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Title: Margaret Capel, v. 2 of 3 - A Novel
Author: Wallace, Ellen
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Margaret Capel, v. 2 of 3 - A Novel" ***

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                                  MARGARET CAPEL.

                                      VOL. II.



                                  MARGARET CAPEL.


                                     A NOVEL.


                                 BY THE AUTHOR OF
                           "THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE."


                                 IN THREE VOLUMES.

                                      VOL. II.



                                      LONDON:
                       RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
                                       1846.


                                      LONDON:
                    Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.



                                 MARGARET CAPEL.



CHAPTER I.


    Where'er we gaze, above, around, below,
    What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found!
    Rock, river, forest, mountain, all abound;
    And bluest skies that harmonise the whole.
    Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound,
    Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll,
    Between those hanging rocks that shock yet please the soul.

    BYRON.


There is a portion of the coast in one of the southern counties of
England, which, without aspiring to the sublimity of foreign scenery,
possesses a certain grandeur from the abruptness and variety of its
outline. High cliffs stand boldly forward into the sea, while the
intermediate shore rises and falls in gentle and uncertain undulations.
For many miles inland, this irregular character of the surface
continues. The ground rises and falls so suddenly, that in many places
the trees which clothe the tops of the hills, almost shut out the sky
from the spectator in the valley; while many coloured rocks, vary by
their wild forms and rich tints, the even line of verdure which extends
over the precipitous sides of these ravines.

This part of the country is rich in scenes of peculiar beauty. Brooks
trickle from the shade of deep thickets, or sparkle in stony cells
overgrown with creepers at the foot of a confused heap of broken rocks.

Hill and dale crowd upon each other in quick succession--every turn in
the way leads to fresh aspects of the prospect. Now the traveller's view
is bounded by high banks, overgrown with trees and tangled brushwood;
now the ground breaks away in such a gradual slope, that the sea may be
discerned in the distance, trembling in the sunshine, or breaking in
rough foam upon the long brown line of the beach.

Half way between one of these bold headlands and the shore, there stood
a beautiful cottage, with a thickly wooded hill at the back, and a
highly cultivated plot of garden ground in the front: while the side of
the house stood so near the edge of a sudden descent in the cliff, that
nothing but a broad terrace-walk intervened between the garden-windows,
and the abrupt declivity which was washed by the waves when the tide was
higher than usual.

It was a brilliant evening. The sun had almost descended to the horizon,
and a long pathway of golden light fell upon the calm sea, and the wet
sand from which the waves had just receded.

A dim radiance seemed to fill the air, and to blend hills, trees, and
sky together in one soft and many tinted confusion of colours; while the
lengthened rays threaded their brilliant way among the slender stems of
the trees, and dropped like diamonds upon the dark rivulets that lay in
shadow among the brushwood during the early part of the day.

It was an evening when the whole earth looked so bright, so costly,
steeped in sunlight, and surrendered to the stillness which belongs to
that quiet hour, that it seemed as if this lower world might be fitly
inhabited only by fairies or other such fragile creatures of the
imagination. Such, however, were not the denizens of the cottage by the
hill-side; but a comely old lady in an antique cap and black silk gown,
who had the appearance of a house-keeper, or confidential servant, and
who was leaning over the Gothic gate at the end of the shrubbery, and
looking along the winding road, as if on the watch for some expected
travellers.

Her patience was not put to any lengthened test. In a few minutes, a
carriage was seen rapidly advancing to the house. The old woman
retreated to the porch; the carriage drew up, and a lady of a
commanding aspect descended, followed by a slight graceful girl.

"Ah! nurse, dear nurse! how glad I am to see you!" exclaimed the young
lady, throwing herself into the old woman's arms.

"Welcome to England! Welcome back, my darling!" said the nurse,
endeavouring to execute a curtsey to the elder lady, while imprisoned in
the embrace of the younger one.

"I am rejoiced to see you again, nurse Grant," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick,
the elder of the two ladies, "Aveline, my love, we are just in the way
here--let us go in."

"Yes, mamma. I long to see the dear rooms again. How comfortable every
thing looks! Nurse, come in. Mamma, you said that nurse should drink tea
with us to-night."

"Yes, if nurse pleases," said the lady, as they went into the
drawing-room, where tea was awaiting them in all the English delicacy of
that meal. "Aveline has been depending on your company all the way from
Southampton, Mrs. Grant."

"Bless her, the darling!" said the old woman. "She is tired with her
journey, is she not? I hope she means to eat something. A fresh egg, or
some cold chicken, Miss Aveline?"

"Eat, nurse! you will see how I eat;" said the young lady drawing to the
table. "I should be ashamed that anybody but you should see me eat after
a long journey. I am so hungry!"

"Her appetite is very good," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, in a decided tone.
"She is come back in every respect, nurse, better than she was. Her stay
in Italy has been of the utmost advantage to her."

"Thank God!" said Mrs. Grant, looking earnestly at the young lady.
"There is some good then in foreign parts."

"Oh, nurse!" cried Aveline. "Not a word against Italy. It is the only
country to enjoy and improve life. If it were not that this is our
home, I could have spent my life at Naples, or--Sorrento."

"You were very fond of Sorrento," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, looking
inquiringly at her daughter.

"Yes. That is, I was tired of it at last. It was a great relief to go on
to Milan, there is something in the sea-side that--a monotony I
mean--after--"

"Yet, you could have spent your life there;" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick in a
subdued tone.

"In Italy, mamma? At any place in Italy. It is not the spot, but the
thin warm air that makes me feel so full of life. Oh, dear nurse, you do
look so handsome. You cannot think how ugly the old Italian women are,
with their thick brown skins and deep wrinkles, and coarse grizzled
hair. English people have certainly a more delicate texture. Even I was
thought pretty in Italy."

"Pretty in Italy!" said the old lady indignantly. "I fancy, Miss
Aveline, the gentlemen must be much changed since my time, if you are
not thought pretty anywhere."

"Oh, hush, nurse!" said Aveline lifting up her finger. "It is only safe
to tell little children they are pretty. Grown up ones are too ready to
believe it."

"It is little matter here, Miss Aveline," said the old woman. "You have
no neighbours."

"No neighbours, nurse? I was but waiting until we had finished tea to
ask you about them all. How is the good old widow by the church--and
Mrs. Wood, the baker--and young Mrs. Wood at the post-office? And
Harding, the carpenter--and the fisherman's family on the other side of
the cliff? Is little Jane as pretty as ever? Of course not. Her father I
know has cut all her curls off, as he always does, and she is beginning
to lose her teeth; so that she will not be fit to look at for these ten
years."

While she was talking on in this lively manner, the old woman kept her
eyes fixed on her face with a serious and anxious expression.

Aveline was fearfully thin; her hands, which she used in speaking, more
than an English woman, were almost transparent; and from fatigue, the
blue veins had risen over them in every direction. The colour in her
cheeks was fixed like a bright spot of rouge under each eye, giving a
brilliancy that was almost fierce in its expression to eyes that were
dark as night, and remarkable for their size.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who followed the nurse's looks with an eagerness that
she could scarcely repress, caught her eye and remained silent, fixing
her gaze upon the old woman's countenance with an intensity that she
could hardly sustain. It seemed as if she ardently desired to read the
nurse's opinion of her child, but was equally anxious that she should
not then express it.

"Well, nurse," said Aveline, "what news? I hope all these good people
are not dead, that you keep such a profound silence upon their
proceedings."

"All pretty much as you left them, Miss Aveline," said the nurse,
rousing herself from her contemplation. "I cannot speak positively with
respect to the beauty of the fisherman's children; though I always see
three or four curly heads round his door when I pass. He lost one poor
little one in the winter with the whooping cough. The neighbours said it
was a mercy, as he had such a large family, but I don't know that the
parents felt the less on that account."

"Poor people!" said Aveline. "I'll tell you what, mamma, I shall get up
early to-morrow, and go down to the cottage with Susan, and buy some
prawns for breakfast; and then I shall see what the children would like
as a present. I am always so glad when people are in want of nice clean
little straw bonnets. There is nothing romantic in giving away flannel
petticoats or thick worsted stockings."

"Remember, Miss Aveline," said the nurse, "that you give away a great
deal of comfort with those warm clothes."

"And if you intend to take a long walk to-morrow," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, "you had better not sit up later to-night. You have had a
long journey, and should be prudent; though you bore it remarkably
well."

But Aveline was unwilling to retire. Although she was evidently
suffering from over fatigue, she persisted in wandering restlessly round
the room, looking at all the trifling ornaments with which it was
strewn. Mrs. Grant noticed with pain that her step was languid, and that
she stooped very much as she walked. Presently she was seized with a
distressing fit of coughing.

"A lozenge, if you please, Mamma," said Aveline, coming up to her
mother's chair.

"Now Aveline I know you are tired," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "take your
lozenges and go to bed at once. She always coughs," she said turning to
Mrs. Grant, "when she is over fatigued. She always did from a child."
"Come, Miss Aveline," said Mrs. Grant, "I am going home in a minute--let
me see you off. Dear heart! how I recollect the time when you were a
little girl; what a trouble there always was to get you to bed."

"Why what particular secrets have you good people to talk over that you
wish me away?" said Aveline laughing, "what account have you to give
mamma of the turkey poults and the guinea fowls that I may not hear?
But, good night, nurse; you will have me plaguing you early to-morrow,
at your cottage, and pillaging your strawberry beds, which you know are
a great deal better than ours. As for you, mamma, I shall not say good
night, because you will be upstairs long before I am asleep."

"Her spirits are excellent, nurse," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, in a tone
that seemed as if she was desirous to be assured of the fact.

"They are--very high, Ma'am;" said Mrs. Grant. "How do you think she is
looking?" asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"I shall tell better to-morrow, Ma'am," said the old woman with rather
an unsteady voice; "I should like, I confess to see her looking a little
less thin."

"She was always thin as a child if you remember, Mrs. Grant, and when a
girl grows very tall, she naturally grows thin at the same time. I think
nothing of that."

"No, no, Ma'am," said Mrs. Grant cheerfully, "young girls will look thin
sometimes."

"She was very ill at Nice you know; the north-east wind brought back her
cough and frightened us very much. And we had a desponding kind of a man
as our medical attendant. There is nothing so unfavourable to an invalid
as one of those over-anxious people about them. But, you see, now the
weather is warm she is getting on nicely."

Mrs. Grant felt her hopes sinking fast away before the news that the
medical man's opinion was an unfavourable one. She thought it a bad
sign that he should despond, where no particular interest led him to
exaggerate the case.

"You can have no idea," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "of what we suffered at
Nice. You have heard of the prejudice the Italians entertain against any
illness that they consider to be of a consumptive tendency. And Aveline
having something of a cough--in short, Mrs. Grant, they fancied that my
poor child was in a decline; and when she was at the worst, they took
fright, and ordered us out of our lodgings at a moment's notice. Aveline
was too ill to travel--our hostess was peremptory--and I knew well that
no other house would take us in. It was then that a country-woman of
ours, a Mrs. Maxwell Dorset, hearing of our distress, sought us out, and
instantly offered us apartments in her house. It was impossible to stand
on ceremony at such a time. I accepted her kindness, and had we been
her nearest relatives, we could not have been more warmly welcomed nor
more carefully attended."

"Thank God that you are safe again on English ground," said the old
nurse; "where, at least, we do not turn sick people into the streets,
the Pagans! And Heaven reward the good lady who took compassion on you
in your need."

And so saying, Mrs. Grant took her departure.

As soon as Mrs. Fitzpatrick was alone, she sat down before her writing
case, and leaning her head on her hand seemed lost in thought. She had
but few and distant relations, and since her widowhood had lived in such
retirement, that except two or three neighbouring families she numbered
as few friends. She had in early life, lived much in the world; but
having withdrawn into solitude, the world had paid her the usual
compliment, and forgotten her existence. She had lost several children
when very young, and all her affections centred upon this only girl
whose health was so precarious. She wrote a few lines to a medical man
of some eminence who lived a few miles off, to announce her return, and
to beg that he would lose no time in paying them a visit.

"It is best to be upon the safe side;" she said to herself, "Aveline is
gaining strength; but Mr. Lindsay may point out some means that would
escape me. He is so clever, and has known her constitution from a child.
I am sure he will think she is improved by her residence abroad."

So saying she rose to retire for the night; and casting her eyes round
the room, she saw lying about, Aveline's gloves, her handkerchief and
scarf, which she had thrown aside and forgotten, with the carelessness
of youth. These she gathered up and folded together with that
indescribable air of tenderness, which, in a mother, sometimes extends
itself to the trifles that her child has worn or touched; and then went
up stairs to take a last look at Aveline--and to sleep, if she could.



CHAPTER II.


    Mighty power, all powers above!
    Great unconquerable Love!
    Thou who liest in dimple sleek,
    On the tender virgin's cheek:
    Thee the rich and great obey;
    Every creature owns thy sway.
    O'er the wide earth, and o'er the main
    Extends thy universal reign.

    SOPHOCLES.


Perhaps few things are more curious to those who, as bystanders,
contemplate the game of life, than to see how in the stream of time,
persons the most divided, and the least likely to be brought into
contact, are whirled by those resistless waves nearer and nearer, until
at last they meet; or if no collision takes place, still the course of
the one, draws into its channel, or modifies in some strange way the
course of the other.

Margaret little thought as she sat dreaming over her lot at Ashdale,
that a sick girl in another county, whom she had never seen, and whose
name she had never heard, was to exercise a strange influence over her
future fate.

Mr. Haveloc was constantly at Ashdale. He went, it is true, backwards
and forwards from his own place to that of Mr. Grey, but his visits to
his home were wonderfully short, and those at Ashdale longer and longer.
His attention, his devotion to Margaret increased daily; she never had
occasion to form a wish. He seemed to divine all her thoughts, to
anticipate everything that she could by possibility enjoy. And his was
especially the kind of character to interest her; his failings were not
of a nature to come in her way, and the earnestness of his disposition
suited her ideas of the romance of love. She was not likely to mistake
a devotion that knew no pause, that entertained no other idea than
herself day after day.

Then his knowledge, which though rather desultory, was unusual in a man
who had not to earn his living--his command of languages, his
accomplishments--all things that he never cared to bring forward, but
that accident discovered to her by degrees, increased his power over her
mind.

Men cannot forgive acquirement in a woman, though they will sometimes
pardon a sort of natural cleverness; but it is a common story that women
are swayed by genius or learning in a man.

Margaret was hardly aware of the impatience of his temper, which he
never showed except to Mr. Casement, when she fully sympathised with
him; but she daily noticed his attention to her uncle, his anxiety about
his health, and the readiness with which he would give up his evenings
to amuse his old friend. All that she had heard of him before their
acquaintance was merged into the facts which were to his advantage. She
remembered the defence of the lady and her daughter in Calabria. She
forgot all about Mrs. Maxwell Dorset.

At first, after her rejection of Hubert Gage, she was a good deal
annoyed and distressed by his perseverance. He called on Mr. Grey, he
wrote to her, he described himself as distracted, herself as mistaken.
He was determined to believe that they were made for each other; and
that Margaret was under some strong delusion when she did not think as
he did on that subject. Margaret began to dread and dislike the very
name of Hubert Gage; she feared to meet him in her walks; every ring at
the bell gave her the apprehension that he was coming to see her. And
whether it was his youth or his disposition, that must be blamed for the
fact, he acted very unreasonably in the affair. He did not take his
disappointment at all like a philosopher; and to crown everything, when
Captain Gage had with infinite difficulty procured him a ship, he
declined the appointment, upon some trivial excuse, and persisted in
remaining in the neighbourhood; to the great vexation of his family, and
the annoyance of Margaret.

At last he was persuaded to accompany his brother who was returning to
Ireland; and then Margaret had an interval of peace. She was able to see
Elizabeth whenever she pleased; and Mr. Grey left off pitying poor
Hubert, when he no longer saw him passing the house, or looking
disconsolate at church.

As Margaret had no female companion, her natural delicacy of feeling
told her that she ought never to be alone with Mr. Haveloc: but those
quiet evenings were almost tête-à-tête when her uncle slept in his easy
chair, and she sat working by the fire, with Mr. Haveloc always by her
side, talking or reading to her in a low voice, or making her speak
Italian, and playfully correcting her mistakes.

And when the spring mellowed into summer, and Mr. Grey had his chair
moved to the large window that opened upon the broad terrace, Mr.
Haveloc would persuade Margaret to pace up and down the walk, always in
sight, though not in hearing, of her kind uncle, whose great delight was
to watch them as they passed and repassed.

The moon had risen, and gleamed brightly behind one of the dark cedars
upon the lawn. Part of the smooth turf was almost whitened by its
peculiar light, while the trees cast their inky shadows forward upon the
grass. Every flower, half closed and hung with dew, gave forth its
sweetest fragrance.

"And you like sunlight really better than this, Mr. Haveloc?" said
Margaret, as they paused to look upon the landscape.

"Good honest sunlight--strong enough to steep everything in mist, I
really do," replied Mr. Haveloc.

"You are thinking of Italy?"

"No; of English sunshine. I never think of Italy."

These last words were spoken as if he meant to infer that there was
something a great deal more attractive than Italy in her near
neighbourhood.

Her hand was resting on his arm; he pressed it, and she did not attempt
to withdraw it. She felt no doubt respecting his love; he expressed it
in his manner, and she was sure he would not act a falsehood. It was all
under her uncle's eye, and if he had disapproved of it, he would have
put a stop to it before now. It made her perfectly happy, and a little
frightened only when she thought he was on the point of saying something
decisive. She would so gladly have gone on exactly as they were then.

"This is very pretty," said Mr. Haveloc, as they again paused opposite
to the dark mournful cedars.

"Oh, beautiful!" returned Margaret. "If there were but some old oaks
about the place: but those ash-trees in the meadow near the copse--those
are really splendid, are they not?"

"Very fine! When I was staying here as Mr. Grey's ward, I believe I used
to sketch those trees once a week."

"I wish I could sketch!"

"Do you? I have no respect for the arts; I had rather a person should
appreciate pictures than paint them."

"But do you not think painting them helps one to appreciate them?"

"I think it teaches one to know the difficulties, but not to feel the
sentiment."

"Uncle Grey, do you smell the Chinese honeysuckle?" asked Margaret,
pausing before the window.

"Yes my love; it is very strong to-night."

"Are you ready for your tea, uncle?"

"I shall be in about ten minutes, my dear."

"Can you guess ten minutes, Mr. Haveloc?"

Mr. Haveloc looked at his watch, and could not distinguish the figures.
Margaret thought she could see better. He held the watch to her--she
pored over it in vain.

"You must guess it now, Mr. Haveloc."

"Mr. Grey is not very particular," said Mr. Haveloc, "I think I may
venture."

They walked on to the end of the terrace.

"Do you recollect one day when I kept the dinner waiting," said Mr.
Haveloc.

"Oh, yes! I remember," said Margaret with a sigh--it was the day that
had begun her troubles with Hubert Gage. "Mr. Casement was so cross
because he could not fathom your business with Mr. Grey."

"What a long deliverance we have had from the old monster," said Mr.
Haveloc.

"Oh, yes! I was so glad when--" Margaret stopped short.

"When he was laid up with the rheumatism," added Mr. Haveloc, laughing.

"Oh, no! not exactly. One ought not to be glad of that; but really, I
think I rejoiced that anything kept him out of the way."

"Gessina is growing quite fat," said Mr. Haveloc, as the beautiful
creature bounded towards them.

"Stop! I am going to carry her," said Margaret stooping down.

"Cannot you trust me to do that?" asked Mr. Haveloc.

"No; because I am going to wrap her in a corner of my shawl."

"Stay, do not give her too much," said Mr. Haveloc, assisting in the
distribution of the shawl, "you must take care of yourself, in the
evening air."

"She has had so much running about to-day," said Margaret.

"Yes, I saw you taking her out to exercise this morning, before
breakfast."

"Did you? When we were on the lawn?"

"Yes, with that Indian-rubber ball you made her a present of."

"You laugh, but it is a capital ball for Gessina to play with."

"I thought Gessina and her mistress both seemed to enjoy it very much."

"I did not know you were up then, Mr. Haveloc."

"I had not left my room, I confess."

"How very idle!"

"Oh, it was! but then I had been sitting up half the night."

"What a strange fancy of yours."

"I was writing letters."

"What! with all the day before you?"

"I like to spend the day in your company."

Here a low growl that seemed hardly human, made both start violently.
Margaret dropped Gessina. Mr. Haveloc turned sharply round.

"Ugh! little woman; are you going to give us tea to-night?" growled Mr.
Casement.

"Oh, dear yes, Sir. I declare I did not know what time it was," said
Margaret hastily.

"There is not the slightest hurry," said Mr. Haveloc detaining Margaret
by the hand, "there can be no possible occasion for you to make tea
before the usual time."

Margaret looked up in deprecation of his contemptuous tone. Mr. Casement
turned to hobble back to the house.

"Ugh, sweethearts!" he grumbled, as he left them.

Margaret blushed crimson. Mr. Haveloc still holding her hand, walking
slowly and silently in the same direction. At last, in that calm voice
which in people of impatient temper always marks strong emotion, he
said:--

"He is right Margaret--I love you!"

Margaret was excessively agitated--she trembled violently; but the
transparent candour of her nature did not now desert her. In a faltering
tone she replied: "I thought so."

"Come along, little woman," said Mr. Casement as Margaret stepped in at
the window. "It is well I am come among you again. Poor uncle is laid on
the shelf now; that's very plain."

"Did I keep you waiting, uncle?" said Margaret softly as she took her
place before the urn.

"No, my love, never mind what he says. You know his ways by this time."

"Come, sit down, youngster, and don't make a fuss. Take it easy," said
Mr. Casement addressing Mr. Haveloc, who was behind Margaret's chair.

Margaret ventured to cast an imploring glance at Mr. Haveloc, who
regarded Mr. Casement as if he should like to reduce him to ashes; but
being unprovided with any apparatus for this ceremony, he sat down
beside Margaret, without making any reply.

It seemed as if Mr. Casement would never go that evening. He wrangled
through one game of piquet after another; at last he got up. "Well, good
night Master Grey," he said, "if you are blind-folded, I am not. Those
young ones have been muttering at the window there, ever since we sat
down to cards."

"What is it Claude?" asked Mr. Grey, as soon as Mr. Casement had gone.

Mr. Haveloc told him what it was. Margaret laid her head on her uncle's
shoulder--he put his arm round her waist. "Well then, Claude," he said,
"your best plan is to set off to-morrow morning; the sooner you go, the
sooner you will come back."

Margaret looked up with a face suddenly blanched even to her lips.
"What--go away--leave me, uncle?" she said. Her voice failed her; almost
her breath; she had not believed it possible that they should ever be
parted.

Mr. Grey explained to Margaret as he had before explained to Mr. Haveloc
his reasons for insisting on this measure.

When he had finished, she burst into one of those paroxysms of tears
that she only gave way to under very strong emotion. Mr. Haveloc hung
over her chair in speechless distress. Mr. Grey endeavoured in the
tenderest manner to moderate her agitation.

"You see, my child," he said, "you are but seventeen, and very young for
your age; and this fellow here, somewhere about two-and-twenty. It is
very important you should both know your own minds a little more clearly
than you can do now. In such serious affairs, it is right to be very
cautious. You see, my dear little girl, what day of the month is it? You
see, a year soon passes; and next 14th of June, he will be here again."

Margaret checked her tears, and tried to reward his efforts with a
smile.

"Well, then, Claude, you and I must have a little conversation together.
Wish him good night, my child; you had better part now and not see each
other to-morrow morning. It is wisest, is it not Claude? There give her
a kiss and have done with it. That's good children!"

Margaret was speechless with grief: the last words Mr. Haveloc addressed
to her as he led her to the door, were, "If I ever bestow a thought upon
another, forget me; I can invoke no heavier curse upon my head."



CHAPTER III.


  _Ansel._ His food--sharp sorrow, ever galling doubt,
           Fear, that aye nettles near the core of love--
           And long suspense that maketh faint the heart;
           Patience it may be, and much jealousy,
           And all that fretteth youth to timeless age.

  _Isa._ And what the recompence?

  _Ansel._ To sleep awhile;
           Dreaming of fairy worlds bestrewn with flowers.
           And close companionship of equal hearts;
           Warm, faultless, kind, unspotted, human hearts!
           Of hope so bright, as never felt a care,
           And love, that if care was, would smile it down.
           Then wake--like Ariadne on the shore,
           To battle with the tempest--but alone!

    ANON.


Aveline was up the next morning as early as she had threatened; and with
the restlessness peculiar to her complaint, she was not content with a
walk to the fisherman's cottage to buy prawns, but when she returned,
finding that it still wanted some minutes to breakfast time, she
wandered out into the garden, and began working at the flower-beds.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was perfectly astonished when she came down to find her
daughter weeding and hoeing, in her straw bonnet and garden gloves.

"I really cannot help it, mamma," was Aveline's reply to Mrs.
Fitzpatrick's remonstrances; "it is so pleasant to feel better, that I
could not resist a little independence of action. I have made your
petunias look quite another thing."

"Here are some beautiful strawberries, Aveline," said her mother, "if
you go out rambling to-day you must fortify yourself with a good
breakfast."

"Yes! not strawberries, mamma. I will try some prawns. Jane's brother
caught these. Tom. I don't know if you have ever seen him. There are two
Toms. The other one is a cousin, and not nearly so good as the real
Tom, Brand's eldest boy. I am afraid the other Tom is rather suspected
of smuggling; but then what a temptation. This is just the coast for
adventure."

"But all this time, Aveline, you are eating nothing," said her mother,
looking anxiously at the trembling hands with which she held her
tea-cup.

"Presently, mamma. I always need a little self-encouragement before I
begin anything so important as breakfast. No, I think I will not venture
on the prawns. I will take some strawberries; they are too fine to be
wasted. I am going to have some cream with them--to make quite a feast,
as the little children call it. And now, mamma, you must have one half,
and I will take the other."

Aveline having divided the strawberries, tasted them, and they shared
the same fate with the prawns; then she broke a delicate crust off the
little loaf, and having tasted that, declared that she had finished her
breakfast, and that as soon as Mark could clear away, she meant to sit
down to her drawing for a little while.

"You must not undertake too much, Aveline," said her mother. "Remember
that you can only expect to get well by degrees."

Aveline laughed and brought forward her portfolio to select a sketch.

"This is the one I wished to finish, mamma," she said. "Brand's cottage,
with all those good masses of rock behind it, and the nets and children
at the door. I sketched it before I went abroad."

"Let me rub your colours for you," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, taking a cake
from her daughter's unsteady hand.

"Thank you, mamma. I am really very idle to let you do it for me," said
Aveline, setting to work hurriedly. "I feel at home with my pencil. I
wish I could model a little better. There is something so incomplete in
all my busts; but that must be a consideration for the future. When I
get strong, I shall delight in improving myself in sculpture."

"My love, that is the last thing I am anxious about," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick. "You do already much more than most girls, and most grown
women. Whatever study you have pursued, you know thoroughly."

"Yes, to a certain point; but how much I have before me. There is such a
pleasure in acquiring knowledge."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was turning over her daughter's portfolio.

"Where is that beautiful drawing, Aveline, which I used to think your
best? That part of the coast, near Sorrento, at low water."

"I have not kept it, mamma."

"Did you give it away, my dear?" asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick with a smile.
For it was at Sorrento that Mr. Haveloc had been very much with them;
and, during the progress of the drawing, as he was very fond of the art,
and a pretty good draughts-man himself, he had often interfered,
greatly to the benefit of the picture, as Aveline then declared.

"No, mamma," said Aveline, after a pause.

"Have you lost it then?" asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick, thinking it not
unlikely that Mr. Haveloc might have stolen it as a remembrance of the
hours they had passed together.

"No, mamma," said Aveline speaking very distinctly, but with much
effort. "I destroyed it."

"And why, dearest?"

"I thought it wisest, mamma," said Aveline, going rapidly on with her
drawing.

"Dear Aveline," said her mother, taking her in her arms. "Now that we
are at home, and at rest--are you unhappy?"

"No, no, indeed, mamma!" said Aveline, hiding her face upon her mother's
shoulder. "Not unhappy! Nobody can tell but myself how deeply I have
longed for home and rest; often, when I have thought I should never
rest again."

"But how was that, my Aveline?"

"It was not that I did not despise myself every day and every hour for
my folly," said Aveline, plunging at once into the confession that she
had often longed to make. "It was no cherished weakness, you will
believe that, mamma."

"I do, my dear."

"And it was not because he defended us from the brigands. I know it is
common enough for men to be brave. But then he thought so little of
it--he always made so light of it; and we should have never known he had
been wounded, if his man had not told our courier, when we met at
Sorrento."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick pressed her daughter's hand.

"And then seeing him day by day at Sorrento; although he never said any
thing that might lead me to think he noticed me more than a sick child.
Always so kind--more than attentive; so vigilant that I should not be
fatigued. So active in choosing resting places for us on the shore, and
finding views for sketching; and I watching every time he spoke for some
word that might show I was as much treasured in his secret heart, as he
was in mine;--it was almost too hard. Oh! how glad I was when he left
Sorrento. And yet it seemed so dreary that I was glad to go too. Then, I
had nothing to do but to forget all that was past; and that was hard.
There was that drawing--he had helped me with the sky, and most of the
distance. I destroyed that, when I found myself always looking at it;
and the cornelian amulet, that he used to laugh at me for wearing. I
gave it to Mrs. Maxwell Dorset, you remember."

"Mrs. Maxwell Dorset said that he had made her acquaintance at Florence,
did she not?" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, anxious to lead her daughter to
talk of this, as of an indifferent subject.

"Yes," she said, "he was a great pet of hers. He gave her that bracelet
of purple enamel with the diamond head. I should be very sorry to be
ungrateful mamma, but I thought--"

"What, my dearest?"

"I thought a woman should be very old, to talk as she used to do about
Mr. Haveloc and Mr. Leslie. I saw a great deal of her you know, when you
were out arranging our journey home with Johannot."

"I should be sorry to see you imitate that, or any other freedom of
manner," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "because I consider it very ungraceful;
but I am persuaded that with Mrs. Maxwell Dorset, it was only manner.
Mr. Leslie you know was a clergyman, and Mrs. Maxwell says she never
likes to be without the intimate acquaintance of a clergyman. She
considers it so advantageous both for herself; and for her children. Mr.
Leslie came twice a week to explain the bible to her girls."

This was true enough; but Aveline remembered that Mrs. Maxwell Dorset's
remarks about Mr. Leslie, who was really a most excellent and earnest
young man in the discharge of his duty, had been confined to repeated
eulogiums upon his teeth, and his hands, and had never touched upon the
doctrines which he wished to inculcate.

She said, however, that Mrs. Maxwell Dorset had been most kind to them
when they most needed it; and that she should be very sorry to form a
harsh judgment of her foibles. And then having talked too long upon
subjects of an exciting nature, she brought on a severe fit of coughing,
which Mrs. Fitzpatrick attributed to her having bent so much over her
drawing.

"It is very odd we cannot get rid of that cough of yours, Aveline," she
said. "Here comes Mr. Lindsay, we must consult with him about it."

Aveline was flushed with coughing, and her eyes sparkled with pleasure
at the sight of her great favourite, Mr. Lindsay; so that when he
dismounted, and came in at the open window, he could hardly be expected
to detect through the eagerness of her warm welcome, any strong trace of
indisposition.

"Nothing the matter with you, I see!" were his first words to her.

"Indeed, there is, Mr. Lindsay," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "There is still
something left for you to do with her. She cannot be quite right with
that troublesome cough." And Mrs. Fitzpatrick fixed her black eyes upon
Mr. Lindsay's immoveable countenance, with a scrutiny that it was not
easy to avoid.

"I wish you would not feel my pulse, doctor," said Aveline, using a term
she often playfully applied to Mr. Lindsay. "It always makes me faint."

"There then," said he removing his fingers, "you have not left any of
your fancies behind you. I wish you had, or your cough!"

"You despise foreigners almost as much as Mrs. Grant," said Aveline
laughing; "but you cannot deny that I have gained a great deal by my
absence."

"Gained. Yes; an inch or more. Were you not tall enough before you
went?" said Mr. Lindsay, surveying her from head to foot.

"You are as tiresome as ever," said Aveline. "I have gained strength,
spirits, and appetite!"

"What did you eat for breakfast?" asked Mr. Lindsay suddenly.

"Oh! breakfast. That is never a good meal with me. I could eat half a
chicken for dinner," said Aveline, still laughing.

"Well, I suppose you want me to send you some medicine," said Mr.
Lindsay, taking up his hat; "people are never contented without it,
whether they need it or not."

"But do I not need it?" asked Aveline.

"No."

"What shall I take for my cough then?"

"Cherries, shrimps, tamarinds, whatever you like."

"And why are you running away?"

"Because I am going to see a woman who really wants me and my physic."

"Anybody I know?"

"A Mrs. Brand. I cannot tell how far your circle of acquaintance may
extend."

"To be sure I know her. Brand's wife mamma! She is always sickly. Do you
think her worse?"

"Why, yes--rather."

"And will she get well?"

"Perhaps. I am doubtful about it."

"Oh, dear! with all those poor little children."

"She would be much more likely to get well without the poor little
children."

"And what could we send her that would be of use?"

"Chicken broth, port wine, brandy, if she could keep it from her
husband."

"Oh, yes! he is a very good man. He never drinks."

"Excellent. Good bye to you," and the doctor stepped out upon the
terrace. Mrs. Fitzpatrick followed him.

"What do you think of her, Mr. Lindsay?" she asked.

"I hardly know yet. I am not quite satisfied with her pulse; but I must
see her when she has recovered the fatigue of her journey."

"And have you no advice to give me in the meantime?"

"Care--care--care. You know my axiom," said the doctor as he mounted his
horse. "A better one I warrant, than that of Demosthenes."

"But you are really oracular this morning."

"Keep her mind quiet," said Mr. Lindsay gathering up the bridle, "and if
she cries for the moon, let her have it."

And having given utterance to this easy and infallible receipt, galloped
off. Yes, it was very pleasant to be told that she must keep her
daughter's mind quiet, when she had just learned that Aveline was
engaged in one long hopeless struggle against an attachment that had
never been declared, or sought, or requited.

It had often crossed her mind at Sorrento, that Mr. Haveloc must admire
her daughter; but she had never alluded to the subject, even in jest;
because hers was a mind to treat all grave matters gravely; and because
she did not think it very conducive to the delicacy of a young girl to
jest with her upon the impression she might have made upon a man,
particularly while the fact was yet uncertain. And she believed that
Aveline never gave him a thought; nor did she herself, farther than she
need, take any trouble to keep them out of each other's way, because
there would be no reason to object to it, if they should take a fancy to
each other.

How deeply she repented of her blindness; how bitterly she recalled the
frequent morning walks, the sketching, the sailing parties; from which,
indeed, she could hardly have excluded Mr. Haveloc, all things
considered; but from which she might have contrived to omit Aveline. She
gazed down the rough pathway from which Mr. Lindsay had long vanished,
and again repeated to herself, "Keep her mind quiet!"



CHAPTER IV.


    They ben so well thewed and so wise
    Whatever that good old man bespake.

    SPENSER.

    Might'st thou perceive austerely in his eye
    That he did plead in earnest, yea or no?
    Look'd he, or red, or pale, or sad, or merrily?
    What observation mad'st thou in this case.

    SHAKESPEARE.


Nothing more endeared Margaret to her uncle, than the manner in which
she took Mr. Haveloc's departure.

A little more grave, a little more silent than usual, she seemed only
solicitous that Mr. Grey should not miss his companionship more than
could be helped. She had not an instant's fear that his affection would
undergo any change; her regrets at parting with him were unmixed with
doubt for the future; they were simply those of separating for so long
from a person whom she loved.

One evening, when she was leaning upon Mr. Grey's arm-chair, placed as
usual at the window, with the moonlight streaming over the grounds, much
as when she had taken her last walk upon the terrace with Mr. Haveloc,
her uncle seemed to think he might touch upon the subject without
exciting her feelings too painfully.

"You are thinking of Claude, my love," said he taking her hand which
rested on the back of his chair, and drawing it down over his shoulder.

"Yes uncle," said Margaret.

"Very natural," returned Mr. Grey. "I dare say he is thinking of you."

"I think he is," replied Margaret quietly.

"He agreed not to write to you, you know, my dear," said her uncle; "but
I promised him one thing which might look like an infringement of our
compact. If my health should become materially worse, a letter directed
to Tynebrook will be forwarded to him, wherever he may be, and he will
come to us immediately; so that if I should be too ill to write,
Margaret, you will know what to do. It is right if you are deprived of
one protector, that I should procure you another."

"Oh! uncle, if you would not talk--if you would not imagine such
things," said Margaret, melting into tears.

"Well, my dear child, I will not say any more about it; we will change
the subject. What do you think? The last night Claude was with me, I
told him that it was my intention to leave my estate, with some few
reservations, to you. Well--but don't cry at that, my child: I never
heard that any man died the sooner for making his will. But Claude
decidedly opposed my intention; he said, his own fortune was so ample as
to make so large an addition to it quite unnecessary; that he
disapproved the plan of heaping up those immense properties; that my
estate would be the means of making some other relative easy in his
circumstances; and that he thought he was speaking your sentiments as
well as his own, when he resolutely declined my offer."

"Quite. He understands me," whispered Margaret through her tears.

"So then, Margaret, if he stands the test of time, you may be very happy
together," said Mr. Grey.

"If!--oh, uncle! I have not a doubt."

"Do not have," said Mr. Grey. "Trust always, my child; but here comes
the urn, and Casement too, I declare."

"Hollo! little woman, where's Master Claude?" was Mr. Casement's first
salutation, after he had carefully peeped on each side of the urn, as if
in search of the missing gentleman.

"Gone, Sir; several days ago," said Margaret, pursuing her occupation.

"Gone, eh? And where?"

"I don't know, Sir."

"Not in his confidence then, it seems."

"Think of that, Mr. Casement," said Margaret, looking up with an arch
laugh.

"How was it?" asked Mr. Casement, dragging his chair as close to hers as
possible, "tell me all about it. Did Master Grey cut up rough?"

Margaret looked puzzled, for she did not understand the phrase employed;
but she turned to her uncle.

"Did you, Uncle Grey?" she said.

"He does not know what he is talking about, my dear," said Mr. Grey.

"Don't I?" said Mr. Casement. "You thought, little woman, that I did not
know any of your proceedings with Master Hubert."

"I did not think about it, Sir," said Margaret, turning away.

"I suppose Elizabeth Gage has quite cut you now?" pursued Mr. Casement.

"No, she has not, Sir; for I dine at Chirke Weston to-morrow."

"Then give my love to her," said Mr. Casement; "and tell her that I
have held her engaged to me for the last ten years. I don't know when I
shall claim her, but it is as well to remind her occasionally."

When she arrived at Captain Gage's next day, Elizabeth was alone in the
drawing-room, dressed with her usual costly simplicity.

She was seated reading in an arm-chair by the open window, and Margaret
could not help being newly struck with the grand and statuesque style of
her beauty. From her height, the calm regularity of her features, the
plain arrangement of her abundant hair, and the dignity of her attitude,
she might have served as a model for Minerva.

Elizabeth's welcome was as warm as ever.

"You will find my father in a great bustle," said she, as soon as
Margaret was seated. "Sir Philip d'Eyncourt has arrived. You have heard
of him?"

"Yes; I have heard his name," said Margaret.

"He has come home in very bad health," said Elizabeth, "and has been
obliged to abandon a survey which he considered of great importance, and
for which he was peculiarly fitted from his scientific knowledge. My
father quite enjoys the idea of having somebody to take care of. He pets
_me_; but I never have anything the matter with me."

Captain Gage now came into the room, shook hands with Margaret, and
assured her that she was looking remarkably well; and then told his
daughter that Sir Philip would be down presently; that he had insisted
on their not delaying dinner: that he was looking very ill, but that
Bessy must not judge of him from his present appearance. And then he
hurried out again to see how his guest was getting on.

Elizabeth Gage had not seen Sir Philip d'Eyncourt since she was a child.
She remembered then that he had taken great notice of her, as young men
are apt to do of handsome children. But her impressions of him, dated
not from the scanty recollections she entertained of himself, but from
the very high opinion that her father always expressed of his talents
and character.

_Her father_ never threw away his praise; therefore, Sir Philip must be
everything that was admirable.

She wished very much to see him, and become acquainted with him, but she
recognised him completely as her father's guest; and though she would
gladly have shown her respect for his character, by contributing in any
way to his comfort, yet she thought that as an invalid, and, in some
respects, a disappointed man, the most agreeable thing for him was to be
let alone.

"I am quite anxious to see him after so many years," said Elizabeth,
turning slightly towards the door as her father and his guest entered.
Sir Philip was tall and dark; with a head like the portraits in
Elizabeth's reign. Wide across the brows, and narrow at the chin. He was
very grave and quiet in his manner; seemed in wretched health; sat down
without speaking, after having bowed to the two ladies, and remained
perfectly still and silent in a corner of the sofa.

"You can hardly recollect Bessy, I suppose," said Captain Gage, turning
to Sir Philip.

"No; it is so many years since I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Gage,"
said he, turning his eyes in the direction of Elizabeth, who was showing
Margaret some specimens of carved ivory at a table.

She coloured a little; but she reflected that there was nothing to
wonder at in his memory being worse than her own. He had seen many
pretty children; she had seen but one Sir Philip d'Eyncourt.

"Do you think Bessy like Hubert?" asked Captain Gage, who seemed
resolved not to let Sir Philip alone on the subject of his daughter.

Sir Philip did not see the likeness.

"Now that vexes me, Sir Philip," said Elizabeth, looking up with her
usual candour. "I am very fond of being considered like Hubert."

Sir Philip smiled, but made no reply.

"You think so, do you not?" asked Captain Gage of Margaret, with a
mischievous smile.

This was rather hard upon her; she blushed very deeply, and assented.

Captain Gage enjoyed her confusion. He was as kind to her as ever: he
would have liked her to marry Hubert, because his son had set his heart
upon it; and he was very well pleased that it had come to nothing,
because he thought the boy a great deal too young to think of settling.
It would, indeed, have been difficult to disturb his equanimity. In the
days of George's extravagance, he paid his bills with a composure that
made that gentleman's intimate friends wish that Heaven had provided
them with fathers exactly on the same pattern; and he took all Hubert's
perverseness, after the first irritation, with the greatest forbearance;
only begging that he might be informed when it was his pleasure to go to
sea again, as he did not wish a second time to exert his influence for
nothing.

Dinner was announced; Captain Gage took possession of Margaret, and
Elizabeth knowing that Sir Philip must offer her his arm, with a slight
colour, a slight embarrassment that became her infinitely, went towards
him to save him the exertion of crossing to her side of the room. He met
her with a smile that seemed at once to comprehend, and to be grateful
for her consideration.

The thing that Captain Gage most ardently desired on earth was the
marriage of Elizabeth with Sir Philip; but this wish he very prudently
kept to himself. He was very glad to see that she had on her cameos and
her white silk, and that her hair was dressed to admiration; for the
rest, it might, he thought, be safely left to time.

"I should like you to see Creswick," said Captain Gage, "it is for sale;
if you would buy it, we should be sure of a pleasant neighbour. I will
drive you over there to-morrow."

"Thank you," said Sir Philip, "it would be an inducement; but I believe
I must content myself with Sherleigh."

"Sherleigh, is magnificent I know;" said Captain Gage, "but Creswick
would be just the thing for a shooting-box. Are you fond of shooting?
Oh! I recollect having many a day's sport with you in Antigua."

"Parrot shooting;" said Sir Philip, "there was no great skill required
there. No; I have outlived my taste for field sports."

"You had only to fire into a tree, and they came down like
cock-chaffers," said Captain Gage, turning to Margaret. "Why Bessy, what
makes you in such a hurry?" Elizabeth rose to leave the room; and when
her father joined her in the drawing-room, he brought a civil message
from Sir Philip, that he regretted not seeing Miss Gage again, but that
his physician had enjoined him to retire early.



CHAPTER V.


    But good with ill, and pleasure still with pain
    Like Heaven's revolving signs, alternate reign.

    TRACHINIA.

    Life of my love--throne where my glories sit,
    I ride in triumph on a silver cloud
    When I but see thee.

    SUN'S DARLING.


A few days after their return home, the weather, always so unsettled in
our climate, became suddenly cold, and Aveline's illness immediately
assumed a more serious form. Mr. Lindsay looked grave; and to Mrs.
Fitzpatrick's repeated entreaties that he would be perfectly open with
her respecting her daughter's state; he at length reluctantly owned that
he entertained a very slight hope of her ever being restored to health.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick bore the news with more firmness than he had expected.
Although her fears had often suggested as much to her own mind, she only
half believed it. If Aveline seemed languid or out of spirits; if her
cheek was more flushed, or her appetite failed, then Mrs. Fitzpatrick's
heart died within her; and she echoed the doctor's unfavourable
sentence. But if she rallied for a time, if she turned to her usual
occupations for an hour, or if, owing to the return of the fine weather,
she enjoyed a temporary respite from her harrassing attacks of cough,
then Mrs. Fitzpatrick's spirits and confidence rose again; no one
understood she was sure, her daughter's case. Aveline was certain to
recover.

It was a mild sunny morning. There had been rain, and it had dispelled
the sharp wind so prevalent in our early summer. The sea lay glittering,
and breaking into small crested waves. Aveline wrapped in shawls with a
heavy cloak laid over her feet, sat reading upon the beach. Her mother
had walked back to the house to give some forgotten order to the
servants, and Aveline, as soon as Mrs. Fitzpatrick was out of sight,
dropped her book, and clasping her hands on her knee, sat long gazing
upon the moving line of water. It had become an exertion to her to read
of late. The lines swam before her eyes, if she directed her attention
to them for any length of time. Her appetite had declined; her spirits
failed her; and her large eyes now filled with tears, as she remained
listless, and quiet; gazing vacantly upon the slowly advancing waves.

Two or three merry peasant children were playing on the beach--urging
each other closer and closer to the rippling water, and running back
with shouts and laughter as the foam broke over their feet. When they
came nearer to Aveline, their voices sank; they whispered to each other
that it was the sick lady, and stole quietly one by one along the sand.
But Aveline caught sight of them as they were passing, and beckoned
them to her side.

"Come to me, Jane," said she "I wish to speak to you, I want to hear how
your mother does?"

"Mother is better, Ma'am, thank you," said the girl. "Mother ate all the
chicken broth," said a younger child pressing forward.

"I am glad to hear it," said Aveline, "does she sleep better, than she
used?"

"Much better, Ma'am," said the girl, "the doctor says she may leave off
taking the stuff at night."

"That is a good sign; and I hope you are very good children, and do
nothing that might vex your mother; and that you try to help her as much
as you can. It is so sad to be ill," said poor Aveline.

"Yes, Ma'am," said all the children together.

"It is such a comfort to her to have good little quiet children about
her," said Aveline, in her gentle voice, "and it will be such a comfort
to you to know that you have done all in your power to make her better."

Her earnest manner struck the children; they stood silent, looking
stedfastly at her. At last Jane, the eldest, said timidly, "And you,
Ma'am, are you getting better?"

"No," said Aveline with a faint smile "no, I do not feel much better
yet. I think I must wait until the weather is warmer."

And she drew her shawl closer round her.

"Mother will be sorry for that," said the little girl sadly; "mother
said she did not look to see you ever better in this world."

"And mother cried when she said so," added the boy fixing his round blue
eyes on Aveline.

Aveline made no answer, when the children had done speaking, and they
stood by her side, constrained and silent for some minutes.

At last she looked up, and said quietly. "Well now, you can go on
playing. Jane will be very careful of her two brothers. It is quite
like a woman to be trusted--is it not Jane?"

The children stole gently away hand in hand; and Aveline, after a pause,
during which she struggled in vain to calm her feelings, burst into a
passion of tears and convulsive sobs. Her mother had so carefully
concealed from her all suspicions of her danger; so scrupulously hidden
her fears of the result of her illness; that Aveline always looked
forward to the warm weather as the infallible cure for her cough, and
ascribed to accidental causes the different symptoms which revealed too
well to others the nature of her complaint. To die. The thought was so
new--so terrible. To leave the world--she was so full of genius, of
intellectual life, she had done so much, she had so much to do, (the
feeling of all those who have done much), and to leave her mother--who
had no one--no single thing in life to supply her place. Could it be?
Could nothing really save her? Was her fate so plainly indicated, that
the poor peasant woman, whom she visited and relieved, could not fail to
read it? Her agitation shook her from head to foot. And yet another
thought would intrude itself; a memory and a hope that she had banished,
yet clung to in spite of reason, for very long. "If I die," she
exclaimed, clasping her hands in agony, "I shall never see him again!"

After a while she collected herself; she would not distress her mother
by appearing conscious of her perilous state. And her mother was
suppressing all that she feared and felt, from the same kind but
mistaken motive; for both would have been relieved and strengthened had
they opened their hearts, and wept together instead of in secret.

"Well, Aveline, are you tired," asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as she returned
to her daughter.

"Rather tired, mamma, of sitting," said Aveline in that unequal voice
that betrays recent tears; "if you will give me your arm, I will walk a
little way along the beach."

"There is not much sand left," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as they strolled
along, "the sea is a sad encroacher, Aveline, and stays for you no more
than for King Knute."

But Aveline was weeping silently, and made no reply.

"Aveline, dearest, what is it?" asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and her heart
trembled within her, for of all things she most dreaded her daughter's
suspecting her danger; she knew the rapid inroads of imagination upon a
delicate frame.

"Nothing, mamma," said Aveline. "I am low spirited to-day, and do not
feel strong enough to resist crying--that is all."

"You must not be so much alone," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "have you seen
Brand's children?"

"Yes, they have just left me;" said Aveline, "they are nice little
creatures, and Jane grows taller I think every day."

"Mrs. Fletcher has sent you a basket of her fine raspberries," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, "and a very kind note with them."

"She is very good. I meet every where with great kindness," said
Aveline.

"You must take care we do not walk too far," said her mother, "suppose
you rest a little."

"I will stand a minute, and watch the sea, mamma," said Aveline.

She leaned on her mother, and remained gazing on the long range of
broken rocks against which the waves were tossing their white foam.
These rocks, which a little way out at sea, rose some feet above the
level of the water, decreased in size as they advanced to the shore, and
appeared nothing more than an irregular mass of rough stones, covered
with slippery green sea-weed.

Presently a speck appeared on the horizon, and gradually advancing,
presented the appearance of some slender vessel. "Look, Aveline, there
is a yacht!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "what a beautiful thing it is!"

"Yes, a pretty toy," returned Aveline listlessly, "but I prefer a
fishing boat. I think my sympathies go rather with the poor, than with
the rich. What tales of the still magnificence of moonlight nights, what
adventures, what perils of winds and storms are connected with the
meanest of those little vessels. And the watchful wife, and the sleeping
unconscious children, during those rough dark nights, while the father
is out toiling for their bread. I do not like the gentry of our day,
mamma; all the poetry is on the side of these poor folks."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick smiled, "See," she said, "they have lowered a boat; one
of your despised gentlefolks is coming ashore."

Aveline turned her eyes carelessly in the direction of the boat. "I dare
say," she replied, "it belongs to the person who has taken the villa on
the other side of the cliff. Mark said it had been let the other day.
It would be a very convenient place for any one fond of boating." The
boat, at length, neared the shore, and a man in a sailor's costume
sitting idly in the stern, threw out a couple of dogs, who swam towards
the land.

Aveline, not sufficiently interested in their proceedings to continue
watching them, turned slowly away, and loitered along the shore in an
opposite direction.

Meantime the dogs had come to land; and one of these, a setter of
remarkable beauty after shaking the spray from his coat, ran prying
along the shore, until upon reaching Aveline and her mother, he uttered
a bark of recognition, and sprang fawning upon them.

"Mamma!" exclaimed Aveline breathless with excitement, "look; it is
Farfallo! How well I recollect him. See, he knows me! Don't you remember
my naming him at Sorrento? Oh, I cannot be mistaken!"

"Dear Aveline, it is very unlikely," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "No! I am
sure--certain of it," cried Aveline, "how could I forget him?"

Her agitation, the glow in her cheeks, the light in her eyes, as she
stooped and caressed the dog with a delight that she took no pains to
disguise, gave a hope to Mrs. Fitzpatrick that sent a thrill of pleasure
through her heart. It was evident that Farfallo's master could not be
far off. It was equally evident that Aveline had not forgotten him; all
her illness might arise merely from depression of spirits, from that
protracted hope, which while it makes sick the heart, seldom altogether
spares the body. Doctors did make such extraordinary mistakes in
people's complaints. Mr. Lindsay, though a very judicious man, was not
infallible; and Mr. Haveloc once more thrown in Aveline's way.

Her fancy was travelling very fast, when a voice, they both well knew,
was heard calling Farfallo, coupled with a polite request, not proffered
in the gentlest tones, that "the devil would fetch the dog."

Some rocks were between them and the impatient owner. Farfallo sprang
away. Aveline stood up with a bright smile.

"So like him--so impatient!" she said, as if she were paying him a
compliment. He came suddenly upon them.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick turned quietly towards him, as if they had only parted
yesterday.

"We were to blame, Mr. Haveloc. We kept your dog," said she smiling.

He stopped short in astonishment.

"Mrs. Fitzpatrick! Is it possible?" he exclaimed. "How fortunate I
esteem myself in meeting you again."

"The surprise is all on your side," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "This dog of
yours warned us of your near neighbourhood."

"You remembered him then? I hope he has not bored you--he is so wet. And
you, Miss Fitzpatrick, I trust you are quite recovered."

Aveline made a slight bow, and smiled. Mrs. Fitzpatrick answered for
her.

"We have not much to boast of, at present, Mr. Haveloc," said she; "we
look to the hot weather to set her up again."

"You must allow me to take you on a cruise in my yacht," said Mr.
Haveloc pointing to the vessel in the distance. "Sea voyages are said to
be very good for invalids; and I am becoming quite an experienced
sailor."

"You used to threaten something of that kind at Sorrento," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick.

"Yes! but the fancy has gone off as you said it would," he replied. "I
shall get rid of my yacht in the autumn, and go abroad again."

"What not tired of travelling yet!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"It is not exactly the love of travelling; but I have promised a friend
of mine to go with him to the Pyrenees--a young barrister, who has a few
weeks of liberty in the autumn, and who likes to use it to the utmost."

"What a delightful tour!" said Aveline. "There is nothing equal to
mountain scenery."

"But you know, Miss Fitzpatrick, I am not properly sensible of the
charms of mountain scenery."

"That is very wrong," said Aveline, looking up to him with a smile. "I
was in hopes you might have reformed before now."

"There were three things I remember that I did not justly appreciate,"
said Mr. Haveloc; "moonlight, monks, and mountains."

"It was only that one old monk that I ever insisted upon," said Aveline.

"I thought him the dirtiest of the whole set," said Mr. Haveloc
laughing.

"He was very dirty," observed Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "You cannot think how
surprised I was to see you."

"I thought you in Italy," said Mr. Haveloc.

"I thought you still farther," replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Indeed! How far?"

"In Egypt. Was not that your plan?"

"I had some thoughts of going across to Venice, and so on to Egypt; but
I became anxious to return to England."

"I hope you found your guardian in good health."

"Oh! I hope so," echoed Aveline. "He must be such a delightful old man."

"He is delightful," said Mr. Haveloc warmly. "But I cannot say much for
his health; yet these sickly people often outlive stronger ones."

"That is very true," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, with a satisfied air.

As they passed the place where Aveline had been sitting, Mr. Haveloc
started forward and picked up a book.

"This is yours, Miss Fitzpatrick," he said, "do not deny it--now that I
am your neighbour, I shall make a point of gleaning after you, and
furnish my library with the books you lose."

"You have taken that villa then," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, smiling at
Aveline's confusion, for she was rather notorious for losing her things.

"I have. So you have been reading the dark old Florentine, again," said
Mr. Haveloc, looking into the book he carried, "I thought, Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, you forbade Dante altogether."

"Not quite," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick; "but I was rather an advocate at
Sorrento for studies of a lighter description. Aveline's health--"

"Oh, but I am better now, mamma!" exclaimed Aveline.

"You do, indeed, look better, Miss Fitzpatrick, than when I saw you
last," said Mr. Haveloc.

"You think so--you really think so!" exclaimed Mrs. Fitzpatrick eagerly,
"and you must be a judge. I, who see her every day, can form no idea of
her looks."

"Can there be a doubt of it?" said Mr. Haveloc.

And who, indeed, would have traced the progress of disease in those
sparkling eyes--that beautiful bloom. Her walk was no longer stooping;
her step was not languid. Her mother was astonished at the renovation
that seemed to have taken place within her, though she was enlightened
as to the cause. And Aveline, the thought of her danger had vanished
like lightning from her mind. She was well, strong, happy, she could
never be ill again.

"And how long are we likely to have you for our neighbour, Mr. Haveloc?"
asked Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"I have taken the villa for the summer," he said; "but if it pleases me,
perhaps, I shall buy it. I should like to have something of a fishing
cottage by the sea-side; and though the house is a nut-shell, it is
large enough for that purpose. One puts up with any accommodation at the
sea."

"And a single man ought to put up with a cupboard, you know," said
Aveline.

"Ah! Miss Fitzpatrick, I am aware of the immense dignity a man gains
when he is married," said Mr. Haveloc; "before that awful period, he is
hardly looked upon as a member of society. Is this your house? What a
paradise. Allow me to return you your Dante, and do me the honour to
recollect that I rescued the old bard from the waves."

"No--you must come in, Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I cannot
part so quickly from an old friend. We dine early on Aveline's account,
and you can take your luncheon at the same time."

"I shall be too happy to come in," said Mr. Haveloc, "for luncheon, I
disdain it altogether, as most men do."

"I believe you never eat, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, "you never did.
People talk of ladies living on air; I never could make out what you
lived upon at Sorrento."

"Turkies, I believe, Miss Fitzpatrick; they were the staple commodity in
that part of the world. I do not wonder that you were anxious to return
to England," he said, looking round, as they entered the drawing-room.
"The wonder is, how you could ever leave so delightful a spot."

"One would go anywhere in search of health, Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick.

"True, but having found it, as I trust you have," said Mr. Haveloc,
turning to Aveline, "you cannot regret the shores of the Mediterranean,
here."

"No--I regret nothing, I have not a thing to wish for," said Aveline, as
she sat tranquilly on the sofa, absorbed in the content of the present
moment. He was with them; he was their near neighbour; they must often
see him. Her happiness was only too great to be believed. She never
dreamed that his heart was engrossed by another--she judged him by
herself.

For Mr. Haveloc, he was really delighted at the rencontre. He was very
partial to Mrs. Fitzpatrick; he respected her character, and admired the
cultivation of her mind. They had been used, when they met at Sorrento,
to hold long arguments on art and poetry; on society and politics; on
every possible topic; in short, both had much knowledge, much
originality, much power of expression. And Aveline sat and listened as
to an oracle. But with the exception of a few bantering sentences
occasionally passing between them, they never spoke to each other. And
while he sought and admired the society of Mrs. Fitzpatrick, he only
thought of Aveline as an interesting, sickly girl, whom he hoped would
gain strength for the sake of her poor mother, who seemed to doat upon
her. But although he was not what would be called a good-natured person,
yet where his feelings were at all interested, he displayed an eager
and watchful attention, which might easily be supposed to spring from a
warmer source than that which actuated his conduct.

Aveline had taken off her bonnet, and her profuse curls of dark hair, of
that finest silk that almost bespeaks great delicacy of constitution,
hung over her face and shoulders, concealing in some measure the
thinness of her outline. Mr. Haveloc was not sufficiently interested in
her to mark her quick and unequal breathing; he merely thought as he had
said, that she was looking much better than she had done at Sorrento.

"That is your harp, Miss Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Haveloc, as he wandered
about the room. "Did you get any lessons from that person at Milan?"

"Mademoiselle S----; yes, a few. But I was obliged to leave off on
account of my chest. She did me a great deal of good, however, and
brought out my touch very well."

"I hope to hear you one day. Oh! by the way, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, did you
ever succeed in finding an engraving of the Cenci that pleased you?"

"No, but I picked up a miniature copy at Rome which almost satisfied
me."

"Almost! Ah that inimitable mouth, the colour as well as the form, the
faded rose-leaves; but one cannot describe it. A man who had painted
such a picture had better die; there would be nothing left for him to
do--he could not surpass himself."

"Now I think, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, with something of her old
playfulness, "he had better live to be thanked and admired for his good
deeds: and having excelled others, he need not be concerned that he can
no longer surpass himself."

"And what are you doing, and who have you surpassed in the arts?" said
Mr. Haveloc, struck by her reply.

"Something wonderful is in progress," said Aveline laughing, "when I get
better, I mean to astonish everybody." Mr. Haveloc was surprised and
pleased with her conversation. Pain, whether mental or bodily, lulls the
faculties of some people; but with others, it stings them into unnatural
forwardness and activity. So it had been with Aveline. In
accomplishment, in language, in general knowledge of every kind, she was
singularly forward and perfected. Everything around her proclaimed the
elegance of her mind; every trifle bore the stamp of that classic
correctness of taste, which she had improved by travel, but which was a
part of her natural tendencies.

When he rose to go, it was natural that Mrs. Fitzpatrick should beg him
to repeat his visit; that she should assure him of being always a
welcome guest.

"Thank you a thousand times," he replied, "you cannot imagine the
pleasure I feel at renewing our acquaintance; but I cannot take myself
off, until you consent to fix a day for our sailing expedition: do trust
yourselves on board with me?"

"Come to-morrow," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I shall see how Aveline is,
and we will talk it over then."

"Be very well, Miss Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Haveloc, as he shook hands
with her, "as soon as I get you on board, I shall make all sail for
Algiers."

This was an allusion to a laughing conversation they had once held at
Sorrento, respecting the price they would all fetch, if seized upon by
some pirate of the Mediterranean, and carried to the slave market at
Algiers. It was clear that he remembered all that had ever passed when
they were together. Was it wonderful if she thought that love had
prompted his memory?

There was a silence of some moments after he left the room, and Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, who was seated near the window watching Mr. Haveloc as he
made his way down to the beach, said:

"What a curious sort of straw hat he wears."

"Does he?" said Aveline, coming near her mother.

"Yes, like the reapers in the 'Tempest.'"

And that was all that passed between them on the subject of Mr.
Haveloc's visit.



CHAPTER VI.


    Lieben Freunde! Es gab schön're Zeiten
    Als die unsern--das ist nicht zu streiten!
    Und ein edler Volk hat einst gelebt.
    Könnte die Geschichte davon schweigen
    Tausend Steine würden redend zeugen
    Die man aus dem Schooss der Erde gräbt.
    Doch es ist dahin, es ist verschwunden,
    Dieses hochbegünstigste Geschlecht;
    Wir, wir leben! Unser sind die Stunden,
    Und der Lebende hat Recht.

    SCHILLER.


"And so you wish you were a pirate, Miss Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Haveloc,
as they stood on the deck of his yacht. "I commend your taste. These
pirates were pretty fellows in rhyme."

"It would be rather late in the day to commence Viking, would it not?"
said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Oh no!" said Mr. Haveloc; "my yacht is quite at Miss Fitzpatrick's
service. I do not despair of her making prize of some solitary fishing
boat on a dark night. And only think, Miss Fitzpatrick, how excellent
the herrings would taste, that you had come by in so meritorious a way."

"I wished to be descended from a pirate," said Aveline, "don't you
perceive the amazing difference?"

"Oh, very great! You wish for all their propensities, without the power
to put them in practice."

"After all, there were fine things done by those Vikinger," said
Aveline. "They had courage."

"Oh, courage! that is born with a man; if he has it not, it is a
deformity, not a vice. Just as if he were born without a nose."

"You would respect courage more, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, "if you
knew what fear was."

"I never had such a compliment paid me before," said Mr. Haveloc,
laughing.

"We have a right to pay you compliments, you know," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, who was seated a little apart, with a book in her hand.
"But you do not stand up for the water thieves, or land thieves either."

"He pretends to have no enthusiasm," said Aveline, smiling.

"On the contrary," said Mr. Haveloc, "I admit that time mellows the
proceedings of such gentry; and I own to an enthusiastic desire to see
them treated as they deserve."

"I was very glad, Miss Fitzpatrick, when our Calabrian friends were duly
sent to the galleys."

"You could not have a prettier name for your yacht, 'the Ariel,'" said
Aveline. "I am sure it is a beautiful craft, though I am no judge of
such things."

"The Ariel was christened before I had her," said Mr. Haveloc. "If I
meant to keep her, I should take the liberty to change her name."

"And what would you call her?" asked Aveline, with some curiosity.

Mr. Haveloc, hesitated a little, and then said, "the Pearl."

"And I am very fond of pearls," said Aveline. "How many things there
are, Mr. Haveloc, the very names of which recalls much that is beautiful
in poetry to one's memory. The Pearl, the violet, the lark."

"True enough," said Mr. Haveloc, "a robin is a prettier bird, but he has
not been so much be-rhymed. A pistol is a handier weapon than a sword,
but it would make a sorry figure in a lyric."

"And a grand pianoforte," said Aveline, laughing, "will never be
appreciated with tears and moonlight, like a lute."

"And a rascally pirate will be hung in chains, to the great delight of
all sober people, while a horse Viking, or even a Spanish buccaneer,
would be exalted in ballad, or blank verse."

"Allow," said Aveline, "that people cannot live _well_, who live only in
the present time."

"And that people cannot live wisely, who live in the past or the
future," said Mr. Haveloc.

"I do not know whether it is too serious an allusion," said Aveline;
"but I cannot help recollecting that 'the children of this world are
wiser in their generation, than the children of light.'"

Mr. Haveloc remained silent for some moments. "I wonder what that means
exactly," said he, at last.

"It means, I think, to give some little comfort to the upright, when
they find that all through their lives they are wronged and surpassed by
those who are unscrupulous in their tools and weapons," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick.

"Cold comfort," said Mr. Haveloc, still musing.

"I think not so," replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "I think it is comfort
enough if an honest man is told, on the highest authority--it will be
so--you will not surpass--you will not be enriched--you will not be well
spoken of, like your unprincipled neighbour--you will be deceived and
impoverished by those who are more skilful than yourself, skilful in
arts which your profession forbids you to use. If they are not told
this, they might become restless and dissatisfied, and attribute to
themselves some of the failure which belongs to the fact, that this
world is the home of the wicked, but a strange land to the Christian
pilgrim."

Mr. Haveloc, seemed much struck by her remarks, but remained silent.

"Mr. Lindsay is an illustration of mamma's idea," said Aveline, "he is
much too honest ever to be rich. Plain dealing never answers with
common minds; and I leave you to judge of the proportion of superior
people that fall in the way of a country practitioner."

"You think with the old poet," said Mr. Haveloc.

  "The stars are not more distant from the earth,
  Than profit is from honesty!"

"That is very well said," remarked Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "whose is it?"

"Beaumont and Fletcher's," he replied.

"I wish you would read to us 'The Faithful Shepherdess,'" said Aveline,
"you were to have done so at Sorrento, only you had not the Author with
you."

"Willingly, if you are in the humour for it," said Mr. Haveloc; "but
first, Miss Fitzpatrick, I must see you look a little more comfortable;
I shall order up a heap of cushions, and install you like 'Lalla Rookh,'
before I begin to read."

"Oh! what a Sybarite!" cried Aveline, as he arranged a pile of red silk
cushions for her upon the deck, "do look, mamma!"

"I am much obliged to Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "and feel
very little disposed to quarrel with his luxurious equipments, for
really Aveline you do begin to look rather fagged."

"I hope he is clever, this country practitioner," said Mr. Haveloc,
looking up suddenly from his task.

"Clever!" cried Aveline. "Mamma would be highly offended with any one
else who should presume to call her Mr. Lindsay clever. He is a man of
excellent judgment, Mr. Haveloc."

"I am glad of it," said Mr. Haveloc, "for your sake."

Aveline smiled and settled herself to listen.

The day was beautiful, the coast in the distance was reduced to a
miniature picture steeped in the most delicious and variegated tints.
The air was hot and still, and nothing interrupted the silence but the
flapping of a sail, and the gentle sound of the water rising and falling
slowly against the side of the vessel.

"We make but little way," said Mr. Haveloc.

"That does not matter. It is pleasant to lie at anchor. Suppose we were
becalmed in the midst of the Pacific?" said Aveline.

"With one day's luncheon on board," said Mr. Haveloc.

"It is very pleasant to have run into some great danger, after it is all
over," said Aveline.

"That makes the pleasure of horrid dreams," said Mr. Haveloc.

"But they are not distinct--real enough," said Aveline. "Every thing
seems to happen through a ground-glass."

"One would think you took opium Miss Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Haveloc
laughing.

"So she does, regularly," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, with an anxious look,
and fixing her eyes upon his face.

He looked surprised and pained, opened the book hastily, and began to
read.

Aveline was enchanted with 'the Faithful Shepherdess.' Half rising on
her cushions, with cheeks flushed, and her large transparent eyes wide
open, she feared to lose a single word.

"That is surely the brightest pastoral ever written," said she, as he
laid down the book at the close of the first act.

"Do you like it better than 'Comus?'" he asked.

"I do not like to compare them," said Aveline. "But there seems so much
less effort in Beaumont and Fletcher's verse. And what stately
simplicity in the opening,--what richness in the lyrical movements! They
seem to have been inspired by the tawney sunshine of the Greek isles;
while all the woodland scenery seems glittering with the fresh dew of an
English summer's night."

"And then Milton's 'Comus' labours under the slight disadvantage of not
being written first," said Mr. Haveloc.

"Ah! you mean to insinuate that he borrowed some of the ideas," said
Aveline laughing.

"Oh! he never borrowed; his was highway robbery, piracy, Miss
Fitzpatrick."

"You do not like Milton, I see," said Aveline.

"No. All his feelings were violently personal. His Theory of Divorce was
suggested by his sour discontent of his wife. His democracy by the party
he espoused. His religion was the harsh bigotry of his faction, not that
which improves the individual. And the much admired anecdote of knocking
up his daughters in the night, to write his verses, appears to me the
coolest instance of selfish vanity I can now recollect. Fancy, Miss
Fitzpatrick, your being rudely aroused from some delicious dream to pen
down the leaden stanzas of 'Paradise Regained.'"

"Mamma thinks you are talking treason," said Aveline.

"All the good that I know of him is, that when he had got hold of a
wrong principle, he was consistent in holding it," continued Mr.
Haveloc. "You know he persisted in rejecting the office that Charles the
Second was so generous as to offer him."

"It was generous," said Aveline, "for Milton's poetry had not then
received the stamp of time, and Charles was not compelled, by opinion,
to be liberal to the author of 'Paradise Lost.'"

They continued conversing upon a variety of topics until it was time to
take luncheon; and then Mr. Haveloc would not suffer Aveline to move. He
brought up every thing upon the deck that he thought she could fancy,
and waited upon her with the utmost care.

He was always morbidly affected by sickness. If he had a servant ill,
nothing could equal his kindness and attention; and, therefore, it was
not surprising that he should show so much solicitude to Aveline's
comforts.

In the course of the afternoon, she began to feel very chilly. One shawl
after another was wrapped round her without effect. Mr. Haveloc was
alarmed, but Mrs. Fitzpatrick said it was always so about that time, and
that it would pass away. But when it did pass away, Aveline was in such
a state of exhaustion that she could scarcely move into the boat, which
was lowered to take her to the shore. A fresh breeze had risen; it was
rather rough landing. The boat could not be got close enough to the
jetty. Mr. Haveloc, after exchanging a few whispered words with Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, sprang out, knee-deep in the water, took Aveline in his
arms, and carried her not only to land, but across the shingles, and up
the rocky pathway to their cottage, and placed her in safety on the sofa
in the drawing-room window, as Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who had been assisted,
by the steward, came in at the glass-doors.

Aveline was very much shocked, but what could have been done? She was
unable to walk, and the choice rested between Mr. Haveloc and the
steward.

Mr. Haveloc began to make his apologies, but they both laughed before he
had concluded them. He was earnest in pressing his further services upon
the ladies--he wished to be made of use in fetching their medical man.

Aveline laughed, and assured him that she was no worse than usual. She
hardly knew what Mr. Lindsay would say to her if she summoned him for
nothing. He was very merciless to imaginary ailments.

He could scarcely conceal the mournful interest she inspired. So
attenuated, so brilliant with feverish excitement. But assuming a gay
air, he took up his hat, told Mrs. Fitzpatrick he should wait on her
the next morning, to learn whether she had forgiven him for tiring out
her daughter, and begged Aveline to put the best face she could upon the
matter, lest Mrs. Fitzpatrick should put a stop to all excursions for
the future.



CHAPTER VII.


    He that would flee from suffering must die,
    For life is suffering, and life's cure is death.
    The earth, the sea, the radiant orb of day,
    The star-bespangled sky, the moon's soft lustre,
    These are all beautiful--the rest is fear
    And sorrow; and if aught of good may seem
    To bless thy lot, count it not happiness.

    ÆSOP.


The next morning, as early as he could well hope to be admitted, Mr.
Haveloc made his way to Mrs. Fitzpatrick's, carrying with him a cluster
of beautiful passion flowers. As he came up to the porch, a gentleman
was mounting his horse to ride away, who looked like a medical man, and
was, in fact, no other than Mr. Lindsay. The good doctor cast a keen
glance at Mr. Haveloc as he passed him, accompanied by a slight shake of
the head, which might be supposed to mean, that if he came there as a
suitor, his errand was in vain.

Mr. Haveloc not putting this interpretation upon the gesture, simply
feared that Miss Fitzpatrick might be worse, rang the bell, was
admitted, and entered.

Aveline was lying on the sofa, drawing upon a small stand placed on the
table by her side. She extended her hand over the top of the stand to
Mr. Haveloc, and assured him playfully that she had kept her word, and
had told Mr. Lindsay no tales of her gay doings yesterday.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick shook hands with him in silence.

He went round to look at Aveline's drawing.

"Beautiful! Miss Fitzpatrick," he exclaimed; "how many strides have you
made in art since you crossed the Alps?"

"Do you think so? Not so many," said Aveline, laying down her brush.
"There is something wrong in the colouring of my sky. But those passion
flowers; how splendid! Does your villa produce such treasures as these?"

"Will you come and see?" he said. "I do not know what Mrs. Fitzpatrick
will say to my trying to entice you out again; but if you have really
recovered your fatigue--"

"Perfectly," said Aveline; "in fact, I enjoyed myself so much that it
quite counterbalanced the finale of the expedition."

"What do you say to it, Mrs. Fitzpatrick?" asked Mr. Haveloc, looking
through his glass at Aveline's drawing. "A little indigo, I think, would
set that sky all to rights."

"Do it for me," said Aveline, offering him a brush.

"It is a serious consideration," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, trying to appear
cheerful. "It will all wash off," said Mr. Haveloc, still going on with
the sky.

"I meant the visit to your villa," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Oh! Miss Fitzpatrick, you have no idea what a singular little animal
the owner of my fishing cottage has entailed upon me," said Mr. Haveloc.
"I really think I shall buy him, and take him away with me. A Norwegian
poney, as sagacious as a dog, and covered with long hair, that I can
only compare to ragged tufts of grass."

"I want to see it," said Aveline.

She had been so used to have every wish gratified by her mother, that
without being at all selfish, she almost took it for granted that every
fancy she formed should be immediately fulfilled.

Mr. Haveloc was much amused by her manner.

"You shall see him whenever you please," he said. "Suppose I bring him
here to-morrow, and you ride him to the fishing cottage."

"Oh, mamma! that would be nice," said Aveline.

"My predecessor had a great taste for gardening," said Mr. Haveloc. "His
little green-house is absolutely hung with air-plants, and he has some
water-plants of equal value and scarcity."

"Oh! but we must see the plants, mamma," said Aveline.

"I think not just yet," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick; "Aveline had better take
a short ride first to try her powers, for the villa must be two miles
off; and I hardly think her equal to the exertion."

"Oh! do send Mark for the poney, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, eagerly. "I
will pay poor Mrs. Brand a visit; for it is so long since I have walked
down that steep road. Ah! the morning after I came home; that was the
last time I was able to take so long a walk."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick remained silent. Mr. Haveloc could see that she was
unusually depressed that day about her daughter. "I will go for him,
myself," said Mr. Haveloc. "I think there is a side-saddle in the
stable, but I hardly know what I am in possession of--for I have not my
horses with me."

"But why not send Mark?" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Because I have nothing on earth to do," said Mr. Haveloc. "I shall see
that the poney is cleaned. I shall find the saddle, which I know will
not be found if I do not look for it, and bring him here in half the
time that a servant would take about it."

"Oh! thank you," said Aveline.

"Mrs. Fitzpatrick looks half unwilling to trust me with you again," said
Mr. Haveloc, as he rose.

"No, indeed," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "my reluctance is simply to
occasion you a walk in the heat, when my servant might so easily save
you the trouble."

He came back before they had thought his return possible, and led the
poney up to the drawing-room window for Aveline's inspection.

She was delighted with it. The creature was well proportioned, with a
sagacious eye, and a small head, half hidden beneath a forest of mane.
His hair grew in abundant tufts, like withered grass, and very much of
that colour; so that if horses are subject to the same illusions
regarding their personal appearance that usually attend the human race,
it is probable he imagined himself of snowy whiteness.

Aveline was anxious to set out directly; but Mrs. Fitzpatrick advised
that as the sun was still very powerful, Mr. Haveloc should dine with
them, and escort them out afterwards. He readily agreed to this
arrangement, and spent the time until their early dinner in wandering
about the pretty garden and shrubberies with Mrs. Fitzpatrick; while
Aveline, reclining in a low chair by the window, had the pleasure of
keeping him continually in sight.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick's dejection increased when she was away from her
daughter. She rarely spoke, and the few words she uttered were in that
low, weak voice which is a sufficient indication, to the experienced of
mental distress.

Mr. Haveloc opened upon the topic at once.

"I am truly sorry," he said, "to find that Miss Fitzpatrick is so little
able to bear fatigue. I hope you really have reason to be perfectly
satisfied with your medical adviser."

"Quite," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, turning to him her face as pale as
death, "all that is possible has been done."

"Good Heaven! you do not mean--" he exclaimed, "you cannot so
entirely--"

Mrs. Fitzpatrick shook her head. He seemed very much shocked; but it was
clear to her that his manner was not that of a person who felt a shade
of attachment to her daughter, or anything beyond the natural sympathy
which the early fate of so interesting a creature must awaken. Knowing,
as she did, the too certain state of Aveline's health, she could
scarcely regret that he was spared the misery of loving her daughter:
her only wish was to keep him near her while she lived. In Aveline's
weak condition, she was certain that she could not support the pain of
being again separated from him; and she came to a resolution, at once
dignified and singular. She determined to ask him to continue his visits
as long as her daughter was capable of deriving satisfaction from them.

After a painful pause of a few moments, he himself renewed the subject.

"It is so natural you should be nervous;--so reasonable you should see
her case in a more desponding light than anyone else," he said; "you
forget she has youth, repose, all the care that can be lavished upon the
most delicate invalid; there are so many things in her favour."

"And do you not think," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "that I have said all
this to myself a thousand times. That I have prayed, struggled, hoped,
till hope was vain?"

He looked greatly distressed; in reality much more so for Mrs.
Fitzpatrick than for Aveline. He had a strong regard, a sincere
friendship for the mother; for the daughter he merely felt the interest
which her precarious health had recently awakened.

"But is there nothing," said he eagerly, "a different treatment, a
warmer climate. Why not try Madeira? So many have derived benefit--"

"Because, in summer, no climate can surpass our own in this place," said
Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "and Aveline will not live to be tried by another
winter."

There was something shocking in her calmness. He looked at her as if not
comprehending what she said.

"For all sorrow," she continued, as if answering some thought of her
own, "it wears you out, or you wear it out, so there is an end either
way; and a great end, Mr. Haveloc, in the education of the soul. An
end, so important, that we ought not to shrink so cowardly from the
agony of the means."

"I wish earnestly it was in my power to offer you consolation, or
relief," he said, "but this is a case in which words are idle."

"And yet there is one thing, Mr. Haveloc, which, if Aveline's fate were
less certain, I could never propose to you. Your society is an amusement
to her, and in sickness every enjoyment is so curtailed, that I dread
for her the slightest deprivation. Can I ask you to devote some of your
time to us while you remain in the neighbourhood; can I even ask that
you should prolong your stay beyond what you might have originally
intended. If she should linger--"

Her voice failed her.

"Most willingly, my dear Mrs. Fitzpatrick," he exclaimed with eagerness,
"sickness admits of few alleviations. I should be thankful, indeed, if
I could afford any comfort to your daughter or yourself."

"You see how desperate I have become," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with a
smile, "to demand of you such a melancholy seclusion. You, whose wealth
and position would make you so welcome, so caressed in general society.
But all considerations give way to the approach of death."

"Good Heaven! Can you believe such a thought could have a moment's
weight with me?" he said hastily, "is life a May game that we should
only count the hours devoted to revelry and enjoyment? I esteem myself
fortunate that I am able to be with you at a time of so much anxiety and
distress."

"I thought this of you. I had every reason to think it," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, pressing the hand he extended to her, "stay, there is
Aveline; what could induce her to come out?"

As she stood at the end of the narrow shaded avenue beckoning to them,
the soft fluttering of her white dress, and the shadowy outline of her
figure seemed like a dim foreboding of the fate which awaited her. Mr.
Haveloc hastened to her side.

"Are you coming to dinner, you two?" said she playfully, "I have no mind
to be kept waiting, since I cannot begin my ride until that business is
over."

"And could you not have sent a servant to us," he said, "was it needful
that you should tire yourself by coming out in the heat? I shall lock up
the poney if you commit any imprudences. Take my arm, and keep in the
shade."

"You would make me out to be so very ill," said Aveline as she leaned on
him. "I do not despair of having a good gallop on the poney yet. Oh! Mr.
Haveloc, you have not told me his name. What is it?"

"Hakon Jarl."

"Delightful! Mamma, did you ever hear such a name? From
Oehlenschläger's tragedy. He shall have some bread from our dinner
table."

And Aveline was as good as her word, and fed the poney from the window
instead of eating her own dinner.



CHAPTER VIII.


  _Ma._ Then you believe not, Arnold, in the stars?

  _Ar._ Yes, in the stars--when on a winter's night
                    They stand as thick as drops of dew new frozen
                    On the dark arch of Heaven--or when they lie
                    Mirrowed upon the heaving sea--or steal
                    Slowly and faint into the Summer sky--
                    But for these ignorant interpreters,
                    They scarce are worth the scorn of disbelief.

    ANON.


Aveline declared that she would not be defrauded of her ride when the
evening came in all its freshness; but Mr. Haveloc said that he saw she
was languid; that the morning was the proper time for exercise, and that
Hakon Jarl should be his companion the next day, when he paid his
respects to Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Ah! you will come to-morrow, that is well," said Aveline, "but do not
let me go quite without a ride this evening; let me take a turn just
round the garden."

Mr. Haveloc glanced at Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Yes, let her," she said in a tone of despondency.

The poney was brought to the window; Aveline was lifted on, and Mr.
Haveloc taking the reins led him through the shrubberies, and along the
broad terrace.

"I wonder if he could go down the steps upon the sands," said Aveline.

"He could, I have no doubt," said Mr. Haveloc, "but you--"

"I should so enjoy it; riding along the sands by moonlight," said
Aveline. "Oh! I am quite strong enough--never fear."

Mr. Haveloc led the poney carefully down the steep steps and over the
shingles to the sands, now stretching far and dry, the tide being at its
lowest.

"How glad I am that we live by the sea," said Aveline. "It is
delightful for a part of the year," said Mr. Haveloc. "I should not care
about it in winter."

"But it is in winter," said Aveline, "that the waves are so rough; you
should see them running against that headland on a stormy night; when
you catch a glimpse of the foam tossed high against the very peak of the
rock there, just when the wind has torn the clouds asunder, and let out
a glimpse of the moon for an instant. I would not miss the sea in winter
time. And then the hoarse sound of the waves on the shingles grows
louder when mixed up with the boisterous north wind. And the surge boils
and swells, and then the white froth parts and shows the dark angry
water beneath. No! trees and fields are barren in winter; but there is
always life in the sea!"

"And this creature is all this while slowly and invisibly borne onwards
to the grave," he thought, "so full of the best part of life--the
intellectual!"

"You are thinking!" said Aveline.

"And so were you; only you thought aloud," he answered.

"Ah! look Mr. Haveloc, they are launching a boat; let us go a few steps
farther and see them. Don't you like the rough noise, and the splash,
and the voices of the fishermen together. See, just in the moon's path;
and now they are in shadow again. When I was a child I used to envy the
fishermen as I saw them starting on a bright evening like this, for
their merry night's fishing."

"And they envied you, perhaps, that you were going to enjoy a good
night's rest, instead of getting wet and weary, and not knowing whether
they should catch fish enough to buy their next day's breakfast."

"Perhaps so," said Aveline. "Few people would envy me now."

"Because you are in bad health."

"Yes. Do you not think mamma is very much depressed to-day?"

"She struck me as being so."

"Mr. Lindsay tells her the truth," said Aveline, "it is a comfort to me
to be sure of that; as he would tell me the truth if I were to ask him."

"That is a comfort," said Mr. Haveloc, "at least, whatever were to
befall me, I would rather know it."

"Did you ever have your fortune told, Mr. Haveloc?"

"No, never. Oh, yes, I forgot! I had my fortune told me once near Rome;
in the Campagna."

"By a gipsy?"

"A regular gipsy, with a face like the head of Memnon in the Museum;
long eyed, with massive features, and the upper and under lip of equal
thickness."

"What did she tell you? Do try and recollect."

"Let me consider," said Mr. Haveloc, leaning against the pony's neck,
"first she asked me for a crown."

"Of course you gave it; but such a sum ought to have bought you a very
handsome fortune."

"So the Sybil seemed to think, for she told me I was greatly beloved by
a young lady with dark eyes."

Aveline trembled.

"You are cold; we will finish the fortune teller in the house."

"No, no--go on here."

"Let me lead him back to the garden, you forget I am responsible to Mrs.
Fitzpatrick for your well-being. I will go on; though I did not know you
were superstitious."

"Yes, I am, about gipsies."

"Well, I ventured to hint that these pleasing events always told better
when there was a strong contrast between the parties; and that I should
be obliged to the Sybil to furnish my young lady with blue eyes before
she proceeded any farther. But my Zingara was not so accommodating, 'she
did not like,' she said, 'to trifle with the stars; the dark eyed lady
insisted on being attached to me. But, she would work me an incredible
deal of woe.'"

"Ah!" cried Aveline raising her voice almost to a shriek, "what did she
say. Tell me how--what came next?"

"I'll tell you what, Miss Fitzpatrick," said he leading the pony up the
stony staircase, "when I was a great many years younger, I have sat up
telling ghost stories at Christmas, until I was afraid to look behind
me; but I never heard that this sport was good for an invalid. You are
as much afraid of gipsies as I was of ghosts. We will talk of something
else."

"No, but finish I entreat you," said Aveline in a gentle tone.

"Why the Sybil told me that I should survive this injury, whatever it
was; but she declined being more explicit. She also said that I should
be very happy by and bye, perhaps she meant in Heaven. I hope so. But I
gave her another crown and wished her good day."

"Ah!" said Aveline, "my gipsy was more explicit."

"Where did you pick up yours?"

"Here, on the sea-shore."

"And what news did she give you for your money?"

"She told me--shall I repeat it?"

"Yes, do; that I may laugh you out of it?"

"She told me I should break the heart of the person I loved best; and
that I should die young."

"She was an idiot!" said Mr. Haveloc.

"Ah! my mother. Shall I not break her heart," said Aveline, with a
sudden burst of tears.

"Never; you are in ill-health, and attach a meaning to words you would
laugh at, if you were stronger. I do believe the worst suffering in
illness is the dejection it causes. You should not allow yourself to be
so weighed down."

"But if I die--"

"But do not think so. The woman saw you looked delicate, and thought she
could turn her warning to a good account. I wish I--" Aveline seized
his hand. A gipsy woman was advancing towards them from the other end of
the terrace. He was at a loss what to do; he feared to leave Aveline for
a single moment, lest she should faint; and still more he feared to let
the woman come within speaking distance.

"Have no fears for me. She can say nothing that I do not know," said
Aveline.

"Will you have your fortune told, my pretty lady and gentleman," said
the woman advancing with the insinuating gestures of her tribe.

"No, there's money for you," said Mr. Haveloc, throwing the woman his
purse heavy with gold, "there is more than you could earn. Go now,
quickly, the lady is ill."

"Would she like," said the gipsy.

"No, I tell you. Go at once. You have no business here!"

The gipsy made a sign in the air with her hand which filled him with
horror; it seemed to him as if she traced the outline of a
coffin:--then laughed, turned, and vanished.

"It is the same," said Aveline, trembling.

"It is the gipsy of the Campagna," he said at the same moment.

"What do you think of it?" said Aveline as he helped her to dismount,
and supported her to the sofa. "Is it not as if she came to watch the
fulfilment of her prediction?"

"On the contrary. She came knowing it was easier to frighten than to beg
money out of people," said he taking a chair beside her. "But your man
ought to keep better watch."

"It is not his fault. Remember the terrace is open at one end; but the
cliff is so rugged that we always consider it safe. Here comes
mamma--let us tell her of it."

Aveline seemed more cheerful again. The supper-table was drawn to the
sofa. She related the appearance of the gipsy in a laughing manner, and
tried to make it appear that Mr. Haveloc had been very much frightened.

"Confess," said Aveline, "that she put you into bodily fear."

"I own it," he replied. "You will never say again of me that I do not
know what fear is."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick gave him a grateful smile. She could easily understand
on whose account he had been alarmed.

"I am afraid you were by no means _quitte pour le peur_," said Aveline
helping herself to salad. "Only think, mamma, of his throwing the wretch
his purse. So extravagant."

"Very wrong, indeed," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"But when one gets frightened," said he, laughing, "what is to be done?
When my servant asks me what has become of my purse, I must say I was
stopped by a foot-pad."

"Will your servant call you to account?" asked Aveline, opening wide
her large eyes at the idea of any one taking Mr. Haveloc to task.

"I should not wonder. He is a very old servant, and says and does pretty
much what he pleases."

"How I should like to hear you go on together," said Aveline with a
smile.

"Oh! it seldom amounts to a duet. He generally unburdens his mind at
night; and when I am tired of saying yes, and no, I fall asleep, and so
escape the end of the lecture."

"I should like to know, if it was not indiscreet, what the lectures were
about?"

"Generally financial. If he thinks I have paid more for a horse than it
is worth, it is a long time before he gets over it. He was very much
shocked when I bought that plague of a yacht; and at Rome he was a
perpetual torment. I could hardly look at a picture, or a cameo, without
his hinting that I should end my career in the Queen's Bench."

"But that shows a great deal of attachment," said Aveline; "one sees too
little of that feeling in these days. But we are very fortunate. Mrs.
Grant was a treasure."

"Shall I come to-morrow, Mrs. Fitzpatrick?" said Mr. Haveloc rising.
"Miss Fitzpatrick meets with nothing but misfortunes when I have the
charge of her."

"Oh, come!" said Aveline, "by all means; and leave the pony here. Mark
said he could accommodate him, and it will be something for me to pet. I
shall feed myself to-morrow."

"There Aveline, you must not sit up any longer," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"I am all obedience," said Aveline rising. "Good night, Mr. Haveloc, I
hope you will not meet our gipsy on your way home."



CHAPTER IX.


    Our joys are kin to griefs--in time shall cease
    The term of soundest health: disease
    Dwells in our house, and opes to death a door.
    Oft amid favouring gales and summer skies
    Destruction's breakers madly rise
    And wreck our hopes upon the rocky shore.

    AGAMEMNON.


If Mr. Haveloc had not been entirely engrossed by his affection for
Margaret, it would have been almost impossible to have been thrown so
much in the society of Aveline, and under circumstances of such touching
interest, without becoming warmly attached to her.

Her understanding was more matured, her fancy brighter, her acquirements
larger than those of Margaret. She had not been to a boarding-school;
and she had gained from her mother's thoughtful mind, more education
than from all her masters. She was less beautiful than Margaret--less
graceful, but more elegant; there was more of style about her
appearance, and less of simplicity. Therefore she looked older than she
was, and Margaret younger. And in the details of domestic life, she was
perhaps more formed than Margaret, to interest the fancy and excite the
attention.

She was accustomed to make all those little demands upon the sympathy
and assistance of those around her, which you see so constantly in
French women, and which are generally attractive to men in this country,
perhaps from their contrast to the more quiet and independent habits of
English women in general.

If she wished to give little Jane a bonnet and cloak, Mr. Haveloc and
her mamma were summoned to the table, and were obliged to look over the
patterns the servant had brought from the neighbouring town, and
discuss the colour and fashion of the garments. And Mr. Haveloc was
desired to walk down to Brand's cottage, and look at the child to see
whether red or blue would suit her best; and to inquire after Mrs.
Brand's health, and to ask the best of the two Toms, whether he had yet
been able to find that specimen of sea-weed that Miss Fitzpatrick wanted
to complete her orders of Cryptogamia.

Those persons who spend their lives in wandering from place to place,
little know how much of interest they forfeit in not having a settled
place of abode. So many little elegant trifles accumulate in a home that
can never be packed up and carried from one hired residence to another.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick's was just the sort of house where one might lounge
away the morning delightfully. Chairs and sofas of all patterns were
scattered about the room; drawn to the carved tables, or placed
temptingly near the large, open window, from which you could step at
once into the garden, where the finest flowers filled the air with their
perfume, and seemed to overrun the wire baskets in which they were
planted. The tables were strewn with books and prints; with cameos,
carvings and choice miniatures. Aveline's painting was generally on a
reading stand near the sofa, and a little lava tray of modelling tools
stood on a slab at the farthest end of the room, covered by a cambric
handkerchief with a foreign border of brilliant colours.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was generally to be found seated near the sofa, working
at a large frame of embroidery, an employment at once picturesque and
dignified for persons of middle age, but which in young people seems to
be the resource of an indolent mind. Aveline had as yet but few of the
habits of an invalid. She was very careful of her costume, which was
generally a richly worked muslin made in a foreign fashion; with a large
Cachemere lying somewhere about the room, which wrapped her from head
to foot when she became chilly. And though it was out of her power to
occupy herself for more than a few minutes at a time, yet it was
surprising how little of languor pervaded her manner and conversation.
She had always a book by her side to glance into when she was at ease,
and when her restless fits came over her, she would wander about the
room arranging the flowers, or tuning her harp, or turning over the
beautiful articles of virtù, with which the room was decorated. And when
wrapped in her bright coloured Cachemere she reclined in an easy chair
with her silver _bonbonnière_ in her fingers which she handled as an old
courtier might have done a snuff-box, a stranger could not easily have
been made to believe that but a few weeks of life remained to her.

It was singular that Mr. Haveloc never suspected her affection for him.
She who seemed to receive new life from his presence; who was entirely
and exclusively occupied with him--who hardly removed her eyes from him
when he came, and who spent her time in expecting him when he was away.
He treated it all as a sick person's fancy, and submitted far more
implicitly to her demands, than if he had been seeking to ingratiate
himself in her heart.

Serious illness generally weakens the mind; and in the case of Aveline,
it somewhat dimmed her perceptions. She did not attach the exact
meaning to Mr. Haveloc's constant visits, that she could not fail to
have done in health. She had mourned his absence, she was contented in
his society, and it seemed as if she felt no desire to penetrate the
future, or to anticipate a time when they must part.

"He is late, mamma," said Aveline one day. "He is certainly later this
morning; something has happened. That yacht--you know it was very windy
last night."

"My dear child, I can see the yacht from the window; and I do not think
he has been on board of her since we went with him. Besides, we must
not be so unreasonable as to look for him always at one hour."

Aveline took up her book again. Presently Mr. Haveloc made his
appearance at the drawing-room window with a large flower in his hand; a
splendid cup-shaped blossom, with white leaves tinged with pink, that
shed a delightful perfume all over the room.

"Look, Miss Fitzpatrick," he said coming up to Aveline, "I have waited
for some purpose; my water-lilly has flowered this morning. Did you ever
see anything so beautiful?"

"And you have brought it me," said Aveline taking the flower, "how good
you are. I will put it in water directly. It shall have the Dresden jar
all to itself; that with the holly berries."

Mr. Haveloc brought the jar and rang for water.

"And is this a water-lilly?" said she, still admiring the flower. "Of
that species; it came from South America, and is I believe, the only one
in England. I had hoped it was a lotus just to put one in mind of
Moore's poetry. And how are you to-day?"

"To-day? Charming. I could do all sorts of things. Walk down to the
beach, or up to the village; or play a fantasia on the harp." As she
spoke, a string flew. "Hark;" she said, "I have lost a harp-string; a
small one I think by the sound. Just look and tell me the extent of the
damage, Mr. Haveloc."

"One of the very smallest. Look--up at the top here."

"I must get up and mend it," said Aveline. "The harp-strings are in that
drawer, Mr. Haveloc; may I trouble you?"

She rose languidly, and moved to the harp; resting her hand on the table
as she went: selected one of the strings Mr. Haveloc brought her, and
began to undo the broken one. But, in spite of her boast, it was not
one of her good days. She wavered, and caught the harp for support.

"Why will you not rest;" he said, drawing a chair close to her. "I can
put on your string--give me the key."

Aveline sank into the chair and resigned her task to him.

"But who taught you to put on harp-strings?" said she, with a searching
look.

"I learned it years ago of a harp player, who was teaching the sister of
a friend of mine. He said I should one day find it a useful
accomplishment. Do you not agree with him?"

"Perfectly!" said Aveline, looking up to him with a smile.

"And which does this string rhyme to?" he asked, when he had put it on.

"Ah! you are right," said Aveline, "the octaves are the rhymes of music.
Look, this is the octave."

"Now, will you go back to the sofa?" he asked.

Aveline shook her head. "I am comfortable here," she said. "I don't
mean to move till I grow restless. Will you have the goodness to bring
me that tray? I want to look over my tools."

She threw off the handkerchief, and sat playing with her tools and
turning them over like a child.

Mr. Haveloc drew a low chair close to hers and began to examine them
also.

"Ah!" said Aveline, looking up, "I was just going to advise you to
address yourself to sculpture. It is the finest of all the arts."

"Do you place it above poetry?" he asked.

"Sculpture is poetry," said Aveline eagerly, "only it is a universal
language. It is the highest art. It is profaned as every thing in these
days is profaned, by the language of ridicule and burlesque. But
everything in sculpture that is not addressed to the most ideal
feelings, becomes disagreeable. The ideal is the atmosphere of
sculpture. It does not admit of caricature. Think of Danton's villanous
statuettes," and Aveline looked all disgust.

"Ah!" said Mr. Haveloc, "there is one of Litzt, on the drawing-room
mantel-piece in my villa--a wonderful likeness."

"And you have not broken it to pieces?" claimed Aveline.

"That would not be in accordance with the Ideal," said Mr. Haveloc.
"Justice is a cardinal virtue, and I presume a subject worthy of the
chisel; and M. Litzt does not belong to me."

"Don't laugh," said Aveline.

"I did not know," said Mr. Haveloc, "that you were such an enemy to the
comic muse. I am sure you must enjoy wit."

"Yes. But the spirit of wit is the very essence of prose, in direct
opposition to poetry, which takes all things in a serious light. And in
these days everything is mocked and parodied until people are laughed
out of the little love they have left for what is noble and beautiful."

"And then there will be a great reaction," said Mr. Haveloc. "We shall
all become as sober as judges a few years hence."

"I hope at least," said Aveline "that we shall learn to laugh in the
right place, and that will be, not at great, but at little sentiments
and actions."

"Do you know, Miss Fitzpatrick, you will think me guilty of treason
after your exordium on sculpture. But you talk of the chisel, and your
instruments remind me of nothing so much as the apparatus of a dentist."

"Oh, mamma, do scold him!" cried Aveline. "It is atrocious--a dentist
too! A race of people of whom I have as much horror as the Egyptians had
of their embalmers."

"Well, really," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, looking up from her work. "All
those mysterious slender little instruments, Aveline?"

"It is a calumny!" cried Aveline, gathering up her tools. "Do not be
angry, Miss Fitzpatrick," said Mr. Haveloc. "I will tell you what I do
admire. This handkerchief; the border is superb. You got it abroad. I
always know people who have travelled, by their coloured
handkerchiefs--they are sure to pick them up at Paris."

"Oh! they are common enough in England, now," said Aveline. "But that is
a good border, the pattern is Arabesque. You wear them, don't you? Let
me look at yours."

Mr. Haveloc produced his handkerchief with a violet edge.

"How dare you!" said Aveline playfully, "It is much finer than mine.
What a coxcomb."

"Change then," said Mr. Haveloc.

Aveline seized his handkerchief with all the eagerness of a child, and
threw him hers.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick looked with rather a grave smile at Aveline; but she
laughed and squeezed it behind the cushion at the back of her chair, as
if to make sure of her new possession.

"You will repent your bargain, but you shall not have it back," said
Aveline.

"Not at all," said he. "I have got the handsome border, and for the
fineness I know nothing about it."

"It is just dinner time," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I hope, my dear
Aveline, you are ready for it."

"Quite hungry, mamma. Will you run and fetch Hakon Jarl, Mr. Haveloc? I
hear Mark coming with his plate of bread."

Mr. Haveloc went off directly, he never hesitated an instant at any of
her commands.

As soon as he was gone, she drew out the handkerchief and gazed at it
with intense delight.

"Ah!" she said to herself, "I have at last got something of his--I will
not again destroy it."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick looked at her with a sigh, but said nothing. "There is
no need now, is there, mamma? When I thought I should never see him
again, it was unwise to keep anything to put me in mind of him;" said
Aveline, folding and unfolding the handkerchief, and quite engrossed by
her own thoughts. "But now that we see him every day--"

"Certainly--it is quite different," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, speaking with
effort.

"You feel uncertain about my health," said Aveline, not noticing the
anguish her words caused her mother, "but you know it may improve."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, unable to control her voice, rose and hurried out of
the room. This was a most unusual instance of emotion with her, and had
Aveline been in health, such a circumstance would have agitated her
beyond measure.

"Poor mamma," said she, looking after her mother, "I do believe she
worries herself sadly about my health, and no wonder; for at times, I
almost despair of myself. I am better now, however." Mr. Haveloc led
the pony up to the window, and Aveline fed him with one slice of bread
after another.

"Do you think he knows me, Mr. Haveloc?" she asked.

"He ought," said Mr. Haveloc, "but take care, Miss Fitzpatrick, he will
include your fingers in his bill of fare some fine day."

"I am sure he would not do it on purpose," said Aveline.

"Ah! here is Mr. Lindsay. I am really glad to see you this morning;
mamma is very low about me. Go and cheer her--tell her I am better."

"No--but are you?" asked Mr. Lindsay.

"What has that to do with it? I don't want you to blind me, Mr. Lindsay,
but mamma. But seriously, I am no worse than when you last saw me."

"So I find; you are much the same," said Mr. Lindsay, removing his
fingers from her pulse.

"And it is more important that you should give me a good word," said
Aveline, "because I meditate doing something very imprudent to morrow."

"Ay--what is that?" said Mr. Lindsay.

"Going to church, doctor," replied Aveline.

"You could not do better," said the doctor drily. "It will be a glorious
hot day; and the little walk up that steep hill will just put you into
condition for sitting two hours on an uneasy straight bench;--go by all
means."

"I thought you would be perverse, doctor," said Aveline. "I expected it.
And let me tell you, in the first place, I am not going to walk. I mean
to ride Hakon Jarl. Take him back, Mr. Haveloc, I have no more bread to
give him."

"And why, in the name of all that's good, cannot you stop and say your
prayers at home?" asked the doctor.

"Because I don't choose it, doctor. I like to go to church."

"Ah! a good many people think there is something mysterious in the air
of a church," said Mr. Lindsay. "However take your own course; there is
something truly pious in a bad cold caught in a damp pew--it sends
people now and then to Heaven before their time, I grant you."

"Ah, doctor, if people did not know you, they would not think you so
good as you are. Now mind what you are about to mamma."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was now quite composed, even cheerful. She shook hands
with Mr. Lindsay; "begged him to take some luncheon at their early
dinner," and summoned Mr. Haveloc from the garden.

"Aveline is your charge you know," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I do not even
venture to carve for her."

"What shall it be, Miss Fitzpatrick?" said Mr. Haveloc, drawing his
chair to the table.

"Sweetbread, I think," said Aveline, looking round, "and mushrooms."
"No mushrooms;" said Mr. Lindsay.

"I will!" said Aveline.

Mr. Haveloc put them on her plate.

"What do you always shake your head for, doctor, when you look at him?"
asked Aveline, laughing; "has he so much the appearance of a bad
subject?"

"I shook my head at the mushrooms," said Mr. Lindsay.

"You see, doctor, her spirits are very good," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, in
a low voice.

"I see," he replied, with a nod. But it was evident he saw no comfort in
it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every one knows the stillness that seems to settle over town and country
on the Sunday in England. Even in the most retired spot, everything is
more silent and quiet than before. No sound of waggons in the
neighbouring lanes; no rural noise of labourers going forth to their
daily toil. And when the scenery chances to be beautiful, the day warm
and fine, and this delicious quiet diffused around, only broken by the
distant and uncertain sound of the church bells; there are few persons
who would be tempted to exchange this refreshing pause from labour; this
purifying rest to the mind, for the gaudy revelry of a continental
Sabbath day.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick pointed out this stillness to Mr. Haveloc, when he met
her in front of her cottage the next morning.

"It always brings to my mind those words of the Psalmist," she said,
"'Be still, and know that I am God!' As if this complete and solemn
repose were necessary to the mind, before contemplating the majesty of
the Divine nature."

"Does Miss Fitzpatrick still hold to her intention?" he asked.

"She does; unless you can persuade her out of it."

"I feel very uneasy at the idea of her going. I saw plainly that Mr.
Lindsay did not like it."

"Good morning, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline. She was standing at the open
window, ready for church. Her white dress and splendid shawl, fastened
by two large gold pins, gave something of amplitude to her figure; but
her face looked more wasted in her bonnet, and the bright colour on her
cheeks seemed to assort but ill with their shrunken outline. She seemed
more than usually grave and quiet; not exactly in low spirits, but a
kind of settled melancholy; she sat down, and gave her hand to Mr.
Haveloc; then occupied herself quietly in putting on her gloves. They
were a new pair of her usual size, but now much too large. She fastened
them, and looked at them for a minute without speaking.

"Are you sure you are quite equal to going, my dearest?" said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, struck and chilled by Aveline's manner.

"Quite, mamma," said she, steadily.

"You will not be prudent, and let me read prayers to you at home?" said
Mr. Haveloc, who was leaning over her chair. "Not to day; but if I
live, Mr. Haveloc, I shall call upon you another Sunday in that
capacity," returned Aveline, in a low voice.

"The poney is ready," he said, taking up her prayer-book.

"You think me very wilful, I am afraid," said she, as he arranged her
cloak, around her.

"Sick people have a right, you know, to be wilful," he replied.

Aveline sighed; and spoke no more during the ride. Mr. Haveloc led the
poney, and Mrs. Fitzpatrick walked by her daughter's side.

At the gate of the church-yard she dismounted, and Mark, who had
followed at a distance, led the poney away to the Vicarage till the
service was over.

Aveline bore the fatigue remarkably well. She remained seated and
abstracted, repeating solemnly the responses with the people. Sometimes
she seemed to shiver, as if something awful occurred to her mind. But
at the Belief, she rose up suddenly, and remained standing with her face
turned to the altar, repeating the words after the clergyman in a
distinct voice. And it seemed to be quite involuntary on her part, for
she sat down again with the same abstracted air, and remained during the
service apparently unconscious, or forgetful of the presence of any one.

"I thought I got through it very well," said Aveline, as she was going
home.

"Much better, my love, than I expected," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Don't hurry the pony, Mr. Haveloc; this road is so beautiful. I am not
at all impatient to get home," said Aveline.

It was a narrow, steep lane, with high banks, partly composed of broad
ledges of rock, with all their fine variety of colours, showing through
fern and creepers, and stunted bushes of oak and maple.

Mr. Haveloc led the poney as slowly as he liked to go, stopping from
time to time to gather wild flowers for Aveline. All at once the sun
went in; the air became chilly--then the wind rose. Dark masses of
ragged vapour came hurrying over the landscape, floating and drifting
over the hills; now parting like a curtain, now collecting and settling
in a dense mass that almost concealed the outline of the country.

"It is the sea-fog. It is coming towards us!" cried Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
"What are we to do with Aveline?"

She looked really bewildered.

"Oh, my dear mamma, don't mind me," said Aveline; "Mrs. Grant's cottage
is at the end of the lane; I will go in there till the fog is past."

"Let us make haste then, Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, mending
her pace; "the fog travels fast. She will be wet. What will become of
us?"

"Can you go faster?" asked Mr. Haveloc, who was urging the pony as fast
as he could walk.

"No; my head swims," said Aveline. She could not bear anything like
agitation or hurry.

Mrs. Grant, who had just arrived from church by a path across the
fields, was all astonishment when she saw the party coming briskly
towards the cottage door. She stepped out of the little garden gate to
meet them.

"Why, Miss Aveline, my dear young lady, what brings you out so far from
home?" she asked.

Aveline was too flurried to speak.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick began her explanations, but they were interrupted in
the midst, for Aveline, after a vain attempt to get off the poney, sank
into Mr. Haveloc's arms, and fainted away.

Mrs. Grant was terribly frightened. She thought at first that Aveline
was dead. Mrs. Fitzpatrick was as usual, calm and prompt.

"Don't go away," were her first words when she recovered, turning her
eyes in search of Mr. Haveloc. "Tell me when you are quite restored,
that I may have the pleasure of scolding you," he said, coming up to her
chair. "I do not know what business you have to frighten us in this
way."

"I will tell you what, dear Mrs. Grant," said Aveline, "we will send for
our dinner to add to yours, and we will all dine together. It will be
something like a pic-nic."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick agreed. Aveline could not move at present, and she must
not be kept waiting for her dinner.

Mr. Haveloc offered to walk home, and give what orders Mrs. Fitzpatrick
pleased.

"And be sure to come back and dine with us," said Aveline, eagerly.

"Have a little mercy on him, Aveline," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, smiling;
"he may not be quite so fond of pic-nics as you are."

But Aveline insisted; and Mr. Haveloc readily promised that he would
come back to dine.

"Is not it nice, Mr. Haveloc?" said Aveline, when they were all seated
round the little table in Mrs. Grant's kitchen. Aveline being in the old
lady's easy chair, supported with pillows.

If anybody had told Mr. Haveloc at any period of his life, that he would
be dining in a cottage with an old nurse, he would have thought he might
safely deny the charge; but as he was there, he quite won Mrs. Grant's
heart by his politeness to her; and so overcame her by his care for
Aveline, that although not much given to hyperbole, she frankly owned
that she thought him an angel, the first moment she was alone with Mrs.
Fitzpatrick.

The sea-fog passed off, and the afternoon was brilliant.

Mark led home the pony, and bespoke a carriage from the inn, to take
Aveline home after tea.

She laid down on the nurse's bed till tea-time; and then rose refreshed
and better.

The nurse remained with her, and, at her particular desire, Mr. Haveloc
and her mamma went to church a second time.

"And, my darling, whatever you do, don't go to church again until Mr.
Lindsay gives you leave," said Mrs. Grant, as she helped Aveline into
the carriage.

"Ah, Mrs. Grant!" said Aveline, "if I had not felt that this would be
the last time, do you think I should have been so earnest to go?"



CHAPTER X.


  _Ant._ Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life;
            Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife;
            Give me thy hand.

   COMEDY OF ERRORS.


There was, perhaps, nothing on earth for which Elizabeth Gage would have
felt more unmixed contempt, than for an unrequited attachment;--no fate
under Heaven from which she would have considered herself more utterly
exempt; and yet, to her dismay, she began to suspect that she felt too
warm an interest for her father's guest. The fact was, that she had felt
this interest and admiration so very long before they met, that it was
not now a very easy task to undo these feelings. She merely copied
strictly the silence and reserve that distinguished his manner; talked
no more than politeness demanded; and at once wished and dreaded the
termination of his visit.

He suited Captain Gage admirably, though no two characters could be more
opposite. He was less like a sailor than a courtier of Elizabeth's
reign. His gravity, his classical tastes, his habits of study, his
proficiency in the dead languages, together with that cast of
countenance seldom seen but in the age to which it belongs, seemed to
stamp him as the companion of Raleigh and Southampton. But he still
retained a plainness of speech and directness of purpose that is
supposed to be generally indicative of the profession to which he
belonged.

He had regained his health in great measure. He did as other people; he
joined Elizabeth and her father in their rides and walks; he knew all
Captain Gage's tenants; he had been with Elizabeth to the alms-houses;
he even carried her basket for her, but always in silence. He had
observed her at the head of her father's table, in their large dinner
parties; he had gone out with them in return; he had watched the four or
five young gentlemen who were pretending timidly to Miss Gage's favour,
and the two middle aged men who alternately made her an offer once a
quarter.

One sunny morning in August, Elizabeth came into the breakfast-room,
where her father was standing by the open glass doors, and having
embraced him and taken her place before the urn, she saw Sir Philip at a
little distance on the lawn, talking to one of the gardeners.

"My dear father," said she, "have the charity to tell him breakfast is
ready, for I am no Beatrice that I should summon him to table."

Captain Gage laughed and made a sign to his friend.

"Have you much of a garden at Sherleigh?" he asked, when they were
seated at the table.

"I dare say not," replied Sir Philip, "I have not been there for years,
and people seldom attend much to a garden unless there is a lady to
overlook them."

"Bessy never does anything to my flowers, except gather them," said
Captain Gage.

"What!" said Elizabeth, laughing, "did you find out that I took the red
passion-flower yesterday?"

"Yes, I saw it," said her father, "will you write those letters for me
after breakfast?"

Elizabeth always wrote her father's business letters. She seated herself
at a table and selected pens and paper.

"Papa! I must complain of you," she said, "you take my best envelopes
for everybody. Suppose I were to want to send out invitations; I should
have nothing but coarse paper left."

"Which? The envelopes with the crest? Oh! I will be careful in future;
you are very stingy of your best paper."

"Well, I am to write to Palmer about the meadows, and to Brown about
the lease. Anything else?"

"Why I don't know what to do about the bees; if you could send a line to
Harding--"

"My dear father, we are fated never to keep bees, but if you have any
fancy for the hives--"

"You are a saucy girl; have you written to Palmer?"

"Yes, there it is."

"Excellent. Oh! what does George mean to do about his brown horse?"

"Calypso? He left him here for me to ride during the summer."

"You--ride Calypso--my good child, you will break your neck."

"If you are going to the farm to-day, my dear father, I will prove to
you that Calypso can be ridden without such a catastrophe."

"Look here," said her father, taking a letter from a servant, "here are
cards for Mrs. Hollingsworth's ball." This was a lady of large fortune
in the neighbourhood, whose eldest son was a very persevering admirer of
Miss Gage's.

Sir Philip was reading the paper in the window.

"My dear father, I will not go," said Elizabeth in a low but decided
tone.

"Why, Bessy, how is that?" said her father, looking much amused, "Mrs.
Hollingsworth's balls are excellent, and there is Charles Hollingsworth
for your partner."

"My dear father, I will not subject myself to the annoyance of being in
his company," said Elizabeth in the same low tone, "I consider myself
very much aggrieved by that person."

"Why, my dear, he would make you an offer to-morrow, if you would give
him any hope."

"But do you not see," said Elizabeth, "that he owes it to me to give me
the power to put a stop to his attentions, if they are unpleasing to me.
There is something of cowardice in subjecting one, without ceasing, to
civilities which must end in nothing, but which, in the meantime, cause
a great deal of gossip, and which a woman has no power to arrest except
by a refusal. I consider myself," said she, half laughing, "very
unjustly treated by Mr. Hollingsworth."

"And Mrs. Hollingsworth has the match so much at heart," said Captain
Gage, taking up the note which accompanied the cards; "here you see she
begs us to dine and dress at her house. Offers beds: but you are made of
flint."

"She does not offer to send Mr. Charles out of the way," said Elizabeth,
"do not go, my dear father, for my sake."

"And here is a card for Sir Philip," continued Captain Gage, "what say
you d'Eyncourt, have you any fancy to go to this ball?"

"If Miss Gage had intended to go," said Sir Philip, looking up from the
paper with his usual gravity, "I should have liked to see her dance; but
as she declines I shall be obliged to you to include me in your
refusal."

"No one has seen me dance within the memory of man, Sir Philip," said
Elizabeth, smiling, "I walk through one quadrille always for form's
sake."

"Well then, Bessy, write a civil refusal, full of regrets," said Captain
Gage, laying the note before her, "I must go and speak to Meadows about
the carriage horses."

She took up a pen. Sir Philip drew his chair nearer to hers.

"How shall you decline?" he asked.

Elizabeth thought him rather curious, but as he was partly interested in
the matter, she replied at once:

"I shall be able to tell her fortunately, that we are expecting some
friends to stay with us the week after next."

"And if she should invite the friends?"

"Nay, that would be very malicious," said Elizabeth, laughing. "But
supposing such a case," said Sir Philip.

"Still fortune favours me," said Elizabeth, "for the friends we expect
are an elderly couple, who certainly would not go to a ball."

"If the lady has a great interest in your coming, I think she would
hardly give you up so easily," remarked Sir Philip.

"Ah! Sir Philip," said Elizabeth turning to him with a smile and a
blush, "you chanced to hear what my father and I were talking about.
Happily there is no one whom I should so little regret overhearing us."

"And why so?"

"Because, in the first place, it is a subject which will not interest
you sufficiently to dwell on your memory; and secondly, anything of that
nature I am confident would be as safe with you as with ourselves."

"Miss Gage," said Sir Philip, looking earnestly at her, "I am a great
many years older than you."

"That you must be," said Elizabeth, "for I remember you grown up when I
was a child; yet you see how little difference there is now. You were
alluding to the ball, were you not? You have outlived your taste for
dancing, and I always felt too old for it."

"Permit me," said Sir Philip, surveying her still more earnestly, "to
ask if you are disengaged."

"Perfectly; as soon as I have sealed this note," said Elizabeth,
lighting the taper. "Do you think of going to S---- this morning? You
can see the Cathedral, but you will be too late for service; you had
better defer it till to-morrow."

But while she was speaking, she turned her head away to avoid his grave
regard, a drop of wax fell on her finger.

"There!" said Sir Philip, taking her hand and examining it attentively,
"you have burnt your finger. How very careless; you were not looking at
what you were doing."

"True," said Elizabeth, smiling at the blunt way in which he showed his
interest; "it is a trick I have of burning my fingers when I seal
letters; and to-day is Friday, I must tell papa. He is very
superstitious about Fridays."

"Tell him also that I love you sincerely," said Sir Philip, "that I
demand of him this hand; that I do not know how to recommend myself to
you, and that he must therefore be my friend."

"You, Sir Philip, I cannot express to you my astonishment."

"I wonder who could remain for three weeks in a house with you," said
Sir Philip, with a blunt admiration in his look and voice, "without
coming to the same pass. You are not angry."

"No, Sir Philip," she replied.

"You are all candour, I know you would speak the truth at once. I am
more happy than I dared to hope," said her companion.

Elizabeth smiled and looked down.

"Well, now," said Sir Philip, taking both her hands, "will you have the
goodness to fix a day for our marriage? You see I am ordered abroad for
my health, and naturally I wish to take you with me."

"Really, Sir Philip," said Elizabeth, "you are too hasty; consider how
short a time we have known each other."

"I have known Captain Gage a long time," said Sir Philip, "I was his
first lieutenant when he was on the West India station; that is the same
thing. How many times I have said to myself, 'I will marry Gage's
daughter; if she will not have me, it is easy for me to remain single.'"

Elizabeth started. How often had she, in rejecting her lovers, said in
her turn, "until I meet with some one like Sir Philip d'Eyncourt, I will
never marry."

"And yet you did not recollect me, that evening," said she.

"I expressed myself badly," he replied, "I meant that I could not trace
any resemblance between what you were, and what I now find you. You were
a very nice little girl: you are a beautiful woman."

"And you have learned to flatter," said Elizabeth blushing.

"No, it is just my opinion, now I am going to find your father. It seems
quite singular to ask Gage to accept me as a son-in-law. He is not a
dozen years older than I am."

A few weeks after this conversation, Captain Gage had the satisfaction
of bestowing his daughter's hand upon Sir Philip d'Eyncourt: and a few
days afterwards, Margaret who had officiated as one of the bridesmaids,
accompanied her uncle to the sea-side; for he had at last consented to
listen to his physician, and to consider his illness of importance.



CHAPTER XI.


    And now that hope and joy are seen to fade,
    Like stars dim gliding till they mix with shade;
    Now that thy cheek has sorrow's canker proved
    When thus by sickness changed, ah! more beloved.

    ELTON.


"Aveline, my love, it is impossible that you can ride the pony to-day.
Pray give up the idea. Do you not agree with me, Mr. Haveloc?"

Mr. Haveloc was always appealed to, for Aveline had become irritable; a
phase of her complaint upon which her sweet temper and habitual
self-command had no influence.

"No, you cannot ride to-day," said Mr. Haveloc, approaching the easy
chair in which she was sitting, propped up with pillows; "you
frightened us all too much yesterday. You are hardly out of your
fainting-fit, and you wish to bring on another. Consider our nerves!"

Aveline looked up at him and smiled, even her mother had not the control
over her that he had.

"But look," she said, "what beautiful weather; it is hard that I should
remain in the house all day. You know I cannot walk. What am I to do?"

"Shall I row you," he said, "you can have as many pillows as you like;
and you may lie as quietly as you would on the sofa."

"No," said Aveline, "I am afraid that my head would not bear the motion
of the boat."

"And yet you thought of riding," said Mr. Haveloc, with a smile.

This was an imprudent remark, sick people require managing.

"Riding is quite different!" said Aveline angrily; "you do not know how
to distinguish!"

Fortunately with all his impatience of temper, she never roused it. He
pitied her too deeply; and without feeling the slightest attachment to
her in the ordinary sense of the term, he had become very fond of her;
he was won by the reliance she had placed in him for every thing.

He met Mrs. Fitzpatrick's eyes turned gratefully upon him, and smiled.

"No; I know nothing about it," he said, leaning over Aveline's chair, "I
have no experience in illness. I cannot measure your strength."

"Then," said Aveline with a slight want of consistency, "what should you
advise me to do?"

"Let us wheel you in this chair upon the grass; there you can enjoy the
sea breeze, and you will be in the shade."

Aveline agreed to this, and she was soon established under the trees,
with a little table at her elbow on which stood a glass of water, a
plate of hot-house grapes, and a splendid cluster of flowers.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick with her work on one side of the chair, Mr. Haveloc on
the grass with a book.

"What are you reading, Mr. Haveloc, that makes you smile?"

"Boiardo, there is something so dry in his manner."

"Do not read to yourself, it fidgets me," said Aveline.

Mr. Haveloc closed his book, and began throwing pebbles on the beach
below them.

"Have you much of this pink clematis, Mr. Haveloc," asked Aveline,
examining her bouquet.

"There is one plant of it."

"Have you them in any other colour?"

"Yes; in white. But I brought you the pink because it is the greatest
novelty."

"Bring me both kinds to-morrow."

"I will."

"And some of the heaths you were talking about."

"Yes; you shall have a splendid bouquet to-morrow."

"Your gardens will be quite devastated, Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick.

"That will be of no consequence," he said.

"I wish, Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, "that you would shoot me a
partridge, I should like it for my dinner."

It was the first of September. Now if she had asked him to shoot her a
golden eagle, it would have been just as much in his power. He was too
near-sighted to shoot; and moreover he had not applied for permission to
shoot any where that year. He looked to Mrs. Fitzpatrick for assistance.

"You know, my love," said her mother, "it could not be in time for your
dinner to-day."

"Yes; I would wait for it," said Aveline. "The truth is," said Mr.
Haveloc, "I am no marksman, my sight is so bad that I could not
distinguish a partridge on that walk."

"You say that only to teaze me;" said Aveline, "you can always see mamma
when she comes out of the avenue."

"But then your mamma is something larger than a partridge," said Mr.
Haveloc.

"Then I am to go without it, I suppose," said Aveline.

"No, for I will go to the next town and bring you one."

"And what shall I do without you all that while;" asked Aveline
impatiently.

At this moment, Mr. Lindsay appeared at the drawing-room window, and
joined the party on the lawn.

"What are you all caballing about," he asked.

"Aveline has a fancy for a partridge, Mr. Lindsay," said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick; "how shall I get one?"

"I have brought one with me," said Mr. Lindsay, "I left it with your
cook."

"I am glad you did not depend on me," said Mr. Haveloc, "I should have
blundered over the turnip fields all day, and brought you nothing."

"Well, do not you find it very warm," said Mr. Lindsay, "beautiful
grapes you have! Where do they come from?"

"Taste them, doctor," said Aveline, "Mr. Haveloc brought them."

The doctor looked at Mr. Haveloc, gave a slight shake of the head, and
tasted the grapes. He believed him under the illusion of an attachment
to Aveline; for middle-aged people are apt to consider the affections as
illusions. But he pitied him, as he would have done any one suffering
under a nervous complaint, for he knew that while they last, nervous
complaints are as definite as the loss of a limb.

But soon these fits of irritation disappeared altogether; she became
placid, grateful, tender; her strength was ebbing away.

Mr. Haveloc came in the morning, only to depart at night. His attention
was unremitting; and Aveline seemed only to live in his presence. To
wait for his coming; to kindle into life at his footstep; to rest for
hours content to look at him; to talk to him on religious subjects, in
which he became the learner, and she unconsciously, the teacher. These
privileges as she considered them, soothed her later hours, and softened
her pilgrimage to the grave. It was not the "Valley of the Shadow" to
her. She possessed the sacred support, the healing consolation of a
profound religious conviction, which she had not delayed till that hour
to seek and to enjoy; and her sickness had purchased for her what she
never could have obtained in the days of her beauty and health--the
companionship of the person she loved. And, always in extremes, he
devoted himself to her comfort with a zeal that astonished Mrs.
Fitzpatrick. He seemed to know intuitively how to arrange her
flowers--to move her pillows, how to amuse her when she was calm, and
to be silent when she was weary. He knew how to draw her attention from
her mother on those rare occasions when Mrs. Fitzpatrick gave way to a
burst of sorrow. He was her confidant in those trifling arrangements for
the future with which she was unwilling to disturb her mother's
feelings.

And to her subdued and serious state of mind, her attachment to him took
the quiet colour of her other thoughts. She knew that she had done with
life; and her affection for him was such as she might carry beyond the
tomb.

And thus subdued by illness, yet sustained by the brightest hopes, she
tranquilly awaited the moment when her Angel should summon her from the
earth.



CHAPTER XII.


  _Soph._ You powers, that take into your care the guard
             Of innocence, aid me! for I am a creature
             So forfeited to despair, hope cannot fancy
             A ransom to redeem me ... ...
             ... ... Was't for this he left me
             And, on a feigned pretence--

    THE PICTURE.


It would be too adventurous an incident to introduce if this tale were
an invention instead of a narrative of facts, that Mr. Grey was ordered
by his physician to a part of the coast very near to that where Mrs.
Fitzpatrick's cottage was situated. Not a mile of rough hilly ground
divided their dwellings from each other. This choice of a _locale_ was
very easily accounted for. Mr. Warde was acquainted with Mr. Fletcher,
the clergyman of the parish, and wrote to beg him to select a house for
his friend. Mr. Fletcher did his best, but houses were not plentiful in
that district. It was a pretty cottage, but really deserving of no other
name. Mr. Grey did not enjoy it at all; he missed the luxuries of his
own house. The casements did not shut, the chimnies smoked. There was no
piano for Margaret, and Land's room was so small as to be a daily source
of disquiet to his master. He was more annoyed for others than for
himself. Little did Margaret think when she went down to the sea-side
every morning, and sat patiently by her uncle's chair with her book and
her work, that the person who most occupied her mind, was within so
short a distance, engaged in the same sort of pursuit, in watching over
the declining health of a friend.

But her uncle grew weaker and more restless; he determined to return to
Ashdale; and having once fixed the day, he seemed more comfortable in
his mind.

"Do you like the idea of it, my child?" said he to Margaret, "shall you
not be glad to get back to Ashdale?"

"Very glad, Sir," returned Margaret.

"It must be dull, indeed, for you," said Mr. Grey in a pitying tone,
"not a single soul here that we know. We might, to be sure, know the
clergyman; but he gets a holiday exactly at the wrong time, and the man
who does his duty for him does not live in the place. Not a shop to be
seen, nor anything for the child to read but the paper; and that she
does not care about, poor little thing."

"Oh, uncle! if you were well I should not find it dull," said Margaret,
"I should enjoy the sea and the beautiful rocks above everything. But
when there is anything the matter, one always feels safer at home."

Mr. Grey smiled, and said something as he went away about wishing to see
Casement again, in which desire Margaret could not join.

As it was his habit to rest in his own room during the afternoon,
Margaret took her work into the porch, and sat enjoying the sea breeze,
and watching the picturesque road that wound beneath the cottage along
the shore. She had found out that when the mind is anxious and
distressed, the best thing she could do was to work. Her thoughts could
not be compelled to study, and her needle passed the time a little more
calmly and quickly than when she was doing nothing. And now a labourer
might be seen driving a cart drawn by a yoke of oxen along the rugged
way; and then a couple of children carrying between them a basket which
they had been sent to fill at the neighbouring village; and but for such
rare passengers, the road was quiet all day long. While she sat,
thinking of the one subject that filled her mind when she could divert
it for a moment from her uncle's illness; thinking over all that Mr.
Haveloc had ever said and done at Ashdale, she saw, advancing up the
path a figure that made her start and colour, it was--she felt sure of
it--Hubert Gage.

He was walking very fast, opened the rustic gate himself, and hastened
up to her.

Her first thought was a fear about Elizabeth.

"Bessy is well, I hope?" said she eagerly.

"Quite well. At last I see you again! How difficult you have made this
to me! How impossible it was at Ashdale to gain speech of you even for a
moment!"

"Have you long returned from Ireland?" said Margaret, feeling greatly
embarrassed by the tone of her companion.

"Long? This instant! As soon as I learned where you were, I followed
you."

"And Bessy is really well?"

"Bessy? Yes," said he in a tone of impatience. "Let me speak about
yourself. Margaret, you have done me a great injustice, and you have
not given me the means of defending myself. You have thought me
incapable of loving you as you deserved."

Margaret held up her hand as if to stop him, he seized it, and pressed
it to his lips.

"I tell you what, Mr. Hubert Gage, this will not do," said Margaret
gravely, regaining possession of her hand; "there is a great want of
consideration in your conduct. I am sure you pay very little regard to
my tranquillity in coming here. My uncle is very ill, and all my time
and thoughts are occupied in attending upon him. I have no time, and I
must say no patience for these scenes."

Land came down at this moment with Mr. Grey's compliments, and "hearing
Mr. Hubert was below, hoped he would stop to dinner."

He accepted the invitation, then turning to Margaret, as Land
disappeared, said: "I will retract. I will go back instantly if you will
make me one promise--I have a right to claim it; a right from all you
have made me suffer. Give me the means of seeing you. I have not had
fair play--you have not allowed me to address you--to seek to gain your
confidence, your love. Cruel! to make your refusal so absolute; to leave
me no hope; but I will not be so repulsed: you know nothing of me as
yet. Why deny me--"

"Mr. Hubert, you will not listen to me," said Margaret, anxious to bring
the dialogue to a conclusion.

"You are so charming! You look a thousand-fold more beautiful than when
I saw you last. But what of your beauty? Nothing to that angelic
disposition which animates all you do. You thought me so trifling that I
could not comprehend your heart. Margaret, it was that which made me
seek you."

"I am very sorry that I wronged you so far," said Margaret. "I did not
think it was your nature to care much--to love much,--I mean to be much
in earnest about anything. If, indeed," said she, marking the distressed
expression of his countenance, "your happiness is disturbed, I am still
more sorry; but I can do nothing. I cannot tell you falsely that I shall
ever change."

"You will not! See what you do! You have made my whole life
wretched--worse than that, useless. I can settle to nothing. I cannot
leave the country where you are. But I will not despair. You shall see
more of me--you shall love me yet."

"There is one thing," said Margaret with a little air of triumph, "we
leave this place on Thursday."

"So much the better," said Hubert, "for I shall be very near you at
Chirke Weston."

Margaret looked vexed and undecided. She thought there was but one way
to put a stop to his assiduities; and although with great reluctance,
she resolved to adopt it.

"You compel me to be very plain with you, Mr. Hubert," she said; "but I
cannot see any other means of convincing you that we can be no more than
friends to one another. I am engaged to another person."

"Engaged! How is it possible? How can I believe it? You so young--and
living so retired. May I ask if Mr. Grey is aware of this engagement?"

"He is," said Margaret.

"Why then it is Claude Haveloc!" said Hubert, leaning against the side
of the porch.

Margaret was silent. He remained standing, apparently much disturbed.

"And you are engaged to Claude Haveloc?" said he, throwing himself on
the seat beside her.

Her colour mounted; but she made a gesture of assent. He remained for
some moments apparently undecided as to what he should say or do; and
then looking up suddenly, took her hand.

"Forget me if you will," he said; "but never give a thought to him
again."

"Mr. Hubert!" said Margaret, colouring with anger.

"He is entirely unworthy of you; it is the talk of the village beyond
you there; he is paying his addresses to a young lady who is dying of a
consumption. But his attentions for weeks have been too marked to admit
of a doubt. He is pitied and praised by every one. He is daily and all
day at the house."

"Well that can be explained. I will ask him," said Margaret, trying to
speak calmly.

"You can do better than ask him. You can see and judge for yourself.
Walk past the house at any hour, and find him, as I saw him, at the feet
of your rival."

A thought for one moment crossed the mind of Margaret: she would
revenge herself for this neglect--she would accept the hand of Hubert
Gage. But she felt at once the unworthiness of such an idea, and
remained trembling and silent, looking on the ground.

"Where is this house?" said she after a short pause.

"I can show it to you better than I could describe it," he replied. "It
was in searching for you that I lighted upon this history."

"I am much indebted to you," said she with a strange smile.

Her manner, usually so soft, seemed suddenly to change. There was
something cold and bitter in her voice.

"And what will you do?" he asked.

"After dinner, when my uncle sleeps, I walk out," said Margaret; "you
can then show me this house."

Her seeming calmness quite deceived him; he thought that she was not
suffering much. That once convinced her lover had wronged her, she
might be wooed and won again.

"I am going to my uncle now," said she. "I shall see you at dinner;" and
taking up her work-basket she left him.

Hubert did not see her again until dinner was announced; she was then
standing by her uncle's chair, and seemed to take no notice of his
presence. Mr. Grey welcomed him very kindly; he thought Hubert's visit
so amiable, so well-meant. It showed that he did not resent what had
happened.

He asked a number of questions about Captain Gage, and the d'Eyncourt's,
about his own plans and proceedings; and about their neighbours at
Ashdale. Hubert with his eyes fixed on Margaret answered at cross
purposes.

Margaret was perfectly silent. She helped the dishes before her with the
mechanical accuracy of a person in a dream. She ate nothing herself, and
seemed hardly to know that any one was at table. As soon as the cloth
was removed, she rose. Hubert who had watched in vain for some word or
sign which might tell him that she held to her intention of the morning,
followed her to the door.

She turned as she left the room, and, in a whisper almost inaudible,
uttered the word "wait." Mr. Grey soon afterwards apologised for leaving
his guest; he was obliged to retire early. Margaret would be in the
drawing-room; he hoped Hubert would stay and drink tea.

Hubert took leave of Mr. Grey, and waited until the twilight came, and
was succeeded by the broad moonlight, and still Margaret did not appear.
At last, when he thought of going into the house to seek her, for he was
sauntering up and down the small garden, he saw her standing in the
doorway, wrapped in a large shawl.

"Am I too late?" she said, as he approached her.

"Are you ready?" he returned.

"I am," said she, shivering, and hurrying into the garden, "my uncle
sleeps. Heaven knows whether I shall ever sleep again! There have been
treasures paid for knowledge that might have bought a world of peace
twice told. You know that some knowledge brings death in its train. Lead
me on; if you dare."

Her eyes flashed, even through the twilight; she drew herself up and
assumed an air of defiance that he could not have believed possible to
her soft and exquisite beauty. He had yet to learn what it was to rouse
a gentle nature.

Hubert paused beneath the shrubs in the small garden.

"Choose;" he said, "I do not say that knowledge is not pain; and
ignorance, the grossest ignorance, content. You have not now to learn
that I love you. You can give what faith you please to my accusation."

"I cannot doubt you," said Margaret, "let us make haste; I shall never
go if I do not go soon. I am sick--sick."

They passed down the shady lane, where the moonlight traced a fair
trellis-work of boughs and leaves upon the rocky path; and at every
step, as the road grew more uneven, and as Hubert supported her over the
rugged stones, she cried to him to make haste. She went like one who
walked in her sleep, still struggling for swiftness, and more and more
unable to stir as her wish to move grew more pressing. Hubert almost
carried her the few last steps of the way; and there stood the cottage
by the side of the hill, where it broke gently away down to the sea
shore. The waves rippled and sank down upon the beach to a low sweet
music that seemed almost charged with words, so clear and measured was
the sound in that still night.

Margaret stopped for breath, and hung heavily upon his arm. Then the
thought crossed her mind that if Mr. Haveloc was innocent, and came
there by chance, finding her walking alone with Hubert Gage, what would
he think?

"Oh, Heaven!" she said, clasping her hands in agony, "forget that you
love me--speak to me as a sister. Is this true?"

"I never pressed you to believe me," answered her companion.

"Oh, true, true!" said Margaret, hastening on.

She had hardly gone three paces when she stopped again.

"Coward that I am," said she, "to pry upon his actions; to seek these
miserable means of learning his pursuits. He trusts me wholly. I will
ask him what he does there visiting so often; and if--if he loves her
better, let him go. I would set free an Emperor, if he was willing to be
released. I'll not go on. I'll learn nothing this way."

She was gasping for breath. Hubert Gage turned without another word, and
held out his hand to conduct her back again, but she repulsed him, and
stood clasping her temples with a force that seemed designed to hold in
her reason.

"If you think," said she very slowly, for she was collecting her ideas,
"that I shall like you better when I have learned to hate him, know,
once for all, that you will be more intolerable in my eyes than Claude
himself."

He looked distressed, but made no answer.

She paused a moment, and then said in a more quiet tone. "Be sure you
say nothing of all this to my uncle; it would so vex him. He is not well
enough--"

He gave her this promise; and having reached the garden fence, he said
he would wait for her while she went down the terrace walk. She made him
a sign of silence, and stole gently forward till she came under the
verandah. The drawing-room windows were unclosed, and she heard and saw
all that passed within. A sofa was drawn close to the window, on which
reclined a girl of seventeen, who still retained much of the graceful
beauty that had distinguished her. Tall and slight, the full muslin
wrapper in part concealed the wasting influence of that disease which
had so nearly fulfilled its task. Her eyes, with their long black
fringes, seemed to take a disproportioned share in her face, and her
profuse dark hair, which had been wound in large folds at the back of
her head, had fallen in long tresses like broad ribbons over the
cushions that she lay upon. She was reclining, half supported in a
sitting posture by Mr. Haveloc. Her head leaned on his shoulder, and her
splendid eyes rested on his face as if she knew there was a very little
time for her to impress every feature on her memory. He sat quite silent
for some minutes, and Aveline's wasted hand lay passively in his. At
last she said with a soft smile, still gazing at him as though she
feared to lose a moment of his sight,--

"The moon will change soon, will it not, Mr. Haveloc?"

"To-morrow, I think," said he, kindly, not tenderly, for his was not a
nature that could feign, though Margaret was too dizzy to mark the
difference. They were silent for a few moments, and then on some
restless movement of Aveline's, he employed himself in altering the
cushions.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who had been leaning her head against the mantel-piece
as she sat, looked up at the slight noise which they made, and then
dropped her head again, with that mute expression of anguish which the
attitude can so eloquently convey.

"I hope you will not go away so early to-night, Mr. Haveloc," said
Aveline, as soon as her pillows were properly arranged, "You went so
very early yesterday, and it is of no use, for I do not sleep the sooner
for it."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick raised her head, and cast a look at Mr. Haveloc as
though she would have said, "humour her," but she sank into her former
position without speaking.

"I am sure, as long as you are not tired," he said, "I will stay until
Mrs. Fitzpatrick thinks proper to turn me out of doors."

"Is mamma asleep?" said Aveline, who was listening for her mother's
voice.

"Asleep, my love!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, in a tone that thrilled
through Margaret, there was in it so much despair.

"We are all half asleep," said Mr. Haveloc. "Shall I ring for candles?"

"Do," said Aveline; "stay! do you see a figure--a shadow--there, in the
verandah?"

Margaret heard no more. She turned, rushed from the terrace down the
steps to the beach on the sands until the foam of the waves broke over
her feet.

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Hubert Gage, who had hastened after her. "What
is it you intend? What are you going to do?"

"What should I do but go home?" said Margaret, turning quietly round. "I
have seen what I came to see."

And turning away again, she began to walk rapidly.

"Speak to me," said he, after he had followed her in silence for some
time. "Tell me--am I to blame?"

Margaret shook her head.

"I cannot bear this silence," he said, after another pause. "Say
something to me."

"What should I say?" asked Margaret, still walking on.

"Do you detest me?"

"You!--No."

They arrived before the gate of the cottage.

Margaret held out her hand to him.

"Good night," said she, in a calm voice. "Let me see you to-morrow."



CHAPTER XIII.


    Steig' empor, o Morgenroth, und röthe
    Mit purpurnem Küsse Hain und Feld!
    Säus'le nieder, Abendroth und Flöte
    Sanft in Schlummer die erstorb'ne Welt;
        Morgen--ach! Du röthest
        Eine Todtensflor,
    Ach! und du, o Abendroth! umflötest
    Meinen langen Schlummer nur.

    SCHILLER.


"There is no one in the verandah," said Mr. Haveloc, coming back to the
side of Aveline. "It was your fancy. You have not yet forgotten the
gipsy."

Aveline smiled, and signed to him to take a chair close to the sofa.

"I am easy now," she said. "I will not move again." He looked anxiously
at her, and thought there was something strange in the expression of her
features. It seemed as if she had lost her control over them, and that
her smile was involuntary.

"Mamma!" said she suddenly, in a quick, sharp tone.

Her mother hastened to her side.

"Keep close to me, mamma," she said.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, seated on the side of the sofa, held her daughter's
hand.

"Do you feel worse, my love?" she whispered.

"No; better," returned Aveline, in a clear voice.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick trembled excessively, but controlled all other sign of
emotion. She looked anxiously at Mr. Haveloc, as she often did, to read
his opinion. His eyes were fixed on the ground.

"Mr. Haveloc," said Aveline, in a voice perfectly free from emotion,
"you will recollect to tell Mr. Fletcher that Mr. Lucas was very kind,
and gave me much comfort."

"He returns to-morrow. I hope you will be well enough to see him
yourself," said Mr. Haveloc.

Aveline looked at him, and marked the unquiet expression of his face.

"See how few wishes I have," said she; "how everything has been
anticipated by your kindness," turning her eyes upon her mother. "I have
nothing left to say at this hour."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as white as marble, pressed her daughter's hand to her
lips.

Mr. Haveloc, struck with awe at the presentiment which seemed to fall
upon them all, did not venture to speak.

"Mamma--little Jane," said Aveline, after a pause.

"Yes, my love; you know we arranged that matter the other day," said
Mrs. Fitzpatrick, with wonderful calmness.

"Yes--yes," said Aveline.

"I think," said Mr. Haveloc, looking at Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I had better
ring for Mrs. Grant."

"Who's that?" asked Aveline quickly. "It was I who spoke," said Mr.
Haveloc. "I wished to send for your nurse, for I do not like you to be
up at this hour."

"No--no; do not move me," said Aveline.

"It shall be as you like; but I know you will not sleep here," said Mr.
Haveloc.

"No more sleep," said Aveline, as if to herself.

She remained with her eyes fixed on the ceiling, where, owing to some
reflection of the lights, there was a broad luminous spot.

There was a long, deep silence. Mrs. Fitzpatrick was praying inwardly.
Aveline still remained with her eyes uplifted, breathing short and
quick.

All at once the stillness was broken by her voice repeating, in a
distinct tone--

"'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil; for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.'"

Those who have watched by a sick person only can tell with what
touching solemnity the words of Scripture will appear invested when
coming suddenly from their lips in the stillness of night.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick's firmness gave way; she burst into tears. Aveline made
no remark. She did not seem to notice her companions.

At last she said, in allusion to their conversation sometime ago.

"But nurse may come."

Mrs. Fitzpatrick rang the bell. Mrs. Grant entered; but Aveline was
again abstracted.

The good old woman sat down behind the sofa, making a sign to them to be
silent. She had seen for some days better than any one that the end was
approaching.

"Is the tide down, Mr. Haveloc?" asked Aveline, with difficulty.

Mrs. Grant shuddered. The superstition, respecting the influence of the
tides over the dying is well known. She profoundly believed that her
young lady would be released when the tide changed.

Mr. Haveloc walked to the window, and looked out. The long range of low
green rocks, was not yet quite uncovered by the ebbing waves. The moon
gleamed over their slippery surface, and the water rose and fell
bubbling among their crevices.

"Not quite yet," said he coming back to the couch.

"Not quite yet," she repeated. Then with a stronger effort, she said, "I
wished to thank you both."

"My dearest!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick bending over her.

"You are not crying!" said Aveline, trying to draw her hand in a
caressing manner over her mother's face; "not for me!"

"No, not for you, my child," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

"Mamma, it is coming," said Aveline, almost inaudibly. "What, is
coming, my love?" asked her mother.

Aveline made no answer--all her senses seemed to have failed her at
once.

"God be praised!" said Mrs. Grant, rising with the dignity, that true
emotion always gives: "God be praised! she is now an angel in Heaven!"



CHAPTER XIV.


    And some will die, these are the gentle hearted,
    Shook down like flowers by early frost: and some
    Will grow in scorn and bitterness of heart,
    As giving unto others, the full measure
    Of that which hath been meted unto them.
    Some look to Heaven, and garner up their hearts
    Where disappointment cannot touch them more;
    _And these few are the wise_; but there be many,
    Whose life is stronger than their agony,
    And one outlasts the other.--Pity them.

    ANON.


As soon as it was possible the next morning, Hubert Gage, paid the visit
that Margaret had almost demanded of him the evening before. The most
favoured suitor might have felt gratified by the eagerness with which
she evidently awaited his approach; for she was standing half way down
the pathway of the garden, watching him as he neared the cottage. His
embarrassment was far greater than her own, he hardly dared raise his
eyes to her face, and when he did so, he was as much startled by its
steady and fixed expression, as by the icy paleness that overspread her
features.

"I desired to see you again," she said, when he reached her, "I was very
foolish and unreasonable, yesterday; and I was anxious that no friend of
mine should go away with such an impression of me. I wished to meet you
when I was calm again. You see, Mr. Hubert, that I consider you as a
friend."

"A friend!" he exclaimed; "if the devotion of my whole life could
supply--"

"Stop!" cried Margaret, in a tone of suffering, so much at variance with
the even calmness of her first address, that he felt appalled by it. "If
all you have ever professed for me has not been a mockery and an insult,
you will spare me this. You will feel as securely as if the future were
the past, that I can never love again. You will not offend me, if you
value the friendship and regard I have yet to give, by imagining that I
can at any period listen to such language."

"Then, there is nothing but misery an store for both of us," said Hubert
Gage.

"I do not look forward with so much despondency as you do, Mr. Hubert,"
said Margaret, "even now in the first anguish of discovery and despair;
in all the shame and the agony of having been duped and trifled with--a
suffering that you can never fully comprehend; I look forward more
courageously than you do. Let me first speak of myself. I have often
heard of a dream of entire happiness--a state of being, too brilliant to
last; dispelled by accident, or misfortune, or death. My dream has been
dispelled. All is over with me but life and its duties; but I have no
suspense and I sometimes think that suspense is the only torture under
which we cannot be still. Any thing else, believe me, Mr. Hubert, is
endurable. I wake to a deeper sense of the duties of life; the great
lesson which we should ever learn by the loss of its pleasures. Let me
urge the same thing upon you. You have, forgive me, in seeking a
happiness that has been denied you, lost sight of all that is better
than happiness. As I have been somewhat the cause of this, let me, if I
can, atone it. Let me, if you esteem me--I hope you do--urge you to
retrieve this great mistake. Let me entreat you to resume your
profession--to direct your mind to subjects worthy of your energy and
your talent. You know how you would delight your father by this
determination; and let it be your great consolation, as it is mine, that
when happiness is denied to ourselves, we have still the power of
conferring it upon others; and while we keep in mind that there is a
Heaven above us, let us not concern ourselves too deeply with the thorns
beneath our feet."

As Margaret spoke with an earnestness of feeling that forced the tears
from her eyes, the soft but strong west wind brought distinctly to the
porch where they sat, the sound of a passing bell.

The tones were so appropriate; they seemed so completely the echo of her
sentiments, that both remained perfectly silent for some time. Margaret
thought that her companion was moved by her words, for he remained with
his face hidden in his hands; and still at intervals, the dull sound
struck upon their ears.

"There," he said looking up at length, "that is the knell of the poor
girl you saw yesterday."

"Is it?" said Margaret, "I envy her," and she dried her eyes once or
twice; but she scarcely had power left to weep. She had passed half the
night in tears, and she was now feeling the exhaustion which follows
strong emotion. "But I am surprised;" she said, "I should never have
imagined that she was as near her end. It is a very treacherous
complaint. Is it not?"

"I believe so," he returned absently. "The poor mother!" said Margaret,
her voice trembling, "what sad distress there is all around us in this
world, and others are suffering too, Mr. Hubert; there is no sorrow like
the death of those we love."

"You are thinking of Haveloc," said her companion, "it galls me to hear
you speak of him with compassion."

"And yet I think, Mr. Hubert," said Margaret, "that you would forgive
your greatest enemy under such affliction, and even speak kindly of him;
indeed, I am sure you would."

"I must go away," he exclaimed, "I cannot stand this. Every instant you
make yourself more dear to me. I cannot resolve to abandon the hope of
one day winning your regard."

"Shall I try and argue you out of it?" said Margaret, "shall I convince
you that, like most quiet people my feelings are very tenacious; and
that when I say I have done with love. I do not make use of the
expression common to disappointed women, but that I speak a
determination that can never undergo any change. And yet I assure you,
Mr. Hubert, that my friendship is worth having. For instance, I give you
very good advice."

Margaret tried to speak cheerfully, but the smile would not come.

"I will follow it to the letter," said he; "you shall never see me again
until I can say proudly that I have proved myself worthy of your
interest. If all women would so use their influence"--He paused, unable,
from emotion, to complete his sentence.

Margaret changed the subject.

"My uncle is better to-day than he has been for some time," she said, "I
think the prospect of going home has wrought this change, and I hope
that when he is once settled comfortably again at Ashdale, his
improvement will be rapid."

"I hope so," said Hubert, "but my present anxiety is about yourself; how
am I ever to hear of you?"

"If you are kindly anxious to learn how I am, I dare say Bessy will tell
you as much in her letters," said Margaret; "but I expect my life to be
so monotonous henceforth, that I shall furnish nothing but a bulletin."

"I must live upon that, then," he said. "_Well and Single._ That will be
something for me to hear. And if I could not catch some of your
fortitude," he added, looking admiringly at her calm face, "I should be
unworthy of the name of a man. But you do not know how hard it is for me
to leave you while you are looking so ill. You did not sleep last
night."

"Sleep, no!" said Margaret, with _naiveté_.

"And I am afraid," said Hubert, "that you will not take proper care of
yourself without some one to overlook your proceedings."

"There is one great cure for my ailments. Time," said Margaret,
tranquilly; "and I think his wings, or wheels will move as well in your
absence as in your presence, Mr. Hubert."

"That is true, I cannot hasten the movements of your physician," said
Hubert, with a smile.

"That is right," said Margaret, rising, "let us part now, cheerfully."

"Well, but give me your commands," he replied, "you cannot tell the
charm of following implicitly the direction of a person one loves."

"You know them, I think," said Margaret smiling, "you are to go to sea;
and you are to remember the days, when every English gentleman was a
scholar, as well as a soldier. And as you are a sailor, you will find no
difficulty in following the examples of Elizabeth's reign. In fact, when
I see you again, I shall find you very like your father. You must come
in, and say good bye to my uncle, for perhaps when you return again to
England, you may regret that you had not taken leave of so old a
friend."

She passed into the house: her uncle was in his arm chair, drawn close
to the fire, he was as chilly as ever in that summer weather.

"Mr. Hubert Gage is come to take leave of you, uncle," said Margaret
leaning over his chair.

"Oh! these leave-takings," said Mr. Grey turning and offering his hand
to Hubert; "they are the worst part of life. And where are you going, my
dear friend?"

"To sea, if I can get afloat," said Hubert.

"The very best thing in the world," said Mr. Grey. "Your father is
delighted, is he not?"

"I do not think he knows of my resolution; it was rather sudden," said
Hubert with some confusion of manner.

"Ah, indeed!" said Mr. Grey "and I am going home, Hubert."

There was a slight accent on the word "home" that quite unnerved poor
Margaret.

"That poor child is not well," said Mr. Grey; "she distresses herself
about my health; and sickness is almost the only suffering that we
cannot spare our friends. Well, good bye, and may God bless you!"

The tone was so much more solemn than was common with Mr. Grey, that it
seemed like a last farewell.

Hubert Gage wrung his hand in silence, and left him.

The next day they set out on their return home. Mr. Grey was perfectly
happy at the idea of seeing Ashdale again. Margaret was glad of change
and motion. To her uncle's anxious inquiries, she always replied that
she was pretty well, and he imagined that she looked so pale from her
close attendance upon himself.

As they drew near Ashdale, he greeted each familiar object with as much
satisfaction as if he had been absent for years instead of weeks. Every
cottage, every brook, every turn in the road, aroused his attention.

Margaret shivered as the carriage drew up before the house; she dreaded
the recollections which those familiar rooms would bring to her mind.
The fire was burning brightly in the drawing-room. Mr. Casement was
standing on the hearth-rug. This circumstance completed Mr. Grey's
satisfaction. It was really like home, with Mr. Casement at the
fire-side.

Margaret trembling and shivering, and hardly able to restrain her tears,
now crouched over the fire, which was as welcome to her as to her uncle.

"Holloa, little woman! you are the invalid now, it seems," said Mr.
Casement, marking her altered looks.

"The child is tired; don't talk to her, Casement," said Mr. Grey.

"Oh! have you heard the news of Master Claude?" asked Mr. Casement. "He
has been courting again; that's all. I never knew such a fellow."

"Nonsense; I never listen to such reports," said Mr. Grey. "I don't
believe one word of it!"

"Very well--ask old Warde; that's all. It was he who told me," said Mr.
Casement, persisting in his news because he saw it annoyed his old
friend.

"I will never believe it; I know him better," said Mr. Grey.

"Well, well! I did not accuse him of any crime: did I, little woman?"

"Not at all, Sir," said Margaret steadily.

Mr. Grey looked at Margaret with a smile. He was re-assured by her calm
voice, she no more believed the report than he did; so he turned the
subject, and thought no more about it.

But his return home, to which he had looked forward with so much
pleasure, did not produce the good effect he had wished and expected. He
grew daily weaker, more unfit for exertion, either of mind or body. At
last, when it became too great an exertion to leave his room, and when
he was unable to sit up for more than a few hours in a day, he said to
Margaret one evening that he had felt more languid than usual, "My
child, I think you must write to Claude Haveloc. Tell him that I desire
to see him without delay."



CHAPTER XV.


         Oh! sir, I did love you
    With such a fixed heart, that in that minute
    Wherein you slighted or betrayed me rather;
    I took a vow to obey your last decree,
    And never more look up to any hope,
    Should bring me comfort that way.
                        Your suit to me,
    Henceforth be ever silenced.

    BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.


Mrs. Fitzpatrick was gifted with a mind of unusual strength; but for
some days all the fortitude that she possessed, seemed to abandon her.
She found, like many others, that often as she had pictured to herself
what must come, all her imaginings fell far short of the desolation, and
the anguish of the reality. Mr. Haveloc took upon himself all those
arrangements which are so painful to the survivors. She did not see him,
but she occasionally sent him a few words in pencil expressive of her
wishes. She had very few relations, and those few resided far in the
north of Ireland; and the only connexion of her husband whom he had ever
heard her name was Lord Raymond, whose estate of Wardenscourt lay within
a few miles of his own. He wrote to this nobleman, giving him notice of
Aveline's death, in common with the other relations; and greatly to his
surprise, Lord Raymond answered his letter in person as soon as it was
possible.

He was a very well-meaning man, and he thought that it would be a mark
of attention to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and to the memory of her husband, if
he were to attend the funeral of their child; for they had so few
connections left, that but for him she would have been followed to the
grave by strangers.

He became Mr. Haveloc's guest for a week, and managed to pass the time
tolerably well considering that he was away from all his horses. In that
retired spot, he did not feel obliged to confine himself to the house;
he took to shooting sea-gulls, and obtained some little skill with the
rifle. He watched over the Norwegian pony, and endeavoured to feel some
interest in his proceedings; he helped Mr. Haveloc to feed him from the
window with bread, and tried to bear in mind that he was a horse, and
therefore an object of respect and importance. He wandered about the
gardens and ate the fruit, and went out in a boat to visit the yacht;
and expressed a wish to buy her, and gave up the idea, because he was
not sure whether Lucy cared about cruising; and whenever his host
appeared dejected, he endeavoured to condole with him, and very
fortunately, was never able to do so, on account of his stammering.

And during the week that he stayed, he was known to write a letter; but
literature was not his forte, and nobody ever saw him take up a book.

Whenever Mr. Haveloc went to the cottage to inquire after Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, he desired that his compliments and inquiries might be
added to his own; and he usually inquired, at the same time, if Mrs.
Fitzpatrick was not a very fine woman, adding that such was his
recollection of her some years ago.

The day of the funeral arrived. Lord Raymond and Mr. Haveloc were the
only persons who attended it.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick had desired to do so, but she had been peremptorily
forbidden by her friend, Mr. Lindsay, and she acquiesced. Her spirit was
too broken to attempt opposition, even in a thing of trifling
importance.

She sent a few lines to Lord Raymond, thanking him for his kindness, but
she declined the visit which he volunteered to pay her. She entertained
a very reasonable estimate of the condolences of a stranger.

Two or three weeks elapsed before she could nerve herself sufficiently
to admit Mr. Haveloc; but, at last, fearing that he might leave the
neighbourhood without her seeing him, she appointed him to come.

Mr. Lindsay was with her in the drawing-room; she looked dreadfully ill,
and her hand was as cold as ice. Mr. Haveloc took a chair beside her,
and in vain tried to speak. There was something so absolute in her
bereavement, that he was dumb before her; he felt the influence, for the
first time, of that grief that "makes its owner great."

It fell to Mr. Lindsay to sustain the conversation.

"So you have not parted with your yacht yet, Mr. Haveloc," he said, "we
shall lose a pretty object when she leaves this part of the coast."

"No; I had nearly an opportunity of getting rid of her lately," said Mr.
Haveloc, "I thought Lord Raymond would have--"

And he stopped suddenly, remembering that Lord Raymond had come to him
expressly to attend Aveline's funeral. "Ay--you find, like many other
people, that it is much easier to purchase a toy than to part with it."

"Exactly."

"So many people want to sell, and so few care to buy," continued Mr.
Lindsay.

"That is just the case."

"Do you know," said Mr. Lindsay, turning to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as if it
was a subject in which she must take a deep interest; "I feel sure we
shall have a very fine autumn!"

"You think so! You are such an excellent judge of the weather," said
Mrs. Fitzpatrick in a languid voice.

"I shall see the Pyrenees to advantage a month hence," said Mr. Haveloc.

"Ah! you are a traveller. It is singular that nobody stays at home
now-a-days," said Mr. Lindsay. "I should like to know where you would
see a finer country than your own?"

"I do not expect anything but novelty in my tour," said Mr. Haveloc.
"True. For you it is the best thing that could happen," said the doctor,
with a look of commiseration. "Change of scene. Young people, my dear
Mrs. Fitzpatrick, can run away from thought. You and I are obliged to
trust to time alone."

It struck Mr. Haveloc that both the doctor, and Lord Raymond seemed to
take for granted that he must have been attached to Aveline, for which,
with his usual impatience, he set them down as idiots, and thought no
more about it.

At last the doctor took his leave, and then Mrs. Fitzpatrick, turning to
Mr. Haveloc, said to him with a steady voice, "I should like you, Mr.
Haveloc, to take me to see Aveline's grave. I do not know where it is,
and I could not ask any one else to point it out to me."

Mr. Haveloc consented directly. Mrs. Grant, who was still in the house,
and came in with her mistress's walking-dress, was very reluctant that
she should go. She founded her objections upon the wet grass, and the
quantity of rain that had fallen.

"My good, Mrs. Grant," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as she fastened her shawl,
"I wish a little damp grass could hurt me;" and turning to Mr. Haveloc,
she repeated with a half smile. "When the mind's free, the body's
delicate."

It was a soft fine evening. They walked slowly, and in silence towards
the church-yard. Half hidden among the hills you descended the narrow
shady lane, and came suddenly upon the quiet burying-ground, and small
village church. The long shadows lay upon the graves; the rooks were
wheeling and settling among the surrounding trees, and the rain had
called out the mingled scent of flowers and shrubs from every thicket.

"It is very wet," said Mr. Haveloc, as they stepped on the long
saturated grass.

"It does not matter," replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick. "Do you know," she
added, "that on the night of her funeral, I looked from my window, and
was quite relieved to see the turf whitened by the broad moonlight. If
the rain had beat on her grave that first night--but this is very weak."

"I cannot think so," said Mr. Haveloc. "I cannot believe that any of the
natural feelings which we cherish for the remains of those who are dear
to us, serve to be classed as weaknesses to be derided or overcome. I
detest the philosophy which can analyse and reject the most sacred of
our affections--that can strip death of the awe and the mystery which
should protect and surround the breathless effigy destined to be
immortal. A philosophy so blind that it sees but a heap of clay in the
ashes that wait for the breath of God to summon them to Heaven!"

"You always feel strongly, you know," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with a faint
smile.

They had crossed the church-yard by this time, and stopped before a
recent grave. It was covered with white stone, and a cross of the same
material carved in the early English fashion, bore the simple
inscription of her name and age.

"Already!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, "I am surprised. I had no idea that it
could have been done so soon."

"It was placed here two days after the funeral," said Mr. Haveloc. "I
did not choose that the spot should remain unmarked."

At another time, Mrs. Fitzpatrick would have smiled at the self-will
which her companion was apt to display even in trifles; and have
wondered how much it would avail him in the serious business of life.
But now she leaned upon the cross absorbed in her own painful thoughts;
her mind wandered involuntarily from scene to scene of her daughter's
illness and death. Every tone, every change of countenance presented
itself in turn to her memory.

All was perfectly still. It was very rare for a footstep, except on
Sundays, to cross that lovely spot. One benefit arising from a thinly
scattered population, is the decent repose afforded to the dead. Here,
the graves were not crowded, and there was no need to disturb them for
the new inmates. The old mounds sank level with the soil, and the grey
crumbling stones fell in every variety of position over the ground. The
old unclipped yew trees, feathered down to the earth, and sheltered the
north side of the ground from the cold winds.

It was not infested, as in populous places, with the rude children of
the lower classes, filling the place with discordant sounds and hideous
gestures, and spurning with their coarse feet the earth that had been
consecrated to so solemn a purpose.

At last, Mr. Haveloc interrupted the reverie of his companion.

"It is late," he said, "and you are quite wet, I fear. Let me advise you
to return home."

"Home!" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick mournfully. "To what do I return? I am
less solitary here, than I am in my own house."

"You must be persuaded," said he, leading her from the tomb. "Mrs. Grant
will, I am sure, be wretched until she sees you again."

"It is true," said she, "I ought not to indulge in such feelings. How
silent! How ineffably still! I feel so deeply the fitness and the luxury
of this calm that surrounds the dead, now that I also have a treasure
buried here."

They walked homewards. Their foot-steps rustled in the long grass; and
the latch of the wicket fell with a sharp sound, so deep was the quiet
of the place.

At the gate of the cottage they met the postman; always late, and often
very irregular in that village. He knew Mr. Haveloc by sight; and, glad
to escape a walk to his residence, he touched his hat, and presented him
with a letter. The handwriting was Margaret's. He had often seen it,
and admired its beauty, although she had never before written to him.

Knowing the conditions upon which Mr. Grey had agreed that she should
write to him, he hesitated to open it. He knew it must contain bad news
of his friend's health.

"But read it, Mr. Haveloc," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who had stood
glancing over one or two indifferent letters, while he was hesitating.
"You would not stand on ceremony with me."

He tore it open with trembling hands, and read the following lines:--


    "I am desired by Mr. Grey to summon
    you to Ashdale. He is very ill; and I tell
    you now, because it is easier to write than
    to speak it; that we must meet and part as
    strangers."

                              "MARGARET CAPEL."



CHAPTER XVI.


    Que es la vida? Un frenesi;
    Que es la vida? Una ilusion,
    Una sombra, una ficcion,
    Y el mayor bien es pequeño.
    Que toda la vida es sueño,
    Y los sueños, sueño son.

    LA VIDA ES SUEÑO, JORN. 2.


Nothing could exceed his astonishment and distress as he read this short
and decided missive. He stood speechless--rooted to the ground--for a
few moments unable to believe his eye-sight. He would have staked more
than his life upon Margaret's constancy; and at such a time to break
with him--now, when her uncle lay, perhaps, dying. There was a
refinement in her cruelty. He could not comprehend a word; and stood
staring in bewilderment on the paper in his hand.

"I fear you have received some bad news, Mr. Haveloc?" said Mrs.
Fitzpatrick, looking anxiously at him.

"I have--very bad," he said. "My friend, Mr. Grey, is very ill;
dangerously, I am sure. I must not lose a moment: he has summoned me. I
must set out instantly."

They exchanged a hurried farewell; and in another hour he was flying
along the road as fast as four horses, and postilions, bribed to the
utmost, could whirl his carriage.

He still held in his hand the letter which had summoned him to Ashdale.
He read it again and again.

What could have occasioned this sudden change? He was lost in conjecture
and dismay.

At one moment he thought it possible that some news might have reached
her of his attendance upon Aveline; and that she misinterpreted his
visits into a devotion that had never swerved from herself. But he at
once rejected this supposition as impossible.

Had she mistaken his conduct in that particular, she would have demanded
an explanation. Nothing need have deterred her from doing so. She had
heard from some officious friend of his attentions to Mrs. Maxwell
Dorset, whose memory he frequently cursed, but never with such fervour
as now. And her delicacy prevented her alluding to the cause of her
resentment.

Anger succeeded here to distress. If she could cast him off for an
affair which took place before he had become acquainted with her, she
certainly was not worth the regret which he could not, however, entirely
stifle. If her love could be snapped like a thread the moment she
entertained any cause of displeasure against him, it was not worth
preserving. It was the most singular, certainly, the most unjustifiable
step he had ever heard of. However, he had nothing to do but to
acquiesce. It was not his part to overcome her unreasonable scruples.
No! he thanked Heaven, he could take the matter as coolly as she
appeared to do. Her commands were certainly expressed with the utmost
brevity--he supposed she did not consider him worth the waste of many
words. Some ladies could dismiss a lover with more ease than a lap-dog.
He commended her decision, and there was an end of the matter.

Having come to these reflections, he threw himself with great dignity
into a corner of the carriage, and attempted to go to sleep.

Not succeeding in this attempt, the next best thing was to discover that
he was going at a snail's pace, and to fly in a passion with the
post-boys; and to work himself up into a fever of excitement that
increased every mile of the way. Suddenly he recollected the Will that
he had induced Mr. Grey to make--a Will that deprived Margaret of what
would have undoubtedly been her inheritance.

How little had he ever thought that any circumstance could occur which
would lead him to regret such an arrangement. Now it must be cancelled
without delay--a new Will made.

Good Heaven, if he should be too late! And he let down the front
glasses, and bestowed another exordium on the postillions.

At last he reached Ashdale. It was one o'clock in the morning; the doors
were opened as soon as the horses' feet were heard, a plain proof that
he had been anxiously expected. He threw himself from the carriage and
hurried up to the servant in the hall.

"Mr. Grey--"

"He is very ill, Sir; not expected to live till morning."

"Not till morning--good Heaven! and that Will--" he muttered to himself
as he rushed upstairs. He thought more of Margaret than of Mr. Grey
even then. Margaret was seated at the bed-side close to her uncle's
pillow; as still and as white as a figure moulded in wax. Her eyes were
fixed upon his face; one hand rested in his; the other hung listless by
her side. Mr. Casement stood leaning against the foot of the bed,
looking, to do him justice, very disconsolate. Margaret lifted up her
heavy eyes, and gave one look at Mr. Haveloc. He was in mourning; a
token of respect he had thought proper to pay Aveline; the sight sent a
thrill to her heart.

She leaned over her uncle, and kissed his forehead.

"My dear uncle, Mr. Haveloc," she whispered.

Mr. Haveloc stepped close to the bed, and took Mr. Grey's hand, which
Margaret resigned to him.

"Ah, Claude!" said Mr. Grey with a faint smile.

They were the last words he spoke. Almost directly afterwards he fell
into a kind of doze; his eyes half closed.

Mr. Haveloc turned abruptly round, seized Mr. Casement by the arm and
led him to the window. He had never addressed Mr. Casement in his life
before, and that gentleman might be pardoned for looking extremely
surprised on the occasion.

"Tell me--how is he?" said Mr. Haveloc.

"Anybody might see that with half an eye, I should think," muttered Mr.
Casement more gruffly than usual, for he had a great mind to cry.

"Good Heaven, can nothing be done!" exclaimed Mr. Haveloc clasping his
hands.

"Nothing at all," returned Mr. Casement. "The doctor left at eight
o'clock, and Mr. Warde at ten. When the doctor and parson both go, I
take it, there is an end of everything."

"Good Heaven! and I have something of the last importance to communicate
to him!" exclaimed Mr. Haveloc. "Ah, youngster! clever of you to leave
it to the last," said Mr. Casement.

"Good Heaven! when I was away--when I did not know it before. It
concerns his niece--"

"Oh! some rigmarole about Miss Peggy you may tell it to me. I am
appointed one of her guardians."

Mr. Haveloc turned abruptly away, and stood by the bed-side, watching
Mr. Grey with eager interest. At length, he thought it just possible
that Margaret might have arranged everything with her uncle before
writing to him.

"Did your uncle know of the resolution you announced to me in your
letter of yesterday?" he asked coldly.

"Hush! no. Don't speak to him;" said Margaret shrinking back with an
appearance of terror.

He sighed, and moved to a little distance from her chair. Mr. Casement
came close to the bed, and he saw that all would soon be over. Margaret
sat paralysed with fear, watching the peculiar and earnest expression of
the countenance which marks that when the senses are sealed, the soul is
still awake, and waiting to be released. And it is at once awful and
sublime when no pause or cessation of consciousness takes place, and the
spirit steps from one existence to the other without an interval of
slumber.

"Come little woman--come away;" said Mr. Casement taking her hand and
raising her from her chair, "you can do nothing more. He will never see,
or know any one again."

She had no power to resist; she would have opposed nothing. She suffered
him to lead her in silence from the room; and so was spared the last
appalling moment when the spirit vanishes from its human abode.



CHAPTER XVII.


    Is there no more but parting left, of all
    The love we bore each other? Is it easy
    So to break trust and faith? Are all the tales
    Of constancy, that make the heart beat high,
    Mere fables?--Then, indeed, farewell!--'tis time.

    ANON.


The next morning Mr. Warde came early to Ashdale, and finding that all
was over, he took Margaret home with him to the Vicarage.

She had sat up all night, and what with fasting and want of sleep, she
was perfectly exhausted.

Mrs. Somerton and Blanche were at the Vicarage, and they were both very
kind to Margaret. Indeed, many women not very deserving of respect in
their general conduct, are ready to show kindness to others under actual
suffering.

Mrs. Somerton insisted on Margaret going to bed at once, and Blanche
brought some tea to her bed-side as soon she was undressed. She kept her
bed for some days. All that she had lately endured, unnerved her
completely; and when, at length, she made the effort to rise, her limbs
trembled so much, that it was with the utmost difficulty that she could
get down stairs; and there seated in an arm-chair, she remained for some
hours every day, unable to undergo the fatigue of speaking, or even of
listening to what was passing.

When Mr. Grey's Will was read, it was found that he bequeathed his
estate to his cousin, Mr. Trevor of the East India Company's service; an
annuity to one or two servants; and a legacy of ten thousand pounds to
his niece Margaret Capel. Margaret was very much affected when Mr. Warde
told her this piece of news; she repeated over and over again how very
kind it was of her uncle to have left her this money; a trait which
pleased Mr. Warde very much, for he was afraid she would have been very
greatly disappointed that her uncle had not left her the bulk of his
property. However, a great many people kindly undertook to be
disappointed for her; and to say that it was a shame in Mr. Grey, after
having her to live with him, to treat her in that manner, and cut her
off with ten thousand pounds; and that old people never knew how to
leave their money so as to give satisfaction to their relations; which
is true enough.

Nobody knew that it was Margaret's own fault; that she was in the
secret, and that a word from her, after her rupture with Mr. Haveloc,
would have caused her uncle to alter his Will, and settle all his
property upon her; but her one aim was to spare him the knowledge of an
event which would give him pain; she never thought about securing his
fortune. Mr. Warde told her that he and Mr. Casement were named as her
guardians until she married or became of age; and that he thought her
best plan would be to reside with some lady who might be able to offer
her a comfortable home, and desirous to profit by the arrangement; that
such a person would be easily found, but that he trusted for the present
she would remain at the Vicarage; so that they might look about at their
leisure, and select the residence that should present the most
advantages. Margaret thanked him very much for his kindness; for the
future she felt a sort of vague indifference. She acceded, at once, to
his plans, and hardly gave another thought to her prospects.

Blanche Somerton who had been excessively kind, even delicate in her
attentions, until after the funeral of Mr. Grey, now began to think that
Margaret's languid sorrow was a little out of place. She was one of the
many who think that all regrets are quite useless and nonsensical as
soon as the dead are buried. Her own emotions were stormy and brief;
and she felt good-naturedly that it was high time to begin to cheer up
Margaret's spirits.

"I declare, I envy you of all things;" said she one morning, "with
twenty thousand pounds you can surely make a very good match. But it all
depends upon where Uncle Warde places you; take my advice and don't go
to a Methodist. I would get some dowager at Bath, or Cheltenham to take
me out, if I were you. You might meet with something very advantageous
at Bath; better I think than in London. There is so much competition;
though you are certainly very pretty--not that I like you in mourning."

Here Margaret who was reclining languidly in an arm-chair, began to cry,
by stealth as it were, wiping her eyes quietly with her handkerchief.

"Oh! my dear, your spirits are wretched," cried Blanche. "You have no
idea how it distresses me to see you. You really ought to go out and
amuse yourself; we have all our troubles, I assure you. I sometimes find
it very difficult to bear up."

"Yes; I should be selfish, indeed, if I thought myself the only person
afflicted," said Margaret. "I am very sorry to hear that you have any
immediate cause of distress."

Here Mr. Warde appeared at the doorway; he made a sign to Blanche, and
after a few whispered words, that young lady nodded, and went up stairs.
Mr. Warde then came up to Margaret, and took a chair by her side.

"My dear," he said, "Mr. Haveloc wishes to see you."

Margaret's heart beat so wildly that she could hardly breathe.

"I thought, as he was an intimate friend of your uncle, I had better
prepare you for his visit," said Mr. Warde. "I feared you would be
agitated if he came in without being announced."

"Must I see him?" asked Margaret, as soon as she could utter a word.

"Certainly not, if you feel the effort would be too great," said Mr.
Warde. "He seemed very anxious to pay his respects to you, before
leaving the place. I understand it is his intention to go abroad for
some years: and I suppose having met you frequently at your uncle's, he
did not wish to quit the country without taking leave of you. But do
not, on any account, exert yourself. I will take him a message, if you
feel in the least degree unequal to seeing him."

Margaret laid her hand on Mr. Warde's arm as if to detain him.
Everything seemed whirling round; she could not hear distinctly his last
words; there was a noise and giddiness in her brain. Going abroad! So
then all was over; he was as determined as herself to cancel their
engagement. She should have liked a little reluctance, a little
hesitation; perhaps a little entreaty. But this was well. She could be
proud now--no weakness.

"Is he here?" she asked Mr. Warde.

"Yes, waiting in my study."

"Then let him come directly," said she, "directly; because I am not in a
mood for tears now; and because I could not answer for myself half an
hour hence."

Mr. Warde pressed her hand, and went out in search of Mr. Haveloc.

Margaret heard his step with a sickening at the heart that she could not
control: he came in--bowed, took a seat at some distance; then started
up, brought his chair closer, and sat down beside her.

They were both silent, Margaret struggling with her tears. Mr. Haveloc
looking on the ground, perfectly uncertain how to begin.

But after a short pause, during which she clasped more tightly the arm
of her chair, Margaret forced back her tears, and said in a low
tone: "We have both lost so much, and so lately, Mr. Haveloc, that we do
not find it easy to allude to it."

She had never seen him look so pale, or so wretched, and she felt that
she forgave him everything, though she struggled very hard against the
feeling. Unconsciously her voice took a softer tone, and her countenance
depicted the compassion she felt. But her companion, quite as much
offended as grieved, by her rejection, had not the skill to read these
signs of a softened resolution.

"I did not intrude upon you with that intention," he said. "I had
something to explain to you which is a source of great distress to me,
but for which I can find no remedy."

Margaret bent forward with much anxiety, Mr. Haveloc proceeded with
increased coldness.

"When I had reason to suppose that you intended to honour me with your
hand, I requested Mr. Grey to settle his estate upon his next heir, as I
imagined I had more than enough for all our wishes; and I confess, that
it pleased my pride to fancy that through my means, alone, the woman
whom I loved, should be surrounded by all the luxuries and refinements
of life."

"I know," said Margaret. "He told me what had been done. I was glad of
it. I cannot think why that should annoy you."

"It pains me to consider myself as the means of having deprived you of a
noble fortune," said Mr. Haveloc, "a fortune which I once vainly thought
I should have been able to compensate to you. But I was not aware that
you knew this, and I feared you should think your uncle fickle or
unkind, instead of ascribing the act to my ill-judged reliance--upon the
future."

"You acted quite rightly, Mr. Haveloc," said Margaret. "I wished it
then, and I am not more disposed to reject it now. Mr. Trevor is a
worthy man, with a young family. He will value his inheritance; and I
trust only that he will cherish my uncle's memory as warmly as I ever
shall." She found it difficult to keep her voice quite steady, just at
the close; but she made a little pause and succeeded.

"As you have not deigned to give me any explanation of your change of
purpose," said Mr. Haveloc. "I am at a loss to defend myself; or to
plead for what, in truth, is very near my heart. There is, indeed, one
passage in my life to which it is possible your motives may refer; in
that case, I should, I avow it, be left defenceless. I cannot undo the
past!"

"I know it," said Margaret hurriedly; "I should be sorry if--I mean that
I wish to forget entirely--all that--I mean, that we were ever on other
terms than--"

"I have no doubt that you will succeed perfectly," said Mr. Haveloc,
rising from his chair as he spoke.

There was a touch of irony in the remark which stung her to the quick.
When all she had undergone, and had yet to endure, was before her, to be
told that she would find it easy to forget the past, was unbearable.
Her heart swelled, but there is a great deal of endurance in a woman; as
many people know, for they put it to a pretty good trial.

All the pride in her nature was aroused.

"You have nothing more to say, I believe," said she, drawing herself up.

"I could say a thousand things," he exclaimed, with a passionate change
of manner; "if I thought you had the patience to hear me. But you care
nothing for my thoughts; and, perhaps, I merit but little consideration.
Still from you--but these storms always come from the quarter on which
we are least prepared. You scarcely know what you do in casting me off.
But I hope I am not so much the slave of circumstances as to be made
reckless by misfortune. And you, Margaret, is it--in all the chances of
the future--is it likely that any man will love you as I have done?"

"Mr. Haveloc!" said Margaret, still more offended.

"And that unhappy Will!" he continued, "I suffer more from that subject
than you would be willing to believe if I were to describe it: one day
you will lay that to my other offences--if, indeed, you then can recall
my name."

"You do me great injustice in thought," said Margaret. "If it will be
any relief to you, let me assure you again that there is nothing in the
whole chapter of accidents which could give me so little concern. I am
not called upon to bear poverty, recollect."

"Then," said Mr. Haveloc, "we have but to part. How difficult it is to
me, no words could speak--but those things which are inevitable, had
best be quickly done. So--farewell."

Without another word, or look, or gesture, he rushed out of the room and
from the house.

Margaret sat for some time trying to recollect every thing he had said.
He had not asked her to forgive him--had simply said he could not undo
the past; he had not begged, as he might have done, that she would give
him time and opportunity to retrieve it. It had seemed that he was
willing--even anxious, to be set free--he had made arrangements before
seeing her, that proved he had decided this to be their last meeting.
She was dead--and therefore he might have endeavoured to return to
Margaret, if he had desired a reconciliation. But no--she had offended
him, and he was too proud to wish it. Margaret tried to think it was
best for both; but a sense of agony, amounting almost to suffocation,
would not let it be. If she could have wept--but no tears came--so she
lay helplessly in her chair, watching the ebony cabinet that stood
opposite first receding farther and farther, then seemed to float before
her eyes, until sense and memory went out together, and she fell into a
deep swoon.

It was some time before Blanche, who came down as soon as Mr. Haveloc
left the house, could restore Margaret to consciousness. When she
succeeded, she was full of condolence.

"What a bore it was, my dear creature," said she, "that you should have
had to receive that horrid man. Had it been any one else, it might have
done you all the good in the world; for you might have had a nice little
flirtation to raise your spirits. But as for him--I hate him; his
manners are so abrupt. Of course he began talking of poor dear Mr. Grey.
So mal-à-propos."

"He did speak of my uncle," said Margaret.

"I knew it!" exclaimed Blanche. "That was it. I wish there was a nice
little dance you could go to; or a concert--but this place is a perfect
hermitage; and your mourning too would be a drawback. How beautifully
you were dressed at Bessy Gage's wedding. You had a cluster of pink
daisies at the side of your bonnet. That was an excellent match! I
would have almost married old Sir Philip, myself, for the sake of
Sherleigh. I say, did Hubert Gage ever make you an offer?"

Margaret blushed, but astonishment kept her silent.

"Every body says he did," continued Blanche, "and I do not wonder that
you refused him. I hate younger sons. Mamma wished me to marry him at
one time, but I declined. I almost wish now that I had kept him on, just
to pique somebody else. Do you like military men?"

"No," said Margaret.

"Well, I wonder at that," said Blanche. "I think I could make you change
your mind. Did you happen to notice me walking with a young man, in the
garden, yesterday before dinner?"

"No, I was up stairs," said Margaret, faintly.

"Well--if you can manage to walk out to-morrow--do you think you
could?"

"No, I am sure I could not."

"That is a pity, because I often meet him on the S---- road. You would
be so much amused with him. He has such spirits, and I should not be
jealous, no--Watkins is all my own."

At another time Margaret would have laughed at this declaration; now,
she sighed heavily and sank back in her chair.

"You are quite fatigued with that wretch Mr. Haveloc; it was just like
my uncle to admit him. However, thank goodness he is going to Russia
directly, and will not bore you again. But here comes my uncle; not a
word about Watkins, I entreat. We keep it a secret from him, but I will
take care that you are in the way the next time he comes to the house."

"I will go up stairs and lie down, if you please," said Margaret, trying
to rise. "I am not very well."

Blanche helped Margaret up stairs, and she had another attack of
illness, which again confined her to her bed for some days.



CHAPTER XVIII.


    How slowly do the hours their numbers spend,
    How slowly does sad Time his feathers move!

    SPENSER.

    Mathilden's Hertz hat niemand noch ergründet--
    Doch, grosse Seelen dulden still.

    DON KARLOS.


Mrs. Somerton had kindly offered, as soon as ever she learned the
particulars of Margaret's situation, to take the charge of her, and
treat her like one of her own daughters.

But Mr. Warde did not seize the proposition with the eagerness that it
might seem to merit. Perhaps, he thought, that if Margaret was no better
treated than Mrs. Somerton's daughters, her life would not be all
sunshine; perhaps he feared that the lady would not scrupulously redeem
her pledge; at any rate, he informed his sister decidedly, that it was
his intention to place Margaret with some lady who had no children; for
he thought it would be difficult, if not impossible, for any other to
adjust satisfactorily, the claims of her daughters and her guest. Mrs.
Somerton tried to argue the point, but Mr. Warde was firm, and wrote to
one or two friends describing the sort of home he desired for Margaret.

Blanche was so much occupied with her military friend, her Watkins, as
she called him, that Margaret saw less of her than before. She walked
out in every direction in the hope of meeting him, she staid at home all
day, if she thought he would call; she took an immense deal of trouble
to catch what a good many people would have pronounced to be not worth
catching--her Watkins was ignorant, profligate, and silly; and very
fortunately for Blanche, he behaved to her like most other officers;
that is to say, he walked off one fine morning with his regiment,
without so much as bidding adieu to his lady love. Margaret knew nothing
of this distressing event when she rejoined the family--she had not seen
Blanche for the last day or two, and now she found her reclining on the
sofa, suffering, as Mrs. Somerton told her, from a nervous attack. "That
is hard upon you, Mrs. Somerton," said Margaret, "to have two invalids
on your hands. I must make haste and get well to relieve you of part of
your charge."

"I am sure, my dear Miss Capel," said Mrs. Somerton, "no invalid ever
gave so little trouble as you. I only wish Blanche would imitate your
patience."

Margaret drew a low chair to the sofa, and took her work; "are you
suffering in your head?" she asked Blanche, in a gentle voice.

"No, not much; I'm glad you are come down," said she. "It will be
somebody to talk to; that is a very pretty pattern for a plain collar.
I like the black studs down the front. Do you waltz?" But here the
recollection of having waltzed with Lieutenant Watkins overcame her, and
she became rather hysterical. Mrs. Somerton scolded her, Blanche got
angry, and then order was restored. Mrs. Somerton took Margaret to the
window, and whispered to her the state of the case, and then Blanche
called out to her mother and scolded her for having told Margaret when
she wanted to tell her all about it herself. Margaret turning her eyes
full of wonder from one to the other, could scarcely comprehend that
Blanche was suffering from a disappointment; she contrasted the total
desolation of her own feelings, with the frivolous annoyance that the
other seemed to endure, and could understand nothing of the case.

Quiet was again restored. Mrs. Somerton plied her worsted work. Margaret
netted in silence. Blanche, lying on the sofa, was eating French
chocolate. Presently Mrs. Somerton began to count aloud the stitches in
the bunch of grapes she was working, "thirty-six, thirty-seven,
thirty-eight, thirty-nine."

A burst of crying from Blanche, louder than anything Margaret had heard,
except from a baby; Mrs. Somerton had inadvertently named the number of
Mr. Watkins's regiment.

The fresh scolding, fresh sobs, and, at last, a glass of sal-volatile,
tranquillised her spirits for the present.

It must be admitted that such scenes were rather fatiguing to a young
girl in bad health, and suffering deeply from the reality of which this
was but the shadow.

She learned, however, to set some value upon her own power of
self-command. She could not help feeling that the unrestrained sorrow of
Blanche lost in dignity what it gained in publicity.

Mason knew all about it; and frequently alluded to poor Miss Somerton
with pity; and to Mr. Watkins with all the violence which a
waiting-woman is pretty sure to feel towards a man who has thwarted a
young lady in her laudable endeavours to get married.

In two or three days Margaret was happy to find that Blanche could talk
of waltzing without a sigh; and her mamma might safely count threads
from thirty to forty without awakening any painful reflections.

But there ensued another annoyance to poor Margaret. Whenever she was
alone with Blanche, which was the greatest part of the day, Mr. Watkins
was the one topic of conversation.

When she had heard all about his boots, and his eyes, and his way of
carving a chicken, and his wastefulness in gloves, (a great merit in the
eyes of Blanche,) she naturally hoped that they had come to an end of
the list; but it is quite surprising the number of little anecdotes
which this gentleman furnished. There were all his jokes to repeat; and
these were so exceedingly stupid, that they really did make Margaret
smile sometimes. And then there were several stories of dishonest
actions, which she was expected to laugh at, but which she could not,
for very disgust.

Once he had taken in a Jew; this was his chef-d'[oe]uvre; and twice he
had cheated a friend in the sale of a horse; and Blanche thought this
greatly enhanced his merit, and her loss.

She became rather tearful when she mentioned the last theft; but she
presently recovered herself, and turned the conversation upon a satin
pelisse she was about to buy. In fact, the future and the past pretty
equally divided her mind. The loss of Mr. Watkins, and the arrangement
of her dresses for the autumn.

"Do you know, the last time poor Watkins called, he was so intoxicated!"
cried Blanche. "I was afraid my uncle would have noticed it; but,
fortunately, he only came in for a few minutes; for Watkins staid to
luncheon. I never shall forget his trying to carve the cold lamb."

"Then that was the reason," said Margaret, hesitating, "that you broke
with him."

"Mercy on me, my dear! where were you brought up;" cried Blanche,
laughing. "What! break with a man because he was a little intoxicated?
Not I, believe me!"

Margaret found plenty of things to astonish her in Miss Somerton; but
she was a little more startled than usual at this remark.

She thought of the disgust she would have felt if she had ever seen Mr.
Haveloc intoxicated. She viewed Blanche's attachment as a sort of
natural phenomenon.

Mr. Watkins lasted about a fortnight; during that time very few things
could be said or done without suggesting to Blanche some little anecdote
of this gentleman; and as these tales generally tended to set forth
either some deficiency, or some positive vice in that faithless person;
sometimes calling in question his spelling, and sometimes his morality,
Margaret felt often desirous to turn the subject for very shame; but
Blanche informed her that it was a comfort to talk about him, and she
could not reasonably refuse her that source of consolation.

At the end of the fortnight, Blanche admitted to Mrs. Somerton, that
"Watkins" had a red nose. This had been a point strongly contested
between mother and daughter for the last fourteen days previous; for
Mrs. Somerton thought it her duty to depreciate a man who had failed to
make her daughter an offer; and Blanche warmly defended him from a
charge which his decided talent for drinking rendered, at least,
probable.

The cause of this change was very soon explained. Blanche had found
another officer. She had been introduced to him at a friend's house,
and she very soon managed to bring him to the Vicarage.

When he had nothing in the world to do, it was amusing enough to lounge
away a morning, flirting with Blanche. This was worse than the other
annoyance to Margaret.

It was bad enough to hear incessantly of the absent lover; but now, you
had not only to hear of him all day long in his absence, but to bear his
presence, at least, three days in the week. And Blanche would insist
upon Margaret's keeping her company.

"Don't run away, my dearest creature," said she; "it looks so odd; it
really seems as if you thought the man wanted to propose to me."

Margaret had began to enjoy her walks in the pretty garden and quiet
meadows of the Vicarage. It was a bright, fresh October. She was always
alive to the beauties of the country; but how could she enjoy the mossy
walks and tall rustling trees with the constant fear of being joined by
that tiresome Mr. Compton. And then, if she sat, Blanche would insist on
sitting too. If she said she felt chilly and began to walk again, up
started Blanche and her cavalier, and they all three set off walking
together.

And this Mr. Compton was afflicted with the most boundless and
uncultivated spirits. His laugh was a shriek. He would spring up in the
air like a stag; he would fall on the grass, to give vent to his mirth;
he talked incessantly, and always the most extravagant nonsense. He
would practice dances with Blanche, while poor Margaret played to them;
and then, at every mistake, there were fresh fits of laughter, which
made him stamp about the room until they subsided.

Margaret at first thought him deranged, and was very much afraid of him;
but she afterwards found he was only silly; which is a much milder form
of lunacy. Indeed, he was much more silly than his predecessor; for in
due time, Blanche managed to receive his hand, and became Mrs. Compton,
whether he liked it or not; but this was after Margaret had left them.
Perhaps, Margaret would have endured him more cheerfully, had she been
able to foresee the finale of his visits. It would have been unkind,
indeed, to murmur at the tedious hours which he spent at the Vicarage,
which proved a source of such intense delight to Blanche, and such
comfortable calculation to her mother.

"Has he not eyes!" exclaimed Blanche, as the door closed upon him after
a waltz of two hours.

Margaret (who had officiated as pianiste during that time) admitted that
he possessed that feature in the plural number, and knelt down before
the fire to warm her hands.

"I have ascertained," said Mrs. Somerton, looking up from her worsted
work, "that he _is_ the son of Mr. Compton of Lincolnshire--the second
son, it is true, but I understand the mother's property is settled on
him; if that is the case, it may do, but I will write to Mrs. Stacey,
she knows all about the Comptons. You know he mentioned Mrs. Stacey as
having been staying at his father's."

"I know," said Blanche, "and how he did laugh at her blue gauze
turban!--I thought he would have died."

So did Margaret; though she did not contemplate that event with the
dismay that it might awaken in Blanche's mind.

"Only," continued Mrs. Somerton, "don't go too far till we hear from
Mrs. Stacey; he may have nothing."

"I dare say," retorted Blanche, "I shall go as far as I like. I know he
has property, and I don't care whether it came from his mother, or from
the moon. He was saying, yesterday, what year it was when he came of
age. Don't you know, Margaret, how he laughed about his eldest brother
coming of age first, and then his coming of age afterwards; and saying
that it was not every family where two brothers come of age? Of course
nobody comes of age if they have nothing to come into."

"Certainly, there is something in that," said Mrs. Somerton, resuming
her worsted work: while Margaret became possessed of the interesting
fact, that time suspends his operations in favour of those forlorn
gentlemen and ladies only, who have no means of bribing his delay; and
truly they should have something to compensate for an empty pocket.

But Mr Compton was of great use to Margaret, little as she might have
been disposed to allow it. If he did not come, Blanche was expecting him
all the morning; every horseman, every gig, that passed down the
high-road, might be the looked for guest. A broad gravel walk, at the
end of the garden, commanded a view of the high-road, and thither
Blanche would direct her steps, and loiter from breakfast till
luncheon. "There! that _is_ Compton--I am certain, my dear, I know him
a mile off; besides, his horse, he rides a bay--now does not he?"

"I do not remember. Yes--I think it was a bay when you took me out to
see it," said Margaret.

"Well, then, unless he were riding the black--he has a very fine black
horse, which he thinks would carry a lady," said Blanche looking
sideways at her companion.

"But that is not Mr. Compton--it is the butcher," said Margaret, with a
feeling of satisfaction.

"Oh! true--so it is. I am rather near-sighted. By the bye, I think he
said he should be on duty to-day. Did he say to-day or to-morrow?"

"I did not hear him," said Margaret.

"I think it was to-day; I am sure I wish he never had any duty!" said
Blanche with a sigh. "He has very little, I should think," said
Margaret.

"He gets out of every thing he can, you may be sure," said Blanche,
"there--who is in that gig. Only Charles Hollingsworth, I do believe!
The greatest bore in England; sometimes he pretends to be ill, and goes
out hunting."

"Who, Mr. Hollingsworth?" said Margaret, quite at a loss to know why he
should take that trouble.

"No--Compton--there he really is; let us go to the gate and meet him."

Then when he came, there was nothing but uproar and confusion for some
hours; Blanche's spirits were easily excited, and what with laughing,
waltzing, rushing over the garden after his dogs, and pelting the plums
from the trees, and racing about and throwing them at each other, she
became quite as noisy as her lover. Mrs. Somerton looked on, scolding
them both gently and playfully; it was quite a family picture. All this
clamour was not very amusing to Margaret, but it drew her thoughts
insensibly away from herself, she even became interested in the game.
She speculated upon Blanche's chance of success. Her stake was not deep
enough to make it a matter of painful anxiety. She would have regretted
Mr. Compton, just as much as she had regretted Mr. Watkins; perhaps a
few days longer, for he was decidedly the more attractive of the two. He
had not a red nose, he did not drink, he was only foolish and
extravagant, and very noisy. He treated Margaret with that total
disregard to the usual courtesies offered in society to a lady, that may
be observed in young men, especially officers, when they are occupied by
another woman: but this gave her neither concern nor displeasure. She
had long observed that his head was not capable of holding more than one
idea at a time, and as Blanche was his idea at present, it was not
likely that he should recollect to open the door for Margaret, or to
set down her tea-cup.

But she began to look with anxiety towards a more settled home--the
society here was not to her taste. She saw very little of Mr. Warde, and
she was not allowed to pass her time in his library; she was always
wanted to be present with Blanche and Mr. Compton. She longed for quiet,
for study; for a life that should replace that which she had lost.



CHAPTER XIX.


            No more endure to weigh
    The shame and anguish of the evil day
    Wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
    Sublime of Hope, I seek the cottaged dell
    Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray;

    COLERIDGE.


Margaret was cheered during this tedious interval by several very kind
letters from Lady d'Eyncourt. As soon as she heard of Mr. Grey's death,
she wrote to Margaret a letter full of deep feeling and sympathy. She
said that when she returned to England, she counted on Margaret's taking
up her abode at Sherleigh, unless before that time she was fixed in a
home of her own. She was happier than most married women can expect to
be, for she was not separated from her father. Captain Gage was now at
Paris, with the D'Eyncourts, and he had agreed to travel with them, as
long as they remained on the continent. Elizabeth mentioned in one of
these letters, that her brother Hubert had sailed for South America, and
that her father was very glad to get him out of the country; but it was
evident that she did not know who had influenced his decision.

Margaret was cheered by this intelligence. She would have dreaded
meeting him again, at least, for some time to come; and she was glad to
find that she had been able to do some good by her advice.

One morning, Mr. Warde begged Margaret to come into his library as he
wished to speak to her on business. Blanche and Mr. Compton were playing
at battledore and shuttlecock, and she was not sorry to escape from
their noisy enjoyment for a few minutes. Mr. Warde then told her that he
had made several inquiries for such a home as he thought might be
agreeable to Margaret; that he had found it rather difficult to meet one
in all respects satisfactory. But that he had just received a letter
from his friend, Mr. Fletcher, that he thought was worth considering
about. Mr. Fletcher, if she remembered, was the clergyman to whom he had
applied when her uncle desired to take a house by the sea-side.

Yes; Margaret recollected the name. She breathed short; one of those
feelings called presentiments came over her. She knew perfectly what was
coming.

"It seems," continued Mr. Warde, glancing at the letter, "that a lady in
his neighbourhood has lately lost an only daughter, and she has been
strongly urged to receive an inmate into her house; she is much averse
to a companion in the usual sense of the term, but upon Mr. Fletcher
stating to her the sort of home I was anxious to obtain for you, she
seemed willing to receive you. You know the neighbourhood, and you are
fond of fine scenery, but I must warn you that this lady lives
absolutely without society. She is very well connected, but she has
retired from the world."

The world--of which her short experience had been so bitter. That,
indeed, was an inducement; and Aveline's mother--there was a sort of
strange charm to her in the idea.

"I think I should like it," she faltered.

"This lady is a highly cultivated and intellectual woman," said Mr.
Warde, "and I think you will appreciate the advantage of her
conversation; no lessons are of such real benefit to a young person, as
constant intercourse with a superior mind. And her principles are such
as you know how to value and respect."

"Let me go to her," said Margaret.

"Can you make up your mind to solitude?" asked Mr. Warde. "Oh!
yes--yes."

"Then I will write to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and conclude the arrangement."

"Is it possible?" exclaimed Blanche, when Margaret repeated to her what
had been determined upon. "I wonder what my uncle thinks women are
intended for; that is to say, pretty women. Of course, ugly women ought
to be buried alive. But the idea of sending you into a wilderness like
that. Oh! you like it? Don't tell me--I won't believe you; how are you
to get married I should like to know?"

"But I have no intention of marrying," said Margaret. "I intend to
remain single."

"You don't mean to--oh! I understand," returned Blanche. "A good many
girls say so; but I always think it is better not, for fear the men
should take you at your word."

"I wish to be taken at my word," said Margaret quietly.

"So it really would seem," said Blanche, "by your suffering my uncle to
dispose of you in that way. Oh! I wanted to tell you; my uncle begins to
think it odd, that Compton comes here so much. I believe he was afraid
that you were his attraction, and it is his business to look sharp after
your money, you know."

Margaret could not repress a feeling of disgust, but she tried to look
as if Mr. Compton's assiduities would not be very offensive to her.
Blanche went on.

"I soon set him right on that point, and then he actually asked mamma,
if she was quite assured of Mr. Compton's principles. He said he hoped
he had no particular prejudice against the army, but he thought their
manner of living was seldom such as to gain them much respect in any
neighbourhood where they might be quartered. How I did laugh!"

"But do you not then think principles of any importance?" asked
Margaret.

"No, my dear, of course not," returned Blanche. "I think Compton very
handsome, and if he were a Roman Catholic, it would make no difference
to me."

Margaret did not think it of any use to explain that a Roman Catholic
might possibly have high religious principles, and a Protestant, none at
all, so she was silent.

"I told Compton about the principles," continued Blanche, "and you
should have heard how he laughed; I thought he would have died."

This must have been a prevalent fear among Mr. Compton's friends
whenever he favoured them with a burst of laughter.

"However," said Blanche, "Compton told me to set my uncle's mind at rest
as soon as I liked, for that he was 'the same religion that every body
else was.'"

The grammatical arrangement of this sentence was, perhaps, its least
charm. So profound a knowledge of the various doctrinal shades then
agitating the world must have been very cheering to Mr. Warde's
feelings.

"And," said Blanche, "even Compton says that it is a great shame you
should be banished to that stupid place in ----shire. For he says you
are exceedingly pretty, only too quiet for his taste. You don't mind, I
hope?" added Blanche, fearful that these last words would be too severe
a blow.

No. Margaret thought she should manage to survive this expression of Mr.
Compton's opinions, in common with several others, with which he had
made her acquainted from time to time; and of which, perhaps the most
striking was, that "he hated black, and he thought it a shame for women
to wear it." And on being reminded that it was sometimes indispensable,
he then thought it "a shame for people to die."

Nothing refreshed Margaret so much as a letter from Elizabeth. She
seemed to come in contact with another order of mind. Elizabeth never
thought or spoke a littleness, and however short, or however general
her letter might be, the nobleness of her nature seemed to find its way
into the handwriting.

In a letter Margaret received from her at this time, she mentioned that
they had been surprised, at Paris, by a flying visit from Mr. Evan
Conway. He was on his road to the Pyrenees; and had been disappointed of
his travelling companion. Mr. Haveloc had arranged to go with him, and
suddenly sent him an excuse, saying that some recent occurrences had
rendered him unfit for society. "This tribute to the memory of your
uncle, my dear Margaret, I am sure will please you, added Elizabeth. I
always thought Mr. Haveloc's character no ordinary one; but this is a
depth of feeling which we rarely meet in the present day.

"He has started off alone for St. Petersburg, and has left a good many
English mammas to conjecture whether he will bring home a Russian wife."

Elizabeth added that the rest of the Conway family were in Germany,
where they seemed likely to remain some time.

Margaret pondered long over the intelligence contained in this letter.
Was it solely grief for her uncle's loss that made Mr. Haveloc decline
the society of his friend? Did no remorse for his falsehood to herself
mingle with his regrets? Did he suffer half what she endured? She knew
nothing, she should never know anything of his feelings. They were
parted for ever; and, perhaps, as Elizabeth said, he might bring home a
Russian wife.

This idea cost her many tears, though she constantly repeated to herself
that she had no longer any interest in his future.

Mr. Warde received a favourable answer from Mrs. Fitzpatrick. From his
account of Miss Capel, she felt assured of her own satisfaction in the
arrangement. She only feared that so young a person would soon be
wearied of the monotony of her residence. On this point, Margaret was
sanguine. She had much pleasure in telling Mason that the day of her
departure was fixed. Mason lifted up her eyes; even Ashdale was better
than the place they were going to: "but it did not become her to
complain."

Margaret bought the costliest bracelet that the jeweller in S---- could
furnish as an offering for Blanche before she left.

"Accept it as a wedding present," she said, "I trust it may prove so, if
it is for your happiness."

Blanche was in raptures--she dearly loved trinkets, and a bracelet of
the newest fashion glittering with precious stones, and costing more
guineas than she ever possessed at a time, was almost enough to disturb
her brain. She ran from room to room to show it to everybody; she put it
on; she took it off and shut it in its morocco case. She embraced
Margaret, she laughed, she waltzed, and finally was able to reply to
Margaret's remark.

"You dear creature--that is the kindest thing you could say! A wedding
present! Yes! I will believe it; he has said nothing, but I understand
what he means. Did you ever happen to observe his nose in profile?"

Margaret had merely remarked that there was something elegant in the
sharpness of his features that seemed at variance with the excessive
ignorance of his mind; but she forbore giving so candid a statement of
facts. She merely said she was willing to take for granted that Mr.
Compton shone in that position.

It happened, that the evening before she left Ashdale, she was in her
own room overlooking Mason, who was putting the finishing touches to her
packing, when she saw Mrs. Somerton and Mr. Compton walking together in
the avenue that shaded one side of the garden.

Mrs. Somerton seemed very earnest; Mr. Compton greatly embarrassed.
Sometimes he relieved himself by trying to bite through his cane;
sometimes he caught at the few leaves which hung on the boughs overhead.
He looked the picture of awkwardness. But suddenly, Mrs. Somerton
stopped short, and shook hands with him fervently, and they walked
together towards the house.

Margaret set off too early the next morning to have any opportunity of
learning whether Mrs. Somerton had succeeded in bringing Mr. Compton to
confession, on that memorable evening; but about two months afterwards,
she received a couple of cards bound together with silver twist, and
bearing the names of Mr. and Mrs. Compton, which led her to believe that
she had chanced to witness the crisis of the affair.

It was a wretched autumn day on which she set out for her new home. All
the fine weather seemed to have vanished at once. It was cold and windy,
and the rain fell steadily. Margaret was glad of the company of Mason in
the carriage. She tried not to think of the past or the future--she
tried to forget her first coming to Ashdale, not a year ago; of that
solitude she had been led to expect; and of the whole life-time of
events she had gone through in those months. Some of these could never
occur again, she thought. She could never lose another relative. Mr.
Grey was the last she possessed. She could never love again, and
therefore could never be again deceived. Come what may, she thought, the
future would be more tranquil than the past. Yet she looked forward with
great anxiety to her first interview with Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Her shyness
came back with more force than ever; she dreaded the termination of her
journey; and her heart stood still with affright when the opening of
gates, and the barking of dogs warned her that she had arrived at the
cottage.

She saw a tall figure in black standing in the doorway, handsome, pale,
like Lady Constance before her distraction. It was her hostess, come to
welcome her upon the threshold:--that picturesque but obsolete custom.

"I am afraid, my dear, you had a very rough day for your journey," said
Mrs. Fitzpatrick as she led her to the drawing-room.

There was nothing in the words, but the voice seemed to dispel her fears
in a moment. She looked up with a smile, though her eyes were filled
with tears.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick felt it as difficult to be composed as Margaret, but
they both had learned the hard task of self-command.

"It was dreary," said Margaret. "The fire is very pleasant."

She sat down, and looked round the drawing-room. The curtains were drawn
before the window where she had seen Aveline on the last evening of her
life. There was the sofa on which she was lying; she recalled the
gesture of Mr. Haveloc, turning from her to raise one of the pillows.

She shuddered.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick was seated at the table engaged in making the tea. She
was exceedingly pale, and her dark eye-brows gave almost an air of
severity to her face, except when she smiled.

"Still cold?" said she turning round with one of those beautiful smiles;
"you will not be really warm until you have had some tea. Will you come
to the table, or shall I bring it to you?"

Margaret laid aside her bonnet, and drew a chair to the table. Mrs.
Fitzpatrick was exceedingly struck by her beauty, and the gracefulness
of her action, particularly with that exquisite brightness of
complexion, which results not so much from fairness as from a peculiar
texture of the skin. It has been likened by a poet to "the dim radiance
floating round a pearl."

They parted for the night, greatly pleased with each other. And our
first impressions are seldom false to us, if we take care not to reason
upon them. Reason and fancy are good separate guides; but I know not how
it is, they never work well together. But Margaret did not attempt to
philosophise upon the matter. She laid her head upon her pillow with a
vague but delightful consciousness, that she had found at last a
tranquil home.


END OF VOL. II.



                                      LONDON:
                 Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.


Transcriber's Note: The oe ligature is shown as [oe]. Some printing
errors have been amended. Independance is now independence, minature is
now miniature, hooping is now whooping, indiscribable is now
indescribable, faultering is now faltering.





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