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Title: The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 2, February, 1891
Author: Various
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 "The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 2, February, 1891" ***

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          _"Laden with Golden Grain"_

       *       *       *       *       *


                   EDITED BY
                CHARLES W. WOOD.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   VOLUME LI.

             _January to June, 1891._

       *       *       *       *       *

              RICHARD BENTLEY & SON,

       Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

              _All rights reserved._

              GREAT SAFFRON HILL, E.C.



  Chap. I. My Arrival at Deepley Walls                             Jan
       II. The Mistress of Deepley Walls                           Jan
      III. A Voyage of Discovery                                   Jan
       IV. Scarsdale Weir                                          Jan
        V. At Rose Cottage                                         Feb
       VI. The Growth of a Mystery                                 Feb
      VII. Exit Janet Hope                                         Feb
     VIII. By the Scotch Express                                   Feb
       IX. At "The Golden Griffin"                                 Mar
        X. The Stolen Manuscript                                   Mar
       XI. Bon Repos                                               Mar
      XII. The Amsterdam Edition of 1698                           Mar
     XIII. M. Platzoff's Secret--Captain Ducie's Translation of
           M. Paul Platzoff's MS                                   Mar
      XIV. Drashkil-Smoking                                        Apr
       XV. The Diamond                                             Apr
      XVI. Janet's Return                                          Apr
     XVII. Deepley Walls after Seven Years                         Apr
    XVIII. Janet in a New Character                                May
      XIX. The Dawn of Love                                        May
       XX. The Narrative of Sergeant Nicholas                      May
      XXI. Counsel taken with Mr. Madgin                           May
     XXII. Mr. Madgin at the Helm                                  Jun
    XXIII. Mr. Madgin's Secret Journey                             Jun
     XXIV. Enter Madgin Junior                                     Jun
      XXV. Madgin Junior's First Report                            Jun

       *       *       *       *       *


      Putting Them Up      Jan
      Playing Again        Feb
      Ringing at Midday    Mar
      Not Heard            Apr
      Silent for Ever      May

       *       *       *       *       *

      35 Illustrations     Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun

       *       *       *       *       *

About the Weather                                               Jun
Across the River. By HELEN M. BURNSIDE                          Apr
After Twenty Years. By ADA M. TROTTER                           Feb
A Memory. By GEORGE COTTERELL                                   Feb
A Modern Witch                                                  Jan
An April Folly. By GILBERT H. PAGE                              Apr
A Philanthropist. By ANGUS GREY                                 Jun
Aunt Phoebe's Heirlooms: An Experience in Hypnotism             Feb
A Social Debut                                                  Mar
A Song. By G.B. STUART                                          Jan
Enlightenment. By E. NESBIT                                     Feb
In a Bernese Valley. By ALEXANDER LAMONT                        Feb
Legend of an Ancient Minster. By JOHN GRÆME                     Mar
Longevity. By W.F. AINSWORTH, F.S.A.                            Apr
Mademoiselle Elise. By EDWARD FRANCIS                           Jun
Mediums and Mysteries. By NARISSA ROSAVO                        Feb
Miss Kate Marsden                                               Jan
My May Queen. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                    May
Old China                                                       Jun
On Letter-Writing. By A.H. JAPP, LL.D.                          May
Paul. By the Author of "Adonais, Q.C."                          May
"Proctorised"                                                   Apr
Rondeau. By E. NESBIT                                           Mar
Saint or Satan? By A. BERESFORD                                 Feb
Sappho. By MARY GREY                                            Mar
Serenade. By E. NESBIT                                          Jun
Sonnets. By JULIA KAVANAGH                       Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun
So Very Unattractive!                                           Jun
Spes. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                            Apr
Sweet Nancy. By JEANIE GWYNNE BETTANY                           May
The Church Garden. By CHRISTIAN BURKE                           May
The Only Son of his Mother. By LETITIA MCCLINTOCK               Mar
To my Soul. From the French of Victor Hugo                      Jun
Unexplained. By LETITIA MCCLINTOCK                              Apr
Who Was the Third Maid?                                         Jan
Winter in Absence                                               Feb

       *       *       *       *       *


Sonnets. By JULIA KAVANAGH                       Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun
A Song. By G.B. STUART                                          Jan
Enlightenment. By E. NESBIT                                     Feb
Winter in Absence                                               Feb
A Memory. By GEORGE COTTERELL                                   Feb
In a Bernese Valley. By ALEXANDER LAMONT                        Feb
Rondeau. By E. NESBIT                                           Mar
Spes. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                            Apr
Across the River. By HELEN M. BURNSIDE                          Apr
My May Queen. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                    May
The Church Garden. By CHRISTIAN BURKE                           May
Serenade. By E. NESBIT                                          Jun
To my Soul. From the French of Victor Hugo                      Jun
Old China                                                       Jun

       *       *       *       *       *


By M.L. Gow.

  "I advanced slowly up the room, stopped, and curtsied."

  "I saw and recognised the mysterious midnight visitor."

  "He came back in a few minutes, but so transformed in outward
    appearance that Ducie scarcely knew him."


  "Sister Agnes knelt for a few moments and bent her head in silent

  "He put his hand to his side, and motioned Mirpah to open the letter."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustrations to "The Bretons at Home."



_FEBRUARY, 1891._




On regaining my senses I found myself in a cozy little bed in a cozy
little room, with an old gentleman sitting by my side gently chafing one
of my hands--a gentleman with white hair and a white moustache, with a
ruddy face and a smile that made me all in love with him at first sight.

"Did I not say that she would do famously in a little while?" he cried,
in a cheery voice that it did one good to listen to. "I believe the
Poppetina has only been hoaxing us all this time: pretending to be
half-drowned just to find out whether anyone would make a fuss about
her. Is not that the truth, little one?"

"If you please, sir, where am I? And are you a doctor?" I asked,

"I am not a doctor, either of medicine or law," answered the
white-haired gentleman. "I am Major Strickland, and this place is Rose
Cottage--the magnificent mansion which I call my own. But you had better
not talk, my dear--at least not just yet: not till the doctor himself
has seen you."

"But how did I get here?" I pleaded. "Do tell me that, please."

"Simply thus. My nephew Geordie was out mooning on the bridge when he
heard a cry for help. Next minute he saw you and your boat go over the
weir. He rushed down to the quiet water at the foot of the falls,
plunged in, and fished you out before you had time to get more than
half-drowned. My housekeeper, Deborah, put you to bed, and here you are.
But I am afraid that you have hurt yourself among those ugly stones that
line the weir; so Geordie has gone off for the doctor, and we shall soon
know how you really are. One question I must ask you, in order that I
may send word to your friends. What is your name? and where do you

Before I could reply, the village doctor came bounding up the stairs
three at a time. Five minutes sufficed him for my case. A good night's
rest and a bottle of his mixture were all that was required. A few hours
would see me as well as ever. Then he went.

"And now for the name and address, Poppetina," said the smiling Major.
"We must send word to papa and mamma without a moment's delay."

"I have neither papa nor mamma," I answered. "My name is Janet Hope, and
I come from Deepley Walls."

"From Deepley Walls!" exclaimed the Major. "I thought I knew everybody
under Lady Chillington's roof, but I never heard of you before to-night,
my dear."

Then I told him that I had been only two days with Lady Chillington, and
that all of my previous life that I could remember had been spent at
Park Hill Seminary.

The Major was evidently puzzled by what I had told him. He mused for
several moments without speaking. Hitherto my face had been in
half-shadow, the candle having been placed behind the curtain that fell
round the head of the bed, so as not to dazzle my eyes. This candle the
Major now took, and held it about a yard above my head, so that its full
light fell on my upturned face. I was swathed in a blanket, and while
addressing the Major had raised myself on my elbow in bed. My long black
hair, still damp, fell wildly round my shoulders.

The moment Major Strickland's eyes rested on my face, on which the full
light of the candle was now shining, his ruddy cheek paled; he started
back in amazement, and was obliged to replace the candlestick on the

"Great Heavens! what a marvellous resemblance!" he exclaimed. "It cannot
arise from accident merely. There must be a hidden link somewhere."

Then taking the candle for the second time, he scanned my face again
with eyes that seemed to pierce me through and through. "It is as if one
had come to me suddenly from the dead," I heard him say in a low voice.
Then with down-bent head and folded arms he took several turns across
the room.

"Sir, of whom do I remind you?" I timidly asked.

"Of someone, child, whom I knew when I was young--of someone who died
long years before you were born." There was a ring of pathos in his
voice that seemed like the echo of some sorrowful story.

"Are you sure that you have no other name than Janet Hope?" he asked,

"None, sir, that I know of. I have been called Janet Hope ever since I
can remember."

"But about your parents? What were they called, and where did they

"I know nothing whatever about them except what Sister Agnes told me

"And she said--what?"

"That my father was drowned abroad several years ago, and that my mother
died a year later."

"Poverina! But it is strange that Sister Agnes should have known your
parents. Perhaps she can supply the missing link. The mention of her
name reminds me that I have not yet sent word to Deepley Walls that you
are safe and sound at Rose Cottage. Geordie must start without a
moment's delay. I am an old friend of Lady Chillington, my dear, so that
she will be quite satisfied when she learns that you are under my roof."

"But, sir, when shall I see the gentleman who got me out of the water?"
I asked.

"What, Geordie? Oh, you'll see Geordie in the morning, never fear! A
good boy! a fine boy! though it's his old uncle who says it."

Then he rang the bell, and when Deborah, his only servant, came up, he
committed me with many injunctions into her charge. Then taking my head
gently between his hands, he kissed me tenderly on the forehead, and
wished me "Good-night, and happy dreams."

Deborah was very kind. She brought me up a delicious little supper, and
decided that there was no need for me to take the doctor's nauseous
mixture. She took it herself instead, but merely as a sop to her
conscience and my own; "for, after all, you know, there's very little
difference in physic--it's all nasty; and I daresay this mixture will do
my lumbago no harm."

The effects of the accident had almost entirely passed away by next
morning, and I was dressed and downstairs by seven o'clock. I found the
Major hard at work digging up the garden for his winter crops. "Ah,
Poppetina, down so early!" he cried. "And how do we feel this morning,
eh? None the worse for our ducking, I hope."

I assured him that I was quite well, and that I had never felt better in
my life.

"That will be good news for her ladyship," he replied, "and will prove
to her that Miss Hope has not fallen among Philistines. In any case, she
cannot be more pleased than I am to find that you have sustained no harm
from your accident. There is something, Poverina, in that face of yours
that brings back the past to me strangely. But here comes Master

I turned and saw a young man sauntering slowly down the pathway. He was
very fair, and, to me, seemed very handsome. He had blue eyes, and his
hair was a mass of short, crisp flaxen curls. From the way in which the
Major regarded him as he came lounging up, I could see that the old
soldier was very proud of his young Adonis of a nephew. The latter
lifted his hat as he opened the wicket, and bade his uncle good-morning.
Me he did not for the moment see.

"Miss Hope is not up yet, I suppose?" he said. "I trust she is none the
worse for her tumble over the weir."

"Our little water-nymph is here to answer for herself," said the Major.
"The roses in her cheeks seem all the brighter for their wetting."

George Strickland turned smilingly towards me, and held out his hand. "I
am very glad to find that you have suffered so little from your
accident," he said. "When I fished you out of the river last night you
looked so death-like that I was afraid we should not be able to bring
you round without difficulty."

Tears stood in my eyes as I took his hand. "Oh, sir, how brave, how
noble it was of you to act as you did! You saved my life at the risk of
your own; and how can I ever thank you enough?"

A bright colour came into his cheek as I spoke. "My dear child, you must
not speak in that way," he said. "What I did was a very ordinary thing.
Anyone else in my place would have done precisely the same. I must not
claim more merit than is due for an action so simple."

"To you it may seem a simple thing to do, but I cannot forget that it
was my life that you saved."

"What an old-fashioned princess it is!" said the Major. "Why, it must
have been born a hundred years ago, and have had a fairy for its
godmother. But here comes Deborah to tell us that breakfast is ready.
Toasted bacon is better than pretty speeches; so come along with you,
and make believe that you have known each other for a twelvemonth at

Rose Cottage was a tiny place, and there were not wanting proofs that
the Major's income was commensurate with the scale of his establishment.
A wise economy had to be a guiding rule in Major Strickland's life,
otherwise Mr. George's college expenses would never have been met, and
that young gentleman would not have had a proper start in life. Deborah
was the only servant that the little household could afford; but then
the Major himself was gardener, butler, valet and page in one. Thus--he
cleaned the knives in a machine of his own invention; he brushed his own
clothes; he lacquered his own boots, and at a pinch could mend them. He
dug and planted his own garden, and grew enough potatoes and greenstuff
to serve his little family the year round. In a little paddock behind
his garden the Major kept a cow; in the garden itself he had
half-a-dozen hives; while not far away was a fowl-house that supplied
him with more eggs than he could dispose of, except by sale. The Major's
maxim was, that the humblest offices of labour could be dignified by a
gentleman, and by his own example he proved the rule. What few leisure
hours he allowed himself were chiefly spent with rod and line on the
banks of the Adair.

George Strickland was an orphan, and had been adopted and brought up by
his uncle since he was six years old. So far, the uncle had been able
to supply the means for having him educated in accordance with his
wishes. For the last three years George had been at one of the public
schools, and now he was at home for a few weeks' holiday previously to
going to Cambridge.

It will of course be understood that but a very small portion of what is
here set down respecting Rose Cottage and its inmates was patent to me
at that first visit; much of it, indeed, did not come within my
cognizance till several years afterwards.

When breakfast was over, the Major lighted an immense meerschaum, and
then invited me to accompany him over his little demesne. To a girl
whose life had been spent within the four bare walls of a school-room,
everything was fresh and everything was delightful. First to the
fowl-house, then to the hives, and after that to see the brindled calf
in the paddock, whose gambols and general mode of conducting himself
were so utterly absurd that I laughed more in ten minutes after seeing
him than I had done in ten years previously.

When we got back to the cottage, George was ready to take me on the
river. The Major went down with us and saw us safely on board the _Water
Lily_, bade us good-bye for an hour, and then went about his morning's
business. I was rather frightened at first, the _Water Lily_ was such a
tiny craft, so long and narrow that it seemed to me as if the least
movement on one side must upset it. But George showed me exactly where
to sit, and gave me the tiller-ropes, with instructions how to manage
them, and was himself so full of quiet confidence that my fears quickly
died a natural death, and a sweet sense of enjoyment took their place.

We were on that part of the river which was below the weir, and as we
put out from shore the scene of my last night's adventure was clearly
visible. There, spanning the river just above the weir, was the
open-work timber bridge on which George was standing when my cry for
help struck his ears. There was the weir itself, a sheet of foaming,
frothing water, that as it fell dashed itself in white-lipped passion
against the rounded boulders that seemed striving in vain to turn it
from its course. And here, a little way from the bottom of the weir, was
the pool of quiet water over which our little boat was now cleaving its
way, and out of which the handsome young man now sitting opposite to me
had plucked me, bruised and senseless, only a few short hours ago. I
shuddered and could feel myself turn pale as I looked. George seemed to
read my thoughts; he smiled, but said nothing. Then bending all his
strength to the oars, he sent the _Water Lily_ spinning on her course.
All my skill and attention were needed for the proper management of the
tiller, and for a little while all morbid musings were banished from my

Scarcely a word passed between us during the next half-hour, but I was
too happy to care much for conversation. When we had gone a couple of
miles or more, George pointed out a ruinous old house that stood on a
dreary flat about a quarter of a mile from the river. Many years ago, he
told me, that house had been the scene of a terrible murder, and was
said to have been haunted ever since. Nobody would live in it; it was
shunned as a place accursed, and was now falling slowly into decay and
ruin. I listened to the story with breathless interest, and the telling
of it seemed to make us quite old friends. After this there seemed no
lack of subjects for conversation. George shipped his oars, and the boat
was allowed to float lazily down the stream. He told about his
schooldays, and I told about mine. The height of his ambition, he said,
was to go into the army, and become a soldier like his dear old uncle.
But Major Strickland wanted him to become a lawyer; and, owing
everything to his uncle as he did, it was impossible for him not to
accede to his wishes. "Besides which," added George, with a sigh, "a
commission is an expensive thing to buy, and dear old uncle is anything
but rich."

When we first set out that morning I think that George, from the summit
of his eighteen years, had been inclined to look down upon me as a
little school miss, whom he might patronise in a kindly sort of way, but
whose conversation could not possibly interest a man of his sense and
knowledge of the world. But whether it arose from that "old-fashioned"
quality of which Major Strickland had made mention, which caused me to
seem so much older than my years; or whether it arose from the genuine
interest I showed in all he had to say; certain it is that long before
we got back to Rose Cottage we were talking as equals in years and
understanding; but that by no means prevented me from looking up to him
in my own mind as to a being superior, not only to myself, but to the
common run of humanity. I was sorry when we got back in sight of the
weir, and as I stepped ashore I thought that this morning and the one I
had spent with Sister Agnes in Charke Forest were the two happiest of my
life. I had no prevision that the fair-haired young man with whom I had
passed three such pleasant hours would, in after years, influence my
life in a way that just now I was far too much a child even to dream of.



We started at five o'clock to walk back to Deepley Walls, the Major, and
I, and George. It was only two miles away across the fields. I was quite
proud to be seen in the company of so stately a gentleman as Major
Strickland, who was dressed this afternoon as for a visit of ceremony.
He had on a blue frock-coat, tightly buttoned, to which the builder had
imparted an intangible something that smacked undeniably of the old
soldier. He wore a hat rather wide in the brim; a high stiff checked
cravat; a white vest; and lacquered military boots, over which his
tightly-strapped trousers fell without a crease. He had white buckskin
gloves, a stout silver-headed malacca cane, and carried a choice
geranium in his button-hole.

There was not much conversation among us by the way. The Major's usual
flow of talk seemed to have deserted him this afternoon, and his mood
seemed unconsciously to influence both George and me. Lady Chillington's
threat to send me to a French school weighed down my spirits. I had
found dear friends--Sister Agnes, the kind-hearted Major, and his
nephew, only to be torn from them--to be plunged back into the cold,
cheerless monotony of school-girl life, where there would be no one to
love me, but many to find fault.

We went back by way of the plantation. George would not go any farther
than the wicket at its edge, and it was agreed that he should there
await the Major's return from the Hall. "I hope, Miss Janet, that we
shall see you at Rose Cottage again before many days are over," he said,
as he took my hand to bid me farewell. "Uncle has promised to ask her
ladyship to spare you for a few days."

"I shall be very, very glad to come, Mr. George. As long as I live I
shall be in your debt, for I cannot forget that I owe you my life."

"The fairy godmother is whispering in her ear," said the Major in a loud
aside. "She talks like a woman of forty."

While still some distance away we could see Lady Chillington sunning
herself on the western terrace. With a pang of regret I saw that Sister
Agnes was not with her. The Major quickened his pace; I clung to his
hand, and felt without seeing that her ladyship's eyes were fixed upon
me severely.

"I have brought back your wandering princess," said the Major, in his
cheery way, as he lifted his hat. Then, as he took her proffered hand,
"I hope your ladyship is in perfect health."

"No princess, Major Strickland, but a base beggar brat," said Lady
Chillington, without heeding his last words. "From the first moment of
my seeing her I had a presentiment that she would cause me nothing but
trouble and annoyance. That presentiment has been borne out by facts--by
facts!" She nodded her head at the Major, and rubbed one lean hand
viciously within the other.

"Your ladyship forgets that the child herself is here. Pray consider her

"Were my feelings considered by those who sent her to Deepley Walls? I
ought to have been consulted in the matter--to have had time given me to
make fresh arrangements. It was enough to be burdened with the cost of
her maintenance, without the added nuisance of having her before me as a
continual eyesore. But I have arranged. Next week she leaves Deepley
Walls for the Continent, and if I never see her face again, so much the
better for both of us."

"With all due respect to your ladyship, it seems to me that your tone is
far more bitter than the occasion demands. What may be the relationship
between Miss Hope and yourself it is quite impossible for me to say;
but that there is a tie of some sort between you I cannot for a moment

"And pray, Major Strickland, what reason may you have for believing that
a tie of any kind exists between this young person and the mistress of
Deepley Walls?"

"I will take my stand on one point: on the extraordinary resemblance
which this child bears to--"

"To whom, Major Strickland?"

"To one who lies buried in Elvedon churchyard. You know whom I mean.
Such a likeness is far too remarkable to be the result of accident."

"I deny the existence of any such likeness," said Lady Chillington,
vehemently. "I deny it utterly. You are the victim of your own
disordered imagination. Likeness, forsooth!" She laughed a bitter,
contemptuous laugh, and seemed to think that she had disposed of the
question for ever.

"Come here, child," said the Major, taking me kindly by the hand, and
leading me close up to her ladyship. "Look at her, Lady Chillington," he
added; "scan her features thoroughly, and tell me then that the likeness
of which I speak is nothing more than a figment of my own brain."

Lady Chillington drew herself up haughtily. "To please you in a whim,
Major Strickland, which I cannot characterise as anything but
ridiculous, I will try to discover this fancied resemblance." Speaking
thus, her ladyship carried her glass to her eye, and favoured me with a
cold, critical stare, under which I felt my blood boil with grief and

"Pshaw! Major Strickland, you are growing old and foolish. I cannot
perceive the faintest trace of such a likeness as you mention. Besides,
if it really did exist it would prove nothing. It would merely serve to
show that there may be certain secrets within Deepley Walls which not
even Major Strickland's well-known acumen can fathom."

"After that, of course I can only bid your ladyship farewell," said the
offended Major, with a ceremonious bow. Then turning to me: "Good-bye,
my dear Miss Janet, for the present. Even at this, the eleventh hour, I
must intercede with Lady Chillington to grant you permission to come and
spend part of next week with us at Rose Cottage."

"Oh! take her, and welcome; I have no wish to keep her here. But you
will stop to dinner, Major, when we will talk of these things further.
And now, Miss Pest, you had better run away. You have heard too much

I was glad enough to get away; so after a hasty kiss to Major
Strickland, I hurried indoors; and once in my own bed-room, I burst into
an uncontrollable fit of crying. How cruel had been Lady Chillington's
words! and her looks had been more cruel than they.

I was still weeping when Sister Agnes came into the room. She had but
just returned from Eastbury. She knelt beside me, and took me in her
arms and kissed me, and wiped away my tears. "Why was I crying?" she
asked. I told her of all that Lady Chillington had said.

"Oh! cruel, cruel of her to treat you thus!" she said. "Can nothing move
her--nothing melt that heart of adamant? But, Janet, dear, you must not
let her sharp words wound you so deeply. Would that my love could shield
you from such trials in future. But that cannot always be. You must
strive to regard such things as part of that stern discipline of life
which is designed to tutor our wayward hearts and rebellious spirits,
and bring them into harmony with a will superior to our own. And now you
must tell me all about your voyage down the Adair, and your rescue by
that brave George Strickland. Ah! how grieved I was, when the news was
brought to Deepley Walls, that I could not hasten to you, and see with
my own eyes that you had come to no harm! But I was chained to my post,
and could not stir."

Scarcely had Sister Agnes done speaking when the air was filled with a
strain of music that seemed to be more sweet and solemn than anything I
had ever heard before. All the soreness melted out of my heart as I
listened; all my troubles seemed to take to themselves wings, and life
to put on an altogether different aspect from any it had ever worn to me
before. I saw clearly that I had not been so good a girl in many ways as
I might have been. I would try my best not to be so inattentive at
church in future, and I would never, no, not even on the coldest night
in winter, neglect to say my prayers before getting into bed.

"What is it? Where does it come from?" I whispered into the ear of
Sister Agnes.

"It is Father Spiridion playing the organ in the west gallery."

"And who is Father Spiridion?"

"A good man and my friend. Presently you shall be introduced to him."

No word more was spoken till the playing ceased. Then Sister Agnes took
me by the hand and we went towards the west gallery. Father Spiridion
saw us, and paused on the top of the stairs.

"This is the child, holy father, of whom I have spoken to you once or
twice; the child, Janet Hope."

The father's shrewd blue eyes took me in from head to foot at a glance.
He was a tall, thin and slightly cadaverous-looking man, with high
aquiline features; and with an indefinable something about him that made
me recognise him on the spot as a gentleman. He wore a coarse brown robe
that reached nearly to his feet, the cowl of which was drawn over his
head. When Sister Agnes had spoken he laid his hand gently on my head,
and said something I could not understand. Then placing his hand under
my chin, he said, "Look me straight in the face, child."

I lifted my eyes and looked him fairly in the face, till his blue eyes
lighted up with a smile. Then patting me on the cheek, he said,
addressing Sister Agnes, "Nothing shifty there, at any rate. It is a
face full of candour, and of that innocent fearlessness which childhood
should always have, but too often loses in an evil world. I dare be
bound now, little Janet, that thou art fond of sweetmeats?"

"Oh, yes, sir, if you please."

"By some strange accident I find here in my _soutane_ a tiny box of
bonbons. They might have been put there expressly for a little sweet
tooth of a Janet. Nothing could be more opportune. Take them, my child,
with Father Spiridion's blessing; and sometimes remember his name in thy

I did not see Father Spiridion again before I was sent away to school,
but in after years our threads of life crossed and re-crossed each other
strangely, in a way that neither he nor I even dreamed of at that first

My life at Deepley Walls lengthened out from day to day, and in many
ways I was exceedingly happy. My chief happiness lay in the love of dear
Sister Agnes, with whom I spent at least one or two hours every day.
Then I was very fond of Major Strickland, who, I felt sure, liked me in
return--liked me for myself, and liked me still more, perhaps, for the
strange resemblance which he said I bore to some dear one whom he had
lost many years before. Of George Strickland, too, I was very fond, but
with a shy and diffident sort of liking. I held him as so superior to me
in every way that I could only worship him from a distance. The Major
fetched me over to Rose Cottage several times. Such events were for me
holidays in the true sense of the word. Another source of happiness
arose from the fact that I saw very little of Lady Chillington. The
indifference with which she had at first regarded me seemed to have
deepened into absolute dislike. I was forbidden to enter her apartments,
and I took care not to be seen by her when she was walking or riding
out. I was sorry for her dislike, and yet glad that she dispensed with
my presence. I was far happier in the housekeeper's room, where I was
treated like a little queen. Dance and I soon learned to love each other
very heartily.

Those who have accompanied me thus far may not have forgotten the
account of my first night at Deepley Walls, nor how frightened I was by
the sound of certain mysterious footsteps in the room over mine. The
matter was explained simply enough by Dance next day as a whim of Lady
Chillington, who, for some reason best known to herself, chose that room
out of all the big old house as the scene of her midnight
perambulations. When, therefore, on one or two subsequent occasions, I
was disturbed in a similar way, I was no longer frightened, but only
rendered sleepless and uncomfortable for the time being. I felt at such
times, so profound was the surrounding silence, as if every living
creature in the world, save Lady Chillington and myself, were asleep.

But before long that room over mine acquired for itself in my mind a new
and dread significance. A consciousness gradually grew upon me that
there was about it something quite out of the common way; that its four
walls held within themselves some grim secret, the rites appertaining to
which were gone through when I and the rest of the uninitiated were
supposed to be in bed and asleep. I cannot tell what it was that first
made me suspect the existence of this secret. Certainly not the midnight
walks of Lady Chillington. Perhaps a certain impalpable atmosphere of
mystery, which, striking keenly on the sensitive nerves of a child,
strung by recent events to a higher pitch than usual, broke down the
first fine barrier that separates things common and of the earth earthy,
from those dim intuitions which even the dullest of us feel at times of
things spiritual and unseen. But however that may be, it so fell out
that I, who at school had been one of the soundest of sleepers, had now
become one of the worst. It often happened that I would awake in the
middle of the night, even when there was no Lady Chillington to disturb
me, and would so lie, sleepless, with wide-staring eyes, for hours,
while all sorts of weird pictures would paint themselves idly in the
waste nooks and corners of my brain. One fancy I had, and for many
nights I thought it nothing more than fancy, that I could hear soft and
muffled footsteps passing up and down the staircase just outside my
door; and that at times I could even faintly distinguish them in the
room over mine, where, however, they never stayed for more than a few
minutes at any one time.

In one of my daylight explorations about the old house I ventured up the
flight of stairs that led from the landing outside my door to the upper
rooms. At the top of these stairs I found a door that differed from
every other door I had seen at Deepley Walls. In colour it was a dull
dead black, and it was studded with large square-headed nails. It was
without a handle of any kind, but was pierced by one tiny keyhole. To
what strange chamber did this terrible door give access? and who was the
mysterious visitor who came here night after night with hushed footsteps
and alone? These were two questions that weighed heavily on my mind,
that troubled me persistently when I lay awake in the dark, and even
refused by day to be put entirely on one side.

By-and-by the mystery deepened. In a recess close to the top of the
flight of stairs that led to the black door was an old-fashioned case
clock. When this clock struck the hour, two small mechanical figures
dressed like German burghers of the sixteenth century came out of two
little turrets, bowed gravely to each other, and then retired, like
court functionaries, backwards. It was a source of great pleasure to me
to watch these figures go through their hourly pantomime But after a
time it came into my head to wonder whether they did their duty by night
as well as by day; whether they came out and bowed to each other in the
dark, or waited quietly in their turrets till morning. In pursuance of
this inquiry, I got out of bed one night after Dance had left me, and
relighted my candle. I knew that it was just on the stroke of eleven,
and here was a capital opportunity for studying the customs of my little
burghers by night. I stole up the staircase with my candle, and waited
for the clock to strike. It struck, and out came the little figures as

"Perhaps they only came because they saw my light," I said to myself. I
felt that the question as to their mode of procedure in the dark was
still an unsettled one.

But scarcely had the clock finished striking when I was disturbed by the
shutting of a door downstairs. Fearing that someone was coming, and that
the light might betray me, I blew out my candle and waited to hear more.
But all was silent in the house. I turned to go down, but as I did so, I
saw with astonishment that a thin streak of light shone from under the
black door. I stood like one petrified. Was there anyone inside the
room? Listening intently, I waited for full five minutes without
stirring a limb. Silence the most profound upstairs and down. Stepping
on tiptoe, I went back to my room, shut myself in, and crept gladly into

Next night my curiosity overmastered my fear. As soon as Dance was gone
I crept upstairs in the dark. One peep was enough. As on the previous
night, a thin streak of light shone from under the black door--evidence
that it was lighted up inside. Next night, and for several nights
afterwards, I put the same plan in operation with precisely the same
result. The light was always there.

Having my attention thus concentrated as it were upon this one room, and
lying awake so many hours when I ought to have been asleep, my
suspicions gradually merged into certainty that it was visited every
midnight by someone who came and went so lightly and quietly that only
by intently listening could I distinguish the exact moment of their
passing my door. Who was this visitor that came and went so
mysteriously? To discover this, without being myself discovered, was a
matter that required both tact and courage, but it was one on which I
was almost as much a monomaniac as a child well can be. To have opened
my door when the landing was perfectly dark would have been to see
nothing. To have opened the door with a candle in my hand would have
been to betray myself. I must wait for a moonlight night, which would
light up the landing sufficiently for my purpose. I waited. My
opportunity came. With my doorway in deep shadow, my door just
sufficiently open for me to peer through, and with the staircase lighted
up by rays of the moon, I saw and recognised the mysterious midnight
visitor to the room over mine. I saw and recognised Sister Agnes.



The effect upon me of the discovery that Sister Agnes was the midnight
visitor of the room over mine was at once to stifle that brood of morbid
fancies with which of late both room and visitor had become associated
in my mind. I loved her so thoroughly, she was to me so complete an
embodiment of all that was noble and beautiful in womanhood, that
however unsatisfying to my curiosity such visits might be, I could not
doubt that she must have excellent reasons for making them. One thing
was quite evident, that since she herself had said nothing respecting
the room and her visits to it, it was impossible for me to question her
on the matter. Such being the case, I felt that it would be a poor
return for all her goodness to me to question Dance or any other person
respecting what she herself wished to keep concealed. Besides, it was
doubtful whether Dance would tell me anything, even if I were to ask
her. She had warned me a few hours after my arrival at Deepley Walls
that there were many things under that roof respecting which I must seek
no explanation; and with no one of the other domestics was I in any way

Still my curiosity remained unsatisfied; still over the room itself hung
a veil of mystery which I would fain have lifted. All my visits to the
room to see whether the light shone under the door had hitherto been
made previously to the midnight visits of Sister Agnes. The question
that now arose in my mind was whether the mysterious thread of light was
or was not visible after Sister Agnes's customary visit--whether, in
fact, it shone there all the night through. In order to solve this
doubt, I lay awake the night following that of my discovery of Sister
Agnes. Listening intently, with my bed-room door ajar, I heard her go
upstairs, and ten minutes later I could just distinguish her smothered
footfall as she came down. I heard the door at the bottom of the
corridor shut behind her, and then I knew that I was safe.

Slipping out of bed, I stole, barefooted as I was, out of my bed-room
and up the flight of stairs which led to the black door. Of ghosts in
the ordinary meaning of that word--in the meaning which it has for five
children out of six--I had no fear; my fears, such as they were, ran in
quite another groove. I went upstairs slowly, with shut eyes, counting
each stair as I put my feet on it from one up to ten. I knew that from
the tenth stair the streak of light, if there, would be visible. On the
tenth stair I opened my eyes. There was the thread of light shining
clear and steady under the black door. For a minute I stood looking at
it. In the intense silence the beating of my heart was painfully
audible. Grasping the banister with one hand, I went downstairs
backwards, step by step, and so regained the sanctuary of my own room.

I scarcely know in what terms to describe, or how to make sufficiently
clear, the strange sort of fascination there was for me in those nightly
rambles--in living perpetually on the edge of a mystery. While daylight
lasted the feeling slumbered within me; I could even take myself to task
for wanting to pry into a secret that evidently in nowise concerned me.
But as soon as twilight set in, and night's shadows began to creep
timidly out of their corners, so surely could I feel the spell working
within me, the desire creeping over me to pluck out the heart of the
mystery that lay hidden behind the black nail-studded door upstairs.
Sometimes I climbed the staircase at one hour, sometimes at another; but
there was no real sleep for me, nothing but fitful uneasy dozes, till
the brief journey had been made. After climbing to the tenth stair, and
satisfying myself that the light was there, I would creep back
noiselessly to bed, and fall at once into a deep dreamless sleep that
was often prolonged till late in the forenoon.

At length there came a night when the secret was laid bare, and the
spell broken for ever. I had been in bed for two hours and a half, lying
in that half-dreamy state in which facts and fancies are so inextricably
jumbled together that it is too much labour to disintegrate the two,
when the clock struck one. Next moment I was out of bed, standing with
the handle of the half-opened door in my hand, listening to the silence.
I had heard Sister Agnes come down some time ago, and I felt secure from
interruption. To-night the moon shone brightly in through a narrow
window in the gable, and all the way upstairs there was a track of white
light as though a company of ghosts had lately passed that way. As I
went upstairs I counted them up to the tenth, and then I stood still.
Yes, the thread of light was there as it always was, only--only somehow
it seemed broader to-night than I had ever noticed it as being before.
It _was_ broader. I could not be mistaken. While I was still pondering
over this problem, and wondering what it might mean, my eye was taken by
the dull gleam of some small white object about half way up the door. My
eyes were taken by it, and would not leave it till I had ascertained
what it really was. I approached it step by step, slowly, and then I saw
that it was in reality that which I had imagined it to be. It was a
small silver key--Sister Agnes's key--which she had forgotten to take
away with her on leaving the room. Moreover the door was unlocked,
having been simply pulled to by Sister Agnes on leaving, which explained
why the streak of light showed larger than common.

I felt as though I were walking in a dream, so unreal did the whole
business seem to me by this time. I was in a moonlight glamour; the
influence of the silver orb was upon me. Of self-volition I seemed to
have little or none left. I was given over to unseen powers, viewless,
that dwell in space, of which we have ordinarily no human cognition. At
such moments as these, and I have gone through many of them, I am no
longer the Janet Hope of everyday life. I am lifted up and beyond my
ordinary self. I obey a law whose beginning and whose ending I am alike
ignorant of: but I feel that it is a law and not an impulse. I am led
blindly forward, but I go unresistingly, feeling that there is no power
left in me save that of obeying.

Did I push open the door of the secret room, or was it opened for me by
unseen hands? I know not. I only know that it closed noiselessly behind
me of its own accord and left me standing there wondering, alone, with
white face and staring eyes.

The chamber was a large one, or seemed so to me. It was draped entirely
in black, hiding whatever windows there might be. The polished wood
floor was bare. The ceiling was painted with a number of sprawling
Cupids, some of them scattering flowers, others weaving leafy chaplets,
presumably to crown the inane-looking goddess reclining in their midst
on a bank of impossible cloud. But both Cupids and goddess were dingy
with age, and seemed to have grown too old for such Arcadian revels.

The room was lighted with a dozen large wax candles placed in four
silver tripods, each of them about six feet in height, and screwed to
the floor to prevent their being overturned. All these preparations were
not without an object. That object was visible in the middle of the
room. It was a large black coffin studded with silver nails, placed on a
black slab about four feet in height, and more than half covered with a
large pall.

I felt no fear at sight of this grim object. I was lifted too far above
my ordinary self to be afraid. I simply wondered--wondered who lay
asleep inside the coffin, and how long he or she had been there.

The only article of furniture in the room was a _prie-dieu_ of black
oak. I knelt on this, and gazed on the coffin, and wondered. My
curiosity urged me to go up to it, and turn down the pall, and ascertain
whether the name of the occupant was engraved on the lid. But stronger
than my curiosity was a certain repugnance to go near it which I could
not overcome. That some person was shut up there who during life had
been of importance in the world, I could not doubt. This, too, was the
room in which Lady Chillington took her midnight perambulations, and
that coffin was the object she came to contemplate. Perhaps the occupant
of the coffin came out, and walked with my lady, and held ghostly
converse with her on such occasions. I fancied that even now I could
hear him breathing heavily, and turning over uneasily in his narrow bed.
There seemed a rustling, too, among the folds of the sombre curtains as
though someone were in hiding there; and that low faint sobbing sigh
which quivered through the room, like an accent of unutterable sorrow,
whence did it come? Others than myself were surely there, though I might
not be able to see them.

I knelt on the _prie-dieu_, stirring neither hand nor foot; as
immovable, in fact, except for my breathing, as a figure cut out of
stone. Looking and wondering still, after a time it seemed to me that
the lights were growing dimmer, that the room was growing colder; that
some baleful presence was beside me with malicious intent to gradually
numb and chill the life out of me, to freeze me, body and soul, till the
two could no longer hold together; and that when morning came, if ever
it did come to that accursed room, my husk would be there indeed, but
Janet Hope herself would be gone for ever. A viewless horror stirred my
hair, and caused my flesh to creep. The baneful influence that was upon
me was deepening in intensity; every minute that passed seemed to render
me more powerless to break the spell. Suddenly the clock struck two. At
the same moment a light footfall sounded on the stairs outside. It was
Sister Agnes coming back to lock the door, and to fetch the key which
she had left behind two hours before. I heard her approach the door, and
I saw the door itself pulled close to; then the key was turned, the bolt
shot into its place, the key was withdrawn, and I was left locked up
alone in that terrible room.

But the proximity of another human being sufficed to break the spell
under which I had been powerless only a minute before. Better risk
discovery, better risk everything, than be left to pass the night where
I was. Should that horror settle down upon me again, I felt that I must
succumb to it. It would crush the life out of me as infallibly as though
I were in the folds of some huge python. Long before morning I should be

I slid from off the _prie-dieu_, and walking backward, with my eyes
glancing warily to right and left, I reached the door and struck it with
my fists. "Sister Agnes!" I cried, "Sister Agnes! do not leave me. I am
here alone."

Again the curtains rustled, stirred by invisible fingers; again that
faint long-drawn sigh ran like an audible shiver through the room. I
heard eager fingers busy outside the door; a mist swam up before my
eyes, and next moment I fainted dead away in the arms of Sister Agnes.

For three weeks after that time I lay very ill--lay very close to the
edge of the grave. But for the ceaseless attentions and tender
assiduities of Sister Agnes and Dance I should have slipped out of life
and all my troubles. To them I owe it that I am now alive to write these
lines. One bright afternoon, as I was approaching convalescence, Sister
Agnes and I, sitting alone, got into conversation respecting the room
upstairs, and my visit to it.

"But whose coffin is that, Sister Agnes?" I asked. "And why is it left
there unburied?"

"It is the coffin of Sir John Chillington, her ladyship's late
husband," answered Sister Agnes, very gravely. "He died thirteen years
ago. By his will a large portion of the property left to his widow was
contingent on his body being kept unburied and above ground for twenty
years. Lady Chillington elected to have the body kept in that room which
you were so foolish as to visit without permission; and there it will
probably remain till the twenty years shall have expired. All these
facts are well known to the household; indeed, to the country for miles
around; but it was not thought necessary to mention them to a child like
you, whose stay in the house would be of limited duration, and to whom
such knowledge could be of no possible benefit."

"But why do you visit the room every midnight, Sister Agnes?"

"It is the wish of Lady Chillington that, day and night, twelve candles
shall be kept burning round the coffin, and ever since I came to reside
at Deepley Walls it has been part of my duty to renew the candles once
every twenty-four hours. Midnight is the hour appointed for the
performance of that duty."

"Do you not feel afraid to go there alone at such a time?"

"Dear Janet, what is there to be afraid of? The dead have no power to
harm us. We shall be as they are in a very little while. They are but
travellers who have gone before us into a far country, leaving behind
them a few poor relics, and a memory that, if we have loved them, ought
to make us look forward with desire to the time when we shall see them

Three weeks later I left Deepley Walls. Madame Delclos was in London for
a week, and it was arranged that I should return to France with her.
Major Strickland took me up to town and saw me safely into her hands. My
heart was very sad at leaving all my dear new-found friends, but Sister
Agnes had exhorted me to fortitude before I parted from her, and I knew
that neither by her, nor the Major, nor George, nor Dance, should I be
forgotten. I saw Lady Chillington for a moment before leaving. She gave
me two frigid fingers, and said that she hoped I should be a good girl,
and attend assiduously to my lessons, for that in after life I should
have to depend upon my own industry for a living. I felt at the moment
that I would much rather do that than have to depend through life on her
ladyship's bounty.

A few tears would come when the moment arrived for me to say farewell to
the Major. He tried his best, in his hearty, affectionate way, to cheer
me up. I flung my arms round his neck and kissed him tenderly. He turned
abruptly, seized his hat, and rushed from the room. Whereupon Madame
Delclos, who had been trying to look _sympathique_, drew herself up,
frowned, and pinched one of my ears viciously. Forty-eight hours later I
was safely shut up in the Pension Clissot.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here my personal narrative ends. From this point the story of which the
preceding pages form a part will be recorded by another pen. It was
deemed advisable by those to whose opinion in such matters I bow without
hesitation, that this narrative of certain events in the life of a
child--a necessary introduction to the narrative yet to come--should be
written by the person whom it most concerned. Now that her task is done,
she abnegates at once (and thankfully) the first person singular in
favour of the third, and whatever is told of her in the following pages,
is told, not by herself, but by that other pen, of which mention is made

Between the time when this curtain falls and the next one draws up,
there is a lapse of seven years.



Among other passengers, on a certain fine spring morning, by the 10 a.m.
Scotch express, was one who had been so far able to propitiate the guard
as to secure a whole compartment to himself. He was enjoying himself in
a quiet way--smoking, and skimming his papers, and taking a bird's-eye
view now and again at the landscape that was flying past him at the rate
of forty miles an hour. Few people who cared to speculate as to his
profession would have hesitated to set him down as a military man, even
had not the words, "Captain Ducie," painted in white letters on a black
portmanteau which protruded half-way from under his seat, rendered any
such speculation needless. He must have been three or four-and-forty
years old, judging from the lines about his mouth and eyes, but in some
other respects he looked considerably younger. He wore neither beard nor
whiskers, but his short hair, and his thick, drooping moustache were
both jet black, and betrayed as yet, thanks either to Nature or Art,
none of those straggling streaks of silver which tell so plainly of the
advance of years. He had a clear olive complexion, a large aquiline nose
and deep-set eyes, piercing and full of fire, under a grand sweep of
eyebrow. In person he was tall and thin; broad-chested, but lean in the
flank, with hands and feet that looked almost effeminate, so small were
they in comparison with his size. A black frock-coat, tightly buttoned,
set off to advantage a figure of which he might still be reasonably
proud. The remainder of his costume was in quiet keeping with the first
fashion of the period.

Captain Ducie smoked and read and stared out of the window much as
eleven out of twelve of us would do under similar circumstances, while
milepost after milepost flashed out for an instant and was gone. After a
time he took a letter out of his breast-pocket, opened it, and read it.
It was brief, and ran as under:--

                                     "Stapleton, Scotland, March 31st.

     "MY DEAR NED,--Since you wish it, come down here for a few weeks;
     whether to recruit your health or your finances matters not.
     Mountain air and plain living are good for both. However, I warn
     you beforehand that you will find us very dull. Lady B.'s health is
     hardly what it ought to be, and we are seeing no company just now.
     If you like to take us as we are, I say again--come.

     "As for the last paragraph of your letter, I scarcely know in what
     terms to answer it. You have already bled me so often the same way,
     that I have grown heartily sick of the process. This must be the
     last time of asking, my boy; I wish you clearly to understand that.
     This place has cost me a great deal of money of late, and I cannot
     spring you more than a hundred. For that amount I enclose you a
     cheque. Finis coronat opus. Bear those words in mind, and believe
     me when I say that you have had your last cheque

       "From your affectionate cousin,

"Consummate little prig!" murmured Captain Ducie to himself as he
refolded the letter and put it away. "I can fancy the smirk on his face
as he penned that precious effusion, and how, when he had finished it,
he would trot off to his clothes-prop of a wife and ask her whether she
did not think it at once amusing and severe. That letter shall cost your
lordship fifty guineas, I don't allow people to write to me in that
style with impunity."

He lighted another cigar frowningly. "I wonder if I was ever so really
hard up as I am now?" he continued to himself. "I don't think I ever was
quite. I have been in Queer Street many a time, but I've always found a
friend round the corner, or have pulled myself through by the skin of
the teeth somehow. But this time I see no lift in the cloud. My
insolvency has become chronic; it is attacking the very citadel of life.
I have not a single uncle or aunt to fall back upon. The poor creatures
are all dead and buried, and their money all spent. Well!--Outlaw is an
ugly word, but it is one that I shall have to learn how to spell before
long. I shall have to leave my country for my country's good."

He puffed away fiercely for a little while, and then he resumed.

"It would not be a bad thing for a fellow like me to become a chief
among the Red Skins--if they would have me. With them my lack of pence
would be no bar to success. I can swim and shoot and ride: although I
cannot paint a picture, I daresay that I could paint myself; and I know
several fellows whose scalps I should have much pleasure in taking. As
for the so-called amenities of civilized life, what are they worth to
one who, like me, has no longer the means of enjoying them? After all,
it is a question whether freedom and the prairie would not be preferable
to Pall-Mall and a limited income of, say--twelve hundred a year--the
sort of income that is just enough to make one the slave of society, but
is not sufficient to pay for gilding its fetters. A station, by Jove!
and with it the possibility of getting a drop of cognac."

As soon as the train came to a stand, Captain Ducie vacated his seat and
went in search of the refreshment-room. On coming back five minutes
later, he was considerably disgusted to find that he was no longer to
have his compartment to himself. The seat opposite to that on which he
had been sitting was already occupied by a gentleman who was wrapped up
to the nose in rugs and furs.

"Any objection to smoking?" asked the Captain presently as the train
began to move. He was pricking the end of a fresh cigar as he asked the
question. The words might be civil, but the tone was offensive; it
seemed to convey--"I don't care whether you object or not: I intend to
enjoy my weed all the same."

The stranger, however, seemed in nowise offended. He smirked and
quavered two yellow-gloved fingers out of his furs. "Oh, no, certainly
not," he said. "I, too, am a smoker and shall join you presently."

He spoke with the slightest possible foreign accent, just sufficient to
tell an educated ear that he was not an Englishman. If Captain Ducie's
features were aquiline, those of the stranger might be termed
vulturine--long, lean, narrow, with a thin, high-ridged nose, and a chin
that was pointed with a tuft of thick, black hair. Except for this tuft
he was clean shaven. His black hair, cropped close at back and sides,
was trained into an elaborate curl on the top of the forehead and there
fixed with _cosmétique_. Both hair and chin-tuft were of that
uncompromising blue-black which tells unmistakably of the dye-pot. His
skin was yellow and parchment-like, and stretched tightly over his
forehead and high cheek-bones, but puckering into a perfect net-work of
lines about a mouth whose predominant expression was one of mingled
cynicism and suspicion. There was suspicion, too, in his small black
eyes, as well as a sort of lurking fierceness which not even his most
urbane and elaborate smile could altogether eliminate. In person he was
very thin and somewhat under the middle height, and had all the air of a
confirmed valetudinarian. He was dressed as no English gentleman would
care to be seen dressed in public. A long brown velvet coat trimmed with
fur; lavender-coloured trousers tightly strapped over patent leather
boots; two or three vests of different colours under one made of the
skin of some animal and fastened with gold buttons; a profusion of
jewellery; an embroidered shirt-front and deep turn-down collar: such
were the chief items of his attire. A hat with a very curly brim hung
from the carriage roof, while for present head-gear he wore a sealskin
travelling cap with huge lappets that came below his ears. In this cap,
and wrapped to the chin in his bear-skin rug, he looked like some
newly-discovered species of animal--a sort of cross between a vulture
and a monkey, were such a thing possible, combining the deep-seated
fierceness of the one with the fantastic cunning, and the impossibility
of doing the most serious things without a grimace, of the other.

No sooner had Captain Ducie lighted his cigar than with an impatient
movement he put down the window close to which he was sitting. It had
been carefully put up by the stranger while Ducie was in the refreshment
room; but the latter was a man who always studied his own comfort before
that of anyone else, except when self whispered to him that such a
course was opposed to his own interests, which was more than he could
see in the present case.

The stranger gave a little sniggering laugh as the window fell noisily;
then he shivered and drew his furs more closely around him. "It is
strange how fond you English people are of what you call fresh air," he
said. "In Italy fresh air may be a luxury, but it cannot be had in your
hang-dog climate without one takes a catarrh at the same time."

Captain Ducie surveyed him coolly from head to foot for a moment or two.
Then a sudden thought seemed to strike him. "I must really ask you to
pardon my rudeness," he said, lifting his Glengarry. "If the open window
is the least annoyance to you, by all means let it be shut. To me it is
a matter of perfect indifference." As he spoke he pulled the window up,
and then he turned on the stranger with a look that seemed to imply:
"Although I seemed so truculent a few minutes ago, you see what a
good-natured fellow I am at heart." In most of Captain Ducie's actions
there was some ulterior motive at work, however trivial many of his
actions might appear to an outsider, and in the present case it was not
likely that he acted out of mere complaisance to a man whom he had never
seen nor heard of ten minutes previously.

"You are too good--really far too good," said the stranger. "Suppose we
compromise the matter?" With that his lean hands, encased in
lemon-coloured gloves, let down the window a couple of inches, and fixed
it there with the strap.

"Now really, you know, do just as you like about it," said the Captain,
with that slow amused smile which became his face so well. "As I said
before, I am altogether indifferent in the matter."

"As it is now, it will suit both of us, I think. And now to join you in
your smoke."

From the net over his head he reached down a small mahogany case. This
he opened, and from it extracted a large meerschaum pipe elaborately
mounted with gold filigree work. Having charged the pipe from an
embroidered pouch filled with choice Turkish tobacco, he struck an
allumette and began to smoke.

"Decidedly an acquaintance worth cultivating," murmured the Captain
under his breath. "But what country does the beggar belong to?" A
question more easily asked than answered: at all events, it was one
which the Captain found himself unable to solve to his own satisfaction.
For a few minutes they smoked in silence.

"Do you travel far, to-day?" asked the stranger at length. "Are you
going across the Border?"

"The end of my journey is Stapleton, Lord Barnstake's place, and not a
great way from Edinburgh. Shall I have the pleasure of your company as
far as I go by rail?"

"Ah, no, sir, not so far as that. Only to--. There I must leave you, and
take the train for Windermere. I live on the banks of your beautiful
lake. Permettez-moi, monsieur," and with a movement that was a
combination of a shrug, a grimace and a bow, the stranger drew a
card-case from one of his pockets, and, extracting a card therefrom,
handed it to Ducie.

The Captain took it with a bow, and, sticking his glass in his eye,

          |                                   |
          |                                   |
          |         M. PAUL PLATZOFF.         |
          |                                   |
          |                                   |
          |_Bon Repos,                        |
          |    Windermere._                   |

The Captain in return handed over his pasteboard credential, and, this
solemn rite being accomplished, conversation was resumed on more easy
and agreeable terms.

"I daresay you are puzzling your brains as to my nationality," said
Platzoff, with a smile. "I am not an Englishman; that you can tell from
my accent. I am not a Frenchman, although I write 'monsieur' before my
name. Still less am I either a German or an Italian. Neither am I a
genuine Russian, although I look to Russia as my native country. In
brief, my father was a Russian, my mother was a Frenchwoman, and I was
born on board a merchantman during a gale of wind in the Baltic."

"Then I should call you a true cosmopolitan--a genuine citizen of the
world," remarked Ducie, who was amused with his new friend's frankness.

"In ideas I strive to be such, but it is difficult at all times to
overcome the prejudices of education and early training," answered
Platzoff. "You, sir, are, I presume, in the army?"

"Formerly I was in the army, but I sold out nearly a dozen years ago,"
answered Ducie, drily. "Does this fellow expect me to imitate his
candour?" thought the Captain. "Would he like to know all about my
grandfather and grandmother, and that I have a cousin who is an earl? If
so, I am afraid he will be disappointed."

"Did you see much service while you were in the army?" asked Platzoff.

"I saw a good deal of hard fighting in the East, although not on any
large scale." Ducie was beginning to get restive. He was not the sort of
man to quietly allow himself to be catechised by a stranger.

"I, too, know something of the East," said Platzoff. "Three of the
happiest years of my life were spent in India. While out there I became
acquainted with several gentlemen of your profession. With Colonel
Leslie I was particularly intimate. I had been stopping with the poor
fellow only a few days before that gallant affair at Ruckapore, in which
he came by his death."

"I remember the affair you speak of," said Ducie. "I was in one of the
other Presidencies at the time it happened."

"There was another officer in poor Leslie's regiment with whom I was
also on very intimate terms. He died of cholera a little later on, and I
attended him in his last moments. I allude to a Captain Charles
Chillington. Did you ever meet with him in your travels?"

Captain Ducie's swarthy cheek deepened its hue. He paused to blow a
speck of cigar ash off his sleeve before he spoke. "I did not know your
Captain Charles Chillington," he said, in slow, deliberate accents.
"Till the present moment I never heard of his existence."

Captain Ducie pulled his Glengarry over his brows, folded his arms, and
shut his eyes. He had evidently made up his mind for a quiet snooze.
Platzoff regarded him with a silent snigger. "Something I have said has
pricked the gallant Captain under his armour," he muttered to himself.
"Is it possible that he and Chillington were acquainted with each other
in India? But what matters it to me if they were?"

When M. Platzoff had smoked his meerschaum to the last whiff, he put it
carefully away, and disposed himself to follow Ducie's example in the
matter of sleep. He rearranged his wraps, folded the arms, shut his
eyes, and pressed his head resolutely against his cushion; but at the
end of five minutes he opened his eyes, and seemed just as wakeful as
before. "These beef-fed Englishmen seem as if they can sleep whenever
and wherever they choose. Enviable faculty! I daresay the heifers on
which they gorge possess it in almost as great perfection."

Hidden away among his furs was a small morocco-covered despatch-box.
This he now proceeded to unlock, and to draw from it a folded paper
which, on being opened, displayed a closely-written array of figures, as
though it were the working out of some formidable problem in arithmetic.
Platzoff smiled, and his smile was very different from his cynical
snigger, as his eyes ran over the long array of figures. "I must try and
get this finished as soon as I am back at Bon Repos," he muttered to
himself. "I am frightened when I think what would happen if I were to
die before its completion. My great secret would die with me, and
perhaps hundreds of years would pass away before it would be brought to
light. What a discovery it would be! To those concerned it would seem as
though they had found the key-note of some lost religion--as though they
had penetrated into some temple dedicated to the gods of eld."

His soliloquy was suddenly interrupted by three piercing shrieks from
the engine, followed by a terrible jolting and swaying of the carriage,
which made it almost impossible for those inside to keep their seats.
Captain Ducie was alive to the danger in a moment. One glance out of the
window was enough. "We are off the line? Hold fast!" he shouted to
Platzoff, drawing up his legs, and setting his teeth, and looking very
fierce and determined. M. Platzoff tried to follow his English friend's
example. His yellow complexion faded to a sickly green. With eyes in
which there was no room now for anything save anguish and terror
unspeakable, he yet snarled at the mouth and showed his teeth like a
wolf brought hopelessly to bay.

The swaying and jolting grew worse. There was a grinding and crunching
under the wheels of the carriage as though a thousand huge coffee-mills
were at work. Suddenly the train parted in the middle, and while the
forepart, with the engine, went ploughing through the ballast till
brought up in safety a few hundred yards further on, the carriage in
which were Ducie and Platzoff, together with the hinder part of the
train, went toppling over a high embankment, and crashing down the side,
and rolling over and over, came to a dead stand at the bottom, one huge
mass of wreck and disaster.

(_To be continued._)


    Yes, I have heard it oft: a few brief years
    True life comprise. The rest is but a dream:
    What though to thee like life it vainly seem.
    Fool, trust it not; 'tis not what it appears.
    We live but once. We die before the shears
    Of Atropos the thread have clipped. True life
    Is when with ardent youth's and passion's strife
    We suffer and we feel. 'Tis when wild tears
    Can flow and hearts can break, or 'neath the gaze
    Of loved eyes beat. 'Tis when on eager wing
    Of Hope we soar, and Past and Future bring
    Within the Present's grasp. Ay, we live then,
    But when that cup is quaffed what doth remain?
    The dregs of days that follow upon days!




So long as the world lasts, no doubt a large portion of its inhabitants
will run after that which the Scotch expressively term "uncanny." The
absence of accurate knowledge and the impossibility of thorough
scientific investigation, of separating the chaff from the wheat, the
true from the counterfeit, becomes at one and the same time the charm
and the counterblast to diligent searchers.

For the most part, these are persons of inferior mental calibre, of
somewhat unrefined instincts; but, on the other hand, I have known
mighty intellects lose themselves in this maze, where no firm clue can
be seized by which to go forward safely, to advance at all, while the
return journey must be made with _certain_ loss. Persistent endeavour
brings weakened faith in God, in place of that certainty spiritualists
talk of when they say their arts are beneficial, proving a hereafter--a
spiritual world.

It is not thus we get on firm footing. We but advance into sloughs of
despond, led by wills of the wisp; and the girl mediums, the so-called
clairvoyantes, invariably lose mental health and physical strength. It
is but a matter of time, and they become hysteria patients or
inhabitants of lunatic asylums. I have known a clever clergyman of the
Church of England determine to find out the truth, if any, on this path.
He made use of his own daughter in the search. The coil of delusion led
him on until it became a choice of death or madness for the tender
instrument with which he felt his way into the unseen world.

There is _something_ along this road, call it odic force, or what you
will. Science has not, perhaps cannot, ever get firm footing here; but
the result of long and careful observation as yet only enables us to
strike a sort of average. Experiments pursued for years with
table-turning, planchettes, mediums, clairvoyantes, come to this. You do
get answers, strange messages, unaccountable communications; but nothing
is ever told, in any séance, which does not lie perdu in the breast of
someone of the company. There is often no willing deception;
peradventure, no fooling at all: but as you cannot draw water from a dry
well, neither can you get a message except the germ of it broods within
some soul with which you have some present contact.

And then, things being so, what advance can we make?

Many people seem to be unaware that to search after necromancers and
soothsayers is forbidden by the English law. Consequently--let us say--a
great number of cultivated ladies and gentlemen do, even in this
intelligent age, resort to the homes of such folk; aye, and consult
them, too, eagerly, at the most critical junctures in their lives.

I know of a London washerwoman by trade who makes vastly more money by
falling into trances than by her legitimate calling, to which she adds
the letting of lodgings.

On one occasion she was commissioned to comment, in her swoon, on the
truth or constancy of a girl's lover; an unopened letter from him being
placed in her hands as she slept. She did comment on him, and truly. She
said he was not true: that he did not love the girl really, that it was
all a sham. Well, the power by which that clairvoyante spoke was the
lurking distrust within the mind of the girl who stood by with an aching
heart, listening to her doom. Also, perhaps, some virtue we know not of
transfused itself subtilely from the paper upon which that perfidious
one had breathed and written. Who can tell? But in any case the thing is
all a snare and a delusion, and after much observation I can honestly
say--I repeat this--that he or she who dabbles in these mysteries loses
faith in God, and is apt to become a prey to the power of Evil.

And then the delusions, collusions, and hopeless entanglement of deceit
mixed up with Spiritualism! How many tales I could tell--an I would!

There was a certain rich old gentleman in a great centre of trade and
finance. The mediums had hope and every prospect he would make a will,
or had made one, in their favour--endowing them and theirs with splendid
and perpetual grants. This credulous searcher had advanced to the stage
when doubt was terrible. He was ardent to convert others, and thereby
strengthen his own fortress. He prevailed upon two clear-headed business
men, brothers, to attend his séances. With reluctance, to do him a
favour, they, after much difficulty, were induced to yield. Their host
only wanted them, he said, to give the matter the unprejudiced attention
they bestowed on--say--pig-iron.

There was no result whatever at the first sitting. The spirits were out
of temper, obstinate, would not work. The disappointment was great, even
to the novices, who had expected some fun at least. However, it was only
an adjournment. The fun came next night.

All present sat round a table in a dark room, touching hands, with
extended finger points. When the gas was turned up it was discovered
that one of the unbelievers actually had a large bangle on his wrist. It
had not been there before. Of course the spirits had slipped it on. He
let this pass then. He had not the discourtesy to explain that a very
pretty girl at his side had gently manoeuvred it into its place. Her
taper fingers were very soft and worked as spirits might.

This had gone off well, and better followed. Again the lights were
lowered to the faintest glimmer. Soft music played. Forms floated
through the air, now here, now there, plucking at a
tambourine--touching a sweet chord on the open piano. At last, in evil
moment, the most angelic, sylph-like form came all too near our friend
who wore the bangle. The temptation was too great for mortal man. He
extended his arms and took firm, substantial, desperate hold of the
nymph, at the same instant shouting wildly to his brother, "Turn up the
gas, Jim."

The vulgar light revealed that the panting figure struggling from his
grasp was that of his pretty neighbour who had slipped the bangle on his
wrist. Strange to say, the giver of this spiritual feast never forgave
those two brothers for their discourtesy.

But there are, as Hamlet says, real mysteries in this dull, prosaic life
of ours. One or two true tales may not come amiss. I am quite ready to
give any member of the Psychical Society chapter and verse and
authorities, and every available data, if desired.

A certain barrister lost his wife a few years since. He was left with
two little children to care for alone. London was no longer what it had
been to him. He wished to make a home in the suburbs for his little boy
and girl, and at last found one to his mind. He bought a villa near the
river, in a pretty, country-like locality. The house was in bad repair,
and he set workmen at it without delay. One day he took his children
down with him while affairs were still in progress. They played about,
while he sat writing in what was to be the library. Presently they ran
to him. "Oh, papa! Mamma is out here!"

"Oh, no, my dears! Mamma is not there," he replied.

"But she is; indeed she is," they persisted. "She is at the end of the
long passage. We saw her; but she would not let us go on. She waved us

To satisfy the children he must go with them. They led him to a long,
dark corridor leading to back premises. "Ah, she is gone!" they cried in
great disappointment. "Quite gone! But she _was_ there, papa. She would
not let us go on. Come, let us look for her."

"No, children; you wait here," he cried, moved by some sudden, cautious
instinct. He went into the dusky passage, and, after a few steps,
discovered that a trap-door leading to a deep cellar had been left open.
Had the children run along here their destruction would have been almost

Again, a tale of the late Bishop Wilberforce. So many tales of him have
been current, but I do not believe that this has ever before gone

In early days he had a close friend, a school chum, a college companion;
but about the time young Wilberforce took orders these two had a bitter
and hopeless falling out. They never got over the disunion, and fell
utterly apart. The chum became an extensive landowner, and was master of
a charming house in the South of England.

Time passed on, and he grew elderly. He thought of making his will.
Being a great man, not only his solicitor but the solicitor's son
arrived on the scene for the event. All three gentlemen were assembled
in the library, a long room, with many windows running down almost to
the ground. Suddenly the young man present saw a gentleman go by the
first of these windows. The elder lawyer raised his head as the figure
went by the second opening. Last of all the master of the house looked

"Why, that is Wilberforce," he exclaimed. "How many years it is since we
fell out, and I dared him ever again to seek me out."

So saying, he ran to the hall-door to welcome his guest, towards whom no
bitter feeling now remained in his mind. Strange to say, the Bishop was
not at the door, nor could he be found within the grounds. At the moment
of his appearance he had fallen from his horse in this neighbourhood and
had been instantly killed.


    It was not in the lovely morning time
      When dew lies bright on silent meadow-ways;
    It was not in the splendid noon's high prime,
      When all the lawns with sunlight are ablaze;
    But in the tender twilight--ere the light
    Of the broad moon made beautiful the night.

    It was not in the freshness of my youth,
      Nor when my manhood laughed in perfect power,
    That first I tasted of immortal truth
      And plucked the buds of the immortal flower.
    But when my life had passed its noon, I found
    The path that leads to the enchanted ground.

    It was not love nor passion that made dear
      That hour now memorable to us two;
    Nothing was said the whole world might not hear,
      Only--our souls touched, and for me and you,
    Trees, flowers and sunshine, and the hearts of men,
    Are better to be understood since then.




It could not be said the Church Leet chimes brought good when they rang
out that night at midnight, as the old year was giving place to the new.
Mrs. Carradyne, in her superstition, thought they brought evil.
Certainly evil set in at the same time, and Captain Monk, with all his
scoffing obstinacy, could not fail to see it. That fine young lad, his
son, fell through the window listening to them; and in the self-same
hour the knowledge reached him that Katherine, his eldest and dearest
child, had flown from his roof in defiant disobedience, to set up a home
of her own.

Hubert was soon well of his bruises; but not of the cold induced by
lying in the snow, clad only in his white nightshirt. In spite of all
Mr. Speck's efforts, rheumatic fever set in, and for some time Hubert
hovered between life and death. He recovered; but would never again be
the strong, hearty lad he had been--though indeed he had never been very
physically strong. The doctor privately hoped that the heart would be
found all right in future, but he would not have answered for it.

The blow that told most on Captain Monk was that inflicted by Katherine.
And surely never was disobedient marriage carried out with the impudent
boldness of hers. Church Leet called it "cheek." Church Leet
(disbelieving the facts when they first oozed out) could talk of nothing
else for weeks. For Katherine had been married in the church hard by,
that same night.

Special licenses were very uncommon things in those days; they cost too
much; but the Reverend Thomas Dancox had procured one. With Katherine's
money: everybody guessed that. She had four hundred a-year of her own,
inherited from her dead mother, and full control over it. So the special
license was secured, and their crafty plans were laid. The stranger who
had presented himself at the Hall that night (by arrangement), asking
for Mr. Dancox, thus affording an excuse for his quitting the
banquet-room, was a young clergyman of Worcester, come over especially
to marry them. When tackled with his deed afterwards, he protested that
he had not been told the marriage was to be clandestine. Tom Dancox went
out to him from the banquet; Katherine, slipping on a bonnet and shawl,
joined them outside; they hastened to the rectory and thence into the
church. And while the unconscious master of Leet Hall was entertaining
his guests with his good cheer and his stories and his hip, hip,
hurrah, his Vicar and Katherine Monk were made one until death should
them part. And death, as it proved, intended to do that speedily.

At first Captain Monk, in his unbounded rage, was for saying that a
marriage celebrated at ten o'clock at night by the light of a solitary
tallow candle, borrowed from the vestry, could not hold good. Re-assured
upon this point, he strove to devise other means to part them. Foiled
again, he laid the case before the Bishop of Worcester, and begged his
lordship to unfrock Thomas Dancox. The Bishop did not do as much as
that; though he sent for Tom Dancox and severely reprimanded him. But
that, as Church Leet remarked, did not break bones. Tom had striven to
make the best of his own cause to the Bishop, and the worst of Captain
Monk's obdurate will; moreover, stolen marriages were not thought much
of in those days.

An uncomfortable state of things was maintained all the year, Hall Leet
and the Parsonage standing at daggers drawn. Never once did Captain Monk
appear at church. If he by cross-luck met his daughter or her husband
abroad, he struck into a good fit of swearing aloud; which perhaps
relieved his mind. The chimes had never played again; they pertained to
the church, and the church was in ill-favour with the Captain. As the
end of the year approached, Church Leet wondered whether he would hold
the annual banquet; but Captain Monk was not likely to forego that. Why
should he? The invitations went out for it; and they contained an
intimation that the chimes would again play.

The banquet took place, a neighbouring parson saying grace at it in the
place of Tom Dancox. While the enjoyment was progressing and Captain
Monk was expressing his marvel for the tenth time as to what could have
become of Speck, who had not made his appearance, a note was brought in
by Rimmer--just as he had brought in one last year. This also was from
Mrs. Carradyne.

     "_Please come out to me for one moment, dear Godfrey. I must say a
     word to you._"

Captain Monk's first impulse on reading this was to send Rimmer back to
say she might go and be hanged. But to call him from the table was so
very extreme a measure, that on second thoughts he decided to go to her.
Mrs. Carradyne was standing just outside the door, looking as white as a

"Well, this is pretty bold of you, Madam Emma," he began angrily. "Are
you out of your senses?"

"Hush, Godfrey! Katherine is dying."

"What?" cried the Captain, the words confusing him.

"Katherine is dying," repeated his sister, her teeth chattering with

In spite of Katherine's rebellion, Godfrey Monk loved her still as the
apple of his eye; and it was only his obstinate temper which had kept
him from reconciliation. His face took a hue of terror, and his voice a
softer tone.

"What have you heard?"

"Her baby's born; something has gone wrong, I suppose, and she is dying.
Sally ran up with the news, sent by Mr. Speck. Katherine is crying out
for you, saying she cannot die without your forgiveness. Oh, Godfrey,
you will go, you will surely go!" pleaded Mrs. Carradyne, breaking down
with a burst of tears. "Poor Katherine!"

Never another word spoke he. He went out at the hall-door there and
then, putting on his hat as he leaped down the steps. It was a wretched
night; not white, clear, and cold as the last New Year's Eve had been,
or mild and genial as the one before it; but damp, raw, misty.

"You think I have remained hard and defiant, father," Katherine
whispered to him, "but I have many a time asked God's forgiveness on my
bended knees; and I longed--oh, how I longed!--to ask yours. What should
we all do with the weight of sin that lies on us when it comes to such
an hour as this, but for Jesus Christ--for God's wonderful mercy!"

And, with one hand in her father's and the other in her husband's, both
their hearts aching to pain, and their eyes wet with bitter tears, poor
Katherine's soul passed away.

After quitting the parsonage, Captain Monk was softly closing the garden
gate behind him--for when in sorrow we don't do things with a rush and a
bang--when a whirring sound overhead caused him to start. Strong,
hardened man though he was, his nerves were unstrung to-night in company
with his heartstrings. It was the church clock preparing to strike
twelve. The little doctor, Speck, who had left the house but a minute
before, was standing at the churchyard fence close by, his arms leaning
on the rails, probably ruminating sadly on what had just occurred.
Captain Monk halted beside him in silence, while the clock struck.

As the last stroke vibrated on the air, telling the knell of the old
year, the dawn of the new, another sound began.

Ring, ring, ring! Ring, ring, ring!

The chimes! The sweet, soothing, melodious chimes, carolling forth the
Bay of Biscay. Very pleasant were they in themselves to the ear.
But--did they fall pleasantly on Captain Monk's? It may be, not. It may
be, a wish came over him that he had never thought of instituting them.
But for doing that, the ills of his recent life had never had place.
George West's death would not have lain at his door, or room been made
by it for Tom Dancox, and Katherine would not be lying as he had now
left her--cold and lifeless.

"Could _nothing_ have been done to save her, Speck?" he whispered to the
doctor, whose arms were still on the churchyard railings, listening to
the chimes in silence--though indeed he had asked the same question
indoors before.

"Nothing; or you may be sure, sir, it would have been," answered Mr.
Speck. "Had all the medical men in Worcestershire been about her, they
could not have saved her any more than I could. These unfortunate cases
happen now and then," sighed he, "showing us how powerless we really

Well, it was grievous news wherewith to startle the parish. And Mrs.
Carradyne, a martyr to belief in ghosts and omens, grew to dread the
chimes with a nervous and nameless dread.


It was but the first of February, yet the weather might have served for
May-day: one of those superb days that come once in a while out of their
season, serving to remind the world that the dark, depressing, dreary
winter will not last for ever; though we may have half feared it means
to, forgetting the reassuring promise of the Divine Ruler of all things,
given after the Flood:

"_While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease._"

The warm and glorious sunbeams lay on Church Leet, as if to woo the bare
hedges into verdant life, the cold fields to smiling plains. Even the
mounds of the graveyard, interspersed amidst the old tombstones, looked
green and cheerful to-day in the golden light.

Turning slowly out of the Vicarage gate came a good-looking clergyman of
seven-or-eight-and-twenty. A slender man of middle height, with a sweet
expression on his pale, thoughtful face, and dark earnest eyes. It was
the new Vicar of Church Leet, the Reverend Robert Grame.

For a goodish many years have gone on since that tragedy of poor
Katherine's death, and this is the second appointed Vicar since that
inauspicious time.

Mr. Grame walked across the churchyard, glancing at the inscriptions on
the tombs. Inside the church porch stood the clerk, old John Cale, keys
in hand. Mr. Grame saw him and quickened his pace.

"Have I kept you waiting, Cale?" he cried in his pleasant, considerate
tones. "I am sorry for that."

"Not at all, your reverence; I came afore the time. This here church is
but a step or two off my home, yonder, and I'm as often out here as I be
indoors," continued John Cale, a fresh-coloured little man with pale
grey eyes and white hair. "I've been clerk here, sir, for
seven-and-thirty years."

"You've seen more than one parson out then, I reckon."

"More than one! Ay, sir, more than--more than six times one, I was going
to say; but that's too much, maybe. Let's see: there was Mr. Cartright,
he had held the living I hardly know how many years when I came, and he
held it for many after that. Mr. West succeeded him--the Reverend George
West; then came Thomas Dancox; then Mr. Atterley: four in all. And now
you've come, sir, to make the fifth."

"Did they all die? or take other livings?"

"Some the one thing, sir, and some the other. Mr. Cartright died, he was
old; and Mr. West, he--he--" John Cale hesitated before he went on--"he
died; Mr. Dancox got appointed to a chaplaincy somewhere over the seas;
he was here but about eighteen months, hardly that; and Mr. Atterley,
who has just left, has had a big church with a big income, they say,
given to him over in Oxfordshire."

"Which makes room for me," smiled Robert Grame.

They were inside the church now; a small and very old-fashioned church,
with high pews, dark and sombre. Over the large pew of the Monks,
standing sideways to the pulpit, sundry slabs were on the wall, their
inscriptions testifying to the virtues and ages of the Monk family dead
and gone. Mr. Grame stood to read them. One slab of white marble, its
black letters fresh and clear, caught especially his eye.

"Katherine, eldest child of Godfrey Monk, gentleman, and wife of the
Reverend Thomas Dancox," he read out aloud. "Was that he who was Vicar

"Ay, 'twas. She married him again her father's wish, and died, poor
thing, just a year after it," replied the clerk. "And only twenty-three,
as you see, sir! The Captain came down and forgave her on her dying bed,
and 'twas he that had the stone put up there. Her baby-girl was taken to
the Hall, and is there still: ten years old she must be now; 'twas but
an hour or two old when the mother died."

"It seems a sad history," observed Mr. Grame as he turned away to enter
the vestry.

John Cale did the honours of its mysteries; showing him the chest for
the surplices; the cupboard let into the wall for the register-book; the
place where candles and such-like stores were kept. Mr. Grame opened a
door at one end of the room and saw a square flagged place, containing
grave-digging tools and the hanging ropes of the bell which called
people to church. Shutting the door again, he crossed to a door on the
opposite side. But that he could not open.

"What does this lead to?" he asked. "It is locked."

"It's always kept locked, that door is, sir; and it's a'most as much as
my post is worth to open it," said the clerk, his voice sinking to a
mysterious whisper. "It leads up to the chimes."

"The chimes!" echoed the new parson in surprise. "Do you mean to say
this little country church can boast of chimes?"

John Cale nodded. "Lovely, pleasant things they be to listen to, sir,
but we've not heard 'em since the midnight when Miss Katherine died.
They play a tune called 'The Bay of Biscay.'"

Selecting a key from the bunch that he carried in his hand, he opened
the door, displaying a narrow staircase, unprotected as a ladder and
nearly perpendicular. At its top was another small door, evidently

"Captain Monk had all this done when he put the chimes up," remarked he.
"I sweep the dust off these stairs, once in three months or so, but
otherwise the door's not opened. And that one," nodding to the door
above, "never."

"But why?" asked the clergyman. "If the chimes are there, and are, as
you say, melodious, why do they not play?"

"Well, sir, I b'lieve there's a bit of superstition at the bottom of
it," returned the clerk, not caring to explain too fully lest he should
have to tell about Mr. West's death, which might not be the thing to
frighten a new Vicar with. "A feeling has somehow got abroad in the
parish (leastways with a many of its folk) that the putting-up of its
bells brought ill-luck, and that whenever the chimes ring out some
dreadful evil falls on the Monk family."

"I never heard of such a thing," exclaimed the Vicar, hardly knowing
whether to laugh or lecture. "The parish cannot be so ignorant as that!
How can the putting-up of chimes bring ill-luck?"

"Well, your reverence, I don't know; the thing's beyond me. They were
heard but three times, ringing in the new year at midnight, three years,
one on top of t'other--and each time some ill fell."

"My good man--and I am sure you are good--you should know better,"
remonstrated Mr. Grame. "Captain Monk cannot, surely, give credence to

"No, sir; but his sister up at the Hall does--Mrs. Carradyne. It's said
the Captain used to ridicule her finely for it; he'd fly into a passion
whenever 'twas alluded to. Captain Monk, as a brave seaman, is too bold
to tolerate anything of the sort. But he has never let the chimes play
since his daughter died. He was coming out from the death-scene at
midnight, when the chimes broke forth the third year, and it's said he
can't abear the sound of 'em since."

"That may well be," assented Mr. Grame.

"And finding, sir, year after year, year after year, as one year gives
place to another, that they are never heard, we have got to call 'em
amid ourselves, the Silent Chimes," spoke the clerk, as they turned to
leave the church. "The Silent Chimes, sir."

Clinking his keys, the clerk walked away to his home, an ivy-covered
cottage not a stone's-throw off; the clergyman lingered in the
churchyard, reading the memorials on the tombstones. He was smiling at
the quaintness of some of them, when the sound of hasty footsteps caused
him to turn. A little girl was climbing over the churchyard-railings (as
being nearer to her than the entrance-gate), and came dashing towards
him across the gravestones.

"Are you grandpapa's new parson?" asked the young lady; a pretty child
of ten, with a dark skin, and dusky-violet eyes staring at him freely
out of a saucy face.

"Yes, I am," said he. "What is your name?"

"What is yours?" boldly questioned she. "They've talked about you at
home, but I forgot it."

"Mine is Robert Grame. Won't you tell me yours?"

"Oh, it's Kate.--Here's that wicked Lucy coming! She's going to groan at
me for jumping here. She says it's not reverent."

A charming young lady of some twenty years was coming up the path. She
wore a scarlet cloak, its hood lined with white silk; a straw hat shaded
her fair face, blushing very much just now; in her dark-grey eyes might
be read vexation, as she addressed Mr. Grame.

"I hope Kate has not been rude? I hope you will excuse her heedlessness
in this place. She is but a little girl."

"It's only the new parson, Lucy," broke in Kate without ceremony. "He
says his name's Robert Grame."

"Oh, Kate, don't! How shall we ever teach you manners?" reprimanded the
young lady in much distress. "She has been greatly indulged, sir,"
turning to the clergyman.

"I can well understand that," he said, with a bright smile. "I presume
that I have the honour of speaking to the daughter of my patron--Captain

"No; Captain Monk is my uncle: I am Lucy Carradyne."

As the young clergyman stood, hat in hand, a feeling came over him that
he had never seen so sweet a face as the one he was looking at. Miss
Lucy Carradyne was saying to herself, "What a nice countenance he has!
What kindly, earnest eyes!"

"This little lady tells me her name is Kate."

"Kate Dancox," said Lucy, as the child danced away. "Her mamma was
Captain Monk's eldest daughter; she died when Kate was born. My uncle is
very fond of Kate; he will hardly have her controlled at all."

"I have been in to see my church! John Cale has been doing its honours
for me," smiled Mr. Grame. "It is a pretty little edifice."

"Yes, and I hope you will like it; I hope you will like the parish,"
frankly returned Lucy.

"I shall be sure to do that, I think. As soon, at least, as I can feel
convinced that it is to be really mine," he added, with a quaint
expression. "When I heard, a week ago, that Captain Monk had presented
me--an entire stranger to him--with the living of Church Leet, I could
not believe it. It is not often that a nameless curate, without
influence, is spontaneously remembered."

"It is not much of a living," said Lucy, meeting the words half
jestingly. "Worth, I believe, but about a hundred and sixty pounds

"But that is a great rise for me--and I have a house to myself large
and beautiful--and am a Vicar and no longer a curate," he returned,
laughingly. "I cannot _imagine_, though, how Captain Monk came to give
it me. Have you any idea how it was, Miss Carradyne?"

Lucy's face flushed. She could not tell this gentleman the truth: that
another clergyman had been fixed upon, one who would have been
especially welcome to the parishioners; that Captain Monk had all but
nominated him to the living. But it chanced to reach the Captain's ears
that this clergyman had expressed his intention of holding the Communion
Service monthly, instead of quarterly as heretofore, so he put the
question to him. Finding it to be true, he withdrew his promise; he
would not have old customs broken in upon by modern innovation, he said;
and forthwith he appointed the Reverend Robert Grame.

"I do not even know how Captain Monk heard of me," continued Mr. Grame,
marking Lucy's hesitation.

"I believe you were recommended to him by one of the clergy attached to
Worcester Cathedral," said Lucy.--"And I think I must wish you
good-morning now."

But there came an interruption. A tall, stately, haughty young woman,
with an angry look upon her dark and handsome face, had entered the
churchyard, and was calling out as she advanced:

"That monkey broken loose again, I suppose, and at her pranks here! What
are you good for, Lucy, if you cannot keep her in better order? You know
I told you to go straight on to Mrs. Speck, and--"

The words died away. Mr. Grame, who had been hidden by a large upright
tombstone, emerged into view. Lucy, with another blush, spoke to cover
the awkwardness.

"This is Miss Monk," she said to him. "Eliza, it is the new clergyman,
Mr. Grame."

Miss Monk recovered her equanimity. A winning smile supplanted the anger
on her face; she held out her hand, grandly gracious. For she liked the
stranger's look: he was beyond doubt a gentleman--and an attractive man.

"Allow me to welcome you to Church Leet, Mr. Grame. My father chances to
be absent to-day; he is gone to Evesham."

"So the clerk told me, or I should have called this morning to pay my
respects to him, and to thank him for his generous and most unexpected
patronage of me. I got here last night," concluded Mr. Grame, standing
uncovered as when he had saluted Lucy. Eliza Monk liked his pleasant
voice, his taking manners: her fancy went out to him there and then.

"But though papa is absent, you will walk up with me now to the Hall to
make acquaintance with my aunt, Mrs. Carradyne," said Eliza, in those
tones that, gracious though they were, sounded in the light of a
command--just as poor Katherine's had always sounded. And Mr. Grame went
with her.

But now--handsome though she was, gracious though she meant to be--there
was something about Eliza Monk that seemed to repulse Robert Grame,
rather than attract him. Lucy had fascinated him; she repelled. Other
people had experienced the same kind of repulsion, but knew not where it

Hubert, the heir, about twenty-five now, came forward to greet the
stranger as they entered the Hall. No repulsion about _him_. Robert
Grame's hand met his with a warm clasp. A young man of gentle manners
and a face of rare beauty--but oh, so suspiciously delicate! Perhaps it
was the extreme slenderness of the frame, the wan look in the refined
features and their bright hectic that drew forth the clergyman's
sympathy. An impression came over him that this young man was not long
for earth.

"Is Mr. Monk strong?" he presently asked of Mrs. Carradyne, when Hubert
had temporarily quitted the room.

"Indeed, no. He had rheumatic fever some years ago," she added, "and has
never been strong since."

"Has he heart disease?" questioned the clergyman. He thought the young
man had just that look.

"We fear his heart is weak," replied Mrs. Carradyne.

"But that may be only your fancy, you know, Aunt Emma," spoke Miss Monk
reproachfully. She and her father were both passionately attached to
Hubert; they resented any doubt cast upon his health.

"Oh, of course," assented Mrs. Carradyne, who never resented anything.

"We shall be good friends, I trust," said Eliza, with a beaming smile,
as her hand lay in Mr. Grame's when he was leaving.

"Indeed I hope so," he answered. "Why not?"


Summer lay upon the land. The landscape stretched out before Leet Hall
was fair to look upon. A fine expanse of wood and dale, of trees in
their luxuriant beauty; of emerald-green plains, of meandering streams,
of patches of growing corn already putting on its yellow hue, and of the
golden sunlight, soon to set and gladden other worlds, that shone from
the deep-blue sky. Birds sang in their leafy shelters, bees were
drowsily humming as they gathered the last of the day's honey, and
butterflies flitted from flower to flower with a good-night kiss.

At one of the windows stood, in her haughty beauty, Eliza Monk. Not,
surely, of the lovely scene before her was she thinking, or her face
might have worn a more pleasing expression. Rather did she seem to gaze,
and with displeasure, at two or three people who were walking in the
distance: Lucy Carradyne side by side with the clergyman, and Miss Kate
Dancox pulling at his coat-tails.

"Shameful flirt!"

The acidity of the tone was so pronounced that Mrs. Carradyne, seated
near and busy at her netting, lifted her head in surprise. "Why, Eliza,
what's the matter? Who is a flirt?"

"Lucy," curtly replied Eliza, pointing with her finger.

"Nonsense," said Mrs. Carradyne, after glancing outwards.

"Why does she persistently lay herself out to attract that man?" was the
passionate rejoinder.

"Be silent, Eliza. How can you conjure up so unjust a charge? Lucy is
not capable of _laying herself out_ to attract anyone. It lies but in
your imagination."

"Day after day, when she is out with Kate, you may see him join
her--allured to her side."

"The 'allurer' is Kate, then. I am surprised at you, Eliza: you might be
talking of a servant-maid. Kate has taken a liking for Mr. Grame, and
she runs after him at all times and seasons."

"She ought to be stopped, then."

"Stopped! Will you undertake to do it? Could her mother be stopped in
anything she pleased to do? And the child has the same rebellious will."

"I say that Robert Grame's attraction is Lucy."

"It may be so," acknowledged Mrs. Carradyne. "But the attraction must
lie in Lucy herself; not in anything she does. Some suspicion of the
sort has, at times, crossed me."

She looked at them again as she spoke. They were sauntering onwards
slowly; Mr. Grame bending towards Lucy, and talking earnestly. Kate,
dancing about, pulling at his arm or his coat, appeared to get but
little attention. Mrs. Carradyne quietly went on with her work.

And that composed manner, combined with her last sentence, brought gall
and wormwood to Eliza Monk.

Throwing a summer scarf upon her shoulders, Eliza passed out at the
French window, crossed the terrace, and set out to confront the
conspirators. But she was not in time. Seeing her coming, or not seeing
her--who knew?--Mr. Grame turned off with a fleet foot towards his home.
So nobody remained for Miss Monk to waste her angry breath upon but
Lucy. The breath was keenly sharp, and Lucy fell to weeping.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I am here, Grame. Don't go in."

The words fell on the clergyman's ears as he closed the Vicarage gate
behind him, and was passing up the path to his door. Turning his head,
he saw Hubert Monk seated on the bench under the May tree, pink and
lovely yet. "How long have you been here?" he asked, sitting down beside

"Ever so long; waiting for you," replied Hubert.

"I was but strolling about."

"I saw you: with Lucy and the child."

They had become fast and firm friends, these two young men; and the
minister was insensibly exercising a wonderful influence over Hubert for
good. Believing--as he did believe--that Hubert's days were numbered,
that any sharp extra exertion might entail fatal consequences, he gently
strove, as opportunity offered, to lead his thoughts to the Better Land.

"What an evening it is!" rapturously exclaimed Hubert.

"Ay: so calm and peaceful."

The rays of the setting sun touched Hubert's face, lighting up its
extreme delicacy; the scent of the closing flowers filled the still air
with its sweetness; the birds were chanting their evening song of
praise. Hubert, his elbow on the arm of the bench, his hand supporting
his chin, looked out with dreamy eyes.

"What book have you there?" asked Mr. Grame, noticing one in his other

"Herbert," answered the young man, showing it. "I filched it from your
table through the open window, Grame."

The clergyman took it. It chanced to open at a passage he was very fond
of. Or perhaps he knew the place, and opened it purposely.

"Do you know these verses, Hubert? They are appropriate enough just now,
while those birds are carolling."

"I can't tell. What verses? Read them."

        "Hark, how the birds do sing,
            And woods do ring!
    All creatures have their joy, and man hath his,
        Yet, if we rightly measure,
            Man's joy and pleasure
    Rather hereafter than in present is.

        Not that we may not here
            Taste of the cheer;
    But as birds drink and straight lift up the head,
        So must he sip and think
            Of better drink
    He may attain to after he is dead."

"Ay," said Hubert, breaking the silence after a time, "it's very true, I
suppose. But this world--oh, it's worth living for. Will anything in the
next, Grame, be more beautiful than _that_?"

He was pointing to the sunset. It was marvellously and unusually
beautiful. Lovely pink and crimson clouds flecked the west; in their
midst shone a golden light of dazzling refulgence, too glorious to look

"One might fancy it the portals of heaven," said the clergyman; "the
golden gate of entrance, leading to the pearly gates within, and to the
glittering walls of precious stones."

"And--why! it seems to take the form of an entrance-gate!" exclaimed
Hubert in excitement. For it really did. "Look at it! Oh, Grame, surely,
surely the very gate of Heaven cannot be more dazzlingly beautiful than

"And if the gate of entrance is so unspeakably beautiful, what will the
City itself be?" murmured Mr. Grame. "The Heavenly City! the New

"It is beginning to fade," said Hubert presently, as they sat watching;
"the brightness is going. What a pity!"

"All that's bright must fade in this world, you know; and fade very
quickly. Hubert! it will not in the next."

       *       *       *       *       *

Church Leet, watching its neighbours' doings sharply, began to whisper
that the new clergyman, Mr. Grame, was likely to cause unpleasantness to
the Monk family, just as some of his predecessors had caused it. For no
man having eyes in his head (still less any woman) could fail to see
that the Captain's imperious daughter had fallen desperately in love
with him. Would there be a second elopement, as in the days of Tom
Dancox? Would Eliza Monk set her father at defiance, as Katherine did?

One of the last to see signs and tokens, though they took place under
her open eyes, was Mrs. Carradyne. But she saw at last. The clergyman
could not walk across a new-mown field, or down a shady lane, or be
hastening along the dusty turnpike road, but by some inexplicable
coincidence he would be met by Miss Monk; and when he came to the Hall
to pass an hour with Hubert, she generally made a third at the
interview. It had pleased her latterly to take to practising on the old
church organ; and if Mr. Grame was not wiled into the church with her
and her attendant, the ancient clerk, who blew the bellows, she was sure
to alight upon him in going or returning.

One fine evening, dinner over, when the last beams of the sun were
slanting into the drawing-room, Eliza Monk was sitting back on a sofa,
reading; Kate romped about the room, and Mrs. Carradyne had just rung
the bell for tea. Lucy had been spending the afternoon with Mrs. Speck,
and Hubert had now gone to fetch her home.

"Good gracious, Kate, can't you be quiet!" exclaimed Miss Monk, as the
child in her gambols sprung upon the sofa, upsetting the book and its
reader's temper. "Go away: you are treading on my flounces. Aunt Emma,
why do you persist in having this tiresome little reptile with us after

"Because your father will not let her be sent to the nursery," said Mrs.

"Did you ever know a child like her?"

"She is but as her mother was; as you were, Eliza--always rebellious.
Kate, sit down to the piano and play one of your pretty tunes."

"I won't," responded Kate. "Play yourself, Aunt Emma."

Dashing through the open glass doors, Kate began tossing a ball on the
broad gravel walk below the terrace. Mrs. Carradyne cautioned her not to
break the windows, and turned to the tea-table.

"Don't make the tea yet, Aunt Emma," interrupted Miss Monk, in a tone
that was quite like a command. "Mr. Grame is coming, and he won't care
for cold tea."

Mrs. Carradyne returned to her seat. She thought the opportunity had
come to say something to her niece which she had been wanting to say.

"You invited Mr. Grame, Eliza?"

"I did," said Eliza, looking defiance.

"My dear," resumed Mrs. Carradyne with some hesitation, "forgive me if I
offer you a word of advice. You have no mother; I pray you to listen to
me in her stead. You must change your line of behaviour to Mr. Grame."

Eliza's dark face turned red and haughty. "I do not understand you, Aunt

"Nay, I think you do understand me, my dear. You have incautiously
allowed yourself to fall into--into an undesirable liking for Mr. Grame.
An _unseemly_ liking, Eliza."


"Yes; because it has not been sought. Cannot you see, Eliza, how he
instinctively recedes from it? how he would repel it were he less the
gentleman than he is? Child, I shrink from saying these things to you,
but it is needful. You have good sense, Eliza, keen discernment, and you
might see for yourself that it is not to you Mr. Grame's love is
given--or ever will be."

For once in her life Eliza Monk allowed herself to betray agitation. She
opened her trembling lips to speak, but closed them again.

"A moment yet, Eliza. Let us suppose, for argument's sake, that Mr.
Grame loved you; that he wished to marry you; you know, my dear, how
utterly useless it would be. Your father would not suffer it."

"Mr. Grame is of gentle descent; my father is attached to him," disputed

"But Mr. Grame has nothing but his living--a hundred and sixty pounds
a-year; _you_ must make a match in accordance with your own position. It
would be Katherine's trouble, Katherine's rebellion over again. But this
was mentioned for argument's sake only; Mr. Grame will never sue for
anything of the kind; and I must beg of you, my dear, to put all idea of
it away, and to change your manner towards him."

"Perhaps you fancy he may wish to sue for Lucy!" cried Eliza, in fierce

"That is a great deal more likely than the other. And the difficulties
in her case would not be so great."

"And pray why, Aunt Emma?"

"Because, my dear, I should not resent it as your father would. I am not
so ambitious for her as he is for you."

"A fine settlement for her--Robert Grame and his hundred--"

"Who is taking my name in vain?" cried out a pleasant voice from the
open window; and Robert Grame entered.

"I was," said Eliza readily; her tone changing like magic to sweet
suavity, her face putting on its best charm--"About to remark that the
Reverend Robert Grame has a hundred faults. Aunt Emma agrees with me."

He laughed lightly, regarding it as pleasantry, and inquired for Hubert.

Eliza stepped out on the terrace when tea was over, talking to Mr.
Grame; they began to pace it slowly together. Kate and her ball sported
on the gravel walk beneath. It was a warm, serene evening, the silver
moon shining, the evening star just appearing in the clear blue sky.

"Lucy being away, you cannot enjoy your usual flirtation with her,"
remarked Miss Monk, in a light tone.

But he did not take it lightly. Rarely had his voice been more serious
than when he answered: "I beg your pardon. I do not flirt--I have never
flirted with Miss Carradyne."

"No! It has looked like it."

Mr. Grame remained silent. "I hope not," he said at last. "I did not
intend--I did not think. However, I must mend my manners," he added more
gaily. "To flirt at all would ill become my sacred calling. And Lucy
Carradyne is superior to any such trifling."

Her pulses were coursing on to fever heat. With her whole heart she
loved Robert Grame: and the secret preference he had unconsciously
betrayed for Lucy had served to turn her later days to bitterness.

"Possibly you mean something more serious," said Eliza, compressing her

"If I mean anything, I should certainly mean it seriously," replied the
young clergyman, his face blushing as he made the avowal. "But I may
not. I have been reflecting much latterly, and I see I may not. If my
income were good it might be a different matter. But it is not; and
marriage for me must be out of the question."

"With a portionless girl, yes. Robert Grame," she went on rapidly with
impassioned earnestness, "when you marry, it must be with someone who
can help you; whose income will compensate for the deficiency of yours.
Look around you well: there may be some young ladies rich in the world's
wealth, even in Church Leet, who will forget your want of fortune for
your own sake."

Did he misunderstand her? It was hardly possible. She had a large
fortune; Lucy none. But he answered as though he comprehended not. It
may be that he deemed it best to set her ill-regulated hopes at rest for

"One can hardly suppose a temptation of that kind would fall in the way
of an obscure individual like myself. If it did, I could but reject it.
I should not marry for money. I shall never marry where I do not love."

They had halted near one of the terrace seats. On it lay a toy of
Kate's, a little wooden "box of bells." Mechanically, her mind far away,
Eliza took it up and began, still mechanically, turning the wire which
set the bells to play with a soft but not unpleasant jingle.

"You love Lucy Carradyne!" she whispered.

"I fear I do," he answered. "Though I have struggled against the

A sudden crash startled them; shivers of glass fell before their feet;
fit accompaniment to the shattered hopes of one who stood there. Kate
Dancox, aiming at Mr. Grame's hat, had sent her ball through the window.
He leaped away to catch the culprit, and Eliza Monk sat down on the
bench, all gladness gone out of her. Her love-dream had turned out to be
a snare and a delusion.

"Who did that?"

Captain Monk, frightened from his after-dinner nap by the crash, came
forth in anger. Kate got a box on the ear, and was sent to bed howling.

"You should send her to school, papa."

"And I will," declared the Captain. "She startled me out of my sleep.
Out of a dream, too. And it is not often I dream. I thought I was
hearing the chimes."

"Chimes which I have not yet been fortunate enough to hear," said Mr.
Grame with a smile. Eliza recalled the sound of the bells she had set in
motion, and thought it must have penetrated to her father in his sleep.

"By George, no! You shall, though, Grame. They shall ring the new year
in when it comes."

"Aunt Emma won't like that," laughingly commented Eliza. She was trying
to be gay and careless before Robert Grame.

"Aunt Emma may _dis_like it!" retorted the Captain. "She has picked up
some ridiculously absurd notion, Grame, that the bells bring ill-luck
when they are heard. Women are so foolishly superstitious."

"That must be a very far-fetched superstition," said the parson.

"One might as well believe in witches," mocked the Captain. "I have
given in to her fancies for some years, not to cross her, and let the
bells be silent: she's a good woman on the whole; but be hanged if I
will any longer. On the last day of this year, Grame, you shall hear the

       *       *       *       *       *

How it came about nobody exactly knew, unless it was through Hubert, but
matters were smoothed for the parson and Lucy.

Mrs. Carradyne knew his worth, and she saw that they were as much in
love with one another as ever could be Hodge and Joan. She liked the
idea of Lucy being settled near her--and the vicarage, large and
handsome, could have its unused rooms opened and furnished. Mr. Grame
honestly avowed that he should have asked for Lucy before, but for his
poverty; he supposed that Lucy was poor also.

"That is so; Lucy has nothing of her own," said Mrs. Carradyne to this.
"But I am not in that condition."

"Of course not. But--pardon me--I thought your property went to your

Mrs. Carradyne laughed. "A small estate of his father's, close by here,
became my son's at his father's death," she said. "My own money is at my
disposal; the half of it will eventually be Lucy's. When she marries, I
shall allow her two hundred a-year: and upon that, and your stipend, you
will have to get along together."

"It will be like riches to me," said the young parson all in a glow.

"Ah! Wait until you realise the outlets for money that a wife entails,"
nodded Mrs. Carradyne in her superior wisdom. "Not but that I'm sure
it's good for young people, setting-up together, to be straitened at the
beginning. It teaches them economy and the value of money."

Altogether it seemed a wonderful prospect to Robert Grame. Miss Lucy
thought it would be Paradise. But a stern wave of opposition set in from
Captain Monk.

Hubert broke the news to him as they were sitting together after dinner.
To begin with, the Captain, as a matter of course, flew into a passion.

"Another of those beggarly parsons! What possessed them, that they
should fix upon _his_ family to play off their machinations upon! Lucy
Carradyne was his niece: she should never be grabbed up by one of them
while he was alive to stop it."

"Wait a minute, father," whispered Hubert. "You like Robert Grame; I
know that: you would rather see him carry off Lucy than Eliza."

"What the dickens do you mean by that?"

Hubert said a few cautious words--hinting that, but for Lucy's being in
the way, poor Katherine's escapade might have been enacted over again.
Captain Monk relieved his mind by some strong language, sailor fashion;
and for once in his life saw he must give in to necessity.

So the wedding was fixed for the month of February, just one year after
they had met: that sweet time of early spring, when spring comes in
genially, when the birds would be singing, and the green buds peeping
and the sunlight dancing.

But the present year was not over yet. Lucy was sewing at her wedding
things. Eliza Monk, smarting at their sight as with an adder's sting,
ran away from it to visit a family who lived near Oddingly, an
insignificant little place, lying, as everybody knows, on the other side
of Worcester, famous only for its dulness and for the strange murders
committed there in 1806--which have since passed into history. But she
returned home for Christmas.

Once more it was old-fashioned Christmas weather; Jack Frost freezing
the snow and sporting his icicles. The hearty tenants, wending their way
to the annual feast in the winter twilight, said how unusually sharp the
air was, enough to bite off their ears and noses.

The Reverend Robert Grame made one at the table for the first time, and
said grace at the Captain's elbow. He had heard about the freedom
obtaining at these dinners; but he knew he was utterly powerless to
suppress it, and he hoped his presence might prove some little
restraint, just as poor George West had hoped in the days gone by: not
that it was as bad now as it used to be. A rumour had gone abroad that
the chimes were to play again, but it died away unconfirmed, for Captain
Monk kept his own counsel.

The first to quit the table was Hubert. Captain Monk looked up angrily.
He was proud of his son, of his tall and graceful form, of his handsome
features, proud even of his bright complexion; ay, and of his estimable
qualities. While inwardly fearing Hubert's signs of fading strength, he
defiantly refused to recognise it or to admit it openly.

"What now?" he said in a loud whisper. "Are _you_ turning renegade?"

The young man bent over his father's shoulder. "I don't feel well;
better let me go quietly, father; I have felt oppressed here all
day"--touching his left side. And he escaped.

There was present at table an elderly gentleman named Peveril. He had
recently come with his wife into the neighbourhood and taken on lease a
small estate, called by the odd name of Peacock's Range, which belonged
to Hubert and lay between Church Dykely and Church Leet. Mr. Peveril put
an inopportune question.

"What is the story, Captain, about some chimes which were put up in the
church here and are never allowed to ring because they caused the death
of the Vicar? I was told of it to-day."

Captain Monk looked at Mr. Peveril, but did not speak.

"One George West, I think. Was he parson here?"

"Yes, he was parson here," said Farmer Winter, finding nobody else
answered Mr. Peveril, next to whom he sat. He was a very old man now,
but hale and hearty still, and a steadfast ally of his landlord. "Given
that parson his way and we should never have had the chimes put up.
Sweet sounding bells they are."

"But how could the chimes kill him?" went on Mr. Peveril. "Did they kill

"George West was a quarrelsome, mischief-making meddler, good for
nothing but to set the parish together by the ears; and I must beg of
you to drop his name when at my table, Peveril. As to the chimes, you
will hear them to-night."

Captain Monk spoke in his sternest tones, and Mr. Peveril bowed. Robert
Grame had listened in surprise. He wondered what it all meant--for
nobody had ever told him of this phase of the past. The table clapped
its unsteady hands and gave a cheer for the chimes, now to be heard

"Yes, gentlemen," said the Captain, not a whit more steady than his
guests. "They shall ring for us to-night, though it brought the parson
out of his grave."

A few minutes before twelve the butler, who had his orders, came into
the dining-room and set the windows open. His master gave him another
order and the man withdrew. Entering the drawing-room, he proceeded to
open those windows also. Mr. Peveril, and one or two more guests, sat
with the family; Hubert lay back in an easy-chair.

"What are you about, Rimmer?" hastily cried out Mrs. Carradyne in
surprise. "Opening the windows!"

"It is by the master's orders, ma'am," replied the butler; "he bade me
open them, that you and the ladies might get a better hearing of the

Mrs. Carradyne, superstitious ever, grew white as death. "_The chimes!_"
she breathed in a dread whisper. "Surely, surely, Rimmer, you must be
mistaken. The chimes cannot be going to ring again!"

"They are to ring the New Year in," said the man. "I have known it this
day or two, but was not allowed to tell, as Madam may guess"--glancing
at his mistress. "John Cale has got his orders, and he'll set 'em going
when the clock has struck twelve."

"Oh, is there no one who will run to stop it?" bewailed Mrs. Carradyne,
wringing her hands in all the terror of a nameless fear. "There may yet
be time. Rimmer! can you go?"

Hubert came out of his chair laughing. Rimmer was round and fat now, and
could not run if he tried. "I'll go, aunt," he said. "Why, walking
slowly, I should get there before Rimmer."

The words, "walking slowly," may have misled Mrs. Carradyne; or, in the
moment's tribulation, perhaps she forgot that Hubert ought not to be the
one to use much exertion; but she made no objection. No one else made
way, and Hubert hastened out, putting on his overcoat as he went towards
the church.

It was the loveliest night; the air was still and clear, the landscape
white and glistening, the moon bright as gold. Hubert, striding along at
a quick walk, had traversed half the short distance, when the church
clock struck out the first note of midnight. And he knew he should not
be in time--unless--

He set off to run: it was such a very little way! Flying along without
heed to self, he reached the churchyard gate. And there he was
forced--forced--to stop to gather up his laboured breath.

Ring, ring, ring! broke forth the chimes melodiously upon Hubert's ear.
"Stop!" he shouted, panting; "stop! stop!"--just as if John Cale could
hear the warning: and he began leaping over all the gravestones in his
path, after the irreverent fashion of Miss Kate Dancox.

"Stop!" he faintly cried in his exhaustion, dashing through the vestry,
as the strains of "The Bay of Biscay" pursued their harmonious course
overhead, sounding louder here than in the open air. "Sto--"

He could not finish the word. Pulling the little door open, he put his
foot on the first step of the narrow ladder of a staircase: and then
fell prone upon it. John Cale and young Mr. Threpp, the churchwarden's
son, who had been the clerk's companion, were descending the stairs,
after the chimes had chimed themselves out, and they had locked them up
again to (perhaps) another year, when they found some impediment below.

"What is it?" exclaimed young Mr. Threpp. The clerk turned on his

It was Hubert, Captain Monk's son and heir. He lay there with a face of
deadly whiteness, a blue shade encircling his lips.



    The earth is clothed with fog and mist,
      The shrivelled ferns are white with rime,
    The trees are fairy-frosted round
    The portion of enchanted ground
    Where, in the woods, we lovers kissed
      Last summer, in the happy time.

    They say that summer comes again;
      In winter who believes it true?
    Can I have faith through days like this--
    Days with no rose, no sun, no kiss,
    Faith in the long gold summer when
      There will be sunshine, flowers and you?

    Keep faith and me alive, I pray;
      Feed me with loving letters, dear;
    Speak of the summer and the sun;
    Lest, when the winter-time be done,
    Your summer shall have fled away
    With me--who had no heart to stay
      The slow, sick turning of the year.



Morlaix awoke to a new day. The sunshine was pouring upon it from a
cloudless sky--a somewhat rare vision in Brittany, where the skies are
more often grey, rain frequently falls, and the land is overshadowed by

[Illustration: GATEWAY, DINAN.]

So far the climate of Brittany resembles very much that of England: and
many other points of comparison exist between Greater Britain and Lesser
Brittany besides its similarity of name. For even its name it derives
from us; from the fact that in the fifth and sixth centuries the Saxons,
as they choose to call them, went over in great numbers and settled
there. No wonder, then, that the Bretons possess many of our
characteristics, even in exaggeration, for they are direct descendants
of the ancient Britons.

They have, for instance, all the gravity of the English temperament, to
which is added a gloom or sombreness of disposition that is born of
repression and poverty and a long struggle with the ways and means of
existence; to which may yet farther be added the influence of climate.
Hope and ambition, the two great levers of the world, with them are not
largely developed; there has been no opportunity for their growth.
Ambitions cannot exist without an aim, nor hope without an object. Just
as in certain dark caves of the world, where daylight never penetrates,
the fish found there have no eyes, because, from long disuse of the
organ, it has gradually lessened and died out; so hope and ambition
amongst the moral faculties must equally disappear without an object in

It is therefore tolerably certain that where, according to
phrenologists, the organ of Hope is situated, there the Breton head will
be found undeveloped.

Now without hope no one can be constitutionally happy, and the Bretons
would be amongst the unhappiest on earth, just as they are amongst the
most slow-moving, if it were not for a counterbalancing quality which
they own in large excess. This virtue is veneration; and it is this
which saves them.

They are the most earnest and devoted, almost superstitiously religious
of people. They observe their Sabbaths, their fasts and feasts with a
severity and punctuality beyond all praise. With few exceptions, their
churches are very inferior to those of Normandy, but each returning
Sunday finds the Breton churches full of an earnest crowd, evidently
assembled for the purpose of worshipping with their whole heart and
soul. The rapt expression of many of the faces makes them for the moment
simply beautiful, and if an artist could only transfer their fervency to
canvas, he would produce a picture worthy of the masters of the Middle
Ages, and read a lesson to the world far greater than that of an
_Angelus_ or a _Magdalene_.

It is a sight worth going very far to see, these earnest worshippers,
with whom the head is never turned and the eye never wanders. The
further you pass into the interior of Brittany--into the remote
districts of the Morbihan, for instance--where the outer world, with its
advancement and civilization, scarcely seems to have penetrated, there
fervency and devotion are still full of the element of superstition;
there you will find that faith becomes almost synonymous with a strict
observance of prayers, penances and the commands of the Church. When the
Angelus rings out in the evening, you will see the labourer, wending his
way homeward, suddenly arrest his steps in the ploughed field, and with
bent head, pass in silent prayer the dying moments of _crépuscule_.

There will scarcely be an exception to the rule, either in men or women.
The reverence has grown with their growth, having first been born with
them of inheritance: the heritage and the growth of centuries. All over
the country you will find Calvaries erected: huge stone crosses and
images of the Crucifixion, many of them crumbling and beautiful with the
lapse of ages, the stone steps at their base worn with the devotion of
pilgrims: crosses that stand out so solemnly and picturesquely in the
gloaming against the background of the grey, cold Breton skies, and give
a religious tone to the whole country.

The Bretons have ever remained a race apart, possessing their own
language, their own habits, manners and customs; not becoming absorbed
with other nations, nor absorbing in themselves any foreign element.
Separated from Normandy by no visible boundary line, divided by no
broad Channel, the Bretons are as different from the Normans as the
Normans are distinct from the English. They have a high standard of
integrity, of right and wrong, there is the distinct feeling of
_Noblesse oblige_ amongst them; their _noblesse_ consisting in the fact
that, being Breton, _il faut agir loyalement_. If they pass you their
word, you may be sure they will not go from it: it is as good as their
bond. They are a hundred years behind the rest of mankind, but there is
a great charm and a great compensation in their simplicity.

Normandy may be called the country of beautiful churches, Brittany of
beautiful towns.

This is eminently true of Morlaix, for, in spite of the removal of many
an ancient landmark, it is still wonderfully interesting. In situation
it is singularly favoured and romantic, placed as it is on the sides of
three deep ravines. Hills rise on all sides, shutting in the houses;
hills fertile and well-wooded; in many places cultivated and laid out in
gardens, where flowers grow and flourish all the year round, and
orchards that in spring-time are one blaze, one wealth of blossoming
fruit trees.

We looked out upon all this that first morning. Not a wealth of
blossoming trees, for the blossoms were over. But before us stretched
the high hills, and surrounding us were all the houses of Morlaix, old
and new. The sun we have said shone upon all, and we needed all this
brightness to make up for the discomforts of the past night. H.C.
declared that his dreams had been of tread-mills, monastic penances, and
the rack; but he had survived the affliction, and this morning was eager
for action.

It was market-day, and the market-place lay just to the right of us. The
stalls were in full force; the butter and poultry women in strong
evidence, and all the other stalls indigenous to the ceremony. There was
already a fair gathering of people, many of them _paysans_, armed with
umbrellas as stout and clumsy as themselves. For the Bretons know and
mistrust their own climate, and are too well aware that the day of a
brilliant morning too often ends in weeping skies. Many wore costumes
which, though quaint, were not by any means beautiful. They were heavy
and ungraceful, like the people themselves: broad-brimmed hats and loose
trunk hose that hung about them like sacks, something after the fashion
of Turkish pantaloons; and the men wore their hair in huge manes,
hanging down their backs, ugly and untidy; habits, costumes and people
all indicative of la Bretagne Bretonnante--la Basse Bretagne.

It was a lively scene, in which we longed to take a part; listen to the
strange language, watch the ways and manners of this distinctive race,
who certainly are too aboriginal to win upon you at first sight.

The hotel was wide awake this morning, full of life and movement. All
who had had to do with us last night gave us a special greeting. They
seemed to look upon us almost as _enfants de la maison_; had taken us
in and done for us under special circumstances, and so had special
claims upon us. Moreover, we were English, and the English are much
considered in Morlaix.

We looked upon last night's adventures as the events of a dream, though
at the time they had been very painful realities. The first object in
the hotel to meet our gaze was André, his face still tied up like a
mummy, still looking the Image of Misery, as if he and repose had known
nothing of each other since we had parted from him. He was, however,
very anxious for our welfare, and hoped we had slept well on our
impromptu couches.

Next, on descending, we caught sight of Madame, taking the air and
contemplating the world at large at the door of her bureau. The moment
we appeared the air became too strong for her, and she rapidly passed
through her bureau to a sanctum sanctorum beyond, into which, of course,
we could not penetrate. We looked upon this as a tacit confession of a
guilty conscience, and agreed magnanimously to make no further allusion
to her lapsed memory. So when we at length met face to face, she, like
André, was full of amiable inquiries for our health and welfare.

We sallied forth, and whatever we thought of Morlaix last night, we
thought no less of it to-day.

It is a strange mixture of ancient and modern, as we were prepared to
find it. On all sides rose the steep hills, within the shelter of which
the town reposes. The situation is exceedingly striking. Stretching
across one end of the town with most imposing effect is the enormous
viaduct, over which the train rolls towards the station. It possesses
also a footway for pedestrians, from which point the whole town lies
mapped at your feet, and you may trace the faraway windings of the
river. The viaduct is nearly two hundred feet high, and nearly four
hundred yards long, and from its position it looks even more gigantic
than it is. It divides the town into two portions, as it were, the outer
portion consisting of the port and harbour: and from this footway far
down you may see the picturesque shipping at repose: a very modest
amount to-day moored to the river side, consisting of a few barges, a
vessel or two laden with coal or wood, and a steamer in which you might
take passage for Hâvre, or perhaps some nearer port on the Brittany

It is a charming picture, especially if the skies overhead are blue and
the sun is shining. Then the town is lying in alternate light and shade;
the pavements are chequered with gabled outlines, long drawn out or
foreshortened according to their position. The canal bordering the old
market-place is lined with a long row of women, alternately beating
linen upon boards and rinsing it in the water. We know that they are
laughing and chattering, though we cannot hear them; for a group of even
sober Breton women could not be together and keep silence. They take
life very seriously and earnestly; with them it is not all froth and
evaporation; but this is their individual view of existence;
collectively there comes the reaction, forming the lights and shadows of
life, just as we have the lights and shadows in nature. That reaction
must come is the inevitable law; and possibly explains why there are so
many apparent contradictions in people.

Morlaix has had an eventful history in the annals of Brittany. It takes
its name from _Mons Relaxus_, the hill that was crowned by the ancient
castle; a castle which existed at the time of the Roman occupation, if
the large number of medals and pieces of Roman money discovered in its
foundations may be taken as indicating its epoch. Many of these remains
may be seen in the small museum of the town. They date from the third

The progress of Morlaix was slow. Very little is recorded of its earlier
history. Though the Romans occupied it, we know not what they did there.
Nearly all traces of Roman architecture have disappeared. The town has
been frequently sacked and pillaged and burnt, sacrilege in which the
English have had many a hand; and even Roman bricks and mortar will
yield in time to destructive agencies.

Even in the eleventh century it was still nothing more than a small
fishing town, a few houses nestling in the ravine, and sheltered by a
huge rampart on the south-west. Upon the _Mons Relaxus_, the hill giving
its name to the town, stood the lordly castle, the two rivers flowing,
one on either side, which further down unite and form one stream. To-day
all traces of the castle have disappeared and the site is planted with
trees, and quiet citizens walk to and fro beneath their shade, where
centuries ago there echoed the clash of arms and the shouts of warriors
going forth conquering and to conquer. For in those days the Romans were
the masters of the world, and seemed born only for victory.

In the twelfth century, Morlaix began a long series of vicissitudes. In
1187 Henry II. of England laid siege to it, and it gave in after a
resistance of nine weeks. It was then in possession of the Dukes of
Brittany, who built the ancient walls of the town, traces of which yet
exist, and are amongst the town's most interesting remains.

The occupation of the English being distasteful to the Bretons, they
continually rebelled against it; though, as far as can be known, the
English were no hard task-masters, forcing them, as the Egyptians did
the Israelites, to make bricks without straw.

In 1372 the English were turned out of their occupation, and the Dukes
of Brittany once more reigned. It was an unhappy change for the
discontented people, as they soon found. John IV., Duke of Brittany, was
guilty of every species of tyranny and cruelty, and many of the
inhabitants were sacrificed.

Time went on and Morlaix had no periods of great repose. Every now and
then the English attacked it, and in the reign of Francis I. they
pillaged and burnt it, destroying antiquities that perhaps to-day would
have been worth many a king's ransom. This was in the year 1532.


In 1548, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, a child of five years only,
disembarked at the wonderfully quaint little town of Roscoff to marry
the Dauphin of France, who afterwards reigned as Francis II. She made a
triumphal entry into Morlaix, was lodged at the Jacobin convent, and
took part in the Te Deum that was celebrated in her honour in Notre Dame
du Mur. This gives an additional interest to Morlaix, for every place
visited by the beautiful and unfortunate Queen of Scots, every record
preserved of her, possesses a romantic charm that time has been unable
to weaken.

As she was returning to the convent after the celebration of the Te
Deum, and they were passing what was called the Gate of the Prison, the
drawbridge gave way and fell into the river. It was fortunately low
water, and no lives were lost. But the Scots Guards, separated from the
young Queen by the accident, took alarm, thought the whole thing had
been planned, and called out: "Treason! Treason!" Upon which the
Chevalier de Rohan, who rode near the Queen, quickly turned his horse
and shouted: "Never was Breton guilty of treason!"

And this exclamation may be considered a key-note to their character.
The Bretons, amongst their virtues, may count that of loyalty. All is
fair in love and war, it is said; but the Bretons would betray neither
friend nor foe under any circumstance whatever.

For two hundred years Morlaix has known peace and repose, as far as the
outer world is concerned. She has given herself up to religious
institutions, and has grown and prospered. So it comes to pass that she
is a strange mixture of new and old, and that side by side with a quaint
and wonderful structure of the Middle Ages, we find a house of the
present day flourishing like a green bay tree--a testimony to
prosperity, and an eyesore to the lover of antiquity. But these wonders
of the Middle Ages must gradually disappear. As time rolls on, and those
past centuries become more and more remote, the old must give place to
the new; ancient buildings must fall away in obedience to the inevitable
laws of time, progress and destruction.

This is especially true of Morlaix. Much that was old-world and lovely
has gone for ever, and day by day something more is disappearing.

We sallied forth, but unaccompanied by Misery, who was hard at work in
the hotel, preparing us rooms wherein, as he expressed it, we should
that night lodge as Christians. Whether, last night, he had put us down
as Mahometans, Fire Worshippers, or heathens of some other denomination,
he did not say.

The town had lost the sense of weirdness and mystery thrown over it by
the darkness. The solemn midnight silence had given place to the
activity of work and daylight; all shops were open, all houses unclosed;
people were hurrying to and fro. Our strange little procession of three
was no more, and André carrying a flaring candle would have been
anything but a picturesque object in the sunshine.

But what was lost of weirdness and mystery was more than made up by the
general effect of the town, by the minute details everywhere visible, by
the sense of life and movement. Usually the little town is quiet and
somewhat sleepy; to-day the inhabitants were roused out of their Breton
lethargy by the presence of so many strangers amongst them, and by the
fact of its being market day.

More than even last night, we were impressed by the wonderful outlines
of the Grand' Rue, where the lattice had been lighted up and the
mysterious vision had received a revelation in gazing upon H.C. To-day
behind the lattice there was comparative darkness, and the vision had
descended to a lower region, and the unromantic occupation of opening a
roll of calico and displaying its advantages to a market woman who was
evidently bent upon driving a bargain. The vision caught sight of H.C.,
and for the moment calico and everything else was forgotten; the market
woman no doubt had her calico at her own price.

The street itself is one of the most wonderful in France. As you stand
at the end and look down towards _Les Halles_, you have a picturesque
group, an assemblage of outlines scarcely to be equalled in the world.
The street is narrow, and the houses, more and more overhanging as they
ascend floor by floor, approach each other very closely towards the
summit. The roofs are, some of them, gabled; others, slanting backwards,
give room for picturesque dormer windows. Wide lattices stretch across
some of the houses from end to end; in others the windows are smaller
and open outwards like ordinary French windows, but always latticed,
always picturesque.

Below, on the ground floor, many of the houses are given up to shops,
but, fortunately, they have not been modernised.

The whole length of the front is unglazed, and you gaze into an interior
full of mysterious gloom, in which you can scarcely see the wares
offered for sale. The rooms go far back. They are black with age: a dark
panelling that you would give much to be able to transport to other
scenes. The ceilings are low, and great beams run across them. The doors
admitting you to these wonderful old-world places match well their
surroundings. They are wide and substantial, with beams that would
effectually guard a prison, and wonderful old locks and keys and pieces
of ironwork that set you wild with longings to turn housebreaker and
carry away these ancient and artistic relics.

You feel that nothing in the lives of the people who live in these
wonderful tenements can be commonplace. However unconscious they may be
of the refining influence, it is there, and it must leave its mark upon

At least, you think so. You know what the effect would be upon yourself.
You know that if you could transport this street bodily to some quiet
nook in England and surround it by velvety lawns and ancient trees that
have grown and spread with the lapse of ages, your existence would
become a long and romantic daydream, and you would be in danger of
living the life of a recluse and never separating yourself from these
influences. Custom would never stale their infinite variety; familiarity
would never breed contempt. Who tires of wandering through a gallery of
the old masters? who can endure the modern in comparison? It is not the
mere antiquity of all these things that charm; it is that they are
beautiful in themselves, and belong to an age when the Spirit of Beauty
was poured out upon the world from full vials held in the hands of
unseen angels, and what men touched and created they perfected.

But the vials have long been exhausted and the angels have fled back to

The houses all bear a strong family resemblance to each other, which
adds to their charm and harmony. Most of them possess two doors, one
giving access to the shop we have just described, the other admitting to
a hall or vestibule, panelled, and often richly sculptured. Above the
_rez-de-chaussée_, two or three stories rise, supported by enormous
beams richly moulded and sculptured, again supported in their turn by
other beams equally massive, whose massiveness is disguised by rich
sculpture and ornamentation: a profusion of boughs, of foliage, so
beautifully wrought that you may trace the veins in the leaves of
niches, pinnacles and statues: corner posts ornamented with figures of
kings, priests, saints, monsters, and bagpipers. The windows seem to
multiply themselves as they ascend, with their small panes crossed and
criss-crossed by leaden lines: the fronts of many are slated with slates
cut into lozenge shapes; and many possess the "slate apron" found in
fifteenth century houses, with the slates curved outwardly to protect
the beam.

By the second door you pass down a long passage into what originally was
probably a small yard, but has now been turned into a living-room or
kitchen covered over at the very top of the house by a skylight. This is
an arrangement now peculiar to Brittany. The staircase occupies one side
of the space, and you may trace the windings to the very summit,
curiously arranged at the angles. These singularly-constructed rooms
have given to the houses the name of _lanternes_. Every room has an
enormous fireplace, in which you might almost roast an ox, built partly
of wood and stone, richly carved and ornamented. But let the eye rest
where it will, it is charmed by rich carvings and mouldings, beams
wonderfully sculptured, statues, ancient niches and grotesques.

In one of these houses is to be found a wonderful staircase of carved
oak and great antiquity, that in itself would make Morlaix worth
visiting. It is in the Flamboyant style, and was probably erected about
the year 1500. For Brittany is behind the age in its carvings as much as
in everything else, and this staircase in any other country might safely
be put down to the year 1450. It is of wonderful beauty, and almost
matchless in the world: a marvel of skill and refinement. It possesses
also a _lavoir_, the only known example in existence, with doors to
close when it is not in use; the whole thing a dream of beautiful


One other house in Morlaix has also a very wonderful staircase; still
more wonderful, perhaps, than that in the Grand' Rue; but it is not in
such good preservation. The house is in the Rue des Nobles, facing the
covered market-place. It is called the house of the Duchesse Anne, and
here in her day and generation she must have lived or lodged.

The house is amongst the most curious and interesting and ancient in
Morlaix, but it is doomed. The whole interior is going to rack and ruin,
and it was at the peril of our lives that we scrambled up the staircase
and over the broken floors, where a false step might have brought us
much too rapidly back to terra firma. Morlaix is not enterprising enough
to restore and save this relic of antiquity.

The staircase, built on the same lines as the wonderful staircase in the
Grand' Rue, is, if possible, more refined and beautiful; but it has been
allowed to fall into decay, and much of it is in a hopelessly worm-eaten
condition. H.C. was in ecstasies, and almost went down on his knees
before the image of an angel that had lost a leg and an arm, part of a
wing, and the whole of its nose; but very lovely were the outlines that

"Like the Venus of Milo in the Louvre," said H.C., "what remains of it
is all the more precious for what is not."

It was not so very long since we had visited the Louvre together, and he
had remained rapt before the famous Venus for a whole hour,
contemplating her from every point of view, and declaring that now he
should never marry: he had seen perfection once, and should never see it
again. This I knew to be nothing but the enthusiasm of the moment. The
very next pretty face and form he encountered, animated with the breath
of life, would banish from his mind all allegiance to the cold though
faultless marble image.

The exterior of the house of the Duchesse Anne was as remarkable as the
interior for its wonderful antiquity, its carvings, its statues and
grotesques, its carved pilasters between the windows, each of different
design and all beautiful, its gabled roofs and its latticed panes that
had long fallen out of the perpendicular. Both this and the next house
were closed; and it was heartbreaking to think that perhaps on our next
visit to Morlaix empty space would here meet our gaze, or, still worse,
a barbarous modern aggression.

Few towns now, comparatively speaking, possess fifteenth century
remains, and those few towns should preserve them as amongst their most
cherished treasures.

Morlaix is still amongst the most favoured towns in this respect. Go
which way you will, and amongst much that is modern, you will see
ancient houses and nooks and corners that delight you and take you back
to the Middle Ages. Now it will be an old house in the market-place that
has escaped destruction; now a whole court up some narrow turning, too
out-of-the-way to have been worthy of demolition; and now it will be a
whole street, like the Grand' Rue, which has been preserved, no doubt
of deliberate intent, as being one of the most typical fifteenth century
streets in the whole of France, an ornament and an attraction to the
town, raising Morlaix out of the commonplace, and causing antiquarians
and many others to visit it.

For if all the houses of the Grand' Rue are not actually fifteenth
century--and they are not--they all look of an age; they all belong to
the same school of architecture, and the harmony of the whole street is
perfect. Looking upwards, the eye is delighted at the outlines of the
gabled roofs that stand out so clearly and sharply against the
background of the sky; and you return to it over and over again during
your sojourn in Morlaix, and each time you gaze longer and think it more
beautiful than before.

These old-world towns and streets are very refreshing to the spirit. We
grow weary of our modern towns, with their endless monotony and their
utter absence of all taste and beauty. Just as when sojourning in a
country devoid of monuments and ruins, the mind at length absolutely
hungers for some grand, ecclesiastical building, some glorious vestige
of early ages; so when we have once grown familiar with mediæval towns
and outlines, it becomes an absolute necessity occasionally to run away
from our prosy nineteenth century habitations, and refresh our spirit,
and absorb into our inmost nature all these refining old-world charms.
It is an influence more easily felt than described; also, it does not
appeal to all natures. We can only understand Shakespeare by the
Shakespeare that is within us--an oft quoted saying but a very true one;
and Pan might pipe for ever to one who has no music in his soul; and the
rainbow might arch itself in vain to one who is colour-blind.

Morlaix also, as we have said, owes much to its situation.

Lying between three ravines, it is most romantically placed. Its people
are sheltered from many of the cruel winds of winter, and even the
sturdy Bretons cannot be quite indifferent to the stern blast that comes
from the East laden with ice and snow.

Not that the people of Morlaix look particularly robust, though we found
them very civil and often very interesting. We must pay for our
privileges, and if a town is built in a hollow, and is sheltered from
the east wind, the chances are that its climate will be enervating.
This, of course, has its drawbacks, and sets the seal of consumption on
many a victim that might have escaped in higher latitudes.

One charming type we found in Morlaix, consisting of a family that ought
to have lived in the middle ages, and been painted by Raphael, or have
served as models for Fra Angelico's angels. Three generations.

We were climbing the Jacob's ladder leading to the station one day, when
we chanced upon an old man who sold antiquities. We were first taken
with his countenance. It had honesty and integrity written upon it. Had
he been a German, living in Ober-Ammergau, he would certainly have been
chosen for the chief character in the play--a play, by the way, that has
always seemed questionable, since the greatest and most momentous Drama
creation ever witnessed appears too sacred a theme to be theatrically
represented, even in a spirit of devotion.

Our antiquarian was growing old. His face was pale, beautiful and
refined, with a very spiritual expression. The eyes were of a pure blue,
in which dwelt almost the innocence of childhood. He was slightly
deformed in the back. There was a pathetic tone in the voice, a resigned
expression in the face, which told of a long life of struggle, and
possibly much hardship and trouble--the latter undoubtedly.

We soon found that he had in him the true artistic temperament. His own
work was beautiful, his carvings were full of poetical feeling. If not a
genius himself, he was one whose offspring should possess the "sacred
fire," which must be born with its possessor, can never after be
kindled. In one or two instances we pointed to something superlatively
good. "Ah, that is my son's work," he said; "it is not mine." And there
was an inflection in the voice which told of pride and affection, and
perhaps was the one bright spot in the old man's pilgrimage, perhaps his
one sorrow and trouble--who could tell? We had not seen the son; we felt
we must do so.

The old man's most treasured possession was a crucifix, to which he
pointed with a reverential devotion.

"I have had it nearly thirty years," he said, "and I never would sell
it. It is so beautiful that it must be by a great master--one of the old
masters. People have come to see it from far and near. Many have tempted
me with a good offer, but I would never part with it. Now I want the
money and I wish to sell it. Will you not buy it?"

It was certainly exquisitely beautiful; carved in ivory deeply browned
with age. We had never seen anything to equal the position of the Figure
upon the Cross; the wonderful beauty of the head; the sorrow and
sacredness of the expression; the perfect anatomy of the body. But in
our strictly Protestant prejudices we hesitated. As an object of
religion of course we could have nothing to do with it; the Roman
Catholic creed, with its outward signs and symbols, was not ours; who
even in our own Church mourned the almost lost beauty and simplicity of
our ancient ritual; that substitution of the ceremonial for the
spiritual, the creature for the Creator, which seems to threaten the
downfall of the Establishment. Would it be right to purchase and possess
this beautiful thing merely as an object of refined and wonderful art? I
looked at H.C. In his face at least there was no hesitation. Such a
prize was not to be lost if it could be obtained within reasonable
limits. It must take a place amongst his old china, his headless Saints
and Madonnas!

[Illustration: OLD HOUSES, MORLAIX.]

The first time we came across the old man--it was quite by accident
that we found him out--we felt that we had discovered a prize in human
nature: one of those rare exceptions that exist still in out-of-the-way
nooks and corners, but are seldom found. It is so difficult to go
through the world and remain unspoiled by it; especially for those who,
having to work for their daily bread by the sweat of their brow, have to
come into daily contact with that harder, coarser element in human
nature, that, for ever over-reaching its neighbour, tries to believe
that the race _is_ to the swift and the battle to the strong.

The son was away from the town on the occasion of our first visit. The
father seemed proud of him in a quiet, gentle sort of way, and
gentleness was evidently the key-note to his character. He said his son
had carried off all the prizes in a Paris School of Art, and one prize
that was especially difficult to obtain. Would we come again and see
him, and see his work?

We went again. At the door-sill a little child greeted us; the most
beautiful little face we had ever seen. Nothing in any picture of an old
master ever equalled it. At the first moment we almost thought it the
face of an angel, as it looked up into our faces with all the confidence
and innocence of infancy. The child might have been eighteen months old,
just at the age when the eyes begin to take that inquiring look upon
everything, as if they had just awakened to the fact that they had
arrived upon a scene where all was new and strange. The eyes of this
child were large and of a celestial blue; fair curls fell over his
shoulders; his cheeks were round like a cherub's, and had the hue of the
damask rose. The strangest part about the face was its refinement, as if
the little fellow, instead of being born of the people, had come of a
long line of noble ancestors.

We went into the workshop, and there found the father of the child at
work, the son of the old man.

We no longer wondered at the child's beauty; it was a counterpart of the
father's, but to the latter was added all the grace and maturity of
manhood. Unlike the old man, the face was round and flushed with the hue
of health. Large dark blue eyes looked out earnestly at you from under
long dark lashes. The head was running over with dark crisp curls. The
face was also singularly refined, had an exceedingly pure and modest
expression. No Apollo, real or imagined, was ever more perfect in form
and feature. To look upon that face was to love its owner.

He was hard at work, carving, his wonderfully-drawn plans about him. It
was certainly the best modern work we had ever seen; and here, we felt,
was a genius. Probably it had been hampered for want of means, as so
many other geniuses have been since the foundation of the world. He
ought to have been known and celebrated; the master of a great and
famous _atelier_ in the chief of gay cities; appreciated by the
world--and perhaps spoilt by flattery. Instead of which, he was working
for his daily bread in a small town, unknown, unappreciated; toiling in
a small, retired workshop, where people seldom penetrated, and a good
deal of his work depended upon chance. Yet, if his face bespoke one
thing more than another, it was happiness and contentment. Ambition
seemed to have no part in his life. That he loved his art was evident
from the tenderness with which he handled his drawings and looked upon
his carvings. It may be that this love was all-sufficient for him, and
that as long as he had health to work, and fancy to create, and daily
bread to eat, he cared for nothing more.

The little rift within the lute? Ah, who is without it? What household
has not its skeleton? Where shall we find perfect happiness--or anything
perfect? In this instance it was soon apparent to us; and again we
marvelled at the inconsistency of human nature; the incongruity of
things; the way men spoil their lives and make crooked things that ought
to be, and might have been, so straight.

We could not help wondering what sort of help-meet this Apollo had
chosen for himself; what angelic mother had given to the world this
little blue-eyed cherub, whose fitting place seemed not earth but

Even as we wondered we were answered. A voice called to the child from
above, and the child turned its lovely head, but moved not. Then the
owner of the voice was heard descending, and the mother appeared. We
were dismayed. Never had we seen a woman more abandoned and neglected.
Everything about her was slovenly. Her hair fell about her face and
shoulders in tangled masses; her clothing was torn and neglected. We had
seen such exhibitions in the dens of London, never in a decent
household. It made us feel inexpressibly sad and sorrowful. Here was a
great mystery; two people terribly ill-matched. We glanced at the
husband, expecting to see a flush mantling his brow. But he quietly went
on with what he was about, as though he saw not, and mother and child
disappeared upstairs.

Here, then, whether he knew it or not, was the little rift within the
lute. An ill-assorted marriage, a life-long mistake. Had he looked and
chosen above him, his help-meet might have assisted him to rise in the
world and to become famous. As it was, he had been caught by a pretty
face--for, with due care and attention and a settled expression, the
face would have been undoubtedly pretty--and had sealed his fate. With
such a wife no man could rise.

We left him to his art and went our way, very sorrowful. It was a lovely
morning, and we started back for the hotel, having arranged to take a
drive at a certain hour along the river banks to the sea.

We found the conveyance ready for us. Monsieur, by special attentions,
was making up for the lapses of that one terrible night.

Above us, as we went, stretched the gigantic viaduct, so singular a
contrast with the ancient houses and remains of this old town; forming a
comparison that certainly makes Morlaix one of the most remarkable towns
in France. Beneath it rose the houses on the rocky slopes, one above
another, so that from the back you may almost enter them from the roof,
as you do some of the Tyrolese châlets. In Morlaix it has given rise to
a proverb: "Du jardin au grenier, comme on dit à Morlaix."

[Illustration: MORLAIX.]

Beneath the viaduct, far down, was the river and the little port, where
vessels of considerable tonnage may anchor, and which has added much to
the prosperity of the town, that trades largely in corn, vegetables,
butter, honey, wax, oil-seeds, and--as we have seen--horses. There is
also a large tobacco manufactory here, which gives employment to an
immense number of hands.

We passed all this and went our way down the right bank of the river.
The scenery is very picturesque; the heights are well wooded, broken and
undulating. Some of the richer inhabitants of Morlaix have built
themselves houses on the heights; charming châteaux where they spend
their summers, and luxuriate in the fresh breezes that blow up from the
sea. Across there on the left bank of the river, rises the convent of
St. François, a large building, where the _religieux_ retire from the
world, yet are not too isolated.

And on this side, on the _Cours Beaumont_, a lovely walk planted with
trees, we come to the Fontaine des Anglais, so called because here, in
1522, six hundred English were surprised asleep by the people of
Morlaix, and slain. They had, however, courted their own doom. Henry
VIII. had picked a quarrel with Francis I. for seizing the ships of
English merchants in French ports. The English king had escorted with
his fleet the Emperor Charles V., of Spain, under command of the Earl of
Surrey, and in returning, it entered the river, surprised Morlaix, burnt
and sacked the town, and murdered many of its inhabitants. They left it
loaded with spoil; and when the inhabitants surprised these six hundred
English they revenged themselves upon them without mercy.

To-day, we had no sooner reached the spot than suddenly the clouds
gathered, the sky was overcast, a squall rose shrieking and whistling
amidst the trees, and there was every appearance of a downpour. We were
not prepared for it, but we rashly continued our way. At last, just
before we reached a small road-side cabaret, down it came, as if the
whole reservoir of cloudland had been let loose.

We hastily stopped at the auberge, already half-drenched, and H.C.
crying out "Any port in a storm," we entered it. It was humble enough,
yet might every benighted traveller in every storm find as good a

The good woman of the house was standing at her poêle, preparing the
mysteries of the mid-day dinner. Her husband, she said, had gone into
Morlaix, with fish to sell--it was one of their chief means of
livelihood. He bought the fish from the fishermen who came up the river,
and sold it again to the hotels. One of his best customers was the Hôtel
d'Europe, and M. Hellard was a brave monsieur, who never beat them down
in their prices, and had always a pleasant word for them. Madame was
very amiable too, for the matter of that.

It was rather a hard life, but what with that and the little profit of
the auberge, they managed to make both ends meet.

She had three children. The eldest was a girl, and had her wits about
her. She had been to Paris with her father, and had seen the Exhibition,
and talked about it like a grown-up person. But her father had taken her
one night to the Théâtre des Variétés in the Champs Elysées, and the
girl had been mad ever since to become a _chanteuse_ and an actress.

The ambitious child--a girl of fourteen--at this moment came down
stairs, and a more forbidding young damsel we had seldom seen. Her
mother had evidently no control over her; she was mistress of the
situation; ordered her mother about, slapped a younger brother, a little
fellow who was playing at a table with some leaden soldiers, and
finally, to our relief, disappeared into an inner room. We saw her no

"It is always like that," sighed the poor mother, who seemed by no means
a woman to be lightly sat upon: "always like that ever since she went
that _malheureux_ voyage to Paris. It has changed her character; made
her dissatisfied with her lot; I fear she will one day leave us and go
back to Paris for good--or rather for evil; for she will have no one to
look after her; and, I am told, it is a sink of iniquity. I was never
there, and know very little about the ways of large towns. Morlaix is
quite enough for me. But she is afraid of her father, that is one

All this time she had been brewing us coffee, and now she brought it to
us in her best china, with some of the spirit of the country which does
duty for cognac and robs so many of the Bretons of their health and
senses. But it was not a time to be fastidious. To counteract the
effects of the elements and drenched clothes, we helped ourselves
liberally to a decoction that we thought excellent, but under other
conditions should have considered poisonous.

The while our hostess, glad of an appreciative audience, poured into our
ears tales and stories of herself, her life and the neighbourhood. How
she had originally belonged to the Morbihan, and when a girl dressed in
the costume of her country, with the short petticoats and the
picturesque kerchief crossed upon the breast. How her father had been a
well-to-do _bazvalan_ and made the Sunday clothes for the whole village.
And how she had met her fate when her bonhomme came that way on a visit
to an old uncle in the village, and in six months they were married, and
she had come to Morlaix. She had never regretted her marriage. She had a
good husband, who worked hard; and if they were poor, they were far from
being in want. She had really only one trouble in the world, and that
was that she could do nothing with her eldest girl. She would obey no
one but her father; and even he was losing control over her.

"Is her father much away?" we asked, thinking that the young damsel
looked as if she were under no very stern discipline.

"Not on long voyages, such as going to Paris or the Morbihan," replied
the woman; "but he is often away for half-a-day or so, selling his fish
in Morlaix and doing commissions for their little auberge. And then,"
she added with a condoning smile, "of course he sometimes met with a
camarade who enticed him to drink a glass too much, though that was a
rare occurrence. Mais que voulez-vous? Human nature was weak; and for
her part she really thought that men were weaker than women. Certainly
they were more self-indulgent."

"It is because they have more temptations," said H.C., pleading the
cause of his own sex. "Women had more to do with home and the

At this moment our hostess's pot-au-feu began to boil over, and she
darted across the room, took it off the fire and returned, laughing.

"Even the pot-au-feu we cannot always manage, it seems," she remarked;
"and so there are faults on all sides. Sometimes on a Sunday her husband
went and spent the day at Roscoff, where he had a cousin living. Did
messieurs know Roscoff--a deadly-lively little place, with a quaint
harbour, where there was a chapel to commemorate the landing of Marie

We said we did not know it, but purposed visiting it on the morrow if
the skies ceased their deluge.

"Why does your husband not turn fisherman," we asked, "instead of buying
his fish from others, and so selling it second-hand at a smaller profit?
You are so close to the sea."

"Dame," replied the woman, "it is not his trade. He was never brought up
to the sea; always hated it. And for the rest," she added, with a
shudder, "Heaven forbid that he should turn fisherman! She had once
dreamed three times running that he was drowned at sea; and she had
feared the water ever since. She had almost made her husband take a vow
that he would never go upon the sea. He generally took part once a year
in the regatta; of course, there could be no danger; but she trembled
the whole time until she saw him returning safe and sound. No, no!
Chacun à son métier."

Here we interrupted the flow of eloquence, though the woman was really
interesting with her straightforward confidences, her rather picturesque
patois, and her numerous gestures.

We went to the door and surveyed the elements. The skies were cowering;
the rain came down like a revengeful cataract; the road was flooded, and
the water was beginning to flood the room. In front the river looked
cold and threatening; it flowed towards the sea with an angry rush; our
vehicle was refreshing itself before the door, and the horse and driver
had taken refuge in the stable. The tops of the surrounding hills were
hidden in mist; everywhere the rain roared. The scene was dreary and
desolate in the extreme.

At this moment the driver appeared. "Was it of any use waiting? He knew
the climate pretty well; the rain would never cease till sundown. Had we
not better make the best of it and get back to Morlaix?"

We thought so, and gave the signal for departure. Our patience was
exhausted--and so was our coffee. Our hostess was distressed. At least
we would borrow an umbrella, and her husband's thick coat, and perhaps
her shawl for our knees. She was too good; genuinely kind hearted; and
in despair when we accepted nothing. We bade her farewell, settled her
modest demands, and set out for Morlaix.

Arrived at the hotel like drowned rats, Madame was all anxiety and
motherly solicitude, begged us to get between blankets and have tisane
administered or some eau sucrée with a spoonful of rum in it. She
bemoaned the uncertainty of the climate, and hoped we were not going to
have bad weather for our visit. And when we declined all her polite
attentions, assuring her that a change of clothing was all we needed,
and all we should do, she declared that she was amazed at our temerity,
but that she had the greatest admiration for the constitution and
courage of the people of Greater Britain.



"May you come in and rest, you ask? Why of course you may. Take this
rocking-chair--but there, some men don't like rockers. Well, if so be
you prefer it, stay as you be, right in the shadder of the vines. It's a
pretty look-out from there, I know, all down the valley over them meadow
lands--and that rushing bit of river.

"You ask me if I know'd one Kitty Larkins, the prettiest gal in the
county, the prettiest gal anywheres, you say. Yes, sir! I know'd her
well. Dead? Yes, sir, Kitty--the bright, gay creature folks knew as
Kitty Larkins died this day twenty years ago.

"Do I know how she died and the story of her life? I do well; I do;
p'raps better nor most. You want to hear about her; maybe you would find
it kind of prosing; but there, the afternoon sun _is_ pretty hot, and
the haymakers out there in the meadows have got a hard time of it.

"What's that! Don't I go and lend a hand in the press of the season?
Well, I don't. Not for twenty year. There's them as calls it folly, but
the smell of the hay brings it all back and turns me sick. You say you
can't believe such a fine woman as me would be subject to fancies; you
think I look too young, do you, to be talkin' this way of twenty years
ago. Wall, there's more than one way of counting age. Some goes by grey
hairs, some by happenings. But this that came so long ago is all as
clear--clear as God's light upon the meadows there.

"But if you will have the whole story, let's begin at the beginnin', and
that brings you to the old school-house where them three, neighbours'
children they was, went to school together. There was Kitty of course,
and Elihu Grant and Joel Barton, them was the three that my story's

"'Lihu was always a big, over-grown lad, with a steadfast, kind heart,
not what folks called brilliant; he warn't going to be extraordinary
when he grow'd up, didn't want to be, so fur as I know; he aimed to be
as good a man's his father, nothing more, nothing less. Good and true
was 'Lihu; all knew that, yet his name was never mentioned without a
'but,' not even by the school marm, though she said he was the best boy
in her school.

"Kitty looked down some on 'Lihu, made him fetch and carry, and always
accustomed herself to the 'but,' as if the good qualities wasn't of much
account since they could not command general admiration. Yes, this had
something to do with what follered; I can see that plain enough. Still,
I know she loved 'Lihu from babyhood deep down in her heart of hearts--

"Anything wrong, sir? you give me a turn moving so sudden like. Let me
see, where was I? Oh, talkin' about them boys. Well, let's get on.

"I've given you some idea of what 'Lihu was like, but seems to me harder
to tell about that Barton boy, that gay, handsome, charming Joel, that
kept the whole country alive with his doings and sayings from the time
he could trot about alone.

"Wall! he _was_ bright was Joel, and 'twas no wonder that his parents
see it so plain and talk Joel day in and day out whenever they got a
soul to listen to 'em. Kitty grew up admiring him; there warn't no 'but'
in speaking of Joel. He done everything first class, from farm work to
his lessons, so no wonder his folks acted proud of him and sent him to
college to prepare for a profession.

"Wall, his success at college added some to his notoriety, and his
doings was talked back and forth more'n ever.

"Then every term kind of altered him. He come back with a finer air,
better language and a knowledge of the ways of society folks, that put
him ahead of anyone else in the valley; while poor 'Lihu was just the
same in speech and manner, and more retiring and modest than ever; and,
though he was faithfuller, truer and stronger hearted than he'd ever
given promise of being, folks never took to him as they did to young

"But I must go on, for young folks grow up and the signs of mischief
come gradual like and was not seen by foolish Kitty, but increasing
every time Joel come home for his vacations. Of course Kitty was to
blame, but the Lord made her what she was.

"Yes, I can speak freely of her now, because, as I said before, this
careless, pretty Kitty died twenty long years ago.

"Not before she married Joel, you ask? Well, of all impatient men!
really I can't get on no quicker than I be doin', and if you're tired of
it, why take your hat and go. Events don't fly as quick as words and I'm
taking you over the course at race-horse speed, skipping where I can, so
as to give you just the gist of the story.

"Wall then, Kitty loved life; not but what it meant work early and late
to keep things as they oughter be on the old homestead. Her folks warn't
as notable as they might ha' been till Kitty took hold; and then I tell
you, sir, she made things spin. 'Twarn't only her pretty face that
brought men like bees about the place; there was many as would ha' asked
for her, if she'd been as homely as a door nail. But she sent 'em all
away with the same story--all but her old sweethearts 'Lihu and Joel,
and they was as much rivals when they grow'd up as they'd been at the
old school-house, when Kitty treated 'Lihu like a yaller dog and showed
favour to young Joel.

"But 'Lihu hung on. He come of a race never known to give up what they
catched on to. Some way he gained ground too, for, with that shiftless
dad at the head of things at the homestead, there was need of a wise
counsellor to back up Kitty in the way she took hold.

"'Lihu was wise, and Kitty got to leaning on his word, and by the time
that I be talkin' of, I s'pose there warn't no one that could have
filled the place in Kitty's life that 'Lihu had made for himself--only
he did not guess at that, and the more she realised it, the backwarder
that silly young creature would have been to confess to it, even to

"Sir, I ain't used to folks that give such sudden turns. Don't you
s'pose you could set down and be comfortable somewheres while I be
talkin', instead of twisting and snerling yourself up in my poor vines?

"You'd rather stand where you be; well, then, I'll get on with my story.

"I was coming to Joel. It's more interesting to strangers, that part
about Joel, for he was, as I said before, everything 'Lihu
lacked--bright and gay, handsome and refined. Ay, and he was a manly
looking feller too, and had took lessons in fighting and worked through
a gymnasium course, while 'Lihu knew no better exercises than sawing
wood and pitching hay and such farm work. 'Lihu was clumsy in moving,
but Joel graceful and light; you'd as soon have thought of the old
church tower taking to dancing as of 'Lihu trying his hand at it; but
Joel, of course, he were the finest dancer anyone had ever see'd in our

"So it naturally come about that when Kitty wanted to have a gay
time--and what young girl does not like fun sometimes?--she took to Joel
and left 'Lihu to his fierce jealousy out in the cold.

"Joel had nothing to do but philander after Kitty, come vacations, and
there he'd be lounging round the garden, reading poetry to her, when
she'd a minute to set down, and telling her about the doings of gay
society folks in cities.

"Kitty liked it all, why shouldn't she? and the more 'Lihu looked like a
funeral the more she turned her back on him and favoured t'other. You
see, sir, I give it you fair. There was faults all round; and if you
want my candid opinion, that Joel was more to blame than Kitty, for,
being a man of the world, he knew better than she what the end of it all
was bound to be; that the day would come when she would have to make her
choice between them and that to one of them that day would mean a broken
heart, a spoiled life.

"Ah, well! It was hayin' time just twenty years ago, and a spell of
weather just like this, perhaps a mite warmer, but much the same.

"Well, it threatened a thunderstorm, and all hands was pressed into the
fields. Even Kitty was there, with her rake, for, to tell the truth,
she was child enough to love a few hours in the sweet-smelling meadows.
Joel, he was there, he'd took off his store clothes, and was handsomer
than ever in his flannels, and, with his deftness and muscle, was worth
any two hired men in the field.

"He and 'Lihu, who had come over to lend a hand, was nigh to one another
that afternoon; and there was things said between 'em, as they worked,
as had to lay by for a settlin'. Kitty made things worse--silly girl
that she was--by coming round in her gay way with her rake, and smiling
at them both, so that it would have beat the Angel Gabriel to know which
of them it were she had a leaning to.

"Truth was, Kitty was back into childhood, out there in the hay--merry
and sweet as a rosebud she looked in her old faded bonnet. I see her
just as plain, this poor child--that did so much mischief without
meaning to hurt anybody. How was she to know that fierce fires of
jealous, passionate hatred were at work, kindled by her to flame that
sunshiny afternoon, as she danced along the meadow with her rake, happy
as the June day seemed long?

"No, sir, you need not be impatient, for the story is about done.

"The last load of hay was pitched as the glowing sun went down. The
thunderstorm had passed to the hills beyond, and on the horizon clouds
lay piled, purple black. The men come in to supper, and then went out
again. Kitty was busy with her dishes in the kitchen till dark; then
there come a flash of lightning, and a growlin' of thunder. The last
dish was put away, and so the girl went sauntering out, down to the bush
of cluster roses by the garden gate, where she could look over into the
barn-yard and call to the men still at work with the hay.

"Something took her farther--'twas as if a hand led her--and she crossed
the yard, and down the lane she went till she got to the meadow gate
that stood open as the men had left it after bringing that last heavy
wain through.

"The moon was up--a moon that drifted serenely through the banks of
clouds, ever upwards to the zenith.

"Sir, did you ever think--and being a stranger, sir, you must excuse the
question--did you ever think of the wicked deeds that moon has looked
upon since the creation of mortal man? Oh, yes, I know it, I know it
well; in God's sunlight, that sin would never have been committed; but
in the moonlight--the calm, still moonlight--passions rise to fever
heat, the blow is struck, and man turns away with the curse of Cain
written on his brow.

"Kitty, standing with her back against the gate, her eyes following the
flitting light across the meadow to the mill-race by the path beyond,
all at once felt her heart leap with nameless horror. Yet all she could
see was shadows, for the figures was out of sight. All she could see was
shadows--shadows cast upon the moonlit meadowland where she had gaily
danced with her rake in hand only a few hours before. Two giant forms
(so the moonbeams made it) swayed back and forth, gripped together like
one, scarcely moving from one spot as they wrestled, as though 'twould
take force to uproot them--force like that of the whirlwind in the
spring, that tore the old oak like a sapling from its foundations laid
centuries ago.

"Kitty, struck dumb like one in nightmare, fled across the meadow
towards the mill-race.

"As she went, the shadows lifted and changed with a cruel uprising that
told her the end was near. If she could have cried out then, and if they
had heard! But as she fled on unheeding, the moon was suddenly obscured.
It was pitch dark, and the muttering thunder broke into a roar that
shook the earth under Kitty's feet. How long was it before the moon
drifted from out that cloud-bank, where lightning played with zig-zag
flames? How long?

"When the moonbeams fell again upon the meadow-lands the shadows were
gone and Kitty stood alone upon the banks of the mill-race, looking at
the rushing dark waters. When she turned homewards she met Joel face to
face. He was pale, but a triumphant light shone in his eyes. He came
forward with open arms--'Kitty, my Kitty!' he cried.

"Kitty stood one moment, with eyes that seemed to pierce to his very
heart, then she turned to the splashing waters and pointed solemnly.

"'Elihu, where is Elihu?' she asked; and in that moment, when Joel hung
his head before her without a word of answer, Kitty fell down like a
dead thing at his feet.

"And I, who knew her so well, I tell you that Kitty died there on that
meadow by the race, just twenty year ago to-day.

"Joel, you ask? What come to Joel? Well, p'raps he felt bad just at
first, for he went away for two, three year, I believe. But he come
back, did Joel, and Kitty never molested him by word or deed. You can
see his house there below the mill; he's married long since and his
house is full of children. But never, since that June night twenty year
ago, has he dared set foot at the old homestead. Folks talked--of course
they talked--but Kitty, the staid, sad woman they called Kitty, heeded
nothing that was said. Joel, he tried to right himself and writ her many
a long letter at the first.

"'It was a fair wrestle,' said he, 'and him as was beaten was to leave
the place and not come back for months or years. Elihu was beat on the
wrestle and he's gone that's all there is to it.'

"Kitty, she never answered them letters; she remembered that uplifted
arm as the vast shadows swayed towards her on the meadow, and Joel, he
give it up."

       *       *       *       *       *

By this time the heavy hay-waggons began to move across the meadows. It
was drawing near supper-time and the speaker rose and briskly set aside
her knitting.

"I believe that's all," she said. "It's a tragic story for a country
place like this. But now set down, won't you, and wait till the men come
up for supper? Mebbe you'll be glad of a cup of tea before you go any

The stranger, well within the shade of the clustering vines, made no

"Say," cried she, from the porch door; "set down and wait for supper,
won't you?"

Surprised at the silence, accustomed as she was to the garrulity of
country neighbours, she stepped out into the piazza. A beautiful woman
she, of forty years, whose fine face seemed now set in an aureole of
sunbeams. The stranger took off his hat and stooped somewhat towards
her; there was something familiar in the gesture, which set the wild
blood throbbing at her heart-strings as though the past twenty years had
been a dream.

"Kitty, my dear love, Kitty."

The farm men came singing up the lane, the heavy waggons grinding slowly
along in the sunshine. All this, the everyday life, was now the dream,
and they, Kitty and Elihu, had met in the meadow lands of the earthly


    How much of precious joy, that leaves no pain,
      Lives in the simple memory of a face
      Once seen, and only for a little space,
    And never after to be seen again:
    A face as fair as, on an altar pane,
      A pictured window in some holy place--
      The glowing lineaments of immortal grace,
    In many a vague ideal sought in vain.
    Such face was yours, and such the joy to me,
      Who saw you once, once only, and by chance,
    And cherished evermore in memory
      The noble beauty of your countenance--
    The poet's natural language in your looks,
    Sweet as the wondrous sweetness of your books.



_An Experience in Hypnotism._

We do not take to new ideas readily in Bishopsthorpe. Our fashions are
always at least one season behind the times; it is only by a late
innovation in Post Office regulations that we are now enabled to get our
London papers on the day of their publication; and a craze, social or
scientific, has almost been forgotten by the fashionable world before it
manages to establish any kind of footing in our midst.

It therefore came upon us with more or less of a shock one morning a
short time ago to find the walls of our sleepy little country town
placarded with naming posters announcing that Professor Dmitri
Sclamowsky intended to visit Bishopsthorpe on the following Friday, for
the purpose of exhibiting in the Town Hall some of his marvellous powers
in Thought Reading, Mesmerism, and Hypnotism.

Stray rumours from time to time, and especially of late, had visited us
of strange experiments in connection with these outlandish sciences, if
sciences they can be called; but we had received these with incredulity,
mingled with compassion for such weak-minded persons as could be easily
duped by the clever conjuring of paid charlatans.

This, at least, was very much the mental attitude of my aunt Phoebe, and
it was only under strong pressure from me and one or two others of her
younger and more enterprising section of Bishopsthorpe society that she
at last reluctantly consented to patronise the Professor's performance
in person.

Even at the last moment she almost failed us.

"I am getting too old a woman, my dear Elizabeth," she said to me as I
was helping her to dress, "to leave my comfortable fireside after dinner
for the sake of seeing second-rate conjuring."

"Indeed, it is good of you," I said, as I disposed a piece of soft old
point lace in graceful folds round the neck of her black velvet dress;
"but virtue will be its own reward, for I am sure you will enjoy it as
much as any of us, and as for being too old, that is all nonsense! Just
look in the glass, and then say if you have a heart to cheat
Bishopsthorpe of a sight of you in all your glory."

"You are a silly girl, Elizabeth!" said my aunt, and yet she did as I
suggested, and, walking up to the long pier-glass, looked at her
reflection with a well pleased smile. "Indeed," she continued, turning
back to me to where I stood by the dressing-table, "I think I am as
silly as you are, to rig myself out like this," and she pointed to the
double row of large single diamonds I had clasped round her neck, and
the stars of the same precious stones which twinkled and flashed in the
lace of her cap.

"Come, Aunt Phoebe," I said, drawing down her hands, which had made a
movement as though she would have taken off the glittering gauds, "you
don't often give the good Bishopsthorpe folk a chance of admiring the
Anstruther heirlooms. They look so lovely! Don't take them off,
_please_. What is the use of having beautiful things if they are always
to be hidden away in a jewellery case? There now," I went on; "I hear
the carriage at the door; here is your fur cloak: you must wrap yourself
up well for it is a cold night," and so saying I muffled her up, and
hustled her downstairs before she could remonstrate, even had she wished
to do so.

The little Town Hall was already crowded when we arrived, but seats had
been reserved for us in one of the front rows of benches. Many eyes were
turned on us as we made our way to our places, for Aunt Phoebe was
looked up to as one of the cornerstones of aristocracy in Bishopsthorpe,
and I fancied that I caught an expression of relief on the faces of some
of those present, who, until the entertainment had been sanctioned by
her presence, had probably felt doubtful as to its complete orthodoxy.
But of course I may have been wrong. Aunt Phoebe is always telling me
I am too imaginative.

It seemed as though the Professor had awaited our arrival to begin the
performance, for we had hardly taken our seats than the curtain, which
had hitherto hidden the stage from our view, rolled up and discovered
the Professor standing with his hand resting upon an easel, on which was
placed a large blackboard.

I think the general feeling in the room was that of disappointment. I
know that I, for one, had hoped to see something more interesting than
the usual paraphernalia of a lecture on astronomy or geology.

Professor Sclamowsky, too, was not at all as impressive a person as his
name had led me to expect. He was short and thick-set. His close-cropped
hair was of the undecided colour which fair hair assumes when it is
beginning to turn grey, and a heavy moustache of the same uninteresting
hue hid his mouth. His jaw was heavy and slightly underhung, and his
neck was thick and coarse.

Altogether his appearance was remarkably unprepossessing and

In a short speech, spoken with a slight foreign accent, which some way
or other struck me as being assumed, he begged to disclaim all intention
of _conjuring_. His performance was solely and entirely a series of
experiments in and illustrative of the wonderful science of Hypnotism; a
science still in its infancy, but destined to take its place among the
most marvellous of modern discoveries.

As he spoke, his heavy, uninteresting face lit up as with a hidden
enthusiasm, and my attention was attracted to his eyes, which I had not
before noticed. They were of a curious bright metallic blue and are the
only eyes I have ever seen, though one reads and hears so perpetually of
them, which really seemed to flash as he warmed to his subject.

As he finished, I looked at Aunt Phoebe, who shrugged her shoulders
and smiled incredulously. It was clear that she was not going to be
imposed upon by his specious phrases.

It would be unnecessary to weary my readers by describing at length how
the usual preliminary of choosing an unbiassed committee was gone
through; nor how, after the doctor, the rector, Mr. Melton (the
principal draper in Bishopsthorpe) and several other of the town
magnates, all men of irreproachable honesty, had been induced to act in
this capacity, the Professor proceeded, with eyes blindfolded and
holding the doctor's hand in his, to find a carefully hidden pin, to
read the number of a bank-note and to write the figures one by one on
the blackboard, and to perform other experiments of the same kind amid
the breathless interest of the audience.

I frankly admit that I was astonished and bewildered by what I saw, and
I had a little uneasy feeling that if it were not all a piece of
gigantic humbug, it was not quite canny--not quite right.

What struck me most, I think, was the unfussy, untheatrical way in which
it was all done. Every one of the Professor's movements was marked by an
air of calm certainty. He threaded his way through the crowded benches
with such an unhesitating step that, only that I had seen the bandage
fastened over his eyes by the rector and afterwards carefully examined
by the doctor, neither of whom could be suspected of complicity, I
should have said he must have had some little peep-hole arranged to
enable him to guide his course so unfalteringly.

There were, of course, thunders of applause from the sixpenny seats when
the Thought Reading part of the entertainment came to an end.

"Well, Aunt Phoebe," I said, turning to her as the Professor bowed his
thanks, "what do you think?"

"Think, my dear?" she repeated. "I think the man is a very fair

"But," I protested, "how could he know where the pin was; and you know
Mr. Danby himself fastened the handkerchief?"

"My dear Elizabeth, I have seen Houdin do far more wonderful things,
when I was a girl; but he had the honesty to call it by its right

I had not time to carry on the discussion, for the Professor now
reappeared and informed us that by far the most interesting part of the
performance was still to come. Thought Reading and Mesmerism, or, as
some people preferred to call it--Hypnotism--were, he believed,
different parts of the same wonderful and but very partially-understood
power. A power so little understood as not even to possess a distinctive
name; a power which he believed to be latent in everybody, but which
was capable of being brought to more or less perfection, according to
the amount of care and attention bestowed upon it. "I," said the
Professor, "have given my life to it." And again I fancied I saw the
curious blue eyes flash with a sudden unexpected fire.

"In the experiments which I am about to show you," he went on, "I am
assisted by my daughter, Anna Sclamowsky," and, drawing back a curtain
at the back of the stage, he led forward a girl who looked to be between
sixteen and eighteen years old.

There was no sort of family resemblance between father and daughter. She
was tall and slight, with a small dark head prettily poised on a long,
slender neck. Her face was pale, and her large dark eyes had a startled,
frightened look as she gazed at the sea of strange faces below her. Her
father placed her in a chair facing us all; and turning once more to the
audience said:

"I shall now, with your kind permission, put my daughter into a mesmeric
or hypnotic trance; and while she is in it, I hope to show you some
particularly interesting experiments. Look at me, Anna--so--"

He placed his fingers for a moment on her eyelids, and then stood aside.
Except that the girl was now perfectly motionless, and that her gaze was
unnaturally fixed, I could see nothing different in her appearance from
what it had been a few moments before.

The Professor now turned to Mr. Danby, who was seated beside me, and
said, "If this gentleman will oblige me by stepping up on the stage, he
can assure himself by any means he may choose to use, that my daughter
is in a perfectly unconscious state at this moment; and if it will give
the audience and himself any more confidence in the sincerity of this
experiment, he is perfectly at liberty to blindfold her. Then if he will
be kind enough to go through the room and touch here and there any
person he may fancy, my daughter, at a word from me, will in the same
order and in the same manner touch each of those already touched. I
myself will, during the whole of the time, stand at the far end of the
hall, so that there can be no sort of communication between us."

So saying, Sclamowsky left the stage, and walking down the room, placed
himself with his back against the wall, and fixed his gaze upon the
motionless form of his daughter.

As I looked back at him, even though separated from him by the length of
the hall, I could see the strange glitter and flash of his eyes. It gave
me an uncomfortable, uneasy feeling; and I turned my face again towards
the stage, where the good-natured rector was following out the
directions he had received.

He lifted Anna Sclamowsky's arm, which, on his relaxing his hold, fell
limp and lifeless by her side; he snapped his fingers suddenly close
before her wide-open eyes without producing even a quiver of a muscle in
her set face. He shouted in her ear; shook her by the shoulders; but
all without succeeding in making her show any sign of consciousness. He
then tied a handkerchief over her eyes; and, leaving the stage, went
about through the room, touching people here and there as he went,
pursuing a most tortuous course, and ended at last by placing his hand
upon Aunt Phoebe's diamond necklace. He then bowed to the Professor to
intimate that we were ready to see the conclusion of the experiment.

Sclamowsky moved forward about a pace, beckoned with his hand, and
called, not loudly but distinctly, "Anna!"

Without a moment's hesitation the girl, still blindfolded, rose, walked
swiftly down the steps which led from the stage to the floor of the
hall, and with startling exactness reproduced Mr. Danby's actions. In
and out through the benches she passed amid a silence of breathless
interest, touching each person in exactly the same spot as Mr. Danby had
done a few minutes previously.

I saw Aunt Phoebe drawing herself up rigidly as Anna Sclamowsky came
towards our bench and, amid deafening applause, laid her finger upon the
Anstruther diamonds. The clapping and noise produced no effect upon the
girl. She stood motionless as though she had been a statue, her hand
still upon the necklace.

Whether Aunt Phoebe was aggravated by the complete success of the
experiment or annoyed at having been obliged to take so prominent a part
in it, I do not know, but she certainly was a good deal out of temper;
for when Sclamowsky made his way to where his daughter was standing, she
said, in tones of icy disapproval, which must have been audible for a
long way down the room--

"A very clever piece of imposture, sir."

The mesmerist's face flushed and his eyes flashed angrily. He, however,
bowed low.

"There's nothing so hard," he said, "to overcome, madam, as prejudice. I
fear you have been inconvenienced by my daughter's hand. I will now
release her--and you."

So saying, he placed his own hand for a moment over his daughter's and
breathed lightly on the girl's face. Instantly the muscles relaxed, her
hand fell to her side, and I could hear her give a little shuddering
sigh, apparently of relief.

I noticed, too, that, whether by design or accident Sclamowsky kept his
hand for a moment longer on my aunt's necklace, and as he took his
finger away, I fancied that he looked at her fixedly for a second, and
muttered something either to himself or her, the meaning of which I
could not catch.

"What did he say to you?" I asked, as Sclamowsky, after removing the
bandage from his daughter's eyes, assisted her to remount the stage.

Aunt Phoebe looked a little confused and dazed, and her hand went up
to her necklace, as though to reassure herself of its safety.

"Say to me?" she repeated, rousing herself as though by an effort; "he
said nothing to me. But I think, Elizabeth, if it is the same to you, we
will go home; the heat of the room has made me feel a little dizzy."

We heard next day that we had missed the best part of the entertainment
by leaving when we did, and that many and far more wonderful experiments
were successfully attempted; but I had no time to waste in vain regrets
for not having been present, for I was much taken up with Aunt Phoebe.

I was really anxious about her; she was so strangely unlike her calm,
equable self. All Saturday she was restless and irritable, wandering
half way upstairs, and then as though she had forgotten what she wanted,
returning to the drawing-room, where she set to work opening old cabinet
drawers, looking under chairs and sofas, tumbling everything out of her
work-box as if in search of something, and snubbing me for my pains when
I offered to help her.

This went on all day, and I had almost made up my mind to send for Dr.
Perkins, when, after late dinner, she suddenly sank into an arm-chair
with a look of relief.

"I know what it is," she said; "it is my diamonds!"

"Your diamonds, Aunt Phoebe!" I exclaimed. "Why, I locked them up for
you myself in your dressing-box when we came home last night!"

"Are you sure, Elizabeth?" she asked with an anxious, worried

"Quite sure," I answered; "but if it will satisfy you, I will bring down
your dressing-box now and let you see."

"Do, there's a dear child! I declare I feel too tired to move another

I was not surprised at this, considering how she had been fussing about
all day, and I ran up to her bed-room, brought down her rosewood
dressing-box and placed it on the table in front of her.

I was greatly struck by the nervous trembling of her fingers as she
chose out the right key from amongst the others in her bunch, and the
shaky way in which she fitted it into the lock. Even when she had turned
the key she seemed half afraid to raise the lid, so I did it for her,
and, taking out the first tray, lifted out the morocco case which
contained the heirlooms and laid it in her lap.

Aunt Phoebe tremblingly touched the spring, the case flew open and
disclosed the diamonds lying snugly on their bed of blue velvet. She
took them out and looked at them lovingly, held them up so that they
might catch the light from the lamp, and then with a sigh replaced them
in their case and shut it with a snap.

I waited for a few minutes, then, as she did not speak, I put out my
hand for the case, intending to replace it in the dressing-box and take
it upstairs. But Aunt Phoebe clutched it tightly, staggered to her
feet and said in a husky, unnatural voice, "No, I must take it myself."

"Why, you said you were too tired!" I began, but before I could finish
my sentence she had left the room, and I heard her going upstairs and
opening the door of her bed-room.

Some few minutes afterwards I heard her steps once more on the stairs,
and I waited, expecting her every moment to open the drawing-room door
and walk in; but to my astonishment I heard her pass by, and a moment
afterwards the clang of the front door as it was hastily shut told me
that Aunt Phoebe had left the house.

"She must be mad!" I exclaimed to myself as I rushed to the hall, seized
up the first hat I could see, flung a shawl over my shoulders, and tore
off in pursuit of my runaway relative.

It was quite dark, but I caught sight of her as she passed by a
lamp-post. She was walking quickly, quicker than I had ever seen her
walk before, and with evidently some set purpose in her mind. I ran
after her as fast as I could, and came up with her as she was turning
down a small dark lane leading, as I knew, to a little court, the home
of a very poor but respectable section of the inhabitants of

"Aunt Phoebe," I gasped as I touched her arm, "where are you going?
You must be making a mistake!"

"No, no!" she cried, with a feverish impatience in her voice. "I am
right! quite right! You must not stop me!" and she quickened her pace
into a halting run.

I saw clearly that there was nothing to be done but to follow her and
try to keep her out of actual harm's way, for there now seemed to be no
manner of doubt that my poor aunt was, for the time at any rate, insane.
So I fell back a pace, and, never appearing even to notice that I had
left her side, she pursued her course.

Suddenly she stopped short, crossed the street and stumbled up the
uneven stone steps of a shabby-looking house, whose front door was wide
open. Without a moment's hesitation she entered the dark hall, and I
followed closely at her heels. Up the squalid, dirty stairs she hurried,
and, without knocking, opened a door on the left-hand side of the first
landing and went in.

I was a few steps behind, but as I gained the threshold I saw her take a
parcel from beneath her cloak and hold it out to a man who came to meet
her from the far end of the badly-lighted room.

"I have brought them," I heard my aunt say in the same curious husky
voice I had noticed before.

As the man came nearer and stood where the light of the evil-smelling
little paraffin lamp fell upon his features, I recognised in the heavy
jaw, the bull-neck and the close-cropped head, the Professor Dmitri
Sclamowsky of the previous evening. Our eyes met, and I thought I
detected a start of not altogether pleased surprise; but if this were so
he recovered himself quickly and bowing low, said:

"I had not expected the pleasure of _your_ company, madam, but as you
have done me the honour of coming, I am glad that you should be here to
witness the conclusion of last night's experiment. This lady," he
continued, pointing to my aunt, who still stood with fixed, apparently
unseeing eyes, holding out the parcel towards him--"this lady, you will
remember, considered the hypnotic phenomena exhibited at last night's
entertainment as a clever imposture--those were the words, I think. To
one who, like myself, is an enthusiast on the subject, such words were
hard, nay, impossible to bear. It was necessary to prove to her that the
power I possess"--here his blue eyes gleamed with the same metallic
light I had before noticed--"is something more than _conjuring_;
something more than a 'clever imposture'. You will see now."

As he spoke he stretched out his hand and took the parcel from my aunt,
and as he did so, I recognised with horror the morocco case which I knew
contained the heirlooms.

"Who are these for?" he said, addressing Aunt Phoebe.

"For you," came from my aunt's lips, but her eyes were fixed and her
voice seemed to come with difficulty.

"She is mad!" I exclaimed. "She does not know what she is saying!"

Sclamowsky smiled.

"And who am I?" he continued, still addressing my aunt.

"The Professor Dmitri Sclamowsky."

"And what is this?" indicating the morocco case.

"My diamonds."

"You make them a present to me?"


Sclamowsky opened the case and took out the jewels.

"A handsome present, certainly!" he said, turning to me with a smile.

I was speechless. There was something so horrible in my dear Aunt
Phoebe's set face and wide open, stony eyes, something so weird in the
dim room, with its one miserable lamp; something so mockingly fiendish
in Sclamowsky's glittering eyes as he stood with the diamonds flashing
and twinkling in his hands, that though I strove for utterance, I could
not succeed in articulating a single word.

"Enough!" at last he said, replacing the diamonds in their case and
closing it sharply--"the experiment is concluded," and so saying he
stepped up close to Aunt Phoebe and made two or three passes with his
hands in front of her face. A quiver ran all over my aunt's figure. She
swayed and would have fallen if I had not rushed forward and caught her
in my arms.

She looked round at me with terror and bewilderment in every feature.

"Where am I, Elizabeth?" she stammered, and then looking round she
caught sight of Sclamowsky. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Never mind, Aunt Phoebe," I said. "Come home, and I will tell you all
about it."

Aunt Phoebe passed her hand over her eyes, and as she did so I glanced
inquiringly from Sclamowsky's face to the jewellery case in his hands.
What was to be the end of it all? I had certainly heard my aunt
distinctly give this man her diamonds as a present, but could a gift
made under such circumstances hold good for a moment? He evidently saw
the query in my face.

"You judge me even more hastily than did your aunt," he said. "She
called me an impostor; you think me a rogue and a swindler. Here are
your jewels, madam," he said, turning to Aunt Phoebe. "I shall be more
than satisfied if the result of this evening's experiment prove to you
that, as your poet says, 'There are more things in heaven and earth than
are dreamt of in your philosophy.'"

"I don't understand it all," said Aunt Phoebe piteously, as she
mechanically took the morocco case into her hands.

"Don't try to do so now," I said. "You must come home with me as quickly
as you can;" for I was feverishly anxious to escape from this
house--from this man with this horrible, terrifying power.

He bowed silently to us as I hurried Aunt Phoebe out of the room; but
as I was going down the stairs an irresistible impulse came over me to
look back.

He was standing on the landing, politely holding the little lamp so that
we might see our way down the uneven, irregular stairs, and the light
fell upon his face. Was the expression I saw upon it one of triumph, or
one of defeated dishonesty? I could not say. Even now, though I have
thought it all over and over till my head has got dazed and confused, I
cannot make up my mind whether he had hoped, by means of his strange
mesmeric power, to obtain possession of the Anstruther diamonds--a
design only frustrated by my unlooked-for appearance--or whether his
action was altogether prompted by a determination to demonstrate and
vindicate the truth of the phenomena connected with his science.

Sometimes I lean to one view, sometimes to the other. I have now told
the facts of the case simply and without exaggeration just as they
occurred, and my readers must judge for themselves whether Dmitri
Sclamowsky was, in the matter of Aunt Phoebe's heirlooms, a
disappointed swindler or a triumphant enthusiast.


A story, strange as true--a story to the truth of which half the
inhabitants of the good city of Turin can bear testimony.

Have you ever been to Turin, by the way? To that city which reminds one
of nothing so much as a gigantic chess-board set down upon the banks of
the yellow river--that city with never-ending, straight streets, all
running at right angles to each other, and whose extremities frame in
delicious pictures of wooded hill or snow-capped Alp; whose inhabitants
recall the grace and courtesy of the Parisians, joined to a good spicing
of their wit and humour; whose dialect is three-parts French pronounced
as it is written; and whose force and frankness strike you with a
special charm after the ha-haing of the Florentines, the sonorousness of
the Romans and the sing-song of the Neapolitans; to say nothing of the
hideousness of the Genoese and the chaos of the Sicilians; that city of
kindly greetings and hearty welcome?

Well, if you have given Turin a fair trial, you will know what a
pleasant place it is; if you have not, I advise you to do so upon the
first occasion that may present itself.

The climate is described by some emulator of Thomson to consist of "Tre
mesi d'Inferno, nove d'inverno." But then you must remember that Turin
houses are provided with chimneys, and Turin floors with carpets, and
that no one who does not wish it is forced--as so many of us have
been--to shiver upon marble pavement and be half suffocated by a
charcoal-brazier. No refuge from the cold save that, one's bed, or
sitting in a church. And one can neither lie for ever in bed, nor sit
the day through in a church, however fine it may be.

It is extremely healthy, however, and altogether one of the pleasantest
towns in Italy to live in. It has, too, one of the fairest gardens in
Europe: the Valentino, with its old red-brick palace, its elms, its
lawns, its river and setting, on one side, of lovely hills. Lady Mary W.
Montagu speaks of the beauty of this garden in her day. I think she
would scarcely recognise it at the present. Modern art has done its
best, and over the whole yet lingers the mysterious charm of the Past;
the dark historical legends connected with the palace and its quondam
frail, fair, and, I regret to add, ferocious mistress, its--But what has
all this to do with "Saint or Satan," you will ask? Where is your
promised story?

Well, Satan enters somewhat largely into the story of the Valentino
which I will relate you at some future time; and, as to the part, if
any, his dark Majesty had in what I am going to tell you to-day, you
yourself must judge, reader. I am inclined to think _he had_ a claw in
the matter, rather than Saint Antonio to whom the miracle is ascribed.
The miracle! Yes, the miracle. And if you could see her, you would
certainly say that a miracle of some kind there certainly was.

I have, after long consideration and study, come to the conclusion that
"Old Maids" are, generally speaking, a very pleasant, kind-hearted
portion of society. They may be a little irritable and restive while
standing upon the border-land that divides the marriageable from the
un-marriageable age; but that boundary once passed, they take place
among the worthiest and best. And surely their anxiety as to the reply
to the question of "Miss or Mrs.?" is pardonable. Matrimony means an
utter change of life to a woman; while to a man it is of infinitely less

I am afraid I cannot class the "Signorina Guiseppina Pace" as having
formed one of the pleasant section of old maids; I must even, however
reluctantly, place her among the decidedly unpleasant ones.
"Peace"--"Pace" was her name, but her old mother, with whom she lived,
would have told you that she differed greatly from her name.

So do most of us, indeed; and I am sure you have only to run over the
list of your friends in the kindliest manner to see that I am right in
my affirmation.

Perhaps Miss Guiseppina thought that one can have too much of even a
good thing; that the name of Pace was quite enough for the house, and
that, in consequence, she ought to do her best to banish it under all
other circumstances. She certainly succeeded; for she led her poor old
widow-mother and their single servant such a life as to give them a
lively foretaste of what Purgatory--to say no worse--might possibly be.

Ah! if she could but have cut off the Pace from her own name as cleanly
as she cut off all possible peace from the two poor women who were
doomed, for their sins, to live under the same roof with her!

But, despite the endeavours during thirty odd long years, she had never
had one single chance of doing so; and it riled her to the core.
Schoolfellows had floated away upon the sea of matrimony, friends had
become mothers--grandmothers--and yet she remained Guiseppina Pace, as
she ever had remained; and with no prospect of a change.

How she learned to loathe the sight of a bridal procession; and how she
taught mother and maid to tremble at the passing of the same! How the
news of a projected marriage stirred her bile, and how her dearest
friends hastened to her with any matrimonial news they could gather, or
invent! It was wonderful to see, and pleasant enough to witness--from a

Guiseppina and her mother occupied a small flat in Via Santa Teresa:
Guiseppina's bed-room and their one sitting-room looking into the
street; her mother's room, the kitchen and a sort of coal-hole in which
the servant slept being at the back of the house.

It was summer. People pushed perspiringly for the shady side of the
street, puffed and panted under pillar and portico. The public gardens
were besieged; fans fluttered everywhere; iced-beer and pezzi duri were
in constant requisition.

It was on a Friday afternoon. Guiseppina had sunk, exhausted with the
heat and exasperated with the flies, into a large arm-chair opposite her
bed, and was sitting there fanning herself violently and trying to catch
a breath of fresh air from the widely-opened window beside her. But
there was no air, fresh or otherwise; and nothing but the languid steps
of the passers in the street below was heard. Not the roll of a wheel,
the hoof of a horse, or the yelp of a dog. It seemed as if the whole
place had been given over to the cruel glare of sunshine and the
persevering impertinence of flies.

It was just one of those days which make one long intensely for the
shade of ilexes upon the sea shore, and the swish of idle waters upon
the beach.

And Guiseppina _did_ long, and _had_ longed, and had finally driven her
poor mother in tears to her room with reproaches for not being able to
go for a month to Pegli, as, that very morning, their upper floor
neighbours, the Castelles, had gone--and--and--and--: the usual
litany--the usual nagging--the usual temper; hinc ille lacrimæ.

"Why should she alone," she exclaimed to herself sitting there, "remain
to roast in town, while all her friends--? Ah, it was too cruel! If she
could only--!"

Her eyes fell upon the little picture of Saint Antonio hanging over her
bed--the Saint credited with presiding over marriages--the Saint to
which, through all these long years, Guiseppina had daily appealed and
prayed. Alas, all in vain! Not the shadow of a lover had he sent
her--not the ghost of an offer had he vouchsafed her in return for all
her tears and tapers.

She looked across at the Saint, this time with a scowl, however. The
Saint seemed to return her gaze with a mocking smile. No! That was
indeed adding insult to injury! After thirty years unswerving devotion,
to mock at her thus!

She didn't say thirty years, mind, though she could have added somewhat
to the figure without risking a fib. She said something else, a
something that didn't sound exactly like a blessing; and, in a sudden
fit of rage, started from her seat, sprang across the room, tore the
offending Saint from the nail from which he had dangled for such long
years, and, without further ceremony, flung him out through the open
window into the street below.

Then, aghast at what she had done, she stood as if turned to stone, not
daring to go to the window to see what the effect of her novel
proceeding might have been.

Minutes, to her ages, passed: then came a ring at the bell. Answer she
must; the maid was out marketing, her mother in tears--for it might be
the post--it might be--! Ah, she shivered as she thought thereon--it
might be a municipal guard with a "contravenzione"--fine; for in Italy
one cannot now fling even saints from a window down upon the passers'
heads with impunity. Time was when worse things were periodically
showered down upon passengers, but, thanks to government and wholesome
laws, nous avons changé tout cela.

With a beating heart Guiseppina drew the bolt and opened the door. There
on the landing stood, not a policeman, but an elderly gentleman, his hat
in one hand, Saint Antonio in the other, and his bald head looming out
from the gloom--some Turin stairs are _very_ dark--like the moon in a

"Signora"--he began in a hesitating voice, and holding forward the
imperturbable Saint as a shield and excuse for his intrusion--

"Signore," replied the ancient maiden, gazing forth at her visitor with
wonder on her face and relief in her heart.

The relief fled quickly, however, for she suddenly remembered that many
of the police were said to prowl about in civil clothes and inflict no
end of fines, of which they pocketed a part.

But he didn't look a bit like a policeman. So she smiled upon him, and
listened benignantly to his tale. He had been passing the house--musing
upon his business--that of a broker--and trying to guess at the truth of
a report relative to certain investments, when suddenly his calculations
had been put to flight by the arrival of some unseen object from on
high, which, after alighting upon the crown of his Panama, fell at his

Here a wave of his hand and a flourish of the Saint indicated his having
picked up the same.

He then proceeded to relate his having looked up--the Saint could only
have come from Heavenward, he had perched so exactly upon the crown of
his hat--having seen the open window--all the rest in the house were
closed--and having taken the liberty--

Here another wave of the hand, followed by a bow.

And then, at this juncture, Signora Pace came out from her room, and
she, after being informed of the cause of her daughter's being found in
close converse upon the landing with a stranger of the male sex, asked
the said stranger in. Her invitation being accepted, the trio adjourned
to the sitting-room, the gallant knight still retaining his trophy.

Only after being warmly pressed to do so by Signora Pace did the
all-unexpected and unknown visitor deposit Saint Antonio upon the centre
table, and take his seat upon the red rep sofa next to her.

Guiseppina sat facing him. She seemed suddenly to have quite
changed--never once snubbed her mother, and appeared throughout all
sugar and sweetness.

We can suppose that remorse at having treated her Saint after this
fashion, and relief at his not having fallen into the hands of a
policeman, as she at first had most reasonably feared, had worked the

Policeman, indeed! Signor Cesare Garelli--such the visitor gave as his
name--appeared to her to be quite a charming person. To be sure, he was
bald, but that mattered little. So was Julius Cæsar and a host of other
great men.

Cesare Garelli was something, to her, infinitely more interesting than
his great namesake ever had been. He was a partner of the well-known
Zucco, and the office they kept in Via Carlo Alberto had wooden cups of
gold nuggets, no end of glittering coins and crisp bank-notes of foreign
and formidable appearance, in its solitary window. More than once she
had longingly halted before its treasures.

So a vast deal of information was exchanged on both sides, and when
Signor Cesare Garelli rose to go, the flood of golden sunshine had crept
quite across to the other side of the street.

Apparently some of it had crept into Guiseppina's heart also, for she
refrained from flying out when the long-delayed "minestra" turned out to
be smoked, and she even went so far as to give Saint Antonio a chaste
kiss as she restored him to the crooked nail to which he had hung for so
long a time.

Cesare Garelli's visits became more and more frequent in Via Santa
Teresa. Then followed excursions to Rivoli, to Superza, to Moncalieri.
Nice little dinners, and evenings spent at the Caffe San Carlo or under
the horse-chestnuts in the Valentino garden, succeeded rapidly. La
Signora Pace's life savoured of the seventh heaven, and Guiseppina's
temper grew mellow as the peaches which her admirer was for ever sending

That phase passed away, and then one fine day Cesare Garelli burst forth
in all the glory and radiance of a declared and accepted lover.

In less than three months from the date of Saint Antonio's flight
through the window into the hot, dusty street, Guiseppina
voluntarily--oh, how voluntarily!--renounced the name of Pace for ever
and took that of Garelli.

If you want to know if Saint or Satan made his match for him, you had
better ask Cesare Garelli himself. I cannot tell you.



    I met her by this mountain stream
      At twilight's fall long years gone by,
    While, rosy with day's afterbeam,
      Yon snow-peaks glowed against the sky;

    And she was but a simple maid
      Who fed her goats among the hills,
    And sang her songs within the glade,
      And caught the music of the rills;

    And drank the fragrance of the flowers
      That bloomed within love-haunted dells;
    And wandered home in gloaming hours,
      Amid the sound of tinkling bells.

    And now I'm in this vale again,
      And once more hear the tinkling sound;
    But yet 'tis not the same as when
      That maiden 'mid her flock I found.

    And still the rosy light of morn
      Steals soft o'er mount and stream and tree;
    And yet I hear the Alpine horn,
      But the old charm is lost to me;

    For I would see that angel face,
      And hear again the simple tale
    Which to that twilight lent the grace
      That changed this to Arcadian vale.

    It cannot be: my dream is o'er;
      No more among the hills she'll roam;
    No more she'll sing the songs of yore;
      Or call the weary cattle home;

    For she is in her bed of rest,
      Encompassed all with gentians blue,
    With Edelweiss upon her breast,
      And by her head wild thyme and rue.

    Sweet _Angelus_, from yon church-tower,
      That floatest now so soft and clear,
    Ring back again that golden hour
      When I still sat beside her here!


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 2, February, 1891" ***

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