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Title: Is He Popenjoy?
Author: Trollope, Anthony, 1815-1882
Language: English
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Author of "Doctor Thorne," "The Prime Minister," "Orley Farm," &c., &c.

Third Edition.

Chapman & Hall, 193, Piccadilly. 1879.
[_All Rights Reserved._]

London: Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., Printers, Whitefriars


  CHAPTER I.                                 PAGE
  INTRODUCTORY.--NUMBER ONE                     1

  INTRODUCTORY.--NUMBER TWO                     7

  LIFE AT MANOR CROSS                          13

  AT THE DEANERY                               20


  BAD TIDINGS                                  34

  CROSS HALL GATE                              41

  PUGSBY BROOK                                 47

  MRS. HOUGHTON                                52

  THE DEAN AS A SPORTING MAN                   61



  MORE NEWS FROM ITALY                         79

  "ARE WE TO CALL HIM POPENJOY?"               85

  "DROP IT"                                    93


  THE DISABILITIES                            106

  LORD GEORGE UP IN LONDON                    112

  RATHER "BOISTEROUS"                         119

  BETWEEN TWO STOOLS                          126

  THE MARQUIS COMES HOME                      132


  THE MARQUIS SEES HIS BROTHER                146


  LADY SUSANNA IN LONDON                      159

  THE DEAN RETURNS TO TOWN                    166

  THE BARONESS BANMANN AGAIN                  173

  "WHAT MATTER IF SHE DOES?"                  180


  THE DEAN IS VERY BUSY                       193


  LORD GEORGE IS TROUBLED                     205

  CAPTAIN DE BARON                            213

  A DREADFUL COMMUNICATION                    220

  "I DENY IT"                                 226

  POPENJOY IS POPENJOY                        235

  PREPARATIONS FOR THE BALL                   241

  THE KAPPA-KAPPA                             248

  REBELLION                                   254

  AS TO BLUEBEARD                             260

  SCUMBERG'S                                  268

  "NOT GO!"                                   276

  REAL LOVE                                   284


  LADY GEORGE AT THE DEANERY                  293

  LADY SARAH'S MISSION                        298

  THAT YOUNG FELLOW IN THERE                  307



  RUDHAM PARK                                 325

  GUSS MILDMAY'S SUCCESS                      333

  ANOTHER LOVER                               341

  POOR POPENJOY!                              346

  JACK DE BARON'S VIRTUE                      352

  HOW COULD HE HELP IT?                       357



  MRS. JONES' LETTER                          378

  BACK IN LONDON                              384

  THE LAST OF THE BARONESS                    391

  THE NEWS COMES HOME                         397

  THE WILL                                    405


  CONCLUSION                                  418




I would that it were possible so to tell a story that a reader should
beforehand know every detail of it up to a certain point, or be so
circumstanced that he might be supposed to know. In telling the little
novelettes of our life, we commence our narrations with the presumption
that these details are borne in mind, and though they be all forgotten,
the stories come out intelligible at last. "You remember Mary Walker.
Oh yes, you do;--that pretty girl, but such a queer temper! And how she
was engaged to marry Harry Jones, and said she wouldn't at the
church-door, till her father threatened her with bread and water; and
how they have been living ever since as happy as two turtle-doves down
in Devonshire,--till that scoundrel, Lieutenant Smith, went to
Bideford! Smith has been found dead at the bottom of a saw-pit.
Nobody's sorry for him. She's in a madhouse at Exeter; and Jones has
disappeared, and couldn't have had more than thirty shillings in his
pocket." This is quite as much as anybody ought to want to know
previous to the unravelling of the tragedy of the Jones's. But such
stories as those I have to tell cannot be written after that fashion.
We novelists are constantly twitted with being long; and to the
gentlemen who condescend to review us, and who take up our volumes with
a view to business rather than pleasure, we must be infinite in length
and tedium. But the story must be made intelligible from the beginning,
or the real novel readers will not like it. The plan of jumping at once
into the middle has been often tried, and sometimes seductively enough
for a chapter or two; but the writer still has to hark back, and to
begin again from the beginning,--not always very comfortably after the
abnormal brightness of his few opening pages; and the reader who is
then involved in some ancient family history, or long local
explanation, feels himself to have been defrauded. It is as though one
were asked to eat boiled mutton after woodcocks, caviare, or maccaroni
cheese. I hold that it is better to have the boiled mutton first, if
boiled mutton there must be.

The story which I have to tell is something in its nature akin to that
of poor Mrs. Jones, who was happy enough down in Devonshire till that
wicked Lieutenant Smith came and persecuted her; not quite so tragic,
perhaps, as it is stained neither by murder nor madness. But before I
can hope to interest readers in the perplexed details of the life of a
not unworthy lady, I must do more than remind them that they do know,
or might have known, or should have known the antecedents of my
personages. I must let them understand how it came to pass that so
pretty, so pert, so gay, so good a girl as Mary Lovelace, without any
great fault on her part, married a man so grim, so gaunt, so sombre,
and so old as Lord George Germain. It will not suffice to say that she
had done so. A hundred and twenty little incidents must be dribbled
into the reader's intelligence, many of them, let me hope, in such
manner that he shall himself be insensible to the process. But unless I
make each one of them understood and appreciated by my ingenious,
open-hearted, rapid reader,--by my reader who will always have his
fingers impatiently ready to turn the page,--he will, I know, begin to
masticate the real kernel of my story with infinite prejudices against
Mary Lovelace.

Mary Lovelace was born in a country parsonage; but at the age of
fourteen, when her life was in truth beginning, was transferred by her
father to the deanery of Brotherton. Dean Lovelace had been a fortunate
man in life. When a poor curate, a man of very humble origin, with none
of what we commonly call Church interest, with nothing to recommend him
but a handsome person, moderate education, and a quick intellect, he
had married a lady with a considerable fortune, whose family had bought
for him a living. Here he preached himself into fame. It is not at all
to be implied from this that he had not deserved the fame he acquired.
He had been active and resolute in his work, holding opinions which, if
not peculiar, were at any rate advanced, and never being afraid of the
opinions which he held. His bishop had not loved him, nor had he made
himself dear to the bench of bishops generally. He had the reputation
of having been in early life a sporting parson. He had written a book
which had been characterised as tending to infidelity, and had more
than once been invited to state dogmatically what was his own belief.
He had never quite done so, and had then been made a dean. Brotherton,
as all the world knows, is a most interesting little city, neither a
Manchester nor a Salisbury; full of architectural excellencies, given
to literature, and fond of hospitality. The Bishop of Brotherton,--who
did not love the dean,--was not a general favourite, being strict,
ascetic, and utterly hostile to all compromises. At first there were
certain hostile passages between him and the new dean. But the Dean,
who was and is urbanity itself, won the day, and soon became certainly
the most popular man in Brotherton. His wife's fortune doubled his
clerical income, and he lived in all respects as a dean ought to live.
His wife had died very shortly after his promotion, and he had been
left with one only daughter on whom to lavish his cares and his

Now we must turn for a few lines to the family of Lord George Germain.
Lord George was the brother of the Marquis of Brotherton, whose family
residence was at Manor Cross, about nine miles from the city. The
wealth of the family of the Germains was not equal to their rank, and
the circumstances of the family were not made more comfortable by the
peculiarities of the present marquis. He was an idle, self-indulgent,
ill-conditioned man, who found that it suited his tastes better to live
in Italy, where his means were ample, than on his own property, where
he would have been comparatively a poor man. And he had a mother and
four sisters, and a brother with whom he would hardly have known how to
deal had he remained at Manor Cross. As it was, he allowed them to keep
the house, while he simply took the revenue of the estate. With the
marquis I do not know that it will be necessary to trouble the reader
much at present. The old marchioness and her daughters lived always at
Manor Cross in possession of a fine old house in which they could have
entertained half the county, and a magnificent park,--which, however,
was let for grazing up to the garden-gates,--and a modest income
unequal to the splendour which should have been displayed by the
inhabitants of Manor Cross.

And here also lived Lord George Germain, to whom at a very early period
of his life had been entrusted the difficult task of living as the head
of his family with little or no means for the purpose. When the old
Marquis died,--very suddenly, and soon after the Dean's coming to
Brotherton,--the widow had her jointure, some two thousand a year, out
of the property, and the younger children had each a small settled sum.
That the four ladies,--Sarah, Alice, Susanna, and Amelia,--should have
sixteen thousand pounds among them, did not seem to be so very much
amiss to those who knew how poor was the Germain family; but what was
Lord George to do with four thousand pounds, and no means of earning a
shilling? He had been at Eton, and had taken a degree at Oxford with
credit, but had gone into no profession. There was a living in the
family, and both father and mother had hoped that he would consent to
take orders; but he had declined to do so, and there had seemed to be
nothing for him but to come and live at Manor Cross. Then the old
Marquis had died, and the elder brother, who had long been abroad,
remained abroad. Lord George, who was the youngest of the family, and
at that time about five-and-twenty, remained at Manor Cross, and became
not only ostensibly but in very truth the managing head of the family.

He was a man whom no one could despise, and in whom few could find much
to blame. In the first place he looked his poverty in the face, and
told himself that he was a very poor man. His bread he might earn by
looking after his mother and sisters, and he knew no other way in
which he could do so. He was a just steward, spending nothing to
gratify his own whims, acknowledging on all sides that he had nothing
of his own, till some began to think that he was almost proud of his
poverty. Among the ladies of the family, his mother and sisters, it was
of course said that George must marry money. In such a position there
is nothing else that the younger son of a marquis can do. But Lord
George was a person somewhat difficult of instruction in such a matter.
His mother was greatly afraid of him. Among his sisters Lady Sarah
alone dared to say much to him; and even to her teaching on this
subject he turned a very deaf ear. "Quite so, George," she said; "quite
so. No man with a spark of spirit would marry a woman for her
money,"--and she laid a great stress on the word "for,"--"but I do not
see why a lady who has money should be less fit to be loved than one
who has none. Miss Barm is a most charming young woman, of excellent
manners, admirably educated, if not absolutely handsome, quite of
distinguished appearance, and she has forty thousand pounds. We all
liked her when she was here." But there came a very black frown upon
Lord George's brow, and then even Lady Sarah did not dare to speak
again in favour of Miss Barm.

Then there came a terrible blow. Lord George Germain was in love with
his cousin, Miss De Baron! It would be long to tell, and perhaps
unnecessary, how that young lady had made herself feared by the ladies
of Manor Cross. Her father, a man of birth and fortune, but not perhaps
with the best reputation in the world, had married a Germain of the
last generation, and lived, when in the country, about twenty miles
from Brotherton. He was a good deal on the turf, spent much of his time
at card-playing clubs, and was generally known as a fast man. But he
paid his way, had never put himself beyond the pale of society, and
was, of course, a gentleman. As to Adelaide de Baron, no one doubted
her dash, her wit, her grace, or her toilet. Some also gave her credit
for beauty; but there were those who said that, though she would behave
herself decently at Manor Cross and houses of that class, she could be
loud elsewhere. Such was the lady whom Lord George loved, and it may be
conceived that this passion was distressing to the ladies of Manor
Cross. In the first place, Miss De Baron's fortune was doubtful and
could not be large; and then--she certainly was not such a wife as Lady
Brotherton and her daughters desired for the one male hope of the

But Lord George was very resolute, and for a time it seemed to them all
that Miss de Baron,--of whom the reader will see much if he go through
with our story,--was not unwilling to share the poverty of her noble
lover. Of Lord George personally something must be said. He was a tall,
handsome, dark-browed man, silent generally and almost gloomy, looking,
as such men do, as though he were always revolving deep things in his
mind, but revolving in truth things not very deep,--how far the money
would go, and whether it would be possible to get a new pair of
carriage-horses for his mother. Birth and culture had given to him a
look of intellect greater than he possessed; but I would not have it
thought that he traded on this or endeavoured to seem other than he
was. He was simple, conscientious, absolutely truthful, full of
prejudices, and weak-minded. Early in life he had been taught to
entertain certain ideas as to religion by those with whom he had lived
at college, and had therefore refused to become a clergyman. The bishop
of the diocese had attacked him; but, though weak, he was obstinate.
The Dean and he had become friends, and so he had learned to think
himself in advance of the world. But yet he knew himself to be a
backward, slow, unappreciative man. He was one who could bear reproach
from no one else, but who never praised himself even to himself.

But we must return to his love, which is that which now concerns us.
His mother and sisters altogether failed to persuade him. Week after
week he went over to Baronscourt, and at last threw himself at
Adelaide's feet. This was five years after his father's death, when he
was already thirty years old. Miss De Baron, though never a favourite
at Manor Cross, knew intimately the history of the family. The present
marquis was over forty, and as yet unmarried;--but then Lord George was
absolutely a pauper. In that way she might probably become a
marchioness; but then of what use would life be to her, should she be
doomed for the next twenty years to live simply as one of the ladies of
Manor Cross? She consulted her father, but he seemed to be quite
indifferent, merely reminding her that though he would be ready to do
everything handsomely for her wedding, she would have no fortune till
after his death. She consulted her glass, and told herself that,
without self-praise, she must regard herself as the most beautiful
woman of her own acquaintance. She consulted her heart, and found that
in that direction she need not trouble herself. It would be very nice
to be a marchioness, but she certainly was not in love with Lord
George. He was handsome, no doubt--very handsome; but she was not sure
that she cared much for men being handsome. She liked men that "had
some go in them," who were perhaps a little fast, and who sympathised
with her own desire for amusement. She could not bring herself to fall
in love with Lord George. But then, the rank of a marquis is very high!
She told Lord George that she must take time to consider.

When a young lady takes time to consider she has, as a rule, given way,
Lord George felt it to be so, and was triumphant. The ladies at Manor
Cross thought that they saw what was coming, and were despondent. The
whole county declared that Lord George was about to marry Miss De
Baron. The county feared that they would be very poor; but the
recompence would come at last, as the present marquis was known not to
be a marrying man. Lady Sarah was mute with despair. Lady Alice had
declared that there was nothing for them but to make the best of it.
Lady Susanna, who had high ideas of aristocratic duty, thought that
George was forgetting himself. Lady Amelia, who had been snubbed by
Miss De Baron, shut herself up and wept. The Marchioness took to her
bed. Then, exactly at the same time, two things happened, both of which
were felt to be of vital importance at Manor Cross. Miss De Baron wrote
a most determined refusal to her lover, and old Mr. Tallowax died. Now
old Mr. Tallowax had been Dean Lovelace's father-in-law, and had never
had a child but she who had been the Dean's wife.

Lord George did in truth suffer dreadfully. There are men to whom such
a disappointment as this causes enduring physical pain,--as though they
had become suddenly affected with some acute and yet lasting disease.
And there are men, too, who suffer the more because they cannot conceal
the pain. Such a man was Lord George. He shut himself up for months at
Manor Cross, and would see no one. At first it was his intention to try
again, but very shortly after the letter to himself came one from Miss
De Baron to Lady Alice, declaring that she was about to be married
immediately to one Mr. Houghton; and that closed the matter. Mr.
Houghton's history was well known to the Manor Cross family. He was a
friend of Mr. De Baron, very rich, almost old enough to be the girl's
father, and a great gambler. But he had a house in Berkeley Square,
kept a stud of horses in Northamptonshire, and was much thought of at
Newmarket. Adelaide De Baron explained to Lady Alice that the marriage
had been made up by her father, whose advice she had thought it her
duty to take. The news was told to Lord George, and then it was found
expedient never to mention further the name of Miss De Baron within the
walls of Manor Cross.

But the death of Mr. Tallowax was also very important. Of late the Dean
of Brotherton had become very intimate at Manor Cross. For some years
the ladies had been a little afraid of him, as they were by no means
given to free opinions. But he made his way. They were decidedly high;
the bishop was notoriously low; and thus, in a mild manner, without
malignity on either side, Manor Cross and the Palace fell out. Their
own excellent young clergyman was snubbed in reference to his church
postures, and Lady Sarah was offended. But the Dean's manners were
perfect. He never trod on any one's toes. He was rich, and as far as
birth went, nobody,--but he knew how much was due to the rank of the
Germains. In all matters he obliged them, and had lately made the
deanery very pleasant to Lady Alice,--to whom a widowed canon at
Brotherton was supposed to be partial. The interest between the deanery
and Manor Cross was quite close; and now Mr. Tallowax had died leaving
the greater part of his money to the Dean's daughter.

When a man suffers from disappointed love he requires consolation.
Lady Sarah boldly declared her opinion,--in female conclave of
course,--that one pretty girl is as good to a man as another, and might
be a great deal better if she were at the same time better mannered and
better dowered than the other. Mary Lovelace, when her grandfather
died, was only seventeen. Lord George was at that time over thirty. But
a man of thirty is still a young man, and a girl of seventeen may be a
young woman. If the man be not more than fifteen years older than the
woman the difference of age can hardly be regarded as an obstacle. And
then Mary was much loved at Manor Cross. She had been a most engaging
child, was clever, well-educated, very pretty, with a nice sparkling
way, fond of pleasure no doubt, but not as yet instructed to be fast.
And now she would have at once thirty thousand pounds, and in course of
time would be her father's heiress.

All the ladies at Manor Cross put their heads together,--as did also
Mr. Canon Holdenough, who, while these things had been going on, had
been accepted by Lady Alice. They fooled Lord George to the top of his
bent, smoothing him down softly amidst the pangs of his love, not
suggesting Mary Lovelace at first, but still in all things acting in
that direction. And they so far succeeded that within twelve months of
the marriage of Adelaide De Baron to Mr. Houghton, when Mary Lovelace
was not yet nineteen and Lord George was thirty-three, with some few
grey hairs on his handsome head, Lord George did go over to the deanery
and offer himself as a husband to Mary Lovelace.



"What ought I to do, papa?" The proposition was in the first instance
made to Mary through the Dean. Lord George had gone to the father, and
the father with many protestations of personal goodwill, had declared
that in such a matter he would not attempt to bias his daughter. "That
the connection would be personally agreeable to myself, I need hardly
say," said the Dean. "For myself, I have no objection to raise. But I
must leave it to Mary. I can only say that you have my permission to
address her." But the first appeal to Mary was made by her father
himself, and was so made in conformity with his own advice. Lord
George, when he left the deanery, had thus arranged it, but had been
hardly conscious that the Dean had advised such an arrangement. And it
may be confessed between ourselves,--between me and my readers, who in
these introductory chapters may be supposed to be looking back together
over past things,--that the Dean was from the first determined that
Lord George should be his son-in-law. What son-in-law could he find
that would redound more to his personal credit, or better advance his
personal comfort. As to his daughter, where could a safer husband be
found! And then she might in this way become a marchioness! His own
father had kept livery stables at Bath. Her other grandfather had been
a candlemaker in the Borough. "What ought I to do, papa?" Mary asked,
when the proposition was first made to her. She of course admired the
Germains, and appreciated, at perhaps more than its full value the
notice she had received from them. She had thought Lord George to be
the handsomest man she had ever seen. She had heard of his love for
Miss De Baron, and had felt for him. She was not as yet old enough to
know how dull was the house at Manor Cross, or how little of resource
she might find in the companionship of such a man as Lord George. Of
her own money she knew almost nothing. Not as yet had her fortune
become as a carcase to the birds. And now, should she decide in Lord
George's favour, would she be saved at any rate from that danger.

"You must consult your own feelings, my dear," said her father. She
looked up to him in blank dismay. She had as yet no feelings.

"But, papa----"

"Of course, my darling, there is a great deal to be said in favour of
such a marriage. The man himself is excellent,--in all respects
excellent. I do not know that there is a young man of higher principles
than Lord George in the whole county."

"He is hardly a young man, papa."

"Not a young man! He is thirty. I hope you do not call that old. I
doubt whether men in his position of life should ever marry at an
earlier age. He is not rich."

"Would that matter?"

"No; I think not. But of that you must judge. Of course with your
fortune you would have a right to expect a richer match. But though he
has not money, he has much that money gives. He lives in a large house
with noble surroundings. The question is whether you can like him?"

"I don't know, papa." Every word she spoke she uttered hesitatingly.
When she had asked whether "that would matter," she had hardly known
what she was saying. The thing was so important to her, and yet so
entirely mysterious and as yet unconsidered, that she could not collect
her thoughts sufficiently for proper answers to her father's sensible
but not too delicate inquiries. The only ideas that had really struck
her were that he was grand and handsome, but very old.

"If you can love him I think you would be happy," said the Dean. "Of
course you must look at it all round. He will probably live to be the
Marquis of Brotherton. From all that I hear I do not think that his
brother is likely to marry. In that case you would be the Marchioness
of Brotherton, and the property, though not great, would then be
handsome. In the meanwhile you would be Lady George Germain, and would
live at Manor Cross. I should stipulate on your behalf that you should
have a house of your own in town, for, at any rate, a portion of the
year. Manor Cross is a fine place, but you would find it dull if you
were to remain there always. A married woman too should always have
some home of her own."

"You want me to do it, papa?"

"Certainly not. I want you to please yourself. If I find that you
please yourself by accepting this man, I myself shall be better pleased
than if you please yourself by rejecting him; but you shall never know
that by my manner. I shall not put you on bread and water, and lock you
up in the garret either if you accept him, or if you reject him." The
Dean smiled as he said this, as all the world at Brotherton knew that
he had never in his life even scolded his daughter.

"And you, papa?"

"I shall come and see you, and you will come and see me. I shall get on
well enough. I have always known that you would leave me soon. I am
prepared for that." There was something in this which grated on her
feelings. She had, perhaps, taught herself to believe that she was
indispensable to her father's happiness. Then after a pause he
continued: "Of course you must be ready to see Lord George when he
comes again, and you ought to remember, my dear, that marquises do not
grow on every hedge."

With great care and cunning workmanship one may almost make a silk
purse out of a sow's ear, but not quite. The care which Dean Lovelace
had bestowed upon the operation in regard to himself had been very
great, and the cunning workmanship was to be seen in every plait and
every stitch. But still there was something left of the coarseness of
the original material. Of all this poor Mary knew nothing at all; but
yet she did not like being told of marquises and hedges where her heart
was concerned. She had wanted,--had unconsciously wanted,--some touch
of romance from her father to satisfy the condition in which she found
herself. But there was no touch of romance there; and when she was left
to herself to work the matter out in her own heart and in her own mind
she was unsatisfied.

Two or three days after this Mary received notice that her lover was
coming. The Dean had seen him and had absolutely fixed a time. To poor
Mary this seemed to be most unromantic, most unpromising. And though
she had thought of nothing else since she had first heard of Lord
George's intention, though she had laid awake struggling to make up her
mind, she had reached no conclusion. It had become quite clear to her
that her father was anxious for the marriage, and there was much in it
which recommended it to herself. The old elms of the park of Manor
Cross were very tempting. She was not indifferent to being called My
Lady. Though she had been slightly hurt when told that marquises did
not grow on hedges, still she knew that it would be much to be a
marchioness. And the man himself was good, and not only good but very
handsome. There was a nobility about him beyond that of his family.
Those prone to ridicule might perhaps have called him Werter-faced, but
to Mary there was a sublimity in this. But then was she in love with

She was a sweet, innocent, ladylike, high-spirited, joyous creature.
Those struggles of her father to get rid of the last porcine taint,
though not quite successful as to himself, had succeeded thoroughly in
regard to her. It comes at last with due care, and the due care had
here been taken. She was so nice that middle-aged men wished themselves
younger that they might make love to her, or older that they might be
privileged to kiss her. Though keenly anxious for amusement, though
over head and ears in love with sport and frolic, no unholy thought had
ever polluted her mind. That men were men, and that she was a woman,
had of course been considered by her. Oh, that it might some day be her
privilege to love some man with all her heart and all her strength,
some man who should be, at any rate to her, the very hero of heroes,
the cynosure of her world! It was thus that she considered the matter.
There could surely nothing be so glorious as being well in love. And
the one to be thus worshipped must of course become her husband.
Otherwise would her heart be broken, and perhaps his,--and all would be
tragedy. But with tragedy she had no sympathy. The loved one must
become her husband. But the pictures she had made to herself of him
were not at all like Lord George Germain. He was to be fair, with
laughing eyes, quick in repartee, always riding well to hounds. She had
longed to hunt herself, but her father had objected. He must be sharp
enough sometimes to others, though ever soft to her, with a silken
moustache and a dimpled chin, and perhaps twenty-four years old. Lord
George was dark, his eyes never laughed; he was silent generally, and
never went out hunting at all. He was dignified, and tall, very
handsome, no doubt,--and a lord. The grand question was that;--could
she love him? Could she make another picture, and paint him as her
hero? There were doubtless heroic points in the side wave of that
coal-black lock,--coal-black where the few grey hairs had not yet shown
themselves, in his great height, and solemn polished manners.

When her lover came, she could only remember that if she accepted him
she would please everybody. The Dean had taken occasion to assure her
that the ladies at Manor Cross would receive her with open arms. But on
this occasion she did not accept him. She was very silent, hardly able
to speak a word, and almost sinking out of sight when Lord George
endeavoured to press his suit by taking her hand. But she contrived at
last to make him the very answer that Adelaide De Baron had made. She
must take time to think of it. But the answer came from her in a
different spirit. She at any rate knew as soon as it was given that it
was her destiny in life to become Lady George Germain. She did not say
"Yes" at the moment, only because it is so hard for a girl to tell a
man that she will marry him at the first asking! He made his second
offer by letter, to which the Dean wrote the reply:--

     "My dear Lord George,

     "My daughter is gratified by your affection, and flattered by your
     manner of showing it. A few plain words are perhaps the best. She
     will be happy to receive you as her future husband, whenever it
     may suit you to come to the deanery.

     "Yours affectionately,


Immediately upon this the conduct of Lord George was unexceptionable.
He hurried over to Brotherton, and as he clasped his girl in his arms,
he told her that he was the happiest man in England. Poor as he was he
made her a handsome present, and besought her if she had any mercy, any
charity, any love for him, to name an early day. Then came the four
ladies from Manor Cross,--for Lady Alice had already become Lady Alice
Holdenough,--and caressed her, and patted her, and petted her, and told
her that she should be as welcome as flowers in May. Her father, too,
congratulated her with more of enthusiasm, and more also of
demonstrated feeling than she had ever before seen him evince. He had
been very unwilling, he said, to express any strong opinion of his own.
It had always been his desire that his girl should please herself. But
now that the thing was settled he could assure her of his thorough
satisfaction. It was all that he could have desired; and now he would
be ready at any time to lay himself down, and be at rest. Had his girl
married a spendthrift lord, even a duke devoted to pleasure and
iniquity, it would have broken his heart. But he would now confess that
the aristocracy of the county had charms for him; and he was not
ashamed to rejoice that his child should be accepted within their pale.
Then he brushed a real tear from his eyes, and Mary threw herself into
his arms. The tear was real, and in all that he said there was not an
insincere word. It was to him a very glory of glories that his child
should be in the way of becoming the Marchioness of Brotherton. It was
even a great glory that she should be Lady George Germain. The Dean
never forgot the livery stable, and owned day and night that God had
been very good to him.

It was soon settled that Mary was to be allowed three months for
preparation, and that the marriage was to be solemnized in June. Of
course she had much to do in preparing her wedding garments, but she
had before her a much more difficult task than that at which she worked
most sedulously. It was now the great business of her life to fall in
love with Lord George. She must get rid of that fair young man with the
silky moustache and the darling dimple. The sallow, the sublime, and
the Werter-faced must be made to take the place of laughing eyes and
pink cheeks. She did work very hard, and sometimes, as she thought,
successfully. She came to a positive conclusion that he was the
handsomest man she ever saw, and that she certainly liked the few grey
hairs. That his manner was thoroughly noble no one could doubt. If he
were seen merely walking down the street he would surely be taken for a
great man. He was one of whom, as her husband, she could be always
proud;--and that she felt to be a great thing. That he would not play
lawn tennis, and that he did not care for riding were points in his
character to be regretted. Indeed, though she made some tenderly
cautious inquiries, she could not find what were his amusements. She
herself was passionately fond of dancing, but he certainly did not
dance. He talked to her, when he did talk, chiefly of his family, of
his own poverty, of the goodness of his mother and sisters, and of the
great regret which they all felt that they should have been deserted by
the head of their family.

"He has now been away," said Lord George, "for ten years; but not
improbably he may return soon, and then we shall have to leave Manor

"Leave Manor Cross!"

"Of course we must do so should he come home. The place belongs to him,
and we are only there because it has not suited him to reside in

This he said with the utmost solemnity, and the statement had been
produced by the answer which the Marquis had made to a letter
announcing to him his brother's marriage. The Marquis had never been a
good correspondent. To the ladies of the house he never wrote at all,
though Lady Sarah favoured him with a periodical quarterly letter. To
his agent, and less frequently to his brother, he would write curt,
questions on business, never covering more than one side of a sheet of
notepaper, and always signed "Yours, B." To these the inmates of Manor
Cross had now become accustomed, and little was thought of them; but on
this occasion he had written three or four complete sentences, which
had been intended to have, and which did have, a plain meaning. He
congratulated his brother, but begged Lord George to bear in mind that
he himself might not improbably want Manor Cross for his own purpose
before long. If Lord George thought it would be agreeable, Mr. Knox,
the agent, might have instructions to buy Miss Lovelace a present. Of
this latter offer Lord George took no notice; but the intimation
concerning the house sat gravely on his mind.

The Dean did exactly as he had said with reference to the house in
town. Of course it was necessary that there should be arrangements as
to money between him and Lord George, in which he was very frank.
Mary's money was all her own,--giving her an income of nearly £1500
per annum. The Dean was quite of opinion that this should be left to
Lord George's management, but he thought it right as Mary's father to
stipulate that his daughter should have a home of her own. Then he
suggested a small house in town, and expressed an opinion that his
daughter should be allowed to live there six months in the year. The
expense of such a sojourn might be in some degree shared by himself if
Lord George would receive him for a month or so in the spring. And so
the thing was settled, Lord George pledging himself that the house
should be taken. The arrangement was distasteful to him in many ways,
but it did not seem to be unreasonable, and he could not oppose it.
Then came the letter from the Marquis. Lord George did not consider
himself bound to speak of that letter to the Dean; but he communicated
the threat to Mary. Mary thought nothing about it, except that her
future brother-in-law must be a very strange man.

During all those three months she strove very hard to be in love, and
sometimes she thought that she had succeeded. In her little way she
studied the man's character, and did all she could to ingratiate
herself with him. Walking seemed to be his chief relaxation, and she
was always ready to walk with him. She tried to make herself believe
that he was profoundly wise. And then, when she failed in other things,
she fell back upon his beauty. Certainly she had never seen a handsomer
face, either on a man's shoulders or in a picture. And so they were

Now I have finished my introduction,--having married my heroine to my
hero,--and have, I hope, instructed my reader as to those hundred and
twenty incidents, of which I spoke--not too tediously. If he will go
back and examine, he will find that they are all there. But perhaps it
will be better for us both that he should be in quiet possession of
them without any such examination.



The married couple passed their honeymoon in Ireland, Lady Brotherton
having a brother, an Irish peer, who lent them for a few months his
house on the Blackwater. The marriage, of course, was celebrated in the
cathedral, and equally of course, the officiating clergymen were the
Dean and Canon Holdenough. On the day before the marriage Lord George
was astonished to find how rich a man was his father-in-law.

"Mary's fortune is her own," he said; "but I should like to give her
something. Perhaps I had better give it to you on her behalf."

Then he shuffled a cheque for a thousand pounds into Lord George's
hands. He moreover gave his daughter a hundred pounds in notes on the
morning of the wedding, and thus acted the part of the benevolent
father and father-in-law to a miracle. It may be acknowledged here that
the receipt of the money removed a heavy weight from Lord George's
heart. He was himself so poor, and at the same time so scrupulous, that
he had lacked funds sufficient for the usual brightness of a wedding
tour. He would not take his mother's money, nor lessen his own small
patrimony; but now it seemed that wealth was showered on him from the

Perhaps a sojourn in Ireland did as well as anything could towards
assisting the young wife in her object of falling in love with her
husband. He would hardly have been a sympathetic companion in
Switzerland or Italy, as he did not care for lakes or mountains. But
Ireland was new to him and new to her, and he was glad to have an
opportunity of seeing something of a people as to whom so little is
really known in England. And at Ballycondra, on the Blackwater, they
were justified in feeling a certain interest in the welfare of the
tenants around them. There was something to be done, and something of
which they could talk. Lord George, who couldn't hunt, and wouldn't
dance, and didn't care for mountains, could enquire with some zeal how
much wages a peasant might earn, and what he would do with it when
earned. It interested him to learn that whereas an English labourer
will certainly eat and drink his wages from week to week,--so that he
could not be trusted to pay any sum half-yearly,--an Irish peasant,
though he be half starving, will save his money for the rent. And Mary,
at his instance, also cared for these things. It was her gift, as with
many women, to be able to care for everything. It was, perhaps, her
misfortune that she was apt to care too much for many things. The
honeymoon in Ireland answered its purpose, and Lady George, when she
came back to Manor Cross, almost thought that she had succeeded. She
was at any rate able to assure her father that she had been as happy as
the day was long, and that he was absolutely--"perfect."

This assurance of perfection the Dean no doubt took at its proper
value. He patted his daughter's cheek as she made it, and kissed her,
and told her that he did not doubt but that with a little care she
might make herself a happy woman. The house in town had already been
taken under his auspices, but of course was not to be inhabited yet.

It was a very small but a very pretty little house, in a quaint little
street called Munster Court, near Storey's Gate, with a couple of
windows looking into St. James's Park. It was now September, and London
for the present was out of the question. Indeed, it had been arranged
that Lord George and his wife should remain at Manor Cross till after
Christmas. But the house had to be furnished, and the Dean evinced his
full understanding of the duties of a father-in-law in such an
emergency. This, indeed, was so much the case that Lord George became a
little uneasy. He had the greater part of the thousand pounds left,
which he insisted on expending,--and thought that that should have
sufficed. But the Dean explained in his most cordial manner,--and no
man's manner could be more cordial than the Dean's,--that Mary's
fortune from Mr. Tallowax had been unexpected, that having had but one
child he intended to do well by her, and that, therefore, he could now
assist in starting her well in life without doing himself a damage. The
house in this way was decorated and furnished, and sundry journeys up
to London served to brighten the autumn which might otherwise have been
dull and tedious.

At this period of her life two things acting together, and both acting
in opposition to her anticipations of life, surprised the young bride
not a little. The one was her father's manner of conversation with her,
and the other was her husband's. The Dean had never been a stern
parent; but he had been a clergyman, and as a clergyman he had
inculcated a certain strictness of life,--a very modified strictness,
indeed, but something more rigid than might have come from him had he
been a lawyer or a country gentleman. Mary had learned that he wished
her to attend the cathedral services, and to interest herself
respecting them, and she had always done so. He had explained to her
that, although he kept a horse for her to ride, he, as the Dean of
Brotherton, did not wish her to be seen in the hunting field. In her
dress, her ornaments, her books, her parties, there had been always
something to mark slightly her clerical belongings. She had never
chafed against this because she loved her father and was naturally
obedient; but she had felt something perhaps of a soft regret. Now her
father, whom she saw very frequently, never spoke to her of any duties.
How should her house be furnished? In what way would she lay herself
out for London society? What enjoyments of life could she best secure?
These seemed to be the matters on which he was most intent. It occurred
to her that when speaking to her of the house in London he never once
asked her what church she would attend; and that when she spoke with
pleasure of being so near the Abbey, he paid little or no attention to
her remark. And then, too, she felt, rather than perceived, that in his
counsels to her he almost intimated that she must have a plan of life
different from her husband's. There were no such instructions given,
but it almost seemed as though this were implied. He took it for
granted that her life was to be gay and bright, though he seemed to
take it also for granted that Lord George did not wish to be gay and

All this surprised her. But it did not perhaps surprise her so much as
the serious view of life which her husband from day to day impressed
upon her. That hero of her early dreams, that man with the light hair
and the dimpled chin, whom she had not as yet quite forgotten, had
never scolded her, had never spoken a serious word to her, and had
always been ready to provide her with amusements that never palled. But
Lord George made out a course of reading for her,--so much for the two
hours after breakfast, so much for the hour before dressing,--so much
for the evening; and also a table of results to be acquired in three
months,--in six months,--and so much by the close of the first year;
and even laid down the sum total of achievements to be produced by a
dozen years of such work! Of course she determined to do as he would
have her do. The great object of her life was to love him; and, of
course, if she really loved him, she would comply with his wishes. She
began her daily hour of Gibbon after breakfast with great zeal. But
there was present to her an idea that if the Gibbon had come from her
father, and the instigations to amuse herself from her husband, it
would have been better.

These things surprised her; but there was another matter that vexed
her. Before she had been six weeks at Manor Cross she found that the
ladies set themselves up as her tutors. It was not the Marchioness who
offended her so much as her three sisters-in-law. The one of the family
whom she had always liked best had been also liked best by Mr.
Holdenough, and had gone to live next door to her father in the Close.
Lady Alice, though perhaps a little tiresome, was always gentle and
good-natured. Her mother-in-law was too much in awe of her own eldest
daughter ever to scold anyone. But Lady Sarah could be very severe; and
Lady Susanna could be very stiff; and Lady Amelia always re-echoed what
her elder sisters said.

Lady Sarah was by far the worst. She was forty years old, and looked as
though she were fifty and wished to be thought sixty. That she was, in
truth, very good, no one either at Manor Cross or in Brotherton or any
of the parishes around ever doubted. She knew every poor woman on the
estate, and had a finger in the making of almost every petticoat worn.
She spent next to nothing on herself, giving away almost all her own
little income. She went to church whatever was the weather. She was
never idle and never wanted to be amused. The place in the carriage
which would naturally have been hers she had always surrendered to one
of her sisters when there had been five ladies at Manor Cross, and now
she surrendered again to her brother's wife. She spent hours daily in
the parish school. She was doctor and surgeon to the poor
people,--never sparing herself. But she was harsh-looking, had a harsh
voice, and was dictatorial. The poor people had become used to her and
liked her ways. The women knew that her stitches never gave way, and
the men had a wholesome confidence in her medicines, her plasters, and
her cookery. But Lady George Germain did not see by what right she was
to be made subject to her sister-in-law's jurisdiction.

Church matters did not go quite on all fours at Manor Cross. The
ladies, as has before been said, were all high, the Marchioness being
the least exigeant in that particular, and Lady Amelia the most so.
Ritual, indeed, was the one point of interest in Lady Amelia's life.
Among them there was assent enough for daily comfort; but Lord George
was in this respect, and in this respect only, a trouble to them. He
never declared himself openly, but it seemed to them that he did not
care much about church at all. He would generally go of a Sunday
morning; but there was a conviction that he did so chiefly to oblige
his mother. Nothing was ever said of this. There was probably present
to the ladies some feeling, not uncommon, that religion is not so
necessary for men as for women. But Lady George was a woman.

And Lady George was also the daughter of a clergyman. There was now a
double connexion between Manor Cross and the Close at Brotherton. Mr.
Canon Holdenough, who was an older man than the Dean, and had been
longer known in the diocese, was a most unexceptional clergyman, rather
high, leaning towards the high and dry, very dignified, and quite as
big a man in Brotherton as the Dean himself. The Dean was, indeed, the
Dean; but Mr. Holdenough was uncle to a baronet, and the Holdenoughs
had been Holdenoughs when the Conqueror came. And then he also had a
private income of his own. Now all this gave to the ladies at Manor
Cross a peculiar right to be great in church matters,--so that Lady
Sarah was able to speak with much authority to Mary when she found that
the bride, though a Dean's daughter, would only go to two services a
week, and would shirk one of them if the weather gave the slightest
colouring of excuse.

"You used to like the cathedral services," Lady Sarah said to her, one
day, when Mary had declined to go to the parish church, to sing the
praises of St. Processus.

"That was because they were cathedral services," said Mary.

"You mean to say that you attended the House of God because the music
was good!" Mary had not thought the subject over sufficiently to be
enabled to say that good music is supplied with the object of drawing
large congregations, so she only shrugged her shoulders. "I, too, like
good music, dear; but I do not think the want of it should keep me from
church." Mary again shrugged her shoulders, remembering, as she did so,
that her sister-in-law did not know one tune from another. Lady Alice
was the only one of the family who had ever studied music.

"Even your papa goes on Saints' days," continued Lady Sarah, conveying
a sneer against the Dean by that word "even."

"Papa is Dean. I suppose he has to go."

"He would not go to church, I suppose, unless he approved of going."

The subject then dropped. Lady George had not yet arrived at that sort
of snarling home intimacy, which would have justified her in telling
Lady Sarah that if she wanted a lesson at all, she would prefer to take
it from her husband.

The poor women's petticoats was another source of trouble. Before the
autumn was over,--by the end of October,--when Mary had been two months
at Manor Cross, she had been got to acknowledge that ladies living in
the country should employ a part of their time in making clothes for
the poor people; and she very soon learned to regret the
acknowledgment. She was quickly driven into a corner by an assertion
from Lady Sarah that, such being the case, the time to be so employed
should be defined. She had intended to make something,--perhaps an
entire petticoat,--at some future time. But Lady Sarah was not going to
put up with conduct such as that. Mary had acknowledged her duty. Did
she mean to perform it, or to neglect it? She made one petticoat, and
then gently appealed to her husband. Did not he think that petticoats
could be bought cheaper than they could be made? He figured it out, and
found that his wife could earn three-halfpence a day by two hours'
work; and even Lady Sarah did not require from her more than two hours
daily. Was it worth while that she should be made miserable for
ninepence a week,--less than £2 a-year? Lady George figured it out
also, and offered the exact sum, £1 19_s._, to Lady Sarah, in order
that she might be let off for the first twelve months. Then Lady Sarah
was full of wrath. Was that the spirit in which offerings were to be
made to the Lord? Mary was asked, with stern indignation, whether in
bestowing the work of her hands upon the people, whether in the very
fact that she was doing for the poor that which was distasteful to
herself, she did not recognise the performance of a duty? Mary
considered a while, and then said that she thought a petticoat was a
petticoat, and that perhaps the one made by the regular petticoat-maker
would be the best. She did not allude to the grand doctrine of the
division of labour, nor did she hint that she might be doing more harm
than good by interfering with regular trade, because she had not
studied those matters. But that was the line of her argument. Lady
Sarah told her that her heart in that matter was as hard as a nether
millstone. The young wife, not liking this, withdrew; and again
appealed to her husband. His mind was divided on the subject. He was
clearly of opinion that the petticoat should be obtained in the
cheapest market, but he doubted much about that three-halfpence in two
hours. It might be that his wife could not do better at present; but
experience would come, and in that case, she would be obtaining
experience as well as earning three-halfpence. And, moreover,
petticoats made at Manor Cross would, he thought, undoubtedly be better
than any that could be bought. He came, however, to no final decision;
and Mary, finding herself every morning sitting in a great petticoat
conclave, hardly had an alternative but to join it.

It was not in any spirit of complaint that she spoke on the subject to
her father as the winter came on. A certain old Miss Tallowax had come
to the deanery, and it had been thought proper that Lady George should
spend a day or two there. Miss Tallowax, also, had money of her own,
and even still owned a share in the business; and the Dean had pointed
out, both to Lord George and his wife, that it would be well that they
should be civil to her. Lord George was to come on the last day, and
dine and sleep at the deanery. On this occasion, when the Dean and his
daughter were alone together, she said something in a playful way about
the great petticoat contest.

"Don't you let those old ladies sit upon you," said the Dean. He smiled
as he spoke, but his daughter well knew, from his tone, that he meant
his advice to be taken seriously.

"Of course, papa, I should like to accommodate myself to them as much
as I can."

"But you can't, my dear. Your manner of life can't be their manner, nor
theirs yours. I should have thought George would see that."

"He didn't take their part, you know."

"Of course he didn't. As a married woman you are entitled to have your
own way, unless he should wish it otherwise. I don't want to make this
matter serious; but if it is pressed, tell them that you do not care to
spend your time in that way. They cling to old fashions. That is
natural enough; but it is absurd to suppose that they should make you
as old-fashioned as themselves."

He had taken the matter up quite seriously, and had given his daughter
advice evidently with the intention that she should profit by it. That
which he had said as to her being a married woman struck her forcibly.
No doubt these ladies at Manor Cross were her superiors in birth; but
she was their brother's wife, and as a married woman had rights of her
own. A little spirit of rebellion already began to kindle itself within
her bosom; but in it there was nothing of mutiny against her husband.
If he were to desire her to make petticoats all day, of course she
would make them; but in this contest he had been, as it were, neutral,
and had certainly given her no orders. She thought a good deal about it
while at the deanery, and made up her mind that she would sit in the
petticoat conclave no longer. It could not be her duty to pass her time
in an employment in which a poor woman might with difficulty earn
sixpence a day. Surely she might do better with her time than that,
even though she should spend it all in reading Gibbon.



There was a dinner-party at the deanery during Miss Tallowax's sojourn
at Brotherton. Mr. Canon Holdenough and Lady Alice were there. The
bishop and his wife had been asked,--a ceremony which was gone through
once a year,--but had been debarred from accepting the invitation by
the presence of clerical guests at the palace. But his lordship's
chaplain, Mr. Groschut, was present. Mr. Groschut also held an honorary
prebendal stall, and was on of the chapter,--a thorn sometimes in the
Dean's side. But appearances were well kept up at Brotherton, and no
one was more anxious that things should be done in a seemly way than
the Dean. Therefore, Mr. Groschut, who was a very low churchman and had
once been a Jew, but who bore a very high character for theological
erudition, was asked to the deanery. There was also one or two other
clergymen there, with their wives, and Mr. and Mrs. Houghton. Mrs.
Houghton, it will be remembered, was the beautiful woman who had
refused to become the wife of Lord George Germain. Before taking this
step, the Dean had been careful to learn whether his son-in-law would
object to meet the Houghtons. Such objection would have been foolish,
as the families had all known each other. Both Mr. De Baron, Mrs.
Houghton's father, and Mr. Houghton himself, had been intimate with the
late marquis, and had been friends of the present lord before he had
quitted the country. A lady when she refuses a gentleman gives no cause
of quarrel. All this the Dean understood; and as he himself had known
both Mr. Houghton and Mr. De Baron ever since he came to Brotherton, he
thought it better that there should be such a meeting. Lord George
blushed up to the roots of his hair, and then said that he should be
very glad to meet the gentleman and his wife.

The two young brides had known each other as girls, and now met with,
at any rate, an appearance of friendship.

"My dear," said Mrs. Houghton, who was about four years the elder, "of
course I know all about it, and so do you. You are an heiress, and
could afford to please yourself. I had nothing of my own, and should
have had to pass all my time at Manor Cross. Are you surprised?"

"Why should I be surprised?" said Lady George, who was, however, very
much surprised at this address.

"Well, you know; he is the handsomest man in England. Everybody allows
that; and, then, such a family--and such possibilities! I was very much
flattered. Of course he had not seen you then, or only seen you as a
child, or I shouldn't have had a chance. It is a great deal better as
it is,--isn't it?"

"I think so, certainly."

"I am so glad to hear that you have a house in town. We go up about the
first of April, when the hunting is over. Mr. Houghton does not ride
much, but he hunts a great deal. We live in Berkeley Square, you know;
and I do so hope we shall see ever so much of you."

"I'm sure I hope so too," said Lady George, who had never hitherto been
very fond of Miss De Baron, and had entertained a vague idea that she
ought to be a little afraid of Mrs. Houghton. But when her father's
guest was so civil to her she did not know how to be other than civil
in return.

"There is no reason why what has passed should make any
awkwardness;--is there?"

"No," said Lady George, feeling that she almost blushed at the allusion
to so delicate a subject.

"Of course not. Why should there? Lord George will soon get used to me,
just as if nothing had happened; and I shall always be ever so fond of
him,--in a way, you know. There shall be nothing to make you jealous."

"I'm not a bit afraid of that," said Lady George, almost too earnestly.

"You need not be, I'm sure. Not but what I do think he was at one time
very--very much attached to me. But it couldn't be. And what's the good
of thinking of such a thing when it can't be? I don't pretend to be
very virtuous, and I like money. Now Mr. Houghton, at any rate, has got
a large income. If I had had your fortune at my own command, I don't
say what I might not have done."

Lady George almost felt that she ought to be offended by all
this,--almost felt that she was disgusted; but, at the same time, she
did not quite understand it. Her father had made a point of asking the
Houghtons, and had told her that of course she would know the Houghtons
up in town. She had an idea that she was very ignorant of the ways of
life; but that now it would behove her, as a married woman, to learn
those ways. Perhaps the free and easy mode of talking was the right
thing. She did not like being told by another lady that that other lady
would have married her own husband, only that he was a pauper; and the
offence of all this seemed to be the greater because it was all so
recent. She didn't like being told that she was not to be jealous,
especially when she remembered that her husband had been desperately in
love with the lady who told her so not many months ago. But she was not
jealous, and was quite sure she never would be jealous; and, perhaps,
it did not matter. All this had occurred in the drawing-room before
dinner. Then Mr. Houghton came up to her, telling that he had been
commissioned by the Dean to have the honour of taking her down to
dinner. Having made his little speech, Mr. Houghton retired,--as
gentlemen generally do retire when in that position.

"Be as nice as you can to him," said Mrs. Houghton. "He hasn't much to
say for himself, but he isn't half a bad fellow; and a pretty woman
like you can do what she likes with him."

Lady George, as she went down to dinner, assured herself that she had
no slightest wish to take any unfair advantage of Mr. Houghton.

Lord George had taken down Miss Tallowax, the Dean having been very
wise in this matter; and Miss Tallowax was in a seventh heaven of
happiness. Miss Tallowax, though she had made no promises, was quite
prepared to do great things for her noble connexions, if her noble
connexions would treat her properly. She had already made half-a-dozen
wills, and was quite ready to make another, if Lord George would be
civil to her. The Dean was in his heart a little ashamed of his aunt;
but he was man enough to be able to bear her eccentricities without
showing his vexation, and sufficiently wise to know that more was to be
won than lost by the relationship.

"The best woman in the world," he had said to Lord George beforehand,
speaking of his aunt; "but, of course, you will remember that she was
not brought up as a lady."

Lord George, with stately urbanity, had signified his intention of
treating Miss Tallowax with every consideration.

"She has thirty thousand pounds at her own disposal," continued the
Dean. "I have never said a word to her about money, but, upon my
honour, I think she likes Mary better than any one else. It's worth
bearing in mind, you know."

Lord George smiled again in a stately manner,--perhaps showing
something of displeasure in his smile. But, nevertheless, he was well
aware that it was worth his while to bear Miss Tallowax and her money
in his mind.

"My lord," said Miss Tallowax, "I hope you will allow me to say how
much honoured we all feel by Mary's proud position." Lord George bowed
and smiled, and led the lady into the deanery dining-room. Words did
not come easily to him, and he hardly knew how to answer the lady. "Of
course, it's a great thing for people such as us," continued Miss
Tallowax, "to be connected with the family of a Marquis." Again Lord
George bowed. This was very bad, indeed,--a great deal worse than he
had anticipated from the aunt of so courtly a man as his father-in-law,
the Dean. The lady looked to be about sixty; very small, very healthy,
with streaky red cheeks, small grey eyes, and a brown front. Then came
upon him an idea, that it would be a very long time before the thirty
thousand pounds, or any part of it, would come to him. And then there
came to him another idea, that as he had married the Dean's daughter,
it was his duty to behave well to the Dean's aunt, even though the
money should never come to him. He therefore told Miss Tallowax that
his mother hoped to have the pleasure of seeing her at Manor Cross
before she left Brotherton. Miss Tallowax almost got out of her seat,
as she curtseyed with her head and shoulders to this proposition.

The Dean was a very good man at the head of his own dinner-table, and
the party went off pleasantly in spite of sundry attempts at clerical
pugnacity made by Mr. Groschut. Every man and every beast has his own
weapon. The wolf fights with his tooth, the bull with his horn, and Mr.
Groschut always fought with his bishop,--so taught by inner instinct.
The bishop, according to Mr. Groschut, was inclined to think that this
and that might be done. That such a change might be advantageously made
in reference to certain clerical meetings, and that the hilarity of the
diocese might be enhanced by certain evangelical festivities. These
remarks were generally addressed to Mr. Canon Holdenough, who made
almost no reply to them. But the Dean was, on each occasion, prepared
with some civil answer, which, while it was an answer, would still seem
to change the conversation. It was a law in the Close that Bishop
Barton should be never allowed to interfere with the affairs of
Brotherton Cathedral; and if not the bishop, certainly not the bishop's
chaplain. Though the Canon and the Dean did not go altogether on all
fours in reference to clerical affairs generally they were both agreed
on this point. But the Chaplain, who knew the condition of affairs as
well as they did, thought the law a bad law, and was determined to
abolish it. "It certainly would be very pleasant, Mr. Holdenough, if we
could have such a meeting within the confines of the Close. I don't
mean to-day, and I don't mean to-morrow; but we might think of it. The
bishop, who has the greatest love for the cathedral services, is very
much of that mind."

"I do not know that I care very much for any out-of-door gatherings,"
said the Canon.

"But why out of doors?" asked the Chaplain.

"Whatever meeting there is to be in the Close, will, I hope, be held in
the deanery," said the Dean; "but of all meetings, I must say that I
like meetings such as this, the best. Germain, will you pass the
bottle?" When they were alone together he always called his son-in-law,
George; but in company he dropped the more familiar name.

Mr. De Baron, Mrs. Houghton's father, liked his joke. "Sporting men,"
he said, "always go to a meet, and clerical men to a meeting. What's
the difference?"

"A good deal, if it is in the colour of the coat," said the Dean.

"The one is always under cover," said the Canon. "The other, I believe,
is generally held out of doors."

"There is, I fancy, a considerable resemblance in the energy of those
who are brought together," said the Chaplain.

"But clergymen ain't allowed to hunt, are they?" said Mr. Houghton,
who, as usual, was a little in the dark as to the subject under

"What's to prevent them?" asked the Canon, who had never been out
hunting in his life, and who certainly would have advised a young
clergyman to abstain from the sport. But in asking the question, he was
enabled to strike a sidelong blow at the objectionable chaplain, by
seeming to question the bishop's authority.

"Their own conscience, I should hope," said the Chaplain, solemnly,
thereby parrying the blow successfully.

"I am very glad, then," said Mr. Houghton, "that I didn't go into the
Church." To be thought a real hunting man was the great object of Mr.
Houghton's ambition.

"I am afraid you would hardly have suited us, Houghton," said the Dean.
"Come, shall we go up to the ladies?"

In the drawing-room, after a little while, Lord George found himself
seated next to Mrs. Houghton--Adelaide De Baron, as she had been when
he had sighed in vain at her feet. How it had come to pass that he was
sitting there he did not know, but he was quite sure that it had come
to pass by no arrangement contrived by himself. He had looked at her
once since he had been in the room, almost blushing as he did so, and
had told himself that she was certainly very beautiful. He almost
thought that she was more beautiful than his wife; but he knew,--he
knew now,--that her beauty and her manners were not as well suited to
him as those of the sweet creature whom he had married. And now he was
once more seated close to her, and it was incumbent on him to speak to
her. "I hope," she said, almost in a whisper, but still not seeming to
whisper, "that we have both become very happy since we met last."

"I hope so, indeed," said he.

"There cannot, at least, be any doubt as to you, Lord George. I never
knew a sweeter young girl than Mary Lovelace; so pretty, so innocent,
and so enthusiastic. I am but a poor worldly creature compared to her."

"She is all that you say, Mrs. Houghton." Lord George also was
displeased,--more thoroughly displeased than had been his wife. But he
did not know how to show his displeasure; and though he felt it, he
still felt, also, the old influence of the woman's beauty.

"I am so delighted to have heard that you have got a house in Munster
Court. I hope that Lady George and I may be fast friends. Indeed, I
won't call her Lady George; for she was Mary to me before we either of
us thought of getting husbands for ourselves." This was not strictly
true, but of that Lord George could know nothing. "And I do hope,--may
I hope,--that you will call on me?"

"Certainly I will do so."

"It will add so much to the happiness of my life, if you will allow me
to feel that all that has come and gone has not broken the friendship
between us."

"Certainly not," said Lord George.

The lady had then said all that she had got to say, and changed her
position as silently as she had occupied it. There was no abruptness of
motion, and yet Lord George saw her talking to her husband at the other
side of the room, almost while his own words were still sounding in his
own ears. Then he watched her for the next few minutes. Certainly, she
was very beautiful. There was no room for comparison, they were so
unlike; otherwise, he would have been disposed to say that Adelaide was
the more beautiful. But Adelaide certainly would not have suited the
air of Manor Cross, or have associated well with Lady Sarah.

On the next day the Marchioness and Ladies Susannah and Amelia drove
over to the deanery in great state, to call on Miss Tallowax, and to
take Lady George back to Manor Cross. Miss Tallowax enjoyed the company
of the Marchioness greatly. She had never seen a lady of that rank
before. "Only think how I must feel," she said to her niece, that
morning, "I, that never spoke to any one above a baronet's lady in my

"I don't think you'll find much difference," said Mary.

"You're used to it. You're one of them yourself. You're above a
baronet's lady,--ain't you, my dear?"

"I have hardly looked into all that as yet, aunt." There must surely
have been a little fib in this, or the Dean's daughter must have been
very much unlike other young ladies.

"I suppose I ought to be afraid of you, my dear; only you are so nice
and so pretty. And as for Lord George, he was quite condescending."
Lady George knew that praise was intended, and therefore made no
objection to the otherwise objectionable epithet.

The visit of the Marchioness was passed over with the less disturbance
to Miss Tallowax because it was arranged that she was to be taken over
to lunch at Manor Cross on the following day. Lord George had said a
word, and Lady Sarah had consented, though, as a rule, Lady Sarah did
not like the company of vulgar people. The peasants of the parish, down
to the very poorest of the poor, were her daily companions. With them
she would spend hours, feeling no inconvenience from their language or
habits. But she did not like gentlefolk who were not gentle. In days
now long gone by, she had only assented to the Dean, because holy
orders are supposed to make a gentleman; for she would acknowledge a
bishop to be as grand a nobleman as any, though he might have been born
the son of a butcher. But nobility and gentry cannot travel backwards,
and she had been in doubt about Miss Tallowax. But even with the Lady
Sarah a feeling has made its way which teaches them to know that they
must submit to some changes. The thing was to be regretted, but Lady
Sarah knew that she was not strong enough to stand quite alone. "You
know she is very rich," the Marchioness had said in a whisper; "and if
Brotherton marries, your poor brother will want it so badly."

"That ought not to make any difference, mamma," said Lady Sarah.
Whether it did make any difference or not, Lady Sarah herself probably
hardly knew; but she did consent to the asking of Miss Tallowax to
lunch at Manor Cross.



The Dean took his aunt over to Manor Cross in his brougham. The Dean's
brougham was the neatest carriage in Brotherton, very much more so than
the bishop's family carriage. It was, no doubt, generally to be seen
with only one horse; and neither the bishop or Mrs. Barton ever stirred
without two; but then one horse is enough for town work, and that one
horse could lift his legs and make himself conspicuous in a manner of
which the bishop's rather sorry jades knew nothing. On this occasion,
as the journey was long, there were two horses--hired; but,
nevertheless, the brougham looked very well as it came up the long
Manor Cross avenue. Miss Tallowax became rather frightened as she drew
near to the scene of her coming grandeur.

"Henry," she said to her nephew, "they will think so little of me."

"My dear aunt," replied the Dean, "in these days a lady who has plenty
of money of her own can hold her head up anywhere. The dear old
marchioness will think quite as much of you as you do of her."

What perhaps struck Miss Tallowax most at the first moment was the
plainness of the ladies' dresses. She, herself, was rather gorgeous in
a shot-silk gown and a fashionable bonnet crowded with flowers. She had
been ashamed of the splendour of the article as she put it on, and yet
had been ashamed also of her ordinary daily head gear. But when she saw
the Marchioness, and especially when she saw Lady Sarah, who was
altogether strange to her, she wished that she had come in her
customary black gown. She had heard something about Lady Sarah from her
niece, and had conceived an idea that Lady Sarah was the dragon of the
family. But when she saw a little woman, looking almost as old as
herself,--though in truth the one might have been the other's
mother,--dressed in an old brown merino, with the slightest morsel of
white collar to be seen round her neck, she began to hope that the
dragon would not be very fierce.

"I hope you like Brotherton, Miss Tallowax," said Lady Sarah. "I think
I have heard that you were here once before."

"I like Brotherton very much, my lady." Lady Sarah smiled as graciously
as she knew how. "I came when they first made Henry dean, a long time
ago now it seems. But he had not then the honour of knowing your mamma
or the family."

"It wasn't long before we did know him," said the Marchioness. Then
Miss Tallowax turned round and again curtseyed with her head and

The Dean at this moment was not in the room, having been withdrawn from
the ladies by his son-in-law at the front door; but as luncheon was
announced, the two men came in. Lord George gave his arm to his wife's
great aunt, and the Dean followed with the Marchioness.

"I really am a'most ashamed to walk out before her ladyship," said Miss
Tallowax, with a slight attempt at laughing at her own ignorance.

But Lord George rarely laughed at anything, and certainly did not know
how to treat pleasantly such a subject as this. "It's quite customary,"
he said very gravely.

The lunch was much more tremendous to Miss Tallowax than had been the
dinner at the deanery. Though she was ignorant,--ignorant at any rate
of the ways of such people as those with whom she was now
consorting,--she was by no means a stupid old woman. She was soon able
to perceive that in spite of the old merino gown, it was Lady Sarah's
spirit that quelled them all. At first there was very little
conversation. Lord George did not speak a word. The Marchioness never
exerted herself. Poor Mary was cowed and unhappy. The Dean made one or
two little efforts, but without much success. Lady Sarah was intent
upon her mutton chop, which she finished to the last shred, turning it
over and over in her plate so that it should be economically disposed
of, looking at it very closely because she was short-sighted. But when
the mutton chop had finally done its duty, she looked up from her plate
and gave evident signs that she intended to take upon herself the
weight of the conversation. All the subsequent ceremonies of the lunch
itself, the little tarts and the jelly, and the custard pudding, she
despised altogether, regarding them as wicked additions. One pudding
after dinner she would have allowed, but nothing more of that sort. It
might be all very well for parvenu millionaires to have two grand
dinners a-day, but it could not be necessary that the Germains should
live in that way, even when the Dean of Brotherton and his aunt came to
lunch with them.

"I hope you like this part of the country, Miss Tallowax," she said, as
soon as she had deposited her knife and fork over the bone.

"Manor Cross is quite splendid, my lady," said Miss Tallowax.

"It is an old house, and we shall have great pleasure in showing you
what the people call the state rooms. We never use them. Of course you
know the house belongs to my brother, and we only live here because it
suits him to stay in Italy."

"That's the young Marquis, my lady?"

"Yes; my elder brother is Marquis of Brotherton, but I cannot say that
he is very young. He is two years my senior, and ten years older than

"But I think he's not married yet?" asked Miss Tallowax.

The question was felt to be disagreeable by them all. Poor Mary could
not keep herself from blushing, as she remembered how much to her might
depend on this question of her brother-in-law's marriage. Lord George
felt that the old lady was enquiring what chance there might be that
her grand niece should ever become a marchioness. Old Lady Brotherton,
who had always been anxious that her elder son should marry, felt
uncomfortable, as did also the Dean, conscious that all there must be
conscious how important must be the matter to him.

"No," said Lady Sarah, with stately gravity; "my elder brother is not
yet married. If you would like to see the rooms, Miss Tallowax, I shall
have pleasure in showing you the way."

The Dean had seen the rooms before, and remained with the old lady.
Lord George, who thought very much of everything affecting his own
family, joined the party, and Mary felt herself compelled to follow her
husband and her aunt. The two younger sisters also accompanied Lady

"This is the room in which Queen Elizabeth slept," said Lady Sarah,
entering a large chamber on the ground floor, in which there was a
four-post bedstead, almost as high as the ceiling, and looking as
though no human body had profaned it for the last three centuries.

"Dear me," said Miss Tallowax, almost afraid to press such sacred
boards with her feet. "Queen Elizabeth! Did she really now?"

"Some people say she never did actually come to Manor Cross at all,"
said the conscientious Lady Amelia; "but there is no doubt that the
room was prepared for her."

"Laws!" said Miss Tallowax, who began to be less afraid of distant
royalty now that a doubt was cast on its absolute presence.

"Examining the evidence as closely as we can," said Lady Sarah, with a
savage glance at her sister, "I am inclined to think that she certainly
did come. We know that she was at Brotherton in 1582, and there exists
the letter in which Sir Humphrey Germaine, as he was then, is desired
to prepare rooms for her. I myself have no doubt on the subject."

"After all it does not make much difference," said Mary.

"I think it makes all the difference in the world," said Lady Susanna.
"That piece of furniture will always be sacred to me, because I
believe it did once afford rest and sleep to the gracious majesty of

"It do make a difference, certainly," said Miss Tallowax, looking at
the bed with all her eyes. "Does anybody ever go to bed here now?"

"Nobody, ever," said Lady Sarah. "Now we will go through to the great
dining hall. That's the portrait of the first earl."

"Painted by Kneller," said Lady Amelia, proudly.

"Oh, indeed," said Miss Tallowax.

"There is some doubt as to that," said Lady Sarah. "I have found out
that Sir Godfrey Kneller was only born in 1648, and as the first earl
died a year or two after the restoration, I don't know that he could
have done it."

"It was always said that it was painted by Kneller," said Lady Amelia.

"There has been a mistake, I fear," said Lady Sarah.

"Oh, indeed," said Miss Tallowax, looking up with intense admiration at
a very ill-drawn old gentleman in armour. Then they entered the state
dining-room or hall, and Miss Tallowax was informed that the room had
not been used for any purpose whatever for very many years. "And such a
beautiful room!" said Miss Tallowax, with much regret.

"The fact is, I believe, that the chimney smokes horribly," said Lord

"I never remember a fire here," said Lady Sarah. "In very cold weather
we have a portable stove brought in, just to preserve the furniture.
This is called the old ball room."

"Dear me!" ejaculated Miss Tallowax, looking round at the faded yellow

"We did have a ball here once," said Lady Amelia, "when Brotherton came
of age. I can just remember it."

"Has it never been used since?" asked Mary.

"Never," said Lady Sarah. "Sometimes when it's rainy we walk up and
down for exercise. It is a fine old house, but I often wish that it
were smaller. I don't think people want rooms of this sort now as much
as they used to do. Perhaps a time may come when my brother will make
Manor Cross gay again, but it is not very gay now. I think that is all,
Miss Tallowax."

"It's very fine;--very fine indeed," said Miss Tallowax, shivering.
Then they all trooped back into the morning room which they used for
their daily life.

The old lady when she had got back into the brougham with her nephew,
the Dean, was able to express her mind freely. "I wouldn't live in that
house, Henry, not if they was to give it me for nothing."

"They'd have to give you something to keep it up with."

"And not then, neither. Of course it's all very well having a bed that
Queen Elizabeth slept in."

"Or didn't sleep in."

"I'd teach myself to believe she did. But dear me, that isn't
everything. It nearly gave me the horrors to look at it. Room after
room,--room after room,--and nobody living in any of them."

"People can't live in more than a certain number of rooms at once,

"Then what's the use of having them? And don't you think for the
daughters of a Marchioness they are a little what you'd call--dowdy?"

"They don't go in for dress much."

"Why, my Jemima at home, when the dirty work is done, is twice smarter
than Lady Sarah. And, Henry,--don't you think they're a little hard
upon Mary?"

"Hard upon her;--how?" The Dean had listened to the old woman's
previous criticisms with a smile; but now he was interested and turned
sharply round to her. "How hard?"

"Moping her up there among themselves; and it seemed to me they snubbed
her whenever she spoke." The Dean had not wanted his aunt's observation
to make him feel this. The tone of every syllable addressed to his girl
had caught his ear. He had been pleased to marry her into so good a
family. He had been delighted to think that by means of his prosperity
in the world his father's grand-daughter might probably become a
peeress. But he certainly had not intended that even for such a reward
as that his daughter should become submissive to the old maids at Manor
Cross. Foreseeing something of this he had stipulated that she should
have a house of her own in London; but half her time would probably be
spent in the country, and with reference to that half of her time it
would be necessary that she should be made to understand that as the
wife of Lord George she was in no respect inferior to his sisters, and
that in some respects she was their superior. "I don't see the good of
living in a big house," continued Miss Tallowax, "if all the time
everything is to be as dull as dull."

"They are older than she is, you know."

"Poor little dear! I always did say that young folk should have young
folk about 'em. Of course it's a great thing for her to have a lord for
her husband. But he looks a'most too old himself for such a pretty
darling as your Mary."

"He's only thirty-three."

"It's in the looks, I suppose, because he's so grand. But it's that
Lady Sarah puzzles me. It isn't in her looks, and yet she has it all
her in own way. Well;--I liked going there, and I'm glad I've been; but
I don't know as I shall ever want to go again." Then there was silence
for some time; but as the brougham was driven into Brotherton Miss
Tallowax spoke again. "I don't suppose an old woman like me can ever be
of any use, and you'll always be at hand to look after her. But if ever
she should want an outing, just to raise her spirits, old as I am, I
think I could make it brighter for her than it is there." The Dean took
her hand and pressed it, and then there was no more said.

When the brougham was driven away Lord George took his wife for a walk
in the park. She was still struggling hard to be in love with him,
never owning failure to herself, and sometimes assuring herself that
she had succeeded altogether. Now, when he asked her to come with him,
she put on her hat joyfully, and joined her hands over his arm as she
walked away with him into the shrubbery.

"She's a wonderful old woman;--is not she, George?"

"Not very wonderful."

"Of course you think she's vulgar."

"I didn't say so."

"No; you're too good to say so, because she's papa's aunt. But she's
very good. Don't you think she's very good?"

"I dare say she is. I don't know that I run into superlatives quite so
much as you do."

"She has brought me such a handsome present. I could not show it you
before them all just now, and it only came down from London this
morning. She did not say a word about it before. Look here." Then she
slipped her glove off and showed him a diamond ring.

"You should not wear that out of doors."

"I only put it on to show you. Wasn't it good of her? 'Young people of
rank ought to wear nice things,' she said, as she gave it me. Wasn't it
an odd thing for her to say? and yet I understood her." Lord George
frowned, thinking that he also understood the old woman's words, and
reminding himself that the ladies of rank at Manor Cross never did wear
nice things. "Don't you think it was nice?"

"Of course she is entitled to make you a present if she pleases."

"It pleased me, George."

"I dare say, and as it doesn't displease me all is well. You, however,
have quite sense enough to understand, that in this house more is
thought of--of--of--" he would have said blood, but that he did not
wish to hurt her,--"more is thought of personal good conduct than of
rings and jewels."

"Rings and jewels, and--personal conduct may go together; mayn't they?"

"Of course they may."

"And very often do. You won't think my--personal conduct--will be
injured because I wear my aunt's ring?"

When Lord George made his allusion to personal conduct one of her two
hands dropped from his arm, and now, as she repeated the words, there
was a little sting of sarcasm in her voice.

"I was intending to answer your aunt's opinion that young people ought
to wear nice things. No doubt there is at present a great rage for rich
ornaments and costly dress, and it was of these she was thinking when
she spoke of nice things. When I spoke of personal conduct being more
thought of here, I intended to imply that you had come into a family
not given to rich ornaments and costly dress. My sisters feel that
their portion in this world is assured to them without such outward
badges, and wish that you should share the feeling."

This was a regular sermon, and to Mary's thinking was very
disagreeable, and not at all deserved. Did her husband really mean to
tell her that, because his sisters chose to dress themselves down in
the country like dowdy old maids whom the world had deserted, she was
to do the same up in London? The injustice of this on all sides struck
home to her at the moment. They were old and she was young. They were
plain; she was pretty. They were poor; she was rich. They didn't feel
any wish to make themselves what she called "nice." She did feel a very
strong wish in that direction. They were old maids; she was a young
bride. And then what right had they to domineer over her, and to send
word to her through her husband of their wishes as to her manner of
dressing? She said nothing at the moment; but she became red, and began
to feel that she had power within her to rebel at any rate against her
sisters-in-law. There was silence for a moment or so, and then Lord
George reverted to the subject.

"I hope you can sympathise with my sisters," he said. He had felt that
the hand had been dropped, and had understood something of the reason.

She wished to rebel against them, but by no means wished to oppose him.
She was aware, as though by instinct, that her life would be very bad
indeed should she fail to sympathise with him. It was still the
all-paramount desire of her heart to be in love with him. But she could
not bring herself to say that she sympathised with them in this direct
attack that was made on her own mode of thought.

"Of course, they are a little older than I am," she said, hoping to get
out of the difficulty.

"And therefore, the more entitled to consideration. I think you will
own that they must know what is, and what is not, becoming to a lady."

"Do you mean," said she, hardly able to choke a rising sob, "that
they--have anything--to find fault with in me?"

"I have said nothing as to finding fault, Mary."

"Do they think that I do not dress as I ought to do?"

"Why should you ask such a question as that?"

"I don't know what else I am to understand, George. Of course I will
do anything that you tell me. If you wish me to make any change, I will
make it. But I hope they won't send me messages through you."

"I thought you would have been glad to know that they interested
themselves about you." In answer to this Mary pouted, but her husband
did not see the pout.

"Of course they are anxious that you should become one of them. We are
a very united family. I do not speak now of my elder brother, who is in
a great measure separated from us and is of a different nature. But my
mother, my sisters, and I, have very many opinions in common. We live
together, and have the same way of thinking. Our rank is high, and our
means are small. But to me blood is much more than wealth. We
acknowledge, however, that rank demands many sacrifices, and my sisters
endeavour to make those sacrifices most conscientiously. A woman more
thoroughly devoted to good works than Sarah I have never even read of.
If you will believe this, you will understand what they mean, and what
I mean, when we say that here at Manor Cross we think more of personal
conduct than of rings and jewels. You wish, Mary, to be one of us; do
you not?"

She paused for a moment, and then she answered, "I wish to be always
one with you."

He almost wanted to be angry at this, but it was impossible. "To be one
with me, dearest," he said, "you must be one, also, with them."

"I cannot love them as I do you, George. That, I am sure, is not the
meaning of being married." Then she thought of it all steadily for a
minute, and after that, made a further speech. "And I don't think I can
quite dress like them. I'm sure you would not like it if I did."

As she said this she put her second hand back upon his arm.

He said nothing further on the subject till he had brought her back to
the house, walking along by her side almost mute, not quite knowing
whether he ought to be offended with her or to take her part. It was
true that he would not have liked her to look like Lady Sarah, but he
would have liked her to make some approach in that direction,
sufficient to show submission. He was already beginning to fear the
absence of all control which would befall his young wife in that London
life to which, she was to be so soon introduced, and was meditating
whether he could not induce one of his sisters to accompany them. As to
Sarah he was almost hopeless. Amelia would be of little or no service,
though she would be more likely to ingratiate herself with his wife
than the others. Susanna was less strong than Sarah and less amiable
than Amelia. And then, how would it be if Mary were to declare that she
would rather begin the campaign without any of them?

The young wife, as soon as she found herself alone in her own bedroom,
sat down and resolved that she would never allow herself to be
domineered by her husband's sisters. She would be submissive to him in
all things, but his authority should not be delegated to them.



About the middle of October, there came a letter from the Marquis of
Brotherton to his brother, which startled them all at Manor Cross very
much indeed. In answering Lord George's communication as to the
marriage, the Marquis had been mysterious and disagreeable;--but then
he was always disagreeable and would on occasions take the trouble to
be mysterious also. He had warned his brother that he might himself
want the house at Manor Cross; but he had said the same thing
frequently during his residence in Italy, being always careful to make
his mother and sisters understand that they might have to take
themselves away any day at a very short warning. But now the short
warning had absolutely come, and had come in such a shape as to upset
everything at Manor Cross, and to upset many things at the Brotherton
Deanery. The letter was as follows:--

     "My dear George,

     "I am to be married to the Marchesa Luigi. Her name is Catarina
     Luigi, and she is a widow. As to her age, you can ask herself when
     you see her, if you dare. I haven't dared. I suppose her to be ten
     years younger than myself. I did not expect that it would be so,
     but she says now that she would like to live in England. Of course
     I've always meant to go back myself some day. I don't suppose we
     shall be there before May, but we must have the house got ready.
     My mother and the girls had better look out for a place as soon as
     they can. Tell my mother of course I will allow her the rent of
     Cross Hall, to which indeed she is entitled. I don't think she
     would care to live there, and neither she nor the girls would get
     on with my wife.

     "Yours, B.

     "I am waiting to know about getting the house painted and

When Lord George received this letter, he showed it first in privacy to
his sister Sarah. As the reader will have understood, there had never
been any close family affection between the present Marquis and his
brothers and sisters; nor had he been a loving son to his mother. But
the family at Manor Cross had always endeavoured to maintain a show of
regard for the head of the family, and the old Marchioness would no
doubt have been delighted had her eldest son come home and married an
English wife. Lady Sarah, in performing what she had considered to be a
family duty, had written regular despatches to her elder brother,
telling him everything that happened about the place,--despatches which
he, probably, never read. Now there had come a blow indeed. Lady Sarah
read the letter, and then looked into her brother's face.

"Have you told Mary?" she asked.

"I have told no one."

"It concerns her as much as any of us. Of course, if he has married, it
is right that he should have his house. We ought to wish that he should
live hero."

"If he were different from what he is," said Lord George.

"If she is good it may be that he will become different. It is not the
thing, but the manner in which he tells it to us! Did you ever hear her
name before?"


"What a way he has of mentioning her;--about her age," said Lady Sarah,
infinitely shocked. "Well! Mamma must be told, of course. Why shouldn't
we live at Cross Hall? I don't understand what he means about that.
Cross Hall belongs to mamma for her life, as much as Manor Cross does
to him for his."

Just outside the park gate, at the side of the park furthest away from
Brotherton, and therefore placed very much out of the world, there
stood a plain substantial house built in the days of Queen Anne, which
had now for some generations been the habitation of the dowager of the
Brotherton family. When the late marquis died, this had become for her
life the property of the Marchioness; but had been ceded by her to her
son, in return for the loan of the big house. The absentee Marquis had
made with his mother the best bargain in his power, and had let the
dower house, known as Cross Hall, to a sporting farmer. He now kindly
offered to allow his mother to have the rent of her own house,
signifying at the same time his wish that all his family should remove
themselves out of his way.

"He wishes that we should take ourselves off," said Lord George,

"But I do not see why we are to give way to his wishes. George, where
are we to go? Of what use can we be in a strange country? Wherever we
are we shall be very poor, but our money will go further here than
elsewhere. How are we to get up new interests in life? The land is his,
but the poor people belong to us as much as to him. It is

"It is frightfully selfish."

"I for one am not prepared to obey him in this," said Lady Sarah. "Of
course mamma will do as she pleases, but I do not see why we should go.
He will never live here all the year through."

"He will be sick of it after a month. Will you read the letter to my

"I will tell her, George. She had better not see the letter, unless she
makes a point of it. I will read it again, and then do you keep it. You
should tell Mary at once. It is natural that she should have built
hopes on the improbability of Brotherton's marriage."

Before noon on that day the news had been disseminated through the
house. The old Marchioness, when she first heard of the Italian wife,
went into hysterics, and then was partly comforted by reminding herself
that all Italians were not necessarily bad. She asked after the letter
repeatedly; and at last, when it was found to be impossible to explain
to her otherwise what her eldest son meant about the houses, it was
shown to her. Then she began to weep afresh.

"Why mayn't we live at Cross Hall, Sarah?" she said.

"Cross Hall belongs to you, mamma, and nothing can hinder you from
living there."

"But Augustus says that we are to go away."

The Marchioness was the only one of the family who ever called the
Marquis by his Christian name, and she did so only when she was much

"No doubt he expresses a wish that we should do so?"

"Where are we to go to, and I at my age?"

"I think you should live at Cross Hall."

"But he says that we mayn't. We could never go on there if he wants us
to go away."

"Why not, mamma? It is your house as much as this is his. If you will
let him understand that when you leave this you mean to go there, he
will probably say nothing more about it."

"Mr. Price is living there. I can't make Mr. Price go away directly the
painter people come in here. They'll come to-morrow, perhaps, and what
am I to do then?"

The matter was discussed throughout the whole day between Lady Sarah
and her mother, the former bearing the old woman's plaintive weakness
with the utmost patience, and almost succeeding, before the evening
came, in inducing her mother to agree to rebel against the tyranny of
her son. There were peculiar difficulties and peculiar hardships in the
case. The Marquis could turn out all the women of his family at a day's
notice. He had only to say to them, "Go!" and they must be gone. And he
could be rid of them without even saying or writing another word. A
host of tradesmen would come, and then of course they must go. But Mr.
Price at Cross Hall must have a regular year's notice, and that notice
could not now be given till Lady-day next.

"If the worst comes to the worst, mamma we will go and live in
Brotherton for the time. Mr. Holdenough or the Dean would find some
place for us." Then the old lady began to ask how Mary had borne the
news; but as yet Lady Sarah had not been able to interest herself
personally about Mary.

Lord George was surprised to find how little his wife was affected by
the terrible thunderbolt which had fallen among them. On him the blow
had been almost as terrible as on his mother. He had taken a house in
town, at the instance of the Dean, and in consequence of a promise made
before his marriage, which was sacred to him but which he regretted. He
would have preferred himself to live the whole year through at Manor
Cross. Though he had not very much to do there the place was never dull
to him. He liked the association of the big house. He liked the sombre
grandeur of the park. He liked the magistrates' bench, though he rarely
spoke a word when he was there. And he liked the thorough economy of
the life. But as to that house in town, though his wife's fortune would
enable him to live there four or five months, he knew that he could not
stretch the income so as to bear the expense of the entire year. And
yet, what must he do now? If he could abandon the house in town, then
he could join his mother as to some new country house. But he did not
dare to suggest that the house in town should be abandoned. He was
afraid of the Dean, and afraid, so to say, of his own promise. The
thing had been stipulated, and he did not know how to go back from the

"Going to leave Manor Cross," said Mary, when she was told. "Dear me;
how odd. Where will they go to?"

It was evident to her husband from the tone of her voice that she
regarded her own house in Munster Court, for it was her own, as her
future residence,--as hers and his. In asking where "they" would live,
she spoke of the other ladies of the family. He had expected that she
would have shown some disappointment at the danger to her future
position which this new marriage would produce. But in regard to that
she was, he thought, either perfectly indifferent, or else a very good
actor. In truth, she was almost indifferent. The idea that she might
some day be Lady Brotherton had been something to her, but not much.
Her happiness was not nearly as much disturbed by this marriage as it
had been by the allusion made to her dress. She herself could hardly
understand the terrible gloom which seemed during that evening and the
whole of the next day to have fallen on the entire family.

"George, does it make you very unhappy?" she said, whispering to him on
the morning of the second day.

"Not that my brother should marry," he said, "God forbid that I, as a
younger brother, should wish to debar him from any tittle of what
belongs to him. If he would marry well it ought to be a joy to us all."

"Is not this marrying well?"

"What, with a foreigner; with an Italian widow? And then there will, I
fear, be great trouble in finding a comfortable home for my mother."

"Amelia says she can go to Cross Hall."

"Amelia does not know what she is talking of. It would be very long
before they could get into Cross Hall, even if they can go there at
all. It would have to be completely furnished, and there is no money to
furnish it."

"Wouldn't your brother----?" Lord George shook his head. "Or papa."
Lord George again shook his head--"What will they do?"

"If it were not for our house in London we might take a place in the
country together," said Lord George.

All the various facts of the proposition now made to her flashed upon
Mary's mind at once. Had it been suggested to her, when she was first
asked to marry Lord George, that she should live permanently in a
country house with his mother and sisters, in a house of which she
would not be and could not be the mistress, she would certainly have
rejected the offer. And now the tedium of such a life was plainer to
her than it would have been then. But, under her father's auspices, a
pleasant, gay little house in town had been taken for her, and she had
been able to gild the dullness of Manor Cross with the brightness of
her future prospects. For four or five months she would be her own
mistress, and would be so in London. Her husband would be living on her
money, but it would be the delight of her heart that he should be happy
while doing so. And all this must be safe and wise, because it was to
be done under the advice of her father. Now it was proposed to her that
she should abandon all this and live in some smaller, poorer, duller
country residence, in which she would be the least of the family
instead of the mistress of her own house. She thought of it all for a
moment, and then she answered him with a firm voice.

"If you wish to give up the house in London we will do so."

"It would distress you I fear." When we call on our friends to
sacrifice themselves, we generally wish them also to declare that they
like being sacrificed.

"I should be disappointed of course, George."

"And it would be unjust," said he.

"If you wish it I will not say a word against it."

On that afternoon he rode into Brotherton to tell the tidings to the
Dean. Upon whatever they might among them decide, it was expedient that
the Dean should be at once told of the marriage. Lord George, as he
thought over it all on horseback, found difficulties on every side. He
had promised that his wife should live in town, and he could not go
back from that promise without injustice. He understood the nature of
her lately offered sacrifice, and felt that it would not liberate his
conscience. And then he was sure that the Dean would be loud against
any such arrangement. The money no doubt was Mary's own money and,
subject to certain settlement, was at Lord George's immediate disposal;
but he would be unable to endure the Dean's reproaches. He would be
unable also to endure his own, unless--which was so very
improbable--the Dean should encourage him. But how were things to be
arranged? Was he to desert his mother and sisters in their difficulty?
He was very fond of his wife; but it had never yet occurred to him that
the daughter of Dean Lovelace could be as important to him as all the
ladies of the house of Germain. His brother purposed to bring his wife
to Manor Cross in May, when he would be up in London. Where at that
moment, and after what fashion, would his mother and sisters be living?

The Dean showed his dismay at the marriage plainly enough.

"That's very bad, George," he said; "very bad indeed!"

"Of course we don't like her being a foreigner."

"Of course you don't like his marrying at all. Why should you? You all
know enough of him to be sure that he wouldn't marry the sort of woman
you would approve."

"I don't know why my brother should not have married any lady in

"At any rate he hasn't. He has married some Italian widow, and it's a
misfortune. Poor Mary!"

"I don't think Mary feels it at all."

"She will some day. Girls of her age don't feel that kind of thing at
first. So he is going to come over at once. What will your mother do?"

"She has Cross Hall."

"That man Price is there. He will go out of course?"

"With notice he must go."

"He won't stand about that, if you don't interfere with his land and
farm-yard. I know Price. He's not a bad fellow."

"But Brotherton does not want them to go there," said Lord George,
almost in a whisper.

"Does not want your mother to live in her own house! Upon my word the
Marquis is considerate to you all! He has said that plainly, has he? If
I were Lady Brotherton I would not take the slightest heed of what he
says. She is not dependent on him. In order that he may be relieved
from the bore of being civil to his own family she is to be sent out
about the world to look for a home in her old age! You must tell her
not to listen for a minute to such a proposition."

Lord George, though he put great trust in his father-in-law, did not
quite like hearing his brother spoken of so very freely by a man who
was, after all, the son of a tradesman. It seemed to him as though the
Dean made himself almost too intimate with the affairs at Manor Cross,
and yet he was obliged to go on and tell the Dean everything.

"Even if Price went, there must be some delay in getting the house

"The Marquis surely won't turn your mother out before the spring?"

"Tradesmen will have to come in. And then I don't quite know what we
are to do as to the----expense of furnishing the new house. It will
cost a couple of thousand pounds, and none of us have ready money." The
Dean assumed a very serious face. "Every spoon and fork at Manor Cross,
every towel and every sheet belongs to my brother."

"Was not the Cross House ever furnished?"

"Many years ago; in my grandmother's time. My father left money for the
purpose, but it was given up to my sister Alice when she married
Holdenough." He found himself explaining all the little intricacies of
his family to the Dean, because it was necessary that he should hold
council with some one. "I was thinking of a furnished house for them

"In London?"

"Certainly not there. My mother would not like it, nor would my
sisters. I like the country very much the best myself."

"Not for the whole year?"

"I have never cared to be in London; but, of course, as for Mary and
myself that is settled. You would not wish her to give up the house in
Munster Court?"

"Certainly not. It would not be fair to her to ask her to live always
under the wing of your mother and sisters. She would never learn to be
a woman. She would always be in leading strings. Do you not feel that

"I feel that beggars cannot be choosers. My mother's fortune is £2000 a
year. As you know we have only 5000_l._ a piece. There is hardly income
enough among us for a house in town and a house in the country."

The Dean paused a moment, and then replied that his daughter's welfare
could not be made subordinate to that of the family generally. He then
said that if any immediate sum of money were required he would lend it
either to the dowager or to Lord George.

Lord George, as he rode home, was angry both with himself and with the
Dean. There had been an authority in the Dean's voice which had grated
upon his feelings; of course he intended to be as good as his word;
but, nevertheless, his wife was his wife and subject to his will; and
her fortune had been her own and had not come from the Dean. The Dean
took too much upon himself. And yet, with all that, he had consulted
the Dean about everything, and had confessed the family poverty. The
thing, however, was quite certain to him; he could not get out of the
house in town.

During the whole of that day Lady Sarah had been at work with her
mother, instigating her to insist on her own rights, and at last she
had succeeded.

"What would our life be, mamma," Lady Sarah had said, "if we were
removed altogether into a new world. Here we are of some use. People
know us, and give us credit for being what we are. We can live after
our own fashion, and yet live in accordance with our rank. There is not
a man or a woman or a child in the parish whom I do not know. There is
not a house in which you would not see Amelia's and Susanna's work. We
cannot begin all that over again."

"When I am gone, my dear, you must do so."

"Who can say how much may be done before that sad day shall come to us?
He may have taken his Italian wife back again to Italy. Mamma, we ought
not to run away from our duties."

On the following morning it was settled among them that the dowager
should insist on possession of her own house at Cross Hall, and a
letter was written to the Marquis, congratulating him of course on his
marriage, but informing him at the same time that the family would
remain in the parish.

Some few days later Mr. Knox, the agent for the property, came down
from London. He had received the orders of the Marquis, and would be
prepared to put workmen into the house as soon as her ladyship would be
ready to leave it. But he quite agreed that this could not be done at
once. A beginning no doubt might be made while they were still there,
but no painting should be commenced or buildings knocked down or put up
till March. It was settled at the same time that on the first of March
the family should leave the house.

"I hope my son won't be angry," the Marchioness said to Mr. Knox.

"If he be angry, my lady, he will be angry without a cause. But I never
knew him to be very angry about anything."

"He always did like to have his own way, Mr. Knox," said the mindful



While Mr. Knox was still in the country negociations were opened with
Mr. Price, the sporting farmer, who, like all sporting farmers, was in
truth a very good fellow. He had never been liked by the ladies at
Manor Cross, as having ways of his own which were not their ways. He
did not go to church as often as they thought he ought to do; and,
being a bachelor, stories were told about him which were probably very
untrue. A bachelor may live in town without any inquiries as to any of
the doings of his life; but if a man live forlorn and unmarried in a
country house, he will certainly become the victim of calumny should
any woman under sixty ever be seen about his place. It was said also of
Mr. Price that sometimes, after hunting, men had been seen to go out of
his yard in an uproarious condition. But I hardly think that old Sir
Simon Bolt, the master of the hounds, could have liked him so well, or
so often have entered his house, had there been much amiss there; and
as to the fact of there always being a fox in Cross Hall Holt, which a
certain little wood was called about half a mile of the house, no one
even doubted that. But there had always been a prejudice against Price
at the great house, and in this even Lord George had coincided. But
when Mr. Knox went to him and explained to him what was about to
happen,--that the ladies would be forced, almost before the end of
winter, to leave Manor Cross and make way for the Marquis, Mr. Price
declared that he would clear out, bag and baggage, top-boots, spurs,
and brandy-bottles, at a moment's notice. The Prices of the English
world are not, as a rule, deficient in respect for the marquises and
marchionesses. "The workmen can come in to-morrow," Price said, when he
was told that some preparations would be necessary. "A bachelor can
shake down anywhere, Mr. Knox." Now it happened that Cross Hall House
was altogether distinct from the Cross Hall Farm, on which, indeed,
there had been a separate farmhouse, now only used by labourers. But
Mr. Price was a comfortable man, and, when the house had been vacant,
had been able to afford himself the luxury of living there.

So far the primary difficulties lessened themselves when they were well
looked in the face. And yet things did not run altogether smoothly. The
Marquis did not condescend to reply to his brother's letter; but he
wrote what was for him a long letter to Mr. Knox, urging upon the agent
the duty of turning his mother and sisters altogether out of the place.
"We shall be a great deal better friends apart," he said. "If they
remain there we shall see little or nothing of each other, and it will
be very uncomfortable. If they will settle themselves elsewhere, I will
furnish a house for them; but I don't want to have them at my elbow."
Mr. Knox was of course bound to show this to Lord George, and Lord
George was bound to consult Lady Sarah. Lady Sarah told her mother
something of it, but not all; but she told it in such a way that the
old lady consented to remain and to brave her eldest son. As for Lady
Sarah herself, in spite of her true Christianity and real goodness, she
did not altogether dislike the fight. Her brother was her brother, and
the head of the family, and he had his privileges; but they too had
their rights, and she was not disposed to submit herself to tyranny.
Mr. Knox was therefore obliged to inform the Marquis in what softest
language he could find applicable for the purpose that the ladies of
the family had decided upon removing to the dower-house.

About a month after this there was a meet of the Brotherton Hunt, of
which Sir Simon Bolt was the master, at Cross Hall Gate. The
grandfather of the present Germains had in the early part of the
century either established this special pack, or at any rate become the
master of it. Previous to that the hunting probably had been somewhat
precarious; but there had been, since his time, a regular Brotherton
Hunt associated with a collar and button of its own,--a blue collar on
a red coat, with B. H. on the buttons,--and the thing had been done
well. They had four days a week, with an occasional bye, and 2500_l._
were subscribed annually. Sir Simon Bolt had been the master for the
last fifteen years, and was so well known that no sporting pen and no
sporting tongue in England ever called him more than Sir Simon. Cross
Hall Gate, a well-loved meet, was the gate of the big park which opened
out upon the road just opposite to Mr. Price's house. It was an old
stone structure, with a complicated arch stretching across the gate
itself, with a lodge on each side. It lay back in a semi-circle from
the road, and was very imposing. In old days no doubt the gate was much
used, as the direct traffic from London to Brotherton passed that way.
But the railway had killed the road; and as the nearer road from the
Manor Cross House to the town came out on the same road much nearer to
Brotherton, the two lodges and all the grandeur were very much wasted.
But it was a pretty site for a meet when the hounds were seated on
their haunches inside the gate, or moving about slowly after the
huntsman's horse, and when the horses and carriages were clustered
about on the high road and inside the park. And it was a meet, too,
much loved by the riding men. It was always presumed that Manor Cross
itself was preserved for foxes, and the hounds were carefully run
through the belt of woods. But half an hour did that, and then they
went away to Price's Little Holt. On that side there were no more
gentlemen's places; there was a gorse cover or two and sundry little
spinnies; but the county was a country for foxes to run and men to
ride; and with this before them, the members of the Brotherton Hunt
were pleased to be summoned to Cross Hall Gate.

On such occasions Lord George was always there. He never hunted, and
very rarely went to any other meet; but on these occasions he would
appear mounted, in black, and would say a few civil words to Sir Simon,
and would tell George Scruby, the huntsman, that he had heard that
there was a fox among the laurels. George would touch his hat and say
in his loud, deep voice, "Hope so, my lord," having no confidence
whatever in a Manor Cross fox. Sir Simon would shake hands with him,
make a suggestion about the weather, and then get away as soon as
possible; for there was no sympathy and no common subject between the
men. On this occasion Lady Amelia had driven down Lady Susanna in the
pony-carriage, and Lady George was there, mounted, with her father the
Dean, longing to be allowed to go away with the hounds but having been
strictly forbidden by her husband to do so. Mr. Price was of course
there, as was also Mr. Knox, the agent, who had a little shooting-box
down in the country, and kept a horse, and did a little hunting.

There was good opportunity for talking as the hounds were leisurely
taken through the loose belt of woods which were by courtesy called the
Manor Cross coverts, and Mr. Price took the occasion of drawing a
letter from his pocket and showing it to Mr. Knox.

"The Marquis has written to you!" said the agent in a tone of surprise,
the wonder not being that the Marquis should write to Mr. Price, but
that he should write to any one.

"Never did such a thing in his life before, and I wish he hadn't now."

Mr. Knox wished it also when he had read the letter. It expressed a
very strong desire on the part of the Marquis that Mr. Price should
keep the Cross Hall House, saying that it was proper that the house
should go with the farm, and intimating the Marquis's wish that Mr.
Price should remain as his neighbour. "If you can manage it, I'll make
the farm pleasant and profitable to you," said the Marquis.

"He don't say a word about her ladyship," said Price; "but what he
wants is just to get rid of 'em all, box and dice."

"That's about it, I suppose," said the agent.

"Then he's come to the wrong shop, that's what he has done, Mr. Knox.
I've three more year of my lease of the farm, and after that, out I
must go, I dare say."

"There's no knowing what may happen before that, Price."

"If I was to go, I don't know that I need quite starve, Mr. Knox."

"I don't suppose you will."

"I ain't no family, and I don't know as I'm just bound to go by what a
lord says, though he is my landlord. I don't know as I don't think more
of them ladies than I does of him. ---- him, Mr. Knox."

And then Mr. Price used some very strong language indeed. "What right
has he to think as I'm going to do his dirty work? You may tell him
from me as he may do his own."

"You'll answer him, Price?"

"Not a line. I ain't got nothing to say to him. He knows I'm a-going
out of the house; and if he don't, you can tell him."

"Where are you going to?"

"Well, I was going to fit up a room or two in the old farmhouse; and if
I had anything like a lease, I wouldn't mind spending three or four
hundred pounds there. I was thinking of talking to you about it, Mr.

"I can't renew the lease without his approval."

"You write and ask him, and mind you tell him that there ain't no doubt
at all as to any going out of Cross Hall after Christmas. Then, if
he'll make it fourteen years, I'll put the old house up and not ask him
for a shilling. As I'm a living sinner, they're on a fox! Who'd have
thought of that in the park? That's the old vixen from the holt, as
sure as my name's Price. Them cubs haven't travelled here yet."

So saying, he rode away, and Mr. Knox rode after him, and there was
consternation throughout the hunt. It was so unaccustomed a thing to
have to gallop across Manor Cross Park! But the hounds were in full
cry, through the laurels, and into the shrubbery, and round the
conservatory, close up to the house. Then she got into the
kitchen-garden, and back again through the laurels. The butler and the
gardener and the housemaid and the scullery-maid were all there to see.
Even Lady Sarah came to the front door, looking very severe, and the
old Marchioness gaped out of her own sitting-room window upstairs. Our
friend Mary thought it excellent fun, for she was really able to ride
to the hounds; and even Lady Amelia became excited as she flogged the
pony along the road. Stupid old vixen, who ought to have known better!
Price was quite right, for it was she, and the cubs in the holt were
now finally emancipated from all maternal thraldom. She was killed
ignominiously in the stokehole under the greenhouse,--she who had been
the mother of four litters, and who had baffled the Brotherton hounds
half a dozen times over the cream of the Brotherton country!

"I knew it," said Price in a melancholy tone, as he held up the head
which the huntsman had just dissevered from the body. "She might 'a
done better with herself than come to such a place as this for the last

"Is it all over?" asked Lady George.

"That one is pretty nearly all over, miss," said George Scruby, as he
threw the fox to the hounds. "My Lady, I mean, begging your Ladyship's
pardon." Some one had prompted him at the moment. "I'm very glad to see
your Ladyship out, and I hope we'll show you something better before

But poor Mary's hunting was over. When George Scruby and Sir Simon and
the hounds went off to the holt, she was obliged to remain with her
husband and sisters-in-law.

While this was going on Mr. Knox had found time to say a word to Lord
George about that letter from the Marquis. "I am afraid," he said,
"your brother is very anxious that Price should remain at Cross Hall."

"Has he said anything more?"

"Not to me; but to Price he has."

"He has written to Price?"

"Yes, with his own hand, urging him to stay. I cannot but think it was
very wrong." A look of deep displeasure came across Lord George's face.
"I have thought it right to mention it, because it may be a question
whether her Ladyship's health and happiness may not be best consulted
by her leaving the neighbourhood."

"We have considered it all, Mr. Knox, and my mother is determined to
stay. We are very much obliged to you. We feel that in doing your duty
by my brother you are anxious to be courteous to us. The hounds have
gone on; don't let me keep you."

Mr. Houghton was of course out. Unless the meets were very distant from
his own place, he was always out. On this occasion his wife also was
there. She had galloped across the park as quickly as anybody, and when
the fox was being broken up in the grass before the hall-door, was
sitting close to Lady George. "You are coming on?" she said in a

"I am afraid not," answered Mary.

"Oh, yes; do come. Slip away with me. Nobody'll see you. Get as far as
the gate, and then you can see that covert drawn."

"I can't very well. The truth is, they don't want me to hunt."

"They! Who is they? 'They' don't want me to hunt. That is, Mr. Houghton
doesn't. But I mean to get out of his way by riding a little forward. I
don't see why that is not just as good as staying behind. Mr. Price is
going to give me a lead. You know Mr. Price?"

"But he goes everywhere."

"And I mean to go everywhere. What's the good of half-doing it? Come

But Mary had not even thought of rebellion such as this--did not in her
heart approve of it, and was angry with Mrs. Houghton. Nevertheless,
when she saw the horsewoman gallop off across the grass towards the
gate, she could not help thinking that she would have been just as well
able to ride after Mr. Price as her old friend Adelaide de Baron. The
Dean did go on, having intimated his purpose of riding on just to see
Price's farm.

When the unwonted perturbation was over at Manor Cross Lord George was
obliged to revert again to the tidings he had received from Mr. Knox.
He could not keep it to himself. He felt himself obliged to tell it all
to Lady Sarah.

"That he should write to such a man as Mr. Price, telling him of his
anxiety to banish his own mother from her own house!"

"You did not see the letter?"

"No; but Knox did. They could not very well show such a letter to me;
but Knox says that Price was very indignant, and swore that he would
not even answer it."

"I suppose he can afford it, George? It would be very dreadful to ruin

"Price is a rich man. And after all, if Price were to do all that
Brotherton desires him, he could only keep us out for a year or so. But
don't you think you will all be very uncomfortable here. How will my
mother feel if she isn't ever allowed to see him? And how will you feel
if you find that you never want to see his wife?"

Lady Sarah sat silent for a few minutes before she answered him, and
then declared for war. "It is very bad, George; very bad. I can foresee
great unhappiness; especially the unhappiness which must come from
constant condemnation of one whom we ought to wish to love and approve
of before all others. But nothing can be so bad as running away. We
ought not to allow anything to drive mamma from her own house, and us
from our own duties. I don't think we ought to take any notice of
Brotherton's letter to Mr. Price." It was thus decided between them
that no further notice should be taken of the Marquis's letter to Mr.



There was great talking about the old vixen as they all trotted away to
Cross Hall Holt;--how it was the same old fox that they hadn't killed
in a certain run last January, and how one old farmer was quite sure
that this very fox was the one which had taken them that celebrated run
to Bamham Moor three years ago, and how she had been the mother of
quite a Priam's progeny of cubs. And now that she should have been
killed in a stokehole! While this was going on a young lady rode up
along side of Mr. Price, and said a word to him with her sweetest

"You remember your promise to me, Mr. Price?"

"Surely, Mrs. Houghton. Your nag can jump a few, no doubt."

"Beautifully. Mr. Houghton bought him from Lord Mountfencer. Lady
Mountfencer couldn't ride him because he pulls a little. But he's a
perfect hunter."

"We shall find him, Mrs. Houghton, to a moral; and do you stick to me.
They generally go straight away to Thrupp's larches. You see the little
wood. There's an old earth there, but that's stopped. There is only one
fence between this and that, a biggish ditch, with a bit of a hedge on
this side, but it's nothing to the horses when they're fresh."

"Mine's quite fresh."

"Then they mostly turn to the right for Pugsby; nothing but grass then
for four miles a-head."

"And the jumping?"

"All fair. There's one bit of water,--Pugsby Brook,--that you ought to
have as he'll be sure to cross it ever so much above the bridge. But,
lord love you, Mrs. Houghton, that horse'll think nothing of the

"Nothing at all, Mr. Price. I like brooks."

"I'm afraid he's not here, Price," said Sir Simon, trotting round the
cover towards the whip, who was stationed at the further end.

"Well, Sir Simon, her as we killed came from the holt, you know," said
the farmer, mindful of his reputation for foxes. "You can't eat your
cake and have it too, can you, Sir Simon?"

"Ought to be able in a covert like this."

"Well, perhaps we shall. The best lying is down in that corner. I've
seen a brace of cubs together there a score of times." Then there was
one short low, dubious, bark, and then another a little more confirmed.
"That's it, Sir Simon. There's your 'cake.'"

"Good hound, Blazer," cried Sir Simon, recognising the voice of his
dog. And many of the pack recognised the well-known sound as plainly as
the master, for you might hear the hounds rustling through the covert
as they hurried up to certify to the scent which their old leader had
found for them. The holt though thick was small and a fox had not much
chance but by breaking. Once up the covert and once back again the
animal went, and then Dick, the watchful whip, holding his hand up to
his face, holloaed him away. "Gently, gentlemen," shouted Sir Simon,
"let them settle. Now, Mr. Bottomley, if you'll only keep yourself a
little steady, you'll find yourself the better for it at the finish."
Mr. Bottomley was a young man from London, who was often addressed
after this fashion, was always very unhappy for a few minutes, and then
again forgot it in his excitement.

"Now, Mr. Price," said Mrs. Houghton in a fever of expectation. She had
been dodging backwards and forwards trying to avoid her husband, and
yet unwilling to leave the farmer's side.

"Wait a moment, ma'am; wait a moment. Now we're right; here to the
left." So saying Mr. Price jumped over a low hedge, and Mrs. Houghton
followed him, almost too closely. Mr. Houghton saw it, and didn't
follow. He had made his way up, resolved to stop his wife, but she gave
him the slip at the last moment. "Now through the gate, ma'am, and then
on straight as an arrow for the little wood. I'll give you a lead over
the ditch, but don't ride quite so close, ma'am." Then the farmer went
away feeling perhaps that his best chance of keeping clear from his too
loving friend was to make the pace so fast that she should not be able
quite to catch him. But Lady Mountfencer's nag was fast too, was fast
and had a will of his own. It was not without a cause that Lord
Mountfencer had parted with so good a horse out of his stable. "Have a
care, ma'am," said Price, as Mrs. Houghton canoned against him as they
both landed over the big ditch; "have a care, or we shall come to grief
together. Just see me over before you let him take his jump." It was
very good advice, and is very often given; but both ladies and
gentlemen, whose hands are a little doubtful, sometimes find themselves
unable to follow it. But now they were at Thrupp's larches. George
Scruby had led the way, as becomes a huntsman, and a score or more had
followed him over the big fence. Price had been going a little to the
left, and when they reached the wood was as forward as any one.

"He won't hang here, Sir Simon," said the farmer, as the master came
up, "he never does."

"He's only a cub," said the master.

"The holt cubs this time of the year are nigh as strong as old foxes.
Now for Pugsby."

Mrs. Houghton looked round, fearing every moment that her husband would
come up. They had just crossed a road, and wherever there was a road
there, she thought, he would certainly be.

"Can't we get round the other side, Mr. Price?" she said.

"You won't be any better nor here."

"But there's Mr. Houghton on the road," she whispered.

"Oh-h-h," ejaculated the farmer, just touching the end of his nose with
his finger and moving gently on through the wood. "Never spoil sport,"
was the motto of his life, and to his thinking it was certainly sport
that a young wife should ride to hounds in opposition to an old
husband. Mrs. Houghton followed him, and as they got out on the other
side, the fox was again away. "He ain't making for Pugsby's after all,"
said Price to George Scruby.

"He don't know that country yet," said the huntsman. "He'll be back in
them Manor Cross woods. You'll see else."

The park of Manor Cross lay to the left of them, whereas Pugsby and the
desirable grass country away to Bamham Moor were all to the right. Some
men mindful of the big brook and knowing the whereabouts of the bridge,
among whom was Mr. Houghton, kept very much to the right and were soon
out of the run altogether. But the worst of it was that though they
were not heading for their good country, still there was the brook,
Pugsby brook, to be taken. Had the fox done as he ought to have done,
and made for Pugsby itself, the leap would have been from grass to
grass; but now it must be from plough to plough, if taken at all. It
need hardly be said that the two things are very different. Sir Simon,
when he saw how the land lay, took a lane leading down to the
Brotherton road. If the fox was making for the park he must be right in
that direction. It is not often that a master of hounds rides for
glory, and Sir Simon had long since left all that to younger men. But
there were still a dozen riders pressing on, and among them were the
farmer and his devoted follower,--and a gentleman in black.

Let us give praise where praise is due, and acknowledge that young
Bottomley was the first at the brook,--and the first over it. As soon
as he was beyond Sir Simon's notice, he had scurried on across the
plough, and being both light and indiscreet, had enjoyed the heartfelt
pleasure of passing George Scruby. George, who hated Mr. Bottomley,
grunted out his malediction, even though no one could hear him. "He'll
soon be at the bottom of that," said George, meaning to imply in horsey
phrase that the rider, if he rode over ploughed ground after that
fashion, would soon come to the end of his steed's power. But
Bottomley, if he could only be seen to jump the big brook before any
one else, would have happiness enough for a month. To have done a thing
that he could talk about was the charm that Bottomley found in hunting.
Alas, though he rode gallantly at the brook and did get over it, there
was not much to talk about; for, unfortunately, he left his horse
behind him in the water. The poor beast going with a rush off the
plough, came with her neck and shoulders against the opposite bank, and
shot his rider well on to the dry land.

"That's about as good as a dead'un," said George, as he landed a yard
or two to the right. This was ill-natured, and the horse in truth was
not hurt. But a rider, at any rate a young rider, should not take a
lead from a huntsman unless he is very sure of himself, of his horse,
and of the run of the hounds. The next man over was the gentleman in
black, who took it in a stand, and who really seemed to know what he
was about. There were some who afterwards asserted that this was the
Dean, but the Dean was never heard to boast of the performance.

Mrs. Houghton's horse was going very strong with her. More than once
the farmer cautioned her to give him a pull over the plough. And she
attempted to obey the order. But the horse was self-willed, and she was
light; and in truth the heaviness of the ground would have been nothing
to him had he been fairly well ridden. But she allowed him to rush with
her through the mud. As she had never yet had an accident she knew
nothing of fear, and she was beyond measure excited. She had been near
enough to see that a man fell at the brook, and then she saw also that
the huntsman got over, and also the gentleman in black. It seemed to
her to be lovely. The tumble did not scare her at all, as others coming
after the unfortunate one had succeeded. She was aware that there were
three or four other men behind her, and she was determined that they
should not pass her. They should see that she also could jump the
river. She had not rid herself of her husband for nothing. Price, as he
came near the water, knew that he had plenty to do, and knew also how
very close to him the woman was. It was too late now to speak to her
again, but he did not fear for his own horse if she would only give him
room. He steadied the animal a yard or two from the margin as he came
to the headland that ran down the side of the brook, and then took his

But Mrs. Houghton rode us though the whole thing was to be accomplished
by a rush, and her horse, true to the manner of horses, insisted on
following in the direct track of the one who had led him so far. When
he got to the bank he made his effort to jump high, but had got no
footing for a fair spring. On he went, however, and struck Price's
horse on the quarter so violently as to upset that animal, as well as

Price, who was a thoroughly good horseman, was knocked off, but got on
to the bank as Bottomley had done. The two animals were both in the
brook, and when the farmer was able to look round, he saw that the lady
was out of sight. He was in the water immediately himself, but before
he made the plunge he had resolved that he never again would give a
lady a lead till he knew whether she could ride.

Mr. Knox and Dick were soon on the spot, and Mrs. Houghton was
extracted. "I'm blessed if she ain't dead," said the whip, pale as
death himself. "H--sh!" said Mr. Knox; "she's not dead, but I'm afraid
she's hurt." Price had come back through the water with the woman in
his arms, and the two horses were still floundering about, unattended.
"It's her shoulder, Mr. Knox," said Price. "The horse has jammed her
against the bank under water." During this time her head was drooping,
and her eyes were closed, and she was apparently senseless. "Do you
look to the horses, Dick. There ain't no reason why they should get
their death of cold." By this time there were a dozen men round them,
and Dick and others were able to attend to the ill-used nags. "Yes;
it's her shoulder," continued Price. "That's out, any way. What the
mischief will Mr. Houghton say to me when he comes up!"

There is always a doctor in the field,--sent there by some benignity of
providence,--who always rides forward enough to be near to accidents,
but never so forward as to be in front of them. It has been hinted that
this arrangement is professional rather than providential; but the
present writer, having given his mind to the investigation of the
matter, is inclined to think that it arises from the general fitness of
things. All public institutions have, or ought to have, their doctor,
but in no institution is the doctor so invariably at hand, just when he
is wanted, as in the hunting field. A very skilful young surgeon from
Brotherton was on the spot almost as soon as the lady was out of the
water, and declared that she had dislocated her shoulder.

What was to be done? Her hat had gone; she had been under the water;
she was covered with mud; she was still senseless, and of course she
could neither ride nor walk. There were ever so many suggestions. Price
thought that she had better be taken back to Cross Hall, which was
about a mile and a half distant. Mr. Knox, who knew the country, told
them of a side gate in the Manor Cross wall, which made the great house
nearer than Cross Hall. They could get her there in little over a mile.
But how to get her there? They must find a door on which to carry her.
First a hurdle was suggested, and then Dick was sent galloping up to
the house for a carriage. In the meantime she was carried to a
labourer's cottage by the roadside on a hurdle, and there the party was
joined by Sir Simon and Mr. Houghton.

"It's all your fault," said the husband, coming up to Price as though
he meant to strike him with his whip. "Part of it is no doubt, sir,"
said Price, looking his assailant full in the face, but almost sobbing
as he spoke, "and I'm very unhappy about it." Then the husband went and
hung over his wife, but his wife, when she saw him, found it convenient
to faint again.

At about two o'clock the cortège with the carriage reached the great
house. Sir Simon, after expressions of deep sorrow had, of course, gone
on after his hounds. Mr. Knox, as belonging to Manor Cross, and Price,
and, of course, the doctor, with Mr. Houghton and Mr. Houghton's groom,
accompanied the carriage. When they got to the door all the ladies were
there to receive them. "I don't think we want to see anything more of
you," said Mr. Houghton to the farmer. The poor man turned round and
went away home, alone, feeling himself to be thoroughly disgraced.
"After all," he said to himself, "if you come to fault it was she nigh
killed me, not me her. How was I to know she didn't know nothing about

"Now, Mary, I think you'll own that I was right," Lord George said to
his wife, as soon as the sufferer had been put quietly to bed.

"Ladies don't always break their arms," said Mary.

"It might have been you as well as Mrs. Houghton."

"As I didn't go, you need not scold me, George."

"But you were discontented because you were prevented," said he,
determined to have the last word.



Lady Sarah, who was generally regarded as the arbiter of the very
slender hospitalities exercised at Manor Cross, was not at all well
pleased at being forced to entertain Mrs. Houghton, whom she especially
disliked; but, circumstanced as they were, there was no alternative.
She had been put to bed with a dislocated arm, and had already suffered
much in having it reduced, before the matter could be even discussed.
And then it was of course felt that she could not be turned out of the
house. She was not only generally hurt, but she was a cousin, also. "We
must ask him, mamma," Lady Sarah said. The Marchioness whined
piteously. Mr. Houghton's name had always been held in great
displeasure by the ladies at Manor Cross. "I don't think we can help
it. Mr. Sawyer"--Mr. Sawyer was the very clever young surgeon from
Brotherton--"Mr. Sawyer says that she ought not to be removed for at
any rate a week." The Marchioness groaned. But the evil became less
than had been anticipated, by Mr. Houghton's refusal. At first, he
seemed inclined to stay, but after he had seen his wife he declared
that, as there was no danger, he would not intrude upon Lady
Brotherton, but would, if permitted, ride over and see how his wife was
progressing on the morrow. "That is a relief," said Lady Sarah to her
mother; and yet Lady Sarah had been almost urgent in assuring Mr.
Houghton that they would be delighted to have him.

In spite of her suffering, which must have been real, and her fainting,
which had partly been so, Mrs. Houghton had had force enough to tell
her husband that he would himself be inexpressibly bored by remaining
at Manor Cross, and that his presence would inexpressibly bore "all
those dowdy old women," as she called the ladies of the house.
"Besides, what's the use?" she said; "I've got to lay here for a
certain time. You would not be any good at nursing. You'd only kill
yourself with ennui. I shall do well enough, and do you go on with your
hunting." He had assented; but finding her to be well enough to express
her opinion as to the desirability of his absence strongly, thought
that she was well enough, also, to be rebuked for her late
disobedience. He began, therefore, to say a word. "Oh! Jeffrey, are you
going to scold me," she said, "while I am in such a state as this!" and
then, again, she almost fainted. He knew that he was being ill-treated,
but knowing, also, that he could not avoid it, he went away without a
further word.

But she was quite cheerful that evening when Lady George came up to
give her her dinner. She had begged that it might be so. She had known
"dear Mary" so long, and was so warmly attached to her. "Dear Mary" did
not dislike the occupation, which was soon found to comprise that of
being head nurse to the invalid. She had never especially loved
Adelaide De Baron, and had felt that there was something amiss in her
conversation when they had met at the deanery; but she was brighter
than the ladies at Manor Cross, was affectionate in her manner, and was
at any rate young. There was an antiquity about every thing at Manor
Cross, which was already crushing the spirit of the young bride.

"Dear me! this is nice," said Mrs. Houghton, disregarding, apparently
altogether, the pain of her shoulder; "I declare, I shall begin to be
glad of the accident!"

"You shouldn't say that."

"Why not, if I feel it? Doesn't it seem like a thing in a story that I
should be brought to Lord George's house, and that he was my lover only
quite the other day?" The idea had never occurred to Mary, and now that
it was suggested to her, she did not like it. "I wonder when he'll come
and see me. It would not make you jealous, I hope."

"Certainly not."

"No, indeed. I think he's quite as much in love with you as ever he was
with me. And yet, he was very, very fond of me once. Isn't it odd that
men should change so?"

"I suppose you are changed, too," said Mary,--hardly knowing what to

"Well,--yes,--no. I don't know that I'm changed at all. I never told
Lord George that I loved him. And what's more, I never told Mr.
Houghton so. I don't pretend to be very virtuous, and of course I
married for an income. I like him very well, and I always mean to be
good to him; that is, if he lets me have my own way. I'm not going to
be scolded, and he need not think so."

"You oughtn't to have gone on to-day, ought you?"

"Why not? If my horse hadn't gone so very quick, and Mr. Price at that
moment hadn't gone so very slow, I shouldn't have come to grief, and
nobody would have known anything about it. Wouldn't you like to ride?"

"Yes; I should like it. But are not you exerting yourself too much?"

"I should die if I were made to lie here without speaking to any one.
Just put the pillow a little under me. Now I'm all right. Who do you
think was going as well as anybody yesterday? I saw him."

"Who was it?"

"The very Reverend the Dean of Brotherton, my dear."


"But he was. I saw him jump the brook just before I fell into it. What
will Mr. Groschut say?"

"I don't think papa cares much what Mr. Groschut says."

"And the Bishop?"

"I'm not sure that he cares very much for the Bishop either. But I am
quite sure that he would not do anything that he thought to be wrong."

"A Dean never does, I suppose."

"My papa never does."

"Nor Lord George, I dare say," said Mrs. Houghton.

"I don't say anything about Lord George. I haven't known him quite so

"If you won't speak up for him, I will. I'm quite sure Lord George
Germain never in his life did anything that he ought not to do. That's
his fault. Don't you like men who do what they ought not to do?"

"No," said Mary, "I don't. Everybody always ought to do what they ought
to do. And you ought to go to sleep, and so I shall go away." She knew
that it was not all right,--that there was something fast, and also
something vulgar, about this self-appointed friend of hers. But though
Mrs. Houghton was fast, and though she was vulgar, she was a relief to
the endless gloom of Manor Cross.

On the next day Mr. Houghton came, explaining to everybody that he had
given up his day's hunting for the sake of his wife. But he could say
but little, and could do nothing, and he did not remain long. "Don't
stay away from the meet another day," his wife said to him; "I shan't
get well any the sooner, and I don't like being a drag upon you." Then
the husband went away, and did not come for the next two days. On the
Sunday he came over in the afternoon and stayed for half-an-hour, and
on the following Tuesday he appeared on his way to the meet in top
boots and a red coat. He was, upon the whole, less troublesome to the
Manor Cross people than might have been expected.

Mr. Price came every morning to enquire, and very gracious passages
passed between him and the lady. On the Saturday she was up, sitting on
a sofa in a dressing gown, and he was brought in to see her. "It was
all my fault, Mr. Price," she said immediately. "I heard what Mr.
Houghton said to you; I couldn't speak then, but I was so sorry."

"What a husband says, ma'am, at such a time, goes for nothing."

"What husbands say, Mr. Price, very often does go for nothing." He
turned his hat in his hand, and smiled. "If it had not been so, all
this wouldn't have happened, and I shouldn't have upset you into the
water. But all the same, I hope you'll give me a lead another day, and
I'll take great care not to come so close to you again." This pleased
Mr. Price so much, that as he went home he swore to himself that if
ever she asked him again, he would do just the same as he had done on
the day of the accident.

When Price, the farmer, had seen her, of course it became Lord George's
duty to pay her his compliments in person. At first he visited her in
company with his wife and Lady Sarah, and the conversation was very
stiff. Lady Sarah was potent enough to quell even Mrs. Houghton. But
later in the afternoon Lord George came back again, his wife being in
the room, and then there was a little more ease. "You can't think how
it grieves me," she said, "to bring all this trouble upon you." She
emphasised the word "you," as though to show him that she cared nothing
for his mother and sisters.

"It is no trouble to me," said Lord George, bowing low. "I should say
that it was a pleasure, were it not that your presence here is attended
with so much pain to yourself."

"The pain is nothing," said Mrs. Houghton. "I have hardly thought of
it. It is much more than compensated by the renewal of my intimacy with
Lady George Germain." This she said with her very prettiest manner, and
he told himself that she was, indeed, very pretty.

Lady George,--or Mary, as we will still call her, for simplicity, in
spite of her promotion,--had become somewhat afraid of Mrs. Houghton;
but now, seeing her husband's courtesy to her guest, understanding from
his manner that he liked her society, began to thaw, and to think that
she might allow herself to be intimate with the woman. It did not occur
to her to be in any degree jealous,--not, at least, as yet. In her
innocence she did not think it possible that her husband's heart should
be untrue to her, nor did it occur to her that such a one as Mrs.
Houghton could be preferred to herself. She thought that she knew
herself to be better than Mrs. Houghton, and she certainly thought
herself to be the better looking of the two.

Mrs. Houghton's beauty, such as it was, depended mainly on style; on a
certain dash and manner which she had acquired, and which, to another
woman, were not attractive. Mary knew that she, herself, was beautiful.
She could not but know it. She had been brought up by all belonging to
her with that belief; and so believing, had taught herself to
acknowledge that no credit was due to herself on that score. Her beauty
now belonged entirely to her husband. There was nothing more to be done
with it, except to maintain her husband's love, and that, for the
present, she did not in the least doubt. She had heard of married men
falling in love with other people's wives, but she did not in the least
bring home the fact to her own case.

In the course of that afternoon all the ladies of the family sat for a
time with their guest. First came Lady Sarah and Lady Susanna. Mrs.
Houghton, who saw very well how the land lay, rather snubbed Lady
Sarah. She had nothing to fear from the dragon of the family. Lady
Sarah, in spite of their cousinship, had called her Mrs. Houghton, and
Mrs. Houghton, in return, called the other Lady Sarah. There was to be
no intimacy, and she was only received there because of her dislocated
shoulder. Let it be so. Lord George and his wife were coming up to
town, and the intimacy should be there. She certainly would not wish to
repeat her visit to Manor Cross.

"Some ladies do like hunting, and some don't," she said, in answer to a
severe remark from Lady Sarah. "I am one of those who do, and I don't
think an accident like that has anything to do with it."

"I can't say I think it an amusement fit for ladies," said Lady Sarah.

"I suppose ladies may do what clergymen do. The Dean jumped over the
brook just before me." There was not much of an argument in this, but
Mrs. Houghton knew that it would vex Lady Sarah, because of the
alliance between the Dean and the Manor Cross family.

"She's a detestable young woman," Lady Sarah said to her mother, "and I
can only hope that Mary won't see much of her up in town."

"I don't see how she can, after what there has been between her and
George," said the innocent old lady. In spite, however, of this
strongly expressed opinion, the old lady made her visit, taking Lady
Amelia with her. "I hope, my dear, you find yourself getting better."

"So much better, Lady Brotherton! But I am so sorry to have given you
all this trouble; but it has been very pleasant to me to be here, and
to see Lord George and Mary together. I declare I think hers is the
sweetest face I ever looked upon. And she is so much improved. That's
what perfect happiness does. I do so like her."

"We love her very dearly," said the Marchioness.

"I am sure you do. And he is so proud of her!" Lady Sarah had said that
the woman was detestable, and therefore the Marchioness felt that she
ought to detest her. But, had it not been for Lady Sarah, she would
have been rather pleased with her guest than otherwise. She did not
remain very long, but promised that she would return on the next day.

On the following morning Mr. Houghton came again, staying only a few
minutes; and while he was in his wife's sitting-room, both Lord George
and Mary found them. As they were all leaving her together, she
contrived to say a word to her old lover. "Don't desert me all the
morning. Come and talk to me a bit. I am well now, though they won't
let me move about." In obedience to this summons, he returned to her
when his wife was called upon to attend to the ordinary cloak and
petticoat conclave of the other ladies. In regard to these charitable
meetings she had partly carried her own way. She had so far thrown off
authority as to make it understood that she was not to be bound by the
rules which her sisters-in-law had laid down for their own guidance.
But her rebellion had not been complete, and she still gave them a
certain number of weekly stitches. Lord George had said nothing of his
purpose; but for a full hour before luncheon he was alone with Mrs.
Houghton. If a gentleman may call on a lady in her house, surely he
may, without scandal, pay her a visit in his own. That a married man
should chat for an hour with another man's wife in a country house is
not much. Where is the man and where the woman who has not done that,
quite as a matter of course? And yet when Lord George knocked at the
door there was a feeling on him that he was doing something in which he
would not wish to be detected. "This is so good of you," she said. "Do
sit down; and don't run away. Your mother and sisters have been
here,--so nice of them, you know; but everybody treats me as though I
oughtn't to open my mouth for above five minutes at a time. I feel as
though I should like to jump the brook again immediately."

"Pray don't do that."

"Well, no; not quite yet. You don't like hunting, I'm afraid?"

"The truth is," said Lord George, "that I've never been able to afford
to keep horses."

"Ah, that's a reason. Mr. Houghton, of course, is a rich man; but I
don't know anything so little satisfactory in itself as being rich."

"It is comfortable."

"Oh yes, it is comfortable; but so unsatisfactory! Of course Mr.
Houghton can keep any number of horses; but, what's the use, when he
never rides to hounds? Better not have them at all, I think. I am very
fond of hunting myself."

"I daresay I should have liked it had it come in my way early in life."

"You speak of yourself as if you were a hundred years old. I know your
age exactly. You are just seventeen years younger than Mr. Houghton!"
To this Lord George had no reply to make. Of course he had felt that
when Miss De Baron had married Mr. Houghton she had married quite an
old man. "I wonder whether you were much surprised when you heard that
I was engaged to Mr. Houghton?"

"I was, rather."

"Because he is so old?"

"Not that altogether."

"I was surprised myself, and I knew that you would be. But what was I
to do?"

"I think you have been very wise," said Lord George.

"Yes, but you think I have been heartless. I can see it in your eyes
and hear it in your voice. Perhaps I was heartless;--but then I was
bound to be wise. A man may have a profession before him. He may do
anything. But what has a girl to think of? You say that money is

"Certainly it is."

"How is she to get it, if she has not got it of her own, like dear

"You do not think that I have blamed you."

"But even though you have not, yet I must excuse myself to you," she
said with energy, bending forward from her sofa towards him. "Do you
think that I do not know the difference?"

"What difference?"

"Ah, you shouldn't ask. I may hint at it, but you shouldn't ask. But it
wouldn't have done, would it?" Lord George hardly understood what it
was that wouldn't have done; but he knew that a reference was being
made to his former love by the girl he had loved; and, upon the whole,
he rather liked it. The flattery of such intrigues is generally
pleasant to men, even when they cannot bring their minds about quick
enough to understand all the little ins and outs of the woman's
manoeuvres. "It is my very nature to be extravagant. Papa has brought
me up like that. And yet I had nothing that I could call my own. I had
no right to marry any one but a rich man. You said just now you
couldn't afford to hunt."

"I never could."

"And I couldn't afford to have a heart. You said just now, too, that
money is very comfortable. There was a time when I should have found it
very, very comfortable to have had a fortune of my own."

"You have plenty now."

She wasn't angry with him, because she had already found out that it is
the nature of men to be slow. And she wasn't angry with him, again,
because, though he was slow, yet also was he evidently gratified.
"Yes," she said, "I have plenty now. I have secured so much. I couldn't
have done without a large income; but a large income doesn't make me
happy. It's like eating and drinking. One has to eat and drink, but yet
one doesn't care very much about it. Perhaps you don't regret hunting
very much?"

"Yes I do, because it enables a man to know his neighbours."

"I know that I regret the thing I couldn't afford."

Then a glimmer of what she meant did come across him, and he blushed.
"Things will not always turn out as they are wanted," he said. Then his
conscience upbraided him, and he corrected himself. "But, God knows
that I have no reason to complain. I have been fortunate."

"Yes, indeed."

"I sometimes think it is better to remember the good things we have
than to regret those that are gone."

"That is excellent philosophy, Lord George. And therefore I go out
hunting, and break my bones, and fall into rivers, and ride about with
such men as Mr. Price. One has to make the best of it, hasn't one? But
you, I see, have no regrets."

He paused for a moment, and then found himself driven to make some
attempt at gallantry. "I didn't quite say that," he replied.

"You were able to re-establish yourself according to your own tastes. A
man can always do so. I was obliged to take whatever came. I think that
Mary is so nice."

"I think so too, I can assure you."

"You have been very fortunate to find such a girl; so innocent, so
pure, so pretty, and with a fortune too. I wonder how much difference
it would have made in your happiness if you had seen her before we had
ever been acquainted. I suppose we should never have known each other

"Who can say?"

"No; no one can say. For myself, I own that I like it better as it is.
I have something to remember that I can be proud of."

"And I something to be ashamed of."

"To be ashamed of!" she said, almost rising in anger.

"That you should have refused me!"

She had got it at last. She had made her fish rise to the fly. "Oh,
no," she said; "there can be nothing of that. If I did not tell you
plainly then, I tell you plainly now. I should have done very wrong to
marry a poor man."

"I ought not to have asked you."

"I don't know how that may be," she said in a very low voice, looking
down to the ground. "Some say that if a man loves he should declare his
love, let the circumstances be what they may. I rather think that I
agree with them. You at any rate knew that I felt greatly honoured,
though the honour was out of my reach." Then there was a pause, during
which he could find nothing to say. He was trapped by her flattery, but
he did not wish to betray his wife by making love to the woman. He
liked her words and her manner; but he was aware that she was a thing
sacred as being another man's wife. "But it is all better as it is,"
she said with a laugh, "and Mary Lovelace is the happiest girl of her
year. I am so glad you are coming to London, and do so hope you'll come
and see me."

"Certainly I will."

"I mean to be such friends with Mary. There is no woman I like so much.
And then circumstances have thrown us together, haven't they; and if
she and I are friends, real friends, I shall feel that our friendship
may be continued,--yours and mine. I don't mean that all this accident
shall go for nothing. I wasn't quite clever enough to contrive it; but
I am very glad of it, because it has brought us once more together, so
that we may understand each other. Good-bye, Lord George. Don't let me
keep you longer now. I wouldn't have Mary jealous, you know."

"I don't think there is the least fear of that," he said in real

"Don't take me up seriously for my little joke," she said as she put
out her left hand. He took it, and once more smiled, and then left her.

When she was alone there came a feeling on her that she had gone
through some hard work with only moderate success; and also a feeling
that the game was hardly worth the candle. She was not in the least in
love with the man, or capable of being in love with any man. In a
certain degree she was jealous, and felt that she owed Mary Lovelace a
turn for having so speedily won her own rejected lover. But her
jealousy was not strong enough for absolute malice. She had formed no
plot against the happiness of the husband and wife when she came into
the house; but the plot made itself, and she liked the excitement. He
was heavy,--certainly heavy; but he was very handsome, and a lord; and
then, too, it was much in her favour that he certainly had once loved
her dearly.

Lord George, as he went down to lunch, felt himself to be almost
guilty, and hardly did more than creep into the room where his wife and
sisters were seated.

"Have you been with Mrs. Houghton?" asked Lady Sarah in a firm voice.

"Yes, I have been sitting with her for the last half hour," he replied;
but he couldn't answer the question without hesitation in his manner.
Mary, however, thought nothing about it.



In Brotherton the Dean's performance in the run from Cross Hall Holt
was almost as much talked of as Mrs. Houghton's accident. There had
been rumours of things that he had done in the same line after taking
orders, when a young man,--of runs that he had ridden, and even of
visits which he had made to Newmarket and other wicked places. But, as
far as Brotherton knew, there had been nothing of all this since the
Dean had been a dean. Though he was constantly on horseback, he had
never been known to do more than perhaps look at a meet, and it was
understood through Brotherton generally that he had forbidden his
daughter to hunt. But now, no sooner was his daughter married, and the
necessity of setting an example to her at an end, than the Dean, with a
rosette in his hat,--for so the story was told,--was after the hounds
like a sporting farmer or a mere country gentleman! On the very next
day Mr. Groschut told the whole story to the Bishop. But Mr. Groschut
had not seen the performance, and the Bishop affected to disbelieve it.
"I'm afraid, my lord," said the chaplain, "I'm afraid you'll find it's
true." "If he rides after every pack of dogs in the county, I don't
know that I can help it," said the Bishop. With this Mr. Groschut was
by no means inclined to agree. A bishop is as much entitled to cause
inquiries to be made into the moral conduct of a dean as of any country
clergyman in his diocese. "Suppose he were to take to gambling on the
turf," said Mr. Groschut, with much horror expressed in his tone and
countenance. "But riding after a pack of dogs isn't gambling on the
turf," said the Bishop, who, though he would have liked to possess the
power of putting down the Dean, by no means relished the idea of being
beaten in an attempt to do so.

And Mr. Canon Holdenough heard of it. "My dear," he said to his wife,
"Manor Cross is coming out strong in the sporting way. Not only is Mrs.
Houghton laid up there with a broken limb, but your brother's
father-in-law took the brush on the same day."

"The Dean!" said Lady Alice.

"So they tell me."

"He was always so particular in not letting Mary ride over a single
fence. He would hardly let her go to a meet on horseback."

"Many fathers do what they won't let their daughters do. The Dean has
been always giving signs that he would like to break out a little."

"Can they do anything to him?"

"Oh dear no;--not if he was to hunt a pack of hounds himself, as far as
I know."

"But I suppose it's wrong, Canon," said the clerical wife.

"Yes; I think it's wrong because it will scandalise. Everything that
gives offence is wrong, unless it be something that is on other grounds
expedient. If it be true we shall hear about it a good deal here, and
it will not contribute to brotherly love and friendship among us

There was another canon at Brotherton, one Dr. Pountner, a red-faced
man, very fond of his dinner, a man of infinite pluck, and much
attached to the Cathedral, towards the reparation of which he had
contributed liberally. And, having an ear for music, he had done much
to raise the character of the choir. Though Dr. Pountner's sermons were
supposed to be the worst ever heard from the pulpit of the Cathedral,
he was, on account of the above good deeds, the most popular clergyman
in the city. "So I'm told you've been distinguishing yourself, Mr.
Dean," said the Doctor, meeting our friend in the close.

"Have I done so lately, more than is usual with me?" asked the Dean,
who had not hitherto heard of the rumour of his performances.

"I am told that you were so much ahead the other day in the hunting
field, that you were unable to give assistance to the poor lady who
broke her arm."

"Oh, that's it! If I do anything at all, though I may do it but once in
a dozen years, I like to do it well, Dr. Pountner. I wish I thought
that you could follow my example, and take a little exercise. It would
be very good for you." The Doctor was a heavy man, and hardly walked
much beyond the confines of the Close or his own garden. Though a bold
man, he was not so ready as the Dean, and had no answer at hand. "Yes,"
continued our friend, "I did go a mile or two with them, and I enjoyed
it amazingly. I wish with all my heart there was no prejudice against
clergymen hunting."

"I think it would be an abominable practice," said Dr. Pountner,
passing on.

The Dean himself would have thought nothing more about it had there not
appeared a few lines on the subject in a weekly newspaper called the
"Brotherton Church," which was held to be a pestilential little rag by
all the Close. Deans, canons, and minor canons were all agreed as to
this, Dr. Pountner hating the "Brotherton Church" quite as sincerely as
did the Dean. The "Brotherton Church" was edited nominally by a
certain Mr. Grease,--a very pious man who had long striven, but
hitherto in vain, to get orders. But it was supposed by many that the
paper was chiefly inspired by Mr. Groschut. It was always very
laudatory of the Bishop. It had distinguished itself by its elaborate
opposition to ritual. Its mission was to put down popery in the diocese
of Brotherton. It always sneered at the Chapter generally, and very
often said severe things of the Dean. On this occasion the paragraph
was as follows; "There is a rumour current that Dean Lovelace was out
with the Brotherton foxhounds last Wednesday, and that he rode with the
pack all the day, leading the field. We do not believe this, but we
hope that for the sake of the Cathedral and for his own sake, he will
condescend to deny the report." On the next Saturday there was another
paragraph, with a reply from the Dean; "We have received from the Dean
of Brotherton the following startling letter, which we publish without
comment. What our opinion on the subject may be our readers will

     "Deanery, November, 187--

     "Sir,--You have been correctly informed that I was out with the
     Brotherton foxhounds on Wednesday week last. The other reports
     which you have published, and as to which after publication, you
     have asked for information, are unfortunately incorrect. I wish I
     could have done as well as my enemies accuse me of doing.

     "I am, Sir,

     "Your humble servant,


     "To the Editor of the 'Brotherton Church.'"

The Dean's friends were unanimous in blaming him for having taken any
notice of the attack. The Bishop, who was at heart an honest man and a
gentleman, regretted it. All the Chapter were somewhat ashamed of it.
The Minor Canons were agreed that it was below the dignity of a dean.
Dr. Pountner, who had not yet forgotten the allusion to his obesity,
whispered in some clerical ear that nothing better could be expected
out of a stable; and Canon Holdenough, who really liked the Dean in
spite of certain differences of opinion, expostulated with him about

"I would have let it pass," said the Canon. "Why notice it at all?"

"Because I would not have any one suppose that I was afraid to notice
it. Because I would not have it thought that I had gone out with the
hounds and was ashamed of what I had done."

"Nobody who knows you would have thought that."

"I am proud to think that nobody who knows me would. I make as many
mistakes as another, and am sorry for them afterwards. But I am never
ashamed. I'll tell you what happened, not to justify my hunting, but
to justify my letter. I was over at Manor Cross, and I went to the
meet, because Mary went. I have not done such a thing before since I
came to Brotherton, because there is,--what I will call a feeling
against it. When I was there I rode a field or two with them, and I can
tell you I enjoyed it."

"I daresay you did."

"Then, very soon after the fox broke, there was that brook at which
Mrs. Houghton hurt herself. I happened to jump it, and the thing became
talked about because of her accident. After that we came out on the
Brotherton road, and I went back to Manor Cross. Do not suppose that I
should have been ashamed of myself if I had gone on even half a dozen
more fields."

"I'm sure you wouldn't."

"The thing in itself is not bad. Nevertheless,--thinking as the world
around us does about hunting,--a clergyman in my position would be
wrong to hunt often. But a man who can feel horror at such a thing as
this is a prig in religion. If, as is more likely, a man affects
horror, he is a hypocrite. I believe that most clergymen will agree
with me in that; but there is no clergyman in the diocese of whose
agreement I feel more certain than of yours."

"It is the letter, not the hunting, to which I object."

"There was an apparent cowardice in refraining from answering such an
attack. I am aware, Canon, of a growing feeling of hostility to

"Not in the Chapter?"

"In the diocese. And I know whence it comes, and I think I understand
its cause. Let what will come of it I am not going to knock under. I
want to quarrel with no man, and certainly with no clergyman,--but I am
not going to be frightened out of my own manner of life or my own
manner of thinking by fear of a quarrel."

"Nobody doubts your courage; but what is the use of fighting when there
is nothing to win. Let that wretched newspaper alone. It is beneath you
and me, Dean."

"Very much beneath us, and so is your butler beneath you. But if he
asks you a question, you answer him. To tell the truth I would rather
they should call me indiscreet than timid. If I did not feel that it
would be really wrong and painful to my friends I would go out hunting
three days next week, to let them know that I am not to be cowed."

There was a good deal said at Manor Cross about the newspaper
correspondence, and some condemnation of the Dean expressed by the
ladies, who thought that he had lowered himself by addressing a reply
to the editor. In the heat of discussion a word or two was spoken by
Lady Susanna,--who entertained special objections to all things
low,--which made Mary very angry. "I think papa is at any rate a better
judge than you can be," she said. Between sisters as sisters generally
are, or even sisters-in-laws, this would not be much; but at Manor
Cross it was felt to be misconduct. Mary was so much younger than they
were! And then she was the grand-daughter of a tradesman! No doubt they
all thought that they were willing to admit her among themselves on
terms of equality; but then there was a feeling among them that she
ought to repay this great goodness by a certain degree of humility and
submission. From day to day the young wife strengthened herself in a
resolution that she would not be humble and would not be submissive.

Lady Susanna, when she heard the words, drew herself up with an air of
offended dignity. "Mary, dear," said Lady Sarah, "is not that a little

"I think it is unkind to say that papa is indiscreet," said the Dean's
daughter. "I wonder what you'd all think if I were to say a word
against dear mamma." She had been specially instructed to call the
Marchioness mamma.

"The Dean is not my father-in-law," said Lady Amelia, very proudly, as
though in making the suggestion, she begged it to be understood that
under no circumstances could such a connection have been possible.

"But he's my papa, and I shall stand up for him,--and I do say that he
must know more about such things than any lady." Then Lady Susanna got
up and marched majestically out of the room.

Lord George was told of this, and found himself obliged to speak to his
wife. "I'm afraid there has been something between you and Susanna,

"She abused papa, and I told her papa knew better than she did, and
then she walked out of the room."

"I don't suppose she meant to--abuse the Dean."

"She called him names."

"She said he was indiscreet."

"That is calling him names."

"No, my dear, indiscreet is an epithet; and even were it a noun
substantive, as a name must be, it could only be one name." It was
certainly very hard to fall in love with a man who could talk about
epithets so very soon after his marriage; but yet she would go on
trying. "Dear George," she said, "don't you scold me. I will do
anything you tell me, but I don't like them to say hard things of papa.
You are not angry with me for taking papa's part, are you?"

He kissed her, and told her that he was not in the least angry with
her; but, nevertheless, he went on to insinuate, that if she could
bring herself to show something of submission to his sisters, it would
make her own life happier and theirs and his. "I would do anything I
could to make your life happy," she said.



Time went on, and the day arranged for the migration to London came
round. After much delicate fencing on one side and the other, this was
fixed for the 31st January. The fencing took place between the Dean,
acting on behalf of his daughter, and the ladies of the Manor Cross
family generally. They, though they conceived themselves to have had
many causes of displeasure with Mary, were not the less anxious to keep
her at Manor Cross. They would all, at any moment, have gladly assented
to an abandonment of the London house, and had taught themselves to
look upon the London house as an allurement of Satan, most unwisely
contrived and countenanced by the Dean. And there was no doubt that, as
the Dean acted on behalf of his daughter, so did they act on behalf of
their brother. He could not himself oppose the London house; but he
disliked it and feared it, and now, at last, thoroughly repented
himself of it. But it had been a stipulation made at the marriage; and
the Dean's money had been spent. The Dean had been profuse with his
money, and had shown himself to be a more wealthy man than any one at
Manor Cross had suspected. Mary's fortune was no doubt her own; but the
furniture had been in a great measure supplied by the Dean, and the
Dean had paid the necessary premium on going into the house. Lord
George felt it to be impossible to change his mind after all that had
been done; but he had been quite willing to postpone the evil day as
long as possible.

Lady Susanna was especially full of fears, and, it must be owned,
especially inimical to all Mary's wishes. She was the one who had
perhaps been most domineering to her brother's wife, and she was
certainly the one whose domination Mary resisted with the most settled
determination. There was a self-abnegation about Lady Sarah, a
downright goodness, and at the same time an easily-handled magisterial
authority, which commanded reverence. After three months of residence
at Manor Cross, Mary was willing to acknowledge that Lady Sarah was
more than a sister-in-law,--that her nature partook of divine
omnipotence, and that it compelled respect, whether given willingly or
unwillingly. But to none of the others would her spirit thus humble
itself, and especially not to Lady Susanna. Therefore Lady Susanna was
hostile, and therefore Lady Susanna was quite sure that Mary would fall
into great trouble amidst the pleasures of the metropolis.

"After all," she said to her elder sister, "what is £1,500 a year to
keep up a house in London?"

"It will only be for a few months," said Lady Sarah.

"Of course she must have a carriage, and then George will find himself
altogether in the hands of the Dean. That is what I fear. The Dean has
done very well with himself, but he is not a man whom I like to trust

"He is at any rate generous with his money."

"He is bound to be that, or he could not hold up his head at all. He
has nothing else to depend on. Did you hear what Dr. Pountner said
about him the other day? Since that affair with the newspaper, he has
gone down very much in the Chapter. I am sure of that."

"I think you are a little hard upon him, Susanna."

"You must feel that he is very wrong about this house in London. Why is
a man, because he's married, to be taken away from all his own
pursuits? If she could not accommodate herself to his tastes, she
should not have accepted him."

"Let us be just," said Lady Sarah.

"Certainly, let us be just," said Lady Amelia, who in these
conversations seldom took much part, unless when called upon to support
her eldest sister.

"Of course we should be just," said Lady Susanna.

"She did not accept him," said Lady Sarah, "till he had agreed to
comply with the Dean's wish that they should spend part of their time
in London."

"He was very weak," said Lady Susanna.

"I wish it could have been otherwise," continued Lady Sarah; "but we
can hardly suppose that the tastes of a young girl from Brotherton
should be the same as ours. I can understand that Mary should find
Manor Cross dull."

"Dull!" exclaimed Lady Susanna.

"Dull!" ejaculated Lady Amelia, constrained on this occasion to differ
even from her eldest sister. "I can't understand that she should find
Manor Cross dull, particularly while she has her husband with her."

"The bargain, at any rate, was made," said Lady Sarah, "before the
engagement was settled; and as the money is hers, I do not think we
have a right to complain. I am very sorry that it should be so. Her
character is very far from being formed, and his tastes are so
completely fixed that nothing will change them."

"And then there's that Mrs. Houghton!" said Lady Susanna. Mrs. Houghton
had of course left Manor Cross long since; but she had left a most
unsatisfactory feeling behind her in the minds of all the Manor Cross
ladies. This arose not only from their personal dislike, but from a
suspicion, a most agonising suspicion, that their brother was more fond
than he should have been of the lady's society. It must be understood
that Mary herself knew nothing of this, and was altogether free from
such suspicion. But the three sisters, and the Marchioness under their
tuition, had decided that it would be very much better that Lord
George should see no more of Mrs. Houghton. He was not, they thought,
infatuated in such a fashion that he would run to London after her;
but, when in London, he would certainly be thrown into her society. "I
cannot bear to think of it," continued Lady Susanna. Lady Amelia shook
her head. "I think, Sarah, you ought to speak to him seriously. No man
has higher ideas of duty than he has; and if he be made to think of it,
he will avoid her."

"I have spoken," replied Lady Sarah, almost in a whisper.



"Was he angry?"

"How did he bear it?"

"He was not angry, but he did not bear it very well. He told me that he
certainly found her to be attractive, but that he thought he had power
enough to keep himself free from any such fault as that. I asked him to
promise me not to see her; but he declined to make a promise which he
said he might not be able to keep."

"She is a horrid woman, and Mary. I am afraid, likes her," said Lady
Susanna. "I know that evil will come of it."

Sundry scenes counter to this were enacted at the deanery. Mary was in
the habit of getting herself taken over to Brotherton more frequently
than the ladies liked; but it was impossible that they should openly
oppose her visits to her father. On one occasion, early in January, she
had got her husband to ride over with her, and was closeted with the
Dean while he was away in the city. "Papa," she said, "I almost think
that I'll give up the house in Munster Court."

"Give it up! Look here, Mary; you'll have no happiness in life unless
you can make up your mind not to allow those old ladies at Manor Cross
to sit upon you."

"It is not for their sake. He does not like it, and I would do anything
for him."

"That is all very well; and I would be the last to advise you to oppose
his wishes if I did not see that the effect would be to make him
subject to his sisters' dominion as well as you. Would you like him to
be always under their thumb?"

"No, papa; I shouldn't like that."

"It was because I foresaw all this that I stipulated so expressly as I
did that you should have a house of your own. Every woman, when she
marries, should be emancipated from other domestic control than that of
her husband. From the nature of Lord George's family this would have
been impossible at Manor Cross, and therefore I insisted on a house in
town. I could do this the more freely because the wherewithal was to
come from us, and not from them. Do not disturb what I have done."

"I will not go against you, of course, papa."

"And remember always that this is to be done as much for his sake as
for yours. His position has been very peculiar. He has no property of
his own, and he has lived there with his mother and sisters till the
feminine influences of the house have almost domineered him. It is your
duty to assist in freeing him from this." Looking at the matter in the
light now presented to her, Mary began to think that her father was
right. "With a husband there should at any rate be only one feminine
influence," he added, laughing.

"I shall not over rule him, and I shall not try," said Mary, smiling.

"At any rate, do not let other women rule him. By degrees he will learn
to enjoy London society, and so will you. You will spend half the year
at Manor Cross or the deanery, and by degrees both he and you will be
emancipated. For myself, I can conceive nothing more melancholy than
would be his slavery and yours if you were to live throughout the year
with those old women." Then, too, he said something to her of the
satisfaction which she herself would receive from living in London, and
told her that, for her, life itself had hardly as yet been commenced.
She received her lessons with thankfulness and gratitude, but with
something of wonder that he should so openly recommend to her a manner
of life which she had hitherto been taught to regard as worldly.

After that no further hint was given to her that the house in London
might yet be abandoned. When riding back with her husband, she had been
clever enough to speak of the thing as a fixed certainty; and he had
then known that he also must regard it as fixed. "You had better not
say anything more about it," he said one day almost angrily to Lady
Susanna, and then nothing more had been said about it--to him.

There were other causes of confusion,--of terrible confusion,--at Manor
Cross, of confusion so great that from day to day the Marchioness would
declare herself unable to go through the troubles before her. The
workmen were already in the big house preparing for the demolition and
reconstruction of everything as soon as she should be gone; and other
workmen were already demolishing and reconstructing Cross Hall. The
sadness of all this and the weight on the old lady's mind were
increased by the fact that no member of the family had received so much
even as a message from the Marquis himself since it had been decided
that his wishes should not be obeyed. Over and over again the dowager
attempted to give way, and suggested that they should all depart and be
out of sight. It seemed to her that when a marquis is a marquis he
ought to have his own way, though it be never so unreasonable. Was he
not the head of the family? But Lady Sarah was resolved, and carried
her point. Were they all to be pitched down in some strange corner,
where they would be no better than other women, incapable of doing good
or exercising influence, by the wish of one man who had never done any
good anywhere, or used his own influence legitimately? Lady Sarah was
no coward, and Lady Sarah stuck to Cross Hall, though in doing so she
had very much to endure. "I won't go out, my Lady," said Price, "not
till the day when her Ladyship is ready to come in. I can put up with
things, and I'll see as all is done as your Ladyship wishes." Price,
though he was a sporting farmer, and though men were in the habit of
drinking cherry brandy at his house, and though naughty things had been
said about him, had in these days become Lady Sarah's prime minister at
Cross Hall, and was quite prepared in that capacity to carry on war
against the Marquis.

When the day came for the departure of Mary and her husband, a
melancholy feeling pervaded the whole household. A cook had been sent
up from Brotherton who had lived at Manor Cross many years previously.
Lord George took a man who had waited on himself lately at the old
house, and Mary had her own maid who had come with her when she
married. They had therefore been forced to look for but one strange
servant. But this made the feeling the stronger that they would all be
strange up in London. This was so strong with Lord George that it
almost amounted to fear. He knew that he did not know how to live in
London. He belonged to the Carlton, as became a conservative nobleman;
but he very rarely entered it, and never felt himself at home when he
was there. And Mary, though she had been quite resolved since the
conversation with her father that she would be firm about her house,
still was not without her own dread. She herself had no personal
friends in town,--not one but Mrs. Houghton, as to whom she heard
nothing but evil words from the ladies around her. There had been an
attempt made to get one of the sisters to go up with them for the first
month. Lady Sarah had positively refused, almost with indignation. Was
it to be supposed that she would desert her mother at so trying a time?
Lady Amelia was then asked, and with many regrets declined the
invitation. She had not dared to use her own judgment, and Lady Sarah
had not cordially advised her to go. Lady Sarah had thought that Lady
Susanna would be the most useful. But Lady Susanna was not asked. There
were a few words on the subject between Lord George and his wife. Mary,
remembering her father's advice, had determined that she would not be
sat upon, and had whispered to her husband that Susanna was always
severe to her. When, therefore, the time came, they departed from Manor
Cross without any protecting spirit.

There was something sad in this, even to Mary. She knew that she was
taking her husband away from the life he liked, and that she, herself,
was going to a life as to which she could not even guess, whether she
would like it or not. But she had the satisfaction of feeling that she
was at last going to begin to live as a married woman. Hitherto she
had been treated as a child. If there was danger, there was, at any
rate, the excitement which danger produces. "I am almost glad that we
are going alone, George," she said. "It seems to me that we have never
been alone yet."

He wished to be gracious and loving to her, and yet he was not disposed
to admit anything which might seem to imply that he had become tired of
living with his own family. "It is very nice, but----"

"But what, dear?"

"Of course I am anxious about my mother just at present."

"She is not to move for two months yet."

"No,--not to move; but there are so many things to be done."

"You can run down whenever you please?"

"That's expensive; but of course it must be done."

"Say that you'll like being with me alone." They had the compartment of
the railway carriage all to themselves, and she, as she spoke, leaned
against him, inviting him to caress her. "You don't think it a trouble,
do you, having to come and live with me?" Of course he was conquered,
and said, after his nature, what prettiest things he could to her,
assuring her that he would sooner live with her than with any one in
the world, and promising that he would always endeavour to make her
happy. She knew that he was doing his best to be a loving husband, and
she felt, therefore, that she was bound to be loyal in her endeavours
to love him; but at the same time, at the very moment in which she was
receiving his words with outward show of satisfied love, her
imagination was picturing to her something else which would have been
so immeasurably superior, if only it had been possible.

That evening they dined together, alone; and it was the first time that
they had ever done so, except at an inn. Never before had been imposed
on her the duty of seeing that his dinner was prepared for him. There
certainly was very little of duty to perform in the matter, for he was
a man indifferent as to what he ate, or what he drank. The plainness of
the table at Manor Cross had surprised Mary, after the comparative
luxury of the deanery. All her lessons at Manor Cross had gone to show
that eating was not a delectation to be held in high esteem. But still
she was careful that everything around him should be nice. The
furniture was new, the glasses and crockery were new. Few, if any, of
the articles used, had ever been handled before. All her bridal
presents were there; and no doubt there was present to her mind the
fact that everything in the house had in truth been given to him by
her. If only she could make the things pleasant! If only he would allow
himself to be taught that nice things are nice! She hovered around him,
touching him every now and then with her light fingers, moving a lock
of his hair, and then stooping over him and kissing his brow. It might
still be that she would be able to galvanise him into that lover's
vitality, of which she had dreamed. He never rebuffed her; he did not
scorn her kisses, or fail to smile when his hair was moved; he answered
every word she spoke to him carefully and courteously; he admired her
pretty things when called upon to admire them. But through it all, she
was quite aware that she had not galvanised him as yet.

Of course there were books. Every proper preparation had been made for
rendering the little house pleasant. In the evening she took from her
shelf a delicate little volume of poetry, something exquisitely bound,
pretty to look at, and sweet to handle, and settled herself down to be
happy in her own drawing-room. But she soon looked up from the troubles
of Aurora Leigh to see what her husband was doing. He was comfortable
in his chair, but was busy with the columns of the Brothershire Herald.

"Dear me, George, have you brought that musty old paper up here?"

"Why shouldn't I read the Herald here, as well as at Manor Cross?"

"Oh! yes, if you like it."

"Of course I want to know what is being done in the county." But when
next she looked, the county had certainly faded from his mind, for he
was fast asleep.

On that occasion she did not care very much for Aurora Leigh. Her mind
was hardly tuned to poetry of that sort. The things around her were too
important to allow her mind to indulge itself with foreign cares. And
then she found herself looking at the watch. At Manor Cross ten o'clock
every night brought all the servants into the drawing-room. First the
butler would come and place the chairs, and then the maids, and then
the coachman and footman would follow. Lord George read the prayers,
and Mary had always thought them to be very tiring. But she now felt
that it would almost be a relief if the butler would come in and place
the chairs.



Lady George was not left long in her new house without visitors. Early
on the day after her arrival, Mrs. Houghton came to her, and began at
once, with great volubility, to explain how the land lay, and to
suggest how it should be made to lie for the future. "I am so glad you
have come. As soon, you know, as they positively forbade me to get on
horseback again this winter, I made up my mind to come to town. What
is there to keep me down there if I don't ride? I promised to obey if I
was brought here,--and to disobey if I was left there. Mr. Houghton
goes up and down, you know. It is hard upon him, poor old fellow. But
then the other thing would be harder on me. He and papa are together
somewhere now, arranging about the spring meetings. They have got their
stables joined, and I know very well who will have the best of that. A
man has to get up very early to see all round papa. But Mr. Houghton is
so rich, it doesn't signify. And now, my dear, what are you going to
do? and what is Lord George going to do? I am dying to see Lord George.
I dare say you are getting a little tired of him by this time."

"Indeed, I'm not."

"You haven't picked up courage enough yet to say so; that's it, my
dear. I've brought cards from Mr. Houghton, which means to say that
though he is down somewhere at Newmarket in the flesh he is to be
supposed to have called upon you and Lord George. And now we want you
both to come and dine with us on Monday. I know Lord George is
particular, and so I've brought a note. You can't have anything to do
yet, and of course you'll come. Houghton will be back on Sunday, and
goes down again on Tuesday morning. To hear him talk about it you'd
think he was the keenest man in England across a country. Say that
you'll come."

"I'll ask Lord George."

"Fiddle de dee. Lord George will be only too delighted to come and see
me. I've got such a nice cousin to introduce to you; not one of the
Germain sort, you know, who are all perhaps a little slow. This man is
Jack De Baron, a nephew of papa's. He's in the Coldstreams, and I do
think you'll like him. There's nothing on earth he can't do, from
waltzing down to polo. And old Mildmay will be there, and Guss Mildmay,
who is dying in love with Jack."

"And is Jack dying in love with Guss?"

"Oh! dear no; not a bit. You needn't be afraid. Jack De Baron has just
£500 a year and his commission, and must, I should say, be over head
and ears in debt. Miss Mildmay may perhaps have £5,000 for her fortune.
Put this and that together, and you can hardly see anything comfortable
in the way of matrimony, can you?"

"Then I fear your----Jack is mercenary."

"Mercenary;--of course he's mercenary. That is to say, he doesn't want
to go to destruction quite at one leap. But he's awfully fond of
falling in love, and when he is in love he'll do almost
anything,--except marry."

"Then if I were you, I shouldn't ask--Guss to meet him."

"She can fight her own battles, and wouldn't thank me at all if I were
to fight them for her after that fashion. There'll be nobody else
except Houghton's sister, Hetta. You never met Hetta Houghton?"

"I've heard of her."

"I should think so. 'Not to know her,'--I forget the words; but if you
don't know Hetta Houghton, you're just nowhere. She has lots of money,
and lives all alone, and says whatever comes uppermost, and does what
she pleases. She goes everywhere, and is up to everything. I always
made up my mind I wouldn't be an old maid, but I declare I envy Hetta
Houghton. But then she'd be nothing unless she had money. There'll be
eight of us, and at this time of the year we dine at half-past seven,
sharp. Can I take you anywhere? The carriage can come back with you?"

"Thank you, no. I am going to pick Lord George up at the Carlton at

"How nice! I wonder how long you'll go on picking up Lord George at the

She could only suppose, when her friend was gone, that this was the
right kind of thing. No doubt Lady Susanna had warned her against Mrs.
Houghton, but then she was not disposed to take Lady Susanna's warnings
on any subject. Her father had known that she intended to know the
woman; and her father, though he had cautioned her very often as to the
old women at Manor Cross, as he called them, had never spoken a word of
caution to her as to Mrs. Houghton. And her husband was well aware of
the intended intimacy. She picked up her husband, and rather liked
being kept waiting a few minutes at the club door in her brougham. Then
they went together to look at a new picture, which was being exhibited
by gas-light in Bond Street, and she began to feel that the pleasures
of London were delightful. "Don't you think those two old priests are
magnificent?" she said, pressing on his arm, in the obscurity of the
darkened chamber. "I don't know that I care much about old priests,"
said Lord George.

"But the heads are so fine."

"I dare say. Sacerdotal pictures never please me. Didn't you say you
wanted to go to Swann and Edgar's?" He would not sympathize with her
about pictures, but perhaps she would be able to find out his taste at

He seemed quite well satisfied to dine with the Houghtons, and did, in
fact, call at the house before that day came round. "I was in Berkeley
Square this morning," he said one day, "but I didn't find any one."

"Nobody ever is at home, I suppose," she said. "Look here. There have
been Lady Brabazon, and Mrs. Patmore Green, and Mrs. Montacute Jones.
Who is Mrs. Montacute Jones?"

"I never heard of her."

"Dear me; how very odd. I dare say it was kind of her to come. And
yesterday the Countess of Care called. Is not she some relative?"

"She is my mother's first cousin."

"And then there was dear old Miss Tallowax. And I wasn't at home to see
one of them."

"No one I suppose ever is at home in London unless they fix a day for
seeing people."

Lady George, having been specially asked to come "sharp" to her
friend's dinner party, arrived with her husband exactly at the hour
named, and found no one in the drawing-room. In a few minutes Mrs.
Houghton hurried in, apologising. "It's all Mr. Houghton's fault
indeed, Lord George. He was to have been in town yesterday, but would
stay down and hunt to-day. Of course the train was late, and of course
he was so tired that he couldn't dress without going to sleep first."
As nobody else came for a quarter of an hour Mrs. Houghton had an
opportunity of explaining some things. "Has Mrs. Montacute Jones
called? I suppose you were out of your wits to find out who she was.
She's a very old friend of papa's, and I asked her to call. She gives
awfully swell parties, and has no end of money. She was one of the
Montacutes of Montacute, and so she sticks her own name on to her
husband's. He's alive, I believe, but he never shews. I think she keeps
him somewhere down in Wales."

"How odd!"

"It is a little queer, but when you come to know her you'll find it
will make no difference. She's the ugliest old woman in London, but I'd
be as ugly as she is to have her diamonds."

"I wouldn't," said Mary.

"Your husband cares about your appearance," said Mrs. Houghton, turning
her eyes upon Lord George. He simpered and looked pleased and did not
seem to be at all disgusted by their friend's slang, and yet had she
talked of "awfully swell" parties, he would, she was well aware, have
rebuked her seriously.

Miss Houghton--Hetta Houghton--was the first to arrive, and she
somewhat startled Mary by the gorgeous glories of her dress, though
Mrs. Houghton afterwards averred that she wasn't "a patch upon Mrs.
Montacute Jones." But Miss Houghton was a lady, and though over forty
years of age, was still handsome.

"Been hunting to-day, has he?" she said. "Well, if he likes it, I
shan't complain. But I thought he liked his ease too well to travel
fifty miles up to town after riding about all day."

"Of course he's knocked up, and at his age it's quite absurd," said the
young wife. "But Hetta, I want you to know my particular friend Lady
George Germain. Lord George, if he'll allow me to say so, is a cousin,
though I'm afraid we have to go back to Noah to make it out."

"Your great-grandmother was my great-grandmother's sister. That's not
so very far off."

"When you get to grandmothers no fellow can understand it, can they,
Mary?" Then came Mr. and Miss Mildmay. He was a gray-haired old
gentleman, rather short and rather fat, and she looked to be just such
another girl as Mrs. Houghton herself had been, though blessed with
more regular beauty. She was certainly handsome, but she carried with
her that wearied air of being nearly worn out by the toil of searching
for a husband which comes upon some young women after the fourth or
fifth year of their labours. Fortune had been very hard upon Augusta
Mildmay. Early in her career she had fallen in love, while abroad, with
an Italian nobleman, and had immediately been carried off home by her
anxious parents. Then in London she had fallen in love again with an
English nobleman, an eldest son, with wealth of his own. Nothing could
be more proper, and the young man had fallen also in love with her. All
her friends were beginning to hate her with virulence, so lucky had she
been! When on a sudden, the young lord told her that the match would
not please his father and mother, and that therefore there must be an
end of it. What was there to be done! All London had talked of it; all
London must know the utter failure. Nothing more cruel, more barefaced,
more unjust had ever been perpetrated. A few years since all the
Mildmays in England, one after another, would have had a shot at the
young nobleman. But in these days there seems to be nothing for a girl
to do but to bear it and try again. So Augusta Mildmay bore it and did
try again; tried very often again. And now she was in love with Jack De
Baron. The worst of Guss Mildmay was that, through it all, she had a
heart and would like the young men,--would like them, or perhaps
dislike them, equally to her disadvantage. Old gentlemen, such as was
Mr. Houghton, had been willing to condone all her faults, and all her
loves, and to take her as she was. But when the moment came, she would
not have her Houghton, and then she was in the market again. Now a
young woman entering the world cannot make a greater mistake than not
to know her own line, or, knowing it, not to stick to it. Those who are
thus weak are sure to fall between two stools. If a girl chooses to
have a heart, let her marry the man of her heart, and take her mutton
chops and bread and cheese, her stuff gown and her six children, as
they may come. But if she can decide that such horrors are horrid to
her, and that they must at any cost be avoided, then let her take her
Houghton when he comes, and not hark back upon feelings and fancies,
upon liking and loving, upon youth and age. If a girl has money and
beauty too, of course she can pick and choose. Guss Mildmay had no
money to speak of, but she had beauty enough to win either a working
barrister or a rich old sinner. She was quite able to fall in love with
the one and flirt with the other at the same time; but when the moment
for decision came, she could not bring herself to put up with either.
At present she was in real truth in love with Jack De Baron, and had
brought herself to think that if Jack would ask her, she would risk
everything. But were he to do so, which was not probable, she would
immediately begin to calculate what could be done by Jack's moderate
income and her own small fortune. She and Mrs. Houghton kissed each
other affectionately, being at the present moment close in each other's
confidences, and then she was introduced to Lady George. "Adelaide
hasn't a chance," was Miss Mildmay's first thought as she looked at the
young wife.

Then came Jack De Baron. Mary was much interested in seeing a man of
whom she had heard so striking an account, and for the love of whom she
had been told that a girl was almost dying. Of course all that was to
be taken with many grains of salt; but still the fact of the love and
the attractive excellence of the man had been impressed upon her. She
declared to herself at once that his appearance was very much in his
favour, and a fancy passed across her mind that he was somewhat like
that ideal man of whom she herself had dreamed, ever so many years ago
as it seemed to her now, before she had made up her mind that she would
change her ideal and accept Lord George Germain. He was about the
middle height, light haired, broad shouldered, with a pleasant smiling
mouth and well formed nose; but above all, he had about him that
pleasure-loving look, that appearance of taking things jauntily and of
enjoying life, which she in her young girlhood had regarded as being
absolutely essential to a pleasant lover. There are men whose very eyes
glance business, whose every word imports care, who step as though
their shoulders were weighed with thoughtfulness, who breathe
solicitude, and who seem to think that all the things of life are too
serious for smiles. Lord George was such a man, though he had in truth
very little business to do. And then there are men who are always
playfellows with their friends, who--even should misfortune be upon
them,--still smile and make the best of it, who come across one like
sunbeams, and who, even when tears are falling, produce the tints of a
rainbow. Such a one Mary Lovelace had perhaps seen in her childhood and
had then dreamed of him. Such a one was Jack De Baron, at any rate to
the eye.

And such a one in truth he was. Of course the world had spoiled him. He
was in the Guards. He was fond of pleasure. He was fairly well off in
regard to all his own wants, for his cousin had simply imagined those
debts with which ladies are apt to believe that young men of pleasure
must be overwhelmed. He had gradually taught himself to think that his
own luxuries and his own comforts should in his own estimation be
paramount to everything. He was not naturally selfish, but his life had
almost necessarily engendered selfishness. Marrying had come to be
looked upon as an evil,--as had old age;--not of course an unavoidable
evil, but one into which a man will probably fall sooner or later. To
put off marriage as long as possible, and when it could no longer be
put off to marry money was a part of his creed. In the meantime the
great delight of his life came from women's society. He neither gambled
nor drank. He hunted and fished, and shot deer and grouse, and
occasionally drove a coach to Windsor. But little love affairs,
flirtation, and intrigues, which were never intended to be guilty, but
which now and again had brought him into some trouble, gave its charm
to his life. On such occasions he would too, at times, be very badly in
love, assuring himself sometimes with absolute heroism that he would
never again see this married woman, or declaring to himself in moments
of self-sacrificial grandness that he would at once marry that
unmarried girl. And then, when he had escaped from some especial
trouble, he would take to his regiment for a month, swearing to himself
that for the next year he would see no women besides his aunts and his
grandmother. When making this resolution he might have added his cousin
Adelaide. They were close friends, but between them there had never
been the slightest spark of a flirtation.

In spite of all his little troubles Captain De Baron was a very popular
man. There was a theory abroad about him that he always behaved like a
gentleman, and that his troubles were misfortunes rather than faults.
Ladies always liked him, and his society was agreeable to men because
he was neither selfish nor loud. He talked only a little, but still
enough not to be thought dull. He never bragged or bullied or bounced.
He didn't want to shoot more deer or catch more salmon than another
man. He never cut a fellow down in the hunting-field. He never borrowed
money, but would sometimes lend it when a reason was given. He was
probably as ignorant as an owl of anything really pertaining to
literature, but he did not display his ignorance. He was regarded by
all who knew him as one of the most fortunate of men. He regarded
himself as being very far from blessed, knowing that there must come a
speedy end to the things which he only half enjoyed, and feeling partly
ashamed of himself in that he had found for himself no better part.

"Jack," said Mrs. Houghton, "I can't blow you up for being late,
because Mr. Houghton has not yet condescended to shew himself. Let me
introduce you to Lady George Germain." Then he smiled in his peculiar
way, and Mary thought his face the most beautiful she had ever seen.
"Lord George Germain,--who allows me to call him my cousin, though he
isn't as near as you are. My sister-in-law, you know." Jack shook hands
with the old lady in his most cordial manner. "I think you have seen
Mr. Mildmay before, and Miss Mildmay." Mary could not but look at the
greeting between the two, and she saw that Miss Mildmay almost turned
up her nose at him. She was quite sure that Mrs. Houghton had been
wrong about the love. There had surely only been a pretence of love.
But Mrs. Houghton had been right, and Mary had not yet learned to read
correctly the signs which men and women hang out.

At last Mr. Houghton came down. "Upon my word," said his wife, "I
wonder you ain't ashamed to shew yourself."

"Who says I'm not ashamed? I'm very much ashamed. But how can I help
it if the trains won't keep their time? We were hunting all day
to-day,--nothing very good, Lord George, but on the trot from eleven to
four. That tires a fellow, you know. And the worst of it is I've got to
do it again on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday."

"Is there a necessity?" asked Lord George.

"When a man begins that kind of thing he must go through with it.
Hunting is like women. It's a jealous sport. Lady George, may I take
you down to dinner? I am so sorry to have kept you waiting."



Mr. Houghton took Lady George down to dinner; but Jack De Baron sat on
his left hand. Next to him was Augusta Mildmay, who had been consigned
to his care. Then came Lord George sitting opposite to his host at a
round table, with Mrs. Houghton at his right hand. Mrs. Mildmay and
Miss Hetta Houghton filled up the vacant places. To all this a great
deal of attention had been given by the hostess. She had not wished to
throw her cousin Jack and Miss Mildmay together. She would probably
have said to a confidential friend that "there had been enough of all
that." In her way she liked Guss Mildmay; but Guss was not good enough
to marry her cousin. Guss herself must know that such a marriage was
impossible. She had on an occasion said a word or two to Guss upon the
subject. She had thought that a little flirtation between Jack and her
other friend Lady George might put things right; and she had thought,
too,--or perhaps felt rather than thought,--that Lord George had
emancipated himself from the thraldom of his late love rather too
quickly. Mary was a dear girl. She was quite prepared to make Mary her
friend, being in truth somewhat sick of the ill-humours and
disappointments of Guss Mildmay; but it might be as well that Mary
should be a little checked in her triumph. She herself had been obliged
to put up with old Mr. Houghton. She never for a moment told herself
that she had done wrong; but of course she required compensation. When
she was manoeuvring she never lost sight of her manoeuvres. She had had
all this in her mind when she made up her little dinner-party. She had
had it all in her mind when she arranged the seats. She didn't want to
sit next to Jack herself, because Jack would have talked to her to the
exclusion of Lord George, so she placed herself between Lord George and
Mr. Mildmay. It had been necessary that Mr. Mildmay should take Miss
Houghton down to dinner, and therefore she could not separate Guss
from Jack De Baron. Anybody who understands dinner-parties will see it
all at a glance. But she was convinced that Jack would devote himself
to Lady George at his left hand; and so he did.

"Just come up to town, haven't you?" said Jack.

"Only last week."

"This is the nicest time in the year for London, unless you do a deal
of hunting; then it's a grind."

"I never hunt at all; Lord George won't let me."

"I wish some one wouldn't let me. It would save me a deal of money, and
a great deal of misery. It's all a delusion and a snare. You never get
a run nowadays."

"Do you think so? I'd rather hunt than do anything."

"That's because you are not let to do it; the perversity of human
nature, you know! The only thing I'm not allowed to do is to marry, and
it's the only thing I care for."

"Who prevents it, Captain de Baron?"

"There's a new order come out from the Horse Guards yesterday. No one
under a field officer is to marry unless he has got £2,000 a year."

"Marrying is cheaper than hunting."

"Of course, Lady George, you may buy your horses cheap or dear, and you
may do the same with your wives. You may have a cheap wife who doesn't
care for dress, and likes to sit at home and read good books."

"That's just what I do."

"But then they're apt to go wrong and get out of order."

"How do you mean? I shan't get out of order, I hope."

"The wheels become rusty, don't you think? and then they won't go as
they ought. They scold and turn up their noses. What I want to find is
perfect beauty, devoted affection, and £50,000."

"How modest you are."

In all this badinage there was not much to make a rival angry; but Miss
Mildmay, who heard a word or two now and then, was angry. He was
talking to a pretty woman about marriage and money, and of course that
amounted to flirtation. Lord George, on her other hand, now and then
said a word to her; but he was never given to saying many words, and
his attention was nearly monopolised by his hostess. She had heard the
last sentence, and determined to join the conversation.

"If you had the £50,000, Captain De Baron," she said, "I think you
would manage to do without the beauty and the devoted affection."

"That's ill-natured, Miss Mildmay, though it may be true. Beggars can't
be choosers. But you've known me a long time, and I think it's unkind
that you should run me down with a new acquaintance. Suppose I was to
say something bad of you."

"You can say whatever you please, Captain De Baron."

"There is nothing bad to say, of course, except that you are always
down on a poor fellow in distress. Don't you think it's a grand thing
to be good-natured, Lady George?"

"Indeed I do. It's almost better than being virtuous."

"Ten to one. I don't see the good of virtue myself. It always makes
people stingy and cross and ill-mannered. I think one should always
promise to do everything that is asked. Nobody would be fool enough to
expect you to keep your word afterwards, and you'd give a lot of

"I think promises ought to be kept, Captain De Baron."

"I can't agree to that. That's bondage, and it puts an embargo on the
pleasant way of living that I like. I hate all kind of strictness, and
duty, and self-denying, and that kind of thing. It's rubbish. Don't you
think so?"

"I suppose one has to do one's duty."

"I don't see it. I never do mine."

"Suppose there were a battle to fight."

"I should get invalided at once. I made up my mind to that long ago.
Fancy the trouble of it. And when they shoot you they don't shoot you
dead, but knock half your face away, or something of that sort. Luckily
we live in an island, and haven't much fighting to do. If we hadn't
lived in an island I should never have gone into the army."

This was not flirting certainly. It was all sheer nonsense,--words
without any meaning in them. But Mary liked it. She decidedly would not
have liked it had it ever occurred to her that the man was flirting
with her. It was the very childishness of the thing that pleased
her,--the contrast to conversation at Manor Cross, where no childish
word was ever spoken. And though she was by no means prepared to flirt
with Captain De Baron, still she found in him something of the
realisation of her dreams. There was the combination of manliness,
playfulness, good looks, and good humour which she had pictured to
herself. To sit well-dressed in a well-lighted room and have nonsense
talked to her suited her better than a petticoat conclave. And she knew
of no harm in it. Her father encouraged her to be gay, and altogether
discouraged petticoat conclaves. So she smiled her sweetest on Captain
De Baron, and replied to his nonsense with other nonsense, and was

But Guss Mildmay was very much dissatisfied, both as to the amusement
of the present moment and as to the conduct of Captain De Baron
generally. She knew London life well, whereas Lady George did not know
it at all; and she considered that this was flirtation. She may have
been right in any accusation which she made in her heart against the
man, but she was quite wrong in considering Lady George to be a flirt.
She had, however, grievances of her own--great grievances. It was not
only that the man was attentive to some one else, but that he was not
attentive to her. He and she had had many passages in life together,
and he owed it to her at any rate not to appear to neglect her. And
then what a stick was that other man on the other side of her,--that
young woman's husband! During the greater part of dinner she was
sitting speechless,--not only loverless, but manless. It is not what
one suffers that kills one, but what one knows that other people see
that one suffers.

There was not very much conversation between Lord George and Mrs.
Houghton at dinner. Perhaps she spoke as much to Mr. Mildmay as to him;
for she was a good hostess, understanding and performing her duty. But
what she did say to him she said very graciously, making allusions to
further intimacy between herself and Mary, flattering his vanity by
little speeches as to Manor Cross, always seeming to imply that she
felt hourly the misfortune of having been forced to decline the honour
of such an alliance as had been offered to her. He was, in truth, as
innocent as his wife, except in this, that he would not have wished her
to hear all that Mrs. Houghton said to him, whereas Mary would have had
not the slightest objection to his hearing all the nonsense between her
and Captain De Baron.

The ladies sat a long time after dinner, and when they went Mrs.
Houghton asked her husband to come up in ten minutes. They did not
remain much longer, but during those ten minutes Guss Mildmay said
something of her wrongs to her friend, and Lady George heard some news
from Miss Houghton. Miss Houghton had got Lady George on to a sofa, and
was talking to her about Brotherton and Manor Cross. "So the Marquis is
coming," she said. "I knew the Marquis years ago, when we used to be
staying with the De Barons,--Adelaide's father and mother. She was
alive then, and the Marquis used to come over there. So he has

"Yes; an Italian."

"I did not think he would ever marry. It makes a difference to
you;--does it not?"

"I don't think of such things."

"You will not like him, for he is the very opposite to Lord George."

"I don't know that I shall ever even see him. I don't think he wants to
see any of us."

"I dare say not. He used to be very handsome, and very fond of ladies'
society,--but, I think, the most selfish human being I ever knew in my
life. That is a complaint that years do not cure. He and I were great
friends once."

"Did you quarrel?"

"Oh, dear no. I had rather a large fortune of my own, and there was a
time in which he was, perhaps, a little in want of money. But they had
to build a town on his property in Staffordshire, and you see that did

"Did instead!" said Lady George, altogether in the dark.

"There was suddenly a great increase to his income, and, of course,
that altered his view. I am bound to say that he was very explicit. He
could be so without suffering himself, or understanding that any one
else would suffer. I tell you because you are one of the family, and
would, no doubt, hear it all some day through Adelaide. I had a great

"And he a great misfortune," said Mary civilly.

"I think he had, to tell you the truth. I am good-tempered,
long-suffering, and have a certain grain of sagacity that might have
been useful to him. Have you heard about this Italian lady?"

"Only that she is an Italian lady."

"He is about my age. If I remember rightly there is hardly a month or
two between us. She is three or four years older."

"You knew her then?"

"I knew of her. I have been curious enough to enquire, which is, I dare
say, more than any body has done at Manor Cross."

"And is she so old?"

"And a widow. They have been married, you know, over twelve months;
nearly two years, I believe."

"Surely not; we heard of it only since our own marriage."

"Exactly; but the Marquis was always fond of a little mystery. It was
the news of your marriage that made him hint at the possibility of such
a thing; and he did not tell the fact till he had made up his mind to
come home. I do not know that he has told all now."

"What else is there?"

"She has a baby,--a boy." Mary felt that the colour flew to her cheeks;
but she knew that it did so, not from any disappointment of her own,
not because these tidings were in truth a blow to her, but because
others,--this lady, for instance,--would think that she suffered. "I am
afraid it is so," said Miss Houghton.

"She may have twenty, for what I care," said Mary, recovering herself.

"I think Lord George ought to know."

"Of course I shall tell him what you told me. I am sorry that he is not
nice, that's all. I should have liked a brother-in-law that I could
have loved. And I wish he had married an English woman. I think English
women are best for English men."

"I think so too. I am afraid you will none of you like the lady. She
cannot speak a word of English. Of course you will use my name in
telling Lord George. I heard it all from a friend of mine who is
married to one of the Secretaries at the Embassy." Then the gentlemen
came in, and Mary began to be in a hurry to get away that she might
tell this news to her husband.

In the meantime Guss Mildmay made her complaints, deep but not loud.
She and Mrs. Houghton had been very intimate as girls, knew each
other's secrets, and understood each other's characters. "Why did you
have him to such a party as this?" said Guss.

"I told you he was coming."

"But you didn't tell me about that young woman. You put him next to her
on purpose to annoy me."

"That's nonsense. You know as well as I do that nothing can come of it.
You must drop it, and you'd better do it at once. You don't want to be
known as the girl who is dying for the love of a man she can't marry.
That's not your métier."

"That's my own affair. If I choose to stick to him you, at least, ought
not to cross me."

"But he won't stick to you. Of course he's my cousin, and I don't see
why he's to be supposed never to say a word to anyone else, when it's
quite understood that you're not going to have one another. What's the
good of being a dog in the manger?"

"Adelaide, you never had any heart!"

"Of course not;--or, if I had, I knew how to get the better of so
troublesome an appendage. I hate hearing about hearts. If he'd take you
to-morrow you wouldn't marry him?"

"Yes, I would."

"I don't believe it. I don't think you'd be so wicked. Where would you
live, and how? How long would it be before you hated each other?
Hearts! As if hearts weren't just like anything else which either you
can or you cannot afford yourself. Do you think I couldn't go and fall
in love to-morrow, and think it the best fun in the world? Of course
it's nice to have a fellow like Jack always ready to spoon, and sending
one things, and riding with one, and all that. I don't know any young
woman in London would like it better than I should. But I can't afford
it, my dear, and so I don't do it."

"It seems to me you are going to do it with your old lover?"

"Dear Lord George! I swear it's only to bring Mary down a peg, because
she is so proud of her nobleman. And then he is handsome! But, my dear,
I've pleased myself. I have got a house over my head, and a carriage to
sit in, and servants to wait on me, and I've settled myself. Do you do
likewise, and you shall have your Lord George, or Jack De Baron, if he
pleases;--only don't go too far with him."

"Adelaide," said the other, "I'm not good, but you're downright bad."
Mrs. Houghton only laughed, as she got up from her seat to welcome the
gentlemen as they entered the room.

Mary, as soon as the door of the brougham had been closed upon her, and
her husband, began to tell her story. "What do you think Miss Houghton
has told me?" Lord George, of course, could have no thoughts about it,
and did not at first very much care what the story might have been.
"She says that your brother was married ever so long ago!"

"I don't believe it," said Lord George, suddenly and angrily.

"A year before we were married, I mean."

"I don't believe it."

"And she says that they have a son."


"That there is a baby,--a boy. She has heard it all from some friend of
hers at Rome."

"It can't be true."

"She said that I had better tell you. Does it make you unhappy,
George?" To this he made no immediate answer. "What can it matter
whether he was married two months ago or two years? It does not make me
unhappy;" as she said this, she locked herself close into his arm.

"Why should he deceive us? That would make me unhappy. If he had
married in a proper way and had a family, here in England, of course I
should have been glad. I should have been loyal to him as I am to the
others. But if this be true, of course, it will make me unhappy. I do
not believe it. It is some gossip."

"I could not but tell you."

"It is some jealousy. There was a time when they said that Brotherton
meant to marry her."

"What difference could it make to her? Of course we all know that he is
married. I hope it won't make you unhappy, George." But Lord George was
unhappy, or at any rate, was moody, and would talk no more then on that
subject, or any other. But in truth the matter rested on his mind all
the night.



The news which he had heard did afflict Lord George very much. A day or
two after the dinner-party in Berkeley Square he found Mr. Knox, his
brother's agent, and learned from him that Miss Houghton's story was
substantially true. The Marquis had informed his man of business that
an heir had been born to him, but had not communicated the fact to any
one of the family! This omission, in such a family, was, to Lord
George's thinking, so great a crime on the part of his brother, as to
make him doubt whether he could ever again have fraternal relations
with a man who so little knew his duty. When Mr. Knox showed him the
letter his brow became very black. He did not often forget
himself,--was not often so carried away by any feeling as to be in
danger of doing so. But on this occasion even he was so moved as to be
unable to control his words. "An Italian brat? Who is to say how it was

"The Marquis, my Lord, would not do anything like that," said Mr. Knox,
very seriously.

Then Lord George was ashamed of himself, and blushed up to the roots of
his hair. He had hardly himself known what he had meant. But he
mistrusted an Italian widow, because she was an Italian, and because
she was a widow, and he mistrusted the whole connexion, because there
had been in it none of that honourable openness which should, he
thought, characterise all family doings in such a family as that of the
Germains. "I don't know of what kind you mean," he said, shuffling, and
knowing that he shuffled. "I don't suppose my brother would do anything
really wrong. But it's a blot to the family--a terrible blot."

"She is a lady of good family,--a Marchese," said Mr. Knox.

"An Italian Marchese!" said Lord George, with that infinite contempt
which an English nobleman has for foreign nobility not of the highest

He had learnt that Miss Houghton's story was true, and was certainly
very unhappy. It was not at all that he had pictured to himself the
glory of being himself the Marquis of Brotherton after his brother's
death; nor was it only the disappointment which he felt as to any
possible son of his own, though on that side he did feel the blow. The
reflection which perplexed him most was the consciousness that he must
quarrel with his brother, and that after such a quarrel he would become
nobody in the world. And then, added to this, was the sense of family
disgrace. He would have been quite content with his position had he
been left master of the house at Manor Cross, even without any of his
brother's income wherewith to maintain the house. But now he would only
be his wife's husband, the Dean's son-in-law, living on their money,
and compelled by circumstances to adapt himself to them. He almost
thought that had he known that he would be turned out of Manor Cross,
he would not have married. And then, in spite of his disclaimer to Mr.
Knox, he was already suspicious of some foul practice. An heir to the
title and property, to all the family honours of the Germains, had
suddenly burst upon him, twelve months,--for aught that he knew, two or
three years,--after the child's birth! Nobody had been informed when
the child was born, or in what circumstances,--except that the mother
was an Italian widow! What evidence on which an Englishman might rely
could possibly be forthcoming from such a country as Italy! Poor Lord
George, who was himself as honest as the sun, was prepared to believe
all evil things of people of whom he knew nothing! Should his brother
die,--and his brother's health was bad,--what steps should he take?
Would it be for him to accept this Italian brat as the heir to
everything, or must he ruin himself by a pernicious lawsuit? Looking
forward he saw nothing but family misery and disgrace, and he saw,
also, inevitable difficulties with which he knew himself to be
incapable to cope. "It is true," he said to his wife very gloomily,
when he first met her after his interview with Mr. Knox.

"What Miss Houghton said? I felt sure it was true, directly she told

"I don't know why you should have felt sure, merely on her word, as to
a thing so monstrous as this is. You don't seem to see that it concerns

"No; I don't. It doesn't concern me at all, except as it makes you
unhappy." Then there was a pause for a moment, during which she crept
close up to him, in a manner that had now become usual with her. "Why
do you think I married you?" she said. He was too unhappy to answer her
pleasantly,--too much touched by her sweetness to answer her
unpleasantly; and so he said nothing. "Certainly not with any hope that
I might become Marchioness of Brotherton. Whatever may have made me do
such a thing, I can assure you that that had nothing to do with it."

"Can't you look forward? Don't you suppose that you may have a son?"
Then she buried her face upon his shoulder. "And if so, would it not be
better that a child so born should be the heir, than some Italian baby,
of whom no one knows anything?"

"If you are unhappy, George, I shall be unhappy. But for myself I will
not affect to care anything. I don't want to be a Marchioness. I only
want to see you without a frown on your brow. To tell the truth, if you
didn't mind it, I should care nothing about your brother and his
doings. I would make a joke of this Marchese, who, Miss Houghton says,
is a puckered-faced old woman. Miss Houghton seems to care a great deal
more about it than I do."

"It cannot be a subject for a joke." He was almost angry at the idea of
the wife of the head of the family being made a matter of laughter.
That she should be reprobated, hated,--cursed, if necessary,--was
within the limits of family dignity; but not that she should become a
joke to those with whom she had unfortunately connected herself. When
he had finished speaking to her she could not but feel that he was
displeased, and could not but feel also the injustice of such
displeasure. Of course she had her own little share in the general
disappointments. But she had striven before him to make nothing of it,
in order that he might be quite sure that she had married him--not with
any idea of rank or wealth, but for himself alone. She had made light
of the family misfortune, in order that he might be relieved. And yet
he was angry with her! This was unreasonable. How much had she done for
him! Was she not striving every hour of her life to love him, and, at
any rate, to comfort him with the conviction that he was loved? Was she
not constant in her assurance to herself that her whole life should be
devoted to him? And yet he was surly to her simply because his brother
had disgraced himself! When she was left alone she sat down and cried,
and then consoled herself by remembering that her father was coming to

It had been arranged that the last days of February should be spent by
Lord George with his mother and sisters at Cross Hall, and that the
Dean should run up to town for a week. Lord George went down to
Brotherton by a morning train, and the Dean came up on the same
afternoon. But the going and coming were so fixed that the two men met
at the deanery. Lord George had determined that he would speak fully to
the Dean respecting his brother. He was always conscious of the Dean's
low birth, remembering, with some slight discomfort, the stable-keeper
and the tallow-chandler; and he was a little inclined to resent what he
thought to be a disposition on the part of the Dean to domineer. But
still the Dean was a practical, sagacious man, in whom he could trust;
and the assistance of such a friend was necessary to him. Circumstances
had bound him to the Dean, and he was a man not prone to bind himself
to many men. He wanted and yet feared the confidence of friendship. He
lunched with the Dean, and then told his story. "You know," he said,
"that my brother is married?"

"Of course, we all heard that."

"He was married more than twelve months before he informed us that he
was going to be married."


"It was so."

"Do you mean, then, that he told you a falsehood?"

"His letter to me was very strange, though I did not think much of it
at the time. He said, 'I am to be married'--naming no day."

"That certainly was--a falsehood, as, at that time, he was married."

"I do not know that harsh words will do any good."

"Nor I. But it is best, George, that you and I should be quite plain in
our words to each other. Placed as he was, and as you were, he was
bound to tell you of his marriage as soon as he knew it himself. You
had waited till he was between forty and fifty, and, of course, he must
feel that what you would do would depend materially upon what he did."

"It didn't at all."

"And then, having omitted to do his duty, he screens his fault by
a----positive misstatement, when his intended return home makes further
concealment impossible."

"All that, however, is of little moment," said Lord George, who could
not but see that the Dean was already complaining that he had been left
without information which he ought to have possessed when he was giving
his daughter to a probable heir to the title. "There is more than

"What more?"

"He had a son born more than twelve months since."

"Who says so?" exclaimed the Dean, jumping up from his chair.

"I heard it first,--or rather Mary did,--in common conversation, from
an old friend. I then learned the truth from Knox. Though he had told
none of us, he had told Knox."

"And Knox has known it all through?"

"No, only lately. But he knows it now. Knox supposes that they are
coming home so that the people about may be reconciled to the idea of
his having an heir. There will be less trouble, he thinks, if the boy
comes now, than if he were never heard of till he was ten or fifteen
years old,--or perhaps till after my brother's death."

"There may be trouble enough still," said the Dean, almost with a gasp.

The Dean, it was clear, did not believe in the boy. Lord George
remembered that he himself had expressed disbelief, and that Mr. Knox
had almost rebuked him. "I have now told you all the facts," said Lord
George, "and have told them as soon as I knew them."

"You are as true as the sun," said the Dean, putting his hand on his
son-in-law's shoulder. "You will be honest. But you must not trust in
the honesty of others. Poor Mary!"

"She does not feel it in the least;--will not even interest herself
about it."

"She will feel it some day. She is no more than a child now. I feel it,
George;--I feel it; and you ought to feel it."

"I feel his ill-treatment of myself."

"What--in not telling you? That is probably no more than a small part
of a wide scheme. We must find out the truth of all this."

"I don't know what there is to find out," said Lord George, hoarsely.

"Nor do I; but I do feel that there must be something. Think of your
brother's position and standing,--of his past life and his present
character! This is no time now for being mealy-mouthed. When such a man
as he appears suddenly with a foreign woman and a foreign child, and
announces one as his wife and the other as his heir, having never
reported the existence of one or of the other, it is time that some
enquiry should be made. I, at any rate, shall make enquiry. I shall
think myself bound to do so on behalf of Mary." Then they parted as
confidential friends do part, but each with some feeling antagonistic
to the other. The Dean, though he had from his heart acknowledged that
Lord George was as honest as the sun, still felt himself to be
aggrieved by the Germain family, and doubted whether his son-in-law
would be urgent enough and constant in hostility to his own brother. He
feared that Lord George would be weak, feeling; as regarded himself,
that he would fight till he had spent his last penny, as long as there
was a chance that, by fighting, a grandson of his own might be made
Marquis of Brotherton. He, at any rate, understood his own heart in the
matter, and knew what it was that he wanted. But Lord George, though he
had found himself compelled to tell everything to the Dean, still
dreaded the Dean. It was not in accordance with his principles that he
should be leagued against his brother with such a man as Dean Lovelace,
and he could see that the Dean was thinking of his own possible
grandchildren, whereas he himself was thinking only of the family of

He found his mother and sister at the small house,--the house at which
Farmer Price was living only a month or two since. No doubt it was the
recognised dower house, but nevertheless there was still about it a
flavour of Farmer Price. A considerable sum of money had been spent
upon it, which had come from a sacrifice of a small part of the capital
belonging to the three sisters, with an understanding that it should be
repaid out of the old lady's income. But no one, except the old lady
herself, anticipated such repayment. All this had created trouble and
grief, and the family, which was never gay, was now more sombre than
ever. When the further news was told to Lady Sarah it almost crushed
her. "A child!" she said in a horror-stricken whisper, turning quite
pale, and looking as though the crack of doom were coming at once. "Do
you believe it?" Then her brother explained the grounds he had for
believing it. "And that it was born in wedlock twelve months before the
fact was announced to us."

"It has never been announced to us," said Lord George.

"What are we to do? is my mother to be told? She ought to know at once;
and yet how can we tell her? What shall you do about the Dean?"

"He knows."

"You told him?"

"Yes; I thought it best."

"Well,--perhaps. And yet it is terrible that any man so distant from us
should have our secrets in his keeping."

"As Mary's father, I thought it right that he should know."

"I have always liked the Dean personally," said Lady Sarah. "There is a
manliness about him which has recommended him, and having a full hand
he knows how to open it. But he isn't----; he isn't quite----"

"No; he isn't quite----," said Lord George, also hesitating to
pronounce the word which was understood by both of them.

"You must tell my mother, or I must. It will be wrong to withhold it.
If you like, I will tell Susanna and Amelia."

"I think you had better tell my mother," said Lord George; "she will
take it more easily from you. And then, if she breaks down, you can
control her better." That Lady Sarah should have the doing of any
difficult piece of work was almost a matter of course. She did tell the
tale to her mother, and her mother did break down. The Marchioness,
when she found that an Italian baby had been born twelve months before
the time which she had been made to believe was the date of the
marriage, took at once to her bed. What a mass of horrors was coming on
them! Was she to go and see a woman who had had a baby under such
circumstances? Or was her own eldest son, the very, very Marquis of
Brotherton, to be there with his wife, and was she not to go and see
them? Through it all her indignation against her son had not been hot
as had been theirs against their brother. He was her eldest son,--the
very Marquis,--and ought to be allowed to do almost anything he
pleased. Had it not been impossible for her to rebel against Lady Sarah
she would have obeyed her son in that matter of the house. And, even
now, it was not against her son that her heart was bitter, but against
the woman, who, being an Italian, and having been married, if married,
without the knowledge of the family, presumed to say that her child was
legitimate. Had her eldest son brought over with him to the halls of
his ancestors an Italian mistress that would, of course, have been very
bad, but it would not have been so bad as this. Nothing could be so bad
as this. "Are we to call him Popenjoy?" she asked with a gurgling voice
from amidst the bed clothes. Now the eldest son of the Marquis of
Brotherton would, as a matter of course, be Lord Popenjoy, if
legitimate. "Certainly we must," said Lady Sarah, authoritatively,
"unless the marriage should be disproved."

"Poor dear little thing," said the Marchioness, beginning to feel some
pity for the odious stranger as soon as she was told that he really was
to be called Popenjoy. Then the Ladies Susanna and Amelia were
informed, and the feeling became general throughout the household that
the world must be near its end. What were they all to do when he should
come? That was the great question. He had begun by declaring that he
did not want to see any of them. He had endeavoured to drive them away
from the neighbourhood, and had declared that neither his mother nor
his sisters would "get on" with his wife. All the ladies at Cross Hall
had a very strong opinion that this would turn out to be true, but
still they could not bear to think that they should be living as it
were next door to the head of the family, and never see him. A feeling
began to creep over all of them, except Lady Sarah, that it would have
been better for them to have obeyed the head of the family and gone
elsewhere. But it was too late now. The decision had been made, and
they must remain.

Lady Sarah, however, never gave way for a minute. "George," she said
very solemnly, "I have thought a great deal about this, and I do not
mean to let him trample upon us."

"It is all very sad," said Lord George.

"Yes, indeed. If I know myself, I think I should be the last person to
attribute evil motives to my elder brother, or to stand in his way in
aught that he might wish to do in regard to the family. I know all that
is due to him. But there is a point beyond which even that feeling
cannot carry me. He has disgraced himself." Lord George shook his head.
"And he is doing all he can to bring disgrace upon us. It has always
been my wish that he should marry."

"Of course, of course."

"It is always desirable that the eldest son should marry. The heir to
the property then knows that he is the heir, and is brought up to
understand his duties. Though he had married a foreigner, much as I
should regret it, I should be prepared to receive her as a sister; it
is for him to please himself; but in marrying a foreigner he is more
specially bound to let it be known to all the world, and to have
everything substantiated, than if he had married an English girl in her
own parish church. As it is, we must call on her, because he says that
she is his wife. But I shall tell him that he is acting very wrongly by
us all, especially by you, and most especially by his own child, if he
does not take care that such evidence of his marriage is forthcoming as
shall satisfy all the world."

"He won't listen to you."

"I think I can make him, as far as that goes; at any rate I do not mean
to be afraid of him. Nor must you."

"I hardly know whether I will even see him."

"Yes; you must see him. If we are to be expelled from the family house,
let it be his doing, and not ours. We have to take care, George, that
we do not make a single false step. We must be courteous to him, but
above all we must not be afraid of him."

In the meantime the Dean went up to London, meaning to spend a week
with his daughter in her new house. They had both intended that this
should be a period of great joy to them. Plans had been made as to the
theatres and one or two parties, which were almost as exciting to the
Dean as to his daughter. It was quite understood by both of them that
the Dean up in London was to be a man of pleasure, rather than a
clergyman. He had no purpose of preaching either at St. Paul's or the
Abbey. He was going to attend no Curates' Aid Society or Sons of the
Clergy. He intended to forget Mr. Groschut, to ignore Dr. Pountney, and
have a good time. That had been his intention, at least till he saw
Lord George at the deanery. But now there were serious thoughts in his
mind. When he arrived Mary had for the time got nearly rid of the
incubus of the Italian Marchioness with her baby. She was all smiles as
she kissed him. But he could not keep himself from the great subject.

"This is terrible news, my darling," he said at once.

"Do you think so, papa?"

"Certainly I do."

"I don't see why Lord Brotherton should not have a son and heir as well
as anybody else."

"He is quite entitled to have a son and heir,--one may almost say more
entitled than anyone else, seeing that he has got so much to leave to
him,--but on that very account he is more bound than anyone else to let
all the world feel sure that his declared son and heir is absolutely
his son and heir."

"He couldn't be so vile as that, papa!"

"God forbid that I should say that he could. It may be that he
considers himself married, though the marriage would not be valid here.
Maybe he is married, and that yet the child is not legitimate." Mary
could not but blush as her father spoke to her thus plainly. "All we do
know is that he wrote to his own brother declaring that he was about to
be married twelve months after the birth of the child whom he now
expects us to recognise as the heir to the title. I for one am not
prepared to accept his word without evidence, and I shall have no
scruple in letting him know that such evidence will be wanted."



For ten or twelve days after the little dinner in Berkeley Square Guss
Mildmay bore her misfortunes without further spoken complaint. During
all that time, though they were both in London, she never saw Jack De
Baron, and she knew that in not seeing her he was neglecting her. But
for so long she bore it. It is generally supposed that young ladies
have to bear such sorrow without loud complaint; but Guss was more
thoroughly emancipated than are some young ladies, and when moved was
wont to speak her mind. At last, when she herself was only on foot with
her father, she saw Jack De Baron riding with Lady George. It is quite
true that she also saw, riding behind them, her perfidious friend, Mrs.
Houghton, and a gentleman whom at that time she did not know to be Lady
George's father. This was early in March, when equestrians in the park
are not numerous. Guss stood for a moment looking at them, and Jack De
Baron took off his hat. But Jack did not stop, and went on talking with
that pleasant vivacity which she, poor girl, knew so well and valued so
highly. Lady George liked it too, though she could hardly have given
any reason for liking it, for, to tell the truth, there was not often
much pith in Jack's conversation.

On the following morning Captain De Baron, who had lodgings in Charles
Street close to the Guards' Club, had a letter brought to him before
he was out of bed. The letter was from Guss Mildmay, and he knew the
handwriting well. He had received many notes from her, though none so
interesting on the whole as was this letter. Miss Mildmay's letter to
Jack was as follows. It was written, certainly, with a swift pen, and,
but that he knew her writing well, would in parts have been hardly

     "I think you are treating me very badly. I tell you openly and
     fairly. It is neither gentlemanlike or high spirited, as you know
     that I have no one to take my part but myself. If you mean to cut
     me, say so, and let me understand it at once. You have taken up
     now with that young married woman just because you know it will
     make me angry. I don't believe for a moment that you really care
     for such a baby-faced chit as that. I have met her too, and I know
     that she hasn't a word to say for herself. Do you mean to come and
     see me? I expect to hear from you, letting me know when you will
     come. I do not intend to be thrown over for her or anyone. I
     believe it is mostly Adelaide's doing, who doesn't like to think
     that you should really care for anyone. You know very well what my
     feelings are, and what sacrifice I am ready to make. And you know
     what you have told me of yourself. I shall be at home all this
     afternoon. Papa, of course, will go to his club at three. Aunt
     Julia has an afternoon meeting at the Institute for the
     distribution of prizes among the Rights-of-Women young men, and I
     have told her positively that I won't go. Nobody else will be
     admitted. Do come and at any rate let us have it out. This state
     of things will kill me,--though, of course, you don't mind that.


     "I shall think you a coward if you don't come. Oh, Jack, do come."

She had begun like a lion, but had ended like a lamb; and such was the
nature of every thought she had respecting him. She was full of
indignation. She assured herself hourly that such treachery as his
deserved death. She longed for a return of the old times,--thirty years
since,--and for some old-fashioned brother, so that Jack might be shot
at and have a pistol bullet in his heart. And yet she told herself as
often that she could not live without him. Where should she find
another Jack after her recklessness in letting all the world know that
this man was her Jack? She hardly wanted to marry him, knowing full
well the nature of the life which would then be before her. Jack had
told her often that if forced to do that he must give up the army and
go and live in ----, he had named Dantzic as having the least alluring
sound of any place he knew. To her it would be best that things should
go on just as they were now till something should turn up. But that she
should be enthralled and Jack free was not to be borne! She begrudged
him no other pleasure. She was willing that he should hunt, gamble,
eat, drink, smoke, and be ever so wicked, if that were his taste; but
not that he should be seen making himself agreeable to another young
woman. It might be that their position was unfortunate, but of that
misfortune she had by far the heavier share. She could not eat, drink,
smoke, gamble, hunt, and be generally wicked. Surely he might bear it
if she could.

Jack, when he had read the letter, tossed it on to the counterpane, and
rolled himself again in bed. It was not as yet much after nine, and he
need not decide for an hour or two whether he would accept the
invitation or not. But the letter bothered him and he could not sleep.
She told him that if he did not come he would be a coward, and he felt
that she had told him the truth. He did not want to see her,--not
because he was tired of her, for in her softer humours she was always
pleasant to him,--but because he had a clear insight into the misery of
the whole connection. When the idea of marrying her suggested itself,
he always regarded it as being tantamount to suicide. Were he to be
persuaded to such a step he would simply be blowing his own brains out
because someone else asked him to do so. He had explained all this to
her at various times when suggesting Dantzic, and she had agreed with
him. Then, at that point, his common sense had been better than hers,
and his feeling really higher. "That being so," he had said, "it is
certainly for your advantage that we should part." But this to her had
been as though he were striving to break his own chains and was
indifferent as to her misery. "I can take care of myself," she had
answered him. But he knew that she could not take care of herself. Had
she not been most unwise, most imprudent, she would have seen the
wisdom of letting the intimacy of their acquaintance drop without any
further explanation. But she was most unwise. Nevertheless, when she
accused him of cowardice, must he not go?

He breakfasted uncomfortably, trying to put off the consideration, and
then uncomfortably sauntered down to the Guard House, at St. James's.
He had no intention of writing, and was therefore not compelled to make
up his mind till the hour named for the appointment should actually
have come. He thought for a while that he would write her a long
letter, full of good sense; explaining to her that it was impossible
that they should be useful to each other, and that he found himself
compelled, by his regard for her, to recommend that their peculiar
intimacy should be brought to an end. But he knew that such a letter
would go for nothing with her,--that she would regard it simply as an
excuse on his part. They two had tacitly agreed not to be bound by
common sense,--not to be wise. Such tacit agreements are common enough
between men, between women, and between men and women. What! a sermon
from you! No indeed; not that. Jack felt all this,--felt that he could
not preach without laying himself open to ridicule. When the time came
he made up his mind that he must go. Of course it was very bad for her.
The servants would all know it. Everybody would know it. She was
throwing away every chance she had of doing well for herself. But what
was he to do? She told him that he would be a coward, and he at any
rate could not bear that.

Mr. Mildmay lived in a small house in Green Street, very near the Park,
but still a modest, unassuming, cheap little house. Jack De Baron knew
the way to it well, and was there not above a quarter-of-an-hour after
the appointed time. "So aunt Ju has gone to the Rights of Women, has
she?" he said, after his first greeting. He might have kissed her if he
would, but he didn't. He had made up his mind about that. And so had
she. She was ready for him, whether he should kiss her or not,--ready
to accept either greeting, as though it was just that which she had

"Oh, yes; she is going to make a speech herself."

"But why do they give prizes to young men?"

"Because the young men have stood up for the old women. Why don't you
go and get a prize?"

"I had to be here instead."

"Had to be here, sir!"

"Yes, Guss; had to be here! Isn't that about it? When you tell me to
come, and tell me that I am a coward if I don't come, of course I am

"And now you are here, what have you got to say for yourself?" This she
attempted to say easily and jauntily.

"Not a word."

"Then I don't see what is the use of coming?"

"Nor I, either. What would you have me say?"

"I would have you,--I would have you----" And then there was something
like a sob. It was quite real. "I would have you tell me--that
you--love me."

"Have I not told you so a score of times; and what has come of it?"

"But is it true?"

"Come, Guss, this is simple folly. You know it is true; and you know,
also, that there is no good whatever to be got from such truth."

"If you loved me, you would like--to--see me."

"No, I shouldn't;--no, I don't;--unless it could lead to something.
There was a little fun to be had when we could spoon together,--when I
hardly knew how to ask for it, and you hardly knew how to grant it;
when it was a little shooting bud, and had to be nursed by smiles and
pretty speeches. But there are only three things it can come to now.
Two are impossible, and therefore there is the other."

"What are the three?"

"We might get married."


"One of the three I shall not tell you. And we might--make up our
minds to forget it all. Do what the people call, part. That is what I

"So that you may spend your time in riding about with Lady George

"That is nonsense, Guss. Lady George Germain I have seen three times,
and she talks only about her husband; a pretty little woman more
absolutely in love I never came across."

"Pretty little fool!"

"Very likely. I have nothing to say against that. Only, when you have
no heavier stone to throw against me than Lady George Germain, really
you are badly off for weapons."

"I have stones enough, if I chose to throw them. Oh, Jack!"

"What more is there to be said?"

"Have you had enough of me already, Jack?"

"I should not have had half enough of you if either you or I had fifty
thousand pounds."

"If I had them I would give them all to you."

"And I to you. That goes without telling. But as neither of us have got
the money, what are we to do? I know what we had better not do. We had
better not make each other unhappy by what people call recriminations."

"I don't suppose that anything I say can affect your happiness."

"Yes, it does; very much. It makes me think of deep rivers, and high
columns; of express trains and prussic acid. Well as we have known each
other, you have never found out how unfortunately soft I am."

"Very soft!"

"I am. This troubles me so that I ride over awfully big places,
thinking that I might perhaps be lucky enough to break my neck."

"What must I feel, who have no way of amusing myself at all?"

"Drop it. I know it is a hard thing for me to say. I know it will sound
heartless. But I am bound to say so. It is for your sake. I can't hurt
myself. It does me no harm that everybody knows that I am philandering
after you; but it is the very deuce for you." She was silent for a
moment. Then he said again emphatically, "Drop it."

"I can't drop it," she said, through her tears.

"Then what are we to do?" As he asked this question, he approached her
and put his arm round her waist. This he did in momentary vacillating
mercy,--not because of the charm of the thing to himself, but through
his own inability not to give her some token of affection.

"Marry," she said, in a whisper.

"And go and live at Dantzic for the rest of our lives!" He did not
speak these words, but such was the exclamation which he at once made
internally to himself. If he had resolved on anything, he had resolved
that he would not marry her. One might sacrifice one's self, he had
said to himself, if one could do her any good; but what's the use of
sacrificing both. He withdrew his arm from her, and stood a yard apart
from her, looking into her face.

"That would be so horrible to you!" she said.

"It would be horrible to have nothing to eat."

"We should have seven hundred and fifty pounds a year," said Guss, who
had made her calculations very narrowly.

"Well, yes; and no doubt we could get enough to eat at such a place as

"Dantzic! you always laugh at me when I speak seriously."

"Or Lubeck, if you like it better; or Leipsig. I shouldn't care the
least in the world where we went. I know a chap who lives in Minorca
because he has not got any money. We might go to Minorca, only the
mosquitoes would eat you up."

"Will you do it? I will if you will." They were standing now three
yards apart, and Guss was looking terrible things. She did not
endeavour to be soft, but had made up her mind as to the one step that
must be taken. She would not lose him. They need not be married
immediately. Something might turn up before any date was fixed for
their marriage. If she could only bind him by an absolute promise that
he would marry her some day! "I will, if you will," she said again,
after waiting a second or two for his answer. Then he shook his head.
"You will not, after all that you have said to me?" He shook his head
again. "Then, Jack De Baron, you are perjured, and no gentleman."

"Dear Guss, I can bear that. It is not true, you know, as I have never
made you any promise which I am not ready to keep; but still I can bear

"No promise! Have you not sworn that you loved me?"

"A thousand times."

"And what does that mean from a gentleman to a lady?"

"It ought to mean matrimony and all that kind of thing, but it never
did mean it with us. You know how it all began."

"I know what it has come to, and that you owe it to me as a gentleman
to let me decide whether I am able to encounter such a life or not.
Though it were absolute destruction, you ought to face it if I bid

"If it were destruction for myself only--perhaps, yes. But though you
have so little regard for my happiness, I still have some for yours. It
is not to be done. You and I have had our little game, as I said
before, and now we had better put the rackets down and go and rest

"What rest? Oh, Jack,--what rest is there?"

"Try somebody else."

"Can you tell me to do that!"

"Certainly I can. Look at my cousin Adelaide."

"Your cousin Adelaide never cared for any human being in her life
except herself. She had no punishment to suffer as I have. Oh, Jack! I
do so love you." Then she rushed at him, and fell upon his bosom, and

He knew that this would come, and he felt that, upon the whole, this
was the worst part of the performance. He could bear her anger or her
sullenness with fortitude, but her lachrymose caresses were
insupportable. He held her, however, in his arms, and gazed at himself
in the pier glass most uncomfortably over her shoulder. "Oh, Jack," she
said, "oh, Jack,--what is to come next?" His face became somewhat more
lugubrious than before, but he said not a word. "I cannot lose you
altogether. There is no one else in the wide world that I care for.
Papa thinks of nothing but his whist. Aunt Ju, with her 'Rights of
Women,' is an old fool."

"Just so," said Jack, still holding her, and still looking very

"What shall I do if you leave me?"

"Pick up some one that has a little money. I know it sounds bad and
mercenary, and all that, but in our way of life there is nothing else
to be done. We can't marry like the ploughboy and milkmaid?"

"I could."

"And would be the first to find out your mistake afterwards. It's all
very well saying that Adelaide hasn't got a heart. I dare say she has
as much heart as you or me."

"As you;--as you."

"Very well. Of course you have a sort of pleasure in abusing me. But
she has known what she could do, and what she could not. Every year as
she grows older she will become more comfortable. Houghton is very good
to her, and she has lots of money to spend. If that's heartlessness
there's a good deal to be said for it." Then he gently disembarrassed
himself of her arms, and placed her on a sofa.

"And this is to be the end?"

"Well,--I think so really." She thumped her hand upon the head of the
sofa as a sign of her anger. "Of course we shall always be friends?"

"Never," she almost screamed.

"We'd better. People will talk less about it, you know."

"I don't care what people talk. If they knew the truth, no one would
ever speak to you again."

"Good bye, Guss." She shook her head, as he had shaken his before. "Say
a word to a fellow." Again she shook her head. He attempted to take her
hand, but she withdrew it. Then he stood for perhaps a minute looking
at her, but she did not move. "Good bye, Guss," he said again, and then
he left the room.

When he got into the street he congratulated himself. He had undergone
many such scenes before, but none which seemed so likely to bring the
matter to an end. He was rather proud of his own conduct, thinking that
he had been at the same time both tender and wise. He had not given way
in the least, and had yet been explicit in assuring her of his
affection. He felt now that he would go and hunt on the morrow without
any desire to break his neck over the baron's fences. Surely the thing
was done now for ever and ever! Then he thought how it would have been
with him at this moment had he in any transient weakness told her that
he would marry her. But he had been firm, and could now walk along with
a light heart.

She, as soon as he had left her, got up, and taking the cushion off the
sofa, threw it to the further end of the room. Having so relieved
herself, she walked up to her own chamber.



The Dean's week up in London during the absence of Lord George was gay
enough; but through it all and over it all there was that cloud of
seriousness which had been produced by the last news from Italy. He
rode with his daughter, dined out in great state at Mrs. Montacute
Jones's, talked to Mr. Houghton about Newmarket and the next Derby, had
a little flirtation of his own with Hetta Houghton,--into which he
contrived to introduce a few serious words about the Marquis,--and was
merry enough; but, to his daughter's surprise, he never for a moment
ceased to be impressed with the importance of the Italian woman and her
baby. "What does it signify, papa?" she said.

"Not signify!"

"Of course it was to be expected that the Marquis should marry. Why
should he not marry as well as his younger brother?"

"In the first place, he is very much older."

"As to that, men marry at any age. Look at Mr. Houghton." The Dean only
smiled. "Do you know, papa, I don't think one ought to trouble about
such things."

"That's nonsense, my dear. Men, and women too, ought to look after
their own interests. It is the only way in which progress can be made
in the world. Of course you are not to covet what belongs to others.
You will make yourself very unhappy if you do. If Lord Brotherton's
marriage were all fair and above board, nobody would say a word; but,
as it has not been so, it will be our duty to find out the truth. If
you should have a son, do not you think that you would turn every stone
before you would have him defrauded of his rights?"

"I shouldn't think any one would defraud him."

"But if this child be--anything else than what he pretends to be, there
will be fraud. The Germains, though they think as I do, are frightened
and superstitious. They are afraid of this imbecile who is coming over;
but they shall find that if they do not move in the matter, I will. I
want nothing that belongs to another; but while I have a hand and
tongue with which to protect myself, or a purse,--which is better than
either,--no one shall take from me what belongs to me." All this seemed
to Mary to be pagan teaching, and it surprised her much as coming from
her father. But she was beginning to find out that she, as a married
woman, was supposed to be now fit for other teaching than had been
administered to her as a child. She had been cautioned in her father's
house against the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and could
remember the paternal, almost divine expression of the Dean's face as
the lesson was taught. But now it seemed to her that the pomps and
vanities were spoken of in a very different way. The divine expression
was altogether gone, and that which remained, though in looking at her
it was always pleasant, was hardly paternal.

Miss Mildmay,--Aunt Ju as she was called,--and Guss Mildmay came and
called, and as it happened the Dean was in the drawing-room when they
came. They were known to be friends of Mrs. Houghton's who had been in
Brothershire, and were therefore in some degree connected even with the
Dean. Guss began at once about the new Marchioness and the baby; and
the Dean, though he did not of course speak to Guss Mildmay as he had
done to his own daughter, still sneered at the mother and her child. In
the meantime Aunt Ju was enlisting poor Mary. "I should be so proud if
you would come with me to the Institute, Lady George."

"I am sure I should be delighted. But what Institute?"

"Don't you know?--in the Marylebone Road,--for relieving females from
their disabilities."

"Do you mean Rights of Women? I don't think papa likes that," said
Mary, looking round at her father.

"You haven't got to mind what papa likes and dislikes any more," said
the Dean, laughing. "Whether you go in for the rights or the wrongs of
women is past my caring for now. Lord George must look after that."

"I am sure Lord George could not object to your going to the Marylebone
Institute," said Aunt Ju. "Lady Selina Protest is there every week, and
Baroness Banmann, the delegate from Bavaria, is coming next Friday."

"You'd find the Disabilities awfully dull, Lady George," said Guss.

"Everybody is not so flighty as you are, my dear. Some people do
sometimes think of serious things. And the Institute is not called the

"What is it all about?" said Mary.

"Only to empower women to take their own equal places in the
world,--places equal to those occupied by men," said Aunt Ju
eloquently. "Why should one-half of the world be ruled by the _ipse
dixit_ of the other?"

"Or fed by their labours?" said the Dean.

"That is just what we are not. There are 1,133,500 females in

"You had better go and hear it all at the Disabilities, Lady George,"
said Guss. Lady George said that she would like to go for once, and so
that matter was settled.

While Aunt Ju was pouring out the violence of her doctrine upon the
Dean, whom she contrived to catch in a corner just before she left the
house, Guss Mildmay had a little conversation on her own part with Lady
George. "Captain De Baron," she said, "is an old friend of yours, I
suppose." She, however, had known very well that Jack had never seen
Lady George till within the last month.

"No, indeed; I never saw him till the other day."

"I thought you seemed to be intimate. And then the Houghtons and the De
Barons and the Germains are all Brothershire people."

"I knew Mrs. Houghton's father, of course, a little; but I never saw
Captain De Baron." This she said rather seriously, remembering what
Mrs. Houghton had said to her of the love affair between this young
lady and the Captain in question.

"I thought you seemed to know him the other night, and I saw you riding
with him."

"He was with his cousin Adelaide,--not with us."

"I don't think he cares much for Adelaide. Do you like him?"

"Yes, I do; very much. He seems to be so gay."

"Yes, he is gay. He's a horrid flirt, you know."

"I didn't know; and what is more, I don't care."

"So many girls have said that about Captain De Baron; but they have
cared afterwards."

"But I am not a girl, Miss Mildmay," said Mary, colouring, offended and
resolved at once that she would have no intimacy and as little
acquaintance as possible with Guss Mildmay.

"You are so much younger than so many of us that are girls," said Guss,
thinking to get out of the little difficulty in that way. "And then
it's all fish that comes to his net." She hardly knew what she was
saying, but was anxious to raise some feeling that should prevent any
increased intimacy between her own lover and Lady George. It was
nothing to her whether or no she offended Lady George Germain. If she
could do her work without sinning against good taste, well; but if not,
then good taste must go to the wall. Good taste certainly had gone to
the wall.

"Upon my word, I can hardly understand you!" Then Lady George turned
away to her father. "Well, papa, has Miss Mildmay persuaded you to come
to the Institute with me?"

"I am afraid I should hardly be admitted, after what I have just said."

"Indeed you shall be admitted, Mr. Dean," said the old woman. "We are
quite of the Church's way of thinking, that no sinner is too hardened
for repentance."

"I am afraid the day of grace has not come yet," said the Dean.

"Papa," said Lady George, as soon as her visitors were gone, "do you
know I particularly dislike that younger Miss Mildmay."

"Is she worth being particularly disliked so rapidly?"

"She says nasty, impudent things. I can't quite explain what she said."
And again Lady George blushed.

"People in society now do give themselves strange liberty;--women, I
think, more than men. You shouldn't mind it."

"Not mind it?"

"Not mind it so as to worry yourself. If a pert young woman like that
says anything to annoy you, put her down at the time, and then think no
more about it. Of course you need not make a friend of her."

"That I certainly shall not do."

On the Sunday after this Lady George dined again with her father at Mr.
Houghton's house, the dinner having been made up especially for the
Dean. On this occasion the Mildmays were not there; but Captain De
Baron was one of the guests. But then he was Mrs. Houghton's cousin,
and had the run of the house on all occasions. Again, there was no
great party; Mrs. Montacute Jones was there, and Hetta,--Miss Houghton,
that is, whom all the world called Hetta,--and Mrs. Houghton's father,
who happened to be up in town. Again Lady George found herself sitting
between her host and Jack De Baron, and again she thought that Jack was
a very agreeable companion. The idea of being in any way afraid of him
did not enter into her mind. Those horrid words which Guss Mildmay had
said to her,--as to all being fish for his net,--had no effect of that
nature. She assured herself that she knew herself too well to allow
anything of that kind to influence her. That she, Lady George Germain,
the daughter of the Dean of Brotherton, a married woman, should be
afraid of any man, afraid of any too close intimacy! The idea was
horrible and disgusting to her. So that when Jack proposed to join her
and her father in the park on the next afternoon, she said that she
would be delighted; and when he told her absurd stories of his
regimental duties, and described his brother officers who probably did
not exist as described by him, and then went on to hunting legends in
Buckinghamshire, she laughed at everything he said and was very merry.
"Don't you like Jack?" Mrs. Houghton said to her in the drawing-room.

"Yes, I do; very much. He's just what Jack ought to be."

"I don't know about that. I suppose Jack ought to go to church twice on
Sundays, and give half what he has to the poor, just as well as John."

"Perhaps he does. But Jack is bound to be amusing, while John need not
have a word to say for himself."

"You know he's my pet friend. We are almost like brother and sister,
and therefore I need not be afraid of him."

"Afraid of him! Why should anybody be afraid of him?"

"I am sure you needn't. But Jack has done mischief in his time. Perhaps
he's not the sort of man that would ever touch your fancy." Again Lady
George blushed, but on this occasion she had nothing to say. She did
not want to quarrel with Mrs. Houghton, and the suggestion that she
could possibly love any other man than her husband had not now been
made in so undisguised a manner as before.

"I thought he was engaged to Miss Mildmay," said Lady George.

"Oh, dear no; nothing of the kind. It is impossible, as neither of them
has anything to speak of. When does Lord George come back?"


"Mind that he comes to see me soon. I do so long to hear what he'll say
about his new sister-in-law. I had made up my mind that I should have
to koto to you before long as a real live marchioness."

"You'll never have to do that."

"Not if this child is a real Lord Popenjoy. But I have my hopes still,
my dear."

Soon after that Hetta Houghton reverted to the all important subject.

"You have found out that what I told you was true, Lady George."

"Oh yes,--all true."

"I wonder what the Dowager thinks about it."

"My husband is with his mother. She thinks, I suppose, just what we all
think, that it would have been better if he had told everybody of his
marriage sooner."

"A great deal better."

"I don't know whether, after all, it will make a great deal of
difference. Lady Brotherton,--the Dowager I mean,--is so thoroughly
English in all her ways that she never could have got on very well with
an Italian daughter-in-law."

"The question is whether when a man springs a wife and family on his
relations in that way, everything can be taken for granted. Suppose a
man had been ever so many years in Kamptschatka, and had then come back
with a Kamptschatkean female, calling her his wife, would everybody
take it as all gospel?"

"I suppose so."

"Do you? I think not. In the first place it might be difficult for an
Englishman to get himself married in that country according to English
laws, and in the next, when there, he would hardly wish to do so."

"Italy is not Kamptschatka, Miss Houghton."

"Certainly not; and it isn't England. People are talking about it a
great deal, and seem to think that the Italian lady oughtn't to have a
walk over."

Miss Houghton had heard a good deal about races from her brother, and
the phrase she had used was quite an everyday word to her. Lady George
did not understand it, but felt that Miss Houghton was talking very
freely about a very delicate matter. And she remembered at the same
time what had been the aspirations of the lady's earlier life, and put
down a good deal of what was said to personal jealousy. "Papa," she
said, as she went home, "it seems to me that people here talk a great
deal about one's private concerns."

"You mean about Lord Brotherton's marriage."

"That among other things."

"Of course they will talk about that. It is hardly to be considered
private. And I don't know but what the more it is talked about the
better for us. It is felt to be a public scandal, and that feeling may
help us."

"Oh, papa, I wish you wouldn't think that we wanted any help."

"We want the truth, my dear, and we must have it."

On the next day they met Jack De Baron in the park. They had not been
long together before the Dean saw an old friend on the footpath and
stopped to speak to him. Mary would have stayed too, had not her horse
displayed an inclination to go on, and that she had felt herself
unwilling to make an effort in the matter. As she rode on with Captain
De Baron she remembered all that had been said by Guss Mildmay and Mrs.
Houghton, and remembered also her own decision that nothing of that
kind could matter to her. It was an understood thing that ladies and
gentlemen when riding should fall into this kind of intercourse. Her
father was with her, and it would be absurd that she should be afraid
to be a minute or two out of his sight. "I ought to have been hunting,"
said Jack; "but there was frost last night, and I do hate going down
and being told that the ground is as hard as brickbats at the kennels,
while men are ploughing all over the country. And now it's a delicious
spring day."

"You didn't like getting up, Captain De Baron," she said.

"Perhaps there's something in that. Don't you think getting up is a
mistake? My idea of a perfect world is one where nobody would ever have
to get up."

"I shouldn't at all like always to lie in bed."

"But there might be some sort of arrangement to do away with the
nuisance. See what a good time the dogs have."

"Now, Captain De Baron, would you like to be a dog?" This she said
turning round and looking him full in the face.

"Your dog I would." At that moment, just over his horse's withers, she
saw the face of Guss Mildmay who was leaning on her father's arm. Guss
bowed to her, and she was obliged to return the salute. Jack De Baron
turned his face to the path and seeing the lady raised his hat. "Are
you two friends?" he asked.

"Not particularly."

"I wish you were. But, of course, I have no right to wish in such a
matter as that." Lady George felt that she wished that Guss Mildmay had
not seen her riding in the park on that day with Jack De Baron.



It had been arranged that on Friday evening Lady George should call for
Aunt Ju in Green Street, and that they should go together to the
Institute in the Marylebone Road. The real and full name of the
college, as some ladies delighted to call it, was, though somewhat
lengthy, placarded in big letters on a long black board on the front of
the building, and was as follows, "Rights of Women Institute;
Established for the Relief of the Disabilities of Females." By friendly
tongues to friendly ears "The College" or "the Institute" was the
pleasant name used; but the irreverent public was apt to speak of the
building generally as the "Female Disabilities." And the title was made
even shorter. Omnibuses were desired to stop at the "Disabilities;" and
it had become notorious that it was just a mile from King's Cross to
the "Disabilities." There had been serious thoughts among those who
were dominant in the Institute of taking down the big board and
dropping the word. But then a change of a name implies such a
confession of failure! It had on the whole been thought better to
maintain the courage of the opinion which had first made the mistake.
"So you're going to the Disabilities, are you?" Mrs. Houghton had said
to Lady George.

"I'm to be taken by old Miss Mildmay."

"Oh, yes; Aunt Ju is a sort of first-class priestess among them. Don't
let them bind you over to belong to them. Don't go in for it." Lady
George had declared it to be very improbable that she should go in for
it, but had adhered to her determination of visiting the Institute.

She called in Green Street fearing that she should see Guss Mildmay
whom she had determined to keep at arm's distance as well as her
friendship with Mrs. Houghton would permit; but Aunt Ju was ready for
her in the passage. "I forgot to tell you that we ought to be a little
early, as I have to take the chair. I daresay we shall do very well,"
she added, "if the man drives fast. But the thing is so important! One
doesn't like to be flurried when one gets up to make the preliminary
address." The only public meetings at which Mary had ever been present
had appertained to certain lectures at Brotherton, at which her father
or some other clerical dignity had presided, and she could not as yet
understand that such a duty should be performed by a woman. She
muttered something expressing a hope that all would go right. "I've got
to introduce the Baroness, you know."

"Introduce the Baroness?"

"The Baroness Banmann. Haven't you seen the bill of the evening? The
Baroness is going to address the meeting on the propriety of
patronising female artists,--especially in regard to architecture. A
combined college of female architects is to be established in Posen and
Chicago, and why should we not have a branch in London, which is the
centre of the world?"

"Would a woman have to build a house?" asked Lady George.

"She would draw the plans, and devise the proportions, and--and--do the
æsthetic part of it. An architect doesn't carry bricks on his back, my

"But he walks over planks, I suppose."

"And so could I walk over a plank; why not as well as a man? But you
will hear what the Baroness says. The worst is that I am a little
afraid of her English."

"She's a foreigner, of course. How will she manage?"

"Her English is perfect, but I am afraid of her pronunciation. However,
we shall see." They had now arrived at the building, and Lady George
followed the old lady in with the crowd. But when once inside the door
they turned to a small passage on the left, which conducted those in
authority to the august room preparatory to the platform. It is here
that bashful speakers try to remember their first sentences, and that
lecturers, proud of their prominence, receive the homage of the
officers of the Institute. Aunt Ju, who on this occasion was second in
glory, made her way in among the crowd and welcomed the Baroness, who
had just arrived. The Baroness, was a very stout woman, about fifty,
with a double chin, a considerable moustache, a low broad forehead, and
bright, round, black eyes, very far apart. When introduced to Lady
George, she declared that she had great honour in accepting the
re-cog-nition. She had a stout roll of paper in her hand, and was
dressed in a black stuff gown, with a cloth jacket buttoned up to neck,
which hardly gave to her copious bust that appearance of manly firmness
which the occasion almost required. But the virile collars budding out
over it perhaps supplied what was wanting. Lady George looked at her to
see if she was trembling. How, thought Lady George, would it have been
with herself if she had been called upon to address a French audience
in French! But as far as she could judge from experience, the Baroness
was quite at her ease. Then she was introduced by Aunt Ju to Lady
Selina Protest, who was a very little woman with spectacles,--of a
most severe aspect. "I hope, Lady George, that you mean to put your
shoulder to the wheel," said Lady Selina. "I am only here as a
stranger," said Lady George. Lady Selina did not believe in strangers
and passed on very severely. There was no time for further ceremonies,
as a bald-headed old gentleman, who seemed to act as chief usher,
informed Aunt Ju that it was time for her to take the Baroness on to
the platform. Aunt Ju led the way, puffing a little, for she had been
somewhat hurried on the stairs, and was not as yet quite used to the
thing,--but still with a proudly prominent step. The Baroness waddled
after her, apparently quite indifferent to the occasion. Then followed
Lady Selina,--and Lady George, the bald-headed gentleman telling her
where to place herself. She had never been on a platform before, and it
seemed as though the crowd of people below was looking specially at
her. As she sat down, at the right hand of the Baroness, who was of
course at the right hand of the Chairwoman, the bald-headed gentleman
introduced her to her other neighbour, Miss Doctor Olivia Q. Fleabody,
from Vermont. There was so much of the name and it all sounded so
strange to the ears of Lady George that she could remember very little
of it, but she was conscious that her new acquaintance was a miss and a
doctor. She looked timidly round, and saw what would have been a pretty
face, had it not been marred by a pinched look of studious severity and
a pair of glass spectacles of which the glasses shone in a disagreeable
manner. There are spectacles which are so much more spectacles than
other spectacles that they make the beholder feel that there is before
him a pair of spectacles carrying a face, rather than a face carrying a
pair of spectacles. So it was with the spectacles of Olivia Q.
Fleabody. She was very thin, and the jacket and collars were quite
successful. Sitting in the front row she displayed her feet,--and it
may also be said her trousers, for the tunic which she wore came down
hardly below the knees. Lady George's enquiring mind instantly began to
ask itself what the lady had done with her petticoats. "This is a great
occasion," said Dr. Fleabody, speaking almost out loud, and with a very
strong nasal twang.

Lady George looked at the chair before she answered, feeling that she
would not dare to speak a word if Aunt Ju were already on her legs; but
Aunt Ju was taking advantage of the commotion which was still going on
among those who were looking for seats to get her breath, and therefore
she could whisper a reply. "I suppose it is," she said.

"If it were not that I have wedded myself in a peculiar manner to the
prophylactick and therapeutick sciences, I would certainly now put my
foot down firmly in the cause of architecture. I hope to have an
opportunity of saying a few words on the subject myself before this
interesting session shall have closed." Lady George looked at her again
and thought that this enthusiastic hybrid who was addressing her could
not be more than twenty-four years old.

But Aunt Ju was soon on her legs. It did not seem to Lady George that
Aunt Ju enjoyed the moment now that it was come. She looked hot, and
puffed once or twice before she spoke. But she had studied her few
words so long, and had made so sure of them, that she could not go very
far wrong. She assured her audience that the Baroness Banmann, whose
name had only to be mentioned to be honoured both throughout Europe and
America, had, at great personal inconvenience, come all the way from
Bavaria to give them the advantage of her vast experience on the
present occasion. Like a good chairwoman, she took none of the bread
out of the Baroness's mouth--as we have occasionally known it to be
done on such occasions--but confined herself to ecstatic praises of the
German lady. All these the Baroness bore without a quiver, and when
Aunt Ju sat down she stepped on to the rostrum of the evening amidst
the plaudits of the room, with a confidence which to Lady George was
miraculous. Then Aunt Ju took her seat, and was able for the next hour
and a half to occupy her arm-chair with gratifying fainéant dignity.

The Baroness, to tell the truth, waddled rather than stepped to the
rostrum. She swung herself heavily about as she went sideways; but it
was manifest to all eyes that she was not in the least ashamed of her
waddling. She undid her manuscript on the desk, and flattened it down
all over with her great fat hand, rolling her head about as she looked
around, and then gave a grunt before she began. During this time the
audience was applauding her loudly, and it was evident that she did not
intend to lose a breath of their incense by any hurry on her own part.
At last the voices and the hands and the feet were silent. Then she
gave a last roll to her head and a last pat to the papers, and began.
"De manifest infairiority of de tyrant saix----."

Those first words, spoken in a very loud voice, came clearly home to
Lady George's ear, though they were uttered with a most un-English
accent. The Baroness paused before she completed her first sentence,
and then there was renewed applause. Lady George could remark that the
bald-headed old gentleman behind and a cadaverous youth who was near to
him were particularly energetic in stamping on the ground. Indeed, it
seemed that the men were specially charmed with this commencement of
the Baroness's oration. It was so good that she repeated it with,
perhaps, even a louder shout. "De manifest infairiority of de tyrant
saix----." Lady George, with considerable trouble, was able to follow
the first sentence or two, which went to assert that the inferiority of
man to woman in all work was quite as conspicuous as his rapacity and
tyranny in taking to himself all the wages. The Baroness, though
addressing a mixed audience, seemed to have no hesitation in speaking
of man generally as a foul worm who ought to be put down and kept
under, and merely allowed to be the father of children. But after a
minute or two Lady George found that she could not understand two words
consecutively, although she was close to the lecturer. The Baroness,
as she became heated, threw out her words quicker and more quickly,
till it became almost impossible to know in what language they were
spoken. By degrees our friend became aware that the subject of
architecture had been reached, and then she caught a word or two as the
Baroness declared that the science was "adaapted only to de æstetic and
comprehensive intelligence of de famale mind." But the audience
applauded throughout as though every word reached them; and when from
time to time the Baroness wiped her brows with a very large
handkerchief, they shook the building with their appreciation of her
energy. Then came a loud rolling sentence, with the old words as an
audible termination--"de manifest infairiority of de tyrant saix!" As
she said this she waved her handkerchief in the air and almost threw
herself over the desk. "She is very great to-night,--very great
indeed," whispered Miss Doctor Olivia Q. Fleabody to Lady George. Lady
George was afraid to ask her neighbour whether she understood one word
out of ten that were being spoken.

Great as the Baroness was, Lady George became very tired of it all. The
chair was hard and the room was full of dust, and she could not get up.
It was worse than the longest and the worst sermon she had ever heard.
It seemed to her at last that there was no reason why the Baroness
should not go on for ever. The woman liked it, and the people applauded
her. The poor victim had made up her mind that there was no hope of
cessation, and in doing so was very nearly asleep, when, on a sudden,
the Baroness had finished and had thrown herself violently back into
her chair. "Baroness, believe me," said Dr. Fleabody, stretching across
Lady George, "it is the greatest treat I ever had in my life." The
Baroness hardly condescended to answer the compliment. She was at this
moment so great a woman, at this moment so immeasurably the greatest
human being at any rate in London, that it did not become her to
acknowledge single compliments. She had worked hard and was very hot,
but still she had sufficient presence of mind to remember her

When the tumult was a little subsided, Lady Selina Protest got up to
move a vote of thanks. She was sitting on the left-hand side of the
Chair, and rose so silently that Lady George had at first thought that
the affair was all over, and that they might go away. Alas, alas! there
was more to be borne yet! Lady Selina spoke with a clear but low voice,
and though she was quite audible, and an earl's sister, did not evoke
any enthusiasm. She declared that the thanks of every woman in England
were due to the Baroness for her exertions, and of every man who wished
to be regarded as the friend of women. But Lady Selina was very quiet,
making no gestures, and was indeed somewhat flat. When she sat down no
notice whatever was taken of her. Then very quickly, before Lady George
had time to look about her, the Doctor was on her feet. It was her task
to second the vote of thanks, but she was far too experienced an
occupant of platforms to waste her precious occasion simply on so poor
a task. She began by declaring that never in her life had a duty been
assigned to her more consonant to her taste than that of seconding a
vote of thanks to a woman so eminent, so humanitarian, and at the same
time so essentially a female as the Baroness Banmann. Lady George, who
knew nothing about speaking, felt at once that here was a speaker who
could at any rate make herself audible and intelligible. Then the
Doctor broke away into the general subject, with special allusions to
the special matter of female architecture, and went on for twenty
minutes without dropping a word. There was a moment in which she had
almost made Lady George think that women ought to build houses. Her
dislike to the American twang had vanished, and she was almost sorry
when Miss Doctor Fleabody resumed her seat.

But it was after that,--after the Baroness had occupied another ten
minutes in thanking the British public for the thanks that had been
given to herself,--that the supreme emotion of the evening came to Lady
George. Again she had thought, when the Baroness a second time rolled
back to her chair, that the time for departure had come. Many in the
hall, indeed, were already going, and she could not quite understand
why no one on the platform had as yet moved. Then came that bald-headed
old gentleman to her, to her very self, and suggested to her that
she,--she, Lady George Germain, who the other day was Mary Lovelace,
the Brotherton girl,--should stand up and make a speech! "There is to
be a vote of thanks to Miss Mildmay as Chairwoman," said the
bald-headed old man, "and we hope, Lady George, that you will favour us
with a few words."

Her heart utterly gave way and the blood flew into her cheeks, and she
thoroughly repented of having come to this dreadful place. She knew
that she could not do it, though the world were to depend upon it; but
she did not know whether the bald-headed old gentleman might not have
the right of insisting on it. And then all the people were looking at
her as the horrible old man was pressing his request over her shoulder.
"Oh," she said; "no, I can't. Pray don't. Indeed I can't,--and I
won't." The idea had come upon her that it was necessary that she
should be very absolute. The old man retired meekly, and himself made
the speech in honour of Aunt Ju.

As they were going away Lady George found that she was to have the
honour of conveying the Baroness to her lodgings in Conduit Street.
This was all very well, as there was room for three in the brougham,
and she was not ill-pleased to hear the ecstasies of Aunt Ju about the
lecture. Aunt Ju declared that she had agreed with every word that had
been uttered. Aunt Ju thought that the cause was flourishing. Aunt Ju
was of opinion that women in England would before long be able to sit
in Parliament and practice in the Law Courts. Aunt Ju was thoroughly in
earnest; but the Baroness had expended her energy in the lecture, and
was more inclined to talk about persons. Lady George was surprised to
hear her say that this young man was a very handsome young man, and
that old man a very nice old man. She was almost in love with Mr.
Spuffin, the bald-headed gentleman usher; and when she was particular
in asking whether Mr. Spuffin was married, Lady George could hardly
think that this was the woman who had been so eloquent on the
"infairiority of de tyrant saix."

But it was not till Aunt Ju had been dropped in Green Street, and the
conversation fell upon Lady George herself, that the difficulty began.
"You no speak?" asked the Baroness.

"What, in public! Not for the world!"

"You wrong dere. Noting so easy. Say just as you please, only say it
vera loud. And alvays abuse somebody or someting. You s'ould try."

"I would sooner die," said Lady George. "Indeed, I should be dead
before I could utter a word. Isn't it odd how that lady Doctor could
speak like that."

"De American young woman! Dey have de impudence of--of--of everything
you please; but it come to noting."

"But she spoke well."

"Dear me, no; noting at all. Dere was noting but vords, vords, vords.
Tank you; here I am. Mind you come again, and you shall learn to

Lady George, as she was driven home, was lost in her inability to
understand it all. She had thought that the Doctor spoke the best of
all, and now she was told that it was nothing. She did not yet
understand that even people so great as female orators, so nobly
humanitarian as the Baroness Banmann, can be jealous of the greatness
of others.



Lord George returned to town the day after the lecture, and was not
altogether pleased that his wife should have gone to the Disabilities.
She thought, indeed, that he did not seem to be in a humour to be
pleased with anything. His mind was thoroughly disturbed by the coming
of his brother, and perplexed with the idea that something must be done
though he knew not what. And he was pervaded by a feeling that in the
present emergency it behoved him to watch his own steps, and more
especially those of his wife. An anonymous letter had reached Lady
Sarah, signed, "A Friend of the Family," in which it was stated that
the Marquis of Brotherton had allied himself to the highest blood that
Italy knew, marrying into a family that had been noble before English
nobility had existed, whereas his brother had married the granddaughter
of a stable-keeper and a tallow chandler. This letter had, of course,
been shown to Lord George; and, though he and his sisters agreed in
looking upon it as an emanation from their enemy, the new Marchioness,
it still gave them to understand that she, if attacked, would be
prepared to attack again. And Lord George was open to attack on the
side indicated. He was, on the whole, satisfied with his wife. She was
ladylike, soft, pretty, well-mannered, and good to him. But her
grandfathers had been stable-keepers and tallow-chandlers. Therefore it
was specially imperative that she should be kept from injurious
influences. Lady Selina Protest and Aunt Ju, who were both well-born,
might take liberties; but not so his wife. "I don't think that was a
very nice place to go to, Mary."

"It wasn't nice at all, but it was very funny. I never saw such a
vulgar creature as the Baroness, throwing herself about and wiping her

"Why should you go and see a vulgar creature throw herself about and
wipe her face?"

"Why should anybody do it? One likes to see what is going on, I
suppose. The woman's vulgarity could not hurt me, George."

"It could do you no good."

"Lady Selina Protest was there, and I went with Miss Mildmay."

"Two old maids who have gone crazy about Woman's Rights because nobody
has married them. The whole thing is distasteful to me, and I hope you
will not go there again."

"That I certainly shall not, because it is very dull," said Mary.

"I hope, also, that, independently of that, my request would be

"Certainly it would, George; but I don't know why you should be so
cross to me."

"I don't think that I have been cross; but I am anxious, specially
anxious. There are reasons why I have to be very anxious in regard to
you, and why you have to be yourself more particular than others."

"What reasons?" She asked this with a look of bewildered astonishment.
He was not prepared to answer the question, and shuffled out of it,
muttering some further words as to the peculiar difficulty of their
position. Then he kissed her and left her, telling her that all would
be well if she would be careful.

If she would be careful! All would be well if she would be careful! Why
should there be need of more care on her part than on that of others?
She knew that all this had reference in some way to that troublesome
lady and troublesome baby who were about to be brought home; but she
could not conceive how her conduct could be specially concerned. It was
a sorrow to her that her husband should allow himself to be ruffled
about the matter at all. It was a sorrow also that her father should do
so. As to herself, she had an idea that if Providence chose to make her
a Marchioness, Providence ought to be allowed to do it without any
interference on her part. But it would be a double sorrow if she were
told that she mustn't do this and mustn't do that because there was
before her a dim prospect of being seated in a certain high place which
was claimed and occupied by another person. And she was aware, too,
that her husband had in very truth scolded her. The ladies at Manor
Cross had scolded her before, but he had never done so. She had got
away from Manor Cross, and had borne the scolding because the prospect
of escape had been before her. But it would be very bad indeed if her
husband should take to scold her. Then she thought that if Jack De
Baron were married he would never scold his wife.

The Dean had not yet gone home, and in her discomfort she had recourse
to him. She did not intend to complain of her husband to her father.
Had any such idea occurred to her, she would have stamped it out at
once, knowing that such a course would be both unloyal and unwise. But
her father was so pleasant with her, so easy to be talked to, so easy
to be understood, whereas her husband was almost mysterious,--at any
rate, gloomy and dark. "Papa," she said, "what does George mean by
saying that I ought to be more particular than other people?"

"Does he say so?"

"Yes; and he didn't like my going with that old woman to hear the other
women. He says that I ought not to do it though anybody else might."

"I think you misunderstood him."

"No; I didn't, papa."

"Then you had better imagine that he was tired with his journey, or
that his stomach was a little out of order. Don't fret about such
things, and whatever you do, make the best of your husband."

"But how am I to know where I may go and where I mayn't? Am I to ask
him everything first?"

"Don't be a child, whatever you do. You will soon find out what pleases
him and what doesn't, and, if you manage well, what you do will please
him. Whatever his manner may be, he is soft-hearted and affectionate."

"I know that, papa."

"If he says a cross word now and again just let it go by. You should
not suppose that words always mean what they seem to mean. I knew a man
who used to tell his wife ever so often that he wished she were dead."

"Good heavens, papa!"

"Whenever he said so she always put a little magnesia into his beer,
and things went on as comfortably as possible. Never magnify things,
even to yourself. I don't suppose Lord George wants magnesia as yet,
but you will understand what I mean." She said that she did; but she
had not, in truth, quite comprehended the lesson as yet, nor could her
father as yet teach it to her in plainer language.

On that same afternoon Lord George called in Berkeley Square and saw
Mrs. Houghton. At this time the whole circle of people who were in any
way connected with the Germain family, or who, by the circumstances of
their lives were brought within the pale of the Germain influence, were
agog with the marriage of the Marquis. The newspapers had already
announced the probable return of the Marquis and the coming of a new
Marchioness and a new Lord Popenjoy. Occasion had been taken to give
some details of the Germain family, and public allusion had even been
made to the marriage of Lord George. These are days in which, should
your wife's grandfather have ever been insolvent, some newspaper, in
its catering for the public, will think it proper to recall the fact.
The Dean's parentage had been alluded to, and the late Tallowax will,
and the Tallowax property generally. It had also been declared that the
Marchesa Luigi,--now the present Marchioness,--had been born an Orsini;
and also, in another paper, the other fact (?) that she had been
divorced from her late husband. This had already been denied by Mr.
Knox, who had received a telegram from Florence ordering such denial to
be made. It may, therefore, be conceived that the Germains were at this
moment the subject of much conversation, and it may be understood that
Mrs. Houghton, who considered herself to be on very confidential terms
with Lord George, should, as they were alone, ask a few questions and
express a little sympathy. "How does the dear Marchioness like the new
house?" she asked.

"It is tolerably comfortable."

"That Price is a darling, Lord George; I've known him ever so long.
And, of course, it is the dower house."

"It was the suddenness that disturbed my mother."

"Of course; and then the whole of it must have gone against the grain
with her. You bear it like an angel."

"For myself, I don't know that I have anything to bear."

"The whole thing is so dreadful. There are you and your dear
wife,--everything just as it ought to be,--idolized by your mother,
looked up to by the whole country, the very man whom we wish to see the
head of such a family."

"Don't talk in that way, Mrs. Houghton."

"I know it is very distant; but still, I do feel near enough related to
you all to be justified in being proud, and also to be justified in
being ashamed. What will they do about calling upon her?"

"My brother will, of course, come to my mother first. Then Lady Sarah
and one of her sisters will go over. After that he will bring his wife
to Cross Hall if he pleases."

"I am so glad it is all settled; it is so much better. But you know,
Lord George,--I must say it to you as I would to my own brother,
because my regard for you is the same,--I shall never think that that
woman is really his wife." Lord George frowned heavily, but did not
speak. "And I shall never think that that child is really Lord

Neither did Lord George in his heart of hearts believe that the Italian
woman was a true Marchioness or the little child a true Lord Popenjoy;
but he had confessed to himself that he had no adequate reason for such
disbelief, and had perceived that it would become him to keep his
opinion to himself. The Dean had been explicit with him, and that very
explicitness had seemed to impose silence on himself. To his mother he
had not whispered an idea of a suspicion. With his sisters he had been
reticent, though he knew that Lady Sarah, at any rate, had her
suspicions. But now an open expression of the accusation from so dear a
friend as Mrs. Houghton,--from the Adelaide De Baron whom he had so
dearly loved,--gratified him and almost tempted him into confidence. He
had frowned at first, because his own family was to him so august that
he could not but frown when anyone ventured to speak of it. Even
crowned princes are driven to relax themselves on occasions, and Lord
George Germain felt that he would almost like, just for once, to talk
about his brothers and sisters as though they were Smiths and Joneses.
"It is very hard to know what to think," he said.

Mrs. Houghton at once saw that the field was open to her. She had
ventured a good deal, and, knowing the man, had felt the danger of
doing so; but she was satisfied now that she might say almost anything.
"But one is bound to think, isn't one? Don't you feel that? It is for
the whole family that you have to act."

"What is to be done? I can't go and look up evidence."

"But a paid agent can. Think of Mary. Think of Mary's child,--if she
should have one." As she said this she looked rather anxiously into his
face, being desirous of receiving an answer to a question which she did
not quite dare to ask.

"Of course there's all that," he said, not answering the question.

"I can only just remember him though papa knew him so well. But I
suppose he has lived abroad till he has ceased to think and feel like
an Englishman. Could anyone believe that a Marquis of Brotherton would
have married a wife long enough ago to have a son over twelve months
old, and never to have said a word about it to his brother or mother? I
don't believe it."

"I don't know what to believe," said Lord George.

"And then to write in such a way about the house! Of course I hear it
talked of by people who won't speak before you; but you ought to know."

"What do people say?"

"Everybody thinks that there is some fraud. There is old Mrs. Montacute
Jones,--I don't know anybody who knows everything better than she
does,--and she was saying that you would be driven by your duty to
investigate the matter. 'I daresay he'd prefer to do nothing,' she
said, 'but he must.' I felt that to be so true! Then Mr. Mildmay, who
is so very quiet, said that there would be a lawsuit. Papa absolutely
laughed at the idea of the boy being Lord Popenjoy, though he was
always on good terms with your brother. Mr. Houghton says that nobody
in society will give the child the name. Of course he's not very
bright, but on matters like that he does know what he's talking about.
When I hear all this I feel it a great deal, Lord George."

"I know what a friend you are."

"Indeed I am. I think very often what I might have been, but could not
be; and though I am not jealous of the happiness and honours of
another, I am anxious for your happiness and your honours." He was
sitting near her, on a chair facing the fire, while she was leaning
back on the sofa. He went on staring at the hot coals, flattered, in
some sort elate, but very disturbed. The old feeling was coming back
upon him. She was not as pretty as his wife,--but she was, he thought,
more attractive, had more to say for herself, was more of a woman. She
could pour herself into his heart and understand his feelings, whereas
Mary did not sympathize with him at all in this great family trouble.
But then Mary was, of course, his wife, and this woman was the wife of
another man. He would be the last man in the world,--so he would have
told himself could he have spoken to himself on the subject,--to bring
disgrace on himself and misery on other people by declaring his love to
another man's wife. He was the last man to do an injury to the girl
whom he had made his own wife! But he liked being with his old love,
and felt anxious to say a word to her that should have in it something
just a little beyond the ordinary tenderness of friendship. The proper
word, however, did not come to him at that moment. In such moments the
proper word very often will not come. "You are not angry with me for
saying so?" she asked.

"How can I be angry?"

"I don't think that there can have been such friendship, as there was
between you and me, and that it should fade and die away, unless there
be some quarrel. You have not quarrelled with me?"

"Quarrelled with you? Never!"

"And you did love me once?" She at any rate knew how to find the tender
words that were required for her purpose.

"Indeed I did."

"It did not last very long; did it, Lord George?"

"It was you that--that--. It was you that stopped it."

"Yes, it was I that stopped it. Perhaps I found it easier to--stop than
I had expected. But it was all for the best. It must have been
stopped. What could our life have been? I was telling a friend to mine
the other day, a lady, that there are people who cannot afford to wear
hearts inside them. If I had jumped at your offer,--and there was a
moment when I would have done so----"

"Was there?"

"Indeed there was, George." The "George" didn't mean quite as much as
it might have meant between others, because they were cousins. "But, if
I had, the joint home of us all must have been in Mr. Price's

"It isn't a farm-house."

"You know what I mean. But I want you to believe that I thought of you
quite as much as of myself,--more than of myself. I should at any rate
have had brilliant hopes before me. I could understand what it would be
to be the Marchioness of Brotherton. I could have borne much for years
to think that at some future day I might hang on your arm in London
salons as your wife. I had an ambition which now can never be
gratified. I, too, can look on this picture and on that. But I had to
decide for you as well as for myself, and I did decide that it was not
for your welfare nor for your honour, nor for your happiness to marry a
woman who could not help you in the world." She was now leaning forward
and almost touching his arm. "I think sometimes that those most nearly
concerned hardly know what a woman may have to endure because she is
not selfish."

How could any man stand this? There are words which a man cannot resist
from a woman even though he knows them to be false. Lord George, though
he did not quite believe that all these words were sincere, did think
that there was a touch of sincerity about them--an opinion which the
reader probably will not share with Lord George. "Have you suffered?"
he said, putting out his hand to her and taking hers.

"Suffered!" she exclaimed, drawing away her hand, and sitting bolt
upright and shaking her head. "Do you think that I am a fool, not to
know! Do you suppose that I am blind and deaf? When I said that I was
one of those who could not afford to wear a heart, did you imagine that
I had been able to get rid of the article? No, it is here still," and
she put her hand upon her side. "It is here still, and very troublesome
I find it. I suppose the time will come when it will die away. They say
that every plant will fade if it be shut in from the light, and never
opened to the rains of heaven."

"Alas! alas!" he said. "I did not know that you would feel like that."

"Of course I feel. I have had something to do with my life, and I have
done this with it! Two men have honoured me with their choice, and out
of the two I have chosen--Mr. Houghton. I comfort myself by telling
myself that I did right;--and I did do right. But the comfort is not
very comforting." Still he sat looking at the fire. He knew that it was
open to him to get up and swear to her that she still had his heart.
She could not be angry with him as she had said as much to himself. And
he almost believed at the moment that it was so. He was quite alive to
the attraction of the wickedness, though, having a conscience, he was
aware that the wickedness should, if possible, be eschewed. There is no
romance in loving one's own wife. The knowledge that it is a duty
deadens the pleasure. "I did not mean to say all this," she exclaimed
at last, sobbing.

"Adelaide!" he said.

"Do you love me? You may love me without anything wrong."

"Indeed I do." Then there was an embrace, and after that he hurried
away, almost without another word.



"After all, he's very dreary!" It was this that Adelaide Houghton spoke
to herself as soon as Lord George had left her. No doubt the whole work
of the interview had fallen on to her shoulders. He had at last been
talked into saying that he loved her, and had then run away frightened
by the unusual importance and tragic signification of his own words.
"After all, he's very dreary."

Mrs. Houghton wanted excitement. She probably did like Lord George as
well as she liked any one. Undoubtedly she would have married him had
he been able to maintain her as she liked to be maintained. But, as he
had been unable, she had taken Mr. Houghton without a notion on her
part of making even an attempt to love him. When she said that she
could not afford to wear a heart,--and she had said so to various
friends and acquaintances,--she did entertain an idea that
circumstances had used her cruelly, that she had absolutely been forced
to marry a stupid old man, and that therefore some little freedom was
due to her as a compensation. Lord George was Lord George, and might,
possibly, some day be a marquis. He was at any rate a handsome man, and
he had owned allegiance to her before he had transferred his homage to
that rich little chit Mary Lovelace. She was incapable of much passion,
but she did feel that she owed it to herself to have some revenge on
Mary Lovelace. The game as it stood had charms sufficient to induce her
to go on with it; and yet,--after all, he was dreary.

Such was the lady's feeling when she was left alone; but Lord George
went away from the meeting almost overcome by the excitement of the
occasion. To him the matter was of such stirring moment that he could
not go home, could not even go to his club. He was so moved by his
various feelings, that he could only walk by himself and consider
things. To her that final embrace had meant very little. What did it
signify? He had taken her in his arms and kissed her forehead. It might
have been her lips had he so pleased. But to him it had seemed to mean
very much indeed. There was a luxury in it which almost intoxicated
him, and a horror in it which almost quelled him. That she should so
love him as to be actually subdued by her love could not but charm him.
He had none of that strength which arms a man against flatterers;--none
of that experience which strengthens a man against female cajolery. It
was to him very serious and very solemn. There might, perhaps, have
been exaggeration in her mode of describing her feelings, but there
could be no doubt in this,--that he had held her in his arms and that
she was another man's wife.

The wickedness of the thing was more wicked to him than the charm of it
was charming. It was dreadful to him to think that he had done a thing
of which he would have to be ashamed if the knowledge of it were
brought to his wife's ears. That he should have to own himself to have
been wrong to her would tear him to pieces! That he should lord it over
her as a real husband, was necessary to his happiness, and how can a
man be a real lord over a woman when he has had to confess his fault to
her, and to beg her to forgive him? A wife's position with her husband
may be almost improved by such asking for pardon. It will enhance his
tenderness. But the man is so lowered that neither of them can ever
forget the degradation. And, though it might never come to that, though
this terrible passion might be concealed from her, still it was a
grievance to him and a disgrace that he should have anything to
conceal. It was a stain in his own eyes on his own nobility, a slur
upon his escutcheon, a taint in his hitherto unslobbered honesty, and
then the sin of it;--the sin of it! To him it already sat heavy on his
conscience. In his ear, even now, sounded that commandment which he
weekly prayed that he might be permitted to keep. While with her there
was hardly left a remembrance of the kiss which he had imprinted on her
brow, his lips were still burning with the fever. Should he make up his
mind, now at once, that he would never, never see her again? Should he
resolve that he would write to her a moving tragic letter,--not a love
letter,--in which he would set forth the horrors of unhallowed love,
and tell her that there must be a gulf between them, over which neither
must pass till age should have tamed their passions! As he walked
across the park he meditated what would be the fitting words for such a
letter, and almost determined that it should be written. Did he not owe
his first duty to his wife, and was he not bound for her sake to take
such a step? Then, as he wandered alone in Kensington Gardens,--for it
had taken him many steps, and occupied much time to think of it
all,--there came upon him an idea that perhaps the lady would not
receive the letter in the proper spirit. Some idea occurred to him of
the ridicule which would befall him should the lady at last tell him
that he had really exaggerated matters. And then the letter might be
shown to others. He did love the lady. With grief and shame and a
stricken conscience he owned to himself that he loved her. But he could
not quite trust her. And so, as he walked down towards the Albert
Memorial, he made up his mind that he would not write the letter. But
he also made up his mind,--he thought that he made up his mind,--that
he would go no more alone to Berkeley Square.

As he walked on he suddenly came upon his wife walking with Captain De
Baron, and he was immediately struck by the idea that his wife ought
not to be walking in Kensington Gardens with Captain De Baron. The idea
was so strong as altogether to expel from his mind for the moment all
remembrance of Mrs. Houghton. He had been unhappy before because he was
conscious that he was illtreating his wife, but now he was almost more
disturbed because it seemed to him to be possible that his wife was
illtreating him. He had left her but a few minutes ago,--he thought of
it now as being but a few minutes since,--telling her with almost his
last word that she was specially bound, more bound than other women, to
mind her own conduct,--and here she was walking in Kensington Gardens
with a man whom all the world called Jack De Baron? As he approached
them his brow became clouded, and she could see that it was so. She
could not but fear that her companion would see it also. Lord George
was thinking how to address them, and had already determined on tucking
his wife under his own arm and carrying her off, before he saw that a
very little way behind them the Dean was walking with--Adelaide
Houghton herself. Though he had been more than an hour wandering about
the park he could not understand that the lady whom he had left in her
own house so recently, in apparently so great a state of agitation,
should be there also, in her best bonnet and quite calm. He had no
words immediately at command, but she was as voluble as ever. "Doesn't
this seem odd?" she said. "Why, it is not ten minutes since you left me
in Berkeley Square. I wonder what made you come here."

"What made you come?"

"Jack brought me here. If it were not for Jack I should never walk or
ride or do anything, except sit in a stupid carriage. And just at the
gate of the gardens we met the Dean and Lady George."

This was very simple and straightforward. There could be no doubt of
the truth of it all. Lady George had come out with her father and
nothing could be more as it ought to be. As to "Jack" and the lady he
did not, at any rate as yet, feel himself justified in being angry at
that arrangement. But nevertheless he was disturbed. His wife had been
laughing when he first saw her, and Jack had been talking, and they had
seemed to be very happy together. The Dean no doubt was there; but
still the fact remained that Jack had been laughing and talking with
his wife. He almost doubted whether his wife ought under any
circumstances to laugh in Kensington Gardens. And then the Dean was so
indiscreet! He, Lord George, could not of course forbid his wife to
walk with her father;--but the Dean had no idea that any real looking
after was necessary for anybody. He at once gave his arm to his wife,
but in two minutes she had dropped it. They were on the steps of the
Albert Memorial, and it was perhaps natural that she should do so. But
he hovered close to her as they were looking at the figures, and was
uneasy. "I think it's the prettiest thing in London," said the Dean,
"one of the prettiest things in the world."

"Don't you find it very cold?" said Lord George, who did not at the
present moment care very much for the fine arts.

"We have been walking quick," said Mrs. Houghton, "and have enjoyed
it." The Dean with the two others had now passed round one of the
corners. "I wonder," she went on, "I do wonder how it has come to pass
that we should be brought together again so soon!"

"We both happened to come the same way," said Lord George, who was
still thinking of his wife.

"Yes;--that must have been it. Though is it not a strange coincidence?
My mind had been so flurried that I was glad to get out into the fresh
air. When shall I see you again?" He couldn't bring himself to
say--never. There would have been a mock-tragic element about the
single word which even he felt. And yet, here on the steps of the
monument, there was hardly an opportunity for him to explain at length
the propriety of their both agreeing to be severed. "You wish to see
me;--don't you?" she asked.

"I hardly know what to say."

"But you love me!" She was now close to him, and there was no one else
near enough to interfere. She was pressing close up to him, and he was
sadly ashamed of himself. And yet he did love her. He thought that she
had never looked so well as at the present moment. "Say that you love
me," she said, stamping her foot almost imperiously.

"You know I do, but--"

"But what."

"I had better come to you again and tell you all." The words were no
sooner out of his mouth than he remembered that he had resolved that he
would never go to her again. But yet, after what had passed, something
must be done. He had also made up his mind that he wouldn't write. He
had quite made up his mind about that. The words that are written
remain. It would perhaps be better that he should go to her and tell
her everything.

"Of course you will come again," she said. "What is it ails you? You
are unhappy because she is here with my cousin Jack?" It was
intolerable to him that any one should suspect him of jealousy. "Jack
has a way of getting intimate with people, but it means nothing." It
was dreadful to him that an allusion should be made to the possibility
of anybody "meaning anything" with his wife.

Just at this moment Jack's voice was heard coming back round the
corner, and also the laughter of the Dean. Captain De Baron had been
describing the persons represented on the base of the monument, and had
done so after some fashion of his own that had infinitely amused not
only Lady George but her father also. "You ought to be appointed Guide
to the Memorial," said the Dean.

"If Lady George will give me a testimonial no doubt I might get it,
Dean," said Jack.

"I don't think you know anything about any of them," said Lady George.
"I'm sure you've told me wrong about two. You're the last man in the
world that ought to be a guide to anything."

"Will you come and be guide, and I'll just sweep the steps!"

Lord George heard the last words, and allowed himself to be annoyed at
them, though he felt them to be innocent. He knew that his wife was
having a game of pleasant play, like a child with a pleasant
play-fellow. But then he was not satisfied that his wife should play
like a child,--and certainly not with such a playfellow. He doubted
whether his wife ought to allow playful intimacy from any man. Marriage
was to him a very serious thing. Was he not prepared to give up a real
passion because he had made this other woman his wife? In thinking over
all this his mind was not very logical, but he did feel that he was
justified in exacting particularly strict conduct from her because he
was going to make Mrs. Houghton understand that they two, though they
loved each other, must part. If he could sacrifice so much for his
wife, surely she might sacrifice something for him.

They returned altogether to Hyde Park Corner and then they separated.
Jack went away towards Berkeley Square with his cousin; the Dean got
himself taken in a cab to his club; and Lord George walked his wife
down Constitution Hill towards their own home. He felt it to be
necessary that he should say something to his wife; but, at the same
time, was specially anxious that he should give her no cause to suspect
him of jealousy. Nor was he jealous, in the ordinary sense of the word.
He did not suppose for a moment that his wife was in love with Jack De
Baron, or Jack with his wife. But he did think that whereas she had
very little to say to her own husband she had a great deal to say to
Jack. And he was sensible, also, of a certain unbecomingness in such
amusement on her part. She had to struggle upwards, so as to be able to
sustain properly the position and dignity of Lady George Germain, and
the possible dignity of the Marchioness of Brotherton. She ought not to
want playfellows. If she would really have learned the names of all
those artists on the base of the Memorial, as she might so easily have
done, there would have been something in it. A lady ought to know, at
any rate, the names of such men. But she had allowed this Jack to make
a joke of it all, and had rather liked the joke. And the Dean had
laughed loud,--more like the son of a stable-keeper than a Dean. Lord
George was almost more angry with the Dean than with his wife. The
Dean, when at Brotherton, did maintain a certain amount of dignity; but
here, up in London, he seemed to be intent only on "having a good
time," like some schoolboy out on a holiday.

"Were you not a little loud when you were on the steps of the
Memorial?" he said.

"I hope not, George; not too loud."

"A lady should never be in the least loud, nor for the matter of that
would a gentleman either if he knew what he was about."

She walked on a little way, leaning on his arm in silence, considering
whether he meant anything by what he was saying, and how much he meant.
She felt almost sure that he did mean something disagreeable, and that
he was scolding her. "I don't quite know what you mean by loud, George?
We were talking, and of course wanted to make each other hear. I
believe with some people loud means--vulgar. I hope you didn't mean

He certainly would not tell his wife that she was vulgar. "There is,"
he said, "a manner of talking which leads people on to--to--being

"Boisterous, George? Was I boisterous?"

"I think your father was a little."

She felt herself blush beneath her veil as she answered. "Of course if
you tell me anything about myself, I will endeavour to do as you tell
me; but, as for papa, I am sure he knows how to behave himself. I don't
think he ought to be found fault with because he likes to amuse

"And that Captain De Baron was very loud," said Lord George, conscious
that though his ground might be weak in reference to the Dean, he could
say what he pleased about Jack De Baron.

"Young men do laugh and talk, don't they, George?"

"What they do in their barracks, or when they are together, is nothing
to you or me. What such a one may do when he is in company with my wife
is very much to me, and ought to be very much to you."

"George," she said, again pausing for a moment, "do you mean to tell me
that I have misbehaved myself? Because, if so, speak it out at once."

"My dear, that is a foolish question for you to ask. I have said
nothing about misbehaviour, and you ought, at any rate, to wait till I
have done so. I should be very sorry to use such a word, and do not
think that I shall ever have occasion. But surely you will admit that
there may be practices, and manners, and customs on which I am at
liberty to speak to you. I am older than you."

"Husbands, of course, are older than their wives, but wives generally
know what they are about quite as well as their husbands."

"Mary, that isn't the proper way to take what I say. You have a very
peculiar place to fill in the world,--a place for which your early life
could not give you the very fittest training."

"Then why did you put me there?"

"Because of my love, and also because I had no doubt whatever as to
your becoming fit. There is a levity which is often pretty and becoming
in a girl, in which a married woman in some ranks of life may, perhaps,
innocently indulge, but which is not appropriate to higher positions."

"This is all because I laughed when Captain De Baron mispronounced the
men's names. I don't know anything peculiar in my position. One would
suppose that I was going to be made a sort of female bishop, or to sit
all my life as a chairwoman, like that Miss Mildmay. Of course I laugh
when things are said that make me laugh. And as for Captain De Baron, I
think he is very nice. Papa likes him, and he is always at the
Houghtons, and I cannot agree that he was loud and vulgar, or
boisterous, because he made a few innocent jokes in Kensington

He perceived now, for the first time since he had known her, that she
had a temper of her own, which he might find some difficulty in
controlling. She had endured gently enough his first allusions to
herself, but had risen up in wrath against him from the moment in which
he had spoken disparagingly of her father. At the moment he had nothing
further to say. He had used what eloquence there was in him, what words
he had collected together, and then walked home in silence. But his
mind was full of the matter; and though he made no further allusion on
that day, or for some subsequent days either to this conversation or to
his wife's conduct in the park, he had it always in his mind. He must
be the master, and in order that he might be master the Dean must be as
little as possible in the house. And that intimacy with Jack De Baron
must be crushed,--if only that she might be taught that he intended to
be master.

Two or three days passed by, and during those two or three days he did
not go to Berkeley Square.



In the middle of the next week the Dean went back to Brotherton. Before
starting he had an interview with Lord George which was not altogether
pleasant; but otherwise he had thoroughly enjoyed his visit. On the day
on which he started he asked his host what inquiries he intended to set
on foot in reference to the validity of the Italian marriage and the
legitimacy of the Italian baby. Now Lord George had himself in the
first instance consulted the Dean on this very delicate subject, and
was therefore not entitled to be angry at having it again mentioned;
but nevertheless he resented the question as an interference. "I
think," he replied, "that at present nothing had better be said upon
the subject."

"I cannot agree with you there, George."

"Then I am afraid I must ask you to be silent without agreeing with

The Dean felt this to be intentionally uncivil. They two were in a boat
together. The injury to be done, if there were an injury, would affect
the wife as much as the husband. The baby which might some day be born,
and which might be robbed of his inheritance, would be as much the
grandchild of the Dean of Brotherton as of the old Marquis. And then
perhaps there was present to the Dean some unacknowledged feeling that
he was paying and would have to pay for the boat. Much as he revered
rank, he was not disposed to be snubbed by his son-in-law, because his
son-in-law was a nobleman. "You mean to tell me that I am to hold my
tongue," he said angrily.

"For the present I think we had both better do so."

"That may be, as regards any discussion of the matter with outsiders. I
am not at all disposed to act apart from you on a subject of such
importance to us both. If you tell me that you are advised this way or
that, I should not, without very strong ground, put myself in
opposition to that advice; but I do expect that you will let me know
what is being done."

"Nothing is being done."

"And also that you will not finally determine on doing nothing without
consulting me." Lord George drew himself up and bowed, but made no
further reply; and then the two parted, the Dean resolving that he
would be in town again before long, and Lord George reselving that the
Dean should spend as little time as possible in his house. Now, there
had been an undertaking, after a sort, made by the Dean,--a compact
with his daughter contracted in a jocose fashion,--which in the
existing circumstances was like to prove troublesome. There had been a
question of expenditure when the house was furnished,--whether there
should or should not be a carriage kept. Lord George had expressed an
opinion that their joint means would not suffice to keep a carriage.
Then the Dean had told his daughter that he would allow her £300 a-year
for her own expenses, to include the brougham,--for it was to be no
more than a brougham,--during the six months they would be in London,
and that he would regard this as his subscription towards the
household. Such a mode of being generous to his own child was pretty
enough. Of course the Dean would be a welcome visitor. Equally, of
course, a son-in-law may take any amount of money from a father-in-law
as a portion of his wife's fortune. Lord George, though he had suffered
some inward qualms, had found nothing in the arrangement to which he
could object while his friendship with the deanery was close and
pleasant. But now, as the Dean took his departure, and as Mary, while
embracing her father, said something of his being soon back, Lord
George remembered the compact with inward grief, and wished that there
had been no brougham.

In the mean time he had not been to Berkeley Square; nor was he at all
sure that he would go there. A distant day had been named, before that
exciting interview in the square, on which the Houghtons were to dine
in Munster Court. The Mildmays were also to be there, and Mrs.
Montacute Jones, and old Lord Parachute, Lord George's uncle. That
would be a party, and there would be no danger of a scene then. He had
almost determined that, in spite of his promise, he would not go to
Berkeley Square before the dinner. But Mrs. Houghton was not of the
same mind. A promise on such a subject was a sacred thing, and
therefore she wrote the following note to Lord George at his club. The
secrecy which some correspondence requires certainly tends to make a
club a convenient arrangement. "Why don't you come as you said you
would? A." In olden times, fifteen or twenty years ago, when telegraph
wires were still young, and messages were confined to diplomatic
secrets, horse-racing, and the rise and fall of stocks, lovers used to
indulge in rapturous expressions which would run over pages; but the
pith and strength of laconic diction has now been taught to us by the
self-sacrificing patriotism of the Post Office. We have all felt the
vigour of telegrammatic expression, and, even when we do not trust the
wire, we employ the force of wiry language. "Wilt thou be mine?--M.
N.," is now the ordinary form of an offer of marriage by post; and the
answer seldom goes beyond "Ever thine--P. Q." Adelaide Houghton's
love-letter was very short, but it was short from judgment and with a
settled purpose. She believed that a long epistle declaratory of her
everlasting but unfortunate attachment would frighten him. These few
words would say all that she had to say, and would say it safely. He
certainly had promised that he would go to her, and, as a gentleman, he
was bound to keep his word. He had mentioned no exact time, but it had
been understood that the visit was to be made at once. He would not
write to her. Heaven and earth! How would it be with him if Mr.
Houghton were to find the smallest scrap from him indicating improper
affection for Mrs. Houghton? He could not answer the note, and
therefore he must go at once.

He went into a deserted corner of a drawing-room at his club, and there
Seated himself for half an hour's meditation. How should he extricate
himself from this dilemma? In what language should he address a young
and beautiful woman devoted to him, but whose devotion he was bound to
repudiate? He was not voluble in conversation, and he was himself aware
of his own slowness. It was essential to him that he should prepare
beforehand almost the very words for an occasion of such
importance,--the very words and gestures and action. Would she not fly
into his arms, or at least expect that he should open his own? That
must be avoided. There must be no embracing. And then he must at once
proceed to explain all the evils of this calamitous passion;--how he
was the husband of another wife; how she was the wife of another
husband; how they were bound by honour, by religion, and equally by
prudence to remember the obligations they had incurred. He must beg her
to be silent while he said all this, and then he would conclude by
assuring her that she should always possess his steadiest friendship.
The excogitation of this took long, partly because his mind was greatly
exercised in the matter, and partly through a nervous desire to
postpone the difficult moment. At last, however, he seized his hat and
went away straight to Berkeley Square. Yes, Mrs. Houghton was at home.
He had feared that there was but little chance that she should be out
on the very day on which she knew that he would get her note. "Oh, so
you have come at last," she said as soon as the drawing-room door was
closed. She did not get up from her chair, and there was therefore no
danger of that immediate embrace which he had felt that it would be
almost equally dangerous to refuse or to accept.

"Yes," he said, "I have come."

"And now sit down and make yourself comfortable. It's very bad out of
doors, isn't it?"

"Cold, but dry."

"With a wretched east wind. I know it, and I don't mean to stir out the
whole day. So you may put your hat down, and not think of going for the
next hour and a half." It was true that he had his hat still in his
hand, and he deposited it forthwith on the floor, feeling that had he
been master of the occasion, he would have got rid of it less
awkwardly. "I shouldn't wonder if Mary were to be here by and by. There
was a sort of engagement that she and Jack De Baron were to come and
play bagatelle in the back drawing-room; but Jack never comes if he
says he will, and I daresay she has forgotten all about it."

He found that his purpose was altogether upset. In the first place, he
could hardly begin about her unfortunate passion when she received him
just as though he were an ordinary acquaintance; and then the whole
tenour of his mind was altered by this allusion to Jack De Baron. Had
it come to this, that he could not get through a day without having
Jack De Baron thrown at his head? He had from the first been averse to
living in London; but this was much worse than he had expected. Was it
to be endured that his wife should make appointments to play bagatelle
with Jack De Baron by way of passing her time? "I had heard nothing
about it," he said with gloomy, truthful significance. It was
impossible for him to lie even by a glance of his eye or a tone of his
voice. He told it all at once; how unwilling he was that his wife
should come out on purpose to meet this man, and how little able he
felt himself to prevent it.

"Of course dear Mary has to amuse herself," said the lady, answering
the man's look rather than his words. "And why should she not?"

"I don't know that bagatelle is a very improving occupation."

"Or Jack a very improving companion, perhaps. But I can tell you,
George, that there are more dangerous companions than poor Jack. And
then, Mary, who is the sweetest, dearest young woman I know, is not
impulsive in that way. She is such a very child. I don't suppose she
understands what passion means. She has the gaiety of a lark, and the
innocence. She is always soaring upwards, which is so beautiful."

"I don't know that there is much soaring upwards in bagatelle."

"Nor in Jack De Baron, perhaps. But we must take all that as we find
it. Of course Mary will have to amuse herself. She will never live such
a life as your sisters live at Manor Cross. The word that best
describes her disposition is--gay. But she is not mischievous."

"I hope not."

"Nor is she--passionate. You know what I mean." He did know what she
meant, and was lost in amazement at finding that one woman, in talking
of another, never contemplated the idea that passion could exist in a
wife for her husband. He was to regard himself as safe, not because his
wife loved himself, but because it was not necessary to her nature to
be in love with any one! "You need not be afraid," she went on to say.
"I know Jack au fond. He tells me everything; and should there be
anything to fear, I will let you know at once."

But what had all this to do with the momentous occasion which had
brought him to Berkeley Square? He was almost beginning to be sore at
heart because she had not thrown herself into his arms. There was no
repetition of that "But you do love me?" which had been so very
alarming but at the same time so very exciting on the steps of the
Albert Memorial. And then there seemed to be a probability that the
words which he had composed with so much care at his club would be
altogether wasted. He owed it to himself to do or to say something, to
allude in some way to his love and hers. He could not allow himself to
be brought there in a flurry of excitement, and there to sit till it
was time for him to go, just as though it were an ordinary morning
visit. "You bade me come," he said, "and so I came."

"Yes, I did bid you come. I would always have you come."

"That can hardly be; can it?"

"My idea of a friend,--of a man friend, I mean, and a real friend--is
some one to whom I can say everything, who will do everything for me,
who will come if I bid him and will like to stay and talk to me just as
long as I will let him; who will tell me everything, and as to whom I
may be sure that he likes me better than anybody else in the world,
though he perhaps doesn't tell me so above once a month. And then in

"Well, what in return?"

"I should think a good deal about him, you know; but I shouldn't want
always to be telling him that I was thinking about him. He ought to be
contented with knowing how much he was to me. I suppose that would not
suffice for you?"

Lord George was disposed to think that it would suffice, and that the
whole matter was now being represented to him in a very different light
than that in which he had hitherto regarded it. The word "friend"
softened down so many asperities! With such a word in his mind he need
not continually scare himself with the decalogue. All the pleasure
might be there, and the horrors altogether omitted. There would,
indeed, be no occasion for his eloquence; but he had already become
conscious that at this interview his eloquence could not be used. She
had given everything so different a turn! "Why not suffice for me?" he
said. "Only this,--that all I did for my friend I should expect her to
do for me."

"But that is unreasonable. Who doesn't see that in the world at large
men have the best of it almost in everything. The husband is not only
justified in being a tyrant, but becomes contemptible if he is not so.
A man has his pocket full of money; a woman is supposed to take what he
gives her. A man has all manner of amusements."

"What amusements have I?"

"You can come to me."

"Yes, I can do that."

"I cannot go to you. But when you come to me,--if I am to believe that
I am really your friend,--then I am to be the tyrant of the moment. Is
it not so? Do you think you would find me a hard tyrant? I own to you
freely that there is nothing in the world I like so much as your
society. Do I not earn by that a right to some obedience from you, to
some special observance?"

All this was so different from what he had expected, and so much more
pleasant! As far as he could look into it and think of it at the
pressure of the moment he did not see any reason why it should not be
as she proposed. There was clearly no need for those prepared words.
There had been one embrace,--an embrace that was objectionable because,
had either his wife seen it or Mr. Houghton, he would have been forced
to own himself wrong; but that had come from sudden impulse, and need
not be repeated. This that was now proposed to him was friendship, and
not love. "You shall have all observance," he said with his sweetest

"And as to obedience? But you are a man, and therefore must not be
pressed too hard. And now I may tell you what is the only thing that
can make me happy, and the absence of which would make me miserable."

"What thing?"

"Your society." He blushed up to his eyes as he heard this. "Now that,
I think, is a very pretty speech, and I expect something equally pretty
from you." He was much embarrassed, but was at the moment delivered
from his embarrassment by the entrance of his wife. "Here she is," said
Mrs. Houghton, getting up from her chair. "We have been just talking
about you, my dear. If you have come for bagatelle, you must play with
Lord George, for Jack De Baron isn't here."

"But I haven't come for bagatelle."

"So much the better, for I doubt whether Lord George would be very good
at it. I have been made to play so much that I hate the very sound of
the balls."

"I didn't expect to find you here," said Mary, turning to her husband.

"Nor I you, till Mrs. Houghton said that you were coming."

After that there was nothing of interest in their conversation. Jack
did not come, and after a few minutes Lord George proposed to his wife
that they should return home together. Of course she assented, and as
soon as they were in the brougham made a little playful attack upon
him. "You are becoming fond of Berkeley Square, I think."

"Mrs. Houghton is a friend of mine, and I am fond of my friends," he
said, gravely.

"Oh, of course."

"You went there to play that game with Captain De Baron."

"No, I didn't. I did nothing of the kind."

"Were you not there by appointment?"

"I told her that I should probably call. We were to have gone to some
shop together, only it seems she has changed her mind. Why do you tell
me that I had gone there to play some game with Captain De Baron?"


"Bagatelle, or anything else! It isn't true. I have played bagatelle
with Captain de Baron, and I daresay I may again. Why shouldn't I?"

"And if so, would probably make some appointment to play with him."

"Why not?"

"That was all I said. What I suggested you had done is what you declare
you will do."

"But I had done nothing of the kind. I know very well, from the tone of
your voice, that you meant to scold me. You implied that I had done
something wrong. If I had done it, it wouldn't be wrong, as far as I
know. But your scolding me about it when I hadn't done it at all is
very hard to bear."

"I didn't scold you."

"Yes you did, George. I understand your voice and your look. If you
mean to forbid me to play bagatelle with Captain De Baron, or Captain
anybody else, or to talk with Mr. This, or to laugh with Major That,
tell me so at once. If I know what you want, I will do it. But I must
say that I shall feel it very, very hard if I cannot take care of
myself in such matters as that. If you are going to be jealous, I shall
wish that I were dead."

Then she burst out crying; and he, though he would not quite own that
he had been wrong, was forced to do so practically by little acts of
immediate tenderness.



Some little time after the middle of April, when the hunting was all
over, and Mr. Price had sunk down into his summer insignificance, there
came half a dozen telegrams to Manor Cross, from Italy, from Mr. Knox,
and from a certain managing tradesman in London, to say that the
Marquis was coming a fortnight sooner than he had expected. Everything
was at sixes and sevens. Everything was in a ferment. Everybody about
Manor Cross seemed to think that the world was coming to an end. But
none of these telegrams were addressed to any of the Germain family,
and the last people in the county who heard of this homeward rush of
the Marquis were the ladies at Cross Hall, and they heard it from Lord
George, upon whom Mr. Knox called in London; supposing, however, when
he did call that Lord George had already received full information on
the subject. Lord George's letter to Lady Sarah was full of dismay,
full of horror. "As he has not taken the trouble to communicate his
intentions to me, I shall not go down to receive him." "You will know
how to deal with the matter, and will, I am sure, support our mother
in this terrible trial." "I think that the child should, at any rate,
at first be acknowledged by you all as Lord Popenjoy." "We have to
regard, in the first place, the honour of the family. No remissness on
his part should induce us to forget for a moment what is due to the
title, the property, and the name." The letter was very long, and was
full of sententious instructions, such as the above. But the purport of
it was to tell the ladies at Cross Hall that they must go through the
first burden of receiving the Marquis without any assistance from

The Dean heard of the reported arrival some days before the family did
so. It was rumoured in Brotherton, and the rumour reached the deanery.
But he thought that there was nothing that he could do on the spur of
the moment. He perfectly understood the condition of Lord George's
mind, and perceived that it would not be expedient for him to interfere
quite on the first moment. As soon as the Marquis should have settled
himself in the house, of course he would call; and when the Marquis had
settled himself, and when the world had begun to recognise the fact
that the Marquis, with his Italian Marchioness, and his little Italian,
so-called Popenjoy, were living at Manor Cross, then,--if he saw his
way,--the Dean would bestir himself.

And so the Marquis arrived. He reached the Brotherton station with his
wife, a baby, a lady's maid, a nurse, a valet, a cook, and a courier,
about three o'clock in the afternoon; and the whole crowd of them were
carried off in their carriages to Manor Cross. A great many of the
inhabitants of Brotherton were there to see, for this coming of the
Marquis had been talked of far and wide. He himself took no notice of
the gathering people,--was perhaps unaware that there was any
gathering. He and his wife got into one carriage; the nurse, the lady's
maid, and the baby into a second; the valet and courier, and cook into
a third. The world of Brotherton saw them, and the world of Brotherton
observed that the lady was very old and very ugly. Why on earth could
he have married such a woman as that, and then have brought her home!
That was the exclamation which was made by Brotherton in general.

It was soon ascertained by every one about Manor Cross that the
Marchioness could not speak a word of English, nor could any of the
newly imported servants do so with the exception of the courier, who
was supposed to understand all languages. There was, therefore, an
absolutely divided household. It had been thought better that the old
family housekeeper, Mrs. Toff, should remain in possession. Through a
long life she had been devoted to the old Marchioness and to the ladies
of the family generally; but she would have been useless at their new
home, and there was an idea that Manor Cross could not be maintained
without her. It might also be expedient to have a friend in the enemy's
camp. Other English servants had been provided,--a butler, two
footmen, a coachman, and the necessary housemaids and kitchen maids. It
had been stated that the Marquis would bring his own cook. There were,
therefore, at once two parties, at the head of one of which was Mrs.
Toff, and at the head of the other the courier,--who remained, none of
the English people knew why.

For the first three days the Marchioness showed herself to no one. It
was understood that the fatigues of the journey had oppressed her, and
that she chose to confine herself to two or three rooms upstairs, which
had been prepared for her. Mrs. Toff, strictly obeying orders which had
come from Cross Hall, sent up her duty and begged to know whether she
should wait upon my lady. My lady sent down word that she didn't want
to see Mrs. Toff. These messages had to be filtered through the
courier, who was specially odious to Mrs. Toff. His Lordship was almost
as closely secluded as her Ladyship. He did, indeed, go out to the
stables, wrapped up in furs, and found fault with everything he saw
there. And he had himself driven round the park. But he did not get up
on any of these days till noon, and took all his meals by himself. The
English servants averred that during the whole of this time he never
once saw the Marchioness or the baby; but then the English servants
could not very well have known what he saw or what he did not see.

But this was very certain, that during those three days he did not go
to Cross Hall, or see any one of his own family. Mrs. Toff in the
gloaming of the evening, on the third day, hurried across the park to
see--the young ladies as she still called them. Mrs. Toff thought that
it was all very dreadful. She didn't know what was being done in those
apartments. She had never set her eyes upon the baby. She didn't feel
sure that there was any baby at all, though John,--John was one of the
English servants,--had seen a bundle come into the house. Wouldn't it
be natural and right that any real child should be carried out to take
the air? "And then all manner of messes were," said Mrs. Toff,
"prepared up in the closed room." Mrs. Toff didn't believe in anything,
except that everything was going to perdition. The Marchioness was
intent on asking after the health and appearance of her son, but Mrs.
Toff declared that she hadn't been allowed to catch a sight of "my
lord." Mrs. Toff's account was altogether very lachrymose. She spoke of
the Marquis, of course, with the utmost respect. But she was
sufficiently intimate with the ladies to treat the baby and its mother
with all the scorn of an upturned nose. Nor was the name of Popenjoy
once heard from her lips.

But what were the ladies to do? On the evening of the third day Lady
Sarah wrote to her brother George, begging him to come down to them.
"The matter was so serious, that he was," said Lady Sarah, "bound to
lend the strength of his presence to his mother and sisters." But on
the fourth morning Lady Sarah sent over a note to her brother, the

     "DEAR BROTHERTON,--We hope that you and your wife and little boy
     have arrived well, and have found things comfortable. Mamma is
     most anxious to see you,--as of course we all are. Will you not
     come over to us to-day. I dare say my sister-in-law may be too
     fatigued to come out as yet. I need not tell you that we are very
     anxious to see your little Popenjoy.

     "Your affectionate Sister,


It may be seen from this that the ladies contemplated peace, if peace
were possible. But in truth the nature of the letter, though not the
words, had been dictated by the Marchioness. She was intent upon seeing
her son, and anxious to acknowledge her grandchild. Lady Sarah had felt
her position to be very difficult, but had perceived that no temporary
acceptance by them of the child would at all injure her brother
George's claim, should Lord George set up a claim, and so, in deference
to the old lady, the peaceful letter was sent off, with directions to
the messenger to wait for an answer. The messenger came back with
tidings that his Lordship was in bed. Then there was another
consultation. The Marquis, though in bed, had of course read the
letter. Had he felt at all as a son and a brother ought to feel, he
would have sent some reply to such a message. It must be, they felt,
that he intended to live there and utterly ignore his mother and
sisters. What should they do then? How should they be able to live? The
Marchioness surrendered herself to a paroxysm of weeping, bitterly
blaming those who had not allowed her to go away and hide herself in
some distant obscurity. Her son, her eldest son, had cast her off
because she had disobeyed his orders! "His orders!" said Lady Sarah, in
scorn, almost in wrath against her mother. "What right has he to give
orders either to you or us? He has forgotten himself, and is only
worthy to be forgotten." Just as she spoke the Manor Cross phaeton,
with the Manor Cross ponies, was driven up to the door, and Lady
Amelia, who went to the window, declared that Brotherton himself was in
the carriage. "Oh, my son; my darling son," said the Marchioness,
throwing up her arms.

It really was the Marquis. It seemed to the ladies to be a very long
time indeed before he got into the room, so leisurely was he in
divesting himself of his furs and comforters. During this time the
Marchioness would have rushed into the hall had not Lady Sarah
prevented her. The old lady was quite overcome with emotion, and
prepared to lay at the feet of her eldest son, if he would only extend
to her the slightest sign of affection. "So, here you all are," he said
as he entered the room. "It isn't much of a house for you, but you
would have it so." He was of course forced to kiss his mother, but the
kiss was not very fervent in its nature. To each of his sisters he
merely extended his hand. This Amelia received with empressement; for,
after all, severe though he was, nevertheless he was the head of the
family. Susanna measured the pressure which he gave, and returned back
to him the exact weight. Lady Sarah made a little speech. "We are very
glad to see you; Brotherton. You have been away a long time."

"A deuced long time."

"I hope your wife is well;--and the little boy. When will she wish that
we should go and see her?" The Marchioness during this time had got
possession of his left hand, and from her seat was gazing up into his
face. He was a very handsome man, but pale, worn, thin, and apparently
unhealthy. He was very like Lord George, but smaller in feature, and
wanting full four inches of his brother's height. Lord George's hair
was already becoming grey at the sides. That of the Marquis, who was
ten years older, was perfectly black;--but his Lordship's valet had
probably more to do with that than nature. He wore an exquisite
moustache, but in other respects was close shaven. He was dressed with
great care, and had fur even on the collar of his frock coat, so much
did he fear the inclemency of his native climate.

"She doesn't speak a word of English, you know," he said, answering his
sister's question.

"We might manage to get on in French," said Lady Sarah.

"She doesn't speak a word of French either. She never was out of Italy
till now. You had better not trouble yourselves about her."

This was dreadful to them all. It was monstrous to them that there
should be a Marchioness of Brotherton, a sister-in-law, living close to
them, whom they were to acknowledge to be the reigning Marchioness, and
that they should not be allowed to see her. It was not that they
anticipated pleasure from her acquaintance. It was not that they were
anxious to welcome such a new relation. This marriage, if it were a
marriage, was a terrible blow to them. It would have been infinitely
better for them all that, having such a wife, he should have kept her
in Italy. But, as she was here in England, as she was to be
acknowledged,--as far as they knew at present,--it was a fearful thing
that she should be living close to them and not be seen by them. For
some moments after his last announcement they were stricken dumb. He
was standing with his back to the fire, looking at his boots. The
Marchioness was the first to speak. "We may see Popenjoy!" she
exclaimed through her sobs.

"I suppose he can be brought down,--if you care about it."

"Of course we care about it," said Lady Amelia.

"They tell me he is not strong, and I don't suppose they'll let him
come out such weather as this. You'll have to wait. I don't think any
body ought to stir out in this weather. It doesn't suit me, I know.
Such an abominable place as it is I never saw in my life. There is not
a room in the house that is not enough to make a man blow his brains

Lady Sarah could not stand this, nor did she think it right to put up
with the insolence of his manner generally. "If so," she said, "it is a
pity that you came away from Italy."

He turned sharply round and looked at her for an instant before he
answered. And as he did so she remembered the peculiar tyranny of his
eyes,--the tyranny to which, when a boy, he had ever endeavoured to
make her subject, and all others around him. Others had become subject
because he was the Lord Popenjoy of the day, and would be the future
Marquis; but she, though recognising his right to be first in every
thing, had ever rebelled against his usurpation of unauthorized power.
He, too, remembered all this, and almost snarled at her with his eyes.
"I suppose I might stay if I liked, or come back if I liked, without
asking you," he said.


"But you are the same as ever you were."

"Oh, Brotherton," said the Marchioness, "do not quarrel with us
directly you have come back."

"You may be quite sure, mother, that I shall not take the trouble to
quarrel with any one. It takes two for that work. If I wanted to
quarrel with her or you, I have cause enough."

"I know of none," said Lady Sarah.

"I explained to you my wishes about this house, and you disregarded
them altogether." The old lady looked up at her eldest daughter as
though to say, "There,--that was your sin." "I knew what was better for
you and better for me. It is impossible that there should be pleasant
intercourse between you and my wife, and I recommended you to go
elsewhere. If you had done so I would have taken care that you were
comfortable." Again the Marchioness looked at Lady Sarah with bitter
reproaches in her eyes.

"What interest in life would we have had in a distant home?" said Lady

"Why not you as well as other people?"

"Because, unlike other people, we have become devoted to one spot. The
property belongs to you."

"I hope so."

"But the obligations of the property have been, at any rate, as near to
us as to you. Society, I suppose, may be found in a new place, but we
do not care much for society."

"Then it would have been so much the easier."

"But it would have been impossible for us to find new duties."

"Nonsense," said the Marquis, "humbug; d----d trash."

"If you cannot speak otherwise than like that before your mother,
Brotherton, I think you had better leave her," said Lady Sarah,

"Don't, Sarah,--don't!" said the Marchioness.

"It is trash and nonsense, and humbug. I told you that you were better
away, and you determined to stay. I knew what was best for you, but you
chose to be obstinate. I have not the slightest doubt as to who did

"We were all of the same mind," said Lady Susanna. "Alice said it would
be quite cruel that mamma should be moved." Alice was now the wife of
Canon Holdenough.

"It would have been very bad for us all to go away," said Lady Amelia.

"George was altogether against it," said Lady Susanna.

"And the Dean," said Lady Amelia, indiscreetly.

"The Dean!" exclaimed the Marquis. "Do you mean to say that that stable
boy has been consulted about my affairs? I should have thought that not
one of you would have spoken to George after he had disgraced himself
by such a marriage."

"There was no need to consult any one," said Lady Sarah. "And we do not
think George's marriage at all disgraceful."

"Mary is a very nice young person," said the Marchioness.

"I dare say. Whether she is nice or not is very little to me. She has
got some fortune, and I suppose that was what he wanted. As you are all
of you fixed here now, and seem to have spent a lot of money, I suppose
you will have to remain. You have turned my tenant out----"

"Mr. Price was quite willing to go," said Lady Susanna.

"I dare say. I trust he may be as willing to give up the land when his
lease is out. I have been told that he is a sporting friend of the
Dean's. It seems to me that you have, all of you, got into a nice mess
here by yourselves. All I want you to understand is that I cannot now
trouble myself about you."

"You don't mean to give us up," said the afflicted mother. "You'll come
and see me sometimes, won't you?"

"Certainly not, if I am to be insulted by my sister."

"I have insulted no one," said Lady Sarah, haughtily.

"It was no insult to tell me that I ought to have stayed in Italy, and
not have come to my own house!"

"Sarah, you ought not to have said that," exclaimed the Marchioness.

"He complained that everything here was uncomfortable, and therefore I
said it. He knows that I did not speak of his return in any other
sense. Since he settled himself abroad there has not been a day on
which I have not wished that he would come back to his own house and
his own duties. If he will treat us properly, no one will treat him
with higher consideration than I. But we have our own rights as well as
he, and are as well able to guard them."

"Sarah can preach as well as ever," he said.

"Oh! my children,--oh! my children!" sobbed the old lady.

"I have had about enough of this. I knew what it would be when you
wrote to me to come to you." Then he took up his hat, as though he were

"And am I to see nothing more of you?" asked his mother.

"I will come to you, mother,--once a-week if you wish it. Every Sunday
afternoon will be as good a time as any other. But I will not come
unless I am assured of the absence of Lady Sarah. I will not subject
myself to her insolence, nor put myself in the way of being annoyed by
a ballyragging quarrel."

"I and my sisters are always at Church on Sunday afternoons," said Lady

In this way the matter was arranged, and then the Marquis took himself
off. For some time after he left the room the Marchioness sat in
silence, sobbing now and again, and then burying her face in her
handkerchief. "I wish we had gone away when he told us," she said, at

"No, mamma," said her eldest daughter. "No,--certainly no. Even though
all this is very miserable, it is not so bad as running away in order
that we might be out of his way. No good can ever be got by yielding in
what is wrong to any one. This is your house; and as yours it is ours."

"Oh, yes."

"And here we can do something to justify our lives. We have a work
appointed to us which we are able to perform. What will his wife do for
the people here? Why are we not to say our prayers in the Church which
we all know and love? Why are we to leave Alice--and Mary? Why should
he, because he is the eldest of us,--he, who for so many years has
deserted the place,--why is he to tell us where to live, and where not
to live. He is rich, and we are poor, but we have never been pensioners
on his bounty. The park, I suppose, is now closed to us; but I am
prepared to live here in defiance of him." This she said walking up and
down the room as she spoke, and she said it with so much energy that
she absolutely carried her sisters with her and again partly convinced
her mother.



There was, of course, much perturbation of mind at Brotherton as to
what should be done on this occasion of the Marquis's return. Mr. Knox
had been consulted by persons in the town, and had given it as his
opinion that nothing should be done. Some of the tradesmen and a few of
the tenants living nearest to the town had suggested a triumphal
entry,--green boughs, a bonfire, and fire works. This idea, however,
did not prevail long. The Marquis of Brotherton was clearly not a man
to be received with green boughs and bonfires. All that soon died away.
But there remained what may be called the private difficulty. Many in
Brotherton and around Brotherton had of course known the man when he
was young, and could hardly bring themselves to take no notice of his
return. One or two drove over and simply left their cards. The bishop
asked to see him, and was told that he was out. Dr. Pountner did see
him, catching him at his own hall door, but the interview was very
short, and not particularly pleasant. "Dr. Pountner. Well; I do
remember you, certainly. But we have all grown older, you know."

"I came," said the doctor, with a face redder than ever, "to pay my
respects to your Lordship, and to leave my card on your wife."

"We are much obliged to you,--very much obliged. Unfortunately we are
both invalids." Then the doctor, who had not got out of his carriage,
was driven home again. The doctor had been a great many years at
Brotherton, and had known the old Marquis well. "I don't know what you
and Holdenough will make of him," the doctor said to the Dean. "I
suppose you will both be driven into some communion with him. I shan't
try it again."

The Dean and Canon Holdenough had been in consultation on the subject,
and had agreed that they would each of them act as though the Marquis
had been like any other gentleman, and his wife like any other newly
married lady. They were both now connected with the family, and even
bound to act on the presumption that there would be family friendship.
The Dean went on his errand first, and the Dean was admitted into his
sitting-room. This happened a day or two after the scene at Cross Hall.
"I don't know that I should have troubled you so soon," said the Dean,
"had not your brother married my daughter." The Dean had thought over
the matter carefully, making up his mind how far he would be courteous
to the man, and where he would make a stand if it were necessary that
he should make a stand at all. And he had determined that he would ask
after the new Lady Brotherton, and speak of the child as Lord Popenjoy,
the presumption being that a man is married when he says so himself,
and that his child is legitimate when declared to be so. His present
acknowledgment would not bar any future proceedings.

"There has been a good deal of marrying and giving in marriage since I
have been away," replied the Marquis.

"Yes, indeed. There has been your brother, your sister, and last, not
least, yourself."

"I was not thinking of myself. I meant among you here. The church seems
to carry everything before it."

It seemed to the Dean, who was sufficiently mindful of his daughter's
fortune, and who knew to a penny what was the very liberal income of
Canon Holdenough, that in these marriages the church had at least given
as much as it had got. "The church holds its own," said the Dean, "and
I hope that it always will. May I venture to express a hope that the
Marchioness is well."

"Not very well."

"I am sorry for that. Shall I not have the pleasure of seeing her

The Marquis looked as though he were almost astounded at the impudence
of the proposition; but he replied to it by the excuse that he had made
before. "Unless you speak Italian I'm afraid you would not get on very
well with her."

"She will not find that I have the Tuscan tongue or the Roman mouth,
but I have enough of the language to make myself perhaps intelligible
to her ladyship."

"We will postpone it for the present, if you please, Mr. Dean."

There was an insolence declared in the man's manner and almost declared
in his words, which made the Dean at once determine that he would never
again ask after the new Marchioness, and that he would make no allusion
whatever to the son. A man may say that his wife is too unwell to
receive strangers without implying that the wish to see her should not
have been expressed. The visitor bowed, and then the two men both sat
silent for some moments. "You have not seen your brother since you have
been back?" the Dean said at last.

"I have not seen him. I don't know where he is, or anything about him."

"They live in London,--in Munster Court."

"Very likely. He didn't consult me about his marriage, and I don't know
anything about his concerns."

"He told you of it,--before it took place."

"Very likely,--though I do not exactly see how that concerns you and

"You must be aware that he is married to--my daughter."

"Quite so."

"That would, generally, be supposed to give a common interest."

"Ah! I dare say. You feel it so, no doubt. I am glad that you are
satisfied by an alliance with my family. You are anxious for me to
profess that it is reciprocal."

"I am anxious for nothing of the kind," said the Dean, jumping up from
his chair. "I have nothing to get and nothing to lose by the alliance.
The usual courtesies of life are pleasant to me."

"I wish that you would use them then on the present occasion by being a
little quieter."

"Your brother has married a lady, and my daughter has married a

"Yes; George is a great ass; in some respects the greatest ass I know;
but he is a gentleman. Perhaps if you have anything else that you wish
to say you will do me the honour of sitting down."

The Dean was so angry that he did not know how to contain himself. The
Marquis had snubbed him for coming. He had then justified his visit by
an allusion to the connection between them, and the Marquis had replied
to this by hinting that though a Dean might think it a very fine thing
to have his daughter married into the family of a Marquis, the Marquis
probably would not look at it in the same light. And yet what was the
truth? Whence had come the money which had made the marriage possible?
In the bargain between them which party had had the best of it? He was
conscious that it would not become him to allude to the money, but his
feeling on the subject was very strong. "My lord," he said, "I do not
know that there is anything to be gained by my sitting down again."

"Perhaps not. I dare say you know best."

"I came here intent on what I considered to be a courtesy due to your
lordship. I am sorry that my visit has been mistaken."

"I don't see that there is anything to make a fuss about."

"It shall not be repeated, my lord." And so he left the room.

Why on earth had the man come back to England, bringing a foreign woman
and an Italian brat home with him, if he intended to make the place too
hot to hold him by insulting everybody around him? This was the first
question the Dean asked himself, when he found himself outside the
house. And what could the man hope to gain by such insolence? Instead
of taking the road through the park back to Brotherton, he went on to
Cross Hall. He was desirous of learning what were the impressions, and
what the intentions, of the ladies there. Did this madman mean to
quarrel with his mother and sisters as well as with his other
neighbours? He did not as yet know what intercourse there had been
between the two houses, since the Marquis had been at Manor Cross. And
in going to Cross Hall in the midst of all these troubles, he was no
doubt actuated in part by a determination to show himself to be one of
the family. If they would accept his aid, no one would be more loyal
than he to these ladies. But he would not be laid aside. If anything
unjust were intended, if any fraud was to be executed, the person most
to be injured would be that hitherto unborn grandson of his for whose
advent he was so anxious. He had been very free with his money, but he
meant to have his money's worth.

At Cross Hall he found Canon Holdenough's wife and the Canon. At the
moment of his entrance old Lady Brotherton was talking to the
clergyman, and Lady Alice was closeted in a corner with her sister
Sarah. "I would advise you to go just as though you had heard nothing
from us," Lady Sarah had said. "Of course he would be readier to
quarrel with me than with any one. For mamma's sake I would go away for
a time if I had anywhere to go to."

"Come to us," Lady Alice had said. But Lady Sarah had declared that she
would be as much in the way at Brotherton as at Cross Hall, and had
then gone on to explain that it was Lady Alice's duty to call on her
sister-in-law, and that she must do so,--facing the consequences
whatever they might be. "Of course mamma could not go till he had been
here," Lady Sarah added; "and now he has told mamma not to go at all.
But that is nothing to you."

"I have just come from the house," said the Dean.

"Did you see him?" asked the old woman with awe.

"Yes; I saw him."


"I must say that he was not very civil to me, and that I suppose I have
seen all of him that I shall see."

"It is only his manner," said her ladyship.

"An unfortunate manner, surely."

"Poor Brotherton!"

Then the Canon said a word. "Of course no one wants to trouble him. I
can speak at least for myself. I do not,--certainly. I have requested
her ladyship to ask him whether he would wish me to call or not. If he
says that he does, I shall expect him to receive me cordially. If he
does not--there's an end of it."

"I hope you won't all of you turn against him," said the Marchioness.

"Turn against him!" repeated the Dean. "I do not suppose that there is
any one who would not be both kind and courteous to him, if he would
accept kindness and courtesy. It grieves me to make you unhappy,
Marchioness, but I am bound to let you know that he treated me very
badly." From that moment the Marchioness made up her mind that the Dean
was no friend of the family, and that he was, after all, vulgar and
disagreeable. She undertook, however, to enquire from her son on next
Sunday whether he would wish to be called upon by his brother-in-law,
the Canon.

On the following day Lady Alice went alone to Manor Cross,--being the
first lady who had gone to the door since the new arrivals,--and asked
for Lady Brotherton. The courier came to the door and said "not at
home," in a foreign accent, just as the words might have been said to
any chance caller in London. Then Lady Alice asked the man to tell her
brother that she was there. "Not at home, miladi," said the man, in the
same tone. At that moment Mrs. Toff came running through the long hall
to the carriage door. The house was built round a quadrangle, and all
the ground floor of the front and of one of the sides consisted of
halls, passages, and a billiard-room. Mrs. Toff must have been watching
very closely or she could hardly have known that Lady Alice was there.
She came out and stood beside the carriage, and leaning in, whispered
her fears and unhappinesses. "Oh! my lady, I'm afraid it's very bad. I
haven't set eyes on the--the--his wife, my lady, yet; nor the little

"Are they in now, Mrs. Toff?"

"Of course they're in. They never go out. He goes about all the
afternoon in a dressing-gown, smoking bits of paper, and she lies in
bed or gets up and doesn't do,--nothing at all, as far as I can see,
Lady Alice. But as for being in, of course they're in; they're always
in." Lady Alice, however, feeling that she had done her duty, and not
wishing to take the place by storm, had herself driven back to

On the following Sunday afternoon the Marquis came, according to his
promise, and found his mother alone. "The fact is, mother," he said,
"you have got a regular church set around you during the last year or
two, and I will have nothing to do with them. I never cared much for
Brotherton Close, and now I like it less than ever." The Marchioness
moaned and looked up into his face imploringly. She was anxious to say
something in defence, at any rate, of her daughter's marriage, but
specially anxious to say nothing that should not anger him. Of course
he was unreasonable, but, according to her lights, he, being the
Marquis, had a right to be unreasonable. "The Dean came to me the other
day," continued he, "and I could see at a glance that he meant to be
quite at home in the house, if I didn't put him down."

"You'll see Mr. Holdenough, won't you? Mr. Holdenough is a very
gentlemanlike man, and the Holdenoughs were always quite county people.
You used to like Alice."

"If you ask me, I think she has been a fool at her age to go and marry
an old parson. As for receiving him, I shan't receive anybody,--in the
way of entertaining them. I haven't come home for that purpose. My
child will have to live here when he is a man."

"God bless him!" said the Marchioness.

"Or at any rate his property will be here. They tell me that it will be
well that he should be used to this damnable climate early in life. He
will have to go to school here, and all that. So I have brought him,
though I hate the place."

"It is so nice to have you back, Brotherton."

"I don't know about its being nice. I don't find much niceness in it.
Had I not got myself married I should never have come back. But it's as
well that you all should know that there is an heir."

"God bless him!" said the Marchioness, again. "But don't you think that
we ought to see him?"

"See him! Why?" He asked the question sharply, and looked at her with
that savageness in his eyes which all the family remembered so well,
and which she specially feared.

That question of the legitimacy of the boy had never been distinctly
discussed at Cross Hall, and the suspicious hints on the subject which
had passed between the sisters, the allusions to this and the other
possibility which had escaped them, had been kept as far as possible
from their mother. They had remarked among themselves that it was very
odd that the marriage should have been concealed, and almost more than
odd that an heir to the title should have been born without any
announcement of such a birth. A dread of some evil mystery had filled
their thoughts, and shown itself in their words and looks to each
other. And, though they had been very anxious to keep this from their
mother, something had crept through which had revealed a suspicion of
the suspicion even to her. She, dear old lady, had resolved upon no
line of conduct in the matter. She had conceived no project of
rebelling against her eldest daughter, or of being untrue to her
youngest son. But now that she was alone with her eldest son, with the
real undoubted Marquis, with him who would certainly be to her more
than all the world beside if he would only allow it, there did come
into her head an idea that she would put him on his guard.


"Because what? Speak out, mother."

"Because, perhaps they'll say that--that----"

"What will they say?"

"If they don't see him, they may think he isn't Popenjoy at all."

"Oh! they'll think that, will they? How will seeing help them?"

"It would be so nice to have him here, if it's only for a little," said
the Marchioness.

"So that's it," he said, after a long pause. "That's George's game, and
the Dean's; I can understand."

"No, no, no; not George," said the unhappy mother.

"And Sarah, I dare say, is in a boat with them. I don't wonder that
they should choose to remain here and watch me."

"I am sure George has never thought of such a thing."

"George will think as his father-in-law bids him. George was never very
good at thinking for himself. So you fancy they'll be more likely to
accept the boy if they see him."

"Seeing is believing, Brotherton."

"There's something in that, to be sure. Perhaps they don't think I've
got a wife at all, because they haven't seen her."

"Oh, yes; they believe that."

"How kind of them. Well, mother, you've let the cat out of the bag."

"Don't tell them that I said so."

"No; I won't tell. Nor am I very much surprised. I thought how it would
be when I didn't announce it all in the old-fashioned way. It's lucky
that I have the certificated proof of the date of my marriage, isn't

"It's all right, of course. I never doubted it, Brotherton."

"But all the others did. I knew there was something up when George
wasn't at home to meet me."

"He is coming."

"He may stay away if he likes it. I don't want him. He won't have the
courage to tell me up to my face that he doesn't intend to acknowledge
my boy. He's too great a coward for that."

"I'm sure it's not George, Brotherton."

"Who is it, then?"

"Perhaps it's the Dean."

"D---- his impudence. How on earth among you could you let George marry
the daughter of a low-bred ruffian like that,--a man that never ought
to have been allowed to put his foot inside the house?"

"She had such a very nice fortune! And then he wanted to marry that
scheming girl, Adelaide De Baron,--without a penny."

"The De Barons, at any rate, are gentlefolk. If the Dean meddles with
me, he shall find that he has got the wrong sow by the ear. If he puts
his foot in the park again I'll have him warned off as a trespasser."

"But you'll see Mr. Holdenough?"

"I don't want to see anybody. I mean to hold my own, and do as I please
with my own, and live as I like, and toady no one. What can I have in
common with an old parson like that?"

"You'll let me see Popenjoy, Brotherton?"

"Yes," he said, pausing a moment before he answered her. "He shall be
brought here, and you shall see him. But mind, mother, I shall expect
you to tell me all that you hear."

"Indeed, I will."

"You will not rebel against me, I suppose."

"Oh, no;--my son, my son!" Then she fell upon his neck, and he suffered
it for a minute, thinking it wise to make sure of one ally in that



When Lord George was summoned down to Manor Cross,--or rather, to Cross
Hall, he did not dare not to go. Lady Sarah had told him that it was
his duty, and he could not deny the assertion. But he was very angry
with his brother, and did not in the least wish to see him. Nor did he
think that by seeing him he could in any degree render easier that
horrible task which would, sooner or later, be imposed upon him, of
testing the legitimacy of his brother's child. And there were other
reasons which made him unwilling to leave London. He did not like to be
away from his young wife. She was, of course, a matron now, and
entitled to be left alone, according to the laws of the world; but then
she was so childish, and so fond of playing bagatelle with Jack De
Baron! He had never had occasion to find fault with her; not to say
words to her which he himself would regard as fault-finding words
though she had complained more than once of his scolding her. He would
caution her, beg her to be grave, ask her to read heavy books, and try
to impress her with the solemnity of married life. In this way he would
quell her spirits for a few hours. Then she would burst out again, and
there would be Jack De Baron and the bagatelle. In all these sorrows he
solaced himself by asking advice from Mrs. Houghton. By degrees he told
Mrs. Houghton almost everything. The reader may remember that there had
been a moment in which he had resolved that he would not again go to
Berkeley Square. But all that was very much altered now. He was there
almost every day, and consulted the lady about every thing. She had
induced him even to talk quite openly about this Italian boy, to
express his suspicions, and to allude to most distressing duties which
might be incumbent on him. She strenuously advised him to take nothing
for granted. If the Marquisate was to be had by careful scrutiny she
was quite of opinion that it should not be lost by careless confidence.
This sort of friendship was very pleasant to him, and especially so,
because he could tell himself that there was nothing wicked in it. No
doubt her hand would be in his sometimes for a moment, and once or
twice his arm had almost found its way round her waist. But these had
been small deviations, which he had taken care to check. No doubt it
had occurred to him, once or twice, that she had not been careful to
check them. But this, when he thought of it maturely, he attributed to

It was at last, by her advice, that he begged that one of his sisters
might come up to town, as a companion to Mary during his absence at
Cross Hall. This counsel she had given to him after assuring him
half-a-dozen times that there was nothing to fear. He had named Amelia,
Mary having at once agreed to the arrangement, on condition that the
younger of the three sisters should be invited. The letter was of
course written to Lady Sarah. All such letters always were written to
Lady Sarah. Lady Sarah had answered, saying, that Susanna would take
the place destined for Amelia. Now Susanna, of all the Germain family,
was the one whom Mary disliked the most. But there was no help for it.
She thought it hard, but she was not strong enough in her own position
to say that she would not have Susanna, because Susanna had not been
asked. "I think Lady Susanna will be the best," said Lord George,
"because she has so much strength of character."

"Strength of character! You speak as if you were going away for three
years, and were leaving me in the midst of danger. You'll be back in
five days, I suppose. I really think I could have got on without
Susanna's--strength of character!" This was her revenge; but, all the
same, Lady Susanna came.

"She is as good as gold," said Lord George, who was himself as weak as
water. "She is as good as gold; but there is a young man comes here
whom I don't care for her to see too often." This was what he said to
Lady Susanna.

"Oh, indeed! Who is he?"

"Captain De Baron. You are not to suppose that she cares a straw about

"Oh, no; I am sure there can be nothing of that," said Lady Susanna,
feeling herself to be as energetic as Cerberus, and as many-eyed as

"You must take care of yourself now, master Jack," Mrs. Houghton said
to her cousin. "A duenna has been sent for."

"Duennas always go to sleep, don't they; and take tips; and are
generally open to reason?"

"Oh, heavens! Fancy tipping Lady Susanna! I should think that she never
slept in her life with both eyes at the same time, and that she thinks
in her heart that every man who says a civil word ought to have his
tongue cut out."

"I wonder how she'd take it if I were to say a civil word to herself?"

"You can try; but as far as Madame is concerned, you had better wait
till Monsieur is back again."

Lord George, having left his wife in the hands of Lady Susanna, went
down to Brotherton and on to Cross Hall. He arrived on the Saturday
after that first Sunday visit paid by the Marquis to his mother. The
early part of the past week had been very blank down in those parts. No
further personal attempts had been made to intrude upon the Manor Cross
mysteries. The Dean had not been seen again, even at Cross Hall. Mr.
Holdenough had made no attempt after the reception,--or rather
non-reception,--awarded to his wife. Old Mr. De Baron had driven over,
and had seen the Marquis, but nothing more than that fact was known at
Cross Hall. He had been there for about an hour, and as far as Mrs.
Toff knew, the Marquis had been very civil to him. But Mr. De Baron,
though a cousin, was not by any means one of the Germain party. Then,
on Saturday there had been an affair. Mrs. Toff had come to the Hall,
boiling over with the importance of her communication, and stating that
she had been--turned out of the house. She, who had presided over
everything material at Manor Cross for more than thirty years, from the
family pictures down to the kitchen utensils, had been absolutely
desired to--walk herself off. The message had been given to her by that
accursed Courier, and she had then insisted on seeing the Marquis. "My
Lord," she said, only laughed at her. "'Mrs. Toff,' he had said, 'you
are my mother's servant, and my sisters'. You had better go and live
with them.'" She had then hinted at the shortness of the notice given
her, upon which he had offered her anything she chose to ask in the way
of wages and board wages. "But I wouldn't take a penny, my Lady; only
just what was due up to the very day." As Mrs. Toff was a great deal
too old a servant to be really turned away, and as she merely migrated
from Manor Cross to Cross Hall, she did not injure herself much by
refusing the offers made to her.

It must be held that the Marquis was justified in getting rid of Mrs.
Toff. Mrs. Toff was, in truth, a spy in his camp, and, of course, his
own people were soon aware of that fact. Her almost daily journeys to
Cross Hall were known, and it was remembered, both by the Marquis and
his wife, that this old woman, who had never been allowed to see the
child, but who had known all the preceding generation as children,
could not but be an enemy. Of course it was patent to all the servants,
and to every one connected with the two houses, that there was war. Of
course, the Marquis, having an old woman acting spy in his stronghold,
got rid of her. But justice would shortly have required that the other
old woman, who was acting spy in the other stronghold, should be turned
out, also. But the Marchioness, who had promised to tell everything to
her son, could not very well be offered wages and be made to go.

In the midst of the ferment occasioned by this last piece of work Lord
George reached Cross Hall. He had driven through the park, that way
being nearly as short as the high road, and had left word at the house
that he would call on the following morning, immediately after morning
church. This he did, in consequence of a resolution which he had
made,--to act on his own judgment. A terrible crisis was coming, in
which it would not be becoming that he should submit himself either to
his eldest sister, or to the Dean. He had talked the matter over fully
with Mrs. Houghton, and Mrs. Houghton had suggested that he should call
on his way out to the Hall.

The ladies had at first to justify their request that he should come to
them, and there was a difficulty in doing this, as he was received in
presence of their mother. Lady Sarah had not probably told herself that
the Marchioness was a spy, but she had perceived that it would not be
wise to discuss everything openly in her mother's presence. "It is
quite right that you should see him," said Lady Sarah.

"Quite right," said the old lady.

"Had he sent me even a message I should have been here, of course,"
said the brother. "He passed through London, and I would have met him
there had he not kept everything concealed."

"He isn't like anybody else, you know. You mustn't quarrel with him. He
is the head of the family. If we quarrel with him, what will become of

"What will become of him if everybody falls off from him. That's what I
am thinking of," said Lady Sarah.

Soon after this all the horrors that had taken place,--horrors which
could not be entrusted to a letter,--were narrated him. The Marquis had
insulted Dr. Pountner, he had not returned the Bishop's visit, he had
treated the Dean with violent insolence, and he had refused to receive
his brother-in-law, Mr. Holdenough, though the Holdenoughs had always
moved in county society! He had declared that none of his relatives
were to be introduced to his wife. He had not as yet allowed the
so-called Popenjoy to be seen. He had said none of them were to trouble
him at Manor Cross, and had explained his purpose, of only coming to
the Hall when he knew that his sister Sarah was away. "I think he must
be mad," said the younger brother.

"It is what comes of living in a godless country like Italy," said Lady

"It is what comes of utterly disregarding duty," said Lady Sarah.

But what was to be done? The Marquis had declared his purpose of doing
what he liked with his own, and certainly none of them could hinder
him. If he chose to shut himself and his wife up at the big house, he
must do so. It was very bad, but it was clear that they could not
interfere with his eccentricities. How was anybody to interfere? Of
course, there was present in the mind of each of them a feeling that
this woman might not be his wife, or that the child might not be
legitimate. But they did not like with open words among themselves to
accuse their brother of so great a crime. "I don't see what there is to
be done," said Lord George.

The Church was in the park, not very far from the house, but nearer to
the gate leading to Brotherton. On that Sunday morning the Marchioness
and her youngest daughter went there in the carriage, and in doing so,
had to pass the front doors. The previous Sunday had been cold, and
this was the first time that the Marchioness had seen Manor Cross since
her son had been there. "Oh, dear! if I could only go in and see the
dear child," she said.

"You know you can't, mamma," said Amelia.

"It is all Sarah's fault, because she would quarrel with him."

After Church the ladies returned in the carriage, and Lord George went
to the house according to his appointment. He was shown into a small
parlour, and in about half an hour's time luncheon was brought to him.
He then asked whether his brother was coming. The servant went away,
promising to enquire, but did not return. He was cross and would eat no
lunch,--but after awhile rang the bell, loudly, and again asked the
same question. The servant again went away and did not return. He had
just made up his mind to leave the house and never to return to it,
when the Courier, of whom he had heard, came to usher him into his
brother's room. "You seem to be in a deuce of a hurry, George," said
the Marquis, without getting out of his chair. "You forget that people
don't get up at the same hour all the world over."

"It's half-past two now."

"Very likely; but I don't know that there is any law to make a man
dress himself before that hour."

"The servant might have given me a message."

"Don't make a row now you are here, old fellow. When I found you were
in the house I got down as fast as I could. I suppose your time isn't
so very precious."

Lord George had come there determined not to quarrel if he could help
it. He had very nearly quarrelled already. Every word that his brother
said was in truth an insult,--being, as they were, the first words
spoken after so long an interval. They were intended to be insolent,
probably intended to drive him away. But if anything was to be gained
by the interview he must not allow himself to be driven away. He had a
duty to perform,--a great duty. He was the last man in England to
suspect a fictitious heir,--would at any rate be the last to hint at
such an iniquity without the strongest ground. Who is to be true to a
brother if not a brother? Who is to support the honour of a great
family if not its own scions? Who is to abstain from wasting the wealth
and honour of another, if not he who has the nearest chance of
possessing them? And yet who could be so manifestly bound as he to take
care that no surreptitious head was imposed upon the family. This
little child was either the real Popenjoy, a boy to be held by him as
of all boys the most sacred, to the promotion of whose welfare all his
own energies would be due,--or else a brat so abnormously distasteful
and abominable as to demand from him an undying enmity, till the
child's wicked pretensions should be laid at rest. There was something
very serious in it, very tragic,--something which demanded that he
should lay aside all common anger, and put up with many insults on
behalf of the cause which he had in hand. "Of course I could wait,"
said he; "only I thought that perhaps the man would have told me."

"The fact is, George, we are rather a divided house here. Some of us
talk Italian and some English. I am the only common interpreter in the
house, and I find it a bore."

"I dare say it is troublesome."

"And what can I do for you now you are here?"

Do for him! Lord George didn't want his brother to do anything for him.
"Live decently, like an English nobleman, and do not outrage your
family." That would have been the only true answer he could have made
to such a question. "I thought you would wish to see me after your
return," he said.

"It's rather lately thought of; but, however, let that pass. So you've
got a wife for yourself."

"As you have done also."

"Just so. I have got a wife too. Mine has come from one of the oldest
and noblest families in Christendom."

"Mine is the granddaughter of a livery-stable keeper," said Lord
George, with a touch of real grandeur; "and, thank God, I can be proud
of her in any society in England."

"I dare say;--particularly as she had some money."

"Yes; she had money. I could hardly have married without. But when you
see her I think you will not be ashamed of her as your sister-in-law."

"Ah! She lives in London and I am just at present down here."

"She is the daughter of the Dean of Brotherton."

"So I have heard. They used to make gentlemen Deans." After this there
was a pause, Lord George finding it difficult to go on with the
conversation without a quarrel. "To tell you the truth, George, I will
not willingly see anything more of your Dean. He came here and insulted
me. He got up and blustered about the room because I wouldn't thank him
for the honour he had done our family by his alliance. If you please,
George, we'll understand that the less said about the Dean the better.
You see I haven't any of the money out of the stable-yard."

"My wife's money didn't come out of a stable-yard. It came from a
wax-chandler's shop," said Lord George, jumping up, just as the Dean
had done. There was something in the man's manner worse even than his
words which he found it almost impossible to bear. But he seated
himself again as his brother sat looking at him with a bitter smile
upon his face. "I don't suppose," he said, "you can wish to annoy me."

"Certainly not. But I wish that the truth should be understood between

"Am I to be allowed to pay my respects to your wife?" said Lord George

"I think, you know, that we have gone so far apart in our marriages
that there is nothing to be gained by it. Besides, you couldn't speak
to her,--nor she to you."

"May I be permitted to see--Popenjoy?"

The Marquis paused a moment, and then rang the bell. "I don't know what
good it will do you, but if he can be made fit he shall be brought
down." The Courier entered the room and received certain orders in
Italian. After that there was considerable delay, during which an
Italian servant brought the Marquis a cup of chocolate and a cake. He
pushed a newspaper over to his brother, and as he was drinking his
chocolate, lighted a cigarette. In this way there was a delay of over
an hour, and then there entered the room an Italian nurse with a little
boy who seemed to Lord George to be nearly two years old. The child was
carried in by the woman, but Lord George thought that he was big enough
to have walked. He was dressed up with many ribbons, and was altogether
as gay as apparel could make him. But he was an ugly, swarthy little
boy, with great black eyes, small cheeks, and a high forehead,--very
unlike such a Popenjoy as Lord George would have liked to have seen.
Lord George got up and stood over him, and leaning down kissed the high
forehead. "My poor little darling," he said.

"As for being poor," said the Marquis, "I hope not. As to being a
darling, I should think it doubtful. If you've done with him, she can
take him away, you know." Lord George had done with him, and so he was
taken away. "Seeing is believing, you know," said the Marquis; "that's
the only good of it." Lord George said to himself that in this case
seeing was not believing.

At this moment the open carriage came round to the door. "If you like
to get up behind," said the Marquis, "I can take you back to Cross
Hall, as I am going to see my mother. Perhaps you'll remember that I
wish to be alone with her." Lord George then expressed his preference
for walking. "Just as you please. I want to say a word. Of course I
took it very ill of you all when you insisted on keeping Cross Hall in
opposition to my wishes. No doubt they acted on your advice."

"Partly so."

"Exactly; your's and Sarah's. You can't expect me to forget it,
George;--that's all." Then he walked out of the room among the
servants, giving his brother no opportunity for further reply.



The poor dear old Marchioness must have had some feeling that she was
regarded as a spy. She had promised to tell everything to her eldest
son, and though she had really nothing to tell, though the Marquis did
in truth know all that there was as yet to know, still there grew up at
Cross Hall a sort of severance between the unhappy old lady and her
children. This showed itself in no diminution of affectionate
attention; in no intentional change of manner; but there was a
reticence about the Marquis and Popenjoy which even she perceived, and
there crept into her mind a feeling that Mrs. Toff was on her guard
against her,--so that on two occasions she almost snubbed Mrs. Toff. "I
never see'd him, my Lady; what more can I say?" said Mrs. Toff. "Toff,
I don't believe you wanted to see your master's son and heir!" said the
Marchioness. Then Mrs. Toff pursed up her lips, and compressed her
nose, and half-closed her eyes, and the Marchioness was sure that Mrs.
Toff did not believe in Popenjoy.

No one but Lord George had seen Popenjoy. To no eyes but his had the
august baby been displayed. Of course many questions had been asked,
especially by the old lady, but the answers to them had not been
satisfactory. "Dark, is he?" asked the Marchioness. Lord George replied
that the child was very swarthy. "Dear me! That isn't like the
Germains. The Germains were never light, but they're not swarthy. Did
he talk at all?" "Not a word." "Did he play about?" "Never was out of
the nurse's arms." "Dear me! Was he like Brotherton?" "I don't think I
am a judge of likenesses." "He's a healthy child?" "I can't say. He
seemed to be a good deal done up with finery." Then the Marchioness
declared that her younger son showed an unnatural indifference to the
heir of the family. It was manifest that she intended to accept the new
Popenjoy, and to ally herself with no party base enough to entertain
any suspicion.

These examinations respecting the baby went on for the three first days
of the week. It was Lord George's intention to return to town on the
Saturday, and it seemed to them all to be necessary that something
should be arranged before that. Lady Sarah thought that direct
application should be made to her brother for proof of his marriage and
for a copy of the register of the birth of his child. She quite
admitted that he would resent such application with the bitterest
enmity. But that she thought must be endured. She argued that nothing
could be done more friendly to the child than this. If all was right
the enquiry which circumstances certainly demanded would be made while
he could not feel it. If no such proof were adduced now there would
certainly be trouble, misery, and perhaps ruin in coming years. If the
necessary evidence were forthcoming, then no one would wish to
interfere further. There might be ill blood on their brother's part,
but there would be none on theirs. Neither Lord George nor their
younger sister gainsayed this altogether. Neither of them denied the
necessity of enquiry. But they desired to temporise;--and then how was
the enquiry to be made? Who was to bell the cat? And how should they go
on when the Marquis refused to take any heed of them,--as, of course,
he would do? Lady Sarah saw at once that they must employ a
lawyer;--but what lawyer? Old Mr. Stokes, the family attorney, was the
only lawyer they knew. But Mr. Stokes was Lord Brotherton's lawyer, and
would hardly consent to be employed against his own client. Lady Sarah
suggested that Mr. Stokes might be induced to explain to the Marquis
that these enquiries should be made for his, the Marquis's, own
benefit. But Lord George felt that this was impossible. It was evident
that Lord George would be afraid to ask Mr. Stokes to undertake the

At last it came to be understood among them that they must have some
friend to act with them. There could be no doubt who that friend should
be. "As to interfering," said Lady Sarah, speaking of the Dean, "he
will interfere, whether we ask him to or not. His daughter is as much
affected as anybody, and if I understand him he is not the man to see
any interest of his own injured by want of care." Lord George shook his
head but yielded. He greatly disliked the idea of putting himself into
the Dean's hands; of becoming a creature of the Dean's. He felt the
Dean to be stronger than himself, endowed with higher spirit and more
confident hopes. But he also felt that the Dean was--the son of a
stable-keeper. Though he had professed to his brother that he could own
the fact without shame, still he was ashamed. It was not the Dean's
parentage that troubled him so much as a consciousness of some defect,
perhaps only of the absence of some quality, which had been caused by
that parentage. The man looked like a gentleman, but still there was a
smell of the stable. Feeling this rather than knowing it Lord George
resisted for awhile the idea of joining forces with the Dean; but when
it was suggested to him as an alternative that he himself must go to
Mr. Stokes and explain his suspicions in the lawyer's room, then he
agreed that, as a first step, he would consult the Dean. The Dean, no
doubt, would have his own lawyer, who would not care a fig for the

It was thought by them at Cross Hall that the Dean would come over to
them, knowing that his son-in-law was in the country; but the Dean did
not come, probably waiting for the same compliment from Lord George. On
the Friday Lord George rode into Brotherton early, and was at the
Deanery by eleven o'clock. "I thought I should see you," said the Dean,
in his pleasantest manner. "Of course, I heard from Mary that you were
down here. Well;--what do you think of it all?"

"It is not pleasant."

"If you mean your brother, I am bound to say, that he is very
unpleasant. Of course you have seen him?"

"Yes; I have seen him."

"And her ladyship?"

"No. He said that as I do not speak Italian it would be no good."

"And he seemed to think," said the Dean, "that as I do speak Italian it
would be dangerous. Nobody has seen her then?"


"That promises well! And the little lord?"

"He was brought down to me."

"That was gracious! Well; what of him. Did he look like a Popenjoy?"

"He is a nasty little black thing."

"I shouldn't wonder."

"And looks----. Well, I don't want to abuse the poor child, and God
knows, if he is what he pretends to be, I would do anything to serve

"That's just it, George," said the Dean, very seriously,--seriously,
and with his kindest manner, being quite disposed to make himself
agreeable to Lord George, if Lord George would be agreeable to him.
"That's just it. If we were certified as to that, what would we not do
for the child in spite of the father's brutality? There is no
dishonesty on our side, George. You know of me, and I know of you,
that if every tittle of the evidence of that child's birth were in the
keeping of either of us, so that it could be destroyed on the moment,
it should be made as public as the winds of heaven to-morrow, so that
it was true evidence. If he be what he pretends to be, who would
interfere with him? But if he be not?"

"Any suspicion of that kind is unworthy of us;--except on very strong

"True. But if there be very strong ground, it is equally true that such
suspicion is our duty. Look at the case. When was it that he told you
that he was going to be married? About six months since, as far as my
memory goes."

"He said, 'I am to be married.'"

"That is speaking in the future tense; and now he claims to have been
married two or three years ago. Has he ever attempted to explain this?"

"He has not said a word about it. He is quite unwilling to talk about

"I dare say. But a man in such circumstances must be made to talk about
himself. You and I are so placed that if we did not make him talk about
himself, we ought to be made to make him do so. He may be deceitful if
he pleases. He may tell you and me fibs without end. And he may give us
much trouble by doing so. Such trouble is the evil consequence of
having liars in the world." Lord George winced at the rough word as
applied by inference to his own brother. "But liars themselves are
always troubled by their own lies. If he chooses to tell you that on a
certain day he is about to be married, and afterwards springs a
two-year old child upon you as legitimate, you are bound to think that
there is some deceit. You cannot keep yourself from knowing that there
is falsehood; and if falsehood, then probably fraud. Is it likely that
a man with such privileges, and such property insured to a legitimate
son, would allow the birth of such a child to be slurred over without
due notice of it? You say that suspicion on our part without strong
ground would be unworthy of us. I agree with you. But I ask you whether
the grounds are not so strong as to force us to suspect. Come," he
continued, as Lord George did not answer at once; "let us be open to
each other, knowing as each does that the other means to do what is
right. Do not you suspect?"

"I do," said Lord George.

"And so do I. And I mean to learn the truth."

"But how?"

"That is for us to consider; but of one thing I am quite sure. I am
quite certain that we must not allow ourselves to be afraid of your
brother. To speak the truth, as it must be spoken, he is a bully,

"I would rather you would not abuse him, sir."

"Speak ill of him I must. His character is bad, and I have to speak of
it. He is a bully. He set himself to work to put me down when I did
myself the honour to call on him, because he felt that my connexion
with you would probably make me an enemy to him. I intend that he shall
know that he cannot put me down. He is undoubtedly Lord Brotherton. He
is the owner of a wide property. He has many privileges and much power,
with which I cannot interfere. But there is a limit to them. If he have
a legitimate son, those privileges will be that son's property, but he
has to show to the world that that son is legitimate. When a man
marries before all the world, in his own house, and a child is born to
him as I may say openly, the proofs are there of themselves. No
bringing up of evidence is necessary. The thing is simple, and there is
no suspicion and no enquiry. But he has done the reverse of this, and
now flatters himself that he can cow those who are concerned by a
domineering manner. He must be made to feel that this will not

"Sarah thinks that he should be invited to produce the necessary
certificates." Lord George, when he dropped his sister's title in
speaking of her to the Dean, must have determined that very familiar
intercourse with the Dean was a necessity.

"Lady Sarah is always right. That should be the first step. But will
you invite him to do so? How shall the matter be broken to him?"

"She thinks a lawyer should do it."

"It must be done either by you or by a lawyer." Lord George looked very
blank. "Of course, if the matter were left in my hands;--if I had to do
it,--I should not do it personally. The question is, whether you might
not in the first instance write to him?"

"He would not notice it."

"Very likely not. Then we must employ a lawyer."

The matter was altogether so distasteful to Lord George, that more than
once during the interview he almost made up his mind that he would
withdraw altogether from the work, and at any rate appear to take it
for granted that the child was a real heir, an undoubted Popenjoy. But
then, as often, the Dean showed him that he could not so withdraw
himself. "You will be driven," said the Dean, "to express your belief,
whatever it may be; and if you think that there has been foul play, you
cannot deny that you think so." It was at last decided that Lord George
should write a letter to his brother, giving all the grounds, not of
his own suspicion, but which the world at large would have for
suspecting; and earnestly imploring that proper evidence as to his
brother's marriage and as to the child's birth, might be produced.
Then, if this letter should not be attended to, a lawyer should be
employed. The Dean named his own lawyer, Mr. Battle, of Lincoln's Inn
Fields. Lord George having once yielded, found it convenient to yield
throughout. Towards the end of the interview the Dean suggested that he
would "throw a few words together," or, in other language, write the
letter which his son-in-law would have to sign. This suggestion was
also accepted by Lord George.

The two men were together for a couple of hours, and then, after lunch,
went out together into the town. Each felt that he was now more closely
bound to the other than ever. The Dean was thoroughly pleased that it
should be so. He intended his son-in-law to be the Marquis, and being
sanguine as well as pugnacious looked forward to seeing that time
himself. Such a man as the Marquis would probably die early, whereas he
himself was full of health. There was nothing he would not do to make
Lord George's life pleasant, if only Lord George would be pleasant to
him, and submissive. But Lord George himself was laden with many
regrets. He had formed a conspiracy against the head of his own family,
and his brother conspirator was the son of a stable-keeper. It might be
also that he was conspiring against his own legitimate nephew; and if
so, the conspiracy would of course fail, and he would be stigmatised
for ever among the Germains as the most sordid and vile of the name.

The Dean's house was in the Close, joined on to the Cathedral, a
covered stone pathway running between the two. The nearest way from the
Deanery to the High Street was through the Cathedral, the transept of
which could be entered by crossing the passage. The Dean and his
son-in-law on this occasion went through the building to the west
entrance, and there stood for a few minutes in the street while the
Dean spoke to men who were engaged on certain repairs of the fabric. In
doing this they all went out into the middle of the wide street in
order that they might look up at the work which was being done. While
they were there, suddenly an open carriage, with a postilion, came upon
them unawares, and they had to retreat out of the way. As they did so
they perceived that Lord Brotherton was in the carriage, enveloped in
furs, and that a lady, more closely enveloped even than himself, was by
his side. It was evident to them that he had recognised them. Indeed he
had been in the act of raising his hand to greet his brother when he
saw the Dean. They both bowed to him, while the Dean, who had the
readier mind, raised his hat to the lady. But the Marquis steadily
ignored them. "That's your sister-in-law," said the Dean.

"Perhaps so."

"There is no other lady here with whom he could be driving. I am pretty
sure that it is the first time that either of them have been in

"I wonder whether he saw us."

"Of course he saw us. He cut me from fixed purpose, and you because I
was with you. I shall not disturb him by any further recognition." Then
they went on about their business, and in the afternoon, when the Dean
had thrown his few words together, Lord George rode back to Cross Hall.
"Let the letter be sent at once,--but date it from London." These were
the last words the Dean said to him.

It was the Marquis and his wife. All Brotherton heard the news. She had
absolutely called at a certain shop and the Marquis had condescended to
be her interpreter. All Brotherton was now sure that there was a new
Marchioness, a fact as to which a great part of Brotherton had hitherto
entertained doubts. And it seemed that this act of condescension in
stopping at a Brotherton shop was so much appreciated that all the
former faults of the Marquis were to be condoned on that account. If
only Popenjoy could be taken to a Brotherton pastrycook, and be got to
eat a Brotherton bun, the Marquis would become the most popular man in
the neighbourhood, and the undoubted progenitor of a long line of
Marquises to come. A little kindness after continued cruelty will
always win a dog's heart;--some say, also a woman's. It certainly
seemed to be the way to win Brotherton.



In spite of the caution which he had received from his friend and
cousin Mrs. Houghton, Jack De Baron did go to Munster Court during the
absence of Lord George, and there did encounter Lady Susanna. And Mrs.
Houghton herself, though she had given such excellent advice,
accompanied him. She was of course anxious to see Lady Susanna, who had
always especially disliked her; and Jack himself was desirous of making
the acquaintance of a lady who had been, he was assured, sent up to
town on purpose to protect the young wife from his wiles. Both Mrs.
Houghton and Jack had become very intimate in Munster Court, and there
was nothing strange in their dropping in together even before lunch.
Jack was of course introduced to Lady Susanna. The two ladies grimaced
at each other, each knowing the other's feeling towards herself. Mary
having suspected that Lady Susanna had been sent for in reference to
this special friend, determined on being specially gracious to Jack.
She had already, since Lady Susanna's arrival, told that lady that she
was able to manage her own little affairs. Lady Susanna had said an
unfortunate word as to the unnecessary expense of four wax candles
when they two were sitting alone in the drawing-room. Lady George had
said that it was pretty. Lady Susanna had expostulated gravely, and
then Lady George had spoken out. "Dear Susanna, do let me manage my own
little affairs." Of course the words had rankled, and of course the
love which the ladies bore to each other had not been increased. Lady
George was now quite resolved to show dear Susanna that she was not
afraid of her duenna.

"We thought we'd venture to see if you'd give us lunch," said Mrs.

"Delightful!" exclaimed Lady George. "There's nothing to eat; but you
won't mind that."

"Not in the least," said Jack. "I always think the best lunch in the
world is a bit of the servants' dinner. It's always the best meat, and
the best cooked and the hottest served."

There was plenty of lunch from whatsoever source it came, and the three
young people were very merry. Perhaps they were a little noisy. Perhaps
there was a little innocent slang in their conversation. Ladies do
sometimes talk slang, and perhaps the slang was encouraged for the
special edification of Lady Susanna. But slang was never talked at
Manor Cross or Cross Hall, and was odious to Lady Susanna. When Lady
George declared that some offending old lady ought to be "jumped upon,"
Lady Susanna winced visibly. When Jack told Lady George that "she was
the woman to do it," Lady Susanna shivered almost audibly. "Is anything
the matter?" asked Lady George, perhaps not quite innocently.

It seemed to Lady Susanna that these visitors were never going away,
and yet this was the very man as to whom her brother had cautioned her!
And what an odious man he was--in Lady Susanna's estimation! A
puppy,--an absolute puppy! Good-looking, impudent, familiar, with a
light visage, and continually smiling! All those little gifts which
made him so pleasant to Lady George were stains and blemishes in the
eyes of Lady Susanna. To her thinking, a man,--at any rate a
gentleman,--should be tall, dark, grave, and given to silence rather
than to much talk. This Jack chattered about everything, and hardly
opened his mouth without speaking slang. About half-past three, when
they had been chattering in the drawing-room for an hour, after having
chattered over their lunch for a previous hour, Mrs. Houghton made a
most alarming proposition. "Let us all go to Berkeley Square and play

"By all means," said Jack. "Lady George, you owe me two new hats

Playing bagatelle for new hats! Lady Susanna felt that if ever there
could come a time in which interference would be necessary that time
had come now. She had resolved that she would be patient; that she
should not come down as an offended deity upon Lady George, unless
some sufficient crisis should justify such action. But now surely, if
ever, she must interpose. Playing at bagatelle with Jack De Baron for
new hats, and she with the prospect before her of being Marchioness of
Brotherton! "It's only one," said Lady George gaily, "and I daresay
I'll win that back to-day. Will you come, Susanna?"

"Certainly not," said Lady Susanna, very grimly. They all looked at
her, and Jack De Baron raised his eyebrows, and sat for a moment
motionless. Lady Susanna knew that Jack De Baron was intending to
ridicule her. Then she remembered that should this perverse young woman
insist upon going to Mrs. Houghton's house with so objectionable a
companion, her duty to her brother demanded that she also should go. "I
mean," said Lady Susanna, "that I had rather not go."

"Why not?" asked Mary.

"I do not think that playing bagatelle for new hats is--is--the best
employment in the world either for a lady or for a gentleman." The
words were hardly out of her mouth before she herself felt that they
were overstrained and more than even this occasion demanded.

"Then we will only play for gloves," said Mary. Mary was not a woman to
bear with impunity such an assault as had been made on her.

"Perhaps you will not mind giving it up till George comes back," said
Lord George's sister.

"I shall mind very much. I will go up and get ready. You can do as you
please." So Mary left the room, and Lady Susanna followed her.

"She means to have her own way," said Jack, when he was alone with his

"She is not at all what I took her to be," said Mrs. Houghton. "The
fact is, one cannot know what a girl is as long as a girl is a girl. It
is only when she's married that she begins to speak out." Jack hardly
agreed with this, thinking that some girls he had known had learned to
speak out before they were married.

They all went out together to walk across the parks to Berkeley Square,
orders being left that the brougham should follow them later in the
afternoon. Lady Susanna had at last resolved that she also would go.
The very fact of her entering Mrs. Houghton's house was disagreeable to
her; but she felt that duty called her. And, after all, when they got
to Berkeley Square no bagatelle was played at all. But the bagatelle
would almost have been better than what occurred. A small parcel was
lying on the table which was found to contain a pack of pictured cards
made for the telling of fortunes, and which some acquaintance had sent
to Mrs. Houghton. With these they began telling each other's fortunes,
and it seemed to Lady Susanna that they were all as free with lovers
and sweethearts as though the two ladies had been housemaids instead
of being the wives of steady, well-born husbands. "That's a dark man,
with evil designs, a wicked tongue, and no money," said Mrs. Houghton,
as a combination of cards lay in Lady George's lap. "Jack, the lady
with light hair is only flirting with you. She doesn't care for you one

"I daresay not," said Jack.

"And yet she'll trouble you awfully. Lady Susanna, will you have your
fortune told?"

"No," said Lady Susanna, very shortly.

This went on for an hour before the brougham came, during the latter
half of which Lady Susanna sat without once opening her lips. If any
play could have been childish, it was this play; but to her it was
horrible. And then they all sat so near together, and that man was
allowed to put cards into her brother's wife's hand and to take them
out just as though they had been brother and sister, or playfellows all
their days. And then, as they were going down to the brougham, the
odious man got Lady George aside and whispered to her for two minutes.
Lady Susanna did not hear a word of their whispers, but knew that they
were devilish. And so she would have thought if she had heard them.
"You're going to catch it, Lady George," Jack had said. "There's
somebody else will catch something if she makes herself disagreeable,"
Lady George had answered. "I wish I could be invisible and hear it,"
had been Jack's last words.

"My dear Mary," said Lady Susanna, as soon as they were seated, "you
are very young."

"That's a fault that will mend of itself."

"Too quickly, as you will soon find; but in the meantime, as you are a
married woman, should you not be careful to guard against the
indiscretions of youth?"

"Well, yes; I suppose I ought," said Mary, after a moment of mock
consideration. "But then if I were unmarried I ought to do just the
same. It's a kind of thing that is a matter of course without talking
about it." She had firmly made up her mind that she would submit in no
degree to Lady Susanna, and take from her no scolding. Indeed, she had
come to a firm resolve long since that she would be scolded by no one
but her husband--and by him as little as possible. Now she was angry
with him because he had sent this woman to watch her, and was
determined that he should know that, though she would submit to him,
she would not submit to his sister. The moment for asserting herself
had now come.

"A young married woman," said the duenna, "owes it to her husband to be
peculiarly careful. She has his happiness and his honour in her hands."

"And he has hers. It seems to me that all these things are matters of

"They should be, certainly," said Lady Susanna, hardly knowing how to
go on with her work; a little afraid of her companion, but still very
intent. "But it will sometimes happen that a young person does not
quite know what is right and what is wrong."

"And sometimes it happens that old people don't know. There was Major
Jones had his wife taken away from him the other day by the Court
because he was always beating her, and he was fifty. I read all about
it in the papers. I think the old people are just as bad as the young."

Lady Susanna felt that her approaches were being cut off from her, and
that she must rush at once against the citadel if she meant to take it.
"Do you think that playing bagatelle is--nice?"

"Yes, I do;--very nice."

"Do you think George would like your playing with Captain De Baron?"

"Why not with Captain de Baron?" said Mary, turning round upon her
assailant with absolute ferocity.

"I don't think he would like it. And then that fortune-telling! If you
will believe me, Mary, it was very improper."

"I will not believe anything of the kind. Improper!--a joke about a lot
of picture-cards!"

"It was all about love and lovers," said Lady Susanna, not quite
knowing how to express herself, but still sure that she was right.

"Oh, what a mind you must have, Susanna, to pick wrong out of that! All
about love and lovers! So are books and songs and plays at the theatre.
I suppose you didn't understand that it was intended as a burlesque on

"And I am quite sure George wouldn't like the kind of slang you were
talking with Captain De Baron at lunch."

"If George does not like anything he had better tell me so, and not
depute you to do it for him. If he tells me to do anything I shall do
it. If you tell me I shall pay no attention to it whatever. You are
here as my guest, and not as my governess; and I think your
interference very impertinent." This was strong language,--so strong
that Lady Susanna found it impossible to continue the conversation at
that moment. Nothing, indeed, was said between them during the whole
afternoon, or at dinner, or in the evening,--till Lady Susanna had
taken up her candlestick.

There had been that most clearly declared of all war which is shown by
absolute silence. But Lady Susanna, as she was retiring to rest,
thought it might be wise to make a little effort after peace. She did
not at all mean to go back from what charges she had made. She had no
idea of owning herself to be wrong. But perhaps she could throw a
little oil upon the waters. "Of course," she said, "I should not have
spoken as I have done but for my great love for George and my regard
for you."

"As far as I am concerned, I think it a mistaken regard," said Mary.
"Of course I shall tell George; but even to him I shall say that I will
not endure any authority but his own."

"Will you hear me?"

"No, not on this subject. You have accused me of behaving
improperly--with that man."

"I do think," began Lady Susanna, not knowing how to pick her words in
this emergency, fearing to be too strong, and at the same time
conscious that weakness would be folly----; "I do think that anything
like--like--like flirting is so very bad!"

"Susanna," said Lady George, with a start as she heard the odious
words, "as far as I can help it, I will never speak to you again."
There certainly had been no oil thrown upon the waters as yet.

The next day was passed almost in absolute silence. It was the Friday,
and each of them knew that Lord George would be home on the morrow. The
interval was so short that nothing could be gained by writing to him.
Each had her own story to tell, and each must wait till he should be
there to hear it. Mary with a most distant civility went through her
work of hostess. Lady Susanna made one or two little efforts to subdue
her; but, failing, soon gave up the endeavour. In the afternoon Aunt Ju
called with her niece, but their conversation did not lessen the
breach. Then Lady Susanna went out alone in the brougham; but that had
been arranged beforehand. They ate their dinner in silence, in silence
read their books, and met in silence at the breakfast-table. At three
o'clock Lord George came home, and then Mary, running downstairs, took
him with her into the drawing-room. There was one embrace, and then she
began. "George," she said, "you must never have Susanna here again."

"Why?" said he.

"She has insulted me. She has said things so nasty that I cannot repeat
them, even to you. She has accused me to my face--of flirting. I won't
bear it from her. If you said it, it would kill me; but of course you
can say what you please. But she shall not scold me, and tell me that I
am this and that because I am not as solemn as she is, George. Do you
believe that I have ever--flirted?" She was so impetuous that he had
been quite unable to stop her. "Did you mean that she should behave to
me like that?"

"This is very bad," he said.

"What is very bad. Is it not bad that she should say such things to me
as that? Are you going to take her part against me?"

"Dearest Mary, you seem to be excited."

"Of course I am excited. Would you wish me to have such things as that
said to me, and not to be excited? You are not going to take part
against me?"

"I have not heard her yet."

"Will you believe her against me? Will she be able to make you believe
that I have--flirted? If so, then it is all over."

"What is all over?"

"Oh, George, why did you marry me, if you cannot trust me?"

"Who says that I do not trust you? I suppose the truth is you have been
a little--flighty."

"Been what? I suppose you mean the same thing. I have talked and
laughed, and been amused, if that means being flighty. She thinks it
wicked to laugh, and calls it slang if every word doesn't come out of
the grammar. You had better go and hear her, since you will say nothing
more to me."

Lord George thought so too; but he stayed for a few moments in the
dining-room, during which he stooped over his wife, who had thrown
herself into an arm-chair, and kissed her. As he did so, she merely
shook her head, but made no response to his caress. Then he slowly
strode away, and went up stairs into the drawing-room.

What took place there need not be recorded at length. Lady Susanna did
not try to be mischievous. She spoke much of Mary's youth, and
expressed a strong opinion that Captain De Baron was not a fit
companion for her. She was very urgent against the use of slang, and
said almost harder things of Mrs. Houghton than she did of Jack. She
never had meant to imply that Mary had allowed improper attentions from
the gentleman, but that Mary, being young, had not known what
attentions were proper and what improper. To Lady Susanna the whole
matter was so serious that she altogether dropped the personal quarrel.
"Of course, George," she said, "young people do not like to be told;
but it has to be done. And I must say that Mary likes it as little as
any person that I have ever known."

This multiplicity of troubles falling together on to the poor man's
back almost crushed him. He had returned to town full of that terrible
letter which he had pledged himself to write; but the letter was
already driven out of his head for the time. It was essentially
necessary that he should compose this domestic trouble, and of course
he returned to his wife. Equally of course after a little time she
prevailed. He had to tell her that he was sure that she never flirted.
He had to say that she did not talk slang. He had to protest that the
fortune-telling cards were absolutely innocent. Then she condescended
to say that she would for the present be civil to Susanna, but even
while saying that she protested that she would never again have her
sister-in-law as a guest in the house. "You don't know, George, even
yet, all that she said to me, or in what sort of way she behaved."



"Do you mean to say that you have any objection to my being acquainted
with Captain De Baron?" This question Mary asked her husband on the
Monday after his return. On that day Lady Susanna went back to
Brothershire, having somewhat hurried her return in consequence of the
uncomfortable state of things in Minister Court. They had all gone to
church together on the intermediate Sunday, and Lady Susanna had done
her best to conciliate her sister-in-law. But she was ignorant of the
world, and did not know how bitter to a young married woman is such
interference as that of which she had been guilty. She could not
understand the amount of offence which was rankling in Mary's bosom. It
had not consisted only in the words spoken, but her looks in the man's
presence had conveyed the same accusation, so that it could be seen and
understood by the man himself. Mary, with an effort, had gone on with
her play, determined that no one should suppose her to be cowed by her
grand sister-in-law; but through it all she had resolved always to look
upon Lady Susanna as an enemy. She had already abandoned her threat of
not speaking to her own guest; but nothing that Lady Susanna could say,
nothing that Lord George could say, softened her heart in the least.
The woman had told her that she was a flirt, had declared that what she
did and said was improper. The woman had come there as a spy, and the
woman should never be her friend. In these circumstances Lord George
found it impossible not to refer to the unfortunate subject again, and
in doing so caused the above question to be asked. "Do you mean to say
that you have any objection to my being acquainted with Captain De
Baron?" She looked at him with so much eagerness in her eyes as she
spoke that he knew that much at any rate of his present comfort might
depend on the answer which he made.

He certainly did object to her being acquainted with Jack De Baron. He
did not at all like Jack De Baron. In spite of what he had found
himself obliged to say, in order that she might be comforted on his
first arrival, he did not like slang, and he did not like
fortune-telling cards or bagatelle. His sympathies in these matters
were all with his sister. He did like spending his own time with Mrs.
Houghton, but it was dreadful to him to think that his wife should be
spending hers with Jack De Baron. Nevertheless he could not tell her
so. "No," he said, "I have no particular objection."

"Of course if you had, I would never see him again. But it would be
very dreadful. He would have to be told that you were--jealous."

"I am not in the least jealous," said he, angrily. "You should not use
such a word."

"Certainly I should not have used it, but for the disturbance which
your sister has caused. But after all that she has said, there must be
some understanding. I like Captain De Baron very much, as I dare say
you like other ladies. Why not?"

"I have never suspected anything."

"But Susanna did. Of course you don't like all this, George. I don't
like it. I have been so miserable that I have almost cried my eyes out.
But if people will make mischief, what is one to do? The only thing is
not to have the mischief maker any more."

The worst of this was, to him, that she was so manifestly getting the
better of him! When he had married her, not yet nine months since, she
had been a little girl, altogether in his hands, not pretending to any
self-action, and anxious to be guided in everything by him. His only
fear had been that she might be too slow in learning that
self-assertion which is necessary from a married woman to the world at
large. But now she had made very great progress in the lesson, not only
as regarded the world at large, but as regarded himself also. As for
his family,--the grandeur of his family,--she clearly had no reverence
for that. Lady Susanna, though generally held to be very awful, had
been no more to her than any other Susan. He almost wished that he had
told her that he did object to Jack De Baron. There would have been a
scene, of course; and she, not improbably, might have told her father.
That at present would have been doubly disagreeable, as it was
incumbent upon him to stand well with the Dean, just at this time.
There was this battle to be fought with his brother, and he felt that
he could not fight it without the Dean!

Having given his sanction to Jack De Baron, he went away to his club to
write his letter. This writing really amounted to no more than copying
the Dean's words, which he had carried in his pocket ever since he had
left the deanery, and the Dean's words were as follows:--

     "Munster Court, _26th April, 187--_.

     "MY DEAR BROTHERTON,--I am compelled to write to you under very
     disagreeable circumstances, and to do so on a subject which I
     would willingly avoid if a sense of duty would permit me to be

     "You will remember that you wrote to me in October last, telling
     me that you were about to be married. 'I am to be married to the
     Marchesa Luigi,' were your words. Up to that moment we had heard
     nothing of the lady or of any arrangement as to a marriage. When I
     told you of my own intended marriage a few months before that, you
     merely said in answer that you might probably soon want the house
     at Manor Cross yourself. It now seems that when you told us of
     your intended marriage you had already been married over two
     years, and that when I told you of mine you had a son over twelve
     months old,--a fact which I might certainly expect that you would
     communicate to me at such a time.

     "I beg to assure you that I am now urged to write by no suspicions
     of my own; but I know that if things are left to go on as they are
     now, suspicions will arise at a future time. I write altogether in
     the interests of your son and heir; and for his sake I beseech you
     to put at once into the hands of your own lawyer absolute evidence
     of the date of your marriage, of its legality, and of the birth of
     your son. It will also be expedient that my lawyer shall see the
     evidence in your lawyer's hands. If you were to die as matters are
     now it would be imperative on me to take steps which would seem to
     be hostile to Popenjoy's interest. I think you must yourself feel
     that this would be so. And yet nothing would be further from my
     wish. If we were both to die, the difficulty would be still
     greater, as in that case proceedings would have to be taken by
     more distant members of the family.

     "I trust you will believe me when I say that my only object is to
     have the matter satisfactorily settled.

     "Your affectionate brother,


When the Marquis received this letter he was not in the least
astonished by it. Lord George had told his sister Sarah that it was to
be written, and had even discussed with her the Dean's words. Lady
Sarah had thought that as the Dean was a sagacious man, his exact words
had better be used. And then Lady Amelia had been told, Lady Amelia
having asked various questions on the subject. Lady Amelia had of
course known that her brother would discuss the matter with the Dean,
and had begged that she might not be treated as a stranger. Everything
had not been told to Lady Amelia, nor had Lady Amelia told all that she
had heard to her mother. But the Marchioness had known enough, and had
communicated enough to her son to save him from any great astonishment
when he got his brother's letter. Of course he had known that some
steps would be taken.

He answered the letter at once.

     "MY DEAR BROTHER," he said,--"I don't think it necessary to let
     you know the reasons which induced me to keep my marriage private
     awhile. You rush at conclusions very fast in thinking that because
     a marriage is private, therefore it is illegal. I am glad that you
     have no suspicions of your own, and beg to assure you I don't care
     whether you have or not. Whenever you or anybody else may want to
     try the case, you or he or they will find that I have taken care
     that there is plenty of evidence. I didn't know that you had a
     lawyer. I only hope he won't run you into much expense in finding
     a mare's nest.

     "Yours truly,


This was not in itself satisfactory; but such as it was, it did for a
time make Lord George believe that Popenjoy was Popenjoy. It was
certainly true of him that he wished Popenjoy to be Popenjoy. No
personal longing for the title or property made him in his heart
disloyal to his brother or his family. And then the trouble and expense
and anxieties of such a contest were so terrible to his imagination,
that he rejoiced when he thought that they might be avoided. But there
was the Dean. The Dean must be satisfied as well as he, and he felt
that the Dean would not be satisfied. According to agreement he sent a
copy of his brother's letter down to the Dean, and added the assurance
of his own belief that the marriage had been a marriage, that the heir
was an heir, and that further steps would be useless. It need hardly be
said that the Dean was not satisfied. Before dinner on the following
day the Dean was in Minister Court. "Oh, papa," exclaimed Mary, "I am
so glad to see you." Could it be anything about Captain De Baron that
had brought him up? If so, of course she would tell him everything.
"What brought you up so suddenly? Why didn't you write? George is at
the club, I suppose." George was really in Berkeley Square at that
moment. "Oh, yes; he will be home to dinner. Is there anything wrong at
Manor Cross, papa?" Her father was so pleasant in his manner to her,
that she perceived at once that he had not come up in reference to
Captain De Baron. No complaint of her behaviour on that score had as
yet reached him. "Where's your portmanteau, papa?"

"I've got a bed at the hotel in Suffolk Street. I shall only be here
one night, or at the most two; and as I had to come suddenly I wouldn't
trouble you."

"Oh, papa, that's very bad of you."

This she said with that genuine tone which begets confidence. The Dean
was very anxious that his daughter should in truth be fond of his
company. In the game which he intended to play her co-operation and her
influence over her husband would be very necessary to him. She must be
a Lovelace rather than a Germain till she should blaze forth as the
presiding genius of the Germain family. That Lord George should become
tired of him and a little afraid of him he knew could not be avoided;
but to her he must, if possible, be a pleasant genius, never
accompanied in her mind by ideas of parental severity or clerical
heaviness. "I should weary you out if I came too often and came so
suddenly," he said, laughing.

"But what has brought you, papa?"

"The Marquis, my dear, who, it seems to me, will, for some time to
come, have a considerable influence on my doings."

"The Marquis!"

He had made up his mind that she should know everything. If her husband
did not tell her, he would. "Yes, the Marquis. Perhaps I ought to say
the Marchioness, only that I am unwilling to give that title to a lady
who I think very probably has no right to it."

"Is all that coming up already?"

"The longer it is postponed the greater will be the trouble to all
parties. It cannot be endured that a man in his position should tell us
that his son is legitimate when that son was born more than a year
before he had declared himself about to marry, and that he should then
refuse to furnish us with any evidence."

"Have you asked him?" Mary, as she made the suggestion, was herself
horror-stricken at the awfulness of the occasion.

"George has asked him."

"And what has the Marquis done?"

"Sent him back a jeering reply. He has a way of jeering which he thinks
will carry everything before it. When I called upon him he jeered at
me. But he'll have to learn that he cannot jeer you out of your

"I wish you would not think about my rights, papa."

"Your rights will probably be the rights of some one else."

"I know, papa; but still----"

"It has to be done, and George quite agrees with me. The letter which
he did write to his brother was arranged between us. Lady Sarah is
quite of the same accord, and Lady Susanna----"

"Oh, papa, I do so hate Susanna." This she said with all her eloquence.

"I daresay she can make herself unpleasant."

"I have told George that she shall not come here again as a guest."

"What did she do?"

"I cannot bring myself to tell you what it was that she said. I told
George, of course. She is a nasty evil-minded creature--suspecting

"I hope there has been nothing disagreeable."

"It was very disagreeable, indeed, while George was away. Of course I
did not care so much when he came back." The Dean, who had been almost
frightened, was reassured when he learned that there had been no
quarrel between the husband and wife. Soon afterwards Lord George came
in and was astonished to find that his letter had brought up the Dean
so quickly. No discussion took place till after dinner, but then the
Dean was very perspicuous, and at the same time very authoritative. It
was in vain that Lord George asked what they could do, and declared
that the evil troubles which must probably arise would all rest on his
brother's head. "But we must prevent such troubles, let them rest where
they will," said the Dean.

"I don't see what we can do."

"Nor do I, because we are not lawyers. A lawyer will tell us at once.
It will probably be our duty to send a commissioner out to Italy to
make enquiry."

"I shouldn't like to do that about my brother."

"Of course your brother should be told; or rather everything should be
told to your brother's lawyer, so that he might be advised what steps
he ought to take. We would do nothing secretly--nothing of which any
one could say that we ought to be ashamed." The Dean proposed that they
should both go to his attorney, Mr. Battle, on the following day; but
this step seemed to Lord George to be such an absolute declaration of
war that he begged for another day's delay; and it was at last arranged
that he himself should on that intervening day call on Mr. Stokes, the
Germain family lawyer. The Marquis, with one of his jeers, had told his
brother that, being a younger brother, he was not entitled to have a
lawyer. But in truth Lord George had had very much more to do with Mr.
Stokes than the Marquis. All the concerns of the family had been
managed by Mr. Stokes. The Marquis probably meant to insinuate that the
family bill, which was made out perhaps once every three years, was
charged against his account. Lord George did call on Mr. Stokes, and
found Mr. Stokes very little disposed to give him any opinion. Mr.
Stokes was an honest man who disliked trouble of this kind. He freely
admitted that there was ground for enquiry, but did not think that he
himself was the man who ought to make it. He would certainly
communicate with the Marquis, should Lord George think it expedient to
employ any other lawyer, and should that lawyer apply to him. In the
meantime he thought that immediate enquiry would be a little
precipitate. The Marquis might probably himself take steps to put the
matter on a proper footing. He was civil, gracious, almost subservient;
but he had no comfort to give and no advice to offer, and, like all
attorneys, he was in favour of delay. "Of course, Lord George, you must
remember that I am your brother's lawyer, and may in this matter be
called upon to act as his confidential adviser." All this Lord George
repeated that evening to the Dean, and the Dean merely said that it had
been a matter of course.

Early on the next morning the Dean and Lord George went together to Mr.
Battle's chambers. Lord George felt that he was being driven by his
father-in-law; but he felt also that he could not help himself. Mr.
Battle, who had chambers in Lincoln's Inn, was a very different man
from Mr. Stokes, who carried on his business in a private house at the
West End, who prepared wills and marriage settlements for gentlefolk,
and who had, in fact, very little to do with law. Mr. Battle was an
enterprising man with whom the Dean's first acquaintance had arisen
through the Tallowaxes and the stable interests,--a very clever man,
and perhaps a little sharp. But an attorney ought to be sharp, and it
is not to be understood that Mr. Battle descended to sharp practice.
But he was a solicitor with whom the old-fashioned Mr. Stokes's would
not find themselves in accord. He was a handsome burly man, nearly
sixty years of age, with grey hair and clean shorn face, with bright
green eyes, and a well-formed nose and mouth,--a prepossessing man,
till something restless about the eyes would at last catch the
attention and a little change the judgment.

The Dean told him the whole story, and during the telling he sat
looking very pleasant, with a smile on his face, rubbing his two hands
together. All the points were made. The letter of the Marquis, in which
he told his brother that he was to be married, was shown to him. The
concealment of the birth of the boy till the father had made up his
mind to come home was urged. The absurdity of his behaviour since he
had been at home was described. The singularity of his conduct in
allowing none of his family to become acquainted with his wife was
pointed out. This was done by the Dean rather than by Lord George, and
Lord George, as he heard it all, almost regarded the Dean as his enemy.
At last he burst out in his own defence. "Of course you will
understand, Mr. Battle, that our only object is to have the thing
proved, so that hereafter there may be no trouble."

"Just so, my Lord."

"We do not want to oppose my brother, or to injure his child."

"We want to get at the truth," said the Dean.

"Just so."

"Where there is concealment there must be suspicion," urged the Dean.

"No doubt."

"But everything must be done quite openly," said Lord George. "I would
not have a step taken without the knowledge of Mr. Stokes. If Mr.
Stokes would do it himself on my brother's behalf it would be so much
the better."

"That is hardly probable," said the Dean.

"Not at all probable," said Mr. Battle.

"I couldn't be a party to an adverse suit," said Lord George.

"There is no ground for any suit at all," said the lawyer. "We cannot
bring an action against the Marquis because he chooses to call the lady
he lives with a Marchioness, or because he calls an infant Lord
Popenjoy. Your brother's conduct may be ill-judged. From what you tell
me, I think it is. But it is not criminal."

"Then nothing need be done," said Lord George.

"A great deal may be done. Enquiry may be made now which might
hereafter be impossible." Then he begged that he might have a week to
consider the matter, and requested that the two gentlemen would call
upon him again.



A day or two after the meeting at Mr. Battle's office there came to
Lord George a letter from that gentleman suggesting that, as the Dean
had undertaken to come up to London again, and as he, Mr. Battle, might
not be ready with his advice at the end of a week, that day fortnight
might be fixed. To Lord George this delay was agreeable rather than
otherwise, as he was not specially anxious for the return of his
father-in-law, nor was he longing for action in this question as to his
brother's heir. But the Dean, when the lawyer's letter reached him, was
certain that Mr. Battle did not mean to lose the time simply in
thinking over the matter. Some preliminary enquiry would now be made,
even though no positive instructions had been given. He did not at all
regret this, but was sure that Lord George would be very angry if he
knew it. He wrote back to say that he would be in Munster Court on the
evening before the day appointed.

It was now May, and London was bright with all the exotic gaiety of the
season. The park was crowded with riders at one, and was almost
impassable at six. Dress was outvying dress, and equipage equipage. Men
and women, but principally women, seemed to be intent on finding out
new ways of scattering money. Tradesmen no doubt knew much of
defaulters, and heads of families might find themselves pressed for
means; but to the outside west-end eye looking at the outside west-end
world it seemed as though wealth was unlimited and money a drug. To
those who had known the thing for years, to young ladies who were now
entering on their seventh or eighth campaign, there was a feeling of
business about it all which, though it buoyed them up by its
excitement, robbed amusement of most of its pleasure. A ball cannot be
very agreeable in which you may not dance with the man you like and are
not asked by the man you want; at which you are forced to make a note
that that full-blown hope is futile, and that this little bud will
surely never come to flower. And then the toil of smiles, the pretence
at flirtation, the long-continued assumption of fictitious character,
the making of oneself bright to the bright, solemn to the solemn, and
romantic to the romantic, is work too hard for enjoyment. But our
heroine had no such work to do. She was very much admired and could
thoroughly enjoy the admiration. She had no task to perform. She was
not carrying out her profession by midnight labours. Who shall say
whether now and again a soft impalpable regret,--a regret not
recognised as such,--may not have stolen across her mind, telling her
that if she had seen all this before she was married instead of
afterwards, she might have found a brighter lot for herself? If it were
so, the only enduring effect of such a feeling was a renewal of that
oft-made resolution that she would be in love with her husband. The
ladies whom she knew had generally their carriages and riding horses.
She had only a brougham, and had that kept for her by the generosity of
her father. The Dean, when coming to town, had brought with him the
horse which she used to ride, and wished that it should remain. But
Lord George, with a husband's solicitude, and perhaps with something of
a poor man's proper dislike to expensive habits, had refused his
permission. She soon, too, learned to know the true sheen of diamonds,
the luxury of pearls, and the richness of rubies; whereas she herself
wore only the little ornaments which had come from the deanery. And as
she danced in spacious rooms and dined in noble halls, and was fêted on
grand staircases, she remembered what a little place was the little
house in Munster Court, and that she was to stay there only for a few
weeks more before she was taken to the heavy dulness of Cross Hall. But
still she always came back to that old resolution. She was so
flattered, so courted, so petted and made much of, that she could not
but feel that had all this world been opened to her sooner her destiny
would probably have been different;--but then it might have been
different, and very much less happy. She still told herself that she
was sure that Lord George was all that he ought to be.

Two or three things did tease her certainly. She was very fond of
balls, but she soon found that Lord George disliked them as much, and
when present was always anxious to get home. She was a married woman,
and it was open to her to go alone; but that she did not like, nor
would he allow it. Sometimes she joined herself to other parties. Mrs.
Houghton was always ready to be her companion, and old Mrs. Montacute
Jones, who went everywhere, had taken a great liking to her. But there
were two antagonistic forces, her husband and herself, and of course
she had to yield to the stronger force. The thing might be managed
occasionally,--and the occasion was no doubt much the pleasanter
because it had to be so managed,--but there was always the feeling that
these bright glimpses of Paradise, these entrances into Elysium, were
not free to her as to other ladies. And then one day, or rather one
night, there came a great sorrow,--a sorrow which robbed these
terrestrial Paradises of half their brightness and more than half their
joy. One evening he told her that he did not like her to waltz. "Why?"
she innocently asked. They were in the brougham, going home, and she
had been supremely happy at Mrs. Montacute Jones's house. Lord George
said that he could hardly explain the reason. He made rather a long
speech, in which he asked her whether she was not aware that many
married women did not waltz. "No," said she. "That is, of course, when
they get old they don't." "I am sure," said he, "that when I say I do
not like it, that will be enough." "Quite enough," she answered, "to
prevent my doing it, though not enough to satisfy me why it should not
be done." He said no more to her on the occasion, and so the matter was
considered to be settled. Then she remembered that her very last waltz
had been with Jack De Baron. Could it be that he was jealous? She was
well aware that she took great delight in waltzing with Captain De
Baron because he waltzed so well. But now that pleasure was over, and
for ever! Was it that her husband disliked waltzing, or that he
disliked Jack De Baron?

A few days after this Lady George was surprised by a visit from the
Baroness Banmann, the lady whom she had been taken to hear at the
Disabilities. Since that memorable evening she had seen Aunt Ju more
than once, and had asked how the cause of the female architects was
progressing; but she had never again met the Baroness. Aunt Ju had
apparently been disturbed by these questions. She had made no further
effort to make Lady George a proselyte by renewed attendances at the
Rights of Women Institute, and had seemed almost anxious to avoid the
subject. As Lady George's acquaintance with the Baroness had been owing
altogether to Aunt Ju she was now surprised that the German lady should
call upon her.

The German lady began a story with great impetuosity,--with so much
impetuosity that poor Mary could not understand half that was said to
her. But she did learn that the Baroness had in her own estimation been
very ill-treated, and that the ill-treatment had come mainly from the
hands of Aunt Ju and Lady Selina Protest. And it appeared at length
that the Baroness claimed to have been brought over from Bavaria with a
promise that she should have the exclusive privilege of using the hall
of the Disabilities on certain evenings, but that this privilege was
now denied to her. The Disabilities seemed to prefer her younger rival,
Miss Doctor Olivia Q. Fleabody, whom Mary now learned to be a person of
no good repute whatever, and by no means fit to address the masses of
Marylebone. But what did the Baroness want of her? What with the female
lecturer's lack of English pronunciation, what with her impetuosity,
and with Mary's own innocence on the matter, it was some time before
the younger lady did understand what the elder lady required. At last
eight tickets were brought out of her pocket, on looking at which Mary
began to understand that the Baroness had established a rival
Disabilities, very near the other, in Lisson Grove; and then at last,
but very gradually, she further understood that these were front-row
tickets, and were supposed to be worth 2_s._ 6_d._ each. But it was not
till after that, till further explanation had been made which must, she
feared, have been very painful to the Baroness, that she began to
perceive that she was expected to pay for the eight tickets on the
moment. She had a sovereign in her pocket, and was quite willing to
sacrifice it; but she hardly knew how to hand the coin bodily to a
Baroness. When she did do so, the Baroness very well knew how to put it
into her pocket. "You vill like to keep the entire eight?" asked the
Baroness. Mary thought that four might perhaps suffice for her own
wants;--whereupon the Baroness re-pocketed four, but of course did not
return the change.

But even then the Baroness had not completed her task. Aunt Ju had
evidently been false and treacherous, but might still be won back to
loyal honesty. So much Mary gradually perceived to be the drift of the
lady's mind. Lady Selina was hopeless. Lady Selina, whom the Baroness
intended to drag before all the judges in England, would do nothing
fair or honest; but Aunt Ju might yet be won. Would Lady George go with
the Baroness to Aunt Ju? The servant had unfortunately just announced
the brougham as being at the door. "Ah," said the Baroness, "it vould
be ten minutes, and vould be my salvation." Lady George did not at all
want to go to the house in Green Street. She had no great desire to
push her acquaintance with Aunt Ju, she particularly disliked the
younger Miss Mildmay, and she felt that she had no business to
interfere in this matter. But there is nothing which requires so much
experience to attain as the power of refusing. Almost before she had
made up her mind whether she would refuse or not the Baroness was in
the brougham with her, and the coachman had been desired to take them
to Green Street. Throughout the whole distance the Baroness was voluble
and unintelligible; but Lady George could hear the names of Selina
Protest and Olivia Q. Fleabody through the thunder of the lady's loud

Yes, Miss Mildmay was at home. Lady George gave her name to the
servant, and also especially requested that the Baroness Banmann might
be first announced. She had thought it over in the brougham, and had
determined that if possible it should appear that the Baroness had
brought her. Twice she repeated the name to the servant. When they
reached the drawing-room only the younger Miss Mildmay was present. She
sent the servant to her aunt, and received her two visitors very
demurely. With the Baroness, of whom probably she had heard quite
enough, she had no sympathies; and with Lady George she had her own
special ground of quarrel. Five or six very long minutes passed during
which little or nothing was said. The Baroness did not wish to expend
her eloquence on an unprofitable young lady, and Lady George could find
no subject for small talk. At last the door was opened and the servant
invited the Baroness to go downstairs. The Baroness had perhaps been
unfortunate, for at this very time Lady Selina Protest was down in the
dining-room discussing the affairs of the Institute with Aunt Ju. There
was a little difficulty in making the lady understand what was required
of her, but after a while she did follow the servant down to the

Lady George, as soon as the door was closed, felt that the blood
rushed to her face. She was conscious at the moment that Captain De
Baron had been this girl's lover, and that there were some who said
that it was because of her that he had deserted the girl. The girl had
already said words to her on the subject which had been very hard to
bear. She had constantly told herself that in this matter she was quite
innocent,--that her friendship with Jack was simple, pure friendship,
that she liked him because he laughed and talked and treated the world
lightly; that she rarely saw him except in the presence of his cousin,
and that everything was as it ought to be. And yet, when she found
herself alone with this Miss Mildmay, she was suffused with blushes and
uneasy. She felt that she ought to make some excuse for her visit. "I
hope," she said, "that your aunt will understand that I brought the
lady here only because she insisted on being brought." Miss Mildmay
bowed. "She came to me, and I really couldn't quite understand what she
had to say. But the brougham was there, and she would get into it. I am
afraid there has been some quarrel."

"I don't think that matters at all," said Miss Mildmay.

"Only your aunt might think it so impertinent of me! She took me to
that Institute once, you know."

"I don't know anything about the Institute. As for the German woman,
she is an impostor; but it doesn't matter. There are three of them
there now, and they can have it out together." Lady George didn't
understand whether her companion meant to blame her for coming, but was
quite sure, from the tone of the girl's voice and the look of her eyes,
that she meant to be uncivil. "I am surprised," continued Miss Mildmay,
"that you should come to this house at all."

"I hope your aunt will not think----"

"Never mind my aunt. The house is more my house than my aunt's. After
what you have done to me----"

"What have I done to you?" She could not help asking the question, and
yet she well knew the nature of the accusation. And she could not stop
the rushing of the tell-tale blood.

Augusta Mildmay was blushing too, but the blush on her face consisted
in two red spots beneath the eyes. The determination to say what she
was going to say had come upon her suddenly. She had not thought that
she was about to meet her rival. She had planned nothing; but now she
was determined. "What have you done?" she said. "You know very well
what you have done. Do you mean to tell me that you had never heard of
anything between me and Captain De Baron? Will you dare to tell me
that? Why don't you answer me, Lady George Germain?"

This was a question which she did not wish to answer, and one that did
not at all appertain to herself--which did not require any answer for
the clearing of herself; but yet it was now asked in such a manner
that she could not save herself from answering it. "I think I did hear
that you and he--knew each other."

"Knew each other! Don't be so mealy-mouthed. I don't mean to be
mealy-mouthed, I can tell you. You knew all about it. Adelaide had told
you. You knew that we were engaged."

"No," exclaimed Lady George; "she never told me that."

"She did. I know she did. She confessed to me that she had told you

"But what if she had?"

"Of course he is nothing to you," said the young lady with a sneer.

"Nothing at all;--nothing on earth. How dare you ask such a question?
If Captain De Baron is engaged, I can't make him keep his engagements."

"You can make him break them."

"That is not true. I can make him do nothing of the kind. You have no
right to talk to me in this way, Miss Mildmay."

"Then I shall do it without a right. You have come between me and all
my happiness."

"You cannot know that I am a married woman," said Lady George, speaking
half in innocence and half in anger, almost out of breath with
confusion, "or you wouldn't speak like that."

"Psha!" exclaimed Miss Mildmay. "It is nothing to me whether you are
married or single. I care nothing though you have twenty lovers if you
do not interfere with me."

"It is a falsehood," said Lady George, who was now standing. "I have no
lover. It is a wicked falsehood."

"I care nothing for wickedness or falseness either. Will you promise me
if I hold my tongue that you will have nothing further to say to
Captain De Baron?"

"No; I will promise nothing. I should be ashamed of myself to make such
a promise."

"Then I shall go to Lord George. I do not want to make mischief, but I
am not going to be treated in this way. How would you like it? When I
tell you that the man is engaged to me why cannot you leave him alone?"

"I do leave him alone," said Mary, stamping her foot.

"You do everything you can to cheat me of him. I shall tell Lord

"You may tell whom you like," said Mary, rushing to the bell-handle and
pulling it with all her might. "You have insulted me, and I will never
speak to you again." Then she burst out crying, and hurried to the
door. "Will you--get me--my--carriage?" she said to the man through her
sobs. As she descended the stairs she remembered that she had brought
the German baroness with her, and that the German baroness would
probably expect to be taken away again. But when she reached the hall
the door of the dining-room burst open, and the German baroness
appeared. It was evident that two scenes had been going on in the same
house at the same moment. Through the door the Baroness came first,
waving her hands above her head. Behind her was Aunt Ju, advancing with
imploring gesture. And behind Aunt Ju might be seen Lady Selina Protest
standing in mute dignity. "It is all a got up cheating and a fraud,"
said the Baroness: "and I vill have justice,--English justice." The
servant was standing with the front door open, and the Baroness went
straight into Lady George's brougham, as though it had been her own.
"Oh, Lady George," said Aunt Ju, "what are you to do with her?" But
Lady George was so taken up with her own trouble that she could hardly
think of the other matter. She had to say something. "Perhaps I had
better go with her. Good-bye." And then she followed the Baroness. "I
did not tink dere was such robbery with ladies," said the Baroness. But
the footman was asking for directions for the coachman. Whither was he
to go? "I do not care," said the Baroness. Lady George asked her in a
whisper whether she would be taken home. "Anywhere," said the Baroness.
In the meantime the footman was still standing, and Aunt Ju could be
seen in the hall through the open door of the house. During the whole
time our poor Mary's heart was crushed by the accusations which had
been made against her upstairs. "Home," said Mary in despair. To have
the Baroness in Munster Court would be dreadful; but anything was
better than standing in Green Street with the servant at the carriage

Then the Baroness began her story. Lady Selina Protest had utterly
refused to do her justice, and Aunt Ju was weak enough to be domineered
by Lady Selina. That, as far as Mary understood anything about it, was
the gist of the story. But she did not try to understand anything about
it. During the drive her mind was intent on forming some plan by which
she might be able to get rid of her companion without asking her into
her house. She had paid her sovereign, and surely the Baroness had no
right to demand more of her. When she reached Munster Court her plan
was in some sort framed. "And now, madam," she said, "where shall I
tell my servant to take you?" The Baroness looked very suppliant. "If
you vas not busy I should so like just one half-hour of conversation."
Mary nearly yielded. For a moment she hesitated as though she were
going to put up her hand and help the lady out. But then the memory of
her own unhappiness steeled her heart, and the feeling grew strong
within her that this nasty woman was imposing on her,--and she refused.
"I am afraid, madam," she said, "that my time is altogether occupied."
"Then let him take me to 10, Alexandrina Row, Maida Vale," said the
Baroness, throwing herself sulkily back into the carriage. Lady George
gave the direction to the astounded coachman,--for Maida Vale was a
long way off,--and succeeded in reaching her own drawing-room alone.

What was she to do? The only course in which there seemed to be safety
was in telling all to her husband. If she did not, it would probably be
told by the cruel lips of that odious woman. But yet, how was she to
tell it? It was not as though everything in this matter was quite
pleasant between her and him. Lady Susanna had accused her of flirting
with the man, and that she had told to him. And in her heart of hearts
she believed that the waltzing had been stopped because she had waltzed
with Jack De Baron. Nothing could be more unjust, nothing more cruel;
but still there were the facts. And then the sympathy between her and
her husband was so imperfect. She was ever trying to be in love with
him, but had never yet succeeded in telling even herself that she had



About noon on the day after the occurrences related in the last chapter
Lady George owned to herself that she was a most unfortunate young
woman. Her husband had gone out, and she had not as yet told him
anything of what that odious Augusta Mildmay had said to her. She had
made various little attempts but had not known how to go on with them.
She had begun by giving him her history of the Baroness, and he had
scolded her for giving the woman a sovereign and for taking the woman
about London in her carriage. It is very difficult to ask in a fitting
way for the sympathies and co-operation of one who is scolding you. And
Mary in this matter wanted almost more than sympathy and co-operation.
Nothing short of the fullest manifestation of affectionate confidence
would suffice to comfort her; and, desiring this, she had been afraid
to mention Captain De Baron's name. She thought of the waltzing,
thought of Susanna, and was cowardly. So the time slipped away from
her, and when he left her on the following morning her story had not
been told. He was no sooner gone than she felt that if it were to be
told at all it should have been told at once.

Was it possible that that venomous girl should really go to her husband
with such a complaint? She knew well enough, or at any rate thought
that she knew, that there had never been an engagement between the girl
and Jack De Baron. She had heard it all over and over again from
Adelaide Houghton, and had even herself been present at some joke on
the subject between Adelaide and Jack. There was an idea that Jack was
being pursued, and Mrs. Houghton had not scrupled to speak of it before
him. Mary had not admired her friend's taste, and had on such
occasions thought well of Jack because he had simply disowned any
consciousness of such a state of things. But all this had made Mary
sure that there was not and that there never had been any engagement;
and yet the wretched woman, in her futile and frantic endeavours to
force the man to marry her, was not ashamed to make so gross an attack
as this!

If it hadn't been for Lady Susanna and those wretched fortune-telling
cards, and that one last waltz, there would be nothing in it; but as it
was, there might be so much! She had begun to fear that her husband's
mind was suspicious,--that he was prone to believe that things were
going badly. Before her marriage, when she had in truth known him not
at all, her father had given her some counsels in his light airy way,
which, however, had sunk deep into her mind and which she had
endeavoured to follow to the letter. He had said not a word to her as
to her conduct to other men. It would not be natural that a father
should do so. But he had told her how to behave to her husband. Men, he
had assured her, were to be won by such comforts as he described. A
wife should provide that a man's dinner was such as he liked to eat,
his bed such as he liked to lie on, his clothes arranged as he liked to
wear them, and the household hours fixed to suit his convenience. She
should learn and indulge his habits, should suit herself to him in
external things of life, and could thus win from him a liking and a
reverence which would wear better than the feeling generally called
love, and would at last give the woman her proper influence. The Dean
had meant to teach his child how she was to rule her husband, but of
course had been too wise to speak of dominion. Mary, declaring to
herself that the feeling generally called love should exist as well as
the liking and the reverence, had laboured hard to win it all from her
husband in accordance with her father's teaching; but it had seemed to
her that her labour was wasted. Lord George did not in the least care
what he ate. He evidently had no opinion at all about the bed; and as
to his clothes, seemed to receive no accession of comfort by having one
wife and her maid, instead of three sisters and their maid and old Mrs.
Toff to look after them. He had no habits which she could indulge. She
had looked about for the weak point in his armour, but had not found
it. It seemed to her that she had no influence over him whatever. She
was of course aware that they lived upon her fortune; but she was aware
also that he knew that it was so, and that the consciousness made him
unhappy. She could not, therefore, even endeavour to minister to his
comfort by surrounding him with pretty things. All expenditure was
grievous to him. The only matter in which she had failed to give way to
any expressed wish had been in that important matter of their town
residence; and, as to that, she had in fact had no power of yielding.
It had been of such moment as to have been settled for her by previous
contract. But, she had often thought, whether in her endeavour to force
herself to be in love with him, she would not persistently demand that
Munster Court should be abandoned, and that all the pleasures of her
own life should be sacrificed.

Now, for a day or two, she heartily wished that she had done so. She
liked her house; she liked her brougham; she liked the gaieties of her
life; and in a certain way she liked Jack De Baron; but they were all
to her as nothing when compared to her duty and her sense of the
obligations which she owed to her husband. Playful and childish as she
was, all this was very serious to her;--perhaps the more serious
because she was playful and childish. She had not experience enough to
know how small some things are, and how few are the evils which cannot
be surmounted. It seemed to her that if Miss Mildmay were at this
moment to bring the horrid charge against her, it might too probably
lead to the crash of ruin and the horrors of despair. And yet, through
it all, she had a proud feeling of her own innocence and a
consciousness that she would speak out very loudly should her husband
hint to her that he believed the accusation.

Her father would now be in London in a day or two, and on this occasion
would again be staying in Munster Court. At last she made up her mind
that she would tell everything to him. It was not, perhaps, the wisest
resolution to which she could have come. A married woman should not
usually teach herself to lean on her parents instead of her husband,
and certainly not on her father. It is in this way that divided
households are made. But she had no other real friend of whom she could
ask a question. She liked Mrs. Houghton, but, as to such a matter as
this, distrusted her altogether. She liked Miss Houghton, her friend's
aunt, but did not know her well enough for such service as this. She
had neither brother nor sister of her own, and her husband's brothers
and sisters were certainly out of the question. Old Mrs. Montacute
Jones had taken a great fancy to her, and she almost thought that she
could have asked Mrs. Jones for advice; but she had no connection with
Mrs. Jones, and did not dare to do it. Therefore she resolved to tell
everything to her father.

On the evening before her father came to town there was another ball at
Mrs. Montacute Jones's. This old lady, who had no one belonging to her
but an invisible old husband, was the gayest of the gay among the gay
people of London. On this occasion Mary was to have gone with Lady
Brabazon, who was related to the Germains, and Lord George had arranged
an escape for himself. They were to drive out together, and when she
went to her ball he would go to bed. But in the course of the afternoon
she told him that she was writing to Lady Brabazon to decline. "Why
won't you go?" said he.

"I don't care about it."

"If you mean that you won't go without me, of course I will go."

"It isn't that exactly. Of course it is nicer if you go; though I
wouldn't take you if you don't like it. But----"

"But what, dear?"

"I think I'd rather not to-night. I don't know that I am quite strong
enough." Then he didn't say another word to press her,--only begging
that she would not go to the dinner either if she were not well. But
she was quite well, and she did go to the dinner.

Again she had meant to tell him why she would not go to Mrs. Jones's
ball, but had been unable. Jack De Baron would be there, and would want
to know why she would not waltz. And Adelaide Houghton would tease her
about it, very likely before him. She had always waltzed with him, and
could not now refuse without some reason. So she gave up her ball,
sending word to say that she was not very well. "I shouldn't at all
wonder if he has kept her at home because he's afraid of you," said
Mrs. Houghton to her cousin.

Late in the following afternoon, before her husband had come home from
his club, she told her father the whole story of her interview with
Miss Mildmay. "What a tiger," he said, when he had heard it. "I have
heard of women like that before, but I have never believed in them."

"You don't think she will tell him?"

"What matter if she does? What astonishes me most is that a woman
should be so unwomanly as to fight for a man in such a way as that. It
is the sort of thing that men used to do. 'You must give up your claim
to that lady, or else you must fight me.' Now she comes forward and
says that she will fight you."

"But, papa, I have no claim."

"Nor probably has she?"

"No; I'm sure she has not. But what does that matter? The horrid thing
is that she should say all this to me. I told her that she couldn't
know that I was married."

"She merely wanted to make herself disagreeable. If one comes across
disagreeable people one has to bear with it. I suppose she was jealous.
She had seen you dancing or perhaps talking with the man."

"Oh, yes."

"And in her anger she wanted to fly at some one."

"It is not her I care about, papa."

"What then?"

"If she were to tell George."

"What if she did? You do not mean to say that he would believe her? You
do not think that he is jealous?"

She began to perceive that she could not get any available counsel from
her father unless she could tell him everything. She must explain to
him what evil Lady Susanna had already done; how her sister-in-law had
acted as duenna, and had dared to express a suspicion about this very
man. And she must tell him that Lord George had desired her not to
waltz, and had done so, as she believed, because he had seen her
waltzing with Jack De Baron. But all this seemed to her to be
impossible. There was nothing which she would not be glad that he
knew, if only he could be made to know it all truly. But she did not
think that she could tell him what had really happened; and were she to
do so, there would be horrid doubts on his mind. "You do not mean to
say that he is given to that sort of thing?" asked the Dean, again with
a look of anger.

"Oh no,--at least I hope not. Susanna did try to make mischief."

"The d---- she did," said the Dean. Mary almost jumped in her chair,
she was so much startled by such a word from her father's mouth. "If
he's fool enough to listen to that old cat, he'll make himself a
miserable and a contemptible man. Did she say anything to him about
this very man?"

"She said something very unpleasant to me, and of course I told


"He was all that was kind. He declared that he had no objection to make
to Captain De Baron at all. I am sure there was no reason why he

"Tush!" exclaimed the Dean, as though any assurance or even any notice
of the matter in that direction were quite unnecessary. "And there was
an end of that?"

"I think he is a little inclined to be--to be----"

"To be what? You had better tell it all out, Mary."

"Perhaps what you would call strict. He told me not to waltz any more
the other day."

"He's a fool," said the Dean angrily.

"Oh no, papa; don't say that. Of course he has a right to think as he
likes, and of course I am bound to do as he says."

"He has no experience, no knowledge of the world. Perhaps one of the
last things which a man learns is to understand innocence when he sees
it." The word innocence was so pleasant to her that she put out her
hand and touched his knee. "Take no notice of what that angry woman
said to you. Above all, do not drop your acquaintance with this
gentleman. You should be too proud to be influenced in any way by such

"But if she were to speak to George?"

"She will hardly dare. But if she does, that is no affair of yours. You
can have nothing to do with it till he shall speak to you."

"You would not tell him?"

"No; I should not even think about it. She is below your notice. If it
should be the case that she dares to speak to him, and that he should
be weak enough to be moved by what such a creature can say to him, you
will, I am sure, have dignity enough to hold your own with him. Tell
him that you think too much of his honour as well of your own to make
it necessary for him to trouble himself. But he will know that himself,
and if he does speak to you, he will speak only in pity for her." All
this he said slowly and seriously, looking as she had sometimes seen
him look when preaching in the cathedral. And she believed him now as
she always believed him then, and was in a great measure comforted.

But she could not but be surprised that her father should so absolutely
refuse to entertain the idea that any intimacy between herself and
Captain De Baron should be injurious. It gratified her that it should
be so, but nevertheless she was surprised. She had endeavoured to
examine the question by her own lights, but had failed in answering it.
She knew well enough that she liked the man. She had discovered in him
the realization of those early dreams. His society was in every respect
pleasant to her. He was full of playfulness, and yet always gentle. He
was not very clever, but clever enough. She had made the mistake in
life,--or rather others had made it for her,--of taking herself too
soon from her playthings and devoting herself to the stern reality of a
husband. She understood something of this, and liked to think that she
might amuse herself innocently with such a one as Jack De Baron. She
was sure that she did not love him,--that there was no danger of her
loving him; and she was quite confident also that he did not love her.
But yet,--yet there had been a doubt on her mind. Innocent as it all
was, there might be cause of offence to her husband. It was this
thought that had made her sometimes long to be taken away from London
and be immured amidst the dulness of Cross Hall. But of such dangers
and of such fears her father saw nothing. Her father simply bade her to
maintain her own dignity and have her own way. Perhaps her father was

On the next day the Dean and his son-in-law went, according to
appointment, to Mr. Battle. Mr. Battle received them with his usual
bland courtesy, and listened attentively to whatever the two gentlemen
had to say. Lawyers who know their business always allow their clients
to run out their stories even when knowing that the words so spoken are
wasted words. It is the quickest way of arriving at their desired
result. Lord George had a good deal to say, because his mind was full
of the conviction that he would not for worlds put an obstacle in the
way of his brother's heir, if he could be made sure that the child was
the heir. He wished for such certainty, and cursed the heavy chance
that had laid so grievous a duty on his shoulders.

When he had done, Mr. Battle began. "I think, Lord George, that I have
learned most of the particulars."

Lord George started back in his chair. "What particulars?" said the

"The Marchioness's late husband,--for she doubtless is his Lordship's
wife,--was a lunatic."

"A lunatic!" said Lord George.

"We do not quite know when he died, but we believe it was about a month
or two before the date at which his Lordship wrote home to say that he
was about to be married."

"Then that child cannot be Lord Popenjoy," said the Dean with

"That's going a little too fast, Mr. Dean. There may have been a

"There is no such thing in Roman Catholic countries," said the Dean.
"Certainly not in Italy."

"I do not quite know," said the lawyer. "Of course we are as yet very
much in the dark. I should not wonder if we found that there had been
two marriages. All this is what we have got to find out. The lady
certainly lived in great intimacy with your brother before her first
husband died."

"How do you know anything about it?" asked Lord George.

"I happened to have heard the name of the Marchese Luigi, and I knew
where to apply for information."

"We did not mean that any inquiry should be made so suddenly," said
Lord George angrily.

"It was for the best," said the Dean.

"Certainly for the best," said the unruffled lawyer. "I would now
recommend that I may be commissioned to send out my own confidential
clerk to learn all the circumstances of the case; and that I should
inform Mr. Stokes that I am going to do so, on your instructions, Lord
George." Lord George shivered. "I think we should even offer to give
his Lordship time to send an agent with my clerk if he pleases to do
so, or to send one separately at the same time, or to take any other
step that he may please. It is clearly your duty, my Lord, to have the
inquiry made."

"Your manifest duty," said the Dean, unable to restrain his triumph.

Lord George pleaded for delay, and before he left the lawyer's chambers
almost quarrelled with his father-in-law; but before he did leave them
he had given the necessary instructions.



Lord George, when he got out of the lawyer's office with his
father-in-law, expressed himself as being very angry at what had been
done. While discussing the matter within, in the presence of Mr.
Battle, he had been unable to withstand the united energies of the Dean
and the lawyer, but, nevertheless, even while he had yielded, he had
felt that he was being driven.

"I don't think he was at all justified in making any inquiry," he said,
as soon as he found himself in the Square.

"My dear George," replied the Dean, "the quicker this can be done the

"An agent should only act in accordance with his instructions."

"Without disputing that, my dear fellow, I cannot but say that I am
glad to have learned so much."

"And I am very sorry."

"We both mean the same thing, George."

"I don't think we do," said Lord George, who was determined to be

"You are sorry that it should be so,--and so am I." The triumph which
had sat in the Dean's eye when he heard the news in the lawyer's
chambers almost belied this latter assertion. "But I certainly am glad
to be on the track as soon as possible, if there is a track which it is
our duty to follow."

"I didn't like that man at all," said Lord George.

"I neither like him nor dislike him; but I believe him to be honest,
and I know him to be clever. He will find out the truth for us."

"And when it turns out that Brotherton was legally married to the
woman, what will the world think of me then?"

"The world will think that you have done your duty. There can be no
question about it, George. Whether it be agreeable or disagreeable, it
must be done. Could you have brought yourself to have thrown the burden
of doing this upon your own child, perhaps some five-and-twenty years
hence, when it may be done so much easier now by yourself."

"I have no child," said Lord George.

"But you will have." The Dean, as he said this, could not keep himself
from looking too closely into his son-in-law's face. He was most
anxious for the birth of that grandson who was to be made a Marquis by
his own energies.

"God knows. Who can say?"

"At any rate there is that child at Manor Cross. If he be not the
legitimate heir, is it not better for him that the matter should be
settled now than when he may have lived twenty years in expectation of
the title and property?" The Dean said much more than this, urging the
propriety of what had been done, but he did not succeed in quieting
Lord George's mind.

That same day the Dean told the whole story to his daughter, perhaps in
his eagerness adding something to what he had heard from the lawyer.
"Divorces in Roman Catholic countries," he said, "are quite impossible.
I believe they are never granted, except for State purposes. There may
be some new civil law, but I don't think it; and then, if the man was
an acknowledged lunatic, it must have been impossible."

"But how could the Marquis be so foolish, papa?"

"Ah, that is what we do not understand. But it will come out. You may
be sure it will all come out. Why did he come home to England and bring
them with him? And why just at this time? Why did he not communicate
his first marriage; and if not that, why the second? He probably did
not intend at first to put his child forward as Lord Popenjoy, but has
become subsequently bold. The woman, perhaps, has gradually learned the
facts and insisted on making the claim for her child. She may gradually
have become stronger than he. He may have thought that by coming here
and declaring the boy to be his heir, he would put down suspicion by
the very boldness of his assertion. Who can say? But these are the
facts, and they are sufficient to justify us in demanding that
everything shall be brought to light." Then for the first time, he
asked her what immediate hope there was that Lord George might have an
heir. She tried to laugh, then blushed; then wept a tear or two, and
muttered something which he failed to hear. "There is time enough for
all that, Mary," he said, with his pleasantest smile, and then left

Lord George did not return home till late in the afternoon. He went
first to Mrs. Houghton's house, and told her nearly everything. But he
told it in such a way as to make her understand that his strongest
feeling at the present moment was one of anger against the Dean.

"Of course, George," she said, for she always called him George
now,--"The Dean will try to have it all his own way."

"I am almost sorry that I ever mentioned my brother's name to him."

"She, I suppose, is ambitious," said Mrs. Houghton. 'She,' was intended
to signify Mary.

"No. To do Mary justice, it is not her fault. I don't think she cares
for it."

"I dare say she would like to be a Marchioness as well as any one else.
I know I should."

"You might have been," he said, looking tenderly into her face.

"I wonder how I should have borne all this. You say that she is
indifferent. I should have been so anxious on your behalf,--to see you
installed in your rights!"

"I have no rights. There is my brother."

"Yes; but as the heir. She has none of the feeling about you that I
have, George." Then she put out her hand to him, which he took and
held. "I begin to think that I was wrong. I begin to know that I was
wrong. We could have lived at any rate."

"It is too late," he said, still holding her hand.

"Yes,--it is too late. I wonder whether you will ever understand the
sort of struggle which I had to go through, and the feeling of duty
which overcame me at last. Where should we have lived?"

"At Cross Hall, I suppose."

"And if there had been children, how should we have brought them up?"
She did not blush as she asked the question, but he did. "And yet I
wish that I had been braver. I think I should have suited you better
than she."

"She is as good as gold," he said, moved by a certain loyalty which,
though it was not sufficient absolutely to protect her from wrong, was
too strong to endure to hear her reproached.

"Do not tell me of her goodness," said Mrs. Houghton, jumping up from
her seat. "I do not want to hear of her goodness. Tell me of my
goodness. Does she love you as I do? Does she make you the hero of her
thoughts? She has no idea of any hero. She would think more of Jack De
Baron whirling round the room with her than of your position in the
world, or of his, or even of her own." He winced visibly when he heard
Jack De Baron's name. "You need not be afraid," she continued, "for
though she is, as you say, as good as gold, she knows nothing about
love. She took you when you came because it suited the ambition of the
Dean,--as she would have taken anything else that he provided for her."

"I believe she loves me," he said, having in his heart of hearts, at
the moment, much more solicitude in regard to his absent wife than to
the woman who was close to his feet and was flattering him to the top
of his bent.

"And her love, such as it is, is sufficient for you?"

"She is my wife."

"Yes; because I allowed it; because I thought it wrong to subject your
future life to the poverty which I should have brought with me. Do you
think there was no sacrifice then?"

"But, Adelaide;--it is so."

"Yes, it is so. But what does it all mean? The time is gone by when
men, or women either, were too qualmish and too queasy to admit the
truth even to themselves. Of course you are married, and so am I; but
marriage does not alter the heart. I did not cease to love you because
I would not marry you. You could not cease to love me merely because I
refused you. When I acknowledged to myself that Mr. Houghton's income
was necessary to me, I did not become enamoured of him. Nor I suppose
did you when you found the same as to Miss Lovelace's money."

Upon this he also jumped up from his seat, and stood before her. "I
will not have even you say that I married my wife for her money."

"How was it then, George? I am not blaming you for doing what I did as
well as you."

"I should blame myself. I should feel myself to be degraded."

"Why so? It seems to me that I am bolder than you. I can look the
cruelties of the world in the face, and declare openly how I will meet
them. I did marry Mr. Houghton for his money, and of course he knew it.
Is it to be supposed that he or any human being could have thought that
I married him for love? I make his house comfortable for him as far as
I can, and am civil to his friends, and look my best at his table. I
hope he is satisfied with his bargain; but I cannot do more. I cannot
wear him in my heart. Nor, George, do I believe that you in your heart
can ever wear Mary Lovelace!" But he did,--only that he thought that he
had space there for two, and that in giving habitation to this second
love he was adding at any rate to the excitements of his life. "Tell
me, George," said the woman, laying her hand upon his breast, "is it
she or I that have a home there?"

"I will not say that I do not love my wife," he said.

"No; you are afraid. The formalities of the world are so much more to
you than to me! Sit down, George. Oh, George!" Then she was on her
knees at his feet, hiding her face upon her hands, while his arms were
almost necessarily thrown over her and embracing her. The lady was
convulsed with sobs, and he was thinking how it would be with him and
her should the door be opened and some pair of eyes see them as they
were. But her ears were sharp in spite of her sobs. There was the fall
of a foot on the stairs which she heard long before it reached him,
and, in a moment, she was in her chair. He looked at her, and there was
no trace of a tear. "It's Houghton," she said, putting her finger up to
her mouth with almost a comic gesture. There was a smile in her eyes,
and a little mockery of fear in the trembling of her hand and the
motion of her lips. To him it seemed to be tragic enough. He had to
assume to this gentleman whom he had been injuring a cordial friendly
manner,--and thus to lie to him. He had to make pretences, and at a
moment's notice to feign himself something very different from what he
was. Had the man come a little more quickly, had the husband caught him
with the wife at his knees, nothing could have saved him and his own
wife from utter misery. So he felt it to be, and the feeling almost
overwhelmed him. His heart palpitated with emotion as the wronged
husband's hand was on the door. She, the while, was as thoroughly
composed as a stage heroine. But she had flattered him and pretended to
love him, and it did not occur to him that he ought to be angry with
her. "Who would ever think of seeing you at this time of day?" said
Mrs. Houghton.

"Well, no; I'm going back to the club in a few minutes. I had to come
up to Piccadilly to have my hair cut!"

"Your hair cut!"

"Honour bright! Nothing upsets me so much as having my hair cut. I'm
going to ring for a glass of sherry. By the bye, Lord George, a good
many of them are talking at the club about young Popenjoy."

"What are they saying?" Lord George felt that he must open his mouth,
but did not wish to talk to this man, and especially did not wish to
talk about his own affairs.

"Of course I know nothing about it; but surely the way Brotherton has
come back is very odd. I used to be very fond of your brother, you
know. There was nobody her father used to swear by so much as him. But,
by George, I don't know what to make of it now. Nobody has seen the

"I have not seen her," said Lord George; "but she is there all the same
for that."

"Nobody doubts that she's there. She's there, safe enough. And the boy
is there too. We're all quite sure of that. But you know the Marquis of
Brotherton is somebody."

"I hope so," said Lord George.

"And when he brings his wife home people will expect,--will expect to
know something about it;--eh?" All this was said with an intention of
taking Lord George's part in a question which was already becoming one
of interest to the public. It was hinted here and there that there was
"a screw loose" about this young Popenjoy, who had just been brought
from Italy, and that Lord George would have to look to it. Of course
they who were connected with Brothershire were more prone to talk of it
than others, and Mr. Houghton, who had heard and said a good deal about
it, thought that he was only being civil to Lord George in seeming to
take part against the Marquis.

But Lord George felt it to be matter of offence that any outsider
should venture to talk about his family. "If people would only confine
themselves to subjects with which they are acquainted, it would be very
much better," he said;--and then almost immediately took his leave.

"That's all regular nonsense, you know," Mr. Houghton said as soon as
he was alone with his wife. "Of course people are talking about it.
Your father says that Brotherton must be mad."

"That's no reason why you should come and tell Lord George what people
say. You never have any tact."

"Of course I'm wrong; I always am," said the husband, swallowing his
glass of sherry and then taking his departure.

Lord George was now in a very uneasy state of mind. He intended to be
cautious,--had intended even to be virtuous and self-denying; and yet,
in spite of his intentions, he had fallen into such a condition of
things with Mr. Houghton's wife, that were the truth to be known, he
would be open to most injurious proceedings. To him the love affair
with another man's wife was more embarrassing even than pleasant. Its
charm did not suffice to lighten for him the burden of the wickedness.
He had certain inklings of complaint in his own mind against his own
wife, but he felt that his own hands should be perfectly clean before
he could deal with those inklings magisterially and maritally. How
would he look were she to turn upon him and ask him as to his own
conduct with Adelaide Houghton? And then into what a sea of trouble
had he not already fallen in this matter of his brother's marriage? His
first immediate duty was that of writing to his elder sister, and he
expressed himself to her in strong language. After telling her all that
he had heard from the lawyer, he spoke of himself and of the Dean. "It
will make me very unhappy," he wrote. "Do you remember what Hamlet

                        'O, cursed spite,
           That ever I was born to set it right!'

"I feel like that altogether. I want to get nothing by it. No man ever
less begrudged to his elder brother than I do all that belongs to him.
Though he has himself treated me badly, I would support him in anything
for the sake of the family. At this moment I most heartily wish that
the child may be Lord Popenjoy. The matter will destroy all my
happiness perhaps for the next ten years;--perhaps for ever. And I
cannot but think that the Dean has interfered in a most unjustifiable
manner. He drives me on, so that I almost feel that I shall be forced
to quarrel with him. With him it is manifestly personal ambition, and
not duty." There was much more of it in the same strain, but at the
same time an acknowledgment that he had now instructed the Dean's
lawyer to make the inquiry.

Lady Sarah's answer was perhaps more judicious; and as it was shorter
it shall be given entire.

     "Cross Hall, May 10, 187--.

     "MY DEAR GEORGE,--Of course it is a sad thing to us all that this
     terrible inquiry should be forced upon us;--and more grievous to
     you than to us, as you must take the active part in it. But this
     is a manifest duty, and duties are seldom altogether pleasant. All
     that you say as to yourself,--which I know to be absolutely
     true,--must at any rate make your conscience clear in the matter.
     It is not for your sake nor for our sake that this is to be done,
     but for the sake of the family at large, and to prevent the
     necessity of future lawsuits which would be ruinous to the
     property. If the child be legitimate, let that, in God's name, be
     proclaimed so loud that no one shall hereafter be able to cast a
     doubt upon the fact. To us it must be matter of deepest sorrow
     that our brother's child and the future head of our family should
     have been born under circumstances which, at the best, must still
     be disgraceful. But, although that is so, it will be equally our
     duty to acknowledge his rights to the full, if they be his rights.
     Though the son of the widow of a lunatic foreigner, still if the
     law says that he is Brotherton's heir, it is for us to render the
     difficulties in his way as light as possible. But that we may do
     so, we must know what he is.

     "Of course you find the Dean to be pushing and perhaps a little
     vulgar. No doubt with him the chief feeling is one of personal
     ambition. But in his way he is wise, and I do not know that in
     this matter he has done anything which had better have been left
     undone. He believes that the child is not legitimate;--and so in
     my heart do I.

     "You must remember that my dear mother is altogether on
     Brotherton's side. The feeling that there should be an heir is so
     much to her, and the certainty that the boy is at any rate her
     grandson, that she cannot endure that a doubt should be expressed.
     Of course this does not tend to make our life pleasant down here.
     Poor dear mamma! Of course we do all we can to comfort her.

     "Your affectionate sister,




A week had passed away and nothing had as yet been heard from the
Marquis, nor had Mr. Battle's confidential clerk as yet taken his
departure for Italy, when Mrs. Montacute Jones called one day in
Munster Court. Lady George had not seen her new old friend since the
night of the ball to which she had not gone, but had received more than
one note respecting her absence on that occasion, and various other
little matters. Why did not Lady George come and lunch; and why did not
Lady George come and drive? Lady George was a little afraid that there
was a conspiracy about her in reference to Captain De Baron, and that
Mrs. Montacute Jones was one of the conspirators. If so Adelaide
Houghton was certainly another. It had been very pleasant. When she
examined herself about this man, as she endeavoured to do, she declared
that it had been as innocent as pleasant. She did not really believe
that either Adelaide Houghton or Mrs. Montacute Jones had intended to
do mischief. Mischief, such as the alienation of her own affections
from her husband, she regarded as quite out of the question. She would
not even admit to herself that it was possible that she should fall
into such a pit as that. But there were other dangers; and those
friends of hers would indeed be dangerous if they brought her into any
society that made her husband jealous. Therefore, though she liked Mrs.
Montacute Jones very much, she had avoided the old lady lately, knowing
that something would be said about Jack De Baron, and not quite
confident as to her own answers.

And now Mrs. Montacute Jones had come to her. "My dear Lady George,"
she said, "where on earth have you been? Are you going to cut me? If
so, tell me at once."

"Oh, Mrs. Jones," said Lady George, kissing her, "how can you ask such
a question?"

"Because you know it requires two to play at that game, and I'm not
going to be cut." Mrs. Montacute Jones was a stout built but very short
old lady, with grey hair curled in precise rolls down her face, with
streaky cheeks, giving her a look of extreme good health, and very
bright grey eyes. She was always admirably dressed, so well dressed
that her enemies accused her of spending enormous sums on her toilet.
She was very old,--some people said eighty, adding probably not more
than ten years to her age,--very enthusiastic, particularly in
reference to her friends; very fond of gaiety, and very charitable.
"Why didn't you come to my ball?"

"Lord George doesn't care about balls," said Mary, laughing.

"Come, come! Don't try and humbug me. It had been all arranged that you
should come when he went to bed. Hadn't it now?"

"Something had been said about it."

"A good deal had been said about it, and he had agreed. Are you going
to tell me that he won't go out with you, and yet dislikes your going
out without him? Is he such a Bluebeard as that?"

"He's not a Bluebeard at all, Mrs. Jones."

"I hope not. There has been something about that German
Baroness;--hasn't there?"

"Oh dear no."

"I heard that there was. She came and took you and the brougham all
about London. And there was a row with Lady Selina. I heard of it."

"But that had nothing to do with my going to your party."

"Well, no; why should it? She's a nasty woman, that Baroness Banmann.
If we can't get on here in England without German Baronesses and
American she doctors, we are in a bad way. You shouldn't have let them
drag you into that lot. Women's rights! Women are quite able to hold
their own without such trash as that. I'm told she's in debt
everywhere, and can't pay a shilling. I hope they'll lock her up."

"She is nothing to me, Mrs. Jones."

"I hope not. What was it then? I know there was something. He doesn't
object to Captain De Baron; does he?"

"Object to him! Why should he object to Captain De Baron?"

"I don't know why. Men do take such fancies into their heads. You are
not going to give up dancing;--are you?"

"Not altogether. I'm not sure that I care for it very much."

"Oh, Lady George; where do you expect to go to?" Mary could not keep
herself from laughing, though she was at the same time almost inclined
to be angry with the old lady's interference. "I should have said that
I didn't know a young person in the world fonder of dancing than you
are. Perhaps he objects to it."

"He doesn't like my waltzing," said Mary, with a blush. On former
occasions she had almost made up her mind to confide her troubles to
this old woman, and now the occasion seemed so suitable that she could
not keep herself from telling so much as that.

"Oh!" said Mrs. Montacute Jones. "That's it! I knew there was
something. My dear, he's a goose, and you ought to tell him so."

"Couldn't you tell him," said Mary, laughing.

"Would do it in half a minute, and think nothing of it!"

"Pray, don't. He wouldn't like it at all."

"My dear, you shouldn't be afraid of him. I'm not going to preach up
rebellion against husbands. I'm the last woman in London to do that. I
know the comfort of a quiet house as well as any one, and that two
people can't get along easy together unless there is a good deal of
give and take. But it doesn't do to give up everything. What does he
say about it?"

"He says he doesn't like it."

"What would he say if you told him you didn't like his going to his

"He wouldn't go."

"Nonsense! It's being a dog in the manger, because he doesn't care for
it himself. I should have it out with him,--nicely and pleasantly. Just
tell him that you're fond of it, and ask him to change his mind. I
can't bear anybody interfering to put down the innocent pleasures of
young people. A man like that just opens his mouth and speaks a word,
and takes away the whole pleasure of a young woman's season! You've got
my card for the 10th of June?"

"Oh yes,--I've got it."

"And I shall expect you to come. It's only going to be a small affair.
Get him to bring you if you can, and you do as I bid you. Just have it
out with him,--nicely and quietly. Nobody hates a row so much as I do,
but people oughtn't to be trampled on."

All this had considerable effect upon Lady George. She quite agreed
with Mrs. Jones that people ought not to be trampled on. Her father had
never trampled on her. From him there had been very little positive
ordering as to what she might and what she might not do. And yet she
had been only a child when living with her father. Now she was a
married woman, and the mistress of her own house. She was quite sure
that were she to ask her father, the Dean would say that such a
prohibition as this was absurd. Of course she could not ask her father.
She would not appeal from her husband to him. But it was a hardship,
and she almost made up her mind that she would request him to revoke
the order.

Then she was very much troubled by a long letter from the Baroness
Banmann. The Baroness was going to bring an action jointly against Lady
Selina Protest and Miss Mildmay, whom the reader will know as Aunt Ju;
and informed Lady George that she was to be summoned as a witness.
This was for a while a grievous affliction to her. "I know nothing
about it," she said to her husband, "I only just went there once
because Miss Mildmay asked me."

"It was a very foolish thing for her to do."

"And I was foolish, perhaps; but what can I say about it? I don't know

"You shouldn't have bought those other tickets."

"How could I refuse when the woman asked for such a trifle?"

"Then you took her to Miss Mildmay's."

"She would get into the brougham, and I couldn't get rid of her. Hadn't
I better write and tell her that I know nothing about it?" But to this
Lord George objected, requesting her altogether to hold her peace on
the subject, and never even to speak about it to anyone. He was not
good humoured with her, and this was clearly no occasion for asking him
about the waltzing. Indeed, just at present he rarely was in a good
humour, being much troubled in his mind on the great Popenjoy question.

At this time the Dean was constantly up in town, running backwards and
forwards between London and Brotherton, prosecuting his enquiry and
spending a good deal of his time at Mr. Battle's offices. In doing all
this he by no means acted in perfect concert with Lord George, nor did
he often stay or even dine at the house in Munster Court. There had
been no quarrel, but he found that Lord George was not cordial with
him, and therefore placed himself at the hotel in Suffolk Street. "Why
doesn't papa come here as he is in town?" Mary said to her husband.

"I don't know why he comes to town at all," replied her husband.

"I suppose he comes because he has business, or because he likes it. I
shouldn't think of asking why he comes; but as he is here, I wish he
wouldn't stay at a nasty dull hotel after all that was arranged."

"You may be sure he knows what he likes best," said Lord George
sulkily. That allusion to "an arrangement" had not served to put him in
a good humour.

Mary had known well why her father was so much in London, and had in
truth known also why he did not come to Munster Court. She could
perceive that her father and husband were drifting into unfriendly
relations, and greatly regretted it. In her heart she took her father's
part. She was not keen as he was in this matter of the little Popenjoy,
being restrained by a feeling that it would not become her to be over
anxious for her own elevation or for the fall of others; but she had
always sympathised with her father in everything, and therefore she
sympathised with him in this. And then there was gradually growing upon
her a conviction that her father was the stronger man of the two, the
more reasonable, and certainly the kinder. She had thoroughly
understood when the house was furnished, very much at the Dean's
expense, that he was to be a joint occupant in it when it might suit
him to be in London. He himself had thought less about this, having
rather submitted to the suggestion as an excuse for his own liberality
than contemplated any such final arrangement. But Lord George
remembered it. The house would certainly be open to him should he
choose to come;--but Lord George would not press it.

Mr. Stokes had thought it proper to go in person to Manor Cross, in
order that he might receive instructions from the Marquis. "Upon my
word, Mr. Stokes," said the Marquis, "only that I would not seem to be
uncourteous to you I should feel disposed to say that this interview
can do no good."

"It is a very serious matter, my Lord."

"It is a very serious annoyance, certainly, that my own brother and
sisters should turn against me, and give me all this trouble because I
have chosen to marry a foreigner. It is simply an instance of that
pigheaded English blindness which makes us think that everything
outside our own country is or ought to be given up to the devil. My
sisters are very religious, and, I daresay, very good women. But they
are quite willing to think that I and my wife ought to be damned
because we talk Italian, and that my son ought to be disinherited
because he was not baptised in an English church. They have got this
stupid story into their heads, and they must do as they please about
it. I will have no hand in it. I will take care that there shall be no
difficulty in my son's way when I die."

"That will be right, of course, my Lord."

"I know where all this comes from. My brother, who is an idiot, has
married the daughter of a vulgar clergyman, who thinks in his ignorance
that he can make his grandson, if he has one, an English nobleman.
He'll spend his money and he'll burn his fingers, and I don't care how
much money he spends or how much he burns his hands. I don't suppose
his purse is so very long but that he may come to the bottom of it."
This was nearly all that passed between Mr. Stokes and the Marquis. Mr.
Stokes then went back to town and gave Mr. Battle to understand that
nothing was to be done on their side.

The Dean was very anxious that the confidential clerk should be
dispatched, and at one time almost thought that he would go himself.
"Better not, Mr. Dean. Everybody would know," said Mr. Battle.

"And I should intend everybody to know," said the Dean. "Do you suppose
that I am doing anything that I'm ashamed of."

"But being a dignitary----" began Mr. Battle.

"What has that to do with it? A dignitary, as you call it, is not to
see his child robbed of her rights. I only want to find the truth, and
I should never take shame to myself in looking for that by honest
means." But Mr. Battle prevailed, persuading the Dean that the
confidential clerk, even though he confined himself to honest means,
would reach his point more certainly than a Dean of the Church of

But still there was delay. Mr. Stokes did not take his journey down to
Brotherton quite as quickly as he perhaps might have done, and then
there was a prolonged correspondence carried on through an English
lawyer settled at Leghorn. But at last the man was sent. "I think we
know this," said Mr. Battle to the Dean on the day before the man
started, "there were certainly two marriages. One of them took place as
much as five years ago, and the other after his lordship had written to
his brother."

"Then the first marriage must have been nothing," said the Dean.

"It does not follow. It may have been a legal marriage, although the
parties chose to confirm it by a second ceremony."

"But when did the man Luigi die?"

"And where and how? That is what we have got to find out. I shouldn't
wonder if we found that he had been for years a lunatic."

Almost all this the Dean communicated to Lord George, being determined
that his son-in-law should be seen to act in co-operation with him.
They met occasionally in Mr. Battle's chambers, and sometimes by
appointment in Munster Court. "It is essentially necessary that you
should know what is being done," said the Dean to his son-in-law. Lord
George fretted and fumed, and expressed an opinion that as the matter
had been put into a lawyer's hands it had better be left there. But the
Dean had very much his own way.



Soon after Mr. Stokes' visit there was a great disturbance at Manor
Cross, whether caused or not by that event no one was able to say. The
Marquis and all the family were about to proceed to London. The news
first reached Cross Hall through Mrs. Toff, who still kept up friendly
relations with a portion of the English establishment at the great
house. There probably was no idea of maintaining a secret on the
subject. The Marquis and his wife, with Lord Popenjoy and the servants,
could not have had themselves carried up to town without the knowledge
of all Brotherton, nor was there any adequate reason for supposing that
secrecy was desired. Nevertheless Mrs. Toff made a great deal of the
matter, and the ladies at Cross Hall were not without a certain
perturbed interest as though in a mystery. It was first told to Lady
Sarah, for Mrs. Toff was quite aware of the position of things, and
knew that the old Marchioness herself was not to be regarded as being
on their side. "Yes, my Lady, it's quite true," said Mrs. Toff. "The
horses is ordered for next Friday." This was said on the previous
Saturday, so that considerable time was allowed for the elucidation of
the mystery. "And the things is already being packed, and her
Ladyship,--that is, if she is her Ladyship,--is taking every dress and
every rag as she brought with her."

"Where are they going to, Toff?--Not to the Square?" Now the Marquis of
Brotherton had an old family house in Cavendish Square, which, however,
had been shut up for the last ten or fifteen years, but was still known
as the family house by all the adherents of the family.

"No, my Lady. I did hear from one of the servants that they are going
to Scumberg's Hotel, in Albemarle Street."

Then Lady Sarah told the news to her mother. The poor old lady felt
that she was ill-used. She had been at any rate true to her eldest son,
had always taken his part during his absence by scolding her daughters
whenever an allusion was made to the family at Manor Cross, and had
almost worshipped him when he would come to her on Sunday. And now he
was going off to London without saying a word to her of the journey. "I
don't believe that Toff knows anything about it," she said. "Toff is a
nasty, meddling creature, and I wish she had not come here at all." The
management of the Marchioness under these circumstances was very
difficult, but Lady Sarah was a woman who allowed no difficulty to
crush her. She did not expect the world to be very easy. She went on
with her constant needle, trying to comfort her mother as she worked.
At this time the Marchioness had almost brought herself to quarrel with
her younger son, and would say very hard things about him and about the
Dean. She had more than once said that Mary was a "nasty sly thing,"
and had expressed herself as greatly aggrieved by that marriage. All
this came of course from the Marquis, and was known by her daughters to
come from the Marquis; and yet the Marchioness had never as yet been
allowed to see either her daughter-in-law or Popenjoy.

On the following day her son came to her when the three sisters were at
church in the afternoon. On these occasions he would stay for a quarter
of an hour, and would occupy the greater part of the time in abusing
the Dean and Lord George. But on this day she could not refrain from
asking him a question. "Are you going up to London, Brotherton?"

"What makes you ask?"

"Because they tell me so. Sarah says that the servants are talking
about it."

"I wish Sarah had something to do better than listening to the

"But you are going?"

"If you want to know, I believe we shall go up to town for a few days.
Popenjoy ought to see a dentist, and I want to do a few things. Why the
deuce shouldn't I go up to London as well as any one else?"

"Of course, if you wish it."

"To tell you the truth, I don't much wish anything, except to get out
of this cursed country again."

"Don't say that, Brotherton. You are an Englishman."

"I am ashamed to say I am. I wish with all my heart that I had been
born a Chinese or a Red Indian." This he said, not in furtherance of
any peculiar cosmopolitan proclivities, but because the saying of it
would vex his mother. "What am I to think of the country, when the
moment I get here I am hounded by all my own family because I choose to
live after my own fashion and not after theirs?"

"I haven't hounded you."

"No. You might possibly get more by being on good terms with me than
bad. And so might they if they knew it. I'll be even with Master George
before I've done with him; and I'll be even with that parson, too, who
still smells of the stables. I'll lead him a dance that will about ruin
him. And as for his daughter----"

"It wasn't I got up the marriage, Brotherton."

"I don't care who got it up. But I can have enquiries made as well as
another person. I am not very fond of spies; but if other people use
spies, so can I too. That young woman is no better than she ought to
be. The Dean, I daresay, knows it; but he shall know that I know it.
And Master George shall know what I think about it. As there is to be
war, he shall know what it is to have war. She has got a lover of her
own already, and everybody who knows them is talking about it."

"Oh, Brotherton!"

"And she is going in for women's rights! George has made a nice thing
of it for himself. He has to live on the Dean's money, so that he
doesn't dare to call his soul his own. And yet he's fool enough to send
a lawyer to me to tell me that my wife is a ----, and my son a ----!"
He made use of very plain language, so that the poor old woman was
horrified and aghast and dumbfounded. And as he spoke the words there
was a rage in his eyes worse than anything she had seen before. He was
standing with his back to the fire, which was burning though the
weather was warm, and the tails of his coat were hanging over his arms
as he kept his hands in his pockets. He was generally quiescent in his
moods, and apt to express his anger in sarcasm rather than in outspoken
language; but now he was so much moved that he was unable not to give
vent to his feelings. As the Marchioness looked at him, shaking with
fear, there came into her distracted mind some vague idea of Cain and
Abel, though had she collected her thoughts she would have been far
from telling herself that her eldest son was Cain. "He thinks,"
continued the Marquis, "that because I have lived abroad I shan't mind
that sort of thing. I wonder how he'll feel when I tell him the truth
about his wife. I mean to do it;--and what the Dean will think when I
use a little plain language about his daughter. I mean to do that too.
I shan't mince matters. I suppose you have heard of Captain De Baron,

Now the Marchioness unfortunately had heard of Captain De Baron. Lady
Susanna had brought the tidings down to Cross Hall. Had Lady Susanna
really believed that her sister-in-law was wickedly entertaining a
lover, there would have been some reticence in her mode of alluding to
so dreadful a subject. The secret would have been confided to Lady
Sarah in awful conclave, and some solemn warning would have been
conveyed to Lord George, with a prayer that he would lose no time in
withdrawing the unfortunate young woman from evil influences. But Lady
Susanna had entertained no such fear. Mary was young, and foolish, and
fond of pleasure. Hard as was this woman in her manner, and
disagreeable as she made herself, yet she could, after a fashion,
sympathise with the young wife. She had spoken of Captain De Baron with
disapprobation certainly, but had not spoken of him as a fatal danger.
And she had spoken also of the Baroness Banmann and Mary's folly in
going to the Institute. The old Marchioness had heard of these things,
and now, when she heard further of them from her son, she almost
believed all that he told her. "Don't be hard upon poor George," she

"I give as I get, mother. I'm not one of those who return good for
evil. Had he left me alone, I should have left him alone. As it is, I
rather think I shall be hard upon poor George. Do you suppose that all
Brotherton hasn't heard already what they are doing;--that there is a
man or a woman in the county who doesn't know that my own brother is
questioning the legitimacy of my own son? And then you ask me not to be

"It isn't my doing, Brotherton."

"But those three girls have their hand in it. That's what they call
charity! That's what they go to church for!"

All this made the poor old Marchioness very ill. Before her son left
her she was almost prostrate; and yet, to the end, he did not spare
her. But as he left he said one word which apparently was intended to
comfort her. "Perhaps Popenjoy had better be brought here for you to
see before he is taken up to town." There had been a promise made
before that the child should be brought to the hall to bless his
grandmother. On this occasion she had been too much horrified and
overcome by what had been said to urge her request; but when the
proposition was renewed by him of course she assented.

Popenjoy's visit to Cross Hall was arranged with a good deal of state,
and was made on the following Tuesday. On the Monday there came a
message to say that the child should be brought up at twelve on the
following day. The Marquis was not coming himself, and the child would
of course be inspected by all the ladies. At noon they were assembled
in the drawing-room; but they were kept there waiting for half an hour,
during which the Marchioness repeatedly expressed her conviction that
now, at the last moment, she was to be robbed of the one great desire
of her heart. "He won't let him come because he's so angry with
George," she said, sobbing.

"He wouldn't have sent a message yesterday, mother," said Lady Amelia,
"if he hadn't meant to send him."

"You are all so very unkind to him," ejaculated the Marchioness.

But at half-past twelve the cortège appeared. The child was brought up
in a perambulator which had at first been pushed by the under-nurse, an
Italian, and accompanied by the upper-nurse, who was of course an
Italian also. With them had been sent one of the Englishmen to show the
way. Perhaps the two women had been somewhat ill-treated, as no true
idea of the distance had been conveyed to them; and though they had now
been some weeks at Manor Cross, they had never been half so far from
the house. Of course the labour of the perambulator had soon fallen to
the man; but the two nurses, who had been forced to walk a mile, had
thought that they would never come to the end of their journey. When
they did arrive they were full of plaints, which, however, no one could
understand. But Popenjoy was at last brought into the hall.

"My darling," said the Marchioness, putting out both her arms. But
Popenjoy, though a darling, screamed frightfully beneath his heap of

"You had better let him come into the room, mamma," said Lady Susanna.
Then the nurse carried him in, and one or two of his outer garments
were taken from him.

"Dear me, how black he is!" said Lady Susanna.

The Marchioness turned upon her daughter in great anger. "The Germains
were always dark," she said. "You're dark yourself,--quite as black as
he is. My darling!"

She made another attempt to take the boy; but the nurse with voluble
eloquence explained something which of course none of them understood.
The purport of her speech was an assurance that "Tavo," as she most
unceremoniously called the child whom no Germain thought of naming
otherwise than as Popenjoy, never would go to any "foreigner." The
nurse therefore held him up to be looked at for two minutes while he
still screamed, and then put him back into his covering raiments. "He
is very black," said Lady Sarah severely.

"So are some people's hearts," said the Marchioness with a vigour for
which her daughters had hardly given her credit. This, however, was
borne without a murmur by the three sisters.

On the Friday the whole family, including all the Italian servants,
migrated to London, and it certainly was the case that the lady took
with her all her clothes and everything that she had brought with her.
Toff had been quite right, there. And when it came to be known by the
younger ladies at Cross Hall that Toff had been right, they argued from
the fact that their brother had concealed something of the truth when
saying that he intended to go up to London only for a few days. There
had been three separate carriages, and Toff was almost sure that the
Italian lady had carried off more than she had brought with her, so
exuberant had been the luggage. It was not long before Toff effected an
entrance into the house, and brought away a report that very many
things were missing. "The two little gilt cream-jugs is gone," she said
to Lady Sarah, "and the minitshur with the pearl settings out of the
yellow drawing-room!" Lady Sarah explained that as these things were
the property of her brother, he or his wife might of course take them
away if so pleased. "She's got 'em unbeknownst to my Lord, my Lady,"
said Toff, shaking her head. "I could only just scurry through with
half an eye; but when I comes to look there will be more, I warrant
you, my Lady."

The Marquis had expressed so much vehement dislike of everything about
his English home, and it had become so generally understood that his
Italian wife hated the place, that everybody agreed that they would not
come back. Why should they? What did they get by living there? The lady
had not been outside the house a dozen times, and only twice beyond the
park gate. The Marquis took no share in any county or any country
pursuit. He went to no man's house and received no visitors. He would
not see the tenants when they came to him, and had not even returned a
visit except Mr. De Baron's. Why had he come there at all? That was the
question which all the Brothershire people asked of each other, and
which no one could answer. Mr. Price suggested that it was just
devilry,--to make everybody unhappy. Mrs. Toff thought that it was the
woman's doing,--because she wanted to steal silver mugs, miniatures,
and such like treasures. Mr. Waddy, the vicar of the parish, said that
it was "a trial," having probably some idea in his own mind that the
Marquis had been sent home by Providence as a sort of precious blister
which would purify all concerned in him by counter irritation. The old
Marchioness still conceived that it had been brought about that a
grandmother might take delight in the presence of her grandchild. Dr.
Pountner said that it was impudence. But the Dean was of opinion that
it had been deliberately planned with the view of passing off a
supposititious child upon the property and title. The Dean, however,
kept his opinion very much to himself.

Of course tidings of the migration were sent to Munster Court. Lady
Sarah wrote to her brother, and the Dean wrote to his daughter. "What
shall you do, George? Shall you go and see him?"

"I don't know what I shall do?"

"Ought I to go?"

"Certainly not. You could only call on her, and she has not even seen
my mother and sisters. When I was there he would not introduce me to
her, though he sent for the child. I suppose I had better go. I do not
want to quarrel with him if I can help it."

"You have offered to do everything together with him, if only he would
let you."

"I must say that your father has driven me on in a manner which
Brotherton would be sure to resent."

"Papa has done everything from a sense of duty, George."

"Perhaps so. I don't know how that is. It is very hard sometimes to
divide a sense of duty from one's own interest. But it has made me very
miserable,--very wretched, indeed."

"Oh George; is it my fault?"

"No; not your fault. If there is one thing worse to me than another, it
is the feeling of being divided from my own family. Brotherton has
behaved badly to me."

"Very badly."

"And yet I would give anything to be on good terms with him. I think I
shall go and call. He is at an hotel in Albemarle Street. I have done
nothing to deserve ill of him, if he knew all."

It should, of course, be understood that Lord George did not at all
know the state of his brother's mind towards him, except as it had been
exhibited at that one interview which had taken place between them at
Manor Cross. He was aware that in every conversation which he had had
with the lawyers,--both with Mr. Battle and Mr. Stokes,--he had
invariably expressed himself as desirous of establishing the legitimacy
of the boy's birth. If Mr. Stokes had repeated to his brother what he
had said, and had done him the justice of explaining that in all that
he did he was simply desirous of performing his duty to the family,
surely his brother would not be angry with him! At any rate it would
not suit him to be afraid of his brother, and he went to the hotel.
After being kept waiting in the hall for about ten minutes, the Italian
courier came down to him. The Marquis at the present moment was not
dressed, and Lord George did not like being kept waiting. Would Lord
George call at three o'clock on the following day. Lord George said
that he would, and was again at Scumberg's Hotel at three o'clock on
the next afternoon.



This was a day of no little importance to Lord George; so much so, that
one or two circumstances which occurred before he saw his brother at
the hotel must be explained. On that day there had come to him from the
Dean a letter written in the Dean's best humour. When the house had
been taken in Munster Court there had been a certain understanding,
hardly quite a fixed assurance, that it was to be occupied up to the
end of June, and that then Lord George and his wife should go into
Brothershire. There had been a feeling ever since the marriage that
while Mary preferred London, Lord George was wedded to the country.
They had on the whole behaved well to each other in the matter. The
husband, though he feared that his wife was surrounded by dangers, and
was well aware that he himself was dallying on the brink of a terrible
pitfall, would not urge a retreat before the time that had been named.
And she, though she had ever before her eyes the fear of the dullness
of Cross Hall, would not ask to have the time postponed. It was now the
end of May, and a certain early day in July had been fixed for their
retreat from London. Lord George had, with a good grace, promised to
spend a few days at the deanery before he went to Cross Hall, and had
given Mary permission to remain there for some little time afterwards.
Now there had come a letter from the Dean full of smiles and
pleasantness about this visit. There were tidings in it about Mary's
horse, which was still kept at the deanery, and comfortable assurances
of sweetest welcome. Not a word had been said in this letter about the
terrible family matter. Lord George, though he was at the present
moment not disposed to think in the most kindly manner of his
father-in-law, appreciated this, and had read the letter aloud to his
wife at the breakfast table with pleasant approbation. As he left the
house to go to his brother, he told her that she had better answer her
father's letter, and had explained to her where she would find it in
his dressing room.

But on the previous afternoon he had received at his club another
letter, the nature of which was not so agreeable. This letter had not
been pleasant even to himself, and certainly was not adapted to give
pleasure to his wife. After receiving it he had kept it in the close
custody of his breast-pocket; and when, as he left the house, he sent
his wife to find that which had come from her father, he certainly
thought that this prior letter was at the moment secure from all eyes
within the sanctuary of his coat. But it was otherwise. With that
negligence to which husbands are so specially subject, he had made the
Dean's letter safe next to his bosom, but had left the other epistle
unguarded. He had not only left it unguarded, but had absolutely so
put his wife on the track of it that it was impossible that she should
not read it.

Mary found the letter and did read it before she left her husband's
dressing room,--and the letter was as follows:--

"Dearest George;--" When she read the epithet, which she and she only
was entitled to use, she paused for a moment and all the blood rushed
up into her face. She had known the handwriting instantly, and at the
first shock she put the paper down upon the table. For a second there
was a feeling prompting her to read no further. But it was only for a
second. Of course she would read it. It certainly never would have
occurred to her to search her husband's clothes for letters. Up to this
moment she had never examined a document of his except at his bidding
or in compliance with his wish. She had suspected nothing, found
nothing, had entertained not even any curiosity about her husband's
affairs. But now must she not read this letter to which he himself had
directed her? Dearest George! And that in the handwriting of her
friend,--her friend!--Adelaide Houghton;--in the handwriting of the
woman to whom her husband had been attached before he had known
herself! Of course she read the letter.


     "I break my heart when you don't come to me; for heaven's sake be
     here to-morrow. Two, three, four, five, six, seven--I shall be
     here any hour till you come. I don't dare to tell the man that I
     am not at home to anybody else, but you must take your chance.
     Nobody ever does come till after three or after six. He never
     comes home till half-past seven. Oh me! what is to become of me
     when you go out of town? There is nothing to live for,
     nothing;--only you. Anything that you write is quite safe. Say
     that you love me. A."

The letter had grieved him when he got it,--as had other letters before
that. And yet it flattered him, and the assurance of the woman's love
had in it a certain candied sweetness which prevented him from
destroying the paper instantly, as he ought to have done. Could his
wife have read all his mind in the matter her anger would have been
somewhat mollified. In spite of the candied sweetness he hated the
correspondence. It had been the woman's doing and not his. It is so
hard for a man to be a Joseph! The Potiphar's wife of the moment has
probably had some encouragement,--and after that Joseph can hardly flee
unless he be very stout indeed. This Joseph would have fled, though
after a certain fashion he liked the woman, had he been able to assure
himself that the fault had in no degree been his. But looking back, he
thought that he had encouraged her, and did not know how to fly. Of all
this Mary knew nothing. She only knew that old Mr. Houghton's wife, who
professed to be her dear friend, had written a most foul love-letter to
her husband, and that her husband had preserved it carefully, and had
then through manifest mistake delivered it over into her hands.

She read it twice, and then stood motionless for a few minutes thinking
what she would do. Her first idea was that she would tell her father.
But that she soon abandoned. She was grievously offended with her
husband; but, as she thought of it, she became aware that she did not
wish to bring on him any anger but her own. Then she thought that she
would start immediately for Berkeley Square, and say what she had to
say to Mrs. Houghton. As this idea presented itself to her, she felt
that she could say a good deal. But how would that serve her? Intense
as was her hatred at present against Adelaide, Adelaide was nothing to
her in comparison with her husband. For a moment she almost thought
that she would fly after him, knowing, as she did, that he had gone to
see his brother at Scumberg's Hotel. But at last she resolved that she
would do nothing and say nothing till he should have perceived that she
had read the letter. She would leave it open on his dressing-table so
that he might know immediately on his return what had been done. Then
it occurred to her that the servants might see the letter if she
exposed it. So she kept it in her pocket, and determined that when she
heard his knock at the door she would step into his room, and place the
letter ready for his eyes. After that she spent the whole day in
thinking of it, and read the odious words over and over again till they
were fixed in her memory. "Say that you love me!" Wretched viper;
ill-conditioned traitor! Could it be that he, her husband, loved this
woman better than her? Did not all the world know that the woman was
plain and affected, and vulgar, and odious? "Dearest George!" The woman
could not have used such language without his sanction. Oh;--what
should she do? Would it not be necessary that she should go back and
live with her father? Then she thought of Jack De Baron. They called
Jack De Baron wild; but he would not have been guilty of wickedness
such as this. She clung, however, to the resolution of putting the
letter ready for her husband, so that he should know that she had read
it before they met.

In the meantime Lord George, ignorant as yet of the storm which was
brewing at home, was shown into his brother's sitting-room. When he
entered he found there, with his brother, a lady whom he could
recognise without difficulty as his sister-in-law. She was a tall, dark
woman, as he thought very plain, but with large bright eyes and very
black hair. She was ill-dressed, in a morning wrapper, and looked to
him to be at least as old as her husband. The Marquis said something to
her in Italian which served as an introduction, but of which Lord
George could not understand a word. She curtseyed and Lord George put
out his hand. "It is perhaps as well that you should make her
acquaintance," said the Marquis. Then he again spoke in Italian, and
after a minute or two the lady withdrew. It occurred to Lord George
afterwards that the interview had certainly been arranged. Had his
brother not wished him to see the lady, the lady could have been kept
in the background here as well as at Manor Cross. "It's uncommon civil
of you to come," said the Marquis as soon as the door was closed. "What
can I do for you?"

"I did not like that you should be in London without my seeing you."

"I daresay not. I daresay not. I was very much obliged to you, you
know, for sending that lawyer down to me."

"I did not send him."

"And particularly obliged to you for introducing that other lawyer into
our family affairs."

"I would have done nothing of the kind if I could have helped it. If
you will believe me, Brotherton, my only object is to have all this so
firmly settled that there may not be need of further enquiry at a
future time."

"When I am dead?"

"When we may both be dead."

"You have ten years advantage of me. Your own chance isn't bad."

"If you will believe me----"

"But suppose I don't believe you! Suppose I think that in saying all
that you are lying like the very devil!" Lord George jumped in his
chair, almost as though he had been shot. "My dear fellow, what's the
good of this humbug? You think you've got a chance. I don't believe you
were quick enough to see it yourself, but your father-in-law has put
you up to it. He is not quite such an ass as you are; but even he is
ass enough to fancy that because I, an Englishman, have married an
Italian lady, therefore the marriage may, very likely, be good for

"We only want proof."

"Does anybody ever come to you and ask you for proofs of your marriage
with that very nice young woman, the Dean's daughter?"

"Anybody may find them at Brotherton."

"No doubt. And I can put my hand on the proofs of my marriage when I
want to do so. In the meantime I doubt whether you can learn anything
to your own advantage by coming here."

"I didn't want to learn anything."

"If you would look after your own wife a little closer, I fancy it
would be a better employment for you. She is at present probably
amusing herself with Captain De Baron."

"That is calumny," said Lord George, rising from his chair.

"No doubt. Any imputation coming from me is calumny. But you can make
imputations as heavy and as hard as you please--and all in the way of
honour. I've no doubt you'll find her with Captain De Baron if you'll
go and look."

"I should find her doing nothing that she ought not to do," said the
husband, turning round for his hat and gloves.

"Or perhaps making a speech at the Rights of Women Institute on behalf
of that German baroness who, I'm told, is in gaol. But, George, don't
you take it too much to heart. You've got the money. When a man goes
into a stable for his wife, he can't expect much in the way of conduct
or manners. If he gets the money he ought to be contented." He had to
hear it all to the last bitter word before he could escape from the
room and make his way out into the street.

It was at this time about four o'clock, and in his agony of mind he had
turned down towards Piccadilly before he could think what he would do
with himself for the moment. Then he remembered that Berkeley Square
was close to him on the other side, and that he had been summoned there
about this hour. To give him his due, it should be owned that he had no
great desire to visit Berkeley Square in his present condition of
feeling. Since the receipt of that letter,--which was now awaiting him
at home,--he had told himself half a dozen times that he must and would
play the part of Joseph. He had so resolved when she had first spoken
to him of her passion, now some months ago; and then his resolution had
broken down merely because he had not at the moment thought any great
step to be necessary. But now it was clear that some great step was
necessary. He must make her know that it did not suit him to be called
"dearest George" by her, or to be told to declare that he loved her.
And this accusation against his wife, made in such coarse and brutal
language by his brother, softened his heart to her. Why, oh why, had he
allowed himself to be brought up to a place he hated as he had always
hated London! Of course Jack De Baron made him unhappy, though he was
at the present moment prepared to swear that his wife was as innocent
as any woman in London.

But now, as he was so near, and as his decision must be declared in
person, he might as well go to Berkeley Square. As he descended Hay
Hill he put his hand into his pocket for the lady's letter, and pulled
out that from the Dean which he had intended to leave with his wife. In
an instant he knew what he had done. He remembered it all, even to the
way in which he had made the mistake with the two letters. There could
be no doubt but that he had given Adelaide Houghton's letter into his
wife's hands, and that she had read it. At the bottom of Hill Street,
near the stables, he stopped suddenly and put his hand up to his head.
What should he do now? He certainly could not pay his visit in Berkeley
Square. He could not go and tell Mrs. Houghton that he loved her, and
certainly would not have strength to tell her that he did not love her
while suffering such agony as this. Of course he must see his wife. Of
course he must,--if I may use the slang phrase,--of course he must
"have it out with her," after some fashion, and the sooner the better.
So he turned his stops homewards across the Green Park. But, in going
homewards, he did not walk very fast.

What would she do? How would she take it? Of course women daily forgive
such offences; and he might probably, after the burst of the storm was
over, succeed in making her believe that he did in truth love her and
did not love the other woman. In his present mood he was able to assure
himself most confidently that such was the truth. He could tell himself
now that he never wished to see Adelaide Houghton again. But, before
anything of this could be achieved, he would have to own himself a
sinner before her. He would have, as it were, to grovel at her feet.
Hitherto, in all his intercourse with her, he had been masterful and
marital. He had managed up to this point so to live as to have kept in
all respects the upper hand. He had never yet been found out even in a
mistake or an indiscretion. He had never given her an opening for the
mildest finding of fault. She, no doubt, was young, and practice had
not come to her. But, as a natural consequence of this, Lord George had
hitherto felt that an almost divine superiority was demanded from him.
That sense of divine superiority must now pass away.

I do not know whether a husband's comfort is ever perfect till some
family peccadilloes have been conclusively proved against him. I am
sure that a wife's temper to him is sweetened by such evidence of human
imperfection. A woman will often take delight in being angry; will
sometimes wrap herself warm in prolonged sullenness; will frequently
revel in complaint;--but she enjoys forgiving better than aught else.
She never feels that all the due privileges of her life have been
accorded to her, till her husband shall have laid himself open to the
caresses of a pardon. Then, and not till then, he is her equal; and
equality is necessary for comfortable love. But the man, till he be
well used to it, does not like to be pardoned. He has assumed divine
superiority, and is bound to maintain it. Then, at last, he comes home
some night with a little too much wine, or he cannot pay the weekly
bills because he has lost too much money at cards, or he has got into
trouble at his office and is in doubt for a fortnight about his place,
or perhaps a letter from a lady falls into wrong hands. Then he has to
tell himself that he has been "found out." The feeling is at first very
uncomfortable; but it is, I think, a step almost necessary in reaching
true matrimonial comfort. Hunting men say that hard rain settles the
ground. A good scold with a "kiss and be friends" after it, perhaps,
does the same.

Now Lord George had been found out. He was quite sure of that. And he
had to undergo all that was unpleasant without sufficient experience to
tell him that those clouds too would pass away quickly. He still walked
homewards across St. James's Park, never stopping, but dragging himself
along slowly, and when he came to his own door he let himself in very
silently. She did not expect him so soon, and when he entered the
drawing-room was startled to see him. She had not as yet put the
letter, as she had intended, on his dressing-table, but still had it in
her pocket; nor had it occurred to her that he would as yet have known
the truth. She looked at him when he entered, but did not at first
utter a word. "Mary," he said.

"Well; is anything the matter?"

It was possible that she had not found the letter,--possible, though
very improbable. But he had brought his mind so firmly to the point of
owning what was to be owned and defending what might be defended, that
he hardly wished for escape in that direction. At any rate, he was not
prepared to avail himself of it. "Did you find the letter?" he asked.

"I found a letter."


"Of course I am sorry to have intruded upon so private a
correspondence. There it is." And she threw the letter to him. "Oh,

He picked up the letter, which had fallen to the ground, and, tearing
it into bits, threw the fragments into the grate. "What do you believe
about it, Mary?"


"Do you think that I love any one as I love you?"

"You cannot love me at all,--unless that wicked, wretched creature is a

"Have I ever lied to you? You will believe me?"

"I do not know."

"I love no one in the world but you."

Even that almost sufficed for her. She already longed to have her arms
round his neck and to tell him that it was all forgiven;--that he at
least was forgiven. During the whole morning she had been thinking of
the angry words she would say to him, and of the still more angry words
which she would speak of that wicked, wicked viper. The former were
already forgotten; but she was not as yet inclined to refrain as to
Mrs. Houghton. "Oh, George, how could you bear such a woman as
that;--that you should let her write to you in such language? Have you
been to her?"

"What, to-day?"

"Yes, to-day."

"Certainly not. I have just come from my brother."

"You will never go into the house again! You will promise that!"

Here was made the first direct attack upon his divine superiority! Was
he, at his wife's instance, to give a pledge that he would not go into
a certain house under any circumstances? This was the process of
bringing his nose down to the ground which he had feared. Here was the
first attempt made by his wife to put her foot on his neck. "I think
that I had better tell you all that I can tell," he said.

"I only want to know that you hate her," said Mary.

"I neither hate her nor love her. I did--love her--once. You knew

"I never could understand it. I never did believe that you really could
have loved her." Then she began to sob. "I shouldn't--ever--have taken
you--if--I had."

"But from the moment when I first knew you it was all changed with me."
As he said this he put out his arms to her, and she came to him. "There
has never been a moment since in which you have not had all my heart."

"But why--why--why--," she sobbed, meaning to ask how it could have
come to pass that the wicked viper could, in those circumstances, have
written such a letter as that which had fallen into her hands.

The question certainly was not unnatural. But it was a question very
difficult to answer. No man likes to say that a woman has pestered him
with unwelcome love, and certainly Lord George was not the man to make
such a boast. "Dearest Mary," he said, "on my honour as a gentleman I
am true to you."

Then she was satisfied and turned her face to him and covered him with
kisses. I think that morning did more than any day had done since their
marriage to bring about the completion of her desire to be in love with
her husband. Her heart was so softened towards him that she would not
even press a question that would pain him. She had intended sternly to
exact from him a pledge that he would not again enter the house in
Berkeley Square, but she let even that pass by because she would not
annoy him. She gathered herself up close to him on the sofa, and
drawing his arm over her shoulder, sobbed and laughed, stroking him
with her hands as she crouched against his shoulder. But yet, every now
and then, there came forth from, her some violent ebullition against
Mrs. Houghton. "Nasty creature! wicked, wicked beast! Oh, George, she
is so ugly!" And yet before this little affair, she had been quite
content that Adelaide Houghton should be her intimate friend.

It had been nearly five when Lord George reached the house, and he had
to sit enduring his wife's caresses, and listening to devotion to
himself and her abuses of Mrs. Houghton till past six. Then it struck
him that a walk by himself would be good for him. They were to dine
out, but not till eight, and there would still be time. When he
proposed it, she acceded at once. Of course she must go and dress, and
equally of course he would not, could not go to Berkeley Square now.
She thoroughly believed that he was true to her, but yet she feared the
wiles of that nasty woman. They would go to the country soon, and then
the wicked viper would not be near them.

Lord George walked across to Pall Mall, looked at an evening paper at
his club, and then walked back again. Of course it had been his object
to have a cool half hour in which to think it all over,--all that had
passed between him and his wife, and also what had passed between him
and his brother. That his wife was the dearest, sweetest woman in the
world he was quite sure. He was more than satisfied with her conduct to
him. She had exacted from him very little penitence:--had not required
to put her foot in any disagreeable way upon his neck. No doubt she
felt that his divine superiority had been vanquished, but she had
uttered no word of triumph. With all that he was content. But what was
he to do with Mrs. Houghton, as to whom he had sworn a dozen times
within the last hour that she was quite indifferent to him. He now
repeated the assertion to himself, and felt himself to be sure of the
fact. But still he was her lover. He had allowed her so to regard him,
and something must be done. She would write to him letters daily if he
did not stop it; and every such letter not shown to his wife would be a
new treason against her. This was a great trouble. And then, through it
all, those terrible words which his brother had spoken to him about
Captain De Baron rung in his ears. This afternoon had certainly
afforded no occasion to him to say a word about Captain De Baron to his
wife. When detected in his own sin he could not allude to possible
delinquencies on the other side. Nor did he think that there was any
delinquency. But Cæsar said that Cæsar's wife should be above
suspicion, and in that matter every man is a Cæsar to himself. Lady
Susanna had spoken about this Captain, and Adelaide Houghton had said
an ill-natured word or two, and he himself had seen them walking
together. Now his brother had told him that Captain De Baron was his
wife's lover. He did not at all like Captain De Baron.



Of course as the next day or two passed by, the condition of Mrs.
Houghton was discussed between Lord George and his wife. The affair
could not be passed over without further speech. "I am quite contented
with you," he said; "more than contented. But I suppose she does not
feel herself contented with Mr. Houghton."

"Then why did she marry him?"

"Ah;--why indeed."

"A woman ought to be contented with her husband. But at any rate what
right can she have to disturb other people? I suppose you never wrote
her a love-letter."

"Never, certainly;--since her marriage." This indeed was true. The lady
had frequently written to him, but he had warily kept his hands from
pen and ink and had answered her letters by going to her.

"And yet she could persevere! Women can do such mean things! I would
sooner have broken my heart and died than have asked a man to say that
he loved me. I don't suppose you have much to be proud of. I daresay
she has half a dozen others. You won't see her again?"

"I think I may be driven to do so. I do not wish to have to write to
her, and yet I must make her understand that all this is to be over."

"She'll understand that fast enough when she does not see you. It would
have served her right to have sent that letter to her husband."

"That would have been cruel, Mary."

"I didn't do it. I thought of doing it, and wouldn't do it. But it
would have served her right. I suppose she was always writing."

"She had written, but not quite like that," said Lord George. He was
not altogether comfortable during this conversation.

"She writes lots of such letters no doubt. You do then mean to go there

"I think so. Of course I do not look upon her as being so utterly a
castaway as you do."

"I believe her to be a heartless, vile, intriguing woman, who married
an old man without caring a straw for him, and who doesn't care how
miserable she makes other people. And I think she is very--very ugly.
She paints frightfully. Anybody can see it. And as for false
hair,--why, it's nearly all false." Lady George certainly did not
paint, and had not a shred of false hair about her. "Oh, George, if you
do go, do be firm! You will be firm;--will you not?"

"I shall go simply that this annoyance may be at an end."

"Of course you will tell her that I will never speak to her again. How
could I? You would not wish it;--would you?" In answer to this there
was nothing for him to say. He would have wished that a certain amount
of half friendly intercourse should be carried on; but he could not ask
her to do this. After a time he might perhaps be able to press on her
the advantage of avoiding a scandal, but as yet he could not do even
that. He had achieved more than he had a right to expect in obtaining
her permission to call once more in Berkeley Square himself. After that
they would soon be going down to Brotherton, and when they were there
things might be allowed to settle themselves. Then she asked him
another question. "You don't object to my going to Mrs. Jones' party on

The question was very sudden, so that he was almost startled. "It is a
dance, I suppose."

"Oh yes, a dance of course."

"No;--I have no objection."

She had meant to ask him to reconsider his verdict against round
dances, but she could hardly do so at this moment. She could not take
advantage of her present strength to extract from him a privilege which
under other circumstances he had denied to her. Were she to do so it
would be as much as to declare that she meant to waltz because he had
amused himself with Mrs. Houghton. Her mind was not at all that way
given. But she did entertain an idea that something more of freedom
should be awarded to her because her husband had given her cause of
offence and had been forgiven. While he was still strong with that
divine superiority which she had attributed to him, she had almost
acknowledged to herself that he had a right to demand that she should
be dull and decorous. But now that she had found him to be in the
receipt of clandestine love-letters, it did seem that she might allow
herself a little liberty. She had forgiven him freely. She had really
believed that in spite of the letter she herself was the woman he
loved. She had said something to herself about men amusing themselves,
and had told herself that though no woman could have written such a
letter as that without disgracing herself altogether, a man might
receive it and even keep it in his pocket without meaning very much
harm. But the accident must, she thought, be held to absolve her from
some part of the strictness of her obedience. She almost thought that
she would waltz at Mrs. Jones's ball; perhaps not with Captain De
Baron; perhaps not with much energy or with full enjoyment; but still
sufficiently to disenthral herself. If possible she would say a word to
her husband first. They were both going to a rather crowded affair at
Lady Brabazon's before the night of Mrs. Jones's party. They had agreed
that they would do little more than shew themselves there. He was
obliged to go to this special place and he hated staying. But even at
Lady Brabazon's she might find an opportunity of saying what she wished
to say.

On that day she took him out in her brougham, and on her return home
was alone all the afternoon till about five; and then who should come
to her but Captain De Baron. No doubt they two had become very
intimate. She could not at all have defined her reasons for liking him.
She was quite sure of one thing,--she was not in the least in love with
him. But he was always gay, always good humoured, always had plenty to
say. He was the source of all the fun that ever came in her way; and
fun was very dear to her. He was nice-looking and manly, and gentle
withal. Why should she not have her friend? He would not write
abominable letters and ask her to say that she loved him! And yet she
was aware that there was a danger. She knew that her husband was a
little jealous. She knew that Augusta Mildmay was frightfully jealous.
That odious creature Mrs. Houghton had made ever so many nasty little
allusions to her and Jack. When his name was announced she almost
wished that he had not come; but yet she received him very pleasantly.
He immediately began about the Baroness Banmann. The Baroness had on
the previous evening made her way on to the platform at the
Disabilities when Dr. Fleabody was lecturing, and Lady Selina was
presiding and had, to use Jack's own words, "Kicked up the most
delightful bobbery that had ever been witnessed! She bundled poor old
Lady Selina out of the chair."


"So I am told;--took the chair by the back and hoisted her out."

"Didn't they send for the police?"

"I suppose they did at last; but the American doctor was too many for
her. The Baroness strove to address the meeting; but Olivia Q. Fleabody
has become a favourite, and carried the day. I am told that at last the
bald-headed old gentleman took the Baroness home in a cab. I'd have
given a five-pound note to be there. I think I must go some night and
hear the Doctor."

"I wouldn't go again for anything."

"You women are all so jealous of each other. Poor Lady Selina! I'm told
she was very much shaken."

"How did you hear it all?"

"From Aunt Ju," said the Captain. "Aunt Ju was there, of course. The
Baroness tried to fly into Aunt Ju's arms, but Aunt Ju seems to have

Then the quarrel must have been made up between Captain De Baron and
Miss Mildmay. That was the idea which at once came into Mary's head. He
could hardly have seen Aunt Ju without seeing her niece at the same
time. Perhaps it was all settled. Perhaps, after all, they would be
married. It would be a pity, because she was not half nice enough for
him. And then Mary doubted whether Captain De Baron as a married man
would be nearly so pleasant as in his present condition. "I hope Miss
Mildmay is none the worse," she said.

"A little shaken in her nerves."

"Was--Augusta Mildmay there?"

"Oh dear no. It is quite out of her line. She is not at all disposed to
lay aside the feeblenesses of her sex and go into one of the learned
professions. By the bye, I am afraid you and she are not very good

"What makes you say that, Captain De Baron?"

"But are you?"

"I don't know why you should enquire."

"It is natural to wish that one's own friends should be friends."

"Has Miss Mildmay said--anything about--me?"

"Not a word;--nor you about her. And, therefore, I know that something
is wrong."

"The last time I saw her I did not think that Miss Mildmay was very
happy," said Mary, in a low voice.

"Did she complain to you?" Mary had no answer ready for this question.
She could not tell a lie easily, nor could she acknowledge the
complaint which the lady had made, and had made so loudly. "I suppose
she did complain," he said, "and I suppose I know the nature of her

"I cannot tell;--though, of course, it was nothing to me."

"It is very much to me, though. I wish, Lady George, you could bring
yourself to tell me the truth." He paused, but she did not speak. "If
it were as I fear, you must know how much I am implicated. I would not
for the world that you should think I am behaving badly."

"You should not permit her to think so, Captain De Baron."

"She doesn't think so. She can't think so. I am not going to say a word
against her. She and I have been dear friends, and there is no
one,--hardly any one,--for whom I have a greater regard. But I do
protest to you, Lady George, that I have never spoken an untrue word to
Augusta Mildmay in my life."

"I have not accused you."

"But has she? Of course it is a kind of thing that a man cannot talk
about without great difficulty."

"Is it not a thing that a man should not talk about at all?"

"That is severe, Lady George;--much more severe than I should have
expected from your usual good nature. Had you told me that nothing had
been said to you, there would have been an end of it. But I cannot bear
to think that you should have been told that I had behaved badly, and
that I should be unable to vindicate myself."

"Have you not been engaged to marry Miss Mildmay?"


"Then why did you allow yourself to become so--so much to her?"

"Because I liked her. Because we were thrown together. Because the
chances of things would have it so. Don't you know that that kind of
thing is occurring every day? Of course, if a man were made up of
wisdom and prudence and virtue and self-denial, this kind of thing
wouldn't occur. But I don't think the world would be pleasanter if men
were like that. Adelaide Houghton is Miss Mildmay's most intimate
friend, and Adelaide has always known that I couldn't marry." As soon
as Mrs. Houghton's name was mentioned a dark frown came across Lady
George's brow. Captain De Baron saw it, but did not as yet know
anything of its true cause.

"Of course I am not going to judge between you," said Lady George, very

"But I want you to judge me. I want you of all the world to feel that I
have not been a liar and a blackguard."

"Captain De Baron! how can you use such language?"

"Because I feel this very acutely. I do believe that Miss Mildmay has
accused me to you. I do not wish to say a word against her. I would do
anything in the world to protect her from the ill words of others. But
I cannot bear that your mind should be poisoned against me. Will you
believe me when I tell you that I have never said a word to Miss
Mildmay which could possibly be taken as an offer of marriage?"

"I had rather give no opinion."

"Will you ask Adelaide?"

"No; certainly not." This she said with so much vehemence that he was
thoroughly startled. "Mrs. Houghton is not among the number of my

"Why not? What is the matter?"

"I can give no explanation, and I had rather that no questions should
be asked. But so it is."

"Has she offended Lord George?"

"Oh dear no; that is to say I cannot tell you anything more about it.
You will never see me in Berkeley Square again. And now, pray say no
more about it."

"Poor Adelaide. Well; it does seem terrible that there should be such
misunderstandings. She knows nothing about it. I was with her this
morning, and she was speaking of you with the greatest affection." Mary
struggled hard to appear indifferent to all this, but struggled in
vain. She could not restrain herself from displaying her feeling. "May
I not ask any further questions?"

"No, Captain De Baron."

"Nor hope that I may be a peacemaker between you?"

"Certainly not. I wish you wouldn't talk about it any more."

"I certainly will not if it offends you. I would not offend you for all
the world. When you came up to town, Lady George, a few months ago,
there were three or four of us that soon became such excellent friends!
And now it seems that everything has gone wrong. I hope we need not
quarrel--you and I?"

"I know no reason why we should."

"I have liked you so much. I am sure you have known that. Sometimes one
does come across a person that one really likes; but it is so seldom."

"I try to like everybody," she said.

"I don't do that. I fear that at first starting I try to dislike
everybody. I think it is natural to hate people the first time you see

"Did you hate me?" she asked, laughing.

"Oh, horribly,--for two minutes. Then you laughed, or cried, or
sneezed, or did something in a manner that I liked, and I saw at once
that you were the most charming human being in the world."

When a young man tells a young woman that she is the most charming
human being in the world, he is certainly using peculiar language. In
most cases the young man would be supposed to be making love to the
young woman. Mary, however, knew very well that Captain De Baron was
not making love to her. There seemed to be an understanding that all
manner of things should be said between them, and that yet they should
mean nothing. But, nevertheless, she felt that the language which this
man had used to her would be offensive to her husband if he knew that
it had been used when they two were alone together. Had it been said
before a room-full of people it would not have mattered. And yet she
could not rebuke him. She could not even look displeased. She had
believed all that he had said to her about Augusta Mildmay, and was
glad to believe it. She liked him so much, that she would have spoken
to him as to a brother of the nature of her quarrel with Mrs. Houghton,
only that, even to a brother, she would not have mentioned her
husband's folly. When he spoke of her crying, or laughing, or sneezing,
she liked the little attempt at drollery. She liked to know that he had
found her charming. Where is the woman who does not wish to charm, and
is not proud to think that she has succeeded with those whom she most
likes? She could not rebuke him. She could not even avoid letting him
see that she was pleased. "You have a dozen human beings in the world
who are the most delightful," she said, "and another dozen who are the
most odious."

"Quite a dozen who are the most odious, but only one, Lady George, who
is the most delightful." He had hardly said this when the door opened
and Lord George entered the room. Lord George was not a clever
hypocrite. If he disliked a person he soon showed his dislike in his
manner. It was very clear to both of them on the present occasion that
he did not like the presence of Captain De Baron. He looked very
gloomy,--almost angry, and after speaking hardly more than a single
word to his wife's guest, he stood silent and awkward, leaning against
the mantel-piece. "What do you think Captain De Baron tells me?" Mary
said, trying, but not very successfully, to speak with natural ease.

"I don't in the least know."

"There has been such a scene at the Women's Institute! That Baroness
made a dreadful attack on poor Lady Selina Protest."

"She and the American female doctor were talking against each other
from the same platform, at the same time," said De Baron.

"Very disgraceful!" said Lord George. "But then the whole thing is
disgraceful, and always was. I should think Lord Plausible must be
thoroughly ashamed of his sister." Lady Selina was sister to the Earl
of Plausible, but, as all the world knew, was not on speaking terms
with her brother.

"I suppose that unfortunate German lady will be put in prison," said
Lady George.

"I only trust she may never be able to put her foot into your house

Then there was a pause. He was apparently so cross that conversation
seemed to be impossible. The Captain would have gone away at once had
he been able to escape suddenly. But there are times when it is very
hard to get out of a room, at which a sudden retreat would imply a
conviction that something was wrong. It seemed to him that for her sake
he was bound to remain a few minutes longer. "When do you go down to
Brothershire?" he asked.

"About the 7th of July," said Mary.

"Or probably earlier," said Lord George;--at which his wife looked up
at him, but without making any remark.

"I shall be down at my cousin's place some day in August," De Baron
said. Lord George frowned more heavily than ever. "Mr. De Baron is
going to have a large gathering of people about the end of the month."

"Oh, indeed," said Mary.

"The Houghtons will be there." Then Mary also frowned. "And I have an
idea that your brother, Lord George, has half promised to be one of the

"I know nothing at all about it."

"My cousin was up in town yesterday with the Houghtons. Good-bye, Lady
George; I shan't be at Lady Brabazon's, because she has forgotten to
invite me, but I suppose I shall see you at Mrs. Montacute Jones'?"

"I shall certainly be at Mrs. Montacute Jones'," said Mary, trying to
speak cheerfully.

The bell was rang and the door was closed, and then the husband and
wife were together. "A dreadful communication has just been made to
me," said Lord George in his most solemn and funereal voice;--"a most
dreadful communication!"



"A most dreadful communication!" There was something in Lord George's
voice as he uttered these words which so frightened his wife that she
became at the moment quite pale. She was sure, almost sure from his
countenance that the dreadful communication had some reference to
herself. Had any great calamity happened in regard to his own family he
would not have looked at her as he was now looking. And yet she could
not imagine what might be the nature of the communication. "Has
anything happened at Manor Cross?" she asked.

"It is not about Manor Cross."

"Or your brother?"

"It is not about my brother; it does not in any way concern my family.
It is about you."

"About me! Oh, George! do not look at me like that. What is it?"

He was very slow in the telling of the story; slow even in beginning to
tell it; indeed, he hardly knew how to begin. "You know Miss Augusta
Mildmay?" he asked.

Then she understood it all. She might have told him that he could spare
himself all further trouble in telling, only that to do so would hardly
have suited her purpose; therefore she had to listen to the story, very
slowly told. Miss Augusta Mildmay had written to him begging him to
come to her. He, very much astonished at such a request, had
nevertheless obeyed it; and Augusta Mildmay had assured him that his
wife, by wicked wiles and lures, was interfering between her and her
affianced lover Captain De Baron. Mary sat patiently till she had heard
it all,--sat almost without speaking a word; but there was a stern look
on her face which he had never seen there before. Still he went on with
his determined purpose. "These are the kind of things which are being
repeated of you," he said at last. "Susanna made the same complaint.
And it had reached Brotherton's ears. He spoke to me of it in
frightfully strong language. And now this young lady tells me that you
are destroying her happiness."


"You can't suppose that I can hear all this without uneasiness."

"Do you believe it?"

"I do not know what to believe. I am driven mad."

"If you believe it, George, if you believe a word of it, I will go away
from you. I will go back to papa. I will not stay with you to be

"That is nonsense."

"It shall not be nonsense. I will not live to hear myself accused by my
husband as to another man. Wicked young woman! Oh, what women are and
what they can do! She has never been engaged to Captain De Baron."

"What is that to you or me?"

"Nothing, if you had not told me that I stood in her way."

"It is not her engagement, or her hopes, whether ill or well founded,
or his treachery to a lady, that concerns you and me, Mary; but that
she should send for me and tell me to my face that you are the cause of
her unhappiness. Why should she pitch upon you?"

"How can I say? Because she is very wicked."

"And why should Susanna feel herself obliged to caution me as to this
Captain De Baron? She had no motive. She is not wicked."

"I don't know that."

"And why should my brother tell me that all the world is speaking of
your conduct with this very man?"

"Because he is your bitterest enemy. George, do you believe it?"

"And why, when I come home with all this heavy on my heart, do I find
this very man closeted with you?"

"Closeted with me!"

"You were alone with him."

"Alone with him! Of course I am alone with anyone who calls. Would you
like me to tell the servant that Captain De Baron is to be
excluded,--so that all the world might know that you are jealous?"

"He must be excluded."

"Then you must do it. But it will be unnecessary. As you believe all
this, I will tell my father everything and will go back to him. I will
not live here, George, to be so suspected that the very servants have
to be told that I am not to be allowed to see one special man."

"No; you will go down into the country with me."

"I will not stay in the same house with you," she said, jumping up from
her seat, "unless you tell me that you suspect me of nothing--not even
of an impropriety. You may lock me up, but you cannot hinder me from
writing to my father."

"I trust you will do nothing of the kind."

"Not tell him! Who then is to be my friend if you turn against me? Am I
to be all alone among a set of people who think nothing but ill of me?"

"I am to be your friend."

"But you think ill of me."

"I have not said so, Mary."

"Then say at once that you think no ill, and do not threaten me that I
am to be taken into the country for protection. And when you tell me of
the bold-faced villany of that young woman, speak of her with the
disgust that she deserves; and say that your sister Susanna is
suspicious and given to evil thoughts; and declare your brother to be a
wicked slanderer if he has said a word against the honour of your wife.
Then I shall know that you think no ill of me; and then I shall know
that I may lean upon you as my real friend."

Her eyes flashed fire as she spoke, and he was silenced for the moment
by an impetuosity and a passion which he had not at all expected. He
was not quite disposed to yield to her, to assure her of his conviction
that those to whom she alluded were all wrong, and that she was all
right; but yet he was beginning to wish for peace. That Captain De
Baron was a pestilential young man whose very business it was to bring
unhappiness into families, he did believe; and he feared also that his
wife had allowed herself to fall into an indiscreet intimacy with this
destroyer of women's characters. Then there was that feeling of Cæsar's
wife strong within his bosom, which he could, perhaps, have more fully
explained to her but for that unfortunate letter from Mrs. Houghton.
Any fault, however, of that kind on his part was, in his estimation,
nothing to a fault on the part of his wife. She, when once assured
that he was indifferent about Mrs. Houghton, would find no cause for
unhappiness in the matter. But what would all the world be to him if
his wife were talked about commonly in connection with another man?
That she should not absolutely be a castaway would not save him from a
perpetual agony which he would find to be altogether unendurable. He
was, he was sure, quite right as to that theory about Cæsar's wife,
even though, from the unfortunate position of circumstances, he could
not dilate upon it at the present moment. "I think," he said, after a
pause, "that you will allow that you had better drop this gentleman's

"I will allow nothing of the kind, George. I will allow nothing that
can imply the slightest stain upon my name or upon your honour. Captain
De Baron is my friend. I like him very much. A great many people know
how intimate we are. They shall never be taught to suppose that there
was anything wrong in that intimacy. They shall never, at any rate, be
taught so by anything that I will do. I will admit nothing. I will do
nothing myself to show that I am ashamed. Of course you can take me
into the country; of course you can lock me up if you like; of course
you can tell all your friends that I have misbehaved myself; you can
listen to calumny against me from everybody; but if you do I will have
one friend to protect me, and I will tell papa everything." Then she
walked away to the door as though she were leaving the room.

"Stop a moment," he said. Then she stood with her hand still on the
lock, as though intending to stay merely till he should have spoken
some last word to her. He was greatly surprised by her strength and
resolution, and now hardly knew what more to say to her. He could not
beg her pardon for his suspicion; he could not tell her that she was
right; and yet he found it impossible to assert that she was wrong. "I
do not think that passion will do any good," he said.

"I do not know what will do any good. I know what I feel."

"It will do good if you will allow me to advise you."

"What is your advice?"

"To come down to the country as soon as possible, and to avoid, as far
as possible, seeing Captain De Baron before you go."

"That would be running away from Captain De Baron. I am to meet him at
Mrs. Montacute Jones' ball."

"Send an excuse to Mrs. Montacute Jones."

"You may do so, George, if you like. I will not. If I am told by you
that I am not to meet this man, of course I shall obey you; but I shall
consider myself to have been insulted,--to have been insulted by you."
As she said this his brow became very black. "Yes, by you. You ought to
defend me from these people who tell stories about me, and not accuse
me yourself. I cannot and will not live with you if you think evil of
me." Then she opened the door, and slowly left the room. He would have
said more had he known what to say. But her words came more fluently
than his, and he was dumbfounded by her volubility; yet he was as much
convinced as ever that it was his duty to save her from the ill repute
which would fall upon her from further intimacy with this Captain. He
could, of course, take her into the country to-morrow, if he chose to
do so; but he could not hinder her from writing to the Dean; he could
not debar her from pen and ink and the use of the post-office; nor
could he very well forbid her to see her father.

Of course if she did complain to the Dean she would tell the Dean
everything. So he told himself. Now, when a man assumes the divine
superiority of an all-governing husband his own hands should be quite
clean. Lord George's hands were by no means clean. It was not, perhaps,
his own fault that they were dirty. He was able at any rate to tell
himself that the fault had not been his. But there was that undoubted
love-letter from Mrs. Houghton. If the Dean were to question him about
that he could not lie. And though he would assure himself that the
fault had all been with the lady, he could not excuse himself by that
argument in discussing the matter with the Dean. He was in such trouble
that he feared to drive his wife to retaliation; and yet he must do his
duty. His honour and her honour must be his first consideration. If she
would only promise him not willingly to see Captain De Baron there
should be an end of it, and he would allow her to stay the allotted
time in London; but if she would not do this he thought that he must
face the Dean and all his terrors.

But he hardly knew his wife--was hardly aware of the nature of her
feelings. When she spoke of appealing to her father, no idea crossed
her mind of complaining of her husband's infidelity. She would seek
protection for herself, and would be loud enough in protesting against
the slanderous tongues of those who had injured her. She would wage war
to the knife against the Marquis, and against Lady Susanna, and against
Augusta Mildmay, and would call upon her father to assist her in that
warfare; but she would not condescend to allude to a circumstance
which, if it were an offence against her, she had pardoned, but as to
which, in her heart of hearts, she believed her husband to be, if not
innocent, at least not very guilty. She despised Adelaide Houghton too
much to think that her husband had really loved such a woman, and was
too confident in herself to doubt his love for many minutes. She could
hate Adelaide Houghton for making the attempt, and yet could believe
that the attempt had been futile.

Nevertheless when she was alone she thought much of Mrs. Houghton's
letter. Throughout her interview with her husband she had thought of
it, but had determined from the very first that she would not cast it
in his teeth. She would do nothing ungenerous. But was it not singular
that he should be able to upbraid her for her conduct, for conduct in
which there had been no trespass, knowing as he must have known,
feeling as he must have felt, that every word of that letter was
dwelling in her memory! He had, at any rate, intended that the
abominable correspondence should be clandestine. He must have been
sadly weak, to make the least of it, to have admitted such a
correspondence. "Pray tell me that you love me!" That had been the
language addressed to him only a few days since by a married lady to
whom he had once made an offer of marriage; and yet he could now come
and trample on her as though his marital superiority had all the
divinity of snow-white purity. This was absolute tyranny. But yet in
complaining to her father of his tyranny she would say nothing of
Adelaide Houghton. Of the accusations made against herself she would
certainly tell her father, unless they were withdrawn as far as her own
husband could withdraw them. For an hour after leaving him her passion
still sustained her. Was this to be her reward for all her endeavours
to become a loving wife?

They were engaged to dine that evening with a certain Mrs. Patmore
Green, who had herself been a Germain, and who had been first cousin to
the late marquis. Mary came down dressed into the drawing room at the
proper time, not having spoken another word to her husband, and there
she found him also dressed. She had schooled herself to show no sign
either of anger or regret, and as she entered the room said some
indifferent words about the brougham. He still looked as dark as a
thunder-cloud, but he rang the bell and asked the servant a question.
The brougham was there, and away they went to Mrs. Patmore Green's. She
spoke half-a-dozen words on the way, but he hardly answered her. She
knew that he would not do so, being aware that it was not within his
power to rise above the feelings of the moment. But she exerted herself
so that he might know that she did not mean to display her ill-humour
at Mrs. Patmore Green's house.

Lady Brabazon, whose sister had married a Germain, was there, and a
Colonel Ansley, who was a nephew of Lady Brotherton's; so that the
party was very much a Germain party. All these people had been a good
deal exercised of late on the great Popenjoy question. So immense is
the power of possession that the Marquis, on his arrival in town, had
been asked to all the Germain houses in spite of his sins, and had been
visited with considerable family affection and regard; for was he not
the head of them all? But he had not received these offers graciously,
and now the current of Germain opinion was running against him. Of the
general propriety of Lord George's conduct ever since his birth there
had never been a doubt, and the Greens and Brabazons and Ansleys were
gradually coming round to the opinion that he was right to make
enquiries as to the little Popenjoy's antecedents. They had all taken
kindly to Mary, though they were, perhaps, beginning to think that she
was a little too frivolous, too fond of pleasure for Lord George. Mrs.
Patmore Green, who was the wife of a very rich man, and the mother of a
very large family, and altogether a very worthy woman, almost at once
began to whisper to Mary--"Well, my dear, what news from Italy?"

"I never hear anything about it, Mrs. Green," said Mary, with a laugh.

"And yet the Dean is so eager, Lady George!"

"I won't let papa talk to me about it. Lord Brotherton is quite welcome
to his wife and his son, and everything else for me--only I do wish he
would have remained away."

"I think we all wish that, my dear."

Mr. Patmore Green, and Colonel Ansley, and Lady Brabazon all spoke a
word or two in the course of the evening to Lord George on the same
subject, but he would only shake his head and say nothing. At that time
this affair of his wife's was nearer to him and more burdensome to him
than even the Popenjoy question. He could not rid himself of this new
trouble even for a moment. He was still thinking of it when all the
enquiries about Popenjoy were being made. What did it matter to him how
that matter should be settled, if all the happiness of his life were to
be dispelled by this terrible domestic affliction. "I am afraid this
quarrel with his brother will be too much for Lord George," said Mr.
Patmore Green to his wife, when the company were gone. "He was not able
to say a word the whole evening."

"And I never knew her to be more pleasant," said Mrs. Patmore Green.
"She doesn't seem to care about it the least in the world." The husband
and wife did not speak a word to each other as they went home in the
brougham. Mary had done her duty by sustaining herself in public, but
was not willing to let him think that she had as yet forgiven the
cruelty of his suspicions.



During the whole of that night Lord George lay suffering from his
troubles, and his wife lay thinking about them. Though the matter
affected her future life almost more materially than his, she had the
better courage to maintain her, and a more sustained conviction. It
might be that she would have to leave her home and go back to the
deanery, and in that there would be utter ruin to her happiness. Let
the result, however, be as it would, she could never own herself to
have been one tittle astray, and she was quite sure that her father
would support her in that position. The old 'ruat coelum' feeling was
strong within her. She would do anything she could for her husband
short of admitting, by any faintest concession, that she had been wrong
in reference to Captain De Baron. She would talk to him, coax him,
implore him, reason with him, forgive him, love him, and caress him.
She would try to be gentle with him this coming morning. But if he were
obdurate in blaming her, she would stand on her own innocence and fight
to the last gasp. He was supported by no such spirit of pugnacity. He
felt it to be his duty to withdraw his wife from the evil influence of
this man's attractions, but felt, at the same time, that he might
possibly lack the strength to do so. And then, what is the good of
withdrawing a wife, if the wife thinks that she ought not to be
withdrawn? There are sins as to which there is no satisfaction in
visiting the results with penalties. The sin is in the mind, or in the
heart, and is complete in its enormity, even though there be no result.
He was miserable because she had not at once acknowledged that she
never ought to see this man again, as soon as she had heard the horrors
which her husband had told her. "George," she said to him at breakfast,
the next morning, "do not let us go on in this way together."

"In what way?"

"Not speaking to each other,--condemning each other."

"I have not condemned you, and I don't know why you should condemn me."

"Because I think that you suspect me without a cause."

"I only tell you what people say!"

"If people told me bad things of you, George,--that you were this or
that, or the other, should I believe them?"

"A woman's name is everything."

"Then do you protect my name. But I deny it. Her name should be as
nothing when compared with her conduct. I don't like to be evil spoken
of, but I can bear that, or anything else, if you do not think evil of
me,--you and papa." This reference to her father brought back the black
cloud which her previous words had tended to dispel. "Tell me that you
do not suspect me."

"I never said that I suspected you of anything."

"Say that you are sure that in regard to this man I never said, or did,
or thought anything that was wrong. Come, George, have I not a right to
expect that from you?" She had come round the table and was standing
over him, touching his shoulder.

"Even then it would be better that you should go away from him."


"I say that it would be better, Mary."

"And I say that it would be worse,--much worse. What? Will you bid your
wife make so much of any man as to run away from him? Will you let the
world say that you think that I cannot be safe in his company? I will
not consent to that, George. The running away shall not be mine. Of
course you can take me away, if you please, but I shall feel----"


"You know what I shall feel. I told you last night."

"What do you want me to do?" he asked, after a pause.


"I am to hear these stories and not even to tell you that I have heard

"I did not say that, George. I suppose it is better that you should
tell me. But I think you should say at the same time that you know them
to be false." Even though they were false, there was that doctrine of
Cæsar's wife which she would not understand! "I think I should be told,
and then left to regulate my own ways accordingly." This was mutinously
imperious, and yet he did not quite know how to convince her of her
mutiny. Through it all he was cowed by the remembrance of that
love-letter, which, of course, was in her mind, but which she was
either too generous or too wise to mention. He almost began to think
that it was wisdom rather than generosity, feeling himself to be more
cowed by her reticence than he would have been by her speech.

"You imagine, then, that a husband should never interfere."

"Not to protect a wife from that from which she is bound to protect
herself. If he has to do so, she is not the worth the trouble, and he
had better get rid of her. It is like preventing a man from drinking by
locking up the wine."

"That has to be done sometimes."

"It sha'n't be done to me, George. You must either trust me, or we must

"I do trust you," he said, at last.

"Then let there be an end of all this trouble. Tell Susanna that you
trust me. For your brother and that disappointed young woman I care
nothing. But if I am to spend my time at Cross Hall, whatever they may
think, I should not wish them to believe that you thought evil of me.
And, George, don't suppose that because I say that I will not run away
from Captain De Baron, all this will go for nothing with me. I will not
avoid Captain De Baron, but I will be careful to give no cause for
ill-natured words." Then she put her arm round his neck, and kissed
him, and had conquered him.

When he went away from the house he had another great trouble before
him. He had not seen Mrs. Houghton as yet, since his wife had found
that love-letter; but she had written to him often. She had sent notes
to his club almost wild with love and anger,--with that affectation of
love and anger which some women know how to assume, and which so few
men know how to withstand. It was not taken to be quite real, even by
Lord George; and yet he could not withstand it. Mrs. Houghton, who
understood the world thoroughly, had become quite convinced that Lady
George had quarrelled with her. The two women had been very intimate
ever since Lady George had been in town, and now for the last few days
they had not seen each other. Mrs. Houghton had called twice, and had
been refused. Then she had written, and had received no answer. She
knew then that Mary had discovered something, and, of course,
attributed her lover's absence to the wife's influence. But it did not
occur to her that she should, on this account, give up her intercourse
with Lord George. Scenes, quarrels, reconciliations, troubles,
recriminations, jealousies, resolves, petty triumphs, and the general
upsetting of the happiness of other people,--these were to her the
sweets of what she called a passion. To give it all up because her
lover's wife had found her out, and because her lover was in trouble,
would be to abandon her love just when it was producing the desired
fruit. She wrote short letters and long letters, angry letters, and
most affectionate letters to Lord George at his club, entreating him to
come to her, and almost driving him out of his wits. He had, from the
first, determined that he would go to her. He had even received his
wife's sanction for doing so; but, knowing how difficult it would be to
conduct such an interview, had, hitherto, put off the evil hour. But
now a day and an hour had been fixed, and the day and the hour had
come. The hour had very nearly come. When he left his house there was
still time for him to sit for awhile at his club, and think what he
would say to this woman.

He wished to do what was right. There was not a man in England less
likely to have intended to amuse himself with a second love within
twelve months of his marriage than Lord George Germain. He had never
been a Lothario,--had never thought himself to be gifted in that way.
In the first years of his manhood, when he had been shut up at Manor
Cross, looking after his mother's limited means, with a full conviction
that it was his duty to sacrifice himself to her convenience, he had
been apt to tell himself that he was one of those men who have to go
through life without marrying--or loving. Though strikingly handsome,
he had never known himself to be handsome. He had never thought himself
to be clever, or bright, or agreeable. High birth had been given to
him, and a sense of honour. Of those gifts he had been well aware and
proud enough, but had taken credit to himself for nothing else. Then
had come that startling episode of his life in which he had fallen in
love with Adelaide De Baron, and then the fact of his marriage with
Mary Lovelace. Looking back at it now, he could hardly understand how
it had happened that he had either fallen in love or married. He
certainly was not now the least in love with Mrs. Houghton. And, though
he did love his wife dearly, though the more he saw of her the more he
admired her, yet his marriage had not made him happy. He had to live on
her money, which galled him, and to be assisted by the Dean's money,
which was wormwood to him. And he found himself to be driven whither
he did not wish to go, and to be brought into perils from which his
experience did not suffice to extricate him. He already repented the
step he had taken in regard to his brother, knowing that it was the
Dean who had done it, and not he himself. Had he not married, he might
well have left the battle to be fought in after years,--when his
brother should be dead, and very probably he himself also.

He was aware that he must be very firm with Mrs. Houghton. Come what
might he must give her to understand quite clearly that all love-making
must be over between them. The horrors of such a condition of things
had been made much clearer to him than before by his own anxiety in
reference to Captain De Baron. But he knew himself to be too
soft-hearted for such firmness. If he could send some one else, how
much better it would be! But, alas! this was a piece of work which no
deputy could do for him. Nor could a letter serve as a deputy. Let him
write as carefully as he might, he must say things which would condemn
him utterly were they to find their way into Mr. Houghton's hands. One
terrible letter had gone astray, and why not another?

She had told him to be in Berkeley Square at two, and he was there very
punctually. He would at the moment have given much to find the house
full of people; but she was quite alone. He had thought that she would
receive him with a storm of tears, but when he entered she was radiant
with smiles. Then he remembered how on a former occasion she had
deceived him, making him believe that all her lures to him meant little
or nothing just when he had determined to repudiate them because he had
feared that they meant so much. He must not allow himself to be won in
that way again. He must be firm, even though she smiled. "What is all
this about?" she said in an affected whisper as soon as the door was
closed. He looked very grave and shook his head. "'Thou canst not say I
did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me.' That wife of yours has found
out something, and has found it out from you, my Lord."

"Yes, indeed."

"What has she found out?"

"She read a letter to me which you sent to the club."

"Then I think it very indecent behaviour on her part. Does she search
her husband's correspondence? I don't condescend to do that sort of

"It was my fault. I put it into her hand by mistake. But that does not

"Not matter! It matters very much to me, I think. Not that I care. She
cannot hurt me. But, George, was not that careless--very careless; so
careless as to be--unkind?"

"Of course it was careless."

"And ought you not to think more of me than that? Have you not done me
an injury, sir, when you owed me all solicitude and every possible
precaution?" This was not to be denied. If he chose to receive such
letters, he was bound at any rate to keep them secret. "But men are so
foolish--so little thoughtful! What did she say, George?"

"She behaved like an angel."

"Of course. Wives in such circumstances always do. Just a few drops of
anger, and then a deluge of forgiveness. That was it, was it not?"

"Something like it."

"Of course. It happens every day,--because men are so stupid, but at
the same time so necessary. But what did she say of me I Was she angel
on my side of the house as well as yours?"

"Of course she was angry."

"It did not occur to her that she had been the interloper, and had
taken you away from me?"

"That was not so. You had married."

"Psha! Married! Of course I had married. Everybody marries. You had
married; but I did not suppose that for that reason you would forget me
altogether. People must marry as circumstances suit. It is no good
going back to that old story. Why did you not come to me sooner, and
tell me of this tragedy I Why did you leave me to run after her and
write to her?"

"I have been very unhappy."

"So you ought to be. But things are never so bad in the wearing as in
the anticipation. I don't suppose she'll go about destroying my name
and doing me a mischief?"


"Because if she did, you know, I could retaliate."

"What do you mean by that, Mrs. Houghton?"

"Nothing that need disturb you, Lord George. Do not look such daggers
at me. But women have to be forbearing to each other. She is your wife,
and you may be sure I shall never say a nasty word about her,--unless
she makes herself very objectionable to me."

"Nobody can say nasty things about her."

"That is all right, then. And now what have you to say to me about
myself? I am not going to be gloomy because a little misfortune has
happened. It is not my philosophy to cry after spilt milk."

"I will sit down a minute," he said; for hitherto he had been standing.

"Certainly; and I will sit opposite to you,--for ten minutes if you
wish it. I see that there is something to be said. What is it?"

"All that has passed between you and me for the last month or two must
be forgotten."

"Oh, that is it!"

"I will not make her miserable, nor will I bear a burden upon my own

"Your conscience! What a speech for a man to make to a woman! And how
about my conscience? And then one thing further. You say that it must
be all forgotten?"

"Yes, indeed."

"Can you forget it?"

"I can strive to do so. By forgetting, one means laying it aside. We
remember chiefly those things which we try to remember."

"And you will not try to remember me--in the least? You will lay me
aside--like an old garment? Because this--angel--has come across a
scrawl which you were too careless either to burn or to lock up! You
will tell yourself to forget me, as you would a servant that you had
dismissed,--much more easily than you would a dog? Is that so?"

"I did not say that I could do it easily."

"You shall not do it at all. I will not be forgotten. Did you ever love
me, sir?"

"Certainly I did. You know that I did."

"When? How long since? Have you ever sworn that you loved me since
this--angel--has been your wife?" Looking back as well as he could, he
rather thought that he never had sworn that he loved her in these
latter days. She had often bidden him to do so; but as far as he could
recollect at the moment, he had escaped the absolute utterance of the
oath by some subterfuge. But doubtless he had done that which had been
tantamount to swearing; and, at any rate, he could not now say that he
had never sworn. "Now you come to tell me that it must all be
forgotten! Was it she taught you that word?"

"If you upbraid me I will go away."

"Go, sir,--if you dare. You first betray me to your wife by your
egregious folly, and then tell me that you will leave me because I have
a word to say for myself. Oh, George, I expected more tenderness than
that from you."

"There is no use in being tender. It can only produce misery and

"Well; of all the cold-blooded speeches I ever heard, that is the
worst. After all that has passed between us, you do not scruple to tell
me that you cannot even express tenderness for me, lest it should bring
you into trouble! Men have felt that before, I do not doubt; but I
hardly think any man was ever hard enough to make such a speech. I
wonder whether Captain De Baron is so considerate."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You come here and talk to me about your angel, and then tell me that
you cannot show me even the slightest tenderness, lest it should make
you miserable,--and you expect me to hold my tongue."

"I don't know why you should mention Captain De Baron."

"I'll tell you why, Lord George. There are five or six of us playing
this little comedy. Mr. Houghton and I are married, but we have not
very much to say to each other. It is the same with you and Mary."

"I deny it."

"I daresay; but at the same time you know it to be true. She consoles
herself with Captain De Baron. With whom Mr. Houghton consoles himself
I have never taken the trouble to enquire. I hope someone is
good-natured to him, poor old soul. Then, as to you and me,--you used,
I think, to get consolation here. But such comforts cost trouble, and
you hate trouble." As she said this, she wound her arm inside his; and
he, angry as he was with her for speaking as she had done of his wife,
could not push her from him roughly. "Is not that how it is, George?"


"Then I don't think you understand the play as well as I do."

"No! I deny it all."


"Everything about Mary. It's a slander to mention that man's name in
connection with her,--a calumny which I will not endure."

"How is it, then, if they mention mine in connection with you?"

"I am saying nothing about that."

"But I suppose you think of it. I am hardly of less importance to
myself than Lady George is to herself. I did think I was not of less
importance to you."

"Nobody ever was or ever can be of so much importance to me as my wife,
and I will be on good terms with no one who speaks evil of her."

"They may say what they like of me?"

"Mr. Houghton must look to that."

"It is no business of yours, George?"

He paused a moment, and then found the courage to answer her.
"No--none," he said. Had she confined herself to her own assumed
wrongs, her own pretended affection,--had she contented herself with
quarrelling with him for his carelessness, and had then called upon him
for some renewed expression of love,--he would hardly have been strong
enough to withstand her. But she could not keep her tongue from
speaking evil of his wife. From the moment in which he had called Mary
an angel, it was necessary to her comfort to malign the angel. She did
not quite know the man, or the nature of men generally. A man, if his
mind be given that way, may perhaps with safety whisper into a woman's
ear that her husband is untrue to her. Such an accusation may serve his
purpose. But the woman, on her side, should hold her peace about the
man's wife. A man must be very degraded indeed if his wife be not holy
to him. Lord George had been driving his wife almost mad during the
last twenty-four hours by implied accusations, and yet she was to him
the very holy of holies. All the Popenjoy question was as nothing to
him in comparison with the sanctity of her name. And now, weak as he
was, incapable as he would have been, under any other condition of
mind, of extricating himself from the meshes which this woman was
spinning for him, he was enabled to make an immediate and most salutary
plunge by the genuine anger she had produced. "No, none," he said.

"Oh, very well. The angel is everything to you, and I am nothing?"

"Yes; my wife is everything to me."

"How dared you, then, come here and talk to me of love? Do you think I
will stand this,--that I will endure to be treated in this way? Angel,
indeed! I tell you that she cares more for Jack De Baron's little
finger than for your whole body. She is never happy unless he is with
her. I don't think very much of my cousin Jack, but to her he is a

"It is false."

"Very well. It is nothing to me; but you can hardly expect, my Lord,
that I should hear from you such pleasant truths as you have just told
me, and not give you back what I believe to be truth in return."

"Have I spoken evil of any one? But I will not stay here, Mrs.
Houghton, to make recriminations. You have spoken most cruelly of a
woman who never injured you, who has always been your firm friend. It
is my duty to protect her, and I shall always do so in all
circumstances. Good morning." Then he went before she could say another
word to him.

He would perhaps have been justified had he been a little proud of the
manner in which he had carried himself through this interview; but he
entertained no such feeling. To the lady he had just left he feared
that he had been rough and almost cruel. She was not to him the mass of
whipped cream turned sour which she may perhaps be to the reader.
Though he had been stirred to anger, he had been indignant with
circumstances rather than with Mrs. Houghton. But in truth the renewed
accusation against his wife made him so wretched that there was no room
in his breast for pride. He had been told that she liked Jack De
Baron's little finger better than his whole body, and had been so told
by one who knew both his wife and Jack De Baron. Of course there had
been spite and malice and every possible evil passion at work. But then
everybody was saying the same thing. Even though there were not a word
of truth in it, such a rumour alone would suffice to break his heart.
How was he to stop cruel tongues, especially the tongue of this woman,
who would now be his bitterest enemy? If such things were repeated by
all connected with him, how would he be able to reconcile his own
family to his wife? There was nothing which he valued now but the
respect which he held in his own family and that which his wife might
hold. And in his own mind he could not quite acquit her. She would not
be made to understand that she might injure his honour and destroy his
happiness even though she committed no great fault. To take her away
with a strong hand seemed to be his duty. But then there was the Dean,
who would most certainly take her part,--and he was afraid of the Dean.



Then came Lady Brabazon's party. Lord George said nothing further to
his wife about Jack De Baron for some days after that storm in Berkeley
Square,--nor did she to him. She was quite contented that matters
should remain as they now were. She had vindicated herself, and if he
made no further accusation, she was willing to be appeased. He was by
no means contented;--but as a day had been fixed for them to leave
London, and that day was now but a month absent, he hardly knew how to
insist upon an alteration of their plans. If he did so he must declare
war against the Dean, and, for a time, against his wife also. He
postponed, therefore, any decision, and allowed matters to go on as
they were. Mary was no doubt triumphant in her spirit. She had
conquered him for a time, and felt that it was so. But she was, on that
account, more tender and observant to him than ever. She even offered
to give up Lady Brabazon's party, altogether. She did not much care for
Lady Brabazon's party, and was willing to make a sacrifice that was
perhaps no sacrifice. But to this he did not assent. He declared
himself to be quite ready for Lady Brabazon's party, and to Lady
Brabazon's party they went. As she was on the staircase she asked him a
question. "Do you mind my having a waltz to-night?" He could not bring
himself for the moment to be stern enough to refuse. He knew that the
pernicious man would not be there. He was quite sure that the question
was not asked in reference to the pernicious man. He did not
understand, as he should have done, that a claim was being made for
general emancipation, and he muttered something which was intended to
imply assent. Soon afterwards she took two or three turns with a stout
middle-aged gentleman, a Count somebody, who was connected with the
German embassy. Nothing on earth could have been more harmless or
apparently uninteresting. Then she signified to him that she had done
her duty to Lady Brabazon and was quite ready to go home. "I'm not
particularly bored," he said; "don't mind me." "But I am," she
whispered, laughing, "and as I know you don't care about it, you might
as well take me away." So he took her home. They were not there above
half-an-hour, but she had carried her point about the waltzing.

On the next day the Dean came to town to attend a meeting at Mr.
Battle's chambers by appointment. Lord George met him there, of course,
as they were at any rate supposed to act in strict concert; but on
these days the Dean did not stay in Munster Court when in London.

He would always visit his daughter, but would endeavour to do so in her
husband's absence, and was unwilling even to dine there. "We shall be
better friends down at Brotherton," he said to her. "He is always angry
with me after discussing this affair of his brother's; and I am not
quite sure that he likes seeing me here." This he had said on a
previous occasion, and now the two men met in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, not
having even gone there together.

At this meeting the lawyer told them a strange story, and one which to
the Dean was most unsatisfactory,--one which he resolutely determined
to disbelieve. "The Marquis," said Mr. Battle, "had certainly gone
through two marriage ceremonies with the Italian lady, one before the
death and one after the death of her first reputed husband. And as
certainly the so-called Popenjoy had been born before the second
ceremony." So much the Dean believed very easily, and the information
tallied altogether with his own views. If this was so, the so-called
Popenjoy could not be a real Popenjoy, and his daughter would be
Marchioness of Brotherton when this wicked ape of a marquis should die;
and her son, should she have one, would be the future marquis. But then
there came the remainder of the lawyer's story. Mr. Battle was
inclined, from all that he had learned, to believe that the Marchioness
had never really been married at all to the man whose name she had
first borne, and that the second marriage had been celebrated merely to
save appearances.

"What appearances!" exclaimed the Dean. Mr. Battle shrugged his
shoulders. Lord George sat in gloomy silence. "I don't believe a word
of it," said the Dean.

Then the lawyer went on with his story. This lady had been betrothed
early in life to the Marchese Luigi; but the man had become
insane--partially insane and by fits and starts. For some reason, not
as yet understood, which might probably never be understood, the lady's
family had thought it expedient that the lady should bear the name of
the man to whom she was to be married. She had done so for some years
and had been in possession of some income belonging to him. But Mr.
Battle was of opinion that she had never been Luigi's wife. Further
enquiries might possibly be made, and might add to further results. But
they would be very expensive. A good deal of money had already been
spent. "What did Lord George wish?"

"I think we have done enough," said Lord George, slowly,--thinking also
that he had been already constrained to do much too much.

"It must be followed out to the end," said the Dean. "What! Here is a
woman who professed for years to be a man's wife, who bore his name,
who was believed by everybody to have been his wife----"

"I did not say that, Mr. Dean," interrupted the lawyer.

"Who lived on the man's revenues as his wife, and even bore his title,
and now in such an emergency as this we are to take a cock and bull
story as gospel. Remember, Mr. Battle, what is at stake."

"Very much is at stake, Mr. Dean, and therefore these enquiries have
been made,--at a very great expense. But our own evidence as far as it
goes is all against us. The Luigi family say that there was no
marriage. Her family say that there was, but cannot prove it. The child
may die, you know."

"Why should he die?" asked Lord George.

"I am trying the matter all round, you know. I am told the poor child
is in ill health. One has got to look at probabilities. Of course you
do not abandon a right by not prosecuting it now."

"It would be a cruelty to the boy to let him be brought up as Lord
Popenjoy and afterwards dispossessed," said the Dean.

"You, gentlemen, must decide," said the lawyer. "I only say that I do
not recommend further steps."

"I will do nothing further," said Lord George. "In the first place I
cannot afford it."

"We will manage that between us," said the Dean. "We need not trouble
Mr. Battle with that. Mr. Battle will not fear but that all expenses
will be paid."

"Not in the least," said Mr. Battle, smiling.

"I do not at all believe the story," said the Dean. "It does not sound
like truth. If I spent my last shilling in sifting the matter to the
bottom, I would go on with it. Though I were obliged to leave England
for twelve months myself, I would do it. A man is bound to ascertain
his own rights."

"I will have nothing more to do with it," said Lord George, rising from
his chair. "As much has been done as duty required; perhaps more. Mr.
Battle, good morning. If we could know as soon as possible what this
unfortunate affair has cost, I shall be obliged." He asked his
father-in-law to accompany him, but the Dean said that he would speak a
word or two further to Mr. Battle and remained.

At his club Lord George was much surprised to find a note from his
brother. The note was as follows:--

     "Would you mind coming to me here to-morrow or the next day at 3.

     "B. Scumberg's Hotel, Tuesday."

This to Lord George was very strange indeed. He could not but remember
all the circumstances of his former visit to his brother,--how he had
been insulted, how his wife had been vilified, how his brother had
heaped scorn on him. At first he thought that he was bound to refuse to
do as he was asked. But why should his brother ask him? And his brother
was his brother,--the head of his family. He decided at last that he
would go, and left a note himself at Scumberg's Hotel that evening,
saying that he would be there on the morrow.

He was very much perplexed in spirit as he thought of the coming
interview. He went to the Dean's club and to the Dean's hotel, hoping
to find the Dean, and thinking that as he had consented to act with the
Dean against his brother, he was bound in honour to let the Dean know
of the new phase in the affair. But he did not find his father-in-law.
The Dean returned to Brotherton on the following morning, and therefore
knew nothing of this meeting till some days after it had taken place.
The language which the Marquis had used to his brother they were last
together had been such as to render any friendly intercourse almost
impossible. And then the mingled bitterness, frivolity, and wickedness
of his brother, made every tone of the man's voice and every glance of
his eye distasteful to Lord George. Lord George was always honest, was
generally serious, and never malicious. There could be no greater
contrast than that which had been produced between the brothers, either
by difference of disposition from their birth, or by the varied
circumstances of a residence on an Italian lake and one at Manor Cross.
The Marquis thought his brother to be a fool, and did not scruple to
say so on all occasions. Lord George felt that his brother was a knave,
but would not have so called him on any consideration. The Marquis in
sending for his brother hoped that even after all that had passed, he
might make use of Lord George. Lord George in going to his brother,
hoped that even after all that had passed he might be of use to the

When he was shown into the sitting-room at the hotel, the Marchioness
was again there. She, no doubt, had been tutored. She got up at once
and shook hands with her brother-in-law, smiling graciously. It must
have been a comfort to both of them that they spoke no common language,
as they could hardly have had many thoughts to interchange with each

"I wonder why the deuce you never learned Italian," said the Marquis.

"We never were taught," said Lord George.

"No;--nobody in England ever is taught anything but Latin and
Greek,--with this singular result, that after ten or a dozen years of
learning not one in twenty knows a word of either language. That is our
English idea of education. In after life a little French may be picked
up, from necessity; but it is French of the very worst kind. My wonder
is that Englishman can hold their own in the world at all."

"They do," said Lord George,--to whom all this was ear-piercing
blasphemy. The national conviction that an Englishman could thrash
three foreigners, and if necessary eat them, was strong with him.

"Yes; there is a ludicrous strength even in their pig-headedness. But
I always think that Frenchmen, Italians, and Prussians must in dealing
with us, be filled with infinite disgust. They must ever be saying,
'pig, pig, pig,' beneath their breath, at every turn."

"They don't dare to say it out loud," said Lord George.

"They are too courteous, my dear fellow." Then he said a few words to
his wife in Italian, upon which she left the room, again shaking hands
with her brother-in-law, and again smiling.

Then the Marquis rushed at once into the middle of his affairs.

"Don't you think George that you are an infernal fool to quarrel with

"You have quarrelled with me. I haven't quarrelled with you."

"Oh no;--not at all! When you send lawyer's clerks all over Italy to
try to prove my boy to be a bastard, and that is not quarrelling with
me! When you accuse my wife of bigamy that is not quarrelling with me!
When you conspire to make my house in the country too hot to hold me,
that is not quarrelling with me!"

"How have I conspired? with whom have I conspired?"

"When I explained my wishes about the house at Cross Hall, why did you
encourage those foolish old maids to run counter to me. You must have
understood pretty well that it would not suit either of us to be near
the other, and yet you chose to stick up for legal rights."

"We thought it better for my mother."

"My mother would have consented to anything that I proposed. Do you
think I don't know how the land lies? Well; what have you learned in
Italy?" Lord George was silent. "Of course, I know. I'm not such a fool
as not to keep my ears and eyes open. As far as your enquiries have
gone yet, are you justified in calling Popenjoy a bastard?"

"I have never called him so;--never. I have always declared my belief
and my wishes to be in his favour."

"Then why the d---- have you made all this rumpus?"

"Because it was necessary to be sure. When a man marries the same wife
twice over----"

"Have you never heard of that being done before? Are you so ignorant as
not to know that there are a hundred little reasons which may make that
expedient? You have made your enquiries now and what is the result?"

Lord George paused a moment before he replied, and then answered with
absolute honesty. "It is all very odd to me. That may be my English
prejudice. But I do think that your boy is legitimate."

"You are satisfied as to that?"

He paused again, meditating his reply. He did not wish to be untrue to
the Dean, but then he was very anxious to be true to his brother. He
remembered that in the Dean's presence he had told the lawyer that he
would have nothing to do with further enquiries. He had asked for the
lawyer's bill, thereby withdrawing from the investigation. "Yes," he
said slowly; "I am satisfied."

"And you mean to do nothing further?"

Again he was very slow, remembering how necessary it would be that he
should tell all this to the Dean, and how full of wrath the Dean would
be. "No; I do not mean to do anything further."

"I may take that as your settled purpose?"

There was another pause, and then he spoke, "Yes; you may."

"Then, George, let us try and forget what has passed. It cannot pay for
you and me to quarrel. I shall not stay in England very long. I don't
like it. It was necessary that the people about should know that I had
a wife and son, and so I brought him and her to this comfortless
country. I shall return before the winter, and for anything that I care
you may all go back to Manor Cross."

"I don't think my mother would like that."

"Why shouldn't she like it? I suppose I was to be allowed to have my
own house when I wanted it? I hope there was no offence in that, even
to that dragon Sarah? At any rate, you may as well look after the
property; and if they won't live there, you can. But there's one
question I want to ask you."


"What do you think of your precious father-in-law; and what do you
think that I must think of him? Will you not admit that for a vulgar,
impudent brute, he is about as bad as even England can supply?" Of
course Lord George had nothing to say in answer to this. "He is going
on with this tom-foolery, I believe?"

"You mean the enquiry?"

"Yes; I mean the enquiry whether my son and your nephew is a bastard. I
know he put you up to it. Am I right in saying that he has not
abandoned it?"

"I think you are right."

"Then by heaven I'll ruin him. He may have a little money, but I don't
think his purse is quite so long as mine. I'll lead him such a dance
that he shall wish he had never heard the name of Germain. I'll make
his deanery too hot to hold him. Now, George, as between you and me
this shall be all passed over. That poor child is not strong, and after
all you may probably be my heir. I shall never live in England, and you
are welcome to the house. I can be very bitter, but I can forgive; and
as far as you are concerned I do forgive. But I expect you to drop your
precious father-in-law." Lord George was again silent. He could not say
that he would drop the Dean; but at this moment he was not sufficiently
fond of the Dean to rise up in his stirrups and fight a battle for him.
"You understand me," continued the Marquis, "I don't want any assurance
from you. He is determined to prosecute an enquiry adverse to the
honour of your family, and in opposition to your settled convictions. I
don't think that after that you can doubt about your duty. Come and
see me again before long; won't you?" Lord George said that he would
come again before long, and then departed.

As he walked home his mind was sorely perplexed and divided. He had
made up his mind to take no further share in the Popenjoy
investigation, and must have been right to declare as much to his
brother. His conscience was clear as to that. And then there were many
reasons which induced him to feel coldly about the Dean. His own wife
had threatened him with her father. And the Dean was always driving
him. And he hated the Dean's money. He felt that the Dean was not quite
all that a gentleman should be. But, nevertheless, it behoved him above
all things to be honest and straightforward with the Dean.

There had been something in his interview with his brother to please
him, but it had not been all delightful.



How was he to keep faith with the Dean? This was Lord George's first
trouble after his reconciliation with his brother. The Dean was back at
the deanery, and Lord George mistrusted his own power of writing such a
letter as would be satisfactory on so abstruse a matter. He knew that
he should fail in making a good story, even face to face, and that his
letter would be worse than spoken words. In intellect he was much
inferior to the Dean, and was only too conscious of his own
inferiority. In this condition of mind he told his story to his wife.
She had never even seen the Marquis, and had never quite believed in
those ogre qualities which had caused so many groans to Lady Sarah and
Lady Susanna. When, therefore, her husband told her that he had made
his peace with his brother she was inclined to rejoice. "And Popenjoy
is Popenjoy," she said smiling.

"I believe he is, with all my heart."

"And that is to be an end of it, George? You know that I have never
been eager for any grandeur."

"I know it. You have behaved beautifully all along."

"Oh; I won't boast. Perhaps I ought to have been more ambitious for
you. But I hate quarrels, and I shouldn't like to have claimed anything
which did not really belong to us. It is all over now."

"I can't answer for your father."

"But you and papa are all one."

"Your father is very steadfast. He does not know yet that I have seen
my brother. I think you might write to him. He ought to know what has
taken place. Perhaps he would come up again if he heard that I had been
with my brother."

"Shall I ask him to come here?"

"Certainly. Why should he not come here? There is his room. He can
always come if he pleases." So the matter was left, and Mary wrote her
letter. It was not very lucid;--but it could hardly have been lucid,
the writer knowing so few of the details. "George has become friends
with his brother," she said, "and wishes me to tell you. He says that
Popenjoy is Popenjoy, and I am very glad. It was such a trouble. George
thinks you will come up to town when you hear, and begs you will come
here. Do come, papa! It makes me quite wretched when you go to that
horrid hotel. There is such a lot of quarrelling, and it almost seems
as if you were going to quarrel with us when you don't come here. Pray,
papa, never, never do that. If I thought you and George weren't friends
it would break my heart. Your room is always ready for you, and if
you'll say what day you'll be here I will get a few people to meet
you." The letter was much more occupied with her desire to see her
father than with that momentous question on which her father was so
zealously intent. Popenjoy is Popenjoy! It was very easy to assert so
much. Lord George would no doubt give way readily, because he disliked
the trouble of the contest. But it was not so with the Dean. "He is no
more Popenjoy than I am Popenjoy," said the Dean to himself when he
read the letter. Yes; he must go up to town again. He must know what
had really taken place between the two brothers. That was essential,
and he did not doubt but that he should get the exact truth from Lord
George. But he would not go to Munster Court. There was already a
difference of opinion between him and his son-in-law sufficient to make
such a sojourn disagreeable. If not disagreeable to himself, he knew
that it would be so to Lord George. He was sorry to vex Mary, but
Mary's interests were more at his heart than her happiness. It was now
the business of his life to make her a Marchioness, and that business
he would follow whether he made himself, her, and others happy or
unhappy. He wrote to her, bidding her tell her husband that he would
again be in London on a day which he named, but adding that for the
present he would prefer going to the hotel. "I cannot help it," said
Lord George moodily. "I have done all I could to make him welcome here.
If he chooses to stand off and be stiff he must do so."

At this time Lord George had many things to vex him. Every day he
received at his club a letter from Mrs. Houghton, and each letter was a
little dagger. He was abused by every epithet, every innuendo, and
every accusation familiar to the tongues and pens of the irritated
female mind. A stranger reading them would have imagined that he had
used all the arts of a Lothario to entrap the unguarded affections of
the writer, and then, when successful, had first neglected the lady and
afterwards betrayed her. And with every stab so given there was a
command expressed that he should come instantly to Berkeley Square in
order that he might receive other and worse gashes at the better
convenience of the assailant. But as Mrs. Bond's ducks would certainly
not have come out of the pond had they fully understood the nature of
that lady's invitation, so neither did Lord George go to Berkeley
Square in obedience to these commands. Then there came a letter which
to him was no longer a little dagger, but a great sword,--a sword
making a wound so wide that his life-blood seemed to flow. There was no
accusation of betrayal in this letter. It was simply the broken-hearted
wailings of a woman whose love was too strong for her. Had he not
taught her to regard him as the only man in the world whose presence
was worth having? Had he not so wound himself into every recess of her
heart as to make life without seeing him insupportable? Could it be
possible that, after having done all this, he had no regard for her?
Was he so hard, so cruel, such adamant as to deny her at least a
farewell? As for herself, she was now beyond all fear of consequences.
She was ready to die if it were necessary,--ready to lose all the
luxuries of her husband's position rather than never see him again. She
had a heart! She was inclined to doubt whether any one among her
acquaintances was so burdened. Why, oh why, had she thought so
steadfastly of his material interests when he used to kneel at her feet
and ask her to be his bride, before he had ever seen Mary Lovelace?
Then this long epistle was brought to an end. "Come to me to-morrow, A.
H. Destroy this the moment you have read it." The last behest he did
obey. He would put no second letter from this woman in his wife's way.
He tore the paper into minute fragments, and deposited the portions in
different places. That was easily done; but what should be done as to
the other behest? If he went to Berkeley Square again, would he be able
to leave it triumphantly as he had done on his last visit? That he did
not wish to see her for his own sake he was quite certain. But he
thought it incumbent on him to go yet once again. He did not altogether
believe all that story as to her tortured heart. Looking back at what
had passed between them since he had first thought himself to be in
love with her, he could not remember such a depth of love-making on his
part as that which she described. In the ordinary way he had proposed
to her, and had, in the ordinary way, been rejected. Since that, and
since his marriage, surely the protestations of affection had come
almost exclusively from the lady! He thought that it was so, and yet
was hardly sure. If he had got such a hold on her affections as she
described, certainly, then, he owed to her some reparation. But as he
remembered her great head of false hair and her paint, and called to
mind his wife's description of her, he almost protested to himself that
she was deceiving him;--he almost read her rightly. Nevertheless, he
would go once more. He would go and tell her sternly that the thing
must come to an end, and that no more letters were to be written.

He did go and found Jack De Baron there, and heard Jack discourse
enthusiastically about Mrs. Montacute Jones's ball, which was to be
celebrated in two or three days from the present time. Then Mrs.
Houghton was very careful to ask some question in Lord George's
presence as to some special figure-dance which was being got up for the
occasion. It was a dance newly introduced from Moldavia, and was the
most ravishing thing in the way of dancing that had ever yet found its
way into this country. Nobody had yet seen it, and it was being kept a
profound secret,--to be displayed only at Mrs. Montacute Jones's party.
It was practised in secret in her back drawing room by the eight
performers, with the assistance of a couple of most trustworthy hired
musicians, whom that liberal old lady, Mrs. Montacute Jones,
supplied,--so that the rehearsals might make the performers perfect for
the grand night. This was the story as told with great interest by Mrs.
Houghton, who seemed for the occasion almost to have recovered from her
heart complaint. That, however, was necessarily kept in abeyance during
Jack's presence. Jack, though he had been enthusiastic about Mrs. Jones
and her ball before Lord George's arrival, and though he had continued
to talk freely up to a certain point, suddenly became reticent as to
the great Moldavian dance. But Mrs. Houghton would not be reticent. She
declared the four couple who had been selected as performers to be the
happy, fortunate ones of the season. Mrs. Montacute Jones was a nasty
old woman for not having asked her. Of course there was a difficulty,
but there might have been two sets. "And Jack is such a false loon,"
she said to Lord George, "that he won't show me one of the figures."

"Are you going to dance it?" asked Lord George.

"I fancy I'm to be one of the team."

"He is to dance with Mary," said Mrs. Houghton. Then Lord George
thought that he understood the young man's reticence, and he was once
again very wretched. There came that cloud upon his brow which never
sat there without being visible to all who were in the company. No man
told the tale of his own feelings so plainly as he did. And Mrs.
Houghton, though declaring herself to be ignorant of the figure, had
described the dance as a farrago of polkas, waltzes, and galops, so
that the thing might be supposed to be a fast rapturous whirl from the
beginning to the end. And his wife was going through this indecent
exhibition at Mrs. Montacute Jones' ball with Captain de Baron after
all that he had said!

"You are quite wrong in your ideas about the dance," said Jack to his
cousin. "It is the quietest thing out,--almost as grave as a minuet.
It's very pretty, but people here will find it too slow." It may be
doubted whether he did much good by this explanation. Lord George
thought that he was lying, though he had almost thought before that
Mrs. Houghton was lying on the other side. But it was true at any rate
that after all that had passed a special arrangement had been made for
his wife to dance with Jack De Baron. And then his wife had been called
by implication, "One of the team."

Jack got up to go, but before he left the room Aunt Ju was there, and
then that sinful old woman Mrs. Montacute Jones herself. "My dear," she
said in answer to a question from Mrs. Houghton about the dance, "I am
not going to tell anybody anything about it. I don't know why it should
have been talked of. Four couple of good looking young people are going
to amuse themselves, and I have no doubt that those who look on will be
very much gratified." Oh, that his wife, that Lady Mary Germain, should
be talked of as one of "four couple of good looking young people," and
that she should be about to dance with Jack De Baron, in order that
strangers might be gratified by looking at her!

It was manifest that nothing special could be said to Mrs. Houghton on
that occasion, as one person came after another. She looked all the
while perfectly disembarrassed. Nobody could have imagined that she was
in the presence of the man whose love was all the world to her. When he
got up to take his leave she parted from him as though he were no more
to her than he ought to have been. And indeed he too had for the time
been freed from the flurry of his affair with Mrs. Houghton by the
other flurry occasioned by the Moldavian dance. The new dance was
called, he had been told, the Kappa-kappa. There was something in the
name suggestive of another dance of which he had heard,--and he was
very unhappy.

He found the Dean in Munster Court when he reached his own house. The
first word that his wife spoke to him was about the ball. "George, papa
is going with me on Friday to Mrs. Montacute Jones'."

"I hope he will like it," said Lord George.

"I wish you would come."

"Why should I go? I have already said that I would not."

"As for the invitation that does not signify in the least. Do come just
about twelve o'clock. We've got up such a dance, and I should like you
to come and see it."

"Who is we?"

"Well;--the parties are not quite arranged yet. I think I'm to dance
with Count Costi. Something depends on colours of dress and other
matters. The gentlemen are all to be in some kind of uniform. We have
rehearsed it, and in rehearsing we have done it all round, one with the

"Why didn't you tell me before?"

"We weren't to tell till it was settled."

"I mean to go and see it," said the Dean. "I delight in anything of
that kind."

Mary was so perfectly easy in the matter, so free from doubt, so
disembarrassed, that he was for the moment tranquillised. She had said
that she was to dance, not with that pernicious Captain, but with a
foreign Count. He did not like foreign Counts, but at the present
moment he preferred any one to Jack De Baron. He did not for a moment
doubt her truth. And she had been true,--though Jack De Baron and Mrs.
Houghton had been true also. When Mary had been last at Mrs. Jones'
house the matter had not been quite settled, and in her absence Jack
had foolishly, if not wrongly, carried his point with the old lady. It
had been decided that the performers were to go through their work in
the fashion that might best achieve the desired effect;--that they were
not to dance exactly with whom they pleased, but were to have their
parts assigned them as actors on a stage. Jack no doubt had been led by
his own private wishes in securing Mary as his partner, but of that
contrivance on his part she had been ignorant when she gave her
programme of the affair to her husband. "Won't you come in and see it?"
she said again.

"I am not very fond of those things. Perhaps I may come in for a few

"I am fond of them," said the Dean. "I think any innocent thing that
makes life joyous and pretty is good."

"That is rather begging the question," said Lord George, as he left the

Mary had not known what her husband meant by begging the question, but
the Dean had of course understood him. "I hope he is not going to
become ascetic," he said. "I hope at least that he will not insist that
you should be so."

"It is not his nature to be very gay," she answered.

On the next day, in the morning, was the last rehearsal, and then Mary
learned what was her destiny. She regretted it, but could not
remonstrate. Jack's uniform was red. The Count's dress was blue and
gold. Her dress was white, and she was told that the white and red must
go together. There was nothing more to be said. She could not plead
that her husband was afraid of Jack De Baron. Nor certainly would she
admit to herself that she was in the least afraid of him herself. But
for her husband's foolish jealousy she would infinitely have preferred
the arrangement as now made,--just as a little girl prefers as a
playmate a handsome boy whom she has long known, to some ill-visaged
stranger with whom she has never quarrelled and never again made
friends. But when she saw her husband she found herself unable to tell
him of the change which had been made. She was not actor enough to be
able to mention Jack De Baron's name to him with tranquillity.

On the next morning,--the morning of the important day,--she heard
casually from Mrs. Jones that Lord George had been at Mrs. Houghton's
house. She had quite understood from her husband that he intended to
see that evil woman again after the discovery and reading of the
letter. He had himself told her that he intended it; and she, if she
had not actually assented, had made no protest against his doing so.
But that visit, represented as being one final necessary visit, had,
she was well aware, been made some time since. She had not asked him
what had taken place. She had been unwilling to show any doubt by such
a question. The evil woman's name had never been on her tongue since
the day on which the letter had been read. But now, when she heard that
he was there again, so soon, as a friend joining in general
conversation in the evil woman's house, the matter did touch her. Could
it be that he was deceiving her after all, and that he loved the woman?
Did he really like that helmet, that paint and that affected laugh? And
had he lied to her,--deceived her with a premeditated story which must
have been full of lies? She could hardly bring herself to believe this;
and yet, why, why, why should he be there? The visit of which he had
spoken had been one intended to put an end to all close
friendship,--one in which he was to tell the woman that though the
scandal of an outward quarrel might be avoided, he and she were to meet
no more. And yet he was there. For aught she knew, he might be there
every day! She did know that Mrs. Montacute Jones had found him there.
Then he could come home to her and talk of the impropriety of dancing!
He could do such thinks as this, and yet be angry with her because she
liked the society of Captain De Baron!

Certainly she would dance with Captain De Baron. Let him come and see
her dancing with him; and then, if he dared to upbraid her, she would
ask him why he continued his intimacy in Berkeley Square. In her anger
she almost began to think that a quarrel was necessary. Was it not
manifest that he was deceiving her about that woman? The more she
thought of it the more wretched she became; but on that day she said
nothing of it to him. They dined together, the Dean dining with them.
He was perturbed and gloomy, the Dean having assured them that he did
not mean to allow the Popenjoy question to rest. "I stand in no awe of
your brother," the Dean had said to him. This had angered Lord George,
and he had refused to discuss the matter any further.

At nine Lady George went up to dress, and at half-past ten she started
with her father. At that time her husband had left the house and had
said not a word further as to his intention of going to Mrs. Jones'
house. "Do you think he will come?" she said to the Dean.

"Upon my word I don't know. He seems to me to be in an ill-humour with
all the world."

"Don't quarrel with him, papa."

"I do not mean to do so. I never mean to quarrel with anyone, and least
of all with him. But I must do what I conceive to be my duty whether he
likes it or not."



Mrs. Montacute Jones' house in Grosvenor Place was very large and very
gorgeous. On this occasion it was very gorgeous indeed. The party had
grown in dimensions. The new Moldavian dance had become the topic of
general discourse. Everybody wanted to see the Kappa-kappa. Count
Costi, Lord Giblet, young Sir Harry Tripletoe, and, no doubt, Jack De
Baron also, had talked a good deal about it at the clubs. It had been
intended to be a secret, and the ladies, probably, had been more
reticent. Lady Florence Fitzflorence had just mentioned it to her
nineteen specially intimate friends. Madame Gigi, the young wife of the
old Bohemian minister, had spoken of it only to the diplomatic set;
Miss Patmore Green had been as silent as death, except in her own
rather large family, and Lady George had hardly told anybody, except
her father. But, nevertheless, the secret had escaped, and great
efforts had been made to secure invitations. "I can get you to the
Duchess of Albury's in July if you can manage it for me," one young
lady said to Jack De Baron.

"Utterly impossible!" said Jack, to whom the offered bribe was not
especially attractive. "There won't be standing room in the cellars. I
went down on my knees to Mrs. Montacute Jones for a very old friend,
and she simply asked me whether I was mad." This was, of course,
romance; but, nevertheless, the crowd was great, and the anxiety to see
the Kappa-kappa universal.

By eleven the dancing had commenced. Everything had been arranged in
the strictest manner. Whatever dance might be going on was to be
brought to a summary close at twelve o'clock, and then the Kappa-kappa
was to be commenced. It had been found that the dance occupied exactly
forty minutes. When it was over the doors of the banquetting hall would
be opened. The Kappa-kappaites would then march into supper, and the
world at large would follow them.

Lady George, when she first entered the room, found a seat near the
hostess, and sat herself down, meaning to wait for the important
moment. She was a little flurried as she thought of various things.
There was the evil woman before her, already dancing. The evil woman
had nodded at her, and had then quickly turned away, determined not to
see that her greeting was rejected; and there was Augusta Mildmay
absolutely dancing with Jack De Baron, and looking as though she
enjoyed the fun. But to Mary there was something terrible in it all.
She had been so desirous to be happy,--to be gay,--to amuse herself,
and yet to be innocent. Her father's somewhat epicurean doctrines had
filled her mind completely. And what had hitherto come of it? Her
husband mistrusted her; and she at this moment certainly mistrusted him
most grievously. Could she fail to mistrust him? And she, absolutely
conscious of purity, had been so grievously suspected! As she looked
round on the dresses and diamonds, and heard the thick hum of voices,
and saw on all sides the pretence of cordiality, as she watched the
altogether unhidden flirtations of one girl, and the despondent frown
of another, she began to ask herself whether her father had not been
wrong when he insisted that she should be taken to London. Would she
not have been more safe and therefore more happy even down at Cross
Hall, with her two virtuous sisters-in-law? What would become of her
should she quarrel with her husband, and how should she not quarrel
with him if he would suspect her, and would frequent the house of that
evil woman?

Then Jack De Baron came up to her, talking to her father. The Dean
liked the young man, who had always something to say for himself, whose
manners were lively, and who, to tell the truth, was more than
ordinarily civil to Lady George's father. Whether Jack would have put
himself out of the way to describe the Kappa-kappa to any other
dignitary of the Church may be doubted, but he had explained it all
very graciously to the Dean. "So it seems that, after all, you are to
dance with Captain De Baron," said the Dean.

"Yes; isn't it hard upon me? I was to have stood up with a real French
Count, who has real diamond buttons, and now I am to be put off with a
mere British Captain, because my white frock is supposed to suit his
red coat!"

"And who has the Count?"

"That odiously fortunate Lady Florence;--and she has diamonds of her
own! I think they should have divided the diamonds. Madame Gigi has the
Lord. Between ourselves, papa,"--and as she said this she whispered,
and both her father and Jack bent over to hear her--"we are rather
afraid of our Lord; ain't we, Captain De Baron? There has been ever so
much to manage, as we none of us quite wanted the Lord. Madame Gigi
talks very little English, so we were able to put him off upon her."

"And does the Lord talk French?"

"That doesn't signify as Giblet never talks at all," said Jack.

"Why did you have him?"

"To tell you the truth, among us all there is rather a hope that he
will propose to Miss Patmore Green. Dear Mrs. Montacute Jones is very
clever at these things, and saw at a glance that nothing would be so
likely to make him do it as seeing Madeline Green dancing with
Tripletoe. No fellow ever did dance so well as Tripletoe, or looked
half so languishing. You see, Dean, there are a good many in's and
out's in these matters, and they have to be approached carefully." The
Dean was amused, and his daughter would have been happy, but for the
double care which sat heavy at her heart. Then Jack suggested to her
that she might as well stand up for a square dance. All the other
Kappa-kappaites had danced or were dancing. The one thing on which she
was firmly determined was that she would not be afraid of Captain De
Baron. Whatever she did now she did immediately under her father's eye.
She made no reply, but got up and put her hand on the Captain's arm
without spoken assent, as a woman will do when she is intimate with a

"Upon my word, for a very young creature I never saw such impudence as
that woman's," said a certain Miss Punter to Augusta Mildmay. Miss
Punter was a great friend of Augusta Mildmay, and was watching her
friend's broken heart with intense interest.

"It is disgusting," said Augusta.

"She doesn't seem to mind the least who sees it. She must mean to leave
Lord George altogether, or she would never go on like that. De Baron
wouldn't be such a fool as to go off with her?"

"Men are fools enough for anything," said the broken-hearted one. While
this was going on Mary danced her square dance complaisantly; and her
proud father, looking on, thought that she was by far the prettiest
woman in the room.

Before the quadrille was over a gong was struck, and the music stopped
suddenly. It was twelve o'clock, and the Kappa-kappa was to be danced.
It is hard in most amusements to compel men and women into disagreeable
punctuality; but the stopping of music will bring a dance to a sudden
end. There were some who grumbled, and one or two declared that they
would not even stay to look at the Kappa-kappa. But Mrs. Montacute
Jones was a great autocrat; and in five minutes' time the four couples
were arranged, with ample space, in spite of the pressing crowd.

It must be acknowledged that Jack De Baron had given no correct idea of
the dance when he said that it was like a minuet; but it must be
remembered also that Lady George had not been a party to that deceit.
The figure was certainly a lively figure. There was much waltzing to
quick time, the glory of which seemed to consist in going backwards,
and in the interweaving of the couples without striking each other, as
is done in skating. They were all very perfect, except poor Lord
Giblet, who once or twice nearly fell into trouble. During the
performance they all changed partners more than once, but each lady
came back to her own after very short intervals. All those who were not
envious declared it to be very pretty and prophesied great future
success for the Kappa-kappa. Those who were very wise and very discreet
hinted that it might become a romp when danced without all the
preparation which had been given to it on the present occasion. It
certainly became faster as it progressed, and it was evident that
considerable skill and considerable physical power were necessary for
its completion. "It would be a deal too stagey for my girls," said Mrs.
Conway Smith, whose "girls" had, during the last ten years, gone
through every phase of flirtation invented in these latter times.
Perhaps it did savour a little too much of ballet practice; perhaps it
was true that with less care there might have been inconveniences.
Faster it grew and faster; but still they had all done it before, and
done it with absolute accuracy. It was now near the end. Each lady had
waltzed a turn with each gentleman. Lady George had been passed on from
the Count to Sir Harry, and from Sir Harry to Lord Giblet. After her
turn it was his lordship's duty to deliver her up to her partner, with
whom she would make a final turn round the dancing space; and then the
Kappa-kappa would have been danced. But alas! as Lord Giblet was doing
this he lost his head and came against the Count and Madame Gigi. Lady
George was almost thrown to the ground, but was caught by the Captain,
who had just parted with Lady Florence to Sir Harry. But poor Mary had
been almost on the floor, and could hardly have been saved without
something approaching to the violence of an embrace.

Lord George had come into the room very shortly after the Kappa-kappa
had been commenced, but had not at once been able to get near the
dancers. Gradually he worked his way through the throng, and when he
first saw the performers could not tell who was his wife's partner. She
was then waltzing backwards with Count Costi; and he, though he hated
waltzing, and considered the sin to be greatly aggravated by the
backward movement, and though he hated Counts, was still somewhat
pacified. He had heard since he was in the room how the partners were
arranged, and had thought that his wife had deceived him. The first
glance was reassuring. But Mary soon returned to her real partner; and
he slowly ascertained that she was in very truth waltzing with Captain
De Baron. He stood there, a little behind the first row of spectators,
never for a moment seen by his wife, but able himself to see
everything, with a brow becoming every moment blacker and blacker. To
him the exhibition was in every respect objectionable. The brightness
of the apparel of the dancers was in itself offensive to him. The
approach that had been made to the garishness of a theatrical
performance made the whole thing, in his eyes, unfit for modest
society. But that his wife should be one of the performers, that she
should be gazed at by a crowd as she tripped about, and that, after all
that had been said, she should be tripping in the arms of Captain De
Baron, was almost more than he could endure. Close to him, but a little
behind, stood the Dean, thoroughly enjoying all that he saw. It was to
him a delight that there should be such a dance to be seen in a lady's
drawing-room, and that he should be there to see it. It was to him an
additional delight that his daughter should have been selected as one
of the dancers. These people were all persons of rank and fashion, and
his girl was among them quite as their equal,--his girl, who some day
should be Marchioness of Brotherton. And it gratified him thoroughly to
think that she enjoyed it,--that she did it well,--that she could dance
so that standers-by took pleasure in seeing her dancing. His mind in
the matter was altogether antagonistic to that of his son-in-law.

Then came the little accident. The Dean, with a momentary impulse, put
up his hand, and then smiled well pleased when he saw how well the
matter had been rectified by the Captain's activity. But it was not so
with Lord George. He pressed forward into the circle with so determined
a movement that nothing could arrest him till he had his wife by the
arm. Everybody, of course, was staring at him. The dancers were
astounded. Mary apparently thought less of it than the others, for she
spoke to him with a smile. "It is all right, George; I was not in the
least hurt."

"It is disgraceful!" said he, in a loud voice; "come away."

"Oh, yes," she said; "I think we had finished. It was nobody's fault."

"Come away; I will have no more of this."

"Is there anything wrong?" asked the Dean, with an air of innocent

The offended husband was almost beside himself with passion. Though he
knew that he was surrounded by those who would mock him he could not
restrain himself. Though he was conscious at the moment that it was his
special duty to shield his wife, he could not restrain his feelings.
The outrage was too much for him. "There is very much the matter," he
said, aloud; "let her come away with me." Then he took her under his
arm, and attempted to lead her away to the door.

Mrs. Montacute Jones had, of course, seen it all, and was soon with
him. "Pray, do not take her away, Lord George," she said.

"Madam, I must be allowed to do so," he replied, still pressing on. "I
would prefer to do so."

"Wait till her carriage is here."

"We will wait below. Good-night, good-night." And so he went out of the
room with his wife on his arm, followed by the Dean. Since she had
perceived that he was angry with her, and that he had displayed his
anger in public Mary had not spoken a word. She had pressed him to come
and see the dance, not without a purpose in her mind. She meant to get
rid of the thraldom to which he had subjected her when desiring her not
to waltz, and had done so in part when she obtained his direct sanction
at Lady Brabazon's. No doubt she had felt that as he took liberties as
to his own life, as he received love-letters from an odious woman, he
was less entitled to unqualified obedience than he might have been had
his hands been perfectly clean. There had been a little spirit of
rebellion engendered in her by his misconduct; but she had determined
to do nothing in secret. She had asked his leave to waltz at Lady
Brabazon's, and had herself persuaded him to come to Mrs. Montacute
Jones'. Perhaps she would hardly have dared to do so had she known that
Captain De Baron was to be her partner. While dancing she had been
unaware of her husband's presence, and had not thought of him. When he
had first come to her she had in truth imagined that he had been
frightened by her narrow escape from falling. But when he bade her come
away with that frown on his face, and with that awful voice, then she
knew it all. She had no alternative but to take his arm, and to "come
away." She had not courage enough,--I had better perhaps say impudence
enough,--to pretend to speak to him or to anyone near him with ease.
All eyes were upon her, and she felt them; all tongues would be talking
of her, and she already heard the ill-natured words. Her own husband
had brought all this upon her,--her own husband, whose love-letter from
another woman she had so lately seen, and so readily forgiven! It was
her own husband who had so cruelly, so causelessly subjected her to
shame in public, which could never be washed out or forgotten! And who
would sympathise with her? There was no one now but her father. He
would stand by her; he would be good to her; but her husband by his own
doing had wilfully disgraced her.

Not a word was spoken till they were in the cloak-room, and then Lord
George stalked out to find the brougham, or any cab that might take
them away from the house. Then for the first time the Dean whispered a
word to her. "Say as little as you can to him to-night, but keep up
your courage."

"Oh, papa!"

"I understand it all. I will be with you immediately after breakfast."

"You will not leave me here alone?"

"Certainly not,--nor till you are in your carriage. But listen to what
I am telling you. Say as little as you can till I am with you. Tell him
that you are unwell to-night, and that you must sleep before you talk
to him."

"Ah! you don't know, papa."

"I know that I will have the thing put on a right footing." Then Lord
George came back, having found a cab. He gave his arm to his wife and
took her away, without saying a word to the Dean. At the door of the
cab the Dean bade them both good-night. "God bless you, my child," he

"Good-night; you'll come to-morrow?"

"Certainly." Then the door was shut, and the husband and wife were
driven away.

Of course this little episode contributed much to the amusement of Mrs.
Montacute Jones's guests. The Kappa-kappa had been a very pretty
exhibition, but it had not been nearly so exciting as that of the
jealous husband. Captain De Baron, who remained, was, of course, a
hero. As he could not take his partner into supper, he was honoured by
the hand of Mrs. Montacute Jones herself. "I wouldn't have had that
happen for a thousand pounds," said the old lady.

"Nor I for ten," said Jack.

"Has there been any reason for it?"

"None in the least. I can't explain of what nature is my intimacy with
Lady George, but it has been more like that of children than grown

"I know. When grown people play at being children, it is apt to be

"But we had no idea of the kind. I may be wicked enough. I say nothing
about that. But she is as pure as snow. Mrs. Jones, I could no more
dare to press her hand than I would to fly at the sun. Of course I like

"And she likes you."

"I hope so,--in that sort of way. But it is shocking that such a scene
should come from such a cause."

"Some men, Captain De Baron, don't like having their handsome young
wives liked by handsome young officers. It's very absurd, I grant."

Mrs. Jones and Captain De Baron did really grieve at what had been
done, but to others, the tragedy coming after the comedy had not been
painful. "What will be the end of it?" said Miss Patmore Green to Sir

"I am afraid they won't let her dance it any more," said Sir Harry, who
was intent solely on the glories of the Kappa-kappa. "We shall hardly
get any one to do it so well."

"There'll be something worse than that, I'm afraid," said Miss Green.

Count Costi suggested to Lady Florence that there would certainly be a
duel. "We never fight here in England, Count."

"Ah! dat is bad. A gentleman come and make himself vera disagreeable.
If he most fight perhaps he would hold his tong. I tink we do things
better in Paris and Vienna." Lord Giblet volunteered his opinion to
Madame Gigi that it was very disgraceful. Madame Gigi simply shrugged
her shoulders, and opened her eyes. She was able to congratulate
herself on being able to manage her own husband better than that.



Lady George never forgot that slow journey home in the cab,--for in
truth it was very slow. It seemed to her that she would never reach her
own house. "Mary," he said, as soon as they were seated, "you have made
me a miserable man." The cab rumbled and growled frightfully, and he
felt himself unable to attack her with dignity while they were
progressing. "But I will postpone what I have to say till we have
reached home."

"I have done nothing wrong," said Mary, very stoutly.

"You had better say nothing more till we are at home." After that not a
word more was said, but the journey was very long.

At the door of the house Lord George gave his hand to help her out of
the cab, and then marched before her through the passage into the
dining-room. It was evident that he was determined to make his harangue
on that night. But she was the first to speak. "George," she said, "I
have suffered very much, and am very tired. If you please, I will go to

"You have disgraced me," he said.

"No; it is you that have disgraced me and put me to shame before
everybody,--for nothing, for nothing. I have done nothing of which I am
ashamed." She looked up into his face, and he could see that she was
full of passion, and by no means in a mood to submit to his reproaches.
She, too, could frown, and was frowning now. Her nostrils were dilated,
and her eyes were bright with anger. He could see how it was with her;
and though he was determined to be master, he hardly knew how he was to
make good his masterdom.

"You had better listen to me," he said.

"Not to-night. I am too ill, too thoroughly wretched. Anything you have
got to say of course I will listen to,--but not now." Then she walked
to the door.

"Mary!" She paused with her hand on the lock. "I trust that you do not
wish to contest the authority which I have over you?"

"I do not know; I cannot say. If your authority calls upon me to own
that I have done anything wrong, I shall certainly contest it. And if I
have not, I think--I think you will express your sorrow for the injury
you have done me to-night." Then she left the room before he had made
up his mind how he would continue his address. He was quite sure that
he was right. Had he not desired her not to waltz? At that moment he
quite forgot the casual permission he had barely given at Lady
Brabazon's, and which had been intended to apply to that night only.
Had he not specially warned her against this Captain De Baron, and told
her that his name and hers were suffering from her intimacy with the
man? And then, had she not deceived him directly by naming another
person as her partner in that odious dance? The very fact that she had
so deceived him was proof to him that she had known that she ought not
to dance with Captain De Baron, and that she had a vicious pleasure in
doing so which she had been determined to gratify even in opposition to
his express orders. As he stalked up and down the room in his wrath, he
forgot as much as he remembered. It had been represented to him that
this odious romp had been no more than a minuet; but he did not bear
in mind that his wife had been no party to that misrepresentation. And
he forgot, too, that he himself had been present as a spectator at her
express request. And when his wrath was at the fullest he almost forgot
those letters from Adelaide Houghton! But he did not forget that all
Mrs. Montacute Jones' world had seen him as in his offended marital
majesty he took his wife out from amidst the crowd, declaring his
indignation and his jealousy to all who were there assembled. He might
have been wrong there. As he thought of it all he confessed to himself
as much as that. But the injury done had been done to himself rather
than to her. Of course they must leave London now, and leave it for
ever. She must go with him whither he might choose to take her. Perhaps
Manor Cross might serve for their lives' seclusion, as the Marquis
would not live there. But Manor Cross was near the deanery, and he must
sever his wife from her father. He was now very hostile to the Dean,
who had looked on and seen his abasement, and had smiled. But, through
it all, there never came to him for a moment any idea of a permanent
quarrel with his wife. It might, he thought, be long before there was
permanent comfort between them. Obedience, absolute obedience, must
come before that could be reached. But of the bond which bound them
together he was far too sensible to dream of separation. Nor, in his
heart, did he think her guilty of anything but foolish, headstrong
indiscretion,--of that and latterly of dissimulation. It was not that
Cæsar had been wronged, but that his wife had enabled idle tongues to
suggest a wrong to Cæsar.

He did not see her again that night, betaking himself at a very late
hour to his own dressing-room. On the next morning at an early hour he
was awake thinking. He must not allow her to suppose for a moment that
he was afraid of her. He went into her room a few minutes before their
usual breakfast hour, and found her, nearly dressed, with her maid. "I
shall be down directly, George," she said in her usual voice. As he
could not bid the woman go away, he descended and waited for her in the
parlour. When she entered the room she instantly rang the bell and
contrived to keep the man in the room while she was making the tea. But
he would not sit down. How is a man to scold his wife properly with
toast and butter on a plate before him? "Will you not have your tea?"
she asked--oh, so gently.

"Put it down," he said. According to her custom, she got up and brought
it round to his place. When they were alone she would kiss his forehead
as she did so; but now the servant was just closing the door, and there
was no kiss.

"Do come to your breakfast, George," she said.

"I cannot eat my breakfast while all this is on my mind. I must speak
of it. We must leave London at once."

"In a week or two."

"At once. After last night, there must be no more going to parties."
She lifted her cup to her lips and sat quite silent. She would hear a
little more before she answered him. "You must feel yourself that for
some time to come, perhaps for some years, privacy will be the best for

"I feel nothing of the kind, George."

"Could you go and face those people after what happened last night?"

"Certainly I could, and should think it my duty to do so to-night, if
it were possible. No doubt you have made it difficult, but I would do

"I was forced to make it difficult. There was nothing for me to do but
to take you away."

"Because you were angry, you were satisfied to disgrace me before all
the people there. What has been done cannot be helped. I must bear it.
I cannot stop people from talking and thinking evil. But I will never
say that I think evil of myself by hiding myself. I don't know what you
mean by privacy. I want no privacy."

"Why did you dance with that man?"

"Because it was so arranged."

"You had told me it was some one else?"

"Do you mean to accuse me of a falsehood, George? First one arrangement
had been made, and then another."

"I had been told before how it was to be."

"Who told you? I can only answer for myself."

"And why did you waltz?"

"Because you had withdrawn your foolish objection. Why should I not
dance like other people? Papa does not think it wrong?"

"Your father has nothing to do with it."

"If you ill-treat me, George, papa must have something to do with it.
Do you think he will see me disgraced before a room full of people, as
you did yesterday, and hold his tongue? Of course you are my husband,
but he is still my father; and if I want protection he will protect

"I will protect you," said Lord George, stamping his foot upon the

"Yes; by burying me somewhere. That is what you say you mean to do. And
why? Because you get some silly nonsense into your head, and then make
yourself and me ridiculous in public. If you think I am what you seem
to suspect, you had better let papa have me back again,--though that is
so horrible that I can hardly bring myself to think of it. If you do
not think so, surely you should beg my pardon for the affront you put
on me last night."

This was a way in which he had certainly not looked at the matter. Beg
her pardon! He, as a husband, beg a wife's pardon under any
circumstances! And beg her pardon for having carried her away from a
house in which she had manifestly disobeyed him. No, indeed. But then
he was quite as strongly opposed to that other idea of sending her back
to her father, as a man might send a wife who had disgraced herself.
Anything would be better than that. If she would only acknowledge that
she had been indiscreet, they would go down together into Brothershire,
and all might be comfortable. Though she was angry with him, obstinate
and rebellious, yet his heart was softened to her because she did not
throw the woman's love-letter in his teeth. He had felt that here would
be his great difficulty, but his difficulty now arose rather from the
generosity which kept her silent on the subject. "What I did," he said,
"I did to protect you."

"Such protection was an insult." Then she left the room before he had
tasted his tea or his toast. She had heard her father's knock, and knew
that she would find him in the drawing-room. She had made up her mind
how she would tell the story to him; but when she was with him he would
have no story told at all. He declared that he knew everything, and
spoke as though there could be no doubt as to the heinousness, or
rather, absurdity, of Lord George's conduct. "It is very sad,--very
sad, indeed," he said; "one hardly knows what one ought to do."

"He wants to go down--to Cross Hall."

"That is out of the question. You must stay out your time here and then
come to me, as you arranged. He must get out of it by saying that he
was frightened by thinking that you had fallen."

"It was not that, papa."

"Of course it was not; but how else is he to escape from his own

"You do not think that I have been--wrong--with Captain De Baron?"

"I! God bless you, my child. I think that you have been wrong! He
cannot think so either. Has he accused you?"

Then she told him, as nearly as she could, all that had passed between
them, including the expression of his desire that she should not waltz,
and his subsequent permission given at Lady Brabazon's. "Pish!" he
ejaculated. "I hate these attempted restrictions. It is like a woman
telling her husband not to smoke. What a fool a man must be not to see
that he is preparing misery for himself by laying embargoes on the
recreations of his nearest companion!" Then he spoke of what he himself
would do. "I must see him, and if he will not hear reason you must go
with me to the Deanery without him."

"Don't separate us, papa."

"God forbid that there should be any permanent separation. If he be
obstinate, it may be well that you should be away from him for a week
or two. Why can't a man wash his dirty linen at home, if he has any to
wash. His, at any rate, did not come to him with you."

Then there was a very stormy scene in the dining-room between the two
men. The Dean, whose words were infinitely more ready and available
than those of his opponent, said very much the most, and by the fierce
indignation of his disclaimers, almost prevented the husband from
dwelling on the wife's indiscretion. "I did not think it possible that
such a man as you could have behaved so cruelly to such a girl."

"I was not cruel; I acted for the best."

"You degraded yourself, and her too."

"I degraded no one," said Lord George.

"It is hard to think what may now best be done to cure the wound which
she has been made to suffer. I must insist on this,--that she must not
be taken from town before the day fixed for her departure."

"I think of going to-morrow," said Lord George, gloomily.

"Then you must go alone, and I must remain with her."

"Certainly not;--certainly not."

"She will not go. She shall not be made to run away. Though everything
have to be told in the public prints, I will not submit to that. I
suppose you do not dare to tell me that you suspect her of any evil?"

"She has been indiscreet."

"Suppose I granted that,--which I don't,--is she to be ground into dust
in this way for indiscretion? Have not you been indiscreet?" Lord
George made no direct answer to this question, fearing that the Dean
had heard the story of the love-letter; but of that matter the Dean had
heard nothing. "In all your dealings with her, can you tax yourself
with no deviation from wisdom?"

"What a man does is different. No conduct of mine can blemish her

"But it may destroy her happiness,--and if you go on in this way it
will do so."

During the whole of that day the matter was discussed. Lord George
obstinately insisted on taking his wife down to Cross Hall, if not on
the next day, then on the day after. But the Dean, and with the Dean
the young wife, positively refused to accede to this arrangement. The
Dean had his things brought from the inn to the house in Munster Court,
and though he did not absolutely declare that he had come there for his
daughter's protection, it was clear that this was intended. In such an
emergency Lord George knew not what to do. Though the quarrel was
already very bitter, he could not quite tell his father-in-law to leave
the house; and then there was always present to his mind a feeling that
the Dean had a right to be there in accordance with the pecuniary
arrangement made. The Dean would have been welcome to the use of the
house and all that was in it, if only Mary would have consented to be
taken at once down to Cross Hall. But being under her father's wing,
she would not consent. She pleaded that by going at once, or running
away as she called it, she would own that she had done something wrong,
and she was earnest in declaring that nothing should wring such a
confession from her. Everybody, she said, knew that she was to stay in
London to the end of June. Everybody knew that she was then to go to
the Deanery. It was not to be borne that people should say that her
plans had been altered because she had danced the Kappa-kappa with
Captain De Baron. She must see her friends before she went, or else her
friends would know that she had been carried into banishment. In answer
to this, Lord George declared that he, as husband, was paramount. This
Mary did not deny, but, paramount as the authority was, she would not,
in this instance, be governed by it.

It was a miserable day to them all. Many callers came, asking after
Lady George, presuming that her speedy departure from the ball had been
caused by her accident. No one was admitted, and all were told that she
had not been much hurt. There were two or three stormy scenes between
the Dean and his son-in-law, in one of which Lord George asked the Dean
whether he conceived it to be compatible with his duty as a clergyman
of the Church of England to induce a wife to disobey her husband. In
answer to this, the Dean said that in such a matter the duty of a
Church dignitary was the same as that of any other gentleman, and that
he, as a gentleman, and also as a dignitary, meant to stand by his
daughter. She refused to pack up, or to have her things packed. When he
came to look into himself, he found that he had not power to bid the
servants do it in opposition to their mistress. That the power of a
husband was paramount he was well aware, but he did not exactly see his
way to the exercise of it. At last he decided that he, at any rate,
would go down to Cross Hall. If the Dean chose to create a separation
between his daughter and her husband, he must bear the responsibility.

On the following day he did go down to Cross Hall, leaving his wife and
her father in Munster Court without any definite plans.



When Lord George left his own house alone he was very wretched, and his
wife, whom he left behind him, was as wretched as himself. Of course
the matter had not decided itself in this way without very much
absolute quarrelling between them. Lord George had insisted, had
stamped his foot, and had even talked of force. Mary, prompted by her
father, had protested that she would not run away from the evil tongues
of people who would be much more bitter in her absence than they would
dare to be if she remained among them. He, when he found that his
threat of forcible abduction was altogether vain, had to make up his
mind whether he also would remain. But both the Dean and his wife had
begged that he would do so, and he would not even seem to act in
obedience to them. So he went, groaning much in spirit, puzzled to
think what story he should tell to his mother and sisters, terribly
anxious as to the future, and in spirit repentant for the rashness of
his conduct at the ball. Before he was twenty miles out of London he
was thinking with infinite regret of his love for his wife, already
realising the misery of living without her, almost stirred to get out
at the next station and return by the first train to Munster Court. In
this hour of his sorrow there came upon him a feeling of great hatred
for Mrs. Houghton. He almost believed that she had for her own vile
purposes excited Captain De Baron to make love to his wife. And then,
in regard to that woman, his wife had behaved so well! Surely something
was due to so much generosity. And then, when she had been angry with
him, she had been more beautiful than ever. What a change had those few
months in London made in her! She had lost her childish little
timidities, and had bloomed forth a beautiful woman. He had no doubt as
to her increased loveliness, and had been proud to think that all had
acknowledged it. But as to the childish timidity, perhaps he would have
preferred that it should not have been so quickly or so entirely
banished. Even at Brotherton he hankered to return to London; but, had
he done so, the Brotherton world would have known it. He put himself
into a carriage instead, and had himself driven through the park to
Cross Hall.

All this occurred on the day but one subsequent to the ball, and he had
by the previous post informed Lady Sarah that he was coming. But in
that letter he had said that he would bring his wife with him, and on
his immediate arrival had to answer questions as to her unexpected
absence. "Her father was very unwilling that she should come," he said.

"But I thought he was at the hotel," said Lady Sarah.

"He is in Munster Court, now. To tell the truth I am not best pleased
that it should be so; but at the last moment I did not like to
contradict her. I hate London and everything in it. She likes it, and
as there was a kind of bargain made I could not well depart from it."

"And you have left her alone with her father in London," said Lady
Susanna, with a tone of pretended dismay.

"How can she be alone if her father is with her," answered Lord George,
who did not stand in awe of Lady Susanna as he did of Lady Sarah.
Nothing further at the moment was said, but all the sisters felt that
there was something wrong.

"I don't think it at all right that Mary should be left with the Dean,"
said the old lady to her second daughter. But the old lady was
specially prejudiced against the Dean as being her eldest son's great
enemy. Before the day was over Lord George wrote a long letter to his
wife,--full of affection indeed, but still more full of covert
reproaches. He did not absolutely scold her; but he told her that there
could be no happiness between a wife and a husband unless the wife
would obey, and he implored her to come to him with as little delay as
possible. If she would only come, all should be right between them.

Mary, when her husband was really gone, was much frightened at her own
firmness. That doctrine of obedience to her husband had been accepted
by her in full. When disposed to run counter to the ladies at Manor
Cross, she always had declared to herself that they bore no authority
delegated from "George," and that she would obey "George," and no one
but George. She had told him more than once, half-playfully, that if he
wanted anything done, he must tell her himself. And this, though he
understood it to contain rebellion against the Germains generally, had
a pleasant flavour with him as acknowledging so completely his own
power. She had said to her father, and unfortunately to Mrs. Houghton
when Mrs. Houghton was her friend, that she was not going to do what
all the Germain women told her; but she had always spoken of her
husband's wishes as absolutely imperative. Now she was in open mutiny
against her husband, and, as she thought of it, it seemed to her to be
almost impossible that peace should be restored between them.

"I think I will go down very soon," she said to her father, after she
had received her husband's letter.

"What do you call very soon?"

"In a day or two."

"Do not do anything of the kind. Stay here till the appointed time
comes. It is only a fortnight now. I have made arrangements at
Brotherton, so that I can be with you till then. After that come down
to me. Of course your husband will come over to you at the deanery."

"But if he shouldn't come?"

"Then he would be behaving very wickedly. But, of course, he will come.
He is not a man to be obstinate in that fashion."

"I do not know that, papa."

"But I do. You had better take my advice in this matter. Of course I do
not want to foster a quarrel between you and your husband."

"Pray,--pray don't let there be a quarrel."

"Of course not. But the other night he lost his head, and treated you
badly. You and I are quite willing to forgive and forget all that. Any
man may do a foolish thing, and men are to be judged by general results
rather than single acts."

"He is very kind to me--generally."

"Just so; and I am not angry with him in the least. But after what
occurred it would be wrong that you should go away at once. You felt it
yourself at the moment."

"But anything would be better than quarrelling, papa."

"Almost anything would be better than a lasting quarrel with your
husband; but the best way to avoid that is to show him that you know
how to be firm in such an emergency as this." She was, of course,
compelled by her father's presence and her father's strength to remain
in town, but she did so longing every hour to pack up and be off to
Cross Hall. She had very often doubted whether she could love her
husband as a husband ought to be loved, but now, in her present
trouble, she felt sure of her own heart. She had never been really on
bad terms with him before since their marriage, and the very fact of
their separation increased her tenderness to him in a wonderful degree.
She answered his letter with Language full of love and promises and
submission, loaded with little phrases of feminine worship, merely
adding that papa thought she had better stay in town till the end of
the month. There was not a word of reproach in it. She did not allude
to his harsh conduct at the ball, nor did she write the name of Mrs.

Her father was very urgent with her to see all her friends, to keep any
engagements previously made, to be seen at the play, and to let all the
world know by her conduct that she was not oppressed by what had taken
place. There was some intention of having the Kappa-kappa danced again,
as far as possible by the same people. Lord Giblet was to retire in
favour of some more expert performer, but the others were supposed to
be all worthy of an encore. But of course there arose a question as to
Lady George. There could be no doubt that Lord George had disapproved
very strongly of the Kappa-kappa. The matter got to the Dean's ears,
and the Dean counselled his daughter to join the party yet again. "What
would he say, papa?" The Dean was of opinion that in such case Lord
George would say and do much less than he had said and done before.
According to his views, Lord George must be taught that his wife had
her privileges as well as he his. This fresh difficulty dissolved
itself because the second performance was fixed for a day after that on
which it had been long known that Lady George was to leave London; and
even the Dean did not propose that she should remain in town after that
date with a direct view to the Kappa-kappa.

She was astonished at the zeal with which he insisted that she should
go out into the gay world. He almost ridiculed her when she spoke of
economy in her dress, and seemed to think that it was her duty to be a
woman of fashion. He still spoke to her from time to time of the
Popenjoy question, always asserting his conviction that, whatever the
Marquis might think, even if he were himself deceived through ignorance
of the law, the child would be at last held to be illegitimate. "They
tell me, too," he said, "that his life is not worth a year's purchase."

"Poor little boy!"

"Of course, if he had been born as the son of the Marquis of Brotherton
ought to be born, nobody would wish him anything but good."

"I don't wish him anything but good," said Mary.

"But as it is," continued the Dean, apparently not observing his
daughter's remark, "everybody must feel that it would be better for the
family that he should be out of the way. Nobody can think that such a
child can live to do honour to the British peerage."

"He might be well brought up."

"He wouldn't be well brought up. He has an Italian mother and Italian
belongings, and everything around him as bad as it can be. But the
question at last is one of right. He was clearly born when his mother
was reputed to be the wife, not of his father, but of another man. That
cock-and-bull story which we have heard may be true. It is possible.
But I could not rest in my bed if I did not persevere in ascertaining
the truth." The Dean did persevere, and was very constant in his visits
to Mr. Battle's office. At this time Miss Tallowax came up to town, and
she also stayed for a day or two in Munster Court. What passed between
the Dean and his aunt on the subject Mary, of course, did not hear; but
she soon found that Miss Tallowax was as eager as her father, and she
learned that Miss Tallowax had declared that the inquiry should not
languish from want of funds. Miss Tallowax was quite alive to the glory
of the Brotherton connection.

As the month drew to an end Mary, of course, called on all her London
friends. Her father was always eager to know whom she saw, and whether
any allusion was made by any of them to the scene at the ball. But
there was one person, who had been a friend, on whom she did not call,
and this omission was observed by the Dean. "Don't you ever see Mrs.
Houghton now?" he asked.

"No, papa," said Mary, with prompt decision.

"Why not?"

"I don't like her."

"Why don't you like her? You used to be friends. Have you quarrelled?"

"Yes; I have quarrelled with her."

"What did she do?" Mary was silent. "Is it a secret?"

"Yes, papa; it is a secret. I would rather you would not ask. But she
is a nasty vile creature, and I will never speak to her again."

"That is strong language, Mary."

"It is. And now that I have said that, pray don't talk about her any

The Dean was discreet, and did not talk about Mrs. Houghton any more;
but he set his mind to work to guess, and guessed something near the
truth. Of course he knew that his son-in-law had professed at one time
to love this lady when she had been Miss De Baron, and he had been able
to see that subsequently to that they had been intimate friends. "I
don't think, my dear," he said, laughing, "that you can be jealous of
her attractions."

"I am not in the least jealous of her, papa. I don't know anyone that I
think so ugly. She is a nasty made-up thing. But pray don't talk about
her anymore." Then the Dean almost knew that Mary had discovered
something, and was too noble to tell a story against her husband.

The day but one before she was to leave town Mrs. Montacute Jones came
to her. She had seen her kind old friend once or twice since the
catastrophe at the ball, but always in the presence of other persons.
Now they were alone together. "Well, my dear," said Mrs. Jones, "I hope
you have enjoyed your short season. We have all been very fond of you."

"You have been very kind to me, Mrs. Jones."

"I do my best to make young people pleasant, my dear. You ought to have
liked it all, for I don't know anybody who has been so much admired.
His Royal Highness said the other night that you were the handsomest
woman in London."

"His Royal Highness is an old fool," said Mary, laughing.

"He is generally thought to be a very good judge in that matter. You
are going to keep the house, are you not?"

"Oh, yes; I think there is a lease."

"I am glad of that. It is a nice little house, and I should be sorry to
think that you are not coming back."

"We are always to live here half the year, I believe," said Mary. "That
was agreed when we married, and that's why I go away now."

"Lord George, I suppose, likes the country best?"

"I think he does. I don't, Mrs. Jones."

"They are both very well in their way, my dear. I am a wicked old
woman, who like to have everything gay. I never go out of town till
everything is over, and I never come up till everything begins. We have
a nice place down in Scotland, and you must come and see me there some
autumn. And then we go to Rome. It's a pleasant way of living, though
we have to move about so much."

"It must cost a great deal of money?"

"Well, yes. One can't drive four-in-hand so cheap as a pair. Mr. Jones
has a large income." This was the first direct intimation Mary had ever
received that there was a Mr. Jones. "But we weren't always rich. When
I was your age I hadn't nearly so nice a house as you. Indeed, I hadn't
a house at all, for I wasn't married, and was thinking whether I would
take or reject a young barrister of the name of Smith, who had nothing
a year to support me on. You see I never got among the aristocratic
names, as you have done."

"I don't care a bit about that."

"But I do. I like Germains, and Talbots, and Howards, and so does
everybody else, only so many people tell lies about it. I like having
lords in my drawing-room. They look handsomer and talk better than
other men. That's my experience. And you are pretty nearly sure with
them that you won't find you have got somebody quite wrong."

"I know a lord," said Mary, "who isn't very right. That is, I don't
know him, for I never saw him."

"You mean your wicked brother-in-law. I should like to know him of all
things. He'd be quite an attraction. I suppose he knows how to behave
like a gentleman?"

"I'm not so sure of that. He was very rough to papa."

"Ah;--yes. I think we can understand that, my dear. Your father hasn't
made himself exactly pleasant to the Marquis. Not that I say he's
wrong. I think it was a pity, because everybody says that the little
Lord Popenjoy will die. You were talking of me and my glories, but long
before you are my age you will be much more glorious. You will make a
charming Marchioness."

"I never think about it, Mrs. Jones; and I wish papa didn't. Why
shouldn't the little boy live? I could be quite happy enough as I am if
people would only be good to me and let me alone."

"Have I distressed you?" asked the old woman.

"Oh, dear no;--not you."

"You mean what happened at my house the other night?"

"I didn't mean anything particular, Mrs. Jones. But I do think that
people sometimes are very ill-natured."

"I think, you know, that was Lord George's doing. He shouldn't have
taken you off so suddenly. It wasn't your fault that the stupid man
tripped. I suppose he doesn't like Captain De Baron?"

"Don't talk about it, Mrs. Jones."

"Only that I know the world so well that what I say might, perhaps, be
of use. Of course I know that he has gone out of town."

"Yes, he has gone."

"I was so glad that you didn't go with him. People will talk, you know,
and it did look as though he were a sort of Bluebeard. Bluebeards, my
dear, must be put down. There may be most well-intentioned Bluebeards,
who have no chambers of horrors, no secrets,"--Mary thought of the
letter from Mrs. Houghton, of which nobody knew but herself,--"who
never cut off anybody's heads, but still interfere dreadfully with the
comfort of a household. Lord George is very nearly all that a man ought
to be."

"He is the best man in the world," said Mary.

"I am sure you think so. But he shouldn't be jealous, and above all he
shouldn't show that he's jealous. You were bound, I think, to stay
behind and show the world that you had nothing to fear. I suppose the
Dean counselled it?"

"Yes;--he did."

"Fathers of married daughters shouldn't often interfere, but there I
think he was right. It is much better for Lord George himself that it
should be so. There is nothing so damaging to a young woman as to have
it supposed she has had to be withdrawn from the influence of a young

"It would be wicked of anybody to think so," said Mary, sobbing.

"But they must have thought so if you hadn't remained. You may be sure,
my dear, that your father was quite right. I am sorry that you cannot
make one in the dance again, because we shall have changed Lord Giblet
for Lord Augustus Grandison, and I am sure it will be done very well.
But of course I couldn't ask you to stay for it. As your departure was
fixed beforehand you ought not to stay for it. But that is very
different from being taken away in a jiffey, like some young man who is
spending more than he ought to spend, and is hurried off suddenly
nobody knows where."

Mary, when Mrs. Jones had left the house, found that upon the whole she
was thankful to her friend for what had been said. It pained her to
hear her husband described as a jealous Bluebeard; but the fact of his
jealousy had been so apparent, that in any conversation on the matter
intended to be useful so much had to be acknowledged. She, however, had
taken the strong course of trusting to her father rather than to her
husband, and she was glad to find that her conduct and her father's
conduct were approved by so competent a judge as Mrs. Montacute Jones.
And throughout the whole interview there had been an air of kindness
which Mary had well understood. The old lady had intended to be useful,
and her intentions were accepted.

On the next morning, soon after breakfast, the Dean received a note
which puzzled him much, and for an hour or two left him in doubt as to
what he would do respecting it,--whether he would comply with, or
refuse to comply with, the request made in it. At first he said nothing
of the letter to his daughter. He had, as she was aware, intended to go
to Lincoln's Inn early in the day, but he sat thinking over something,
instead of leaving the house, till at last he went to Mary and put the
letter into her hands. "That," said he, "is one of the most unexpected
communications I ever had in my life, and one which it is most
difficult to answer. Just read it." The letter, which was very short,
was as follows:--

     "The Marquis of Brotherton presents his compliments to the Dean of
     Brotherton, and begs to say that he thinks that some good might
     now be done by a personal interview. Perhaps the Dean will not
     object to call on the Marquis here at some hour after two o'clock

     "Scumberg's Hotel,

     "Albemarle Street.

     "_29th June, 187--_."

"But we go to-morrow," said Mary.

"Ah;--he means to-day. The note was written last night. I have been
thinking about it, and I think I shall go."

"Have you written to him?"

"There is no need. A man who sends to me a summons to come to him so
immediately as that has no right to expect an answer. He does not mean
anything honest."

"Then why do you go?"

"I don't choose to appear to be afraid to meet him. Everything that I
do is done above board. I rather imagine that he doesn't expect me to
come; but I will not let him have to say that he had asked me and that
I had refused. I shall go."

"Oh, papa, what will he say to you?"

"I don't think he can eat me, my dear; nor will he dare even to murder
me. I daresay he would if he could."

And so it was decided; and at the hour appointed the Dean sallied forth
to keep the appointment.



The Dean as he walked across the park towards Albemarle Street had many
misgivings. He did not at all believe that the Marquis entertained
friendly relations in regard to him, or even such neutral relations as
would admit of the ordinary courtesies of civilized life. He made up
his mind that he would be insulted,--unless indeed he should be so
cowed as to give way to the Marquis. But, that he himself thought to be
impossible. The more he reflected about it, the more assured he became
that the Marquis had not expected him to obey the summons. It was
possible that something might be gained on the other side by his
refusal to see the elder brother of his son-in-law. He might, by
refusing, leave it open to his enemies to say that he had rejected an
overture to peace, and he now regarded as his enemies almost the entire
Germain family. His own son-in-law would in future, he thought, be as
much opposed to him as the head of the family. The old Marchioness, he
knew, sincerely believed in Popenjoy. And the daughters, though they
had at first been very strong in their aversion to the foreign mother
and the foreign boy, were now averse to him also, on other grounds. Of
course Lord George would complain of his wife at Cross Hall. Of course
the story of the Kappa-kappa would be told in a manner that would
horrify those three ladies. The husband would of course be indignant at
his wife's disobedience in not having left London when ordered by him
to do so. He had promised not to foster a quarrel between Mary and Lord
George, but he thought it by no means improbable that circumstances
would for a time render it expedient that his daughter should live at
the deanery, while Lord George remained at Cross Hall. As to nothing
was he more fully resolved than this,--that he would not allow the
slightest blame to be attributed to his daughter, without repudiating
and resenting the imputation. Any word against her conduct, should such
word reach his ears even through herself, he would resent, and it would
go hard with him, but he would exceed such accusations by
recriminations. He would let them know, that if they intended to fight,
he also could fight. He had never uttered a word as to his own
liberality in regard to money, but he had thought of it much. Theirs
was the rank, and the rank was a great thing in his eyes; but his was
at present the wealth; and wealth, he thought was as powerful as rank.
He was determined that his daughter should be a Marchioness, and in
pursuit of that object he was willing to spend his money;--but he
intended to let those among whom he spent it know that he was not to be
set on one side, as a mere parson out of the country, who happened to
have a good income of his own.

It was in this spirit,--a spirit of absolute pugnacity,--that he asked
for the Marquis at Scumberg's hotel. Yes;--the Marquis was at home, and
the servant would see if his master could be seen. "I fancy that I have
an appointment with him," said the Dean, as he gave his card. "I am
rather hurried, and if he can't see me perhaps you'll let me know at
once." The man soon returned, and with much condescension told the Dean
that his lordship would see him. "That is kind, as his lordship told me
to come," said the Dean to himself, but still loud enough for the
servant to hear him. "His Lordship will be with you in a few minutes,"
said the man, as he shut the door of the sitting room.

"I shall be gone if he's not here in a very few minutes," said the
Dean, unable to restrain himself.

And he very nearly did go before the Marquis came to him. He had
already walked to the rug with the object of ringing the bell, and had
then decided on giving the lord two minutes more, resolving also that
he would speak his mind to the lord about this delay, should the lord
make his appearance before the two minutes were over. The time had just
expired when his lordship did make his appearance. He came shuffling
into the room after a servant, who walked before him with the pretence
of carrying books and a box of papers. It had all been arranged, the
Marquis knowing that he would secure the first word by having his own
servant in the room. "I am very much obliged to you for coming, Mr.
Dean," he said. "Pray sit down. I should have been here to receive you
if you had sent me a line."

"I only got your note this morning," said the Dean angrily.

"I thought that perhaps you might have sent a message. It doesn't
signify in the least. I never go out till after this, but had you named
a time I should have been here to receive you. That will do,
John,--shut the door. Very cold,--don't you think it."

"I have walked, my lord, and am warm."

"I never walk,--never could walk. I don't know why it is, but my legs
won't walk."

"Perhaps you never tried."

"Yes, I have. They wanted to make me walk in Switzerland twenty years
ago, but I broke down after the first mile. George used to walk like
the very d----. You see more of him now than I do. Does he go on

"He is an active man."

"Just that. He ought to have been a country letter-carrier. He would
have been as punctual as the sun, and has quite all the necessary

"You sent for me, Lord Brotherton----"

"Yes; yes. I had something that I thought I might as well say to you,
though, upon my word, I almost forget what it was."

"Then I may as well take my leave."

"Don't do that. You see, Mr. Dean, belonging to the church militant as
you do, you are so heroically pugnacious! You must like fighting very

"When I have anything which I conceive it to be my duty to fight for, I
think I do."

"Things are generally best got without fighting. You want to make your
grandson Marquis of Brotherton."

"I want to ensure to my grandson anything that may be honestly and
truly his own."

"You must first catch a grandson."

It was on his lips to say that certainly no heir should be caught on
his side of the family after the fashion that had been practised by his
lordship in catching the present pseudo-Popenjoy; but he was restrained
by a feeling of delicacy in regard to his own daughter. "My lord," he
said, "I am not here to discuss any such contingency."

"But you don't scruple to discuss my contingency, and that in the most
public manner. It has suited me, or at any rate it has been my chance,
to marry a foreigner. Because you don't understand Italian fashions you
don't scruple to say that she is not my wife."

"I have never said so."

"And to declare that my son is not my son."

"I have never said that."

"And to set a dozen attorneys to work to prove that my heir is a

"We heard of your marriage, my lord, as having been fixed for a certain
date,--a date long subsequent to that of the birth of your son. What
were we to think?"

"As if that hadn't been explained to you, and to all the world, a dozen
times over. Did you never hear of a second marriage being solemnized in
England to satisfy certain scruples? You have sent out and made your
inquiries, and what have they come to? I know all about it."

"As far as I am concerned you are quite welcome to know everything."

"I dare say;--even though I should be stung to death by the knowledge.
Of course I understand. You think that I have no feeling at all."

"Not much as to duty to your family, certainly," said the Dean,

"Exactly. Because I stand a little in the way of your new ambition, I
am the Devil himself. And yet you and those who have abetted you think
it odd that I haven't received you with open arms. My boy is as much to
me as ever was your daughter to you."

"Perhaps so, my lord. The question is not whether he is beloved, but
whether he is Lord Popenjoy."

"He is Lord Popenjoy. He is a poor weakling, and I doubt whether he may
enjoy the triumph long, but he is Lord Popenjoy. You must know it
yourself, Dean."

"I know nothing of the kind," said the Dean, furiously.

"Then you must be a very self-willed man. When this began George was
joined with you in the unnatural inquiry. He at any rate has been

"It may be he has submitted himself to his brother's influence."

"Not in the least. George is not very clever, but he has at any rate
had wit enough to submit to the influence of his own legal adviser,--or
rather to the influence of your legal adviser. Your own man, Mr.
Battle, is convinced. You are going on with this in opposition even to
him. What the devil is it you want? I am not dead, and may outlive at
any rate you. Your girl hasn't got a child, and doesn't seem likely to
have one. You happen to have married her into a noble family, and now,
upon my word, it seems to me that you are a little off your head with
downright pride."

"Was it for this you sent for me?"

"Well;--yes it was. I thought it might be as well to argue it out. It
isn't likely that there should be much love between us, but we needn't
cut each other's throats. It is costing us both a d----d lot of money;
but I should think that my purse must be longer than yours."

"We will try it, my lord."

"You intend to go on with this persecution then?"

"The Countess Luigi was presumably a married woman when she bore that
name, and I look upon it as a sacred duty to ascertain whether she was
so or not."

"Sacred!" said the Marquis, with a sneer.

"Yes;--sacred. There can be no more sacred duty than that which a
father owes to his child."

"Ah!" Then the Marquis paused and looked at the Dean before he went on
speaking. He looked so long that the Dean was preparing to take his hat
in his hand ready for a start. He showed that he was going to move, and
then the Marquis went on speaking. "Sacred! Ah!--and such a child!"

"She is one of whom I am proud as a father, and you should be proud as
a sister-in-law."

"Oh, of course. So I am. The Germains were never so honoured before. As
for her birth I care nothing about that. Had she behaved herself, I
should have thought nothing of the stable."

"What do you dare to say?" said the Dean, jumping from his seat.

The Marquis sat leaning back in his arm-chair, perfectly motionless.
There was a smile,--almost a pleasant smile on his face. But there was
a very devil in his eye, and the Dean, who stood some six feet removed
from him, saw the devil plainly. "I live a solitary life here, Mr.
Dean," said the Marquis, "but even I have heard of her."

"What have you heard?"

"All London have heard of her,--this future Marchioness, whose ambition
is to drive my son from his title and estates. A sacred duty, Mr. Dean,
to put a coronet on the head of that young ----!" The word which we
have not dared to print was distinctly spoken,--more distinctly, more
loudly, more incisively, than any word which had yet fallen from the
man's lips. It was evident that the lord had prepared the word, and had
sent for the father that the father might hear the word applied to his
own daughter,--unless indeed he should first acknowledge himself to
have lost his case. So far the interview had been carried out very much
in accordance with the preparations as arranged by the Marquis; but, as
to what followed, the Marquis had hardly made his calculations

A clergyman's coat used to save him from fighting in fighting days; and
even in these days, in which broils and personal encounters are held to
be generally disreputable, it saves the wearer from certain remote
dangers to which other men are liable. And the reverse of this is also
true. It would probably be hard to extract a first blow from the whole
bench of bishops. And deans as a rule are more sedentary, more
quiescent, more given to sufferance even than bishops. The normal Dean
is a goodly, sleek, bookish man, who would hardly strike a blow under
any provocation. The Marquis, perhaps, had been aware of this. He had,
perhaps, fancied that he was as good a man as the Dean who was at least
ten years his senior. He had not at any rate anticipated such speedy
violence as followed the utterance of the abominable word.

The Dean, as I have said, had been standing about six feet from the
easy chair in which the Marquis was lolling when the word was spoken.
He had already taken his hat in his hand and had thought of some means
of showing his indignation as he left the room. Now his first impulse
was to rid himself of his hat, which he did by pitching it along the
floor. And then in an instant he was at the lord's throat. The lord had
expected it so little that up to the last he made no preparation for
defence. The Dean had got him by his cravat and shirt-collar before he
had begun to expect such usage as this. Then he simply gurgled out some
ejaculated oath, uttered half in surprise and half in prayer. Prayer
certainly was now of no use. Had five hundred feet of rock been there
the Marquis would have gone down it, though the Dean had gone with him.
Fire flashed from the clergyman's eyes, and his teeth were set fast and
his very nostrils were almost ablaze. His daughter! The holy spot of
his life! The one being in whom he believed with all his heart and with
all his strength!

The Dean was fifty years of age, but no one had ever taken him for an
old man. They who at home at Brotherton would watch his motions, how he
walked and how he rode on horseback, how he would vault his gates when
in the fields, and scamper across the country like a schoolboy, were
wont to say that he was unclerical. Perhaps Canons Pountner and
Holdenough, with Mr. Groschut, the bishop's chaplain, envied him
something of his juvenile elasticity. But I think that none of them had
given him credit for such strength as he now displayed. The Marquis, in
spite of what feeble efforts he made, was dragged up out of his chair
and made to stand, or rather to totter, on his legs. He made a clutch
at the bell-rope, which to aid his luxurious ease had been brought
close to his hand as he sat, but failed, as the Dean shook him hither
and thither. Then he was dragged on to the middle of the rug, feeling
by this time that he was going to be throttled. He attempted to throw
himself down, and would have done so but that the Dean with his left
hand prevented him from falling. He made one vigorous struggle to free
himself, striving as he did so to call for assistance. But the Dean
having got his victim's back to the fireplace, and having the poor
wretch now fully at his command, threw the man with all his strength
into the empty grate. The Marquis fell like a heap within the fender,
with his back against the top bar and his head driven further back
against the bricks and iron. There for a second or two he lay like a
dead mass.

Less than a minute had done it all, and for so long a time the Dean's
ungoverned fury had held its fire. What were consequences to him with
that word as applied to his child ringing in his ears? How should he
moderate his wrath under such outrage as that? Was it not as though
beast had met beast in the forest between whom nothing but internecine
fight to the end was possible? But when that minute was over, and he
saw what he had done,--when the man, tumbled, dishevelled, all alump
and already bloody, was lying before him,--then he remembered who he
was himself and what it was that he had done. He was Dean Lovelace, who
had already made for himself more than enough of clerical enmity; and
this other man was the Marquis of Brotherton, whom he had perhaps
killed in his wrath, with no witness by to say a word as to the
provocation he had received.

The Marquis groaned and impotently moved an arm as though to raise
himself. At any rate, he was not dead as yet. With a desire to do what
was right now, the Dean rang the bell violently, and then stooped down
to extricate his foe. He had succeeded in raising the man and in
seating him on the floor with his head against the arm-chair before the
servant came. Had he wished to conceal anything, he could without much
increased effort have dragged the Marquis up into his chair; but he was
anxious now simply that all the truth should be known. It seemed to him
still that no one knowing the real truth would think that he had done
wrong. His child! His daughter! His sweetly innocent daughter! The man
soon rushed into the room, for the ringing of the bell had been very
violent. "Send for a doctor," said the Dean, "and send the landlord

"Has my lord had a fit?" said the man, advancing into the room. He was
the servant, not of the hotel, but of the Marquis himself.

"Do as I bid you;--get a doctor and send up the landlord immediately.
It is not a fit, but his lordship has been much hurt. I knocked him
down." The Dean made the last statement slowly and firmly, under a
feeling at the moment that it became him to leave nothing concealed,
even with a servant.

"He has murdered me," groaned the Marquis. The injured one could speak
at least, and there was comfort in that. The servant rushed back to the
regions below, and the tidings were soon spread through the house.
Resident landlord there was none. There never are resident landlords in
London hotels. Scumberg was a young family of joint heirs and
heiresses, named Tomkins, who lived at Hastings, and the house was
managed by Mrs. Walker. Mrs. Walker was soon in the room, with a German
deputy manager kept to maintain the foreign Scumberg connection, and
with them sundry waiters and the head chambermaid. Mrs. Walker made a
direct attack upon the Dean, which was considerably weakened by
accusations from the lips of the Marquis himself. Had he remained
speechless for a while the horrors of the Dean's conduct would have
been greatly aggravated. "My good woman," said the Dean, "wait till
some official is here. You cannot understand. And get a little warm
water and wash his lordship's head."

"He has broken my back," said his lordship. "Oh, oh, oh."

"I am glad to hear you speak, Lord Brotherton," said the Dean. "I think
you will repent having used such a word as that to my daughter." It
would be necessary now that everybody should understand everything; but
how terrible would it be for the father even to say that such a name
had been applied to his child!

First there came two policemen, then a surgeon, and then a sergeant. "I
will do anything that you suggest, Mr. Constable," said the Dean,
"though I hope it may not be necessary that I should remain in custody.
I am the Dean of Brotherton." The sergeant made a sign of putting his
finger up to his cap. "This, man, as you know, is the Marquis of
Brotherton." The sergeant bowed to the groaning nobleman. "My daughter
is married to his brother. There have been family quarrels, and he just
now applied a name to his own sister-in-law, to my child,--which I will
not utter because there are women here. Fouler slander never came from
a man's mouth. I took him from his chair and threw him beneath the
grate. Now you know it all. Were it to do again, I would do it again."

"She is a ----," said the imprudent prostrate Marquis. The sergeant,
the doctor who was now present, and Mrs. Walker suddenly became the
Dean's friends. The Marquis was declared to be much shaken, to have a
cut head, and to be very badly bruised about the muscles of the back.
But a man who could so speak of his sister-in-law deserved to have his
head cut and his muscles bruised. Nevertheless the matter was too
serious to be passed over without notice. The doctor could not say that
the unfortunate nobleman had received no permanent injury;--and the
sergeant had not an opportunity of dealing with deans and marquises
every day of his life. The doctor remained with his august patient and
had him put to bed, while the Dean and the sergeant together went off
in a cab to the police-office which lies in the little crowded streets
between the crooked part of Regent Street and Piccadilly. Here
depositions were taken and forms filled, and the Dean was allowed to
depart with an understanding that he was to be forthcoming immediately
when wanted. He suggested that it had been his intention to go down to
Brotherton on the following day, but the Superintendent of Police
recommended him to abandon that idea. The superintendent thought that
the Dean had better make arrangements to stay in London till the end of
the week.



The Dean had a great deal to think of as he walked home a little too
late for his daughter's usual dinner hour. What should he tell
her;--and what should he do as to communicating or not communicating
tidings of the day's work to Lord George? Of course everybody must know
what had been done sooner or later. He would have had no objection to
that,--providing the truth could be told accurately,--except as to the
mention of his daughter's name in the same sentence with that
abominable word. But the word would surely be known, and the facts
would not be told with accuracy unless he told them himself. His only,
but his fully sufficient defence was in the word. But who would know
the tone? Who would understand the look of the man's eye and the smile
on his mouth? Who could be made to conceive, as the Dean himself had
conceived, the aggravated injury of the premeditated slander? He would
certainly write and tell Lord George everything. But to his daughter he
thought that he would tell as little as possible. Might God in his
mercy save her ears, her sacred feelings, her pure heart from the wound
of that word! He felt that she was dearer to him than ever she had
been,--that he would give up deanery and everything if he could save
her by doing so. But he felt that if she were to be sacrificed in the
contest, he would give up deanery and everything in avenging her.

But something must be told to her. He at any rate must remain in town,
and it would be very desirable that she should stay with him. If she
went alone she would at once be taken to Cross Hall; and he could
understand that the recent occurrence would not add to the serenity of
her life there. The name that had been applied to her, together with
the late folly of which her husband had been guilty, would give those
Manor Cross dragons,--as the Dean was apt in his own thoughts to call
the Ladies Germain--a tremendous hold over her. And should she be once
at Cross Hall he would hardly be able to get her back to the deanery.

He hurried up to dress as soon as he reached the house, with a word of
apology as to being late, and then found her in the drawing room.

"Papa," she said, "I do like Mrs. Montacute Jones."

"So do I, my dear, because she is good-humoured."

"But she is so good-natured also! She has been here again to-day and
wants me and George to go down to Scotland in August. I should so like

"What will George say?"

"Of course he won't go; and of course I shan't. But that doesn't make
it the less good-natured. She wishes all her set to think that what
happened the other night doesn't mean anything."

"I'm afraid he won't consent."

"I know he won't. He wouldn't know what to do with himself. He hates a
house full of people. And now tell me what the Marquis said." But
dinner was announced, and the Dean was not forced to answer this
question immediately.

"Now, papa," she said again, as soon as the coffee was brought and the
servant was gone, "do tell me what my most noble brother-in-law wanted
to say to you?"

That he certainly would not tell. "Your brother-in-law, my dear,
behaved about as badly as a man could behave."

"Oh, dear! I am so sorry!"

"We have to be sorry,--both of us. And your husband will be sorry." He
was so serious that she hardly knew how to speak to him. "I cannot tell
you everything; but he insulted me, and I was forced to--strike him."

"Strike him! Oh, papa!"

"Bear with me, Mary. In all things I think well of you, and do you try
to think well of me."

"Dear papa! I will. I do. I always did."

"Anything he might have said of myself I could have borne. He could
have applied no epithet to me which, I think, could even have ruffled
me. But he spoke evil of you." While he was sitting there he made up
his mind that he would tell her as much as that, though he had before
almost resolved that he would not speak to her of herself. But she must
hear something of the truth, and better that she should hear it from
his than from other lips. She turned very pale, but did not immediately
make any reply. "Then I was full of wrath," he continued. "I did not
even attempt to control myself; but I took him by the throat and flung
him violently to the ground. He fell upon the grate, and it may be that
he has been hurt. Had the fall killed him he would have deserved it. He
had courage to wound a father in his tenderest part, only because that
father was a clergyman. His belief in a black coat will, I think, be a
little weakened by what occurred to-day."

"What will be done?" she asked, whispering.

"Heaven only knows. But I can't go out of town to-morrow. I shall write
to George to-night and tell him everything that has occurred, and shall
beg that you may be allowed to stay with me for the few days that will
be necessary."

"Of course I will not leave you."

"It is not that. But I do not want you to go to Cross Hall quite at
present. If you went without me they would not let you come to the
deanery. Of course there will be a great commotion at Cross Hall. Of
course they will condemn me. Many will condemn me, as it will be
impossible to make the world believe the exact truth."

"I will never condemn you," she said. Then she came over and threw
herself on her knees at his feet, and embraced him. "But, papa, what
did the man say of me?"

"Not what he believed;--but what he thought would give me the greatest
anguish. Never mind. Do not ask any more questions. You also had better
write to your husband, and you can tell him fully all that I have told
you. If you will write to-night I will do so also, and I will take care
that they shall have our letters to-morrow afternoon. We must send a
message to say that we shall not be at the deanery to-morrow." The two
letters to Lord George were both written that night, and were both very
long. They told the same story, though in a different tone. The Dean
was by no means apologetic, but was very full and very true. When he
came to the odious word he could not write it, but he made it very
clear without writing. Would not the husband feel as he the father had
felt in regard to his young wife, the sweet pure girl of whose love and
possession he ought to be so proud? How would any brother be forgiven
who had assailed such a treasure as this;--much less such a brother as
this Marquis? Perhaps Lord George might think it right to come up. The
Dean would of course ask at the hotel on the following day, and would
go to the police office. He believed, he said, that no permanent injury
had been done. Then came, perhaps, the pith of his letter. He trusted
that Lord George would agree with him in thinking that Mary had better
remain with him in town during the two or three days of his necessarily
prolonged sojourn. This was put in the form of a request; but was put
in a manner intended to show that the request if not granted would be
enforced. The Dean was fully determined that Mary should not at once go
down to Cross Hall.

Her letter was supplicatory, spasmodic, full of sorrow, and full of
love. She was quite sure that her dear papa would have done nothing
that he ought not to have done; but yet she was very sorry for the
Marquis, because of his mother and sisters, and because of her dear,
dear George. Could he not run up to them and hear all about it from
papa? If the Marquis had said ill-natured things of her it was very
cruel, because nobody loved her husband better than she loved her dear,
dear George,--and so on. The letters were then sent under cover to the
housekeeper at the deanery, with orders to send them on by private
messenger to Cross Hall.

On the following day the Dean went to Scumberg's, but could not learn
much there. The Marquis had been very bad, and had had one and another
doctor with him almost continually; but Mrs. Walker could not take upon
herself to say that "it was dangerous." She thought it was "in'ard."
Mrs. Walkers always do think that it is "in'ard" when there is nothing
palpable outward. At any rate his lordship had not been out of bed and
had taken nothing but tapioca and brandy. There was very little more
than this to be learned at the police court. The case might be serious,
but the superintendent hoped otherwise. The superintendent did not
think that the Dean should go down quite to-morrow. The morrow was
Friday; but he suggested Saturday as possible, Monday as almost
certain. It may be as well to say here that the Dean did not call at
the police court again, and heard nothing further from the officers of
the law respecting the occurrence at Scumberg's. On the Friday he
called again at Scumberg's, and the Marquis was still in bed. His
"in'ards" had not ceased to be matter of anxiety to Mrs. Walker; but
the surgeon, whom the Dean now saw, declared that the muscles of the
nobleman's back were more deserving of sympathy. The surgeon, with a
gravity that almost indicated offence, expressed his opinion that the
Marquis's back had received an injury which--which might be--very

Lord George when he received the letters was thrown into a state of
mind that almost distracted him. During the last week or two the
animosity felt at Cross Hall against the Marquis had been greatly
weakened. A feeling had come upon the family that after all Popenjoy
was Popenjoy; and that, although the natal circumstances of such a
Popenjoy were doubtless unfortunate for the family generally, still, as
an injury had been done to the Marquis by the suspicion, those
circumstances ought now to be in a measure forgiven. The Marquis was
the head of the family, and a family will forgive much to its head when
that head is a Marquis. As we know the Dowager had been in his favour
from the first, Lord George had lately given way and had undergone a
certain amount of reconciliation with his brother. Lady Amelia had
seceded to her mother, as had also Mrs. Toff, the old housekeeper. Lady
Susanna was wavering, having had her mind biased by the objectionable
conduct of the Dean and his daughter. Lady Sarah was more stanch. Lady
Sarah had never yet given way; she never did give way; and, in her very
heart, she was the best friend that Mary had among the ladies of the
family. But when her brother gave up the contest she felt that further
immediate action was impossible. Things were in this state at Cross
Hall when Lord George received the two letters. He did not wish to
think well of the Dean just at present, and was horrified at the idea
of a clergyman knocking a Marquis into the fire-place. But the word
indicated was very plain, and that word had been applied to his own
wife. Or, perhaps, no such word had really been used. Perhaps the Dean
had craftily saved himself from an absolute lie, and in his attempt to
defend the violence of his conduct had brought an accusation against
the Marquis, which was in its essence, untrue. Lord George was quite
alive to the duty of defending his wife; but in doing so he was no
longer anxious to maintain affectionate terms with his wife's father.
She had been very foolish. All the world had admitted as much. He had
seen it with his own eyes at that wretched ball. She had suffered her
name to be joined with that of a stranger in a manner derogatory to her
husband's honour. It was hardly surprising that his brother should have
spoken of her conduct in disparaging terms;--but he did not believe
that his brother had used that special term. Personal violence;--blows
and struggling, and that on the part of a Dean of the Church of
England, and violence such as this seemed to have been,--violence that
might have killed the man attacked, seemed to him to be in any case
unpardonable. He certainly could not live on terms of friendship with
the Dean immediately after such a deed. His wife must be taken away and
secluded, and purified by a long course of Germain asceticism.

But what must he do now at once? He felt that it was his duty to hurry
up to London, but he could not bring himself to live in the same house
with the Dean. His wife must be taken away from her father. However bad
may have been the language used by the Marquis, however indefensible,
he could not allow himself even to seem to keep up affectionate
relations with the man who had half slaughtered his brother. He too
thought of what the world would say, he too felt that such an affair,
after having become known to the police, would be soon known to every
one else. But what must he do at once? He had not as yet made up his
mind as to this when he took his place at the Brotherton Railway
Station on the morning after he had received the letters.

But on reaching the station in London he had so far made up his mind as
to have his portmanteau taken to the hotel close at hand, and then to
go to Munster Court. He had hoped to find his wife alone; but on his
arrival the Dean was there also. "Oh, George," she said, "I am so glad
you have come; where are your things?" He explained that he had no
things, that he had come up only for a short time, and had left his
luggage at the station. "But you will stay here to-night?" asked Mary,
in despair.

Lord George hesitated, and the Dean at once saw how it was. "You will
not go back to Brotherton to-day," he said. Now, at this moment the
Dean had to settle in his mind the great question whether it would be
best for his girl that she should be separated from her husband or from
her father. In giving him his due it must be acknowledged that he
considered only what might in truth be best for her. If she were now
taken away from him there would be no prospect of recovery. After all
that had passed, after Lord George's submission to his brother, the
Dean was sure that he would be held in abhorrence by the whole Germain
family. Mary would be secluded and trodden on, and reduced to pale
submission by all the dragons till her life would be miserable. Lord
George himself would be prone enough to domineer in such circumstances.
And then that ill word which had been spoken, and which could only be
effectually burned out of the thoughts of people by a front to the
world at the same time innocent and bold, would stick to her for ever
if she were carried away into obscurity.

But the Dean knew as well as others know how great is the evil of a
separation, and how specially detrimental such a step would be to a
young wife. Than a permanent separation anything would be better;
better even that she should be secluded and maligned, and even, for a
while, trodden under foot. Were such separation to take place his girl
would have been altogether sacrificed, and her life's happiness brought
to shipwreck. But then a permanent separation was not probable. She had
done nothing wrong. The husband and wife did in truth love each other
dearly. The Marquis would be soon gone, and then Lord George would
return to his old habits of thought and his old allegiance. Upon the
whole the Dean thought it best that his present influence should be
used in taking his daughter to the deanery.

"I should like to return quite early to-morrow," said Lord George, very
gravely, "unless my brother's condition should make it impossible."

"I trust you won't find your brother much the worse for what has
happened," said the Dean.

"But you will sleep here to-night," repeated Mary.

"I will come for you the first thing in the morning," said Lord George
in the same funereal voice.

"But why;--why?"

"I shall probably have to be a good deal with my brother during the
afternoon. But I will be here again in the afternoon. You can be at
home at five, and you can get your things ready for going to-morrow."

"Won't you dine here?"

"I think not."

Then there was silence for a minute. Mary was completely astounded.
Lord George wished to say nothing further in the presence of his
father-in-law. The Dean was thinking how he would begin to use his
influence. "I trust you will not take Mary away to-morrow."


"I trust not. I must ask you to hear me say a few words about this."

"I must insist on her coming with me to-morrow, even though I should
have to return to London myself afterwards."

"Mary," said her father, "leave us for a moment." Then Mary retired,
with a very saddened air. "Do you understand, George, what it was that
your brother said to me?"

"I suppose so," he answered, hoarsely.

"Then, no doubt, I may take it for granted that you approve of the
violence of my resentment? To me as a clergyman, and as a man past
middle life, the position was very trying. But had I been an
Archbishop, tottering on the grave with years, I must have endeavoured
to do the same." This he said with great energy. "Tell me, George, that
you think that I was right."

But George had not heard the word, had not seen the man's face. And
then, though he would have gone to a desert island with his wife, had
such exile been necessary for her protection, he did believe that she
had misconducted herself. Had he not seen her whirling round the room
with that man after she had been warned against him. "It cannot be
right to murder a man," he said at last.

"You do not thank me then for vindicating your honour and your wife's

"I do not think that that was the way. The way is to take her home."

"Yes;--to her old home,--to the deanery for a while; so that the world,
which will no doubt hear the malignant epithet applied to her by your
wicked brother, may know that both her husband and her father support
her. You had promised to come to the deanery."

"We cannot do that now."

"Do you mean that after what has passed you will take your brother's

"I will take my wife to Cross Hall," he said, leaving the room and
following Mary up to her chamber.

"What am I to do, papa?" she said when she came down about half-an-hour
afterwards. Lord George had then started to Scumberg's, saying that he
would come to Munster Court again before dinner, but telling her
plainly that he would not sit down to dine with her father, "He has
determined to quarrel with you."

"It will only be for a time, dearest."

"But what shall I do?"

Now came the peril of the answer. He was sure, almost sure, that she
would in this emergency rely rather upon him than on her husband, if he
were firm; but should he be firm as against the husband, how great
would be his responsibility! "I think, my dear," he said, at last,
"that you should go with me to Brotherton."

"But he will not let me."

"I think that you should insist on his promise."

"Don't make us quarrel, papa."

"Certainly not. Anything would be better than a permanent quarrel. But,
after what has been said, after the foul lies that have been told, I
think that you should assert your purpose of staying for awhile with
your father. Were you now to go to Cross Hall there would be no limit
to their tyranny." He left her without a word more, and calling at
Scumberg's Hotel was told that the Marquis could not move.

At that moment Lord George was with his brother, and the Marquis could
talk though he could not move. "A precious family you've married into,
George," he said, almost as soon as his brother was in the room. Then
he gave his own version of the affair, leaving his brother in doubt as
to the exact language that had been used. "He ought to have been a
coal-heaver instead of a clergyman," said the Marquis.

"Of course he would be angry," said Lord George.

"Nothing astonishes me so much," said the Marquis, "as the way in which
you fellows here think you may say whatever comes into your head about
my wife, because she is an Italian, and you seem to be quite surprised
if I object; yet you rage like wild beasts if the compliment is
returned. Why am I to think better of your wife than you of mine?"

"I have said nothing against your wife, Brotherton."

"By ----, I think you have said a great deal,--and with much less
reason than I have. What did you do yourself when you found her
struggling in that fellow's arms at the old woman's party?" Some
good-natured friend had told the Marquis the whole story of the
Kappa-kappa. "You can't be deaf to what all the world is saying of
her." This was wormwood to the wretched husband, and yet he could not
answer with angry, self-reliant indignation, while his brother was
lying almost motionless before him.

Lord George found that he could do nothing at Scumberg's Hotel. He was
assured that his brother was not in danger, and that the chief injury
done was to the muscles of his back, which bruised and lacerated as
they were, would gradually recover such elasticity as they had ever
possessed. But other words were said and other hints expressed, all of
which tended to increase his animosity against the Dean, and almost to
engender anger against his wife. To himself, personally, except in
regard to his wife, his brother had not been ungracious. The Marquis
intended to return to Italy as soon as he could. He hated England and
everything in it. Manor Cross would very soon be at Lord George's
disposal, "though I do hope," said the Marquis, "that the lady who has
condescended to make me her brother-in-law, will never reign paramount
there." By degrees there crept on Lord George's mind a feeling that his
brother looked to a permanent separation,--something like a
repudiation. Over and over again he spoke of Mary as though she had
disgraced herself utterly; and when Lord George defended his wife, the
lord only smiled and sneered.

The effect upon Lord George was to make him very imperious as he walked
back to Munster Court. He could not repudiate his wife, but he would
take her away with a very high hand. Crossing the Green Park, at the
back of Arlington Street, whom should he meet but Mrs. Houghton with
her cousin Jack. He raised his hat, but could not stop a moment. Mrs.
Houghton made an attempt to arrest him,--but he escaped without a word
and went on very quickly. His wife had behaved generously about Mrs.
Houghton. The sight of the woman brought that truth to his mind. He was
aware of that. But no generosity on the part of the wife, no love, no
temper, no virtue, no piety can be accepted by Cæsar as weighing a
grain in counterpoise against even suspicion.

He found his wife and asked her whether her things were being packed.
"I cannot go to-morrow," she said.

"Not go?"

"No, George;--not to Cross Hall. I will go to the deanery. You promised
to go to the deanery."

"I will not go to the deanery. I will go to Cross Hall." There was an
hour of it, but during the entire hour, the young wife persisted
obstinately that she would not be taken to Cross Hall. "She had," she
said, "been very badly treated by her husband's family." "Not by me,"
shouted the husband. She went on to say that nothing could now really
put her right but the joint love of her father and her husband. Were
she at Cross Hall her father could do nothing for her. She would not go
to Cross Hall. Nothing short of policemen should take her to Cross Hall



"He is looking awfully cut up," Mrs. Houghton said to her cousin.

"He is one of the most infernal fools that ever I came across in my
life," said Jack.

"I don't see that he is a fool at all,--any more than all men are
fools. There isn't one among you is ever able to keep his little
troubles to himself. You are not a bit wiser than the rest of them

"I haven't got any troubles,--of that sort."

"You haven't a wife,--but you'll be forced into having one before long.
And when you like another man's wife you can't keep all the world from
knowing it."

"All the world may know everything that has taken place between me and
Lady George," said Jack. "Of course I like her."

"I should say, rather."

"And so do you."

"No, I don't, sir. I don't like her at all. She is a foolish,
meaningless little creature, with nothing to recommend her but a pretty
colour. And she has cut me because her husband will come and pour out
his sorrow into my ears. For his sake I used to be good to her."

"I think she is the sweetest human being I ever came across in my
life," said Jack, enthusiastically.

"Everybody in London knows that you think so,--and that you have told
her your thoughts."

"Nobody in London knows anything of the kind. I never said a word to
her that her husband mightn't have heard."


"I never did."

"I wonder you are not ashamed to confess such simplicity, even to me."

"I am not a bit ashamed of that, though I am ashamed of having in some
sort contributed to do her an injury. Of course I love her."

"Rather,--as I said before."

"Of course you intended that I should."

"I intended that you should amuse yourself. As long as you are good to
me, I shall be good to you."

"My dear Adelaide, nobody can be so grateful as I am. But in this
matter the thing hasn't gone quite as you intended. You say that she is

"Vapid, flabby, childish, and innocent as a baby."

"Innocent I am sure she is. Vapid and flabby she certainly is not. She
is full of fun, and is quite as witty as a woman should be."

"You always liked fools, Jack."

"Then how did I come to be so very fond of you." In answer to this she
merely made a grimace at him. "I hadn't known her three days,"
continued he, "before I began to feel how impossible it would be to say
anything to her that ought not to be said."

"That is just like the world all over," said Mrs. Houghton. "When a man
really falls in love with a woman he always makes her such a goddess
that he doesn't dare to speak to her. The effect is that women are
obliged to put up with men who ain't in love with them,--either that,
or vouchsafe to tell their own little story,--when, lo, they are
goddesses no longer."

"I dare say it's very ridiculous," said Jack, in a mooning despondent
way. "I dare say I'm not the man I ought to be after the advantages I
have had in such friends as you and others."

"If you try to be severe to me, I'll quarrel with you."

"Not severe at all. I'm quite in earnest. A man, and a woman too, have
to choose which kind of role shall be played. There is innocence and
purity, combined with going to church and seeing that the children's
faces are washed. The game is rather slow, but it lasts a long time,
and leads to great capacity for digesting your dinner in old age. You
and I haven't gone in for that."

"Do you mean to say that I am not innocent?"

"Then there is the Devil with all his works,--which I own are, for the
most part, pleasant works to me. I have always had a liking for the


"Of all the saints going he is certainly the most popular. It is
pleasant to ignore the Commandments and enjoy the full liberty of a
debauched conscience. But there are attendant evils. It costs money and
wears out the constitution."

"I should have thought that you had never felt the latter evil."

"The money goes first, no doubt. This, however, must surely be clear. A
man should make up his mind and not shilly-shally between the two."

"I should have thought you had made up your mind very absolutely."

"I thought so, too, Adelaide, till I knew Lady George Germain. I'll
tell you what I feel about her now. If I could have any hope that he
would die I would put myself into some reformatory to fit myself to be
her second husband."

"Good heavens!"

"That is one idea that I have. Another is to cut his throat, and take
my chance with the widow. She is simply the only woman I ever saw that
I have liked all round."

"You come and tell me this, knowing what I think of her."

"Why shouldn't I tell you? You don't want me to make love to you?"

"But a woman never cares to hear all these praises of another."

"It was you began it, and if I do speak of her I shall tell the truth.
There is a freshness as of uncut flowers about her."

"Psha! Worms and grubs!"

"And when she laughs one dreams of a chaste Venus."

"My heavens, Jack! You should publish all that!"

"The dimples on her cheeks are so alluring that I would give my
commission to touch them once with my finger. When I first knew her I
thought that the time would come when I might touch them. Now I feel
that I would not commit such an outrage to save myself from being

"Shall I tell you what you ought to do?"

"Hang myself."

"Just say to her all that you have said to me. You would soon find that
her dimples are not more holy than another's."

"You think so."

"Of course I think so. The only thing that puzzles me is that you, Jack
De Baron, should be led away to such idolatry. Why should she be
different from others? Her father is a money-loving, selfish old
reprobate, who was born in a stable. She married the first man that was
brought to her, and has never cared for him because he does not laugh,
and dance, and enjoy himself after her fashion. I don't suppose she is
capable of caring very much for anybody, but she likes you better than
any one else. Have you seen her since the row at Mrs. Jones's?"


"You have not been, then?"


"Why not?"

"Because I don't think she would wish to see me," said Jack. "All that
affair must have troubled her."

"I don't know how that is. She has been in town ever since, and he
certainly went down to Brotherton. He has come up, I suppose, in
consequence of this row between the Dean and his brother. I wonder what
really did happen?"

"They say that there was a scuffle and that the parson had very much
the best of it. The police were sent for, and all that kind of thing. I
suppose the Marquis said something very rough to him."

"Or he to the Marquis, which is rather more likely. Well,--good-day,
Jack." They were now at the house-door in Berkeley Square. "Don't come
in, because Houghton will be here." Then the door was opened. "But take
my advice, and go and call in Munster Court at once. And, believe me,
when you have found out what one woman is, you have found out what most
women are. There are no such great differences."

It was then six o'clock, and he knew that in Munster Court they did not
dine till near eight. There was still time with a friend so intimate as
he was for what is styled a morning call. The words which his cousin
had spoken had not turned him,--had not convinced him. Were he again
tempted to speak his real mind about this woman,--as he had spoken in
very truth his real mind,--he would still express the same opinion. She
was to him like a running stream to a man who had long bathed in
stagnant waters. But the hideous doctrines which his cousin had
preached to him were not without their effect. If she were as other
women,--meaning such women as Adelaide Houghton,--or if she were not,
why should he not find out the truth? He was well aware that she liked
him. She had not scrupled to show him that by many signs. Why should he
scruple to say a word that might show him how the wind blew? Then he
remembered a few words which he had spoken, but which had been taken so
innocently, that they, though they had been meant to be mischievous,
had become innocent themselves. Even things impure became pure by
contact with her. He was sure, quite sure, that that well-known pupil
of Satan, his cousin, was altogether wrong in her judgment. He knew
that Adelaide Houghton could not recognise, and could not appreciate, a
pure woman. But still,--still it is so poor a thing to miss your plum
because you do not dare to shake the tree! It is especially so, if you
are known as a professional stealer of plums!

When he got into Piccadilly, he put himself into a cab, and had himself
driven to the corner of Munster Court. It was a little street, gloomy
to look at, with dingy doors and small houses, but with windows
looking into St. James's Park. There was no way through it, so that he
who entered it must either make his way into some house, or come back.
He walked up to the door, and then taking out his watch, saw that it
was half-past six. It was almost too late for calling. And then this
thing that he intended to do required more thought than he had given
it. Would it not be well for him that there should be something holy,
even to him, in spite of that Devil's advocate who had been so powerful
with him. So he turned, and walking slowly back towards Parliament
Street, got into another cab, and was taken to his club. "It has come
out," said Major M'Mickmack to him, immediately on his entrance, "that
when the Dean went to see Brotherton at the hotel, Brotherton called
Lady George all the bad names he could put his tongue to."

"I dare say. He is blackguard enough for anything," said De Baron.

"Then the old Dean took his lordship in his arms, and pitched him bang
into the fireplace. I had it all from the police myself."

"I always liked the Dean."

"They say he is as strong as Hercules," continued M'Mickmack. "But he
is to lose his deanery."


"You just ask any of the fellows that know. Fancy a clergyman pitching
a Marquis into the fire!"

"Fancy a father not doing so if the Marquis spoke ill of his daughter,"
said Jack De Baron.



Had Jack knocked at the door and asked for Lady George he certainly
would not have seen her. She was enduring at that moment, with almost
silent obstinacy, the fierce anger of her indignant husband. "She was
sure that it would be bad for her to go to Cross Hall at present, or
anywhere among the Germains, while such things were said of her as the
Marquis had said." Could Lord George have declared that the Marquis was
at war with the family as he had been at war some weeks since, this
argument would have fallen to the ground. But he could not do so, and
it seemed to be admitted that by going to Cross Hall she was to take
part against her father, and so far to take part with the Marquis, who
had maligned her. This became her strong point, and as Lord George was
not strong in argument, he allowed her to make the most of it. "Surely
you wouldn't let me go anywhere," she said, "where such names as that
are believed against me?" She had not heard the name, nor had he, and
they were in the dark;--but she pleaded her cause well, and appealed
again and again to her husband's promise to take her to the deanery.
His stronghold was that of marital authority,--authority unbounded,
legitimate, and not to be questioned. "But if you commanded me to
quarrel with papa?" she asked.

"I have commanded nothing of the kind."

"But if you did?"

"Then you must quarrel with him."

"I couldn't,--and I wouldn't," said she, burying her face upon the arm
of the sofa.

At any rate on the next morning she didn't go, nor, indeed, did he come
to fetch her, so convinced had he been of the persistency of her
obstinacy. But he told her as he left her that if she separated herself
from him now, then the separation must be lasting. Her father, however,
foreseeing this threat, had told her just the reverse. "He is an
obstinate man," the Dean had said, "but he is good and conscientious,
and he loves you."

"I hope he loves me."

"I am sure he does. He is not a fickle man. At present he has put
himself into his brother's hands, and we must wait till the tide turns.
He will learn by degrees to know how unjust he has been."

So it came to pass that Lord George went down to Cross Hall in the
morning and that Mary accompanied her father to the deanery the same
afternoon. The Dean had already learned that it would be well that he
should face his clerical enemies as soon as possible. He had already
received a letter worded in friendly terms from the Bishop, asking him
whether he would not wish to make some statement as to the occurrence
at Scumberg's Hotel which might be made known to the clergymen of the
Cathedral. He had replied by saying that he wished to make no such
statement, but that on his return to Brotherton he would be very
willing to tell the Bishop the whole story if the Bishop wished to hear
it. He had been conscious of Mr. Groschut's hand even among the civil
phrases which had come from the Bishop himself. "In such a matter," he
said in his reply, "I am amenable to the laws of the land, and am not,
as I take it, amenable to any other authority." Then he went on to say
that for his own satisfaction he should be very glad to tell the story
to the Bishop.

The story as it reached Brotherton had, no doubt, given rise to a great
deal of scandal and a great deal of amusement. Pountner and Holdenough
were to some extent ashamed of their bellicose Dean. There is something
ill-mannered, ungentlemanlike, what we now call rowdy, in personal
encounters, even among laymen,--and this is of course aggravated when
the assailant is a clergyman. And these canons, though they kept up
pleasant, social relations with the Dean, were not ill-disposed to
make use of so excellent a weapon against a man, who, though coming
from a lower order than themselves, was never disposed in any way to
yield to them. But the two canons were gentlemen, and as gentlemen were
gracious. Though they liked to have the Dean on the hip, they did not
want to hurt him sorely when they had gotten him there. They would be
contented with certain sly allusions, and only half-expressed triumphs.
But Mr. Groschut was confirmed in his opinion that the Dean was
altogether unfit for his position,--which, for the interests of the
Church, should be filled by some such man as Mr. Groschut himself, by
some God-fearing clergyman, not known as a hard rider across country
and as a bruiser with his fists. There had been an article in the
"Brotherton Church Gazette," in which an anxious hope was expressed
that some explanation would be given of the very incredible tidings
which had unfortunately reached Brotherton. Then Mr. Groschut had
spoken a word in season to the Bishop. Of course he said it could not
be true; but would it not be well that the Dean should be invited to
make his own statement? It was Mr. Groschut who had himself used the
word "incredible" in the article. Mr. Groschut, in speaking to the
Bishop, said that the tidings must be untrue. And yet he believed and
rejoiced in believing every word of them. He was a pious man, and did
not know that he was lying. He was an anxious Christian, and did not
know that he was doing his best to injure an enemy behind his back. He
hated the Dean;--but he thought that he loved him. He was sure that the
Dean would go to some unpleasant place, and gloried in the certainty;
but he thought that he was most anxious for the salvation of the Dean's
soul. "I think your Lordship owes it to him to offer him the
opportunity," said Mr. Groschut.

The Bishop, too, was what we call a severe man;--but his severity was
used chiefly against himself. He was severe in his principles; but,
knowing the world better than his chaplain, was aware how much latitude
it was necessary that he should allow in dealing with men. And in his
heart of hearts he had a liking for the Dean. Whenever there were any
tiffs the Dean could take a blow and give a blow, and then think no
more about it. This, which was a virtue in the eyes of the Bishop, was
no virtue at all to Mr. Groschut, who hated to be hit himself and
wished to think that his own blows were fatal. In urging the matter
with the bishop, Mr. Groschut expressed an opinion that, if this story
were unfortunately true, the Dean should cease to be Dean. He thought
that the Dean must see this himself. "I am given to understand that he
was absolutely in custody of the police," said Mr. Groschut. The Bishop
was annoyed by his chaplain; but still he wrote the letter.

On the very morning of his arrival in Brotherton the Dean went to the
palace. "Well, my lord," said the Dean, "you have heard this cock and
bull story."

"I have heard a story," said the Bishop. He was an old man, very tall
and very thin, looking as though he had crushed out of himself all
taste for the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, but singularly
urbane in his manner, with an old-fashioned politeness. He smiled as he
invited the Dean to a seat, and then expressed a hope that nobody had
been much hurt. "Very serious injuries have been spoken of here, but I
know well how rumour magnifies these things."

"Had I killed him, my lord, I should have been neither more nor less to
blame than I am now, for I certainly endeavoured to do my worst to
him." The Bishop's face assumed a look of pain and wonder. "When I had
the miscreant in my hands I did not pause to measure the weight of my
indignation. He told me, me a father, that my child was ----." He had
risen from his chair, and as he pronounced the word, stood looking into
the Bishop's eyes. "If there be purity on earth, sweet feminine
modesty, playfulness devoid of guile, absolute freedom from any stain
of leprosy, they are to be found with my girl."

"Yes! yes; I am sure of that."

"She is my worldly treasure. I have none other. I desire none other. I
had wounded this man by certain steps which I have taken in reference
to his family;--and then, that he might wound me in return, he did not
scruple, to use that word to his own sister-in-law, to my daughter. Was
that a time to consider whether a clergyman may be justified in putting
out his strength? No; my lord. Old as you are you would have attempted
it yourself. I took him up and smote him, and it is not my fault if he
is not a cripple for life." The Bishop gazed at him speechlessly, but
felt quite sure that it was not in his power to rebuke his fellow
clergyman. "Now, my lord," continued the Dean, "you have heard the
story. I tell it to you, and I shall tell it to no one else. I tell it
you, not because you are the bishop of this diocese, and I, the Dean of
this Cathedral,--and as such I am in such a matter by no means subject
to your lordship's authority;--but, because of all my neighbours you
are the most respected, and I would wish that the truth should be known
to some one." Then he ceased, neither enjoining secrecy, or expressing
any wish that the story should be correctly told to others.

"He must be a cruel man," said the Bishop.

"No, my lord;--he is no man at all. He is a degraded animal
unfortunately placed almost above penalties by his wealth and rank. I
am glad to think that he has at last encountered some little
punishment, though I could wish that the use of the scourge had fallen
into other hands than mine." Then he took his leave, and as he went the
Bishop was very gracious to him.

"I am almost inclined to think he was justified," said the Bishop to
Mr. Groschut.

"Justified, my lord! The Dean;--in striking the Marquis of Brotherton,
and then falling into the hands of the police!"

"I know nothing about the police."

"May I ask your lordship what was his account of the transaction."

"I cannot give it you. I simply say that I think that he was
justified." Then Mr. Groschut expressed his opinion to Mrs. Groschut
that the Bishop was getting old,--very old indeed. Mr. Groschut was
almost afraid that no good could be done in the diocese till a firmer
and a younger man sat in the seat.

The main facts of the story came to the knowledge of the canons, though
I doubt whether the Bishop ever told all that was told to him. Some few
hard words were said. Canon Pountner made a remark in the Dean's
hearing about the Church militant, which drew forth from the Dean an
allusion to the rites of Bacchus, which the canon only half understood.
And Dr. Holdenough asked the Dean whether there had not been some
little trouble between him and the Marquis. "I am afraid you have been
a little hard upon my noble brother-in-law," said the Doctor. To which
the Dean replied that the Doctor should teach his noble brother-in-law
better manners. But, upon the whole, the Dean held his own well, and
was as carefully waited upon to his seat by the vergers as though there
had been no scene at Scumberg's Hotel.

For a time no doubt there was a hope on the part of Mr. Groschut
and his adherents that there would be some further police
interference;--that the Marquis would bring an action, or that the
magistrates would demand some inquiry. But nothing was done. The
Marquis endured his bruised back at any rate in silence. But there came
tidings to Brotherton that his lordship would not again be seen at
Manor Cross that year. The house had been kept up as though for him,
and he had certainly declared his purpose of returning when he left the
place. He had indeed spoken of living there almost to the end of
autumn. But early in July it became known that when he left Scumberg's
Hotel, he would go abroad;--and before the middle of July it was
intimated to Lady Alice, and through her to all Brotherton, that the
Dowager with her daughters and Lord George were going back to the old

In the meantime Lady George was still at the deanery, and Lord George
at Cross Hall, and to the eyes of the world the husband had been
separated from his wife. His anger was certainly very deep, especially
against his wife's father. The fact that his commands had been
twice,--nay as he said thrice,--disobeyed rankled in his mind. He had
ordered her not to waltz, and she had waltzed with, as Lord George
thought, the most objectionable man in all London. He had ordered her
to leave town with him immediately after Mrs. Jones's ball, and she had
remained in town. He had ordered her now to leave her father and to
cleave to him; but she had cleft to her father and had deserted him.
What husband can do other than repudiate his wife under such
circumstances as these! He was moody, gloomy, silent, never speaking of
her, never going into Brotherton lest by chance he should see her; but
always thinking of her,--and always, always longing for her company.

She talked of him daily to her father, and was constant in her prayer
that they should not be made to quarrel. Having so long doubted whether
she could ever love him, she now could not understand the strength of
her own feeling. "Papa, mightn't I write to him," she said. But her
father thought that she should not herself take the first step at any
rate till the Marquis was gone. It was she who had in fact been
injured, and the overture should come from the other side. Then at
last, in a low whisper, hiding her face, she told her father a great
secret,--adding with a voice a little raised, "Now, papa, I must write
to him."

"My darling, my dearest," said the Dean, leaning over and kissing her
with more than his usual demonstration of love.

"I may write now."

"Yes, dear, you should certainly tell him that." Then the Dean went out
and walked round the deanery garden, and the cathedral cloisters, and
the close, assuring himself that after a very little while the real
Lord Popenjoy would be his own grandson.



It took Mary a long long morning,--not altogether an unhappy
morning,--to write her letter to her husband. She was forced to make
many attempts before she could tell the great news in a fitting way,
and even when the telling was done she was very far from being
satisfied with the manner of it. There should have been no necessity
that such tidings should be told by letter. It was cruel, very cruel,
that such a moment should not have been made happy to her by his joy.
The whisper made to her father should have been made to him,--but that
things had gone so untowardly with her. And then, in her present
circumstances, she could not devote her letter to the one event. She
must refer to the said subject of their separation. "Dear, dearest
George, pray do not think of quarrelling with me," she said twice over
in her letter. The letter did get itself finished at last, and the
groom was sent over with it on horseback.

What answer would he make to her? Would he be very happy? would he be
happy enough to forgive her at once and come and stay with her at the
deanery? or would the importance of the moment make him more imperious
than ever in commanding that she should go with him to Cross Hall. If
he did command her now she thought that she must go. Then she sat
meditating what would be the circumstances of her life there,--how
absolutely she would be trodden upon; how powerless she would be to
resist those Dorcas conclaves after her mutiny and subsequent
submission! Though she could not quite guess, she could nearly guess
what bad things had been said of her; and the ladies at Cross Hall
were, as she understood, now in amity with him who had said them. They
had believed evil of her, and of course, therefore, in going to Cross
Hall, she would go to it as to a reformatory. But the deanery would be
to her a paradise if only her husband would but come to her there. It
was not only that she was mistress of everything, including her own
time, but that her father's infinite tenderness made all things soft
and sweet to her. She hated to be scolded, and the slightest roughness
of word or tone seemed to her to convey a rebuke. But he was never
rough. She loved to be caressed by those who were dear and near and
close to her, and his manner was always caressing. She often loved, if
the truth is to be spoken, to be idle, and to spend hours with an
unread book in her hand under the shade of the deanery trees, and among
the flowers of the deanery garden. The Dean never questioned her as to
those idle hours. But at Cross Hall not a half-hour would be allowed to
pass without enquiry as to its purpose. At Cross Hall there would be no
novels,--except those of Miss Edgeworth, which were sickening to her.
She might have all Mudie down to the deanery if she chose to ask for
it. At Cross Hall she would be driven out with the Dowager, Lady
Susanna, and Lady Amelia, for two hours daily, and would have to get
out of the carriage at every cottage she came to. At the deanery there
was a pair of ponies, and it was her great delight to drive her father
about the roads outside the city. She sometimes thought that a long
sojourn at Cross Hall would kill her. Would he not be kind to her now,
and loving, and would he not come and stay with her for one or two
happy weeks in her father's house? If so, how dearly she would love
him; how good she would be to him; how she would strive to gratify him
in all his whims! Then she thought of Adelaide Houghton and the letter;
and she thought also of those subsequent visits to Berkeley Square. But
still she did not in the least believe that he cared for Adelaide
Houghton. It was impossible that he should like a painted, unreal,
helmeted creature, who smelt of oils, and was never unaffected for a
moment. At any rate she would never, never throw Adelaide Houghton in
his teeth. If she had been imprudent, so had he; and she would teach
him how small errors ought to be forgiven. But would he come to her, or
would he only write? Surely he would come to her now when there was
matter of such vital moment to be discussed between them! Surely there
would be little directions to her given, which should be obeyed,--oh,
with such care, if he would be good to her.

That pernicious groom must have ridden home along the road nearly as
quick as the Dean's cob would carry him for the express purpose of
saying that there was no message. When he had been about ten minutes in
the Cross Hall kitchen, he was told that there was no message, and had
trotted off with most unnecessary speed. Mary was with her father when
word was brought to him, saying that there was no message. "Oh, papa,
he doesn't care!" she said.

"He will be sure to write," said the Dean, "and he would not allow
himself to write in a hurry."

"But why doesn't he come?"

"He ought to come."

"Oh, papa;--if he doesn't care, I shall die."

"Men always care very much."

"But if he has made up his mind to quarrel with me for ever, then he
won't care. Why didn't he send his love?"

"He wouldn't do that by the groom."

"I'd send him mine by a chimney-sweep if there were nobody else." Then
the door was opened, and in half a second she was in her husband's
arms. "Oh, George, my darling, my own, I am so happy. I thought you
would come. Oh, my dear!" Then the Dean crept out without a word, and
the husband and the wife were together for hours.

"Do you think she is well," said Lord George to the Dean in the course
of the afternoon.

"Well? why shouldn't she be well!"

"In this condition I take it one never quite knows."

"I should say there isn't a young woman in England in better general
health. I never knew her to be ill in my life since she had the

"I thought she seemed flushed."

"No doubt,--at seeing you."

"I suppose she ought to see the doctor."

"See a fiddlestick. If she's not fretted she won't want a doctor till
the time comes when the doctor will be with her whether she wants him
or not. There's nothing so bad as coddling. Everybody knows that now.
The great thing is to make her happy."

There came a cloud across Lord George's brow as this was said,--a cloud
which he could not control, though, as he had hurried across the park
on horseback, he had made up his mind to be happy and good-humoured. He
certainly had cared very much. He had spoken no word on the subject to
anyone, but he had been very much disappointed when he had been married
twelve months and no hope of an heir had as yet been vouchsafed to him.
When his brother had alluded to the matter, he had rebuked even his
brother. He had never ventured to ask a question even of his wife. But
he had been himself aware of his own bitter disappointment. The reading
of his wife's letter had given him a feeling of joy keener than any he
had before felt. For a moment he had been almost triumphant. Of course
he would go to her. That distasteful Popenjoy up in London was sick and
ailing; and after all this might be the true Popenjoy who, in coming
days, would re-establish the glory of the family. But, at any rate, she
was his wife, and the bairn would be his bairn. He had been made a
happy man, and had determined to enjoy to the full the first blush of
his happiness. But when he was told that she was not to be fretted,
that she was to be made especially happy, and was so told by her
father, he did not quite clearly see his way for the future. Did this
mean that he was to give up everything, that he was to confess tacitly
that he had been wrong in even asking his wife to go with him to Cross
Hall, and that he was to be reconciled in all things to the Dean? He
was quite ready to take his wife back, to abstain from accusations
against her, to let her be one of the family, but he was as eager as
ever to repudiate the Dean. To the eyes of his mother the Dean was now
the most horrible of human beings, and her eldest born the dearest of
sons. After all that he had endured he was again going to let her live
at the old family house, and all those doubts about Popenjoy had, she
thought, been fully satisfied. The Marquis to her thinking was now
almost a model Marquis, and this dear son, this excellent head of the
family, had been nearly murdered by the truculent Dean. Of course the
Dean was spoken of at Cross Hall in very bitter terms, and of course
those terms made impression on Lord George. In the first moments of his
paternal anxiety he had been willing to encounter the Dean in order
that he might see his wife; but he did not like to be told by the Dean
that his wife ought to be made happy. "I don't know what there is to
make her unhappy," he said, "if she will do her duty."

"That she has always done," said the Dean, "both before her marriage
and since."

"I suppose she will come home now," said Lord George.

"I hardly know what home means. Your own home I take it is in Munster

"My own home is at Manor Cross," said Lord George, proudly.

"While that is the residence of Lord Brotherton it is absolutely
impossible that she should go there. Would you take her to the house of
a man who has scurrilously maligned her as he has done?"

"He is not there or likely to be there. Of course she would come to
Cross Hall first."

"Do you think that would be wise? You were speaking just now with
anxiety as to her condition."

"Of course I am anxious."

"You ought to be at any rate. Do you think, that as she is now she
should be subjected to the cold kindnesses of the ladies of your

"What right have you to call their kindness cold?"

"Ask yourself. You hear what they say. I do not. You must know exactly
what has been the effect in your mother's house of the scene between me
and your brother at that hotel. I spurned him from me with violence
because he had maligned your wife. I may expect you to forgive me."

"It was very unfortunate."

"I may feel sure that you as a man must exonerate me from blame in that
matter, but I cannot expect your mother to see it in the same light. I
ask you whether they do not regard her as wayward and unmanageable?"

He paused for a reply; and Lord George found himself obliged to say
something. "She should come and show that she is not wayward or

"But she would be so to them. Without meaning it they would torment
her, and she would be miserable. Do you not know that it would be so?"
He almost seemed to yield. "If you wish her to be happy, come here for
a while. If you will stay here with us for a month, so that this stupid
idea of a quarrel shall be wiped out of people's minds, I will
undertake that she shall then go to Cross Hall. To Manor Cross she
cannot go while the Marquis is its ostensible master."

Lord George was very far from being prepared to yield in this way. He
had thought that his wife in her present condition would have been sure
to obey him, and had even ventured to hope that the Dean would make no
further objection. "I don't think that this is the place for her," he
said. "Wherever I am she should be with me."

"Then come here, and it will be all right," said the Dean.

"I don't think that I can do that."

"If you are anxious for her health you will." A few minutes ago the
Dean had been very stout in his assurances that everything was well
with his daughter, but he was by no means unwilling to take advantage
of her interesting situation to forward his own views. "I certainly
cannot say that she ought to go to Cross Hall at present. She would be
wretched there. Ask yourself."

"Why should she be wretched?"

"Ask yourself. You had promised her that you would come here. Does not
the very fact of your declining to keep that promise declare that you
are dissatisfied with her conduct, and with mine?" Lord George was
dissatisfied with his wife's conduct and with the Dean's, but at the
present moment did not wish to say so. "I maintain that her conduct is
altogether irreproachable; and as for my own, I feel that I am entitled
to your warmest thanks for what I have done. I must desire you to
understand that we will neither of us submit to blame."

Nothing had been arranged when Lord George left the deanery. The
husband could not bring himself to say a harsh word to his wife. When
she begged him to promise that he would come over to the deanery, he
shook his head. Then she shed a tear, but as she did it she kissed him,
and he could not answer her love by any rough word. So he rode back to
Cross Hall, feeling that the difficulties of his position were almost

On the next morning Mr. Price came to him. Mr. Price was the farmer who
had formerly lived at Cross Hall, who had given his house up to the
Dowager, and who had in consequence been told that he must quit the
land at the expiration of his present term. "So, my lord, his lordship
ain't going to stay very long after all," said Mr. Price.

"I don't quite know as yet," said Lord George.

"I have had Mr. Knox with me this morning, saying that I may go back to
the Hall whenever I please. He took me so much by surprise, I didn't
know what I was doing."

"My mother is still there, Mr. Price."

"In course she is, my lord. But Mr. Knox was saying that she is going
to move back at once to the old house. It's very kind of his lordship,
I'm sure, to let bygones be bygones." Lord George could only say that
nothing was as yet settled, but that Mr. Price would be, of course,
welcome to Cross Hall, should the family go back to Manor Cross.

This took place about the 10th of June, and for a fortnight after that
no change took place in any of their circumstances. Lady Alice
Holdenough called upon Lady George, and, with her husband, dined at the
deanery; but Mary saw nothing else of any of the ladies of the family.
No letter came from either of her sisters-in-law congratulating her as
to her new hopes, and the Manor Cross carriage never stopped at the
Dean's door. The sisters came to see Lady Alice, who lived also in the
Close, but they never even asked for Lady George. All this made the
Dean very angry, so that he declared that his daughter should under no
circumstances be the first to give way. As she had not offended, she
should never be driven to ask for pardon. During this time Lord George
more than once saw his wife, but he had no further interview with the



Towards the end of June the family at Cross Hall were in great
perturbation. In the first place it had been now settled that they were
to go back to the great house early in July. This might have been a
source of unalloyed gratification. The old Marchioness had been made
very unhappy by the change to Cross Hall, and had persisted in calling
her new home a wretched farmhouse. Both Lady Susanna and Lady Amelia
were quite alive to the advantages of the great mansion. Lord George
had felt that his position in the county had been very much injured by
recent events. This might partly have come from his residence in
London; but had, no doubt, been chiefly owing to the loss of influence
arising from the late migration. He was glad enough to go back again.
But Lady Sarah was strongly opposed to the new movement. "I don't think
that mamma should be made liable to be turned out again," she had said
to her brother and sisters.

"But mamma is particularly anxious to go," Amelia had replied.

"You can't expect mamma to think correctly about Brotherton," said Lady
Sarah. "He is vicious and fickle, and I do not like to feel that any of
us should be in his power." But Lady Sarah, who had never been on good
terms with her elder brother, was overruled, and everybody knew that in
July the family was to return to Manor Cross.

Then there came tidings from London,--unauthorised tidings, and, one
may say, undignified tidings,--but still tidings which were received
with interest. Mrs. Toff had connections with Scumberg's, and heard
through these connections that things at Scumberg's were not going on
in a happy way. Mrs. Toff's correspondent declared that the Marquis had
hardly been out of his bed since he had been knocked into the
fireplace. Mrs. Toff, who had never loved the Dean and had never
approved of that alliance, perhaps made the most of this. But the
report, which was first made to the Dowager herself, caused very great
uneasiness. The old lady said that she must go up to London herself to
nurse her son. Then a letter was written by Lady Amelia to her brother,
asking for true information. This was the answer which Lady Amelia

     "DEAR A.,--I'm pretty well, thank you. Don't trouble yourselves.
     Yours, B."

"I'm sure he's dying," said the Marchioness, "and he's too
noble-hearted to speak of his sufferings." Nevertheless she felt that
she did not dare to go up to Scumberg's just at present.

Then there came further tidings. Mrs. Toff was told that the Italian
Marchioness had gone away, and had taken Popenjoy with her. There was
not anything necessarily singular in this. When a gentleman is going
abroad with his family, he and his family need not as a matter of
course travel together. Lord Brotherton had declared his purpose of
returning to Italy, and there could be no reason why his wife, with the
nurses and the august Popenjoy, should not go before him. It was just
such an arrangement as such a man as Lord Brotherton would certainly
make. But Mrs. Toff was sure that there was more in it than this. The
Italian Marchioness had gone off very suddenly. There had been no grand
packing up;--but there had been some very angry words. And Popenjoy,
when he was taken away, was supposed to be in a very poor condition of
health. All this created renewed doubts in the mind of Lord George, or
rather, perhaps, renewed hopes. Perhaps, after all, Popenjoy was not
Popenjoy. And even if he were, it seemed that everyone concurred in
thinking that the poor boy would die. Surely the Marquis would not have
allowed a sick child to be carried away by an indiscreet Italian mother
if he cared much for the sick child. But then Lord George had no real
knowledge of these transactions. All this had come through Mrs. Toff,
and he was hardly able to rely upon Mrs. Toff. Could he have
communicated with the Dean, the Dean would soon have found out the
truth. The Dean would have flown up to London and have known all about
it in a couple of hours; but Lord George was not active and clever as
the Dean.

Then he wrote a letter to his brother;--as follows;--

     "MY DEAR BROTHERTON,--We have heard through Mr. Knox that you wish
     us to move to Manor Cross at once, and we are preparing to do so.
     It is very kind of you to let us have the house, as Cross Hall is
     not all that my mother likes, and as there would hardly be room
     for us should my wife have children. I ought perhaps to have told
     you sooner that she is in the family way. We hear too that you are
     thinking of starting for Italy very soon, and that the Marchioness
     and Popenjoy have already gone. Would it suit you to tell us
     something of your future plans? It is not that I want to be
     inquisitive, but that I should like to know with reference to your
     comfort and our own whether you think that you will be back at
     Manor Cross next year. Of course we should be very sorry to be in
     your way, but we should not like to give up Cross Hall till we
     know that it will not be wanted again.

     "I hope you are getting better. I could of course come up to town
     at a moment's notice, if you wished to see me.

     "Yours affectionately,


There was nothing in this letter which ought to have made any brother
angry, but the answer which came to it certainly implied that the
Marquis had received it with dudgeon.

     "MY DEAR GEORGE," the Marquis said,

     "I can give you no guarantee that I shall not want Manor Cross
     again, and you ought not to expect it. If you and the family go
     there of course I must have rent for Cross Hall. I don't suppose
     I shall ever recover altogether from the injury that cursed brute
     did me.

     "Yours, 'B.'

     "As to your coming family of course I can say nothing. You won't
     expect me to be very full of joy. Nevertheless, for the honour of
     the family, I hope it is all right."

There was a brutality about this which for a time made the expectant
father almost mad. He tore the letter at once into fragments, so that
he might be ready with an answer if asked to show it to his sisters.
Lady Sarah had known of his writing, and did ask as to her brother's
answer. "Of course he told me nothing," said Lord George. "He is not
like any other brother that ever lived."

"May I see his letter?"

"I have destroyed it. It was not fit to be seen. He will not say
whether he means to come back next year or not."

"I would not stir, if it were for me to determine," said Lady Sarah.
"Nobody ever ought to live in another person's house as long as he has
one of his own;--and of all men certainly not in Brotherton's."
Nevertheless, the migration went on, and early in July the Marchioness
was once more in possession of her own room at Manor Cross, and Mrs.
Toff was once again in the ascendant.

But what was to be done about Mary? Had Popenjoy been reported to enjoy
robust health, and had Mary been as Mary was a month or two since, the
Marchioness and Lady Susanna would have been contented that the present
separation should have been permanent. They would at any rate have
taken no steps to put an end to it which would not have implied abject
submission on Mary's part. But now things were so altered! If this
Popenjoy should die, and if Mary should have a son, Mary's position
would be one which they could not afford to overlook. Though Mary
should be living in absolute rebellion with that horrid Dean, still her
Popenjoy would in course of time be the Popenjoy, and nothing that any
Germain could do would stand in her way. Her Popenjoy would be Popenjoy
as soon as the present Marquis should die, and the family estates would
all in due time be his! Her position had been becoming daily more
honourable as these rumours were received. Everyone at Manor Cross,
down to the boy in the kitchen, felt that her dignity had been
immeasurably increased. Her child should now certainly be born at Manor
Cross,--though the deanery would have been quite good enough had the
present Popenjoy been robust. Something must be done. The Marchioness
was clear that Mary should be taken into favour and made much of,--even
hinted that she should not be asked to make shirts and petticoats,--if
only she could be separated from the pestilential Dean. She spoke in
private to her son, who declared that nothing would separate Mary from
her father. "I don't think I could entertain him after what he did to
Brotherton," said the Marchioness, bursting into tears.

There were great consultations at Manor Cross, in which the wisdom of
Lady Sarah and Lady Susanna, and sometimes the good offices of Lady
Alice Holdenough were taxed to the utmost. Lady Sarah had since the
beginning of these latter troubles been Mary's best friend, though
neither Mary nor the Dean had known of her good services. She had
pretty nearly understood the full horror of the accusation brought by
the Marquis, and had in her heart acquitted the Dean. Though she was
hard she was very just. She believed no worse evil of Mary than that
she had waltzed when her husband had wished her not to do so. To Lady
Sarah all waltzing was an abomination, and disobedience to legitimate
authority was abominable also. But then Mary had been taken to London,
and had been thrown into temptation, and was very young. Lady Sarah
knew that her own life was colourless, and was contented. But she could
understand that women differently situated should not like a colourless
existence. She had seen Adelaide Houghton and her sister-in-law
together, and had known that her brother's lot had fallen in much the
better place, and, to her, any separation between those whom God had
bound together was shocking and wicked. Lady Susanna was louder and
less just. She did not believe that Mary had done anything to merit
expulsion from the family; but she did think that her return to it
should be accompanied by sackcloth and ashes. Mary had been pert to
her, and she was not prone to forgive. Lady Alice had no
opinion,--could say nothing about it; but would be happy if, by her
services, she could assuage matters.

"Does she ever talk of him," Lady Susanna asked.

"Not to me; I don't think she dares. But whenever he goes there she is
delighted to see him."

"He has not been for the last ten days," said Lady Sarah.

"I don't think he will ever go again,--unless it be to fetch her," said
Lady Susanna. "I don't see how he can keep on going there, when she
won't do as he bids her. I never heard of such a thing! Why should she
choose to live with her father when she is his wife? I can't understand
it at all."

"There has been some provocation," said Lady Sarah.

"What provocation? I don't know of any. Just to please her fancy,
George had to take a house in London, and live there against his own

"It was natural that she should go to the deanery for a few days; but
when she was there no one went to see her."

"Why did she not come here first?" said Lady Susanna. "Why did she take
upon herself to say where she would go, instead of leaving it to her
husband. Of course it was the Dean. How can any man be expected to
endure that his wife should be governed by her father instead of by
himself? I think George has been very forbearing."

"You have hardly told the whole story," said Lady Sarah. "Nor do I wish
to tell it. Things were said which never should have been spoken. If
you will have me, Alice, I will go to Brotherton for a day or two, and
I will then go and see her."

And so it was arranged. No one in the house was told of the new plan,
Lady Susanna having with difficulty been brought to promise silence.
Lady Sarah's visit was of course announced, and that alone created
great surprise, as Lady Sarah very rarely left home. The Marchioness
had two or three floods of tears over it, and suggested that the
carriage would be wanted for the entire day. This evil, however, was
altogether escaped, as Lady Alice had a carriage of her own. "I'm sure
I don't know who is to look after Mrs. Green," said the Marchioness.
Mrs. Green was an old woman of ninety who was supported by Germain
charity and was visited almost daily by Lady Sarah. But Lady Amelia
promised that she would undertake Mrs. Green. "Of course I'm nobody,"
said the Marchioness. Mrs. Toff and all who knew the family were sure
that the Marchioness would, in truth, enjoy her temporary freedom from
her elder daughter's control.

Whatever might have been Lord George's suspicion, he said nothing about
it. It had not been by agreement with him that the ladies of the family
had abstained from calling on his wife. He had expressed himself in
very angry terms as to the Dean's misconduct in keeping her in
Brotherton, and in his wrath had said more than once that he would
never speak to the Dean again. He had not asked any one to go there;
but neither had he asked them not to do so. In certain of his moods he
was indignant with his sisters for their treatment of his wife; and
then again he would say to himself that it was impossible that they
should go into the Dean's house after what the Dean had done. Now, when
he heard that his eldest sister was going to the Close, he said not a

On the day of her arrival Lady Sarah knocked at the deanery door alone.
Up to this moment she had never put her foot in the house. Before the
marriage she had known the Dean but slightly, and the visiting to be
done by the family very rarely fell to her share. The streets of
Brotherton were almost strange to her, so little was she given to leave
the sphere of her own duties. In the hall, at the door of his study,
she met the Dean. He was so surprised that he hardly knew how to greet
her. "I am come to call upon Mary," said Lady Sarah, very brusquely.

"Better late than never," said the Dean, with a smile.

"I hope so," said Lady Sarah, very solemnly. "I hope that I am not
doing that which ought not to be done. May I see her?"

"Of course you can see her. I dare say she will be delighted. Is your
carriage here?"

"I am staying with my sister. Shall I go upstairs?"

Mary was in the garden, and Lady Sarah was alone for a few minutes in
the drawing-room. Of course she thought that this time was spent in
conference by the father and daughter; but the Dean did not even see
his child. He was anxious enough himself that the quarrel should be
brought to an end, if only that end could be reached by some steps to
be taken first by the other side. Mary, as she entered the room, was
almost frightened, for Lady Sarah had certainly been the greatest of
the bugbears when she was living at Manor Cross, "I am come to
congratulate you," said Lady Sarah, putting her hand out straight
before her.

Better late than never. Mary did not say so, as her father had done,
but only thought it. "Thank you," she said, in a very low voice. "Has
any one else come?"

"No,--no one else. I am with Alice, and as I have very very much to
say, I have come alone. Oh! Mary,--dear Mary, is not this sad?" Mary
was not at all disposed to yield, or to acknowledge that the sadness
was, in any degree, her fault, but she remembered, at the moment, that
Lady Sarah had never called her "dear Mary" before. "Don't you wish
that you were back with George?"

"Of course I do. How can I wish anything else?"

"Why don't you go back to him?"

"Let him come here and fetch me, and be friends with papa. He promised
that he would come and stay here. Is he well, Sarah?"

"Yes; he is well."

"Quite well? Give him my love,--my best love. Tell him that in spite of
everything I love him better than all the world."

"I am sure you do."

"Yes;--of course I do. I could be so happy now if he would come to me."

"You can go to him. I will take you if you wish it."

"You don't understand," said Mary.

"What don't I understand?"

"About papa."

"Will he not let you go to your husband?"

"I suppose he would let me go;--but if I were gone what would become of

Lady Sarah did not, in truth, understand this. "When he gave you to be
married," she said, "of course he knew that you must go away from him
and live with your husband. A father does not expect a married daughter
to stay in his own house."

"But he expects to be able to go to hers. He does not expect to be
quarrelled with by everybody. If I were to go to Manor Cross, papa
couldn't even come and see me."

"I think he could."

"You don't know papa if you fancy he would go into any house in which
he was not welcome. Of course I know that you have all quarrelled with
him. You think because he beat the Marquis up in London that he
oughtn't ever to be spoken to again. But I love him for what he did
more dearly than ever. He did it for my sake. He was defending me, and
defending George. I have done nothing wrong. If it is only for George's
sake, I will never admit that I have deserved to be treated in this
way. None of you have come to see me before, since I came back from
London, and now George doesn't come."

"We should all have been kind to you if you had come to us first."

"Yes; and then I should never have been allowed to be here at all. Let
George come and stay here, if it is only for two days, and be kind to
papa, and then I will go with him to Manor Cross."

Lady Sarah was much surprised by the courage and persistence of the
young wife's plea. The girl had become a woman, and was altered even in
appearance. She certainly looked older, but then she was certainly much
more beautiful than before. She was dressed, not richly, but with care,
and looked like a woman of high family. Lady Sarah, who never changed
either the colour or the material of her brown morning gown, liked to
look at her, telling herself that should it ever be this woman's fate
to be Marchioness of Brotherton, she would not in appearance disgrace
the position. "I hope you can understand that we are very anxious about
you," she said.

"I don't know."

"You might know, then. Your baby will be a Germain."

"Ah,--yes,--for that! You can't think I am happy without George. I am
longing all day long, from morning to night, that he will come back to
me. But after all that has happened, I must do what papa advises. If I
were just to go to Manor Cross now, and allow myself to be carried
there alone, you would all feel that I had been--forgiven. Isn't that

"You would be very welcome."

"Susanna would forgive me, and your mother. And I should be like a girl
who has been punished, and who is expected to remember ever so long
that she has been naughty. I won't be forgiven, except by George,--and
he has nothing to forgive. You would all think me wicked if I were
there, because I would not live in your ways."

"We should not think you wicked, Mary."

"Yes, you would. You thought me wicked before."

"Don't you believe we love you, Mary?"

She considered a moment before she made a reply, but then made it very
clearly: "No," she said, "I don't think you do. George loves me. Oh, I
hope he loves me."

"You may be quite sure of that. And I love you."

"Yes;--just as you love all people, because the Bible tells you. That
is not enough."

"I will love you like a sister, Mary, if you will come back to us."

She liked being asked. She was longing to be once more with her
husband. She desired of all things to be able to talk to him of her
coming hopes. There was something in the tone of Lady Sarah's voice,
different from the tones of old, which had its effect. She would
promise to go if only some slightest concession could be made, which
should imply that neither she nor her father had given just cause of
offence. And she did feel,--she was always feeling,--that her husband
ought to remember that she had never brought counter-charges against
him. She had told no one of Mrs. Houghton's letter. She was far too
proud to give the slightest hint that she too had her grievance. But
surely he should remember it. "I should like to go," she said.

"Then come back with me to-morrow." Lady Sarah had come only on this
business, and if the business were completed there would be no
legitimate reason for her prolonged sojourn at Brotherton.

"Would George come here for one night."

"Surely, Mary, you would not drive a bargain with your husband."

"But papa!"

"Your father can only be anxious for your happiness."

"Therefore I must be anxious for his. I can't say that I'll go without
asking him."

"Then ask him and come in and see me at Alice's house this afternoon.
And tell your father that I say you shall be received with all

Mary made no promise that she would do even this as Lady Sarah took her
leave; but she did at once consult her father. "Of course you can go if
you like it, dearest."

"But you!"

"Never mind me. I am thinking only of you. They will be different to
you now that they think you will be the mother of the heir."

"Would you take me, and stay there, for one night?"

"I don't think I could do that, dear. I do not consider that I have
been exactly asked."

"But if they will ask you?"

"I cannot ask to be asked. To tell the truth I am not at all anxious to
be entertained at Manor Cross. They would always be thinking of that
fireplace into which the Marquis fell."

The difficulty was very great and Mary could not see her way through
it. She did not go to Dr. Holdenough's house that afternoon, but wrote
a very short note to Lady Sarah begging that George might come over and
talk to her.



A day or two after this Lord George did call at the deanery, but stayed
there only for a minute or two, and on that occasion did not even speak
of Mary's return to Manor Cross. He was considerably flurried, and
showed his wife the letter which had caused his excitement. It was from
his brother, and like most of the Marquis's letters was very short.

"I think you had better come up and see me. I'm not very well. B." That
was the entire letter, and he was now on his way to London.

"Do you think it is much, George?"

"He would not write like that unless he were really ill. He has never
recovered from the results of that--accident."

Then it occurred to Mary that if the Marquis were to die, and Popenjoy
were to die, she would at once be the Marchioness of Brotherton, and
that people would say that her father had raised her to the title
by--killing the late lord. And it would be so. There was something so
horrible in this that she trembled as she thought of it. "Oh, George!"

"It is very--very sad."

"It was his fault; wasn't it? I would give all the world that he were
well; but it was his fault." Lord George was silent. "Oh, George, dear
George, acknowledge that. Was it not so? Do you not think so? Could
papa stand by and hear him call me such names as that? Could you have
done so?"

"A man should not be killed for an angry word."

"Papa did not mean to kill him!"

"I can never be reconciled to the man who has taken the life of my

"Do you love your brother better than me?"

"You and your father are not one."

"If this is to be said of him I will always be one with papa. He did it
for my sake and for yours. If they send him to prison I will go with
him. George, tell the truth about it."

"I always tell the truth," he said angrily.

"Did he not do right to protect his girl's name? I will never leave him
now; never. If everybody is against him, I will never leave him."

No good was to be got from the interview. Whatever progress Lady Sarah
may have made was altogether undone by the husband's sympathy for his
injured brother. Mary declared to herself that if there must be two
sides, if there must be a real quarrel, she could never be happy again,
but that she certainly would not now desert her father. Then she was
left alone. Ah, what would happen if the man were to die. Would any
woman ever have risen to high rank in so miserable a manner! In her
tumult of feelings she told her father everything, and was astonished
by his equanimity. "It may be so," he said, "and if so, there will be
considerable inconvenience."

"Inconvenience, papa!"

"There will be a coroner's inquest, and perhaps some kind of trial. But
when the truth comes out no English jury will condemn me."

"Who will tell the truth, papa?"

The Dean knew it all, and was well aware that there would be no one to
tell the truth on his behalf,--no one to tell it in such guise that a
jury would be entitled to accept the telling as evidence. A verdict of
manslaughter with punishment, at the discretion of the judge, would be
the probable result. But the Dean did not choose to add to his
daughter's discomfort by explaining this. "The chances are that this
wretched man is dying. No doubt his health is bad. How should the
health of such a man be good? But had he been so hurt as to die from
it, the doctor would have found something out long since. He may be
dying, but he is not dying from what I did to him." The Dean was
disturbed, but in his perturbation he remembered that if the man were
to die there would be nothing but that little alien Popenjoy between
his daughter and the title.

Lord George hurried up to town, and took a room for himself at an hotel
in Jermyn Street. He would not go to Scumberg's, as he did not wish to
mix his private life with that of his brother. That afternoon he went
across, and was told that his brother would see him at three o'clock
the next day. Then he interrogated Mrs. Walker as to his brother's
condition. Mrs. Walker knew nothing about it, except that the Marquis
lay in bed during the most of his time, and that Dr. Pullbody was there
every day. Now Dr. Pullbody was an eminent physician, and had the
Marquis been dying from an injury in his back an eminent surgeon would
have been required. Lord George dined at his club on a mutton chop and
a half a pint of sherry, and then found himself terribly dull. What
could he do with himself? Whither could he betake himself? So he walked
across Piccadilly and went to the old house in Berkeley Square.

He had certainly become very sick of the woman there. He had discussed
the matter with himself and had found out that he did not care one
straw for the woman. He had acknowledged to himself that she was a
flirt, a mass of affectation, and a liar. And yet he went to her house.
She would be soft to him and would flatter him, and the woman would
trouble herself to do so. She would make him welcome, and in spite of
his manifest neglect would try, for the hour, to make him comfortable.

He was shown up into the drawing-room and there he found Jack De Baron,
Guss Mildmay;--and Mr. Houghton, fast asleep. The host was wakened up
to bid him welcome, but was soon slumbering again. De Baron and Guss
Mildmay had been playing bagatelle,--or flirting in the back
drawing-room, and after a word or two returned to their game. "Ill is
he?" said Mrs. Houghton, speaking of the Marquis, "I suppose he has
never recovered from that terrible blow."

"I have not seen him yet, but I am told that Dr. Pullbody is with him."

"What a tragedy,--if anything should happen! She has gone away; has she

"I do not know. I did not ask."

"I think she has gone, and that she has taken the child with her; a
poor puny thing. I made Houghton go there to enquire, and he saw the
child. I hear from my father that we are to congratulate you."

"Things are too sad for congratulation."

"It is horrible; is it not? And Mary is with her father."

"Yes, she's at the deanery."

"Is that right?--when all this is going on?"

"I don't think anything is right," he said, gloomily.

"Has she--quarrelled with you, George?" At the sound of his Christian
name from the wife's lips he looked round at the sleeping husband. He
was quite sure that Mr. Houghton would not like to hear his wife call
him George. "He sleeps like a church," said Mrs. Houghton, in a low
voice. The two were sitting close together and Mr. Houghton's arm-chair
was at a considerable distance. The occasional knocking of the balls,
and the continued sound of voices was to be heard from the other room.
"If you have separated from her I think you ought to tell me."

"I saw her to-day as I came through."

"But she does not go to Manor Cross?"

"She has been at the deanery since she went down."

Of course this woman knew of the quarrel which had taken place in
London. Of course she had been aware that Lady George had stayed behind
in opposition to her husband's wishes. Of course she had learned every
detail as to the Kappa-kappa. She took it for granted that Mary was in
love with Jack De Baron, and thought it quite natural that she should
be so. "She never understood you as I should have done, George,"
whispered the lady. Lord George again looked at the sleeping man, who
grunted and moved, "He would hardly hear a pistol go off."

"Shouldn't I?" said the sleeping man, rubbing away the flies from his
nose. Lord George wished himself back at his club.

"Come out into the balcony," said Mrs. Houghton. She led the way and he
was obliged to follow her. There was a balcony to this house surrounded
with full-grown shrubs, so that they who stood there could hardly be
seen from the road below. "He never knows what any one is saying." As
she spoke she came close up to her visitor. "At any rate he has the
merit of never troubling me or himself by any jealousies."

"I should be very sorry to give him cause," said Lord George.

"What's that you say?" Poor Lord George had simply been awkward, having
intended no severity. "Have you given him no cause?"

"I meant that I should be sorry to trouble him."

"Ah--h! That is a different thing. If husbands would only be
complaisant, how much nicer it would be for everybody." Then there was
a pause. "You do love me, George?" There was a beautiful moon that was
bright through the green foliage, and there was a smell of sweet
exotics, and the garden of the Square was mysteriously pretty as it lay
below them in the moonlight. He stood silent, making no immediate
answer to this appeal. He was in truth plucking up his courage for a
great effort. "Say that you love me. After all that is passed you must
love me." Still he was silent. "George, will you not speak?"

"Yes; I will speak."

"Well, sir!"

"I do not love you."

"What! But you are laughing at me. You have some scheme or some plot
going on."

"I have nothing going on. It is better to say it. I love my wife."

"Psha! love her;--yes, as you would a doll or any pretty plaything. I
loved her too till she took it into her stupid head to quarrel with me.
I don't grudge her such love as that. She is a child."

It occurred to Lord George at the moment that his wife had certainly
more than an infantine will of her own. "You don't know her," he said.

"And now, after all, you tell me to my face that you do not love me!
Why have you sworn so often that you did?" He hadn't sworn it often. He
had never sworn it at all since she had rejected him. He had been
induced to admit a passion in the most meagre terms. "Do you own
yourself to be false?" she asked.

"I am true to my wife."

"Your wife! One would think you were the curate of the parish. And is
that to be all?"

"Yes, Mrs. Houghton; that had better be all."

"Then why did you come here? Why are you here now?" She had not
expected such courage from him, and almost thought more of him now than
she had ever thought before. "How dare you come to this house at all?"

"Perhaps I should not have come."

"And I am nothing to you?" she asked in her most plaintive accents.
"After all those scenes at Manor Cross you can think of me with
indifference?" There had been no scenes, and as she spoke he shook his
head, intending to disclaim them. "Then go!" How was he to go? Was he
to wake Mr. Houghton? Was he to disturb that other loving couple? Was
he to say no word of farewell to her? "Oh, stay," she added, "and unsay
it all--unsay it all and give no reason, and it shall be as though it
were never said." Then she seized him by the arm and looked
passionately up into his eyes. Mr. Houghton moved restlessly in his
chair and coughed aloud. "He'll be off again in half a moment," said
Mrs. Houghton. Then he was silent, and she was silent, looking at him.
And he heard a word or two come clearly from the back drawing-room.
"You will, Jack; won't you, dear Jack?"

The ridicule of the thing touched even him. "I think I had better go,"
he said.

"Then go!"

"Good-night, Mrs. Houghton."

"I will not say good-night. I will never speak to you again. You are
not worth speaking to. You are false. I knew that men could be false,
but not so false as you. Even that young fellow in there has some
heart. He loves your--darling wife, and will be true to his love." She
was a very devil in her wickedness. He started as though he had been
stung, and rushed inside for his hat. "Halloa, Germain, are you going?"
said the man of the house, rousing himself for the moment.

"Yes, I am going. Where did I leave my hat?"

"You put it on the piano," said Mrs. Houghton in her mildest voice,
standing at the window. Then he seized his hat and went off. "What a
very stupid man he is," she said, as she entered the room.

"A very good sort of fellow," said Mr. Houghton.

"He's a gentleman all round," said Jack De Baron. Jack knew pretty well
how the land lay and could guess what had occurred.

"I am not so sure of that," said the lady. "If he were a gentleman as
you say all round, he would not be so much afraid of his elder brother.
He has come up to town now merely because Brotherton sent to him, and
when he went to Scumberg's the Marquis would not see him. He is just
like his sisters,--priggish, punctilious and timid."

"He has said something nasty to you," remarked her husband, "or you
would not speak of him like that."

She had certainly said something very nasty to him. As he returned to
his club he kept on repeating to himself her last words;--"He loves
your darling wife." Into what a mass of trouble had he not fallen
through the Dean's determination that his daughter should live in
London! He was told on all sides that this man was in love with his
wife, and he knew,--he had so much evidence for knowing,--that his wife
liked the man. And now he was separated from his wife, and she could
go whither her father chose to take her. For aught that he could do she
might be made to live within the reach of this young scoundrel. No
doubt his wife would come back if he would agree to take her back on
her own terms. She would again belong to him if he would agree to take
the Dean along with her. But taking the Dean would be to put himself
into the Dean's leading strings. The Dean was strong and imperious; and
then the Dean was rich. But anything would be better than losing his
wife. Faulty as he thought her to be, she was sweet as no one else was
sweet. When alone with him she would seem to make every word of his a
law. Her caresses were full of bliss to him. When he kissed her her
face would glow with pleasure. Her voice was music to him; her least
touch was joy. There was a freshness about the very things which she
wore which pervaded his senses. There was a homeliness about her beauty
which made her more lovely in her own room than when dressed for balls
and parties. And yet he had heard it said that when dressed she was
declared to be the most lovely woman that had come to London that
season. And now she was about to become the mother of his child. He was
thoroughly in love with his wife. And yet he was told that his wife was
"Jack De Baron's darling!"



The next morning was very weary with him, as he had nothing to do till
three o'clock. He was most anxious to know whether his sister-in-law
had in truth left London, but he had no means of finding out. He could
not ask questions on such a subject from Mrs. Walker and her
satellites; and he felt that it would be difficult to ask even his
brother. He was aware that his brother had behaved to him badly, and he
had determined not to be over courteous,--unless, indeed, he should
find his brother to be dangerously ill. But above all things he would
avoid all semblance of inquisitiveness which might seem to have a
reference to the condition of his own unborn child. He walked up and
down St. James' Park thinking of all this, looking up once at the
windows of the house which had brought so much trouble on him, that
house of his which had hardly been his own, but not caring to knock at
the door and enter it. He lunched in solitude at his club, and exactly
at three o'clock presented himself at Scumberg's door. The Marquis's
servant was soon with him, and then again he found himself alone in
that dreary sitting-room. How wretched must his brother be, living
there from day to day without a friend, or, as far as he was aware,
without a companion!

He was there full twenty minutes, walking about the room in exasperated
ill-humour, when at last the door was opened and his brother was
brought in between two men-servants. He was not actually carried, but
was so supported as to appear to be unable to walk. Lord George asked
some questions, but received no immediate answers. The Marquis was at
the moment thinking too much of himself and of the men who were
ministering to him to pay any attention to his brother. Then by degrees
he was fixed in his place, and after what seemed to be interminable
delay the two men went away. "Ugh!" ejaculated the Marquis.

"I am glad to see that you can at any rate leave your room," said Lord

"Then let me tell you that it takes deuced little to make you glad."

The beginning was not auspicious, and further progress in conversation
seemed to be difficult. "They told me yesterday that Dr. Pullbody was
attending you."

"He has this moment left me. I don't in the least believe in him. Your
London doctors are such conceited asses that you can't speak to them?
Because they can make more money than their brethren in other countries
they think that they know everything, and that nobody else knows
anything. It is just the same with the English in every branch of life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the greatest priest going, because he
has the greatest income, and the Lord Chancellor the greatest lawyer.
All you fellows here are flunkies from top to bottom."

Lord George certainly had not come up to town merely to hear the great
dignitaries of his country abused. But he was comforted somewhat as he
reflected that a dying man would hardly turn his mind to such an
occupation. When a sick man criticises his doctor severely he is seldom
in a very bad way. "Have you had anybody else with you, Brotherton?"

"One is quite enough. But I had another. A fellow named Bolton was
here, a baronet, I believe, who told me I ought to walk a mile in Hyde
Park every day. When I told him I couldn't he said I didn't know till I
tried. I handed him a five-pound note, upon which he hauled out three
pounds nineteen shillings change and walked off in a huff. I didn't
send for him any more."

"Sir James Bolton has a great reputation."

"No doubt. I daresay he could cut off my leg if I asked him, and would
then have handed out two pounds eighteen with the same indifference."

"I suppose your back is better?"

"No, it isn't,--not a bit. It gets worse and worse."

"What does Dr. Pullbody say?"

"Nothing that anybody can understand. By George! he takes my money
freely enough. He tells me to eat beefsteaks and drink port-wine. I'd
sooner die at once. I told him so, or something a little stronger, I
believe, and he almost jumped out of his shoes."

"He doesn't think there is any----danger?"

"He doesn't know anything about it. I wish I could have your
father-in-law in a room by ourselves, with a couple of loaded
revolvers. I'd make better work of it than he did."

"God forbid!"

"I daresay he won't give me the chance. He thinks he has done a plucky
thing because he's as strong as a brewer's horse. I call that downright

"It depends on how it began, Brotherton."

"Of course there had been words between us. Things always begin in that

"You must have driven him very hard."

"Are you going to take his part? Because, if so, there may as well be
an end of it. I thought you had found him out and had separated
yourself from him. You can't think that he is a gentleman?"

"He is a very liberal man."

"You mean to sell yourself, then, for the money that was made in his
father's stables?"

"I have not sold myself at all. I haven't spoken to him for the last

"So I understood; therefore I sent for you. You are all back at Manor
Cross now?"

"Yes;--we are there."

"You wrote me a letter which I didn't think quite the right thing. But,
however, I don't mind telling you that you can have the house if we can
come to terms about it."

"What terms?"

"You can have the house and the park, and Cross Hall Farm, too, if
you'll pledge yourself that the Dean shall never enter your house
again, and that you will never enter his house or speak to him. You
shall do pretty nearly as you please at Manor Cross. In that event I
shall live abroad, or here in London if I come to England. I think
that's a fair offer, and I don't suppose that you yourself can be very
fond of the man." Lord George sat perfectly silent while the Marquis
waited for a reply. "After what has passed," continued he, "you can't
suppose that I should choose that he should be entertained in my

"You said the same about my wife before."

"Yes, I did; but a man may separate himself from his father-in-law when
he can't very readily get rid of his wife. I never saw your wife."

"No;--and therefore cannot know what she is."

"I don't in the least want to know what she is. You and I, George,
haven't been very lucky in our marriages."

"I have."

"Do you think so? You see I speak more frankly of myself. But I am not
speaking of your wife. Your wife's father has been a blister to me ever
since I came back to this country, and you must make up your mind
whether you will take his part or mine. You know what he did, and what
he induced you to do about Popenjoy. You know the reports that he has
spread abroad. And you know what happened in this room. I expect you to
throw him off altogether." Lord George had thrown the Dean off
altogether. For reasons of his own he had come to the conclusion that
the less he had to do with the Dean the better for himself; but he
certainly could give no such pledge as this now demanded from him. "You
won't make me this promise?" said the Marquis.

"No; I can't do that."

"Then you'll have to turn out of Manor Cross," said the Marquis,

"You do not mean that my mother must be turned out?"

"You and my mother, I suppose, will live together?"

"It does not follow. I will pay you rent for Cross Hall."

"You shall do no such thing. I will not let Cross Hall to any friend of
the Dean's."

"You cannot turn your mother out immediately after telling her to go

"It will be you who turn her out,--not I. I have made you a very
liberal offer," said the Marquis.

"I will have nothing to do with it," said Lord George. "In any house in
which I act as master I will be the judge who shall be entertained and
who not."

"The first guests you will ask, no doubt, will be the Dean of
Brotherton and Captain De Baron." This was so unbearable that he at
once made a rush at the door. "You'll find, my friend," said the
Marquis, "that you'll have to get rid of the Dean and of the Dean's
daughter as well." Then Lord George swore to himself as he left the
room that he would never willingly be in his brother's company again.

He was rushing down the stairs, thinking about his wife, swearing to
himself that all this was calumny, yet confessing to himself that there
must have been terrible indiscretion to make the calumny so general,
when he was met on the landing by Mrs. Walker in her best silk gown.
"Please, my lord, might I take the liberty of asking for one word in my
own room?" Lord George followed her and heard the one word. "Please, my
lord, what are we to do with the Marquis?"

"Do with him!"

"About his going."

"Why should he go? He pays his bills, I suppose?"

"Oh yes, my lord; the Marquis pays his bills. There ain't no difficulty
there, my lord. He's not quite himself."

"You mean in health?"

"Yes, my lord;--in health. He don't give himself,--not a chance. He's
out every night,--in his brougham."

"I thought he was almost confined to his room?"

"Out every night, my lord,--and that Courier with him on the box. When
we gave him to understand that all manner of people couldn't be allowed
to come here, we thought he'd go."

"The Marchioness has gone?"

"Oh yes;--and the poor little boy. It was bad enough when they was
here, because things were so uncomfortable; but now----. I wish
something could be done, my lord." Lord George could only assure her
that it was out of his power to do anything. He had no control over his
brother, and did not even mean to come and see him again. "Dearie me!"
said Mrs. Walker; "he's a very owdacious nobleman, I fear,--is the

All this was very bad. Lord George had learned, indeed, that the
Marchioness and Popenjoy were gone, and was able to surmise that the
parting had not been pleasant. His brother would probably soon follow
them. But what was he to do himself! He could not, in consequence of
such a warning, drag his mother and sisters back to Cross Hall, into
which house Mr. Price, the farmer, had already moved himself. Nor could
he very well leave his mother without explaining to her why he did so.
Would it be right that he should take such a threat, uttered as that
had been, as a notice to quit the house? He certainly would not live in
his brother's house in opposition to his brother. But how was he to
obey the orders of such a madman?

When he reached Brotherton he went at once to the deanery and was very
glad to find his wife without her father. He did not as yet wish to
renew his friendly relations with the Dean, although he had refused to
pledge himself to a quarrel. He still thought it to be his duty to take
his wife away from her father, and to cause her to expiate those
calumnies as to De Baron by some ascetic mode of life. She had been,
since his last visit, in a state of nervous anxiety about the Marquis.
"How is he, George?" she asked at once.

"I don't know how he is. I think he's mad."


"He's leading a wretched life."

"But his back? Is he;--is he--? I am afraid that papa is so unhappy
about it! He won't say anything, but I know he is unhappy."

"You may tell your father from me that as far as I can judge his
illness, if he is ill, has nothing to do with that."

"Oh, George, you have made me so happy."

"I wish I could be happy myself. I sometimes think that we had better
go and live abroad."

"Abroad! You and I?"

"Yes. I suppose you would go with me?"

"Of course I would. But your mother?"

"I know there is all manner of trouble about it." He could not tell her
of his brother's threat about the house, nor could he, after that
threat, again bid her come to Manor Cross. As there was nothing more to
be said he soon left her, and went to the house which he had again been
forbidden to call his home.

But he told his sister everything. "I was afraid," she said, "that we
should be wrong in coming here."

"It is no use going back to that now."

"Not the least. What ought we to do? It will break mamma's heart to be
turned out again."

"I suppose we must ask Mr. Knox."

"It is unreasonable;--monstrous! Mr. Price has got all his furniture
back again into the Hall! It is terrible that any man should have so
much power to do evil."

"I could not pledge myself about the Dean, Sarah."

"Certainly not. Nothing could be more wicked than his asking you. Of
course, you will not tell mamma."

"Not yet."

"I should take no notice of it whatever. If he means to turn us out of
the house let him write to you, or send word by Mr. Knox. Out every
night in London! What does he do?" Lord George shook his head. "I don't
think he goes into society." Lord George could only shake his head
again. There are so many kinds of society! "They said he was coming
down to Mr. De Baron's in August."

"I heard that too. I don't know whether he'll come now. To see him
brought in between two servants you'd think that he couldn't move."

"But they told you he goes out every night?"

"I've no doubt that is true."

"I don't understand it all," said Lady Sarah. "What is he to gain by
pretending. And so they used to quarrel."

"I tell you what the woman told me."

"I've no doubt it's true. And she has gone and taken Popenjoy? Did he
say anything about Popenjoy?"

"Not a word," said Lord George.

"It's quite possible that the Dean may have been right all through.
What terrible mischief a man may do when he throws all idea of duty to
the winds! If I were you, George, I should just go on as though I had
not seen him at all."

That was the decision to which Lord George came, but in that he was
soon shaken by a letter which he received from Mr. Knox. "I think if
you were to go up to London and see your brother it would have a good
effect," said Mr. Knox. In fact Mr. Knox's letter contained little more
than a petition that Lord George would pay another visit to the
Marquis. To this request, after consultation with his sister, he gave a
positive refusal.

     "MY DEAR MR. KNOX," he said,

     "I saw my brother less than a week ago, and the meeting was so
     unsatisfactory in every respect that I do not wish to repeat it.
     If he has anything to say to me as to the occupation of the house
     he had better say it through you. I think, however, that my
     brother should be told that though I may be subject to his freaks,
     we cannot allow that my mother should be annoyed by them.

     "Faithfully yours,


At the end of another week Mr. Knox came in person. The Marquis was
willing that his mother should live at Manor Cross,--and his sisters.
But he had,--so he said,--been insulted by his brother, and must insist
that Lord George should leave the house. If this order were not obeyed
he should at once put the letting of the place into the hands of a
house agent. Then Mr. Knox went on to explain that he was to take back
to the Marquis a definite reply. "When people are dependent on me I
choose that they shall be dependent," the Marquis had said.

Now, after a prolonged consultation to which Lady Susanna was
admitted,--so serious was the thing to be considered,--it was found to
be necessary to explain the matter to the Marchioness. Some step
clearly must be taken. They must all go, or Lord George must go. Cross
Hall was occupied, and Mr. Price was going to be married on the
strength of his occupation. A lease had been executed to Mr. Price,
which the Dowager herself had been called upon to sign. "Mamma will
never be made to understand it," said Lady Susanna.

"No one can understand it," said Lord George. Lord George insisted that
the ladies should continue to live at the large house, insinuating
that, for himself, he would take some wretched residence in the most
miserable corner of the globe, which he could find.

The Marchioness was told and really fell into a very bad way. She
literally could not understand it, and aggravated matters by appearing
to think that her younger son had been wanting in respect to his elder
brother. And it was all that nasty Dean! And Mary must have behaved
very badly or Brotherton would not have been so severe! "Mamma," said
Lady Sarah, moved beyond her wont, "you ought not to think such things.
George has been true to you all his life, and Mary has done nothing. It
is all Brotherton's fault. When did he ever behave well? If we are to
be miserable, let us at any rate tell the truth about it." Then the
Marchioness was put to bed and remained there for two days.

At last the Dean heard of it,--first through Lady Alice, and then
directly from Lady Sarah, who took the news to the deanery. Upon which
he wrote the following letter to his son-in-law;--

     "MY DEAR GEORGE,--I think your brother is not quite sane. I never
     thought that he was. Since I have had the pleasure of knowing you,
     especially since I have been connected with the family, he has
     been the cause of all the troubles that have befallen it. It is to
     be regretted that you should ever have moved back to Manor Cross,
     because his temper is so uncertain, and his motives so

     "I think I understand your position now, and will therefore not
     refer to it further than to say, that when not in London I hope
     you will make the deanery your home. You have your own house in
     town, and when here will be close to your mother and sisters.
     Anything I can do to make this a comfortable residence for you
     shall be done; and it will surely go for something with you, that
     a compliance with this request on your part will make another
     person the happiest woman in the world.

     "In such an emergency as this am I not justified in saying that
     any little causes of displeasure that may have existed between you
     and me should now be forgotten? If you will think of them they
     really amount to nothing. For you I have the esteem of a friend
     and the affection of a father-in-law. A more devoted wife than my
     daughter does not live. Be a man and come to us, and let us make
     much of you.

     "She knows I am writing, and sends her love; but I have not told
     her of the subject lest she should be wild with hope.

     "Affectionately yours,


The letter as he read it moved him to tears, but when he had finished
the reading he told himself that it was impossible. There was one
phrase in the letter which went sorely against the grain with him. The
Dean told him to be a man. Did the Dean mean to imply that his conduct
hitherto had been unmanly?



Lord George Germain was very much troubled by the nobility of the
Dean's offer. He felt sure that he could not accept it, but he felt at
the same time that it would be almost as difficult to decline to accept
it. What else was he to do? where was he to go? how was he now to
exercise authority over his wife? With what face could he call upon her
to leave her father's house, when he had no house of his own to which
to take her? There was, no doubt, the house in London, but that was her
house, and peculiarly disagreeable to him. He might go abroad; but then
what would become of his mother and sisters? He had trained himself to
think that his presence was necessary to the very existence of the
family; and his mother, though she ill-treated him, was quite of the
same opinion. There would be a declaration of a break up made to all
the world if he were to take himself far away from Manor Cross. In his
difficulty, of course he consulted Lady Sarah. What other counsellor
was possible to him?

He was very fair with his sister, trying to explain everything to
her--everything, with one or two exceptions. Of course he said nothing
of the Houghton correspondence, nor did he give exactly a true account
of the scene at Mrs. Montacute Jones' ball; but he succeeded in making
Lady Sarah understand that though he accused his wife of nothing, he
felt it to be incumbent on him to make her completely subject to his
own authority. "No doubt she was wrong to waltz after what you told
her," said Lady Sarah.

"Very wrong."

"But it was simply high spirits, I suppose."

"I don't think she understands how circumspect a young married woman
ought to be," said the anxious husband. "She does not see how very much
such high spirits may injure me. It enables an enemy to say such
terrible things."

"Why should she have an enemy, George?" Then Lord George merely
whispered his brother's name. "Why should Brotherton care to be her

"Because of the Dean."

"She should not suffer for that. Of course, George, Mary and I are very
different. She is young and I am old. She has been brought up to the
pleasures of life, which I disregard, perhaps because they never came
in my way. She is beautiful and soft,--a woman such as men like to have
near them. I never was such a one. I see the perils and pitfalls in her
way; but I fancy that I am prone to exaggerate them, because I cannot
sympathise with her yearnings. I often condemn her frivolity, but at
the same time I condemn my own severity. I think she is true of
heart,--a loving woman. And she is at any rate your wife."

"You don't suppose that I wish to be rid of her?"

"Certainly not; but in keeping her close to you you must remember that
she has a nature of her own. She cannot feel as you do in all things
any more than you feel as she does."

"One must give way to the other."

"Each must give way to the other if there is to be any happiness."

"You don't mean to say she ought to waltz, or dance stage dances?"

"Let all that go for the present. She won't want to dance much for a
time now, and when she has a baby in her arms she will be more apt to
look at things with your eyes. If I were you I should accept the Dean's

There was a certain amount of comfort in this, but there was more pain.
His wife had defied him, and it was necessary to his dignity that she
should be brought to submission before she was received into his full
grace. And the Dean had encouraged her in those acts of defiance. They
had, of course, come from him. She had been more her father's daughter
than her husband's wife, and his pride could not endure that it should
be so. Everything had gone against him. Hitherto he had been able to
desire her to leave her father and to join him in his own home. Now he
had no home to which to take her. He had endeavoured to do his
duty,--always excepting that disagreeable episode with Mrs.
Houghton,--and this was the fruit of it. He had tried to serve his
brother, because his brother was Marquis of Brotherton, and his brother
had used him like an enemy. His mother treated him, with steady
injustice. And now his sister told him that he was to yield to the
Dean! He could not bring himself to yield to the Dean. At last he
answered the Dean's letter as follows;--

     "MY DEAR DEAN,--

     "Your offer is very kind, but I do not think that I can accept it
     just at present. No doubt I am very much troubled by my brother's
     conduct. I have endeavoured to do my duty by him, and have met
     with but a poor return. What arrangements I shall ultimately make
     as to a home for myself and Mary, I cannot yet say. When anything
     is settled I shall, of course, let her know at once. It will
     always be, at any rate, one of my chief objects to make her
     comfortable, but I think that this should be done under my roof
     and not under yours. I hope to be able to see her in a day or two,
     when perhaps I shall have been able to settle upon something.

     "Yours always affectionately,

     "G. GERMAIN."

Then, upon reading this over and feeling that it was cold and almost
heartless, he added a postscript. "I do feel your offer to be very
generous, but I think you will understand the reasons which make it
impossible that I should accept it." The Dean as he read this declared
to himself that he knew the reasons very well. The reasons were not far
to search. The man was pigheaded, foolish, and obstinately proud. So
the Dean thought. As far as he himself was concerned Lord George's
presence in the house would not be a comfort to him. Lord George had
never been a pleasant companion to him. But he would have put up with
worse than Lord George for the sake of his daughter.

On the very next day Lord George rode into Brotherton and went direct
to the deanery. Having left his horse at the inn he met the Dean in the
Close, coming out of a side door of the Cathedral close to the deanery
gate. "I thought I would come in to see Mary," he said.

"Mary will be delighted."

"I did not believe that I should be able to come so soon when I wrote

"I hope you are going to tell her that you have thought better of my
little plan."

"Well;--no; I don't think I can do that. I think she must come to me
first, sir."

"But where!"

"I have not yet quite made up my mind. Of course there is a difficulty.
My brother's conduct has been so very strange."

"Your brother is a madman, George."

"It is very easy to say so, but that does not make it any better.
Though he be ever so mad the house is his own. If he chooses to turn me
out of it he can. I have told Mr. Knox that I would leave it within a
month,--for my mother's sake; but that as I had gone there at his
express instance, I could not move sooner. I think I was justified in

"I don't see why you should go at all."

"He would let the place."

"Or, if you do go, why you should not come here. But, of course, you
know your own business best. How d'ye do, Mr. Groschut? I hope the
Bishop is better this morning."

At this moment, just as they were entering the deanery gate, the
Bishop's chaplain had appeared. He had been very studious in spreading
a report, which he had no doubt believed to be true, that all the
Germain family, including Lord George, had altogether repudiated the
Dean, whose daughter, according to his story, was left upon her
father's hands because she would not be received at Manor Cross. For
Mr. Groschut had also heard of Jack De Baron, and had been cut to the
soul by the wickedness of the Kappa-kappa. The general iniquity of
Mary's life in London had been heavy on him. Brotherton, upon the
whole, had pardoned the Dean for knocking the Marquis into the
fireplace, having heard something of the true story with more or less
correctness. But the Chaplain's morals were sterner than those of
Brotherton at large, and he was still of opinion that the Dean was a
child of wrath, and poor Mary, therefore, a grandchild. Now, when he
saw the Dean and his son-in-law apparently on friendly terms, the
spirit of righteousness was vexed within him as he acknowledged this to
be another sign that the Dean was escaping from that punishment which
alone could be of service to him in this world. "His Lordship is better
this morning. I hope, my Lord, I have the pleasure of seeing your
Lordship quite well." Then Mr. Groschut passed on.

"I'm not quite sure," said the Dean, as he opened his own door,
"whether any good is ever done by converting a Jew."

"But St. Paul was a converted Jew," said Lord George.

"Well--yes; in those early days Christians were only to be had by
converting Jews or Pagans; and in those days they did actually become
Christians. But the Groschuts are a mistake." Then he called to Mary,
and in a few minutes she was in her husband's arms on the staircase.
The Dean did not follow them, but went into his own room on the ground
floor; and Lord George did not see him again on that day.

Lord George remained with his wife nearly all the afternoon, going out
with her into the town as she did some little shopping, and being seen
with her in the market-place and Close. It must be owned of Mary that
she was proud thus to be seen with him again, and that in buying her
ribbons and gloves she referred to him, smiling as he said this, and
pouting and pretending to differ as he said that, with greater urgency
than she would have done had there been no breach between them. It had
been terrible to her to think that there should be a quarrel,--terrible
to her that the world should think so. There was a gratification to her
in feeling that even the shopkeepers should see her and her husband
together. And when she met Canon Pountner and stopped a moment in the
street while that worthy divine shook hands with her husband, that was
an additional pleasure to her. The last few weeks had been heavy to her
in spite of her father's affectionate care,--heavy with a feeling of
disgrace from which no well-minded young married woman can quite
escape, when she is separated from her husband. She had endeavoured to
do right. She thought she was doing right. But it was so sad! She was
fond of pleasure, whereas he was little given to any amusement; but no
pleasures could be pleasant to her now unless they were in some sort
countenanced by him. She had never said such a word to a human being,
but since that dancing of the Kappa-kappa she had sworn to herself a
thousand times that she would never waltz again. And she hourly yearned
for his company, having quite got over that first difficulty of her
married life, that doubt whether she could ever learn to love her
husband. During much of this day she was actually happy in spite of the
great sorrow which still weighed so heavily upon them both.

And he liked it also in his way. He thought that he had never seen her
looking more lovely. He was sure that she had never been more gracious
to him. The touch of her hand was pleasant to his arm, and even he had
sufficient spirit of fun about him to enjoy something of the mirth of
her little grimaces. When he told her what her father had said about
Mr. Groschut, even he laughed at her face of assumed disgust. "Papa
doesn't hate him half as much as I do," she said. "Papa always does
forgive at last, but I never can forgive Mr. Groschut."

"What has the poor man done?"

"He is so nasty! Don't you see that his face always shines. Any man
with a shiny face ought to be hated." This was very well to give as a
reason, but Mary entertained a very correct idea as to Mr. Groschut's
opinion of herself.

Not a word had been said between the husband and wife as to the great
question of residence till they had returned to the deanery after their
walk. Then Lord George found himself unable to conceal from her the
offer which the Dean had made. "Oh, George,--why don't you come?"

"It would not be--fitting."

"Fitting! Why not fitting? I think it would fit admirably. I know it
would fit me." Then she leaned over him and took his hand and kissed

"It was very good of your father."

"I am sure he meant to be good."

"It was very good of your father," Lord George repeated,--"very good
indeed; but it cannot be. A married woman should live in her husband's
house and not in her father's."

Mary gazed into his face with a perplexed look, not quite understanding
the whole question, but still with a clear idea as to a part of it. All
that might be very true, but if a husband didn't happen to have a house
then might not the wife's father's house be a convenience? They had
indeed a house, provided no doubt with her money, but not the less now
belonging to her husband, in which she would be very willing to live if
he pleased it,--the house in Munster Court. It was her husband that
made objection to their own house. It was her husband who wished to
live near Manor Cross, not having a roof of his own under which to do
so. Were not these circumstances which ought to have made the deanery a
convenience to him? "Then what will you do?" she asked.

"I cannot say as yet." He had become again gloomy and black-browed.

"Wouldn't you come here--for a week?"

"I think not, my dear."

"Not when you know how happy it would make me to have you with me once
again. I do so long to be telling you everything." Then she leant
against him and embraced him, and implored him to grant her this
favour. But he would not yield. He had told himself that the Dean had
interfered between him and his wife, and that he must at any rate go
through the ceremony of taking his wife away from her father. Let it be
accorded to him that he had done that, and then perhaps he might visit
the deanery. As for her, she would have gone with him anywhere now,
having fully established her right to visit her father after leaving

There was nothing further settled, and very little more said, when Lord
George left the deanery and started back to Manor Cross. But with Mary
there had been left a certain comfort. The shopkeepers and Dr. Pountner
had seen her with her husband, and Mr. Groschut had met Lord George at
the deanery door.



Lord George had undertaken to leave Manor Cross by the middle of
August, but when the first week of that month had passed away he had
not as yet made up his mind what he would do with himself. Mr. Knox had
told him that should he remain with his mother the Marquis would not,
as Mr. Knox thought, take further notice of the matter; but on such
terms as these he could not consent to live in his brother's house.

On a certain day early in August Lord George had gone with a return
ticket to a town but a few miles distant from Brotherton to sit on a
committee for the distribution of coals and blankets, and in the
afternoon got into a railway carriage on his way home. How great was
his consternation when, on taking his seat, he found that his brother
was seated alongside of him! There was one other old gentleman in the
carriage, and the three passengers were all facing the engine. On two
of the seats opposite were spread out the Marquis's travelling
paraphernalia,--his French novel, at which he had not looked, his
dressing bag, the box in which his luncheon had been packed, and his
wine flask. There was a small basket of strawberries, should he be
inclined to eat fruit, and an early peach out of a hothouse, with some
flowers. "God Almighty, George;--is that you?" he said. "Where the
devil have you been?"

"I've been to Grumby."

"And what are the people doing at Grumby?"

"Much the same as usual. It was the coal and blanket account."

"Oh!--the coal and blanket account! I hope you liked it." Then he
folded himself afresh in his cloaks, ate a strawberry, and looked as
though he had taken sufficient notice of his brother.

But the matter was very important to Lord George. Nothing ever seemed
to be of importance to the Marquis. It might be very probable that the
Marquis, with half-a-dozen servants behind him, should drive up to the
door at Manor Cross without having given an hour's notice of his
intention. It seemed to be too probable to Lord George that such would
be the case now. For what other reason could he be there? And then
there was his back. Though they had quarrelled he was bound to ask
after his brother's back. When last they two had met, the Marquis had
been almost carried into the room by two men. "I hope you find yourself
better than when I last saw you," he said, after a pause of five

"I've not much to boast of. I can just travel, and that's all."

"And how is--Popenjoy?"

"Upon my word I can't tell you. He has never seemed to be very well
when I've seen him."

"I hope the accounts have been better," said Lord George, with

"Coal and blanket accounts!" suggested the Marquis. And then the
conversation was again brought to an end for five minutes.

But it was essential that Lord George should know whither his brother
was going. If to Manor Cross, then, thought Lord George, he himself
would stay at an inn at Brotherton. Anything, even the deanery, would
be better than sitting at table with his brother, with the insults of
their last interview unappeased. At the end of five minutes he plucked
up his courage, and asked his brother another question. "Are you going
to the house, Brotherton?"

"The house! What house? I'm going to a house, I hope."

"I mean to Manor Cross."

"Not if I know it. There is no house in this part of the country in
which I should be less likely to show my face." Then there was not
another word said till they reached the Brotherton Station, and there
the Marquis, who was sitting next the door, requested his brother to
leave the carriage first. "Get out, will you?" he said. "I must wait
for somebody to come and take these things. And don't trample on me
more than you can help." This last request had apparently been made,
because Lord George was unable to step across him without treading on
the cloak.

"I will say good-bye, then," said Lord George, turning round on the
platform for a moment.

"Ta, ta," said the Marquis, as he gave his attention to the servant who
was collecting the fruit, and the flowers, and the flask. Lord George
then passed on out of the station, and saw no more of his brother.

"Of course he is going to Rudham," said Lady Susanna, when she heard
the story. Rudham Park was the seat of Mr. De Baron, Mrs. Houghton's
father, and tidings had reached Manor Cross long since that the Marquis
had promised to go there in the autumn. No doubt other circumstances
had seemed to make it improbable that the promise should be kept.
Popenjoy had gone away ill,--as many said, in a dying condition. Then
the Marquis had been thrown into a fireplace, and report had said that
his back had been all but broken. It had certainly been generally
thought that the Marquis would go nowhere after that affair in the
fireplace, till he returned to Italy. But Lady Susanna was, in truth,
right. His Lordship was on his way to Rudham Park.

Mr. De Baron, of Rudham Park, though a much older man than the Marquis,
had been the Marquis's friend,--when the Marquis came of age, being
then the Popenjoy of those days and a fast young man known as such
about England. Mr. De Baron, who was a neighbour, had taken him by the
hand. Mr. De Baron had put him in the way of buying and training
race-horses, and had, perhaps, been godfather to his pleasures in other
matters. Rudham Park had never been loved at Manor Cross by others than
the present Lord, and for that reason, perhaps, was dearer to him. He
had promised to go there soon after his return to England, and was now
keeping his promise. On his arrival there the Marquis found a houseful
of people. There were Mr. and Mrs. Houghton, and Lord Giblet, who,
having engaged himself rashly to Miss Patmore Green, had rushed out of
town sooner than usual that he might devise in retirement some means of
escaping from his position; and, to Lord Giblet's horror, there was
Mrs. Montacute Jones, who, he well knew, would, if possible, keep him
to the collar. There was also Aunt Julia, with her niece Guss, and of
course, there was Jack De Baron. The Marquis was rather glad to meet
Jack, as to whom he had some hope that he might be induced to run away
with Lord George's wife, and thus free the Germain family from that
little annoyance. But the guest who surprised the Marquis the most, was
the Baroness Banmann, whose name and occupation he did not at first
learn very distinctly.

"All right again, my lord?" asked Mr. De Baron, as he welcomed his
noble guest.

"Upon my word I'm not, then. That coal-heaving brute of a parson pretty
nearly did for me."

"A terrible outrage it was."

"Outrage! I should think so. There's nothing so bad as a clerical
bully. What was I to do with him? Of course he was the stronger. I
don't pretend to be a Samson. One doesn't expect that kind of thing
among gentlemen?"

"No, indeed."

"I wish I could have him somewhere with a pair of foils with the
buttons off. His black coat shouldn't save his intestines. I don't
know what the devil the country is come to, when such a fellow as that
is admitted into people's houses."

"You won't meet him here, Brotherton."

"I wish I might. I think I'd manage to be even with him before he got
away. Who's the Baroness you have got?"

"I don't know much about her. My daughter Adelaide,--Mrs. Houghton, you
know,--has brought her down. There's been some row among the women up
in London. This is one of the prophets, and I think she is brought here
to spite Lady Selina Protest who has taken an American prophetess by
the hand. She won't annoy you, I hope?"

"Not in the least. I like strange wild beasts. And so that is Captain
De Baron, of whom I have heard?"

"That is my nephew, Jack. He has a small fortune of his own, which he
is spending fast. As long as it lasts one has to be civil to him."

"I am delighted to meet him. Don't they say he is sweet on a certain
young woman?"

"A dozen, I believe."

"Ah,--but one I know something of."

"I don't think there is anything in that, Brotherton;--I don't, indeed,
or I shouldn't have brought him here."

"I do, though. And as to not bringing him here, why shouldn't you bring
him? If she don't go off with him, she will with somebody else, and the
sooner the better, according to my ideas." This was a matter upon which
Mr. De Baron was not prepared to dilate, and he therefore changed the

"My dear Lord Giblet, it is such a pleasure to me to meet you here,"
old Mrs. Jones said to that young nobleman. "When I was told you were
to be at Rudham, it determined me at once." This was true, for there
was no more persistent friend living than old Mrs. Jones, though it
might be doubted whether, on this occasion, Lord Giblet was the friend
on whose behalf she had come to Rudham.

"It's very nice, isn't it?" said Lord Giblet, gasping.

"Hadn't we a pleasant time of it with our little parties in Grosvenor

"Never liked anything so much in life; only I don't think that fellow
Jack De Baron, dances so much better than other people, after all?"

"Who says he does? But I'll tell you who dances well. Olivia Green was
charming in the Kappa-kappa. Don't you think so?"

"Uncommon pretty." Lord Giblet was quite willing to be understood to
admire Miss Patmore Green, though he thought it hard that people should
hurry him on into matrimony.

"The most graceful girl I ever saw in my life, certainly," said Mrs.
Montacute Jones. "His Royal Highness, when he heard of the engagement,
said that you were the happiest man in London."

Lord Giblet could not satisfy himself by declaring that H.R.H. was an
old fool, as poor Mary had done on a certain occasion,--but at the
present moment he did not feel at all loyal to the Royal Family
generally. Nor did he, in the least, know how to answer Mrs. Jones. She
had declared the engagement as a fact, and he did not quite dare to
deny it altogether. He had, in an unguarded moment, when the weather
had been warm and the champagne cool, said a word with so definite a
meaning that the lady had been justified in not allowing it to pass by
as idle. The lady had accepted him, and on the following morning he had
found the lock of hair and the little stud which she had given him, and
had feverish reminiscences of a kiss. But surely he was not a bird to
be caught with so small a grain of salt as that! He had not as yet seen
Mr. Patmore Green, having escaped from London at once. He had answered
a note from Olivia, which had called him "dearest Charlie" by a counter
note, in which he had called her "dear O," and had signed himself "ever
yours, G," promising to meet her up the river. But of course he had not
gone up the river! The rest of the season might certainly be done
without assistance from him. He knew that he would be pursued. He could
not hope not to be pursued. But he had not thought that Mrs. Montacute
Jones would be so quick upon him. It was impossible that H.R.H should
have heard of any engagement as yet. What a nasty, false, wicked old
woman she was! He blushed, red as a rose, and stammered out that he
"didn't know." He was only four-and-twenty, and perhaps he didn't know.

"I never saw a girl so much in love in my life," continued Mrs. Jones.
"I know her just as well as if she were my own, and she speaks to me as
she doesn't dare to speak to you at present. Though she is barely
twenty-one, she has been very much sought after already, and the very
day she marries she has ten thousand pounds in her own hands. That
isn't a large fortune, and of course you don't want a large fortune,
but it isn't every girl can pay such a sum straight into her husband's
bank the moment she marries!"

"No, indeed," said Lord Giblet. He was still determined that nothing
should induce him to marry Miss Green; but nevertheless, behind that
resolution there was a feeling, that if anything should bring about the
marriage, such a sum of ready money would be a consolation. His father,
the Earl of Jopling, though a very rich man, kept him a little close,
and ten thousand pounds would be nice. But then, perhaps the old woman
was lying.

"Now I'll tell you what I want you to do," said Mrs. Jones, who was
resolved that if the game were not landed it should not be her fault.
"We go from here to Killancodlem next week. You must come and join

"I've got to go and grouse at Stranbracket's," said Lord Giblet, happy
in an excuse.

"It couldn't be better. They're both within eight miles of Dunkeld." If
so, then ropes shouldn't take him to Stranbracket's that year. "Of
course you'll come. It's the prettiest place in Perth, though I say it,
as oughtn't. And she will be there. If you really want to know a girl,
see her in a country house."

But he didn't really want to know the girl. She was very nice, and he
liked her uncommonly, but he didn't want to know anything more about
her. By George! Was a man to be persecuted this way, because he had
once spooned a girl a little too fiercely? As he thought of this he
almost plucked up his courage sufficiently to tell Mrs. Jones that she
had better pick out some other young man for deportation to
Killancodlem. "I should like it ever so," he said.

"I'll take care that you shall like it, Lord Giblet. I think I may
boast that when I put my wits to work I can make my house agreeable.
I'm very fond of young people, but there's no one I love as I do Olivia
Green. There isn't a young woman in London has so much to be loved for.
Of course you'll come. What day shall we name?"

"I don't think I could name a day."

"Let us say the 27th. That will give you nearly a week at the grouse
first. Be with us to dinner on the 27th."

"Well,--perhaps I will."

"Of course you will. I shall write to Olivia to-night, and I daresay
you will do so also."

Lord Giblet, when he was let to go, tried to suck consolation from the
£10,000. Though he was still resolved, he almost believed that Mrs.
Montacute Jones would conquer him. Write to Olivia to-night! Lying,
false old woman! Of course she knew that there was hardly a lady in
England to whom it was so little likely that he should write as to Miss
Patmore Green. How could an old woman, with one foot in the grave, be
so wicked? And why should she persecute him? What had he done to her?
Olivia Green was not her daughter, or even her niece. "So you are going
to Killancodlem?" Mrs. Houghton said to him that afternoon.

"She has asked me," said Lord Giblet.

"It's simply the most comfortable house in all Scotland, and they tell
me some of the best deer-stalking. Everybody likes to get to
Killancodlem. Don't you love old Mrs. Jones?"

"Charming old woman!"

"And such a friend! If she once takes to you she never drops you."

"Sticks like wax, I should say."

"Quite like wax, Lord Giblet. And when she makes up her mind to do a
thing she always does it. It's quite wonderful; but she never gets

"Doesn't she now?"

"Never. She hasn't asked us to Killancodlem yet, but I hope she will."
A manly resolution now roused itself in Lord Giblet's bosom that he
would be the person to beat Mrs. Jones at last. But yet he doubted. If
he were asked the question by anyone having a right to ask he could not
deny that he had proposed to marry Miss Patmore Green.

"So you've come down to singe your wings again?" said Mrs. Houghton to
her cousin Jack.

"My wings have been burned clean away already, and, in point of fact, I
am not half so near to Lady George here as I was in London."

"It's only ten miles."

"If it were five it would be the same. We're not in the same set down
in Barsetshire."

"I suppose you can have yourself taken to Brotherton if you please?"

"Yes,--I can call at the deanery; but I shouldn't know what to say when
I got there."

"You've become very mealy-mouthed of a sudden."

"Not with you, my sweet cousin. With you I can discuss the devil and
all his works as freely as ever; but with Lady George, at her father's
house, I think I should be dumb. In truth, I haven't got anything to
say to her."

"I thought you had."

"I know you think so; but I haven't. It is quite on the card that I may
ride over some day, as I would to see my sister."

"Your sister!"

"And that I shall make eager enquiries after her horse, her pet dog,
and her husband."

"You will be wrong there, for she has quarrelled with her husband

"I hope not."

"They are not living together, and never even see each other. He's at
Manor Cross, and she's at the deanery. She's a divinity to you, but
Lord George seems to have found her so human that he's tired of her

"Then it must be his own fault."

"Or perhaps yours, Jack. You don't suppose a husband goes through a
little scene like that at Mrs. Jones' without feeling it?"

"He made an ass of himself, and a man generally feels that afterwards,"
said Jack.

"The truth is, they're tired of each other. There isn't very much in
Lord George, but there is something. He is slow, but there is a certain
manliness at the bottom of it. But there isn't very much in her!"

"That's all you know about it."

"Perhaps you may know her better, but I never could find anything. You
confess to being in love, and of course a lover is blind. But where you
are most wrong is in supposing that she is something so much better
than other women. She flirted with you so frankly that she made you
think her a goddess."

"She never flirted with me in her life."

"Exactly;--because flirting is bad, and she being a goddess cannot do
evil. I wish you'd take her in your arms and kiss her."

"I shouldn't dare."

"No;--and therefore you're not in the way to learn that she's a woman
just the same as other women. Will Mrs. Jones succeed with that stupid
young man?"

"With Giblet? I hope so. It can't make any difference to him whether
it's this one or another, and I do like Mrs. Jones."

"Would they let me have just a little lecture in the dining-room?"
asked the Baroness of her friend, Aunt Ju. There had been certain
changes among the Disabilities up in London. Lady Selina Protest had
taken Dr. Olivia Q. Fleabody altogether by the hand, and had appointed
her chief professor at the Institute, perhaps without sufficient
authority. Aunt Ju had been cast into the shade, and had consequently
been driven to throw herself into the arms of the Baroness. At present
there was a terrible feud in which Aunt Ju was being much worsted. For
the Baroness was an old Man of the Sea, and having got herself on to
Aunt Ju's shoulders could not be shaken off. In the meantime Dr.
Fleabody was filling the Institute, reaping a golden harvest, and
breaking the heart of the poor Baroness, who had fallen into much
trouble and was now altogether penniless.

"I'm afraid not," said Aunt Ju. "I'm afraid we can't do that."

"Perhaps de Marquis would like it?"

"I hardly think so."

"He did say a word to me, and I tink he would like it. He vant to

"My dear Baroness, I'm sure the Marquis of Brotherton does not care
about it in the least. He is quite in the dark on such subjects--quite
benighted." What was the use, thought the Baroness, of bringing her
down to a house in which people were so benighted that she could not be
allowed to open her mouth or carry on her profession. Had she not been
enticed over from her own country in order that she might open her
mouth, and preach her doctrine, and become a great and a wealthy woman?
There was a fraud in this enforced silence which cut her to the very
quick. "I tink I shall try," she said, separating herself in her wrath
from her friend.



The treatment which the Marquis received at Rudham did not certainly
imply any feeling that he had disgraced himself by what he had done
either at Manor Cross or up in London. Perhaps the ladies there did not
know as much of his habits as did Mrs. Walker at Scumberg's. Perhaps
the feeling was strong that Popenjoy was Popenjoy, and that therefore
the Marquis had been injured. If a child be born in British
purple,--true purple, though it may have been stained by
circumstances,--that purple is very sacred. Perhaps it was thought that
under no circumstances should a Marquis be knocked into the fireplace
by a clergyman. There was still a good deal of mystery, both as to
Popenjoy and as to the fireplace, and the Marquis was the hero of these
mysteries. Everyone at Rudham was anxious to sit by his side and to be
allowed to talk to him. When he abused the Dean, which he did freely,
those who heard him assented to all he said. The Baroness Banmann held
up her hands in horror when she heard the tale, and declared the Church
to be one grand bêtise. Mrs. Houghton, who was very attentive to the
Marquis and whom the Marquis liked, was pertinacious in her enquiries
after Popenjoy, and cruelly sarcastic upon the Dean. "Think what was
his bringing up," said Mrs. Houghton.

"In a stable," said the Marquis.

"I always felt it to be a great pity that Lord George should have made
that match;--not but what she is a good creature in her way."

"She is no better than she should be," said the Marquis. Then Mrs.
Houghton found herself able to insinuate that perhaps, after all, Mary
was not a good creature, even in her own way. But the Marquis's chief
friend was Jack De Baron. He talked to Jack about races and billiards,
and women; but though he did not refrain from abusing the Dean, he said
no word to Jack against Mary. If it might be that the Dean should
receive his punishment in that direction he would do nothing to prevent
it. "They tell me she's a beautiful woman. I have never seen her
myself," said the Marquis.

"She is very beautiful," said Jack.

"Why the devil she should have married George, I can't think. She
doesn't care for him the least."

"Don't you think she does?"

"I'm sure she don't. I suppose her pestilent father thought it was the
nearest way to a coronet. I don't know why men should marry at all.
They always get into trouble by it."

"Somebody must have children," suggested Jack.

"I don't see the necessity. It's nothing to me what comes of the
property after I'm gone. What is it, Madam?" They were sitting out on
the lawn after lunch and Jack and the Marquis were both smoking. As
they were talking the Baroness had come up to them and made her little
proposition. "What! a lecture! If Mr. De Baron pleases, of course. I
never listen to lectures myself,--except from my wife."

"Ah! dat is vat I vant to prevent."

"I have prevented it already by sending her to Italy. Oh, rights of
women! Very interesting; but I don't think I'm well enough myself. Here
is Captain De Baron, a young man as strong as a horse, and very fond of
women. He'll sit it out."

"I beg your pardon; what is it?" Then the Baroness, with rapid words,
told her own sad story. She had been deluded, defrauded, and ruined by
those wicked females, Lady Selina Protest and Dr. Fleabody. The Marquis
was a nobleman whom all England, nay, all Europe, delighted to honour.
Could not the Marquis do something for her? She was rapid and eloquent,
but not always intelligible. "What is it she wants?" asked the Marquis,
turning to Jack.

"Pecuniary assistance, I think, my Lord."

"Yah, yah. I have been bamboozled of everything, my Lord Marquis."

"Oh, my G--, De Baron shouldn't have let me in for this. Would you mind
telling my fellow to give her a ten-pound note?" Jack said that he
would not mind; and the Baroness stuck to him pertinaciously, not
leaving his side a moment till she had got the money. Of course there
was no lecture. The Baroness was made to understand that visitors at a
country house in England could not be made to endure such an
infliction; but she succeeded in levying a contribution from Mrs.
Montacute Jones, and there were rumours afloat that she got a sovereign
out of Mr. Houghton.

Lord Giblet had come with the intention of staying a week, but, the day
after the attack made upon him by Mrs. Montacute Jones, news arrived
which made it absolutely necessary that he should go to Castle Gossling
at once. "We shall be so sorry to miss you," said Mrs. Montacute Jones,
whom he tried to avoid in making his general adieux, but who was a
great deal too clever not to catch him.

"My father wants to see me about the property, you know."

"Of course. There must be a great deal to do between you." Everybody
who knew the affairs of the family was aware that the old Earl never
thought of consulting his son; and Mrs. Montacute Jones knew

"Ever so much; therefore I must be off at once. My fellow is packing my
things now; and there is a train in an hour's time."

"Did you hear from Olivia this morning?"

"Not to-day."

"I hope you are as proud as you ought to be of having such a sweet girl
belonging to you." Nasty old woman! What right had she to say these
things? "I told Mrs. Green that you were here, and that you were coming
to meet Olivia on the 27th."

"What did she say?"

"She thinks you ought to see Mr. Green as you go through London. He is
the easiest, most good-natured man in the world. Don't you think you
might as well speak to him?" Who was Mrs. Montacute Jones that she
should talk to him in this way? "I would send a telegram if I were you,
to say I would be there to-night."

"Perhaps it would be best," said Lord Giblet.

"Oh, certainly. Now mind, we expect you to dinner on the 27th. Is there
anybody else you'd specially like me to ask?"

"Nobody in particular, thank ye."

"Isn't Jack De Baron a friend of yours?"

"Yes,--I like Jack pretty well. He thinks a great deal of himself, you

"All the young men do that now. At any rate I'll ask Jack to meet you."
Unfortunately for Lord Giblet Jack appeared in sight at this very
moment. "Captain De Baron, Lord Giblet has been good enough to say that
he'll come to my little place at Killancodlem on the 27th. Can you meet
him there?"

"Delighted, Mrs. Jones. Who ever refuses to go to Killancodlem?"

"It isn't Killancodlem and its little comforts that are bringing his
lordship. We shall be delighted to see him; but he is coming to
see----. Well I suppose it's no secret now, Lord Giblet?" Jack bowed
his congratulations, and Lord Giblet again blushed as red as a rose.

Detestable old woman! Whither should he take himself? In what furthest
part of the Rocky Mountains should he spend the coming autumn? If
neither Mr. nor Mrs. Green called upon him for an explanation, what
possible right could this abominable old harpy have to prey upon him?
Just at the end of a cotillon he had said one word! He knew men who had
done ten times as much and had not been as severely handled. And he was
sure that Jack De Baron had had something to do with it. Jack had been
hand in hand with Mrs. Jones at the making up of the Kappa-kappa. But
as he went to the station he reflected that Olivia Green was a very
nice girl. If those ten thousand pounds were true they would be a great
comfort to him. His mother was always bothering him to get married. If
he could bring himself to accept this as his fate he would be saved a
deal of trouble. Spooning at Killancodlem, after all, would not be bad
fun. He almost told himself that he would marry Miss Green, were it not
that he was determined not to be dictated to by that old harridan.

Many people came and went at Rudham Park, but among those who did not
go was Guss Mildmay. Aunt Julia, who had become thoroughly ashamed of
the Baroness, had wished to take her departure on the third day; but
Guss had managed to stop her. "What's the good of coming to a house for
three days? You said you meant to stay a week. They know what she is
now, and the harm's done. It was your own fault for bringing her. I
don't see why I'm to be thrown over because you've made a mistake about
a vulgar old woman. We've nowhere to go to till November, and now we
are out of town for heaven's sake let us stay as long as we can." In
this way Guss carried her point, watching her opportunity for a little
conversation with her former lover.

At last the opportunity came. It was not that Jack had avoided her, but
that it was necessary that she should be sure of having half-an-hour
alone with him. At last she made the opportunity, calling upon him to
walk with her one Sunday morning when all other folk were in
church--or, perhaps, in bed. "No; I won't go to church," she had said
to Aunt Ju. "What is the use of your asking 'why not?' I won't go. They
are quite accustomed at Rudham to people not going to church. I always
go in a stiff house, but I won't go here. When you are at Rome you
should do as the Romans do. I don't suppose there'll be half-a-dozen
there out of the whole party." Aunt Ju went to church as a matter of
course, and the opportunity of walking in the grounds with Jack was
accomplished. "Are you going to Killancodlem?" she said.

"I suppose I shall, for a few days."

"Have you got anything to say before you go?"

"Nothing particular."

"Of course I don't mean to me."

"I've nothing particular to say to anybody just at present. Since I've
been here that wretched old Marquis has been my chief fate. It's quite
a pleasure to hear him abuse the Dean."

"And the Dean's daughter?"

"He has not much good to say about her either."

"I'm not surprised at that, Jack. And what do you say to him about the
Dean's daughter?"

"Very little, Guss."

"And what are you going to say to me about her?"

"Nothing at all, Guss."

"She's all the world to you, I suppose?"

"What's the use of your saying that? In one sense she's nothing to me.
My belief is that the only man she'll ever care a pin about is her
husband. At any rate she does not care a straw for me."

"Nor you for her?"

"Well;--Yes I do. She's one of my pet friends. There's nobody I like
being with better."

"And if she were not married?"

"God knows what might have happened. I might have asked her to have me,
because she has got money of her own. What's the use of coming back to
the old thing, Guss?"

"Money, money, money!"

"Nothing more unfair was ever said to anyone. Have I given any signs of
selling myself for money? Have I been a fortune hunter? No one has ever
found me guilty of so much prudence. All I say is that having found out
the way to go to the devil myself, I won't take any young woman I like
with me there by marrying her. Heavens and earth! I can fancy myself
returned from a wedding tour with some charmer, like you, without a
shilling at my banker's, and beginning life at lodgings, somewhere down
at Chelsea. Have you no imagination? Can't you see what it would be?
Can't you fancy the stuffy sitting room with the horsehair chairs, and
the hashed mutton, and the cradle in the corner before long?"

"No I can't," said Guss.

"I can;--two cradles, and very little of the hashed mutton; and my lady
wife with no one to pin her dress for her but the maid of all work with
black fingers."

"It wouldn't be like that."

"It very soon would, if I were to marry a girl without a fortune. And I
know myself. I'm a very good fellow while the sun shines, but I
couldn't stand hardship. I shouldn't come home to the hashed mutton. I
should dine at the club, even though I had to borrow the money. I
should come to hate the cradle and its occupant, and the mother of its
occupant. I should take to drink, and should blow my brains out just as
the second cradle came. I can see it all as plain as a pikestaff. I
often lay awake the whole night and look at it. You and I, Guss, have
made a mistake from the beginning. Being poor people we have lived as
though we were rich."

"I have never done so."

"Oh yes, you have. Instead of dining out in Fitzroy Square and drinking
tea in Tavistock Place, you have gone to balls in Grosvenor Square and
been presented at Court."

"It wasn't my fault."

"It has been so, and therefore you should have made up your mind to
marry a rich man."

"Who was it asked me to love him?"

"Say that I did if you please. Upon my word I forget how it began, but
say that it was my fault. Of course it was my fault. Are you going to
blow me up for that? I see a girl, and first I like her, and then I
love her, and then I tell her so;--or else she finds it out without my
telling. Was that a sin you can't forgive?"

"I never said it was a sin."

"I don't mind being a worm, but I won't be trodden upon overmuch. Was
there ever a moment in which you thought that I thought of marrying

"A great many, Jack."

"Did I ever say so?"

"Never. I'll do you justice there. You have been very cautious."

"Of course you can be severe, and of course I am bound to bear it. I
have been cautious,--for your sake!"

"Oh, Jack!"

"For your sake. When I first saw how it was going to be,--how it might
be between you and me,--I took care to say outright that I couldn't
marry unless a girl had money."

"There will be something--when papa dies."

"The most healthy middle-aged gentleman in London! There might be half
a dozen cradles, Guss, before that day. If it will do you good, you
shall say I'm the greatest rascal walking."

"That will do me no good."

"But I don't know that I can give you any other privilege."

Then there was a long pause during which they were sauntering together
under an old oak tree in the park. "Do you love me, Jack?" she then
asked, standing close up to him.

"God bless my soul! That's going back to the beginning."

"You are heartless,--absolutely heartless. It has come to that with you
that any real idea of love is out of the question."

"I can't afford it, my dear."

"But is there no such thing as love that you can't help? Can you drop a
girl out of your heart altogether simply because she has got no money?
I suppose you did love me once?" Here Jack scratched his head. "You did
love me once?" she said, persevering with her question.

"Of course I did," said Jack, who had no objection to making assurances
of the past.

"And you don't now?"

"Whoever said so? What's the good of talking about it?"

"Do you think you owe me nothing?"

"What's the good of owing, if a man can't pay his debts?"

"You will own nothing then?"

"Yes, I will. If anyone left me twenty thousand pounds to-morrow, then
I should owe you something."

"What would you owe me?"

"Half of it."

"And how would you pay me?" He thought a while before he made his
answer. He knew that in that case he would not wish to pay the debt in
the only way in which it would be payable. "You mean then that you
would--marry me?"

"I shouldn't be afraid of the hashed mutton and cradles."

"In that case you--would marry me?"

"A man has no right to take so much on himself as to say that."


"I suppose I should. I should make a devilish bad husband even then."

"Why should you be worse than others?"

"I don't know. Perhaps I was made worse. I can't fancy myself doing any
duty well. If I had a wife of my own I should be sure to fall in love
with somebody else's."

"Lady George for instance."

"No;--not Lady George. It would not be with somebody whom I had learned
to think the very best woman in all the world. I am very bad, but I'm
just not bad enough to make love to her. Or rather I am very foolish,
but just not foolish enough to think that I could win her."

"I suppose she's just the same as others, Jack."

"She's not just the same to me. But I'd rather not talk about her,
Guss. I'm going to Killancodlem in a day or two, and I shall leave this


"Well; yes; to-morrow. I must be a day or two in town, and there is not
much doing here. I'm tired of the old Marquis who is the most
illnatured brute I ever came across in my life, and there's no more fun
to be made of the Baroness. I'm not sure but that she has the best of
the fun. I didn't think there was an old woman in the world could get a
five pound note out of me; but she had."

"How could you be so foolish?"

"How indeed! You'll go back to London?"

"I suppose so;--unless I drown myself."

"Don't do that, Guss?"

"I often think it will be best. You don't know what my life is,--how
wretched. And you made it so."

"Is that fair, Guss?"

"Quite fair! Quite true! You have made it miserable. You know you have.
Of course you know it."

"Can I help it now?"

"Yes you can. I can be patient if you will say that it shall be some
day. I could put up with anything if you would let me hope. When you
have got that twenty thousand pounds----?"

"But I shall never have it."

"If you do,--will you marry me then? Will you promise me that you will
never marry anybody else?"

"I never shall."

"But will you promise me? If you will not say so much as that to me you
must be false indeed. When you have the twenty thousand pounds will you
marry me?"

"Oh, certainly."

"And you can laugh about such a matter when I am pouring out my very
soul to you? You can make a joke of it when it is all my life to me!
Jack, if you will say that it shall happen some day,--some day,--I will
be happy. If you won't,--I can only die. It may be play to you, but
it's death to me." He looked at her, and saw that she was quite in
earnest. She was not weeping, but there was a drawn, heavy look about
her face which, in truth, touched his heart. Whatever might be his
faults he was not a cruel man. He had defended himself without any
scruples of conscience when she had seemed to attack him, but now he
did not know how to refuse her request. It amounted to so little! "I
don't suppose it will ever take place, but I think I ought to allow
myself to consider myself as engaged to you," she said.

"As it is you are free to marry anyone else," he replied.

"I don't care for such freedom. I don't want it. I couldn't marry a man
whom I didn't love."

"Nobody knows what that they can do till they're tried."

"Do you suppose, sir, I've never been tried? But I can't bring myself
to laugh now, Jack. Don't joke now. Heaven knows when we may see each
other again. You will promise me that, Jack?"

"Yes;--if you wish it." And so at last she had got a promise from him!
She said nothing more to fix it, fearing that in doing so she might
lose it; but she threw herself into his arms and buried her face upon
his bosom.

Afterwards, when she was leaving him, she was very solemn in her manner
to him. "I will say good-bye now, Jack, for I shall hardly see you
again to speak to. You do love me?"

"You know I do."

"I am so true to you! I have always been true to you. God bless you,
Jack. Write me a line sometimes." Then he escaped, having brought her
back to the garden among the flowers, and he wandered away by himself
across the park. At last he had engaged himself. He knew that it was
so, and he knew that she would tell all her friends. Adelaide Houghton
would know, and would, of course, congratulate him. There never could
be a marriage. That would, of course, be out of the question. But,
instead of being the Jack De Baron of old, at any rate free as air, he
would be the young man engaged to marry Augusta Mildmay. And then he
could hardly now refuse to answer the letters which she would be sure
to write to him, at least twice a week. There had been a previous
period of letter-writing, but that had died a natural death through
utter neglect on his part. But now----. It might be as well that he
should take advantage of the new law and exchange into an Indian

But, even in his present condition, his mind was not wholly occupied
with Augusta Mildmay. The evil words which had been spoken to him of
Mary had not been altogether fruitless. His cousin Adelaide had told
him over and over again that Lady George was as other women,--by which
his cousin had intended to say that Lady George was the same as
herself. Augusta Mildmay had spoken of his Phoenix in the same strain.
The Marquis had declared her to be utterly worthless. It was not that
he wished to think of her as they thought, or that he could be brought
so to think; but these suggestions, coming as they did from those who
knew how much he liked the woman, amounted to ridicule aimed against
the purity of his worship. They told him,--almost told him,--that he
was afraid to speak of love to Lady George. Indeed he was afraid, and
within his own breast he was in some sort proud of his fear. But,
nevertheless, he was touched by their ridicule. He and Mary had
certainly been dear friends. Certainly that friendship had given great
umbrage to her husband. Was he bound to keep away from her because of
her husband's anger? He knew that they two were not living together. He
knew that the Dean would at any rate welcome him. And he knew, too,
that there was no human being he wished to see again so much as Lady
George. He had no purpose as to anything that he would say to her, but
he was resolved that he would see her. If then some word warmer than
any he had yet spoken should fall from him, he would gather from her
answer what her feelings were towards him. In going back to London on
the morrow he must pass by Brotherton, and he would make his
arrangements so as to remain there for an hour or two.



The party at Rudham Park had hardly been a success,--nor was it much
improved in wit or gaiety when Mrs. Montacute Jones, Lord Giblet, and
Jack de Baron had gone away, and Canon Holdenough and his wife, with
Mr. Groschut, had come in their places. This black influx, as Lord
Brotherton called it, had all been due to consideration for his
Lordship. Mr. De Baron thought that his guest would like to see, at any
rate, one of his own family, and Lady Alice Holdenough was the only one
whom he could meet. As to Mr. Groschut, he was the Dean's bitterest
enemy, and would, therefore, it was thought, be welcome. The Bishop had
been asked, as Mr. De Baron was one who found it expedient to make
sacrifices to respectability; but, as was well known, the Bishop never
went anywhere except to clerical houses. Mr. Groschut, who was a
younger man, knew that it behoved him to be all things to all men, and
that he could not be efficacious among sinners unless he would allow
himself to be seen in their paths. Care was, of course, taken that
Lady Alice should find herself alone with her brother. It was probably
expected that the Marquis would be regarded as less of an ogre in the
country if it were known that he had had communication with one of the
family without quarrelling with her. "So you're come here," he said.

"I didn't know that people so pious would enter De Baron's doors."

"Mr. De Baron is a very old friend of the Canon's. I hope he isn't very
wicked, and I'm afraid we are not very pious."

"If you don't object, of course I don't. So they've all gone back to
the old house?"

"Mamma is there."

"And George?" he asked in a sharp tone.

"And George,--at present."

"George is, I think, the biggest fool I ever came across in my life. He
is so cowed by that man whose daughter he has married that he doesn't
know how to call his soul his own."

"I don't think that, Brotherton. He never goes to the deanery to stay

"Then what makes him quarrel with me? He ought to know which side his
bread is buttered."

"He had a great deal of money with her, you know."

"If he thinks his bread is buttered on that side, let him stick to that
side and say so. I will regard none of my family as on friendly terms
with me who associate with the Dean of Brotherton or his daughter after
what took place up in London." Lady Alice felt this to be a distinct
threat to herself, but she allowed it to pass by without notice. She
was quite sure that the Canon would not quarrel with the Dean out of
deference to his brother-in-law. "The fact is they should all have gone
away as I told them, and especially when George had married the girl
and got her money. It don't make much difference to me, but it will
make a deal to him."

"How is Popenjoy, Brotherton?" asked Lady Alice, anxious to change the

"I don't know anything about him."


"He has gone back to Italy with his mother. How can I tell? Ask the
Dean. I don't doubt that he knows all about him. He has people
following them about, and watching every mouthful they eat."

"I think he has given all that up."

"Not he. He'll have to, unless he means to spend more money than I
think he has got."

"George is quite satisfied about Popenjoy now," said Lady Alice.

"I fancy George didn't like the expense. But he began it, and I'll
never forgive him. I fancy it was he and Sarah between them. They'll
find that they will have had the worst of it. The poor little beggar
hadn't much life in him. Why couldn't they wait?"

"Is it so bad as that, Brotherton?"

"They tell me he is not a young Hercules. Oh yes;--you can give my love
to my mother. Tell her that if I don't see her it is all George's
fault. I am not going to the house while he's there." To the Canon he
hardly spoke a word, nor was the Canon very anxious to talk to him. But
it became known throughout the country that the Marquis had met his
sister at Rudham Park, and the general effect was supposed to be good.

"I shall go back to-morrow, De Baron," he said to his host that same
afternoon. This was the day on which Jack had gone to Brotherton.

"We shall be sorry to lose you. I'm afraid it has been rather dull."

"Not more dull than usual. Everything is dull after a certain time of
life unless a man has made some fixed line for himself. Some men can
eat and drink a great deal, but I haven't got stomach for that. Some
men play cards; but I didn't begin early enough to win money, and I
don't like losing it. The sort of things that a man does care for die
away from him, and of course it becomes dull."

"I wonder you don't have a few horses in training."

"I hate horses, and I hate being cheated."

"They don't cheat me," said Mr. De Baron.

"Ah;--very likely. They would me. I think I made a mistake, De Baron,
in not staying at home and looking after the property."

"It's not too late, now."

"Yes, it is. I could not do it. I could not remember the tenants'
names, and I don't care about game. I can't throw myself into a litter
of young foxes, or get into a fury of passion about pheasants' eggs.
It's all beastly nonsense, but if a fellow could only bring himself to
care about it that wouldn't matter. I don't care about anything."

"You read."

"No, I don't. I pretend to read--a little. If they had left me alone I
think I should have had myself bled to death in a warm bath. But I
won't now. That man's daughter shan't be Lady Brotherton if I can help
it. I have rather liked being here on the whole, though why the d----
you should have a Germain impostor in your house, and a poor clergyman,
I can't make out."

"He's the Deputy Bishop of the diocese."

"But why have the Bishop himself unless he happen to be a friend? Does
your daughter like her marriage?"

"I hope so. She does not complain."

"He's an awful ass,--and always was. I remember when you used always to
finish up your books by making him bet as you pleased."

"He always won."

"And now you've made him marry your daughter. Perhaps he has won
there. I like her. If my wife would die and he would die, we might get
up another match and cut out Lord George after all." This speculation
was too deep even for Mr. De Baron, who laughed and shuffled himself
about, and got out of the room.

"Wouldn't you have liked to be a marchioness," he said, some hours
afterwards, to Mrs. Houghton. She was in the habit of sitting by him
and talking to him late in the evening, while he was sipping his
curaçoa and soda water, and had become accustomed to hear odd things
from him. He liked her because he could say what he pleased to her, and
she would laugh and listen, and show no offence. But this last question
was very odd. Of course she thought that it referred to the old
overtures made to her by Lord George; but in that case, had she married
Lord George, she could only have been made a marchioness by his own
death,--by that and by the death of the little Popenjoy of whom she had
heard so much.

"If it had come in my way fairly," she said with an arch smile.

"I don't mean that you should have murdered anybody. Suppose you had
married me?"

"You never asked me, my lord."

"You were only eight or nine years old when I saw you last."

"Isn't it a pity you didn't get yourself engaged to me then? Such
things have been done."

"If the coast were clear I wonder whether you'd take me now."

"The coast isn't clear, Lord Brotherton."

"No, by George. I wish it were, and so do you too, if you'd dare to say

"You think I should be sure to take you."

"I think you would. I should ask you at any rate. I'm not so old by ten
years as Houghton."

"Your age would not be the stumbling block."

"What then?"

"I didn't say there would be any. I don't say that there would not.
It's a kind of thing that a woman doesn't think of."

"It's just the kind of thing that women do think of."

"Then they don't talk about it, Lord Brotherton. Your brother you know
did want me to marry him."

"What, George? Before Houghton?"

"Certainly;--before I had thought of Mr. Houghton."

"Why the deuce did you refuse him? Why did you let him take that
little----" He did not fill up the blank, but Mrs. Houghton quite
understood that she was to suppose everything that was bad. "I never
heard of this before."

"It wasn't for me to tell you."

"What an ass you were."

"Perhaps so. What should we have lived upon? Papa would not have given
us an income."

"I could."

"But you wouldn't. You didn't know me then."

"Perhaps you'd have been just as keen as she is to rob my boy of his
name. And so George wanted to marry you! Was he very much in love?"

"I was bound to suppose so, my lord."

"And you didn't care for him!"

"I didn't say that. But I certainly did not care to set up housekeeping
without a house or without the money to get one. Was I wrong?"

"I suppose a fellow ought to have money when he wants to marry. Well,
my dear, there is no knowing what may come yet. Won't it be odd, if
after all, you should be Marchioness of Brotherton some day? After that
won't you give me a kiss before you say good-night."

"I would have done if you had been my brother-in-law,--or, perhaps, if
the people were not all moving about in the next room. Good-night,

"Good-night. Perhaps you'll regret some day that you haven't done what
I asked."

"I might regret it more if I did." Then she took herself off, enquiring
in her own mind whether it might still be possible that she should ever
preside in the drawing-room at Manor Cross. Had he not been very much
in love with her, surely he would not have talked to her like that.

"I think I'll say good-bye to you, De Baron," the Marquis said to his
host, that night.

"You won't be going early."

"No;--I never do anything early. But I don't like a fuss just as I am
going. I'll get down and drive away to catch some train. My man will
manage it all."

"You go to London?"

"I shall be in Italy within a week. I hate Italy, but I think I hate
England worse. If I believed in heaven and thought I were going there,
what a hurry I should be in to die."

"Let us know how Popenjoy is."

"You'll be sure to know whether he is dead or alive. There's nothing
else to tell. I never write letters except to Knox, and very few to
him. Good-night."

When the Marquis was in his room, his courier, or the man so called,
came to undress him. "Have you heard anything to-day?" he asked in
Italian. The man said that he had heard. A letter had reached him that
afternoon from London. The letter had declared that little Popenjoy was
sinking. "That will do Bonni," he said. "I will get into bed by
myself." Then he sat down and thought of himself, and his life, and his
prospects,--and of the prospects of his enemies.



On the following morning the party at Rudham Park were assembled at
breakfast between ten and eleven. It was understood that the Marquis
was gone,--or going. The Mildmays were still there with the Baroness,
and the Houghtons, and the black influx from the cathedral town. A few
other new comers had arrived on the previous day. Mr. Groschut, who was
sitting next to the Canon, had declared his opinion that, after all,
the Marquis of Brotherton was a very affable nobleman. "He's civil
enough," said the Canon, "when people do just what he wants."

"A man of his rank and position of course expects to have some
deference paid to him."

"A man of his rank and position should be very careful of the rights of
others, Mr. Groschut."

"I'm afraid his brother did make himself troublesome. You're one of the
family, Canon, and therefore, of course, know all about it."

"I know nothing at all about it, Mr. Groschut."

"But it must be acknowledged that the Dean behaved very badly.
Violence!--personal violence! And from a clergyman,--to a man of his

"You probably don't know what took place in that room. I'm sure I
don't. But I'd rather trust the Dean than the Marquis any day. The
Dean's a man!"

"But is he a clergyman?"

"Of course he is; and a father. If he had been very much in the wrong
we should have heard more about it through the police."

"I cannot absolve a clergyman for using personal violence," said Mr.
Groschut, very grandly. "He should have borne anything sooner than
degrade his sacred calling." Mr. Groschut had hoped to extract from the
Canon some expression adverse to the Dean, and to be able to assure
himself that he had enrolled a new ally.

"Poor dear little fellow!" aunt Ju was saying to Mrs. Holdenough. Of
course she was talking of Popenjoy. "And you never saw him?"

"No; I never saw him."

"I am told he was a lovely child."

"Very dark, I fancy."

"And all those--those doubts? They're all over now?"

"I never knew much about it, Miss Mildmay. I never inquired into it.
For myself, I always took it for granted that he was Popenjoy. I think
one always does take things for granted till somebody proves that it is
not so."

"The Dean, I take it, has given it up altogether," said Mrs. Houghton
to old Lady Brabazon, who had come down especially to meet her nephew,
the Marquis, but who had hardly dared to speak a word to him on the
previous evening, and was now told that he was gone. Lady Brabazon for
a week or two had been quite sure that Popenjoy was not Popenjoy, being
at that time under the influence of a very strong letter from Lady
Sarah. But, since that, a general idea had come to prevail that the
Dean was wrong-headed, and Lady Brabazon had given in her adhesion to
Popenjoy. She had gone so far as to call at Scumberg's, and to leave a
box of bonbons.

"I hope so, Mrs. Houghton; I do hope so. Quarrels are such dreadful
things in families. Brotherton isn't, perhaps, all that he might have

"Not a bad fellow, though, after all."

"By no means, Mrs. Houghton, and quite what he ought to be in
appearance. I always thought that George was very foolish."

"Lord George is foolish--sometimes."

"Very stubborn, you know, and pigheaded. And as for the Dean,--is was
great interference on his part, very great interference. I won't say
that I like foreigners myself. I should be very sorry if Brabazon were
to marry a foreigner. But if he chooses to do so I don't see why he is
to be told that his heir isn't his heir. They say she is a very worthy
woman, and devoted to him." At this moment the butler came in and
whispered a word to Mr. De Baron, who immediately got up from his
chair. "So my nephew hasn't gone," said Lady Brabazon. "That was a
message from him. I heard his name."

Her ears had been correct. The summons which Mr. De Baron obeyed had
come from the Marquis. He went upstairs at once, and found Lord
Brotherton sitting in his dressing-gown, with a cup of chocolate before
him, and a bit of paper in his hand. He did not say a word, but handed
the paper, which was a telegram, to Mr. De Baron. As the message was in
Italian, and as Mr. De Baron did not read the language, he was at a
loss. "Ah! you don't understand it," said the Marquis. "Give it me.
It's all over with little Popenjoy."

"Dead!" said Mr. De Baron.

"Yes. He has got away from all his troubles,--lucky dog! He'll never
have to think what he'll do with himself. They'd almost told me that it
must be so, before he went."

"I grieve for you greatly, Brotherton."

"There's no use in that, old fellow. I'm sorry to be a bother to you,
but I thought it best to tell you. I don't understand much about what
people call grief. I can't say that I was particularly fond of him, or
that I shall personally miss him. They hardly ever brought him to me,
and when they did, it bothered me. And yet, somehow it pinches me;--it
pinches me."

"Of course it does."

"It will be such a triumph to the Dean, and George. That's about the
worst of it. But they haven't got it yet. Though I should be the most
miserable dog on earth I'll go on living as long as I can keep my body
and soul together. I'll have another son yet, if one is to be had for
love or money. They shall have trouble enough before they find
themselves at Manor Cross."

"The Dean'll be dead before that time;--and so shall I," said Mr. De

"Poor little boy! You never saw him. They didn't bring him in when you
were over at Manor Cross?"

"No;--I didn't see him."

"They weren't very proud of showing him. He wasn't much to look at.
Upon my soul I don't know whether he was legitimate or not, according
to English fashions." Mr. De Baron stared. "They had something to stand
upon, but,--damn it,--they went about it in such a dirty way! It don't
matter now, you know, but you needn't repeat all this."

"Not a word," said Mr. De Baron, wondering why such a communication
should have been made to him.

"And there was plenty of ground for a good fight. I hardly know whether
she had been married or not. I never could quite find out." Again Mr.
De Baron stared. "It's all over now."

"But if you were to have another son?"

"Oh! we're married now! There were two ceremonies. I believe the Dean
knows quite as much about it as I do;--very likely more. What a rumpus
there has been about a rickety brat who was bound to die."

"Am I to tell them downstairs?"

"Yes;--you might as well tell them. Wait till I'm gone. They'd say I'd
concealed it if I didn't let them know, and I certainly shan't write.
There's no Popenjoy now. If that young woman has a son he can't be
Popenjoy as long as I live. I'll take care of myself. By George I will.
Fancy, if the Dean had killed me. He'd have made his own daughter a

"But he'd have been hung."

"Then I wish he'd done it. I wonder how it would have gone. There was
nobody there to see, nor to hear. Well;--I believe I'll think of going.
There's a train at two. You'll let me have a carriage; won't you?"


"Let me get out some back way, and don't say a word about this till I'm
off. I wouldn't have them condoling with me, and rejoicing in their
sleeves, for a thousand pounds. Tell Holdenough, or my sister;--that'll
be enough. Good-bye. If you want ever to see me again, you must come to
Como." Then Mr. De Baron took his leave, and the Marquis prepared for
his departure.

As he was stepping into the carriage at a side door he was greeted by
Mr. Groschut. "So your Lordship is leaving us," said the Chaplain. The
Marquis looked at him, muttered something, and snarled as he hurried up
the step of the carriage. "I'm sorry that we are to lose your Lordship
so soon." Then there was another snarl. "I had one word I wanted to

"To me! What can you have to say to me?"

"If at any time I can do anything for your Lordship at Brotherton----"

"You can't do anything. Go on." The last direction was given to the
coachman, and the carriage was driven off, leaving Mr. Groschut on the

Before lunch everybody in the house knew that poor little Popenjoy was
dead, and that the Dean had, in fact, won the battle,--though not in
the way that he had sought to win it. Lord Brotherton had, after a
fashion, been popular at Rudham, but, nevertheless, it was felt by them
all that Lady George was a much greater woman to-day than she had been
yesterday. It was felt also that the Dean was in the ascendant. The
Marquis had been quite agreeable, making love to the ladies, and fairly
civil to the gentlemen,--excepting Mr. Groschut; but he certainly was
not a man likely to live to eighty. He was married, and, as was
generally understood, separated from his wife. They might all live to
see Lady George Marchioness of Brotherton and a son of hers Lord

"Dead!" said Lady Brabazon, when Lady Alice, with sad face, whispered
to her the fatal news.

"He got a telegram this morning from Italy. Poor little boy."

"And what'll he do now;--the Marquis I mean?"

"I suppose he'll follow his wife," said Lady Alice.

"Was he much cut up?"

"I didn't see him. He merely sent me word by Mr. De Baron." Mr. De
Baron afterwards assured Lady Brabazon that the poor father had been
very much cut up. Great pity was expressed throughout the party, but
there was not one there who would not now have been civil to poor Mary.

The Marquis had his flowers, and his fruit, and his French novels on
his way up to town, and kept his sorrow, if he felt it, very much to
himself. Soon after his arrival at Scumberg's, at which place they were
obliged to take him in as he was still paying for his rooms, he made it
known that he should start for Italy in a day or two. On that night and
on the next he did not go out in his brougham, nor did he give any
offence to Mrs. Walker. London was as empty as London ever is, and
nobody came to see him. For two days he did not leave his room, the
same room in which the Dean had nearly killed him, and received nobody
but his tailor and his hair-dresser. I think that, in his way, he did
grieve for the child who was gone, and who, had he lived, would have
been the intended heir of his title and property. They must now all go
from him to his enemies! And the things themselves were to himself of
so very little value! Living alone at Scumberg's was not a pleasant
life. Even going out in his brougham at nights was not very pleasant to
him. He could do as he liked at Como, and people wouldn't grumble;--but
what was there even at Como that he really liked to do? He had a half
worn out taste for scenery which he had no longer energy to gratify by
variation. It had been the resolution of his life to live without
control, and now, at four and forty, he found that the life he had
chosen was utterly without attraction. He had been quite in earnest in
those regrets as to shooting, hunting, and the duties of an English
country life. Though he was free from remorse, not believing in
anything good, still he was open to a conviction that had he done what
other people call good, he would have done better for himself.
Something of envy stirred him as he read the records of a nobleman
whose political life had left him no moment of leisure for his private
affairs;--something of envy when he heard of another whose cattle were
the fattest in the land. He was connected with Lord Grassangrains, and
had always despised that well-known breeder of bullocks;--but he could
understand now that Lord Grassangrains should wish to live, whereas
life to him was almost unbearable. Lord Grassangrains probably had a
good appetite.

On the last morning of his sojourn at Scumberg's he received two or
three letters which he would willingly have avoided by running away had
it been possible. The first he opened was from his old mother, who had
not herself troubled him much with letters for some years past. It was
as follows:--

     "DEAREST BROTHERTON,--I have heard about poor Popenjoy, and I am
     so unhappy. Darling little fellow. We are all very wretched here,
     and I have nearly cried my eyes out. I hope you won't go away
     without seeing me. If you'll let me, I'll go up to London, though
     I haven't been there for I don't know how long. But perhaps you
     will come here to your own house. I do so wish you would.

     "Your most affectionate mother,


     "P.S.--Pray don't turn George out at the end of the month."

This he accepted without anger as being natural, but threw aside as
being useless. Of course he would not answer it. They all knew that he
never answered their letters. As to the final petition he had nothing
to say to it.

The next was from Lord George, and shall also be given:--

     "MY DEAR BROTHERTON,--I cannot let the tidings which I have just
     heard pass by without expressing my sympathy. I am very sorry
     indeed that you should have lost your son. I trust you will credit
     me for saying so much with absolute truth.

     "Yours always,


"I don't believe a word of it," he said almost out loud. To his
thinking it was almost impossible that what his brother said should be
true. Why should he be sorry,--he that had done his utmost to prove
that Popenjoy was not Popenjoy? He crunched the letter up and cast it
on one side. Of course he would not answer that.

The third was from a new correspondent; and that also the reader shall

     "MY DEAR LORD MARQUIS,--Pray believe that had I known under what
     great affliction you were labouring when you left Rudham Park I
     should have been the last man in the world to intrude myself upon
     you. Pray believe me also when I say that I have heard of your
     great bereavement with sincere sympathy, and that I condole with
     you from the bottom of my heart. Pray remember, my dear Lord, that
     if you will turn aright for consolation you certainly will not
     turn in vain.

     "Let me add, though this is hardly the proper moment for such
     allusion, that both his lordship the Bishop and myself were most
     indignant when we heard of the outrage committed upon you at your
     hotel. I make no secret of my opinion that the present Dean of
     Brotherton ought to be called upon by the great Council of the
     Nation to vacate his promotion. I wish that the bench of bishops
     had the power to take from him his frock.

     "I have the honour to be,

     "My Lord Marquis,

     "With sentiments of most unfeigned respect,

     "Your Lordship's most humble servant,


The Marquis smiled as he also threw this letter into the waste-paper
basket, telling himself that birds of that feather very often did fall
out with one another.



We must now go back to Jack De Baron, who left Rudham Park the same day
as the Marquis,--having started before the news of Lord Popenjoy's
death had been brought down stairs by Mr. De Baron. Being only Jack De
Baron he had sent to Brotherton for a fly, and in that conveyance had
had himself taken to the "Lion," arriving there three or four hours
before the time at which he purposed to leave the town. Indeed his
arrangements had intentionally been left so open that he might if he
liked remain the night,--or if he pleased, remain a week at the "Lion."
He thought it not improbable that the Dean might ask him to dinner,
and, if so, he certainly would dine with the Dean.

He was very serious,--considering who he was, we may almost say solemn,
as he sat in the fly. It was the rule of his life to cast all cares
from him, and his grand principle to live from hand to mouth. He was
almost a philosopher in his epicureanism, striving always that nothing
should trouble him. But now he had two great troubles, which he could
not throw off from him. In the first place, after having striven
against it for the last four or five years with singular success, he
had in a moment of weakness allowed himself to become engaged to Guss
Mildmay. She had gone about it so subtlely that he had found himself
manacled almost before he knew that the manacles were there. He had
fallen into the trap of an hypothesis, and now felt that the
preliminary conditions on which he had seemed to depend could never
avail him. He did not mean to marry Guss Mildmay. He did not suppose
that she thought he meant to marry her. He did not love her, and he did
not believe very much in her love for him. But Guss Mildmay, having
fought her battle in the world for many years with but indifferent
success, now felt that her best chance lay in having a bond upon her
old lover. He ought not to have gone to Rudham when he knew that she
was to be there. He had told himself that before, but he had not liked
to give up the only chance which had come in his way of being near Lady
George since she had left London. And now he was an engaged man,--a
position which had always been to him full of horrors. He had run his
bark on to the rock, which it had been the whole study of his
navigation to avoid. He had committed the one sin which he had always
declared to himself that he never would commit. This made him unhappy.

And he was uneasy also,--almost unhappy,--respecting Lady George.
People whom he knew to be bad had told him things respecting her which
he certainly did not believe, but which he did not find it compatible
with his usual condition of life altogether to disbelieve. If he had
ever loved any woman he loved her. He certainly respected her as he had
never respected any other young woman. He had found the pleasure to be
derived from her society to be very different from that which had come
from his friendship with others. With her he could be perfectly
innocent, and at the same time completely happy. To dance with her, to
ride with her, to walk with her, to sit with the privilege of looking
at her, was joy of itself, and required nothing beyond. It was a
delight to him to have any little thing to do for her. When his daily
life was in any way joined with hers there was a brightness in it which
he thoroughly enjoyed though he did not quite understand. When that
affair of the dance came, in which Lord George had declared his
jealousy, he had been in truth very unhappy because she was unhappy,
and he had been thoroughly angry with the man, not because the man had
interfered with his own pleasures, but because of the injury and the
injustice done to the wife. He found himself wounded, really hurt,
because she had been made subject to calumny. When he tried to analyse
the feeling he could not understand it. It was so different from
anything that had gone before! He was sure that she liked him, and yet
there was a moment in which he thought that he would purposely keep out
of her way for the future, lest he might be a trouble to her. He loved
her so well that his love for a while almost made him unselfish.

And yet,--yet he might be mistaken about her. It had been the theory of
his life that young married women become tired of their husbands, and
one of his chief doctrines that no man should ever love in such a way
as to believe in the woman he loves. After so many years, was he to
give up his philosophy? Was he to allow the ground to be cut from under
his feet by a young creature of twenty-one who had been brought up in a
county town? Was he to run away because a husband had taken it into his
head to be jealous? All the world had given him credit for his
behaviour at the Kappa-kappa. He had gathered laurels,--very much
because he was supposed to be the lady's lover. He had never boasted to
others of the lady's favour; but he knew that she liked him, and he had
told himself that he would be poor-spirited if he abandoned her.

He drove up to the "Lion" and ordered a room. He did not know whether
he should want it, but he would at any rate bespeak it. And he ordered
his dinner. Come what come might, he thought that he would dine and
sleep at Brotherton that day. Finding himself so near to Lady George,
he would not leave her quite at once. He asked at the inn whether the
Dean was in Brotherton. Yes; the Dean was certainly at the deanery. He
had been seen about in the city that morning. The inhabitants, when
they talked about Brotherton, always called it the city. And were Lord
George and Lady George at the deanery? In answer to this question, the
landlady with something of a lengthened face declared that Lady George
was with her papa, but that Lord George was at Manor Cross. Then Jack
De Baron strolled out towards the Close.

It was a little after one when he found himself at the cathedral door,
and thinking that the Dean and his daughter might be at lunch, he went
into the building, so that he might get rid of half an hour. He had not
often been in cathedrals of late years, and now looked about him with
something of awe. He could remember that when he was a child he had
been brought here to church, and as he stood in the choir with the
obsequient verger at his elbow he recollected how he had got through
the minutes of a long sermon,--a sermon that had seemed to be very
long,--in planning the way in which, if left to himself, he would climb
to the pinnacle which culminated over the bishop's seat, and thence
make his way along the capitals and vantages of stonework, till he
would ascend into the triforium and thus become lord and master of the
old building. How much smaller his ambitions had become since then, and
how much less manly. "Yes, sir; his Lordship is here every Sunday when
he is at the palace," said the verger. "But his Lordship is ailing

"And the Dean?"

"The Dean always comes once a day to service when he is here; but the
Dean has been much away of late. Since Miss Mary's marriage the Dean
isn't in Brotherton as much as formerly."

"I know the Dean. I'm going to his house just now. They like him in
Brotherton, I suppose?"

"That's according to their way of thinking, sir. We like him. I suppose
you heard, sir, there was something of a row between him and Miss
Mary's brother-in-law!" Jack said that he had heard of it. "There's
them as say he was wrong."

"I say he was quite right."

"That's what we think, sir. It's got about that his Lordship said some
bad word of Miss Mary. A father wasn't to stand that because he's a
clergyman, was he, sir?"

"The Dean did just what you or I would do."

"That's just it, sir. That's what we all say. Thank you, sir. You won't
see Prince Edward's monument, sir? Gentlemen always do go down to the
crypt." Jack wouldn't see the monument to-day, and having paid his
half-crown, was left to wander about alone through the aisles.

How would it have been with him if his life had been different; if he
had become, perhaps, a clergyman and had married Mary Lovelace?--or if
he had become anything but what he was with her for his wife? He knew
that his life had been a failure, that the best of it was gone, and
that even the best of it had been unsatisfactory. Many people liked
him, but was there any one who loved him? In all the world there was
but one person that he loved, and she was the wife of another man. Of
one thing at this moment he was quite sure,--that he would never wound
her ears by speaking of his love. Would it not be better that he should
go away and see her no more? The very tone in which the verger had
spoken of Miss Mary had thrown to the winds those doubts which had come
from the teaching of Adelaide Houghton and Guss Mildmay. If she had
been as they said, would even her father have felt for her as he did
feel, and been carried away by his indignation at the sound of an evil

But he had asked after the Dean at the hotel, and had told the verger
of his acquaintance, and had been seen by many in the town. He could
not now leave the place without calling. So resolving he knocked at
last at the deanery door, and was told that the Dean was at home. He
asked for the Dean, and not for Lady George, and was shown into the
library. In a minute the Dean was with him. "Come in and have some
lunch," said the Dean. "We have this moment sat down. Mary will be
delighted to see you,--and so am I." Of course he went in to lunch, and
in a moment was shaking hands with Mary, who in truth was delighted to
see him.

"You've come from Rudham?" asked the Dean.

"This moment."

"Have they heard the news there?"

"What news?"

"Lord Brotherton is there, is he not?"

"I think he left to-day. He was to do so. I heard no news." He looked
across to Mary, and saw that her face was sad and solemn.

"The child that they called Lord Popenjoy is dead," said the Dean. He
was neither sad nor solemn. He could not control the triumph of his
voice as he told the news.

"Poor little boy!" said Mary.

"Dead!" exclaimed Jack.

"I've just had a telegram from my lawyer in London. Yes; he's out of
the way. Poor little fellow! As sure as I sit here he was not Lord

"I never understood anything about it," said Jack.

"But I did. Of course the matter is at rest now. I'm not the man to
grudge any one what belongs to him; but I do not choose that any one
belonging to me should be swindled. If she were to have a son now, he
would be the heir."

"Oh, papa, do not talk in that way."

"Rights are rights, and the truth is the truth. Can any one wish that
such a property and such a title should go to the child of an Italian
woman whom no one has seen or knows?"

"Let it take its chance now, papa."

"Of course it must take its chance; but your chances must be

"Papa, he was at any rate my nephew."

"I don't know that. In law, I believe, he was no such thing. But he
has gone, and we need think of him no further." He was very triumphant.
There was an air about him as though he had already won the great stake
for which he had been playing. But in the midst of it all he was very
civil to Jack De Baron. "You will stay and dine with us to-day, Captain
De Baron?"

"Oh, do," said Mary.

"We can give you a bed if you will sleep here."

"Thanks. My things are at the hotel, and I will not move them. I will
come and dine if you'll have me."

"We shall be delighted. We can't make company of you, because no one is
coming. I shouldn't wonder if Lord George rode over. He will if he
hears of this. Of course he'll know to-morrow; but perhaps they will
not have telegraphed to him. I should go out to Manor Cross, only I
don't quite like to put my foot in that man's house." Jack could not
but feel that the Dean treated him almost as though he were one of the
family. "I rather think I shall ride out and risk it. You won't mind my
leaving you?" Of course Jack declared that he would not for worlds be
in the way. "Mary will play Badminton with you, if you like it. Perhaps
you can get hold of Miss Pountner and Grey; and make up a game." Mr.
Grey was one of the minor canons, and Miss Pountner was the canon's

"We shall do very well, papa. I'm not mad after Badminton, and I dare
say we shall manage without Miss Pountner."

The Dean went off, and in spite of the feud did ride over to Manor
Cross. His mind was so full of the child's death and of the all but
certainty of coming glory which now awaited his daughter, that he could
not keep himself quiet. It seemed to him that a just Providence had
interfered to take that child away. And as the Marquis hated him, so
did he hate the Marquis. He had been willing at first to fight the
battle fairly without personal animosity. On the Marquis's first
arrival he had offered him the right hand of fellowship. He remembered
it all accurately,--how the Marquis had on that occasion ill-used and
insulted him. No man knew better than the Dean when he was well-treated
and when ill-treated. And then this lord had sent for him for the very
purpose of injuring and wounding him through his daughter's name. His
wrath on that occasion had not all expended itself in the blow. After
that word had been spoken he was the man's enemy for ever. There could
be no forgiveness. He could not find room in his heart for even a spark
of pity because the man had lost an only child. Had not the man tried
to do worse than kill his only child--his daughter? Now the
pseudo-Popenjoy was dead, and the Dean was in a turmoil of triumph. It
was essential to him that he should see his son-in-law. His son-in-law
must be made to understand what it would be to be the father of the
future Marquis of Brotherton.

"I think I'll just step across to the inn," said Jack, when the Dean
had left them.

"And we'll have a game of croquet when you come back. I do like
croquet, though papa laughs at me. I think I like all games. It is so
nice to be doing something."

Jack sauntered back to the inn, chiefly that he might have a further
opportunity of considering what he would say to her. And he did make up
his mind. He would play croquet with all his might, and behave to her
as though she were his dearest sister.



When he returned she was out in the garden with her hat on and a mallet
in her hand; but she was seated on one of a cluster of garden-chairs
under a great cedar tree. "I think it's almost too hot to play," she
said. It was an August afternoon, and the sun was very bright in the
heavens. Jack was of course quite willing to sit under the cedar-tree
instead of playing croquet. He was prepared to do whatever she wished.
If he could only know what subjects she would prefer, he would talk
about them and nothing else. "How do you think papa is looking?" she

"He always looks well."

"Ah; he was made dreadfully unhappy by that affair up in London. He
never would talk about it to me; but he was quite ill while he thought
the Marquis was in danger."

"I don't believe the Marquis was much the worse for it."

"They said he was, and papa for some time could not get over it. Now he
is elated. I wish he would not be so glad because that poor little boy
has died."

"It makes a great difference to him, Lady George;--and to you."

"Of course it makes a difference, and of course I feel it. I am as
anxious for my husband as any other woman. If it should come fairly, as
it were by God's doing, I am not going to turn up my nose at it."

"Is not this fairly?"

"Oh yes. Papa did not make the little boy die, of course. But I don't
think that people should long for things like this. If they can't keep
from wishing them, they should keep their wishes to themselves. It is
so like coveting other people's goods. Don't you think we ought to keep
the commandments, Captain De Baron?"

"Certainly--if we can."

"Then we oughtn't to long for other people's titles."

"If I understand it, the Dean wanted to prevent somebody else from
getting a title which wasn't his own. That wouldn't be breaking the

"Of course I am not finding fault with papa. He would not for worlds
try to take anything that wasn't his,--or mine. But it's so sad about
the little boy."

"I don't think the Marquis cared for him."

"Oh, he must have cared! His only child! And the poor mother;--think
how she must feel."

"In spite of it all, I do think it's a very good thing that he's dead,"
said Jack, laughing.

"Then you ought to keep it to yourself, sir. It's a very horrid thing
to say so. Wouldn't you like to smoke a cigar? You may, you know. Papa
always smokes out here, because he says Mr. Groschut can't see him."

"Mr. Groschut is at Rudham," said Jack, as he took a cigar out of his
case and lit it.

"At Rudham? What promotion!"

"He didn't seem to me to be a first-class sort of a fellow."

"Quite a last-class sort of fellow, if there is a last class. I'll tell
you a secret, Captain De Baron. Mr. Groschut is my pet abomination. If
I hate anybody, I hate him. I think I do really hate Mr. Groschut. I
almost wish that they would make him bishop of some unhealthy place."

"So that he might go away and die?"

"If the mosquitoes would eat him day and night, that would be enough.
Who else was there at Rudham?"

"Mrs. Montacute Jones."

"Dear Mrs. Jones. I do like Mrs. Jones."

"And Adelaide Houghton with her husband." Mary turned up her nose and
made a grimace as the Houghtons were named. "You used to be very fond
of Adelaide."

"Very fond is a long word. We were by way of being friends; but we are
friends no longer."

"Tell me what she did to offend you, Lady George? I know there was

"You are her cousin. Of course I am not going to abuse her to you."

"She's not half so much my cousin as you are my friend,--if I may say
so. What did she do or what did she say?"

"She painted her face."

"If you're going to quarrel, Lady George, with every woman in London
who does that, you'll have a great many enemies."

"And the hair at the back of her head got bigger and bigger every
month. Papa always quotes something about Dr. Fell when he's asked why
he does not like anybody. She's Dr. Fell to me."

"I don't think she quite knows why you've cut her."

"I'm quite sure she does, Captain De Baron. She knows all about it. And
now, if you please, we won't talk of her any more. Who else was there
at Rudham?"

"All the old set. Aunt Ju and Guss."

"Then you were happy."

"Quite so. I believe that no one knows all about that better than you

"You ought to have been happy."

"Lady George, I thought you always told the truth."

"I try to; and I think you ought to have been happy. You don't mean to
tell me that Miss Mildmay is nothing to you?"

"She is a very old friend."

"Ought she not to be more? Though of course I have no right to ask."

"You have a right if any one has. I haven't a friend in the world I
would trust as I would you. No; she ought not to be more."

"Have you never given her a right to think that she would be more?"

He paused a moment or two before he answered. Much as he wished to
trust her, anxious as he was that she should be his real friend he
could hardly bring himself to tell her all that had taken place at
Rudham Park during the last day or two. Up to that time he never had
given Miss Mildmay any right. So, at least, he still assured himself.
But now,--it certainly was different now. He desired of all things to
be perfectly honest with Lady George,--to be even innocent in all that
he said to her; but--just for this once--he was obliged to deviate into
a lie. "Never!" he said.

"Of course it is not for me to enquire further."

"It is very hard to describe the way in which such an intimacy has come
about. Guss Mildmay and I have been very much thrown together; but,
even had she wished it, we never could have married. We have no means."

"And yet you live like rich people."

"We have no means because we have lived like rich people."

"You have never asked her to marry you?"


"Nor made her think that you would ask her? That comes to the same
thing, Captain De Baron."

"How am I to answer that? How am I to tell it all without seeming to
boast. When it first came to pass that we knew ourselves well enough to
admit of such a thing being said between us, I told her that marriage
was impossible. Is not that enough?"

"I suppose so," said Lady George, who remembered well every word that
Gus Mildmay had said to herself. "I don't know why I should enquire
about it, only I thought----"

"I know what you thought."

"What did I think?"

"That I was a heartless scoundrel."

"No, never. If I had, I should not have,--have cared about it. Perhaps
it has been unfortunate."

"Most unfortunate!" Then again there was a pause, during which he went
on smoking while she played with her mallet. "I wish I could tell you
everything about it;--only I can't. Did she ever speak to you?"

"Yes, once."

"And what did she say?"

"I cannot tell you that either."

"I have endeavoured to be honest; but sometimes it is so difficult. One
wants sometimes to tell the whole truth, but it won't come out. I am
engaged to her now."

"You are engaged to her!"

"And two days since I was as free as ever."

"Then I may congratulate you."

"No, no. It makes me miserable. I do not love her. There is one other
person that I care for, and I never can care for any one else. There is
one woman that I love, and I never really loved any one else."

"That is very sad, Captain De Baron."

"Is it not? I can never marry Miss Mildmay."

"And yet you have promised?"

"I have promised under certain circumstances which can never, never
come about."

"Why did you promise if you do not love her?"

"Cannot you understand without my telling you? I cannot tell you that.
I am sure you understand."

"I suppose I do. Poor Miss Mildmay!"

"And poor Jack De Baron!"

"Yes; poor Jack De Baron also! No man should talk to a girl of marrying
her unless he loves her. It is different with a girl. She may come to
love a man. She may love a man better than all the world, though she
hardly knew him when she married him. If he is good to her, she will
certainly do so. But if a man marries a woman without loving her, he
will soon hate her."

"I shall never marry Miss Mildmay."

"And yet you have said you would?"

"I told you that I wanted to tell you everything. It is so pleasant to
have some one to trust, even though I should be blamed as you are
blaming me. It simply means that I can marry no one else."

"But you love some one?" She felt when she was asking the question that
it was indiscreet. When the assertion was made she had not told herself
that she was the woman. She had not thought it. For an instant she had
tried to imagine who that other one could be. But yet, when the words
were out of her mouth, she knew that they were indiscreet. Was she not
indiscreet in holding any such conversation with a man who was not her
brother or even her cousin? She wished that he were her cousin, so that
she might become the legitimate depository of his secrets. Though she
was scolding him for his misdoings, yet she hardly liked him the less
for them. She thought that she did understand how it was, and she
thought that the girl was more in fault than the man. It was not till
the words had passed her mouth and the question had been asked that she
felt the indiscretion. "But you love some one else?"

"Certainly I do; but I had not meant to speak about that."

"I will enquire into no secrets."

"Is that a secret? Can it be a secret? Do you not know that ever since
I knew you I have had no pleasure but in being with you, and talking to
you, and looking at you?"

"Captain De Baron!" As she spoke she rose from her seat as though she
would at once leave him and go back into the house.

"You must hear me now. You must not go without hearing me. I will not
say a word to offend you."

"You have offended me."

"How could I help it? What was I to do? What ought I to have said? Pray
do not go, Lady George."

"I did not think you would have insulted me. I did trust you."

"You may trust me. On my honour as a gentleman, I will never say
another word that you can take amiss. I wish I could tell you all my
feelings. One cannot help one's love."

"A man may govern his words."

"As I trust in heaven, I had determined that I would never say a
syllable to you that I might not have spoken to my sister. Have I asked
you to love me? I have not thought it possible that you should do so. I
know you to be too good. It has never come within my dreams."

"It is wicked to think of it."

"I have not thought of it. I will never think of it. You are like an
angel to me. If I could write poetry, I should write about you. If ever
I build castles in the air and think what I might have been if things
had gone well with me, I try to fancy then that I might have had you
for a wife. That is not wicked. That is not a crime. Can you be angry
with me because, having got to know you as I do, I think you better,
nicer, jollier, more beautiful than any one else? Have you never really
loved a friend?"

"I love my husband with all my heart,--oh, better than all the world."

Jack did not quite understand this. His angel was an angel. He was sure
of that. And he wished her to be still an angel. But he could not
understand how any angel could passionately love Lord George
Germain,--especially this angel who had been so cruelly treated by him.
Had she loved him better than all the world when he walked her out of
Mrs. Jones' drawing-room, reprimanding her before all the guests for
her conduct in dancing the Kappa-kappa? But this was a matter not open
to argument. "I may still be your friend?" he said.

"I think you had better not come again."

"Do not say that, Lady George. If I have done wrong, forgive me. I
think you must admit that I could hardly help myself."

"Not help yourself!"

"Did I not tell you that I wanted you to know the whole truth? How
could I make you understand about Miss Mildmay without telling it all?
Say that you will forgive me."

"Say that it is not so, and then I will forgive you."

"No. It is so, and it must be so. It will remain so always, but yet you
will surely forgive me, if I never speak of it again. You will forgive
me and understand me, and when hereafter you see me as a middle-aged
man about town, you will partly know why it is so. Oh dear; I forgot to
tell you. We had another old friend of yours at Rudham,--a very
particular friend." Of course she had forgiven him and now she was
thankful to him for his sudden breach of the subject; but she was not
herself strong enough immediately to turn to another matter. "Who do
you think was there?"

"How can I tell?"

"The Baroness."


"As large as life."

"Baroness Banmann at Mr. De Baron's."

"Yes;--Baroness Banmann. Aunt Julia had contrived to get permission to
bring her, and the joke was that she did us all out of our money. She
got a five-pound note from me."

"What a goose you were."

"And ten from Lord Brotherton! I think that was the greatest triumph.
She was down on him without the slightest compunction. I never saw a
man so shot in my life. He sent me to look for the money, and she never
left me till I had got it for her."

"I thought Aunt Ju had had enough of her."

"I should think she has now. And we had Lord Giblet. Lord Giblet is to
marry Miss Patmore Green after all."

"Poor Lord Giblet!"

"And poor Miss Patmore Green. I don't know which will have the worst of
it. They can practice the Kappa-kappa together for consolation. It is
all Mrs. Jones' doing, and she is determined that he shan't escape. I'm
to go down to Killancodlem and help."

"Why should you have anything to do with it?"

"Very good shooting, and plenty to eat and drink,--and Giblet is a
friend of mine; so I'm bound to lend a hand. And now, Lady George, I
think I'll go to the hotel and be back to dinner. We are friends."

"Yes; if you promise not to offend me."

"I will never offend you. I will never say a word that all the world
might not hear,--except this once,--to thank you." Then he seized her
hand and kissed it. "You shall always be a sister to me," he said.
"When I am in trouble I will come to you. Say that you will love me as
a brother."

"I will always regard you as a friend."

"Regard is a cold word, but I will make the most of it. Here is your

At this moment they were coming from a side path on to the lawn, and as
they did so the Dean appeared upon the terrace through the deanery room
window. With the Dean was Lord George, and Mary, as soon as she saw
him, rushed up to him and threw her arms round his neck. "Oh George,
dear, dearest George, papa said that perhaps you would come. You are
going to stay?"

"He will dine here," said the Dean.

"Only dine!"

"I cannot stay longer to-day," said Lord George, with his eye upon
Captain De Baron. The Dean had told him that De Baron was there; but,
still, when he saw that the man had been walking with his wife, a
renewed uneasiness came upon him. It could not be right that the man
from whose arms he had rescued her on the night of the ball should be
left alone with her a whole afternoon in the Deanery Garden! She was
thoughtless as a child;--but it seemed to him that the Dean was as
thoughtless as his daughter. The Dean must know what people had said.
The Dean had himself seen that horrid dance, with its results. The
awful accusation made by the Marquis had been uttered in the Dean's
ears. Because that had been wicked and devilishly false, the Dean's
folly was not the less. Lord George embraced his wife, but she knew
from the touch of his arm round her waist that there was something
wrong with him.

The two men shook hands of course, and then De Baron went out,
muttering something to the Dean as to his being back to dinner. "I
can't say I like that young man," said Lord George.

"I like him very much," replied the Dean. "He is always good-humoured,
and I think he's honest. I own to a predilection for happy people."

Mary was of course soon upstairs with her husband. "I thought you would
come," she said, hanging on him.

"I did not like not to see you after the news. It is important. You
must feel that."

"Poor little boy! Don't you grieve for them."

"Yes, I do. Brotherton has treated me very badly, but I do feel for
him. I shall write to him and say so. But that will not alter the fact.
Popenjoy is dead."

"No; it will not alter the fact." He was so solemn with her that she
hardly knew how to talk to him.

"Popenjoy is dead,--if he was Popenjoy. I suppose he was; but that does
not signify now."

"Not in the least I suppose."

"And if you have a son----"

"Oh, George?"

"He won't be Popenjoy yet."

"Or perhaps ever."

"Or perhaps ever;--but a time will probably come when he will be
Popenjoy. We can't help thinking about it, you know."

"Of course not."

"I'm sure I don't want my brother to die."

"I am sure I don't."

"But the family has to be kept up. I do care about the family. They all
think at Manor Cross that you should go over at once."

"Are you going to stay there, George. Of course I will go if you are
going to stay there."

"They think you should come, though it were only for a few days."

"And then? Of course I will go, George, if you say so. I have had my
visit with papa,--as much as I had a right to expect. And, oh George, I
do so long to be with you again." Then she hung upon him and kissed
him. It must have been impossible that he should be really jealous,
though Captain De Baron had been there the whole day. Nor was he
jealous, except with that Cæsarian jealousy lest she should be
unfortunate enough to cause a whisper derogatory to his marital

The matter had been fully discussed at Manor Cross; and the Manor Cross
conclave, meaning of course Lady Sarah, had thought that Mary should be
brought to the house, if only for a day or two, if only that people in
Brothershire might know that there had been no quarrel between her and
her husband. That she should have visited her father might be
considered as natural. It need not be accounted as quite unnatural that
she should have done so without her husband. But now,--now it was
imperative that Brothershire should know that the mother of the future
Lord Popenjoy was on good terms with the family. "Of course her
position is very much altered," Lady Susanna had said in private to
Lady Amelia. The old Marchioness felt a real longing to see "dear
Mary," and to ask becoming questions as to her condition. And it was
quite understood that she was not to be required to make any cloaks or
petticoats. The garments respecting which she must be solicitous for
the next six months would, as the Marchioness felt, be of a very august
nature. Oh, that the future baby might be born at Manor Cross! The
Marchioness did not see why Lord George should leave the house at all.
Brotherton couldn't know anything about it in Italy, and if George must
go, Mary might surely be left there for the event. The Marchioness
declared that she could die happy if she might see another Popenjoy
born in the purple of Manor Cross.

"When am I to go?" asked Mary. She was sitting now close to him, and
the question was asked with full delight.

"I do not know whether you can be ready to-morrow."

"Of course I can be ready to-morrow. Oh George, to be back with you!
Even for ten days it seems to be a great happiness. But if you go, then
of course you will take me with you." There was a reality about this
which conquered him, even in spite of Captain De Baron, so that he came
down to dinner in good-humour with the world.



The dinner at the deanery went off without much excitement. Captain De
Baron would of course have preferred that Lord George should have
remained at Manor Cross, but under no circumstances could he have had
much more to say to the lady. They understood each other now. He was
quite certain that any evil thing spoken of her had been sheer slander,
and yet he had managed to tell her everything of himself without
subjecting himself to her undying anger. When she left the
drawing-room, the conversation turned again upon the great Popenjoy
question, and from certain words which fell from the Dean, Jack was
enabled to surmise that Lord George had reason to hope that an heir
might be born to him. "He does not look as though he would live long
himself," said the Dean, speaking of the Marquis.

"I trust he may with all my heart," said Lord George.

"That's another question," replied the Dean. "I only say that he
doesn't look like it." Lord George went away early, and Jack De Baron
thought it prudent to retire at the same time. "So you're going
to-morrow, dear," said the Dean.

"Yes, papa. Is it not best?"

"Oh yes. Nothing could be worse than a prolonged separation. He means
to be honest and good."

"He is honest and good, papa."

"You have had your triumph."

"I did not want to triumph;--not at least over him."

"After what had occurred it was necessary that you should have your own
way in coming here. Otherwise he would have triumphed. He would have
taken you away, and you and I would have been separated. Of course you
are bound to obey him;--but there must be limits. He would have taken
you away as though in disgrace, and that I could not stand. There will
be an end of that now. God knows when I shall see you again, Mary."

"Why not, papa?"

"Because he hasn't got over his feeling against me. I don't think he
ever gets over any feeling. Having no home of his own why does he not
bring you here?"

"I don't think he likes the idea of being a burden to you."

"Exactly. He has not cordiality enough to feel that when two men are in
a boat together, as he and I are because of you, all that feeling
should go to the wind. He ought not to be more ashamed to sit at my
table and drink of my cup than you are. If it were all well between us
and he had the property, should I scruple to go and stay at Manor

"You would still have your own house to go back to."

"So will he,--after a while. But it can't be altered, dear, and God
forbid that I should set you against him. He is not a rake nor a
spendthrift, nor will he run after other women." Mary thought of Mrs.
Houghton, but she held her tongue. "He is not a bad man and I think he
loves you."

"I am sure he does."

"But I can't help feeling sad at parting with you. I suppose I shall at
any rate be able to see you up in town next season." The Dean as he
said this was almost weeping.

Mary, when she was alone in her room, of course thought much of Captain
De Baron and his story. It was a pity,--a thousand pities,--that it
should be so. It was to be regretted,--much regretted,--that he had
been induced to tell his story. She was angry with herself because she
had been indiscreet, and she was still angry,--a little angry with
him,--because he had yielded to the temptation. But there had been
something sweet in it. She was sorry, grieved in her heart of hearts
that he should love her. She had never striven to gain his love. She
had never even thought of it. It ought not to have been so. She should
have thought of it; she should not have shown herself to be so pleased
with his society. But yet,--yet it was sweet. Then there came upon her
some memory of her old dreams, before she had been engaged to Lord
George. She knew how vain had been those dreams, because she now loved
Lord George with her whole heart; but yet she remembered them, and felt
as though they had come true with a dreamy half truth. And she brought
to mind all those flattering words with which he had spoken her
praises,--how he had told her that she was an angel, too good and pure
to be supposed capable of evil; how he had said that in his castles in
the air he would still think of her as his wife. Surely a man may build
what castles in the air he pleases, if he will only hold his tongue!
She was quite sure that she did not love him, but she was sure also
that his was the proper way of making love. And then she thought of
Guss Mildmay. Could she not in pure charity do a good turn to that poor
girl? Might she not tell Captain De Baron that it was his duty to marry
her? And if he felt it to be his duty would he not do so? It may be
doubted whether in these moments she did not think much better of
Captain De Baron than that gentleman deserved.

On the next day the Manor Cross carriage came over for her. The Dean
had offered to send her, but Lord George had explained that his mother
was anxious that the carriage should come. There would be a cart for
the luggage. As to Lady George herself there was a general feeling at
Manor Cross that in the present circumstances the family carriage
should bring her home. But it came empty. "God bless you, dearest,"
said the Dean as he put her into the vehicle.

"Good-bye, papa. I suppose you can come over and see me."

"I don't know that I can. I saw none of the ladies when I was there

"I don't care a bit for the ladies. Where I go, papa, you can come. Of
course George will see you, and you could ask for me." The Dean smiled,
and kissed her again, and then she was gone.

She hardly knew what grand things were in store for her. She was still
rebelling in her heart against skirts and petticoats, and resolving
that she would not go to church twice on Sundays unless she liked it,
when the carriage drove up to the door. They were all in the hall, all
except the Marchioness. "We wouldn't go in," said Lady Amelia, "because
we didn't like to fill the carriage."

"And George wanted us to send it early," said Lady Sarah, "before we
had done our work." They all kissed her affectionately, and then she
was again in her husband's arms. Mrs. Toff curtseyed to her most
respectfully. Mary observed the curtsey and reminded herself at the
moment that Mrs. Toff had never curtseyed to her before. Even the tall
footman in knee-breeches stood back with a demeanour which had hitherto
been vouchsafed only to the real ladies of the family. Who could tell
how soon that wicked Marquis would die; and then,--then how great would
not be the glory of the Dean's daughter! "Perhaps you won't mind coming
up to mamma as soon as you have got your hat off," said Lady Susanna.
"Mamma is so anxious to see you." Mary's hat was immediately off, and
she declared herself ready to go to the Marchioness. "Mamma has had a
great deal to trouble her since you were here," said Lady Susanna, as
she led the way upstairs. "She has aged very much. You'll be kind to
her, I know."

"Of course I'll be kind," said Mary; "I hope I never was unkind."

"She thinks so much of things now, and then she cries so often. We do
all we can to prevent her from crying, because it does make her so
weak. Beef-tea is best, we think; and then we try to get her to sleep
a good deal. Mary has come, mamma. Here she is. The carriage has only
just arrived." Mary followed Lady Susanna into the room, and the
Marchioness was immediately immersed in a flood of tears.

"My darling!" she exclaimed; "my dearest, if anything can ever make me
happy again it is that you should have come back to me." Mary kissed
her mother-in-law and submitted to be kissed with a pretty grace, as
though she and the old lady had always been the warmest, most
affectionate friends. "Sit down, my love. I have had the easy chair
brought there on purpose for you. Susanna, get her that footstool."
Susanna, without moving a muscle of her face, brought the footstool.
"Now sit down, and let me look at you. I don't think she's much
changed." This was very distressing to poor Mary, who, with all her
desire to oblige the Marchioness could not bring herself to sit down in
the easy chair. "So that poor little boy has gone, my dear?"

"I was so sorry to hear it."

"Yes, of course. That was quite proper. When anybody dies we ought to
be sorry for them. I'm sure I did all I could to make things
comfortable for him. Didn't I, Susanna?"

"You were quite anxious about him, mamma."

"So I was,--quite anxious. I have no doubt his mother neglected him. I
always thought that. But now there will be another, won't there?" This
was a question which the mother expectant could not answer, and in
order to get over the difficulty Susanna suggested that Mary should be
allowed to go down to lunch.

"Certainly, my dear. In her condition she ought not to be kept waiting
a minute. And mind, Susanna, she has bottled porter. I spoke about it
before. She should have a pint at lunch and a pint at dinner."

"I can't drink porter," said Mary, in despair.

"My dear, you ought to; you ought indeed; you must. I remember as well
as if it were yesterday Sir Henry telling me it was the only sure
thing. That was before Popenjoy was born,--I mean Brotherton. I do so
hope it will be a Popenjoy, my dear." This was the last word said to
her as Mary was escaping from the room.

She was not expected to make cloaks and skirts, but she was obliged to
fight against a worse servitude even than that. She almost longed for
the cloaks and skirts when day after day she was entreated to take her
place in the easy chair by the couch of the Marchioness. There was a
cruelty in refusing, but in yielding there was a crushing misery. The
Marchioness evidently thought that the future stability of the family
depended on Mary's quiescence and capability for drinking beer. Very
many lies were necessarily told her by all the family. She was made to
believe that Mary never got up before eleven; and the doctor who came
to see herself and to whose special care Mary was of course
recommended, was induced to say that it was essential that Lady George
should be in the open air three hours every day. "You know I'm not the
least ill, mother," Mary said to her one day. Since these new hopes and
the necessity for such hopes had come up the Marchioness had requested
that she might be called mother by her daughter-in-law.

"No, my dear, not ill; but I remember as though it were yesterday what
Sir Henry said to me when Popenjoy was going to be born. Of course he
was Popenjoy when he was born. I don't think they've any physicians
like Sir Henry now. I do hope it'll be a Popenjoy."

"But that can't be, mother. You are forgetting."

The old woman thought for a while, and then remembered the difficulty.
"No, not quite at once." Then her mind wandered again. "But if this
isn't a Popenjoy, my dear,--and it's all in the hands of God,--then the
next may be. My three first were all girls; and it was a great trouble;
but Sir Henry said the next would be a Popenjoy; and so it was. I hope
this will be a Popenjoy, because I might die before the next." When a
week of all this had been endured Mary in her heart was glad that the
sentence of expulsion from Manor Cross still stood against her husband,
feeling that six months of reiterated longings for a Popenjoy would
kill her and the possible Popenjoy also.

Then came the terrible question of an immediate residence. The month
was nearly over, and Lord George had determined that he would go up to
town for a few days when the time came. Mary begged to be taken with
him, but to this he would not accede, alleging that his sojourn there
would only be temporary, till something should be settled. "I am sure,"
said Mary, "your brother would dislike my being here worse than you."
That might be true, but the edict, as it had been pronounced, had not
been against her. The Marquis had simply ordered that in the event of
Lord George remaining in the house, the house and park should be
advertised for letting. "George, I think he must be mad," said Mary.

"He is sane enough to have the control of his own property."

"If it is let, why shouldn't you take it?"

"Where on earth should I get the money?"

"Couldn't we all do it among us?"

"He wouldn't let it to us; he will allow my mother and sisters to live
here for nothing; and I don't think he has said anything to Mr. Knox
about you. But I am to be banished."

"He must be mad."

"Mad or not, I must go."

"Do,--do let me go with you! Do go to the deanery. Papa will make it
all square by coming up to us in London."

"Your father has a right to be in the house in London," said Lord
George with a scowl.

When the month was over he did go up to town, and saw Mr. Knox. Mr.
Knox advised him to go back to Manor Cross, declaring that he himself
would take no further steps without further orders. He had not had a
line from the Marquis. He did not even know where the Marquis was,
supposing, however, that he was in his house on the lake; but he did
know that the Marchioness was not with him, as separate application had
been made to him by her Ladyship for money. "I don't think I can do
it," said Lord George. Mr. Knox shrugged his shoulders, and again said
that he saw no objection. "I should be very slow in advertising, you
know," said Mr. Knox.

"But I don't think that I have a right to be in a man's house without
his leave. I don't think I am justified in staying there against his
will because he is my brother." Mr. Knox could only shrug his

He remained up in town doing nothing, doubtful as to where he should go
and whither he should take his wife, while she was still at Manor
Cross, absolutely in the purple, but still not satisfied with her
position. She was somewhat cheered at this time by a highspirited
letter from her friend Mrs. Jones, written from Killancodlem.

"We are all here," said Mrs. Jones, "and we do so wish you were with
us. I have heard of your condition at last, and of course it would not
be fit that you should be amusing yourself with wicked idle people like
us, while all the future of all the Germains is, so to say, in your
keeping. How very opportune that that poor boy should have gone just as
the other is coming! Mind that you are a good girl and take care of
yourselves. I daresay all the Germain ladies are looking after you day
and night, so that you can't misbehave very much. No more Kappa-kappas
for many a long day for you!

"We have got Lord Giblet here. It was such a task! I thought cart-ropes
wouldn't have brought him? Now he is as happy as the day is long, and
like a tame cat in my hands. I really think he is very much in love
with her, and she behaves quite prettily. I took care that Green père
should come down in the middle of it, and that clenched it. The lover
didn't make the least fight when papa appeared, but submitted himself
like a sheep to the shearers. I shouldn't have done it if I hadn't
known that he wanted a wife and if I hadn't been sure that she would
make a good one. There are some men who never really get on their legs
till they're married, and never would get married without a little
help. I'm sure he'll bless me, or would do, only he'll think after a
bit that he did it all by himself.

"Our friend Jack is with us, behaving very well, but not quite like
himself. There are two or three very pretty girls here, but he goes
about among them quite like a steady old man. I got him to tell me that
he'd seen you at Brotherton, and then he talked a deal of nonsense
about the good you'd do when you were Marchioness. I don't see, my
dear, why you should do more good than other people. I hope you'll be
gracious to your old friends, and keep a good house, and give nice
parties. Try and make other people happy. That's the goodness I believe
in. I asked him why you were to be particularly good, and then he
talked a deal more nonsense, which I need not repeat.

"I hear very queer accounts about the Marquis. He behaved himself at
Rudham almost like anybody else, and walked into dinner like a
Christian. They say that he is all alone in Italy, and that he won't
see her. I fancy he was more hurt in that little affair than some
people will allow. Whatever it was, it served him right. Of course I
should be glad to see Lord George come to the throne. I always tell the
truth, my dear, about these things. What is the use of lying. I shall
be very glad to see Lord George a marquis,--and then your Popenjoy will
be Popenjoy.

"You remember the Baroness,--your Baroness. Oh, the Baroness! She
absolutely asked me to let her come to Killancodlem. 'But I hate
disabilities and rights,' said I. She gave me to understand that that
made no difference. Then I was obliged to tell her that I hadn't a bed
left. Any little room would do for her. 'We haven't any little rooms at
Killancodlem,' said I;--and then I left her.

"Good-bye. Mind you are good and take care of yourself; and, whatever
you do, let Popenjoy have a royal godfather."

Then her father came over to see her. At this time Lord George was up
in town, and when her father was announced she felt that there was no
one to help her. If none of the ladies of the family would see her
father she never would be gracious to them again. This was the
turning-point. She could forgive them for the old quarrel. She could
understand that they might have found themselves bound to take their
elder brother's part at first. Then they had quarrelled with her, too.
Now they had received her back into their favour. But she would have
none of their favours, unless they would take her father with her.

She was sitting at the time in that odious arm-chair in the old lady's
room; and when Mrs. Toff brought in word that the Dean was in the
little drawing-room, Lady Susanna was also present. Mary jumped up
immediately, and knew that she was blushing. "Oh! I must go down to
papa," she said. And away she went.

The Dean was in one of his best humours, and was full of Brotherton
news. Mr. Groschut had been appointed to the vicarage of Pugsty, and
would leave Brotherton within a month.

"I suppose it's a good living."

"About £300 a year, I believe. He's been acting not quite on the square
with a young lady, and the Bishop made him take it. It was that or
nothing." The Dean was quite delighted; and when Mary told him
something of her troubles,--how impossible she found it to drink
bottled porter,--he laughed, and bade her be of good cheer, and told
her that there were good days coming. They had been there for nearly
an hour together, and Mary was becoming unhappy. If her father were
allowed to go without some recognition from the family, she would never
again be friends with those women. She was beginning to think that she
never would be friends again with any of them, when the door opened,
and Lady Sarah entered the room.

The greeting was very civil on both sides. Lady Sarah could, if she
pleased, be gracious, though she was always a little grand; and the
Dean was quite willing to be pleased, if only any effort was made to
please him. Lady Sarah hoped that he would stay and dine. He would
perhaps excuse the Marchioness, as she rarely now left her room. The
Dean could not dine at Manor Cross on that day, and then Lady Sarah
asked him to come on the Thursday following.



"Do come, papa," said Mary, jumping up and putting her arm round her
father's shoulders. She was more than willing to meet them all
half-way. She would sit in the arm-chair all the morning and try to
drink porter at lunch if they would receive her father graciously. Of
course she was bound to her husband. She did not wish not to be bound
to him. She was quite sure that she loved her husband with a perfect
love. But her marriage happiness could not be complete unless her
father was to make a part of the intimate home circle of her life. She
was now so animated in her request to him, that her manner told all her
little story,--not only to him, but to Lady Sarah also.

"I will say do come also," said Lady Sarah, smiling.

Mary looked up at her and saw the smile. "If he were your papa," she
said, "you would be as anxious as I am." But she also smiled as she

"Even though he is not, I am anxious."

"Who could refuse when so entreated? Of course I shall be delighted to
come," said the Dean. And so it was settled. Her father was to be again
made welcome at Manor Cross, and Mary thought that she could now be

"It was very good of you," she whispered to Lady Sarah, as soon as he
had left them. "Of course I understand. I was very, very sorry that he
and Lord Brotherton had quarrelled. I won't say anything now about
anybody being wrong or anybody being right. But it would be dreadful to
me if papa couldn't come to see me. I don't think you know what he

"I do know that you love him very dearly."

"Of course I do. There is nothing on earth he wouldn't do for me. He is
always trying to make me happy. And he'd do just as much for George, if
George would let him. You've been very good about it, and I love you
for it." Lady Sarah was quite open to the charm of being loved. She did
not talk much of such things, nor was it compatible with her nature to
make many professions of affection. But it would be a happiness to her
if this young sister-in-law, who would no doubt sooner or later be the
female head of the house, could be taught to love her. So she kissed
Mary, and then walked demurely away, conscious that any great display
of feeling would be antagonistic to her principles.

During the hour that Mary had been closeted with her father there had
been much difficulty among the ladies upstairs about the Dean. The
suggestion that he should be asked to dine had of course come from Lady
Sarah, and it fell like a little thunderbolt among them. In the first
place, what would Brotherton say? Was it not an understood portion of
the agreement under which they were allowed to live in the house, that
the Dean should not be a guest there? Lady Susanna had even shuddered
at his coming to call on his daughter, and they had all thought it to
be improper when a short time since he had personally brought the news
of Popenjoy's death to the house. And then there was their own
resentment as to that affray at Scumberg's. They were probably inclined
to agree with Lady Brabazon that Brotherton was not quite all that he
should be; but still he was Brotherton, and the man who had nearly
murdered him could not surely be a fit guest at Manor Cross. "I don't
think we can do that, Sarah," Lady Susanna had said after a long
silence. "Oh dear! that would be very dreadful!" the Marchioness had
exclaimed. Lady Amelia had clasped her hands together and had trembled
in every limb. But Lady Sarah, who never made any suggestion without
deep thought, was always loth to abandon any that she had made. She
clung to this with many arguments. Seeing how unreasonable Brotherton
was, they could not feel themselves bound to obey him. As to the house,
while their mother lived there it must be regarded as her house. It was
out of the question that they should have their guests dictated to them
by their brother. Perhaps the Dean was not all that a dean ought to
be,--but then, who was perfect? George had married his daughter, and it
could not be right to separate the daughter from the father. Then came
the final, strong, clenching argument. Mary would certainly be
disturbed in her mind if not allowed to see her father. Perfect
tranquillity for Mary was regarded as the chief ingredient in the cup
of prosperity which, after many troubles, was now to be re-brewed for
the Germain family. If she were not allowed to see her father, the
coming Popenjoy would suffer for it. "You'd better let him come,
Susanna," said the Marchioness through her tears. Susanna had looked
as stern as an old sibyl. "I really think it will be best," said Lady
Amelia. "It ought to be done," said Lady Sarah. "I suppose you had
better go to him," said the Marchioness. "I could not see him; indeed I
couldn't. But he won't want to see me." Lady Susanna did not yield, but
Lady Sarah, as we know, went down on her mission of peace.

Mary, as soon as she was alone, sat herself down to write a letter to
her husband. It was then Monday, and her father was to dine there on
Thursday. The triumph would hardly be complete unless George would come
home to receive him. Her letter was full of arguments, full of
entreaties, and full of love. Surely he might come for one night, if he
couldn't stay longer. It would be so much nicer for her father to have
a gentleman there. Such an attention would please him so much! "I am
sure he would go twice the distance if you were coming to his house,"
pleaded Mary.

Lord George came, and in a quiet way the dinner was a success. The Dean
made himself very agreeable. The Marchioness did not appear, but her
absence was attributed to the condition of her health. Lady Sarah, as
the great promoter of the festival, was bound to be on her good
behaviour, and Lady Amelia endeavoured to copy her elder sister. It was
not to be expected that Lady Susanna should be cordially hospitable;
but it was known that Lady Susanna was habitually silent in company.
Mary could forgive her second sister-in-law's sullenness,
understanding, as she did quite well, that she was at this moment
triumphing over Lady Susanna. Mr. Groschut was not a favourite with any
of the party at Manor Cross, and the Dean made himself pleasant by
describing the nature of the late chaplain's promotion. "He begged the
Bishop to let him off," said the Dean, "but his Lordship was
peremptory. It was Pugsty or leave the diocese."

"What had he done, papa?" asked Mary.

"He had promised to marry Hawkins' daughter." Hawkins was the
Brotherton bookseller on the Low Church side. "And then he denied the
promise. Unfortunately he had written letters, and Hawkins took them to
the Bishop. I should have thought Groschut would have been too sharp to
write letters."

"But what was all that to the Bishop?" asked Lord George.

"The Bishop was, I think, just a little tired of him. The Bishop is old
and meek, and Mr. Groschut thought that he could domineer. He did not
quite know his man. The Bishop is old and meek, and would have borne
much. When Mr. Groschut scolded him, I fancy that he said nothing. But
he bided his time; and when Mr. Hawkins came, then there was a decision
pronounced. It was Pugsty, or nothing."

"Is Pugsty very nasty, papa?"

"It isn't very nice, I fancy. It just borders on the Potteries, and
the population is heavy. As he must marry the bookseller's daughter
also, the union, I fear, won't be very grateful."

"I don't see why a bishop should send a bad man to any parish,"
suggested Lady Sarah.

"What is he to do with a Groschut, when he has unfortunately got hold
of one? He couldn't be turned out to starve. The Bishop would never
have been rid of him. A small living--some such thing as Pugsty--was
almost a necessity."

"But the people," said Lady Sarah. "What is to become of the poor

"Let us hope they may like him. At any rate, he will be better at
Pugsty than at Brotherton." In this way the evening passed off; and
when at ten o'clock the Dean took his departure, it was felt by every
one except Lady Susanna that the proper thing had been done.

Lord George, having thus come back to Manor Cross, remained there. He
was not altogether happy in his mind; but his banishment seemed to be
so absurd a thing that he did not return to London. At Manor Cross
there was something for him to do. In London there was nothing. And,
after all, there was a question whether, as a pure matter of right, the
Marquis had the power to pronounce such a sentence. Manor Cross no
doubt belonged to him, but then so also did Cross Hall belong for the
time to his mother; and he was receiving the rent of Cross Hall while
his mother was living at Manor Cross. Lady Sarah was quite clear that
for the present they were justified in regarding Manor Cross as
belonging to them. "And who'll tell him when he's all the way out
there?" asked Mary. "I never did hear of such a thing in all my life.
What harm can you do to the house, George?"

So they went on in peace and quietness for the next three months,
during which not a single word was heard from the Marquis. They did not
even know where he was, and under the present circumstances did not
care to ask any questions of Mr. Knox. Lord George had worn out his
scruples, and was able to go about his old duties in his old fashion.
The Dean had dined there once or twice, and Lord George on one occasion
had consented to stay with his wife for a night or two at the deanery.
Things seemed to have fallen back quietly into the old way,--as they
were before the Marquis with his wife and child had come to disturb
them. Of course there was a great difference in Mary's position. It was
not only that she was about to become a mother, but that she would do
so in a very peculiar manner. Had not the Marquis taken a wife to
himself, there would always have been the probability that he would
some day do so. Had there not been an Italian Marchioness and a little
Italian Popenjoy, the ladies at Manor Cross would still have given him
credit for presenting them with a future marchioness and a future
Popenjoy at some future day. Now his turn had, as it were, gone.
Another Popenjoy from that side was not to be expected. In consequence
of all this Mary was very much exalted. They none of them now wished
for another Popenjoy from the elder branch. All their hopes were
centred in Mary. To Mary herself this importance had its drawbacks.
There was the great porter question still unsettled. The arm-chair with
the footstool still was there. And she did not like being told that a
mile and a half on the sunny side of the trees was the daily amount of
exercise which Sir Henry, nearly half a century ago, had prescribed for
ladies in her condition. But she had her husband with her, and could,
with him, be gently rebellious and affectionately disobedient. It is a
great thing, at any rate, to be somebody. In her early married days she
had felt herself to be snubbed as being merely the Dean's daughter. Her
present troubles brought a certain balm with them. No one snubbed her
now. If she had a mind for arrowroot, Mrs. Toff would make it herself
and suggest a thimbleful of brandy in it with her most coaxing words.
Cloaks and petticoats she never saw, and she was quite at liberty to
stay away from afternoon church if she pleased.

It had been decided, after many discussions on the subject, that she
and her husband should go up to town for a couple of months after
Christmas, Lady Amelia going with them to look after the porter and
arrowroot, and that in March she should be brought back to Manor Cross
with a view to her confinement. This had not been conceded to her
easily, but it had at last been conceded. She had learned in secret
from her father that he would come up to town for a part of the time,
and after that she never let the question rest till she had carried her
point. The Marchioness had been obliged to confess that, in
anticipation of her Popenjoy, Sir Henry had recommended a change from
the country to town. She did not probably remember that Sir Henry had
done so because she had been very cross at the idea of being kept
running down to the country all through May. Mary pleaded that it was
no use having a house if she were not allowed to see it, that all her
things were in London, and at last declared that it would be very
convenient to have the baby born in London. Then the Marchioness saw
that a compromise was necessary. It was not to be endured that the
future Popenjoy, the future Brotherton, should be born in a little
house in Munster Court. With many misgivings it was at last arranged
that Mary should go to London on the 18th of January, and be brought
back on the 10th of March. After many consultations, computations, and
calculations, it was considered that the baby would be born somewhere
about the 1st of April.

It may be said that things at Manor Cross were quite in a halcyon
condition, when suddenly a thunderbolt fell among them. Mr. Knox
appeared one day at the house and showed to Lord George a letter from
the Marquis. It was written with his usual contempt of all ordinary
courtesy of correspondence, but with more than his usual bitterness.
It declared the writer's opinion that his brother was a mean fellow,
and deserving of no trust in that he had continued to live at the house
after having been desired to leave it by its owner; and it went on to
give peremptory orders to Mr. Knox to take steps for letting the house
at once. This took place at the end of the first week in December. Then
there was a postscript to the letter in which the Marquis suggested
that Mr. Knox had better take a house for the Marchioness, and apply
Mr. Price's rent in the payment for such house. "Of course you will
consult my mother," said the postscript; "but it should not be anywhere
near Brotherton."

There was an impudence as well as a cruelty about this which almost
shook the belief which Lord George still held in the position of an
elder brother. Mr. Knox was to take a house;--as though his mother and
sisters had no rights, no freedom of their own! "Of course I will go,"
said he, almost pale with anger.

Then Mr. Knox explained his views. It was his intention to write back
to the Marquis and to decline to execute the task imposed upon him. The
care of the Marquis's property was no doubt his chief mainstay; but
there were things, he said, which he could not do. Of course the
Marquis would employ someone else, and he must look for his bread
elsewhere. But he could not, he said, bring himself to take steps for
the letting of Manor Cross as long as the Marchioness was living there.

Of course there was a terrible disturbance in the house. There arose a
great question whether the old lady should or should not be told of
this new trouble, and it was decided at last that she should for the
present be kept in the dark. Mr. Knox was of opinion that the house
never would be let, and that it would not be in his Lordship's power to
turn them out without procuring for them the use of Cross Hall;--in
which Mr. Price's newly married bride had made herself comfortable on a
lease of three years. And he was also of opinion that the attempt made
by the Marquis to banish his brother was a piece of monstrous tyranny
to which no attention should be paid. This he said before all the
younger ladies;--but to Lord George himself he said even more. He
expressed a doubt whether the Marquis could be in his right mind, and
added a whisper that the accounts of the Marquis's health were very bad
indeed. "Of course he could let the house?" asked Lord George.

"Yes;--if he can get anybody to let it for him, and anybody else to
take it. But I don't think it ever will be let. He won't quite know
what to do when he gets my letter. He can hardly change his agent
without coming to London, and he won't like to do that in the winter.
He'll write me a very savage letter, and then in a week or two I shall
answer him. I don't think I'd disturb the Marchioness if I were you, my

The Marchioness was not disturbed, but Lord George again went up to
London, on this occasion occupying the house in Munster Court in
solitude. His scruples were all renewed, and it was in vain that Lady
Sarah repeated to him all Mr. Knox's arguments. He had been called a
mean fellow, and the word rankled with him. He walked about alone
thinking of the absolute obedience with which in early days he had
complied with all the behests of his elder brother, and the perfect
faith with which in latter days he had regarded that brother's
interests. He went away swearing to himself that he would never again
put his foot within the domain of Manor Cross as long as it was his
brother's property. A day might come when he would return there; but
Lord George was not a man to anticipate his own prosperity. Mary wished
to accompany him; but this was not allowed. The Marchioness inquired a
dozen times why he should go away; but there was no one who could tell



A few days before Christmas Mary received a long letter from her friend
Mrs. Montacute Jones. At this time there was sad trouble again at Manor
Cross. Lord George had been away for a fortnight, and no reason for his
departure had as yet been given to the Marchioness. She had now become
aware that he was not to be at home at Christmas, and she was full of
doubt, full of surmises of her own. He must have quarrelled with his
sisters! They all assured her that there hadn't been an unpleasant word
between him and any one of them. Then he must have quarrelled with his
wife! "Indeed, indeed he has not," said Mary. "He has never quarrelled
with me and he never shall." Then why did he stay away? Business was
nonsense. Why was he going to stay away during Christmas. Then it was
necessary to tell the old lady a little fib. She was informed that
Brotherton had specially desired him to leave the house. This certainly
was a fib, as Brotherton's late order had been of a very different
nature. "I hope he hasn't done anything to offend his brother again,"
said the Marchioness. "I wonder whether it's about Popenjoy!" In the
midst of her troubles the poor old woman's wits were apt to wander.

Mary too had become rather cross, thinking that as her husband was up
in town she should be allowed to be there too. But it had been conceded
by her, and by her father on her behalf, that her town life was not to
begin till after Christmas, and now she was unable to prevail. She and
the family were in this uncomfortable condition when Mrs. Montacute
Jones' letter came for her consolation. As it contained tidings, more
or less accurate, concerning many persons named in this chronicle, it
shall be given entire. Mrs. Montacute Jones was a great writer of
letters, and she was wont to communicate many details among her friends
and acquaintances respecting one another. It was one of the marvels of
the day that Mrs. Jones should have so much information; and no one
could say how or whence she got it.

     "CURRY HALL, _December 12, 187--_."

Curry Hall was the name of Mr. Jones' seat in Gloucestershire, whereas,
as all the world knew, Killancodlem was supposed to belong to Mrs.
Jones herself.

     "DEAREST LADY GEORGE,--We have been here for the last six weeks,
     quite quiet. A great deal too quiet for me, but for the three or
     four winter months, I am obliged to give way a little to Mr.
     Jones. We have had the Mildmays here, because they didn't seem to
     have any other place to go to. But I barred the Baroness. I am
     told that she is now bringing an action against Aunt Ju, who
     unfortunately wrote the letter which induced the woman to come
     over from--wherever she came from. Poor Aunt Ju is in a terrible
     state, and wants her brother to buy the woman off,--which he will
     probably have to do. That's what comes, my dear, of meddling with
     disabilities. I know my own disabilities, but I never think of
     interfering with Providence. Mr. Jones was made a man, and I was
     made a woman. So I put up with it, and I hope you will do the

     "Mr. and Mrs. Green are here also, and remain till Christmas when
     the Giblets are coming. It was the prettiest wedding in the world,
     and they have been half over Europe since. I am told he's the
     happiest man in the world, and the very best husband. Old Gossling
     didn't like it at all, but every stick is entailed, and they say
     he's likely to have gout in his stomach, so that everything will
     go pleasantly. Lord Giblet himself is loud against his father,
     asking everybody whether it was to be expected that in such a
     matter as that he shouldn't follow his own inclination. I do hope
     he'll show a little gratitude to me. But it's an ungrateful world,
     and they'll probably both forget what I did for them.

     "And now I want to ask you your opinion about another friend.
     Don't you think that Jack had better settle down with poor dear
     Guss? She's here, and upon my word I think she's nearly
     broken-hearted. Of course you and I know what Jack has been
     thinking of lately. But when a child cries for the top brick of
     the chimney, it is better to let him have some possible toy. You
     know what top brick he has been crying for. But I'm sure you like
     him, and so do I, and I think we might do something for him. Mr.
     Jones would let them a nice little house a few miles from here at
     a peppercorn rent; and I suppose old Mr. Mildmay could do
     something. They are engaged after a fashion. She told me all about
     it the other day. So I've asked him to come down for Christmas,
     and have offered to put up his horses if he wants to hunt.

     "And now, my dear, I want to know what you have heard about Lord
     Brotherton at Manor Cross. Of course we all know the way he has
     behaved to Lord George. If I were Lord George I should not pay the
     slightest attention to him. But I'm told he is in a very low
     condition,--never sees anybody except his courier, and never stirs
     out of the house. Of course you know that he makes his wife an
     allowance, and refuses to see her. From what I hear privately I
     really do think that he'll not last long. What a blessing it would
     be! That's plain speaking;--but it would be a blessing! Some
     people manage to live so that everybody will be the better for
     their dying. I should break my heart if anybody wanted me to die.

     "How grand it would be! The young and lovely Marchioness of
     Brotherton! I'll be bound you think about it less than anybody
     else, but it would be nice. I wonder whether you'd cut a poor old
     woman like me, without a handle to her name. And then it would be
     Popenjoy at once! Only how the bonfires wouldn't burn if it should
     turn out to be only a disability after all. But