could 
not so deceive a lonely poor thing like me, that 
adored him." 

"No, he couldn't ma'am, not he; no man 
could. Betray the girl that adored him ! 
Ba-a-ah ! impossible," replied Mr. Levi, and 
shook his glossy ringlets sleepily, and dropped 
his eyelids, smiling. This old girl amused him, 
her romance was such a joke. But the light was 
perceptibly growing more dusky, and business 
must not wait upon fun, so Mr. Levi said — 

" He'sh no chicken by this time, ma'am — your 



28 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

son, ma'am ; I'm told lie'sh twenty-sheven yearsh 
old — thatsh no chicken — twenty-sheven next 
birth-day." 

" Do you know anything of him, sir ? Oh, no, 
he doesn't," she said, looking dreamily with her 
great sad eyes upon him. 

" Jest you tell me, ma'am, where was he 
baptised, and by what name ? " said her visitor. 

A look of doubt and fear came slowly and 
wildly into her face as she looked at him. 

" AYho is he — I've been speaking to you, sir ? " 

" Oh ! yesh, mo-o-st beautiful, you 'av, ma'am," 
answered he ; " and I am your son's best friend 
— and yours, ma'am; only you tell me where to 
find him, and he'sh a made man, for all his 
dayzh." 

" Where has he come from? — a stranger," she 
murmured. 

" I told you, ma'am." 

" I don't know you, sir; I don't know your 
name/' she dreamed on. 

" Benjamin Levi. I'll spell it for you, if you 
like," he answered, beginning to grow testy. " I 
told you my name, and showed you my ca-a-ard. 
Bah ! it ravels at one end, as fast as it knits at 
the other." 

And again he held the card of the firm of Gold- 
shed and Levi, with his elbows on the table, between 



MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYX. 29 

the fingers of his right and left hand, bowed out 
like an old-fashioned shopboard, and looking as 
if it would spring out elastically into her face. 

" There, ma'am, that'sh the ticket ! " said he, 
eyeing her over it. 

"Once, sir, I spoke of business to a stranger, 
and I was always sorry; I did mischief," said the 
old woman, with a vague remorsefulness. 

"I'm no stranger, ma'am, begging your par- 
don," he replied, insolently; "you don't half 
know what you're saying, I do think. Goldshed 
and Levi — not know us ; sich precious rot, I 
never /" 

" I did mischief, sir." 

u I only want to know where to find your son, 
ma'am, if you know, and if you won't tell, you 
ruin that poor young man. It aint a pound to 
me, but it'sh a deal to him," answered the good- 
natured Mr. Levi. 

"I'm very sorry, sir, but I once did mischief 
by speaking to a gentleman whom I didn't know. 
Lady Verney made me promise, and I'm sure she 
was right, never to speak about business without 
first consulting some member of her family. I 
don't understand business — never did," pleaded 
she. 

" Well, here's a go ! not understaan' ? Why, 
there's nothing to understaan'. It isn't business. 



30 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

S-o-n," he spelt "son. H-u-s-b-a-n-d — uzbaan' 
that aint business — da-a-m me ! Where's the 
business ? Ba-ah ! " 

" Sir/' said the old lady, drawing herself up, 
" I've answered you. It was about my husband 
— God help me — I spoke before, and did mischief 
without knowing it. I won't speak of him to 
strangers, except as Lady Verney advises — to any 
stranger — especially to you, sir." 

There was a sound of steps outside, which, per- 
haps, modified the answer of Mr. Levi. He was 
very much chagrined, and his great black eyes 
looked very wickedly upon her helpless face. 

" Ha, ha, ha ! as you please, ma'am. It isn't 
the turn of a shilling to me, but you ru-in the 
poo-or young man, your son, for da-a-am me, if I 
touch his bushinesh again, if it falls through now ; 
mind you that. So, having ruined your own flesh 
and blood, you tell me to go as I came. It's nau- 
thing to me — mind that — but ru-in to him ; 
here's my hat and stick — I'm going, only just I'll 
give you one chance more for that poor young 
man, just a minute to think again." He had 
stood up, with his hat and cane in his hand. 
"Just one chance — you'll be sending for me 
again, and I won't come. No — no — never, da-a-am 
me!" 

" Good evening, sir," said the lady. 



MR. LEVI VISITS MRS. MERVYX. 31 

Mr. Levi bit his thumb-nail. 

" You don't know what you're a-doing, ma'am," 
said he, trying once more. 

" I can't, sir — I can't? she said, distractedly. 

H Come, think — I'm going — going ; just think 
— what do you shay ? " 

He waited. 

" I won't speak, sir." 

" You won't ? " 

" No, sir." 

He lingered for a moment, and the red sunlight 
showed like a flush of anger on his sallow face. 
Then, with an insolent laugh, he turned, sticking 
his hat on his head, and walked down the stairs, 
singing. 

Outside the hatch, he paused for a second. 

" I'll get it all another way," he thought. 
"Round here," he said, "wasn't it— the back 
way. Good evening, you stupid old crazy cat," 
and he saluted the windows of the steward's house 
with a vicious twitch of his cane. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MR. BENJAMIN LEVI RECOGNISES AN 
ACQUAINTANCE. 

Mr. Benjamin Levi, having turned the corner 
of the steward's house, found himself before two 
great piers, passing through the gate of which he 
entered the stable-yard, at the further side of 
which was a second gate, which he rightly conjec- 
tured would give him access to that back avenue 
through which he meant to make his exit. 

He glanced round this great quadrangle, one 
end of which was over-looked by the rear of the 
old house, and that quaint old refectory with its 
clumsy flight of stone steps, from the windows 
of which our friend Sedley had observed the 
ladies of Malory while engaged in their garden 
work. 

There was grass growing between the paving 
stones, and moss upon the walls, and the stable 
doors were decaying upon their rusty hinges. 



MR. LEVI RECOGNISES AN ACQUAINTANCE. 33 

Commenting, as so practical a genius naturally 
would, upon the surrounding capabilities and 
decay, Mr. Levi had nearly traversed this solitude 
when he heard some one call, "Thomas Jones ! M 
twice or thrice, and the tones of the voice arrested 
him instantly. 

He was a man with a turn for musical busi- 
ness, and not only dabbled in concerts and little 
operatic speculations, but, having a naturally 
musical ear, had a retentive memory for voices — 
and this blind man's faculty stood him in stead 
here, for, with a malicious thrill of wonder and 
delight, he instantly recognised this voice. 

The door of that smaller yard which is next the 
house opened now, and Sir Booth Fanshawe 
entered, bawling with increased impatience — 
" Thomas Jones ! " 

Sir Booth's eye lighted on the figure of Mr. 
Levi, as he stood close by the wall at the other 
side, hoping to escape observation. 

^Yith the same instinct Sir Booth stepped back- 
ward hastily into an open stable door, and Mr. 
Levi skipped into another door, within which un- 
fortunately, a chained dog, Neptune, was dozing. 

The dog flew the length of his tether at Mr. 
Levi's legs, and the Jewish gentleman sprang 
forth more hastily even than he had entered. 

At the same moment, Sir Booth's pride deter- 

VOL. II. D 



34 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

mined his vacillation, and he strode boldly forward 
and said — 

" I think I know you, sir ; don't I ? " 

As there was still some little distance between 
them, Mr. Levi affected near-sightedness, and, 
compressing his eyelids, smiled dubiously, and 
said — 

"Kayther think not, sir. No, sir — I'm a 
stranger ; my name is Levi — of Goldshed and Levi 
— and I've been to see Mrs. Mervyn, who lives 
here, about her young man. I don't know you, 
sir — no — it is a mishtake." 

"No, Mr. Levi — you do know me — you do," re- 
plied Sir Booth, with a grim oath, approaching, 
while his fingers clutched at his walking-stick with 
an uneasy gripe, as if he would have liked to 
exercise it upon the shoulders of the Israelite. 

" Oh ! crikey ! Ay, to be sure — why, it's Sir 
Booth Fanshawe ! I beg pardon, Sir Booth. We 
thought you was in France ; but no matter, Sir 
Booth Fanshawe, none in the world, for all that 
little bushiness is blow'd over, quite. We have no 
interest — no more than your horse — in them 
little securities, upon my shoul; we sold them two 
months ago to Sholomons ; we were glad to sell 
them to Sholomons, we were; he hit us pretty 
hard with some of Wilbraham and Cumming's 
paper, and I don't care if he never sees a shilling 



MR. LEVI RECOGNISES AN ACQUAINTANCE. 35 

of it — we would rayther like it." And Air. Levi 
again made oath to that confession of feeling. 

"Will you come into the house and have a 
glass of sherry or something ? " said Sir Booth, 
on reflection. 

" Well, I don't mind," said Mr. Levi. 

And in he went and had a glass of sherry and a 
biscuit, and grew friendly and confidential. 

"Don't you be running up to town, Sir Booth 
— Sholomons is looking for you. Clever man, 
Sholomons, and you should get quietly out of this 
country as soon as you conveniently can. He 
thinks you're in France now. He sent Rogers — 
you know Rogers?" 

He paused so long here that Sir Booth had to 
answer "No." 

"Well, he sent him — a good man, Rogers, you 
know, but drinks a bit — after you to Vichy, ha, 
ha, ha ! Crikey ! it v:as rich. Sholomons be 
blowed ! It was worth a pound to see his face — 
ugly fellow. You know Sholomons ? " 

And so Mr. Levi entertained his host, who 
neither loved nor trusted him, and at his depar- 
ture gave him all sorts of friendly warnings and 
sly hints, and walked and ran partly to the 
" George," and got a two-horse vehicle as quickly 
as they could harness the horses, and drove at 
great speed to Llywnan, where he telegraphed to 

d 2 



36 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

his partner to send a writ down by the next train 
for Sir Booth, the message being from Benjamin 
Levi, George Inn, Cardyllian, to Goldshed and 
Levi, &c, &c, London. 

Mr. Levi took his ease in his inn, sipped a good 
deal of brandy and water, and smoked many 
cigars, with a serene mind and pleasant anticipa- 
tions, for, if nothing went wrong, the telegram 
would be in his partner's hand in ample time to 
enable him, with his accustomed diligence, to send 
down a " beak " with the necessary documents by 
the night train who would reach Cardyllian early, 
and pay his little visit at Malory by nine o'clock 
in the morning. 

Mr. Levi, as prosperous gentlemen will, felt his 
solitude, though luxurious, too dull for the effer- 
vescence of his spirits, and having questioned his 
host as to the amusements of Cardyllian, found 
that its normal resources of that nature were con- 
fined to the billiard and reading rooms, where, on 
payment of a trifling benefaction to the institu- 
tion, he enjoyed, as a "visitor," the exhilarating 
privileges of a member of the club. 

In the billiard-room, accordingly, that night, 
was the fragrance of Mr. Levi's cheroot agreeably 
perceptible, the sonorous drawl of his peculiar 
accent vocal amongst pleasanter intonations, and 
his "cuts," "double doubles," and "long crosses,'' 



MR. LEVI RECOGNISES AX ACQUAINTANCE. 37 

painfully admired by the gentlemen whose 
shillings he pocketed at pool. And it was plea- 
sant to his exquisitively commercial genius to 
think that the contributions of the gentlemen to 
whom he had " given a lesson," and whose " eyes 
he had opened," would constitute a fund sufficient 
to pay his expenses at the " George," and even 
to leave something towards his return fare to 
London. 

The invalid who was suffering from asthma in 
the bedroom next his was disturbed by his ejacu- 
lations as he undressed, and by his repeated 
bursts of laughter, and rang his bell and implored 
the servant to beg of the two gentlemen who 
were conversing in the next room to make a 
little less noise, in consideration of his indisposi- 
tion. 

The manner in which he had "potted" the 
gentlemen in the billiard-room, right and left, 
and the uncomfortable admiration of his successes 
exhibited in their innocent countenances, had, no 
doubt, something to do with these explosions of 
merriment. But the chief source of his amuse- 
ment was the anticipated surprise of Sir Booth, 
when the little domiciliary visit of the next morn- 
ing should take place, and the recollection of his 
own adroitness in mystifying the Baronet. 

So he fell into a sweet slumber, uncrossed by 



38 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

even an ominous dream, not knowing that the 
shrewd old bird for whom his chaff was spread 
and his pot simmering had already flown with the 
scream of the whistle on the wings of the night 
train to Chester, and from that centre to an un- 
known nook, whence, in a day or two more, he 
had flitted to some continental roost, which even 
clever Mr. Levi could not guess. 

Next morning early, the ladies were on their 
way to London, through which they were to 
continue their journey, and to join Sir Booth 
abroad. 

Two persons were, therefore, very much dis- 
appointed next day at Malory ; but it could not 
be helped. One was Cleve Yerney, who tried the 
inexorable secrecy of the servant in every way, 
but in vain ; possibly because the servant did not 
himself know where " the family " were gone. 
The other was Mr. Benjamin Levi, who resented 
Sir Booth's selfish duplicity with an exasperation 
which would hardly have been appeased by burn- 
ing that "old mizzled robber " alive. 

Air. Levi flew to Chester with his " beak " in 
a third-class carriage, and thence radiated tele- 
graphic orders and entreaties affecting Sir Booth 
wherever he had a frieud, and ready, on a hint by 
the wires, to unleash his bailiff on his track, and 
fix him on the soil, immovable as the petrified 



MR. LEVI RECOGNISES AX ACQUAINTANCE. 30 

witch of Alucklestane Muir, by the spell of his 
parchment legend. 

But no gleam of light rewarded his labours. 
It was enough to ruffle even Mr. Levi's temper, 
which, accordingly, was ruffled. To have been 
so near ! To have had his hand, as it were, upon 
the bird. If he had only had the writ himself in 
his pocket he might have dropped, with his own 
fingers, the grain of salt upon his tail. But it 
was not to be. At the moment of possession, 
Mr. Levi was balked. He could grind curses 
under his white teeth, and did not spare them 
now. Some of them were, I dare say, worthy of 
that agile witch, " Cuttie Sark," as she stood 
baffled on the " key-stane " of the bridge, with 
Meggie's severed tail in her grip. 

In the meantime, for Cleve Verney, Malory is 
stricken with a sudden blight. Its woods are 
enchanted no longer; it is dark, now, and empty. 
His heart aches when he looks at it. 

He missed his accustomed walk with the 
Etherage girls. He wrote to tell old Vane 
E:herage that he was suffering from a severe 
cold, and could not dine with him, as he had 
promised. The cold was a lie — but was he really 
well? Are the spirits no part of health; and 
where were his ? 

About a fortnight later, came a letter from his 



40 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

good friend, Miss Sheckleton. How delightfully 
interesting, though it contained next to nothing. 
But how interesting ! How often he read it 
through ! How every solitary moment was im- 
proved by a glance into it ! 

It was a foreign letter. It would be posted, 
she said, by a friend in Paris. She could not yet 
tell, even to a friend so kind as he, the address 
which would find them. She hoped, however, 
very soon to be at liberty to do so. All were 
well. Her young friend had never alluded since 
to the subject of the last painful interview. She, 
Miss Sheckleton, could not, unless a favourable 
opening presented, well invite a conversation on 
the matter. She had no doubt, however, that an 
opportunity would occur. She understood the 
peculiar character of her beautiful young cousin, 
and saw a difficulty, and even danger, in pressing 
the question upon her, possibly prematurely. 
When he, Cleve, wrote — which she supposed he 
would so soon as he was in possession of her 
address — he could state exactly what he wished 
her to say. Meanwhile, although as she had 
before hinted, dear Margaret was admired and 
sought by a man both of rank and fortune, with 
very great constancy, (she thought it not im- 
probable that Cleve had already suspected that 
affair,) there was in her opinion nothing to appre- 



MR LEVI RECOGNISES AN ACQUAINTANCE. 41 

hend, at least at present, in that gentleman's suit 
— flattered, of course, she must be by a constancy 
so devoted ; but she hardly thought there was a 
chance that the feeling would grow to anything 
beyond that. So, she bid God bless him, and 
wrote Anne Sheckleton at the foot of the page. 

The physician who, mistaking a complaint, 
administers precisely the concoction which debili- 
tates the failing organ, or inflames the tortured 
nerve, commits just such an innocent cruelty as 
good Miss Sheckleton practised, at the close of 
her letter, upon Cleve Verney. 

She had fancied that he knew something of the 
suit to which she referred for the purpose of re- 
lieving an anxiety to which her thoughtful allu- 
sion introduced him, in fact, for the first time. 

"Who was this faithful swain? He knew enough 
of Sir Booth Fanshawe's surroundings, his friends 
and intimates, to count up four, or five, or six 
possible rivals. He knew what perseverance 
might accomplish, and absence undo, and his 
heart was disquieted within him. 

If he had consulted his instinct, he would have 
left Ware forthwith, and pursued to the Conti- 
nent, and searched every town in France; but he 
could not act quite according to impulse. He 
had told the Cardyllian people that he was not to 
leave Ware till the fourteenth j would no remark 



42 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

attend his sudden departure, following imme- 
diately upon the mysterious flitting of the Malory 
people ? He knew what wonderful stories might 
thereupon arise in Cardyllian, and how sure they 
would be, one way or another, to reach his uncle 
Kiffyn, and how that statesman's suspicions might 
embarrass him. Then a letter might easily reach 
"Ware while he was away, and be lost, or worse. 

So he resolved to see out the rest of his time 
where he was. In Cardyllian church, how dark 
and cold looked the cavity of the Malory pew ! 
The saints and martyrs in the great eastern 
window were subdued, and would not glow, and 
their glories did not burn, but only smouldered 
that day. And oh ! how long was Dr. Splayfoot's 
sermon ! And how vague was his apprehension 
of the " yarn " to which Miss Charity Etherage 
treated him all the way from the church porch to 
the top of Castle Street. 

He was glad when the fifteenth, which was to 
call him away from Ware, approached. He was 
glad to leave this changed place, glad to go to 
London — anywhere. 

Just as all was ready for his flight by the night 
train, on the eveuing of the 14th, to his great 
joy, came a letter, a note, almost, so short, from 
kind Anne Sheckleton. 

All — underlined — were well. There was no- 



MR LEVI RECOGNISES AN ACQUAINTANCE. 4o 

thing more, in fact, but one satisfactory revela- 
tion, which was the address which would now find 
them. 

So Cleve Verney made the journey to London 
that night in better spirits. 



CHAPTER V. 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 



Messrs. Goldshed and Levi have a neat office 
in Scroop Street. As stockbrokers, strictly, 
they don't, I am told, do anything like so large 
a business as many of their brethren. Those 
brethren, for the most part, are not proud of 
them. Their business is of a somewhat contra- 
band sort. They have been examined once or 
twice uncomfortably before Parliamentary Com- 
mittees. They have been savagely handled by 
the great Mr. Hackle, the Parliamentary counsel. 
In the great insurance case of " The executors of 
Shakerly v. The Philanthropic Union Company/' 
they were hideously mangled and eviscerated by 
Sergeant Billiooke, whose powers are well known. 
They have been called " harpies," " ghouls," 
"Madagascar bats," "vermin," "wolves," and 
"mousing owls," and are nothing the worse of 
it. Some people think, on the contrary, rather 
the better, as it has helped to advertise them in 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 4-5 

their particular line, which is in a puffing, rigging, 
fisliy, speculative, " queerish " business, at which 
moral stockbrokers turn up their eyes and noses, 
to the amusement of Messrs. Goldshed and Levi, 
who have — although the sober office in Scroop 
Street looks sometimes a little neglected — no end 
of valuable clients, of the particular kind whom 
they covet, and who frequent the other office, in 
"Wormwood Court, which looks so dirty, mean, 
and neglected, and yet is the real seat of power. 

The " office " in Wormwood Court is an old- 
fashioned, narrow-fronted, dingy house. It 
stands apart, and keeps its own secrets, having 
an uninhabited warehouse on one side, and a 
shabby timber-yard at the other. In front is a 
nagged court-yard, with dingy grass sprouting 
here and there, and lines of slimy moss, grimed 
with soot. 

The gate is, I believe, never opened — I don't 
know that its hinges would work now. If you 
have private business with the firm on a wet day, 
you must jump out of your cab in the street, and 
run up through the side door, through the rain, 
over the puddled flags, and by the famous log of 
mahogany which the Messrs. Goldshed and Levi 
and their predecessors have sold, in bill transac- 
tions, nearly six thousand distinct times, without 
ever losing sight of it. 



4G THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Iii the street this day there stood a cab, at that 
door. Mr. Jos. Larkin, the Gylingden attorney, 
was in consultation with the firm. They were 
sitting in "the office," the front room which you 
enter at your right from the hall. A high, old- 
fashioned chimney-piece cuts off the far angle of 
the room, obliquely. It is wainscoted in wood, 
in tiny square panels, except over the fireplace, 
where one great panel runs across, and up to the 
ceiliug, with somebody's coat of arms carved in 
relief upon it. This woodwork has been painted 
white, long ago, but the tint has degenerated to 
a cream or buff colour, and a good washing would 
do it no harm. Mr. Levi and others have pen- 
cilled little sums in addition, subtraction, and 
multiplication on it. You can see the original 
oak where the hat-rack was removed, near the 
window, as also in those places where gentlemen 
have cut their names or initials. 

The window is covered with dust and dirt, 
beaten by the rain into all sorts of patterns. A 
chastened light enters through this screen, 
and you can't see from without who is in the 
room. 

People wonder why Messrs. Goldshed and Levi, 
with so well-appointed an office in Scroop Street, 
will keep this private office in so beggarly a state; 
without a carpet, only a strip of nearly-obliterated 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 47 

oil-cloth on its dirty floor. Along the centre of 
the room exteuds a great old, battered, oblong 
mahogany quadrangle, full of drawers, with dingy 
brass handles, and having midway a sort of arch- 
way, like a bridge under a railway embankment, 
covered with oil-cloth of an undistinguishable 
pattern, blotched with old stains of red ink and 
black, and dribblings of sealing-wax, curling up 
here and there dustily, where office-knives, in 
fiddling fingers, have scarred its skin. On top 
of this are two clumsy desks. Behind one sits 
the junior partner, on a high wooden stool, and 
behind the other, the senior, on a battered 
office chair, with one of its haircloth angles 
protruding, like the corner of a cocked hat, in 
front, dividing the short, thick legs of Mr. Gold- 
shed, whose heels were planted on the rungs, 
bending his clumsy knees, and reminding one of 
the attitude in which an indifferent rider tries to 
keep his seat on a restive horse. 

Goldshed is the senior in every sense. He is 
bald, he is fat, he is short. He has gems on his 
stumpy fingers, and golden chains, in loops and 
curves, cross the old black velvet waistcoat, which 
is always wrinkled upward by the habit he has 
of thrusting his broad, short hands into his 
trousers pockets. 

At the other side, leaning back in his chair, 



48 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and offering, he flatters himself, a distinguished 
contrast to the vulgar person opposite, sat Mr. 
Jos. Larkin, of the Lodge, Gylingden. His tall, 
bald head was thrown a little back ; one arm, in 
its glossy black sleeve, hung over the back of his 
chair, with his large red knuckles near the floor. 
His pink eyes wore their meek and dove-like 
expression ; his mouth a little open, in repose ; 
an air of resignation and beatitude, which, to- 
gether with his well-known elegance, his long, 
lavender tinted trousers, and ribbed silk waistcoat 
of the same favourite hue, presented a very perfect 
picture, in this vulgar Jewish setting, of a perfect 
Christian gentleman. 

"If everything favours, Mr. Goldshed, Mr. 
Ding well may be in town to-morrow evening. 
He sends for me immediately on his arrival, to 
my quarters, you understand, and I will send him 
on to you, and you to Mrs. Sarah Uurnble's 
lodgings." 

" Mish Rumble/' drawled Goldshed ; " not 
married — a girl, Mish." 

" Yes, Mrs. Rumble," continued Larkin, gently, 
"there's no harm in saying Mrs.; many ladies 
in a position of responsibility, prefer that style to 
Miss, for obvious reasons." 

Here Goldshed, who was smiling lazily, winked 
at his junior, who returned that signal in safety^ 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 49 

for Mr. Larkin, whose countenance was raised 
toward the ceiling, had closed his eyes. The 
chaste attorney's discretion amused them, 
for Miss Sarah Rumble was an industrious, 
careworn girl of two-and-fifty, taciturn, and 
with a brown pug face, and tresses somewhat 
silvery. 

" We are told by the apostle," continued Mr. 
Larkin, musingly, "not only to avoid evil, but 
the appearance of evil. I forgot, however, our 
religions differ." 

" Yes — ay — our religions differ, he says ; they 
differ, Levi, don't they ?" 

" Yes, they do," drawled that theologian. 

" Yes, they do ; we see our way to that," con- 
cluded Goldshed. 

Larkin sighed. 

There was a short silence here. Mr. Larkin 
opened his pink eyelids, and showing his small, 
light blue eyes, while he maintained his easy and 
gentlemanlike attitude. 

The senior member of the firm looked down on 
his desk, thoughtfully, and picked at an old drop 
of sealing wax with his office knife, and whistled 
a few slow bars, and Mr. Levi, looking down also, 
scribbled the cipher of the firm thirteen times, 
with flourishes, on a piece of paper. 

Mr. Goldshed worked his short thick knees 

VOL. II. E 



50 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and Iris heels a little uneasily; the office chair 
was growing a little bit frisky, it seemed. 

" Nishe shailing, Mr. Larkin, and oh, dear ! 
a great lot of delicashy ! What do you think?" 
said Mr. Goldshed, lifting up the office knife, 
with the edge toward the attorney, and letting it 
fall back two or three times, between his finger 
and thumb, dubiously. " The parties being 
swells, makesh it more delicate — ticklish — tick- 
lish ; do you shinsherely think it's all quite 
straight ? " 

" Of course, it's straight. I should hope, Mr. 
Goldshed, I have never advised any course that 
was not so," said Mr. Larkin, loftily. 

" I don't mean religious — law blesh you — I 
mean safe" said Mr. Goldshed, soothingly. 

A light pink flush touched the bald forehead 
of the attorney. 

" Whatever is right, sir, is safe ; and that, I 
think, can hardly be wrong — I hope not — by 
which all parties are benefited," said the attorney. 

"All parties be diddled — except our shelves. 
I'm thinking of my shelf — and Mr. Levi, here — 
and, of courshe, of you. Very much of you," he 
added, courteously. 

Mr. Larkin acknowledged his care by a faint 
meek bow. 

" They're swells," repeated Mr. Goldshed. 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 51 

" He saysh they're s welsh," repeated Mr. Levi, 
whose grave look had something of the air of a 
bully in it, fixing his dark prominent eyes on Mr. 
Larkin, and turning his cheek that way a little, 
also. "There's a danger in handling a swell — in 
them matters specially." 

" Suppose theresh a contempt ? " said Mr. 
Goldshed, whose chair grew restive, and required 
management as he spoke. 

" He saysh a contempt," repeated Mr. Levi, 
"or shomething worse," and he heightened the 
emphasis with an oath. 

" I'll guarantee you for twopence, Mr. Levi ; 
and pray consider me, and do not swear/' urged 
Mr. Larkin. 

" If you guarantee us, with a penalty," began 
Mr. Levi, who chose to take him literally. 

" I said that, of course, Mr. Levi, by way of 
illustration, only ; no one, of course, dreams of 
guaranteeing another without a proper considera- 
tion. I should have hoped you could not have mis- 
understood me. I don't understand guarantees, 
it is a business I have never touched. I'm con- 
tent, I hope, with the emoluments of my profes- 
sion, and what my landed property gives me. I 
only mean this — that there is no risk. What do we 
know of Mr. Dingwell, that is not perfectly above 
board — perfectly? I challenge the world upon 

E 2 



52 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

that. If anything should happen to fall through, 
we, surely, are not to blame. At the same time if 
you — looking at it with your experience — appre- 
hend any risk, of course, I couldn't think of allow- 
ing you to go on. I can arrange, this evening, 
and not very far from this house, either." 

As Mr. Larkin concluded, he made a feint ot 
rising. 

" Baah ! " exclaimed Levi. " You don't think 
we want to back out of thish transhaction, Mr. 
Larkin ? rco-o-oh ! That's not the trick of thish 
offishe — is it, gov'nor ? He saysh ?io" 

"No," echoed Goldshed. 

" No, never — noways ! you hear him ? " re- 
iterated Mr. Levi. "In for a penny, in for a 
pound — in for a shilling, in for a thousand. 
Baah ! — No, never." 

" No, noways — never ! " reverberated Goldshed, 
in deep, metallic tones. " But, Levi, there, must 
look an inch or two before his noshe — and sho 
must I — and sho, my very good friend, Mr. 
Larkin, must yon—h bit before your noshe. I 
don't see no great danger. "We all know, the 
Honourable Arthur Verney is dead. We are 
sure of that — and all the rest is not worth the 
odd ha'pensh in that book," and he touched the 
mighty ledger lying by him, in which millions 
were entered. " The rest is Dingwell's affair." 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 53 

" Just so, Mr. Goldshed," acquiesced Mr. 
Larkiu. " We go together in that view." 

" Dingwell be blowed ! — what need we care for 
Dingwell ? M tolled out Mr. Goldshed, with his 
ringing bass. 

" Baah ! — drat him ! " echoed the junior. 

"Yes — a — quite as you say — but where's the 
good of imprecation? With that exception, I 
quite go with you. It's DingwelFs affair — not 
ours. We, of course, go straight — and i" certainly 
have no reason to suspect Dingwell of anything 
crooked or unworthy." 

" Oh, no— baah \— nothing ! " said Levi. 

" Nor I," added Goldshed. 

" It'sh delicate — it izh delicate — but very pro- 
mishing," said Mr. Goldshed, who was moisten- 
ing a cigar in his great lips. " Very — and no- 
thing crooked about it." 

* No-thing crooked— wo / " repeated Mr. Levi, 
shaking his glossy curls slowly. "But very deli- 
cate." 

" Then, gentlemen, it's understood — I'm at 
liberty to assume — that Mr. Dingwell finds one 
or other of you here whenever he calls after dark, 
and you'll arrange at once about the little pay- 
ments." 

To which the firm having promptly assented, 
Mr. Larkin took his leave, and, being a client of 



54 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

consideration, was accompanied to the shabby 
doorstep by Mr. Levi, who, standing at the hall- 
door, with his hands in his pockets, nodded slily 
to him across the flagged courtyard, into the cab 
window, in a way which Mr. Jos. Larkin of the 
Lodge thought by many degrees too familiar. 

"Well — there's a cove ! " said Mr. Levi, laugh- 
ing lazily, and showing his long rows of ivory 
fangs, as he pointed over his shoulder, with the 
point of his thumb, towards the street. 

" Rum un ! " said Mr. Goldshed, laughing 
likewise, as he held his lighted cigar between his 
fingers. 

And they laughed together tranquilly for a 
little, till, with a sudden access of gravity, Mr. 
Goldshed observed, with a little wag of his 
head — 

" He's da-a-am clever ! " 

" Ay — yes — da-a-am clever ! " echoed Levi. 

" Not as much green as you'd put your finger 
on — I tell you — no muff — devilish good lay, as 
you shall see," continued Goldshed. 

" Devilish good — no, no muff — nothing green," 
repeated Mr. Levi, lighting his cigar. " Good 
head for speculation — might be a bit too clever, 
Tin thinking," and he winked gently at his 
governor. 

" Believe you, my son, if we'd let him — but 



A COUNCIL OF THREE. 55 

we won't — will we ? " drawled Mr. Goldshed, 
jocosely. 

"Not if I knows it," said Mr. Levi, sitting on 
the table, with his feet on the stool, and smoking 
towards the wall. 



CHAPTER VI. 

MR. DINGWELL ARRIVES. 

Messrs. Goldshed and Levi owned four 
houses in Rosemary Court, and Miss Sarah 
Rumble was their tenant. The court is dark, 
ancient, and grimy. Miss Rumble let lodgings, 
worked hard, led an anxious life, and subsisted on 
a remarkably light diet, and at the end of the 
year never had a shilling over. Her Jewish land- 
lords used to pay her a visit now and then, to 
receive the rent, and see that everything was 
right. These visits she dreaded; they were 
grumbling and minatory, and enlivened by occa- 
sional oaths and curses. But though it was part 
of their system to keep their tenants on the alert 
by perpetual fault-findings and menaces, they 
knew very well that they got every shilling the 
house brought in, that Miss Rumble lived on 
next to nothing, and never saved a shilling, and 
was, in fact, their underfed, overworked, and inde- 
fatigable slave. 



MR. DIXGWELL ARRIVES. 57 

"With the uncomplaining and modest charity of 
the poor, Sarah Rumble maintained her little 
orphan niece and nephew by extra labour at 
needle- work, and wonderful feats of domestic 
economy. 

This waste of resources Mr. Levi grudged. He 
had never done complaining of it, and demon- 
strating that it could only be accomplished by her 
holding the house at too low a rent ; how else 
could it be? Why was she to keep other people's 
brats at the expense of Messrs. Goldshed and 
Levi ? What was the workhouse for ? This per- 
petual pressure was a sore trouble to the poor 
woman, who had come to love the children as if 
they were her own; and after one of Mr. Levi's 
minatory visits she often lay awake sobbing, in 
the terror and yearnings of her unspeakable affec- 
tion, whilst its unconscious objects lay fast asleep 
by her side. 

From Mr. Levi, in his accustomed vein, Miss 
Humble had received full instructions for the 
reception and entertainment of her new lodger, 
Mr. Dingwell. He could not say when he would 
arrive, neither the day nor the hour; and several 
days had already elapsed, and no arrival had 
taken place. This evening she had gone down to 
■' the shop," so designated, as if there had been 
but one in Loudon, to lay out a shilling and seven 



58 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

pence very carefully, leaving her little niece and 
nephew in charge of the candle and the house, 
and spelling out their catechism for next day. 

A tapping came to the door ; not timid, nor yet 
menacing ; a sort of double knock, delivered with 
a walking-cane ; on the whole a sharp but gentle- 
manlike summons, to which the little company 
assembled there were unused. The children lifted 
their eyes from the book before them, and stared 
at the door without answering. It opened with a 
latch, which, without more ado, was raised, and a 
tall, white-haired gentleman, with a stoop, and a 
very brown skin, looked in inquisitively, and said, 
with a smile that was not pleasant, and a voice not 
loud but somewhat harsh and cold — 

" Mrs. or Miss Rumble hereabouts, my dears ? " 

" Miss Rumble ; that's aunt, please, sir ; " 
answered the little girl, slipping down from her 
chair, and making a courtesy. 

r< Well, she's the lady I want to speak with, my 
love. AVhere is she ? " said the gentleman, 
glancing round the homely chamber from under 
his white eyebrows with a pair of cold, gray, 
restless eyes. 

" She's — she's " — - — hesitated the child. 

" Not in bed, I see; nor in the cupboard" 
(the cupboard door was open). " Is she up the 
chimney, my charming child ? " 



MR DIXGWELL ARRIVES. 59 

" No, sir, please ; she's gone to Mrs. Chalk's 
for the bacon." 

"Mrs. Chalk's for the bacon?" echoed the 
gentleman. "Very good! Excellent woman! 
excellent bacon, I dare say. But how far away 
is it ? — how soon shall we have your aunt back 
again ? " 

" Just round the corner, please, sir ; aunt's 
never no time," answered the child. " Would 
you please call in again ? " 

" Charming young lady ! So accomplished ! 
Who taught you your grammar ? So polite — so 
suspicious. Do you know the meaning of that 
word, my dear ? " 

" No, sir, please." 

" And Fm vastly obliged for your invitation 
to call again ; but I find your company much too 
agreeable to think of going away ; so, if you 
allow me — and do shut that door, my sweet child ; 
many thanks — I'll do myself the honour to sit 
down, if I may venture, and continue to enjoy 
your agreeable conversation, till your aunt returns 
to favour us with her charming presence — and 
bacon." 

The old gentleman was glancing from under 
his brows, from corner to corner of this homely 
chamber; an uneasy habit, not curiosity; and, 
during his ceremonious speech, he kept bowing 



60 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and smiling, and set down a black leather bag 
that he had in his hand, on the deal table, together 
with his walking-cane, and pulled off his gloves, 
and warmed his hands at the tiny bit of fire. 
When his back was toward them the children ex- 
changed a glance, and the little boy looked fright- 
ened, and on the point of bursting into tears. 

" Hish I " whispered the girl, alarmed, for she 
could not tell what effect the demonstration 
might have upon the stranger — " quiet ! " — and 
she shook her finger in urgent warning at 
Jemmie. u A very nice gent, as has money for 
aunty- — there ! " 

So the tears that stood in Jemmie's big eyes 
were not followed by an outcry, and the gentle- 
man, with his hat and outside wrapper on, stood, 
now, with his back to the little fire, looking, in 
his restless way, over the children's heads, with 
his white, cold eyes, and the same smile. There 
was a dreamy idea hauuting Lucy Maria's head 
that this gentleman was very like a white animal 
she had seen at the Surrey Zoological Gardens 
when her uncle had treated her to that instructive 
show ; the same sort of cruel grin, and the same 
restless oscillation before the bars of its cage. 

"Hey! so shell be back again?" said he, 
recollecting the presence of the two children; 
" the excellent lady, your aunt, I mean. Superb 



MR. DING WELL ARRIVES. Gl 

apartment this is, but it strikes me, hardly suffi- 
ciently lighted, hey? One halfpenny candle, 
however brilliant, can hardly do justice to such a 
room j pretty taper — very pretty — isn't it ? Such 
nice mutton fat, my dear young lady, and such a 
fine long snuff — like a chimney, with a Quaker's 
hat on the top of it — you don't see such fine 
things everywhere ! And who's this young gen- 
tleman, who enjoys the distinction of being ad- 
mitted to your salon j a page, or what ? " 

" It's Jemmie, sir; stand up, and bow to the 
gentleman, Jemmie." 

Jemmie slipped down on the floor, and made a 
very alarmed bow, with his great eyes staring 
deprecatingly in the visitor's face. 

" I'm charmed to make your acquaintance. 
What grace and ease ! It's perfectly charming ! 
I'm too much honoured, Mr. Jemmie. And so 
exquisitely got up, too ! There's only one little 
toilet refinement I would venture to recommend. 
The worthy lady, Mrs. Chalks, who contributes 
bacon to this house, and, I presume, candles — 
could, I dare say, also supply another luxury, 
with which you are not so well acquainted, called 
soap — one of the few perfectly safe cosmetics. 
Pray try it; you'll find it soluble in water. And, 
ho ? reading too ! "What have you been reading 
out of that exquisite little volume ? " 



62 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Catechism, please sir," answered the little 
girl. 

" Ho, Catechism ? Delightful ! What a won- 
derful people we English are ! '' The latter re- 
flection was made for his own entertainment, and 
he laughed over it in an under-tone. " Then 
your aunt teaches you the art of godliness? 
You've read about Babel, didn't you? — the accom- 
plishment of getting up to heaven is so nice ! " 

" Sunday school, sir, please," said the girl. 

"Oh, it's there you learn it? Well, I shall 
ask you only one question in your Catechism, and 
that's the first — what's your name? " 

" Lucy Maria." 

" Well, Lucy Maria and Mr. Jemmie, I trust 
your theological studies may render you at last 
as pious as I am. You know how death and sin 
came into the world, and you know what they 
are. Sin is doing anything on earth that's 
pleasant, and death's the penalty of it. Did you 
ever see any one dead, my sweet child — not able 
to raise a finger or an eyelid ? rather a fix, isn't 
it ? — and screwed up in a stenching box to be 
eaten by worms — all alone, under ground ? You'll 
be so, egad, and your friend, Jemmie, there, 
perhaps before me — though I'm an old boy. 
Younkers go off sometimes by the score. I've 
seen 'em trundled out in fever and plague, egad, 



MR. DIXGWELL ARRIVES. 63 

lying in rows, like plucked chickens in a poul- 
terer's shop. And they say you have scarlatina 
all about you here, now ; bad complaint, you 
know, that kills the little children. You need 
not frighten yourselves though, because it must 
happen, sooner or later — die you must. It's the 
penalty, you know, because Eve once eat an 
apple." 

" Yes, sir." 

" Rather hard lines on us, isn't it ? She eat 
an apple, and sin, and death, and colic — I never 
eat an apple in consequence — colic came into the 
world, and cider, as a consequence — the worst 
drink ever invented by the devil. And now go 
on and learn vour Church Catechism thorou&hlv, 
and you'll both turn into angels. Upon my life, 
I think I see the feathers beginning to sprout 
from your shoulders already. You'll have wings, 
you know, if all goes right, and tails for anything 
I know." 

The little boy looked in his face perplexed and 
frightened — the little girl, answering his haggard 
grin with an attempted smile, showed also bewil- 
derment and dismay in her eyes. They were both 
longing for the return of their aunt. 

Childish nature, which is only human nature 
without its scarf skin, is always afraid of irony. 
It is not its power, but its treachery that is 



G4- THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

dreadful — the guise of friendship hiding a baleful 
purpose underneath. One might fancy the sea- 
soned denizens of Gehenna welcoming, compli- 
menting, and instructing new comers with these 
profound derisions. How children delight in 
humour ! how they wince and quail under irony ! 
Be it ever so rudely fashioned and clumsily 
handled, still it is to them a terrible weapon. If 
children are to be either ridiculed or rebuked, let 
it be honestly, in direct terms. We should not 
scare them with this jocularity of devils. 

Having thus amused himself with the children 
for a time, he unlocked his leather bag, took out. 
two or three papers, ordered the little girl to 
snuff the candle, and pulled it across the table to 
the corner next himself, and, sitting close by, 
tried to read, holding the letter almost in the 
flame, screwing his white eyebrows together, and 
shifting his position, and that of the candle also, 
with very little regard to the studious convenience 
of the children. 

He gave it up. The red and smoky light tried 
his eyes too severely. So, not well pleased, he 
locked his letters up again. 

" Cat's eyes — owls ! How the devil they read 
by it passes my comprehension. Any more 
candles here — hey ? " he demanded with a sudden 
sharpness that made the children start. 



MR. DING WELL ARRIVES. Go 

"" Three, please sir." 
« Get 'em." 

" On the nail in the closet, please sir." 

« Get 'em ; d— n it ! " 

" Closers locked, please sir. Aunt has the key." 

" Ha ! M he snarled, and looked at the children 
as if he would like to pick a quarrel with them. 

" Does your aunt allow you to let the fire out 
on nights like this — hey ? You're a charming 
young lady, you — and this young gentleman, in 
manners and appearance, everything the proudest 
aunt could desire ; but I'm curious to know 
whether either one or the other is of the slightest 
earthly use ; and secondly, whether she keeps a 
"birch-rod in that closet — hey ? — and now and 
then flogs you — ha, ha, ha ! The expense of the 
rod is trifling, the pain not worth mentioning, 
and soon over, but the moral effects are ad- 
mirable, better and more durable — take my word 
for it — than all the catechisms in Paternoster 
Row." 

The old gentleman seemed much tickled by his 
own pleasantries, and laughed viciously as he 
eyed the children. 

" You did not tell me a fib, I hope, my dear, 
about your aunt ? She's a long time about 
coming ; and, I say, do put a little coal on the 
fire, will you ? " 

VOL. II. F 



6$ THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Coal's locked up, please sir/' said the child, 
■who was growing more afraid of him every 
minute. 

" 'Gad, it seems to me that worthy woman's 
afraid you'll carry off the bricks and plaster. 
"Where's the poker? Chained to the wall, I sup- 
pose. Well, there's a complaint called klepto- 
mania — it comes with a sort of irritation at the 
tips of the fingers, and I should not be surprised 
if you and your friend Jemmie, there, had 
got it." 

Jemmie looked at his fingers' ends, and up in 
the gentleman's face, in anxious amazement. 

" But there's a cure for it — essence of cane — 
and if that won't do, a capital charm — nine tails 
of a gray cat, applied under competent direction. 
Your aunt seems to understand that disorder — it 
begins with an itching in the fingers, and ends 
with a pain in the back — ha, ha, ha ! You're a 
pair of theologians, and, if you've read John 
Bunyan, no doubt understand and enjoy an 
allegory." 

" Yes, sir, please, we will/' answered poor Lucy 
Maria, in her perplexity. 

" And we'll be very good friends, Miss Maria 
Louise, or whatever your name is, I've no doubt, 
provided you play me no tricks and do precisely 
whatever I bid you ; and, upon my soul, if you 



MR. DINGWELL ARRIVES. 67 

don't, Fll take the devil out of my pocket and 
frighten you out of your wits, I will — ha, ha, ha ! 
— so sure as you live, into fits ! " 

And the old gentleman, with an ugly smile on 
his thin lips, and a frown between his white eye- 
brows, fixed his glittering gaze on the child and 
wagged his head. 

You may be sure she was relieved when, at that 
moment, she heard her aunt's well-known step on 
the lobby, and the latch clicked, the door opened, 
and Miss Rumble entered. 



f 2 



k CHAPTER VII. 

MR. DINGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE. 

"Ah ! — ho ! you are Miss Rumble — hey ? " said 
the old gentleman, fixing a scrutinising glance 
from under his white eyebrows upon Sally Rumble, 
who stood in the doorway, in wonder, not unmixed 
with alarm ; for people who stand every hour in 
presence of Giant Want, with his sword at their 
throats, have lost their faith in fortune, and long 
ceased to expect a benevolent fairy in any stranger 
who may present himself dubiously, and anticipate 
rather an enemy. So, looking hard at the gentle- 
man who stood before the little fire, with his hat 
on, and the light of the solitary dipt candle shining 
on his by no means pleasant countenance, she 
made him a little frightened courtesy, and ac- 
knowledged that she was Sally Rumble, though 
she could not tell what was to follow. 

u I've been waiting ; I came here to see you — 
pray, shut the door — from two gentlemen, Jews 
whom you know — friends — don't be uneasy — ' 



MR. DINGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE. 69 

friends of mine, friends of yours — Mr. Goldshed 
and Mr. Levi, the kindest, sweetest, sharpest fel- 
lows alive, and here's a note from them — you can 
read? " 

" Read ! Law bless you — yes, sir," answered 
Sally. 

"Thanks for the blessing: read the note; it's 
only to tell you Pm the person they mentioned 
this morning, Mr. Dingwell. Are the rooms 
ready ? You can make me comfortable — eh ? " 

" In a humble way, wr" she answered, with a 
courtesy. 

u Yes, of course ; I'm a humble fellow, and — I 
hear you're a sensible young lady. These little 
pitchers here, of course, have ears : I'll say all 
that's necessary as we go up : there's a fellow with 
a cab at the door, isn't there? Well, there's some 
little luggage of mine on it — we must get it up 
stairs ; give the Harnal something to lend a hand ; 
but first let me see rny room>." 

" Yes, sir," said Sally, with another courtesy, 
not knowing what a Hamal meant. And Mr. 
Dingwell, taking up his bag and stick, followed 
her in silence, as with the dusky candle she led 
the way up the stairs. 

She lighted a pair of candles in the drawing- 
room. There was some fire in the grate. The 
rooms looked better than he had expected : there 



70 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

were curtains, and an old Turkish carpet, and 
some shabby, and some handsome, pieces of fur- 
niture. 

" It will do, it will do — ha, ha, ha ! How like a 
pawnbroker's store it looks — no two things match 
in it ; but it is not bad : those Jew fellows, of 
course, did it ? All this stuff isn't yours ? n said 
Mr. Dingwell. 

" Law bless you, no, sir," answered Sally, with 
a dismal smile and a shake of her head. 

" Thanks again for your blessing. And the 
t>ed-room ? " inquired he. 

She pushed open the door. 

a Capital looking-glass," said he, standing before 
his dressing-table — a cap-i-tal! if it weren't for 
that great seam across the middle — ha, ha, ha ! 
funny effect, by Jove ! Is it colder than usual, 
here?" 

" No, sir, please ; a nice evening." 

<f Devilish nice, by Allah ! I'm cold through and 
through my great coat. Will you please poke up 
that fire a little ? Hey ! what a grand bed we've 
got ! what tassels and ropes ! and, by Jove, carved 
angels or Cupids — I hope Cupids — on the foot- 
board ! " he said, running the tip of his cane along 
the profile of one of them. " They must have got 
this a wonderful bargain. Hey ! I hope no one 
died in it last week? " 



MR DINGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE. 71 

u Oh, la ! sir ; Mr. Levi is a very pitickler 
gentleman ; he wouldn't for all he's worth." 

" Oh ! not he, I know ; very particular." 

Mr. Dingwell was holding the piece of damask 
curtain between his finger and thumb, and she 
fancied was sniffing at it gently. 

M Very particular, but I'm more so. We, 
English, are the dirtiest dogs in the world. They 
ought to get the Turks to teach 'em to wash and 
be clean. I travelled in the East once, for a com- 
mercial house, and know something of them. 
Can you make coffee? " 

" Yes, sir, please." 

'•'Very strong? " 

" Yes, sir, sure." 

" Very, mind. As strong as the devil it must 
be, and as clear as — as your conscience." He was 
getting out a tin case, as he spoke. " Here it is. 
I got it in — I forget the name — a great place, 
near one of your bridges. I suppose it's as good 
as any to be had in this place. Of course it isn't 
all coffee. AYe must go to the heathen for that ; 
but if they haven't ground up toasted skeletons, 
or anything dirty in it, I'm content. I'm told 
you can't eat or drink a mouthful here without 
swallowing something you never bargained for. 
Everything is drugged. Look at our Caiquejees ! 
You have no such men in your padded Horse- 



72 Tin-: tenants of malouy. 

guards. And what do they live on? Why, a 
crust of brown bread and a melon, and now and 
then a dish of pilauf ! But it's good—it's pure — 

it's what it calls itself. You d d Christian 

cheats, you're an opprobrium to commerce and 
civilisation; you're the greatest oafs on earth, 
with all your police and spies. Why it's only to 
will it, and you dont; you let it go on. We are 
assuredly a beastly people ! " 

" Sugar, please, sir? " 

"No, thank you." 

" Take milk, sir ? " 

" Heaven forbid ! Milk, indeed ! I tell you 
what, Mrs. — What's your name I — I tell you, if 
the Sultan had some of your great fellows — your 
grocers, and bakers, and dairymen, and brewers, 
egad ! — out there, he'd have 'em on their ugly 
faces and bastinado their great feet into custard 
pudding ! I've seen fellows — and devilish glad I 
tvas to see it, I can tell you — screaming like stuck 
pigs, and their eyes starting out of their heads, 
and their feet like bags of black currant jelly, 
ha, ha, ha ! — for a good deal less. Now, you see, 
ma'am, I have high notions of honesty j and this 
tin case I'm going to give you will give me three 
small cups of coffee, as strong as I've described, 
six times over; do you understand? — six times 
three, eighteen ; eighteen small cups of coffee ; 



MR. DIXGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE. 73 

and don't let those pretty little foxes' cubs down 
stairs meddle with it. Tell 'em I know what I'm 
about, and they'd better not, ha, ha, ha ! nor with 
anything that belongs to me, to the value of a 
single piastre." 

Miss Sarah Rumble was a good deal dismayed 
by the jubilant severity of Mr. Dingwell's morals. 
She would have been glad had he been of a less 
sharp and cruel turn of pleasantry. Her heart 
was heavy, and she wished herself a happy deliver- 
ance, and had a vague alarm about the poor little 
children's falling under suspicion, and of all that 
might follow. But what could she do ? Poverty 
is so powerless, and has so little time to weigh 
matters maturely, or to prepare for any change ; 
its hands are always so full, and its stomach so 
empty, and its spirits so dull. 

"I wish those d d curtains were off the 

bed," and again they underwent the same dis- 
gusting process; "and the bed-clothes, egad! 
They purify nothing here. You know nothing 
about them either, of course ? No — but they 
would not like to kill me. No; — that would not 
do. Knock their little game on the head, eh? I 
suppose it is all right. What's prevalent here 
now ? What sort of — I mean what sort of death 
— fever, small-pox, or scarlatina — eh ? Much 
sickness going ? " 



74 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Nothink a'rnost, sir ; a little measles among 
the children." 

" No objection to that ; it heads them down a 
bit, and does not trouble us. But what among 
the grown people ? " 

" Nothink to signify in the court here, for three 
months a' most." 

"And then, ma'am, what was it, pray? Give 
those to your boy " (they were his boots) ; " let 
him rub 'em up, ma'am, he's not a bit too young 
to begin ; and, egad ! he had better do 'em well, 
too ; " and thrusting his feet into a great pair of 
slippers, he reverted to his question — "What 
sickness was then, ma'am, three months ago, here 
in this pleasant little prison-yard of a place — 
hey ? " 

" Fever, please, sir, at No. 4. Three took it, 
please : two of 'em went to hospital." 

u And never walked out ? " 

u Don't know, indeed, sir — and one died, please, 
sir, in the court here, and he left three little 
children." 

" I hope they're gone away ? " 

" Yes, sir, please." 

" Well, that's a release. Rest his soul, he's 
dead ! as our immortal bard, that says everything 
so much better than anyone else, says ; and rest our 
souls, they're gone with their vile noise. So your 



MB. DIXGWELL MAKES HIMSELF COMFORTABLE. 75 

bill of mortality is not much to signify; and make 
that coffee — d'ye see ? — this moment, and let me 
have it as hot as— as the final abode of Dissenters 
and Catholics — I see you believe in the Church 
Catechism — immediately, if you please, to the 
next room." 

So, with a courtesy, Sally Rumble tripped from 
the room, with the coffee-case in her hand. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADY. 

Sally was beginning to conceive a great fear 
of her guest, and terror being the chief spring of 
activity, in a marvellously short time the coffee 
was made, and she, with Lucy Maria holding the 
candle behind her, knocking at what they called 
the drawing-room door. When, in obedience to 
his command, she entered, he was standing by the 
chimney-piece, gazing at her through an atmo- 
sphere almost hazy with tobacco smoke. He had 
got on his dressing-gown, which was pea- green, 
and a scarlet fez, and stood with his inquisitive 
smile and scowl, and his long pipe a little re- 
moved from his lips. 

"Oli, it's you? yes; no one — do you mind — 
except Mr. Larkin, or Mr. Levi, or Mr. Goldshed, 
ever comes in to mc — always charmed to see you, 
and them — but there ends my public ; so, my 
dear lady, if any person should ask to see Mr. 
Dingwell, from New Fork in America, you'll 



THE LODGER AXD HIS LANDLADY. 77 

simply say there's no such person here — yes — 
there's — no — such — person — here — upon my 
honour. And you're no true woman if you don't 
say so with pleasure — because it's a fib." 

Sarah Rumble courtesied affirmatively. 

" I forgot to give you this note — my letter of 
introduction. Here, ma'am, take it, and read it, 
if you can. It comes from those eminent harpies, 
the Messrs. Goldshed and Levi — your landlords, 
aren't they ? " 

Another courtesy from grave, dark-browed Miss 
Rumble acknowledged the fact. 

" It is pleasant to be accredited by such gentle- 
men — good landlords, I dare say ? " 

" I've nothing to say against Mr. Levi ; and 
I'm 'appy to say, sir, my rent's bin always paid 
up punctual," she said. 

"Yes, just so — capital landlord! charming 
tenant ; and I suspect if you didn't, they'd find a 
way to make you — eh ? Your coffee's not so bad 
— you may make it next time just a degree 
stronger, bitter as wormwood and verjuice, please 
— black and bitter, ma'am, as English prejudice. 
It isn't badly made, however — no, it is really 
good. It isn't a common Christian virtue, making 
good coffee — the Mahometans have a knack of it, 
and you must be a bit of a genius, ma'am, for I 
think you'll make it very respectably by to- 



rfS THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

morrow evening, or at latest, by next year. You 
shall do everything well for me, madam. The 
Dingwells are always d — d nighty, wicked, un- 
reasonable people, ma'am, and you'll find me a 
regular Dingwell, and worse, madam. Look at 
me — don't I look like a vampire. I tell you, 
ma'am, I've been buried, and they would not let 
me rest in my grave, and they've called me up by 
their infernal incantations, and here I am, ma'am, 
an evoked spirit. I have not read that bit of 
paper. How do they introduce me — as Mr. 
Dingwell, or Mr. Dingwell's ghost ? I'm wound 
up in a sort of way ; but I'm deficient in blood, 
ma'am, and in heat. You'll have to keep the fire 
up always like this, Mrs. Rumble. You'd better 
mind, or you'll have me a bit too like a corpse to 
be pleasant. Egad ! I frighten myself in the glass, 
ma'am. There is what they call transfusion of 
blood now, ma'am, and a very sensible thing it is. 
Pray, don't you think so ? " 

u I do suppose what you say's correct, sir." 
" When a fellow comes out of the grave, ma'am 
— that's sherry in that bottle ; be kind enough to 
fill this glass — he's chilly, and he wants blood, 
Mrs. Rumble. A gallon, or so, transfused into 
my veins wouldn't hurt me. You can't make 
blood fast enough for the wear and tear of life, 
especially in a place like merry England, as the 



THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADY. 79 

poets call it— and merry England is as damp all 
over as one of your charnel vaults under your 
dirty churches. Egad ! it's enough to make a 
poor ghost like me turn vampire, and drain those 
rosy little brats of yours — ha, ha, ha ! — your chil- 
dren, are they, Mrs. Rumbble — eh? " 

"No, sir, please — my brother's children." 

"Your brother's — ho ! He doesn't live here, I 
hope ? " 

" He's dead, sir." 

"Dead — is he? " 

" Five years last May, sir." 

"Oh ! that's good. And their mother ? — some 
more sherry, please." 

"Dead about four years, poor thing! They're 
orphans, sir, please." 

"'Gad ! I do please ; it's a capital arrangement, 
ma'am, as they are here, and you mustn't let 'em 
go among the children that swarm about places 
like this. Egad ! ma'am, I've no fancy for scar- 
latina or small-pox, or any sort or description of 
your nursery maladies." 

" They're very 'ealthy, sir, I thank you," said 
grave Sarah Rumble, a little mistaking Mr. Ding- 
well's drift. 

" Very glad to hear it, ma'am." 

"Very kind o' you, sir," she said, with a 
courtesy. 



80 THE TENANTS OF MALOBY. 

"Kind, of course, yes, very kind," he echoed. 

"Very 'ealthy, indeed, sir, I'm thankful to 
say." 

" Well, yes, they do look well — for town brats, 
you know — plump and rosy — hang 'em, little 
skins of sweet red wine ; egad ! enough to make 
a fellow turn vampire, as I said. Give me a little 
more sherry — thank you, ma'am. Any place near 
here where they sell ice ? " 

"Yes, sir, there's Mr. Candy's hice-store, in 
Love Lane, sir." 

" You must arrange to get me a pound, or so, 
every day at twelve o'clock, broken up in lumps, 
like sugar, and keep it in a cold cellar; do you 
mind, ma'am ? " 

"Yes, sir, please." 

" How old are you, ma'am ? Well, no, you 
need not mind — hardly a fair question ; a steady 
woman — a lady who has seen the world — some- 
thing of it, hey ? w said he ; " so have / — I'm a 
steady old fellow, egad ! — you must give me a 
latch-key, ma'am." 

"Yes, sir." 

" Some ten or twelve years will see us out ; 
curious thing life, ma'am, eh? ha, ha, ha! — 
Sparkling cup, ma'am, while it lasts — sometimes ; 
pity the flask has so few glasses, and is flat so 
soon ; isn't it so, ma'am ? " 



THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADY. 81 

" I never drank wine, sir, but once." 

" No ! where was that ? " 

" At Mr. Snelly's wedding, twenty years since." 

" 'Gad ! you'd make a good Turk, ma'am — don't 
mistake me — it's only they drink no wine. You've 
found life an up-hill business, then, hey ? " 

Mrs. Humble sighed profoundly, shook her 
head, and said, — 

" I've 'ad my trials, sir." 

" Ha, ha, ha ! to be sure, why not ? then you're 
a bit tired, I dare say ; what do you think of 
death ? " 

" I wish I was ready, sir." 

"An ugly fellow, hey? 1 don't like the smell 
of him, ma'am." 

"We has our hopes, sir." 

" Oh ! sure and certain hope — yes, the resur- 
rection, hey ? " 

" Yes, sir, there's only one thing troubles me — 
them poor little children. I wouldn't care how 
soon I went if they was able to do for them- 
selves." 

"They do that very early in London — girls 
especially j and you're giving them such an ex- 
cellent training — Sunday school — eh — and Church 
Catechism, I see. The righteous are never for- 
saken, my excellent mother used to tell me; and 
if the Catechism does not make little Miss what's- 



82 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

her-narae righteous, I'm afraid the rosy little 
rogue has a spice of the devil in her." 

" God forbid, sir." 

11 Amen, of course. I'm sure they're all right — 
I hope they are — for I'll whip 'em both; I give 
you fair warning, on my honour, I will, if they 
give me the least trouble." 

" I'll be very careful, sir, and keep them out of 
the way," said the alarmed Sarah Rumble. 

" Oh ! I don't care about that ; let 'em run 
about, as long as they're good ; I've no objection 
in life to children — quite the contrary — plump 
little rogues — I like 'em — only, egad ! if they're 
naughty, I'll turn 'em up, mind." 

Miss Rumble looked at him with as much 
alarm as if the threat had been to herself. 

He was grinning at her in return, and nodded 
once or twice sharply. 

" Yes, ma'am, lollypops and sugar-candy when 
they're good ; but, egad ! when they're naughty, 
ma'am, you'll hear 'em squalling." 

Miss Rumble made an alarmed courtesy. 

"'Gad, I forgot how cold this d d town is. 

I say, you'll keep a fire in my bed-room, please; 
lay on enough to carry me through the night, do 
you mind ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"And poke this fire up, and put some more 



THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADY. 83 

wood, or coal, on it ; I don't expect to be ever 
warm again — in this world, eh ? — ha, ha, ha ! I 
remember our gardener, when we were boys, tell- 
ing me a story of a preacher in a hard frost, 
telling his congregation that hell was a terribly 
cold place, lest if he described what good fires they 
kept there they'd all have been wishing to get 
into it. Did you ever know any one, ma'am, of 
my name, Dingivell, before, eh ? Where were 
you born ? " 

" London, sir, please." 

" Ho ! Canterbury was our place ; we were 
great people, the Dingwells, there once. My 
father failed, though — fortune of war— and I've 
seen all the world since; 'gad, I've met with queer 
people, ma'am, and one of those chances brings 
me here now. If I had not met the oddest fish I 
ever set my eyes on, in the most out-o'-the-way- 
place on earth, I should not have had the happi- 
ness of occupying this charming apartment at this 
moment, or of making your acquaintance, or that 
of your plump little Cupid and Psyche, down 
stairs. London, I suppose, is pretty much what 
it always was, where any fellow with plenty of 
money may have plenty of fun. Lots of sin 
in London, ma'am, eh? Not quite so good 
as Vienna. But the needs and pleasures of all 
men, according to their degree, are wonderfully 

g2 



84 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

provided for ; wherever money is there is a market 
— for the cabman's copper and the guinea of the 
gentleman he drives — everything for money, 
ma'am — bouquets, and smiles, and coffins, wooden 
or leaden, according to your relative fastidious- 
ness. But things change very fast, ma'am. Look 
at this map; I should not know the town — a 
wilderness, egad ! and no one to tell you where 
fun is to be found." 

She gazed, rather frightened, at this leering, 
giggling old man, who stood with his shoulders 
against the chimney-piece, and his hands tum- 
bling over his shillings in his pockets, and his 
sinister and weary face ever so little flushed with 
his sherry and his talk. 

" Well, if you can give a poor devil a wrinkle of 
any sort — hey? — it will be a charity ; but, egad ! 
I'm as sleepy as the Homilies," and he yawned 
direfully. " Do, like an angel, go and see to my 
room, I can scarcely keep my eyes open." 

From the next room she heard him hi-yeawing 
in long-drawn yawns, and talking in snatches to 
himself over the fire, and when she came buck he 
took the candle and said, — 

" Beaten, ma'am, fairly beaten to-night. Not 
quite what I was, though I'm good for something 
still ; but an old fellow can't get on without his 
Bleep." 



THE LODGER AND HIS LANDLADY. 8 5 

Mr. Dingwell's extraordinary communicative- 
ness Mould have quite charmed her, had it not 
been in a faint way racy of corruption, and fol- 
lowed with a mocking echo of insult, which she 
caught, but could not accurately interpret. The 
old rascal was irrepressibly garrulous ; but he was 
too sleepy to talk much more, and looked ruefully 
worn out. 

He took the bed-room candle with a great 
yawn, and staggering, I am bound to say only 
with sleep, he leaned for a moment against the 
doorway of his room, and said, in his grimmer 
vein, — 

"You'll bring me a cup of coffee, mind, at 
eight o'clock — black, no milk, no sugar — and a 
bit of dry toast, as thin as a knife and as hard as 
a tile ; do you understand ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" And why the devil don't you say so ? And, 
lest I should forget, Mr. Levi will be here to- 
morrow, at eleven, with another gentleman. 
Show them both up ; and, I say, there are several 
things I'm particular about, and Fll put them on 
paper — egad ! that's the best way — to-morrow, and 
I'll post it up in my room, like a firmaun, and 
you had better attend to them, thafs all ; " and 
holding up his candle, as he stood in the door, 
way, he gazed round the bed-room, and seemed 



86 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

satisfied, and shut the door sharply in her face, 
without turning about, or perhaps intending that 
rudeness, as she was executing her valedictory 
courtesy. 



CHAPTER IX. 

IN WHICH MR. DINGWELL PUTS HIS HAND TO 
THE POKER. 

At eleven o'clock next morning, Mr. Dingwell 
was refreshed, and ready to receive his expected 
visitors. He had just finished a pipe as he heard 
their approaching steps upon the stairs, and Miss 
Sarah Rumble pushed open the door and per- 
mitted Mr. Levi and his friend to enter and 
announce themselves. Mr. Dingwell received 
them with a slight bow and a rather sarcastic 
smile. 

Mr. Levi entered first, with his lazy smile 
showing his glittering fangs, and his fierce, cun- 
ning, prominent eyes swept the room, and rested 
on Mr. Dingwell. Putting down his hat on the 
middle of the narrow table, he stooped across, 
extending his lank arm and long hand tow r ard 
the white-headed old man with the broad fore- 
head and lean brown face, who happened to turn 
to the chimneypiece just then, to look for a paper, 
and so did not shake hands. 



88 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

<{ And Mr. Larkin?" said Mr. Dingwell, with 
the same smile, as he turned about and saw that 
slim, bald, pink-eyed impersonation of Christianity 
overtopping the dark and glossy representative of 
the Mosaic dispensation. 

" Sit down, pray — though — eh ? — has my 
friend, Miss Rumble, left us chairs enough?" 
said Mr. Dingwell, looking from corner to corner. 

" Quite ample ; thanks, many thanks," an- 
swered Mr. Larkin, who chose, benignantly, to 
take this attention to himself. " Three chairs, 
yes, and three of us; pray, Mr. Dingwell, don't 
take any trouble." 

" Oh ! thank you ; but I was not thinking of 
taking any trouble, only I should not like to be 
left without a chair. Miss Sarah Rumble, I dare 
say she's very virtuous, but she's not brilliant," 
he continued as he approached. " There, for 
instance, her pot-house habits ! She leaves my 
old hat on the centre of the table ! " and with a 
sudden sweep of the ebony stem of his long pipe, 
he knocked Mr. Levi's hat upon the floor, and 
kicked it into the far corner of the room. 

u Da-a-am it ; that'sh my hat ! " said Mr. Levi, 
looking after it. 

" So much the better for me" said Mr. Ding- 
well, with an agreeable smile and a nod. 

" An error — quite a mistake," interposed Mr. 



MR. DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER, H') 

Larkin, with officious politeness. " Shall I pick 
it up, Mr. Levi ? ,J 

" Leave it lay," said Mr. Levi, sulkily ; " no 
use now. It's got its allowance, I expect." 

" Gentlemen, you'll not detain me longer than 
is necessary, if you please, because I hate busi- 
ness, on principle, as a Jew does ham — I beg 
pardon Mr. Levi, I forgot for a moment — the 
greatest respect for your religion, but I do hate 
business as I hate an attorney — 'Gad ! there is 
ray foot in it again : Mr. Larkin, no reflection, I 
assure you, on your excellent profession, which 
everyone respects. But life's made up of hours: 
they're precious, and I don't want to spoil 
'em." 

" A great trust, sir, a great trust, Mr. Dingwell, 
is time. Ah, sir, how little we make of it, with 
eternity yawning at our feet, and retribution 
before us ! " 

" Our and us ; you don't narrow it to the legal 
profession, Mr. Larkin? " 

" I speak of time, generally, Mr. Dingwell, and 
of eternity and retribution as applicable to all 
professions," said Mr. Larkin, sadly. 

" I don't follow you, sir. Here's a paper, gen- 
tlemen, on which I have noted exactly what I can 
prove." 

"Can I have it, Mr. Dingwell?" said the 



90 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

attorney, whose dove-like eyes for a moment con- 
tracted with a hungry, rat-like look. 

w No, I think, no" said Mr. Dingwell, with- 
drawing it from the long, red fingers extended to 
catch the paper; Mr. Levi's fingers, at a more 
modest distance, were also extended, and also dis- 
appointed ; " anything I write myself I have a 
kind of feeling about it; Fd rather keep it to 
myself, or put it in the fire, than trouble the most 
artless Jew or religious attorney I know with the 
custody of it: so, if you just allow me, I'll read it. 
It's only half a dozen lines, and I don't care if you 
make a note of it, Mr. Larkin." 

" Well," he resumed, after he had glanced 
through the paper, Mr. Larkin sitting expectant 
arrectis auribus, and with a pen in his fingers, 
" you may say that I, Mr. Dingwell, knew the late 
Honourable Arthur Yerney, otherwise Hakim 
Frank, otherwise Hakim Giaour, otherwise Mam- 
houd Ali Ben-Nezir, for five years and two 
months, and upwards — three days, I think — im- 
mediately preceding his death ; for the latter four 
years very intimately. That I frequently pro- 
cured him small loans of money, and saw him, one 
way or another, nearly every day of my life : that 
I was with him nearly twice a day during his last 
illness : that I was present when he expired, and 
was one of the three persons who saw him buried : 



MB. DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER. 91 

and that I could point out his grave, if it were 
thought desirable to send out persons acquainted 
with his appearance, to disinter and identify the 
body." 

rr No need of that, I think," said Mr. Larkin, 
looking up and twiddling his eye-glass on his 
finger. 

He glanced at Levi, who was listening intensely, 
and almost awfully, and, reading no sign in his 
face, he added, — 

" However, I see no harm in making the note." 

So on went Mr. Dingwell, holding a pair of 
gold glasses over his nose. 

a I can perfectly identify him as the Hon. 
Arthur Yerney, having transacted business for 
him respecting an annuity which was paid him 
by his family; written letters for him when his 
hand was affected j and read his letters for him 
when he was ill, which latter letters, together 
with a voluminous correspondence found in his 
box, and now in my possession, I can identify 
also as having been in his/' 

"I don't see any need, my dear Mr. Dingwell* 
of your mentioning your having written any let- 
ters for him ; it has, in fact, no bearing that I can 
recognise upon the case. I should, in fact, appre- 
hend complicating the case. You might find it 
difficult to specify, and we to produce, the parti- 



92 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

cular letters referred to; so I should simply say 
you read them to him, at his desire, before he 
despatched them for England; that is, of course, 
assuming that you did so." 

" Very good, sir; knock it out, and put that in; 
and I can prove that these letters, which can easily, 
I suppose, be identified by the writers of them in 
England, were in his possession, and that several 
of them I can recollect his having read to me on 
the day he received them. That's pretty nearly 
what strikes me — eh? " 

" Yes, sir — certainly, Mr. Dingwell — most im- 
portant ; but surely he had a servant ; had he not, 
my dear sir? — an attendant of some sort? they're 
to be had there for next to nothing, I think," hesi- 
tated Mr. Larkin. 

" Certainly — so there was — yes; but he started 
for Egypt in a boat full of tiles, or onions, or 
something, a day or two after the Hakim was 
buried, and I'm afraid they'll find it rather hard 
to fiud him. I think he said Egypt, but I won't 
swear/' 

And Mr. Dingweli laughed, very much tickled, 
with intense sarcastic enjoyment; so much so that 
Mr. Larkin, though I have seldom before or since 
heard of his laughing, did suddenly laugh a short, 
explosive laugh, as he looked down on the table, 
and immediately looked very grave and sad, and 



MR. DING WELL HANDLES THE POKER. Do 

pinked up to the very summit of his narrow bald 
head ; and coughing a little, he said, — 

" Thank you, Mr. Dingwell ; this will suffice 
very nicely for an outline, and I can consult with 
our adviser as to its particular sufficiency — is not 
that your impression, Mr. Levi \ " 

" You lawyer chaps undusta-ans that line of 
business best; I know no more about it than 
watch-making — only don't shleep over it, for it's 
costing us a da-a-am lot of money," said Mr. Levi, 
rising with a long yawn and a stretch, and em- 
phasising it with a dismal oath \ and shutting his 
great glaring eyes and shaking his head, as if he 
were being victimised at a pace which no capital 
could long stand. 

" Certainly, Mr. Levi," said the attorney, "you 
quite take me with you there. We are all contri- 
buting, except, perhaps, our valued ;riend, Air. 
Dingwell, our quota towards a very exhausting 
expense." 

" Da-a-md exhausting," interposed Mr. Levi. 
"Well, pray allow me my own superlative," 
said the attorney, with religious grandeur. " I 
do say it is very exhausting ; though we are all, I 

hope, cheerfully contributing " 

" Curse you ! to be sure you are," said Mr. 
Dingwell, with an abrupt profanity that startled 
Air. Larkin. "Because you all expect to make 



94 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

money by it ; and I'm contributing my time, and 
trouble, and danger, egad ! for precisely the same 
reason. And now, before you go — just a moment, 
if you please, as we are on the subject — who's 
Chancellor of the Exchequer here?" 

"Who advances the necessary funds?" inter- 
preted Mr. Larkin, with his politest smile. 

"Yes" said the old man, with a sharp menac- 
ing nod. "Which of you two comes down, as 
you say, with the dust ? Who pays the piper for 
this dance of yours, gentlemen ? — the Christian 
or the Jew ? I've a word for the gentleman who 
holds the purse — or, as we Christians would say, 
who carries the bag; " and he glanced from one to 
the other with a sniff, and another rather vicious 
wag of his head. 

"I believe, sir, you may address us both as 
voluntary contributors towards a fund for carrying 
on, for the present, this business of the Honour- 
able Kiffyn Fulke Yerney, who will, of course, 
recoup us/' said Mr. Larkin, cautiously. 

He used to say sometimes to his conducting 
man, with a smile, sly and holy, up at the yellow 
letters of one of the tin deed-boxes on his shelves 
at the Lodge, after an adroit conversation, " I 
think it will puzzle him, rather, to make an 
assumpsit out of that. ,} 

" Well, you talk of allowing me — as you term 



MR. DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER. 95 

it — four pounds a week. I'll not take it," said 
Mr. Dingwell. 

" My hye ! That/sh liberal, shir, uncommon 
'anshome, be Ga-a-ad ! " exclaimed Mr. Levi, in a 
blessed mistake as to the nature of Mr. Dingwell's 
objection. 

" I know, gentlemen, this business can't advance 
without me — to me it may be worth something; 
but you'll make it worth a great deal more to 
yourselves, and whatever else you may find me, 
you'll find me no fool; and Til not take one 
piastre less than five-and-twenty pounds a week. 

"Five-and-twenty pounsh ! " howled Mr. Levi; 
and Mr. Larkm's small pink eyes opened wide at 
the prodigious idea. 

u You gentlemen fancy you're to keep me here 
in this black-hole making your fortunes, and living 
on the wages of a clerk, egad ! You shall do no 
such thing, I promise you ; you shall pay me what 
I say. I'll see the town, sir, and I'll have a few 
guineas in my pocket, or I'll know the reason why. 
I didn't come all the way here for nothing — 
d — n you both ! " 

" Pray, sir, a moment," pleaded Mr. Larkin. 

" Pray, sir, as much as you like; but pay, also, 
if you please. Upon my life, you shall ! Fortune 
owes me something, and egad ! Til enjoy myself 
while I can." 



96 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Of course, sir ; quite reasonable — so you 
should ; but, my dear Mr. Dingwell, five-and- 
twenty pounds ! — we can hardly be expected, my 
dear sir, to see our way." 

" 'Gad, sir ! / see mine, and I'll go it," laughed 
Mr. Dingwell, with a most unpleasant glare in Lis 
eyes. 

" On reflection, you will see, my dear Mr. 
Dingwell, the extreme inexpediency of anything 
in the least resembling a fraycas " (Air. Larkin so 
pronounced his French) " in your particular case. 
I should certainly, my dear sir, recommend a 
most cautious line." 

" Cautious as the devil," seconded Mr. Levi. 

" You think I'm afraid of my liabilities/' 
croaked Mr. Dingwell, with a sudden flush across 
his forehead, and a spasm of his brows over his 
wild eyes, and then he laughed, and wagged his 
head. 

" That's right — quite right," almost sighed Mr. 
Larkin — "do — do — pray do — just reflect for only 
a moment — and you'll see it." 

" To be sure, I see it, and you shall see it, too. 
Egad! I know something, sir, at my years. I know 
how to deal with screws, and bullies, and schemers, 
s i r — and that is by going straight at them — and 
I'll tell you what, sir, if you don't pay me the 
monev I name, I'll make you regret it." 



MR. DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER. 97 

For a moment, Mr. Larkin, for one, did almost 
regret his share in this uncomfortable and highly 
" speculative " business. If this Mr. Dingwell 
chose to turn restive and extortionate, it would 
have been better it had never entered into his 
ingenious head, and he could already see in the 
Jew's eyes the sulky and ferocious expression that 
seemed to forebode defeat. 

" If you don't treat me, as I say, with common 
fairness, I'll go straight to young Mr. Verney 
myself, and put you out of the baby -house 
altogether." 

" What babby-houshe ? " demanded Air. Levi, 
glowering, and hanging the corners of his great 
half-open mouth with a sullen ferocity. 

" Your castle — in the air — your d — d plot, sir." 

" If you mean you're going to turn stag," began 
the Jew. 

" There — do — pray, Mr. Levi — you — you mis- 
take" interposed Mr. Larkin, imploringly, who 
had heard tales of this Mr. DingwelPs mad 
temper. 

" I say," continued Levi, " if you're going to 
split " 

" Split, sir ! " cried Mr. Dingwell, with a ma- 
lignant frown, and drawing his mouth together 
into a puckered ring, as he looked askance at the 
Jew. " What the devil do you mean by sjjlit, sir ? 

VOL. II. R 



98 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

'Gad ! sir, I'd split your black head for you, you 
little Jew miscreant ! " 

Mr. Larkin saw with a qualm that the sinews 
of that evil face were quivering with an insane 
fury, and that even under its sun-darkened skin 
it had turned pale, while the old man's hand was 
instinctively extended towards the poker, of which 
he was thinking, and which was uncomfortably 
near. 

" No, no, no — pray, gentlemen — I entreat — only 
think" urged Mr. Larkin, seriously alarmed for 
the Queen's peace and his own precious character, 
and for the personal safety of his capitalist and 
his witness. 

Mr. Larkin confronted the Jew, with his great 
hands upon Mr. Levi's shoulders, so as to prevent 
his advance ; but that slender Hebrew, who was 
an accomplished sparrer, gave the godly attorney 
a jerk by the elbows which quite twirled him 
about, to his amazement and chagrin. 

'* 'Andsh off, old chap," said the Jew, grimly, 
to Mr. Larkin, who had not endured such a 
liberty since he was at his cheap day-school, 
nearly forty years ago. 

But Mr. Larkin interposed again, much alarmed, 
for behind him he thought he heard the clink of 
the fire-irons. 

" He thinks he may say what he pleases," cried 



DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER. 99 

the old man's voice furiously, with a kind of 
choking laugh. 

'* No, sir — no, Mr. Dingwell — I assure you — do, 
Mr. Levi — how can you mind him ? " he added in 
an undertone, as he stood between. 

"I don't mind him, Mr. Larkin : only I won't 
let no one draw it that sort. I won't stand a lick 
of a poker for no one ; he shan't come that over 
me " — and concurrently with this the shrill voice 
of Mr. Dingwell was yelling — 

" Because Fni — because Pm — I'm — every d — d 
little whipper-snapper — because they think I'm 
down, the wretches, Fm to submit to their in- 
sults ! " 

" I don't want to hurt him, Mr. Larkin ; if I 
did, I'd give 'm his tea in a mug this minute; but 
I don't, I say — only he shan't lift a poker to 
me." 

" Xo one, my dear sir, has touched a poker; no 
one, Mr. Levi, ever dreamed of such a thing. 
Pray, my dear sir, my dear Mr. Dingwell, don't 
misconceive ; we use slang phrases, now and then, 
without the least meaning or disrespect : it has 
become quite the torn/. I assure you — it was 
only last week, at Nyworth Castle, where I had 
the honour to be received, Lady Mary Wrangham 
used the phrase yarn, for a long story." 

"D — n you, can't you answer my question?" 



100 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

said Mr. Dingwell, more in his accustomed 
vein. 

" Certainly, sir, we'll reply to it. Do, Mr. 
Levi, do leave the room ; your presence at this 
moment only leads to excitement." 

Levi, for a moment, pondered fiercely, and then 
nodded a sulky acquiescence. 

" I shall overtake you in the court, Mr. Levi, 
if you can wait two or three minutes there." 

The Jew nodded over his shoulder, and was 
gone. 

" Mr. Dingwell, sir, I can't, I assure you. It's 
not in my power; it is in the hands of quite 
other people, on whom, ultimately, of course, 
these expenses will fall, to sanction the outlay by 
way of weekly allowance, which you suggest. 
It is true I am a contributor, but not exactly in 
cash ; only in money's worth — advice, experience, 
and technical knowledge. But I will apply in 
the proper quarter, without delay. I wish, Mr. 
Dingwell, I were the party; you and I would 
not, I venture to think, be long in settling it 
between us." 

" No, to be sure, you're all such liberal fellows 
— it's always some one else that puts us under the 
screw,"' laughed Mr. Dingwell, discordantly, with 
his face still flushed, and his hand trembling 
visibly, u you never have the stock yourselves — 



MR. DINGWELL HANDLES THE POKER. 101 

not you, — there's always, Mr. Slieridau tells us, 

you know, in that capital play of his, a d d 

unconscionable fellow in the background, and in 
Shakspeare's play, Ski/lock, you remember, he 
hasn't the money himself, but Tubal, a wealthy 
Hebrew of his tribe, will furnish him. Hey ! I 
suppose they gave the immortal Shakspeare a 
squeeze in his day; he understood 'em. But 
Shylock and Tubal are both dead and rotten long 
ago. It's a comfort you can't escape death, with 
all your cunning, d — n you." 

But Mr. Larkin spoke peaceably to Mr. Ding- 
well. The expense, up to a certain time, would, 
of course, fall upon Mr. Kiffyn Verney ; after 
that, however, Mr. Larkin and the Jew firm 
would feel it. But be it how it might, they could 
not afford to quarrel with Mr. Dingwell; and 
Mr. Dingwell was a man of a flighty and furious- 
temper. 



CHAPTER X. 

CLEVE VERNEY SEES THE CHATEAU DE CRESSERON. 

I fancy that these estimates, on a rather large 
scale, moved by Mr. Dingwell, were agreed to, 
for sufficient reasons, by the parties interested in 
disputing them. 

Mr. Dingwell kept very close during the day- 
time. He used to wander listlessly to and fro, 
between his bedroom and his drawing-room, with 
his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown, and 
his feet in a pair of hard leather slippers, with 
curled-up toes and no heels, that clattered on the 
boards like sabots. 

Miss Sarah Rumble fancied that her lodger was 
a little shy of the windows; when he looked out 
into the court, he stood back a yard or more from 
the window-sill. 

Mr. Larkin, indeed, made no secret of Mr. 
Ding well's uncomfortable position, in his confer- 
ences with the Hon. Kiflyn Fulke Yerney. Mr. 
Dingwell had been a bankrupt, against whom 



THE CHATEAU DE CEESSERON. 103 

many transactions to which the Court had applied 
forcible epithets, had been proved; to whom, in 
fact, that tribunal had refused quarter; and who 
had escaped from its fangs by a miracle. There 
were judgments, however, in force against him; 
there was a warrant procurable any day for his 
arrest; he was still "in contempt;" I believe he 
was an " outlaw ; " and, in fact, there was all but 
a price set on his head. Thus, between him and 
his outcast acquaintance, the late Hon. Arthur 
Verney, had subsisted some strong points of sym- 
pathy, which had no doubt helped to draw them 
into that near intimacy which stood the Hon. 
Kiffyn, no less than Mr. Ding well (to whose mill 
it was bringing very comfortable grist), so well in 
stead, at this moment. 

It behoved Mr. Dingwell, therefore, to exercise 
caution. Many years had passed since he figured 
as a London trader. But time, the obliterator, 
in some cases works slowly; or rather, while the 
pleasant things of memory are sketched in with a 
pencil, the others are written in a bold, legible, 
round hand, as it were, with a broad-nibbed steel 
pen, and the best durable japanned ink ; on which 
Father Time works his India-rubber in vain, till 
his gouty old fingers ache, and you can fancy him 
whistling curses through his gums, and knocking 
his bald pate with his knuckles. Mr. Dingwell, 



104 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

on the way home, was, to his horror, half recog- 
nised by an ancient Cockney at Malta. Time, 
therefore, was not to be relied upon, though thirty 
years had passed; and Mr. Dingwell began to 
fear that a debtor is never forgotten, and that the 
man who is thoroughly dipt, like the lovely woman 
who stoops to folly, has but one way to escape 
consequences, and that is to die — a step which 
Mr. Dingwell did not care to take. 

The meeting on the 15th, at the Hon. Kiffyn 
Fulke Verney's house, Mr. Dingwell was pre- 
vented by a cold from attending. But the note 
of his evidence sufficed, and the consultation, at 
which Mr. Larkin assisted, was quite satisfactory. 
The eminent parliamentary counsel who attended, 
and who made, that session, nearly fifty-thousand 
pounds, went to the heart of the matter direct ; 
was reverentially listened to by his junior, by the 
parliamentary agent, by the serious Mr. Larkin, 
at whom he thrust sharp questions, in a peremp- 
tory and even fierce way, like a general in action, 
to whom minutes are everything; treated them 
once or twice to a recollection or short anecdote, 
which tended to show what a clever, sharp fellow 
the parliamentary counsel was, which, indeed, was 
true ; and talked to no one quite from a level, ex- 
cept to one Hon. Kiffyn Fulke Verney, to whom 
he spoke confidentially in his ear, and who him- 



THE CHATEAU DE CKESSEROX. 105 

self quickly grew into the same confidential re- 
lations. 

M I'm glad you take my view — Mr. — Mr. For- 
sythe — very happy about it, that we should be in 
accord. I've earned some confidence in my 
opinion, having found it more than once, I may 
say, come out right ; and it gives me further con- 
fidence that you take my view," said the Honour- 
able Kiffyn Fulke Yerney, grandly. 

That eminent parliamentary counsel, Forsythe, 
was on his way to the door, when Mr. Yerney in- 
terposed with this condescension. 

"Oh! Ha! Do I? Very happy. What is 
it?" said Forsythe, smiling briskly, glancing 
at his watch and edging towards the door, all 
together. 

" I mean the confident view — the cheerful — 
about it," said the Hon. Mr. Yerney, a little 
flushed, and laying his thin hand on his counsel's 
arm. 

M Certainly — confident, of course, smooth sail- 
ing, quite. I see no hitch at present. " 

Mr. Forsythe was now, more decidedly, going. 
But he could not treat the Hon. Kiffyn Yerney 
quite like an ordinary client, for he was before 
him occasionally in Committees of the House of 
Commons, and was likely soon to be so in others 
of the Lords, and therefore, chafing and smiling, 



10G THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

lie hesitated under the light pressure of the old 
gentleman's stiff fingers. 

" And you know the, I may say, absurd state 
of the law, about it — there was, you know, my 
unfortunate brother, Arthur — you are aware — 
riviliter mortuus, stopping the way, you know, for 
nearly twenty years, about it, ever since my poor 
father, Lord Verney, you know, expired, about it, 
and I've been, as you know, in the most painful 
position — absurd, you know." 

" Quite so ; I'm afraid — n Forsythe was again 
edging toward the door. 

" And I always contended that where the heir 
was civilly dead, about it, the law should make 
proper provision — don't you see ? " 

" Quite so, only fair — a very wise and politic 
statute — and I wish very much, with your expe- 
rience, vou'd turn vour attention to draw one. 
I'm obliged to be off now, to meet the New 
Discount directors; consultation at my cham- 
bers." 

And so, smiling, Forsythe, Q.C., did vanish, 
at last. 

All this over, Mr. Cleve Verney proposed to 
himself a little excursion, of a day or two, to 
Paris, to which his uncle saw no objection. 

Not very far from the ancient town of Caen, 
where the comparative quietude of Normandy, 



Till: CHATEAU DE CRESSEROX. 107 

throughout the throes of the great revolution, has 
spared so many relics of the bygone France, is an 
old chateau, still habitable — still, after a fashion, 
comfortable — and which you may have at a very 
moderate rent indeed. 

Here is an old wood, cut in a quincunx ; old 
ponds stocked with carp ; great old stables gone 
to decay ; and the chateau itself, is indescribably 
picturesque and sad. 

It is the Chateau de Cresseron — withdrawn in 
historic seclusion, amid the glories and regrets of 
memory, quite out of the tide of modern traffic. 

Here, by the side of one of the ponds, one 
evening, was an old lady, throwing in little bits 
of bread to the carp that floated and flitted, like 
golden shadows, this way and that, as the crumbs 
sank in the water, when she heard a well-known 
voice near her which made her start. 

" Good heavens ! Mr. Verney ! You here ? " 
she exclaimed, with such utter wonderment, her 
little bit of bread raised in her fingers, that Cleve 
Verney, though in no merry mood, could not help 
smiling. 

" Yes — here indeed — and after all, is it quite so 
wonderful ? " said he. 

" Well, of course you know, Mr. Verney, Fro 
very glad to see you. Of course, you know that ; 
but I'm very far from being certain that you have 



108 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

done a wise or a prudent thing in coming here, and 
I don't know that, under the circumstances, I 
(jiKjht to be glad to see you j in fact, I'm afraid it 
is very rash" said Miss Sheckleton, growing more 
decided as she proceeded. 

" No, not rash. I've been very miserable ; so 
miserable, that the worst certainty which this visit 
might bring upon me would be almost a relief 
compared with the intolerable suspense I have lived 
in ; therefore, you see, it really is not rash." 

" I'm very bad at an argument/' persisted the 
old lady ; " but it is rash, and very rash. You 
can't conceive," and here she lowered her voice, 
" the state of exasperation in which he is." 

" He," of course, could only mean Sir Booth 
Fanshawe ; and Cleve answered, — 

" I assure you, I can't blame him. I don't 
wonder. I think a great deal has been very 
wantonly done to aggravate his misfortunes; but 
surely, he can't fancy that I could sympathise 
with any such proceedings, or feel anything but 
horror and disgust. Surely, you would not allow 
him to connect me, however slightly ? I know 
you would not." 

" My dear Mr. Yerney, you don't know Booth 
Fanshawe, or rather, you do, I believe, know him 
a great deal too well, to fancy that I could venture 
to speak to him upon the subject. That, I assure 



THE CHATEAU DE CRESSEROX. 109 

you, is quite out of the question ; and I may as 
well tell you frankly, if he were at home, I mean 
here, I should have begged you at once, inhos- 
pitable as it might seem, to leave this place, and 
trust to time and to letters, but here I would not 
have allowed you to linger." 

" He's away from home, then ! " exclaimed 
Cleve. 

" Yes ; but he'll be back to-night at ten 
o'clock." 

" At ten o'clock," repeated Cleve, and the 
young man thought what a treasure of minutes 
there was in the interval. " And Miss Fanshawe 
— Margaret — she's quite well ? " 

" Yes, she's quite well," answered kind Miss 
Sheckleton, looking in his earnest eyes, and 
thinking that he looked a little thin and pale. 
" She's quite well, and, I hope, you have been." 

" Oh, yes," answered the young man, " as well 
as a man with a good many troubles can be. In 
fact, I may tell you, I've been very unhappy. I 
was thinking of writing to Sir Booth." 

" Don't," implored Miss Sheckleton, looking 
quite wildly into his eyes, and with her hand 
upon his arm, as if to arrest the writing of that 
letter, " you have no notion how he feels. I 
assure you, an allusion — the slightest thing is 
quite enough to set him in a blaze. The other 



110 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

day, for instance, I did not know what it was, till 
I took up the paper he had been reading, and I 
found there something about the Verney peerage, 
and proof that Arthur Verney was dead, and your 
uncle to get it ; and really I can't wonder — some 
people seem so unaccountably fortunate, and 
others, everything goes wrong with — even / felt 
vexed when I read it, though, of course, any good 
fortune happening to you, I should be very glad 
of. But he did not see any of us till next day — 
even Macklin." 

" Yes, it is very true," said Cleve, "my uncle 
is dead, and we shall prove it, that is, my uncle 
KifFyn will. But you are quite right to distin- 
guish as you do. It involves nothing for me. 
Since it has come so near, I have lost all faith in 
it's ever reaching me. I have, I can't call it a 
conviction, but a superstition, that it never will. 
I must build my own fortunes from their founda- 
tions, with my own hand. There is but one suc- 
cess on earth that can make me very proud and 
very happy. Do you think, that having come all 
this way, in that hope, on that one chance, that 
Margaret will see me ? " 

" I wish you had written to me before coming/' 
said Anne Sheckleton, after a little pause. " I 
should have liked to find out first, all I could, 
from herself; she is so odd. I've often told you 



THE CHATEAU DE CRESSKBON. Ill 

that she is odd. I think it would have been 
wiser to write to me before coming over, and I 
should have talked to her, — that is, of course, if 
she had allowed me, — for I can't in the least say- 
that she would even hear me on the subject." 

" Well," said Cleve, with a sigh, " I have come 
— I am here— and go I cannot without seeing 
her — I cannot — and you, I think, are too kind to 
wish that I should. Yes, Miss Sheckleton, you 
have been my true friend throughout this — what 
shall I call it? — wild and terrible dream — for I 
cannot believe it real — I wonder at it myself — I 
ought to wish I had never seen her — but I cannot 
— and I think on the result of this visit depends 
the whole course of my life. You'll not see me 
long, I think, in the House of Commons, nor in 
England ; but I'll tell you more by- and- by." 

The sun had gone down now. A red and 
melancholy glow, rising from piles of western 
cloud, melted gradually eastward into the deep 
blue of night in which the stars were already 
glimmering. 

Along one of the broad avenues cut through 
the forest that debouches upon the court-yard of 
the quaint old chateau they were now walking, 
and, raising his eyes, he saw Margaret approaching 
from the antique house. 



CHAPTER XI. 

SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 

"She is coming, Mr. Verney," said Miss 
Sheckleton, speaking low and quietly; but her 
voice sounded a little strangely, and I think the 
good-natured spinster was agitated. 

Cleve, walking by her side, made no answer. 
He saw Margaret approach, and while she was yet 
a good way off, suddenly stop. She had not seen 
them there before. There seemed no indecision. It 
was simply that she was startled, and stood still. 

"Pray, Miss Sheckleton, do you go on alone. 
Entreat her not to refuse me a few minutes," 
said he. 

"I w jU — s he shall— I will, indeed, Mr. Verney," 
said Miss Sheckleton, very much fidgetted. " But 
you had better remain where we were, just now; 
I will return to you, and — there are some French 
servants at the house — will you think me very 
strange — unkind, I am sure, you will not— if I say 
it is onlv common prudence that you should not 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 113 

be seen at the house? You understand why I 
say so." 

" Certainly. I shall do whatever you think 
best," he answered. They had arrested their 
walk, as Margaret had done, during this little 
parley. Perhaps she was uncertain whether her 
approach had been observed. The sun had gone 
down by this time, and the twilight had begun to 
make distant objects a little indistinct. 

But there was no time for manoeuvring here, 
for Miss Fanshawe resumed her walk, and her 
cousin, Anne Sheckleton, advanced alone to meet 
her. 

"Margaret, dear, a friend has unexpectedly 
arrived," began Miss Sheckleton. 

"And gone, perhaps," answered Margaret 
Fanshawe, in one of her moods. " Better gone — 
come, darling, let us turn, and go towards home 
— it is growing so dark." 

And with these words, taking Miss Sheckleton's 
hand in hers, she turned towards the house, not 
choosing to see the friend whom that elderly lady 
had so eagerly indicated. 

Strangely did Cleve Verney feel. That beau- 
tiful, cruel girl ! — what could she mean ? — how 
could she treat him so ? Is there not, in strange 
countries, where people meet, a kindlier impulse 
than elsewhere ? — and here — could anything be 

VOL. II. i 



114 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

more stony and utterly cruel ? The same won- 
derful C^nci — the same low, sweet voice — the same 
laugh, even — just for a moment heard — but now — 
how unspeakably cruel ! He could see that Miss 
Sheckleton was talking earnestly to her, as they 
walked slowly away. It all seemed like a dream. 
The formal old wood — the grey chateau in the 
background, rising, with its round turrets, and 
conical tops, and steep roofs against the rose- 
tinted sky of evening; and in the foreground — 
not two score steps away — those figures — that girl 
to whom so lately he was so near being all the 
world — to whom, it now appeared, he was abso- 
lutely nothing — oh ! that he had never heard, in 
Shakspeare's phrase, that mermaid voice I 

His pride was wounded. With a yearning that 
amounted to agony, he watched their receding 
steps. Follow them he would not. He leaned 
against the tree by which Miss Sheckleton had 
left him, and half resolved to quit that melancholy 
scene of his worst disaster without another look or 
word — with only the regrets of all a life. 

When Miss Sheckleton had reached Margaret, 
before the young lady spoke, she saw, by her un- 
usual paleness and by something at once of pain 
and anger in her face, that she had seen Cleve 
Verney. 

"Well, Margaret, if you will go, vou ivill ; but, 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 115 

before you make it irreparable, you must, at least, 
think." 

" Think of what ? " said Margaret, a little dis- 
dainfully. 

" Think that he has come all this way for 
nothing but the chance of seeing you j of perhaps 
saying a few words to set himself right." 

" If he wished to speak to me, he might have 
said so," she answered. "Not that I see any 
reason to change my mind on that point, or any 
good that can come, possibly, or for ever, if he 
could talk and I listen for so long." 

" Well, but you can't doubt what he has come 
for,'' said Miss Sheckleton. 

" I don't doubt, because I don't mean to think 
about it," said the young lady, looking fiercely up 
toward the gilded weather vanes that glimmered 
on the grey pinnacles of the chateau. 

"Yes, but it is not a matter of doubt, or of 
thinking, but of fact, for he did say so," pleaded 
Miss Sheckleton. 

il I wish we were in Italy, or some out-of-the- 
way part of Spain," said the handsome girl, in the 
same vein, and walking still onward; "I always 
said this was too near England, too much in the 
current." 

"No, dear, it is a quiet place," said good Anne 
Sheckleton. 

i 2 



116 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Xo, cousin Anne, it is the most tinquiet place 
in all the world," answered the girl, in a wild, low 
tone, as she walked on. 

" And he wants to speak to you ; he entreats a 
few words, a very few." 

" You know I ought not," said she. 

"I know you ought, my dear; you'll be sorry 
for it, all your days, Margaret, if you don't," re- 
plied Anne Sheckleton. 

" Come home, dear, come home, darling," said 
the girl, peremptorily, but sadly. 

" I say, Margaret, if you let him go without 
speaking to him, you will regret it all your days." 

" You have no right to talk this way, cousin 
Anne ; I am unhappy enough as it is. Let us go 
on," she said. 

"If you send him away, as I say, it is all over 
between you." 

" So it is, it is all over; let the dead rest." 

"The world is wide enough; there are many 
beautiful creatures there, and he is himself so 
beautiful, and so clever ; be very sure you care 
nothing for him, before you send him away, for 
you will never see him again," said Miss Anne 
Sheckleton. 

" I know — I am sure — I have thought of every- 
thing. I have made up my account long ago, for 
now, and for all my days/' said she. 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 117 

u So you have" answered Miss Sheckleton. 
" But while you have a moment still allowed you, 
[Margaret, review it, I implore of you." 

" Come, darling, come — come — you ought not 
to have spoken to me; why have you said all 
this V said Margaret, sadly and hurriedly. 

" Now, Margaret darling, you are going to stay 
for a moment, and I will call him." 

"No!" said the girl, passionately, "my mind's 
made up ; not in haste, cousin Anne, but long 
ago. I've looked my last on him." 

" Darling, listen : you know Fve seen him, he's 
looking ill, I think ; and I've told him that you 
must speak to him, Margaret ; and I tell you you 
must," said Miss Sheckleton, blushing in her 
eagerness. 

" No, cousin Anne, let there be an end of this 
between us ; I thought it was over long ago. To 
him, I will never, never — while life remains — 
never speak more." 

As she thus spoke, walking more hurriedly 
toward the house, she heard a voice beside her 
say,— 

" Margaret ! Margaret, darling — one word ! " 

And turning suddenly, she saw Cleve Ver- 
ney before her. Under the thick folds of her 
chestnut hair, her features were pale as marble, 
and for a time it seemed to him he saw no- 



118 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

thing but her wild, beautiful eves fixed upon 
him. 

Still as a statue, she stood confronting him. 
One little foot advanced, and her tiny hand closed, 
and pressed to her heart in the attitude in which 
an affrighted nun might hold her crucifix. 

" Yes, Margaret," he said at last, " I was as 
near going — as you were near leaving me — un- 
heard ; but, thank God ! that is not to be. No, 
Margaret darling, you could not. Wild as my 
words may sound in your ears, you will listen to 
them, for they shall be few; you will listen to 
them, for you are too good to condemn any one 
that ever loved you, unheard." 

There was a little pause, during which all that 
passed was a silent pressure of Miss Sheckleton's 
hand upon Margaret's, as very pale, and with her 
brow knit in a painful anxiety, she drew hurriedly 
back, and left the two young people together, 
standing by the roots of the old tree, under the 
faint, rose-tinted sky of evening. 

Lovers' promises or lovers' cruelties — which 
oaths are most enduring? Where now were 
Margaret's vows? Oh ! inexhaustible fountain of 
pity, and beautiful mutability of woman's heart ! 
In the passion avowed, so often something of 
simulation j in the feeling disowned, so often the 
true and beautiful life. Who shall read this won- 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 119 

derful riddle, running in romance, and in song, 
and in war, the world's history through? 

" .Margaret, will you hear me?" he pleaded. 

To her it was like a voice in a dream, and a 
form seen there, in that dream-land in which we 
meet the dead, without wonder, forgetting time 
and separation. 

"I don't know that I ought to change my 
purpose. I don't know why I do ; but we shalj 
never meet again, I am sure, so speak on." 

"Yes, Margaret, I will speak on, and tell you 
how entirely you have mistaken and wronged 
me," said Cleve Verney, in the same sad and 
passionate tones. 

Good-natured Anne Sheckleton, watching at a 
little distance, saw that the talk — at first belonging 
altogether to Mr. Verney, at last began to divide 
itself a little; then side by side they walked a 
few steps, and then paused again : and so once 
more a short way, the lady looking down, and 
then on and on to the margin of that long 
straight pond, on which in their season are float- 
ing water-lilies, and, under its great oblong 
mirror, gliding those golden fishes which are, as 
we have seen, one of our spinster friend's kindly 
resources in this quaint exile. And so the twi- 
light deepened : and Miss Sheckleton saw these 
two figures like shadows gliding side by side, to 



120 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and fro, along the margin, till the moonlight 
came and lighted the still pool over, and dappled 
the sward with the shadows of the trees, and 
made the old chateau in the background, with its 
white front, its turrets and pinnacles and gilded 
vanes, look filmy as a fairy castle. 

Wrapping her cloak about her, she sat herself 
down upon the marble seat close by, unobserved 
and pleased, watching this picture of Lorenzo and 
Jessica, and of all such moonlighted colloquies, 
with a wonderful and excited interest — with, in- 
deed, a mixture of melancholy and delight and 
fear. 

Half-hour after half-hour glided by, as she 
looked on this picture, and read in fancy the 
romance that was weaving itself out of the silvery 
thread of their discourse in this sad old scene. 
And then she looked at her watch, and wondered 
how the time had sped, and sighed ; and smiling 
and asking no question, came before them, and in 
a low, gentle warning, told them that the hour 
for parting had come. 

As they stood side by side in the moonlight, 
did the beautiful girl, with the flush of that 
romantic hour, never, never to be forgotten, on 
her cheek, with its light in her wonderful eyes, 
ever look so beautiful before ? Or did that young 
man, Cleve Yerney, whom she thought she under- 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 121 

stood, but did not, ever look so handsome ? — the 
enthusiasm and the glow of his victory in his 
strangely beautiful face. 

There were a few silent moments : and she 
thought could fancy paint a more beautiful young 
couple than these ! 

There are scenes — only momentary — so near 
Paradise — sights, so nearly angelic, that they 
touch us with a mysterious ecstasy and sorrow. 
In the glory and translation of the moment, the 
feeling of its transitoriness, and the sense of our 
mortal lot, cross and thrill us with a strange pain, 
like the anguish that mingles in the rapture of 
sublime music. So, Miss Sheckleton, very pale, 
smiling very tenderly, sobbed and wept, one 
would have said bitterly, for a little while ; and, 
drying her eyes quickly, saw before her the same 
beautiful young faces, looking upon hers; and 
the old lady took their hands and pressed them, 
and smiled a great deal through her tears, and 
said — " All, at last, as I wished it : God bless you 
both — God Almighty bless you, my darling : " 
and she put her arms about Margaret's neck, and 
kissed her very tenderly. 

And then came the reminder, that must not be 
slighted. The hour had come, indeed, and Cleve 
must positively go. Miss Sheckleton would hear 
of no further delav — no, not another minute. 



\2'2 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Her fear of Sir Booth was profound j so, with a 
" God bless you, darling," and a very pale face, 
and — why should there not be? — one long, long 
kiss, Cleve Yerney took his leave, and was gone ; 
and the sailing moon lost herself among clouds, 
so darkness stole swiftly over the landscape. 

Margaret Fanshawe drew her dear old cousin 
near to her, and in her turn, placing her arms 
round her neck, folded her close, and Anne Sheck- 
leton could feel the wild throbbing of the young 
girl's heart close to her own. 

Margaret was not weeping, but she stood very 
pale, with her arms still laid on her cousin's 
shoulders, and looked almost wildly down into her 
wistful eyes. 

" Cousin Anne — oh, darling ! you must pray 
for me," said Margaret Fanshawe. " I thought 
it could never be ; I thought I knew myself, but 
all that is vain : there is another will above us — 
Fate — Eternal Fate, and I am where I am, I 
know not how." 

"Why, Margaret, darling, it is what I have 
been longing for — the very best thing that could 
have happened ; you ought to be the happiest 
girl in the world," urged Miss Anne Sheckleton, 
cheerily. 

"No, darling; I am* not happy, except in this, 
that I know I love him, and would not give him 



SHE COMES AND SPEAKS. 123 

up for all the world ; but it seems to me to have 
been, from first to last, a fatality, and I can't 
shake off the fear that lies at my heart." 

"Hush, dear — I hear wheels, I think.." said 
Miss Shecklcton, listening. 

Margaret was pre-occupied, and did not listen. 
I don't think she cared much at that moment 
who came or went, except that one to whom her 
love was now irrevocably given. 

" No ; I can't hear — no ; but he will be here 
immediately. We must not be out, you know; 
he may ask for me, and he is so — so very — what 
shall I say ? " 

Margaret did not mind. She turned a wild 
and plaintive look upward towards the struggling 
moon — now emerging, now lost a<iain. 

" Come, darling — let us go," said Margaret. 

And she looked round her gently, as if awaking 
from a dream. 

"Yes, darling, come/' she continued, placing 
her hand on Anne Sheckleton's arm. 

"And you are not to tease yourself, Mar* 
garet, dear, with fancies and follies. As I said 
before, you ought to be one of the happiest girls 
in existence." 

" So I am." she answered, dreamily — " very 
happy — oh ! wonderfully happy — but there is the 
feeling of something — fatal, as I said ; and, be it 



124 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

what it may, let it come. I could not lose him 
now, for all the world." 

She was looking up, as she spoke, towards the 
broken moonlight, herself as pale, and a strange 
plaintive smile of rapture broke over her beautiful 
face, as if answering the smile of a spirit in the 
air. 

" Come quickly, darling, come," whispered 
Miss Sheckleton, and they walked side by side in 
silence to the house, and so to Margaret's room, 
where she sat down by the window, looking out, 
and kind Anne Sheckleton sat by the table, with 
her thin old hand to her cheek, watching her 
fondly, and awaiting an opportunity to speak, 
for she was longing to hear a great deal more. 



CHAPTER XII. 

CLEVE VERNEY HAS A VISITOR. 

So Cleve Verney returned direct to England, 
and his friends thought his trip to Paris, short as 
it was, had done him a world of good. What an 
alterative and tonic a little change of air some- 
times is ! 

The Honourable Kiffyn Fulke Verney was, in 
his high, thin -minded way, at last tolerably con- 
tent, and more pompous and respected than ever. 
The proof of his succession to the peerage of 
Verney was in a perfectly satisfactory state. He 
would prove it, and take his seat next session. 
He would add another to the long list of Lord 
Viscounts Verney of Malory to be found in the 
gold and scarlet chronicle of such dignities. He 
had arranged with the trustees for a provisional 
possession of Verney House, the great stone 
mansion which glorifies one side of the small 
parallelogram called Verney Square. Already 
contractors had visited it and explored its noble 



126 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

chambers and long corridors, with foot-rule and 
note-book, getting together material for tenders, 
and Cleve had already a room there when he came 
up to town. Some furniture had been got in, and 
some servants were established there also, and so 
the stream of life had begun to transfuse itself from 
the old town residence of the Hon. Kiffyn Fulke 
Verney into these long- forsaken channels. 

Here, one morning, called a gentleman named 
Dingwell, whom Cleve Verney, happening to be 
in town, desired the servant to show into the 
room where he sat, with his breakfast, and his 
newspapers about him. 

The tall old man entered, with a slight stoop, 
leering, Cleve thought, a little sarcastically over 
his shoulder as he did so. 

Mr. Dingwell underwent Mr. Cleve Yerney's 
reception, smiling oddly, under his white eye- 
brows, after his wont. 

" I suspect some little mistake, isn't there ? " 
said he, in his cold, harsh, quiet tones. " You 
can hardly be the brother of my old friend, Arthur 
Verney. I had hoped to see Mr. Kiffyn Fulke 
Verney — I — eh ? " 

" I'm his nephew." 

"Oh! nephew? Yes— another generation — 
yes, of course. I called to see the Honourable 
Kiffyn Fulke Verney. I was not able to attend 



CLEVE VERNEY HAS A VISITOR. I '2 1 

the consultation, or whatever you call it. You 
know I'm your principal witness, eh ? Dingwell's 
my name." 

" Oh, to be sure — I beg pardon, Mr. Dingwell," 
said Cleve, who, by one of those odd slips of 
memory, which sometimes occur, had failed to 
connect the name with the case, on its turning 
up thus unexpectedly. 

" I hope your admirable uncle, KifFyn Verney, 
is, at all events, alive and approachable" said the 
old man, glancing grimly about the room ; " though 
perhaps ijou're his next heir, and the hope is hardly 
polite." 

This impertinence of Mr. Dingwell's, Mr. Cleve 
Verney, who knew his importance, and had heard 
something of his odd temper, resented only by 
asking him to be seated. 

" That," said the old man, with a vicious laugh 
and a smirk, also angry, "is a liberty which I was 
about to take uninvited, by right of my years and 
fatigue, eh ? " 

And he sat down with the air of a man who is 
rather nettled than pleased by an attention. 

" And what about Mr. KifFyn Verney ? " he 
asked, sharply. 

" My uncle is in the country," answered Cleve, 
who would have liked to answer the fool according 
to his folly, but he succumbed to the necessity, 



128 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

inculcated with much shrewdness, garnished with 
some references to Scripture, by Mr. Jos. Larkin, 
of indulging the eccentricities of Mr. Dingwell's 
temper a little. 

" Then he is alive ? I've heard such an account 
of the Verneys, their lives are so brittle, and snap 
so suddenly ; my poor friend Arthur told me, and 
that Jew fellow, Levi, here, who seems so intimate 
with the family — d — n him ! — says the same : no 
London house likes to insure them. Well, I see 
you don't like it : no one does ; the smell of the 
coffin, sir; time enough when we are carrion, and 
fill it. Ha, ha, ha ! " 

" Yes, sir, quite,' said Cleve, drily. 

" No young man likes the sight of that stinking 
old lantern-jawed fellow, who shall be nameless, 
looking over his spade so slily ; but the best way 
is to do as I've done. Since you must meet him 
one day, go up to him, and make Lis acquaintance, 
and shake hands ; and egad ! when you've grown 
a little bit intimate, he's not half so disgusting, 
and sometimes he's even a little bit funny/' 

" If I were thinking of the profession of a 
sexton, or an undertaker, I might," began Cleve, 
who felt a profound disgust of this old Mr. Ding- 
well, "but as I don't, and since by the time it 
comes to my turn, I shall be pretty well past seeing 
and smelling " 



CLEVE VERXEY HAS A VISITOR. 129 

" Don't be too sure of that," said Mr. Dingwell, 
with one of his ugly smirks. " Some cheerful 
people think not, you know. But it isn't about 
such matters that I want to trouble you ; in fact, 
I came to say a word to your uncle; but as I 
can't see him, you can tell him, and urge it 
more eloquently too, than I can. You and he 
are both orators by profession; and tell him he 
must give me five hundred pounds immediately." 

" Five hundred pounds ! Why 1 " said Cleve, 
with a scornful surprise. 

"Because I want it/' answered the old gentle- 
man, squaring himself, and with the corner of his 
mouth drawn oddly in, his white head a little on 
one side, and his eyebrows raised, with altogether 
an air of vicious defiance. 

" You have had your allowance raised very 
much, sir — it is an exorbitant allowance — what 
reason can you now urge for this request ? " 
answered Cleve. 

u The same reason, sir, precisely. If I don't 
get it I shall go away, re i?ifecta, and leave you to 
find out proof of the death how you may." 

Cleve was very near giving this unconscionable 
old extortioner a bit of his mind, and ordering 
him out of the house on the instant. But Air. 
Larkin had been so very urgent on the point, that 
he commanded himself. 

VOL. II. K 



130 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" 1 hardly think, sir, you can be serious/' said 
Cleve. 

" Egad, sir ! you'll find it a serious matter if you 
don't; for, upon my soul, unless I'm paid, and 
well paid for it, I'll depose to nothing." 

"That's plain speaking, at all events," said 
Mr. Cleve Verney. 

" Oh ! sir, I'll speak more plainly still," said 
Mr. Dingwell, with a short sarcastic bow. " I 
never mince matters ; life is too short for circum- 
locutions." 

" Verney life, at all events, by your account, sir, 
and I don't desire them. I shall mention the 
matter to my uncle to-day in my letter, but I 
really can't undertake to do more; for I may tell 
you frankly, Mr. Dingwell, I can't, for the life of 
me, understand what you can possibly want of 
such a surn." 

" I suppose, young gentleman, you have your 
pleasures, and I have mine, and they're not 
to be had without money ; and egad, sir ! if 
you fancy it's for love of your old uncle or of 
you, that I'm here, and taking all this trouble, 
you are very much mistaken; and if I help 
you to this house, and the title, and estates, 
I'll take leave to help myself to some little 
amusement — money, I mean, also. Cool fellows, 
egad!" 



CLEVE VERNE? HAS A VISITOR. 131 

The brown features of the old man flushed 
angrily as he laughed. 

" Well, Mr. Dingwell, I can only repeat what 
1 have said, and I will also speak to Mr. Larkin. 
I have no power in the business myself, and you 
had better talk to him/' said Cleve. 

u I prefer the fountain-head, sir. I don't care 
twopence how you arrange it among yourselves ; 
but you must give me the money by Saturday." 

" Rather an early day, Mr. Dingwell; however, 
as I said, the question is for my uncle ; it can't 
affect me," said Cleve. 

Mr. Dingwell mused angrily for a little, and 
Cleve thought his face one of the wickedest he 
had ever seen while in this state of excited rumi- 
nation. 

" You all — both owe me more in that man's 
death — there are very odd circumstances about 
it, I can tell you — than, perhaps, you at present 
imagine," said Mr. Dingwell, looking up suddenly, 
with a dismal sneer, which subsided into an equally 
dismal stare. 

Cleve, for a second or two, returned the stare, 
while the question crossed his mind : " Can the 
old villain mean that my miserable uncle met his 
death by foul means, in which he took a part, and 
intends to throw that consideration in with his 
averred services, to enhance his claim ? 

k 2 



132 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

"You had better tell your uncle, with my com- 
pliments," said Mr. Dingwell, " that he'll make a 
kettle of fish of the whole affair, in a way he 
doesn't expect, unless he makes matters square 

with me. I often think I'm a d d fool, sir, to 

let you off as I do." 

" I don't see, Mr. Dingwell, that you are letting 
us off, as you say, so very easily," answered Cleve, 
with a cold smile. 

"No, you don't see, but I'll make yon see it," 
said Mr. Dingwell, very tartly, and with an un- 
pleasant laugh. " Arthur Verney was always 
changing his quarters — was never in the light. 
He went by different nicknames. There were 
in all Constantinople but two men, except my- 
self, the Consul, and the stockbroker, who 
cashed the money-orders for him, who could 
identify him, or who knew his name. He lived 
in the dark, and not very cleanly — you'll excuse 
the simile — like one of your sewer-rats. He 
died suddenly and oddly, sir, like a candle on 
which has fallen a drop of water, with a splutter 
and a flash, in a moment — one of your Verney 
deaths, sir. You might as well hope to prove 
the death of a particular town-dog there, with- 
out kennel, or master, or name, a year after his 
brothers had eaten him." Cleve knew that old 
Dingwell in this spoke the truth and lied not. 



CLEVE VERXEY HAS A VISITOR. 133 

Lord Yerney had written to great people there, 
who had set small ones in motion, with a result 
very like what Dingwell described. Arthur 
Yerney was a gipsy — seldom sleeping for two 
weeks in the same house — with so many different 
names that it was vain attempting to trace him, 
and merely emerging when he wanted money. 
u So, sir," said Mr. Dingwell, with a smirk, " I see 
my value." 

"I don't recollect that my uncle ever disputed 
it," replied Mr. Cleve Verney. 

" I understand your difficulty perfectly. The 
presumption of English law, ha ! ha ! ha ! is in 
favour of the duration of human life, whenever 
you can't prove a death. So, English law, which 
we can't dispute — for it is the perfection of human 
wisdom — places the putrid body of my late friend 
Arthur in the robes, coronet, and staff of the 
Yerney s, and would give him the spending of the 
rents, too, but that you can't make a horse drink, 
though you may bring him to the water. At all 
events, sir, my festering friend in the shroud will 
hold secure possession of the estates against all 
comers till he exhausts that patient presumption, 
and sees Kiffyn, and you, sir, and every Yerney 
now alive, laid with their faces upward. So, sir, 
you see I know my value. I have the grand 
arcanum ; I hold in my hand the Philosopher;, 



134 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Stone that can turn your pewter and brass into 
gold. I hold it fast, sir, and, egad ! I'll run away 
with it, unless I see a reason." And the old 
gentleman laughed, and shrugged and expanded 
his slender hands with a deprecation that was 
menacing. 

Cleve was very angry, but he was also alarmed ; 
for Mr. Dingwell looked quite capable of any 
treason against the Verney interest to which his 
avarice or his spites might prompt him. A wild, 
cold, wandering eye; a play of the nostrils, and 
a corrugation of the brows that gave to his smile, 
or his laugh, a menace that was villanous, and 
almost insane — warned the young man of the 
quality of the beast, and invited him to the 
exercise of all his self-control. 

"I am quite certain, Mr. Dingwell, that my 
uncle will do whatever is reasonable and fair, 
and I am also sure that he feels his obligations 
to you. I shall take care that he hears all that 
you have said, and you understand that I lite- 
rally have neither power nor influence in his 
decision." 

" Well, he feels his obligations," said Mr. 
Dingwell. " That is pleasant." 

" Certainly; and, as I said, whatever is fair and 
reasonable I am certain he will do/ ; said Cleve 
Verney. 



CLEVE VERNEY HAS A VISITOR. 135 

" Fair and reasonable — that is exactly the thing 
— the value ; and you know — 

1 The worth precise of anything 
Is so much money as 'twill bring. ' 

And Fll make it bring what I say j and I make 
it a rule to treat money matters in the grossest 
terms, because that is the only language which is 
at once intelligible and direct — and grossness I 
believe to be the soul of business j and so, sir, tell 
him with my compliments, I shall expect five 
hundred pounds at ten o'clock in the morning, in 
Bank of England notes." 

At this moment the servant announced the 
Rev. Isaac Dixie, and Mr. Dingwell stood up, 
and, looking with a kind of amusement and scorn 
round the room upon the dusty portraits, made a 
sharp bow to Cleve Verney, and saying, — 

" That's all; good morning, sir" — with another 
nod, turned about, and walked jauntily out of the 
room. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH ON A 
MISSION. 

There was, as Cleve knew, a basis of truth 
in all that Mr. Dingwell had said, which made 
his voice more grating, his eye more alarming, 
and his language more disgusting. 

"\Yould that Fortune had sent them, Cleve 
thought, some enchanted horse, other than that 
beast, to fly them into the fairy-land of their long- 
deferred ambition ! Would that she had sent 
them a Rarey, to lead him by a metaphoric 
halter, and quell, by his art, the devil within him 
— the evil spirit before which something in Cleve's 
nature quailed, because it seemed to know nothing 
but appetite, and was destitute of sympathy and 
foresight. 

Dingwell was beset with dangers and devils of 
his own ; but he stood in his magic circle, making 
mouths and shaking his fist, and cursing at 
them. He seemed to have no imagination to 



REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH ON A MISSION. 137 

awe, or prudence to restrain him. He was aw r are, 
and so was Cleve, that Larkin knew all about his 
old bankruptcy, the judgments against him, the 
impounded forgeries on which he had been on the 
brink of indictment, and his escape from prison ; 
and yet he railed at Larkin, and defied the 
powerful Verneys, as if he had been an angel 
sent to illuminate, to lecture, and to rule them. 

Mr. Larkin was usually an adroit and effectual 
tamer of evil beasts, in such case as this Mr. 
Dingwell. He w r aved his thin wand of red-hot 
iron with a light and firm hand, and made every 
raw smoke in turn, till the lion was fit to lie down 
with the lamb. But this Dingwell was an eccen- 
tric brute ; he had no awe for the superior nature, 
no respect for the imposing airs of the tamer — 
not the slightest appreciation even of his cautery. 
On the contrary, he seemed to like the sensation, 
and amuse himself with the exposure of his sores 
to the inspection of Mr. Larkin, who began to 
feel himself drawn into an embarrassing and 
highly disreputable confidence. 

Mr. Larkin had latterly quite given up the idea 
of frightening Mr. Dingwell, for when he tried 
that method, Mr. Dingwell had grown uncomfort- 
ably lively and skittish, and, in fact, frightened 
the exemplary Mr. Larkin confoundedly. He had 
recapitulated his own enormities with an elation 



138 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and frightful merriment worthy of a scandalous 
corner at a YValpurges ball; had demonstrated 
that he perfectly understood the game of the 
serious attorney, and showed himself so curiously 
thick of skin, and withal so sportive and formid- 
able a rhinoceros, that Mr. Larkin then and there 
learned a lesson, and vowed no more to try the 
mesmerism that succeeded with others, or the hot 
rod of iron under which they winced and gasped 
and succumbed. 

Such a systematic, and even dangerous defiance 
of everything good, he had never encountered be- 
fore. Such a person exactly as this Mr. Dingwell 
he could not have imagined. There was, he feared, 
a vein of insanity in that unfortunate man. 

He had seen quite enough of the horrid adroit- 
ness of Mr. Dingwell's horse-pla}', and felt such 
qualms whenever that animal capered and snorted, 
that he contented himself with musing and won- 
dering over his idiosyncrasies, and adopted a 
soothing treatment with him — talked to him in a 
friendly, and even tender way — and had some 
vague plans of getting him ultimately into a 
mad-house. 

But Mr. Dingwell was by this time getting 
into his cab, with a drapery of mufflers round 
him, and telling the man through the front win- 
dow to drive to Rosemary Court ; he threw him- 



REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS EORTH ON A MISSION. 139 

self back into a corner, and chuckled and snorted 
in a conceited ecstasy over his victory, and the 
money which was coming to minister to no good 
in this evil world. 

Cleve Verney leaned back in his chair, and 
there rose before him a view of a moonlighted 
wood, and old chateau, with its many peaked 
turrets, and steep roofs, showing silvery against 
the deep, liquid sky of night, and with a sigh, he 
saw on the white worn steps, that beautiful, won- 
derful shape that was his hope and his fate; and 
as he leaned on his hand, the Reverend Isaac 
Dixie, whose name had strangely summoned this 
picture from the deep sea of his fancy, entered the 
room, smiling rosily, after his wont, and extend- 
ing his broad hand, as he marched with deliberate 
strides across the floor, as much as to say—" Here 
I am, your old tutor and admirer, who always 
predicted great things for you ; I know you are 
charmed, as I am ; I know how you will greet me." 

" Ha ! old Dixie," and Cleve got up, with a 
kind of effort, and not advancing very far, shook 
hands. 

" So you have got your leave — a week — or how 
long ? " 

" Pve arranged for next Sunday, that's all, my 
dear Mr. Verney ; some little inconvenience, but 
very happy — always happy." 



140 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

" Come, I want to have a talk with you," said 
Cleve, drawing the clergyman to a chair. " Don't 
you remember — you ought, you know — what Lord 
Sparkish (isn't it?) says in Swift's Polite Conver- 
sations — c "lis as cheap sitting as standing/ M 

The clergyman took the chair, simpering bash- 
fully, for the allusion was cruel, and referred to a 
time when the Reverend Isaac Dixie, being as 
yet young in the ways of the world, and some- 
what slow in apprehending literary ironies, had 
actually put his pupil through a grave course of 
(i Polite Conversation," which he picked up among 
some odd volumes of the works of the great Dean 
of St. Patrick's, on the school-room shelf at 
Malory. 

" And for my accomplishment of saying smart 
things in a polite way, I am entirely obliged to 
you and Dean Swift," said Cleve, mischievously. 

" Ah ! ah ! you were always fond of a jest, my 
dear Mr. Yerney; you liked poking fun, you did, 
at your old tutor; but you know how that really 
was — I have explained it so often; still, I do 
allow, the jest is not a bad one. 

But Cleve's mind was already on quite another 
subject. 

"And now, Dixie," said he, with a sharp glance 
into the clergyman's eyes, "you know, or at least 
you guess, what it is 1 want you to do for me? " 



REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH OX A MISSION. HI 

The clergyman looked down by his gaiter, with 
his head a little a-one-side, and his mouth a little 
pursed ; and said he, after a momentary silence, — 

" I really, I may say, unaffectedly t assure you 
that I do not." 

"You're a queer fellow, old Dixie/' said Cleve; 
"you won't be vexed, but you are always a little 
bit too clever. I did not tell you exactly, but I 
told you enough to enable you to guess it. Don't 
you remember our last talk ? Come now, Dixie, 
you're no muff." 

" I hope not, my dear Cleve ; I may be, but I 
don't pretend to that character, though I have 
still, I apprehend, much to learn in the world's 
ways.'-' 

" Yes, of course," said the young man ; and 
tapped his small teeth that glittered under his 
moustache, with the end of his pencil-case, while 
he lazily watched the face of the clergyman from 
under his long lashes. 

"And I assure you," continued the clergyman, 
"if I were to pretend that I did apprehend your 
intentions, I should be guilty of an inaccuracy 
amounting, in fact, to an untruth." 

He thought he detected something a little 
mocking in the handsome face of the young 
gentleman, and could not tell, in the shadow of 
the window-curtain, whether those even white 



142 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

teeth were not smiling at him outright ; and a 
little nettled, but not forgetting himself, he went 
on, — 

"You know, my dear Cleve, it is nothing on 
earth to me — absolutely ; I act merely to oblige 
— merely, I mean, to be useful — if in my power, 
consistently with all other considerations, and I 
speak, I humbly, but confidently hope, habitually 

the truth " 

" Of course you do," said the young gentleman, 
with emphasis, and growing quite serious again. 
" It is very kind, I know, your coming all this 
way, and managing your week's absence; and 
vou may for the present know just as little or as 
much of the matter as you please ; only mind, 
this is — not of course in any wrong sense — a dark 
business — awfully quiet. They say that, in Eng- 
land, a talent for speaking may raise a man to 
anything, but I think a talent for holding one's 
tongue is sometimes a better one. And — I'm quite 
serious, old Dixie — I'll not forget your fidelity to 
me, upon my honour — really, never ; and as you 
know, 1 may yet have the power of proving it." 

The Rev. Isaac Dixie folded his hands, and 
hung his head sideways in a meek modesty, and 
withal smiled so rosily and gloriously, as he sate 
in front of the window, that had it happened an 
hour before sunrise, the sparrows in the ivy all 



REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH ON A MISSION. 143 

along the stable walls, would undoubtedly have 
mistaken it for the glow of Aurora, and com- 
menced their chirping and twittering salutations 
to the dawn an hour too soon. 

" It is very gratifying, very, you cannot readily 
estimate, my dear, and — may I not say? — my 
illustrious pupil, how gratifying to me, quite irre- 
spective of all those substantially kind intentions 
which you are pleased to avow in my behalf, to 
hear from your lips so frank and — may I say, — 
almost affectionate a declaration ; so just an esti- 
mate of my devotion to your interests, and I may 
say, I hope, of my character generally ? " 

The Rector of Clay was smiling with a huge 
bashfulness, and slowly folding and rubbing one 
hand over the other, with his head gently in- 
clined, and his great blue chin upon his guileless, 
single-breasted, black silk bosom, as he spoke all 
this in mellow effusion. 

" Now, Dixie," said the young man, while a 
very anxious expression for the first time showed 
itself in his face, " I want you to do me a kind- 
ness—a kindness that will tie me to you all the 
days of my life. It is something, but not much ; 
chiefly that you will have to keep a secret, and 
take some little trouble, which I know you don't 
mind ; but nothing serious, not the slightest irre- 
gularity, a trifle, I assure you, and chiefly, as I 



1 44- THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

said, that you will have to keep a secret for 
me." 

Dixie also looked a good deal graver as he 
bowed his acquiescence, trying to smile on, and 
still sliding his hands softly, one over the other. 

" I know you guess what it is — no matter — 
we'll not discuss it, dear Dixie j it's quite past 
that now. You'll have to make a little trip for 
me — you'll not mind it; only across what you 
used to call the herring-pond j and you must wait 
at the Silver Lion at Caen ; it is the best place 
there — I wish it was better — not a soul will you 
see — I mean English, no one but quite French 
people ; and there is quite amusement, for a day 
or so, in looking over the old town. Just wait 
there, and I'll let you know everything before 
you have been two days there. I've got your 
passport; you shall have no trouble. And you 
need not go to a bank ; there's gold here ; and 
you'll keep it, and spend it for me till I see you ; 
and you must go to-day." 

" And, of course, I know it is nothing wrong, 
my dear Cleve; but we are told to avoid even the 
appearance of evil. And in any case, I should 
not, of course, for the world offend your uncle — 
Lord Verney, I may call him now — the head of 
the family, and my very kind patron ; for I trust 
I never forget a kindness ; and if it should turn 



REV. ISAAC DIXIE SETS FORTH OX A MISSIOX. 145 

out to be anything which by any chance he might 
misinterpret, I may reckon upon your religious 
silence, my dear Cleve, as respects my name ? " 

" Silence ! of course — Fd die before I should 
tell, under any pressure. I think you know I 
can keep a secret, and my own especially. And 
never trust my honour more if your name is ever 
breathed in connexion with any little service you 
may render me." 

He pressed the Eev. Isaac Dixie's hand very 
earnestly as he spoke. 

" And now, will you kindly take charge of this 
for me, and do as I said ? " continued Cleve, 
placing the gold in Dixie's not unwilling hand. 
" And on this paper I have made a note of the 
best way — all about the boat and the rest ; and 
God bless you, my dear Dixie, good-bye." 

"And God bless you, my dear Cleve," recipro- 
cated the clergyman, and they shook hands again, 
and the clergyman smiled blandly and tenderly ; 
and as he closed the door, and crossed the hall, 
grew very thoughtful, and looked as if he were 
getting into a possible mess. 

Cleve, too, was very pale as he stood by the 
window, looking into the sooty garden at the 
back of Verney House. 



VOL. II. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

OVER THE HERRING-POND. 

Like the vision that had visited Cleve as he 
sate in the breakfast-room of Verney House, 
awaiting the Rev. Isaac Dixie, the old Chateau 
de Cresseron shared that night in the soft yet 
brilliant moonlight. That clergyman — vulgar I 
am afraid ; worldly, perhaps ; certainly not beau- 
tiful — had undertaken this foreign mission into 
the land of romance ; and among its shadows and 
enchanted lights, and heroic phantoms, looked, I 
am afraid, incongruous, as the long-eared, shaggy 
head of Bottom in the fairy-haunted wood near 
Athens. 

In the ancient town of Caen, in the Silver 
Lion, the Rev. Isaac Dixie that evening made 
himself partially understood, and altogether com- 
fortable. He had an excellent dinner, and par- 
took, moderately of course, of the very best vin- 
tage in the crypt of that venerable inn. Why 
should he not ? Was he not making harmless 



OVER THE HERRIXG-POXD. 147 

holiday, and guilty of no extravagance j for had 
not Mr. Cleve Verney buckled a long purse to 
his girdle, and told him to dip his fingers in 
it as often and as deep as he pleased ? And 
if he undertook the task — trod out Cleve 
Verney's corn, surely it was no business of his 
to call for a muzzle, and deny himself his heart's 
content. 

In that exquisite moonlight, having had his 
cup of coffee, the Rev. Isaac Dixie made a loiter- 
ing promenade : everything was bewitching — a 
little wonderful, he fancied — a little strange — 
from his shadow, that looked so sharp on the 
white road, to the gothic fronts and gables of 
old carved houses, emitting ruddy glimmerings 
from diamond casemates high in air, and half- 
melting in the deep liquid sky, gleaming with 
stars over his head. 

All was perfectly French in language and cos- 
tume: not a note of the familiar English accent 
mingled in the foreign hum of life. He was 
quite at his ease. To all censorious eyes he 
walked invisible ; and, shall I tell it ? Why not ? 
For in truth, if his bishop, who abhors that nar- 
cotic, and who, I am sure, never reads novels, 
and therefore cannot read it here, learns nothing 
of it, the telling can hurt nobody. He smoked 
three great cheroots, mild and fragrant, that 

l2 



14S THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

evening, in the ancient streets of Caen, and re- 
turned to his inn, odorous of that perfume. 

It would have been altogether a delicious ex- 
cursion, had there not been a suspense and an 
anxiety to trouble the divine. The Rev. Isaac 
Dixie regretted now that he had not asked Cleve 
to define his object. He suspected, but did not 
know its nature. He had no idea how obsti- 
nately and amazingly the problem would recur to 
his mind, and how serious would grow his qualms 
as the hour of revelation drew near. 

The same moon is shining over the ancient 
streets of Caen, and over smoke-canopied Verney 
House, and over the quaint and lonely Chateau 
de Cresseron. In a tapestried room in this old 
French house candles were burning, the window 
open, and Margaret Fanshawe sitting at it, and 
looking out on the moonlit woods and waters, 
and breathing the still air, that was this night 
soft as summer, in the raptures of a strange 
dream : a dream no more ; the uncertainty is 
over, and all her griefs. No longer is she one of 
that forlorn race that hath but a short time to 
live, and is full of misery. She is not born to 
trouble, as the sparks fly upward, but translated. 
Is it so ? Alas ! alas ! the angelic voice has not 
yet proclaimed " that God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes; and there shall be no 



OVER THE HERRING-POND. 149 

more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither 
shall there be any more pain ; for the former 
things are passed away." These words are for 
the glorified, who have passed the gates of death. 

In this bliss, as in all that pertains to love, 
reason has small share. The heart rejoices as 
the birds sing. A great suspense — the greatest 
care that visits the young heart — has ended in a 
blessed certainty, and in so far the state re- 
sembles heaven ; but, as in all mortal happiness, 
there mingles in this also a sadness like distant 
music. 

Old Sir Booth Fanshawe is away on one of his 
mysterious journeys, and cannot return for three 
or four days, at soonest. I do not know whether 
things are beginning to look brighter with Sir 
Booth, or whether his affairs are being " managed" 
into utter ruin. Meanwhile, the evil spirit has 
departed from the house, and the spirit of music 
has come, music with yet a cadence of sadness 
in it. 

This fair, quaint landscape, and beautiful 
moonlight ! Who ever looks on such a scene 
that does not feel a melancholy mingling in his 
delight ? 



•©■ 



" The moon shines bright : — in such a night as this, 
When the sweet wind <li<l gently kiss the trees, 
And they did make no noise ; in such a night, 



150 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan walls, 
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents, 
Where Cresid lay that night. In such a night 
Stood Dido, with a willow in her hand, 
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love 
To come again to Carthage." 

Thus, in the visions of the Seer who lies in 
Stratford-on-Avon, moonlight and love and melan- 
choly are related ; and so it is, and will be, to 
the end of time, till mortal love is no more, and 
sadness ends, and the moon is changed to blood, 
and all things are made Dew. 

And now over the moonlit water, through the 
boughs of the old trees, the still night air is 
thrilled with a sweet contralto — a homely song — 
the echo of childish days and the nursery. Poor 
Milly ! her maid who died so early, whose lover 
was a young sailor, far away, used to sing it for 
her in the summer evenings, when they sat down 
under the hawthorns, on Winnockhough, looking 
toward the sea, though the sea was many a mile 
away : — 

" As Eve went forth from Paradise, 
She, weeping, bore away- 
One flower that, reared, in tears and sighs, 
Is growing to this day. 

" Where'er the children of the fall 
Are toiling to this hour, 
It blooms for each, it blooms for all, 
And Love we call this flower. 



OVER THE HERRING-POND. 151 

" Red roses of the bygone year 
Are mingled with the mould, 
And other roses will appear 
Where they grew pale and old. 

" But where it grew, no other grows, 
No bloom restores the sear ; 
So this resembles not the rose, 
And knows no other year. 

" So, welcome, when thy bloom is red, 
The glory of thy light ; 
And welcome when thy bloom is shed, 
The long sleep of my night." 

And now the song is ended, and, listening, 
nature seems to sigh; and looking toward the old 
chateau, the front next you is in shadow, the win- 
dow is open, and within you see two ladies. The 
elder is standing by the girl, who sits still at the 
open window, looking up into the face of her old 
friend— the old friend who has known, in the 
early days of romance, what love is, for whom now 
"the bloom is shed, and mingling with the mould/' 
but who remembers sadly the blush and glory of 
its light that died five-and-thirty years ago upon 
Canadian snows. 

Gently the old lady takes her hand, and sits 
beside her girlish kinswoman, and lays her other 
hand over that, and smiles with a strange look of 
affection, and admiration, and immeasurable com- 
passion, that somehow seems to translate her, it 



152 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

is so sad and angelic. I cannot hear what she is 
saying, but the young lady looks up, and kisses 
her thin cheek, and lays her head upon her old 
shoulder. 

Behind, high over the steep roofs and pin- 
nacles, and those glimmering weather-vanes, that 
seem sometimes to melt quite away, hangs the 
moon, unclouded — meet emblem of a pure love — 
no longer crossed by the sorrows of true love's 
course — Dian the Chaste, with her sad, pure, and 
beautifully misleading light — alas ! the emblem, 
also, of mutation. 

In a few concise and somewhat dry sentences, 
as old prison stones bear the records which thin 
hands, long since turned to dust, have carved, the 
world's corridors and corners bear the tracings of 
others that were busy two thousand years ago ; 
and the inscriptions that tell the trite story of 
human fears and sadness, cut sharp and deep in 
the rock, tell simply and briefly how Death was 
the King of Terrors, and the shortness of Life the 
bitter wonder, and black Care the companion of 
the wayfarers who marched by the same route to 
the same goal, so long ago. These gigantic griefs 
and horrors are all in a nutshell. A few words 
tell them. Their terror is in their truth. There 
is no use in expanding them : they are sublimely 
simple. Among the shadowy men and women 



OVER THE HERRING-POND. 153 

that people these pages, I see them everywhere — 
plots too big and complicated to be got, by any 
compression, within the few pages and narrow 
covers of the book of their lives : Care, in her old 
black weeds, and Death, with stealthy foot and 
blow like thunder. 

Twelve months had come and gone for ever 
since the Reverend Isaac Dixie made that little 
trip to Caen, every month bringing his portion of 
blossom, fruit, or blight to every mortal. All had 
gone well and gloriously in this Verney Peerage 
matter. 

The death of the late Honourable Arthur Ver- 
ney was proved ; and the Honourable Kiffyn 
Fulke Verney, as next heir, having complied with 
the proper forms, duly succeeded to the ancient 
peerage of the Verneys. So the dream was 
accomplished more splendidly, perhaps, than if 
the prize had come earlier, for the estates were in 
such condition as they had never attained to since 
the great rebellion ; and if Viscount Verney was 
not among the more potent of his peers, the fault 
was not in the peerage and its belongings. 

I don't know that Lord Verney was on the 
whole a happier man than the Honourable Kiffyn 
had been. He had become somewhat more exact- 
ing; his pride pronounced itself more implacably; 
men felt it more, because he was really formid- 



154 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

able. Whatever the Viscount in the box might 
be, the drag he drove was heavy, and men more 
alert in getting out of his way than they would, 
perhaps, had he been a better whip. 

He had at length his heart's desire ; but still 
there was something wanting. He was not quite 
where he ought to be. With his boroughs, and 
his command of one county, and potent influence 
in another, he ought to have been decidedly a 
greater man. He could not complain of being 
slighted. The minister saw him when he chose ; 
he was listened to, and in all respects courteously 
endured. But there was something unsatisfactory. 
He was not telling, as he had expected. Perhaps 
he had no very clear conceptions to impress. He 
had misgivings, too, that secretly depressed and 
irritated him. He saw Twyndle's eye wander 
wildly, and caught him yawning stealthily into 
his hand, while he was giving him his view of the 
affair of the " the Matilda Briggs/' and the right 
of search. He had seen Foljambe, of the Trea- 
sury, suddenly laugh at something he thought was 
particularly wise, while unfolding to that gentle- 
man, in the drawing-room, after dinner, his ideas 
about local loans, in aid of agriculture. Foljambe 
did not laugh outright. It was only a tremulous 
qualm of a second, and he was solemn again, and 
rather abashed. Lord Verney paused, and looked 



OVER THi: HERRING-POND. L55 

for a second, with stern inquiry in his face, and 
then proceeded politely. But Lord Yerney never 
thought or spoke well of Foljambe again ; and 
often reviewed what he had said, in secret, to try 
and make out where the absurdity lay, and was 
shy of ventilating that particular plan again, and 
sometimes suspected that it was the boroughs and 
the county, and not Kiffyn Lord Yerney, that 
were listened to. 

As the organ of self-esteem is the region of our 
chief consolations and irritations (and its con- 
dition regulates temper), this undivulged mortifi- 
cation, you may be sure, did not make Lord 
Yerney, into whose ruminations was ever trick- 
ling, through a secret duct, this fine stream of 
distilled gall, brighter in spirits, or happier in 
temper. 

Oh ! vanity of human wishes ! Not that the 
things we wish for are not in themselves plea- 
sant, but that we forget that, as in nature every 
substance has its peculiar animalcule and infest- 
ings, so every blessing has, too minute to be seen 
at a distance, but quite inseparable, its parasite 
troubles. 

Cleve Yerney, too, who stood so near the 
throne, was he happy? The shadow of care was 
cast upon him. He had grown an anxious man. 
" Yemey's looking awfully thin, don't you think, 



15G THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and seedy? and he's always writing long letters, 
and rather cross/' was the criticism of one of his 
club friends. " Been going a little too fast, I dare 
say." 

Honest Tom Sedley thought it was this pend- 
ing peerage business, and the suspense ; and re- 
ported to his friend the confident talk of the town 
on the subject. But when the question was 
settled, with a brilliant facility, his good humour 
did not recover. There was still the same cloud 
over his friend, and Tom began to fear that Cleve 
had got into some very bad scrape, probably with 
the Hebrew communitv. 



CHAPTER XV. 

MR. CLEVE YERXEY PAYS A YISIT TO ROSEMARY 
COURT. 

That evoked spirit, Dingwell, was now functus 
officio, and might be dismissed. He was as much 
afraid of the light of London — even the gaslight 
— as a man of his audacity could be of anything. 
Still he lingered there. 

Mr. Larkin had repeatedly congratulated the 
Verney peer, and his young friend and patron, 
Cleve, upon his own masterly management, and 
the happy result of the case, as he called it. And 
although, with scriptural warning before him, he 
would be the last man in the world to say, " Is 
not this great Babylon that I have builded?" 
Yet he did wish Lord Viscount Verney, and Cleve 
Verney, M.P., distinctly to understand that he, 
Mr. Larkin, had been the making of them. 
There were some things — very many things, in 
fact, all desirable — which those distinguished per- 
sons could effect for the good attorney of Glyng- 



158 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

den, and that excellent person in consequence 
presented himself diligently at Verney House. 

On the morning I now speak of, he was intro- 
duced to the library, where he found the peer and 
his nephew. 

" I ventured to call, my lord — how do you do, 
Mr. Verney ? — to invite your lordship's attention 
to the position of Mr. Dingwell, who is compelled 
by lack of funds to prolong his stay in London. 
He is, I may say, most anxious to take his de- 
parture quietly and expeditiously, for Constanti- 
nople, where, I venture to think, it is expedient 
for all parties, that his residence should be fixed, 
rather than in London, where he is in hourly 
danger of detection and arrest, the consequence of 
which, my lord; — it will probably have struck your 
lordship's rapid apprehension already, — would be, 
I venture to think, a very painful investigation of 
his past life, and a concomitant discrediting of 
his character, which although, as your lordship 
would point out to me, it cannot disturb that 
which is already settled, would yet produce an 
unpleasant effect out of doors, which, it is to be 
feared, he would take care to aggravate by all 
means in his power, were he to refer his detention 
here, and consequent arrest, to any fancied eco- 
nomy on your lordship's part." 

"I don't quite follow you about it, Mr. Larkin," 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 159 

said Lord Verney, who generally looked a little 
stern when he was puzzled. " I don't quite 
apprehend the drift — be good enough to sit down 
— about it — of your remarks, as they bear upon 
Mr. Dingwell's wishes, and my conduct. Do you, 
Cieve?" 

"I conjecture that Dingwell wants more money, 
and can't be got out of London without it," said 
Cleve. 

" Eh ? Well, that did occur to me ; of course, 
that's plain enough — about it — and what a man 
that must be ! and — God bless me ! about it — all 
the money he has got from me ! It's incredible, 
Mr. — a — Larkin, three hundred pounds, you 
know, and he wanted five, and that absurdly 
enormous weekly payment besides !" 

" Your lordship has exactly, as usual, touched 
the point, and anticipated, with your wonted accu- 
racy, the line at the other side ; and indeed, I may 
also say, all that may be urged by way of argu- 
ment, pro and con. It is a wonderful faculty ! " 
added Mr. Larkin, looking down with a contem- 
plative smile, and a little wondering shake of the 
head. 

" Ha, ha ! Something of the same sort has 
been remarked in our family about it," said the 
Viscount, much pleased. "It facilitates business, 
rather, I should hope — about it." 



160 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

The attorney shook his head, reflectively, raising 
his hands, and said, "No one but a professional 
man can have an idea!" 

"And what do you suggest?" asked Cleve, 
who was perhaps a little tired of the attorney's 
compliments. 

" Yes, what do you suggest, Mr. — Mr. Larkin ? 
Your suggestion I should be prepared to con- 
sider. Anything, Mr. Larkin, suggested by 
you shall be considered," said Lord Yerney 
grandly, leaning back in his chair, and folding 
his hands. 

"I am much — very much — flattered by your 
lordship's confidence. The former money, I have 
reason to think, my lord, went to satisfy an old 
debt, and I have reason to know that his den 
has been discovered by another creditor, from 
whom, even were funds at his disposal to leave 
England to-night, escape would be difficult, if not 
impossible." 

" How much money does he want," asked Mr. 
Cleve Yerney. 

" A moment, a moment, please. I was going to 
say," said Lord Yerney, "if he wants money — 
about it — it would be desirable to state the 
amount." 

" Mr. Larkin, thus called on, cleared his voice, 
and his dove-like eyes contracted, and assumed 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 161 

their rat-like look, and he said, watching Lord 
Yerney's face, — 

" I am afraid, my lord, that less than three 
hundred " 

Lord Yerney contracted his brows, and nodded, 
after a moment. 

" Three hundred pounds. Less, 1 say, my lord, 
will not satisfy the creditor, and there will remain 
something still in order to bring him back, and 
to keep him quiet there for a time ; and I think, 
my lord, if you will go the length of five hun- 
dred " 

" 'Gad, it's growing quite serious, Mr. — Mr. 
Sir, I confess I don't half understand this per- 
son, Mr. Ding — Dong — whatever it is — it's going 
rather too fast about it. I — I — and that's my 
clear opinion — M and Lord Yerney gazed and 
blinked sternly at the attorney, and patted his 
fragrant pocket-handkerchief several times to his 
chin — " very unreasonable and monstrous, and, 
considering all I've done, very ungrateful" 

iC Quite so, my lord; monstrously ungrateful. 
I can't describe to your lordship the trouble I 
have had with that extraordinary and, I fear I 
must add, fiendish person. I allude, of course, 
my lord, in my privileged character as having the 
honour of confidential relations with your lord- 
ship, to that unfortunate man, Dingwell. I 

VOL. II. M 



1G2 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

assure you, on one occasion, he seized a poker in 
his lodgings, and threatened to dash my brains 
out." 

" Very good, sir," said Lord Verney, whose 
mind was busy upon quite another point; "and 
suppose I do, what do we gain, I ask, by assist- 
ing him ? " 

" Simply, my lord, he is so incredibly reckless, 
and, as I have said, fiendish, that if he were dis- 
appointed, I do think he will stick at nothing, 
even to the length of swearing that his evidence 
for your lordship was perjured, for the purpose of 
being revenged, and your generosity to him 
pending the inquiry, or rather the preparation of 
proofs, would give a colour unfortunately even to 
that monstrous allegation. Your lordship can 
have no idea — the elevation of your own mind 
prevents it — of the desperate character with 
whom we have had to deal." 

w Upon my life, sir, a pleasant position you 
seem to have brought me into," said Lord 
Yerney, flushing a good deal. 

" My lord, it was inevitable," said Mr. Larkin, 
sadly. 

" I don't think he could have helped it, really," 
said Cleve Yerney. 

" And who says he could ? " asked Lord 
Yerney, tartly. u I've all along said it could not 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 1G3 

well be helped, and that's the reason I did it, 
don't you see ? but I may be allowed to say, I 
suppose, that the position is a most untoward 
one ; and so it is, egad ! " and Lord Verney got 
up in his fidget, and walked over to the window, 
and to the chimney-piece, and to the table, and 
fiddled with a great many things. 

"I remember my late brother, S had well Yerney 
— he's dead, poor Shad well — had a world of trouble 
with a fellow — about it— who used to extort money 
from him — something I suppose — like this Mr. 
Ringwood — or I mean — you know his name — till 
he called in the police, and put an end to it." 

" Quite true, my lord, quite true ; but don't 
you think, my lord, such a line with Mr. Dingwell 
might lead to afraycas, and the possible unplea- 
santness to which / ventured to allude ? You 
have seen him, Mr. Yerney ? " 

u Yes j he's a beast, he really is ; a little bit 
mad, I almost think." 

" A little bit mad, precisely so; it really is, my 
lord, most melancholy. And I am so clearly of 
opinion that if we quarrel definitively with Mr. 
Dingwell, we may find ourselves in an extremely 
difficult position, that were the case my own, I 
should have no hesitation in satisfying Mr. Ding- 
well, even at a sacrifice, rather than incur the 
annoyance I anticipate. If you allow me, my 



164 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

lord, to conduct the matter with Mr. Dingwell, 
I think I shall succeed in getting him away 
quietly." 

"It seems to me a very serious sum, Mr, 
Larkin," said Lord Yerney. 

" Precisely so, my lord ; serious — very serious ; 
but your lordship made a remark once in my 
hearing which impressed me powerfully : it was 
to the effect that where an object is to be accom- 
plished, it is better to expend a little too much 
power, than anything too little." I think that Mr. 
Larkin invented this remark of Lord Yerney's, 
which, however, his lordship was pleased to recog- 
nise, notwithstanding. 

So the attorney took his departure, to call 
again next day. 

" Clever man that Mr. — Mr. Larkin — vastly 
clever," said Lord Yerney. "I rather think 
there's a great deal in what he says — it's very 
disgusting — about it j but one must consider, you 
know — there's no harm in considering — and 
— and that Mr. — Dong — Dingleton, isn't it t 
— about it — a most offensive person. I must 
consider — I shall think it over, and give him my 
ideas to-morrow." 

Cleve did not like an expression which had 
struck him in the attorney's face that day, 
and he proposed next day to write to Mr. 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 165 

Dingwell, and actually did] so, requesting that 
he would be so good as to call at Yerney 
House. 

Mr. Dingwell did not come; but a note came 
by post, saying that the writer, Mr. Dingwell, was 
not well enough to venture a call. 

What I term Mr. Larkin's rat-like eyes, and a 
certain dark and even wicked look that crosses 
the attorney's face, when they appear, had left a 
profound sense of uncertainty in Cleve's mind 
respecting that gentleman's character and plans. 
It was simply a conviction that the attorney 
meditated something odd about Mr. Dingwell, 
and that no good man could look as he had 
looked. 

There was no use in opening his suspicion, 
grounded on so slight a thing [as a look, to his 
uncle, who, though often timid and hesitating, 
and in secret helpless, and at his wits' end for 
aid in arriving at a decision, was yet, in a matter 
where vanity was concerned, or a strong preju- 
dice or caprice involved, often incredibly ob- 
stinate. 

Mr. Larkin's look teased Cleve. Larkin might 
grow into an influence very important to that 
young gentleman, and was not lightly to be 
quarrelled with. He would not quarrel with him; 
but he would see Dingwell, if indeed that person 



1GG THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

were still in London ; a fact about which he had 
begun to have some odd misgivings. The note 
was written in a straight, cramp hand, and Mr. 
Larkin's face was in the background always. He 
knew Mr. Dingwell's address j an answer, real or 
forged, had reached him from it. So, full of dark 
dreams and conjectures, he got into a cab, and 
drove to the entrance of Rosemary Court, and 
knocked at Miss Sarah Rumble's door. 

That good lady, from the shadow, looked sus- 
piciously on him. 

"Is Mr. Dingwell at home?" 
"Mr. Dingwell, sir?" she repeated. 
"Yes. Is he at home?" 
"Mr. Dingwell, sir ? No sir." 
" Does not Mr. Dingwell live here ? " 
"There was a gentleman, please, sir, with a 
name like that. Go back, child," she said, sharply 
to Lucy Maria, who was peeping in the back- 
ground, and who might not be edified, perhaps, 
by the dialogue. " Beg parding, sir," she con- 
tinued, as the child disappeared j " they are so 
tiresome ! There was an old gentleman lodging 
here, sir, please, which his name was like that I 
do remember." 

Cleve Verncy did not know what to think. 
" Is there anyone in the house who knows Mr. 
Dingwell? I've come to be of use to him; 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 167 

perhaps lie could see me. Will you say Mr. 
Verney ? " 

" Mr. — what, sir, please ? " 

"Verney — here's my card; perhaps it is 
better." 

As the conversation continued, Miss Rumble 
had gradually come more and more forward, 
closing the door more and more as she did so, so 
that she now confronted Cleve upon the step, and 
could have shut the door at her back, had he 
made any attempt to get in ; and she called over 
her shoulder to Lucy Maria, and whispered some- 
thing, and gave her, I suppose, the card; and in 
a minute more Miss Rumble opened the door 
wide, and showed " the gentleman n upstairs, and 
told him on the lobby she hoped he would not be 
offended, but that she had such positive orders as 
to leave her no choice ; and that in fact Mr. 
Dingwell was in the drawing-room, and would be 
happy to see him, and almost at the same moment 
she threw open the door and introduced him, 
with a little courtesy, and — 

" This way, please, sir ; here's the gentleman, 
please, sir." 

There he did find Mr. Dingwell, smoking a 
cigar, in his fez, slippers, and pea-green silk 
dressing-gown, with a cup of black coffee on the 
little table beside him, his Times and a few maga- 



168 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

zines there also. He looked, in vulgar parlance, 
w seedy," like an old fellow who had been raking 
the night before, and was wofully tired, and in no 
very genial temper. 

" AVill you excuse an old fellow, Mr. Verney, 
and take a chair for yourself? I'm not very well 
to-day. I suppose, from your note, you thought 
I had quitted London. It was not to be expected 
so old a plant should take root ; but it's some- 
times not worth moving 'em again, and they 
remain where they are, to wither, ha, ha, ha ! " 

" I should be sorry it was for any such pur- 
pose ; but I am happy to find you still here, for I 
•was really anxious to call and thank you." 

" Anxious — to thank me ! Are you really serious, 
Mr. Verney ? " said Ding well, lowering his cigar 
again, and looking with a stern smile in his 
visitor's face. 

"Yes, sir; I did wish to call and tell you," 
said Cleve, determined not to grow angry ; " and 
I am here to say that we are very much obliged." 

"Wet" 

" Yes ; my uncle and I." 

"Oh, yes; well, it is something. I hope the 
coronet becomes him, and his robes. I venture 
to say he has got up the masquerading properties 
already ; it's a pity there isn't a coronation or 
something at hand ; and I suppose he'll put up a 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 160 

monument to my dear friend Arthur — a mangy 
old dog he was, you'll allow me to say, though he 
was my friend, and very kind to me ; and I, the 
most grateful fellow he ever met ; Fve been more 
grieved about him than any other person I can 
remember, upon my soul and honour — and a 
devilish dirty dog he was." 

This last reflection was delivered in a melancholy 
aside, after the manner of a soliloquy, and Cleve 
did not exactly know how to take this old fellow's 
impertinence. 

" Arthur Yerney — poor fellow ! your uncle. He 
had a great deal of the pride of his family, you 
know, along with utter degradation. Filthy dog ! 
— pah ! ,J And INIr. Dingwell lifted both his 
hands, and actually used that unpleasant uten- 
sil called a " spittoon," which is seen in 
taverns, to give expression, it seemed, to his 
disgust. 

" But he had his pride, dear Arthur ; he was 
proud, and wished for a tombstone. AY hen he 
was dyiug, he said, ( I should like a monument — 
not of course in a cathedral, for I have been 
living so darkly, and a good deal talked about ; 
but there's an old church or abbey near Malory 
(that I'm sure was the name of the place) where 
our family has been accustomed to bury its quiet 
respectabilities and its mauvais sujets ; and I 



170 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

think they might give me a pretty little monu- 
ment there, quite quietly/ I think you'll do it, 
for you're a grateful person, and like thinking 
people ; and he certainly did a great deal for his 
family by going out of it, and the little vanity of 
a monument would not cost much, and, as he 
said himself, no one would ever see it ; and I 
promised, if I ever had an opportunity, to men- 
tion the subject to your uncle." 

Cleve bowed. 

" ' And,' said he, c there will be a little conflict 
of feeling. I am sure they'd like the monument, 
but they would not make an ostentation of me. 
But remind them of my Aunt Deborah. Poor 
old girl ! she ran away with a fiddler.' Egad, sir ! 
these were his very words, and I've found, on 
inquiring here, they were quite true. She ran 
away with a fiddler — egad ! and I don't know 
how many little fiddlers she had ; and, by Jove ! 
he said if I came back I should recognise a pos- 
sible cousin in every street-fiddler I met with, for 
music is a talent that runs in families. And so, 
when Atropos cut his fiddlestri ng, and he died, 
she took, he said, to selling mutton pies, for her 
maintenance, in Chester, and being properly 
proud as a Ycrney, though as a fiddler's widow 
necessitous, he said she used to cry, behind her 
little table, ' Hot mutton pies ! ' and then, sotto 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 171 

voce, 'I hope nobody hears me;' and you may 
rely upon that family anecdote, for I had it from 
the lips of that notorious member of your family, 
your uncle Arthur, and he hoped that they would 
comply with the tradition, and reconcile the 
Verney pride with Verney exigencies, and con- 
cede him the secret celebration of a monument." 

" If you are serious " 

" Serious about a monument, sir ! who the 
devil could be lively on such a subject ? n and 
Mr. Dingwell looked unaccountably angry, and 
ground his teeth, and grew white. " A monu- 
ment, cheap and nasty, I dare say ; it isn't much 
for a poor devil from whom you've got everything. 
I suppose you'll speak to your uncle,- sir. " 

" I'll speak to him, sir." 

"Yes, do, pray, and prevail. Tin not very 
strong, sir, and there's something that remains for 
you and me to do, sir." 

« What is that ? " 

" To rot under ground, sir ; and as I shall go 
first, it would be pleasant to me to be able to pre- 
sent your affectionate regards to your uncle, when 
I meet him, and tell him that you had complied 
with his little fancy about the monument, as he 
seemed to make a point that his name should not 
be blotted totally from the records of his family." 

Cleve was rather confirmed in his suspicions 



17'2 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

about the sanity of this odious old man — as well 
he might — and, at all events, was resolved to 
endure him without a row. 

" I shall certainly remember, and mention all 
you have said, sir/' said Cleve. 

u Yes," said the old man, in a grim meditation, 
looking down, and he chucked away the stump of 
his cigar, "it's a devilish hard case, Kismet!" 
he muttered. 

" I suppose you find our London climate very 
different from that you have grown accustomed 
to ? " said Cleve, approaching the point on which 
he desired some light. 

"I lived in London for a long time, sir. I 
was — as perhaps you know — junior partner in the 
great Greek house of Prinkipi and Dingwell — 

d n Prinkipi ! say I. He ran us into trouble, 

sir j then came a smash, sir, and Prinkipi le- 
vanted, making a scapegoat of me, the most 
vilified and persecuted Greek merchant that ever 
came on 'Change ! And, egad ! if they could 
catch me, even now, I believe they'd bury me in 
a dungeon for the rest of my days, which, in that 
case, would not be many. I'm here, therefore, I 
may say, at the risk of my life." 

"A very anxious situation, indeed, Mr. Ding- 
well j and I conclude you intend but a short stay 
here ? " 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. 173 

11 Quite the contrary, sir. I mean to stay as 
long as I please, and that may be as long as I 
live." 

" Oh ! I had thought from something that Mr. 
Larkin said," began Cleve Verney. 

" Larkin ! He's a religious man, and does not 
put his candle under a bushel. He's very parti- 
cular to say his prayers ; and provided he says 
them, he takes leave to say what he likes 
beside." 

Mr. Dingwell was shooting his arrows as freely 
as Cupid does ; but Cleve did not take this satire 
for more than its worth. 

" He may think it natural I should wish to be 
gone, and so I do," continued the old man, set- 
ting down his coffee cup, " if I could get away 
without the trouble of going, or was sure of a 
tolerably comfortable berth, at my journey's end ; 
but I'm old, and travelling shakes me to pieces, 
and I have enemies elsewhere, as well as here ; 
and the newspapers have been printing sketches 
of my life and adventures, and poking up atten- 
tion about me, and awakening the slumbering 
recollection of persons by whom I had been, in 
effect, forgotten, ei;en/-where. No rest for the 
wicked, sir. I'm pursued; and, in fact, what 
little peace I might have enjoyed in this, the 
closing period of my life, has been irreparably 



174 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

wrecked by my visit and public appearance here, 
to place your uncle, and by consequence you, in 
the position now secured to you. What do you 
think of me ? " 

" I think, sir, you have done us a great ser- 
vice; and I know we are very much obliged," 
said Cleve, with his most engaging smile. 

"And do you know what I think of myself? 

I think I'm a d d fool, unless I look for some 

advantage." 

" Don't you think, sir, you have found it, on 
the whole, advantageous, your coming here ? " 
insinuated Cleve. 

K Barren, sir, as a voyage on the Dead Sea. 
The test is this— what have I by it ? not five 
pounds, sir, in the world. Now, I've opened my 
mind a little to you upon this subject, and I'm of 
the same mind still; and if I've opened Alad- 
din's garden to you, with its fruitage of emeralds, 
rubies, and so forth, I expect to fill my snuff-box 
with the filings and chippings of your gigantic 
jewellery." 

Cleve half repented his visit, now that the pre- 
sence of the insatiable Mr. Dingwell, and his 
evident appetite for more money, had justified the 
representations of the suspected attorney. 

"I shall speak to Mr. Larkin on the subject/' 
said Cleve Verney. 



A VISIT TO ROSEMARY COURT. IT-') 

" D n Larkin, sir ! Speak to me." 

"But, Mr. Dingwell, I have really, as I told 
you before, no authority to speak ; and no one 
has the least power in the matter but my uncle." 

11 And what the devil did you come here for ? " 
demanded Mr. Dingwell, suddenly blazing up 
into one of his unaccountable furies. " I suppose 
you expected me to congratulate you on your 
success, and to ask leave to see your uncle in his 
coronet — ha, ha, ha ! — or his cap and bells, or 

whatever he wears. By sir, I hope he holds 

his head high, and struts like a peacock, and has 
pleasant dreams j time enough for nightmares, 
sir, hereafter, eh ? Uneasy rests the head that 
wears the crown ! Good evening, sir ; I'll talk 
to Mr. Larkin." 

And with these words Mr. Dingwell got up, 
looking unaccountably angry, and made a half- 
sarcastic, half- furious bow, wherewith he dis- 
missed Mr. Cleve Yerney, with more distinct 
convictions than ever that the old gentleman was 
an unmitigated beast, and more than half a 
lunatic. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

IN LORD VERNEY'S LIBRARY. 

AViio should ligbt upon Cleve that evening as 
he walked homeward but our friend Tom Sedley, 
who was struck by the anxious pallor and melan- 
choly of his face. 

Good-natured Sedley took his arm, and said he, 
as they walked on together, — 

" Why don't you smile on your luck, Cleve ? " 
" How do you know what my luck is ? " 
" All the world knows that pretty well." 
u All the world knows everything but its own 
business." 

" "Well, people do say that your uncle has lately 
got the oldest peerage — one of them — in England, 
and an estate of thirty-seven thousand a year, for 
one thing, and that you are heir-presumptive to 
these trifles." 

" And that heirs-presumptive often get nothing 
but their heads in their hands." 

"No, you'll not come Saint Denis nor any 



IX LORD VERXEY'S LIBRARY. 177 

other martyr over us, my dear boy ; we know 
very well how you stand in that quarter." 

" It's pleasant to have one's domestic relations 
so happily arranged by such very competent per- 
sons. I'm much obliged to all the world for the 
parental interest it takes in my private concerns." 

"And it also strikes some people that a per- 
fectly safe seat in the House of Commons is not 
to be had for nothing by every fellow who wishes 
it." 

" But suppose I don't wish it." 

" Oh ! we may suppose anything." 

Tom Sedley laughed as he said this, and Cleve 
looked at him sharply, but saw no uncomfortable 
meaning in his face. 

" There is no good in talking of what one has 
not tried," said he. " If you had to go down to 
that tiresome House of Commons every time it 
sits ; and had an uncle like mine to take you to 
task every time you missed a division — you'd soon 
be as tired of it as I am." 

" I see, my dear fellow, you are bowed down 
under a load of good luck." They were at the 
door of Tom Sedley's lodgings by this time, and 
opening it, he continued, " I've something in my 
room to show you ; just run up with me for a 
minute, and you'll say I'm a conjuror." 

Cleve, not to be got into good spirits that even- 



178 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

ing, followed liim upstairs, thinking of something 
else. 

" I've got a key to your melancholy, Cleve," 
said he, leading the way into his drawing-room. 
" Look there" and he pointed to a clever copy in 
crayons of the famous Beatrice Cenci, which he 
had hung over his chimney-piece. 

Tom Sedley laughed, looking in Cleve's eyes. 
A slight flush had suddenly tinged his visitor's 
face, as he saw the portrait. But he did not 
seem to enjoy the joke, on the contrary, he looked 
a little embarrassed and angry. " That's Guido's 
portrait — well, what about it ? " he asked, rather 
surlily. 

" Yes, of course ; but who is it like ? " 

" Very few, I dare say, for it is very pretty ; 
and except on canvas, there is hardly such a 
thing as a pretty girl to be seen. Is that all ? 
for the life of me, I can't see where the conjuring 
lies." 

"Not in the picture, but the likeness; don't 
you see it ? " 

"No" said Cleve. "I must go; are you 
coming ? " 

"Not see it!" said Tom. "Why if it were 
painted for her, it could net be more like. Why, 
it's the Flower of Cardyllian, the Star of Malory. 
It is your Miss Fanshawe — my Margaret — oar 



in; lord yerxey's library. 170 

Miss Margaret Fanshawe. I'm making the 
fairest division I can, you see ; and I would not 
be without it for all the world." 

" She would be very much gratified if she 
heard it. It is so flattering to a young lady to 
have a fellow buy a coloured lithograph, and call 
it by her name, and crack jokes and spout mock 
heroics over it. It is the modern way of celebra- 
ting a lady's name. Don't you seriously think, 
Sedley, it would be better to smash it with 
a poker, and throw it into the fire, than go on 
taking such liberties with any young lady's 
name ? " 

" Upon my honour, Cleve, you mistake me ; 
you do me great injustice. You used to laugh 
at me, you know, when I'm quite sure, thinking 
over it now, you were awfully gone about her 
yourself. I never told any one but you why I 
bought that picture ; it isn't a lithograph, but 
painted, or drawn, or whatever they call it, with 
chalks, and it cost five guineas; and no one but 
you ever heard me mention [Miss Fanshawe's 
name, except the people at Cardyllian, and then 
only as I might mention any other, and always 
with respect." 

"What does it signify?" interrupted Cleve, in 
the middle of a forced yawn. "I'm tired to-day, 
and cross — don't you see; and man delights not 

x 2 



180 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

me, nor woman neither. So, if you're coming, 
come, for I must go." 

"And, really, Cleve, the Cardyllian people do 
say (I've had letters) that you were awfully in 
love with her yourself, and always haunting those 
woods of Malory while she was there, and went 
away immediately she left, and have never been 
seen in Cardyllian since." 

w Those Cretans were always liars, Tom Sedley. 
That comes direct from the club. I can fancy 
old Shrapnell in the light of the bow-window, 
composing his farrago of dreams, and lies, and 
chuckling and cackling over it." 

"Well, I don't say that Shrapnell had any- 
thing to do with it ; but I did hear at first they 
thought you were gone about little Agnes Ethe- 
rage." 

"Oh! they found that out — did they?" said 
Cleve. " But you know those people — I mean 
the Cardyllian people — as well, or better than I, 
and really, as a kindness to me, and to save me 
the trouble of endless explanations to my uncle, 
I would be so much obliged if you would not 
repeat their follies — unless, of course, you happen 
to believe them." 

Cleve did not look more cheerful as he drove 
away in a cab which he took to get rid of his 
friend Tom Sedley. It was mortifying to find 



IN LORD YERXEY's LIBRARY. 181 

how vain were his clever stratagems, and how the 
rustic chapmen of that \Velsh village and their 
wives had penetrated his diplomacy. He thought 
he had killed the rumours about Malory, and yet 
that grain of mustard seed had grown while his 
eye was off it, with a gigantic luxuriance, and 
now was large enough to form a feature in the 
landscape, and quite visible from the windows of 
Ware— if his uncle should happen to visit that 
mansion — overtopping the roofs and chimneys of 
Cardyllian. His uncle meditated an early visit 
to Cardyllian, and a short stay at Ware, before 
the painters and gilders got possession of the 
house ; a sort of ovation in demi-toilette, grand 
and friendly, and a foretaste of the splendours 
that were coming. Cleve did hope that those 
beasts would be quiet while Lord Yerney was 
(as he in his grand manner termed it) " among 
them." He knew the danger of a vague sus- 
picion seizing on his mind, how fast it clung, how 
it fermented like yeast, fantastic and obstinate as 
a foolish woman's jealousy; and as men some- 
times will, he even magnified this danger. Al- 
together, Cleve was not causelessly anxious and 
alarmed. He had in the dark to navigate a 
channel which even in broad daylight tasked a 
good steersman. 

AVhen Cleve reached Yerney House it was 



182 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

eight o'clock. Lord Ycrnev had ordered his 
brougham at half-past, and was going down to 
the House ; he had something to say on Lord 
Frompington's bill. It was not very new, nor 
very deep, nor very much; but he had been close 
at it for the last three weeks. He had amused 
many gentlemen — and sometimes even ladies — at 
many dinner parties, with a very exact recital of 
his views. I cannot say that they were exactly 
his, for they were culled, perhaps unconsciously, 
from a variety of magazine articles and pamphlets, 
which happened to take Lord Verney's view of 
the question. 

It is not given to any mortal to have his heart's 
desire in everything. Lord Yerney had a great 
deal of this world's good things — wealth, family, 
rank. But he chose to aim at official station, 
and here his stars denied him. 

Some people thought him a goose, and some 
only a bore. He was, as we know, pompous, con- 
ceited, obstinate, also weak and dry. His grand- 
father had been a cabinet minister, respectable 
and silent ; and was not he wiser, brighter, and 
more learned than his grandfather ? " Why 
on earth should not he?" His influence com- 
manded two boroughs, and virtually two counties. 
The minister, therefore, treated him with distinc- 
tion ; and spoke of him confidentially as horribly 



IX LORD YLRXEV'S LIBRARY. 183 

foolish, impracticable, and at times positively 
impertinent. 

Lord Verney was subject to small pets and 
huffs, and sometimes was affronted with the 
Premier for four or five weeks together, although 
the fact escaped his notice. And when the 
viscount relented, he would make him a visit to 
quiet his mind, and show him that friendly 
relations were re-established ; and the minister 

would say, " Here comes that d d Verney ; 

I suppose I must give him half-an-hour ! " and 
when the peer departed, thinking he had made 
the minister happy, the minister was seriously 
debating whether Lord Verney's boroughs were 
worth the price of Lord Verney's society. 

His lordship was no^v in that sacred apartment, 
his library ; where not even Cleve had a right to 
disturb him uninvited. Preliminaries, however, 
were now arranged; the servant announced him, 
and Cleve was commanded to enter. 

" I have just had a line to say I shall be in 
time at half-past ten o'clock, about it. From- 
pington's bill won't be on till then; and take 
that chair and sit down, about it, won't you ? 
I've a good many things on my miud; people put 
things upon me. Some people think I have a 
turn for business, and they ask me to consider 
and direct matters about theirs, and I do what 



184 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

I can. There was poor "Wimbledon, who died, 
about it, seven years ago. You remember Wim- 
bledon — or — I say — you either remember him or 
you don't recollect him ; but in either case it's of 
no importance. Let me see: Lady Wimbledon — 
she's connected with you, about it — your mother, 
remotely — remotely also with us, the Yerneys. 
Iv'e had a world of trouble about her settlements 
— I can't describe — I can't describe — I was not 
well advised, in fact, to accept the trust at all. 
Long ago, when poor Frompington — I mean poor 
"Wimbledon, of course — have I been saying Wim- 
bledon?" 

Cleve at once satisfied him. 

u Yes, of course. When poor Wimbledon looked 
as healthy and as strong as I do at this moment, 
about it — a long time ago. Poor Wimbledon ! — 
he fancied, I suppose, I had some little turn, 
about it, for business — some of my friends do — 
and I accepted the trust when poor Wimbledon 
looked as little likely to be hurried into eternity, 
about it, as I do. 1 had a regard for him, poor 
AVimbledou, and he had a respect for me, and 
thought I could be of use to him after he was. 
dead, and I have endeavoured, and people think 
I have. But Lady Wimbledon, the dowager, poor 
woman ! She's very long-winded, poor soul, and 
gives me an infinity of trouble. One can't say 



IX LORD VERNEY'S LIBRARY. 185 

to a lady, ' You are detaining me j you are wan- 
dering from the subject ; you fail to come to the 
point.' It would be taking a liberty, or some- 
thing, about it. I had not seen Lady Wimble- 
don, simple 'oman, for seven years or more. It's 
a very entangled business, and I confess it seems 
rather unfair, that I should have my time, already 
sufficiently occupied with other, as I think, more 
important affairs, so seriously interrupted and 
abridged. There's going to be a biil filed — yes, 
and a great deal of annoyance. She has one 
unmarried daughter, Caroline, about it, who is 
not to have any power over her money until she 
is thirty-one. She's not that now. It was hardly 
fair to me, putting it in trust so long. She is a 
very superior person — a young woman one does 
not meet with every day, about it; and — and 
very apprehensive — a great deal of mind — quite 
unusual. Do you know her ? " 

The viscount raised his eyes toward the ceiling 
with a smile that was mysterious and pleased. 

Cleve did know that young lady of eight- 
and-twenty, and her dowager mamma, " simple 
'omau," who had pursued him with extraordinary 
spirit and tenacity for several years, but that was 
past and over. Cleve experienced a thrill of pain 
at his heart. He suspected that the old torturing 
idea was again active in his uncle's mind. 



1S6 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Yes, he did know them — ridiculous old wo- 
man ; and the girl — he believed she'd many any 
one; he fancied she would have done him that 
honour at one time, and he fancied that the trust, 
if it was to end when she was thirty-one, could 
not be very long in force. 

" My dear Cieve, don't you think that's rather 
an odd way of speaking of a young lady? People 
used not in my time — that is, when I was a young 
man of two or three-and-twenty, about it — to talk 
so of young ladies. It was not considered a thing 
that ought to be done. I — I never heard a word 
of the kind." 

Lord Yerney's chivalry had actually called a 
little pink flush to his old cheeks, and he looked 
very seriously still at the cornice, and tapped a 
little nervous tattoo with his pencil-case on the 
table as he did so. 

" I really did not mean — I only meant — in 
fact, uncle, I tell you everything; and poor Caro- 
line is so much older than I, it always struck me 
as amusing." 

" Their man of business in matters of law is 
Mr. Larkington, about it. Our man, you know 
— you know him." 

" Oh, yes. They could not do better. Mr. 
Larkin — a very shrewd fellow. I went, by-the- 
by, to see that old man, Dingwell." 



IX LORD VEKXEY's LIBRARY. 187 

"Ah, well, very good. We'll talk of that br- 
and-by, if you please ; but it has been occurring 
to my mind, Cleve, that — that you should look 
about you. In fact, if you don't like one young 
lady, you may like another. It strikes me I 
never saw a greater number of pretty young 
women, about it, than there are at present in 
town. I do assure you, at that ball — where was 
it ? — the place I saw you, and sent you down to 
the division — don't you remember? — and next 
day, I told you, I think, they never said so much 
as ' I'm obliged to you ' for what I had done, 
though it was the saving of them, about it. I 
say I was quite struck; the spectacle was quite 
charming, about it, from no other cause ; and you 
know there is Ethel — I always said Ethel — and 
there can be no objection there; and I have dis- 
tinct reasons for wishing you to be well connected, 
about it — in a political sense — and there is no 
harm in a little money ; and, in fact, I have made 
up my mind, my dear Cleve, it is indispensable, 
and you must marry. I'm quite clear upon the 
point." 

M I can promise you, my dear uncle, that I 
shan't marry without your approbation.'" 

"Well, I rather took that for granted," ob- 
served Lord Verney, with dry solemnity. 

" Of course. I only say it's very difficult some- 



1SS THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

times to see what's wisest. I have you, I know, 
uncle, to direct me ; but you must allow I have 
also your example. You relied entirely upon 
yourself for your political position. You made 
it without the aid of any sucli step, and I should 
be only too proud to follow your example." 

"A — 'yes — but the cases are different; there's 
a difference, about it. As I said in the debate on 
the Jewish Disabilities, there are no two cases, 
about it, precisely parallel; and I've given my 
serious consideration to the subject, and I am 
satisfied that for every reason you ought to choose 
a wife immediately ; there's no reason against it, 
and you ought to choose a wife, about it, imme- 
diately ; and my mind is made up quite decidedly, 
and I have spoken repeatedly ; but now I tell you 
I recognise no reason for further delay — no reason 
against the step, and every reason for it ; and in 
short, I shall have no choice but to treat any 
dilatory procedure in the matter as amounting to 
a distinct trifling with my known wishes, desire, 
and opinion." 

And the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Yerney 
smote his thin hand emphatically at these words, 
upon the table, as he used to do in his place in 
the House. 

Then followed an impressive silence, the peer 
holding his head high, and looking a little 



IN LORD VERNEY'S LIBRARY. 189 

flushed ; and Cleve very pale, with the ghost of 
the smile he had worn a few minutes before. 

There are instruments that detect and measure 
with a beautiful accuracy, the presence and force 
of invisible influences — heat, electricity, air, 
moisture. If among all these " meters " — elec- 
tronometers, hygrometers, anemometers — an ody- 
nometer, to detect the presence and measure the 
intensity of hidden pain, were procurable, and 
applied to the breast of that pale, smiling young 
man at that moment, I wonder to what degree in 
its scale its index would have pointed ! 

Cleve intended to make some slight and playful 
remark, he knew not what, but his voice failed 
him. 

He had been thinking of this possibility — of 
this hour — for many a day, as some men will of 
the Day of Judgment, and putting it aside as a 
hateful thought, possibly never to be embodied in 
factj and here it was come upon him, suddenly, 
inevitably, in all its terrors. 

""Well, certainly, uncle, — as you wish it. I 
must look about me — seriously. I know you 
wish me to be happy. Fm very grateful; you 
have always bestowed so much of your thought 
and care upon me — too good, a great deal." 

So spoke the young man — white as that sheet 
of paper on which his uncle had been pencilling 



190 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

two or three of what he called his thoughts — and 
almost as unconscious of the import of the words 
he repeated. 

" I'm glad, my dear Cleve, you are sensible 
that I have been, I may say, kind ; and now let 
me say that I think Ethel has a great deal in her 
favour. There are others, however, I am well 
aware, and there is time to look about, but I 
should wish something settled this season — in 
fact, before we break up, about it; in short I 
have, as I said, made up my mind. I don't act 
without reasons ; I never do, and mine are con- 
clusive; and it was on this topic, my dear Cleve, 
I wished to see you. And now I think you may 
as well have some dinner. I'm afraid I've de- 
tained you here rather long." 

And Lord Yerney rose, and moved toward a 
book-case with Hansard in it, to signify that the 
conference was ended, and that he desired to be 
alone in his study. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

AN OVATION. 

Cleve had no dinner; he had supped full of 
horrors. He got on his coat and hat, and appeared 
nowhere that evening, but took an immense walk 
instead, in the hope I dare say of tiring out his 
agony — perhaps simply because quietude and un- 
interrupted thought were unendurable. 

Next day hope began a little to revive. An 
inventive mind is inexhaustible; and are not the 
resources of delay always considerable ? 

"Who could have been acting upon his uncle's 
mind in this matter ? The spring of Lord Verney's 
action was seldom quite within himself. All at 
once he recollected that he had come suddenly 
upon what seemed an unusually secret conference 
between his uncle and Mr. Larkin about ten days 
since ; it was in the library. He was sure the 
conversation had some reference to him. His 
uncle looked both annoyed and embarrassed when 
he came into the room; even the practised coun- 



192 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

tenance of Mr. Larkin betrayed some faint signs 
of confusion. 

Larkin he knew had been down in the neigh- 
bourhood of Ware, and probably in Cardyllian. 
Had anything reached him about the Malory 
romance? Mr. Larkin was a man who would 
not stick at trifles in hunting up evidence, and 
all that concerned him would now interest Mr. 
Larkin, and Cleve had too high an opinion of 
that gentleman's sagacity not to assume that if 
he had obtained the clue to his mystery he would 
make capital of the secret with Lord Yerney. 
Viscera magnorum domuum — nothing like secret 
relations — confidences, — and what might not come 
of this ? Of course, the first result would be a 
peremptory order on which Lord Verney had 
spoken last night. The only safety for the young 
man, it will be concluded, is to marry him suit- 
ably forthwith. 

And — by Jove ! — a flash of light ! He had it ! 
The whole thing was clear now. Yes ; lie was to 
be married to Caroline Oldys, because Mr. Larkin 
was the professional right hand of that family, 
and so the attorney would glide ultimately into 
the absolute command of the House of Yerney ! 

To think of that indescribably vulgar rogue's 
actually shaping the fortunes and meting out the 
tortures of Cleve Yerney. 



AN oVATloN. 193 

How much of our miseries result from the folly 
of those who would serve us ! Here was Viscount 
Yerney with, as respected Cleve, the issues of 
life very much in his fingers, dropping through 
sheer imbecility into the coarse hands of that 
odious attorney ! 

Cleve trembled with rage as he thought of the 
degradation to which that pompous fool, Lord 
Verney, was consigning him, yet what was to be 
done ? Cleve was absolutely at the disposal of 
the peer, and the peer was unconsciously placing 
himself in the hands of Mr. Larkin, to be worked 
like a puppet, and spoken for by the Pharisaical 
attorney. 

Cleve's theory hung together plausibly. It 
would have been gross folly to betray his jealousy 
of the attorney, whose opportunities with his 
uncle he had no means of limiting or interrupting, 
and against whom he had as yet no case. 

He was gifted with a pretty talent for dissimu- 
lation ; Mr. Larkin congratulated himself in 
secret upon Cleve's growing esteem and confi- 
dence. The young gentleman's manner was 
gracious and even friendly to a degree that was 
quite marked, and the unconscious attorney would 
have been startled had he learned on a sudden 
how much he hated him. 

Ware — that great house which all across the 

VOL. II. O 



194 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

estuary in which its princely front was reflected, 
made quite a feature in the landscape sketched by 
so many tourists, from the pier on the shingle of 
Cardyllian on bright summer days, was about to 
be re-habilitated, and very splendid doings were 
to follow. 

In the mean time, before the architects and 
contractors, the plumbers, and painters, and car- 
penters, and carvers, and gilders had taken pos- 
session, and before those wonderful artists in 
stucco who were to encrust and overspread the 
ceilings with noble designs, rich and graceful and 
light, of fruit and flowers and cupids, and from 
memory, not having read the guide-book of 
Cardyllian and its vicinity for more than a year, 
I should be afraid to say what arabesques, and 
imagery beside, had entered with their cements 
and their scaffolding; and before the three 
brother artists had got their passports for England 
who were to paint on the panels of the doors such 
festive pieces as "Watteau loved. In short, before 
the chaos and confusion that attend the throes of 
that sort of creation had set in, Lord Verney was 
to make a visit of a few days to Ware, and was to 
visit Cardyllian and to receive a congratulatory 
address from the corporation of that ancient town, 
and to inspect the gas-works (which I am glad to 
say are hid away in a little hollow), and the two 



AN OVATION. 195 

fountains which supply the town — constructed, as 
the inscription tells, at the expense of " the Right 
Honourable Kiffyn Fulke, Nineteenth Viscount 
Verney, and Twenty-ninth Baron Penruthyn, of 
Malory." \Vhat else his lordship was to see, and 
to do, and to say on the day of his visit the 
county and other newspapers round about printed 
when the spectacle was actually over, and the 
great doings matter of history. 

There were arches of evergreens and artificial 
flowers of paper, among which were very tolerable 
hollyhocks, though the roses were startling. 
Under these, Lord Viscount Verney and the 
" distinguished party " who accompanied him 
passed up Castle Street to the town-hall, where he 
was received by the mayor and town-councillors, 
accompanied and fortified by the town-clerk and 
other functionaries, all smiling except the mayor, 
on whom weighed the solemn responsibility of 
having to read the address, a composition, and no 
mean one, of the Rev. Dr. Splayfoot, who attended 
with parental anxiety " to see the little matter 
through," as he phrased it, and was so awfully 
engaged that Mrs. Splayfoot, who was on his arm, 
and asked him twice, in a whisper, whether the 
tall lady in purple silk was Lady Wimbledon, 
without receiving the slightest intimation that she 
was so much as heard, remarked testily that she 

2 



196 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

hoped he would not write many more addresses, 
inasmuch as it made him ill-bred to that degree 
that if the town-hall had fallen during the read- 
ing, he never would have perceived it till he had 
shaken his ears in kingdom-come. Lord Verney 
read his answer, which there was much anxiety 
and pressure to hear. 

"Now it really ivas be-autifu'i — wasn't it ? " our 
friend Mrs. Jones, the draper, whispered, in parti- 
cular reference to that part of it, in which the 
viscount invoked the blessing of the Almighty 
upon himself and his doings, gracefully admitting 
that in contravention of the Divine will and the 
decrees of heaven, even he could not be expected 
to accomplish much, though with the best inten- 
tions. And Captain Shrapnell, who felt that the 
sentiment was religious, and was anxious to be 
conspicuous, standing with his hat in his hand, 
with a sublime expression of countenance, said in 
an audible voice — "Amen." 

All this over, and the building inspected, the 
distinguished party were conducted by the mayor, 
the militia band accompanying their march — [air 
— "The Meeting of the Waters"]— to the 
"Fountains" in Gunner's Lane, to which I have 
already alluded. 

Here they were greeted by a detachment of the 
Llanwthyn Temperance Union, luaded by short, 



AN OV \TK')X. 107 

fat Thomas Pritchard, the interesting apostle of 
total abstinence, who used to preach on the sub- 
ject alternately in Welsh and English in all the 
towns who wonld hear his gospel, in most of which 
he was remembered as having been repeatedly 
fined for public intoxication, and known by the 
familiar pet-name of " Swipey Tom/' before his 
remarkable conversion. 

Mr. Pritchard now led the choir of the Lan- 
wthyn Temperance Union, consisting of seven 
members, of various sizes, dressed in their Sunday 
costume, and standing in a row in front of foun- 
tain Xo. 1 — each with his hat in his left hand and 
a tumbler of fair water in his right. 

Good Mrs. Jones, who had a vague sense of 
fun, and remembered anecdotes of the principal 
figure in this imposing spectacle, did laugh a little 
modestly into her handkerchief, and answered the 
admonitory jog of her husband's elbow by plead- 
ing — " Poor fellows ! "Well, vou know it is odd — 
there's no denying that you know;' 9 and from the 
background were heard some jeers from the ex- 
cursionists who visited Cardyllian for that gala, 
which kept Hughes, the Cardyllian policeman, 
and Evans, the other " horney," who had been 
drafted from Llwynan, to help to overawe the tur- 
bulent, very hot and active during that part of the 
ceremony. 



198 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Particularly unruly was John Swillers, who, 
having failed as a publican in Liverpool, in con- 
sequence of his practice of drinking the greater 
part of his own stock in trade, had migrated to 
"The Golden Posts" in Church Street, Cardyllian, 
where he ceased to roll his barrel, set up his tres- 
sels, and had tabernacled for the present, drink- 
ing his usual proportion of his own liquors, and 
expecting the hour of a new migration. 

Over the heads of the spectators and the admir- 
ing natives of Cardyllian w r ere heard such exhor- 
tations as " Go it, Swipey." " There's gin in 
that," " Five shillin's for his vorship, Swipey," " I 
say, Swipey Tom, pay your score at the Golden 
Posts, will ye?" "Will ye go a bit on the 
stretcher, Swipey ? " " Here's two horneys as '11 
take ye home arter that." 

And these interruptions, I am sorry to say, 
continued, notwithstanding the remonstrances 
which Mr. Hughes addressed almost pathetic- 
ally to John Swillers of the Golden Po>ts, as a 
respectable citizen of Cardyllian, one from whose 
position the police were led to expect assistance 
and the populace an example. There was some- 
thing in these expostulations which struck John 
Swillers, for he would look with a tipsy solemnity 
in Hughes's face while he delivered them, and 
once took his hand, rather affectionately, and said, 



AN OVATION. 199 

"That's your sort." But invariably these un- 
pleasant interpolations were resumed, and did 
not cease until this moral exhibition had ended 
with the last verse of the temperance song, 
chanted by the deputation with great vigour, in 
unison, and which, as the reader will perceive, 
had in it a Bacchanalian character, which struck 
even the gravest listeners as a hollow mockery: — 

Refreshing more than sinful swipes, 

The weary man 

AYho quaffs a can, 
That sparkling foams through leaden pipes. 

Chorus. 

Let every man 

Then, fill his can, 

And till the glass 

Of every iass 
In brimming bumpers sparkling clear, 
To pledge the health of Verney's Peer ! 

And then came a chill and ghastly " hip-hip, 
hurrah/' and with some gracious inquiries on Lord 
Verney's part, as to the numbers, progress, and 
finances of " their interesting association," and a 
subscription of ten pounds, which Mr. John 
Swillers took leave to remark, "wouldn't be laid 
out on water, by no means/' the viscount, with 
grand and radiant Mr. Larkin at his elbow, and 
frequently murmuring in his ear — to the infinite 
disgust of my friend, Wynne Williams, the 



200 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Cardyllian attorney, thus out-strutted and out- 
crowed on his own rustic elevation — was winning 
golden opinions from all sorts of men. 

The party went on, after the wonders of the 
town had been exhausted, to look at Malory, and 
thence returned to a collation, at which toasts 
were toasted and speeches spoken, and Captain 
Shrapnell spoke, by arrangement, for the ladies 
of Cardyllian in his usual graceful and facetious 
manner, with all the puns and happy allusions 
which a month's private diligence, and, I am 
sorry to say, some shameless plagiarisms from 
three old numbers of poor Tom Hood's " Comic 
Annual/' could get together, and the gallant 
captain concluded by observing that the noble 
lord whom they had that day the honour and 
happiness to congratulate, intended, he under- 
stood, everything that was splendid and liberal 
and handsome, and that the town of Cardyllian, 
in the full radiance of the meridian sunshine, 
whose golden splendour proceeded from the 
smith — " The cardinal point at which the great 
house of Ware is visible from the Green of Car- 
dyllian " — (hear, hear, and laughter) — "there 
remained but one grievance to be redressed, and 
that set to rights, every ground of complaint 
would slumber for ever, he might say, in the 
great bed of "Ware M — (loud cheers and laughter) 



AX 0VATI0N. 201 

— "and what was that complaint? He was in- 
structed by his fair, lovely, and beautiful clients 
— the Indies of Cardyllian — some of whom he saw 
in the gallery, and some still more happily situ- 
ated at the festive board"— (a laugh). "AY ell, 
he was, he repeated, instructed by them to say 
that there was one obvious duty which the noble 
lord owed to his ancient name — to the fame of 
his public position — to the coronet, whose golden 
band encircled his distinguished brow — and above 
all, to the ancient feudal dependency of Cardyl- 
lian"— (hear, hear) — "and that was to select 
from his county's beauty, fascination, and accom- 
plishment, and he might say loveliness, a partner 
worthy to share the ermine and the coronet and 
the name and the — ermine " (hear, hear) " of the 
ancient house of Yerney " (loud cheers) ; " and 
need he add that when the selection was made, 
it was hoped and trusted and aspired after, that 
the selection would not be made a hundred miles 
away from the ivied turrets, the feudal ruins, the 
gushing fountains, and the spacious town-hall of 
Cardyllian " (loud and long-continued cheering, 
amid which the gallant captain, very hot, and 
red, and smiling furiously, sat down with a sort 
of lurch, and drank off a glass of champagne, and 
laughed and giggled a little in his chair, while 
the "cheering and laughter" continued). 



202 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

And Lord Verney rose, not at all hurt by this 
liberty, very much amused on the contrary, and 
in high good humour his lordship said, — 

"Allow me to say — I am sure you will" — 
(hear, hear, and cries of "We will") — "I say, I 
am sure you will permit me to say that the ladies 
of Cardylliarj, a-a-about it, seem to me to have 
chosen a very eloquent spokesman in the gallant, 
and I have no doubt, distinguished officer who 
has just addressed the house. AVe have all been 
entertained by the eloquence of Captain Scollop " 
— [here the mayor deferentially whispered some- 
thing to the noble orator] — "I beg pardon — 
Captain Grapnell — who sits at the table, with his 
glass of wine, about it — and very good wine it is 
— his glass, I say, where it should be, in his 
hand" — (hear, hear, and laughter, and "You 
got it there, captain"). "And I assure the gal- 
lant captain I did not mean to be severe — only 
we were all joking — and I do say that he has his 
hand — my gallant friend, Captain Grabblet, has 
it — where every gallant officer's ought to be, 
about it, and that is, upon his weapon " — (hear, 
hear, laughter, and cries of " His lordship's too 
strong for you, captain"). " I don't mean to hurt 
him, though, about it," (renewed cries of hear, 
and laughter, during which the captain shook 
his ears a little, smiling into his glass rather fool- 



AX OVATION. 203 

ishly, as a man who was getting the worst of it, 
and knew it, but took it pleasantly). "No, it 
would not be fair to the ladies about it," (renewed 
laughter and cheering), "and all I will say is 
this, about it — there are parts of Captain Scrap- 
let's speech, which I shan't undertake to answer 
at this moment. I feel that I am trespassing, 
about it, for a much longer time than I had 
intended," (loud cries of " No, no, go on, go on/' 
and cheering, during which the mayor whispered 
something to the noble lord, who, having heard 
it twice or thrice repeated, nodded to the mayor 
in evident apprehension, and when silence was 
restored, proceeded to say,) "I have just heard, 
without meaning to say anything unfair of the 
gallant captain, Captain Scalpel, that he is hardly 
himself qualified to give me the excellent advice, 
about it, which I received from him ; for they 
tell me that he has rather run away, about it, 
from his colours, on that occasion." (Great 
laughter and cheering). "I should be sorry to 
wound Captain Shat — Scat — Scrap, the gallant 
captain, to wound him, I say, even in front." 
(Laughter, cheering, and a voice from the gallery 
"Hit him hard, and he won't swell," "Order.") 
" But I think I was bound to make that observa- 
tion in the interest of the ladies of Cardyllian, 
about it j " (renewed laughter) ; " and, for my 



204 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

part, I promise my gallant friend — my — captain 
— about it — that although I may take some time, 
like himself" (loud laughter); "although lean- 
not let fall, about it, any observation that may 
commit me, yet I do promise to meditate on the 
excellent advice he has been so good as to give 
me, about it." And the noble lord resumed his 
seat amid uproarious cheering and general laugh- 
ter, wondering what had happened to put him 
in the vein, and regretting that some of the people 
at Downing Street had not been present to hear 
it, and witness its effect. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

OLD FRIENDS OX THE GREEN. 

Tom Sedley saw the Etherage girls on the 
green, and instead of assisting as he had intended, 
at the great doings in the town, he walked over 
to have a talk with them. 

People who know Cardyllian remember the 
two seats, partly stone, partly wood, which are 
placed on the green, near the margin of the sea — 
seats without backs — on which you can sit with 
equal comfort, facing the water and the distant 
mountains, or the white-fronted town and old 
Castle of Cardyllian. Looking toward this latter 
prospect, the ladies sat, interested, no doubt, 
though they preferred a distant view, in the 
unusual bustle of the quiet old place. 

On one of these seats sat Charity and Agnes, 
and as he approached, smiling, up got Charity 
and walked some steps towards him ! looking 
kindly, but not smiling, for that was not her 



206 THE TENANTS OF HALORY. 

wont, and with her thin hand, in dog-skin glove, 
extended to greet him. 

" How are you, Thomas Sedley ? when did you 
come ? " asked Miss Charity, much gladder to 
see him than she appeared. 

" I arrived this morning ; you're all well, I 
hope; " he was looking at Agnes, and would have 
got away from Miss Charity, but that she held 
him still by the hand. 

"All very well, thank you, except Agnes. I 
don't think she's very well. I have ever so 
much to tell you when you and I have a quiet 
opportunity, but not now," — she was speaking 
in a low tone ; — " and now go and ask Agues 
how she is."' 

So he did. She smiled a little languidly, he 
thought, and was not looking very strong, but 
prettier than ever — so very pretty ! She blushed 
too, very brilliantly, as he approached ; it would 
have been nattering had he not seen Cleve Ver- 
ney walking quickly over the green toward the 
Etherage group. For whom was the blush ? 
Two gentlemen had fired simultaneously. 

"Your bird? I rather think my bird? — isn't 
it?" 

Now Tom Sedley did not think the bird his, 
and he felt, somehow, strangely vexed. And he 
got through his greeting uncomfortably ; his 



OLD FRIENDS OX THE GREEN. 207 

mind was away with Cleve Verney, who waa 
drawing quickly near. 

" Oh ! Mr. Verney, ivhat a time it is since we 
saw you last ! "exclaimed emphatic Miss Charity; 
" I really began to think you'd never come." 

"Very good of you, Miss Etherage, to think 
about me." 

"And you never gave me your subscription for 
our poor old women, last winter ! " 

" Oh ! my subscription ? I'll give it now — 
what was it to be — a pound ? " 

" No, you promised only ten shillings, but it 
ought to be a pound. I think less would be 
shameful." 

" Then, Miss Agnes, shall it be a pound ? " he 
said, turning to her with a laugh — with his fin- 
gers in his purse, " whatever you say I'll do." 

" Agnes — of course, a pound," said Charity, in 
her nursery style of admonition. 

" Charity says it must be a pound," answered 
Agues. 

" And you say so ? " 

" Of course, I must." 

"Then a pound it is — and mind," he added, 
laughing, and turning to Miss Charity with the 
coin in his fingers, " I'm to figure in your book 
of benefactors — your golden book of saints, or 
martyrs, rather; but you need not put down my 



208 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

name, only ' The old woman's friend,' or 'A 
lover of Annuel/ or ' A promoter of petticoats/ 
or any other benevolent alias you think be- 
coming." 

" ' The old woman's friend/ will do very 
nicely," said Charity, gravely. "Thank you, 
Air. Yerney, and we were so glad to hear that 
your uncle has succeeded at last to the peerage. 
He can be of such use — you really would be — he 
and you both, Mr. Yerney — quite amazed and 
shocked, if you knew how much poverty there is 
in this town." 

"It's well he does not know just now, for he 
wants all his wits about him. This is a critical 
occasion, you know, and the town expects great 
things from a practised orator. I've stolen away, 
just for five minutes, to ask you the news. We 
are at Ware, for a few days; only two or three 
friends with us. They came across in my boat 
to-day. We are going to set all the tradespeople 
on earth loose upon the house in a few days. It 
is to be done in an incredibly short time; and 
my uncle is talking of getting down some of his 
old lady relations to act chaperon, and we hope to 
have you all over there. You know it's all made 
up, that little coldness between my uncle and your 
father. I'm so glad. Your father wrote him 
such a nice note to-day explaining his absence — 



OLD FRIENDS ON THE GBEEN. 

he never goes into a crowd, lie Bays — and Lord 
Veruey wrote him a line to say, if he would allow 
him, he would go up to Hazelden to pay his 
respects this afternoon." 

This move was a suggestion of Mr. Larkin's, 
who was pretty well up in election strategy. 

" I've ascertained, my lord, he's good for a 
hundred and thirty-seven votes in the county, 
and your lordship has managed him with such 
consummate tact that a very little more will, 
with the Divine blessing, induce the happiest, 
and I may say, considering the disparity of your 
lordship's relations and his, the most dutiful feel- 
ings on his part — resulting, in fact, in your lord- 
ship's obtaining the absolute command of the 
constituency. You were defeated, my lord, last 
time, by only forty-three votes, with his influence 
against you. If your lordship were to start your 
nephew, Mr. Cleve Verney, for it next time, 
having made your ground good with him, he 
would be returned, humanly speaking, by a 
sweeping majority/' 

u So, Lord Verney's going up to see papa ! 
Agnes, we ought to be at home. He must have 
luncheon." 

"No — a thousand thanks — but all that's ex- 
plained. There's luncheon to be in the town- 
hall — it's part of the programme — and speeches - 
VOL. ii. p 



*J1() THE TENANTS OF KALORY. 

and all that kind of rubbish; so he can only rue 
up for a few minutes, just to say, 'How do ye 
do?' and away again. So, pray, don't think of 
going all that way, and he'll come here to be 
introduced, and make your acquaintance. And 
now tell me all your news." 

" Well, those odd people went away from 
Malory" — began Charity. 

" Oh, yes, I heard, I think, something of that," 
said Cieve, intending to change the subject, per- 
haps j but Miss Charity went on, for in that 
eventless scene an occurrence of any kind is too 
precious to be struck out of the record on any 
ground. 

" They went away as mysteriously as they came 
— almost — and so suddenly" 

" You forgot, Charity, dear, Mr. Verney was 
at Ware when they went, and here two or three 
times after they left Malory." 

" So I was," said Cleve, with an uneasy glance 
at Tom Sedley; " I knew I had heard something 
of it." 

" Oh, yes ; and they say that the old man was 
both mad and in debt." 

" What a combination ! " said Cleve. 

u Yes, I assure you, and a Jew came down 
with twenty or thirty bailiffs — I'm only telling 
you what Mr. Apjohn heard, and the people here 



OLD FRIENDS ON THE GREEN 211 

tell us — and a mad doctor, and people with strait 
waistcoats, and they surrounded Malory; but he 
was gone! — not a human being knew where — 
and that handsome girl, wasn't she quite bee-au- 

tifuir 

" Oh, what everyone says, you know, must be 
true," said Cleve. 

" What do you say ? " she urged upon Tom 
Sedley. 

" Oh, I say ditto to everyone, of course." 

"Well, I should think so, for you know you 
are quite desperately in love with her," said Miss 
Charity. 

"I? "Why, I really never spoke to her in all 
ray life. Now, if you had said Cleve Verney." 

" Oh, yes ! If you had named me. But, by 
Jove ! there they go. Do you see ? My uncle 
and the mayor, and all the lesser people, trooping 
away to the town-hall. Good-bye ! I haven't 
another moment. You'll be here, I hope, 
when we get out ; do, pray. I have not a mo- 
ment." 

And he meant a glance for Miss Agnes, but it 
lost itself in air, for that young lady was looking 
down, in a little reverie, on the grass, at the tip of 
her tiny boot. 

" There's old Miss Christian out, I declare ! " 
exclaimed Charity. " Did you ever hear of such 

P 2 



•212 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

a thing? I wonder whether Doctor Lyster 
knows she is out to-day. I'll just go and speak 
to her. If he doesn't, Til simply tell her she is 
mad!" 

And away marched Miss Charity, bent upon 
finding out, as she said, all about it. 

"Agnes," said Tom Sedley, "it seemed to me 
to-day, you were not glad to see me. Are you 
vexed with me ? " 

"Vexed ? No, indeed ! " she said, gently, and 
looking up with a smile. 

" And your sister said n Tom paused, for 

he did not know whether Charity's whisper about 
her not having been "very strong " might not be 
a confidence. 

" What does Charity say ? n asked Agnes, 
almost sharply, while a little flush appeared in 
her cheeks. 

" Well, she said she did not think you were so 
strong as usual. That was all." 

"That was all — no great consequence," said 
she, with a little smile upon the grass and sea- 
pinks — a smile that was bitter. 

" You can't think I meant that, little Agnes, I 
of all people ; but I never was good at talking. 
And you know I did not mean that." 

"People often say — / do, I know — what they 
mean without intending it," she answered, care- 



OLD FRIENDS ON THE GREEN. 213 

lessly. '• I know you would not make a rude 
speech — I'm sure of that; and as to what we 
say accidentally, can it signify very much? Mr. 
Yerney said lie was coming back after the 
speeches, and Lord Yerney, he said, didn't he ? 
I wonder you don't look in at the town- hall. 
You could make us laugh by telling all about it, 
by-and-by — that is, if we happen to see you 
again." 

"Of course you should see me again."' 

"I meant this evening; to-morrow, perhaps, 
we should," said she. 

" If I went there ; but I'm not going. I think 
that old fellow, Lord Yerney, Cleve's uncle, is an 
impertinent old muff. Every one knows he's a 
muff, though he is Cleve's uncle; he gave me just 
one finger to-day, and looked at me as if I ought 
to be anywhere but where I was. I have as 
good a right as he to be in Cardyllian, and I 
venture to say the people like me a great deal 
better than they like him, or ever will." 

"And so you punish him by refusing your 
countenance to this — what shall I call it ? — 
gala." 

" Oh ! of course you take the Yerneys' part 
against me; they are swells, and I am a no- 
body." 

He thought Miss Agnes coloured a little at 



214 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

this remark. The blood grows sensitive and 
capricious when people are ailing, and a hint is 
enough to send it to and fro; but she said 
only, — 

" I never heard of the feud before. I thought 
that you and Mr. Verney were very good 
friends." 

" So we were ; so we are — Cleve and I. Of 
course, I was speaking of the old lord. Cleve, 
of course, no one ever hears anything but praises 
of Cleve. I suppose I ought to beg your pardon 
for having talked as I did of old Lord Verney; 
it's petty treason, isn't it, to talk lightly of a 
Verney, in Cardvllian or its neighbourhood?" 
said Sedley, a little sourly. 

" I don't know that ; but I dare say, if you 
mean to ask leave to fish or shoot, it might be as 
well not to attack them." 

" Well, I shan't in your hearing." 

And with this speech came a silence. 

" I don't think, somehow, that Cleve is as frank 
with me as he used to be. Can you imagine any 
reason? " said Tom, after an interval. 

"I? No, upon my word — unless you are as 
frank to him about his uncle, as you have been 
with me." 

" Well, I'm not. I never spoke to him about 
his uncle. But Shrapnell, who tells me all the 



OLD FRIENDS OH THE GREEN. 215 

aews of Cardyllian while I'm away" — thU waa 
pointedly spoken — " said, I thought, that he had 
not been down here ever since the Malory people 
left, and I find that he was here for a week 
— at least at Ware — last autumn, for a fort- 
night ; and he never told me, though he knew, 
for I said so to him, that I thought that he 
had stayed away ; and I think that was very 
odd." 

" He may have thought that he was not bound 
to account to you for his time and movements," 
said Miss Agnes. 

"Well, he was here; Mrs. Jones was good 
enough to tell me so, though other people 
make a secret of it. You saw him here, I dare 
say.'" 

" Yes, he was here, for a few days. I think in 
October, or the end of September." 

" Oh ! thank you. But, as I said, I had heard 
that already from Mrs. Jones, who is a most in- 
convenient gossip upon nearly all subjects." 

"I rather like Mrs. Jones; you mean the 
'draper,' as we call her? and if Mr. Yernev is 
not as communicative as you would have him, 
I really can't help it. I can only assure you, 
for your comfort, that the mysterious tenants 
of Malory had disappeared long before that 
visit." 



216 THE TENANTS OF MALOEY. 

(% I know perfectly well when they went away/' 
said Sedley, drily. 

IMiss Agues nodded with a scarcely perceptible 
smile. 

"And I know — that is, I found out afterwards 
— that he admired her, I mean the young lady — 
Margaret, they called her — awfully. He never- 
let me know it himself, though. I hate fellows 
being so close aud dark about everything, and 
I've fouud out other things; and, in short, it 
people don't like to tell me their— secrets I won't 
call them, for everyone in Cardyllian knows all 
about them — I'm hanged if I ask them. All I 
know is, that Cleve is going to live a good deal 
at Ware, which means at Cardyllian, which will 
be a charming thing, a positive blessing, — won't 
it ? — for the inhabitants and neighbours ; and that 
I shall trouble them very little henceforward with 
my presence. There's Charity beckoning to me; 
would you mind my going to see what she 
wants?" 

So, dismissed, away he ran like a " fielder " 
after a " by," as he had often run over the same 
ground before. 

" Thomas Sedley, I want you to tell Lyster, the 
apothecary, to send a small bottle of sal volatile 
to Miss Christian immediately. I'd go myself — 
it's onlv round the corner— but I'm afraid of the 



OLD FRIENDS ON THE G v 217 

crowd. If he can give it to you now, perhaps 
you'd bring it, and I'll wait here." 

"When he brought back the phial, and ZNIi -s 
Charity had given it with a message at Miss 
Christian's treiliced door, she took Tom's arm, 
and said, — 

" She has not been looking well." 

"You mean Agnes?" conjectured he. 

"Yes, of course. She's not herself. She does 
not tell me, but I know the cause, and, as an old 
friend of ours, and a friend, beside, of Mr. Cleve 
Verney, I must tell you that I think he is using 
her disgracefully." 

"Really?" 

" Yes, most flagitiously ." 

" How do you mean ? Shrapnell wrote me 
word that he was very attentive, and used to 
join her in her walks; and afterwards he said 
that he had been mistaken, and discovered that 
he was awfully in love with the young lady at 
Malory." 

" Don't believe a word of it. I wonder at 
Captain Shrapnell circulating such insanity. He 
must know how it really was, and is. I look upon 
it as perfectly wicked, the way that Captain Shrap- 
nell talks. You're not to mention it, of course } 
to anyone. It would be scandalous of you, 
Thomas Sedlev, to think of breathing a word 



218 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

to mortal — mind (hat; but I'm certain you 
wouldn't. 1 ' 

" What a beast Cleve Verney has turned out ! " 
exclaimed Tom Sedley. " Do you think she still 

cares for him?" 

" Why, of course she does. If he had been 
paying his addresses to me, and that / had grown 
by his perseverance and devotion to like him, do 
you think, Thomas Sedley, that although I might 
give him up in consequence of his misconduct, 
that I could ever cease to feel the same kind of 
feeling about him V And as she put this incon- 
gruous case, she held Tom Sedley's arm firmly, 
showing her bony wrist above her glove; and 
with her gaunt brown face and saucer eyes turned 
full upon him, rather fiercely, Tom felt an inward 
convulsion at the picture of Cleve's adorations at 
this shrine, and the melting of the nymph, which 
by a miracle he repressed. 

" But you may have more constancy than 
Agnes," he suggested. 

"Don't talk like a/oo/, Thomas Sedley. Every 
nice girl is the same" 

'• May I talk to Cleve about it?" 

" On no account. No nice girl could marry 
him now, and an apology would be simply ridi- 
culous. I have not spoken to him on the subject, 
and though I had intended cutting him, my 



OLD FRIENDS ON THE GREEN. 219 

friend Mrs. Splayfoot was so clear that I should 
meet him just as usual, that I do control the 
expression of my feelings, and endeavour to talk 
to him indifferently, though I should like un- 
commonly to tell him how odious I shall always 
think him."" 

" Yes, I remember," said Tom, who had been 
pondering. " Cleve did tell me, that time — it's 
more than a vear ago now — it was a year in 
autumn — that he admired Agnes, and used to 
walk with you on the green every day j he did 
certainly. I must do him that justice. But 
suppose Agnes did not show that she liked him, 
he might not have seen any harm/' 

"That's the way you men always take one 
another's parts. I must say, 1 think it is odious ! " 
exclaimed Charity, with a flush in her thin cheeks, 
and a terrible emphasis. 

" But, I say, did she let him see that she liked 
him ? u 

"No, of course she didn't. No nice girl would. 
But of course he saw it," argued Charity. 

" Oh, then she showed it t" 

"No, she did not show it; there was nothiny in 
anything she said or did, that could lead anyone, 
by look, or w r ord, or act, to imagine that she liked 
him. How can you be so perverse and ridiculous, 
Thomas Sedley, to think she'd show her liking ? 



THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

A\ hy, even / don't know it. I never saw it. 
She's a great deal too nice. You don't know 
Agnes. I should not venture to hint at it myself. 
Gracious goodness ! What a fool you are, Thomas 
Sedley! Hush. 

The concluding caution was administered in 
consequence of their having got \ery near the 
seat where Agnes was sitting. 

" Miss Christian is only nervous, poor old 
thing ! and Thomas Sedley has been getting sal 
volatile for her, and she'll be quite well in a day 
or two. Hadn't we better walk a little up and 
down; it's growing too cold for you to sit any 
longer, Agnes, dear. Come." 

And up got obedient Agnes, and the party of 
three walked up and down the green, conversing 
upon all sorts of subjects but the one so ably 
handled by Charity and Tom Sedley in their two 
or three minutes' private talk. 

And now the noble lord and his party, and the 
mayor, and the corporation, and Mr. Larkin, and 
Captain Shrapnell, and many other celebrities, 
were seen slowly emerging from the lane that 
passes the George Inn, upon the green ; and the 
peer having said a word or two to the mayor, and 
also to Lady Wimbledon, and bowed and pointed 
toward the jetty, the main body proceeded slowly 
toward that point, while Lord Yerncv, accompanied 



(>LD FRIENDS ON THE I 221 

by Clevc, walked grandly towards the young ladies 
who were to be presented. 

Tom Sedley, observing this movement, took 
his leave hastily, and, in rather a marked way, 
walked off at right angles with Lord Verney's 
line of march, twirling his cane. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

VANE ETHERAGE GREETS LORD VERNEY. 

So the great Lord Verney, with the flush of 
his brilliant successes in the town-hall still upon 
his thin cheeks, and a countenance dry and so- 
lemn, to which smiling came not easily, made the 
acquaintance of the Miss Etherages, and observed 
that the younger was " sweetly pretty, about it, 
and her elder sister appeared to him a particularly 
sensible young woman, and was, he understood, 
very useful in the charities, and things." And 
he repeated to them in his formal way, his hope 
of seeing them at Ware, and was as gracious as 
such a man can be, and instead of attorneys and 
writs sent grouse and grapes to Hazelden. 

And thus this narrow man, who did not easily 
forgive, expanded and forgave, and the secret of 
the subsidence of the quarrel, and of the Christian 
solution of the " difficulty," was simply Mr. Vane 
Etherage's. hundred and thirty votes in the county. 

What a blessing to these counties is repre- 



VANE ETHERAGE GREETS LORD VEBNEY. 2'-23 

tentative government, with its attendant insti- 
tution of the canvass ! It is the one galvanism 
■which no material can resist. It melts every 
heart, and makes the coldest, hardest, and 
heaviest metals burst into beautiful flame. 
Granted that at starting, the geniality, repen- 
tance, kindness, are so many arrant hypocrisies; 
yet who can tell whether these repentances, in 
white sheets, taper in hand, these offerings of 
birds and fruits, these smiles and compliments, 
and " Christian courtesies," may not end in im- 
proving the man who is compelled to act like a 
good fellow and accept his kindly canons, and 
improve him also with whom these better rela- 
tions are established ? As muscle is added to the 
limb, so strength is added to the particular moral 
quality we exercise, and kindness is elicited, and 
men perhaps end by having some of the attributes 
which they began by affecting. At all events, 
any recognition of the kindly and peaceable social 
philosophy of Christianity is, so far as it goes, good. 
" What a sensible, nice, hospitable old man 
Lord Verney is; I think him the most sensible 
and the nicest man I ever met," said Miss Charity, 
in an enthusiasm which was quite genuine, for 
she was, honestly, no respecter of persons. "And 
young Mr. Verney certainly looked very hand- 
some, but I don't like him." 



22 I THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

"Don't like hi in ! Why?" said Agnes, look- 
ing up. 

" Because I think him perfectly odious," re- 
plied Miss Charity. 

Agnes was inured to Miss Charity's adjectives, 
and even the fierce flush that accompanied some 
of them failed to alarm her. 

" Well, I rather like him," she said, quietly. 

" You cant like him, Agnes. It is not a matter 
of opinion at all; it's just simply a matter of fact 
— and you know that he is a most worldly, selfish, 
cruel, and I think, wicked young man, and you 
need not talk about him, for he's odious. And 
here comes Thomas Sedley again." 

Agnes smiled a faint and bitter smile. 

" And what do you think of him?" she asked. 

"Thomas Sedley? Of course I like him; we 
all like him. Don't you? " answered Charity. 

" Yes, pretty well — very well. I suppose he has 
faults, like other people. He's good-humoured, 
selfish, of course — I fancy they all are. And 
papa likes him, I think; but really, Charrie, if 
vou want to know, I don't care if I never saw 
him again." 

" Hush ! " 

" Well! You've got rid of the Yerneys, and 
here I am again," said Tom, approaching. " They 
are going up to Hazclden to see your father." 



VAXE ETHERAGE GREETS LORD VERNEY. 225 

And so they were — np that pretty walk that 
passes the mills and ascends steeply by the pre- 
cipitous side of the wooded glen, so steep, that in 
two places you have to mount by rude flights of 
steps — a most sequestered glen, and utterly silent, 
except for the sound of the mill-stream tinkling 
and crooning through the rocks below, unseen 
through the dense boughs and stems of the wood 
beneath. 

If Lord Verney in his conciliatory condescen- 
sion was grand, so was Vane Etherage on the 
occasion of receiving and forgiving him at Hazel- 
den. He had considered and constructed a little 
speech, with some pomp of language, florid and 
magnanimous. He had sat in his bath-chair for 
half an hour at the little iron gate of the flower- 
garden of Hazelden, no inmate of which had ever 
seen him look, for a continuance, so sublimely 
important, and indeed solemn, as he had done all 
that morning. 

Vane Etherage had made his arrangements to 
receive Lord Verney with a dignified deference. 
He was to be wheeled down the incline about two 
hundred yards, to " the bower/' to meet the peer 
at that point, and two lusty fellows were to push 
hi in up by Lord Verney' s side to the house, where 
wine and other comforts awaited him. 

John Evans had been placed at the mill to 

YOL. II. Q 



22G THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

signal to the people above at Hazelden, by a 
musket-shot, the arrival of Lord Verney at that 
stage of his progress. The flagstaff and rigging 
on the green platform at Hazelden were fluttering 
all over with all the flags that ever were invented, 
in honour of the gala. 

Lord Verney ascended, leaning upon the arm 
of his nephew, with Mr. Larkin and the mayor 
for supporters, Captain Shrapnell, Doctor Lyster, 
aud two or three other distinguished inhabitants 
of Cardyllian bringing up the rear. 

Lord Verney carried his head high, and grew 
reserved and rather silent as they got on, and as 
they passed under the solemn shadow of the great 
trees by the mill, an overloaded musket went off 
with a sound like a cannon, as Lord Verney after- 
wards protested, close to the unsuspecting party, 

and a loud and long whoop from John Evans 

completed the concerted signal. 

The Viscount actually jumped, and Cleve felt 

the shock of his arm against his side. 

" D you, John Evans, what the devil are 

you doing ? " exclaimed Captain Shrapnell, who, 

turning from white to crimson, was the first of 

the party to recover his voice. 

" Yes, sir, thank you — very good," said Evans, 

touching his hat, and smiling incessantly with 

the incoherent volubility of \Velsh politeness. 



VANE ETHERAGE GREETS LORD VERNE Y. 227 

" A little bit of a squib, sir, if you please, for 
Captain Squire Etherage — very well, I thank you 
— to let him know Lord Yerney — very much 
obliged, sir — was at the mill — how do you do, 
sir? — and going up to Hazelden, if you please, 
sir/' 

And the speech subsided in a little, gratified 
laugh of delighted politeness. 

" You'd better not do that again, though," said 
the Captain, with a menacing wag of his head, 
and availing himself promptly of the opportunity 
of improving his relations with Lord Yerney, he 
placed hiinself by his side, and assured him that 
though he was an old campaigner, and had smelt 
powder in all parts of the world, he had never 
heard such a report from a musket in all his 
travels and adventures before; and hoped Lord 
Yerney's hearing was not the worse of it. He 
had known a general officer deafened by a shot, 
and, by Jove ! his own ears at ere singing with it 
still, accustomed as he was, by Jupiter ! to such 
things. 

His lordship, doing his best on the festive occa- 
sion, smiled uncomfortably, and said, — 

"Yes — thanks — ha, ha! I really thought it 
was a cannon, or the gas-works — about it." 

And Shrapnell called back and said, — 

" Don't you be coming on with that thing, 

Q 2 



228 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

John Evans — do you mind? — Lord Verney's had 
quite enough of that. You'll excuse me, Lord 
Verney, I thought you'd wish so much said," 
and Lord Verney bowed graciously. 

The answering shot and cheer which were 
heard from above announced to John Evans that 
the explosion had been heard at Hazelden, and 
still smiling and touching his heart, he continued 
his voluble civilities — " Very good, sir, very much 
obliged, sir, very well, I thank you ; I hope you 
are very well, sir, very good indeed, sir," and so 
forth, till they were out of hearing. 

The shot, indeed, was distinctly heard at the 
gay flag-staff up at Hazelden, and the Admiral 
got under weigh, and proceeded down the incline 
charmingly till they had nearly reached the little 
platform at the bower, where, like Christian in 
his progress, he was to make a halt. 

But his plans at this point were disturbed. 
Hardly twenty yards before they reached it, one 
of his men let go, the drag upon the other sud- 
denly increased, and resulted in a pull, which 
caused him to trip, and tripping as men while in 
motion downhill will, he butted forward, charging 
headlong, and finally tumbling on his face, he 
gave to the rotatory throne of Air. Etherage such 
an impulse as carried him quite past the arbour, 
and launched him upon the steep descent of the 



VAXE ETHERAGE GREETS LORD VERNEY. 229 

gravel-walk with a speed every moment accele- 
rated. 

" Stop her ! — ease her ! — d you, Williams ! " 

roared the Admiral, little knowing how idle were 
his orders. The bath-chair had taken head, the 
pace became furious ; the running footmen gave 
up pursuit in despair, and Mr. Vane Etherage 
was obliged to concentrate his severest attention, 
as he never did before, on the task of guiding his 
flying vehicle, a feat which was happily favoured 
by the fact that the declivity presented no short 
turns. 

The sounds were heard below — a strange 
ring of wheels, and a powerful voice bawling, 
" Ease her ! stop her ! " and some stronger ex- 
pressions. 

" Can't be a carriage, about it, here ? " ex- 
claimed Lord Yerney, halting abruptly, and only 
restrained from skipping upon the side bank by a 
sense of dignity. 

" Never mind, Lord Verney ! don't mind — I'll 
take care of you — I'm your vanguard," exclaimed 
Captain Shrapnell, with a dare-devil gaiety, in- 
spired by the certainty that it could not be a 
carriage, and the conviction that the adventure 
would prove nothing more than some children 
and nursery maids playing with a perambulator. 

His feelings underwent a revulsion, however, 



230 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

when old Vane Etherage, enveloped in cloak, 
and shawls, his hat gone, and his long grizzled 
hair streaming backward, with a wild counte- 
nance, and both hands working the directing 
handle, came swooping into sight, roaring, mania- 
cally, " Ease her ! back her ! M and yawing fright- 
fully in his descent upon them. 

Captain Shrapnell, they say, turned pale at the 
spectacle; but he felt he must now go through 
with it, or for ever sacrifice that castle-in-the-air, 
of which the events of the day had suggested the 
ground-plan and elevation. 

" Good heaven ! he'll be killed, about it ! n 
exclaimed Lord Verney, peeping from behind a 
tree, with unusual energy ; but whether he meant 
Shrapnell, or Etherage, or both, I don't know, 
and nobody in that moment of sincerity minded 
much what he meant. I dare say a front-rank 
man in a square at Waterloo did not feel before 
the gallop of the Cuirassiers as the gallant Captain 
did before the charge of the large invalid who was 
descending upon him. All he meditated was a 
decent show of resistance, and as he had a stout 
walking-stick in his hand, something might be 
done without risking his bones. So, as the old 
gentleman thundered downward, roaring, f< Keep 
her off — keep her clear," Shrapnell, roaring "Pm 
your man ! M nervously popped the end of his stick 



VANE ETHERAGE GREETS LOUD VEBNEY. 231 

under the front wheel of the vehicle, himself 
skipping to one side, unhappily the wrong one, 
for the chair at this check spun round, and the 
next spectacle was Mr. Vane Etherage and 
Captain Shrapnell, enveloped in cloaks and 
mufflers, and rolling over and over in one an- 
other's arms, like athletes in mortal combat, the 
Captain's fist being visible, as they rolled round, 
at Air. Vane Etherage's back, with his walking- 
stick still clutched in it. 

The chair was lying on its side, the gentlemen 
were separated, and Captain Shrapnell jumped to 
his feet. 

" Well, Lord Verney, I believe I did some- 
thing there ! " said the gallant Captain, with the 
air of a man who has done his duty, and 
knows it. 

" Done something ! you've broke my neck, you 
lubber ! " panted Mr. Vane Etherage, who, his 
legs not being available, had been placed sitting 
with some cloaks about him, on the bank. 

Shrapnell grinned and winked expressively, 
and confidentially whispered, "Jolly old fellow 
he is — no one minds the Admiral ; we let him 
talk." 

u Lord Verney," said his lordship, introducing 
himself with a look and air of polite concern. 

" No, my name's Etherage," said the invalid, 



232 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

mistaking — he fancied that Jos. Larkin, who was 
expounding his views of the accident grandly to 
Cleve Verney in the background, could not be 
less than a peer — " I live up there, at Hazelden — 
devilish near being killed here, by that lubber 
there. Why I was running at the rate of five- 
and-twenty knots an hour, if I was making one ; 
and I remember it right well, sir, there's a check 
down there, just before you come to the mill-stile, 
and the wall there ; and I'd have run my bows 
right into it, and not a bit the worse, sir, if that 

d fellow had just kept out of the — the — 

king's course, you know ; and egad ! I don't 
know now how it is — I suppose I'm smashed, 
sir." 

" I hope not, sir. I am Lord Verney — about 
it ; and it would pain me extremely to learn that 
any serious injuries, or — or — things — had been 
sustained, about it." 

" I'll tell that in a moment," said Doctor Lys- 
ter, who was of the party, briskly. 

So after a variety of twists and wrenches and 

pokes, Vane Etherage was pronounced sound and 

safe. 

" I don't know how the devil I escaped ! " 

exclaimed the invalid. 

"By tumbling on me — \ery simply," replied 

Captain Shrapnell with a spirited laugh. 



VANE ETHEBAGE GREETS LORD YERXEY. 233 

H You may set your mind at rest, Shrapnell," 
said the Doctor, walking up to him, with a con- 
gratulatory air. "He's all right, this time; but 
you had better mind giving the old fellow any 
more rolls of that sort — the pitcher to the well, 
you know — and the next time might smash 
him." 

" I*m more concerned about smashing myself, 
thank you. The next time he may roll to the 
devil — and through whoever he pleases for me — 
knocked down with that blackguard old chair, and 
that great hulking fellow on top of me — all for 
trying to be of use, egad ! when everyone of you 
funked it — and not a soul asks about my bones, 
egad ! or my neck either." 

" Oh ! come, Shrapnell, you're not setting up 
for an old dog yet. There's a difference between 
you and Etherage," said the Doctor. 

<f I hope so," answered the Captain, sarcastic- 
ally, " but civility is civility all the world over; 
and I can tell you, another fellow would make 
fuss enough about the pain I'm suffering/' 

It was found, further, that one wheel of the 
bath-chair was disorganised, and the smith must 
come from the town to get it to rights, and that 
Vane Etherage, who could as soon have walked 
up a rainbow as up the acclivity to Hazeldcn, 
must bivouac for a while where he sat. 



234 THE TENANTS OP MALORY. 

So there the visit was paid, and the exciting 
gala of that day closed, and the Viscount and hi3 
party marched down, with many friends attend- 
ant, to the jetty, and embarked in the yacht for 
Ware. 



CHAPTER XX. 

REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 

The evenings being short, the shops alight, and 
the good people of Cardyllian in their houses, 
Tom Sedley found the hour before dinner hang 
heavily on his hands. So he walked slowly up 
Castle Street, and saw Mr. Robson, the worthy 
post-master, standing, with his hands in his 
pockets, at the open door. 

" No letter for me, I dare say ? " asked Sedley. 

" Xo, sir — nothing." 

" I don't know how to kill the time. I wish my 
dinner was ready. You dined, like a wise man, at 
one o'clock, I dare say?" 

" AVe do — we dine early here, sir." 

"I know it; a capital plan. I do it myself, 
whenever I make any stay here." 

" And you can eat a bit o' something hearty at 
tea then." 

" To be sure j that's the good of it. I don't 
know what to do with myself. I'll take a walk 



236 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

round by Malory. Can I leave the Malory letters 
for you ? " 

" You're only joking, sir." 

" I was not, upon my honour. I'd be glad to 
bolt your shutters, or to twig your steps — any- 
thing to do. I literally don't know what to do 
with myself." 

" There's no family at Malory, you know, now, 
sir." 

" Oh ! I did not know. I knew the other 
family had gone. No letters to be delivered 
then ? » 

" Well, sir, there is — but you're only joking." 

" What is it ? " 

" A letter to Mrs. Rebecca Mervyn — but I 
would not think of troubling a gentleman with 
it." 

" Old Rebecca? why I made her acquaintance 
among the shingles and cockles on the sea-shore 
last year — a charming old sea-nymph, or what- 
ever you call it." 

" We all have a great respect for Mrs. Mervyn, 
down here, in Cardyllian. The family has a great 
opinion of her, and they think a great deal of her, 
like us," said Mr. Robson, who did not care to 
hear any mysterious names applied to her without 
a protest. 

"Well — so I say — so have 1. I'll give her the 



REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 237 

letter, and take a receipt/' said Sedley, extending 
his hand. 

" There really is a receipt, sir, wanting," said 
the official, amused. " It came this morning — 
and if you'll come in — if it isn't too much trouble 
— I'll show it to you, please, sir." 

In he stepped to the post-office, where Mr. 
Robson showed him a letter which he had that 
afternoon received. It said, — 

"Sir, — I enclose five shillings, represented by 
postage-stamps, which will enable you to pay a 
messenger on whom you can depend, to deliver a 
letter which I place along with this in the post- 
office, into the hand of Mrs. Mervyn, Steward's 
House, Malory, Cardyllian, to whom it is ad- 
dressed, and which is marked with the letter D at 
the left-hand corner. 

" I am, sir, 

" Your obt. servant, 

" J. DlNGWELL." 

" The letter is come," said Mr. Robson, taking 
it out of a pigeon-hole in a drawer, and 
thumbing it, and smiling on it with a gentle 
curiosity. 

" Yes — that's it," said Tom Sedley, also reading 
the address. " ' Mrs. Mervyn ' — what a queer 



238 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

old ghost of a lady she is — ( Malory/ that's the 
ground — and the letter D in the corner. Well, 
I'm quite serious. I'll take the letter with plea- 
sure, and see the old woman, and put it into her 
hand. I'm not joking, and I shall be back again 
in an hour, I dare say, and I'll tell you what she 
says, and how she looks — that is, assuming it is a 
love-letter." 

" Well, sir, as you wish it j and it's very kind of 
you, and the old lady must sign a receipt, for the 
letter's registered — but it's too much trouble for 
you, sir, isn't it really ? " 

"Nonsense; give me the letter. If you won't, 
I can't help it." 

" And this receipt should be signed." 

" And the receipt also." 

So away went our friend, duly furnished, and 
marched over the hill we know so well, that over- 
hangs the sea, and down by the narrow old road 
to Malory, thinking of many things. 

The phantom of the beautiful lady of Malory 
was very much faded now. Even as he looked 
down on the old house and woodlands, the 
romance came not again. It was just a remem- 
bered folly, like others, and excited or pained him 
little more. But a new trouble vexed him. How 
many of our blessings do we take for granted, 
enjoy thanklessly, like our sight, our hearing, our 



REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 239 

health, and only appreciate when they are either 
Withdrawn or in danger ! 

Captain Shrapnell had written among his 
gossip some jocular tattle about Cleve's devotion 
to Miss Agnes Etherage, which had moved him 
oddly and uncomfortably; but the next letter 
disclosed the mystery of Cleve's clandestine visits 
to Malory, and turned his thoughts into a new 
channel. 

But here was all revived, and worse. Charity, 
watching with a woman's eyes, and her opportu- 
nities, had made to him a confidence about which 
there could be no mistake ; and then Agnes was 
so changed — not a bit glad to see him ! And did 
not she look pretty ? Was there not a slight 
look of pride — a reserve — that was new — a little 
sadness — along with the heightened beauty of her 
face and figure ? How on earth had he been so 
stupid as not to perceive how beautiful she was 
all this time ? Cleve had more sense. By Jove ! 
she was the prettiest girl in England, and that 
selfish fellow had laid himself out to make her 
fond of him, and, having succeeded, jilted her ! 
And now she would not care for any one but him. 
There was a time, he thought, when he, Tom 
Sedley, might have made her like him. What a 
fool he was ! And that was past — unimproved — 
irrevocable — and now she never could. Girls may 



240 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

affect those second likings, he thought, but they 
never really care after the first. It is pride, or pique, 
or friendship, or convenience — anything but love. 

Love ! And what had he to do with love ? 
Who would marry him on four hundred a year, 
and no expectations? And now he was going to 
teaze himself because he had not stepped in 
before Cleve Verney and secured the affections 
of little Agnes. What a fool he was ! What busi- 
ness had he dreaming such dreams ? He had got 
on very well without falling in love with Agnes. 
Why should he begin now? If he found that 
folly gaining upon him, he would leave Cardyllian 
without staying his accustomed week, and never 
return till the feeling had died as completely as 
last year's roses. 

Down the hill he marched in his new romance, 
as he had done more than a year ago, over the 
same ground, in his old one, when in the moon- 
light, on the shingle, he had met the same old 
lady of whom he was now in quest. 

The old trees of Malory rose up before him, 
dark and silent, higher and higher as he ap- 
proached. It was a black night — no moon; even 
the stars obscured by black lines of cloud as he 
pushed open the gate, and entered the deeper 
darkness of the curving carriage-road that leads 
up through the trees. 



REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 24-1 

It was six o'clock now, and awfully dark. 
When he reached the open space before the hall- 
door, he looked up at the dim front of the house, 
but no light glimmered there. The deep-mouthed 
dog in the stable-yard was yelling his challenge, 
and he further startled the solitary woods by 
repeated double-knocks that boomed through the 
empty hall and chambers of the deserted house. 

Despairing of an entrance at last, and not 
knowing which way to turn, he took the way by 
chance which led him to the front of the steward's 
house, from the diamond casement of which a 
light was shining. The door lay open ; only the 
latch was closed, such being the primitive secu- 
rity that prevails in that region of poverty and 
quietude. 

With his stick he knocked a little tattoo, and a 
candle was held over the clumsy banister, and the 
little servant girl inquired in her clear Welsh 
accent what he wanted. 

So, preliminaries over, he mounted to that 
chamber in which Mr. Levi had been admitted to 
a conference among the delft and porcelain, 
stags, birds, officers, and huntsmen, who, in gay 
tints and old-fashioned style, occupied every 
coigne of vantage, and especially that central 
dresser, which mounted nearly to the beams of 
the ceiling. 



242 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

The room is not large, the recesses are deep, 
the timber-work is of clumsy oak, and the deco- 
rations of old-world teapots, jugs, and beasts of 
the field, and cocked-hatted gentlemen in gor- 
geous colouring and gilding, so very gay and 
splendid, reflecting the candle-light and the 
wavering glare of the fire from a thousand curves 
and angles ; the old shining furniture, and 
carved oak clock j the room itself, and all its 
properties so perfectly neat and tidy, not one 
grain of dust or single cobweb to be seen in any 
nook or crevice, that Tom Sedley was delighted 
with the scene. 

What a delightful retreat, he thought, from 
the comfortless affectations of the world. Here 
was the ideal of snugness, and of brightness, and 
warmth. It amounted to a kind of beauty that 
absolutely fascinated him. He looked kindly on 
the old lady, who had laid down her knitting, 
and looked at him through a pair of round spec- 
tacles, and thought that he would like to adopt 
her for his housekeeper, and live a solitary life of 
lonely rabbit-shooting in Penruthyn Park, trout- 
fishing in the stream, and cruising in an imagi- 
nary yacht on the estuary and the contiguous 
seaboard. 

This little plan, or rather vision, pictured itself 
to Tom Sedley's morbid and morose imagination 



REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 243 

as the most endurable form of life to which he 
could now aspire. 

The old lady, meanwhile, was looking at him 
with an expression of wonder and anxiety, and he 
said — 

"I hope, Airs. Mervyn, I have not disturbed 
you much. It is not quite so late as it looks, and 
as the post-master, Mr. Robson, could not find a 
messenger, and I was going this way, I under- 
took to call and give you the letter, having once 
had the pleasure of making your acquaintance, 
although you do not, I'm afraid, recollect me." 

" I knew it, the moment his face entered the 
room. It was the same face," she repeated, as if 
she had seen a picture, not a face. 

"Just under the walls of Malory; you were 
anxious to learn whether a sail was in sight, 
in the direction of Pendillion," said he, sug- 
gesting. 

u Xo, there was none ; it was not there. 
People — other people — would have tired of watch- 
ing long ago ; my old eyes never dazzled, sir. 
And he came, so like. He came — I thought it — 
was a spirit from the sea ; and here he is. There's 
something in your voice, sir, and your face. It is 
wonderful; but not a Verney — no, you told me 
so. They are cruel men — one way or other they 
were all cruel, but some more than others — my 

r. 2 



2 [ I THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

God ! much more. There's something in the 
eyes — the setting, the light — it can't be mis- 
taken ; something in the curve of the chin, very 
pretty — hut you're no Verney, you told me — and 
see how he comes here a second time, smiling — 
and yet when he goes, it is like waking from a 
dream where they were, as they all used to look, 
long ago; and there's a pain at my heart, for 
weeks after. It never can he again, sir; I'm 
growing old. If it ever comes, it will find me so 
changed — or dead, I sometimes begin to think, and 
try to make up my mind. There's a good world, 
you know, where we'll all meet and be happy, no 
more parting or dying, sir. Yet I'd like to see 
him even once, here, just as he was, a beautiful 
mortal. God is so good; and while there's life 
there is hope." 

"Certainly, hope, there's always hope; every- 
one has something to vex them, /have, I know, 
Mrs. Mervyn ; and I was just thinking what a 
charming drawing-room this is, and how de- 
lightful it must be, the quiet and comfort, and 
glow of such a room. There is no drawing-room 
on earth I should like so well," said good-natured 
Tom Sedley, whose sympathies were easy, and 
who liked saying a pleasant thing when he could ; 
" And this is the letter, and here is a printed 
receipt, which, when you have been so kind as to 



REBECCA MERVYN READS HER LETTER. 24:5 

sign it, I've promised to give my friend, Mr. 
Robson of the post-office." 

" Thank you, sir ; this is registered, they call 
it. I had one a long time ago, with the same 
kind of green ribbon round it. Won't you sit 
down while I sign this ?" 

"Many thanks/' said Sedley, sitting down 
gravely at the table, and looking so thoughtful, 
and somehow so much at home, that you might 
have fancied his dream of living in the Steward's 
House had long been accomplished. 

" I'd rather not get a letter, sir ; I don't know 
the handwriting of this address, and a letter can 
but bring me sorrow. There is but one welcome 
chance which could befall me, and that may come 
yet, just a hope, sir. Sometimes it brightens up, 
but it has been low all to-day." 

" Sorry you have been out of spirits, Mrs. 
Mervyn, I know what it is ; I've been so myself, 
and I am so, rather, just now," said Tom, who 
was, in this homely seclusion, tending towards 
confidence. 

"There are now but two handwritings that I 
should know ; one is his, the other Lady 
Verney's ; all the rest are dead ; and this is 
neither." 

u Well, Mrs. Mervyn, if it does not come from 
either of the persons you care for, it yet may 



246 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

tell you news of them," remarked Tom Sedley, 
sagely. 

" Hardly, sir. I hear every three months from 
Lady Verney. I heard on Tuesday last. Thank 
God, she's well. No, it's nothing concerning 
her, and I think it may be something bad. I am 
afraid of this letter, sir — tell me I need not be 
afraid of it." 

" I know the feeling, Mrs. Mervyn ; Fve had 
it myself, when duns were troublesome. But 
you have nothing of the kind in this happy 
retreat; which I really do envy you from my 
heart." 

" Envy ! Ah, sir — happy retreat ! Little you 
know, sir. I have been for weeks and months 
at a time half wild with anguish, dreaming of the 
sea. How can he know?" 

" Very true, I can't know ; I only speak of it 
as it strikes me at the moment. I fancy I 
should so like to live here, like a hermit, quite 
out of the persecutions of luck and the nonsense 
of the world." 

" You are wonderfully like at times, sir — it is 
beautiful, it is frightful — when I moved the candle 
then " 

"I'll sit any way you like best, Mrs. Mervyn, 
with pleasure, and you can move the candle, and 
try ; if it amuses — no, I mean interests you." 



REBECCA MERVYX READS HEB LETTER 247 

If some of his town friends could have peeped 
in through a keyhole, and seen Tom Sedley and 
old Rebecca Mervyn seated at opposite sides of 
the table, in this very queer old room, so like 
Darby and Joan, it would have made matter for 
a comical story. 

u Like a flash it comes ! " 

Tom Sedley looked at the wild, large eyes that 
were watching him — the round spectacles now 
removed — across the table, and could not help 
smiling. 

" Yes, the smile — it is the smile ! You told 
me, sir, your name was Sedley, not Verney." 

" My name is Thomas Sedley. My father was 
Captain Sedley, and served through a part of the 
Peninsular campaign. He was not twenty at the 
battle of Yittoria, and he was at \Yaterloo. My 
mother died a few months after I was born." 

"Was she a Verney ? M 

" No ; she was distantly connected, but her 
name was Melville," said he. 

" Connected. That accounts for it, per- 
haps." 

" Yery likely." 

" And your father — dead ?" she said, sadly. 

" Yes ; twenty years ago." 

"I know, sir; I remember. They are all 
locked up tliere, sir, and shan't come out till old 



248 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Lady Verney dies. But he was not related to 
the Verneys?" 

" No, they were friends. He managed two of 
the estates after he left the army, and very well, 
I'm told/' 

"Sedley — Thomas Sedley — I remember the 
name. I did not know the name of Sedley — 
except on one occasion — I was sent for, but it 
came to nothing. I lived so much in the dark 
about things," and she sighed. 

" I forgot, Mrs. Mervyn, how late it is growing, 
and how much too long I have stayed here ad- 
miring your pretty room, and I fear interrupting 
you," said Tom, suddenly remembering his dinner, 
and standing up — "If you kindly give me the 
receipt, I'll leave it on my way back." 

Mrs. Mervyn had clipped the silken cord, and 
was now reading the letter, and he might as well 
have addressed his little speech to the china shep- 
herdess, with the straw disc and ribbons on her 
head, in the bodice and short petticoat of flowered 
brocade, leaning against a tree, with a lamb with 
its hind leg and tail broken off, looking affection- 
ately in her face. 

" I can't make it out, sir ; your eyes are young 
— perhaps you would read it to me — it is not very 
long." 

"Certainly, with pleasure"— and Tom Sedley 



REBECCA MERVYX READS HER LETTER. 240 

sat down, and, spreading the letter on the table, 
under the candles, read as follows to the old lady 
opposite : — 

"Private. 

" Madam, — As an old and intimate friend of 
your reputed husband, I take leave to inform you 
that he placed a sum of money in my hands for 
the use of your son and his, if he be still living. 
Should he be so, will you be so good as to let me 
know where it will reach him. A line to Jos. 
Larkin, Esq., at the Verney Arms, Cardyllian, 
or a verbal message, if you desire to see him, will 
suffice. Mr. Larkin is the solvent and religious 
attorney of the present Lord Verney, and you 
have my consent to advise with him on the 
subject. 

" I have the honour to be, 
" Madam, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"J. DlNGWELL." 

"P.S. — You are aware, I suppose, madam, that 
I am the witness who proved the death of the late 
Hon. Arthur Verney, who died of a low fever in 
Constantinople, in July twelve months." 

"Died/ My God! Died! did you say died ? " 
" Yes. I thought you knew. It was proved a 



250 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

year ago nearly. The elder brother of the present 
Lord Yerney." 

There followed a silence while you might count 
ten, and then came a long, wild, and bitter cry. 

The little girl started up, with white lips, and 
said, " Lord bless us ! " The sparrows in the ivy 
about the windows fluttered — even Tom Sedley 
was chilled and pierced by that desolate scream. 

" I'm very sorry, really, I'm awfully sorry," 
Tom exclaimed, finding himself, he knew not 
how, again on his feet, and gazing at the white, 
imploring face of the trembling old woman. " I 
really did not know — I had not an idea you felt 
such an interest in any of the family. If I had 
known, I should have been more careful. I'm 
shocked at what I've done." 

" Oh ! Arthur — oh ! Arthur. He's gone — after 
all, after all. If we could have only met for one 
minute, just for one look." She was drawing 
back the window-curtain, looking towards the 
dark Pendillion and the starless sea. " He said 
he'd come again — he went — and my heart misgave 
me. I said, he'll never come again — my beau- 
tiful Arthur — never — never — never. Oh, darling, 
darling. If I could even see your grave." 

" I'm awfully sorry, ma'am ; I wish I could be 
of any use/' said honest Tom Sedley, speaking 
very low and kindly, standing beside her, with, I 



REBECCA MERVYX READS HER LETTER. 251 

think, tears in his eves. "I wish so much, 
ma'am, you could employ me any way. I'd be so 
glad to be of any use, about your son, or to see 
that ^Ir. Larkin. I don't like his face, ma'am, 
and would not advise your trusting him too 
much." 

"Our little child's dead. Oh! Arthur — Arthur! 
— a beautiful little thing ; and you, my darling, 
— that I watched for, so long — never to come 
again — never, never — never — I have no one now." 

u Fll come to you and see you in the morning," 
said Tom. 

And he walked home in the dark, and stopped 
on the summit of the hill, looking down upon the 
twinkling lights of the town, and back again 
toward solemn Malory, thinking of what he had 
seen, and what an odd world it was. 



CHAPTER XXT. 

BY RAIL TO LONDON. 

About an hour later, Tom Sedley, in solitude, 
meditated thus — 

" I wonder whether the Etherages" — (meaning 
pretty Miss Agnes) — " would think it a bore if I 
went up to see them. It's too late for tea. I'm 
afraid they mightn't like it. No one, of course, 
like Cleve now. They'd find me very dull, I 
dare say. I don't care, I'll walk up, and if I 
see the lights in the drawing-room windows, I'll 
try." 

He did walk up ; he did see the lights in the 
drawing-room windows ; and he did try, with the 
result of finding himself upon the drawing-room 
carpet a minute after, standing at the side of 
Agnes, and chatting to Miss Charity. 

" How is your father ? " asked Tom, seeing the 
study untenanted. 

" Not at all well, / think ; he had an accident 
to-day. Didn't you hear ? " 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 253 

" Accident I No, I didn't/' 

" Oh ! yes. Somehow, when Lord Yerney and 
the other people were coming up here to-day, he 
was going to meet them, and among them they 
overturned his bath-chair, and I don't know really 
who's to blame. Captain Shrapnell says he saved 
his life ; but, however it happened, he was upset 
and very much shaken. I see you laughing, 
Thomas Sedley ! What on earth can you see in 
it to laugh at ? It's so exactly like Agnes — she 
laughed! you did, indeed, Agnes, and if I had 
not seen it, with my own eyes, I could not have 
believed it ! " 

" I knew papa was not hurt, and I could not 
help laughing, if you put me to death for it, 
and they say he drove over Lord Yerney's foot." 

" That would not break my heart, said Sedley. 
" Did you hear the particulars from Cleve ? " 

" No, I did not see Mr. Yerney to speak to, 
since the accident," said Miss Charity. " By- 
the-by, who was the tall, good-looking girl, in 
the seal-skin coat, he was talking to all the way 
to the jetty ? I think she was Lady Wimbledon's 
daughter." 

" So she was j has she rather large blue 
eyes ? n 
' " Yes." 

" Oh ! it must be she ; that's Miss Caroline 



254 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Oldys. She's such a joke ; she's elder than 
Cleve." 

"Oh! that's impossible; she's decidedly younger 
than Mr. Cleve Yerney, and, I think, extremely 
pretty." 

" Well, perhaps she is younger, and I do believe 
she's pretty j but she's a fool, and she has been 
awfully in love with him for I don't know how 
many years — every one was laughing at it, two or 
three seasons ago; she is such a muff? " 

"What do you mean by a muff?" demanded 
Charity. 

"Well, a goose, then. Lord Yerney's her 
guardian or trustee, or something ; and they say, 
that he and Lady Wimbledon had agreed to pro- 
mote the affair. Just like them. She is such a 
scheming old woman ; and Lord Yerney is such 
a — I was going to say, such a muff, — but he is 
such a spoon. Cleve's wide awake, though, and I 
don't think he'll do that for them." 

I believe there may have been, at one time, 
some little foundation in fact for the theory which 
supposed the higher powers favourable to such a 
consummation. But time tests the value of such 
schemes, and it would seem that Lady Wimbledon 
had come to the conclusion that the speculation 
was a barren one : for, this night, in her dressing- 
gown, with her wig off, and a silken swathing 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 255 

about her bald head, she paid a very exciting visit 
to her daughter's room, and blew her up in her 
own awful way, looking like an angry Turk. 
" She wondered how any person with Caroline's 
experience could be such an idiot as to let that 
young man go on making a fool of her. He had 
no other idea but the one of making a fool of her 
before the world. She, Lady Wimbledon, would 
have no more of any such insensate folly — her 
prospects should not be ruined, if she could pre- 
vent it, and prevent it she could and would — there 
should be an end of that odious nonsense; and if 
she chose to make herself the laughing-stock of 
the world, she, Lady Wimbledon, would do her 
duty and take her down to Slominton, where they 
would be quiet enough at all events ; and Cleve 
Verney, she ventured to say, with a laugh, would 
not follow her." 

The young lady was in tears, and blubbered 
in her romantic indignation till her eyes and nose 
were inflamed, and her mamma requested her to 
look in the glass, and see what a figure she had 
made of herself, and made her bathe her face for 
an hour, before she went to bed. 

There was no other young lady at Ware, and 
Cleve smiled in his own face, in his looking-glass, 
as he dressed for dinner. 

" My uncle will lose no time — I did not intend 



256 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

this ; but I see very well what he means, and he'll 
be disappointed and grow suspicious, if I draw 
back ; and she has really nothing to recommend 
her, poor Caroline, and he'll find that out time 
enough, and meanwhile I shall get over some 
months quietly." 

There was no great difficulty in seeing, indeed, 
that the noble host distinguished Lady Wimble- 
don and her daughter. And Lord Yerney, leaning 
on Cleve's arm, asked him lightly what he thought 
of Miss Caroline Oldys ; and Cleve, who had the 
gift of presence of mind, rather praised the young 
lady. 

" My uncle would prefer Ethel, when he sees a 
hope in that direction, I shan't hear much more 
of Caroline, and so on — and we shall be growing 
older — and the chapter of accidents — and all 
that." 

For a day or two Lord Verney was very 
encouraging, and quite took an interest in the 
young lady, and showed her the house and the 
place, and unfolded all the plans which were 
about to grow into realities, and got Cleve to pull 
her across the lake, and walked round to meet 
them, and amused the young man by contriving 
that little opportunity. But Lady Wimbledon 
revealed something to Lord Verney, that evening, 
over their game of ecartc, which affected his views. 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 257 

Cleve was talking to the young lady, but he 
saw Lord Verney look once or twice, in the midst 
of a very serious conversation with Lady \\ im- 
bledon, at Caroline Oldys and himself, and now 
without smiliug. 

It was Lady Wimbledon's deal, but she did not 
deal, and her opponent seemed also to have for- 
gotten the cards, and their heads inclined one 
toward the other as the talk proceeded. 

It was about the hour when ladies light their 
bedroom candles, and ascend. And Lady \\ im- 
bledon and Caroline Oldys had vanished in a few 
minutes more, and Cleve thought, " She has told 
him something that has given him a new idea." 
His uncle was rather silent and dry for the rest of 
that evening, but next morning seemed pretty 
much as usual, only Lord Verney took an oppor- 
tunity of saying to him — 

"I have been considering, and I have heard 
things, and, with reference to the subject of my 
conversation with you, in town, I think you ought 
to direct your thoughts to Ethel, about it— you 
ought to have money — don't you see ? It's very 
important — money — very well to be le fils de ses 
centres, and that kind of thing; but a little money 
does no harm ; on the contrary, it is very desir- 
able. Other people keep that point in view ; I 
don't see why we should not. I ask myself this 

VOL. II. 8 



258 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

question : — How is it that people get on in the 
world ? And I answer — in great measure by- 
amassing money ; and arguing from that, I think 
it desirable you should have some money to begin 
with, and I've endeavoured to put it logically, 
about it, that you may see the drift of what I 
say." And he made an excuse and sent Cleve up 
to town next day before him. 

I have been led into an episode by Miss 
Charity's question about Miss Caroline Oldys ; 
and returning to Hazelden, I find Tom Sedley 
taking his leave of the young ladies for the night, 
and setting out for the Yerney Arms with a cigar 
between his lips. 

Next morning he walked down to Malory 
again, and saw old Rebecca, who seemed, in her 
odd way, comforted on seeing him, but spoke 
little — almost nothing ; and he charged her to tell 
neither Dingwell, of whom he had heard nothing 
but evil, nor Jos. Larkin, of whom he had intui- 
tively a profound suspicion, — anything about her 
own history, or the fate of her child, but to 
observe the most cautious reserve in any commu- 
nications they might seek to open with her. And 
having delivered this injunction in a great variety 
of language, he took his leave, and got home very 
early to his breakfast, and ran up to London, oddly 
enough, in the same carriage with Cleve Yerney. 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 259 

Tom Sedley was angry with Cleve, I am afraid 
not upon any very high principle. If Cleve had 
trifled with the affections of Miss Caroline Oldys, 
I fear he would have borne the spectacle of her 
woes with considerable patience. But if the truth 
must be told, honest Tom Sedley was leaving 
Cardyllian in a pet. Anger, grief, jealousy, were 
seething in his good-natured heart. Agnes 
Etherage — his little Agnes — she had belonged to 
him as long as he could remember ; she was gone, 
and he never knew how much he had liked her 
until he had lost her. 

Gone? No; in his wanton cruelty this hand- 
some outlaw had slain his deer — had shot his 
sweet bird dead, and there she lay in the sylvan 
solitude she had so beautified — dead ; and he — 
heartless archer — went on his way smiling, having 
darkened the world for harmless Tom Sedley. 
Could he like him ever again ? 

"Well, the world brooks no heroics now ; there 
are reserves. Men cultivate a thick skin — nature's 
buff-coat — in which, with little pain and small 
loss of blood, the modern man-at-arms rides 
cheerily through life's battle. When point or 
edge happen to go a little through, as I have said, 
there are reserves. There is no good in roaring, 
grinning, or cursing. The scathless only laugh 
at you ; therefore wipe away the blood quietly 



260 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

and seem all you can like the rest. Better not to 
let them see even that. Is there not sometimes 
more of curiosity than of sympathy in the scru- 
tiny ? Don't you even see, at times, just the 
suspicion of a smile on your friend's pitying face, 
as he prescribes wet brown paper or basilicon, or 
a cob-web, according to his skill? 

So Tom and Cleve talked a little — an acquain- 
tance would have said, just as usual — and ex- 
changed newspapers, and even laughed a little 
now and then ; but when at Shillingsworth the 
last interloper got out, and Tom and Cleve were 
left to themselves, the ruling idea asserted itself, 
and Sedley looked hurriedly out of the window, 
and grew silent for a time, and pretended not to 
hear Cleve when he asked him whether he had 
seen the report of Lord Verney's visit to Cardyl- 
lian, as displayed in the county paper of that day, 
which served to amuse him extremely. 

"I don't think/' said Tom Sedley, at last, 
abruptly, " that nice, pretty little creature, Agnes 
Etherage — the nicest little thing, by Jove, I think 
I ever saw — I say she is not looking well." 

" Is not she really ? " said Cleve, very coolly 
cutting open a leaf in his magazine. 

" Didn't you observe ? " exclaimed Tom, rather 
fiercely. 

" Well, no, I can't say I did ; but you know 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 2C1 

them so much better than I," answered Cleve; 
" it can't be very much ; I dare say she's well by 
this time." 

" How can you speak that way, Verney, know- 
ing all you do ? " 

" Why, what do I know ? " exclaimed Cleve, 
looking up in unaffected wonder. 

" You know all about it — ivhy she's out of 
spirits, why she's looking so delicate, why she's 
not like herself," said Tom, impatiently. 

" Upon my soul I do not," said Cleve Verney, 
with animation. 

"That's odd, considering you've half broken 
her heart," urged Tom. 

" I broken her heart ? " repeated Cleve. " Now, 
really, Sedley, do pray think what you're saying. ' 

u I say 1 think you've broken her heart, and 
her sister thinks so too; and it's an awful shame," 
insisted Tom, very grimly. 

" I really do think the people want to set me 
mad," said Cleve, testily. " If anyone says that 
I have ever done anything that could have made 
any of that family, who are in their senses, fancy 
that I was in love with Miss Agnes Etherage, and 
that I wished her to suppose so, it is simply an 
untruth. I never did, and I don't intend; and I 
can't see, for the life of me, Tom Sedley, what 
business it is of yours. But thus much I do say, 



262 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

upon my honour, it is a lie. Miss Charity Ethe- 
rage, an old maid, with no more sense than a 
snipe, living in that barbarous desert, where if a 
man appears at all, during eight months out of 
the twelve, he's a prodigy, and if he walks up the 
street with a Cardyllian lady, he's pronounced to 
be over head and ears in love, and of course medi- 
tating marriage — I say she's not the most reliable 
critic in the world in an affair of that sort ; and 
all I say is, that I've given no grounds for any 
such idea, and I mean it, upon my honour; 
and I've seldom been so astonished in my life 
before." 

There was an air of frank and indignant repu- 
diation in Cleve's manner and countenance, which 
more even than his words convinced Tom Sedley, 
who certainly was aware how little the Cardyllian 
people knew of the world, and what an eminently 
simple maiden in all such matters the homely 
Miss Charity was. So Tom extended his hand 
and said — 

"Well, Cleve, I'm so glad, and I beg your 
pardon, and I know you say truth, and pray shake 
hands ; but though you are not to blame — I'm 
now quite sure you're not — the poor girl is very 
unhappy, and her sister very angry.'' 

" I can't help that. How on earth can / help 
it ? I'm very sorry, though I'm not sure that I 



BY RAIL TO LONDON. 2G3 

ought to care a farthing about other people's 
nonsense, and huffs, and romances. I could tell 
you things about myself, lots of things you'd 
hardly believe — real dreadful annoyances. I tell 
you Tom, I hate the life I'm leading. You only 
see the upper surface, and hardly that. "I'm 
■worried to death, and only that I owe so much 
money, and can't get away, I can tell you — I 
don't care two pins whether you believe it or not 
— I should have been feeding sheep in Australia 
a year ago." 

" Better where you are, Cleve." 

" How the devil do you know ? Don't be 
offended with me, Tom, only make allowances, 
and if I sometimes talk a bit like a Bedlamite 
don't repeat my ravings j that's alt. Look at that 
windmill ; isn't it pretty ? " 



CHAPTER XXII. 

LADY DORMINSTER'S BALL. 

Cleve Yerney was in harness again — attend- 
ing the House with remarkable punctuality; for the 
eye of the noble peer, his uncle, was upon him. 
He had the division lists regularly on his table, 
and if Cleve's name was missing from any one 
of even moderate importance, his uncle took leave 
to ask an explanation. Cleve had also reasons of 
his own for working diligently at the drudgery of 
public life. His march was not upon solid ground, 
but over a quaking bog, every undulation and 
waver of which was answered by a qualm at his 
heart. 

Still it was only some nice management of time 
and persons ; it was a mere matter of presence of 
mind, of vigilance, of resource, to which he felt — 
at least hoped he might be found equal, and all 
must end well. Was not his uncle sixty-six his 
last birthday? People might natter and say he 
looked nothing like it ; but the red book so pro- 



LADY PORMIXSTER'S BALL. 265 

nounced, and there is no gainsaying that sublime 
record. After all, his uncle was not an everlast- 
ing danger. Time and the hour will end the 
longest day; and then must come the title, and 
estates, and a quiet heart at last. 

When the House did not interfere, Cleve was of 
course seen at all the proper places. On the 
night of which I am now speaking there was 
among others Lady Dorminster's ball, and a 
brilliant muster of distinguished persons. 

On that crowded floor, in those celebrated 
salons, in an atmosphere of light and music, in 
which moved so much of what is famous, distin- 
guished, splendid, is seen the figure of Cleve 
Verney. Everyone knew that slight and graceful 
figure, and the oval face, delicate features, and 
large, dark, dreamy eyes, that never failed to 
impress you with the same ambiguous feeling. 
It was Moorish, it was handsome ; but there was 
a shadow there — something secret and selfish, 
and smilingly, silently insolent. 

This session he had come out a little, and made 
two speeches of real promise. The minister had 
complimented his uncle upon them, and had also 
complimented him. The muse was there ; some- 
thing original and above routine — genius perhaps 
— and that passion for distinction which breaks a 
poor man's heart, and floats the rich to greatness. 



266 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

A man of Cleve's years, with his position, with his 
promise, with London life and Paris life all learned 
by rote, courted and pursued, wary, contemptuous, 
sensual, clever, ambitious — is not young. The 
whole chaperon world, with its wiles, was an open 
book for him. For him, like the man in the Ger- 
man legend, the earth under which they mined 
and burrowed had grown to his eyes transparent, 
and he saw the gnomes at work. For him young 
ladies' smiles were not light and magic — only 
marsh fires and tricks. To him old and young 
came up and simpered or fawned; but they 
dimpled, or ogled, or grinned, all in the Palace of 
Truth. Truth is power, but not always pretty. 
For common men the surface is best ; all beyond 
is knowledge — an acquisition of sorrow. 

Therefore, notwithstanding his years, the clear 
olive oval of his handsome face, the setting — void 
of line or colour — of those deep dark eyes, so 
enthusiastic, yet so cold, the rich wave of his 
dark hair, and the smooth transparency of 
temples and forehead, and all the tints and signs 
of beautiful youth, Cleve Verney was well 
stricken in years of knowledge; and of that sad 
gift he would not have surrendered an iota in 
exchange for the charms and illusions of inno- 
cence, so much for the most part do men prefer 
power to happiness. 



LADY DORMIXSTER'S BALL. 267 

"How d'ye do, Miss Oldys?" said this 
brilliant young man of actualities and expec- 
tations. 

" Oh, Mr. Verney, you here ! " 

This Miss Caroline Oldys was just nine-and- 
tweuty. Old, like him, in the world's dismal 
psychology, but with one foolish romance still at 
her heart; betrayed into a transient surprise, 
smiling in genuine gladness, almost forgetting her- 
self, and looking quite country-girlish in the mo- 
mentary effusion. It is not safe affecting an 
emotion with men like Cleve, especially when it 
does not flatter them. He did not care a farthing 
whether she was surprised or not, or glad or 
sorry. But her very eye and gesture told him 
that she had marked him as he stood there, and 
had chosen the very seat on which her partner 
had placed her of malice aforethought. Fine 
acting does it need to succeed with a critic like 
Cleve. 

" Yes, I here — and where's the wonder ? " 

" Why, — who was it ? — some one told me only 
half an hour ago, you were somewhere in 
France." 

" Well, if it was a man he told a story, and if 
a lady she made a mistake/' said Cleve, coolly but 
tartly, looking steadily at her. "And the truth 
is, I wanted a yacht, and I went down to look at 



268 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

her, tried her, liked her, and bought her. Doesn't 
it sound very like a marriage ? " 

Caroline laughed. 

" That's your theory — we're all for sale, and 
handed over to the best bidder." 

"Pretty waltz," said Cleve, waving his slender 
hand just the least in the world to the music. 
"Pretty thing! " 

He did not use much ceremony with this young 
lady — his cousin in some remote way — who, under 
the able direction of her mother, Lady AVimble- 
don, had once pursued him in a barefaced way 
for nearly three years ; and who, though as we 
have seen, her mother had by this time quite 
despaired, yet liked him with all the romance that 
remained to her. 

"And who are you going to marry, Caroline? 
There's Sedley — I see him over there. What do 
you say to Sedley ? " 

" Xo, thanks — much obliged — but Sedley, you 
know, has seen his fate in that mysterious lady in 
Wales, or somewhere. 

"Oh? has he?" He signed to Sedley to 
come to them. 

Looking through the chinks and chasms that 
now and then opened in the distinguished mob 
of which he formed a unit, he occasionally saw 
the stiff figure and small features of his pompous 



LADY DORMIXSTER's BALL. 269 

uncle, Lord Verney, who "was talking affably to 
Lady Wimbledon. Lord Verney did not wear 
his agreeable simper. He had that starch and 
dismal expression, rather, which came with grave 
subjects, and he was tapping the fingers of his 
right hand upon the back of his left, in time to 
the cadence of his periods, which he did when 
delivering matter particularly well worth hear- 
ing. It plainly did not displease Lady Wirn- 
bledon, whatever his discourse might be. " Fm 
to be married to Caroline, I suppose. I wish 
that old woman was at the bottom of the Red 
Sea." 

Cleve looked straight in the eyes of the 
Honourable Miss Caroline Oldys, and said he, 
with a smile, " Lady Wimbledon and my uncle 
are deep in some mystery — is it political ? Have 
you an idea ? 9i 

Caroline Oldys had given up blushing very long 
ago indeed ; but there was the confusion, with- 
out the tint of a blush in her face, as he said 
these words. 

"I dare say — mamma's a great politician." 
" Oh ! I know that. By Jove, my uncle's 
looking this way. I hope he's not coming." 
" Would you mind taking me to mamma ? " 
" No — pray stay for a moment. Here's 
Sedley." 



270 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

And the young man, whom we know pretty 
well, with the bold blue eyes and golden mous- 
taches, and good frank handsome face, approached 
smiling. 

"How are you, Sedley?" said Cleve, giving 
him two fingers. ,€ Caroline Oldys says you've 
had an adventure. Where was it ?" 

" The lady in black, you know, in Wales/' 
reminded Miss Oldys. 

u Oh ! to be sure," said Sedley, laughing. 
" A lady in gray, it was. I saw her twice. But 
that's more than a year old, and there has been 
nothing ever since." 

"Do go on." 

Sedley laughed. 

" It was at Cardyllian, in the church. She 
lived at Malory — that dark old place you went to 
see with the Verneys, the day you were at Car- 
dyllian — don't you remember ? " 

" Oh, yes, — what a romantic place ! M 

" What an awfully cross old fellow, old enough 
to be her father, but with the air of her husband, 
guarding her like a dragon, and eyeing every 
fellow that came near as if he'd knock him down ; 
a lean, white-whiskered, bald old fellow, with 
bushy eyebrows, and a fierce face, and eyes jump- 
ing out of his head, and lame of one foot, too. 
Not a beauty, by any means." 



LADY DORMINSTER'S BALL. 271 

" Where did you see him 9 " said Cleve. 

" I did not see him — but Christmass Owen the 
boatman told me." 

" Well, and which is your fate — which is to 
kill you — the husband or wife ? " inquired Cleve, 
looking vaguely among the crowd. 

" Oh, the wife, as he calls her, is really quite 
beautiful, melancholy and that, you know. I'd 
have found out all about them, but they left 
before I had time to go back, but Verney was at 
Cardyllian, when I was there." 

" When was that ? " asked Cleve. 

" I mean when these people were at Malory. 
Cleve was much more gone about her than I was 
— at least so I've heard," answered Sedley. 

" That's very ungrateful of you, Sedley. I 
never interfered, upon my honour. I saw her 
once in church, and accompanied him in his 
pursuit at his earnest request, and I never saw 
her again. Are you going on to the Halbury's, 
Caroline ? " 

" Yes ; are you ? " 

" No, quite used up. Haven't slept since 
Wednesday night." 

Here a partner came to claim Miss Caroline. 

" I'll go with you," said Sedley. 

" Very well," answered Cleve, without looking 
back. " Come to my lodgings, Sedley — we'll 



'27 '2 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

smoke, shall we ? I've got some capital 
cigars." 

" I don't care. I'm going on also." 

''AYhat a delicious night!" exclaimed Tom 
Sedley, looking up at the stars. " Suppose we 
walk — it isn't far." 

" I don't care — let us walk," said Cleve. 

So walk they did. It was not far to Cleve's 
lodgings, in a street off Piccadilly. The young 
men had walked rather silently ; for, as it seemed 
to Sedley, his companion was not in a temper to 
talk a great deal, or very pleasantly. 

" And what about this gray woman ? Did you 
ever follow it up ? Did the romance take fire 
where it ought ? Is it a mutual flame?" asked 
Cleve, like a tired man who feels he must say some- 
thing, and does not care what. " I don't think you 
mentioned her since the day you showed me that 
Beatrice Cenci, over your d d chimney-piece." 

" Of course I'd have told you if there had been 
anything to tell," said Tom. 

" They haven't been at Malory since ? " 
" Oh ! no — frightened away — you'll never see 
them there again. There's nothing absolutely 
in it, and never was, not even an adven- 
ture. Nothing but the little that happened 
long ago — and you know all about that," con- 
tinued Sedley. " She's a wonderfully beautiful 



LADY DOBMINSTER'S BALL. 273 

creature, though; I wish you saw her again, 
Cleve. You're such a clever fellow, you'd make 
a poem of her, or something — she'd hring you 
back to the days of chivalry, and that style of 
thing. I'm a sort of fellow, you know, that 
feels a lot, and I think, I think some too ; but I 
haven't the knack of saying it, or writing it — I'm 
not particularly good at anything ; but I went 
that morning, you know, into the Refectory — you 
know — there are such a lot of stairs, and long 
places and doors, it makes a fellow quite foolish — 
and there she was — don't you remember? — I wish 
I could describe her to you gardening there with 
her gloves on." 

"Don't try — you've tried so often — there's a 
good fellow; but just tell me her name?" said 
Cleve, looking straight before him, above the 
lamps and the slanting slates and chimneys, into 
the deep sky, where brilliantly, spite of London 
smoke, shone the clear sad moon. 

" Her name ? — I never found out, except Mar- 
garet — I don't know ; but I believe they did not 
want their name told." 

" That did not look well— did it \ " suggested 
Cleve. 

a Well, no more it generally does ; but it is 
not her fault. It was — in fact it was — for I did 
find it out, I mav as well tell vou — old Sir 

VOL. II. T 



-74 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

Booth Fanshawe, you know he's broken — not 
worth a guinea — and always running about 
from place to place to avoid pursuit, in fact. 
It can't signify, you know, now that I think of 
it, mentioning him, because, of course, he's gone 
somewhere else long ago." 

So said romantic little Sedley, and Cleve 
sneered. 

" I see you can tell a fib on occasion, Tom, like 
another man. So you found out the name, and 
knew it all the time you were protesting ignorance. 
And who told you that ? People here thought 
Sir Booth had gone to Italy." 

"Well, it was — but you mustn't tell him I told 
you. There was a Jew fellow down at Malory, 
with a writ and a lot of fellows to nab him ; but 
the old fellow was off; and the Jew, thinking 
that Wynne Williams knew where he was, came 
to his office and offered him a hatfull of money to 
tell, and he was going to kick him out ; and that's 
the way he found out it was old Sir Booth ; and 
he is awfully afraid of getting into a scrape about 
it, if the old people heard who the tenant was." 

" So he would — the worst scrape he ever was 
in, with my wide, at all events. And that d — d 
Larkin would get into the management of every- 
thing, I suppose. I hope, you have not been 
telling everyone ? " 



LADY DORMINSTEBS HALL. 275 

" Not a soul — not a human being." 

" There are some of the Cardyllian people that 
hardly come under that term; and, by Jove, if 
you breathe it to one of them, it's all over the 
town, and my uncle will be sure to hear it ; and 
poor Wynne Williams ! — you'll be the ruin of 
him, very likely." 

"I tell you, except to you, I swear to you, I 
haven't mentioned it to a soul on earth," 
exclaimed Tom. 

" Well, I do think, as a matter of conscience 
and fairness, you ought to hold your tongue, 
and keep faith with poor "Wynne," said Cleve, 
rudely, " and I think he was a monstrous fool 
to tell you. You know I'm interested," con- 
tinued Cleve, perceiving that his vehemence 
surprised Tom Sedley ; " because I have no 
faith in Larkin — I think him a sneak and a 
hypocrite, and a rogue — of course that's in con- 
fidence, and he's doing all in his power to get a 
fast hold of my uncle, and to creep into Wynne 
Williams's place, and a thing like this, with a 
hard unreasonable fellow like my uncle, would 
give him such a lift as you can't imagine." 

"But, I'm not going to tell; unless you tell, or 
he, I don't know who's to tell it — / won't, I 
know." 

"And about Sir Booth — of course he's not in 



276 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

England now — but neither is he in Italy," said 
Tom. 

" It's well he has you to keep his ' log ' for 
him," said Cleve. 

" He's in France." 

" Oh ! " 

a Yes, in the north of France, somewhere near 
Caen," said Tom Sedley. 

" I wonder you let him get so near England. 
It seems rather perilous, doesn't it ? " 

"So one would think, but there he is. Tom 
Blackmore, of the Guards — you know him ? " 

" No, I don't." 

"Well he saw old Fanshawe there. He hap- 
pened to be on leave." 

" Old Fanshawe ? " 

" No, Tom Blackmore. He likes poking into 
out-of-the-way places." 

" I dare say." 

" He has such a turn for the picturesque and 
all that, and draws very nicely." 

11 The long bow, I dare say." 

"Well, no matter, he was there — old Fan- 
shawe I mean — Blackmore saw him. He knows 
his appearance perfectly — used to hunt with his 
hounds, and that kind of thing, and often talked 
to him, so he could not be mistaken — and there 
he was as large as life." 



LADY DORMINSTERS BALL. 'Ill 

"Well?" 

" He did not know Tom a bit, and Tom asked 
no questions — in fact, he did not care to know 
where the poor old fellow hides himself — he pre- 
ferred not — but Madame something or other — I 
forget her name — gave him a history, about as 
true as Jack the Giant-Killer, of the eccentric 
English gentleman, and told bim that he had 
taken a great old house, and had his family there, 
and a most beautiful young wife, and was as 
jealous as fifty devils ; so you see Margaret must 
have been there. Of course that was she," said 
Tom. 

" And you said so to your friend Blackmore ? n 
suggested Cleve Verney. 

"Yes," said Tom. 

" It seems to me you want to have him 
caught." 

" Well, I did not think — I hope not — and I 
did not know you took any interest in him," said 
Sedley, quite innocently. 

" Interest ! / — me ! Interest, indeed ! Why 
the devil should / take an interest in Sir Booth 
Fanshawe ? Why you seem to forget all the 
trouble and annoyance he has cost me. Interest, 
indeed ! Quite the contrary. Only, I think, one 
would not like to get any poor devil into worse 
trouble than he's in, for no object, or to be 



278 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

supposed to be collecting information about 
him." 

" No one could suppose anything like that of 
me," said Tom Sedley. 

" I beg your pardon ; they can suppose any- 
thing of anybody," answered Cleve, and, seeing 
that Tom looked offended, he added, " and the 
more absurd and impossible, the more likely. I 
wish you heard the things that have been said of 
me — enough to make your hair stand on end, by 
Jove ! " 

" Oh ! I dare say." 

They were now turning into the street where 
Cleve had taken lodgings. 

" I could not stand those fellows any longer. 
My uncle has filled the house with them — varnish 
and paint and that stifling plaster — so I've put up 
here for a little time." 

" I like these streets. I'm not very far away 
from you here," said Tom. " And talking of 
that affair at Caen, you know, he said, by Jove he 
did, that he saw you there." 

" Who said ? " 

" Tom Blackmore of the Guards." 

" Then Tom Blackmore of the Guards lies — 
that's all. I never saw him — I never spoke to 
him — I don't know him ; and how should he 
know me? And if he did, I wasn't there; and 



LADY DORMINSTER'S BALL. 279 

if I had been, what the devil was it to him ? 
So besides telling lies, he tells impertinent lies, 
and he ought to be kicked." 

" "Well, of course as you say so, he must have 
made a mistake ; but Caen is as open to you as 
to him, and there's no harm in the place ; and he 
knows you by appearance." 

" He knows everybody by appearance, it 
seems, and nobody knows him ; and, by Jove, 
he describes more like a bailiff than a Guards- 
man." 

" He's a thorough gentleman in every idea. 
Tom Blackmore is as nice a little fellow as there 
is in the world," battled Tom Sedley for his 
friend. 

" Well, I wish you'd persuade that faultless 
gentleman to let me and my concerns alone. I 
have a reason in this case ; and I don't mind if I 
tell you I ivas at Caen, and I suppose he did see 
me. But there was no romance in the matter, 
except the romance of the Stock Exchange and a 
Jew; and I wish, Tom, you'd just consider me as 
much as you do the old baronet, for my own 
sake, that is, for Fm. pretty well dipped too, and 
don't want everyone to know when or where I go 
in quest of my Jews. I was — not very far from 
that about four months ago ; and if you go about 
telling everyone, by Jove my uncle will guess 



280 THE TENANTS OF MALORY. 

what brought me there, and old fellows don't like 

post-obits on their own lives." 

" My dear Cleve, I had not a notion " 

" Well, all you can do for me now, having 

spread the report, is to say that I wasn't there — 

Fm serious. Here we are." 



END OF VOL. II. 



BRADBURY. EVAN'<, AND CO., PRINTERS, WHITKKRIARS. 



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