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Title: Mary Seaham, Volume 2 of 3 - A Novel
Author: Grey, Mrs. (Elizabeth Caroline), 1798-1869
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 "Mary Seaham, Volume 2 of 3 - A Novel" ***

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                        MARY SEAHAM,
                          A NOVEL.

                        BY MRS. GREY,

           AUTHOR OF "THE GAMBLER'S WIFE," &c. &c.


    IN THREE VOLUMES.
    VOL. II.

    LONDON:
    COLBURN AND CO., PUBLISHERS,
    GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
    1852.

    Notice is hereby given that the Publishers of this work reserve to
    themselves the right of publishing a Translation in France.

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



MARY SEAHAM.



CHAPTER I.

    Then close and closer, clinging to his side,
    Frank as the child, and tender as the bride,
    Words, looks, and tears themselves combine the balm,
    Lull the fierce pang, and steal the soul to calm!

    THE NEW TIMON.


Trevor returned. Arthur Seaham entered the house one afternoon, having
been out in the grounds with Mr. de Burgh to find Mary and Eugene in the
drawing-room together.

The meeting between the intended brothers-in-law was cordial enough to
satisfy even Mary's anxious wishes on the occasion, and she was
delighted to sit by Eugene's side and hear the two converse together
with the ease and fluency of those who have made up their minds to like,
and to be liked by the other. Arthur, standing up before the fire, his
clear eyes all the while scanning, with a critical interest he attempted
not much to disguise, the countenance and expression of his sister's
undeniably handsome intended--a scrutiny which, had Mary's love for
Eugene been of a less assured and confiding character, might have made
her a little nervous for the result, for she knew well her brother
Arthur's glance to be a very Ithuriel spear in the way of discernment
and discrimination; that although so young and guileless of heart, when
compared with many of his age, he was clearer and wiser of head than
many of more years and greater worldly experience, and that no outward
gloss, no specious disguise could blind or beguile him to bestow
admiration or approval where it was not deserved.

As it was, since he had prepared her for his being very critically
disposed, she was obliged to rest satisfied, when, the first time they
were alone together after this opening interview, Arthur pronounced his
decided satisfaction as to the good looks of his intended
brother-in-law, but to her more anxious question, of "And you really
like him?" he replied; "And I am sure I shall really like him very much
when he has proved himself as thoroughly good a husband as I can desire
for my dear Mary."

She laughed, and told him he was very cautious, but she must make
allowances, poor fellow! for she still believed him to be a little bit
jealous; an imputation well founded or not, as it might be, Arthur did
not attempt to contradict; and perhaps--particularly as time went on,
and day after day he saw more plainly in how strong a manner was his
sister's heart enthralled by this her new affection--how hopelessly the
stream of former interests, former feeling had turned into this
new-formed channel. How, though he had found her sisterly love still
unimpaired, it could now form but a tributary stream to the full
abounding river which had arisen to engulph her heart; nay, more,
experiencing how He, the once chief object of her affection, had become
as nothing in comparison with the exalted place he had before held in
her regard, how in her lover's presence he must feel himself as nothing,
or even _de trop_--and in his absence but the temporary substitute, ill
able to divert the yearning sigh, the longing look, the anxious thought
for the beloved one's return.

No wonder if the young man did experience, as many are compelled to
suffer under similar circumstances, a sensation slightly analogous to
the one of which his sister had playfully accused him--and therefore was
compelled to be still more watchful over himself, lest such sentiment
might in any degree interfere with the just and unprejudiced estimate he
desired to take of Eugene Trevor's merits.

    "'Tis difficult to see another,
      A passing stranger of a day,
    Who never hath been friend or brother,
      Pluck with a look her heart away;
    'Tis difficult at once to crush
      The rebel murmur in the breast,
    To press the heart to earth, and hush
      Its bitter jealousy to rest,
    And difficult--the eye gets dim,
      The lip wants power to smile on _Him_."

But on one point Arthur Seaham soon became fully satisfied, and much did
it tend to overcome any invidious promptings of the heart against his
future brother; for the young man's love towards his sister was in the
main most essentially unselfish. Day by day showed him only more surely,
not only how she loved Eugene--but the ardour and devotion with which
she was also beloved by him.

It was impossible to be daily and hourly the witness of their
intercourse--to watch the anxiety with which he regarded her every
motion; the earnest attention with which he hung upon her every
word--the adoring affection with which he gazed upon her sweet
expressive countenance, and not be assured that his love was, for the
present at least, deep, earnest and sincere?

And was not this enough to disarm the brother of all present criticism,
and divert the more close and jealous inquiry which must come hereafter.
To continue in the words of that favourite poet, from which we find
ourselves so often quoting, as coming so naturally and gracefully to
our aid in description of the present case.

    "I never spoke of wealth or race
      To one who asked so much from me;
    I looked but in my sister's face,
      And mused if she would happier be;
    And I began to watch his mood,
      And feel with him love's trembling care,
    And bade God bless him as he wooed
      That loving girl so fond and fair."

       *       *       *       *       *

And Trevor--he was able with perfect sincerity and unreserve to satisfy
Mary's mind as to his unfeigned admiration and approval of her darling
brother. There was no jealousy to interfere here, on his part.

Jealousy? Ah! the most prone to such infirmity, could with difficulty
have conjured up the shadow of an excuse for similar weakness in his
case. Had he not won over--secured to himself as much, quite as much
exclusive love as he could either desire or deserve? Besides, we have by
this time perceived that Trevor was by no means a man unable to
appreciate the good and beautiful in mind and character; and how much of
these were to be found in his young brother-in-law elect! He entered
with the most kindly interest into his plans and prospects for the
future, and often as he watched Arthur Seaham's countenance--as to all
professing any interest in the matter, he with open-hearted animation
discoursed, or laid before them his views or intentions connected with
his future career--the half regretful, half admiring gaze with which
Eugene Trevor regarded the young man, might have seemed to express the
question to be rising in his mind, as to when he could remember to have
been so young, so pure, so fresh, so open, happy-hearted.

When indeed?

Perhaps never, Eugene Trevor; for there are minds, in which--like the
fruits and flowers of foreign climes, matured by the sunshine of an
hour--passions, tastes, principles, incompatible with youth and purity
and openness of heart, have either, by nature or the foreign sun of
circumstances, struck their roots and flourished in the very morning of
their possessors' lives, and thus, their very youth has been like age.

Once Arthur Seaham rode over to Montrevor with Eugene Trevor. He came
back in high spirits, pleased with the place, and amused with the
expedition altogether.

"You will have a fine old home, Mary," he said, "some of these days, for
Trevor tells me everything will be altered, whenever the house is his,
and that during his father's lifetime, he does not suppose you and he
will be a great deal there, but live in London, and other places, which
perhaps is as well, considering it might be rather a gloomy home for a
permanence if matters continued as they now are; what with the dear old
close father, and that fine-lady housekeeper, from whom I received a
very cynical glance, as I stumbled upon her in the passage, and who
holds, it seems, such a tight hand over her master and his
establishment. But I don't object to the old gentleman himself, either.
No! he is a rare old Solomon, and was very civil and flattering to me,
with reference to his approval of his son's choice of such a modest,
discreet, well-behaved young lady, for my sister. He even was so kind as
to make amends for a very indifferent luncheon--(Trevor was obliged to
give me on the sly) by presenting me at parting with an excellent piece
of advice. His son had begun enlightening him as to my intention of
entering upon the profession of the law, for the purpose of making
money, which I saw at once raised me immeasurably in his estimation, and
leading me aside when we were about to start, with so mysterious and
important an expression, that I began to imagine that the jolly old
fellow was going to present me with five hundred pounds on the spot, he
whispered anxiously in my ears, as if my very life depended on what he
was about to say:

"'That's right, young Sir, that's right--make money--make it as long and
as much as you can. Make money--make money--and then,' with a very
expressive and emphatic pause, 'and then--keep it.'"

Mary could not help laughing at her brother's ludicrous description,
though she told him he was an impertinent boy, thus to deride the
foibles of her venerable father-in-law. As to anything in his
character--or even aught with reference to Marryott, as at all affecting
her happiness at Montrevor--seemed to cast no shade of anxiety over her
mind. On this point she was as uncareful and unforeseeing as became
those traits in her general character we have before remarked.

"By the bye," exclaimed her brother, either _à-propos_ to reflections to
which his late visits at Montrevor had given rise, or with reference to
hints Mr. de Burgh had once or twice let fall upon the subject, "by the
bye, I want to ask you what has become of Trevor's unfortunate brother?"

Mary was unable to give the required information.

"The fact is," she said, "the idea is one so very painful, even to me,
that I never bring a subject forward which must undoubtedly be one
doubly distasteful and distressing to Eugene. He never broaches it
himself--I will, however, ask him the question whenever I may have the
opportunity. It might be a comfort to him if I once broke the ice and
conversed with him sometimes on the subject."

It was therefore in consequence of this kindly intentioned resolve, that
one day when walking alone with Eugene through the park home from
church, he--talking in a more confidential tone than was his usual wont,
on matters connected with his family affairs, and affecting their future
prospects--she placed her hand on his, and with the gentlest, tenderest
sympathy in her tone and manner, murmured, "And where, Eugene, is your
poor brother?" But she repented ere the words had passed her lips; for
Eugene perceptibly started, and paused abruptly for a single moment,
turning a wild, quick glance upon her, whilst though he answered but by
the single word "Abroad!" it was enough to show that his voice was thick
and husky as he thus replied. In a moment, however, he seemed to recover
himself from the very great shock her abrupt, and as she feared,
ill-judged question had occasioned him, and passing his hand across his
brow, quickly pursued his way.

Grieved at what she had done, Mary walked on in silence; till Eugene, as
if he feared she must have been impressed by the signs of emotion into
which he had been surprised, suddenly began to laugh, although the laugh
had in it a tone constrained and unnatural.

"I fear, Mary, I frightened you just now," he said, "but the fact is,
you rather frightened me by your sudden question. It sounded almost as
solemn and startling as the same inquiry must have done to Cain
after--after you know what wicked deed."

"Indeed, dear Eugene?" Mary answered with concern, yet inwardly
surprised at the careless tone and manner her lover had now assumed with
reference to that distressing subject.

"I am sorry, very sorry, I pained you by my abruptness, but the sad
subject was so much in my thoughts at the moment, and I had so long
wished to ask you something about your poor brother, that--"

"Oh yes--of course--certainly, my dearest Mary, I quite understand, and
shall be very glad to give you some information concerning the poor
fellow. Just at the first start you must suppose it rather painful to
bring myself to think or speak upon, as you justly observe, so very sad
a subject. My poor brother is, as I said before, abroad, travelling I
believe--of course under guardianship. He was," and his voice faltered
as if from strong emotion, "he was in confinement for a very short time,
but that, thank God! was found unnecessary; and now, as I told you, he
is abroad. I cannot say exactly where just now."

And having hurriedly uttered these particulars, the delivery of which
seemed to cost him much, he passed his handkerchief over his brow, on
which, even in this clear fresh November atmosphere, there had been
wrung forth some burning drops--and hastened on his pale and pitying
companion, who gently pressed his arm in silent token of her love and
sympathy.

"Mary," he murmured in a low agitated tone, fervently returning that
mute acknowledgment, "Mary, you will never forsake me?"

"Forsake you, Eugene! why should I forsake you?"

"Not even if they told you I was unworthy of you--if they tried to
separate us by lies and false inventions?"

"Dear--dear, Eugene, what can make you talk thus?--forsake you! never:
even if they were so wicked. Why even if you were really what they
represented--"

"What--what? you would not forsake me _then_?"

"Cain's wife forsook not her husband, and yet his crime was greater than
anything you could ever have committed," she answered in a gentle,
cheerful voice.

"True--true--true," hurriedly he replied, (but why had he been fool
enough to put Cain into her head?)--"True, dear Mary, you are an angel,
but then Cain's faithful friend was his wife. I meant, if _before_ we
were married, they tried to separate us by such measures,--or if for
instance," he added quite cheerfully and naturally, "if, as you quite
seem to think possible, I am sorry to perceive, I did turn out a
villain."

"Then," Mary answered firmly and gravely, "the course of conduct I must
pursue would be a question of right and wrong; it is difficult for me
indeed, to realize to myself such a position of affairs; but I know--I
feel," with a self-accusing sigh, "what my heart would at present
dictate--that I could never of my own accord forsake you, Eugene--never
could cancel the engagement which binds us to each other--unless
indeed," she added, "you, Eugene, should desire it."

"_I_ desire, it!" he repeated with a laugh of tender scorn, "what in the
world could now arise to render our separation, for a day even,
desirable in my eyes? No, the time will soon be here when, you know,
Mary, what you have promised--that we shall never again be obliged to
part."

Strange--strange world of contradiction; strange indeed, that in so very
brief a space of time the same enthusiastic speaker should be the
first--

But we must not anticipate.



CHAPTER II.

    The nuptial day was fix'd, the plighting kiss
    Glowed on my lips; that moment the abyss,
    Which hid by moss-grown time yet yawned as wide
    Beneath my feet, divorced me from her side.
    A letter came--

    THE NEW TIMON.


"There is a tide in the affairs of man," and Mary's we have seen, from
the time of her first arrival at Silverton, has seemed to run on to the
full, with a most uninterrupted flow of smooth prosperity most alarming.

It was quite the latter end of November that the first break in the
party assembled at Silverton was occasioned by the departure of Arthur
Seaham for Scotland, where he went for the purpose both of seeing his
sister Alice, and arranging several matters of business, and at the
same time to consult his brother-in-law, Mr. Gillespie, whose opinion
and legal experience he held in high estimation, concerning the measures
to be adopted with reference to his intended professional studies.

By Christmas, however, Arthur would be in London, and there again meet
Mary, who in less than ten days from his departure was to accompany the
de Burgh's to town, Trevor also proceeding thither.

Mrs. de Burgh had persuaded her husband that it was quite indispensable
for her well-doing that her confinement--expected in January--should
occur under the auspices of a celebrated London practitioner, and Mr. de
Burgh, very persuadable on this anxious point, had taken a house for the
occasion.

"And then of course," Mrs. de Burgh resumed complacently, "we shall
remain for the season. I shall then be able to look out for a nursery
governess for the children, and be in town for your wedding, dear Mary,
all quite comfortably."

Mary, nevertheless, was not to continue the guest of her cousins in
Brook Street, though they expressed their willingness to accommodate her
therein; she preferred, all things considered, to avail herself of the
invitation of her former guardians, the uncle and aunt Majoribanks, to
visit them in their roomy mansion in Portman Square.

Trevor was anxious that his marriage should take place, if possible,
very early in the spring, and the preliminaries necessary to that event
were to be set on foot immediately after the assemblage of the aforesaid
parties in town; whilst to thicken the plot, and to render the aspect of
coming events still more _couleur de rose_ in the eyes of the happy
_fiancée_, the morning before Arthur's arrival, Mary received a letter
from her sister Agnes, announcing--along with many delighted and
affectionate congratulations from the late bride on the event, which was
to render her dear Mary, she hoped, as happy as herself in her new
estate--the joyful news of her intended return to England in time to
take upon herself the management and superintendance of her sister's
wedding; for kind Sir Hugh insisted that it should be his part to give
the wedding breakfast, at the best house he could take for the occasion;
whilst at the same time, it seems the worthy baronet and his young wife
had gone so far as to decide that the intended couple could do no better
than repair to the baronet's seat in Wales after the happy event for,
their honeymoon, Glan Pennant being now let to strangers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Poor Mary! she had been taking a long and delightful ride with her lover
the day after Arthur left Silverton. There had been no shadow, no cloud,
cast upon the calm, confiding transport of her heart, as they discussed
together their happy prospects--the episode of that Sunday walk had
never been in the slightest degree renewed, nay, seemed as if by either
party quite forgotten.

Trevor was more gay, more gentle, more tender this day than she had ever
seen him; and when he lifted her from her horse at the door at
Silverton, and as he did so, caught the faintest sound of a gentle,
breeze-like sigh heaved from her bosom, he, with an anxious solicitude
which made Mary smile, looked into her face, and asked quite fearfully,
"why she so sighed?"

"I do not know, indeed, dear Eugene," was the reply, "unless it be that
I am _too happy_."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following morning, Mary and the de Burghs were assembled at the
breakfast-table, the children present as usual, but Eugene had not yet
made his appearance; his letters, or rather his letter, for there was
but one this day, lay as usual by his plate on the table.

"Louey, put that letter down; have I not told you a hundred times, not
to pull about other people's things?" called out Mr. de Burgh to his
young daughter, whose meddling little fingers seemed irresistibly
attracted by the red seal upon this unopened document, as well as by the
endeavour to test her literary powers by deciphering the printed letters
composing the post mark.

"Louey, pray do as you are told, and do not make your papa so cross and
fidgetty," her mother rejoined.

"Just like the rest of her sex," remarked Mr. de Burgh, sarcastically,
"always fond of prying and peeping. I have little doubt, but that if I
were not here, the seal and direction would be carefully inspected by
more than one pair of ladies' eyes--eh, Mary?"

Mary with playful indignation denied the insinuation, whilst Mrs. de
Burgh was exclaiming contemptuously, that he always had such bad, absurd
ideas, when the discussion was terminated by the entrance of the
unconscious object of the conversation, who after having finished his
morning greeting, proceeded to seat himself at the table, and seeing his
letter, took it up, glanced at the direction and broke the seal, while
Louey, who after her last received reproof, had slid round to Mary's
chair, convicted and ashamed; with her large dark eyes watched this
proceeding on Eugene's part with the most attentive interest.

The first cover was thrown aside--another sealed letter was enclosed--at
that direction he also looked, and even the child, had she watched his
countenance instead of his fingers, might have been struck by its
immediate change; the deep flush succeeded by the deadly pallor which
overspread his face. He gave a quick uneasy glance around, but no one
was observing him, and then again fixing his eyes anxiously upon the
address, was about to turn and break the seal, when his elbow was
touched, and the little girl who had glided round to possess herself of
her former object of ambition--the seal on the discarded envelope--now
whispered in his ear:

"Don't break that beautiful seal--give it to me."

Trevor started, and looked at first as much confused and disconcerted,
as if he had been required by the young lady to yield the letter itself
for public inspection; but recovering himself in a moment, he, as if
mechanically, obeyed the child's injunction, tearing off the impression;
and thus recovering her prize, together with another polite request,
from her father, not to be such a tiresome bore, she returned with it
to her former refuge, laying it before Mary for her particular
inspection, who glancing carelessly towards the impression, perceived it
to be the Trevor coat-of-arms, together with the initials "E. T."

Eugene in the meantime having hastily glanced his eye over the writing
inside, thrust the letter into his pocket, and proceeded to make a hasty
but indifferent breakfast.

He did not join the ladies as usual during the few first hours of that
morning--but Mr. de Burgh informed them in answer to their inquiry, when
he came once into the drawing-room, that "Trevor was sitting in the
library, deep in meditation over the 'Times.'" At last he made his
appearance for a short time, and sat down by Mary's side, but in so very
abstracted and absent a mood, that she began to be possessed with secret
misgivings that something had occurred to annoy him, though she kept
this feeling to herself.

Mrs. de Burgh's quick perception also discovered that something was
indeed amiss, and she playfully told Eugene that he was very stupid,
and must take another ride with Mary after luncheon to brisk him up.

But looking down on the ground, in the same altered moody manner which
characterized his present demeanour, he murmured that he was afraid he
should be obliged to leave Silverton early in the afternoon.

Mrs. de Burgh, on hearing this, and struck still more by his peculiar
manner, glanced inquiringly at her cousin, and was preparing to rise in
order to leave him alone with Mary, when Eugene suddenly got up from his
chair, and, making some excuse for absenting himself, quitted the
apartment.

Mary made no remark on this demeanour of her lover, but silently and
quietly pursued her occupation. It was not in her nature, as we before
remarked, to fret or torment herself, or others, by easily excited
fears, or fanciful misgivings. She was fearful, indeed, that Eugene was
suffering under some temporary anxiety or annoyance, occasioned,
perhaps, by the letter he had received that morning; but nothing more
serious entered her imagination.

Eugene did not come in to luncheon, but of that meal he seldom partook,
and when once, through the open door, Mary caught sight of him standing
darkly in an adjoining room, his eyes fixed earnestly upon her, she
smiled her own sweet, affectionate, confiding smile, which he returned
with a kind of subdued, melancholy tenderness. She found herself at
length in the drawing-room alone, and heard Eugene's step slowly
approaching. He half opened the door, and seeing that no one was with
her, entered the apartment. She held out her hand as he drew near, and
seizing it, he pressed it passionately to his lips.

"Mary," he murmured, in a low, thrilling tone, whilst he gazed long and
earnestly into her face, till her soft eyes shrank, like flowers at
noon, beneath the dark, wild gleam which shone upon them. "My dear,
good, best-beloved Mary," then his arm encircled her waist, he pressed
her trembling form against his heart, imprinted a burning kiss upon her
lips, and ere Mary had recovered from the first strong surprise with
which this sudden ardour in her lover's conduct naturally inspired her,
he had left the room, and Mrs. de Burgh entering soon after to ask her
to drive, she heard that Eugene was gone!



CHAPTER III.

    Still must fate, stern, cold, reproving,
      Link but to divide the heart----
    Must it teach the young and loving
      First to prize and then to part.

    L. E. L.


The second day after Eugene Trevor's departure, Mary received a letter
from him, short, hurried, though affectionate, and mentioning that some
troublesome and rather annoying business obliged him to leave Montrevor.
He did not say for how long, or where he was going, but Mary sent her
letter, in answer, directed to Montrevor.

She did not hear from him again.

There wanted but two days to the one fixed for the journey to London.
The preparations necessarily preceding the removal, as well as her
naturally patient and tranquil disposition, had hitherto prevented Mary
from dwelling too uneasily on her lover's silence. After all, it had
only been for a few days, and she knew him to be naturally no great
letter-writer. The tiresome business which had taken him from home
probably engaged much of his time and attention, and he was anxious to
have it over before they met again.

But when, on coming down to breakfast the morning of the above-mentioned
day, her anxious glance for the wished for letter was again
disappointed, she could not forbear giving vent to the anxious
exclamation, "No letter again from Eugene!"

She glanced as she spoke towards her cousin Louis, and perceived his
regard fixed upon her, with so anxious, so grave an expression of
concern, that her heart instantly misgave her, though she said nothing
more at the time.

Mrs. de Burgh entered the breakfast-room soon after, looking quite
unconscious, merely inquiring of Mary what news the post had brought;
and only remarked that Eugene was a very idle fellow, when Mary's
dejected silence bespoke her to have been disappointed in the results of
its delivery; immediately after breakfast Mary heard Mr. de Burgh say,
"Olivia, I wish to speak to you in the library," an unusual occurrence,
unless there was anything of very especial consequence to be
communicated, and then she heard the door shut upon them.

She waited half an hour in a state of anxious suspense, which in vain
she strove to reason with herself was unnecessary and uncalled for. What
had this interview to do with her--with Eugene? But no--it would not do;
her heart still beat nervously in her bosom, and she strained her ears
at every sound, to listen whether it might not be the opening of the
library door, and her cousin's appearance, to reassure her, no doubt,
silly apprehension.

Mary was reminded by all this of her feelings on the occasion of her
anticipated interview with Louis, after his having been informed of her
engagement with Eugene, and the step she had taken to put an end to the
nervous impulse under which she then had laboured.

No doubt she would find her intrusion on this occasion perfectly
uncalled for; but still her presence was never unwelcome, and to relieve
her mind of its present uneasiness, she could at that moment have braved
any contingency.

So to the library she proceeded, opened the door, and entered.

"But what is the use of telling her anything about it, poor thing! till
she gets to London? For Heaven's sake, wait till then."

This was what she heard; and if there had been any doubt on Mary's mind,
as to whether these words bore reference to herself, the confused and
disconcerted countenances of both Mr. and Mrs. de Burgh, when they
became aware of her presence, too fully assured her on that point; and
advancing, pale and trembling, towards her cousins, she at once faltered
forth:

"Louis--Olivia! have you heard anything of Eugene? Is he ill? or what
has happened?" and then she burst into tears.

"No, no, dear Mary, there is nothing the matter with Trevor--he is quite
well."

Mr. de Burgh hastened to confirm this, and in the gentlest, kindest
manner made her sit down by his side.

"The fact is," he said, "I have had a letter from him this morning,
which may possibly damp your spirits a little for the moment, although
it can, of course, be of no ultimate importance, only defer expected
happiness to a remoter period."

Mary, drying her eyes, anxiously waited for him to proceed.

"Trevor writes me word that his marriage, owing, it seems, to some
rather serious business, must of necessity be postponed, he does not say
till when. But you see," he continued, breaking off into a more cheerful
and encouraging tone of voice, "there is nothing so fatally unfortunate
in this."

No, indeed, it was not the bare fact those words conveyed which bowed
down Mary's trembling spirit, and gave such wan and wintry sadness to
the smile with which she attempted to acknowledge her cousin's
comforting words. It was not the mere intelligence that her marriage was
postponed which fell like a cloud upon her soul, it was that dark
presentiment which often on occasions of less or greater magnitude
assails the mind of man, that the happy prosperity of his life has
reached its culminating point: that the point is turned, and henceforth
it must take a downward course.

"But why," she faltered, now glancing towards Mrs. de Burgh, who sat
silent and distressed, "why did he not write and tell me this himself?"

"I think, dear Mary, Louis had better tell you what Eugene said in his
letter, which was to him, not to me. I will come back presently," and
rising, Mrs. de Burgh kissed Mary's pale cheek, and gladly made her
escape from the thing she particularly dreaded--painful circumstances
over which she could have no control; so Mary once more turned her
plaintive glance of inquiry upon her cousin Louis.

"Here is his letter!" Mr. de Burgh replied; "if you would like to read
it, it may be as well that you should do so, as it is all I know, or
understand about the matter."

Mary took the letter in her trembling hand, and steadying it as she
could--read in her lover's hand-writing the following communication,
which, from the concise, unvarnished manner in which it was conveyed,
led one rather to suspect that it had never been intended for the eye of
his tender-hearted lady-love, but, with the well-known proverb
respecting "fine words," &c. uppermost in his mind--penned rather for
the private benefit of one of his own strong-minded species.

     "Dear de Burgh,

     "You will, I am sure, be surprised, when I tell you that
     circumstances have lately arisen which render it impossible that my
     marriage can take place as soon as I had hoped and expected. I need
     not tell you that my distress and vexation are extreme, the more
     so, that I am forced to be convinced of the expediency, nay,
     necessity of this postponement, finding it quite impossible, under
     the present position of affairs, that with any justice to Mary,
     our union could be concluded. Of course more particular explanation
     will be required; but I write this merely to beg that either you or
     Olivia will break to her this intelligence, of which I feel it
     right she should not be kept in ignorance, I am myself quite
     unequal to communicate with her upon the subject. Tell her only
     that I am concerned and disappointed beyond expression, that I will
     write to her brother more fully, or to any of her friends who may
     desire it; but that I cannot, dare not, trust myself to put pen to
     paper to address her till I can see my way more clearly.

     "Believe me, ever, dear de Burgh,

     "Yours most sincerely,

     "EUGENE TREVOR."

A large tear rolled down Mary's cheek as she refolded and laid aside the
letter.

"Poor Eugene!" she murmured gently, "how unhappy he seems to be! You
will write to him, Louis; will you not?" she added: "If so, do tell him
I am grieved, disappointed, for his sake, but that he must not distress
and harass himself on my account--that he must be patient till these
obstacles are removed. Our happiness has, till now, been too great and
uninterrupted for us to have expected that it could continue without any
thing to rise and mar the smoothness of its course; we shall only prize
it the more when it is restored, and love each other the more firmly for
this little reverse."

"Had you not better perhaps write and tell him all this yourself?" said
Mr. de Burgh, with a smile of kind and gentle interest.

"I think perhaps I had better not," she answered sadly. "You see he does
not like to write to me upon the subject, so perhaps it would distress
him the more to hear from me just now. I know it is a peculiarity in
Eugene to shrink from the direct discussion of any circumstance painful
and annoying to his feelings. Tell him therefore, also--if you, Louis,
will be so kind as to write--not to think it necessary to enter into any
particulars at present, with my brother, or any one else. It is quite
bad enough for him to be troubled by these affairs, without further
annoyance being added to the business. I am quite satisfied with what he
has imparted--quite satisfied as to the expediency and necessity of our
marriage being deferred--that I can wait, and shall be content patiently
to wait, as long as it shall be required."

Yes, Mary, wait--wait--learn patiently to wait--it is woman's lesson,
which, sooner or later, your sex must learn, and of which your meek soul
will have but too full experience! The cup of joy so temptingly
presented "to lips that may not drain," but instead--the sickening hope
deferred--the long heart thirst--yet still to patiently hold on,
awaiting meekly her lingering reward. "Bearing all things, believing all
things, hoping all things, enduring all things."

The few last days previous to a departure, is under any circumstances,
generally a somewhat uncomfortable and unsettled period. Our Silverton
party were doubly relieved by its expiration. Eugene's letter seemed to
have cast a damp over their general spirits.

Mrs. de Burgh, evidently puzzled and perplexed, was at a loss how to
treat the subject, when discussing it with Mary; whilst Louis, far from
seeming elated at this hitch in an affair of which he had always
professed such unqualified disapprobation, was evidently sorry and
annoyed at this disturbance of his cousin's peace of mind, and whilst
more than ever, kind and affectionate in his demeanour towards herself,
was unusually out of humour with every one around him.

As for Mary, she walked about more like a person half awakening from a
long and happy dream, who feels herself struggling hard not to break the
pleasant spell. It seemed to her, that there was a dull and silent
vacuum reigning over the large mansion, she had never before perceived.
She looked wearily from the window upon the dreary December scene, and
it seemed that almost for the first time she became aware that it was
not the bright summer month which had marked her first arrival. She felt
that now, she also would be glad to go.

What! glad to leave the spot where, who knows poor Mary, but that the
brief bright summer time of your existence has passed and gone? For
there is a summer time in the life of every mortal being--a more or
less bright, passionate ecstatic season of enjoyment, though
wofully--fearfully evanescent are the flowers and leaves which mark some
mortals' summer time.

But why lament for this--if, may be, the autumn with its calm cool
chastened light be longer thine?

The morning of departure arrived--and pale and passive in the midst of
all the bustle and excitement attendant on the starting of a large
family party, composed of servants, children, a lady suffering from the
nervous and uncomfortable feelings attendant on her situation, and a
rather fidgetty, impatient husband--pale and passive, yet with an
inwardly bruised and sinking sensation of the heart, Mary entered the
carriage, and was soon borne far away from the vicinity of Silverton and
Montrevor.



CHAPTER IV.

    Oh, thou dark and gloomy city!
      Let me turn my eyes from thee;
    Sorrow, sympathy nor pity,
      In thy presence seems to be;
    Darkness like a pall hath bound thee--
      Shadow of thy world within--
    With thy drear revealings round me,
      Love seems vain, and hope a sin.

    L. E. L.


Mary on her arrival in London, went straight to Portman Square, where
she was received with affectionate gladness by her venerable relations.

They, of course, had been amongst the first to be made aware of their
niece's matrimonial prospects, and proud and happy did the intelligence
render the worthy pair. Full and hearty were the congratulations poured
upon the pale and drooping _fiancée_,--to be silenced for the time by
the dejected answer:

"Yes, dear aunt, but for the present our marriage is postponed."

After this first ordeal, there was something not ungenial to Mary's
state of mind in the orderly and quiet monotony of the old-fashioned,
yet comfortable establishment of the Majoribanks. Their daughter was
remarkable for nothing but that indolence of habit and disposition which
a long sojourn in the luxurious East often engenders, and made little
more impression upon Mary's mind, than the costly shawls in which the
orientalized lady at rare intervals appeared enveloped; whilst some
little creatures, chattering in an outlandish tongue, and attended by a
dark-hued ayah, only occasionally excited her present vague, languid
powers of interest and attention.

London in December bears by no means an inviting and exhilarating
aspect; still there are moods and conditions of minds with which at this
season it better assimilates than in its more bright and genial periods.
No glare, or glitter, or display then distracts our spirits. Over the
vast city and its ever-moving myriads, seems to hang one dark, thick,
impenetrable veil, beneath whose dingy folds, joy and misery, innocence
and crime, indigence and wealth, alike hurry on their way,
undistinguishable and indistinct. Men are to our eyes "as trees
walking,"--by faint, uncertain glimpses we alone recognise the face of
friend or foe, who see us not--or, in our turn, are seen, by those we
unconsciously pass by.

Then, and there, in the "dark grey city," more than in "the green
stillness of the country," we can retire into the sanctuary of our own
sad hearts--or beneath this vague and dreamy influence the poet's heart
may wander undisturbed, and as he "hears and feels the throbbing heart
of man," may calmly image forth his destined theme for thought, or song.
"The river of life that flows through streets, tumultuous, bearing along
so many gallant hearts, so many wrecks of humanity;--the many homes and
households, each a little world in itself, revolving round its
fireside, as a central sun; all forms of human joy, and suffering
brought into that narrow compass; and to be in this, and be a part of
this, acting, thinking, rejoicing, sorrowing with his fellow-men."

Poor Mary! she too went forth, and walked, or drove, as beneath one dim,
broad shadow; everything without her and within, vague, dreamy, and
indistinct, except when some pale face or dark eye startled her
momentarily from her trance, by their fancied or seeming similitude to
that loved being, whom some suddenly eclipsing power, like the one now
veiling the wintry sun, had hidden from her aching sight,--but of whom,
each day, she lived in sure but anxious anticipation of receiving
tidings either in person or by letter.

Mary had not written to her brother Arthur on the subject of Eugene's
letter till she came to London, then so lightly did she touch upon the
matter it contained, giving her brother merely to understand that her
marriage was deferred for a short period; that he only in his reply
expressed pleasure at the idea that he was not to lose her quite so
soon, and at the same time mentioned his intention of remaining in
Edinburgh a little longer than he had previously intended, according to
the urgent solicitations of his sister Alice, who had so few
opportunities of enjoying the society of her relations--and at the same
time, for the more interested purpose of reaping as long as he was able
the benefit of his lawyer brother-in-laws' valuable counsel and
assistance on the subject upon which his mind was so keenly set;
affording so excellent a preparation for those regular studies, in
which, after the Christmas vacation, he was to engage as member of the
Middle Temple.

And thus the affectionate brother remained in perfect ignorance that
anything was amiss in the concerns of his favourite sister, during this
protracted absence. But the old couple of course soon began to require
some more defined explanation as to the state of affairs, and an
interview with Mr. de Burgh, when he called one morning to see Mary, did
not tend to throw any very satisfactory light upon the subject. All that
he could inform them concerning the matter was, that some business was
pending, which would prevent the marriage from taking place as soon as
had been intended; that Mrs. de Burgh had heard from her cousin, Mr.
Trevor, who seemed to be considerably distressed by this impediment, and
to shrink from holding any direct communion with his betrothed until
matters had assumed a more favourable aspect; that he announced his
intention of coming up to town as soon as he could possibly leave his
father, who was suffering from another dangerous attack of illness.
Until such time he, Mr. de Burgh, supposed there was nothing to be done,
particularly as Mary's own solicitations were most urgent to that
effect; and she, indeed, poor girl, always professed herself perfectly
satisfied that all was right.

Ah, how could it be otherwise? the bare idea was treason to her
confiding, trustful heart.

Mary did not see a great deal of Mrs. de Burgh after her first arrival.

It is astonishing how great a barrier a few streets and squares of the
metropolis can form against the intercourse of dearest and most
familiar friends. Mrs. de Burgh was ill at first and uncomfortable
herself, and it only distressed her to see Mary under the present
unsatisfactory aspect of affairs. Then her confinement intervened, and
after that she was surrounded by other friends, whose society was
unassociated with the painful feelings, which by that time had occurred
to throw a still greater constraint over her intercourse with the pale,
sad Mary.

How characteristic this is of the general friendship of worldly people.
How warm, how bright, has been the affection showered upon us when we
were gay, glad, or hopeful. But let some cloud arise to dim our aspect,
let our spirits droop, our brow be overcast, then, though they may not
love us less--though they may feel for and pity us, nay, would do much
to restore our happiness, if in their power; yet if that cannot
be--then--"come again when less sad and sorrowful, when your lips once
more can give back smile for smile--when your voice has lost these notes
of deep dejection, _then_, oh, come again, and we will with open arms
receive you, and our love be as fond, as fervent, as unconstrained; but
till then--away! you chide our spirits, you restrain our mirth."

This is the language which seems to breathe from every altered look and
tone of our worldly friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mary went one day to see her cousin. She found Olivia on the sofa,
looking a little delicate, but only the more beautiful from that cause,
as well as from the subdued, softened expression of her countenance.

Her husband sat affectionately by her side, the brightest satisfaction
beaming from his handsome features, gazing upon his lovely wife, and
new-born son, a fine healthy infant, resting on the mother's bosom.

It was altogether a perfect picture of happy family prosperity, and
tears of heartfelt pleasure rose to Mary's eyes at the sight.

She wished and prayed that it might be an earnest of the establishment
of a happier and better state of things between that married pair; that
the long slumbering, or diverted demonstration of affection, now
reawakened or recalled, might never again be put to silence, or lose
their reasserted power. Alas! for the transitory nature of pure and holy
influences like the present, upon the light, inconstant, or the worldly
hearted; influences of time, or circumstances, which like the shaken
blossoms of the spring, the breath of vanity or dissipation can in a
moment dispel and scatter to the ground.

    "They never came to fruit, and their sweet lives soon are o'er,
    But we lived an hour beneath them, and never dreamed of more."

At least thus we regret to say, it proved with regard to any temporary
influence to which Mrs. de Burgh might have been subjected. For her
convalescence, and the allurements and temptations of the ensuing
season, tended too surely to the overthrow of those hopes and
aspirations, in which poor Mary so rejoiced, in behalf of her cousin
Louis and his beautiful wife. But this is wandering from the regular
progress of our story.



CHAPTER V.

    I am not false to thee, yet now
      Thou hast a cheerful eye;
    With flushing cheek and drooping brow,
      I wander mournfully.

    Thou art the same; thy looks are gay,
      Thy step is light and free,
    And yet, with truth, my heart can say,
      I am not false to thee.

    MRS. NORTON.


Spring was fast advancing. Arthur Seaham had returned some time from
Scotland, and had entered as a student of the Temple. The Morgans had
arrived in London, yet the cloud seemed only to thicken the more round
Mary's prospects.

The friends had ceased to pain her ears by any open animadversion of her
lover. They seemed to wait in moody silence the issue of affairs; the
dangerous and precarious condition, in which they had ascertained that
his father still remained--giving rise, in a great measure, to the idea
suggested by a vague hint from the son, that on this circumstance
depended the removal of the impediment which he professed had arisen
against his marriage--still excusing his non-appearance.

And Mary--though not to hear mention of that beloved name, was to her
almost as great an agony, as to know that injurious and suspicious
thoughts were silently harboured in the breast of those around her,
against that one loved being; and though her cheek day by day was
becoming more pale, her heart more sinking--yearning for her lover's
exculpation--yet more she still lived hopefully, trustfully, sure that
all would eventually be right.

Day by day, she thought "he will be here," sometimes that he might even
then be in London, only waiting to make his presence known until his
anxious consultations with his lawyers had set his mind more at rest.

Mary was sometimes induced to accept the urgent solicitations of her
sister Agnes to accompany herself and Sir Hugh, to such places of public
amusement as the yet early season rendered admissible.

Lady Morgan, blooming and happy as ever youthful wife could be; with her
indulgent husband, upon whom his continental sojourn, together with the
influence of his handsome young spouse, had produced quite a polishing
and refining effect, were established in a fashionable hotel, for the
short space of time which now, alas! that there was no marriage to be
celebrated, they intended--this season--to remain in London.

One night, when on the point of issuing from their private box at one of
the minor theatres, where they had been witnessing the performance of a
famous actress, a party of men, who had apparently occupied one of the
lower boxes on the same side of the house, rushed quickly past, laughing
and talking with light and careless glee.

Some glanced slightly on the young Lady Morgan; who happened to stand
forward at the time, and whose appearance momentarily attracted their
attention; but Mary, without being seen from her position behind her
sister, caught sight of the party as they passed.

Why did the beatings of her heart stand still--that sick faint chill
creep over her? could it be--oh, could it indeed be Eugene! nearly
foremost of that group, whose dark eye had flashed that cursory glance
upon her sister, as he hurried by--whose voice, in that well known
cheerful laugh (at least so it had ever been to Mary's ears) had echoed
on her heart, her anxious, longing, saddened heart?

Oh! could it be--and was it thus she now beheld him--he, whose last
embrace still thrilled her frame--whose parting kiss still lingered on
her lips--unconscious of her presence, careless, unthinking of her
grief.

Yes, thus she first beheld him, for whom she had so long watched and
waited,--and wept, when none were near.

"Mary dear, are you there?" her sister said looking back, when they had
stepped out into the passage. "But, my dear darling, how pale you look.
Sir Hugh," she exclaimed quite reproachfully to her husband, "pray give
Mary your arm," and with repentant alacrity the Baronet hastened to
offer his assistance to his half-fainting sister-in-law. "It was the
heat--the gas," poor Mary murmured; "she would be better when they went
into the air."

And she did then seem to revive, and entering the carriage, told not a
word of what had occurred to trouble her; nor hinted the fact of having
seen Eugene, (if indeed her bewildered fancy had not deceived her), even
to her brother, when she saw him on the morrow.

No, still in hope and trust, she waited patiently. The very next night
but one after this occurrence, she was again called for by her sister
and brother-in-law, to accompany them to the opera, but just re-opened
for the season.

Oh! the wistful earnestness of that sad eye, straining its aching sight
to discern some inmate of the opposite boxes, of the stalls below, who,
for one deceiving moment, made her heart beat fast, by some fancied
similitude with the object of her thoughts. But no, the vision of the
night before was not to be renewed on this occasion, though of its
reality--which at times she was almost inclined to doubt--she was not to
leave the house quite unassured.

Mary and her sister were waiting in the round room, expecting the return
of Sir Hugh, who had gone to look for the carriage; Lady Morgan, talking
to a gentleman with whom she was acquainted, when Mary's attention was
rivetted by the colloquy between two men, who had previously passed them
in the vestibule, and near whom they again found themselves standing,
evidently without the former being aware of their vicinity.

"Oh, yes!" said one, "that was Lady Morgan, the young wife of the rich
Sir Hugh, the Welsh baronet, more than twice her age; a fine looking
young woman; but did you see that pale, pretty girl who was with them;
do you know that she is Miss Seaham, her sister, Eugene Trevor's
intended."

"Ah, indeed? I saw Trevor to-day, and congratulated him, but I thought
he did not seem much to like the subject."

"No indeed; I hear he is rather trying to back out of the affair. Some
spoke in the wheel, I suppose about money matters, and the old father
who was thought to be dying, seems to have picked up again."

"Well, I should think there were a few things besides money, which would
rather stand in the way," was the reply, and then the speakers lowered
their voices as they talked on, and Mary heard--and wished to hear no
more.

"Dear Agnes, shall we go on? There is Sir Hugh coming," and Lady Morgan
felt a gentle pressure on her fair round arm, and looking back, caught
sight once more of her sister's pale and piteous countenance.

"My poor, dear Mary, these places certainly do not suit you," whispered
her affectionate young _chaperone_, as she passed her sister's trembling
arm through hers, and pressed onwards through the crowd to meet her
husband. "I must really carry you back with me as soon as possible to
our mountain breezes."

"Would that I had never left them, Aggy!" murmured poor Mary in low
plaintive accents, whilst an uncontrollable flood of tears came to her
full heart's relief.

       *       *       *       *       *

The very next day, Mary set out on one of those expeditions, which at
this time might be called her only real enjoyment--namely, her visits to
her brother in his chambers at the Temple; often, as was the case on
this occasion, to bring him back to dine in Portman Square.

The Majoribanks' chariot, with its fat, slow, sleek horses, and steady
attendants, being conceded to her special use this evening; she went
forth heavy at heart, but anxiously striving to rally her spirits, to
meet her brother with that cheerfulness which in his society she ever
strove (and found it less difficult than under other circumstances) to
assume. It was rather early to proceed straight to the Temple, and
therefore Mary had agreed with her aunt, that she should go first to
execute some commissions in the opposite direction.

We can easily imagine from what source alone the interest could spring,
with which her sad eyes gazed through the carriage windows, as she
passed through some of the streets in this quarter.

Did she not know that somewhere in this vicinity, Eugene always lodged
when he came to town. And oh! to be passing perhaps the very door of the
house that contained him, was the gasping utterance of her heart, as she
swallowed down the tears which struggled upwards at this suggestion.

"But he--he does not care--he can be happy and cheerful without me," was
the still more bitter thought which succeeded, as she shrank back in the
carriage in dark and tearless dejection.

But from this she is aroused by one of those matter-of-fact realities of
common life, which form fortunate and salutary breaks in the tragic, or
the romance of man's existence.

The carriage stops before a fancy workshop in Bond Street, where many
colours for her aunt's worsted work are to be matched or chosen.

Mary does not herself alight; but gives a few directions to the well
initiated footman, who knows perfectly how to give the order--better
indeed perhaps than she herself--and sits in patient abstraction till
the man's return. He reappears, puts the parcel into the carriage, then
draws abruptly back, for some one has touched his arm, and signs that he
should give place.

Mary languidly lifts her eyes, and Eugene is before her. The place and
circumstance of this meeting, admitted not at first of any very open
demonstration of feeling, such as must necessarily have been excited. A
few low, hurried, agitated sentences were uttered by Trevor, as he bent
forward into the carriage towards Mary, whose pale lips could scarcely
articulate incoherent expressions of her sudden joy.

Then, by a peremptory gesture from the gentleman, the servant is
commanded to let down the steps. He obeys. Trevor springs in. The door
is closed; a moment's whispered consultation, and in faltering tones
Mary gives orders to be driven to the Temple, and the carriage rolls off
in that direction.

Once more alone together--once more by Eugene's side--Mary sees already
the cloud dispersed--fear, doubt, misgiving, vanished from her path.

How comes it, then, that misery and bewilderment is the confused
impression which this interview shall afterwards leave upon her mind?
How is it, that for the most part of that long way, she sits weeping
silently, her cold hand trembling in the burning palm of Eugene?--he now
in low, despairing accents bemoaning his grief, his pain--now
passionately cursing his wretched fortunes, his fatal circumstances?

But no explanation--no hope--no promised deliverance from the sorrow or
the evil.

Once, indeed, in a low and hurried tone, he breathed into her ear the
notion of a clandestine marriage--a secret union--one to be kept
concealed till such a time as the present necessity for secresy should
be at an end; the idea probably suggested to his mind by passing one of
those dark, often magnificent, but almost unfrequented churches, so well
suited, to all appearance, for the celebration of mysterious rites and
secret ceremonies, which rear their heads in some of the close, dark
streets of the city. But the firm, though gentle withdrawal of her hand,
the look of almost cold astonishment which marked her reception of this
desperate proposition, sufficed to convey to Eugene Trevor's mind the
full conviction that with all her yielding tenderness, her feminine
weakness of disposition, never must he hope to tempt his gentle,
pure-hearted love from the right, straight road of principle and duty
into any crooked path of deviating, or questionable proceeding.

"No, no, Eugene!" seemed to speak the sadly averted countenance. "No,
no, Eugene; the grief, the sin, the shame, whatever it may be, that now
stands between us, can never be set aside, be overstepped by such
unworthy means as you suggest. I can suffer, I can wait, I can make
every other sacrifice for your sake; but I cannot err--I cannot thus
deceive."

But suddenly, during the dreary pause that succeeded, Mary's eye
recognises some passing object, calling forth a momentary interest in
her mind, even in this moment of concentrated absorption of feeling.

She makes a quick forward movement of surprise; but when Eugene looked
inquiringly, as if to discern the cause of her apparent interest, the
momentary excitement died away, and she answered with melancholy
composure:

"It was only that I saw Mr. Temple pass--he of whom, you know, I told
you once."

"What--who--Eus--Temple I mean, did you say? Are you certain--quite
certain?" he exclaimed, with anxious, eager excitement, far surpassing
any which the recognition had excited in her own breast; "are you
sure--quite sure that it was he?"

"Yes" with a sigh; "I do not think I could be mistaken, for he looked so
earnestly into the carriage; but why--why, Eugene," looking at her lover
with a faint, melancholy smile, and some expression of surprise, "why
should it thus excite you?"

"My own dear love," Eugene now said, regaining possession of her hand,
and trying also to assume a forced smile, as well as tone of careless
unconcern, "I was not particularly excited, but you know I cannot help
feeling a slight degree of interest in that man after what you told me.
And did he see us? you, dearest, I mean?" he continued, still with a
degree of anxious solicitude in his tone.

"Yes, I think, I am almost sure, he did," she wearily replied, and then
her exhausted feelings sunk her again into a state of hopeless, listless
dejection.

And Eugene sat too, for a few minutes, plunged in anxious, thoughtful
silence, from which he was aroused by a glance towards the windows,
reminding him that they were approaching closely to Mary's destination.

Immediately, with an exclamation of despair, he pulls the check-string
and the carriage stops; the servant is at the door. There was but a
bewildered hasty parting. Trevor springs out into the street, turns upon
Mary one expressive, eager glance, and he is gone! The carriage
proceeds a little way, and then rolls within the Temple gates, and Mary
is found by her brother, when he comes hurrying down to meet her, pale,
trembling, nearly hysterical, from the effects of all her nerves and
feelings had undergone.



CHAPTER VI.

    Me, the still "London" not the restless "Town"
    (The light plume fluttering o'er Cybele's crown,)
    Delights;--for there the grave romance hath shed
    Its hues, and air grows solemn with the dead.

    THE NEW TIMON.


    Lives of great men all remind us
      We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
      Footprints on the sands of time.

    LONGFELLOW.


What was the matter?--what had happened?--was Arthur Seaham's anxious
inquiry, when having for greater privacy entered the carriage, he had
sat a few minutes by Mary's side, tenderly and soothingly holding her
hand--till the first paroxysm of emotion, (which to his astonishment
and dismay, greeted his first appearance) was in a degree subsided.

A few broken words, threw light upon the matter. She had seen--she had
just parted from Eugene. Arthur pressed no further question at the
moment, but proposed taking her up-stairs to his chambers, to give her
wine to recruit the poor girl's agitated spirits; but this Mary
declined. She only wanted air; she felt suffocated by the heat and
confinement of the carriage. She would like to get out, and walk home.

But the brother would not agree to this. It would be much too far for
her to walk just now. No, the carriage should wait, and they might take
a few turns in the court and gardens. The students were all in
Hall--they would be quite undisturbed. To the court then they
accordingly proceeded, Mary leaning on her brother's arm, and the quiet
refreshment of that quaint old spot, upon this mild spring evening; its
fresh green grass plot, sparkling fountain and overhanging elms, just
then putting forth their early shoots, and between which the venerable
walls and buttresses, of the Temple Hall, revealed their sober beauties;
the sweet notes of a thrush sounding from the garden below. All these
combined, affording as it did, so strong a contrast to the din, stir,
and turmoil from without, as well as the bewildering disquiet and
agitation through which her mind had lately passed, did not fail to
produce its soothing influence on poor Mary's nerves and spirits; and
seated upon one of the benches of the court, she was able, with
tolerable composure, to unburden the trouble of her heart to that dear,
kind brother, till it became almost a soothing relief to dilate upon the
distressing, and unsatisfactory nature of the late interview with her
lover.

Arthur listened sorrowfully and compassionately to his sister's
melancholy relation of the blight, which had fallen on the unalloyed
happiness of which he had found her in such full enjoyment on his return
to England. He remembered her bright and happy countenance then--and the
change it now exhibited, so touched and saddened the young man's
feelings at the time, that he only held Mary's hand, and sympathized,
soothed, and cheered with words of encouragement--neither expressing
blame, anger, or suspicion, against the originating source of all this
woe.

But at length when Mary said: "And now, dear Arthur, I want
you to assist me, I think something should be done--something
ascertained--anything will be better than this miserable state of
uncertainty and suspense," he looked up quickly with a sudden, impatient
flash from his bright blue eye, and answered:

"Yes indeed, Mary. I think so too, something must, and shall be done."

"But listen to me dear Arthur," she continued mildly. "What I should
wish to ascertain would be, whether, under the present circumstances of
affairs--whatever they may be--Eugene's engagement to me, involves him
in any unforseen trouble or annoyance; for," she added very sadly, "if I
thought that were the case--"

"Would you give him up?" her brother quickly rejoined, with something of
pleasurable hope lighting up his countenance, as he seized upon the idea
suggested.

"Give him up! Oh, cruel words and easily spoken!" Mary averted her head,
but with a deep drawn sigh, and forced calmness, continued: "I could
never give Eugene up, unless," and again a sorrowful sigh, as she
thought upon similar words spoken in a formerly recorded conversation,
"unless Eugene himself desired it; or, that I discovered it was
necessary or expedient, to his comfort or prosperity that I should do
so. If it were really so; or, should it be more for his ease that some
definite period, one of any length, or duration, should be agreed upon,
for the postponement of our marriage, he need not fancy I should
impatiently shrink from such an engagement. And it is this, that I
should like to be conveyed to Eugene. I would write--but writing is so
very painful, and unsatisfactory, under such circumstances; I can quite
enter into poor Eugene's feelings on that point. I would ask you, dear
Arthur, to go and speak to him--if," and she looked anxiously into her
brother's face, "if I could be _quite certain_, if I could quite trust
you in the matter--if I could be perfectly sure that you would not
allow your jealous affection for myself, to outrun your kindness and
consideration towards Eugene. Arthur, if you went to him could you
promise. Oh, I am sure you will not take from me the stay, and comfort,
I can in this emergency feel alone in you--you will promise that no
harsh, reproachful, or uncourteous word shall escape your lips, on the
subject of my concerns."

"Mary, dear," the young man replied with still somewhat of a knit and
moody brow, "I will do anything to serve and please you; but I only want
open and straight forward dealings in this affair. It is all this
equivocating, tantalizing mystery that I can neither abide or
understand. But," he continued, as Mary again droopingly listened to his
words, "I am not so selfish as to let any impatient temper of my own,
stand in the way of your comfort or gratification; I will do all that
you desire. I will go to Trevor, and _on this occasion_, act and speak,
as from your own trusting, loving, self."

Mary's spirit was again calmed and revived by this promise of her
brother's, and after a little more anxious conversation on the subject,
Arthur Seaham sought further to compose her spirits and divert her mind,
before leaving the classic spot in which they found themselves. He
conducted her down the Italian descent into the garden with the broad
river gliding sluggishly below that parterre, which in the summer months
from its trees and flowers, is so deserving of the name, but which a
poet's hand has made to bloom with "roses above the real."

He strove also to excite and amuse her intelligent fancy by pointing
out, and particularizing some of the principal points and buildings of
this ancient and interesting seat of learning, ran over the names of
those, who from "the great of old," to more modern, but none the less
eminent instances, had either in connection with law, literature, or
wit, graced or sanctified its precincts by their presence and abode. And
he playfully asserted that, amongst those, he, Arthur Seaham, intended
most surely one day to rank.

"Bye the bye, talking of great men, Mary," the young man suddenly
exclaimed, "from whom do you think I have had a visit, to-day? From Mr.
Temple."

"Indeed!" answered Mary, with no slight display of interest, "then I was
right, it really was him who passed us just now."

"Yes, no doubt it was, for he had scarcely left me a quarter of an hour,
before you arrived; he is on the eve of leaving England for the
continent, and came, I fancy, to carry away the latest intelligence
concerning you, Mary; for he made anxious enquiry with regard to your
marriage, the report of which, it seems, reached his ears; though it
appears he left Wales some months ago, and has since been living, in
great seclusion, in some quiet, antiquated nook, in this very
neighbourhood. Mary, what can be the history of that man? What a
superior being does his countenance, his whole bearing, bespeak him to
be, and yet--that some blight has fallen upon his existence, is but too
evident. He gives one the idea of some being led forth from a higher
sphere,

    "'To act some other spirit's destiny,
    Not allowed to hit the scope
    At which their nature aims--
    Who pass away,'"

continued the young man, in the words of the suggested quotation:

          "'Having in themselves
    A better destiny all unfulfilled,
    A holier, milder being, unenvolved!'

"But, dear Mary, he is much altered since I saw him last. He was then
like one in whom suffering had been nobly subdued, a holy calm seemed to
have settled on his soul, a strength, not his own, to have been
vouchsafed him. To-day he looked ill in body, and worn in mind. I cannot
but think that since that time he has suffered, and is still suffering,
from some newly arisen source of pain, or disquietude; and my dear
sister," Arthur added, with a smile of playful accusation, "I cannot
help suspecting that you have something to do with the distress, now
weighing on the mind of this remarkable, but most mysterious man. The
agitation of his voice and manner when he spoke of you, Mary, was not
to be concealed."

"Oh, Arthur, do not say so!" Mary exclaimed, with sorrowful earnestness,
shrinking from the idea of herself being the cause of sufferings, such
as she now so well could understand, but especially to that good, great,
and almost venerated man. "And what did you tell him about my
engagement?" she faintly enquired.

"All I knew, Mary; with him I felt reserve to be both useless and
unnecessary. He listened to my intelligence with the greatest interest
and attention, but in silence, and almost immediately after, arose to
take his leave. I ventured to add, that I was sure it would have given
you pleasure to have seen him. He shook his head with a sad smile, and
said, 'he had seen _you_ more than once since you came to London.' Dear
Mary, you seem as if doomed to mystery in your lovers; and shall I tell
you something more singular still? I was much struck by something in
Temple which strongly reminded me of Trevor. Not exactly feature, and
not at all expression, but a something I cannot well define."

Mary sadly shook her head. There had been at times some vague impression
of the same kind made upon her own mind; but at present fancy was too
languid to realise the suggestion.

They returned to the carriage, for though the early dinner-hour of their
kind, old-fashioned relations had been deferred expressly for their
nephew's convenience, they almost feared that they should even now have
trespassed on the good old people's consideration.

But Mary regretfully parted from the calm and silent spot, over which
the shades of evening were now fast gathering, imparting a still greater
air of solemn tranquillity to the scene. And often in days to come, when
the poignant anguish then and there so softened and assuaged, had again
died away, never to be recalled by the powers of memory--the place, and
the hour, would float back upon her recollection--like the oasis
amidst the parching sterility of the desert, to the grateful
traveller--divested of all but their vague soothing and pleasurable
associations.

On their way back to Arthur's chamber door, they fell in with several of
his fellow students, just coming out of Hall.

They all respectfully stepped aside, and made way for "Seaham and his
sister."

Arthur had already rendered himself not only a most popular and general
favourite, but much respected, member of the Temple community, by his
sociable, engaging--yet at the same time, steady, gentlemanly, and
superior conduct and deportment.



CHAPTER VII.

    Oh, what authority and show of truth
    Can cunning sin cover itself withal!

    SHAKESPEARE.


    Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill,
    Bend the straight rule to their own crooked will.

    COWPER.


That same night, Arthur Seaham called on Eugene Trevor at the hotel, in
which he had easily ascertained the latter to be established.

He did not entertain much hope of finding him at home at that hour, but
purposed proceeding there to demand an interview the following day. He
was more fortunate than he expected.

He was told that Mr. Trevor was in the house, and it was not a little in
Eugene's favour (in the brother's eyes) that he found him seated in a
private room in the hotel, plunged in melancholy meditation, over the
remains of a solitary dinner.

He looked up a little startled and surprised, when the name of his
visitor was announced; but immediately arose, and shook hands cordially
with the young man, expressing his pleasure at seeing him again. Then
when the waiter, who staid to clear the table, had withdrawn and closed
the door, and Arthur, who had replied to his greeting with somewhat of
distant gravity, had seated himself silently on an opposite chair,
Trevor at once, with eyes a little averted, said:

"Seaham, I can well guess what business has brought you here to-night.
You come, of course, to speak upon the subject of your sister."

"I have come _to-night, from_ my sister," was the calm, but somewhat
emphasized reply.

"Indeed!" with a nervous uncertainty in his tone, which had not been
perceptible in his former utterance. "She, Mary, told you, I suppose, of
that most wretched meeting this afternoon."

"She did," Arthur Seaham again coldly replied; "and it was the nature of
that meeting which made her desirous to communicate with you, through
me, feeling herself unequal to treat the subject, as fully and
satisfactorily as she had wished, by letter."

He again paused; and Trevor fixed his eyes upon the young man's face in
anxious, agitated inquiry.

"You cannot suppose," Arthur continued, with an effort at calm
moderation in his tone, "that the interview to which you allude was
calculated much to raise my sister's spirits, or throw much light on her
present clouded and uncertain prospects."

Trevor bowed his head in moody assent.

"You are quite right," he muttered gloomily, a darkness gathering over
his brow; "and it is but natural that you, her brother, should require,
and demand, further explanation and satisfaction."

"_That_, I again repeat, is not the point which brought me here on _this
occasion_," Arthur rejoined. "I come, bound by a promise to my sister,
to speak and act this night, as in her name and person, therefore, you
can rest well assured," with a mingling of bitterness and tender feeling
in his tone, "that in her case no explanation or satisfaction is
required. No, rather, I have to assure you, that her trust and
confidence still remain unmoved, and only for your own sake does she now
desire and propose, that matters should be put on a more defined and
certain footing; either that she should not be suffered to stand any
longer in the way of your happiness or advantage, by the continuance of
your now vague and uncertain engagement, or----"

But Trevor, with much eager agitation, at this point interrupted him.

"Mary--your sister," he exclaimed, "she surely cannot, does not wish to
give me up?"

The brother looked steadily into the speaker's face, as if to ascertain
that the emotion, which by his tone and manner bespoke the excitement
this suggestion had caused, was truthfully imaged there; and on the
whole he was not dissatisfied by the inspection; at least, if the deep
glow first overspreading his brow, and then the ashy paleness
succeeding, could be interpreted as corresponding signs of feeling; and
he replied, though with something of suppressed bitterness:

"Her unselfish, womanly nature does not carry her so far. She is willing
to make any sacrifice of her own feelings, her happiness, her affections
if assured that it would tend to the removal of those--of course
unforeseen, difficulties and annoyances"--with some severe stress upon
the latter words, "which your engagement to her seems suddenly to have
been the means of scattering on your path. Or if not this," he hastily
added, as Trevor again made an effort to interrupt him, "or if not this,
at least she proposes that some definite period be assigned, during
which full opportunity and leisure be accorded you for the arrangement
or removal of the present obstacles to your marriage."

Trevor rose abruptly, and for, several minutes paced the apartment in
agitated silence. Then he returned to his seat, and with more calm
determination addressed his companion.

"Seaham!" he said, bending low his head as he spoke, with his downcast
eyes only at intervals raised from the ground, "Seaham, let me explain
to you a little the circumstances of my present position, and then you
will be better able to comprehend the embarrassing perplexity of my
affairs."

Arthur looked up hopefully--now at least some light was to be thrown on
the impenetrable mystery of the few last months.

"It is a painful subject," continued Trevor, speaking indeed as if with
difficulty; "but I must not shrink from breaking it now to you. You are
aware of the situation of my unfortunate brother?"

Seaham murmured assent.

"And therefore of the ambiguous position in which I at the same time
stand, with regard to my father's property--"

Arthur again assented, but observed, that Mr. de Burgh had certainly
given him reason to suppose, that he--Mr. Eugene Trevor's possession of
the Montrevor property after his father's death--at least, in trust for
his elder brother, was almost a decided arrangement, and that his
inheritance to the most considerable part of his father's large fortune
was certain; but whether or not this were the case, his sister's friends
had been perfectly satisfied that even as a younger son, he must be
amply provided for. Eugene hastened to interrupt Arthur Seaham by
saying:

"And believe me, when I declare, that till the day I parted from your
sister at Silverton, I never entertained a misgiving as to the
possibility of any such obstacle, as I then, to my dismay, found to
exist against the speedy completion of my marriage. The state of the
case is this: My father is, and has ever been, very peculiar in his
pecuniary views and arrangements. He has, as you were made to
understand, most surely, and decidedly favoured me, with regard to the
inheritance. I do stand in every possible respect in the position of an
elder son; but at the same time, he has more than nullified any present
advantage such an arrangement could procure for me, by having so
arranged his affairs, that during his lifetime I have, under the present
circumstances, no power to make any settlement on my wife."

"Under what circumstances?" quietly demanded the embryo lawyer.

"That brings me again to that one most painful point. If the present
state of my unfortunate brother was clearly ascertained, then, perhaps,
proceedings, from which our feelings in the first instance shrunk, might
be taken, which would effectually do away with the ambiguity of my
present circumstances and position."

"And why cannot the fact you mention be ascertained?" persisted Arthur,
though in a tone of the most delicate consideration.

"Because," answered Trevor, with a hesitation and embarrassment of
manner, which passed well for painful emotion, "because, for the last
few years, my brother has entirely eluded the _surveillance_ of his
friends and guardians. No clue can be found, no trace of him discovered.
Every search and enquiry has been--and still is in prosecution; some
doubts even are entertained as to his death." He paused; then passing
his hand over his brow, as if to prevent further discussion of a subject
against which his feelings sensitively shrank, he finally added: "My
lawyer will confirm what I have said, concerning the exertions I have
made on this point, if you like to refer to him," and he mentioned the
name and address of the family man of business.

Arthur Seaham mused in silence for several minutes; then said:

"I am therefore to understand, that during the life time of your father,
or till your brother's destination is ascertained, no further steps can
be taken with regard to your marriage. One circumstance rather surprises
me, that your father, aware as he must have been of the restraint thus
imposed upon your powers of making a settlement upon your wife, allowed
you to involve yourself so far in a matrimonial engagement. Nay, seemed
in a certain degree to favour, and encourage your design."

"That" Trevor replied, "I fear is only to be understood by those, who
are as well acquainted with the peculiar points of my father's
disposition as myself. The quiet manner in which he took the
intelligence of my intended marriage, I own surprised me at the time,
knowing his extreme aversion to any measure, or proceeding, calculated
in the least degree, to touch upon his ruling passion, or as I may now
term it in his present stage of existence--his ruling weakness; that is
to say, any measure that would in the least degree disturb, or infringe
upon the close and arbitrary arrangements of his financial
affairs--arrangements which it is the one business of his existence to
maintain inviolate and undisturbed. I now discover how little cause I
had to thank him for his seemingly easy acquiescence in my intended
marriage, and that he has treated me," he added in a subdued and injured
tone, "far from well or kindly in the matter."

"And you are entirely dependant on his--as it seems most tyrannical
pleasure?" demanded Seaham, an angry flush mounting to his brow; the
position in which the cruel, sordid, cunning of the old man's conduct
had placed his sister, making the most impression on his feelings.

"Most unfortunately so!" was Trevor's reply; "it has been the aim, and
purpose, of my father's existence to render his children, and all those
with whom he had to do, as much as possible dependant on his most
arbitrary and capricious will. You would not think this perhaps, to
behold him now--to all appearance, that meek and mild old man. But so
it is; see him as I have lately seen him, on what was supposed to be his
dying bed, and you would then have full proof and specimen before your
eyes of the ruling passion strong in death."

"From all this then--I am to conclude," said Arthur Seaham, "that one of
the two arrangements suggested by my sister are the only alternatives;
either," and he looked again steadily into Eugene's face, "that you give
up at once all further engagement."

"To that!" interrupted Trevor, starting from his seat in sudden
excitement, "to that, tell your sister," he exclaimed passionately, "I
cannot, _will not consent_. Remind her of the promise she once made to
me upon the subject, and tell her, that on my part, no power on earth
shall compel me to give her up. No," he murmured, his eye gleaming
around from beneath his now darkened brow, as if seeking to address with
dark defiance some hidden foe, "no threats, no vengeful malice shall
ever force me to do that."

Seaham regarded him with surprise, but thought to himself: "This man
certainly loves my sister with a strength and sincerity not to be
mistaken," and then with rather softened feeling, he said:

"But you will agree perhaps to her other proposition?"

"I do--I must," with eager energy, "there is as you observed, no other
alternative. Say, some months--perhaps a year. In that time much may be
effected."

Trevor leant his elbow upon the mantelpiece, and pressed his brow upon
his hand, in unquiet thought. Seaham rose.

"A year then," he repeated, "for a year, I may tell my sister you agree
to the necessity of postponing matters. During that time," he added with
marked significance, "I shall be constantly to be found in London."

"And your sister?" Trevor eagerly demanded.

"Mary will very shortly proceed to Scotland, where she may probably
remain some time with my sister who lives in Edinburgh."

"What, so far?" Trevor exclaimed impatiently.

"I cannot see," the brother replied with some _hauteur_, "that a greater
vicinity under present circumstances, would be either necessary or
desireable. Interviews for instance, such as the one by which my
sister's feelings were so distressed to-day, can be neither for her
happiness or advantage."

Trevor had no more to say. He shook hands with Arthur, who appeared to
have no further desire to remain. Like one subdued and exhausted in mind
and body, almost silently he suffered the young man to take his leave.

Seaham merely repeated that he should be found, or could be referred to
at any time at the Temple, and in a few moments had quitted the hotel.



CHAPTER VIII.

    Let us then be up and doing,
      With a heart for any fate,
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
      Learn to labour and to wait.

    LONGFELLOW.


In less than a fortnight from the period of this interview, Mary
escorted by her brother-in-law, Mr. Gillespie, who had been in London on
business, left England for Edinburgh.

This plan was much more accordant with her state of feeling at this
period, than would have been that of accompanying her sister Agnes into
Wales, as the latter was so affectionately anxious she should have done.

It would have been melancholy for her just then to have found her dear
old home, Glan Pennant, in the hands of strangers, and there is
something still more melancholy to the feelings in revisiting familiar
scenes, associated as they may be in the mind with naught but happy
careless memories, when over the spirit of our dream has passed like a
blight some subduing change, such as was now overshadowing Mary's
happiness.

    "It wrings the heart to see each thing the same,
    Tread over the same steps, and then to find
    The difference in the heart. It is so sad,
    So very lonely to be the sole one
    In whom there is a sign of change."

Besides it was very long since she had seen her sister Alice, so tied to
home by her many domestic cares and duties.

Agnes' life was one as yet all holiday enjoyment--her heart bounding
with delight at the prospect of an establishment in her beautiful
country home--in her own dear neighbourhood.

"There was no sorrow in her note"--and Mary perceived and rejoiced in
the conviction that her younger sister's happiness needed no additional
weight. Next to being happy herself, she desired most the power of
bestowing happiness on others, and a real pleasure she knew would be her
presence to that excellent elder sister. She would seek in some degree
to aid and lighten her cares and avocations. It would have been better
perhaps had she gone there, long ago. But could she bring her heart to
accede to this assumption?

Oh, no! not yet--not now--not ever could that be.

    "I hold it true, what'er betide,
    I feel it when I sorrow most,
    'Tis better to have lov'd and lost
    Than never to have loved at all."

This, rather we assume, was the language of that faithful heart, still
clinging too tenderly to the intense happiness of the past, to grudge
the anguish of its bewildering reverse.

Clouds had arisen to obscure the heaven of her certain happiness--her
once full hope had been deferred, but the day of despondency or of
sickening weariness had not yet arrived.

Her lover's explanatory interview with her brother had effectually
cleared, from her all believing mind, many a vague dread and anxious
misgiving, which at one time were beginning to disturb her spirit; and
again she could set herself to wait patiently, buoyed up by her all
enduring love--her steadfast entire trust. But this hope, and trust,
beautiful in themselves, could they be set alone on the frail and
futile creature?

"Hope in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and he shall give thee thy
heart's desire. Commit thy way unto Him, and trust in Him, and He will
bring it to pass."

Surely Mary's meek obedient soul, must have drawn its greatest strength
and patience from the dictates of this high and holy invocation.

There was too, something perhaps most providentially salutary and
effective, in the atmosphere of the home, where at this particular
moment Mary had been led to take up her abode.

Here in the example afforded by her sister Alice's adaptation, and
appropriation of herself--her tastes, and her talents, to that one
ultimate end of all, feelings and powers; the performance of her duty,
in that state of life which had been assigned to her--Mary's gentle
mind, too prone perhaps, by nature to rest in passive enjoyment, and in
the barren luxury of emotions, might receive a lesson, strengthening and
benificial for its future need.

    "That life is not all poetry
    To gentle measures set,"

    "That Heaven must be won, not dreamed."

How a mind and character, that from amongst all her sisters, had been
the one most answering to her own, had effectually roused itself from
the shadowy Paradise of her earlier years, to meet the real demands of
life--to embrace its actual duties, and defy its uncongenial pains--and
not only this, but to find therein, more than in the pleasanter summer
paths of earlier days, or in those refined indulgences in which her
spirit still loved at times to cherish, true happiness and peace.

    "I have found peace in the bright earth,
      And in the sunny sky,
    I have found it in the summer seas,
      And where dreams murmur by.

    "I find it in the quiet tone
      Of voices that I love,
    By the flickering of a twilight fire,
      And in a leafless grove.

    "I find it in the silent flow
      Of solitary thought,
    In calm, half-meditated dreams,
      And reasonings self-taught.

    "But seldom have I found such peace
      As in the soul's deep joy,
    Of passing onward free from harm,
     Through every day's employ."

And even her brother-in-law, Mr. Gillespie, though of a less kindred
soul, and with those matter of fact and prosaic points of
character--attributes in his case, both national and professional. Even
in his companionship, she found something bracing and effectual, such as
she might not have done with more yielding and indulgent friends.

Her darling brother--it had been her former happy dream to pass her
unmarried days in his companionship; and she might have been with him
now, had it not been deemed, at present, neither convenient or
expedient.

She must in that case have shared her brother's chambers in London; and
at her age, and under her peculiar circumstances, such an arrangement
could scarcely be available, without being an interruption to her
brother's important studies and pursuits, though he would have made any
present sacrifice for his sister's sake.

Ah, yes! or why did he turn his eyes so steadily from a sight so
fascinating to his heart as was that cherub face, which often looked
down upon him from a pew of the Temple Church--or bravely resist the
flattering attention and repeated hospitalities of the eminent counsel,
that cherub's father, in whose house--

    "He saw her upon nearer view,
    A spirit, but a woman too,"

and who seemed in every way inclined to bestow her notice on the
promising, agreeable student of the Middle Temple?

Why?--but because he determined to allow no cherub face to usurp the
foremost place in his affections, no "ladye love," with form however
beautiful, to become the reigning, mistress of his house and hearth
until that beloved sister of his youth had secured a dearer, better
home.

Besides, under any circumstances, he was not such a fool as to think of
marrying for many a year yet; a pretty business it would be if over the
dingy pages of Blackstone, and the year book, was for ever flitting the
bewitching, radiant face of Carrie Elliott.

Thus, then, for a time shall we leave our heroine, whose fortunes, like
the gentle flowing course of a glistening river, we have hitherto so
undeviatingly pursued; whilst we turn aside, not willingly, to trace
through their darker, wilder mazes, the fate and fortunes of those two
beings, whom an inscrutable Providence had ordained should hold such
important influence over her destiny.



CHAPTER IX.

    Farewell; and if a soul where hatred's gall
    Melts into pardon, that embalmeth all,
    Can with forgiveness bless thee; from remorse
    Can pluck the stone which interrupts the course
    Of thought to God; and bid the waters rest
    Calm in Heaven's smile--poor fellow-man, be blest!

    THE NEW TIMON.


Eugene Trevor was fated to encounter another interview of importance
before he laid down to rest that night, or rather morning, succeeding
the meeting with Arthur Seaham.

He had gone forth, very soon after the departure of the latter, to seek
diversion for his disturbed and troubled spirit by excitement--that most
common resource of man under similar circumstances--offered in the shape
of those amusements belonging to the sporting club of which he was a
member.

He returned to the hotel more than one hour after midnight, to be
informed that a gentleman was waiting to see him on particular business.

"At this time of night?" was the impatient reply. "Who in the world can
it be?"

The gentleman had not given his name; he had come more than two hours
ago, but had expressed his intention of remaining to await Mr. Trevor's
return.

Eugene, with a certain uncomfortable feeling of misgiving at his heart,
proceeded to the apartment into which his unseasonable visitor had been
shown. Two candles burnt dimly on the table. Dark, pale, haggard, as the
imperfect light gleamed upon his features, looked the lover of the
gentle Mary, thus returning from those midnight excitements in which he
had plunged to dispel too haunting thoughts and vivid memories connected
with her pure and holy image; but a something of strange and startled
wildness was added to their expression, as his eyes fixed themselves
first uncertainly--and then gradually and clearly identified the face
and form of him who stood up to receive him--that tall, commanding form,
before which his own seemed to shrink into insignificance--that face,
as pale as was his own, but from before whose calm, steady gaze his eyes
for an instant quailed so fearfully.

"Eustace!"--"Eugene!" were the only words or signs of greeting exchanged
between them, and Trevor, as if momentarily overcome by the emotions
excited by the _rencontre_ with his mysterious visitor, sank upon a
chair by the table, and with perturbed and agitated demeanour, passed
his burning hand across his heated brow; whilst the other still stood
erect, looking down upon him with that stern and steady eye, almost
appalling in its intensity.

"To what am I indebted for this visit?" Eugene murmured at length, in
hoarse and sullen accents, slightly lifting up his head. "I thought--"

"You thought," replied the same deep, rich voice we last heard sounding
(though then in very different accents,) upon the Welsh hill side in
Mary Seaham's ear. "You thought, Eugene, that before this coming dawn,
many leagues of sea would be between us. And so it would have been, had
you not your own self broken the promise which bound me to that vow."

"Pshaw!" was the reply, in accents of impatient irony "a mere
accidental, unavoidable meeting, whose only fruit was the further to
overwhelm with despairing wretchedness her, for whose happiness and
welfare you profess such _disinterested_ regard."

"Yes!" was the calm, unmoved reply. "I saw her face turned towards me at
the time, that face I had used to behold serene, happy, innocent as the
angels in Heaven, and in its woeful change I read--"

"Your own most righteous work," interrupted Eugene, with a bitter
mocking laugh. "Had you seen her some time past, before the day when
you, like a spirit of evil, stepped in between us, you might have beheld
a sight which perhaps had pleased you even less; that angel face
brightened and beautified by her love for _me_."

"You are right, it would have pleased me even less, it would have seemed
to my eyes, like the dove spreading her silver plumes, all glittering in
the treacherous sunshine, to meet the vulture who has marked it for its
prey. Yet to-day, I seemed not to read upon that pale and tear-stained
countenance, the mere passing misery of the moment--that misery of
which I wish not to deny having been myself the inflictor--but that
which I might have seen--that which I once saw settled on a mother's
face; or still more haunting, terrible, impression, the despairing
misery one might image of a fallen angel, dragged down from her high
estate, by an unholy, unnatural alliance with a spirit of another
sphere. For, Eugene, your own heart, your own conscience must convict
you, that light with darkness, righteousness with unrighteousness,
Christ with Belial, have as much in common, as yourself, your nature,
your life, your principles, have to do with those of Mary Seaham; and
that to unite yourself with her, would be, I repeat, either to draw her
down to your own level--or, more blessed alternative, to break her
heart. But both of these destinies I had hoped to have seen averted. You
had assured me, it was easier for you to resign that 'mess of pottage'
as you slightingly denominated the inestimable treasure your soul had
greedily, but more harmlessly marked as your own, than the birthright of
which you were iniquitously possessed. You had assured me, that you
would find plausible means--and in that, I doubted not your powers, or
your will, if it were but to serve your own interest--to break off, not
only your engagement, but all further communication with Mary Seaham;
but, Eugene, I _doubt_ you. My back once turned--my _espionage_
abandoned, as I promised it should be, from the time I set my foot on
another shore, what will there then be to bound or restrain your
grasping, avaricious desires. I shall find myself twice trampled in the
dust, and Mary," his voice trembled as he spoke, "she whom I would save
from a fate, in my eyes, worse than death, she become your prize, your
sacrifice, your victim."

He whom Eustace thus severely addressed, retained a moment's moody
defiant silence.

"Your intention then, is to remain in England," he said at length, with
an assumption of haughty unconcern, though there might be perceived a
quivering of the eyelids, and an expression of anxious perturbation in
his downcast glance. "The old man," with trembling irony in his tone,
"will doubtless receive you gladly, and there will be nothing to retard
the nuptials of Mary and myself."

"No, nothing, if she--if Mary Seaham can consent to wed the man"--he
slightly unbared his wrist--"the man who has done this--the man whose
name must henceforth ring in her ears as a proverb, a reproach, a
by-word through the paths of society--the man whose very children shall
rise up and scorn him--whom God and man must alike reprobate and
condemn."

Eugene Trevor shrank back as from before some deadly serpent discovered
to his view. His eye quailed fearfully--his lips and cheek became of a
livid, ashy hue.

"Eustace," he murmured, in a voice of almost abject
deprecation--"Eustace, your feelings of revenge and hatred carry you too
far. You have repented of the agreement made between us, and have come
thus to threaten and intimidate me. _I_ never meant to draw back from my
part of the engagement; but if my promise has no weight in your
consideration, how am I to give you further pledge of my sincerity? I
swear to you," he continued, eagerly, "that, during the meeting to-day
with Mary Seaham, into which I was accidentally surprised, I held out no
hope--no promise which could give her reason to suppose that the
obstacle to our marriage could now or ever be removed. We parted with
that understanding; and to-night," he spoke in a low and hurried voice,
"she sent her brother here to break off our engagement, which could only
be maintained on such uncertain, uncomfortable terms."

"And you consented?"

"What else had I to do?"

"Now may Heaven be praised," was the low, deep, earnest answer--the
voice of the speaker swelling as into a strain of rich, clear music;
whilst with upraised eyes, and countenance lit up with holy adoration,
he thus ejaculated: "Now Heaven be praised, who sends His angels to
protect his little ones from the powers and spirits of darkness!
Eugene," he proceeded, again turning to his companion, but with a
subdued and softened expression, "you, too, thank your God, that from
this additional sin you have been mercifully preserved; from that
offence which it were better that a millstone were hung about your neck
than that you should commit. You, too, have your reward: take it. I
leave it in your hands. I will trouble you no more. Home, name, country,
and heritage, I willingly resign; but remember, on that one condition.
Retain it only inviolate, for from the ends of the world, its broken
faith, its most secret violation, would recall me. Farewell, Eugene!
Should we never meet again on earth, believe that I forgive you all
offences against me. Nor put down either to revenge, or even _madness_,
that which He who seeth the heart will, I humbly trust, justify in the
eyes of men and angels, before His judgment throne, on the last great
day of account; and there and then, where sin and wrong, and
wretchedness, shall be done away, may we both meet sanctified,
reconciled, and renewed."

He was gone. No other parting sign was given; and he, who had now added
one more sin to the already dark catalogue of his offences, the purchase
of his freedom from a dreaded evil by a lie, was left darkling and
alone.

As those two had met, so they parted--those two men whom our readers may
already have divined were brothers.



CHAPTER X.

    True, earnest sorrows; rooted miseries;
    .... vexations, ripe and blown,
    Sure-footed griefs; solid calamities;
    Plain demonstrations, evident and clear,
    Touching their proofs e'en from the very bone--
    These are the sorrows here.

    HERBERT.


More than six and thirty years have passed since Mr. Trevor, the present
proprietor of Montrevor, had taken to himself a wife, young, lovely, of
good family, and endowed with much excellence, both of mind and
disposition.

Miss Mainwaring had consented, in obedience to her parents' wishes, to
bestow her hand upon this rich and handsome suitor, death having
deprived her of the first object of her young affections.

Of a gentle and confiding disposition, she had not doubted but that one
so pleasing and gentlemanly in his manners and demeanour in society, so
assiduous and devoted in his attentions during courtship, would prove an
amiable, affectionate husband; and that in resigning her future destiny
into his hands, she was securing to herself that calm happiness to
which, (the first bright dreams of youth mellowed and subdued), she
alone aspired.

Her trust was deceived--her hopes disappointed; too soon was it revealed
to her sick heart that Henry Trevor, the courteous and agreeable member
of society, was not the same Henry Trevor of domestic life; that Henry
Trevor the lover, was a very different person to Henry Trevor the
husband; that she had been wedded--for her beauty?--no; woman's natural
vanity might have forgiven that:--for her fortune? no; that was
comparatively insignificant to count much, even in the close
calculations of him, into whose well-stored coffers it was carelessly
flung:--for her gentle virtues, her superior qualities of mind?--no,--no
abstract love of these had had their part in her lover's choice; but
because in the submissive spirit--in the mild and gentle character of
her he saw as one

    "By suffering made sweet and meek,"

he had thought to find a fitting subject for his purpose and his
will--one easy to be bent, moulded, crushed, if it were necessary, into
the slave and minister of his favourite lust--his ruling passion--his
besetting sin--the grasping, covetous, all-devouring love of money!

Scared and dismayed at the prospect opened, like some dark gulf so
suddenly before her eyes, Mrs. Trevor yielded nevertheless, not without
an effort, to the fate into which she had been betrayed. She had that
within her, a degree of sense and spirit, which moved her in her early
marriage days to use the gentle influence she hoped in some degree to
have obtained over her husband's affections; to effect some change in
the general system of affairs she saw daily growing up around her, as
well as to assert and maintain her own gentle dignity and comparative
independence as a woman and a wife.

Alas! she knew not the nature of the being with whom she had to cope; it
was but as the falcon-hunted dove, fluttering within the fowler's
snare, or beneath the vulture's claw, the cords are but the tighter
drawn--the grasp more crushingly extended, till the victim feeling his
impotence to resist, resigns itself powerless to its fate. Mrs. Trevor
struggled no more. All thought of influence was at an end, except indeed
that which her gentle virtues, her submissive tears, like the droppings
of water upon a stone, might in time be permitted to effect.

Her wounded affections withdrew into the still sanctuary of her own
mind, whilst in patient meekness she performed her duties as a wife.
This was all Mr. Trevor required. He had gained his point; he had bent
her to his will. She superintended and accommodated herself to the close
and grinding economy he exacted in his house. She sacrificed all
extravagant tastes, all expensive inclinations, bestowed charity and
kindness alone from the resources of her own scanty, grudgingly-accorded
allowance. Even in her less responsible requirements she gave him full
satisfaction.

Mrs. Trevor bore to her husband just three sons--healthy,
promising boys--none of those superfluous, money-frittering
excrescences--daughters! These sons all were disposable, convertible to
some aim or end. There was the heir--that necessary machine to keep the
greedily-preserved fortune and property in future train; there was a
second son to secure the good fat family living from escaping into
extraneous hands, and there was yet another to place in the lucrative
and distinguished banking-house, in which Mr. Trevor was a sleeping
partner. Yes, in this she had done well and wisely, and the husband was
in the end content. But in the first instance, even here, he was not
entirely satisfied with his wife's conduct. Nature had rebelled against
the young mother's affording nourishment to her eldest born. Other aid
was required, and this unwarrantable and unnecessary infraction upon the
rules and exactions of maternity, sank the parent considerably in her
lord and master's valuation and esteem. The second time she proved more
successful--oh, how fully successful, if to that success were to be
attributed not only the pure health, the more refined vigour of body
which distinguished the mother's own nursling above his eldest brother,
the suckling of a farmer's burly daughter; but that nobler nature,
those high-toned qualities of mind and disposition, which grew with his
growth and strengthened with his years--and oh, how too successful if
from that mother's breast he imbibed his own sad heritage of suffering
and of wrong!

On the third, and last occasion, which presented itself, the face of
affairs assumed a different aspect. Mr. Trevor, either because he
grudged his wife as would not have been at all inconsistent with his
character, the extreme pleasure she experienced in the former case, and
the excessive fondness with which this child had naturally wound itself
around its nursing mother's heart. Whether from these, or still more
unworthy notices, this time Mr. Trevor, on some capricious arbitrary
plea, objected to his wife indulging in the same natural enjoyment,
himself selecting the individual, who was to supplant her in this
office. The wife of a tenant on his estate, about to emigrate to
Australia, but who preferred remaining behind for some years in service.

Mabel Marryott fulfilled her hired duties well by her patron's infant;
so well, that according to her master's orders, she was afterwards
retained, as general superintendant of the nursery establishment, though
her influence did not long continue limited to that office; and it was
Mabel Marryott, whose daily business it soon became, to attend upon the
little Eugene in his morning visits to his father's study; where
sometimes, for an hour together, upon table or floor, as accorded best
with his age, or fancy, he sat and played the mimic miser, with his
favourite toys--the shining heaps of glittering gold or silver, always
produced on these occasions, to amuse and keep him quiet; whilst in that
distant room above, where we have seen the unconscious Mary spend so
happy an hour, sat the wife and mother, struggling with the inward
anguish of an injured, wounded spirit, or straining the little Eustace
to her heart, calling him, in deep, earnest accents of endearment, her
darling--her own boy--her precious nursling; beseeching him never to
forsake her, to stand by his own mother--to love, and to protect her,
till the boy's dark, fervent eyes, would suffuse with tears, and he
would promise, with the little full and throbbing heart beating against
her breast, always to be "mamma's own boy," and never to leave her even
when he was a man; and the heir--he, in the meantime, had probably made
his escape to the stable-yard, to the grooms and stable-boys, for whose
society he, from his earliest days, shewed much inclination, to the
danger both of his neck and his morals, by the lessons in horse-riding
or loose talking he there received--tastes and propensities with which
his mother found herself powerless to interfere. Mrs. Marryott did not
object. Master Trevor was neither a manageable or engaging child; these
tastes and habits took him off her hands; Mr. Trevor saw only that they
made the boy bold and healthy. They were propensities and amusements
which cost him nothing; so he desired that he might not be pestered any
more by the representations of his anxious mother; she might make one
milksop if she wished, but leave the other alone; Marryott would see he
came to no real harm.

The boy was to go to Eton when he was twelve. He might, his father
continued, be allowed to take his own course till then; and Mrs. Trevor,
though not suffered to interfere in any other department, was expected
to take upon herself the arduous office of instructress to this one, as
well as to her other two boys, who were also to be kept at home till
they had attained the before-mentioned age.

Mr. Trevor had no idea of his wife's talents being put to no better
purpose than the solace and amusement of her own lonely, joyless
existence; and the poor lady was too willing to enter on a task, which
promised a means of drawing her children towards her in closer
intercourse than was otherwise permitted. Such was the cruel jealousy,
which dared to prevent the mother from acquiring too great an influence
and ascendancy over the children's affections.

Long, however, before the time assigned, Mrs. Trevor was forced to
represent to the father her insufficiency and unfitness for the duty
imposed upon her.

The thick-headed, mulish-tempered Henry, his heart and mind ever with
his dogs and horses, very soon began to require some stronger hand and
firmer will than she possessed to force him into any degree of
application; whilst the two other boys, the one high-spirited and
talented in the extreme--the younger taught to look upon his mother in
little better light than that of a slighted and despised
dependant--became even earlier, above or beyond her strength and power
for the work.

But in vain might she remonstrate.

"You are idle, you are idle," was all the answer or relief she obtained.

So she began again, and persevered--much to the wear and tear of body
and nerves. But that was nothing. It was an employment--and should have
been an interest and amusement rather than an hardship.

And so the mother laboured on with all a mother's patience and
long-suffering, bearing rather than contending against the many
difficulties and discouragements which beset the task.

One rich reward was its attendant--the satisfactory fruit which crowned
her efforts, however comparatively weak and inefficient they might be,
as concerned her noble son, Eustace; not but that pain and trouble of a
certain kind were her portion, even here. But it was a pleasureable
pain, how exceeded by the ample recompense it afforded.

What fervent gratitude--what deep, strong affection did every tear she
shed, every sigh she breathed in his cause, fan into life, water into
vigour in that young pupil's breast! How was she adored, revered, upheld
supreme at least in the heart of one being in the world.

Eustace Trevor, as those of generous and superior natures generally are
found to be, was a child of naturally impetuous disposition and
independent spirit. Though full of genius, and promise of bright things
to come, it could not be but that he sometimes grieved his gentle
teacher, and gave her patient spirit pain.

But ah, the contrite grief; the self-indignant sorrow of the child which
ever followed on such occasions; how was he prostrate in body and spirit
before the beloved being, whom he had so offended. How the elder brother
dull, and unrefined in feeling, rather than unamiable at heart, would
stare with stupid amazement at such animated demonstrations in the
penitent; whilst the younger--what a glance of cold surprise from his
dark eye--what a look almost of disdain in his young countenance, as he
sat, and watched, and wondered to see such affection--such zeal
displayed in the cause of one he was used to behold, so scorned, so
slighted so dishonoured, by those who had gained ascendancy over his
young mind.

It was worth while to love his father--to seek to please and propitiate
him--or even Mabel Marryott. But _she_! what could she do? what
influence, did _she_ possess over her children, or any one else either
for good or evil?

Yet the boy Eugene was by no means an unaffectionate or unengaging
child, nor devoid of amiability of character; had it not been for the
early influences which impressed, and moulded his mind and disposition.

His father and Mabel Marryott both loved him in their way; the former
suffering him to win a greater ascendancy over his close shut heart,
than that which any other individual ever attained. Nay, to him he even
relaxed in some degree his strongest, and most guarded point of
impregnability--his purse strings.

When his elder brothers as children, obtained their grudgingly acceded
shillings and sixpences, the more valuable crown piece, or sometimes
half-sovereign was bestowed upon the favoured Eugene--to be triumphantly
produced at the neighbouring town, where he occasionally rode with his
brother Eustace, for the gratification of any taste or appetite, in
which he might choose to indulge; whilst the other expended his scanty
store on some trifling gift he thought might gratify, or please his much
loved mother. Yes, this was the most galling of all poor Mrs. Trevor's
catalogue of grievances--the unjust and cruel partiality exhibited by
her husband in the treatment of these two younger boys; for the eldest,
Henry, though neither favoured or in any way much regarded by his
father, at any rate met with neither injustice or unkindness--inasmuch
as neither his nature or propensities, rendered him worthy or desirous
of any greater degree of privilege or advantage, than he obtained--and
he was sent to Eton at thirteen, when all that was to be done for him
was done, that was necessary and proper. But the second son,
Eustace--whether it was the boy's disposition, so antagonistic in every
respect to his father's; or that it was her own unfortunate attachment
to this child, or that child's love for herself which drew upon his
innocent head this unhappy distinction; whether it was this cruel
jealousy on her husband's part, or the secret influence on the same,
account, of her insidious enemy, Mabel Marryott. However it might be, a
spirit and system, it might almost be termed persecution, was maintained
by the father towards this son from his childhood upwards. He felt
doubtless too the reflection, which the zealous love of the boy for his
mother cast upon his own conduct in that respect. Never did Mr. Trevor
forgive a proof of this spirit, shown forth by the young Eustace in the
instance we are about to record.



CHAPTER XI.

               Is there not
    A reverence in the very name of "mother"
    Could thrill the ruffian purpose?

    SHIEL.


        He is the second born of flesh
    And is his mother's favourite.

    BYRON.


It was Eugene's birthday. He had coaxed Marryott to give him a treat of
cakes and fruit in the garden summer-house. His brothers were invited,
and even his father honoured the party with his presence.

Marryott presided over the entertainment. Eustace had been out of the
way, and did not arrive until the others were assembled. He made his
appearance at the banquet all bright, animated expectation, having but
just heard of the unwonted indulgence provided him, and prepared to
partake in it with full boyish enjoyment.

But at the threshold he paused. By one quick glance, his eye had taken
in each individual of the collected group. A sudden thought seemed to
press upon the wild beatings of his heart. A cloud overshadowed the
quick brightness of his brow.

"Come along, Eustace!" cried the boy Eugene, "if you mean to come at
all."

But no, he did not stir. There he stood, rooted to the spot, his
changing countenance betokening the struggle of strong feeling passing
through his breast, another glance--from which shot forth a gleam of
noble fire--around, and then his dark, full eye fixed itself with calmer
sternness upon his young brother's face.

"No, thank you, Eugene," he said firmly, "I cannot come. My mother she
is all alone in the house. I must go to _her_," and instantly he turned,
and

    "Went away with a step strong and slow,
    His arch'd lip press'd, and his clear eye undimmed,
    As if it were a diamond, and his form
    Borne proudly up, as if his heart breathed through."

On one occasion, Mrs. Trevor heard the voice of her husband raised in
long and angry accents. She listened with trembling misgiving as to the
object of his reprehension, but when to words sounds succeeded, plainly
betokening bodily chastisement, she could no longer refrain, but
hastened to the spot from whence they proceeded.

It was Mr. Trevor's study, and on opening the door and entering, she
found indeed her beloved boy Eustace under the hands of his father
undergoing severe and painful punishment; Eugene standing by like a
young Saul, witnessing the martyrdom of a Saint Stephen, holding his
brother's coat over his arm, a little pale perhaps, but watching with a
tolerably cold and steady eye the proceedings of the parental
persecution.

The look and tone of sore distress with which the gentle intercessor
supplicated for mercy, shamed even the unloving husband into compliance.

He released his victim, who turned aside with tearless eyes, but every
vein of his noble brow swollen with suppressed anguish.

But every thought of his own suffering or disgrace seemed soon to be
forgotten in the pain and grief he saw upon his mother's countenance, as
with trembling voice she made inquiry into the offence which had called
down such unwonted severity upon the culprit.

"He is a squandering spendthrift," was the father's reply; "and you,
Madam, with your fine ideas and lessons, have helped to make him so; but
I will teach him better. He was at the same trick once before, and I
warned him of the consequences. A long time will it be before he gets
another shilling from me, to waste upon a set of rascally vagabonds
lurking about the premises, seeking what they may devour."

"Mother!" said the boy firmly, "they were a party of poor mechanics,
turned out of their homes and deprived of all means of getting their
bread. One man carried his poor little girl, dying from starvation, in
his arms; what better could I do?"

Another sharp blow from the father cut short the explanation, and
Eustace was ordered to leave the room, not to approach his mother, or
touch a morsel of food, save bread and water, for the remainder of the
day.

The boy obeyed in silence, but with a bursting heart, and Mrs. Trevor
remained to listen, in resigned sorrow, to the anathemas poured forth
against her darling--of his evil and corrupt dispositions, and the
fearful predictions, that she would live one day to see him turn out the
disgrace and ruin of the family.

"Only see, Madam, in this one instance the difference between these two
boys. Eugene, bring your money-box."

The boy, with complacent alacrity, produced a small casket, and opening
it with a key attached to a ribbon round his neck, exhibited indeed a
shining store of silver pieces, slightly interspersed with gold.

"Eugene is indeed a rich boy," the mother observed very gravely.

"Yes, and a good, and wise, and prudent boy, and he shall be richer
still some of these days; I will see to that. Yes, _he_ can--he may
afford to be generous; he knows how to bestow his gifts in the right
direction. Eugene, show your mother what I have allowed you to buy out
of your savings for your attached and valued friend."

The boy, in the same manner as before, uncovered a parcel lying on the
table, and thereby displayed a roll of rich and handsome silk.

"Is it not beautiful, mamma?" he exclaimed innocently; "it is for
Marryott; this is her birthday you know."

Mrs. Trevor's lip quivered. She looked pale, and turned away her head.

When were _her_ birthdays so remembered?

"May I take it to her, papa?"

"Yes, yes, take it away, boy!" said Mr. Trevor, rather impatiently; and
Eugene, proudly shouldering his offering, marched off triumphantly with
it to Marryott's apartments.

A silent pause ensued. It was broken by Mrs. Trevor, quietly suggesting
the advisability of a more regular and impartial allowance being
bestowed upon the two younger boys, remarking that she feared the
present arrangement was likely to be prejudicial to the characters of
both, perhaps to their future conduct through life.

The mother spoke more firmly, more courageously than usual. Perhaps the
incident which had just been enacted, had a little hardened and
strengthened her spirit for the encounter. But her words were of little
avail.

"Not at all, not at all," was the angry interruption. "Allow me, Madam,
to act as I please on that point. I give what I please, and withhold
what I please, as I see fit and proper; and I have found out pretty well
before to-day, that whilst I could trust one boy with a whole bank of
money, the other is not, nor ever will be, worthy to possess one
shilling of his own. I shall, therefore, act accordingly, and beg you
will not attempt to interfere upon the subject; it is my department, not
yours."

Mrs. Trevor could only sigh, and was about to retire. But no. She must
first undergo another ordeal.

The door opened, and Eugene re-appeared, attended by Marryott.

"She is so pleased, papa, and so obliged," cried the boy, "and is come
to thank you."

Mrs. Trevor arose with gentle dignity.

Mabel Marryott had not been apprised of her mistress' presence in the
library, but the expression of her well-disciplined countenance--that
"face formed to conceal"--scarcely evinced this fact as she paused upon
the threshold, and with the utmost composure and respect, apologised for
her intrusion; but begged to be allowed to express her grateful thanks
for the beautiful present which her dear master Eugene had just brought
to her. It was much too handsome for her, appealing with the greatest
deference to Mrs. Trevor; but she would gladly wear it for her dear
boy's sake.

"Do--do so, Marryott, it is Eugene's present--quite his own," Mr. Trevor
replied with some embarrassment of manner.

"Indeed, Sir?" with the utmost simplicity; "well, I must say, he is
always a dear generous child," and she stooped and kissed the boy, who
rather unwillingly submitted to his nurse's fondling. Mrs. Trevor knew
that this was the same woman, who had so short a time ago betrayed her
generous child Eustace, to the unjust anger of his father, and there was
something in this present demonstration of affection towards this other,
which went greatly against her feelings.

She rose--never with all her provocations, was her mild ladylike
deportment laid aside, and said:

"Eugene, dear, open the door for me; I am going up-stairs."

The boy, though unaccustomed to any such _exigeant_ demands on his
respectful attention, from his mother, nor trained to yield them
unasked, shook off Marryott's arm, still encircling his waist, and
willingly obeyed, running to comply with the request. Mrs. Trevor left
the room as Eustace had done not long before, in silence, and with a
swelling heart, whilst Mrs. Marryott's glance after her retreating
figure, seemed to ask what was the meaning of this undue assumption of
importance in her unassuming mistress.

       *       *       *       *       *

The same partial fate which attended the young Eustace under his
father's roof, extended itself to his life at school. In the rather
inferior establishment to which he, and his younger brother were
sent--one very unworthy and inefficient to develope the genius and
talent, inherent in the boy--qualities which nevertheless struggled
forth, spite of all disadvantages, into life and power, too little
appreciated by others--there the favour of the sycophant master, was
lavished exclusively on the rich father's favourite, to the apparent
detriment and depreciation of the other. The high and generous spirit of
the boy, was reported as ill-disposed and unruly, and treated
accordingly with severity, or more properly speaking, tyranny and
injustice.

A crushing or hardening effect upon the mind and character, must have
inevitably been the result of such a process, had it not been for the
superior nature of the being upon whom it worked; to say nothing of that
counter charm which ever lay upon his heart, a talisman against the
power of every evil influence--his mother's love. But there was one
effect produced by the state of things we have endeavoured to show
forth, which could not be averted. We mean the seed of future misery,
thereby sown between the youthful brothers.

In early childhood there had subsisted between them an affection almost
bordering upon enthusiasm, remarkable in children of their age; in the
younger how soon, like every other good and truthful inclination of his
heart and character, contracted and undermined by the still more
pernicious influence to which by his different circumstances he was
exposed. It might have been supposed that were the invidious feelings of
envy, or jealousy, to be engendered in either mind by the system of
partiality to which they were subjected in such a lamentable degree, it
would have been in that of the least favoured; but jealousy belonged not
to the noble nature of Eustace.

Sad surprise--indignant risings in his breast against the injustice of
his father's conduct, were the consequence, but no invidious feeling
against the rival object himself. That one indeed, he would ever have
loved and cherished, borne with and forgiven, as in those young days,
whilst any evidence of brotherly feeling was given in exchange. But
no--it was the favoured one, as we often see to be the case--the rich
and favoured one, who began to envy his poorer brother, even the scanty
portion which fell to his share.

And of what was there in those early days that Eugene could envy
Eustace?

What but that boon, which though influenced outwardly to despise--his
inherent taste for the good and beautiful, caused him secretly to covet,
above every other gift--the fervent love which he saw bestowed by his
despised, but angelic mother, on the child, whose affection drew it so
freely forth--love how ready to be poured as largely on his own head,
but for the barrier of slight, coldness, and constraint she saw so soon
interposed between herself and that else equally beloved child.

Oh! the pain, to mark the glances of that dark, clear eye grow cold and
dim, when turned upon her--the once open brow

    "Cloud with mistrust, and the unfettered lip
    Curled with the iciness of constant scorn."

But all this belongs more properly to a later, and, alas! darker period
of the lives of those it is our task to trace, and to which we must
hasten forward; that period, in which boyhood merges into manhood, and
the seed sown for good or ill springs forth, and bears--some thirty,
some sixty, and some an hundred-fold.



CHAPTER XII.

    Have I not had to wrestle with my lot?
    Have I not suffered things to be forgiven?
    Have I not had my brain sear'd, my heart riven?

    BYRON.


It was Mr. Trevor's good pleasure to bestow the church living in his
gift upon his second son. On the same principle, we suppose--as it was
the fashion, at that period--more we trust than in the present time--for
the least promising and least talented of a family to be devoted to the
sacred service of the church--did the father, we conclude, in the
present instance select for this purpose the son least esteemed and
honoured in his eyes, without any regard to the inclinations of his own
heart, or his fitness for that vocation.

Eustace Trevor was sent to College, on as small an allowance as could in
decency be accorded, and commanded there to prepare himself for Holy
Orders.

How can we describe the trials, the struggles, the discouragements which
beset the path of one who, under more propitious circumstances, might
have passed on to such high and distinguished grades of honour and
distinction?

His noble character and conspicuous talents, drew down upon him the
love, admiration, and honour of those around him; yet to some degree the
galling hand which had laid heavy on his boyhood oppressed his powers
even then.

Great and good as was the young man's nature,

    "Temptation hath a music for all ears,
    And mad ambition triumpheth to all,
    And the ungovernable thought within
    Will be in every bosom eloquent."

The very superiority of Eustace Trevor's nature, his high, and serious
estimate of the holy nature of the profession which had been forced upon
him, soon caused the youth to recoil with conscientious horror from
embracing it upon such terms. He laid his scruples before his father,
who with contemptuous indignation told him he might then starve, or beg,
for by no other means should he obtain from him a farthing of
subsistence--and his mother, whilst she sympathized in his feelings on
the subject, still encouraged and besought him to make himself worthy of
the sacred vocation, and bring down those high thoughts and aspirations
which rendered it incompatible with his desires.

This was the substance of her mild, soft pleadings in the anxious cause:

    "My son, oh leave the world alone!
    Safe on the steps of Jesus' throne
    Be tranquil and be blest."

Encouraged by this strong persuasion, Eustace Trevor promised for her
dear sake to do all in his power to satisfy her solicitude, and
reconcile his own conscience on the point.

Eugene in the meantime was given a place in the great banking
establishment before alluded to, a position which only served to throw
the young man in the way of all the temptations and dissipations of a
London life, and rather to overthrow those expectations of Mr. Trevor,
as to the money saving propensities of his favourite.

In his fondness for money, he might indeed show himself a worthy son of
his father, for to attain it by all attainable means soon became his
actual object. Yet to whatever pitch this inclination might arrive in
later years, in these his days of youthful folly, "to spend and not to
hoard," was certainly his distinguishing propensity; thus affording his
father plentiful opportunities for displaying to the full, the partial
injustice of his conduct towards his younger children.

One of the most striking instances in this particular was exhibited a
few years after the establishment of Eustace at College, when Eugene was
about nineteen. The latter unexpectedly one summer evening arrived at
Montrevor from London, in no very happy state of mind.

Gambling was unfortunately one of the pleasures, or more properly
speaking passions, which assailed the young man most strongly in this
early part of his career. He had just lost a considerable sum of money
at the late Derby; and this was the first time that he found himself
obliged to confess this delinquency to his father, and apply for the
amount necessary for the payment of the debt of honour thus incurred.

He could scarcely flatter himself that Mr. Trevor's hitherto partial
favour could avail him in a case of such unwonted enormity. Forfeiture
of that favour, perhaps a refusal of his application; anger, disgrace at
home, ignominy, dishonour abroad, all stared him in the face. Eugene
entered the house at night, and went straight to Mabel Marryott's
apartment, where, scarcely noticing the eager and astounded greeting of
his foster-mother, he threw himself upon a seat, and leaning his elbows
upon the table, he buried his face in his hands, and remained plunged in
moody silence.

In vain for some time Marryott questioned him, as to what had happened
to occasion his sudden return, and the discomposure under which he
appeared to labour. But at length, having shaken off the hand she so
caressingly placed on his shoulder (for some years the young man had
begun to discourage any similar demonstrations from his quondam nurse),
he called for some wine; and having drank off a bumper, he then came out
with the abrupt communication, that he had lost a thousand pounds, and
that she must manage to get it from his father.

Mrs. Marryott was astounded.

"Lost a thousand pounds!" Mr. Trevor to be informed of this, and coolly
asked to supply it. The boy was mad to think of such a thing. No
favouritism would indeed avail to cover such an enormity in his father's
eyes. She, with all her confidence in the influence she possessed, would
not risk the office of intercession in such an outrageous instance, at
such a time too, when Mr. Trevor was overlooking the accounts of his
brother Eustace, who had just returned from College, and into a fine
state of mind she assured him his father was worked up by the
employment. Then, in anticipation of the paternal indignation she
prepared him to receive, Mrs. Marryott ventured to bestow upon her
foster-son some severe strictures upon the imprudence of his conduct,
all which Job's comfort the young man was in no mood to receive with
patient equanimity.

Starting from his seat, he rudely told her to hold her tongue, for if
she did not choose to help him he must go to some one who would; and
rushing up stairs, he went straight to his mother's sitting-room. Mrs.
Trevor was alone, seated near the open window, with her eyes fixed sadly
on the church spire rising amidst the distant trees, and pointing with
such solemn silence to that blessed home, for which the wounded spirit
must have so often yearned.

"Eugene!" she exclaimed in surprise, as, turning her sorrowful
countenance towards the opening door, she beheld her son; and Eugene
having slightly returned the pressure of her outstretched hand, threw
himself down upon the nearest seat, in much the same state of moody
dejection as he had previously done in the apartment of Marryott.

But there seemed something more soothing in the atmosphere of his
present position--something in the subdued and holy calm of the maternal
presence, which had never before impressed him in the like degree.

Perhaps it had been a relief to his jealous spirit to find his mother
thus alone, unaccompanied, as was usually the case when he was in the
house, by the envied Eustace, to be the witness of his discomfiture, and
an auditor of his misfortune. And when, perceiving that something was
amiss, she approached, and, without inquiry, sat down silently by his
side, he did not now shrink from the fair soft hand which, with almost
timid tenderness, was placed in gentle sympathy on his arm, but burst
forth at once in softened accents of appeal with the grievous fact.

"Mother, what am I to do? I have lost upon the Derby a thousand pounds;
have it I must immediately. I cannot tell my father; some one must get
it out of him. Marryott won't--will you?"

The mother withdrew the hand which, emboldened by her young son's
unwonted show of confiding consideration, had ventured to begin to part
the dark matted locks from his heated brow. Nor was this done from
dismay at the chief purport of this desperate intelligence, but from the
cold pang with which these concluding words struck upon her ear:
"Marryott won't--will you?"

It had not then been the impulse of his filial heart, as for a few brief
minutes she had gladly hoped, to fly to his mother in his distress. He
had gone to another first, and only come to her as a last resource--as
often when a boy had been the case, when Marryott, for fear of his
father's displeasure at the expense, had refused him some
indulgence--some of those "good things" we have heard the man Eugene so
feelingly deplore, and with which the mother had supplied him from her
own too circumscribed resources.

Had not the present emergency been out of the question to her limited
powers, how willingly would she in the same manner have relieved her son
of his pressing anxiety.

As it was, the momentary pang of bitterness allayed, without giving way
to any irritating manifestation of her feelings, with regard to his
astounding communication, she only expressed her sorrow at his
misfortune and perplexity; and refused not to take upon herself the
office he demanded of her.

"Alas, Eugene! you know the extent of the influence I possess," she
sadly observed. "I can but break to your father what you have related,
and trust to his general indulgence towards you, rather than to any
regard he may be inclined to pay to entreaties of mine in your behalf."

"Exactly; that is all I want, mother; tell him that I will work hard at
that d--d bank for the next year--that I will make it up to him in some
way--anything in the world; but if he does not let me have it, I must
blow my brains out--that's all."

And the mother, sadly sighing over the ruinous course--ruinous as
regarded his soul's welfare--in which her son had so early embarked--and
she, without any power to influence or to restrain--left the room.

Mrs. Trevor entered the library with no willing step. She knew well how
she should find her husband occupied, and the disagreeable nature of her
mission was less repugnant to her feelings than the pain which would
most probably be in store for her in her other son's behalf.

And here indeed she did find her Eustace undergoing a more torturing
mental ordeal than that of the physical chastisement to which she had on
a former occasion seen him exposed in that same apartment; his noble,
generous spirit goaded almost beyond the power of endurance, as
compelled to sit there before his father, and submit to the most close,
exact, and grinding examination of every detail and minutiæ of his last
year's expenses, a process accompanied, as was every item of the amount,
with the most bitter and angry comments on his so-called profligacy and
extravagance--the galling and degrading nature of which ordeal every
young man, blameless and well-principled as he may be, will be able
fully to appreciate.

The mother cast an involuntary glance of tender concern upon the victim,
and then approached her husband.

"Well, Madam, are you too come to assist me in this delightful
business?"

"No, Mr. Trevor," in a trembling voice. "I have come to speak to you
upon another subject--about Eugene."

"Eugene! what in the world have you got to say about him?"

"He has returned home in much distress; he has been unfortunate, and
requires your assistance, though at the same time is fearful of your
displeasure."

"The devil he is! well, I am a happy individual. Have I not enough on my
hands already," with a vindictive glance at Eustace, "without being
bored in this fresh quarter? I suppose he wants his allowance advanced;
but be so good as to tell him, Madam, that until I have finished the
delectable business in which I am engaged, he must please to wait. What
the deuce did he come running down here for, wasting his time and my
money. A letter, I should think, would have answered his purpose;
really, one would suppose I was made of millions."

"But, Mr. Trevor, I am sorry to say that Eugene's case is of greater,
more immediate importance than you imagine. Eugene, I grieve to tell
you, has lost a very considerable sum of money at Epsom, and requires an
immediate remittance for payment (as it is called) of his debt of
honour."

Mr. Trevor changed colour, and an involuntary oath escaped his lips. But
something--perhaps it was the glance he saw exchanged between the mother
and son--caused him to restrain any further ebullition of the feeling
with which this revelation inwardly inspired him.

For he fancied--how unjustly may be imagined--that something of
triumphant exultation was expressed in that glance, that it was now the
father's favourite on whom was about to descend his displeasure--perhaps
the present forfeiture of his former favour. This was most fortunate for
Eugene. It turned the course of his passion into another channel.

"And what, allow me to ask," he proceeded with forced composure, "may be
the amount of this unfortunate involvement?"

Mrs. Trevor, in a low tone, named the sum.

Its extent probably exceeded Mr. Trevor's expectation, and the
expression of his countenance plainly indicated the struggle of
contending feelings within his breast.

He took two or three strides about the room, then ordered Eugene to be
sent to him.

"Nay, Madam, pray do not you trouble yourself," as Mrs. Trevor was
preparing to leave the room, too willing to escape from the scene of
whatever nature which was to follow; and he rang the bell, and desired
Eugene to be summoned.

In a few minutes, during which no one spoke--Mrs. Trevor sitting pale
and patient, Eustace walking to the window with a look of weary disgust
upon his countenance, whilst Mr. Trevor's dark eye glanced alternately
the one from the other, with the wary suspicious glare of an angry
animal--Eugene entered, prepared for the worst, with a dogged
indifference of countenance and threw himself upon a chair behind his
father.

"Well, Sir, and what is this I hear of you?" Mr. Trevor commenced. "Lost
a thousand pounds! a pretty story truly; and want me to give you the
money. Really one would think you were heir to twenty thousand a-year,
instead of a younger son," with a significant glance towards the window,
"totally and entirely dependent on my bounty."

There was nothing very encouraging in the letter of this exordium.
Something, however, in the manner in which it was spoken, seemed to give
hope and courage to the culprit; for shaking off his sullen moodiness,
he sprang from his seat, and approaching his father, began to pour into
his ear, in earnest humble strains, a string of protestations,
representations, and excuses, relating to the subject of his loss--on
the true Spartan principle, accusing the failure rather than the
committal of the deed--showing how it had been, by the most unforeseen
turn of luck, that he had not won _thousands_, instead of losing _one_;
the good fortune which had attended him, on each preceding occasion of
the kind; finally declaring his determination to do better for the
future, or at any rate so manage, that he would blow his brains out
rather than again trouble his father.

"Well, well, Sir, this all sounds very plausible, indeed," was Mr.
Trevor's reply, having listened with becoming gravity and consideration
to the defence; "but I would advise you to give up this losing trade of
gambling you have commenced. You will find it, let me tell you, far less
profitable in the end than sticking to your bank. In the meantime, to
extricate you from your present dilemma, and enable you to turn over a
new leaf for the future--this also being in your case the first trouble
you have given me--I will write you a cheque for what you require; but
remember, this is the last time you must expect from me anything of the
sort. Your brother there will tell you how I have plenty to do with one
younger son's worthless extravagance--"

"Mr. Trevor, you are cruelly unjust," interposed the mother's trembling
voice, indignant tears swelling to her eyelids. "You know that one half
of what you bestow so freely upon Eugene would amply cover all that
Eustace owes--"

"Mrs. Trevor, may I request your silence on the subject?" thundered her
husband. "Have I not often told you, that I desire no interference
between myself and the affairs of my sons. Supposing I do act with the
cruel injustice you so flatteringly ascribe to me, what then? have I not
a right to do what I will with my own?"

And, suiting the action to the words, his hand trembling with agitation,
he hastened to achieve--that to him almost incredible thing--to write a
cheque and present it to his youngest son for a thousand pounds, with a
certain feeling, or at any rate the appearance, of unmurmuring alacrity.

So does one bad feeling at the time being, govern even our worst of
passions.

Eugene on his part did not, as may well be supposed, trouble himself to
analyse the merits of his father's unexpected generosity.

He was really overcome with gratitude at the ready manner in which his
anxiety and trouble were thus alleviated. He thanked his father with
earnest emotion, and repeated protestations of never again requiring
such beneficence at his hands.

Mr. Trevor waved him away. He had done the deed--he had shown forth his
own perfect independence of will and power--satisfied his own bad
feelings towards the object of his unnatural aversion, and mortified--as
seemed his constant aim--the partial feelings, as he deemed them of his
gentle wife towards her second son. And now the ruling passion began
again to struggle into power.

The remembrance that he had just signed away a thousand pounds of his
close-kept hoards, without more demur than in former times he might have
bestowed a half-crown piece upon the boy, began to stir within his
breast no very great feeling of satisfaction.

Eugene knew his father too well to risk any further provocation of the
feelings he could pretty plainly divine, and hastened to beat a
triumphant retreat, purposing to leave Montrevor that same night.

In the exuberance of his feelings, he would probably, at least by a
glance, have thanked his mother for the service she had so auspiciously
rendered him; but Mrs. Trevor's looks were sorrowfully averted, and he
passed her by, not caring to irritate his father by any more manifest
token of attention. He did, however, stop to shake hands with Eustace as
he passed the window near which he stood--the first greeting exchanged
between the brothers, who had not met before for several months.

Eustace Trevor returned his brother's greeting with no lack of kindly
warmth. He had stood mute and motionless as a statue throughout the late
trying scene which had been enacted. No sign of dark passion--of
envious, hateful feeling could have been read upon that countenance,
pale as marble, and beautiful in its nobly-suppressed emotion. Only
once--that time when his mother had raised her meek voice in his
defence, had an expression of strong feeling--a mixture of disdain,
indignation, and grateful affection--broke forth over his countenance,
and his dark, full eyes turned upon that much-loved champion with a
glance not to be described, whilst his lips moved as if he were about to
entreat her not to distress herself for his sake, when his father's
angry interruption had more effectually supplied any deprecation on his
part to that effect.

But now, having returned, as we have said, his brother's greeting in a
manner which showed no particle of invidious feeling to have been
excited against the object of such unjust and unmerited favouritism;
when, too, his mother had softly and sadly left the room, without daring
to cast another look upon the beloved object for whom her heart was
bleeding; he came forth and stood before his father, with a firm and
composed mien and countenance.

"Father!" he said.

Mr. Trevor was looking over some drawer in his _escritoire_, with no
very happy expression of countenance.

"Well, Sir?" glancing upwards, speaking in the most sharp, irritated
tone and manner, "what in the name of ---- do you want now? I must
request you to pester me no more to-night, we will return to the
pleasant task of settling the rest of your debts to-morrow."

"No, father--that cannot be. I am no longer a child--a boy; and
it is not in the nature of man to bear, even from a father,
injustice--degradation, such as that to which I am subjected. I ask you
then, that this very night, on this very spot, for once, and for ever,
to let my account be settled between us; and never I solemnly swear,
here or hereafter shall you be troubled by me or my concerns. What I ask
is, that you will give me down a sum of money, just sufficient to pay my
expenses out of this country, and let me work for my bread by the sweat
of my brow, like others whom I know, in one of the distant colonies; for
this I say will be preferable, far preferable, to what you now make me
endure--far more accordant with my feelings of right and honour, than
shackled, degraded in every point, to be goaded, drawn into a profession
for which, besides the original disinclination I felt to embrace it, I
have been rendered still more unfit by the treatment I have received.
Viewing the office as I do, in a light far too sacred to be entered upon
by one, in the spirit and temper of mind to which you have reduced me."

"Well, Sir, well; I admire your pious principles; do as you please;
give up this living. Many a better man than you, no doubt, will be glad
to have it. Go off to Botany Bay, if you will--but beg, borrow, or steal
your way out as you like. I must decline advancing you a farthing
towards that laudable design; all the money you ever get out of me, goes
to making you a parson; choose that, or beggary; for do not suppose that
you will be coming over me a second prodigal son. Go, riot as you will,
but not from me will ever come the wherewithals. Eat the husks, if you
please; but as for the ring, and the fatted calf, and all that--"

"Sir!" interrupted the young man, by a strong effort suppressing the
resentment these taunting words fired in his breast from breaking
through the limits of filial respect. "Far be it from me, to expect such
things at your hands. No, truly, the very husks of the fields _would_ be
far sweeter to my taste than the begrudged bread eaten in my father's
house. And, refused as I am the just and reasonable demand I have made
to-night--determined as you are to show the cruelly childish dependence
to which you have reduced me, willingly would I embrace the other
alternative, and by the sweat of my brow, unaided by you, gain my daily
subsistence, were it not for the one consideration which draws me back,
and renders me powerless to resist--my mother."

"Come, come, Sir; no more of this," interrupted Mr. Trevor impatiently,
wincing consciously--as he generally did from any allusion of the
kind--at this observation of the zealous son, as if he feared the
reflection on his own conduct which it implied. "No doubt, as you have
now found that I am not to be threatened out of another thousand pounds
to-night, you have plenty of considerations in reserve to reconcile your
dainty stomach to the loaves and fishes so cruelly forced upon you, in
preference to the husks to which it so nobly aspired. There--you had
better go and learn to practise, first, the duty, and obedience, and all
that you will have to preach to us bye and bye. Let me hear," in a tone
of taunting irony, "what shall be your first text."

"Fathers, provoke not your children to anger!" was the reply which
thrilled in low, deep accents from the young man's voice through the
dusky apartment. But the servant for whom Mr. Trevor had some minutes
before rang impatiently, entering the next moment with lights, the
impression, whatever might have been its nature, which it made upon the
hearer, was dissipated, and a conclusion put to one of those dark,
painful interviews such as it is our unpleasing task to record, which
within that long, low library were enacted. Alas! more dark and dreadful
still are those which have to follow.

Poor Mary Seaham! how would your gentle spirit have quailed with
shuddering dread, if a vision of what had there been witnessed had dimly
passed before your sight--those calm, sweet eyes there fixed with such
trustful and admiring confidence, upon that venerable old man--have
shrunk with horror and aversion, could "the light of other days" but
have revealed in all its naked hideousness, the spirit--which now
chained and incapacitated in its decrepitude and weakness--had once
worked with such hateful power within that aged form; but what even
this, to the knowledge of other things which it might also have
revealed--the close and active part which he--who then sat by her side,
as an angel of light to her infatuated eyes--had taken in some of these
deeds of darkness.



CHAPTER XIII.

                      In its train
    Follow all things unholy--love of gold--

    The phantom comes and lays upon his lids
    A spell that murders sleep, and in his ear
    Whispers a deathless word, and on his brain
    Breathes a fierce thirst no water will allay--
    He is its slave henceforth!

    N. P. WILLIS.

It is often to be found, that men of strongest and least regulated
passions, calculating, cautious, as may be the nature of their general
character, are the most easily rendered subserviant to any influence or
weakness to which they in the first instance, have capriciously chosen
to lay themselves open.

Thus it was with Mr. Trevor. His unjust partiality towards his youngest
son turned against him, so far, that the latter gradually gained an
ascendency over his father's mind, for we cannot exactly call it his
affections, which no one, not even the favourite Marryott, had ever been
known to attain in so extended a measure, and effect. To Eugene Trevor's
credit, it may at least be said, that he was not one, so far as his
outward conduct and demeanour were concerned, to abuse such a position;
on the contrary, he was rather disposed to conciliate the continuance of
it, by every seeming mark of gratitude, and duty, never, however,
neglecting in any direct, or indirect way to turn to advantage the
propitious circumstances of his case.

This habit had long engendered that peculiar respectfulness of manner
and demeanour, which we had occasion to remark so undeviatingly
maintained by the son, towards the miserly parent.

But perhaps a bond of union had then been established between the father
and son, of a more subtle and secret character, than any were aware; the
consciousness on the parent's part, of having pardoned and covered in
the son, more than he had any right ever to have so covered or forgiven;
the son subdued in some measure to grateful subjection towards that
parent, from the consciousness of what had by him been concealed, and
overlooked; a bond of union, the more strengthened and annealed as years
wore on, and showed the harmony of character and propensity, however
differently they might as yet be shown forth, which subsisted between
them.

Alas! when evil, not good cements the union of man with man--when hand
joins hand, for deeds or purposes of darkness--especially when by such
unholy links are seen connected, parent with child--child with parent!
However, all this might be--there was certainly a suspicious cloak over
one era of Eugene Trevor's early history, under which no member of his
family save his father ever penetrated.

We allude to a period, two years perhaps after the event, which has
lately been brought forward, when he was suddenly removed from the
business in which he had for a period held a kind of sinacure office;
and ever afterwards was tacitly suffered by his father to live at large,
either at home or abroad, following no other profession or pursuit, but
those pleasures and practices, to which he was but too strongly
addicted.

There is then good reason to suppose that the liberality of his father
on the occasion we have quoted, did not put a stop to further losses and
embarrassments of the same nature on Eugene's part; and one dark
instance will prove at least, to what extremity he was once driven, at
the same time as it exemplified the little confidence he was disposed as
yet to place, in the kindness and long suffering of a parent, whose
character and disposition he had too much acute insight and observation
not to be perfectly able to appreciate. He knew that in his father's
breast existed a passion wherein neither reason, nor benevolence, nor
natural affection, nor any other faculty had in other cases the least
influence--whilst in his own breast could he have analyzed its
propensities with equal exactness, he might have read the love, and
aspiring after the attainment of the same unrighteous mammon, as deep,
and vehement, in its development, though as yet subservient in a degree,
to other feelings--the slave--not as yet the master spirit of other
appetites and propensities. And alas! in the instance we are about to
record--how strongly is it proved that a great activity of this passion,
if the moral qualities of the mind be low--if there exist no honest or
honourable means, or a desire to pursue those means by which it can be
gratified--dishonesty, dishonour, every dark and crooked way and means,
may be the fearful consequences.

       *       *       *       *       *

There came another evening when Eugene Trevor returned clandestinely to
Montrevor, without, as on former occasions, seeking to make his arrival
known to any member of the establishment. But Mr. Trevor was not long in
being apprized by Marryott, that his youngest son had some hours since
entered the house, and had gone straight to his bed-room, from which he
had not since made his appearance, and she wished to know whether she
had not better go and see what was the matter?

Perhaps Mr. Trevor had his misgivings as to something being in the wind
in that quarter, which it were as well that he might see to in _propria
persona_, therefore, he told Marryott that he would go up stairs
himself, and find out what the boy was about.

He accordingly proceeded to that distant part of the mansion, which
contained the sordid rooms, allotted from their boyhood, to the sons of
the family, and entered the one appropriated to Eugene's use.

Mr. Trevor's stealthy entrance enabled him to stand some minutes without
notice, for the young man was seated with his back to the door, leaning
over a table, seemingly in the anxious examination of a small bundle of
papers he held in his hand, and on which the keen eye of the observer
fixed itself with suspicious surprize, for they were evidently bank
notes.

Suddenly the father made a cautious movement forward--something had
caught his eye. It was one of these same papers, which the draught from
the open window had probably, unperceived by the owner, wafted from the
table to the ground, just behind the young man's chair.

The father stooped; and having clutched it in his grasping hand,
curiously scanned his prize; yes, it was to all appearance one of those
precious things, after which his soul lusted--a monied note--a note for
£20 on the London Bank in which he had so great concern.

But how was this? His hand trembled as he held it for stricter
examination further from his eyes. Perhaps his heart misgave him from
the first. How had the boy become possessed of all this money?

Ah! a new light flashed upon him, and he became deadly pale.

That well practised vision, that sharp witted perception was not to be
deceived. The astounding, stunning truth miraculously flashed upon his
senses, that the paper he held within his grasp was no true genuine
bank-note on the firm of Maynard, Trevor and Co., but that _it was
forged_.

One moment after, and Eugene Trevor felt a sharp nervous grasp laid upon
his arm. He started violently, and the terrified ashy countenance he
turned towards his father, would at once have convicted him in the eye
of the beholder of any capital offence of which he might have been
suspected.

"Wretched boy, what have you done?" gasped the father, as with one hand
maintaining his hold on the culprit's arm, with the other he held the
accusing note before his shrinking eye, glaring at the same time
fearfully upon him. "This--this--" in accents tremulous between rage and
horror, "I know, I feel convinced, is _forged_!"

The son sat pale and trembling, but attempted not a word of explanation
or denial.

"And the others--the same?"

They were passively yielded for inspection. All--all--alike!

"Do you wished to be hanged, Sir?" almost shrieked the father.

"I must have money--those might have passed for such."

"Might?--yes, and you might, I say, be hanged."

"Well, if I were hanged, what then? Life's not worth having without
money," was the dark and moody rejoinder.

"And why should you ever be in want of money?" Mr. Trevor replied in a
low, trembling voice.

"Why? why--when I see how you serve Eustace."

"Eustace!" in a tone of impatient scorn; "what's Eustace to do with
you?"

"Or if I could be content to live the life that Harry leads," was the
sullen continuation, "I might perhaps do very well; but as I have in
some degree tastes and inclinations beyond those of a groom or a jockey,
I must have money somehow or another, for accidental emergencies like
the present. There was nothing left for me but this," pointing to the
notes, "or to blow my brains out, to which alternative I suppose I have
now arrived."

"Tut, tut--nonsense!" replied the agitated father; "why did you not come
to me?"

"You?--why, after that thousand pounds you gave me, I could not expect
you'd supply me with all I want now."

"And who--who," continued Mr. Trevor, still livid with horror and dismay
at the dreadful risk his son had run, rather than at the crime he had
perpetuated; "who, in the name of Heaven, was your abettor in this
preposterous scheme?"

Eugene Trevor, after a little hesitation, named his accomplice--of
course, an _attaché_ of the Bank in question--a young man of low birth
and principles, with whom Eugene Trevor had formed this dreadful
confederacy, and who was subsequently removed from the bank by the
connivance of Mr. Trevor, about the same time, as his young patron was,
as we have before mentioned, mysteriously taken from the business.

"None of these notes have yet been circulated," the father inquired in
terrified anxiety.

"No; not yet. I brought them down here, and Wilson was to follow, as you
gave me leave to ask him; and then I was to consider over with him the
best way of proceeding."

Mr. Trevor mused for a moment; then gathering up the notes in his long,
thin fingers, carefully, nay, even delicately, as if he could not away
with some sentiment of tender respect even for that which only bore the
semblance of his heart's idol; he bade his son, in a low hoarse tone, to
get up, and follow him down stairs.

Eugene mechanically obeyed; and his father stealthily preceded him back
to his library, the door of which they having both entered, he carefully
closed and bolted.

Eugene sank upon a chair, with blanched cheeks, and trembling in every
limb. He had not tasted food all day; but, more than this, the act of
moving from one room to the other had probably roused his mental powers,
and his not yet quite depraved or hardened heart became more sensible to
the horrors of the risk, and the enormity of the crime from which he had
been providentially rescued.

His father, seeing the condition his son was in, produced a small flask
he kept near him for his private use in cases of emergency (he never,
generally speaking, partook of wine or spirits), and poured him out a
sparing quantity.

The son looked at the glass contemptuously, swallowed its contents; then
seized the bottle his father had incautiously left within his reach,
emptied it of at least half of the remainder, and drank it clean off.

Mr. Trevor, in the meantime, had turned away, to enter upon the business
in hand. Holding the dangerous papers still clutched fearfully in his
grasp, he looked around to determine how most securely to dispose of
them.

It would have been easy to have committed them at once to the flames,
if any such means of destruction had been provided; and thus every
memento of his son's guilt might have perished for ever; but though a
chilly April evening, no fire at such an advanced period was suffered to
burn upon the miser's cheerless hearth. So he looked from that hopeless
quarter for some other resource; and going to his _escritoire_, unlocked
it, and in one of its most secret recesses deposited those deeds of
intended wrong, destined to afford long, long after their very existence
was forgotten, a striking example of the fact, that sin, however at the
time covered or concealed, seldom fails to bear forth some fruit of woe,
be it to ourselves or others, in future years.

Mr. Trevor then proceeded to open another drawer, and glancing towards
his son, carefully selected some bank-notes therefrom, brought them to
Eugene, and thrust them hastily into his hand, as if he feared the
impulse might have evaporated ere the act was accomplished. They were
the exact number of those he had counted of the forged notes.

The young man looked on them at first with a bewildered and uncertain
gaze; then, overcome probably by the reaction of feeling, burst forth
into a paroxysm of tears, with which he covered his father's hand, as he
gave vent to a torrent of thanks and deprecations against such
undeserved generosity.

The aged man--for even then, though scarce past sixty, Mr. Trevor from
appearance might have been so denominated--that old, old heart having
long imparted the influence of years to his character and demeanour, he
seemed by this fervent recognition of his unjust--indeed, under the
circumstances of the case--iniquitous indulgence, to be spurred on to an
effusion of warmth towards his favourite, almost monomaniacal in its
extent. Again he seized his keys, and, one after another, threw open
wide chest after chest, drawer after drawer of his spacious treasures;
showing, with layers of notes to a great amount, heaps of shining
gold--the gathered hoards of years; with which, besides the enormous
deposits with which the bank of Maynard and Co. was enriched, this
"exceeding rich man" kept to feast his eyes and delight his heart with
their sensible and tangible presence.

"There boy--there," he exclaimed, observing with a kind of exulting
gratification the impression this display made upon the young man's
countenance--how his eye kindled, and his breath came short and quick,
as if with the covetous delight which found such sympathy in his own
breast, "is not that worth living for, think ye.... Well, well, never
forget again, nor waste and want, as you have lately begun to do; but
wait, and watch, and learn to do like me, and who knows but some day or
another...."

He paused, and glanced significantly from his coffers to his son, from
his son to his coffers.

"Harry will be a lucky fellow," murmured Eugene, averting his
countenance, over which, at those words, a brightening gleam had passed.

"Pooh, that fool!"

"That fool, Sir, is your eldest son for all that," laughed the other.

"And if he is, what's that? it's my own, all that.... Besides," lowering
his voice, "mark me, he'll break his neck some of these days."

"Not he, Harry's too good a rider for that; and you know a fool is sure
to live for ever; but even if he died, there's Eustace."

"Eustace--curse him!" was the fatherly ejaculation.

Even the calculating brother now looked a little shocked, and when just
at that moment there came a gentle knock at the door, both started, like
guilty creatures as they were. But the old man glancing at his coffers
with nervous alarm, hurriedly bade his son to wait, shutting them up,
and making them fast with hurried trepidation ere the inopportune
intruder was admitted. It proved to be only Marryott, who presented
herself with a smooth and unsuspecting countenance, to ask whether Mr.
Eugene would not come and partake of the supper she had provided for him
in her own room. And Eugene, though at first about to profess himself
not hungry, on second thoughts, and a glance from his father, changed
his mind, shook hands affectionately with his foster-mother, and
consented to avail himself of her considerate attentions.

A change had come over the young man's dream; a new vista opened before
his eyes; Satan had showed him the kingdoms of the world, and the glory
of them; he must bow the knee and worship.



CHAPTER XIV.

    Blest order, which in power dost so excel,

           *       *       *       *       *

                             Fain would I draw nigh,
    Fain put thee on; exchanging my lay sword
    For that of th' Holy Word.

    HERBERT.


About a year from this time an uncle of Mrs. Trevor's died, leaving
twenty thousand pounds to his niece's second son, Eustace, his god-son;
and the persecuted young man thus found himself, by this unexpected
behest, placed in a position which rendered him to a degree independent
of the tyranny and bondage to which he had been hitherto subjected by
his father, and at liberty, if so had been his pleasure, to relinquish
the profession which had in such an arbitrary manner been forced upon
him. But it was not thus to be. Very different now was the nature of
the case. He stood a free man--free to choose or to reject the path of
life before him, and the spirit which had struggled so fiercely in the
ignoble chains which bound it to that course, now disenthralled, turned
as naturally as the eagle to the sun, to that high and holy service for
which he had been prepared.

The proud and restless spirit, soothed and tranquillized, yielded itself
as a little child to the scarcely-breathed wishes of his mother, that
the struggles he had so long and nobly endured in bringing down his
rebellious thoughts and contrary inclinations--the hard studies to which
he had devoted himself to fit him according to his own high standard for
the important vocation, might not be thrown away; but that before she
left this world of sin and sorrow, she might have the happiness of
seeing her beloved son wedded to that profession, which in her eyes
offered the only fold of security and protection from the snares and
temptations which beset the path of manhood--"the bosom of the Church."

Eustace was fully persuaded that his father would now withdraw the
living he had before so pertinaciously awarded him; for he plainly
perceived the increasing enmity the bestowal of his uncle's little
fortune, had raised against him in the breast of his unnatural parent,
an act purposely, no doubt, made by the testator, to secure it from the
well-known cupidity of his niece's husband. But what if this were the
case? The forfeiture of this benefice would but the more fully satisfy
his own mind, as to the disinterestedness of the change affected in his
feelings with respect to that profession.

Therefore from this period did Eustace Trevor set himself with heart and
soul more fully to prepare for the sacred office, and having shone with
increased brilliancy in the path of learning, covered with honours and
distinctions, stood ready for the ceremony of ordination.

But this event was retarded; first, by the severe attack of brain-fever,
the result probably of the course of hard and long-sustained study,
which nearly brought him to the brink of the grave, and prostrated his
strength for many an after day; and by the time he had sufficiently
recovered, another event had occurred, the nature of which seemed likely
to effect a most important change in the aspect of his future career.

Mr. Trevor's words, spoken in cruel levity, with reference to his eldest
son, became verified in a manner not often found precedented in the
course of the world's history. The body of the unfortunate Henry Trevor
was brought home one morning to his father's house, it having been found
lying on the road, where, on returning home the night before in a state
of intoxication--a vice to which he had been unhappily addicted--he had
been thrown from his horse, and, as it appeared, killed upon the spot.

And Eustace Trevor stood in that brother's place--eldest son, and heir
to all that would have been his!

It is not often that such instances are afforded us in the order of
God's dealings; instances which, to our blind sight, cannot but appear
wisely and providentially appointed.

We would fain cut down the barren tree, that the good and fruitful may
flourish in its room. But the husbandman wills it not. We would fain
root out the tares: but he orders that they should flourish on. The evil
weeds grow apace; whilst too often the flower withers, and fades ere it
be yet noon.

But here men said all was right. Poor Henry Trevor! removed from a
sphere in which he could never have played but so ignoble a part; making
room for one of whom none could desire better to fill his place, as heir
and future representative of a house and family of such wealth and
consideration as that of Trevor, and so noble and brilliant a successor
to its present miserly head.

Few in any way acquainted with Eustace's superiority of character,
hesitated to look upon the death of the first-born but as a source of
congratulation rather than of condolence to the new heir, and to
posterity. So do men err in their calculations of good and evil!

Little did they know the wild heritage of woe this seeming good did
bring about! Seldom has the death of an unlamented eldest son proved so
direful in its consequences.

The catastrophe in question, of course interrupted, for a while, the
intended ordination of Eustace Trevor. It was naturally supposed that no
further thought would be entertained of his entering the Church, either
by himself or family. Indeed, we will not say but that his change of
circumstances altered also, in some degree, his own ideas upon the
subject.

New prospects, new duties, new spheres of action for his transcendant
talents, seemed to open before his view. Even Mrs. Trevor might have
seemed tacitly to bend to the new position of circumstances. It was,
however, difficult for the son to gain any insight into the wishes of
his father upon the subject; for some time after his brother's death he
was denied all access to that parent's presence: Mr. Trevor's vindictive
feeling against his second son not suffering him to bear the sight of
him in the new position he now was placed.

No one, indeed, save Eugene and Marryott, from this time were suffered
often to approach him. The former, from the period recorded in the last
chapter, spent much of his time at Montrevor; his favour and influence
with his father increasing day by day. At this treatment, Eustace could
be neither much astonished or grieved. For his mother's sake alone did
he ever make Montrevor his abode, and her failing health, which had
received a further shock from the violent end of her unfortunate son,
drew him more anxiously than ever to her side.

He laid his future destiny in her hands. If she still desired him to
embrace the office of priesthood, no change of fortune should induce him
further to demur.

And no change of fortune _could_ alter the mother's heart's desire on
that score; but she knew that worldly consideration spoke otherwise. Was
it for her to gainsay the wisdom of the world, perhaps the dictates of
her son's own heart?

She bade him further pause and consider the question ere he took the
indissoluble step, which would bind him so firmly to the service of his
God. She advised him to go and try the world, to look upon its pride,
its ambition, and its pleasure. He went. Courted, flattered, and
admired, all these allurements beckoned him away. The world smiled upon
the eldest son, and not only the world; he in whose heart of hearts
hatred and envy were darkly smouldering against one whom fortune had at
once so unexpectedly favoured, and raised above himself--he also in
that smiling world spoke him fair, and walked with him as friend--and
this was his brother.

How was it then that Eustace Trevor finally returned to his original
intention? Was his eye even then opened to see the hollowness of all
that thus surrounded him, or that returning thence to his mother's side,
he beheld her fading form, her anxious eye, and determined in his heart
that her fainting spirit should be rejoiced--her last days cheered by
the accomplishment of her soul's earnest desire.

Was it in bitterness of soul at his father's cruel hatred? The still
more cruel suspicion that dawned upon his perception, in spite of all
outward seeming, that the heart of his brother was turned against him
more darkly still; and that he felt it to be absolutely necessary to
secure himself a definite occupation and object in life, ere the time
came when the only light of his paternal home would be quenched with his
mother's life, and he become a voluntary exile from its portals? Be it
as it may, Eustace Trevor, without giving notice of his intentions to
any of his family, went to Oxford, and was finally ordained, having by
consent of the bishop, in consideration of the long preparation and many
accidental delays which had postponed the event--his long-tested
readiness and ability for the important vocation--been excused the
year's probation which must generally intervene, and was admitted on the
close coming occasion to the office of priesthood.

    "Dread searcher of the hearts,
    Thou who didst seal
    Thy servant's choice, oh help him in his parts,
    Else helpless found, to turn and teach Thy love."



CHAPTER XV.

    The first dark day of nothingness,
    The last of danger and distress.

    BYRON.


Thus signed and sealed, a devoted soldier of the church of God,
"fearless yet trembling," Eustace Trevor went forth, and proceeded to
his home--for home he must always term the spot which contained his
mother.

In his mind was a conflict of many and full fraught feelings. There was
the consciousness of the great and responsible charge he had that day
taken, and the new colouring it must henceforth cast upon his future
existence--accompanied by a calm and holy joy (as at the same time, that
peace and good-will to all men warmed his heart, yes even to his
enemies) the world seemed to fade from his estimation, and the kingdom
of Heaven and its righteousness, to be the only one on which his soul
was fixed.

But perhaps a less high-toned, but no less pure and holy emotion was the
one which, unknown to himself, most strongly predominated over the
rest--the idea of his mother. The glad surprise he had prepared for her
suffering spirit, the joy he knew would fill those sorrow-dimmed eyes,
when she learnt the consummation of her heart's desire on his behalf!

It would be difficult to conceive aright the depth and strength of the
affection which, fed by "love and grief, and indignation," had grown
with the growth, and strengthened with the strength of Eustace Trevor
towards his mother; therefore its expression to some might appear
exaggeration, but such it was, and the nearer he now approached the
demesne of Montrevor, the more was his mind filled with her pure and
holy image, and all the happiness he hoped for, both present and future,
seemed to concentrate in that one point.

The possibility of losing her, seemed to become a thing he could not
allow himself to think was possible. It was but sorrow and mental
suffering which had affected her precious health. Happiness should again
restore it; he would have a home to offer her. Power or principle could
not bind her to the one, where wrongs, dishonour, and grief, had been so
long her portion. He would bear her away to more healthful air, and with
his love and devotion bind up her broken heart, and heal her bruised
spirit. He had enough to provide for her in comfort, if not in luxury;
and what luxury--what scarcely comfort, had she ever tasted in her
husband's penurious abode?

If a thought of the day when those princely possessions he entered would
be his, crossed his mind, the idea was but fraught with painful regret;
scarcely daring, as he did, to extend his dreams so far as to
contemplate the possibility of _her_ being alive when that day came, to
profit by the circumstance--to find all the grief, and wrong, and
slight, and dishonour which had marked her existence in her husband's
wealthy house, exchanged for the honour, power and dominion--to say
nothing of the peace and prosperity--which should gild her latter days,
as mistress of her son's rich inheritance.

Yet at the same time it may be truly said no dark thoughts, no covetous
desire which might have sprung too naturally from this train of ideas in
any other breast, was hereby suggested. No, he felt too great a calm, a
peace and contentment, in the present aspect of his life, as contrasted
with the struggles and trials which had been its early portion, not to
have contemplated such a _bouleversement_ as that to which we allude
with any feeling save that of horror and distaste. No--he had seen and
proved enough of the hateful sin of covetousness, for any such feeling
to have gained admittance in his breast; nay, not indeed to have fled
from its very idea, as from a serpent.

"They that will be rich fall into a temptation and a snare, and into
many foolish and hurtful lusts, which draw men into destruction and
perdition. For the love of money is the root of evil, which, when some
coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves
through with many sorrows. But thou, man of God, flee from these things
and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,
meekness."

Thus, in a frame and state of mind which it would have been far from
the thoughts of man to conceive as the presager of misery, dark and
horrible, Eustace Trevor approached his father's house.

It was night, and the mansion seemed wrapped in more than its customary
gloom and darkness. Every window was closed and shuttered--all save one,
and from that the only ray of light visible on its whole extent
glittered through the open casement.

It was enough--the light came from his mother's chamber. The star of his
home shone forth, as it had ever done, to cheer and welcome his
approach. He did not seek admittance at the front door. That had never
been the privilege of himself or brothers during their boyhood, or their
custom by choice in later years.

There was a more private entrance, through which, after having left
their horse or other vehicle at the stables, the young Trevors could
enter or issue at their pleasure--safe from the _espionage_ or uncertain
welcome of their father. To this Eustace had now recourse. He tried it,
and finding the doors beyond his expectations unsecured, passed through,
making his way by a back staircase to his mother's apartments, without
encountering a domestic or any person on his route.

The house was still and silent as the grave. He entered the boudoir.
There was no lamp or candle burning there, but the clear light reflected
from the adjoining chamber, of which the door was ajar, seemed to
indicate that his mother had retired for the night.

Softly he stepped across the floor to make known to her his arrival. He
knew she was expecting him about this time, therefore no fear of
startling her too much by his sudden appearance presented itself to his
mind--no fear indeed! He listened. All was still--only a slight breeze
through the window, (he vaguely wondered that it was open at this hour
though the night indeed was close and still), faintly rustled the canopy
of the bed and flared the waxen tapers standing on the table. If his
mother were there, she undoubtedly slept.

He glanced around the room before advancing further to ascertain the
fact, and was struck by the cold and unnatural order pervading the
apartment. It was the sign which first chilled his blood and impressed
him with a vague but horrible dread. Yet he stood no longer; with a
firm though somewhat quickened step he approached, laid his hand upon
the drapery, which was slightly drawn round the head of the bed, and
beheld his mother.

She slept indeed--how fast, how well, one look alone sufficed to reveal!
But Eustace's eye turned not from the gaze which had first fixed itself
upon that marble brow.

    "He gazed--how long we gaze in spite of pain,
    And know, but dare not own, we gaze in vain.
    In life itself she was so still and fair,
    That death with gentler aspect withered there."

The long faded beauty of her youth seemed to have returned to Mrs.
Trevor's countenance, as there in "the rapture of repose," she lay.

Yet the son's eye became glazed in its intensity, as if the sight was
one of horror and fearfulness, whilst the hue of the cold sleeper's
cheek, was life, and health, and beauty, compared with that which
settled on his face.

A female servant of the establishment came and found him still standing
thus. The woman's startled alarm at first was great. To behold that tall
statue-like figure in the chamber she had left, deserted by all living.
But any weak demonstration of her fear was awed into reason and
collectiveness, by the recognition of her dead mistress' son, who at
length, as she stood transfixed in her first paroxism of terror to the
spot, turned his face towards her, revealing a countenance on which no
passionate emotion, no strong grief, nothing but a stern, fearful
composure, was visible, and demanded in a low, hollow voice:

"When did she die?"

"This morning at nine o'clock," the woman answered, weeping.

    "It was enough--she died; what reck'd it how?"

Eustace waved his hand in sign for her to depart. She obeyed
immediately, closing the door instinctively behind her; seeming at once
to feel and understand that he who had most right to command, within
that chamber, had arrived.

And all through the lonely watches of that night; lock and bolt from
within, secured, shut out from all intrusion, the agonized communion of
the living with the peaceful sorrowless dead. The living in his agony
which no tongue could tell; the dead, whose life might have been called
one long painful sigh--one sympathetic groan, lying there, serene,
senseless, smiling on his pain. But too great had been the shock of the
deep waters which now overwhelmed his soul, for Eustace Trevor to
consider, and bless God that it was so. He that but an hour before had
come on his way rejoicing--his spirit lifted up as it were on eagles'
wings, "from this dim spot which men call earth," to heaven, now was as
a crushed worm--a broken reed,--stricken to the ground in hopeless,
powerless despair!

"Why hast thou smitten me, and there is no healing for me? I looked for
peace and there is no good; for the time of healing, and behold
trouble!"

Such is man in his best estate; his highest strength is
weakness--altogether vanity. Let the Almighty call forth his storm to
break upon his head; let him wither his gourd--his spirit faints, and is
ready to die.



CHAPTER XVI.

    Oh wretch! without a tear, without a thought,
    Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Look on thy earthly victims and despair.

    BYRON.


When the morning arrived, some one came knocking for admittance at the
door of the chamber of death. The knock was several times repeated
before it gained any answer or attention; but finally a slow and heavy
tread was heard traversing the apartment; the bolt was feebly drawn, the
door opened, and Eustace Trevor stood face to face with Mabel Marryott.

Prepared as she was for this meeting, and in some degree for its being
one of no pleasing nature, the woman could not but recoil before the wan
and haggard countenance which presented itself to her view.

Her stony eye shrunk--her bloodless heart quailed at first sight of
those signs of mighty grief which one night's agony had imprinted there.
But perhaps it was not so much his appearance as the glance, Eustace,
still holding the door in his hand, fixed upon her, which thus affected
her; and he, favoured by this movement on her part, was about, without
the utterance of a word, again to close the door in her face, when
quickly recovering from her momentary weakness she prevented the action,
by stepping quickly forward, and attempted to pass him by. But no;
firmly he remained within the doorway, effectually frustrating any such
endeavour. Mabel Marryott looked at him with an air of affected
surprise, her cool, unabashed demeanour perfectly restored.

"Mr. Eustace," she said, and there was an insolent tinge of patronising
pity in her tone; "will you allow me, Sir?"

"No; I will not," was the reply which burst forth in accents, which, if
there were aught of human in her mould, must have shook her very soul to
its centre; "you are not wanted here; you have done enough--you have
helped to kill her; what can you desire more? Begone!--tempt me not to
call down the curse of Heaven upon ..."

"Eustace--Eustace--this is folly; this is madness!" said a voice behind
him; and the fearful words were stayed on Eustace's lips, when he looked
up, and beheld his brother. Eugene Trevor, looking very pale and ill
himself, came forward, and with a glance at Marryott took his brother's
arm, and led him back through the chamber of death into the boudoir
beyond, closing the door behind them.

"Good heavens! Eustace, how ill you look! You must not give way in that
manner--it is weak, it is unmanly. This has been a blow to us all; but
you know it was not altogether unexpected. Her health has long been
failing."

But his brother did not heed him. He had lain his head down upon a table
near the seat on which he sunk. Those cold, inadequate words did not
touch his deep fathomless grief. But still, the sight and presence of
one whom, she at least had loved, seemed to have some effect in soothing
the passionate excitement of misery into which the sight of her she had
every reason to abhor, had worked him. He forgot even at the time to
think how ill that love had been requited, and scalding tears,

              "The very weakness of the brain,
    Which still confessed without relieving pain,"

were trickling from his burning eye-balls, when again he raised his
face, and turned it towards his brother.

"Eugene, who was with her?" he asked, while at the same time he
murmured: "Not that woman?"

"No--I think not; it was so sudden at the last, that I believe, not even
her maid knew of it till she came into her room in the morning. The
doctor says it was paralysis of the heart."

"Yes--yes, I see; deserted, neglected, even in the hour of death!"

"I saw her the night before, before going to bed," rejoined the other,
without noticing this interruption. "She seemed pretty well then, but
did not notice me much--she only asked for you;" and there was something
of sullen bitterness in the tone of voice in which these words were
uttered.

His listener groaned.

"And why was I not sent for--_why_?" he repeated with agonized emphasis.
"Oh, need I ask that question?"

"I told you, that to the last she was not considered in danger,"
continued the other with some impatience; "of course, there could have
been no motive."

"No motive; no not more than there ever has been, for all that has been
done to wither her heart and shorten her days--not more than there has
ever been for the course of cruel, wanton persecution, which would fain,
I believe, have crushed the very life blood out of my heart also. But
that--that is nothing now; it is the thought of her alone which tortures
my soul to madness. To think of all she was made to endure, for my sake
and her own--that placid martyred saint; and then no effort made to
bring me to her side, to soothe her dying pangs, as I alone could do;
her last glance seeking for her son in vain; her eyes closed perhaps by
her murderess.... Eugene, has _he_ dared to look upon her?"

"Who! my father?"

"Yes; _your_ father."

"I really do not know whether he has been here, or not, since...."

"He could not--he dare not; only a wretch like her could venture to
enter there--to look upon that angel face, and not see utter despair and
condemnation breathed forth from each cold feature upon her destroyer."

"Eustace this is strong language; grief has weakened and excited your
brain; you want rest and refreshment."

"Rest and refreshment? All the rest I can take is watching by her side,
guarding her from any desecrating approach; all refreshment, that which
her cold, calm presence can afford. Strong language did you call it,
Eugene? Can your mother's son think any language too strong to express
his hatred--abhorrence--against her mighty wrongs? You cannot be in
league with those who have destroyed her?"

"I never interfered in those matters," Eugene murmured coldly, but with
downcast looks. "It does no good, and is no business of ours, and if you
had taken my advice, Eustace, you would have done the same. It would
have been the better for you. It is this sort of thing which
exasperates my father against you."

Oh the look of mingled scorn, surprise, and sorrowful reproach, which
Eugene Trevor, on lifting up his eyes, saw turned upon him. They shrunk
again abashed before its power, and ere he dared again to lift them, he
heard the slow heavy footsteps of his brother returning to the chamber
of death.

Eugene did not follow there, but rising, went down stairs the other way
straight to his father's library. Marryott was there, having doubtless
been reporting to her master the unfavourable reception she had received
from his eldest son.

Mr. Trevor sat in his dressing-gown cowering over the embers of a scanty
fire. He looked feeble and haggard, and altogether might have been taken
for many years beyond his real age. It could not be, we know, that grief
had thus affected him; but certainly from this period the old
enchanter's wand seemed more and more to have been wrested from his
hold, some blight to have fallen upon that cruel and covetous man;
something which bowed his spirit into the impotence, almost dotage of
premature old age; converting the tyrant into the slave--the man of
strong passions into the tool of the passions of others--in all
respects, indeed, save that which touched in any degree upon the
mainspring of his being--the darling lust--which coiled like a serpent
round his heart-strings; nothing but the hand of death could tear away
his covetousness. How was this? Could it be that the words spoken in the
bitterness of his son's agonized spirit, had thus been brought to bear
upon him, that he _had_ dared to look upon his dead wife's angel's face,
and that the sight had cursed him.

    "Lo! the spell now works around thee,
    And the clankless chain has bound thee,
    O'er thy heart and brain together
    Hath the word been passed, now wither."

He turned round on his son's entrance with a look of nervous dread.

"Oh, it is you, Eugene! Marryott has been telling me what is going on up
stairs."

"Pshaw!" the young man exclaimed, as he threw himself down on a chair,
"one must not mind him just now, poor fellow, he is quite distracted."

"I should say so, indeed," sneered the woman significantly.

"But he will not come here, I hope," continued Mr. Trevor, anxiously. "I
desire that he is not allowed to come near me. I cannot, I will not see
him!"

"No fear of that, Sir," answered the son coldly; "he is not very likely
to trouble _you_ with his presence."

"Well, well, that's all right; let him rave as much as he likes out of
my sight. And now give me a drop of brandy, Marryott, and stir up the
fire gently, only just gently. It's very cold."

And the victim of conscience cowered and shivered over the scanty flame
thus excited.

"Eugene, stay!" he continued, "don't you go; I don't like to be left,
and there's so much business to be talked over, such trouble and
expense." And the miser set about to calculate grudgingly the cost of
his wife's funeral.



CHAPTER XVII.

    Oh, lie not down, poor mourner,
    On the cold earth in despair;
    Why give the grave thy homage?
    Does the spirit moulder there?
    Cling to the Cross, thou lone one,
    For it hath power to save.
    If the Christian's hope forsake thee,
    There's no hope beyond the grave.

    HAYNES BAYLEY.


If it be terrible to look upon the face of the beloved dead in the first
hours of dissolution--

    "Before decay's effacing finger
      Hath swept the cheek where beauty lingers,"

--what must it be when hour after hour, like the worm in the bud, the
tyrant's power steals on its insiduous way, and we stand and gaze our
last, and see and feel it _must_ be so!

Yet through all this, from which strong man so often shrinks, leaving to
woman's exhaustless fidelity the sacred care and mournful duty to the
departed, did Eustace Trevor--"Love mastering agony"--maintain his
watch, never allowing himself to be persuaded to quit the precincts of
that chamber, till that dreadful moment which was to cover from his eyes
all that in this world was precious to his heart--till a day more
dreadful still should arrive to force it to a close. Night followed day,
and morning chased away the shadows of darkness; but day and night were
both alike to the dimmed eyes--the stunned senses of the mourner. He
never slept, and but sufficient of the food placed for him in the
neighbouring room, as barely might preserve existence, ever passed his
lips. He saw no one, but occasionally his brother, and an inferior
domestic; no other dared approach him. Thus far he had triumphed.

For the rest, stunned and enfeebled, it was to him but as a dark
bewildered dream, wherein he played his part; nor knew whether friend or
foe were standing by his side, if those who loved, or those who hated
him, were mingling in the solemn rite. The darkness of the sepulchre
seemed to have engulphed every sense or feeling of his soul.

He was taken home from the church almost in a state of insensibility,
from which it seems that he awoke only too soon to consciousness and
woe. Late in the evening, at dark, he was heard by some of the awed
domestics seeking the deserted apartment of their mistress, and the
following morning was not to be found within the house.

This was reported, and after some search the miserable young man was
discovered, wet with the dews of heaven, stretched upon the turf which
enclosed the family mausoleum, which had been open to receive the
remains of his mother, and where he had probably lain all night.

He was carried back to his chamber, and placed under medical care, his
brother showing much anxious solicitude on his behalf. The doctor,
however, the common attendant on the family, pronounced his malady to be
merely the effect of long fasting, watching and mental distress, and
which it only required proper measures to allay; whilst for the better
assurance of these measures being carried out, the worthy practitioner
placed his patient under the peculiar care and superintendance of his
great ally, Mrs. Marryott, whose skill and prudence he held in most
subservient and sycophantish esteem. And with most seeming assiduity,
Mrs. Marryott entered upon the duties thus imposed.

If anything were likely to fan into flame the fever, already raging in
the veins of the unhappy Eustace it would be, as is easily to be
supposed, this most repugnant infliction he was powerless to resist. In
vain he protested, as far as his feeble strength would allow him,
against the repugnant imposition of such odious services upon him,
entreating the assistance of his brother in his release, repulsing the
detested woman's attentions, and refusing to touch the food or medicines
offered by her hand.

His brother soothed or reasoned. The doctor told him he must not be
agitated--felt his pulse, shook his head. Still that Marryott's hateful
face, with its serpent smile, hung over him, uttering smooth words in
oily accents in his shrinking ear, or creeping noiselessly about the
room, whilst his fascinated eye fain would follow loathingly. No wonder,
then, maddened and excited, that the fever raged more intensely, till,
mounting higher and higher, his very brain seemed on fire; every image,
loved or hated, became distorted and indistinct to his mind; till,
finally, he lay prostrate, raving, struggling, delirious, beneath the
power of that fearful malady, which had attacked him once before--a
brain fever!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a cold, stormy November night. The father and son sat together
close beside the library fire, after dinner; the latter musing absently
over a newspaper he held before him, the former deep in the examination
of an old leather pocket-book, where accounts and memorandums concerning
money matters were noted down.

The door opened; both looked sharply round: it was Marryott. She put her
head in at the door, and begged Mr. Eugene to come and speak to her.
Eugene turned pale, started up, and hastened to obey the summons. Mr.
Trevor looked after him, put his note-book carefully into his pocket,
picked up, and appeared to peruse the newspaper his son had thrown down;
but ever and anon, at every sound that met his ear, his small dark eye
might be seen peering eagerly towards the door.

"Well, well," turning eagerly towards Eugene, as he entered, looking
still paler than when he left the room, but taking his seat as before,
without speaking a word; "well, well, what's the matter? Where have you
been?"

"With Marryott, talking to her. Panton has just come."

"Well, well--how is he?--worse?"

"Why, yes--I cannot say there is much improvement; but here's Marryott,"
as the door again opened; "she can tell you more about him and Panton's
opinion."

Marryott entered, and stationed herself beside Mr. Trevor's chair,
keeping her eyes fixed upon Eugene, as he sat leaning his elbows on his
knees, and looking nervously down upon the ground.

"Well, well, Marryott, is he very bad? What does Panton think of him
now?"

"He thinks very badly of him, indeed, Mr. Trevor," was her answer, in a
solemn, mysterious voice.

"Really, really; Does he think that he will die?"

The woman cleared her throat.

"No, not quite that, though some might think it even worse."

She paused, and tried to catch Eugene's pertinaciously averted eye.

"Go on, go on. What, in the name of Heaven, is it then? Is he mad?"

"It is shocking to see him, Sir," Marryott hastened to rejoin, as if not
sorry to have been spared the direct utterance of this communication;
"and Mr. Panton has great fears whether his reason is not to an alarming
degree affected. He cannot leave him; his violence becomes frightfully
increased. Mr. Eugene saw how he was just now. If this continues, some
measures must be taken. It is very dangerous to those about him."

She paused.

"Eh! Eugene, Eugene! This won't do, Eugene! What is to be done?"
exclaimed the old man, in sudden panic, as he looked up. "He can't come
here--can he? Dangerous! Why, he must not stay here then. I can't keep a
madman in the house. Put him on a straight-waistcoat, and take him to
the asylum till he is better. I won't have him here, I tell you," cried
the tender father.

"Hush, Sir, pray!--this is going too far," said Eugene, rising, and
looking very grave and shocked. "I hope nothing so very extreme as this
will be necessary, though indeed at present my brother is in a very
fearful state. Panton has just sent for his assistant, as I should wish
to keep the servants out of the way as much as possible; it would be
making the dreadful affair too public."

"Well, well, what does that matter? It must come out some time or
another. Did I not always say he was mad?" and a horrid gleam of
something like exultation passed over the old man's countenance; "did he
not always from a boy play the madman?"

Eugene listened with attentive consideration to his father's words, then
looking up, met the significant glance of Marryott fixed upon him.

He turned away, and stood thoughtfully gazing into the fire. A pause of
some length succeeded. Mr. Trevor had sat for some time musing, or
rather calculating also, whilst Marryott stood watching with cold
interest and curiosity, the progress of a train of thought, of which
her insinuations had kindled the first spark.

At length Eugene felt his arm touched. His father had made his way close
up to his side.

"I say Eugene," and he whispered--but not so low that the third person
should not overhear--some words in his ear.

His unhappy listener shrank as if the serpent's breath had in reality
fanned his cheek. But he only shrank--he did not flee; and those "evil
thoughts" from whence stand ready to pour forth like a flood, that
fearful category of crime the gospel enumerates--were working within his
breast, waiting but that same breath to breathe them forth into life and
action.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    A light broke in upon my brain;
    It ceased, and then it came again;
    And then by dull degrees came back
    My senses to their wonted track.

    BYRON.


It created no little consternation amongst the establishment of
Montrevor, when it was delicately set about, amongst them, that Mr.
Eustace Trevor, that noble, fine, generous-hearted young gentleman was
_mad_! Some, said, no wonder, coming home as he did, to find his mother,
whom he loved so well, dead. Others told how, indeed, they had been near
his room, and heard his ravings. One woman could testify of what she had
seen of his strange grief exhibited in the chamber of death. Some few
shook their heads mysteriously, but preserved discreet--though
significant silence.

Vague reports got abroad, of course to this same effect. Neighbours
called to inquire. Mr. Trevor and his youngest son were not visible; but
the cautious answers given at the door concerning the health of Eustace,
served but to confirm the fearful suspicions now let loose.

Some few of the suffering young man's particular friends, amongst them
young de Burgh of Silverton, made efforts to visit him in person, but
this was declared to be so perfectly impracticable, that every endeavour
of the sort was obliged to be relinquished; and at length it became
pretty generally known that Eustace Trevor was removed from Montrevor,
though it was not exactly ascertained where, and under what
circumstances.

Eugene Trevor still kept himself shut up, inaccessible to every visitor,
and even the servants were not a set disposed to be very communicative
concerning the family affairs; indeed, immediately after Mrs. Trevor's
death, although at no time had it been on a very extensive scale, a
great reduction had been made in the establishment--it was compressed
into the smallest possible compass for the exigencies of the large
house.

All the domestics perhaps knew on the subject was, that on a certain
day, about a fortnight after Mrs. Eustace had been taken so very ill,
Mr. Panton had brought, besides his assistant, another medical gentleman
to the house. One of the Trevor carriages had been brought round, and
Mr. Eustace was carried down stairs and conveyed away therein by the two
doctors; his state of mind--as Mrs. Marryott reported--having arrived at
a pitch which rendered it absolutely necessary that he should be placed
under more close and immediate medical treatment.

As for Mr. Eugene, it seemed that he took his brother's condition
greatly to heart. They never saw a gentleman look so ill. He scarcely
touched a morsel of food, nor left the house to breathe the fresh air,
but sat shut up in the library with the old gentleman; which must, they
all thought, be very bad for him, both in mind and body--worse even than
going off to London and racketting there, as they heard was his wont,
though he did manage to keep it so snug and make himself such a
favourite with his father. They wondered indeed how he managed with the
old gentleman. They well knew how poor Mr. Eustace had been treated,
and should always think Mr. Trevor had helped to drive him mad; but it
was only like the proverb which says that "one man may steal a horse out
of the field, whilst another may not as much as look over the hedge."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a pretty looking country-house about five miles distant from
Montrevor, of which travellers as they pass generally ask the name, and
are astonished when they hear its nature and appropriation; so little,
excepting perhaps the wall surrounding the premises, is there in its
exterior, as seen from the road, calculated to give the beholder an idea
of its belonging to any such class of institution as it really does. The
interior too, on a stranger's first entrance, would not be likely to
enlighten him. There are pretty drawing-rooms below, looking upon lawns
and gardens, in which well-dressed people are seen to sit or walk; and
who give one little idea, by their carriage, behaviour, or even
sometimes by their conversation, what has brought them there, and under
which dreadful malady they are supposed to be labouring.

They seem to be treated in the kindest manner, and entertained and
accommodated as in every way would be accordant with the immense sum
which has gained for them the privilege of an entrance into this asylum
of wealthy woe; for woe--yes, one of those worst of woes flesh is heir
to--lies concealed beneath the glittering surface of appearances such as
we are describing. And few would wish to pierce, even if allowed,
farther into "the secrets of that prison-house," lest sounds or sights
which freeze the blood and harrow the soul might be listened to and
revealed.

In a remote chamber of this mansion, between whose close grated windows
the light of day but feebly straggled through blinds which debarred all
outward view, Eustace Trevor had opened his eyes, and for the first time
for many a day felt his brain cool, his mind clear, his vision
disentangled from those false and disturbed images which hitherto had so
tormented it, and reduced him an unconscious unresisting prey into the
hand of the enemy. The crisis had passed--a deep but healthy sleep had
succeeded. "The wild fever had swept away like an angry red cloud, and
the refreshing summer rain began to fall upon the parched earth."

But where and under what circumstances did this change find him?

He had no assured remembrance of what had been. It only seemed to him at
first that he had awoke out of a long, disturbed and painful slumber, of
which confused dreams and horrid visions had composed the greater
portion. He felt that he had been ill, and was feeble beyond
description--too feeble at first to turn his eyes around--to raise his
hands, upon which, clasped together on his breast, there seemed to lay,
as upon his other limbs, some dead and oppressive weight.

He closed his eyes--the light, faint as it was, pained his long
unconscious sight--and yielded himself again to that passive state of
immovability to which he seemed reduced.

He lay for some time in this manner, memory and consciousness working
their way by dull degrees within his soul. There was a profound
stillness reigning round him, which induced the drowsiness of
exhaustion, and he was relapsing into a half wakeful dose, when the
rumbling of carriage-wheels broke faintly on the silence; and soon
after, a confused movement in the house more effectually, but still
vaguely aroused his attention. Then followed the hushed sound of human
voices; and one, raised above all others, in a terrible, but, as it
were, quickly stifled shriek, caused him fearfully to start up in a
sitting posture upon the bed.

He heard no other sound but that of a door being closed and fastened
heavily, and, as it seemed, at no great distance from his own. Yet at
the same moment, as by an instinctive sympathy with the ideas suggested
in his mind, he tried to move his arms once more. Still they resisted
every freedom of action. He struggled--he looked--he felt what a cold,
leaden power it was, that thus constrained them, and strength seemed to
return as fiercely. The unfortunate Eustace struggled to tear his wrists
asunder. But no--more than the strength of a stronger man than he was
needed to tear away those bonds; for it was under no mere physical
weakness, but bonds of iron, against which he had to contend, and his
efforts served but to gall and bruise the limbs they encircled.

Eustace gazed around him. His eyes fixed upon the grated window, and a
look of indescribable horror stole over that fine but emaciated
countenance. He tried to put his feet to the ground, and found them too
strongly bound together; but still he managed to move them from the bed
upon the floor, and thus he sat, and again gazed round his prison walls.

Suddenly a man appeared by his side. The captive--for such he might be
called--met the firm, peculiar regard this person fixed upon him, with
the full, clear glance of his powerful dark eyes; then looking down at
the chains which bound him, said in a tone of earnest, but composed
inquiry:

"Good heavens! do you mean to say that all this has been necessary?
Where am I? Where is Mr. Panton? Can I speak to him?"

"Mr. Panton is not in attendance at present upon you; but there is
another gentleman, who will visit you at the appointed time. He is now
engaged."

"Oh, very well; but at least be so good as to relieve me from these
shackles. I am perfectly sane now, you see, at any rate; and weak
enough, God knows! to be perfectly harmless," he added, as sinking back
upon the pillows, he faintly offered his hands for the required release.

"When Dr. Miller arrives, Sir," replied the man, "I have no doubt your
wishes will be obeyed; but I cannot take upon myself to do anything of
the kind without his authority. In less than an hour he will be here.
Till then, Sir," with decision, turning the bed-clothes over the
patient, "be so good as to lie as quiet as possible, and take this light
nourishment I have brought you."

"No, no, Sir! Till Dr. Miller arrives, I consent--because I have no
power to do otherwise--to lie here chained like a maniac, but not a drop
of nourishment do I take till I am at liberty to receive it in my own
hands. To have it sent down my throat that way, I cannot allow; so
attempt it on your peril. You see as well as possible that I am not
_mad_ now, if I have ever been so, which I very much doubt. I have had a
brain fever I imagine. I had one once before in my life; but this last
may have been more violent in its effects, and at its height I suppose I
was incarcerated as a lunatic here. You see, Sir, I have a pretty clear
idea of the true state of the case, so take care what you do. And now be
so good as to let this Dr. Miller be sent to me with as little delay as
possible."

The keeper, for such he was, did not attempt any further parley. He
only said soothingly that he should be obeyed, watched his noble-looking
charge turn and resettle himself as conveniently as he could, with an
air of disdainful pride, upon his pallet-couch, and departed to report
concerning him.

In about an hour Dr. Miller arrived. Eustace fixed his eyes calmly and
firmly upon him as he stood by his bedside, looking gravely and
anxiously into his patient's face. But when the medical man proceeded in
the same way to feel his pulse, Eustace said, yielding with a wan smile
his fettered wrists:

"I think, Doctor, you will be able to manage that better without these
cuffs--ornaments which I can, if you please, dispense with at your
leisure."

But the doctor with silent deliberation performed his office; then
relaxing his hold, and fixing his eyes again earnestly on his patient,
said after another silent pause:

"Yes, Sir, you are better--certainly better; and a week or two of quiet
I hope may perfectly restore you. Jefferies, you are wanted."

And in obedience to his sign, the assistant, who reappeared at the
moment, proceeded to undo the fastenings of both legs and arms; and
whilst so doing, the doctor and his factotum significantly looked at
each other, as on removing the clumsy apparatus intended as handcuffs,
the fearfully lacerated and wounded state of poor Eustace Trevor's
wrists became visible.

"These are, indeed, awkward customers," whispered the man.

"Most unnecessary!" was the low-toned reply.

The fact was, that the ignorant, time-serving village doctor--a
particular ally of Marryott's,--had taken upon himself thus to torture
the insensible man, knowing perfectly that the greater semblance of
insanity he could substantiate in his patient, the more he should gain
favour in the sight of Marryott and her employers.

Eagerly the imprisoned one sat up, and watched the progress of this
operation, as if like an enchained eagle awaiting his release to spread
his wings and take its sunward flight. But at the same moment as the
bonds relaxed their hold, a sudden faintness came over him, and sinking
back again upon his pillow, he gasped an entreaty for water.

It was given to him, with other restoratives. The doctor forbade him to
speak, gave further orders to the assistant, and left the room. And that
day, and the next, and throughout the week, Eustace was treated as any
other man recovering from a dangerous fever might have been; and day
after day, as gradually he felt his strength returning, was he the more
content to submit calmly, and patiently, to the discipline to which he
was subjected--the perfect quiet imposed upon him, feeling as he did,
that thus the sooner would he be able to exact that explanation as to
his present position, and his release therefrom, which he so earnestly
desired.

We will not attempt to imagine the thoughts and feelings which must have
worked within the soul of the sick man, as he lay there, within that
grated chamber.

"Fearfulness and trembling have taken hold upon me, and a horrible dread
has overwhelmed me."

The very idea of finding himself in such a place, was enough of itself
to affect the strongest mind with revolting feelings. But with that
idea, the dark doubt, and uncertainty as to the circumstances attendant
on his position--whether the cause had really justified the dreadful
measures which had been employed; or if--equally revolting idea!--the
unnatural persecution which had haunted him from his birth, had taken
this last dark means of wreaking itself on its victim; if so, to what
extent might it not be carried? And at the best, had not enough already
been done to fix the brand of madness for ever on his name--

    "Blighting his life in best of his career."

We need not say, how agonizing thoughts of his late mother mingled with
this sterner woe, how he seemed to float alone on a stormy sea of
trouble, that star of light which once alone had illumined his darkness,
now withdrawn to shine upon a higher, purer sphere, till in moments of
despair he was tempted, poor, unfortunate young man! to implore of
Heaven that those deep black waters might engulph him for ever in their
depth--that he might die! for "what now was his life good unto him?"



CHAPTER XIX.

    Feel I not wrath with those who placed me here,
    Who have debased me in the minds of men,
    Debarring me the usage of my own,
    Blighting my life in best of its career,
    Branding my thoughts as things to spurn and fear.

    BYRON.


A week passed thus, and at the close, Eustace was not only permitted to
leave his bed, but was removed during the day to a lower room, opening
upon an enclosed court, into which, though still feeble, he was
permitted to stroll at his pleasure, undisturbed by the sight or
presence of any of the wretched inmates of the establishment. Here his
proud form at length one day confronted the doctor; and as he drew near,
to inquire after his patient, Eustace thus accosted him:

"Having so far recovered, Doctor, I suppose you will now be so good as
to satisfy my mind by answering a few questions I am naturally anxious
to put to you. First of all, how long may I have remained in that house
before I became conscious of being chained up like a wild beast in his
den?"

"My dear Sir, it is our practice never to allow our patients to agitate
or excite themselves by any discussion upon the subject of their late
illnesses; but I may tell you so far, that you came under my charge here
the night before the day from which I may date the period of your
convalescence."

"And in what state was I conveyed here? I now seem to have some slight
recollection of feeling myself borne along in a carriage; but it is all
confused like the rest."

"No doubt, Sir; but your question I must beg to decline answering: it is
one of those which are forbidden."

"And by whose authority was I committed to this place, may I be
permitted to inquire _that_?"

The doctor hesitated, but looking on his patient, there was something in
his countenance and demeanour which seemed to exert its due weight on
one--the secret of whose profession was influence over others, and a
thorough knowledge of the workings of the countenances of those with
whom they have to deal.

"By the proper authorities in such cases, Sir--the certificates of two
medical practitioners and your near relation."

"My father, I conclude?"

"No, Sir; the party who stood forward on this occasion, was your
brother."

"My brother!"

Those words were repeated as if with them a weight of lead had fallen on
the listener's heart, and stunned it.

Eustace Trevor stood transfixed for a moment, in silent thought; then
turning from the doctor's inquisitive gaze, took two or three turns
along the grass, with folded arms, and head sunk low upon his bosom.

At last he paused, and stood once more before the doctor, who still
remained steadfastly regarding him.

"I suppose, at any rate, that now, Sir, there can be no reason for my
remaining any longer under your charge?"

"I hope, indeed, Mr. Trevor, that there may be but a very little time
necessary."

"_Necessary!_ No, I should think not. To-night, Sir, it is my wish to
leave your establishment."

The doctor smiled soothingly.

"Come, my dear Sir, not quite so fast as all that--you are not
quite--quite well yet."

"Quite well, Sir, as far as concerns your branch of the profession; and
when I tell you that, it is my firm conviction that I never ought to
have been here, and that I shall take care to make this generally known,
I think you will see the expediency of making no attempt to detain me,
contrary to my inclination."

The doctor again smiled compassionately. When were his unhappy patients
ever known to remain, according to their own pleasure, within those
walls?

"Very well, Sir--very well; no threats are needed--I only wait your
friends' consent."

"_My friends!_" and there was a mournful intonation on these words.
"Well, Sir," with a commanding air, "be so good as to gain that consent
as soon as possible--my father's, my brother's, and of one called Mabel
Marryott, I conclude. I might not be so inclined to await patiently
their decision, were I not unwilling," glancing at the high wall
surrounding him, and towards the spot where he knew a keeper, in the
absence of the doctor, watched his movements unseen, "to employ that
physical force, which I see is expected in this place."

The doctor bowed complacently and withdrew, after stealing a significant
look at his attendant minister. But the warning it intended to imply,
was not needed. The spirit of Eugene Trevor was bowed down to the very
dust with its load of bitterness.

He returned into the house, and remained that evening plunged in a dark
dejection, which he felt the necessity of shaking off, lest that
horrible thing should indeed creep over his mind, of which he was
accused.

The following morning he again made application to Dr. Miller concerning
his release, but received only an equivocal reply.

His brother was from home, and the necessary answer was not to be
obtained; his father--he was ill, and they feared to bring the subject
before him. Eustace reasoned, then commanded as to the expediency of
waiving all such forms, and his dismissal being given without further
prevarication or delay. This was declined civilly, as to a reasonable
being; but still the mind of the unfortunate prisoner was irritated and
goaded, by perceiving that every precaution was taken for the security
of his person. He was loth to having recourse to any violent attempt to
perpetrate his escape; but when one day, after time had gone on, and he
plainly saw that some other authority than the doctor's influenced his
detention; a feeling almost of real distraction began to take possession
of his mind, and he determined that those hated walls should hold him no
longer--that like a very madman, if it must be so, he would break his
bonds and make the very neighbourhood ring with the wrongs he had
received.

Though his noble spirit pined, his physical strength was returning. He
often measured with his eye the form of the keeper, who so skilfully
managed to dog his steps and movements, and thought how little it would
take him, if it ever was needed, to fell that, comparatively speaking,
puny form to the ground, or that of any one who attempted to oppose his
lawful exit from that house. A providential accident came at length to
his aid.

One afternoon, when seated drearily, meditating over his fate, and
endeavouring to invent expedients for his immediate emancipation, in the
private sitting-room accorded to him, he heard a noise in the passage--a
scraping of feet and sounds of horrid laughter. All this had become
natural to his ear; but it just occurred to him to look out of the door
into the anteroom, where his constant _attaché_ was generally in
attendance. He was gone. Some peculiar exigency had demanded his
immediate services towards the unfortunate, whose voice he had just
heard.

A few hasty strides and Eustace was in the outer corridor: it was empty.
He stood one second irresolute, which way to turn; then offered up a
silent prayer to Heaven and started forward, he knew not whither.



CHAPTER XX.

    Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall,
    Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall.

    TENNYSON.


The shades of evening were closing over Montrevor, and candles had just
been lighted in the library, earlier than usual, as it seemed, for the
completion of some urgent business with which its occupants were
employed.

There were three individuals seated round the writing-table: Mr. Trevor,
his son Eugene, and a third person, who, with pen in hand, with
parchment opened before him, looked what he really was--a lawyer. He
wrote some time in silence, the old man rocking himself backwards and
forwards in his chair, as if nervous and weary; and the other leaning
over the table, watching the proceedings of the scribe with anxious
interest plainly revealed in his dark, but handsome countenance. At
length, finishing with a flourish, the man of business looked up, and
asked for the witnesses.

Eugene Trevor was about hastily to rise and ring the bell, when, as if
by fortunate coincidence, Mabel Marryott entered the room.

"Oh, exactly; here is one, at any rate," he said, resuming his seat; and
the woman advancing, was directed by the lawyer to sign the papers on
which he had been occupied.

Marryott still held the pen in her hand, having accomplished the act,
and was glancing at her master's son with something of a congratulatory
leer upon her countenance, as he bent over eagerly towards the document,
whilst Mr. Trevor's shrill voice, at the same moment, was raised in
irritated inquiry, as to who was to be the other witness; exclaiming,
that they had better make haste and call some one else, and let the
business be at an end.

"No need of that--_I_ am here as witness!" exclaimed a deep, low voice,
whose thrilling tones burst upon the listeners' ears like thunder before
the lightning flash.

Three of the assembled party, at least--the father, the son and that
guilty woman--shrank from the fire of that dark, full eye, which glanced
accusingly down upon them; for Eustace Trevor stood suddenly in the
midst, at the very table round which was collected the startled group.

A faint shriek escaped the lips of Mr. Trevor, accompanied by the words:

"Secure him--he is mad!"

But no one stirred. There was something more powerful than the fear of
madness in their hearts, which kept the others rooted to the spot
whereon they sat or stood.

The lawyer indeed, as was most natural considering the reported facts on
which his late business had been founded, cast a timid glance towards
the door, and, had he dared, would have risen to seek that aid which he
concluded would be requisite.

There was besides something in the appearance of the unhappy man before
him, which accorded with Mr. A.'s preconceived idea of his circumstances
and condition--his countenance wild and haggard from the recent
excitement and exertion which had attended his escape, as well as from
the uneffaced effects of grief and illness--his disordered and unusual
appearance; and the lawyer turned a glance towards his brother, to
ascertain what was to be done; but Eugene sat shrinking and ashy pale,
endeavouring but in vain to meet with anything like composure, that
steadfast glance the _madman_ fixed upon his face.

A touch upon his arm, made Mr. A. look round. It was Mabel Marryott who
thus sought to attract his attention; and in obedience to her
significant glance, he was about to rise stealthily and leave the room,
when a voice of stern command detained him.

"Be so good, Sir, as to remain where you are for the present. I may be
allowed perhaps to glance my eye over this document, in which I have my
suspicions I am in no small degree concerned."

There was no resisting the tone in which these words were uttered. No
hand save one, and that a woman's, was raised to prevent the firm but
quiet movement with which the speaker stretched forth his hand and
lifted the parchment from the table--Mabel Marryott alone made a sharp
but ineffectual movement, as if with all the power of her malignant will
she would have secured the paper from the wronged one's grasp.

Perfect silence reigned whilst Eustace Trevor stood and read the paper
through from beginning to end--a deed which, under plea of his own
insanity and consequent incompetency, signed over to his brother Eugene,
as guardian and trustee, the whole management and power over the
entailed estate of Montrevor and the property appertaining thereto, at
such time as he, Eustace Trevor, as heir-at-law, should by the testator
Henry Trevor's death, come into nominal possession.

This, of course drawn out with legal amplitude and precision, Eustace
attentively perused; then, when some probably were expecting its
destruction, the document was calmly replaced upon the table.

"And now, Sir," turning to the lawyer, "you will perhaps do me the
favour to withdraw; and you, woman, I desire you to do the same."

It was wonderful to see the power which the calm and lofty indignation,
swelling in that wronged man's breast, seemed to exercise over the
minds of those who so late had triumphantly trampled upon his very
heart.

As for the lawyer, he hesitated not to rise, and prepare to obey that
implied command; for he saw that neither of his employers were inclined
to interfere.

The old man sat as one paralyzed, and the younger with compressed lips,
and contracted downcast brow, seemed to await in sullen silence and
discomfort the issue of the powerful scene; and Marryott even, though
she paused for a moment, considered better of it, and swept from the
apartment with the air of a Lady Macbeth. Those three were then left
together alone. The injured face to face with the foes of his own
household--his father and his brother!

What should he say to these? or rather to him--his brother? To the
other, he had long ceased to look but as on one who had forfeited all
right to the name of father. "For what one amongst ye, who if his son
ask a fish will he give him a serpent; or if he ask for bread will give
him a stone," and by what better manner of speech figure forth all that
old man had ever done by him, his luckless son? Nay, if this were
all--if he could but have paused here, and forgotten how that father had
played the part of husband to a sainted mother; but he looked not on
_him_ now--he looked only to him, that mother's son; from whom, in spite
of all he might have ever had to reprobate and forgive, it had not
entered into his thoughts to conceive cruel perfidy such as that, of
which since entering that room he had become but the more fully
convinced he had been made the victim; and the bitterness of
death--during that first instant that he thus stood reading in his
brother Eugene's sullen, downcast brow, a too certain confirmation of
his guilt--overwhelmed his soul.

But it passed over, and was gone; and a just and righteous indignation
re-asserted its dominion in its place.

"Eugene," he said, "that paper," and he pointed to the legal document
before him, "throws but too clear a light on the transactions of which I
have been made the victim. Oh, how could you allow that demon,
covetousness, to gain such empire over your heart? Cain, in the angry
passion of the moment, slew his brother; but you, in cold-blooded
calculation, could bend yourself to an act which time and
circumstances, perhaps remote, could alone turn to your advantage."

"Eustace!" stammered his brother; "I excuse this intemperate language on
your part, for of course you cannot appreciate the circumstances of the
case; but any one would be ready to justify the necessary, but painful,
course of conduct to which we were reduced. In whatever state of mind
you may be now, there are others to testify as to the fact--"

"Pshaw! justify--who will justify one, who, during the temporary
delirium of a brain fever, confined his own brother to a madhouse!
affixed to his name that stamp and stigma which must cling to it for the
remainder of his days; or, still more unwarrantable and cruel, the
evident attempts to detain him in that madhouse, long after any
reasonable possible excuse was afforded? But I can plainly read the
motive which thus influenced you--too plainly, alas! Eugene, two months
ago I had not conceived such conduct possible; but I know you _now_. I
think I can pretty well divine what has been the course of conduct you
have pursued; you have been to London, perhaps--"

He paused. There was no denial.

"You went to your clubs; and there very surely took means to establish
the fact of your eldest brother's melancholy condition--his insanity,
his confinement!"

Eugene Trevor in a hoarse and angry voice would have attempted some
reply, but Eustace's indignant voice overpowered him.

"And then you brought that man down," he continued, "to fill up the
measure of your iniquity, and one scratch of the pen alone was needed
now to make it good. Let it be done. That paper of his, that base and
villainous forgery, now lies before me at my mercy. But I scorn to touch
it. I treat it as it is--a worthless, valueless nothing. If I but chose
to follow your example--go, call my friends and neighbours about me,
declare before them all the unnatural fraud which has been practised
upon me; yes, show them this," and he bared his blackened, wounded
wrists, "and ring in their astounded ears, what, and _for what_, it
entered a brother's heart to conceive an act of such atrocity; then, do
you think that I could not manage to make those who knew, and cared for
me, credit my testimony before that of an abandoned woman and two
ignorant time-serving country doctors? Ask Dr. Miller, would he even
dare to say, my attack was anything but the temporary delirium of
fever?"

"Merciful heavens, Eugene!" murmured Mr. Trevor, trying in an under tone
to gain his younger son's attention, without being heard by the other.
"Is there no one at hand to stop him--to secure him?"

But Eustace caught the muttered syllables, and turned sternly round.

"No one, Sir; who will dare to do it? Think not that I entered _your_
house without precaution against what I there had every reason to
expect. These," drawing a brace of pistols from his pocket, "I found
opportunity to obtain; and should one of these poor trembling menials by
your orders, dare--"

"Eugene! Eugene! are they loaded? for the love of Heaven save me; he
will murder us all!" Mr. Trevor exclaimed in terror.

"Eustace! this is indeed madness!" the brother would have said, but
shame choked the words within his throat; "this violence is most
uncalled for. What motive could there now be on our part for having
recourse to such expedients as you seem to fear. I assure you, you are
quite at liberty to remain, or depart at your pleasure; and as for what
has been done, I am quite ready to answer for my conduct," he added
doggedly, "if you choose to drag the matter forward so publicly."

"Would you be so prepared, Eugene? Dare not repeat that falsehood,
wretched man. Fear not, I will not drag you forward to such a test. I
hate, I curse you not for what you have done, but the cause, the sin
which brought you to commit it. I do abhor, nay, I am sickened unto
death, of the very world in which I have suffered so much, and in which
sin so despicable and revolting can exist; still more with the home (if
it be not sacrilege to use that hallowed name in such a case) in which
it asserts such hateful power. The very air I breathe beneath it seems
to choke me; if all the gold which fills the coffers of its master were
laid in heaps before my feet, that would not make it tolerable to my
heart. Rejoice then, when I swear that never under this roof together
with you two--my most unnatural relations, shall I again set my foot. I
have borne and suffered too much within its walls. I willingly resign
all sonship, brotherhood, with those who have trampled on every human
tie. I leave you to carry out, as far as in you lies, your hearts'
desires. I shake the very dust off my feet, and depart. I leave this
place to-night, this country, perhaps, to-morrow, caring not that for
the present the stigma you have cast upon my name must remain. You, Sir,
should we never meet again on earth, may Heaven forgive! _You_, Eugene,
farewell; _we_ may meet again in this world, but never again as
brothers."

He turned, and was gone. None saw him depart. He went out into the dark
night; and many within that house who had heard of his startling
arrival, concluded that he had been secretly restored to the asylum from
which he had made his escape. Only a few days after, an old servant,
much attached to Mrs. Trevor and her second son, who on his dismissal
from Montrevor had served Eustace during his residence at Oxford,
appeared at the hall, with authority from his master to gather and pack
up all the effects belonging to him; and having done so without
molestation, he silently conveyed them away.

He threw no light upon the subject, or on his master's destination.
Indeed, it was soon afterwards ascertained, by those chiefly interested
in the matter, that he was equally ignorant on the point as themselves.

Eugene Trevor remained for some time at Montrevor, then returned to the
world, to find the general impression apparently continuing as it was
before, concerning the derangement and consequent confinement of his
brother. Then it was deemed advisable to report that the unhappy young
man was so far recovered, that he had gone abroad under proper
guardianship; and the world, too busy with its own affairs to keep up
any long-sustained interest or inquiry into the fate and fortune of
those removed out of their light, were contented to suppose this to be
the case; and when some years had run their course, as we have seen, and
nothing more had been seen or heard of the unhappy Eustace Trevor, many
gave him up as lost for ever to society, and Eugene, gay, prosperous,
and invested with all importance and privilege in his father's house,
had soon assumed in the eyes of the world a certain--though it might be
somewhat equivocal--position as heir, under some few restrictions, to
the property and estates of Montrevor.



CHAPTER XXI.

    Fain would I fly the haunts of men;
    I seek to shun, not hate mankind.
    My breast requires the sullen glen,
    Whose gloom may suit a darkened mind.
    Oh that to me the wings were given
    Which bear the turtle to her nest!
    Then would I cleave the vault of Heaven,
    To flee away, and be at rest.

    BYRON.


On the borders of a lake in one of the wildest and most remote parts of
North Wales, stands a rude inn, the resort, during the proper season of
the year, of those who for the sake of the fishing the lake affords, are
content to put up with the homely fare and simple accommodation it
affords. But when that time has passed away--when the calm, glittering
lake is deformed by constant rains, and lashed into fury by the driving
storms of winter--when those majestic mountains have exchanged their
ever-varying glories for mists and blackness, have donned their wintry
garb, and are in character with wintry skies--there cannot be imagined a
more desolate and dreary scene than that spot presents; and the inn, of
course, stands comparatively tenantless. Yet for three whole winter
months, a gentleman of whom none of nobler appearance had ever perhaps
honoured it with their presence, made that humble hostelry his abode.

Alone he came, and alone he remained. He dispatched or received no
communication from beyond those mist-covered mountains which surrounded
him; but little did those simple, unsophisticated people care to wonder
or inquire. Unimportuned by curiosity, the visitor pursued his solitary
existence, climbing those bleak and trackless mountains, or tossing upon
the stormy lake. No sound of human voice, but in the uncouth and unknown
language of the country, scarcely every falling on his ear.

He had some few books with him, but he scarcely read, save in one, the
Bible. Plenty of money the stranger was provided with, for he paid his
expenses handsomely, and gave often freely to those few poor who came
in his way; but yet his very name remained a mystery, if that could be
called mystery, which none cared to inquire or ascertain; and when the
first warm beams of springtide sun melted the snow upon the
mountain-tops, as suddenly as he came, so he departed, none knew or
asked whither.

But he did not, as it seems, go far. In a small Welsh town, not twenty
miles distant, a few days after, and that stranger, who it seemed had,
uninjured, so roughly exposed himself to the fatigues and inclemency of
the wintry weather during his sojourn in his late retreat, lay
dangerously ill in a comfortable little inn belonging to the place;
unknown here also, but tended with all the disinterested care and
kindness which seldom fails to cheer the stranger in that mountain land.
Skilful medical attendance was happily provided; and the fever, against
whose advances the sufferer, with a peculiarly nervous dread, seemed to
battle--by proper means was subdued, and the sick man partially
recovered.

As he lay upon his bed one of the first mornings after his
convalescence, a merry peal from the bells of the neighbouring church
burst upon his ear. Merrier and merrier they continued to ring, and the
invalid turned sadly and wearily round upon his pillow, as if he would
fain have escaped from sounds of joy, harmonizing so little with his
lonely heart.

"Truly there is a joy with which the stranger intermeddleth not."

But still those sounds, as if in very mockery and despite, continued to
clash forth at intervals during the day, caring little for the sick
hearts and wounded spirits upon which that merriment might chance to
jar.

"You are very gay," the stranger said with a melancholy smile to his
landlady, when she came to attend him that day; and the remark was
answered by the ready information, that the bells were this day ringing
on occasion of a marriage which that morning had taken place in the
neighbourhood, the bride being a young lady of a family of long standing
in these parts. The gentleman, a widower and a Scotchman, &c. But all
this her listener heeded not.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Bells thou soundest merrily
     When the bridal party
     To the church doth hie;
     Bells thou soundest solemnly,
     When on Sabbath mornings,
     Fields deserted lie."

It was Sunday morning, and all the people of the place were flocking to
the Welsh service of the church; but the English stranger mingled not
with these. No--rather as he had turned wearily away from the mad music
of the marriage-bell, did his languid footsteps turn aside, when now in
more solemn cadence it sounded in his ear.

Not as yet was his soul attuned to enter that house of God, and offer up
prayers and praises with a thankful heart. To that lonely man, it would
have been indeed requiring a song, a melody, in his heaviness--to "sing
the Lord's song in a strange land."

He left the quiet town--crossed the bridge above the swift-flowing
river, and wandered far away, slowly, as his partially-renewed strength
alone would admit, and resting often, but still as if he breathed more
freely the farther and farther he felt himself proceeding from the
haunts of men; whilst at every step he took, beauty and magnificence,
decking that bright spring morning in their best array, met his
enchanted view; and the sense of enjoyment seemed to return, and that of
loneliness to be--removed.

For the young man's mood was one of those most sensitively to realise
the idea, that "high mountains are a feeling, but the hum of human
cities torture."

Thus he wandered on, till a hamlet, crowned by the woods of one or two
gentlemen's seats, came in view; and he was forced by his weakness to
stop, and crave a cup of milk at a quiet farm in its outskirts, its
simple inmates also inviting him to sit down and rest; and then he found
that time had passed much swifter than he thought, for it was long past
noon.

Whilst he was lingering still, the church bells here too began to ring;
and Eustace Trevor (for he it was) felt that he could not escape from
the voice which seemed to cry unto his soul: "Let us go up into the
house of the Lord."

The little church appeared to be almost empty, when he first entered;
but an old lady and gentleman came in at the same time, and seeing the
stranger, immediately offered him a seat in their large square pew; and
he, though far from willingly, could not but accept the civility.

Other members were added to the congregation, and then a clergyman of
infirm appearance entered the reading-desk, awaiting but that the noise
of the school-children's feet mounting to the little gallery should
cease, to commence in a feeble voice the service.

Inattentive the ear--insensible the heart of that man who, having
suffered deeply, finds himself unaffected, when first, after some period
of cessation, prayer after prayer, clause after clause of our beautiful
Liturgy breathes upon his ear.

Eustace Trevor was not that man; and fervent were the emotions inspired
in a breast which long had yielded itself to a kind of morbid gloomy
insensibility; and it was, perhaps, only the presence of strangers which
rendered him able to restrain them from their more open demonstration.
Not, however, was it until the wild voices of the mountain children,
enriched by notes of less untamed beauty, were raised in songs of
praise, that any outward object diverted the absorption of his rapt
spirit.

Then Eustace Trevor lifted up his eyes, and could not fail to remark
three young ladies also in the gallery, who stood side by side, mingling
their voices with the humble choir; and their appearance at once fixed
his attention, not so much for any personal beauty they might possess,
as for the goodness, innocence, and unaffected devotion shining so
clearly on each upturned face. In proof of which it might have been
observed, that after the first general glance over the group, it was not
so much on the elder of the sisters, lovely in a most striking degree,
neither upon the blooming Hebe of fifteen, as upon that pale, and
gentle-looking girl, who stood between the two, on whom the stranger's
eye more especially lingered--and loved her, even as he gazed.

For there was something in the pensive sweetness of those eyes--the open
purity of the brow--the meek and quiet, yet high-toned spirit, which
shone from every feature of the young girl's face, that went directly to
his heart. His excited fancy even travelled so far, as to behold in her
a likeness to that being who had passed into the heavens; and once--only
once, when her voice in sweet but timid accents swelled singly in the
choir, he held his breath to catch each low, yet thrilling tone, "for it
sounds to him like his mother's voice singing in Paradise."

Eustace Trevor returned to the inn, but more than once during the
following week did the stranger turn his pony's head towards the valley
of Ll---- (we will spare our readers a name they perhaps would not be
able to read aright); and on Sunday afternoon, he did not fail again to
seek the village church, expecting that it would be for the last
time--for he purposed departing on the morrow--it not suiting his
intentions to remain in any one place so long as to draw down upon
himself remark or inquiry.

And perhaps a few weeks more, had he carried out his designs, might have
found him a wanderer on a foreign shore. But who can tell what a day may
bring forth?

It was early when he arrived at the church, the bells even had not
began; and on repairing to a retired part of the church-yard, where a
lovely view was to be obtained, he suddenly came in contact with the
clergyman who had officiated the previous Sunday.

He bowed to Eustace--who returned the salutation--and passed on with
feeble steps, having regarded the stranger somewhat curiously; but
scarcely had the latter reached his destined resting-place, when he
heard a footstep approaching, and looking round saw the clergyman had
returned, and immediately accosted him.

"Sir," speaking with evident difficulty, "I must beg you to excuse the
liberty I am taking in thus addressing you; but may I ask--I scarcely
dare to hope it to be the case--may I ask," glancing at Eustace's black
garb, and the deep crape round his hat, "whether by any chance you are a
clergyman?"

Eustace was taken by surprise, but a melancholy smile crossed his
features, as he looked and murmured an affirmative.

The inquirer's countenance evidently brightened.

"I conclude, Sir, that you are a stranger in these parts," he rejoined.
"I think I saw you here last Sunday--I scarcely know whether you will
not think me very bold, when I ask you whether you would be so very
obliging as to assist me in the service this afternoon? A friend whom I
expected has failed me at the last moment; and you will hear, by my
voice, that if I am able to get through a ten minutes' sermon, it will
be as much as I can manage."

Eustace Trevor thought so indeed--but the sudden demand upon his
services almost bewildered him, and for a moment he was silent. The
clergyman looked a little surprised at the apparent hesitation, a
perception of which recalled Eustace to recollection.

What right had he to refuse--what excuse could he offer?

He looked upon the evidently suffering man, and said he should be happy
to lend him the assistance he required.

The clergyman thanked him warmly, and they walked together to the
vestry.

Eustace Trevor, with strange feelings, found himself thus called to
enter upon the duties of the profession, it had become almost like a
dream to him ever to have embraced.



CHAPTER XXII.

                       This man
    Is of no common order, as his front
    And presence here denote.

    BYRON.


"Oh Lord correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou
bring me to nothing."

Not an eye perhaps amongst that little congregation that was not lifted
up, when, in thrilling strains, like the rich deep notes of an organ,
the stranger's voice swept through the low arches of the simple temple,
in that opening sentence of the service.

Not one amongst them, the most simple and illiterate, who did not hold
their breath as he proceeded, lest they should lose one note of a voice

    "Most musical, most melancholy,"

which gave such new magic to each familiar word of prayer, or praise,
or exhortation he offered up.

"Who could that be? who read the prayers, Mary?" said Selina Seaham to
her sister, when they left the church. "It is the same stranger who sat
in our pew last Sunday."

"What a beautiful voice!" was the answer.

"Most beautiful; but more than that, Mary, I never saw a more striking
looking person."

"I did not look at him," was the quiet reply; "I only _felt_ that the
prayers and lessons were read as _we_ seldom hear them."

"Poor Mr. Wynne! it was painful to listen to him afterwards. It is
really cruel that he cannot get a more regular assistant: Sir Hugh
should really manage it for him. Mary, do use your influence over the
worthy Baronet when he returns," the sister added slyly.

Mary blushed, and shook her head. She had a short time ago yielded up
all claims upon the influence she might so largely have possessed; but
ere the following Sunday came round, the wishes of the young ladies, in
this respect, had been satisfied beyond their most sanguine
expectations.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eustace Trevor had not been able to escape from the church, at the close
of the service, without a renewal of the clergyman's thanks for the
services he had so obligingly rendered him. Indeed, even then he did not
seem at all inclined to part from his stranger friend; and after a
little more conversation respecting the beauties of the neighbourhood,
he offered--seeing that Eustace also had his horse in readiness--to
conduct him a little _en détour_ from the route back to ----, in order
to show him the view from his own house, most romantically situated
amidst the woods on the high ground flanking the valley. Eustace could
not well decline the offer, and they rode on together.

His companion had soon shown himself to be a man of higher birth and
education, than are usually found amongst ministers of such remote
districts of the Principality. He had been settled for many years in
this living, and was enthusiastic in his love and admiration of the
country; so much so, that it seemed not even his failing health could
induce him to relinquish his post; although, as it had been the case
this afternoon, both himself and congregation often ran the risk of
being put to great inconvenience and extremity: the asthmatic complaint
under which he laboured being of a most uncertain and capricious
character, and the English service being entirely dependant on his
powers.

All this the good man communicated to Eustace on the way. His frank and
simple confidence on every subject connected with himself and his
concerns, without the least demonstration of curiosity respecting his
companion, winning gradually on Eustace's sensations of security and
ease, he accepted the clergyman's invitation to enter his abode; the
beauty and romantic seclusion of whose situation excited his deep
admiration and envy.

The original, but amiable and intelligent conversation of its possessor,
won more and more on his favour and confidence; the other, on his part,
evidently felt himself to be in the society of a being to whom some more
than common degree of interest attached. His keen observant eye saw
imprinted upon that striking countenance more than any mere bodily
illness, from which the stranger reported himself to have but lately
recovered. The snares of death might have encompassed him round about,
and the pains of hell got hold of him; but they were those sorrows and
pains such as the Psalmist himself had gained such deep experience of,
rather than any physical affliction which had engraven those strong
signs there.

It was truly, as a great writer of the day has expressed himself, "the
mournfulest face that ever was seen--an altogether tragic,
heart-affecting face. There was in it, as foundation, the softness,
tenderness, gentle affection, as of a child; but all this, as it were,
congealed into sharp, isolated, hopeless pain; a silent pain--silent and
scornful. The lip curled, as it were, in a kind of god-like disdain of
the thing that is eating out his heart; as if he whom it had power to
torture were greater than the cause."

"The eye, too, that dark earnest eye, looking out as in a kind of
surprise, a kind of inquiry, why the world was of that sort!"

Mr. Wynne had many questions put to him concerning the remarkable
looking stranger, from the ladies of Glan Pennant, when they met the
next day. All he could tell them was, that the stranger was perfectly
unknown to him, that he had no idea even of his name; that he now
talked of leaving the neighbourhood early that week, but Mr. Wynne
added, he was to call at the inn at ----, and hoped to find that he was
able to persuade his new acquaintance to remain and explore a little
longer the beauties of the vicinity, and at the same time, he slyly
added, "give them a second benefit of his beautiful voice." The young
ladies as slyly hoped their worthy friend might have his hopes crowned
with success. And their desire was not ungratified. The following Sunday
the beautiful voice once more made itself heard.

A great deal had taken place to change the tenor of Eustace Trevor's
views and purposes during that one short week. Only too readily had he
yielded to the parting persuasions of Mr. Wynne, that he would at least
extend his stay beyond the day he had mentioned as having been fixed for
his departure. Nay, even as he turned his horse's head back towards
----, had the yearning desire diffused itself through his heart, that
instead of that hopeless, homeless, outcast fate to which he had devoted
himself, it could have been his lot to find a little spot of earth like
that in which this day he had first performed the duties of a
profession he had once thought to commence under such different
circumstances--a spot, from the spirit of beauty, innocence, purity and
peace, seeming to breathe around, as contrasted with that world--that
_home_, from which he had been driven, appeared to his imagination
scarcely less than a little heaven upon earth, a different sphere to any
in which he had yet existed.

But this was but an imaginary suggestion--a dream-like fancy which
vaguely flitted across his mind, ill accordant with his dark and bitter
destiny. The very next day his new friend called. They rode out again
together, and one or two such meetings only served to strengthen between
these two men, of such different ages, characters and circumstances,
that strange and sudden liking which is often found to spring up between
two passing strangers of to-day, as necessarily as flowers expand from
bud to blossom in the course of a few sunny and dewy hours of one vernal
morning. As much then was elicited from Eustace, as revealed pretty
clearly to the other the purposeless circumstances of his present
position--

    "A bark sent forth to sail alone,
    At midnight on the moonlight sea."

Why not then, like himself, be content to tarry in the little haven of
peace where Providence had guided him? Why again return to drift at
large upon that lonely ocean?

Eustace Trevor shook his head with a melancholy smile, though at the
same time his pale brow flushed at the suggestion.

"That cannot be, my good Sir," he said, "unless at least you can
guarantee for me such seclusion in this wild and lonely region of yours
as accords with the peculiar circumstances of my case. You will be
afraid of me when I say, that it is my wish to conceal my place of
destination from every person in the world, beyond these mountains, to
whom my name could possibly be known."

Mr. Wynne paused at first, with a look of surprise; but after for a
moment steadily fixing his eyes upon the noble countenance of Eustace,
he exclaimed:

"Not at all, not at all, my dear Sir. I am quite satisfied with
believing that you have the best reasons for such a course of conduct;
that misfortune, not any fault of your own, has reduced you to such an
alternative. And I can assure you, you have come to the right place for
getting rid of old friends or enemies, whichever they may be; for during
the twenty years I have been settled here, not one of those of whom I
formerly could boast has ever found his way unbidden over these
impregnable barriers; so set your mind at rest on that score. Come and
stay with me at my hermitage, till such time as you see fit; and then,
if you tire of the company of an old fellow like myself, we can find you
out another as secure."

"My dear Sir, this kindness on your part is beyond the expression of
mere common thanks. Alas! were it only possible that I could avail
myself of it; but the facts connected with my present position are of
such a peculiar nature, that unless you are made fully acquainted with
them, it is impossible that you can rightly appreciate the extent of
security I desire; and yet, though your confidence, thank God! is not
misplaced, those facts are of such a sort as make it almost impossible
for me to reveal them. At the same time, of your generous trust, which
has not yet allowed you to seek enlightenment even as to my name,
nothing would induce me to take further advantage. Either I leave this
place to-morrow, or my _incognito_, as far as concerns yourself, must
be removed."

"And why not, if that is the only alternative which presents itself,
tell your sad history to the old man; what then? In his breast it will
lie as safely buried as if you committed the secret to yonder lichened
rock. You are young, Sir; you have written in your countenance that
which bespeaks you one of a higher order of intellect and capacity than
befits this narrow sphere; but yet for a time, till this storm is blown
over, tarry here."

We need not pursue word for word, step by step, the relation, with the
issue of which my readers are fully acquainted. We have only to say,
that Eustace Trevor finally confided his whole history to Mr. Wynne,
under the strictest promise of secrecy; and that the good man listened
with the quiet, unwondering spirit which spoke his knowledge of that
world lying in wickedness, or rather, the desperate wickedness of the
human heart; and whilst clearly perceiving the morbid nature of the
feelings which had prompted the victim of such wickedness to so
extraordinary a course of proceeding, the interest of his own romantic
mind was but the more excited; and keenly he entered into every plan
which might facilitate the detention of Eustace, taking upon himself to
have, accompanied with all secrecy and silence, every arrangement made
necessary to his comfort and convenience. Even with regard to the
assumed name the latter saw it expedient to embrace, and to which he did
not see any objection, Mr. Wynne came to his aid.

He had once, many years ago, a dear friend named Edward Temple, now no
more--by such he should be known for the present, and under that
appellation he should yield him any voluntary assistance in the duties
of his profession as might accord with his taste and inclination. So
then it was arranged, and under these circumstances the so-named Edward
Temple became established at Ll----.



CHAPTER XXIII.

    I never thought a life could be
    So flung upon one hope, as mine, dear love, on thee.

    N. P. WILLIS.


No sooner did old Mr. Majoribanks learn from the rector that he had
prevailed upon Mr. Temple to fix his residence amongst them, than he was
anxious to pay the stranger every possible attention and civility,
calling upon him to invite him to dinner, or do anything that might
contribute in any way to his comfort and happiness. But Mr. Wynne was
obliged to subdue this impulse of hospitality, making the good old
gentleman and his family to understand that Mr. Temple being driven, by
some heavy private affliction, to the alleviation of his sorrows by
solitude and seclusion, the kindest thing would be, for the present,
till the poignancy of his feelings should be softened by time, to
refrain as much as possible from crossing his wishes in this respect.
The inmates of Glan Pennant, in the most delicate manner, respected and
carried out these instructions; so that, by some gentle and gradual
attraction, rather than by any outward effort on their part, did the
recluse seem finally drawn towards them in more close and intimate
communication; till finally, he became not only, as at first--the silent
and secret minister to all those little schemes of charity and
benevolence the young ladies had so much at heart--but also their
personal assistant and supporter.

Often during the time they were thus thrown intimately together, did Mr.
Wynne, like others perhaps besides, think it could not be but that the
lovely Selina Seaham, the flower of Glan Pennant, as the good clergyman
was wont to call her, would charm away the sorrows of that noble heart;
and as for the impression Edward Temple might make on that young lady,
he thought it was a case decided. However it might have been on that
latter point, we have seen that our hero's heart escaped the predicted
spell--although in other ways he might esteem and admire the fair
lady--and how another charm had secretly enthralled him.

       *       *       *       *       *

It had been in no slight degree startling to Eustace Trevor to discover
the relationship existing between the Seahams and his friend de Burgh;
and at first it had nearly determined him to leave the place, lest in
any way this fact should tend to his betrayal. But Mr. Wynne soon made
it his business to ascertain for his satisfaction that no such chance
existed.

Glan Pennant was not visited by any of the young ladies' relations, and
never had been for many years. Even the wedding of the last married
sister had been unattended by any of them, and indeed it was very rare
that regular visitors of any sort came to the place. Sir Hugh Morgan
occasionally had a friend or two in a bachelor way, whose society was
not much in his line, or likely to consist of any of Eustace's former
acquaintance, being generally natives of his own country.

So far Eustace Trevor's mind was set at rest, though still the fact of
the relationship haunted his fancy as a strange striking coincidence.
Little did he divine all that this coincidence was destined farther to
comprise. Little did he conceive when in his solitary rambles after his
settlement at Ll---- he sometimes chanced to meet that young and gentle
girl, who had so attracted his interest and attention that first Sunday
in the gallery of the church; sometimes tracking with fond alacrity the
footsteps of her brother to some lake or mountain stream--or seated in
some shady dell, or on some heathy hill, with her sweet smile and dreamy
eyes bent upon her book--or plunged in pensive reverie--little did he
divine what dream, or rather the mere shadow of a dream, his appearance
might chance to dissipate.

It may appear unnatural, that during those few years of acquaintance
with one so worthy to win the love and admiration of a mind like Mary
Seaham's--under circumstances too, which, considering the nature of her
disposition, might have seemed peculiarly favourable to produce that
end--no corresponding sentiments had been awakened in her breast towards
Eustace Trevor.

Indeed, we scarcely think it likely this could have proved the case, had
the feelings she inspired in his breast been earlier made apparent; but
it must be remembered that Mary was very young when Eustace Trevor first
came to Ll----, that he arrived too, arrayed in attributes exactly
suited to banish from a mind like hers any ideas connected with that of
love.

The mighty sorrow of which Mr. Wynne had spoken, and which sat so
plainly written on his beautiful countenance--every superior excellence
of mind and character, more intimate acquaintance only served to
heighten--had conspired to render him, in the estimation of the young
girl's child-like, but high-toned mind, as one of that order of beings
towards whom reverence and admiration were the only feelings to which,
without presumption, one like her could ever dare to aspire.

There was, besides, a distant melancholy reserve in his manner, she
imagined, more apparent in his bearing towards herself than to her
sisters, which still more effectually contributed to produce this
effect; while her sisters, on their part, although equally enthusiastic
in their admiration of their new friend, were much more inclined to look
upon him in the light of a common mortal like themselves--one indeed for
whom it would have been no such great stretch of presumption to
entertain feelings of a less exalted character; though the careless
youth of the one put all such considerations out of the question, and
the good sense of the other stifled any rising inclination of her heart
to bestow its affections--when it became too soon plainly evident how
little chance existed of winning a corresponding return--from him who,
two years after his arrival, calmly assisted in the ceremony which
united her to the young officer, who had proved himself less
invulnerable to the powers of attraction she possessed. Yet far was
Eustace Trevor from being naturally prone to coldness and insensibility
on a point like this; he was one

    "To gaze on woman's beauty as a star,
    Whose purity and distance make it fair."

And fair indeed did it seem to him, when on his night of darkness it
shone forth with so bright and clear a light as in the daughters of Glan
Pennant. But that light to him must be indeed far distant, for the
morbid sensibility with which he contemplated the dark features of his
past history, cast its blasting influence even over this purest and most
natural point of his heart's ambition; and mournfully he would silence
any allusions his friend would venture to make upon the subject.

His was not a fate he could solicit any being, blessing and blessed like
those fair girls, to share; and sadly would he seek to quench the
feeling which, day by day, year by year--as the gentle excellence, the
sweet attractions of Mary Seaham were more and more developed--gathered
strength within his heart.

This it was which made her deem his manner cold and distant, in
comparison with that he evinced towards her sisters. Little did she
imagine how the spirit of that noble-minded man bowed down before her
mild, unconscious might; how, if he turned away coldly from her soft
words and timid glance, it was because he feared their power might draw
forth a manifestation of that he had vowed to himself to conceal--

    "I might not dim thy fortune bright,
    With love so sad as mine."

No--we see he kept his secret but too well--so well, that not only the
object herself, but even his anxious and much-interested friend Mr.
Wynne, never suspected a truth which would have given him such
unfeigned delight.

A year before the period at which our story opens, and soon after
performing, to his no great satisfaction, the marriage ceremony for his
lovely young friend Selina Seaham, the worthy man had left Ll----;
yielding at length to the persuasions of his friends that he would,
according to the advice of the medical men, try the effect of a year or
two's sojourn on the continent in alleviating his troublesome and
obstinate, if not mortal, complaint.

An efficient substitute had been found to fill his place. Eustace Trevor
also remained, as we have seen, continuing to render those services
which, year by year, had only been the more valuable and
distinguished--services never to be erased from the memories of that
little flock, with whom, during his ministry amongst them, he had
rendered himself equally honoured and beloved. But the following year,
as we have seen, brought events of no small importance to the fates and
fortunes of the principal personages of our history.

The determination of the Majoribanks to leave Glan Pennant, the marriage
of Agnes Seaham, the peculiar nature of Mary's circumstances; and how,
consequent on those events, finally influenced by the last
consideration, Eustace Trevor in that momentous interview on the heathy
hill's side--casting his future hopes of happiness on one die--gave way
to the long-checked, long-concealed impulses of his heart, and poured
forth his tale of love upon her startled ear. Need we recapitulate the
sequel, "How pale the startled lady stood" on the borders of that green
and silent hill.

It was too late to open before her eyes the treasure which had so long
been within her reach. He had failed to touch that chord, by which alone
the heart of woman can be moved--Mary's heart so pure, so good, was yet
a woman's. What, that for months and years devotedly he had lingered by
her side, loving her in secret with a love so fervent and so deep, she
had remained insensible to that hidden spell; whilst one glance from the
stranger's dark eyes--one low thrilling tone of his flattering voice had
sufficed to pluck away her heart. But so it was, and so it oft-times is;
and there is little need to tell again how Eustace Trevor, his last reed
broken, his last ray of light extinguished, turned away to seek his sad
and silent home--

    "The shadow of a starless night,"

thrown upon that world, in which henceforth he must move so desolate and
alone.



CHAPTER XXIV.

    Thou too art gone--and so is my delight,
    And therefore do I weep, and inly bleed,
    With this last bruise upon a broken reed.
    Thou too art ended--what is left me now?
    For I have anguish yet to bear--and how?

    BYRON.


As may be supposed, the peaceful vale of Ll---- from this time forth
became an altered place to Eustace Trevor. "There are places in the
world we never wish to see again, however dear they be to us." Such to
his disappointed heart was Mary Seaham's deserted home, and every spot
in the vicinity haunted by associations connected with that loved being.
Yet he lingered, pursuing his former avocations, partly from principle,
partly from the painful pleasure thus afforded, partly from the anxious
desire to remain upon the spot, where alone he could hope to receive
tidings of his lost one.

A strange restless foreboding had been excited in his mind from the
first moment that he had heard of Mary's intended destination; and it
was this, no doubt, which in a great measure urged him to take the
decisive step which had proved so unavailing. Not of course had he in
any way embodied the real nature of the misfortune his ominous fears
presented; that event would indeed have seemed a coincidence too fearful
to be conceived probable; but besides there being something most
repellant to his feelings in the idea of that gentle object of his
heart's unhappy affections wandering away into the sphere now so darkly
associated in his mind--some presentiment of danger and sorrow to
herself, quite unconnected with any selfish considerations, had darkly
mingled. All through that summer then, whose brightness to him was gone;
all that autumn too, till like his own fallen hopes, the yellow leaf lay
thick around, "and the days were dark and dreary," he stayed;
then--then--had reached his ears, at first by vague and dull report,
tidings which froze into the very ice of winter the life-blood in his
heart--Miss Mary Seaham was going to be married to a very rich and
handsome gentleman of those parts; and his name--yes, that was it--he
would have thanked Heaven on his knees, had it been any other name on
earth--that name. It came with terrible exactness, that name was "Eugene
Trevor." Then, indeed, a dreadful feeling of horror, of despair,
assailed him. His cup of bitterness was full; could malignant fate do
more to crush him?

Mary Seaham, the wife of his brother! Of him who had dealt so
treacherously by him, who without cause, had proved himself his deadly
enemy. _His_ wife? nay his victim. Another angel victim, of
covetousness, tyranny, and vice. It must not, nay, it _should_ not be;
anything--everything must be done to avert the sacrifice. In a word,
every other consideration was at an end. He left Ll---- and went to
London; there he traced out that faithful servant to whom we have
alluded, and through him took steps to gain a too sure confirmation of
what he had heard, and besides that, many particulars concerning the
mode of life of his brother, during the interval of their separation,
which only served to invest with fresh horror, the idea of his union
with Mary.

His course was taken. He wrote to his brother the momentous letter,
which turned the current of poor Mary's bliss.

       *       *       *       *       *

"When you and I parted, Eugene, nearly five years ago, it was with the
sole determination on my part, never again to seek communication with a
man who had acted as none other, than _a brother_, could have acted,
without drawing upon himself the just retribution on my part, such
conduct so justly deserved, I mean the public exposure of its villainy
to society--to the world. But as it was--more in sorrow than in
anger--sorrow which in the estimation of those less scrupulous and
sensitive than myself, might have been deemed carried to a morbid and
irrational extent--in sorrow of heart, the bitterness of death could
hardly surpass, sorrow and amazement that such perfidy could exist in
one I had loved as my own mother's son; the impulse of my grieved and
wounded spirit prompted me to act in a manner exactly the reverse. My
determination had been to repair to some distant foreign land. But mere
accident, or I should say, hidden Providence, ordered it otherwise. I
spent the winter in a wild unfrequented part of North Wales; and on
leaving that, was taken ill at a small town, some miles distant. A few
weeks more and circumstances caused me to fix my wandering steps in a
secluded valley, where for the few succeeding years I assisted the
clergyman of the place in the duties of his profession, and in
conformity with the course of conduct I was pursuing, under the name of
Edward Temple. Does this give you any clue to the motive of the present
unwelcome communication? Have you ever heard that unfamiliar name pass
the lips of her, whom report tells me you are to make your wife--the
lips, I mean, of Mary Seaham? if so as it would have been but natural,
she may have further spoken, and told you of the love she had inspired
in that same Edward Temple's breast; and you smiled, no doubt, in pity
at the disappointed ambition of the country curate. Eugene, now indeed,
I own that you have honourably won that--to which, in comparison, all
that by wrong and treachery you ever sought to rob me is as dross
indeed, in my estimation--the love of as pure a heart, as angel-like a
spirit as ever breathed in the form of woman. But this, Eugene, must
suffice you; here your triumph must end; unless, indeed, you care to
prove your affection by a stronger test than I imagine it would be able
to stand; for at once I come to the point, and tell you Eugene, that I
cannot suffer this concerted marriage of yours to take place, without a
powerful effort on my part, to avert it--to save the pure and gentle
being whom I shall ever love, from the fate that marriage, I feel, must
ever entail upon her.

"That it springs from no bitter feelings of disappointment or rivalry,
on my part; but is as disinterested in its nature, as if I had never
loved Mary Seaham but as a brother might have loved a sister, God truly
knows; but it would be throwing words away, I fear, to attempt to
convince one like you--in whose imagination the possibility of any such
purity and disinterestedness of motive cannot exist. Well, interpret it
as you may--only break off this engagement, which, from what I hear of
the sentiments of some of her friends, will not be so very difficult.
Break it off, and for what I care, the world may still think me mad; for
what I care, you may still retain the position you now hold--so much as
it appears, to your own satisfaction and contentment--in the eyes of
society. Refuse to do this, and I come forward, and ask the world--ask
her friends--ask Mary herself, whether a man who had acted as you have
done, is worthy to be her husband; and then, I am much mistaken, if when
that delusive veil, which now robes her idol, be thus withdrawn--she,
yes, Mary, does not shrink with horror, from what is there revealed.

"Spare yourself, Eugene--spare her--spare her pure eyes, her innocent
spirit this exposure. You will say, the alternative is as cruel--that
her affection is too great to bear the destruction of her hopes, without
such pain and grief as none who really loved her, as _I_ profess to do,
would willingly inflict.

"This may be--her love may be true, and deep. The tears she may shed at
its destruction be bitter--time may be required to heal the wound. But
were these tears to swell the ocean's tide, or the wound to prove
incurable, far better even this, than to live the life--to die the
miserable death of your father's wife--of her husband's mother!

"And what in your career, Eugene, even setting aside that one crime,
with which I am personally concerned, is there, which can ensure her
any better destiny?

"No; your mode of life during the last five years, I have taken measures
to ascertain. Can you deny that it has been one long course of sin, of
profligacy?

"One dark deed, followed by atonement and remorse, might have been less
baneful to her happiness, than the systematic career of vice you now
habitually pursue.

"What more can I add; but that I shall expect your written answer. I
feel assured you will, no less than myself, desire, if possible, to
avoid all personal communication. Direct to the General Post Office,
London, where, till I am assured that my object is properly secured, I
shall remain; and now, Eugene, farewell! God knows, that everything in
the terms and substance of this letter, which may appear dictated by a
harsh or threatening spirit, springs rather from the wretched
circumstances of the case, our most unnatural and unavoidable position,
one towards another--not from the temper of my mind towards you. Heaven
be my witness, that I would gladly give my heart's blood at this moment,
to discover that the past was but a horrid dream, and that now, as in
years gone by, I could without fear, that the very air would repeat the
words in mocking echo, sign myself,

    "Your affectionate brother,

    "EUSTACE TREVOR."



CHAPTER XXV.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat;
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

    SHAKSPEARE.


It is not necessary to describe with much detail the effect produced by
this letter, on the mind of Eustace Trevor, or the mode of conduct he
pursued in the emergency.

We have already made the reader acquainted with the half measures he
pursued--the crooked paths he attempted, in order to extricate himself
from the threefold difficulty in which he found himself placed. His
answer in the first instance, to his brother's first startling address,
had been of that character which usually marks the tone of the
offender, when the injured one dares to rise up and interfere with his
ill-deserved security, and ill-earned joys; but though in language
fierce and vindictive, he might appear to set fear and threatening at
defiance, there was too much implied acquiescence, in the power these
threats exercised over his mind--in the testy assurance which
accompanied his reply (how far true we have seen) that his marriage was
not in any such immediate question as Eustace seemed to imagine--that
his father's state of health rendered it an affair of most uncertain
termination--till finally, a second letter from his brother, brought
him, at last, to declare in terms, the bitterness of which may be well
imagined, that he had put off his marriage _sine die_, in further proof
of which, he was to hold no further communication by person or letter
with Mary Seaham;--he then hoped that Eustace might be satisfied, and
that he would have left England.

That he might prevail on Mary to consent to a private marriage, was now
probably the object of Eugene's mind. For to relinquish, without a
struggle, any acquisition on which he had set his heart, would have
been contrary to his nature; and then there was the probability of his
father's death, securing to him so large a provision, rendering him in a
pecuniary point of view, independent of any threats his brother might
please to put into execution; for as far as Mary was concerned, he
relied too much on the power he had gained over her devoted, gentle
affections, to fear that any accusation brought against him by his
brother, would influence her against him. Eustace might then claim his
own rights, and he would not dispute them. Nay, Mary once his own, he
reckoned too much on that brother's, (in his heart, acknowledged
generosity of spirit,) to fear that he would persevere in carrying out
his threatened, and in that case, unavailing exposure. It was in this
light, probably, that he viewed the case, when Eugene first came to
London. Eustace, too, we find, had not left town. Either he had been led
to doubt the truth of his brother's protestations, or was unable to
resist the temptation of lingering where Mary was, when he could again,
and for the last time, perhaps, hope to catch a passing glance of her
sweet face,--pale, sad, and changed, since he had last seen it--but
better thus to his mind, than bright and glowing with that dangerous
infatuation by which she was to be allured to certain misery.

We will not deny that Eustace Trevor's feelings and course of conduct on
the occasion, may seem carried to a morbid, some may almost deem, an
unwarrantable excess. But then it must be remembered, that all his
lifetime through,

    "From mighty wrong to petty perfidy;"

he had suffered enough to bring any man of his sensitively high-pitched
tone of mind to this extremity.

There was one point especially, which had become the ruling power of his
mind--that phantom which by night or day--haunted his imagination. The
remembrance of his mother: her wrongs and misery.

    "A potent spell, a mighty talisman,
    The imperishable memory of the dead,
    Sustained by love, and grief, and indignation,
    So vivid were the forms within his brain,
    His very eyes, when shut, made pictures of them."

Could he then image forth another? She who had filled up that yearning
vacuum in his bleeding heart, the death of his mother had occasioned;
imagine her, such was the horrid fancy which had taken possession of his
mind--picture Mary entering that same house--assuming that same
position--the victim of the same evil influences to which she had been
exposed. The thought would have been one almost to turn his brain, had
he deemed it not to be averted. As it was, the suffering that its very
idea had caused, was sufficient to produce that change in his
appearance, on which Arthur Seaham had commented, when to gain more
certain information concerning his sister, Eustace Trevor had visited
him at the Temple; a change, which no former griefs and trials, dark and
dreadful though they had been, had in so striking a manner been able to
inflict. For man is Godlike in his strength--his spirit may sustain him
under burdens it were otherwise difficult to bear--but touch only a
chord--break only a tie which binds him to a woman's delicate love,

    "And his strong spirit bendeth like a reed."

On Eustace's return from the visit to the Temple, he had proof positive
of his brother not having kept his pledge, in one most important
respect; for he saw the lovers together, and the painful interview
between the brothers was the consequence--the issue of which we need not
recapitulate.

Another day, and Eustace Trevor had turned his back upon the English
shore, to track the footsteps of his friend Mr. Wynne in his travels on
the continent, still retaining the assumed name of Temple; and Eugene in
as short a space of time, was again breathing freely his accustomed
atmosphere--a London world.

We do not mean to say that his love for Mary Seaham was so soon
forgotten--that love which for the last few months had exercised a purer
and more softening influence upon his spirits, than any other feeling,
perhaps, had ever before effected.

It was still like some soft, sweet, dream of night, which often haunts
and mingles in the thoughts and actions of the day; and his marriage
with the gentle Mary, the settled purpose and intention of his heart.

But the smooth course of that love had received a check--met with a
disturbing force--his love had not quality or strength to overstep.

This to a worldling is a dangerous test; for love to him is but "a thing
apart." There are so many other resources wherefrom to drain, when that
one silvery stream of life is checked or troubled.

Why then not plunge into these broad abounding waters, which will bear
him on, no matter how turbid be their depth beneath the glittering
surface--no matter where, but on only--on too smooth, open, too
unrestrained a course. As to the stability of his feelings with regard
to Mary, Eugene felt little doubt his affections had been called forth
to an unprecedented degree. For the first time in his life, he felt what
it was to have his desires fixed on an object, in every way worthy of
esteem.

    "Pure, lovely, and of good report,"

and a new and wonderful fascination had been the effect produced upon
his mind. Whilst under its immediate influence, he had seemed to exist
in another sphere, to breathe another atmosphere, to have become a new
creature; and he had contemplated his marriage with a calm, tranquil
delight, as the completion of a still more certain renovation and
transformation of his existence.

Its untoward interruption, therefore, had provoked and disappointed him
beyond measure--beyond even the fear and inconvenience of those serious
consequences into which the circumstances of the case had otherwise
threatened him. Irritated and embarrassed by the trouble and perplexity
in which the affair involved him, we will not say, however, but that in
the end this one year's certain postponement of his marriage, as decided
in his interview with Arthur Seaham, had not in a great degree relieved
his mind in the emergency. In one year, as he had said, much might
happen to change the aspect of affairs. At any rate breathing time was
afforded, in which he might, without danger to himself, indulge in the
consciousness of knowing that a tender heart was all his own. For the
sequel time would provide.

In the meantime what had he to do, but to pursue his former career, and
hush the voice of conscience in the excitement of the crowd.

    "To follow all that peace disdains to seek,
    Where revel calls, and laughter vainly loud,
    False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek,
    And leave the flagging spirits still more weak."

That the mind of man need indeed be more than human to withstand such
counter-influences has been well tested.

    "Amidst such scenes, love's flower too soon is blighted."

       *       *       *       *       *

What different courses marked the existence of Mary Seaham and Eugene
Trevor, during the lengthened interval which is to follow, may easily be
imagined--different as the streamlet's course through the quiet valley,
to the river's, rolling its darkened waters through the streets
tumultuous of defiling cities!

Let us then, now that our less pleasing task is accomplished, restrain
our footsteps as much as possible to the streamlet's course; that is to
say, in the ensuing pages, let us follow more closely Mary Seaham's
career than that of her lover's.

    "Not through each devious path, each changeful year of existence,
    But as a traveller follows a streamlet's course through the valley:
    Far from its margin at times, and seeing the gleam of its water
    Here and there, in some open space, and at intervals only;
    Then drawing nearer its banks, through sylvan glooms that conceal it,
    Though he behold it not, he can hear its continuous murmur,
    Happy at length if he find the spot when it reaches an outlet."


END OF VOL. II.


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


[Transcriber's Note: Hyphen and spelling variations within each volume
and between volumes left as printed.]





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