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[XH right* 







To THE HEADER I i. ~. \ 1 

I. AN AKKIVAL . . . * 6 








IX. AWAKENED. . . . . 57 






XV. A WARNING ; . . . . 87 



XVIIL IDENTIIIED. ....;.. 108 
















iv Contents. 







XL. A BAINY DAY i .245 











LI. A WARNING ; 305 






LVIIL DANGER . . . . . . . .347 















1ST, I must tell you how I intend to relate 
my story. Having never before undertaken to 
write a long narrative, I have considered 
and laid down a few rules which I shall ob- 
Some of these are unquestionably good ; others, 
I daresay, offend against the canons of composition ; but 
I adopt them, because they will enable me to tell my story 
better than, with my imperfect experience, better rules 
possibly would. In the first place, I shall represent the 
people with whom I had to deal quite fairly. I have met 
some bad people, some indifferent, and some who at this 
distance of time seem to me like angels in the unchanging 
light of heaven. 

My narrative shall be arranged in the order of the 
events ; I shall not recapitulate or anticipate. 

"What I have learned from others, and did not witness, 
that which I narrate, in part, from the hints of living 
witnesses, and, in part, conjecturally. I shall record in the 
historic third person ; and I shall' write it down with as 
much confidence and particularity as if I had actually 
seen it ; in that respect imitating, I believe, all great 
historians, modern and ancient. But the scenes in which 
I have been an actor, that which my eyes have seen, and 

2 Willing to Die. 

my ears heard, I will relate accordingly. If I can be 
clear and true, my clumsiness and irregularity, I hope, 
will be forgiven me. 

My name is Ethel Ware. 

I am not an interesting person by any means. You 
shall judge. I shall be forty-two my next birthday. That 
anniversary will occur on the first of May, 1873 ; and I 
am unmarried. 

I don't look quite the old maid I am, they tell me. They 
say I don't look five-and-thirty, and I am conscious, sitting 
before the glass, that there is nothing sour or peevish in 
my features. What does it matter, even to me ? I shall, 
of course, never marry; and, honestly, I don't care to 
please any one. If I cared twopence how I looked, I 
should probably look worse than I do. 

I wish to be honest. I have looked in the glass since I 
wrote that sentence. I have just seen the faded picture 
of what may have been a pretty, at least what is called a 
piquant face; a forehead broad and well-formed, over 
which the still dark-brown hair grows low ; large and 
rather good grey eyes and features, with nothing tragic, 
nothing classic just fairly good. 

I think there was always energy in my face ! I think I 
remember, long ago, something at times comic ; at times, 
also, something sad and tender, and even dreamy, as I 
fixed flowers in my hair or talked to my image in the glass. 
All that has been knocked out of me pretty well. What 
I do see there now is resolution. 

There are processes of artificial hatching in use, if I 
remember rightly, in Egypt, by which you may, at your 
discretion, make the bird all beak, or all claw, all head, or 
all drumstick, as you please to develope it, before the 
shell breaks, by a special application of heat. It is a chick, 
no doubt, but a monstrous chick ; and something like such 
a chick was I. Circumstances, in my very early days, 
hatched my character altogether out of equilibrium. 

The caloric had been applied quite different in my 
mother's case, and produced a prodigy of quite another 

I loved my mother with a very warm, but, I am now 

To the Reader. 3 

conscious, with a somewhat contemptuous affection. It 
never was an angry nor an arrogant contempt ; a very 
tender one, on the contrary. She loved me, I am sure, as 
well as she was capable of loving a child better than she 
ever loved my sister and I would have laid down my life 
for her ; but, with all my love, I looked down upon her, 
although I did not know it, till I thought my life over in 
the melancholy honesty of solitude. 

I am not romantic. If I ever was it is time I should 
be cured of all that. I can laugh heartily, but I think I 
sigh more than most people. 

I am not a bit shy, but I like solitude ; partly because 
I regard my kind with not unjust suspicion. 

I am speaking very frankly. I enjoy, perhaps you 
think cynically, this hard-featured self-delineation. I 
don't spare myself; I need not spare any one else. But I 
am not a cynic. There is vacillation and timidity in that 
ironical egotism. It is something deeper with rne. I 
don't delight in that sordid philosophy. I have encoun- 
tered magnanimity and self-devotion on earth. It is not 
true that there is neither nobility nor beauty in human 
nature, that is not also more or less shabby and grotesque. 

I have an odd story to tell. On my father's side I am 
the grand-daughter of a viscount ; on my mother's, the 
grand-daughter of a baronet. I have had my early 
glimpses of the great world, and a wondrous long stare 
round the dark world beneath it. 

When I lower my hand, and in one of the momentary 
reveries that tempt a desultory writer tickle my cheek 
slowly with the feathered end of my pen for I don't 
incise my sentences with a point of steel, but, in the old 
fashion, wing my words with a possibly too appropriate 
grey-goose plume I look through a tall window in an old 
house on the scenery I have loved best and earliest in the 
world. The noble Welsh mountains are on my right, the 
purple headlands stooping grandly into the waves ; I look 
upon the sea, the enchanted element, my first love and my 
last ! How often I lean upon my hand and smile back 
upon the waters that silently smile on me, rejoicing under 
the summer heavens ; and in wintry moonlights, when 
the north wind drives the awful waves upon the rocks, and, 

B 2 

4 Willing to Die. 

I see the foam shooting cloud after cloud into the air, I 
have found myself, after long hours, still gazing, as if my 
breath were frozen, on the one peaked black rock, thinking 
what the storm and foam once gave me up there, until, 
with a sudden terror, and a gasp, I wake from the spell, 
and recoil from the white image, as if a spirit had been 
talking with me all the time. 

From this same window, in the fore-ground, I see, in 
morning light or melancholy sunset, with very perfect and 
friendly trust, the shadowy old churchyard, where I have 
arranged my narrow bed shall be. There my mother- 
earth, at last, shall hold me in her bosom, and I shall 
find my anodyne and rest. There over me shall hover 
through the old church windows faintly the sweet hymns 
and the voices in prayer I heard long ago ; there the 
shadow of tower and tree shall slowly move over the grass 
above me, from dawn till night, and there, within the 
fresh and solemn sound of its waves, I shall lie near the 
ceaseless fall and flow of the sea I loved so well. 

I am not sorry, as I sit here, with my vain recollections 
and my direful knowledge, that my life has been what it 

A member of the upper ten thousand, I should have 
known nothing. I have bought my knowledge dear. But 
truth is a priceless jewel. Would you part with it, fellow- 
mourner, and return to the simplicities and illusions of 
early days ? Consider the question truly ; be honest ; and 
you will answer " No." In the volume of memory, every 
page of which, like " Cornelius Agrippa's bloody book," has 
power to evoke a spectre, would you yet erase a line ? We 
can willingly part with nothing that ever was part of mind, 
or memory, or self. The lamentable past is our own for ever. 

Thank Heaven, my childhood was passed in a tranquil 
nook, where the roar of the world's traffic is not so much 
as heard ; among scenery, where there lurks little capital, 
and no enterprise ; where the good people are asleep ; and 
where, therefore, the irreparable improvements that in 
other places carry on their pitiless work of obliteration 
are undreamed of. I am looking out on scenes that remain 
unchanged as heaven itself. The summer comes and 
goes ; the autumn drifts of leaves, and winter snows ; 

To the Reader. 5 

and all things here remain as 'my round childish eyes 
beheld them in stupid wonder and delight when first the 
world was opening upon them. The trees, the tower, the 
stile, the very gravestones, are my earliest friends ; I 
stretch my arms to the mountains, as if I could fold them 
to my heart. And in the opening through the ancient 
trees, the great estuary stretches northward, wider and 
wider, into the grey horizon of the open sea. 

The sinking sun askance, 

Spreads a dull glare, 

Through evening air ; 
And, in a happy trance, 

Forest and wave, and white cliff stand, 

Like an enchanted sea and land. 

The sea-breeze wakens clear and cold, 

Over the azure wide ; 
Before whose breath, in threads of gold, 

The ruddy ripples glide, 
And chasing, break and mingle ; 

While clear as bells, 

Each wavelet tells, 
O'er the stones on the hollow shingle. 

The rising of winds and the fall of the waves ! 
I love the music of shingle and caves, 
And the billows that travel so far to die, 
In foam, on the loved shore where they lie. 
I lean my cold cheek on my hand ; 

And as a child, with open eyes, 

Listens, in a dim surprise, 

To some high story 

Of grief and glory, 
It cannot understand ; 
So, like that child, 
To meanings of a music wild, 
I listen, in a rapture lonely, 
Not understanding, listening only, 
To a story not for me ; 

And let my fancies come and go, 

And fall and flow, 
With the eternal sea. 

And so, to leave rhyme, and return to prose, I end my 
preface, and begin my story here. 



of the earliest scenes I can remember with 
perfect distinctness is this. My sister and I, 
still denizens of the nursery, had come down to 
take our tea with good old Eebecca Torkhill, the 
Malory housekeeper, in the room we called the cedar 
parlour. It is a long and rather sombre room, with two 
tall windows looking out upon the shadowy court-yard. 
There are on the wall some dingy portraits, whose pale 
faces peep out, as it were, through a background of black 
fog, from the canvas ; and there is one, in better order than 
the others, of a grave man in the stately costume of James 
the First, which hangs over the mantel-piece. As a child 
I loved this room ; I loved the half-decipherable pictures ; 
it was solemn and even gloomy, but it was with the 
delightful gloom and solemnity of one of Eebecca Tor- 
kill's stories of castles, giants, and goblins. 

It was evening now, with a stormy, red sky in the west. 
Eebecca and we two children were seated round the table, 
sipping our tea, eating hot cake, and listening to her oft- 
told tale, entitled the Knight of the Black Castle. 

This knight, habited in black, lived in his black castle, 
in the centre of a dark wood, and being a giant, and an 
ogre, and something of a magician besides, he used to 
ride out at nightfall with a couple of great black bags, to 
stow his prey in, at his saddle-bow, for the purpose of 
visiting such houses as had their nurseries well-stocked 
with children. His tall black horse, when he dismounted, 
waited at the hall-door, which, however mighty its bars 

An Arrival. 7 

and bolts, could not resist certain magical words which he 
tittered in a sepulchral voice 

" Yoke, yoke, 
Iron and oak-; 
One, two, and three, 
Open to me." 

At this charmed summons the door turned instantly on 
its hinges, without warning of creak or rattle, and the 
black knight mounted the stairs to the nursery, and was 
drawing the children softly out of their beds, by their 
feet, before any one knew he was near. 

As this story, which with childish love of iteration we 
were listening to now for the fiftieth time, went on, I, 
whose chair faced the window, saw a tall man on a tall 
horse both looked black enough against the red sky 
ride by at a walk. 

I thought it was the gaunt old vicar, who used to ride 
up now and then to visit our gardener's mother, who was 
sick and weak, and troubling my head no more about him, 
was instantly as much absorbed as ever in the predatory 
prowlings of the Knight of the Black Castle. 

It was not until I saw Rebecca's face, in which I was 
staring with the steadiness of an eager interest, undergo 
a sudden and uncomfortable change, that I discovered my 
error. She stopped in the middle of a sentence, and her 
eyes were fixed on the door. Mine followd hers thither. 
I was more than startled. In the very crisis of a tale of 
terror, ready to believe any horror, I thought, for a moment, 
that I actually beheld the Black Knight, and felt that his 
horse, no doubt, and his saddle-bags, were waiting at the 
hall-door to receive me and my sister. 

What I did see was a man who looked to me gigantic. 
He seemed to fill the tall door-case. His dress was dark, 
and he had a pair of leather overalls, I believe they called 
them, which had very much the effect of jack-boots, and 
he had a low-crowned hat on. His hair was long and 
black, his prominent black eyes were fixed on us, his face 
was long, but handsome, and deadly pale, as it seemed to 
me, from intense anger. A child's instinctive reading of 
countenance is seldom at fault. The ideas of power and 

8 Willing to Die. 

mystery surround grown persons in the eyes of children. 
A gloomy or forbidding face upon a person of great 
stature inspires something like panic ; and if that person 
is a stranger, and evidently transported with anger, his 
mere appearance in the same room will, I can answer for 
it, frighten a child half into hysterics. This alarming 
face, with its black knit brows, and very blue shorn chin, 
was to me all the more fearful that it was that of a man 
no longer young. He advanced to the table with two 
strides, and said, in resonant, deep tones, to which my 
very heart seemed to vibrate : 

11 Mr. Ware's not here, but he will be, soon enough ; 
you give him that ;" and he hammered down a letter on 
the table, with a thump of his huge fist. " That's my an- 
swer ; and tell him, moreover, that I took his letter," 
and he plucked an open letter deliberately from his great- 
coat pocket " and tore it, this way and that way, across 
and across," and he suited the action fiercely to the words, 
11 and left it for him, there !" 

So saying, he slapped down the pieces with his big 
hand, and made our tea-spoons jump and jingle in our 
cups, and turned and strode again to the door. 

*' And tell him this," he added, in a tone of calmer 
hatred, turning his awful face on us again, "that there's 
a God above us, who judges righteously." 

The door shut, and we saw him no more. I and my 
sister burst into clamorous tears, and roared and cried for 
a full half hour, from sheer fright a demonstration 
which, for a time, gave Rebecca Torkill ample occupation 
for all her energies and adroitness. 

This recollection remains, with all the colouring and 
exaggeration of a horrible impression received in child- 
hood, fixed in my imagination. 1 and dear Nelly long 
remembered the apparition, and in our plays used to call 
him, after the goblin hero of the romance to which we had 
been listening when he entered, the Knight of the 
Black Castle. 

-The adventure made, indeed, a profound impression 
upon our nerves, and I have related it, with more detail 
than it seems to deserve, because it was, in truth, con- 
nected with my story ; and I afterwards, unexpectedly, 

An Arrival. 9 

saw a good deal more of the awful man in whose presence 
my heart had quaked, and after whose visit I and my 
sister seemed for days to have drunk of " the cup of 

I must take up my story now at a point a great many 
years later. 

Let the reader fancy me and my sister Helen ; I dark- 
haired, and a few months past sixteen ; she, with flaxen, 
or rather golden hair and large blue eyes, and only fifteen, 
standing in the hall at Malory, lighted with two candles ; 
one in the old-fashioned glass bell that swings by three 
chains from the ceiling, the other carried out hastily from 
the housekeeper's room, and flaming on the table, in the 
foggy puffs of the February night air that entered at the 
wide-open hall-door. 

Old Eebecca Torkill stood on the steps, with her broad 
hand shading her eyes, as if the moon dazzled them. 

" There's nothing, dear ; no, Miss Helen, it mustn't a* 
bin the gate. There's no sign o' nothin' comin' up, and 
110 sound nor nothing at all ; come in, dear ; you shouldn't 
a' come out to the open door, with your cough in this 

So in she stumped, and shut the door ; and we saw no 
more of the dark trunks and boughs of the elms at the 
other side of the courtyard, with the smoky mist between ; 
and we three trooped together to the housekeeper's room, 
where we had taken up our temporary quarters. 

This was the second false alarm that night, sounded, in 
Helen's fancy, by the quavering scream of the old iron 
gate. We had to wait and watch in the fever of expecta- 
tion for some time longer. 

Our old house of Malory was, at the best, in the forlorn 
condition of a ship of war out of commission. Old Eebecca 
and two rustic maids, and Thomas Jones, who was boots, 
gardener, hen-wife, and farmer, were all the hands we 
could boast ; and at least three-fourths of the rooms were, 
locked up, with shutters closed ; and many of them, from, 
year to year, never saw the light, and lay in perennial 

The truth is, my father and mother seldom visited 
Malory. They had a house in London, and led a yery gay 

10 Williny to Die. 

life ; were very " good people," immensely in request, and 
everywhere. Their rural life was not at Malory, but spent 
in making visits at one country-house after another. 
Helen and I, their only children, saw very little of them. 
We sometimes were summoned up to town for a month 
or two for lessons in dancing, music, and other things, 
but there we saw little more of them than at home. The 
being in society, judging by its effects upon them, appeared 
to me a very harassing and laborious profession. I al- 
ways felt that we were half in the way and half out of 
Bight in town, and was immensely relieved when we were 
dismissed again to our holland frocks, and to the beloved 
solitudes of Malory. 

This was a momentous night. We were expecting the 
arrival of a new governess, or rather companion. 

Laura Grey we knew no more than her name, for 
in his hurried note we could not read whether she was 
Miss or Mrs. my father had told us, was to arrive 
this night at about nine o'clock. I had asked him, when 
he paid his last visit of a day here, and announced the 
coming event, whether she was a married lady ; to which 
he answered, laughing : 

" You wise little woman ! That's a very pertinent 
question, though I never thought of it, and I have been 
addressing her as Miss Grey all this time. She certainly 
is old enough to be married." 

" Is she cross, papa, I wonder ?" I further inquired. 

" Not cross perhaps a little severe. ' She whipped 
two female 'prentices to death, and hid them in the 
coal-hole,' or something of that kind, but she has a 
very cool temper ;" and so he amused himself with my 

Now, although we knew that all this, including the 
quotation, was spoken in jest, it left an uncomfortable 
suspicion. Was this woman old and ill-tempered? A 
great deal was in the power of a governess here. An 
artful woman, who liked power, and did not like us, might 
make us very miserable. 

At length the little party in the housekeeper's room 
did hear sounds at which we all started up with one 
consent. They were the trot of a horse's hoofs and the 

An Arrival. 11 

roll of wheels, and before we reached the hall-door the 
bell was ringing. 

Rebecca swung open the door, and we saw in the 
shadow of the house, with the wheels touching the steps, 
a one-horse conveyance, with some luggage on top, dimly 
lighted by the candles in the hall. 

A little bonnet was turned towards us from the windows ; 
we could not see what the face was like ; a slender hand 
turned the handle, and a lady, whose figure, though 
enveloped in a tweed cloak, looked very slight and pretty, 
came down, and ran up the steps, and hesitated, ana being 
greeted encouragingly by Rebecca TorkilJ, entered the hall 
smiling, and showed a very pretty and modest face, rather 
pale, and very young. 

"My name is Grey; I am the new governess," she 
said, in a pleasant voice, which, with her pretty looks, 
was very engaging ; " and these are the young ladies ?" 
she continued, glancing at Rebecca and back again at 
us; you are Ethel, and you Helen Ware?" and a little 
timidly she offered her hand to each. 

I liked her already. 

" Shall I go with you to your room," I asked, " while 
Rebecca is making tea for us in the housekeeper's room ? 
We thought we should be more comfortable there to- 

" I'm so glad I shall feel quite at home. It is the 
very thing I should have liked," she said ; and talked 
on as I led her to her room, which, though very old- 
fashioned, looked extremely cosy, with a good fire flicker- 
ing abroad and above on walls and ceiling. 

I remember everything about that evening so well. I 
have reason to remember Miss Laura Grey. Some people 
would have said that there was not a regular feature in 
her face, except her eyes, which were very fine ; but she 
had beautiful little teeth, and a skin wonderfully smooth 
and clear, and there was refinement and energy in her 
face, which was pale and spiritual, and indescribably en- 
gaging. To my mind, whether according to rule or not, 
she was nothing short of beautiful. 

I have reason to remember that pale, pretty young face. 
The picture is clear and living before me this moment, as 

12 Willing to Die. 

it was then in the firelight. Standing there, she smiled 
on me very kindly she looked as if she would have kissed 
me and then, suddenly thoughtful, she stretched her 
slender hands to the fire, and, in a momentary reverie, 
sighed very deeply. 

I left her, softly, with her trunks and boxes, which 
Thomas Jones had already carried up, and ran down- 

I remember the pictures of that night with supernatural 
distinctness ; for at that point of time fate changed my 
life, and with pretty Miss Grey another pale figure entered, 
draped in black, and calamity was my mate for many a 
day after. 

Our tea-party, however, this night in Mrs. Torldll's 
room, was very happy. I don't remember what we talked 
about, but we were in high good-humour with our young 
lady-superioress, and she seemed to like us. 

I am going to tell you very shortly my impressions of 
this lady. I never met any one in my life who had the 
same influence over me ; and, for a time, it puzzled me. 
"When we were not at French, German, music our studies, 
in fact she was exactly like one of ourselves, always 
ready to do whatever we liked best, always pleasant, gentle, 
and, in her way, even merry. When she was alone, or 
thinking, she was sad. That seemed the habit of her 
mind; but she was naturally gay and sympathetic, as 
ready as we for a walk on the strand to pick up shells, 
for a ride on the donkeys to Penruthyn Priory, to take 
a sail or a row on the estuary, or a drive in our little 
pony-carriage anywhere. Sometimes on our rambles we 
would cross the stile and go into the pretty little church- 
yard that lies to the left of Malory, near the sea, and if it 
was a sunny day we would read the old inscriptions and 
loiter away half an hour among the tombstones. 

And when we came home to tea we would sit round the 
fire and tell stories, of which she had ever so many, 
German, French, Scotch, Irish, Icelandic, and I know not 
what ; and sometimes we went to the housekeeper's room, 
and, with Eebecca Torkill's leave, made a hot cake, and 
baked it on the griddle there, with great delight. 

The secret of Laura Grey's power was in her gentle 

An Arrival. 13 

temper, her inflexible conscience, and her angelic firmness 
in all matters of duty. I never saw her excited, or for a 
moment impatient ; and at idle times, as I said, she was 
one of ourselves. The only threat she ever used was to 
tell us that she could not stay at Malory as our governess 
if we would not do what she thought right. There is in 
young people an instinctive perception of motive, and no 
truer spirit than Laura Grey ever lived on earth. I 
loved her. I had no fear of her. She was our gentle 
companion and playmate ; and yet, in a certain sense, I 
never stood so much in awe of any human being. 

Only a few days after Laura Grey had come home, we 
were sitting in our accustomed room, which was stately, 
but not uncomfortably spacious, and, like many at the 
same side of the house, panelled up to the ceiling. I 
remember, it was just at the hour of the still early sunset, 
and the ruddy beams were streaming their last through 
the trunks of the great elms. We were in high chat over 
Helen's little sparrow, Dickie, a wonderful bird, .whose 
appetite and spirits we were always discussing, when the 
door opened, and Eebecca said, " Young ladies, please, 
here's Mr. Carmel ;" and Miss Grey, for the first time, 
saw a certain person who turns up at intervals and in odd 
scenes in the course of this autobiography. 

The door is at some distance from the window, and 
through its panes across that space upon the opposite wall 
the glow of sunset fell mistily, making the clear shadow, 
in which our visitor stood, deeper. The figure stood out 
against this background like a pale old portrait, his black 
dress almost blended with the background ; but, indistinct 
as it was, it was easy to see that the dress he wore was of 
some ecclesiastical fashion not in use among Church of 
England men. The coat came down a good deal lower 
than his knees. His thin slight figure gave him. an effect 
of height far greater than his real stature ; his fine fore- 
head showed very white in contrast with his close dark 
hair, and his thin, delicate features, as he stepped slowly 
in, with an ascetic smile, and his hand extended, accorded 
well with ideas of abstinence and penance. Gentle as was 
his manner, there was something of authority also in it, 
and in the tones of his voice. 

14 Willing to Die. 

" How do you do, Miss Ethel ? How do you do, Miss 
Helen ? I ana going to write my weekly note to your 
mamma, and oh ! Miss Grey, I believe ?" he inter- 
rupted himself, and bowed rather low to the youug gover- 
ness, disclosing the small tonsure on the top of his head. 

Miss Grey acknowledged his bow, but I could see that 
she was puzzled and surprised. 

" I am to tell your mamma, I hope, that you are both 
quite well ?" he said, addressing himself to me, and taking 
my hand : " and in good spirits, I suppose, Miss Grey?" 
he said, apparently recollecting that she was to be re- 
cognized ; "I may say that ?" 

He turned to her, still holding my hand. 

" Yes, they are quite well, and, I believe, happy," she 
said, still looking at him, I could see, with curiosity. 

It was a remarkable countenance, with large earnest 
eyes, and a mouth small and melancholy, with those bril- 
liant red lips that people associate with early decay. It 
was a pale face of suffering and decision, which so vaguely 
indicated his years that he might be any age you please, 
from six-and-twenty up to six-and-thirty, as you allowed 
more or less in the account for the afflictions of a mental 
and bodily discipline. 

He stood there for a little while chatting with us. There 
was something engaging in this man, cold, severe, and 
melancholy as his manner was. I was conscious that he 
was agreeable, and, young as I was, I felt that he was a 
man of unusual learning and ability. 

In a little time he left us. It was now twilight, and we 
saw him, with his slight stoop, pass our window with, slow 
step and downcast eyes. 



]ND so that odd vision was gone ; and Laura Grey 
turned to us eagerly for information. 

We could not give her much. We were our- 
selves so familiar with the fact of Mr. Carmel's 
existence, that it never occurred to us that his appearance 
could be a surprise to any one. 

Mr. Carmel had come about eight months before to 
reside in the small old house in which the land-steward 
had once been harboured, and which, built in continua- 
tion of the side of the house, forms a sort of retreating 
wing to it, with a hall-door to itself, but under the same 

This Mr. Carmel was, undoubtedly, a Eoman Catholic, 
and an ecclesiastic ; of what order I know not. Pos- 
sibly he was a Jesuit. I never was very learned or very 
curious upon such points ; but some one, I forgot who, 
told me that he positively was a member of the Society 
of Jesus. 

My poor mother was very High Church, and on very 
friendly terms with Catholic personages of note. Mr. 
Carmel had been very ill, and was still in delicate health, 
and a quiet nook in the country, in the neighbourhood of 
| the sea, had been ordered for him. The vacant house I 
have described she begged for his use from my father, who 
I did not at all like the idea of lending it, as I could gather 
from the partly jocular and partly serious discussions 

16 Willing to Die. 

winch he maintained upon the point, every now and then, 
at the breakfast-table, when I was last in town. 

I remember hearing my father say at last, " You 
know, my dear Mabel, I'm always ready to do anything 
you like. I'll be a Catholic myself, if it gives you the 
least pleasure, only be sure, first, about this thing, that 
you really do like it. I shouldn't care if the man were 
hanged he very likely deserves it but I'll give him my 
house if it makes you happy. You must remember, though, 
the Cardyllion people won't like it, and you'll be talked 
about, and I daresay he'll make nuns of Ethel and Helen. 
He won't get a great deal by that, I'm afraid. And I 
don't see why those pious people Jesuits, and that sort 
of persons, who don't know what to do with their money 
should not take a house for him if he wants it, or what 
business they have quartering their friars and rubbish 
upon poor Protestants like you and me." 

The end of it was that about two months later this 
Mr. Carinel arrived, duly accredited by my father, who 
told me when he paid us one of his visits of a day, 
soon after, that he was under promise not to talk to 
us about religion, and that if he did I was to write to tell 
him immediately. 

When I had told my story to Laura Grey, she was 
thoughtful for a little time. 

" Are his visits only once a week ?" she asked. 

" Yes," said I. 

"And does he stay as short a time always ?" she con- 

We both agreed that he usually stayed a little longer. 

" And has he never talked on the subject of religion ?" 

" No, never. He has talked about shells, or flowers, 
or anything he found us employed about, and always 
told us something curious or interesting. I had heard 
papa say that he was engaged upon a work from which 
great things were expected, and boxes of books were per- 
petually coming and going between him and his cor- 

She was not quite satisfied, and in a few days there 
arrived from London two little books on the great con- 
troversy between Luther and the Pope ; and out of these, 

Our curiosity is piqued. 17 

to the best of her poor ability, she drilled us, by way of 
a prophylactic against Mr. Carmel's possible machina- 

It did not appear, however, to be Mr. Carmel's mis- 
sion to flutter the little nest of heresy so near him. 
When he paid his next visit, it so happened that one 
of these duodecimo disputants lay upon the table. With- 
out thinking, as he talked, he raised it, and read the 
title on the cover, and smiled gently. Miss Grey blushed. 
She had not intended disclosing her suspicions. 

" In two different regiments, Miss Grey," he said, " but 
both under the same king ;" and he laid the book quietly 
upon the table again, and talked on of something quite 

Laura Grey, in a short time, became less suspicious of . 
Mr. Carmel, and rather enjoyed his little visits, and looked 
forward with pleasure to them. 

Could you imagine a quieter or more primitive life than 
ours, or, on earth, a much happier one ? 

Malory owns an old-fashioned square pew in the aisle 
of the pretty church of Cardyllion. In this spacious pew 
we three sat every Sunday, and on one of these occasions, 
a few weeks after Miss Grey's arrival, from my corner I 
thought 1 saw a stranger in the Verney seat, which is at 
the opposite side of the aisle, and had not had an occu- 
pant for several months. There was certainly a man in 
it ; but the stove that stood nearly between us would not 
allow me to see more than his elbow, and the corner of 
an open book, from which I suppose he was reading. 

I was not particularly curious about this person. I 
knew that the Verneys, who were distant cousins of 
ours, were abroad, and the visitor was not likely to be 
very interesting. 

A long, indistinct sermon interposed, and I did not re- 
collect to look at the Verney pew until the congregation 
were trooping decorously out, and we had got some way 
down the aisle. The pew was empty by that time. 

" Some one in the Verney's pew," I remarked to our 
governess, so soon as we were quite out of the shadow of 
the porch. 

" Which is the Verney's pew ?" she asked, 


18 Willing to Die. 

I described it. 

" Yes, there was. I have got a headache, my dear. 
Suppose we go home by the Mill Road ?" 

We agreed. 

It is a very pretty, and in places rather a steep road, 
very narrow, and ascending with a high and wooded bank 
at its right, and a precipitous and thicldy-planted glen to 
its left. The opposite side is thickly wooded also, and a 
stream far below splashes and tinkles among the rocks 
under the darkening foliage. 

As we walked up this shadowy road, I saw au old 
gentleman walking down it, towards us. He was de- 
scending at a brisk pace, and wore a chocolate-coloured 
great-coat, made with a cape, and fitting his figure closely. 
He wore a hat with a rather wide brim, turned up at the 
sides. His face was very brown. He had a thin, high 
nose, with very thin nostrils, rather prominent eyes, and 
carried his head high. Altogether he struck me as a par- 
ticularly gentleman-like and ill-tempered looking old man, 
and his features wore a character of hauteur that was per- 
fectly insolent. 

He was pretty near to us by the time 1 turned to warn 
our governess, who was beside me, to make way for him 
to pass. I did not speak ; for I was a little startled to 
see that she was very much flushed, and almost instantly 
turned deadly pale. 

We came nearly to a standstill, and the old gentleman 
was up to us in a few seconds. As he approached, his 
prominent eyes were fixed on Laura Grey. He stopped, 
with the same haughty stare, and, raising his hat, said in 
a cold, rather high key, " Miss Grey, I think ? Miss 
Laura Grey ? You will not object, I dare say, to allow 
me a very few words ?" 

The young lady bowed very slightly, and said, in a low 
tone, " Certainly not." 

I saw that she looked pained, and even faint. This old 
gentleman's manner, and the stern stare of his prominent 
eyes, embarrassed even me, who did not directly encounter 

" Perhaps we had better go on, Helen and I, to the seat; 
we can wait for you there ?" I said softly to her. 

Our curiosity is piqued. 19 

" Yes, dear, I think it will be as well," she answered 

"We walked on slowly. The bench was not a hundred 
steps up the steep. It stands at the side of the road, with 
its back against the bank. From this seat I could see very 
well what passed, though, of course, quite out of hearing. 

The old gentleman had a black cane in his fingers, which 
he poked about in the gravel. You would have said from 
his countenance that at every little stab he punched an 
enemy's eye out. 

First, the gentleman made a little speech, with his head 
very high, and an air of determination and severity. The 
young lady seemed to answer, briefly and quietly. Then 
ensued a colloquy of a minute or more, during which the 
old gentleman's head nodded often with emphasis, and his 
gestures became much more decided. The young lady 
seemed to say little, and very quietly: her eyes were 
lowered to the ground as she spoke. 

She said something, I suppose, which he chose to resent, 
for he smiled sarcastically, and raised his hat ; then, sud- 
denly resuming his gravity, he seemed to speak with a sharp 
and hectoring air, as if he were laying down the law upon 
some point once for all. 

Laura Grey looked up sharply, with a brilliant colour, 
and with her head high, replied rapidly for a minute or 
more, and turning away, without waiting for his answer, 
walked slowly, with her head still high, towards us. 

The gentleman stood looking after her with his sarcastic 
smile, but that was gone in a moment, and he continued 
looking, with an angry face, and muttering to himself, 
until suddenly he turned away, and walked off at a quick 
pace down the path towards Cardyllion. 

A little uneasily, Helen and I stood up to meet our 
governess. She was still flushed and breathing quickly, 
as people do from recent agitation. 

"No bad news? Nothing unpleasant?" I asked, 
looking very eagerly into her face. 

11 No ; no bad news, dear." 

I took her hand. I felt that she was trembling a little, 
and she had become again more than usually pale. We 
walked homeward in silence. 

o 2 


Willing to Die. 

Laura Grey seemed in deep and agitated thought. We 
did not, of course, disturb her. An unpleasant excite- 
ment like that always disposes one to silence. Not a 
word, I think, was uttered all the way to the steps of 
Malory. Laura Grey entered the hall, still silent, and 
when she came down to us, after an hour or two passed in 
her room, it was plain she had been crying. 



|F what happened next I have a strangely imperfect 
recollection. I cannot tell you the intervals, or 
even the order, in which some of the events 
occurred. It is not that the mist of time 
obscures it ; what I do recollect is dreadfully vivid ; but 
there are spaces of the picture gone. I see faces of angels, 
and faces that make my heart sink ; fragments of scenes. 
It is like something reflected in the pieces of a smashed 

I have told you very little of Helen, my sister, my one 
darling on earth. There are things which people, after an 
interval of half a life, have continually present to their 
minds, but cannot speak of. The idea of opening them to 
strangers is insupportable. A sense of profanation shuts 
the door, and we " wake " our dead alone. I could not 
have told you what I am going to write, I did not intend 
inscribing here more than the short, bleak result. But I 
write it as if to myself, and I will get through it. 

To you it may seem that I make too much of this, which 
is, as Hamlet says, " common." But you have not known 
what it is to be for all your early life shut out from all 
but one beloved companion, and never after to have found 

Helen had a cough, and Laura Grey had written to 
mamma, who was then in Warwickshire, about it. She 
was referred to the Cardyllion doctor. He came ; he was 

22 Willing to Die. 

a skilful man. There were the hushed, dreadful moments, 
, while he listened, through his stethoscope, thoughtfully, 
' to the " still, small voice " of fate, to us inaudible, pro- 
nuncing on the dread issues of life or death. 

" No sounder lungs in England," said Doctor Mervyn, 
looking up with a congratulatory smile. 

He told her, only, that she must not go in the way of 
cold, and by-and-by sent her two bottles from his surgery ; 
and so we were happy once more. 

But doctors' advices, like the warnings of fate, are 
seldom obeyed ; least of all by the young. Nelly's little 
pet-sparrow was ailing, or we fancied it was. She and I 
were up every hour during the night to see after it. Next 
evening Nelly had a slight pain in her chest. It became 
worse, and by twelve o'clock was so intense that Laura 
Grey, in alarm, sent to Cardyllion for the doctor. Thomas 
Jones came back without him, after a delay of an hour. 
He had been called away to make a visit somewhere, but 
the moment he came back he would come to Malory. 

It came to be three o'clock ; he had not appeared ; 
darling Nelly was in actual torture. Again Doctor Mervyn 
was sent for ; and again, after a delay, the messenger 
returned with the same dismaying answer. The governess 
and Kebecca Torkill exhausted in vain their little list of 
remedies. I was growing terrified. Intuitively I perceived 
the danger. The doctor was my last earthly hope. Death, 
I saw, was drawing nearer and nearer every moment, and 
the doctor might be ten miles away. Think what it was 
to stand, helpless, by her. Can I ever forget her poor 
little face, flushed scarlet, and gasping and catching at 
breath, hands, throat, every sinew quivering in the mortal 
struggle ! 

At last a knock and a ring at the hall-door. I rushed 
to the window ; the first chill grey of winter's dawn hung 
sicklily over the landscape. No one was on the steps, or 
on the grey gravel of the court. But, yes I do hear 
voices and steps upon the stair approaching. Oh ! Heaven 
be thanked, the doctor is come at last ! 

I ran out upon the lobby, just as I was, in my dressing- 
gown, with my hair about my shoulders, and slippers on 
my bare feet. A candlestick, with the candle burnt low, 

The Thief in the Night. 23 

was standing on the broad head of the clumsy old bannister, 
and Mr. Carrnel, in a black riding-coat, with his hat in 
his hand, and that kind of riding-boots that used to be 
called clerical, on, was talking in a low, earnest tone to 
our governess. 

The faint grey from the low lobby window was lost at 
this point, and the delicate features of the pale ecclesiastic, 
and Miss Grey's pretty and anxious face, were lighted, 
like a fine portrait of Schalken's, by the candle only. 

Throughout this time of agony and tumult, the memory 
of my retina remains unimpaired, and every picture retains 
its hold upon my brain. And, oh ! had the doctor come ? 
Yes, Mr. Carmel had ridden all the way, fourteen miles, 
to Llwynan, and brought the doctor back with him. He 
might not have been here for hours otherwise. He was 
now downstairs making preparations, and would be in the 
room in a few minutes. 

I looked at that fine, melancholy, energetic face as if he 
had saved me. I could not thank him. I turned and 
entered our room again, and told Nelly to be of good 
courage, that the doctor was come. " And, oh ! please 
God, he'll do you good, my own darling, darling 
precious darling !" 

In a minute more the doctor was in the room. My eyes 
were fixed upon his face as he talked to his poor little 
patient; he did not look at all as he had done on his 
former visit. I see him before me as I write ; his bald 
head shining in the candle-light, his dissatisfied and 
gloomy face, and his shrewd light blue eyes, reading her 
looks askance, as his fingers rested on her pulse. 

I remember, as if the sick-room had changed into it, 
finding myself in the small room opposite, with no one 
there but the doctor and Miss Grey, we three, in the cold 
morning light, and his saying, " Well all this comes of 
violating directions. There is very intense inflammation, 
and her chest is in a most critical state." 

Then Miss Grey said, after a moment's hush, the awful 
words, " Is there any danger ?" and he answered shortly, 
"I wish I could say there wasn't." I felt my ears sing 
as if a pistol had been fired. No one spoke for another 
minute or more. 

21 Willing to Die. 

The doctor stayed, I think, for a long time, and he 
must have returned after, for he mixed up in almost 
every scene I can remember during that jumbled day of 

There was, I know, but one day, and part of a night. 
But it seems to me as if whole nights intervened, and 
suns set and rose, and days uncounted and undistinguished 
passed, in that miserable period. 

The pain subsided, but worse followed; a dreadful 
cough, that never ceased a long, agonised struggle 
against a slow drowning of the lungs. The doctor gave 
her up. They wanted me to leave the room, but I could 

The hour had come at last, and she was gone. The 
wild cry the terrible farewell nothing can move in- 
exorable death. All was still. 

As the ship lies serene in the caverns of the cold sea, 
and feels no more the fury of the wind, the strain of 
cable, and the crash of wave, this forlorn wreck lay quiet 
now. Oh ! little Nelly ! I could not believe it. 

She lay in her nightdress under the white coverlet. 
Was this whole scene an awful vision, and was my heart 
breaking in vain ? Oh, poor simple little Nelly, to think 
that yon should have changed into anything so sublime 
and terrible ! 

I stood dumb by the bedside, staring at the white face 
that was never to move again. Such a look I had never 
seen before. The white glory of an angel was upon it. 

Rebecca Torkill spoke to me, I think. I remember 
her kind, sorrowful old face near me, but I did not hear 
what she said. I was in a stupor, or a trance. I had not 
shed a tear ; I had not said a word. For a time I was all 
but mad. In the light of that beautiful transfiguration 
my heart was bursting with the wildest rebellion against 
the law of death that had murdered my innocent sister 
before my eyes ; against the fate of which humanity is 
the sport ; against the awful Power who made us ! What 
spirit knows, till the hour of temptation, the height or 
depth of its own impiety ? 

Oh, gentle, patient little Nelly ! The only good thing I 
can see in myself in those days is my tender love of you, 

The Thief in the Night. 25 

and my deep inward certainty of my immeasurable in- 
feriority. Gentle, humble little Nelly, who thought me 
so excelling in cleverness, in wisdom, and countless other 
perfections, how humble in my secret soul I felt myself 
beside you, although I was too proud to say so ! In your 
presence my fierce earthy nature stood revealed, and 
wherever I looked my shadow was cast along the ground 
by the pure light that shone from you. 

I don't know what time passed without a word falling 
from my lips. I suppose people had other things to mind, 
and I was left to myself. But Laura Grey stole her hand 
into mine, she kissed me, and I felt her tears on my 

" Ethel, darling, come with me," she said, crying, very 
gently. " You can come back again. You'll come with 
me, won't you ? Our darling is happier, Ethel, than ever 
she could have been on earth, and she will never know 
change or sorrow again." 

I began to sob distractedly. I do really believe I was 
half out of my mind. I began to talk to her volubly, 
vehemently, crying passionately all the time. I do not 
remember now a word I uttered ; I know its purport only 
from the pain, and even horror, I remember in Laura 
Grey's pale face. It has taken a long and terrible disci- 
pline to expel that evil spirit. I know what I was in those 
days. My pilgrimage since than has been by steep and 
solitary paths, in great dangers, in darkness, in fear ; I 
have eaten the bread of affliction, and my drink has been 
of the waters of bitterness ; I am tired and footsore yet, 
though through a glass darkly, I think I can now see why 
it all was, and I thank God with a contrite heart for the 
terrors and the mercies he has shown me. I begin to dis- 
cover through the mist who was the one friend who never 
forsook me through all those stupendous wanderings, and 
I long for the time when I shall close my tired eyes, all 
being over, and lie at the feet of my Saviour. 



|ORTH sped Laura Grey's letter to mamma. She 
was then at Koydon ; papa was with her. The 
Easter recess had just sent down some dis- 
tinguished visitors, who were glad to clear their 
heads for a few days of the hum of the Houses and the 
smell of the river ; and my father, although not in the 
House, ran down with them. Little Nelly had been his 
pet, as I was mamma's. 

There was an awkwardness in post-office arrangements 
between the two places then, and letters had to make a 
considerable circuit. There was a delay of three clear 
days between the despatch of the letter and the reply. 

I must say a word about papa. He was about the most 
agreeable and careless man on earth. There are men 
whom no fortune could keep out of debt. A man of that 
sort seems to me not to have any denned want or enjoy- 
ment, but the horizon of his necessities expands in propor- 
tion as he rises in fortune, and always exceeds the ring- 
fence of his estate. What its periphery may be, or his 
own real wants, signifies very little. His permanent 
necessity is always to exceed his revenue. 

I don't think my father's feelings were very deep. He 
was a good-natured husband, but, I am afraid, not a good 
one. I loved him better than I loved mamma. Children 
are always captivated by gaiety and indulgence. I was 
not of an age to judge of higher things, and I never missed 

My Father. 27 

the article of religion, of which, I believe, he had none. 
Although he lived so much in society that he might almost 
be said to have no domestic life whatever, no man could 
be simpler, less suspicious, or more easily imposed upon. 

The answer to Miss Grey's letter was the arrival of my 
father. He was in passionate grief, and in a state of high 
excitement. He ran upstairs, without waiting to take off 
his hat ; but at the door of our darling's room he hesitated. 
I did not know he had arrived till I heard him, some 
minutes later, walking up and down the room, sobbing. 
Though he was selfish, he was affectionate. No one liked 
to go in to disturb him. She lay by this time in her coffin. 
The tint of clay darkened her pretty features. The angelic 
beauty that belongs to death is transitory beyond all others. 
I would not look at her again, to obscure its glory. She 
lay now in her shroud, a forlorn sunken image of decay. 

When he came out he talked wildly and bitterly. His 
darling had been murdered, he said, by neglect. He up- 
braided us all round, including Rebecca Torkill, for our 
cruel carelessness. He blamed the doctor. He had no 
right, in a country where there was but one physician, to 
go so far away as fourteen miles, and to stay away so long. 
He denounced even his treatment. He ought to have bled 
her. It was, every one knew, the proper way of treating 
such a case. 

Than Laura Grey, no one could have been more scrupu- 
lously careful. She could not have prevented, even if she 
had suspected the possibility of such a thing, her stealing 
out of bed now and then to look at her sick sparrow. All 
this injustice was, however, but the raving of his grief. 

In poor little Nelly's room my father's affectionate nature 
was convulsed with sorrow. When he came down I cried 
with him for a long time. I think this affliction has drawn 
us nearer. He was more tender to me than I ever re- 
membered him before. 

At last the ghastly wait and suspense were ended. I 
saw no more strange faces in the lobbies ; and the strange 
voices on the stairs and footsteps in the room, and the 
muffled sounds that made me feel faint, were heard no 
more. The funeral was over, and pretty Nelly was gone 
for ever and ever, and I would come in and go out and 

28 Willing to Die. 

read my books, and take my walks alone ; and the flowers, 
and the long summer evenings, and the song of birds 
would come again, and the leaves make their soft shadow 
in the nooks where we used to sit together in the wood, 
but gentle little Nelly would never come again. 

During these terrible days, Laura Grey was a sister to 
me, both in affection and in sorrow. Oh, Laura, can I 
ever forget your tender, patient sympathy ? How often 
my thoughts recall your loved face as I lay my head 
upon my lonely pillow, and my blessings follow you over 
the wide sea to your far-off home ! 

Papa took a long solitary ride that day through the 
warren, and away by Penruthyn Priory, and did not 
return till dark. 

When he did, he sent for me. I found him in the 
room which, in the old-fashioned style, was called the 
oak parlour. A log-fire we were well supplied from the 
woods in the rear of the house lighted the room with a 
broad pale flicker. My father was looking ill and tired. 
He was leaning with his elbow on the mantel-piece, and 

"Ethel, darling, I want to know what you would like 
best. We are going abroad for a little time ; it is the 
only thing for your mamma. This place would kill her. 
I shall be leaving this to-morrow afternoon, and you can 
make up your mind which you would like best to come 
with us and travel for some months, or to wait here, with 
Miss Grey, until our return. You shall do precisely 
whatever you like best I don't wish you to hurry 
yourself, darling. I'd rather you thought it over at your 

Then he sat down and talked about other things ; and 
turned about to the fire with his decanter of sherry by 
him, and drank a good many glasses, and leaned back in 
his chair before he had finished it. 

My father, I thought, was dozing, but was not sure ; 
and being a good deal in awe of him a natural conse- 
quence of seeing so little of him I did not venture either 
to waken him, or to leave the room without his per- 

There are two doors in that room. I was standing 

My Father. 29 

irresolutely near that which is next the window, when 
the other opened, and the long whiskers and good- 
hunioured, sensible face of portly Wynne Williams, the 
town-clerk and attorney of Cardyllion, entered. My 
father awoke, with a start, at the sound, and seeing him, 
smiled and extended his hand. 

" How d'ye do, Williams ? It's so good of you to 
come. Sit down. I'm off to-morrow, so I sent you a 
note. Try that sherry; it is better than I thought. 
And now I must tell you, that old scoundrel, Kokestone, 
is going to foreclose the mortgage, and they have served 
one of the tenants at Darlip with an ejectment ; that's 
more serious ; I fancy he means mischief there also. 
What do you think ?" 

" I always thought he might give us annoyance there ; 
but Mandrick's opinion was with us. Do you wish me to 
look after that ?" 

" Certainly. And he's bothering me about that trust." 

" I know," said Mr. Wynne Williams, with rather 
gloomy rumination. 

" That fellow has lost me I was reckoning it up only 
a day or two ago between five and six thousand pounds 
in mere law costs, beside all the direct mischief he has 
done me ; and he has twice lost me a seat in the House 
first by maintaining that petition at King's Firkins, a 
thing that must have dropped but for his money ; he had 
nothing on earth to do with it, and no motive but his 
personal, fiendish feelings ; and next by getting up the 
contest against me at Shillingsworth, where, you know, 
it was ten to one ; by Heavens ! I should have had a 
walk over. There is not an injury that man could do me 
he has not done. I can prove that he swore he would 
strip me of everything I possessed. It is ever so many 
years since I saw him you know all about it and the 
miscreant pursues me still relentlessly. He swore to old 
Dymock, I'm told, and I believe it, that he would never 
rest till he had brought me to a prison. I could have 
him before a jury for that. There's some remedy, I 
suppose, there's some protection ? If I had done what I 
wished ten years ago, I'd have had him out ; it's not too 
late yet to try whether pistols can't settle it. I wish I 

30 Willing to Die. 

had not taken advice ; in a matter like that, the man 
who does always does wrong. I daresay, Williams, you 
think with me, now it's a case for cutting the Gordian 
knot ?" 

"I should not advise it, sir; he's an old man, and he's 
not afraid of what people say, and people know he has 
fought. He'd have you in the Queen's Bench, and as his 
feelings are of that nature, I'd not leave him the chance 
I wouldn't trust him." 

" It's not easy to know what one should do a miscreant 
like that. I hope and pray that the curse of " 

My father spoke with a fierce tremble in his voice, and 
at that moment he saw me. He had forgotten that I was 
in the room, and said instantly : 

" You may as well run away, dear ; Mr. Williams and 
I have some business to talk over and tiresome business 
it is. Good night, darling." 

So away I went, glad of my escape, and left them 
talking. My father rang the bell soon, and called for 
more wine ; so I suppose the council sat till late. I 
joined Laura Grey, to whom I related all that had passed, 
and my decision on the question, which was, to remain 
with her at Malory. She kissed me, and said, after a 
moment's thought : 

"But will they think it unkind of you, preferring to 
remain here ?" 

" No," I said ; " I think I should be rather in the way 
if I went ; and, besides, I know papa is never high with 
any one, and really means what he says ; and I should 
feel a little strange with them. They are very kind, and 
love me very much, I know, and so do I love them ; but I 
see them so little, and you are such a friend, and I don't 
wish to leave this place ; I like it better than any other in 
all the world ; and I feel at home with you, more than I 
could with any one else in the world." 

So that point was settled, and next day papa took leave 
of me very affectionately ; and, notwithstanding his excited 
language, I heard nothing more of pistols and Mr. Eoke- 
stone. But many things were to happen before I saw 
papa again. 

I remained, therefore, at Malory, and Laura Grey with 

My Father. 81 

me ; and the shadow of Mr. Carmel passed the window 
every evening, but he did not come in to see us, as he 
used. He made inquiries at the door instead, and talked, 
sometimes for five minutes together, with Eebecca Torldll. 
I was a little hurt at this ; I did not pretend to Laura to 
perceive it ; but in our walks, or returning in the evening, 
if by chance I saw his tall, thin, but graceful figure 
approaching by the same path, I used to make her turn 
aside and avoid him by a detour. In so lonely a place as 
Malory the change was marked ; and there was pain in 
that neglect. I would not let him fancy, however, that I 
wished, any more than he, to renew our old and near 

So weeks passed away, and leafy May had come, and 
Laura Grey and I were sitting in our accustomed room, 
in the evening, talking in our desultory way. 

" Don't you think papa very handsome ?" I asked. 
" Yes, he is handsome," she answered; " there is some- 
thing refined as well as clever in his face ; and his eyes 
are fine ; and all that goes a great way. But many people 
might think him not actually handsome, though very good- 
looking and prepossessing." 

" They must be hard to please," I said. 
She smiled good-naturedly. 

" Mamma fell in love with him at first sight, Kebecca 
Torldll says," I persisted, " and mamma was not easily 
pleased. There was a gentleman who was wildly in love 
with her ; a man of very old family, Eebecca says, and 
good-looking, but she would not look at him when once 
she had seen papa." 

" I think I heard of that. He is a baronet now ; but 
he was a great deal older than Mr. Ware, I believe." 

" Yes, he was ; but Rebecca says he did not look ten 
years older than papa, and he was very young indeed 
then," I answered. " It was well for mamma she did not 
like him, for I once heard Rebecca say that he was a very 
bad man." 

"Did you ever hear of mamma's aunt Lorrimer ?" I 
resumed, after a little pause. 
"Not that I recollect." 
" She is very rich, Rebecca says. Sho has a hoiv 1 in 

82 Willing to Die. 

London, but she is hardly ever there. She's not very old 
not sixty. Eebecca is always wondering whom she will 
leave her money to ; but that don't much matter, for I 
believe we have more than we want. Papa says, about 
ten years ago, she lived for nothing but society, and was 
everywhere ; and now she has quite given up all that, and 
wanders about the Continent." 

Our conversation subsided ; and there was a short 
interval in which neither spoke. 

"Why is it, Laura," said I, after this little silence, 
" that you never tell me anything about yourself, and I 
am always telling you everything I think or remember ? 
Why are you so secret ? Why don't you tell me your 

" My story ; what does it signify ? I suppose it is about 
an average story. Some people are educated to be gover- 
nesses ; and some of us take to it later, or by accident ; 
and we are amateurs, and do our best. The Jewish custom 
was wise ; every one should learn a mechanic's business. 
Saint Paul was a tent-maker. If fortune upsets the boat, 
it is well to have anything to lay hold of anything rather 
than drowning ; an hospital matron, a companion, a 
governess, there are not many chances, when things go 
wrong, between a poor woman and the workhouse." 

"All this means, you will tell me nothing," I said. 

" I am a governess, darling. What does it matter what 
I was ? I am happier with you than ever I thought I 
could be again. If I had a story that was pleasant to 
hear, there is no one on earth I would tell it to so readily ; 
but my story There is no use in thinking over mis- 
fortune," she continued; "there is no greater waste of 
time than regretting, except wishing. I know, Ethel, you 
would not pain me. I can't talk about those things ; I 
may another time." 

" You shan't speak of them, Laura, unless you wish it. 
I am ashamed of having bothered you so," I kissed her. 
" But, will you tell me one thing, for I am really curious 
about it ? I have been thinking about that very peculiar- 
looking old gentleman, who wore a chocolate-coloured 
great-coat, and met us in the Mill Walk, and talked to you, 
you remember, on the Sunday we returned from church 

My Father. S3 

that way. Now, I want you to tell me, is that old man's 
name Kokestone ?" 

" No, dear, it is not ; I don't think he even knows him. 
But isn't it time for us to have our tea ? Will you not 
make it, while I put our hooks up in the other room ?" 

So I undertook this office, and was alone. 

The window was raised, the evening was warm, and the 
sun by this time setting. It was the pensive hour when 
solitude is pleasant ; when grief is mellowed, and even a 
thoughtless mind, like mine, is tinged with melancholy. 
I was thinking now of our recluse neighbour. I had seen 
him pass, as Miss Grey and I were talking. He still 
despatched those little notes about the inmates of Malory ; 
for mamma always mentioned, when she wrote to me, in 
her wanderings on the Continent, that she had heard from 
Mr. Carmel that I was well, and was out every day with 
my governess, and so on. I wondered why he had quite 
given up those little weekly visits, and whether I could 
have unwittingly offended him. 

These speculations would recur oftener than perhaps 
was quite consistent with the disdain I affected on the 
subject. But people who live in cities have no idea how 
large a space in one's thoughts, in a solitude like Malory, 
a neighbour at all agreeable must occupy. 

I was ruminating in a great arm-chair, with my hand 
supporting my head, and my eyes fixed on my foot, which 
was tapping the carpet, when I heard the cold, clear voice 
of Mr. Carmel at the windoWt I looked up, and my eyes 
met his, 



]UR eyes met, I said ; they remained fixed for a 
moment, and then mine dropped. I had been, 
as it were, detected, while meditating upon this 
capricious person. I daresay I even blushed ; 
I certainly was embarrassed. He was repeating his salu- 
tation, " How d'ye do, Miss Ware?" 

" Oh, I'm very well, thanks, Mr. Carmel," I answered, 
looking up ; " and and I heard from mamma on Thurs- 
day. They are very well ; they are at Genoa now. They 
think of going to Florence in about three weeks." 

" I know ; yes. And you have no thoughts of joining 
them ?" 

" Oh ! none. I should not like to leave this. They 
have not said a word about it lately." 

" It is such a time, Miss Ethel, since I had the pleasure 
of seeing you I don't mean, of course, at a distance, but 
near enough to ask you how you are. I dared not ask to 
see you too soon, and I thought I fancied you wished 
your walks uninterrupted." 

I saw that he had observed my strategy ; I was not 

" I have often wished to thank you, Mr. Carmel ; you 
were so very kind." 

" I had no opportunity, Miss Ethel," he answered, with 
more feeling than before. " My profession obliges me to 
be kind but I had no opportunity Miss Grey is quite 
well ?" 

" She is very well, thanks." 

The Little Black Booh. 8 

With a softened glory, in level lines, the beams of the 
setting sun broke, scattered, through the trunks of the old 
elms, and one touched the head of the pale young man, 
as he stood at the window, looking in ; his delicate and 
melancholy features were in the shade, and the golden 
light, through his thick, brown hair, shone softly, like the 
glory of a saint. As, standing thus, he looked down 
in a momentary reverie, Laura Grey came in, and 
paused, in manifest surprise, on seeing Sir. Carmel at the 

I smiled, in spite of my efforts to look grave, and the 
governess, advancing, asked the young ecclesiastic how he 
was ? Thus recalled, by a new voice, he smiled and 
talked with us for a few minutes. I think he saw our 
tea-equipage, and fancied that he might be, possibly, in 
the way ; for he was taking his leave when I said, " Mr. 
Carmel, you must take tea before you go.'' 

" Tea ! I find it very hard to resist. Will you allow 
me to take it, like a beggar-man, at the window ? I shall 
feel less as if I were disturbing you ; for you have only to 
shut the window down, when I grow prosy." 

So, laughing, Laura Grey gave him a cup of tea, which 
he placed on the window-stone, and seating himself a little 
sideways on the bench that stands outside the window, he 
leaned in, with his hat off, and sipped his tea and chatted; 
and sitting as Miss Grey and I did, near the window, we 
made a very sociable little party of three. 

I had quite given up the idea of renewing our speaking 
acquaintance with Mr. Carmel, and here we were, talking 
away, on more affable terms than ever ! It seemed to me 
like a dream. 

I don't say that Mr. Carmel was chatting with the 
insouciance and gaiety of a French abbe. There was, on 
the contrary, something very peculiar, both in his coun- 
tenance and manner, something that suggested the life 
and sufferings of an ascetic. Something also, not easily 
defined, of command ; I think it was partly in the severe 
though gentle gravity with which he spoke anything like 
advice or opinion. 

I felt a little awed in his presence, I could not exactly 
tell why ; and yet I was more glad than I would have 

86 Willing to Die. 

confessed that we were good friends again. He sipped 
his cup of tea slowly, as he talked, and was easily per- 
suaded to take another. 

" I see, Miss Ethel, you are looking at my book \yitJb 
curious eyes." 

It was true; the book was a very thick and short vo- 
lume, bound in black shagreen, with silver clasps, and lay 
on the window-stone, beside his cup. He took it up in 
slender fingers, smiling as he looked at me. 

" You wish to know what it is ; but you are too cere- 
monious to ask me. I should be curious myself, if I saw 
it for the first time. I have often picked out a book from 
a library, simply for its characteristic binding. Some 
books look interesting. Now what do you take this 
to be ?" 

" Haven't you books called breviaries ? I think this is 
one,'' said I. 

" That is your guess ; it is not a bad one but no, it is 
not a breviary. What do you say, Miss Grey?" 

" Well, I say it is a book of the offices of the Church." 

" Not a bad guess, either. But it is no such thing. I 
think I must tell you it is what you would call a story- 

" Really !" I exclaimed, and Miss Grey and I simul- 
taneously conceived a longing to borrow it. 

" The book is two hundred and seventy years old, and 
written in very old French. You would call them stories," 
he said, smiling on the back of the book ; " but you must 
not laugh at them; for I believe them all implicitly. 
They are legends." 

" Legends ?" said I, eagerly " I should so like to hear 
one. Do, pray, tell one of them." 

" I'll read one, if you command me, into English. 
They are told here as shortly as it is possible to relate 
them. Here, for instance, is a legend of John of Parma. 
I think I can read it in about two minutes." 

" I'm sorry it is so short; do, pray, begin," I said. 

Accordingly, there being still light enough to read by, 
he translated the legend as follows : 

" John of Parma, general of the order of Friars Minors, 
travelling one winter's night, with some brothers of the 

The Little Black Book. 87 

order, the party went astray in a dense forest, where they 
wandered about for several hours, unable to find the right 
path. Wearied with their fruitless efforts, they at length 
knelt down, and having commended themselves to the 
protection of the mother of God, and of their patron, 
Saint Francis, began to recite the first nocturn of the Office 
of the Blessed Virgin. They had not been long so engaged, 
when they heard a bell in the distance, and rising at once, 
and following the direction whence the sound proceeded, 
soon came to an extensive abbey, at the gate of which 
they knocked for admittance. The doors were instantly 
thrown open, and within they beheld a number of monks 
evidently awaiting their arrival, who, the moment they 
appeared, led them to a fire, washed their feet, and then 
seated them at a table, where supper stood ready ; and 
having attended them during their meal, they conducted 
them to their beds. Wearied with their toilsome journey, 
the other travellers slept soundly ; but John, rising in the 
night to pray, as was his custom, heard the bell ring for 
matins, and quitting his cell, followed the monks of the 
abbey to the chapel, to join with them in reciting the 
divine office. 

" Arrived there, one of the monks began with this verse 
of the Thirty-fifth Psalm, Ibi ceciderunt qui operantur 
iniquitatem ;' to which the choir responded, ' Expulsi 
sunt nee potuerunt stare.' Startled by the strange de- 
spairing tone in which the words were intoned, as well as 
by the fact that this is not the manner in which matins 
are usually commenced, John's suspicions were aroused, 
and addressing the monks, he commanded them, in the 
name of the Saviour, to tell him who and what they were. 
Thus adjured, he who appeared an abbot replied, that they 
were all angels of darkness, who, at the prayer of the 
Blessed Virgin, and of Saint Francis, had been sent to 
serve him and his brethren in their need. As he spoke, 
all disappeared ; and the next moment John found himself 
and his companions in a grotto, where they remained, 
absorbed in prayer and singing the praises of God, until 
the return of day enabled them to resume their journey." 

" How picturesque that is !" I said, as he closed the 
little book. 

88 Willing to Die. 

He smiled, and answered : 

" So it is. Dryden would have transmuted such a 
legend into noble verse; painters might find great pic- 
tures in it but, to the faithful, it is more. To me, these 
legends are sweet and holy readings, telling how the good- 
ness, vigilance, and wisdom of God work by miracles for 
his children, and how these celestial manifestations have 
never ceased throughout the history of his Church on earth, 
To you they are, as I said, but stories ; as such you may 
wish to look into them. I believe, Miss Grey, you may 
read them without danger." He smiled gently, as he 
looked at the governess. 

"Oh! certainly, Laura," cried I. " I am so much 

"It is very kind of you," said Miss Grey. "They 
are, I am sure, very interesting ; but does this little book 
contain anything more ?" 

" Nothing, I am afraid, that could possibly interest you : 
nothing, in fact, but a few litanies, and what we call ele- 
vations you will see in a moment. There is nothing 
controversial. I am no proselytiser, Miss Grey," he 
laughed a little " my duty is quite of a different kind. I 
am collecting authorities, making extracts and precis, and 
preparing a work, not of my own, for the press, under a 
greater than I." 

" Eecollect, Laura, it is lent to me isn't it, Mr. 
Carmel ?" I pleaded, as I took the little volume and 
turned over its pages. 

"Very well certainly," he acquiesced, smiling. 

He stood up now. The twilight was deepening; he 
laid his hand on the window sash, and leaned his fore- 
head upon it, as he looked in, and continued to chat 
for a few minutes longer ; and then, with a slight adieu, 
he left us. 

When he was gone, we talked him over a little. 

" I wonder what he is ? -a priest only or a Jesuit," 
said I ; " or, perhaps, a member of some other order. I 
should like so much to know." 

" You'd not be a bit wiser if you did," said Laura. 

" Oh, you mean because I know nothing of these 
orders ; but I could easily make out. I think he would 

The Little Black Boole. 39 

have told us to-night in the twilight, if we had asked 

" I don't think he would have told us anything he 
had not determined beforehand to tell. He has told us 
nothing about himself we did not know already. We 
know he is a Koman Catholic, and an ecclesiastic his 
tonsure proclaims that ; and your mamma told you that 
he is writing a book, so that is no revelation either. I 
think he is profoundly reserved, cautious, and resolute ; 
and with a kind of exterior gentleness, he seems to me to 
be really inflexible and imperious." 

"I like that unconscious air of command, but I don't 
perceive those signs of cunning and reserve. He seemed 
to grow more communicative the longer he stayed." I an- 

11 The darker it grew," she replied. " He is one of those 
persons who become more confident the more effectually 
their countenances are concealed. There ceases to be any 
danger of a conflict between looks and language a danger 
that embarrasses some people." 

" You are suspicious this evening," I said, " I don't 
think you like him." 

" I don't know him ; but I fancy that, talk as he may 
to us, neither you nor I have for one moment a peep into 
his real mind. His world may be perfectly celestial and 
serene, or it may be an ambitious, dark, and bad one ; 
but it is an invisible world for us." 

The candles were by this time lighted, and Miss Grey 
was closing the window, when the glitter of the silver 
clasp of the little book caught her eye. 

" Have you found anything ?" said I. 

" Only the book I forgot all about it. I am almost 
sorry we allowed him to lend it." 

" We borrowed it ; I don't think he wanted to lend it," 
said I ; " but, however it was, I'm very glad we have got 
it. One would fancy you had lighted on a scorpion. I'm 
not afraid of it ; I know it can't do any one the least 
harm, for they are only stories." 

" Oh, I think so. I don't see myself that they can do 
any harm ; but I am almost sorry we have got into that 
sort of relation with him." 


Willing to Die. 

" "What relation, Laura ?" 
" Borrowing books and discussing them." 
" But we need not discuss them ; I won't and you are 
so well up in the controversy with your two books of 
theology, that I think he's in more danger of being con- 
verted than you. Give me the book, and 111 find out 
something to read to you." 



(EXT day Miss Grey and I were walking on the 
lonely road towards Penruthyn Priory. The 
sea lies beneath it on the right, and on the left 
is an old grass-grown bank, shaggy with 
brambles. Eound a clump of ancient trees that stand at 
a bend of this green rampart, about a hundred steps before 
us, came, on a sudden, Mr. Carmel, and a man dressed 
also in black, slight, but not so tall as he. They were 
walking at a brisk pace, and the stranger was talking in- 
cessantly to his companion. 

That did not prevent his observing us, for I saw him 
slightly touch Mr. Carmel' s arm with his elbow as ho 
looked at us. Mr. Carmel evidently answered a question, 
and, as he did so, glanced at us ; and immediately the 
stranger resumed his conversation. They were quickly up 
to us, and stopped. Mr. Carmel raised his hat, and asked 
leave to introduce his friend. We bowed, so did the 
stranger ; but Mr. Carmel did not repeat his name very 

This friend was far from prepossessing. He was of 
middle height, and narrow-shouldered, what they call 
" putty-faced," and closely shorn, the region of the beard 
and whisker being denned in smooth dark blue. He looked 
about fifty. His movements were short and quick, and 
restless ; he rather stooped, and his face and forehead 
inclined as if he were looking on the ground. But his 
eyes were not upon the ground ; they were very fierce, but 
seldom rested for more than a moment ou any one object, 

42 Willing to Die. 

As he made his bow, raising his hat from his massive 
forehead, first to me, and afterwards to Miss Grey, his 
eyes, compressed with those wrinkles with which near- 
sighted people assist their vision, scrutinised us each with 
a piercing glance under his black eyebrows. It was a face 
at once intellectual, mean, and intimidating. 

" Walking ; nothing like walking, in moderation. You 
have boating here also, and you drive, of course ; which 
do you like best, Miss Ware ?" The stranger spoke with 
a slightly foreign accent, and, though he smiled, with a 
harsh and rapid utterance. 

I forget how I answered this, his first question rather 
an odd one. He turned and walked a little way with us. 

" Charming country. Heavenly weather. But you 
must find it rather lonely, living down here. How you 
must both long for a week in London !" 

" For my part, I like this better," I answered. " I 
don't like London in summer, even in winter I prefer 

" You have lived here with people you like, I dare say, 
and for their sakes you love the place ?" he mused. 

We walked on a little in silence. His words recalled 
darling Nelly. This was our favourite walk long ago ; it 
led to what we called the blackberry wilderness, rich in its 
proper fruits in the late autumn, and in May with banks 
all covered with cowslips and primroses. A sudden 
thought, that finds simple associations near, is affecting, 
and my eyes filled with tears. But with an effort I re- 
strained them. The presence of a stranger, the sense of 
publicity, seals those fountains. How seldom people cry 
at the funerals of their beloved ! They go through the 
public rite like an execution, pale and collected, and return 
home to break their hearts alone. 

" You have been here some months, Miss Grey. You 
find Miss Ware a very amenable pupil, I venture to believe. 
I think I know something of physiognomy, and I may con- 
gratulate you on a very sweet and docile pupil, eh ?" 

Laura Grey, governess as she was, looked a little 
haughtily at this officious gentleman, who, as he put the 
question, glanced sharply for a moment at her, and then 
as rapidly at me, as if to see how it told. 

A Stranger appears. 48 

"I think I hope we are very happy together," said 
Miss Grey. " I can answer for myself." 

" Precisely what I expected," said the stranger, taking 
a pinch of snuff. " I ought to mention that I am a very 
particular acquaintance, friend I may say, of Mrs. Ware, 
and am, therefore, privileged." 

Mr. Carmel was walking beside his friend in silence, 
with his eyes apparently lowered to the ground all this 

My hlood was boiling with indignation at being treated 
as a mere child by this brusque and impertinent old man. 
He turned to me. 

" I see, by your countenance, young lady, that you 
respect authority. I think your governess is very fortu- 
nate ; a dull pupil is a bad bargain, and you are not dulL 
But a contumacious pupil is utterly intolerable ; you are 
not that, either ; you are sweetness and submission itself, 

I felt my cheeks flushing, and I directed on him a glance 
which, if the fire of ladies' eyes be not altogether a fable, 
ought at least to have scorched him. 

" I have no need of submission, sir. Miss Grey does 
not think of exercising authority over me. I shall be 
eighteen my next birthday. I shall be coming out, papa 
says, in less than a year. I am not treated like a child 
any longer, sir. I think, Laura, we have walked far 
enough. Hadn't we better go home ? We can take a 
walk another time any time would be pleasanter than 

Without waiting for her answer, I turned, holding my 
head very high, breathing quickly, and feeling my cheeks 
in a flame. 

The odious stranger, nothing daunted by my dignified 
resentment, smiled shrewdly, turned about quite uncon- 
cernedly, and continued to walk by my side. On my other 
side was Laura Grey, who told me afterwards that she 
greatly enjoyed my spirited treatment of his ill-breeding. 

She walked by my side, looking straight before her, as 
I did. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw the impudent 
old man marching on as if quite unconscious, or, at least, 
careless of having given offence. Beyond him I saw, also, 

44 Willing to Die. 

in the same oblique way, Mr. Carmel, walking with down- 
cast eyes as before. 

He ought to be ashamed, I thought, of having intro- 
duced such a person. 

I had not time to think a great deal, before the man 
of the harsh voice and restless eyes suddenly addressed 
me again. 

" You are coming out, you say, Miss Ware, when you 
are eighteen?" 

I made him no answer. 

" You are now seventeen, and a year intervenes," he 
continued, and turning to Mr. Carmel, " Edwyn, run 
you down to the house, and tell the man to put my 
horse to." 

So Mr.. Carmel crossed the stile at the road-side, and 
disappeared by the path leading to the stables of Malory. 
And then turning again to me, the stranger said : 

" Suppose your father and mother have placed you in 
my sole charge, with a direction to remove you from 
Malory, and take you under my immediate care and super- 
vision, to-day ; you will hold yourself in readiness to 
depart immediately, attended by a lady appointed to look 
after you, with the approbation of your parents eh?" 

" No, sir, I'll not go. I'll remain with Miss Grey. I'll 
not leave Malory," I replied, stopping short, and turning 
towards him. I felt myself growing very pale, but I spoke 
with resolution. 

" You'll not ? what, my good young lady, not if I show 
you your father"s letter?" 

" Certainly not. Nothing but violence shall remove 
me from Malory, until I see papa himself. He certainly 
would not do anything so cruel!" I exclaimed, while my 
heart sank within me. 

He studied my face for a moment with his dark and 
fiery eyes. 

" You are a spirited young lady ; a will of your own !" 
he said. " Then you won't obey your parents ?" 

" I'll do as I have said," I answered, inwardly quaking. 

He addressed Miss Grey now. 

" You'll make her do as she's ordered ?" said this man, 
whose looks seemed to me more sinister every moment. 

A Stranger appears. 45 

" I really can't. Besides, in a matter of so much im- 
portance, I think she is right not to act without seeing 
her father, or, at least, hearing directly from him." 

" Well, I must take my leave," said he. " And I may 
as well tell you it is a mere mystification ; I have no au- 
thority, and no wish to disturb your stay at Malory ; and 
we are not particularly likely ever to meet again ; and 
you'll forgive an old fellow his joke, young ladies ?" 

With these brusque and eccentric sentences, he raised 
his hat, and with the activity of a younger man, ran up 
the bank at the side of the road ; and, on the summit, 
looked about him for a moment, as if he had forgotten us 
altogether ; and then, at his leisure, he descended at the 
other side and was quite lost to view. 

Laura Grey and I were both staring in the direction in 
which he had just disappeared. Each, after a time, looked 
in her companion's face. 

" I almost think he's mad !" said Miss Grey. 

" What could have possessed Mr. Carmel to introduce 
such a person to us ?" I exclaimed. " Did you hear his 
name ?" I asked, after we had again looked in the direc- 
tion in which he had gone, without discovering any sign 
of his return. 

" Droqville, I think," she answered. 

" Oh ! Laura, I am so frightened ! Do you think papa 
can really intend any such thing ? He's too kind. I am 
sure it is a falsehood." 

" It is a joke, he says himself," she answered. " I 
can't help thinking a very odd joke, and very pointless ; 
and one that did not seem to amuse even himself." 

" Then you do not think it is true ?" I urged, my panic 

" Well, I can't think it is true, because, if it were, why 
should he say it was a joke ? We shall soon know. 
Perhaps Mr. Carinel will enlighten us." 

" I thought he seemed in awe of that man," I said. 

" So did I," answered Miss Grey. " Perhaps he is his 

"I'll write to-day to papa, and tell him all about it; 
you shall help me ; and I'll implore of him not to think 
of anything so horrible and cruel." 

46 Willing to Die. 

Laura Grey stopped short, and laid her hand on my 
wrist for a moment, thinking. 

" Perhaps it would be as well if we were to turn about 
and walk a little further, so as to give him time to get 
quite away." 

" But if he wants to take me away in that carriage, or 
whatever it is, he'll wait any time for my return." 

" So he would ; but the more I think over it, the more 
persuaded I am that there is nothing in it." 

"In any case, I'll go back," I said. " Let us go into 
the house and lock the doors ; and if that odious Mr. 
Droqville attempts to force his way in, Thomas Jones will 
knock him down ; and we'll send Anne Owen to Cardyl- 
lion, for Williams, the policeman. I hate suspense. If 
there is to be anything unpleasant, it is better to have it 
decided, one way or other, as soon as possible." 

Laura Grey smiled, and spoke merrily of our appre- 
hensions ; but I don't think she was quite so much at ease 
as she assumed to be. 

Thus we turned about, I, at least, with a heart thump- 
ing very fast ; and we walked back towards the old house 
of Malory, where, as you have this moment heard, we 
had made up our minds to stand a siege. 



DARESAY I was a great fool; but if you had 
seen the peculiar and unpleasant face of Monsieur 
Droqville, and heard his harsh nasal voice, in 
which there was something of habitual scorn, 
you would make excuses. I confess I was in a great fright 
by the time we had got well into the dark avenue that 
leads up to the house. 

I hesitated a little as we reached that point in the 
carriage-road, not a long one, which commands a clear 
view of the hall-door steps. I had heard awful stories of 
foolish girls spirited away to convents, and never heard 
of more. I have doubts as to whether, had I seen 
Monsieur Droqville or his carriage there, I should not 
have turned about, and ran through the trees. But the 
courtyard in front of the house was, as usual, empty and 
still. On its gravel surface reposed the sharp shadows of 
the pointed gables above, and the tufts of grass on its 
surface had not been bruised by recent carriage wheels. 
Instead, therefore, of taking to flight, I hurried forward, 
accompanied by Laura Grey, to seize the fortress before it 
was actually threatened. 

In we ran, lightly, and locked the hall door, and drew 
chain and bolt against Monsieur Droqville ; and up the great 
stairs to our room, each infected by the other's panic. 
Safely in the room, we locked and bolted our door, and 
stood listening, until we had recovered breath. Then I 
rang our bell furiously, and up came Anne Owen, or, as 
her countrymen pronounce it, Anne Wan. There had been, 
after all, no attack ; no human being had attempted to 
intrude upon our cloistered solitude. 

48 Willing to Die. 

" Where is Mrs. Torkill '?" I asked, through the door. 

" In the still-room, please, miss." 

" Well, you must lock and bolt the back-door, and don't 
let any one in, either way." 

We passed an hour in this state of preparation, and 
finally ventured downstairs, and saw Kebecca Torkill. 
From her we learned that the strange gentleman who had 
been with Mr. Carmel had driven away more than half an 
hour before ; and Laura Grey and I, looking in one 
another's faces, could not help laughing a little. 

Rebecca had overheard a portion of a conversation, 
which she related to me ; but not for years after. At the 
time she had no idea that it could refer to any one in whom 
she was interested ; and even at this hour I am not myself 
absolutely certain, but only conjecture, that I was the 
subject of their talk, I will tell it to you as nearly as I 
can recollect. 

Rebecca Torkill, nearly an hour before, being in the 
still-room, heard voices near the -window, and quietly 
peeped out. 

You must know that immediately in the angle formed 
by the junction of the old house, known as the steward's 
house, which Mr. Carmel had been assigned as a residence, 
and the rear of the great house of Malory, stand two or 
three great trees, and a screen of yews, behind which, so 
embossed in ivy as to have the effect of a background 
of wood, stands the gable of the still-room. This strip of 
ground, lying immediately in the rear of the steward's 
house, was a flower-garden ; but a part of it is now carpeted 
with grass, and lies under the shadow of the great trees, 
and is walled round with the dark evergreens I have men- 
tioned. The rear of the stable-yard of Malory, also 
mantled with ivy, runs parallel to the back of the steward's 
house, and forms the other boundary of this little enclosure, 
which simulates the seclusion of a cloister ; and but for 
the one well-screened window I have mentioned, would 
really possess it. Standing near this window she saw 
Mr. Carmel, whom she always regarded with suspicion, 
and his visitor, that gentleman in black, whose looks 
nobody seemed to like. 

" I told you, sir," said Mr. Carmel, " through my frienci 

Tasso. 49 

Ambrose, I had arranged to have prayers twice a "week, at 
the Church in Paris, for that one soul." 

" Yes, yes, yes ; that is all very well, very good, of 
course," answered the hard voice ; " but there are things 
we must do for ourselves the saints won't shave us, you 

" I am afraid, sir, I did not quite understand your 
letter," said Mr. Carmel. 

" Yes, you did, pretty well. You see she may be, one 
day, a very valuable acquisition. It is time you put your 
shoulder to the wheel d'ye see ? Put your shoulder to 
the wheel. The man who said all that is able to do it. 
So mind you put your shoulder to the wheel forthwith." 
The younger man bowed. 

" You have been sleeping," said the harsh, peremptory 
voice. " You said there was enthusiasm and imagination. 
I take that for granted. I find there is spirit, courage, a 
strong will ; obstinacy impracticability no milksop a 
bit of a virago ! Why did not you make out all that for 
yourself? To discover character you must apply tests. 
You ought in a single conversation to know everything." 
The young man bowed again. 

" You shall write to me weekly ; but don't post your 
letters at Cardyllion, I'll write to you through Hickman, 
in the old way." 

She could hear no more, for they moved away. The elder 
man continued talking, and looked up at the back- windows 
of Malory, which became visible as they moved away. It 
was one of his fierce, rapid glances ; but he was satisfied, 
and continued his conversation for two or three minutes 
more. Then he abruptly turned, and entered the steward's 
house quickly ; and, in two or three minutes more, was 
driving away from Malory at a rapid pace. 

A few days after this adventure for in our life any 
occurrence that could be talked over for ten minutes was 
an adventure I had a letter in mamma's pretty hand, 
and in it occurred this passage : 

" The other day I wrote to Mr. Carmel, and I asked 
him to do me a kindness. If he would read a little 
Italian with you, and Miss Grey I am sure would join, I 
should be so much pleased. He has passed so much of 

50 Willing to Die. 

his life in Borne, and is so accomplished in Italian ; simple 
as people think it, that language is more difficult to 
pronounce correctly even than French. I forget whether 
Miss Grey mentioned Italian among the languages she 
could teach. But however that may be, I think, if Mr. 
Carmel will take that trouble, it would be very desirable." 

Mr. Carmel, however, made no sign. If the injunc- 
tion to " put his shoulder to the wheel " had been given 
for my behoof, the promise was but indifferently kept, for 
I did not see Mr. Carmel again for a fortnight. During 
the greater part of that interval he was away from Malory, 
we could not learn where. At the end of that time, one 
evening, just as unexpectedly as before, he presented him- 
self at the window. Very much the same thing happened. 
He drank tea with us, and sat on the bench his bench, he 
called it outside the window, and remained, I am sure, 
two hours, chatting very agreeably. You may be sure we 
did not lose the opportunity of trying to learn something 
of the gentleman whom he had introduced to us. 

Yes, his name was Droqville. 

"We fancied," said Laura, "that he might be an 

" His being a priest, or not, I am sure you think does 
not matter much, provided he is a good man, and he is 
that; and a very clever man, also," answered Mr, Carmel. 
" He is a great linguist : he has been in almost every 
country in the world. I don't think Miss Ethel has been 
a traveller yet, but you have, I dare say." And in that 
way he led us quietly away from Monsieur Droqville to 
Antwerp, and I know not where else. 

One result, however, did come of this visit. He actually 
offered his services to read Italian with us. Not, of course, 
without opening the way for this by directing our talk 
upon kindred subjects, and thus deviously up to the point. 
Miss Grey and I, who knew what each expected, were 
afraid to look at each other ; we should certainly have 
laughed, while he was leading us up so circuitously and 
adroitly to his " palpable ambuscade." 

We settled Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in each 
week for our little evening readings. Mr. Carmel did not 
always now sit outside, upon his bench, as at first. Ho 

Tasso. 61 

was often at our tea-table, like one of ourselves ; and some- 
times stayed later than he used to do. I thought him 
quite delightful. He certainly was clever, and, to me, 
appeared a miracle of learning ; he was agreeable, fluent, 
and very peculiar. 

I could not tell whether he was the coldest man on 
earth, or the most impassioned. His eyes seemed to me 
more enthusiastic and extraordinary the oftener and longer 
I beheld them. Their strange effect, instead of losing, 
seemed to gain by habit and observation. It seemed to 
me that the cold and melancholy serenity that held us 
aloof was artificial, and that underneath it could be de- 
tected the play and fire of a nature totally different. 

I was always fluctuating in my judgment upon this 
issue ; and the problem occupied me during many an hour 
of meditation. 

How dull the alternate days had become ; and how 
pleasant even the look-forward to our little meetings ! 
Thus, very agreeably, for about a fortnight our readings 
proceeded, and, one evening on our return, expecting the 
immediate arrival of our " master," as I called Mr. 
Carmel, we found, instead, a note addressed to Miss Grey. 
It began: "Dear Miss Eth," and across these three letters 
a line was drawn, and "Grey" was supplied. I liked 
even that evidence that his first thought had been of me. 
It went on : 

"Duty, I regret, calls me for a time away from Malory, 
and our Italian readings, I have but a minute to write 
to tell you not to expect me this evening, and to say I 
regret I am unable, at this moment, to name the day of 
my return. 

" In great haste, and with many regrets, 
" Yours very truly, 

* " E. CAEMEL. 

" So he's gone again !" I said, very much vexed. 
" What shall we do to-night ?" 

" Whatever you like best ; I don't care I'm sorry he's 

J* How restless he is ! I wonder why he could riot stay 

52 Willing to Die. 

quietly here ; he can't have any real business away. It 
may be duty ; but it looks very like idleness. I dare say 
he began to think it a bore coming to us so often to read 
Tasso, and listen to my nonsense ; and I think it a very 
cool note, don't you ?" 

" Not cool; a little cold; but not colder than he is," 
said Laura Grey. " He'll come back, when he has done 
his business ; I'm sure he has business ; why should he 
tell an untruth about the matter ?" 

I was huffed at his going, and more at his note. That 
pale face, and those large eyes, I thought the handsomest 
in the world. I took up one of Laura's manuals of The 
Controversy, which had fallen rather into disuse after the 
first panic had subsided, and Mr. Carmel had failed to 
make any, even the slightest, attack upon our faith. I 
was fiddling with its leaves, and I said : 

" If I were an inexperienced young priest, Laura, I 
should be horribly afraid of those little tea-parties. I dare 
say he is afraid afraid of your eyes, and of falling in love 
with you." 

" Certainly not with me," she answered. " Perhaps you 
mean he is afraid of people talking ? I think you and I 
should be the persons to object to that, if there was a 
possibility of any such thing. But we are talking folly. 
These men meet us, and talk to us, and we see them ; but 
there is a wall between, that is simply impassable. Sup- 
pose a sheet of plate glass, through which you see as clearly 
as through air, but as thick as the floor of ice on which a 
Dutch fair is held. That is what their vow is." 

" I wonder whether a girl ever fell in love with a priest. 
That would be a tragedy !" I said. 

" A ridiculous one," answered Laura ; " you remember 
the old spinster who fell in love with the Apollo Belvedere ? 
It could happen only to a madwoman." 

I think this was a dull evening to Laura Grey ; I know 
it was for me. 



jE saw or heard nothing for a week or more of Mr. 
Carmel. It was possible that he would never 
return. I was in low spirits. Laura Grey had 
been shut up by a cold, and on the day of which 
I am now speaking she had not yet been out. I therefore 
took my walk alone towards Penruthyn Priory, and, as 
dejected people not unfrequently do, I was well enough 
disposed to indulge and even to nurse my melancholy. 

A thunder-storm had been for hours moving upwards 
from the south-east, among the grand ranges of distant 
mountains that lie, tier beyond tier, at the other side of 
the estuary, and now it rested on a wide and lurid canopy 
of cloud upon the summits of the hills and headlands that 
overlook the water. 

It was evening, later than my usual return to tea. I 
knew that Laura Grey minded half-an-hour here or there 
as little as I did, and a thunder-storm seen and heard from 
the neighbourhood of Malory is one of the grandest spec- 
tacles in its way on earth. Attracted by the mighty hills 
on the other side, these awful elemental battles seldom 
visit our comparatively level shore, and we see the lightning 
no nearer than about half-way across the water. Vivid 
against blackening sky and purple mountain, the lightning 
flies and shivers. From broad hill-side, through rocky 
gorges, reflected and returned from precipice to precipice, 
through the hollow windings of the mountains, the thunder 
rolls and rattles, dies away, explodes again, and at length 
subsides in the strangest and grandest of all sounds, 

64 Willing to Die. 

spreading through all that mountainous region for minutes 
after, like the roar and tremble of an enormous seething 

Suppose these aerial sounds reverberating from cliff to 
cliff, from peak to peak, and crag to crag, from one hill- 
side to another, like the cannon in the battles of Milton's 
angels ; suppose the light of the setting sun, through a 
chink in the black curtain of cloud behind me, touching 
with misty fire the graves and headstones in the pretty 
churchyard, where, on the stone bench under the eastern 
window, I have taken my seat, near the grave of my darling 
sister ; and suppose an uneasy tumult, not a breeze, in 
the air, sometimes still, and sometimes in moaning gusts, 
tossing sullenly the boughs of the old trees that darken 
the churchyard. 

For the first time since her death I had now visited this 
spot without tears. My thoughts of death had ceased to 
be pathetic, and were, at this moment, simply terrible. 
" My heart was disquieted within me, and the fear of death 
had fallen upon me." I sat with my hands clasped to- 
gether, and my eyes fixed on the thunderous horizon 
before me, and the grave of my darling under my eyes, 
and she, in her coffin, but a few feet beneath. The grave, 
God's prison, as old .Rebecca Torldll used to say, and then 
the Judgment ! This new sense of horror and despair 
was, I dare say, but an unconscious sympathy with the 
vengeful and melancholy aspect of nature. 

I heard a step near me, and turned. It was Mr. Carmel 
who approached. He was looking more than usually pale, 
I thought, and ill. I was surprised, and a little confused. 
I cannot recall our greeting. I said, after that was over, 
something, I believe, about the thunder-storm. 

" And yet," he answered, " you understand these awful 
phenomena their causes. You remember our little talk 
about electricity here it is ! We know all that is but the 
restoration of an equilibrium. Think what it will be when 
God restores the moral balance, and settles the equities of 
eternity ! There are moods, times, and situations in which 
we contemplate justly our tremendous Creator. Fear him 
who, after he has killed the body, has power to cast into 
hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear him. Here all suffering 

Thunder. 65 

is transitory. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy 
cometh in the morning. This life is the season of time 
and of mercy ; but once in hell, mercy is no more, and 
eternity opens, and endures, and has no end." 

Here he ceased for a time to speak, and looked across the 
estuary, listening, as it seemed, to the roll and tremble 
of the thunder. After a little while, he said : 

" That you are to die is most certain ; nothing more 
uncertain than the time and manner ; by a slow or a 
sudden death ; in a state of grace or sin. Therefore, we 
are warned to be ready at all hours. Better twenty years 
too soon than one moment late ; for to perish once is to be 
lost for ever. Your death depends upon your life ; such 
as your life is, such will be your death. How can we 
dare to live in a state that we dare not die in ?" 

I sat gazing at this young priest, who, sentence after 
sentence, was striking the very key-note of the awful 
thought that seemed to peal and glare in the storm. He 
stood with his head uncovered, his great earnest eyes 
sometimes raised, sometimes fixed on me, and the un- 
certain gusts at fitful intervals tossed his hair this way 
and that. The light of the setting sun touched his thin 
hand, and his head, and glimmered on the long grass ; 
the graves lay around us ; and the voice of God himself 
seemed to speak in the air. 

Mr. Carmel drew nearer, and in the same earnest vein 
talked on. There was no particle of which is termed the 
controversial in what he had said. He had not spoken a 
word that I could not subscribe. He had quoted, also, 
from our version of the Bible ; but he presented the 
terrors of revelation with a prominence more tremendous 
than I was accustomed to, and the tone of his discourse 
was dismaying. 

I will not attempt to recollect and to give you in detail 
the conversation that followed. He presented, with a 
savage homeliness of illustration, with the same 
simplicity and increasing force, the same awful view of 
Christianity. Beyond the naked strength of the facts, 
and the terrible brevity with which he stated them in 
their different aspects, I don't know that there was 
any special eloquence in his discourse, but in the 

56 Willing to Die. 

language of Scripture, his words made " both my ears 

He did not attempt to combat my Protestant tenets 
directly ; that might have alarmed me ; he had too much 
tact for that. Anything he said with that tendency was in 
the way simply of a discourse of the teaching aud practice 
of his own Church. 

" In the little volume of legends you were so good as 
to say you would like to look into," he said, " you will 
find the prayer of Saint Louis de Gonzaga ; you will also 
find an anonymous prayer, very pathetic and beautiful. I 
have drawn a line in red ink down the margin at its side, 
so it is easily found. These will show you the spirit in 
which the faithful approach the Blessed Virgin. They 
may interest you. They will, I am sure, interest your 
sympathies for those who have suffered, like you, and 
have found peace and hope in these very prayers." 

He then spoke very touchingly of my darling sister, and 
my tears at last began to flow. It was the strangest half- 
hour I had ever passed. Eeligion during that time had 
appeared in a gigantic and terrible aspect. My grief for 
my sister was now tinged with terror. Do not we from 
our Lutheran pulpits too lightly appeal to that protent 
emotion fear ? 

For awhile this tall thin priest in black, whose pale 
face and earnest eyes seemed to gleam on me with an in- 
tense and almost painful enthusiasm, looked like a spirit 
in the deepening twilight ; the thunder rattled and rolled 
on among the echoing mountains, the gleam of the 
lightning grew colder and wilder as the darkness in- 
creased, and the winds rushed mournfully, and tossed the 
churchyard grass, and bowed the heads of the great trees 
about us ; and as I walked home, with my head full of 
awful thoughts, and my heart agitated, I felt as if I had 
been talking with a messenger from that other world. 



do these proselytising priests great wrong when 
we fancy them cold-blooded practisers upon our 
credulity, who seek, for merely selfish ends, to 
entangle us by sophistries, and inveigle us into 
those mental and moral catacombs from which there is no 
escape. We underrate their danger when we deny their 
sincerity. Mr. Carmel sought to save my soul ; nobler or 
purer motive, I am sure, never animated man. If he 
acted with caution, and even by stratagem, he believed it 
was in the direct service of Heaven, and for my eternal 
weal. I know him better, his strength and his weakness, 
now his asceticism, his resolution, his tenderness. That 
young priest long dead stands before me, in the white 
robe of his purity, king-like. I see him, as I saw him 
last, his thin, handsome features, the light of patience on 
his face, the pale smile of suffering and of victory. His 
tumults and his sorrows are over. Cold and quiet he lies 
now. My thanks can never reach him ; my unavailing 
blessings and gratitude follow my true and long-lost friend, 
and tears wrung from a yearning heart. 

Laura Grey seemed to have lost her suspicions of this 
ecclesiastic. We had more of his society than before. 
Our reading went on, and sometimes he joined us in our 
walks. I used to see him from an upper window every 
morning early, busy with spade and trowel, in the tiny 
flower-garden which belonged to the steward's house. He 
used to work there for an hour punctually, from before 

S8 Willing to Die. 

seven till nearly eight; Then he vanished for many hours, 
and was not seen till nearly evening, and we had, perhaps, 
our Gerusalemme Liberata, or he would walk with us for a 
inile or more, and talk in his gentle but cold way, plea- 
santly, on any topic we happened to start. We three 
grew to be great friends. I liked to see him when he, 
and, I may add, Laura Grey also, little thought I was 
looking at his simple garden-work under the shadow of 
the grey wall from which the old cherry and rose-trees 
drooped, in picturesque confusion, under overhanging 
masses of ivy. 

He and I talked as opportunity occurred more and more 
freely upon religion. But these were like lovers' con- 
fidences, and, by a sort of tacit consent, never before Laura 
Grey. Not that I wished to deceive her ; but I knew very 
well what she would think and say of my imprudence. It 
would have embarrassed me to tell her; but here remon- 
strances would not have prevailed ; I would not have 
desisted ; we should have quarrelled ; and yet I was often 
on the point of telling her, for any reserve with her pained 

In this quiet life we had glided from summer into 
autumn, and suddenly, as before, Mr. Carmel vanished, 
leaving just such a vague little note as before. 

I was more wounded, and a great deal more sorry this 
time. The solitude I had once loved so well was irksome 
without him. I could not confess to Laura, scarcely to 
myself, how much I missed him. 

About a week after his disappearance, we had planned 
to drink tea in the housekeeper's room. I had been sitting 
at the window in the gable that commanded the view of 
the steward's garden, which had so often shown me my 
hermit at his morning's work. The roses were already 
shedding their honours on the mould, and the sear of 
autumn was mellowing the leaves of the old fruit-trees. 
The shadow of the ancient stone house fell across the 
garden, for by this time the sun was low in the west, and 
I knew that the next morning would come and go, and 
the next, and bring no sign of his return, and so on, and 
on, perhaps for ever. 

Never was little garden so sad and silent ! The fallen 

AwaJcened. 69 

leaves lay undisturbed, and the weeds were already peep- 
ing here and there among the flowers. 

* * Is it part of your religion ?" I murmured bitterly to 
myself, as, with folded hands, I stood a little way back, 
looking down through the open window, " to leave willing 
listeners thus half-instructed ? Business ? What is the 
business of a good priest ? I should have thought the 
care and culture of human souls was, at least, part of a 
priest's business. I have no one to answer a question 
now no one to talk to. I am, I suppose, forgotten. 

I dare say there was some affectation in this. But my 
dejection was far from affected, and hiding my sorrowful 
and bitter mood, I left the window and came down the 
back-stairs to our place of meeting. Eebecca Torkill and 
Laura Grey were in high chat. Tea being just made, and" 
everything looking so delightfully comfortable, I should 
have been, at another time, in high spirits. 

" Ethel, what do you think ? Eebecca has been just 
telling me that the mystery about Mr. Carmel is quite 
cleared up. Mr. Priehard, the grocer, in Cardyllion, was 
visiting his cousin, who has a farm near Plasnwyd, and 
whom should he see there but our missing friar, in a 
carriage driving with Mrs. Tredwynyd, of Plasnwyd. She 
is a beautiful woman still, and one of the richest widows 
in Wales, Eebecca says ; and he has been living there ever 
since he left this ; and his last visit, when we thought he 
was making a religious sojourn in a monastery, was to 
the same house and lady ! What do you think of that ? 
But it is not near ended yet. Tell the rest of the story, 
Mrs. Torkill, to Miss Ethel please do." 

" Well, miss, there's nothin' very particular, only they 
say all round Plasnwyd that she was in love with him, and 
that he's goin' to turn Protestant, and it's all settled 
they're to be married. Every one is sing-in' to the same 
tune all round Plasnwyd, and what every one says must 
be true, as I've often heard say." 

I laughed, and asked whether our teacake was ready, 
and looked out of the window. The boughs of the old 
fruit-trees in the steward's garden hung so near it that the 
ends of the sprays would tap the glass, if the wind blew. 
As I leaned against the shutter, drumming a little tune 

60 Willing to Die. 

on the window, and looking as careless as any girl could, 
I felt cold and faint, and rny heart was bursting. I 
don't know what prevented my dropping on the floor iu a 

Laura, little dreaming of the effect of this story upon 
me, was chatting still with Eebecca, and neither perceived 
that I was moved by the news. 

That night I cried for hours in my bed, after Laura 
Grey was fast asleep. It never occurred to me to canvass 
the probability of the story. We are so prone to believe 
what we either greatly desire or greatly fear. The violence 
of my own emotions startled me. My eyes were opened 
at last to a part of my danger. 

As I whispered, through convulsive sobs, " He's gone, 
he's gone I have lost him he'll never be here any more ! 
Oh ! why did you pretend to take an interest in me ? Why 
did I listen to you ? Why did I like you ?" All this, 
and as much more girlish lamentation and upbraiding as 
you please to fancy, dispelled my dream and startled my 
reason. I had an interval to recover in ; happily for me, 
this wild fancy had not had time to grow into a more im- 
practicable and dangerous feeling. I felt like an awakened 
somnambulist at the brink of a precipice. Had I become 
attached to Mr. Carmel, my heart must have broken in 
silence, and my secret have perished with me. 

Some weeks passed, and an advent occurred, which 
more than my girlish pride and resolutions turned my 
thoughts into a new channel, and introduced a memorable 
actor upon the scene of my life. 



|E are now in stormy October ; a fierce and me- 
lancholy month ! August and September touch 
the greenwood leaves with gold and russet, and 
gently loosen the hold of every little stalk on 
forest bough ; and then, when all is ready, October comes 
on in storm, with sounds of trump and rushing charge 
and fury not to be argued or dallied with, and thoroughly 
executes the sentence of mortality that was recorded in 
the first faint yellow of the leaf, in the still sun of declin- 
ing July. 

October is all the more melancholy for the still, golden 
days that intervene, and show the thinned branches in 
the sunlight, soft, and clear as summer's, and the boughs 
cast their skeleton shadows across brown drifts of leaves. 

On the evening I am going to speak of, there was 
a wild, threatening sunset, and the boatmen of Car- 
dyllion foretold a coming storm. Their predictions were 

The breeze began to sigh and moan through the trees 
and chimney-stacks of Malory shortly after sunset, and in 
another hour it came on to blow a gale from the north- 
west. From that point the wind sweeps right up the 
estuary from the open sea ; and after it has blown for a 
time, and the waves have gathered their strength, the 
sea bursts grandly upon the rocks a little in front of 
We were sitting cosily in our accustomed tea-room. 

62 Willing to Die. 

The rush and strain of the wind on the windows became 
momentarily more vehement, till the storm reached its 
highest and most tremendous pitch. 

"Don't you think," said Laura, after an awful gust, 
" that the windows may burst in ? The wind is frightful ! 
Hadn't we better get to the back of the house ?" 

" Not the least danger," I answered ; " these windows 
have small panes, and immensely strong sashes ; and they 
have stood so many gales that we may trust them for 

" There again !" she exclaimed. " How awful !" 

" No danger to us, though. These walls are thick, and 
as firm as rock ; not like your flimsy brick houses ; and 
the chimneys are as strong as towers. You must come 
up with me to the window in the tawny-room ; there is 
an open space in the trees opposite, and we can see pretty 
well. It is worth looking at ; you never saw the sea here 
in a storm." 

With very little persuasion, I induced her to run up- 
stairs with me, Along the corridor, we reached the 
chamber in question, and placing our candle near the 
door, and running together to the window, we saw the 
grand spectacle we had come to witness. 

Over the sea and land, rock and wood, a dazzling moon 
was shining. Tattered bits of cloud, the " scud " I be- 
lieve they call it, were whirling over us, more swiftly than 
the flight of a bird, as far as your eye could discern : till 
the sea was lost in the grey mist of the horizon it was 
streaked and ridged with white. Nearer to the stooping 
trees that bowed and quivered in the sustained blast, and 
the little churchyard dormitory that nothing could disturb, 
the black peaked rock rose above the turmoil, and a dark 
causeway of the same jagged stone, sometimes defined 
enough, sometimes submerged, connected it almost with 
the mainland. A few hundred yards beyond it, I knew, 
stretched the awful reef on which the Intrinsic, years be- 
fore I could remember, had been wrecked. Beyond that 
again, we could see the waves leaping into sheets of foam, 
that seemed to fall as slowly and softly as clouds of snow. 
Nearer, on the dark rock, the waves flew up high into the 
air, like cannon-smoke. 

A Sight from the Windows. 63 

Within these rocks, which make an awful breakwater, 
full of mortal peril to ships driving before the storm, the 
estuary, near the shores of Malory, was comparatively 

At the window, looking on this wild scene, we stood, 
side by side, in the fascination which the sea in its 
tumultuous mood never fails to exercise. Thus, not once 
turning our eyes from the never-flagging variety of the 
spectacle, we gazed for a full half-hour, when, suddenly, 
there appeared was it the hull of a vessel shorn of its 
masts ? No, it was a steamer a large one, with low 
chimneys. It seemed to be about a mile and a half away, 
but was driviog on very rapidly. Sometimes the hull 
was quite lost to sight, and then again rose black and 
sharp on the crest of the sea. We held our breaths. 
Perhaps the vessel was trying to made the shelter of the 
pier of Cardyllion ; perhaps she was simply driving before 
the wind. 

To me there seemed something uncertain and staggering 
in the progress of the ship. Before her lay the ominous 
reef, on which many a good ship and brave life had 
perished. There was quite room enough, I knew, with 
good steering, between the head of the reef and the sand- 
bank at the other side, to make the pier of Cardyllion. 
But was there any one on board who knew the intricate 
navigation of our dangerous estuary ? Could any steering 
in such a tempest avail ? And, above all, had the ship 
been crippled ? In any case, I knew enough to be well 
aware that she was in danger. 

Eeader, if you have never witnessed such a spectacle, 
you cannot conceive the hysterical excitement of that 
suspense. All those on board are, for the time, your near 
friends ; your heart is among them their terrors are 
yours. A ship driving with just the hand and eye of one 
man for its only chance, under Heaven, against the fury 
of sea and wind, and a front of deadly rock, is an unequal 
battle ; the strongest heart sickens as the crisis nears, 
and the moments pass in an unconscious agony of prayer. 

Kebecca Torkill joined us at this moment. 

"Oh! Kebecca," I said, "there is a ship coming up 
the estuary do you think they can escape ?" 

64 Willing to Die. 

" The telescope should be on the shelf at the back stair- 
head," she answered, as soon as she had taken a long look 
at the steamer. "Lord ha' mercy on them, poor souls ! 
that's the very way the Intrinsic drove up before the 
wind the night she was lost ; and I think this will be the 
worse night of the two." 

Mrs. Torkill returned with the long sea telescope, in its 
worn casing of canvas. 

I took the first "look out." After wandering hither 
and thither over a raging sea, and sometimes catching 
the tossing head of some tree 'in the foreground, the 
glass lighted, at length, upon the vessel. It was a 
large steamer, pitching and yawing frightfully. Even 
to my inexperienced eye, it appeared nearly unmanage- 
able. I handed the glass to Laura. I felt faint. 

Some of the Cardyllion boatmen came running along 
the road that passes in front of Malory. I saw that 
two or three of them had already arrived on the rising 
ground beside the churchyard, and were watching 
events from that wind-swept point. I knew all the 
Cardyllion boatmen, for we often employed them, and 
I said : 

" I can't stay here I must hear what the boatmen say. 
Come, Laura, come with me." 

Laura was willing enough. 

" Nonsense ! Miss Ethel," exclaimed the housekeeper. 
" Why, dear Miss Grey, you could not keep hat or bonnet 
on in a wind like that ! You could not keep your feet in it !" 

.Remonstrance, however, was in vain. I tied a handker- 
chief tight over my head and under my chin Laura did 
the same ; and out we both sallied, notwithstanding 
Rebecca Torkill's protest and entreaty. We had to go by 
the back door ; it would have been impossible to close the 
hall-door against such a gale. 

Now we were out in the bright moonlight under the 
partial shelter of the trees, which bent and swayed with 
the roar of a cataract over our heads. Near us was the 
hillock we tried to gain ; it was next to impossible to reach 
it against the storm. Often we were brought to a stand- 
still, and often forced backward, notwithstanding all our 

A Sight from the Windows. 65 

At length, in spite of all, we stood on the little platform, 
from which the view of the rocks and sea beyond was 
clear. Williams, the boatman, was close to me, at my 
right hand, holding his low-crowned hat down on his head 
with his broad, hard hand. Laura was at my other side. 
Our dresses were slapping and rattling in the storm like 
the cracking of a thousand whips ; and such a roaring 
was in my ears, although my handkerchief was tied close 
over them, tli^t I could scarcely hear any 



JHE steamer looked very near now and large. 
It was plain it had no longer any chance of 
clearing the rocks. The boatmen were bawling 
to one another, but I could not understand 
what they said, nor hear more than a word or two at a 

The steamer mounted very high, and then seemed to 
dive headlong into the sea, and was lost to sight. Again, 
in less than a minute, the black mass was toppling at the 
summit of the sea, and again it seemed swallowed up. 

"Her starboard paddle!" shouted a broad-shouldered 
sailor in a pilot-coat, with his palm to the side of his 

Thomas Jones was among these men, without a hat, 
and on seeing me he fell back a little. I was only a step 
or two behind them. 

" Thomas Jones," I screamed, and he inclined his ear 
to my shrill question, " is there no life-boat in Car- 
dyllion ?" 

" Not one, miss," he roared ; " and it could not make 
head against that if there was." 

"Not an inch," bawled Williams. 

" Is there any chance ?" I cried. 

" An anchor from the starn ! A bad hold there she's 
draggin' of it !" yelled Williams, whose voice, though 
little more than two feet away, sounded faint and half 
smothered in the storm. 

Just then the steamer reared, or rather swooped, like 
the enchanted horse, in the air, and high above its black 

Catastrophe. 67 

shape shot a huge canopy of foam ; and then it staggered 
over and down, and nothing but raging sea was there. 

" God ! are they all lost ?" I shrieked. 

" Anchor's fast. All right now," roared the man in 
the pilot- coat. 

In some seconds more the vessel emerged, pitching high 
into the brilliant moonlight, and nearly the same thing 
was repeated again and again. The seafaring men who 
were looking on were shouting their opinions to one 
another, and from the little 1 was able to hear and under- 
stand, I gathered that she might ride it out if she did not 
drag her anchor, or " part " or "founder." But the sea 
was very heavy, and the rocks just under her bows now. 

In this state of suspense a quarter of an hour or more 
must have passed. Suddenly the vessel seemed to rise 
nearer than before. The men crowded forward to the 
edge of the bank. It was plain something decisive had 
happened. Nearer it rose again, and then once more 
plunged forward and disappeared. I waited breathless. 
I waited longer than before, and longer. Nothing was 
there but rolling waves and springing foam beyond the 
rocks. The ship rose no more ! 

The first agony of suspense was over. Where she had 
been the waves were sporting in the ghastly moonlight. 
In my wild horror I screamed I wrung my hands. I 
could not turn for a moment from the scene. I was 
praying all the time the same short prayer over and over 
again. Minute after minute passed, and still my eyes 
were fixed on the point where the ship had vanished ; my 
hands were clasped over my forehead, and tears welled 
down my cheeks. 

What's that ? Upon the summit of the bare rock, all 
on a sudden, the figure of a man appeared ; behind this 
mass of black stone, as each wave burst in succession, the 
foam leaped in clouds. For a moment the figure was seen 
sharp against the silvery distance ; then he stooped, as if 
to climb down the near side of the rock, and we lost sight 
of him. The boatmen shouted, and held up each a hand 
(their others were holding their hats on) in token of succour 
near, and three or four of them, with Thomas Jones at 
their head, ran down the slope, at their utmost speed to 

F 2 

68 Willing to Die. 

the jetty, under which, in shelter, lay the Malory hoat. 
Soon it was moving under the bank, four men pulling 
might and main against the gale ; though they rowed in 
shelter of the reef, on the pinnacle of which we had seen 
the figure for a moment, still it was a rough sea, and far 
from safe for an open boat, the spray driving like hail 
against them, and the boat pitching heavily in the short 
cross sea. 

No other figure crossed the edge of the rock, or for a 
a moment showed upon the bleak reef, all along which 
clouds of foam were springing high and wild into the air. 

The men who had been watching the event from the 
bank, seemed to have abandoned all further hope, and 
began to descend the hill to the jetty to await the return 
of the boat. It did return, bearing the one rescued man. 

Laura Grey and I went homeward. We made our way 
into the back-yard, often forced to run, by the storm, 
in spite of ourselves. We had hardly reached the house 
when we saw the boatmen coming up. 

We were now in the yard, about to enter the house at 
the back-door, which stood in shelter of the building. I 
saw Mrs. Torkill in the steward's house, with one of the 
maids, evidently in a fuss. I ran in. 

11 Oh, Miss Ethel, dear, did you see that? Lord a'mercy 
on us ! A whole shipful gone like that ! I thought the 
sight was leaving my eyes. v 

I answered very little. 1 felt ill, I was trembling still, 
and ready to burst again into tears. 

"Here's bin Thomas Jones, miss, to ask leave for the 
drownded man to rest himself for the night, and, as Mr. 
Carmel's away, I knew your papa and mamma would not 
refuse ; don't you think so, miss ? So I said, ay, bring 
him here. Was I right, miss ? And me and Anne Wan 
is tidyin' a bed for him." 

" Quite right, I'm sure," said I, my interest again 
awakened, and almost at the same moment into the 
flagged passage came Thomas Jones, followed by several 
of the Cardyllion boatmen, their great shoes clattering 
over the flags. 

In the front rank of these walked the one mortal who 
had escaped alive from the ship that was now a wreck on 

Cat&tropJie. 69 

the fatal reef. You may imagine the interest with which 
I looked at him. I saw a graceful but manly figure, a 
young man in a short sailor-like coat, his dress drenched 
and clinging, his hat gone, his forehead and features 
finely formed, very energetic, and, I thought, stern 
browned by the sun ; but, allowing for that tint, no 
drowned face in the sea that night was paler than his, his 
long black hair, lank with sea-water, thrown back from 
his face like a mane. There was blood oozing from under 
its folds near his temple; there was blood also on his 
hand, which rested on the breast of bis coat ; on his 
finger there was a thick gold ring. I had little more than 
a moment in which to observe all this. He walked in, 
holding his head high, very faint and fierce, with a slight 
stagger in his gait, a sullen and defiant countenance, and 
eyes fixed and gazing straight before him, as I had heard 
somnambulists described. I saw him in the candle-light 
for only a moment as he walked by, with boatmen in thick 
shoes, as I said, clattering beside him. I felt a strange 
lunging to run and clasp him by the hand ! 

I got into our own back-door, and found Laura Grey in 
the room in which we usually had our tea. She was as 
much excited as I. 

" Could you have imagined," she almost cried, " any- 
thing so frightful ? I wish I had not seen it. It will 
always be before my eyes. 

"That is what I feel also ; but we could not help it, we 
could not have borne the suspense. That is the reason 
why the people who are least able to bear it sometimes 
see the most dreadful sights." 

As we were talking, and wondering where the steamer 
came from, and what was her name, and how many 
people were probably on board, in came Eebecca Torkill. 

" I sent them boatmen home, miss, that rowed the boat 
out to the rock for that poor young man, with a pint o' 
strong ale, every one round, and no doubt he'll give them 
and Thomas Jones something in hand for taking him off 
the rock when he comes to himself a bit. He ought to 
be thanking the Almighty with a contrite heart." 

" He did not look as if he was going to pray when I 
saw him," I said. 

70 Willing to Die. 

" Nor to thank God, nor no one, for anything," she 
chimed in. "And he sat down sulky and black as you 
please, at the side o' the bed, and said never a word, but 
stuck out his foot to Thomas Jones to unbutton his boot. 
I had a pint o' mulled port ready, and I asked him if I 
should send for the doctor, and he only shook his head and 
shrugged his shoulders, as he might turn up his nose at an 
ugly physic. And he fell a- thinking while Jones was 
takin' off the other boot, and in place of prayin' or thanks- 
giving, I heard him muttering to himself and grumbling ; 
and, Lord forgive me if I wrong him, I think I heard him 
cursing some one. There was a thing for a man just 
took alive out o' the jaws o' death by the mercy o' God to 
do! There's them on earth, miss, that no lesson will 
teach, nor goodness melt, nor judgment frighten, but the 
last one, and then all's too late." 

It was late by this time, and so we all got to our beds. 
But I lay long awake in the dark, haunted by the cease- 
less rocking of that dreadful sea, and the apparition of 
that one pale, bleeding messenger from the ship of death. 
How unlike my idea of the rapture of a mortal just 
rescued from shipwreck! His face was that of one to 
whom an atrocious secret has been revealed, who was full 
of resentment and horror ; whose lips were sealed. 

In my eyes he was the most striking figure that had 
ever appeared before me. And the situation and my own 
dreadful excitement had elevated him into a hero. 



JHE first thing I heard of the stranger in the 
morning was that he had sent off early to the 
proprietor of the " Verney Arms " a messenger 
with a note for two large boxes which he had 
left there, when the yacht Foam Bell was at Cardyllion 
about a fortnight before. The note was signed with the 
letters E. M. 

The Foam Bell had lain at anchor off the pier of 
Cardyllion for only two hours, so no one in the town 
knew much about her. Two or three of her men, with 
Foam Bell across the breasts of their blue shirts and on 
the ribbons of their flat glazed hats, had walked about the 
quaint town, and drunk their beer at the " George and 
Garter." But there had not been time to make ac- 
quaintance with the townspeople. It was only known 
that the yacht belonged to Sir Dives Wharton, and that 
the gentleman who left the boxes in charge of the pro- 
prietor of the " Verney Arms," was not that baronet. 

The handwriting was the same as that in the memo- 
randum he had left with the hotel-keeper, and which 
simply told him that the big black boxes were left to be 
called or written for by Edward Hathaway, and mentioned 
no person whose initials were E. M. So Mr. Hughes, of 
the " Verney Arms," drove to Malory to see the gentleman 
at the steward's house, and having there recognised him 
as the very gentleman who left the boxes in his charge, he 
sent them to him as directed. 

Shortly after, Doctor Mervyn, our old friend walked 
up the avenue, and saw me and Laura at the window. 

72 Willing to die. 

It was a calm, bright morning ; the storm had done its 
awful work, and was at rest, and sea and sky looked glad 
and gentle in the brilliant sun. Already about fifty 
drowned persons had been carried up and laid upon the 
turf in the churchyard in rows, with their faces upward. 
I was glad it was upon the slope that was hid from us. 

How murderous the dancing waves looked in the sun- 
light ! And the black saw-edged reef I beheld with a 
start and a shudder. The churchyard, too, had a changed 
expression. What a spectacle lay behind that familiar 
grassy curve ! I did not see the incongruous muster of 
death. Here a Liverpool dandy ; there a white- whiskered 
City man ; sharp bag-men ; little children strange com- 
panions in the churchyard hard-handed sailors ; women, 
too, in silk or serge no distinction now. 

I and Laura could not walk in that direction till all 
this direful seeking and finding were over. 

The doctor, seeing us at the open window, raised his 
hat. The autumn sun through the thin leaves touched 
his bald head as he walked over to the window-stool, and 
placing his knee on the bench on which Mr. Carmel used 
sometimes to sit, he told us all he knew of the ship and 
the disaster. It was a Liverpool steamer called tha 
Conway Castle, bound for Bristol. One of her paddles was 
disabled early in the gale, and thus she drove to leeward, 
and was wrecked. 

" And now," said the doctor, " I'm going to look in 
upon the luckiest man in the kingdom, the one human 
being who escaped alive out of that ship. He must have 
been either the best or the worst man on board either 
too good to be drowned or too bad, by Jove ! He is the 
gentleman you were so kind as to afford shelter to last 
night in the steward's house there, round the corner, and 
he sent for me an hour ago. I daresay he feels queer 
this morning ; and from what Thomas Jones says, I 
should not be surprised if he had broken a bone some- 
where. Nothing of any great consequence, of course ; 
but he must have got a thund'ring fling on those rocks. 
When I've seen him if I find you here I'll tell you 
what I think of him." 

After this promise, you may be sure we did wait where 

Our Guest. 73 

we were, and he kept his word. We were in a fever 
of curiosity ; my first question was, " Who is he ?" 

" I guessed you'd ask that the first moment you could," 
said the doctor, a little pettishly. 

"Why?" said I. 

"Because it is the very question I can't answer," he 
replied. " But I'll tell you all I do know," he continued, 
taking up his old position at the window, and leaning 
forward with his head in the room. 

Every word the oracle spoke we devoured. I won't 
tell his story in his language, nor with our interruptions. 
I will give its substance, and in part its details, as I 
received them. The doctor was at least as curious as we 

His patient was up, sitting by the fire, in dressing- gown 
and slippers, which he had taken with other articles of 
dress from the box which stood open on Ihe floor. The 
window-curtain was partly drawn, the room rather dark. 
He saw the young man with his feet on the fender, seated 
by the wood fire. His features, as they struck the doctor, 
were handsome and spirited ; he looked ill, with pale 
cheek and lips, speaking low and smiling. 

" I'm Doctor Mervyn," said the doctor, making his 
bow, and eyeing the stranger curiously. 

" Oh ! Thanks, Doctor Mervyn ! I hope it is not a 
long way from your house, I am here very ridiculously 
circumstanced. I should not have had any clothes, if it 
had not been for a very lucky accident, and for a day or 
two I shall be totally without money a mere Kobinson 

" Oh, that don't matter ; I shall be very happy to see 
after you in the meantime, if there should be anything in 
my way," answered the doctor, bluntly. 

" You are very kind, thanks. This place, they tell me, 
is called Malory. What Mr. Ware is that to whom it 
belongs ?" 

"The Honourable Mr. Ware, brother of Lord H . 

He is travelling on the Continent at present with his wife, 
a great beauty some fifteen years since ; and his 
daughter, his only child, is at present here with her 

74 Willing to Die. 

" Oh, I thought some one said he had two ?" 

The doctor re-asserted the fact, and for some seconds 
the stranger looked on the floor abstractedly. 

" Yon wished a word or two of advice, I understand ?" 
interrupted the doctor at length. " You have had a 
narrow escape, sir a tremendous escape ! You must 
kave heen awfully shaken. I don't know how you escaped 
being smashed on those nasty rocks." 

"I am pretty well smashed, I fancy," said the young man. 

" That's just what I wanted to ascertain." 

" From head to foot, I'm covered with bruises," con- 
tinued the stranger; "I got off with very few cuts. I 
have one over my temple, and half-a-dozen here and there, 
and one here on my wrist ; but you need not take any 
trouble about them a cut, when I get one, heals almost 
of itself. A bit of court-plaster is all I require for them, 
and Mrs. Something, the housekeeper here, has given me 
some ; but I'm rather seedy. I must have swallowed a 
lot of salt water, I fancy. I've got off very well, though, 
if it's true all the other people were drowned. It was a 
devil of a fluke ; you'd say I was the luckiest fellow alive, 
ha, ha, ha ! I wish I could think so." 

He laughed, a little bitterly. 

" There are very few men glad to meet death when it 
comes," said Doctor Mervyn. " Some think they are fit 
to die, and some know they are not. You know best, sir, 
what reason you have to be thankful." 

" I'm nothing but bruises and aches all over my body. 
I'm by no means well, and I've lost all my luggage, and 
papers, and money, since one o'clock yesterday, when I 
was flourishing. Two or three such reasons for thankful- 
ness would inevitably finish me." 

" All except you were drowned, sir," said the doctor, 
who was known in Cardyllion as a serious-minded man, a 
little severely. 

" Like so many rats in a trap, poor devils," acquiesced 
the stranger. " They were hatched down. I was the 
only passenger on deck. I must have been drowned if I 
had been among them." 

" All those poor fellow-passengers of yours," said 
Doctor Mervyn, in disgust, "had souls, sir, to be saved." 

Our Guest. 75 

" I suppose so ; but I never saw such an assemblage 
of snobs in my life. I really think that, except 
poor Haworth he insisted it would be ever so much 
pleasanter than the railway ; I did not find it so ; he's 
drowned of course I assure you, except ourselves, there 
was not a gentleman among them. And Sparks, he's 
drowned too, and I've lost the best servant I ever had in 
my life. But I beg your pardon, I'm wasting your time. 
Do you think I'm ill ?" 

He extended his wrist, languidly, to enable the doctor 
to feel his pulse. The physician suppressed his rising 
answer with an effort, and made his examination. 

" Well, sir, you have had a shock." 

"By Jove! I should not wonder," acquiesced the 
young man, with a sneer. 

" And you are a good deal upset, and your contusions 
are more serious than you seem to fancy. I'll make up a 
liniment here, and I'll send you down something else that 
will prevent any tendency to fever ; 'and I suppose you 
would like to be supplied from the ' Verney Arms.' You 
must not take any wine stronger than claret for the pre- 
sent, and a light dinner, and if you give me a line, or tell 
me what name " 

" Oh, they know me there, thanks. I got these boxes 
from there this morning, and they are to send me every- 
thing I require." 

The doctor wanted his name. The town of Cardyllion, 
which was in a ferment, wanted it. Of course he must 
have the name ; a medical practitioner who kept a ledger 
and sent out accounts, it was part of his business to know 
his patients' names. How could he stand before the wags 
of the news-room, if he did not know the name of his own 
patients of this one, of all others. 

" Oh ! put me down as E. M. simply," said the young 

" But wouldn't it bo more more usual, if you had no 
objections a little more at length ?" insinuated the 

" Well, yes ; put it down a little more at length say 
B. It. M. Three letters instead of two. 

The doctor, with his head inclined, laughed patiently, 

76 Willing to Die. 

and the stranger, seeing him about to return to tlie attack, 
said a little petulantly : " You see, doctor, I'm not going 
to give my very insignificant name here to any one. 
If your book-keeper had it, every one in the town would 
know it ; and Cardyllion is a place at which idle people 
turn up, and I have no wish to have my stray friends 
come up to this place to bother me for the two or three 
days I must stay here. You may suppose me an escaped 
convict, or anything else you please that will amuse the 
good people ; but I'm hanged if I give my name, thank 

After this little interruption, the strictly professional 
conversation was resumed, and the doctor ended by 
directing him to stay quiet that day, and not to walk out 
out until he had seen him again next morning. 

The doctor then began to mix the ingredients of his 
liniment. The young man in the silk dressing-grown 
limped to the window, and leaned his arm upon the sash, 
looking out, and the doctor observed him, in his rumi- 
nations, smiling darkly on the ivy that nodded from the 
opposite wall, as if he saw a confederate eyeing him from 
its shadow. 

" He didn't think I was looking at him," said the 
doctor; " but I have great faith in a man's smile when 
he thinks he is all to himself ; and that smile I did not 
like ; it was, in my mind, enough to damn him." 

All this, when his interview was over, the doctor came 
round and told us. He was by no means pleased with 
his patient, and being a religious man, of a quick temper, 
would very likely have declined the office of physician in 
this particular case, if he had not thought, judging by his 
" properties," which were in a certain style that im- 
pressed Doctor Mervyn, and his air, and his refined 
features, and a sort of indescribable superiority which 
both irritated and awed the doctor, that he might be a 
" swell." 

He went the length, notwithstanding, of calling him, in 
his conversation with us, an " inhuman puppy," but he 
remarked that there were certain duties which no 
Christian could shirk, among which that of visiting the 
sick held, of course, in the doctor's mind, due rank. 



WAS a little shy, as country misses are ; and, - 
curious as I was, rather relieved when I heard 
that the shipwrecked stranger had been ordered 
to keep his quarters strictly, for that day at 
least. So, by-and-by, as Laura Grey had a letter to write, 
I put on my hat, and not caring to walk towards the 
town, and not daring to take the Penruthyn Road, I rail 
out to the garden. The garden of Malory is one of those 
monastic enclosures whose fruit-trees have long grown into 
venerable timber ; whose walls are stained by time, and 
mantled in some places with ivy ; where everything has 
been allowed, time out of mind, to have its own way ; 
where walks are grass-grown, and weeds choke the inter- 
vals between old standard pear, and cherry, and apple- 
trees, and only a little plot of ground is kept in cultivation 
by a dawdling, desultory man, who carries in his daily 
basket of vegetables to the cook. There was a really good 
Ribston-pippin or two in this untidy, but not unpic- 
turesque garden ; and these trees were, I need scarcely 
tell you, a favourite resort of ours. 

The gale had nearly stripped the trees of their ruddy 
honours, and thrifty Thomas Jones had, no doubt, carried 
the spoil away to store them in the apple-closet. One 
pippin only dangled still within reach, and I was whack- 
ing at this particularly good-looking apple with a long 
stick, but as yet in vain, when I suddenly perceived that a 
young man, whom I recognised as the very hero of the 

78 Willing to Die. 

shipwreck, was approaching. He walked slowly and a 
little lame, and was leaning on a stick. He was smiling, 
and, detected in my undignified and rather greedy exercise 
I had been jumping from the ground I was ready to 
sink into the earth with shame. Perhaps, if I had been 
endowed with presence of mind, I should have walked 
away. But I was not, on that occasion at least ; and I 
stood my ground, stick in hand, affecting not to see his 
slow advance. 

It was a soft sunny day. He had corne out without a 
hat ; he had sent to Cardyllion to procure one, and had 
not yet got it, as he afterwards told me, with an apology 
for seeming to make himself so very much at home. How 
he introduced himself I forget ; I was embarrassed and 
disconcerted ; I know that he thanked me very much for 
my " hospitality," called rne his " hostess," smiling, and 
told me that, although he did not know my father, he yet 
saw him everywhere during the season. Then he talked 
of the wreck ; he described his own adventures very in- 
terestingly, and spoke of the whole thing in terms very 
different from those reported by Doctor Mervyn, and 
with a great deal of feeling. He asked me if I had seen 
anything of it from our house ; and then it became my 
turn to speak. I very soon got over my shyness ; he was 
so perfectly well-bred that it was impossible, even for a 
rustic such as I was, not to feel very soon quite at her ease 
in his company. 

So I talked away, becoming more animated ; and he 
smiled, looking at me, I thought, with a great deal of 
sympathy, and very much pleased. I thought him very 
handsome. He had one point of resemblance to Mr. 
Carmel. His face was pale, but, unlike his, as dark as a 
gipsy's. Its tint showed the white of his eyes and his 
teeth with fierce effect. What was the character of the 
face I saw now ? Very different from the death-like phan- 
tom that had crossed my sight the night before. It was 
a face of passion and daring. A broad, low forehead, and 
resolute mouth, with that pronounced under-jaw which 
indicates sternness and decision. I contrasted him secretly 
with Mr. Carmel. But in his finely- cut features, and dark, 
fierce eyes, the ascetic and noble interest of the sadder 

Meeting in the Garden. 79 

face was wanting ; but there was, for so young a person as 
I, a different and a more powerful fascination in the beauty 
of this young man of the world. 

Before we parted I allowed him to knock down the 
apple I had been trying at, and this rustic service improved 
our acquaintance. 

I began to think, however, that our interview had lasted 
quite long enough ; so I took my leave, and I am certain, 
he would have accompanied me to the house, had I not 
taken advantage of his lameness, and walked away very 

As I let myself out at the garden-door, in turning I was 
able, unsuspected, to steal a parting look, and I saw him 
watching me intently as he leaned against the stem of a 
gigantic old pear-tree. It was rather pleasant to my 
vanity to think that I had made a favourable impression 
upon the interesting stranger. 

Next day our guest met me again, near the gate of the 
avenue, as I was returning to the house. 

" I had a call this morning from your clergyman," he 
said. " He seems a very kind old gentleman, the rector 
of Cardyllion ; and the day is so beautiful, he proposed a 
sail upon the estuary, and if you were satisfied with him, 
by way of escort, and my steering I'm an old sailor I'm 
sure you'd find it just the day to enjoy a little boating." 

He looked at me, smiling eagerly. 

Laura Grey and I had agreed that nothing would tempt 
us to go upon the water, until all risk of lighting upon one 
of those horrible discoveries from the wreck, that were 
now beginning to come to the surface from hour to hour, 
was quite over. So I made our excuses as best I could, 
and told him that since the storm we had a horror of 
sailing. He looked vexed and gloomy. He walked be- 
side me. 

" Oh ! I understand Miss Grey ? I was not aware 
I ought, of course, to have included her. Perhaps your 
friend would change her mind and induce you to recon- 
sider your decision. It is such a charming day." 

I thanked him again, but our going was quite out of the 
question. He smiled and bowed a little, but looked very 
much chagrined. I fancied that he thought I meant to 

80 Willing to Die. 

snub him, for proposing- any such thing on so very slight 
an acquaintance. I -daresay if I had I should have been 
quite right ; but you must remember how young I was, 
and how unlearned in the world's ways. Nothing, in fact, 
was further from my intention. To soften matters a 
little, I said : 

" I am very sorry we can't go. We should have liked 
it, I am sure, so much ; but it is quite impossible." 

He walked all the way to the hall- door with me. ; and 
then he asked if I did not intend continuing my walk a 
little. I bid him good-bye, however, and went in, very 
full of the agreeable idea that I had made a conquest. 

Laura Grey and I, walking to Cardyllion, met Doctor 
Mervyn, who stopped to tell us that he had just seen his 
Malory patient, " E, E. M.," steering WilHams's boat, 
with the old vicar on board. 

" By Jove ! one would have fancied he had got enough 
of the water for some time to come," remarked the doctor, 
in conclusion. " That is the most restless creature I ever 
encountered in all my professional experience ! If he had 
kept himself quiet yesterday and to-day, he'd have been 
pretty nearly right by to-morrow ; but if he goes on like 
this I should not wonder if he worked himself into a 



|EXT morning, at about nine o'clock, whom do I 
see but the restless stranger, to rny surprise, 
again upon the avenue as I return towards the 
house. I had run down to the gate before 
"breakfast to meet our messenger, and learn whether any 
letters had come by the post. He, like myself, has come 
out before his breakfast. He turns on meeting me, and 
walks towards the house at my side. Never was man 
more persistent. He had got Williams's boat again, and 
not only the vicar, but the vicar's wife, was coming for a 
sail ; surely I would venture with her ? I was to re- 
member, besides, that they were to sail to the side of the 
estuary furthest from the wreck ; there could be no possible 
danger there of what I feared and thus he continued to 
argue and entreat. 

I really wished to go. I said, however, that I must ask 
Miss Grey, whom, upon some excuse which I now forget, 
he regretted very much he could not invite to come also. 
I had given him a conditional promise by the time we 
parted at the hall-door, and Laura saw no objection to 
my keeping it, provided old Mrs. Jermyn, the vicar's wife, 
were there to chaperon me. We were to embark from the 
Malory jetty, and she was to call for me at about three 

The shipwrecked stranger left me, evidently very well 
pleased. When he got into his quarters in the steward's 
house and found himself all alone, I dare say his dark 
face gleamed with the smile of which Doctor Mervyu had, 


82 Willing to Die. 

formed so ill an opinion. I had not yet seen that smile. 
Heaven help me ! I have had reason to remember it. 

Laura and I were sitting together, when who should 
enter the room but Mr. Carmel. I stood up and shook 
hands. I felt very strangely. I was glad the room was a 
dark one. I was less observed, and therefore less 

It was not till he had been in the room some time that 
I observed how agitated he looked. He seemed also very 
much dejected, and from time to time sighed heavily. I 
saw that something had gone strangely wrong. It was a 
vague suspense. I was secretly very much frightened. 

He would not sit down. He said he had not a moment 
to stay ; and yet he lingered on, I fancied, debating some- 
thing within himself. He was distrait, and, I thought, 

After a little talk he said : 

" I came just to look in on my old quarters and see my 
old friends for a few minutes, and then I must disappear 
again for more than a month, and I find a gentleman in 

We hastened to assure him that we had not expected 
him home for some time, and that the stranger was ad- 
mitted but for a few days. We told him, each contributing 
something to the narrative, all about the shipwreck, and 
the reception of the forlorn survivor in the steward's 

He listened without a word of comment, almost without 
breathing, and with his eyes fired in deep attention on 
the floor. 

" Has he made your acquaintance ?" he asked, raising 
them to me. 

" He introduced himself to me," I answered, " but Miss 
Grey has not seen him." 

Something seemed to weigh heavily upon his mind. 

" What is your father's present address ?" he asked. 

I told him, and he made a note of it in his pocket-book. 
He stood up now, and did at length take his leave. 

" I am going to ask you to do a very kind thing. You 
have heard of sealed orders, not to be opened till a certain 
joint has been reached in a voyage or a march ? Will 

The Intruder. 83 

you promise, until I shall have left you fully five minutes, 
not to open this letter ?" 

I almost thought he was jesting, but I perceived very 
quickly that he was perfectly serious. Laura Grey looked 
at him curiously, and gave him the desired promise as she 
received the note. His carriage was at the door, and in 
another minute he was driving rapidly down the avenue. 
What had led to these odd precautions ? and what had 
they to do with the shipwrecked stranger ? 

At about eleven o'clock that is to say, about ten 
minutes before Mr. Carmel's visit to us the stranger had 
been lying on a sofa in his quarters, with two ancient and 
battered novels from Austin's Library in Cardyllion, when 
the door opened uncermoniously, and Mr. Carmel, in 
travelling costume, stepped into the room. The hall-door 
was standing open, and Mr. Carmel, on alighting from 
his conveyance, had walked straight in without encoun- 
tering any one in the hall. On seeing an intruder in 
possession he stopped short ; the gentleman on the sofa, 
interrupted, turned towards the door. Thus confronted, 
each stared at the other. 

''Ha! Marston," exclaimed the ecclesiastic, with a 
startled frown, and an almost incredulous stare. 

"Edwyn! by Jove!" responded the strange?, with a 
rather anxious smile, which faded, however, in a moment. 

"What on earth brings you here ?" said Mr. Carmel, 
sternly, after a silence of some seconds. 

" What the devil brings you here ?" inquired the stranger, 
almost at the same moment. " Who sent you ? What is 
the meaning of it ?" 

Mr. Carmel did not approach him. He stood where he 
had first seen him, and his looks darkened. 

" You are the last man living I should have looked for 
here," said he. 

" I suppose we shall find out what we mean by-and-by," 
said Marston, cynically ; " at present I can only tell you 
that when I saw you I honestly thought a certain old 
gentleman, I don't mean the devil, had sent you in search 
of me." 

Carmel looked hard at him. " I've grown a very dull 
man since I last saw you, and I don't understand a joke 


84 Willing to Die. 

as well as I once did," said he ; " but if you are serious 
you cannot have learnt that this house has been lent to 
me by Mr. Ware, its owner, for some months at least ; 
and these, I suppose, are your things ? There is not room 
to put you up here." 

" I didn't want to corne. I am the famous man you 
may have read of in the papers quite unique the man 
who escaped alive from the Conway Castle. No Christian 
refuses shelter to the shipwrecked ; and you are a Christian, 
though an odd one." 

Edwyn Cannel looked at him for some seconds in 

" I am still puzzled," he said. " I don't know whether 
you are serious ; but, in any case, there's a good hotel in 
the town you can go there." 

" Thank you without a shilling," laughed the young 
man, a little wickedly. 

" A word from me will secure you credit there." 

" But I'm in the doctor's hands, don't you see?" 

" It is nothing very bad," answered Mr. Carmel; "and 
you will be nearer the doctor there." 

The stranger, sitting up straight, replied : 

" I suppose I shall ; but the doctor likes a walk, and I 
don't wish him a bit nearer." 

" But this is, for the time being, my house, and you 
must go," replied Edwyn Carmel, coldly and firmly. 

" It is also my house, for the time being ; for Miss Ware 
has given me leave to stay here." 

The ecclesiastic's lips trembled, and his pale face grew 
paler, as he stared on the young man for a second or two 
in silence. 

" Marston," he said, " I don't know, of all men, why 
you sbould specially desire to pain me." 

" Why, hang it ! Why should I wish to pain you, 
Edwyn ? I don't. But I have no notion of this sort 
of hectoring. The idea of your turning me out of the 
my house the house they have lent me ! I told you 
I didn't want to come here ; and now I don't want to 
go away, and I won't." 

The churchman looked at him, as if he strove to read 
his inmost thoughts. 

The Intruder. 85 

"You know that your going to the hotel could in- 
volve no imaginable trouble," urged Edwyn Carmel. 

" Go to the hotel yourself, if you think it so desirable 
a place. I am satisfied with this, and I shall stay here." 

<; What can be the motive of your obstinacy ?" 

" Ask that question of yourself, Mr. Carmel, and you 
may possibly obtain an answer," replied the stranger. 

The priest looked again at him, in stern doubt. 

" I don't understand your meaning," he said, at last. 

" I thought my meaning pretty plain. I mean that I 
rather think our motives are identical." 

" Honestly, Marston, I don't understand you," said 
Mr. Carmel, after another pause. 

" Well, it is simply this : that I think Miss Ware a very . 
interesting young lady, and I like being near her don't 
you ?" 

The ecclesiastic flushed crimson ; Marston laughed 

" I have been away for more than a month." said the 
priest, a little paler, looking up angrily; "and I leave 
this to-day for as long a time again." 

" Conscious weakness ! Weakness of that sentimental 
kind sometimes runs in families," said the stranger 
with a sneer. It was plain that the stranger was very 
angry ; the taunt was wicked, and, whatever it meant, 
stung Mr. Carmel visibly. He trembled, with a momentary 
quiver, as if a nerve had been pierced. 

There was a silence, during which Mr. Carmel's little 
French clock over the chimney-piece, punctually wound 
every week by old Eebecca, might be heard sharply tick, 
tick, ticking. 

" I shall not be deterred by your cruel tongue," said 
he, very quietly, at length, with something like a sob, 
" from doing my duty." 

"Your duty! Of course, it is always duty ; jealousy 
is quite unknown to a man in holy orders. But there is a 
difference. You can't tell me the least what I'm thinking 
of ; you always suppose the worst of every one. Your 
duty ! And what, pray, is your duty ?" 

" To warn Miss Ware and her governess," he answered 

86 Willing to Die. 

" Warn her of what ?" said the stranger, sternly. 

" "Warn her that a villain has got into this house." 

The interesting guest sprang to his feet, with his fists 
clenched. But he did not strike. He hesitated, and then 
he said : 

" Look here ; I'll not treat you as I would a man. You 
wish me to strike you, you Jesuit, and to get myself into 
hot water. But I shan't make a fool of myself. I tell 
you what I'll do with you if you dare to injure me in the 
opinion of any living creature, hy one word of spoken or 
hinted slander, I'll make it a police-office affair ; and I'll 
bring out the whole story you found it on ; and we'll see 
which suffers most, you or I, when the world hears it. 
And now, Mr. Carmel, you're warned. And you know I'm 
a fellow that means what he says." 

Mr. Carmel turned with a pale face, and left the room. 

I wonder what the stranger thought. I have often 
pondered over that scene ; and, I believe, he really thought 
that Mr. Carmel would not, on reflection, venture to carry 
out his threat. 


: -X**^-' 



had lieard nothing of Mr. Carmel's arrival. He 
had not passed our windows, but drove up in-" 
stead by the back avenue ; and now he was 
gone, and there remained no record of his visit 
but the letter which Laura held in her fingers, while we 
both examined it on all sides, and turned it over. It was 
directed, " To Miss Ware and Miss Grey. Malory." 
And when we opened it we read these words : 

" DEAR YOUNG LADIES, I know a great deal of the 
gentleman who has been permitted to take up his residence 
in the house adjoining Malory. It is enough for me to 
assure you that no acquaintance could be much more 
objectionable and unsafe, especially for young ladies living 
alone as you do. You cannot, therefore, exercise too 
much caution in repelling any advances he may make. 

Your true friend, 


The shock of reading these few words prevented my 
speaking for some seconds. I had perfect confidence in 
Mr. Carmel's warning. I was very much frightened. 
And the vagueness of his language made it the more 
alarming. The same thoughts struck us both. What 
fools we were ! How is he to be got out of the house ? 
Whom have we to advise with ? What is to be done ? 

In our first panic we fancied that we had got a burglar 
or an assassin under our roof. Mr. Carmel's letter, how- 
ever, on consideration, did not bear out quite so violent a 
conclusion. We resolved, of course, to act upon that 

88 Willing to Die. 

letter ; and I blamed myself too late for having permitted 
the stranger to make, even in so slight a way, my acquaint- 

In great trepidation,'! despatched a note to Mrs. Jermyn, 
to say I could not join her boating party. To the stranger 
I could send neither note nor message. It did not matter. 
He would, of course, meet that lady at the jetty, and 
there learn my resolve. Two o'clock arrived. Old Ke- 
becca came in, and told us that the gentleman in the 
steward's house had asked her whether Mr. Carmel was gone ; 
and on learning that he had actually driven away, hardly 
waited till she was out of the room " to burst out 
a-laughing," and talking to himself, and laughing like 

" And I don't think, with his laughing and cursing, he's 
like a man should be that fears God, and is only a day 
or two out of the jaws of death !" 

This description increased our nervousness. Possibly 
this person was a lunatic, whose keeper had been drowned 
in the Couway Castle. There was no solution of the riddle 
which Mr. Caraiel had left us to read, however prepos- 
terous, that we did not try ; none possible, that was not 

Aboub an hour after, passing through the hall, I saw 
some one, I thought, standing outside, near the window 
that commands the steps beside the door. This window 
has a wire-blind, through which, from outside, it is im- 
possible to see. From within, however, looking towards 
the light, you can see perfectly. I scarcely thought our 
now distrusted guest would presume to approach our door 
so nearly ; but there he was. He had mounted the steps, 
I suppose, with the intention of knocking, but he was, 
instead, looking stealthily from behind the great elm that 
grows close beside ; his hand was leaning upon its trunk, 
and his whole attention absorbed in watching some object 
which, judging from the direction of his gaze, must have 
been moving upon the avenue. I could not take my eyes 
off him. He was frowning, with compressed lips and eyes 
dilated ; his attitude betokened caution, and as I looked 
he smiled darkly. 

I recovered my self-possession. I took, directly, Doctor 

A Warning. 8D 

Mervyn's view of that very peculiar smile. I was suddenly 
frightened. There was nothing to prevent the formidable 
stranger from turning the handle of the door and letting 
himself into the hall. Two or three light steps brought 
me to the door, and I instantly bolted it. Then drawing back 
a little into the hall, I looked again through the window, 
but the intending visitor was gone. 

Who had occupied his gaze the moment before ? And 
what had determined the retreat ? It flashed upon me 
suddenly again that he might be one of those persons who 
are described as "being known to the police," and that 
Mr. Carmel had possibly sent constables to arrest him. 

I waited breathlessly at the window, to see what would 
come of it. In a minute more, from the direction in 
which I had been looking for a party of burly policemen, 
there arrived only my fragile friend, Laura Grey, who had. 
walked down the road to see whether Mr. and Mrs. Jermyn 
were coming. 

Encouraged by this reinforcement, I instantly opened 
the hall-door, and looked boldly out. The enemy had 
completely disappeared. 

" Did you see him ?" I exclaimed. 

" See whom ?" she asked. 

" Come in quickly," I answered. And when I had 
shut the hall-door, and again bolted it, I continued, 
<c The man in the steward's house. He was on the steps 
this moment. 

" No, I did not see him ; but I was not looking towards 
the hall-door. I was looking up at the trees, counting the 
broken boughs there are thirteen trees injured on the 
right hand, as you come up," 

" Well, I vote we keep the door bolted ; he shan't come 
in here," said I. " This is the second siege you and I 
have stood together in this house. I do wish Mr. Carmel 
had been a little more communicative, but I scarcely think 
he would have been so unfriendly as to leave us quite to 
ourselves if he had thought him a highwayman, and 
certainly, if he is one, he is a very gentleman-like robber." 

" I think he can merely have meant, as he says, to warn 
us against making his acquaintance," said Miss Grey; 
" his letter says only that." 

90 Willing to Die. 

" I wish Mr. Carmel would stay about home," I said, 
" or else that the steward's house were locked up." 

I suppose all went right about the boating party, and 
that Mrs. Jerrnyn got my note in good time. 

No one called at Malory ; the dubious stranger did not 
invade our steps again. We had constant intelligence 
of his movements from Rebecca Torkill ; and there was 
nothing eccentric or suspicious about them, so far as we 
could learn. 

Another evening passed, and another morning came ; 
no letter by the post, Rebecca hastened to tell us, for our 
involuntary guest ; a certain sign, she conjectured, that we 
were to have him for another day. Till money arrived he 
could not, it was plain, resume his journey. 

Doctor Mervyn told us, with his customary accuracy 
and plenitude of information respecting other people's 
affairs, when he looked in upon us, after his visit to his 
patient, that he had posted a letter the morning after his 
arrival, addressed to Lemuel Blount, Esquire, 5, Brunton 
Street, Regent's Park ; and that on reference to the London 
Directory, in the news-room, it was duly ascertained by 
the subscribers that " Blount, Lemuel," was simply entered 
as " Esquire," without any further clue whatsoever to 
guide an active-minded and inquiring community to a 
conclusion, So there, for the present, Doctor Mervyn's 
story ended. 

Our panic by this time was very much allayed. The 
unobtrusive conduct of the unknown, ever since his 
momentary approach to our side of the house, had greatly 
contributed to this. I could not submit to a blockade of 
any duration ; so we took heart of grace, and ventured to 
drive in the little carnage to Cardyllion, where we had 
some shopping to do. 



HAVE been searching all this morning in vain 
for a sheet of written note paper, almost grown 
yellow by time when I last saw it. It contains 
three stanzas of very pretty poetry. At least I 
once thought so. I was curious to try, after so many 
years, what I should think of them now. Possibly they 
were not even original, though there certainly was no lack 
in the writer of that sort of cleverness which produces 
pretty verses. 

I must tell you how I came by them. I found that 
afternoon a note, on the window-stool in our tea-room, 
addressed " Miss Ethel." Laura Grey did not happen to 
be in the room at the moment. There might have been 
some debate on the propriety of opening the note if she 
had been present. I could have no doubt that it came 
from our guest, and I opened and read it instantly. 

In our few interviews I had discovered, once or twice, 
a scarcely disguised tenderness in the stranger's tones and 
looks. A very young girl is always pleased, though ever 
so secretly, with this sort of incense. I know I was. It 
is a thing hard to give up ; and, after all, what was Mr. 
Carinel likely to know about this young man ? and if he 
did not know him, what were the canons of criticism he 
was likely to apply ? And whatever the stranger might 
be, he talked and looked like a gentleman ; he was un- 
fortunate, and for the present dependent, I romantically 
thought, on our kindness. To have received a copy of 
verses was very pleasant to my girlish self-importance ; 
and the flattery of the lines themselves was charming. 
The first shock of Mr. Carmel's warning had evapo* 

92 Willing to Die. 

rated by this time ; and I was already beginning to explain 
away bis note. I bid tbe paper carefully. I loved Laura 
Grey ; but I bad, in my inmost soul, a secret awe of her ; 
I knew bow peremptory would be her advice, and I said 
not a word about tbe verses to her. At the first distant 
approach of an affair of the heart, how cautious and 
reserved we grow, and in most girls how suddenly the 
change from kittens to cats sets in ! It was plain he had 
no notion of shifting his quarters to the hotel. But a 
little before our early tea-hour, Eebecca Torkill came in 
and told us what might well account for his not having 
yet gone to Cardyllion. 

" That poor young man," she said, "he's very bad. 
He's lying on his back, with a handkercher full of eau-de- 
Cologne on his forehead, and he's sent down to the town 
for chloroform, and a blister for the back of his neck. 
He called me in, and indeed, though his talk and his 
behaviour might well be improved, considering how near 
he has just bin to death, yet I could not but pity him. 
Says he, ' Mrs. Torkill, for heaven's sake don't shake the 
floor, step as light as you can, and close the shutter next 
the sun,' which I did ; and says he, ' I'm in a bad way ; 
I may die before morning. My doctor in town tells me 
these headaches are very dangerous. They come from 
the spine.' ' Won't you see Doctor Mervyn, please, sir ?' 
say I. ' Not I,' says he. ' I know all about it better 
than he ' them were his words ' and if the things that's 
coming don't set me to rights, I'm a gone man.' And 
indeed he groaned as he might at parting of soul and body 
and here's a nice kettle o' fish, if he should die here, 
poor, foolish young man, and we not knowing so much as 
where his people lives, nor even his name. 'Tis a 
mysterious thing of Providence to do. I can't see how 
'twas worth while saving him from drowning, only to 
bring him here to die of that headache. But all works 
together, we know. Thomas Jones is away down at the 
ferry ; a nice thing, among a parcel o' women, a strange 
gentleman dying on a sofa, and not a man in the house ! 
"What do you think is best to be done, Miss Grey ?" 

" If he grows worse, I think you should send for the 
doctor without asking his leave," she answered. " If it 

Doubts. 93 

is dangerous, it would not do to have no advice, It is 
very unlucky." 

" Well, it is what I was thinking myself," said the 
housekeeper ; " folks would be talking, as if we let him 
die without help. I'll keep the boiler full in case he 
should want a bath. He said his skull was fractured 
once, where that mark is, near his temple, and that the 
wound has something to do with it, and, by evil chance, 
it was just there he got the knock in the wreck of the Con- 
way Castle ; the Lord be good to us all !" 

So Mrs. Torkill fussed out of the room, leaving us rather 
uncomfortable ; but Laura Grey, at least, was not sorry, 
although she did not like the cause, that there was no 
reason to apprehend his venturing out that evening. 

Our early tea-things came in. A glowing autumn sun- 
set was declining ; the birds were singiog their farewell 
chorus from thick ivy over branch and wall, and Laura 
and I, each with her own secret, were discussing the 
chances of the stranger's illness, with exaggerated de- 
spondency and alarm. Our talk was interrupted. Through 
the window, which, the evening being warm, we, secure 
from intrusion, had left open, we heard a clear manly 
voice address us as " Miss Ethel and Miss Grey." 

Could it be Mr. Carmel come back again ? Good 
Heavens ! no ; it was the stranger in Mr. Carmel's place, 
as we had grown to call it. The same window, his hands, 
it seemed, resting on the very same spot on the window- 
stone, and his knee, just as Mr. Carmel used to place his, 
on the stone bench. I had no idea before how stem 
the stranger's face was ; the contrast between the features 
I had for a moment expected, and those of our guest, 
revealed the character of his with a force assisted by the 
misty red beam that glanced on it, with a fierce melan- 
choly, through the trees. 

His appearance was as unexpected as if he had been a 
ghost. It came in the midst of a discussion as to what 
should be done if, by ill chance, he should die in the 
steward's house. I can't say how Laura Grey felt ; I 
only know that I stared at his smiling face for some 
seconds, scarcely knowing whether the apparition was a 
reality or not. 

94 Willing to Die. 

" I hope you "will forgive me ; I hope I am not very 
impertinent ; hut I have just got up from an astounding 
headache all right again ; and in consequence, in such 
spirits, that I never thought how audacious I was in 
venturing this little visit until it was too late." 

Miss Grey and I were hoth too much confounded to say 
a word. But he rattled on : "I have had a visitor since 
you were so good as to give me shelter in my shipwrecked 
state one quite unexpected. I don't mean my doctor, of 
course. I had a call to-day much more curious, and 
wholly unlocked for ; an old acquaintance, a fellow named 
Carmel. I knew him at Oxford, and I certainly never ex- 
pected to see him again." 

" Oh ! You know Mr. Carmel ?" I said, my curiosity 
overcoming a kind of reluctance to talk. 

" Know him ? I rather think I do," he laughed. " Do 
you know him?" 

" Yes," I answered ; " that is, not very well ; there is, 
of course, a little formality in our acquaintance more, I 
mean, than if he were not a clergyman." 

" But do you really know him ? I fancied he was 
boasting when he said so." The gentleman appeared 
extremely amused. 

" Yes ; we know him pretty well. But why should it 
be so unlikely a thing our knowing him ?" 

" Oh, I did not say that." He still seemed as much 
amused as a man can quietly he. "But I certainly had 
not the least idea I should ever see him again, for he owes 
me a little money. He owes me money, and a grudge 
besides. There are some men you cannot know anything 
about without their hating you that is, without then- 
being afraid of you, which is the same thing. I unluckily 
heard something about him quite accidentally, I give 
you my honour, for I certainly never had the pleasure of 
knowing him intimately. I don't think he would exactly 
come to me for a character. I had not an idea that he 
could be the Mr. Carmel who, they told me, had been per- 
mitted by Mr. Ware to reside in his house. I was a good 
deal surprised when I made the discovery. There can't 
have been, of course, any inquiry. I should not, I assure 
you, have spoken to Mr. Carmel had I met him anywhere 

Doubts. 95 

else ; but I could not help telling him how astonished I 
was at finding him established here. He begged very 
hard that I would not make a fuss about it, and said that 
he was going away, and that he would not wait even to 
take off his hat. So, if that is true, I shan't trouble any- 
one about him. Mr. Ware would naturally think me very 
impertinent if I were to interfere." 

He now went on to less uncomfortable subjects, and 
talked very pleasantly. I could see Laura Grey looking at 
him as opportunity occurred ; she was a good deal further 
in the shade than I and he. I fancied I saw him smile to 
himself, amused at baffling her curiosity, and he sat back 
a little further. 

" I am quite sorry, Miss Ware," he said, " that I am 
about to be in funds again. My friends by this time must 
be weaving my wings those wings of tissue-paper that 
come by the post, and take us anywhere. I'm awfully 
sorry, for I've fallen in love with this place. I shall never 
forget it." He said these latter words in a tone so low as 
to reach me only. I was sitting, as I mentioned, very 
much nearer the window than Laura Grey. 

There was in this stranger for me a country miss, 
quite inexperienced in the subtle flatteries of voice, 
manner, looks, which town-bred young ladies accept at 
their true value a fascination before which suspicions 
and alarms melted away. His voice was low and sweet ; 
he was animated, good-humoured, and playful ; and his 
features, though singular, and capable of very grim ex- 
pression, were handsome. 

He talked to me in the same low tone for a few 
minutes. Happening to look at Laura Grey, I was 
struck by the anger expressed in her usually serene and 
gentle face. I fancied that she was vexed at his directing 
his attentions exclusively to me, and I was rather pleased 
at my triumph. 

" Ethel, dear," she said, " don't you think the air a 
little cold?" 

" Oh, I so very much hope not," he almost whispered 
to me. 

" Cold ?" said I, " I think it is so very sultry, on the 

96 Willing to Die. 

" If you find it too cold, Miss Grey, perhaps you wonld 
do wisely, I think, to sit a little further from the window," 
said Mr. Marston, cousiderately. 

" I am not at all afraid for myself," she answered a 
little pointedly, "but I am uneasy about Miss Ware. I 
do think, Ethel, you would do wisely to get a little further 
from that window." 

" But I do assure you I am quite comfortable," said, 
in perfect good faith. 

I saw Mr. Marston glance for a moment with a malici- 
ous smile at Laura Grey. To me the significance of that 
smile was a little puzzling. 

" I see you have got a piano there," he said to me, in his 
low tones, not meant for her ear. "Miss Grey plays, of 
course ?'' 

" Yes ; very well indeed." 

"Well, then, would you mind asking her to play 
something ?" 

I had no idea at the time that he wanted simply to find 
occupation for her, and to fill her ears with her own 
music, while he talked on with me. 

"Laura, will you play that pretty thing of Beethoven's 
that you tried last night ?" I asked. 

"Don't ask me, Ethel, dear, to-night; I don't think I 
could," she answered, I thought a little oddly. 

" Perhaps, if Miss Grey knew," he said, smiling, " tha.t 
she would oblige a shipwrecked stranger extremely, and 
bind him to do her any service she pleases to impose in 
return, she might be induced to comply." 

" The more you expect from rny playing, the less courage 
I have to play," she said, in reply to his appeal,which was 
made, I fancied, in a tone of faint irony that seemed to 
suggest an oblique meaning; and her answer, I also fancied, 
was spoken as if answering that hidden meaning. It was 
very quietly done, but I felt the singularity of those tones. 

" And why so? Do, I entreat do play." 

" Shouldn't I interrupt your conversation ?" she answered. 

"I'll not allow you even that excuse," he said; "I'll 
promise (and won't you, Miss Ware ?) to talk whenever 
we feel inclined. There, now, it's all settled, isn't it ? 
Pray begin." 

Doubts. 7 

" No, I am not going to play to-night," she said. 

" Who would suppose Miss Grey so resolute ; so little 
a friend to harmony ? Well, I suppose we can do 
nothing ; we can't prevail ; we can only regret." 

I looked curiously at Laura, who had risen, and was 
approaching the window, close to which she took a chair 
and sat down. 

Mr. Marston was silent. I never saw man look angrier, 
although he smiled. To his white teeth and vivid eyes 
his dark skin gave marked effect ; and to me, who knew 
nothing of the situation, the whole affair was most 
disagreeably perplexing. I was curious to see whether 
there would be any sign of recognition ; but I was sitting 
at the side that commanded a full view of our guest, and 
the table so near me that Laura could not have intro- 
duced her chair without a very pointed disclosure of her 
purpose. If Mr. Marston was disposed to snarl and snap 
at Miss Grey, he very quickly subdued that desire. It 
would have made a scene, and frightened me, and that 
would never do. 

In his most good-humoured manner, therefore, which 
speedily succeeded this silent paroxysm, he chatted on, 
now and then almost whispering a sentence or two to me. 
What a contrast this gay, reckless, and in a disguised 
way, almost tender talk, presented to the cold, peculiar, 
but agreeable conversation of the ascetic enthusiast, in 
whom this dark-faced, animated man of the world had 
uncomfortably disturbed my faith ! 

Laura Grey was restless all this time, angry, frightened. 
I fancied she was jealous and wounded ; and although I 
was so fond of her, it did not altogether displease me. 

The sunlight failed. The reflected glow from the 
"western sky paled into grey, and twilight found our guest 
still in his place at the window, with his knee on the 
bench, and his elbows resting on the window-stone, our 
candles being lighted, chatting, as I thought, quite de- 
lightfully, talking sense and nonsense very pleasantly 
mixed, and hinting a great many very agreeable 

Laura Grey at length took courage, or panic, which 
often leads in the same direction, and rising, said 

93 Willing to Die. 

quietly, but a little peremptorily : "I am goinw now, 

There was, of course, nothing for it but to submit. I 
confess I was angry. But it would certainly not have 
been dignified to show my resentment in Mr. Marston's 
presence. I therefore acquiesced with careless good- 
humour. The stranger bid us a reluctant good-night, and 
Laura shut down the window, and drew the little bolt 
across the window-sash, with, as it seemed to me, a rather 
inconsistent parade of suspicion. With this ungracious 
dismissal he went away in high good-humour, notwith- 

"Why need we leave the drawing-room so very early ?" 
said I, in a pet. 

" We need not go now, as that man is gone," she said, 
and quickly closed the window-shutters, and drew the 

Laura, when she had made these arrangements, laid 
her hand on my shoulder, and looked with great affection 
and anxiety in my face. 

"You are vexed, darling, because I got rid of that person." 

" No," said I; " but I'm vexed because you got rid of 
him rudely." 

" I should have prevented his staying at the window for 
a single minute, if I had been quite sure he is the person 
I suppose. If he is oh ! how I wish he were a thousand 
miles away!" 

" I don't think you would be quite so hard upon him, if 
he had divided his conversation a little more equally," I 
said with the bluntness of vexation. 

Laura hardly smiled. There was a pained, disappointed 
look in her face, but the kindest you can imagine. 

" No, Ethel, I did not envy your good fortune. There 
is no one on earth to whom I should not prefer talking." 

" But who is he ?" I urged. 

" I can't tell you." 

" Surely you can say the name of the person you take 
him for ?" I insisted. 

" I am not certain ; if he be the person he resembles, 
he took care to place himself so that I could not, or, at 
least, did not, see him well ; there are two or three people 

Donlts. 99 

mixed up in a great misfortune, whom I hate to name, or 
think of. I thought at one time I recognised him ; but 
afterwards I grew doubtful. I never saw the person I mean 
more than twice in my life ; but I know very well what he 
is capable of ; his name is Marston ; but I am not at all 
certain that this is he." 

"You run away with things," I said. "How do you 
know that Mr. Carmel's account may not be a very unfair 
one ?" 

11 1 don't rely on Mr. Carmel's account of Mr. Marston, 
if this is he. I knew a great deal about him. You must 
not ask me how that was, or anything more. He is said 
to be, and I believe it, a bad, selfish, false man. I am 
terrified when I think of your having made his acquain- 
tance. If he continues here, we must go up to town. I 
am half distracted. He dare not give us any trouble 

" How did he quarrel with Mr. Carmel ?" I asked, full 
of curiosity. 

" I never heard ; I did not know that he was even ac- 
quainted with him ; but I think you may be perfectly 
certain that everything he said about Mr. Carmel is untrue. 
He knows that Mr. Carmel warned us against making his 
acquaintance ; and his reason for talking as he does, is 
simply to discredit him. I dare say he'll take an oppor- 
tunity of injuring him also. There is not time to hear 
from Mr. Ware. The only course, if he stays here for more 
than a day or two, is, as I said, to run up to your papa's 
house in town, and stay there till he is gone." 

Again my belief in Mr. Marston was shaken ; and I re- 
viewed my hard thoughts of Mr. Carmel with something 
like compunction. The gloom and pallor of Laura's face 
haunted me. 



JEXT morning, at about half-past ten, as Laura 
and I sat in our breakfast-roorn, a hired carriage 
with two horses, which had evidently been 
driven at a hard pace, passed our window at a 
walk. The driver, who was leading his beasts, asked a 
question of Thomas Jones, who was rolling the gravel on 
the court-yard before the window ; and then he led them 
round the corner toward the steward's house. The 
carriage was empty ; but in another minute it was followed 
up by the person whom we might presume to have been 
its occupant. He turned towards our window as he 
passed, so that we had a full view of this new visitor. 

He was a man who looked past sixty, slow-paced, and 
very solemn ; he was dressed in a clumsy black suit ; his 
face was large, square, and sallow ; his cheek and chin 
were smoothly shorn and blue. His hat was low-crowned, 
and broad in the brim. He had a cotton umbrella in his 
big gloved hand, and a coloured pocket-handkerchief 
sticking out of his pocket. A great bunch of seals hung 
from his watch-chain under his black waistcoat. He was 
walking so slowly that we had no difficulty in observing 
these details; and he stopped before the hall-door, as if 
doubtful whether he should enter there. A word, how- 
ever, from Thomas Jones set him right, and he in turn 
disappeared round the corner. 

We did not know what to make of this figure, whom we 
now conjectured to have come in quest of the shipwrecked 

"Lemuel Blount. 101 

Thomas Jones ran round before him to the door of the 
steward's house, which lie opened ; and the new-comer 
thanked him with a particularly kind smile. He knocked 
on chance at the door to the right, and the voice of our 
unknown guest told him to come in. 

" Oh, Mr. Blount!" said the young gentleman, rising, 
hesitating, and then tendering his hand very respectfully, 
and looking in the sensible, vulgar face of the old man as 
if he were by no means sure how that tender might be 
received. " I hope, sir, I have not quite lost your friend- 
ship. I hope I retain some, were it ever so little, of the 
goodwill you once bore me. I hope, at least, that you 
will allow me to say that I am glad to see you : I feel it." 

The old man bowed his head, holding it a little on one 
side while the stranger spoke ; it was the attitude of 
listening rather than of respect. "When the young gentle- 
man had done speaking, his visitor raised his head again. 
The young man smiled faintly, and still extended his 
hand, looking very pale. Mr. Blount did not smile in 
answer ; his countenance was very sombre, one might say 

" I never yet, sir, refused the hand of any man living 
when offered to me in sincerity, especially that of one in 
whom I felt, I may say, at one time a warm interest, 
although he may have given me reason to alter the opinion 
I then entertained of him." 

Thus speaking, he gravely took the young man's hand, 
and shook it in a thoughtful, melancholy way, lowering 
his head again as he had done before. 

" I don't ask how my uncle feels towards me," said the 
young man, half inquiringly. 

" You need not," answered the visitor. 

11 1 am at all events very much obliged to you," said 
the young man, humbly, "for your friendship, Mr. Blount. 
There is, I know, but one way of interesting your 
sympathy, and that is by telling you frankly how deep 
and true my repentance is ; how I execrate niy ingrati- 
tude ; how 1 deplore my weakness and criminality." He 
paused, looking earnestly at the old man, who, however, 
simply bowed his head again, and made no comment. 

" I can't justify anything I have done ; but in niy letter 

102 Willing to Die* 

I ventured to say a few words in extenuation," he con- 
tinued. " I don't expect to soften my uncle's just resent- 
ment, but I am most anxious, Mr. Blount, my best friend 
on earth, to recover something, were it ever so little, of 
the ground I have lost in your opinion." 

" Time, sir, tries all things/' answered the new-comer, 
gently; " if you mean to lead a new life, you will have 
opportunity to prove it." 

" Was my uncle softened, ever so little, when he heard 
that the Conway Castle had gone down ?" asked the young 
man, after a short silence. 

" I was with him at breakfast when the morning paper 
brought the intelligence," said Mr. Blount. "I don't 
recollect that he expressed any regret." 

" I dare say ; I can quite suppose it ; I ought to have 
known that he was pleased rather." 

" No ; I don't think he was pleased. I rather think he 
exhibited indifference," answered Mr. Blouut. 

With some grim remarks I believe the young man's 
uncle had received the sudden news of his death. 

' 'Did my uncle see the letter I wrote to you, Mr. 
Blount ?" 

" No." 

"And why not?" 

" You will not think, I hope, that I would for any con- 
sideration use a phrase that could wound you unnecessarily 
when I tell you ?" 

" Certainly not." 

" Your letter mentioned that you had lost your papers 
and money in the ship. Now, if it should turn out that 
you had, in short, misstated anything 

" Told a lie, you mean," interrupted the young man, 
his face growing white, and his eyes gleaming. 

" It would have been discourteous in me to say so, but 
such was my meaning," he answered, with a very kind 
look. " It has been one object with me during my life to 
reconcile courtesy with truth. I am happy in the belief 
that I have done so, and I believe during a long life I 
have never once offended against the laws of politeness. 
Had you deceived him so soon again it would have sunk 
you finally and for ever. I thought it advisable, there- 

Lemuel Blount. 103 

fore, to give you an opportunity of reconsidering the state- 
ments of your letter before committing you by placing 
them before him as fact," 

The young man flushed suddenly. It was his mis* 
fortune that he could not resent suspicion, however gross, 
although he might wince under the insult, all the more 
that it was just. Bather sulkily he said : 

" I can only repeat, sir, that I have not a shilling, nor 
a cheque ; I left every paper and every farthing I possessed 
in my despatch-box, in my berth. Of course, I can't prove 
it ; I can only repeat that every guinea I had in the world 
has gone to the bottom." 

Mr. Blount raised his head. His square face and mas- 
sive features confronted the younger man, and his hones- 
brown eyes were fixed upon him. with a grave and undis- 
guised inquiry, 

" I don't say that you have any certainty of recovering 
a place in your uncle's esteem, but the slightest prevarica- 
tion in matters of this kind would be simply suicidal. 
Now, I ask you, sir, on your honour, did no part of your 
money, or of your papers, go by rail either to Bristol or to 
London ?" 

" Upon my honour, Mr. Blount, not a farthing. I had 
only about ten pounds in gold, all the rest was in letters 
of credit and cheques ; and, bad as I am, I should scarcely 
be fool enough to practise a trick, which, from its nature, 
must be almost instantaneously self-exposed. My uncle 
could have stopped payment of them ; probably he has 
done so." 

" I see you understand something of business, sir." 

" I should have understood a great deal more, Mr. 
Blount, and been a much better man, if I had listened to 
you long ago. I hope, in future, to be less my own adviser, 
and more your pupil." 

To this flattering speech the old man listened attentively, 
but made no answer. 

" Your letter followed me to Chester," said Mr. Blount, 
after an interval. " I received it last night. He was in 
London when I saw him last ; and my letter, telling him 
that you are still living, may not reach him, possibly, for 
some days. Thus, you see,* you would have the start o 

104 Willing to Die. 

him, if I may so describe it, without rudeness ; and yon 
are aware he has no confidence in you ; and, certainly, if 
you will permit me to say so, he ought not to have any. 
I have a note of the number of the cheque ; you can write 
a line saying that you have lost it, and requesting that 
payment may be stopped ; and I will enclose it to Messrs. 
Dignum and Budget." 

" There's pen and ink here ; I'll do it this moment. I 
thought you had renounced me also ; and I was going to 
write again to try you once more, before taking to the high 
road," he said, with dismal jocularity. 

It wrung the pride of the young man sorely to write the 
note. But the bitter pill was swallowed ; and he handed 
it, but with sigus of suppressed anger, to Mr. Blount. 

" That will answer perfectly," said the man in black. 

" It enables you to stop that cheque by this post, with- 
out first seeing my uncle ; and it relieves you," said the 
young man, with bitter and pitiless irony, " of the folly of 
acting in the most trifling matter upon my word of honour. 
It is certainly making the most of the situation. I have 
made one great slip a crime, if you like ' 

" Quite so, sir," acquiesced Mr. Blount, with melancholy 

" Under great momentary temptation," continued the 
young man, " and without an idea of ultimately injuring 
any human being to the amount of a single farthing. I'm 
disowned ; any one that pleases may safely spit in my face. 
I'm quite aware how I stand in this infernal pharisaical 

Mr. Blount looked at him gravely, but made him no 
answer. The young gentleman did not want to quarrel 
With Mr. Blount just then. He could not afford it. 

"I don't mean you, of course,'' he said; '-'you have 
been always only too much my friend. I am speaking of 
the world ; you know, quite well, if this unlucky thing 
takes wind, and my uncle's conduct towards me is the very 
thing to set people talking and inquiring, I may as well 
take off my hat to you all, drink your healths in a glass of 
prussic acid, and try how a trip to some other world agrees 
with me." t 

" You are speaking, of course, sir, in jest," said Mr. 

Lemuel Blount. 105 

Blount, with some disgust in his grave countenance; "but 
I may mention that the unfortunate occurrence is known 
but to your uncle and to me, and to no other person on 
earth. You bear the name of Marston you'll excuse me 
for reminding you, sir and upon that point he is sensitive 
and imperious. He considered, sir, that your bearing that 
name, if I may so say, without being supposed guilty of a 
rudeness, would slur it ; and, therefore, you'll change it, 
as arranged, on embarking at Southampton. It would be 
highly inexpedient to annoy your uncle by any inadvertence 
upon this point. Your contemplating suicide would be 
you will pardon the phrase cowardly and impious. Not, 
indeed, if I may so say consistently with the rules of polite- 
ness," he added, thoughtfully, "that your sudden removal 
would involve any loss to anybody, except, possibly, some 
few Jews, and people of that kind." 

" Certainly of course. You need not insist upon that. 
I feel my degradation, I hope, sufficiently. It is not his 
fault, at least, if I don't." 

" And, from myself, I suggest that he will be incensed, 
if he learns that you are accepting the hospitality of Mr. 
Ware's house. I think, sir, that men of the world, 
especially gentlemen, will regard it, if the phrase be not 
discourteous, in the light of a shabby act." 

" Shabby, sir I what do you mean by shabby?" said Mr. 
Marston, naming up. 

"1 mean, sir you'll excuse me paltry ; don't you see? 
or mean. His feelings would be strongly excited by 
your partaking of Mr. Ware's hospitality." 

" Hospitality ! Shelter, you mean ; slates, walls little 
more than they give a beast in a pound ! Why, I don't 
owo thorn a crust, or a cup of tea. I get everything from 
fcho hotel there, at Cardyllion ; and Mr. Ware is a thousand 
miles away !" 

" I speak of it simply as a question of expediency, sir. 
He will be inflamed against you, if he hears you have, in 
ever so small a matter, placed yourself under any obliga- 
tion to Mr. Ware." 

" But he need not hear of it ; why should you mention, 

"I cannot practise reserve with a man who treats mo 

106 Willing to Die. 

with unlimited confidence," he answered, gently. " Why 
should you not go to the hotel ?" 

" I have no money." 

" But you get everything you want there on credit ?" 

" Well, yes, that's true ; but it would scarcely do to 
make that move ; I have been as ill as ever I was in my 
life since that awful night on the rocks down there. You 
can have no idea what it was ; and the doctor says I must 
keep quiet. It isn't worth while moving now ; so soon as 
I have funds, I'll leave this." 

" I will lend you what you require, with much pleasure, 
sir," proffered Mr. Blout." 

" Well, thanks, it is not very much, and it's hard to 
refuse ; one feels such a fool without a shilling to give to 
a messenger, or to the servants ; I haven't even a fee for 
the doctor who has been attending me." 

Determined by this pathetic appeal, Mr. Blount took a 
bank-note of ten pounds from his purse and lent it to Mr. 

" And, I suppose, you'll remove forthwith to the hotel," 
lie said. 

" The moment I feel equal to it," he replied. " Why, 

d it, don't you think I'm ready to go, when I'm able ? 

I I Don't mind me, pray. Your looks reprove me. 

I'm shocked at myself when I use those phrases. I know 
very well that I have just escaped by a miracle from 
death. I feel how utterly unfit I was to die ; and, I assure 
you, I'm not ungrateful. You shall see that my whole 
future life will be the better for it. I'm not the graceless 
wretch I have been. One such hour as preceded my 
scaling that rock out there is a lesson for a life. You have 
often spoken to me on the subjects that ought to interest 
us all. I mean when I was a boy. Your words have 
returned upon me. You derive happiness from the good 
you do to others. I thought you had cast your bread upon 
the waters to see it no more ; but you have found it at 
last. I am very greatful to you." 

Did Mr. Marston believe that good people are open, in 
the manner of their apostleship, to flattery, as baser mortals 
are in matters of another sort ? It was to be hoped that 
Mr. Marston felt half what he utttered. His words, how- 

Lemuel Blount. lO 1 ? 


ever, did Woduce a favourable and a pleasant impression 
upon Mr. Blount. His large face beamed for a moment with 
honest gratification. His eyes looked evil upon him, as 
if the benevolence of his inmost heart spoke out through 

/" If anything can possibly please him, sir, in connection 
with you," said Mr. Blount, with all his customary suavity 
and unconscious bluntness, " it will be to learn that recent 
events have produced a salutary impression and a total 
change in you. Not that I suppose he cares very much ; 
but I'm glad to have to represent to him anything favour- 
able in this particular case. I mean to return to London 
direct, and if your uncle is still there you shall hear in a 
day or two at all events very soon ; but I wish you were, 
in the hotel." 

* Well, I'll go to the hotel, if they can put me up. I'll 
go at once ; address to me to the post-office Richard 
Marston, I suppose?" 

" Just so, sir, Richard Marston." 

Mr. Blount had risen, and stood gravely, prepared to 
take his leave. 

" I have kept you a long time, Mr. Blount ; will you take 
anything ?" 

Mr. Blount declined refreshments. 

" I must leave you now, sir ; there is a crisis in every 
life. What has happened to you is stupendous ; the danger 
and the deliverance. That hour is past. May its remem- 
brance be with you ever day and night ! Do not suppose 
that it can rest in your mind without positive consequences. 
It must leave you a great deal better or a great deal worse. 
Farewell, sir." 

So they parted. Mr. Marston seemed to have lost all 
his spirits and half his energy in that interview. He sat 
motionless in the chair into which he had thrown himself, 
and gazed listlessly on the floor in a sulky reverie. At 
length he said 

" That is a most unpleasant old fellow ; I wish he was 
not so unscrupulously addicted to telling truth." 




JT was a gloomy clay ; I Lad left Laura Grey 
the room we usually occupied, where she was 
now alone, busy over some of our accounts. I 
dare say her thoughts now and then wandered 
into speculations respecting the identity of the visitor who, 
the night before, evaded her recognition, if indeed he was 
recognisable by her at all. Her doubts were now resolved. 
The room door opened, and the tenant of the steward's 
house entered coolly, and approached the table where she 
was sitting. Laura Grey did not rise ; she did not speak ; 
she sat, pen in hand, staring at him as if she were on the 
point of fainting. The star-shaped scar on his forehead, 
fixed there by some old fracture, and his stern and ener- 
getic features, were now distinctly before her. He kept his 
eye fixed upon her, and smiled, dubious of his reception. 

" I saw you, Miss Grey, yesterday afternoon, though 
you did not see me. I avoided your eye then ; but it was 
idle supposing that I could continue even a few days 
longer in this place without you seeing me. I came last 
night with my mind made up to reveal myself, but I put 
it off till we should be to ourselves, as we are now. I saw 
you half guessed me, but you weren't sure, and I left you 
in doubt." 

He approached till his hands rested upon the table op- 
posite, and said, with a very stern and eager face 

" Miss Grey, upon my honour, upon ray soul, if I can 
give you an assurance which can bind a gentleman, I 

Identified. 109 

entreat you to believe me. I shan't offer one syllable con- 
trary to what I now feel to be your wishes. I shan't 
press you, I shan't ask you to hear me upon the one 
subject you say you object to. You allege that I have 
done you a wrong. I will spare no pains to redress it. I 
will do my utmost in any way you please to dictate. I 
will do all this, I swear by everything a gentleman holds 
most sacred, upon one very easy condition." 

He paused. He was leaning forward, his dark eyes 
were fixed upon her with a piercing gaze. She did not, 
or could not, speak. She was answering his gaze with a 
stare wilder and darker, but her very lips were white. 

"I know I have stood in your way; I admit I have 
injured you, not by accident ; it was with the design and 
wish to injure you, if the endeavour to detach a fellow 
like that be an injury. You shall forgive me ; the most 
revengeful woman can forgive a man the extravagances of 
his jealousy. I am here to renounce all, to retrieve every- 
thing. I admit the injury ; it shall be repaired." 

She spoke now for the first time, and said, hardly above 
her breath : 

" It's irreparable. It can't be undone quite irre- 

"When I undertake a thing I do it; I'll do this at 
any sacrifice yes, at any, of pride or opinion. Suppose 
I go to the persons in question, and tell them that they 
have been deceived, and that I deceived them, and now 
confess the whole thing a tissue of lies ?" 

" You'll never do that." 

" By Heavens, as I stand here, I'll do it ! Do you sup- 
pose I care for their opinion in comparison with a real 
object ? I'll do it. I'll write and sign it in your pre- 
sence ; you shall have it to lock up in that desk, and do 
what you please with it, upon one condition." 

A smile of incredulity lighted Laura Grey's face faintly, 
as she shook her head. 

" You don't believe me, but you shall. Tell me what 
will satisfy you what practicable proof will convince 
you. I'll set you right with them. You believe in a Pro- 
vidence. Do you think I was saved from that wreck for 
nothing ?" 

110 Willing to Die. 

Laura Grey looked down upon her desk ; his fierce eyes 
were fixed on her with intense eagerness, for he thought 
he read in her pale face and her attitude signs of com- 
pliance. It needed, he fancied, perhaps but a slight im- 
pulse to determine her. 

" I'll do it all ; but, as I told you, on one condition." 

There was a silence for a time. He was still watching 
her intently. 

" Let us both be reasonable," he resumed. " I ought, 
I now know, to have seen long ago, Miss Grey, that there 
was no use in my talking to you as I did. I have been 
mad. There's the whole story ; and now I renounce it 
all. I despair ; it's over. I'll give you the very best 
proof of that. I shall devote myself to another, and you 
shall aid me. Pray, not a word, till you have heard me 
out ; that's the condition. If you accept it, well. If not, 
so sure as there is life in me, you may regret it." 

" There's nothing more you can do I care for now," 
she broke out with a look of agony. " Oh, Heaven help 

" You'll find there is," he continued, with a quiet laugh. 
" You can talk as long as you please when your turn 
comes. Just hear me out. I only want you to have the 
whole case before you. I say you can help me, and you 
shall. I'm a very good fellow to work with, and a bitter 
one to work against. Now, one moment. I have made 
the acquaintance of a young lady whom I wish to marry. 
Upon my sacred honour, I have no other intention. She 
is poor ; her father is over head and ears in debt ; she can 
never have a guinea more than two thousand pounds. It 
can't be sordid, you'll allow. There is a Jesuit fellow 
hanging about this place. He hates me ; he has been in 
here telling lies of me. I expect you to prevent my being 

Erejudiced by that slanderer. You can influence the young 
idy in my favour, and enable me to improve our acquaint- 
ance. I expect you to do so. These are my conditions. 
She is Miss Ethel Ware." 

The shock of a disclosure so entirely unexpected, and 
the sting possibly of wounded vanity, made her reply more 
spirited than it would have been. She stood up, and said, 
quietly and coldly ; 

Identified. Ill 

" I have neither right nor power in the matter ; and if 
. I had, nothing on earth could induce me to exercise them 
in your favour. You can write, if you please, to Mr. 
Ware, for leave to pay your addresses to his daughter. 
But without his leave you shall not visit here, nor join 
her in her walks ; and if you attempt to do either, I will 
remove Miss Ware, and place her under the care of some 
one hetter able than I to protect her." 

The young man looked at her with a very pale face. 

"I thought you knew me better, Miss Grey," he said, 
with an angry sneer. " You refuse your chance of recon- 

He paused, as if to allow her time to think better 
of it. 

" Very well ; I'm glad I've found you out. Don't you 
think your situation is rather an odd one a governess in 
Mr. Ware's country quarters ? We all know pretty well 
what sort of gentleman Mr. Ware is, a gentleman parti- 
cularly well qualified by good taste and high spirits to 
make his house agreeable. He was here, I understand, 
for about a week a little time ago, but his wife does not 
trouble your solitude much ; and now that he is on his 
travels, he is succeeded by a young friar. I happen to 
know what sort of person Carmel was, and is. Was ever 
young lady so fortunate ? One only wonders that Mr. 
Ware, under these circumstances, is not a little alarmed 
for the Protestantism of his governess. I should scarcely 
have believed that you had found so easily so desirable a 
home ; but fate has ordained that I should light upon your 
retreat, and hear with my own ears the good report of the 
neighbours, and see with my own eyes how very comfort- 
able and how extremely happy you are." 

He smiled and bowed ironically, and drew towards the 

" There was nothing to prevent our being on the friend- 
liest terms nothing." 

He paused, but she made him no answer. 

"No reason on earth why we should not. You could 
have done me a very trifling kindness. I could havQ 
served you vitally." 

Another pause here, 

112 Willing to Die. 

" I can ascribe your folly to nothing but the most in- 
sensate malice. I shall take care of myself. You ought 
to know me. Whatever befalls, you have to thank but 
your own infatuated obstinacy for it." 

" I have friends still," she cried, in a sudden burst of 
agony. "Your cowardice, your threats and insults, your 
persecution of a creature quite defenceless and heartbroken, 
and with no one near to help her " 

Her voice faltered. 

"Find out your friends, if you have got them; tell 
them what you please ; and, if it is worth while, I will 
contradict your story. I'll fight your friends. I'll pit my 
oath against yours." 

There was no sneer on his features now, no irony in his 
tones ; he was speaking with the bitter vehemence of un- 
disguised fury. 

" I shrink from nothing. Things have happened since 
to make me more reckless, and by so much the more dan- 
gerous. If you knew a little more you would scarcely 
dare to quarrel with me." He dashed his hand as he 
spoke upon the table. 

"lam afraid I'm frightened; but nothing on earth 
shall make me do what you ask." 

" That's enough that closes it," said he. There was 
a little pause. " And remember, the consequences I pro- 
raise are a great deal nearer than you probably dream of," 

With these words, spoken slowly, with studied meaning, 
he left the room as suddenly as he had appeared. Laura 
Grey was trembling. Her thoughts were not very clear. 
She was shocked, and even terrified. 

The sea, which had swallowed all the rest, had sent up 
that one wicked man alive. How many good, kind, and 
useful lives were lost to earth, she thought, in those 
dreadful moments, and that one life, barren of all good, 
profligate and cruel, singled out alone for mercy ! 



KNEW nothing of all this. I was not to learn 
what had passed at that interview till many 
years later. Laura Grey, on my return, told 
me nothing. I am sure she was right. There 
were some things she could not have explained, and the 
stranger's apparently insane project of marrying penniless 
me was a secret better in her own keeping than in that of 
a simple and very self-willed girl. 

When I returned there were signs of depression and 
anxiety in her looks, and her silence and abstraction ex- 
cited my curiosity. She easily put me off, however. I 
knew that her spirits sometimes failed her, although she 
never talked about her troubles ; and therefore her dejec* 
tion was, after all, not very remarkable. We heard no- 
thing more of our guest till next day, when Kebecca 
Torkill told us that he was again suffering from one of his 
headaches. The intelligence did not excite all the sym- 
pathy she seemed to expect. Shortly after sunset we saw 
him pass the window of our room, and walk by under the 

With an ingrained perversity, the more Laura Grey 
warned me against this man, the more I became interested 
in him. She and I were both unusually silent that even- 
ing. I think that her thoughts were busy with him ; I 
know that mine were. 

" We won't mind opening the window to-night," said 

114 Willing to Die. 

" I was just thinking how pleasant it would be. Why 
should we not open it ?" I answered. 

" Because we should have him here again ; and he is 
not the sort of person your ruarama would like you to 
become acquainted with." 

I was a little out of humour, but did not persist. I sat 
in a sullen silence, my eyes looking dreamily through the 
window. The early twilight had faded into night by the 
time the stranger re-appeared. I saw him turn the line 
of his walk near the window ; and seeing it shut, pause 
for a moment. I dare say he was more vexed than I. He 
made up his mind, however, against a scene. He looked 
on the ground and over his shoulder, again at the window. 

Mr. Marstou. walked round the corner to the steward's 
house. The vague shadows and lights of night were 
abroad by this time. Candles were in his room ; he found 
Rebecca Torkill there, with a small tankard and a tea-cup 
on a salver, awaiting his return. 

"La! sir, to think of you doing such another wild 
thing, and you, only this minute, at death's door with 
your head ! And how is it now, please, sir ?" 

"A thousand thanks. My head is as well as my hat. 
My headache goes as it conies, in a moment. What is 
this ?" 

" Some gruel, please, sir, with sugar, white wine, and 
nutmeg. I thought you might like it." 

" Caudle, by Jove !" smiled the gentleman, " isn't it ?" 

" Well, it is ; and it's none the worse o' that." 

" All the better," exclaimed Mr. Marston, who chose 
to be on friendly terms with the old lady. " How can I 
thank you ?" 

" It's just the best thing in the world to make you sleep 
after a headache. You'll take some while it's hot." 

" I can't thank you half enough," he said. 

"I'll come back, sir, and see you by-and-by," and the 
good woman toddled out, leaving him alone with his gruel. 

" I must not offend her." He poured some out into 
his cup, tasted it, and laughed quietly. " Sipping caudle ! 
"Well, this is rather a change for Richard Marston, by 
Jove ! A change every day. Let us make a carouse of 
it," he said, and threw it out of the window. 

Pistols for Two. 115 

Mr. Marston threw on his loose wrapper, and folded his 
muffler about his throat, replaced his hat, and with his 
cane in his fingers, was about to walk down to the town 
of Cardyllion. A word or two spoken, quite unsuspiciously, 
by Doctor Mervyn that morning, had touched a sensitive 
nerve, and awakened a very acute anxiety in Mr. Marston's 
mind. The result was his intended visit, at the fall of 
night, to the High-street of the quaint little town. 

He was on the point of setting out, when Eebecca Tor- 
kill returned with a sliced lemon on a plate. 

" Some likes a squeeze of a lemon in it," she observed, 
" and I thought I might as well leave it here." 

" It is quite delicious, really," he replied, as Mrs. Torkill 
peeped into the open flagon. 

"Why," said she, in unfeigned admiration, " I'm blest 
if he's left a drop ! Ah ! ah ! "Well, it was good ; and 
I'll have some more for you before you go to bed. But 
you shouldn't drink it off, all at a pull, like that. You 
might make yourself ill that way." 

" We men like good liquor so well so well we we 
what was I saying ? Oh ! yes, we like our liquor so 
well, we never know when we have had enough. It's a 
bad excuse ; but let it pass. I'm going out for a little 
walk, it always sets me up after one of those headaches. 
Good evening, Mrs. Torkill." 

He was thinking plainly of other matters than her, or 
her caudle ; and, before she had time to reply, he was out 
of the door. 

It was a sweet, soft night ; the moon was up. The 
walk from Malory to the town is lonely and pretty. He 
took the narrow road that approaches Cardyllion in an 
inland line, parallel to the road that runs by the shore of 
the estuary. His own echoing footsteps among the moon- 
lit trees was the only sign of life, except the distant bark- 
ing of a watch-dog, now and then, that was audible. A 
melancholy wind was piping high in the air, from over the 
sea ; you might fancy it the aerial lamentations of the 

He was passing the churchyard now, and stopped partly 
to light a cigar, partly to look at the old church, the effect 
of which, in the moonlight, was singular. Its gable and 

i 2 

116 Willing to Die. 

towers cast a sharp black shadow across the grass and 
gravestones, like that of a gigantic hand whose finger 
pointed towards him. He smiled cynically as the fancy 
struck him. 

" Another grave there, I should not wonder if the news 
is true. What an ass that fellow is ! Another grave, I 
dare say ; and in my present luck, I suppose I shall fill 
it fill it ! That's ambiguous ; yes, the more like an 
oracle. That shadow does look curiously like a finger 
pointing at me !" 

He smoked for a time, leaning on the pier of the iron 
wicket that from this side admits to the churchyard, and 
looking in wilih thoughts very far from edifying. 

" This will be the second disagreeable discovery, without 
reckoning Carmel, I shall have made since my arrival in 
this queer corner of the world. Who could have antici- 
pated meeting Laura here ? or what whining fool, Car- 
mel ? Who would have fancied that Jennings, of all 
men, would have turned up in this out-of-the-way nook ? 
By Jove ! I'm like Saint Paul, hardly out of the ship- 
wreck when a viper fastens on my hand. Old Sprague 
made us turn all that into elegiacs. I wonder whether I 
could make elegiacs now." 

He loitered slowly on, by the same old road, into Castle 
Street, the high-street of the quaint little town of steep 
roofs and many gables. The hall-door of the "Verney 
Arms " was open, and the light of the lamp glowed softly 
on the pavement. 

Mr. Marston hated suspense. He would rather make a 
bad bargain, off-hand, than endure the torture of a long 
negotiation. He would stride out to meet a catastrophe 
rather than await its slow, sidelong approaches. This 
intolerance of uncertainty made him often sudden in action. 
He had come down to the town simply to reconnoitre. He 
was beginning, by this time, to meditate something more 
serious. Under the shadow of the houses opposite, he 
walked slowly up and down the silent fiagway, eyeing the 
door of the " Verney Arms" askance, as he finished his 

It so happened, that exactly as he had thrown away the 
stump of it, a smoker, who had just commenced his, came 

Pistols for Two. 117 

slowly down the steps of the " Verney Arms," and stood 
upon the deserted flagway, and as he puffed indolently, 
he looked up the street, and down the street, and up at 
the sky. 

The splendid moon shone full on his face, and Mr. 
Marston knew him. He was tall and slight, and rather 
good-looking, with a face of great intelligence, heightened 
with something of enthusiasm, and stood there smoking, 
in happy unconsciousness that an unfriendly eye was 
watching him across the street. 

Mr. Marston stood exactly opposite. The smoker, who 
had emerged from the " Verney Arms," stood before the 
centre of the steps, and Mr. Marston, on a sudden, as if 
he was bent on walking straight through him into the . 
hotel, walked at a brisk pace across the street, and halted, 
within a yard, in front of him. 

" I understand," said Marston instantly, in a low, stern 
tone, " that you said at Black's, when I was away yacht- 
ing, that you had something to say to me." 

The smoker had lowered his cigar, and was evidently 
surprised, as well he might be ; he looked at him hard for 
some time, and at length replied as grimly : " Yes, I said 
so ; yes I do ; I mean to speak to you." 

" All right ; no need to raise our voices here though ; I 
think you had better find some place where we can talk 
without exciting attention." 

" Come this way," said the tall young man, turning 
suddenly and walking up the street at a leisurely pace. 
Mr. Marston walked beside him, a yard or two apart. 
They might be very good friends, for anything that ap- 
peared to a passer-by. He turned down a short and 
narrow by-street, with only room for a house or two, and 
they found themselves on the little common that is known 
as the Green of Cardyllion. The sea, at its further side, 
was breaking in long, tiny waves along the shingle, the 
wind came over the old castle with a melancholy soughing ; 
the green was solitary ; and only here and there, from the 
windows of the early little town, a light gleamed. The 
moon shone bright on the green, turning the grass to grey, 
and silvering the ripples on the dark estuary, and whiten- 
ing the misty outlines of the noble Welsh mountains 

118 Willing to Die. 

across the water. A more tranquillising scene could 
scarcely be imagined. 

When they had got to the further end, they stopped, as 
if by common consent. 

" I'm ready to hear you," said Marston. 

" Well, I have only to tell you, and I'm glad of this 
opportunity, that I have ascertained the utter falsehood 
of your stories, and that you are a coward and a villain." 

" Thanks ; that will do, Mr. Jennings," answered 
Marston, growing white with fury, but speaking with cold 
and quiet precision. " You have clenched this matter 
by an insult which I should have answered by cutting you 
across the face with this," and he made his cane whistle 
in the air, "but that I reserve you for something more 
effectual, and shall run no risk of turning the matter into 
a police-office affair. I have neither pistols nor friend here. 
We must dispense with formalities ; we can do all that is 
necessary for ourselves, I suppose. I'll call to-morrow, 
early, at the ' Verney Arms.' A word or two will settle 

He raised. his hat ever so little, implying that that con- 
ference, for the present, was over ; but before he could 
turn, Mr. Jennings, who did not choose to learn more than 
was unavoidable to his honour, said : 

" You will find a note at the bar." 

11 Address it Kichard Wynyard, then/' 

" Your friend ?" 

" No ; myself." 

" Oh ! a false name ?" sneered Mr. Jennings. 

" You may use the true one, of course. My tailor is 
looking for me a little more zealously, I fancy, than you 
were ; and if you publish it in Cardyllion, it may lead to 
his arresting me, and saving you all further trouble in 
this, possibly, agitating affair." The young man accom- 
panied these words with a cold laugh. 

" Well, Kichard Wynyard be it," said Mr. Jennings, 
with a slight flush. 

And with these words the two young men turned their 
backs on each other. Mr. Jennings walked along beside 
the shingle, with the sound of the light waves in his ear, 
and thinking rather hurriedly, as men will, whom so 

Pico's for '1 119 

serious a situation Las suddenly overtaken. Marston 
turned, as I said, the other way, and without entering the 
town again, approached Malory by the narrow road that 
passes close under the castle walls, and follows the line of 
the high hanks overlooking the estuary. 

If there he courage and mental activity, and no con- 
science, we have a very dangerous devil. A spoiled child, 
in which self is supreme, who has no softness of heart, 
and some cleverness and energy, easily degenerates into 
that sort of Satan. And yet, in a kind of way, Marston 
was popular. He could spend money freely it was not 
his own and when he was in spirits he was amusing. 

When he stared in Jennings' face this evening, the 
bruise and burning of an old jealousy were in his heart. 
The pain of that hellish hate is often lightly inflicted; but 
what is more cruel than vanity ? He had abandoned the 
pursuit in which that jealousy was born, but the hatred 
remained. And now he had his revenge in hand. It is a 
high stake, one's life on a match of pistol-shooting. But 
his brute courage made nothing of it. It was an effort to 
him to think himself in clanger, and he did not make that 
effort. He was thinking how to turn the situation to 



ff "EXT morning, Mr. Marston, we learned, had been 
down to Cardyllion early. He had returned at 
about ten o'clock, and he had his luggage packed 
up, and despatched again to the proprietor of the 
" Verney Arms." So we might assume that he was gone. 
The mountain that had weighed on Laura Grey's spirits 
was perceptibly lightened. I heard her whisper to herself, 
" Thauk God !" when she heard Kebecca Torkill's report, 
and the further intelligence that their guest had told her 
and Thomas Jones that he was going to the town, to re- 
turn no more to Malory. Laura was now, again, quite 
like herself. For my part, 1 was a little glad, and (shall 
I confess it ?) also a little sorry ! I had not quite made up 
my mind respecting this agreeable Mr. Marston, of whom 
Mr. Carniel and Miss Grey had given each so alarming a 

About an hour later, I was writing to mamma, and 
sitting at the window, when, raising my eyes, I saw Laura 
Grey and Mr. Marston, much to my surprise, walking side 
by side up the avenue towards the hall-door. They ap- 
peared to be in close conversation ; Mr. Marston seemed 
to talk volubly and carelessly, and cut the heads of the 
weeds with his cane as he sauntered by her side. Laura 
Grey held her handkerchief to her eyes, except now and 
then, when she spoke a few words, as it seemed passion- 

When they came to the court-yard, opposite to the hall- 
door, she broke away from him, hurried across, ran up the 

The Wood of Plas Ylwd. 121 

steps, and shut the door. He stood where she had left 
him, looking after her and smiling. I thought he was 
going to follow ; he saw me in the window, and raised his 
hat, still smiling, and with this farewell salute he turned 
on his heel and walked slowly away towards the gate. I 
ran to the hall, and there found Laura Grey. She had 
been crying, and was agitated. 

"Ethel, darling," she said, "let nothing on earth induce 
you to speak to that man again. I implore of you to give 
me your solemn promise. If he speaks truth it will not 
cost you anything, for he says he is going away this moment, 
not to return." 

It certainly looked very like it, for he had actually de- 
spatched his two boxes, he had "tipped" the servants 
handsomely at the steward's house, and having taken a 
courteous leave of them, and left with Mrs. Torkill a vale- 
dictory message of thanks for me, he had got into a "fly" 
and driven off to the " Verney Arms." 

Well, whether for good or ill, he had now unquestionably 
taken his departure ; but not without leaving a sting. The 
little he had spoken to ,Miss Grey, at the moment of his 
flight, had proved, it seemed, a Parthian arrow tipped with 
poison. She seemed to grow more and more miserable 
every hour. She had lain down on her bed, and was crying 
bitterly, and trembling. I began to grow vexed at the 
cruelty of the man who had deliberately reduced her to 
that state. I knew not what gave him the power of 
torturing her. If I was angry, I was also intensely curious. 
My questions produced no clearer answers than this : 
" Nothing, dear, that you could possibly understand with- 
out first hearing a very long story. I hope the time is 
coming when I may tell it all to you. But the secret is 
not mine ; it concerns other people ; and at present I must 
keep it." 

Mr. Marston had come and gone, then, like a flash of 
light, leaving my eyes dazzled. The serenity of Malory 
seemed now too quiet for me ; the day was dull. I spent 
my time sitting in the window, or moping about the place. 
I must confess that I had, by no means, the horror of this 
stranger that the warnings of Mr. Carmel and Laura Grey 
ought, I suppose, to have inspired. On the contrary, his 

VdiiiKj to jc\ 

image came before me perpetually, and everything I looked 
at, the dark trees, the window-sill, the garden, the estuary, 
and the ribs of rock round which the cruel sea was sporting, 
recalled the hero of a terrible romance. 

I tried in vain to induce Laura to come with me for a 
walk, late in the afternoon. So I set out alone, turning 
my back on Cardyllion, in the direction of Penruthyii 
Priory. The sun w r as approaching the western horizon as 
I drew near the picturesque old farm-house of Plas Ylwd. 
A little to the south of this stretches a fragment of old 
forest, covering some nine or ten acres of peaty ground. 
It is a decaying wood, and in that melancholy and miserable 
plight, I think, very beautiful. I would commend it as a 
haunt to artists in search of " studies," who love huge 
trees with hollow trunks, some that have "cast" half their 
boughs as deer do their antlers ; some wreathed and laden 
with ivy, others that stretch withered and barkless branches 
into the air ; ground that is ribbed and unequal, and 
cramped with great ringed, snake-like roots, that writhe 
and knot themselves into the earth ; here and there over- 
spread with little jungles of bramble, and broken and 
burrowed by rabbits. 

Into this grand and singular bit of forest, now glorified 

by the coloured light of evening, I had penetrated some 

little way. Arrested in my walk by the mellow song of a 

blackbird, I listened in the sort of ecstasy that every one 

has, I suppose, experienced under similar circumstances ; 

and I was in the full enjoyment of this sylvan melody, 

when I was startled, and the bird put to flight, by the near 

report of fire-arms. Once or twice I had heard boys 

shooting at the birds in this wood, but they had always 

accompanied their practice with shouting and loud talking. 

A dead silence followed this. I had no reason for any 

misgivings about so natural an interruption in such a 

place, but I did feel an ominous apx^rehension. I began 

to move, and w r as threading my way through one of these 

blackberry thickets, when I heard, close to my side, the 

branches of some underwood thrust aside, and Mr. 

Marston, looking pale and wicked, walked quickly by. It 

was plain he did not see me ; I was screened by the stalks 

and sprays through which I saw him. He had no weapon 

The Wood of Plas Yhvd. 123 

as he passed me ; he was drawing on his glove. The 
sudden appearance of Mr. Marstou whom I believed to be 
by this time miles away at the other side of Cardyllion 
was a shock that rather confirmed my misgivings. 

I waited till he was quite gone, and then passed down 
the path he had come by. I saw nothing to justify alarm, 
so T walked a little in the same direction, looking to the 
right and left. In a little opening among the moss-grown 
trunks of tho trees, I soon saw something that frightened 
me. It was a man lying on his back, deadly pale, upon 
the ground ; his waistcoat was open, and his shirt-front 
covered with blood, that seemed to ooze from under his 
hand, which was pressed on it ; his hat was on the ground, 
some way behind. A pistol lay on the grass beside him, 
and another not far from his feet. 

I was very much frightened, and the sight of blood 
made me feel faint. The wounded man saw me, I knew, 
for his eyes were fixed on me ; his lips moved, and there 
was a kind of straining in his throat ; he said a word or 
two, though I could not at first hear what. With a 
horrible reluctance, I came near and leaned a little over 
him, and then heard distinctly : 
" Pray send help." 

I bethought me instantly of the neighbouring farm- 
house of Plas Ylwd, and knowing this little forest tract 
well, I ran through it nearly direct to the farm-yard, and 
quickly succeeded in securing the aid of Farmer Prichard 
and all his family, except his wife, who stayed at home to 
get a bed ready for the reception of the wounded stranger. 
We all trooped back again through the woods, at a trot, I 
at their head, quite forgetting my dignity in my excite- 
ment. The wounded man appeared fainter. But he 
beckoned to us with his hand, without raising his arm, 
and with a great effort he said : " The blame is mine all 
my fault remember, if I die. I compelled this meeting." 
I got Prichard to send his son, without a moment's 
delay, to Cardyllion, to bring Dr. Mervyn, and as they got 
the bleeding man on towards Plas Ylwd, I, in a state of 
high excitement, walked swiftly homeward, hoping to 
reach Malory before the declining light failed altogether. 



GOT home just as the last broad beam of the 
setting sun was spent, and twilight overspread 
churchyard and manor-house, sea and land, 
with its grey mantle. Lights were gleaming 
from the drawing-room window as I approached ; a very 
welcome light to me, for it told me that Laura Grey had 
come down, and I was longing to tell her my story. I 
found her, as 1 expected, seated quietly at our tea-table, 
and saw, in her surprised and eager looks, how much 
she was struck by the excitement which mine exhibited, 
as, without waiting to take off my hat or coat, I called 
on her to listen, and stumbled and hurried through the 
opening of my strange story. 

I had hardly mentioned the sudden appearance of Mr. 
Maiston, when Laura Grey rose with her hands clasped : 

II Was any one shot ? For God's sake, tell me quickly!" 
I described all I had seen. She pressed her hand hard 

to her heart. 

" Oh ! he has killed him the villain ! His threats are 
always true his promises never. Oh ! Ethel, darling, he 
has been so near me, and I never dreamed it." 

" Who ? What is it, Laura ? Don't, darling, be so 
frightened ; he's not killed nobody's killed. I daresay it 
is very trifling, and Doctor Mervyn is with him by this 
time.' 5 

" I am sure he's badly wounded ; he has killed him. He 
has hated him so long, he would never have left him till 
he had killed him." 

The Patient at Plas Yhvd. 125 

She was growing quite distracted ; I, all the time, doing 
nay utmost to re-assure her. 

" What is his name ?" at length I asked. 

The question seemed to quiet her. She looked at me, 
and then down ; and then again at me. 

Once or twice she had mentioned a brother whom she 
loved very much, and who was one of her great anxieties. 
Was this wounded man he ? If not, was he a lover ? 
This latter could hardly be ; for she had once, after a long, 
laughing fencing with my close questions, told me suddenly, 
quite gravely, " I have no lover, and no admirer, except 
one whom I despise and dislike as much as I can any one 
on earth." It was very possible that her brother was in 
debt, or in some other trouble that made her, for the 
present, object to disclose anything about him. I thought 
she was going to tell me a great deal now but I was dis- 
appointed. I was again put off; but I knew she spoke 
truth, for she was the truest person I ever met, when she 
said that she longed to tell me all her story, and that the 
time would soon come when she could. But now, poor 
thing ! she was, in spite of all I could say, in a state, very 
nearly, of distraction. She never was coherent, except 
when, in answer to her constantly repeated questioning, I 
again and again described the appearance of the wounded 
man, which each time seemed to satisfy her on the point 
of identity, but without preventing her from renewing her 
inquiries with increasing detail. 

That evening passed miserably enough for us both. 
Doctor Mervyn, on his way to his patient, looked in upon 
us early next morning, intent on learning all he could 
from me about the circumstances of the discovery of his 
patient. I had been too well drilled by prudent Bebecca 
Torkill, to volunteer any information respecting the un- 
expected appearance of Mr. Marston so suspiciously near 
the scene of the occurrence. I described, therefore, simply 
the spectacle presented by the wounded man, on my 
lighting upon him in the wood, and his removal to the 
farm-house of Plas Ylwd. 

" It's all very fine, saying it was a accident," said the 
doctor, with a knowing nod and a smile. " Accident, 
indeed I If it was, why should he refuse to say who had 

12G Willing to Die. 

a hand in the accident, besides himself ? But there's no 
need to make a secret of the matter, for unless something 
unexpected should occur, he must, in the ordinary course 
of things, be well in little more than a week. It's an odd 
wound. The ball struck the collar bone and broke it, 
glancing upward. If it had penetrated obliquely downward 
instead, it might have killed him on the spot." 

" Do you know his name ?" I inquired. 

" No ; he's very reserved ; fellows in his situation often 
are ; they don't like figuring in the papers, you understand ; 
or being bound over to be of good behaviour ; or, possibly, 
prosecuted. But no trouble will come of this ; and he'll 
be on his legs again in a very few days." 

With this re-assuring news the doctor left us. Miss 
Grey was relieved. One thing seemed pretty certain ; and 
that was that the guilty and victorious duellist would not 
venture to appear in our part of the world for some time 
to come. 

"Will you come with me to-day, to ask how he gets 
on ?" I said to Laura as soon as the doctor was gone. 

" No, I can't do that; but it would be very kind of you : 
that is, if you have no objection." 

" None in the world ; we must get Rebecca to make 
broth, or whatever else the doctor may order, and shall I 
mention your name to Mrs. Prichard ? I mean, do you 
wish the patient shall we call him to know that you 
are here ?" 

" Oh ! no, pray. He is the last person on earth- " 

" You are sure ?" 

"Perfectly. I entreat, dear Ethel, that you run no 
risk of rny name being mentioned." 

" Why, Mr. Marston knows that you are here," I said 

" Bad as that was, this would be intolerable. I know, 
Ethel, I may rely on you." 

" Well, I won't say a word I won't mention your 
name, since you so ordain it." 

Two or three days passed. As I had been the good 
Samaritan, in female garb, who aided the wounded man 
in his distress, I was now the visiting Sister of Mercy, the 
ministering angel whatever you are good enough to call 

The Patient at Plas Yhcd. 127 

me who every day saw after liis wants, and sent, some- 
times soup, and sometimes jelly, to favour the recovery of 
which the doctor spoke so sanguinely. 

I did not feel the romantic interest I ought perhaps to 
have felt in the object of my benevolence. I had no wish 
to see his face again. I was haunted by a recollection of 
him that was ghastly. I am not wanting in courage, 
physical or moral. But I should have made a bad nurse, 
and a worse soldier ; at the sight of blood I immediately 
grow faint, and a sense of indescribable disgust remains. 

I sometimes think we w T omen are perverse creatures. 
For there is an occult interest about the guilty and 
audacious, if it be elevated by masculine courage and 
beauty, and surrounded by ever so little of mystery and 
romance. Shall I confess it ? The image of that wicked 
Mr. Marston, notwithstanding all Laura's hard epithets, 
and the startling situation in which I had seen him last, 
haunted me often, and with something more of fascination 
than I liked to confess. Let there be energy, cleverness, 
beauty, and I believe a reckless sort of wickedness will 
not stand the least in the way of a foolish romance. I 
think I had energy ; I know I was impetuous. Insipid 
or timid virtue would have had no chance with me. 

I was going to the farm-house one day, I forget how 
long after the occurrence which had established my 
interesting relations with Plas Ylwd. My mother had a 
large cheval-glass ; it had not often reflected her pretty 
image ; it was the only one in the house, the furniture of 
which was very much out of date. It had been removed 
to my room, and before it I now stood, in my hat and 
jacket, to make a last inspection before I started. What 
did I see before me ? I have courage to speak my real 
impressions, for there is no one near to laugh at me. A 
girl of eighteen, above the middle height, slender, with 
large, dark, grey eyes and long lashes, not much colour, 
not pink and white, by any means, but a very clear-tinted 
and marble-smooth skin ; lips of carmine-scarlet, and 
teeth very white ; thick, dark brown hair; and a tendency, 
when talking or smiling, to dimple in cheek and chin. 
There was something, too, spirited and energetic in the 
face that I contemplated with so much satisfaction. 

128 Willing to Die. 

I remained this day a little longer before my glass than 
usual. Half an hour later, I stood at the heavy stone 
doorway of Plas Ylwd. It is one of the prettiest farm- 
houses in the world. Bound the farm-yard stand very 
old hawthorn and lime trees, and the farm-house is a 
composite building in which a wing of the old Tudor 
manor-house of Plas Ylwd is incorporated, under a 
common thatch, which has grown brown and discoloured, 
and sunk and risen into hillocks and hollows by time. 
The door is protected by a thatched porch, with worn 
stone pillars; and here I stood, and learned that " the 
gentleman upstairs " was very well that afternoon, and 
sitting up ; the doctor thought he would be out for a walk 
in two or three days. Having learned this, and all the 
rest that it concerned Rebecca Torkill to hear, I took my 
leave of good Mrs. Prichard, and crossing the stile from 
the farm-yard, I entered the picturesque old wood in 
which the inmate of Plas Ylwd had received his wound. 
Through this sylvan solitude I intended returning to 



|S I followed my path over the unequal flooring of 
the forest, among the crowded trunks of the 
trees and the thickets of brambles, I saw, on a 
sudden, Mr. Marston almost beside me. I was 
a good deal startled, and stood still. There was some- 
thing in his air and looks, as he stood with his hat raised, 
so unspeakably deprecatory, that I felt at once re-assured. 
Without my permission it was plain he would not dream 
of accompanying me, or even of talking to me. All 
Laura's warnings and entreaties sounded at that moment 
in my ears like a far-off and unmeaning tinkle. He had 
no apologies to make ; and yet he looked like a penitent. 
I was embarrassed, but without the slightest fear of him. 
I spoke ; but I don't recollect what I said. 

" I have come here, Miss Ware, as I believe, at some 
risk ; I should have done the same thing had the danger 
been a hundred times greater. I tried to persuade myself 
that I came for no other purpose than to learn how that 
foolish fellow, who would force a quarrel on me, is getting 
on. But I came, in truth, on no such errand ; I came 
here on the almost desperate chance of meeting you, and 
in the hope, if I were so fortunate, that you would permit 
me to say a word in my defence. I am unfortunate in 
having two or three implacable enemies, and fate has 
perversely collected them here. Miss Grey stands in very 
confidential relations with you, Miss Ethel ; her prejudices 
against me are cruel, violent, and in every way mon- 

130 Willing to Die. 

He was walking beside me as he said this. 

" Mr. Marston," I interposed, "I can't hear you say a 
word against Miss Grey. I have the highest opinion 
of her ; she is my very dearest friend she is truth 

" One word you say I don't dispute, Miss Ware. She 
means all she says for truth; but she is cruelly prejudiced, 
and, without suspecting it, does me the most merciless 
injustice. Whenever she is at liberty to state her whole 
case against me at present I haven't so much as heard 
it I undertake to satisfy you of its unfairness. There is 
no human being to whom I would say all this, or before 
whom I would stoop to defend myself and sue for an 
acquittal, where I am blameless, but you, Miss Ware." 

I felt myself blushing. I think that sign of emotion 
fired him. 

" I could not tell," he said, extending his hand towards 
Plas Ylwd, " whether that foolish man was dead or 
living ; and this was the last place on earth I should have 
come to, in common prudence, while that was in doubt ; 
but I was willing to brave that danger for a chance of 
seeing you once more I could not live without seeing 

He was gazing at me, with eyes glowing with admira- 
tion. I thought he looked wonderfully handsome. There 
was dash and recklessness, I thought, enough for an old- 
world outlaw, in his talk and looks, and, for all I knew, 
in his reckless doings ; and the scene, the shadow, this 
solemn decaying forest, accorded well, in my romantic 
fancy, with the wild character I assigned him. There 
was something flattering in the devotion of this prompt 
and passionate man. 

" Make me no answer," he continued " no answer, I 
entreat. It would be mere madness to ask it now ; you 
know nothing of me but, perhaps, the wildest slanders 
that prejudice ever believed, or hatred forged. From the 
moment I saw you, in the old garden at Malory, I loved 
you ! Love at first sight ! It was no such infatuation. 
It was the recalling of some happy dream. I had for- 
gotten it in my waking hours ; but I recognised, with a 
pang and rapture, in you, the spirit that had enthralled 

The Outlaw. 181 

me. I loved you long before I knew it. I can't escape, 
Ethel, I adore you!" 

I don't know how I felt. I was pretty sure that I ought 
to have been very angry. And I was half aiigry with 
myself for not being angry. I was, however which 
answered just as well, a little alarmed ; I felt as a child 
does when about to enter a dark room, and I drew back at 
the threshold. 

" Pray, Mr. Marston, don't speak so to me any longer. 
It is quite true, I do not know you ; you have no right to 
talk to me in my walks pray leave me now." 

"I shall obey you, Miss Ware; whatever you command, 
I shall do. My last entreaty is that you will not condemn 
me unheard ; and pray do not mention to my enemies the 
infatuation that has led me here, with the courage of 
despair no, not quite despair, I won't say that. I shall 
never forget you. Would to Heaven I could ! I shall 
never forget or escape you ; who can disenchant me ? I 
shall never forget, or cease to pursue you, Ethel, I swear 
by Heaven !" 

He looked in my face for a moment, raised my hand 
gently, but quickly, and pressed it to his lips, before I had 
recovered from my momentary tumult. I did not turn to 
look after him. I instinctively avoided that, but I heard 
his footsteps, in rapid retreat, in the direction of the farm- 
house which I had just left. 

It was not until I had got more than half-way on my 
return to Malory that I began to think clearly on what 
had just occurred. What had I been dreaming of ? I 
was shocked to think of it. Here was a total stranger 
admitted to something like the footing of a declared lover ! 
What was I to do ? What would papa or mamma say if 
my folly were to come to their ears ? I did not even 
know where Mr. Marston was to be found. Some one has 
compared the Iliad to a frieze, which ceases, but does not 
end ; and precisely of the same land was this awkward 
epic of the wood of Plas Ylwd. Who could say when the 
poet might please to continue his work ? Who could say 
how I could now bring the epic to a peremptory termina- 
j tion ? 

I must confess, however, although I felt the embarrass- 

K 2 

132 Willing to Die. 

ment of the situation, this lawless man interested me 
Like many whimsical young ladies, I did not quite know 
my own mind. 

On the step of the stile that crosses the churchyard 
wall, near Malory, I sat down, in rather uncomfortable 
rumination. I was interrupted by the sound of a step 
upon the road, approaching from the direction of Malory. 
I looked up, and, greatly to my surprise, saw Mr. Carniel, 
quite close to me. I stood up, and walked a few steps to 
meet him ; we shook hands, he smiling, very glad, I knew, 
to meet me. 

"You did not expect to see me so soon again, Miss 
Ware ? And I have ever so much to tell you. I can't 
say whether it will please or vex you; but if you and Miss 
Grey will give me my old chair at your tea-table, I will 
look in for half an hour this evening. I have first to call 
at old Parry's, and give him a message that reached me 
from your mamma yesterday." 

He smiled again, as he continued his walk, leaving me 
full of curiosity as to the purport of his news. 



i)EHOL]>us now, about an hour later, at our tea- 
table. Mr. Carmel, as he had promised, came 
in and talked, as usual, agreeably ; but, if he had 
any particular news to tell us, he had not yet 
begun to communicate it. 

" You found your old quarters awaiting your return. 
We have lost our interesting stranger," I said ; " I wish 
you would tell us all'you know about him." 

Mr. Carmel's head sank ; his eyes were fixed, in painful 
thought, upon the table. " No," he said, looking up 
sharply, " God knows all, and that's enough. The story 
could edify no one." 

He looked so pained, and even agitated, that I could 
not think of troubling him more. 

" I had grown so attached to this place," said Mr. Carmel, 
rising and looking from the window, " that I can scarcely 
make up my mind to say good-bye, and turn my back on it 
for ever ; yet I believe I must in a few days. I don't 
know. We soldiers, ecclesiastics, I mean, must obey 
orders, and I scarcely hope that mine will ever call me 
here again. I have news for you, also, Miss Ethel ; I had 
a letter from your mamma, and a note from Mr. Ware, 
last night, and there is to be a break-up here, and a move- 
ment townward ; you are to come out next season, Miss 
Ethel ; your mamma and papa will be in town, for a week 
or so, in a few days ; and, Miss Grey, she hopes you will 
not leave her on account of the change." 

He paused ; but she made no answer. 

134 Willing to Die. 

" Oh ! darling Laura, you won't leave me ?" I ex- 

11 Certainly not, dear Ethel ; and whenever the time for 
parting comes," she said very kindly, "it will cost me a 
greater pang than perhaps it will cost you. But though I 
am neither a soldier nor an ecclesiastic, my movements do 
not always depend upon myself." 

Unrestrained by Mr. Carmel's presence, we kissed each 
other heartily. 

" Here is a note, Miss Grey, enclosed for you," he mur- 
mured, and handed it to Laura. 

In our eagerness we had got up and stood with Mr. 
Carmel in the recess of the window. It was twilight, and 
the table on which the candles burned stood at a con- 
siderable distance. To the light Laura Grey took her 
letter, and as she read it, quite absorbed, Mr. Carmel 
talked to me in low tones. 

As he stood in the dim recess of the window, with trains 
of withered leaves rustling outside, and the shadow of the 
sear and half-stript elms upon the court and window, he 
said, kindly and gently : 

" And now, at last, Miss Ethel forsakes her old home, 
and takes leave of her humble friends, to go into the great 
world. I don't think she will forget them, and I am sure 
they won't forget her. We have had a great many 
pleasant evenings here, and in our conversations in these 
happy solitudes, the terrors and glories of eternal truth 
have broken slowly upon your eyes. Beware ! If you 
trifle with Heaven's mercy, the world, or hell, or heaven 
itself, has no narcotic for the horrors of conscience. In 
the midst of pleasure and splendour, and the tawdry 
triumphs of vanity, the words of Saint Paul will startle 
your ears like thunder. It is impossible for those who 
were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly 
gift, and the good word of God, and the powers of the 
world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them 
again unto repentance. The greater the privilege, the 
greater the liability. The higher the knowledge, the pro- 
founder the danger. You have seen the truth afar off ; 
rejoice, therefore, and tremble." 

He drew back and joined Miss Grey. 

A Journey. 135 

I had been thinking but little, for many weeks, of our 
many conversations. Incipient convictions had paled in 
the absence of the sophist or the sage I knew not which. 
When he talked on this theme, his voice became cold and 
stern ; his gentleness seemed to me to partake of an awful 
apathy ; he looked like a man who had witnessed a revela- 
tion full of horror ; my fancy, I am sure, contributed 
something to the transformation ; but it did overawe me. 
I never was so impressed as by him. The secret was not 
in his words. It was his peculiar earnestness. He spoke 
like an eye-witness, and seemed under unutterable fear 
himself. He had the preacher's master-gift of alarming. 

When Mr. Carmel had taken his leave for the night, I 
told Laura Grey my adventure in the wood of Plas Ylwd. 
I don't think I told it quite as frankly as I have just 
described it to you. The story made Miss Grey very 
grave for a time. 

She broke the silence that followed by saying, " I am 
rather glad, Ethel, that we are leaving this. I think you 
will be better in town ; I know I shall be more comfort- 
able about you. You have no idea, and I earnestly hope 
you never may have, how much annoyance may arise 
from an acquaintance with that plausible, wicked man. 
He won't venture to force his acquaintance upon you in 
town. Here it is different, of course." 

We sat up very late together, chatting this night in my 
room. I did not quite know how I felt about the im- 
pending change. My approaching journey to London 
was, to me, as great an event as her drive to the ball in 
her pumpkin-coach was to Cinderella. Of course there 
was something dazzling and delightful in the prospect. 
But the excitement and joy were like that of the happy 
bride who yet weeps beca.use she is looking her last on the 
old homely life, that will always be dear and dearer as the 
irrevocable separation goes on. So, though she is sure 
she is passing into paradise, it is a final farewell to the 
beloved past. I felt the conflict ; I loved Malory better 
than 1 could ever love a place again. But youth is the 
season of enterprise. God has ordained it. We go like 
the younger son in the parable, selfish, sanguine, adven- 
turous ; but the affections revive and turn homeward, and 

136 Willing to Die. 

from a changed heart sometimes breaks on the solitude a 
cry, unheard by living ear, of yearning and grief, that 
would open the far-off doors, if that were possible, and 

Next day arrangements took a definite form. All was 
fuss and preparation. I was to go the day following ; Mr. 
Carmel was to take charge of me on the journey, and place 
me safely in the hands of Mrs. Beauchamp, our town 
housekeeper. Laura Grey, having wound up and settled 
all things at Malory, was to follow to town in less than a 
week ; and, at about the same time, mamma and papa 
were to arrive. 

A drive of ten miles or so brought us to the station ; 
then came a long journey by rail. London was not new 
to me ; but London with my present anticipations was. 
I was in high spirits, and Mr. Carmel made a very agree- 
able companion, though I fancied he was a little out of 

I was tired enough that night when I at length took 

leave of Mr. Carmel at the door of our house in 

Street. The street lamps were already lighted. Mrs. 
Beauchamp, in a black silk dress, received me with a 
great deal of quiet respect, and rnstl.-o upstairs before me 
to show me my room. Her grave and regulated politeness 
cu bra t. s .:d chillily with the hearty, and soi. . even 

boisterous welcome of old Rebecca Torkill. Mamma and 
papa were to be home, she told me, in a few days she 
could not say exactly the day. I was, after an hour or so, 
a great deal lonelier than I had expected to be. I wrote 
a long letter to Laura, of whom I had taken leave only 
that morning (what a long time it seemed already !), and 
told her how much I already wished myself back again in 
Malory, and urged her to come sooner than she had 
planned her journey. 



fJAUEA had not waited any longer than I for a 
special justification of a letter. She had no- 
thing to say, and she said it in a letter as long 
as my own, which reached me at breakfast 
next morning. 

Sitting in a spacious room, looking out into a quiet 
fashionable street, in a house all of whose decorations and 
arrangements had an air of cold elegance and newness, the 
letter, with the friendly Cardyllion postmark on it, seemed 
to bring with it something of the clear air, and homely 
comfort, and free life of Malory, and made me yearn all 
the more for the kind faces, the old house, and beloved 
v ry I Lad left behind. It was insufferably dull here, 
and I soon found myself in that state which is described 
as not knowing what to do with oneself. For two days no 
further letter from Laura reached me. On the third, I saw 
her well-known handwriting on the letter that awaited me 
on the breakfast-table. As I looked, as people will, at the 
direction before opening the envelope, I was struck by the 
postmark " Liverpool," and turning it over and over, I 
nowhere saw Cardyllion. 

I began to grow too uncomfortable to wait longer ; I 
opened the letter with misgivings. At the top of the note 
there was nothing written but the day of the week. It 

" MY DEAREST ETHEL, A sudden and total change in 
my unhappy circumstances separates me from you. It is 
impossible that I should go to London now ; and it is 

138 Willing to Die. 

possible that I may not see you again for a long time, if 
ever. I write to say farewell ; and in doing so to solemnly 
repeat my warning against permitting the person who 
obtained a few "days' shelter in the steward's house, after 
the shipwreck, to maintain even the slightest correspon- 
dence or acquaintance with you. Pray, dearest Ethel, 
trust me in this. I implore of you to follow my advice. 
You may hear from me again. In the meantime, I am 
sure you will be glad to know that your poor governess is 
happy happier than she ever desired, or ever hoped to be. 
My fond love is always yours, and my thoughts are 
hourly with you. Ever your loving 

" May God for ever bless you, darling ! Good-bye." 

I don't think I could easily exaggerate the effect of this 
letter. I will not weary you with that most tiresome of 
all relations, an account of another person's grief. 

Mamma and papa arrived that evening. If I had lived 
less at Malory, and more with mamma, I should not, in 
some points, have appreciated her so highly. When I saw 
her, for the first time, after a short absence, I was always 
struck by her beauty and her elegance, and it seemed to 
me that she was taller than I recollected her. She 
was looking very well, and so young ! I saw papa but for 
a moment. He went to his room immediately to dress, 
and then went off to his club. Mamma took me to her 
room, where we had tea. She said I had grown, and was 
very much pleased with my looks. Then she told me all 
her plans about me. I was to have masters, and I was 
not to come out till April. 

She then got me to relate all the circumstances of 
Nelly's death, and cried a good deal. Then she had in her 
maid Lexley, and they held a council together over me on 
the subject of dress. My Malory wardrobe, from which I 
had brought up to town with me what I considered an 
unexceptionable selection, was not laughed at, was not 
even discussed it was simply treated as non-extant. It 
gave me a profound sense of the barbarism in which I 
ad lived. 

Laura Grey's letter lay heavy at my heart, but I had 

Arrivals. 189 

not yet mentioned it to mamma. There was no need, 
however, to screw my courage to that point. Among the 
letters brought up to her was one from Laura. When she 
read it she was angry in her querulous way. She threw 
herself into a chair in a pet. She had confidence in 
Laura Grey, and foresaw a good deal of trouble to herself 
in this desertion. " I am so particularly unfortunate 1" 
she began " everything that can possibly go wrong ! 
everything that never happens to any one else ! I could 
have got her to take you to Monsieur Pontet's, and your 
drives, and to shop and she must be a most un- 
principled person. She had no right to go away as she 
has done. It is too bad ! Your papa allows every one of 
that kind to treat me exactly as they please, and really, 
when I am at home, my life is one continual misery ! 
What am I to do now ? I don't believe any one else was 
ever so entirely at the mercy of her servants. I don't 
know, my dear, how I can possibly do all that is to be done 
for you without assistance and there was a person I 
thought I could depend upon. A total stranger I should 
not like, and really, for anything I can see at present, I 
think you must go back again to Malory, and do the best 
you can. I am not a strong person. I was not made 
for all this, and I really feel I could just go to my bed, and 
cry till morning." 

My heart had been very full, and I was relieved by this 
opportunity of crying. 

' ' I wonder at your crying about so good-for-nothing a 
person," exclaimed mamma, impatiently. "If she had 
cared the least about you, she could not have left you as 
she has done. A satisfactory person, certainly, that young 
lady has turned out !" 

Notwithstanding all this, mamma got over her troubles, 
and engaged a dull and even-tempered lady, named Anna 
Maria Pounden, whose manners were quiet and unexcep- 
tionable, and whose years were about fifty. She was not 
much of a companion for me, you may suppose. She 
answered, however, very well for all purposes intended by 
mamma. She was lady-like and kind, and seemed made 
for keeping keys, arranging drawers, packing boxes, and 
taking care of people when they were ill. She spoke 

140 Willing to Die. 

French, besides, fluently, and with a good accent, and 
manirna insisted that she and I should always talk in that 
language. All the more persistently for this change, my 
thoughts were with my beloved friend, Laura Grey. 

From Malory, Kebecca Torldll told me, in a rather 
incoherent letter, the particulars of Laura Grey's departure 
from Malory. She had gone out for a walk, leaving her 
things half packed, for she was to go from Malory next 
day. She did not return ; but a note reached Mrs. Torldll, 
next morning, telling her simply she could not return ; 
and that she would write to mamma and to me in London 
the same day. Mrs. Torkill's note,, like mine, had the 
Liverpool postmark; and her conjecture was thus ex- 
pressed : " I don't think, miss, she had no notions to leave 
that way when she went out. It must have bin something 
sudding. She went fest, I do sepose to olyhed, and thens 
to Liverpule in one of them pakkats. Mr. Williams, the 
town- clerk, and the vicar and his lady, and Doctor Mervyn, 
is all certing sure it could be no other wise." 

Mamma did not often come down to breakfast, during 
her short stay at this unseasonable time of year in town. 
On one of those rare occasions, however, something took 
place that I must describe. 

Mamma was in a pretty morning neglige as we used to 
call such careless dresses then, looking as delicately pretty 
as the old china tea- cups before her. Papa was looking 
almost as perplexingly young as she, and I made up the 
little party to the number of the Graces. Mamma must 
have been forty, and I really don't think she looked more 
than two-and-thirty. Papa looked about five-and-thirty ; 
and I think he must have been at least ten years older 
than he looked. That kind of life that is supposed to wear 
people out, seemed for them to have had an influence like 
the elixir vitse ; and I certainly have seen rustics, in the 
full enjoyment of mountain breezes, simple fare, and early 
hours, look many a day older than their years. The old 
rule, so harped upon, that "early to bed and early to rise" 
is the secret of perpetual youth, I don't dispute ; but then, 
if it be early to go to bed at sunset in winter, say four in 
the evening, and to rise at four in the morning, is it not 
still earlier to anticipate that hour, and go to bed at 

Arrivals. 141 

four in the morning, and get up at one in the afternoon ? 
At all events, I know that this mode of life seemed to 
agree with papa and mamma. I don't think, indeed, that 
either suffered much from the cares that poison enjoyment, 
and break down strength. Mamma threw all hers un- 
examined upon papa ; who threw all his with equal non- 
chalance upon Mr. Norman, a kind of factotum, secretary, 
comptroller, diplomatist, financier, and every other thing 
that comes within the words " making oneself generally 

I never knew exactly what papa had a year to live upon. 
Mamma had money also. But they were utterly unfit to 
manage their own affairs, and I don't think they ever tried. 
Papa had his worries now and then; but they seldom 
seemed to last more than a day, or at most a week or two.. 
There were a number of what he thought small sums, 
varying from two to five thousand pounds, which under old 
settlements dropped in opportunely, and extricated him. 
These sums ought to have been treated, not as income, but 
as capital, as I heard a moneyed man of business say long 
ago ; but papa had not the talent of growing rich, or even 
of continuing rich, if a good fairy had gifted him with 

Papa was in a reverie, leaning back in his chair ; mamma 
yawned over a letter she was reading ; I was drumming 
some dance music with my fingers on my knee under the 
table-cloth, when suddenly he said to mamma : 

" You don't love your aunt Lorriiner very much?" 

" No, I don't love her I never said I did, did I ?" 

" No, but I mean, you don't like her, you don't care 
about her ?" 

" No," said mamma, languidly, and looking wonderingly 
at him with her large pretty eyes. " I don't very much 
I don't quite know I have an affection for her." 

" You don't love her, and you don't even like her, but 
you have an affection for her," laughed papa. 

" You are so teasing. I did not say that ; what I mean 
is, she has a great many faults and oddities, and I don't 
like them but I have an affection for her. Why should 
it seem so odd to you that one should care for one's rela- 
tions ? I do feel that for her, and there let it rest." 

142 Willing to Die. 

" Well, but it ought not to rest thereas you do like 

" Why, dear have you heard anything of her ?" 

" No ; but there is one thing I should not object to hear 
about her just now." 

" One thing ? What do you mean, dear ?" 

" That she had died, and left us her money. I know 
what a brute I am, and how shocked you are ; but I assure 
you we rather want it at this moment. You write to her, 
don't you ?" 

" N-not very often. Once since we saw her at Naples." 

" Well, that certainly is not very often," he laughed. 
" But she writes to you. You thought she seemed rather 
to like us I mean you ?" 

" Yes." 

" She has no one else to care about that I know of. I 
don't pretend to care about her I think her an old fool." 

" She isn't that, dear," said mamma, quietly. 

" I wish we knew where she is now. Seriously, you 
ought to write to her a little oftener, dear ; I wish you 

" I'll write to her, certainly, as soon as I am a little 
more myself. I could not do it just to-day ; I have not 
been very well, you know." 

"Oh! my darling, I did not mean to hurry you. Of 
course, not till you feel perfectly well ; don't suppose I 
could be such a monster. But I don't want, of course, 
to pursue her but there is a middle course between that 
and having to drop her. She really has no one else, poor 
old thing ! to care about, or to care about her. Not that 
I care about her, but you're her kinswoman, and I don't 
see why " 

At this moment the door opened, and there entered, with 
the air of an assumed intimacy and a certain welcome, a 
person whom I little expected to see there. I saw him 
with a shock. It was the man with the fine eyes and great 
forehead, the energetic gait and narrow shoulders. The 
grim, mean-looking, intelligent, agreeable man of fifty, Mr. 


|H ! how do you do, Doctor Droqville ?" said 
mamma, with a very real welcome in looks and 

" How d'ye do, Droqville ?" said my father, 
a little dryly, I fancied. 

" Have you had your breakfast ?" asked mamma. 

" Two hours ago." 

" We are very late here," said papa. 

" I should prefer thinking I am very early, in my primi- 
tive quarters," answered Mr. Droqville. 

" I had not an idea we should have found you in town, 
just now." 

" In season or out of season, a physician should always 
be at his post. I'm beginning to learn rather late there's 
some truth in that old proverb about moss, you know, and 
rolling stones, and it costs even a bachelor something to 
keep body and soul together in this mercenary, tailoring, 
cutlet-eating world." At this moment he saw me, and 
made me a bow. " Miss Ware ?" he said, a little in- 
quiringly to mamma. " Yes, I knew perfectly it was the 
young lady I had seen at Malory. Some faces are not 
easily forgotten," he added, gallantly, with a glance at me. 
" I threatened to ,run away with her, but she was firm as 
fate," he smiled and went on ; " and I paid a visit to our 
friend Carinel, you know." 

" And how did you think he was ?" she asked ; and I 
listened with interest for the answer. 

" He's consumptive. He's at this side of the Styx, it is 
true ; but his foot is in the water, and Charon's obolus is 

144 Willing to Die. 

always between his finger and thumb. He'll die young. 
He may live five years, it is true ; but he is not likely to 
live two. And if he happens to take cold and begins to 
cough, he might not last four months." 

" My wife has been complaining," said papa ; " I wish 
you could do something for her. You still believe in 
Doctor Droqville ? I think she half believes you have taken 
a degree in divinity as well as in medicine ; if so, a miracle, 
now and then, would be quite in your way." 

"Bat I assure you, Doctor Droqville, I never said any 
such thing. It was you who thought," she said to my 
father, "that Doctor Droqville was in orders." 

Droqville laughed. 

"But, Doctor Droqville, I think," said mamma, "you 
"would have made a very good priest." 

" There are good priests, madame, of various types ; 
Madame de Genlis, for instance, commends an abbe of her 
acquaintance ; he was a most respectable man, she says, 
and never ridiculed revealed religion but with moderation." 

Papa laughed, but I could see that he did not like 
Doctor Droqville. There was something dry, and a little 
suspicious in his manner, so slight that you could hardly 
define it, but which contrasted strikingly with the decision 
and insouciance of Doctor Droqville's talk. 

"But, you know, you never do that, even with moder- 
ation ; and you can argue so closely when you please." 

" There, madame, you do me too much honour. I am 
the worst logician in the world. I wrote a part of an essay 
on Christian chivalry, and did pretty well, till I began to 
reason ; the essay ended, and I was swallowed up in this 
argument pray listen to it. To sacrifice your life for the 
lady you adore is a high degree of heroism ; but to sacrifice 
your soul for her is the highest degree of heroism. But 
the highest degree of heroism is but another name for 
Christianity; and, therefore, to act thus can't sacrifice 
your soul, and if it doesn't you don't practise a heroism, 
and therefore no Christianity, and, therefore, you do sacri- 
fice your soul. But if you do sacrifice your soul, it is the 
highest heroism therefore Christianity ; and, therefore, 
you don't sacrifice your soul, and so, da capo, it goes on 
for ever and I can't extricate myself. When I mean to 

The Doctor's News. 145 

make a boat, I make a net ; and this argument that I in- 
vented to carry me some little way on my voyage to 
truth, not only won't hold water, but has caught me by 
the foot, entangles, and drowns me. I never went on 
with my essay." 

In this cynical trifling there was a contemptuous jocu- 
larity quite apparent to me, although mamma took it all 
in good faith, and said : 

" It is very puzzling, but it can't be true ; and I should 
think it almost a duty to find out where it is wrong." 

Papa laughed, and said : 

" My dear, don't you see that Doctor Droqville is mys- 
tifying us ?" 

I was rather glad, for I did not like it. I was vexed 
for mamma. Doctor Droqville's talk seemed to me an- 

" It is quite true, I am no logician ; I had better 
continue as I am. I make a tolerable physician ; if I 
became a preacher, with my defective ratiocination, I 
should inevitably lose myself and my audience in a laby- 
rinth. You make but a very short stay in town, I sup- 
pose ?" he broke off suddenly. " It isn't tempting, so 
many houses sealed a city of the dead. One does not 
like, madame, as your Doctor Johnson said to Mrs. Thrale. 
to come down to vacuity." 

" Well, it is only a visit of two or three days. My 
daughter Ethel is coming out next spring, and she came 
up to meet us here. I wish her to have a few weeks with 
masters, and there are more things to be thought of than 
you would suppose. Do you think there is anything a 
country miss would do well to read up that we might 
have forgotten ?" 

" Eead ? read ? Oh ! yes, two things." 

" What are they ?" 

"If she has a sound knowledge of the heathen 
mythology, and a smattering of the Bible, she'll do very 

"But she won't talk about the Bible," laughed papa; 
" people who like it, read it to themselves." 

" Very true," said Doctor Droqvilie, " you never 
mention it ; but, quite unconsciously, you are perpetually 

146 Willing to Die. 

alluding to it. Nothing strikes a stranger more, if he 
understands your language as I do. You had a note 
from Lady Lorrimer ?" 

" No"," said mamma. 

The word " note," I think, struck papa as implying 
that she was nearer than letter-writing distance, and he 
glanced quickly at Doctor Droqville. 

" And where is Lady Lorrimer now ?" asked papa. 

" That is what I came to tell you. She is at Mivart's. 
I told her you were in town, and I fancied you would 
have had a note from her ; but I thought I might as well 
look in and tell you." 

" She's quite well, I hope ?" said mamma. 

" Now did you ever, Mrs. Ware, in all your life, see 
her quite well ? I never did. She would lose all pleasure 
in life, if she thought she wasn't leaving it. She arrived 
last night, and summoned me to her at ten this morning. 
I felt her pulse. It was horribly regular. She had slept 
well, and breakfasted well, but that was all. In short, I 
found her suffering under her usual chronic attack of 
good health, and, as the case was not to be trifled with, I 
ordered her instantly some medicine which could not 
possibly produce any effect whatever ; and in that critical 
state I left her, with a promise to look in again in the 
afternoon to ascertain that the more robust symptoms 
were not gaining ground, and in the interval I came to 
see you and tell you all about it." 

*' I suppose, then, I should find her in her bed?" said 

" No ; I rather think she has postponed dying till after 
dinner she ordered a very good one and means to 
expire in her sitting-room, where you'll find her. And 
you have not been very well ?" 

" Eemember the story he has just told you of your 
aunt Lorrimer, and take care he doesn't tell her the same 
story of you," said papa, laughing. 

" I wish I could," said Doctor Droqville ; " few things 
would please me better. That pain in the nerves of the 
head is a very real torment." 

So he and mamma talked over her head-aches in an 
undertone for some minutes ; and while this was going on 

The Doctor's News. 147 

there came in a note for mamma. The servant was 
was waiting for an answer in the hall. 

" Shall I read it ?" said papa, holding it up by the 
corner. " It is Lady Lorrimer's, I'm sure." 

" Do, dear," said mamma, and she continued her con- 
fidences in Doctor Droqville's ear. 

Papa smiled a little satirically as he read it. He threw 
it across the table, saying : 

" You can read it, Ethel ; it concerns you rather." 

I was very curious. The hand was youthful and pretty, 
considering Lady Lorrimer's years. It was a whimpering, 
apathetic, selfish little note. She was miserable, she 
said, and had quite made up her mind that she could not 
exist in London smoke. She had sent for the doctor. 

She continued : "I shall make an effort to see you, if 
you can look in about three, for a few minutes. Have 
you any of your children with you ? If they are very 
quiet I should like to see them. It would amuse me. It 
is an age since I saw your little people, and I really forget 
their ages, and even their names. Say if I am to expect 
you at three. I have told the servant to wait." 

People who live in the country fancy themselves of more 
importance than they really are. I was mortified, and 
almost shocked at the cool sentences about " the little 
people," etc. 

" Well, you promise to be very quiet, won't you ? You 
won't pull the cat's tail, or light paper in the fire, or roar 
for plum-cake ?" said papa. 

" I don't think she wants to see us. I don't think she 
cares the least about us. Perhaps mamma won't go," I 
said, resentfully, hoping that she would not pay that 
homage to the insolent old woman. 

Doctor Droqville stood up, having written a prescription. 

" Well, I'm off; and I think this will do you a world of 
good. Can I do any commission for you about town ; I 
shall be in every possible direction in the next three hours ?" 

No, there was nothing ; and this man, whom I somehow 
liked less than ever, although he rather amused me, 
vanished, and we saw his cab drive by the window. 

" Well, here's her note. You'll go to see her, I suppose ?" 
said papa. 


148 Willing to Die. 

" Certainly ; I have a great affection for my aunt. She 
was very kind to me when there was no one else to care 
about me." 

Mamma spoke with more animation than I believed her 
capable of I thought I even saw tears in her eyes. It 
struck me that she did not like papa's tone in speaking 
about her. The same thing probably struck him. 

" You are quite right, darling, as you always are in a 
matter of feeling, and you'll take Ethel, won't you?" 

" Yes, I should like her to come." 

"And you know, if she should ask you, don't tell her 
I'm a bit better off than I really am. I have had some 
awful losses lately. I don't like bothering you about 
business, and it was no fault or negligence of mine ; 
but I really it is of very great importance she should 
not do anything less that she intended for you, or any- 
thing whimsical or unjust. I give you my honour there 
isn't a guinea to spare now, it would be a positive cruelty." 

Mamma looked at him, but she was by this time so 
accustomed to alarms of that kind that they did not make 
a very deep impression upon her. 

" I don't think she's likely to talk about such matters, 
dear," said mamma; " but if she should make any in- 
quiries, I shall certainly tell her the truth." 

I remembered Lady Lorrimer long ago at Malory. It 
was a figure seen in the haze of infancy, and remembered 
through the distance of many years. I recollect coming 
down the stairs, the nursery-maid holding me by the hand, 
and seeing a carriage and servants in the court before the 
door. I remember, as part of the same dream, sitting in 
the lap of a strange lady in the drawing-room, who left a 
vague impression of having been richly dressed, who talked 
to me in a sweet, gentle voice, and gave me toys, and 
whom I always knew to have been Lady Lorrimer. How 
much of this I actually saw, and how much was picked 
up with the vivid power of reproducing pictures from 
description that belongs to children, I cannot say ; but I 
always heard of Aunt Lorrimer afterwards with interest, 
and now at length I was about to see her. Her note had 
disappointed me, still I was curious. 



j|Y curiosity was soon gratified. After luncheon 
we drove to Mivart's, and there in her sitting- 
room I saw Lady Lorrimer. I was agreeably 
surprised. Her figure was still beautiful. She 
was, I believe, past sixty then ; but, like all our family 
whom I have ever seen, she looked a great deal younger 
than her years. I thought her very handsome, very like 
my idea of Mary Queen of Scots in her later years ; and 
her good looks palpably owed nothing to "making up." 
Her smile was very winning, and her eyes still soft and 
brilliant. Through so many years, her voice as she 
greeted us returned with a strange and very sweet recog- 
nition upon my ear. 

She put her arms about mamma's neck, and kissed her 
tenderly. In like manner she kissed me. She made me 
sit beside her on a sofa, and held my hands in hers. 
Mamma sat opposite in a chair. 

Lady Lorrimer might be very selfish lonely people 
often are ; but she certainly was very affectionate. There 
were tears in her fine eyes as she looked at me. It was 
not such a stare as a dealer might bestow on a picture, to 
which, as a child, I had sometimes been subjected by old 
friends in search of a likeness. By-and-by she talked 
of me. 

" The flight of my years is so silent," she said, with a 
sad smile to mamma, " that I forgot, as I wrote to you, 
how few are left me, and that Ethel is no longer a child. 
I think her quite lovely ; she is like what I remember you, 

150 Willing to Die. 

but it is only a likeness not the same ; she does not 
sacrifice her originality. I'm not afraid, dear, to say all 
that before you," she said, turning on me for a moment 
her engaging smile. " I think, Ethel, in this world, 
where people without a particle of merit are always 
pushing themselves to the front, young people who have 
beauty should know it. But, my dear," she said, look- 
ing on me again, "good looks don't last 'very long. 
Your mamma, there, keeps hers wonderfully; but look at 
me. I was once a pretty girl, as you are now ; and see 
what I am ! 

Le meme conrs des planetes 

Begle nos jours et nos nuits ; 
On me vit ce que vous etes, 
Vous serez ce que je suis.' 

So I qualify my agreeable truths with a little uncomfort- 
able morality. She'll be coming out immediately ?" 

Mamma told her, hereupon, all her plans about me. 

" And so sure as you take her out, her papa will be 
giving her away ; and, remember, I'm to give her her 
diamonds whenever she marries. You are to write to me 
whenever anything is settled, or likely to come about. 
They always know at my house here, when I am on my 
travels, where a letter will find me. No, you're not to 
thank me," she interrupted us. "I saw Lady Eiming- 
ton's, and I intend that your daughter's shall be a great 
deal better than hers." 

Our old Malory housekeeper, Eebecca Torlrill, had a 
saying, " Nothing so grateful as pride." I think I really 
liked my aunt Lorrimer better for her praises of my good 
looks than for her munificent intentions about my* bridal 
brilliants. But for either I could only show my pleasure 
by nay looks. I started up to thank her for her promised 
diamonds. But, as I told you, she would not hear a word, 
and drew me down gently with a smile again beside her. 

Then she talked, and mamma talked. For such a re- 
cluse, Lady Lorrimer was a wonderful gossip, and devoured 
all mamma's news, and told her old stories of all the old 
people who figured in such oral history. I must do her 
justice. There seemed to me to be no malice whatever in 
her stories. The comic was what she enjoyed most. Her 

Lady Lorrimer. 151 

lively pictures amused even me, who knew nothing of the 
originals ; and the longer I sat with her, the more con- 
fidence did I feel in her good-nature. 

A good deal of this conversation was all but whispered, 
and she had despatched me with her maid to look at some 
china she had brought home for her cabinets in London, 
at the other end of the room. When I returned their 
heads were still very near, and they were talking low with 
the same animation. I sat down again beside Lady 
Lorrimer. I had spun out my inspection of the china as 
long as I could. Lady Lorrimer patted my head gently, 
as I sat down again, without, I fancy, remembering at the 
moment that I had been away. She was answering, I 
think, a remark of mamma's, and upon a subject which 
had lain rather heavily at my heart since Monsieur Droq- 
ville's visit to our breakfast-table that morning. 

" I don't know," she said; "Monsieur Droqville is a 
clever physician, but it seems to me he has always made 
too much of Mr. Carmel's illness, or delicacy, or what- 
ever it is. I do not think Mr. Carmel is in any real 
danger I don't think there is anything seriously wrong 
with him more, in fact, than with any other thin young 
man, and now and then he has a cough. Three years 
ago, when I first made his acquaintance and what a 
charming creature he is ! Monsieur Droqville told me he 
could not live more than two years ; and this morning, 
when I asked how Mr. Carmel was, he allowed him three 
years still to live ; so if he goes on killing him at that 
easy rate, he may live as long as Old Parr. And now that 
I think of it, did you hear a rumour about Sir Harry ?" 

" There are so many Sir Harrys," said mamma. "Do 
you mean Sir Harry Bokestone ?" 

" Of course I mean Sir Harry Eokestone," she an- 
swered ; " have you heard anything of him ?" 

" Nothing, but the old story," said mamma. 

" And what is that ?" asked Lady Lorrimer. 

" Only that he hates us with all his heart and soul, and 
never loses an opportunity of doing us all the mischief he 
can. He has twice prevented my husband getting into the 
House and cost him a great deal more money than he 
could afford ; and he has had opportunities, from those 

152 Willing to Die. 

old money dealings that you know of between the two 
families, of embarrassing my poor husband most cruelly. 
If you knew what enormous law expenses we have been 
put to, and all the injuries he has done us, you would say 
that you never heard of anything so implacable, so malig- 
nant, and " 

" So natural," said Lady Lorrirner. " I don't mean to 
fight Sir Harry Eokestone's battle for him. I dare say 
he has been stern and vindictive ; he was a proud, fierce 
man ; and, my dear Mabel, you treated him very ill ; so 
did Francis Ware. If he treats you as you have treated 
him, nothing can be much worse. I always liked him 
better than your husband ; he was better, and is better. 
I use the privilege of an old kinswoman ; and I say 
nothing could have been more foolish than your treatment 
of him, except your choice of a husband. I think Francis 
Ware is one of those men who never ought to have mar- 
ried. He is a clever man ; but in some respects, and 
these of very great importance, he has always acted like 
a fool. Harry Eokestone was worth twenty of him, and 
would have made a much better husband than ever he did. 
I always thought he was the handsomer man ; he had 
twice the real ability of Francis Ware ; he had all the 
masculine attributes of mind. I say nothing about his 
immensely superior wealth ; that you chose to regard as 
a point quite unworthy of consideration. The only thing 
not in his favour was that he was some years older." 

" Twenty years nearly," said mamma. 

" Well, my dear, a man with his peculiar kind of good 
looks, and his commanding character, wears better than 
a younger man. You recollect the answer of the old 
French mareschal to the young petit-maitre who asked 
him his age. * Je ne vous le dirai pas precisement ; mats 
soyez sur qu'un dne est jilus age a vingt ans qiCun homme ne 
I'est a soixante.' I don't say that the term would have 
fairly described Francis Ware. I know very well he was 
brilliant; but those talents, if there are no more solid 
gifts to support them, grow less and less suitable as men 
get into years, until they become frivolous. However, I 
am sure that Harry Eokestone does hate you both ; and 
he's just the man to make his hatred felt. The time has 

Lorrimer. 153 

passed for forgiveness. When the fire of romance has 
expired, the metal that might have taken another shape 
cools down and hardens in the mould. He will never 
forgive or change, I am afraid ; and you must both lay 
your account with his persevering animosity. But, you 
say, you haven't heard any story about him lately ?" 

" No, nothing 1 ." 

" Well, old Mrs. Jennings, of Golden Friars, sometimes 
writes to me, and she says he is going to marry that rich 
spinster, Miss Goulding of Wrybiggins. She only says 
she hears so ; and I thought you might know." 

" I should not wonder it is not at all an unlikely 
thing. I don't see that they could do better ; there's 
nothing to prevent it, so far as I can see." 

But although mamma thus applauded the arrangement, 
I could see that in her inmost heart she did not like it. 
There is something of desertion in these late marriages of 
long-cast-off lovers, who have worshipped our shadows in 
secret, through lonely years ; and I could see dimly a sad 
little mortification in mamma's pretty face. 

As we drove home I mused over Lady Lorrimer. The 
only disagreeable recollection that disturbed my pleasant 
retrospect was that part of her conversation that referred 
to papa. She said she " used the privilege of an old 
kinswoman." I should have said abused it rather. But 
mamma did not seem to resent it I suppose they were 
on terms to discuss him ; and they either forgot me, or 
thought 1 had no business to be in the way. In every 
other respect, I was very much pleased with my visit, as 
I well might be. She was much more clever than I 
expected, more animated, more fascinating. I was haunted 
with the thought how lovely she must have been when 
she was young ! 

" Don't a great many older women than Lady Lorrimer 
go out a great deal ?" I asked. 

" Yes," answered mamma, " but they have young 
people to take out very often." 

" But papa mentioned some this morning, who are 
everywhere, and never chaperon any one." 

" I suppose they enjoy it, as they can't live without it. 
Pull up that window, dear." 

164 Willing to Die. 

"I wonder very much she doesn't go out; she's so 
handsome, really beautiful, considering her years, I think; 
and so very agreeable." 

" I suppose she doesn't care," she answered, a little 

"But she complained of being lonely," I resumed, 
" and I thought she sighed when she spoke of my coming 
out, as if she would like a look at the gay world again." 

" My dear, you bore me ; I suppose Lady Lorrimer will 
do, with respect to that, as she does about everything else 
precisely what pleases her best." 

These words mamma spoke in a way that very plainly 
expressed : " Now you have heard, once for all, everything 
I mean to say on this subject; and you will be good 
enough to talk and think of something quite different." 



j|E had promised to go and see Lady Lorrimer again 
next day at the same hour. My head was still 
full of her. Mamma did not come down to 
breakfast ; so I interrupted papa at his news- 
paper to sound him, very much as I had sounded her. 

" Why doesn't she stay at home, and go out ?" he re- 
peated, smiling faintly as he did so. "I suppose she un- 
derstands her own business ; I can't say but you mustn't 
say anything of that kind before her. She has done some 
foolish things, and got herself talked about ; and you'll 
hear it all, I daresay, time enough. She's not a bit worse 
than other people, but a much greater fool ; so don't ask 
people those questions, it would vex your mamma, and do 
nobody any good, do you see ?" 

Shortly after this, Miss Pounden came down to tell me 
that we were not going to see Lady Lorrimer that day. I 
was horribly disappointed, and ran up to the drawing- 
room, where mamma then was, to learn the cause of our 
visit being put off. 

" Here, dear, is my aunt's note," she said, handing it 
to me, and scarcely interrupting her consultation with her 
maid about the millinery they were discussing. It was 
open, and I read these words : 

" MY DEAR MABEL, I must say good-bye a little earlier 
than I had intended. My plans are upset. I find my 
native air insupportable, and fly northward for my life ! 
I am thinking at present of Buxton for a few days ; the 
weather is so genial here, that my doctor tells me I may 

156 Willing to Die. 

find it still endurable in that cold region. It grieves me 
not to see your dear faces before I go. Do not let your 
pretty daughter forget me. I may, it is just possible, 
return through London so we may meet soon again. I 
shall have left Mivart's and begun my journey before this 
note reaches you. God bless you, my dear Mabel ! Your 
affectionate AUNT." 

So she was actually gone ! What a dull day it would 
be ! Well, there was no good in railing at fate. But was 
I ever to see that charming lady more ? 

In my drive that day with Miss Pounden, thinking it 
was just possible that Lady Lorrimer, whimsical as she 
was said to be, might have once more changed her mind, 
I called at Mivart's to inquire. She was no longer there. 
She had left with bag and baggage, and all her servants, 
that morning at nine o'clock. I had called with very 
little hope of finding that her journey had been delayed, 
and I drove away with even that small hope extinguished. 
She was my Mary, Queen of Scots. She had done some- 
thing too rash and generous for the epicurean, sarcastic, 
and specious society of London. From the little that 
papa had said, I conjectured that Lady Lorrirner's secession 
from society was not quite voluntary ; but she interested 
me all the more. In my dull life the loss of my new 
acquaintance so soon was a real blow. Mamma was not 
much of a companion to me. She liked to talk of people 
she knew, and to people who knew them. Except what 
concerned my dress and accomplishments, we had as yet 
no topics in common. 

Dear Laura Grey, how I missed you now ! The resent- 
ment I had felt at first was long since quite lost in my 
real sorrow, and there remained nothing but affectionate 

I take up the thread of my personal narrative where I 
dropped it on the day of my ineffectual visit at Lady 
Lorrimer's hotel. In the afternoon Doctor Droqville came 
to see mamma. He had been to see Lady Lorrimer that 
morning, just before she set out on her journey. 

" She was going direct to Buxton, as she hinted to you," 
said Doctor Droqville, " and I advised her to make a 
week's stay there. When she leaves it, she says she is 

What can she mean ? 157 

going on to Westmoreland, and to stay for a fortnight or 
three weeks at Golden Friars. She's fanciful ; there was 
gout in her family, and she is full of gouty whims and 
horrors. She is as well as a woman of her years need be, 
if she would only believe it." 

"Have you heard lately from Mr. Carmel ?" asked 

I listened with a great deal of interest for the answer. 

" Yes, I heard this morning," he replied. " He's in 

" Not at Malory ?" said mamma. 

" No, not at Malory ; a good way from Malory." 

I should have liked to ask how long he had been in 
Wales, for I had been secretly offended at his apparent 
neglect of me ; but I could not muster courage for the 

Next morning I took it into my head that I should like 
a walk ; and with mamma's leave, Miss Pounden and I 
set out, of course keeping among the quiet streets in the 
neighbourhood. While, as we walked, I was in high chat 
with Miss Pounden, who was chiefly a listener, and some- 
times, I must admit, a rather absent one, I raised my eyes 
and could scarcely believe their report. Not ten yards 
away, walking up the flagged way towards us, were two 
figures. One was Lady Lorrimer I was certain. She was 
dressed in a very full velvet cloak, and had a small book 
in her hand. At her left, at a distance of more than a 
yard, walked a woman in a peculiar costume. This woman 
looked surly, and stumped beside her with a limp, as if 
one leg were shorter than the other. They approached 
at a measured pace, looking straight before them, and 
in total silence. 

My eyes were fixed on Lady Lorrimer with a smile, 
which I every moment expected would be answered by 
one of recognition from her. But no such thing. She 
must have seen me ; but nearer and nearer they came. 
They never deviated from their line of march. Lady 
Lorrimer continued to look straight before her. It was 
the sternest possible " cut," insomuch that I felt actually 
incredulous, and began to question my first identifica- 
tion. Her velvet actually brushed my dress as I stood 

158 Willing to Die. 

next the railings. She passed me with her head high, 
and the same stony look. 

" Shall we go on, dear ?" asked Miss Pounden, who did 
not understand why we had come to a standstill. 

I moved on in silence ; but the street being a very quiet 
one, I turned about for a last look. I saw them ascend 
the steps of a house, and at the same moment the door 
opened, and Mr. Carmel came out, with his hat in his 
hand, and followed the two ladies in. The door was 
then shut. We resumed our walk homeward. We had 
a good many streets to go through, and I did not know 
my way. I was confounded, and walked on in utter 
silence, looking down in confused rumination on the flags 
under my feet. 

Till we got home I did not say a word; and then I 
sat down in my room, and meditated on that odd occur- 
rence, as well as my perturbation would let me. It was 
a strange mixture of surprise, doubt, and intense mor- 
tification. It was very stupid of me not to have ascer- 
tained at the time the name of the street which was 
the scene of this incident. Miss Pounden had never 
seen either Lady Lorrimer or Mr. Carmel; and the 
occurrence had not made the least impression upon her. 
She could not therefore help me, ever so little, next 
day, to recover the name of the street in which I had 
stood still for a few seconds, looking at she knew not what. 
There was just a film of doubt, derived from the inexpli- 
cable behaviour of the supposed Lady Lorrimer. When 
I told mamma, she at first insisted it was quite impossible. 
But, as I persisted, and went into detail, she said it was 
very odd. She was thoughtful for a little time, and sighed. 
Then she made me repeat all I had told her, and seemed 
very uncomfortable, but did not comment upon it. At 
length she said : 

" You must promise me. Ethel, not to say a word about 
it to your papa. It would only lead to vexation. I have 
good reasons for thinking so. Speak of it to no one. Let 
the matter rest. I don't think I shall ever understand 
some people. But let us talk about it no more." 

And with this charge the subject dropped. 



AMMA did not remain long in town. Bleak as 
the weather now was, she and papa went to 
Brighton for a fortnight. They then went, for 
a few days, to Malory ; and from that, north- 
ward, to Golden Friars. I dare say papa would have 
liked to find Lady Loorrimer there. I don't know that 
he did. 

I, meanwhile, was left in the care of Miss Pounden, who 
made a very staid and careful chaperon. I danced every 
day, and pounded a piano, and sang a little, and spoke 
French incessantly to Miss Pounden. My spirits were 
sustained by the consciousness that I was very soon to 
come out. I was not entirely abandoned to Miss Pounden's 
agreeable society. Mr. Carmel re-appeared. Three times 
a week he came in and read, and spoke Italian with me 
for an hour, Miss Pounden sitting by at least, she was 
supposed to be sitting there on guard but she really was 
as often out of the room as in it. One day I said to him : 

" You know Lady Lorrirner, my aunt ?" 

" Yes," he answered, carelessly. 

" Did you know she was my aunt ?" 

" Your great-aunt, yes." 

" I wonder, then, why you never mentioned her to me," 
said I. 

" There is nothing to wonder at," he replied, with a 
smile. " Respecting her, I have no curiosity, and nothing 
to tell." 

" Oh ! But you must know something about herever 

160 Willing to Die. 

so little and I really know nothing. Why does she lead 
so melancholy a life ?" 

" She has sickened of gaiety, I have been told." 
" There's something more than that," I insisted. 
" She's not young, you know, and society is a laborious 

' ' There's some reason; none of you will tell me," I 
said. " I used to tell every one everything, until I fonnd 
that no one told me anything ; now I say, ' Ethel, seal 
your lips, and open your ears ; don't you be the only fool 
in this listening, sly, suspicious world.' But, if you'll tell 
nothing else, at least you'll tell me this. "What were you 
all about when you opened the door of a house, in some 
street not far from this, to Lady Lorrimer, and an odd- 
looking woman who was walking beside her, on the day 
after she had written to mamma to say she had actually 
left London. What was the meaning of that deception ?" 

" I don't know whether Lady Lorrimer out-stayed the 
time of her intended departure or not," he answered ; 
" she would write what she pleased, and to whom she 
pleased, without telling me. And now I must tell you, if 
Lady Lorrimer had confided a harmless secret to me, I 
should not betray it by answering either ' yes' or ' no' to 
any questions. Therefore, should you question me upon 
any such subject, you must not be offended if I am 

I was vexed. 

" One thing you must tell me," I persisted. " I have 
been puzzling myself over her very odd looks that day ; 
and also over the odd manner and disagreeable counte- 
nance of the woman who was walking at her side. Is 
Lady Lorrimer, at times, a little out of her mind ?" 

"'Who suggested that question ?" he asked, fixing his 
eyes suddenly on me. 

" Who suggested it ?" I repeated. " No one. People, 
I suppose, can ask their own questions." 

I was surprised and annoyed, and I suppose looked so. 
I continued : " That woman looked like a keeper, I fan- 
cied, and Lady Lorrimer I don't know what it was but 
there was something so unaccountable about her." 

" I don't know a great deal of Lady Lorrimer, but I am 

A Semi-quarrel. 161 

grateful to her for, at least, one great kindness, that of 
having introduced me to your family," he said; "and I 
can certainly testify that there is no clearer mind any- 
where. No suspicion of that kind can approach her ; she 
is said to be one of the cleverest, shrewdest intellects, and 
the most cultivated, you can imagine. But people say 
she is an esprit fort, and believes in nothing. It does not 
prevent her doing a kind office for a person such as I. 
She has more charity than many persons who make loud 
professions of faith." 

I had felt a little angry at this short dialogue. He was 
practising reserve, and he looked at one time a little stern, 
and unlike himself. 

" But I want to ask you a question only one more," I 
said, for I wished to clear up my doubts. 

" Certainly," he said, more like himself. 

" About my meeting Lady Lorrimer that day, and 
seeing you, as I told you." I paused, and he simply sat 
listening. " My question," I continued, " is this I may 
as well tell you ; the whole thing appeared to me so un- 
accountable that I have been ever since doubting the 
reality of what I saw ; and I want you simply to tell me 
whether it did happen as I have described ?" 

At this renewed attack, Mr. Carmel's countenance un- 
derwent no change, even the slightest, that could lead me 
to an inference ; he said, with a smile : 

" It might, perhaps, be the easiest thing in the world 
for me to answer distinctly, ' no ;' but I remember that 
Dean Swift, when asked a certain question, said that Lord 
Somers had once told him never to give a negative 
answer, although truth would warrant it, to a question of 
that kind ; because, if he made that his habit, when he 
could give a denial, whenever he declined to do so, would 
amount to an admission. I think that a wise rule, and 
all such questions I omit to answer." 

" That is an evasion," I replied, in high indignation. 

" Forgive me, it is no evasion it is simply silence." 
" You know it is cowardly, and indirect, and charac- 
teristic," I persisted, in growing wrath. 
He was provokingly serene. 

" Well, let me give you another reason for silence re- 


162 Willing to Die. 

specting Lady Lorrimer. Your mamma has specially 
requested me to keep silence on the subject ; and in your 
case, Miss Ethel, her daughter, can I consider that request 
otherwise than as a command ?" 

" Not comprehending casuistry, I don't quite see how 
your promise to papa, to observe silence respecting the 
differences of the two Churches, is less binding than your 
promise to mamma of silence respecting Lady Lorrimer." 
" Will you allow me to answer that sarcasm ?" he 
asked, flushing a little. 

" How I hate hypocrisy and prevarication !" I repeated, 
rising even above my old level of scorn. 

"I have been perfectly direct," he said, "upon that 
subject ; for the reason I have mentioned, I can't and 
won't speak." 

" Then for the present, I think, we shall talk upon no 
other," I said, getting up, going out of the room, and 
treating him at the door to a haughty little bow. 
So we parted for that day. 

I understood Mr. Carmel, however ; I knew that he had 
acted as he always did when he refused to do what other 
people wished, from a reason that was not to be overcome ; 
and I don't recollect that I ever renewed my attack. We 
were on our old terms in a day or two. Between the 
stanzas of Tasso, often for ten minutes unobserved, he 
talked upon the old themes eternity, faith, the Church, 
the saints, the Blessed Virgin. He supplied me with 
books ; but this borrowing and lending was secret as the 
stolen correspondence of lovers. 

I have thought over that strange period of my life : the 
little books that wrought such wonders, the spell of whose 
power is broken now ; the tone of mind induced by them, 
by my solitude, my agitations, the haunting affections of 
the dead ; and all these influences re-acting again upoi 
the cold and supernatural character of Mr. Carmel's talk. 
My exterior life had been going on, the rural monotony of 
Malory, its walks, its boating, its little drives ; and now 
the dawning ambitions of a more vulgar scene, the town 
life, the excitement of a new world were opening. But 
among these realities, ever recurring, and dominating all, 
there seemed to be ever present a stupendous vision ! 

A Semi-quarrel. 168 

So it seemed to me my life was divided between frivolous 
realities and a gigantic trance. Into this I receded every 
now and then, alone and unwatched. The immense per- 
spective of a towering cathedral aisle seemed to rise before 
me, shafts and ribbed stone, lost in smoke of incense 
floating high in air; mitres and gorgeous robes, and 
golden furniture of the altar, and chains of censers and 
jewelled shrines, glimmering far off in the tapers' star- 
light, and the inspired painting of the stupendous Sacrifice 
reared above the altar in dim reality. I fancied I could 
hear human voices, plaintive and sublime as the aerial 
choirs heard high over dying saints and martyrs by faith- 
ful ears ; and the mellow thunder of the organ rolling 
through unseen arches above. Sometimes, less dimly, I 
could see the bowed heads of myriads of worshippers, "a 
great multitude, which no man could number, of all 
nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues." It 
was, to my visionary senses, the symbol of the Church. 
Always the self-same stupendous building, the same sounds 
and sights, the same high-priest and satellite bishops ; but 
seen in varying lights now in solemn beams, striking 
down and crossing the shadow in mighty bars of yellow, 
crimson, green, and purple through the stained windows, 
and now in the dull red gleam of the tapers. 

Was I more under the influence of religion in this 
state ? I don't believe I was. My imagination was ex- 
alted, my anxiety was a little excited, and the subject 
generally made me more uncomfortable than it did before. 
Some of the forces were in action which might have 
pushed me, under other circumstances, into a decided 
course. One thing, which logically had certainly no 
bearing upon the question, did affect me, I now know, 
powerfully. There was a change in Mr. Carmel's manner 
which wounded me, and piqued my pride. I used to think 
he took an interest in Ethel Ware. He seemed now to 
feel none, except in the discharge of his own missionary 
duties, and I fancied that, if it had not been for his 
anxiety to acquit himself of a task imposed by others, 
and exacted by his conscience, I should have seen no more 
of Mr. Carmel. 
I was a great deal too proud to let him perceive my re- 


164 Willing to Die. 

sentment I was just as usual I trifled and laughed, 
read my Italian, and made blunders, and asked questions ; 
and, in those intervals of which I have spoken, I listened 
to what he had to say, took the books he offered, and 
thanked him with a smile, but with no great fervour. The 
temperature of our town drawing-room was perceptibly 
cooler than that of Malory, and the distance between our 
two chairs had appreciably increased. Nevertheless, we 
were apparently, at least, very good friends. 

But terms like these are sometimes difficult to maintain. 
I was vexed at his seeming to acquiesce so easily in my 
change of manner, which, imperceptible to any one else, 
I somehow knew could not be hidden from him. I had 
brought down, and laid on the drawing-room table at 
which we sat, the only book which I then had belonging 
to Mr. Carmel. It was rather a dark day. Something in 
the weather made me a little more cross than usual. Miss 
Pounden was, according to her wont, flitting to and fro, 
and not minding in the least what we read or said. I laid 
down my Tasso, and laughed. Mr. Carmel looked at me 
a little puzzled. 

rt That, I think, is the most absurd stanza we have 
read. I ought, I suppose, to say the most sublime. But 
it is as impossible to read it without laughing as to read 
the rest without yawning." 

I said this with more scorn than I really felt, but it 
certainly was one of those passages in which good Homer 
nods. A hero's head is cut off, I forget his name a 
kinsman, I daresay, of Saint Denis ; and he is so engrossed 
with the battle that he forgets his loss, and goes on fight- 
ing for some time. 

" I hope it is not very wrong, and very stupid, but I 
so tired of the Gerusalemme Liber ata" 

He looked at me for a moment or two. I think he di 
not comprehend the spirit in which I said all this, but 
perhaps he suspected something of it he looked a little 

" But, I hope, you are not tired of Italian ? There are 
other authors." 

" Yes, so there are. I should like Ariosto, I daresay. I 
like fairy-tales, and that is the reason, I think, I like read- 

A Semi-quarrel. 165 

ing the lives of the saints, and the other books yon have 
been so kind as to lend me." 

I said this quite innocently, but there was a great deal 
of long-husbanded cruelty in it. He dropped his fine 
eyes to the table, and leaned for a short time on his hand. 

" Well, even so, it is something gained to have read 
them," meditated Mr. Carmel, and looking up at me, he 
added, " and we never know by what childish instincts 
and simple paths we may be led to the sublimest eleva- 

There was so much gentleness in his tone and looks 
that my heart smote me. My momentary compunction, 
however, did not prevent my going on, now that I had got 
fairly afloat. 

"I have brought down the book you were so kind as to 
lend me last week. I am sure it is very eloquent, but 
there's so much I cannot understand." 

" Can I explain anything ?" he began, taking up the 
book at the same time. 

" I did not mean that no. I was going to return it, 
with my very best thanks," I said. " I have been reading 
a great deal that is too high for me books meant for 
wiser people and deeper minds than mine." 

" The mysteries of faith remain, for all varieties of 
mind, mysteries still," he answered sadly. " No human 
vision can pierce the veil. I do not flatter you, but I 
have met with no brighter intelligence than yours. In 
death the scales will fall from our eyes. Until then, yea 
must be yea, and nay, nay, and let us be patient." 

" I don't know, Mr. Carinel, that I ought to read these 
books without papa's consent. I have imperceptibly glided 
into this kind of reading. I will tell you about Sweden- 
borg,' you said ; ' we must not talk of Kome or Luther 
we can't agree, and they are forbidden subjects,' do you 
remember ? And then you told me what an enemy Swe- 
denborg was of the Catholic Church you remember that ? 
And then you read me what he said about vastation, as 
he calls it ; and you lent me the book to read ; and when 
you took it back, you explained to me that his account of 
vastation differs in no respect from purgatory ; and in the 
same way, when I read the legends of the saints, you told 

166 Willing to Die. 

me a great deal more of your doctrine ; and in the same 
way, also, you discussed those beautiful old hymns, so 
that in a little while, although, as you said, Eome and 
Luther were forbidden subjects, or rather names, I found 
myself immersed in a controversy, which I did not under- 
stand, with a zealous and able priest. You have been 
artful, Mr. Carrnel!" 

" Have I been artful in trying to save you ?" he answered 

"You would not, I think, practise the same arts with 
other people you treat me like a fool," I said. " You 
would not treat that Welsh lady so, whom you visit I 
mean I really forget her name, but you remember all 
about her." 

He rose unconsciously, and looked for a minute from 
the window. 

" A good priest," he said, returning, " is no respecter of 
persons. Blessed should I be if I could beguile a be- 
nighted traveller into safety ! Blessed and happy were 
my lot if I could die in the endeavour thus to save one 
human soul bent on self-destruction !" 

His answer vexed me. The theological level on which 
he placed all human souls did not please me. After all 
our friendly evenings at Malory, I did not quite under- 
stand his being, as he seemed to boast, no " respecter of 

" I am sure that it is quite right," I said, carelessly, 
" and very prudent, too, because, if you were to lose your 
life in converting me, or a Hottentot chief, or anyone slse, 
you would, you think, go straight to heaven ; so, after all, 
the wish is not altogether too heroic for this selfish world." 

He smiled ; but there was doubt, I thought, in the eyes 
which he turned for a moment upon me. 

" Our motives are so mixed," he said, "and death, 
besides, is to some men less than happier people think ; 
my life has been austere and afflicted ; and what remains 
of it will, I know, be darker. I see sometimes where all 
is drifting. I never was so happy, and I never shall be, 
as I have been for a time at Malory. I shall see that 
place perhaps no more. Happy the people whose annals 
are dull!" he smiled. " How few believe that well-worn 

A Semi-quarrel. 167 

saying in their own case ! Yet, Miss Ethel, when you 
left Malory, you left quiet behind you, perhaps for ever !" 

He was silent ; I said nothing. The spirit of what he 
had said echoed, though he knew it not, the forebodings 
of my own heart. The late evening sun was touching 
with its slanting beams the houses opposite, and the cold 
grimy brick in which the dingy taste of our domestic 
architecture some forty years before delighted ; and as I 
gazed listlessly from my chair, through the window, on 
the dismal formality of the street, I saw in the same sun- 
light nothing of those bricks and windows : I saw Malory 
and the church-tower, the trees, the glimmering blue of 
the estuary, the misty mountains, all fading in the dreamy 
quietude of the declining light, and I sighed. 

"Well, then," he said, closing the book, "we close- 
Tasso here. If you care to try Ariosto, I shall be only too 
happy. Shall we commence to-morrow ? And as for our 
other books, those I mean that you were good enough to 
read " 

" I'm not afraid of them," I said : " we shan't break our 
old Malory custom yet ; and I ought to be very grateful 
to you, Mr. Carmel." 

His countenance brightened, but the unconscious re- 
proach of his wounded look still haunted me. And after 
he was gone, with a confusion of feelings which I could not 
have easily analysed, I laid my hands over my eyes, and 
cried for some time bitterly. 



REMEMBEE so vividly the night of my first 
ball. The excitement of the toilet; mamma's 
and the maid's consultations and debates ; 
the tremulous anticipations ; the " pleasing 
terror ;" the delightful, anxious flutter, and my final look 
in the tall glass. I hardly knew myself. I gazed at my- 
self with the irrepressible smile of elation. 1 never had 
looked so well. There are degrees of that delightful excite- 
ment that calls such tints to girlish cheeks, and such fire. 
to the eyes, as visit them no more in our wiser after-life, 
The enchantment wanes, and the flowers and brilliants fade 
and we soon cease to see them. I went down to the 
drawing-room to wait for mamma. The candles were 
lighted, and whom should I find there but Mr. Carmel ? 

" I asked your mamma's leave to come and see you 
dressed for your first ball," he said. " How very pretty 
it all is !" 

He surveyed me, smiling with a melancholy pride, it 
seemed to me, in my good looks and brilliant dress. 

" No longer, and never more, the Miss Ethel of my quiet 
Malory recollections. Going out at last ! If any one can 
survive the ordeal and come forth scathless, you, I think, 
will. But to me it seems that this is a farewell, and that 
my pupil dies to-night, and a new Miss Ethel returns. 
You cannot help it ; all the world cannot prevent it, if so 
it is to be. As an old friend, I knew I might bring you 

My Bouquet. 169 

" Oh, Mr. Carmel, what beautiful flowers !" I ex- 

It was certainly an exquisite bouquet ; one of those 
beautiful and costly offerings that perish in an hour, and 
seems to me like the pearl thrown into the cup of wine. 

"lam so grateful. It was so kind of you. It is too 
splendid a great deal. It is quite impossible that there 
can be anything like it in the room." 

I was really lost in wonder and admiration, and I 
suppose looked delighted. I was pleased that the flowers 
should have come from Mr. Carmel's hand. 

II If you think that the flowers are worthy of you, you 
think more highly than I do of them," he answered, with 
a smile that was at once sad and pleased. " I am such 
an old friend, you know ; a month at quiet Malory counts 
for a year anywhere else. And as you say of the flowers, 
I may say more justly of my pupil, there will be no one 
like her there. It is the compensation of being such as I, 
that we may speak frankly, like good old women, and no 
one be offended. And, oh, Miss Ethel, may God grant 
they be not placed like flowers upon a sacrifice or on the 
dead. Do not forgot your better thoughts. You are 
entering scenes of illusion, where there is little charity, 
and almost no sincerity, where cruel feelings are instilled, 
the love of flattery and dominion awakened, and all the 
evil and enchantments of the world beset you. En- 
courage those good thoughts ; watch and pray, or a pain- 
less and even pleasant death sets in, and no one can 
arrest it." 

How my poor father would have laughed at such an 
exhortation at the threshold of a ball-room ! No doubt it 
had its comic side, but not for me, and that was all Mr. 
Carmel cared for. 

This was a ball at an official residence, and besides the 
usual muster, Cabinet and other Ministers would be there, 
and above all, that judicious rewarder of public virtue, 
and instructor of the conscience of the hustings, the 
patronage secretary of the Treasury. Papa had at last 
discovered a constituency which he thought promised 
success, he had made it a point, of course, to go to places 
where he had opportunities for a talk with that important 

170 Willing to Die. 

personage. Papa was very sanguine, and now, as usual, 
whenever lie had a project of that kind on hand, was in 
high spirits. 

He came into the drawing-room. He always seemed to 
me as if he did not quite know whether he liked or disliked 
Mr. Carmel. Whenever I saw them together, he appeared 
to me, like Mrs. Malaprop, to begin with a little aversion, 
and gradually to become more and more genial. He 
greeted Mr. Carmel a little coldly, and brightened as he 
looked on me ; he was evidently pleased with me, and 
talked me over with myself very good-humouredly. I took 
care to show him my flowers. He could not help admiring 

" These are the best flowers I have seen anywhere. 
How did you contrive to get them ? Eeally, Mr. Carmel, 
you are a great deal too kind. I hope Ethel thanked you. 
Ethel, you ought really to tell Mr. Carmel how very much 
obliged you are." 

" Oh ! she has thanked me a great deal too much ; she 
has made me quite ashamed," said he. 

And so we talked on, waiting for mamma, and I remem- 
ber papa said he wondered how Mr. Carmel, who had 
lived in Losdon and at Oxford, and at other places, where 
in one kind of life or another one really does live, contrived 
to exist month after month at Malory, and he drew an 
amusing and cruel picture of its barbarism and the naked- 
ness of the town of Cardyllion. Mr. Carmel took up the 
cudgels for both, and I threw in a word wherever I had one 
to say. I remember this laughing debate, because it led to 
this little bit of dialogue. 

"I fortunately never bought many things there two 
brushes, I remember ; all their hairs fell out, and they were 
bald before the combs they sent for to London arrived. If 
I had been dependent on the town of Cardyllion, I should 
have been reduced to a state of utter simplicity." 

" Oh, but I assure you, papa, they have a great many 
very nice things at Jones's shop in Castle Street," I re- 

" Certainly not for one's dressing room. There are 
tubs at the regattas, and sponges at their dinners, I dare- 
say," papa began, in a punning vein. 

My Ijoitquet. 171 

" But you'll admit that London supplies no such cos- 
metics as Malory," said Mr. Carmel, with a kind glance 
at me. 

" Well, you have me there, I admit," laughed papa, 
looking very pleasantly at me, who, no doubt, was at that 
moment the centre of many wild hopes of his. 

Mamma came down now ; there was no time to lose. 
My heart bounded, half with fear. Mr. Carmel came 
downstairs with us, and saw us into the carriage. He 
stood at the door-steps smiling, his short cloak wrapped 
about him, his hat in his hand. Now the horses made 
their clattering scramble forward; the carriage was in 
motion. Mr. Carmel's figure, in the attitude of his last 
look, receded; he was gone; it was like a farewell to 
Malory, and we were rolling on swiftly towards the ball- 
room, and a new life for me. 

I am not going to describe this particular ball, nor my 
sensations on entering this new world, so artificial and 
astonishing. What an arduous life, with its stupendous 
excitement, fatigues, and publicity ! There were in the 
new world on which I was entering, of course, personal 
affections and friendships, as among all other societies of 
human beings. But the canons on which it governs itself 
are, it seemed to me, inimical to both. The heart gives 
little, and requires little there. It assumes nothing deeper 
than relations of acquaintance ; and there is no time to 
bestow on any other. It is the recognised business of 
every one to enjoy, and if people have pains or misfortunes 
they had best keep them to themselves, and smile. No 
one has a right to be ailing or unfortunate, much less to 
talk as if he were so, in that happy valley. Such people 
are " tainted wethers of the flock," and are bound to 
abolish themselves forthwith. No doubt kind things are 
done, and charitable, by people who live in it. But they 
are no more intended to see the light of that life than Mr. 
Snake's good-natured actions were. This dazzling micro- 
cosm, therefore, must not be expected to do that which it 
never undertook. Its exertions in pursuit of pleasure are 
enormous ; its exhaustion prodigious ; the necessary re- 
storative cycle must not be interrupted by private agonies, 
small or great. If that were permitted, who could recruit 

172 Willing to Die. 

for his daily task ? I am relating, after an interval of very 
many years, the impressions of a person who, then very 
young, was a denizen of " the world " only for a short 
time ; but the application of these principles of selfishness 
seemed to me sometimes ghastly. 

One thing that struck me very much in a little time was 
that society, as it is termed, was so limited in numbers. 
You might go everywhere, it seemed to me, and see, as 
nearly as possible, the same people night after night. The 
same cards always, merely shuffled. This, considering 
the size and wealth of England and of London, did seem 
to me unaccountable. 

My first season, like that of every girl who is admired 
and danced with a great deal, was glorified by illusions, 
chief among which was that the men who danced with me 
as they could every night did honestly adore me. We 
learn afterwards how much and how little those triumphs 
mean ; that new faces are liked simply because they are 
new ; and that girls are danced with because they are the 
fashion and dance well. I am not boasting I was ad- 
mired ; and papa was in high good-humour and spirits. 
There is sunshine even in that region ; like winter suns, 
bright but cold, Such as it is, let the birds of that 
enchanted forest enjoy it while it lasts; flutter their wings 
and sing in its sheen, for it may not be for long. 



|Y readings with Mr. Carmel totally ceased ; in 
fact, there was no time for any but that one 
worship which now absorbed me altogether. 
Every now and then, however, he was in London, 
and mamma, in the drawing-room, used at times to con- 
verse with him, in so low a tone, so earnestly and so long, 
that I used to half suspect her of making a shrift, and 
receiving a whispered absolution. Mamma, indeed, stood 
as it were with just one foot upon the very topmost point 
of our "high church," ready to spread her wings, and to 
float to the still more exalted level of the cross on the dome 
of St. Peter's. But she always hesitated when the moment 
for making the aerial ascent arrived, and was still trembling 
in her old attitude on her old pedestal. 

I don't think mamma's theological vagaries troubled 
papa. Upon all such matters he talked like a good-natured 
Sadducee ; and if religion could have been carried on 
without priests, I don't think he would have objected to 
any of its many forms. 

Mamma had Mr. Carmel to luncheon often, during his 
stay in town. Whenever he could find an opportunity, he 
talked with me. He struggled hard to maintain his hold 
upon me. Mamma seemed pleased that he should ; yet I 
don't think that she had made up her mind even upon my 
case. I daresay, had I then declared myself a "Catholic,'* 
she would have been in hysterics. Her own religious state, 
just then, I could not perfectly understand. I don't think 
she did. She was very uncomfortable about once a fort- 

174= Willing to Die. 

night. Her tremors returned when a cold or any other 
accident had given her a dull day. 

When the season was over, I went with papa and mamma 
to some country houses, and while they completed their 
circuit of visits Miss Pounden and I were despatched to 
Malory. The new world which had dazzled me for a time 
had not changed me. I had acquired a second self ; hut 
my old self was still living. It had not touched my heart, 
nor changed my simple tastes. I enjoyed the quiet of 
Malory, and its rural ways, and should have been as happy 
there as ever, if I could only have recovered the beloved 
companions whom I missed. 

My loneliness was very agreeably relieved one day, as I 
was walking home from Penruthyn Priory, by meeting Mr. 
Carmel. He joined me, and we sauntered towards home 
in very friendly talk. He was to make a little stay at the 
steward's house. We agreed to read I Promessi Sposi 
together. Malory was recovering its old looks. I asked 
him all the news that he was likely to know and I cared 
to hear. 

" Where was Lady Lorrimer ?" I inquired. 

Travelling, he told me, on the Continent, he could not 
say where. "We must not talk of her," he said, with a 
shrug and a laugh. " I think, Miss Ware, we were never 
so near quarrelling upon any subject as upon Lady Lorrimer, 
and I then resolved never again to approach that irritating 

So with common consent We talked of other things, 
among which I asked him : 

" Do you remember Mr. Marston ?" 

" You mean the shipwrecked man who was quartered 
for some days at the steward's house ?" he asked. " Yes 
I remember him very well." He seemed to grow rather 
pale as he looked at me, and added, " Why do you ask ?" 

" Because," I answered, " you told me that he was in 
good society, and I have not seen him anywhere not 

" He was in society; but he's not in London, nor in 
England now, I believe. I once knew him pretty well, 
and I know only too much of him. I know him for a 
villain ; and had he been still in England I should have 

The Knight of the Black Castle. 175 

warned you again, Miss Ethel, and warned your mamma, 
also, against permitting him to claim your acquaintance. 
But I don't think he will be seen again in this part of the 
world not, at all events, until after the death of a person 
who is likely to live a long time." 
11 But what has he done ?" I asked. 
"I can't tell you I can't tell you how cruelly he has 
wounded me," he answered. " I have told you in sub- 
stance all I know, when I say he is a villain." 

" I do believe, Mr. Carmel, your mission on earth is to 
mortify my curiosity. You won't tell me anything of any 
one I'm the least curious to hear about." 

"He is a person I hate to talk of, or even to think of. 
He is a villain he is incorrigible and, happen what may, 
a villain, I think, he will be to the end." 

I was obliged to be satisfied with this, for I had learned 
that it was a mere waste of time trying to extract from 
Mr. Carmel any secret which he chose to keep. 

Here, then, in the old scenes, our quiet life began for 
awhile once more. I did not see more of Mr. Carmel now 
than formerly, and there continued the slightly altered 
tone, in talk and manner, which had secretly so sorely 
vexed me in town, and which at times I almost ascribed 
to my fancy. 

Mr. Carmel's stay at Malory was desultory, too, as 
before ; he was often absent for two or three days together. 
During one of these short absences, there occurred a very 
trifling incident, which, however, I must mention. 

The castle of Cardyllion is a vast ruin, a military 
fortress of the feudal times, built on a great scale, and 
with prodigious strength. Its ponderous walls and towers 
are covered thick with ivy. It is so vast that the few 
visitors who are to be found there when the summer is 
over, hardly disquiet its wide solitudes and its silence. 
For a time I induced Miss Pounden to come down there 
nearly every afternoon, and we used to bring our novels, 
and she, sometimes her work ; and we sat in the old castle, 
feeling, in the quiet autumn, as if we had it all to our- 
selves. The inner court is nearly two hundred feet square, 
and, ascending a circular stair in the angle next the great 
gate, you find yourself at the end of a very dark stone- 

176 Willing to Die. 

floored corridor, running the entire length of the building. 
This long passage is lighted at intervals by narrow loop- 
holes placed at the left ; and in the wall to the right, after 
having passed several doors, you come, about mid- way, to 
one admitting to the chapel. It is a small stone-floored 
chamber, with a lofty groined roof, very gracefully pro- 
portioned; a tall stone- shafted window admits a scanty 
light from the east, over the site of the dismantled altar ; 
deep shadow prevails everywhere else in this pretty 
chapel, which is so dark in most parts that, in order to 
read or work, one must get directly under the streak of 
light that enters through the window, necessarily so 
narrow as not to compromise the jealous rules of medi&val 
fortification. A small arch, at each side of the door, 
opens a view of this chamber from two small rooms, or 
galleries, reached by steps from this corridor. 

We had placed our carnp-stools nearly under this 
window, and were both reading ; when I raised my eyes 
they encountered those of a very remarkable-looking old 
man, whom I instantly recognised, with a start. It was 
the man whom we used, long ago, to call the Knight of 
the Black Castle. His well-formed, bronzed face and 
features were little changed, except for those lines that 
time deepens or produces. His dark, fierce eyes were not 
dimmed by the years that had passed, but his long black 
hair, which was uncovered, as tall men in those low 
passages were obliged to remove their hats, was streaked 
now with grey. This stern old man was gazing fixedly 
on me, from the arch beside the door, to my left, as I 
looked at him, and he did not remove his eyes as mine 
met his. Sullen, gloomy, stern was the face that remained 
inflexibly fixed in the deep shadow which enhanced its 
pallor. I turned with an effort to my companion, and 
said : 

" Suppose we come out, and take a turn in the grounds." 

To which, as indeed to everything I proposed, Miss 
Pounden assented. 

I walked for a minute or two about the chapel before I 
stole a glance backward at the place where I had seen the 
apparition. He was gone. The arch, and the void space 
behind, were all that remained; there was nothing but 

The Knight of the Black Castle. 177 

deep shadow where that face had loomed. I asked Miss 
Pounden if she had seen the old man looking in ; she had 

Well, we left the chapel, and retraced our steps through 
the long corridor, I watching through the successive 
loop-holes for the figure of the old man pacing the grass 
beneath; but I did not see him. Down the stairs we 
came, I peeping into every narrow doorway we passed, and 
so out upon the grassy level of the inner court. I looked 
in all directions there, but nowhere could I see him. 
Under the arched gateway, where the portcullis used to 
clang, we passed into the outer court, and there I peeped 
about, also in vain. 

I dare say Miss Pounden, if she could wonder at 
anything, wondered what I could be in pursuit of ; but 
that most convenient of women never troubled me with a 

Through the outer gate, in turn, we passed, and to 
Bichard Pritchard's lodge, at the side of the gate ad- 
mitting visitors from Castle Street to the castle grounds. 
Tall Richard Pritchard, with his thin stoop, his wide- 
awake hat, brown face, lantern jaws, and perpetual smirk, 
listened to my questions, and answered that he had let in 
such a gentleman, about ten minutes before, as I 
described. This gentleman had given his horse to hold 
to a donkey-boy outside the gate, and Eichard Pritchard 
went on to say, with his usual volubility, and his curious 
interpolation of phrases of politeness, without the slightest 
regard to their connection with the context, but simply to 
heighten the amiability and polish of his discourse : 

"And he asked a deal, miss, about the family down at 
Malory, I beg your pardon ; and when he heard you were 
there, miss, he asked if you ever came down to the town 
yes, indeed. So when I told him you were in the 
castle now very well, I thank you, miss he asked 
whereabout in the castle you were likely to be yes, 
indeed, miss, very true and he gave me a shilling he 
did, indeed and I showed him the way to the chapel I 
beg your pardon, miss where you very often go very 
true indeed, miss ; and so I left him at the top of the 
stairs. Ah, ha ! yes, indeed, miss ; and he came back 


173 Willing to Die. 

just two or three minutes, and took his horse and rode 
down towards the water gate very well, I thank you, 

This was the substance of Bichard Pritchard's informa- 
tion. So, then, he had ridden down Castle Street and 
out of the town. It was odd his caring to have that look 
at me. What could he mean by it ? His was a coun- 
tenance ominous of nothing good. After so long an 
interval, it was not pleasant to see it again, especially 
associated with inquiries about Malory and its owners, 
and the sinister attraction which had drawn him to the 
chapel to gaze upon me, and, as I plainly perceived, by 
no means with eyes of liking. The years that had im- 
mediately followed his last visit, I knew had proved years 
of great loss and peril to papa. May heaven avert the 
omen ! I silently prayed. I knew that old Kebecca 
Torkill could not help to identify him, for I had been 
curious on the point before. She could not bring to her 
recollection the particular scene that had so fixed itself 
upon my memory ; for, as she said, in those evil years 
there was hardly a day that did not bring down some 
bawling creditor from London to Malory in search 



ALOEY was not visited that year by either papa 
or mamma. I had been so accustomed to a 
lonely life there that my sojourn in that serene 
and beautiful spot never seemed solitary. 
j Besides, town life would open again for me in the early 
j spring. Had it not been for that near and exciting 
i prospect, without Laura Grey, I might possibly have felt 
my solitude more ; but the sure return to the whirl and 
music of the world made my rural weeks precious. They 
I were to end earlier even than our return to town. I was 
i written for, to Eoydon, where mamma and papa then were 
i j making a short visit, and was deposited safely in that splen- 
; did but rather dull house by Miss Pounden, who sped forth- 
with to London, where I suppose she enjoyed her liberty 
in her own quiet way. 

I enjoyed very much our flitting from country-house to 
bountry-house, and the more familiar society of that kind 
of life. As these peregrinations and progresses, however, 
had no essential bearing upon my history, I shall mention 
;hem only to say this. At Roydon I met a person whom 
! very little expected to see there. The same person after- 
yards turned up at a very much pleasanter house I mean 
ady Mardykes's house at Carsbrook, where a really 
lelightful party were assembled. Who do you think this 
erson was ? No titled person not known to the readers 
f newspapers, except as a name mentioned now and then 
is forming a unit in a party at some distinguished house ; no 

180 Willing to Die. 

brilliant name in the lists of talent ; a man apparently not 
worth propitiating on any score: and yet everywhere, and 
knowing everybody ! "Who, I say, do you suppose he was ? 
Simply Doctor Droqville ! In London I had seen him very 
often. He used to drop in at balls or garden-parties for an 
hour or two, and vanish. There was a certain decision, 
animation, and audacity in his talk, which seemed, although 
I did not like it, to please better judges very well. No one 
appeared to know much more about him than I did. 
Some people, I suppose, like mamma, did know quite 
enough ; but by far the greater part took him for granted, 
and seeing that other people had him at their houses, did 

Very agreeably the interval passed ; and in due time 
we found ourselves once more in London. 

My second season wanted something of the brilliant 
delirium of the first ; and yet, I think I enjoyed it more. 
Papa was not in such spirits by any means. I dare say, 
as my second season drew near its close, he was disap- 
pointed that I was not already a peeress. But papa had 
other grounds for anxiety ; and very anxious he began to 
look. It was quite settled now that at the next election 
he was to stand for the borough of Shillingsworth, with 
the support of the Government. Every one said he would 
do very well in the House ; but that we ought to have 
begun earlier. Papa was full of it ; but somehow not quite 
so sanguine and cheery as he used to be about his projects. 
I had seen ministers looking so haggard and overworked, 
and really suffering at times, that I began to think that 
politics were as fatiguing a pursuit almost as pleasure. 
The iron seemed to have entered into poor papa's soul 

Although our breakfast hour was late, mamma was 
hardly ever down to it, and I not always. But one day 
when we did happen to be all three at breakfast together, 
he put down his newspaper with a rustle on his knee, and 
said to mamma, " I have been intending to ask you this long 
time, and I haven't had an opportunity or at least it has,' 
gone out of my head when I might have asked; have youj 
been writing lately to Lady Lorrimer ?" 

" Yes, I at least, I heard from her, a little more than 

Rustication. 181 

a week ago a very kind letter she wrote from Naples 
she has been there for the winter." 

" And quite well ?" 

" Complaining a little, as usual; but I suppose she is 
really quite well." 

"I wish she did not hate me quite so much as she 
does," said papa. "I'd write to her myself I dare say 
you haven't answered her letter ?" 

" Well, really, you know, just now it is not easy to find 
time," mamma began. 

" Oh! hang it, time ! Why, you forget you have really 
nothing to do," answered papa, more tartly than I had 
ever heard him speak to mamma before. " You don't 
answer her letters, I think ; at least not for months after 
you get them ! I don't wish you to flatter her I wish 
that as little as you do but I think you might be civil 
where's the good of irritating her ?" 

" I never said I saw any," answered mamma, a little 

"No ; but I see the mischief 'of it," he continued ; " it's 
utter folly and it's not right, besides. You'll just lose 
her, that'll be the end of it she is the only one of your 
relations who really cares anything about you and she 
intends making Ethel a present diamonds it is just, I 
do believe, that she wishes to show what she intends 
further. You are the person she would naturally like to 
succeed her in anything she has to leave ; and you take 
such a time about answering her letters, you seem to wish 
to vex her. You'll succeed at last and, I can tell you, 
you can't afford to throw away friendship just now. I 
shall want every friend, I mean every real friend, I can 
count upon. More than you think depends on this affair. 
If I'm returned for Shillings worth, I'm quite certain I 
shall get something very soon and if I once get it, 
depend upon it, I shall get on. Some people would say 
I'm a fool for my pains, but it is money very well spent 
it is the only money, I really think, I ever laid out wisely 
in my life, and it is a very serious matter our succeeding 
in this. Did not your aunt Lorrhner say that she thought 
she would be at Golden Friars again this year?" 

" Yes, I think so ; why ?" said mamma, listlessly. 

182 Willing to Die. 

" Because she must have some influence over that beast 
Rokestone I often wonder what devil has got hold of my 
affairs, or how Eokestone happens to meet me at so many 
points and if she would talk to him a little, she might 
prevent his doing me a very serious mischief. She is sure 
to see him when she goes down there." 

" He's not there often, you know ; I can always find a 
time to go to Golden Friars without a chance of seeing 
him. I shall never see him again, I hope." I thought 
mamma sighed a little, as she said this. "But I'll write 
and ask Lady Lorrimer to say whatever you wish to him, 
when her visit to Golden Friars is quite decided on." 

So the conversation ended, and upon that theme was 
not resumed, at least within my hearing, during the 
remainder of our stay in town. 

My journal, which I kept pretty punctually during that 
season, lies open on the table before me. I have been 
aiding my memory with it. It has, however, helped me 
to nothing that bears upon my story. It is a register, for 
the most part, of routine. Now we lunched with Lady 
This now we went to the Duchess of So-and-so's garden- 
party every night either a ball, or a musical party, or 
the opera. Sometimes I was asked out to dinner, some- 
times we went to the play. Ink and leaves are discoloured 
by time. The score years and more that have passed, 
have transformed this record of frivolity into a solemn 
and melancholy Mentor. So many of the names that 
figure there have since been carved on tombstones ! 
Among those that live still, and hold their heads up, there 
is change everywhere some for better, some for worse ; 
and yet riven, shattered, scattered, as this muster-roll 
is, with perfect continuity and solidity, that smiling 
Sadduceeic world without a home, the community that 
lives out of doors, and accepts, as it seems to me, satire 
and pleasure in lieu of the affections, lives and works on 
upon its old principles and aliment ; diamonds do not fail, 
nor liveries, nor high-bred horses, nor pretty faces, 
witty men, nor chaperons, nor fools, nor rascals. 

I must tell you, however, what does not distinctly appe* 
in this diary. Among the many so-called admirers wh( 
asked for dances in the ball-room, were two who appeared 

Rustication. 183 

to like me with a deeper feeling than the others. One was 
handsome Colonel Saint- George Dacre, with an estate of 
thirty thousand a year, as my friends told mamma, who 
duly conveyed the fact to me. But young ladies, newly 
come out and very much danced with, are fastidious, arid 
I was hard to please. My heart was not pre-occupied, but 
even in my lonely life I had seen men who interested me 
more. I liked my present life and freedom too well, and 
shrank from the idea of being married. The other was 
Sir Henry Park, also rich, but older. Papa, I think, looked 
even higher for me, and fancied that I might possibly marry 
so as to make political connection for him. He did not, 
therefore, argue the question with me ; but overrating me 
more than I did myself, thought he was quite safe in 
leaving me free to do as I pleased. 

These gentlemen, therefore, were, with the most polite 
tenderness for their feelings, dismissed one at Brighton, 
in August ; the other, a little later, at Carsbrook, where 
he chose to speak. I have mentioned these little affairs 
in the order in which they occurred, as I might have to 
allude to them in the pages that follow. 

Every one has, once or twice, in his or her life, I suppose, 
commenced a diary which was to have been prosecuted as 
diligently and perseveringly as that of Samuel Pepys. I 
did, I know, oftener than I could now tell you ; I have just 
mentioned one of mine, and from this fragmentary note- 
book I give you the following extracts, which happen to 
help my narrative at this particular point. 

"At length, thank Heaven ! news of darling Laura Grey. 
I can hardly believe that I am to see her so soon. I wonder 
whether I shall be able, a year hence, to recall the delight 
of this expected moment. It is true, there is a great deal 
to qualify my happiness, for her language is ominous. 
Still it will be delightful to meet her, and hear her adven- 
tures, and have one of our good long talks together, such 
as made Malory so happy. 

"I was in mamma's rooom about half-an-hour ago ; she 
was fidgeting about in her dressing-gown and slippers, and 
had just sat down before her dressing-table, when Went- 
worth (her maid) came in with letters by the early post. 
Mamma has as few secrets, I think, as most people, and 

184 Willing to Die. 

her correspondence is generally very uninteresting. When- 
ever I care to read them, she allows me to amuse myself 
with her letters when she has opened and read them her- 
self. I was in no mood to do so to-day ; but I fancied I 
saw a slight but distinct change in her careless looks as 
she peeped into one. She read it a second time, and 
handed it to me. It is, indeed, from Laura Grey ! It 
says that she is in great affliction, and that she will call 
at our town house ' to-morrow,' that is to-day, * Thursday,' 
at one o'clock, to try whether mamma would consent to 
see her. 

" f l think that very cool. I don't object to seeing her, 
however/ said mamma ; ' but she shall know what I think 
of her.' 

" I don't like the idea of such an opening as mamma 
would make. I must try to see Laura before she meets 
her. She must have wonders to tell me ; it cannot have 
been a trifling thing that made her use me, apparently, so 

" Thursday half-past one. No sign of Laura yet. 

" Thursday six o'clock. She has not appeared ! What 
am I to think ? 

" Her letter is written, as it seems to me, in the hurry 
of agitation. I can't understand what all this means. 

" Thursday night eleven o'clock. Before going to bed. 
Laura has not appeared. No note. Mamma more vexed 
than I have often seen her. I fancy she had a hope of 
getting her back again, as I know I had. 

" Friday. I waked in the dark, early this morning, 
thinking of Laura, and fancying every horrible thing thi 
could have befallen her since her note of yesterday moi 
was written. 

" Went to mamma, who had her breakfast in her bee 
and told her how miserable I was about Laura Grey. SI 
said, * There is nothing the matter with Miss Grey, excepi 
that she does not know how to behave herself." I don'' 
agree with mamma, and I am sure that she does not really 
think any such thing of Laura Grey. I am still vei 
uneasy about her ; there is" no address to her note. 

" I have just been again with mamma, to try whether 
she can recollect anything by which we could find her out. 

Rustication. 185 

She says she can remember no circumstance by which we 
can trace her. Mamma says she had been trying to find 
a governess at some of the places where lists of ladies 
seeking such employment are kept, but without finding 
one who exactly answered ; papa had then seen an adver- 
tisement in the Times, which seemed to promise satisfac- 
torily, and Miss Grey answered mamma's note, and re- 
ferred to a lady, who immediately called on her ; mamma 
could only recollect that she knew this lady's name, that 
she had heard of her before, and that she spoke with the 
greatest affection of Miss Grey, and shed tears while she 
lamented her determination to seek employment as a 
governess, instead of living at home with her. The lady 
had come in a carnage, with servants, and had all the 
appearance of being rich, and spoke of Laura as her cousin. 
But neither her name nor address could mamma recollect, 
and there remained no clue by which to trace her. It was 
some comfort to think that the lady who claimed her as a 
kinswoman, and spoke of her with so much affection, was 
wealthy, and anxious to take her to her own home ; but 
circumstances are always mutable, and life transitory 
how can we tell where that lady is now?" 

"I have still one hope Laura may have written one 
o'clock 'Thursday,' and meant Friday. It is only a 
chance still I cling to it. 

" Friday three o'clock. Laura has not appeared. 
"What are we to think ? I can't get it out of my head that 
something very bad has happened. My poor Laura ! 

" Saturday night a quarter to eleven. Going to bed. 
Another day, and no tidings of Laura. I have quite given 
up the hope of seeing her." 

She did not come next day. On the subject on which 
mamma felt so sharply, she had not an opportunity of 
giving her a piece of her mind then, or the next day. 

So the season being over, behold us again in the 
country ! 

After our visit to Carsbrook, mamma and papa were 
going to Haitiy Abbey. For some reason, possibly the 
very simple one that I had been forgotten in the invita- 
tion, I was not to accompany them ; I was despatched in 


Willing to Die. 

charge of old Lady Hester Wigmore, who was going that 
way, to Chester, where Miss Pounden took me up ; and 
with her, "to my great content," as old Samuel Pepys 
Bays, I went to Malory, which I always re-visited with an 
unutterable affection, as my only true home. 

Nothing happened during my stay at Malory, which 
was unexpectedly interrupted by a note from mamma 
appointing to meet me at Chester. Papa had been obliged 
to go to town to consult with some friends, and he was 
then to go down to Shillingsworth to speak at a public 
dinner. She and I were going northward. She would 
tell me all when we met. I need not bring any of my 
finery with me. 

With this scanty information, and some curiosity as to 
our destination in the North, I arrived at Chester, and 
there met mamma, from whom I soon learned that our 
excursion was to lead us into wild and beautiful scenery 
quite new to rae. 





had to wait for a long time at some station, I 
forget its name. The sun set, and night over- 
took us before we reached the end of our 
journey by rail. We had then to drive about 
twelve miles. The road, for many miles, lay through a 
desolate black moss. I could not have believed there was 
anything so savage in England. A thin mist was stretched 
like a veil over the more distant level of the dark expanse, 
on which, here and there, a wide pool gleamed faintly 
under the moonlight. To the right there rose a grand 
mass of mountain. We were soon driving through a sort 
of gorge, and found ourselves fenced in by the steep sides 
of gigantic mountains, as we followed a road that wound 
and ascended among them. I shall never forget the beau- 
tiful effect of the scene suddenly presented, and for the 
first time, as the road reached its highest elevation, and I 
saw, with the dark receding sides of the mountain we had 
been penetrating for a proscenium, my first view of Golden 
Friars. Oh ! how beautiful ! 

Surrounded by an amphitheatre of Alpine fells, the 
broad mere of Golden Friars glimmered cold under the 
moonlight, and the quaint little town of steep gables, built 
of light grey stone, rose from its grasy margin surrounded 
by elms, single or in clumps, that looked almost black in 
contrast with the gleaming lake and the white masonry of 
the town. It looked like enchanted ground. A silvery 
hoar-frost seemed to cover the whole scene, giving it a 
filmy and half-visionary character that enhanced its 

188 Willing to Vie. 

beauty. I was exclaiming in wonder and delight as every 
minute some new beauty unfolded itself to view. Mamma 
was silent, as she looked from the window ; I saw that 
she cried gently, thinking herself unobserved. A beautiful 
scene, where childish days were passed, awakes so many 
sweet and bitter fancies ! The yearnings for the irre- 
vocable, the heartache of the memory, opened the fountains 
of her tears ; and I was careful not to interrupt her lonely 
thoughts. I left her to the enjoyment of that melancholy 
luxury, and gazed on in strange delight. 

Here, then, was the dwelling-place of that redoubted 
enemy of our house whom fate seemed to have ordained as 
our persecutor. Here lived the old enchanter whose 
malign spells were woven about us, in busy London and 
quiet Malory, or the distant scenes of France and Italy. 
Even this thought added interest to the romantic scene. 

We had now descended to the level of the shore of the 
lake, along whose margin our road swept in a gentle curve. 
The fells from this level rose stupendous, all around, 
striking their silvery peaks into the misty moonlight, and 
looking so aerial that one might fancy a stone thrown 
would pass through their sides as if they were vapour. 
Now we passed under the shadow of the first clump of 
mighty elms ; and now the white fronts and chimneys of 
the village houses rose in the foreground. There was no 
sign of life but the barking of the watch-dogs, and the 
cackling of the vigilant geese, and the light that glanced 
from the hall of the " George and Dragon," the sub- 
stantial old inn that, looking across the road, faces the 
lake and distant fells. At the door of this ancient and 
comfortable inn drew up our chaise and four horses, no 
mere ostentation, but a simple necessity, where carriage 
and luggage were pulled, towards the close of so long a 
stage, over the steeps where the road pushes its way high 
among the fells. 

So our journey was over; and we stood in the hall. 
Before we went up to our rooms mamma inquired whether 
Lady Lorrimer had arrived. Yes, her ladyship had been 
there since the day before yesterday. Mamma seemed 
nervous and uncomfortable. She sent down her maid to 
find out whether Sir Harry Bokestone was in the country ; 

At the George and Dragon. 189 

and when the servant returned and told her that he was 
not expected to arrive at Dorracleugh before a fortnight, 
she sighed, and I heard her say faintly, " Thank God!" 

I confess it was rather a disappointment than a relief 
to me. I rather wished to see this truculent old wizard. 
After a sound sleep, which we both needed, I got up and 
had a little peep at that beautiful place, in the early sun- 
light, before breakfast. Lady Lorrimer's maid came with 
inquiries from her mistress, for mamma and me. Her 
ladyship was not very w ell, and could not see us till about 
twelve. She was so vexed at having to put us off, and 
hoped we were not tired ; and also that we would take our 
dinner with her. To this mamma agreed. 

I was curious to see Lady Lorrimer once more. My 
ideas had grown obscure, and my theory of that kinswoman 
had been disagreeably disturbed, ever since the evening on 
which she, or her double, had passed by me so resolutely 
in the street. 

Having heard that she was quite ready to see us, we 
paid our visit. I wondered how she would receive me, 
and my suspense amounted almost to excitement as I 
reached the door. A moment more, and I could not believe 
that Lady Lorrimer and the woman who so resembled her 
were the same. Nothing could be more affectionate than 
Lady Lorrimer. She received us with a very real wel- 
come, and so much pleasure in her looks, tones, and words. 
She was not, indeed, looking well, but her spirits seemed 
cheerful. She embraced mamma, and kissed her very 
fondly ; then she kissed me over and over again. I was 
utterly puzzled, and more than doubted the identity of this 
warm-hearted, affectionate woman with the person who 
had chosen to cut me with such offensive and sinister 

" See how this pretty creature looks at me !" she said 
to mamma, laughing, as she detected my conscious 

I blushed and looked down ; I did not know what to 

" I'm very much obliged to you, dear, for looking at 
me, so few people do now-a-days ; and I was just going 
to steal a good look at you, when I found I was anticipated. 

190 Willing to Die. 

I have just been saying to your mamma that I have ordered 
a boat, and we must all have a sail together on the lake 
after dinner ; what do you say ?" 

Of course I was delighted ; I thought the place perfectly 

" I lived the earlier part of my life here," she resumed, 
" and so did your mamma, you know when she was a 
little girl, and until she came to be nineteen or twenty I 
forget which you were, dear, when you were married 2" 
she said, turning to mamma. 

" Twenty-two," said mamma, smiling. 

" Twenty-two ? Eeally ! Well, we lived at Mardykes. 
I'll point out the place on the water when we take our 
sail ; you can't see it from these windows." 

" And where does Sir Harry Kokestone live ?" I asked. 

" You can't see that either from these windows. It is 
further than Mardykes, at the same side. But we shall 
see it from the boat." 

Then she and mamma began to talk, and I went to the 
window and looked out. 

Lady Lorrimer, with all her airs of conventual seclusion, 
hungered and thirsted after gossip ; and whenever they 
met, she learned all the stories from mamma, and gave 
her, in return, old scandal and ridiculous anecdotes about 
the predecessors of the people with whose sayings, doings, 
and mishaps mamma amused her. 

Two o'clock dinners, instead of luncheons, were the rule 
in this part of the world. And people turned tea into a 
very substantial supper, and were all in bed and asleep 
before the hour arrived at which the London ladies and 
gentlemen are beginning to dress for a ball. 

You are now to suppose us, on a sunny evening, on 
board the boat that had been moored for some time at 
the jetty opposite the door of the " George and Dragon." 
We were standing up the lake, and away from the Golden 
Friars shore, towards a distant wood, which they told me 
was the forest of Clusted. 

" Look at that forest, Ethel," said Lady Lorrimer. " It 
is the haunted forest of Clusted the last resort of the 
fairies in England. It was there, they say, that Sir Bale 
Mardykes, long ago, made a compact with the Evil One," 

At the George and Vragon. 191 

Through the openings of its magnificent trees, as we 
nearer, from time to time, the ivied ruins of an old manor- 
house were visible. In this beautiful and, in spite of the 
monotony of the gigantic fells that surround the lake, 
ever-varying scenery, my companions gradually grew 
silent for a time ; even I felt the dreamy influence of the 
scene, and liked the listless silence, in which nothing was 
heard but the rush of the waters, and the flap of the sail 
now and then. I was living in a world of fancy : they in 
a sadder one of memory. 

In a little while, in gentle tones, they were exchanging 
old remembrances ; a few words now and then sufficed ; 
the affecting associations of scenes of early life revisited 
were crowding up everywhere. As happens to some people 
when death is near, a change, that seemed to be quite 
beautiful, came over mamma's mind in the air and lights 
of this beautiful place ! How I wished that she could 
remain always as she was now ! 

With the old recollections seemed to return the simple 
rural spirit of the early life. What is the town life, of 
which I had tasted, compared with this ? How much 
simpler, tenderer, sublimer, this is ! How immensely 
nearer heaven ! The breeze was light, and the signs of 
the sky assured the boatmen that we need fear none of 
those gusts and squalls that sometimes burst so furiously 
down through the cloughs and hollows of the surrounding 
mountains. I, with the nautical knowledge acquired at 
Malory, took the tiller, under direction of the boatmen. 
We had a good deal of tacking to get near enough to the 
shore at Clusted to command a good view of that fine 
piece of forest. We then sailed northward, along the 
margin of the " mere," as they call the lake; and, when 
we had gone in that direction for a mile or more, turned 
the boat's head across the water, and ran before the breeze 
towards the Mardykes side. There is a small island near 
the other side, with a streak of grey rock and bushes 
nearly surrounding what looked like a ruined chapel or 
hermitage, and Lady Lorrimer told me to pass this as 
nearly as I could. 

The glow of evening was by this time in the western 
pky. The sun was hidden behind the fells that form a noble 

192 Willing to Die. 

barrier between Golden Friars and the distant moss of Bar- 
dale, where stands Haworth Hall. In deepest purple shadow 
the mountains here closely overhang the lake. Under these, 
along the margin, Lady Lorrimer told me to steer. 

We were gliding slowly along, so that there was ample 
leisure to note every tree and rock upon the shore as we 
passed. As we drifted, rather than sailed, along the shore, 
there suddenly opened from the margin a narrow valley, 
reaching about a quarter of a mile. It was a sudden dip 
in the mountains that here rise nearly from the edge of 
the lake. Steep-sided and wild was this hollow, and 
backed by a mountain that, to me, looking up from the 
level of the lake, appeared stupendous. 

The valley lay flat in one unbroken field of short grass. 
A broad-fronted, feudal tower, with a few more modern 
buildings about it, stood far back, fronting the river. A 
rude stone pier afforded shelter to a couple of boats, and 
a double line of immense lime-trees receded from that 
point about half-way up to the tower. Whether it was al- 
together due to the peculiar conformation of the scene, or 
that it owed its character in large measure to its being en- 
veloped in the deep purple shadow cast by the surrounding 
mountain, and the strange effect of the glow reflected 
downward from the evening clouds, which touched the 
summits of the trees, and the edges of the old tower, like 
the light of a distant conflagration, I cannot say; but 
never did I see a spot with so awful a character of solitude 
and melancholy. 

In the gloom we could see a man standing alone on the 
extremity of the stone pier, looking over the lake. This 
figure was the only living thing we could discover there. 

" Well, dear, now you see it. That's Dorracleugh 
that's Harry Bokestone's place," said Lady Lorrimer. 
" What a spot ! Fit only for a bear or an anchorite. Do 
you know," she added, turning to mamma, " he is there 
a great deal more than he used to be, they tell me. I 
know if I were to live in that place for six months I should 
never come out of it a sane woman. To do him justice, 
he does not stay very long here when he dos come, and 
for years he never came at all. He has other places, far 
away from this ; and if a certain event bad Jiapj 


At the George and Dragon. 193 

about two-and-twenty years ago," she added, for my behalf, 
"he intended building quite a regal house a little higher up, 
on a site that is really enchanting, but your mamma would 

not allow him ; and so, and so " Lady Lorrimer had 

turned her glasses during her sentence upon the figure 
which stood motionless on the end of the pier ; and she 
said, forgetting what she had been telling me, "I really 
think I'm nearly certain that man standing there is 
Harry Rokestone !" : 

Mamma started. I looked with all my eyes ; little 
more than a hundred yards interposed, but the shadow 
was so intense, and the effect of the faint reflected light 
so odd and puzzling, that I could be certain of nothing, 
but that the man stood very erect, and was tall and power- 
fully built. Lady Lorrimer was too much absorbed in 
her inspection to offer me her glasses, which I was long- 
ing to borrow, but for which I could not well ask, and so 
we sailed slowly by, and the hill that flanked the valley 
gradually glided between us and the pier, and the figure 
disappeared from view. Lady Lorrimer, lowering her 
glasses, said : 

" I can't say positively, but I'm very nearly certain it 
was he." 

Mamma said nothing, but was looking pale, and during 
the rest of our sail seemed absent and uncomfortable, if 
not unhappy. 



j|E drank tea with Lady Lorrimer. Mamma con- 
tinued very silent, and I think she had been 
crying in her room. 

" They can't tell me here whether Harry has 
arrived or not," said Lady Lorrimer. " He might have 
returned by the Dardale Eoad, and if so, he would not 
have passed through Golden Friars, so it is doubtful. 
But I'm pretty sure that was he." 

" I wish I were sure of that," said mamma. 

" Well, I don't know," said Lady Lorrimer, " what to 
advise. I was just going to say it might be a wise thing 
if you were to make up your mind to see him, and to beard 
the lion in his den." 

" No," said mamma ; " if you mean to meet him and 
speak to him, I could not do that. I shall never see him 
again nothing but pain could come of it ; and he would 
not see me, and he ought not to see me ; and he ought 
not to forgive me never !" 

" Well, dear, I can't deny it, you did use him very ill. 
And he is, and always was, a fierce and implacable enemy," 
answered Lady Lorrimer. " I fancied, perhaps, if he did 
see you, the old chord might be touched again, and yield 
something of its old tone on an ear saddened by time. 
But I daresay you are right. It was a Quixotic inspiration, 
and might have led to disaster ; more probably, indeed, 
than to victory." 

Notice to Quit, 195 

" I am quite sure of that in fact, I know it," said 

And there followed a silence. 

"I sometimes think, Mabel I was thinking so all this 
evening," said Lady Lorrimer, " it might have been 
happier for us if we had never left this lonely place. We 
might have been happier if we had been born under 
harder conditions ; the power of doing what pleases us 
best leads us so often into sorrow." 

Another silence followed. Mamma was looking over 
her shoulder, sadly, through the window at the familiar 
view of lake and mountain, indolently listening. 

"I regret it, and I don't regret it," continued Lady 
Lorrimer. "If I could go back again into my early 
self I wish I could but the artificial life so perverts and 
enervates one, I hardly know, honestly, what I wish. I 
only know there is regret enough to make me discontented, 
and I think I should have been a great deal happier if I 
had been compelled to stay at Golden Friars, and had 
never passed beyond the mountains that surround us here. 
I have not so long as you to live, Mabel, and I'm glad of 
it. I am not quite so much of a Sadducee as you used to 
think" me, and I hope there may be a happier world for us 
all. And, now that I have ended my homininy, as they 
call such long speeches in this country, will you, dear 
Ethel, give me a cup of tea ?" 

Lady Lorrimer and I talked. I was curious about some 
of the places and ruins I had seen, and asked questions, 
which it seemed to delight her to answer. It is a region 
abounding in stories strange and marvellous, family tra- 
ditions, and legends of every kind. 

" I think," said mamma, apropos des bottes, " if he has 
returned they are sure to know in the town before ten to- 
night. Would you mind asking again by-and-by ?" 

" You mean about Harry Eokestone ?" 


" I will. I'll make out all about him. We saw hia 
castle to-day," she continued, turning to me. " Our not 
knowing whether he was there or not made it a very in- 
teresting contemplation. You remember the short speech 
Sheridan wrote to introduce Kelly's song at Drury Lano 

o 2 

196 Willing to Die. 

There stands my Matilda's cottage ! She must be in 
it, or else out of it ?' " 

Again mamma dropped out, and the conversation was 
maintained by Lady Lorrimer and myself. In a little 
while mamma took her leave, complaining of a headache ; 
and our kinswoman begged that I would remain for an 
hour or so, to keep her company. When mamma had 
bid her good night, and was gone, the door being shut, 
Lady Lorrimer laughed, and said : 

" Now, tell me truly, don't you think if your papa had 
been with us to-day in the boat, and seen the change that 
took place in your mamma's looks and spirits from the 
moment she saw Dorracleugh, and the tall man who stood 
on the rock, down to the hour of her headache and early 
good night, he would have been a little jealous '?" 

I did not quite know whether she was joking or serious, 
and I fancy there was some puzzle in my face as I an- 
swered : 

" But it can't be that she liked Sir Harry Eokestone ; 
she is awfully afraid of him that is the reason, I'm sure, 
she was so put out. She never liked him." 

" Don't be too sure of that, little woman," she answered, 

" Do you really think mamma liked him ? Why, she 
was in love with papa." 

' No, it was nothing so deep," said Lady Lorrimer; 
" she did not love your papa. It was a violent whim, 
and if she had been left just five weeks to think, she would 
have returned to Eokestone." 

"But there can be no sentiment remaining still," I re- 
marked. " Sir Harry Eokestone is an old man !" 

" Yes, he is an old man ; he is let me see he's fifty 
six. And she did choose to marry your papa. But I'm sure 
she thinks she made a great mistake. I am very sure she 
thinks that, with all his faults, Eokestone was the more 
loveable man, the better man, the truer. He would have 
taken good care of her. I don't know of any one point 
in which he was your papa's inferior, and there are 
fifty in which he was immeasurably his superior. He 
was a handsomer man, if that is worth anything. I 
think I never saw so handsome a man, in his peculiar 

Notice to Quit. 197 

style. You think me a very odd old woman to tell you 
my opinion of your father so frankly ; but I am speak- 
ing as your mamma's friend and kinswoman, and I say 
your papa has not used her well. He is good-humoured, 
and has good spirits, and he has some good-nature, quite 
subordinated to his selfishness. And those qualities, so 
far as I know, complete the muster-roll of his virtues. 
But he has made her, in no respect, a good husband. In 
some a very bad one. And he employs half-a-dozen attor- 
neys, to whom he commits his business at random ; and 
he is too indolent to look after anything. Of course he's 
robbed, and everything at sixes and sevens ; and he has 
got your mamma to take legal steps to make away with 
her money for his own purposes ; and the foolish child, 
the merest simpleton in money matters, does everything 
he bids her ; and I really believe she has left herself with- 
out a guinea. I don't like him no one could who likes 
her. Poor, dear Mabel, she wants energy ; I never knew 
a woman with so little will. She never showed any but 
once, and that was when she did a foolish thing, and 
married your father." 

" And did Sir Harry Eokestone like mamma very 
much ?" I asked. 

"He was madly in love with her," and when she 
married your papa, he wanted to shoot him. I think 
he was, without any metaphor, very nearly out of his 
mind. He has been a sort of anchorite ever since. His 
money is of no use to him. He is a bitter and eccentric 
old man." 

" And he can injure papa now ?" 

" So I'm told. Your papa thinks so ; and he seldom 
takes the trouble to be alarmed about danger three or four 
months distant." 

Then, to my disappointment and, also, my relief, that 
subject dropped. It had interested and pained me ; and 
sometimes I felt that it was scarcely right that I should 
hear all she was saying, without taking up the cudgels for 
papa. Now, with great animation, she told me her recol- 
lections of her girlish days here at Golden Friars, when 
the old gentry were such bores and humorists as are no 
longer to be met with anywhere. And as she made mo 

198 Willing to Die. 

laugh at these recitals, her maid, whom she had sent down 
to " the bar " to make an inquiry, returned, and told her 
something in an undertone. As soon as she was gone, 
Lady Lorrimer said : 

" Yes, it is quite true. Tell your mamma that Harry 
Bokestone is at Dorracleugh." 

She became thoughtful. Perhaps she was rehearsing 
mentally the mediatory conference she had undertaken. 

We had not much more conversation that night ; and 
we soon parted with a very affectionate good-night. My 
room adjoined mamma's, and finding that she was not yet 
asleep, I went in and gave her Lady Lorrimer's message. 
Mamma changed colour, and raised herself suddenly on 
her elbow, looking in my face. 

" Very well, dear," said she, a little flurried. " We 
must leave this to-morrow morning." 



[BOUT eleven o'clock next morning our chaise was 
at the door of the " George and Dragon." We 
had been waiting with our bonnets on to say 
good-bye to Lady Lorrimer. I have seen two 
or three places in my life to which my affections were 
drawn at first sight, and this was one of them. I was 
standing at the window, looking my last at this beautiful 
scene. Mamma was restless and impatient. I knew she was 
uneasy lest some accident should bring Sir Harry Roke- 
stone to the door before we had set out upon our journey. 
At length Lady Lorrimer's foreign maid came to tell us 
that milady wished to see us now. Accordingly we 
followed the maid, who softly announced us. 
^ The room was darkened ; only one gleam, through a 
little opening in the far shutter, touched the curtains of 
her bed, showing the old-fashioned chintz pattern, like a 
transparency, through the faded lining. She was no 
longer the gay Lady Lorrimer of the evening before. She 
was sitting up among her pillows, nearly in the dark, and 
the most melancholy, whimpering voice you can imagine 
came through the gloom from among the curtains. 

" Is my sweet Ethel there, also ?" she asked when she 
had kissed mamma. " Oh, that's right ; I should not have 
been happy if I had not bid you good-bye. Give me your 
hand, darling. And so you are going, Mabel ? I'm 
sorry you go so soon, but perhaps you are right I think 
you are. It would not do, perhaps, to meet. I'll do what 
I can, and write to tell you how I succeed." 

200 Willing to Die. 

Mamma thanked and kissed her again. 

" I'm not so well as people think, dear, nor as I wish to 
think myself. We may not meet for a long time, and I 
wish to tell you, Mabel I wish to tell you both that I 
won't leave you dependent on that reckless creature, 
Francis Ware. I want you two to be safe. I have none 
but you left me to love on earth." Here poor Lady Lorri- 
mer began to cry. " Whenever I write to you, you must 
come to me ; don't let anything prevent you. I am. so 
weak. I want to leave you both very well, and I intend 
to put it out of my power to change it who's that at the 
door ? Just open it, Ethel, dear child, and see if any one 
is there my maid, I mean you can say you dropped 
your handkerchief hush !" 

There was no one in the lobby. 

" Shut it quietly, dear ; I'll do what I say don't thank 
me don't say a word about it to any one, and if you 
mention it to Francis Ware, charge him to tell no one else. 
There, dears, both, don't stay longer. God bless you ! 
Go, go ; God bless you 1" 

And with these words^having kissed us both very fondly, 
she dismissed us. 

Mamma ran down, and out to the carriage very quickly, 
and sat back as far as she could at the far side. I 
followed, and all being ready, in a minute more we were 
driving swiftly from the " George and Dragon," and soon 
town, lake, forest, and distant fells were hidden from view 
by the precipitous sides of the savage gorge, through which 
the road winds its upward way. 

Our drive into Golden Friars had been a silent one, and 
BO was our drive from it, though from different causes. I 
was thinking over our odd interview with poor Lady 
Lorrimer. In what a low, nervous state she seemed, and 
how affectionately she spoke I I had no inquisitive 
tendencies, and I was just at the age when people take the 
future for granted. No sordid speculations therefore, I 
can honestly say, were busy with my brain. 

We were to have stayed at least ten days at Golden 
Friars, and here we were flying from it before two days were 
spent. All our plans were upset by the blight of Sir 
Harry Eokestone's arrival at least a fortnight before the 

Sir Harry's Answer. 201 

date of Ms usual visit, just as Napoleon's Eussian calcula- 
tions were spoilt by the famous early winter of 1812. 
I was vexed in my way. I should not have been sorry to hear 
that he had been well ducked in the lake. Mamma was vexed 
in her own way, also, when, about an hour after, she 
escaped from the thoughts that agitated her at first, and 
descended to her ordinary level. A gap of more than a 
week was made in her series of visits. What was to be 
done with it ? 

" Where are you going, mamma?" I asked, innocently 

" Nowhere everywhere. To Chester," she answered, 

" And where then ?" I asked. 

" Why do you ask questions that I can't answer ? Why 
should you like to make me more miserable than I am ? 
Everything is thrown into confusion. I'm sure I don't 
know the least. I have no plans. I literally don't know 
where we are to lay our heads to-night. There's no one 
to take care of us. As usual, whenever I want assistance, 
there's none to be had, and my maid is so utterly helpless, 
and your papa in town. I only know that I'm not strong 
enough for this kind of thing ; you can write to your papa 
when we come to Chester. We shan't see him for Heaven 
knows how long he may have left London by this time ; 
and he'll write to Golden Friars and now that I think of 
it oh ! how am I to live through all this ! I forgot to 
tell the people there where to send our letters. Oh ! dear, 
oh ! dear, it is such a muddle ! And I could not have told 
them, literally, for I don't know where we are going. We 
had better just stay at Chester till he comes, whenever 
that may be ; and I really could just lie down and cry." 

I was glad we were to ourselves, for mamma's looks and 
tones were so utterly despairing that in a railway carriage 
we should have made quite an excitement. In such matters 
mamma was very easy to persuade by any one who would 
take the trouble of thinking on himself, and she consented 
to come to Malory instead ; and there, accordingly, we 
arrived next day, much to the surprise of Eebecca Torkill, 
who received us with a very glad welcome, solemnized a 
little by a housekeeper's responsibilities. 

202 Willing to Die. 

Mamma enjoyed her simple life here wonderfully more, 
a great deal, than I had ventured to hope. She seemed 
to me naturally made for a rural life, though fate had 
consigned her to a town one. She reminded me of the 
German prince mentioned in Tom Moore's journal, who 
had a great taste for navigation, but whose principality 
unfortunately was inland. 

Papa did not arrive until the day before that fixed for 
his and mamma's visit to Dromelton. He was in high 
spirits, everything was doing well ; his canvass was pro- 
spering, and now Lady Lorrimer's conversation at parting, 
as reported by mamma, lighted up the uncertain future 
with a steady glory, and set his sanguine spirit in a blaze. 
Attorneys, foreclosures, bills of exchange hovering threaten- 
ingly in the air, and biding their brief time to pounce upon 
him, all lost their horrors, for a little, in the exhilarating 

Mamma had been expecting a letter from Lady Lorrimer 
one, at length, arrived this morning. Papa had walked 
round by the mill-road to visit old Captain Etheridge. 
Mamma and I were in the drawing-room as she read it. 
It was a long one. She looked gloomy, and said, when 
she had come to the end : 

"I was right it was not worth trying. I'm afraid 
this will vex your papa. You may read it. You heard 
Aunt Lorrimer talk about it. Yes, I was right. She 
was a great deal too sanguine." 

I read as follows : 

"My DEAREST MABEL, I have a disagreeable letter to 
write. You desired me to relate with rigour every savage 
thing he said I mean Harry Rokestone, of course and 
I must keep my promise, although I think you will hate 
me for it. I had almost given him up, and thinking that 
for some reason he was resolved to forget his usual visit 
to me, and I being equally determined to make him see 
me, was this morning thinking of writing him a little 
cousinly note, to say that I was going to see him in his 
melancholy castle. But to-day, at about one, there came 
on one of those fine thunder-storms among the fells that 
you used to admire so much. It grew awfully dark 

Sir Harry's Answer, 203 

portentous omen ! and some enormous drops of rain, as 
big as bullets, came smacking down upon the window- 
stone. Perhaps these drove him in ; for in he came, 
announced by the waiter, exactly as a very much nearer 
clap of thunder startled all the echoes of Golden Friars 
into a hundred reverberations ; a finer heralding, and 
much more characteristic of the scene and man than that 
flourish of trumpets to which kings always enter in 
Shakespeare. In he came, my dear Mabel, looking so 
king-like, and as tall as the Catstean on Dardale Moss, 
and gloomy as the sky. He is as like Allan Macaulay, in 
the ' Legend of Montrose,' as ever. A huge dog, one of 
that grand sort you remember long ago at Dorracleugh, 
came striding in beside him. He used to smile long ago. 
But it is many years, you know, since fortune killed that 
smile ; and he took my poor thin fingers in his colossal 
hand, with what Clarendon calls a glooming ' counten- 
ance. We talked for some time as well as the thunder 
and the clatter of the rain, mixed with hail, would let us. 

" By the time its violence was a little abated, I, being 
as you know, not a bad diplomatist, managed, without 
startling him, to bring him face to face with the subject 
on which I wished to move him. I may as well tell you 
at once, my dear Mabel, I might just as well (to return 
to my old simile) have tried to move the Catstean. When 
I described the danger in which the proceedings would 
involve you, as well as your husband, he suddenly smiled ; 
it was his first smile, so far as I remember, for many a 
day. It was not pleasant sunlight it was more like the 
glare of the lightning. 

" ' We have not very far to travel in life's journey,' I 
said, 'you and I. We have had our enemies and our 
quarrels, and fought our battles stoutly enough. It is 
time we should forget and forgive.' 

" ' I have forgotten a great deal,' he answered. ' I'll 
forgive nothing.' 

" ' You can't mean you have forgotten pretty Mabel ?' 1 

*' 'Let me bury my dead out of my sight,' was all he 
said. He did not say it kindly. It was spoken sulkily 
and peremptorily. 

204 Willing to Die. 

" 'Well, Harry/ 1 said, returning upon his former speech, 
I can't suppose you really intend to forgive nothing.' 

" It is a hypocritical world,' he answered. ' If it were 
anything else, every one would confess what every one 
knows, that no one ever forgave any one anything since 
man was created.' 

" ' Am I, then, to assume that you will prosecute this 
matter, to their ruin, through revenge ?' I asked, rather 

" * Certainly not,' said he. * That feud is dead and 
rotten. It is twenty years and more since I saw them. 
I'm tired of their names. The man I sometimes remem- 
ber 'd like to see him flung over the crags of Darness 
Heugh but the girl I never think of she's clean forgot. 
To me they are total strangers. I'm a trustee in this 
matter ; why should I swerve from my duty, and incur, 
perhaps, a danger for those whom I know not ?' 

" ' You are not obliged to do this you know you are not,' 
I urged. ' You have the power, that's all, and you choose 
to exercise it.' 

"'Amen, so be it; and now we've said enough,' he 

" 'No,' I answered, warmly, for it was impossible to be 
diplomatic with a man like this. ' I must say a word 
more. I ask you only to treat them as you describe them, 
that is as strangers. You would not put yourself out of 
your way to crush a stranger. There was a time when 
you were kind.' 

" 'And foolish,' said he. 

' 'Kind,' I repeated ; ' you were a kind man.' 

" 'The volume of life is full of knowledge,' he answered, 
' and I have turned over some pages since then.' 

" ' A higher knowledge leads us to charity,' I pleaded. 

" 'The highest to justice,' he said, with a scoff. ' I'm 
no theologian, but I know that fellow deserves the very 
worst. He refused to meet me, when a crack or two of a 
pistol might have blown away our feud, since so you call 
it feud with such a mafflin !' Every now and then, when 
he is excited, out pops one of these strange words. They 
came very often in this conversation, but I don't remember 
them, The mafflin ! the coward!' 

Sir Harry's Answer. 205 

" I give you his words ; his truculent looks I can't give 
you. It is plain he has not forgiven him, and never will. 
Your husband, we all know, did perfectly right in declining 
that wild challenge. All his friends so advised him. I 
was very near saying a foolish thing about you, but I saw 
it in time, and turned my sentence differently ; and when 
I had done, he said : 

" 'I am going now the shower is over.' He took my 
hand, and said ' Good-bye.' But he held it still, and 
looking me in the face with his gloomy eyes, he added : 
* See, I like you well ; but if you will talk of those people, 
or so much as mention their names again, we meet as 
friends no more.' 

" 'Think better of it, do, Harry,' I called after him, but 
he was already clanking over the lobby in his cyclopean 
shoes. Whether he heard me or not, he walked down the 
stairs, with his big brute at his heels, without once looking 
over his shoulder. 

" And now, dear Mabel, I have told you everything. 
You are, of course, to take for granted those Northumbrian 
words and idioms which drop from him, as I reminded you, 
as he grows warm in discussion. This is a 'report' rather 
than a letter, and I have sat up very late to finish it, and 
I send it to the post-office before I go to bed. Good night, 
and Heaven bless you, and I hope this gloomy letter may 
not vex you as much as its purport does me ; disappoint 
you, judging from what you said to me when we talked the 
matter over, I scarcely think it can." 

There is a Latin proverb, almost the only four words of 
Latin I possess, which says, Omne ignotum pro magnifico, 
for which, and for its translation, I am obliged to Mr. 
Carmel : " The unknown is taken for the sublime." I did 
not at the time at all understand the nature of the danger 
that threatened, and its vagueness magnified it. Papa 
came in. He read the letter, and the deeper he got in it 
the paler his face grew, and the more it darkened. He 
drew a great breath as he laid it down. 

" Well, it's not worse than you expected ?" said mamma 
at last. " I hope not. I've had so much to weary, and 
worry, and break me down ; you have no idea what the 

206 Willing to Die. 

journey to the Golden Friars was to me. I have not been 
at all myself. I've been trying to do too much. Ethel 
there will tell you all I said to my aunt ; and really things 
go so wrong and so unluckily, no matter what one does, 
that I almost think I'll go to my bed and cry." 

"Yes, dear," said papa, thinking, a little bewildered. 
" It's it's it is it's very perverse. The old scoundrel ! 
I suppose this is something else." 

He took up a letter that had followed him by the same 
post, and nervously broke the seal. I was watching his 
face intently as he read. It brightened. 

" Here here's a bit of good luck at last ! Where's 
Mabel ? Oh, yes ! it's from Cloudesly. There are some 
leases just expired at Ellenston, and we shall get at least 
two thousand pounds, he thinks, for renewing. That 
makes it all right for the present. I wish it had been 
fifteen hundred more ; but it's a great deal better than 
nothing. We'll tide it over, you'll find." And papa 
kissed her with effusion. 

" And you can give three hundred pounds to Le Panier 
and Tarlton ; they have been sending so often lately," said 
mamma, recovering from her despondency. 





HE autumn deepened, and leaves were brown, 
and summer's leafy honours spead drifting over 
the short grass and the forest roots. Winter 
came, and snow was on the ground, and pre- 
sently spring began to show its buds, and blades, and 
earliest flowers; and the London season was again 
upon us. 

Lady Lorrimer had gone, soon after our visit to Golden 
Friars, to Naples for the winter. She was to pass the 
summer in Switzerland, and the autumn somewhere in 
the north of Italy, and again she was to winter in her old 
quarters at Naples. We had little chance, therefore, of 
seeing her again in England for more than a year. Her 
letters were written in varying spirits, sometimes cheery, 
sometimes de profundis. Sometimes she seemed to think 
that she was just going to break up and sink ; and then 
her next letter would unfold plans looking far into the 
future, and talking of her next visit to England. There 
was an uneasy and even violent fluctuation in these 
accounts, which did not exactly suggest the idea of a 
merely fanciful invalid. She spoke at times, also, of in- 
tense and exhausting pain. And she mentioned that in 
Paris she had been in the surgeons' hands, and that there 
was still uncertainty as to what good they might have 
done her. This may have been at the root of her hyste- 
rical vacillations. But, in addition to this, there was 
something very odd in Lady Lorrimer's correspondence. 

208 Willing to Die. 

She had told mamma to write to her once a fortnight, and 
promised to answer punctually ; but nothing could he 
more irregular. At one time, so long an interval as two 
whole months passed without bringing a line from her. 
Then, again, she would complain of mamma's want of 
punctuality. She seemed to have forgotten things that 
mamma had told her; and sometimes s]ie alluded to 
things as if she had told them to mamma, which she had 
never mentioned before. Either the post-office was playing 
tricks with her letters, or poor Lady Lorrimer was losing 
her head. 

I think, if we had been in a quiet place like Malory, we 
should have been more uneasy about Lady Lorrimer than, 
in the whirl of London, we had time to be. There was 
one odd passage in one of her letters ; it was as follows : 
" Send your letters, not by the post, I move about so 
much ; but, when you have an opportunity, send them by 
a friend. I wish I were happier. I don't do always as 
I like. If we were for a time together but all I do is so 
uncertain 1" 

Papa heard more than her letters told of her state of 
health. A friend of his, who happened to be in Paris at 
the time, told papa that one of the medical celebrities 
whom she had consulted there had spoken to him in the 
most desponding terms of poor Lady Lorrimer's chances 
of recovery, I do not know whether it was referable to 
that account of her state of health or simply to the ap- 
proach of the time when he was to make his debut in the 
House ; but the fact is that papa gave a great many 
dinner-parties this season ; and mamma took her drives in 
a new carriage, with a new and very pretty pair of horses ; 
and a great deal of new plate came home ; and it was plain 
that he was making a fresh start in a style suited to his 
new position, which he assumed to be certain and near. 
He was playing rather deep upon this throw. It mus!} be 
allowed, however, that nothing could look more pro- 

Sir Luke Pyneweck, a young man, with an estate and 
an overpowering influence in the town of Shillings worth, 
had sat for three years for that borough, not in the House, 
but in his carriage, or a Bath-chair, in various watering- 



]LD Lord Verney, of all persons in the world, 
took a fancy to take me down to the tea-room. 
I think he believed, as other wiser people did, 
that papa, who was certainly clever, and a 
very shrewd club-house politician, might come to be some- 
body in the House, in time. 

As usual, he was telling an interminable story, without 
point or beginning or end, about himself, and all mixed 
up with the minister, and the opposition leader, and an 
amendment, and some dismal bill, that I instantly 
lost my way in. As we entered the tea-room, a large 
room opening from the landing, he nodded, without 
interrupting his story, to a gentleman who was going 
downstairs. My eye followed this recognition, and I saw 
a tall, rather good-looking young man. I saw him only 
for a moment. I was so startled that I involuntarily 
almost stopped Lord Verney as we passed ; but 1 recovered 
myself instantly. It was tantalising. He always talks 
as if he were making a speech ; one can't, without rude- 
ness, edge in a word ; he is so pompous, I dare not inter- 
rupt him. He did that office for himself, however, by 
taking an ice ; and I seized the transitory silence, and 
instantly asked him the name of the gentleman to whom 
he had bowed; I thought he said, "Mr. Jennings," and 
as a clever artist of that odd name had lately painted a 
portrait of Lord Verney, I was satisfied that I had heard 
him aright. 

This was to be a night of odd recognitions. I was en- 
gaged to Lord John Eoxford, who came up, and saying, 
" I think this is our dance, Miss Ware ?" took me away, 

214 Willing to Die. 

to my great relief, from Lord Verney. Well, we danced 
and talked a little ; and I learned nothing that I remem- 
ber, except that he was to return to Paris the next day. 
Before he took me to mamma, however, he said : 

"A very dear friend has asked me, as the greatest 
favour I can do him, to introduce him to you, Miss Ware ; 
you will allow me ?" 

He repeated, I thought for he was looking for him, 
and his face at that moment was turned a little away, and 
the noise considerable the same name that Lord Verney 
had mentioned. As Rebecca Torkill used to say, " my 
heart jumped into my mouth," as I consented. A moment 
more, and I found myself actually acquainted with the 
very man ! How strange it seemed ! Was that smiling 
young man of fashion the same I had seen stretched on 
the rugged peat and roots at Plas Ylwd, with white face 
and leaden lips, and shirt soaked in blood ? He was, with 
his white-gloved hand on the pier-table beside me, inquir- 
ing what dance I could give him. I was engaged for this ; 
but I could not risk the chance of forfeiting my talk with 
my new acquaintance. I gave it to him, and having the 
next at my disposal, transferred it to the injured man 
whom I had ousted. 

The squabble, the innocent surprise, the regrets, the 
other hypocrisies, and finally the compromise over, away 
we went to take our places in the quadrille. I was glad it 
was not a round dance. I wanted to hear him talk a 
little. How strange it seemed to me, standing beside him 
in this artifical atmosphere of wax-light and music ! Each 
affecting the air of an acquaintance made then and there ; 
each perfectly recognising the other, as we stood side by 
side talking of the new primo tenore, the play, the Aztec 
and I know not what besides ! 

This young man's manner was different from what 
had been accustomed to in ball-rooms. There was 
none of the trifling, and no sign of the admiration 
which the conversation and looks of others seemed to 
imply. His tone, perfectly gentleman-like, was merely 
friendly, and he seemed to take an interest in me, much 
as I fancied an unknown relation might. We talked of 
things of no particular interest, until he happened to 



L S 

Neics of Lady Lorrimer. 21& 

ask something of my occasional wanderings in the country. 
It was my opportunity, and I seized it like a general. 

" I like the country," I said. "I enjoy it thoroughly ; 
I've lived nearly all my life in the country, in a place I 
am so fond of, called Malory. I think all about there so 
beautiful ! It is close to Cardyllion have you ever seen 
Cardyllion ?" 

" Yes, I've been to Cardyllion once only once, I think. 
I did not sec a great deal of it. But you, now, see a great 
deal more of the country you have been to the lakes V" 

" Oh ! yes ; but I want to ask how you liked Cardyllion. 
How long is it since you were there ?" 

"About two years, or a little more, perhaps," he 

" Oh ! that's just about the time the Conway Castle 
was wrecked how awful that was ! I had a companion 
then, my dearest friend Laura Grey was her name ; she 
left us so suddenly, when I was away from Malory, and I 
have never seen her since. I have been longing so to 
meet any one who could tell me anything about her. You 
don't happen to know any one, do you, who knows a young 
lady of that name ? I make it a rule to ask every one I 
can ; and I'm sure I shall make her out at last." 

"Nothing like perseverance," said he. "I shall be 
most happy to be enlisted ; and if I should light upon a 
lady of that name, I may tell her that Miss Ware is very 
well, and happy?" 

"No, not happy at least, not quite happy, until she writes 
to tell me where she is, or comes to see me ; and tell her I 
could not have believed she would have been so unkind." 

Conversations are as suddenly cut short in ball-rooms 
as they are in a beleaguered city, where the head of one of 
the interlocutors is carried off by a round-shot. Our 
dialogue ended with the sudden arrival of the ill-used man, 
whom I could no longer postpone, and who carried me off, 
very much vexed, as you may suppose, and scarcely giving 
my companion time to make a bow. 

Never was "fast dance" so slow as this ! At length it 
was over, and wherever I went my eyes wandered hither 
and thither in search of the tall young man with whom I 
Lad danced. The man who had figured in a scene which 

210 ' Willing to Die. 

had so often returned to my imagination was now gone ; 
I saw him neither in the dancing-rooms nor in any others. 
By this time there was a constant double current to and 
from the supper-room, up and down the stairs. As I went 
down, immediately before me was Monsieur Droqville. 
He did not follow the stream, but passed into the hall. 

Monsieur Droqville put on his loose black wrapper, and 
wound a shawl about his throat, and glanced, from habit, 
with his shrewd, hard eyes at the servants as he passed 
through them in the hall. He jumped into a cab, told 
the driver where to stop, lighted a cigar, and smoked. 

He got out at the corner of a fashionable but rather 
di-ngy street not very far away. Then he dismissed his 
vehicle, walked up the pavement smoking, passed into a 
still quieter street, also fashionable, that opens from it at 
an obtuse angle. Here he walked slowly, and, as it were, 
softly. The faint echo of his own steps was the only 
sound that met him as he entered it. He crossed, threw 
his head back, and shrewdly scanned the upper windows, 
blowing out a thin stream of tobacco-smoke as he looked. 

" Not flown yet, animula, ragula llaiuhila ? Still on 
the perch," he said, as he crossed the street again. 

His cigar was just out, and he threw it away as he 
reached the steps. He did not need to knock or ring ; he 
admitted himself with a latch-key. A bedroom candle- 
stick in the hall had a candle still burning in it. He took 
it and walked quietly up. The boards of the stairs and 
lobbies were bare, and a little dust lay on the wall and 
bannister, indicating the neglected state of a house aban- 
doned by its tenants for a journey or a very long stay in 
the country. He opened the back drawing-room door and 
put his head in. A pair of candles lighted the room. A 
thin elderly lady, in an odd costume, w r as the only person 
there. She wore a white, quilted headcloth, a black robe, 
and her beads and cross were at her side. She was read- 
ing, with spectacles on, a small book which she held open 
in both hands, as he peeped in. With a slight start she 
rose. There was a little crucifix on the table, and a ' 
coloured print of the Madonna hung on the wall, on the 
nail from which a Watteau had been temporarily removed. 

Lady Mardykes's Ball. 209 

places at home and abroad being, in fact, a miserable 
invalid. This influential young politician had written a 
confidential letter, with only two or three slips in spelling 
and grammar, to his friend the Patronage Secretary, 
telling him to look out for a man to represent Shillings- 
worth till he had recovered his health, which was not 
returning quite so quickly as he expected, and promising 
his strenuous support to the nominee of the minister. 
Papa's confidence, therefore, was very reasonably justified, 
and the matter was looked upon by those sages of the 
lobbies who count the shadowy noses of unborn Houses of 
Commons as settled. It was known that the dissolution 
would take place early in the autumn. 

Presently there came a letter to the " whip," from his 
friend Sir Luke Pyneweck, announcing that he w r as so 
much better that he had made up his mind to try once 
more before retiring. 

This was a stunning blow to papa. Sir Luke could do 
without the government better than the government could 
do without him. And do or say what they might, no one 
could carry the borough against him. The Patronage 
Secretary really liked my father ; and, I believe, would 
have wished him, for many reasons, in the House. But 
what was to be done ? Sir Luke was neither to be 
managed nor bullied ; he was cunning and obstinate. 
He did not want anything for himself, and did not want 
anything for any other person. With a patriot of that 
type who could do anything ? 

It was a pity the " whip" did not know this before 
every safe constituency was engaged. A pity papa did 
not know it before he put an organ into Shillingsworth 
church, and subscribed six hundred pounds towards the 
building of the meeting-house. I never saw papa so cast 
down and excited as he- was by this disappointment. 
Looking very ill, however, he contrived to rally his spirits 
when he was among his friends, and seemed resolved, one 
way or other, to conquer fortune. 

Balls, dinners, concerts, garden-parties, nevertheless, 
devoured our time, and our drives, and shopping, and 
visits went on, as if nothing had happened, and nothing 
was impending. 


210 Willing to Die. 

Two notable engagements for the next week, because 
they were connected, in the event, with my strange story, 
I mention now. On Tuesday there was Lady Mardykes's 
ball, on that day week papa had apolitical party to dinner, 
among whom were some very considerable names indeed. 
Lady Mardykes's balls were always, as you know, among the 
most brilliant of the season. While dancing one of those 
quadrilles that give us breathing time between the round 
dances, I saw a face that riveted my attention, and excited 
my curiosity. A slight old gentleman, in evening costume, 
with one of those obsolete under- waistcoats, which seemed 
to me such a pretty fashion (his was of blue satin), was 
the person I mean. A forbidding-looking man was this, 
with a thin face, as brown as a nut, hawk's eyes and beak, 
thin lips, and a certain character of dignified ill-temper, 
and even insolence, which, however, did not prevent its 
being a very gentleman-like face. I instantly recognised 
him as the old man, in the chocolate-coloured coat, who 
had talked so sharply, as it seemed to me and poor Nelly, 
with Laura Grey on the Milk-walk, in the shadow of the 
steep bank and the overhanging trees. 

" Who is that old gentleman standing near the door at 
the end of the room, with that blue satin about his neck ? 
Now he's speaking to Lady Westerbroke." 

" Oh ! that's Lord Killingdon," answered my friend. 

" He does not go to many places ? I have seen him, I 
think, but once before," I said. 

"No, I fancy he does not care about this sort of 

" Doesn't he speak very well ? I think I've heard " 

" Yes, he speaks only in Indian debates. He's very well 
up on India he was there, you know." 

" Don't you think he looks very cross ?" I said. 

" They say he is very cross," said my informant, laugh- 
ing : and here the dance was resumed, and I heard no 
more of him. 

Old Lord Eillingdon had his eyes about him. He 
seemed, as much as possible, to avoid talking to people, 
and I thought was looking very busily for somebody. As 
I now and then saw this old man, who, from time to time, 
changed his point of observation, my thoughts were busy 

Lady Mardykes's Ball 211 

with Laura Grey, and the pain of my uncertainty re- 
turned pain mingled with remorse. My enjoyment of 
this scene contrasted with her possible lot, upbraided me, 
and for a time I wished myself at home. 

A little later I thought I saw a face that had not been 
seen in London for more than a year. I was not quite 
sure, but I thought I saw Monsieur Droqville. In rooms 
so crowded, one sometimes has so momentary a peep of a 
distant face that recognition is uncertain. Very soon I 
saw him again, and this time I had no doubt whatever. 
He seemed as usual, chatty, and full of energy ; but I 
soon saw, or at least fancied, that he did not choose to 
see mamma or me. It is just possible I may have been 
doing him wrong. I did not see him, it is true, so much 
as once glance towards us ; but Doctor or Monsieur Droq- 
ville was a man who saw everything, as Eebecca Torkill 
would say, with half an eye always noting everything 
that passed ; full of curiosity, suspicion, and conclusion, 
and with an eye quick and piercing as a falcon's. 

This man, I thought, had seen, and was avoiding us, 
without wishing to appear to do so. It so happened, 
however, that some time later, in the tea-room, mamma 
was placed beside him. I was near enough to hear. 
Mamma recognised him with a smile and a little bow. 
He replied with just surprise enough in his looks and 
tones to imply that he had not known, up to that moment, 
that she was there. 

" You are surprised to see me here ?" he said ; " I can 
scarcely believe it myself. I've been away thirteen 
months a wanderer all over Europe ; and I shall be off 
again in a few days. By-the-bye, you hear from Lady 
Lorrimer sometimes : I saw her at Naples, in January. 
She was looking flourishing then, but complaining a good 
deal. She has not been so well since but I'll look in 
upon you to-morrow or the next day. I shall be sure to 
see her again, immediately. Your friends, the Wiclyffs, 
were at Baden this summer, so were the D'Acres. Lord 
Charles is to marry that French lady ; it turns out she's 
rather an heiress ; it is very nearly arranged, and they 
seemed all very well pleased. Have you seen my friend 
Carrnel lately?" 

Willing to Die. 

"About three weeks ago; he was going to North Wales," 
she said. 

"He is another of those interesting people who are 
always dying, and never die," said Monsieur Droqville. 

I felt a growing disgust for this unfeeling man. He 
talked a little longer, and then turned to me and said : 

" There's one advantage, Miss Ware, in being an old 
fellow one can tell a young lady, in such charming and 
brilliant looks as yours to-night, what he thinks, just as 
he might give his opinion upon a picture. But I won't 
venture mine ; I'll content myself with making a petition. 
I only ask that, when you are a very great lady, you'll re- 
member a threadbare doctor, who would be very glad of 
an humble post about the court, and who is tired of 
wandering over the world in search of happiness, and 
finding a fee only once in fifty miles." 

I do not know what was in this man's mind at that 
moment. If he was a Jesuit, he certainly owed very little 
to those arts and graces of which rumour allows so large 
a share to the order. But brusque and almost offensive 
as I thought him, there was something about him that 
seemed to command acceptance, and carry him every- 
where he chose to go. He went away, and I saw him 
afterwards talking now to one great lady, and now to 
another. Lord Eillingdon, who looked like the envious 
witch whom Madame D'Aulnois introduces sometimes at 
the feasts of her happy kings and queens, throwing a 
malign gloom on all about them, had vanished. 

That night, however, was to recall, as unexpectedly, 
another face, a more startling reminder of Malory and 
Laura Grey. 



JT about eleven o'clock next morning, mamma 
came to my bedside, having thrown her dressing- 
gown on, and holding a note in her hand. 
I was awakened by her calling me by my name ; 
and the extraordinary exertion of getting out of her bed at 
such an hour, the morning after a ball, even if there had 
not been consternation in her looks, would have satisfied 
me that something unusual had happened. I sat up 
staring at her. 

" Oh, dear Ethel, here's a note from Doctor Droqyille ; 
I'm so shocked poor, dear Aunt Lorrimer is dead." And 
mamma burst into tears, and, sobbing, told me to read 
the note, which, so soon as I had a little collected myself, 
I did. It said : 

" DEAR MRS. WARE, I could no-fc, of course, last night 
tell you the sad news about Lady Lorrimer. She arrived, 
it seems, on Tuesday last, to die in England. On leaving 
Lady Mardykes's last night, I went to her house to make 
inquiries; she was good enough to wish to see me. I 
found her in a most alarming &tate, and quite conscious of 
her danger. She was sinking rapidly. I was, therefore, 
by no means surprised, on calling about half an hour ago, 
to learn that she was no more. I lose no time in commu- 
nicating the sad intelligence. It will be consolatory to you 
to learn that the nurses, who were present during her last 
moments, tell me that she died without any pain or 
struggle. I shall call to morrow, as near twelve as I can, 
to learn whether there is anything in which you think my 
poor services can be made available. I remain, dear Mrs. 
"Ware, Ever yours sincerely, 


222 Willing to Die. 

I was very sorry. I even shed some tears, a thing 
oftener written about than done. 

Mamma cried for a long time. She had now no near 
kinswoman left. When we are " pretty well on," and the 
thinned ranks of one generation only stand between us 
and death, the disappearance of the old over the verge is 
a serious matter. Between mamma and Lady Lorrimer, 
too, there were early recollections and sympathies in com- 
mon, and the chasm was not so wide. 

But for the young, and I was then young, the old seem 
at best a sort of benevolent ghosts, whose presence, more 
or less, chills and awes, and whose home is not properly 
with the younger generation. Their memories are busy 
with a phantom world that passed away before we were 
born. They are puckered masks and glassy eyes, peeping 
from behind the door of the sepulchre that stands ajar, 
closing little by little to shut them in for ever. I am now 
but little past forty, yet I feel this isolation stealing upon 
me. I acquiesce in the law of nature, though it seems a 
cynical one. I know I am no longer of the young; I grow 
shy of them ; there is a real separation between us. 

The world is for the young it belongs to them, and 
time makes us ugly, and despised, and solitary, and 
prepares for our unregretted removal, for nature has 
ordained that death shall trouble the pleasure and economy 
of the vigorous, high-spirited world as little as may 

Mamma was more grieved, a great deal, than I at all 
expected. I am writing now in solitude, and from my 
interior convictions, under a sort of obligation to tell, not 
only nothing but the truth, but the whole truth also ; and 
I confess that mamma was selfish, and, in a degree, 
exacting. The education of her whole married life had 
tended to form those habits ; but she was also affectionate, 
and her grief was vehement, and did not subside, as I 
thought it would, after its first outburst. The only prac- 
tical result of her grief was a determination to visit the 
house, and see the remains of the poor lady. 

I never could understand the comfort that some people 
seem to derive from contemplating such a spectacle ! To 
me the sight is simply shocking. Mamma made it a point, 

A Last Look. 223 

however, that I should accompany her. She could not 
make up her mind to go that day. The next day Doctor 
Droqville called. Mamma saw him. After they had talked 
for a little, mamma declared her intention of seeing poor 
Lady Lorrimer as she lay in her bed. 

" Allow me to advise you, as a physician, to do no such 
thing," said Droqville. " You'll inflict a great deal of pain 
on yourself, and do nobody any good." 

" But unless I see her once more I shall be miserable," 
pleaded mamma. 

"You have not nerve for such scenes," he replied; 
" you'd not be yourself again for a month after." 

I joined my entreaties to Doctor Droqville's representa- 
tions, and I thought we had finally prevailed over mamma's 
facile will. 

He gave us a brief account of Lady Lorrimer's illness 
and last moments, and then talked on other subjects ; 
finally he said, " You told me you wished me to return a 
bracelet that does not answer, to St. Aumand, when I 
pass again through Paris. I find I shall be there in a few 
days can you let me have it now ?" 

Mamma's maid was out, so she went to get it herself, 
and, while she was away, Doctor Droqville said to me, with 
rather a stern look : 

" Don't you allow her to go ; your mamma has a form 
of the same affection of the heart. We can't tell her that ; 
but quiet nerves are essential to her. She touches the 
spring of the mischief, and puts it in action at any moment 
by agitating herself." 

" I think she has given up that intention," I answered ; 
" but for Heaven's sake, Doctor Droqville, tell me, is 
mamma in any danger ?" 

" No, if she will only keep quiet. She may live for many 
years to come ; but every woman, of course, who has a 
weakness of the kind, may kill herself easily and quickly ; 
but I hear her don't allow her to go." 

Mamma returned, and Doctor Droqville soon took his 
departure, leaving me very miserable, and very much 
alarmed. She now talked only of postponing her last look 
at poor Lady Lorrimer until to-morrow. Her vacillations 
were truly those of weakness, but they were sometimes 

224 Willing to Die. 

violent ; and when her emotions overcame her indolence, 
she was not easily managed. 

The dark countenance of Doctor Droqville, as he urged 
his prohibition, excited vague suspicions. It was by no 
means benevolent it was grim, and even angry. It struck 
me instinctively that he might have some motive, other 
than the kind one which he professed, in wishing to scare 
away mamma from the house of death. 

Doctor Droqville was, I believe, a very clever physician ; 
but his visits to England, being desultory, he could not, 
of course, take the position of any but an occasional 
adviser. He had acquired an influence over mamma, and 
I think if he had been a resident in London, she would 
have consulted no other. As matters were, however, Sir 
Jacob Lake was her "physician in ordinary." To him I 
wrote the moment I had an opportunity, stating what had 
occurred, enclosing his fee, and begging of him to look in 
about two next day, on any pretext he could think of, to 
determine the question. 

Next day came, and with two o'clock, just as we were 
sitting down to lunch, Sir Jacob arrived. I ran up 
instantly to the drawing-room, leaving mamma to follow, 
for sages of his kind have not many minutes to throw 
away. He relieved my mind a little about mamma, but 
not quite, and before he had spoken half-a-dozen sentences 
she came in. He made an excuse of poor Lady Lorrimer'a 
death, and had brought with him two or three letters of 
hers, describing her case, which he thought might be 
valuable should any discussion arise respecting the nature 
of her disease. 

The conversation thus directed, I was enabled to put 
the question on which Doctor Droqville had been so 
peremptory. Sir Jacob said there was nothing to prevent 
mamma's going, and that she was a great deal more likely 
to be agitated by a dogged opposition to a thing she had so 
set her heart on. 

Now that mamma found herself quite at liberty to go, I 
think she grew a little frightened. She was looking ill ; 
she had eaten nearly nothing for the last two days, seen 
nobody but Doctor Droqville and the doctor who had just 
now called, and her head was full of her mourning and 

News of Lady Lorrimer. 217 

" Has your patient been anointed yet?" said Monsieur 
Droqville, in his short nasal tones. 

" Not yet, reverend father," she answered. They were 
both speaking French. 

''Has she been since nearly in artiaylo?" 

" At about eleven o'clock, reverend father, her soul 
seemed at her very lips." 

" In this complaint so it will often be. Is Sister Cecilia 

" Yes, reverend father." 

" Father Edwyn here ?" 

" Yes, reverend father." 

He withdrew his head, closed the door, and walked up- 
stairs. He tapped gently at the door of the front bedroom. 

A French nun, in a habit precisely similar to that of the 
lady downstairs, stood noiselessly at the door. She was 
comparatively young, wore no spectacles, and had a kind 
and rather sad countenance. He whispered a word to her, 
heard her answer softly, and then he entered the room 
with a soundless step it was thickly carpeted, and fur- 
nished luxuriously and stood at the side of a huge four- 
post bed, with stately curtains of silk, within which a 
miserable shrunken old woman, with a face brown as clay, 
sunk and flaccid, and staring feebly with wide glassy eyes, 
with her back coiled into a curve, and laden with shawls, 
was set up, among pillows, breathing, or rather gasping, 
with difficulty. 

Here she was, bent, we may say, in the grip of two 
murderers, heart complaint and cancer. The irresistible 
chemistry of death had set in ; the return of " earth to 
earth" was going on. Who could have recognised, in this 
breathing effigy of death, poor Lady Lorrimer ? But dis- 
ease now and then makes short work of such transfor- 

The good nurse here, like the other downstairs, had her 
little picture against the wall, and had been curtseying 
and crossing herself before it, in honest prayer for the 
dying old lady, to whom Monsieur Droqville whispered 
something, and then leaned his ear close to her lips. He 
felt her pulse, and said, " Madame has some time still to 
meditate and pray." 

18 Willing to Die. 

Again his ear was to her lips. "Doubt it not, madame. 
Every consolation." 

She whispered something more ; it lasted longer, and 
was more earnest this time. Her head was nodding on 
her shoulders, and her eyes were turned up to his dark 
energetic face, imploringly. 

" You can't do that, madame it is not yours you have 
given it to God." 

The woman turned her eyes on him with a piteous look. 

" No, madame," he said, sharply; "it is too late to 
withhold a part. This, madame, is temptation a weak- 
ness of earth ; the promises are to her that overcometh." 

Her only answer was an hysterical whimper and imper- 
fect sobbing. 

" Be calm," he resumed, " It is meritorious. Dis- 
charge your mind of it, and the memory of your sacrifice 
will be sweeter, and its promise more glorious the nearer 
you draw to your darkest hour on earth." 

She had another word to say ; her fingers were creeping 
on the coverlet to his hand. 

" No, madame, there won't be any struggle you will 
faint, that is all, and waken, we trust among the blest. 
I'm sorry I can't stay just now. But Father Edwyn is 
here, and Dr. Garnet." 

Again she turned her wavering head towards him, and 
lifted her eyes, as if to speak. 

" No, no, you must not exert yourself husband your 
strength you'll want it, madame." 

It was plain, however, she would have one last word 
more, and a little sourly he stooped his ear again. 

"Pardon me, madame, I never said or supposed that 
after you signed it you were still at liberty to deal with 
any part ; if you have courage to take it back, it is another 
matter. I won't send you before the Judge Eternal with 
a sacrilege in your right hand." 

He spoke quietly, but very sternly, raising his finger 
upward, with his eyes fixed upon her, while his dark face 
looked pale. 

She answered only with the same helpless whimper. He 
beckoned to the nun. 

" Let me see that book." 

News of Lady Lorrimet: 219 

He looked through its pages. 

" Read aloud to madame the four first elevations ; agony 
is near." 

As he passed from the room, he heckoned the lady in 
the religious habit again, and whispered in her ear in the 
lobby : 

" Lock this door, and admit none but those you know." 

He went down this lime to the front drawing-room, and 

entered it suddenly. Mr. Carmel was seated there, with 

candles beside him, reading. Down went his book instantly, 

and he rose. 

" Our good friend upstairs won't last beyond three or 
four hours possibly five," began Monsieur Droqville. 
" Garnet will be here in a few minutes ; keep the doors 
bolted ! people might come in and disturb the old lady. 
You need not mind now. I locked the hall-door as I came 
in. Why don't you make more way with Miss Ware ? 
Her mother is no obstacle favourable rather. Her father 
is a mere pagan, and never at home ; and the girl likes 

Mr. Carmel stared. 

" Yes, you are blind ; but I have my eyes. Why don't 
you read your Montaigne ? Les agaceries des femmes 
sont des declarations d' amour.' You interest her, and yet 
you profit nothing by your advantage. There she is, ro- 
mantic, passionate, Quixotic, and makes, without knowing 
it, a hero of you. You are not what I thought you." 

Mr. Carmel's colour flushed to his very temples ; he 
looked pained and agitated ; his eyes were lowered before 
his superior. 

"Why need you look like a fool? Understand me," 
continued Monsieur Droqville, in his grim, harsh nasals. 
" The weaknesses of human nature are Heaven's oppor- 
tunities. The godly man knows how to use them with 
purity. She is not conscious of the position she gives 
you ; but you should understand its powers. You can 
illuminate, elevate, save her." 

He paused for a moment ; Mr. Carmel stood before him 
with his eyes lowered. 

" What account am I to give of you ?" he resumed. 
" Remember, you have no business to be afraid. You 

220 Willing to Die. 

must use all influences to save a soul, and serve the 
Church. A good soldier fights with every weapon he has 
sword, pistol, bayonet, fist in the cause of his king. 
What shall I say of you ? A loyal soldier, but wanting 
head, wanting action, wanting presence of mind. A 
theorist, a scholar, a deliberator. But not a man for the 
field ; no coup d'ceil, no promptitude, no perception of a 
great law, where it is opposed by a small quibble, no power 
of deciding between a trifle and an enormity, between see- 
ing your king robbed or breaking the thief's fingers. Why, 
can't you see that the power that commands is also the 
power that absolves ? I thought you had tact I thought 
you had insinuation. Have I been mistaken ? If so, we 
must cut out other work for you. Have you anything 
to say ?" 

He paused only for a second, and in that second Mr. 
Carmel raised his head to speak ; but with a slight down- 
ward motion of his hand, and a frown, Droqville silenced 
him, and proceeded : 

" True, I told you not to precipitate matters. But you 
need not let the fire go out, because I told you not to set 
the chimney in a blaze. There is Mrs. Ware ; her most 
useful position is where she is, in equilibria. She can 
serve no one by declaring herself a Catholic ; the eclat of 
such a thing would spoil the other mission, that must be 
conducted with judgment and patience. The old man I 
told you of is a Puritan, and must see or suspect nothing. 
While he lives there can be no avowal. But up to that 
point all must now proceed. Ha ! there goes a carriage 
that's the third I have heard Lady Mardykes's party 
breaking up. The Wares don't return this way. I'll see 
you again to-morrow. To-night you accomplish your 
duty here. The old woman upstairs will scarcely last till 

He nodded and left the room as suddenly as he had 
entered it. 

A Last Look. 225 

mine. Her grief was very real. Through Lady Lorrimer's 
eyes she had been accustomed to look back into her own 
early life. They had both seen the same scenes and people 
that she remembered, and now there was no one left with 
whom she could talk over old times. Mamma was irre- 
solute till late in the afternoon, and then at Iftst she made 
up her mind. 

We drove through half-a-dozen streets. I did not know 
in what street my poor aunt Lorrimer's house was. We 
suddenly pulled up, and the footman came to the door to 
say that there was a chain across the street at each end. 
We had nothing for it but to get out and to walk past the 
paviors who had taken possession of it. The sun was, I 
suppose, at this time about setting. The sunlight fell 
faintly on the red brick chimneys above, but all beneath 
was dark and cold. In its present state it was a melan- 
choly and silent street. It was, I instantly saw, the very 
same street in which Lady Lorrimer had chosen to pass 
me by. 

" Is that the house, the one with the tan before it ?" I 

It was. I was now clear upon the point. Into that 
house I had seen her go. The woman in the odd costume 
who had walked beside her, Mr. Carmel's thin figure and 
melancholy ascetic face, and the silence in which they 
moved, were all remembered, and recalled the sense of 
curious mystery with which I had observed the parting, 
more than two years ago, and mingled an unpleasant in- 
gredient in the gloom that deepened about me as I now 
approached the door. 

It was all to be cleared up soon. The door was instantly 
opened by a man in black placed in the hall. A man also 
in black, thin, very perpendicular, with a long neck, sallow 
face, and black eyes, very stern, passed us by in silence 
with a glance. He turned about before he reached the hall 
door, and in a low tone, a little grimly, inquired our busi- 
ness. I told him, and also who we were. 

We were standing at the foot of the stairs. On hearing 
our names he took off his hat, and, more courteously, 
requested us to wait for a moment where we were, till lie 
should procure a person to conduct us to the room. This 


226 Willing to Dig. 

man was dressed something in the style of our own High- 
Church divines, except that his black coat was longer, 
I think. He had hardly left us when there was a ring at 
the bell, and a poor woman, holding a little girl by the 
hand, came in, whispered to the man in the hall, and then, 
passing us by, went up the stairs in silence and disappeared. 
They were met by a second clergyman coming down, rather 
corpulent, with a tallowy countenance and spectacles, who 
looked at us suspiciously, and went out just as a party of 
three came into the hall, and passed us by like the former. 

Almost immediately the clergyman we had first met 
returned, and conducted us up the stairs as far as the first 
landing, where we were met by a lady in a strange brown 
habit, with a rosary, and a hood over her head, whom I 
instantly knew to be a nun. We followed her up the stairs. 
There was a strange air of mystery and of publicity in the 
proceedings ; the house seemed pretty well open to all 
comers ; no one who whispered a few words satisfactorily 
to the porter in the hall failed to obtain immediate access 
to the upper floor of the house. Everything was carried 
on in whispers, and there was a perpetual tramping of feet 
slowly going up and down stairs. 

It was much more silent as we reached the level of the 
drawing-rooms. The nun opened the back drawing-room, 
and without more ceremony than a quiet movement of her 
hand, signed to us to go in. I think mamma's heart half 
failed her ; I almost hoped she would change her mind, 
for she hesitated, and sighed two or three times heavily, 
with her hand pressed to her heart, and looked very faint. 

The light that escaped through the half-opened door was 
not that of day, but the light of candles. Mamma took 
my arm, and in silence hurried me into the room. 

Now I will tell you what I saw. The room was hung 
with black, which probably enhanced the effect of its size, 
for it appeared very large. The windows were concealed 
by the hangings of black cloth, which were continued 
without interruption round all the walls of the room. A 
great many large wax candles were burning in it, and the 
black background, reflecting no light, gave to all the objects 
standing in the room an odd sharpness and relief. 

At the far end of the apartment stood a sort of platform, 

A Last Look. 227 

about as wide as a narrow bed, covered with a deep velvet 
cushion, with a drapery of the same material descending 
to the floor. On this lay the body of Lady Lorrimer, 
habited in the robes and hood of the order, 1 think, of the 
Carmelites ; her hands were placed together on her breast, 
and her rosary was twined through her fingers. The hood 
was drawn quite up about the head and cheeks of the 
corpse. Her dress, the cushion on which she lay, the 
pillow creased by the pressure of her cold head, were strewn 
with flowers. I had resolved not to look at it such sights 
haunt me afterwards ; but an irresistible curiosity over- 
came me. It was just one momentary glance, but the 
picture has remained on my inner sight ever since, as if I 
had gazed for an hour. 

There was at the foot of this catafalque an altar, on 
which was placed a large crucifix ; huge candlesticks with 
tall tapers stood on the floor beside it. Many of the 
strangers who came in kneeled before the crucifix and 
prayed, no doubt for the departed spirit. Many smaller 
crucifixes were hung upon the walls, and before these also 
others of the visitors from time to time said a prayer. 
Two nuns stood one at each side of the body, like effigies 
of contemplation and prayer, telling their beads . It seemed 
to me that there was a profusion of wax-lights. The 
transition from the grey evening light, darker in the house, 
into this illumination of tapers, had a strange influence 
upon my imagination. The reality of the devotion, and 
the more awful reality of death, quite overpowered the 
theatrical character of the effect. 

I saw the folly of mamma's irrepressible desire to come 
here. I thought she was going to faint ; I dare say she 
would have done so, she looked so very ill, but that tears 
relieved her. They were tears in which grief had but a 
subordinate share ; they were nervous tears, the thunder- 
shower of the hysteria which had been brewing ever since 
she had entered the room. I don't know whether she was 
sorry that she had come. I am sure she would have beau 
better if she had never wished it. 



FEW days later, mamma and I were talking in 
the drawing-room, when the door opened, and 
papa came in, his umbrella in his hand, and his 
hat on his head, looking as white as death. He 
stood for a time without speaking. We were both staring 
in his face, as dumb as he. 

"Droqville's a villain!" he said, suddenly. "They 
have got that miserable old fool's money every guinea. 
I told you how it w r ould be, and now it has all happened !" 
. " What has happened ?" asked mamma, still gazing at 
him, with a look of terror. I was myself freezing with 
horror. I never saw despair so near the verge of madness 
in a human face before as in papa's. 

"What? We're ruined! If there's fifty pounds in the 
bank it's all, and only that between us and nothing." 

" My God !" exclaimed mamma, whiter than ever, and 
almost in a whisper. 

(( Your God ! What are you talking about ? It is you 
that have done it all filling the house with priests and 
Jesuits. I knew how it would be, you fool 1" 

Papa was speaking with the sternness of actual fury. 

"I'm not to blame it is not my doing. Frank, for 
Heaven's sake, don't speak so you'll drive me mad ! I 
don't know what they have done I don't understand it !" 
cried mamma, and burst into a helpless flood of tears. 

" You may as well stop that crying you can do it in 
the streets by-and-by. Understand it ? By Heaven, 
you'll understand it well enough before long. I hope you 
may, as you deserve it !" 

With those dreadful looks, and a voice hoarse with 

Storm. 229 

passion, poor papa strode out of the room, and we heard 
him shut the hall-door after him with a crash. 

We were left with the vaguest ideas of the nature of our 
misfortune ; his agitation was so great as to assure me 
that an alarming ca '.amity had really befallen us. Mamma 
cried on. She was frightened by his evident alarm, and 
outraged by his violence, so shocking in one usually so 
gay, gentle, and serene. She went up to her room to cry 
there, and to declare herself the most miserable of women. 
Her maid gave her sal-volatile, and I, seeing no good or 
comfort in my presence, ran clown to the drawing-room. 
I had hardly got into the room, when whom should I see 
arriving at the door in a cab, with some papers in his 
hand, but Mr. Forrester, papa's principal attorney. I knew 
papa was out, and I was so afraid of his attorney's going 
away without giving us any light on the subject of our 
alarms that I ran downstairs, and told the servant to show 
him into the dining-room, and on no account to let him go 
away. I went into the room myself, and there awaited 
him. In came Mr. Forrester, and looked surprised at 
finding me only. 

" Oh ! Mr. Forrester," I said, going quickly to him, and 
looking up in his eyes, " what is this about Lady Lor- 
rimer, and are we quite ruined?" 

" Ruined?" he repeated. " Oh, dear, not at all," and 
he threw a cautionary glance towards the door, and 
lowered his voice a little. " Why should you be ruined ? 
It's only a disappointment. It has been very artfully 
done, and I was only this moment at the Temple talking 
the will over with one of the best men at the Bar, to 
whom I'm to send a brief, though I can't see, myself, any 
good that is likely to come of it. Everything has been 
done, you see, under the best possible advice, and all the 
statutes steered clear of. Her estates were all turned into 
money that is, the reversions sold two years ago. The 
whole thing is very nearly a quarter of a million, all in 
money, and the will declares no trust a simple bequest. 
I haven't the slightest hope of any case on the ground of 
undue influence. I daresay she was, in the meaning of 
the law, a perfectly free agent ; and if she was not, depend 
upon it we shall never find it out." 

230 Willing to Die. 

" But does it do us any particular injury?" I inquired, 
not understanding one sentence in three that he spoke. 

"Why, no injury, except a disappointment. In the 
natural course of tilings, all this, or the bulk of it, might 
very likely have come to you here. But only that. It 
now goes elsewhere; and I fear there is not the least 
chance of disturbing it." 

" Then we are not ruined ?" I repeated. 

He looked at me, as if he were not quite sure of my 
meaning, and with a smile, answered : 

" You are not a bit worse off than you were a year 
ago. She might have left you money, but she could take 
nothing from you. You have property at Cardyllion, I 
think, a place called Malory, and mure at Golden Friars, 
and other things besides. But your country solicitors 
would know all about those things." 

And thus having in some measure reassured me, he 
took his leave, saying he would go to papa's clubs to look 
for him. 

I ran up to mamma, more cheerful than when I had 
left her. She, also, was cheered by my report, and being 
comforted on the immediate subject of her alarm, she 
began to think that his excitement was due to some fresh 
disappointment in his electioneering projects, and her 
resentment at his ill- temper increased. 

This was the evening of papa's political dinner-party. 
A gentleman's party strictly it was to be, and he did not 
choose to allow poor Aunt Lorrimer's death to prevent it. 
Perhaps he was sorry now that he had not postponed it ; 
but it was too late to think of that. We were very near 
the close of the session. The evenings were perceptibly 
shortening. I remember every particular connected with 
that evening and night, with a sharp precision. 

Papa came in at dusk. He ran upstairs, and before 
dressing he came into mamma's bedroom, where I was 
sitting at her bedside. He looked tired and ill, but was 
comparatively tranquil now. 

" Never mind, May," he said ; " it will all come right, 
I daresay. I wish this dinner was not to be till to- 
morrow. They are talking of putting me up for Dawling. 
One way or other, we must not despair yet. I'll come up 

Storm. 231 

and see yon when they go away. We are a small party 
only nine, you know and I don't think there are two 
among them who won't be of very real use to me. If I 
get in, I don't despair. I have been very low before, two 
or three times, and we've got up again. I don't see why 
we shouldn't now, as we did before." 

Judging by his looks, you would have said that papa 
had just got out of a sick-bed, pale, ill, haggard. He 
looked at his watch ; it was later than he thought, and he 
went away. We heard him ring for his man, and presently 
the double knocks began at the hall-door, and his party 
were arriving. Mamma was not very well, and whenever 
she was, or fancied herself ill, papa slept in another bed- 
room, adjoining hers, with a dressing- room off it. Ours was 
a large house, handsomer than would naturally have fallen 
to our lot ; it had belonged to my grandfather, Lord 
Chellwood, and when he built the new house in Blank 
Street settled this upon his younger son. 

Mamma and I had some dinner in her room, and some 
tea there also. She had got over her first alarm. Papa's 
second visit had been re-assuring, and she took it very 
nearly for granted that, after some harassing delays, and 
possibly a good deal of worry, the danger, whatever it 
was, would subside, as similar dangers had subsided 
before, and things would run again in their accustomed 

It was a very animated party ; we could hear the muffled 
sound of their talking and laughing from the drawing-room, 
where they were now taking their tea and coffee, and 
talking, as it seemed, nearly all together. At length, how- 
ever, the feast was ended, the guests departed, and papa, 
according to promise, came upstairs, and, with hardly a 
knock at the door, came in. Had he been drinking more 
than usual ? I don't know. He was in high spirits. He 
was excited, and looked flushed, and talked incessantly, 
and laughed ever so much at what seemed to me very 
indifferent jokes. 

I tried to edge in a question or two about the election 
matters, but he did not seem to mind, or even to hear what 
I said, but rattled and laughed on in the same breathless 

232 Willing to Die. 

" I'm going to bed now," he said, suddenly. " I've ever 
BO much to do to-morrow, and I'm tired. I shall be glad 
"when this thing is all ended." 

Mamma called after him, " But you did not bid us good- 
night." The candle, however, vanished through the second 
bed-room into the dressing-room, and we heard him shut 
the door. 

11 He did not hear/' said mamma ; "his head is so full 
of his election. He seems very well. I suppose everything 
will be right, after all." 

So mamma and I talked on for a little ; but it was high 
time that she should settle to rest. I kissed her, and 
away I went to my own room. There my maid, as she 
brushed my hair, told me all the rumours of the servants' 
hall and the housekeeper's room about papa's electioneering 
prospects. All promised great things, and, absurd as these 
visions were, there was something cheering in listening 
to them. It was past twelve by the time my maid left 

Very shortly after I heard a step come to my door, and 
papa asked, " Can I come in, dear, to say a word ?" 

" Oh ! yes ; certainly, papa," I answered, a little curious. 

" I won't sit down," he said, looking round the room 
vaguely. He laid his candle on my table ; he had a small 
box in his hand, in which mamma had told me he kept 
little lozenges of opium, his use of which had lately given 
her a great deal of secret uneasiness. " I have found it 
all out. It was that villain Droqville w r ho did it all. He 
has brought us very low broken my heart, my poor child !' 
He heaved a great sigh. " If that woman had never lived, 
if we had never heard of her, I should not have been so im- 
provident. But that's all over. You must read your Bible, 
Ethel ; it is a good book ; there's something in it some- 
thing in it. That governess, Miss Grey, was a good 
woman. I say you are young ; you are not spoiled yet. 
You must read a little bit every night, or I'll come and 
scold you. Do you mind ? You look very well, Ethel. 
You must not let your spirits down your courage. I 
wish it was morning. All in good time. Get to sleep, 
darling. Good night good-bye." He kissed me on the 
cheek and departed. 

Storm. 233 

I was soon fast asleep. I think the occurrences of the 
earlier part of the day had made me nervous. I awoke 
with a start, and a vague consciousness of having been in 
the midst of an unpleasant dream. I thought I heard 
mamma call me. I jumped out of bed, threw my dressing- 
gown about me, and, with bare feet, walked along the 
lobby, now quite dark, towards mamma's door. When I 
got almost to it I suddenly recollected that I could not 
have heard mamma's voice in my room from hers. In 
total darkness, solitude, and silence, I experienced the sort 
of chill which accompanies the discovery of such an 
illusion. I was just turning about, to make a hasty retreat 
to my own room, when I did hear mamma's voice. I 
heard her call papa's name, and then there was a silence. 
I changed my mind. I went on, and tapped at her door. 
Bather nervously she asked, "Who's there?" and on 
hearing me answer, told me to come in. There was only 
the night-light she usually had burning in her room. She 
was sitting up in her bed, and told me she had been 
startled by seeing papa looking in at the door (she 
nodded toward the one that opened to his bedroom). 
The night-light was placed on a little table close beside 

" And oh ! my dear Ethel, he looked so horribly ill I 
was frightened ; I hardly knew him, and I called to him, 
but he only said, ' That's enough,' and drew back, and 
shut the door. He looked so ill, that I should have fol- 
lowed him in, but I found the door locked, and I heard 
him shut the door of his dressing-room. Do you think 
he is ill ?" 

" Oh ! no, mamma; if he had been ill he'd have told 
you so ; I'm sure it was the miserable light in this room 
everything looks so strange in it." And so with a few 
words more we bid good-night once again ; and, having 
seen her reclining with her head on her pillow, I made my 
way back again to my own room. 

I felt very uncomfortable ; the few words mamma had 
said presented an image that somehow was mysterious 
and ill-omened. I held my door open, and listened with 
my head stretched into the dark. Papa's dressing-room 
door was nearly opposite. I was re- assured by hearing 

234 Willing to Die. 

his step on the floor ; then I heard something move ; I 
closed my door once more, and got into bed. 

The laws of acoustics are, I believe, well ascertained ; 
and, of course, they never vary. But their action, I con- 
fess, has often puzzled me. 

In the house where I now write, there are two rooms 
separated only by a narrow passage, in one of which, 
under a surgical operation, three dreadful shrieks were 
uttered, not one of which was, even faintly, heard in the 
other room, where two near and loving relations awaited 
the result in the silence and agony of suspense. In the 
same way, but not so strikingly, because the interposing 
space is considerably greater, no sound was ever heard in 
mamma's room, from papa's dressing-room, when the doors 
were shut. But from my door, when the rest of the house 
was silent, you could very distinctly hear a heavy step, or 
any other noise, in that room. 

My visit to mamma's room had, as nurses say, 
" put my sleep astray," and I lay awake until I began 
to despair of going to sleep again till morning. From my 
meditations in the dead silence, I was suddenly startled by 
a sound like the clapping of the dressing-room door with 
one violent clang. I jumped up again ; I thought I should 
hear papa's step running down the stairs, and all my wild 
misgivings returned. I put my head out of the door, and 
listened. I heard no step nothing stirring. Once more 
in iny dressing-gown I stole out ; his candle was still 
burning, for I saw a ray of light slanting towards the lobby 
floor from the keyhole of his room, with the motes quiver- 
ing in it. It pointed like a wand to something white that 
lay upon the ground. I remembered that this was the 
open leaf of the old Bible too much neglected book, alas ! 
in our house that had fallen from its little shelf on the 
lobby, and which I had been specially moved to replace 
as I passed it an hour or two before, seeing, in my super- 
stitious mood, omens in all things. Hurried on, however, 
by mamma's voice calling me, I had not carried out my 

" Dislodged from your place, you may be," I now thought, 
as I stooped to take the book in my hand; " but never to 
be trampled on !" 

Storm. 235 

I was interrupted by a voice, a groan, I thought from 
inside the dressing-room. 

I was not quite certain ; staring breathlessly at the door, 
I listened ; no sound followed. I stepped to the door and 
knocked. No answer came. With my lips close to the 
door, and my hand upon the handle, I called, " Papa, 
papa, papa !" I was frightened ; I pushed open the door, 
and hesitated. I called again, " Papa answer, answer ! 
Are you there, papa ?" I was calling upon silence. With 
a little effort I stepped in. 

The candle was burning on the table ; there was a film 
of blue smoke hovering in the air a faint smell of burning. 
I saw papa lying on the floor ; he appeared to have dropped 
from the arm-chair, and to have fallen over on his back ; 
a pistol lay by his half- open hand ; the side of his face 
looked black and torn, as if a thunderbolt had scorched 
him, and a stream of blood seemed throbbing from his 

The smell of powder, the smoke, the pistol on the ground, 
told what had happened. Freezing with terror, I screamed 
the words, " Papa, papa ! God ! speak ! He's killed !" 
I was on my knees beside him ; he was not quite dead. 
His eyes were fixed in the earnest stare of the last look, 
and there was a faint movement of the mouth, as if he 
were trying to speak. It was only for a few seconds. Then 
all motion ceased his jaw fell he was dead. 

I staggered back against the wall, uttering a frightful 

Under excitement so tremendous as mine, people, I 
think, are more than half spiritualized. We seem to find 
ourselves translated from place to place by thought rather 
than effort. 

It seemed to me only a second after I had left that 
frightful room, that I stood beside Miss Pounden's bed 
upstairs. She slept with not only her shutters, but the 
window open. It was so perfectly silent, the street as well 
as the house, that through the wall from the nursery next 
door I could faintly hear a little baby crying. The moon- 
light shone dazzlingly on the white curtains of Miss 
Pounden's bed. I shook her by the shoulder, and called 
her. She started up, and I reraemeuiber the odd effect of 

236 Willing to Die. 

her wide open eyes, lighted by the white reflection, and 
staring from the shadow at me with a horror that she 
caught from my looks. 

" Merciful Heaven ! Miss Ware my dear child why 
are you here ? what is it ?" 

" Come with me ; we must get help. Papa is dreadfully 
hurt in the dressing-room. Mamma knows nothing of it ; 
don't say a word as you pass her door." 

Together we went down, steadily drawing towards the 
awful room, from which we saw, at the end of the dark 
passage, the faint flush of the candle fall on the carpet. 

When I told Miss Pounden what had happened, nothing 
would induce her to come with me beyond the lobby. I 
had to go into the room alone ; I had to look in to be sure 
that he was actually dead. Oh ! it was appalling, in- 
credible. I, Ethel Ware, looking at my handsome, gay, 
good-natured father, killed by his own hands, the smoke 
of the fatal shot not yet quite cleared away ! Why was 
there no pitying angel near to call me but a minute earlier ? 
My tap at the door would have arrested his hand, and the 
moment of temptation would have passed harmlessly by. 
All too late for time and eternity all is irretrievable now. 
One glance was sufficient. I could not breathe ; I could 
not, for some dreadful moments, withdraw my eyes. With 
a faint cry, I stepped backward. I was trembling violently 
as I asked Miss Pounden to send any one of the servants 
for Sir Jacob Lake, and to tell whoever was going not to 
leave his house without him. 

I waited in the drawing-room while she went down, and 
I heard her call to the servants over the stairs. The 
message was soon arranged, and the messenger gone. I 
had not cried all this time ; I continued walking quickly 
about the drawing-room, with my hands clenched together, 
talking wildly to myself and to God. When Miss Pounden 
returned, I implored of her not to leave me. 

" Come up to my room ; we'll wait there till Sir Jacob 
Lake comes. Mamma must not know it, except as he 
advises. If she learned it too suddenly, she would lose her 



DO not mean to describe the terrible scenes that 
followed. When death comes attended with a 
scandal like this, every recollection connected 
with it is torture. The gross and ghastly pub- 
licity, the merciless prying into details, and over all the 
gloom of the maddest and most mysterious of crimes ! 
You look in vain in the shadow for the consoling image, 
of hope and repose ; a medium is spread around that dis- 
colours and horrifies, and the Tempter seems to haunt 
the house. 

Then, the outrage of a public tribunal canvassing the 
agitations and depressions of " the deceased" in the 
house which within a few days was his own, handling the 
fatal pistol, discussing the wounds, the silent records of a 
mental agony that happy men cannot even imagine, and 
that will for life darken the secret reveries of those who 
loved the dead ! 

But as one of our proverbs, old as the days of Glaston- 
bury, says : 

" Be the day never so long, 
At length cometh the even song." 

Mamma is now in her crape and widow's cap ; I in my 
deep mourning also, laden with crape. A great many 
people have called to inquire, and have left cards. A few 
notes, which could not be withheld, of embarrassed con- 
dolence, have come from the more intimate, who thought 
themselves obliged to make that sacrifice and exertion. 
Two or three were very kind indeed. Sore does one feel 
at the desertions that attend a great and sudden change of 
fortune. But I do not, on fairly thinking it over, believe 

238 Willing to Die. 

that there is more selfishness or less good-nature in the 
world in which we were living than in that wider world 
which lies at a lower social level. We are too ready to 
take the intimacies of pleasure or mere convenience as 
meaning a great deal more than they ever fairly can 
mean. They are not contracted to involve the liabilities 
of friendship. If they did, they would be inconveniently 
few. You must not expect people to sacrifice themselves 
for you merely because they think you good company or 
have similar tastes. When you begin ihefacilis deccensus, 
people won't walk with you very far on the way. The 
most you can expect is a graceful, and sometimes a com- 
passionate, farewell. 

It was about a fortnight after poor papa's death that 
some law-papers came, which, understanding as little 
about such matters as most young ladies do, I sent, with 
mamma's approval, to Mr. Forrester, who, I mentioned, 
had been poor papa's man of business in town. 

Next day he called. I was with mamma in her room 
at the time, and the servant came up with a little pen- 
cilled note. It said, " The papers are important, and the 
matter must be looked after immediately, to prevent 
unpleasantness." Mamma and I. were both startled. 
" Business," which we had never heard of before, now 
met us sternly face to face, and demanded instant atten- 
tion. The servant said that Mr. Forrester was waiting in 
the drawing-room, to know whether mamma wished to 
see him. She asked me to go down instead, which 
accordingly I did. 

As I entered, he was standing looking from the window 
with a thoughtful and rather disgusted countenance, as if 
he had something disagreeable to tell. He came forward 
and spoke very kindly, and then told me that the papers 
were notices to the effect that unless certain mortgages 
were paid off upon a certain early day, which was named, 
the house and furniture would be sold. He saw how 
startled I was. He looked very kindly, and as if he 
pitied me. 

" Has your mamma any relation, who understands 
business, to advise with under her present circuin- 
stances ?" he asked. 

Farewell, Miss Ware. 239 

" Chellwood, I think, ought," I began. 
" I know. But this will be very troublesome ; and 
they say Lord Chellwood is not a man of business. He'll 
never undertake it, I'm sure. We can try, if you like ; 
but I think it is merely losing time and a sheet of paper, 
and he's abroad, I know, at Vichy ; for I wrote to him to 
try to induce him to take an assignment of this very 
mortgage, and he would not, or said he could not, which 
means the same thing. I don't think he'll put himself out 
of his way for anybody. Can you think of no one else ?" 
" We have very few kinsmen," I answered ; " they are 
too remote, and we know too little about them, to have 
any chance of their taking any trouble for us." 

" But there was a family named Eokestone connected 
with you at Golden Friars ?" 

" There is only Sir Harry Eokestone, and he is not 
friendly. We have reason to know he is very much the 
reverse," I answered. 

" I hope, Miss Ware, you won't think me impertinent, 
but it is right you should ascertain, without further loss 
of time, how you stand. There are expenses going on. 
And all I positively know is that poor Mr. Ware's affairs 
are left in a very entangled state. Does your mamma 
know what balance there is in the bank ?" 

" How much money in the bank?" I repeated. 
" Papa said there was fifty pounds." 

" Fifty pounds ! Oh, there must be more than that," 
he replied, and looked down, with a frown, upon the 
floor, and, with his hands in his pockets, meditated for a 
minute or two. 

" I don't like acting alone, if it can be helped," he 
began again ; " but if Mrs. Ware, your mamma, wishes 
it, I'll write to the different professional men, Mr. Jaiicot 
at Golden Friars, and Mr. Williams at Cardyllion, and 
the two solicitors in the south of England, and I'll 
ascertain for her, as nearly as we can, what is left, and 
how everything stands, and we must learn at the bank 
what balance stands to your credit. But I think your 
mamma should know that she can't possibly afford to live 
in the way she has been accustomed to, and it would only 
be prudent and right that she should give all the servants, 

240 Willing to Die. 

except two or three whom she can't do without, notice of 
discharge. Is there a will ?" 

" I don't know. I think not mamma thinks not," I said. 
" I don't believe there is," he added. " It's not likely, 
and the law makes as good a will for him as he could have 
made for himself." He thought for a minute, and then 
went on. "I felt a great reluctance, Miss Ware, to talk 
upon these unpleasant subjects : but it would not have 
been either kind or honest to be silent. You and your 
mamma will meet your change of circumstances with 
good sense and good feeling, I am sure. A very great 
change, I fear, it will be. You are not to consider me as 
a professional man, tell your- mama. lam acting as a 
friend. I wish to do all I can to prevent expense, and to 
put you in possession of the facts as quickly and clearly 
as I can, and then you will know exactly the case you have 
to deal with." 

He took his leave, with the same air of care, thought, 
and suppressed fuss which belongs to the overworked man 
of business. 

"When these people make a present of their time, they 
are giving us something more than gold. I was not half 
grateful enough to him then. Thought and years have 
enabled me to estimate his goodnature. 

I was standing at the window of a back drawing-room, 
a rather dark room, pondering on the kind but alarming 
words, at which, as at the sound of a bell, the curtain 
seemed to rise for a new act in my life. These worldly 
terrors were mingling a new poison in my grief. The 
vulgar troubles, which are the hardest to bear, were near 
us. At this inopportune moment I heard the servant 
announce some one, and, looking over my shoulder quickly, 
I saw Mr. Carrnel come in. I felt myself grow pale. I 
saw his eye wander for a moment in search, I fancied, of 
mamma. I did not speak or move. The mirror reflected 
my figure back upon myself as I turned towards him. 
What did he see ? Not quite the same Ethel Ware he had 
been accustomed to. My mourning-dress made me look 
taller, thinner, and paler than before. I could not have 
expected to see him ; I looked, I suppose, as I felt, excited, 
proud, pained, resentful. 

Farewell, Miss Ware. 241 

He came near ; his dark eyes looked at me inquiringly. 
He extended his hand, hesitated, and said : 

" I am afraid I did wrong. I ought not to have asked 
to see you." 

" We have not seen anyone mamma or I except one 
old friend, who came a little time ago." 

My own voice sounded cold and strange in my ear ; I 
felt angry and contemptuous. Had I not reason ? I did 
not give him my hand, or appear to perceive that he had 
advanced his. I could see, though I did not look direct 
at him, that he seemed pained. 

" I thought, perhaps, that I had some claim, also, as an 
old friend," he began, and paused. 

" Oh ! I quite forgot that," I repeated, in the same 
tones ; " an old friend, to be sure." I felt that I smiled 

" You look at me as if you hated me, Miss Ware," he 
said " why should you ? Y/hat have I done ?" 

" Why do you ask me ? Ask yoursel. Look into your 
conscience. I think, Mr. Carmel, you are the last person 
who should have come here." 

" I won't affect to misunderstand you ; you think I in- 
fluenced Lady Lorrimer," he said. 

" The whole thing is coarse and odious," I said. " I 
hate to speak or think of it ; but, shocking as it is, I must. 
Lady Lorrimer had no near relations but mamma ; and 
she intended sh told her so in my hearing leaving 
money to her by her will. It is, I think, natural and 
right that people should leave their money to those they 
love their own kindred and not to strangers. I would 
not complain if Lady Lorrimer had acted of her own 
thought and will in the matter. But it was far otherwise ; 
a lady, nervous and broken in health, was terrified, as 
death approached, by people, of whom you were one, and 
thus constrained to give all she possessed into the hands 
of strangers, to forward theological intrigues, of which 
she could understand nothing. I say it was unnatural, 
cruel, and rapacious. That kind lady, if she had done as 
she wished, would have saved us from all our misery." 

" Will you believe me, Miss Ware ?'' he said, in the 
Invest possible tones, grasping the back of the chair, oa 

242 Willing to Die. 

which his hand rested, very hard, " I never knew, heard, 
or suspected that Lady Lorrimer had asked or received 
any advice respecting that will, which I see has been 
publicly criticised in some of the papers. I never so much 
as heard that she had made a will. I entreat, Miss Ware, 
that you will believe me." 

" In matters where your Church is concerned, Mr. 
Carmel, I have heard that prevarication is a merit. With 
respect to all that concerns poor Lady Lorrimer, I shall 
never willingly hear another word from you, nor ever 
gpeak to you again." 

I turned to the window, and looked out for a minute or 
two, with my fingers on the window- sash. Then I turned 
again rather suddenly. He was standing on the same 
spot, in the same attitude, his hands clasped together, his 
head lowered, his eyes fixed in a reverie on the ground, 
and I thought I saw the trace of tears on his cheek. 

My moving recalled him, and he instantly looked up 
and said : 

" Let me say a word whatever sacrifice my holy calling 
may impose, I accept with gratitude to Heaven. We are 
not pressed into this service we are volunteers. The 
bride at the altar never took vow more freely. We have 
sworn to obey, to suffer, to fight, to die. Forewarned, 
and with our eyes opened, we have cast all behind us : 
the vanities, hopes, and affections of mortality according 
to the word of God, hating father, mother, sister, brother ; 
we take up the heavy cross, and follow in the blood-stained 
footsteps of our Master, pressing forward ; with blind 
obedience and desperate stoicism, we smile at hunger, 
thirst, heat and cold, sickness, perils, bonds, and death. 
Such soldiers, you are right in thinking, will dare every- 
thing but treason. If I had been commanded to withhold 
information from my dearest friend, to practise any secresy, 
or to exert for a given object any influence, I should have 
done so. All human friendship is subject with me to 
these inexorable conditions. Is there any prevarication 
there ? But with respect to Lady Lorrimer's will, I sug- 
gested nothing, heard nothing, thought nothing." 

All this seemed to rne very cool. I was angry. I smiled 
again, and said : 

Farewell, Miss Ware, 243 

" You must think all that very childish, Mr. Carmel. 
You tell me you are ready to mislead me upon any subject, 
and you expect me to believe you upon this." 

" Of course that strikes you," he said, " and I have no 
answer but this : I have no possible motive in deceiving 
you all that is past, inexorable, fixed as death itself !" 

" I neither know nor care with what purpose you speak. 
It is clear to me, Mr. Carmel, that with your principles, 
as I suppose I must call them, you could be no one's 
friend, and no one but a fool could be yours. It seems to 
me you are isolated from all human sympathies ; toward 
such a person I could feel nothing but antipathy and fear ; 
you don't stand before me like a fellow-creature, but like 
a spirit and not a good one." 

" These principles, Miss Ware, of which you speak so 
severely, Protestants, the most religious, practise with as 
little scruple as we, in their warfare, in their litigation, in 
their diplomacy, in their ordinary business, wherever, in 
fact, hostile action is suspected. If a Laodicean commu-' 
nity were as earnest about winning souls as they are about 
winning battles, or lawsuits, or money, or elections, we 
should hear very little of such weak exceptions against 
the inevitable strategy of zeal and faith." 

I made him no answer ; perhaps I could not do so at 
the moment. I was excited ; his serene temper made me 
more so. 

" I have described my obligations, Miss Ware," he said. 
" Your lowest view of them can now charge me with no 
treachery to you. It is true I cannot be a friend in the 
sense in which the world reads friendship. My first alle- 
giance is to Heaven ; and in the greatest, as in the minutest 
things, all my obedience is due to that organ of its will 
which Heaven has placed above me. If all men thought 
more justly, such relations would not require to be dis- 
closed or defended ; they would simply be taken for granted 
reason deduces them from the facts of our faith ; we 
are the creatures of one God, who has appointed one 
Church to be the interpreter of his will upon earth." 

" Every traitor is a sophist, sir ; I have neither skill 
nor temper for such discussions," I answered, proving my 
latter position sufficiently. " I had no idea that you could 

B 2 

244 Willing to Die. 

have thought of visiting here, and I hoped I should have 
been spared the pain of seeing you again. Nor should I 
like to continue this conversation, because I might be 
tempted to say even more pointedly what I think than I 
care to do. Good-bye, Mr. Carmel, good-bye, sir," I 
repeated, with a quiet emphasis meant to check, as I 
thought, his evident intention to speak again. 

He so understood it. He paused for a moment, unde- 
cided, and then said : 

" Am I to understand that you command me to come 
no more ?" 

11 Certainly," I answered, coldly and angrily. 

His hand was on the door, and he asked very gently, 
but I thought with some little agitation : 

" And that you now end our acquaintance ?" 

" Certainly," I repeated, in the same tone. 

" Heaven has sent my share of sorrow," he said ; " but 
no soldier of Christ goes to his grave without many scars. 
I deserve my wounds and submit. It must be long before 
we meet again under any circumstances ; never, perhaps, 
in this life." 

He looked at me. He was very pale, and his large eyes 
were full of kindness. He held out his hand to me silently, 
but I did not take it. He sighed deeply, and placed it 
again on the handle of the door, and said, very low : 

"Farewell, Miss Ware Ethel my pupil, and may God 
for ever bless you !" So the door opened, and he went. 

I heard the hall door shut. That sullen sound smote my 
heart like a signal telling me that my last friend was gone. 

Few people who have taken an irrevocable step on 
impulse, even though they have done rightly, think very 
clearly immediately after. My own act for a while con- 
founded me. I don't think that Mr. Carmel was formed 
by nature for deception. I think, in my inmost soul, I 
believed his denial, and was sure that he had neither act 
nor part in the management of Lady Lorrimer's will. I 
know I felt a sort of compunction, and I experienced that 
melancholy doubt as to having been quite in the right, 
which sometimes follows an angry scene. In this state I 
returned to mamma to tell her all that had passed. 



jAMMA Imew nothing distinctly about the state 
of our affairs, but she knew something generally 
of the provision made at her marriage', and she 
thought we should have about a thousand a year' 
to live upon. 

I could hardly recognise the possibility of this, with 
Mr. Forrester's forbodings. But if that, or even something 
like it, were secured to us, we could go down to Malory, 
and live there very comfortably. Mamma's habits of 
thinking, and the supine routine of her useless life, had 
sustained a shock, and her mind seemed now to rest with 
pleasure on the comparative solitude and quiet of a country 

All our servants, except one or two, were under notice 
to go. I had also got leave from mamma to get our plate, 
horses, carriages, and other superfluous things valued, 
and fifty other trifling measures taken to expedite the 
winding-up of our old life, and our entrance upon our new 
one, the moment Mr. Forrester should tell us that our 
income was ascertained, and available. 

I was longing to be gone, so also was mamma. She 
seemed very easy about our provision for the future, and 
I, alternating between an overweening confidence and an 
irrepressible anxiety, awaited the promised disclosures of 
Mr. Forrester, which were to end our suspense. 

Nearly a fortnight passed before he came again. A 
note reached us the day before, saying that he would call 

24(5 Willing to Die. 

at four, unless we should write in the meantime to put 
him oft'. He did come, and I shall never forget the inter- 
view that followed. Mamma and I were sitting in the 
front drawing-room, expecting him. My heart was trem- 
bling. I know of no state so intolerable as suspense upon 
a vital issue. It is the state in which people in money 
troubles are, without intermission. How it is lived through 
for years, as often as it is, and without the loss of reason, 
is in my eyes the greatest physical and psychological 
wonder of this sorrowful world. 

A gloomier day could hardly have heralded the critical 
exposition that was to disclose our future lot. A dark 
sky, clouds dark as coal-smoke, and a steady down-pour of 
rain, large-dropped and violent, that keeps up a loud and 
gusty drumming on the panes, down which the wet is 
rushing in rivers. Now and then the noise rises to a point 
that makes conversation difficult. Every minute at this 
streaming window I was looking into the street, where 
cabs and umbrellas, few and far between, were scarcely 
discoverable through the rivulets that coursed over the 

At length I saw a cab, like a waving mass of black 
mist, halt at the door, and a double knock followed. 
My breath almost left me. In a minute or two the servant, 
opening the door, said, " Mr. Forrester," and that gentle- 
man stepped into the gloomy room, with a despatch-box 
in his hand, looking ominously grave and pale. He took 
mamma's hand, and looked, I thought, with a kind oi 
doubtful inquiry in her face, as if measuring her strength 
to bear some unpleasant news. I almost forgot to shake 
hands with him, I was so horribly eager to hear him 

Mamma was much more confident than I, and said, as 
soon as he had placed his box beside him, and sat clown : 

" I'm so obliged to you, Mr. Forrester ; you have been 
so extre rnely kind to us. My daughter told me that you 
intended making inquiries, and letting us know all you 
heard ; I hope you think it satisfactory ?" 

He looked down, and shook his head in silence. Mamma 
flushed very much, and stood up, staring at him, and then 
grew deadly pale. 

A Rainy Day. 247 

"It is not it can't be less I hope it's not than 
nine hundred a year. If it is not that, what is to become 
of us ?" 

Mamma's voice sounded hard and stern, though she 
spoke very low. I, too, was staring at the messenger 
of fate with all my eyes, and my heart was thumping hard. 

" Very far from satisfactory. I wish it were anything 
at all like the sum you have named," said Mr. Forrester, 
very dejectedly, but gathering courage for his statement as 
he proceeded. " I'll tell you, Mrs. Ware, the result of my 
correspondence, and I am really pained and grieved that 
I should have such a statement to make. I find that you 
opened your marriage settlement, except the provision for 
your daughter, which, I regret to say, is little more than 
a thousand pounds, and she takes nothing during your 
life, and then we can't put it down at more than forty 
pounds a year." 

" But but I want to know," broke in poor mamma, 
with eyes that glared, and her very lips white, " what 
there is how much we have got to live on ?" 

" I hope from my heart there may be something, Mrs. 
Ware, but I should not be treating you fairly if I did not 
tell you frankly that it seems to me a case in which rela- 
tions ought to come forward." 

I felt so stunned that I could not speak. 

" You mean, ask their assistance?" said mamma. "My 
good God ! I can't we can't I could not do that !" 

" Mamma," said I, with white lips, " had not we better 
hear all that Mr. Forrester has to tell us ?" 

"Allow me," continued mamma, excitedly; "there 
must be something, Ethel don't talk folly. We can live 
at Malory, and, however small our pittance, we must 
make it do. But I won't consent to beg." Mamma's 
colour came again as she said this, with a look of haughty 
resentment at Mr. Forrester. That poor gentleman seemed 
distressed, and shifted his position a little uneasily. 

" Malory," he began, " would be a very suitable place, 
if an income were arranged. But Malory will be in Sir 
Harry Eokestone's possession in two or three days, and 
without his leave you could not get there ; and I'm afraid 
I dare not encourage you to entertain any hopes of a 

248 Willing to Die. 

favourable, or even a courteous, beating in that quarter. 
Since I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Ware here, about 
ten days or a fortnight since, I saw Mr. Jarlcot, of Golden 
Friars ; a very intelligent man he evidently is, and 
does Sir Harry Eokestone's business in that part of the 
world, and seemed very friendly ; but he says that in that 
quarter" Mr. Forrester paused, and shook his head 
gloomily, looking on the carpet " we have nothing good 
to look for. He bears your family, it appears an implac- 
able animosity, and does not scruple to express it in very 
violent language indeed." 

" I did not know that Sir Harry Eokestone had any 
claim upon Malory," said mamma ; " I don't know by 
what right he can prevent our going into my house." 

" I'm afraid there can be no doubt as to his right as a 
trustee ; but it was not obligatory on him to enforce it. 
Some charges ought to have been paid off four years ago ; 
it is a very peculiar deed, and, instead of that, interest 
has been allowed to accumulate. I took the liberty of 
writing to Sir Harry Eokestone a very strong letter, the 
day after my last interview with Miss Ware ; but he has 
taken not the slightest notice of it, and that is very nearly 
a fortnight ago, and Jarlcot seems to think that, if he lets 
me off with silence, I'm getting off very easily. They all 
seem afraid of him down there." 

I fancied that Mr. Forrester had been talking partly to 
postpone a moment of pain. If there was a shock coming, 
he wanted resolution to precipitate the crisis, and looked 
again with a perplexed and uneasy countenance on the 
carpet. He glanced at mamma, once or twice, quickly, as 
if he had nearly made up his mind to break the short 
silence that had followed. While he was hesitating, how- 
ever, I was relieved by mamma's speaking, and very much 
to the point. 

" And how much do you think, Mr. Forrester, we shall 
have to live upon ?" 

" That," said he, looking stedfastly on the table, with 
a very gloomy countenance, "is the point on which, I 
fear, I have nothing satisfactory or even hopeful," he 
added, raising his head, and looking a little stern, and 
even frightened, "to say. You must only look the mis- 

A Rainy Day. 249 

fortune in the face ; and a great misfortune it is, accus- 
tomed as you have been to everything that makes life 
happy and easy. It is, as I said before, a case in which 
relations who are wealthy, and well able to do it, should 
come forward." 

"But do say what it is," said mamma, trembling 
violently. " I shan't be frightened, only say distinctly. 
Is it only four hundred? or only three hundred a year?" 
She paused, looking imploringly at him. 

" I should be doing very wrong if I told you there was 
anything anything like that anything whatever certain, 
in fact, however small. There's nothing certain, and it 
would be very wrong to mislead you. I don't think the 
assets and property will be sufficient to pay the debts." 

" Great Heaven! Sir oh! oh! is there nothing 

He shook his head despondingly. The murder was out 
now ; there was no need of any more questioning no case 
could be simpler. We were not worth a shilling ! 

If in my vain and godless days the doctor at my bed- 
side had suddenly told me that I must die before midnight, 
I could not have been more bewildered. Without know- 
ing what I did, I turned and walked to the window, on 
which the rain was thundering, and rolling down in 
rivers. I heard nothing my ears were stunned. 



were ruined ! What must the discovery have 
been to poor mamma ? She saw all the 
monstrous past the delirium was dissipated. 
An abyss was between her and her former life. 
In the moment of social death, all that she was leaving 
had become almost grotesque, incredibly ghastly. Here 
in a moment was something worse than poverty, worse 
even than death. 

During papa's life the possibility of those vague vexa- 
tions known as " difficulties " and " embarrassments," 
might have occurred to me, but that I should ever have 
found myself in the plight in which I now stood had never 
entered my imagination. 

Suppose, on a fine evening, a ship, with a crash like a 
cannon, tears open her planks on a hidden rock, and the 
water gushes and whirls above the knees, the waists, the 
throats of the polite people round the tea-table in the 
state-cabin, without so much as time interposed to say 
God bless us ! between the warning and the catastrophe, 
and you have our case ! 

Young ladies, you live in a vague and pleasant dream. 
Gaslight in your hall and lobbies, wax lights, fires, 
decorous servants, flowers, spirited horses, millinery, 
soups and wines, are products of nature, and come of 
themselves. There is, nevertheless, such a thing as 
poverty, as there is such a thing as death. We hold them 
both as doctrines, and, of course, devoutly believe in them, 
but when either lays its cold hand on your shoulder, and 
you look it in the face, you are as much appalled as if you 
had never heard its name before. 

The Flitting. 251 

Carelessness, indolence, a pleasurable supineness, with- 
out any other grievous fault or enormous mistake, had, 
little by little, prepared all for the catastrophe. Mamma 
was very ill that night. In the morning Mr. Forrester 
came again. Mamma could not see him ; but I had a 
long interview with him. He was very kind. I will tell 
you, in a few words, the upshot of our conference. 

In the first place, the rather startling fact was disclosed 
that we had, in the world, but nine pounds, eight shillings, 
which mamma happened still to have in her purse, out of 
her last money for dress. Nine pounds, eight shillings ! 
That was all that interposed between us and the wide 
republic of beggary. Then Mr. Forrester told me that 
mamma must positively leave the house in which we were 
then residing, to avoid being made, as he said, " adminis- 
tratrix in her own wrong," and put to great annoyance, 
and seeing any little fund that relations might place at 
her disposal wasted in expenses and possible litigation. 

So it was settled we were to leave the house, but where 
were we to go ? That was provided for. Near High 
Holborn, in a little street entered between two narrow 
piers, stood an odd and ancient house, as old as the times 
of James the First, which was about to be taken down to 
make way for a model lodging-house. The roof was 
sound, and the drainage good, that was all he could say 
for it ; and he could get us leave to occupy it, free of rent, 
until its demolition should be commenced. He had, in 
fact, already arranged that for mamma. 

Poor papa had owed him a considerable sum for law 
costs. He meant, he said, to remit the greater part of it, 
and whatever the estate might give him, on account of 
them, he would hand over to mamma. He feared the 
sum would be a small one. He thought it would hardly 
amount to a hundred pounds, but in the meantime she 
could have fifty pounds on account of it. 

She might also remove a very little furniture, but no 
more than would just suffice, in the scantiest way, for our 
bed-rooms and one sitting-room, and such things as a 
servant might take for the kitchen. He would make him- 
self responsible to the creditors for these. 

I need not go further into particulars. Of course there 

252 Willing to Die. 

"were many details to be adjusted, and the conduct &f all 
these arrangements devolved upon me. Mr. Forrester 
undertook all the dealings with the servants whom it was 
necessary to dismiss and pay forthwith. 

The house was now very deserted. There was no life 
in it but that feverish fuss like the preparations that 
condemned people make for their executions. The ar- 
rangements for our sorrowful flight went on like the 
dismal worry of a sick dream. In our changed state we 
preferred country servants, and I wrote for good old 
Eebecca Torkill and one of her rustic maids at Malory, 
who arrived, and entered on their duties the day before 
our departure. How outlandish these good creatures 
appeared when transplanted from the primitive life and 
surroundings of Malory to the artificial scenes of London ! 
But how comfortable and kindly was their clumsiness 
compared with the cynical politeness and growing con- 
tempt of the cosmopolitan servants of London ! 

Well, at last we were settled in our strange habitation. 
It was by no means so uncomfortable as you might have 
supposed. We found ourselves in a sitting-room of 
handsome dimensions, panelled with oak up to its 
ceiling, which, however, from the size of the room, 
appeared rather low. It was richly moulded, after the 
style of James the First's reign, but the coarse smear of 
newly-applied whitewash covered its traceries. 

Our scanty furniture was collected at the upper end of 
the apartment, which was covered with a piece of carpet, 
and shut off from the lower part of the room by a folding 
screen. Some kind friend had placed flowers in a glass 
on the table, and three pretty plants in full blow upon 
the window-stones. Some books from a circulating 
library were on the table, and some volumes also of 
engravings. These little signs of care and refinement 
took off something of the gaunt and desolate character 
which would have, otherwise, made this habitation 

A rich man, with such a house in the country, might 
have made it curiously beautiful ; but where it was, 
tenanted by paupers, and condemned to early demolition, 
who was to trouble his head about it ? 

The Flitting. 253 

Mamma had been better in the morning, but was now 
suffering, again, from a violent palpitation, and was 
sitting up in her bed ; it was her own bed, which had 
been removed for her use. Rebecca Torldll, who had 
been for some hours managing everything to receive her, 
was now in her room. I was in our " drawing-room," I 
suppose I am to call it, quite alone. My elbows rested on 
the table, my hands were over my eyes, and I was crying 
vehemently. These were tears neither of cowardice nor 
of sorrow. They were tears of rage. I was one of those 
impracticable and defiant spirits who, standing more in 
need than any other of the chastisements of Heaven, 
resent its discipline as an outrage, and upbraid its justice 
with impious fury. I dried my eyes fiercely. I looked 
round our strange room with a bitter smile. Black oak 
floor, black oak panelling up to the ceiling; as evening 
darkened how melancholy this grew ! 

I looked out of the window. The ruddy sky of evening 
was fading into grey. A grass-grown brick wall, as old 
as the house perhaps, and springing from the two piers, 
enclosed the space once occupied by the street in which it 
had stood. Nothing now remained of the other houses 
but high piles of rubbish, broken bricks, and plaster, 
through which, now and then, a black spar or plank of 
worn wood was visible in this dismal enclosure ; beyond 
these hillocks of ruin, and the jagged and worn brick 
wall, were visible the roofs with slates no bigger than 
oyster-shells, and the clumsy old chimneys of poverty- 
stricken dwellings, existing on sufferance, and sure to fall 
before long beneath the pick and crowbar ; beyond these 
melancholy objects spread the expiring glow of sunset 
with a veil of smoke before it. 

As I looked back upon this sombre room, and then out 
upon the still more gloomy and ruinous prospect, with a 
feeling of disgust and fear, and the intolerable conscious- 
ness that we were here under the coercion of actual poverty, 
you may fancy what my ruminations were. I don't know 
whether, in my family, there was a vein of that hereditary 
melancholy called suicidal. I know I felt, just then, its 
horrible promptings. Like the invitations of the Erl-king 
in Goethe's ballad, it " whispered low in mine ear." There 

254 Willing to Die. 

is nothing so startling as the first real allurement to this 
tremendous step. There remains a sense of an actual 
communication at which mind and soul tremble. I felt it 
once afterwards. 

Its iusidiousness and power are felt on starting from the 
dream, and finding oneself, as I did, alone, with silence 
and darkness and frightful thoughts. I think that, but 
for mamma, it would have been irresistible. The sudden 
exertion of my will, and in spite of my impious mood, I 
am sure, an inward cry to God for help, scared away the 
brood that had gathered about me with their soft mono- 
tonous seduction. Have you ever experienced the same 
thing ? The temptation breaks from you like a murmur 
changed to a laugh, and leaves you horrified. I hated 
life ; my energies were dead already. Why should I drag 
on, with broken heart, in solitude and degradation ? 

Some pitying angel kept me in remembrance of mamma, 
sick, helpless, so long and entirely in the habit of leaning 
upon others for counsel and for action. When sickness 
follows poverty, fate has little left to inflict. One good 
thing in our present habitation was the fact of its being as 
completely out of sight as the inmost cavern of the cata- 
combs. That was consolatory. I felt, at first, as if I 
never should wish to see the light again. But every ex- 
pression of life is strong in the young ; energy, health, 
spirits, hope. 

The dread of this great downfall began to subside, and I 
could see a little before me ; my head grew clearer, and was 
already full of plans for earning my bread. That, I dare 
say, would have been easy enough, if I could have made up 
my mind to leave mamma, or if she could have consented 
to part with me. But there were many things I could do 
at home. Mamma was sometimes better, but her spirits 
never rallied. She cried almost incessantly ; I think she 
was heart-broken. If she could have given me some of 
her gentleness, and if I could inspired her with some of my 
courage, we should have done better. 

The day after our arrival, as I looked out of the window 
listlessly, I saw a van drive between the piers. Two men 
were on the driver's seat. They stopped before they had 
got very far. It was difficult navigation among the 

The Flitting, 255 

promontories and islands of rubbish. The driver turned 
a disgusted look up towards our windows, and made some 
remark to his companion. They got down and led the 
horses with circumspection, and with many turns and 
windings up to the door, and then began to speak to our 
servant ; but, at this interesting moment, I was summoned 
by Rebecca Torkill to mamma's room, where I forgot all 
about the van. 

But, on returning a few minutes later, I fouud a piano 
in our drawing-room. Our rustic maid had not heard or 
even asked from whom it came ; and when a tuner arrived 
an hour later, I found that nothing could prevail on him 
to disclose the name of the person or place from which it 
had come. It had not any indication but the maker's 
name and that was no guide. 

Two or three days after our flight to this melancholy 
place, Mr. Forrester called. I saw him in our strange 
sitting -room. It was pleasant to see a friendly face. He 
had not many minutes to give me. He listened to my 
plans, and rather approved of them ; told me that he had 
some clients who might be useful, and that he would make 
it a point to do what he could with them. Then I thanked 
him very much for the flowers, and the books, and the 
piano. But it was not he who had sent them. I began 
to be rather unpleasantly puzzled about the quarter from 
which these favours came. Our melancholy habitation 
must be known to more persons than we supposed. I was 
thinking uncomfortably on this problem when he went on 
to say : 

" As Mrs. Ware is not well enough to see me, I should 
like to read to you a draft of the letter I was thinking of 
sending to-day to Lord Chellwood's house. He's to be 
home, I understand, for a day or two before the end of this 
week ; and I want to hit him on the wing, if I can." 

He then read the letter for me. 

" Pray leave out what you say of me," I said. 

" Why, Miss Ware ?" 

" Because, if I can't live by my own labour, I will die," 
I answered. " I think it is his duty to do something for 
mamma, who is ill, and the widow of his brother, and who 
has lost her provision Tby poor papa's misfortunes ; but I 

256 Willing to Die. 

mean to work ; and I hope to earn quite enough to support 
me ; and if I can't, as I said, I don't wish to live. I will 
accept nothing from him." 

" And why not from him, Miss Ware ? Yon know he's 
your uncle. Whom could you more naturally look to in 
such an emergency ?" 

" He's not my uncle; papa was his half-brother only, by 
a later marriage. He never liked papa nor us." 

"Never mind he'll do something. I've had some 
experience ; and I tell you, he can't avoid contributing 
in a case like this ; it comes too near him," said Mr. 

" I have seen him I have heard him talk ; I know the 
kind of person he is. I have heard poor papa say, ' I wish 
some one would relieve Norman's mind : he seems to fancy 
we have a design on his pocket, or his will. He is always 
keeping us at arm's-length. I don't think my wife is ever 
likely to have to ask him for anything/ I have heard poor 
papa say, I think, those very words. Bread from his hand 
would choke me, and I can't eat it." 

" Well, Miss Ware, if you object to that passage, I shall 
strike it out, of course. I wrote a second time to Sir 
Harry Eokestone, and have not jet had a line in reply, 
and I don't think it likely I ever shall. I'll try him once 
more ; and if that doesn't bring an answer, I think we may 
let him alone for some time to come." 

And now Mr. Forrester took his leave and was gone. 
The forlorn old house was silent again. 



|NOTHER week passed ; mamma was better not 
much better in spirits, but very much appa- 
rently in health. She was now a good deal 
more tranquil, though in great affliction. Poor 
mamma ! No book interested her now but the Bible ; 
the great, wise, gentle friend so seldom listened to when all 
goes well always called in to console, when others fail. 

Mr. Forrester had got me some work to do work 
much more interesting than I had proposed for myself. 
It was to make a translation of a French work for a pub- 
lisher. For a few days it was simply experimental, but 
it was found that I did it well and quickly enough ; and 
I calculated that if I could only obtain constant employ- 
ment of this kind, I might earn about seventy pounds a 
year. Here was a resource something between us and 
actual want something between me and the terrible condi- 
tion of dependence. My ambition was humble enough now. 

For about two days this discovery of my power, under 
favourable circumstances, to make sixty or seventy pounds 
a year, actually cheered me ; but this healthier effect was 
of short duration. The miseries of our situation were too 
obvious and formidable to be long kept out of view. 
Gloom and distraction soon returned the same rebellious 
violence inflamed by the fresh alarm of mamma's return- 
ing illness. 

She was very ill again the night but one after the good 
news about my translation breathless, palpitating. I 
began to grow frightened and desponding about her. I 
had fancied before that her symptoms were mere indi- 
cations of her state of mind ; but now, when her mind 


258 Willing to Die. 

seemed more tranquil, and her nerves qniet, their return 
was ominous. I was urging her to see ISir Jacob Lake, 
when Mr. Forrester called, and I went to our drawing- 
room to see him. He had got a note, cold and petulant, 
from my uncle, Lord Chellwood, that morning. This 
letter said that " no person who knew of the number and 
magnitude of the charges affecting his property could be 
so unreasonable as to suppose that he could, even if he 
had the power, which was not quite so clear, think of 
charging an annuity upon it, however small, for the 
benefit of any one." That "he deeply commiserated the 
distressing circumstances in which poor Frank's widow 
found herself ; but surely he, Lord Chellwood, was not to 
blame for it. He had never lost an opportunity of press- 
ing upon his brother the obligation he conceived every 
married man to be under, to make provision for his wife ; 
and had been at the trouble to show him, by some very 
pertinent figures, how impracticable it was for him to add 
to the burdens that weighed on the estates, and how 
totally he, Lord Chellwood, was without the power of 
mitigating to any extent the consequences of his rashness, 
if he should leave his wife without a suitable provision." 
So it went on ; and ended by saying that " he might pos- 
sibly be able, next spring, to make it could be but a 
small one a present to the poor lady, who had certainly 
much to answer for in the imprudent career in which she 
had contributed to engage her husband, and during which 
she had wilfully sacrificed her settlement to the pleasures 
and vanities of an expensive and unsuitable life." The 
letter went on in this strain, and hinted that the present 
he spoke of could not exceed a hundred and fifty pounds, 
and could not possibly be repeated. 

" This looks very black, you see," said the good- 
natured solicitor. " But I hope it may not be quite so 
bad as he says. If he could be got to do a little more, a 
small annuity might be purchased." 

I did not like my uncle. It is very hard to get over 
first impressions, and the repulsion of an entirely uncon- 
genial countenance. There was nothing manly in his 
face it was narrow, selfish, conceited. He was pale as 
wax. He had manners at once dry and languid; and 

A Forlorn Hope. 259 

whether it was in his eye or not, I can't say, but there 
was something in his look, though he smiled as much as 
was called for, and never said a disagreeable thing, that 
conveyed very clearly to me, although neither papa nor 
mamma seemed to perceive it, that he positively disliked 
us, each and every one, not even excepting poor, gay, 
good-natured papa. We all knew he was stingy ; he had 
one hobby, and that was the nursing and rehabilitation of 
the estates which had come to him, with the title, in a 
very crippled state. 

With these feelings, and the pride which is strongest in 
youth, I fancied that I should have died rather than have 
submitted to the humiliation of accepting, much less 
asking, money from his hand. 

I must carry you three weeks further on. It was dark ; 
I can't tell you now what o'clock it was ; I am sure it 
was not much earlier than nine. I had my cloak and 
bonnet on ; Rebecca Torkill was at my side, and her thin 
hand was upon my arm. 

" And where are you going, my darling, at this time of 
night ?" she said, looking frightened into my face. 

"To see Lord Chellwood ; to see papa's unnatural brother; 
to tell him that mamma must die unless he helps her." 

II But, my child, this is no time youw r ould not go out 
through them wicked streets at this hour you shan't go !" 
she said sturdily, taking a firm hold of my arm. 

I snatched it from her grasp angrily, and walked 
quickly away. I looked over my shoulder, as I reached 
the two piers, and saw the figure of old Rebecca looking 
black in the doorway, with a background of misty light 
from the candle at the foot of the stairs. I think she 
was wavering between the risk of leaving the house and 
mamma only half protected, and the urgent necessity of 
pursuing and bringing me back. I was out of her reach, 
however, before she could make up her mind. 

I was walking as quickly as I could through the streets that 
led towards Regent Street. I had studied them on the map. 

These out-of-the-way streets were quiet now, but not 
deserted ; now and then I passed the blaze of a gin-palace. 
It was a strange fear and excitement to me to be walking 
through these poor by-streets by gas-light. No fugitive 


260 Willing to Die. 

threading the streets of a town in the throes of revolution 
had a keener sense of danger, or moved with eye and 
sinew more ready every moment to start from a walk into 
a run. I suppose they allow poor people, such as I might 
well be taken for, walking quickly upon their business, to 
pass undisturbed. I was not molested. 

At length I was in Regent Street. I felt safe now ; the 
broad pavement, the stream of traffic, the long line of 
gas-lamps, and the still open shops, enabled me, without 
fear, a little to slacken my pace. I required this relief. 
I had been ill for two days, and was worse. I felt chilly 
and aguish ; I was suffering from one of those stupen- 
dous headaches which possibly give the sufferer some idea 
of the action of that iron " cap of silence" with which, 
during the reign of good King Bomba, so many Neapolitan 
citizens were made acquainted. I can afford to speak 
lightly of it now; but I was very ill. I ought to have 
been in my bed. Nothing but my tremor about mamma 
would have given me nerve and strength for this excursion. 

She had that day had a sudden return of the breathlessness 
and palpitation from which she had suffered so much, and I 
had succeeded in getting Sir Jacob Lake to come to see her. 

It was a hurried visit, as his visits always were. He 
saw her, gave some general directions, wrote a prescrip- 
tion, spoke cheerfully to her, and his manner seemed to 
say he apprehended nothing. I came with him to the 
stairs, which we went down together, and in the drawing- 
room I heard the astounding words that told me mamma 
could not live many months, and might be carried off at 
any moment in one of those attacks. He told me to get 
her to the country, her native air, if that could be 
managed, immediately. That might prolong her life a 
little. It was only a chance, and at best a reprieve. But 
without it he could not answer for a week. He told me 
that I must be careful not to let mamma know that he 
thought her in danger. She was in a critical state, and 
any agitation might be fatal. He took his leave, and I 
was alone with his dreadful words in my ears. 

Now, how was I to carry out his directions ? The 
journey to Golden Friars, as he planned it, would cost us 
at least twenty pounds, and he ordered claret, then a very 

A Forlorn Hope. 2G1 

expensive wine, for mamma. He did not know that he 
was carrying away our last guinea in his pocket. I had 
but half a sovereign and a few shillings in my purse. 
Mr. Forrester was out of town ; and even if he were 
within reach, it was scarcely likely that he would lend or 
bestow anything like the sum required. The work was 
not sufficiently advanced to justify a hope that he would 
give me, a stranger, a sum of money on account of a 
task which I might never complete. Poverty had come 
in its direst shape. In the distraction of that dreadful 
helplessness my pride broke down. This was the reason 
of my wild excursion. 

As I now walked at a more moderate pace, I felt the 
effect of my unnatural exertion more painfully every 
pulse was a throb of torture. It was an effort to keep 
my mind clear, and to banish perpetually rising con- 
fusions, the incipient exhalations of fever. What drowsi- 
ness is to the system in health, this tendency to drop into 
delirium is to the sick. 

I found myself, at length, almost exhausted, at my noble 
kinsman's door. I knocked; I asked to see him. The foot- 
man did not recognise me. He simply said, looking across 
the street over my head, with a careless disdain : 

" I say, what's the row, miss ?" 

Certainly such a visitor as I, and at such an hour, had 
no very recognisable claim to a ceremonious reception. 

" Charles," I said, " don't you know me ? Miss Ware." 

The man started a little, looked hard at me, drew 
himself up formally, as he made his salutation, receding 
a step, with the hall-door open in his hand. 

" Is his lordship at home ?" I asked, 

" No, miss, he dined out to-day." 

" But I must see him, Charles. If he knew it was I 
he could not refuse. Tell him mamma is dangerously ill, 
and I have no one to help me." 

" He is out, miss ; and he sleeps out of town at 
Colonel Anson's to-night." 

I uttered an exclamation of despair. 

" And when is he to return ?" 

" He will not be in town again for a fortnight, inisa ; 
he's going to Harleigh Castle." 

262 Willing to Die. 

I stood on the steps for a minute, stunned by the dis - 
appointment, staring helplessly into the man's face. 

" Please, shall I call a cab, miss ?" 

No no," I said dreamily. I turned and went away 
quickly. It troubled me little what the servants might 
say or think of my strange visit." 

This blow was distracting. The doctor had distinctly 
said that mamma's immediate removal to country air 
was a necessity. 

As people will under excitement, I was walking at 
the swiftest pace I could. I was pacing under the ever- 
greens of the neighbouring square, back and forward, 
again and again ; I saw young ladies get f :om a house 
opposite into a carriage, and drive away, as I once used 
to do. I hated them I hated every one who was as 
fortunate as I once was. I hated the houses on the 
other side with their well -lighted halls. I hated even 
the great prosperous shop-keeping class, with their over- 
grown persons and purses. Why did not fortune take 
other people, the purse-proud, the scheming, the vicious, 
the arrogant, the avaricious, instead of us drag them 
from their places, and batter and trundle them in the 
gutter ? Here was I, for no fault none, none ! reduced 
to a worse plight than a beggar's. The beggar has been 
brought up to his calling, and can make something of it ; 
while I could not set about it, had not even that form of 
pluck which people call meanness, and was quite past the 
age at which the art is to be learned. 

All this time I was growing more and more ill. The 
breathless walking and the angry agitation were precipi- 
tating the fever that was already upon me. I had an 
increasing horror of the dismal abode which was now my 
home. Distraction like mine demands rapid locomotion 
as its proper and only anodyne. Despair and quietude 
quickly subside into madness. 

Some public clock not far off struck the hour ; I did 
not count it ; but it reminded me suddenly of the risk of 
exciting alarm at home by delaying my return. So with an 
effort, and as it were an awakening, I began to direct my 
steps homewards. But before I reached that melancholy 
goal, aia astounding adventure was fated to befall me 



AM quite certain now that the impious sophis- 
tries to which some proud minds in affliction 
abandon themselves, are the direful suggestions 
of intelligences immensely superior in power 
to themselves. When they call to us in the air we listen ; 
when they knock at the door we go down and open to 
them ; we take them in to sup with us, we make them our 
guests, they become sojourners in the house, and are 
about our paths, and about our beds, and spying out all 
our ways ; their thoughts become our thoughts, their 
wickedness our wickedness, their purposes our purposes, 
till, without perceiving it, we are their slaves. And then 
when a fit opportunity presents itself, they make, in Doctcr 
Johnson's phrase, " a snatch of us." Something like this 
was near happening to me. You shall hear. 

I grew, on a sudden, faint and cold ; a horror of return- 
ing home stole over me. I could not go home, and yet I 
had no other choice but death. I had scarcely thought of 
death, when a longing seized me. Death grew so beautiful 
in my eyes ! The false smile, the mysterious welcome, 
the sweep of deep waters, the vague allurement of a pro- 
found endless welcome, drew me on and on. 

Two men chatting passed me by as one said to the 
other, " The tide's full in at Waterloo Bridge now ; the 
moon must look quite lovely there." It was spoken in 
harmony with my thoughts. I had read in my happier 

264 Willing to Die. 

days in the papers how poor girls had ended their misery 
by climbing over the balustrade of Waterloo Bridge, over 
the black abyss, dotted with the reflected lamps, and step- 
ping off it into the dark air into death. I was going now 
to that bridge people would direct me by the time I 
reached it the thoroughfare would be still and deserted 
enough. 1 can't say 1 had determined upon this I can't 
say I ever thought about it it was only that the scene 
and the event had taken possession of me, with the long- 
ing of a child for its home. 

The streets were quieter now ; but some shops were still 
open. Among these was a jeweller's. The shutters were up, 
and only the door open. I stepped in, I don't in the least 
know why. The fever, I suppose, had touched my brain. 
There were only three men in the shop one behind the 
counter, a smiljng, ceremonious man, whom I believe to have 
been the owner the two others were customers. One was a 
young man, sitting on a chair with his elbow on the counter, 
examining and turning over some jewellery that glittered 
in a little heap on the counter. The other, older and 
dressed in black, was leaning over the counter, with his 
back to me, and discussing, in low, careless tones, the 
merits of a dagger, which, from their talk, not distinctly 
heard, I conjectured the young man had been recommend- 
ing as a specific against garotters. I was in no condition 
to comprehend or care for the debate. The elder man, as 
he talked, sometimes laid the little weapon down upon 
the counter, and sometimes took it up, fitting it in his hand. 

The intense light of the gas striking on my eyes made 
them ache acutely. I don't know why, or how, I entered 
the shop ; I only know that I found myself standing with- 
in the door in a blaze of gaslight. 

The jeweller, looking at me sharply across the counter, 
said : 

"Well, ma'am?" 

I answered : 

" Can you give rne change for a sovereign ?" 

I must have been losing my head ; for though I spoke 
in perfect good faith, I had not a shilling atout me. It 
was not forgetfulness, but distinctly an illusion ; for 
I not only had the picture of the imaginary sovereign 

Cold Steel. 266 

distinctly before me, but thought I had it actually in my 

The jeweller Was talking in subdued and urbane accents 
to his customer, and pointing out, no doubt, the special 
beauties and workmanship of his bijouterie. 

" Sorry I can't oblige you ; you must try elsewhere," 
he said, again directing a hard glance at me. I think he 
was satisfied that I was not a thief ; and he continued his 
talk with the young man who was making his selection, 
and who was probably a little hard to please, I turned to 
leave the shop, and the jeweller went into the next room, 
possibly in search of something more likely to please his 
fastidious client at the counter. 

I had not yet seen the face of either of the visitors to 
the shop, but I was conscious that the younger of the two 
had once or twice looked over his shoulder at me. He 
now said, taking his purse from his pocket it was but as 
n parenthesis in his talk with his companion : 

" I beg pardon ; perhaps I can manage that change for 

I drew nearer. What occurred next appeared to me 
like an incident in a dream, in which our motives are often 
so obscure that our own acts take us by surprise. Whether 
it was a mad moment or a lucid moment I don't know ; 
for in extreme misery, if our courage does not fail us, our 
thoughts are always wicked. 

I stood there, a slight figure, in crape, cloaked, veiled 
in pain, giddy, confused. I cannot tell you what 
interest the common-place spectacle before me had for me, 
nor why I stayed there, gazing towards the three gas lamps 
that seemed each girt with a dazzling halo that made 
my eyes ache. What sounds and sights smote my sick 
senses with a jarring recognition? The hard, nasal 
tones of the elderly man in black, who leaned over the 
counter, and the pallid, scornful face, with its fine, rest- 
less eyes and sinister energy, were those of Monsieur 
Droqville ! 

He was talking to his companion, and did not trouble 
himself to look at me. He little dreamed what an imago 
of death stood at his elbow I 

They were not talking any longer about the pretty 

266 Willing to Die. 

dagger that lay on the counter, by his open fingers. 
Monsieur Droqville was now indulging his cynical vein 
upon another theme. He was finishing a satirical sum- 
ming up of poor papa's character. I saw the sneer, the 
shrug ; I heard in his hard, bitter talk the name made 
sacred to me by unutterable calamity ; I listened to the 
outrage from the lips of the man who had done all. Oh, 
beloved, ruined father ! Can I ever forget the pale smile 
of despair, the cold, piteous voice with which, on that 
frightful night, he said, " Droqville has done it all he 
has broken my heart." And here was the very Droqville, 
with the scoff, the contempt, the triumph in his pitiless 
face ; and poor papa in his bloody shroud, and mamma 
dying ! What cared I what became of me ? An icy chill 
seemed to stream from my brain through me, to my feet, 
to my finger tips ; as a shadow moves, I had leaned over, 
and the hand that holds this pen had struck the dagger 
into Droqville's breast. 

In a moment his face darkened, with a horrified, 
vacant look. His mouth opened, as if to speak or call 
out, but no sound came; his deep-set eyes, fixed on 
me, were darkening ; he was sinking backward, with 
a groping motion of his hand, as if to ward off another 

Was it real ? For a second I stared, freezing" with 
horror ; and then, with a gasp, darted through the shop- 

An accident, as I afterwards learned, had lamed Droq- 
ville's companion, and thus favoured my escape. Before 
many seconds, however, pursuit was on my track. I soon 
heard its cry and clatter. The street was empty when I 
ran out. My echoing steps were the only sound there for 
some seconds. I fled with the speed of the wind. I 
turned to the left down a narrow street, and from that to 
the right into a kind of stable lane* I heard shouting 
and footsteps in pursuit. I ran for some time, but the 
shouting of sounds and pursuit continued. My strength 
failed me ; I stopped short behind a kind of buttress, 
beside a coach-house gate ; I was hardly a second there. 
An almost suicidal folly prompted me. I know not why, 
but I stepped out again from my place of concealment, 

Cold Steel. 267 

intending to give myself up to my pursuers. I walked 
slowly back a few steps towards them. One was now close 
to me. A man without a hat, crying, " Stop, stop, 
police !" ran furiously past me. It clearly never entered 
his mind that I, walking slowly towards him, could possibly 
be the fugitive. 

So this moment, as I expected of perdition, passed in- 
nocuously by. 

By what instinct, chance, or miracle I made the rest of 
my way home, I know not, When I reached the door- 
stone, Rebecca Torkill was standing there watching for 
me in irrepressible panic. 

When she was sure it was I, she ran out, crying, "Oh! 
God be thanked, miss, it's you, my child !" She caught 
me in her arms, and kissed me with honest vehemence. 
I did not return her caress I was worn out ; it all seemed 
like a frightful dream. Her voice sounded ever so far 
away. I saw her, as raving people see objects mixed with 
unrealities. I did not say a word as she conveyed me up- 
stairs with her stalwart arm round my waist, 

I heard her say, " Your mamma's better ; she's quite 
easy now." I could not say, " Thank God!" I was con- 
scious that I showed no trace of pleasure, nor even of 
comprehension, in my looks. 

She was looking anxiously in my face as she talked to 
me, and led me into the drawing-room. I did not utter 
a word, nor look to the right or left. With a moan I sat 
down on the sofa. I was shivering uncontrollably. 

Another phantom was now before me, talking with Re- 
becca. It was Mr. Carmel; his large, strange eyes how 
dark and haggard they looked fixed on my face with a 
gaze almost of agony ! Something fell from my hand on 
the table as my fingers relaxed. I had forgotten that I 
held anything in Win. I saw them both look at it, and 
then on one another with a glance of alarm, and even 
horror. It was the dagger, stained with blood, that had, 
dropped upon that homely table. 

I was unable to follow their talk. I saw him take it 
up quickly, and look from it to me, and to Rebecca again, 
with a horrible uncertainty. It was, indeed, a rather 
sinister waif to find in the hand of a person evidently so 

268 Willing to Die. 

ill as I was, especially with a mark of blood also upon 
that trembling hand. He looked at it again very care- 
fully ; then he put it into Rebecca's hand, and said some- 
thing very earnestly. 

They talked on for a time. I neither understood nor 
cared what they said ; nor cared, indeed, at all what be- 
came of me. 

"You're not hurt, darling?" she whispered, with her 
earnest old eyes very near mine. 

" I ? No. Oh, no !" 1 answered. 

" Not with that knife ?" 

"No," I repeated. 

I was rapidly growing worse. 

A little time passed thus, and then I saw Mr. Carmel 
pray with his hands clasped for a few moments, and I 
heard him distinctly say to Rebecca, " She's very ill. I'll 
go for the doctor ;" and he added some words to her. He 
looked ghastly pale : as he gazed in my face, his eyes 
seemed to burn into my brain. Then another figure was 
added to the group ; our maid glided in, and stood beside 
Eebecca Torkill, and as it seemed to me, murmured 
vaguely, I could not understand what she or they said. 
She looked as frightened as the rest. I had perception 
enough left to feel that they all thought me dying. So 
the thought filled my darkened mind that I was indeed 
passing into the state of the dead. The black curtain, 
that had been suspended over me for so long at last de- 
scended, and I remember no more for many days and 

The secret was, for the present, mine only. I lay, as 
the old writers say, " at God's mercy," the sword's point 
at my throat, in the privation, darkness, and utter help- 
lessness of fever. Safe enough it was with me. My brain, 
could recall nothing ; my lips were sealed. But though 
I was speechless, another person was quickly in possession 
of the secret. 

Some weeks, as I have said, are simply struck out of 
my existence. When gradually the cold, grey light 
of returning life stole in upon me, I almost hoped it 
might be fallacious. I hated to come back to the fright- 
ful routine of existence. I was so very weak that even 

Cold Steel. 269 

after the fever left me I might easily have died at any 

I was promoted at length to the easy-chair, in which, 
in dressing-gown and slippers, people recover from dan- 
gerous illness. There, in the listlessness of exhaustion, I 
used to sit for hours, without reading, without speaking, 
without even thinking. Gradually, by little, my spirit 
revived, and, as life returned, the black cares and fears 
essential to existence glided in, and gathered round with 
awful faces. 

One day old Rebecca, who, no doubt, had long been 
anxious, asked : 

" How did you come by that knife, Miss Ethel, 
that you fetched home in your hand the night you took 

"A knife? Did I?" I spoke, quietly suppressing my 
horror. " What was it like ?" 

I was almost unconscious until then that I had really 
taken away the dagger in my hand. This speech of 
Rebecca's nearly killed me. They were the first words 
1 had heard connecting me distinctly with that ghastly 

She described it, and repeated her question. 
" Where is it ?" I asked. 

" Mr. C arm el took it away with him," she replied, 
"the same night." 

" Mr. Carmel ?" I repeated, remembering with a new 
terror his connexion with Monsieur Droqville. "You 
had no business to allow him to see it, much less good 
Heaven ! to take it." 

I stood up in my terror, but I was too weak, and 
stumbled back into the chair. 

I would answer no question of hers. She saw that she 
was agitating me, and desisted. 

The whole scene in the jeweller's shop remained em- 
blazoned in vivid tints and lights on my memory. But 
there was something more, and that perhaps the most 
terrible ingredient in it. 

I had recognised another face besides Droqville's. It 
started between me and the wounded man as I recoiled 
from my own blow. One hand was extended towards me, 

270 Willing to Die. 

to prevent my repeating the stroke the other held up 
the wounded man. 

Sometimes I doubted whether the whole of that frightful 
episode was not an illusion. Sometimes it seemed only 
that the pale face, so much younger and handsomer than 
Monsieur Droqville's the fiery eyes, the frown, the 
scarred forehead, the suspended smile that had for only 
that dreadful moment started into light before me so close 
to my face, were those of a spectre. 

The young man who had been turning over the jewels 
at the counter, and who had offered to give me change 
for my imaginary sovereign, was the very man I had seen 
shipwrecked at Malory ; the man who had in the wood 
near Plas Ylwd fought that secret duel ; and who had 
afterwards made, with so reckless an audacity, those mad 
declarations of love to me ; the man who, for a time, had 
so haunted my imagination, and respecting whom I had 
received warnings so dark and formidable. 

Nothing could be more vivid than this picture, nothing 
more uncertain than its reality. I did not see recogni- 
tion in the face ; all was so instantaneous. Well, I 
cared not. I was dying. What was the world to me ? 
I had assigned myself to death ; and I was willing 
to accept that fate rather than re-ascend to my frightful 

My poor mother, who knew nothing of my strange 
adventure, had experienced one of those deceitful rallies 
which sometimes seem to promise a long reprieve, in that 
form of heart-complaint under which she suffered. She 
only knew that I had had brain-fever. How near to 
death I had been she never knew. She was spared, too, 
the horror of my dreadful adventure. I was now recover- 
ing rapidly and surely ; but I was so utterly weak and 
heart-broken that I fancied I must die, and thought that 
they were either deceived themselves, or trying kindly, 
but in vain, to deceive me. I was at length convinced 
by finding myself able, as I have said, to sit up. 
Mamma was often with me, cheered by my recovery. 
I dare say she had been more alarmed than Rebecca 

I learned from mamma that the money that had main* 

Cold Steel. 


tained us through my illness had come from Mr. Carmel. 
Little as it was, it must have cost him exertion to get it ; 
for men in his position cannot, I helieve, own money of 
their own. It was very kind. I said nothing, but I was 
grateful ; his immovable fidelity touched me deeply. I 
wondered whether Mr. Carmel had often made inquiries 
during my illness, or had shown an interest in my re- 
covery. But I dared not ask. 




HAVE sometimes felt that, even without a 
revelation, we might have discovered that the 
human race was born to immortality. Death is 
an intrusion here. Children can't believe in it. 
"When they see it first, it strikes them with curiosity and 
wonder* It is a long time before they comprehend its 
real character, or believe that it is common to all ; to the 
end of our days we are hardly quite sincere when we talk 
of our own deaths. 

Seeing mamma better, I thought no more of her danger 
than if the angel of death had never been within our 
doors, and I had never seen the passing shadow of that 
spectre in her room, 

As my strength returned, I grew more and more 
gloomy and excited. I was haunted by never-slumbering, 
and very reasonable, fore-castings of danger. In the 
first place, I was quite in the dark as to whether Monsieur 
Droqville was dangerously or mortally hurt, and I had no 
way of learning anything of him. Eebecca, it is true, 
used to take in, for her special edification, a Sunday 
paper, in which all the horrors of the week were displayed, 
and she used to con it over regularly, day after day, till 
the next number made its appearance. If Monsieur 
Droqville' s name, with which she was familiar, had 
occurred in this odious register, she had at least had a 
fair chance of seeing it, and if she had seen it, she would 
be pretty sure to have mentioned it. Secretly, however, 

An Ominous Visit. 273 

I was in miserable fear. Mr. Carmel had not returned 
since my recovery had ceased to be doubtful, and he was 
in possession of the weapon that had fallen from my 

In his retention of this damning piece of evidence, and 
his withdrawing himself so carefully from my presence, 
coupled with my knowledge of the principles that bound 
him to treat all private considerations, feelings, and friend- 
ships as non-existent, when they stood ever so little in the 
way of his all-pervading and supreme duty to his order 
there was a sinister augury. I lived in secret terror ; no 
wonder I was not recovering quickly. 

One day, when we had sat a long time silent, I asked 
Eebecca how I was dressed the night I had gone to Lord 
Chellwood's. I was immensely relieved when she told me, 
among other things, that I had worn a thick black veil. 
This was all I wanted to be assured of; for I could not 
implicitly rely upon my recollection through the haze and 
mirage of fever. It was some comfort to think that neither 
Monsieur Droqville nor Mr. Marston could have recognised 
my features. 

In this state of suspense I continued for two or three 
weeks. At the end of that time a little adventure happened. 
I was sitting in an arm-chair, in our drawing-room, with 
pillows about me, one afternoon, and had fallen into a 
doze. Mamma was in the room, and, when I had last seen 
her, was reading her Bible, which she now did sometimes 
for hours together sometimes with tears, always with the 
trembling interest of one who has lost everything else. 

I had fallen asleep. I was waked by tones that terrified 
me. I thought that I was still dreaming, or that I had 
lost my reason. I heard the nasal and energetic tones of 
Monsieur Droqville, talking with his accustomed rapidity 
in the room not to mamma, for, as I afterwards found, 
she had left the room while I was asleep, but to Kebecca. 

Happily for me, a screen stood between me and the door, 
and I suppose he did not know that I was in the room. 
At every movement of his foot on the floor, at every harsh 
emphasis in his talk, my heart bounded. I was afraid to 
move, almost to breathe, lest I should draw his attention 
to me, 

274 Willing to Die. 

My illness had quite unnerved me. I was afraid that, 
restless and inquisitive as I knew him to be, he would peep 
round the screen, and see and talk to me. I did not know 
the object of his visit ; but in terror I surmised it, and I 
lay among my pillows, motionless, and with my eyes closed, 
while I heard him examine Eebecca, sharply, as to the date 
of my illness, and the nature of it. 

'* When was Miss Ware last out, before her illness ?" 
he asked at length. 

" 1 could not tell you that exactly, sir," answered 
Eebecca, evasively. " *She left the house but seldom, just 
before she was took iU ; for her mamma being very bad, 
she was but little out of doors then." 

He made a pretence of learning the facts of my case 
simply as a physician, and he offered in that capacity to 
see me at the moment. He asked the question in an off- 
hand way. " I can see her, I dare say ? I'm a doctor, 
you know. Where is Miss Ware ?" 

The moment of silence that intervened before her answer 
seemed to me to last five minutes. She answered, how- 
ever, quite firmly : 

" No, sir ; I thank you. She's attended by a doctor, 
quite reg'lar, and she's asleep now." 

Eebecca had heard me speak with horror of Monsieur 
Droqville, and did not forget my antipathy. 

He hesitated. I heard his fingers drumming, as ho 
mused, upon the other side of the screen. 

"Well," he said, dwelling on the word meditatively, "it 
doesn't matter much. I don't mind ; only it might have 
been as well. However, you can tell Mrs. Ware a note to 
my old quarters will find me, and I shall be very happy." 

And so saying, I heard him walk, at first slowly, from 
the room, and then run briskly down the stairs. Then the 
old hall-door shut smartly after him. 

r lhe fear that this man inspired, and not without reason, 
in my mind, was indescribable. I can't be mistaken in 
my recollection upn that point, for, as soon as he was 
gone, I fainted. 

When I recovered, my fears returned. No one who has 
not experienced that solitary horror, knows what it is to 
keep an imdivulged secret, full of danger, every hour in- 

An Ominous Visit. 27> 

spiring some new terror, with no one to consult, and no 
courage but your own to draw upon. Even mamma's 
dejected spirits took fire at what she termed the audacity 
of Monsieur Droqville's visit. My anger, greater than 
hers, was silenced by fear. Mamma was roused ; she ran 
volubly though interrupted by many sobs and gushes of 
tears over the catalogue of her wrongs and miseries, all 
of which she laid to Monsieur Droqville's charge. 

The storm blew over, however, in an hour or so. But 
later in the evening mamma was suffering under a return 
of her illness, brought on by her agitation. It was not 
violent ; still there was suffering ; and, to me, gloomier 
proof that her malady was established, and the grave in a 
nearer perspective. This turned my alarms into a new 

She was very patient and gentle. As I sat by her bed- 
side, looking at her sad face, what unutterable tenderness, 
what sorrow trembled at my heart ! At about six o'clock 
she had fallen asleep, and with this quietude my thoughts 
began to wander, and other fears returned. It was for no 
good, I was sure, that Monsieur Droqville had tracked us 
to our dismal abode. Whatever he might do in this affair 
of my crime, or mania, passion would not guide it, nor 
merely social considerations ; it would be directed by a 
policy the principles of which I could not anticipate. I 
had no clue to guide me ; I was in utter darkness, and 
surrounded by all the fancies that imagination conjures 
from the abyss. 

I was not destined to wait very long in uncertainty. 



[HE sun was setting, when, on tip-toe, scarcely 
letting my dress rustle, so afraid I was of dis- 
turbing mamma's sleep, I stole from her room, 
intending to give some directions to Rebecca 
Torldll. As I went down the dusky stairs I passed our 
Malory maid, who said something, pointing to the drawing- 
room. I saw her lips move, but, as will happen when one 
is pre-occupied, I took in nothing of what she said, but, 
with a mechanical acquiescence, followed the direction of 
her hand, and entered the sitting-room. 

Our house stood upon high ground, and the nearest 
houses between our front-windows and the west were low, 
so that the last beams of sunset, red with smoke and mist, 
passed over their roofs, and shone dimly on the oak panels 
opposite. The windows were narrow, and the room rather 
dark. I saw some one standing at the window-frame in 
the shade. I was startled, and hesitated, close to the 
door. The figure turned quickly, the sun glancing on his 
features. It was Mr. Carmel. He came towards me 
quickly ; and he said, as I fancied, very coldly, 

" Can you spare me two or three minutes alone, Miss 
Ware ? I have but little to say," he added, as I did not 
answer. " But it is important, and I will make my words 
as few as possible." 

We were standing close to the door. I assented. He 
closed it gently, and we walked slowly, side by side, to the 
window wheie he had been standing. He turned. The 
faint sun, like a distant fire, lighted his face. What 
^inguIax dark eyes he had, so large, so enthusiastic ! and 

Confidential* 277 

had ever human eye such a character of suffering ? I 
knew very well what he was going to speak of. The face, 
sad, sombre, ascetic, with which I was so familiar, I now, 
for the first time, understood. 

The shadow of the confessional was on it. It was the 
face of one before whom human nature, in moments of 
terrible sincerity, had laid bare its direful secrets, and 
submitted itself to a melancholy anatomisation. To some 
minds, sympathetic, proud, sensitive the office of the con- 
fessor must be full of self-abasement, pain, and horror. 
We who know our own secrets, and no one else's, know 
nothing of the astonishment, and melancholy, and disgust 
that must strike some minds on contemplating the revela- 
tions of others, and discovering, for certain, that the 
standard of human nature is not above such and such a 

"I have brought j r ou this," he said, scarcely above his 
"breath, holding the knife so that it lay across the hollow 
of his hand. His haggard eyes were fixed on me, and he 
said, " I know the whole story of it. Unless you forbid 
me, I will drop it into the river to-night ; it is the evidence 
of an act for which you are, I thank God, no more account- 
able than a somnambulist for what she does in her dream. 
Over Monsieur Droqville I have neither authority nor 
influence ; on the contrary, he can command me. But of 
this much I am sure so long as your friends do not 
attack Lady Lorrimer's will and I believe they have no 
idea of taking any such step you need fear no trouble 
whatever from him." 

I made him no reply, but I think he saw something in 
my face that made him add, with more emphasis : 
" You may be sure of that." 

I was immensely and instantly relieved, for I knew that 
there was not the slightest intention of hazarding any 
litigation on the subject of the will. 

" But," he resumed, in the same cold tones, and with 
the same anxiety in his dark eyes, " there is a person from 
whom you may possibly experience annoyance. There 
are circumstances of which, as yet, you know nothing, 
that may, not unnaturally, bring you once more into con* 
tact with Mr. Marston. If that should happen, you must 

278 Willing to Die. 

be on your gnard. I understand that he said something 
that implies his suspicions. It may have been no more 
than conjecture. It may be that it was impossible he 
could have recognised you with certainty. If, I repeat, 
an untoward destiny should bring you together under the 
same roof, be wise, stand aloof from him, admit nothing ; 
defeat his suspicions and his cunning by impenetrable 
caution. He has an interest in seeking to disgrace you, 
and where he has an object to gain he has neither 
conscience nor mercy. I wish I could inspire you with 
the horror of that mean and formidable character which so 
many have acquired by a bitter experience. I can but 
repeat my warning, and implore of you to act upon it, if 
the time should come. This thing I retain for the 
present" he glanced at the weapon in his hand "and 
dispose of it to-night, as I said." 

There was no emotion in his manner ; no sign of any 
special interest in me ; but his voice and looks were un- 
speakably earnest, and inspired me with a certain awe. 

I had not forgiven Mr. Carmel yet, or rather my pride 
would not retract ; and my parting with him at our former 
house was fresh in my recollection. So it was, I might 
suppose, in his ; for his manner was cold, and even severe. 

" Our old acquaintance ended, Miss Ware, by your com- 
mand, and, on reflection, with my own willing submission. 
When last we parted, I thought it unlikely that we should 
ever meet again, and this interview is not voluntary 
necessity compelled it. I have simply done my duty, and, 
I earnestly hope, not in vain. It must be something very 
unlocked for, indeed, that shall ever constrain me to trouble 
you again." 

He showed no sign of wishing to bid me a kindlier 
farewell. The actual, as well as metaphorical, distance 
between us had widened ; he was by this time at the door ; 
he opened it, and took his leave, very coldly. It was very 
unlike his former parting. I had only said : 

" I am very grateful, Mr. Carmel, for your care of me 
miserable me !" 

He made no answer ; he simply repeated his farewell, as 
gently and coldly as before, and left the room, and I saw 
him walk away from our door in the fast-fading light. 

Confidential. 279 

Heavier and heavier was my heart, as I saw him move 
quickly away. I had yearned, during our cold interview, 
to put out my hand to him, and ask him, in simple phrase, 
to make it up with me. I burned to tell him that I had 
judged him too hardly, and was sorry ; hut my pride forbade 
it. His pride too, I thought, had held him aloof, and so I 
had lost my friend. My eyes filled with tears, that rolled 
heavily over my cheeks. 

I sat at one of our windows, looking, over the distant 
roofs, towards the discoloured and disappearing tints of 
evening and the melancholy sky, which even through the 
smoke of London has its poetry and tenderness, until the 
light faded, and the moon began to shine through the 
twilight. Then I went upstairs, and found mamma still 
sleeping. As I stood by the bed looking at her, Eebecca 
Torkill at my side whispered : 

" She's looking very pale, poor thing, don't you think, 
miss ? Too pale, a deal." 

1 did think so ; but she was sleeping tranquilly. Every 
change in her looks was now a subject of anxiety, but her 
hour had not quite come yet. She looked so very pale 
that I began to fear she had fainted ; but she awoke just 
then, and said she would sit up for a little time. Her colour 
did not return ; she seemed faint, but thought she should 
be more herself by-and-by. 

She came down to the drawing-room, and soon did seem 
better, and chatted more than she had done, I think, since 
our awful misfortune had befallen us, and appeared more 
like her former self ; I mean, that simpler and tender self 
that Iliad seen far away from artificial London, among the 
beautiful solitudes of her birthplace. 

While we were talking here, Eebecca Torkill, coming in 
now and then, and lending a word, after the manner of 
privileged old rustic servants, to keep the conversation 
going, the business of this story was being transacted in 
other places. 

Something of Mr. Carmel's adventures that night I 
afterwards learned. He had two or three calls to make 
before he went to his temporary home. A friend had lent 
him, during his absence abroad, his rooms in the Temple. 
Arrived there, he let himself in by a latch-key. It was 

280 Willing to Die. 

night, the shutters unclosed, the moon shining outside, 
and its misty beams, slanting in at the dusky windows, 
touched objects here and there in the dark room with a 
cold distinctness. 

To a man already dejected, what is more dispiriting 
than a return to empty and unlighted rooms? Mr. Carmel 
moved like a shadow through this solitude, and in his 
melancholy listlessness, stood for a time at the window. 

Here and there a light, from a window in the black line 
of buildings opposite, showed that human thought and 
eyes were busy ; but if these points of light and life made 
the prospect less dismal, they added by contrast to the 
gloom that pervaded his own chambers. 

As he stood, some dimly-seen movement caught his eye, 
and, looking over his shoulder, he saw the door through 
which he himself had come in slowly open, and a man put 
in his head, and then enter silently, and shut the door. 
This figure, faintly seen in the imperfect light, resembled 
but one man of all his acquaintance, and he the last man 
in the world, as he thought, .who would have courted a 
meeting. Carmel stood for a moment startled and chilled 
by his presence. 

"I say, Carmel, don't you know me?" said a very 
peculiar voice. " I saw you come in, and intended to 
knock ; but you left your door open." 

By this time he had reached the window, and stood 
beside Mr. Carmel, with the moonlight revealing his 
features sharply enough. That pale light fell upon the 
remarkable face of Mr. Marston. 

" I'm not a ghost, though I've been pretty near it two 
or three times. I see what you're thinking death may 
have taken better men ? I might have been very well 
spared ? and having escaped it, I should have laid the 
lesson to heart ? Well, so I have. I was very nearly 
killed at the great battle of Fuentas. I fought for the 
Queen of Spain, and be hanged to her ! She owes me 
fifteen pounds ten and elevenpence, British currency, to 
this day. It only shows my luck. In that general action 
there were only four living beings hit so as to draw blood 
myself, a venerable orange-woman, a priest's mule, and 
our surgeon : in-chief, whose thumb and razor were broken 

Confidential* 281 

off by a spent ball, as lie was shaving a grenadier, under 
an nmbrel'a, while the battle was raging. You see the 
Spaniard is a discreet warrior, and we very seldom got 
near enough to hurt each other. I was hit by some 
blundering beast. He must have shut his eyes, like Gil 
Bias, for there was not a man in either army who could 
ever hit anything he aimed at. No matter, he very nearly 
killed me ; half an inch higher, and I must have made up 
my mind to see you, dear Carmel, no more, and to shut 
my eyes on this sweet, Jesuitical world. It was the first 
ugly wound of the campaign, and the enemy lived for a 
long time on the reputation of it. But the truth is, I have 
suttered a great deal in sickness, wounds, and fifty other 
ways. I have been as miserable a devil as any righteous 
man could wish me to be ; and I am changed ; upon my 
honour, I'm as different a man from what I was as you are 
from me. But I can't half see you; do light your candles, 
L entreat." 

" Not while you are here," said Carmel. 

" Why, what are you afraid of?" said Marston. "You 
haven't, I hope, got a little French milliner behind your 
screen, like Joseph Surface, who, I think, would have 
made a very pretty Jesuit. Why should you object to 
light ?" 

" Your ribaldry is out of place here," said Carmel, who 
knew very well that Marston had not come to talk non- 
sense, and recount his adventures in Spain ; and that his 
business, whatever it may be, was likely to be odious. 
" What right have you to enter my room ? What right 
to speak to me anywhere ?" 

" Come, Carmel, don't be unreasonable; you know very 
well I can be of use to you." 

" You can be of none," answered Carmel, a little 
startled ; " and if you could, I would not have you. Leave 
my room, sir." 

"You can exorcise some evil spirits, but not me, till 
I've said my say," answered Marston, with a smile that 
looked grim and cynical in the moonlight. " I say I can 
be of use to you." 

" It's enough ; I won't have it ; go," said Carmel, with 
a sterner emphasis. 

282 Willing to Die. 

Marston smiled again, and looked at him. 

11 Well, I can be of use," lie said, " and I don't want 
particularly to be of use to you ; but you can do me a 
kindness, and it is better to do it quietly than upon com- 
pulsion. Will you be of use to me ? I'll show you how ?" 

"God forbid !" said Carmel, quickly. "It is nothing 
good, I'm sure." 

Marston looked at him with an evil eye ; it was a sneer 
of intense anger. 

After some seconds he said, his eyes still fixed askance 
on Mr. Carmel : 

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive, et cetera 
eh ? I suppose you sometimes pray your paternoster ? 
A pretty time you have kept up that old grudge against 
rne haven't you about Ginevra ?" 

He kept his eyes on Carmel, as if he enjoyed the 
spectacle of the torture he applied, and liked to see the 
wince and quiver that accompanied its first thrill. 

At the word, Edwyn Carmel's eyes started up from the 
floor, to which they had been lowered, with a flash to the 
face of his visitor. His forehead flushed ; he remained 
speechless for some seconds. Marston did not smile ; his 
features were fixed, but there was a secret, cruel smile in 
his eyes as he watched these evidences of agitation. 

" Well, I should not have said the name ; I should not 
have alluded to it ; I did wrong," he said, after some 
seconds; "but I was going, before you riled me, to say 
how really I blame myself, now, for all that deplorable 
business. I do, upon my soul ! What more can a fellow 
say, when reparation is impossible, than that he is sorry ? 
Is not repentance all that a man like me can offer ? I saw 
you were thinking of it ; you vexed me ; I was angry, and 
I could not help saying what I did. Now do let that 
miserable subject drop; and hear me, on quite another, 
without excitement. It is not asking a great deal." 

Carmel placed his hand to his head, as if he had not 
heard what he said, and then groaned. 

" Why don't you leave me ?" he said, piteously, turning 
again towards Marston ; " don't you see that nothing 
but pain and reproach can result from your staying 
here ?" 

Confidential. 283 

" Let me first say a word," said Marston ; " you can 
assist me in a very harmless and perfectly unobjectionable 
matter. Every fellow who wants to turn over a new leaf 
marries. The lady is poor there is that proof, at least, 
that it is not sordid ; you know her, you can influence 
her " 

" Perhaps I do know her ; perhaps I know who she is 
I may as well say, at once, I do. I have no influence ; 
and if I had, I would not use it for you. I think I know 
your reasons, also ; I think I can see them." 

" Well, suppose there are reasons, it's not the worse for 
that," said Marston, growing again angry. " I thought I 
would just come and try whether you chose to be on 
friendly terms. I'm willing ; but if you won't, I can't 
help you. I'll make use of you all the same. You had 
better think again. I'm pleasanter as a friend than an 

" I don't fear you as an enemy, and I do fear you as a 
friend. I will aid you in nothing ; I have long made up 
my mind," answered Carmel, savagely. 

" I think, through Monsieur Droqville, I'll manage that. 
Oh, yes, you will give me a lift." 

4 'Why should Monsieur Droqville control my conduct?" 
asked Mr. Carmel sharply. 

" It was he who made you a Catholic ; and I suspect he 
has a fast hold on your conscience and obedience. If he 
chooses to promote the matter, I rather think you must." 

" You may think as you please," said Carmel. 

" That's a great deal from your Church," sneered 
Marston ; and, changing his tone again, he said : " Look 
here, Carmel, once more ; where's the good in our 
quarrelling ? I won't press that other point, if you don't 
like ; but you must do this, the most trifling thing in the 
world you must tell me where Mrs. Ware lives. No one 
knows since old Ware made a fool of himself, poor devil ! 
But I think you'll allow that, with my feelings, I may, at 
least, speak to the young lady's mother ? Do tell me 
where they are. You know, of course ?" 

" If I did know, I should not tell you ; so it does not 
matter," answered Carmel. 

Marston looked very angry, and a little silence followed. 

284 Willing to Die. 

"I suppose you have now said everything," resumed 
Carmel ; " and again I desire that you will leave me." 

"I mean to do so," said Marston, putting on his hat 
with a kind of emphasis, " though it's hard to leave such 
romantic, light, and brilliant company. You might have 
had peace, and you prefer war. I think there are things 
you have at heart that I could forward, if all went right 
with me." He paused, but Carmel made no sign. " Well, 
you take your own way now, not mine ; and, by-and-by, I 
think 3 ou'll have reason to regret it." 

Marston left the room, with no other farewell. The 
clap with which he shut the door, as he went, had hardly 
ceased to ring round the walls, when Carmel saw him 
emerge in the court below, and walk away with a careless 
air, humming a tune in the moonlight. 

Why is it that there are men upon earth whose secret 
thoughts are always such as to justify fear ; and nearly 
all whose plans, if not through malice, from some other 
secret obliquity, involve evil to others ? We have most of 
ns known something of some such man ; a man whom we 
are disposed to watch in silence ; who, smile as he may, 
brings with him a sense of insecurity, and whose departure 
is a real relief. Such a man seems to me a stranger on 
earth ; his confidences to be with unseen companions ; his 
mental enjoyments not human ; and his mission here 
cruel and mysterious. I look back with wonder and with 
thankfulness. Fearful is the strait of any one who, in the 
presence of such an influence, under such a fascination, 
loses the sense of danger. 



TXT day our doctor called. He was very kind. 
He had made mamma many visits, and attended 
me through my tedious fever, and would never 
take a fee after the first one. I daresay that 
other great London physicians, whom the world reputes 
worldly, often do similar charities by stealth. My own 
experience is that affliction like ours does not lower the 
sufferer's estimate of human nature. It is a great dis- 
criminator of character, and sifts men like wheat. Those 
among our friends who are all chaff it blows away 
altogether ; those who have noble attributes, it leaves all 
noble. There is no more petulance, no more hurry or 
carelessness ; we meet, in after-contact with them, be it 
much "or little, only the finer attributes, gentleness, tender- 
ness, respect, patience. 

I do not remember one of those who had known us in 
better days, among the very few who now knew where to 
find us, who did not show us even more kindness than 
they could have had opportunity of showing if we had 
been in our former position. Who could be kinder than 
Mr. Forrester ? Who more thoughtful than Mr. Carmel, 
to whom at length we had traced the flowers, and the 
books, and the piano, that were such a resource to me ; 
and who had, during my illness, come every day to see 
mamma ? 

In his necessarily brief visits, Sir Jacob Lake was ener- 
getic and cheery; there was in his manner that which 
inspired confidence ; but I fancied this day, as he was taking 
his leave of mamma, that I observed something like a 
shadow on his face, a transitory melancholy, that alarmed 
me. I accompanied him downstairs, and he stopped for 
a moment in the lobby outside the drawing-room. 

286 Willing to Die. 

" Has there been anything done since about that place 
Malory, I think you call it ?" he asked. 

" No," I answered; "there is not the least chance. 
Sir Harry Eokestone is going to sell it, Mr. Jarlcot says ; 
just through hatred of us, he thinks. He's an old enemy 
of ours ; he says he hates our very name ; and he won't 
write ; he hasn't answered a single letter of Mr. Forrester's." 

" I was only going to say that it wouldn't do ; she could 
not bear so long a journey just now. I think she had 
better make no effort ; she must not leave this at present." 

" I'm afraid you think her very ill," I said, feeling my- 
self grow pale. 

" She is ill; and she will never be much better; but 
she may be spared to you for a long time yet. This kind 
of thing, however, is always uncertain ; and it may end 
earlier than we think I don't say it is likely, only 
possible. You must send for me whenever you want me ; 
and I'll look in now and then, and see that all goes on 

I began to thank him earnestly, but he stopped me very 
good-naturedly. He could spare me little more than a, 
minute ; I walked with him to the hall-door, and although 
he said but little, and that little very cautiously, he left 
me convinced that I might lose my darling mother any 
day or hour. He had implied this very vaguely, but I was 
sure of it. People who have suffered great blows like 
mine, regard the future as an adversary, and believe its 

In flurry and terror I returned to the drawing-room, 
and shut the door ; then, with the instinct that prevails, 
I went to mamma's room and sat down beside her. 

I suppose every one has felt as I have felt. How 
magically the society of the patient, if not actually suffering, 
reassures us ! The mere contiguity, the voice, the interest 
she takes in the common topics of our daily life, the cheerful 
and easy tone, even the little peevishness about the details 
of the sick-room, soon throw death again into perspective, 
and the instinct of life prevails against all facts and logic. 

The form of heart-complaint from which my mother 
suffered had in it nothing revolting. I think I never re- 
member her so pretty. The tint of her lips, and the colour 

After Office Hours. 287 

of her cheeks, always lovely, were now more delicately 
brilliant than ever ; and the lustre of her eyes, thus en- 
hanced, was quite beautiful. The white tints a little paler, 
and her face and figure slightly -thinner, but not unbe- 
comingly, brought back a picture so girlish that I wondered 
while I looked ; and when I went away the pretty face 
haunted me as the saddest and gentlest I had ever seen. 

So many people have said that the approach of death 
induces a change of character, that I almost accept it for 
a general law of nature. I saw it, I know, in mamma. 
Not exactly an actual change, perhaps, but, rather, a 
subsidence of whatever was less lovely in her nature, and 
a proportionate predominance of all its sweetness and 
gentleness. There came also a serenity very different 
from the state of mind in which she had been from papa's 
death up to the time of my illness. I do not know whether 
she was conscious of her imminent danger. If she suspected 
it, she certainly did not speak of it to me or to Eebecca 
Torkill. But death is a subject on which some people, I 
believe, practise as many reserves as others do in love. 

Next day mainma was much better, and sat in our 
drawing-room, and I read and talked to her, and amused 
her with my music. She sat in slippers and dressing-gown 
in an easy-chair, and we talked over a hundred plans which 
seemed to interest her. The effort to cheer mamma did 
me good, and I think we were both happier that day than 
we had been since ruin had so tragically overtaken us. 

While we were thus employed at home, events connected 
with us and our history were not standing still in other 

Mr. Forrester's business was very large ; he had the 
assistance of two partners ; but all three were hard worked. 
The offices of the firm occupied two houses in one of the 
streets wmch run down from the Strand to the river, at 
no great distance from Temple Bar. I saw these offices 
but once in my life ; I suppose there was little to dis- 
tinguish them and their arrangements from those of other 
well-frequented chambers ; but I remember being struck 
with their air of business and regularity, and by the com- 
plicated topography of two houses fusecl into one. 

Mr. Forrester, in his private office, had locked up his 

288 Willing to Die. 

desk. He was thinking of taking his leave of business for 
the day. It was now past four, and he had looked into 
the office where the collective firm did their business, and 
where his colleagues were giving audience to a deputation 
about a complicated -winding-Tip. This momentary delay 
cost him more time than he intended, for a clerk came in 
and whispered in his ear : 

" A gentleman wants to see you, sir." 

" Why, hang it ! I've left the office," said Mr. Forrester, 
tartly * ' don't you see ? Here's my hat in my hand ! Go 
and look for me in my office, and you'll see I'm not there." 

Very deferentially, notwithstanding this explosion, the 
messenger added : 

" I thought, sir, before sending him away, you might 
like to see him ; he seemed to think he was doing us a 
favour in looking in, and he has been hearing from you, 
and would not take the trouble to write ; and he won't 
call again." 

" What's his name ?" asked Mr. Forrester, vacillating 
a little. 

" Sir Harry Bokestone," he said. 

" Sir Hari-y Eokestone ? Oh ! Well, I suppose I must 
see him. Yes, I'll see him ; bring him up to my private 

Mr. Forrester had hardly got back, laid aside his hat 
and umbrella, and placed himself in his chair of state 
behind his desk, when his aide-de-camp returned and 
introduced " Sir Harry Kokestone?" 

Mr. Forrester rose, and received him with a bow. He 
saw a tall man, with something grand and simple in his 
gait and erect bearing, with a brown handsome face, and 
a lofty forehead, noble and stern as if it had caught some- 
thing of the gloomy character of the mountain scenery 
among which his home was. He was dressed in the rustic 
and careless garb of an old-fashioned country gentleman, 
with gaiters up to his knees, as if he were going to stride 
out upon the heather with his gun on his shoulder and his 
dogs at his heel. 

Mr. Forrester placed a chair for this gentleman, who, 
with hardly a nod, and without a word, sat down. The 
door closed, and they were alone. 



:OU'RE Mr. Forrester ?" said Sir Harry, in a 
deep, clear voice, quite in character with his 
appearance, and with a stern eye fixed on the 

That gentleman made a slight inclination of assent. 

" I got all your letters, sir every one," said the rustic 

Mr. Forrester bowed. 

" I did not answer one of them." 

Mr. Forrester bowed again. 

" Did it strike you, as a man of business, sir, that it 
was rather an odd omission your not mentioning where 
the ladies representing the late Mr. Ware's interests if 
he had any remaining, which I don't believe are 
residing ?" 

" I had actually written " answered Mr. Forrester, 

turning the key in his desk, and slipping his hand under 
the cover, and making a momentary search. He had 
hesitated on the question of sending the letter or not ; 
but, having considered whether there could be any 
possible risk in letting him know, and having come to 
the conclusion that there was none, he now handed this 
letter, a little obsolefce as it was, to Sir Harry Rokestone. 

" What's this?" said Sir Harry, breaking the seal and 
looking at the contents of the note, and thrusting it, 
thinking as it seemed all the time of something different, 
into his coat-pocket. 

2CO Willing to Die. 

" The present address of Mrs. and Miss Ware, which I 
understood you just now to express a wish for," answered 
Mr. Forrester. 

"Express a wish, sir, for their address !" exclaimed Sir 
Harry, with a scoff. " Dall me if I did, though ! What 
the deaul, man, should I want o' their address, as ye call 
it ? They may live where they like for me. And so 
Ware's dead died a worse death than the hangman's ; 
and died not worth a plack, as I always knew he would. 
And what made you write all those foolish letters to me ? 
Why did you go on plaguing me, when you saw I never 
gave you an answer to one of them ? You that should be 
a man of head, how could ye be such a mafflm?" His 
northern accent became broader as he became more 

The audacity and singularity of this old man dis- 
concerted Mr. Forrester. He did not afterwards under- 
stand why he had not turned him out of his loom. 

" I think, Sir Harry, you will find my reasons for 
writing very distinctly stated in my letters, if you are good 
enough to look into them." 

" Ay, so I did ; and I don't understand them, nor you 

It was not clear whether he intended that the reasons 
or the attorney were beyond his comprehension. Mr. 
Forrester selected the first interpretation, and, I daresay, 
rightly, as being the least offensive. 

" Pardon me, Sir Harry Eokestone," said he, with a 
little dry dignity; "I have not leisure to throw away 
.upon writing nonsense ; I am one of those men who are 
weak enough to believe that there are rights besides those 
defined by statute or common law, and duties, conse- 
quently, you'll excuse me for saying, even more obligatory 
Christian duties, which, in this particular case, plainly 
devolve upon you." 

" Christian flam ! Humbug ! and you an attorney !" 
" I'm not accustomed, sir, to be talked to in that way," 
said Mr. Forrester, who felt that his visitor was becoming 

" Of course you're not ; living in this town you never 
hear a word of honest truth," said Sir Harry; "but I'JQ 

Sir Harry speaks. 291 

not so much in the dark ; I understand you pretty well, 
now ; and I think you a precious impudent fellow." 

Both gentlemen had risen by this time, and Mr. Forrester, 
with a flush in his cheeks, replied, raising his head as he 
stooped over his desk while turning the key in the lock : 

" And I beg to say, sir, that I, also, have formed my 
own very distinct opinion of you !" 

Mr. Forrester flushed more decidedly, for he felt, a little 
too late, that he had perhaps made a rather rash speech, 
considering that his visitor seemed to have so little control 
over his temper, and also that he was gigantic. 

The herculean baronet, however, who could have lifted 
him up by the collar, and flung him out of the window, 
only smiled sardonically, and said : 

" Then we part, you and I, wiser men than we met. 
You write me no more letters, and I'll pay you no more 

With another cynical grin, he turned on his heel, and 
walked slowly down the stairs, leaving Mr. Forrester more 
ruffled than he had been for many a day. 





JiHE hour had now arrived at which our room looked 
really becoming. It had been a particularly 
fine autumn ; and I have mentioned the effect 
of a warm sunset streaming through the deep 
windows upon the oak panelling. This light had begun 
to fade, and its melancholy serenity had made us silent. 
I had heard the sound of wheels near our door, but that 
was nothing unusual, for carts often passed close by, 
carrying away the rubbish that had accumulated in the 
old houses now taken down. 

Annie Owen, our Malory maid, peeped in at the door 
came in, looking frightened and important, and closed it 
before she spoke. She was turning something about in 
her fingers. 

" What is it, Anne ?" I asked. 

" Please, miss, there's an old gentleman downstairs ; 
and he wants to know, ma'am," she continued, now ad- 
dressing mamma, " whether you'll be pleased to see him." 

Mamma raised herself, and looked at the girl with 
anxious, startled eyes. 

" What is that you have got in your hand ?" I asked. 

" Oh ! I beg your pardon, ma'am ; he told me to give you 
this, please." And she handed a card to mamma. She looked 
at it and grew very pale. She stood up with a flurried air. 

" Are you sure ?" she said. 

" Please, ma'am ?" inquired the girl in perplexity. 

"No matter. Ethel, dear, it is he. Yes, I'll see him," she 
said to the girl, in an agitated way ; " show him up. Ethel, 
it's Harry Kokestone don't go ; he is so stern I know how 
he'll speak to me but I ought not to refuse to see him." 

I was angry at my mother's precipitation, If it had 

1 he Old Love. 293 

rested with me, what an answer the savage old man should 
have had ! I was silent. By this time the girl was again 
at the hall-door. The first moment of indignation 
over, I was thunderstruck. I could not believe that any- 
thing so portentous was on the eve of happening. 

The moments of suspense were not many. My eyes 
were fixed on the door as if an executioner were about to 
enter by it. It opened, and I saw need I tell you ? the 
very same tall, handsome old man I had seen in the chapel 
of Cardyllion Castle. 

" Oh ! Mabel," he said, and stopped. It was the most 
melancholy, broken voice I had ever heard. " My darling 1" 
My mother stood with her hand stretched vaguely to- 
wards him, trembling. 

" Oh ! Mabel, it is you, and we've met at last !" 
He took her hand in one of his, and laid the other 
suddenly across his eyes and sobbed. There was silence, 
for a good while, and then he spoke again. 

" My pretty Mabel ! I lost ye ; I tried to hate ye, Mabel; 
but all would not do, for I love ye still. I was mad and 
broken-hearted I tried to hate ye, but I couldn't ; I'd a' 
given my life for you all the time, and you shall have 
Malory it's your own I've bought it yell not be too 
proud to take a gift from the old man, my only darling ! 
The spring and summer are over, it's winter now wi' the 
old follow, and he'll soon lie under the grass o' the kirk- 
garth, and what does it all matter then ? And you, bonny 
Mabel, there's wonderful little change wi' you !" 

He was silent again, and tears coursed one another down 
his rugged cheeks. 

" I saw you sometimes a long way off, when you didn't 
think I was looking, and the sight o' ye wrung my heart, 
that I didn't hold up my head for a week after. A lonely 
man I've beon for your sake, Mabel ; and down to Gouden 
Friars, and among the fells, and through the lonnins of 
old Clusted Forest, and sailin' on the mere, where we two 
often were, thinkin 1 1 saw ye in the shaddas, and your voice 
in my ear as far away as the call o' the wind dreams, 
dreams and now I've met ye." 

He was holding mamma's hand in his, mid she was 
crying bitterly. 

294 Willing to Die. 

" I knew nothing of all this till to-day I got all For- 
rester's letters together. I was on the Continent and 
you've been complaining, Mabel; but you're looking so 
young and bonny ! It was care, care was the matter, care 
and trouble ; but that's all over, and you shall never know 
anxiety more you'll be well again you shall live at 
Malory, if you like it, or Gouden Friars Mardykes is to 
let, I've a right to help you, Mabel, and you have none 
to refuse my help, for I'm the only living kinsman you 
have. I don't count that blackguard lord for anything. 
You shall never know care again. For twenty years and 
more an angry man and dow I've been, caring for no one, 
love or likin,' when I had lost yours. But now it is past 
and over, and the days are sped." 

A few melancholy and broken words more, and he was 
gone, promising to return next day at twelve, having seen 
Mr. Forrester in the meantime at his house in Piccadilly, 
and had a talk with him. 

He was gone. He had not spoken a word to me had 
not even appeared conscious that I was present. I dare- 
Bay he was not. It was a little mortifying. To me he 
appeared a mixture, such as I never saw before, of bruta- 
lity and tenderness. The scene had moved me. 

Mamma was now talking excitedly. It had been an 
agitating meeting, and, till he had disclosed his real feel- 
ings, full of uncertainty. To prevent her from exerting 
herself too much, I took my turn in the conversation, and, 
looking from the window, still in the direction in which 
his cab had disappeared, I descanted with immense delight 
on the likelihood of his forthwith arranging that Malory 
should become our residence. 

As I spoke, I turned about to listen for the answer 
I expected from mamma. I was shocked to see her look 
so very ill. I was by her side in a moment. She said a 
few words scarcely audible, and ceased speaking before 
she had ended her sentence. Her lips moved, and she 
made an eager gesture with her hand ; but her voice failed. 
She made an effort, I thought, to rise, but her strength 
forsook her, and she fainted. 



]IR HAERY did not find Mr. Forrester at home ; 
the solicitor was at a consultation in the Temple. - 
Thither drove the baronet, who was impetuous 
in most things, and intolerant of delay where 
an object lay near his heart. Up to the counsel's cham- 
bers in the Temple mounted Sir Harry Eokestone. He 
hammered his double knock at the door as peremptorily as 
he would have done at his own hall door. 

Mr. Forrester afforded him just half a minute ; and 
they parted good friends, having made an appointment for 
the purpose of talking over poor mamma's affairs, and 
considering what was best to be done. 

Sir Harry strode with the careless step of a mountaineer, 
along the front of the buildings, till he reached the 
entrance to which, in answer to a sudden inquiry, Mr. 
Forrester had directed him. Up tho stairs he marched, 
and stopped at the door of the chambers occupied by Mr. 
Carmel. There he knocked again as stoutly as before. 
The door was opened by Edwyn Carmel himself. 
" Is Mr. Carmel here?" inquired the old man. 
"I am Mr. Carmel," answered he. 
" And I am Sir Harry Eokestone," said the baronet. 
" I found a letter from you this morning; it had been 
lying at my house unopened for some time," said the 

Mr. Carmel invited him to come in, There were candles 

296 Willing to Die. 

lighted, for it was by this time nearly dark ; he placed a 
chair for his visitor : they were alone. 

Sir Harry Eokestone seated himself, and began : 
" There was no need, sir, of apology for your letter; 
intervention on behalf of two helpless and suffering ladies 
was honourable to you ; but I had also heard some par- 
ticulars from their own professional man of business ; 
that, however, you could not have known. I have called 
to tell you that I quite understand the case. So much for 
your letter. But, sir, I have been informed that you are 
a Jesuit." 

" I am a Catholic priest, sir." 

"Well, sir, I won't press the point; but the ruin of 
that family has been brought, so far as I can learn, 
by gentlemen of that order. They got about that poor 
foolish creature, Lady Lorrimer ; and, by cajoleries and 
terror, they got hold of every sixpence of her fortune, 
which, according to all that's right and kind in nature, 
should have gone to her nearest kindred." 

Sir Harry's eyes were fixed on him, as if he expected 
an answer. 

" Lady Lorrimer did, I suppose, what pleased her best 
in her will," said the young man, coldly ; " Mrs. Ware 
had expectations, I believe, which have been, you say, 

" And do you mean to tell me that you don't know that 
fact for certain ?" said the old gentleman, growing hot. 

" I'm not certain of anything of which I have no proof, 
Sir Harry," answered Mr. Carrnel. "If I were a Jesuit, 
and your statement were a just one, still I should know 
no more about the facts than I do now ; for it would not 
be competent for rne to inquire into the proceedings of my 
superiors in the order. It is enough for me to say that I 
know nothing of any such influence exerted by any human 
being upon Lady Lorrimer ; and I need scarcely add that 
I have never, by word or act, endeavoured ever so slightly 
to influence Lady Lorriiner's dealings with her property ! 
Your ear, sir, has been abused by slander." 

"ByJea! Here's modesty I" said Sir Harry, explod- 
ing in a gruff laugh of scorn, and standing up. " What 
a pack o' gaumless ganuets you must take us for ! Look- 

Alone in the World. 297 

ye, now, young sir. I have my own opinion about all that. 
And tell your superiors, as you call them, they'll never 
got a plack of old Barry Kokestone's money, while hand 
sind seal can bind, and law's law ; and if I catch a priest 
in my house, ye may swear he'll get out of it quicker than 
he came in. I'd thank you more for your letter, sir, if I 
was a little more sure of the motive ; and now I've said 
my say, and I wish ye good evening." 

With a fierce smile, the old man looked at him steadily 
for a few seconds, and then-turning abruptly, left the room 
and shut the door, with a firm clap, after him. 

That was, to me, an anxious night. Mamma continued 
ill; I had written rather a wild note for our doctor ; but 
he did not come for many hours. He did not say much ; 
he wrote a prescription, and gave some directions; he was 
serious and reserved, which, in a physician, means alarm. 
In answer to my flurried inquiries, as I went downstairs 
by his side, he said : 

" I told you, you recollect, that it is a capricious kind 
of thing ; I hope she may be better when I look in in the 
morning ; the nature of it is that it may end at any time, 
with very little warning ; but with caution she may live 
a year, or possibly two years. I've known cases, as dis- 
couraging as hers, where life has been prolonged for three 

Next morning came, and I thought mamma much better. 
I told her all that was cheery in the doctor's opinion, and 
amused her with plans for our future. But the hour was 
drawing near when doctors' opinions, and friends' hopes 
and flatteries, and the kindly illusions of plans looking 
pleasantly into an indefinite future, were to be swallowed 
in the tremendous event. 

About half an hour before our kind doctor's call, 
mamma's faintness returned. I now began, and not an 
hour too soon, to despair. The medicine he had ordered 
the day before, to support her in those paroxysms, had 
lost its power. Mamma had been for a time in the draw- 
ing-room, but having had a long fainting-fit there, I per- 
suaded her, so soon as she was a little recovered, to return 
to her bed. 

I find it difficult, I may say, indeed, impossible, to 

298 Willing to Die. 

reduce the occurrences of this day to order. The picture 
is not, indeed, so chaotic as my recollection of the times 
and events that attended my darling Nelly's death. The 
shock, in that case, had affected my mind. But I do not 
believe that any one retains a perfectly arranged recollec- 
tion of the flurried and startling scenes that -wind up our 
hopes in the dread catastrophe. I never met a person yet 
who could have told the story of such a day with perfect 
accuracy and order. 

I don't know what o'clock it was when the doctor came. 
There is something of the character of sternness in the 
brief questions, the low tone, and the silent inspection 
that mark his last visit to the sick-room. What is more 
terrible than the avowed helplessness that follows, and 
his evident acquiescence in the inevitable ? 

" Don't go. Oh, don't go yet; wait till I come back, 
only a few minutes ; there might be a change, and some- 
thing might be done." 

I entreated ; I was going up to mamma's room ; I had 
come down with him to the drawing-room. 

" Well, my dear, I'll wait." He looked at his watch. 
" I'll remain with you for ten minutes." 

I suppose I looked very miserable, for I saw a great 
compassion in his face. He was very good-natured, and 
he added, placing his hand upon my arm, and looking 
gently in my face, " But, my poor child, you must not 
flatter yourself with hopes, for I have none there are 

But what so headstrong and so persistent as hope? 
Terrible must be that place where it never comes. 

I had scarcely left the drawing-room, when Sir Harry 
Kokestone, of the kindly change in whom I had spoken 
to our good doctor, knocked at the hall-door. Our rustic 
maid, Anne Owen, who was crying, let him in, and told 
him the sudden news ; he laid his hand against the door- 
post and grew pale. He did not say a word for as long 
as you might count twenty, then he asked : 

" Is the doctor here ?" 

The girl led the way to the drawing-room. 

" Bad news, doctor ?" said the tall old man, in an 
agitated voice, as he entered, with his eyes fixed on Sir 

Alone in tlie World. 299 

Jacob Lake. " My name is Rokestone Sir Harry Roke- 
Etone. Tell me, is it so bad as the servant says ? You 
have not given her up ?" 

The doctor shook his head ; he advanced slowly a step 
or two to meet Sir Harry, and said, in a low tone : 

" Mrs. Ware is dying sinking very fast." 

Sir Harry walked to the mantelpiece, laid his hand on 
it, and stood there without moving. After a little he 
turned again, and came to Sir Jacob Lake. 

" You London doctors you're so hurried," he said, a 
little wildly, ' from place to place. I think I think 
look, doctor ; save her ! save her, man !" he caught the 
doctor's wrist in his hand " and I'll make your fortune. 
Ye need never do an hour's work more. Man was never 
so rewarded, not for a queen." 

The doctor looked very much offended ; but, coarse as 
the speech was, it was delivered with a pathetic and 
simple vehemence that disarmed him. 

" You mistake me, sir," he said. " I take a very deep 
interest in this case. I have known Mrs. Ware from the 
time when she came to live in London. I hope T do my 
duty in every case, but in this I have been particularly 
anxious, and I do assure you, if What's that ?" 

It was, as Shakespeare says, " a cry of women," the 
sudden shrilly clamour of female voices heard through 
distant doors. 

The doctor opened the door, and stood at the foot of 
the stairs. 

"Ay, that's it," he said, shaking his head a little. 
" It's ail over." 



WAS in mamma's room ; I was holding up her 
head ; old Rebecca and Anne Owen were at the* 
bedside. My terrified eyes saw the doctor 
drawing near softly in the darkened room. I 
asked him some wild questions, and he answered gently, 
" No, dear ; no, no." 

The doctor took his stand at the bedside, and, with his 
hands behind his back, looked down at her face sadly. 
Then he leaned over. He laid his hand gently on 
mamma's, put his fingers to her wrist, felt, also, for the 
beating of her heart, looked again at her face, and rose 
from his stooping posture with a little shake of the head 
and a sigh, looked in the still face once more for a few 
seconds, and turning to me, said tenderly : 

" You had better come away, dear ; there's nothing 
more to be done. You must not distress yourself." 

That last look of the physician at his patient, when he 
stands up, and becomes on a sudden no more than any 
other spectator, his office over, his command ended, is 

For two or three minutes I scarcely knew who was 
going or coming. The doctor, who had just gone down- 
stairs, returned with an earnest request from Sir Harry 
Rokestone that in an hour or so he might be permitted to 
come back and take a last look of mamma. He did come 
back, but his heart failed him. He could not bear to see 
her now. He went into the drawing-room, and, a few 
minutes later, Rebecca Torkill came into my room, 
where, by this time. I was crying alone, and said : 

A Protector. 301 

" Ye mustn't take on so, my darling; rouse yourself a 
bit. That old man, Sir Harry Eokestone, is down in the 
drawing-room in a bit of a taking, and he says he must see 
you before he goes." 

" I can't see him, Eebecca," I said. 

" But what am I to say to him ?" said she. 

" Simply that. Do tell him I can't go down to see any- 

" But ain't it as well to go and have it over, miss ? 
for see you he will, I am sure of that ; and I can't manage 

" Does be seem angry ?" I said, " or only in grief? I 
daresay he is angry. Yesterday, when he was here, he 
never spoke one word to me he took no notice of me 

At another time an interview with Sir Harry Kokestone 
might have inspired many more nervous misgivings ; as it 
was, I had only this : I knew that he had hated papa, and 
I, as my father's child, might well " stand within his 
clanger," as the old phrase was. And the eccentric and 
violent old man, I thought, might, in the moment and 
agony of having lost for ever the object of an affection 
which my father had crossed, have sent for me, his child, 
simply to tell me that with my father's blood I had in- 
herited his curse. 

" I can't say, miss, indeed. He was talking to himself, 
and stamping with his thick shoes on the floor a bit as he 
walked. But ain't it best to have done with him at once, 
if he ain't friendly, and not keep him here, coming and 
going ? for see you he will, sooner or later." 

" I don't very much care. Perhaps you are right. Yes, 
I will go down and see him," I said. " Go you down, 
Eebecca, and tell him that I am coming." 

I had been lying on my bed, and required to adjust my 
hair, and dress a little. 

As I came downstairs a few minutes later, I passed poor 
mamma's door ; the key turned in it. Was I walking in 
a dream ? Mamma dead, and Sir Harry Eokestone wait- 
ing in the drawing-room to see me ! I leaned against the 
wall, feeling faint for a minute. 
As I approached the drawing-room door, which was 

802 Willing to Die. 

open, I heard Eebecca's voice talking to him ; and then 
the old man said, in a broken voice : 

" Where's the child? Bring her here. I will see the 

I was the "bairn*' summoned to his presence. This 
broad north-country dialect, the language, I suppose, of 
his early childhood, always returned to him in moments 
when his feelings were excited. I entered the room, and 
he strode towards me. 

"Ha ! the lassie," he cried, gently. There was a little 
tremor in his deep voice ; a pause followed, and he added, 
vehemently, "By the God above us, I'll never forsake 
you !" 

He held me to his heart for some seconds without 

" Gimrna your hand. I love you for her sake," he said, 
and took my hand firmly and kindly in his, and he looked 
earnestly in my face for awhile in silence. " You're like 
her ; but, oh ! lassie, you'll never be the same. There'll 
never be another such as Mabel." 

Tears, which he did not dry or conceal, trickled down 
his rugged cheeks. 

He had been talking with Eebecca Torkill, and had made 
her tell him everything she could think of about mamma. 

" Sit ye down here, lass," he said to me, having recovered 
his self-possession. " You are to come home wi' me, to 
Gouden Friars, or wherever else you like best. You shall 
have music and flowers, and books and dresses, and you 
shall have your maid to wait on you, like other young 
ladies, and you shall bring Eebecca with you. I'll do my 
best to be kind and helpful ; and you'll be a blessing to a 
very lonely old man ; and as I love you now for Mabel's 
sake, I'll come to love you after for your own." 

I did not think his stern old face could look so gentle 
and sorrowful, and the voice, generally so loud and com- 
manding, speak so tenderly. The light of that look was 
full of compassion and melancholy, and indicated a finer 
nature than I had given the uncouth old man credit for. 
He seemed pleased by what I said ; he was doing, he felt, 
something for mamma in taking care of the child she had 
left so helpless. 

A Protector. 303 

Days "were to pass before he could speak to me in a 
more business-like way upon his plans for my future 
life, and those were days of agitation and affliction, from 
which, even in memory, I turn away. 

I am going to pass over some little time. An interval 
of six weeks finds rne in a lofty wainscoted room, with 
two stone-shafted windows, large and tall, in proportion, 
admitting scarcely light enough however, to make it 
cheerful. These windows are placed at the end of an 
oblong apartment, and the view they command is melan- 
choly ancl imposing. I was looking through the sudden 
hollow of a mountain gorge, with a level of pasture be- 
tween its craggy sides, upon a broad lake, nearly three 
hundred yards away, a barrier of mountains rising bold 
and purple from its distant margin. A file of gigantic 
trees stretches from about midway down to the edge of the 
lake, and partakes of the sombre character of the scene. 
On the steeps at either side, in groups or singly, stand 
some dwarf oak and birch-trees, scattered and wild, very 
picturesque, but I think enhancing the melancholy of the 

For me this spot, repulsive as it would have been to 
most young people, had a charm ; not, indeed, that of a 
" happy valley," but the charm of seclusion, which to a 
wounded soul is above price. Those who have suffered a 
great reverse will understand my horror of meeting the 
people whom I had once known, my recoil from recogni- 
tion, and how welcome are the shadows and silence of the 
cloister compared with the anguish of a comparative 

Experience had early dissipated the illusions of youth, 
and taught me to listen to the whisperings of hope with 
cold suspicion. I had no trust in the future my ghastly 
mischances had filled me with disgust and terror. My 
knowledge haunted me ; I could not have learned it from 
the experience of another, though my instructor had come 
to me from the dead. I was here, then, under no con- 
straint, not the slightest. It was of my own free choice 
that I came, and remained here. Sir Harry Rokestone 
would have taken me anywhere I pleased. 

Other people spoke of him differently ; I can speak only 

804 Willing to Die. 

of my own experience. Nothing could be more considerate 
find less selfish than his treatment of me, nothing more 
tender and parental. Kind as he was, however, I always 
felt a sort of awe in his presence. It was not, indeed, 
quite the awe that is founded on respect he was old in 
most relations stern and his uneducated moral nature, 
impetuous and fierce, seemed capable of tragic things. It 
was not a playful nature, with which the sympathies and 
spirits of a young person could at all coalesce. 

Thormen Fell, at the north of the lake, that out-topped 
the rest, and shielded us from the wintry wind, rearing 
its solemn head in solitude, snowy, rocky, high in air, the 
first of the fells visible, the first to greet me, far off in the 
sunshine, with its dim welcome as I returned to Golden 
Friars. It was friendly, it was kindly, but stood aloof 
and high, and was always associated in my mind with 
danger, isolation, and mystery. And I think my liking 
for Sir Harry Eokestone paitook of my affection for 
Thormen Fell. 

So, as you have no doubt surmised, I was harboured in 
the old baronet's feudal castle of Dorracleugh. A stern, 
wild, melancholy residence, but one that suited wonder- 
fully my present mood. 

He was at home ; another old gentleman, whose odd 
society I liked very well, was also at that time an inmate 
of the house. I will tell you more about him in my next 



|HE old gentleman I speak of, I had seen once 
before it was at Malory. He was that very 
Mr. Lemuel Blount whom I and Laura Grey had 
watched with so much interest as he crossed the 
court-yard before our windows, followed by a chaise. 

As !Sir. Harry and I, at the end of our northward journey' 
from London, arrived before the door of his ancient house 
of Dorracleugh, Mr. Blount appeared at the threshold in 
the light, and ran down, before the servant could reach it, 
to the door of our chaise. There was something kindly 
and pleasant in the voice of this old man, who was so 
earnest about our comforts. I afterwards found that he 
was both wise and simple, a sound adviser, and as merry 
often as a good-natured boy. He contrasted, in this latter 
respect, very agreeably for me, with Sir Harry Rokestone, 
whom solitary life, and a habit of brooding over the irrepar- 
able, had made both gloomy and silent. 

Mr. Blount was easily amused, and was something of an 
innocent gossip. He used to go down to the town of 
Golden Friars every day, and gather all the news, and 
bring home his budget, and entertain me with it, giving all 
the information I required with respect to the dramatis 
persona. He liked boating as well as I did, and although 
the storms of the equinox prevailed, and the surrounding 
mountains, with their gorges, made the winds squally and 
uncertain, and sailing upon the lake in certain states of 
the weather dangerous, he and I used to venture out I 
daresay oftener than was strictly prudent. Sir Harry used 
to attack him for these mad adventures, and once or twice 

B06 Willing to Die. 

grew as tempestuous almost as the weather. Although I 
was afraid of Sir Harry, I could not help laughing at Mr. 
Blount's frightened and penitent countenance, and his stolen 
glances at Sir Harry, so like what I fancied those of a fat 
schoolboy might be when called up for judgment before 
liis master. 

Sir Harry knew all the signs of the weather, and it 
ended by his putting us under condition never to go out 
without his leave, and old Mr. Blount's pleadings and 
quarrelsome resentment under his prohibition were almost 
as laughable as his alarms. 

In a little time neighbours began to call upon me, and I 
was obliged, of course, to return these visits ; but neigh- 
bours do not abound in these wild regions, and my quiet, 
which I had grown to love, was wonderfully little dis- 

One morning at breakfast, among the letters laid beside 
Sir Harry was one, on opening which his face darkened 
suddenly, and an angry light glowed in his deep-set eyes. 
He rapped his knuckles on the table, he stood up and 
muttered, sat down again in a little while, and once more 
looked into the letter. He read it through this time ; and 
then turning to Lemuel Blount, who had been staring at 
him in silence, as it seemed to me knowing very well what 
the subject of the letter must be : 

" Look at that," said the Baronet, whisking the letter 
across the table to Mr. Blount, " I don't understand him 
I never did." 

Mr. Blount took the letter to the window and read it 

" Come along," said the Baronet, rising, and beckoning 
liim with his finger, " I'll give him an answer." 

Sir Harry, with these words, strode out of the room, 
followed by Mr. Blount ; and I was left alone to my vain 
conjectures. It was a serene and sunny day; the air, as 
in late autumn it always is, though the eun has not lost 
its power, was a little sharp. Some hours later, I and 
my old comrade, Mr. Blount, had taken to the water. 
A boatman sat in the bow. I held the tiller, abandoned 
to me by my companion, in right of my admitted 
superiority in steering, an art which I had learned on the 

A Warning. 307 

estuary at Cardyllion. Mr. Blount was not so talkative 
as usual. I said to him at last : 

" Do you know, Mr. Blount, I once saw you, before I 
met you here." 

"l)id you?" said he. "But I did not see you. 
Where was that ?" 

" At Malory, near Cardyllion, after the wreck of the 
Conway Castle, when Mr. Marston was there." 

" Yes, so he was," said the old gentleman ; " but I did 
not know that any of Mr. Ware's family were at home at 
the time. You may have seen me, but I did not see you 
or, if I did, you made no impression upon me." 

This was one of my good friend's unconscious compli- 
ments which often made me smile. 

" And what became of that Mr. Marston ?" I asked. 
" He had a wonderful escape !" 

" So he had he went abroad." 

" And is he still abroad ?" 

"About six weeks ago he left England again ; he was 
here only for a flying visit of two or three months. It 
would be wise, I think, if he never returned. I think he 
has definitely settled now, far away from this country, 
and I don't think we are likely to see his face again. 
You're not keeping her near enough to the wind." 

I was curious to learn more about this Mr. Marston, of 
whom Mr. Carmel and Laura Grey each judging him, 
no doubt, from totally different facts, and from points of 
view so dissimilar had expressed such singularly ill 

"You know Mr. Marston pretty well, do you?" I 

" Yes, very well ; I have been trying to do him a 
service," answered Mr. Blount. " See, see, there see 
those can't be wild ducks ? Blessed are the peace-makers. 
I wish I could, and I think I may. Now, I think you 
may put her about, eh ?" 

I did as he advised. 

" I have heard people speak ill of that Mr. Marston," I 
said; "do you know any reason why he should not be 
liked ? ' 

" Why, yes that is by people who sit in judgment 

x 2 

808 Willing to Die. 

upon their neighbours he has heen an ill friend to 
himself. I know but one bad blot he has made, and that, 
I happen to be aware, hurt no one on earth but himself ; 
but there is no use in talking about him, it vexes 

" Only one thing more where is he now ?" 

" In America. Put this over your feet, please the air 
is cold allow me to arrange it. Ay, the Atlantic is wide 
enough let him rest out of sight, out of mind, for the 
present at least, and so best." 

Our talk now turned upon other subjects, and returned 
no more to Mr. Marston during our sail. 

In this house, as in most other old country-houses, 
there is a room that is called the library. It had been 
assigned to Mr. Blount as his special apartment. He had 
made me free of it either to sit there and read, whenever 
I should take a fancy to do so, or to take away any of the 
books to the drawing-room. My life was as quiet and 
humdrum as life could be ; but never was mortal in the 
enjoyment of more absolute liberty. Except in the matter 
of drowning myself and Mr. Blount in the mere, I could 
do in all respects exactly as I pleased. Dear old Eebecca 
Torkill was established as a retainer of the house, to my 
great comfort she talked me to sleep every night, and 
drank a cup of tea every afternoon in my room. The 
quietude and seclusion of my life recalled my early days, 
and the peaceful routine of Malory. Of course, a time 
might come when I should like all this changed a little 
for the present, it was the only life I thought endurable. 

About a week after my conversation with Mr. Blount 
during our sail, Sir Harry Eokestone was called away for 
a short time by business ; and I had not been for many 
days in the enjoyment of my tete-a-tete with Mr. Blount, 
when there occurred an incident which troubled me ex- 
tremely, and was followed by a state of vague suspense 
and alarm, such as 1 never expected to have known in that 
quiet region. 

One morning as I sat at breakfast with Mr. Blount for 
my vis-a-vis, and no one by but the servant who had just 
handed us our letters, I found before me an envelope 
addressed with a singularity that struck me as a little 

A Warning. 809 

ominous. The direction was traced, not in the ordinary 
handwriting, but in Eoman characters, in imitation of 
printing ; and the penmanship was thin and feeble, but 
quite accurate enough to show that it was not the work of 
a child. 

I was already cudgelling my brains to discover whether 
I could remember among my friends any waggish person 
who might play me a trick of this kind ; but I could recollect 
no one ; especially at a time when my mourning would 
have made jesting of that kind so inopportune. Odder still, 
it bore the Malory post-mark, and unaccountable as this 
was, its contents were still more so. They were penned 
in the same Eoman character, and to the following effect : 

" Miss WARE, Within the next ten days, a person will 
probably visit Golden Friars, who intends you a mischief. 
So soon as you see, you will recognize your enemy. 
Yours, A FRIEND." 

My first step would have been to consult Mr. Blount 
upon this letter ; but I could tell him nothing of my 
apprehensions from Monsieur Droqville, in whom my fears 
at once recognised the " enemy " pointed at by the letter. 
It might possibly, indeed, be some one else, but by no 
means, I thought so probable as the other. Who was my 
" friend," who subscribed this warning ? If it was not Mr. 
Carmel, who else could he be ? And yet, why should not 
Mr. Carmel write to me as frankly as he had spoken and 
written before ? If it came from him, the warning could 
not point to Monsieur Droqville. There was more than 
enough to perplex and alarm one in this enigmatical 



WAS afraid to consult even Eebecca Torkill ; she 
was a little given to talking, and my alarms 
might have become, in a day or two, the property 
of Sir Harry's housekeeper. There is no use in 
telling you all the solutions which my fears invented for 
this riddle. 

In my anxiety I wrote to the Eector's wife at Cardyllion, 
telling her that I had got an anonymous note, hearing the 
Malory post-mark, affecting so much mystery that I was 
totally unable to interpret it. I begged of her therefore 
to take every opportunity of making out, if possible, who 
was the author, and to tell me whether there was any 
acquaintance of mine at present there, who might have 
written such a note by way of a practical joke to mystify me ; 
and I entreated of her to let me know her conjectures. 
Then I went into the little world of Cardyllion and in- 
quired about all sorts of people, great and small, and finally 
I asked if Mr. Carmel had been lately there. 

In addition to this, I wrote to the post-master, describing 
the appearance of the letter I had got, and asked whether 
he could help me to a description of the person who had 
posted it ? Every time a new theory struck me, I read my 
" friend's " note over again. 

At length I began to think that it was most probably 
the thoughtless production of some real but harmless friend, 
who intended herself paying me a visit here, on visiting the 
Golden Friars. A female visitor was very likely, as the note 
was framed so as to indicate nothing of the sex of the 
" enemy ;" and two or three young lady friends, not very 

Mine Enemy. 311 

reasonable, had been attacking me in their letters for not 
answering more punctually. 

My mind was perpetually working upon this problem. 
I was very uncomfortable, and at times frightened, and 
even agitated. I don't, even now, wonder at the degree 
to which I suffered. 

A note of a dream in one of my fragmentary diaries at 
that time will show you how nervous I was. It is set 
down in much greater detail than you or I can afford it 
here. 1 will just tell you its " heads," as old sermons say. 
I thought I had arrived here, at Dorracleugh, after a long 
journey. Mr. Blount and a servant came in carrying one 
of my large black travelling boxes, and tugged it along 
the ground. The servant then went out, and Mr. Blount, 
who I fancied was very pale, looked at me fixedly, and 
placing his finger to his lip in token of silence, softly went 
out, also, and shut the door, leaving me rather awe-struck. 
My box, I thought, on turning my eyes upon it again, 
from my gaze at Mr. Blount, seemed much longer, and 
its shape altered ; but such transformations do not trouble 
us in our dreams, and I began fumbling with the key, 
which did not easily fit the lock. At length I opened it, 
and instead of my dresses I saw a long piece of rumpled 
linen, and perceived that the box was a coffin. With the 
persistent acquiescence in monstrosities by which dreams 
are characterized, I experienced the slightest possible 
bewilderment at this, and drew down the linen covering, 
and discovered the shrouded face of Mr. Marston. I was 
absolutely horrified, and more so when the dead man sat 
up, with his eyes open, in the coffin, and looked at me 
with an expression so atrocious that I awoke with a 
scream, and a heart bounding with terror, and lay awake 
for more than an hour. This dream was the vague em- 
bodiment of one of my conjectures, and pointed at one of 
the persons whom, against all probability, I had canvassed 
as the " enemy " of my warning. 

Solitude and a secret fear go a long way towards making 
us superstitious. I became more and more nervous as the 
suspense extended from day to day. I was afraid to go 
into Golden Friars, lest I should meet my enemy. I 
made an excuse, and stayed at home from church on 

312 Willing to Die. 

Sunday for the same reason. I was afraid even of passing 
a boat upon the lake. I don't know whether Mr. Blount 
observed my increased depression ; we played our hit of 
backgammon, nevertheless, as usual, in the evening, and 
took, when the weather was not boisterous, our little sail 
on the lake. 

I heard from the Kector's wife. She was not able, any 
more than the Cardyllion postmaster, to throw the least 
light upon my letter. Mr. Carnael had not been in that 
part of the world for a long time. I was haunted, never- 
theless, by the image of Mr. Marston, whom my dream 
had fixed in my imagination. 

These letters had reached me as usual as we sat at 
breakfast. Mine absorbed rne, and by demolishing all 
theories, had directed me upon new problems. I sat 
looking into ray tea-cup, as if I could divine from it. I 
raised my eyes at length and said : 

" When did you say I forget you last heard from Mr. 

He looked up. I perceived that he had been just as 
much engrossed by his letter as I had been with mine. 
He laid it down, and asked rne to repeat my question. I 
did. Mr. Blount smiled. 

" Well, that is very odd. I have just heard from him," 
said he, raising the letter he had been reading by the 
corner. " It came by the mail that reached London yes- 
terday evening." 

" And where is he ?" I asked. 

" He's at New York now ; but he says he is going in a 
few days to set out for Canada, or the backwoods he has 
not yet made up his mind which. I think, myself, he will 
choose the back-settlements ; he has a passion for adven- 

At these words of Mr. Blount, my theories respecting 
Mr. Marston fell to the ground, and my fears again 
gathered about the meaner figure of Monsieur Droqville ; 
and as soon as breakfast was ended, I Bat down in the 
window, and studied my anonymous letter carefully once 

Business called Mr. Blount that evening to Golden 
Friars ; and after dinner I went into the library, and sat 

Mine Enemy. 813 

looking out at the noble landscape. A red autumnal sun- 
set illuminated the summits of the steep side of the glen, 
at my left, leaving all the rest of the cleugh in deep, 
purple-grey shadow. It opens, as I told you, on the lake, 
which stretched before me in soft shadow, except where 
its slow moving ripple caught the light with a fiery glim- 
mer ; and far away the noble fells, their peaks and ribs 
touched with the same misty glow, stood out like majestic 
shadows, and closed the view sublimely. 

I sat here, I can't say reading, although I had an old 
book open upon my knees. I was too anxious, and my 
head too busy, to read. Twilight came, and then 
gradually a dazzling, icy moonlight transformed the land- 
scape. I leaned back in my low chair, my head and 
shoulders half hidden among the curtains, looking out on 
the beautiful effect. 

This moonlight had prevailed for, I dare say, ten or 
fifteen minutes, when something occurred to rouse me 
from my listless reverie. Some object moved upon the 
window-stone, and caught my eye. It was a human hand 
suddenly placed there ; its fellow instantly followed ; an 
elbow, a hat, a head, a knee ; and a man kneeled in the 
moonlight upon the window-stone, which was there some 
eight or ten feet from the ground. 

Was I awake or in a dream ? Gracious Heaven ! 
There were the scarred forehead and the stern face of Mr. 
Marston with knit brows, and his hand shading his eyes, 
as he stared close to the glass into the room. 

I was in the shadow, and cowered back deeper into the 
folds of the curtain. He plainly did not see me. He was 
looking into the further end of the room. I was afraid to 
cry out ; it would have betrayed me. I remained motion- 
less, in the hope that, when he was satisfied that there 
was no one in the room, he would withdraw from his place 
of observation, and go elsewhere. 

I was watching him with the fascinated terror of a bird, 
in its ivied nook, when a kite hovers at night within a 
span of it. 

He now seized the window-sash how I prayed that it 
had been secured and with a push or two the window 
ascended, and he stepped in upon the floor. The cold 

314 Willing to Die. 

night air entered with him ; he stood for a minute looking 
into the room, and then very softly he closed the window. 
He seemed to have made up his mind to establish himself 
here, for he lazily pushed Mr. Blount's easy- chair into the 
recess at the window, and sat down very nearly opposite 
to me. If I had been less shocked and frightened, I might 
have seen the absurdity of my situation. 

He leaned back in Mr. Blount's chair, like a tired man, 
and extended his heels on the carpet ; his hand clutched 
the arm of the chair. His face was in the bright white 
light of the moon, his chin was sunk on his chest. His 
features looked haggard and wicked. Two or three times 
I thought he saw me, for his eyes were fixed on me for 
more than a minute ; but my perfect stillness, the deep 
shadow that enveloped me, and the brilliant moonlight in 
his eyes, protected me. 

Suddenly I heard a step it was Mr. Blount ; the door 
opened, and the step was arrested ; to my infinite relief a 
voice, it was Mr. Blount's, called a little sternly : 

" Who's that ?" 

" The prodigal, the outcast," answered Mr. Marston's 
deep voice, bitterly. " I have been, and am, too miserable 
not to make one more trial, and to seek to be reconciled. 
You, sir, are very kind you are a staunch friend; but 
you have never yet done all you could do for me. Why 
have you not faith ? Your influence is unlimited." 

" My good gracious !" exclaimed Mr. Blount, not moving 
an inch from where he stood. " Why, it is only this 
morning I received your letter from New York. What is 
all this ? I don't understand." 

" I came by the same mail that brought my letter. 
Second thoughts are the best. I changed my mind," said 
the young man, standing up. "Why should I live the 
sort of life he seems to have planned for me, if he intends 
anything better at any time ? And if he don't, what do I 
owe him ? It is vindictive and unnatural. I'm worn out; 
my patience has broken down." 

" I could not have believed my eyes," said Mr. Blount. 
" I did not dear, dear me ! I don't know what to make 
of it ; he'll be very much displeased. Mr. Marston, sir, 
you seem bent on ruining yourself with him, quite." 

Mine Enemy. 815 

" I don't know what cliance have I out there ? Out 
of sight out of mind, you used to say. He'd have forgotten 
me, you'd have forgotten me ; I should not have had a 
friend soon, who knew or cared whether I was alive or dead. 
Speak to him ; tell him he may as well listen to me. I'm 
perfectly desperate," and he struck his open hand on the 
back of the chair, and clenched the sentence with a bitter 

" I am not to blame for it," said Mr. Blount. 

" I know that ; I know it very well, Mr. Blount. You 
are too good a friend of our family. I know it, and I feel 
it I do, indeed; but look here, where's the good of driving 
a fellow to desperation ? I tell you I'll do something that 
will bring it to a crisis ; I can't stand the hell I live in. 
And let him prosecute me if he likes ; it is very easy for 
me to put a pistol to my head it's only half a second and 
it's over and I'll leave a letter telling the world how he 
has used me, and then see how he'll like the mess he has 
made of it." 

11 Now, pardon me, sir," said Mr. Blount, ceremoniously, 
" that's all stuff ; I mean he won't believe you. When I 
have an unacceptable truth to communicate, I make it a, 
rule to do so in the most courteous manner ; and, happily, 
I have, hitherto, found the laws of truth and of politeness 
always reconcilable ; he has told me, my dear sir, fifty 
times, that you are a great deal too selfish ever to hurt 
yourself. There is no use, then, in trying, if I may be 
permitted the phrase, to bully him. If you seek, with the 
smallest chance of success, to make an impression upon 
Sir Harry Bokestone, you must approach him in a spirit 
totally unlike that. I'll tell you what you must do. Write 
me a penitent letter, asking my intercession, and if you can 
make, with perfect sincerity, fair promises for the future, 
and carefully avoid the smallest evidence of the spirit you 
chose to display in your last and it is very strange if you 
have learned nothing I'll try again what I can do." 

The young man advanced, and took Mr. Blount's hand 
and wrung it fervently. 

I don't think Mr. Blount returned the demonstration 
with equal warmth. He was rather passive on the 

316 Willing to Die. 

" Is he here ?" asked Mr. Marson. 

" No, and you must not remain an hour in this house, nor 
at Golden Friars, nor shall you go to London, but to some 
perfectly quiet place ; write to me, from thence, a letter 
such as I have described, and I will lay it before him, with 
such representations of my own as perhaps may weigh with 
him, and we shall soon know what will come of it. Have 
the servants seen you ?" 

"No one." 

11 So much the better." 

"I scaled your window about ten minutes ago. I 
thought you would soon turn up, and I was right. I know 
you will forgive me." 

" Well, no matter, you had better get away as you came ; 
how was that ?" 

" By boat, sir ; I took it at the Three Oaks." 

" It is all the better you were not in the town ; I should 
not like him to know you are in England, until I have got 
your letter to show him ; I hope, sir, you will write in it 
no more than you sincerely feel. I cannot enter into any 
but an honest case. "Where did your boat wait ?" 

" At the jetty here?" 

"Very good; as you came by the window, you may 
as well go by it, and I will meet you a little way down the 
path ; I may have something more to saj r ." 

" Thank you, sir, from my heart," said Marston. 

" No, no, don't mind, I want you to get away again ; 
there, get away as quickly as you can." He had opened 
the window for him. " Ah, you have climbed that many 
a time when you were a boy ; you should know every stone 
by heart." 

" I'll do exactly as you tell me, sir, in all things," said 
the young man, and dropped lightly from the window- 
stone to the ground, and I saw his shadowy figure glide 
swiftly down the grass, towards the great lime-trees that 
stand in a receding row between the house and the water. 
Mr. Blount lowered the window quietly, and looked for a 
moment after him. 

" Some men are born to double sorrow sorrow for 
others sorrow for themselves. I don't quite know what 
to make of him." 

Mine Enemy. 817 

The old man sighed heavily, and left the room. I felt 
very like a spy, and very much ashamed of myself for 
having overheard a conversation certainly not intended 
for my ears. I can honestly say it was not curiosity that 
held me there ; that I was beyond measure distressed at 
my accidental treachery ; and that, had there been a door 
near enough to enable me to escape unseen I should not have 
overheard a sentence of what had passed. But I had not 
courage to discover myself; and wanting nerve at the 
beginning to declare myself, I had, of course, less and less 
as the conference proceeded, and my situation became 
more equivocal. 

The departure of Mr. Blount, whom I now saw de- 
scending the steps in pursuit of his visitor, relieved me, 
and I got away from the room, haunted by the face that 
had so lately appeared to me in my ominous dream, and 
by the voice whose tones excited a strange tremor, and- 
revived stranger recollections. 

In the drawing-room, before a quarter of an hour, I 
was joined by Mr. Blount. Our tete a tete was an un- 
usually silent one, and, after tea, we played a rather 
spiritless hit or two at backgammon. 

I was glad when the time came to get to my room, to 
the genial and garrulous society of Rebecca Torkill ; and 
after my candle was put out, I lay long enough awake, 
trying to put together the as yet imperfect fragments of a 
story and a situation which were to form the ground-work 
of the drama in which I instinctively felt that I was 



HABEY came home, and met me more affec- 
tionately and kindly than ever. I soon perceived 
that there was something of more than usual 
gravity under discussion between him and Mr. 
Blount. I knew, of course, very well what was the 
question they were debating. I was very uncomfortable 
while this matter was being discussed; Mr. Blount seemed 
nervous and uneasy ; and it was plain that the decision 
was not only suspended but uncertain. I don't suppose 
there was a more perturbed little family in all England 
at that moment, over whom, at the same time, there hung 
apparently no cloud of disaster. 

At last I could perceive that something was settled ; for 
the discussions between Mr. Blount and Sir Harry seemed 
to have lost the character of debate and remonstrance, 
and to have become more like a gloomy confidence and 
consultation between them. I can only speak of what I 
may call the external appearance of these conversations, 
for I was not permitted to hear one word of their substance. 

In a little while Sir Harry went away again. This time 
his journey, I afterwards learned, was to one of the 
quietest little towns in North Wales, where his chaise 
drew up at the Bull Inn. The tall northern baronet got 
out of the chaise, and strode to the bar of that rural 

" Is there a gentleman named Marston staying here ?" 
he asked of the plump elderly lady who sat within the 
bow-window of the bar. 

One more chance. 319 

"Yes, sir, Mr. Mar-ston, Number Seven, up one pair o 

" Upstairs now ?" asked Sir Harry. 

" He'll be gone out to take his walk, sir, by this time," 
answered the lady. 

" Can I talk to you for a few minutes, anywhere, 
madam, in private?" asked Sir Harry. 

The old lady looked at him, a little surprised. 

" Yes, sir," she said. "Is it anything very particular, 
please ?" 

" Yes, ma'am, very particular," answered the baronet. 

She called to her handmaid, and installed her quickly 
in her seat, and so led the baronet to an occupied room 
on the ground-floor. Sir Harry closed the door, and told 
her who he was. The landlady recognised his baronetage 
with a little courtesy. 

"I'm a relation of Mr. Marston's, and I've come down 
here to make an inquiry ; I want to know whether ho has 
been leading an orderly, quiet, life since he came to your 

" No one more so, please, sir ; a very nice regular 
gentleman, and goes to church every Sunday he's been 
here, and that is true. We have no complaint to make of 
him, please, sir ; and he has paid his bill twice since he 
came here." 

The woman looked honest, with frank, round eyes. 

" Thank you, ma'am," said Sir Harry; " that will do." 

An hour later it was twilight, and Mr. Marston, on 
entering his sitting-room after his walk, saw the baronet, 
who got up from his chair before the fire as he came in. 

The young man instantly took off his hat, and stood 
near the door, the very image of humility. Sir Harry did 
not advance, or offer him his hand ; he gave him a nod. 
Nothing could be colder than this reception. 

" So, Richard, you have returned to England, as you 
have done most other things, without consulting me," 
said the cold, deep voice of Sir Harry. 

" I've acted rashly sir, I fear. I acted on an impulse. 
I could not resist it. It was only twelve hours before the 
ship left New York when the thought struck me. I ought 
to have waited. I ought to have thought it over. It 

320 Willing to Die. 

seemed to me my only chance, and I'm afraid it has but 
sunk me lower in your esteem." 

" It is clear you should have asked my leave first, all 
things considered,'' said Sir Harry, in the same tone. 

The young man bowed his head. 

" I see that very clearly now, sir; but I have been so 
miserable under your displeasure, and I do not always see 
things as my calmer reason would view them. I thought 
of nothing but my chance of obtaining your forgiveness, 
and, at so great a distance, I despaired." 

" So it was to please me you set my authority at naught ? 
ByJea! that's logic." 

Sir Harry spoke this with a scornful and angry smile. 

" I am the only near kinsman you have left, sir, of your 
blood and name." 

" My name, sir !" challenged Sir Harry, fiercely. 

" My second name is Rokestone called after you," 
pleaded Mr. Marston. 

" By my sang, young man, if you and I had borne the 
same name, I'd have got the. Queen's letter, and changed 
mine to Smith." 

To this the young gentleman made no reply. His uncle 
broke the silence that followed. 

" We'll talk at present, if you please, as little as need 
be ; there's nothing pleasant to say between us. But I'll 
give you a chance ; I'll see if you are a changed man, as 
your letter says. I'll try what work is in you, or what 
good. You said you'd like farming. Well, we'll see what 
sort of farmer you'll make. You'll do well to remember 
'tis but a trial. In two or three days Mr. Blount will give 
you particulars by letter. Good evening. Don't come 
down ; stay here. I'll go alone. Say no more ; I'll have 
no thanks or professions. Your conduct, steadiness, 
integrity, shall guide me. That's all. Farewell." 

Mr. Marston, during this colloquy, had gradually ad- 
vanced a little, and now stood near the window. Sir 
Harry accompanied his farewell with a short nod, and 
stalked down the stairs. Mr. Marston knew he meant 
what he said, and therefore did not attempt to accompany 
him downstairs. And so, with a fresh pair of horses, Sir 
Harry immediately started on his homeward journey. 

One more chance* 821 

I, who knew at the time nothing of what I afterwards 
learned, was still in a suspense which nobody suspected. 
It was ended one evening by Sir Harry Eokestone, who 
said : 

" To-morrow my nephew, Kichard Marston, will be. 
here to stay, I have not yet determined for how long. He 
is a dull young man. You'll not like him; he has not a 
word to throw at a dog." 

So, whatever his description was worth, his announce- 
ment was conclusive, and Kichard Marston was to become 
an inmate of Dorracleugh next day. I find my diary 
says, under date of the next day : 

" I have been looking forward, with a trepidation I can 
hardly account for, to the arrival which Sir Harry 
announced yesterday. The event of the day occurred at 
three o'clock. I was thinking of going out for a walk, 
and had my hat and jacket on, and was standing in the 
hall. I wished to postpone, as long as I could, the 
meeting with Mr. Marston, which I dreaded. At that 
critical moment his double knock at the hall-door, and 
the distant peal of our rather deep mouthed bell, startled 
me. I guessed it was he, and turned to run up to my 
room, but met Sir Harry, who said, laying his hand 
gently on my shoulder : 

" Wait, dear this is my nephew. I saw him from 
the window. I want to introduce him.' 

" Of course I had to submit. The door was opened. 
There he was, the veritable Mr. Marston, of Malory, the 
hero of the Gonway Castle, of the duel, and likewise of so 
many evil stories the man who had once talked so 
romantically and so madly to me. I felt myself growing 
pale, and then blushing. Sir Harry received him coldly 
enough, and introduced me, simply mentioning my name 
and his ; and then I ran down the steps, with two of the 
dogs as my companions, while the servants were getting 
in Mr. Marston' s luggage. 

" I met him again at dinner. He is very little changed, 
except that he is much more sun-burnt. He has got a 
look, too, of command and melancholy. I am sure he 
lias so ( rod, and suffering, they say, makes people better. 
He talked very little daring dinner, and rather justified 

822 Willing to Die. 

Sir Harry's description. Sir Harry talked about the 
farm he intends for him they are to look at it to-morrow 
together. Mr. Blount seems to have got a load off his 

" The farm is not so far away as I had imagined it is 
only at the other side of the lake, about five hundred 
acres at dusted, which came to Sir Harry, Mr. Blount 
says, through the Mardykes family. I wonder whether 
there is a house upon it if so, he will probably live at 
the other side of the lake, and his arrival will have made 
very little difference to us. So much the better, perhaps. 

" I saw him and Sir Harry, at about eight o'clock this 
morning, set out together in the big boat, with two men, 
to cross the lake. 

" Farming is, I believe, a very absorbing pursuit. He 
won't feel his solitude much; and Mr. Blount says he 
will have to go to fairs and markets* It is altogether a 
grazing farm." 

The reader will perceive that I am still quoting my 

" To-day, old Miss Goulding, of Wrybiggins, the old 
lady whom the gossips of Golden Friars once assigned to 
Sir Harry as a wife, called with a niece who is with her 
on a visit, so I suppose they had heard of Mr. Marston's 
arrival, and came to see what kind of person he is. I'm 
rather glad they were disappointed. I ordered luncheon 
for them, and I saw them look toward the door every 
time it opened, expecting, I am sure, to see Mr. Mar- 
ston. I maliciously postponed telling them, until the 
very last moment, that he was at the other side of the 
mere, as they call the lake, although I suffered for my 
cruelty, for they dawdled on here almost interminably. 

" Sir Harry and Mr. Marston did not return till tea- 
time, when it was quite dark ; they had dined at a farm- 
house at the other side. Sir Harry seems, I think a little 
more friendly with him. They talked, it is true, of no- 
thing but farming and live stock ; and Mr. Blount joined. 
I took, therefore, in solitude, to my piano, and, when I 
was tired of that, to my novel. 

"A very dull evening the dullest, I think, I've passed 
since we "came to Dorracleugh. I daresay Mr. Marston 

One more cJiance. 823 

will make a very good farmer. I hope very much there 
may be a suitable residence found for him at the other 
side of the lake." 

Next my diaiy contains the following entry : 

" Mr. Marston off again at eight o'clock to his farm. 
Mr. Blount and I took a sail to-day, with Sir Harry's 
leave, in the small boat. He tells me that there is no neces- 
sity for Mr. Marston's going every day to the farm that 
Sir Harry has promised him a third of whatever the farm, 
under his management, makes. He seems very anxious 
to please Sir Harry. I can't conceive what can have 
made me so nervous about the arrival of this very hum- 
drum squire, whose sole object appears to be the pro- 
sperity of his colony of cows and sheep, 

" Sunday. Of course to-day he has taken a holiday, 
but he has not given us the benefit of it. He chose to 
walk all day, instead of going to church with us to Golden 
Friars. It is not far from Haworth. So he prefers a 
march of four and twenty miles to the fatigue of our 
society !" 

On the Tuesday following I find, by the same record, 
Sir Harry went to visit his estate of Tarlton, about forty 
miles from Golden Friars, to remain away for three or 
four days. That day I find also Mr. Marston was, as 
usual, at his farm at Clusted, and did not come home till 
about nine o'clock. 

I went to my room immediately after his arrival, so that 
he had an uninterrupted tete-a-tete with Mr. Blount. 

Next day he went away at his usual early hour, and 
returned not so late, I made an excuse of having some 
letters to write, and left the two gentlemen to themselves 
a good deal earlier than the night before. 

" Mr. Marston certainly is very little in my way; I 
have not spoken twenty words to him since his arrival. I 
begin to think him extremely impertinent." 

The foregoing is a very brief note of the day, consider- 
ing how diffuse and particular I often was when we were 
more alone. I make up for it on the folio wing day. The 
text runs thus : 

^ " Mr. Marston has come off his high horse, and broken 
silence at last. It was blowing furiously in the morning, 


324 Willing to Dig. 

and I suppose, however melancholy he may be, he has no 
intention of drowning himself. At all events, there has 
been no crossing the mere this morning. 

" He has appeared, for the first time since his arrival, 
at breakfast. Sir Harry's absence seems to have removed 
a great constraint. He talked very agreeably, and seemed 
totally to have forgotten the subject of farming ; he told 
us a great deal of his semi-military life in Spain, which 
was very amusing. I know he made me laugh heartily. 
Old Mr. Blount laughed also. Our breakfast was a very 
pleasant meal. Mr. Blount was himself in Spain for 
more than a year when he was young, and got up and 
gave us a representation of his host, an eccentric fan- 
maker, walking with his toes pointed and his chest thrown 
out, and speaking sonorous Spanish with pompous ges- 
ture. I had no idea he had so much fun in him. The 
good-natured old man seemed quite elated at our applause 
and very real laughter. 

" Mr. Marston suddenly looked across the lake, and 
recollected his farm. 

" ' How suddenly that storm went down !' he said. 'I 
can't say I'm glad of it, for I suppose I must make my 
usual trip, and visit my four-footed friends over the w r ay.' 
" * No,' said Mr. Blount ; ' let them shift for themselves 
to-day ; I'll take it on myself. There's no necessity for 
you going every day as you do.' 

" 'But how will it be received by the authorities? 
Will my uncle tbink it an omission ? I should not like 
him to suppose that, under any temptation, I had for- 
gotten my understanding with him.' 

" He glanced at me. Whether he thought me the temp- 
tation, or only wished to include me in the question, I 
don't know. 

" * Oh ! no,' said Mr. Blount; ' stay at home for this 
once I'll explain it all; and we can go out and have a 
sail, if the day continues as fine as it promises.' 

" Mr. Marston hesitated ; he looked at me as if for an 
opinion, but I said nothing. 

" ' Well," he said, I can't resist. I'll take your ad- 
vice, Mr. Blount, and make this a holiday.' 

' I think Mr. Marston very much improved in som 

One more chance. 325 

respects. His manners and conversation are not less 
spirited, but gentler ; and he is so very agreeable ! I 
think he has led an unhappy life, and no doubt was often 
very much in the wrong. But I have remarked that we 
condemn people not in proportion to their moral guilt, 
but in proportion to the inconvenience their faults inflict 
on us, I wonder very much what those stories were which 
caused Mr. Carmel and Laura Grey to speak of him so 
bitterly and sternly ? They were both so good that things 
which other people would have thought lightly enough of, 
would seem to them enormous, I dare say it is all about 
debt, or very likely play ; and people who have possibly 
lost money by his extravagance have been exaggerating 
matters, and telling stories their own way, He seems 
very much sobered now, at all events. One can't help 
pitying him, 

" He went down to the jetty before luncheon. I found 
afterwards that it was to get cloaks and rugs arranged 
for me, 

' He lunched with us, and we -were all very talkative, 
He certainly will prevent our all falling asleep in this 
drowsy place. We had such a pleasant sail. I gave him 
the tiller ; but his duties as helmsman did not prevent his 
talking. We could hdar one another very well, in spite of 
the breeze, which was rather more than Sir Harry would 
have quite approved of, 

" Mr. Marston had many opportunities to-day of talk- 
ing to me without any risk of being overheard, He did 
not, however, say a single word in his old vein. I am 
very glad of this ; it would be provoking to lose his con- 
versation, which is amusing, and, I confess, a great re- 
source in this solitude. 

" He is always on the watch to find if I want anything, 
and gets or does it instantly. I wish his farm was at this 
side of the lake. I dare say when Sir Harry cornes back we 
shall see as little as ever of him. It will end by his being 
drowned in that dangerous lake. It seems odd that Sir 
Harry, who is so tender of my life and Mr. Blount's, 
should have apparently no feeling whatever about his. 
But it is their affair. I'm not likely to be consulted ; so I 
need not trouble my head about it. 

326 Willing to Die. 

" I write in my room, the day now over, and dear old 
Rebecca Torkill is fussing about from table to wardrobe, 
and from wardrobe to drawers, pottering, and fidgeting, 
and whispering to herself. She has just told me that Mrs. 
Shackleton, the housekeeper here at Dorracleugh, talked to 
her a good deal this evening about Mr. Marston. She 
gives a very good account of him. When he went to 
school, and to Oxford, she saw him only at intervals, but 
he was a manly, good-natured boy she said, ' and never, 
that she knew, any harm in him, only a bit wild, like other 
young men at such places.' I write, as nearly as I can, 
Rebecca's words. 

" The subject of the quarrel with Sir Harry Rokestone, 
Mrs. Shackleton says, was simply that Mr. Marston posi- 
tively refused to marry some one whom his uncle had 
selected for a niece-in-law. That is exactly the kind of 
disobedience that old people are sometimes most severe 
upon. She told Rebecca to be very careful not to say a 
word of it to the other servants, as it was a great secret. 

" After all there may be two sides to this case, as to 
others, and Mr. Marston's chief mutiny may have been of 
that kind which writers of romance and tragedy elevate 
into heroism, 

" He certainly is very much improved." 

Here my diary for that day left Mr. Marston, and turned 
to half-a-dozen trifles, treated, I must admit, with much 
comparative brevity. 



JLD Mr. Blount was a religious man. Sir Harry, 
whose ideas upon such subjects I never could 
exactly divine, went to church every Sunday ; 
but he scoffed at bishops, and neither loved 
nor trusted clergymen. He had, however, family prayers 
every morning, at which Mr. Blount officiated, with 
evident happiness and peace in the light of his simple 

No radiance of this happy light was reflected on the 
face of Sir Harry Rokestone, who sat by the mantelpiece, 
in one of the old oak arm chairs, a colossal image of soli- 
tude, stern and melancholy, and never, it seemed to me, 
so much alone as at those moments which seem to draw 
other mortals nearer. I fancied that some associations 
connected with such simple gatherings long ago, perhaps, 
recalled mamma to his thoughts. He seemed to sit in a 
stern and melancholy reverie, and he would often come 
ever to me, when the prayer was ended, and, looking at 
me with great affection, ask gently : 

" Well, my little lass, do they try to make you happy 
here ? Is there anything you think of that you'd like me 
to get down from Lunnon ? You must think. I'd like 
to be doing little things for you ; think, and tell me this 
evening." And at such times he would turn on me a look 
of full-hearted affection, and smoothe my hair caressingly 
with his old hand. 

Sometimes he would Bay : <f You like this place, you 

328 Willing to Die. 

tell me ; but the winters here, I'm thinking, will be too 
hard for you." 

" But I like a good, cold, frosty winter," I would answer 
him. " There is nothing I think so pleasant." 

" Ay, but maybe yell be getting a cough or some- 

* No, I assure you I'm one of the few persons on earth 
who never take cold," I urged, for I really wished to spend 
the winter at Golden Friars. 

" Well, pretty ,lass, ye shall do as you like host, but 
you mustn't fall sick ; if you do, what's to become o' the 
auld man ?" 

You must allow me here to help myself with my diary 
once more. I am about to quote from what I find there, 
dated the following Sunday : 

" We went to Golden Friars to church as usual ; and 
Mr. Marston, instead of performing his devotions twelve 
miles away, came with us, 

" After the service was ended, Sir Harry, who had a 
call to make, took leave of us. The day was so fine that 
we were tempted to walk home instead of driving. 

" We chose the path by the lake, and sent the carriage 
on to Dorracleugh. 

" Mr. Blount chooses to talk over the sermon, and I am 
sure thinks it profane to mention secular subjects on Sun- 
day. I think this a mistake ; and I confess I was not 
sorry when good Mr. Blount stopped and told us he was 
going into Shenstone's cottage. I felt that a respite of 
five minutes from the echoes of the good vj car's sermon 
would be pleasant. But when he went on to say that he 
was going in to read some of the Bible and talk a little 
with the consumptive little boy, placing me under Mr. 
Marston's escort for the rest of the walk, which was about 
a mile, I experienced a new alarm. I had no wish that 
Mr. Marstoii should return to his old heroics. 

I did not well know what to say or do, Mr. Blount's 
good-bye came so suddenly. My making a difficulty about 
walking home with Mr. Marston would to him, who knew 
nothing of what had passed at Malory, have appeared an 
unaccountable affectation of prudery. I asked Mr. Blount 
whether he intended staying any time. He answered, 

Dangerous Ground. 829 

1 Half an hour at least ; and if the poor boy wishes it, I 
shall stay an hour,' he added. 

" Mr. Marston, who, I am sure, perfectly understood 
me, did not say a word. I had only to make the best of 
an uncomfortable situation, and, very nervous, I nodded 
and smiled my farewell to Mr. Blount, and set out on my 
homeward march with Mr. Marston. 

" I need not have been in such a panic it was very 
soon perfectly plain that Mr. Marston did not intend treat- 
ing me to any heroics. 

^ " ' I don't know any one in the world I have a much 
higher opinion of than Mr. Blount,' he said ; * but I do 
think it a great mercy to get away from him a little on 
Sundays ; I can't talk to him in his own way, and I turn 
simply into a Trappist I become, I mean, perfectly dumb.' 

" I agreed, but said that I had such a regard for Mr. 
Blount that I could not bring myself to vex him. 

" That is my rule also,' he said, ' only I carry it a 
little further, ever since I received my education,' he 
smiled, darkly ; ' that is, since I begun to suffer, about 
three years ago, I have learned to practise it with all 
my friends. You would not believe what constraint I 
often place upon myself to avoid saying that which is 
in my heart and next my lips, but which I fear I fear 
with too good reason might not be liked by others. 
There was a time, I daresay, when Hamlet blurted out 
everything that came into his mind, before he learned 
in the school of sorrow to say, "But break my heart, for I 
must hold my tongue." ' 

" He looked very expressively, and I thought I knew 
perfectly what he meant, and that if by any blander I 
happened to say a foolish thing, I might find myself, 
before I knew where I was, in the midst of a conversation 
as wild as that of the wood of Plas Ylwd. 

"In reply to this I said, not very adroitly : 

" And what a beautiful play Hamlet is ! I have been 
trying to copy Betsch's outline, but I have made such a 
failure. The faces are so fine and forcible, and the ex- 
pression of the hands is so wonderful, and my hands are 
so tame and clumsy ; I can do nothing but the ghost, and 
that is because he is the only absurd figure in the series." 

880 Willing to Die. 

" 'Yes,' he acquiesced, ' like a thing in an opera 

" I could perceive very plainly that my rather-precipitate 
and incoherent excursion into iietsch's outlines, into which 
he had followed me with the hest grace he could, had 
wounded him. It was equally plain, however, that he 
was in good faith practising the rule he had just now 
mentioned, and was by no means the insolent and over- 
bearing suitor he had shown himself in that scene, now 
removed alike by time and distance, in which I had before 
Been him. 

" No one could be more submissive than he to my dis- 
tinct decision that there was to be no more such wild talk. 

" For the rest of our walk he talked upon totally in- 
different subjects. Certainly, of the two, I had been the 
most put out by his momentary ascent to a more tragic 
level. I wonder now whether I did not possibly suspect 
a great deal more than was intended. If so, what a fool 
I must have appeared ! Is there anything so ridiculous 
as a demonstration of resistance where no attack is medi- 
tated ? I began to feel so confused and ashamed that I 
hardly took the trouble to follow what he said. As we 
approached Porracieugh, I began to feel more like myself. 
After a little silence he said what I am going to set down; 
I have gone over it again and again in my mind ; I know 
I have added nothing, and I really think I write very 
nearly exactly as he spoke it. 

" When I had that strange escape with my life from the 
Conway Castle,' he said, 'no man on earth was more 
willing and less fit to die than I. I don't suppose there 
was a more miserable man in England. I had disap- 
pointed my uncle by doing what seemed a very foolish 
thing. I could not tell him my motive no one knew it 
the secret was not mine everything combined to em- 
barrass and crush me. I had the hardest thing on earth 
to endure unmerited condemnation was my portion. 
Some good people, whom, notwithstanding, I have learned 
to respect, spoke of me to my face as if I had committed 
a murder. My uncle understands me now, but he has 
not yet forgiven me. When I was at Malory, I was in a 
mood to shoot myself through the head ; I was desperate, 
I was bitter, I was furious, Every unlucky thing that 

Dangerous Ground. &SJ 

could happen did happen there. The very people who 
had judged me most cruelly turned up ; and among them 
one who forced a quarrel on me, and compelled that miser- 
able duel in which I wished at the time I had been killed.' 

" I listened to all this with more interest than I allowed 
him to see, as we walked on together side by side, I look- 
ing down on the path before us, and saying nothing. 

" * If it were not for one or two feelings left me, I 
should not know myself for the shipwrecked man who 
thanked his young hostess at Malory for her invaluable 
hospitality,' he said ; ' there are some things one never 
forgets. I often think of Malory I have thought of it in 
all kinds of distant, out-of-the-way, savage places ; it rises 
before me as I saw it last. My life has all gone wrong. 
While hope remains, we can bear anything but my last 
hope seems pretty near its setting and, when it is out, I 
hope, seeing I cross and return in all weathers, there is 
drowning enough in that lake to give a poor fool, at least, 
a cool head and a quiet heart.' 

" Then, without any tragic pause, he turned to other 
things lightly, and never looked towards me to discover 
what effect his words were producing ; but he talked on, 
and now very pleasantly. We loitered a little at the hall- 
door. I did not want him to come into the drawing-room, 
and establish himself there. Here were the open door, the 
hall, the court-yard, the windows, all manner of possibili- 
ties for listeners, and I felt I was protected from any em- 
barrassment that an impetuous companion might please 
to inflict if favoured by a tete-a-tete. 

" I must, however, do him justice : he seemed very 
anxious not to offend very careful so to mask any dis- 
closure of his feelings as to leave me quite free to ' ignore' 
it, and, as it seemed to me, on the watch to catch any 
evidence of my impatience. 

" He is certainly very agreeable and odd ; and the time 
passed very pleasantly while we loitered in the court-yard. 

Mr. Blount soon came up, and after a word or two I 
left them, and ran up to my room. 



]BOUT this time there was a sort of fete at Golden 
Friars. Three very pretty fountains were built 
by Sir Eichard Mardykes and Sir Harry, at the 
upper end of the town, in which they both have 
property ; and the opening of these was a sort of gala. 

I did not care to go. Sir Harry Kokestone and Mr. 
Blount, were, of course, there ; Mr. Marston went, instead, 
to his farm, at the other side ; and I took a whim to go 
out on the lake, in a row-boat, in the direction of Golden 
Friars. My boatmen rowed me near enough to hear the 
music, wLlch was very pretty ; but we remained sufficiently 
far out, to prevent becoming mixed up with the other 
boats which lay near the shore. 

It was a pleasant, clear day, with no wind stirring, and 
although we were now fairly in winter, the air was not too 
sharp, and with just a rug about one's feet, the weather 
was very pleasant. My journal speaks of this evening as 
follows : 

" It was, I think, near four o'clock, when I told the 
men to row towards Dorracleugh. Before we reached it, 
the filmy haze of a winter's evening began to steal over 
the landscape, and a red sunset streamed through the 
break in the fells above the town with so lovely an effect 
that I told the men to slacken their speed. So we moved, 
with only a dip of the oar, now and then ; and I looked up 
the mere, enjoying the magical effect. 

" A boat had been coming, a little in our wake, along 

Mr. Carmel takes Ms leave. 833 

the shore. I had observed it, but without the slightest 
curiosity ; not even with a conjecture that Sir Harry and 
Mr. Blount might be returning in it, for I knew that it 
was arranged that they were to come back together in the 

" Voices from this boat caught my ear; and one sud- 
denly that startled me, just as it neared us. It glided up. 
I fancy about thirty yards were between the sides of the 
two boats ; and the men, like those in my boat, had 
been ordered merely to dip their oars, and were now 
moving abreast of ours ; the drips from their oars sparkled 
like drops of molten metal. What I heard the only 
thing I now heard was the harsh nasal voice of Mon- 
sieur Droqville. 

" There he was, in his black dress, standing in the stern 
of the boat, looking round on the landscape, from point to 
point. The light, as he looked this way and that, touched 
his energetic bronzed features, the folds of his dress, and 
the wet planks of the boat, with a fire that contrasted 
with the grey shadows behind and about. 

" I heard him say, pointing with his outstretched arm, 
'. And is that Dorracleugh ?' To which one of the people 
in the boat made him an answer. 

" I can't think of that question without terror. What 
has brought that man down here ? What interest can he 
have in seeking out Dorracleugh, except that it happens 
to be my present place of abode ? 

" I am sure he did not see me. When he looked in my 
direction, the sun was in his eyes, and my face in shadow; 
I don't ihink he can have seen me. But that matters 
nothing if he has come down for any purpose connected 
with me." 

A sure instinct told me that Monsieur Droqville would 
be directed inflexibly by the interests of his order, to con- 
sult which, at all times, unawed by consequences to him- 
self or others, was his stern and narrow duty. 

Here, in this beautiful and sequestered corner of the 
world, how far, after all, I had been from quiet. Well 
might I cry with Campbell's exile 

" Ah ! cruel fate, wilt tliou never replace me 
In a mansion of peace where no perils can chase me?" 

884 Willing to Die. 

My terrors hung upon a secret I dared not disclose. 
There was no one to help me ; for I could consult no one. 

The next day I was really ill. I remained in my room. 
I thought Monsieur Droqville would come to claim an. 
interview ; and perhaps would seek, hy the power he pos. 
sessed, to force me to become an instrument in forwarding 
some of his plans, affecting either the faith or the property 
of others. I was in an agony of suspense and fear. 

Days passed ; a week ; and no sign of Monsieur Droq- 
ville. I hegan to breathe. He was not a man, I knew, 
to waste weeks, or even days, in search of the picturesque, 
in a semi- barbarous region like Golden Friars. 

At length I summoned courage to speak to Rebecca 
Torkill. I told her I had seen Monsieur Droqville, and 
that I wanted her, without telling the servants at Dorra- 
cleugh, to make inquiry at the " George and Dragon," 
whether a person answering that description had been 
there. No such person was there. So I might assume 
he was gone. He had come with Sir Richard Mardykes, 
I conjectured, from Carsbrook, where he often was. But 
such a man was not likely to make even a pleasure excur- 
sion without an eye to business. He had, I supposed, 
made inquiries ,* possibly, he had set a watch upon me. 
Under the eye of such a master of strategy as Monsieur 
Droqville I could not feel quite at ease. 

Nevertheless, in a little time, such serenity as I had 
enjoyed at Dorracleugh gradually returned ; and I enjoyed 
a routine life, the dulness of which would have been in 
another state of my spirits insupportable, with very real 

We were now deep in winter, and in its snowy shroud 
how beautiful the landscape looked ! Cold, but stimulating 
and pleasant was the clear, dry air; and our frost-bound 
world sparkled in the wintry sun. 

Old Sir Harry Rokestone, a keen sportsman, proof as 
granite against cold, was out by moonlight on the grey 
down with his old-fashioned duck-guns, and, when the 
lake was not frozen over, with two hardy men manoeuvring 
his boat for him. Town-bred, Mr. Blount contented 
himself with his brisk walk, stick in hand, and a couple 
of the dogs for companions to the town j a,nd Mr. Marston 

3Ir. Camel takes his leave. 835 

was away upon some mission, on which his uncle had 
sent him, Mr. Blount said, to try whether he was "capable 
of business and steady." 

One night, at this time, as I sat alone in the drawing- 
room, I was a little surprised to see old Eebecca Torkill 
come in with her bonnet and cloak on, looking mysterious 
and important. Shutting the door, she peeped cautiously 

" What do you think, miss ? Wait listen," she all 
but whispered, with her hand raised as she trotted up to 
my side. " Who do you think I saw, not three minutes 
ago, at the lime-trees, near the lake ?" 

I was staring in her face, filled with shapeless alarms. 

" I was coming home from Farmer Shenstone's, where 
I went with some tea for that poor little boy that's ailing, 
and just as I got over the stile, who should I see, as 
plain as I see you now, but Mr. Carmel, just that minute 
got out of his boat, and making as if he was going to 
walk up to the house. He knew me the minute he saw 
me it is a very bright moon and he asked me how I 
was ; and then how you were, most particular ; and he 
said he was only for a few hours in Golden Friars, and 
took a boat on the chance of seeing you for a minute, but 
that he did not know whether you would like it, and he 
begged of me to find out and bring him word. If you do, 
he's waiting down there, Miss Ethel, and what shall I 
say r 

"Come with me," I said, getting up quickly; and, 
putting on in a moment my seal-skin jacket and my hat, 
without another thought or word, much to Rebecca's 
amazement, I sallied out into the still night air. Turning 
the corner of the old building, at the end of the court- 
yard, I found myself treading with rapid steps the crisp 
grass, under a dazzling moon, and before me the view of 
the distant fells, throwing their snowy speaks high into 
the air, with the solemn darkness of the lake, and its 
silvery gleams below, and the shadowy gorge and great 
lime-trees in the foregrouDd. Down the gentle slope I 
walked swiftly, leaving Rebecca Torkill a long way behind. 

I was now under the towering lime-trees. I paused : 
with a throbbing heart I held my breath. I heard hollow 

836 Willing to Die, 

steps corning up on the other side of the file of gigantic 
sterns. I passed between, and saw Mr. Carmel walking 
slowly towards me. In a moment he was close to rae, 
and took my hand in his old kindly way, 

" This is very kind ; how can I thank you, Miss Ware ? 
I had hardly hoped to be allowed to call at the house ; I 
am going a long journey, and have not been quite so well 
as I used to be, and I thought that if I lost this oppor- 
tunity, in this uncertain world, I might never see niy 
pupil again. I could hardly bear that, without just saying 

" And you are going ?" I said, wringing his hand. 

" Yes, indeed ; the ocean will be between us soon, and 
half the world, and I am not to return." 

All his kindness rose up before me his thoughtful 
goodness, his fidelity and I felt for a moment on the 
point of crying. 

He was muffled in furs, and was looking thin and ill, 
and in the light of the moon the lines of his handsome 
face were marked as if carved in ivory. 

" You and your old tutor have had a great many 
quarrels, and always made it up again ; and now at last 
we part, I am sure, good friends." 

" You are going, and you're ill," was all I could say ; 
but I was conscious there was something of that wild tone 
that real sorrow gives in my voice. 

" How often I have thought of you, Miss Ethel how 
often I shall think of you, be my days many or few. How 
often !" 

" I am BO sorry, Mr. Carmel so awfully sorry !" I 
repeated. I had not unclasped my hand ; I was looking 
in his thin, pale, smiling face with the saddest augury. 

" I want you to remember me ; it is folly, I know, but 
it is a harmless folly ; all human nature shares in it, and" 
there was a little tremble, and a momentary interrup- 
tion " and your old tutor, the sage who lectured you so 
wisely, is, after all, no less a fool than the rest. Will you 
keep this little cross ? It belonged to my mother, and is, 
by permission of my superiors, my own, BO you may 
accept it with a clear conscience." He smiled. " If you 
"Wear it, or eyen let it lie on your table, it will sometimes " 

Mr. Camel takes his leave. 837 

the same momentary interruption occurred again "it 
may perhaps remind you of one who took a deep interest 
in you." 

It was a beautiful little gold cross, with five brilliants 
in it. 

" And oh, Ethel ! let me look at you once again." 

He led meit was only a step or two out of the shadow 
of the tree into the bright moonlight, and, still holding 
my hand, looked at me intently for a little time with a 
smile, to me, the saddest that ever mortal face wore. 

" And now, here she stands, my wayward, generous, 
clever Ethel ! How proud I was of my pupil ! The 
heart knoweth its own bitterness," he said gently. " And 
oh ! in the day when our Redeemer makes up his jewels, 
may you be precious among them ! I have seen you ; fare- 
well !" 

Suddenly he raised my hand, and kissed it gently, 
twice. Then he turned, and walked rapidly down to' 
the water's edge, and stepped into the boat. The men 
dipped their oars, and the water rose like diamonds from 
the touch. I saw his dark figure standing, with arm 
extended, for a moment, in the stern, in his black cloak, 
pointing towards Golden Friars. The boat was now three 
lengths away ; twenty fifty ; out on the bosom of the 
stiiiess water. The tears that I had restrained burst 
forth, and sobbing as if my heart would brea>. I ran down 
to the margin of the lake, and stood upon the broad, flat 
stone, and waved my hand wildly and unseen towards my 
friend, whom I knew I was never to see again. 

I stood there watching, till the shape of the boat and 
the sound of the oars were quite lost in the grey distance. 



fEEKS glided by, and still the same clear, bright 
frost, and low, cold, cheerful suns. The dogs 
so wild with spirits, the distant sounds travel- 
ling so sharp to the ear ruddy sunsets early 
darkners and the roaring fires at home. 

Sir Harry Kokestone's voice, clear and kindly, often 
heard through the house, calls me from the hall ; he 
wants to know whether " little Ethel " will come out for 
a ride ; or, if she would like a drive with him into the 
town to see the skaters, for in the shallower parts the 
mere is frozen. 

One day I came into Sir Harry's room, on some 
errand, I forget what. Mr. Blount was standing, leaning 
on the mantelpiece, and Sir Harry was withdrawing a 
large key from the door of an iron safe, which seemed to 
be built into the wall. Each paused in the attitude in 
which I had found him, with his eyes fixed on me, in 
silence. I saw that I was in their way, and said, a little 
flurried : 

" I'll come again ; it was nothing of any consequence," 
and I was drawing back, when Sir Harry said, beckoning 
to me with his finger : 

" Stay, little Ethel stay a minute I see no reason, 
Blount, why we should not tell the lassie," 
Mr. Blount nodded acquiescence. 
" Come here, my bonny Ethel," said Sir Harry, and 
turning the key again in the lock, he pulled the door 
open. "Look in ; ye see that shelf? Well, mind that's 
where I'll leave auld Harry Eokestone's will ye'll 
remember where it lies ?" 

Then he drew me very kindly to him, smoothed my 
hair gently with his hand, and said ; 

Love took vp the Glass of Time. 839 

" God bless you, my bonny lass !" and kissed me on 
the forehead. 

Then locking the door again, he said : 

" Ye'll mind, it's this iron box, that's next the picture. 
That's all, lassie." 

And thus dismissed, I took my departure. 

In this retreat, time was stealing on with silent steps. 
Christmas was past. Mr. Marston had returned ; he 
lived, at this season, more at our side of the lake, and 
the house was more cheerful. 

Can I describe Mr. Marston with fidelity ? Can I rely 
even upon my own recollection of him ? What had I 
become ? A dreamer of dreams a dupe of magic. 
Everything had grown strangely interesting the lonely 
place was lonely no more the old castle of Dorracleugh 
was radiant with unearthly light. Unconsciously, I had 
become the captive of a magician. I had passed under a 
sweet and subtle mania, and was no longer myself. 
Little by little, hour by hour, it grew, until I was 
transformed. Well, behold me now, wildly in love with 
Richard Marston. 

Looking back now on that period of my history, I see 
plainly enough that it was my inevitable fate. Bo much 
together, and surrounded by a solitude, we were the only 
young people in the little group which formed our socitty. 
Handsome and fascinating wayward, and even wicked 
he might have been, but that I might hope was past he 
was energetic, clever, passionate ; and of his admiration 
he never allowed me to be doubtful. 

My infatuation had been stealing upon me, but it was 
not until we had reached the month of May that it cul- 
minated in a scene that returns agnin and again in my 
solitary reveries, and always with the same tumult of 
sweet and bitter feelings. 

One day before that explanation took place, my diary, 
from which I have often quoted, says thus : 

" May 9th. There was no letter, I am sure, by the 
early post from Mr. Marston ; Sir Harry or Mr. Blount 
would have been sure to talk of it at breakfast. It is 
treating his uncle, I think, a little cavalierly. 

" Sailed across the lake to-day, alone, to Clusted, and 

840 Willing to Die. 

walked about a quarter of a mile up the forest road. How 
beautiful everything is looking, but how melancholy ! 
When last I saw this haunted wood, Sir Harry Eokestone 
and Mr. Marston were with me. 

" It seems odd that Mr. Marston stays away so long, 
and hard to believe that if he tried he might not have 
returned sooner. He went on the 28th of April, and Mr. 
Blount thought he would be back again in a week : that 
would have been on the 5th of this month. I dare say he 
is glad to get away for a little time I cannot blame him ; 
I dare say he finds it often very dull, say what he will. 
I wonder what he meant, the other day, when he said he 
was ' born to be liked least where he loved most ' ? He 
seems very melancholy. I wonder whether there has been 
some old love and parting ? Why, unless he liked some 
one else, should he have quarrelled with Sir Harry, rather 
than marry as he wished him ? Sir Harry would not 
have chosen any one for him who was not young and good- 
looking. I heard him say something one morning that 
showed his opinion upon that point ; and young men, who 
don't like any one in particular, are easily persuaded to 
marry. Well, perhaps his constancy will be rewarded ; it 
is not likely that the young lady should have given him up. 

" May 10th. How shall I begin ? What have I done ? 
Heaven forgive me if I have done wrong ! Oh ! kind, true 
friend, Sir Harry, how have I requited you '? It is too 
late now the past is past. And yet, in spite of this, how 
happy I am ! 

" Let me collect my thoughts, and write down as briefly 
as I can an outline of the events of this happy, agitating 
day. No lovelier May day was ever seen. I was enjoying 
a lonely saunter, about one o'clock, under the boughs of 
Lynuer Wood, here and there catching the gleam of the 
waters through the trees, and listening from time to time 
to the call of the cuckoo from the hollows of the forest. 
In that lonely region there is no more lonely path than 

" On a sudden, I heard a step approaching fast from 
behind me on the path, and, looking back, I saw Mr. 
Marston coming on, with a very glad smile, to overtake 
me, I stopped ; I felt myself blushing, He was speaking 

Love took up the Glass of Time. 341 

as he approached : I was confused, and do not recollect 
what he said ; but hardly a moment passed till he was at 
my side. He was smiling, but very pale. I suppose he 
had made up his mind to speak. He did not immediately 
talk of the point on which hung so much ; he spoke of 
other things I can recollect nothing of them. 

" He began at length to talk upon that other theme that 
lay so near our hearts ; our pace grew slower and slower 
as he spoke on, until we came to a stand-still under the 
great beech-tree, on whose bark our initials, now spread 
by time and touched with lichen, but possibly still legible, 
are carved. 

" Well, he has spoken, and I have answered I can't 
remember our words ; bat we are betrothed in the sight of 
Heaven by vows that nothing can ever cancel, till those 
holier vows, plighted at the altar-steps, are made before 
God himself, or until either shall die. 

" Oh ! Richard, my love, and is it true ? Can it be 
that you love your poor Ethel with a love so tender, so 
deep, so desperate ? He has loved me, he says, ever since 
he first saw me, on the day after his escape, in the garden 
at Malory ! 

" I liked him from the first. In spite of all their 
wainings, I could not bring myself to condemn or distrust 
him long. I never forgot him during the years we have 
been separated ; he has been all over the world since, and 
often in danger, and I have suffered such great and un- 
expected changes of fortune to think of our being brought 
together at last ! Has not Fate ordained it ? 

" The only thing that darkens the perfect sunshine of 
to-day is that our attachment and engagement must be a 
secret. He says so, and I am sure he knows best. He 
says that Sir Harry has not half forgiven him yet, and 
that he would peremptorily forbid our engagement. He 
could unquestionably effect our separation, and make us 
both inexpressibly miserable. But when I look at Sir 
Harry's kind, melancholy face, and think of all he has 
done tor me, my heart upbraids me, and to-night I had to 
turn hastily away, for my eyes filled suddenly with tears." 



WILL here make a few extracts more from my 
diary, because they contain matters traced 
there merely in outline, and of which it is 
more convenient to present but a skeleton 

" May llth. Richard went early to his farm to-day. 
I told him last night that I would come down to see him 
off this morning. But he would not hear of it ; and 
again enjoined the strictest caution. I must do nothing 
to induce the least suspicion of our engagement, or even 
of our caring for each other. I must not tell Rebecca 
Torkill a word about it, nor hint it to any one of the few 
friends I correspond with. I am sure he is right ; but 
this secrecy is very painful. I feel so treacherous, and so 
sad, when I see Sir Harry's kind face. 

"Richard was back at three o'clock; we met by ap- 
pointment, in the same path, in Lynder Wood. He has 
told ever so much, of which I knew nothing before. Mr. 
Blount told him, he says, that Sir Harry means to leave 
me an annuity of two hundred a year. How kind and 
generous ! I feel more than ever the pain and meanness 
of my reserve. He intends to leave Richard eight hundred 
a year, and the farm at the other side of the lake. 
Richard thinks, if he had not displeased him, he would 
have done more for him. All this, that seems to me very 
noble, depends, however, upon his continuing to like us, 
as he does at present. Richard says that he will settle 

An Awkward Proposal. 843 

everything be has in the world upon me. It hurts me, his 
thinking me so mercenary, and talking so soon upon the 
subject of money and settlements ; I let him see this, for 
the idea of his adding to what my benefactor Sir Harry 
intended for me had not entered my mind. 

" 'It is just, my darling, because you are so little cal- 
culating for yourself that I must look a little forward for 
you,' he said, and so tenderly. * Whose business is it 
now to think of such things for you, if not mine ? And 
you won't deny me the pleasure of telling you that I can 
prevent, thank Heaven, some of the dangers you were so 
willing to encounter for my sake.' 

" Then he told me that the bulk of Sir Harry's pro- 
perty is to go to people not very nearly related to him, 
called Strafford ; and he gave me a great charge not to 
tell a word of all this to a living creature, as it would 
involve him in a quarrel with Mr. Blonnt, who had told 
him Sir Harry's intentions under the seal of secrecy. 

" I wish I had not so many secrets to keep ; but his 
goodness to me makes me love Sir Harry better every day. 
I told him all about Sir Harry's little talk with me about 
his will. I can have no secrets now from Eichard." 

For weeks, for months, this kind of life went on, event- 
less, but full of its own hopes, misgivings, agitations. I 
loved Golden Friars for many reasons, if things so light 
as associations and sentiments can so be called founded 
they were, however, in imagination and deep affection. 
One of these was and is that my darling mother is buried 
there ; and the simple and sad inscription on her monu- 
ment, in the pretty church, is legible on the wall opposite 
the Rokestone pew. 

" That's a kind fellow, the vicar," said Sir Harry ; " a 
bit too simple ; but if other sirs were like him, there 
would be more folk in the church to hear the sermon !" 

When Sir Harry made this speech, he and I were sitting 
in the boat, the light evening air hardly filled the sails, 
and we were tacking slowly back and forward on the mere, 
along the shore of Golden Friars. It was a beautiful 
evening in August, and the little speech and our loitering 
here were caused by the sweet music that pealed from the 
organ through the open church windows. The good old 

844 Willing to Die. 

vicar was a fine musician ; and often in the long summer 
and autumn evenings, the lonely old man visited the 
organ-loft and played those sweet and solemn nelodies 
that so well accorded with the dreamlike scene. 

It was the music that recalled the vicar to Sir Harry's 
thoughts but his liking for him was not all founded upon 
that, nor even upon his holy life and kindly ways. It was 
this : that when he read the service at mamma's funeral, 
the white-haired vicar, wlio remembered her a beautiful 
child, wept and tears rolled down his old cheeks as with 
upturned eyes he repeated the noble and pathetic farewell. 

When it was over, Sir Harry, who had a quarrel with 
the vicar before, came over and shook him by the hand, 
heartily and long, speaking never a word his heart was 
too full. And from that time he liked him, and did not 
know how to show it enough. 

In these long, lazy tacks, sweeping slowly by the quaint 
old town in silence, broken only by the ripple of the water 
along the planks, and the sweet and distant swell of the 
organ across the water, the time flew by. The sun went 
down in red and golden vapours, and the curfew from the 
ivied tower of Golden Friars sounded over the darkened 
lake the organ was heard no more and the boat was 
making her slow way back again to Dorracleugh. 

Sir Harry looked at me very kindly, in silence, for 
awhile. He arranged a rug about my feet, and looked 
again in my face. 

" Sometimes you look so like bonny Mabel and 
when you smile ye mind her smile ? 'Twas very pretty." 

Then came a silence. 

" I must tell Ren wick, when the shooting begins, to 
send down a brace of birds every day to the vicar," said 
Sir Harry. " I'll be away myself in a day or two, and I 
shan't be back again for three weeks. I'll take a house in 
London, lass I won't have ye moping here too long 
you'd begin to pine for something to look at, and folks to 
talk to, and sights to see." 

I was alarmed, and instantly protested that I could 
not imagine any life more delightful than this at Golden 

" No, no; it won't do you're a good lass to say so 

An Awkward Proposal. 845 

but it's not the fact oh, no it isn't natural I can't 
take you to balls, and all that, for I don't know the 
people that give them and ail ray great lady friends 
that I knew when I was a youuker, are off the hooks 
by this time but there's plenty of sights to see besides 
there's the waxworks, and the wild beasts, and the 
players, and the pictures, and all the shows." 

" But I assure you, I like Golden Friars, and ray quiet 
life at Dorracleugh, a thousand times better than all the 
sights and wonders in the world," I protested. 

If he had but known half the terror with which I con- 
templated the possibility of my removal from my then 
place of abode, he would have given me credit for sincerity 
in my objections to our proposed migration to the capital. 

" No, I say, it won't do ; you women can't bring your- 
selves ever to say right out to us men what you think ; 
you mean well you're a good little thing- -you don't want 
to put the auld man out of his way but you'd like Luunon 
best, and Lurmon ye shall have. You shall have a house 
you can see your auld acquaintance in, such, I mean, as 
showed themselves good-natured when all went wrong wi' 
ye. You shall show them ye can baud your head as high 
as over, and are not a jot down in the world. Never mind, 
I have said it." 

In vain I protested ; Sir Harry continued firm. One 
comfort was that he would not return to put his threat 
into execution for, at least, three weeks. If anything was 
wanting to complete my misery, it was Sir Harry's saying 
after a little silence : 

" And see, lass ; don't you tell a word of it to Richard 
Marston ; 'twould only make him fancy I'm going to take 
him ; and I'd as lief take the devil so mind ye, it's a 

I smiled as well as I could, and said something that 
seemed to satisfy him, or he took it for granted, for he 
went on and talked, being much more communicative this 
evening than usual ; while my mind was busy with the 
thought of a miserable separation, and all the difficulties 
of correspondence that accompany a secret engagement. 

So great was the anguish of these anticipations that I 
hazarded one more effort to induce him to abandon his 

846 frilling to Die. 

London plans, and to let me continue to enjoy my present 
life at Dorracleugh. 

He was, however, quite immovable ; he laughed ; he 
told me, again and again, that it would not " put him out 
of his way not a bit;" and he added, "You're falling 
into a moping, unnatural life, and you've grown to like it, 
and the more you like it, the less it is fit for you ; if you 
lose your spirits, you can't keep your health long." 

And when I still persisted, he looked in my face a little 
darkly, on a sudden, as if a doubt as to my motive had 
crossed his mind. That look frightened me. I felt that 
matters might be worse. 

Sir Harry had got it into his head, I found, that my 
health would break down, unless he provided the sort of 
change and amusement which he had decided on. I don't 
know to which of the wiseacres of Golden Friars I was 
obliged for this crotchet, which promised me such an 
infinity of suffering, but I had reason to think, afterwards, 
that old Miss Goulding of Wrybiggins was the friend who 
originated these misgivings about my health and spirits. 
She wished, I was told, to marry her niece to Richard 
Marston, and thought, if I and Sir Harry were out of the 
way, her plans would act more smoothly. 

Richard was at home it was our tea-time I had not 
an opportunity of saying a word to him unobserved. I 
don't know whether he saw by my looks that I was un- 



IE HAEEY took his coffee with us, and read to 
me a little now and then from the papers which 
had come by the late mails. Mr. Blount had 
farming news to tell Eichard. It was a dreadful 

I was only able that night to appoint with Eichard to 
meet me, next day, at our accustomed trysting-place. 

Three o'clock was our hour of meeting. The stupid, 
feverish day dragged on, and the time at length arrived. 
I got on my things quickly, and trembling lest I should 
be joined by Sir Harry or Mr. Blount, I betook myself 
through the orchard, and by the wicket in the hedge, to 
the lonely path through the thick woods where we had, a 
few months since, plighted our troth. 

Eichard appeared very soon ; he was approaching by 
the path opposite to that by which I had come. 

The foliage was thick and the boughs hang low in that 
place. You could have fancied him a figure walking in 
the narrow passage of a monastery, so dark and well- 
defined is the natural roofing of the pathway there. He 
raised his open hand, and shook his head as he drew 
I near ; he was not smiling ; he looked very sombre. 

He glanced back over his shoulder, and looked sharply 
| down the path I had come by, and being now very near 
j me, with another gloomy shake of the head, he said, with 
a tone and look of indescribable reproach and sorrow : 
:l" So Ethel has her secrets, and tells me but half her 
i mind." 

" WJaat can you mean, Eichard ?" 

348 Willing to Die. 

" Ah ! Ethel, I would not Lave treated you so,** lie 

" You distract ine, Richard ; what have I done ?" 

" I have heard it all by accident, I may say, from old 
Mr. Blount, who has been simpleton enough to tell me. 
You have asked my uncle to take you to London, and you 
are going." 

" Asked him ! I have all but implored of him to leave 
me here. I never heard a word of it till last night, as we 
returned together in the boat. Oh ! Bichard, how could 
you think such things ? That is the very thing I have 
been so longing to talk to you about." 

" Ethel, darling, are you opening your heart entirely to 
me now ; is there no reserve ? No ; I am sure there is 
not ; you need not answer." 

"It is distracting news ; is there nothing I can do to 
prevent it ?" I said. 

He looked miserable enough, as walking slowly along 
the path, and sometimes standing still, we talked it over. 

" Yes," he said ; " the danger is that you may lead him 
by resistance to look for some secret motive. If he should 
suspect our engagement, few worse misfortunes could 
befall us. Good heavens ! shall I ever have a quiet home ? 
Ethel, I know what will happen you will go to London ; 
I shall be forgotten. It will end in the ruin of all my 
hopes." So he raved on. 

I wept, and upbraided, and vowed rny old vows over 

At length after this tempestuous scene had gone on for 
some time, we two walking side by side up and down the 
path, and sometimes stopping short, I crying, if you will, 
like a fool, he took my hand and looked in my face very 
sadly, and he said after a little : 

" Only I know that he would show more anger, I should 
have thought that my uncle knew of our engagement, and 
was acting expressly to frustrate it. He has found work 
for me at his property near Hull, and from that I am to 
go to Warwickshire, so that I suppose I can't be here 
again before the middle of October, and long before then, 
you will be at Brighton, where, Mr. Blount says, he 
means to take you first, and from that to London." 

Danger. 849 

" But you are not to leave this immediately ?" I said. 
He smiled bitterly, and answered : 
"He takes good care I shall. I am to leave this to- 
morrow morning." 

I could not speak for a moment. 

II Oh, Kichard, Richard, how am I to live through this 
separation ?" I cried wildly. " You must contrive some 
way to see me. I shall die unless you do." 

4 ' Come, Ethel, let us think it over; it seems to me 
that we have nothing for it, for the present, but submission. 
I am perfectly certain that our attachment is not suspected. 
If it were, far more cruel and effectual measures would be 
taken. We must, therefore, be cautious. Let us betray 
nothing of our feelings. You shall see me undergo the 
ordeal with the appearance of carelessness, and even 
cheerfulness, although my heart be bursting. You, 
darling, must do the same ; one way or other I will 
manage to see you sometimes, and to correspond regularly. 
"We are bound each to the other by promises we dare not 
break, and when I desert you, may God desert me ! Ethel, 
will you say the same ?" 

"Yes, Richard," I repeated, vehemently, through sobs, 
" when I forsake you, may God forsake me ! You know 
I could not live without you. Oh ! Richard, darling, how 
shall I see you all this evening, knowing it to be the last ? 
How can I look at you, or hear your voice, and yet no 
sign, and talk or listen just as usual, as if nothing had 
gone wrong ? Richard, is there no way to escape ? Do 
you think if we told your uncle ? Might it not be the 
best thing after all ? Could it possibly make matters 
worse ?" 

"Yes, it would, a great deal worse; that is not to be 
thought of," said Richard, with a thoughtful frown ; " I 
know him better than you do. No ; we have nothing 
for it but patience, and entire trust in one another. As 
for me, if I am away from you, the more solitary I am, 
the more bearable my lot. With you it will be different ; 
you will soon be in the stream and whirl of your old life. 
I shall lose you, Ethel." He stamped on the ground, and 
struck his forehead with his open hand in sheer distraction, 
" As for me, I can enjoy nothing without you ; I may have 

850 Willing to Die. 

been violent, wicked, reckless, what you "will ; but selfish 
or fickle, no one ever called me." 

I was interrupting him all the time with my passionate 
vows of fidelity, which he seemed hardly to hear ; he was 
absorbed in his own thoughts. After a silence of a minute 
or two, he said, suddenly : 

" Look here, Ethel ; if you don't like your London life, 
you can't be as well there as here, and you can, if you 
will, satisfy my uncle that you are better, as well as 
happier, here at Golden Friars. You can do that, and 
that is the way to end it the only way to end it that I 
see. You can write to me, Ethel, without danger. Yon 
will, I know, every day, just a line ; and when you tell 
me how to address mine, you shall have an answer by 
every post. Don't go out in London, Ethel ; you must 
promise that." 

I did, vehemently and reproachfully. I wondered how 
he could suspect me of wishing to go out. But I could 
not resent the jealousy that proved his love. 

It was, I think, just at this moment that I heard a 
sound that made my heart bound within me, and then 
sink with terror. It was the clear, deep voice of Sir 
Harry, so near that it seemed a step must bring him round 
the turn in the path, and full in view of us. 

" Go, darling, quickly," said Richard, pressing me 
gently with one hand, and with the other pointing in the 
direction furthest from the voice that was so near a signal 
of danger. He himself turned, and walked quickly to 
meet Sir Harry, who was conferring with his ranger about 
thinning the timber. 

I was out of sight in a moment, and, in agitation in- 
describable, made my way home. 



T was all true. Biclmrd left Dorracleugh early 
next morning. Those who have experienced 
such a separation know its bitterness, and the 
heartache and apathy that follow. 
I was going to be left quite alone, and mistress at 
Dorracleugh for three weeks at least ; perhaps for twice as 
long. Mr. Blount was to leave next day for France, to 
pay a visit of a fortnight to Vichy. Sir Harry Bokestone, 
a few days later, was to leave Dorracleugh for Brighton. 

Nothing could be kinder than Sir Harry. It was plain 
that he suspected nothing of the real situation. 

" You'll be missing your hit of backgammon with 
Lemuel Blount, "he said, "and your sail on the mere wi' my- 
self, and our talk round the tea-table of an evening. 'Twill 
be dowly down here, lass ; but ye'll be coming soon where 
you'll see sights and hear noise enough for a dozen. So 
think o' that, and when we are gone you niunnon be 
glumpin' about the house, but chirp up, and think there 
are but a few weeks between you and Brighton and 

How directly this kind consolation went to the source 
of my dejection you may suppose. 

So the time came, and I was alone. Solitude was a 
relief. I could sit looking at the lake, watching the track 
where his boat used to come and go over the water, and 
thinking of him half the day. I could walk in the path- 
way, and sit under the old beech-tree, and murmur long 
talks with him in fancy, without fear of interruption ; but 

852 Willing to Die. 

oli ! the misgivings, the suspense, the dull, endless pain of 
separation ! 

Not a line reached me from Richard. He insisted that 
while I remained at Dorracleugh there should be no cor- 
respondence. In Golden Friars, and about the post- 
office, there were so many acute ears and curious eyes. 

Sir Harry had been gone about three weeks, when he 
sent me a really exquisite little enamelled watch, set in 
brilliants ; it was brought to Dorracleugh by a Golden 
Friars neighbour whom he had met in his travels. Then, 
after a silence of a week, another letter came from Sir 
Harry. He was going up to London, he said, to see after 
the house, and to be sure that nothing was wanted to 
" make it smart." 

Then some more days of silence followed, interrupted 
very oddly. I was out, taking my lonely walk in the 
afternoon, when a chaise with a portmanteau, a hat-box, 
and some other luggagejon top, drove up to the hall-door ; the 
driver knocked and rang, and out jumped Richard Marston, 
who ran up the steps, and asked the servant, with an ac- 
customed air of command, to take the luggage up to his 

He had been some minutes in the hall before he inquired 
whether I was in the house. He sat down on a hall-chair, 
in his hat and great-coat, just as he had come out of the 
chaise, lost in deep thought. He seemed for a time un- 
decided where to go ; he went to the foot of the stairs, and 
stopped short, with his hand on the banister, and turned 
back ; then he stood for a little while in the middle of the 
hall, looking down on his dusty boots, again in deep 
thought ; then he walked to the hall-door, stood on the steps 
in the same undecided state, and sauntered in again, and 
said to the servant : 

" And Miss Ware, you say, is out walking ? Well, go 
ou and tell the housekeeper that 1 have come, and shall 
e coming and going for a few days, till I hear from 

The man departed to execute his message. Richard 
Marston had paid the vicar a visit of about five minutes, 
as he drove through the town of Golden Friars, and had 
had a very private and earnest talk with him. He seemed 

An Intruder. 353 

very uncomfortable and fidgety. He took off his hat and laid 
it down, and put it on again, and looked dark and agitated, 
like a man in a sudden danger, who expects a struggle for 
his life. He went again to the foot of the stairs, and 
listened for a few seconds ; and then, without much ado, 
he walked over and turned the key that was in Sir Harry's 
study-door, took it out, and went into the room, looking 
very stern and nervous. 

In a little more than five minutes Mrs. Shackleton, the 
housekeeper, in her thick brown silk, knocked sharply at 
the door. 

" Come in," called Eichard Marston's voice. 

" I can't, sir." 

" Can't ? Why ? What's the matter ?" 

" You've bolted it, please, on the inside," she answered, 
very tartly. 

" I ? I haven't bolted it," Eichard Marston answered, 
with a quiet laugh. " Try again." 

She did, a little fiercely ; but the door opened, and dis- 
closed Eichard Marston sitting in his uncle's easy chair, 
with one of the newspapers he had bought in his railway 
carriage expanded on his knees. He looked up carelessly. 

"Well, Mrs. Shackleton, what's the row ?" 

" No row, sir, please," she answered, sharply rustling 
into the room, and looking round. She didn't like him. 

But the door was bolted, I assure you, sir, only a minute 
before, when I tried it first ; and my master, Sir Harry, 
told me no one was to be allowed into this room while he's 

" So I should have thought ; his letters lying about 
but I found the door open, and the key in the look here 
it is ; so I thought it safer to take it out." 

The old woman made a short curtsey as she took it, 
dryly, from his fingers ; and she stood, resolutely waiting. 

" Oh! I suppose," he said, starting up, and stretching 
himself, with a smile and a little yawn, " you want me to 
turn out ?" 

" Yes, sir, please," said Mrs. Shackleton peremptorily. 

The young gentleman cast a careless glance through the 
far window, looked lazily round, as if to see that he had not 
forgotten anything, and then said, with a smile : 

2 A 

854 Willing to Die. 

" Mrs. Shackleton, happy the man who has such a lady 
to take care of his worldly goods." 

" I'm no lady, sir ; I'm not above my business," she 
said, with another hard little curtsey. " I tries to do my 
dooty accordin' to my conscience. Sorry to have to disturb 
you, sir." 

" Not the least; no disturbance," he said, sauntering 
out of the room, with another yawn. 

He was cudgelling his brains to think what civility he 
could do the old lady, or how he could please or make her 
friendly ; but Mrs. Shackleton had her northern pride, he 
knew, which was easily ruffled, and he must approach her 
very cautiously. 


|P to his room he went ; his things were all there 
he wished to get rid of the dust and smuts of 
his railway journey. 

He made his toilet rapidly ; and just as he 
was about to open his door, a knock came to it. 

" What is it ?" he asked. 

" The vicar has called, sir, and wants to know if yon 
can see him." 

" Certainly." Tell him I'll be down in a moment." 

Mr. Marston had foreseen this pursuit with a prescience 
of which he was proud. He went downstairs, and found 
the white-haired vicar alone in the drawing-room. 

" I am so delighted you have come," said Eiohard 
Marston, advancing quickly, with an outstretched hand, 
from the door, without giving him a moment to begin. 
" I have only had time to dress since I arrived, and I 
have made up my mind that it is better to replace this 
key in your hand, without using it and, in the mean- 
time, it is better in your keeping than in mine. Don't 
you think so ?" 

" Well, sir, said the good vicar, " I do. It is odd, but 
the very same train of thought passed through my mind, 
and, in fact, induced me to pay you this visit. You see 
it was placed in my charge, and I think, until it is 
formally required of me, I should not part with it." 

" Just so," acquiesced the young man. 

" We both acted, perhaps, a little too precipitately." 

" So we did, sir," said Richard Marston, " but I tako 

2 A 2 

856 Willing to Die. 

the entire blame on myself. I'm too apt to be impulsive 
and foolish. I generally think too late ; happily this 
time, however, I did reflect, and with your concurrence, I 
am now sure I was right." 

The young man paused and thought, with his hand on 
the vicar's arm. 

" One thing," he said, " I would stipulate, however ; as 
we are a good deal in the dark, my reason for declining to 
take charge of the key would be but half answered, as I 
must be a great deal in this house, and there may be 
other keys that open it, and I can't possibly answer for 
servants, and other people who will be coming and going, 
unless you will kindly come into the next room with me 
for a moment." 

The vicar consented; and Mr. Marston was eloquent. 
Mrs. Shackelton was sent for, and with less reluctance 
opened the door for the vicar, whom she loved. She did 
not leave it, however they did not stay long. In a few 
minutes the party withdrew. 

" Won't you have some luncheon ?" asked Eichard, in 
the hall. 

"No, thank you," said the vicar, "I am very much 
hurried. I am going to see that poor boy to whom Mr. 
Blount has been so kind, and who is, I fear, dying." 

And with a few words more, and the key again in his 
keeping, he took his leave. 

I was all this time in my favourite haunt, alone, little 
thinking that the hero of my dreams was near, when 
suddenly I saw him walking rapidly up the path. With 
a cry, I ran to meet him. He seemed delighted and 
radiant with love as he drew me to him, folded me for a 
moment in his arms, and kissed me passionately. He 
had ever so much to say ; and yet, when I thought it over, 
there was nothing in it but one delightful promise ; and 
that was that henceforward, he expected to see a great 
deal more of me than he had hitherto done. 

There was a change in his manner, I thought he 
spoke with something of the confidence and decision of a 
lover who had a right to command. He was not more 
earnest, but more demonstrative. I might have resented 
his passionate greeting, if I had been myself less surprised 

Sir Harry's Key. 857 

and happy at his sudden appearance. He was obliged to 
go down to the village, but would be back again, he said, 
very soon. It would not do to make people talk, which 
they would be sure to do, if he and I were not very 

Therefore I let him go, without entreaty or remon- 
strance, although it cost me an indescribable pang to lose 
him, even for an hour, so soon after our long separation. 
He promised to be back in an hour, and although that 
was nearly impracticable, I believed him. " Lovers 
trample upon impossibilities." 

By a different; route I came home. He had said : 

" When I return, I shall come straight to the drawing- 
room will you be there ?" 

Bo to the drawing-room I went. I was afraid to leave 
it even for a moment, lest some accident should make 
him turn back, and he should find the room empty. 
There was to me a pleasure in obeying him, and I liked 
him to see it. How I longed for his return ! How 
restless I was ! How often I played his favourite airs on 
the piano ; how often I sat at the window, looking down 
at the trees and the mere, in the direction from which I 
had so often seen his boat coming, you will easily 

All this time I had a secret misgiving. There was a 
change in Richard's manner, as I have said ; there was 
confidence, security, carelessness a kind of carelessness 
not that he seemed to admire me less but it was a change. 
There seemed something ominous about it. 

As time wore on I became so restless that I could hardly 
remain quiet for a minute in any one place. I was per- 
petually holding the door open, and listening for the sound 
of horses' hoofs, or wheels, or footsteps. In vain. 

An hour beyond the appointed time had passed ; two 
hours. I was beginning to fancy all sorts of horrors. Was 
he drowned in the mere ? Had his horse fallen and killed 
him? There was no catastrophe too improbable to be 
canvassed among the wild conjectures of my terror. 

The sun was low, and I almost despairing, when the 
door opened, and Bichard came in. I had heard no sound 
at the door, no step approaching, only he was there. 



STARTED to my feet and was going to meet him, 
but lie raised his hand, as I fancied to warn me 
that some one was coming. So I stopped short, 
and he approached. 

" I shall be very busy for two or three days, dear Ethel; 
and," what he added was spoken very slowly, and dropped 
word by word, " you are such a rogue !" 

I was very much astonished. Neither his voice nor look 
was playful. His face at the moment wore about the most 
disagreeable expression which human face can wear. That 
of a smile, not a genuine but a pretended smile, which, at 
the same time, the person who smiles affects to try to 
suppress. To rne it looks cruel, cynical, mean. I was so 
amazed, as he looked into my eyes with this cunning, 
shabby smile, that I could not say a word, and stood stock- 
still looking in return, in stupid wonder, in his face. 

At length I broke out, very pale, for I was shocked, " I 
can't understand ! What is it ? Oh, Richard, what can 
you mean ?" 

''Now don't be a little fool. I really believe you are 
going to cry. You are a great deal too clever, you lovely 
little rogue, to fancy that a girl's tears ever yet did any 
good. Listen to me ; come !" 

He walked away, still smiling that insulting smile, and 
he took my hand in his, and shook his finger at me, with 
the same cynical affectation of the playful. " What did I 
mean ?" 

A Discovery. 859 

" Yes, what can you mean ?" I stamped the emphasis on 
the floor, with tears in my eyes. " It is cruel, it is 
horrible, after our long separation." 

" Well, I'll tell you what I mean," he said, and for a 
moment the smile almost degenerated to a sneer. " Look 
here ; come to the window." 

I faltered ; I accompanied him to it, looking in his face 
in an agony of alarm and surprise. It seemed to me like 
the situation of a horrid dream. 

" Do you know how I amused myself during the last 
twenty miles of my railway journey ?" he said. " Well, 
I'll tell you : I was reading all that time a curious criminal 
trial, in which a most respectable old gentleman, aged 
sixty-seven, has just been convicted of having poisoned a 
poor girl forty years ago, and is to be hanged for it before 
three weeks !" 

"Well?" said I, with an effort I should not have 
known my own voice, and I felt a great ball in my throat. 

" Well ?" he repeated; " don't you see ?" 

He paused with the same horrid smile ; this time, in 
the silence, he laughed a little ; it was no use trying to 
hide from myself the fact that I dimly suspected what he 
was driving at. I should have liked to die that momeut, 
before he had time to complete another senlence. 

" Now, you see, the misfortune of that sort of thing is 
that time neither heals nor hides the offence. There is a 
principle of law which says that no lapse of time bars 
the Crown. But I see this kind of conversation bores 

I was near saying something very wild and foolish, but 
I did not. 

" I won't keep you a moment," said he " just come a 
little nearer the window ; I want you to look at something 
that may interest you." 

I did go a little nearer. I was moving as he com- 
manded, as if I had been mesmerised. 

" You lost," he continued, " shortly before your illness, 
the only photograph you possessed of your sister Helen ? 
But why are you so put out by it ? Why should you 
tremble so violently? It is only I, you know; you need 
not mind. You dropped that on the floor of a jeweller's 

Willing to Die. 

shop one night, when I and Droqville happened to be there 
together, and I picked it up ; it represents you both 
together. I want to restore it ; here it is," 

I extended my hand to take it. I don't know whether 
I spoke, but the portrait faded suddenly from my sight, 
and darkness covered everything. I heard his voice, like 
that of a person talking in excitement, a long way off, at 
the other side of a wall in another room it was no more 
than a hum, and even that was growing fainter. I forgot 
everything, in utter unconsciousness, for some seconds. 
When I opened my eyes, water was trickling down my 
face and forehead, and the window was open. I sighed 
deeply. I saw him looking over me with a countenance 
of gloom and anxiety. In happy forgetfulness of all that 
had passed, I smiled and said : 

" Oh, Eicbard ! Thank God !" and stretched my arms 
to him. 

" That's right quite right," he said ; " you may have 
every confidence in me." 

The dreadful recollection began to return. 

" Don't get up yet," he said, earnestly, and even ten- 
derly; "you're not equal to it. Don't think of leaving 
me you must have confidence in me. Why didn't you 
trust me long ago ? trust me altogether ? Fear nothing 
while I am near you." 

So he continued speaking, until my recollection had 
quite returned. 

" Why, darling, will you not trust me ? Can you be 
surprised at my being wounded by your reserve ? How 
have I deserved it ? Forget the pain of this discovery, 
and remember only that against all the world, to the last 
hour of my life, with my last thought, the last drop of my 
blood, I am your defender." 

He kissed my hands passionately ; he drew me towards 
him, and kissed my lips. He murmured caresses and 
vows of unalterable love nothing could be more tender 
and impassioned. I was relieved by a passionate burst of 

" It's over now," he said " it's all over ; you'll forgive 
me, won't you ? I have more to forgive, darling, than 
you the hardest of all things to forgive in one whom we 

A Discovery. 861 

idolise a want of confidence in us. You ought to have 
told me all this before." 

I told him, as well as I could between my sobs, that 
there was no need to tell any one of a madness which had 
nothing to do with waking thoughts or wishes, and was 
simply the extravagance of delirium that I was then 
actually in fever, had been at the point of death, and that 
Mr. Carmel knew everything about it. 

" Well, darling," he said, "you must trouble your mind 
no more. " Of course you are not accountable for it. If 
people in brain fever were not carefully watched and 
restrained, a day would not pass without some tragedy. 
But what care I, Ethel, if it had been a real crime of 
passion ? Nothing. Do you fancy it would or could, for 
an instant, have shaken my desperate love for you ? Don't 
you remember Moore's lines : 

* I ask not, I care not, if guilt's in thy heart ; 
I but know that thou lov'st me, whatever thou art.' 

That is my feeling, fixed as adamant ; never suspect me. 
I can't I never can, tell you how I felt your suspicion of 
my love ; how cruel I thought it. What had I done to 
deserve it? There, darling, take this it is yours." He 
kissed the little photograph, he placed it in my hand, he 
kissed me again fervently. " Look here, Ethel, I came 
all this way, ever so much out of my way, to see you. I 
made an excuse of paying the vicar a visit on business 
my real business was to see you. I must be this evening 
at Wrexham, but I shall be here again to-morrow, as early 
as possible. I am a mere slave at present, and business 
hurries me from point to point ; but cost what it may, I 
shall be with you some time in the afternoon to-morrow." 

" To stay?" I asked. 

He smiled, and shook his head. 

"I can't say that, darling," he said; he was going 
towards the door. 

" But you'll be here early to-morrow ; do you think 
before two ?" 

"No, not before two, I am afraid. I may be delayed, 
and it is a long way ; but you may look out for me early 
in the evening." 

862 Willing to Die. 

Then came a leave-taldng. He would not let me come 
with him to the hall-door there were servants there, and 
I looked so ill. I stood at the window and saw him drive 
away. You may suppose I did feel miserable. I think I 
was near fainting again when he was gone. 

In a little time I was sufficiently recovered to get up to 
my room, and then I rang for Bebecca Torkill. 

I don't know how that long evening went by. The 
night came, and a miserable nervous night I passed, 
starting in frightful dreams from the short dozes I was 
able to snatch. 



[EXT morning, when the grey light came, I was 
neither glad nor sorry. The shock of my 
yesterday's interview with the only man on earth 
I loved, remained. It was a shock, I think, 
never to be quite recovered from. I got up and dressed 
early. How ill and strange I looked out of the glass in 
my own face ! 

I did not go down. I remained in my room, loitering 
over the hours that were to pass before the arrival of 
Kichard. I was haunted by his changed face. I tried to 
fix in my recollection the earnest look of love on which my 
eyes had opened from my swoon. But the other would 
take its place and remain ; and I could not get rid of the 
startled pain of my heart. I was haunted now, as I had 
been ever since that scene had taken place, with a vague 
misgiving of something dreadful going to happen. 

I think it was between four and five in the evening that 
Rebecca Torkill came in, looking pale and excited. 

" Oh, Miss Ethel, dear, what do you think has hap- 
pened ?" she said, lifting up both hands and eyes as soon 
as she was in at the door. 

" Good Heaven, Rebecca !" I said, starting up ; " is it 
anything bad?" 

I was on the point of saying " anything about Mr. 

"Oh, miss! what do you think? Poor Sir Harry 
Rokestone is dead." 

" Sir Harry dead !" I exclaimed. 

364 Willing to Die. 

"Dead, indeed, miss," said Rebecca. "Thomas Byres 
is just come up from the vicar's, and he's had a letter 
from Mr. Blount this morning, and the vicar's bin down 
at the church with Dick Mattox, the sexton, giving him 
directions about the vault. Little thought I, when I saw 
him going awa} 7 a fine man he was, six feet two, Adam 
Bell says, in his boots little thought I, when I saw him 
walk down the steps, so tall and hearty, he'd be coming 
back so soon in his coffin, poor gentleman. But, miss, 
they say dead folk's past feeling, and what does it all 
matter now ? One man's breath is another man's death. 
And so the world goes on, and all forgot before long. 

To the grave with the dead, 
And the quick to the bread.' 

A rough gentleman he was, but kind the tenants -will be 
all sorry. They're all talking, the servants, downstairs. 
He was one that liked to see his tenants and his poor 

All this and a great deal more Eebecca discoursed. I 
could hardly believe her news. A letter, I thought, would 
have been sure to reach Dorracleugh, as soon as the vicar's 
house, at least. 

Possibly this dismaying news would turn out to be mere 
rumour, I thought, and end in nothing worse than a sharp 
attack of gout in London. Surely we should have heard 
of his illness before it came to this catastrophe. Never- 
theless I had to tear up my first note to the vicar I was 
so flurried, and it was full of blunders and I was obliged 
to write another. It was simply to entreat information in 
this horrible uncertainty, which had for the time super- 
seded all my other troubles. 

A mounted messenger was despatched forthwith to the 
vicar's house. But we soon found that the rumour was 
everywhere, for people were arriving from all quarters to 
inquire at the house. It was, it is true, so far as we could 
learn, mere report ; but its being in so many places was 
worse than ominous. 

The messenger had not been gone ten minutes, when 
Richard Marston arrived. From my room I saw the 
chaise come to the hall-door, and I ran down at onc 

Sir Harry withdraws. 865 

to the drawing-room. Richard had arrived half an hour 
before his time. He entered the room from the other 
door as I came in, and met me eagerly, looking tired and 
anxious, but very loving. Not a trace of the Richard 
whose smile had horrified me the day before. 

Almost my first question to him was whether he had 
heard any such rumour. He was holding my hand in his 
as I asked the question he laid his other on it r and looked 
sadly in my eyes as he answered, " It is only too true. I 
have lost the best friend that man ever had." 

I was too much startled to speak for some seconds, then 
I burst into tears. 

" No, no." he said, in answer to something I had said. 
"It is only too certain there can be no doubt ; look at 

He took a telegraph paper from his pocket and showed 
it to me. It was from "Lemuel Blount, London." It 
announced the news in the usual shocking laconic manner, 
and said, " I write to you to Dykham." 

" I shall get the letter this evening when I reach Dyk- 
ham, and I'll tell you all that is in it to-morrow. The 
telegraph message had reached me yesterday, when I saw 
you, but I could not bear to tell you the dreadful news 
until I had confirmation, and that has come. The vicar 
has had a message, about which there can be no mistake. 
And now, darling, put on your things, and come out for a 
little walk I have ever so many things to talk to you 

Here was a new revolution in my troubled history. More 
or less of the horror of uncertainty again encompassed 
my future years. But grief, quite unselfish, predominated 
in my agitation. I had lost a benefactor. His kind face 
was before me, and the voice, always subdued to tender- 
ness when he spoke to me, was in my ear. I was grieved 
to the heart. 

I got on my hat and jacket, and with a heavy heart went 
out with Richard. 

For many reasons the most secluded path was that best 
suited for our walk. Richard Marston had just told the 
servants the substance of the message he had received 
that morning from Mr. Blount, so that that they 

866 Willing to Die. 

could have no difficulty about answering inquiries at the 

We soon found ourselves in the path that had witnessed 
so many of our meetings. I wondered what Richard in- 
tended talking about. He had been silent and thoughtful. 
He hardly uttered a word during our walk, until we had 
reached what I may call our trysting-tree, the grand old 
beech-tree, under which a huge log of timber, roughly 
squared, formed a seat. 

Though little disposed myself to speak, his silence 
alarmed me. 

" Ethel, darling," he said, suddenly, " have you formed 
any plans for the future ?" 

" Plans !" I echoed. " I don't know what do you mean, 
Eichard ?" 

"I mean," he continued, sadly, "have you considered 
how this misfortune may affect us ? Did Sir Harry 
ever tell you anything about his intentions I mean 
what he thought of doing by his will ? Don't look so 
scared, darling," he added, with a melancholy smile ; 
" you will see just now what my reasons are. You can't 
suppose that a sordid thought ever entered my mind." 

I was relieved. 

" No ; he never said a word to me about his will, except 
what I told you," I answered. 

" Because the people who knew him at Wrexham are 
talking. Suppose he has cut me off and provided for you, 
could I any longer in honour hold you to an engagement, 
to fulfil which I could contribute nothing ?" 

" Oh, Eichard, darling, how can you talk so ? Don't 
you know, whatever I possess on earth is yours." 

" Then my little woman refuses to give me up, even if 
there were difficulties ?" he said, pressing my hands, and 
smiling down upon my face in a kind rapture. 

" I could not give you up, Eichard you know I 
couldn't," I answered. 

" My darling !" he exclaimed, softly, looking down upon 
me still with the same smile. 

" Eichard, how could you ever have dreamed such a 
thing ? You don't know how you wound me." 

" I never thought it, I never believed it, darling. I 

Sir Harry withdraws. 867 

knew it was impossible ; whatever difficulties might come 
between us, I knew that I could not live without you ; and 
I thought you loved me as well. Nothing then shall part 
us nothing. Don't you say so ? Say it, Ethel. I swear 
it, nothing." 

I gave him the promise ; it was but repeating what I 
had often said before. Never was vow uttered from a 
more willing heart. Even now I am sure he reminded me, 
and, after his manner, loved me with a vehement passion. 

" But there are other people, Ethel," he resumed, " who 
think that I shall be very well off, who think that I shall 
inherit all my uncle's greal fortune. But all may not go 
smoothly, you see ; there may be great difficulties. Pro- 
mise me, swear it once more, that you will suffer no ob- 
stacles to separate us ; that we shall be united, be they 
what they may ; that you will never, so help you Heaven, 
forsake me or marry another." 

I did repeat the promise. We walked towards home ; 
I wondering what special difficulty he could be thinking 
of now ; but, restrained by a kind of fear, I did not ask 

"I'm obliged to go away again, immediately," said he, 
after another short silence ; " but my business will be over 
to-night, and I shall be here again in the morning, and 
then I shall be my own master for a time, and have a 
quiet day or two, and be able to open my heart to you, 
Ethel." ' 

We walked on again in silence. Suddenly he stopped, 
laying his hand on my shoulder, and looking sharply into 
my face, said : 

' I'll leave you here it is time, Ethel, that I should be 
off." He held my hand in his, and his eyes were fixed 
steadily upon mine. "Look here," he said, after another 
pause, "I must make a bitter confession, Ethel ; you know 
me with all my faults I have no principle of calculation 
in me equity and all that sort of thing, would stand a 
poor chance with me against passion I am all passion ; 
it has been my undoing, and will yet I hope," and he 
looked on me with a wild glow in his dark eyes, " be the 
making of me, Ethel. No obstacle shall separate us, you 
have sworn ; and mind, Ethel, I am a fellow that never 

868 Willing to Die. 

forgives, and as Heaven is my judge, if you give me up, 
I'll not forgive you. But that will never be. God bless 
you, darling you shall see me early to-morrow. Go you 
in that direction let us keep our secret a day or two 
longer. You look as if you thought me mad I'm not 
that though I sometimes half think so myself. There 
has been enough in my life to make a steadier brain than 
mine crazy. Good-bye, Ethel, darling, till to-morrow. 
God bless you !" 

With these words he left me. His reckless language 
had plainly a meaning in it. My heart sank as I thought 
on the misfortune that had reduced me again to uncer- 
tainty, and perhaps to a miserable dependence. It was 
by no means impossible that nothing had been provided 
for either him or me by Sir Harry Eokestone. Men, 
prompt and accurate in everything else, so often go on 
postponing a will until " the door is shut to," and the 
hour passed for ever. It was horrible allowing such 
thoughts to intrude ; but Eichard's conversation was so 
full of the subject, and my position was so critical and 
dependent, that it did recur, not with sordid hopes, but in 
the form of a great and reasonable fear. 

When Eichard was out of sight, as he quickly was 
among the trees, I turned back, and sitting down again on 
the rude bench under our own beech-tree, I had a long 
and bitter cry, all to rnysetf. 



IN Richard Marston left me, his chaise stood 
at the door, with a team of four horses, quite 
necessary to pull a four-wheeled carriage over 
the fells, through whose gorges the road to the 
nearest railway-station is carried. 

The pleasant setting sun flashed over the distant fells, 
and glimmered on the pebbles of the courtyard, and cast 
a long shadow of Richard Marston, as he stood upon the 
steps, looking down upon the yellow, worn flags, in dark 

" Here, put this in," he said, handing his only piece of 
luggage, a black leather travelling-bag, to one of the post- 
boys. " You know the town of Golden Friars ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Well, stop at Mr. Jarlcot's house." 

Away went the chaise, with its thin roll of dust, like 
the smoke of a hedge-fire, all along the road, till they 
pulled up at Mr. Jarlcot's house. 

Out jumped Mr. Marston, and knocked a sharp sum- 
mons with the brass knocker on the hall- door. 

The maid opened the door, and stood on the step with 
a mysterious look of inquiry in Mr. Marston's face. The 
rumour that was already slowly spreading in Golden 
Friars had suddenly been made sure by a telegraphic 
message from Lemuel Blount to Mr. Jarlcot. His good 
wife had read it just five minutes before Mr. Marston's 


870 Willinr to Die. 

" When is Mr. Jarlcot to be home again ?" 
" Day after to-morrow, please, sir." 
" Well, when he comes, don't forget to tell him I called. 
No, this is better," and he wrote in pencil on his card the 
date and the words, ''Called twice most anxious to see 
Mr. Jarlcot ;" and laid it on the table. " Can I see Mr. 
Spaight ?" he inquired. 

Tall, stooping Mr. Spaight, the confidential man, with 
his bald head, spectacles, and long nose, emerged politely, 
with a pen behind his ear, at this question, from the door 
of the front room, which was Mr. Jarlcot's office. 

"Oh! Mr. Spaight," said Kichard Marston, "have 
you hea,rd from Mr. Jarlcot to-day ?" 

"A short letter, Mr. Marston, containing nothing of 
business only a few items of news ; he's in London till 
to-morrow he saw Mr. Blonnt there." 

" Then he has heard, of course, of our misfortune ?" 
" Yes, sir ; and we all sympathise with you, Mr. Marston, 
deeply, sir, in your affliction. Will you please to step in, 
sir, and look at the letter ?" 

Mr. Marston accepted the invitation. 
There were two or three sentences that interested him. 
" I have had a conversation with Mr. Blount this 
morning. He fears very much that Sir Harry did not 
execute the will. I saw Messrs. Hutt and Babbage, 
who drafted the will ; but they can throw no light upon 
the matter, and say that the result of a search, only, 
can ; which Mr. Blount says won't take five minutes to 

This was interesting ; but the rest was rubbish. Mr. 
Marston took his leave, got into the chaise again, and 
drove under the windows of the " George and Dragon," 
along the already deserted road that ascends the fells from 
the margin of the lake. 

Bichard Marston put his head from the window and 
looked back ; there was no living creature in his wake. 
Before him he saw nothing but the post-boys' stooping 
backs, and the horses with their four patient heads bobbing 
before him. The light was failing, still it would have 
served to read by for a little while ; aud there was 
something he was very anxious to read. He was irre- 

At the Three Nuns. 871 

solute there was a risk in it he could not make up his 

He looked at his watch it would take him nearly 
three hours to reach the station at the other side of the 
fells. Unlucky the delay at Dorracleugh ! 

The light failed. White mists began to crawl across 
the road, and were spreading and rising fantastically on 
the hill-sides. The moon came out. He was growing 
more impatient. In crossing a mountain the eye mea- 
sures so little distance gained for the time expended. The 
journey seemed, to him, interminable. 

At one of the zig-zag turns of the road, there rises a 
huge fragment of white stone, bearing a rude resemblance 
to a horseman ; a highwayman, you might fancy him, 
awaiting the arrival of the travellers. In Kichard's eye 
it took the shape of old Sir Harry Eokestone, as he used 
to sit, when he had reined in his tall iron-grey hunter, and 
was waiting to have a word with some one coming up. 

He muttered something as he looked sternly ahead at 
this fantastic reminder. On they drove ; the image re- 
solved itself into its rude sides and angles, and was passed ; 
and the pale image of Sir Harry no longer waylaid his 

Slowly the highest point of the road was gained, and 
then begins the flying descent ; and the well-known land- 
marks, as he consults his watch, from time to time, by 
the moonlight, assure him that they will reach the station 
in time to catch the train. 

He is there. He pays his post-boys, and with his black 
travelling-bag in hand, runs out upon the gravelled front, 
from which the platform extends its length. 

" The up-train not come yet ?" inquired the young man, 
looking down the line eagerly. 

"Not due for four minutes, Mr. Marston," said the 
station-master, with officious politeness, " and we shall 
hardly have it up till some minutes later. They are obliged 
to slacken speed in the Malwyn cutting at present. Your 
luggage all right, I hope ? Shall I get your ticket for you, 
Mr. Marston ?" 

The extraordinary politeness sf the official had, perhaps, 
some connection with the fact that the rumour of Sir 

Willing to Die. 

Harry's death was there already, and the Rokestone estates 
extended beyond the railway. Richard Marston was 
known to be the only nephew of the deceased baronet, and 
to those who knew nothing of the interior politics of the 
family, his succession appeared certain. 

Mr. Marston thanked him, but would not give him the 
trouble ; he fancied that the station-master, who was 
perfectly innocent of any treacherous design, wished to 
play the part of a detective, and find out all he could about 
his movements and belongings. 

Richard Marston got away from him as quickly as he 
civilly could, without satisfying his curiosity on any point. 
The train was up, and the doors clapping a few minutes 
later ; and he, with his bag, rug, and umbrella, got into 
his place with a thin, sour old lady in black, opposite ; a 
nurse at one side, with two children in her charge, who 
were always jumping down on people's feet, or climbing 
up again, and running to the window, and bawling ques- 
tions with incessant clamour ; and at his other side, a 
mummy-coloured old gentleman with an olive-green cloth 
cap, the flaps of which were tied under his chin, and a 
cream-coloured muffler. 

He had been hoping for a couple of hours' quiet per- 
haps a tenantless carriage. This state of things for a man 
in search of meditation was disappointing. 

They were now, at length, at Dykham. A porter in 
waiting, from the inn called the " Three Nuns," took 
Marston's bag and rug, and led the way to that house, 
only fifty yards off, where he took up his quarters for the 

He found Mr. Blount's promised letter from London 
there. He did not wait for candles and his sitting-room. 
In his hat and overcoat, by the gas-light at the bar, he 
read it breathlessly. It said substantially what Mr. Jarl- 
cot's letter had already told him, and nothing more. It 
was plain, then, that Sir Harry had left every one in the 
dark as to whether he had or had not executed the will. 

In answer to the waiter's hospitable inquiries about 
supper, he said he had dined late. It was not true ; but 
it was certain that he had no appetite. 

He got a sitting-room to himself ; he ordered a fire, for 

At the Three Nuns. 873 

he thought the night chilly. He had bought a couple of 
books, two or three magazines, and as many newspapers. 
He had his window-curtains drawn ; and their agreeable 
smell of old tobacco smoke assured him that there would 
be no objection to his cigar. 

" I'll ring when I want anything," he said ; " and, in 
the meantime, let me be quiet." 

It was here, when he had been negotiating for Sir 
Harry the renewal of certain leases to a firm in Dyk- 
ham, that the telegraph had brought him the startling 
message, and Mr. Blount said in the same message that 
he was writing particulars by that day's post. 

Mr. Marston had not allowed grass to grow under his 
feot, as you see ; and he was now in the same quarters, 
about to put the case before himself, with a thorough 
command of its facts. 



]ANDLES lighted, shutters closed, curtains drawn, 
and a small but cheerful fire flickering in the 
grate. The old-fashioned room looked pleasant ; 
Richard Marston was nervous, and not like him- 
self. He looked over the " deaths" in the papers, but Sir 
Harry's was not among them. He threw the papers one 
after the other on the table, and read nothing. 

He got up and stood with his back to the fire. He 
looked like a man who had got a chill, whom nothing 
could warm, who was in for a fever. He was in a state he 
had not anticipated he almost wished he had left undone 
the things he had done. 

He bolted the door he listened at it he tried it with 
his hand. He had something in his possession that em- 
barrassed and almost frightened him, as if it had been 
some damning relic of a murdered man. 

He sat down and drew from his breastpocket a tolerably 
bulky paper, a law-paper with a piece of red tape about it, 
and a seal affixing the tape to the paper. The paper was 
endorsed in pencil, in Sir Harry's hand, with the words, 
" Witnessed by Darby Mayne and Hugh Fen wick," and the 
date followed. 

A sudden thought struck him ; he put the paper into 
his pocket again, and made a quiet search of the room, 
even opening and looking into the two old cupboards, and 
peeping behind the curtains to satisfy his nervous fancy 
that no one was concealed there. 

Then again he took out the paper, cut the tape, broke 
the seal, unfolded the broad document, and holding it ex- 
tended in both hands, read, " The last will and testament 
of Sir Harry Eokestone, of Dorracleugh, in the County 
of , Baronet." 

The Will. 875 

Here, then, was the great sacrilege. He stood there 
with the spoils of the dead in his hands. But there was 
no faltering now in his purpose. 

He read on : " I, Harry Kokestone, etc., Baronet, of 
Dorracleugh, etc., being of sound mind, and in good health, 
do make this my last will," etc. 

And on and on he read, his face darkening. 

" Four trustees," he muttered, and read on for awhile, 
for he con Id not seize its effect as rapidly and easily as an 
expert would. " Well, yes, two thousand two hundred 
pounds sterling by way of annuity annuity ! to be paid 
for the term of his natural life, in four equal sums, on the 
first of May, the first of August yes, and so on as a first 
charge upon all the said estates, and so forth. Well, what 
else '?" 

And so he went on humming and humming over the 
paper, his head slowly turning from side to side as he read. 

" And Blount to have two hundred a year ! I guessed 
that old Methodist knew what he was about ; and then 
there's the money. What about the money ?" He read 
on as before. " Five thousand pounds. Five thousand 
for me. Upon my soul! out of one hundred and twenty 
thousand pounds in government stock. That's modest, 
all things considered, and an annuity just of two thousand 
two hundred a year for my life, the rental of the estates, 
as I happen to know, being nearly nine thousand." This 
he said with a sneering, uneasy chuckle. "And that is 
all !" 

And he stood erect, holding the paper by the corner 
between his finger and thumb, and letting it lie against 
his knee. 

" And everything else," he muttered, " land and 
money, without exception, goes to Miss Ethel Ware. 
She the lady of the fee ; la poor annuitant !" 

Here he was half stifled with rage and mortification. 

"I see now, I see what he means. I see the drift of 
the whole thing. I see my way. I musn't make a 
mistake, though there can't be any. Nothing can be 
more distinct." 

He folded up the will rapidly, and replaced it in his 

S7G Willing to Die. 

Within the last half hour his forehead liad darkened, 
and his cheeks had hollowed. How strangely these suhtle 
muscular contractions correspond with the dominant 
moral action of the moment ! 

He took out another paper, a very old one, worn at 
the edges, and indorsed " Case on behalf of Richard 
Rokestone Marston, Esquire." I suppose he had read it 
at least twenty times that day, during his journey to 
Dorraclengh. " No, nothing on earth can be clearer or 
more positive," he thought. " The whole thing is as 
plain as that two and two make four. It covers every- 

There were two witnesses to this will corresponding 
with the indorsement, each had signed in presence of the 
other ; all was technically exact. 

Mr. Marston had seen and talked with these witnesses 
on his arrival at Dorracleugh, and learned enough to 
assure him that nothing was to be apprehended from 
them. They were persons in Sir Harry's employment, 
and Sir Harry had called them up on the day that the 
will was dated, and got them to witness in all about a 
dozen different documents, which they believed to be 
leases, but were not sure. Sir Harry had told them 
nothing about the nature of the papers they were wit- 
nessing, and had never mentioned a will to them. 
Richard Marston had asked Mrs. Shackelton also, and she 
had never heard Sir Harry speak of a will. 

While the news of Sir Harry's death- rested only upon 
a telegraphic message, which might be forged or precipi- 
tate, he dared not break the seal and open the will. Mr. 
Blount's and Mr. Jarlcot's letters, which he had read 
this evening, took that event out of the possibility of 

He was safe also in resolving a problem that was now 
before him. Should he rest content with his annuity and 
five thousand pounds, or seize the entire property, by 
simply destroying the will ?" 

If the will were allowed to stand he might count on my 
fidelity, and secure possession of all it bequeathed by 
marrying me. He had only to place the will somewhere 
in Sir Harry's room, where it would be sure to be found, 

The Will. 377 

and the affair would proceed in its natural course without 
more trouble to him. 

But Mr. Blount was appointed, with very formidable 
powers, nay guardian, and one of his duties was to see, in 
the event of my marrying, that suitable settlements were 
made, and that there was no reasonable objection to the 
candidate for my hand. 

Mr. Blount was a quiet but very resolute man in all 
points of duty. Knowing what was Sir Harry's opinion of 
his nephew, would he, within the meaning of the will, 
accept him as a suitior against whom no reasonable objec- 
tion lay ? And even if this were got over, Mr. Blount 
would certainly sanction no settlement which did not give 
me as much as I gave. My preponderance of power, as 
created by the will, must therefore be maintained by the 
settlement. I had no voice in the matter ; and thus it 
seems that in most respects, even by marriage, the operation 
of the will was inexorable. Why, then, should the 
will exist ? and why, with such a fortune and liberty within 
his grasp, should he submit to conditions that would fetter 

Even the pleasure of depriving Mr. Blount of his small 
annuity, ridiculous as such a consideration seemed, had 
its influence. He was keenly incensed with that officious 
and interested agent. The vicar, in their first conversa- 
tion, had opened his eyes as to the action of that pretended 

" Mr. Blount told me, just before he left this," said the 
good vicar, " that he had been urging and even entreating 
Sir Harry for a long time to execute a will which he had 
by him, requiring nothing but his signature, but, as yet, 
without success, and that he feared he would never do 

Now approached the moment of decision. He had read 
a trial in the newspapers long before, in which a curious 
case was proved. A man in the position of a gentleman 
had gone down to a deserted house that belonged to him, 
for the express purpose of there destroying a will which 
would have injuriously affected him. 

He had made up his mind to destroy it, but he was 
haunted with the idea that, do it how lie might in the 

378 Willing to Die. 

village where he lived, one way or other the crime would 
be discovered. Accordingly he -visited, with many pre- 
cautions, this old house, which was surrounded closely by 
a thick wood. From one of the chimneys a boy, in search 
of jackdaws, saw one little puff of smoke escape, and his 
curiosity being excited, he climbed to the window of the 
room to which the chimney corresponded, and peeping in, 
he saw something flaming on the hob, and near it a man, 
who started, and hurriedly left the room on observing 

Fancying pursuit, the detected man took his departure, 
without venturing to return to the room. 

The end of the matter was that his journey to the old 
house was tracked, and not only did the boy identify him, 
but the charred pieces of burnt paper found on the hob, 
having been exposed to chemical action, had revealed the 
writing, a portion of which contained the signatures of the 
testator, and the witnesses, and these and other part thus 
rescued, identified it with the original draft in possession 
of the dead man's attorney. Thus the crime was proved, 
and the will set up and supplemented by what, I believe, 
is termed secondary evidence. 

Who could be too cautious, then, it such a matter ? It 
seemed as hard to hide away effectually all traces of a will 
destroyed as the relics of a murder. 

Again he was tempted to spare the will, and rest content 
with an annuity and safety. It was but a temptation, 
however, and a passing one. 

He unbolted the door softly, and rang the bell. The 
waiter found him extended on a sofa, apparently deep in 
his magazine. 

He ordered tea nothing else ; he was precise in giving 
his order he did not want the servant pottering about 
his room he had reasons for choosing to be specially 

The waiter returned with his tea-tray, and found him 
buried, as before, in his magazine. 

" Is everything there ?" inquired Richard Marston. 
" Everything there ? Yes, sir, everything." 
" "Well, then, you need not coine again till I touch the 

The Will. 879 

The waiter withdrew. 

Mr. Marston continued absorbed in his magazine for 
just three minutes. Then he rose softly, stepped lightly to 
the door, and listened. He bolted it again ; tried it, and 
found it fast. 

In a moment the will was in his hand. He gave one 
dark, searching look round the room, and then he placed 
the document in the very centre of the embers. He saw it 
smoke sullenly, and curl and slowly warp, and spring with 
a faint sound, that made him start more than ever cannon 
did, into sudden flame. That little name seemed like a 
bale-fire to light up the broad sky of night with a vengeful 
nicker, and chrow a pale glare over the wide parks and 
mosses, the forests, fells, and mere, of dead Sir Harry's 
great estate ; and when the flame leaped up and died, it 
seemod that there was no light left in the room, and he 
could see nothing but the myriad little worms of lire 
wriggling all over the black flakes which he thrust, like 
struggling enemies, into the hollow of the fire. 

Bichard Marston was a man of redundant courage, and 
no scruple. But have all men some central fibre of fear 
that can be reached, and does the ghost of the conscience 
they have killed within them sometimes rise and over- 
shadow them with horror ? Bichard Marston, with his 
feet on the fender and the tongs in his hands, pressed 
down the coals upon the ashes of the will, and felt faint 
and dizzy, as he had done on the night of the shipwreck, 
when, with bleeding forehead, he had sat down for the 
first time in the steward's house at Malory. 

An event as signal had happened now. After nearly ten 
minutes had passed, during which he had never taken his 
eyes off the spot where the ashes were glowing, he got up 
and took the candle down to see whether a black film of 
the paper had escaped from the grate. Then stealthily he 
opened the window to let out any smell of burnt paper. 

He lighted his cigar, and smoked ; and unbolted the 
door, rang the bell, and ordered brandy -and -water. 
The suspense was over, and tho crisis past. 

He was resolved to sit tliero till morning, to see that 
fire burnt out. 



|HERE came on a sudden a great quiet over Dor- 
racleugh the quiet of death. 

There was no longer any doubt, all the 
country round, as to the fact that the old baronet 
was dead. Richard Marston had placed at all the gates 
notices to the effect that the funeral would not take place 
for a week, at soonest that no day had yet been fixed for 
it, and that early notice should be given. 

The slight fuss that had prevailed within doors, for the 
greater part of a day, had now quite subsided and, quiet 
as it always was, Dorracleugh was now more silent and 
stirless than ever. 

I could venture now to extend my walks anywhere 
about the place, without the risk of meeting any stranger. 

If there is a melancholy there is also something sub- 
lime and consolatory in the character of the scenery that 
surrounds it. Every one has felt the influence of lofty 
mountains near. This region is all beautiful ; but the 
very spirit of solitude and grandeur is over it. 

I was just consulting with my maid about some simple 
provisional mourning, for which I was about to despatch 
her to the town, when our conference was arrested by 
appearance of Richard Marston before the window. 

I had my things on, for I thought it not impossible 
might arrive earlier than he had the day before. 

I told my maid to come again by- and- by ; and I w( 
out to meet him. 

Well, we were now walking on the wild path, along tl 
steep side of the cleugh, towards the lake. What kind of 
conversation is this going to be ? His voice and 

The Serpent's Smile. 881 

are very gentle but he looks pale and stern, like a man 
going into a battle. The signs are very slight, but dread- 
ful. Oh ! that the next half-hour was over I What am I 
about to hear ? 

We walked on for a time in silence. 

The first thing he said was : 

" You are to stay here at Dorracleugh you must not 
go but I'm afraid you will be vexed with me." 

Then we advanced about twenty steps ; we were walking 
slowly, and not a word was spoken during that time. 

He began again : 

' Though, after all, it need not make any real dif- 
ference. There is no will, Ethel ; the vicar can tell you 
that ; he had the key, and has made search no will ; 
and you are left unprovided for bub that shan't affect 
you. I am heir-at-law, and nearest-of-kin. You kuow 
what that means. Everything he possessed, land or 
money, comes to me. But I've put my foot iuto it ; it 
is too late regretting. I can't marry." 

There was an interval of silence he was looking in my 

" There ! the murder's out. I knew you would be aw- 
fully vexed. So am I miserable but I can't. That is, 
perhaps, for many years." 

There was another silence. I could no more have spoken 
than I could, by an effort of my will, have lifted the moun- 
tain at the other side of the lake from its foundation. 

Perhaps he misinterpreted my silence. 

" I ought to have been more frank with you, Ethel I 
blame myself very much, I assure you. Can't you guess ? 
Well, I was an awful fool I'll tell you everything. I 
feel that I ought to have done so, long ago ; but you 
know, one can't always make up one's mind to be quite 
frank, and tell a painful story. I am married. In an 
evil hour, I married a woman in every way unsuited to 
me pity me. In a transitory illusion, I sacrificed my 
life and, what is dearer, my love. I have not so much 

3 seen her for years, and I am told she is not likely to 
live long. In the meantime I am yours only yours en- 
tirely and irrevocably, your own. I can offer you safety 
her*, and happiness, my own boundless devotion and 

882 Willing to Die. 

adoration, an asylum here, and all the authority and 
rights of a wife. Ethel dearest you won't leave me ?" 

I looked up in his face, scared a sudden look, quite 
unexpected. I saw a cunning, selfish face gloating down 
on me, with a gross, confident, wicked simper. 

That odious smile vanished, his eye shrank ; he looked 
detected or disconcerted for a moment, but he rallied. 

" I say, I look on myself, in the sight of heaven, as 
married to you. You have pledged yourself to mo hy 
every vow that can tie woman to man ; you have sworn 
that no obstacle shall keep us apart. That oath was not 
without a meaning, and you know it wasn't ; and, by 
heaven ! you shan't break my heart for nothing ! Come, 
Ethel, be a girl of sense don't you sse we are controlled 
by fate ? Look at the circumstances. Where's the good 
in quarrelling with me? Don't you see the position I'm 
placed in, about that miserable evidence ? Don't you. see 
that I am able and anxious to do everything for you ? 
Could a girl in your situation do a better or a wiser thing 
than unite her interests with mine, indissolubly ? For 
God's sake, where's the use of making me desperate ? 
What do you want to drive me to ? Why should you 
insist on making me your enemy ? How do you think 
it's all to end '?" 

Could I have dreamed that he could ever have looked 
at me with such a countenance, and spoken to me in such 
a tone ? I felt myself growing colder and colder ; I could 
not move my eyes from him. His image seemed to swim 
before me ; his harsh, frightful tones grow confused. My 
hands were to my temples, I could not speak; my answer 
was one piteous scream. 

I found myself hurrying along the wild path, towards 
the house, with hardly a clear recollection, without one 
clear thought. I don't know whether he tried to detain 
me, or began to follow me. I remember, at the hall-door, 
from habit, going up a step or two, in great excitement 
we act so nearly mechanically ! A kind of horror seized 
me at sight of the half-open door. I turned and hurried 
down the avenue. 

It was not until I had reached the " George and 
Dragon" at the sleepiest hour, luckily, of the tranquil 

Tlie Serpent's Smile. 883 

little town of Golden Friars that I made a first effectual 
effort to collect my thoughts. 

I was simply a fugitive. To return to Dorracleuph, 
where Kichard Marston was now master, was out of the 
question, I was in a mood to accept all ill news aa 
certain. It never entered my mind that he had intended 
to deceive me with respect to Sir Harry's will. Neither 
had he as to my actually unprovided state. Here then I 
stood a fugitive. 

I walked up to Mr. Turnbull, the host of the " George 
and Dragon/' whom I saw at the inn-door, and having 
heard his brief but genuine condolences, without half 
knowing what he was saying, I ordered a carriage to bring 
me to the railway station ; and while I was waiting I 
wrote a note in the quiet little room, with a window 
looking across the lake, to the good vicar. 

Mr. Turnbull was one of those heavy, comfortable 
persons who are willing to take everybody's business and 
reasons for granted. He therefore bored me with no 
surmises as to the reasons of my solitary excursion at so 
oddly chosen a time. 

I think, now, that my wiser course would have been to 
go to the vicar, and explaining generally my objections to 
remaining at Dorracleugh, to have asked frankly for per- 
mission to place myself under his care until the arrival of 
Mr. Blount. 

There were fifty other things I ought to have thought 
of, though I only wonder, considering the state in which 
my mind was at the moment, that I was able to write so 
coherently as I did to the vicar. I had my purse with 
me, containing fifty pounds, which poor Sir Harry had 
given me just before he left Dorracleugh. With no more 
than this, which I had fortunately brought down with me 
to the drawing-room, for the purpose of giving my maid 
a bank-note to take to the town to pay for my intended 
purchases, I was starting on my journey to London ! 
Without luggage, or servant, or companion, or plan of 
any kind inspired by the one instinct, to get as rapidly 
as possible out of sight and reach of Dorracleugh, and to 
earn my bread by my own exertions. 



are to suppose my journey safely ended in 
London. The first thing I did after securing 
lodgings, and making some few purchases, was 
to go to the house where my great friend Sir 
Harry Eokestone, had died. But Mr. Blount, I found, 
had left London for Golden Friars, only a few hours before 
my arrival. 

Another disappointment awaited me at Mr. Forrester's 
chambers he was out of town, taking his holiday. 

I began now to experience the consequences of my pre- 
cipitation. It was too late, however, to reflect; and if the 
plunge was to be made, perhaps the sooner the better. I 
wrote to the vicar, to give him my address, also to Mr. 
Blount, telling him the course on which I had decided. 
I at once resolved to look for a situation, as governess to 
very young children. I framed an advertisement with a 
great deal of care, which I published in the Times ; but no 
satisfactory result followed, and two or three days passed 
in like manner. 

After paying for my journey, and my London pur- 
chases, there remained to me, of my fifty pounds, about 
thirty-two. My situation was not so frightful as it might 
have been. But with the strictest economy a limited time 
must see my store exhausted ; and no one who has not 
been in such a situation can fancy the ever-recurridg panic 
of counting, day after day, the diminishing chances be- 
tween you and the chasm to whose edge you are slowly 

Laura Grey. 38$ 

A few days brought me a letter from the good vicar. 
There occurred in it a passage which finally quieted the 
faint struggle of hope now and then reviving. He said, 
" I observe by your letter that you are already apprised of 
the disappointing result of my search for the will of the 
late Sir Harry Kokestone. He had informed several per- 
sons of the spot where, in the event of his executing one, 
which he always, I am told, treated as very doubtful, it 
would be found. He had placed the key of the safe along 
with some other things at his departure, but without 
alluding to his will. At the request of Mr. Marston I 
opened the safe, and the result was, I regret to say, that 
no will was found." I was now, then, in dread earnest to 
lay my account for a life of agitation and struggle. 

At last a promising answer to my advertisement reached 
me. It said, " The Countess of Eillingdon will be in 
town till this day week, and will be happy to see L. Y.L.X., 
whose advertisement appeared in the Times of this morn- 
ing, if possible to-day before two." The house was in 
Belgrave Square. It was now near twelve. I called im- 
mediately with a note, to say I would call at a quarter to 
two, and at that hour precisely I returned. 

It was plain that this was but a flying visit of the 
patrician owners of the house. Some luggage, still in its 
shiny black casings, was in the hall ; the lamps hung in 
bags ; carpets had disappeared ; curtains were pinned up; 
and servants seemed scanty, and more fussy than in the 
organized discipline of a household. I told the servant 
that I had called in consequence of a note from Lady 
Eillingdon, and he conducted me forthwith up the stairs. 
We passed on the way a young lady coming down, whom 
I conjectured to be on the same errand as myself. We 
exchanged stolen looks as we passed, each, I daresay, con- 
jecturing the other's chances. 

" Her ladyship will see you presently," he said, opening 
a door. 

I entered, and whom should I see waiting in the room, 
in a chair, in her hat, with her parasol in her hand, but 
Laura Grey. 


*' Laura I" 

886 Willing to Die. 


And each in a moment was locked in the other's 
embrace. "With tears, with trembling laughter, and 
more kisses than I can remember, we signalized our 

" How wonderful that I should have met you here, 
Laura !" said I ; though what was the special wonder in 
meeting her there more than anywhere else, I could not 
easily have defined. " You must tell me, darling, if you 
are looking to come to Lady Rillingdon, for, if you are, I 
would not for the world think of it." 

Laura laughed very merrily at this. 

" Why, Ethel, what are you dreaming of? I'm Lady 
Billingdon 1" 

Sometimes a mistake seizes upon us with an unaccount- 
able obstinacy. Laura's claiming to be Lady Killingdon 
seemed to me simply a jest of that poor kind which relies 
entirely on incongruity, without so much colour of pos- 
sibility as to make it humorous. 

I laughed, faintly enough, with Laura, from mere po- 
liteness, wondering when this poor joke would cease to 
amuse her; and the more she looked in my face, the 
more heartily she laughed, and the more melancholy be- 
came my endeavour to accompany her. 

"What can I do to convince you, darling?" she ex- 
claimed at length, half distracted. 

She got up and touched the bell. I began to be a little 
puzzled. The servant appeared, and she asked : 

"Is his lordship at home ?" 

" I'll inquire, my lady," he answered, and retired 

This indeed was demonstration ; I could be incredulous 
no longer. We kissed again and again, and were once 
more laughing and gabbling together, when the servant 
returned with : 

" Please, my lady, his lordship went out about half an 
hour ago." 

" I'm so sorry," she said, turning to me, " but he'll be 
back very soon, I'm sure. 1 want so much to introduce 
him ; I think you'll like him." 

Luncheon soon interrupted us ; and when that little 
interval was over, she took me to the same quiet room, 

Laura Grey. 887 

and we talked and mutually questioned, and got out of 
each the whole history of the other. 

There was only one little child of this marriage, which 
seemed, in every way but that, so happy a daughter. 
Their second, a son, had died. This pretty little creature 
we had with us for a time, and then it went out with its 
nurse for a drive, and we, over our afternoon tea, resumed 
our confessions and inquiries. Laura had nearly as much 
to tell as I. In the midst of our talk Lord Eillingdon 
came in. I knew whom I was to meet. I was therefore 
not surprised when the very man whom I had seen faint 
and bleeding in the wood of Plas Ylwd, whom Eichard 
Marston had shot, and whom I had seen but once since 
at Lady Mardykse' ball, stood before me. In a moment 
we were old friends. 

He remained with us for about ten minutes, talked 
kindly and pleasantly, and drank his cup of tea. 

These recollections, in my present situation, were agi- 
tating. The image of Richard Marston had re- appeared 
in the sinister shadow in which it had been early presented 
to me by the friends who had warned me so kindly, but 
in vain. 

In a little time we talked on as before, and everything 
she told me added to the gloom and horror in which 
Marston was now shrouded in my sorrowful imagination. 

As soon as the first delighted surprise of meeting Laura 
had a little subsided, my fears returned, and all I had to 
dread from the active malice of Eichard Marston vaguely 
gathered on my stormy horizon again. 



| AURA'S long talk with me resulted in these facts, 

They cleared up her story. 

She was the only daughter of Mr. Grey, of 

Halston Manor, of whom I had often heard. 
He had died in possession of a great estate, and of shares 
in the Great Central Bank worth two hundred thousand 
pounds. Within a few weeks after his death the bank 
failed, and the estate was drawn into the ruin. Of her 
brother there is no need to speak, for he died only a year 
after, and has no connection with my story. 

Laura Grey would have been a suitable, and even a 
princely match for a man of rank and fortune, had it not 
been for this sudden and total reverse. Old Lord Eilling- 
don Viscount Eillingdon, his son, had won his own 
position in the peerage by brilliant service had wished to 
marry his son to the young lady. No formal overtures 
had been made ; but Lord Eillingdon's house, Northcot 
Hall, was near, and the young people were permitted to 
improve their acquaintance into intimacy, and so an un- 
avowed attachment was formed. The crash came, and 
Lord Eillingdon withdrew his son, Mr. Jennings, from the 
perilous neighbourhood. 

A year elapsed before the exact state of Mr. Grey's 
affairs was ascertained. During that time Eichard 
Marston, who had seen and admired Laura Grey, whose 
brother was an intimate friend of his, came to the neigh- 
bourhood and endeavoured to insinuate himself into her 
good graces. He had soon learned her ruined circum- 

A Chapter of Explanations* 889 

stances, and founded the cruellest hopes upon this melan 
choly knowledge. 

To forward his plans he had conveyed scandalous false- 
hoods to Mr. Jennings, with the object of putting an end 
to his rivalry. These Mr. Jennings had refused to believe ; 
but there were others no less calculated to excite his 
jealousy, and to alienate his affection. He had shown the 
effect of this latter influence by a momentary coldness, 
which roused Laura Grey's fiery spirit ; for gentle as she 
was, she was proud. 

She had written to tell Mr. Jennings that all was over 
between them, and that she would never see him more. 
He had replied in a letter which did not reach her till long 
after, in terms the most passionate and agonising, vowing 
that he held himself affianced to her while he lived, and 
would never marry any one but her. 

In this state of things Miss Grey had come to us, 
resolved to support herself by her own exertions. 

Lord Killingdon, having reason to suspect his son's 
continued attachment to Laura Grey, and having learned 
accidentally that there was a lady of that name residing 
at Malory, made a visit to Cardyllion. He was the old 
gentleman in the chocolate-coloured coat, who had met 
us as we returned from" church, and held a conversation 
with her, under the trees, on the mill-road. 

His object was to exact a promise that she would hold 
no communication with his son for the future. His tone 
was insolent, dictatorial, and in the highest degree irri- 
tating. She repelled his insinuations with spirit, and 
peremptorily refused to make any reply whatever to 
demands urged in a temper so arrogant and insulting. 

The result was that he parted from her highly incensed, 
and without having carried his point, leaving my dear 
sister and me in a fever of curiosity. 

Eichard Kokestone Marston was the only near relation 
of Sir Harry Eokestone. He had fallen under the 
baronet's just and high displeasure. After a course of 
wild and wicked extravagance, he had finally ruined 
himself in the opinion of Sir Harry by committing a 
fraud, which, indeed, would never have come to light had 
it not been for a combination of unlucky chances. 

390 Willing to Die. 

In consequence of this his uncle refused to see him ; but 
at Mr. Blount's intercession agreed to allow him a small 
annual sum, on the strict condition that he was to leave 
England. It was when actually on his way to London, 
which, for reason that, except in its result, has no con- 
nection with my story, he chose to reach through Bristol, 
that he had so nearly lost his life in the disaster of the 
Oonway Castle. 

Here was the first contact of my story with his. 

His short stay at Malory was signalised by his then 
unaccountable suit to me, and by his collision with Mr. 
Jennings, who had come down there on some very vague 
information that Laura Grey was in the neighbourhood. 
He had succeeded in meeting her, and in renewing their 
engagement, and at last had persuaded her to consent to 
a secret marriage, which at first involved the anguish of 
a long separation, during which a dangerous illness threat- 
ened the life of her husband. 

I am hurrying through this explanation, but I must relate 
a few more events and circumstances which throw a light 
upon some of the passages in the history I have been 
giving you of my life. 

Why did Richard Marston conceive, in perfect good 
faith, a fixed purpose to marry a girl of whom he knew 
enough to be aware that she was without that which pru- 
dence would have insisted on as a first necessity in his cir- 
cumstances money. 

Well, it turned out to have been by no means so impru- 
dent a plan. I learned from Mr. Blount the particulars 
that explained it. 

Mr. Blount, who took an interest in him, and had 
always cherished a belief that he was reclaimable, told 
him repeatedly that Sir Harry had often said that he 
would take one of Mabel Ware's daughters for his heiress. 
This threat he had secretly laughed at, knowing the 
hostility that subsisted between the families. He was, 
however, startled at last. Mr. Blount had shown him a 
letter in which Sir Harry distinctly stated that he had 
made up his mind to leave everything he possessed to me. 
This he showed him for the purpose of inducing a patient 
endeavour to regain his lost place in the old man's regard. 

A Chapter of Explanations. 891 

It effectually alarmed Kichard Marston ; and when a 
chance storm threw him at our door, the idea of averting 
that urgent danger, and restoring himself to his lost 
position, by an act of masterly strategy, occurred to him, 
and instantly bore fruit in action. 

After his return, and his admission as an inmate at 
Dorracleugh, the danger appeared still more urgent, and 
his opportunities were endless. 

He had succeeded, as I have told you, in binding me by 
an engagement. In that position he was safe, no matter 
what turned up. He had, however, now made his elec- 
tion ; and how cruelly, you already know. Did he, 
according to his low standard, love me ? I believe, so far 
as was consistent with his nature, he did. He was furious 
at my having escaped him, and would have pursued, and 
no doubt discovered me, had he been free at the moment 
to leave Dorracleugh. 

His alleged marriage was, I believe, a fiction. But he 
could not bear, I think, to lose me ; and had he obtained 
another interview, he would have held very different 
language. Mr. Blount thought that he had, perhaps, formed 
some scheme for a marriage of ambition, in favour of which 
I was to have been put aside. If so, however, I do not 
think that he would have purchased the enjoyment of such 
ambition at the price of losing me at once and for ever. 
I dare say you will laugh at the simplicity of this vanity 
in a woman who, in a case like this, could suppose such 
a thing. I do suppose it, notwithstanding. I am sure 
that, so far as his nature was capable of love, he did love 
me. With the sad evidences on which this faith was 
grounded, I will not weary you. Let those vain con- 
clusions rest where they are, deep in my heart. 

The important post which Lord Eillingdon had filled, in 
one of our greatest dependencies, and the skill, courage, 
and wisdom with which he had directed affairs during a 
very critical period, had opened a way for him to still 
higher things. He and Laura were going out in about six 
months to India, and she and he insisted that I should 
accompany them as their guest. This would have been 
too delightful under happier circumstances ; but the sense 
of dependence, however disguised, is dreadful. We are so 

892 Willing to Die. 

constructed that for an average mind it is more painful to 
share in idle dependence the stalled ox of a friend than to 
work for one's own dinner of herbs. 

They were going to Brighton, and I consented to make 
them a visit there of three or four weeks ; after which I 
was to resume my search for a " situation." Laura en- 
treated me at least to accept the care of her little child ; 
but this, too, I resolutely declined. At first sight you will 
charge me with folly ; but if you, being of my sex, will 
place yourself for a moment in my situation, you will 
understand why I refused. I felt that I should have been 
worse than useless. Laura would never have ordered me 
about as a good mother would like to order the person in 
charge of her only child. She would have been embarrassed 
and unhappy, and I conscious of being in the way. 

Two other circumstances need explanation. Laura told 
me, long after, that she had received a farewell letter from 
Mr. Carmel, who told her that he had written to warn me, 
but with much precaution, as Sir Harry had a strong an- 
tipathy to persons of his profession, of a danger which he 
was not then permitted to define. Monsieur Droqville, 
whom Mr. Marston had courted, and sought to draw into 
relations with him, had received a letter from that young 
man, stating that he had made up his mind to leave America 
by the next ship, and establish himself once more at 
Dorracleugh. It was Mr. Carmel, then, who had written 
the note that puzzled me so much, and conveyed it, by 
another hand, to the post-office of Cardyllion. 

Monsieur Droqville had no confidence in Eichard 
Marston. He had been informed, besides, of the exact 
nature of Sir Harry's will, and of a provision that made 
his bequest to me void, in case I should embrace the Roman 
Catholic faith. 

It was in consequence of that provision in the draft -will 
of Sir Harry Eokestone, and from a consideration of the 
impolicy of any action while Lady Lorrimer's death was 
so recent, and my indignation so hot, that Droqville had 
resolved that, for a time, at least, the attempt to gain me 
to the Church of Borne should not be renewed. 

Taking the clear, hard view they do of the office of the 
Church upon earth, they are right to discriminate. In the 

A Chapter of Explanations* 

sight of Heaven, the souls of Dives and of Lazarus are 
equally precious. In electing which to convert, then, they 
discharge but a simple duty in choosing that proselyte who 
will most strengthen the influence and action of the Church 
upon earth. In that respect, considering the theories they 
hold, they do right. Common sense acquits them. 

I have now ended my necessary chapter of explanation, 
and my story goes on its way. 



SOLEMN low-voiced fuss was going on in the 
old bouse at Dorracleugh ; preparations and 
consultations were afoot ; a great deal was not 
being done, but there were the whispering and 
restlessness of expectation, and the few grisly arrange- 
ments for the reception of the coffined guest. 

Old Mrs. Shackleton, the housekeeper, crept about the 
rooms, her handkerchief now and then to her eyes ; and 
the housemaid-in-chief, with her attendant women, was 
gliding about. 

Sir Harry had, years before, left a letter in Mr. Blount's 
hands, that there might be no delay in searching for a 
will, directing all that concerned his funeral. 

The coffin was to be placed in the great hall of the 
house, according to ancient custom, on tressels, under the 
broad span of the chimney. This arrangement is more 
than once alluded to in Pepys's Diary. He was to be 
followed to the grave by his tenantry, and such of the 
gentry, his neighbours, as might please to attend. There 
was to be ample repast for all comers, consisting of as 
much " meat and drink of the best as they could con- 
sume ;" what remained was to be distributed among the 
poor in the evening. 

He was to be laid in the family vault adjoining the 
church of Golden Friars; a stone with the family arms, 
and a short inscription, " but no flatteries," was to be set 
up in the church, on the south wall, next the vault, and 

The Last of the Rokestones. 895 

near the other family monuments, and it was to mention 
that he rlied unmarried, and was the last of the old name 
of Rokestone, of Dorraeleugh. 

The funeral was to proceed to Golden Friars, not by 
the " mere *oad," but, as in the case of other family 
funerals, from J^rrac^eugh to Golden Friars, by the old 

If he should die at home, at Dorracleugh, but not 
otherwise, he was to be " waked " in the same manner as 
his father and his grandfather had been. 

There were other directions, presents to the sexton and 
parish-clerk, and details that would weary you. 

About twelve o'clock the hearse arrived, and two or 
three minutes after Mr. Blount drove up in a chaise. 

The almost gigantic coffin was carried up the steps, and 
placed under the broad canopy assigned to it at the upper 
end of the hall. 

Mr. Blount, having given a few directions, inquired for 
Mr. Marston, and found that gentleman, in a suit of black, 
in the drawing-room. 

He came forward ; he did not intend it, but there was 
something in the gracious and stately melancholy of his 
reception, which seemed to indicate not only the chief 
mourner, but the master of the house. 

" Altered circumstances a great change," said Mr. 
Marston, taking his hand. "Many will feel his death 
deeply. He was to me I have said it a thousand times 
the best friend that ever man had." 

"Yes, yes, sir; he did show wonderful patience and 
forbearance with you, considering his temper, which was 
proud and fiery, you know poor gentleman ! poor Sir 
Harry ! but grandly generous, sir, grandly generous." 

" It is a consolation to me, having lost a friend, and, I 
may say, a father, who was, in patience, forbearance, and 
generosity, all you describe, and all you know, that we 
were lately, thanks, my good friend, mainly to your kind 
offices, upon the happiest terms. He used to talk to me 
about that farm ; he took such an interest in it sit down, 
pray won't you have some sherry and a biscuit and 
such a growing interest in me." 

" I think he really was coming gradually not to think 

396 Witting to Die. 

quite so ill of you as lie did," said good Mr. Blount. " No 
sherry, no biscuit no, I shan't mind. I know, sir, that 
under great and sudden temptation a man may do the 
thing he ought not to have done, and repent from his 
heart afterwards, and from very ho rror of iis one great 
lapse, may walk, all the r^st of his ] ^ i^t on ly more dis- 
creetly, but more safely than a mau who has never slipped 
at all. But Sir Harry was sensitive and fiery. He had 
thought that you were to represent the old house, and 
perhaps to bear the name after his death ; and that both 
should be slurred by, if I may be allowed the expression, a 
shabby crime . . . . " 

" Once for all, Mr. Blount, you'll be good enough to 
remember that such language is offensive and intolerable," 
interrupted Richard Marston, firmly and sharply. " My 
uncle had a right to lecture me on the subject you can 
have none." 

"Except as a friend," said Mr. Blount. "I shall, 
however, for the future, observe your wishes upon that 
subject. You got my letter about the funeral, I see." 

" Yes, they are doing everything exactly as you said," 
said Marston, recovering his affability. 

" Here is the letter," said Mr. Blount. " You should 
run your eye over it." 

" Ha ! It is dated a long time ago," said Mr. Marston. 
" It was no sudden presentiment, then. How well he 
looked when I was leaving this !" 

" We are always astonished when death gives no warn- 
ing," said Mr. Blount ; " it hardly ever does to the persons 
most interested. Doctors, friends, they themselves, are 
all in a conspiracy to conceal the thief who has got into 
the bed-room. It matters very little that the survivors 
have had warning." 

Richard Marston shook his head and shrugged his 

" Some day I must learn prudence," said he. 

"Let it be the true prudence," said Mr. Blount. " It 
is a short foresight that sees no further than the boundary 
of this life." 

Mr. Marston opened the letter, and the old gentleman 
left him, to see after the preparations. 

The Last of the Rokestones. 897 

Some one at Golden Friars I think it was the vicar 
sent me the country paper, with a whole column in mourn- 
ing, with a deep black edge, giving a full account of the 
funeral of Sir Harry Rokestone, of Dorracleugh. The 
ancient family whose name he bore was now extinct. I 
saw in the list the names of county people who had come 
in their carriages more than twenty miles to attend the 
funeral, and people who had come by rail hundreds of 
miles. It was a great county gathering mostly that fol- 
lowed the last of the Rokestones, of Porracleugh, to the 



HE funeral was over ; but the old house of Dor- 
racleugh was not quiet again till the night fell, 
and there was no more to-ing and fro-ing in the 
stahle-yard, and the last tenant had swallowed 
Ms last draught of beer, and mounted and ridden away 
through the mist, over the fells, to his distant farm. 

The moon shone peacefully over mere and fell, and oil 
the time-worn church of Golden Friars, and through the 
window, bright, on the grey flags that lie over Sir Harry 
Eokestone. Never did she keep serener watch over the 
first night of a mortal's sleep in his last narrow bed. 

Eichard Marston saw this pure light, and musing, 
looked from the window. It shone, he thought, over his 
wide estate. Beyond the mere, all but Clusted, for many 
a mile was his own. At this side, away in the direction 
of distant Haworth, a broad principality of moss and 
heath, with scattered stretches of thin arable and pasture, 
ran side by side with the Mardykes estate, magnificent in 
vastness, if not in rental. 

His dreams were not of feudal hospitality and the hearty 
old-world life. His thoughts were far away from this 
grand scenery or lonely Dorracleugh. Ambition built his 
castles in the air ; nothing very noble. It was not even 
the tawdry and tradesman-like ambition of modern times. 
He had no taste for that particular form of meanness, nor 
patience for its drudgery. He would subscribe to election 
funds, place his county influence at the disposal of the 

Search for the Will. 899 

minister ; spend money on getting and keeping a seat; be 
found in his place whenever a critical vote was impending; 
and by force of this, and of his county position, and the 
old name for he would take the name of Rokestone, in 
spite of his uncle's awkward direction about his epitaph, 
and no one could question his relationship by dint of all 
this, with, I daresay, the influence of a high marriage, he 
hoped to get on, not from place to place, but what would 
answer him as well, from title to title. First to revive 
the baronetage, and then, after some fifteen or twenty years 
more of faithful service, to become Baron Eokestone, of 

It was not remorse, then, that kept the usurper's eyes 
wide open, as he lay that night in the dark in his bed, his 
brain in a fever. His conscience had no more life in it 
than the window- stone. It troubled him with no com- 
punction. There was at his heart, on the contrary, a 
vindictive elation at having defeated with so much simpli- 
city the unnatural will of his uncle. 

Bright rose the sun next morning over Dorracleugh, & 
sun of good omen. Richard Marston had appointed three 
o'clock as the most convenient hour for all members of the 
conference, for a meeting and a formality. A mere for- 
mality, in truth, it was, a search for the will of Sir Harry 
Rokestone. Mr. Blount had slept at Dorracleugh. Mr. 
Jarlcot, a short, plump man, of ft ve-and-fifty, with a grave 
face and a bullet head, covered with short, lank, black 
hair, accompanied by his confidential man, Mr. Spaight, 
arrived in his gig, just as the punctual clock of Dorra- 
cleugh struck three. 

Very soon after the old vicar rode up, on his peaceable 
pony, and came into the drawing-room, where the little 
party were assembled, with sad, kind face, and gentle, old- 
fashioned ceremony, with a little powdering of dust in the 
wrinkles of his clerical costume. 

It was with a sense of pleasant satire that Richard 
Marston had observed old Lemuel Blount ever since he 
had been assured that the expected will was not forth- 
coming. These holy men, how they love an annuity ! 
Not that they like money, of course ; that's Mammon ; 
but because it lifts them above earthy cares, and gives 

400 Willing to Die t 

them the power of relieving the wants of their fellow- 
Christians. How slyly the old gentleman had managed 
it ! How thoughtful his appointing himself guardian to 
the young lady ! What endless opportunities his powers 
over the settlements would present of making handsome 
terms for himself with an intending hridegroom ! 

On arriving, in full confidence that the will was safe in 
its iron repository, Christian could not have looked more 
comfortable when he enjoyed his famous prospect from 
the delectable mountains. But when it turned out that 
the will was nowhere, the same Christian, trudging on up 
the hill of difficulty in his old "burdened fashion," could 
not have looked more hang-dog and overpowered than he. 

His low spirits, his sighs and ejaculations, amused 
Eichard Marston extremely. When he heard him say to 
himself, when first he learned that the vicar had looked 
into the safe and found nothing, " How sad ! How 
strange ! How very sad !" as he stood at the window, 
with his head lowered, and his fingers raised, he was 
tempted to rebuke his audacity with some keen and 
cautious irony ; but those who win may laugh he could 
afford to be good-humoured, and a silent sneer contented 

Mr. Blount, having, as I said, heard that the vicar had 
searched the "safe," and that Mr. Spaight, accompanied 
by Mr. Marston, and the housekeeper, had searched all 
the drawers, desks, boxes, presses, and other lock-up 
places in the house in vain, for any paper having even a 
resemblance to a will, said : " It is but a form ; but as you 
propose it, be it so." 

And now this form was to be complied with. Mr. 
Marston told the servant to send Mrs. Shackelton with the 
keys. Mr. Marston led the way, and four other gentle- 
men followed, attended by the housekeeper. 

There was not much talking ; a clatter of feet on tin- 
carpeted floors, the tiny jingle of small keys, the opening 
of doors, and clapping of lids, and now and then Mrs. 
Shackelton's hard treble was heard in answer to an inter- 

This went on for more than twenty minutes up-stairs, 
and then the exploring party came down the stairs again, 

Search for tlie Will. 401 

Eichard Marston talking to the vicar, Mr. Blount to Mr. 
Spaight, while Mr. Jarlcofc, the attorney, listened to Mrs. 
Shackleton, the housekeeper. 

Eichard Marston led the party to Sir Harry's room. 
The carpet was still on the floor, the curtains hanging 
still, in gloomy folds, to the ground. Sir Harry's hat 
and stick lay on the small round table, where he had 
carelessly thrown them when he came in from his last 
walk about Dorracleugh, his slippers lay on the hearthrug 
before his easy-chair, and his pipe was on the mantelpiece. 

The party stood in this long and rather gloomy room in 
straggling disarray, still talking, 

" There's Pixie," said old Mr. Spaight, who had been a 
bit of a sportsman, and loved coursing in his youth, as he 
stopped before a portrait of a greyhound, poking his long 
nose and spectacles, with a faint smirk, close into the 
canvas. " Sir Harry's dog ; fine dog, Pixie, won the cup 
twice on Doppleton Lea thirty- two years ago." But this 
was a murmured meditation, for he was a staid man of 
business now, and his liking for dogs and horses was in- 
congruous, and no one in the room heard him. Mr. Jarl- 
cot's voice recalled him. 

" Mr. Marston was speaking to you, Mr. Spaight." 

" Oh ! I was just saying I think nothing could have been 
more careful," said Mr. Marston, " than the search you 
made upstairs, in the presence of me and Mrs. Shackle- 
ton, on Thursday last ?" 

" No, sir certainly nothing it could not possibly have 
escaped us," answered Mr. Spaight. 

" And that is your opinion also ?" asked Mr. Jarlcot of 
Richard Marston. 

" Clearly," he answered. 

" I'll make a note of that, if you'll allow me," said Mr. 
Jarlcot ; and he made an entry, with Mr. Marston's con- 
currence, in his pocket-book. 

" And now about this," said Mr. Jarlcot, with a clumsy 
bow to Mr. Marston, and touching the door of the safe 
with his open hand. 

" You have got the key, sir ?" said Marston to the good 
vicar with silver hair, who stood meekly by, distrait and 
melancholy, an effigy of saintly contemplation. 


402 Willing to Die. 

" Oh, yes," said the vicar wakening up. " Yes ; tho 
key, but but you know there's nothing there." 

He moved the key vaguely about as he looked from one 
to the other, as if inviting any one who pleased to try. 

" I think, sir, perhaps it will be as well if you will 
kindly open it yourself," said Marston. 

"Yes, surely I suppose so with all my heart," said 
the vicar. 

The door of the safe opened easily, and displayed the 
black iron void, into which all looked. 

Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not 
be disappointed. Of course no one was surprised. But 
Mr. Blount shook his head, lifted up his hands, and 
groaned audibly, " I am very sorry." 

Mr. Marston did not affect to hear him. 



THINK," said Mr. Jarlcot, " it will be desirable 
that I should take a note of any information 
which Mr. Marston and the vicar may be so 
good as to supply with respect to the former 
search in the same place. I think, sir," he continued, 
addressing the vicar, "you mentioned that the deceased, 
Sir Harry Eokestone, placed that key in your charge on 
the evening of his departure from this house for London ?" 

" So it was, sir," said the vicar. 

" Was it out of your possession for any time ?" 

" For about three quarteas of an hour. I hand d it to 
Mr. Marston on his way to this house ; but as I was making 
a sick-call near this, I started not many minutes after he 
left me, and on the way it struck me that I might as well 
have back the key. I arrived here, I believe, almost as 
soon as he, and he quite agreed with me that I had better 
get the key again into " 

"Into your own custody," interposed Marston. "You 
may recollect that it was I who suggested it the moment 
you came." 

" And the key was not out of your possession, Mr. 
Marston, during the interval ?" said Mr. Jarlcot. 

"Not for one moment," answered Eichard Marston, 

"And you did not, I think you mentioned, open that 
safe ?" 

" Certainly not. I made no use whatever of that key 
at any time. I never saw that safe open until the vicar 

2 D 2 

404: WUliny to Die. 

opened it in my presence, and we both saw that it contained 
nothing ; so did Mrs. Shackleton, as intelligent a witness 
as any. And, I think, we can all I know I can, for my 
part depose, on oath, to the statements we have made." 

Mr. Jarlcot raised his eyebrows solemnly, slowly shook 
his head, and having replaced his note-book in his .pocket, 
drew a long breath in through his rounded Hps, with a 
sound that almost amounted to a whistle. 

" Nothing could be more distinct ; it amounts to demon- 
stration," he said, raising his head, putting his hands into 
his trousers-pockets, and looking slowly round the cornice. 
"Haven't you something to say?" he added, laying his 
hand gently on Mr. Blount's arm, and then turning a step 
or two away ; while Marston, who could not comprehend 
what he fancied to be an almost affected disappointment at 
the failure to discover a will, thought he saw his eyes 
wander, when he thought no one was looking, curiously to 
the grate and the hobs ; perhaps in search, as he suspected, 
of paper ashes. 

" I am awfully sorry," exclaimed Mr. Blount, throwing 
himself into a chair in undisguised despondency. " The 
will, as it was drafted, would have provided splendidly for 
Miss Ethel Ware, and left you, Mr. Marston, an annuity of 
two thousand five hundred a year, and a sum of five 
thousand pounds. For two or three years I had been urging 
him to execute it ; it is evident he never did. He has 
destroyed the draft, instead of executing it. That hope is 
quite gone totally." 

Mr. Blount stood up and said, laying his hand upon his 
forehead, " I am grieved I am shocked I am profoundly 

Mr. Marston was strongly tempted to tell Mr. Blount 
what he thought of him. Jarlcot and he, no doubt, under- 
stood one another, and had intended maldng a nice thing 
of it. 

He could not smile, nor even sneer, just then, but Mr. 
Marston fixed on Lemuel Blount a sidelong look of the 
sternest contempt. 

"There is, then," said Mr. Blount, collecting himself, 
"no will." 

" That seems pretty clear," said Mr. Marston, with, in 

A Disappointment. 405 

spite of himself, a cold scorn in his tone. " I think so ; 
and I rather fancy you think so too." 

" Except this," continued Mr. Blount, producing a paper 
from his pocket, at which he had been fumbling. " Mr. 
Jarlcot will hand you a copy. I urged him, God knows 
how earnestly, to revoke it. It was made at the period of 
his greatest displeasure with you ; it leaves everything to 
Miss Ethel Ware, and gives you, I grieve to say, but an 
annuity of four hundred a year. It appoints me guardian 
to the young lady, in the same terms that the latter will 
would 'have done, and leaves me, besides, an annuity of 
five hundred a year, half of which I shall, if you don't 
object, make over to you." 

" Oh ! oh ! a will ! That's all right," said Marston, 
trying to smile with lips that had grown white ; " I, of 
course, you we all wish nothing but what is right and 

Mr. Jarlcot handed him a new neatly-folded paper, 
endorsed" Copy of the Will of the late Sir Harry Eokestone, 
Bart." Eichard Marston took it with a hand that trembled, 
a hand that had not often trembled before. 

" Then, I suppose, Mr. Blount, you will look in on me, 
by-and-by, to arrange about the steps to be taken about 
proving it," said Mr. Jarlcot. 

" It's all right, I dare say," said Mr. Marston, vaguely, 
looking from man to man uncertainly. " I expected a 
will, of course : I don't suppose I have a friend among you, 
gentlemen, why should I? I am sure I have some enemies. 
I don't know what country attorneys, and nincompoops, 
and Golden Friars' bumpkins may think of it, but I know 
what the world will think, that I'm swindled by d d 
conspiracy, and that that old man, who's in his grave, has 
behaved like a villain." 

"Oh, Mr. Marston, your dead uncle!" said the good 
vicar, lifting his hand in deprecation, with gentle horror. 
" You wouldn't, you can't !" 

" What the devil is it to you, sir ?" cried Marston, with 
a look as if he could have struck him. " I say it's all 
influence, and d d juggling I'm not such a simpleton. 
No one expected, of course, that opportunities like those 
should not have been improved. The thing's transparent. 

406 Willing to Die. 

I wish you joy, Mr. Blount, of your five hundred a year, 
and you, Mr. Jarlcot, of your approaching management of 
the estates and the money. If you fancy a will like that, 
turning his own nephew adrift on the world in favour of 
methodists and attorneys, and a girl he never saw till the 
other day, is to pass unchallenged, you're very much mis- 
taken ; it's just the thing that always happens when an 
old man like that dies there's a will of course every one 
understands it. I'll have you all where you won't like." 

Mrs. Shackleton, with her mouth pursed, her nose high 
in the air, and her brows knit over a vivid pair of eyes, 
was the only one of the group who seemed ready to explode 
in reply; Mr. Blount looked simply shocked and con- 
founded ; the vicar maintained his bewildered and ap- 
pealing stare ; Mr. Spaight's eyebrows were elevated above 
his spectacles, and his mouth opened, as he leaned 
forward his long nose ; Mr. Jarlcot's brow looked thun- 
derous, and his chops a little flushed ; all were staring for 
some seconds in silence on Mr. Marston, whose concluding 
sentences had risen almost to a shriek, with a laugh run- 
ning through it. 

" I think, Mr. Marston," said Jarlcot, after a couple of 
efforts, "you would do well to to consider, a little, the 
bearing of your language ; I don't think you can quite see 
its force." 

" I wish you could I mean it ; and I'm d d but you 
shall feel it too ! You shall hear of me sooner than you 
all think. I'm not a fellow to be pigeoned so simply." 

With these words, he walked into the hall, and a few 
moments after they heard the door shut with a violent 

A solemn silence reigned in the room for a little time ; 
these peaceable people seemed stunned by the explosion. 

"Evasit, erupit," murmured the vicar, sadly, raising 
his hands, and shaking his head. " How very painful. 

" I don't wonder I make great allowances," said Mr. 
Blount, " I have been very unhappy myself, ever since it 
was ascertained that he had not executed the new will. I 
am afraid the young man will never consent to accept a 
part of my annuity he is so spirited." 

" Don't be uneasy on that point," said Mr. Jarlcot ; "if 

A Disappointment. 407 

you lodge it, he'll draw it ; not but I think you might 
do better with your money." 

There was something in the tone, indefinable, that- 
prompted a dark curiosity. 

Mr. Blount turned on him a quick look of inquiry. Mr. 
Jarlcot lowered his eyes, and then turned them to the 
window, with the remark that the summer was making a 
long stay this year. 

Mr. Blount looked down and slowly rubbed his forehead, 
thinking, and sighing deeply, as he said, " It's a wonder- 
ful world, this may the Lord have mercy on us all I" 


j|WO or three notices, which, Mr. Jarlcot said, 
would not cost five pounds, were served on 
behalf of Mr. Marston, and with these the faint 
echo of his thunders subsided. There was, in 
fact, no material for litigation. 

" The notices," Mr. Jarlcot said, " came from Marshall 
and Whitaker, the solicitors who had years before sub- 
mitted the cases for him, upon his uncle's title, and upon 
the question of his own position as nearest of kin and 
heir-at-law. He was very carefully advised as to how 
exactly he should stand in the event of his uncle's dying 

I was stunned when I heard of my enormous fortune, 
involving, as it did, his ruin. I would at once have taken 
measures to deal as generously with him as the other will, 
of which I then knew no more than that Sir Harry must 
have contemplated, at one time, the possibility at least of 
signing it. 

When I left Golden Friars I did so with an unalterable 
resolution never to see Richard Marston again. But this 
was compatible with the spirit of my intention to provide 
more suitably for him. I took Mr. Blount into council ; 
but I was disappointed. The will had been made during 
my father's lifetime, and in evident apprehension of his 
influence over me, and deprived me of the power of making 
any charge upon the property, whether land or money. I 
could do nothing but make him a yearly present of a part 

A Woman's Heart. 409 

of my income, and even that was embarrassed by many 
ingenious conditions and difficulties. 

It was about this time that a letter reached me from 
Richard Marston, the most extraordinary I had ever read 
a mad letter in parts, and wicked a letter, also, full of 
penitence and self- upbraiding. " I am a fiend. I have 
been all cruelty and falsehood, you all mercy and truth," 
it said. " I have heard of your noble wishes I know how 
vain they are. You can do nothing that I would accept. 
I am well enough. Think no more of the wretch. I have 
found, too late, I cannot live without you. You shall hear 
of me no more ; only forgive me." 

There are parts of this strange letter that I never un- 
derstood, that may bear many interpretations, no one 

When Mr. Blount spoke of him he never gave me his 
conclusions, and it was always in the sad form " Let us 
hope ;" he never said exactly what he suspected. Mr. 
Jarlcot plainly had but one opinion of him, and that the 

I agreed, I think, with neither. I relied on instinct, 
which no one can analyse or define the wild inspiration 
of nature the saddest, and often the truest guide. Let 
me not condemn, then, lest I be condemned. 

The good here are not without wickedness, nor the 
wicked without goodness. With death begins the defec- 
tion. Each character will be sifted as wheat. The eternal 
Judge will reduce each, by the irresistible chemistry of 
his power and truth, to its basis, for neither hell nor heaven 
can receive a mixed character. 

I did hear of Eichard Marston again once more it was 
about five months later, when the news of his death by 
fever, at Marseilles, reached Mr. Blount. 

Since then my life has been a retrospect. Two years I 
passed in India with my beloved friend, Laura. But my 
melancholy grew deeper ; the shadows lengthened and 
an irrepressible yearning to revisit Golden Friars and 
Malory seized me. I returned to England. 

I am possessed of fortune. I thank God for its immu- 
nities I well know how great they are. For its pleasures, 
I have long ceased to care. To the poor, I try to make it 

410 Willing to Die. 

useful but I am quite conscious that in this there is no 
merit. I have no pleasure in money. I think I have 
none in flatteiy. I need deny myself nothing, and yet be 
in the eyes of those who measure charity arithmetically a 
princely Christian benefactress. I wish I were quite sure 
of having ever given a cup of cold water in the spirit that 
my Maker commends. 

A few weeks after my return, Mr. Blount showed me a 
letter. The signature startled me. It was from Monsieur 
Droqville, and a very short one. It was chiefly upon some 
trifling business, and it said, near the end : 

" You sometimes see Miss Ware, I believe ; she will be 
sorry to hear that her old friend, Mr. Carmel, died last 
summer at his missionary post in South America. A 
truer soldier of Christ never fell in the field of his labours. 
Eequiescat !" 

There was a tremble at my heart, and a swelling. I 
held the sentence before my eyes till they filled with tears. 

My faithful, noble friend ! At my side in every trouble. 
The one of all mortals I have met who strove with his 
whole heart to win me, according to his lights, to God. 
May God receive and for ever bless you for it, patient, 
gentle Edwyn Carmel ! His griefs are over. To me there 
seems an angelic light around him the pale enthusiast 
in the robe of his purity stands saint-like before me. I 
remember all your tender care. I better understand, too, 
the wide differences that separated us, now, than in my 
careless girlhood but these do not dismay me. I know 
that "in my father's house are many mansions," and I 
hope that when the clouds that darken this life are 
passed, we may yet meet and thank and bless you, my 
noble- hearted friend, where, in one love and light, the 
redeemed shall walk for evermore. 

At Golden Friars I lived again for a short time. But 
the associations of Dorracleugh were too new and har- 
rowing. I left that place to the care of good Mr. Blount, 
who loves it better than any other. He pays me two or 
three visits every year at Malory, and advises me in all 
matters of business. 

I do not affect the airs of an anchorite. But my life is, 
most people would think, intolerably monotonous and 

A Woman'' s Heart. 411 

lonely. To me it is not only endurable, but the 
sweetest that, in my peculiar state of mind, I could have 

With the flight of my years, and the slow approach of 
the hour when dust will return to dust, the love of solitude 
steals on me, and no regrets for the days I have lost, as 
my friends insist, and no yearnings for a return to an in- 
sincere and tawdry world, have ever troubled me. In girl- 
hood I contracted my love of this simple rural solitude, 
and my premature experience of all that is disappointing 
and deplorable in life confirms it. But the spell of its 
power is in its recollections. It is a place, unlike Dorra- 
cleugh, sunny and cheerful, as well as beautiful, and this 
tones the melancholy of its visions, and prevents then- 
sadness from becoming overpowering. 

I wonder how many people are living, like me, altogether 
in the past, and in hourly communion with visionary 
companions ? 

Pdchard Marstou,- does a waking hour ever pass without, 
at some moment, recalling your image ? I do not mistake 
you ; I have used no measured language in describing you. 
I know you for the evil, fascinating, reckless man you 
were. Such a man as, had I never seen you, and only 
known the sum of his character, I ought to have hated. 
A man who, being such as he was, meditated against me 
a measureless wrong. I look into my heart, is there 
vengeance there against you ? Is there judgment ? Is 
there even alienation ? 

Oh ! how is it that reason, justice, virtue, all cannot 
move you from a secret place in my inmost heart ? Can 
any man who has once been an idol, such as you were, 
ever perish utterly in that mysterious shrine a woman's 
heart ? In solitary hours, as I, unseen, look along the 
sea, my cheeks are wet with tears ; in the wide silence of 
the night my lonely sobs are heard. Is my grief for you 
mere madness ? Why is it that man so differs from man ? 
Why does he often so differ from the noble creature lie 
might have been, and sometimes almost was ? 

Over an image partly dreamed and partly real, shivered 
utterly, but still in memory visible, I pour out the vainest 
of all sorrows. 

Willing to Die. 

In the wonderful working that subdues all things to 
itself in all the changes of spirit, or the spaces of eternity, 
is there, shall there never be, from the first failure, evolved 
the nobler thing that might have been ? I care for no 
other. I can love no other ; and were I to live and keep 
my youth through eternity, I think I never could be in- 
terested or won again. Solitude has become dear to me, 
because he is in it. Am I giving this infinite true love in 
vain ? I comfort myself with one vague hope. I cannot 
think that nature is so cynical. Does the loved phantom 
represent nothing ? And is the fidelity that nature claims, 
but an infatuation and a waste ? 

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Author of "Chronicles of Car- 

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Author of "Lost for Gold." 

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Author of "Chronicles of Car- 

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Leigh," " Book of Heroines." 
" The popular authoress of ' Margaret 
and her Bridesmaids ' has here given us 
three very charming volumes. The work 
is full of interest, and will be read 
throughout with pleasure. We can safely 
commend ' Three Wives ' to the best at- 
tention of novel readers." Sun. 

" ' Three Wives ' is a novel to be read. 
The volumes have much interest and real 
pathos." Globe. 

The House on the Moor. 

By Mrs. Oliphant, 
Author of " May," " Salem Chapel." 

"This story is very interesting, and the 
interest deepens as the story proceeds." 



Ursula's Lore Story. 

By the Author of "Sun and Shade." 

" As a picture of contemporary man- 
ners, 'Ursula's Love Story' has more 
than ordinary merit. Its tale is fresh, 
interesting, and well told ; its language 
is simple and correct, and Its characteri- 
sation is not wanting in power. Evi- 
dences of culture are frequent in its 
passages, over which hangs a pleasant 
aroma of refinement and good taste. 
Ursula is an attractive heroine, admir- 
ably depicted ; Edgar Ravcnel, Mrs. 
Daynham, and all the characters, even to 
the most subordinate, are life-like. Their 
actions and gossip, loves, betrothals and 
marriages axe well described, and con- 
stitute with the main interest a very 
pleasant noveU" Athenceum. 

Bruna's Revenge. 

By the Author of " Caste," " My 
Son's Wife," etc. 

" Viewed simply as love stories, fresh, 
pure, and pathetic, these volumes deserve 
praise." Athenceum. 

" ' Bruna's Revenge* is all fire, anima- 
tion, life, and reality. The whole story 
fascinates the reader's attention." 


'By J. Sheridan Le Fanu, 
Author of "Uncle Silas," &c, 

"A very well written novel. The 
plot is constructed with wonderful in- 
genuity.' 'Examiner. 

"From the first page to the denoue- 
ment the author excites, sustains, and 
baffles our curiosity." Pall Mall Gazette. 

From Olympus to Hades 

~By Mrs. Forrester, 

Author of "Fair Women," 

" Dolores." 

" A novel of no ordinary ability. Its 
moral is excellcnt,and the plot is arranged 
with consummate skill. The characters 
are very well drawn." John Bull. 

'. 5 

Magdalen Hepburn : 


By J\Irs. Ol\ 'pliant, 
Author of " May," " Harry Muir." 

" A well prepared and carefully exe- 
cuted picture of the society and state of 
manners in Scotland at the dawn of the 
Reformation." Athenceum. 

" ' Magdalen Hepburn ' will sustain the 
reputation which the author of ' Margaret 
Maitland' has acquired. It is a well 
prepared and carefully executed picture 
of the society and state of manners in 
Scotland at the dawn of the Reformation. 
John Knox is faithfully drawn." 


Clara Levesque. 

By William Gilbert, 

Author of " Shirley Hall Asylum," 

" Martha," &c. 

"A work of real power and originality." 

" Mr. Gilbert has once more achieved a 

great success in placing before the public 

such a cleverly written and skilfully 

constructed book." John Bull. 


The Queen of the 

By the Author of " Margaret and 
her Bridesmaids," " Three Wives," 

&c., &c. 

"A novel of the first class. It i3 a 
story of exciting interest." Post. 


The Ladies of Lovel- 



By the Author of "Lords and 
Ladies," "Margaret and her 
Bridesmaids," &c. 

" The author of this Interesting tale 
has not now for the first time proved to 
the world her extraordinary power in 
delineating the affections. The lesson Is 
one of impressive force." Daily News. 

11 A very pleasant novel." Press. 



Ley ton Hall, 


By Mark Lemon, 
Author of " Falkner Lyle," &c. 

" These volumes are full of interest, 
humour, and pathos. They are sure to 
be popular." Star. 

"We commend 'Ley ton Hall' most 
heartily. The story Is an extremely 
good one. and the shorter tales arc all of 
a very effective character." Illustrated 

Lords and Ladies. 

By the Author of "Margaret and 
her Bridesmaids," " Three Wives." 
"'Lords and Ladies' Is one of the 
most charming books with which the 
literature of fiction has been enriched 
this season. The truth and value of the 
moral of the story will recommend it as 
highly as the vivacity and humour of ita 
style and the ingenuity of its construc- 
tion." Post. 

Lisabee's Love Story. 

By Miss Betham Edwards, 
Author of " John and I." 

" This book is a very good one. There 
is real beauty in the title of ' Lisabee's 
Love Story,' a tale so simple and idyllic 
in its nature that the Laureate himself 
might have uttered it in verse as com- 
panion to the ' Dora ' and ' Gardener's 
Daughter,' the ' Enoch Arden ' and ' The 
Aylmer's Field. 1 "Examiner. 

Fair Women. 

By Mrs. Forrester, 
Author of " Olympus to Hades." 
" The plot of this story is fairly con- 
structed and worked out. The style is 
natural and unaffected." Pall Mall 

" A healthy and interesting story. 
Mrs. Forrester's skill in the delineation 
of character is most forcibly shown. 
Winifred Eyre and Fe"e Alton are 
charming creations." Sunday Gazette. 

Monsieur Maurice, 


By Amelia B. Edwards, 

Author of "Barbara's History," 
" Debenham's Vow," &c., &c. 

" Miss Edwards is one of our best 
writers of novelettes. The tales in those 
volumes are as good as those in ' Miss 
Carcw,' which is high praise." 

"These sparkling, clever stories are 
bright, healthy, and amusing to the la*>t 
abounding with touches of pathos and 
lively incident." Standard. 

Willing to Die. 

By J. Sheridan Le Fanu, 

Author of " Uncle Silas," &c. 

" A remarkable, vigorous, and original 
novel, written with great power. The 
characters are drawn with singular 
brightness and clearness of touch, and 
the plot is admirably contrived." 

" There is not a dull page in this book. 
Sir Harry Rokestone is an inimitable 
portrait. A keener appreciation of 
character has seldom been manifested." 
John Bull. 

PaulWynter's Sacrifice. 
By Mrs. Du/us Hardy. 

"An exceptionally good novel a story 
nobly planned, finely finished, and richly 
charged with poetry and humour. It is 
one of those prose poems which seldom 
appear without making a distinct mark 
in literary annals, and acquiring perma- 
nent popularity." Athenceum. 

" This interesting and able work is its 
author's master-piece. It is a well- 
written, agreeable and entertaining 
novel, powerful in its analysis of charac- 
ter, and full of clear and effective 
dialogue and description." Sunday 


The Kellys and the ! 

By Anthony Trollope, 
Author of ''Rachel Ray." 

" Mr. Trollopo is one of the most fertile 
writers of the day ; and when his ' Kellys 
and O'Kellys' made their first appear- 
ance, they immediately commanded much 
popularity, chiefly from the racy, and 
not overdrawn, descriptions of Irish 
character which they exhibited ; and we 
read even now, with a feeling of fresh- j 
ness, of Morrison's Hotel, Barry Lynch 
and Anty Lynch, Mr. Daly, the Attorney, | 
Fanny Wyndham, Martin Kelly's Court- 
ship, Lord Kilcullen, and others all 
characters in their way." 

A Rent in a Cloud and 
St. Patrick's Eve ; 


By Charles Lever, 

Author of "Harry Lorrequer," 

" Charles O'Malley," &c. 

" Pull of beauty and truth, and will 
probably be even more popular than any- 
thing that Mr. Lever has yet given to 
the world." Tait's Magazine. 

"One of the best and purest productions 
of this fertile author. The tale is touched 
throughout with genuine pathos, and 
exhibits glimpses of beauty, moral and j 
intellectual, gleaming over the rugged | 
lot of the Irish labourer, like the pure j 
specks of blue in a stormy sky, when j 
occasionally the clouds sever." Jiri- \ 


Emilia Wyndham. 

By Mrs. Marsh Caldwell. 

" Mrs. Marsh is one of the most admir- 
able of our lady novelists. In her works 
there are always to be found high prin- 
ciple, good taste, sense, and refinement. 
'I he grace of her style, its tranquility, 
its unstudied but by no means negligent 
elegance, have a peculiar charm. ' Emilia 
Wyndham ' is a story wi'ought out with 
the skill and unexaggerated pathos with 
which her readers are familiar. Its 
pathetic and refined beauty will appeal 
irresistibly to all readers." 

The Fortunes of Glen- 

By Charles Lever. 

" This is a new edition of a story by the 
author of ' Charles O'Malley,' in which, 
to some extent departing from the en- 
deavour to arrest and retain attention 
by the hurry of incident and the bustle 
and activity which are attendant upon i 
the scenes in which the author has been 
most generally and favourably known 
to the public, he seeks, by spiritual de- 
lineations of character and careful 
limnings of idiosyncracy, to establish 
himself as an elucidator of mental action. 
Like all of Lever's writings, the ' For- 
tunes of Glencore' is a very readable 
book." Liverpool Albion. 

One of Them. 

By Charles Lever. 

"The novels of Charles Lever, repub- 
lished in a cheap form, must prove most 
acceptable to a very large portion of the 
readers of works of fiction. There is no 
modern writer who has thrown so much 
of genial mirth, such native humour, 
such a collection of humorous incidents, 
into his stories. There is a raciness in 
its humour that we look for in vain in 
the crowd of novel writers of the present 
day ; and, combined with this native 
humour and ready wit, there are so many 
li-fe-like sketches of character, so many 
touches of a master's hand, that one does 
not so much read of, as speak to and 
with, the leading characters to whom 
the reader is introduced." Observer. 

Mattie : a Stray. 

By the Author of " Christie's 
Faith," " Carry's Confession," &c. 

"'Mattie:. a Stray,' is a novel that 
ought to take a higher rank than that 
of an ephemeral work of fiction. Mattie 
is a charming heroine. She and her life 
are painted after the life. The story is 
full of interest at every page." '-Atheme inn 

" A healthier novel we have not seen 
for many a season. To have depicted 
such a character as Mattie Gray, and to 
have depicted it successfully, is no slight 
achievement, either ethical or sesthe- 
tical." Saturday Review. 


Charlie Thornhill; 

By Charles Clarice. 

" ' Charlie Thornhill ' is obviously the 
work of a man who is a classical scholar, 
not from pedantry, but from real love of 
the thing, and who has had plenty of 
that experience which we understand by 
the expression ' seeing the world.' He is 
quite at home in the drawing-room, and 
can make an English lady look and 
speak like an English lady. He can send 
his heroine to see the hounds ' throw off ' 
without making her talk like a horse 
dealer and ride like a fiend. Though^he 
does ' come to grief,' which for stage 
purposes is inevitable, the catastrophe is 
neither indecent nor improbable; its 
eventual result is artistically veiled and 
postponed, so as to keep up our interest 
to the end of the story ; and her character 
Is so well drawn, while at the same time 
so much is left to the reader's own im- 
agination, that he falls as deeply in love 
with 'frank, sunshiny, blue-eyed Edith 
Dacre as does Charles Thornhill him- 
self ."The Times. 


By Holme Lee. 

" There is much quiet power evinced 
In 'Thorney Hall,' combined with a 
thoroughly healthy and invigorating 
tone of thought. It develops the practical 
heroism that lies in the most unromantic 
duties of daily life. The story is ex- 
tremely interesting." Athenaeum. 

Gilbert Massenger. 
By Holme Lee. 

" The subject is handled with singular 
delicacy and truth fulness." Examiner. 

" A condensed and powerfully written 
story . " A therweum . 

"A work of remarkable skill and 
power.' ' Spectator. 

By F. W.Rolinson, 
Author of " Wildflower," &c,, &c. 
" This book has sterling merit : it is 
liki ly to sustain and extend an already 
higfi reputation." Press. 

Uncle Silas. 

By J. S. Le Fanu, 
Author of "All in the Dark." 

" Perhaps no writer of the present day 
! is so free as Mr. Le Fanu. His characters 
stand out distinct and definite, with a 
breadth of colouring and mastery of out- 
line such as prove him a skilled anatomist 
of the human heart. Its inmost varia- 
tions are known to him, whether in the 
depth of malicious perversity or the high 
religious soaring that brings us into 
neighbourhood with angels. His ' Uncle 
Silas ' may rank with the most masterly 
creations in the long generations of 
novels, and there is scarcely a character 
in any of the numerous volumes he has 
given to the public that is not irrtinct 
with the same creative skill. With 
respect to the novel by this prolific and 

safely affirm that it is the greatest suc- 
cess he has yet achieved." 

Found Dead. 

By the Author of " Lost Sir Mas- 
singberd," "Family Scapegrace." 

"This tale, which, notwithstanding 
the author's protest, we shall take leave 
to call ' sensational,' is very good for all 
that, as good, perhaps, as any of the 
writer's stories, which are always power- 
ful, and certainly exhibiting fewer faults 
of style. It recalls, as we read, some- 
thing of the sensation mixed of fasci- 
nation and terror which the readers of 
'Caleb Williams' must feel. We are 
possibly using a compai'ison unfamiliar 
to most of the new generation, but all 
who know Godwin's great novel will 
appreciate the illustration, and will allow 
that the praise which it implies is of no 
ordinary kind. The characters generally 
are vigorously sketched." Spectator. 

The Constable of the 

By W. Harrison Ainsworth. 

" Is an exceedingly entertaining novel. 
It assures Mr. Ainsworth more than ever 
in his position as one of the ablest fiction 
writers of the day." 


Doctor Thorne. 

By Anthony Trollope, 

" The fact that this is the 12th edition 
of this popular and delightful story is a 
proof of the favourable reception that it 
has met with amongst the novel-reading 
public. It is very rare in these days of 
rapid production that a work of fiction 
meets with such abundant success. We 
are not surprised at it, for there is a great 
charm in the manly honesty, the per- 
severance, the indifference to professional 
etiquette, and above all, in the affection 
of the doctor, for his niece Mary Thorne, 
which must make him a favourite with 
every reader. Then Mary Thorne is a 
heroine of the right stamp, courted and 
beloved, in spite of all aristocratic sur- 
rounding influences, by young Gresham, 
of Greshambuiy, and in spite of the 
doubt that hangs about her parentage. 
The two young people are models of 
faithfulness, and in the end everything 
comes right as it should come." Western 
Daily Mercury. 

Luttrell of Arran. 

By Charles Lever. 

"Nor can we pass from the con- 
sideration of Mr. Lever's earlier romances 
without according our cordial appro- 
bation of the admirable ballads, fighting 
songs, and drinking songs, which are 
interspersed throughout the pages of 
those books. These songs are full of 
spirit they have all the drollery, dash, 
and devilry peculiar to the land of the 
shamrock and shillelah. If they have 
here and there a flavour of poteen, the 
scent of the heather and the breath of 
the mountain breeze are equally strong 
in them. It is almost impossible to read 
them without singing them, and almost 
impossible to hear them sung without 
wishing to fight, drink, or dance." 

Woman's Ransom. 

By F. JF. Rolimon, 
Author of "Milly's Hero." 
"'A Woman's Ransom' will fascinate 
the attention of the reader to the very 
end." John Bull. 

"The interest of this story is un- 
flagging." Observer. 

Bella Donna. 

By Percy Fitzgerald. 

" There are certain characteristics :-a 
this novel which give it a peculiar pUce 
apart from most of the other novels of 
the season. It is not often, now-a-days, 
that we see the attempt made -or, if 
made, carried out with success to con- 
struct a tale out of the development of 
sheer force of character. The interest of 
' Bella Donna' lies in the skilful manner 
in which the plot is worked out by the 
subtle brain and artful carriage of the 
heroine. There is a degree of originality 
and vigour about the writer, <tc. . . . 
The end is hurried on with an abrupt- 
ness .... unless, indeed, he has 
intentionally acted upon the hint of 
Mr. Weller, and designed to make us wish 
there was niore of it." Saturday Review. 

The Ogilvies. 

By the Author of "The Head of 
the Family," " John Halifax," &c. 

" The book is charming. It is written 
with deep earnestness and pervaded by a 
noble and loving philosophy ; while, in 
giving form to her conceptions, the writer 
evinces at once a fine and subtle imagi- 
nation, and that perception of minute 
characteristics which gives to fiction the 
life-like truth of biography. JTor does 
she want'the power to relieve her more 
serious view by one of genial and well- 
directed humour." 


The Young Heiress. 

By Mrs. Trollope. 

" The best of Mrs. Trollope's novels." 

" The knowledge of the world which 
Mrs. Trollope possesses in so eminent a 
degree is strongly exhibited in the pages 
of this novel." Observer. 

Ned Locksley, 



11 A splendid production. The story, 
conceived with great skill, is worked out 
in a succession of powerful portraitures, 
and of soul-stirring scenes." 


The Bertrams. 

"By Anthony Trollope. 

" ' The Bertrams' are two brothers and 
a non of the younger. The latter, the 
hero of the story, is as agreeable a hero 
as any we have met for some time, being 
neither of the morbid nor of the ' mus- 
cular Christian' kind. The elder Ber- 
tram is a miser who has amassed half a 
million of money. He is hard, shrewd, 
and cynical, but not without affection 
for his nephew, whom he describes con- 
temptuously, but with some truth, as 
having ' a good heart and,' in spite of a 
double-first, a 'bad head.' The hero's 
father is one of the best drawn characters 
in the book. OH the whole, we cannot 
say more of ' The Bertrams ' than that 
it is one of the best novels of the season." 
Daily News. 

Carry's Confession. 

By the Author of "Owen," 
"Mattie: a Stray," &c. 

" There is a great deal of sterling merit 
in this author's writings. The present 
interesting storytells an intricate history 
simply and well. The dramatis personce 
are well drawn, and show a thorough 
knowledge of human life. ' Carry's Con- 
fession ' is certainly a superior work, and 
one which will add to the good opinion 
generally held of its author." Observer. 


By the Author of " Woodleigh." 

*' A book which when taken in hand 
will not be willingly laid down by any 
novel reader till he has ended it." 

" One of the best novels it has lately 
been our fortune to meet with. The plot 
is ingenious and novel, and the characters 
are sketched with a masterly hand." 

Under the Spell. 

By F. W. Robinson, 
Author of ;< Wildflower," "Milly's 

Hero," &c. 

" This is the best story hitherto written 
by a very pleasant novelist. It la 
throughout a good story, that nobody 
will leave unfinished." Examiner. 

A Day's Hide; 

By Charles Lever. 

" Some of Lever's creations are admir- 
able, and their distinctiveness so marked 
that we feel almost disposed to agree 
with a critic in ' Blackvvoni ' a couple of 
months ago, who declared that he saw no 
reason to doubt that Mickey Free and 
Major Monsoon and Kenny O'Leary and 
Baby Blake, Mary Martin and Kate 
O'Donoghue, and Kenny and Mrs. Dodd, 
should live, along with Jeanie Deans, or 
Matthew Bramble, or Squire Western, as 
distinctly recognised types of national 
character. Latterly Mr. Lever has 
shifted ground in a great measure, for 
reasons which he explains in the preface 
of the volume before us." Inverness 


By Author of "The Ogilvies," 
"John Halifax," &o. 

" It Is a common cant of criticism to 
call every historical novel the ' best that 
has been produced since Scott,' and to 
bring ' Jane Eyre' on the taplt whenever 
a woman's novel happens to be in 
question. In despite thereof we will say 
that no novel published since ' Jane 
Eyre' has taken such a hold of us as 
this ' Olive,' though it does not equal 
that gtory in originality and in intensity 
of interest. It is written with eloquence 
and power." Review. 

Aunt Margaret's 


By Frances Eleanor Trollops. 

" Rarely have we met with a more 
interesting book than this. The story 
is of a most thrilling description. The 
authoress writes with much vigour, and 
from the faithful delineation of her 
characters, the admirable selection of 
the incidents, and the graphic description 
of scenes and events, the reader is en- 
chanted with the work throughout." 


Never Forgotten. 

By Percy Fitzgerald. 

"In 'Never Forgotten* he has elabor- 
ated a picture which has many merits, 
and in which the most .prominent figure 
deserves very high praise. The character 
of Captain Fennor is an oi-iginal creation, 
and deserves to be studied. . . . Mr. 
Fitzgerald's hero bears no great resem- 
blance to Mr. Trollope's Crosbie. . . . 
Crosbie is a commonplace man of society. 
But Fermor'fi is an exceptional character: 
his figure stands out in prominent relief 
from the crowd of walking gentlemen of 
fiction. . . . The minor characters 
are for the most part thoroughly life-like. 
Liller Brett is a capital sketch ; Hanbury 
forms another ; and so does Sir Hopkins 
Pocock. Lady Laura, too, is excellent, 
and there is grim humour about the 
description of her last struggle. Indeed, 
the story is full of humour, and there is 
real nature in it also." 

Elsie Venuer. 

By Oliver Wendell Holmes, 

Author of " The Autocrat of the 
Breakfast Table." 

" We recommend all who are in search 
of a fascinating novel to read this work 
for themselves. They will find it well 
worth their while. There is a freshness 
and originality about it quite charming, 
and there is a certain nobleness in the 
treatment, both of sentiment and in- 
cident, which is not often found." 

The Clyffards of Clyffe. 

By the Author of " Lost Sir 
Massingberd," &c. 

"^Fhe interest of this story is well sus- 
tained to the last." .Reader. 

"The author displays imaginative 
faculties of a higher order than in his 
previous works. Throughout the whole 
book there is a pei-vading sense of power 
and finish." Post 

" A clever novel." Examiner. 

" A charming book. From incident/*) 
Incident the reader Is led in pleasant 
> surprise and ever-growing Interest." 

The O'Donoghue. 

"By Charles Lever. 

" The introduction of this beautiful and 
brilliant work into the Select Library is 
a healthy sign of the times, anu speaks 
well for the sagacity and judgment of the 
eminent publishers. ' The O'Donoghue' 
Is a tale of Ireland fifty years ago, and it 
is told with the charm of manner which, 
more than any other writer of the day, 
distinguishes Charles Lever. It certainly 
pousesses all the elements of a good novel, 
combining graphic and life-like por- 
traiture of persons, exquisite descriptions 
of scenery, vigorous and well sustained 
narrative, a plot intensely interesting, 
and wonderful constructive power 
throughout. It is indeed an admirable 
work, and we welcome it as one of the 
best that has hitherto appeared from the 
master hand of Lever." Shrewsbury 

Head of the Family. 

By the Author of " John Halifax." 

" We have arrived, at the last and by 
far the most remarkable of our list of 
novels, ' The Head of the Family,' a work 
which is worthy of the author of ' The 
Ogilvles,' and, indeed, in most respects, a 
great advance on that. It is altogether 
a very remarkable and powerful book, 
with all the elements necessary for a 
great and lasting popularity. Scenes of 
domestic happiness, gentle and tender 
pathos, abound throughout it, and are, 
perhaps, the best and highest portions of 
the tale." Guardian. 

The Second Mrs. 

By Percy Fitzgerald. 

" The Jovial and unconscious hypocrisy 
of Mr. Tilney is delicious ; and the way 
In which he mixes up ideas, and Jumbles 
together quotations is charming-. . . . 
We laugh at the old schemer; but we 
pity and admire him all the same. He 
is a man in whom Thackeray would have 
delighted. . . . He is an excellently 
drawn character." Saturday Review. 


Charles Auchester. 


" The author has originality and a 
strong imagination." Times. 

" Music has never had so glowing an, 
advocate as the author of these volumes. 
There Is an amazing deal of ability dis- 
played in them." Herald. 

" The life of an enthusiast in music, by 
himself. The work is full of talent. The 
sketches of the masters and artists are 
life-like. In Seraphael all will recognise 
Mendelssohn, and in Miss Benette, Miss 
Lawrence, and Anastase, Berlioz, Jenny 
Lind, and another well-known to artist 
life, will be easily detected. To every 
one who cares for music, the volumes 
will prove a delightful study." Bri- 

Two Marriages. 

By the Author of " John Halifax, 

Gentleman," &c. 
"We have no hesitation in affirming 
the 'Two Marriages' to be in many 
respects the very best book that the 
author has yet produced. Rarely have 
we read a work written with so exquisite 
a delicacy, full of so tender an interest, 
and conveying so salutary a lesson." 
British Quarterly Review. 


Mary Sealram. 

By Mrs. Grey, 
Author of " The Gambler's Wife." 

" Equal to any former novel by its 
author." A therueum. 

"An admirable work a powerfully 
conceived novel, founded on a plot of 
high moral and dramatic interest." 
John Bull. 



By Anna JI. Drury, 
Author of "Deep Waters." 

" This book is- full-of genius, and con* 
tains many strikingly beautiful passages. 
It well deserves to' find readers. Those 
who begin it will certainly feel inclined 
to finish it." 

Harry Lorrequer. 
By Qharles Lever. 

"Who needs introducing to Charles 
Lever, the most rollicking, Jovial, as he 
is the most truthful and natural of Irish 
novelists? This new and very cheap 
edition of ' Harry Lorrequer ' will revive 
the pleasure that waited upon its first 
perusal many years ago. Mr. Lever's 
fame as a novelist is certainly basec upon 
his wonderful power of invention, his 
audacious fun, his unexaggerated treat- 
ment of passion and sentiment, and the 
unrivalled genuineness of his Irish 
characters. This work deserves a cozy 
place on the shelves of those who do not 
already possess the dearer and less handy 
editions." Derby Reporter. 


Slaves of the Ring; 

By F. W. Robinson. 

" A very good story. The reader can- 
not but feel interested in the loves, the 
Joys, and sorrows of 'The Slaves of the 
Ring.' It is no small praise to say that 
the present tale possesses in almost every 
respect the good qualities of the author's 
previous works." Observer. 

" These volumes well sustain the 
author's reputation." John Bull. 

Christie's Faith. 

By the Author of " Owen: a Waif," 

"Mattie: a Stray." 
" This book desei'ves to be singled out 
from the ordinary run of novels on more 
than one account. The design and 
execution are both good. The characters 
are original, clearly conceived, and finely 
as well as strongly delineated. Christie 
herself is a delightful sketch." Pall 
Mall Gazette. 


Tilbury Nogo. 

By Whyte Melville. 

11 A capital novel, of the 'Charles 
O'Malley' school, full of dashing ad- 
venture, with scenes of real history 
cleverly introduced in the narrative." 



By Charles Lever. 

" This is a new and cheap edition In 
one volume of one of Mr. Charles Lever's 
recent novels, and one which, considering 
its genera] merits, holds a very respect- 
able position amongst the varied works 
of that author. There is certainly 
nothing very remarkable in the plot of 
the story, or the manner of its execution, 
but it maintains its interest throughout, 
and presents one or two characters which 
may claim the merit (for it is merit now- 
a-daj's) of decided originality. The book 
is well worth reading, and in its present 
form will no doubt find many admirers." 
Hampshire Telegraph. 

The Half-Sisters. 

By Miss Jewsbury. 

"This Is a tale of passion. The 
heroine, by birth an Italian, is an actress, 
who begins her professional career in the 
circus from want, and leaves the stage 
its prima donna, to marry a nobleman. 
The story of her privations and tempta- 
tions is well written, and painfully true. 
The intci'est of the tale never flags, and 
the various characters introduced bear 
the stamp of originality without ex- 
aggeration." Field. 

Married Beneath Him. 

By the Author of " Lost Sir 


" A very clever, interesting, and well- 
written novel. The story is not less 
remarkable for excellence in point of plot 
and skill in construction than for the 
bright, pure, tender strain of feeling by 
which it is pervaded." 

The Country Gentleman 

By " Scrutator." 

" There is plenty of stirring interest in 
this novel, particularly for those readers 
who enjoy manly sport." Messenger. 

" An exceedingly well written and ad- 
mirably told story. The characters are 
cleverly drawn. The incidents are very 
interesting." Sporting Review, 
f. 13 

Geoffry Hainlyn. 

By Henry Kingsley. 

" A more stirring, eventful novel can 
hardly be named than these Recollec- 
tions. For prodigality of incident it is 
positively unrivalled, and, although the 
final consummation of all things may be 
easily divined, the interest of the plot is 
never for a moment permitted to flag. 
. . . One feels that it was a master's 
hand which gave them life, and sent 
them forth to startle and delight the 
world. . . . One of the most agree- 
able novels which have come into our 
hands for many years past." Morning 

Castle Kichmond. 

By Anthony Trollope. 

" A novel by the author of ' Doctor f 
Thorne ' is certain to yield a good deal of 
amusement to all novel readers of both ' 
sexes, who have the necessary amount of 
culture and knowledge of the world to 
bring to the reading of them. 'Castle 
Richmond ' is a clever book ; full of acute 
and accurate observations of men and 
manners in the south of Ireland, besides 
Containing a good story concerning 
people worth telling stories about." 
The Globe. 

The Queen of the Sea* 

By Captain Armstrong. 

" With the exception of Marryat, i 
tain Armstrong is the best writer 
nautical novels England has ever had." 

" Mr. Armstrong is quite at home 
writing a tale of the sea. The deeds < 
noble daring are recounted with a he 
enthusiasm, and a very stirring na\ 
novel is the result." Observer. 

The Jealous Wife. 

By Miss Pardoe, 
Author of the "Rival Beauties.' 

" A tale of great power. As an authc 
of fiction, Miss Pardoe has never 
anything better than this work." Globe. \ 


Tales of all Countries. Lindisfarn Chase. 

By Anthony Trollope. 

" These well-written and descriptive 
talcs have already appeared. In their I 
collected form they will be received with 
pleasure by the reading public, more 
especially at this season of the year. The 
tales which will give most satisfaction 
are, 'The O'Connors of Castle Connor,' 
' John Bull on the Guadalquiver,' ' Miss 
Sarah Jack, of Spanish Town, Jamaica,' 
and ' The Chateau of Prince Polignac,' 
but all of them testify to the talent of 
Mr. Trollope as a clever writer," 
Morning Advertiser. 

Theo Leigh. 

By Annie Thomas, 

Author of "He Cometh Not," 

"Two Widows," &c. 

" The author has surpassed herself in 
'Theo Leigh.' The characters are dis- 
tinctly drawn. The story is simple and 
spiritedly told. The dialogue is smart, 
natural, full of character. In short, 
'Theo Leigh ' takes its place among the 
cleverest novels of the season, and de- 
serves to be popular. It is the cream of 
light literature, graceful, brilliant, and 
continuously interesting." 

" In every respect an excellent noTcl. 
The interest is unflagging." 

John Law, the Projector 

By W. H. Aimworth 

"One novel of the author's may be 
better than another, but all are racy and 
good, fresh and vigorous in conception, 
and finished with the force and precision 
of a master-hand. This quality of execu- 
tion is alluringly shown in rivetting the 
attention, and imparting a lively air of 
reality to its interesting story and its 
striking portraitures of character." 

Denis Donne. 

By Annie Thomas. 

'^Ve can conscientiously recommend 
' Denis Donne' to everyone who is sensible 
to the attractions of a well-written and 
more than commonly interesting novel." 

11 A good novel." Athenveum. 

By Thomas A. Trollope, 
Author of "Beppo, the Conscript." 

" The lovers of fictional literature will 
be glad to find that Messrs. Chapman and 
Hall have is-ued 'chc; p editions' of the 
works of Thomas A. Urollope, a writer 
who has the tact of always sustaining 
the interest of his readers, and the ex- 
periences of a ' Lindisfarn Chase ' and 
' Bcppo, the Conscript ' are among the 
most popular works of this author. They 
are full of incident, and written with the 
pen of a man who is a keen observer of 
character and an excellent story-teller." 

Jack Hint on. 

By Charles Lever. 

" He that can follow the adventures of 
Jack Hinton, Harry Lorrequer, Charles 
O'Malley, and Tom Burke, without the 
frequent interruption of hearty laughter, 
has probably survived all sense of enjoy- 
ment in the society of the young. In any 
case he is not a man to be envied. To 
us, indeed, there is something of pathos 
in the reperusal of these books. It is like 
reading one's old love-letters, or hearing 
an old friend recount the frolics of one's 
own youth." Blackwood. 

Giulio Malatesta. 

By Thomas A. Trollope, 
Author of "LaBeata." 

" Will assuredly be read with pleasure. 
The book abounds in merit and beauty." 

" This work will be read to the very 
last page with unbroken interest. It is 
one of the very best stories we have had 
from the author. It is full of the same 
power of observation, refinement, and 
grace which mark all his books." 



By the Author of "John Halifax," 
" Olive," ic. 

" One of Miss Muloch's admired fictions, 
marked by pleasant contrasts of light 
and shade scenes of stirring interest i 
and pathetic incidents. The theme is 
one of touching interest, and is most 
delicately managed." Literary Circular. 


One and Twenty. 

By F. W. Robinson, 
Author of " Milly's Hero," Ice. 

" This remarkable novel is every way 
worthy of notice, whether as regards 
the verisimilitude of the story, or the 
simple and unaffected, yet exceedingly 
graphic style with which it is written. 
It reads more like a spirited memoir, than 
a mere creation of the author's brain." 

"It is a long time since we have met 
with so original a tale, or one so true to 
nature true in the lessons which it 
teaches, as well as in the pictures which 
It draws." John Bull. 


By T. A. Trollope, 
Author of "La Beata," &c. 

"Mr. Thomas A. Trollope, always a 
prkne favourite of ours, has excelled him- 
self in ' Marietta.' It is a charming 
book charming not only for its ex- 
quisitely graphic and accurate pictures 
of Italian life in country and city, but 
still more so for its admirable delinea- 
tions of character." The Press. 

Austin Elliot. 

By Henry Kingsley. 

" A book which it is impossible not to 
like and that not simply for its literary 
excellence, the construction of its plot, 
the beauty of its style ; but still more for 
the earnestness of purpose, the genial 
spirit, and the manly tone by which it is 
ch aracterised." Nonconformist. 

" This novel fulfils the first purpose of j 
novels, it interests and amuses." Satur- 
day Review. 


Silcote of Silcotes. 

By Henry Kingsley. 

" Every scene in the book is described 
with great freshness and realistic power. 
We will freely confess that the book is a 
delightful one to read, and that there is 
not a line of dull writing in it from be- 
ginning to end." Pall Mall Gazette. 

Miss Mackenzie. 

By Anthony Trollope* < 

" It is the union of fertility, readable- < 

ness, and consummate cleverness, which \ 
makes us in gaping wonderment abound 

when we take up ' Miss Mackenzie.' On < 
careful perusal we find it excellent : in 

Mr. Trollope's quietest tone of humour." , 

Globe. 4! 

Mffly J s~Hero. - 

By F. W. Robinson, 
Author of ''Grandmother'sMoney." 

" The situation of two women in love . 
with the same man has always been a 
favourite subject with writers of fiction. < 
The author of 'Milly's Hero ' has depicted 
with considerable skill the moral attitude 
of two women under such circumstances. 
The book is worth reading." Saturday i 


The Hillyars and tlie 

By Henry Kingsley. 


" Is an uncommonly amusing and in- ' 
teresting book, because of the author's 
own nature, which is infused into every 
page, and because of the brilliant bits of 
writing about Australia and its colonists. , 
These last flash out like gems from the 
rest of the narrative." Globe. 

Ravenshoe. ( 

By Henry Kingsley. , 


" There is an immense body of vitality 
in this book humour, imagination, ob- . 
servation in the greatest wealth, and , 
that delightful kind of satire which 
springs from a warm heart well reined in . 
by a keen intellect." Spectator. 

Leighton Court. 

By Henry Kingsley. 


"It is told skilfully, and is fresh, 
dashing, and interesting." Brit^h 

"One of the most agreeable things 
Mr. Kingsley has written." Saturday 





St. Aubyns of St. Aubyn. Author of " CHAELEY NUGENT." 

Two Widows. ANNIE THOMAS. 

He Cometh Not, She Said. ANNIE THOMAS. 

The Maskleynes. ANNIE THOMAS. 

Hagarene. Author of " GUY LIVINGSTONE." 


In the Days of My Youth. 

Lost for Gold. 

No Alternative. 

Colonel Dacre. 

For Love and Life. 

Last of the Mortimers. 

My Son's Wife. 

Beautiful Edith. 

Squire Arden. 

Lost Bride. 

Bruna's Revenge. 

Queen of the Regiment. 

Wild Georgie. 


Author of " CASTE." 
Author of " CASTE." 
Author of " URSULA'S LOVE STORY." 
Author of " CASTE." 



First in the Field. Author of " RECOMMENDED TO MERCY." 
Pearl. Author of " CASTE." 

A Point of Honour. Author of " ARCHIE LOVELL." 

The White House by the Sea. Miss BETH AM EDWARDS. 
Lilian's Penance. Author of " FIRST IN THE FIELD." 

Entanglements. Author of "CASTE." 

At Her Mercy. JAMES PAYN. 

Caste. Author of " BRUNA'S REVENGE." 


Ladies of Level Leigh. " QUEEN OF THE COUNTY." 

Madonna Mary. Mrs. OLIPIIANT. 

Queen of the County. Author of " THREE WIVES." 





299 Olympus to Hades. 


301 Mr. Arle. 

Author of " CASTI 

302 Three Wives. Author of 


303 Book of Heroines. Author of " 


304 Debenham's Vow. 


305 Fair Women. 


306 Father Godfrey. Author of "ANNE DYSARI 

307 Monsieur Maurice. 


308 Sacristan's Household. 


309 John and I. 


310 Queen of Herself. 


311 Sun and Shade. Author of 


312 Ursula's Love Story. Author of " SUN AND SHADE 

313 Wild Flower of Ravensworth. 


314 Lords and Ladies. Author of " QUEEN OF THE COUNTI 

315 Lisabee's Love Story. 


316 The Days of My Life. 


317 Harry Muir. 


318 Gold Elsie. 


319 Forgotten by the World. 


320 Humorous Stories. 


321 Broken Bonds. 


322 A Narrow Escape. 


323 Heart and Cross. 


324 Two Kisses. 


325 Leyton Hall. 


326 A Charming Fellow. 


327 Willing to Die. 

J. S. LEFA| 

328 False Cards. 


329 Squire of Beechwood. 


330 Clara Levesaue. 


331 Checkmate. 


332 Paul Wynter's Sacrifice, 


1 Magdalen Hepburn. 


334 House on the Moor. 


335 Lilliesleaf. 



& HALL. 

PH Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan 

4879 Willing to die. New ecL