Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Lippa
Author: Egerton, Beatrice
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippa" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



LIPPA

A NOVEL

BY

BEATRICE EGERTON

London

EDEN, REMINGTON & CO., PUBLISHERS
KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


[Transcriber's Note: Chapter numbering is as in the original text,
so there are two Chapter XIs.]


CHAPTER I

    'I hold the world but as the world
    A stage where every man must play a part.'

       --SHAKESPEARE.


It is four o'clock, and ---- Street is wearing a very deserted
appearance although it is July. The cab-drivers are more or less fast
asleep in attitudes far from suggesting comfort, the sentries on guard
at ---- Palace look almost suffocated in their bearskins, and a
comparative quiet is reigning over the great metropolis.

'Do you know, Helmdon,' says Jimmy Dalrymple. 'I'm nearly done;' these
two are seated in the bow window of a well-known club.

'You don't mean it, what!' replies Helmdon, better known as Chubby.

'I do, all the same,' says Jimmy, testily, 'heat, money, everything, in
fact!'

'That comes of racing, my good boy,' this from Chubby, in a sort of
I-told-you-so tone.

'For Heaven's sake don't begin lecturing,' says Dalrymple, 'it doesn't
suit you, and how in the name of fortune could the heat come from my
racing. Chubby, you're an ass!' and really, J. Dalrymple of the Guards
is not far wrong, for the said Chubby, otherwise Lord Helmdon does look
rather foolish half leaning half sitting on the back of a chair, his
hat well at the back of his head (why it remains there is a mystery),
his reddish hair very dishevelled, his face on a broad grin while he
watches with deep interest two dogs fighting in the street below.

Dalrymple receiving no answer to his complimentary speech, gives vent to
a yawn, and sends for a brandy and soda.

'Eh what!' says Chubby, suddenly, and _à propos_ of nothing; by this
time the dogs have been separated. 'Didn't you speak just now?'

'Well, yes,' replies Dalrymple, 'I merely observed that you were an
ass.'

'Thanks, awfully, but why did it strike you just now?' asks Lord
Helmdon, sweetly.

'Don't know, I'm sure--'

'Ah! I thought so, but look here, why are you so down in the mouth,
there's something up I'm sure,' and Chubby scrutinises his friend
gravely.

'Nothing's up,' says Jimmy, 'but I've got into a confounded business
with Harkness over that mare of his, that ought to have run in the Oaks,
I've laid more than I've got, against her winning the Ledger, and I
don't know what on earth to do--'

'Do nothing,' says Helmdon, 'it'll all shake down somehow, and the
Ledger's weeks off--'

Jimmy grunts an assent, and then rising says, 'I'm off to tea at Brook
Street and the Park afterwards.'

'You'll probably find me there,' replies Helmdon, settling himself
comfortably for a nap. While Dalrymple walks out of the Club and turns
in the direction of Brook Street. He has not gone far when he is
overtaken by a man who greets him with: 'Where are you going to, my
pretty maid?'

'I'm on my way to the Park,' replies Dalrymple, smiling, 'only I thought
of stopping at your sister's on the way. Where are you bound for?'

'There too,' answers his companion, who, save for his drooping fair
moustache would better deserve to be called a 'pretty maid.' 'Mabel has
a small party on, and I promised to drop in, we may as well go
together.'

Paul Ponsonby is decidedly handsome; tall, fair, of almost a feminine
complexion, and with blue eyes of a very sad expression. He is a great
favourite with the female sex and many a mother longs to have him for a
son-in-law, remembering that he has plenty of money, and only three
people between him and an earldom; but he has no intention of marrying,
there being 'a just cause and impediment' why he should not.

But by this time our friends have reached their destination, and ascend
the staircase to the strains of distant music.

'Mabel,' otherwise Mrs Seaton, is standing on the landing and greets
them both eagerly.

'So glad you've come,' says she, 'but I didn't expect _you_, Mr
Dalrymple, and now you're here you must make yourself useful, your
mission in life at the present moment, Paul,' she adds, turning to her
brother, 'is to go and amuse Philippa, poor child, I'm afraid she feels
rather out of it, but I haven't time to attend to her now. She's near
the window, the old Professor was talking to her a few minutes ago--'

'Very well,' says Paul, moving towards the well filled drawing-room; the
music has ceased and everyone is talking at once. He pauses for a second
in the doorway and glances round the room, bowing to two or three
people, then making his way to the window holds out his hand to a girl
who is looking decidedly _ennuyée_.

'How do you do, Mr Ponsonby,' she says in a clear sweet voice, 'I'm so
glad you've come, don't you know the feeling of loneliness that comes
over one in a crowd of unknown people, and I've been here all the
afternoon feeling dreadfully cross, and have wished myself back again in
Switzerland about twenty times. It's rather a bad beginning,' she adds,
with a little laugh--

'Feeling cross, do you mean?' asks he, 'I often think it does one a
great deal of good to be cross. I wish Mrs Grundy didn't come between us
and the carpet, it would be so delightful to sprawl full length on it
and roar; I remember I used to derive a great deal of comfort in it in
the days of my youth.'

'I suppose that was a long time ago,' says she, mischievously--

'Yes, of course, almost centuries--but where's Teddy?'

'Gone out for a walk,' replied Philippa, 'isn't he a dear little boy?'

Paul Ponsonby laughs and says, 'I I think him rather the _enfant
terrible_, but I suppose women are naturally fond of children, even
taken as a whole; it does not matter much what they are like taken
singly.'

Some one has begun to sing and Philippa does not answer, but when the
song is finished, she asks the name of an old lady who is sitting on the
sofa at the farther end of the room.

'The one with the blue feather, that's Lady Dadford,' says Ponsonby,
'and that's her daughter standing by her, Lady Anne; she is very clever;
but surely they're some sort of relation to you, I know the old lady
comes here very often.'

'Well, child,' exclaims little Mrs Seaton, coming up and laying her hand
on Philippa's shoulder; 'they have nearly all gone, thank goodness, I am
afraid you have been very dull, eh?'

Philippa laughs, while Paul twirling his moustache says, 'You know I've
been talking to Miss Seaton for the last half hour, as you told me to,
next time I shall not obey you if this is all the thanks I get.'

Philippa looks up quickly, so this is why he has been talking to her.
'It was very good of you,' she says in a very polite tone, 'very kind,
but you need not have troubled yourself so much, I am quite happy
watching people.'

'My dear child, what an absurd creature you are,' exclaims her
sister-in-law, 'but come with me now I want to introduce you to two or
three people--'

'What did I say to annoy her,' thinks Paul, and then seizing the first
opportunity he makes for the door, but his sister stops him on the
threshold.

'Oh, Paul, do be a dear,' she says, 'and get some places for us for the
play, I don't care what, only let it be somewhere proper, for Philippa's
sake not mine, get them for to-morrow night, and come and dine here
beforehand.'

'All right,' he answers, 'I shall probably look in during the morning.
Ta ta.'

Mabel Seaton is a great favourite. She is not what one would call
pretty, but she possesses a bright, cheery face, which is reflected in
miniature in her son Teddy, who is as his uncle says rather the '_enfant
terrible!_' but do not say so before his mother, or her wrath would be
dire. Her husband George is really the only person who dares to
interfere concerning the conduct of that small personage.

Philippa, who up till now has lived with an aunt in Switzerland, having
reached the age of eighteen, has come over to England to be presented
and enter into the vortex of London society. So it is to quite another
world she has come, and she wonders if she will be happy. Life is such
a strange thing, so many beginnings and so few endings.

But the theatre is hardly the place for melancholy meditations, and she
is sitting in the stalls of the L----. Mabel on one side, Paul Ponsonby
on the other; the latter has become deeply interested in Philippa, and
wonders what sort of a woman she will become--a coquette, a flirt? He
glances at her fair, childish face and sighs. The curtain goes up, but
he does not see the scene before him; no, 'tis a woman's face he seems
to see, a pale face, with large brown eyes that are fixed on him with a
look of--pshaw! what had love to do with her. Time had been when love
for that woman had filled his whole being, but there came a day when he
tried to make himself hate her, and he did not succeed. Heigh ho!

'Mr Ponsonby,' Philippa is saying to him, 'do look at that dear little
baby.'

With a start he comes back from the reverie into which he had sunk and
answers at random 'Yes, she always acts perfectly--'

Philippa looks at him in astonishment, how could that child _always_ act
perfectly when it couldn't be more than three, but she says nothing and
watches with interest the play. It is a sad piece of a woman wronged,
the acting is splendid and more than once Miss Seaton feels a lump in
her throat, but it is over at length and the curtain falls for the last
time.

'Did you like it?' asks Ponsonby, helping her on with her cloak.

'Very much,' she replies, 'I have never been to an English theatre
before, you know, but it was awfully sad.'

'Sadder if it had been the man wronged,' he says--

Philippa looks up with a laughing retort about each one for himself, but
he seems so very grave that she refrains and wonders why he said that,
but it is sometime before she finds out.



CHAPTER II

    'A face in a crowd, a glance, a droop of the lashes,
        and all is said.'--MARION CRAWFORD.


It is some days later, and having a ball in prospect, Mrs Seaton has
left Philippa to rest, whilst she goes on a round of visits; and
Philippa, nothing loth, settles herself comfortably on the sofa with a
book, and prepares to enjoy a lazy afternoon, but she is destined to
interruption. The door suddenly bursts open and Teddy flies in, with
'Oh, Aunt Lippa, will you come into the Square with me. Marie's sister
has come to see her and it would be kind to let them be together, don't
you think--'

Lippa feels inclined to suggest that it would be just as kind to let her
alone, but she refrains and merely says 'Well?'

'Will you?' asks the little boy, emphasizing his words by leaning
heavily against his aunt. 'You see,' he continues, 'I do feel sometimes
lonely, 'cos Marie's old and won't run, and I think you look as if you
could--'

'I have done so in the course of my life,' she answers laughing, 'and I
might be able to do so again.'

'Then you will try this afternoon, won't you?' this very coaxingly.
'Marie had better walk with us there, but it's such a little way we can
come back by ourselves, can't we.'

'Yes; I should think so,' says Philippa.

'Then I'll just go and get my hat,' and Teddy, pausing at the door,
adds. 'Do you know I think you're a very good aunt for a boy to have.'

'Indeed?' and Lippa laughs.

She finds it quite as pleasant sitting under a shady tree in the Square,
as on the sofa in Brook Street; and her nephew does not require her to
run, having found another companion in the person of a fat, very plain
little girl; but after some time she has to go home, and Teddy having
worried the life out of a stray cat, returns to his aunt, with a red,
smutty face.

'Well,' he says, 'I am so hot, what shall I do to get cool--'

'Sit still,' suggests Lippa.

'Oh no, that'd make me heaps hotter, oh! there's Joseph,' and away flies
Teddy. Joseph is an old gardener whose business it is to keep the paths
in order, and of whom most of the square live in wholesome awe, not so
Teddy, he loves him dearly and will talk as long as the old man has time
to listen, this afternoon he is busy and Teddy soon returns again to the
seat.

'He's such a dear old man,' he says, nodding in the direction the
gardener has taken, 'a dear old man, but he has a terrible cough, and he
doesn't know anything that will cure it.'

'Poor old man,' she answers, 'but really Teddy you _must_ sit still, you
are so hot, and jumping up and down like that shakes me all over.'

'Does it?' he says, innocently. 'I'll sit still if you'll tell me
something, but perhaps I'd better tell you something first. Did you ever
know that I had a sister?'

Lippa nods.

'Oh!' he says, 'well then perhaps you knew that her name was Lilian, and
she was lost.'

'Yes,' replies Philippa, 'I knew all about her; you see your father is
my brother, so of course I know all about you.'

'Not everything,' says Teddy, confidently, 'you don't know that I'm
feeling rather empty, not 'xactly hungry but as if I could eat my tea.'

'Well, I dare say it is time to go in,' says his aunt, 'and if you will
cease to sit on my feet I will get up.'

Teddy rises with alacrity, and not till they get to the square gate do
they remember they have not got the key. 'How tiresome,' ejaculates
Philippa.

But Teddy who is always full of resources, departs in the hope of
finding Joseph or some one who has a key, but alas they are the only
occupants of the square, what is to be done. They stand gazing
helplessly over the gate, Philippa looking uncommonly pretty in a light
gown that fits to perfection, and her large black hat adorned with red
poppies, 'I wonder who she is,' thinks a gentleman who has already
passed them twice, and is contemplating turning back to see her again.
But he hears his name called in a shrill voice, 'Captain Harkness,
Cap-ta-i-n H-a-r-kness!' He turns round hastily and sees Teddy waving
frantically over the gate.

'Well, little boy,' he says, 'what is the matter? eh!'

'We can't get out, Aunt Lippa and I, we've forgotten the key, do go to
mother and ask her for it.'

Captain Harkness turns to Philippa and raising his hat, says, 'I shall
be very pleased if I can be of any service to you, I was just on my way
to see Mrs Seaton.'

'If you could get the key,' replies she, 'it would be most kind.'

'Not at all,' says he, still wondering who she is, 'I will not be long,'
and he is as good as his word, reappearing with the key and setting them
free, when they return to Brook Street.

'My dear child,' says Mabel, addressing Lippa, as they enter the
drawing-room, 'how very foolish of you to lock yourselves up like that.
I was getting quite uneasy about you, but come and have some tea, and
you Teddy go upstairs to yours, Captain Harkness now let me introduce
you properly to my sister-in-law.'

Philippa smiles and Captain Harkness congratulates himself on his
afternoon adventure.

Eleven o'clock sees Mabel and Philippa on their way to the ball, not
having been to many she has not become _blasée_, but enjoys herself
thoroughly. It is still early when they reach their destination, and Mrs
Seaton is enabled to find a seat in a good place for seeing, almost
opposite the door. Lady Dadford followed by her daughter soon puts in an
appearance and makes for them at once.

'Well, Mabel, my dear,' she begins, 'so glad to have found you here, how
do you do, Philippa, you are not done up yet, I see, and you look
charming, what a sweet dress you have, and I do believe you have not
been introduced to my boy yet, I am afraid he isn't coming here
to-night, he's such a dear boy, my Helmdon, I'm sure you will like him.
But where's Anne, ah! dancing already, the dear child, she does do it so
well,' and with a benign smile on her kind old face, Lady Dadford seats
herself by Mabel.

Miss Seaton's partners claim her one after the other; they have very
little individuality to her, of course some are better dancers than the
others, but caring for one more than another, would be quite impossible
she tells herself. Why is it then that suddenly as she catches sight of
a certain brown head in the doorway, she smiles, and when the owner
comes towards her feels just a little thrill of pleasure.

Ah! Miss Seaton let me warn you, don't pretend to care for _none_ of
them, for that thrill does not come without some cause, and almost
before you are aware of it, you will find that your heart is not your
own, you know quite well that Jimmy Dalrymple has found favour in your
eyes, and you know too, that with very little trouble you could bewitch
him. Do not play with edged tools.

Lippa waltzes off with him through the crowded room and just a little
sigh escapes her as the music stops.

'Where would you like to go to?' asks he. 'To supper or the garden?'

'Oh, the garden,' says Miss Seaton, 'fancy naming them together. Supper
is such a very prosaic affair,' and then as they enter the garden, 'One
could almost imagine oneself miles away from London here.'

'They have arranged it awfully well,' says Dalrymple, gazing round on
the illuminated parterres, and then, 'would you like to sit or shall we
walk about?'

'Walk, I think,' replies Philippa, and so they wander on, talking about
nothing in particular, and yet they both forget that there are such
things as sleep and to-morrow. Having come to the end of a narrow path,
and finding two empty chairs they remain there. The lights are dim and
the people passing and repassing are scarcely recognisable, but
presently a lady in a light blue gown attracts Lippa's attention. 'Who
is she?' she says.

Dalrymple turns and looks at her. They hear a murmured sentence and then
'Eh, what!' in rather an unmistakeable tone.

'Oh, her partner is Helmdon,' says Jimmy, 'he's never to be mistaken
with his _what_. The lady, I think, is Mrs Standish, an American widow,
and therefore rolling in riches. I never knew an American widow who
wasn't.'

'It would be very nice,' says Lippa.

'What! to be an American widow?'

She laughs. 'No! to be very rich; there would be no need to think twice
as to whether you could afford anything--'

'What a great many useless things you would get,' says Dalrymple.

'Really! but why?'

'I did not mean you in particular,' he protests. 'I assure you I didn't;
but there are a great many useless things in the shops, which I suppose
people buy. What is the matter, Miss Seaton? For Philippa has risen
hastily with a little scream. 'There's something under my chair, I felt
it move,' she says, woman-like raising her skirt.

Dalrymple bends down, kneel he could not in his best evening trousers,
'I don't see anything,' he says, peering about and nearly choking for
his collar is high and somewhat tight. _Il faut souffrir pour être
beau.'_

'Oh, but you must,' persists Lippa. 'I felt it move.'

'Wait a second,' says he, producing a match, and proceeding to light it
on the sole of his pump; they are all alone in this part of the garden,
and nobody is watching them, the match will not ignite at first and then
they both bend down at once nearly upsetting each other, and behold
calmly blinking at them a large black cat. This is too much for Jimmy
who gives way to suppressed laughter, the match goes out, and Miss
Seaton though inwardly convulsed thinks proper to assume an air of
dignity. 'I think I had better go back to the ball-room,' says she.

Jimmy vaguely feeling he has done something he ought not to, says; 'I-er
beg your pardon, I'm awfully sorry--'

'What for?' asks Lippa, stroking her right arm with her left hand.

Jimmy considers for a moment wondering what he had better say, and then
suddenly seized with an inspiration 'I do believe I hurt you,' he says,
'the match didn't touch you, did it?'

'No; but _you_ did,' replies she, and then seeing the consternation
depicted on his face, Miss Seaton smiles, and then they both laugh.

'You know, you really might have knocked me over,' she says
pathetically.

'I can't tell you how sorry I am,' exclaims Dalrymple, gently taking
possession of the injured arm; 'please forgive me?'

'I'll try,' she says,--'I wonder what has happened to the cat--'

They are nearing the ball-room, and he finding this _tête-à-tête_ very
pleasant wishes to prolong it and says, 'Shall we go back and see?'

'I think I am engaged for this dance,' says Lippa, knowing Mabel will be
wondering what has become of her.

'You'll let me have another?' asks Jimmy, eagerly.

'Certainly,' replies she; 'only, no more cat-finding. I can't bear them,
can you?'

'Can't endure them,' says Dalrymple, who would agree with whatever she
said.

That night, or I should say next morning, when Miss Seaton retires to
rest, a certain brown head figures prominently in her dreams, together
with searching after huge monsters, who all bear a resemblance to Lady
Dadford. And even when awake the brown head is a subject for deep
thought, and it is with a bright, happy face Miss Seaton appears (though
somewhat late) at the breakfast table.



CHAPTER III


'Philippa,' says Mrs Seaton one day, 'I have just had an invitation from
old Mrs Boothly, asking us to a water party next Wednesday, would you
like to go?'

'Who is going?' asks Lippa wisely, 'not only the Boothlys--'

'I suppose the "_not only_," means that in that case you would not go,
but rest assured lots of other people are going, the two Graham girls,
little Tommy Grant, Mr Dalrymple, and Captain Harkness,' says Mabel,
'but read the note yourself and decide--' Philippa's mind is soon made
up. 'I think I should like to go, it will be rather fun I expect.'

'Yes, I daresay,' replies Mabel, 'then I will write at once to get it
off my mind, but _what_ day is it for?'

'Wednesday,' says Philippa, meaning to enjoy herself. But in one sense
she is doomed to disappointment, the weather is everything that could be
wished, and, donning a pretty gown, and covering her head with a dainty
confection, she feels ready for the fray.

Ten o'clock is the hour fixed for starting from ---- Station, but Teddy
has been refractory over his breakfast and his mother considers it her
duty to reprimand him, tears ensue, and then some time is spent in
consolation, so that they are only just in time and have to run along
the platform to the saloon carriage, out of which Tommy Grant is
gesticulating violently.

'You're only just in time,' says he, helping them in.

Philippa looks round and does not see Dalrymple; she finds herself next
the eldest Miss Boothly who is saying, 'I am so pleased you could come,'
giving Lippa's arm a little squeeze at the same time, 'I think we shall
have a nice day, don't you, and you know all the people?'

'All except the man at the further end.'

'Oh! don't you know him,' says Miss Boothly. 'He's Lord Helmdon; he has
come in the place of Mr Dalrymple, who at the last moment wrote to say
he could not come, and so we asked Lord Helmdon, he's so nice; we always
fall back upon him when anyone fails us.'

Chubby does not look as if he had been fallen back upon by any means,
for apparently he is keeping up the spirits of the party, for they are
all in shrieks of laughter. Captain Harkness eyes Lippa from the
distance, and when they reach their destination prepares to assist her
to alight, when Lord Helmdon clumsily treads on her dress just as she is
about to jump down on the platform; no great damage is done, and Chubby,
profuse in apologies, wins Miss Seaton's heart by the plain distress
depicted on his countenance, and a safety pin which he produces and
with which he fastens up the torn gathers, and before they come to the
river, they are on quite friendly terms, much to the disgust of
Harkness, who has been attacked by his hostess's youngest daughter.

Up the river they go, dividing into three parties; Mrs Boothly, who has
placed herself next Mabel, warm, and decidedly sleepy, tries in vain to
feel happy in seeing her dear girls amused, and discusses the management
of children with Mrs Seaton. And the day wears on, Helmdon making
himself decidedly agreeable to everyone. Lippa amuses herself to a
certain extent, but she becomes irritated by the assiduous attentions of
Captain Harkness, to whom she has taken a violent dislike. She gets
more and more out of patience with him and at length is almost rude. It
appears to have no effect upon him whatever, for like a great many other
people he has a very good opinion of himself, and that this girl is not
pleased with his attentions never enters his well-curled head. Philippa
has taken his fancy and as he has just made up his mind that it is time
to enter the blissful (?) state of matrimony, she seems to him to be the
exact person to make his wife; money makes no difference, for he is one
of those fortunate individuals who has almost more than he knows what to
do with. That Miss Seaton will have nothing to do with him, has not
crossed his mind yet.

The party disperse again at the station pouring into Mrs Boothly's ear
many sweet sentences, which had she been listening would have made her
think that going up the river in a boat and lunching on the bank was
almost heaven upon earth; but poor dear lady she is longing to get home,
feeling painfully conscious of the shapeliness of her shoes; and the
pain thereby caused, absorbs all her faculties for the present: but when
the above mentioned articles are removed, she thinks with pleasure how
much everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and she makes up her mind to
have a similar day; only, made more pleasant to her by large and
shapeless boots. Wise Mrs Boothly--

Garden-parties, balls, dinner-parties, follow each other in rather
monotonous succession, and Lippa is beginning to tire of them, she has
been to three balls where a certain young man has been conspicuous by
his absence; and it is almost a week since he has dropped in to tea, and
Miss Seaton misses him more than she will own to herself. She is feeling
out of sorts this afternoon and has betaken herself to the back
drawing-room, which is only curtained off from the front, leaving Mabel
and Lady Dadford in earnest conversation.

Presently the door opens, and Ponsonby comes in. 'All alone,' says he.
'I thought you always had some one worshipping at your shrine.'

'Indeed, you are much mistaken,' replies she laughing, 'but I didn't
know you were in London--'

'I only came back this morning--'

'Mabel and Lady Dadford are in there,' interrupts Philippa
indifferently, pointing to the front room.

'Well, unless I am disturbing you, I will remain here,' says Paul,
'there are some letters I must write,' and going to the table he
proceeds to hunt for paper and pens; Lippa goes on reading her book, and
a silence of a few minutes ensues.

Then he says, 'What wretched pens you do keep--'

'Yes,' replies she, 'they are rather bad, but I think you will find some
others in the right hand drawer--have you ever read this?' holding up
her volume.

'The "Epic of Hades," yes, parts of it are very fine. "There is an end
of all things that thou seest. There is an end of wrong and death and
hell,"' quotes he.

'What a melancholy passage,' says Lippa.

'A very grand one I think,' he replies, 'but I should never have thought
you would care for that kind of literature.'

'Why not?--'

'Because, well, I should have thought it would have been too deep for
you--'

'Really,' then after a pause, 'do you know _that_ wasn't very polite--'

'Wasn't it? suppose I say then that I am agreeably surprised--'

'That's nearly as bad, if not quite, it sounds as if you expected me to
read nothing but books like the "Daisy Chain," or "Laneton Parsonage."'

'Very excellent books too--'

'Oh, Paul! how _tiresome_ you are, do you know I,' and then Miss Seaton
is filled with confusion, she has called him by his Christian name and
he is looking at her and smiling. 'I--er beg your pardon,' she says
quickly in her childish way.

'What for?' asks he, pretending not to understand her.

'For calling you by your Christian name--'

'Well, and what harm was there?'

'You see,' she says deprecatingly, 'Mabel is always talking about you,
and so I get into the habit of talking of you as Paul.'

Paul rises and standing in front of her says--'As I said before, where
is the harm? I have never called you anything else but Philippa, or
Lippa; I could not address you as Miss Seaton, it does not suit you one
bit you know; now let us make it a compact from henceforth, I call you
Lippa, and you call me Paul.'

'Very well,' replies she.

'What ever are you two doing here,' and the curtain is hastily drawn
aside by Mabel. 'You look as grave as judges, come and have some
strawberries and cream, Lady Dadford has gone.'

At the sound of strawberries, Lippa hastily rises, and they go into the
front room, where Jimmy Dalrymple is.

'How do you do,' says Philippa, wondering how long he has been there.
And then they attack the strawberries.

'I'm longing to know what you two were talking about,' says Mabel.

Paul laughs and replies, 'We were settling a very weighty matter,
weren't we, Lippa?'

Philippa merely says 'Yes,' and longs to turn the conversation, for what
may not Jimmy think.

In truth he feels an unaccountable overwhelming desire to know what the
weighty matter was, but he is not to know, and therefore is kept on
tenter hooks for some time.

'She came to ask us all to a cattle show and ball,' Mrs Seaton is
saying.

'Who?' asks her brother.

'Lady Dadford; she particularly wants you.'

'I feel highly honoured, I'm sure--'

'Are you going?' says Lippa, turning to Dalrymple.

'I was asked, but I don't know whether I shall be able to get away,' he
replies, still pondering over the 'weighty matter.'

'Only a few minutes ago you were telling Lady Dadford how pleased you
would be to go, Mr Dalrymple; I did not know you were such a humbug,'
cries Mabel.

Jimmy laughs.

'Mrs Boothly,' announces the servant. Philippa retires to the back
drawing-room and Dalrymple follows her. 'I have not seen you for ages,'
says he.

'Only a week, I think,' replies Lippa.

'Isn't that seven whole long days?'

'Short I call them, but what have you been doing?'

'Duty.'

'Oh!'

Then after a pause he says, 'I can't make up my mind about the Dadfords,
shall I go?'

Lippa feels naughty. 'What difference could it make to me whether you
went or not?' she says.

'None, I suppose,' replies he sadly.

'None whatever,' she repeats, 'unless perhaps you make yourself very
disagreeable, then I must say I would rather you stayed away.'

'But,' says he, his face brightening, 'suppose I make myself very
agreeable, what then?'

'Could you?' she asks coquettishly.

'Miss Seaton,' protests he, 'how cruel you can be.'

But she appears deaf, and enters the other room. Nevertheless she gives
him the benefit of a lovely little smile when he goes away, which makes
him settle at once as to whether he goes to the Dadfords or not. And of
course he is the first person Lippa sees on arriving there, and who
shall say that it does not cause her pleasure.



CHAPTER IV

    'The fine fat bulls, the dear little sheep,
    The fat piggy-wiggy wiggies all in a heap,
    The beautiful Moo cows all in a row,
    Jolly fine fun at the cattle show.'


Such a lovely day it is; the sun shining forth in all its glory, casting
a touch of gold over everything, while a hush reigns supreme; that
lovely stillness that hangs over the earth in the early morning before
the work of the day begins.

Lippa scarcely took in what the ancestral home of the Dadfords was like,
when she arrived last night, but waking early she dresses hastily in
order to survey the surrounding country, an outing before breakfast she
delights in, when all the world seems fresh and clean, and the humdrum
business of life is barely begun.

Passing down the wide oak staircase she comes across a friendly
housemaid who shows her the way through a conservatory to the garden,
such a lovely garden it is, with its broad walks, its green velvety
lawns and slopes, and its masses of old-fashioned dew beladen flowers,
the perfume of which fills the morning air. Her spirits rise as she
wanders on, drinking in with delight the surrounding beauty, so absorbed
is she in it that she forgets there is such a person as Jimmy
Dalrymple. Quack, quack, quack, go the ducks as she approaches the lake
on which they disport themselves, and gazes down at the sky therein
reflected and at her own image. But she is not admiring her youthful
face and the curly golden hair that stands like a halo round it. No, she
is sunk in a dream; the morning has called forth her greatest
aspirations; the striving after the unattainable; that comes to us all
sometime or other, when we feel that truly life is worth living, and
that there is something beyond, so great that we cannot grasp it, but we
feel it is there producing a great speechless longing within us while
our hearts throb and our pulses stir till we could cry for joy.

Such a state as this Lippa has reached, when she is suddenly brought
down from the elevated height to which her mind has soared, to the
outward circumstances of life, by the squeaking of a window which is
suddenly opened; she is so close to the house, that on looking up she
recognises the brown head that is thrust out for a moment. 'Tis enough;
the spell has been broken and she becomes aware that breakfast would be
a very acceptable thing, so she wends her way back to the house. Of
course everyone is full of the cattle show and the merits of Herefords,
short horns, Devons and Kerrys are discussed together with Jersey
creamers and separators. Most of the guests are old and uninteresting,
and intend leaving on the following day to make room for the younger
folk who can dance.

Dalrymple and Philippa are the only young people at present, besides, of
course, Lady Anne and Chubby.

'I've ordered the dog-cart,' says the latter, in the course of
breakfast, to Lippa, who is sitting next him, 'because I thought we
might leave the old people to go by themselves. I've got an awfully good
animal, which I should like you to see, what! My sister and Dalrymple
will come too, and we can go where we please. That is to say unless,
perhaps, you would prefer to drive in state in the landau. What!'

'No, indeed,' says Lippa, laughing.

'You're wise, I think,' replies Lord Helmdon. 'You don't know what my
respected parent is like at a show, everything must be commented upon. I
went with him once,--didn't get away for hours, and I said to
myself--never again. By ourselves we can come and go just as we please.
By-the-bye, mother,' he goes on, turning to Lady Dadford, 'I suppose
you've asked the Lippingcotts to the ball. I met him yesterday, but he
didn't say anything about it, eh what!'

'I really don't remember; have we, Anne?' says her ladyship.

Lady Anne produces a piece of paper whereon the names of the invited
guests are inscribed, glances down it, and says 'No.'

'How dreadful.'

'It's a pity,' says Anne.

'Not too late yet,' suggests Chubby. 'Little Mrs Lippingcott is so
awfully pretty and dances quite beautifully. It would be a shame if she
wasn't asked.'

'Well; I will write now if you like,' says his mother, ready to do
anything her 'dear' boy wishes. 'They only came back a week ago, I
suppose, that is how they were forgotten.'

'And if I see them I'll say something pretty that will make up, what!'

'Do you really think you could?' says Dalrymple, from the other side of
the table.

'Don't doubt it for a moment,' replies Chubby, 'Miss Seaton I know will
verify my statement.'

When all the older folk have been packed off, the dog-cart appears and
with it the 'awfully good animal,' which of course has to be admired,
and viewed from all points, before the owner sees fit to start. Lippa,
of course, has the place of honour, by the driver, much to Jimmy's
disgust. There is no need to go into details of the show, all of which
are more or less alike, with dogs of all sizes and breeds, barking in
different keys, pigs grunting and squeaking, horses neighing, cows
mooing, cocks crowing, ducks quacking; boys yelling out the price of
catalogues, men requesting people to 'walk up,' and inspect their wares,
which are all warranted to be the very best of their kind; and besides
all this two brass bands which play two different tunes at the same
time. If a deaf man suddenly recovered his hearing at a cattle show, I
am sure he would wish himself deaf again. However, some people enjoy
cattle shows, I do not, but that is neither here nor there.

Lord Dadford, J.P. for the county and owner of some fine short horns, is
surrounded by gaitered and pot-hatted men, who all appear to be talking
at once. Helmdon conducting Philippa and his sister with the ever
constant Jimmy, carefully fights shy of his father.

'What luck to have met you,' he exclaims as they run up against a pretty
woman, Mrs Lippingcott of course, and forthwith they launch into an
eager conversation with humble apologies from him and earnest
entreaties that she will grace the ball with her appearance, and with
any one who may be staying with her.

'Oh, how do you do, Miss Seaton?' makes Lippa turn, who is in earnest
conversation with Dalrymple, and see Harkness standing before her. She
would have liked to give vent to a naughty little expression, but she
merely bows saying--

'I had no idea of meeting you here, isn't it a lovely day?'

'Beautiful,' he replies, 'I am stopping with the Lippingcotts for a few
days; really the country is quite delightful after London.'

'Delicious,' replies Lippa, moving on leaving Harkness gazing at her
and Dalrymple; is that young beggar going to cut him out, it looks
uncommonly like it. Lucky fellow he is, thinks the Captain, winning over
that race last month when the odds were dead against him, and now--

'Thank goodness!' ejaculates Miss Seaton, finding herself free from her
admirer.

'What for?' asks Dalrymple.

'Why, to get rid of him of course.'

'Poor man,' says Jimmy pensively.

'Wherefore?'

'Because he has evidently incurred your displeasure.'

'Oh,' with a little laugh, 'is my displeasure such a very dreadful
thing.'

'It would be to me,' is the reply.

'Well, if you're very good, I will try and be pleased with you, it might
be unpleasant if we--'

'Will it require a great deal of trying?'

'That depends,' says Miss Seaton, glancing up in his face, to find he is
looking at her rather more earnestly than is necessary. But the
conversation is interrupted by Lady Anne.

Poor Lady Anne, there is a romance connected with her life, that nobody
knows of save her parents, and they have almost forgotten it. A romance
in which a young officer figures prominently; when Lady Anne first came
out she fell desperately in love with him, and he with her, they
plighted their troth at a London ball; but her parents said she was too
young to marry just then, and it was agreed to wait a year. But war
broke out and his regiment was 'ordered to the front.' Oh! the sorrow
conveyed in those words, how many, many went out like Lady Anne's lover
and never returned, how many lives like hers were blighted in
consequence. 'God bless you, Dick,' she had said the night before he
started, 'and I hope you will come back soon.'

'Soon,' he had repeated, 'dearest, I may never come back again.'

He was right, for he fell on the field of A----, found dead where the
fight had been fiercest; and Lady Anne's heart was broken. She did not
die of grief, nor did she appear to the world as hopelessly crushed, but
went on living just the same, with a feeling of aching emptiness, that
is, oh, so hard to bear, and she shut away from prying eyes the picture
of her young lover, and round her neck she hung the crystal heart he had
given her, whereon his name was inscribed.--Dick.



CHAPTER V

    'Love me, for I love you,' and answer me
    'Love me, for I love you.'--CHRISTINA ROSSETTI.


'Tis the night of the ball, dinner is over and the house party is
collected in the hall, waiting the arrival of the guests. The fiddles
are scraping away in the drawing-room, where the furniture having been
taken away and the carpet removed, the floor looks inviting and 'is
perfectly delicious' owns Philippa, having performed a _pas seul_
thereon, before anyone was down. She looks extremely pretty to-night in
a quaint, little white satin dress, her hair fluffed all round her
head, and tied up with pale green ribbons.

At this moment she is striving in vain to button up one of Chubby's
gloves. 'It's awfully good of you,' he says. 'I can't think why they are
so tight, what--'

'If I don't button it this time,' she replies, 'I really can't try any
more, for I have not got my own on yet, and I know they'll begin to
dance in a moment.'

'You'll let me have the first, won't you?' he says.

'Certainly,' she answers, all her attention absorbed in the button which
is just half in the button-hole, one little poke and 'there it's done,'
she says.

But alas! it is _done_ indeed, for there is an ominous crack, and a
large split is seen right across it.

'What a nuisance,' says Helmdon, gazing at the torn article.

'Oh I hope it wasn't my fault,' says Lippa.

'No; not at all, I assure you--'

'Don't waste time then looking at it, fetch another quickly,' and
Philippa begins hastily to cover her own bare hands. 'Chubby,' she calls
after him, 'they're beginning to dance. I can't keep this one for you,
the next one will do just as well, won't it?'

'Quite,' is the reply as he ascends the stairs three steps at a time;
while she becomes aware of two men making for her, Harkness and
Dalrymple, the former she feels will reach her first, and she has no
desire to dance with him: so she suddenly feels that she ought to be
nearer her sister-in-law, and edging her way through the crowd gains her
chaperon's side, a second before Jimmy comes up.

'May I have this?' he says eagerly, and receiving an affirmative, he
leads her off to the ball-room, where the "Garden of Sleep" waltz is
echoing through the well-lighted apartment, and the air is fragrant with
the scent of many flowers. Already a goodly crowd is there, mammas,
elderly spinsters, girls of all sizes and ages, in satin, silks, and
tulle; old men, middle-aged men, young men and mere boys are all
collected there. In a second Dalrymple and Philippa join in the giddy
dance; for what is more giddifying (if I may use such a word), than
waltzing in a room full of people who have not summoned up courage
enough to begin, round and round they go, till Miss Seaton at length
says, 'I think I really must stop although the best part of the tune is
just coming. We can't be like the river, can we, going on forever:'

    'Men may come and men may go,'
    'But I go on forever.'

She murmurs more to herself than to him, as they make their way to the
conservatory, and then, 'Do you like poetry?' she asks.

'Pretty well, I don't read much of it.'

'I am so fond of it,' replies Philippa, settling herself comfortably on
a sofa surrounded by cushions, 'I could read it all day.'

'Ah, you see you have more time to do what you like, but when a fellow
has been at work all day, he doesn't feel inclined for poetry, you've
got nothing to do except to read and do fancy work, I suppose.'

'That's a mistake that all men make, they think that girls have nothing
to do all day, when they have quite as much as men if not more; you
don't know anything about them. And I think poetry is the _most_ restful
thing to read when one's tired, you see our minds soar to higher things
than yours, you study the _Racing Calendar_ and the newspapers, don't
you?'

'Generally, not always,' admits Jimmy.

'The _Racing Calendar_, _versus_ Tennyson, Longfellow, or Mrs Browning;
but I don't believe you're half listening to me,' says she, for he is
gazing straight in front of him.

'I assure you I was,' he protests, 'I am in a crowd now, may I not muse
on the "absent face that has fixed" me.'

'No, certainly not, you ought to be thinking of me,' this in a slightly
aggrieved tone.

'How do you know I wasn't,' gazing at her earnestly.

'I'm not absent,' and then Philippa seeing what might be implied,
blushes a rosy red, and rising says, 'We must go back now, I promised
Lord Helmdon this dance, and he'll never find me here. Ah! there he is.'

'Are you so anxious to dance with him?' asks Jimmy in a would-be
indifferent tone.

'Yes, of course,' she replies, 'I like him so much, don't you?'

'Oh, yes,' replies Dalrymple with equal indifference. And so the evening
wears on and Miss Seaton is congratulating herself at having eluded
Captain Harkness, when she suddenly finds him standing before her.

'Won't you give me a dance?' he says in his suave tone. 'I have been
trying to speak to you all the evening--'

'Have you?' she replies, and not knowing quite how to get out of it.
'You may have the next one if you like,' she says.

'May I really? Then I shall find you somewhere about here?'

Lippa nods, and her partner, an aged baronet, claims her and they go
through the intricacies of the lancers. Almost before the next dance has
begun, Harkness appears; he dances beautifully and knows it too, but it
is not long before he suggests a saunter in the garden.

Philippa consents, and forth they go into the cool night air. A hundred
tiny lamps have been placed among the bushes, which shed a subdued light
over the scene; charming corners have been arranged to sit in, while
the splashing of the fountains mingles with the laughter and
conversation of the company.

'What an interminable dance,' thinks Philippa, as having walked a good
way round the garden, she finds herself once more outside the ball-room,
and the same tune is still being played. She heaves a sigh of despair
and raising her eyes meets those of Dalrymple, who is propping himself
against a pillar. There is a look of reproach in them, and Lippa, though
her conscience tells her she was unkind to him, feels an insane desire
to make him jealous, and turns with an adorable smile to Harkness, not
having heard a word of what he has just been saying; but he, thinking he
has everything in his grasp, smiles, and leads her almost before she is
aware, to a secluded corner.

'I--er I have been meaning to say something to you all this evening,' he
begins, standing before her with his arms folded.

'Indeed,' replies Miss Seaton lightly, 'it can't be anything of great
importance, or you would have said it before.'

'Not important,' this with a little more energy, 'why it is of vital
importance; on it hangs the whole fate of my existence, Miss Seaton,'
bending towards her, 'er--er Philippa, do you not know, have you not
guessed that I love you, that to see you is necessary to my happiness,
the first time I saw you--hear me,' as she makes as if to speak, 'you
must know it, do you not see it in my eyes?' he is growing melodramatic
and Lippa feels inclined to laugh, 'but one word, you love me, do you
not, ah!' and he is about to seize her hand when she steps back from him
saying,--

'I am afraid, Captain Harkness, you have made a mistake.'

'Mistake,' he replies, 'do you mean that you will not marry me.'

'Yes, I mean that I will _not_ marry you.'

'Not marry me,' it is getting monotonous this repeating of her words,
and she makes a movement of impatience, then all of a sudden his
expression changes, 'I am afraid I put the question too soon,' he says,
coming a little closer and taking hold of her hand, 'but do you love
another?'

'Leave go,' she exclaims, 'I think you forget, what--'

'Who is it,' he goes on, not heeding her, 'is it Helmdon or Dalrymple?'
he is so close that she can feel his breath on her cheek, 'ah, I can see
by your eyes it is Dalrymple?'

This is too much, and with a sudden movement she raises her other hand
and gives him a good box on the ear. He is so taken aback that he drops
Lippa's hand, and she, thoroughly frightened, rushes down the path into
the unlighted part of the garden, and falls headlong into the arms of
Jimmy; who, consumed with despair, has sought refuge in solitude.

'I--er I beg your pardon,' says Philippa, starting back, 'I--I--' but
sobs check her words.

'What is the matter?' asks he tenderly, his despair having vanished; the
gentle tone of his voice makes her cry the more and so he does the thing
that comes most naturally to him, without thinking of the consequences,
for he puts his arm round her, and kisses her madly; and Lippa without
resisting, leans her perturbed little head against his shoulder feeling
unutterably happy.

'Why have you been running away from me all the evening?' he asks, when
a perfect understanding has been made between them.

'I didn't,' she says indignantly, 'it was you who never came near me.'

A kiss is the answer to this, and then tenderly, 'But what were you
crying about just now?'

'I was frightened rather--'

'What at, darling?' asks Jimmy, gazing down at the blushing face, which
is being rubbed up and down against his coat sleeve.

'At--at what I'd done,' stammers Lippa.

'Something very dreadful, no doubt,' says he with a look that belies his
words.

'Yes, you're quite right,' Miss Seaton answers, 'it _was_ dreadful. I
can't think how I did it, shall I have to beg his pardon?'

'His! whose?' asks Jimmy quickly.

'Captain Harkness,' is the whispered reply, while she digs a hole in the
gravel path with the heel of her white satin shoe. 'I boxed him on the
ear, I hardly knew what I was doing at the moment, and now I can't think
how I could do it--you see he'd asked me to marry him.'

'Is that the usual way you refuse your suitors?' says Jimmy laughing.
'What a mercy I had not to suffer the same fate.'

'Now if I remember rightly,' replies Miss Seaton gravely, 'you haven't
asked me to marry you.'

'What have I done then?' asks Dalrymple.

'You've told me you loved me, but that isn't a bit the same, you know.'

'No, of course not, but, dearest, you _will_ marry me?'

'Silly boy,' is the reply, while she suddenly reaches up and kisses him,
and then disengaging herself from his detaining arm hurries back to the
house, whither he follows her a little more slowly.



CHAPTER VI

    ''Tis true, 'tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis, 'tis true.'--HAMLET

It is breakfast time, but at present nobody has put in an
appearance; whoever is punctual the morning after a ball! The
drawing-room looks dreadful, all empty and bare, and the candles burnt
down in their sockets. 'Ugh!' Lippa shudders as she pokes her head in,
just to have a look at the place where Jimmy bade her goodnight. She
does even more, for she goes and lays her head against a place on the
wall, where she remembers he leant against, and as she does so a happy
contented smile hovers round her mouth, and then laughing at herself,
she hurries to the dining-room.

'What, no one down yet!' she exclaims, gazing round the empty room.

'Yes; I am,' replies a voice from outside, and Paul appears at the open
window. 'Good-morning, how early you are,' he says.

'Only punctual,' replies Philippa; 'isn't it a lovely day again. I can't
think how the others can be so lazy. Come into the garden, do.'

Paul acquiesces. He has taken a great liking to Miss Seaton. 'Did you
like the ball?' he asks.

'Oh, so much,' replies she, 'wasn't it lovely. I wish it could come all
over again.'

'Do you?' he says.

'Well, perhaps not quite all,' she answers, blushing suddenly at the
remembrance of her interview with Harkness.

'Which portion could you do without. The quarter of an hour before you
ran into the shrubbery and nearly knocked me down?'

'Did I?' is the reply.

'Indeed you _did_,' says Ponsonby, laughing, 'and you looked so fierce I
was afraid to go after you and fled in the opposite direction, leaving
you to vent your wrath on Dalrymple whom I had just left.'

'I am very glad you did,' says Lippa, with a little conscious laugh.
'Two's company, three's none.'

'Yes,' replies Paul, quietly, and then a pause ensues.

'Oughtn't I to have said that?' asks Philippa, suddenly looking up into
his face. 'Because--well ... you see, if you'd been there--now, if I
tell you something, promise to keep it a secret,' this very persuasively
and slipping her arm through his.

'On my word and honour,' Paul answers.

'Well, Mr Dalrymple asked me--to--marry him--there!'

'What, Jimmy!' exclaims Paul. 'I'm so glad; he's quite the nicest fellow
I know. I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart.'

'Thank you,' says Lippa, simply. 'But you won't tell anybody, will you?
Nobody knows, not even Mabel--'

'But, my dear child, why did you tell _me_, of all people first?' asks
he.

'I had to tell somebody, and I know George couldn't keep anything from
Mabel, or Mabel from him.'

'I hope you will be very happy, but look, Lady Dadford is beckoning to
us--'

'What early birds you are,' says her ladyship. 'I needn't ask if you are
the worse for last night's dissipation, for you don't look it, either of
you--'

'I'm sure Philippa will say that it did her an immense amount of good,'
replies Paul, with a wink at Lippa, which makes her tremble in her
shoes as to what may be coming next.

It has been arranged that the whole of the party should go for a picnic
to a spot about five miles off. 'Just to get out of the way,' says Lord
Dadford, 'while the house is being put straight again; sort yourselves,
sort yourselves,' he adds, standing at the front door, surrounded by
guests and vehicles. 'I reserve to myself the pleasure of driving Mrs
Mankaster,' (the vicar's wife) for both he and his spouse, a portly
lady, resplendent in stiff brown silk, have been invited to take part in
the outing.

By degrees the carriages are filled and off they go, Lippa finding to
her chagrin that she is seated by Paul in a dog-cart, Jimmy and Lady
Anne behind, Lord Helmdon is on in front with some other people.

'I'm sorry for you,' says Ponsonby, 'but if you wish your secret to be
kept from the others, you must not be seen too much together.'

Lippa sighs.

'So love-sick already,' says he laughing.

'How rude you are, I wasn't sighing a bit, I caught my breath.'

'Oh, I like that,' is the reply.

'I'm sure you can never have,' hesitatingly, 'been in love, have you?'
and she glances up at him. 'I'm so sorry I said that,' she adds,
noticing the pained look that comes into his eyes, and then a silence
ensues.

'Look here, Lippa,' says he at length in rather a lower tone, 'don't you
know, has no one told you that I was married five years ago.'

'Married?' exclaims Miss Seaton in astonishment, 'oh, I'm so sorry I
said that.'

'It does not matter in the least,' he replies, 'but I should think no
one has been more desperately in love than I was once.'

'She, your wife, is dead?' asks Lippa quietly.

'I would to Heaven she were,' is the quick reply. 'No, child, don't
think of me as a lonely widower,' this with a laugh that is hard and
grating, 'I'm worse than that.'

'Poor Paul,' says Lippa gently, while her eyes fill with tears, and she
lays her hand on his unoccupied one, the hard look quits his handsome
face, and he sighs.

'Good little soul,' he says possessing himself of it.

Meanwhile Dalrymple is devoured with curiosity as to what this earnest
conversation can be about. He has listened patiently to Lady Anne, who
has gone through all the books she has read lately, arguing on their
merits and demerits, and now she is enlarging on the degenerating
manners of the rising generation.

Jimmy puts in a 'Yes' or 'No,' or 'I quite agree with you,' every now
and then, but for aught he knows he may be agreeing that red's white,
and white is black. But at last he says something that does not suit
Lady Anne for she says, 'Do you really mean to say you do?'

Jimmy feels caught; what in the name of fortune _does_ he really mean to
say, he has not the faintest idea, so he says--

'I'm very sorry, but I'm afraid I did not quite hear what you said,
I--er have rather a bad headache.' (Oh Jimmy, Jimmy).

'Have you?' replies Lady Anne. 'I hope it is not a very bad one, you
ought to have stayed at home; the best thing of course to do is to lie
down; and have you ever tried Menthol, white stuff that you rub on your
forehead; and then there is a certain kind of powder, I can't remember
what they are called. Ah! I have it,' and Lady Anne who has been
fumbling in her pocket produces a salts bottle. 'There,' she says, 'I
have nothing else to offer you.'

'Thanks very much,' says Dalrymple, and feeling bound to use it, takes a
vigorous sniff, but it is strong and proves too much for him, for he is
seized with a violent choking.

'What's the matter?' inquires Ponsonby, glancing round. 'Lady Anne, what
have you been doing to him?'

'Oh, it's only my salts bottle, he has a headache, you know,' she
replies, while Jimmy looks decidedly embarrassed.

The day passes off very pleasantly, nothing has been forgotten with
regard to the luncheon, and the weather is lovely, there is just enough
wind to rustle through the trees and prevent the air from being sultry,
the spot chosen for the repast is at the top of a hill which is covered
with fir trees and tall green bracken, innumerable paths lead up and
down and all round it, and at the summit a clearing has been made, and a
small picturesque cottage has been built, with small diamond paned
windows and a balcony running round two sides; the inmates, an old man
and woman, who can provide water, are profuse in their greetings begging
the company to sit in the balcony, and Lippa tired and sleepy with last
night's exertion excuses herself from the members of the party who set
out for a ramble, and takes advantage of the balcony and gives herself
up to sleep: more than once a little smile hovers round her lips, and
Dalrymple who has turned back under pretext of renewed headache, watches
her for some time, then fearing to awake her, lights a cigar and strolls
away. What a great deal of trouble and misunderstanding he could have
prevented in awaking her,--but how could he tell.

Sometime later Philippa with a sigh of content opens her eyes, she is
still too sleepy to think of moving, so she remains quite still,
presently the sound of voices breaks upon her ears, but she does not
heed them. 'Oh--how--comfortable I am,' she thinks and is just dropping
off to sleep again when she hears her name spoken!

'Philippa,' someone is saying. 'Yes; she is a dear little girl.'

'That's Mab's voice. She thinks me a dear little girl, does she,'
comments Miss Seaton.

'Poor child; she is so like what her mother was at that age. Does she
know about her?'

Lippa recognises Lady Dadford's voice, but it never enters her head that
she ought not to listen.

'No,' replies Mabel. 'You see she was such a baby at the time, and
afterwards George thought it better that she should remain under the
belief that she is dead; she is so very sensitive--'

'I daresay your husband is right,' says Lady Dadford. 'It was all very
sad. At first, you know, the doctors had hopes that her reason would
come back, but they gave it up after a year. Does your--'

But Philippa hears no more. She has listened breathlessly, her colour
coming and going--What does it all mean? Is it true, is it true? The
mother she had always thought of as long since dead, is she alive and
_mad_! Oh! 'What shall I do?' she asks herself, while her brain feels on
fire. 'Mad? Then I might go mad too! Oh, horrible thought! Jimmy, Jimmy,
what would you say if you knew? Oh, it is all cruel, cruel--' And then
Philippa sits very still and ponders over many things, till the voices
of the others laughing and talking come nearer and nearer. With an
effort she rises. 'I must not show that anything has happened, but oh!
if I must give up Jimmy,' and with a little sob she leans her head
against the wall for a moment, then stepping forward, she meets the
others.

'Are you rested?' asks Lord Helmdon. 'I do believe you have been asleep,
what!'

'Yes,' replies Lippa. 'I have been fast asleep--'

'Dreaming,' suggests Miss Appleby, a young lady given to sentiment.

'Of me, I hope,' puts in Chubby.

'Now, why _you_ of all people, I should like to know,' says Dalrymple,
at which they all laugh.



CHAPTER VII

Lippa is strangely silent on the way home and all the evening she avoids
being alone with Dalrymple, but Jimmy gets uneasy and on saying
Good-night adds in a low tone, 'Come into the garden early to-morrow, I
want to talk to you.'

'Very well,' she replies, 'I have something to tell you too.' She says
this so gravely, and flushes a little, that he ponders for some time on
what she can have to tell him, and Philippa goes up to her bedroom, her
head throbbing and with a wild desire to cry.

'Good-night, dear,' says Mabel, 'I am so tired I really cannot stay and
talk to you to-night, and you, child, you look knocked up, go to bed at
once.'

'Good-night,' replies Lippa, and having dispensed with the services of
her maid she seems to have no intention of seeking her downy couch, she
envelopes herself in a loose wrapper and drawing an armchair up to the
window, appears to be contemplating the moon, but her thoughts are far
far away from it.

Poor little Miss Seaton, a great battle is going on within her; she will
let no one know what she has overheard this afternoon, unless she
explains all to Dalrymple and lets him decide as to what ... but no,
she will just tell him it is impossible for her to marry him, ten to one
if he knew all he would laugh at her fears, and marrying her, would in a
few years have to consign his wife to a lunatic asylum; it will be the
right thing not to let him have a chance of marrying her; and coming to
this conclusion, she tries to forget the man she loves, and her heart is
filled with compassion for her mother, and then she remembers Ponsonby's
life story. 'How strange,' she murmurs, 'in one day to have learnt all
this; but oh, how shall I tell Jimmy, and he will think I love somebody
else, but I must do the right thing, I must and I will.'

The clock strikes one as she rises with a little shiver, and is soon in
bed, but it is sometime before her eyes close, and even after she is
asleep sobs check her breathing. Dear, good little heart it is always
hardest to do what _seems_ right, and it seems too, as if it will never
be rewarded, but surely, surely it is in the end....

Drip, drip, drip, is what Dalrymple hears as soon as he wakes. 'Wet,' he
says to himself turning round, 'no good getting up yet, Philippa is sure
not to.' For ten minutes he dozes, and then with two or three loud yawns
he pulls himself together, and at length attired in a faultless suit he
opens his door. It is still what he calls early, (being half-past eight)
and he meets no one as he descends. Whistling gaily, he opens the door
of the drawing-room, and finds Philippa there already, standing by the
window. She turns as he goes up to her, and when he is about to embrace
her she draws back.

'Good-morning,' she says, looking up at him for a moment and then gazing
steadily at the carpet; the pattern of which she remembers long
afterwards.

'Good-morning,' he replies blankly, and then thinking that perhaps she
is shy, he puts his hand on her shoulder, saying, 'Lippa, dearest, what
is the matter?' There is an amount of concern in his voice that is
almost too much for her, but she has made up her mind to tell him it is
impossible for her to marry him, and cost what it may she will do it.

'Mr Dalrymple,' she begins in a low but perfectly calm voice, 'if you
remember I told you last night that I had something to say to you--'

'Certainly,' he says, 'that is why I came down so early; but why have
you changed so since yesterday?'

'That is exactly it, I have changed since yesterday,' says she,
'I--er--I think I led you to imagine that I would marry you, but--'

'But,' he echoes, bending towards her, 'you have not changed your mind,
have you?'

'Yes I have,' replies Philippa clasping her hands tightly behind her
back.

'Do you mean it?' he asks in a bewildered tone.

'Yes,' this very low.

'May I ask why you have changed?' and Dalrymple draws himself up and his
voice is cold and studiously polite. 'Is it money,--I am not very well
off I know, but I did not think you were the kind of girl to mind that?'

'Ah, you see I am different from what you thought, it is a good thing we
found it out before it was too late.'

Jimmy looks at her curiously, and then catches her in his arms. 'Oh my
dearest,' he says, 'you can't mean it, you could not be so cruel--'

For a second Lippa feels she cannot hold out any longer, but it is only
for a second, and then freeing herself from his embrace she says slowly
and distinctly--'I mean all I have said.'

'I must go then,' says Jimmy, a world of sorrow in his honest brown
eyes.

'Yes,' she replies, not daring to look up till she hears the door shut
behind him, and then she realises all she has done: sent away the man
she loves, the one man who is 'her world of all the men'; sent him away
thinking she is cruel and mercenary. She chokes back the tears that
start to her eyes; the others must not know, must not even suspect, but
oh the aching at her heart.

It goes on raining steadily all day, and every one is dull and
depressed, even Chubby. Dalrymple suddenly discovers that it is
absolutely necessary for him to be back at the barracks as soon as
possible, and bidding farewell, decamps.

Lady Anne, despite the weather, tramps off to the village to preside at
a sewing-class. Philippa is forbidden by Mabel to put her nose out of
doors, who then retires to Lady Dadford's private boudoir where she
spends the afternoon.

'What shall we do?' asks Lord Helmdon, gazing helplessly round on the
remaining guests. 'Miss Seaton, suggest something, do!'

'I can't think of anything,' answers Lippa, longing for some distraction
to her thoughts.

'Don't you think a little music would be nice,' says Miss Appleby,
'nothing enlivens one so much on a wet day.'

'Let us have some by all means,' says Helmdon. 'I say Tommy, I'm sure
you'll honour us with a song, eh, what?'

Tommy is a very juvenile young man, with light hair parted down the
middle, a red face, and pince-nez.

'Anything you like,' he responds gaily.

'Come along then,' and away starts Chubby to the drawing-room followed
by the others. 'Now, ladies and gentlemen,' he begins having opened the
piano, 'I give you fair warning that every one of you will have to
contribute to the entertainment.'

'Catch me,' says George Seaton, and on the earliest opportunity slips
away to the smoking-room.

Miss Appleby is called upon to begin and sings a dear little song with
very few words in it.

'Tommy, it's your turn next,' says Paul, 'I'll accompany you!'

'Oh, thanks awfully,' and settling his pince-nez firmly on his very
small nose, sings with an air of sweet simplicity--'Because my mother
told me so,' which sends Chubby into shrieks of laughter.

When Philippa's turn comes, she goes to the piano knowing that Paul is
watching her, she feels he has guessed that something is up, so tries to
mislead him by singing a merry song, but he is not taken in. Helmdon
produces a banjo and sings several nigger songs lustily.

'Do you know, Chubby,' says Tommy, 'do you know that you are just made
for that kind of music, you'd do so well at the Christy Minstrels.'

'Ah, my boy,' replies he, 'I'm glad you've found an occupation for me in
which I should excel, for it is more than I have done myself; but I'm
afraid the sameness would bore me. If I do anything I shall go in for
music-hall singing, there one would have more scope for one's dramatic
talent.'

By degrees they all disperse, some to play billiards, others to write
letters, and Philippa is left alone, seated on one of the deep window
sills, a book in her hand, but her eyes are fixed on the distant
horizon, where the sun has suddenly appeared from behind the clouds,
and is shedding a yellow haze over the dripping trees.

So absorbed is she that she does not hear Paul come. He goes up to where
she is, and says, 'What has happened?'

She starts and turning round replies, 'Nothing,' while a tell-tale blush
dyes her cheeks.

'Yes, there is,' he persists, 'why did Jimmy leave so suddenly?'

'He told Lady Dadford that he must get back to the Barracks to-night,'
she replies.

'Do you think I believe that?' says Paul.

'Why shouldn't you?'

'Now child, I know that something is wrong,' and Paul sits down by her
side, 'you told me yesterday you had promised to marry him, why has he
gone away to-day; you have not already disagreed?'

'I don't see that you have any right to question me like this,' she
answers evasively, 'but I suppose I had better tell you that I am not
going to marry Mr Dalrymple,' she says it so firmly that Ponsonby can
see that she is not joking.

'Why not?' he asks.

'For many reasons,' is the reply. 'For one he has not much to live on,
and--there are circumstances which would make it impossible--'

'Whew!--may I ask if the circumstances prevent him from marrying you or
you him.'

'I think there is no occasion for me to answer you,' replies Lippa
coldly, 'and I will beg you will mention to no one what I have told you
either yesterday or just now.'

'I shall write to Dalrymple to-night,' says he meditatively.

'I hope you will do no such thing,' and Miss Seaton rises hastily. 'I
think it would be extremely out of place for _you_ to interfere in any
way.'

There is a marked emphasis on the 'you' that makes Paul start while he
bites fiercely the ends of his moustache, and Philippa walks quickly out
of the room, rushes up to her own, and flinging herself on the bed gives
way to tears. 'Oh dear, oh dear,' she sobs, 'why does everything go
wrong and only a little time ago I was _so_ happy, and now I have hurt
Paul's feelings, and ...'

'Paul!'

Ponsonby on his way to bed is surprised at hearing himself called.

'Yes,' he replies.

'I want to tell you something,' is the answer.

The gas has been turned out and all the other men are just turning in
for the night.

'What do you want?' he says, going into the sitting-room, from whence
the voice issues, a solitary candle burns on the table, and discloses
Philippa.

'You here?' he exclaims surprised.

'Yes,' she says. 'I am afraid I vexed you this afternoon, and I wanted
to tell you I was sorry, and ...--'

'Don't think about it again, but really you know you ought not to be
here--'

'I only waited to tell you that,' she says, turning towards the door
feeling utterly miserable, and the tears that she has tried to keep back
break forth, and covering her face with her hands she cries as though
her heart would break.

Paul goes up to her. 'Philippa, my dear,' he says very gently, 'there is
something very wrong, can't you tell me why Jimmy went away--'

'No, no,' she sobs. 'I told him to go, but I can't tell you why--'

'How cold you are,' he says. 'Stop crying and go to bed at once, or you
will make yourself ill.'

'Very well,' replies she, meekly. 'But you [sob] you won't tell Mabel--'

'I won't tell a soul.'

'And you're not vexed with me?'

'No; why should I be. Good-night.'

'Good-night,' such a sad little face she turns to him, that he stoops
and kisses it.

'What a child she is,' he thinks, as he watches her down the passage. 'I
wonder what induced her to throw Jimmy over. Couldn't have been better
off as regards a husband. Money! as if that would ever enter into her
head. Can't make it out at all. She likes him I can see.'

For some time, Paul puzzles his handsome head about Philippa, and then
when sleep has come, he dreams of the woman he loved; she to whom he
gave his love, his faith, his all, only to be abused; the woman who has
blighted his life. Oh! it is a strange world. It is like a puzzle that
everyone tries to make, but does not succeed because the principal parts
are missing. Will they ever be found, the missing links, the pieces of
the puzzle, the answer to the 'whys' and 'wherefores?'

    'We run a race to-day, and find no halting place,
    All things we see be far within our scope
    And still we peer beyond with craving face.'



CHAPTER VIII

In a few days they are back again in Brook Street, George, Mabel and
Philippa. It is the beginning of September and anything more dreary and
deserted than the parks could not be imagined. No one is in London. Who
would be when the seaside is everything delightful and the moors are
covered with heather and grouse? Philippa shudders as she looks out of
her bedroom window into the mews, even that is deserted, a canary in a
very small cage and a lean cat are the only living creatures to be
seen.

'Well,' she says, 'it might almost be the city of the dead ...' here her
meditations are interrupted by Teddy, who rushes in and flings his arms
round her neck. 'How brown you are,' she exclaims.

'Yes, ain't I,' he answers. 'Me and Marie have been in the Square most
of the days and it has been so hot, have you enjoyed yourself?'

'Yes, thank you,' replies Philippa.

'I don't think you have,' says Teddy, who is as sharp as a needle,
'because, well, you don't look very happy now.'

'That is just it perhaps, I am so sorry it is over.'

'Oh,' and Teddy goes to the window only half convinced, 'there's that
canary,' he says, 'I watch him often and often, and never can see
nobody feeding it. I asked Marie to let me go and see if it had got some
seed; but she was cross and said I wasn't to--oh, Aunt Lippa, isn't it
hot?'

'It is rather, but it must be nearly tea-time, let us have some tea and
then go out.'

'Can't; Marie's gone to see her sister,' replies Teddy, trying to see
himself in the knob at the end of the bedstead.

'Perhaps mother will come; but really Teddy do get off my bed, you are
making it in such a mess,' and she rushes at him, seizing him in her
arms, 'oh, what a dreadful little nephew you are.'

'Let go, let go,' he cries, between struggling and laughing, and then
mischievously, 'You don't look half pretty now, you're quite red.
I'll--tell Mr Dal--'

'Mr who?' asks Lippa, putting him down.

'Sha'n't tell you,' he says, making for the door, but Philippa is too
quick for him, and placing her back against it, says in tones of mild
reproof,

'Do you know, it is very rude to make personal remarks.'

'Is it?' he asks, 'well you see it was only to Mr Dalrymple, and I've
known him for such a great many years, I met him yesterday, he was
walking the same way as me, and--you've got a hair-pin coming out, Aunt
Lippa.'

'Never mind that,' says she, adjusting the straying article, 'and--'

'Oh, him or I began, I don't 'xactly remember, but we talked about
pretty persons, and he said he was glad he wasn't a pretty person,
because they were nearly always nasty, and then I said they weren't,
'cos there's mother and you, and I said you're always pretty.'

'And what did he say?' asks Lippa.

'He said,' replies Teddy, in the gruffest voice he can assume, trying to
imitate Jimmy, '"More's the pity," and now you see I can just tell him
you don't look pretty a bit, when you're holding somebody in your arms.'

'You must not say anything of the kind,' says she; it would be useless
to exact a promise from him, probably be the way to make him repeat the
conversation word for word; but Philippa has found out what she wanted
to know, namely, that Jimmy is in London, and it causes her for the
moment exquisite pain, to feel that he is not so far away, for though
the Metropolis is a large place, there is always the chance of meeting
one's friends in the street.

After deep thought Philippa has made up her mind to tell no one, of all
she has heard and of all that has happened in consequence. She can rely
on Ponsonby keeping secret the little he knows of it; but what is
hardest to bear is the having nothing to look forward to, for the future
looks, oh, so dark and dreary. Sometimes she feels that it cannot be
true, and she shrinks with horror from the remembrance of the fate that
may be awaiting her. But Mabel does not notice that something has
changed her; that her step is not so light as it was, or her laugh so
gay. How little we know of each other, although living the same lives,
seeing the same people and things; we have all got an inner existence
which no one but ourselves knows anything about, it is so shadowy and
unreal, that contact with the outer world would crush all the beauty and
poetry of it.

'I think we might go to the sea somewhere,' says Mrs Seaton, one day as
she and Philippa are sitting together under the trees in the park, while
Teddy is hunting for caterpillars, 'it is really too unutterably dull
here, and it would do that boy good to have a change, what do you say to
a fortnight or three weeks at Folkestone?'

'It would be very nice, I should think,' replies Lippa, who is watching
the ungainly not to say peculiar movements, of a stout elderly female
who is taking equestrian exercise.

'We could get rooms at an hotel,' goes on Mabel, 'you know some cousins
of mine are there; and George said that I might do anything I liked,
while he's up in Scotland; do you really think it would be nice?'

'Yes, I do,' Lippa replies, feeling that one place is the same to her as
another. The stout elderly female has bumped away, and she is staring
straight in front of her, when suddenly the colour rushes to her face
leaving it whiter than it was before.

'Why, there's Jimmy Dalrymple,' says Mabel, 'and I do believe he's not
going to see us. I really think he might, it would be quite refreshing
to talk to somebody else besides you--'

'Am I such a dull companion then?'

Mabel laughs good-naturedly.

There is not any doubt that Dalrymple will see them, for Master Seaton
has observed him and rushing to the railings gesticulates violently, and
the former attracted by some magnetic influence turns, hesitates for a
moment and then crosses over.

'So glad to see you. Lippa and I were so afraid you were going to cut
us,' says the unsuspecting Mabel. 'What are you doing in London now?'

'I have to be up at the barracks,' says he.

'Come and sit here, do, and tell us some news,' says she motioning him
to the chair at her side.

Philippa has become deeply interested in one of her nephew's
caterpillars, and beyond extending him a limp hand; pays no attention to
Dalrymple, but her outward calm hides the tumult within, for her heart
is throbbing violently.

At any other time and under any other circumstances, Dalrymple would be
very willing to spend any length of time with Mabel, for he is very
fond of pretty little Mrs Seaton and carrying on a mild flirtation with
her would be the reverse of unpleasant to him, but to be so near the
object of his affection, no, he couldn't do it, so excusing himself he
raises his hat and passes on.

'He seems in a great hurry,' says Mabel turning to Lippa who is looking
in exactly the opposite direction to the one Dalrymple has taken.

Her 'Yes,' and something in her expression opens Mabel's eyes to the
fact that something is up, however she says nothing just then for Teddy
would be sure to hear, but she intends to find out everything.

On the eve of their trip to Folkestone she begins to cross-examine her
sister-in-law.

'Philippa, dear,' she says as soon as the coffee-cups have been taken
away after their dinner and they are left alone. 'I am going to ask you
something, which you must not mind, come nearer.'

Lippa who has been gazing out of the window into the gaslit street below
turns slowly, and going up to Mrs Seaton sits down on a stool at her
feet, she is looking very lovely in a pale blue tea-gown and the
lamp-light falling on her golden hair.

'Well, Mab,' she says, 'is it a lecture or good advice, I'm not to
mind?'

'Neither one nor the other,' is the reply, 'but I want to know if there
is anything between you and--Mr Dalrymple. Well Lippa?' as there is no
answer for a second--and then,

'Nothing,' she replies.

'Not at present perhaps,' suggested Mabel, 'but hasn't there been?'

'Why do you want to know?' asks Miss Seaton.

'Well, dear, you see it is awkward, as he comes here so often, and--'

'Like all other women you're dying of curiosity to know; own the truth!'
and after a pause Lippa adds, apparently deeply interested in the point
of her shoe, 'If you must know, he did ask me to marry him, but I said I
couldn't,' here the shoe is drawn out of sight as though it had not
found favour in its owner's eyes. Mabel is astonished, tries to see
Lippa's face and not succeeding says,

'Do you mean that you do not like him?'

Not like him, oh, to be accused of that, not like him, when poor little
soul she is desperately in love with him. Oh, Mabel! Mabel! why can't
you guess? a few words from you would put everything right, and make two
people happy, but such is life!

'He has not much to live on,' says Lippa evasively.

'Now, child, you don't think you are going to take me in like that,' and
Mrs Seaton becomes quite vehement. 'What do you care about money, or
know about it either.'

'I know there are girls who can fall in love,' is the answer. 'I knew
one once who told me her idea of bliss was love in a cottage, but that
wouldn't suit me at all. I shouldn't know how to get on without heaps of
things that I could not have, if I married a poor man.' Lippa's fingers
are doing great damage to the ribbons which are attached to her gown,
and till they are reduced to a crumpled mess, she continues to take the
beauty out of them, by folding and refolding them. Mabel is only half
convinced and says no more to Philippa, but a long letter is written to
dear George, begging him to come to them soon, and he enjoying himself
vastly shooting and fishing does not come, and time passes on.

Philippa tries to forget Jimmy, and wonders how he is getting on, she
has yet to learn that,--

    'Man's love is a thing apart,
    'Tis woman's whole existence.'

Love is forgotten and put on one side, for racing, shooting, hunting,
etc., and it is well that it is so, for a love-lorn youth is a decided
bore.

But James Dalrymple of the Guards has been more deeply wounded than he
owns to himself, his love for Miss Seaton is more than a passing fancy,
that causing pain for a short time, will be laughed over in about a
year. Love Lippa, he does hopelessly, madly, and so he will till the end
of the chapter.

Real true love is not a thing to be taken up and cast aside at will,
like a broken toy; it may grow upon us or come suddenly, why we cannot
tell, and although we hardly acknowledge to ourselves that Cupid, who
has wrought so much harm as well as good in the world, has paid us a
visit, yet we never feel quite the same again; maybe we are happier than
we have ever been before, or else, and alas it happens to very many,
that Eros' darts have only made a wound which might almost have been
caused by a poisoned arrow; ah me! the healing takes a weary long time
or maybe can never heal. Truly love is a dangerous thing.



CHAPTER IX

'I say, Mab, there's such a delightful monkey outside, do lend me
sixpence?'

Mrs Seaton looks up from a telegram she is reading and says to Philippa,
'Never mind the monkey, I've just had this from George and--'

'Is he ill?' inquires Lippa.

'No, but--'

'Do give me the sixpence then, I will be back in a moment again.'

Mabel produces the coin, and Philippa having delivered it hurries back.
'He was so pleased,' she says, 'the dear little--' but her
sister-in-law's face causes her to stop and inquire hastily, 'What has
happened, do tell me?' her thoughts recurring at once to Jimmy
Dalrymple.

'Well, dear,' says Mabel, 'George has telegraphed to me the death of--'

'Who?' asks Philippa, clutching at a chair near her.

'No one you ever knew,' replies Mabel, guessing the question that she
would ask.

'Ah!' and Lippa breathes a sigh of relief, 'is it a friend of George's
or Paul's?' 'wife' she is going to say but hesitates.

'No,' replies Mabel, 'it is someone who has been in an asylum for many
years,' she pauses wondering how to go on when Philippa spares her the
trouble by saying,

'My mother?'

'How did you guess?' says Mabel, surprised.

Lippa heeds her not. 'Somebody I never knew,' she murmurs to herself,
'somebody I never knew, and yet my mother; how strange. Tell me about
her,' she adds, 'when, did she go--_mad_?'

'I thought you knew nothing about it,' says Mabel, 'your mother had a
shock when you were two years old, which affected her brain, and of
course at the time you were too young to understand and it was thought
best not to tell you anything, even when you were older; but dearest,
who told you of this, George and I were under the impression you knew
nothing about it?'

'I overheard you talking about my mother to Lady Dadford. I know it was
wrong, Mab, but I could not help it, and I thought that perhaps it would
be just as well not to let you know. Was it wrong?'

Mrs Seaton finds it hard to reprove the owner of the face that is lifted
to hers, with such a wistful look in the blue eyes. 'I think you ought
to have told me,' she says gravely, 'it would have made no difference to
anyone, but still it does not matter now; and we shall hear all
particulars from George to-morrow; he says he is writing.'

There is a pause. Lippa is gazing out of the window, but her thoughts
are very busy. Presently she says, 'Madness generally descends from
father to son, doesn't it?'

Mabel, thinking she is alluding to George, says hastily, 'There is no
necessity whatever--'

'Ah!' and Lippa clasps her hands together and looks eagerly at Mabel,
'then, then, ... there's no great likelihood of my going mad.'

Mabel looks at her. Is this then what she has been worrying about.
'There is no necessity whatever, the doctors said, insanity is not in
your family at all; it was a shock your mother had when she was not very
strong, so dear, please do not fancy foolish things like that.'

Lippa smiles. Oh! the joy of feeling that there is no impediment between
her and Jimmy; it need never have been then, this time of separation,
and yet probably it has been very wholesome for them both. But how to
convey to him that she is ready, aye, and more than willing, to link her
fate with his; there is nothing for it but to wait and see.

       *       *       *       *       *

And time goes on, as it always does. Autumn passes away, and winter
comes with its frost, snow and fogs, while Lippa waits for the day when
Jimmy will know all, but just now her time is fully occupied, for the
housekeeping has fallen upon her shoulders, as Mabel is up to nothing
but hugging a little bundle with a red face, which made its appearance
one day.

'Ain't you sorry she's a girl?' Teddy is saying as he is chaperoning his
aunt to church on Christmas day, 'because, you know, she's sure not to
like games.'

'It will be some time before she can play games,' replies Lippa,
laughing; 'but you will have to be very good to her. What do you want
her to be called?'

'Lots of names,' says Teddy. 'But look, Auntie; do look, there's Mr
Dalrymple. Do you think he's going to our church?'

'I don't know at all,' she replies, trying to look unconcerned. 'We
shall be there in a moment, come along; it is rude to stare at people.'

She hurries her nephew up the aisle and into their pew, for fear of
coming face to face with Jimmy; she remains a few moments on her knees,
and so does not interfere with Teddy, who having hurried through his
own private devotions, turns round and watches the stream of people
passing in through the door. He suddenly nods and beckons, and when
Lippa rises she finds that Jimmy is sitting one off her, only Teddy
between. It is the first time she has seen him since her mother's death,
and she wonders if he will speak when they get out of church, and why he
ever came into their pew. But when the service is over, Teddy having
sung lustily in his shrill voice, nothing awkward takes place.

'A merry Christmas,' he says.

'The same to you,' replies Philippa.

'Are you going to walk home?' he asks.

'No, we are going back in a hansom.'

Here Teddy interrupts with, 'Did you know I've got a sister, you'll come
and see her, won't you?'

'I shall be delighted,' replies Dalrymple, looking at Lippa, who has
turned her head away. 'May I come?' he asks in a low voice.

But Miss Seaton does not answer, as Lady Dadford suddenly appears, 'Ah!
my _dear_ child,' she exclaims, 'how is the sweet mother and the baby?'

So a long string of questions ensues, and Philippa answers them, feeling
that Jimmy is watching her, and suddenly she meets his eye, and there is
a look of entreaty in them that makes her smile back; such a dear little
tender smile, that it causes Dalrymple to start, while a new life seems
to course through his veins.

Ah! what a great deal a pretty woman's smile may do, of good and often
alas of harm.

How many men have been lured on by a smile and only too late have awoke
from its enchantment. Oh, women, women, some of you hardly take into
consideration what a great part you take in the world's drama; with you
it lies to make or mar the lives of the men, be they brothers, husbands,
sons or merely friends; it is in your power to make them God-fearing,
true gentlemen; and it is you too, who drag them down till they become
mere lovers of pleasure, giving way to every vanity, forgetting
_surely_ that they are human beings, with immortal souls!

       *       *       *       *       *

It is tea-time, and in Brook Street Lippa has just begun to pour out
that delicious beverage for herself and her brother, when the door opens
and Dalrymple walks in.

'Hullo,' says George, 'what an age it is since you have been near the
house--'

'Yes,' replies Jimmy, rather lamely, taking Philippa's proffered hand.

'How do you do, again,' says she, 'you will have some tea, won't you?'

Jimmy says, 'Thanks,' and for a second or two there is an awkward pause,
neither Lippa nor Dalrymple feeling quite at their ease, and George
never speaks except it is necessary; but Teddy suddenly appears, and
suggests that the baby ought to be visited, and after a long argument as
to who it is like, remembers that he came with a message to the effect
that his mother wanted to speak to his father.

'Why didn't you tell me before?' says George.

'I'd forgotten it,' replies his son placidly; nothing ever disturbs
Teddy's peace of mind.

'You'll wait till I come back,' says Mr Seaton turning to Dalrymple, and
the door shuts.

A little time is passed in uninteresting conversation on the weather and
things in general, till every subject they can think of has been
exhausted, when Lippa finds that Dalrymple is looking at her, she
fiddles with her teaspoon in her cup and then raises her eyes to his,
and finding them still fixed on her, returns to the teaspoon symphony,
but he rises and leans against the mantelpiece.

'Philippa,' he says in a low tone, 'I have tried so hard to think badly
of you, but to-day you looked so kindly at me, you did not do it for
nothing, did you, Lippa tell me, will you bid me go away a second time?
I am not rich, but I might sell out and get some more remunerative
employment, and if you only knew how I love you--'

Miss Seaton has risen, her head bent down and slightly averted from her
lover's ardent gaze. 'I--er--I,' she begins then pauses, and not
knowing what to say she looks up, makes a step forward and is in Jimmy's
arms.

'Oh,' she says, 'I thought it would all come right at last.'

'Dearest,' says he, 'tell me why were you so cruel before; you can't
think what I've suffered?'

'So have I,' is the reply.

'But what made you do like that?'

'It's a long story, so don't you think we might as well sit--'

'Sweetheart,' is all he says pressing his lips to her brow.

And then Philippa explains all, for quite half-an-hour they remain
alone, and then George, thinking they have been long enough together
(he having come in and retired again unobserved in a very inauspicious
moment) opens the door, at the same time giving vent to a very loud and
prolonged cough.



CHAPTER X

'My dear, I can't tell you how glad I am,' and Lady Dadford bustles
across the room to the sofa where Mabel is reposing, 'Where is the sweet
girl?'

'Philippa? she is out now,' replies Mrs Seaton, 'but I expect she will
be in soon.'

'Well, if I may, I should like to stay and see her,' says the old lady,
'but you are sure I shall not be tiring you; directly you feel you have
had enough of me, say so, won't you?'

Mabel laughs and replies, 'I shall like you to stay very much, you have
not seen baby yet; we cannot settle on a name. I should like it to be
called Lilian, but both George and Lippa say it would be unlucky; he,
you know, always hopes we may find her again.'

'And yourself, dear?' asks Lady Dadford.

'I think I have almost given up hope now. You know the body of a little
child was found in a river, not far from L---- (where we were living
then) and it answered so much to the description of Lilian; she was such
a dear little thing. It is worse than if she had died at home and ...'

'Yes, yes, I understand,' says Lady Dadford, 'but I would not give up
hope quite. I agree with the old proverb, "Hope on, hope ever," you
know. But tell me about Philippa? very happy, I suppose.'

'Perfectly happy,' replies Mabel. 'I can't imagine her as a wife, she's
such a child, but Jimmy is sure to take great care of her, and she has
come into some money by her mother's death.'

'Ah yes! it must have been a very happy release, a very happy release,'
and Lady Dadford shakes her head gravely. 'Did the dear child ever know
anything about it?'

'Yes, she overheard you talking to me that day in the summer, when we
went for a picnic, and she foolishly never said a word about it, but
made up her mind that she could not marry anyone, because she might go
out of her mind, so she refused Jimmy at first, and all this time she
has been making both him and herself miserable.'

'Miserable, who is miserable?' asks Lippa, coming in followed by
Dalrymple.

'No one, I hope,' says he, 'ah, Lady Dadford,' he continues on catching
sight of her, 'how do you do?'

'Better, thank you,' she replies, she always makes a point of answering
that foolish question, and invariably does so by saying 'Better'--she
has been better for so long that she must have reached a most perfect
state of health by now. 'Really much better; I came here to congratulate
you: Lippa, my dear, you cannot think how pleased I am,' this
accompanied by a kiss.

Lippa cannot think of anything to say and therefore remains silent.

'Anne would have come with me,' rattles on the old lady, 'she sent you
all sorts of messages, but she had to go to a cooking class, and she
felt sure you would understand that it was a case of duty before
pleasure.'

'I shouldn't have thought it was a _duty_ for a Marquis' daughter to
learn cooking,' thinks Jimmy and something in the merriment depicted in
his eyes causes Philippa to cast a reproachful glance at him, and then
to enter heart and soul into the question of the use of cooking classes;
it is some time before the old lady rises to depart, and then, of
course, Mabel thinks it necessary that the baby should be visited so
they mount to the nursery.

'Well, and what was the cause of the withering glance you directed at me
about ten minutes ago?' asks Dalrymple, when they are left alone, Lippa
and he.

'You know quite well,' she replies, removing her boa and settling
herself comfortably before the fire, her feet resting on the fender.

'I declare I do not,' says Dalrymple, regardless of speaking the truth,
for he loves to see Lippa indignant.

'More shame for you then, but you know quite well, you were laughing at
Lady Dadford, and what's worse you tried to make me, I hope you are not
in the habit of laughing at people, are you? Because if you are I shall
certainly not'--

'What?'

'Marry you.'

'Will you throw me over a second time; you will soon become expert at
it?'

'Jimmy,' cries she, 'how can you talk like that.'

'You suggested it first,' says he.

'I said so conditionally.'

'Yes, and that was that I must not smile at anybody, and suppose I
cannot help it, it being my nature to do so?'

Miss Seaton looks up at him and says, 'I sha'n't marry you, that's all'

'All,' repeats he, 'it's a good deal, I don't know what you could call
more.'

Lippa smiles. 'Oh you silly boy,' she says, 'you look as grave as a
judge. Mabel, if she happened to come in, would think we had been
quarrelling already.'

'Then you intend doing so later on?' queries he.

'Certainly; we should be very dull if we didn't, besides there will be
always the making up.'

'Oh what a child you are,' says he laughing, 'but do you really love
me?'

'Of course,' replies she gaily, and then seeing how earnest he is she
goes up to him and slipping her arms round his neck she says, 'there is
one thing you have not done.'

'What is it?' asks he.

'You've never settled where we are to live.'

'And more important still, you will not settle when we are to be
married.'

'Not just yet; you see I shall have to get some clothes, and they
couldn't be ready before Lent, and it would be unlucky to be married
then.'

'That will put it off for at least three months,' objects he.

'Yes--don't you think the end of June would do nicely?'

'It will have to I suppose, but it is a long time off.'

'Never mind, it will soon be gone,' says Miss Seaton sweetly.

'June be it then,' replies Jimmy. 'The leafy month of June.'



CHAPTER XI

    'Thee will I love and reverence, evermore.'

       --AUBREY DE VERE.


'There, Mab, I really can't write any more,' and throwing down her pen,
regardless that it is full of ink, and that it alights on a photograph
of Teddy, thereby giving him a black eye, Miss Seaton rises from the
writing-table and flings herself into an armchair.

'Well, dear,' says Mabel, 'I said I would do them for you, after you are
gone to-morrow, look at these little china figures, I don't believe
you've glanced at them, they came from old Mrs Boothly and I fancy they
are real Sévres--?'

'At it still,' interrupts George, poking his head in at the door, 'what
it is to be on the eve of a wedding; I suppose you'll want a detective,
and, oh, by the bye where are we going to dine?'

'In your room, I thought,' replies his wife, 'you see you can go to the
club, and we shall not want much.'

'Fasting before a festival, I suppose,' says he; 'or perhaps you are
afraid you will not be able to get into that new gown of yours.'

'How do you know anything about my new gown,' asks Mabel.

George laughs, 'I happened to see it put out for inspection in your
room.'

'My room, what were you doing there?' begins Mabel, but he has
departed.

'What can he have been doing?' she says.

'Go and see,' suggests Lippa, and Mabel filled with curiosity, hastens
upstairs, but returns again in a minute.

'Look, what the dear thing has given me,' she cries, holding up a little
blue velvet case, 'I must go and thank him,' and down she goes to the
smoking-room, 'George, you dear old boy,' she says, hugging him round
the neck, 'isn't it lovely,' she goes on, turning to Philippa who has
followed her.

'It is indeed,' says she, carefully examining the moonstone set in
diamonds. 'Did you choose it yourself, George?'

'Didn't give me credit for so much taste, eh?'

'No, I don't think I did,' replies Lippa, quietly slipping out of the
room.

She wants to be alone, to think a little, it all seems so strange and
lovely; this time to-morrow she will be Mrs Dalrymple--Mrs Dalrymple!
how funny it sounds--and Jimmy will be all her own, and they will go
away together;--and she sinks into a dream of delight, seeing the future
only as a golden mist through which she and her husband will pass side
by side. And she suddenly falls upon her knees, and buries her golden
head in her hands, and breathes forth an earnest prayer of heartfelt
gratitude to the great God who orders all things.

    'The Divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough hew them as we will.'

The next morning, her wedding day, dawns at length; the first thing she
hears are some sparrows chirping outside, and anxious to see if it is
fine, she goes to the window and draws up the blind, letting in a whole
flood of crimson light.

It is one of those lovely days in London when there is just a little
breath of wind stirring among the trees that prevents it from being
sultry, and everyone seems to expand to the warmth and look happy. It is
still quite early, two or three costermongers' carts are being wheeled
along by their owners, fresh from Covent Garden; a lark belonging to the
house opposite is singing merrily despite its small cage, and Lippa
smiles as she recalls the old saying, 'Blessed is the bride whom the
sun shines on.'

As sleep seems impossible and rather loud voices are heard from
overhead, she throws a loose wrapper round her and goes up to the
nurseries. Teddy is in his bath and no power on earth can persuade him
to get out, in vain Marie gesticulates and calls him '_Un bien méchant
gamin_,' Teddy knows he has the best of it, as whenever she comes near
he throws water at her.

'Oh, Teddy! Teddy!' exclaims Philippa, opening the door, 'do be a good
boy, or else you know, you could not be my page.'

Teddy, surprised at his aunt's sudden appearance, ceases to splash about
and regards her gravely.

'I shall be your page if I'm good then,' he says.

'Certainly,' replies Philippa, 'get out of the bath now and after your
breakfast you shall come to my room.'

Teddy looks longingly at the water and then at her, finally with a deep
sigh he gets out of the bath and submits to being rubbed dry by Marie.

The morning wears on and five minutes after the appointed time Lippa
calm and very lovely in her bridal attire, walks up the aisle of St
P---- leaning on her brother's arm, and there before the altar takes
James Dalrymple to be her husband, for better, for worse, till death
them do part.

Into further details there is no need to go; weddings are all alike, you
will say, except, of course, when you happen to be one of the chief
parties concerned. There was of course, the orthodox best man,
bridesmaids, and spectators, the lengthy signing of the register and
last but not least Mendelssohn's wedding march. I wonder how the world
could have got on without it!

       *       *       *       *       *

'Well, I'm glad that's over, ain't you?' says Mrs Dalrymple, who is
comfortably seated in a railway carriage, her husband opposite.

'Very,' replies Jimmy, looking unutterable things at her. 'I say though,
how late you were. I thought you were never coming, and Helmdon had the
fidgets.'

'It was exactly five minutes late,' says she, 'for George looked at his
watch just before the carriage stopped, but do look at that woman, isn't
she lovely?'

The train is stopping at one of the suburban stations, and the lady who
has caught Lippa's attention is hurrying down the platform, trying to
find a seat, holding a small child by the hand.

Jimmy pokes his head out of the window. 'By Jove,' he says, 'she is
handsome. She's getting into a third class, doesn't look like it, does
she?'

'No,' says Lippa, and then they forget all about her, till on reaching
their destination, they see her again.

'Hullo,' says Dalrymple, 'there's that woman again, I wonder who she
is?' As they pass out of the station, she drops her umbrella, and Jimmy
picking it up, restores it to her.

'Thank you,' she says, raising for a moment a pair of wonderful dark
eyes to his face.

Lippa looks at her curiously, wondering what her life story is, and then
they part, going in opposite directions.

Jimmy has a small house of his own, not far from C---- and only
half-a-mile from the sea coast and quite close to 'The Garden of Sleep,'
and here it is that he brings Lippa to pass the first days of their
married life, days of almost perfect happiness. But, in course of time,
as they are going to live together for the rest of their lives they come
to the wise conclusion that an overdose of solitude to begin with,
would be tedious, to say the least of it.

'It wasn't as if we were going to stop here long,' says Lippa one day.
'When we go back to London we must set to work to be very economical,
and that will give me heaps to do; I can't bear being idle, can you?'

'I am afraid, dear, that I rather like it,' replies Jimmy, 'but you're
not going to worry yourself over making both ends meet, are you? I dare
say it will be rather difficult, but if we let this place, it will help
us a little, and you said you wouldn't mind.'

'Mind,' and Lippa rises and goes up to him, kneeling down at his side,
'I shan't mind anything now, Jimmy,' she says.

'What does the "now" imply,' asks he, 'that you did once mind, eh?'

'Yes, I did, when you used to look so gravely at me, when we met in the
street, I think my heart was nearly breaking, you know you tried to
think I was a flirt, and--'

'Never mind now, sweetheart, it was blind of me not to see through it
all, and if you only could have guessed how I was longing to take you in
my arms, to ask you why you sent me away, you would not have looked so
cold, and--'

It is her turn to interrupt this time, which she does by kissing him.
'Do you know,' she says, 'you nearly made me forget what I was going to
say--'

'Is it of great importance?' asks he.

'Yes, it is. Don't you think it would be nice to ask Mabel and the
children down here, and we might all go back to London together. I know
Teddy would like the sands here; and there is plenty of room; shall we?'

Jimmy says yes, although he would have preferred to remain alone for a
little longer.

There is something so nice in knowing that the lovely little person who
is always with him, is his very own to take care of and protect against
everything, for all the years that lie before them. And he fears to be
disturbed, in case it may all prove a dream, and burst like a bubble
with the slightest contact of the outer world. But a week later Mabel
arrives accompanied by Teddy and the baby; George and Paul, whom Lippa
has also begged to come, turn up, and the lovely days that follow, when
the sun creeps into their rooms in the early morning enticing them out,
where the hedges are covered with sweet smelling honey-suckle and the
fields are carpeted with brilliant red poppies, and a walk will take
them to the 'Garden of Sleep,' where among the tombstones and long grass
they can watch the sea sparkling in a golden haze, and listen to the
waves as they break on the yellow sands; where the birds are ever
trilling forth their songs without words; those days for ever are stored
in the minds of some of them as the loveliest summer man could wish
for.



CHAPTER XI

    'Love pardons the unpardonable past.'--CHRISTINA ROSSETTI.


It is six o'clock. The tea things have been taken away, and the
occupants of the little drawing-room are all apparently lazily enjoying
themselves.

Mabel has the baby on her knee, her husband is dozing in an armchair,
Jimmy is sitting half-in half-out of the window, Paul is reading, and
Philippa is lying on the sofa.

'Lippa,' says Dalrymple, 'sing us something.'

'What would you like?' she answers, rising slowly.

'Anything,' he replies.

She runs her fingers over the keys and then sings 'The Garden of Sleep.'

Paul closes his book as she begins, looking at her earnestly.

Why does she sing that song, so close as they are to the real spot; and
why does it say 'the graves of dear women,' the only one he knows buried
there is a little child. He rises abruptly as the song is finished, and
passes through the French window into the garden. Philippa has begun
something else. He pauses and listens.

    'Why live when life is sad?
    Death only sweet.'

Ah! thinks he, that is exactly it. What good is life to me!

The evening sun floods with a golden haze the road before him; he walks
on, the distant sound of the waves coming up from the sands, and almost
unconsciously he sings in a low voice,

    'Did they love as I love
    When they lived by the sea?
    Did they wait as I wait
    For the days that may be?'

And then, with a start he finds himself in 'The Garden of Sleep,' and
just on the edge of the cliff, reaching over to pick some poppies is a
child, a little girl with golden hair.

In an instant he is at her side, and without saying a word for fear of
starting her, he catches her in his arms.

'Mummy, mummy, don't,' she cries, and then seeing that it is a stranger
her anger is roused still more. 'Put me down, how dare lou touch me, me
wants the flowers.'

'Now look here,' replies Paul. 'Do you know, you might have fallen over.
It is very dangerous to go so near the edge. If I get you the flowers,
promise me you will go away,'--no answer--so he puts her down, he picks
the flowers, and gravely hands them to her.

'Sank lou,' she says, taking them in her little fat hand, 'sank lou, but
I could have gottened them meself.'

Paul smiles, wondering who she reminds him of.

'What's lour name?' she asks suddenly.

'Paul,' he replies, promptly, 'what is yours, and who are you with?'

'I doesn't know what's my name is,' she answers, gravely, 'Mummy always
calls me Baby, I'm wif Mummy. Does lou know Mummy?'

'I do not think I have that pleasure,' says he, 'but I should like to
speak to her,' thinking to reprove her for her carelessness in letting
the child wander about so far away.

'Vis way,' says the little girl catching hold of his hand, and turning
down a path among the tombstones, 'Mummy always comes to a little tiny
grave.'

Paul goes with her, wondering why he does so. When, why is it? that she
is taking him to the grave of his.... And, good heavens! the person the
child calls 'Mummy' is kneeling beside it, her head bent, apparently not
hearing their approach.

'Oh, Mummy look,' cries the child, 'look what bootiful flowers me's
gottened, him wouldn't let me get them meself. Look at him, Mummy,' she
urges as the woman still kneels with lowered head, 'him's name is Paul.'

She raises her head at the name, and he starts back on seeing her face
and looks at her for a moment with astonishment.

'Clotilde,' at length he says, and his voice is low, 'you here.'

Her head is once more bowed--

'You here,' he repeats, 'here at the grave of your child and'--with a
slight pause 'mine. It is four years since I saw you last, and now to
meet you like this.'

No sound comes from the kneeling figure. 'Where is ... he?' Paul asks in
a hoarse unnatural voice.

'Dead,' she whispers.

'Ah!' and he breathes a sigh of relief, 'so you always come here,' he
says, repeating the little girl's words, and then remembering her. 'Good
God!' he cries, 'that child! speak, Clotilde, tell me,' he bends forward
and touches her almost roughly, 'for Heaven's sake, speak, and say she
is not your child, but no! I would rather not hear it,' and overcome by
a strong emotion, he turns towards the sea, while a tumult of passionate
strife rends his very soul.

Why had he saved the child. One minute more where she had been would be
certain death, if he had only known who she was he would never have
rescued her, and yet--and yet--what harm has the _child_ done, that he
should wish for her death like this.

Poor little innocent child, but who does she remind him of--not
Clotilde, not that other, no it is Philippa she is like, what could it
all mean.

A little tug at his leg interrupts his train of thought, and he becomes
aware that the child is standing at his side, his first impulse is to
push her away roughly, but the little thing is looking up at him so
gravely. 'Mummy says,' she begins, 'that she doesn't know who I is,
I'se Baby, and got losted years ago, but Mummy loves me.'

Paul returns quickly, 'Is this true?' he asks.

'Yes,' she replies slowly, 'quite true, I found her, and was never able
to trace her parents; it is nearly three years ago now.'

'Three years, have you kept her,' he says, 'you! a woman with a past
like yours, how--'

'Spare me! spare me!' she cries, 'have I not suffered enough, am I not
suffering enough now, do not taunt me, I know well I deserve it; but I
have always thought of you, as I saw you last, and your sad reproachful
face has often stayed me from.... Last year, I thought I would go and
seek you, I got as far as Brook Street, and there I saw you talking to a
girl in a carriage, your back was turned to me, but I heard her say,
"Poor woman, how ill she looks!" and I dared not speak to you; death was
what I longed for, and I went to the river, but that girl's voice
haunted me. "Poor woman," aye indeed! I _was_ to be pitied; I had done
wrong, but I would try to atone--but why am I telling you all this, you
who ought to hate and despise me, I who have ruined your life. Oh! my
God! my God! have mercy--' And with a paroxysm of grief, she lays her
head on the little green mound.

A strange sight the old vicar sees as he passes through the long grass
on his way to the church; a tall man in flannels gazing down on the
figure of a woman, kneeling before him, divided only by a small grave,
and a little golden-haired child looking at them wonderingly; he has
spoken to the child before and now she leaves the other two and follows
him into the sacred edifice.

The bell begins to toll for even-song, but neither Paul nor Clotilde
move, so close they are together, only the past lies between them. A
small cross marks the grave of their child, whereon his name, and age
(but a few months) is inscribed.

Paul reads the inscription though he knows it only too well, and then he
once more rests his gaze on the woman before him; the woman he once
loved! nay, does still love, for a great desire to comfort her comes
over him.

'Clotilde,' he says at length, 'let us forget the past. Come.'

He takes her by the hand and he leads her gently to the church, up the
aisle they go, and side by side they kneel; and the old clergyman is not
surprised to see them, and the little golden-haired child watches them
from another pew.



CHAPTER XII

    'I were but little happy, if I could say how much.'

    SHAKESPEARE.


Twenty-four hours have come and gone and have left everyone a day older,
they are all in the garden, except Paul; a little golden haired girl is
playing with Teddy, and Mabel watches them from a distance with a
beaming smile. For a great happiness has come to her, the empty place in
her heart has been refilled, for a strange and wonderful thing has
happened; for only the evening before, her brother knocked at her
bedroom door, as she was dressing for dinner, and on her saying, come
in, he opened it, and said, 'Mabel, here is somebody I should like you
to see.'

Somebody! yes indeed; and a small somebody too, somebody so like
Philippa, somebody! who had a little gold locket with a turquoise in the
centre. Ah! it seems too good to be true!

'Lilian!' Mabel calls, and then as the child does not take any notice,
'Baby--' The child turns and looks shyly at her mother; and emboldened
by a sweet smile she runs and hides her head in her mother's gown, while
the little hands are covered with kisses.

'You won't be afraid of me, will you?' asks Mabel, 'and you will love me
very soon, I hope.'

'Ses,' is the answer, 'but I must love Mummy still.'

'Yes, dear, of course,' is the answer, 'Mummy, as you call her, is
coming to see me this afternoon.'

Teddy has been watching from the distance, his nose has been altogether
put out of joint, and it is rather a melancholy freckled face that
Philippa catches sight of.

'Why, Teddy,' she says, 'come here and tell me what you were doing all
the morning, and oh, Jimmy,' she says, turning to her husband, 'do be an
angel and take baby back to the nursery, Mabel is so engrossed with
Lilian.'

'Come along then, old woman,' and Jimmy lifts up his niece, 'but I say,
Lippa, don't you think it would be just as well to be out of the way
when Paul comes.'

'Perhaps it would,' answers she, 'and you had better take Teddy with you
as well.'

Jimmy has just turned the corner of the house, when he runs straight
into Paul and the lady he saw in the train.

There is no time to retreat, so he says, 'How do you do?' and the baby
puts further conversation out of the question, by beginning to howl,
Jimmy in the bottom of his heart feels thankful for it, though aloud he
says, 'I must depart with this tiresome person, come along Teddy.'

The baby deposited in the nursery, he keeps out of the way till
tea-time, when he finds them all seated round a table still in the
garden.

Clotilde had at first refused to see anyone, but Paul persuaded her at
length, 'Sooner or later, you must,' he had said, 'you know Mabel, and
Lippa is a dear little girl.'

'But--' and Clotilde had looked up at her husband with those large dark
eyes of hers 'they will--'

'The past will be forgotten,' was his reply, spoken sadly and quietly.
And now she seems to be more at her ease.

'Have some tea, Jimmy,' says Philippa as he approaches.

'No thanks, it is too hot,' he replies.

'Come and sit then,' suggests Mabel pushing forward an empty chair, into
which he sinks.

'Well, lazy boy, what have you been doing,' this from Lippa who is
eating strawberries with apparent relish.

'Nothing,' is the yawned reply.

'Not even thinking of me,' and Lippa looks coquettishly at him from
under her large shady hat.

'No, indeed, why should I, but you may as well spare me one strawberry.'

'Certainly not,' says she, 'this is my last one' (gradually raising it
to her lips), 'not unless you say, you thought of me, all the time.'

'Oh, well, if you must! I thought of no one but you, I saw you in every
one I met, even the gardener.'

'That's rude,' she says, 'but you may as well have this,' extending to
him the coveted strawberry, with an adorable smile.

'What a silly child you are,' is all the thanks she gets.

But some one has driven up, in a very old fly, to the front door and Mrs
Dalrymple is watching to see who it is.

'Chubby,' she exclaims as a man gets out clothed in an extraordinary
check suit. 'No one else could have clothes like that.' There is no
doubt about its being Lord Helmdon, he has caught sight of them and is
coming towards them, looking decidedly hot and dusty.

'Do look at him,' says Paul, though there is absolutely no need, as they
are all gazing at him.

'Hullo,' says Jimmy, 'who would have thought of seeing you here!'

'Eh! what,' is the inevitable answer.

'Dear Mrs Dalrymple,' he goes on, shaking her vigourously by the hand,
'I am stopping not far from here,--I thought you would not mind my
coming over to see you, what!'

'She didn't say a word,' says Jimmy still reclining in the armchair,
'you didn't give her time.'

Mabel shakes with suppressed laughter, and Lippa's mouth is contorted
into the most extraordinary shape, but she says calmly, 'I'm so glad to
see you, won't you stop the night now you are here?'

'I'm afraid I can't, ah, how do you do?' he says to Mabel, 'well, Paul,
pretty fit, eh?'

'Decidedly so,' replies he.

Clotilde has been sitting quite silent longing to get away, but Paul
will not look at her, and, oh! what shall she do, Philippa is
introducing her to the newcomer.

'Chubby allow me to introduce you to Paul's wife.'

'What!' he exclaims.

Jimmy who is in fear and trembling as to what he may say, kicks him
violently on the shins under cover of the tablecloth, which sends him
sprawling on his knees before Clotilde.

'I--er, I beg your pardon,' he says, 'but really, Jimmy, I wish you
would keep your legs to yourself.'

'Me,' says Dalrymple, regardless of grammar and looking quite
unconscious, 'never was further from doing anything else, in my life.'

'May you be forgiven,' whispers Lippa, who has observed it all--but
aloud she says, 'Won't you have some tea.'

'No thanks, really not,' replies Helmdon, 'but if I may stay, we may as
well tell the fly to go away.'

'Do,' says Dalrymple rising, 'have you got anything with you,' and
together they go back to the house, where Jimmy explains all, including
Clotilde, and the kick.

'Thanks, awfully, old man,' says Helmdon, 'I couldn't make it out a bit,
what!'

       *       *       *       *       *

The evening is lovely, and two and two they gradually leave the
drawing-room, to Chubby, who, his body in one chair, and his legs in
another, is wrapt in peaceful slumbers. Mabel and her husband walk
slowly up and down, before the house discussing their children and
friends.

Quite unconsciously Paul and Clotilde take their way to the little
church, and pause not till they come to their baby's grave. The moon
shines down on them, as side by side they stand on the edge of the
cliff, the dark ocean stretching out before them, a type of the unknown
future that will be theirs.

Paul becomes aware that she is crying, and says, turning her face up to
his. 'My darling, dry your eyes, we have all done wrong, but it is no
use dwelling on the past, a future lies before us, in which by God's
help, we will try to atone for the past, "Heaven means crowned not
vanquished when it says forgiven."' For all answer Clotilde goes close
to him, and lays her sad weary head against his shoulder.

'Paul,' she murmurs, 'how good you are,' and then there is a silence
more eloquent than words.

In the meantime Jimmy and Philippa hand in hand have reached a
cornfield.

'Let us stop here,' she says seating herself on a stile.

'Very well,' he replies, following her example, 'only we must not stay
out too late you know.'

'No, we won't,' says Lippa, 'but Jimmy, dear, don't you feel awfully
happy, because I do.'

'Sitting on this stile,' queries he.

'No, of course not, don't be stupid, but,' and she puts her arm round
his neck, 'everybody is all right, are they not? Mabel has her child
back, Paul has Clotilde, and oh, Jimmy darling, I've got you.'

There is a little sob as she says this.

'Crying,' says he, placing his arm round her, 'if you cry when you're
happy, what will you do, when there is really something to cry for, oh
you silly child,' but the look in his eyes belies his words, and Lippa
raising hers sees something in them, which makes her draw still closer,
till their lips meet.

'Dearest,' he whispers.

And then a silence also falls on them, while the calm moon, unmoved at
what she sees, still shines on the same, and the distant ripple of the
waves breaking on the shore is all that is heard.


THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippa" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home