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Title: Wenderholme - A Story of Lancashire and Yorkshire
Author: Hamerton, Philip Gilbert, 1834-1894
Language: English
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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.

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WENDERHOLME.

_A STORY OF LANCASHIRE AND YORKSHIRE_.

BY

PHILIP GILBERT HAMERTON,

AUTHOR OF "THE INTELLECTUAL LIFE," ETC.

"It takes a deal o' sorts to make a world."

_Popular Proverb_.

BOSTON:
ROBERTS BROTHERS.
1876.

_Author's Edition_.

_Cambridge:
Press of John Wilson and Son_.



TO AN OLD LADY IN YORKSHIRE.


You remember a time when the country in which this story is placed was
quite different from what it is to-day; when the old proprietors lived
in their halls undisturbed by modern innovation, and neither enriched by
building leases, nor humiliated by the rivalry of mighty manufacturers.
You have seen wonderful changes come to pass,--the valleys filled with
towns, and the towns connected by railways, and the fields covered with
suburban villas. You have seen people become richer and more refined,
though perhaps less merry, than they used to be; till the simple,
unpretending life of the poorer gentlefolks of the past has become an
almost incredible tradition, which few have preserved in their memory.

When this story was first written, some passages of it were read to you,
and they reminded you of those strong contrasts in the life of the North
of England which are now so rapidly disappearing. Wenderholme is
therefore associated with you in my mind as one of its first hearers,
and I dedicate it to you affectionately.



PREFACE

TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.


It happened, some time before this story was originally composed, that
the author had a conversation, about the sale of novels, with one of the
most eminent publishers of fiction in London.[1] The result of his
experience was, that in the peculiar conditions of the English market
short novels did not pay, whilst long ones, of the same quality, were a
much safer investment. Having incurred several successive losses on
short novels, my friend, the publisher, had made up his mind never to
have any thing more to do with them, and strongly recommended me, if I
attempted a work of fiction, to go boldly into three volumes at once,
and not discourage myself by making an experiment on a smaller scale,
which would only make failure a certainty. The reader may easily imagine
the effect of such a conversation as this upon an author who, whatever
may have been his experience in other departments of literature, had
none at all in the publication of novels. The practical consequence of
it was, that, when the present story was written, commercial reasons
prevailed, as they unhappily so often do prevail, over artistic
reasons, and the book was made far longer than, as a work of art, it
ought to have been.

The present edition, though greatly abridged, is not by any means, from
the author's point of view, a mutilated edition. On the contrary, it
rather resembles a building of moderate dimensions, from which
excrescences have been removed. The architect has been careful to
preserve every thing essential, and equally careful to take away every
thing which had been added merely for the sake of size. The work is
therefore at the present time much nearer in character to the original
conception of the designer than it has ever been before.

Notwithstanding the defect of too great length, and the difficulty which
authors often experience in obtaining recognition in a new field,
_Wenderholme_ was very extensively reviewed in England, and, on the
whole, very favorably. Unfortunately, however, for the author's chances
of profiting by the suggestions of his critics, it so happened that when
any character or incident was selected for condemnation by one writer,
that identical character or incident was sure to be praised
enthusiastically by another, who spoke with equal authority and
decision, in some journal of equal importance. The same contradictions
occurred in criticisms by private friends, people of great experience
and culture. Some praised the first volume, but did not like the third;
whilst others, who certainly knew quite as much about such matters,
considered that the book began badly, but improved immensely as it went
on, and finished in quite an admirable manner, like a horse that has
warmed to his work. These differences of opinion led me to the rather
discouraging conclusion that there is nothing like an accepted standard
of right and wrong in the criticism of fiction; that the critic praises
what interests or amuses him, and condemns what he finds tiresome, with
little reference to any governing laws of art. I may observe, however,
that the book had an artistic intention, which was the contrast between
two classes of society in Lancashire, and that the militia was used as a
means of bringing these two classes together. I may here reply to one or
two objections which have been made as to the manner in which this plan
was carried out.

Most of the local newspapers in the north of England at once recognized
the truth of local character in the book; but one Manchester critic,
with a patriotism for his native county which is a most respectable
sentiment, felt hurt by my descriptions of intemperance, and treated
them as a simple calumny, arguing that the best answer to them was the
industry of the county, which would not have been compatible with such
habits. I have never desired to imply that all Lancashire people were
drunkards, but there are certain nooks and corners of the county where
drinking habits were prevalent, in the last generation, to a degree
which is not exaggerated in this book. Such places did not become
prosperous until the energy of the better-conducted inhabitants produced
a change in the local customs; and I need hardly say that the hard
drinkers themselves were unable to follow business either steadily or
long. Downright drunkenness is now happily no longer customary in the
middle classes, and in the present day men use stimulants rather to
repair temporarily the exhaustion produced by over-work than for any
bacchanalian pleasure. In this more modern form of the drinking habit I
do not think that Lancashire men go farther than the inhabitants of
other very busy counties, or countries, where the strain on human energy
is so great that there is a constant temptation to seek help from some
kind of stimulating beverage.

The only other objection to the local truth of _Wenderholme_ which seems
to require notice is that which was advanced in the _Saturday Review_.
The critic in that periodical thought it untrue to English character to
represent a man in Colonel Stanburne's position as good-natured enough
to talk familiarly with his inferiors. Well, if modern literature were a
literature of types, and not of persons, such an objection would
undoubtedly hold good. The typical Englishman, when he has money and
rank, is certainly a very distant and reserved being, except to people
of his own condition; but there are exceptions to this rule,--I have
known several in real life,--and I preferred to paint an exception, for
the simple reason that reserve and pride are the death of human
interest. It would be possible enough to introduce a cold and reserved
aristocrat in a novel of English life,--such personages have often been
delineated with great skill and fidelity,--but I maintain that they do
not excite sympathy and interest, and that it would be a mistake in art
to place one of them in a central situation, such as that of Colonel
Stanburne in this volume. They may be useful in their place, like a lump
of ice on a dinner-table.

On the first publication of _Wenderholme_, the author received a number
of letters from people who were quite convinced that they had recognized
the originals of the characters. The friends and acquaintances of
novelists always amuse themselves in this way; and yet it seldom
happens, I believe, that there is any thing like a real portrait in a
novel. A character is suggested by some real person, but when once the
fictitious character exists in the brain of the author, he forgets the
source of the original suggestion, and simply reports what the imaginary
personage says and does. It is narrated of an eminent painter, famous
for the saintly beauty of his virgins, that his only model for them was
an old man-servant, and this is a good illustration of the manner in
which the imagination operates. Some of my correspondents made guesses
which were very wide of the mark. One lady, whom I had never thought
about in connection with the novel at all, recognized herself in Mrs.
Prigley, confessed her sins, and promised amendment; an illusion
scarcely to be regretted, since it may have been productive of moral
benefit. A whole township fancied that it recognized Jacob Ogden in a
wealthy manufacturer, whose face had not been present to me when I
conceived the character. A correspondent recognized Dr. Bardly as the
portrait of a surgeon in Lancashire who was never once in my mind's eye
during the composition of the novel. The Doctor was really suggested by
a Frenchman, quite ignorant of the Lancashire dialect, and even of
English. But, of all these guesses, one of the commonest was that Philip
Stanburne represented the author himself, probably because he was called
Philip. There is no telling what may happen to us before we die; but I
hope that the supposed original of Jacob Ogden may preserve his sanity
to the end of his earthly pilgrimage, and that the author of this volume
may not end his days in a monastery.

P. G. H.



CONTENTS.


PART I.

Chapter

I. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF SHAYTON             1

II. GRANDMOTHER AND GRANDSON                  5

III. AT THE PARSONAGE                        16

IV. ISAAC OGDEN BECOMES A BACKSLIDER.        29

V. FATHER AND SON                            42

VI. LITTLE JACOB IS LOST                     52

VII. ISAAC OGDEN'S PUNISHMENT                59

VIII. FROM SOOTYTHORN TO WENDERHOLME         69

IX. THE FUGITIVE                             87

X. CHRISTMAS AT MILEND                       94

XI. THE COLONEL GOES TO SHAYTON             106

XII. OGDEN'S NEW MILL                       119

XIII. STANITHBURN PEEL                      130

XIV. AT SOOTYTHORN                          136

XV. WITH THE MILITIA                        143

XVI. A CASE OF ASSAULT                      150

XVII. ISAAC OGDEN AGAIN                     155

XVIII. ISAAC'S MOTHER COMES                 161

XIX. THE COLONEL AT WHITTLECUP              170

XX. PHILIP STANBURNE IN LOVE                174

XXI. THE WENDERHOLME COACH                  179

XXII. COLONEL STANBURNE APOLOGIZES          185

XXIII. HUSBAND AND WIFE                     193

XXIV. THE COLONEL AS A CONSOLER             201

XXV. WENDERHOLME IN FESTIVITY               212

XXVI. MORE FIREWORKS                        225

XXVII. THE FIRE                             229

XXVIII. FATHER AND DAUGHTER                 238

XXIX. PROGRESS OF THE FIRE                  241

XXX. UNCLE JACOB'S LOVE AFFAIR              249

XXXI. UNCLE JACOB IS ACCEPTED               252

XXXII. MR. STEDMAN RELENTS                  258

XXXIII. THE SADDEST IN THE BOOK             265

XXXIV. JACOB OGDEN FREE AGAIN               273

XXXV. LITTLE JACOB'S EDUCATION              280

XXXVI. A SHORT CORRESPONDENCE.              284

XXXVII. AT WENDERHOLME COTTAGE              286

XXXVIII. ARTISTIC INTOXICATION              290

XXXIX. GOOD-BYE TO LITTLE JACOB             301


PART II.

I. AFTER LONG YEARS.                        303

II. IN THE DINING-ROOM                      318

III. IN THE DRAWING-ROOM                    322

IV. ALONE.                                  327

V. THE TWO JACOBS                           331

VI. THE SALE                                336

VII. A FRUGAL SUPPER                        340

VIII. AT CHESNUT HILL                       345

IX. OGDEN OF WENDERHOLME                    354

X. YOUNG JACOB AND EDITH                    357

XI. EDITH'S DECISION.                       366

XII. JACOB OGDEN'S TRIUMPH                  374

XIII. THE BLOW-OUT.                         380

XIV. MRS. OGDEN'S AUTHORITY                 389

XV. LADY HELENA RETURNS                     393

XVI. THE COLONEL COMES                      400

XVII. A MORNING CALL.                       404

XVIII. MONEY ON THE BRAIN                   409

XIX. THE COLONEL AT STANITHBURN             418

XX. A SIMPLE WEDDING                        425

XXI. THE MONK                               431



WENDERHOLME.



PART I.



CHAPTER I.

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF SHAYTON.


It was an immemorial custom in Shayton for families to restrict
themselves to a very few Christian names, usually taken from the Old
Testament, and these were repeated, generation after generation, from a
feeling of respect to parents, very laudable in itself, but not always
convenient in its consequences. Thus in the family of the Ogdens, the
eldest son was always called Isaac, and the second Jacob, so that if
they had had a pedigree, the heralds would almost have been driven to
the expedient of putting numbers after these names--as we say Henry
VIII, or Louis XIV. The Isaac Ogden who appears in this history may have
been, if collateral Isaacs in other branches were taken into account,
perhaps Isaac the fortieth; indeed, the tombstones in Shayton churchyard
recorded a number of Isaac Ogdens that was perfectly bewildering. Even
the living Isaac Ogdens were numerous enough to puzzle any new-comer;
and a postman who had not been accustomed to the place, but was sent
there from Rochdale, solemnly declared that "he wished all them Hisaac
Hogdens was deead, every one on 'em, nobbut just about five or six, an'
then there'd be less bother about t' letters." This wish may seem hard
and unchristian,--it may appear, to readers who have had no experience
in the delivery of letters, that to desire the death of a
fellow-creature merely because he happened to be called Isaac Ogden
implied a fearful degree of natural malevolence; but the business of a
postman cultivates an eagerness to get rid of letters, whereof the lay
mind has no adequate conception; and when a bachelor Isaac Ogden got a
letter from an affectionate wife, or an Isaac Ogden, who never owed a
penny, received a pressing dun from an impatient and exasperated
creditor, these epistles were returned upon the postman's hands, and he
became morbidly anxious to get rid of them, or "shut on 'em," as he
himself expressed it. Some annoying mistakes of this kind had occurred
in reference to _our_ Mr. Isaac Ogden at the time when he was engaged to
Miss Alice Wheatley, whose first affectionate letter from her father's
house at Eatherby had not only miscarried, but actually been opened and
read by several Isaac Ogdens in Shayton and its vicinity; for poor Miss
Alice, in the flurry of directing her first epistle to her lover, had
quite forgotten to put the name of the house where he then lived. This
was particularly annoying to Mr. Ogden, who had wished to keep his
engagement secret, in order to avoid as long as possible the banter of
his friends; and he sware in his wrath that there were far too many
Isaac Ogdens in the world, and that, however many sons he had, he would
never add to their number. This declaration was regarded by his mother,
and by the public opinion of the elder generation generally, as little
better than a profession of atheism; and when our little friend Jacob,
about whom we shall have much to say, was christened in Shayton church,
it was believed that the misguided father would not have the hardihood
to maintain his resolution in so sacred a place. He had, however, the
courage to resist the name of Isaac, though it was pressed upon him with
painful earnestness; but he did not dare to offend tradition so far as
to resist that of Jacob also, though the objections to it were in truth
equally cogent.

On his retirement to Twistle Farm, an out-of-the-way little estate up
in the hill country near Shayton, Mr. Ogden, who was now a widower,
determined, at least for the present, to educate his child himself. And
so it was that, at the age of nine, little Jacob was rather less
advanced than some other boys of his age. He had not begun Latin yet,
but, on the other hand, he read English easily and with avidity, and
wrote a very clear and legible hand. His friend Doctor Bardly, the
Shayton medical man, who rode up to Twistle Farm very often (for he
liked the fresh moorland air, and enjoyed a chat with Mr. Ogden and the
child), used to examine little Jacob, and bring him amusing books, so
that his young friend had already several shelves in his bedroom which
were filled with instructive histories and pleasant tales. The youthful
student had felt offended one day at Milend, where his grandmother and
his Uncle Jacob lived, when a matronly visitor had asked whether he
could read.

"He can read well enough," said his grandmother.

"Well, an' what can he read? can he read i' th' Bible?"

The restriction of Jacob's reading powers to one book offended him.
Could he not read all English books at sight, or the newspaper, or any
thing? Indeed, few people in Shayton, except the Doctor, read as much as
the little boy at Twistle Farm; and when his uncle at Milend discovered
one day what an appetite for reading the child had, he was not
altogether pleased, and asked whether he could "cast accounts." Finding
him rather weak in the elementary practice of arithmetic, Uncle Jacob
made him "do sums" whenever he had an opportunity. Arithmetic (or
"arethmitic," as Uncle Jacob pronounced it) was at Milend considered a
far higher attainment than the profoundest knowledge of literature; and,
indeed, if the rank of studies is to be estimated by their influence on
the purse, there can be no doubt that the Milend folks were right.
Without intending a pun (for this would be a poor one), Uncle Jacob had
never found any thing so interesting as interest, and the annual
estimate which he made of the increase of his fortune brought home to
his mind a more intense sense of the delightfulness of addition than any
school-boy ever experienced. But arithmetic, like every other human
pursuit, has its painful or unpleasant side, and Uncle Jacob regarded
subtraction and division with an indescribable horror and dread.
Subtraction, in his vivid though far from poetical imagination, never
meant any thing less serious than losses in the cotton trade; and
division evoked the alarming picture of a wife and eight children
dividing his profits amongst them. Indeed, he never looked upon
arithmetic in the abstract, but saw it in the successes of the
prosperous and the failures of the unfortunate,--in the accumulations of
rich and successful bachelors like himself, and the impoverishment of
struggling mortals, for whom there was no increase save in the number of
their children. And this concrete conception of arithmetic he endeavored
to communicate to little Jacob, who, in consequence of his uncle's
teaching, already possessed the theory of getting rich, and was so far
advanced in the practice of it that, by keeping the gifts of his kind
patrons and friends, he had nearly twenty pounds in the savings bank.



CHAPTER II.

GRANDMOTHER AND GRANDSON.


Mrs. Ogden, at the time when our story commences, was not much above
sixty, but had reached an appearance of old age, though a very vigorous
old age, which she kept without perceptible alteration for very many
years afterward. Her character will develop itself sufficiently in the
course of the present narrative to need no description here; but she had
some outward peculiarities which it may be well to enumerate.

She is in the kitchen at Milend, making a potato-pie, or at least
preparing the paste for one. Whilst she deliberately presses the
rolling-pin, and whilst the sheet of paste becomes wider and thinner
under the pressure of it as it travels over the soft white surface, we
perceive that Mrs. Ogden's arms, which are bare nearly to the elbow, are
strong and muscular yet, but not rounded into any form that suggests
reminiscences of beauty. There is a squareness and a rigidity in the
back and chest, which are evidences rather of strength of body and a
resolute character than of grace. The visage, too, can never have been
pretty, though it must in earlier life have possessed the attractiveness
of health; indeed, although its early bloom is of course by this time
altogether lost, there remains a firmness in the fleshy parts of it
enough to prove that the possessor is as yet untouched by the insidious
advances of decay. The cheeks are prominent, and the jaw is powerful;
but although the forehead is high, it suggests no ideas of intellectual
development, and seems rather to have grown merely as a fine
vegetable-marrow grows, than to have been developed by any exercise of
thought. The nose is slightly aquiline in outline, but too large and
thick; the lips, on the contrary, are thin and pale, and would be out of
harmony with the whole face if the eyes did not so accurately and
curiously correspond with them. Those eyes are of an exceedingly light
gray, rather inclining to blue, and the mind looks out from them in
what, to a superficial observer, might seem a frank and direct way; but
a closer analyst of character might not be so readily satisfied with a
first impression, and might fancy he detected some shade of possible
insincerity or power of dissimulation. The hair seems rather scanty, and
is worn close to the face; it is gray, of that peculiar kind which
results from a mixture of very fair hairs with perfectly white ones. We
can only see a little of it, however, on account of the cap.

Although Mrs. Ogden is hard at work in her kitchen, making a potato-pie,
and although it is not yet ten o'clock in the morning, she is dressed in
what in any other person would be considered rather an extravagant
manner, and in a manner certainly incongruous with her present
occupation. It is a theory of hers that she is so exquisitely neat in
all she does, that for her there is no danger in wearing any dress she
chooses, either in her kitchen or elsewhere; and as she has naturally a
love for handsome clothes, and an aversion to changing her dress in the
middle of the day, she comes downstairs at five o'clock in the morning
as if she had just dressed to receive a small dinner-party. The clothes
that she wears just now _have_ in fact done duty at past dinner-parties,
and are quite magnificent enough for a lady at the head of her table,
cutting potato-pies instead of fabricating them, if only they were a
little less shabby, and somewhat more in harmony with the prevailing
fashion. Her dress is a fine-flowered satin, which a punster would at
once acknowledge in a double sense if he saw the farinaceous
scatterings which just now adorn it; and her cap is so splendid in
ribbons that no writer of the male sex could aspire to describe it
adequately. She wears an enormous cameo brooch, and a long gold chain
whose fancy links are interrupted or connected by little glittering
octagonal bars, like the bright glass bugles in her head-dress. The
pattern of her satin is occasionally obscured by spots of grease,
notwithstanding Mrs. Ogden's theory that she is too neat and careful to
incur any risk of such accidents. One day her son Isaac had ventured to
call his mother's attention to these spots, and to express an opinion
that it might perhaps be as well to have two servants instead of one,
and resign practical kitchen-work; or else that, if she _would_ be a
servant herself, she ought to dress like one, and not expose her fine
things to injury; but Mr. Isaac Ogden received such an answer as gave
him no encouragement to renew his remonstrances on a subject so
delicate. "My dresses," said Mrs. Ogden, "are paid for out of my own
money, and I shall wear them when I like and where I like. If ever my
son is applied to to pay my bills for me, he may try to teach me
economy, but I'm 'appy to say that I'm not dependent upon him either for
what I eat or for what I drink, or for any thing that I put on." The
other brother, who lived under the same roof with Mrs. Ogden, and saw
her every day, had a closer instinctive feeling of what might and might
not be said to her, and would as soon have thought of suggesting any
abdication, however temporary, of her splendors, as of suggesting to
Queen Victoria that she might manage without the luxuries of her
station.

When the potato-pie stood ready for the oven, with an elegant little
chimney in the middle and various ornaments of paste upon the crust,
Mrs. Ogden made another quantity of paste, and proceeded to the
confection of a roly-poly pudding. She was proud of her roly-polies,
and, indeed, of every thing she made or did; but her roly-polies were
really good, for, as her pride was here more especially concerned, she
economized nothing, and was liberal in preserves. She had friends in a
warm and fertile corner of Yorkshire who were rich in apricots, and sent
every year to Milend several large pots of the most delicious apricot
preserve, and she kept this exclusively for roly-polies, and had won
thereby a great fame and reputation in Shayton, where apricot-puddings
were by no means of everyday occurrence.

The judicious reader may here criticise Mrs. Ogden, or find fault with
the author, because she makes potato-pie and a roly-poly on the same
day. Was there not rather too much paste for one dinner,--baked paste
that roofed over the savory contents of the pie-dish, and boiled paste
that enclosed in its ample folds the golden lusciousness of those
Yorkshire apricots? Some reflection of this kind may arise in the mind
of Jacob Ogden when he comes back from the mill to his dinner. He may
possibly think that for to-day the pie might have been advantageously
replaced by a beefsteak, but he is too wise not to keep all such
reflections within his own breast. No such doubts or perplexities will
ever disturb his mother, simply because she is convinced that no man
_can_ eat too much of _her_ pastry. Other people's pastry one might
easily get too much of, but that is different.

And there is a special reason for the pudding to-day. Little Jacob is
expected at dinner-time, and little Jacob loves pudding, especially
apricot roly-poly. His grandmother, not a very affectionate woman by
nature, is, nevertheless, dotingly fond of the lad, and always makes a
little feast to welcome him and celebrate his coming. On ordinary days
they never have any dessert at Milend, but, as soon as dinner is over,
Uncle Jacob hastily jumps up and goes to the cupboard where the
decanters are kept, pours himself two glasses of port, and swallows them
one after the other, standing, after which he is off again to the mill.
When little Jacob comes, what a difference! There is a splendid dessert
of gingerbread, nuts, apples, and _fruits glacés_; there are stately
decanters of port and sherry, with a bottle of sparkling elder-flower
wine in the middle, and champagne-glasses to drink it from. There is
plenty of real champagne in the cellars, but this home-made vintage is
considered better for little Jacob, who feels no other effect from it
than an almost irresistible sleepiness. He likes to see the sparkling
bubbles rise; and, indeed, few beverages are prettier or pleasanter to
the taste than Mrs. Ogden's elder-flower wine. It is as clear as
crystal, and sparkles like the most brilliant wit.

But we are anticipating every thing; we have jumped from the very
fabrication of the roly-poly to the sparkling of the elder-flower, of
that elder-flower which never sparkled at Milend, and should not have
done so in this narrative, until the pudding had been fully disposed of.
The reader may, however, take that for granted, and feel perfectly
satisfied that little Jacob has done his duty to the pudding, as he is
now doing it to the nuts and wine. He has a fancy for putting his
kernels into the wine-glass, and fishing them out with a spoon, and is
so occupied just now, whilst grandmother and Uncle Jacob sit patiently
looking on.

"Jerry likes nuts," says little Jacob; "I wonder if he likes wine too."

"It would be a good thing," said Mrs. Ogden, with her slow and distinct
pronunciation,--"it would be a good thing if young men would take
example by their 'orses, and drink nothing but water."

"Nay, nay, mother," said Uncle Jacob, "you wouldn't wish to see our lad
a teetotaller."

"I see no 'arm in bein' a teetotaller, and I see a good deal of 'arm
that's brought on with drinking spirits. I wish the lad's father was a
teetotaller. But come" (to little Jacob), "you'll 'ave another glass of
elder-flower. Well, willn't ye now? Then 'ave a glass of port; it'll do
you _no_ 'arm."

Mrs. Ogden's admiration for teetotalism was entirely theoretical. She
approved of it in the abstract and in the distance, but she could not
endure to sit at table with a man who did not take his glass like the
rest; the nonconformity to custom irritated her. There was a curate at
Shayton who thought it his duty to be a teetotaller in order to give
weight to his arguments against the evil habit of the place, and the
curate dined occasionally at Milend without relaxing from the rigidity
of his rule. Mrs. Ogden was always put out by his empty wine-glass and
the pure water in his tumbler, and she let him have no peace; so that
for some time past he had declined her invitations, and only dropped in
to tea, taking care to escape before spirits and glasses were brought
forth from the cupboard, where they lay in wait for him. The reader need
therefore be under no apprehensions that little Jacob was likely to be
educated in the chilly principles of teetotalism; or at least he may
rest assured that, however much its principles might be extolled in his
presence, the practice of it would neither be enforced nor even
tolerated.

"I say, I wish my son Isaac was a teetotaller. I hear tell of his coming
to Shayton time after time without ever so much as looking at Milend.
Wasn't your father in the town on Tuesday? I know he was, I was told so
by those that saw him; and if he was in the town, what was to hinder him
from coming to Milend to his tea? Did he come down by himself, or did
you come with him, Jacob?"

"I came with him, grandmother."

"Well, and why didn't you come here, my lad? You know you're always
welcome."

"Father had his tea at the Red Lion. Well, it wasn't exactly tea, for he
drank ale to it; but I had tea with him, and we'd a lobster."

"I wish he wouldn't do so."

"Why, mother," said Uncle Jacob, "I see no great 'arm in drinking a pint
of ale and eating a lobster; and if he didn't come to Milend, most
likely he'd somebody to see; very likely one of his tenants belonging
to that row of cottages he bought. I wish he hadn't bought 'em; he'll
have more bother with 'em than they're worth."

"But what did he do keeping a young boy like little Jacob at the Red
Lion? Why couldn't he send him here? The lad knows the way, I reckon."
Then to her grandson,--"What time was it when you both went home to
Twistle Farm?"

"We didn't go home together, grandmother. Father was in the parlor at
the Red Lion, and left me behind the bar, where we had had our tea, till
about eight o'clock, when he sent a message that I was to go home by
myself. So I went home on Jerry, and father stopped all night at the Red
Lion."

"Why, it was after dark, child! and there was no moon!"

"I'm not afraid of being out in the dark, grandmother; I don't believe
in ghosts."

"What, hasn't th' child sense enough to be frightened in the dark? If he
doesn't believe in ghosts at his age, it's a bad sign; but he's got a
father that believes in nothing at all, for he never goes to church; and
there's that horrid Dr. Bardly"--

"He isn't horrid, grandmother," replied little Jacob, with much spirit;
"he's very jolly, and gives me things, and I love him; he gave me a
silver horn."

Now Dr. Bardly's reputation for orthodoxy in Shayton was greatly
inferior to his renown as a medical practitioner; but as the inhabitants
had both Mr. Prigley and his curate, as well as several Dissenting
ministers, to watch over the interests of their souls, they had no
objection to allow Mr. Bardly to keep their stomachs in order; at least
so far as was compatible with the freest indulgence in good living. His
bad name for heterodoxy had been made worse by his favorite studies. He
was an anatomist, and therefore was supposed to believe in brains rather
than souls; and a geologist, therefore he assigned an unscriptural
antiquity to the earth.

"I'm sure it's that Dr. Bardly," said Mrs. Ogden, "that's ruined our
Isaac."

"Why, mother, Bardly's one o' th' soberest men in Shayton; and being a
doctor beside, he isn't likely to encourage Isaac i' bad 'abits."

"I wish Isaac weren't so fond on him. He sets more store by Dr. Bardly,
and by all that he says, than by any one else in the place. He likes him
better than Mr. Prigley. I've heard him say so, sittin' at this very
table. I wish he liked Mr. Prigley better, and would visit with him a
little. He'd get nothing but good at the parsonage; whereas they tell
me--and no doubt it's true--that there's many a bad book in Dr. Bardly's
library. I think I shall ask Mr. Prigley just to set ceremony on one
side, and go and call upon Isaac up at Twistle Farm; no doubt he would
be kind enough to do so."

"It would be of no use, mother, except to Prigley's appetite, that might
be a bit sharpened with a walk up to Twistle; but supposin' he got
there, and found Isaac at 'ome, Isaac 'ud be as civil as civil, and he'd
ax Prigley to stop his dinner; and Prigley 'ud no more dare to open his
mouth about Isaac's goin's on than our sarvint lass 'ud ventur to tell
you as you put too mich salt i' a potato-pie. It's poor folk as parsons
talks to; they willn't talk to a chap wi' ten thousand pound till he
axes 'em, except in a general way in a pulpit."

"Well, Jacob, if Mr. Prigley were only just to go and renew his
acquaintance with our Isaac, it would be so much gained, and it might
lead to his amendment."

"Mother, I don't think he needs so much amendment. Isaac's right enough.
I believe he's always sober up at Twistle; isn't he, little 'un?"

Little Jacob, thus appealed to, assented, but in rather a doubtful and
reserved manner, as if something remained behind which he had not
courage to say. His grandmother observed this.

"Now, my lad, tell me the whole truth. It can do your father no
'arm--nothing but good--to let us know all about what he does. Your
father is my son, and I've a right to know all about him. I'm very
anxious, and 'ave been, ever since I knew that he was goin' again to the
Red Lion. I 'oped he'd given that up altogether. You must tell me--I
insist upon it."

Little Jacob said nothing, but began to cry.

"Nay, nay, lad," said his uncle, "a great felly like thee should never
skrike. Thy grandmother means nout. Mother, you're a bit hard upon th'
lad; it isn't fair to force a child to be witness again' its own
father." With this Uncle Jacob rose and left the room, for it was time
for him to go to the mill; and then Mrs. Ogden rose from her chair, and
with the stiff stately walk that was habitual to her, and that she never
could lay aside even under strong emotion, approached her grandson, and,
bending over him, gave him one kiss on the forehead. This kiss, be it
observed, was a very exceptional event. Jacob always kissed his
grandmother when he came to Milend; but she was invariably passive,
though it was plain that the ceremony was agreeable to her, from a
certain softness that spread over her features, and which differed from
their habitual expression. So when Jacob felt the old lady's lips upon
his forehead, a thrill of tenderness ran through his little heart, and
he sobbed harder than ever.

Mrs. Ogden drew a chair close to his, and, putting her hand on his brow
so as to turn his face a little upwards that she might look well into
it, said, "Come now, little un, tell granny all about it."

What the kiss had begun, the word "granny" fully accomplished. Little
Jacob dried his eyes and resolved to tell his sorrows.

"Grandmother," he said, "father is so--so"--

"So _what_, my lad?"

"Well, he beats me, grandmother!"

Now Mrs. Ogden, though she loved Jacob as strongly as her nature
permitted, by no means wished to see him entirely exempt from corporal
punishment. She knew, on the authority of Scripture, that it was good
for children to be beaten, that the rod was a salutary thing; and she at
once concluded that little Jacob had been punished for some fault which
in her own code would have deserved such punishment, and would have
drawn it down upon her own sons when they were of his age. So she was
neither astonished nor indignant, and asked, merely by way of continuing
the conversation,--

"And when did he beat thee, child?"

If Jacob had been an artful advocate of his own cause, he would have
cited one of those instances unhappily too numerous during the last few
months, when he had been severely punished on the slightest possible
pretexts, or even without any pretext whatever; but as recent events
occupy the largest space in our recollection, and as all troubles
diminish by a sort of perspective according to the length of time that
has happened since their occurrence, Jacob, of course, instanced a
beating that he had received that very morning, and of which certain
portions of his bodily frame, by their uncommon stiffness and soreness,
still kept up the most lively remembrance.

"He beat me this morning, grandmother."

"And what for?"

"Because I spilt some ink on my new trowsers that I'd put on to come to
Milend."

"Well, then, my lad, all I can say is that you deserved it, and should
take better care. Do you think that your father is to buy good trowsers
for you to spill ink upon them the very first time you put them on?
You'll soon come to ruin at that rate. Little boys should learn to take
care of their things; your Uncle Jacob was as kerfle[2] as possible of
his things; indeed he was the kerflest boy I ever saw in all my life,
and I wish you could take after him. It's a very great thing is
kerfleness. There's people as thinks that when they've worn[3] their
money upon a thing, it's no use lookin' after it, and mindin' it,
because the money's all worn and gone, and so they pay no heed to their
things when once they've got them. And what's the consequence? They find
that they have to be renewed, that new ones must be bought when the old
ones ought to have been quite good yet; and so they spend and spend,
when they might spare and have every thing just as decent, if they could
only learn a little kerfleness."

After this lecture, Mrs. Ogden slowly rose from her seat and proceeded
to put the decanters into a triangular cupboard that occupied a corner
of the room. In due course of time the apples, the gingerbread, and the
nuts alike disappeared in its capacious recesses, and were hidden from
little Jacob's eyes by folding-doors of dark mahogany, polished till
they resembled mirrors, and reflected the window with its glimpse of
dull gray sky. After this Mrs. Ogden went into the kitchen to look after
some household affairs, and her grandson went to the stable to see
Jerry, and to make the acquaintance of some puppies which had recently
come into the world, but were as yet too blind to have formed any
opinion of its beauties.



CHAPTER III.

AT THE PARSONAGE.


Mrs. Ogden's desire to bring about a renewal of the acquaintance between
her son Isaac and Mr. Prigley was not an unwise one, even if considered
independently of his religious interests. Mr. Prigley, though by no
means a man of first-rate culture or capacity, was still the only
gentleman in Shayton,--the only man in the place who resolutely kept
himself up to the standard of the outer world, and refused to adopt the
local dialect and manners. No doubt the Doctor was in a certain special
sense a gentleman, and much more than a gentleman,--he was a man of high
attainment, and had an excellent heart. But, so far from desiring to
rise above the outward ideal of the locality, he took a perverse
pleasure in remaining a little below it. His language was a shade more
provincial than that of the neighboring manufacturers, and his manners
somewhat more rugged and abrupt than theirs. Perhaps he secretly enjoyed
the contrast between the commonplace exterior which he affected, and the
elaborate intellectual culture which he knew himself to possess. He
resembled the house he lived in, which was, as to its exterior, so
perfectly commonplace that every one would pass it without notice, yet
which contained greater intellectual riches, and more abundant material
for reflection, than all the other houses in Shayton put together.
Therefore, if I say that Mr. Prigley was the only gentleman in the
place, I mean externally,--in language and manner.

The living of Shayton was a very meagre one, and Mr.

Prigley had great difficulty in keeping himself above water; but there
is more satisfaction in struggling with the difficulties of open and
avowed poverty than in maintaining deceitful appearances, and Mr.
Prigley had long since ceased to think about appearances at all. It had
happened some time ago that the carpets showed grievous signs of wear,
and in fact were so full of holes as to be positively dangerous. They
had been patched and mended over and over again, and an ingenious
seamstress employed by Mrs. Prigley, and much valued by her, had darned
them with variously colored wools in continuation of the original
patterns, so that (unless on close inspection) the repairs were not very
evident. Now, however, both Mrs. Prigley and the seamstress,
notwithstanding all their ingenuity and skill, had reluctantly come to
the conclusion that to repair the carpets in their present advanced
stage of decay it would be necessary to darn nothing less than the whole
area of them, and Mrs. Prigley declared that she would rather
manufacture new ones with her knitting-needles. But if buying carpets
was out of the question, so it was not less out of the question for Mrs.
Prigley to fabricate objects of luxury, since her whole time was taken
up by matters of pressing necessity; indeed, the poor lady could only
just keep up with the ceaseless accumulations of things that wanted
mending; and whenever she was unwell for a day or two, and unable to
work, there rose such a heap of them as made her very heart sink. In
this perplexity about the carpets, nature was left to take her course,
and the carpets were abandoned to their fate, but still left upon the
floors; for how were they ever to be replaced? By a most unfortunate
coincidence, Mr. Prigley discovered about the same time that his shirts,
though apparently very sound and handsome shirts indeed, had become
deplorably weak in the tissue; for if, in dressing himself in a hurry,
his hand did not just happen to hit the orifice of the sleeve, it passed
through the fabric of the shirt itself, and that with so little
difficulty that he was scarcely aware of any impediment; whilst if once
the hem were severed, the immediate consequence was a rent more than a
foot long. Poor Mrs. Prigley had mended these patiently for a while; but
one day, after marvelling how it happened that her husband had become so
violent in his treatment of his linen, she tried the strength of it
herself, and, to use her own expressive phrase, "it came in two like a
sheet of wet paper." It was characteristic of the Prigleys that they
determined to renew the linen at once, and to abandon carpets for ever.

Shayton is not in France, and to do without carpets in Shayton amounts
to a confession of what, in the middle class, is looked upon as a
pitiable destitution. Mr. Prigley did not care much about this; but his
wife was more sensitive to public opinion, and, long after that heroic
resolution had been taken, hesitated to put it in execution. Day after
day the ragged remnants remained upon the floor; and still did Mrs.
Prigley procrastinate.

Whilst things were in this condition at the parsonage, the conversation
took place at Milend which we have narrated in the preceding chapter;
and as soon as Mrs. Ogden had seen things straight in the kitchen, she
"bethought her," as she would have herself expressed it, that it might
be a step towards intercourse between Isaac Ogden and the clergyman if
she could make little Jacob take a fancy to the parsonage. There was a
little boy there nearly his own age, and as Jacob was far too much
isolated, the acquaintance would be equally desirable for him. The idea
was by no means new to her; indeed, she had long been anxious to find
suitable playmates for her grandson, a matter of which Isaac did not
sufficiently perceive the importance; and she had often intended to take
steps in this direction, but had been constantly deterred by the
feelings of dislike to Mr. Prigley, which both her sons did not hesitate
to express. What had Mr. Prigley done to them that they should never be
able to speak of him without a shade of very perceptible aversion or
contempt? They had no definite accusation to make against him; they did
not attempt to justify their antipathy, but the antipathy did not
disguise itself. In an agricultural district the relations between the
parson and the squire are often cordial; in a manufacturing district the
relations between the parson and the mill-owners are usually less
intimate, and have more the character of accidental neighborship than of
natural alliance.

The intercourse between Milend and the parsonage had been so infrequent
that Mrs. Prigley was quite astonished when Betty, the maid-of-all-work,
announced Mrs. Ogden as she pushed open the door of the sitting-room.
But she was much more astonished when Mrs. Ogden, instead of quietly
advancing in her somewhat stiff and formal manner, fell forward on the
floor with outstretched arms and a shriek. Mrs. Prigley shrieked too,
little Jacob tried manfully to lift up his grandmother, and poor Betty,
not knowing what to say under circumstances so unexpected, but vaguely
feeling that she was likely to incur blame, and might possibly (though
in some manner not yet clear to her) deserve it, begged Mrs. Ogden's
pardon. Mr. Prigley was busy writing a sermon in his study, and being
suddenly interrupted in the midst of what seemed to him an uncommonly
eloquent passage on the spread of infidelity, rushed to the scene of the
accident in a state of great mental confusion, which for some seconds
prevented him from recognizing Mrs. Ogden, or Mrs. Ogden's bonnet, for
the lady's face was not visible to him as he stood amazed in the
doorway. "Bless me!" thought Mr. Prigley, "here's a woman in a fit!" And
then came a dim and somewhat unchristian feeling that women liable to
fits need not just come and have them in the parlor at the parsonage.
"It's Mrs. Ogden, love," said Mrs. Prigley; "and, oh dear, I _am_ so
sorry!"

By the united efforts of the parson and his wife, joined to those of
Betty and little Jacob, Mrs. Ogden was placed upon the sofa, and Mr.
Prigley went to fetch some brandy from the dining-room. On his way to
the door, the cause of the accident became apparent to him in the shape
of a yawning rent in the carpet, which was dragged up in great folds and
creases several inches high. He had no time to do justice to the subject
now, and so refrained from making any observation; but he fully resolved
that, whether Mrs. Prigley liked it or not, all ragged old carpets
should disappear from the parsonage as soon as Mrs. Ogden could be got
out of it. When Mrs. Prigley saw the hole in her turn, she was
overwhelmed with a sense of culpability, and felt herself to be little
better than a murderess.

"Betty, run and fetch Dr. Bardly as fast as ever you can."

"Please let _me_ go," said little Jacob; "I can run faster than she
can."

The parson had a professional disapproval of Dr. Bardly because he would
not come to church, and especially, perhaps, because on the very rare
occasions when he _did_ present himself there, he always contrived to be
called out in time to escape the sermon; but he enjoyed the Doctor's
company more than he would have been willing to confess, and had warmly
seconded Mrs. Prigley's proposal that, since Mrs. Ogden, in consequence
of her accident, was supposed to need the restoration of "tea and
something to it," the Doctor should stay tea also. The arrival of Isaac
and Jacob gave a new turn to the matter, and promised an addition to the
small tea-party already organized.

It was rather stiff and awkward just at first for Isaac and Jacob when
they found themselves actually in the parson's house, and forced to stop
there to tea out of filial attention to their mother; but it is
wonderful how soon Mr. Prigley contrived to get them over these
difficulties. He resolved to take advantage of his opportunity, and warm
up an acquaintance that might be of eminent service in certain secret
projects of his. Shayton church was a dreary old building of the latest
and most debased Tudor architecture; and, though it sheltered the
inhabitants well enough in their comfortable old pews, it seemed to Mr.
Prigley a base and degraded sort of edifice, unfit for the celebration
of public worship. He therefore nourished schemes of reform; and when he
had nothing particular to do, especially during the singing of the
hymns, he could not help looking up at the flat ceiling and down along
the pew-partitioned floor, and thinking what might be done with the old
building,--how it would look, for instance, if those octagon pillars
that supported those hateful longitudinal beams were crowned with
beautiful Gothic arches supporting a lofty clerestory above; and how the
organ, instead of standing just over the communion-table, and preventing
the possibility of a creditable east window, might be removed to the
west end, to the inconvenience, it is true, of all the richest people in
the township, who held pews in a gallery at that end of the church, but
to the general advancement of correct and orthodox principles. Once the
organ removed, a magnificent east window might gleam gorgeously over the
renovated altar, and Shayton church might become worthy of its
incumbent.

And now, as he saw, by unhoped-for good-luck, these three rich Ogdens in
his own parlor, it became Mr. Prigley's earnest wish to keep them there
as long as possible, and cultivate their acquaintance, and see whether
there was not some vulnerable place in those hard practical minds of
theirs. As for the Doctor, he scarcely hoped to get any money out of
_him_; he had preached at him over and over again, and, though the
Doctor only laughed and took care to keep out of the way of these
sermons, it was scarcely to be expected that he should render good for
evil,--money for hard language. Nobody in Shayton precisely knew what
the Doctor's opinions were; but when Mr. Prigley was writing his most
energetic onslaughts on the infidel, it is certain that the type in the
parson's mind had the Doctor's portly body and plain Socratic face.

Mrs. Prigley had rather hesitated about asking the man to stay tea at
the parsonage, for her husband freely expressed his opinion of him in
privacy, and when in a theological frame of mind spoke of him with much
the same aversion that Mrs. Prigley herself felt for rats and toads and
spiders. And as she looked upon the Doctor's face, it seemed to her at
first the face of the typical "bad man," in whose existence she firmly
believed. The human race, at the parsonage, was divided into sheep and
goats, and Dr. Bardly was amongst the goats. Was he not evidently a
goat? Had not nature herself stamped his badness on his visage! His very
way of laughing had something suspicious about it; he seemed always to
be thinking more than he chose to express. What was he thinking? There
seemed to be something doubtful and wrong even about his very whiskers,
but Mrs. Prigley could not define it, neither can we. On the contrary,
they were respectable and very commonplace gray whiskers, shaped like
mutton-chops, and no doubt they would have seemed only natural to Mrs.
Prigley, if they had been more frequently seen in Shayton church.

It was a very pleasant-looking tea-table altogether. Mrs. Prigley, who
was a Miss Stanburne of Byfield, a branch of the Stanburnes of
Wenderholme, possessed a little ancestral plate, a remnant, after much
subdivision, of the magnificence of her ancestors. She had a tea-pot and
a coffee-pot, and a very quaint and curious cream-jug; she also
possessed a pair of silver candlesticks, of a later date, representing
Corinthian columns, and the candles stood in round holes in their
graceful acanthus-leaved capitals. Many clergymen can display articles
of contemporary manufacture bearing the most flattering inscriptions,
but Mr. Prigley had never received any testimonials, and, so long as he
remained in Shayton, was not in the least likely to enrich his table
with silver of that kind. Mrs. Prigley, whilst apparently listening with
respectful attention to Mrs. Ogden's account of a sick cow of hers (in
which Mrs. Ogden seemed to consider that she herself, and not the
suffering animal, was the proper object of sympathy), had in fact been
debating in her own mind whether she ought to display her plate on a
mere chance occasion like the present; but the common metal tea-pot was
bulged and shabby, and the thistle in electro-plate, which had once
decorated its lid, had long since been lost by one of the children, who
had fancied it as a plaything. The two brass candlesticks were scarcely
more presentable; indeed, one of them would no longer stand upright, and
Mrs. Prigley had neglected to have it repaired, as one candle sufficed
in ordinary times; and when her husband wrote at night, he used a tin
bed-candlestick resembling a frying-pan, with a tin column, _not_ of the
Corinthian order, sticking up in the middle of it, and awkwardly
preventing those culinary services to which the utensil seemed naturally
destined. As these things were not presentable before company, Mrs.
Prigley decided to bring forth her silver, but in justice to her it is
necessary to say that she would have preferred something between the
two, as more fitted to the occasion. For similar reasons was displayed a
set of old china, of whose value the owner herself was ignorant; and so
indeed would have been the present writer, if he had not recognized Mrs.
Prigley's old cups and saucers in Jacquemart's 'Histoire de la
Porcelaine.'

The splendor of Mrs. Prigley's tea-table struck Mrs. Ogden with a degree
of surprise which she had not art enough to conceal, for the manners and
customs of Shayton had never inculcated any kind of reticence as
essential to the ideal of good-breeding. The guests had scarcely taken
their places round this brilliant and festive board when Mrs. Ogden
said,--

"You've got some very '_andsome_ silver, Mrs. Prigley. I'd no idea you'd
got such 'andsome silver. Those candlesticks are taller than any we've
got at Milend."

A slight shade of annoyance passed across the countenance of the hostess
as she answered, "It came from Wenderholme; there's not much of it
except what is on the table; there were six of us to divide it amongst."

"Those are the Stanburne arms on the tea-pot," said the Doctor; "I've
hoftens noticed them at Wendrum 'all. They have them all up and down.
Young Stanburne's very fond of his coat-of-arms, but he's a right to be
proud of it, for it's a very old one. He's quite a near relation of
yours, isn't he, Mrs. Prigley?"

"My father and his grandfather were brothers, but there was a coolness
between them on account of a small estate in Yorkshire, which each
thought he'd a right to, and they had a lawsuit. My father lost it, and
never went to Wenderholme again; and they never came from Wenderholme to
Byfield. When my Uncle Reginald died, my father was not even asked to
the funeral, but they sent him gloves and a hatband."

"Have you ever been at Wenderholme, Mrs. Prigley?" said Isaac.

"Never! I've often thought I should like to see it, just once; it's said
to be a beautiful place, and I should like to see the house my poor
father was born in."

"Why, it's quite close to Shayton, a great deal nearer than anybody
would think. It isn't much more than twelve or fourteen miles off, and
my house at Twistle is within nine miles of Wenderholme, if you go
across the moor. There is not a single building of any kind between. But
it's thirty miles to Wenderholme by the turnpike. You have to go through
Sootythorn."

"It's a very nice estate," said Uncle Jacob; and, to do him justice, he
was an excellent judge of estates, and possessed a great fund of
information concerning all the desirable properties in the neighborhood,
for he made it his business to acquire this sort of knowledge
beforehand, in case such properties should fall into the market. So that
when Uncle Jacob said an estate was "very nice," you may be sure it was
so.

"There are about two thousand acres of good land at Wendrum," he
continued, "all in a ring-fence, and a very large moor behind the house,
with the best shooting anywhere in the whole country. Our moors join up
to Mr. Stanburne's, and, if the whole were put together, it would be a
grand shooting."

"That is," said Mr. Prigley, rather maliciously, "if Mr. Stanburne were
to buy your moor, I suppose. Perhaps he might feel inclined to do so if
you wished to sell."

Mrs. Ogden could not endure to hear of selling property, even in the
most remote and hypothetical manner. Her back was generally as straight
as a stone wall, but it became, if possible, straighter and stiffer, as,
with a slight toss of the head, she spoke as follows:--

"We don't use selling property, Mr. Prigley; we're not sellers, we are
buyers."

These words were uttered slowly, deliberately, and with the utmost
distinctness, so that it was not possible for any one present to
misunderstand the lady's intention. She evidently considered buying to
be the nobler function of the two, as implying increase, and selling to
be a comparatively degrading operation,--a confession of poverty and
embarrassment. This feeling was very strong, not only in Shayton, but
for many miles round it, and instances frequently occurred of owners who
clung to certain properties against their pecuniary interest, from a
dread of it being said of them that they had sold land. There are
countries where this prejudice has no existence, and where a rich man
sells land without hesitation when he sees a more desirable investment
for his money; but in Shayton a man was married to his estate or his
estates (for in this matter polygamy was allowed); and though the law,
after a certain tedious and expensive process, technically called
conveyancing, permitted divorce, public opinion did _not_ permit it.

Mr. Prigley restored the harmony of the evening by admitting that the
people who sold land were generally the old landowners, and those who
bought it were usually in trade,--not a very novel or profound
observation, but it soothed the wounded pride of Mrs. Ogden, and at the
same time flattered a shade of jealousy of the old aristocracy which
coexisted with much genuine sympathy and respect.

"But we shouldn't say Mister Stanburne now," observed the Doctor; "he's
Colonel Stanburne."

"Do militia officers keep their titles when not on duty?" asked Mr.
Isaac.

"Colonels always do," said the Doctor, "but captains don't, in a general
way, though there are some places where it is the custom to call 'em
captain all the year round. I suppose Mr. Isaac here will be Captain
Ogden some of these days."

"I was not aware you intended to join the militia, Mr. Isaac," said the
clergyman. "I am very glad to hear it. It will be a pleasant change for
you. Since you left business, you must often be at a loss for
occupation."

"I've had plenty to do until a year or two since in getting Twistle Farm
into order. It's a wild place, but I've improved it a good deal, and it
amused me. I sometimes wish it were all to be done over again. A man is
never so happy as when he's very busy about carrying out his own plans."

"You made a fine pond there, didn't you?" said Mr. Prigley, who always
had a hankering after this pond, and was resolved to improve his
opportunity.

"Yes, I need a small sheet of water. It is of use to me nearly the whole
year round. I swim in it in summer, I skate on it in winter, and in the
spring and autumn I can sail about on it in a little boat, though there
is not much room for tacking, and the pond is too much in a hollow to
have any regular wind."

"Ah! when the aquatic passion exists in any strong form," said Mr.
Prigley, "it will have its exercise, even though on a small scale. One
of the great privations to me in Shayton is that I never get any
swimming."

"My pond is very much at your service," said Mr. Isaac, politely. "I am
sorry that it is so far off, but one cannot send it down to Shayton in a
cart, as one might send a shower-bath."

Mrs. Ogden was much pleased to see her scheme realizing itself so
naturally, without any ingerence of her own, and only regretted that it
was not the height of summer, in order that Mr. Prigley might set off
for Twistle Farm the very next morning. However enthusiastic he might be
about swimming, he could scarcely be expected to explore the too cool
recesses of the Twistle pond in the month of November,--at least for
purposes of enjoyment; and Mrs. Ogden was not Papist enough to encourage
the good man in any thing approaching to a mortification of the flesh.

Little Jacob had been admitted to the ceremony of tea, and had been a
model of good behavior, being "seen and not heard," which in Shayton
comprised the whole code of etiquette for youth when in the presence of
its seniors and superiors. Luckily for our young friend, he sat between
the Doctor and the hostess, who took such good care of him that by the
time the feast was over he was aware, by certain feelings of tightness
and distension in a particular region, that the necessities of nature
were more than satisfied, although, like Vitellius, he had still quite
appetite enough for another equally copious repast if only he had known
where to put it. If Sancho Panza had had an equally indulgent physician
at his side, one of the best scenes in Don Quixote could never have been
written, for Dr. Bardly never hindered his little neighbor, but, on the
other hand, actually encouraged him to do his utmost, and mentally
amused himself by enumerating the pieces of tea-cake and buttered toast,
and the helpings to crab and potted meat, and the large spoonfuls of
raspberry-jam, which our hero silently absorbed. The Doctor, perhaps,
acted faithfully by little Jacob, for if nature had not intended boys of
his age to accomplish prodigies in eating, she would surely never have
endowed them with such vast desires; and little Jacob suffered no worse
results from his present excesses than the uncomfortable tightness
already alluded to, which, as his vigorous digestion operated, soon gave
place to sensations of comparative elasticity and relief.

The parson's children had not been admitted to witness and partake of
the splendor of the festival, but had had their own tea--or rather, if
the truth must be told, their meal of porridge and milk--in a nursery
upstairs. They had been accustomed to tea in the evening, but of late
the oatmeal-porridge which had always been their breakfast had been
repeated at tea-time also, as the Prigleys found themselves compelled to
measures of still stricter economy. People must be fond of
oatmeal-porridge to eat it with pleasure seven hundred times a-year; and
whenever a change _did_ come, the children at the parsonage relished it
with a keenness of gastronomic enjoyment which the most refined epicure
might envy, and which he probably never experienced. There were five
little Prigleys, and it is a curious fact that the parson's children
were the only ones in the whole parish that did not bear Biblical names.
All the other households in Shayton sought their names in the Old
Testament, and had a special predilection for the most ancient and
patriarchal ones; but the parson's boys were called Henry and William
and Richard, and his girls Edith and Constance--not one of which names
are to be found anywhere in Holy Scripture, either in the Old Testament
or the New.



CHAPTER IV.

ISAAC OGDEN BECOMES A BACKSLIDER.


About a month later in the year, when December reigned in all its
dreariness over Shayton, and the wild moors were sprinkled with a thin
scattering of snow, little Jacob began to be very miserable.

His grandmother had gone to stay a fortnight with some old friends of
hers beyond Manchester, and his father had declared that for the next
two Sundays he should remain at Twistle, and not "go bothering his uncle
at Milend." Mr. Prigley had walked up to the farm, and kindly offered to
receive little Jacob at the parsonage during Mrs. Ogden's absence; but
Mr. Isaac had declined the proposal rather curtly, and, as Mr. Prigley
thought, in a manner that did not sufficiently acknowledge the kindness
of his intention. Indeed, the clergyman had not been quite satisfied
with his reception; for although Mr. Isaac had shown him the pond, and
given him something to eat, there had been, Mr. Prigley thought,
symptoms of secret annoyance or suppressed irritation. Little Jacob's
loneliness was rendered still more complete by the continued absence of
his friend the Doctor, who, in consequence of a disease then very
prevalent in the neighborhood, found his whole time absorbed by pressing
professional duties, so that the claims of friendship, and even the
anxious interest which he took in Mr. Isaac's moral and physical
condition, had for the time to be considered in abeyance. We have
already observed that Mr. Jacob Ogden of Milend never came to Twistle
Farm at all, so that his absence was a matter of course; and as he was
not in the habit of writing any letters except about business, there was
an entire cessation of intercourse with Milend.

It had been a part of Mr. Isaac's plan of reformation not to keep
spirits of any kind at the farm, but he had quite enough ale and wine to
get drunk upon in case his resolution gave way. He had received such a
lecture from the Doctor after that evening at the parsonage as had
thoroughly frightened him. He had been told, with the most serious air
that a doctor knows how to assume, that his nervous system was already
shattered, that his stomach was fast becoming worthless, and that, if he
continued his present habits, his life would terminate in eighteen
months. Communications of this kind are never agreeable, but they are
especially difficult to bear with equanimity when the object of them has
lost much of the combative and recuperative powers which belong to a
mind in health; and the Doctor's terrible sermon produced in Mr. Isaac
_not_ a manly strength of purpose that subdues and surmounts evil, and
passes victoriously beyond it, but an abject terror of its consequences,
and especially a nervous dread of the Red Lion. He would enter that
place no more, he was firmly resolved upon _that_. He would stay quietly
at Twistle Farm and occupy himself,--he would try to read,--he had often
regretted that business and pleasure had together prevented him from
cultivating his mind by reading, and now that the opportunity was come,
he would seize it and make the most of it. He would qualify himself to
direct little Jacob's studies, at least so far as English literature
went. As for Latin, the little he ever knew had been forgotten many
years ago, but he might learn enough to judge of his boy's progress, and
perhaps help him a little. He knew no modern language, and had not even
that pretension to read French which is so common in England, and which
is more injurious to the character of the nation than perfect ignorance,
whilst it is equally unprofitable to its intellect. If Mr. Isaac were
an ignorant man, he had at least the great advantage of clearly knowing
that he was so, but it might not even yet be too late to improve
himself. Had he not perfect leisure? could he not study six hours a day,
if he were so minded? This would be better than destroying himself in
eighteen months in the parlor at the Red Lion.

There were not many books at Twistle, but there _were_ books. Mr. Isaac
differed from his brother Jacob, and from the other men in Shayton, in
having long felt a hankering after various kinds of knowledge, though he
had never possessed the leisure or the resolution to acquire it. There
was a bookseller's shop in St. Ann's Square, in Manchester, which he
used to pass when he was in the cotton business on his way from the
exchange to a certain oyster-shop where it was his custom to
refresh himself; and he had been occasionally tempted to make
purchases,--amongst the rest, the works of Charles Dickens and Sir
Walter Scott, and the 'Encyclopædia Britannica.' He had also bought
Macaulay's 'History of England,' and subscribed to a library edition of
the British poets in forty volumes, and a biographical work containing
lives of eminent Englishmen, scarcely less voluminous. These, with
several minor purchases, constituted the whole collection,--which,
though not extensive, had hitherto much more than sufficed for the
moderate wants of its possessor. He had read all the works of Dickens,
having been enticed thereto by the pleasant merriment in 'Pickwick;' but
the Waverley Novels had proved less attractive, and the forty volumes of
British poets reposed uncut upon the shelf which they adorned. Even
Macaulay's History, though certainly not less readable than any novel,
had not yet been honored with a first perusal; and, as Mr. Ogden kept
his books in a bookcase with glass doors, the copy was still technically
a new one.

He resolved now that all these books should be _read_, all except
perhaps the 'Encyclopædia Britannica;' for Mr. Ogden was not then aware
of the fact, which a successful man has recently communicated to his
species, that a steady reading of that work according to its
alphabetical arrangement _may_ be a road to fortune, though it must be
admitted to be an arduous one. He would begin with Macaulay's History;
and he _did_ begin one evening in the parlor at Twistle Farm after Sarah
had removed the tea-things. He took down the first volume, and began to
cut the leaves; then he read a page or two, but, in spite of the lucid
and engaging style of the historian, he felt a difficulty in fixing his
attention,--the difficulty common to all who are not accustomed to
reading, and which in Mr. Ogden's case was perhaps augmented by the
peculiar condition of his nervous system. So he read the page over
again, but could not compel his mind to follow the ideas of the author:
it _would_ wander to matters of everyday interest and habit, and then
there came an unutterable sense of blankness and dulness, and a
craving--yes, an all but irresistible craving--for the stimulus of
drink. There could be no harm in drinking a glass of wine,--everybody,
even ladies, might do that,--and he had always allowed himself wine at
Twistle Farm. He would see whether there was any in the decanters. What!
not a drop? No port in the port decanter, and in the sherry decanter
nothing but a shallow stratum of liquid which would not fill a glass,
and was not worth drinking. He would go and fill both decanters himself:
there ought always to be wine ready in case any one should come. Mr.
Prigley might walk up any day, or the Doctor might come, and he always
liked a glass or two of port.

There was a nice little cellar at Twistle Farm, for no inhabitant of
Shayton ever neglects that when he builds himself a new house; and Mr.
Ogden had wine in it to the value of three hundred pounds. Some friends
of his near Manchester, who came to see him in the shooting season and
help him to kill his grouse, were connoisseurs in port, and he had been
careful to "lay down" a quantity of the finest he could get. He was less
delicate in the gratification of his own palate, and contented himself
with a compound of no particular vintage, which had the advantage of
being exceedingly strong, and therefore allowed a sort of disguised
dram-drinking. It need therefore excite little surprise in the mind of
the reader to be informed that, when Mr. Isaac had drunk a few glasses
of this port of his, the nervous system began to feel more comfortable,
and at the same time tempted him to a still warmer appreciation of the
qualities of the beverage. His mind was clearer and brighter, and he
read Macaulay with a sort of interest, which, perhaps, is as much as
most authors may hope for or expect; that is, his mind kept up a sort of
double action, following the words of the historian, and even grasping
the meaning of his sentences, and feeling their literary power, whilst
at the same time it ran upon many subjects of personal concern which
could not be altogether excluded or suppressed. Mr. Ogden was not very
delicate in any of his tastes; but it seemed to him, nevertheless, that
clay tobacco-pipes consorted better with gin-and-water than with the
juice of the grape; and he took from a cupboard in the corner a large
box of full-flavored havannas, which, like the expensive port in the
cellar, he kept for the gratification of his friends.

Now, although the first five or six glasses had indeed done no more than
give a beneficial stimulus to Mr. Ogden's brain, it is not to be
inferred, as Mr. Ogden himself appeared to infer, that the continuation
of the process would be equally salutary. He went on, however, reading
and sipping, at the rate of about a glass to a page, smoking at the same
time those full-flavored havannas, till after eleven at night. Little
Jacob and the servants had long since gone to bed; both decanters had
been on the table all the evening, and both had been in equal
requisition, for Mr. Ogden had been varying his pleasures by drinking
port and sherry alternately. At last the eloquence of Macaulay became
no longer intelligible, for though his sentences had no doubt been
constructed originally in a perfectly workmanlike manner, they now
seemed quite out of order, and no longer capable of holding together.
Mr. Ogden put the book down and tried to read the Manchester paper, but
the makers of articles and the penny-a-liners did not seem to have
succeeded better than Macaulay, for their sentences were equally
disjointed. The reader rose from his chair in some discouragement and
looked at his watch, and put his slippers on, and began to think about
going to bed, but the worst of it was he felt so thirsty that he must
have something to drink. The decanters were empty, and wine would not
quench thirst; a glass of beer might, perhaps--but how much better and
more efficacious would be a tall glass of brandy-and-soda-water! Alas!
he had no brandy, neither had he any soda-water, at least he thought
not, but he would go down into the cellar and see. He took a candle very
deliberately, and walked down the cellar-steps with a steady tread,
never staggering or swerving in the least. "Am I drunk?" he thought;
"no, it is impossible that I should be drunk, I walk so well and so
steadily. I'm not afraid of walking down these stone steps, and yet if I
were to fall I might hit my forehead against their sharp edges, sharp
edges--yes, they have very sharp edges; they are very new steps, cut by
masons; and so are these walls new--good ashlar stones; and that arched
roof--that arch is well made: there isn't a better cellar in Shayton."

There was no soda-water, but there were bottles whose round, swollen
knobs of corks were covered with silvery foil, that glittered as Mr.
Ogden's candle approached them. The glitter caught his eye, and he
pulled one of the bottles out. It wasn't exactly soda-water, but it
would fizz; and just now Mr. Ogden had a morbid, passionate longing for
something that would "fizz," as he expressed it in his muttered
soliloquy. So he marched upstairs with his prize, in that stately and
deliberate manner which marks his particular stage of intoxication.

"It's good slekk!"[4] said Mr. Ogden, as he swallowed a tumblerful of
the sparkling wine, "and it _can_ do me no harm--it's only a lady's
wine." He held it up between his eye and the candle, and thought that
really it looked very nice and pretty. How the little bubbles kept
rising and sparkling! how very clear and transparent it was! Then he sat
down in his large arm-chair, and thought he might as well have another
cigar. He had smoked a good many already, perhaps it would be better
not; and whilst his mind was resolving not to smoke another, his fingers
were fumbling in the box, and making a sort of pretence at selection. At
last, for some reason as mysterious as that which decides the famous
donkey between two equidistant haystacks, the fingers came to a
decision, and the cigar, after the point had been duly amputated with a
penknife, was inserted between the teeth. After this the will made no
further attempt at resistance, and the hand poured out champagne into
the tumbler, and carried the tumbler to the lips, with unconscious and
instinctive regularity.

Mr. Isaac was now drunk, but it was not yet proved to him that he was
drunk. His expedition to the cellar had been perfectly successful; he
had walked in the most unexceptionable manner, and even descended those
dangerous stone steps. He looked at his watch--it was half-past twelve;
he read the hour upon the dial, though not just at first, and he
replaced the watch in his fob. He would go to bed--it was time to go to
bed; and the force of habits acquired at the Red Lion, where he usually
went to bed drunk at midnight, aided him in this resolution. But when he
stood upon his legs this project did not seem quite so easy of
realization as it had done when viewed in theory from the arm-chair.
"Go to bed!" said Mr. Isaac; "but how are we to manage it?"

There were two candles burning on the table. He blew one of them out,
and took the other in his hand. He took up the volume of Macaulay, with
an idea that it ought to be put somewhere, but his mind did not
successfully apply itself to the solution of this difficulty, and he
laid the book down again with an air of slight disappointment, and a
certain sense of failure. He staggered towards the doorway, steadied
himself with an effort, and made a shot at it with triumphant success,
for he found himself now in the little entrance-hall. The staircase was
a narrow one, and closed by a door, and the door of the cellar was next
to it. Instead of taking the door that led up to his bedroom, Mr. Ogden
took that of the cellar, descended a step or two, discovered his
mistake, and, in the attempt to turn round, fell backwards heavily down
the stone stair, and lay at last on the cold pavement, motionless, and
in total darkness.

He might have remained there all night, but there was a sharp little
Scotch terrier dog that belonged to little Jacob, and was domiciled in a
snug kennel in the kitchen. The watchful animal had been perfectly aware
that Mr. Ogden was crossing the entrance on his way to his bedroom, but
if Feo made any reflections on the subject they were probably confined
to wonder that the master of the house should go to bed so unusually
late. When, however, the heavy _thud_ of Mr. Ogden's body on the
staircase and the loud, sharp clatter of the falling candlestick came
simultaneously to her ears, Feo quitted her lair at a bound, and, guided
by her sure scent, was down in the dark cellar in an instant. A less
intelligent dog than Feorach (for that was her Gaelic name in the far
Highlands where she was born) would have known that something was wrong,
and that the cold floor of the cellar was not a suitable bed for a
gentleman; and no sooner had Feorach ascertained the state of affairs
than she rushed to the upper regions.

Feorach went to the door of little Jacob's chamber, and there set up
such a barking and scratching as awoke even _him_ from the sound sleep
of childhood. Old Sarah came into the passage with a lighted candle,
where Jim joined her, rubbing his eyes, still heavy with interrupted
sleep. "There's summat wrong," said old Sarah; "I'm feared there's
summat wrong."

"Stop you here," said Jim, "I'll wake master: he's gotten loaded pistols
in his room. If it's thieves, it willn't do to feight 'em wi' talk and a
tallow candle."

Jim knocked at his master's door, and, having waited in vain a second or
two for an answer, determined to open it. There was no one in the room,
and the bed had not been slept upon.

"Hod thy din, dog," said Jim to Feorach; and then, with a grave, pale
face, said, "It isn't thieves; it's summat 'at's happened to our
master."

Now Lancashire people of the class to which Jim and Sarah belonged
never, or hardly ever, use the verb _to die_, but in the place of it
employ the periphrase of something happening; and, as he chanced to use
this expression now, the idea conveyed to Sarah's mind was the idea of
death, and she believed that Jim had seen a corpse in the room. He
perceived this, and drew her away, whispering, "He isn't there: you stop
wi' little Jacob." So the man took the candle, and left Sarah in the
dark with the child, both trembling and wondering.

Feorach led Jim down into the cellar, and he saw the dark inert mass at
the bottom of the steps. A chill shudder seized him as he recognized the
white, inanimate face. One of Mr. Ogden's hands lay upon the floor; Jim
ventured to touch it, and found it deadly cold. A little blood oozed
from the back of the head, and had matted the abundant brown hair.
Perhaps the hand may have been cold simply from contact with the stone
flag, but Jim did not reflect about this, and concluded that Mr. Ogden
was dead. He went hastily back to old Sarah. "Master Jacob," he said,
"you must go to bed."

"No, I won't go to bed, Jim!"

"My lad," said old Sarah, "just come into your room, and I'll light you
a candle." So she lighted a candle, and then left the child, and Jim
quietly locked the door upon him. The lock was well oiled, and Jacob did
not know that he was a prisoner.

"Now what is't?" said old Sarah, in a whisper.

"Master's deead: he's fallen down th' cellar-steps and killed hisself."

Old Sarah had been fully prepared for some terrible communication of
this kind, and did not utter a syllable. She simply followed the man,
and between them they lifted Mr. Ogden, and carried him, not without
difficulty, up the cellar-steps. Sarah carried the head, and Jim the
legs and feet, and old Sarah's bed-gown was stained with a broad patch
of blood.

It is one of the most serious inconveniences attending a residence in
the country that on occasions of emergency it is not possible to procure
prompt medical help; and Twistle Farm was one of those places where this
inconvenience is felt to the uttermost. When they had got Mr. Ogden on
the bed, Jim said, "I mun go an' fetch Dr. Bardly, though I reckon it's
o' no use;" and he left Sarah alone with the body.

The poor woman anticipated nothing but a dreary watch of several hours
by the side of a corpse, and went and dressed herself, and lighted a
fire in Mr. Ogden's room. Old Sarah was not by any means a woman of a
pusillanimous disposition; but it may be doubted whether, if she had had
any choice in the matter, a solitary watch of this kind would have been
exactly to her taste. However, when the fire was burning briskly, she
drew a rocking-chair up to it, and, in order to keep up her courage
through the remainder of the night, fetched a certain physic-bottle from
the kitchen, and her heavy lead tobacco-pot, for like many old women
about Shayton she enjoyed the solace of a pipe. She did not attempt to
lay out the body, being under the impression that the coroner might be
angry with her for having done so when the inquest came to be held.

The physic-bottle was full of rum, and Sarah made herself a glass of
grog, and lighted her pipe, and looked into the fire. She had drawn the
curtains all round Mr. Ogden's bed; ample curtains of pale-brown damask,
with an elaborate looped valance, from whose deep festoons hung
multitudes of little pendants of turned wood covered with flossy silk.
The movement communicated to these pendants by the act of drawing the
curtains lasted a very long time, and Sarah was startled more than once
when on looking round from her arm-chair she saw them swinging and
knocking against each other still. As soon as the first shock of alarm
was past, the softer emotions claimed their turn, and the old woman
began to cry, repeating to herself incessantly, "And quite yoong too,
quite yoong, quite a yoong man!"

Suddenly she was aware of a movement in the room. Was it the little dog?
No; Feorach had elected to stay with his young master, and both little
Jacob and his dog were fast asleep in another room. She ventured to look
at the great awful curtained bed. The multitudinous pendants had not
ceased to swing and vibrate, and yet it was now a long time since Sarah
had touched the curtains. She wished they would give up and be still;
but whilst she was looking at them and thinking this, a little sharp
shock ran round the whole valance, and the pendants rattled against each
other with the low dull sound which was all that their muffling of silk
permitted; a low sound, but an audible one,--audible especially to ears
in high excitement; a stronger shock, a visible agitation, not only of
the tremulous pendants, but even of the heavy curtain-folds themselves.
Then they open, and Mr. Ogden's pale face appears.

"Well, Sarah, I hope you've made yourself comfortable, you damned old
rum-drinking thief! D'ye think I can't smell rum? Give me that bottle."

Sarah was much too agitated to say or do any thing whatever. She had
risen from her chair, and stood looking at the bed in speechless
amazement. Mr. Ogden got up, and walked towards the fire with an
unsteady pace. Then he possessed himself of the rum-bottle, and, putting
it to his lips, began to swallow the contents. This brought Sarah to
herself.

"Nay, nay, master: you said as you wouldn't drink no sperrits at Twistle
Farm upo' no 'count."

But the rum had been tasted, and the resolution broken. It had been
broken before as to the intention and meaning of it, and was now broken
even as to the letter. Isaac Ogden had got drunk at Twistle Farm; and
now he was drinking spirits there, not even diluting them with water.

After emptying old Sarah's bottle, which fortunately did not contain
enough to endanger, for the present, his existence, Mr. Ogden staggered
back to his bed, and fell into a drunken sleep, which lasted until Dr.
Bardly's arrival. The Doctor found the wound at the back of the head
exceedingly slight; there was abrasure of the skin and a swelling, but
nothing more. The blood had ceased to flow soon after the accident; and
there would be no worse results from it than the temporary
insensibility, from which the patient had already recovered. The most
serious results of what had passed were likely, for the present, to be
rather moral than physical. Dr. Bardly greatly dreaded the moral
depression which must result from the breaking down of the only
resolution which stood between his friend and an utter abandonment to
his propensity. Twistle Farm would no longer be a refuge for him against
the demon, for the demon had been admitted, had crossed the threshold,
had taken possession.

Mr. Ogden was not in a condition to be advised, for he was not yet
sober, and, if he had been, the Doctor felt that advice was not likely
to be of any use: he had given enough of it already. The parson might
try, if he liked, but it seemed to the Doctor that the case had now
become one of those incurable cases which yield neither to the desire of
self-preservation nor to the fear of hell; and that if the warnings of
science were disregarded by a man intelligent enough to appreciate the
certainty of the data on which they were founded, those of religion were
not likely to have better success.



CHAPTER V.

FATHER AND SON.


Mr. Ogden came downstairs in the middle of the day, and ordered
breakfast and dinner in one meal. He asked especially for Sarah's
small-beer, and drank two or three large glasses of it. He did not eat
much, and used an unusual quantity of pepper. He was extremely taciturn,
contrarily to his ordinary habit, for he commonly talked very freely
with old Sarah whilst she served him. When his repast was finished, he
expressed a wish to see little Jacob.

"Good morning, papa! I hope you are better. Sarah says you were poorly
last night when Feorach barked so."

"Oh, she says I was poorly, does she? Then she lies: I wasn't poorly,--I
was drunk. I want you to read to me."

"Must I read in that book Mr. Prigley gave me when he came?"

"Read what you please."

So little Jacob opened for the first time a certain volume which will be
recognized by every reader when he begins:--

      "'The way was long, the wind was cold.
      The minstrel was infirm and old.'"

"That would be difficult," said Mr. Ogden.

"What, papa?"

"I say, it would be difficult."

Little Jacob felt rather frightened. He did not understand in what the
supposed difficulty consisted, and yet felt that he was expected to
understand it. He did not dare to ask a second time for enlightenment on
the point, so he stood quite still and said nothing. His father waited
a minute in perfect silence, and then burst out,--

"Why, you little confounded blockhead, I mean that it would be difficult
for a man to be infirm and bold at the same time! Infirm people are
timid, commonly."

"Please, papa, it doesn't say infirm and bold--it says infirm and
old--see, papa;" and little Jacob pointed with his finger to the place.

"Then you read damned badly, for you read it 'bold,' and it's 'old.' I
expect you to read better than that--you read badly, damned badly."

"Please, papa, I read it 'old' the first time, and not 'bold.'"

"Then you mean to say I cannot trust my own ears, you little impertinent
monkey. I say you read it 'bold,' and I heard you."

An elder person would have perceived that Mr. Ogden was ill, and humored
him; and a child of a more yielding disposition would have submitted to
the injustice, and acquiesced. But little Jacob had an instinctive
hatred of injustice, and his whole nature rose in revolt. He had also
made up his mind never to tell lies--less perhaps from principle than
from a feeling that it was cowardly. The present was an occasion which
roused these feelings in all their energy. He was required to utter a
falsehood, and submit to an injustice.

"No, papa, I said 'old.' I didn't say 'bold' at all. It was you that
heard wrong."

Mr. Ogden became white with anger. "Oh, _I_ was mistaken, was I? Do you
mean to say that I am deaf?"

"No, papa."

"Well, then, if I'm not deaf I have been lying. I am a liar, am I?"

The state of extreme nervous depression, in combination with
irritability, under which Mr. Ogden's system was laboring that day, made
him a dangerous man to contradict, and not by any means a pleasant
antagonist in argument. But he was not altogether lost; he still kept
some control over himself, in proof of which may be mentioned the fact
that he simply dismissed little Jacob without even a box on the ear. "He
deserves a good thrashing," said Mr. Ogden; "but if I were to begin with
him I should nearly kill him, the little impudent scoundrel!"

The afternoon was exceedingly dull and disagreeable to Mr. Ogden. He
walked out into his fields and round the pond. He had made a small
footpath for his walks, which, after leaving the front-door first, went
all round the pond, and then up to the rocks that overlooked the little
valley, and from which he enjoyed a very extensive view. There were
several springs in the little hollow, but before Mr. Ogden's settlement
they had contented themselves with creating those patches of that
emerald grass, set in dark heather, which are so preciously beautiful in
the scenery of the moors. At each of these springs Mr. Ogden had made a
circular stone-basin, with a water-duct to his pond, and it was his
fancy to visit these basins rather frequently to see that they were kept
clean and in order. He did so this afternoon, from habit, and by the
time he had finished his round it was nearly dark.

He was intensely miserable. Twistle Farm had been sweet and dear to him
because he had jealously guarded the purity of the associations that
belonged to it. Neither in the house nor in the little undulating fields
that he had made was there a single object to remind him of his weakness
and his sin, and therefore the place had been a refuge and a sanctuary.
It could never again be for him what it had been; this last lamentable
failure had broken down the moral defences of his home, and invaded it
and contaminated it for ever. Whatever the future might bring, the event
of the past night was irrevocable; he had besotted himself with drink;
he had brought the mire of the outer world into his pure dwelling, and
defiled it. Isaac Ogden felt this the more painfully that he had little
of the support of religion, and few of the consolations and
encouragements of philosophy. A religious mind would have acknowledged
its weakness and repented of its sin, yet in the depths of its
humiliation hoped still for strength from above, and looked and prayed
for ultimate deliverance and peace. A philosophic mind would have
reflected that moral effort is not to be abandoned for a single relapse,
or even for many relapses, and would have addressed itself only the more
earnestly to the task of self-reformation that the need for effort had
made itself so strikingly apparent. But Mr. Ogden had neither the faith
which throws itself on the support of Heaven, nor the faculty of judging
of his own actions with the impartiality of the independent intellect.
He was simply a man of the world, so far as such a place as Shayton
could develop a man of the world, and had neither religious faith nor
intellectual culture. Therefore his misery was the greater for the
density of the darkness in which he had stumbled and fallen. What he
needed was light of some sort; either the beautiful old lamp of faith,
with its wealth of elaborate imagery, or the plainer but still bright
and serviceable gas-light of modern thought and science. Mr. Prigley
possessed the one, and the Doctor gave his best labor to the maintenance
of the other; but Mr. Ogden was unfortunate in not being able to profit
by the help which either of these friends would have so willingly
afforded.

No one except Dr. Bardly had suspected the deplorable fact that Mr.
Ogden was no longer in a state of mental sanity. The little incident
just narrated, in which he had mistaken one word for another, and
insisted, with irritation, that the error did not lie with him, had been
a common one during the last few weeks, whenever little Jacob read to
him. If our little friend had communicated his sorrows to the Doctor,
this fact would have been a very valuable one as evidence of his
father's condition; but he never mentioned it to any one except his
grandmother and old Sarah, who both inferred that the child had read
inaccurately, and saw no reason to suspect the justice of Mr. Ogden's
criticism. The truth was, that by a confusion very common in certain
forms of brain-disease, a sound often suggested to Mr. Ogden some other
sound resembling it, or of which it formed a part, and the mere
suggestion became to him quite as much a fact as if he had heard it with
his bodily ears. Thus, as we have seen, the word "old" had suggested
"bold;" and when, as in that instance, the imagined word did not fit in
very naturally with the sense of the passage, Mr. Ogden attributed the
fault to little Jacob's supposed inaccuracy in reading. Indeed he had
now a settled conviction that his son was unpardonably careless, and no
sooner did the child open his book to read, than his father became
morbidly expectant of some absurd mistake, which, of course, never
failed to arrive, and to give occasion for the bitterest reproaches.

On his return to the house Mr. Ogden desired his son's attendance, and
requested him to resume his reading. Little Jacob took up his book
again, and this time, as it happened, Mr. Ogden heard the second line
correctly, and expressed his satisfaction. But in the very next
couplet--

      "His withered cheek and tresses gray
      Seemed to have known a better day"--

Mr. Ogden found means to imagine another error. "It seems to me
curious," said he, "that Scott should have described the minstrel as
having a 'withered cheek and tresses gay;' there could be little gayety
about him, I should imagine."

"Please, papa, it isn't gay, but gray."

"Then why the devil do you read so incorrectly? I have always to be
scolding you for making these absurd mistakes!"

If little Jacob had had an older head on his shoulders he would have
acquiesced, and tried to get done with the reading as soon as possible,
so as to make his escape. But it was repugnant to him to admit that he
had made a blunder of which he was innocent, and he answered,--

"But, papa, I read it right--I said _gray_; I didn't say _gay_."

Mr. Ogden made a violent effort to control himself, and said, with the
sort of calm that comes of the intensest emotion,--

"Then you mean to say I am deaf."

Little Jacob had really been thinking that his father might be deaf, and
admitted as much.

"Fetch me my riding-whip."

Little Jacob brought the whip, expecting an immediate application of it,
but Mr. Ogden, still keeping a strong control over himself, merely took
the whip in his hands, and began to play with it, and look at its silver
top, which he rubbed a little with his pocket-handkerchief. Then he took
a candle in his right hand, and brought the flame quite close to the
silver ornament, examining it with singular minuteness, so as apparently
to have entirely ceased to pay attention to his son's reading, or even
to hear the sound of his voice.

"Is this my whip?"

"Yes, papa."

"Well, then, I am either blind or I have lost my memory. My whip was
precisely like this, except for one thing--my initials were engraved
upon it, and I can see no initials here."

Little Jacob began to feel very nervous. A month before the present
crisis he had taken his father's whip to ride with, and lost it on the
moor, after dark, where he and Jim had sought for it long, and vainly.
Little Jacob had since consulted a certain saddler in Shayton, a friend
of his, as to the possibility of procuring a whip of the same pattern as
the lost one, and it had fortunately happened that this saddler had
received two precisely alike, of which Mr. Isaac Ogden had bought one,
whilst the other remained unsold. There was thus no difficulty in
replacing the whip so as to deceive Mr. Ogden into the belief that it
had never been lost, or rather so as to prevent any thought or suspicion
from presenting itself to his mind. When the master of a house has
given proofs of a tyrannical disposition, or of an uncontrollable and
unreasonable temper, a system of concealment naturally becomes habitual
in his household, and the most innocent actions are hidden from him as
if they were crimes. Some trifling incident reveals to him how
sedulously he is kept in ignorance of the little occurrences which make
up the existence of his dependants, and then he is vexed to find himself
isolated and cut off from their confidence and sympathy.

Mr. Ogden continued. "This is _not_ my whip; it is a whip of the same
pattern, that some people have been buying to take me in. Fetch me my
own whip--the one with my initials."

Little Jacob thought the opportunity for escaping from the room too good
to be thrown away, and vanished. Mr. Ogden waited quietly at first, but,
after ten minutes had escaped, became impatient, and rang the bell
violently. Old Sarah presented herself.

"Send my son here."

On his reappearance, little Jacob was in that miserable state of
apprehension in which the most truthful child will lie if it is in the
least bullied or tormented, and in which indeed it is not possible to
extract pure truth from its lips without great delicacy and tenderness.

"Have you brought my whip?"

"Please, papa," said little Jacob, who began to get very red in the
face, as he always did when he told a downright fib--"please, papa,
that's your whip." There was a mental reservation here, slightly
Jesuitical; for the boy had reflected, during his brief absence, that
since he had given that whip to Mr. Ogden, it now, of course, might
strictly be said to belong to him.

"What has become of my whip with I. O. upon it?"

"It's that whip, papa; only you--you told Jim to clean the silver top,
and--and perhaps he rubbed the letters off."

"You damned little lying sneaking scoundrel, this whip is perfectly
new; but it will not be new long, for I will lay it about you till it
isn't worth twopence."

The sharp switching strokes fell fast on poor little Jacob. Some of them
caught him on the hands, and a tremendous one came with stinging effect
across his lips and cheek; but it was not the first time he had endured
an infliction of this sort, and he had learned the art of presenting his
body so as to shield the more sensitive or least protected places. On
former occasions Mr. Ogden's anger had always cooled after a score or
two of lashes, but this time it rose and rose with an ever-increasing
violence. Little Jacob began to find his powers of endurance exhausted,
and, with the nimble ingenuity of his years, made use of different
articles of furniture as temporary barriers against his enemy. For some
time he managed to keep the table between Mr. Ogden and himself, but his
father's arm was long, and reached far, and the child received some
smarting cuts about the face and neck, so then he tried the chairs. Mr.
Ogden, who was by this time a furious madman, shivered his whip to
pieces against the furniture, and then, throwing it with a curse into
the fire, looked about him for some other means of chastisement. Now
there hung a mighty old hunting-whip in a sort of trophy with other
memorials of the chase, and he took this down in triumph. The long
knotted lash swung heavily as he poised it, and there was a steel hammer
at the end of the stick, considered as of possible utility in replacing
lost nails in the shoes of hunters.

A great terror seized little Jacob, a terror of that utterly hopeless
and boundless and unreasoning kind that will sometimes take possession
of the nervous system of a child--a terror such as the mature man does
not feel even before imminent and violent death, and which he can only
conceive or imagine by a reference to the dim reminiscences of his
infancy. The strong man standing there menacing, armed with a whip like
a flail, his eyes glaring with the new and baleful light of madness,
became transfigured in the child's imagination to something
supernatural. How tall he seemed, how mighty, how utterly irresistible!
When a Persian travels alone in some wide stony desert, and sees a
column of dust rise like smoke out of the plain and advance rapidly
towards him, and believes that out of the column one of the malignant
genii will lift his colossal height, and roll his voice of thunder, and
wield his sword of flame, all that that Persian dreads in the utmost
wildness of his credulous Oriental imagination this child felt as a
present and visible fact. The Power before him, in the full might and
height of manhood, in the fury of madness, lashing out the great thong
to right and left till it cracked like pistol-shots--with glaring eyes,
and foaming lips out of which poured curses and blasphemies--was this a
paternal image, was it civilized, was it human? The aspect of it
paralyzed the child, till a sharp intolerable pain came with its fierce
stimulus, and he leaped out from behind his barricade and rushed towards
the door.

The lad had thick fair hair in a thousand natural curls. He felt a
merciless grip in it, and his forehead was drawn violently backwards.
Well for him that he struggled and writhed! for the steel hammer was
aimed at him now, and the blows from it crashed on the furniture as the
aim was continually missed.

The man-servant was out in the farm-buildings, and old Sarah had been
washing in an out-house. She came in first, and heard a bitter cry. Many
a time her heart had bled for the child, and now she could endure it no
longer. She burst into the room, she seized Ogden's wrist and drove her
nails into it till the pain made him let the child go. She had left both
doors open. In an instant little Jacob was out of the house.

Old Sarah was a strong woman, but her strength was feebleness to
Ogden's. He disengaged himself quite easily, and at every place where
his fingers touched her there was a mark on her body for days. The
child heard curses following him as he flew over the smooth grass. The
farm was bounded by a six-foot wall. The curses came nearer and nearer;
the wall loomed black and high. "I have him now," cried Ogden, as he saw
the lad struggling to get over the wall.

Little Jacob felt himself seized by the foot. An infinite terror
stimulated him, and he wrenched it violently. A sting of anguish crossed
his shoulders where the heavy whip-lash fell,--a shoe remained in
Ogden's hand.



CHAPTER VI.

LITTLE JACOB IS LOST.


Ogden flung the shoe down with an imprecation, and the whip after it. He
then climbed the wall and tried to run, but the ground here was rough
moorland, and he fell repeatedly. He saw no trace of little Jacob. He
made his way back to the house, sullen and savage, and besmeared with
earth and mud.

"Give me a lantern, damn you," he said to old Sarah, "and look sharp!"

Old Sarah took down a common candle-lantern, and purposely selected one
with a hole in it. She also chose the shortest of her candle-ends. Ogden
did not notice these particulars in his impatience, and went out again.
Just then Jim came in.

"Well," said old Sarah, "what d'ye think master's done? He's licked
little Jacob while[5] he's wenly[6] kilt him, but t' little un's reight
enough now. He'll never catch him."

"What! has little Jacob run away?"

"Ay, that he has; and he _can_ run, can little Jacob; and he knows all
th' places about. I've no fears on him. Master's gone after him wi' a
lantern wi' a hoile in it, and auve a hinch o' cannle. It's like
catchin' a bird wi' a pinch o' salt."

"Little un's safe enough, I'se warrant him."

"We mun just stop quite[7] till th' ould un's i' bedd, and then we'll go
and seech[8] little Jacob."

In a quarter of an hour Ogden came back again. His light had gone out,
and he threw the lantern down on the kitchen-floor without a word, and
shut himself up in his sitting-room.

The furniture was in great disorder. The chairs were all overturned, the
mahogany table bore deep indentations from the blows of the hammer. Some
pieces of old china that had ornamented the chimney-piece lay scattered
on the hearth. He lifted up a chair and sat upon it. The disorder was
rather pleasing to him than otherwise; he felt a bitter satisfaction in
the harmony between it and the state of his own mind. A large fragment
of broken china lay close to his foot. It belonged to a basin, which,
having been broken only into three or four pieces, was still repairable.
Ogden put it under his heel and crushed it to powder, feeling a sort of
grim satisfaction in making repair out of the question.

He sat in perfect inaction for about a quarter of an hour, and then rang
the bell. "Bring me hot water, and, stop--put these things in their
places, will you?"

Old Sarah restored some order in the room, removed the broken china, and
brought the hot water.

"Now, bring me a bottle of rum."

"Please, Mestur Ogden, you've got no rum in the house."

"No, but you have."

"Please, sir, I've got very little. I think it's nearly all done."

"D'ye think I want to rob you? I'll pay ye for't, damn you!"

"Mestur Ogden, you don't use drinkin' sperrits at Twistle Farm."

Ogden gave a violent blow on the table with his fist, and shouted,
"Bring me a bottle of rum, a bottle of rum! D'ye think you're to have
all the rum in the world to yourself, you drunken old witch?"

There was that in his look which cowed Sarah, and she reflected that he
might be less dangerous if he were drunk. So she brought the rum.

Ogden was pouring himself a great dose into a tumbler, when a sudden
hesitation possessed him, and he flung the bottle from him into the
fireplace. There was a shivering crash, and then a vast sheet of
intolerable flame. The intense heat drove Ogden from the hearth. He
seized the candle, and went upstairs into his bedroom.

Sarah and Jim waited to see whether he would come down again, but he
remained in his room, and they heard the boards creak as he walked from
wall to wall. This continued an hour. At last old Sarah said,--

"I cannot bide no longer. Let's go and seech th' childt;" and she
lighted two lanterns, which, doubtless, were in better condition, and
better provided with candles, than the one she had lent to Mr. Ogden.

They went into the stable and cowhouse (or _mistle_ as it was called in
that country), and called in the softest and most winning tones their
voices knew how to assume. "Little Jacob, little Jacob, come, my lad,
come; it's nobbut old Sarah an' Jim. Mestur's i' bedd."

They went amongst the hay with their lanterns, in spite of the risk of
setting it on fire, but he was not there. He was not to be found in any
of the out-buildings. Suddenly an idea struck Jim.

"If we'd nobbut his bit of a dog, who'd find him, sure enough."

But Feorach had disappeared. Feorach was with her young master.

They began to be rather alarmed, for it was very cold, and intensely
dark. The lad was certainly not on the premises. They set off along the
path that led to the rocks. They examined every nook and cranny of the
huge masses of sandstone, and their lanterns produced the most
unaccustomed effects, bringing out the rough projections of the rock
against the unfathomable black sky, and casting enormous shadows from
one rock to another. Wherever their feet could tread they went, missing
nothing; but the lad was not amongst the rocks. It began to be clear to
them that he could not even be in a place of such shelter as that. He
must be out on the open moor.

"We mun go and tell Mestur," said Jim. "If he's feared about th' childt,
he willn't be mad at him."

So they returned straight to the house, and went to Mr. Ogden's room. He
had gone to bed, but was not asleep. If he thought about little Jacob at
all, his reflections were probably not of an alarming kind. The child
would come back, of course.

"Please, sir," said Jim, "Master Jacob isn't come back, and we can't
find him."

"He'll come back," said Ogden.

"Please, sir, I'm rather feared about him," said Jim; "it's nearly two
hours sin' he left the house, and it's uncommon cold. We've been seekin'
him all up and down, old Sarah and me, and he's nowhere about th'
premises, and he isn't about th' rocks neither."

Mr. Ogden began to feel rather alarmed. The paroxysm of his irritation
was over by this time, and he had become rational again; indeed his mind
was clearer, and, in a certain sense, calmer, than it had been for two
or three days. For the last half-hour he had been suffering only from
great prostration, and a feeling of dulness and vacancy, which this new
anxiety effectually removed. Notwithstanding the violence of his recent
treatment of his son--a violence which had frequently broken out during
several months, and which had culminated in the scene described in the
last chapter, when it had reached the pitch of temporary insanity--he
really had the deepest possible affection for his child, and this
paternal feeling was more powerful than he himself had ever consciously
known or acknowledged. When once the idea was realized that little Jacob
might be suffering physically from the cold, and mentally from a dread
of his father, which the events of the night only too fully justified,
Mr. Ogden began to feel the tenderest care and anxiety. "I'll be down
with you in a moment," he said. "See that the lanterns are in good
order. Have the dogs ready to go with us--they may be of some use."

He came downstairs with a serious but quite reasonable expression on his
face. He spoke quite gently to old Sarah, and said, with a half-smile,
"You needn't give me a lantern with a hole in it this time;" and then he
added, "I wasted all that rum you gave me."

"It 'ud 'ave been worst wasted if you'd swallowed it, Mestur."

"It would--it would; but we may need a little for the lad if we find
him--very cold, you know. Give a little to Jim, if you have any; and
take a railway rug, or a blanket from my bed, to wrap him in if he
should need it."

The dogs were in the kitchen now--a large mastiff and a couple of
pointers. Mr. Ogden took down a little cloak that belonged to Jacob, and
made the dogs smell at it. Then he seemed to be looking about for
something else.

"Are ye seekin' something, Mr. Ogden?"

"I want something to make a noise with, Sarah." She fetched the little
silver horn that had been the Doctor's last present to his young friend.
"That's it," said Mr. Ogden; "he'll know the sound of that when he hears
it."

The little party set out towards the moor. Mr. Ogden led it to the place
where Jacob had crossed the wall; and as Jim was looking about with his
lantern he called out, "Why, master, here's one of his shoes,
and--summat else."

The "summat else" was the great whip.

Mr. Ogden took the shoe up, and the whip. They were within a few yards
of the pond, and he went down to the edge of it. A slight splash was
heard, and he came back without the whip. The weight of the steel hammer
had sunk it, and hidden it from his eyes for ever. He carried the little
shoe in his right hand.

When they had crossed the wall, Mr. Ogden bent down and put the shoe on
the ground, and called the dogs. The pointers understood him at once,
and went rapidly on the scent, whilst the little party followed them as
fast as they could.

It led out upon the open moor. When they were nearly a mile from the
house, Mr. Ogden told Sarah to go back and make a fire in little Jacob's
room, and warm his bed. The two men then went forward in silence.

It was bitterly cold, and the wind began to rise, whistling over the
wild moor. It was now eleven o'clock; Mr. Ogden looked at his watch.
Suddenly the dogs came to a standstill; they had reached the edge of a
long sinuous bog with a surface of treacherous green, and little black
pools of peat-water and mud. Mr. Ogden knew the bog perfectly, as he
knew every spot on the whole moor that he was accustomed to shoot over,
and he became terribly anxious. "We must mark this spot," he said; but
neither he nor Jim carried a stick, and there was no wood for miles
round. The only resource was to make a little cairn of stones.

When this was finished, Mr. Ogden stood looking at the bog a few
minutes, measuring its breadth with his eye. He concluded that it was
impossible for a child to leap over it even at the narrowest place, and
suggested that little Jacob must have skirted it. But in which
direction--to the right hand or the left? The dogs gave no indication;
they were off the scent. Mr. Ogden followed the edge of the bog to the
right, and after walking half a mile, turned the extremity of it, and
came again on the other side till he was opposite the cairn he had made.
The dogs found no fresh scent; they were perfectly useless. "Make a
noise," said Mr. Ogden to Jim; "make a noise with that horn."

Jim blew a loud blast. There came no answering cry. The wind whistled
over the heather, and a startled grouse whirred past on her rapid
wings.

An idea was forcing its way into Mr. Ogden's mind--a hateful, horrible,
inadmissible idea--that the foul black pit before him might be the grave
of his only son. How ascertain it? They had not the necessary
implements; and what would be the use of digging in that flowing, and
yielding, and unfathomable black mud? He could not endure the place, or
the intolerable supposition that it suggested, and went wildly on, in
perfect silence, with compressed lips and beating heart, stumbling over
the rough land.

Old Sarah warmed the little bed, and made a bright fire in Jacob's room.
When Ogden came back, he went there at once, and found the old woman
holding a small night-gown to the fire. His face told her enough. His
dress was covered with snow.

"Th' dogs is 'appen mistaken," she said; "little Jacob might be at
Milend by this time."

Mr. Ogden sent Jim down to Shayton on horseback, and returned to the
moor alone. They met again at the farm at three o'clock in the morning.
Neither of them had any news of the child. Jim had roused the household
at Milend, and awakened everybody both at the parsonage and the
Doctor's. He had given the alarm, and he had done the same at the
scattered cottages and, farm-houses between Twistle Farm and Shayton. If
Jacob were seen anywhere, news would be at once sent to his father. Dr.
Bardly was not at home; he had left about noon for Sootythorn on militia
business, and expected to go on to Wenderholme with Colonel Stanburne,
where he intended to pass the night.



CHAPTER VII.

ISAAC OGDEN'S PUNISHMENT.


During what remained of the night, it is unnecessary to add that nobody
at Twistle Farm had rest. The search was continually renewed in various
directions, and always with the same negative result. Mr. Ogden began to
lose hope, and was more and more confirmed in his supposition that his
son must have perished in the bog. Jim returned to Shayton, where he
arrived about half-past four in the morning. When the hands assembled at
Ogden's mill, Mr. Jacob told them that the factory would be closed that
day, but that he would pay them their full wages; and he should feel
grateful to any of the men who would help him in the search for his
little nephew, who had unfortunately disappeared from Twistle on the
preceding evening, and had not been since heard of. He added, that a
reward of a hundred pounds would be given to any one who would bring him
news of the child. Soon after daylight, handbills were posted in every
street in Shayton offering the same reward. Mr. Jacob returned to Milend
from the factory, and prepared to set out for Twistle.

The sun rose in clear frosty air, and the moors were covered with snow.
Large groups began to arrive at the farm about eight o'clock, and at
nine the hill was dotted with searchers in every direction. It was
suggested to Mr. Ogden by a policeman that if he had any intention of
having the pond dragged, it would be well that it should be done at
once, as there was already a thin coat of ice upon it, and it would
probably freeze during the whole of the day and following night, so that
delay would entail great additional labor in the breaking of the ice. An
apparatus was sent up from Shayton for this purpose. Mr. Ogden did not
superintend this operation, but sat alone in his parlor waiting to hear
the result. There was a tap at the door, and the policeman entered.

"We've found nothing in the pond, Mr. Isaac, except--"

"Except what?"

"Only this whip, sir, that must belong to you;" and he produced the whip
with the steel hammer. "It may be an important hindication, sir, if it
could be ascertained whether your little boy had been playin' with it
yesterday evenin'. You don't remember seein' him with it, do you, sir?"

Mr. Ogden groaned, and covered his face with his hands. Then his whole
frame shook convulsively. Old Sarah came in.

"I was just askin' Mr. Ogden whether he knew if the little boy had been
playin' with this 'ere whip yesterday--we've found it in the pond; and
as I was just sayin', it might be a useful hindication."

Old Sarah looked at the whip, which lay wet upon the table. "I seed that
whip yistady, but I dunnot think our little lad played wi' it. He didn't
use playin' wi' that whip. That there whip belongs to his father, an'
it's him as makes use on it, and non little Jacob."

Mr. Ogden removed his hands from his face, and said, "The whip proves
nothing. I threw it into the pond yesterday myself."

The policeman looked much astonished. "It's a fine good whip, sir, to
throw away."

"Well, take it, then, if you admire it I'll make ye a present of it."

"I've no use for it, sir."

"Then, I reckon," said old Sarah, "as you 'aven't got a little lad about
nine year old; such whips as that is consithered useful for thrashin'
little lads about nine year old."

Mr. Ogden could bear this no longer, and said he would go down to the
pond. When he had left the room, old Sarah took up the whip and hung it
in its old place, over the silver spurs. The policeman lingered. Old
Sarah relieved her mind by recounting what had passed on the preceding
evening. "I am some and glad[9] as you brought him that there whip. Th'
sight of it is like pins and needles in 'is een. You've punished 'im
with it far worse than if you'd laid it ovver his shoulthers."

Mr. Ogden gave orders that every one who wanted any thing to eat should
be freely supplied in the kitchen. One of old Sarah's great
accomplishments was the baking of oat-cake, and as the bread in the
house was soon eaten up, old Sarah heated her oven, and baked two or
three hundred oat-cakes. When once the mixture is prepared, and the oven
heated, a skilful performer bakes these cakes with surprising rapidity,
and old Sarah was proud of her skill. If any thing could have relieved
her anxiety about little Jacob, it would have been this beloved
occupation--but not even the pleasure of seeing the thin fluid mixture
spread over the heated sheet of iron, and of tossing the cake
dexterously at the proper time, could relieve the good heart of its
heavy care. Even the very occupation itself had saddening associations,
for when old Sarah pursued it, little Jacob had usually been a highly
interested spectator, though often very much in the way. She had scolded
him many a time for his "plaguiness;" but, alas! what would she have
given to be plagued by that small tormentor now!

The fall of snow had been heavy enough to fill up the smaller
inequalities of the ground, and the hills had that aspect of exquisite
smoothness and purity which would be degraded by any comparison. Under
happier circumstances, the clear atmosphere and brilliant landscape
would have been in the highest degree exhilarating; but I suppose
nobody at Twistle felt that exhilaration now. On the contrary, there
seemed to be something chilling and pitiless in that cold splendor and
brightness. No one could look on the vast sweep of silent snow without
feeling that _somewhere_ under its equal and unrevealing surface lay the
body of a beloved child.

The grave-faced seekers ranged the moors all day, after a regular system
devised by Mr. Jacob Ogden. The circle of their search became wider and
wider, like the circles from a splash in water. In this way, before
nightfall, above thirty square miles had been thoroughly explored. At
last, after a day that seemed longer than the longest days of summer,
the sun went down, and one by one the stars came out. The heavens were
full of their glittering when the scattered bands of seekers met
together again at the farm.

The fire was still kept alive in little Jacob's room. The little
night-gown still hung before it. Old Sarah changed the hot water in the
bed-warmer regularly every hour. Alas! alas! was there any need of these
comforts now? Do corpses care to have their shrouds warmed, or to have
hot-water bottles at their icy feet?

Mr. Ogden, who had controlled himself with wonderful success so long as
the sun shone, began to show unequivocal signs of agitation after
nightfall. He had headed a party on the moor, and came back with a
sinking heart. He had no hope left. The child must certainly have died
in the cold. He went into little Jacob's bedroom and walked about alone
for a few minutes, pacing from the door to the window, and looking out
on the cold white hills, the monotony of which was relieved only by the
masses of black rock that rose out of them here and there. The fire had
burnt very briskly, and it seemed to Mr. Ogden that the little
night-gown was rather too near. As he drew back the chair he gazed a
minute at the bit of linen; his chest heaved with violent emotion, and
then there came a great and terrible agony. He sat down on the low iron
bed, his strong frame shook and quivered, and with painful gasps flowed
the bitter tears of his vain repentance. He looked at the smooth little
pillow, untouched during a whole night, and thought of the dear head
that had pressed it, and might never press it more. Where was it resting
now? Was the frozen snow on the fair cheek and open brow, or--oh horror,
still more horrible!--had he been buried alive in the black and
treacherous pit, and were the dear locks defiled with the mud of the
bog, and the bright eyes filled with its slimy darkness for ever? Surely
he had not descended into _that_ grave; they had done what they could to
sound the place, and had found nothing but earth, soft and yielding--no
fragment of dress had come up on their boat-hooks. It was more endurable
to imagine the child asleep under the snow. When the thaw came they
would find him, and bring him to his own chamber, and lay him again on
his own bed, at least for one last night, till the coffin came up from
Shayton.

How good the child had been! how brutally Ogden felt that he had used
him! Little Jacob had been as forgiving as a dog, and as ready to
respond to the slightest mark of kindness. He had been the light of the
lonely house with his innocent prattle and gayety. Ogden had frightened
him into silence lately, and driven him into the kitchen, where he had
many a time heard him laughing with old Sarah and Jim, and been
unreasonably angry with him for it. Ogden began to see these things in a
different light. "I used him so badly," he thought, "that it was only
natural he should shun and avoid me." And then he felt and knew how much
sweet and pure companionship he had missed. He had not half enjoyed the
blessing he had possessed. He ought to have made himself young again for
the child's sake. Would it have done him any harm to teach little Jacob
cricket, and play at ball with him, or at nine-pins? The boy's life had
been terribly lonely, and his father had done nothing to dissipate or
mitigate its loneliness. And then there came a bitter sense that he had
really loved the child with an immense affection, but that the coldness
and roughness and brutality of his outward behavior had hidden this
affection from his son. In this, however, Mr. Ogden had not been quite
so much to blame as in the agony of his repentance he himself believed.
His self-accusation, like all sincere and genuine self-accusation, had a
touch of exaggeration in it. The wrong that he had done was attributable
quite as much to the temper of the place he lived in as to any peculiar
evil in himself as an individual man. He had spoiled his temper by
drinking, but every male in Shayton did the same; he had been externally
hard and unsympathetic, but the inhabitants of Shayton carried to an
excess the English contempt for the betrayal of the softer emotions. In
all that Ogden had done, in the whole tenor of his life and
conversation, he had merely obeyed the great human instinct of
conformity. Had he lived anywhere else--had he even lived at
Sootythorn--he would have been a different man. Such as he was, he was
the product of the soil, like the hard pears and sour apples that grew
in the dismal garden at Milend.

He had been sitting more than an hour on the bed, when he heard a knock
at the door. It was old Sarah, who announced the arrival of Mr. Prigley
and Mrs. Ogden. Mr. Prigley had been to fetch her from the place where
she was visiting, and endeavored to offer such comfort to her during the
journey as his heart and profession suggested. As on their arrival at
Milend there had been no news of a favorable or even hopeful kind, Mrs.
Ogden was anxious to proceed to Twistle immediately, and Mr. Prigley had
kindly accompanied her.

The reader may have inferred from previous pages of this history, that
although Mr. Prigley may have been a blameless and earnest divine, he
was not exactly the man best fitted to influence such a nature as that
of Isaac Ogden. He had little understanding either of its weakness or
its strength--of its weakness before certain forms of temptation, or its
strength in acknowledging unwelcome and terrible facts. After Mrs. Ogden
had simply said, "Well, Isaac, there's no news of him yet," the
clergyman tried to put a cheerful light on the subject by expressing the
hope that the boy was safe in some farm-house. Mr. Ogden answered that
every farm-house within several miles had been called at, and that
Twistle Farm was the last of the farms on the moor side. It was most
unlikely, in his opinion, that the child could have resisted the cold so
long, especially as he had no provisions of any kind, and was not even
sufficiently clothed to go out; and as he had certainly not called at
any house within seven or eight miles of Twistle, Mr. Ogden could only
conclude that he must have perished on the moor, and that the thick fall
of snow was all that had prevented the discovery of his body.

Mrs. Ogden sat down and began to cry very bitterly. The sorrow of a
person like Mrs. Ogden is at the same time quite frank in its
expression, and perfectly monotonous. Her regrets expressed themselves
adequately in three words, and the repetition of them made her litany of
grief--"Poor little lad!" and then a great burst of weeping, and then
"Poor little lad!" again, perpetually.

The clergyman attempted to "improve" the occasion in the professional
sense. "The Lord hath given," he said, "and the Lord hath taken away;"
then he paused, and added, "blessed be the name of the Lord." But this
brought no solace to Ogden's mind. "It was not the Lord that took the
lad away," he answered; "it was his father that drove him away."

The great agony came over him again, and he flung himself on his breast
upon the sofa and buried his face in the cushions. Then his mother rose
and came slowly to his side, and knelt down by him. Precious maternal
feelings, that had been, as it were, forgotten in her heart for more
than twenty years, like jewels that are worn no more, shone forth once
more from her swimming eyes. "Isaac, lad," she said, with a voice that
sounded in his ears like a far-off recollection of childhood,--"Isaac,
lad, it were none o' thee as did it,--it were drink. Thou wouldn't have
hurt a hair of his head." And she kissed him.

It was a weary night at Twistle. Nobody had any hope left, but they felt
bound to continue the search, and relays of men came up from Shayton for
the purpose. They were divided into little parties of six or eight, and
Mr. Jacob directed their movements. Each group returned to the house
after exploring the ground allotted to it, and Mr. Ogden feverishly
awaited its arrival. The ever-recurring answer, the sad shake of the
head, the disappointed looks, sank into the heart of the bereaved
father. About two in the morning he got a little sleep, and awoke in
half an hour somewhat stronger and calmer.

It is unnecessary to pursue the detail of these sufferings. The days
passed, but brought no news. Dr. Bardly came back from Wenderholme, and
seemed less affected than would have been expected by those who knew his
love and friendship for little Jacob. He paid, however, especial
attention to Mr. Isaac, whom he invited to stay with him for a few
weeks, and who bore his sorrow with a manly fortitude. The Doctor drank
his habitual tumbler of brandy-and-water every evening before going to
bed, and the first evening, by way of hospitality, had offered the same
refreshment to his guest. Mr. Ogden declined simply, and the offer was
not renewed. For the first week he smoked a great deal, and drank large
quantities of soda-water, but did not touch any intoxicating liquor. He
persevered in this abstinence, and declared his firm resolve to continue
it as a visible sign of his repentance, and of his respect to the memory
of his boy. He was very gentle and pleasant, and talked freely with the
Doctor about ordinary subjects; but, for a man whose vigor and energy
had manifested themselves in some abruptness and rudeness in the common
intercourse of life, this new gentleness was a marked sign of sadness.
When the Doctor's servant, Martha, came in unexpectedly and found Mr.
Ogden alone, she often observed that he had shed tears; but he seemed
cheerful when spoken to, and his grief was quiet and undemonstrative.

The search for the child was still actively pursued, and his mysterious
disappearance became a subject of absorbing interest in the
neighborhood. The local newspapers were full of it, and there appeared a
very terrible article in the 'Sootythorn Gazette' on Mr. Ogden's cruelty
to his child. The writer was an inhabitant of Shayton, who had had the
misfortune to have Mr. Jacob Ogden for his creditor, and had been
pursued with great rigor by that gentleman. He got the necessary data
from the policeman who had brought the whip back from the pond, and
wrote such a description of it as made the flesh of the Sootythorn
people creep upon their bones, and their cheeks redden with indignation.
The Doctor happened to be out of the house when this newspaper arrived,
and Mr. Isaac opened it and read the article. The facts stated in it
were true and undeniable, and the victim quailed under his punishment.
If he had ventured into Sootythorn, he would have been mobbed and
pelted, or perhaps lynched. He was scarcely safe even in Shayton; and
when he walked from the Doctor's to Milend, the factory operatives asked
him where his whip was, and the children pretended to be frightened, and
ran out of his way. A still worse punishment was the singular gravity of
the faces that he met--a gravity that did not mean sympathy but censure.
The 'Sootythorn Gazette' demanded that he should be punished--that an
example should be made of him, and so on. The writer had his wish,
without the intervention of the law.

After a few weeks the mystery was decided to be insoluble, and dismissed
from the columns of the newspapers. Even the ingenious professional
detectives admitted that they were at fault, and could hold out no hopes
of a discovery. Mr. Ogden had with difficulty been induced to remain at
the Doctor's during the prosecution of these inquiries; but Dr. Bardly
had represented to him that he ought to have a fixed address in case
news should arrive, and that he need not be wholly inactive, but might
ride considerable distances in various directions, which indeed he did,
but without result.

Mrs. Ogden remained at Milend, but whether from the strength of her
nature, or some degree of insensibility, she did not appear to suffer
greatly from her bereavement, and pursued her usual household avocations
with her accustomed regularity. Mr. Jacob went to his factory, and was
absorbed in the details of business. No one put on mourning, for the
child was still considered as possibly alive, and perhaps his relations
shrank from so decided an avowal of their abandonment of hope. The one
exception to this rule was old Sarah at Twistle, who clad herself in a
decent black dress that she had by her. "If t' little un's deead," she
said, "it's nobbut reight to put mysel' i' black for him; and if he
isn't I'm so sore in my heart ovver him 'at I'm fit to wear nought
else."



CHAPTER VIII.

FROM SOOTYTHORN TO WENDERHOLME.


The next scene of our story is in the Thorn Hotel at the prosperous
manufacturing town of Sootythorn, a place superior to Shayton in size
and civilization and selected by the authorities as the headquarters Of
Colonel Stanburne's regiment of militia.

Dr. Bardly arrived at the Thorn the morning after Isaac Ogden's relapse,
having driven all the way from Shayton, through scenery which would have
been comparable to any thing in England, if the valleys had not been
spoiled by cotton-mills, rows of ugly cottages, and dismal-looking
coal-pits.

"Colonel Stanburne's expecting you, Doctor," said Mr. Garley, the
landlord of the Thorn: "he's in the front sitting-room."

The Colonel was sitting by himself, with the 'Times' and a little black
pipe.

"Good morning, Dr. Bardly! you've a nice little piece of work before
you. There are a lot of fellows here to be examined as to their physical
constitution--fellows, you know, who aspire to the honor of serving in
the twentieth regiment of Royal Lancashire Militia."

"Perhaps I'd better begin with the hofficers," said the Doctor.

The Colonel looked alarmed, or affected to be so. "My dear Doctor,
there's not the least necessity for examining officers--it isn't
customary, it isn't legal; officers are always perfect, both physically
and morally."

A theory of this kind came well enough from Colonel Stanburne. He was
six feet high, and the picture of health. He brought forth the fruits of
good living, not, as Mr. Garley did, in a bloated and rubicund face and
protuberant corporation, but in that admirable balance of the whole
human organism which proves the regular and equal performance of all its
functions. Dr. Bardly was a good judge of a man, and he had the same
pleasure in looking at the Colonel that a fox-hunter feels in
contemplating a fine horse. Beyond this, he liked Colonel Stanburne's
society, not precisely, perhaps, for intellectual reasons--for,
intellectually, there was little or nothing in common between the two
men--but because he found in it a sort of mental refreshment, very
pleasant to him after the society at Shayton. The Colonel was a
different being--he lived in a different world from the world of the
Ogdens and their friends; and it amused and interested the Doctor to see
how this strange and rather admirable creature would conduct itself
under the conditions of its present existence. The Doctor, as the reader
must already feel perfectly assured, had not the weakness of
snobbishness or parasitism in any form whatever; and if he liked to go
to Wenderholme with the Colonel, it was not because there was an earl's
daughter there, and the sacred odor of aristocracy about the place, but
rather because he had a genuine pleasure in the society of his friend,
whether amongst the splendors of Wenderholme, or in the parlor of the
inn at Sootythorn.

The Colonel, too, on his part, liked the Doctor, though he laughed at
him, and mimicked him to Lady Helena. The mimicry was not, however, very
successful, for the Doctor's Lancashire dialect was too perfect and too
pure for any mere ultramontane (that is, creature living beyond the
hills that guarded the Shayton valley) to imitate with any approximation
to success. If the Colonel, however, notwithstanding all his study and
effort, could not succeed in imitating the Doctor's happy selection of
expressions and purity of style, he could at any rate give him a
nickname--so he called him Hoftens, not to his face, but to Lady Helena
at home, and to the adjutant, and to one or two other people who knew
him, and the nickname became popular; and, after a while, the officers
called Dr. Bardly Hoftens to his face, which he took with perfect
good-nature. The first time that this occurred, the Doctor (such was the
delicacy of his ear) believed he detected something unusual in the way
an impudent ensign pronounced the word _often_, and asked what he meant,
on which the adjutant interposed, and said,--"Don't mind his impudence,
Doctor; he's mimicking you." "Well," said the Doctor, simply, "I wasn't
aware that there was hany thing peculiar in my pronunciation of the
word, but people _hoftens_ are unaware of their own defects." But we
anticipate.

They lunched at the Thorn with the adjutant, a fair-haired and
delicate-looking little gentleman of exceedingly mild and quiet manners,
whose acquaintance the Doctor had made very recently. Captain Eureton
had retired a year or two before from the regular army, and was now
living in the neighborhood of Sootythorn with his old mother whom he
loved with his whole heart. He had never married, and now there was
little probability of his ever marrying. The people of Sootythorn would
have set him down as a milk-sop if he had not seen a good deal of active
service in India and at the Cape; but a soldier who has been baptized in
the fire of the battle-field has always that fact in his favor, and has
little need to give himself airs of boldness in order to impose upon the
imagination of civilians.

"I believe, Dr. Bardly," said Eureton, "that we are going to have an
officer from your neighborhood, a Mr. Ogden. His name has been put down
for a lieutenant's commission."

"Yes, he's a neighbor of mine," answered the Doctor, rather curtly.

"You should have brought him with you, Doctor," said Colonel Stanburne,
"that we might make his acquaintance. I've never seen him, you know,
and he gets his commission on your recommendation. I should like, as far
as possible, to know the officers personally before we meet for our
first training. What sort of a fellow is Mr. Ogden? Tell us all about
him."

The Doctor felt slightly embarrassed, and showed it in his manner. Any
true description of Isaac Ogden, as he was just then, must necessarily
seem very unfavorable. Dr. Bardly had been to Twistle that very morning
before daylight, and had found Mr. Ogden suffering from the effects of
that fall down the cellar-steps in a state of drunkenness. The Doctor
had that day abandoned all hope of reclaiming Isaac Ogden, and saving
him from the fate that awaited him.

"I've nothing good to tell of Mr. Ogden, Colonel Stanburne. I wish I
hadn't recommended him to you. He's an irreclaimable drunkard!"

"Well, if you'd known it you wouldn't have recommended him, of course.
You found it out since, I suppose. You must try and persuade him to
resign. Tell him there'll be some awfully hard work, especially for
lieutenants."

"I knew that he drank occasionally, but I believed that it was because
he had nobody to talk to except a drunken set at the Red Lion at
Shayton. I thought that if he came into the regiment it would do him
good, by bringing him into more society. Shayton's a terrible place for
drinking. There's a great difference between Shayton and Sootythorn."

"What sort of a man is he in other respects?" asked the Colonel.

"He's right enough for every thing else. He's a good-looking fellow,
tall, and well-built; and he used to be pleasant and good-tempered, but
now his nervous system must be shattered, and I would not answer for
him."

"If you still think he would have sufficient control over himself to
keep sober for a month we might try him, and see whether we cannot do
him some good. Perhaps, as you thought, it's only want of society that
drives him to amuse himself by drinking. Upon my word, I think I should
take to drinking myself if I lived all the year round in such a place as
Sootythorn--and I suppose Shayton's no better."

Captain Eureton, who was simple and even abstemious in his way of
living, and whose appetite had not been sharpened, like that of the
Doctor, by a long drive in the morning, finished his lunch in about ten
minutes, and excused himself on the plea that he had an appointment with
a joiner about the orderly-room, which had formerly been an
infant-school of some Dissenting persuasion, and therefore required
remodelling as to its interior fittings. We shall see more of him in due
time, but for the present must leave him to the tranquil happiness of
devising desks and pigeon-holes in company with an intelligent workman,
than which few occupations can be more delightful.

"Perhaps, unless you've something to detain you in Sootythorn, Doctor,
we should do well to leave here as early as possible. It's a long drive
to Wenderholme--twenty miles, you know; and I always make a point of
giving the horses a rest at Rigton."

As the Doctor had nothing to do in Sootythorn, the Colonel ordered his
equipage. When he drove alone, he always preferred a tandem, but when
Lady Helena accompanied him, he took his seat in a submissive
matrimonial manner in the family carriage. As Wenderholme was so far
from Sootythorn, the Colonel kept two pairs of horses; and one pair was
generally at Wenderholme and the other in Mr. Garley's stables, where
the Colonel had a groom of his own permanently. The only inconvenience
of this arrangement was that the same horses had to do duty in the
tandem and the carriage; but they did it on the whole fairly well and
the Colonel contented himself with the carriage-horses, so far as
driving was concerned.

The Doctor drove his own gig with the degree of skill which results
from the practice of many years; but he had never undertaken the
government of a tandem, and felt, perhaps, a slight shade of anxiety
when John Stanburne took the reins, and they set off at full trot
through the streets of Sootythorn. A manufacturing town, in that
particular stage of its development, is one of the most awkward of all
possible places to drive in--the same street varies so much in breadth
that you never can tell whether there will be room enough to pass when
you get round the corner; and there are alarming noises of many
kinds--the roar of a cotton mill in the street itself, or the
wonderfully loud hum of a foundry, or the incessant clattering
hammer-strokes of a boiler-making establishment--which excite and
bewilder a nervous horse, till, if manageable at all, he is manageable
only with the utmost delicacy and care. As Colonel Stanburne seemed to
have quite enough to do to soothe and restrain his leader, the Doctor
said nothing till they got clear of the last street; but once out on the
broad turnpike, or "Yorkshire Road," the Colonel gave his team more
freedom, and himself relaxed from the rigid accuracy of seat he had
hitherto maintained. He then turned to the Doctor, and began to talk.

"I say, Doctor, why don't you drive a tandem? You--you _ought_ to drive
a tandem. 'Pon my word you ought, seriously, now."

The Doctor laughed. He didn't see the necessity or the duty of driving a
tandem, and so begged to have these points explained to him.

"Well, because, don't you see, when you've only got one horse in your
dog-cart, or gig, or whatever two-wheeled vehicle you may possess,
you've no fun, don't you see?"

The Doctor didn't see, or did not seem to see.

"I mean," proceeded the Colonel, explanatorily, "that you haven't that
degree of anxiety which is necessary to give a zest to existence. Now,
when you've a leader who is almost perfectly free, and over whom you can
only exercise a control of--the most gentle and persuasive kind, you're
always slightly anxious, and sometimes you're _very_ anxious. For
instance, last time we drove back from Sootythorn it was pitch
dark,--wasn't it, Fyser?"

Here Colonel Stanburne turned to his groom, who was sitting behind; and
Fyser, as might be expected, muttered something confirmatory of his
master's statement.

"It was pitch dark; and, by George! the candles in the lamps were too
short to last us; and that confounded Fyser forgot to provide himself
with fresh ones before he left Sootythorn, and--didn't you, Fyser?"

Fyser confessed his negligence.

"And so, when the lamps were out, it was pitch dark; so dark that I
couldn't tell the road from the ditch--upon my word, I couldn't; and I
couldn't see the leader a bit, I could only feel him with the reins. So
I said to Fyser, 'Get over to the front seat, and then crouch down as
low as you can, so as to bring the horses' heads up against the sky, and
tell me if you can see them.' So Fyser crouched down as I told him; and
when I asked him if he saw any thing, he said he _did_ think he saw the
leader's ears. Well, damn it, then, if you _do_ see 'em, I said, keep
your eye on 'em."

"And were you going fast?" asked the Doctor.

"Why, of _course_ we were. We were trotting at the rate of, I should
say, about nine miles an hour; but after a while, Fyser, by hard
looking, began to see rather more distinctly--so distinctly that he
clearly made out the difference between the horses' heads and the
hedges; and he kept calling out 'right, sir,' 'left, sir,' 'all right,
sir,' and so he kept me straight. If he'd been a sailor he'd have said
'starboard' and 'port;' but Fyser isn't a sailor."

"And did you get safe to Wenderholme?"

"Of _course_ we did. Fyser and I _always_ get safe to Wenderholme."

"I shouldn't recommend you to try that experiment hoftens."

"Well, but you see the advantage of driving tandem. If you've only one
horse you know where he is, however dark it is--he's in the shafts, of
course, and you know where to find him: but when you've got a leader you
never exactly know where he is, unless you can see him."

The Doctor didn't see the advantage.

The reader will have gathered from this specimen of Colonel Stanburne's
conversation that he was a pleasant and lively companion; but if he is
rather hasty in forming his opinion of people on a first acquaintance,
he may also infer that the Colonel was a man of somewhat frivolous
character and very moderate intellectual powers. He certainly was not a
genius, but he conveyed the impression of being less intelligent and
less capable of serious thought than nature had made him. His
predominant characteristic was simple good-nature, and he possessed
also, notwithstanding a sort of swagger in his manner, an unusual share
of genuine intellectual humility, that made him contented to pass for a
less able and less informed man than he really was. The Doctor's
perception of character was too acute to allow him to judge Colonel
Stanburne on the strength of a superficial acquaintance, and he clearly
perceived that his friend was in the habit of wearing, as it were, his
lighter nature outside. Some ponderous Philistines in Sootythorn, who
had been brought into occasional contact with the Colonel, and who
confounded gravity of manner with mental capacity, had settled it
amongst themselves that he had no brains; but as the most intelligent of
quadrupeds is at the same time the most lively, the most playful, the
most good-natured, and the most affectionate,--so amongst human beings
it does not always follow that a man is empty because he is lively and
amusing, and seems merry and careless, and says and does some foolish
things.

An hour later they reached Rigton, a little dull village quite out of
the manufacturing district, and where it was the Colonel's custom to
bait. The remainder of the drive was in summer exceedingly beautiful;
but as it passed through a rich agricultural country, whose beauty
depended chiefly on luxuriant vegetation, the present time of the year
was not favorable to it. All this region had a great reputation for
beauty amongst the inhabitants of the manufacturing towns, and no doubt
fully deserved it; but it is probable that their faculties of
appreciation were greatly sharpened by the stimulus of contrast. To get
fairly clear of factory-smoke, to be in the peaceful quiet country, and
see no buildings but picturesque farms, was a definite happiness to many
an inhabitant of Sootythorn. There were fine bits of scenery in the
manufacturing district itself--picturesque glens and gorges, deep
ravines with hidden rivulets, and stretches of purple moorland; but all
this scenery lacked one quality--_amenity_. Now the scenery from Rigton
to Wenderholme had this quality in a very high degree indeed, and it was
instantly felt by every one who came from the manufacturing district,
though not so perceptible by travellers from the south of England. The
Sootythorn people felt a soothing influence on the nervous system when
they drove through this beautiful land; their minds relaxed and were
relieved of pressing cares, and they here fell into a state very rare
indeed with them--a state of semi-poetical reverie.

The reader is already aware that Wenderholme is situated on the opposite
side of the hills which separate Shayton from this favored region, and
close to the foot of them. Great alterations have been made in the house
since the date at which our story begins, and therefore we will not
describe it as it exists at present, but as it existed when the Colonel
drove up the avenue with the Doctor at his side, and the faithful Fyser
jumped up behind after opening the modest green gate. A large rambling
house, begun in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but grievously modernized
under that of King George the Third, it formed three sides of a
quadrangle, and, as is usual in that arrangement of a mansion, had a
great hall in the middle, and the principal reception rooms on each
side on the ground floor. The house was three stories high, and there
were great numbers of bedrooms. An arched porch in the centre, preceded
by a flight of steps, gave entrance at once to the hall; and over the
porch was a projection of the same breadth, continued up to the roof,
and terminated in a narrow gable. This had been originally the centre of
enrichment, and there had been some good sculpture and curious windows
that went all round the projection, and carried it entirely upon their
mullions; but the modernizer had been at work and inserted simple
sash-windows, which produced a deplorable effect. The same owner, John
Stanburne's grandfather, had ruthlessly carried out that piece of
Vandalism over the whole front of the mansion, and, except what
architects call a string-course (which was still traceable here and
there), had effaced every feature that gave expression to the original
design of the Elizabethan builder.

The entrance-hall was a fine room fifty feet long, and as high as two of
the ordinary stories in the mansion. It had, no doubt, been a splendid
specimen of the Elizabethan hall; but the modernizer had been hard at
work here also, and had put himself to heavy expense in order to give it
the aspect of a thoroughly modern interior. The wainscot which had once
adorned the walls, and which had been remarkable for its rich and
fanciful carving, the vast and imaginative tapestries, the heraldic
blazonries in the flaming oriels, the gallery for the musicians on
twisted pillars of sculptured chestnut,--all these glories had been
ruthlessly swept away. The tapestries had been used as carpets, and worn
out; the wainscot had been made into kitchen cupboards, and painted
lead-color; and the magnificent windows had been thrown down on the
floor of a garret, where they had been trodden under foot and crushed
into a thousand fragments: and in place of these things, which the
narrow taste of the eighteenth century had condemned as barbarous,
and destroyed without either hesitation or regret, it had
substituted--what?--absolute emptiness and negation; for the heraldic
oriels, sash-windows of the commonest glass; for the tapestry and
carving, a bare wall of yellow-washed plaster; for the carved beams of
the roof, a blank area of whitewash.

The Doctor found Lady Helena in the drawing-room; a little woman, who
sometimes looked very pretty, and sometimes exceedingly plain, according
to the condition of her health and temper, the state of the weather, and
a hundred things beside. Hence there were the most various and
contradictory opinions about her; the only approach to unanimity being
amongst certain elderly ladies who had formed the project of being
mother-in-law to John Stanburne, and failed in that design. The Doctor
was not much accustomed to ladyships--they did not come often in his
way; indeed, if the truth must be told, Lady Helena was the only
specimen of the kind he had ever enjoyed the opportunity of studying,
and he had been rather surprised, on one or two preceding visits to
Wenderholme, to find that she behaved so nicely. But there are ladyships
and ladyships, and the Doctor had been fortunate in the example which
chance had thrown in his way. For instance, if he had known Lady Eleanor
Griffin, who lived about ten miles from Wenderholme, and came there
occasionally to spend the day, the Doctor would have formed quite a
different opinion of ladyships in general, so much do our impressions of
whole classes depend upon the individual members of them who are
personally known to us.

Lady Helena asked the Doctor a good many questions about Shayton, which
it is quite unnecessary to report here, because the answers to them
would convey no information to the reader which he does not already
possess. Her ladyship inquired very minutely about the clergyman there,
and whether the Doctor "liked" him. Now the verb "to like," when applied
to a clergyman, is used in a special sense. Everybody knows that to like
a clergyman and to like gooseberry-pie are very different things; for
nobody in England eats clergyman, though the natives of New Zealand are
said to appreciate cold roast missionary. But there is yet another
distinction--there is a distinction between liking a clergyman and
liking a layman. If you say you like a clergyman, it is understood that
it gives you a peculiar pleasure to hear him preach, and that you
experience feelings of gratification when he reads prayers. And in this
sense could Dr. Bardly say that he liked the reverend incumbent of his
parish? certainly not; so he seemed to hesitate a little--and if he said
"yes" he said it as if he meant _no_, or a sort of vague, neutral
answer, neither negative nor affirmative.

"I mean," said Lady Helena, "do you like him as a preacher?"

"Upon my word, it's so long since I heard him preach that I cannot give
an opinion."

"Oh! I thought you attended his church. There are other churches in
Shayton, I suppose."

"No, there's only one," said the imprudent and impolitic Doctor.

Lady Helena began to think he was some sort of a Dissenter. She had
heard of Dissenters--she knew that such people existed--but she had
never been brought into contact with one, and it made her feel rather
queer. She felt strongly tempted to ask what place of worship this man
_did_ attend, since by his own confession he never went to his parish
church; but curiosity, and the natural female tendency to be an
inquisitor, were kept in check by politeness, and also, perhaps, a
little restrained by the perfectly fearless aspect of the Doctor's face.
If he had seemed in the least alarmed or apologetic, her ladyship would
probably have assumed the functions of the inquisitor at once; but he
looked so cool, and so very capable of a prolonged and vigorous
resistance, that Lady Helena retired. When she began to talk about Mrs.
Prigley, the Doctor knew that she was already in full retreat.

A little relieved, perhaps (for it is always disagreeable to quarrel
with one's hostess, even though one has no occasion to be afraid of
her), the Doctor gladly told Lady Helena all about Mrs. Prigley, and
even narrated the anecdote about the hole in the carpet, and its
consequences to Mrs. Ogden, which put Lady Helena into good humor, for
nothing is more amusing to rich people than the ludicrous consequences
of a certain kind of poverty. The sense of a pleasant contrast, all in
their own favor, is delightful to them and when the Doctor had told this
anecdote, Lady Helena became agreeably aware that she had carpets, and
that her carpets had no holes in them--two facts of which use and custom
had made her wholly unconscious. Her eye wandered with pleasure over the
broad soft surface of dark pomegranate color, with its large white and
red flowers and its nondescript ornaments of imitated gold, and the
ground seemed richer, and the flowers seemed whiter and redder, because
poor Mrs. Prigley's carpets were in a condition so lamentably different.

"Mrs. Prigley's a relation of yours, Lady Helena,--rather a near
relation,--perhaps you are not aware of it?"

Lady Helena looked, and was, very much surprised. "A relation of _mine_,
Dr. Bardly! you must be mistaken. I believe I know the names of all my
relations!"

"I mean a relation of your husband--of Colonel Stanburne. Mrs. Prigley
was a Miss Stanburne of Byfield, and her father was brother to Colonel
Stanburne's father, and was born in this house."

"That's quite a near relationship indeed," said Lady Helena; "I wonder I
never heard of it. John never spoke to me about Mrs. Prigley."

"There was a quarrel between Colonel Stanburne's father and his uncle,
and there has been no intercourse between their families since. I
daresay the Colonel does not even know how many cousins he had on that
side, or what marriages they made." On this the Colonel came in.

"John, dear, Dr. Bardly has just told me that we have some cousins at
Shayton that I knew nothing about. It's the clergyman and his wife, and
their name is Prig--Prig"--

"Prigley," suggested the Doctor.

"Yes, Prigley; isn't it curious, John? did you know about them?"

"Not very accurately. I knew one of my cousins had married a clergyman
somewhere in that neighborhood, but was not aware that he was the
incumbent of Shayton. I don't know my cousins at all. There was a
lawsuit between their father and mine, and the two branches have never
eaten salt together since. I haven't the least ill-will to any of them,
but there's an awkwardness in making a first step--one never can tell
how it may be received. What do you say, Doctor? How would Mrs.
Prig--Prigley and her husband receive me if I were to go and call upon
them?"

"They'd give you cake and wine."

"Would they really, now? Then I'll go and call upon them. I like cake
and wine--always liked cake and wine."

The conversation about the Prigleys did not end here. The Doctor was
well aware that it would be agreeable to Mrs. Prigley to visit at
Wenderholme, and be received there as a relation; and he also knew that
the good-nature of the Colonel and Lady Helena might be relied upon to
make such intercourse perfectly safe and pleasant. So he made the most
of the opportunity, and that so successfully, that by the time dinner
was announced both John Stanburne and his wife had promised to drive
over some day to Shayton from Sootythorn, and lunch with the Doctor, and
call at the parsonage before leaving.

Colonel Stanburne's conversation was not always very profound, but his
dinners were never dull, for he _would_ talk, and make other people talk
too. He solemnly warned the Doctor not to allow himself to be entrapped
into giving gratuitous medical advice to Lady Helena. "She thinks she's
got fifteen diseases, she does, upon my word; and she's a sort of notion
that because you're the regimental doctor, she has a claim on you for
gratuitous counsel and assistance. Now I consider that I _have_ such a
claim--if a private has it, surely a colonel has it too--and when we
come up for our first training I shall expect you to look at my tongue,
and feel my pulse, and physic me as a militia-man, at her Majesty's
expense. But it is by no means so clear to me that my wife has any right
to gratuitous doctoring, and mind she doesn't extort it from you. She's
a regular screw, my wife is; and she loses no opportunity of obtaining
benefits for nothing." Then he rattled on with a hundred anecdotes about
ladies and doctors, in which there was just enough truth to give a
pretext for his audacious exaggerations.

When they returned to the drawing-room, the Colonel made Lady Helena
sing; and she sang well. The Doctor, like many inhabitants of Shayton,
had a very good ear, and greatly enjoyed music. Lady Helena had seldom
found so attentive a listener; he sought old favorites of his in her
collection of songs, and begged her to sing them one after another. It
seemed as if he never would be tired of listening. Her ladyship felt
pleased and flattered, and sang with wonderful energy and feeling. The
Doctor, though in his innocence he thought only of the pure pleasure her
music gave him, could have chosen no better means of ingratiating
himself in her favor; and if there had not, unhappily, been that dark
and dubious question about church attendance, which made her ladyship
look upon him as a sort of Dissenter, or worse, the Doctor would that
night have entered into relations of quite frank and cordial friendship
with Lady Helena. English ladies are very kind and forgiving on many
points. A man may be notoriously immoral, or a gambler, or a drinker,
yet if he be well off they will kindly ignore and pass over these little
defects; but the unpardonable sin is failure in church attendance, and
they will not pass over _that_. Lady Helena, in her character of
inquisitor, had discovered this symptom of heresy, and would have been
delighted to find a moral screw of some kind by which the culpable
Doctor might be driven churchwards. If the law had permitted it, I have
no doubt that she would have applied material screws, and pinched the
Doctor's thumbs, or roasted him gently before a slow fire, or at least
sent him to church between two policemen with staves; but as these means
were beyond her power, she must wait until the moral screw could be
found. A good practical means, which she had resorted to in several
instances with poor people, had been to deprive them of their means of
subsistence; and all men and women whom her ladyship's little arm could
reach knew that they must go to church or leave their situations; so
they attended with a regularity which, though exemplary in the eyes of
men, could scarcely, one would think (considering the motive), be
acceptable to Heaven. But Lady Helena acted in this less from a desire
to please God than from the instinct of domination, which, in her
character of spiritual ruler, naturally exercised itself on this point.
It seldom happens that the master of a house is the spiritual ruler of
it; he is the temporal power, not the spiritual. Colonel Stanburne felt
and knew that he had no spiritual power.

This matter of the Doctor's laxness as a church-goer had been rankling
in Lady Helena's mind all the time she had been singing, and when she
closed the piano she was ready for an attack. If the Doctor had been
shivering blanketless in a bivouac, and she had had the power of giving
him a blanket or withholding it, she would have offered it on condition
he promised to go to church, and she would have withheld it if he had
refused compliance. But the Doctor had blankets of his own, and so could
not be touched through a deprivation of blanket. She might, however,
deprive the old woman he had recommended, and at the same time give the
Doctor a lesson, indirectly.

"I forgot to ask you, Dr. Bardly, whether the old woman you recommended
for a blanket was a churchwoman, and regular in her attendance."

"Two questions very easily answered," replied that audacious and
unhesitating Doctor; "she is a Wesleyan Methodist, and irregular in her
attendance."

"Then I'm--very sorry--Dr. Bardly, but I cannot give her a blanket, as I
had promised. I can only give them to our--own people, you know; and I
make it essential that they should be _good_ church-people--I mean, very
regular church-people."

"Very well; I'll give her a blanket myself."

The opportunity was not to be neglected, and her ladyship fired her gun.
She had the less hesitation in doing so, that it seemed monstrously
presumptuous in a medical man to give blankets at all! What right had he
to usurp the especial prerogative of great ladies? And then to give a
blanket to this very woman whom, for good reasons, her ladyship had
condemned to a state of blanketlessness!

"I quite understand," she said, with much severity of tone, "that Dr.
Bardly, who never attends public worship himself, should have a
fellow-feeling with those who are equally negligent."

It is a hard task to fight a woman in the presence of her husband, who
is at the same time one's friend. The Doctor _thought_, "Would the woman
have me offer premiums on hypocrisy as she does?" but he did not say so,
because there was poor John Stanburne at the other end of the hearth-rug
in a state of much uncomfortableness. So the Doctor said nothing at all,
and the silence became perfectly distressing. Lady Helena had a way of
her own out of the difficulty. Though it was an hour earlier than the
usual time for prayers, she rang the bell and ordered all the servants
in. When they were kneeling, each before his chair, her ladyship read
the prayers herself, and accentuated with a certain severity a
paragraph in which she thanked God that she was not as unbelievers, who
were destined to perish everlastingly. It was a satisfaction to Lady
Helena to have the Doctor there down upon his knees, with no means of
escape from the expression of spiritual superiority.



CHAPTER IX.

THE FUGITIVE.


"I say, Doctor," said John Stanburne, when her ladyship was fairly out
of hearing, and half-way in her ascent of the great staircase--"I say,
Doctor, I hope you don't mind what Helena says about you not being--you
know some women are so--indeed I do believe all women are so. They seem
laudably anxious to keep us all in the right path, but perhaps they're
just a little _too_ anxious."

The Doctor said he believed Lady Helena meant to do right, but--and then
he hesitated.

"But you don't see the sense of bribing poor people into sham piety with
blankets."

"Well, no, I don't."

"Neither do I, Doctor. There's a Roman Catholic family about three miles
off, and the lady there gives premiums on going to mass, and still
higher premiums on confession. She has won a great many converts; and
there's a strong antagonism between her and Helena--a most expensive
warfare it is too, I assure you, this warfare for souls. However, it's
an ill wind that blows nobody good, and the poor profit by it, which is
a consolation, only it makes them sneaks--it makes them sneaks and
hypocrites. Doctor, come into my study, will you, and let's have a
weed?"

The "study," as John Stanburne called it, was a cosey little room, with
oak wainscot that his grandfather had painted white. It contained a
small bookcase, and the bookcase contained a good many novels, some
books of poetry, a treatise on dog-breaking, a treatise on driving, and
a treatise on fishing. The novels were very well selected, and so was
the poetry; and John Stanburne had read all these books, many of them
over and over again. Such literary education as he possessed had been
mainly got out of that bookcase; and though he had no claim to
erudition, a man's head might be worse furnished than with such
furniture as that. There was a splendid library at Wenderholme--a big
room lined with the backs of books as the other rooms were lined with
paper or wainscot; and when Stanburne wanted to know something he went
there, and disturbed his ponderous histories and encyclopædias; but he
_used_ the little bookcase more than the big library. He could not read
either Latin or Greek. Few men can read Latin and Greek, and of the few
who can, still fewer do read them; but his French was very much above
the usual average of English French--that is, he spoke fluently, and
would no doubt have spoken correctly if only he could have mastered the
conjugations and genders, and imitated the peculiar Gallic sounds.

The society of ladies is always charming, but it must be admitted that
there is an hour especially dear to the male sex, and which does not owe
its delightfulness to their presence. It is the hour of retirement into
the smoking-room. When the lady of the house has a tendency to make the
weight of her authority felt (and this will sometimes happen), the male
members of her family and their guests feel a schoolboyish sense of
relief in escaping from it; but even when she is very genial and
pleasant, and when everybody enjoys the light of her countenance, it
must also be confessed that the timely withdrawal of that light, like
the hour of sunset, hath a certain sweetness of its own.

"My wife's always very good about letting me sit here, and smoke and
talk as long as I like with my friends, after she's gone to bed," said
Colonel Stanburne. "You smile because I seem to value a sort of goodness
that seems only natural, but that's on account of your old-bachelorish
ignorance of womankind. There are married men who no more dare sit an
hour with a cigar when their wives are gone to bed than they dare play
billiards on Sunday. Now, for instance, I was staying this autumn with a
friend of mine in another county, and about ten o'clock his wife went to
bed. He and I wanted to talk over a great many things. We had been old
school-fellows, and we had travelled together when we were both
bachelors, and we knew lots of men that his wife knew nothing about, and
each of us wanted to hear all the news that the other had to tell; so he
just ventured, the first night I was there, to ask me into his private
study and offer me a cigar. Well, we had scarcely had time to light when
his wife's maid knocks at the door and says, 'Please, sir, Missis wishes
to see you;' so he promised to go, and began to look uncomfortable, and
in five minutes the girl came again, and she came three times in a
quarter of an hour. After that came the lady herself, quite angry, and
ordered her husband to bed, just as if he had been a little boy; and
though he seemed cool, and didn't stir from his chair, it was evident
that he was afraid of her, and he solemnly promised to go in five
minutes. At the expiration of the five minutes in she bursts again (she
had been waiting in the passage--perhaps she may have been listening at
the door), and held out her watch without one word. The husband got up
like a sheep, and said 'Good-night, John,' and she led him away just
like that; and I sat and smoked by myself, thinking what a pitiable
spectacle it was. Now my wife is not like that; she will have her way
about her blankets, but she's reasonable in other respects."

They sat very happily for two hours, talking about the regiment that was
to be. Suddenly, about midnight, a large watch-dog that inhabited a
kennel on that side of the house began to bark furiously, and there was
a cry, as of some woman or child in distress. The Colonel jumped out of
his chair, and threw the window open. The two men listened attentively,
but it was too dark to see any thing. At length Colonel Stanburne said,
"Let us go out and look about a little--that was a human cry, wasn't
it?" So he lighted a lantern, and they went.

There was a thick wood behind the house of Wenderholme, and this wood
filled a narrow ravine, in the bottom of which was a little stream, and
by the stream a pathway that led up to the open moor. This moor
continued without interruption over a range of lofty hills, or, to speak
more strictly, over a sort of plateau or table-land, till it terminated
at the enclosed pasture-lands near Shayton. John Stanburne and the
Doctor walked first along this pathway. The watch-dog's kennel was close
to the path, at a little green wooden gate, where it entered the garden.

The dog, hearing his master's step, came out of his kennel, much excited
with the hope of a temporary release from the irksomeness of his
captivity; but his master only caressed and spoke to him a little, and
passed on. Then he began to talk to the Doctor. The sound of his voice
reached the ears of a third person, who came out of the wood, and began
to follow them on the path.

The Doctor became aware that they were followed, and they stopped. The
Colonel turned his lantern, and the light of it fell full upon the
intruder.

"Why, it's a mere child," said the Colonel. "But what on earth's the
matter with the Doctor?"

Certainly that eccentric Doctor _did_ behave in a most remarkable
manner. He snatched the lantern from the Colonel's hand without one word
of apology, and having cast its beams on the child's face, threw it down
on the ground, and seized the vagrant in his arms. "The Doctor's mad,"
thought the Colonel, as he picked up the lantern.

"Why, _it's little Jacob_!" cried Dr. Bardly.

But this conveyed nothing to the mind of the Colonel. What did he know
about little Jacob?

Meanwhile the lad was telling his tale to his friend. Father had beaten
him so, and he'd run away. "Please, Doctor, don't send me back again."
The child's feet were bare, and icy cold, and covered with blood. His
clothes were wet up to the waist. His little dog was with him.

"It's a little boy that's a most particular friend of mine," said the
Doctor; "and he's been very ill-used. We must take care of him. I must
beg a night's lodging for him in the house."

They took him into the Colonel's study, before the glowing fire. "Now,
what's to be done?" said the Colonel. "It's lucky you're a doctor."

"Let us undress him and warm him first. We can do every thing ourselves.
There is a most urgent reason why no domestic should be informed of his
being here. His existence here must be kept secret."

The Colonel went to his dressing-room and brought towels. Then he set
some water on the fire in a kettle. The Doctor took the wet things off,
and examined the poor little lacerated feet. He rubbed little Jacob all
over with the towels most energetically. The Colonel, whose activity was
admirable to witness, fetched a tub from somewhere, and they made
arrangements for a warm bath.

"One person must be told about this," said Dr. Bardly, "and that's Lady
Helena. Go and tell her now. Ask her to get up and come here, and warn
her not to rouse any of the servants."

Her ladyship made her appearance in a few minutes in a dressing-gown.
"Lady Helena," said the Doctor, "you're wanted as a nurse. This child
requires great care for the next twenty-four hours, and you must do
every thing for him with your own hands. Is there a place in the house
where he can be lodged out of the way of the servants?"

Lady Helena had no boys of her own. She had had one little girl at the
beginning of her married life, who had lived, and was now at
Wenderholme, comfortably sleeping in the prettiest of little beds, in a
large and healthy nursery in the left wing of the building. She had had
two little boys since, but _they_ were both sleeping in Wenderholme
churchyard. When she saw little Jacob in his tub, the tears came into
her eyes, and she was ready to be his nurse as long as ever he might
have need of her.

"I'll tell you all about him, Lady Helena, when we've put him to bed."

Little Jacob sat in his tub looking at the kind, strange lady, and
feeling himself in a state of unrealizable bliss. "You must be very
tired and very hungry, my poor child," she said. Little Jacob said he
was very hungry, but he didn't feel tired now. He had felt tired in the
wood, but he didn't feel tired now in the tub.

The boy being fairly put to bed, female curiosity could not wait till
the next day, and she sought out the Doctor, who was still with the
Colonel in his study. "I beg to be excused, gentlemen," she said, "for
intruding in this room in an unauthorized manner, but I want to know all
about that little boy."

The Doctor told his history very minutely, and the history of his
father. Then he added, "I believe the only possible chance of saving his
father from killing himself with drinking is to leave him for some time
under the impression that the boy, having been driven away by his
cruelty, has died from exposure on the moor. This may give him a horror
of drinking, and may effect a permanent cure. There is another thing to
be considered, the child's own safety. If we send him back to his
father, I will not answer for his life. The father is already in a state
of hirritability bordering on insanity--in fact he is partially insane;
and if the child is put under his power before there has been time to
work a thorough cure, it is likely that he will beat him frequently and
severely--he may even kill him in some paroxysm of rage. If Isaac Ogden
knew that the child were here, and claimed him to-morrow, I believe it
would be your duty not to give him up, and I should urge his uncle to
institute legal proceedings to deprive the father of the guardianship. A
man in Isaac Ogden's state is not fit to have a child in his power. He
has beaten him very terribly already,--his body is all bruises; and now
if we send him back, he will beat him again for having run away."

These reasons certainly had great weight, but both the Colonel and Lady
Helena foresaw much difficulty in keeping the child at Wenderholme
without his presence there becoming immediately known. His disappearance
would make a noise, not only at Shayton, but at Sootythorn, and
everywhere in the neighborhood. The relations of the child were in easy
circumstances, and a heavy reward would probably be offered, which the
servants at Wenderholme Hall could scarcely be expected to resist, still
less the villagers in the neighboring hamlet. It would be necessary to
find some very solitary person, living in great obscurity, to whose care
little Jacob might be safely confided--at any rate, for a few days. Lady
Helena suggested two old women who lived together in a sort of almshouse
of hers on the estate, but the Colonel said they were too fond of
gossip, and received too many visitors, to be trusted. At last the
Doctor's countenance suddenly brightened, and he said that he knew where
to hide little Jacob, but where that was he positively refused to tell.
All he asked for was, that the child should be kept a close prisoner in
the Colonel's sanctum for the next twenty-four hours, and that the
Colonel would lend him a horse and gig--_not_ a tandem.



CHAPTER X.

CHRISTMAS AT MILEND.


It is quite unnecessary to inform the reader where Dr. Bardly had
determined to hide little Jacob. His resolution being decidedly taken,
the Colonel and he waited till the next night at half-past twelve, and
then, without the help of a single servant, they harnessed a
fast-trotting mare to a roomy dog-cart. Little Jacob and Feorach were
put where the dogs were kept on shooting expeditions. And both fell
asleep together. It was six o'clock in the morning when the Doctor
arrived at his destination.

Mr. Isaac Ogden, whose wretchedness the reader pities perhaps as much as
the Doctor did, continued his researches for some weeks in a discouraged
and desultory way, but little Jacob was perfectly well hidden. Mrs.
Ogden had been admitted into the secret by the Doctor, and approved of
his policy of concealment. Under pretext of a journey to Manchester with
Dr. Bardly, to consult an eminent physician there, she absented herself
two days from Milend and went to visit her grandson. The truth was also
known to Jacob Ogden, senior, who supported his mother's resolution,
which would certainly have broken down without him. It pained her to see
her son Isaac in the misery of a bereavement which he supposed to be
eternal. The Doctor took a physiological view of the case, and argued
that time was a necessary condition of success. "We aren't sure of
having saved him yet," said the Doctor: "we must persevere till his
constitution has got past the point of craving for strong drink
altogether."

Matters remained in this state until Christmas Eve. Periodical festivals
are highly agreeable institutions for happy people, who have the springs
of merriment within them, ready to gush forth on any pretext, or on the
strength of simple permission to gush forth; but it is difficult for a
man oppressed by a persistent weight of sorrow to throw it off because
the almanac has brought itself to a certain date, and it is precisely at
the times of general festivity that such a man feels his burden
heaviest. It may be observed also, that as a man, or a society of men,
approaches the stage of maturity and reflection, the events of life
appear more and more to acquire the power of coloring the whole of
existence; so that the faculty of being merry at appointed times, and
its converse, the faculty of weeping at appointed times, both give place
to a continual but quiet sadness, from which we never really escape,
even for an hour, though we may still be capable of a manly fortitude,
and retain a certain elasticity, or the appearance of it. In a word, our
happiness and misery are no longer alternative and acute, but coexist in
a chronic form, so that it has ceased to be natural for men to wear
sackcloth and heap ashes on their heads, and sit in the dust in their
wretchedness; and it has also ceased to be natural for them to crown
themselves with flowers, and anoint themselves with the oil of gladness,
and clothe themselves in the radiance of purple and cloth-of-gold. No
hour of life is quite miserable enough or hopeless enough for the
sackcloth and the ashes--no hour of life is brilliant enough for the
glorious vesture and the flowery coronal.

A year before, Isaac Ogden would have welcomed the Christmas festivities
as a legitimate occasion for indulgence in his favorite vice, without
much meditation (and in this perhaps he may have resembled some other
very regular observers of the festival) on the history of the Founder of
Christianity. But as it was no longer his desire to celebrate either
this or any other festival of the Church by exposing himself to a
temptation which, for him, was the strongest and most dangerous of all
temptations--and as the idea of a purely spiritual celebration was an
idea so utterly foreign to the whole tenor of his thoughts and habits as
never even to suggest itself to him--he had felt strongly disposed to
shun Christmas altogether,--that is, to escape from the outward and
visible Christmas to some place where the days might pass as merely
natural days, undistinguished by any sign of national or ecclesiastical
commemoration. He had determined, therefore, to go back to Twistle Farm,
from which it seemed to him that he had been too long absent, and had
announced this intention to the Doctor. But when the Doctor repeated it
to Mrs. Ogden, she would not hear of any such violation of the customs
and traditions of the family. Her sons had always spent Christmas Eve
together; and so long as she lived, she was firmly resolved that they
always should. The pertinacity with which a determined woman will uphold
a custom that she cherishes is simply irresistible--that is, unless the
rebel makes up his mind to incur her perpetual enmity; and Isaac Ogden
was less than ever in a condition of mind either to brave the hostility
of his mother or wound her tenderer feelings. So it came to pass that on
Christmas Eve he went to Milend to tea.

Now on the tea-table there were some little cakes, and Mrs. Ogden, who
had not the remotest notion of the sort of delicacy that avoids a
subject because it may be painful to somebody present, and who always
simply gave utterance to her thoughts as they came to her, observed that
these little cakes were of her own making, and actually added, "They're
such as I used makin' for little Jacob--he was so fond on 'em."

Isaac Ogden's feelings were not very sensitive, and he could bear a
great deal; but he could not bear this. He set down his cup of tea
untasted, gazed for a few seconds at the plateful of little cakes, and
left the room.

The Doctor was there, but he said nothing. Jacob Ogden did not feel
under any obligation to be so reticent. "Mother," he said, "I think you
needn't have mentioned little Jacob--our Isaac cannot bear it; he knows
no other but what th' little un's dead, and he's as sore as sore."

This want of delicacy in Mrs. Ogden arose from an all but total lack of
imagination. She could sympathize with others if she suffered along with
them--an expression which might be criticised as tautological, but the
reader will understand what is meant by it. If Mrs. Ogden had had the
toothache, she would have sympathized with the sufferings of another
person similarly afflicted so long as her own pangs lasted; but if a
drop of creosote or other powerful remedy proved efficacious in her own
case, and released her from the torturing pain, she would have looked
upon her fellow-sufferer as pusillanimous, if after that she continued
to exhibit the outward signs of torment. Therefore, as she herself knew
that little Jacob was safe it was now incomprehensible by her that his
father should not feel equally at ease about him, though, as a matter of
fact, she was perfectly well aware that he supposed the child to be
irrecoverably lost. Mrs. Ogden, therefore, received her son Jacob's
rebuke with unfeigned surprise. She had said nothing to hurt Isaac that
she knew of--she "had only said that little Jacob used being fond o'
them cakes, and it was quite true."

Isaac did not return to the little party, and they began to wonder what
had become of him. After waiting some time in silence, Mrs. Ogden left
her place at the tea-tray, and went to a little sitting-room
adjoining--a room the men were more accustomed to than any other in the
house, and where indeed they did every thing but eat and sleep. Mr.
Ogden had gone there from habit, as his mother expected, and there she
found him sitting in a large rocking-chair, and gazing abstractedly into
the fire. The chair rocked regularly but gently, and its occupant seemed
wholly unconscious--not only of its motion, but of every other material
circumstance that surrounded him.

Mrs. Ogden laid her hand upon his shoulder, and said, "Isaac, willn't ye
come to your tea? we 're all waiting for you."

The spell was broken, and Ogden suddenly started to his feet. "Give me
my hat," he said, "and let me go to my own house. I'm not fit to keep
Christmas this year. How is a man to care about tea and cakes when he's
murdered his own son? I'm best by myself; let me go up to Twistle Farm.
D 'ye expect me to sing songs at supper, and drink rum-punch?"

"There'll be no songs, and you needn't drink unless you like, but just
come and sit with us, my lad--you always used spendin' Christmas Eve at
Milend, and Christmas Day too."

"It signifies nought what I used doin'. Isaac Ogden isn't same as he
used to be. He'd have done better, I reckon, if he'd altered a month or
two sooner. There'd have been a little lad here then to make Christmas
merry for us all."

"Well, Isaac, I'm very sorry for little Jacob; but it cannot be helped
now, you know, and it's no use frettin' so much over it."

"Mother," said Isaac Ogden, sternly, "it seems to me that _you're_ not
likely to spoil your health by frettin' over my little lad. You take it
very easy it seems to me, and my brother takes it easy too, and so does
Dr. Bardly--but then Dr. Bardly was nothing akin to him. Folk says that
grandmothers care more for chilther than their own parents does; but you
go on more like a stepmother nor a grandmother."

This was hard for Mrs. Ogden to bear, and she was strongly tempted to
reveal the truth, but she forebore and remained silent. Ogden resumed,--

"I cannot tell how you could find in your heart to bake them little
cakes when th' child isn't here to eat 'em."

The effort to restrain herself was now almost too much for Mrs. Ogden,
since it was the fact that she had baked the said little cakes, or
others exactly like them, and prepared various other dainties, for the
especial enjoyment of Master Jacob, who at that very minute was regaling
himself therewith in the privacy of his hiding-place. Still she kept
silent.

After another pause, a great paroxysm of passionate regret seized
Ogden--one of those paroxysms to which he was subject at intervals, but
which in the presence of witnesses he had hitherto been able to contend
against or postpone. "Oh, my little lad!" he cried aloud, "oh, my little
innocent lad, that I drove away from me to perish! I'd give all I'm
worth to see thee again, little 'un!" He suddenly stopped, and as the
tears ran down his cheeks, he looked out of the window into the black
night. "If I did but know," he said, slowly, and with inexpressible
sadness--"mother, mother, if I did but know where his bits o' bones are
lying!"

It was not possible to witness this misery any longer. All Dr. Bardly's
solemn injunctions, all dread of a possible relapse into the terrible
habit, were forgotten. The mother had borne bitter reproaches, but she
could not bear this agony of grief. "Isaac," she said, "Isaac, my son,
listen to me: thy little lad is alive--he's alive and he's well, Isaac."

Ogden did not seem to realize or understand this communication. At last
he said, "I know what you mean, mother, and I believe it. He's alive in
heaven, and he can ail nothing, and want nothing, there."

"I hope he'll go there when he's an old man, but a good while after we
go there ourselves, Isaac."

A great change spread over Ogden's face, and he began to tremble from
head to foot. He laid his hand on his mother's arm with a grasp of iron.
His eyes dilated, the room swam round him, his heart suspended its
action, and in a low hissing whisper, he said, "Mother, have they found
him?"

"Yes--and he's both safe and well."

Ogden rushed out of the house, and paced the garden-walk hurriedly from
end to end. The intensity of his excitement produced a commotion in the
brain that needed the counter-stimulus of violent physical movement. It
seemed as if the roof of his skull must be lifted off, and for a few
minutes there was a great crisis of the whole nervous system, to which
probably his former habits may have more especially exposed him. When
this was over, he came back into the house, feeling unusually weak, but
incredibly calm and happy. Mrs. Ogden had told the Doctor and Mr. Jacob
what had passed, and the Doctor without hesitation set off at once for
his own house, where he ordered his gig, and drove away rapidly on the
Sootythorn road.

"Mother," said Isaac, when he came in, "give me a cup of tea, will you?"

"A glass of brandy would do you more good."

"Nay, mother, we've had enough of brandy, it will not do to begin again
now."

He sat down in evident exhaustion and drank the tea slowly, looking
rather vacantly before him. Then he laid his head back upon the chair
and closed his eyes. The lips moved, and two or three tears ran slowly
down the cheeks. At last he started suddenly, and, looking sharply round
him, said, "Where is he, where is he, mother? where is little Jacob, my
little lad, my lad, my lad?"

"Be quiet, Isaac--try to compose yourself a little; Dr. Bardly's gone to
fetch him. He'll be with us very soon."

Mr. Ogden remained quietly seated for some minutes without speaking, and
then, as his mind began to clear after the shock of the great emotion it
had passed through, he asked who had found his boy, and where they had
found him, and when.

These questions were, of course, somewhat embarrassing to his mother,
and she would probably have sheltered herself behind some clumsy
invention, but her son Jacob interposed.

"The fact is, Isaac, the loss of your little 'un seemed to be doin' you
such a power o' good 'at it seemed a pity to spoil it by tellin' you.
And it's my opinion as mother's let th' cat out o' th' bag three week
too soon as it is."

"Do you mean to tell me," said Isaac, "that you knew the child was
found, and hid him from his own father?"

"Isaac, Isaac, you mun forgive us," said the mother; "we did it for your
good."

"Partly for his good, mother," interposed Jacob, "but still more for th'
sake o' that child. What made him run away from Twistle Farm, Isaac
Ogden? answer me that."

Isaac remained silent.

"Do you fancy, brother Isaac, that any consideration for your feelin's
was to hinder us from doin' our duty by that little lad? What sort of a
father is it as drives away a child like that with a horsewhip? Thou was
no more fit to be trusted with him nor a wolf wi' a little white lamb.
If he'd been brought back to thee two days after, it 'ud a' been as much
as his life was worth. And I'll tell thee what, Isaac Ogden, if ever it
comes to my ears as you take to horse-whippin' him again, I'll go to law
wi' you and get the guardianship of him into safer hands. There'd be
little difficulty about that as it is. I've taken my measures--my
witnesses are ready--I've consulted lawyers; and I tell you candidly, I
mean to act at once if I see the least necessity for it. Little Jacob
was miserable for many a week before you drove him out o' th' house, an'
if we'd only known, you would never have had the chance."

"Nay, Jacob," interposed Mrs. Ogden, "you're a bit too hard on Isaac;
he's the child's own father, and he had a right to punish him within
reason."

"Father! father!" cried Jacob, scornfully; "there isn't a man in Shayton
as isn't more of a father to our little un than Isaac has been for many
a month past. There isn't a man in Shayton but what would have been
kinder to a nice little lad like that than he has been. What signifies
havin' begotten a child, if fatherin' it is to stop there?"

At last Isaac Ogden lifted up his face and spoke.

"Brother Jacob, you have said nothing but what is right and true, and
you have all acted right both by me and him. But let us start fresh.
I've turned over a new leaf; I'm not such as I used to be. I mean to be
different, and to do different, and I will be a good father to that
child. So help me God!"

He held out his hand, and Jacob took it and shook it heartily. The two
brothers looked in each other's face, and there was more of brotherly
affection in their look than there had ever been since the dissolution
of their partnership in the cotton business, which had taken place some
years before. Mrs. Ogden saw this with inexpressible pleasure. "That's
right, lads--that's right, lads; God bless you! God bless both on you!"

The customs of Shayton were mighty, especially the custom of drinking a
glass of port-wine on every imaginable occasion. If a Shayton man felt
sorry, he needed a glass of port-wine to enable him to support his
grief; but if he felt glad, there arose at once such a feeling of true
sympathy between his heart and that joyous generous fluid, that it
needed some great material impediment to keep them asunder, and such an
impediment was not to be found in any well-to-do Shayton household,
where decanters were always charged, and glasses ever accessible. So it
was inevitable that on an occasion so auspicious as this Mr. Jacob Ogden
should drink a glass--or, more probably, two glasses--of port; and his
mother, who did not object to the same refreshment, bore him company.

"Now Isaac, lad, let's drink a glass to mother's good health."

Mr. Ogden had not made any positive vow of teetotalism, and though there
might be some danger in allowing himself to experience afresh, however
slightly, the seductive stimulus of alcohol, whole centuries of
tradition, the irresistible power of prevalent custom, and the deep
pleasure he felt in the new sense of brotherly fellowship, made his soul
yearn to the wine.

"Here's mother's good health. Your good health, mother," he said, and
drank. Jacob repeated the words, and drank also, and thus in a common
act of filial respect and affection did these brothers confirm and
celebrate their perfect reconciliation.

Isaac now began to show symptoms of uneasiness and restlessness. He
walked to the front door, and listened eagerly for wheels. "How fidgety
he is, th' old lad!" said Jacob; "it's no use frettin' an' fidgetin'
like that; come and sit thee down a bit, an' be quiet."

"How long will he be, mother?"

Before Mrs. Ogden could reply, Isaac's excited ear detected the Doctor's
gig. He was out in the garden immediately, and passed bareheaded through
the gate out upon the public road. Two gig-lamps came along from the
direction of Sootythorn. He could not see who was in the gig, but
something told him that little Jacob was there, and his heart beat more
quickly than usual.

Perhaps our little friend might have behaved himself somewhat too
timidly on this occasion, but the Doctor had talked to him on the road.
He had explained to him, quite frankly, that Mr. Ogden's harshness had
been wholly due to the irritable state of his nervous system, and that
he would not be harsh any more, because he had given up drinking. He had
especially urged upon little Jacob that he must not seem afraid of his
father; and as our hero was of a bold disposition, and had plenty of
assurance, he was fully prepared to follow the Doctor's advice.

Isaac Ogden hails the gig; it stops, and little Jacob is in his arms.

"Please, papa, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!"

Little Jacob's pony was sent for, and the next morning his father and
he rode together up to Twistle Farm. Until the man came for the pony,
old Sarah had not the faintest hope that little Jacob was in existence,
and the shock had nearly been too much for her. The messenger had simply
said, "I'm comed for little Jacob[10] tit." "And who wants it?" Sarah
said; for it seemed to her a desecration for any one else to mount that
almost sacred animal. "Why, little Jacob wants it hissel, to be sure."
And this (with some subsequent explanations of the most laconic
description) was his way of breaking the matter delicately to old Sarah.

The old woman had never spent an afternoon, even the afternoon of
Christmas Day, so pleasantly as she spent that. How she did toil and
bustle about? The one drawback to her happiness was that she did not
possess a Christmas cake; but she set to work and made tea-cakes, and
put such a quantity of currants in them that they were almost as good as
a Christmas cake. She lighted a fire in the parlor, and another in
little Jacob's room; and she took out the little night-gown that she had
cried over many a time, and, strange to say, she cried over it this time
too. And she arranged the small bed so nicely, that it looked quite
inviting, with its white counterpane, and clean sheets, and bright brass
knobs, and pretty light iron work painted blue. When all was ready, it
occurred to her that since it was Christmas time she would even attempt
a little decoration; and as there were some evergreens at Twistle Farm,
and some red berries, she went and gathered thereof, and attempted the
adornment of the house--somewhat clumsily and inartistically, it must be
confessed, yet not without giving it an air of festivity and rejoicing.
She had proceeded thus far, and could not "bethink her" of any thing
else that needed to be done, when, suddenly casting her eye on her own
costume, she perceived that it was of the deepest black; for, being
persuaded that the dear child was dead, she had so clothed herself out
of respect for his memory. She held her sombre skirt out with both her
hands as if to push it away from her, and exclaimed aloud, "I'll be shut
o' _thee_, onyhow, and sharply too;" and she hurried upstairs to change
it for the brightest garment in her possession, which was of sky-blue,
spotted all over with yellow primroses. She also put on a cap of
striking and elaborate magnificence, which the present writer does not
attempt to describe, only because such an attempt would incur the
certainty of failure.

That cap had hardly been assumed and adjusted when it was utterly
crushed and destroyed in a most inconsiderate manner. A sound of hoofs
had reached old Sarah's ears, and in a minute afterwards the cap was
ruined in Master Jacob's passionate embraces. You may do almost any
thing you like to a good-tempered old woman, so long as you do not touch
her cap; and it is an undeniable proof of the strength of old Sarah's
affection, and of the earnestness of her rejoicing, that she not only
made no remonstrance in defence of her head-dress, but was actually
unaware of the irreparable injury which had been inflicted upon it.



CHAPTER XI.

THE COLONEL GOES TO SHAYTON.


The next time the Doctor met Colonel Stanburne at Sootythorn, he gave
such a good account of Mr. Isaac Ogden, that the Colonel, who took a
strong interest in little Jacob, expressed the hope that Mr. Ogden would
still join the regiment; though in the time of his grief and tribulation
he had resigned his commission, or, to speak more accurately--for the
commission had not yet been formally made out and delivered to him--he
had withdrawn his name as a candidate for one. The Colonel, in his
friendly way, declared that the Doctor was not a hospitable character.
"I ask you to Wenderholme every time I see you, and you come and stay
sometimes, though not half often enough, but you never ask me to your
house; and, by Jove! if I want to be invited at all, I must invite
myself." The Doctor, who liked John Stanburne better and better the more
he knew of him, still retained the very erroneous notion that a certain
state and style were essential to his happiness; and, notwithstanding
many broad hints that he had dropped at different times on the subject,
still hung back from asking him to a house where, though comfort reigned
supreme, there was not the slightest pretension to gentility. The old
middle-class manner of living still lingered in many well-to-do houses
in Shayton, and the Doctor faithfully adhered to it. Every thing about
him was perfectly clean and decent, but he had not marched with the
times; and whilst the attorneys and cotton-spinners in Sootythorn and
elsewhere had the chairs of their dining-rooms covered with morocco
leather, and their drawing-rooms filled with all manner of glittering
fragilities, and Brussels carpets with pretty little tasteful patterns,
and silver forks, and napkins, and a hundred other visible proofs of the
advance of refinement, the worthy Doctor had not kept up with them at
all, but lagged behind by the space of about thirty years. He had no
drawing-room; the chairs of his parlor were of an ugly and awkward
pattern, and their seats were covered with horsehair; the carpet was
cheap and coarse, with a monstrous pattern that no artistic person would
have tolerated for a single day; and though the Doctor possessed a
silver punch-ladle and tea-pot, and plenty of silver spoons of every
description, all the forks in the house were of steel! Indeed, the
Doctor's knives and forks, which had belonged to his mother, or perhaps
even to his grandmother, were quite a curiosity in their way. They had
horn handles, of an odd indescribable conformation, supposed to adapt
itself to the hollow of the hand, but which, from some misconception of
human anatomy on the part of the too ingenious artificer, seemed always
intended for the hand of somebody else. These handles were stained of
such a brilliant green, that, in the slang of artists, they "killed"
every green herb on the plate of him who made use of them. The forks had
spring guards, to prevent the practitioner from cutting his left hand
with the knife that he held in his right; and the knife had a strange
round projection at what should have been the point, about the size of a
shilling, which (horrible to relate!) had been originally designed to
convey gravy and small fragments of viands, not prehensible by means of
the two-pronged fork, into the human mouth! In addition to these strange
relics of a bygone civilization the Doctor possessed two large
rocking-chairs, of the same color as the handles of his knives. The
Doctor loved a rocking-chair, in which he did but share a taste
universally prevalent in Shayton, and defensible on the profoundest
philosophical grounds. The human creature loves repose, but a thousand
causes may hinder the perfect enjoyment of it, and torment him into
restlessness at the very time when he most longs for rest. He may sit
down after the business of the day, and some mental or bodily uneasiness
may make the quiet of the massive easy-chair intolerable to him. The
easy-chair does not sympathize with him, does not respond to the fidgety
condition of his nervous system; and yet he tries to sit down in it and
enjoy it, for, though fidgety, he is also weary, and needs the comfort
of repose. Now, the rocking-chair--that admirable old Lancashire
institution--and the rocking-chair alone, responds to both these needs.
If you are fidgety, you rock; if not, you don't. If highly excited, you
rock boldly back, even to the extremity of danger; if pleasantly and
moderately stimulated, you lull yourself with a gentle motion, like the
motion that little waves give to a pleasure boat. It is true that the
bolder and more emphatic manner of rocking has become impossible in
these latter days, for the few upholsterers who preserve the tradition
of the rocking-chair at all make it in such a highly genteel manner,
that the rockers are diminished to the smallest possible arc; but the
Doctor troubled himself little concerning these achievements of
fashionable upholstery, and regarded his old rocking-chairs with perfect
satisfaction and complacency--in which, without desiring to offend
against the decisions of the fashionable world, we cannot help thinking
that he was right.

A large green rocking-chair, with bold high rockers and a soft cushion
like a small feather-bed, a long clay pipe quite clean and new, a bright
copper spittoon, and a jug of strong ale,--these things, with the
necessary concomitants of a briskly burning fire and an unlimited supply
of tobacco, formed the ideal of human luxury and beatitude to a
generation now nearly extinct, but of which the Doctor still preserved
the antique traditions. In substance often identical, but in outwardly
visible means and appliances differing in every detail, the pleasures of
one generation seem quaint and even ridiculous in comparison with the
same pleasures as pursued by its successor. Colonel Stanburne smoked a
pipe, but it was a short meerschaum, mounted in silver; and he also used
a knife and fork, and used them skilfully and energetically, but they
were not like the Doctor's grandmother's knives and forks.

And yet, when the Colonel came to Shayton, he managed to eat a very
hearty dinner at one P.M. with the above-named antiquated instruments.
After the celery and cheese, Dr. Bardly took one of the rocking-chairs,
and made the Colonel sit down in the other; and Martha brought a fresh
bottle of uncommonly fine old port, which she decanted on a table in the
corner that did duty as a sideboard. When they had done full justice to
this, the Doctor ordered hot water; and Martha, accustomed to this
laconic command, brought also certain other fluids which were hot in
quite a different sense. She also brought a sheaf of clay tobacco-pipes,
about two feet six inches long, and in a state of the whitest
virginity--emblems of purity! emblems, alas! at the same time, of all
that is most fragile and most ephemeral!

"Nay, Martha," said the Doctor, "we don't want them clay pipes to-day.
Colonel Stanburne isn't used to 'em, I reckon. Bring that box of cigars
that I bought the other day in Manchester."

The Colonel, however, would smoke a clay pipe, and he tried to rock as
the Doctor did, and soon, by the effect of that curious sympathy which
exists between rocking-chairs (or their occupants), the two kept time
together like musicians in a duet, and clouds of the densest smoke arose
from the two long tobacco-pipes.

It had been announced to the inhabitants of the parsonage that the
representative of the house of Stanburne intended to call there that
afternoon; and though it would be an exaggeration to state that the
preparations for his reception were on a scale of magnificence, it is
not an exaggeration to describe them as in every respect worthy of Mrs.
Prigley's skill as a manager, and her husband's ingenuity and taste. New
carpets they could _not_ buy, so it was no use thinking about them; and
though Mrs. Prigley had indulged the hope that Mrs. Ogden's attention
would be drawn to the state of her carpets by that accident with which
the reader is already acquainted, so as to lead, it might be, to some
act of generosity on her part, this result had not followed, and indeed
had never suggested itself to Mrs. Ogden, who had merely resolved to
look well to her feet whenever she ventured into the parlor at the
parsonage, as on dangerous and treacherous ground. Under these
circumstances Mrs. Prigley gradually sank into that condition of mind
which accepts as inevitable even the outward and visible signs of
impecuniosity; and though an English lady must indeed be brought low
before she will consent to see the boards of her floors in a condition
of absolute nakedness, poor Mrs. Prigley had come down to this at last;
and she submitted without a murmur when her husband expressed his desire
that "that old rag" on the floor of the drawing-room might be removed
out of his sight. When the deal boards were carpetless, Mrs. Prigley was
proceeding with a sigh to replace the furniture thereon; but her husband
desired that it might be lodged elsewhere for a few days, during which
space of time he kept the door of the drawing-room locked, and spent two
or three hours there every day in the most mysterious seclusion, to the
neglect of his parochial duties. Mrs. Prigley in vain endeavored to
discover the nature of his occupation there. She tried to look through
the key-hole, but a flap of paper had been adapted to it on the inside
to defeat her feminine curiosity; she went into the garden and attempted
to look in at the window, but the blind was down, and as it was somewhat
too narrow, slips of paper had been pasted on the glass down each side
so as to make the interstice no longer available. The reverend master of
the house endeavored to appear as frank and communicative as usual, by
talking volubly on all sorts of subjects except the mystery of the
drawing-room; but Mrs. Prigley did not consider it consistent with her
self-respect to appear to take any interest in his discourse, and during
all these days she preserved, along with an extreme gentleness of
manner, the air of a person borne down by secret grief. An invisible
line of separation had grown up between the two; and though both were
perfectly courteous and polite, each felt that the days of mutual
confidence were over. There was a difference, however, in their
respective positions; for the parson felt tranquil in the assurance that
the cloud would pass away, whereas his wife had no such assurance, and
the future was dark before her. It is true, that, notwithstanding the
outward serenity of her demeanor, Mrs. Prigley was sustained by the
inward fires of wrath, which enable an injured woman to endure almost
any extremity of mental misery and distress.

We have seen that the Shayton parson had that peculiar form of
eccentricity which consists in the love of the Beautiful. He had great
projects for Shayton Church, which as yet lay hidden in the privacy of
his own breast; and he had also projects for the parsonage, of which the
realization, to the eye of reason and common-sense, would have appeared
too remote to be entertained for an instant. But the enthusiasm for the
Beautiful does not wait to be authorized by the Philistines,--if it
_did_, it would wait till the end of all things; and Mr. Prigley, poor
as he was, determined to have such a degree of beauty in his habitation
as might be consistent with his poverty. Without being an artist, or any
thing approaching to an artist, he had practised the drawing of the
simpler decorative forms, and was really able to combine them very
agreeably. He could also lay a flat tint with a brush quite neatly,
though he could not manage a gradation. When it had been finally decided
that carpets could no longer be afforded, Mr. Prigley saw that the
opportunity had come for the exercise of his talents; but he was far too
wise a man to confide to his wife projects so entirely outside the
orbit of her ideas. He had attempted, in former days, to inoculate her
mind with the tastes that belong to culture, but he had been met by a
degree of impenetrability which proved to him that the renewal of such
attempts, instead of adding to his domestic happiness by creating closer
community of ideas, might be positively detrimental to it, by proving
too plainly the impossibility of such a community. Mrs. Prigley, like
many good women of her class, was totally and absolutely devoid of
culture of any kind. She managed her house admirably, and with a
wonderful thrift and wisdom; she was an excellent wife in a certain
sense, though more from duty than any great strength of affection; but
beyond this and the Church Service, and three or four French phrases
which she did not know how to pronounce, her mind was in such a state of
darkness and ignorance as to astonish even her husband from time to
time, though he had plenty of opportunities for observing it.

But what _was_ he doing in the drawing-room? He was doing things unheard
of in the Shayton valley. In the days of his youth and extravagance he
had bought a valuable book on Etruscan design; and though, as we have
said elsewhere, his taste and culture, though developed up to a certain
point, were yet by no means perfect or absolutely reliable, still he
could not but feel the singular simplicity and grace of that ancient
art, and he determined that the decoration of his drawing-room should be
Etruscan. On the wide area of the floor he drew a noble old design, and
stained it clearly in black and red; and, when it was dry, rubbed
linseed-oil all over it to fix it. The effect was magnificent! the
artist was delighted with his performance! but on turning his eye from
the perfect unity of the floor, with its centre and broad border, to the
old paper on the walls, which was covered with a representation of a
brown angler fishing in a green river, with a blue hill behind him, and
an equally blue church-steeple, and a cow who had eaten so much grass
that it had not only fattened her but colored her with its own
greenness--and when the parson counted the number of copies of this
interesting landscape that adorned his walls, and saw that they numbered
sixscore and upwards--then he felt that he had too much of it, and
boldly resolved to abolish it. He looked at all the wall-papers in the
shop at Shayton, but the endurable ones were beyond his means, and the
cheap ones were not endurable--so he purchased a quantity of common
brown parcel-paper, of which he took care to choose the most agreeable
tint; and he furtively covered his walls with _that_, conveying the
paper, a few sheets at a time, under his topcoat. When the last angler
had disappeared, the parson began to feel highly excited at the idea of
decorating all that fresh and inviting surface. He would have a
frieze--yes, he would certainly have a frieze; and he set to work, and
copied long Etruscan processions. Then the walls must be divided into
compartments, and each compartment must have its chosen design, and the
planning and the execution of this absorbed Mr. Prigley so much, that
for three weeks he did not write a single new sermon, and, I am sorry to
say, scarcely visited a single parishioner except in cases of pressing
necessity. As the days were so short, he took to working by
candle-light; and when once he had discovered that it was possible to
get on in this way, he worked till two o'clock in the morning. He made
himself a cap-candlestick, and with this crest of light on the top of
his head, and the fire of enthusiasm inside it, forgot the flying hours.

The work was finished at last. It was not perfect; a good critic might
have detected many an inaccuracy of line, and some incongruousness in
the juxtaposition of designs, which, though all antique and Etruscan,
were often of dissimilar epochs. But, on the whole, the result justified
the proud satisfaction of the workman. The room would be henceforth
marked with the sign of culture and of taste: it was a little Temple of
the Muse in the midst of a barbarian world.

But what would Mrs. Prigley say? The parson knew that he had done a bold
deed, and he rather trembled at the consequence. "My love," he said, one
morning at breakfast-time, "I've finished what I was doing in the
drawing-room, and you can put the furniture back when you like; but I
should not wish to have any thing hung upon the walls--they are
sufficiently decorated as it is. The pictures" (by which Mr. Prigley
meant sundry worthless little lithographs and prints)--"the pictures may
be hung in one of the bedrooms wherever you like."

Mrs. Prigley remained perfectly silent, and her husband did not venture
to ask her to accompany him into the scene of his artistic exploits. He
felt that in case she did not approve what he had done, the situation
might become embarrassing. So, immediately after breakfast, he walked
forth into the parish, and said that he should probably dine with Mr.
Jacob Ogden, who (by his mother's command) had kindly invited him to do
so whenever he happened to pass Milend about one o'clock in the day. And
in this way the parson managed to keep out of the house till tea-time.
It was not that Mr. Prigley dreaded any criticism, for to criticise, one
must have an opinion. Mrs. Prigley on these matters had not an opinion.
All that Mr. Prigley dreaded was the anger of the offended spouse--of
the spouse whom he had not even gone through the formality of seeming to
consult.

He was punished, but not as he had expected to be punished. Mrs. Prigley
said nothing to him on the subject; but when they went into the
drawing-room together at night, she affected not to perceive that he had
done any thing whatever there. Not only did she not speak about these
changes, but, though Mr. Prigley watched her eyes during the whole
evening to see whether they would rest upon his handiwork, they never
seemed to perceive it, even for an instant. She played the part she had
resolved upon with marvellous persistence and self-control. She seemed
precisely as she had always been:--sulky? not in the least; there was
not the slightest trace of sulkiness, or any thing approaching to
sulkiness in her manner--the Etruscan designs were simply invisible for
her, that was all.

They were not so invisible for the Colonel when he came to pay his visit
at the parsonage, and, in his innocence, he complimented Mrs. Prigley on
her truly classical taste. He had not the least notion that the floor
was carpetless because the Prigleys could not afford a carpet--the
degree of poverty which could not afford a carpet not being conceivable
by him as a possible attribute of one of his relations or friends. He
believed that this beautiful Etruscan design was preferred by Mrs.
Prigley to a carpet--to the best of carpets--on high æsthetic grounds.
Ah! if he could have read her heart, and seen therein all the shame and
vexation that glowed like hidden volcanic fires! All these classical
decorations seemed to the simple lady a miserable substitute for the
dear old carpet with its alternate yellow flourish and brown lozenge;
and she regretted the familiar fisherman whose image used to greet her
wherever her eyes might rest. But she felt a deeper shame than belongs
to being visibly poor or visibly ridiculous. The room looked poor she
knew, and in her opinion it looked ridiculous also; but there was
something worse than that, and harder far to bear. How shall I reveal
this bitter grief and shame--how find words to express the horror I feel
for the man who was its unpardonable cause! Carried away by his
enthusiasm for a profane and heathen art, Mr. Prigley had actually
introduced, in the frieze and elsewhere, several figures which--well,
were divested of all drapery whatever! "And he a clergyman, too!"
thought Mrs. Prigley. True, they were simply outlined; and the
conception of the original designer had been marvellously elegant and
pure, chastened to the last degree by long devotion to the ideal; but
there they were, these shameless nymphs and muses, on the wall of a
Christian clergyman! John Stanburne, who had travelled a good deal, and
who had often stayed in houses where there were both statues and
pictures, saw nothing here but the evidence of cultivated taste. "What
_will_ he think of us?" said Mrs. Prigley to herself; and she believed
that his compliments were merely a kind way of trying to make her feel
less uncomfortable. She thought him very nice, and he chattered as
pleasantly as he possibly could, so that the Doctor, who had come with
him, had no social duty to perform, and spent his time in studying the
Etruscan decorations. Colonel Stanburne apologized for Lady Helena, who
had intended to come with him; but her little girl was suffering from an
attack of fever--not a dangerous fever, he hoped, though violent.

The Doctor, who had not before heard of this, was surprised; but as he
did not visit Wenderholme professionally (for Wenderholme Hall was,
medically speaking, under the authority of the surgeon at Rigton, whose
jealousy was already awakened by our Doctor's intimacy with the
Colonel), he reflected that it was no business of his. The fact was,
that little Miss Stanburne was in the enjoyment of the most perfect
health, but her mother thought it more prudent to let the Colonel go to
Shayton by himself in the first instance, so as to be able to regulate
her future policy according to his report. Mr. Prigley came in before
the visitor had exhausted the subject of the fever, which he described
with an accuracy that took in these two very experienced people; for he
described from memory--his daughter having suffered from such an attack
about six months earlier than the very recent date the Colonel found it
convenient to assign to it.

It was, of course, a great satisfaction to the Prigleys that the head of
the Stanburnes should thus voluntarily renew a connection which, so far
as personal intercourse was concerned, was believed to have been
permanently severed. It was not simply because the Colonel was a man of
high standing in the county that they were glad to become acquainted
with him--there were certain clannish and romantic sentiments which now
found a satisfaction long denied to them. Mrs. Prigley felt, in a minor
degree, what a Highland gentlewoman still feels for the chief of her
clan; and she was disposed to offer a sort of loyalty to the Colonel as
the head of her house, which was very different from the common respect
for wealth and position in general. The Stanburnes had never taken any
conspicuous part in the great events of English history, but the
successive representatives of the family had at least been present in
many historical scenes, in conflicts civil and military, on the field,
on the quarter-deck of the war-ship, in stormy Parliamentary struggles;
and the present chief of the name, for other descendants of the family,
inherited in an especial sense a place in the national life of England.
Not that Mrs. Prigley had any definite notions even about the history of
her own family; the sentiment of birth is quite independent of
historical knowledge, and many a good gentlewoman in these realms is in
a general way proud of belonging to an old family, without caring to
inquire very minutely into the history of it, just as she may be proud
of her coat-of-arms without knowing any thing about heraldry.

The Colonel, in a very kind and graceful manner, expressed his regret
that such near relations should have been separated for so long by an
unfortunate dispute between their fathers. "I believe," he said, "that
your side has most to forgive, since my father won the lawsuit, but
surely we ought not to perpetuate ill-feeling, generation after
generation." Mr. Prigley said that no ill-feeling remained; but that
though he had often wished to see Wenderholme and its owner, he knew
that, as a rule, poor relations were liked best at a distance, and that
not having hitherto had the pleasure of knowing Colonel Stanburne, he
must be held excusable for having supposed him to be like the rest of
the world. John Stanburne was not quite satisfied with this somewhat
formal and dignified assurance, and was resolved to establish a more
intimate footing before he left the parsonage. He exerted himself to
talk about ecclesiastical matters and church architecture, and when Mr.
Prigley offered to show him the church, accompanied him thither with
great apparent interest and satisfaction. The Doctor had patients to
visit, and went his own way.



CHAPTER XII.

OGDEN'S NEW MILL.


Our Jacob, or big Jacob, or Jacob at Milend, as he now began to be
called in the Ogden family, to distinguish him from his nephew and
homonym, had arrived at that point in the career of every successful
cotton-spinner when a feeling of great embarrassment arises as to the
comparative wisdom of purchasing an estate or "laying down a new mill."
When his brother Isaac retired from the concern with ten thousand
pounds, Jacob had not precisely cheated him, perhaps, but he had made a
bargain which, considered prospectively, was highly favorable to his own
interest; and since he had been alone, the profits from the mill had
been so considerable that his savings had rapidly accumulated, and he
was now troubled with a very heavy balance at his bankers, and in
various investments, which, to a man accustomed to receive the large
interest of successful cotton-spinning, seemed little better than
letting money lie idle. Mrs. Ogden had three hundred a-year from five or
six very small farms of her own, which she had inherited from her
mother, and this amply sufficed for the entire expenses of the little
household at Milend. Jacob spent about a hundred and fifty pounds a-year
on himself personally, of which two-thirds were absorbed in
shooting,--the only amusement he cared about. His tailor's bill was
incredibly small, for he had the excuse, when in Shayton, of being
constantly about the mill, and it was natural that he should wear old
fustian and corduroy there; and as for his journeys to Manchester, it
was his custom on these occasions to wear the suit which had been the
Sunday suit of the preceding year. His mother knitted all his stockings
for him, and made his shirts, these being her usual occupations in an
evening. His travelling expenses were confined to the weekly journeys to
Manchester, and as these were always on business, they were charged to
the concern. If Jacob Ogden had not been fond of shooting, his personal
expenses, beyond food and lodging (which were provided for him by his
mother), would not have exceeded fifty pounds a-year; and it is a proof
of the great firmness of his character in money matters that, although
by nature passionately fond of sport, he resolutely kept the cost of it
within the hundred. His annual outlay upon literature was within twenty
shillings; not that it is to be supposed that he spent so large a sum as
one pound sterling in a regular manner upon books, but he had been
tempted by a second-hand copy of Baine's 'History of Lancashire,' which,
being much the worse for wear, had been marked by the bookseller at five
pounds, and Jacob Ogden, by hard bargaining, had got it for four pounds
nine shillings and ninepence. After this extravagance he resolved to
spend no more "foolish money," as he called it, and for several years
made no addition to his library, except a book on dog-breeding, and a
small treatise on the preservation of game, which he rightly entered
amongst his expenses as a sportsman. We are far from desiring to imply
that Jacob Ogden is in this respect to be considered a representative
example of the present generation of cotton-manufacturers, many of whom
are highly educated men, but he may be fairly taken as a specimen of
that generation which founded the colossal fortunes that excite the
wonder, and sometimes, perhaps, awaken the envy, of the learned. When
nature produces a creature for some especial purpose, she does not
burden it with wants and desires that would scatter its force and impair
its efficiency. The industrial epoch had to be inaugurated, the
manufacturing districts had to be created--and to do this a body of men
were needed who should be fresh springs of pure energy, and reservoirs
of all but illimitable capital; men who should act with the certainty
and steadiness of natural instincts which have never been impaired by
the hesitations of culture and philosophy--men who were less nearly
related to university professors than to the ant, and the beaver, and
the bee. And if any cultivated and intellectual reader, in the
thoughtful retirement of his library, feels himself superior to Jacob
Ogden, the illiterate cotton-spinner, he may be reminded that he is not
on all points Ogden's superior. We are all but tools in the hands of
God; and as in the mind of a writer great delicacy and flexibility are
necessary qualities for the work he is appointed to do, so in the mind
of a great captain of industry the most valuable qualities may be the
very opposite of these. Have we the energy, the directness, the
singleness of purpose, the unflinching steadiness in the dullest
possible labor, that mark the typical industrial chief? We know that we
have not; we know that these qualities are not compatible with the
tranquillity of the studious temperament and the meditative life. And if
the Ogdens cannot be men of letters, neither can the men of letters be
Ogdens.

It is admitted, then, that Jacob Ogden was utterly and irreclaimably
illiterate. He really never read a book in his life, except, perhaps,
that book on dog-breaking. Whenever he tried to read, it was a task and
a labor to him; and as literature is not of the least use in the cotton
trade, the energy of his indomitable will had never been brought to bear
upon the mastery of a book. And yet you could not meet him without
feeling that he was very intelligent--that he possessed a kind of
intelligence cultivated by the closest observation of the men and things
within the narrow circle of his life. Has it never occurred to the
reader how wonderfully the most illiterate people often impress us with
a sense of their intelligence--how men and women who never learned the
alphabet have its light on their countenance and in their eyes? In
Ogden's face there were clear signs of that, and of other qualities
also. And there was a keenness in the glance quite different from the
penetration of the thinker or the artist--a keenness which always comes
from excessively close and minute attention to money matters, and from
the passionate love of money, and which no other passion or occupation
ever produces.

In all that related to money Jacob Ogden acted with the pitiless
regularity of the irresistible forces of nature. As the sea which feeds
the fisherman will drown him without remorse--as the air which we all
breathe will bury us under heaps of ruin--so this man, though his
capital enabled a multitude to live, would take the bed from under a
sick debtor, and, rather than lose an imperceptible atom of his fortune,
inflict the utmost extremity of misery. Even Hanby, his attorney, who
was by no means tender-hearted, had been staggered at times by his
pitilessness, and had ventured upon a feeble remonstrance. On these
occasions a shade of sternness was added to the keenness of Ogden's
face, and he repeated a terrible maxim, which, with one or two others,
guided his life: "If a man means to be rich, he must have no fine
feelings;" and then he would add, "_I_ mean to be rich."

Perhaps he would have had fine feelings on a Sunday, for on Sundays he
was religious, and went to church, where he heard a good deal about
being merciful and forgiving which on week-days he would have attributed
to the influence of the sentiments which he despised. But Ogden was far
too judicious an economist of human activities to be ignorant of the
great art of self-adaptation to the duties and purposes of the hour; and
as a prudent lawyer who has a taste for music will take care that it
shall not interfere with his professional work, so Jacob Ogden, who
really had rather a taste for religion, and liked to sit in church with
gloved hands and a clean face, had no notion of allowing the beautiful
sentiments which he heard there to paralyze his action on a week-day.
Every Sunday he prayed repeatedly that God would forgive him his debts
or trespasses as he forgave his debtors or those that trespassed against
him; but that was no reason why he should not, from Monday morning to
Saturday night inclusively, compel everybody to pay what he owed, and
distress him for it if necessary. After all, he acted so simply and
instinctively that one can hardly blame him very severely. The truest
definition of him would be, an incarnate natural force. The forces of
wealth, which are as much natural forces as those of fire and frost, had
incarnated themselves in him. His sympathy with money was so complete,
he had so entirely subjected his mind to it, so thoroughly made himself
its pupil and its mouth-piece, that it is less accurate to say that he
_had_ money than that he _was_ money. Jacob Ogden was a certain sum of
money whose unique idea was its own increase, and which acted in
obedience to the laws of wealth as infallibly as a planet acts in
obedience to the cosmic forces.

It is only natural that a man so endowed and so situated should grow
rich. In all respects circumstances were favorable to him. He had robust
health and indefatigable energy. His position in a little place like
Shayton, where habits of spending had not yet penetrated, was also
greatly in his favor, because it sheltered him in undisturbed obscurity.
No man who is born to wealth, and has lived from his infancy in the
upper class, will confine his expenditure during the best years of
manhood to the pittance which sufficed for Ogden. It was an advantage to
him, also, that his mind should be empty, because he needed all the room
in it for the endless details concerning his property and his trade. No
fact of this nature, however minute, escaped him. His knowledge of the
present state of all that belonged to him was so clear and accurate,
and his foresight as to probable changes so sure, that he anticipated
every thing, and neutralized every cause of loss before it had time to
develop itself.

That a man whose daily existence proved the fewness of his wants should
have an eager desire for money, may appear one of the inconsistencies of
human nature; but in the case of Jacob Ogden, and in thousands of cases
similar to his, there is no real inconsistency. He did not desire money
in order to live luxuriously; he desired it because the mere possession
of it brought increased personal consideration, and gave him weight and
importance in the little community he lived in. And when a man relies on
wealth _alone_ for his position--when he is, obviously, not a
gentleman--he needs a great quantity of it. Another reason why Jacob
Ogden never felt that he had enough was because the men with whom he
habitually compared himself, and whom he wished to distance in the race,
did not themselves remain stationary, but enriched themselves so fast
that it needed all Jacob Ogden's genius for money-getting to keep up
with them; for men of talent in every order compare themselves with
their equals and rivals, and not with the herd of the incapable. It was
his custom to go to Manchester in the same railway carriage with four or
five men of business, who talked of nothing but investments, and it
would have made Jacob Ogden miserable not to be able to take a share in
these conversations on terms of perfect equality.

"I'm sure," thought Mrs. Ogden, "that our Jacob's got something on his
mind. He sits and thinks a deal more than he used doin'. He's 'appen[11]
fallen in love, an' doesn't like to tell me about it, because it's same
as tellin' me to leave Milend."

Mrs. Ogden was confirmed in her suspicions that very evening by the fact
that "our Jacob" shut himself up in the little sitting-room with a
builder. "If it's to build himself a new 'ouse and leave me at Milend,
I willn't stop; and if it's to build me a new 'ouse, I shall never live
there. I shall go an' live i' th' Cream-pot."

The idea of Mrs. Ogden living in a cream-pot may appear to some readers
almost as mythical as the story of that other and much more famous old
lady who lived in a shoe; but although a cream-pot would not be a bad
place to live in if one were a mouse, and the rich fluid not dangerously
deep, it is not to be supposed that Mrs. Ogden entertained such a
project in an obvious and literal sense. Her intentions were rational,
but they need a word of explanation. She possessed a small farm called
the Cream-pot; and of all her small farms this was her best beloved.
Therefore had she resolved, years and years before, that when Jacob
married she would go to the Cream-pot, and dwell there for the days that
might remain to her.

She waited till the builder had gone, and then went into the little
room. Jacob was busy examining a plan. "I wish you wouldn't trouble
yourself about that buildin', Jacob," said Mrs. Ogden; "there needs no
buildin', for as soon as ever you get wed I shall go to th' Cream-pot."

Her son looked up from his plan with an air of the utmost astonishment.
Mrs. Ogden continued,--

"I think you might have told me about it a little sooner. I don't even
know her name, not positively, though I may guess it, perhaps. There's
no doubt about one thing--you'll have time enough to repent in. As they
make their bed, so they must lie."

"What the devil," said Jacob, thinking aloud and _very_ loudly,--"what
the devil is th' ould woman drivin' at?"

"Nay, if I'm to be sworn at, I've been too long i' this 'ouse already."

And Mrs. Ogden, with that stately step which distinguished her, made
slowly for the door.

In cases where the lady of a house acts in a manner which is altogether
absurd, the male or males, whose comfort is in a great degree dependent
upon her good temper, have a much better chance of restoring it than
when she is but moderately unreasonable. They are put upon their guard;
they are quite safe from that most fatal of errors, an attempt to bring
the lady round by those too direct arguments which are suggested by
masculine frankness; they are warned that judicious management is
necessary. Thus, although Jacob Ogden, in the first shock of his
astonishment, had not replied to his mother in a manner precisely
calculated to soothe her, he at once perceived his error, and saw that
she must be brought round. In politer spheres, where people beg pardon
of each other for the most trifling and even imaginary offences, the
duty of begging pardon is so constantly practised that (like all
well-practised duties) it is extremely easy. But it was impossible for
Jacob Ogden, who had never begged pardon in his life.

"I say, mother, stop a bit. You've gotten a bit o' brass o' your own,
an' I'm layin' down a new mill, and I shall want o' th'[12] brass I can
lay my hands on. I willn't borrow none, out of this 'ouse, not even of
my brother Isaac; but if you could lend me about four thousand pound, I
could give a better finish to th' new shed."

"Why, Jacob, you never told me as you were layin' down a new mill."

"No, but I should a' done if you'd a' waited a bit I never right made up
my mind about it while last night."

It was not Jacob Ogden's custom to be confidential with his mother about
money matters, and she on her part had been too proud to seek a
confidence that was never offered; but many little signs had of late led
her to the conclusion that Jacob was in a period of unusual prosperity.
He had bought one or two small estates for three or four thousand
pounds each, and then had suddenly declared that he would lay out no
more money in "potterin' bits o' property like them, but keep it while
he'd a good lump for summat o' some use." The decision about the new
mill proved to Mrs. Ogden that the "lump" in question was already
accumulated.

"Jacob," she said, "how much do you reckon to put into th' new mill?"

"Why, 'appen about forty thousand; an' if you'll lend me four, that'll
be forty-four."

This was a larger sum than Mrs. Ogden had hoped; but she showed no sign
of rejoicing beyond a quiet smile.

"And where do you think of buildin' it?"

"Well, mother, if you don't mind sellin' me Little Mouse Field, it's the
best mill-site in all Shayton. There's that water-course so handy; and
it'll increase the valley[13] of our land round about it."

Mrs. Ogden was perfectly soothed by this time. Jacob wanted to borrow
four thousand pounds of her. She had coal under her little farms, of
which the accumulated produce had reached rather more than that amount;
and she promised the loan with a facetious hope that the borrower would
be able to give her good security. As to Little Mouse Field, he was
quite welcome to it, and she begged him to accept it as a present.

"Nay, mother; you shouldn't give me no presents bout[14] givin' summat
to our Isaac. But I reckon it's all one; for all as I have, or shall
have, 'll go to little Jacob."

"Eh, how you talk, lad! Why, you'll get wed an' have chilther of your
own. You're young enough, an' well off beside."

"There's no need for me to get wed, mother, so long as th' old woman
lasts, an' who'll last a long while yet, I reckon. There's none o' these
young ladies as is kerfle enough to do for a man like me as has been
accustomed to see his house well managed. Why, they cannot neither make
a shirt nor a puddin'."

These disparaging remarks concerning the "Girl of the Period" filled (as
they were designed to fill) Mrs. Ogden's mind with tranquillity and
satisfaction. To complete her good-humor, Jacob unrolled the plans and
elevation of his new mill. The plans were most extensive, but the
elevation did not strike the spectator by its height; for as the site
was not costly, Jacob Ogden had adopted a system then becoming prevalent
in the smaller towns of the manufacturing districts, where land was
comparatively cheap--the system of erecting mills rather as sheds than
on the old five-storied model. His new mill was simply a field walled in
and roofed over, with a tall engine house and an enormous chimney at one
end. People of æsthetic tastes would see nothing lovely in the long
straight lines of roofs and rows of monotonously identical windows which
displayed themselves on the designs drawn by Ogden's architect; but to
Ogden's eyes there was a beauty here greater than that of the finest
cathedral he had ever beheld. He was not an imaginative person; but he
had quite enough imagination to realize the vista of the vast interior,
the roar of the innumerable wheels, the incessant activity of the living
makers of his wealth. He saw himself standing in the noble engine-room,
and watching the unhurried see-saw of the colossal beams; the rise and
fall of the pistons, thicker than the spear of Goliath, and brighter
than columns of silver; the revolution of the enormous fly-wheel; the
exquisite truth of motion; the steadiness of man's great creature, that
never knows fatigue. That engine-room should be the finest in all
Shayton. It should have a plaster cornice round its ceiling, and a great
moulded ornament in the middle of it; the gas-lights should be in
handsome ground-glass globes; and about the casings of the cylinders
there should be a luxury of mahogany and brass.

"But, Jacob," said his mother, when she had duly adjusted her
spectacles, and gradually mastered the main features of the plan, "it
seems to me as you've put th' mill all o' one side, and th' engine
nobbut half-fills th' engine-house."

Ogden had never heard of Taymouth Castle and the old Earl of
Breadalbane, who, when somebody asked him why he built his house at the
extremity of his estate, instead of in the middle of it, answered that
he intended to "brizz yint."[15] But, like the ambitious Earl, Ogden was
one of those who "brizz yint."

"Why, mother," he said, "this 'ere's nobbut half the new mill. What can
you do with forty-five thousand?"



CHAPTER XIII.

STANITHBURN PEEL.


"Helena!" said Colonel Stanburne one morning when he came down to
breakfast, "I've determined on a bold stroke. I'm going to take the
tandem this morning to Stanithburn Peel, to see young Philip Stanburne
and get him to accept a captaincy in the new regiment."

Her ladyship did not see why this should be called a bold stroke, so she
asked if the road were particularly dangerous to drive upon, and
suggested that, if it were, one horse would be safer than two.

"That's not it. The sort of courage wanted on the present occasion, my
dear Helena, is moral courage and not physical courage, don't you see?
Did you never hear the history of the Stanburnes of Stanithburn? Surely
female ignorance does not go so far as to leave you uninformed about
such a distinguished family as ours?"

"I know the history of its present representative, or at least as much
of it as he chooses to tell me."

"Error added to ignorance! I am not the representative of the family. We
of Wenderholme are only a younger branch. The real representative is
Philip Stanburne, of Stanithburn Peel."

"I scarcely ever heard of him before. I had some vague notion that such
a person existed. Why does he never come here?"

"It's a long story, but you will find it all in the county histories. In
Henry the Eighth's time Sir Philip Stanburne was a rebel and got
beheaded, some people say hanged, for treason, so his estates were
confiscated. Wenderholme and Stanithburn Tower were given back to the
family in the next generation, but the elder branch had only
Stanithburn, which is a much smaller estate than this. Since then they
married heiresses, but always regularly spent their fortunes, and now
young Philip Stanburne has nothing but the tower with a small estate of
bad land which brings him in four or five hundred a-year."

"Not much certainly; but why does he never come here?"

"My father used to say that there had been no intercourse between
Stanithburn and Wenderholme for three hundred years. Most likely the
separation was a religious quarrel, to begin with. The elder branch
always remained strictly Roman Catholic; but the Wenderholme branch was
more prudent, and turned Protestant in Queen Elizabeth's time."

"All this is quite a romantic story, but those county histories are so
full of archæology that one does not venture to look into them. Would it
not be better to write to Mr. Philip Stanburne? There is no knowing how
he may receive you."

The Colonel thought it better to go personally. "I'm not clever, Helena,
at persuading people with a pen; but I can generally talk them round,
when I have a chance of seeing them myself."

The distance from Wenderholme to Stanithburn Peel was exactly
twenty-five miles; but the Colonel liked a long drive, and the tandem
was soon on its way through the narrow but well-kept lanes that
traversed the stretch of fertile country which separated the two houses.
The Colonel lunched and baited his horses at a little inn not often
visited by such a stylish equipage, and it was nearly three o'clock in
the afternoon when he began to enter the hilly country near the Peel.
The roads here were not so good as those in the plain, and instead of
being divided from the fields by hedges they passed between gray stone
walls. The scenery became more and more desolate as the horses advanced.
There was little sylvan beauty left in it except that of the alders near
a rapid stream in the valley, and the hills showed the bare limestone in
many places through a scanty covering of grass. At length a turn of the
road brought the Colonel in sight of the Tower or Peel of Stanithburn
itself, an edifice which had little pretension to architectural beauty,
and lacked altogether that easily achieved sublimity which in so many
Continental buildings of a similar character is due to the overhanging
of _machicoulis_ and _tourelles_. It possessed, however, the
distinguishing feature of a battlement, which, still in perfect
preservation, entirely surrounded the leads of the flat roof. Beyond
this the old Tower retained no warlike character, but resembled an
ordinary modern house, with an additional story on the top of it. There
were, alas! some modern sash-windows, which went far to destroy the
character of the edifice; yet whatever injury the Philistinism of the
eighteenth century might have inflicted upon the building itself, it had
not been able to destroy the romantic beauty of its site. The hill that
separates Shayton from Wenderholme is of sandstone; and though behind
Twistle Farm and elsewhere there are groups of rocks of more or less
picturesque interest, they are not comparable to the far grander
limestone region about the Tower of Stanithburn. The Tower itself is
situated on a bleak eminence, half surrounded by a curve of the stream
already mentioned; but a mile below the Tower the stream passes through
a ravine of immense depth, and in a series of cascades reaches the level
of the plain below. Above Stanithburn Peel, on the other hand, the
stream comes from a region of unimaginable desolation--where the
fantastic forms of the pale stone lift themselves, rain-worn, like a
council of rude colossi, and no sound is heard but the wind and the
stream, and the wild cry of the plover.

A very simple gateway led from the public to a private road, which
climbed the hill till it ended in a sort of farm-yard between the Peel
and its out-buildings. When the Colonel arrived here, he was received by
a farm-servant, who showed the way to the stable, and said that his
master was out fishing. By following the stream, the Colonel would be
sure to find him.

John Stanburne set off on foot, not without some secret apprehension.
"Perhaps Helena was right," he thought; "perhaps I ought to have
written. They say he is a strange, eccentric sort of fellow, and there
is no telling how he may receive me."

Philip Stanburne, of the Peel, was in fact reputed to be morbid and
misanthropic, with as much justice as there usually is in such reports.
After his father's death he had been left alone with his mother, and the
few years that he lived in this way with her had been the sweetest and
happiest of his life. When he lost her, his existence became one of
almost absolute solitude, broken only by a weekly visit to a great house
ten miles from Stanithburn, where a chaplain was kept, and he could hear
mass--or by the occasional visits of the doctor, and one or two by no
means intimate neighbors. In country places a difference of religion is
a great impediment to intercourse; and though people thought it quite
right that Philip Stanburne should be a Catholic, they never could get
over a feeling of what they called "queerness" in the presence of a man
who believed in transubstantiation, and said prayers to the Virgin Mary.
Like many other recluses, he was credited with a dislike to society far
different from his real feeling, and much less creditable to his good
sense. Habit had made solitude endurable to him, and there was something
agreeable, no doubt, in the sense of his independence, but there was not
the slightest taint of misanthropy in his whole nature. He naturally
shrank from the society of Sootythorn because it was so strongly
Protestant; and there were no families of his own creed in his immediate
neighborhood. His way of living was too simple for the entertainment of
guests. Having no profession by which money might be earned, he was
reduced to mere economy, which got him a reputation for being stingy and
unsociable.

The Colonel walked a mile along the stream without perceiving anybody,
but at length he saw Philip Stanburne, very much occupied with his
fly-book, and accompanied only by a dog, which began to bark vigorously
as soon as he perceived the presence of a stranger. A quarter of an hour
afterwards the two new acquaintances were talking easily enough, and the
recluse of the Tower began to feel inclined to join the militia, though
he had asked for time to consider.

"I have heard," said the Colonel, "that the name which your house still
keeps, and from which our own name comes, is due to some stone in your
stream--stone in the burn, or stane i' th' burn, and so to Stanithburn
and Stanburne. Is there any particular stone here likely to give a
ground for the theory, or is it only a tradition?"

"I have no doubt," said Philip Stanburne, "of the accuracy of tradition
in this instance. Come and look at the stone itself."

He turned aside from the direct path to the Tower, and they came again
to the brink of the stream, which had here worn for itself two channels
deep in the limestone. Between these channels rose an islanded rock
about thirty feet above the present level of the water. A fragment of
ruined building was discernible on its narrow summit.

As the two men looked together on the stone from which their race had
taken its name centuries ago, both fell under the influence of that
mysterious sentiment, so different from the pride of station or the
vanity of precedence, which binds us to the past. Neither of them
spoke, but it is not an exaggeration to say that both felt their
relationship then. Had not the time been when Stanburne of the Peel and
Stanburne of Wenderholme were brothers? A fraternal feeling began to
unite these two by subtle, invisible threads.



CHAPTER XIV.

AT SOOTYTHORN.


Not many days after the little events narrated in the preceding chapter,
Mr. Philip Stanburne awoke in a small bedroom on the second floor of the
Thorn Inn, or Thorn Hotel, at Sootythorn. It was a disagreeable, stuffy
little room; and an extensive four-poster covered fully one-half the
area of the floor. There was the usual wash-hand stand, and close to the
wash-hand stand a chair, and on the chair the undress uniform of a
militia officer. Philip Stanburne lay in the extensive four-poster, and
contemplated the military equipment, of which the most brilliant
portions were the crimson sash, and the bright, newly gilded hilt of a
handsome sword. As it was only the undress uniform, there was nothing
particularly striking in the dress itself, which consisted of a plain
dark-blue frock-coat, and black trowsers with narrow red seam.
Nevertheless, Captain Stanburne felt no great inclination to invest his
person with what looked very like a disguise. His instincts were by no
means military; and the idea of marching through the streets of
Sootythorn with a drawn sword in his hand had little attraction for him.

When he drew up his blind, the view from the window was unpleasantly
different from the view that refreshed his eye every morning at
Stanithburn Peel. The Thorn Inn was higher than most of the houses in
Sootythorn, and Philip Stanburne had a view over the roofs. Very smoky
they all were, and still smokier were the immense chimney-stalks of the
cotton-mills. "One, two, three, four," began Philip, aloud, as he
counted the great chimneys, and he did not stop till he had counted up
to twenty-nine. The Thorn Inn was just in the middle of the town, and
there were as many on the other side--a consideration which occurred to
Philip Stanburne's reflective mind, as it sometimes occurs to very
philosophical people to think about the stars that are under our feet,
on the other side of the world.

"What a dirty place it is!" thought Philip Stanburne. "I wish I had
never come into the militia. Fancy me staying a month in such a smoky
hole as this! I wish I were back at the Peel. And just the nicest month
in the year, too!" However, there he was, and it was too late to go
back. He had to present himself at the orderly-room at half-past nine,
and it was already a quarter to nine.

On entering the coffee-room of the hotel he found half-a-dozen gentlemen
disguised like himself in military apparel, and engaged in the business
of breakfast. He did not know one of them. He knew few people,
especially amongst the Protestant gentry; and he literally knew nobody
of the middle class in Sootythorn except Mr. Garley the innkeeper, and
one or two tradesmen.

Philip had no sooner entered the coffee-room than Mr. Garley made his
appearance with that air of confidence which distinguished him. Mr.
Garley was not Philip Stanburne's equal in a social point of view, but
he was immensely his superior in _aplomb_ and knowledge of the world.
Thus, whilst Captain Stanburne felt slightly nervous in the presence of
the gentlemen in uniform, and disguised his nervousness under an
appearance of lofty reserve, Mr. Garley, though little accustomed to the
sight of military men, or of gentlemen wearing the appearance of
military men, was no more embarrassed than in the presence of his old
friends the commercials. "Good morning, Captain Stanburne," said Mr.
Garley; "good morning to _you_, sir; 'ope you slep well; 'ope you was
suited with your room."

Philip muttered something about its being "rather small."

"Well, sir, it _is_ rather small, as you say, sir. I could have wished
to have given you a better, but you see, sir, I kep the best room in the
'ouse for the Curnle; and then there was the majors, and his lordship
here, Captain Lord Henry Ughtred, had bespoke a good room more than six
weeks ago; so you see, sir, I wasn't quite free to serve you quite so
well as I could have wished. Sorry we can't content _all_ gentlemen,
sir. What will you take to breakfast, Captain Stanburne? Would you like
a boiled hegg, new-laid, or a little fried 'am, or shall I cut you some
cold meat; there's four kinds of cold meat on the sideboard, besides a
cold beefsteak-pie?"

As he finished his sentence, Mr. Garley drew a chair out, the seat of
which had been under the table, and, with a mixture of servility and
patronage (servility because he was temporarily acting the part of a
waiter, patronage because he still knew himself to be Mr. Garley of the
Thorn Hotel), he invited Philip Stanburne to sit down. The other
gentlemen at the table had not been engaged in a very animated
conversation, and they suspended it by mutual consent to have a good
stare at the new-comer. For it so happened that these men were the swell
clique, which had for its head Captain Lord Henry Ughtred, and for its
vice-captain the Honorable Fortunatus Brabazon; and the swell clique had
determined in its own corporate mind that it would have as little to do
with the snobs of Sootythorn as might be. It was apprehensive of a great
influx of the snob element into the regiment. There was a belief or
suspicion in the clique that there existed cads even amongst the
captains; and as the officers had not yet met together, a feeling of
great circumspection predominated amongst the members of the clique.
Philip Stanburne ventured to observe that it was a fine morning; but
although his next neighbor admitted that fact, he at once allowed the
conversation to drop. Mr. Garley had given Philip his first cup of tea;
but, in his temporary absence, Philip asked a distinguished member of
the swell clique for a second. The liquid was not refused, yet there was
something in the manner of giving it which might have turned the hottest
cup of tea in Lancashire to a lump of solid ice. At length Lord Henry
Ughtred, having for a length of time fixed his calm blue eyes on Philip
(they were pretty blue eyes, and he had nice curly hair, and a general
look of an overgrown Cupid), said,--

"Pray excuse me; did I not hear Mr. Garley say that your name was
Stanburne?"

"Yes, my name is Stanburne."

"Are you Colonel Stanburne's brother, may I ask?"

"No; the Colonel has no brothers."

"Ah, true, true; I had forgotten. Of _course_, I knew Stanburne had no
brothers. Indeed, he told me he'd no relations--or something of the
kind. You're not a relation of his, I presume; you don't belong to his
family, do you?"

Philip Stanburne, in these matters, had very much of the feeling of a
Highland chief. He was the representative of the Stanburnes, and the
Colonel was head of a younger branch only. So when he was asked in this
way whether he belonged to the Colonel's family, he at once answered
"no," seeing that the Colonel belonged to _his_ family, not he to the
Colonel's. He was irritated, too, by the tone of his questioner; and,
besides, such a relationship as the very distant one between himself and
Colonel Stanburne was rather a matter for poetical sentiment than for
the prose of the outer world.

Mr. Garley only made matters worse by putting his word in. "Beg pardon,
Captn Stanburne, but I've always 'eard say that your family was a
younger branch of the Wendrum family."

"Then you were misinformed, for it isn't."

"Perhaps it isn't just clearly traced out, sir," said Mr. Garley,
intending to make himself agreeable; "but all the old people says so. If
I was you, sir, I'd have it properly traced out. Mr. Higgin, the spinner
here, got his pedigree traced out quite beautiful. It's really a very
'andsome pedigree, coats of arms and all. Nobody would have thought Mr.
Higgin 'ad such a pedigree; but there's nothin' like tracin' and
studyin', and 'untin' it all hup."

Philip Stanburne was well aware that his position as chief of his house
was very little known, and that he was popularly supposed to descend
from some poor cadet of Wenderholme; but it was disagreeable to be
reminded of the popular belief about him in this direct way, and in the
hearing of witnesses before whom he felt little disposed to abate one
jot of his legitimate pretensions. However, pride kept him silent, even
after Mr. Garley's ill-contrived speech, and he sought a diversion in
looking at his watch. This made the others look at their watches also;
and as it was already twenty-five minutes after nine, they all set off
for the orderly-room, the swell clique keeping together, and Philip
Stanburne following about twenty yards in the rear.

The streets of Sootythorn were seldom very animated at ten o'clock in
the morning, except on a market-day; and though there was a great deal
of excitement amongst the population of the town on the subject of the
militia, that population was safely housed in the fifty-seven factories
of Sootythorn, and an officer might pass through the streets in
comparative comfort, free from the remarks which would be likely to
assail him when the factories loosed. With the exception of two or three
urchins who ran by Philip's side, and stared at him till one of them
fell over a wheelbarrow, nothing occurred to disturb him. As the
orderly-room was very near, Captain Stanburne thought he had time to buy
a pocket-book at the bookseller's shop, and entered it for that purpose.

Whilst occupied with the choice of his pocket-book he heard a soft voice
close to him.

"Papa wishes to know if you have got Mr. Blunting's Sermons on Popery."

"No, Miss Stedman, we haven't a copy left, but we can order one for Mr.
Stedman if he wishes it. Perhaps it would be well to order it at once,
as there has been a great demand for the book, and it is likely to be
out of print very soon, unless the new edition is out in time to keep up
the supply. Four editions are exhausted already, and the book has only
been out a month or two. We are writing to London to-day; shall we order
the book for you, Miss Stedman?"

The lady hesitated a little, and then said, "Papa seemed to want it very
much--yes, you can order it, please."

There was something very agreeable to Philip Stanburne's ear in what he
had heard, and something that grated upon it harshly. The tone of the
girl's voice was singularly sweet. It came to him as comes a pure
unexpected perfume. It was amongst sounds what the perfume of violets is
amongst odors, and he longed to hear it again. What had grated upon him
was the word "Popery;" he could not endure to hear his religion called
"Popery." Still, it was only the title of some Protestant book the girl
had mentioned, and she was not responsible for it--she could not give
the book any other title than its own. Philip Stanburne was examining a
quantity of morocco contrivances (highly ingenious, most of them) in a
glass case in the middle of the shop, and he turned round to look at the
young lady, but she had her back to him. She was now choosing some
note-paper on the counter. Her dress was extremely simple--white muslin,
with a little sprig; and she wore a plain straw bonnet--for in those
days women _did_ wear bonnets. It was evident that she was not a
fashionable young lady, for her whole dress showed a timid lagging
behind the fashion.

When she had completed her little purchases Miss Stedman left the shop,
and Captain Stanburne was disappointed, for she had given him no
opportunity of seeing her face; but just as he was leaving she came
back in some haste, and they met rather suddenly in the doorway. "I beg
your pardon," said the Captain, making way for her--and then he got a
look at her face. The look must have been agreeable to him, for when he
saw a little glove lying on the mat in the doorway, he picked it up
rather eagerly and presented it to the fair owner. "Is this your glove,
Miss--Miss Stedman?"

Now Miss Stedman had never in her life been spoken to by a gentleman in
military uniform, with a sword by his side, and the fact added to her
confusion. It was odd, too, to hear him call her Miss Stedman, but it
was not disagreeable, for he said it very nicely. There is an art of
pronouncing names so as to turn the commonest of them into titles of
honor; and if Philip had said "your ladyship," he could not have said it
more respectfully. So she thanked him for the glove with the warmth
which comes of embarrassment, and she blushed, and he bowed, and they
saw no more of each other--that day.

It was a poor little glove--a poor little cheap thread glove; but all
the finest and softest kids that lay in their perfumed boxes in the
well-stocked shops of Sootythorn,--all the pale gray kids and pale
yellow kids which the young shopmen so strongly recommended as "suitable
for the present season,"--were forgotten in a month, whereas Alice
Stedman's glove was remembered for years and years.



CHAPTER XV.

WITH THE MILITIA.


The officers met at the orderly-room, after which they all went to the
parade-ground at once; the field-officers and the Adjutant on horseback,
the rest on foot.

Philip Stanburne followed the others. He knew nobody except the Colonel
and the Adjutant, who had just said "Good morning" to him in the
orderly-room; but they had trotted on in advance, so he was left to his
own meditations. It was natural that in passing the bookseller's shop he
should think of Miss Stedman, and he felt an absurd desire to go into
the shop again and buy another pocket-book, as if by acting the scene
over again he could cause the principal personage to reappear. "I don't
think she's pretty," said Philip to himself--"at least, not really
pretty; but she's a sweet girl. There's a simplicity about her that is
very charming. Who would have thought that there was any thing so nice
in Sootythorn?" Just as he was thinking this, Philip Stanburne passed
close to one of the blackest mills in the place--an old mill,--that is,
a mill about thirty years old, for mills, like horses, age rapidly; and
through the open windows there came a mixture of bad smells on the hot
foul air, and a deafening roar of machinery, and above the roar of
machinery a shrill clear woman's voice singing. The voice must have been
one of great power, for it predominated over all the noises in the
place; and it either was really a very sweet one or its harshness was
lost in the noises, whilst it rose above them purified. Philip stopped
to listen, and as he stopped, two other officers came up behind him.
The footpath was narrow, and as soon as he perceived that he impeded the
circulation, Philip went on.

"That's one o' th' oudest mills i' Sootythorn," said one of the officers
behind Captain Stanburne; "it's thirty year oud, if it's a day."

The broad Lancashire accent surprised Captain Stanburne, and attracted
his attention. Could it be possible that there were officers in the
regiment who spoke no better than that? Evidently this way of speaking
was not confined to an individual officer, for the speaker's companion
answered in the same tone,--

"Why, that's John Stedman's mill, isn't it?"

"John Stedman? John Stedman? it cannot be t' same as was foreman to my
father toward thirty year sin'?"

When Philip Stanburne heard the name of Stedman, he listened
attentively. The first speaker answered, "Yes, but it is--it's t' same
man."

"Well, an' how is he? he must be well off. Has he any chilther?"

"Just one dorter, a nice quiet lass, 'appen eighteen year old."

"So she's the daughter of a cotton-spinner," thought Philip, "and a
Protestant cotton-spinner, most likely a bigot. Indeed, who ever heard
of a Catholic cotton-spinner? I never did. I believe there aren't any.
But what queer fellows these are to be in the militia; they talk just
like factory lads." Then, from a curiosity to see more of these
extraordinary officers, and partly, no doubt, from a desire to cultivate
the acquaintance of a man who evidently knew something about Miss
Stedman, Philip left the causeway, and allowed the officers to come up
with him.

"I beg your pardon," he said; "no doubt you are going to the
parade-ground. Will you show me the way? I was following some officers
who were in sight a minute or two since, but they turned a corner
whilst I was not looking at them, and I have lost my guides."

To Captain Stanburne's surprise he was answered in very good English,
with no more indication of the Lancashire accent than a clearly vibrated
_r_, and a certain hardness in the other consonants, which gave a
masculine vigor to the language, not by any means disagreeable. The
aspirate, however, was too frequently omitted or misplaced.

"We are going straight to the parade-ground ourselves, so if you come
with us you cannot go wrong." There was a short silence, and the same
speaker continued, "The Colonel said we were to consider ourselves
introduced. I know who you are--you're Captain Stanburne of Stanithburn
Peel; and now I'll tell you who we are, both of us: I'm the Doctor--my
name's Bardly. I don't look like a doctor, do I? Perhaps you are
thinking that I don't look very like an officer either, though I'm
dressed up as one. Well, perhaps I don't. This man here is called Isaac
Ogden, and he lives at Twistle Farm, on a hill-top near Shayton, when
he's at home."

This queer introduction, which was accompanied by the oddest changes of
expression in the Doctor's face, and by a perpetual twinkle of humor in
his gray eye, amused Philip Stanburne, and put him into a more genial
frame of mind than his experience of the swell clique at breakfast-time.
Isaac Ogden asked Stanburne what company he had got, and on being told
that it was number six, informed him that he himself was only a
lieutenant.

"He's lieutenant in the grenadier company," said the Doctor, "and on
Sunday morning we shall see him like a butterfly with a pair of silver
wings.[16] He's only a chrysalis to-day; his wings haven't budded yet.
He's very likely put 'em on in private--most of them put on their full
uniform in private, as soon as ever it comes from the tailor's. It's
necessary to try it on, you know--it _might_ not fit. The epaulettes
would fit, though; but they generally take their epaulettes out of the
tin box and put them on, to see how they look in the glass."

"Well, Doctor," said Stanburne, "I suppose you are describing from
personal experience. When your own epaulettes came, you looked at
yourself in the glass, I suppose."

Here an indescribably comic look irradiated Dr. Bardly's face. "You
don't imagine that _I_ have laid out any money on epaulettes and such
gear? The tailor tried to make me buy a full uniform, of course, but it
didn't answer with me. What do I want with a red coat, and dangling
silver fringes over my shoulders? I've committed one piece of
tomfoolery, and that's enough--I've bought this sword; but a sword might
just possibly be of use for a thief. There was a man in Shayton who had
an old volunteer sword always by his bedside, and one night he put six
inches of it into a burglar; so you see a sword _may_ be of use, but
what can you do with a bit of silver fringe?"

"But I don't see how you are to do without a full uniform. How will you
manage on field days, and how will you go to church on Sundays?"

"Get leave of absence on all such occasions," said the Doctor; "so long
as I haven't a full uniform I have a good excuse." The fact was, that
the Doctor's aversion to full dress came quite as much from a dislike to
public ceremonies as from an objection to scarlet and silver in
themselves. He had a youthful assistant in the regiment who was
perfectly willing to represent the medical profession in all imaginable
splendor, and who had already passed three evenings in full uniform,
surrounded by his brothers and sisters, and a group of admiring friends.

The day was a tiresome idle day for everybody except the Adjutant, who
shouted till his throat was sore, and the sergeants, on whom fell the
real work of the companies. After lunch, the important matter of billets
had to be gone into, and it was discovered that it was impossible to
lodge all the men in Sootythorn. One company, at least, must seek
accommodation elsewhere. The junior captain must therefore submit, for
this training, to be banished from the mess, and sent to eat his
solitary beefsteak in some outlandish village, or, still worse, in some
filthy and uncouth little manufacturing town. His appetite, it is true,
might so far benefit by the long marches to and from the parade-ground
that the beefsteak might be eaten with the best of sauces; but the
ordinary exercises of the regiment would have been sufficient to procure
that, and the great efforts of Mr. Garley at the Thorn might have been
relied upon for satisfying it. So the junior captain was ordered to take
his men to Whittlecup, a dirty little town, of about six thousand
inhabitants, four miles distant from Sootythorn; and the junior captain
was Philip Stanburne.

Behold him, therefore, marching at the head of his rabble, for the men
as yet had neither uniforms nor military bearing, on the dusty turnpike
road! The afternoon had been uncommonly hot for the season of the year;
and a military uniform, closely buttoned across the breast, and padded
with cotton wool, is by no means the costume most suitable for the
summer heats. There were so few lieutenants in the regiment (there was
not one ensign) that a junior captain could not hope for a subaltern,
and all the work of the company fell upon Philip Stanburne and his old
sergeant. It was not easy to keep any thing like order amongst the men.
They quarrelled and fought during the march; and it became necessary to
arrange them so as to keep enemies at a distance from each other. Still,
by the time they reached the precincts of Whittlecup several of the men
were adorned with black eyes; and as a few had been knocked down and
tumbled in the dust by their comrades, the company presented rather the
appearance of a rabble after a riot than of soldiers in her Majesty's
service. Philip Stanburne's uniform was white with dust; but as the dust
that alighted on his face was wetted by perspiration, it did not there
remain a light-colored powder, but became a thick coat of dark paste.
Indeed, to tell the truth, the owner of Stanithburn had never been so
dirty in his life.

Now there was a river at the entrance to Whittlecup, and over the river
a bridge; and on the bridge, or in advance of it (for the factories had
just loosed), there stood a crowd of about three thousand operatives
awaiting the arrival of the militia-men.

The Lancashire operative is not accustomed to restrain the expression of
his opinions from motives of delicacy, and any consideration for your
feelings which he may have when isolated diminishes with the number of
his companions. Three factory lads may content themselves with
exchanging sarcastic remarks on your personal appearance when you are
out of hearing, thirty will make them in your presence, three hundred
will jeer you loudly; and from three thousand, if once you are unlucky
enough to attract their attention, there will come such volleys of
derision as nobody but a philosopher could bear with equanimity.

Not only was the road lined on both sides with work-people, but they
blocked it up in front, and made way for the militia-men so slowly, that
there was ample time for Philip Stanburne to hear every observation that
was directed against him. Amidst the roars of laughter which the
appearance of the men gave rise to, a thousand special commentaries
might be distinguished.

"Them chaps sowdiers! Why, there's nobbut one sowdier i' th' lot as I
can see on."

"Where is he? I can see noan at o'."

"Cannot ta see th' felly wi' th' red jacket?"

"Eh, what a mucky lot!"

"They'll be right uns for fightin', for there's four on 'em 'as gotten
black een to start wi'."

"Where's their guns?"

"They willn't trust 'em wi' guns. They'd be shootin' one another."

"There's one chap wi' a soourd."

"Why, that's th' officer."

"Eh, captain!" screamed a factory girl in Philip's ear, "I could like to
gi' thee a kiss, but thou's getten sich a mucky face!"

"I wouldn't kiss him for foive shillin'," observed another.

"Eh, but I would!" said a third; "he's a nice young felly. I'll kiss him
to-neet when he's washed hissel!"



CHAPTER XVI.

A CASE OF ASSAULT.


The officers' mess was rather a good thing for Mr. Garley. He charged
five shillings a-head for dinner without wine; and although both the
Colonel and the large majority of his officers were temperate men, a
good deal of profit may be got out of the ordinary vinous and spirituous
consumption of a set of English gentlemen in harder exercise than usual,
and more than usually disposed to be convivial. Even the cigars were no
inconsiderable item of profit for Mr. Garley, who had laid in a stock
large enough and various enough for a tobacconist.

A dense cloud of smoke filled the card-room, and through it might be
discerned a number of officers in red shell-jackets reposing after the
labors of the day, and wisely absolving nature from other efforts, in
order that she might give her exclusive care to the digestion of that
substantial repast which had lately been concluded in the mess-room.
There was a party of whist-players in a corner, and the rattle of
billiard-balls came through an open door.

Captain Eureton's servant came in and said that there was an innkeeper
from Whittlecup who desired to speak to the Adjutant. The Captain left
the card-room, and the officers scarcely noticed his departure, but when
he came back their attention was drawn to him by an exclamation of the
Colonel's. "Why, Eureton, what's the matter now? how grave you look!"

The Adjutant came to the hearth-rug where John Stanburne was standing,
and said, "Is not Captain Stanburne a relation of yours, Colonel?"

"Cousin about nine times removed. But what's the matter? He's not ill, I
hope."

"Very ill, very ill indeed," said Eureton, with an expression which
implied that he had not yet told the whole truth. "There's no near
relation or friend of Captain Stanburne in the regiment, is there,
Colonel?"

"None whatever; out with it, Eureton--you're making me very anxious;"
and the Colonel nervously pottered with the end of a new cigar.

"The truth is, gentlemen," said Eureton, addressing himself to the room,
for every one was listening intently, "a great crime has been committed
this evening. Captain Stanburne has been murdered--or if it's not a case
of murder it's a case of manslaughter. He has been killed, it appears,
whilst visiting a billet, by a man in his company."

The Colonel rang the bell violently. Fyser appeared--he was at the door,
expecting to be called for.

"Harness the tandem immediately."

"The tandem is at the door, sir, or will be by the time you get
downstairs. I knew you would be wantin' it as soon as I 'eard the bad
news."

The Doctor was in the billiard-room, trying to make a cannon, to the
infinite diversion of his more skilful brother officers. His muscular
but not graceful figure was stretched over the table, and his scarlet
shell-jacket, whose seams were strained nearly to bursting by his
attitude, contrasted powerfully with the green cloth as the strong
gas-light fell upon him. Just as he was going to make the great stroke a
strong hand was laid upon his arm.

"Now then, Isaac Ogden, you've spoiled a splendid stroke. I don't
hoftens get such a chance."

"You're wanted for summat else, Doctor. Come, look sharp; the Colonel's
waiting for you."

In common with many members of his profession, Dr. Bardly had a dislike
to be called in a hurried and peremptory manner, and a disposition, when
so called, to take his time. He had so often been pressed unnecessarily
that he had acquired a general conviction that cases could wait--and he
made them wait, more or less. In this instance, however, Isaac Ogden
insisted on a departure from the Doctor's usual customs, and threw his
gray military cloak over his shoulders, and set his cap on his head, and
led him to the street-door, where he found the tandem, the Colonel in
his place with the Adjutant, Fyser already mounted behind, and the
leader dancing with impatience.

The bright lamps flashed swiftly through the dingy streets of
Sootythorn, and soon their light fell on the blossoming hedges in the
country. Colonel Stanburne had been too much occupied with his horses
whilst they were in the streets; but now on the broad open road he had
more leisure to talk, and he was the first to break silence.

"You don't know any further details, do you, Eureton?"

"Nothing beyond what I told you. The innkeeper who brought the news was
the one Captain Stanburne was billeted with, and he quitted Whittlecup
immediately after the event. He appears quite certain that Captain
Stanburne is dead. The body was brought to the inn before the man left,
and he was present at the examination of it by a doctor who had been
hastily sent for."

"Beg pardon, sir," said Fyser from behind, "I asked the innkeeper some
questions myself. It appears that Captain Stanburne was wounded in the
head, sir, and his skull was broken. It was done with a deal board that
a Hirish militia-man tore up out of a floor. There was two Hirish that
was quarrellin' and fightin', and the Captain put 'em both into a hempty
room which was totally without furnitur', and where they'd nothink but
straw to lie upon; and he kep 'em there under confinement, and set a
guard at the door. And then these two drunken Hirish fights wi' their
fists--but fists isn't bloody enough for Hirish, so they starts tearin'
up the boards o' the floor, and the guard at the door tried to interfere
between 'em, but, not havin' no arms, could do very little; and the
Captain was sent for, and as soon as hever one o' these Hirish sees him
he says, 'Here's our bloody Captain,' and he aims a most tremenjious
stroke at him with his deal board, and it happened most unfortunate that
it hit the Captain with the rusty nail in it."

"I wonder it never occurred to him to separate the Irishmen," observed
Eureton, in a lower tone, to the Colonel. "He ought not to have confined
them together."

"Strictly speaking, he ought not to have placed them in confinement at
all at Whittlecup, but sent them at once under escort to headquarters."

"What's this that we are meeting?" said the Adjutant. "I hear men
marching."

The Colonel drew up his horses, and the regular footfall of soldiers
became audible, and gradually grew louder. "They march uncommonly well,
Eureton, for militia-men who have had no training; I cannot understand
it."

"There were half-a-dozen old soldiers in Captain Stanburne's company,
and I suppose the sergeant has selected them as a guard for the
prisoners."

The night was cloudy and dark, and the lamps of the Colonel's vehicle
were so very splendid and brilliant that they made the darkness beyond
their range blacker and more impenetrable than ever. As the soldiers
came nearer, the Colonel stopped his horses and waited. Suddenly out of
the darkness came a corporal and four men with two prisoners. The
Colonel shouted, "Halt!"

"Have you any news of Captain Stanburne?"

"He's not quite dead, sir, or was not when we left."

The tall wheels rolled along the road, and in a quarter of an hour the
leader had to make his way through a little crowd of people in front of
the Blue Bell.

The Doctor was the first in the house, and was led at once to young
Stanburne's room. The Whittlecup surgeon was there already. No
professional men are so ticklish on professional etiquette as surgeons
are, but in this instance there could be little difficulty of that kind.
"You are the surgeon to the regiment, I believe," said the Whittlecup
doctor; "you will find this a very serious case. I simply took charge of
it in your absence."

The patient was not dead, but he was perfectly insensible. He breathed
faintly, and every few minutes there was a rattling in the throat,
resembling that which precedes immediate dissolution. The two doctors
examined the wound together. The skull had been fractured by the blow,
and there was a gash produced by the nail in the board. The face was
extremely pale, and so altered as to be scarcely recognizable. The
innkeeper's wife, Mrs. Simpson, was moistening the pale lips with
brandy.

When the Colonel and Captain Eureton had seen the patient, they had a
talk with Dr. Bardly in another room. The Doctor's opinion was that
there were chances of recovery, but not very strong chances. Though
Philip Stanburne had enjoyed tolerably regular health in consequence of
his temperate and simple way of living, he had by no means a robust
constitution, and it was possible--it was even probable--that he would
succumb; but he _might_ pull through. Dr. Bardly proposed to resign the
case entirely to the Whittlecup doctor, as it would require constant
attention, and the surgeon ought to be on the spot.



CHAPTER XVII.

ISAAC OGDEN AGAIN.


As the lieutenant of the Grenadier Company, Mr. Isaac Ogden was
appointed to do captain's work at Whittlecup in the place of Philip
Stanburne.

For many weeks Mr. Ogden had displayed a strength of resolution that
astonished his most intimate friends. Without meanly taking refuge in
the practice of total abstinence, he had kept strictly within the bounds
of what in Shayton is considered moderation.

The customs of the mess at Sootythorn were not likely to place him in
the power of his old enemy again; for although the officers were not
severely abstinent, their utmost conviviality scarcely extended beyond
the daily habits of the very soberest of Shaytonians.

Viewing the matter, therefore, from the standpoint of his personal
experience, Dr. Bardly looked upon Ogden as now the most temperate of
men. It is true that as a militia officer he could not follow a new rule
of his about not entering inns, for the business of the regiment
required him to visit a dozen inns every day, and to eat and sleep in
one for a month together; and it is obvious that the other good rule
about not drinking spirits at Twistle Farm could not be very
advantageous to him just now, seeing that, although it was always in
force, it was practically efficacious only during his residence under
his own roof. It seems a pity that he did not legislate for himself
anew, so as to meet his altered circumstances; but the labors of
regimental duty appeared so onerous that extraordinary stimulation
seemed necessary to meet this extraordinary fatigue, and it would have
appeared imprudent to confine himself within rigidly fixed limits which
necessity might compel him to transgress. So in point of fact Mr. Ogden
was a free agent again.

Whilst Philip Stanburne had remained at the Blue Bell, Lieutenant Ogden
had been in all respects a model of good behavior. He had watched by
Philip's bedside in the evenings, sometimes far into the night, and the
utmost extent of his conviviality had been a glass of grog with the
Whittlecup doctor. But the day Philip Stanburne was removed, Lieutenant
Ogden, after having dined and inspected his billets, began to feel the
weight of his loneliness, and he felt it none the less for being
accustomed to loneliness at the Farm. Captain Stanburne's illness, and
the regular evening talk with the Whittlecup doctor, had hitherto given
an interest to Isaac Ogden's life at the Blue Bell, and this interest
had been suddenly removed. Something must be found to supply its place;
it became necessary to cultivate the acquaintance of somebody in the
parlor.

It is needless to trouble the reader with details about the men of
Whittlecup whom Mr. Ogden found there, because they have no connection
with the progress of this history. But he found somebody else too,
namely, Jeremiah Smethurst, a true Shaytonian, and one of the brightest
ornaments of the little society that met at the Red Lion. When Jerry saw
his old friend Isaac Ogden, whom he had missed for many weeks, his
greeting was so very cordial, so expressive of good-fellowship, that it
was not possible to negative his proposition that they should "take a
glass together."

Now the keeper of the Blue Bell Inn knew Jerry Smethurst. He knew that
Jerry drank more than half a bottle of brandy every night before he went
to bed, and without giving Mr. Ogden credit for equal powers, he had
heard that he came from Shayton, which is a good recommendation to a
vendor of spirituous liquors. He therefore, instead of bringing a glass
of brandy for each of the Shayton gentlemen, uncorked a fresh bottle and
placed it between them, remarking that they might take what they
pleased--that there was 'ot warter on the 'arth, for the kettle was just
bylin, an' there was shugger in the shugger-basin.

The reader foresees the consequences. After two or three glasses with
his old friend, Isaac Ogden fell under the dominion of the old Shayton
associations. Jerry Smethurst talked the dear old Shayton talk, such as
Isaac Ogden had not heard in perfection for many a day. For men like the
Doctor and Jacob Ogden were, by reason of their extreme temperance,
isolated beings--beings cut off from the heartiest and most genial
society of the place--and Isaac had been an isolated being also since he
had kept out of the Red Lion and the White Hart.

      "Why should a man desire in any way
      To vary from the kindly race of men?"

That abandonment of the Red Lion had been a moral gain--a moral
victory--but an intellectual loss. Was such a fellow as Parson Prigley
any compensation for Jerry Smethurst? And there were half-a-dozen at the
Red Lion as good as Jerry. He was short of stature--so short, that when
he sat in a rocking-chair he had a difficulty in giving the proper
impetus with his toes; and he had a great round belly, and a face which,
if not equally great and round, seemed so by reason of all the light and
warmth that radiated from it. It was enough to cure anybody of
hypochondria to look at Jerry Smethurst's face. I have seen the moon
look rather like it sometimes, rising warm and mellow on a summer's
night; but though anybody may see that the moon has a nose and eyes, she
certainly lacks expression. It was pleasant to Isaac Ogden to see the
friendly old visage before him once again. Genial and kind thoughts rose
in his mind. Tennyson had not yet written "Tithonus," and if he had, no
Shaytonian would have read it--but the thoughts in Ogden's mind were
these:--

      "Why should a man desire in any way
      To vary from the kindly race of men,
      Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance,
      Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?"

The "goal of ordinance," at Shayton, being death from _delirium
tremens_.

Mr. Smethurst would have been much surprised if anybody had told him
that he was inducing Ogden to drink more than was good for him. It
seemed so natural to drink a bottle of brandy! And Jerry, too, in his
way, was a temperate man--a man capable of self-control--a man who had
made a resolution and kept it for many years. Jerry's resolution had
been never to drink more than one bottle of spirits in an evening; and,
as he said sometimes, it was "all howin' to that as he enjy'd sich gud
'ealth." Therefore, when Mr. Simpson had placed the bottle between them,
Mr. Smethurst made a little mental calculation. He was strong in mental
arithmetic. "I've 'ad three glasses afore Hogden coom, so when I've
powered him out three glasses, the remainder 'll be my 'lowance."
Therefore, when Isaac had mixed his third tumbler, Jerry Smethurst rang
the bell.

"Another bottle o' brandy."

Mr. Simpson stood aghast at this demand, and his eyes naturally reverted
to the bottle upon the table. "You've not finished that yet, gentlemen,"
he ventured to observe.

"What's left in it is my 'lowance," said Mr. Smethurst. "Mr. Hogden
shalln't 'ave none on 't."

"Well, that _is_ a whimmy gent," said Mr. Simpson to himself--but he
fetched another bottle.

They made a regular Red Lion evening of it, those two. A little before
midnight Mr. Smethurst rose and said Good night. He had finished his
bottle, and his law of temperance, always so faithfully observed,
forbade him one drop more. The reader probably expects that Mr.
Smethurst was intoxicated; but his genial nature was only yet more
genial. He lighted his bed-candle with perfect steadiness, shook Ogden's
hand affectionately, and mounted the stair step by step. When he got
into his bedroom he undressed himself in a methodical manner, laid his
clothes neatly on a chair, wound his watch up, and when he had assumed
his white cotton night-cap, looked at himself in the glass. He put his
tongue out, and held the candle close to it. The result of the
examination was satisfactory, and he proceeded to pull down the corners
of his eyes. This he did every night. The bugbear of his life was dread
of a coming fit, and he fancied he might thus detect the premonitory
symptoms.

Meanwhile Mr. Ogden, left by himself, took up the "Sootythorn Gazette,"
and when Mr. Simpson entered he found him reading, apparently. "Beg
pardon, sir," said Mr. Simpson, "but it's the rule to turn the gas out
at twelve, and it's a few minutes past. I'll light you your bed-candle,
sir, and you can sit up a bit later if you like. You'll find your way to
your room."

Ogden was too far gone to have any power of controlling himself now. The
type danced before his eyes, the sentences ran into one another, and the
sense of the phrases was a mystery to him. He kept drinking
mechanically; and when at length he attempted to reach the door, the
candlestick slipped from his hand, and the light was instantly
extinguished.

A man who is quite drunk cannot find the door of a dark room--he cannot
even walk in the dark; his only chance of walking in broad daylight is
to fix his eye steadily on some object, and when it loses its hold of
that, to fasten it upon some other, and so on. Ogden stumbled against
the furniture and fell. The deep insensibility of advanced drunkenness
supervened, and he lay all night upon the floor. The servant-girl found
him there the next morning when she came to clean the room.

He could not go to Sootythorn that day, and the true reason for his
absence soon became known to Dr. Bardly, who asked leave to drive over
to Shayton to see a patient of his own. He drove directly to Milend.

"Well, Mrs. Ogden," said the Doctor, "I've come wi' bad news for you
this time. Your Isaac's made a beast of himself once more. He lay all
night last night dead drunk upo' th' parlor-floor o' th' Blue Bell Inn
i' Whittlecup."

"Why--you don't say so, Dr. Bardly! Now, really, this _is_ provokin',
and 'im as was quite reformed, as one may say. I could like to whip
him--I could."

"Well, I wish you'd just go to Whittlecup and take care of him while he
stops there. If he'd nobbut stopped at Sootythorn I could have minded
him a bit mysen, but there's nout like his mother for managin' him."

Little Jacob was staying at Milend during his father's military career,
and so Mrs. Ogden objected--"But what's to become o' th' childt?"

"Take him with ye--take him with ye. It'll do him a power o' good, and
it'll amuse him rarely. He'll see the chaps with their red jackets, and
his father with a sword, and a fine scarlet coat on Sundays, and he'll
be as fain as fain."

So it was immediately decided that Mrs. Ogden and little Jacob should
leave for Whittlecup as soon as they possibly could. A fly was sent for,
and Mrs. Ogden hastily filled two large wooden boxes, which were her
portmanteaus. Little Jacob was at the parsonage with the youthful
Prigleys, and had to be sent for. Mrs. Ogden took the decanters from the
corner cupboard, and drank two glasses of port to sustain her in the
hurry of the occasion. "Well, who would have thought," she said to
herself, as she ate a piece of cake--"who would have thought that I
should go and stop at Whittlecup? I wonder how soon Mary Ridge will have
finished my new black satin."



CHAPTER XVIII.

ISAAC'S MOTHER COMES.


Mrs. Ogden and her grandson reached Sootythorn rather late that
evening--namely, about eight o'clock; and as it happened that she knew
an old maid there--one Miss Mellor--whose feelings would have been
wounded if Mrs. Ogden had passed through Sootythorn without calling upon
her, she took the opportunity of doing so whilst the horse was baited at
the inn. The driver took the fly straight to the Thorn; and when Mr.
Garley saw a lady and a little boy emerge therefrom he concluded that
they intended to stay at his house, and came with his apologies for want
of room. "But we can let you 'ave a nice parlor, mum, to take your tea,
and I can find you good bedrooms in the town."

Mrs. Ogden declined these obliging propositions, in the hope that Miss
Mellor would offer her a night's lodging. It was not that she loved Miss
Mellor so much as to desire to stay longer under her roof than was
necessary to keep her in a good temper, but she had made sundry
reflections on the road. "If I stop at th' Thorn they'll charge me
'appen 'alf-a-crown for my bedroom, and Jane Mellor 'ad a nice spare
bedroom formerly. It really is no use throwin' money away on
inn-keepers. And then there's our tea; they'll make me pay eighteenpence
or two shillin' for't at Garley's, and very likely charge full as much
for little Jacob. It's quite enough to 'ave to pay seven shillin' for
th' horse and fly." And in any case there would be time to get on to
Whittlecup after the horse had had his feed.

But Miss Mellor, who had not been to Shayton or heard direct news of
Shayton for several years, was so delighted to see Mrs. Ogden that she
would not hear of her going forward that night. "It's lucky I 'appened
to be at 'ome," said Miss Mellor, "for I'm often out of an evening." It
was lucky, certainly, for little Jacob, who got a much better tea than
he would have done at the Thorn Inn, with quantities of sweet things
greatly to his taste. Little Jacob was convinced that there was nobody
in the world so kind and generous as his grandmother, yet he conceived
an affection for Miss Mellor also before the close of the evening.

"The devil take the people," said Isaac Ogden, when he got back from
Sootythorn to the Blue Bell, and had gone as usual to his bedroom
there--"the devil take the people, they've hidden all my things!"

Just then came a gentle knock at the door, and the servant-maid entered.
"Please, sir, your mother's come, and she says you aren't to sleep here
any more, sir; and she's fetched your things to lodgings that she's took
over Mr. Wood's, the shoemaker's."

It is at all times vexatious and humiliating to the independent spirit
of a man to be disposed of by female authority, but it is most
especially so when the authority is one's mamma. A grown-up man will
submit to his mother on most points if he is worth any thing, but the
best of sons does not quite like to see his submission absolutely taken
for granted. In this case there was an aggravation in the look of the
servant-girl. Notwithstanding the respectful modesty of her tone, there
was just a twinkle of satire in her eye. It was plain that she was
inwardly laughing at the Lieutenant. "Damn it!" he said, "this house is
good enough for me; I don't want to leave it." Yet he _did_ leave,
nevertheless.

The next day was Sunday, and it was a satisfaction to Mrs. Ogden to
think that Isaac would be professionally compelled to attend public
worship. Little Jacob was one of the crowd of spectators who gathered
round the company when it was mustered for church-parade. He was proud
of his resplendent papa--a papa all scarlet and silver; and it was a
matter of peculiar anxiety with him that they should sit in the same
pew. Mr. Ogden gratified him in this respect, and the child felt himself
the most important young personage in Whittlecup. A steady attention to
the service is not commonly characteristic of little boys; and on this
occasion little Jacob's eye was so continually caught by the glitter of
his father's gold sword-knot and the silver embroidery on his sleeve,
that he followed the clergyman much less regularly than usual.

The neighborhood of Whittlecup was not aristocratic, but there were one
or two manufacturing families of rather a superior description. One of
these families, the Anisons, were at church not far from the pew which
the Ogdens occupied. They lived at a house near Whittlecup called
Arkwright Lodge, in a comfortable manner, with most of those refinements
of civilization which are to be met with in the houses of rich
professional men in London. Mr. Anison, indeed, was a manufacturer of
the new school, whilst Jacob Ogden belonged to the old one. Men of the
Anison class sometimes make large fortunes, but they more frequently
content themselves with a moderate independence and a sufficient
provision for their families. Money does not seem to them an end in
itself, but they value the comforts and refinements which it procures
and which cannot be had without it. Jacob Ogden, on the other hand, did
not care a fig for comforts and refinements, and had no domestic
objects: his only purpose was the inward satisfaction and the outward
glory of being rich. Mr. Anison worked in moderation, spent a good deal,
saved something, and kept a very hospitable house, where everybody who
had the slightest imaginable claim upon his kindness was always heartily
welcome.

After Philip Stanburne's accident he had been immediately moved to
Arkwright Lodge, in compliance with the surgeon's advice and Mr.
Anison's urgent request. Here he had rapidly passed into a state of
agreeable convalescence, and found the house so pleasant that the
prospect of a perfect recovery, and consequent departure, was not very
attractive to him now.

When the service in Whittlecup church was over, Joseph Anison went
straight to Mr. Ogden's pew and reminded him that he had promised to
dine that day at Arkwright Lodge. When they got out of the church, Isaac
presented his mother to Mr. Anison, and to Mrs. Anison also, who joined
them in the midst of that ceremony. This was followed by a polite little
speech from Mrs. Anison (she was an adept in polite little speeches), to
the effect that, as Mr. Ogden had kindly promised to eat a dinner and
pay his first call at the Lodge at the same time, his duties in the
militia having prevented him from calling during the week, perhaps they
might hope that Mrs. Ogden would allow them to call upon her at once at
her lodgings, and then would she come with her son to the Lodge to spend
the afternoon? So when the militia-men were disbanded, the Anisons
accompanied the Ogdens to the lodging over Mr. Wood's, the shoemaker.

It was a very fine May morning, and they had all come on foot. There are
families in Sootythorn (perhaps also there may be families out of
Sootythorn) who, though living within a very short distance of their
parish church, go thither always in their carriages--on the same
principle which causes the Prince of Wales to go from Marlborough House
to St James's Palace in a state-coach--namely, for the maintenance of
their dignity. But though the Anisons' carriage was an institution
sufficiently recent to have still some of the charms of novelty, they
dispensed with it as much as possible on Sundays.

The young ladies had gone slowly forwards towards the Lodge with the
clergyman, who had a standing invitation to dine there whenever he came
to Whittlecup. Mrs. Ogden's great regret in going to dine at the Lodge
was for the dinner she left behind her, and she did not hesitate to
express it. "It seems quite a pity," she said, "to leave them ducks and
green peas--they were such fine ducks, and we're all of us very fond o'
ducks, 'specially when we've green peas to 'em." After this little
speech, she paused regretfully, as if meditating on the delightfulness
of the ducks, and then she added, more cheerfully, "But what--ducks are
very good cold, and they'll do very well for supper to-morrow night,
when our Isaac comes back from Sootythorn."

The dinner at the Lodge was good enough to compensate even for the one
left untasted at the shoemaker's, and nobody did better justice to it
than the Rev. Abel Blunting. A man may well be hungry who has preached
vehemently for seventy minutes, and eaten nothing since seven in the
morning, which was Mr. Blunting's habitual breakfast-hour. He was a very
agreeable guest, and worth his salt. He had a vein of rich humor
approaching to joviality, yet he drank only water. On this matter of
teetotalism he was by no means fanatical, but he said simply that in his
office of minister it was useful to his work amongst the poor. Mrs.
Ogden sat next to him at table, and was perfectly delighted with him.
The Rev. Abel perceived at once what manner of woman she was, and talked
to her accordingly. When he found out that she came from Shayton, he
said that he had a great respect for Shayton, it was such a sound
Protestant community--there was not a single Papist in the place--Popery
had no hold _there_. Unfortunately, when Mr. Blunting made this
observation, there happened to be a lull in the talk, and it was audible
to everybody, including Philip Stanburne, who was well enough to sit at
table. Poor Mrs. Anison began to feel very uncomfortable, but as Mr.
Blunting sat next to her, she whispered to him that they had a Roman
Catholic at table. This communication not having been loud enough to be
heard by Mrs. Ogden, who, never having sat down with a Roman Catholic in
her life, was incapable of imagining such a contingency, that lady
replied,--

"Shayton folk believe i' th' Bible."

"And may I ask," said Philip, very loudly and resolutely from the other
end of the table, "what Catholics believe in?"

"Why, they believe i' th' Koran."

The hearers--and everybody present had heard Mrs. Ogden
distinctly--could not credit their ears. Each thought that he must be
mistaken--that by some wholly unaccountable magic he had heard the word
"Koran" when it had been pronounced by no mortal lips. Nobody
laughed--nobody even smiled. There is a degree of astonishment which
stuns the sense of humor. Every one held his breath when Mr. Blunting
spoke.

"No, ma'am," he said, respectfully, "you are somewhat mistaken. You
appear to have confounded the Papal and the Mohammedan religions."

What Mrs. Ogden's answer may have been does not matter very much, for
Mr. and Mrs. Anison both saw the necessity for an immediate diversion,
and talked about something else in the most determined manner. On
reflection, Philip Stanburne thought his Church quite sufficiently
avenged already. "As I believe in the Koran," he said to Miss Anison, "I
may marry four wives. What an advantage that will be!"

"You horrible man!"

"Why am I a horrible man? Why are you so ungracious to me? The Sultan
and the Viceroy of Egypt are like me--they believe in the Koran--and
they act upon their belief as I intend to do. Yet a Christian queen has
been gracious to them. She did not tell them they were horrible men. Why
should you not be gracious to me in the same way? When I have married
my four wives, you will come and visit me, won't you, in my palace on
the Bosphorus? Black slaves shall bring you coffee in a little jewelled
cup, and your lips shall touch the amber mouth-piece of a diamonded
chibouque."

"But then your four wives will all be Orientals, and I shall not be able
to talk to them."

The Misses Anison were not the only young ladies at the table. Philip
Stanburne had a neighbor on his left hand who interested him even more
than the brilliant girl on his right. This was Miss Alice Stedman, whom
he had seen in the bookseller's shop at Sootythorn.

"And if you believe in the Koran," said Miss Stedman, "you ought to show
it by refusing to drink wine."

"Ah, then, I renounce Mohammed, that I may have the pleasure of drinking
wine with you, Miss Stedman!" This was said with perfect grace, and in
the little ceremony which followed, the young gentleman contrived to
express so much respect and admiration for his fair neighbor, that Mrs.
Anison took note of it. "Mr. Stanburne is in love with Alice," she said
to herself.

"Would you renounce your religion for love?" asked Madge Anison, in a
low tone.

Philip felt a sudden sensation, as if a doctor had just probed him.
Garibaldi felt the corresponding physical pain when Nélaton found the
bullet.

He turned slowly and looked at Madge. There was a strange expression
about her lips, and the perennial merriment had faded from her face.
"Are you speaking seriously, Miss Anison, I wonder?"

The talk was noisy enough all round the table to isolate the two
completely. Even Miss Stedman was listening to her loud-voiced neighbor,
the Lieutenant. Madge Anison looked straight at Philip, and said, "Yes,
I _am_ speaking seriously."

"I believe I should not, now. But nobody knows what he may do when he is
in love."

"You _are_ in love."

This time the room whirled, and the voices sounded like the murmur of a
distant sea. In an instant Philip Stanburne passed from one state of
life to another state of life. A crisis, which changed the whole future
of four persons there present, occurred in the world of his
consciousness. His imagination rioted in wild day-dreams; but one
picture rose before him with irresistible vividness--a picture of Alice
kneeling with him under a canopy, before the high altar at St. Agatha's.

A slight pressure on his left arm recalled him to the actual world. The
ladies were all leaving their seats, and Madge had kindly reminded him
where he was.

"A sad place for drinking is Shayton," observed Mr. Blunting, as he
poured himself a glass of pure water. "I wonder if one could do any good
there?"

"They're past curing, mostly, are Shayton folk," answered John Stedman.
"Are not they, Mr. Ogden?"

"There's one here that is, I'm afraid," answered Isaac, with much
humility.

Mr. Blunting inquired, with sympathy in his tone, whether Mr. Ogden had
himself fallen under temptation. When Isaac confessed his backslidings
of the past week, the reverend gentleman requested permission to see him
in private. Isaac had a dislike to clergymen in general, and in matters
of religion rather shared the latitudinarian views of his friend Dr.
Bardly; but he was in a state of profound moral discouragement, and
ready to be grateful to any one who held out prospects of effectual
help. So it ended by his accepting an invitation to take tea at the
parsonage at Sootythorn.

"If you take tea with Mr. Blunting," said Joseph Anison, "you must mind
he doesn't inoculate you with his own sort of intemperance, if he cures
you of your little excesses. He drinks tea enough in a year to float a
canal-boat. It's a terribly bad habit. In my opinion it's far worse than
drinking brandy. The worst of it is that it makes men like gossip just
as women do. Stick to your brandy-bottle, Mr. Ogden, like a man, and let
Mr. Blunting empty his big tea-pot!"



CHAPTER XIX.

THE COLONEL AT WHITTLECUP.


Whilst the gentlemen were still in the dining-room, Mr. Blunting saw a
horse pass the window--a riderless, yet harnessed horse--followed by
another horse in an unaccustomed manner; and then came a lofty vehicle,
drawn by the latter animal. I have described this equipage as it
appeared to Mr. Blunting; but the experienced reader will perceive that
it was a tandem, and by the association of ideas will expect to see
Fyser and the Colonel.

Colonel Stanburne came into the dining-room, and soon made himself at
home there. He had never happened to meet Joseph Anison or Mr. Stedman,
but he knew the incumbent of Sootythorn slightly, and the other two men
were his own officers, though he had as yet seen very little of either
of them. The Stanburnes of Wenderholme held a position in all that part
of the country so far above that to which their mere wealth would have
entitled them (for there were manufacturers far richer than the
Colonel), that Joseph Anison felt it an honor that the head of that
family should have entered his gates. "He's only calling on young
Stanburne," thought Joseph Anison; "he isn't calling upon us."

"I came to thank you and Mrs. Anison," said the Colonel, "for having so
kindly taken care of our young friend here. He seems to be getting on
uncommonly well; and no wonder, when he's in such good quarters."

"Captain Stanburne is gaining strength, I am glad to say," replied the
master of the house. "He rather alarmed us when he came here, he seemed
so weak; but he has come round wonderfully."

"I am very much better, certainly," said the patient himself.

The commanding officer hoped he would be fit for duty again at an early
date, but Captain Stanburne declared that he did not feel strong enough
yet to be equal to the march and the drill; that he was subject to
frequent sensations of giddiness, which would make him most
uncomfortable, if not useless, on the parade-ground; and that, in a
word, he was best for the present where he was. This declaration was
accompanied by due expressions of regret for the way in which he abused
the kind hospitality of the Anisons--expressions which, of course, drew
forth from the good host a cordial renewal of his lease.

"And what have you done with the Irishman who nearly killed him?" asked
Mr. Anison of the Colonel. "I've heard nothing about him. If you'd had
him shot, we should have heard of it."

"It was a perplexing case. If you consider the man a soldier, the
punishment is most severe--in fact it is death, even if he did not mean
to kill. But we hardly could consider him a soldier--he had had no
military experience--a raw Irish laborer, who had never worn a uniform.
I have been unwilling to bring the man before a court-martial. He is in
prison still."

"He has been punished enough," said Philip. "Pray consider him simply as
having been drunk. Irishmen are always combative when they are drunk. It
was not a deliberate attack upon me as his officer. The man was
temporarily out of his senses, and struck blindly about him."

It having been settled that the Irishman was to be pardoned on the
intercession of Captain Stanburne, the Colonel begged to be presented to
Mrs. Anison. "He had not much time," he said, looking at his watch; "he
had to be back in Sootythorn in time for mess, and he was anxious to
pay his respects to the lady of the house."

So they all went into the drawing-room. After the introductory bows, the
Colonel perceived our friend, little Jacob (who had retreated with the
ladies); but as he had not quite finished his little speech to Mrs.
Anison about her successful nursing, he did not as yet take any direct
notice of him. When the duties of politeness had been fully performed,
the Colonel beckoned for little Jacob, and when he came to him, laid
both hands on his shoulders.

"And so you're here, too, are you, young man? I thought you were at
Shayton with your grandmamma."

Lieutenant Ogden came up at this instant to excuse himself. "My mother
only came to Whittlecup yesterday, Colonel, and she brought my little
boy with her." Mrs. Ogden approached the group.

"I'm little Jacob's grandmother," she said, "and I'm mother to this
great lad here" (pointing to the Lieutenant), "and it's as much as ever
I can do to take care of him. What did you send him by himself to
Whittlecup for? You should have known better nor that; sending a
drunkard like him to stop by hisself in a public-house. If he's a
back-slider now, it's 'long o' them as turned him into temptation, same
as a cow into a clover-field. I wish he'd never come into th' malicious
(militia)--I do so."

The Colonel was little accustomed to be spoken to with that unrestrained
frankness which characterizes the inhabitants of Shayton, and felt a
temporary embarrassment under Mrs. Ogden's onslaught. "Well, Mrs. Ogden,
let us hope that Mr. Isaac will be safe now under your protection."

"Safe? Ay, he is safe now, I reckon, when he's getten his mother to take
care of him; and there's more on ye as wants your mothers to take care
on ye, by all accounts."

"Mother," said the Lieutenant, "you shouldn't talk so to the Colonel.
You should bear in mind how he kept little Jacob at Wenderholme Hall."

Mrs. Ogden was pacified immediately, and held out her hand. "I thank you
for that," she said, "you were very kind to th' childt; and I've been
doin' a piece of needlework ever since for your wife, but it willn't be
finished while Christmas."

"Mother, you shouldn't say 'your wife'--you should say 'her ladyship,'"
observed the Lieutenant, in a low tone.

"My wife will be greatly obliged to you, Mrs. Ogden. I hope you will
make her acquaintance before you leave the regiment; for I may say that
you belong to the regiment now, since you have come to be Lieutenant
Ogden's commanding officer."

Mrs. Anison had been first an astonished and then an amused auditor of
this colloquy, but she ended it by offering Mrs. Ogden a cup of tea.
Then the Colonel began to talk to Mrs. Anison. He had that hearty and
frank enjoyment of the society of ladies which is not only perfectly
compatible with morality, but especially belongs to it as one of its
best attributes and privileges. Good women liked the Colonel, and the
Colonel liked good women; he liked them none the less when they were
handsome, as Mrs. Anison was, and when they could talk well and easily,
as she did. Some women are distinguished by nature; and though Mrs.
Anison had seen little of the great world, and the Colonel had seen a
good deal of it, the difference of experience did not place a
perceptible barrier between them. The time seemed to have passed rapidly
for both when the visitor took his leave.



CHAPTER XX.

PHILIP STANBURNE IN LOVE.


If any rational and worldly-minded adviser had said to Philip Stanburne
a month before, "Why don't you look out for some well-to-do
cotton-spinner's daughter in Sootythorn? you might pick up a good
fortune, that would mend the Stanithburn property, and you might find a
nice well-educated girl, who would do you quite as much credit as if she
belonged to one of the old families"--if any counsel of this kind had
been offered to Philip Stanburne then, before he saw Alice Stedman, he
would have rejected it at once as being altogether inadmissible. _He_,
the representative of the house of Stanburne, connect himself with a
family of cotton-spinners! He, the dutiful son of the Church, ally
himself with a member of one of those heretical sects who insult her in
her affliction! Our general views of things may, however, be very
decided, and admit, nevertheless, of exception in favor of persons who
are known to us. To hate Protestants in general--to despise the
commercial classes as a body--is one thing; but to hate and despise a
gentle maiden, whose voice sounds sweetly in our ears, is quite another
thing.

"She's as perfect a lady as any I ever saw," thought Philip, as she
walked before him in the garden at Arkwright Lodge. A closer social
critic might have answered, that although Alice Stedman was a very
admirable and good young woman, absolutely free from the least taint of
vulgarity, she lacked the style and "go" of a young lady of the world.
Her deficiency in this respect may, however, have gone far to produce
the charm which attracted Philip. Alice had not the _aplomb_ of a fine
lady, nor the brilliance of a clever woman; but nature had given her a
stamp of genuineness which is sometimes effaced by the attrition of
society.

"It's wrong of me to have taken possession of you, Captain Stanburne,"
said Margaret Anison; "I see you are longing to be with Alice
Stedman--you would be a great deal happier with her;" and, without
consulting him further, she called her sister, adding, "I beg pardon,
Lissy, but I want to say something to Sarah."

Of course, as Miss Anison had some private communication to make to her
sister, Philip and Alice had nothing to do but _s'éloigner_. The young
gentleman offered his arm, which was accepted, and they went on down a
deviously winding walk. Alice looked round, and seeing nobody, said,
"Hadn't we better wait, or go back a little? we have been walking faster
than they have." Philip did as he was bid, not precisely knowing or
caring which way he went. But the young ladies were not there.

"I think," he said at last, "we should do better to go in our first
direction, as they will expect us to do. Very likely Miss Anison may
have taken her sister to the house, to show her something, and they will
meet us in the garden again, if we go in the direction they calculate
upon." So they turned round and walked down the winding path again.

"You often come to this place, I believe," said Philip. "The Anisons are
old friends of yours, are they not, Miss Stedman?"

"Oh yes; I come to stay here very often. The Anisons are very kind to
me."

"They are kind to me also, Miss Stedman, and yet I have no claim of old
acquaintance. A fortnight since I did not even know their name, and yet
it seems to me now as if I had known them for years. _You_ are rather an
older acquaintance, Miss Stedman. I had the pleasure of seeing you at
Sootythorn before I came to Whittlecup."

Alice looked up at her companion rather archly, and said, "You mean in
the bookseller's shop?"

"Yes, when you came to buy a book of sermons. Shall I tell you what book
you ordered? I remember the name perfectly. It was 'Blunting's Sermons
on Popery.'"

"So you were listening, were you?"

"I wasn't listening when I heard your voice for the first time, but I
listened very attentively afterwards. My attention was attracted by the
title of the book. You know that I am a Catholic, Miss Stedman?"

"Yes," said Alice, very briefly, and in a tone which seemed to endeavor
not to imply disapprobation.

"And perhaps you know that Catholics don't quite like to hear their
religion called 'Popery.' So I was a little irritated; but then I
reflected that as the title of the book was so, you could not order it
by another name than the name upon its titlepage." Here there was a
pause, as Alice did not speak. Philip resumed,--

"Do you live _in_ Sootythorn, Miss Stedman?"

"Not far out of the town. Indeed our house is surrounded by buildings
now. It used to be quite in the country."

"I--I should like to call upon Mr. Stedman very much when I am quite
well again."

For some seconds there was no answer. Then Alice said in a low tone,
almost inaudible, "I should be very glad to see you again."

A heavy and rapid step on the gravel behind them abruptly ended this
interesting conversation.

It was not Madge Anison's step. They stopped and looked round. The
Reverend Abel Blunting confronted them.

If poor Alice had not had that miserable habit of blushing, the reverend
gentleman would have perceived nothing beyond the simple fact that the
young lady was walking in a garden with Mr. Philip Stanburne. But
Alice's face was suffused with crimson, and the knowledge that it was so
made her so uncomfortable that she blushed more than ever. In spite of
his manhood, there was a slightly heightened color on Philip's cheek
also, but a good deal of this may be attributed to vexation at what he
was disposed to consider an ill-timed and unwarrantable intrusion.

"Good morning, Miss Alice! I hope you are quite well: and you, sir, I
wish you good morning; I hope I see you well."

Philip bowed, a little stiffly, and Alice proceeded to make hasty
inquiries about her papa. Did Mr. Blunting know if her papa had changed
his intentions?

Mr. Blunting was always very polite, the defect in his manners
(betraying that he was not quite a gentleman) being that they were only
too deferential. He had a fatherly affection for Alice Stedman, whose
spiritual guide he had been from her infancy, and it was certainly the
very first time in her life that she had seen him without feelings of
unmingled satisfaction.

"I have come to fetch you myself, Miss Alice. I met your papa in
Sootythorn this morning as I was leaving in my gig, and he asked if I
were coming to Whittlecup. So he requested me to offer you the vacant
seat, Miss Alice, which I now do with great pleasure." Here Mr. Blunting
made a sort of a bow. There was an unctuousness in his courtesy that
irritated Philip, but perhaps Philip envied him his place in the gig.

"Are we going to leave immediately, then?" inquired Miss Stedman, in a
tone which did not imply the most perfect satisfaction with these
arrangements.

"Mrs. Anison has been so kind as to invite me to dine, and I have
accepted." Mr. Blunting was too honest to say that Miss Alice ought to
dine before her drive. He accepted avowedly in his own interest. He had
a large body to nourish, he had to supply energies for an enormous
amount of work, and the dinners at the Sootythorn parsonage were not
always very succulent. He therefore thought it not wrong to accept
effective aid in his labors when it offered itself in the shape of
hospitality.

At dessert the clergyman found an opportunity of conveying, not too
directly, a little hint or lesson which he felt it his duty to convey,
and which had been tormenting him since the meeting in the garden. The
conversation, which at Whittlecup, as elsewhere, very generally ran upon
people known to the speakers, had turned to a case of separation between
a neighboring country gentleman and his wife, who were, or had been, of
different religions.

"Marriages of that kind," said Mr. Blunting, "between people of
different religions, seldom turn out happily, and it is a great
imprudence to contract them."

Mrs. Anison expressed a hearty concurrence in this view, but certain
young persons present believed that, however just Mr. Blunting's
observation might be, considered generally, there must be exceptions to
a rule so discouraging.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE WENDERHOLME COACH.


The distance from Wenderholme to Sootythorn was rather inconveniently
great, being about twenty miles; and as there was no railway in that
direction, the Colonel determined to set up a four-in-hand, which he
facetiously entitled "The Wenderholme Coach." The immediate purpose of
the Wenderholme coach was to enable the officers to enjoy more
frequently the hospitalities of the Hall; but it may be admitted that
John Stanburne had a natural gift for driving, and also a cultivated
taste for that amusement, which may have had their influence in deciding
him to add this item to his establishment. He had driven his tandem so
long now, that, though it was still very agreeable to him, it no longer
offered any excitement; but his experience of a four-in-hand was much
more limited, and it therefore presented many of the allurements of
novelty. Nothing is more agreeable than a perfect harmony between our
duties towards others and our private tastes and predilections. It was
clearly a duty to offer hospitality to the officers; and the hospitality
would be so much more graceful if Wenderholme were brought nearer to
Sootythorn by a capacious conveyance travelling at high speed, and with
the style befitting a company of officers and gentlemen. At the same
time, when John Stanburne imagined the charms of driving a four-in-hand,
his fingers tingled with anticipations of their delight in holding "the
ribbons." Like all men of a perfectly healthy nature, he still retained
a great deal of the boy (alas for him whose boyhood is at an end for
ever!), and he was still capable of joyously anticipating a new
pleasure. The _idea_ of the four-in-hand was not new to him. He had long
secretly aspired to its realization, but then Lady Helena (who had not
the sacred fire) was not likely to see the thing quite in the same
light. John Stanburne had never precisely consulted her upon the
subject--he had never even gone so far as to say that he should like a
four-in-hand if he could afford it; but he had expatiated on the
delights of driving other people's teams, and his enthusiasm had met
with no answering warmth in Helena's unresponsive breast. She had known
for years that her husband had a hankering after a four-in-hand, and had
discouraged it in her own way--namely, by steadily avoiding the least
expression (even of simple politeness) which might be construed into
approbation. In this negative way, without once speaking openly about
the matter, she had clearly conveyed to the Colonel's mind her opinion
thereupon. The reader, no doubt, approves her ladyship's wisdom and
economy. But Lady Helena was not on all points wise and economical. Her
qualities of this order shone most conspicuously with reference to
pleasures which she did not personally appreciate. It is with sins of
extravagance as with most other sins--we compound for those which we're
inclined to by condemning those that we've no mind to. On the other
hand, it may most reasonably be argued, in favor of her ladyship and
other good women who criticise their husbands' expenditure on this
excellent old principle, that if they not only encouraged the outlay
which procures them the things they like, but also outlay for things
they are indifferent about, the general household expenditure would be
ruinously augmented.

The Colonel's manner of proceeding about the four-in-hand was
characteristic of a husband in his peculiar position. He knew by
experience the strength of the _fait accompli_. He wrote privily to a
knowing friend of his who was spending the pleasant month of May amidst
the joys of the London season, to purchase for him at once the
commodious vehicle destined to become afterwards famous as the
Wenderholme coach. He wrote for it on that Monday evening when Alice
Stedman returned from her interrupted visit to Whittlecup; and as it was
sent down on a truck attached to a passenger train, it arrived at the
Sootythorn station within forty-eight hours of the writing of the
letter, and was brought to the Thorn Inn by two of Mr. Garley's hacks.
The officers turned out to look at it after mess, and as it was known to
have been selected by a man of high repute in the sporting world, its
merits were unanimously allowed. There was a complete set of
silver-mounted harness for four horses in the boot, carefully wrapped up
in three sorts of paper; and London celerity had even found time to
emblazon the Stanburne arms on the panels. It is true that they were
exceedingly simple, like the arms of most old families, and the painter
had omitted to impale them with the bearings of her ladyship--an
accident which might also be considered ominous under the circumstances,
since it seemed to imply that in this extravagance of the Colonel's his
wife had no part nor lot.

As the mess was just over when the coach entered Mr. Garley's yard, the
Colonel, with the boyish impulsiveness which he did not attempt to
conceal, said, "Let's have a drive in the Wenderholme coach! Where shall
we go to? Let's go and look up Lieutenant Ogden at Whittlecup, and see
what he's doing!" So the two tandem horses and two of Mr. Garley's hacks
were clothed in the splendors of the new harness, and attached to the
great vehicle, whilst a dozen officers mounted to the lofty outside
places. They wore the mess costume (red shell-jacket, &c.), and looked
something like a lot of scarlet geraniums on the top of a
horticulturist's van.

Just as they were starting, and as the Colonel was beginning to feel his
reins properly, a youthful lieutenant who possessed a cornet-à-piston,
and had privily carried it with him as he climbed to his place behind,
filled the streets of Sootythorn with triumphant trumpet-notes. The
sound caused many of the inhabitants to come to their windows, and
amongst others Miss Mellor and her friend, Mrs. Ogden, who had been
drinking tea with her that evening. "Why," said Miss Mellor, "it's a new
coach!" "And it's boun' to'rd Whittlecup, I declare," added Mrs. Ogden.
She had already put her things on, intending to walk back to Whittlecup
with little Jacob in the cool of the evening, for it was quite contrary
to Mrs. Ogden's character (at once courageous and economical) to hire a
fly for so short a distance as four miles. But when she saw the coach,
it occurred to her that here was a golden mean betwixt the extravagance
of fly-hiring and the fatigues of pedestrianism; so she clapped little
Jacob's cap on his head (in a manner unsatisfactory to that young
gentleman, for nobody can put a boy's cap on to suit him except
himself), and dragged him out at the front door, hardly taking time to
say good night to the worthy lady by whom she had just been so
hospitably entertained.

When the Colonel saw Mrs. Ogden making signs with her parasol, he
recognized her at once, and good-naturedly drew up his horses that she
might get inside. Fyser got down to open the door, and the following
conversation, which was clearly overheard by several of the officers,
and partially by the Colonel himself, took place between Fyser and Mrs.
Ogden.

"Is this Whittlecup coach?"

"Yes, mum."

"Is there room inside for me and this 'ere little lad?"

"Plenty of room, mum. Step in, please; the horses is waitin'."

"Stop a bit. What's the fare as far as Whittlecup?"

"One shilling, mum," said Fyser, who ventured thus far, from his
knowledge of the Colonel's indulgent disposition when a joke was in the
wind.

"The childt'll be half-price?" said Mrs. Ogden, mixing the affirmative
with the interrogative.

"Very well, mum," said Fyser, and shut the door on Mrs. Ogden and little
Jacob.

The Colonel, since the box-seat was on the other side of the vehicle,
had not heard the whole of this colloquy; and when it was reported to
him amidst roars of laughter, he looked rather graver than was expected.
"It's a good joke, gentlemen," he said, "but there is one little matter
I must explain to you. Our inside passenger is the mother of one of our
brother officers, Lieutenant Ogden, who is commanding number six company
at Whittlecup, and the little boy with her is his son; so please be very
careful never to allude to this little incident in his presence, you
understand."

Meanwhile Mrs. Ogden found the Whittlecup coach comfortable in a supreme
degree. "They've rare good coaches about Sootythorn," she said to little
Jacob; "this is as soft as soft--it's same as sittin' on a
feather-bedd." A few minutes later she continued: "Th' outside
passengers is mostly soldiers[17] by what I can see. They're 'appen some
o' your father's men as are boun' back to Whittlecup."

In less than half an hour the Colonel drew up in the market-place at
Whittlecup, at the sign of the Blue Bell. He handed the reins to his
neighbor on the box, and descended with great alacrity. Fyser had just
opened the door when the Colonel arrived in time to help Mrs. Ogden
politely as she got out.

"It's eighteenpence," she said, and handed him the money. The Colonel
had thrown his gray cloak over his shell-jacket, and, to a person with
Mrs. Ogden's habits of observation, or non-observation, looked
sufficiently like a coachman. He thought it best to take the money, to
prevent an explanation in the presence of so many witnesses. So he
politely touched his cap, and thanked her. It being already dusk, she
did not recognize him. Suddenly the love of a joke prevailed over other
considerations, and the Colonel, imitating the cabman's gesture,
contemplated the three sixpences in his open hand by the light of the
lamp, and said, "Is there nothing for the coachman, mum?" The lamplight
fell upon his features, and Mrs. Ogden recognized him at once; so did
little Jacob. Her way of taking the discovery marked her characteristic
self-possession. She blundered into no apologies; but, fixing her stony
gray eyes full on the Colonel's face, she said, "I think you want no
sixpences; Stanburnes o' Wendrum Hall doesn't use wantin' sixpences.
Give me my eighteenpence back." Then, suddenly changing her resolution,
she said, "Nay, I willn't have them three sixpences back again; it's
worth eighteenpence to be able to tell folk that Colonel Stanburne of
Wenderholme Hall took money for lettin' an old lady ride in his
carriage." She said this with real dignity, and taking little Jacob by
the hand, moved off with a steady step towards her lodging over the
shoemaker's shop.



CHAPTER XXII.

COLONEL STANBURNE APOLOGIZES.


The next day Lieutenant Ogden appeared not on the parade-ground at
Sootythorn. Captain Stanburne commanded his own company for the first
time since his accident (his cure having been wonderfully advanced by
the departure of Miss Stedman from Arkwright Lodge); and during one of
the short intervals of repose which break the tedium of drill, he went
to pay his respects to the Colonel, who was engaged in conversation with
the Adjutant on a bit of elevated ground, whilst Fyser promenaded his
war-horse to and fro.

Colonel Stanburne, who was ignorant of the cause to which he owed the
rapid recovery of his young friend, heartily congratulated him, and then
said, "But where is Ogden? what's Ogden doing? Why didn't he come to the
parade-ground to join the grenadier company again? Is he taking a day's
holiday with those pretty girls at Arkwright Lodge?"

"Mr. Ogden begs to be excused from attending drill to-day. I have a note
from him." And Captain Stanburne handed the letter to the Colonel.

As soon as John Stanburne had read the letter he looked very grave, or
rather very much put out, and made an ejaculation. The ejaculation was
"Damn it!" Then he folded the letter again, and put it in his
pocket-book.

"Have you had any conversation with Mr. Ogden on the subject of this
letter?" Captain Stanburne knew nothing about it.

The Colonel made a signal for Fyser, and mounted his horse. Fyser
mounted another, and followed his master. The senior Major was telling
humorous anecdotes to a group of captains, and the Colonel went straight
to him at a canter. He told him to command the regiment in his absence,
entering into some details about what was to be done--details which
puzzled the Major exceedingly, for he knew nothing whatever about
battalion drill, or any drill, though in some former state of existence
he had been an ornamental officer in the Guards. This done, the Colonel
galloped off the field.

The letter which had caused this sudden departure was as follows:--

      "SIR,--As you have thought fit to play a practical joke
      upon my mother, I send in my resignation.

            "Your obedient servant,             ISAAC OGDEN."

There was no hesitation about the Colonel's movements; he rode straight
to Whittlecup as fast as his horse could carry him. He went first to the
Blue Bell, where he found a guide to Mrs. Ogden's lodging over the
shoemaker's shop. In answer to his inquiries, the shoemaker's wife
admitted that all her lodgers were at home, but--but--in short, they
were "getting their breakfast." The Colonel said his business was
urgent--that he must see the Lieutenant, and Mrs. Ogden too--so Mrs.
Wood guided him up the narrow stairs.

We may confess for John Stanburne that he had not much of that courage
which rejoices in verbal encounters, or if he had, it was of that kind
which dares to do what the man is constitutionally most afraid to do.
The reader may remember an anecdote of another English officer, who, as
he went into battle, betrayed the external signs of fear, and in reply
to a young subaltern, who had the impudence to taunt him, said, "Yes, I
_am_ afraid, and if you were as much afraid as I am, you would run
away." Yet, by the strength of his will, he conducted himself like a
true soldier. And there is that other stirring anecdote about a French
commander, who, when his body trembled at the opening of a battle, thus
apostrophized it: "Tu trembles, vile carcasse! tu tremblerais bien plus
si tu savais où je vais te mener!" If these men were cowards, John
Stanburne was a coward too, for he mortally dreaded this encounter with
the Ogdens; but if they were not cowards (having will enough to
neutralize that defect of nature), neither was John Stanburne.

Lieutenant Ogden rose from his seat, and bowed rather stiffly as the
Colonel entered. Mrs. Ogden made a just perceptible inclination of the
head, and conveyed to her mouth a spoonful of boiled egg, which she had
just dipped in the salt.

"I beg pardon," said the Colonel, "for intruding upon you during
breakfast time, but--but I was anxious"--The moment of hesitation which
followed was at once taken advantage of by Mrs. Ogden.

"And is that all you've come to beg pardon for?"

This thrust put the Colonel more on his defence than a pleasanter
reception would have done. He had intended to offer nothing but a very
polite apology; but as there seemed to be a disposition on the part of
the enemy to extort concessions so as to deprive them of the grace of
being voluntary, he withdrew into his own retrenchments.

"I came to ask Mr. Ogden for an explanation about his letter of this
morning."

"I should think you need no explanations, Colonel Stanburne. You know
what passed yesterday evening."

"He knows that well enough," said Mrs. Ogden.

"I should be glad if Lieutenant Ogden would tell me in detail what he
thinks that he has to complain of."

"Leaftenant! Leaftenant! nay, there's no more leaftenantin', I reckon.
This is Isaac Ogden--plain Isaac Ogden--an' nout elz. He's given up
playin' at soldiers. He's a cotton-spinner, or he were one, nobbut his
brother an' him quarrelled; and I wish they hadn't done, many a time I
do--for our Jacob's as much as ever he can manage, now as he's buildin'
a new mill; an' if he gets wed--and there's Hiram Ratcliff's
dorther"--Mrs. Ogden might have gone very far into family matters if her
son had not perceived (or imagined that he perceived) something like a
smile on Colonel Stanburne's face. In point of fact, the Colonel did not
precisely smile; but there was a general relaxation of the muscles of
his physiognomy from their first expression of severity, betraying an
inward tendency to humor.

"Well, sir," broke in Ogden, "I'll tell you what you did, if you want
me. It seems that you've set up a new carriage, a four-in-hand, which
looks very like a mail coach, and you drove this vehicle yesterday
through the streets of Sootythorn, and you saw my mother on the
footpath, and you made a signal to her with your whip, as coachmen do,
and you allowed her to get inside under the impression that it was a
public conveyance, so that you might make a laughing-stock of her with
the officers. And"--

"Pardon me," said the Colonel, "it was not"--

"You've asked me to tell you why I sent in my resignation, and I'm
telling you. If you stop me, I shalln't begin it over again. Let me say
my say, Colonel Stanburne; you may explain it away afterwards at your
leisure, if you can. When you got into Whittlecup, and stopped at the
Blue Bell, you took my mother's money--and not only that, but you asked
for a gratuity for yourself, as driver, to make her ridiculous in the
eyes of your friends on the vehicle. I suppose, though your joke may
have been a very good one, that you will be able to understand why it is
not very pleasing to me, and why I don't choose to remain under you in
the militia."

"If the thing had occurred as you have told it"--the Colonel began, but
was instantly interrupted by Mrs. Ogden.

"Do you mean to say I didn't tell him right what happened? If anybody
knows what happened, I do."

"Let the Colonel say what he has to say, mother; don't you stop him.
I've said my say, and it's his turn now."

The Colonel told the facts as the reader knows them. "He had made no
sign to Mrs. Ogden," he said, "in the street at Sootythorn, but she had
made a sign with her parasol, which he had interpreted as a request for
a place. He had been ignorant that Fyser had kept up her illusion about
the vehicle being a public one until after the fact; and so far from
encouraging the merriment of the officers, had put a stop to it by
telling them who Mrs. Ogden was, particularly requesting that the
incident might not be made a subject of pleasantry, lest it should reach
Mr. Ogden's ears. On arriving in Whittlecup, he had taken her money, but
with the express purpose of saving her the pain of an explanation. He
had intended Mrs. Ogden to remain ignorant--happily ignorant--of her
little mistake."

"Pardon me," said Isaac Ogden; "this might have been equally well
accomplished without asking my mother for a coachman's gratuity. _That_
was done to make a fool of her, evidently; and no doubt you laughed
about it with your friends as you drove back to Sootythorn."

"Here is the only point on which I feel that I owe an apology to Mrs.
Ogden, and I very willingly make it. In every thing else I did what lay
in my power to save her from ridicule, but on this point I confess that
I did wrong. I couldn't help it. I was carried away by a foolish fancy
for acting the coachman out and out. The temptation was too strong for
me, you know. I thought I had taken the money cleverly, in the proper
professional manner, and I was tempted to ask for a gratuity. I
acknowledge that I went too far. Mrs. Ogden, I am very sorry for this."

Mrs. Ogden had been gradually softening during the Colonel's
explanation, and when it came to its close she turned to him and said,
"We've been rather too hard upon you, I think." Such an expression as
this from Mrs. Ogden was equivalent to a profuse apology. The
Lieutenant added a conciliatory little speech of his own: "I think my
mother may accept your explanation. I am willing to accept it myself."
This was not very cordial, but at any rate it was an expression of
satisfaction.

Little Jacob had hitherto been a silent and unobserved auditor of this
conversation, but it now occurred to the Colonel that he might be of
considerable use. "Mrs. Ogden," he said, "will you allow me to transfer
your eighteenpence to this young gentleman's pocket?" Mrs. Ogden
consented, and it will be believed that little Jacob on his part had no
objection. Then the Colonel drew little Jacob towards him, and began to
ask him questions--"What would he like to be?" Little Jacob said he
would like to be a coachman, as the Colonel was, and drive four horses.
The Colonel promised him a long drive on the coach.

"And may I drive the horses?"

"Well, we shall see about that. Yes, you shall drive them a little some
day." Then turning towards Mrs. Ogden, he continued,--

"Lady Helena is not at Wenderholme just now, unfortunately; she is gone
to town to her father's for a few days, so that I am a bachelor at
present, and cannot invite ladies; but if it would please little Jacob
to ride on the coach with me, I should be very glad if you would let
him. I am going to drive to Wenderholme this evening as soon as our
afternoon drill is finished, and shall return to-morrow morning. About
half-a-dozen officers are going to dine with me. Ogden, you'll dine with
me too, won't you? Do--there's a good fellow; and pray let us forget
this unlucky bit of unpleasantness. Don't come full fig--come in a
shell-jacket."

"Well, but you know, Colonel Stanburne, I've resigned my commission, and
so how can I come in a red jacket?"

This was said with an agreeable expression of countenance, intended to
imply that the resignation was no longer to be taken seriously. The
Colonel laughed. "Nonsense," he said; "you don't talk about resigning?
It isn't a time for resigning when there's such a capital chance of
promotion. Most likely you'll be a captain next training, for there's a
certain old major who finds battalion drill a mystery beyond the utmost
range of his intellect, and I don't think he'll stop very long with us,
and when he leaves us there'll be a general rise, and the senior
lieutenant, you know, will be a captain."

Mrs. Ogden's countenance began to shine with pride at these hints of
promotion. After all, he would be somebody at Shayton, would Captain
Ogden, for she was fully determined that when once he should be in
possession of the title, it should not perish for want of use.

When the Colonel rose to take his leave, Mrs. Ogden said, "Nay, nay, you
shalln't go away without drinking a glass of wine. There's both port and
sherry in the cupboard; and if you'd like something to eat--you must be
quite hungry after your ride. Why, you've 'appen never got your
breakfast?"

The Colonel confessed that he had not breakfasted. He had come away from
early drill just before his usual breakfast-hour.

"Eh, well, I wish I'd known sooner; indeed I do. The coffee's quite
cold, and there's nothing worse than cold coffee; but Mr. Wood 'll very
soon make some fresh." Colonel Stanburne was really hungry, and ate his
breakfast in a manner which gave the greatest satisfaction to Mrs.
Ogden. The more he ate the more he rose in her esteem, and at length she
could no longer restrain her feelings of approval, and said, "You _can_
eat your breakfast; it does me good to watch ye. There's many a young
man as cannot eat half as much as you do. There's our Isaac here that's
only a very poor breakfast-eater. I tell him so many a time." Indeed she
_did_ tell him so many a time--namely, about fifteen times whenever
they breakfasted together. When the Colonel had done eating, he looked
at his watch and said it was time to go. "Well, I'm very sorry you're
goin' so soon--indeed I am," said Mrs. Ogden, who, when he ceased to
eat, felt that her own pleasure was at an end. "But you _must_ drink a
glass of wine. It isn't bought at the Blue Bell at Whittlecup--it comes
from Shayton." She said this with a calm assurance that it settled the
question of the wine's merits, just as if Shayton had been the centre of
a famous wine-district. Returning to the subject of breakfast-eating,
she repeated, "Eh, I do wish our Isaac could eat his breakfast same as
you do, but he's spoiled his stomach wi' drinking." Then addressing her
son: "Isaac, I put two glasses with the decanter--why don't you fill
your glass?"

"I've given up drinking."

"Do you mean to say as you're teetotal?"

"Yes, I do, mother; I'm teetotal now."

Mrs. Ogden's face assumed an expression of extreme astonishment and
displeasure. "Well," she said, "Isaac Ogden, you're the first teetotal
as has been in our family!" and she looked at him in scorn. Then she
resumed: "If I'd known what was to come of your meeting that teetotal
clergyman--for it's him that's done it--I'd have prevented it if I
could. Turned teetotal! turned teetotal! Well, Isaac, I never could have
believed this of any son of mine!"



CHAPTER XXIII.

HUSBAND AND WIFE.


When Lady Helena came back from London, she found the Wenderholme coach
already in full activity. It ran from Sootythorn to Wenderholme twice a
week regularly with many passengers, who, so far from contributing to
its maintenance, did but yet further exhaust the pocket of its
proprietor. It happened precisely that on the day of her ladyship's
return the Colonel had one of his frequent dinner-parties at the
Hall--parties composed almost exclusively of militia officers, and
already known in the regiment as the "Wenderholme mess." The Colonel had
thought it prudent to prepare Lady Helena for his new acquisition by
mentioning it in a letter, so that she experienced no shock of surprise
when the four-in-hand came swinging heavily round the drive in front of
the house, announcing itself with loud blasts from Ensign Featherby's
cornet-à-piston. They had such numbers of spare bedrooms at Wenderholme
that these hospitalities caused no perceptible inconvenience, except
that of getting up very early the next morning, which chiefly affected
the guests themselves, who had to be in time for early drill. On this
point the Colonel was inexorable, so that the Wenderholme mess was much
more popular on Saturday than on Thursday evening, as the officers
stayed at Wenderholme till after luncheon, going to the village church
in the morning with the people at the Hall, and returning to Sootythorn
in the course of the afternoon, so as to be in time for mess. It
happened that the day of Lady Helena's return was a Saturday, and the
Colonel thought, "She said nothing about the coach to-night, but I'm in
for it to-morrow morning." However, when Sunday morning came, beautiful
with full spring sunshine, her ladyship's countenance appeared equally
cloudless. Encouraged by these favorable appearances, John Stanburne
observed, a little before church-time,--

"I say, Helena, you haven't seen the Wenderholme coach. Come and look at
it; _do_ come, Helena--that's a good gell. It's in the coach-house."

But her ladyship replied that she had seen the coach the evening before
from the drawing-room window, when it arrived from Sootythorn.

"Well, but you can't have seen it properly, you know. You can't have
looked inside it. Come and look inside it, and see what comfortable
accommodation we've got for inside passengers. Inside passengers don't
often present themselves, though, and yet there's no difference in the
fare. You'll be an inside passenger yourself--won't you, now, Helena?"

Her ladyship was clearly aware that this coaxing was intended to extract
from her an official recognition of the new institution, and she was
resolutely determined to withhold it. So she looked at her watch, and
observed that it was nearly church-time, and that she must go at once
and put her things on.

As they walked to church, she said to one of the officers, "We always
walk to church from the Hall, even in rainy weather."

"Helena's a capital walker," said the Colonel.

"It is fortunate for ladies to be good walkers," replied her ladyship,
"when they have no carriage-horses."

Here was a stab; and the worst of it was, that it might clearly be
proved to be deserved. The Colonel had suggested in his letter to Lady
Helena that she would do well to come by way of Manchester to
Sootythorn, instead of going by Bradford to a little country station ten
miles on the Yorkshire side of Wenderholme. Her ladyship had not
replied to this communication, but had written the day before her return
to the housekeeper at Wenderholme, ordering her carriage, as usual, to
the Yorkshire station. The carriage had not come; the housekeeper had
only been able to send the pony carriage, a tiny basket that Lady Helena
drove herself, with seats for two persons, no place for luggage, and a
black pony a little bigger than a Newfoundland dog. Lady Helena had
driven herself from the station; there had been a smart shower, and,
notwithstanding a thin gray cloak, which was supposed to be waterproof,
she had been wet through. The Colonel had taken possession of all the
carriage-horses for his four-in-hand, and they were at Sootythorn. Her
ladyship would continue to be equally carriageless, since the Colonel
would take his whole team back with him, unless he sent back the horses
from Sootythorn on the day following. These things occupied John
Stanburne's mind when he should have been attending to the service. They
had always kept four carriage-horses since their marriage, but never
more than four; and though one of the two pairs had been often kept at
Sootythorn, when circumstances required them to go there frequently,
still her ladyship had never been left carriageless without being
previously consulted upon the subject, and then only for twenty-four
hours at the longest. The idea of setting up a four-in-hand with only
two pairs of horses, one of which was in almost daily requisition for a
lady's carriage, would indeed have been ridiculous if John Stanburne had
quite seriously entertained it; but, though admitting vaguely the
probable necessity of an increase, he had not yet recognized that
necessity in a clear and definite way. It came to his mind, however, on
that Sunday morning with much distinctness. "Well, hang it!" he thought,
as he settled down in his corner at the beginning of the sermon, "I have
as much right to spend my own money as Helena has. Every journey she
makes to town costs more than a horse. I spend nothing on
myself--really nothing whatever. Look at my tailor's bill! I positively
_haven't_ any tailor's bill. Helena spends more on dress in a month than
I do in a year. And then her jeweller's bill! She spends hundreds of
pounds on jewellery, and I never spend one penny. Every time she goes to
a Drawing-room she has all her old jewels pulled to pieces and set
afresh, and it costs nobody knows what--it does. I'll have my
four-in-hand properly horsed with horses of my own, by George! and none
of those confounded Sootythorn hacks any more; and Helena shall keep her
carriage-horses all to herself, and drive about all day long if she
likes. Of course I can't take her carriage-horses--she's right there."

On her own part, her ladyship was steadily resolved not to be deprived
of any of those belongings which naturally appertained to a person of
her rank and consideration; and there had existed in her mind for
several years a feeling of jealous watchfulness, which scrutinized at
the same time John Stanburne's projects of economy and his projects of
expense. It had happened several times within the experience of this
couple that the husband had taken little fits of parsimony, during which
he attacked the expenditure he least cared for, but which, by an
unfortunate fatality, always seemed to his wife to be most reasonable
and necessary. It might perhaps have been more favorable to his
tranquillity to ally himself with some country girl acclimatized to the
dulness of a thoroughly provincial existence, and satisfied with the
position of mistress of Wenderholme Hall, who would have let him spend
his money in his own way, and would never have dragged him beyond the
circle of his tastes and inclinations. He hated London, especially
during the season; and though he enjoyed the society of people whom he
really knew something about, he disliked being in a crowd. Lady Helena,
on the other hand, was fond of society, and even of the spectacle of the
court. John Stanburne had regularly accompanied his wife on these
annual visits to the metropolis until this year, when the militia
afforded an excellent pretext for staying in the country; but every year
he had given evidence of an increasing disposition to evade the
performance of his duties; and it had come to this at last, that Lady
Helena was obliged to go about with the Adisham family, since John
Stanburne could not be made to go to parties any more. He grumbled, too,
a good deal about the costliness of these London expeditions, and
sometimes talked of suppressing them altogether. There was another
annual expedition that he disliked very much, namely, a winter
expedition to Brighton; and it had come to pass that a coolness had
sprung up between John Stanburne and the Adisham family (who went to
Brighton every year), because his indisposition to meet them there had
been somewhat too openly manifested. His old mother was the confidant of
these rebellious sentiments. She lived in a picturesque cottage situated
in Wenderholme Park, which served as a residence for dowagers. She came
very regularly to Wenderholme church, and sat there in a small pew of
her own, which bore the same relation to the big family pew that the
cottage bore to the Hall. John Stanburne had objected very strongly to
his mother's removal to the cottage, and he had also objected to the
separate pew, but his mother maintained the utility of both
institutions. She said it was good for an old woman, who found some
difficulty in fixing her attention steadily, not to be disturbed in her
devotions by the presence of too many strangers in the same pew; and as
there would often be company at the Hall, she would stick to her own
seat. So she sat there as usual on this particular Sunday, looking very
nice in her light summer dress. The Colonel's little daughter, Edith,
had slipped into her grandmamma's pew, as she often did, when they were
walking up the aisle. She had been staying at the cottage during her
mother's absence, as was her custom when Lady Helena went to London; and
it had cost her, as usual, a little pang to leave the old lady by
herself again. Besides, she felt that it would be pleasanter to sit with
her grandmother than with all those strange militia officers. She would
have felt, in the family pew, as a very young sapling may be supposed to
feel when it is surrounded by over-poweringly big trees--sufficiently
protected, no doubt, but more than sufficiently overshadowed.

Amongst the officers in the Wenderholme pew was Lieutenant Ogden, and by
his side a young gentleman whose presence has not hitherto been
mentioned, namely, little Jacob. Little Jacob's curious eyes wandered
over the quaint old church during the sermon, and they fixed frequently
upon the strange hatchments and marble monuments in the chapel of the
Stanburnes. He had never seen such things before in his life (for there
were no old families at Shayton), and he marvelled greatly thereat.
Advancing, however, from the known to the unknown, he remembered the
royal arms which decorated the front of the organ gallery in Shayton
church, and finding a similar ornament at Wenderholme, proceeded to the
inference that the hatchments were something of the same kind, in which
he was not far wrong. Gradually his eyes fell upon Mrs. Stanburne's pew,
and rested there. A vague new feeling crept into his being; Edith
Stanburne seemed very nice, he thought. It was pleasant to look upon her
face.

Here the more rigid of my readers may exclaim, "Surely he is not going
to make little Jacob fall in love at _that_ age!" Well, not as you would
fall in love, respected reader, if that good or evil fortune were to
happen to you; but a child like little Jacob is perfectly capable of
falling in love in his own way. The loves of children bear about the
same proportion to the great passion which rules the destiny of men,
that their contests in fisticuffs do to the bloody work of the bayonet;
but as we may many of us remember having given Bob or Tom an
ugly-looking black eye, or perchance remember having received one from
Tom or Bob, so also there may linger amongst the recollections of our
infancy some vision of a sweet little child-face that seemed to us
brighter than any other face in the whole world. In this way did Edith
Stanburne take possession of Master Jacob's honest little heart, and
become the object of his silent, and tender, and timid, and exceedingly
respectful adoration. He intensely felt the distance between himself and
the heiress of Wenderholme Hall, and so he admired her as some young
officer about a court may admire some beautiful princess whom it is his
dangerous privilege to see. Children are affected by the externals of
ancient wealth to a degree which the mature mind, dwelling amongst
figures, is scarcely capable of realizing; and the difference between
Wenderholme and Twistle Farm, or Wenderholme and Milend, seemed to
little Jacob's imagination an utterly impassable abyss. But there was
steam in Ogden's mill, and there was a leak in John Stanburne's purse,
and the slow months and years were gradually bringing about great
changes.

Little Jacob's adventure on the moor, and his fortunate arrival at the
Hall, had given him a peculiar footing there. Colonel Stanburne had
taken a marked fancy to the lad; and Lady Helena--who, as the reader may
perhaps remember, had lost two little boys in their infancy--was always
associating him with her tenderest regrets and recollections, so that
there was a sad kindness in her ways with him that drew him very
strongly towards her. Isaac Ogden spoke the Lancashire dialect as
thoroughly, when it suited him, as any cotton-spinner in the county; but
he could also speak, when he chose, a sort of English which differed
from aristocratic English by greater hardness and body, rather than by
any want of correctness, and he had always strictly forbidden little
Jacob to speak the Lancashire dialect in his presence. The lad spoke
Lancashire all the more energetically for this prohibition when his
father was not within hearing; but the severity of the paternal law had
at least given him an equal facility in English, and he kept the two
languages safely in separate boxes in his cranium. It is unnecessary to
say that at Wenderholme Hall the box which contained the Lancashire
dialect was shut up with lock and key, and nothing but the purest
English was produced, so that her ladyship thought that the little boy
"spoke very nicely--with a northern accent, of course, but it was not
disagreeable."

When they came out of church Lady Helena said to Lieutenant Ogden, "Of
course you will bring your little boy here on Thursday for the
presentation of colors;" and then, whilst Mr. Ogden was expressing his
acknowledgments, she interrupted him: "Why not let him remain with us
till then? We will try to amuse him, and make him learn his lessons."
Mr. Ogden said he would have been very glad, but--in short, his mother
was staying at Sootythorn, and might wish to keep her little grandson
with her. Colonel Stanburne came up just then, and her ladyship's answer
was no doubt partially intended for his ear. "Let me keep little Jacob
till to-morrow at any rate. I have several people to see in Sootythorn,
and must go there to-morrow. I scarcely know how I am to get there,
though, for I have no carriage-horses."



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE COLONEL AS A CONSOLER.


"I say, Doctor," said Colonel Stanburne to Dr. Bardly, the day before
the presentation of colors, "I wish you'd look to Philip Stanburne a
little. He doesn't seem to me to be going on satisfactorily at all. I'm
afraid that accident at Whittlecup has touched his brain--he's so
absent. He commanded his company very fairly a short time back, and he
took an interest in drill, but now, upon my word, he gets worse and
worse. To-day he made the most absurd mistakes; and one time he marched
his company right off, and, by George! I thought he was going to take
them straight at the hedge; and I believe he would have done so if the
Adjutant hadn't galloped after him. Eureton rowed him so, that it
brought him to his senses. I never saw such a youth. He doesn't seem to
be properly awake. I'm sure he's ill. He eats nothing. I noticed him at
mess last night. He didn't eat enough to keep a baby alive. I don't
believe he sleeps properly at nights. His face is quite haggard. One
might imagine he'd got something on his conscience. If you can't do him
any good, I'll see the Catholic priest, and beg him to set his mind at
ease. I'm quite anxious about him, really."

The Doctor smiled. "It's my opinion," he said, "that the young gentleman
has a malady that neither you nor I can cure. Some young woman may cure
it, but we can't. The lad's fallen in love."

"Why, Doctor, you don't believe that young fellows make themselves ill
about such little matters as that, do you? Men are ill in that way in
novels, but never in real life. I was desperately spoony myself before I
married Helena, and it wasn't Helena I was spoony about either, and the
girl jilted me to marry a marquis; and I think she did quite right, for
I'd rather she ran away with the marquis before she was my wife than
after, you know. But it didn't spoil me a single meal--it didn't make me
sleep a wink the less. In fact I felt immensely relieved after an hour
or two; for there's nothing like being a bachelor, Doctor--it's so jolly
being a bachelor; no man in his senses can be sad and melancholy because
he's got to remain a bachelor."

The Doctor heartily agreed with this opinion, but observed that men in
love were _not_ men in their senses. "Indeed they're not, Doctor--indeed
they're not; but, I say, have you any idea about who the girl is in this
business of Philip's? It isn't that pretty Miss Anison, is it?"

Now the Doctor had seen Captain Stanburne coming out of Mr. Stedman's
mill one day when he went there to get the manufacturer's present
address, and, coupling this incident with his leave of absence, had
arrived at a conclusion of his own. But he was not quite sure where
young Stanburne had been during his leave of absence.

"Why, he was down in Derbyshire," said the Colonel. "He told me he
didn't feel quite well, and wanted a day or two for rest in the country.
He said he was going to fish. I don't like giving leaves of
absence--we're here only for twenty-eight days; but in his case, you
know, after that accident"--

"Oh, he went down to Derbyshire, did he? Then I know for certain who the
girl is. It's Alice Stedman. Her father is down there, fishing."

"And who's she?"

"Why, you met her at Whittlecup, at Joseph Anison's. She's a quiet bit
of a lass, and a nice-looking lass, too. He might do worse."

"I say," said the Colonel, "tell me now, Doctor, has she got any tin?"

"She's safe to have thirty thousand if she's a penny; but it'll most
likely be a good bit more." Then the Doctor continued, "But there's no
blood in that family. Her father began as a working man in Shayton. It
wouldn't be much of a match for a Stanburne. It would not be doing like
you, Colonel, when you married an earl's daughter."

"Hang earls' daughters!" said the Colonel, energetically; and then,
recollecting himself, he added, "Not all of 'em, you know, Doctor--I
don't want all of 'em to be hanged. But this young woman--I suppose she
hasn't been presented at Court, and doesn't want to be--and doesn't go
to London every season, and has no swell relations." The Doctor gave
full assurances on all these points. "Then I'll tell you what it is,
Doctor; if this young fellow's fretting about the girl, we'll do all we
can to help him. He'd be more prudent still if he remained a bachelor;
but it seems a rational sort of a marriage to make. She ain't got an
uncle that's a baronet--eh, Doctor?"

"There's no danger of that."

"That's right, that's right; because, look you here, Doctor--it's a
foolish thing to marry an earl's daughter, or a marquis's, or a duke's;
but the foolishest thing of all is to marry a baronet's niece. A
baronet's niece is the proudest woman in the whole world, and she's
always talking about her uncle. A young friend of mine married a
baronet's niece, and she gave him no rest till, by good luck, one day
_his_ uncle was created a baronet, and then he met her on equal terms.
It's the only way out of it: you _must_ under those circumstances get
your uncle made a baronet. And if you don't happen to have such a thing
as an uncle, what then? What can cheer the hopelessness of your
miserable position?"

After this conversation with the Doctor, the Colonel had another with
Philip Stanburne himself. "Captain Stanburne," he said, gravely, in an
interval of afternoon drill, "I consider you wanting in the duties of
hospitality. I ask you to the Sootythorn mess, and you never ask me to
the Whittlecup mess. I am reduced to ask myself. I beg to inform you
that I shall dine at the Whittlecup mess this evening."

"I should be very happy, but--but I'm afraid you'll have a bad dinner.
There's nothing but a beefsteak."

"Permit me to observe," continued the Colonel, in the same grave tone,
"that there's a most important distinction to be drawn between bad
dinners and simple dinners. Some of the very worst dinners I ever sat
down to have been elaborate, expensive affairs, where the ambition of
the cook exceeded his artistic skill; and some of the best and
pleasantest have been simple and plain, and all the better because they
were within the cook's capacity. That's my theory about dining, and
every day's experience confirms it. For instance, between you and me, it
seems to me highly probable that your Whittlecup mess is better than
ours at headquarters, for Mr. Garley _rather_ goes beyond what nature
and education have qualified him for. His joints are good, but his
side-dishes are detestable, and his sweets dangerous. So let us have the
beefsteak to-night; there'll be enough for both of us, I suppose. And, I
say," added the Colonel, "don't ask anybody to meet me. I want to have a
quiet hour or two with you."

When drill was over, Fyser appeared on the field with a led horse for
the Captain, and the two Stanburnes rode off together in advance of the
company, which for once was left to the old sergeant's care. The dinner
turned out to be a beefsteak, as had been promised, and there was a
pudding and some cheese. The Colonel seemed to enjoy it very much, and
ate very heartily, and declared that every thing was excellent, and
talked at random about all sorts of subjects. They had the inn parlor
all to themselves; and when dinner was over, and coffee had been served,
and Mr. Simpson, the innkeeper (who had waited), had retired into other
regions, the Colonel lighted a cigar, and plunged _in medias res_.

"I know what you went down into Derbyshire for. You didn't go to fish;
you went to ask Mr. Stedman to let you marry his daughter, Miss Alice
Stedman."

For the first time since he had known him, Philip Stanburne was angry
with the Colonel. His face flushed at once, and he asked, in a tone
which was any thing but conciliatory,--

"Do you keep spies in your regiment, Colonel Stanburne?"

"Bardly saw you accidentally just as you were coming out of Mr.
Stedman's counting-house, and between us we have made a guess at the
object of your visit to Derbyshire."

"You are very kind to interest yourself so much in my affairs."

"Try not to be angry with me. What if I _do_ take an interest in your
affairs? It isn't wrong, is it? I take an interest in all that concerns
you, because I wish to do what I can to be of use to you."

"You are very kind."

"You are angry with me yet; but if I had plagued you with questions
about your little excursion, would it not have been more impertinent and
more irritating? I thought it best to let you see that I know all about
it."

"It was unnecessary to speak upon that subject until I had informed you
about it."

"My dear fellow, look here. It is not in the nature of things that you
_would_ tell me. You have been rejected either by the father or the
daughter, and you are going to make yourself ill about it; you are ill
already--you are pale, and you never eat any thing, and your face is as
melancholy as a face well can be. Be a good fellow, and take me into
your confidence, and we will see if we cannot put you out of your
misery."

"That is a phrase commonly used by people who kill diseased or wounded
animals. You are becoming alarming. You will let me live, I hope, such
as I am."

The Colonel perceived that Philip was coming round a little. He waited a
minute, and then went on.

"She's a very nice girl. I met her at Mr. Anison's here. I would rather
you married her than one of those pretty Miss Anisons. She seems a quiet
sensible young lady, who will stay at home with her husband, and not
always be wanting to go off to London, and Brighton, and the Lord knows
where."

Philip had had a suspicion that the Colonel was going to remonstrate
with him for making a plebeian alliance, but that began to be dispelled.
To induce him to express an opinion on that point, Philip said,--

"Her father is not a gentleman, you know."

"I know who he is--a very well-to-do cotton manufacturer; and a very
intelligent, well-informed man, I'm told. A gentleman! pray what _is_ a
gentleman?"

"A difficult question to answer in words; but we all know what we mean
by the word when we use it."

"Well, yes; but is it quite necessary to a man to be a gentleman at all?
Upon my word, I very often think that in our line of life we are
foolishly rigid on that point. I have met very clever and distinguished
men--men of science, and artists, and even authors--who didn't seem
quite to answer to our notions of what a gentleman is; and I know scores
of fellows who are useless and idle, and vicious too, and given up to
nothing but amusement--and not always the most innocent amusement
either--and yet all who know society would recognize them as gentlemen
at once. Now, between ourselves, you and I answer to what is called a
gentleman, and your proposed father-in-law, Mr. Stedman, you say
doesn't; but it's highly probable that he is superior to either of us,
and a deal more useful to mankind. He spins cotton, and he studies
botany and geology. I wish I could spin cotton, or increase my income in
any honest way, and I wish I had some pursuit. I tried once or twice: I
tried botany myself, but I had no perseverance; and I tried to write a
book, but I found my abilities weren't good enough for that; so I turned
my talents to tandem-driving, and now I've set up a four-in-hand. By the
by, my new team's coming to-morrow from London--a friend of mine there
has purchased it for me."

There was a shade of dissatisfaction on John Stanburne's face as he
concluded this little speech about himself. He did not seem to
anticipate the arrival of the new team with pleasure unalloyed. The
price, perhaps, may have been somewhat heavy--somewhat beyond his means.
That London friend of his was a sporting character, with an ardent
appreciation of horse-flesh in the abstract, and an elevated ideal. When
he purchased for friends, which he was sometimes commissioned to do, he
became truly a servant of the Ideal, and sought out only such realities
as a servant of the Ideal might contemplate with feelings of
satisfaction. These realities were always very costly--they always
considerably exceeded the pecuniary limits which had been assigned to
him. This was his only fault; he purchased well, and none of the
purchase-money, either directly or indirectly, found its way into his
own pocket.

The Colonel did not dwell, as he might have been expected to do, upon
the subject of the horses--he returned almost immediately to that of
matrimonial alliances.

"It's not very difficult to make a guess at the cause of Mr. Stedman's
opposition. Bardly tells me he's a most tremendous Protestant, earnest
to a degree, and you, my dear fellow, happen to be a Catholic. You'll
have to let yourself be converted, I'm afraid, if you really want the
girl."

"A man cannot change his faith, when he has one, because it is his
interest to do so. I would rather you did not talk about that
subject--at least, in that strain. You know my views; you know that
nothing would induce me to profess any other views."

"Bardly tells me he doesn't think Stedman will give in, so long as you
remain a Catholic."

"Very well."

"Yes, it may be very well--it may be better than marrying. It's a very
good thing, no doubt, to marry a good wife, but I'm not sure that the
condition of a bachelor isn't really better than that of the most
fortunate husband in the world. You see, Philip (excuse me calling you
by your Christian name; I wish you'd call me John), you see a married
man either cares about his wife or he doesn't. If he doesn't care about
her, what's the use of being married to her? If, on the other hand, he
_does_ care about her, then his happiness becomes entirely dependent
upon her humors. Some women--who are very good women in other
respects--are liable to long fits of the sulks. You omit some little
attention which they think is their due; you omit it in pure innocence,
because your mind is very much occupied with other matters, and then the
lady attributes it to all sorts of imaginary motives--it is a plan of
yours to insult her, and so on. Or, if she attributes it to
carelessness, then your carelessness is itself such a tremendous crime
that she isn't quite certain whether you ought ever to be forgiven for
it or not; and she hesitates about forgiving you for a fortnight or
three weeks, and then she decides that you shall be forgiven, and taken
into her grace and favor once more. But by the time this has been
repeated twenty or thirty times, a fellow gets rather weary of it, you
know. It's my belief that women are divided into two classes--the sulky
ones and the scolds. Some of 'em do their sulking in a way that clearly
shows it's done consciously, and intentionally, and artistically, as a
Frenchwoman arranges her ribbons. The great object is to show you that
the lady holds herself in perfect command--that she is mistress of her
own manner in every thing; and this makes her manner all the more
aggravating; because, if she is so perfectly mistress of it, why doesn't
she make it rather pleasanter?"

"It's rather a gloomy picture that you have been painting, Colonel, but
every lover will believe that there is _one_ exception to it."

"Of course he will. You believe Miss Alice Stedman is the exception;
only, if you can't get her, don't fret about her. She seems a very
admirable young lady, and I should be glad if you married her; because,
if you don't, the chances are that you will marry somebody else not
quite so suitable. But if I could be quite sure that you would remain a
bachelor, and take a rational view of the immense advantages of
bachelorhood, I shouldn't much regret Mr. Stedman's obduracy on your
account."

These views of the Colonel's were due, no doubt, to his present position
with Lady Helena. The causes which were gradually dividing them had been
slowly operating for several years, but the effects which resulted from
them were now much more visible than they had ever previously been.
First they had walked together on one path, then the path had been
divided into two by an all but invisible separation--still they had
walked together. But now the two paths were diverging so widely that the
eye began to measure the space between them, and as it measured the
space widened. It is as when two trains leave some great railway station
side by side. For a time they are on the same railroad, but after a
while you begin to perceive that the distance from your own train to the
other is gradually widening; and on looking down to the ground, which
seems to flow like a swift stream, you see a streak of green between the
two diverging ways, and it deepens to a chasm between two embankments;
and after that they are separated by spaces ever widening--spaces of
field and river and wood--till the steam of the other engine has
vanished on the far horizon.

John Stanburne's offers of assistance were very sincere, but what, in a
practical way, could he do? He could not make Mr. Stedman come round by
asking him to Wenderholme. There were plenty of people at Sootythorn who
would have done any thing to be asked to Wenderholme, but Mr. Stedman
was not one of them. Him the blandishments of aristocracy seduced not;
and there was something in his looks, even when you met him merely by
accident for an hour, as the Colonel had met him at Arkwright Lodge,
which told you very plainly how obdurate he would be where his
convictions were concerned, and how perfectly inaccessible to the most
artful and delicate coaxing. So the Colonel's good offices were for the
present very likely to be confined to a general willingness to do
something when the opportunity should present itself.

The day fixed for the ceremony of presentation of colors was now rapidly
approaching, and the invitations had all been sent out. It was the
Colonel's especial desire that this should take place at Wenderholme,
and the whole regiment was to arrive there the evening before, after a
regular military march from Sootythorn. The Colonel had invited as many
guests of his own as the house could hold; and, in addition to these,
many of the Sootythorn people, and one family from Whittlecup, were
asked to spend the day at Wenderholme Hall, and be witnesses of the
ceremony. The Whittlecup family, as the reader has guessed already, was
that from Arkwright Lodge; and it happened that whilst the Colonel was
talking with Philip Stanburne about his matrimonial prospects, Mr.
Joseph Anison came to the Blue Bell to call upon his young friend.

Philip and the Colonel were both looking out of the window when he came,
and before he entered the room, the Colonel found time to say, "Take
Anison into your confidence--_he_'ll be your best man, he knows Stedman
so well. Let me tell him all about it, will you? Do, now, let me."
Philip consented, somewhat reluctantly, and Mr. Anison had not been in
the room a quarter of an hour before the Colonel had put him in
possession of the whole matter. Mr. Anison's face did not convey very
much encouragement. "John Stedman is very inflexible," he said, "where
his religious convictions are in any way concerned, and he is very
strongly Protestant. I will do what I can with him. I don't see why he
should make such a very determined opposition to the match--it would be
a very good match for his daughter--but he is a sort of man that
positively enjoys sacrificing his interests and desires to his views of
duty. If I've any advice to offer, it will be to leave him to himself
for a while, and especially not to do any thing to conciliate him. His
daughter _may_ bring him round in her own way; she's a clever girl,
though she's a quiet one--and she can manage him better than anybody
else."

When Mr. Anison got back to Arkwright Lodge, he had a talk with Mrs.
Anison about Philip's prospects. "_I_ shouldn't have objected to him as
a son-in-law," said the husband; "he'll be reasonable enough, and let
his wife go to her own church."

"I wish he'd taken a fancy to Madge," said Mrs. Anison.

"Have you any particular reason for wishing so? Do you suspect any thing
in Madge herself? Do you think she cares for him?"

Mrs. Anison looked grave, and, after a moment's hesitation, said, "I'm
afraid there _is_ something. I'm afraid she _does_ think about him more
than she ought to do. She is more irritable and excitable than she used
to be, and there is a look of care and anxiety on her face which is
quite painful sometimes. And yet I fancy that when Alice was here she
rather encouraged young Stanburne to propose to Alice. She did it, no
doubt, from anxiety to know how far he would go in that direction, and
now he's gone farther than she wished."



CHAPTER XXV.

WENDERHOLME IN FESTIVITY.


At length the eve of the great day arrived on which the Twentieth Royal
Lancashire was to possess its colors--those colors which (according to
the phrase so long established by the usage of speech-making subalterns)
it was prepared to dye with all its blood--yes, to the very last drop
thereof.

Lady Helena had had a terribly busy time during the whole week.
Arrangements for this ceremony had been the subject of anxious planning
for months before; and during her last stay in London her ladyship had
been very active in seeing tradesmen accustomed to create those
temporary splendors and accommodations which are necessary when great
numbers of people are to be entertained. Mr. Benjamin Edgington had sent
down so many tents and marquees that the park of Wenderholme presented
the appearance of a rather extensive camp. The house itself contained
even more than the amount of accommodation commonly found in houses of
its class, but every chamber had its destined occupant. A great luncheon
was to be given in the largest of the marquees, and the whole regiment
was to be entertained for a night and a day.

The weather, fortunately, was most propitious, the only objection to it
being the heat, and the consequent dust on the roads. Once fairly out of
Sootythorn, the Colonel gave permission to march at ease, and the men
opened their jackets and took their stiff collars off, and began to sing
and talk very merrily. They halted, too, occasionally, by the banks of
clear streams, and scattered themselves on the grass, drinking a great
deal of water, there being fortunately nothing stronger within reach. At
the half-way house, however, the Colonel gave every man a pint of ale,
and drank one himself, as he sat on horseback.

It was after sunset when they reached Wenderholme, and the men marched
into the park--not at ease, as they had marched along the road, but in
fairly good military order. Lady Helena and a group of visitors stood by
the side of the avenue, at the point where they turned off towards the
camp. A quarter of an hour afterwards the whole regiment was at supper
in the tents, except the officers, who dined at the Hall, with the
Colonel's other guests, in full uniform. The dining-room presented a
more splendid and animated appearance than it had ever presented since
the days of John Stanburne's grandfather, who kept a pack of hounds, and
received his scarlet-coated companions at his table. And even the merry
fox-hunters of yore glittered not as glittered all these majors and
captains and lieutenants. Their full uniforms were still as fresh as
when they came from the tailor's. They had not been soiled in the dust
of reviews, for the regiment had never been reviewed. The silver of the
epaulettes was as brilliant as the brilliant old plate that covered the
Colonel's hospitable board, and the scarlet was as intense as that of
the freshest flower with which the table was decorated. It was more than
a dinner--it was a stately and magnificent banquet. The Stanburnes, like
many old families in England, had for generations been buyers of silver
plate, and there was enough of the solid metal in the house to set up a
hundred showy houses with electro. Rarely did it come forth from the
strong safes where it reposed, eating up in its unprofitable idleness
the interest of a fortune. But now it glittered once again under the
innumerable lights, a heterogeneous, a somewhat barbarous, medley of
magnificence.

Lady Helena, without being personally self-indulgent--without caring
particularly about eating delicately or being softly clad--had a natural
taste for splendor, which may often be independent both of vanity and
the love of ease. Human pomp suited her as the pomp of nature suits the
mind of the artist and the poet; instead of paralyzing or oppressing
her, it only made her feel the more perfectly at home. John Stanburne
had known beforehand that his clever wife would order the festivities
well, and he had felt no anxiety about her management in any way, but he
had not quite counted upon this charming gayety and ease. There are
ladies who, upon occasions of this kind, show that they feel the weight
of their responsibility, and bring a trouble-clouded visage to the
feast. They cannot really converse, because they cannot really listen.
They hear your words, perhaps, but do not receive their meaning, being
distracted by importunate cares. Nothing kills conversation like an
absent and preoccupied hostess; nothing animates it like her genial and
intelligent participation. Surely, John Stanburne, you may be proud of
Helena to-night! What would your festival have been without her?

He recognizes her superiorities, and admires them; but he would like to
be delivered from the little inconveniences which attend them. That
clear-headed little woman has rather too much of the habit and the
faculty of criticism, and John Stanburne would rather be believed in
than criticised. Like many other husbands, he would piously uphold that
antique religion of the household which sets up the husband as the deity
thereof--a king who can do no wrong. If these had been his views from
the beginning--if he had wanted simple unreasoning submission to his
judgment, and unquestioning acceptance of his actions--what a mistake he
made in choosing a woman like Lady Helena! He who marries a woman of
keen sight cannot himself expect to be screened from its keenness. And
this woman was so fearless--shall we say so proud?--that she disdained
the artifices of what might have been a pardonable hypocrisy. She made
John Stanburne feel that he was living in a glass case,--nay, more, that
she saw through his clothes--through his skin--into his viscera--into
his brain. You must love a woman very much indeed to bear this perpetual
scrutiny, or she must love you very much to make it not altogether
intolerable. The Colonel had a reasonable grievance in this, that in the
presence of his wife he found no moral rest. But her criticisms were
invariably just. For example, in that last cause of irritation between
them--that about the horses--Lady Helena had been clearly in the right.
It was, to say the least, a want of good management on the Colonel's
part to have all the carriage-horses at Sootythorn on the day of her
arrival. And so it always was. She never made any observation
on his conduct except when such an observation was perfectly
justified--perfectly called for, if you will; but then, on the other
hand, she never omitted to make an observation when it was called for.
It would have been more graceful--it would certainly have been more
prudent--to let things pass sometimes without taking them up in that
way. She might have let John Stanburne rest more quietly in his own
house, I think; she might have forgiven his little faults more readily,
more freely, more generously than she did. The reader perhaps wonders
whether she loved him. Yes, she was greatly attached to him. She loved
him a great deal better than some women love their husbands who give
them perfect peace, and yet she contrived to make him feel an
irksomeness in the tie that bound him. Perhaps, with all her
perspicacity, she did not quite thoroughly comprehend--did not quite
adequately appreciate--his simple, and frank, and honorable nature, his
manly kindness of heart, his willingness to do all that could fairly be
required of him, and the sincerity with which he would have regretted
all his little failures in conjugal etiquette, if only he might have
been left to find them out for himself, and repent of them alone.

The digression has been long, but the banquet we were describing was
long enough to permit us to absent ourselves from the spectacle for a
while, and still find, on returning to it, all the guests seated in
their places, and all the lights burning, though the candles may be half
an inch shorter. Amongst the guests are several personages to whom we
have not yet had the honor of being introduced, and some good people,
not personages, whom we know already, but have lost sight of for a long
time. There are two belted earls--namely, the Earl of Adisham, Lady
Helena's august papa; and the Earl Brabazon, who is papa to Captain
Brabazon of the Sootythorn mess. There are two neighboring baronets, and
five or six country squires from distant manor-houses, some of which are
not less considerable than Wenderholme itself, whilst the rent-rolls
which maintain them are longer. Then there is a military commander, with
gray whiskers and one eye, and an ugly old sword-cut across the cheek.
He is in full uniform, with three medals and perfect ladders of
clasps--the ladders by which he has climbed to his present distinguished
position. He wears also the insignia of the Bath, of which he is Grand
Cross.

But of all these personages, the most distinguished in point of rank
must certainly be the little thin gentleman who is sitting by Lady
Helena. It is easy to see that he is perfectly delighted with her
ladyship, for he is constantly talking to her with evident interest and
pleasure, or listening to her with pleasure still more evident. He has a
broad ribbon across his white waistcoat, and another round his neck, and
a glittering star on his black coat. It is his Grace of Ingleborough,
Lord Henry Ughtred's noble father. He is a simple, modest little
man--both agreeable and, in his way, intelligent; an excellent man of
business, as his stewards and agents know too well--and one of the best
Greek scholars in England. Habits of real work, in any direction, have a
tendency to diminish pride in those gifts of fortune with which work
has nothing to do; and if the Duke found a better Greek scholar than
himself, or a better man of business, he had that kind of hearty and
intelligent respect for him which is yielded only by real workmen to
their superiors. Indeed he had true respect for excellence of all kinds,
and was incomparably more human, more capable of taking an interest in
men and of understanding them, than the supercilious young gentleman his
son.

Amongst our acquaintances at this great and brilliant feast are the
worthy incumbent of Shayton and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Prigley. Whilst
we were occupied with the graver matters which affected so seriously the
history of Philip Stanburne, Lady Helena had been to Shayton and called
upon Mrs. Prigley, and after that they had been invited to the great
festivities at Wenderholme. It was kind of Lady Helena, when the house
was so full that she hardly knew where to lodge more distinguished
guests, to give the Prigleys one of her best bedrooms; but she did so,
and treated them with perfect tact and delicacy, trying to make them
feel like near relations with whom intercourse had never been suspended.
Mrs. Prigley was the exact opposite of a woman of the world, having
about as much experience of society as a girl of nine years old who is
receiving a private education; yet her manners were very good, except so
far as she was too deferential, and it was easy to see that she was a
lady, though a lady who had led a very retired life. Mrs. Prigley had
never travelled more than twenty miles from her two homes, Byfield and
Shayton, since she was born; she had read nothing--she had no time for
reading--and the wonder is how, under these circumstances, she could be
so nice and lady-like as she was, so perfectly free from all taint of
vulgarity. The greatest evil which attends ladies like Mrs. Prigley,
when they _do_ go into society, is, that they sometimes feel obliged to
tell white lies, and that these white lies occasionally lead them into
embarrassment. Mrs. Prigley never frankly and simply avowed her
ignorance when she thought it would not be _comme il faut_ to be
ignorant. For instance, if you asked her whether she had read some book,
or heard some piece of music, she _always_ answered with incredible
temerity in the affirmative. If your subsequent remarks called for no
further display of knowledge it was well--she felt that she had bravely
acted her part, and not been behind the age; but if in your innocence or
in your malice (for now and then a malicious person found her out and
tormented her) you went into detail, asking what she thought, for
instance, of Becky Sharp in "Vanity Fair," she might be ultimately
compelled to avow that though she had read "Vanity Fair" she didn't
remember Becky. Thus she placed herself in most uncomfortable
situations, having the courage to run perpetual risks of detection, but
not the courage to admit her ignorance of any thing which she imagined
that a lady ought to know. When she had once affirmed her former
knowledge of any thing, she stuck to it with astonishing hardihood, and
accused the imperfection of her memory--one of her worst fibs, for her
memory was excellent.

The conversation at a great banquet is never so pleasant as that at a
table small enough for everybody to hear everybody else, and the only
approach to a general exchange of opinion on any single topic which
occurred on the present occasion was about the house in which the
entertainment was given. The Duke had never been to Wenderholme before,
and during a lull in the conversation his eye wandered over the wainscot
opposite to him. It had been painted white, but the carved panels still
left their designs clearly visible under the paint.

"What a noble room this is, Lady Helena!" he said; "but it is rather a
pity--don't you think so?--that those beautiful panels should have been
painted. It was done, no doubt, in the last century."

"Yes, we regret very much that the house should have been modernized. We
have some intention of restoring it."

"Glad to hear that--very glad to hear that. I envy you the pleasure of
seeing all these beautiful things come to light again. I wish I had a
place to restore, Lady Helena; but those delights are over for me, and I
can only hope to experience them afresh by taking an interest in the
doings of my friends. I had a capital place for restoration formerly--an
old Gothic house not much spoiled by the Renaissance, but overlaid by
much incongruous modern work. So I determined to restore it, and for
nearly four years it was the pleasantest hobby that a man could have. It
turned out rather an expensive hobby, though, but I economized in some
other directions, and did what seemed to be necessary."

"Does your Grace allude to Varolby Priory?" asked Mr. Prigley, timidly.

"Yes, certainly; yes. Do you know Varolby?"

"I have never been there, but I have seen the beautiful album of
illustrations of the architectural details which was engraved by your
directions."

Mrs. Prigley was within hearing, and thinking that it would be well not
to be behind her husband, said, "Oh yes; what a beautiful book it was!"
The Duke turned towards Mrs. Prigley, and made her a slight bow; then he
asked in his innocence, and merely to say something, "whether the copy
which Mrs. Prigley had seen was a colored one or a plain one?"

"Oh, it was colored," she answered, without hesitation--"beautifully
colored!"

This was Mrs. Prigley's way--she waited for the suggestions of her
interlocutor, and on hearing a thing which was as new to her as the
kernel of a nut just cracked, assented to it with the tone of a person
to whom it was already familiar. So clever had she become by practice in
this artifice, that she conveyed the impression that nothing _could_ be
new to her; and the people who talked with her had no idea that it was
themselves who supplied, _à mesure_, all the information wherewith she
met them, and kept up the conversation. She had never heard of Varolby
Priory before--she had never heard of the album of engravings
before--and therefore it is superfluous to add that, as to colored
copies or plain ones, she was equally unacquainted with either. Mrs.
Prigley had however gone a step too far in this instance, for the Duke
immediately replied,--

"Ah, then, I know that you are a friend of my old friend, Sir Archibald.
You wonder how I guessed it, perhaps? It's because there are only two
colored copies of the album in existence--my own copy and his."

Mrs. Prigley tried to put on an agreeable expression of assent, intended
to imply that she knew Sir Archibald (though as yet ignorant of Sir
Archibald's surname), when her husband interposed. She made him feel
anxious and fidgety. He always knew when she was telling her little
fibs--he knew it by a certain facile suavity in her tone, which would
not have been detected by a stranger.

"The old mural paintings must be very interesting," said the incumbent
of Shayton, and by this skilful diversion saved his wife from imminent
exposure.

"Most interesting--most interesting: they were found in a wonderful
state of preservation under many layers of whitewash in the chapel. And
do you know, _apropos_ of your carved panels, Lady Helena, we found such
glorious old wainscot round a room that had been lined with lath and
plaster afterwards, and decorated with an abominably ugly paper. Not one
panel was injured--really not one panel! and the designs carved upon
them are so very elegant! That was one of the best finds we made."

"I should think it very probable," said Mr. Prigley, "that discoveries
would be made at Wenderholme if a thorough restoration were
undertaken."

"No doubt, no doubt," said the Duke, "and there is nothing so
interesting. Even the workmen come to take an interest in all they bring
to light. Our workmen were quite proud when they found any thing, and so
careful not to injure what they found. Do induce your husband to restore
Wenderholme, Lady Helena; it would make such a magnificent place!"

This talk about Wenderholme and restoration had gradually reached the
other end of the table, and John Stanburne, feeling no doubt rather a
richer and greater personage that evening than usual, being surrounded
by more than common splendor, announced his positive resolution to
restore the Hall thoroughly. "It was lamentable," he said, "perfectly
lamentable, that the building should have been so metamorphosed by his
grandfather. But it was not altogether past mending; and architects, you
know, understand old Elizabethan buildings so much better than they used
to do."

It was a delicious evening, soft and calm, without either the chills of
earlier spring or the sultriness of the really hot weather. When the
ladies had left the room, and the gentlemen had sat long enough to drink
the moderate quantity of wine which men consume in these days of
sobriety, the Colonel proposed that they should all go and smoke in the
garden. There was a very large lawn, and there were a great many
garden-chairs about, so the smokers soon formed themselves into a
cluster of little groups. The whole lawn was as light as day, for the
front of the Hall was illuminated, and hundreds of little glow-worm
lamps lay scattered amongst the flowers. The Colonel had managed to
organize a regimental band, which, being composed of tolerably good
musicians from Shayton and Sootythorn (both musical places, but
especially Shayton), had been rapidly brought into working order by an
intelligent band-master. This band had been stationed somewhere in the
garden, and began to fill the woods of Wenderholme with its martial
strains.

"Upon my word, Colonel," said the Duke, stirring his cup of coffee, "you
do things very admirably; I have seen many houses illuminated, but I
think I never saw one illuminated so well as Wenderholme is to-night.
Every feature of the building is brought into its due degree of
prominence. All that rich central projection over the porch is splendid!
A less intelligent illuminator would have sacrificed all those fine deep
shadows in the recesses of the sculpture, which add so much to the
effect."

"My wife has arranged all about these matters," said John Stanburne;
"she has better taste than I have, and more knowledge. I always leave
these things to her."

"Devilish clever woman that Lady Helena!" thought his Grace; but he did
not say it exactly in that way.

"All these sash-windows must be very recent. Last century,
probably--eighteenth century; very sad that eighteenth century--wish it
had never existed, only don't see how we should have got into the
nineteenth!"

The Colonel laughed. "Very difficult," he said, "to get into a
nineteenth century without passing through an eighteenth century of some
sort."

"Yes, of course, of course; but I don't mean merely in the sense of
numbers, you know--in the arithmetical sense of eighteen and nineteen. I
mean, that seeing how very curiously people's minds seem to be generally
constituted, it does not seem probable that they could ever have reached
the ideas of the nineteenth century without passing through the ideas of
the eighteenth. But what a pity it is they were such destructive ideas!
The people of the eighteenth century seem to have destroyed for the mere
pleasure of destroying. Only fancy the barbarism of my forefathers at
Varolby, who actually covered the most admirable old wainscot in the
world, full of the most delicate, graceful, and exquisite work, with
lath and plaster, and a hideous paper! They preferred the paper, you
see, to the wainscot."

"Perhaps paper happened to be more in the fashion, and they did not care
about either. My grandfather did not leave the wainscot, however, under
the paper. At least, he must have removed a great deal of it. There is
an immense lot of old carved work that he removed from the walls and
rooms in a lumber-garret at the top of the house."

"Is there though, really?" said the Duke, with much eagerness; "then you
_must_ let me see it to-morrow--you must indeed; nothing would interest
me more."

Just then a white stream of ladies issued from the illuminated porch,
and flowed down the broad stairs. Their diamonds glittered in the light,
flashing visibly to a considerable distance. They came slowly forward to
the lawn.

"I think it is time to have the fireworks now," said Lady Helena to the
Colonel.

The Colonel called the officers about him, whilst the other gentlemen
began to talk to the ladies. "It would prevent confusion," he said, "if
we were to muster the men properly to see the fireworks. I should like
them to have good places; but there is some chance, you know, that they
might damage things in the garden unless they come in military order.
There are already great numbers of people in the park, and I think it
would be better to keep our men separate from the crowd as much as
possible." Horses were brought for the Colonel and other field-officers,
and they rode to the camp, the others following on foot. Transparencies
had been set up at different parts of the garden, with the numbers of
the companies; and the arrangements had been so perfectly made, that in
less than twenty minutes every company was at its appointed place.

No private individual in John Stanburne's position could afford a
display of pyrotechnics sufficient to astonish such experienced people
as his noble guests; but Lady Helena and the pyrotechnician, or
"firework-man," as her ladyship more simply called him, had planned
something quite sufficiently effective. He and his assistants were on
the roof of the Hall, where temporary platforms and railings had been
set up in different places for their accommodation; and the floods of
fire that soon issued therefrom astonished many of the spectators,
especially Mrs. Prigley. And yet when a perfectly novel device was
displayed, which the "firework-man" had invented for the occasion, and
Lady Helena asked Mrs. Prigley what she thought of it, that lady averred
that she had seen it before, in some former state of existence, and had
"always thought it very beautiful."

Suddenly these words, "The Fiery Niagara," shone in great burning
letters along the front of the house, and then an immense cascade of
fire poured over the roof in all directions, and hid Wenderholme Hall as
completely as the rock is hidden where the real Niagara thunders into
its abyss. At the same time trees of green fire burned on the sides of
the flowing river, and their boughs seemed to dip in its rushing gold,
as the boughs of the sycamores bend over the swift-flowing water. And
behind the edge of the great cascade rose slowly a great round moon.



CHAPTER XXVI.

MORE FIREWORKS.


After the fiery cascade came the bouquet; and the fireworks ended with a
prodigious sheaf of rockets, which made the country people think that
the stars were falling.

Though the Hall was still illuminated, it looked poorer after the
brilliant pyrotechnics; and as this diminution of its effect had been
foreseen, arrangements had been made beforehand to cheer the minds of
the guests at the critical moment by a compensation. The Venetian
lanterns had been reserved till now, and the band had been silent during
the fireworks. A large flat space on the lawn had been surrounded by
masts with banners, and from mast to mast hung large festoons of
greenery, and from the festoons hung the many-colored lanterns. A
platform had been erected at one end for the band; and before the last
rocket-constellation had burst into momentary splendor, and been
extinguished as it fell towards the earth, the lanterns were all
burning, and the band playing merrily. Before and during the fireworks
the company had been considerably increased by arrivals from neighboring
villages and the houses of the smaller gentry, so Lady Helena passed the
word that there would be a dance in the space that was enclosed by the
lanterns.

It had been part of our friend Philip Stanburne's duty to march to
Wenderholme with his company, and to dine with the Colonel in the Hall;
but in his present moody and melancholy temper he found it impossible to
carry complaisance so far as to whirl about in a waltz with some young
lady whom he had never before seen. There was nobody there that he
knew; and when Lady Helena kindly offered to introduce him to a partner,
his refusal was so very decided that it seemed almost wanting in
politeness. The Colonel had not mentioned Philip's love-affair to her
ladyship, for reasons which the reader will scarcely need to have
explained to him. People who have lived together for some years
generally know pretty well what each will think and say about a subject
before it has been the subject of open conversation between them; and
since Philip Stanburne was now treated as a near relation at
Wenderholme, it was clear that her ladyship would be a good deal put out
if she heard of his intended misalliance. The Colonel himself was by no
means democratic in his aboriginal instincts; but after his experience
of married life, the one quality in Lady Helena which he would most
willingly have done without was her rank, with its concomitant
inconveniences. He did not now feel merely indifferent to rank, he
positively disliked it; and with his present views, Alice Stedman's
humble origin seemed a guarantee of immunity from many of the perils
which were most dangerous to his own domestic peace. But Lady Helena (as
he felt instinctively, without needing to give to his thought the
consistency of words and phrases) was still in that state of mind which
is natural to every one who is born with the advantages of rank--the
state of mind which values rank too highly to sacrifice it willingly, or
to see any relation sacrifice it without protesting against his folly.
Hers would be the natural and rational view of the matter; the
common-sense view; the view which in all classes who have rank of any
sort to maintain (and what class has not?) has ever been recognized, has
ever persisted and prevailed. The Colonel did not go so far as to wish
that he had married some other person of humble provincial rank; but he
often wished that Lady Helena herself had been the daughter of some
small squire, or country clergyman, or cotton-spinner, if he had brought
her up as nicely as Alice Stedman had been brought up. It was not to be
expected that she could ever share this opinion about herself, or the
opinion about Alice Stedman, which was merely a reflection of it.

Owing to Philip Stanburne's exile at Whittlecup, which had continued
during the whole of the training, and to his natural shyness and
timidity, which the extreme reclusion of his existence had allowed to
become the permanent habit of his nature, he had made few acquaintances
amongst the officers, and not one friend. There were several men in the
regiment to know whom would have done Philip Stanburne a great deal of
good, but he missed the opportunities which presented themselves. For
instance, on the present occasion, though several of his brother
officers, who, like himself, were not dancing, had gathered into a
little group, Philip Stanburne avoided the group, and walked away by
himself in the direction of the great dark wood. He felt the necessity
for a little solitude; he had not been by himself during the whole day,
and it was now nearly midnight. A man who is accustomed to be alone will
steal out in that way from society to refresh himself in the loneliness
which is his natural element--_pour se remettre_, as a Frenchman would
express it. So he followed a narrow walk that led into the wood, and
soon lost sight of the illuminations, whilst the music became gradually
fainter, and at last was confined to such hints of the nature of the
melody as could be gathered from the occasional fortissimo of a trumpet
or the irregular booming of a drum.

There was, as the reader already knows, a ravine behind Wenderholme
Hall, which was a gash in the great hill that divided Wenderholme from
Shayton. All this ravine was filled with a thick wood, and a stream came
down the middle of it from the moorland above--a little noisy stream
that tumbled over a good many small rocks, and made some cascades which
the inhabitants of Wenderholme showed to all their visitors, and which
lady visitors often more or less successfully sketched. By an outlay of
about a hundred pounds, John Stanburne's grandfather had dammed this
stream up in one conveniently narrow place, and made a small pond there,
and the walk which Philip Stanburne was now following skirted the stream
till it came to the pond's edge. It turned round the upper end of the
tiny lake, and crossed the stream where it entered by means of a
picturesque wooden bridge. From this bridge the Hall might be distinctly
seen in the day-time; and Philip, remembering this, or perhaps merely
from the habit of looking down towards the Hall when he crossed the
bridge, stopped and looked, as if in the darkness of the night he could
hope to distinguish any thing at the back of the house, which, of
course, was not illuminated.

Not illuminated! Why, the firework-men have applied a more effective
device to the back of the house than the elaborate illumination of the
front! They have invented a curling luminous cloud, these accomplished
pyrotechnicians!

Philip Stanburne began to wonder how it was managed, and to speculate on
the probable artifice. Was the smoke produced separately, and then
lighted from below, or was it really luminous smoke? However produced,
the effect was an admirable one, and Philip admired it accordingly. "But
it is odd," he thought, "that I should be left to enjoy it (probably) by
myself. It's not likely that they have left their dancing--I'm sure they
haven't; I can hear the drum yet, and it's marking the time of a waltz."
A gentle breeze came towards him, and rippled the surface of the dark
water. It brought the sound of the trumpets and he recognized the air.
"They are waltzing still, no doubt."

The luminous smoke still rose and curled. Then a red flash glared in it
for an instant "Those are not fireworks," said Philip Stanburne, aloud;
"_Wenderholme Hall is on fire!_"



CHAPTER XXVII.

THE FIRE.


"Why, Philip," said the Colonel, "I didn't know that you'd been dancing.
You've been over-exerting yourself. You look tremendously hot, and very
much out of breath."

"Young fellahs will dance, you know, Colonel," said the General with the
ladders of clasps--"young fellahs will; I envy them!"

"Where is Edith--your daughter--little Edith?" Philip asked, with a
scared and anxious face.

"In bed, of course, at this time of night. You don't want to dance with
_her_, a small child like her?" Then fixing his eyes on Philip
Stanburne's face, the Colonel exclaimed, grasping his arm so strongly as
to cause pain. "Something is wrong, by Jove! out with it, out with it!"

"Where's Edith's room? the house is on fire!"

John Stanburne said nothing, but turned at once with swift steps towards
the house. Philip followed him closely: they entered by the great
doorway under the porch, and passed rapidly across the hall. It was
quiet and empty, lighted by a few lamps suspended from the ceiling by
long crimson cords--the portraits of the old fox-hunting Stanburnes
looking down with their usual healthy self-possession. The door from the
hall to the staircase was closed: when the Colonel opened it, a smell of
burning became for the first time perceptible. He took four steps at a
time. Edith's rooms were nearly at the top of the house. The nurseries
had been up there traditionally, because that situation kept noisy
children well out of the way of guests.

Wenderholme was a lofty house, with a long lateral corridor on each
story. As they ascended, the smell of burning strongly increased. The
lower corridors were lighted--all the guests' rooms were there. But the
uppermost corridor, where the servants' rooms and the nurseries were,
was not permanently lighted, as the servants took their own
bed-candlesticks from below. When the Colonel got there he could not
see, and he could not breathe. Volumes of dense smoke rolled along the
dark passages. He ran blindly in the direction of Edith's room. Philip
tried to follow, but the suffocating atmosphere affected his more
delicate organization with tenfold force, and he was compelled to draw
back. He stood on the top of the great staircase, agitated by mortal
anxiety.

But the Colonel himself, strong as he was, could not breathe that
atmosphere for long. He came back out of the darkness, his hands over
his face. Even on the staircase the air was stifling, but to him, who
had breathed thick fire, it was comparative refreshment. He staggered
forward to the banister, and grasped it. This for three or four seconds,
then he ran down the stairs without uttering one word.

The two passed swiftly through a complicated set of passages on the
ground-floor and reached one of the minor staircases, of which there
were five or six at Wenderholme. This one led directly to the nurseries
above, and was their most commonly used access. When they came to this,
John Stanburne turned round, paused for an instant, and said, "Come with
me, Philip; it's our last chance. Poor little Edith! O God, O God!"

In this narrow stair there was no light whatever. The Colonel ran up it,
or leaped up it, in a series of wild bounds, like a hunted animal.
Philip kept up with him as he could. As they rose higher and higher the
temperature quickly increased: the walls were hot--it was the
temperature of a heated oven. The Colonel tried to open a door, but the
brass handle burnt his hand. Then he burst it open by pushing against it
with his shoulder. A gust of air rushed up the staircase, and in an
instant the room they were trying to enter was illuminated by a burst of
flame. For a second the paper was visible--a pretty, gay paper, with
tiny flowers, suitable for a young girl's room--and a few engravings on
the walls, and the pink curtains of a little French bed.

Either by one of those unaccountable presentiments which sometimes hold
us back at the moment of imminent danger, or else from horror at the
probable fate of little Edith, the Colonel paused on the threshold of
the burning room. Then the ceiling cracked from end to end, and fiery
rafters, with heaps of other burning wood, came crashing down together.
The heat was now absolutely intolerable--to remain on the threshold was
death, and the two went down the stairs. There was a strong draught in
the staircase, which revived them physically, and notwithstanding the
extremity of his mental anguish, the Colonel descended with a steady
step. When they came into the lighted hall he stood still, and then
broke into stifled, passionate sobs. "Edith! little Edith!" he cried,
"burnt to death! horrible! horrible!" Then he turned to his companion
with such an expression on his white face as the other had never before
seen there. "And, Philip, the people were dancing on the lawn!"

Then John Stanburne sat down in one of the chairs against the wall, and
set his elbows on his knees, and covered his face with both his hands.
So he sat, immovable. The house was burning above him--it might burn.
What were all the treasures of Wenderholme to its master, who had lost
the one treasure of his heart? What were the parchments and the seals in
the charter-room--what were the records of the Stanburnes--what was that
waggon-load of massive silver which had shone at the festival that
night?

His anguish was not wild--he did not become frantic--and the shock had
not produced any benumbing insensibility; for his health was absolutely
sound and strong, and his nervous system perfectly whole and unimpaired.
But the sound mind in the sound body is still capable of an exquisite
intensity of suffering, though it will live through it without either
madness or insensibility.

Philip Stanburne felt compelled to respect this bitter agony of his
friend; but he was anxious to lose no more time in trying to save the
house. So at last he said, "Colonel, the house is burning!"

John Stanburne looked up, and said, "It may burn now--it may burn now."
Then suddenly seeming to recollect himself, he added, "God forgive me,
Philip, I have not bestowed one thought on the poor girl that was burnt
with Edith--Edith's maid! She brought my child to me to say good-night,
just when the fireworks were over, and kiss me"--here his voice
faltered--"and kiss me for the last time." This extension of his
sympathy to another did John Stanburne good. "I wonder where her parents
are; they must be told--God help them!"

"And the house, Colonel!--the house! can you give some orders?"

"No, Philip; not fit for that--not fit for that yet, you know, dear
Philip. Ask Eureton, the Adjutant--ask Eureton."

Then he rose suddenly, and went towards the drawing-room. Some of the
older ladies had come in, and were sitting here and there about the
room, which was brilliantly lighted. On one of the walls hung a portrait
of Edith Stanburne, by Millais--one of his most successful pictures of
that class. The Colonel went straight to this picture, but could not
politely get at it without begging two old ladies, who were sitting on a
_causeuse_ under it, to get out of his way.

When a man who has just been brought face to face with one of the
tragical realities of life comes into what is called "society" again, he
is always out of tune with it, and it is difficult for him to accept the
_légèreté_ of its manner without some degree of irritation. He appears
brutal to the people in society, and the people in society seem
exasperatingly frivolous to him. Thus, when the Colonel came amongst
these bediamonded old ladies in the drawing-room, a conversation took
place which he was not quite sufficiently master of himself to maintain
in its original key.

"Ah, here is Colonel Stanburne! We were just saying how delightful your
fireworks were; only they've left quite a strong smell of fire, even in
the house itself. Don't you perceive it, Colonel Stanburne?"

"I want to get this picture--excuse me," and he began to put his foot on
the white silk damask of the _causeuse_, between the two great ladies.
They rose immediately, much astonished, even visibly offended.

"Colonel Stanburne might have waited until we had left the room," said
Lady Brabazon, aloud, "if he wished to change the hanging of his
pictures."

"The house is on fire! My daughter is burnt to death! I want to save
this. You ladies are still in time to save the originals of _your_
portraits."

In an instant they were out upon the lawn, running about and calling out
"Fire!" They had not time to take care of their dignity now.

Luckily Philip Stanburne was already with the Adjutant, who was giving
his orders with perfect calm, and an authority that made itself obeyed.
Lady Helena was not to be found.

Fyser had been summoned into the Adjutant's presence. "Fyser," he said,
"what are the water supplies here?"

"Pump-water, sir, for drinking, and the stream behind the house for
washing."

"No pipes of any sort in the upper rooms?"

"No, sir."

"Sergeant Maxwell, collect all the men who have served in the army. I
don't want any others at present." Then, turning to Fyser, "Harness four
horses to a carriage, and drive to the nearest station. Telegraph for
fire-engines and a special locomotive. Whilst they are coming, collect
more horses near the station. When they arrive, leave your carriage
there, and harness your team to a fire-engine, and come here as fast as
you can. Do you hear? Repeat what I have said to you. Very well."

Then he walked quickly towards the band, and made signs to the
band-master to stop. The music ceased abruptly, and Captain Eureton
ascended the platform. "I wish to be heard!" he said, in a loud voice.
The dancers gave up their dancing, and came towards the orchestra,
followed by the other guests.

"Excuse this interruption to your pleasures. You had better not go into
the Hall."

At this instant the old ladies (as has just been narrated) came out of
the hall-door shrieking, "Fire!" Their cry was taken up immediately, and
wildly repeated amongst the crowd.

"Silence!" shouted Eureton, with authority. "Silence! I have something
to say to you."

The people crowded round him. "The Colonel wishes me to act for him. Our
only chance of saving the house is to set to work systematically. I
forbid any one to enter it for the present."

"But my trunks," cried Lady Brabazon; "I will order my people to save my
trunks!"

This raised a laugh; but Eureton's answer to it came in the shape of an
order. "Sergeant Maxwell," he said, "if any one attempts to enter the
house without leave, you will have him arrested."

"Yes, sir."

The sergeant was there with a body of about forty old soldiers.

"Captains of numbers one, two, three, four, and five companies!" shouted
the Adjutant. They came forward. "You will form a cordon with your men
round the front of the house, and prevent any unauthorized person from
breaking it. All who enter the cordon will be considered as volunteers,
and set to carry water. They will not be allowed to get out of it again,
on any pretext."

"Now send me Colonel Stanburne's men-servants."

Several men presented themselves. "Fetch every thing you can lay your
hands on in the out-houses that will hold water."

"Pray accept me as a volunteer, Captain Eureton," said the Duke.

"And I'm an old soldier," said the medalled General; "you'll have me,
too, I suppose."

The cordon was by this time formed, and a quantity of buckets fetched
from the out-houses.

A chain was very soon formed from the brink of the rivulet to the inside
of the house, and the Adjutant went in with Philip Stanburne to
reconnoitre. When he came out he walked to the middle of the space
enclosed by the cordon of militia-men, and cried with a loud voice,
"Volunteers for saving the furniture, come forward!"

Such numbers of men presented themselves (including the Colonel's
guests), that it was necessary to close the cordon against many of them.
Those who were admitted were told off by the Adjutant in parties of a
dozen each, and each party placed under the command of a gentleman, with
an old soldier for a help. It was Philip Stanburne's duty to guide and
distribute the parties in the house--the Adjutant commanding outside.
The Colonel, in his kind way, had shown Philip Stanburne over the house
on his first visit to Wenderholme, so that he knew and remembered the
arrangement of the rooms.

Though the house did not front precisely to the west, it will best
serve our present purposes to speak as if it had done so. Supposing,
then, the principal front to be the west front, the back of the edifice,
where Philip Stanburne first discovered the fire, was to the east,
whilst the south and north fronts looked to the wood on each side the
ravine, at the opening of which Wenderholme Hall was situated. The fire
had been discovered towards the south-east corner of the edifice, where
little Edith's apartments were. The great staircase was in the centre,
immediately behind the entrance-hall; but there were five other
staircases of much narrower dimensions, two of them winding stairs of
stone, the other three modern stairs of deal wood, such as are commonly
made for servants.

Acting under Captain Eureton's directions, Philip Stanburne distributed
his parties according to the staircases, and other parties were
stationed at the doors to receive the things they brought down, and
carry them to places already decided upon by the Adjutant. The business
of extinguishing or circumscribing the fire was altogether distinct from
that of salvage. Two lines of men were stationed from the side of the
rivulet to the top of the great staircase. One line passed full buckets
from hand to hand, the other passed them down again as soon as they were
empty. A special party, consisting of the gardeners belonging to Colonel
Stanburne's establishment, a joiner, and one or two other men who were
employed at Wenderholme, had been formed by the Adjutant for the purpose
of collecting what might serve as buckets, the supply being limited.
Various substitutes were found; amongst others, a number of old
oyster-barrels, which were rapidly fitted with rope-handles.

Notwithstanding the number of men under his command, and the excellent
order which was maintained, it became evident to Captain Eureton that it
was beyond his power to save the south wing of the building. Even the
northern end of the upper corridor was filled with dense smoke, and
towards Edith Stanburne's apartments there was a perfect furnace. By
frequently changing places, the men were able to dispute the ground
against the fire inch by inch; and the clouds of steam which rose as
they deluged the hot walls had the effect of making the atmosphere more
supportable. If the fire did not gain on them too rapidly, there seemed
to be a fair chance of saving some considerable proportion of the
mansion by means of the fire-engines, when they arrived.

Meanwhile the salvage of goods went forward with perfect regularity. The
influence of Captain Eureton's coolness and method extended itself to
every one, and the things were handed down as quietly as in an ordinary
removal. Hardly any thing was broken or even injured; the rooms were
emptied one by one, and the contents of each room placed together. Every
thing was saved from the charter-room--Philip Stanburne took care to see
to that.

What the Duke was most anxious to save was the contents of the
lumber-garrets, where lay the dishonored remnants of the old wainscot
and carved furniture of Elizabethan Wenderholme. But when he got up
there with his party he found that it was not quite possible to breathe.
A more serious discovery than the inevitable loss of the old oak was
that the fire was rapidly spreading northwards in the garrets.

There was a little ledge round the roof outside, protected by a stone
parapet, and broad enough for a man to walk along; so the chain of
water-carriers was continued up to this ledge, and a hole was made in
the slating through which a tolerably continuous stream was poured
amongst the burning lumber inside. The uselessness of this, however,
shortly became apparent; the water had little or no effect--it flowed
along the floor, and the rafters had already caught fire. The slates
were so hot that it was impossible to touch them. It was evident that
the lead under the men's feet would soon begin to melt, and the men were
withdrawn into the interior.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

FATHER AND DAUGHTER.


When Colonel Stanburne had removed Edith's picture, he carried it away
into the darkness. He could not endure the idea of having to explain his
action, and instinctively kept out of people's way. Still, he could not
leave it out of doors; he dreaded some injury that might happen to it.
Where could he put it? In one of the out-houses? A careless groom might
injure it in the hurry and excitement of the night. No; it would be safe
nowhere but at his mother's, and thither he would carry it.

There were two communications from the Hall to the cottage--a
carriage-drive and a little footpath. The drive curved about a little
under the old trees in the park, but the footpath was more direct, and
went through a dense shrubbery. On his way to the cottage the Colonel
met no one, but on his arrival there he met Lady Helena in the entrance.
His mother was there too. Late as it was, she had not yet gone to bed.

The sight of the Colonel, bareheaded, and carrying a great oil-picture
in his hands, greatly astonished both these ladies.

"What _are_ you doing with that picture, John?" said Lady Helena.

"I want it to be safe--it will be safe here;" and he reared it against
the wall. Then he said, "No, not here; it will be safer in the
drawing-room; open the door. Thank you."

When they got into the drawing-room, the Colonel deliberately took down
a portrait of himself and hung Edith's portrait in its place. His
manner was very strange, both the ladies thought; his action most
strange and eccentric. Lady Helena thought he had drunk too much wine;
Mrs. Stanburne dreaded insanity.

With that humoring tone which is often adopted towards persons not in
possession of their mental faculties, Mrs. Stanburne said, "Well, John,
I shall be glad to take care of Edith's picture for you, if you think
that it can be safer here than at the Hall."

"Yes, it will be safer--it will be safer."

This answer, and his strange wild look, confirmed poor old Mrs.
Stanburne's fears. She began to tremble visibly. "Helena, Helena," she
whispered, "poor John is--has"--

"No, mother, I'm not mad, and I'm not drunk either, Helena, but I've
brought this picture here because it's more valuable to me now than it
used to be, and--I don't want it to be burnt, you understand."

"No, I don't understand you at all," said her ladyship; "you are
unintelligible to-night. Better come home, I think, and not drink any
more wine. I never saw you like this before. It is disgraceful."

"Helena!" said the Colonel, in a very deep, hoarse voice, "Wenderholme
Hall is on fire, and my daughter Edith is burnt to death!"

Just as he finished speaking, a lurid light filled the sky, and shone
through the windows of the cottage. Lady Helena went suddenly to the
window, then she left the room, left the house, and went swiftly along
by the little path. John Stanburne was left alone with his mother.

She took him by the hand, and looked in his face anxiously. "My dear
boy," she said, "it's a pity about the house, you know; but our little
Edith"--

"What?"

"Is perfectly safe here, and fast asleep upstairs in her own little
bed!"

John Stanburne did not quite realize this at first. When it became clear
to him, he walked about the room in great agitation, not uttering a
word. Then he stopped suddenly, and folded his mother in his arms, and
kissed her. He kept her hand and knelt down before the sofa; she
understood the action, and knelt with him. Edith's picture was hanging
just above them, and as his lips moved in inaudible thanksgiving, his
eyes rose towards it and contemplated its sweet and innocent beauty. He
had had the courage to save it from the burning house, but not the
courage to let his eyes dwell upon it thus. Fair hair that hast not been
consumed in cruel flame! fair eyes that shall shine in the sunlight of
to-morrow! sweet lips whose dear language shall yet be heard in your
father's house!--your living beauty shall give him cheerfulness under
this calamity!

When they rose, his mother said, "Come and see;" and she took him up to
a little dainty room which Edith loved, and there, in a narrow bed
curtained with pale blue silk, she lay in perfect peace. The night was
warm, and there was a glow on the healthy cheek, and one little hand,
frilled with delicate lace, lay trying to cool itself upon the
counterpane.

"I'm afraid she's rather too warm," said her grandmother. But John
Stanburne thought of the fiery chamber at Wenderholme.



CHAPTER XXIX.

PROGRESS OF THE FIRE.


Mrs. Stanburne's tender sympathy for her son's grief at the supposed
loss of Edith, and participation in his gladness at the recovery of his
treasure, had for a time restrained the expression of her anxiety about
the fire at the Hall; but now that her son had seen little Edith, Mrs.
Stanburne went to the window of the bedroom and looked out. The Hall was
not visible from the lower rooms of the cottage, being hidden by the
thick shrubbery which bounded the little lawn; but it was clearly
visible from the upper windows, which looked in that direction.

No sooner had Mrs. Stanburne opened the curtains and drawn up the blind,
than she uttered a cry of alarm. The fire having originated in the
garret, the carpentry of the roof had been attacked early, and now a
portion of it had given way. A column of sparks, loftier than the
Victoria Tower at Westminster, shot up in the dark sky.

Mrs. Stanburne turned round in great agitation. "Let us go, John--let us
go to the Hall; it will be burnt down. You will be wanted to give
orders."

This recalled the Colonel to himself, and for the present he gave up
thinking about his little Edith. "Eureton is in command, and he's a
better officer than I am. He will do all that can be done. But come
along, mother--come along; let us go there."

As they approached the Hall, it was evident to John Stanburne that the
fire had made terrible progress. The whole of the uppermost story was
illuminated by the dread light of conflagration. At the south end, which
had been burning longest, and where the roof had fallen in, sparks still
rose in immense quantities, and terrible tongues of flame showed their
points, darting angrily, above the lofty walls.

Eureton was in the centre of the open space still steadily guarded by
the cordon of militia-men. He was looking at his watch, but on lifting
his eyes from the dial, saw the Colonel and Mrs. Stanburne, and went to
them at once. "I have been anxious to see you for some time, Colonel. Do
you wish to take the men under your own orders?"

"My dear fellow, do oblige me by directing every thing just as you have
done. You do it ten times better than I should--I know you do."

"I am sorry we have been unable to save the roof. I withdrew the men
from it rather early, perhaps, but wished to avoid any sacrifice of
life."

"Better let the whole place burn down than risk any of these good
fellows' lives. Is there anybody in the house now?"

"Captain Stanburne has eight parties on the first floor removing
furniture. He has removed every thing from the upper floors."

"But are they safe?" said Mrs. Stanburne.

"No floors have fallen in yet except part of the garret floor, and one
or two in the south wing. We have drenched every room with water, after
it was emptied; we have left the carpets on the floors purposely,
because being thoroughly wetted, they will help to delay the progress of
the fire. We have used all the blankets from the beds in the same way.
Every thing else has been removed."

"I hope all the visitors' things will be safe. Some of those old ladies,
you know, have wonderful lots of things in their portmanteaus. I believe
that in point of mere money's worth, old Lady Brabazon's boxes are more
valuable than all Wenderholme and its furniture too, by Jove!"

"I must ask the ladies to sleep at the cottage," said Mrs. Stanburne.

"They are at the summer-house, watching the fire," said the Adjutant. "I
believe it amuses them."

"You are uncharitable," said Mrs. Stanburne; "nobody can help watching a
fire, you know. A fire always fascinates people."

"I wouldn't let old Lady Brabazon have her boxes, and she's furiously
angry with me."

"Well, but why wouldn't you?"

"If I let one, I must let another, and there would be no end to the
confusion and breakage that would ensue. I have refused Lady Helena
herself, but she took it very nicely and kindly. It's different with
Lady Brabazon; she's in a rage."

"I'll go with my mother to the summer-house, and come back to you,
Eureton, in ten minutes."

The summer-house in question presented rather a curious picture. It was
not strictly a "house" at all, but simply a picturesque shed with a long
bench under it, which people could sit down upon at noon, with their
backs to the south, well sheltered from the summer sun by a roof and
wall of excellent thatch, whilst the stream purled pleasantly at the
foot of a steep slope, and seemed to cool the air by its mere sound. The
back of the seat was towards the steep wooded hill, and the front of it
looked towards the south wing of the house, including a very good view
of the front. It was decidedly the best view of Wenderholme which could
be had; and when artists drew Wenderholme for those well-known works,
"Homes of the Landed Gentry," and "Dwellings of the English
Aristocracy," and "Ancient Seats of Yorkshire," here they always rubbed
their cakes of sepia and began.

The ladies were not playing the harp or the fiddle, as Nero is said to
have done during the burning of Rome; but they were enjoying the
spectacle as most people enjoy that which greatly interests and excites.
Lady Adisham, John Stanburne's august mother-in-law, was not there; she
was in close conference with her daughter, in a part of the grounds yet
more private and remote. But Lady Brabazon was there, and some other
splendidly adorned dames, who were passing an opera-glass from hand to
hand.

As the Colonel and his mother approached, they had the pleasure of
overhearing the following fragment of conversation.

"Quite a great fire; really magnificent! Don't you think so? We're safe
here, I believe."

"Yes; Captain Eureton said we should be safe here."

"I wonder if Mr. Stanburne has insured his house. They say he's not at
all rich. Pity his little daughter was burnt--really great pity; nice
little girl!"

"Where are we to sleep to-night, do you think?"

"Really don't know. _À la belle étoile_, I suppose. That horrid man
that's ordering the men about won't let us have our boxes. We shall take
cold. I have nothing but this shawl."

Just then the Colonel presented himself:

"I am very sorry," he said, with some bitterness, "that my house should
be burnt down, if the accident has caused you any inconvenience. Mrs.
Stanburne is come to offer you some accommodation at Wenderholme
Cottage."

Lady Brabazon was going to make a speech of condolence, but the Colonel
prevented it by adding, "Pray excuse me--I ought to be amongst the men;"
and bowing very deferentially, he disappeared.

John Stanburne left Eureton in command, and worked himself as a
volunteer amongst the water-carriers within the building. The reaction
from his despair about Edith made his other misfortunes light, and he
worked with a cheerfulness and courage that did good to the men about
him.

"This is hot work," he said to one of the volunteers; "have none of the
men had any thing to drink?"

"Thank you, sir, we are doing pretty well for that. We take a little
water from the buckets now and then."

"And the other fellows who are removing the furniture?"

"It must be dry work for them, sir."

On this the Colonel said he could be more useful elsewhere, and went to
find out his old butler. This was very easy, since the Adjutant knew
where every one was posted.

The Colonel, with a small party of trustworthy sober fellows, went down
into the cellar, and returned with some dozens of bottled ale and other
liquids. He made it his business to distribute refreshment amongst the
men, giving the glass always with his own hand, and never without some
kind expression of his personal gratitude for the exertions they had
made. He took this office upon himself simply because he "thought the
men must be thirsty," as he expressed it; but the deepest policy could
not have suggested a better thing to do. It brought him into personal
contact with every volunteer about the place, and in the most graceful
way.

Captain Eureton was beginning to be anxious about the fire-engines, and
had the road cleared, and kept clear, by a patrol. Fyser had been absent
nearly three hours. The distance from Wenderholme to the little station
(the same that Lady Helena had arrived at on her return from London) was
ten miles. Supposing that Fyser drove at the rate of thirteen miles an
hour, or thereabouts (which he would do on such an emergency), he would
be at the station in forty-five minutes. He would have to seek the
telegraphist in the village, and wake him up, and get him to the
station--all that would consume twenty minutes. Then to get the engines
from Bradford, over thirty miles of rail, a special locomotive running
fifty miles an hour, thirty-six minutes. Time to get the engines in
Bradford to the station and to start the train, say thirty
minutes--total, a hundred and thirty-one minutes, or two hours and
eleven minutes. Then the return to Wenderholme, forty-five minutes--say
three hours. "Yes, three hours," said Captain Eureton to himself; "I
believe I should have done better to send for the Sootythorn engines.
Fyser would have been there in an hour and a half, and there would have
been no delays about the railway."

Just then a sound of furious galloping was heard in the distance, and
the welcome exclamation, "The engines, the engines!" passed amongst the
crowd. The gates being all open, and the road clear, the engines were
soon in the avenue. The drivers galloped into the middle of the space
enclosed by the cordon of militia-men, then they trotted a few yards and
stopped. The horses were covered with foam and perspiration; the men
leaped down from their seats and at once began to arrange the hose.

Captain Eureton went to the captain of the fire-brigade. "You have lost
no time; I feared some delay on the railway."

"Railway, sir? there is no railway from Sootythorn to this place."

"But you come from Bradford."

"Beg pardon, sir, we are the Sootythorn brigade--we come from
Sootythorn. You telegraphed for us--anyhow, a Mr. Fyser did."

"He did right. What do you think of the fire?"

The fireman looked up. "It's a bad one. Been burning three hours? We may
save the first floor, and the ground-floor. Not very likely, though.
Where's water?"

"Small stream here;" the Adjutant led the fireman to the rivulet.

"Very good, very good. House burns most at this end, I see."

The hose was soon laid. There were two engines, and the firemen, aided
by volunteers, began to pump vigorously. Two powerful jets began to play
upon the south wing, and it was a satisfaction to Captain Eureton to see
them well at work, though with little immediate effect. There being no
sign of Fyser, the Adjutant concluded that he was waiting for the
Bradford engines.

The whole remaining mass of roof now fell in with a tremendous crash,
and the flames enveloped the gables, issuing from the windows of the
uppermost story. The multitude was hushed by the grandeur of the
spectacle. All the woods of Wenderholme, all its deep ravine, were
lighted by the glare, and even at Shayton the glow of an unnatural dawn
might be seen in the sky over the lofty moorland.

And the real dawn was approaching also, the true Aurora, ever fresh and
pure, bathed in her silver dews. There are engines hurrying towards
Wenderholme, through the beautiful quiet lanes and between the peaceful
fields; and the gray early light shows the road to the eager drivers and
their galloping steeds, and the breath of the pure morning fans the
brows of the men who sit in dark uniforms, helmeted, perilously on those
rocking chariots.

But the old house is past any help of theirs! The floors have fallen one
after another. All the accumulated wood is burning together on the
ground-floor now: in the hall, where Reginald Stanburne's portrait hung;
in the dining-room, where, a few hours before, the brilliant guests had
been sumptuously entertained; in the drawing-room, where the ladies sat
after dinner in splendor of diamonds and fine lace. Every one of these
rooms is a focus of ardent heat--a red furnace, terrible,
unapproachable. The red embers will blacken in the daylight, under the
unceasing streams from the fire-engines, and heaps of hissing charcoal
will fill the halls of Wenderholme!

But the walls are standing yet--the brave old walls! Even the carving of
the front is not injured. The house exists still, or the shell of
it--the ghost of old Wenderholme, its appearance, its eidolon!

I know who laments this grievous misfortune most. It is not John
Stanburne: ever since that child of his was known to be in safety, he
has been as gay as if this too costly spectacle had been merely a
continuation of the fireworks. It is not Lady Helena: she is very busy,
has been very busy all night, going this way and that, and plaguing the
people with contradictory orders. She is much excited--even
irritated--but she is not sad. Wenderholme was not much to her; she
never really loved it. If a country house had not been a necessity of
station, she would have exchanged Wenderholme for a small house in
Belgravia, or a tiny hotel in Paris.

But old Mrs. Stanburne grieved for the dear old house that had been made
sacred to her by a thousand interests and associations. There was more
to her in the rooms as they had been, than there was either to Lady
Helena or to the proprietor himself. She had dreaded in silence the
proposed changes and restorations, and this terrible destruction came
upon her like the blow of an eternal exclusion and separation. The rooms
where her husband had lived with her, the room he died in, she could
enter never more! So she sat alone in her sadness, looking on the ruin
as it blackened gradually in the morning, and her spirits sank low
within her, and the tears ran down her cheeks.



CHAPTER XXX.

UNCLE JACOB'S LOVE AFFAIR.


The fire at Wenderholme was known all over the country the same morning,
so the people who had been asked to the presentation of colors stayed
away. The colors were given almost without ceremony, and the men came
back to Sootythorn.

Jacob Ogden had got as far as Sootythorn the evening before with the
intention of going on to Wenderholme in the morning to see the ceremony,
for he had been invited thereto by his brother Isaac. As matters turned
out, however, he thought he would go to Whittlecup to fetch his mother
back to Milend, for the house seemed to him very uncomfortable without
her.

He called at Arkwright Lodge, and spent the day there. The day
following, Mr. Anison was to give a small dinner-party composed of some
of the leading manufacturers in that neighborhood, so he pressed Jacob
Ogden to stay it over.

He stayed three days at Arkwright Lodge--three whole days away from the
mill--from the mills, we may now say, for Jacob Ogden was already a
pluralist in mills. The new one was rising rapidly out of the green
earth, and a smooth, well-kept meadow was now trampled into mud and
covered with heaps of stone and timber, and cast-iron columns and
girders. And for three days had Jacob Ogden left this delightful, this
enchanting scene! What a strong attraction there must have been at
Whittlecup, to draw him from his industrial paradise! He felt bound to
the unpoetical Shayton, as Hafiz was to his fair Persian valley when he
sang--

      "They will not allow me to proceed upon my travels,
      Those gentle gales of Moselláy,
      That limpid stream of Rooknâbâd."

"I've no time for goin' courtin'," thought Jacob to himself as he sat
drinking his port wine after dinner. "I've been here three days, and
it's as much as I can afford for courtin'. But who's a rare fine lass is
Miss Madge, an' I'll write her a bit of a letter."

Before leaving the Lodge, he thought it as well to prepare Mr. Anison's
mind for what was to come, so he asked to go and see the works. As they
were walking together, Ogden went abruptly into the subject of
matrimony.

"Mother's been stoppin' at Whittlecup a good bit, 'long of our Isaac. I
felt very lonesome at Milend 'bout th' oud woman, and I thought I s'd be
lonesomer and lonesomer if who[18] 'ere deead."

"No doubt she would be a very great loss to you," said Mr. Anison; "but
Mrs. Ogden appears to enjoy excellent health."

Ogden scarcely heard this, and continued, "So I've been thinkin', like,
as I 'appen might get wed."

"It would certainly be a good security against loneliness."

"I can afford to keep a wife. You may look at my banker's account
whenever you like. I've a good property already in land and houses, and
I'm building a new mill."

"There is no necessity for going into detail," Mr. Anison said
deprecatingly; "every one knows that you are a rich man."

Ogden laughed, half inwardly. It was a chuckling little laugh, full of
the intensest self-satisfaction. "They think they know," he said, "but
they don't know--not right. Nobody knows what I'm worth, and nobody
knows what I shall be worth. I'm one o' those as sovereigns sticks to,
same as if they'd every one on 'em a bit o' stickin'-plaister to fasten
'em on wi'. If I live ten year, I s'll be covered over wi' gold fourteen
inch thick."

"Is there any positive necessity for you to leave us now? Why not remain
a little longer?"

"Do you think I've any chance at your house?"

Mr. Anison laughed at the eagerness of Ogden's manner. Then he said, "I
see no reason for you to be discouraged. You cannot expect a young lady
to accept you before you have asked her."

Ogden hesitated a moment, and then determined to go on to Shayton and
write his letter.



CHAPTER XXXI.

UNCLE JACOB IS ACCEPTED.


And this is the letter Jacob Ogden wrote:--

      "MISS MARGARET ANISON.

      "MISS,--When I was at your house this afternoon, I meant to
      say something to you, but could not find a chance, because
      other people came in just at the time. I wished to ask you
      to be so kind as to marry me. I believe I shall be a good
      husband--at any rate, I promise to do all I can to be one.
      My wife shall have every thing that a lady wants, and I
      will either build a new house or purchase one, as she may
      like best. There's a good one on sale near Shayton, but I
      don't mind building, if you prefer it. I am well able to
      keep my wife as a lady. I may say that I have always been
      very steady, and not in the habit of drinking. I never go
      into an ale-house, and I never spend any foolish money. I
      shall feel very anxious until I receive your answer, as you
      will easily understand; for my regard for you is such that
      I most sincerely wish your answer may be favorable.

                                       "Yours truly,
                                       JACOB OGDEN."

Though rather a queer letter, and singularly devoid of the graces of
composition and the tenderness of love, its purport, at least, was
intelligible. The reply showed that the lover had made himself clearly
understood.

      "MY DEAR SIR,--The proposal contained in your letter has
      rather surprised me, as we have seen so little of each
      other, but after consulting my parents I may say that I do
      not refuse, and they desire me to add that there will be a
      room for you here whenever your business engagements permit
      you to visit us. Sincerely yours,

                               "MARGARET ANISON."

It is to be supposed that Mr. Ogden felt sensations of profound
happiness on reading this little perfumed note; but when a man is an old
bachelor by nature, he does not become uxorious in a week or two; and we
may confess that, after the unpleasantness of the first shock, a
positive refusal would have left the lover's mind in a state of far more
perfect happiness and calm. His pride was gratified, his passion was
fortunate in dreaming of its now certain fruition, and he knew that such
a woman as Margaret Anison would add greatly to his position in the
world. He knew that she would improve it in one way, but then he felt
anxiously apprehensive that she might deteriorate it in another. He
would become more of a gentleman in society with a lady by his side, but
a wife and family would be a hindrance to his pecuniary ambition. From
the hour of his acceptance he saw this a good deal more clearly than he
had done since this passion implanted itself in his being. He had seen
it clearly enough before he knew Margaret Anison, but the strength of a
new passion acting upon a nature by no means subtly self-conscious, had
for a time obscured the normal keenness of his sight. After re-reading
Margaret's note for the tenth time, Mr. Jacob Ogden said to himself:
"She's a fine girl--there isn't a finer lass in all Manchester; but I'm
a damned fool--that's what I am. What have I to do goin' courtin'?
Howsomever, it's no good skrikin' over spilt milk--we mun manage as well
as we can. We've plenty to live on, and she can have four or five
servants, if she'll nobbut look well afther 'em." Then he went into the
little sitting-room, where his mother sat mending his stockings.

"Mother," he said, abruptly, "there's news for you. Somebody's boun' to
be wed."

The stocking was deposited in Mrs. Ogden's lap, and she looked at her
son with fixed eyes.

"It's owther our Isaac or me, and it isn't our Isaac."

"Why, then, it's thee, Jacob."

"You're clever at guessin', old woman; you always was a 'cute un."

"What! are you boun' to wed somebody at Whittlecup?"

"She doesn't live a hundred mile off Whittlecup."

Mrs. Ogden rose from her seat and laid down her stocking, and made
slowly for the door. She stopped, however, midway, and with a stately
gesture pointed to the mended stocking. "Can she darn like that?"

"She 'appen can do, mother."

"Han you seen her do?"

"No."

"Nor nobody else nayther. But what I reckon you think you can do b'out
havin' your stockin's mended when you get your fine wife into th' house,
and you think servants 'll do every thing. But if you'd forty servants,
you'd be badly off without somebody as knew how to look afther 'em all.
And if they cannot do for theirselves, they cannot orther other
folk--not right."

"Well, but, mother," said Jacob, deprecatingly. He was going to suggest
consolatory considerations, founded upon the apparent order and
regularity of the housekeeping at Arkwright Lodge, in the midst of which
Miss Anison had been educated.

But Mrs. Ogden was not disposed to enter into a discussion which would
have involved the necessity of giving her son a hearing, and she cut
short his expostulation with a proverb, solemnly enunciated,--

"As they make their bed, so they must lie," and then she left the room.

"Th' old woman isn't suited," thought Jacob, "but it makes nothing who
it had been, she would have been just the same. She used always to
reckon she could like me to get wed, but I knew well enough that when it
came to the point I could never get wed so as to suit her. Whoever I
wedded, she'd always have said it should have been somebody else." The
fact was, that whilst Mrs. Ogden warmly and sincerely approved of
marriage as a sort of general proposition, and had even advised her son
for many years past to take unto himself a wife, her jealousy only
slumbered so long as the said wife remained a vague impersonal idea.
Mrs. Ogden had not much imagination, and the mere notion of a possible
wife for Jacob was very far from arousing in her breast the lively
sensations which were sure to be aroused there by a visible,
criticisable young woman, of flesh and blood, with the faults that flesh
is heir to. Now she had seen Margaret Anison, and she had thought at
Whittlecup, "She might happen do for our Jacob;" but when "our Jacob"
announced that he had decided to espouse Margaret Anison, that was quite
a different thing.

Matters had been in this condition for a month or two, when Jacob Ogden,
whose visits to his beloved one had been made rare by the exigencies of
business, became somewhat importunate about the fixing of his
wedding-day. It was not that he looked forward thereto with feelings of
very eager or earnest anticipation, but he had a business-like
preference for "fixtures" and dates over the vague promises of an
indefinite _avenir_. Miss Anison, on the contrary, seemed to have a
rooted objection to such rigid limitations of liberty; and, like a man
in debt whose creditor proposes to draw upon him for an inexorable
thirtieth of next month, felt that the vague intention of paying some
time was for the present less hard and harassing to the mind. And as the
debtor procrastinates, so did Margaret Anison procrastinate. Her heart
was not in this marriage, but her interest was; and, so far as she
avowed to herself any purpose at all, her purpose was to gain time, and
keep Jacob Ogden as a resource, when all chance of Philip Stanburne
should be lost finally and for ever.

Miss Anison, in a matter of this kind, was a great deal cleverer than
Jacob Ogden, who, though not easily taken in by a man in men's business,
had little experience of womankind, and none whatever of polite young
ladies and their ways. Margaret Anison had found a capital excuse for
delay in the necessity for building a new house, and she set Jacob Ogden
to work thereupon with an energy at least equal to that which he
lavished on the new mill. He wanted very much to have the house close to
the factory, but the young lady preferred the tranquillity of the
country, and went to Milend expressly to select a site. She chose a
little dell that opened into the Shayton valley; and though of all views
in the world the pleasantest for Mr. Ogden would have been a view of his
own mills, he was denied this satisfaction, and his windows looked out
upon nothing but green fields. "If they'd nobbut been my own fields,"
Jacob thought, "I wouldn't so much have cared. Not but what a good mill
is a prettier sight than the greenest field in Lancashire, but it's no
plezur to me to look out upon other folks' property." And the worst of
it was, that there was no chance of ever purchasing the said property,
for it belonged to an ancient Lancashire family, which had a wise
hereditary objection to parting with a single acre of land.

Mrs. Ogden, now that the engagement was a _fait accompli_, expressed the
most perfect readiness to quit Milend and go and live in "th'
Cream-pot," which, as the reader is already aware, was the expressively
rich appellative of the richest of her little farms. But such was the
amiable and truly filial consideration displayed by Margaret Anison
towards her future mother-in-law, that she would on no account hear of
such an arrangement. "Mrs. Ogden," she said, "had always been accustomed
to Milend, and it would be quite wrong to turn her out;" indeed she
"would not hear of such a thing." So the obedient Jacob hurried on the
construction of a mansion worthy of the young lady who had honored him
with her affections--a mansion to be replete with all modern comforts
and conveniences, such as abounded at Arkwright Lodge.



CHAPTER XXXII.

MR. STEDMAN RELENTS.


Philip Stanburne's life had not been settled or happy since the date of
his visit to Derbyshire. The old tranquil existence at the Peel had
become impossible for him now. It was intolerable to him to be cut off
from all direct communication with Miss Stedman, and one day he went
boldly to Chesnut Hill. He went there, not under cover of the darkness,
as cowardly lovers do, but in the broad openness of such daylight as is
ever to be seen in Sootythorn. I think, however, that it would have
needed still greater courage on his part to present himself there about
eight o'clock in the evening; for in the day-time Mr. Stedman was
usually at his factory, whereas about eight in the evening a friend
might count upon the pleasure of finding him at Chesnut Hill.

The servant-maid who opened the door to Philip showed him at once into
the drawing-room. "What name shall I say, sir?" she asked. Philip gave
his name, and waited. He had not inquired whether Miss Stedman was at
home--he felt a slight embarrassment in inquiring about Miss
Stedman--and the servant on her part had simply asked him to walk in.

He had waited about five minutes, when a heavy step became audible in
the passage, and the door of the room was opened. The Reverend Abel
Blunting stood before him.

"Pray sit down, sir," said the reverend gentleman; "I hope you are quite
well. I hope I see you well. Mr. Stedman is not at home--he is down at
the mill--but I am expecting him every minute."

Mr. Blunting's bland amiability ought no doubt to have awakened amiable
feelings in Mr. Stanburne's breast, but, unfortunately, it had just the
opposite effect. "I did not come here to see Mr. Stedman," he replied;
"I came to see his daughter."

Now Mr. Blunting was a powerful man, both physically and mentally, and a
man by no means disposed to yield when he considered firmness to be a
duty. In the present instance he _did_ consider it necessary to prevent
an interview between Alice and her lover, and he quietly resolved to do
so at all costs. "I am sorry," he said, "that you cannot see Miss
Stedman."

"Why cannot I see her? Is she not at home?"

"She is under this roof, sir."

"Then I will see her," Philip answered, and rose to his feet.

"Pray sit down, sir--pray sit down," said Mr. Blunting, without stirring
from the easy-chair in which he had ensconced himself. He made a gesture
with his hand at the same time, which said as plainly as it could, "Calm
yourself, young gentleman, and listen to me."

"Pray sit down. Miss Stedman is not very well to-day; indeed she has not
been really well, I am sorry to say, for some time past. She does not
rise until the afternoon, and of course you cannot go into her bedroom."

"Why not? Come with me if you like. The doctor may go there, I suppose?"

"The doctor goes there professionally, and so does Miss Stedman's
spiritual adviser."

"I could do her more good than either of you. How wretchedly lonely she
is!"

"My wife comes to sit with Miss Stedman every day."

"What _is_ the matter with her? Tell me the plain truth."

"Most willingly--most happy to reassure you, sir. There is really
nothing serious in Miss Stedman's case; the medical men are agreed upon
that. She merely suffers from debility, which has been neglected for
some time because she did not complain. Now that the ailment is known,
it will be combated in every way. Already there is a decided
improvement. But in her present state of weakness, agitation of any kind
might be most prejudicial--most prejudicial; and therefore I hope you
will easily see that I dare not accept the responsibility of permitting
an interview between you."

"I shall wait here till Mr. Stedman comes, and ask his permission."

"That is a very proper course to pursue, and I highly approve your
resolution. But from what we both know of Mr. Stedman's sentiments, it
seems scarcely probable that he will grant your request. You will do
well, however, to wait and see him. It is always the best, when there
are differences of opinion, that the contending parties should meet
personally."

Here there was a pause of a minute or two, after which Mr. Blunting
resumed, with great politeness of manner,--

"I fear you must need refreshment, sir, if you have come from a
distance. Your own residence, as I am informed, is at a considerable
distance from this place. In Mr. Stedman's absence, I may take upon
myself to offer you something. Would you like a sandwich and a glass of
wine? I cannot offer to drink wine with you, being myself a total
abstainer, but as I know that you use it in great moderation, it is not
against my conscience to ring for the decanters."

Philip Stanburne had eaten nothing since six in the morning, and
willingly accepted the clergyman's proposition. Perhaps he accepted it
the more willingly that he felt the need of all his courage for the
approaching interview with Mr. Stedman. When the decanters and the
sandwich came, the teetotal parson filled a wine-glass with formal
courtesy, and young Stanburne could not help feeling a certain liking,
and even admiration, for the man. In truth, without being a gentleman,
Mr. Blunting had many of the best qualities of a gentleman. He was as
brave as a man well could be, more learned than most members of his own
learned profession, and he had a feminine softness of manner.

Whilst Philip was engaged with his sandwiches and sherry, he heard the
hall-door open, and a manly step on the stone floor. Though by no means
a coward, either morally or physically, he had a sensitive constitution,
and his pulse was considerably accelerated by the knowledge that Mr.
Stedman had entered the house. The heavy steps passed the drawing-room
door, and became gradually less and less audible as they ascended the
stairs.

"Mr. Stedman is gone to see his daughter," said Mr. Blunting. "He always
goes straight to her room when he returns from the mill. He is a most
affectionate father."

"Where his prejudices are not concerned," added Philip Stanburne.

"Where his conscience is not involved, you ought to say. His objection
to your suit is strictly a conscientious objection. Personally, he likes
you, and your position would be an excellent one for Miss Alice; indeed
it is beyond what she might have hoped for. But Mr. Stedman--ah! he is
coming now."

Philip had somewhat hastily finished his sandwich, and resumed his first
seat. Mr. Stedman opened the door slowly, and walked in. He gave no sign
of astonishment on seeing Philip (who rose as he entered), but simply
bowed. Then turning to Mr. Blunting, he said, quietly, "I think Alice
would be glad to see you now," on which Mr. Blunting left the room.

There was an expression of deep sadness on John Stedman's face as he sat
down and looked fixedly at the table. His eyes looked in the direction
of the decanters, but he evidently did not see them. Suddenly recalling
himself to the things about him, he saw the decanters before any thing
else, and said,--

"Have you had a glass of wine? Take another. Take one with me."

Astonished at this reception, Philip Stanburne held his glass whilst
John Stedman filled it. A tremulous hope rose in his breast. What if
this man were relenting? what if the icy barrier were gradually thawing
away?

They drank the wine in silence, and Mr. Stedman sat down again. "Sit
down," he said, "sit down. You are come to talk to me about my daughter.
You are under my roof, and are my guest. I will listen to you patiently,
and I will answer you plainly. I can do no more than that, can I?"

Philip urged his suit with all the eloquence at his command. John
Stedman listened, as he had promised, patiently; and when his guest's
eloquence had exhausted itself, he spoke in this wise:--

"I explained my views to you on a former occasion, in Derbyshire. It is
no use going over all that ground again. But since we met then, the
position of matters has changed somewhat. My daughter is getting nearer
to her majority; at the same time, you and she have made an engagement
between yourselves without my sanction, and I have reason to suspect
that you have corresponded. Miss Margaret Anison has been here rather
too much lately, and I have politely informed Miss Margaret Anison that
she had better remain at Arkwright Lodge. But another thing has altered
matters still more--that is, my daughter's health. I'm very much grieved
to say that I haven't a great deal of confidence in her constitution.
She gets weaker every day."

"Mr. Blunting says she is getting stronger again now."

"Stronger? Well, momentarily she may, by the help of tonics and
stimulants, but it will not last. She was never really strong, but if
I'd not been so much absorbed in business, I might have taken her more
out, and given her more exercise. I am ready to give up business now.
I'd give up any thing for my Alice. Poor Alice, poor Alice!"

Philip Stanburne became inoculated with Mr. Stedman's openly expressed
alarm. "Are you seriously afraid, sir?" he asked, with intense anxiety.

Mr. Stedman looked at him fixedly and seemed absorbed in his own
thoughts. "You love my girl, young man, but you don't love her as I do.
Ever since I have got this fear into my heart and into my brain I can
neither eat nor sleep. I think sometimes I shall go out of my mind. A
man loves a daughter, Mr. Stanburne, differently from the way he loves a
son. If I'd had a son, I shouldn't have felt so anxious, for it seems
that a lad should bear illnesses and run risks; but a tender little
girl, Philip Stanburne--a tender little girl, and a great rough fellow
like me to take care of her!"

"Is there any change in your feelings towards me, sir?"

"No, none at all. I always liked you very well, and I like you very well
still. There isn't a young fellow anywhere who would suit me better, if
it weren't for your being such a Papist. I'll tell you what I'll do with
you, if you like. You give me an honest promise not to marry my daughter
before twelve months are out, and you shall see her every day if you
like. And if you can cheer her up and make her get her strength back
again, you shall have her and welcome, Papist or no Papist. I'd let her
marry the Pope of Rome before I'd see her as sad as she has been during
the last two or three months. Stop your dinner, will you? That sandwich
is nothing; our dinner-time's one o'clock, and it's just ten minutes to.
Alice 'll get up when she knows you're here, I'll warrant."

The reader will easily believe that Philip Stanburne heard this speech
with a joy that made him forget his anxiety about Alice. He would bring
gladness to her, and with gladness, health. How bright the long future
seemed for these two, true lovers always, till the end of their lives!
O golden hope, fair promise of happy years!

But the doctor, who had been at Chesnut Hill that morning, had heard a
little faint sound in his polished black stethoscope, which was as
terrible in its import as the noise of the loudest destroyers, as the
crack of close thunder, the roar of cannon, the hiss of the hurricane,
the explosion of a mine!



CHAPTER XXXIII.

THE SADDEST IN THE BOOK.


Let this part of our story be quickly told, for it is very sad! Let us
not dwell upon this sorrow, and analyze it, and anatomize it, and
lecture upon it, as if it were merely a study for the intellect, and
caused the heart no pain!

It is the middle of winter. The streets of Sootythorn are sloppy with
blackened snow, the sky is dreary and gray, and dirtied by the smoke
from the factory-chimneys. Sootythorn is dismal, and Manchester is all
in a fog. The cotton-spinners' train that goes from Sootythorn to
Manchester is running into a cloud that gets ever denser and yellower,
and the whistle screams incessantly. The knees of the travellers are
covered with "Guardians," and "Couriers," and "Examiners," for there is
not light enough to read comfortably. One manufacturer asks his neighbor
a question: "Where is John Stedman of Sootythorn? He uses comin' by this
train, and I haven't seen him as I cannot tell how long."

The question interests us also. Where is John Stedman?

Not at Chesnut Hill, certainly. There is nobody at Chesnut Hill but the
old gardener and his wife. He tends the plants in the hothouse, and
keeps them comfortable in this dreary Lancashire winter by the help of
Lancashire coal. But the house is all shut up, except on the rare days
when a bit of sunshine comes, and the old woman opens the shutters and
draws up the blinds to let the bright rays in. Every thing seems ready
for Alice, if she would only come. There is her little pretty room
upstairs, and there are twenty things of hers in the drawing-room that
wait for their absent mistress.

Miss Alice is far away in the south, and her father is with her--and
there is a third, who never leaves them.

They had been travelling towards Italy, but when they reached Avignon,
Alice became suddenly worse, and they stayed there to give her a long
rest. The weather happened to be very pure and clear, and it suited her.
The winter weather about Avignon is often very exhilarating and
delicious, when the keen frost keeps aloof, and the dangerous winds are
at rest.

As for saving Alice now, not one of the three had a vestige of delusive
hope. The progress of the malady had been terribly rapid; every week had
been, a visible advance towards the grave. John Stedman had hoped little
from the very beginning, Philip Stanburne had hoped much longer, and
Alice herself longest of all. But none of the three hoped any longer
now.

When Alice found herself settled at Avignon, she felt a strong
indisposition to go farther. The railway tired and agitated her, and the
dust made her cough more painful. "Papa," she said one day, as she sat
in her easy-chair looking up the Rhone, "I think we cannot do better
than just remain where we are. I shall not keep you in this place very
long. No climate can save me now, and this weather is as pleasant as any
Italian weather could be. I am cowardly about travelling, and it
troubles me to think of the journey before us." Mr. Stedman feebly tried
to encourage Alice, and talked of the beautiful Italian coast as if they
were going to see it; but it soon became tacitly understood that Alice's
travels were at an end.

Mr. Stedman, who, since he had left England with his daughter, had never
considered expense in any thing in which her comfort was, or seemed to
be, involved, sought out a pleasanter lodging than the hotel they had
chosen as a temporary resting-place. He found a charming villa on the
slopes that look towards Mount Ventoux. The view from its front windows
included the great windings of the Rhone and the beautiful mountainous
distance; whilst from the back there was a very near view of Avignon,
strikingly picturesque in composition, crowned by the imposing mass of
the Papal palace. Alice preferred the mountains, and chose a delightful
little _salon_ upstairs as her own sitting-room, whilst her bedroom was
close at hand. There was a balcony, and she liked to sit there in the
mild air during the warmest and brightest hours.

Mr. Stedman's powerful and active nature suffered from their monotonous
life at the villa, and he needed exercise both for the body and the
mind. Alice perceived this, and, well knowing that it was impossible for
her father to do any thing except in her service, plotted a little
scheme by which she hoped to make him take the exercise and the interest
in outward things which in these sad days were more than ever necessary
to him.

"Papa," she said one day, "I think if I'd a little regular work to do,
it would do me good. I wish you would go geologizing for me, and bring
me specimens. You might botanize a little, too, notwithstanding the time
of the year; it would be amusing to puzzle out some of the rarer plants.
It's a very curious country, isn't it, papa? I'm sure, if I were well,
we should find a great deal of work to do together here." Then she began
to question him about the geology and botany of the district, and made
him buy some books which have been written upon these subjects by
scientific inhabitants of Avignon. Her little trick succeeded. Mr.
Stedman, under the illusion that he was working to please his poor
Alice, trudged miles and miles in the country, and extended his
explorations to the very slopes of Mount Ventoux itself. In this way he
improved the tone of his physical constitution, and Alice saw with
satisfaction that it would be better able to endure the impending
sorrow.

He had long ceased to treat Philip Stanburne with coldness or distrust.
His manner with his young friend was now quite gentle, and even
affectionate, tenderly and sadly genial. The one point on which they
disagreed was no longer a sore point for either of them. One day, when
they were together, they met a religious procession, with splendid
sacerdotal costumes and banners, and Philip kneeled as the host was
carried by. Their conversation, thus briefly interrupted, was resumed
without embarrassment, and Mr. Stedman asked some questions about the
especial purpose of the procession, without the slightest perceptible
expression of contempt for it. He began to take an interest in the
charities of the place, and having visited the hospital, said he thought
he should like to give something, and actually left a bank-note for five
hundred francs, though the managers of the institution, and the nurses,
and the patients, were Romanists without exception. Meanwhile, he read
his Bible very diligently every day, and the prayers of the little
household, in which Philip willingly joined.

During one of Mr. Stedman's frequent absences on the little scientific
missions ordered by his daughter Alice, she and Philip had a
conversation which he ever afterwards remembered.

"Philip," she said, "do you ever think much about what _might have
been_, if just one circumstance had been otherwise? I have been thinking
a great deal lately, almost constantly, about what might have been, for
us two, if my health had been strong and good. People say that love such
as ours is only an illusion--only a short dream--but I cannot believe
that. It might have changed, as our features change, with time, but it
would have remained with us all our lives. Do you ever fancy us a quiet
respectable old couple, living at the Tower, and coming sometimes to
Sootythorn together? I do. I fancy that, and all sorts of things that
might have been--and some of them would have been, too--if I had lived.
There's one thing vexes me, and that is, that I never saw the Tower. I
wish I had just seen it once, so that I might fancy our life there more
truly. How glad dear papa would have been to come and stay with us, and
botanize and geologize amongst your rocks there! You would have let him
come, wouldn't you, dear?--I am sure you would have been very kind to
him. You _will_ be kind to him, won't you, my love, when he has no
longer his poor little Lissy to take care of him? Don't leave him
altogether by himself. I am afraid his old age will be very sad and
lonely. It grieves me to think of that, for he will be old in a few
years now, and his poor little daughter will not be near him to keep him
cheerful. Fancy him coming home every evening from the mill, and nobody
but servants in the house! Go and stay with him sometimes, dear, at
Chesnut Hill, and get him to go to the Tower, and you will sometimes
talk together about Alice, and it will do you both good."

Philip had kept up manfully as long as he was able, but the vivid
picture that these words suggested of a world without Alice was too much
for him to bear, and he burst into passionate tears. As for Alice, she
remained perfectly calm, but when she spoke again it was with an
ineffable tenderness. She took his hand in hers, and drew him towards
her, and kissed him. Again and again she kissed him, smoothing his hair
caressingly with her fingers--gentle touches that thrilled through his
whole being. "You don't know, my darling," she said, "how much I love
you, and how miserable it made me when I thought we must be separated in
this world. It isn't so hard to be separated by death; but to live both
of us in the same world, seeing the same sun, and moon, and stars, even
the same hills, and not to be together, but always living out of sight
and hearing of each other, and yet so near--it would have been a trial
beyond my strength! And isn't it something, my love, to be together as
we are now for the last few weeks and days? You don't know how happy it
makes me to see you and papa getting on so nicely as you do. Isn't he
nice, now? I don't believe he thinks a bit the worse of you for being a
Catholic. We shall all meet again, darling--shall we not?--in the same
heaven, and then we shall have the same perfect knowledge, and our
errors and differences will be at an end for ever."

She was a good deal exhausted with saying this, and leaned back in her
chair, closing her eyes for a while. Philip gradually recovered his
usual melancholy tranquillity, and they sat thus without speaking, he
holding both her hands in his, and gently chafing and caressing them. He
had not courage to speak to Alice--indeed, in all their saddest and most
serious conversations, the courage was mainly on her side.

Whilst they were sitting thus, the sky became suddenly overcast, and
there came a few pattering drops of rain. Alice started suddenly, and
seemed to be agitated by an unknown terror. She grasped Philip's hand in
a nervous way, and complained of a strange suffering and foreboding. "I
felt so calm and peaceful all the morning," she said; "I wish I could
feel so now."

The agitation increased, and it was evident to Philip that a great
change had taken place. Alice threw her arms round him, and clasped him
to her. "O Philip!" she cried, wildly, "don't leave me now--don't leave
me even for a minute! Stay, darling, stay; it is coming, coming!"

The pattering of the rain had ceased. It had been nothing but a few
drops--scarcely even a shower--and it had ceased.

But the air was not clearer after the rain. On the contrary, it had been
clearer before it than it was now. The snowy summit of Mount Ventoux was
hidden in an opaque, thick atmosphere; mist it was not, as we northerns
understand mist, but a substantial thickening of the air.

Soon there was the same thickening, the same opacity in the atmosphere
of the remote plain that stretched to the mountain's foot. It was
invisible now, the Mount Ventoux, the Mountain of the Winds.

And as the plain grew dark the Rhone as suddenly whitened. It whitened
and whitened, nearer and nearer Avignon; then a dull distant roar became
audible, steadily increasing. A violent brief squall shook the villa.
What! so frightened already? Poor children, it is nothing yet!

Over the terrified plain, over the foaming river, comes the MISTRAL,
careering in his strength! Well for you, walls of Avignon, that you were
built for the shocks of battle! well for thee, most especially, O palace
of the transplanted Papacy, that thy fortress-heights were erected less
for pleasure than for resistance!

Louder and louder, nearer and nearer! How the trees bend like
fishing-rods! Crash, crash--they break before the tempest. What a
clatter against the windows! It is a volley of pebbles that the Mistral
carries with it as a torrent does. Bang, bang--the shutters are torn off
their iron hinges and pitched nobody knows where--into the court, on the
roof-top, it may be, or into the neighbor's garden!

The intensity of the noise made all human voices inaudible. The Mistral
likes to make an uproar--it is his amusement, when he comes to Avignon
from his mountain. And he whistles at once in a thousand chimneys, as a
boy whistles in two steel keys; and he makes such a clatter with
destroying things, that the most insured house-property leaves no peace
to its possessor. But straight in the midst of his path rise the towers
of the fortress-palace, and Peter Obreri, its architect, knows in the
world of spirits that they resist the Mistral yet.

But alas for our poor little Alice! This wind does not suit her at all;
this unceasing, this wearisome wind--this agitating, terrible wind! She
did not fear death before, in the calm serene weather, when it seemed
that her soul might rise in the blue ether, and be borne by floating
angels. But to go out into the bleak, stern tempest--to leave _his_
encircling arms, and be dashed no one knows whither along the desolate,
unfamiliar Provence, with twigs, and dead leaves, and pebbles, and that
choking cloud of sand!

"Forgive me these foolish fancies," she prayed, from the depths of this
horror. "My soul knows her way to the haven of thy rest, O Lord, my
Guide and my Redeemer!"



CHAPTER XXXIV.

JACOB OGDEN FREE AGAIN.


Early in the month of February there came a black-edged letter to
Arkwright Lodge, with a French stamp upon it. The letter was from Philip
Stanburne, and it announced Alice Stedman's death.

Two days after the arrival of that letter another letter arrived at
Milend for Jacob Ogden. It bore the Whittlecup post-mark, and had an
exact outward resemblance to several other letters which had come from
the same place, but its contents were of a new character.

Miss Anison expressed her regret that in consequence of Mr. Jacob
Ogden's neglect, of his readiness to postpone his visits on the
slightest pretexts, of the rarity and coldness of his letters, she felt
compelled, from a due regard to her own happiness, to put an end to the
engagement which had existed between them.

The accusations in this letter were perfectly well founded, though it is
quite certain that they would never have been made if Philip Stanburne's
communication had been edged with silver instead of black. Margaret
Anison had remarked with secret satisfaction that Jacob Ogden's behavior
as a lover gave her good reasons for retreating from her engagement,
whenever she might determine on that decisive step; but in the mean
while she had never reproached him with it, had never appeared aware of
it when he _did_ come, but always received him in the same uniformly
gracious way, as if he had been the most assiduous of adorers. She had
kept this accusation of negligence to be used against him whenever it
might be convenient to throw the blame of a rupture upon _him_; but if
she had finally decided to marry him, this and all other faults would
have been affectionately overlooked. It had been highly convenient to
let him sink deeper and deeper in that sin of negligence, till at last,
from mere carelessness and an aversion to all letter-writing that was
not upon business, he had actually reached that depth in crime that he
no longer observed the common forms of society, and did not even write a
line of apology or excuse. Margaret never expected him to be attentive
to her as a husband: she intended to spend his money, and, so long as
that was forthcoming, cared little about Jacob Ogden's manners. But it
was charming to be able to back out of her engagement, now that Alice
was dead, and do it in a dignified and honorable manner. For of all sins
that a lover can commit, the chief is the sin of neglect; and in this
case any competent and just jury would have pronounced the verdict
"guilty."

To this letter Jacob Ogden made no reply. His feelings on receiving it
were, first, the most unfeigned astonishment (for he thought he had been
very attentive, and that "courtin'" had absorbed far too much of his
time); next, a paroxysm of indignation, with a sense of injury; and
then, when this subsided, a sense of relief so exquisite, so delicious,
and so complete, that nobody can have any idea of it unless at some
period of his existence a wearing and persistent anxiety has been
suddenly removed for ever. The love of Margaret Anison had been one of
those masterful passions which sometimes force the most prudent men to
folly. He had made his offer in the height of his temporary insanity,
but after the engagement had been entered upon, his old self had
gradually returned; and though he was fully determined to "go through
with it," as a business which had to be done, he by no means looked
forward to the conjugal state as an improvement upon his accustomed
life. It was like embarking on an unknown and perilous sea, in utter
ignorance of the art of navigation, and that sea might be a sea of
troubles. The complex details of married life, its endless little
duties, were perplexing to a man whose time and thoughts were already
taken up by the government of a heavy business, and the care of an
increasing estate. And now to escape from these new and unfamiliar
troubles--to remain in the old quiet life at Milend--to have full
control over his own expenditure, with no female criticism or
interference--to see his fortune growing and growing without sons to
establish or daughters to dower, or an expensive houseful of servants to
eat the bank-notes in his pocket-book like so many nattering mice,--ah!
it was sweet to him to think of this in his innermost and sincerest
self! He had loved his bachelor life well enough before, but he had
never felt the full luxury of its independence as he did now!

Jacob Ogden enjoyed a privilege highly favorable to happiness, but not
so favorable to moral or intellectual growth. He lived at peace with
himself, and looking back on his life, he approved of its whole course,
with the single exception of that hour of folly at Whittlecup. He felt
and believed that no man could be wiser or more perfect than he was.
When he humbly called his faculties "common-sense," he by no means
understood the word as meaning a sense which he had in common with
others, but rather a special faculty, to himself vouchsafed by the
bounteous gift of nature. He lived in absolute independence of the good
opinion of others, because his mind was at peace with itself--because he
always manfully did to-day what he was sure to approve to-morrow, or ten
years after to-morrow. Am I painting the portrait of a man of
pre-eminent virtues? Not exactly, but of a man who would have been
pre-eminently virtuous, or pre-eminently learned, if virtue or knowledge
had been his ideal. For he had a manly resolution, a steady unflinching
determination, to live up to the standard which he fixed for himself.
And the inward peace which he enjoyed was due to his obedience to the
laws of his own nature, which thus ever remained in harmony with itself
in serene strength and efficiency.

This peace had for a while been lost to him, and he had felt a strange
change and diminution in the inward satisfactions. His communings with
himself had lost their old sweetness, and he no longer masticated the
cud of contentment in the fair pastures of reflection and imagination.
To go back to those happy pastures once more--to chew that sweet cud
again, after months of privation--what a deep, strengthening, cheering,
encouraging, replenishing delight it was!

Yet there was one drawback to the plenitude of Ogden's happiness, even
though he had escaped the misery of the wedding-day. That new mansion
had been begun, he had spent £400 upon it already, and spoilt a pretty
meadow, and he had spent some money on presents for Margaret--not very
much, for his ideas on the subject of gift-making were not very large
ideas, yet still enough to plague and torment him, for the loss of a
sovereign would do that. To be jilted did not trouble him much, but to
have been cheated into wasting his money! that thought would not let him
rest. It followed and harassed him wherever he went, and it was the
cause of the following letter, which was received by Mr. Joseph
Anison:--

      "SIR,--I am instructed by my client, Mr. Jacob Ogden, to
      lay before you the following statement of facts. Your
      daughter, Miss Margaret Anison, by a letter bearing date
      ----, and which is in our possession, accepted his proposal
      of marriage, and promised marriage; which promise she now,
      by a letter bearing date ----, refuses to execute. In
      consequence of her promise, and in conformity with her
      desires, our client has been led into considerable
      expense, especially in the erection of a mansion, of which
      Miss Anison herself selected the site. The works were
      immediately stopped when it became known to our client that
      Miss Anison had determined upon a breach of promise, but a
      heavy sum had been already expended, which, so far as our
      client is concerned, is money utterly thrown away. We beg
      to call your attention to the fact that our client and his
      mother offered another most commodious and suitable
      residence to Miss Anison, situated at Milend, and that she
      declined this, and induced our client to commence the
      erection of a new and costly mansion on a site which he
      would never have selected for himself. We therefore claim
      for our client damages to the amount of one thousand pounds
      (£1,000), and beg to inform you, that unless this sum is
      paid before the expiration of one calendar month from this
      date, we shall institute a suit for breach of promise of
      marriage, and claim damages on that score to a far heavier
      amount. The present claim, we desire it to be understood,
      is not made on the ground of breach of promise, but is
      merely a claim for compensation on account of outlay which
      our client has been induced to incur. Our client has no
      desire to push matters to the extremity of a public
      exposure, but will not shrink from doing so if his present
      just claim is refused.

            "I am, sir, your obedient servant,

                             "JONAS HANBY."

"You may decide for yourself, Margaret," said Mr. Anison, "whether you
prefer that I should pay this out of your fortune, or stand an action
for breach of promise. It is not usual to bring actions of this sort
against women, but Ogden is a most determined fellow, and he doesn't
care much for what people may say. He will bring his action if we don't
send him a cheque, and I don't think such an action would be very
pleasant to you. Considering circumstances, too, especially the building
of that new house, I am inclined to think that he would get rather
heavy damages, certainly at least as much as he is asking for. Such an
action would make a tremendous noise, and we should be in all the
newspapers. We must consider your sisters, too, who wouldn't be much
benefited by publicity of this kind. In short, my advice is to send the
cheque."

The cheque was accordingly sent to Mr. Hanby, and duly acknowledged. The
presents had been returned a few days before. These last had been
purchased of a jeweller in St. Ann's Square, Manchester, who took them
back in exchange for an excellent gentleman's watch and a big cameo
brooch. The watch went into Jacob Ogden's own fob, and the brooch
adorned his already sufficiently ornamented mother. All things
considered, Jacob Ogden now felt that he could look back upon the whole
business with a mind at ease. He had done his duty by himself. After
deducting the outlay on the house, and the outlay necessary for
restoring the field to its pristine verdure, he found that there
remained to him a clear surplus of four hundred and fifteen pounds seven
shillings and twopence, which he entered in the column of profits. "It's
been rather a good business for once, has this courtin'," said Jacob to
himself; "but it's devilish risky, and there's nobody'll catch me at it
again. If she'd nobbut stuck to me, she'd 'ave wenly ruined me."

So, when the walls of the mansion that was to have been were levelled
with the ground, and the foundations buried under the earth that they
might be no more seen, Jacob Ogden buried with them the thought and idea
of marriage; and the grass grew on the field that had been so torn, and
cut, and burdened, and disturbed by the masons and laborers who had been
there.

As the field grew level and green again just as it used to be, so
flourished the mind of Jacob Ogden in serene and productive life. But as
_beneath_ the field--beneath the waving of the rich grass--there still
lay the plan of the house that was to have been, traced out in stony
foundations, so in the mind of its owner there lay hidden a stony memory
of the plans of this strange year; and though the surface was perfectly
restored, there were hard places under his happiness that had not been
there before.



CHAPTER XXXV.

LITTLE JACOB'S EDUCATION.


The rupture between Jacob Ogden and Miss Anison had an immediate effect
upon the fortunes of a young friend of ours, who has for a long time
been very much in the background. Little Jacob began to occupy a larger
and larger place in his uncle's thoughts. For, though Uncle Jacob had
formerly always intended, in a general way, to remain a bachelor, this
had been nothing more than a sort of intellectual preference for
bachelorhood, deduced from his general views of life, and especially
from his dominant anxiety to make a fortune. But his objections to
matrimony were no longer of this mild kind. Like a wild animal that has
once felt the noose of the trapper round its neck, and yet succeeded in
freeing itself, he had conceived a horror of the snare which was
incomparably more active and intense than the vague alarms of the
inexperienced. His former ideas about marriage had been purely negative.
He had no intention to marry, and there was the end of his reflections
on the matter. But now his preference for celibacy had taken the shape
of a passionate and unalterable resolution.

The increase of his fortune, which might henceforth be surely relied on,
led him to think a good deal about the little boy at Twistle Farm, who
was most probably destined to inherit it; and he determined to use a
legitimate influence over his brother Isaac, so that little Jacob might
be educated in a manner suitable to his future position.

We have said that Jacob Ogden was perfectly satisfied with himself, and
that knowledge was not his ideal. But although this is true, his views
were really larger than the reader may have hitherto suspected. He
considered himself perfect in his place; but as little Jacob would
probably have a very different place in the world, he would need
different perfections. The qualities needed for making a large fortune
were, in Jacob Ogden's view, the finest qualities that a human being can
possess, and he knew that he possessed them; but then there were certain
ornaments and accomplishments which were necessary to a rich gentleman,
and which the manufacturer had not had time to acquire. He was not
foolish enough to torment himself with regrets that he did not know
Latin and Greek; he had none of the silly humilities of weak minds that
are perpetually regretting their "deficiencies." Whatever it was
necessary for his main purpose that he should know, he always resolutely
set himself to learn, and, by strenuous application, mastered; what was
unnecessary for his purpose, he remained contentedly ignorant about. The
customary pedantries of the world, its shallow pretension to
scholarship, never humiliated _him_. He suspected, perhaps, that genuine
classical acquirement was much rarer than the varnish of
pseudo-scholarship, and he had not that deferential faith in gentlemen's
Latin and Greek which is sometimes found in the uneducated. But, on the
other hand, as he had learned every thing that was necessary to a
plodding Shayton cotton-spinner, so he was determined that little Jacob
should learn every thing necessary to a perfect English gentleman. He
had not read the sentence of Emerson, "We like to see every thing do its
office after its kind, whether it be a milk-cow or a rattlesnake;" but
the sentiment in it was his own. His strong sense perceived that so long
as men hold different situations in the world, their preparatory
training must be different; and that, as a young pigeon must learn to
fly, and a young terrier to catch rats, so the youthful heir of a
splendid fortune, and the boy who has his fortune to make, ought to
receive respectively a celestial and a terrestrial training.

For Jacob Ogden, himself a terrestrial, knew that there was a heaven
above him--the heaven of aristocracy! _There_ dwelt superior beings, in
golden houses, like gods together, far above the ill-used race of men
that cleave the soil and store their yearly dues. There is something
ludicrous, if it were not pathetic and painful, in the self-abasement of
a man so strong and resolute as Ogden before a heaven whose saints and
angels were only titled ladies and gentlemen, mainly occupied in amusing
themselves; but to him it was the World of the Ideal. And this religion
had one great advantage--it kept him a little humbler than he ever would
have been without it. Great was the successful cotton-spinner in his
eyes, but there were beings cast by nature in a nobler mould. For Jacob
Ogden actually believed, in all sincerity and simplicity, that there was
the same natural difference between a lord and a plebeian that there is
between a thorough-bred and a cart-horse. This superstition, though
founded on a dim sense of the natural differences which do exist, erred
in making them the obedient servants of the artificial differences.
There are, no doubt, thorough-breds and cart-horses amongst mankind, and
the popular phraseology would imply that there are also asses; but these
natural differences seem to be independent of title altogether, and
dependent even upon fortune only so far as it may help or hinder their
development. The superstition that lords, _quâ_ lords, are wiser, and
better, and braver, and more respectable than other people, was more
prevalent in Shayton than it is in places where lords are more
frequently seen.

Now, with this deeply rooted Anglican superstition about the heaven of
aristocracy and the angels that dwell therein, Uncle Jacob naturally
desired that his nephew should be qualified for admission there. And he
had a devout belief that the states of probation for a young soul
aspiring to celestial bliss were terms of residence at Eton and at
Oxford.

Little Jacob had continued his custom of staying at Milend every Sunday,
that he might benefit by the services of our friend Mr. Prigley in the
pew at Shayton Church. Isaac Ogden, though he had come to church three
Sundays in succession after the recovery of little Jacob, and had
attended divine service regularly as an officer of militia (being in
that character compulsible thereunto by martial law), had, I regret to
say, relapsed into his old habits of negligence at Twistle Farm, and
spent the Sunday there in following his own devices. It must be
admitted, however, that he did little harm, on that day or any other, to
himself or anybody else. He remained religiously faithful to his vow of
total abstinence, and spent several hours every day in giving a sound
elementary education to his son.

"I'll tell you what it is, Isaac," said Uncle Jacob one day when his
elder brother had come on one of his rare visits to Milend--"I'll tell
you what it is; if you'll just let me have my own way about th'
eddication o' th' young un, I'll leave him all my brass, and, what's
more, I don't mind payin' for his schoolin' beside. I want nowt nobbut
what's reet, but I'll make sich a gentleman on him as there isn't i' o
Shayton nor i' o Manchester nother. And to start wi', I reckon nowt of
his stoppin' up at Twistle Farm same as he is doin' an' idlin' away
auve[19] his time. Let him live at Milend regular for a twelvemonth, and
go to Prigley six hour every day, and then send him to Eton--that's
where gentlefolk sends their lads to. And afther that, we'll send him to
Hoxford College."



CHAPTER XXXVI.

A SHORT CORRESPONDENCE.


No sooner had Mr. Prigley got into the full swing of work with his young
pupil, than he received a letter from our friend Colonel Stanburne of
Wenderholme:--

      "MY DEAR MR. PRIGLEY,--It would give me great pleasure, and
      be of great use to me besides, if you could come over here
      and stay with me for a fortnight or three weeks. We got the
      house covered in just before the winter, and the works have
      been going forward since in some parts of the interior, but
      there are some points about internal fittings, especially
      in the principal rooms, that I and my architect don't agree
      about. Now, what I most want is, the advice of a competent
      unprofessional friend; and as I know that you have studied
      architecture much more deeply than I have ever done myself,
      I look to you to help me. It will probably be a long time
      before the house is finished, but now is the time to decide
      about the interior arrangements. Helena is at Lord
      Adisham's, and so I am left alone with the architect. I
      wish you would come. He seems to want me to adopt a
      different style for the finishing of the interior to that
      which was generally prevalent when Wenderholme was built.
      Now my notion is (_puisque l'occasion se présente_) to make
      the place as homogeneous as possible.

      "Do come. You will stay here at the Cottage. I am living
      with my mother.

                          "Very faithfully yours,
                           JOHN STANBURNE."

To this letter, which offered to Mr. Prigley's mind the most tempting of
all possible baits, for he dearly loved to dabble in architecture and
restorations, the reverend gentleman, being bound by his engagement with
the Ogdens, could only regretfully answer:--

      "MY DEAR COLONEL STANBURNE,--I should have accepted your
      kind invitation with the greatest pleasure, and the more so
      that I take a deep interest in the restoration of your
      noble old mansion, but unfortunately I have a private pupil
      whom I cannot leave. It is young Jacob Ogden, whose father
      is one of your militia officers.

                             "Yours most truly,
                               E. PRIGLEY."

But by return of post Mr. Prigley got the following short reply:--

      "MY DEAR MR. PRIGLEY,--The best solution of the difficulty
      will be, to bring little Jacob with you. I know little
      Jacob very well, and he knows me. Give my compliments to
      his father if you have to ask his permission, and tell him
      we will take good care of his little boy.

                             "Yours very faithfully,
                               J. STANBURNE."

So the end of it was, that little Jacob found himself suddenly removed
to Wenderholme Cottage, where old Mrs. Stanburne lived. The change was
highly agreeable to him--not the less agreeable that the companion of
his leisure hours was the beautiful little Edith.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

AT WENDERHOLME COTTAGE.


Wenderholme Cottage was in fact a very comfortable and commodious house.
Its claims to the humble title which it bore, were, first, that its
front was all gables, with projecting roofs, and carved or traceried
barge-boards; and, secondly, that its rooms were small. But if they were
small they were numerous; and when it pleased Mrs. Stanburne to receive
visitors--and it often pleased that hospitable lady so to do--it was
astonishing how many people the Cottage could be made to hold.

A little kindness soon wins the affections of a child, and little Jacob
had not been more than three or four days at Wenderholme before he began
to be very fond of Mrs. Stanburne. Hers was just the sort of influence
which is necessary to a young gentleman at that age--the influence of a
woman of experience, who is at the same time a high-bred gentlewoman. No
doubt his old grandmother loved little Jacob more than any thing else in
the world; but she was narrow-minded, and despotic, and vulgar in all
her ways. Mrs. Ogden, too, had moments of caprice and violence, in
which, she was dangerous to oppose, and difficult to pacify; in short,
she was one of those persons, too common in her class, of whom Matthew
Arnold says that they are deficient in sweetness and light. The steady
unfailing goodness of Mrs. Stanburne, her uniformly gentle manners, her
open intelligent sympathy, produced on her young guest an effect made
ten times more powerful by all his early associations. It was like
coming out of a chamber where every thing was rough and uncouth, into a
pleasant drawing-room, full of light and elegance, where there are
flowers, and music, and books. Such a change would not be agreeable to
every one: whether it would be agreeable or not depends upon the
instinctive preferences. Ladies like Mrs. Stanburne do not put everybody
at his ease, and it proves much in little Jacob's favor that he felt
happy in her presence. As Jacob Ogden, the elder, had been formed by
nature for the rude contest with reluctant fortune, so his nephew had
been created for the refinements of an attained civilization. Therefore,
henceforth, though he still loved his grandmother, both from gratitude
and habit, his young mind saw clearly that neither her precepts nor her
example were to be accepted as authoritative, and he looked up to Mrs.
Stanburne as his preceptress.

Little Jacob's healthy honest face and simple manners recommended him to
the good lady from the first, and he had not been a week under her roof
before she took a kind interest in every thing concerning him. The mere
facts that he had no mother, no sister, no brother, and that he had
lived alone with his father in such a place as Twistle Farm, were of
themselves enough to attract attention and awaken curiosity; but the
story of his arrival at Wenderholme in the preceding winter was also
known to her, and she knew how unendurably miserable his lonely home had
been. Mrs. Stanburne talked a good deal with Mr. Prigley about the boy,
and learned with pleasure his father's wonderful and (as now might be
hoped) permanent reformation.

"He does not seem to have neglected the little boy," she said; "he reads
very well. I asked him to read aloud to me yesterday, and was surprised
to hear how well he read--I mean, quite as if he understood it, and not
in the sing-song way children often acquire."

"He's ten years old now, and he ought to read well," replied Mr.
Prigley; "but he knows a great deal for a boy of his age. It's high
time to send him to school, though; it's too lonely for him at the farm.
I am preparing him for Eton."

Mrs. Stanburne expressed some surprise at this. "Boys in his rank in
life don't often go to Eton, do they, Mr. Prigley?"

The clergyman smiled as he answered that little Jacob's rank in life was
not yet definitively settled. Mrs. Stanburne replied that she thought it
was, since his father was a retired tradesman.

"Yes, but his uncle, Mr. Jacob Ogden of Milend, has not left business;
indeed he is greatly extending his business just now, for he has built
an immense new factory. And this little boy is to be his heir--his uncle
told me so himself three weeks since. This child will be a rich
man--nobody can tell how rich. His uncle wishes him to be educated as a
gentleman."

It is a great recommendation to a little boy to be heir to a large
fortune, and Mrs. Stanburne's natural liking for little Jacob was by no
means diminished by a knowledge of that fact. As he was going to Eton,
too, she began to look upon him as already in her own rank of life,
where boys were sent to Eton, and inherited extensive estates.

During Mr. Prigley's frequent absences with Colonel Stanburne at the
Hall, Mrs. Stanburne undertook to hear little Jacob his lessons, and
then the idea struck her that Jacob and Edith might both write together
from her dictation. In this way the boy and the girl became
class-fellows. Edith had a governess usually, but the governess had gone
to visit her relations, and Miss Edith's education was for the present
under the superintendence of her grandmamma.

So between these two children an intimacy rapidly established itself--an
intimacy which affected the course of their whole lives.

One day when they had been left alone together in the drawing-room,
little Jacob asked the young lady some question, and he began by calling
her "Miss Edith."

"Miss Edith!" said she, pouting; "why do you call me Miss? The servants
may call me Miss, but you mayn't. We're school-fellows now, and you must
call me Edith. And I shall call you Jacob. Why haven't you got a
prettier name for me to call you by? Jacob isn't pretty at all. Haven't
you another name?"

Poor little Jacob was obliged to confess his poverty in names. He had
but one, and that one uncouth and unacceptable!

"Only one name. Why, you funny little boy, only to have one name! I've
got four. I'm called Edith Maud Charlotte Elizabeth. But I'll tell you
what I'll do. As I've got four names and you've only one, I'll give you
one of mine. I can't call you Charlotte, you know, because you're not a
girl; but I can call you Charley, and I always will do. So now I begin.
Charley, come here!"

Little Jacob approached obediently.

"Ha, ha! he answers to his new name already!" she cried in delight,
clapping her hands. "What a clever little boy he is! He's a deal
cleverer than the pony was when we changed _its_ name! But then, to be
sure, the pony never properly knew its first name either."

Suddenly she became grave, and put her fingers on the young gentleman's
arm. "Charley," she said, "this must be a secret between us two, because
if grandmamma found out, she might be angry with me, you know. But you
like to be called Charley, don't you? isn't it nice?"



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ARTISTIC INTOXICATION.


The London architect who was charged with the restoration of Wenderholme
gave advice which could not be followed without a heavy outlay; but in
this respect he was surpassed by Colonel Stanburne's amateur adviser,
Mr. Prigley, whose imagination revelled in the splendors of an ideal
Elizabethan interior, full of carving and tapestry, and all manner of
barbaric magnificence. Where the architect would have been content with
paper, Mr. Prigley insisted upon wainscot; and where the architect
admitted plain panelling, the clergyman would have it carved in fanciful
little arches, or imitations of folded napkins, or shields of arms, or
large medallion portraits of the kings of England, or bas-reliefs of
history or the chase.

Only consider what Mr. Prigley's tastes and circumstances had been, and
what a painful contradiction had ever subsisted between them! He had an
intense passion for art--not for painting or sculpture in their
independent form, for of these he knew little--but Mr. Prigley loved
architecture mainly, and then all the other arts as they could help the
effect of architecture. With these tastes he lived in a degree of
poverty which utterly forbade any practical realization of them, and
surrounded by buildings of which it is enough to say that they
represented the taste of the inhabitants of Shayton. The ugliest towns
in the world are English towns--the ugliest towns in England are in the
manufacturing district--the ugliest town in the manufacturing district
was the one consigned to Mr. Prigley's spiritual care. Here his
artistic tastes dwelt in a state of suppression, like Jack-in-the-box.
Colonel Stanburne had imprudently unfastened the lid; it flew open, and
Jack sprang up with a suddenness and an energy that was positively
startling and alarming.

The fact is, Mr. Prigley lived in a condition of intoxication during the
whole time of his stay at Wenderholme Cottage--an intoxication just as
real as that which he denounced in Seth Schofield and Jerry Smethurst,
and the other patrons of the Red Lion. A man may get tipsy on other
things than ale or brandy; and it may be doubted whether any tipsiness
is more complete, or more enjoyable whilst it lasts, than that which
attends the realization of our ideas and the gratification of our
tastes. And it has been kindly ordained that when we are not rich enough
to realize our ideas for ourselves, we take nearly as much interest in
seeing them realized by somebody else; so that critics who could not
afford to build a laborer's cottage, get impassioned about Prince
Albert's monument or the future Palace of Justice. How much the more,
then, should Mr. Prigley excite himself about Wenderholme, especially
seeing that Colonel Stanburne had done him the honor to consult his
judgment, and expressed the desire to benefit by his extensive
knowledge, his cultivated taste! Was it not a positive duty to interest
himself in the matter, and to give the best advice he could? It was a
duty, and it was a pleasure.

Mr. Prigley had already half decided the Colonel, when a powerful ally
came unexpectedly to his assistance. One morning at breakfast-time, when
the Colonel read his letters, he said to Mrs. Stanburne, "Here's a
letter from an acquaintance of ours who wants to come and stay here,"
and he handed her the following note:--

      "MY DEAR COLONEL STANBURNE,--Since I had the pleasure of
      seeing you at Wenderholme, I have often thought about what
      you are doing there. Having had a good deal of experience
      with architects, restorations, &c., it has occurred to me
      that I might be of some use. Would you present my
      compliments to Mrs. Stanburne, and say that if it
      occasioned no inconvenience to her, I should very much like
      to spend a few days at Wenderholme Cottage? I would bring
      nobody with me except Thompson, my valet; and though our
      acquaintance is comparatively a recent one, I presume upon
      it so far as to hope that you will not allow my visit to
      make any difference--I mean, in asking people to meet me. I
      should like, on the contrary, to have you all to myself, so
      that we may talk about the restoration of Wenderholme in
      detail: it interests me greatly. With kind compliments to
      Mrs. Stanburne,

                             "Yours very truly,
                               INGLEBOROUGH."

"Well, dear," said Mrs. Stanburne, when she had read the note, "the Duke
must come, of course. I like him very much--he is a very agreeable man.
We needn't make any fuss."

So the Duke came; and as Colonel Stanburne had insisted that Mr. Prigley
should stay to meet him, he and little Jacob prolonged their visit at
the Cottage. "I look upon you, Mr. Prigley, as a necessary shield for my
ignorance. Whenever you see that the Duke is puzzling me, you must
divert the attack by drawing it on yourself. _You're_ a match for
him--you know all the technical terms."

His Grace brought with him a heavy box of books, such as made Mr.
Prigley's mouth water, and several portfolios of original designs for
carvings, which had been executed for an old mansion of his own,
contemporary with Wenderholme. He warmly supported Mr. Prigley's views;
and in the long conversations which the three held together in the
evenings, whilst the Colonel consumed his habitual allowance of tobacco,
the books and portfolios were triumphantly appealed to, and it was
proved in a conclusive manner that this thing ought to be done, and that
this other thing was absolutely indispensable, till poor John Stanburne
hardly knew what to think.

"It is an opportunity," said the Duke--"an opportunity such as, we hope,
may never occur again; and it rests with you, Colonel Stanburne, whether
your noble old mansion is to be restored, in the genuine sense of the
word, so that it may have once again the perfect character of an
Elizabethan house of the best class--or whether it is to be simply
repaired so as to shelter you from the weather, like any other house in
the neighborhood. You will never repent a liberal expenditure at the
right moment. I say, be liberal now; it is an expense which will not
occur twice, either in your lifetime or in that of your descendants for
many generations. What are a few thousand pounds more or less in a
matter of such importance? Make Wenderholme a perfect mansion of its
kind. Restore all the wainscot, and tapestry, and glass; replace all the
carved furniture that must have been there in Queen Elizabeth's time"--

"Thanks to Eureton's good management the night of the fire, all our
furniture is safe."

The Duke made a little gesture of impatience. "Captain Eureton," he
said, "did his duty most creditably on the night of the fire; but as the
fire originated in the garrets, where all the old remnants were
accumulated, the consequence was, that the most precious things in the
house were destroyed, and the less precious were preserved."

"A good deal more useful, though, Duke, if less precious in the eyes of
an antiquary."

"Useful? Yes, that is what makes them so dangerous. People admit
incongruous things into their houses on the wretched pretext of utility.
Do you know, in my opinion, it is a subject of regret that the furniture
was saved that night?"

"You worked very hard yourself in saving it."

"Of course, it was my duty to take my share of the work; but
circumstances will sometimes place us in such a position that duty
compels us to act against what we believe to be the general interest of
mankind. For instance, suppose I were out at sea in my yacht, and that I
met with a boatful of Republicans, such as Mazzini, Garibaldi, Louis
Blanc, and Ledru Rollin, all so hungry that they were just going to eat
each other up, and so thirsty that they were just going to drink salt
water and go raving mad, it would be my duty to pick up the rascals, and
give them food, and land them on some hospitable shore, and I should do
so because to save men from death is an elementary duty; but I should be
rendering a far better service to mankind in letting the fellows eat
each other, instead of assassinating their betters, and go raving mad
out at sea rather than disseminate insane doctrines on the land."

The Colonel could not help laughing at this sally. "Do you mean to
compare my furniture with a set of Republicans?"

"What Radicals and Republicans are in an ancient state, commonplace and
ignoble furniture is in a fine old mansion; and your old remnants in the
lumber-room were like men of refined education and ancient descent, who
have been thrust out of their natural place in society to make room for
vulgar _parvenus_."

"Well, but what on earth would you have me do with my furniture?"

"There are many ways of getting it out of Wenderholme. Why not furnish
some other house with it? Why don't you have a house in London? you
_ought_ to have a house in London. The furniture here is quite
appropriate in a modern house, though it is incongruous in an old one.
Or if you had a modern house anywhere, no matter where, you might
furnish it with that furniture, and then Wenderholme would be free to
receive things suitable for it."

Amongst other books that the Duke had brought with him was
Viollet-le-Duc's valuable and comprehensive "Dictionnaire du Mobilier;"
and the three gentlemen were soon as deep in the study of chairs and
_bahuts_ as they had before been in that of wainscots and stained glass.
Colonel Stanburne was not by nature an enthusiast in matters of this
kind, and would have lived calmly all his life amidst the incongruities
of the Wenderholme of his youth; but nobody knows, until he has been
exposed to infection, whether he may not catch some enthusiasm from
others which never would have originated in himself. From the very
beginning of his stay, Mr. Prigley had begun to indoctrinate John
Stanburne in these matters; and after the arrival of the Duke's richly
illustrated volumes, the pupil's progress had been remarkable for its
rapidity. He now felt thoroughly persuaded that it would be wrong to
miss such a rare opportunity, and that economy at such a moment would be
unworthy of the owner of Wenderholme. He had a large sum of money in the
Funds, entirely under his own control, and he resolved to appropriate a
portion of this to the restoration of the mansion, in accordance with
the advice of the Duke and Mr. Prigley.

One day at lunch, his Grace was lamenting the loss of the old carvings
in the lumber-room, when little Jacob, who dined when his elders
lunched, and was usually a model of good behavior, in that he observed a
Trappistine silence during the repast, rather astonished the company by
saying, "Please, I know where there's plenty of old oak."

The gentlemen took this for one of those remarks, usually so little to
the point, which children are in the habit of making. Mrs. Stanburne
kindly answered by inquiring "whether there was much old oak at Twistle
Farm?"

"Oh no, I don't mean at papa's--I mean here," replied little Jacob, with
great vivacity. John Stanburne said, "There used to be plenty, my boy,
but it was all burnt in the fire."

"I don't mean that; I never saw that. I mean, what I have seen since I
have been here this time,--real old oak, all carved with lions and
tigers--at least, I believe they are lions and tigers--and pigs and
wolves, too, and all sorts of birds and things."

There was not an atom of old oak in Wenderholme Cottage, and there was
not an atom of furniture of any kind in Wenderholme Hall. What could the
child mean? Had he been dreaming?

Everybody's attention was drawn to little Jacob, who, becoming very red
and excited, reiterated his assertion with considerable boldness and
emphasis. When called upon for an explanation, he said that when he had
been playing in the great barn, amongst the hay, he had got into a long
low garret over the pigsties and the hen-houses, and that it was full of
old oak--"quite full of it," he reiterated.

Mrs. Stanburne's face assumed an expression of thought and reflection,
as if she were seeking inwardly for something imperfectly remembered.

"It strikes me," she said, "that when my husband's father modernized the
house, he must have put part of the old things into other lumber-rooms
than those at the top of the house itself. There are places amongst the
out-buildings which have not been opened for many years, and I believe
we should find something there."

The Duke became eager with anticipation. "The merest fragments of the
original furniture would be precious, Mrs. Stanburne. If we only had
some specimens, as data, the rest might be reconstructed in the same
taste. Let us go and look up whatever may remain. This little boy will
be our guide."

Little Jacob, proud and excited, led the way to the great barn. It was
fun to him to make the gentlemen follow him up the ladder, and over the
hay, to a little narrow doorway that was about three feet above the
hay-level. "That's the door," he said, and began to climb up the rough
wall. He pushed it open by using all his force in frequent
shoulder-thrusts, the rusty hinges gradually yielding. The adult
explorers followed, and found themselves in total darkness.

"The old oak isn't here," said little Jacob; "it's a good bit further
on."

The garret they were in served as a lumber-room for disused agricultural
implements, and both the Duke and Mr. Prigley hurt their shins against
those awkward obstacles. At last they came to a blank wall, and then to
what seemed to be a sort of cupboard, so far as they could guess by
touching.

Behind the cupboard was a small space, into which little Jacob
insinuated himself, and afterwards cheerfully sang out, "I'm all right;
here's the place!"

The gentlemen pushed the cupboard back a foot or two, and found the
doorway behind it by which their guide had passed. They were in a long,
low attic, very dimly lighted by a little hole in the wall at its remote
extremity. It was full of obstacles, which the Duke's touch recognized
at once as carved oak.

"We ought to have had lanterns," he said; "how tantalizing it is not to
be able to see!"

"I would rather have a few slates taken off," John Stanburne answered;
"that will make us a fine sky-light. I have a dread of fire."

Little Jacob was sent to fetch two or three men, who in half an hour had
removed slates enough to throw full daylight on the scene--such daylight
as had not penetrated there for many a long year. The old furniture of
Wenderholme, gray, almost white, with age, filled the place from end to
end in one continuous heap.

"But this is all white," said little Jacob, "and old oak ought to be
brown, oughtn't it?"

"A little linseed-oil will restore the color," the Duke replied. Then he
exclaimed, "By Jove! Colonel, we have found a treasure--we have indeed!
Let us get every thing out into the yard, and then we can examine the
things in detail."

The whole of the afternoon was spent in getting the old oak out. The
gentlemen worked with the laborers, the Duke himself as energetically
as any one. His great anxiety was to prevent injury to the carvings,
which were very picturesque and elaborate. When the things were all out
of doors, and the garret finally cleared, it was astonishing what a
display they made. There were six cabinets, of which four had their
entablatures supported by massive griffins or lions, and their panels
inlaid with ebony and satin-wood, or carved with bas-reliefs, which,
though certainly far from accurate in point of design, produced a very
rich effect; whilst even the plainest of the cabinets were interesting
for some curious specimen of turner's work or tracery. Then there were
portions of three or four state beds, with massive deeply panelled
testers and huge columns, constructed with that disdain for mechanical
necessity, and that emphatic preference of the picturesque, which marked
the taste of the Elizabethan age. Thus, a single bed-post would in one
place be scarcely thicker than a man's wrist, and in another thicker
than his body; the weight of the whole being enormously out of
proportion to its strength. There were a number of chairs of various
patterns, but which agreed in uniting weight with fragility, and
stateliness with discomfort. There were also innumerable fragments,
difficult at first sight to classify, but amongst which might be
recognized the legs of tables (constructed on the same principle as the
bed-posts), and pieces that had been detached from chairs, and cabinets,
and beds. In addition to all these things, there were quantities of old
wainscot, some of it carved, or inlaid with various woods.

The men had come to the wainscot at last, for it was reared against the
walls of the garret behind the barricade of furniture. As they were
removing it, there was a crashing of broken glass. A piece of this glass
was brought to the light, and it was found to be stained with the arms
of the Stanburnes (or, a bend cottised sa.), simple old bearings like
those of most ancient untitled houses. On this other fragments were
carefully collected, and they all bore the arms of Stanburne impaled
with those of families with which the Colonel's ancestors had
intermarried. Mr. Prigley, who was rather strong in heraldry, and knew
the genealogy of his wife's family and all its alliances much better
than did John Stanburne himself, recognized the martlets of Tempest, the
red lion of Mallory, the green lion of Sherburne, the black lion of
Stapleton, the chevron and cinquefoils of Falkingham, the golden
lozenges of Plumpton, charged with red scallop-shells, in fess on a
field of azure. "This has been a great heraldic window, commemorating
the alliances of the family!" cried Mr. Prigley, in ecstasy. "It must be
restored, Colonel," said the Duke, "and brought down to the present
time--down to you and Lady Helena."

Soon afterwards another discovery was due to the restless curiosity and
boyish activity of little Jacob. He had found means to open one of the
biggest of the cabinets, and had hauled out what seemed to him an old
piece of carpet folded in many folds. He ran to inform the Duke of his
discovery; but his Grace, eagerly unfolding the supposed piece of
carpet, displayed a rich field of

                              "Arras green and blue,
      Showing a gaudy summer morn,
      Where with puffed cheek the belted hunter blew
      His wreathéd bugle-horn."

Other pieces of tapestry followed, and the heaviest of the cabinets was
found to be nearly full of them. They consisted almost exclusively of
hunting scenes and pastorals, with landscapes and foliage, which, though
seldom approaching correctness as a representation of nature, must have
produced, nevertheless, a superbly decorative effect when hung in the
halls of Wenderholme.

The Duke had said very little for nearly an hour, except in ordering the
men to arrange the furniture in groups. When this had been accomplished
to his satisfaction, he turned to the Colonel, and made him the
following little speech:--

"Colonel Stanburne, I congratulate you upon a discovery which would be
interesting to any intelligent person, but is so most especially to the
representative of the Stanburnes. Here are specimens of the furniture
used by your ancestors from the reign of Henry VII. to that of James I.
We have here ample data for the complete restoration of Wenderholme,
even in the details of wainscot and tapestry and glass. The minutest
fragments in these heaps are valuable beyond price. It is getting late
now, but to-morrow I will go through every bit of it and ticket every
thing, and when I leave I will send you workmen capable of doing every
thing that ought to be done."

Here little Jacob whispered to Mr. Prigley, "It was I that found it out,
wasn't it, Mr. Prigley?" to which piece of self-assertion his tutor
replied by the repressive monosyllable "Hush!"

But his Grace had overheard both of them, and said, "Indeed we are very
much obliged to you, my little boy--very much obliged indeed. I should
like to make you a little present of some sort for the pleasure you have
afforded me this afternoon. You are going to Eton, I hear. Have you got
a watch?"

Little Jacob pulled out a silver watch, of the old-fashioned kind
popularly known as turnips, from their near approach to the spherical
conformation. The Duke smiled as he looked at it, and asked what time it
was. Little Jacob's watch was two hours late. "But it ticks yet," he
said.

The Duke said no more just then, but when little Jacob was dressed to go
down to dessert, his Grace's valet, Thompson, knocked at the door, and
brought a gold watch with a short chain, wherewith the young gentleman
proudly adorned himself. One of the first things he did was to go to the
Duke and thank him; and he did it so nicely that the nobleman was
pleased to say that when little Jacob went to Eton he might "show his
watch to the fellows, and tell 'em who gave it him."



CHAPTER XXXIX.

GOOD-BYE TO LITTLE JACOB.


Little Jacob was in luck's way, for the day he left Wenderholme Cottage
the Colonel tipped him with a five-pound note. He had a private
interview, too, with Miss Edith, and there was quite a little scene
between the infantine lovers.

"Are you really going away to-day, Charley?" she said, using the name
she had given him.

"Yes; Mr. Prigley says he must go back on account of Shayton Church. It
will be Sunday to-morrow, you know."

"And when will you come back to us again?"

"I don't know. Perhaps never."

"Perhaps never!" exclaimed Miss Edith; "and aren't you very sorry?"

"Yes, very sorry. I have been very happy here."

"Well, then, you must come again. I wish you would. I like you very
much. You are a nice boy," and the frank young lady made him a small
present--a little gold pin with a turquoise in it. "Keep that; you must
never lose it, you know--it is a keepsake."

When little Jacob left with Mr. Prigley, Mrs. Stanburne was very kind to
him, and said he must come again some time. This cheered Edith's heart
considerably, but still there was a certain moisture in her eyes as she
bade farewell to her boy-friend.

And in the same way I, who write this, feel a sadness coming over me
which is not to be resisted. Children _never_ live long. When they are
not carried away in little coffins, and laid for ever in the silent
grave, they become transformed so rapidly that we lose them in another
way. The athletic young soldier or Oxonian, the graceful heroine of the
ball-room, may make proud the parental heart, but can they quite console
it for the eternal loss of the little beings who plagued and enlivened
the early years of marriage? A father may sometimes feel a legitimate
and reasonable melancholy as he contemplates the most promising of
little daughters, full of vivacity and health. How long will the dear
child remain to him? She will be altered in six months; in six years she
will be succeeded by a totally different creature--a creature new in
flesh and blood and bone, thinking other thoughts and speaking another
language. There is a sadness even in that change which is increase and
progression; for the glory of noon-day has destroyed the sweet delicacy
of the dewy Aurora, and the wealth of summer has obliterated the
freshness of the spring.

In saying good-bye to little Jacob and his friend Miss Edith, now, I am
like some father who, under the fierce sun of India, sends his children
away from him, that they may live. He expects to meet them again, yet
these children he will never meet. In their place he will see men and
women in the vigor of ripened adolescence. And when he quits the deck
before the ship sails, and the little arms cling round him for the last
time, and for the last time he hears the lisping voices, the dear
imperfect words, a great grief comes like ice upon his heart, and he
feels a void, and a loss, and a vain longing, only less painful than
what we feel at the grave's brink, when the earth clatters down on the
coffin, and the clergyman reads his farewell.



PART II.



CHAPTER I.

AFTER LONG YEARS.


If the reader has ever been absent for many years from some neighborhood
where he has once lived--where many faces were familiar to him, and the
histories that belonged to the faces--where he once knew the complex
relations of the inhabitants towards each other, and was at least in
some measure cognizant of the causes which were silently modelling their
existence in the future, as masons build houses in which some of us will
have to live--if, after knowing the life of a neighborhood so intimately
as this, he has left that place for long years, and come back to it
again to visit it, that he may renew the old sensations, and revive his
half-forgotten ancient self, he has learned a lesson about human life
which no other experience can teach. The inhabitants who have never gone
away for long, the parson who preaches every Sunday in the church, the
attorney who goes to his office every day after breakfast, the
shop-keepers who daily see the faces of their customers across the
counter, perceive changes, but not change. To them every vicissitude has
the air of a particular accident, and it always seems that it might have
been avoided. But the great universal change has that in its aspect
which tells you that it cannot be avoided; and he who has once seen it
face to face knows that all things are moving and flowing, and that the
world travels fast in a sense other than the astronomical.

I have endeavored to enlist the reader's interest in a set of persons
who lived at Shayton and Sootythorn at the time of the establishment of
the militia. The first training of Colonel Stanburne's regiment took
place in the month of May, 1853--to be precise, it met for the first
time on the 23d of that month; and the 15th of the month following will
long be remembered in the neighborhood on account of the great fire at
Wenderholme Hall, which, as the reader is already aware, took place
under circumstances of the most exceptional publicity. It is probable
that on no occasion, from the times of the Tudors to our own, were so
many people collected in the park and garden of Wenderholme as on that
memorable night.

It is the misfortune of certain positions that the virtues which are
necessary to those who occupy them have to be translated into a money
outlay before they can be adequately appreciated. Colonel Stanburne was
not an extravagant man by nature; he was simple in all his habits and
tastes, liked to live quietly at his own house, hated London, and
indulged himself only in an innocent taste for tandem-driving, which
certainly did not cost him two hundred a-year. But this was John
Stanburne's character in his private capacity; as a leader of men--as
the head of a regiment--his nature was very different. Whether his
surroundings excited him, and so caused him to lose the mental balance
which is necessary to perfect prudence, or whether he acted at first in
ignorance of the wonderful accumulativeness of tradesmen's bills, and
afterwards went on from the force of established habit, it is certain
that from the 23d of May, 1853, when his regiment assembled for the
first time, Colonel Stanburne entered upon a new phase of his existence.
Hitherto he had lived strictly within his income, whilst from the year
1853 he lived within it no longer.

His whole style of living had been heightened and increased by his
position in the militia. The way he drove out was typical of every
thing else. Before his colonelcy he had been contented with a tandem,
and his tandem was horsed from the four ordinary carriage-horses which
were regularly kept at Wenderholme. But since it had seemed
convenient--nay, almost indispensably necessary--to have a commodious
vehicle of some kind, that he might convey his officers from Sootythorn
to Wenderholme every time he asked them to dinner--and since he had
naturally selected a drag as the proper thing to have, and the
pleasantest thing for himself to drive--there had been an increase in
his stable expenses, and a change in his habits, which lasted all the
year round. Besides, his natural kindliness and generosity of
disposition, which had formerly found a sufficing expression in a
general heartiness and good-nature, now began to express themselves in a
much more expensive way--namely, by more frequent and more profuse
hospitality.

In the year 1865 Colonel Stanburne was still at the head of his regiment
of militia, and during the annual trainings the Wenderholme coach has
never ceased to run. Wenderholme had become quite a famous place, and
tourists knowing in architecture came to see it from distant counties.
It is a perfect type now of a great Elizabethan mansion: the exterior,
especially the central mass over the porch, is enriched with elaborate
sculpture; there are great mullioned windows everywhere, and plenty of
those rich mouldings and copings which diversify the fronts of great
houses of that age, and crown their lofty walls. There are globes and
pinnacles on the completed gables, and at the intersections of the
roofing rise fantastic vanes of iron-work, gilded, and glittering in the
sunshine against the blue of the summer sky.

The interior has but one defect--it seems to require, in its
inhabitants, the costume of Sir Walter Raleigh and the great ladies of
his time. It has become like a poem or a dream, and one would hardly be
surprised to find Edmund Spenser there reading the "Faëry Queene" to the
noble Surrey, or imagining, in the solitude of one of its magnificent
rooms, some canto still to be written.

Let us pause here, and look at the place simply as in a picture, or
series of pictures, before the current of events hurries us on till we
have no time left to enjoy beautiful things, nor mental tranquillity
enough to feel in tune with this perfect peace.

It is noon in summer. Under every oak in the great avenues lies a dark
patch of shadow, and on the rich expanse of the open park the sunshine
glows and darkens as the thin white clouds sail slowly in the blue
aerial ocean. How rich and stately is the rounded foliage--how perfect
the fulness of the protected trees! In the midst of them stands the
house of Wenderholme, surrounded by soft margins of green lawn and wide
borders of gleaming flowers.

It is pleasant this hot day to enter the great cool hall, to walk on its
pavement of marble (white marble and black, in lozenges), and rest the
eye in the subdued light which reigns there, even at noon.

Under pretext of restoration, Wenderholme had been made a great deal
more splendid, and incomparably more comfortable, than it ever was in
the time of its pristine magnificence. In the wainscot and the furniture
the architect had lavishly used a great variety of strange and beautiful
woods, quite unknown to our ancestors; and not contented with the stones
and marbles of the British islands, he had brought varieties from
Normandy, and Sicily, and Spain, and the Mediterranean shores of Africa.
As for the arrangements that regarded comfort and convenience, John
Stanburne's architect had learned the extent of a rich Englishman's
exigence when he erected the mansions of five or six great
cotton-manufacturers, and, strong in this experience, had made
Wenderholme a model place for elaborately perfect housekeeping.

What had been done with the modern furniture that had been saved on the
night of the fire? We may learn this, and some other matters also, when
the Colonel comes in to lunch.

He crosses his great hall, and goes straight to the dining-room. The
twelve years that have passed by have aged him even more than so many
dozens of months ought to have done. His hair is getting prematurely
gray, and his step, though still firm and manly, has lost a good deal of
its elasticity, and something of its grace. The expression on his
countenance does not quite correspond with all the glory of the paradise
that is his, with the sunshine on the broad green park and vast
shade-bestowing trees, with the rich peace of these cool and silent
halls. When he is with other people, his face is very much as it used to
be; but when he is alone, as he is now, it looks weary and haggard, as
if to live were an effort and a care--as if some hateful anxiety haunted
him, and wore him hour after hour.

"Tell her ladyship that I have come in to lunch; and stay--you need not
wait upon us to-day."

Lady Helena comes with her scarcely audible little step, and quietly
takes her place at the table. _She_ is not very much changed by the
lapse of these last twelve years. She is still rather pretty, and she
looks as intelligent as ever, though not perhaps quite so lively. But as
for liveliness, she has nothing to encourage her vivacity just now, for
the Colonel eats his slice of cold beef in silence, and scarcely even
looks in her direction. When he looks up at all, it is at the
window,--not that there is any thing particular to be seen there--only
the sunny garden with the fountain, fed from the hills behind.

"My dear," said Lady Helena, "as the regiment is disbanded now, I
suppose we have no longer any reason to remain at Wenderholme? Suppose
we went up to town again for the end of the season? There are several
people that you promised to see, and didn't call upon before you came
away. There's old Lady Sonachan's ball on the 15th, and I think we
ought to do something ourselves in Grosvenor Square--you know we meant
to do, if the training of the regiment had not been a fortnight earlier
than we expected."

"I think it would be as well to stop quietly at Wenderholme."

"I'm afraid, dear," said Lady Helena, caressingly, "that you're losing
your good habits, and going back to the ideas you had many years ago,
before the militia began. You've been so very nice for a long time now
that it would be a pity to go back again to what you used to be before
you were properly civilized. For you know, dear, you were _not_ quite
civilized then--you were _sauvage_, almost a recluse; and now you like
society, and it does you good--doesn't it, dear? Everybody ought to go
into society--we all of us need it. _Do_ come with me to town, dear, and
after that I will go with you wherever you like."

"Helena," the Colonel answered, gravely, "that's the sort of game we
have been playing for many years. 'Do indulge me in my fancy, and then I
will indulge you in some fancy of your own.' It is time to put a stop to
that sort of thing."

"It would be a pity, I think. Have we not been very happy, my love, all
these years together?"

"Yes, no doubt, of course. But I'll tell you what it is, Helena--we made
a great mistake."

Lady Helena's face flushed, and her eyes filled. "A mistake! I am
grieved if you think your marriage was a mistake, John. I never think so
of mine."

"It isn't that; I don't mean the marriage. I mean something since the
marriage. But it's no use talking about that just now. I say, put your
shawl on and take a little walk with me, will you?"

They went in silence by the path that rose towards the moors behind the
house. When they came to the pond, the Colonel seemed to pause and
hesitate a little; then he said, "No, not here--on the open moor."

They came to the region of the heather, and the park of Wenderholme,
with all the estate around it, lay spread like a great map beneath them.

"Sit down here, Helena, and let us talk together quietly. It may be
better for both of us." Then came a long pause of silence, and when Lady
Helena looked in the Colonel's face, she perceived that his eyes were
wandering over the land from one field to another, with a strange
expression of lingering and longing and regret. Evidently he had
forgotten that she was with him.

"Dear," she said at last, "what was that great mistake you talked
about?"

He started and looked round at her suddenly. Then, laying his hand very
gently on her shoulder, said with strange tenderness, "You won't be
hurt, will you? It was mutual, you know."

"Do you recollect, Helena," he went on, after a little while, "the time
when I first began to drive four horses? You didn't approve of it--of
course I know you didn't--and there were a good many other things that
you didn't approve of either, and your opinion was plain enough in your
way with me. Well, then, there were some things that you either did or
wanted to do, you know, which didn't quite suit me, and seemed to me as
unnecessary as my fancy for driving four horses seemed to you. But I
found out that I could keep you in a good temper, and make you indulge
me in my fancies, by indulging you in corresponding fancies of your own.
So whenever I resolved upon an extravagance, I stopped your criticisms
by some bribe; and the biggest bribe of all--the one that kept you
indulgent to me year after year--was that house in Grosvenor Square."

"It was your own proposing."

"That's just what I am saying. I proposed the house in town to keep you
quiet--to keep you from criticising me. You had got into a way of
criticising me about the time of the fire, and I hated being
criticised. So I thought, 'She shall have her own way if she'll only let
me have mine;' and it seems you thought something of the same kind, for
you became very indulgent with me. That has been our mistake, Helena."

"But _was_ it such a mistake after all, darling? Have we not been very
happy all these years? I remember we were not so happy just when the
militia began. You were not so nice with me as you have been since."

"Perhaps not--and you weren't as nice with me either, Helena; but we
were nearer being right then than we ever have been during the last few
years. I mean to say that, if we had said plainly to each other then--in
a kind sort of way, of course--what each was thinking, we should have
spared each other a great deal of suffering."

"We have suffered very little, love; we have been very happy."

"The punishment is yet to come. I've been punished, in my mind, for
years past, and said nothing about it to you, because I wanted partly to
spare you, and partly to screen myself, for I thought I could bring
things round again."

"Do you mean about money?"

"Yes."

"Well, but, dear, you always told me that there had been no diminution
in our income. Did you not tell me the truth?"

"All that was perfectly true. The income was not diminished, but the new
investments weren't as safe as the old ones. Don't you see, we had less
capital to get our income from, and our expenses were even heavier than
they used to be. So I invested at higher interest, to make up the
difference in our income, and I've been carrying that on to an extent
you know nothing about."

Lady Helena began to be alarmed. Nobody knew better than her ladyship
that the _prestige_ of aristocracy rested ultimately upon wealth, and
that she could no more keep up her station without a good income than
her strength without food. It had been a capital error of John
Stanburne's from the beginning, not to consult his wife on every detail
of his money transactions. She had always been perfectly prudent in not
letting current expenses go beyond income, although, as they had only
one child, there appeared to be no necessity for saving. She would have
advised him well if he had invited her to advise him; but though he had
always told her, with truth, that their income was four thousand a-year,
he had not told her the history of the capital sum from which this
income had, in consequence of some devices of his own, been drawn so
unfailingly. The restoration of Wenderholme had been a very costly
undertaking indeed. The whole outlay upon it John Stanburne had never
dared to calculate; but we, who have no reason for that nervous
abstinence from terrible totals, know that during the years immediately
succeeding the great fire, he did not, in the restoration and adornment
of his beautiful home, spend less than twenty-seven thousand pounds. The
result, no doubt, was worth even so large an outlay as this; nor was the
sum in itself very wildly extravagant, when one reflects that one of the
Sootythorn cotton-spinners laid out fully as much on an ugly new house
about half a mile beyond Chesnut Hill. But it diminished John
Stanburne's funded property by more than one-half, and it therefore
became necessary to invest the remainder more productively, to keep his
income up to its old level.

Whilst he is telling these things to Lady Helena in his own way, let us
narrate them somewhat more succinctly in ours. It had happened, about
three years after the fire--that is, in the year 1856--that a new bank
had been established in Sootythorn, called the Sootythorn District Bank,
and some of the capitalists both in the immediate locality and in the
neighboring country had invested in it rather largely. Amongst these was
our acquaintance, Mr. Joseph Anison of Arkwright Lodge, near Whittlecup,
who, not having a son to succeed him in his business, did not care to
extend it, and sought another investment for his savings which might as
nearly as possible approach in productiveness the ample returns of
commerce. Mr. Anison was one of the original founders of the new bank,
and if the idea had not positively its first source in his own mind, it
was he who brought it to a practicable shape, and finally made it a
reality. Colonel Stanburne had taken Joseph Anison into his confidence
about his money matters--at least so far as to show him the present
reduced state of his funded capital; and he added that, with his
diminished income, it had become necessary to economize by a determined
reduction of expenses, the most obvious means to which would be the
resignation of his commission in the militia--which, directly or
indirectly, cost him a clear thousand a-year--and the abandonment of the
house in town, which had then recently been established for the
gratification of Lady Helena, and furnished with the modern furniture
saved at the burning of Wenderholme. Mr. Anison strongly dissuaded the
Colonel from both these steps, urging upon him the popularity which he
enjoyed both in the regiment and at Sootythorn, and even certain
considerations of public duty to which an English gentleman is rarely
altogether insensible. The Colonel liked the regiment, he liked his
position, and it may even be said, without any exaggeration of his
merits, that, independently of the consideration which it procured him,
he felt an inward satisfaction in doing something which could be
considered useful. To resign his commission, then, would have been
difficult for another reason, if not altogether impossible. The
regiment, instead of coming to Sootythorn for a month's training in the
year, was on permanent garrison duty in Ireland, and he could not
gracefully leave it.

The other project--the abandonment of his house in London--might have
been agreeable enough to himself personally, but he was one of those
husbands who, from weakness or some other cause, find it impossible to
deprive a wife of any thing which she greatly cares for. This defect
was due in his case, as it is in many others, to an inveterate habit of
politeness towards all women, _even_ towards his wife; and just as no
gentleman would take possession of a chair or a footstool which a lady
happened to be using, so John Stanburne could not turn Lady Helena out
of that house in town which she liked so much, and which both of them
looked upon as peculiarly her own. It is easy for rough and brutal men
to do these things, but a gentleman will often get into money
embarrassments out of mere delicacy. I don't mean to imply that the
Colonel's way of dealing with his wife was the best way. It would have
been far better to be frank with her from the beginning; but then a
simple nature like John Stanburne's has such a difficulty in uniting the
gentleness and the firmness which are equally necessary when one has to
carry out measures which are sure to be disagreeable to a lady. The
_suaviter in modo_, &c., is, after all, a species of hypocrisy--at least
until it has become habitual; and when the Colonel was soft in manner,
which he always was with women, he was soft in the matter also. In a
word, though no one was better qualified to please a lady, he was
utterly incapable of governing one--an incapacity which perhaps he
shared with the majority of the sons of Adam.

As retrenchment had appeared impossible, or, at least, too difficult to
be undertaken so long as there was the alternative of a change of
investments, the Colonel begged Mr. Anison, as an experienced man of
business, to look out for something good in that way; and Mr. Anison,
who, with his brother capitalists, had just started the Sootythorn
District Bank, honestly represented to his friend that a better and a
safer investment was not likely to be found anywhere. As he preached not
merely by precept but by example, and showed that he had actually staked
every thing which he possessed on the soundness of the speculation--he,
the father of a family--Colonel Stanburne was easily persuaded, and
became one of the largest shareholders. The bank was soon in a very
flourishing condition--in fact it was really prosperous, and exceeded
the most sanguine hopes of its originators. The manager was both an
honorable man and a man of real ability as a financier. The dividends
were very large, and _not_ paid out of capital.

After five or six years of this prosperity, during which the Colonel's
aggregate income had been higher than it ever was during his best days
as a fund-holder, he began to conceive the idea of replacing, by
economy, the sum of £27,000, which had been withdrawn from his funded
capital for the restoration and embellishment of Wenderholme. To do this
he prudently began by saving the surplus of his income; but as this did
not seem to accumulate fast enough for his desires, he thought that,
without permanently alienating his estate, he might mortgage some
portion of it, and invest the money so procured at the higher interest
received by the shareholders of the Sootythorn District Bank. The mere
surplus of interest would of itself redeem the mortgage after a few
years, leaving the money borrowed in his own hands as a clear increase
of capital. In this way he mortgaged a great part of the estate of
Wenderholme to our friend Mr. Jacob Ogden of Milend.

All these things were done _clam Helenâ_--unknown to her ladyship. She
was not supposed to understand business, and probably the Colonel, from
the first, had apprehended her womanish fears of the glorious
uncertainties of speculation. His conscience, however, was perfectly at
ease. At the cost of a degree of risk which he set aside as too trifling
to be dwelt upon, he was gradually--nay, even rapidly--replacing the
money sunk in Wenderholme; and every day brought him nearer to the time
when he might live in his noble mansion without the tormenting thought
that it had been paid for out of his inherited capital. At the same
time, so far from withdrawing from the world's eyes into the obscurity
which is usually one of the most essential conditions of retrenchment,
he actually filled a higher place in the county than he had ever
occupied before. The taste for society grows upon us and becomes a
habit, so that the man who a year or two since bore solitude with
perfect ease, may to-morrow find much companionship a real want, though
an acquired one. The more sociable John Stanburne became, the more he
felt persuaded that the house in London was a proper thing to keep up,
and there came to be quite an admirable harmony between him and Lady
Helena. She had always loved him very much, but in the days when he had
a fancy for retirement, she had felt just a shade of contempt for the
rusticity of his tastes. As this rusticity wore off, her ladyship
respected her husband more completely; and the coolness which had
existed between them in the year 1853 was succeeded by an affectionate
indulgence on both sides, which was entirely satisfactory to Lady
Helena, and was only a little less so to the Colonel, because he knew it
to be a sacrifice of firmness.

He began to feel this very keenly at the time our story reopens, because
some very heavy misfortunes had befallen the Sootythorn District Bank,
and the Colonel began to doubt whether, after all, his financial
operations (successful as they had hitherto appeared) were quite so
prudent as he and Mr. Anison had believed. Mr. Stedman had been against
the enterprise from the very first, and had openly attempted to dissuade
both Mr. Anison and the Colonel from any participation in it; but then
Mr. Stedman, who had neither the expenses of a family nor the drain of a
high social position, could afford the utmost extremity of prudence, and
could literally have lived in his accustomed manner if his money had
been invested at one per cent. However, the Bank had kept up the
Colonel's position by giving him an easy income for several years; and
by enabling him to put by a surplus, had compensated, by the mental
satisfaction which is the reward of those who save, any little anxiety
which from time to time may have disturbed the tranquillity of his mind.
But now the anxiety was no longer a light one, to be compensated by
thinking about savings. A private meeting of the principal shareholders
had been held the day before, and it had become clear to them that the
position of the Sootythorn Bank (and consequently their own individual
position, for their liability was unlimited) was perilous in the
extreme. Immense sums had been advanced to cotton firms which were
believed to be sound, but which had gone down within the preceding
fortnight; and many other loans were believed to be very doubtful. Under
these circumstances, the chief shareholders--Colonel Stanburne amongst
the number--bound themselves by a mutual promise not to attempt to sell,
as any unusual influx of shares upon the market would at once provoke
their depreciation, and probably create a panic.

Whilst the Colonel had been telling all these things to Lady Helena, he
had not dared to look once upon her face; but when he had come to an
end, a silence followed--a silence so painful that he could not bear it,
and turned to her that she might speak to him. She was not looking in
his direction. She was not looking at Wenderholme, nor on any portion of
the fair estate around it; but her eyes were fixed on the uttermost line
of the far horizon. She was very pale; her lips were closely compressed,
and there was a tragic sternness and severity in her brow that John
Stanburne had never before seen.

For a whole minute--for sixty intolerable seconds--not one word escaped
her.

"Helena, speak to me!"

She turned slowly towards him, and rose to her feet. Then came
words--words that cut and chilled as if they were made of sharp steel
that had been sheathed in a scabbard of ice.

"You have been very imprudent and very weak. You are not fit to have the
management of your own affairs."

She said no more. She was intensely angry at her husband, but in her
strongest irritation she never said any thing not justified by the
circumstances--never put herself in the wrong by violence or
exaggeration. She had a great contempt for female volubility and
scolding; and the effect of her tongue, when she used it, was to the
effect of a scold's rattle what the piercing of a rapier is to the
cracking of a whip.

John Stanburne dreaded the severity of his wife's judgment more than he
would have dreaded the fury of an unreasonable woman. He had not a word
to offer in reply. He felt that it was literally and accurately true
that he had been "very imprudent and very weak, and was not fit to have
the management of his own affairs."

He covered his face with both hands in an agony of self-accusation, and
remained so for several minutes. Then he cried out passionately,
"Helena, dear Helena!" and again, "Helena! Helena!"

There was no answer. He lifted up his eyes. The place she had occupied
was vacant. She had noiselessly departed from his side.



CHAPTER II.

IN THE DINING-ROOM.


One of the most strange and painful things about ruin is, that for days,
and even weeks, after it has actually come upon a man, his outward life
remains in all its details as it was before; so that in the interval
between the loss of fortune and the abandonment of his habitual way of
living he leads a double life, just as a ghost would do if it were
condemned to simulate the earthly existence it led before death amongst
the dear familiar scenes. For there are two sorts of separation. You get
into a railway train, and take ship, and emigrate to some distant colony
or some alien empire, and see no more the land which gave you birth, nor
the house which sheltered you, nor the faces of your friends. This
separation is full of sadness; but there is another separation which, in
its effect upon the mind, is incomparably more to be dreaded, whose pain
is incomparably more poignant. I mean, that terrible separation which
divides you from the persons with whom you are still living, from the
house you have never quitted, from the horses in the stable, from the
dog upon the hearth, from the bed you lie in, from the chair you sit
upon, from the very plate out of which you eat your daily food! The man
who, still in his old house, knows that he has become insolvent, feels
this in a thousand subtly various tortures, that succeed each other
without intermission. A curse has fallen on every thing that he sees, on
every thing that he touches--a wonderful and magical curse, devised by
the ingenuity of Plutus, the arch-enchanter! The wildest fairy tale
narrates no deeper sorcery than this. Every thing shall remain,
materially, exactly as it was; but when you go into your library you
shall not be able to read, in your dining-room the food shall choke you,
and you shall toss all night upon your bed.

And thus did it come to pass that from this hour all the beauties, and
the luxuries, and all the accumulated objects and devices that made up
the splendor of Wenderholme, became so many several causes of torture to
John Stanburne. And by another effect of the same curse, he was
compelled to torture himself endlessly with these things, as a man when
he is galvanized finds that his fingers contract involuntarily round the
brass cylinders through which flows the current that shatters all his
nerves with agony.

The first bell rings for dinner, and the Colonel, from long habit,
leaves his little den, and is half-way up the grand staircase before he
knows that he is moving. That great staircase had been one of the
favorite inventions in new Wenderholme. It was panelled with rich old
yew, and in the wainscot were inserted a complete series of magnificent
Italian tapestries, in which was set forth the great expedition of the
Argonauts. There was the sowing of the poisoned grain, the consequent
pestilence of Thebes, the flight of Phryxus and Helle on the winged ram
with the golden fleece, the fall of poor Helle in the dark Hellespont,
the sacrifice of the ram at Colchis, the murder of Phryxus. Above all,
there was the glorious embarkation in the good ship Argo, when Jason and
the Grecian princes came down to the shore, with a background of the
palaces they left. And in another great tapestry the ship Argo sailed in
the open sea, her great white sail curving before the wind, and the blue
waves dancing before her prow, whilst the warriors stood quaintly upon
the deck, with all their glittering arms. Then there was the storm on
the coast of Thrace, and the famous ploughing-scene with the
golden-horned bulls, and the sowing of the dragon's teeth.

Dragon's teeth! John Stanburne paused long before that tapestry. Had he
not likewise been a sower of dragon's teeth, and were not the armed men
rising, terrible, around him?

Who will help him as Medea helped Jason? Who will pass him through all
his dangers in a day?

It will not be his wife--it will not be Lady Helena. She is coming up
the great staircase too, whilst he is vacantly staring at the tapestry.
He does not know that she is there till the rustle of her draperies
awakens him. She passes in perfect silence, slowly, in the middle of the
broad carpeted space, between the margins of white stone.

They met again that evening at dinner. So long as the men waited they
talked about this thing and that. But when the dessert was on the table,
and the men were gone, the Colonel handed the following letter to Lady
Helena:--

      "MY DEAR COLONEL STANBURNE,--As you have been aware for
      some time of the precarious position of the Bank, the bad
      news I have to communicate will not find you altogether
      unprepared. We have been obliged to stop payment, and it
      will require such a large sum to meet the liabilities of
      the company that both you and I and many other shareholders
      must consider ourselves ruined men. God grant us fortitude
      to bear it! When I advised you to embark in this
      speculation, God knows I did so honestly, and you have the
      proof of it in the fact that I am ruined along with you. It
      will be hard for you to descend from a station you were
      born for and are accustomed to, and it is hard for me to
      see the fruits of a life of hard work swept away just as I
      am beginning to be an old man. Pray think charitably of me,
      Colonel Stanburne. I did what I believed to be best, and
      though my heart is heavy, my conscience is clear still. May
      Heaven give strength to both of us, and to all others who
      are involved in the same ruin!

                             "Yours truly,
                             JOSEPH ANISON."

Lady Helena read the letter from beginning to end, and then returned it
to her husband without a word. Her face wore an expression of the most
complete indifference.

"Why, Helena!" said John Stanburne, "you haven't a word to say to me.
It's far more my misfortune than my fault, and I think you might be
kinder, under the circumstances, than you are."

"_Que voulez-vous que je vous dise?_"



CHAPTER III.

IN THE DRAWING-ROOM.


Coffee having been announced, the Colonel, who had been sitting alone
with his burgundy, and perhaps drinking a little more of it than usual,
followed her ladyship into the drawing-room. That drawing-room was the
most delicately fanciful room in the whole house. It was wainscoted with
cedar to the height of eight feet, where the panels terminated in a
beautiful little carved arcade running all round the noble room, and
following the wall everywhere into its quaint recesses. Heraldic
decoration, used so profusely in the great hall and elsewhere, was here
limited to John Stanburne's own conjugal shield, in which the arms of
Stanburne were impaled with those of Basenthorpe.

If the Colonel could only have drunk his cup of coffee in silence, or
made a commonplace remark or two, and then gone straight to bed, or into
his own den, it might have been better for them both; but he was stung
to the quick by her ladyship's unsympathizing manner, and he had
absorbed so much burgundy in the dining-room as to have lost altogether
that salutary fear of his wife's keen little observations which usually
kept him in restraint. It was a great pity, too, that they were alone
together in the drawing-room that evening, and that Miss Stanburne had
left Wenderholme two days before on a brief visit to a country house at
a distance.

His heart yearned for Helena's sympathy and support, and of this she was
perfectly aware; but, with that rashness which is peculiarly feminine,
and which makes women play their little game of withholding what men's
hearts want, even in moments of the utmost urgency and peril, she
determined to give him no help until he had properly and sufficiently
humiliated himself and confessed his sins before her. The woman who
_could_ withhold her tenderness in such an hour as this diminished, in
doing so, the value of that tenderness itself; and every minute that
passed whilst it was still withheld made such a large deduction from it,
that if this coldness lasted for an hour longer, John Stanburne felt
that no subsequent kindness could atone for it. As the slow, miserable
minutes went by whilst Lady Helena sat yards away from him at a little
table in a great oriel window, saying not one word, not even looking
once in his direction, John Stanburne's brain, already in a state of
intense excitement in consequence of the miseries of the day, began to
suffer from an almost insane irritability and impatience on account of
the silence and calm that surrounded him. It was a most peaceful and
beautiful summer evening, and the sun, as he declined towards the west,
sent rich warm rays into the noble room, glowing on the cedar panels,
and on the quaintly elegant furniture, with its pervading expression of
luxury and ease. This luxury maddened John Stanburne, the soft carpet
was hateful to his feet, the easy-chair irritating to his whole body; he
hated the great clusters of flowers in the _jardinières_, and the white
delicate webs that were the summer curtains. Considering the present
temper of his mind, and his horror of every thing that had cost him
money, the drawing-room was the worst place he could have been in.

If her ladyship would just have left that interesting bit of plain
hemming that she was engaged upon (and whereby she was effecting an
economy of about twopence a-day), and gone to her husband and said one
kind word to him, merely his name even, and given him one caress, one
kiss, their fate would have been incomparably easier to endure. They
would have supported each other under the pressure of calamity, and the
material loss might have been balanced by a moral gain.

But she sat there silently, persistently, doing that farthing's worth of
plain needlework.

"Helena!" at last the Colonel broke out, "I say, Helena, I wonder what
the devil we are to do?"

"You need not swear at me, sir."

"Swear at you!--who swears at you? I didn't. But if I did swear at you,
it wouldn't be without provocation. You are the most provoking woman I
ever knew in my life; upon my word you are--you are, by God, Helena!"

"You are losing your temper, Colonel Stanburne. Pray remember whom you
are speaking to. I am not to be sworn at like your grooms."

"You never lose _your_ temper. Now, I say that as you are such a
mistress of yourself under all circumstances, it's your own fault that
you don't make yourself more agreeable."

"I regret that you don't think me agreeable, Colonel Stanburne."

"Well, now, _are_ you, Helena? Here am I under the blow of a tremendous
calamity, and you haven't a word to say to me. If Fyser knew what had
happened, he'd be more sorry than you are."

"What would you have me say to you? If I said all you deserve, would you
listen to it? You appear to forget that you have as yet expressed no
sympathy for me, whom you have ruined by your folly, whereas you are
angry because I have said little to you."

"_You_ ruined, Helena!" said John Stanburne, with a bitter laugh; "_you_
ruined--why, you never had any thing to lose! Your father allows you six
hundred a-year, and he'll continue your allowance, I suppose. You never
owned a thousand pounds in your life. But it's different with me. I'm
losing all I was born to."

The answer to this was too obvious for Lady Helena to condescend to
make it. She remained perfectly silent, which irritated the Colonel more
than any imaginable answer could have irritated him.

He certainly was wrong so far as this, that any one who _asks_ for
sympathy puts himself in a false position. Condolence must be freely
given, or it is worthless. And any disposition which her ladyship may
have felt towards a more wifely frame of mind was effectually checked by
his advancing these claims of his. She was not to be scolded into
amiability.

"Hang it, Helena!" he broke out, "I didn't think there was a woman in
England that would behave as you are behaving under such circumstances.
The thing doesn't seem to make the least impression upon you. There you
sit, doing your confounded sewing, just as if nothing had happened, you
do. You won't sit there doing your sewing long. The bailiffs will turn
you out. They'll be here in a day or two."

"You are becoming very coarse, sir; your language is not fit for a woman
to hear."

"It's the plain truth, it is. But women won't hear the plain truth. They
don't like it--they never do. But your ladyship must be made to
understand that this cannot go on. We cannot stop here, at Wenderholme.
The place will be sold, and every thing in it. Now, I should just like
to know what your ladyship proposes to do. If my way of asking your
ladyship this question isn't polite enough, please do me the favor to
instruct me in the necessary forms."

"If you could speak without oaths, that would be something gained."

"Answer me my question, can't you? Where do you mean to go--what do you
mean to do?"

"I intend to go to my father's."

"Well, that's plain. Why couldn't you tell me that sooner? You mean to
go to old Adisham's. But I'll be hanged if I'll go there, to be
patronized as a beggarly relation."

"Very well."

"Very well, is it? It's very well that you are to live in one place, and
I in another."

"A distance sufficient to protect me from your rudeness would certainly
be an advantage."

"Would it, indeed? You really think so, do you? Well, if you think so,
it shall be so."

"Very well."

She spoke with a calmness that was perfectly exasperating, and John
Stanburne's brain was too much overwrought by the terrible trial of that
day for him to bear things with any patience. He was half insane
temporarily; he could not bear to see that calm little woman sitting
there, with her jarring self-control.

"I say, Lady Helena, if you mean to go to old Adisham's, the sooner you
go the better. All this house is crumbling over our heads as if it were
rotten."

Lady Helena rose quietly from her seat, took up her work, and walked
towards the door. Just as she was opening it, she turned towards the
Colonel, and pronounced with the clearest possible articulation the
following sentences:--

"You will please remember, Colonel Stanburne, that it was you who turned
me out of your house, and the sort of language you used in doing so. _I_
shall always remember it."

Then the door closed quietly upon her--the great heavy door, slowly
moving on its smooth hinges.



CHAPTER IV.

ALONE.


It happened that the hall-door was open, as it usually was in the fine
weather, and John Stanburne, without knowing it, went out upon the lawn.
The balmy evening air, fragrant from the sweet breath of innumerable
flowers, caressed his hot flushed face. He became gradually calmer as he
walked in a purposeless way about the garden, and, looking at his
mansion from many a different point of view, began to feel a strange,
dreamy, independent enjoyment of its beauty, as if he had been some
tourist or visitor for whom the name of Wenderholme had no painful
associations. Then he passed out into the park, down the rich dark
avenues whose massive foliage made a premature night, and wandered
farther and farther, till, by pure accident, he came upon the
carriage-drive.

A man whose mind is quite absent, and who is wandering without purpose,
will, when he comes upon a road, infallibly follow it in one direction
or another, not merely because it is plain before the feet, but from a
deep instinct in our being which impels us to prefer some human guidance
to the wilderness of nature. It happened that the Colonel went in the
direction which led him away from the house, perhaps because the road
sloped invitingly that way.

Suddenly he heard a noise behind him, and had barely time to get out of
the way when a carriage dashed passed him at full speed, with two great
glittering lamps. He caught no glimpse of its occupant, but he knew the
carriage--Lady Helena's.

For a few seconds he stood immovable. Then, bounding forward, he cried
aloud, "Helena! Helena!" and again and again, "Helena!"

Too late! The swift high-spirited horses were already on the public
road, hurrying to catch the last train at the little station ten miles
off. The sudden impulse of tenderness which drew John Stanburne's heart
after her, as she passed, had no magnetism to arrest her fatal course.
They had parted now, and for ever.

He would have passed that night more easily if he could have gone at
once to the Cottage, and unburdened his wretchedness to his mother, and
become, for his hour of weakness, a little child again in her dear
presence. But he dreaded to inflict upon her the blow which in any event
would only come too soon, and he resolved to leave her whatever hours
might yet remain to her of peace.

Somehow he went back to the Hall, and got to his own den. The place was
more supportable to him than any other in the house, being absolutely
devoid of splendor. A poor man might feel himself at home _there_. He
rang the bell.

"Fyser, her ladyship has been obliged to go away this evening for an
absence of some days, and I mean to live here. Make up my camp-bed, will
you, in that corner?"

It was not the first time that the Colonel had retreated in this manner
to his den; for when there were no guests in the house, and her ladyship
was away, he found himself happier there than in the great
reception-rooms. I think, perhaps, in his place I should have preferred
something between the two, and would have allowed myself a couple of
tolerably large rooms in a pleasant part of the house; but his mind
seems to have needed the reaction from the extreme splendor of new
Wenderholme to a simplicity equally extreme. Here, in his den, it must
be admitted that he had passed many of his happiest hours, either in
making artificial flies, or in reading the sort of literature that
suited him; and though the place was so crammed with things that the
occupant could hardly stir, and in such a state of apparent disorder
that no woman would have stayed in it ten minutes, he here found all he
wanted, ready to his hand.

This night, however, not even the little camp-bed that he loved could
give him refreshing sleep; and the leathern cylindrical pillow, on which
his careless head had passed so many hours of perfect oblivion, became
as hard to him morally as it certainly was materially. He found it
utterly impossible to get rest; and after rolling and tossing an hour or
two, and vainly trying to read, finished by getting up and dressing
himself.

It was only one o'clock in the morning, but the Colonel determined to go
out. Unfastening a side door, he was soon in the fresh cool air.

He followed the path behind the house that led to the spot where he had
made his confession to Lady Helena. A strange attraction drew him to it,
and once there, he could not get away. There was no moon, and the
details of the scene before him were not visible in the clear starlight,
but dark mysterious shades indicated the situation of the Hall and its
shrubberies, and the long avenues that led away from it.

And here, in the solitude of the hill, under the silent stars, came upon
John Stanburne the hour and crisis of his agony. Until now he had not
realized the full extent of his misery, and of the desolation that lay
before him. He had _known_ it since five o'clock in the afternoon, but
he felt it now for the first time. As some terrible bodily disease lays
hold of us at first with gentle hands, and causes us little suffering,
but afterwards rages in us, and tears us with intolerable anguish, so it
had been with this man's affliction.

His brain was in a state of unnatural lucidity, casting an electric
light upon every idea that suggested itself. In ordinary life a man of
common powers, he possessed for this hour the insight and the intensity
of genius. He reviewed his life with Lady Helena,--the twenty
years--for it was twenty years!--that they had eaten at the same table,
and lived under the same roof. And in all that long space of a thousand
weeks of marriage, he could not remember a single instance in which she
had been clearly in the wrong. On her side, it now seemed to him, there
had always been intelligence and justice; on his side, a want of
capacity to understand her, and of justice to recognize her merits.
Having now, as I have said, for one hour of excitement, the clear
perceptions of genius, it was plain to him where he had erred; and this
perception so humbled him that he no longer dared to admit the faults
which Lady Helena really had, her constant severity and her lasting
_rancune_. Then came the bitterest hour of all, that of remorse for his
own folly, for his want of conjugal trust in Lady Helena, for his fatal
ambition and pride. How different their life might have been if he had
understood her better from the first! how different if he had lived
within his means! Had he lived within his means, that great foolish
_fête_ would never have been given at Wenderholme, the house would not
have been burned down, the money lavished on its restoration would still
have been in the Funds, and John Stanburne would have kept out of that
fatal Sootythorn Bank. All his ruin was clearly traceable to that fatal
entertainment, and to his expensive ways as a colonel of militia. He saw
now quite clearly that there had never been any real necessity for the
profuse manner in which he had thought it obligatory to do the honor of
his rank. There were rich colonels and there were colonels not so
rich--he might have done things well enough without going beyond his
means. "If I alone suffered from it!" he cried aloud; "but Helena, and
Edith, and my mother!"



CHAPTER V.

THE TWO JACOBS.


The twelve years that have passed since we had the pleasure of seeing
Mrs. Ogden have not deducted from her charms. The reader has doubtless
observed that, notwithstanding the law of change which governs all
sublunary persons and things, there are certain persons, as there are
certain things, which, relatively at least to the rest of their species,
have the enviable privilege of permanence. Mrs. Ogden was like those
precious gems that are found in the sarcophagi of ancient kings, and
which astonish us by their freshness and brilliance, when all around
them bears the impress of death and of decay. One would be tempted to
exclaim, "May my old age be like hers!" were it not that advancing
years, whilst deducting so little from her physical or mental vigor,
have not enriched her mind with a single new idea, or corrected one of
her ancient prejudices. However, though intellectual people may think
there is little use in living unless life is an intellectual advance,
such people as Mrs. Ogden are not at all of that way of thinking, but
seem to enjoy life very well in their own stationary way. There are
intellectual policemen who are always telling us to "keep moving;" but
what if I find a serener satisfaction in standing still? Then, if we
stand still, we are to be insulted, and told that we are rusty, or that
we are getting the "blue-mould." _Et après?_ Suppose we _are_ getting
the blue-mould, what then? So far as may be ascertained by the study of
such instances as Mrs. Ogden, the blue-mould is a great comfort and a
great safeguard to the system--it is moral flannel. Would she have
lasted as she has done without it? I say, it is a solace, amidst the
rapid changes of the body politic, and the new-fangled ideas which take
possession of the heads of ministers, to feel that there is one
personage in these realms who will live on in vigor undiminished, yet
never advance one inch. And when the British Constitution shall be
finally swept away, and the throne itself no more, it will be something
amidst the giddiness of universal experiment to know that in Mrs. Ogden
this country will still possess an example that all is not given over to
mutability.

"Now, young un," said Uncle Jacob, one day at dinner at Milend, "I
reckon you've been writing no letters to that lass at Wendrum; and if
you've written nout, there's no 'arm done. It isn't a match for such a
young felly as you, as 'll have more brass nor Stanburne iver had in his
best days. We 'st 'ave no weddin' wi' bankrupts' dorthers."

"Bankrupts, indeed!" said Mrs. Ogden. "I reckon nout o' bankrupts!
Besides, Stanburne had no need to be a bankrupt if he hadn't been such a
fool. And foolishness runs i' th' blood. Like father, like dorther. Th'
father's been a wastril with his money, and it 's easy to see 'at the
dorther 'ud be none so kerfle."

"Who shalln't have th' chance o' spendin' none o' my brass," said Uncle
Jacob. "Do you yer that, young un? Stanburne dorther shall spend none o'
_my_ brass. If you wed her, yer father 'll 'ave to keep both on ye, an'
all yer chilther beside. He's worth about five hundred a-year, is your
father; and I'm worth--nobody knows what I 'm worth."

Young Jacob knew both his uncle and his grandmother far too intimately
to attempt discussion with either of them; but the news of Colonel
Stanburne's bankruptcy, which in their view had put an end to the dream
of a possible alliance with his daughter, wore a very different aspect
to the young lover. An attachment existed between himself and Edith
Stanburne, of which both were perfectly conscious, and yet nothing had
been said about it openly on either side. Young Jacob Ogden had felt
every year more and more keenly the width of the social gulf which
separated them, though his education at Eton and Oxford and his
constantly increasing prospects of future riches had already begun to
build a bridge across the gulf. Even in his best days Colonel Stanburne
had not been what in Lancashire is considered a rich man; in his best
days, he had been poorer than the leading manufacturers of Sootythorn;
and Jacob Ogden's mill had of itself cost more money than any squire of
Wenderholme had ever possessed, whilst Jacob Ogden had property of many
kinds besides his mill, and a huge lump of money lying by ready for
immediate investment. The superiority in money had therefore for some
years been entirely on the side of the Ogdens; but, although aristocracy
in England is in reality based on wealth, it has a certain poetic sense
which delights also in antiquity and honors. Jacob Ogden and his money
might have been agreeable to the matter-of-fact side of English
aristocratic feeling, but they were unsatisfying to its poetic sense.
Young Jacob was clearly aware of this, and so indeed, in a cruder form,
was his uncle. So long therefore as the Colonel was prosperous, or
apparently prosperous, the Ogdens knew that the obstacles in the way of
a marriage were all but insurmountable, and no proposal had ever been
made. The Colonel's ruin changed the relative situation very
considerably; and, if young Jacob Ogden could have permitted himself to
rejoice in an event so painful to one who had always been kind to him,
he would have rejoiced now. He did, indeed, feel a degree of hope about
Edith Stanburne to which he had been a stranger for some years.

As young Jacob had said nothing in answer to his uncle and his
grandmother, they both gave him credit for a prudent abandonment of his
early dream. There existed, however, between him and his father a much
closer confidence and friendship; and Isaac Ogden (who, notwithstanding
the errors of his earlier life, had the views and feelings of a
gentleman, as well as an especial loyalty and attachment to his
unfortunate friend, the Colonel) encouraged his son in his fidelity. The
materials were thus accumulating for a war in the Ogden family; and
whenever that war shall be declared, we may rely upon it that it will be
prosecuted with great vigor on both sides, for the Ogdens are wilful
people, all of them.

Mr. Isaac has been enjoying excellent health for these last twelve
years, thanks to his vow of total abstinence, to which he still
courageously adheres. A paternal interest in the education of his son
has gradually filled many of the voids in his own education, so that,
without being aware of it himself, he has become really a well-informed
man. His solitary existence at Twistle Farm has been favorable to the
habit of study, and, like all men who have acquired the love of
knowledge, he sees that life may have other aims and other satisfactions
than the interminable accumulation of wealth. Small as may have been his
apparent worldly success, Isaac Ogden has raised himself to a higher
standpoint than his brother Jacob is likely ever to attain. Amongst the
many expressions of sympathy which reached Colonel Stanburne after his
disaster, few pleased him more than the following letter from Twistle
Farm:--

      "MY DEAR COLONEL STANBURNE,--I am truly grieved to hear
      that the failure of the Sootythorn Bank has involved you in
      misfortune. I would have come to Wenderholme to say this
      personally, but it seemed that, under present
      circumstances, you might wish to be alone with your family.
      I hardly know how to say what I wish to say in addition to
      this. For some years I have spent very little, and,
      although my income is small, I find there is a considerable
      balance in my favor with Messrs. ----. If this could be of
      any use to you, pray do not scruple to draw upon my
      bankers, who will be forewarned that you may possibly do
      so. Up to £1,000 you will occasion me no inconvenience,
      and, though this is not much, it might be of temporary
      service.

                             "Yours most faithfully, I. OGDEN."

To this letter the Colonel returned the following reply:--

      "MY DEAR OGDEN,--Your kind letter gave me great pleasure. I
      am greatly obliged by your friendly offer of help, which I
      accept as one brother officer may from another. If, as is
      probable, I find myself in urgent need of a little ready
      money, I will draw upon your bankers, but, of course, not
      to such an extent as would go beyond a reasonable
      probability of repayment.

      "At the last meeting of creditors and shareholders, it
      appeared that, although we are likely to save nothing from
      the wreck, the Bank will probably pay nineteen shillings in
      the pound. This is a great satisfaction.

                             "Yours most truly, J. STANBURNE."



CHAPTER VI.

THE SALE.


The Colonel would not expose himself even to the appearance of flight,
but remained in the neighborhood manfully, and went personally to
Manchester, before the court of bankruptcy, through which he passed very
easily. His name then appeared in the Manchester papers, and in the
"Sootythorn Gazette," in the list of bankrupts.

Bailiffs were in possession of the house and estate of Wenderholme, and
Mr. Jacob Ogden foreclosed his mortgages, by which he became owner of a
fair portion of the land.

Finally, Wenderholme Hall and the remainder of the estate, including the
Cottage, in which Mrs. Stanburne still resided, were sold by auction in
the large room at the Thorn Inn at Sootythorn--the very place which the
Colonel's regiment of militia was accustomed to use as a mess-room.

Little had John Stanburne or his officers foreseen, whilst there
consuming Mr. Garley's substantial dinners, that the hammer of the
auctioneer would one day there transfer Wenderholme from the name of
Stanburne to another name--to what name?

The room was crowded. The sale was known all over Lancashire and
Yorkshire. Competitors had come even from distant counties. Wenderholme
had been a famous place since the fire, and the magnificent restoration
which had succeeded to the fire. Drawings of it had appeared in the
"Illustrated London News," and, since the failure of the Sootythorn
Bank, the creditors had cunningly caused a volume to be made in which
the whole place was fully illustrated and described. This volume they
had widely circulated.

The sale had been announced for eight o'clock in the evening, and at ten
minutes after eight precisely the auctioneer mounted his rostrum. He
made a most elaborate speech, in which (with the help of the volume
above mentioned) he went over every room in the house, describing, with
vulgar magniloquence, all those glories which had cost John Stanburne so
dear.

There was one person present to whom the description can hardly have
been very agreeable. John Stanburne himself, from anxiety to know the
future possessor, and the amount realized, had quietly entered the room
unperceived, for every one was looking at the auctioneer. He had
stationed himself near the wall, and there bore the infliction of this
torture, his hat over his eyes.

At length all this eloquence had run dry, and the business of the
evening began. The place was put up at £30,000, and no bid was to be
made of less than £1,000 over its predecessor. The first two or three
bids were made by persons with whom this history has no concern, but
that for £35,000 was made by our friend Mr. John Stedman. Some one
present called out "thirty-six," on which Mr. Stedman replied
"thirty-seven," and there he ceased to bid. He knew that this was the
value of the remaining estate;[20] he did not want the house. Philip
Stanburne whispered something in his ear, after which he cried
"forty-two," the last bid having been forty-one. After that he made no
further offer, and Philip Stanburne's countenance fell.

The bidding hitherto had been strictly of the nature of investment, but
now the seekers after an eligible investment retired from the field,
except one or two dealers in estates who intended to sell the place
again, at a profit, by private contract, and who looked upon its
architectural and other beauties as marketable qualities. These men went
on to £47,000. The place had now reached what was called a "fancy
price."

There was a man of rather short stature, with fair hair, a closely
shaven face, a greasy cap on his head, a velveteen jacket on his back,
and the rest of his person clothed in old corduroy. Fluffs of cotton
were sticking about him, and he presented the general appearance of a
rather respectable operative. He stood immediately before Philip
Stanburne, who did not see his face, and was rather surprised to hear
him call out, "Forty-eight."

"Forty-eight, gentlemen!" cried the auctioneer; "going at forty-eight
thousand--forty-nine? Forty-nine--going at forty-nine! Come, who says
fifty?--we must round the number, you know, gentlemen--who says fifty?
Going, going--forty-nine--only forty-nine, going--going"--

The man in the greasy cap said, "Fifty," and the auctioneer, after the
usual delays, hearing no other voice amidst the breathless silence of
the room, struck the decisive blow with his little hammer, and
Wenderholme was sold.

Then the auctioneer beckoned to him the man in the greasy cap, and said
in broad Lancashire, and in a tone of somewhat contemptuous familiarity,
"You mun go and tell them as sent you here as they'll have to pay hup
one-third as deposit-money. One-third o' fifty thousand pound is sixteen
thousand six hundred and sixty-six pound, thirteen and four-pence, and
that's what them as sent you here has got to pay hup. You can recklect
that. It's all sixes, nobbut the one to start wi' and th' odd
shillings."

The man in the greasy cap smiled quietly, and took out an old
pocket-book. "You've got a pen and ink?"

"I'll write it down for ye, if ye like. And stop--tell me th' name o'
them as sent ye."

"There's no need; you'll know it soon enough." And the man in the greasy
cap took out a cheque-book, wrote a cheque, filled it, signed it,
crossed it, and handed it to the auctioneer. The name signed was "Jacob
Ogden," now owner of Wenderholme.

When the auctioneer perceived his error (for the name of Ogden was now
mighty in the land), he was covered with confusion, and profuse in
perspiration and apology. Jacob affected to forgive him, but in truth he
had little to forgive, for no incident could have been more exquisitely
agreeable to his feelings. To stand there in public, and in the dress he
usually wore at the mill, to sign a heavy cheque, to buy a fine estate,
to feel himself the most important man in the room, to be, in his greasy
cap and velveteen jacket, the envied man, the observed of all observers,
was for him a triumph sweeter than is the triumph of some fair lady,
who, in her diamonds and her lace, and her exquisite cleanliness, shines
in some great assembly with the purity of a lily and the splendor of a
star.



CHAPTER VII.

A FRUGAL SUPPER.


Mrs. Ogden was sitting up for her son Jacob that night, and she had
prepared him a little supper of toasted cheese. She had no positive
knowledge of the object of his journey to Sootythorn. She was aware that
Wenderholme would be sold by auction one of these days, but she did not
know exactly whether her son intended to bid for it. There was not much
talk generally between the two about the great financial matters--their
money-talk ran chiefly upon minutiæ, such as the wages of a servant or
the purchase of a cow.

Notwithstanding the great increase of their riches, the mother and son
still lived at Milend in their old simple manner. Mrs. Ogden still made
all Jacob's shirts and stockings, and still did a great deal of the
cooking. The habits of her life had been formed many years before, and
she could not endure to depart from them, even when the departure would
have been an increase to her comfort. Thus she continued to keep only
one girl as a servant, and did most of the work of the house with her
own hands. Her happiness depended upon abundance and regularity of
occupation; and she acted much more wisely in keeping up the activity of
her habits, even though these habits may have been in themselves
somewhat inconsistent with her pecuniary position, than she would have
done if she had exposed herself to the certain _ennui_ of attempting to
play the fine lady.

The girl was gone to bed when Jacob Ogden came back from Sootythorn, and
his mother was seated by the kitchen-fire, darning one of his stockings
and superintending the toasted cheese. The kitchen at Milend was a clean
and spacious room, with stone floor nicely sanded, and plenty of hams
and oat-cakes hanging from the ceiling. There was a great clock too in
one corner, with shining case, and a rubicund figure above the dial, by
which were represented the phases of the moon.

The old lady had laid out a small supper-table in the kitchen, and when
Jacob came back she told him he was to have his supper there, "for th'
fire 'ad gone out i' th' parlor."

So he sat down to eat his toasted cheese, which was a favorite supper of
his, and whilst he was eating, his mother took a little oatmeal-porridge
with treacle. She rather feared the effects of toasted cheese, believing
porridge to be more easily digested.

Neither one nor the other said any thing about the object of the journey
to Sootythorn during supper, and there was nothing in Jacob's face to
indicate either extraordinary news or unusual elation. In fact, so
accustomed was Jacob Ogden to purchasing estates, that he had little of
the feeling of elation which attends the young beginner; and after that
momentary triumph at Garley's Hotel, any excitement which he may have
felt had subsided, and left in his mind no other feeling than the old
spirit of calculation. It was the very first time in his life that he
had gone beyond the principle of investment, and paid something over and
above for the mere gratification of his fancy or his pride, and his
reflections were not of unmixed self-congratulation. "Anyhow," he said
to himself, "it'll be Ogden of Wendrum, J.P."

However late Jacob Ogden took his supper, he must necessarily smoke his
pipe after it (one pipe), and drink his glass of grog. His mother
usually went to bed as soon as the water boiled, but this evening she
kept moving about in the kitchen, first finding one little thing to set
to rights, and then another. At last she stood still in the middle of
the floor, and said,--

"Our Jacob!"

"What, mother?"

"Wherestabeen?"[21]

"Why, you knoan that weel enough, I reckon. I'n been Sootythorn road."

"And what 'as ta been doin'?"

"Nowt nobbut what's reet."[22]

"What 'as there been at Sootythorn?"

"There's been a sale."

"'An[23] they been sellin' a mill?"

"Noah."

"And what _'an_ they been sellin'?"

"Wendrum 'All."

"And who's bout it?"

"I have."

"And what 'an ye gin for't?"

"Fifty thousand."

"Why, it's ta mich by th' 'auve!"

"'Appen."

Notwithstanding the laconic form of the conversation, Mrs. Ogden felt a
strong desire to talk over the matter rather more fully, and to that end
seated herself on the other side the kitchen-fire.

"Jacob," she said, as she looked him steadily in the face, "I never knew
thee part wi' thy brass b'out five pussent. How will ta get five pussent
out o' Wendrum 'All for the fifty thousand?"

"Why, mother, there's investments for brass, and there's investments for
pasition. I dunnot reckon to get so much interest out o' Wendrum, but
it'll be Ogden o' Wendrum, J.P."

"Well, now, Jacob, that's what I call spendin' your money for pride!"
Mrs. Ogden said this solemnly, and in as pure English as she could
command.

"Why, and what if it is? There's plenty more where that coom from. What
signifies?"

"And shall you be going to live at Wendrum 'All, Jacob? _I_ willn't go
there--indeed I willn't; I'll stop at Milend. Why, you'll require ever
so many servants. They tell me there's twenty fires to light! And what
will become o' the mill when you're over at Wendrum?"

Mrs. Ogden's face wore an expression of trouble and dissatisfaction. Her
eyebrows rose higher than usual, and her forehead displayed more
wrinkles. But Jacob knew that this was her way, and that in her inmost
soul she was not a little gratified at the idea of being the Lady of
Wenderholme. For as an ambitious ecclesiastic, promoted to the episcopal
throne, rejoices not openly, but affects a decent unwillingness and an
overwhelming sense of the responsibilities of his office, so Mrs. Ogden,
at every advance in her fortunes, sang her own little _nolumus
episcopari_.

"Why, it's thirty miles off, is Wendrum," she went on, complainingly;
"and there's no railway; and you'll never get there and back in a day.
One thing's plain, you'll never manage the mill and the estate too."

"All the land between this 'ere mill and Wendrum 'All is mine," said
Jacob, with conscious dignity; "and I mean to make a road, mother,
across the hill from the mill to Wendrum 'All. It'll be nine mile
exactly. And I'll have a telegraph from th' countin'-house to my
sittin'-room at Wendrum. And I shall take little Jacob into partnership,
and when one Jacob's i' one spot t'other Jacob 'll be i' t'other spot.
Recklect there's two Jacobs, mother."

"Well, I reckon you'll do as you like, whatever _I_ say. But _I_'ll go
non to Wendrum. I'll stop 'ere at Shayton while I live (it 'appen
willn't be for long)--I'm a Shayton woman bred and born."

"Nonsense, mother. You'll go to Wendrum, and ride over to Milend in your
carriage!"

Mrs. Ogden's face assumed an expression of unfeigned amazement.

"A cayridge! a cayridge! Why, what is th' lad thinkin' about now! I
think we shall soon be ridin' into prison. Did ever anybody hear the
like?"

There is a curious superstition about carriage-keeping which Mrs. Ogden
fully shared. It is thought to be the most extravagant, though the most
respectable, way of spending money; and an annual outlay which, if
dissipated in eating and drinking, or Continental tours, would excite no
remark, is considered extravagance if spent on a comfortable vehicle to
drive about in one's own neighborhood. Thus Mrs. Ogden considered her
son's proposition as revolutionary--as an act of secession from the
simplicity of faith and practice which had been their rule of life and
the tradition of their family. In short, it produced much the same
effect upon her mind as if the Shayton parson had proposed to buy a
gilded dalmatic and chasuble.

"There's folk," said Mrs. Ogden, with the air of an oracle--"there's
folk as are foolish when they are young, and grow wiser as they advance
in years. But there's other folk that is wise in their youth, to be
foolish and extravagant at an age when they ought to know better." She
evidently was losing her faith in the prudence of her son Jacob. When
they had parted for the night, and Mrs. Ogden got into her bed, the last
thing she uttered as she stood with her night-cap on, in her long white
night-gown, was the following brief ejaculation:--

"A cayridge! a cayridge! What are we comin' to now!"

But the last thing uncle Jacob thought, as he settled his head on his
lonely pillow, was, "It'll be Ogden of Wendrum, J.P."



CHAPTER VIII.

AT CHESNUT HILL.


We return to Garley's Hotel at the conclusion of the sale.

Philip Stanburne had recognized the Colonel, and gone up to him to shake
hands. He had not seen him before since the downfall of the Sootythorn
Bank, though he had written a very feeling letter, in which he had
begged his friend to make use of Stanithburn Peel so long as he might
care to remain in Yorkshire. Indeed the Colonel had received many such
letters.

Mr. Stedman, on looking about for Philip, saw him with the Colonel, and
joined them.

"Where are you staying, Colonel Stanburne?" asked Mr. Stedman.

"I have been staying with my mother lately at Wenderholme Cottage. I
have persuaded her to remain there. It is better, I think, that an old
lady should not be obliged to change all her habits. I hope the new
owner will allow her to remain. She will have very good neighbors in the
Prigleys. I gave the living of Wenderholme to Mr. Prigley when the old
vicar died, about three months since. He used to be the incumbent of
Shayton."

"It will be a great advance for Mr. Prigley. Shayton was a poor living,
but I have heard that Wenderholme is much better."

"Wenderholme is worth seven hundred a-year. The Prigleys have been very
poor for many years, with their numerous family and the small income
they had at Shayton. I am very glad," the Colonel added, with rather a
melancholy smile, "that I was able to do this for them before my own
ill-luck overtook me. A few months later I should have missed the
chance."

"Do you return to Wenderholme to-night? It is late, is it not?"

"No; I mean to sleep here in the hotel."

"Would you accept a bed at Chesnut Hill, Colonel Stanburne? Philip is
staying with me."

The Colonel was only too glad to spend the rest of his evening with two
real friends, and they were soon in the comfortable dining-room at
Chesnut Hill. The Colonel had often met Mr. Stedman, who had stayed once
or twice for a night or two at Wenderholme; and he had dined a few times
at Chesnut Hill, and had stayed all night, so that the house was not
altogether strange to him; though, since he had repeatedly met with Mr.
Stedman at Sootythorn and at Stanithburn Peel (where during the last
twelve years he had been a frequent visitor), he knew the owner of the
mansion much more intimately than the mansion itself.

Ever since the death of poor Alice, a warm friendship had united her
father and Philip Stanburne--a friendship which had been beneficial to
them both. Each was still sincerely attached to his own convictions, but
the great sorrow which they had suffered in common had drawn them
together, and Mr. Stedman considered the younger man as nearly related
to him as if the intended marriage had actually taken place. Their loss
had been of that kind which time may enable us to accept as an
inevitable void in our existence, but which no amount of habit can ever
obliterate from the memory. Philip still remembered that conversation
with Alice in which she had begged him not to desert her father in his
old age; and Mr. Stedman, on his part, felt that every kindness which he
could show to the man whom his daughter had loved was a kindness to
Alice herself. So there was a paternal and filial tie between these two;
and though, after Alice's death, Philip had resumed his solitary
existence at Stanithburn, and Mr. Stedman continued his business as a
cotton manufacturer (for he felt the need of some binding occupation),
they made use of each other's houses, as is done by the nearest
relatives; and Mr. Stedman spent many a summer day in botanizing about
Stanithburn, whilst his friend, when on duty in the militia, always
billeted himself at Chesnut Hill.

"What is the last news about our poor friend Anison?" the Colonel asked,
when the three were comfortably seated in Mr. Stedman's easy-chairs.

"It cannot be very good news, but it is as good as can be expected. His
works and Arkwright Lodge were sold by auction three days since, at
Whittlecup."

"And who bought them?"

"The same man, Colonel Stanburne, who purchased Wenderholme this
evening--Jacob Ogden of Shayton."

"They must be rich, those Ogdens. I know his brother Isaac very well,
and his nephew is a great friend of mine, but I really know nothing of
this Jacob."

"He is the only rich one in the family, but he _is_ a rich one. He made
a great bargain at Whittlecup. He gave twenty thousand for Anison's
works, with every thing in them in working order; and to my certain
knowledge, Joseph Anison had a capital of thirteen thousand sunk in
copper rollers alone.[24] He paid four thousand for Arkwright Lodge.
It's dirt cheap. The house alone cost more than that, and there's thirty
acres of excellent land. I wish I'd bought it myself. I missed it by not
going to that sale; but Philip and I wanted to bid for Wenderholme, and
we stayed away from Whittlecup so as to keep out of temptation."

"And what do you think Mr. Anison will do?"

"He asked Jacob Ogden to let him remain at Whittlecup and manage the
works for a very moderate salary, but Jacob declined; and in doing so he
did what I never heard of him doing before--he acted directly against
his own interest. He'll never get such a manager as Anison would have
been, but he refused him out of spite. Twelve years ago Madge Anison
jilted Jacob Ogden, just when my daughter died. He made her pay up a
thousand for breach of promise. She's an old maid now, or something very
like one, for she's over thirty-three; but Jacob Ogden hasn't forgiven
her for jiltin' him, and never will. Last news I had of Joseph Anison,
he was seeking a situation in Manchester, and his three girls 'll have
to seek situations too. It 's a bad job there isn't one of 'em
married--they were as fine lasses as a man need set his eyes on, and in
their father's good time they'd scores of offers, but either they looked
too high or else they were very difficult to suit, for they never hooked
on, somehow."

Philip Stanburne knew rather more about Madge Anison by this time than
Mr. Stedman did, and could have enlightened his friends concerning her
had he been so minded. The young lady had thrown Jacob Ogden over, as
the reader is already aware, for no other purpose than to leave herself
free for Philip Stanburne on his return from the Continent after the
death of Alice. When he visited his friends at Arkwright Lodge, Miss
Anison had not had the degree of prudence necessary to conceal her
designs, and Philip (to his intense disgust, for all his thoughts were
with the gentle creature he had so recently lost) perceived that he was
the object which Margaret had in view. A young lady can scarcely commit
a greater mistake than to make advances to a man so saddened as Philip
was then; for in such a condition of mind he has not the buoyancy of
spirit necessary for a flirtation, and it is only through a flirtation
that he can be led to pay his addresses in earnest. Poor Margaret had
fatally under-estimated the duration of Philip Stanburne's sorrow, and
also the keenness of his perceptions. For instead of his being less
observant and easier to manage than he had been before that episode in
his life, it had so wrought upon his intellect and his feelings as to be
equivalent to the experience of years. In a word, her project had ended
in total failure, and the sense of this failure gave a certain petulance
and irritability to her manner, and lent a sharpness of sarcasm to her
tongue, which did not induce other gentlemen to aspire to that happiness
which Philip had refused. So she was Margaret Anison still, and at the
present period of our story was trying, not very successfully, to obtain
a situation in Manchester.

It was Mr. Stedman's custom, as in Lancashire it is the custom of his
class, to have a little supper about nine or ten o'clock--a pleasant and
sociable meal, though not always quite suitable to persons of feeble
digestion. Colonel Stanburne, on the other hand, according to the custom
of _his_ class, dined substantially at seven, and took nothing later
except tobacco-smoke. This evening, however, he was in a position to
conform to the custom of Chesnut Hill; for though he had dined at Mr.
Garley's an hour before the time fixed for the sale, he had felt so
melancholy about it, and so anxious to know who would be the future
possessor of his home, that he had eaten a very poor dinner indeed. But
now that the thing was decided, and that he found himself with two such
kind and faithful friends (whose manner to him was exactly the same as
it had been in the days of his prosperity), John Stanburne's naturally
powerful appetite reasserted itself at the expense of Mr. Stedman's cold
roast-beef, which, with plenty of pickles and mashed potatoes, formed
the staple of the repast.

The Colonel was already beginning to learn the great art of miserable
men--the art which enables them to gain in hours of comparative
happiness the energy and elasticity necessary for future times of
trial--the art of laying unhappiness aside like a pinching boot, and of
putting their weary feet into the soft slippers of a momentary
contentment. Wenderholme was sold--it belonged to Mr. Jacob Ogden; why
think of Wenderholme any more? The Colonel actually succeeded in
dismissing the matter from his thoughts for at least five minutes at a
time, till a sort of pang would come upon his heart, and he rapidly
asked himself what the pang meant, and then he knew that it meant
Wenderholme.

One very curious consequence of the great event of that day was this,
that whereas the last time he had been to Chesnut Hill (in the days of
his prosperity) the place had seemed to him both vulgar and unenviable,
he now appreciated certain qualities about the place which before had
been by him altogether imperceptible. For example, when he was rich,
mere comfort had never been one of his objects. Having the power to
create it wherever he might happen to be, he had often done very well
without it, and his rooms in barracks, or his den in his own mansion,
had been often very destitute thereof. But now that it had become highly
probable that comfort would soon be beyond his reach, he began to awaken
to a perception of it. The warm red flock-paper on Mr. Stedman's
dining-room wall, the good carpet on the floor, the clean white
table-cloth, the comfortable morocco-covered chairs--all these things
began to attract his attention in quite a novel and remarkable manner.
And yet hitherto he had continued to live like a gentleman, therefore,
what will it be, I wonder, when he is reduced a good deal lower in the
world?

When they had done supper, and were drinking the inevitable grog, Mr.
Stedman said to the Colonel,--

"I hope you will forgive me if I am guilty of any indiscretion, Colonel
Stanburne, but you know you are with sincere friends. May I ask what
your own plans are?"

Mr. Stedman's age, and his evident good-will, made the question less an
indiscretion than an acceptable proof of kindness, and the Colonel took
it in that way. "My dear Mr. Stedman," he said in answer, "you know a
position like mine is very embarrassing. I am getting on in life--I mean
I am getting oldish; I never had a profession by which money could be
earned, you know, though I have been in the army, but that 's not a
trade to live by. As to the colonelcy of the militia, the
lord-lieutenant has my resignation. No, I can't see any thing very
clearly just now. The only thing I'm fit for is driving a public coach."

Philip Stanburne said, "Why did you refuse to come and live at the Peel?
You would have been very welcome--you would be welcome still." It was
already publicly understood that the Colonel and Lady Helena were
separated, and that Miss Stanburne would either follow her ladyship to
Lord Adisham's, or remain with her old grandmother.

"My dear Philip," the Colonel said, very sadly and affectionately,
laying his hand on Philip's hand--"my dear Philip, if I were quite old
and done for, I would have no false pride. I would come to the Peel and
live with you, and you should buy me a suit of clothes once every two
years, and give me a little tobacco, and a sovereign or two for
pocket-money. I would take all this from you. But you see, Philip,
though I'm not a clever man, and though I really have no profession,
still my bodily health and strength are left to me, thank God; and so
long as I have these, I think it is my duty to try in some way
to earn my living for myself. You know that Helena and I are
separated--everybody seems to know it now. Well, I got a letter from her
father this morning, in which--but stop, I'll show you the letter
itself. Will you read it, Mr. Stedman?"

      "DEAR SIR,--My daughter Helena desires me to say to you,
      that as you shared your means with her in the time of your
      prosperity, so it is her desire that you should share her
      income now in your adversity. A sum of three hundred a-year
      will therefore be paid to your credit at any banker's you
      may be pleased to name.

                    "Your obedient servant, ADISHAM."

"Well," said Mr. Stedman, "you may still live very comfortably as a
single man on such an income as three hundred a-year. It is a great deal
of money."

"I have accepted Lady Helena's offer, but not for myself. I will not
touch one penny of Lord Adisham's allowance. I have told the banker to
pay it over to my mother, whom I have ruined. She has not a penny in the
world. However, you see Helena is provided for, since she is living at
Lord Adisham's (a very good house to live in), and my mother is provided
for, and between them they will keep Edith till I can do something for
her; so my mind is easy about these three ladies, and I 've nobody to
provide for but myself. Any man with a sound constitution ought to be
able to earn his bread. You see, Philip, my mind is made up. There is
still, notwithstanding my misfortune, a spirit of independence in me
which will not permit me to live upon the kindness of my friends. But I
am very greatly obliged both to you and others--to you more especially."

"Well, Colonel, haven't I a right to offer you some assistance? Are we
not relations?"

The Colonel looked at Philip with tender affection, and gently pressed
his hand. Then he said to Mr. Stedman: "This young friend of yours never
called me a relation of his when I was prosperous, but now when I am a
poor man he claims me. Isn't he an eccentric fellow, to lay claim to a
poor relation?"

The next morning at breakfast-time the Colonel did not appear. The
servant said he had risen very early, and left a note.

      "MY DEAR AND KIND FRIENDS,--I came to a decision in the
      middle of the night, but will not just now tell you what it
      is. The decision having been come to, I am determined to
      act upon it at once, and leave Chesnut Hill to catch the
      early train. Pray excuse this, and believe me, with much
      gratitude for all your kindness,

                      "Yours most truly, JOHN STANBURNE."



CHAPTER IX.

OGDEN OF WENDERHOLME.


The Ogdens did not go to live at Wenderholme for a long time, indeed
Mrs. Ogden did not even go to see the place; but her son Jacob went over
one day in a gig, and, in the course of his stay of a few hours, settled
more points of detail than a country gentleman would have settled in a
month. He planted an agent there, and took on several of Colonel
Stanburne's outdoor servants, including all his gamekeepers, but for the
present did not seem inclined to make any use of Wenderholme as a
residence. He had been present at the sale of the furniture, where he
had bought every thing belonging to the principal rooms, except a few
old cabinets and chairs, and other odd matters, of which the reader may
hear more in a future chapter.

It had always been a characteristic of the Ogdens not to be in a hurry
to enjoy. They would wait, and wait, for any of the good things of this
world--perhaps to prolong the sweet time of anticipation, perhaps simply
because the habit of saving, so firmly ingrained in their natures, is
itself a habit of waiting and postponing enjoyment in favor of ulterior
aims. But in the case of Wenderholme, the habit of postponing a pleasure
was greatly helped by an especial kind of pride. Both Jacob Ogden and
his mother were proud to a degree which may sometimes have been
equalled, but can never have been surpassed, by the proudest chiefs of
the aristocracy. Their pride, as I have said, was of a peculiar kind,
and consisted far more in an intense satisfaction with themselves and
their own ways, than in any ambition to be thought, or to become,
different from what they were. Now, it would not have been possible to
imagine any thing more exquisitely agreeable to this pride of theirs
than that Wenderholme Hall should be _treated as an appendage to
Milend_, that the great kitchen-gardens at Wenderholme should supply
vegetables, and the hothouse grapes, to the simple table in the little
plain house at Shayton. It was delightful to Mrs. Ogden to be able to
say, in a tone of assumed indifference or semi-disapproval, "Since our
Jacob bought Wenderholme, he's always been wishin' me to go to see
it--and they say it's a very fine place--but I don't want to go to see
it; Milend is good enough for me." If the hearer expressed a natural
degree of astonishment, Mrs. Ogden was inwardly delighted, but showed no
sign of it on her countenance. On the contrary, her eyebrows would go
up, and the wrinkles upon her forehead would assume quite a melancholy
appearance, and her stony gray eyes would look out drearily into
vacancy. In short, the impression which both Jacob Ogden and his mother
wished to produce upon all their friends and acquaintances after the
purchase of Wenderholme was, that the mansion and estate of the
Stanburnes could add nothing to the importance of the family at Milend.

So pleasant was it to Mrs. Ogden to be able to say that she had never
been to Wenderholme that, although she burned with curiosity to behold
its magnificence, she restrained herself month after month. Meanwhile
her son Jacob was getting forward very rapidly with a project he had
entertained for twelve years--that is, ever since the idea of purchasing
Wenderholme had first shaped itself in his mind--the road from his mills
in Shayton to the house at Wenderholme, direct across the moors. He set
about this with the energy of a little Napoleon (Emerson tells us that
the natural chiefs of our industrial classes are all little Napoleons),
and in a few weeks the road existed. Posts were set up on the side of
it, and a telegraphic wire connected the counting-house at Ogden's mill
with a certain little room in Wenderholme Hall, which he destined for
his private use.

Even already, though Jacob Ogden is still quietly living at Milend, he
knows incomparably more about the Wenderholme property than John
Stanburne ever knew, or any of John Stanburne's ancestors before him. He
knows the precise condition of every field, or part of a field, and what
is to be done to it. Even in such a matter as gardening, the gardener
finds him uncheatable, though how he acquired that knowledge is a
mystery, for you can hardly call that a "garden" at Milend.

It follows, from all these valuable qualifications of Mr. Jacob Ogden,
that he was likely to be an excellent Mentor for such a youth as his
nephew, destined to have to support the cares, and see his way through
the perplexities, of property. And he took him seriously in hand about
this time, with the consent of the lad's father, who was well aware that
without experience in affairs his boy's education could not (in any but
the narrow sense of the word, as it is used by pedagogues) be considered
to be complete.

Young Jacob had to get up regularly at five in the morning and accompany
his uncle to the mill, where he saw the hands enter. After this, his
time was divided between the counting-house and overlooking; but his
duty at the mill was very frequently broken by orders from his uncle to
go and inspect the improvements which were in progress on his various
estates, especially, at this particular time, the road from Shayton to
Wenderholme. The youth made these journeys on horseback, and, being
uncommonly well mounted, accomplished them more rapidly than his uncle
Jacob, with all his shrewdness, ever calculated upon. In this way the
inspection of the new road permitted very frequent visits to Wenderholme
Cottage, where, for the present, Miss Edith resided with her
grandmother.



CHAPTER X.

YOUNG JACOB AND EDITH.


The state of affairs between Edith and young Jacob was this. Nothing had
been said of marriage, but their attachment was as perfectly understood
between them as if it had been openly expressed. The misfortune of their
situation had been, that although many circumstances had been decidedly
favorable to them, it had never been possible to unite all the favorable
circumstances together at the same time, so as to get themselves
formally engaged. In the days of Colonel Stanburne's splendor and
prosperity the Milend influence had been openly encouraging, but Lady
Helena had warned Edith in such a decided way against allowing herself
to form a plebeian attachment, the allusion to young Jacob being (as it
was intended to be) as intelligible as if she had named him, that it had
been considered prudent by both the lovers to refrain from compromising
the future by precipitation, and they had waited in the hope that, by
the pressure of constantly increasing riches, her ladyship's opposition
might finally be made to give way. If Colonel Stanburne had continued
prosperous, the Milend influence was so strongly, even eagerly, in favor
of the alliance, that it would have subsidized its candidate very
largely; and as its power of subsidizing increased every day, it was
evident that, by simply waiting, his prospects would steadily improve.
But the Colonel's ruin, utter and hopeless as it was, had set the Milend
influence on the other side; and nobody who knew the obstinacy of Jacob
Ogden in opposition, and the relentless lengths to which he would go to
get himself obeyed, or to inflict punishment on those who had opposed
him, could doubt that, if his nephew refused compliance in this
instance, it would be equivalent to a total renunciation of his
prospects.

Edith Stanburne had inherited much of her mother's perspicacity, with
the Colonel's frank and genial manner. Some people, Mrs. Prigley amongst
the number, disapproved of Edith's manner, and considered her a "bold
girl," because she looked people straight in the face, and had not yet
learned the necessity for dissimulating her sentiments. But what
experienced man of the world would not give half his subtlety for that
boldness which comes from the perfect harmony of our nature with its
surroundings? Why, that is simply a definition of happiness itself! When
we have learned to be careful, it is because we have perceived that
between our real selves and the world around us there is so little
harmony that they would clash continually, so we invent a false
artificial self that may be in harmony with the world, and make it live
our outward life for us, talk for us in drawing-rooms and at the
dinner-table, and go through the weary round of public pleasures and
observances.

It is the worst possible sign of approaching unhappiness when courage
begins to give way, and this hour had come for Edith. Young Jacob,
relying upon the speed of his horse, had, on one or two occasions,
prolonged his visits to Wenderholme Cottage long enough to excite his
uncle's suspicions. Jacob Ogden inquired whether Miss Stanburne was with
her mother at Lord Adisham's, or with her grandmother at Wenderholme.
The young man said he "believed" she was with her grandmother.

"Oh, you 'believe,' do you, young un? Cannot you tell me for certain?"

Young Jacob was no match for his keen-eyed relations at Milend, who saw
through the whole matter in a minute.

"That horse o' yours is a fast un, little Jacob, but it isn't quite
sharp enough to make up for three hours' courtin' at Wendrum."

The next day young Jacob was sent to look over works in a totally
opposite direction; and as he had a good many measurements to take,
there was no chance of getting any time to himself. Twenty-four hours
later Miss Stanburne received the following letter:--

      "MADAM,--I have discovered that my nephew has been idling
      his time away at Wenderholme Cottage. You may, perhaps,
      know how he was occupied. Excuse me if I say that, if my
      nephew idles his time away at Wenderholme Cottage, _he will
      never be a rich man_.

                           "Yours truly, JACOB OGDEN."

The note was very intelligible, and the consequence of it was, that
Edith resolved to sacrifice herself. "I love him too much," she said,
"to ruin him."

The reader may remember one Jerry Smethurst whom Isaac Ogden met at
Whittlecup when on duty in the militia, and with whom he got drunk for
the last time. It is twelve years since then, a long interval in any
place, but an especially long interval in Shayton, where _delirium
tremens_ carries off the mature males with a rapidity elsewhere unknown.
There had been hundreds of deaths from drinking in that township since
1853; and of all the jolly companions who used to meet at the Red Lion,
the only one remaining was the proprietor of Twistle Farm. James
Hardcastle, the innkeeper, was dead; Seth Schofield was in Shayton
churchyard, and so was Jerry Smethurst. A new generation was drinking
itself to death in that parlor, served by another landlord.

Most of these worthies had ruined themselves in fortune as in health.
Men cannot spend their time in public-houses without their business
feeling the effects of it; and they cannot fuddle their intellects with
beer and brandy and preserve their clearness for arithmetic. So, as the
prosperity of a society is the prosperity of the individuals composing
it, Shayton was not a very prosperous locality, and, in comparison with
Sootythorn, lagged wofully behindhand in the race. A few men, however,
managed somehow to reconcile business and the brandy-bottle, and the
most successful conciliator of pleasure and affairs had been the notable
Jerry Smethurst. He managed it by never drinking any thing before the
mill was closed; drink, to him, was the reward of the labors of the day,
and not their accompaniment. His constitution had been strong enough to
resist this double strain of laborious days and convivial evenings for a
much longer time than Dr. Bardly ever expected; and when the end came,
which it did by a single attack of _delirium tremens_, succeeded by a
fit of apoplexy (the patient had always apprehended apoplexy), Mr.
Smethurst's affairs were found to be in admirable order, and his only
daughter, then a fine girl of fourteen, became heiress to an extensive
mill and a quantity of building land, as well as many shops and
tenements in the interior of the town which would infallibly increase in
value. In a word, Sarah Smethurst was worth forty thousand now, and
would be worth a hundred thousand in twenty years; so that, as the
charms of her youth faded, the man fortunate enough to win her might
count upon a progressive compensation in the increase of her estate.

Jacob Ogden, senior, was very accurately acquainted with Miss
Smethurst's property, and could calculate its future value to a nicety.
He had the best opportunities for knowing these matters, being one of
Jerry Smethurst's trustees. When Colonel Stanburne was a rich man, Jacob
Ogden would have preferred Miss Stanburne for his nephew to any girl in
Sally Smethurst's position; for though nobody could love and appreciate
money more than Jacob did, he wished to see his nephew take a higher
place in society than money of itself would be able to procure for him.
As in mixing a glass of grog the time comes when we want no more spirit,
but turn our attention to the sugar-basin, although there can be no
doubt that the spirit is the main thing (since without it the glass
would be nothing but _eau sucrée_), so, when we want to make that
composite of perfections, a gentleman, there is a time when money is no
longer needed, though that is the main element of his strength, and we
turn our attention to the sugar-basin of the _comme il faut_. When Jacob
Ogden, senior, was favorable to the Wenderholme match, it was not so
much on account of Miss Stanburne's money as on account of her decided
position as a young lady of the aristocracy; and when the Colonel was
ruined, he did not disapprove of the match because Miss Stanburne would
have no fortune, but because her position as member of a county family
had been upset by her father's bankruptcy.

Well, if the lad could not marry like a gentleman, he should marry like
a prince among cotton-spinners, and contract alliance with a princess of
his own order. Sally Smethurst was such a princess. Therefore it was
decided that young Jacob should espouse Sally Smethurst.

And a very nice lass she was, too--a nice fat lass, with cheeks like a
milkmaid, that anybody might have been glad to kiss. Mrs. Ogden invited
her to stop at Milend, and young Jacob saw her every day. But the effect
of this acquaintance was precisely contrary to uncle Jacob's plans and
intentions. Sally had never been out of Shayton in her life, except to a
school at Lytham, and she had not a word to say. Neither was her
deportment graceful. A good lass enough, and well to do, but not the
woman with whom an intelligent man would be anxious to pass his
existence.

The image of Miss Stanburne, already somewhat idealized by absence, was
elevated to the divine by this contrast. There is no surer way of making
a noble youth worship some noble maiden, than by presenting to him a
virgin typical of the commonplace, and ordering him to marry her. Edith
became henceforth the object of young Jacob's ardent and chivalrous
adoration. Two fortunes--his uncle's and Sally Smethurst's--making in
the aggregate a prodigious heap of money, were offered to him as the
reward of infidelity, and the higher the bribe rose, the higher rose his
spirit of resistance.

Sally had come to Milend on a Wednesday. She was to stay Sunday over,
and go to Shayton Church with the Ogdens. On Saturday night, at
tea-time, young Jacob declared his intention of going to Twistle Farm.

"Why, and willn't ye stop Sunday with us and Miss Smethurst, and go to
Shayton Church?"

"I haven't seen my father for a fortnight."

"Then, all that I've got to say," observed Mrs. Ogden, "is, that it's
your father's own wickedness that's the cause of it. If he came
regularly to church, as he ought to do, you'd be sure to see him
to-morrow, and every Sunday as well, and you'd have no need to go up to
Twistle Farm. I could like to drag him to Shayton Church by the hair of
his head, that I could!" Here Mrs. Ogden paused and sipped her tea--then
she resumed,--

"I declare I _will not have_ you goin' up to Twistle Farm and missin'
church in that way. It's awful to think of! You miss church many a
Sunday to go and stop with your father, who should know better, and set
you a better example."

The lad drank his scalding tea, and rose from the table. He was not a
boor, however; and, offering his hand to Miss Smethurst, he said; very
courteously, "I am sorry, Miss Smethurst, not to have the pleasure of
going to church with you to-morrow; it looks rude of me, but many things
trouble me just now, and I must talk them over, both with my father and
somebody else." And with that, and a simple good-night to the elder
people, he left the room.

The owner of Twistle Farm had become a great recluse since he gave up
drinking, except during his weeks of active duty in the militia, and
occasional visits to his brother officers. In fact, a Shayton man, not
in business, must either be a drunkard or a recluse; and Ogden, by his
own experience, had learned to prefer the latter. Young Jacob, however,
had a friend in Shayton who did not lead quite such a retired life, and
whose opinion on the present crisis it might be worth while to ask for.
Need I say that this friend was the worthy doctor, Mr. Bardly?

So, when the young gentleman rode through the town on his way to Twistle
Farm, he turned into the Doctor's yard.

The twelve years that have passed since we saw the Doctor have rather
aged him, but they have certainly deducted nothing from the vigor of his
mind. He received his young friend with his old heartiness of manner,
and made him promise to stop supper with him. "You'll ride up to Twistle
Farm after supper; your father willn't be gone to bed--he sits up
reading till one o'clock in the morning. I wish he wouldn't. I'm sure
he's injuring his eyes."

Young Jacob laid the perplexities of his case before his experienced
friend. The Doctor heard him for nearly an hour with scarcely a word of
comment. Then he began:--

"I'll tell you what it is, little Jacob; you're not independent, because
you haven't got a profession, don't you see? You've had a fine
education, but it's worth nothing to live by, unless you turn
schoolmaster; and in England, education is altogether in the hands o'
them parsons. Your father isn't rich enough to keep a fine gentleman
like you, never talk o' keepin' a fine wife. That's how it is as you're
dependent on them at Milend, and they know it well enough. You'll always
be same as a childt for your uncle and your grandmother, and you'll 'ave
to do just as they bid you. As long as your uncle lives you'll be a
minor. I know him well enough. He governs everybody he can lay his hands
on, and your grandmother's exactly one o' th' same sort; she's a
governin' woman, is your grandmother--a governin' woman. There's a
certain proportion of women as is made to rule folk, and she's one on
'em."

"Well, but, Doctor, what would you advise me to do?"

"I'm comin' to that, lad. There's two courses before you, and you mun
choose one on 'em, and follow it out. You mun either just make up your
mind to submit to them at Milend"--

"And desert Edith?"

"Yes, to be sure, and wed Sally Smethurst beside, and be manager of
Ogden's mills, and collect his cottage-rents, and dun poor folk, and be
cowed for thirty years by your uncle, and have to render 'count to him
of every hour of every day--for he'll live thirty years, will your
uncle; or else you mun learn a profession, and be independent on him."

"Independence would be a fine thing certainly, but it is not every
profession that would suit the aristocratic prejudices of Lady Helena. I
think it very likely the Colonel would give his consent, for he has
always treated me very kindly, and he must have seen that I was thinking
of Edith, but with Lady Helena the case is different. She was never
encouraging. She might give way before a large fortune like my uncle's,
and the prospect of reinstating Edith at Wenderholme, but if I were a
poor man in a profession all her aristocratic prejudices would be active
against me. Besides, there are only two professions which the
aristocracy really recognizes, the army and the church. The army is not
a trade to live by, and the church"--

"Nay, never turn parson, lad, never be a parson!"

Young Jacob smiled at the Doctor's sudden earnestness, and soon
reassured him. "I have no vocation for the church," he said quietly but
decidedly, "and shall certainly never take orders." Then he went on,
half talking to himself and half addressing the Doctor. "There is no
other profession by which an income may be earned that Lady Helena would
be likely to tolerate. People like her look down upon attorneys
and--and"--

"And Doctors!" added Bardly, laughing, "except when they think there's
summat wrong i' their insides, and then they're as civil as civil."

"I cannot see my way at all, for if I please my uncle I am not to think
of Edith, and if I displease him I am to have no money, so that it will
be no use thinking about Edith."

"Are you sure of the young woman herself? D'ye think she would have you
if you had just a decent little income from a profession such as
doctorin'? It strikes me 'at if th' lass herself is o' your side, who'll
bring her feyther to her way o' thinkin', an' her feyther'll find ways
o' makin' his wife listen to him."

Young Jacob's eyes sparkled, and his heart beat. "I believe she would,
Doctor, I do really believe she would."

"Tell her then as you'll be Shayton doctor. It's worth £500 a-year to
me; and you might increase it, an active young fellow like you. Come and
learn doctorin' wi' me. I'll allow you £250 a-year to start wi', if you
get wed to Miss Stanburne; your father will do as much,--that'll be
£500; and you may live on that, if you live quietly. And then when
there's chilther, there'll be more brass."

Young Jacob's eyes moistened. "I'd take help from you, sir, sooner than
from anybody else, but I cannot accept half your income."

"Half my income, young man! Do you know who you are speaking to? You're
speaking to one of the Shayton capitalists, sir. I've never been much of
a spender, and have had neither wife nor child to spend for me. I can
live well enough on the interest of my railway shares, young gentleman,
and yet I've other investments. I can say like your Uncle Jacob that
nobody knows what I'm worth. How can they know, if I never told 'em?"

Here the Doctor gave a very knowing wink and a grin, and shook young
Jacob very heartily by the hand.



CHAPTER XI.

EDITH'S DECISION.


Such was young Jacob's piety, that rather than remain all the Sunday at
Twistle Farm with that heterodox father of his, he rode over to
Wenderholme in order to attend divine service there.

He got to church in very good time; and when he took his seat in Mrs.
Stanburne's pew, the ladies had not yet arrived. Indeed, even the
Prigleys had not taken their places, so that young Jacob had something
to interest him in watching the gradual arrival of the members of the
congregation.

The reader may remember that Mrs. Stanburne had a small pew of her own
appertaining to the Cottage, whereas there was a large pew appertaining
to the Hall. Mrs. Stanburne still remained faithful to her little pew,
and the great comfortable enclosure (a sort of drawing-room without
ceiling, and with walls only four feet high) had been empty since the
departure of the Colonel and Lady Helena.

The congregation gradually constituted itself; the Prigleys soon filled
the pew belonging to the vicarage; the principal farmers on the
Wenderholme estate penned themselves like sheep (Mr. Prigley's sheep) in
their narrow wooden partitions; and lastly came Mrs. Stanburne and
Edith. When people meet in a pew at church, their greetings are
considerably abridged; and if Edith's face was more than usually sad,
her lover might, if he liked, attribute the expression to religious
seriousness.

Young Jacob kneeled whilst Mr. Prigley read the general confession, and
when he got up again his eyes wandered over the pews before him, before
they settled again upon his prayer-book.

He gave a start of astonishment. In the great Wenderholme pew, quietly
in one corner of it, sat the present owner of the estate!

Young Jacob's heart beat. He knew that the plot was thickening, and that
a great struggle was at hand. But he was in a better position to meet
his uncle to-day than he had been yesterday. Yesterday he had been
undecided, and though inwardly rebellious, had had no plans; to-day he
was resolved, and _had_ plans. The conversation with the Doctor had been
succeeded by another conversation with his father, and the consequence
was that young Jacob was resolved that, rather than give up Edith, he
would go to the length of a rupture with the authorities at Milend.

Mr. Prigley preached one of his best sermons that day, but neither of
the two Jacob Ogdens paid very much attention to it, I am afraid. They
were polishing their weapons for the combat. Each was taking the gravest
resolutions, each was resolving upon the sacrifice of long-cherished
hopes; for, notwithstanding the hardness of the manufacturer's nature,
he had still rather tender feelings about "little Jacob," as he still
habitually called him, and it was painful to think that a youth in all
respects so perfectly the gentleman should not succeed to a splendid
position for which he had been expressly and elaborately prepared. On
the other hand, the manufacturer could not endure that anybody should
thwart his will and not be sufficiently punished for it; and if little
Jacob persisted in marrying in opposition to the authorities at Milend,
the only punishment adequate to an offence so heinous was the extreme
one of disinheritance.

Both the hostile parties were made aware that the service was at an end
by the general movement of the congregation. Jacob Ogden left his pew
before anybody else, and walked straight to that of Mrs. Stanburne. He
bowed slightly to the ladies, and beckoned to young Jacob, who came to
the pew-door. Then he whispered in his ear,--

"Come and have your dinner with me at Wendrum 'All."

"I cannot, uncle. I've promised to lunch at the Cottage."

"You'd better have your dinner with me. If you stop at the Cottage,
it'll be worse for you and it'll be worse for 'er."

"Do what you like, sir; my mind is made up."

"Very well; you'll rue it."

And the owner of Wenderholme walked alone across the park, and dined
alone in the great dining-room. During dinner (an extravagance very rare
at all times with him, and in solitude unprecedented), he ordered a
bottle of champagne.

Meanwhile young Jacob lunched with the two ladies at the Cottage. Mrs.
Stanburne saw that there was something wrong, some cause of trouble and
anxiety, so she did her best to remove the burden which seemed to
oppress the minds of the young people. Old Mrs. Stanburne had great
powers of conversation, and _made_ young Jacob talk. She made him talk
about Oxford, and then she made him talk about his present occupations,
and of the transition from one to the other. Finally she asked him how
he liked the life of a cotton-manufacturer.

"Not much, Mrs. Stanburne. But it signifies very little whether I liked
it or not, for I have left it."

"Left it! Well, but is not that very imprudent? When gentlemen have a
great deal of property in factories, they ought to know all about it,
and I have always heard that the only way to do that is to pass a year
or two in the trade."

"Very true. But then I shall never have any property in factories, so
there is no occasion for me to learn the trade."

Mrs. Stanburne was much astonished, but her good-breeding struggled
against curiosity. Edith did not seem to be paying any attention to what
was going forward; she looked out of the window, and it was evident that
she was mentally absent.

"Edith," Mrs. Stanburne said at last, "do you hear what Jacob says? He
says he has left business. I think it is very imprudent; and when I say
so, he tells me that he will never have any factories."

Edith lent the most languid attention to her grandmother's piece of
information. Her whole conduct was just the reverse of her usual way of
behaving. Formerly she had taken the liveliest interest in every thing
that concerned her lover, so, to _make_ her listen, he blurted out the
truth suddenly in one sentence.

"My uncle has disinherited me. I am going to be a doctor. I am going to
learn the profession with Mr. Bardly in Shayton."

Mrs. Stanburne was more surprised by this news than Edith was. "But
_why_?" she asked, emphatically; "_why_ has he disinherited you? I
thought you were on the best possible terms. He spoke to you to-day as
he was going out of church."

Young Jacob was silent for a minute. Mrs. Stanburne came back to the
charge. "But _why_, I say--_why_?"

"My uncle wants me to marry a girl of his own choosing, called Sally
Smethurst."

Here young Jacob paused, then he took courage and added,--"and I, Mrs.
Stanburne, have ventured for some years past to indulge dreams and hopes
which may never be realized. You know what my dreams have been. I had
hoped that perhaps my plain common name might have been forgotten, and
that as you and Colonel Stanburne had always been very kind to me, and
Miss Edith had never wounded me by any haughtiness or coldness, I had
hoped that perhaps some day any difficulties which existed might be
overcome, and that she would accept me with the consent of her
parents."

Edith Stanburne rose from her seat and quietly left the room. There was
no agitation visible in her face, but it was very pale.

"My dear Jacob," Mrs. Stanburne said decidedly, "we like you very
much--we have always liked you very much, and you have always behaved
honorably, and as a gentleman. But I am sure that Edith would not
sacrifice your prospects. Every thing forbids it; our esteem for
yourself forbids it, and our pride forbids it. Besides, I have not
authority to allow you two young people to engage yourselves without the
consent of the Colonel and Lady Helena."

"May I not speak to Miss Stanburne?"

"It would be better that you should not speak to her in private, but you
may speak to her if you like in my presence."

"I should be glad to know what she herself really thinks."

Mrs. Stanburne left the room, and after ten minutes had elapsed, which
seemed to young Jacob like a century, she returned, accompanied by her
grand-daughter.

Edith was still pale, but she had a look of great self-possession. What
was going on in her mind just then may be best expressed by the
following little soliloquy:--

"Poor, dear Jacob, how I do love him! What a paradise it would be, that
simple, quiet life with him--at Shayton, anywhere in the world! But I
love him too much to ruin him, so I must be hard now." And then she
acted her part.

Looking at her lover coldly, she was the first to speak. "Mr. Ogden,"
she said, "I may sink a good deal in your esteem by what I am going to
say to you, but my own future must be considered as well as yours. We
should be sorry to sacrifice your prospects, but I am thinking of myself
also. I do not think that I could live contentedly as a surgeon's wife
at Shayton."

Young Jacob was astounded. This from Edith! The very last thing he had
ever anticipated was an objection of the selfish kind from her. He had
counted upon all obstacles but this; and all other obstacles were
surmountable, but this was insurmountable. He saw at once that it would
be madness to marry a young lady who despised his life, and the labors
which he went through for her sake.

If he could only have known! She, poor thing, was new in this game of
cruelty with a kind intention, and she played it with even more than
necessary hardness. Perhaps she felt that without this overstrung
hardness she could not deceive him at all; that the least approach to
tenderness would be fatal to her purpose. She had imagination enough to
conceive and act a part utterly foreign to her character, but not
imagination enough to act a part only just sufficiently foreign to
herself to serve her immediate end. So there was a harsh excess in what
she did.

"Miss Stanburne," he said at last, "this gives me great pain."

The poor girl writhed inwardly, but she maintained a serene countenance,
and, looking young Jacob full in the face, said, with a well-imitated
sneer,--

"I may say with truth that it has latterly been agreeable to me to think
that the daughter of Colonel Stanburne would one day live at
Wenderholme.--But I confess I have not the sort of heroism which would
consent to be a surgeon's wife in such a place as Shayton."

"If these are your reasons, Miss Stanburne, I have done. A man would be
a fool to sacrifice his prospects, and slave at a profession all his
life, for a woman who paid him with contempt. And I think I may say that
you dismiss me with uncommon coolness. I've loved you these twelve
years--I've loved you ever since I was a child. I never loved any other
woman; and the reward of this devotion is, that I am sent away when my
prospects are clouded, without a sign of emotion or a syllable to
express regret. I think you might say you are sorry, at any rate."

"Very well, I will say that. I am sorry."

By a supreme effort of acting, Edith put an expression into her face
which conveyed the idea that she considered emotion ridiculous, and
young Jacob's own conduct as verging slightly upon the absurd. This
stung him to the quick.

"Miss Stanburne," he said, after a pause, "this conversation is leading
to no good. It is useless to prolong it."

"I quite agree with you."

And he was gone.

If he could have seen what passed after his departure, he would have
gone back to Shayton in a very different frame of mind. Edith had acted
her part and held out bravely to the last, but when Jacob was once
fairly out of the house, the faithful heart could endure its
self-inflicted torture no longer, and she ran upstairs to her bedroom
and locked the door, and burst into bitter tears. "How good and brave he
is, and how he loves me! It is hard, it is _very_ hard, to have to throw
away a heart like his. But I will not be his ruin--I never will be his
ruin!" Then a thousand tender recollections came into her
memory--recollections of the long years of his faithful love and
service. It had begun in their childhood, when first she called him
"Charley," giving him one of her own names; it had continued year after
year until this very day, when he would have sacrificed all for her, and
she had treated him with coldness and cruelty--_she_ who so loved him!
And to think that he would _never know the truth_--that the long dreary
future would wear itself gradually out until both of them were in their
graves, and that he would never know how her heart yearned to him, and
remained faithful to him always! That thought was the hardest and
bitterest of them all, _that he would never know_; that all his life he
would retain that misconception about her which she herself had so
carefully created! It is easy to bear the bad opinion of people we care
nothing about, but when those we most love disapprove, how eagerly we
desire their absolution!

Edith was not quite so strong as she herself believed. The late events
had tried her courage to the utmost, and outwardly she seemed to have
borne them well; but they had strained her nervous system a good deal,
and this last trial of her fortitude had been too much, even for her.
Her agony rapidly passed from mental grief into an uncontrollable crisis
of the nerves. She went through this alone, lying upon her bed, sobbing
and moaning, her face on the pillow, her hands convulsively agitated.
Then came utter vacancy, and after the vacancy a slow, painful awakening
to the new sadness of her life.



CHAPTER XII.

JACOB OGDEN'S TRIUMPH.


At length the great day arrived, towards the end of October, when the
new road from Shayton to Wenderholme was to be solemnly inaugurated.

Mr. Jacob Ogden had made all his arrangements with that administrative
ability which distinguished him. He had gone into every detail just as
closely as if the work of this great day had been the earning of money
instead of its expenditure. The main features of the programme were: 1.
A procession from Shayton to Wenderholme by the new route. 2. A grand
dinner at Wenderholme. 3. A ball.

The procession was to leave Shayton at noon precisely; and about
half-past eleven, a magnificent new carriage, ornamented with massive
silver, and drawn by two superb gray horses, whose new harness glittered
in the sunshine, rolled up to Mrs. Ogden's door. On the box sat a fine
coachman in livery, and a footman jumped down from behind to knock at
the Milend front door.

Just at the same moment Mr. Jacob Ogden walked quietly up the drive, and
when the door opened he walked in. The splendid servants respectfully
saluted him.

The Shayton tailor had surpassed himself for this occasion, and Mr.
Jacob looked so well dressed that anybody would have thought his clothes
had been made at Sootythorn. He wore kid gloves also.

But however well dressed a man may be, his splendor can never be
comparable to a lady's, especially such a lady as Mrs. Ogden, who had a
fearlessness in the use of colors like that which distinguished our
younger painters twenty years ago. She always managed to adorn herself
so that every thing about her looked bright, except her complexion and
her eyes. Behold her as the door opens! The Queen in all her glory is
not so fine as the mistress of Milend! What shining splendor! What
dazzling effulgence! A blind man said that he imagined scarlet to be as
the sound of a trumpet; but the vision of Mrs. Ogden was equal to a
whole brass band.

"Why, and whose cayridge is this 'ere, Jacob?"

"Cayridge, mother? It's nobbut a two-horse fly, fro' Manchester, new
painted."

The fact was, it was Mrs. Ogden's own carriage, purchased by her son
without her knowledge or consent; but, to avoid a scene before his new
domestics, he preferred the above amiable little fiction. So Mrs. Ogden
stepped for the first time into her carriage without being aware that
she had attained that great object of the _nouveau riche_. There was no
danger that she would recognize the armorial bearings which decorated
the panels and the harness. Jacob himself had not known them a month
before, but he had sent "name and county" to a heraldic establishment in
Lincoln's Inn Fields; and, as his letter had been duly accompanied by a
post-office order, three days afterwards he had received a very neat
drawing of his coat of arms, emblazoned in azure and gold. It was
cheaper than going to the College of Arms, and did just as well.

There was nobody in the new carriage except Mrs. Ogden and her son. Miss
Smethurst was invited, but she had a carriage and pair of her own, which
she used to do honor to the occasion. Many other friends of the Ogdens
(friends or business acquaintances) also came in their carriages, for
the tradesmen of those parts had generally adopted the custom of
carriage-keeping during the last few years. Even our friend the Doctor
now kept a comfortable brougham, in which he joined the procession. Mr.
Isaac Ogden of Twistle Farm, and Mr. Jacob Ogden, Jr., his son, joined
the procession on horseback, riding very fine animals indeed. A pack of
harriers was kept a short distance from Shayton, and it had been agreed
that all the gentlemen of the hunt who had invitations should be asked
to come as equestrians.

Jacob Ogden had contrived to give a public character to his triumph by
his gift of the new road to the township. The magistrates for the time
being were to be the trustees of it, hence the magistrates (including
one or two country gentlemen of some standing) found themselves
compelled to take part in the triumph. All men were that day compelled
to acknowledge Jacob Ogden's greatness, and to do him homage.

The telegraph was already established, and when the Shayton procession
started on its way, the fact was known instantaneously at Wenderholme.
At the same moment a counter-procession left Wenderholme on horseback to
meet the one coming from Shayton. The Yorkshire procession consisted
chiefly of the tenants of the estate on horseback, headed by the agent.
Most of them were in any thing but a congratulatory frame of mind, but
as they dreaded the anger of their landlord, they rode forth to meet him
to a man.

A holiday had been given at the mill, and all the mill hands were to
accompany the Shayton procession for two miles upon the road, after
which they were to return to Shayton, and there make merry at Mr.
Ogden's expense. Most of the hands belonged to benefit clubs such as the
Odd Fellows, the Druids, the Robin Hood, and so on; and they borrowed
for the occasion the banners used in the solemnities of these societies,
and their picturesque and fanciful costumes. These added immensely to
the effect, and gave the procession a richness and a variety which it
would otherwise have lacked.

The departure of the _cortège_ had been timed at the dinner-hour, when
all the mills were loosed, so that the whole Shayton population might
witness it. As it moved slowly along the streets, the crowd was as
dense as if Royalty itself had made a progress through the town. Mrs.
Ogden repeatedly recognized acquaintances in the crowd, and bowed and
smiled most graciously from her carriage-window--indeed a queen could
hardly have looked more radiant or more gracious. Seeing her good-humor,
Jacob ventured to inform her that she was "sitting in her own carriage."

"Sitting in my own cayridge! Well, then, stop th' horses, for I s'll get
out."

"Nay, nay, mother, you munnut do so--you munnut do so. You'll stop o'
th' procession. There's no stoppin' now. It's too latt for stoppin'."

"Well, if I'd known I'd never a coom! What is th' folk sayin', thinken
ye? Why, they're o' sayin,' one to another, 'There's Mistress Ogden in
her new cayridge, an' who's as fain[25] as fain.'"

"Well, mother, and what if they do say so? What means it?"

"Draw them there blinds down."

"Nay, but I willn't. We aren't goin' to a funeral."

After a while Mrs. Ogden began to look at the nice blue lining of her
carriage somewhat more approvingly. At last she said, "Jacob, I'n never
thanked thee. Thank ye, Jacob--thank ye. I shalln't live to use it for
long, but it'll do for little Jacob wife at afther."

When Mrs. Ogden had made this little speech, her son knew that the
carriage difficulty was at an end, and indeed she never afterwards
evinced any repugnance to entering that very handsome and comfortable
vehicle.

The procession moved at a walking pace for the first two miles, on
account of the people on foot. When these, however, had returned in the
direction of Shayton, the speed was somewhat increased, though, as the
road steadily ascended till it reached the Yorkshire border, the horses
could not go very fast. The road, too, being quite new, the macadam was
rather rough, though Jacob Ogden had sent a heavy iron roller, drawn by
fourteen powerful horses, from one end to the other.

The weather could not possibly have been more favorable, and it would be
difficult to imagine a more cheerful and exhilarating route. There had
been a slight frost during the night, and the air of the high moorland
was deliciously fresh and pure. The startled grouse frequently whirred
over the heads of the horsemen, and made not a few of them regret the
absence of their fowling-pieces, and the present necessity for marching
in military order. The view became gradually more and more extensive,
till at length, on approaching the border, a splendid prospect was
visible on both sides, stretching in Lancashire far beyond Shayton to
the level land near Manchester--and in Yorkshire, beyond Wenderholme and
Rigton to the hills near Stanithburn Peel. A landmark had been erected
on the border, and as the Shayton procession approached it, the body of
horsemen from Wenderholme were seen approaching it from the other side.
It had been arranged that they should meet at the stone.

When both processions had stopped, the Wenderholme agent came and
presented an address to Mrs. Ogden, which he read in a loud voice, and
then handed to her in the carriage. She was graciously pleased to say a
few words in reply, which were not audible to the people about. This
ceremony being over, the combined procession formed itself in order of
march, and began to descend the long slope towards Wenderholme.

The road entered the village, and therefore did not go quite directly to
the Hall. As it had been Jacob Ogden's intention from the first to play
the part of Public Benefactor in this matter, he guarded the privacy of
his mansion.

At the entrance of the village there was a triumphal arch made of
heather and evergreens, and decorated with festoons of colored calico.
Here the procession paused a second time, whilst the villagers came to
make their little offering to Mrs. Ogden.

The lord of Wenderholme was both surprised and offended by the absence
of Mr. Prigley. "I'll make him pay for't," he thought, "if he wants
out[26] doin' at his church, or any subscriptions, or the like o' that"
Indeed, the absence of Mr. Prigley was the more surprising that it was
contrary to the traditions of his caste, usually sufficiently ready to
do honor to the powers that be.

Also, Jacob Ogden thought that the church bells might have rung for him.
But they didn't ring. A hostile Prigley or Stanburne influence was
apparent there also. It was irritating to have the great triumph marred
by this pitiful ecclesiastical opposition. "He shall rue it," said
Jacob, inwardly--"he shall rue it!"

A table had been set in the middle of Wenderholme green, and on this
table was a large and massive silver inkstand, and in the inkstand a
gold pen with a jewelled penholder. Here Jacob Ogden descended from his
carriage, and, surrounded by all the chief personages in the procession,
sat down under a spreading oak, and signed the deed of gift by which the
road from Shayton to Wenderholme was transferred in trust to the Shayton
magistrates and their successors for ever and ever.

The inkstand bore an inscription, and was formally presented to Mr.
Ogden. And a great shout rose--all John Stanburne's former tenants
distinguishing themselves in the "hip, hip," &c.

After that the procession entered Wenderholme Park, and Mrs. Ogden
descended at the grand entrance, and moved across the hall, and up the
tapestried staircase.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE "BLOW-OUT."


The reader is not to suppose, from the parsimony which marked the
habitual life of Jacob Ogden and his mother, that when they had made up
their minds to what they called a "blow-out," there would be any
meanness or littleness in their proceedings. Under all circumstances
they acted with clear minds, knowing what they were doing; and when they
resolved to be extravagant, they _were_ extravagant. The fine principle
of that grand and really moral motto, "_Pecca fortiter_," was thoroughly
understood and consistently acted upon by the man who had won
Wenderholme by his industry and thrift. When he sinned, there was no
weak compromise with conscience--he did it manfully and boldly, and no
mistake. He never "muddled away" a sovereign, but his triumph cost him
many a hundred sovereigns, and he knew beforehand precisely what he was
going to spend. When it was all over he would pay the piper, and lock up
his cash-box again, and return to his old careful ways.

The Ogdens did not receive many visitors at Milend, and yet they had
rather an extensive acquaintance amongst people of their own class--rich
people belonging to trade, and living in the great manufacturing towns.
And to this festivity they had invited everybody they knew. The house of
Wenderholme, large as it was, was filled with Jacob Ogden's guests, and
his mother did the honors with a homely but genuine hospitality, which
made everybody feel kindly disposed to her; and though they could not
help laughing a little at her now and then, they did it without malice.
The reader will remember that, from a sort of pride which distinguished
her, she had refrained from visiting Wenderholme until the completion of
the new road; and as the chariot of the Olympic victor entered his city
by a breach in the wall, so Mrs. Ogden's carriage came to Wenderholme by
a route which no carriage had ever before traversed. It would have been
better, however, in some respects, if the good lady had familiarized
herself a little with the splendors of Wenderholme before she undertook
to receive so many guests therein, for it was quite foreign to the
frankness of her nature to act the _nil admirari_. Thus, on entering the
magnificent drawing-room, where many guests were already assembled, she
behaved exactly as she had done when, during a visit to Buxton, some
friends had taken her to see Chatsworth.

"Well!" she exclaimed, lifting up both her hands, "this _is_ a grand
room!" Nor was she contented with this simple exclamation, but she went
on examining and exclaiming, and walked all round, and lifted up the
curtains, and the heavy tassels of their cords, and touched the tapestry
on the chairs, and, in a word, quite forgot her dignity of hostess in
the novelty of the things about her.

"Those curtains must have cost thirty shillings a-yard!" she said,
appealing to the judgment of the elder ladies present, "and the stuff's
narrow beside."

Impressions of splendor depend very much upon contrast, so that
Wenderholme seemed very astonishing to a person coming directly from
Milend. But such impressions are soon obliterated by habit, and in a
week Mrs. Ogden will have lost the "fresh eye," to which she owes her
present sense of enchantment. How long would it take to get accustomed
to Blenheim, or Castle Howard, or Compiègne? Would it take a fortnight?
However, Mrs. Ogden had the advantage of a far fresher eye than _nous
autres_, who are so accustomed to gilding and glitter in public _cafés_
and picture-galleries, that we are all, as it were, princes, insensible
to impressions of splendor.

All that Mrs. Ogden said upon that memorable day it would be tedious to
relate. She thought aloud, and the burden of her thoughts, their
ever-recurring refrain, was her sense of the grandeur that surrounded
her. Jacob Ogden had bought a good deal of Colonel Stanburne's fine old
silver plate, and this formed the main subject of Mrs. Ogden's
conversation during dinner. "I think our Jacob's gone fair mad with
pride," she said to all the company, and in the hearing of the attentive
servants, "for we'd plenty of silver at Milend--quite plenty for any
one; we've all my uncle Adam's silver spoons, and my aunt Alice's, and
plenty of silver candlesticks, and a tea-service--and I cannot tell what
our Jacob would be at." Then she added, with serene complacency,
"However, it's all paid for."

She had not the art of avoiding a topic likely to be disagreeable either
to herself or anybody else, but would make other folks uncomfortable,
and torture her own mind by dwelling upon their sores and her own. I
don't think that in this she was altogether wrong, or that the most
delicate people are altogether right in doing exactly the contrary, for
it is as well to grasp nettles with a certain hardihood; but she carried
a respectable sort of courage to a very unnecessary excess. Thus, when
she had done about the silver and the general extravagance of "our
Jacob," the next topic she found to talk about was the absence of Mr.
and Mrs. Prigley. She launched forth into a catalogue of all the
benefits wherewith she had overwhelmed Mrs. Prigley in the days of her
poverty at Shayton, and represented that lady as a monster of
ingratitude. "Why, they were so poor," Mrs. Ogden said, "that they
couldn't even afford carpets to their floors; but now that they're
better off in the world, they turn their backs on those that helped
them. We were always helping them, and making them presents." Every one
saw that the Ogdens were dreadfully sore about the absence of the vicar
and his wife, and it was not very good policy on Mrs. Ogden's part to
draw attention to it in that way; for a parson, though ornamental, is
not absolutely indispensable to a good dinner, and they might have got
on very well without one.

The dinner was served in the great hall at five o'clock, and few of the
guests, as they sat at the feast, could help lifting their eyes to the
wainscot, and the frescoes, and the great armorial ceiling--few could
help thinking of the Colonel. No one present, however, was in such a
conflicting and contradictory state of mind as young Jacob, nor was any
one so thoroughly miserable. The whole triumph had disgusted him from
beginning to end, and he was not in a humor to be either charitable or
indulgent, or to see things on their amusing side. Ever since that last
interview with Edith, he had been moody and misanthropical, accepting
the position his uncle had made for him, but accepting it without one
ray of pleasure. Such a condition of mind, if prolonged for several
years, would end by making a man horribly cynical and sour, and probably
drive him to take refuge in the lowest pleasures and the lowest aims.
When the bark of love is wrecked, and the noble ambition of work and
independence lies feeble and half dead, and we allow others to arrange
all our life for us, what is the use of being young? what is the use of
having health and riches, and all sorts of fine prospects and
advantages?

When the banquet was over, the company returned to the drawing-room, and
young Jacob began to think that Sally Smethurst was the nicest-looking
young person there. His uncle was pleased to observe his polite
attentions to the young lady, and, taking him aside, said, "That's reet,
lad--that's reet; ax 'er to dance, and when you've been dancin' a good
bit, ax her summat elz. You'll never have such another chance. She's
quite fresh to this place, and she never saw out like Wendrum 'All;
she's just been tellin' my mother what a rare fine place it is."

"Well," thought young Jacob to himself, "as I cannot have Edith, why not
please my uncle and my grandmother? Sally Smethurst is a nice
honest-looking young woman, and I daresay she'd make a very good sort of
wife." The male nature is so constituted that, when not firmly anchored
in some strong attachment, it easily drifts away on the _fleuve du
tendre_, and this poor youth had been cut away from his moorings. What
wonder, then, if he drifted?

Sally thought him very nice, and handsome, and kind, and she promised to
dance with him most willingly. The dining-room had been prepared for
dancing, and it answered the purpose all the better as there was a dais
at one end of the room which afforded at once a safe retreat and a
convenient position for spectators, whilst at the other was a gallery
for musicians, now occupied by an excellent band of stringed instruments
from Manchester. In short, the dining-room at Wenderholme had been
arranged strictly on the principle of the old baronial hall. The gallery
was supported by fantastic pillars of carved oak, and decorated with
gigantic antlers which had been given to Colonel Stanburne by a friend
of his, a mighty hunter in South Africa.

The ball went on with great spirit till after midnight, when supper was
served in the long gallery. Even Mrs. Ogden, old as she was, had danced,
and danced well too, to the astonishment of the spectators. The host
himself had performed, though his proficiency might be questioned.

What with the dancing, and the negus, and the champagne, and the
splendors of the noble house, and the flattery of so many guests, and
the obsequious service of so many attendants, and the sense of their own
greatness and success, not only Jacob Ogden, senior, but all the Ogdens,
were a little elevated that night. Young Jacob did not escape this
infection--at his age, how could he?--and having taken Miss Smethurst up
the grand staircase to supper, rapidly approached that point which his
uncle desired him to attain.

Amidst the noise of the talk around him, the lad went further and
further. He talked about Wenderholme already almost as if it were his
own, and forgot, for the time, his old friend the Colonel and his
misfortunes in an exulting sense of his own highly promising position.
"He intended to live at Wenderholme a good deal," he said, and then
asked Miss Smethurst whether _she_ would like to live at Wenderholme.

But he did not hear her answer. A figure like a ghost, with pale, sad,
resolute face, approached silently, moving from the darker end of the
long gallery into the blaze of light about the supper-table.

It was Mr. Prigley.

The master of the house saw him, too, and as he approached said aloud,
and not very politely,--

"Better late than never, parson; come and sit down next to my mother and
get your supper."

But Mr. Prigley still remained standing. However, he approached the
table. Still he would not sit down.

Every one looked at him, and no one who had looked once took his eyes
off Mr. Prigley again. There was that in his face which fixed attention
irresistibly. The roar of the conversation was suddenly hushed, and a
silence succeeded in which you might have heard the breaking of a piece
of bread.

Mr. Prigley went straight to Mrs. Ogden, not noticing anybody else. He
spoke to her, not loudly, but audibly enough for every one to hear him.

"I have come to tell you, Mrs. Ogden, that Mrs. Stanburne, mother of
Colonel Stanburne of Wenderholme, is now lying in a dying state at the
vicarage."

Mrs. Ogden did not answer at once. When she had collected her ideas, she
said, "I thought Mrs. Stanburne had been in her own house and well in
health. If I'd known she was dyin', you may be sure, Mr. Prigley, as
there should 'ave been no dancin' i' this house, though she's not a
relation of ours. We're only plain people, but we know what's fittin'
and seemly."

"Then you cannot be aware, Mrs. Ogden, of what has happened at
Wenderholme Cottage. Mrs. Stanburne's illness has been brought on by the
suddenness with which the present owner of Wenderholme ordered her to
quit her cottage on this estate. She was an old lady, in feeble health,
and the trouble of a sudden eviction has proved too much for her. If
there is any surgeon here, let him follow me."

This said, Mr. Prigley quitted the table without bowing to anybody, and
his gaunt figure and pale grave face passed along the gallery to the
great staircase. Dr. Bardly left his place at the supper-table, and
followed him.

Miss Smethurst's young partner made no more soft speeches to her that
night. A great pang smote him in his breast. Had he forgotten those dear
friends who had been so good to him in the time of their prosperity? And
what was this horrible story of an eviction? Mrs. Stanburne turned out
of Wenderholme Cottage! Could it be possible that his uncle had gone to
such a length as that?

The boy was down the staircase in an instant, and overtook the Doctor
and Mr. Prigley as they were crossing the great hall. They walked
swiftly and silently to the vicarage.

"You'd better wait here, little Jacob," said Dr. Bardly; "I'll go
upstairs." And he put Jacob into a small sitting-room, which was empty.

The lad had been there five minutes when the door opened, and Edith came
in. She looked very ill and miserable.

All the old tenderness came back into Jacob's heart as he felt for her
in this trial. "Miss Stanburne," he said, "dear Miss Stanburne, what
does he say?" Weak and shattered as she was by the trials of these last
days, that word of tenderness made any farther acting impossible. She
went to him, took both his hands in hers, and the tears came.

"There's no hope; she's dying. Come upstairs--she wants to see you."

Mrs. Stanburne was lying in a state of extreme exhaustion, with
occasional intervals of consciousness, in which the mind was clear. When
Jacob entered the sick-room, she was in one of her better moments.

"Go quite near to her," said Mr. Prigley; "she can only speak in a
whisper."

There had always existed a great friendship between the youth and the
old lady now lying on the brink of the grave. He bent down over her, and
tenderly kissed her forehead.

"God bless you!" she whispered, "it is very kind of you to come."

Then she said, in answer to his enquiries,--

"I shall not live long, but I shall live rather longer than they think.
I shan't die to-night. I want my son--my son!"

After this supervened a syncope, which Jacob and Edith believed to be
death. But the Doctor, with his larger experience, reassured them for
the present. "She will live several hours," he said.

Jacob told them that she had asked for Colonel Stanburne, and added, "I
have not the slightest idea where he is."

Then Edith made a sign to him to follow her, and led him downstairs
again to the little sitting-room. "Papa is a long way off; he is in
France. He must be telegraphed for." And she took a writing-case and
wrote an address.

Now, although there was a telegraph from Wenderholme to Ogden's Mill at
Shayton, there was none from Shayton to Sootythorn, which was the
nearest town of importance. So the best way appeared to be for Jacob to
ride off at once with the despatch to the station, which was ten miles
off.

"And you must telegraph for mamma at the same time." And Edith wrote
Lady Helena's address.

A little delay occurred now, because Jacob's horse had to be sent for to
Wenderholme Hall. Edith went upstairs, and soon came down again with
rather favorable news. The syncope had not lasted long, and the patient
seemed to rally from it somewhat more easily than she had done from the
preceding ones.

"Miss Stanburne!" said Jacob, "will you give me a word of explanation?
You were hard and unkind the last time we spoke to each other."

"I did very wrong. I thought I was sacrificing myself for your good. I
told you nothing but lies."

Half an hour since Miss Smethurst was within a hair's-breadth of being
lady of Wenderholme; but her chances are over now, and she will not
bring her fortune to this place--her coals to this Newcastle. As her
late partner in the dance rides galloping, galloping through the wooded
lanes to the telegraph station, his brain is full of other hopes, and of
a far higher, though less brilliant, ambition. He will free himself from
the Milend slavery, and work for independence--and for Edith!



CHAPTER XIV.

Mrs. Ogden's Authority.


After the apparition of Mr. Prigley, the supper in the long gallery
changed its character completely. Until he came it had been one of the
merriest of festivals; after he went away, it became one of the dullest.
A sense of uncomfortableness and embarrassment oppressed everybody
present, and though many attempts were made to give the conversation
something of its old liveliness, the guests soon became aware that for
that time it was frozen beyond hope of recovery. It had been intended to
resume the dancing after supper, but the dancing was not resumed, and
the guests who intended to return to Shayton that night became suddenly
impressed with so strong a sense of the distance of that place from
Wenderholme, that all the pressing hospitality of the Ogdens availed not
to retain them.

Notwithstanding the Philistinism of Mrs. Ogden's character, and the
external hardness which she had in common with most of her
contemporaries in Shayton, she was not without heart; and when she heard
that her son had turned old Mrs. Stanburne out of the Cottage, she both
felt disapproval and expressed it. "Jacob," she said, "you shouldn't
'ave done so." And she repeated many a time to other people in the room,
"Our Jacob shouldn't 'ave done so."

And when the carriages had departed, although there were still many
people in the house, Mrs. Ogden put her bonnet on, and had herself
conducted to the vicarage.

The situation there might have been embarrassing for some people, but
Mrs. Ogden was a woman who did not feel embarrassment under any
circumstances. She did what was right, or she did what was wrong, in a
simple and resolute way, and her very immunity from nervous
reflectiveness often enabled her to do the right thing when a
self-conscious person would hardly have ventured to do it. So she
knocked at Mrs. Prigley's door.

It happened that the person nearest the door at that moment was Edith,
who was crossing the passage from one room to another. So Edith opened
the door.

Mrs. Ogden walked in at once, and asked very kindly after Mrs.
Stanburne. Edith was pleased with the genuine interest in her manner,
and showed her into the little sitting-room.

The news was rather more favorable than might have been hoped for. Mrs.
Stanburne had had no return of unconsciousness; and though the Doctor
still thought she was gradually sinking, he began to be of opinion that
her illness might be much longer than was at first anticipated, and
thought that she would live to see the Colonel.

"You don't know me," said Mrs. Ogden; "but as you speak of Mrs.
Stanburne as your grandmamma, I know who you are. You're Miss Edith. I'm
little Jacob's grandmamma--Mrs. Ogden of Milend, whom no doubt you've
heard speak of."

Edith bowed slightly, and then there was rather an awkward pause.

"My son Jacob did very wrong about your grandmother in turning her out
of her house. I wish we could make amends."

Edith tried to say something polite in acknowledgment of Mrs. Ogden's
advance, but it ended in tears. "I'm afraid it is too late," she said,
finally.

The young lady's evident love for her grandmother won the heart of Mrs.
Ogden, who was herself a grandmother. "Tell me what has been done, my
dear. I know nothing about it; I only heard about it to-night. Has Mrs.
Stanburne removed her furniture?"

"Not quite all yet. Most of it is here, in Mr. Prigley's out-houses. It
was the hurry of the removal that brought on grandmamma's illness."

"Well, my dear," said the old lady, laying her hand upon Edith's, "let
us pray to God that she may live. And we'll have all the furniture put
back into the Cottage."

"I don't think grandmamma would consent to that."

"But I'll make my son come and beg her pardon. I'll make him come!"

Edith could not resist Mrs. Ogden's earnestness. "I will try to bring
grandmamma round, if she lives. You are very kind, Mrs. Ogden."

"Now, if you'd like me to sit up with Mrs. Stanburne, if you and Mrs.
Prigley was tired, you know? I'm an old woman, but I'm a strong one, and
I can sit up well enough. I've been used to nursing. I nursed our Isaac
wife all through her last illness."

"Mrs. Prigley and I can do very well for to-night; but to-morrow, in the
day-time, we shall need a little rest, and if you would come we should
be much obliged."

"And if there was any thing I could send from the great 'ouse--any
jellies or blomonge?"

"Thank you; if we want any thing we will send for it to the Hall."

Mrs. Ogden rose to take her leave, which she did very affectionately. "I
am very sorry for you, my dear," she said, "and I am angry at our Jacob.
He shouldn't 'ave done so--he shouldn't 'ave done so."

She had no notion of abdicating parental authority--no idea that,
because a lad happened to be twenty-one, or thirty-one, or forty-one, he
was to be free to do exactly as he liked. And when she got back to the
Hall, and the guests were in bed, she treated "our Jacob" _en petit
garçon_, just as if he had been fifteen. She informed him that Mrs.
Stanburne's furniture would be reinstated in Wenderholme Cottage
immediately, and that if she recovered he would have to go there and eat
humble-pie. "An' if who doesn't get better, it'll be thee as has
murdered her; and thou'll desarve to be hanged for't, same as Bill o'
great John's[27] as shot old Nanny Suthers wi' a pistil."



CHAPTER XV.

LADY HELENA RETURNS.


Mrs. Ogden returned to the vicarage the next day, and found Mrs.
Stanburne in the same condition of extreme exhaustion. The Rigton doctor
had arrived in the interval, and relieved Dr. Bardly, who returned to
Shayton. The two medical men had expressed the same opinion--namely,
that the old lady was gradually, but quite surely, sinking.

Mrs. Ogden took her place by the bedside, and relieved Mrs. Prigley and
Edith. The patient being perfectly conscious, and in possession of all
her mental faculties, Edith had told her about Mrs. Ogden's first visit;
and when she came near the bedside, Mrs. Stanburne held out her hand, or
rather attempted to do so--for she had not strength to lift it--and it
fell upon the counterpane. Then she whispered a few words of thanks and
welcome. "My son Jacob shouldn't have done so--he shouldn't have done
so," said Mrs. Ogden; and in reply there came faint syllables of
forgiveness. Then Mrs. Ogden asked Mrs. Stanburne if she would prove her
forgiveness by going back to Wenderholme Cottage.

"If I live, I will."

"Live! why you're sure to live. You're quite a young woman. Look at me,
how strong I am, and I'm older than you are. It's nothing but the hurry
and worry of leaving your 'ouse that you was accustomed to that's
brought you down in this way. You'll get well again--I'm sure you will;
only, we must take care of you. Now we've had enough talking for the
present, and I'll get my sewing; and if you want any thing, I'll fetch
it for you."

Then the strong old woman sat down by the bedside of the weaker one, and
from that time forth established herself as one of her recognized
nurses, and by no means the least efficient. In one essential point she
was superior both to Edith and Mrs. Prigley--she was less melancholy and
more encouraging. The others could not help crying, and the patient saw
that they had been crying, which made her feel as if she were assisting
at her own funeral; whereas Mrs. Ogden kept a cheerful countenance, and,
though as gentle as a woman could be, had nevertheless a fine firmness
and courage which made Mrs. Stanburne feel that she could rely upon her.
Another immense advantage was, that in the presence of this hale and
active example of a vigorous old age, Mrs. Stanburne altogether ceased
to feel the burden of her years, and began to consider herself simply as
a sick person in a state of temporary exhaustion, instead of an old
woman whose thread of life had come to its inevitable end. Indeed, Mrs.
Ogden had not been long with the invalid before both of them had given
up the theory that she was gradually sinking, and replaced it by more
hopeful views.

Young Jacob's interest in Mrs. Stanburne's health proved to be so strong
that he could hardly absent himself from the vicarage; yet though Mrs.
Ogden must have been perfectly well aware that he passed a good deal of
his time there with Miss Edith, she showed no sign of displeasure, but
when she found them together, seemed to consider it perfectly natural,
and spoke to Edith always affectionately, calling her "my dear," and
putting an unaccustomed tenderness even into the very tones of her
voice. The lord of Wenderholme and his remaining guests left for Shayton
in the course of the afternoon, but Mrs. Ogden declared her intention of
remaining until her patient was out of danger; and though her son had
suggested that young Jacob was not absolutely necessary as a nurse,
Mrs. Ogden asserted that it was "a great comfort" to her to have him
near her, and that he should go back to Milend with his grandmother at
such times as she might see fit to return thither. Jacob Ogden was a
wilful and a mighty man; but either from habit or some genuine filial
sentiment, or perhaps because no man can be really happy unless he is
governed by a woman of some sort--either a wife, or a mother, or a
maiden aunt--this hard and terrible master-spirit submitted to "the old
woman" without question, and whatever _she_ willed was done.

In saying that all Jacob Ogden's guests went back with him to Shayton,
an exception must be made in the case of his elder brother. Captain
Ogden, as he was now generally called (for the people had gradually got
into the habit of giving militia officers their titles), remained at
Wenderholme, for reasons of his own. He knew that Colonel Stanburne had
been telegraphed for, and wished to see him. Perhaps, too, he thought it
might be agreeable to John Stanburne to find a sincere friend in his old
place, and that he might be able in some degree to mitigate the
painfulness of an unavoidable return to scenes which could not be
revisited without awakening many regretful associations.

As all the Prigley children were at school except Conny, now a young
lady who was supposed to have "come out," though in fact no such
ceremony had taken place, from the want of any society to come out in,
the vicarage was able to accommodate a good many guests, and the
Prigleys were only too happy to place it at the disposal of the family
to whom they owed their recent advancement in the world. It was a
pleasant and spacious, though not a very elegant, house; and there was a
large garden, and an orchard, and a glebe of two or three fields, with
sufficient stabling and out-houses. They had set up a small
pony-carriage, or rather continued that which belonged to the late
vicar, which they had purchased at the sale, with pony and harness
complete, for the moderate sum of nine guineas; and Conny Prigley set
off in this machine to await the train by which Lady Helena was expected
to arrive. This arrangement was made without Mrs. Ogden's knowledge, and
when she came to be aware of it, she exclaimed, "Well, now, I wish I'd
known--I do indeed, I _wish_ I'd known--for there's my cayridge at the
'All, which is quite at your service. Our Jacob's gone back with Miss
Smethurst, and he's left me my cayridge, which you would have been quite
welcome to." But the Prigleys had tact enough to know, that although her
ladyship rather liked to be magnificent, she might not particularly care
for it to be Mrs. Ogden's magnificence; and that the little green
pony-carriage, driven by Conny Prigley, was a more suitable vehicle to
bring her ladyship to the vicarage than the sumptuous chariot in which
Mrs. Ogden had triumphed the day before.

Lady Helena duly arrived. It did not require much explanation from Edith
to make the whole situation quite clear to her perspicuous mind. She
went upstairs to see Mrs. Stanburne, who was grateful to her for coming
so soon, and the first person she saw in the room was Mrs. Ogden.

There was a little stiffness at first, but it did not last long. Lady
Helena and Mrs. Ogden got into conversation about the state of the
patient, and then about other matters connected with what might be
called the diocese of the Lady of Wenderholme. Had Mrs. Ogden been one
of the examples, so numerous in these days, of amazingly refined
ladyhood in the middle classes, Lady Helena might have been jealous of
her; but how was it possible for her ladyship to feel jealous of a
simple old woman like Mrs. Ogden, who spoke broad Lancashire, and in
every movement of her body, and every utterance of her lips, proclaimed
the humility of her birth? Lady Helena, moreover, had a keen sense of
humor, and it was impossible not to feel interested and amused, as soon
as the first anxiety about Mrs. Stanburne was at least temporarily
tranquillized, by Mrs. Ogden's quaint turns of expression, and her
wonderful reliance on her own wisdom and experience. Even Mrs.
Stanburne, ill as she was, could not help smiling, as she lay in her bed
of sickness, when Mrs. Ogden came out with some of those sayings which
were peculiarly her own.

The condition of the invalid had become less distressing and less
alarming, though the Doctor still held out no hopes of a recovery. Mrs.
Ogden, however, had succeeded in making the patient believe that she
would get better because she believed it herself, and she believed it
herself because the idea of a person dying of mere weakness at the early
age of seventy-two was not admissible to her patriarchal mind. It was a
great thing for Mrs. Stanburne to have somebody near her who did not
consider that she was used up, and she began to regard Mrs. Ogden with
the partiality which human nature always feels for those who preach
comfortable doctrine.

As there were so many ladies to nurse Mrs. Stanburne, and as the invalid
now gave comparatively little immediate anxiety, Edith easily got Lady
Helena to herself for half an hour.

The young lady was firmly resolved upon one thing--namely, that this
opportunity for a reconciliation between her father and mother should
not be lost through any pusillanimity of hers.

"Mamma," she said boldly, "why did you leave papa when he was ruined?"

"Because he ordered me to leave him; because he turned me out of the
house."

"But why did he do so? It is quite contrary to his character to turn
anybody out. When he dismissed the servants, he did it very kindly, and
only because he could not afford to keep them."

Lady Helena remained silent.

"Do tell me, mamma, why he behaved so. It isn't like him; you know it
isn't like him."

"There are people, Edith," said her ladyship, "who commit great follies;
and then, when the misfortunes come which they themselves have caused,
they cannot endure to hear one word of blame. They must be pitied and
sympathized with, and then they are very nice and amiable; but if you
express the least censure, they fly into a passion and insult you."

"You mean that you censured papa for his imprudence, and that he got
angry."

"I said very little to him. I said a few words which were strictly true.
I never scold."

"No, mamma, you never scold; but scolding would be easier to bear than
your blame. I see how it all was; you blamed papa in two or three
terribly just and severe words, and then, after that, you said nothing
to console him in his misery, and he became irritable, and said
something hasty."

Lady Helena said nothing to this, but she did not look displeased; and
she showed no inclination either to leave the room or to change the
subject.

"Dear mamma, I don't think you did wrong in blaming papa's imprudence;
but if you had given him one word of kindness afterwards, you would
never have lost him."

"Is not this rather"--

"Impertinent from a daughter, you mean to say. You know I don't want to
be impertinent, mamma; but I'm old enough to be of some use, and I mean
to be, too, whether your ladyship is quite satisfied or not. Are you
aware that papa will be here to-morrow?"

"It is natural that he should come here, as his mother is ill."

"And when he comes, we must do what we can to help him to bear his
afflictions, I suppose."

"Certainly."

"Well, we won't pass any more votes of censure, mamma, will we? And we
shall forgive him his trespasses, shall we not?"

To this Lady Helena made no reply; but her face wore a new and a softer
expression. This encouraged Edith, who continued:--

"He has suffered enough. He has been living all by himself in a
miserable little French town on the Loire. I have a whole heap of his
letters. He told me every thing about his situation. Grandpapa has been
allowing him three hundred a-year--he has never touched a penny of it;
it is paid regularly to grandmamma Stanburne, who does not know that she
is ruined, and who fancies that papa has an allowance, and lives abroad
for his pleasure. His letters to her are all about amusements, but he
writes to me sincerely, and _I_ know what his life has been. He has got
a post as English master in a school, and they pay him twenty-five
francs a-week, but he gives lessons in the town, and gets two francs a
lesson, only he has not many of these. He is _en pension_ in an inn. It
is a miserably lonely life. I would have gone to him, but I could not
leave grandmamma."

Lady Helena's eyes glistened in the firelight. They were brimming with
tears. "You should have told me this sooner, Edith," she said, at last.

"Would you have gone to him? Would you have gone to live with him there,
in his lodgings, and cheer him after his day's work?"

"I have been less happy, Edith, during these last months, than I should
have been with him, wherever he is, however poor he is."

After this avowal of her ladyship, the chances are great, I think, that
the Colonel will be agreeably received at the vicarage. Miss Edith
communicated as much to the worthy vicar himself, who, though with
Anglican discretion he would have avoided intruding in the character of
peacemaker, thought it a duty to encourage Lady Helena in the path of
charity and forgiveness.

"Forgive him heartily and entirely any thing you may have to forgive. Go
to him at once when he comes. All your days will be blessed for this."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE COLONEL COMES.


In the evening came a telegram from the Colonel, dated from Dover, and
announcing his arrival for the following morning. "What a pity it is,"
said Lady Helena, "that he did not give us a London address! we might
have spared him a whole night of anxiety." She was thinking about him
just as she used to think about him in their happiest years.

On reference to the time-table, it appeared that the Colonel would
arrive at the station at about eight o'clock in the morning. When
Captain Ogden heard of this, he said he would go to meet him, and so did
young Jacob; and Mrs. Ogden offered her carriage, and, in short, there
was a general fuss, to which Lady Helena suddenly put an end by
declaring her intention of going to meet him herself in the little
pony-carriage that belonged to the vicarage. Mr. Prigley smiled
approbation, and assured her ladyship that he would lend her that humble
equipage with great pleasure, meaning a great deal more than he said.

So Lady Helena drove off in the little green carriage at six o'clock in
the morning; for the station, as the reader may remember, was ten miles
from Wenderholme, and it was necessary to bait the pony before he came
back. It was a rude little equipage altogether, not very well hung, and
by no means elegant in its proportions. The pony, too, in anticipation
of winter, was beginning to put on his rough coat, and his harness had
long since lost any brilliance it might have once possessed. The morning
was cold and raw, and a chilly gray dawn was in the east--an aurora of
the least encouraging kind, which one always feels disposed to be angry
at for coming and disturbing the more cheerful darkness. Some people at
the vicarage were astonished that Mr. Prigley should allow her ladyship
to drive off alone in this dreary way at six o'clock in the morning; but
then these people did not know all that Mr. Prigley knew. When Lady
Helena got into the carriage, the vicar shook hands with her in an
uncommonly affectionate manner, just as if she had been leaving him for
a very long time, and then he said something to her in a very low tone.
"Dear Lady Helena," he said, "God bless you!" and it is my firm belief
that if Mrs. Prigley had not been within sight, that vicar would have
given Lady Helena a kiss.

Away went the pony through the darkling lanes, with the rattling machine
after him. Poor pony! he had often done that long journey to the
station, and done it with reasonable celerity, but he had never trotted
so fast as he trotted now. Can it be the early morning air that so
exhilarates her ladyship? Her face is so bright and cheerful that it
conquers the dreariness of the hour, and brings a better sunshine than
the gray October dawn. How little we know under what circumstances we
shall enjoy the purest and sweetest felicity! This little woman had been
in lordly equipages, in all sorts of splendid pleasures and stately
ceremonies; she had been drawn by magnificent horses, with a powdered
coachman on the box, and a cluster of lacqueys behind; she had gone in
diamonds and feathers to St. James's; better still, she had driven
through the fairest scenery under cloudless skies, when all nature
rejoiced around her. All the luxury that skilled craftsmen can produce
in combination had been hers; carriages hung so delicately, and
cushioned so softly, that they seemed to float on air; harness that
seemed as if its only purpose were to enhance the beauty of the horses
which it adorned; liveries, varnish, silver, and the rest of it. And
yet, of all the drives that Lady Helena had ever taken in her whole
life, _this_ was the most delightful, this drive in the dreary dawn of
an October morning in a rattling little carriage with stiff springs,
painted like a park paling, and drawn by a shaggy pony at the rate of
six miles an hour!

She reached the station half an hour before the train came, and sat a
little in the waiting-room, and walked about on the platform, in a state
of nervous fidgetiness and anxiety. At length the bell rang, and the
engine came round a curve, and grew bigger and bigger, and her heart
beat faster and faster. "There he is, poor John, getting out of a
third-class carriage!" Lady Helena had been seeking him amongst the
well-to-do first-class passengers.

She ran to him, and took his hand in both hers, and said, "She's better,
love--a good deal better since yesterday." And the tears ran down her
cheeks.

The Colonel looked at her for a moment, and took both her hands, and
would have said something, or perhaps gone so far as to give her just
one little kiss on the forehead--which is a wonderful thing for an
Englishman to achieve in a railway station--but these good intentions
were frustrated by the guard, who, in rather a peremptory way, demanded
to know whether he had any luggage.

John Stanburne felt like a man in a dream. Going back to Wenderholme, no
longer his, with Helena, his own Helena once more! It was not in his
nature to cherish the least vindictive feeling, and that one word of his
wife had wiped away every evil recollection. When they got into the
little pony-carriage, and were out of hearing of the hostler, the
Colonel turned to her ladyship, and said,--

"I owe you a great many apologies, dear. I behaved very badly the last
time we were together, but I was upset, you know. You are a good woman
to come and meet me in this way, and forgive me. I have meant to write
to you many a time and say how sorry I was, but I put it off
because--because"--

It is well that the pony was quiet, and knew its own way to Wenderholme,
for when they got into an uncommonly retired lane, with very high
hedges, her ladyship, who was driving, threw the reins down, and
embraced the gentleman by her side in an extraordinary manner. Then came
passionate tears, and after that she grew calmer.

"What geese we were to fancy we could live separately!" she said.

And then they talked incessantly the whole way. She asked him a thousand
questions about his life abroad,--how he passed his evenings, whether he
had found any society, and so on. As the Colonel told her about his
humble, lonely life, she listened with perfect sympathy; and when he
said that some people had been kind to him, and got him pupils, she
wanted to know all about them. "I'm getting on famously," said the
Colonel. "I'm earning nearly sixty francs a-week, and I pronounce French
better than I used to do."



CHAPTER XVII.

A MORNING CALL.


Since we are obliged to leave the vicarage now, the reader must be told
the exact truth about Mrs. Stanburne's condition. It continued to give
great anxiety for several weeks, and all her friends, even including the
doctors, gave her up over and over again, believing that she had not
more than an hour or two to live; yet she always passed through these
times of danger, and gradually, very gradually, began to feel rather
stronger in the month of December. The season of the year was not
favorable to her, but Dr. Bardly hoped that if she could be sustained
till the return of spring, she would regain her strength, at least in a
great measure, and probably have several years of life still before her.
She bore the winter better than had been expected, though without
quitting her room at the vicarage, and in the month of April entered
upon a convalescence which astonished all around her.

The old lady's illness led to very important consequences. Since the
period of her danger was protracted, her friends remained near her day
after day, and week after week, always believing that they were
performing the last duty by a deathbed. A great sadness reigned in the
vicarage during all this season of watching, but it was sadness of the
kind which is most favorable to sympathy and good feeling. The vicar and
his good wife, so far from feeling the presence of the invalid and their
other guests a burden, were glad that it was in their power to do any
thing for her and for them; and whilst the old lady lay upon her bed of
sickness she was producing happier and more important results, simply by
throwing certain persons together by invisible bonds of mutual approval
and a common anxiety, than she could ever have achieved by an active
ingerence in their affairs. Everybody who loved old Mrs. Stanburne was
grateful to everybody who gave proof of a real interest in her
condition; and the majestic approach of death, whose shadow lay on the
vicarage so long, subdued all its inhabitants into a more perfect
spiritual harmony than they would ever have attained to amongst the
distractions of gayer, though not happier, days. Lady Helena was
admirable. There was a tenderness and a simplicity in her manner which
pleased the Colonel greatly, and won the warm approval of the vicar. She
devoted herself mainly to the care of Mrs. Stanburne, but, saying that
exercise was necessary to enable her to do her duty as a nurse, made the
Colonel walk out with her every day. These walks were delightful to both
of them--for even though the scenery about the village of Wenderholme
was full of painful associations, their sense of loss was more than
balanced by the sense of a yet larger gain; and the future, though it
could not have the external brilliance of the past, promised a deeper
and more firm felicity. Sadness and unhappiness are two very different
conditions of the mind, and it does not follow that because we are
saddened we are incapable of being very happy in a certain quiet and not
unenviable way. Indeed, it might even be asserted, that as

      "Our sweetest songs are those which tell of saddest thought"--

so it is with life itself, as well as poetry, and that our sweetest
hours are far from being our gayest.

It had become tacitly understood that neither Lady Helena nor Mrs. Ogden
would offer any opposition to the marriage between Jacob and Edith.
Whatever Mrs. Ogden determined to do, she did in a thorough and
effectual manner; and as she had resolved that amends ought to be made
to the Stanburnes for her son's conduct to the old lady, she considered
that the best way to do this would be to receive Edith kindly into her
family. In this resolution she was greatly helped by a genuine approval
of the young lady herself. "There's some girls as brings fortunes," she
said to young Jacob, "and there's other girls as _is_ a fortune
themselves, and I think Miss Stanburne will be as good as a fortune to
any one who may marry her." Nor had this opinion been lightly arrived
at, for during her frequent visits to the vicarage, Mrs. Ogden had
studied Edith, much in the same way as an entomologist studies an insect
under a microscope.

One day, when the weather became a little warmer, Lady Helena said to
the Colonel, "Don't you think, dear, that we ought to go and call upon
that old Mrs. Ogden at the Hall? She has been exceedingly kind in coming
to sit with mamma. I would have suggested it sooner, but I was afraid it
might be painful for you, dear, to go to the old house again."

So they set out and walked to the Hall together, both of them feeling
very strange feelings, indeed, as they passed up the familiar avenue.
When they came at last in sight of the great house, John Stanburne
paused and gazed upon it for a long time without speaking. It stood just
as he had left it--none of the carved Stanburne shields had been
removed.

"I'm glad they've altered nothing, Helena," he said.

Then they met their old gardener, who spoke to them with the tears in
his eyes. "It's different for us to what it used to be, my lady," he
said; "not but what Mrs. Ogden is a good woman, but her son is a hard
master."

"We were coming to see Mrs. Ogden," said Lady Helena; "do you know if
she is at home?"

"You won't find her in the house, my lady; but if you will come this
way, I'll take you to where she is."

Nature always puts some element of comedy into the most touching
circumstances, and saves us from morbid feelings by glimpses of the
ludicrous side of life. Thus, although the gardener had had tears in
his eyes when he saw the Colonel and Lady Helena, there was a smile upon
his face as he led them in the direction of the stables.

"Your ladyship will find Mrs. Ogden in that carriage," he said, pointing
to the magnificent Ogden chariot, which stood, as if to air itself,
without horses, in the middle of the yard. When he had said this, the
gardener made his bow and disappeared, smiling with keen satisfaction at
what he had just done.

The visitors were much surprised, but, as the gardener well knew,
curiosity alone was strong enough to make them go up to the carriage and
see whether there was anybody inside it. The Colonel peeped in at the
window, and saw Mrs. Ogden sitting in the vehicle, apparently in quite a
settled and permanent way, for she had her knitting.

"Eh, well, it's the Colonel and her ladyship, I declare!" cried Mrs.
Ogden, opening the carriage-door. "Come and get in--do get in--it's very
comfortable. I often come and sit here a bit of an afternoon with my
knitting. But what perhaps you'd rather go and sit a bit i' th' 'ouse?"

They got inside the carriage with the old lady, and their amusement at
this circumstance quite relieved those feelings of melancholy which had
naturally taken possession of them on revisiting Wenderholme. The
conversation was quite agreeable and animated, and half an hour passed
very rapidly. After that, the callers proposed to depart.

"Nay," said Mrs. Ogden, "you willn't be going away so soon, will you?
Come into th' 'ouse, now--_do_ come and have a glass of wine."

Lady Helena promised that they would come to the house another day, but
said that she wished to go back to Mrs. Stanburne. On this Mrs. Ogden
said, "Well, then, if you _will_ go back, sit you still." And she let
down the glass and called out in a loud voice for the horses.

The horses were put to the carriage, and the visitors shortly found
themselves in motion towards the vicarage, which proves the advantage
of receiving friends in a small drawing-room on four wheels. The
incident created a great deal of amusement, and even old Mrs. Stanburne
laughed at it very heartily. Very trifling and absurd things are often
of great use in putting people in a good temper, and chasing melancholy
ideas; and Mrs. Ogden's fancy for sitting in her carriage developed a
wonderful amount of kindly humor at the vicarage. Nothing does people
more good than laughing at their neighbors, and they love their
neighbors all the better for having laughed at them; so Mrs. Ogden's
popularity at the vicarage was increased by this incident, and I dare
say it accelerated Mrs. Stanburne's recovery in an appreciable, though
not ascertainable, degree.



CHAPTER XVIII.

MONEY ON THE BRAIN.


Immediately after the Colonel's return from France, Captain Ogden went
back to his solitude at Twistle Farm, but his son spent a good deal of
his time with old Mrs. Ogden at Wenderholme. Jacob Ogden, senior, came
to Wenderholme frequently to look after the work-people on the estate,
but did not mark his disapproval of his nephew's proceedings otherwise
than by quietly excluding him from all participation in his affairs.
Although the young man passed a great deal more time at Wenderholme than
his uncle did, he was never requested, and he never offered, to do any
of the duties of an overlooker, and his uncle treated him strictly upon
the footing of a visitor--a visitor, not to himself, but to his mother.
There is so much firmness in the character of the typical Lancashire
man, that he can assume, and maintain for an indefinite length of time,
an attitude towards a friend or relation which would be impossible for
more mobile temperaments; and young Jacob knew his uncle well enough to
be aware that having once decided upon his line of conduct, there was
every probability that he would follow it without deviation. Therefore,
although young Jacob could have made himself of the greatest use at
Wenderholme without interfering either with his amusement of shooting or
his dutiful attendance upon Miss Edith; he paid no more attention to the
work-people than if they had been employed by some proprietor entirely
unknown to him. It is unnecessary to add, that when at Twistle Farm,
where he spent about one week out of three, he never went near his
uncle's factories.

And yet, notwithstanding the apparent indifference with which Jacob
Ogden dispensed with his nephew's services, they were more than ever
necessary to him. The great factories at Shayton were enough of
themselves to absorb the whole time of a very active master; but, in
addition to these, Jacob Ogden was now working the calico-printing
establishment at Whittlecup, which had formerly belonged to Mr. Joseph
Anison, and carrying out extensive improvements, not only upon the
Wenderholme estate, but upon many other properties of his, scattered
over the neighboring parishes, and often at a considerable distance from
his headquarters at Milend. Though his constitution was a strong one, he
had always taxed its strength to the utmost; and his powers were not
what they had been, nor what he still believed them to be. He might have
gone on for many years in the old routine that he had been accustomed
to--for a hard-worked man will endure labor that seems beyond his
present strength if he merely continues the habits of his better time.
But a man already in the decline of life cannot _add_ to his labor
without danger, if it is already excessive, and especially if the new
labors require thought and study before they can be fully mastered. The
improvements at Wenderholme, to an experienced land-owner like Jacob
Ogden, required no new apprenticeship; but that was not the case with
the calico-printing business at Whittlecup. It was a new trade that had
to be learned, and not a very easy trade--not nearly so simple as
cotton-spinning. He applied himself to it with that indomitable will and
resolution which had hitherto overcome every obstacle in his career, and
he rapidly acquired the new knowledge that he needed. But this effort,
in addition to the enormous burden of his daily work--the daily work of
a rich man who could not endure to be robbed, and would trust nothing to
his agents--began to tell upon his cerebral system in a peculiar
manner; and these effects were the more dangerous that Jacob Ogden had
no conception of the terrible nature of the enemy that was invading him,
but believed this enemy might be conquered by his will and perseverance,
as every other obstacle had been. If he had frankly consulted Dr. Bardly
on the appearance of the first symptoms, and followed the advice which
Dr. Bardly would have given, the evil would have been checked in time;
but he felt a certain hostility to the Doctor, which disinclined him to
communications which he did not feel to be immediately necessary; and
even if this could have been laid aside, a man so wilful as Jacob Ogden,
and so accustomed to look after his own affairs, would scarcely have
consented under present circumstances to give up the management of his
business to his nephew, and retire to a premature and inglorious repose.

Hitherto he had gone through his work with great energy, in combination
with perfect calm. The energy still remained, it even increased; but the
calm did not remain--it was succeeded by a perpetual hurry and fever. In
a short time after these symptoms first developed themselves, Jacob
Ogden could not add up a column of figures without excitement; when he
came to the totals his heart beat violently, and he began to make
mistakes, which he perceived, and was afterwards nervously anxious to
avoid. As his malady increased, he could not open a letter without
emotion, or sign a cheque without a strong effort of self-control; in a
word, the nervous system was rapidly giving way. And instead of taking
rest, which could alone have restored him to health--rest at Wenderholme
amongst his own fair fields in the beautiful months of spring--he
persisted and persisted, and would not allow himself to be beaten.

The people about him did not know any thing of his condition. He was
more irritable, he pushed everybody faster than he had formerly done,
and he was constantly moving from one place to another; but his
determination to control himself was so strong, and his power of
_appearing_ well still so considerable, that such people as Mrs. Ogden
and young Jacob (unaccustomed as they both were to that kind of
suffering, and incapable of imagining it) had not the most distant
suspicion that he had become unfit for work. Indeed, although an
experienced London physician, who had made brain disease his particular
study, would no doubt have seen at a glance that this was a case which
needed the most watchful care, it may be doubted whether a country
practitioner (even so clever, naturally, as Dr. Bardly) would have
warned Jacob Ogden in time.

The overtasked brain translated its own dangerous condition by
_anxiety_, and the anxiety was not about health, but, as often happens
in such instances, about that subject which had most occupied the
patient's mind before the approaches of disease--namely, money. With all
his riches, Jacob Ogden grew more nervously anxious about money matters
than the poorest laborer on his estate. His mind ran incessantly upon
possible causes of loss; and as in the best-regulated property such
causes are always infinitely numerous, he found them only too easily.
The thousands of details which, when in health, he had carried in his
head as lightly as we carry the words of a thoroughly mastered language,
began to torment him with the apprehension that they might escape his
memory; and whereas, in his better days, no fact troubled him except
just at the moment when he wanted it, they now importunately intruded
upon his mind when they could only disturb and confuse it.

At length, as his disease advanced towards its sure and terrible
development, the ANXIETY, which was the form it had taken, and the
mental hurry and worry which accompanied it, arrived at such a pitch
that the least delicate and acute observers remarked it in Jacob Ogden's
face. His mother earnestly entreated him not to torment himself so much
about his affairs, but to take a partner, and allow himself more rest.
The advice came too late. The tender cells of the cerebrum were in a
state of fevered disturbance, which must now inevitably lead to one of
the forms of madness.

It broke out one night at Wenderholme. He toiled till three o'clock in
the morning, alone, at his accounts. There was nothing in them which he
would not have mastered quite easily when in health, but the condition
of his brain had led to many errors, and the attempt to correct these
had only increased and multiplied them. He toiled and toiled till his
brain could no longer stand the confusion, and he went mad.

First there came a sense of strangeness to every thing about him, and
then a wild alarm--a _terror_ such as he had never known! For a few
minutes Reason fiercely struggled to keep her seat, and would not be
dispossessed. Those minutes were the most fearful the man had ever
passed through. He sprang from his place, and paced the room from wall
to wall in violent agitation. "I'm very ill," he thought; "I cannot tell
what's the matter with me. I believe I'm going to have a fit. No, it
isn't that--it isn't that; I know what it is--I know now--_I'm going
mad_!"

No visible external foe can ever be so terrible as the mysterious
internal avengers. They come upon us we know not when nor where. They
come when the doors are locked, the mansion guarded, and all the
household sleeps. They come in their terrible invisibility, like devils
taking possession. The strokes of mortal disease are dealt mysteriously
_within_; and who would not rather meet a body of armed savages than
invisible apoplexy or paralysis?

For five minutes Ogden wrestled with his invisible enemy. "I _will_ not
go mad," he cried aloud--"I _will_ not!"

And a minute afterwards the struggle ceased, and he was another being,
mad beyond hope of recovery.

A strange smile came over his face, and he pressed his hand upon his
forehead. "I'll dodge them yet," he said; "they aren't as sharp as I
am. I'm sharper than the best of them!"

He began to count the money in his purse. It was not much--five pounds
eighteen exactly. He counted the sum quite correctly, over and over
again; then he looked anxiously about for a place to hide it in. Whilst
he was doing this, his mother, who had felt anxious about him all night,
and had been unable to sleep, came to his room-door and listened. She
heard him walking about and muttering to himself. Then she opened the
door and went in.

He concealed his purse cunningly, and placed himself between the
intruder and its hiding-place.

"Jacob," she said, "you ought to be in bed; why are you up like that?
It's three o'clock in the morning."

He began to talk very rapidly. He knew his mother perfectly well.
"Mother," he said, "when bailiffs comes you willn't tell 'em where I
have hid my brass; see, I've hidden it here, but you willn't tell 'em,
mother?" And then he lifted up a corner of the carpet and showed his
little purse.

Mrs. Ogden trembled from head to foot. "Our Jacob's crazed," she said to
herself--"our Jacob's gone crazed!"

She felt too weak to remain standing, and sat down, never taking her
eyes off him. He put the purse back, and covered it again with great
care. Then he took his memorandum-book, and seemed to be making an
entry.

"Let me look at that book," Mrs. Ogden said.

It was as she had feared. The entry was a hopelessly illegible jumble of
unmeaning lines and figures.

"Hadn't you better go to bed?"

"Go to bed, mother--not if I know it!" He said this with a smile of
intense cunning, and then added, confidentially, "The bailiffs are
comin' to-morrow, and Baron Rothschild has bought all my property, a
large price, a million sterling--a million sterling; it's Baron
Rothschild that bought it, mother, for a million sterling!"

The poor old woman burst into tears. "O Jacob!" she said, "I wish you
wouldn't talk so!"

"Why, mother," he replied, with an injured air, and a look of intense
penetration, "you know well enough what I failed for. I never should
have failed if it hadn't been for that Sootythorn Bank; but they came to
borrow money of me at Milend, and I took up shares for a hundred
thousand, and then the smash came, and I failed. But never you mind,
mother. Baron Rothschild bought my estates for a million sterling. That
shows I was a millionnaire. Doesn't it, mother? for if I hadn't been
worth a million, Baron Rothschild wouldn't have given a million for my
property. He willn't give more for property than what it's worth."

"O Jacob! you do make me miserable with talking so."

She did not know what to do with him. Young Jacob and her son Isaac were
both at Twistle Farm. At last she thought of Colonel Stanburne, who was
staying at Wenderholme Cottage. She left her son for a few minutes, and
sent a messenger for the Colonel. On returning to Jacob's room, she
found him busy counting his money over again. He had taken the purse
from its hiding-place.

The strength of her own nervous system was such that she bore even this
appalling event with firmness. She was grieved beyond power of
expression, but she was not overcome.

Happily there was no violence in Jacob Ogden's madness; he was not in
the least dangerous. He simply kept repeating that story about his
supposed failure, which he always attributed to the Sootythorn Bank, and
the purchase of his property by Baron Rothschild. When the Colonel came,
he told him the same story in the same words.

"You are mistaken on one point," the Colonel said. "It was I, Colonel
Stanburne, who was ruined by the failure of the Sootythorn Bank, not
you. You were never ruined. You purchased Wenderholme."

Mr. Ogden looked at him with the air of a professional man when a layman
has advanced something which he knows to be absurd. Then he shook his
head, and repeated the story about Baron Rothschild.

The Colonel kindly remained with him till morning, and bravely watched
him through the dreary hours. A messenger had been despatched on
horseback to Twistle Farm and to Dr. Bardly. Isaac Ogden and his son
were at Wenderholme by breakfast-time, and the Doctor's brougham drove
up very shortly afterwards.

Dr. Bardly tried to be encouraging. "He has been working too much," he
said, "and made himself too anxious; he may get round again with rest
and care. Give him good roast-meat and plenty of physical work."

But about ten o'clock Jacob Ogden became anxious to quit Wenderholme,
being full of apprehension about the bailiffs. "Better let him have his
own way," said the Doctor; so he was taken to Milend.

At Milend, however, there were other causes of anxiety. The bailiffs
tormented him at Wenderholme; the idea of Baron Rothschild haunted him
at Milend.

The experiment was tried of showing him the factory and the
counting-house, but with most discouraging results. The factory produced
a degree of excitement which, if continued, would probably lead to
madness of an aggravated and far more dangerous kind.

Specialists were telegraphed for from Manchester and from London, and a
consultation was held. They agreed that the patient must be kept out of
the way of every thing that might remind him of his former career,
recommending extreme tranquillity, good but simple diet, and as much
physical exercise as the patient could be induced to take.

These might be had conveniently in Mrs. Ogden's favorite little farm,
the Cream-pot. It was situated in a glen or clough, out of sight of the
Shayton factory-chimneys.

So the old lady went there to live with her afflicted son. She could
manage him better than anybody else, and he was never dangerous.

After a time, a happy discovery was made. He counted the money in his
purse several times a-day, and Mrs. Ogden told him that if he would dig
their little garden, she would pay him wages. He seized upon this idea
with great joy and eagerness, and she paid him a sovereign on the
Saturday night. The week following he worked very hard, and counted the
days, and spoke of his anticipated earnings with delight. So his mother
paid him another sovereign, and ever afterwards this became the rule,
and she employed him at a pound a-week.

He kept all the sovereigns in his purse, and they were his joy and
treasure. His physical health became excellent, and though his intellect
gave no hope of restoration, his days passed not unhappily. His mother
tended him with the most touching devotion, and a self-sacrifice so
absolute that she ceased to visit her friends, and abandoned all the
little amusements and varieties of her life.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE COLONEL AT STANITHBURN.


The long illness and slow convalescence of Mrs. Stanburne, and the
deplorable mental affliction which fell upon Jacob Ogden, and threw a
cloud of lasting sadness over the whole Ogden family, produced long
delays in the projects of young Jacob and Edith, and were the cause of
much indecision on the part of the Colonel and Lady Helena. Mrs.
Stanburne returned to Wenderholme Cottage in the earliest days of
spring, but the Colonel and his wife had already stayed there for many
weeks, being anxious not to abuse the kind hospitality of the vicarage.
The vicar's sentiments when they left him were of a mixed kind. He was
glad, and he was sorry. In his gladness there was no selfish
calculation--the Stanburnes were welcome to every thing he could offer
them; but in his warm approval of Lady Helena's conduct towards the
Colonel, he had been a little too demonstrative to be quite agreeable to
Mrs. Prigley, and therefore Mrs. Prigley had thought it incumbent upon
her, as a British matron of unspotted virtue, to make his life as
miserable as she could. Mrs. Ogden, too, had inflamed Mrs. Prigley's
jealousy in another way by coming and nursing Mrs. Stanburne. What right
had one of those "nasty Ogdens" to come and nurse Mrs. Stanburne? Mrs.
Prigley looked upon the invalid as exclusively her own property. Edith,
being young and insignificant, might sit a little with her
grandmother--but Mrs. Ogden!

If Lady Helena had not come just in time to take upon herself a good
deal of this now inflamed and awakened jealousy, the consequence would
have been that poor Mr. Prigley would have incurred grave suspicions of
an amorous intrigue with the old lady of Milend; but as Lady Helena was
younger than Mrs. Prigley, and Mrs. Ogden a good deal her senior, the
vicaress paid her husband the compliment of believing that he had placed
his sinful affections on the more eligible of the two ladies. So soon,
therefore, as she had ascertained to her own satisfaction the
culpability of the guilty pair (and when the commonest politeness was
evidence, proofs were not far to seek), the vicaress treated her
ladyship with the haughty coldness which is the proper behavior of a
virtuous and injured woman towards her sinful rival, and she treated her
husband as his abominable wickedness deserved. In a word, she made life
utterly insupportable for Mr. Prigley.

Lady Helena saw the true situation of affairs before the parson did (for
he in his masculine simplicity attributed his wife's behavior to any
cause but the right one), and she migrated at once to the Cottage with
the Colonel. When Mrs. Stanburne was well enough to bear the removal,
she was brought back to her old house, and continued steadily to
improve. Still her health was far from being strong enough to make the
idea of leaving her an admissible one, so the Colonel and Lady Helena
remained at Wenderholme a long time. Young Jacob came frequently to see
Edith, but the marriage, though now agreed upon by all parties, was
indefinitely postponed.

Whilst matters were in this state of suspension, the relation between
Mr. Jacob Ogden and his family had to be legally settled. His brother
Isaac received the factories and estates, in trust, conjointly with his
mother, with the usufruct thereof, £500 a-year being set aside for the
patient's maintenance. On account of the urgency of the situation, but
much against the grain of his now acquired habits, Mr. Isaac Ogden
quitted his solitude at Twistle Farm, and resumed, at Milend, the life
of a cotton-manufacturer, in partnership with his son.

Meanwhile Colonel Stanburne's position was, from the financial point of
view, any thing but brilliant. He had no income, after paying the
allowance to his mother, except a share in the £300 a-year remaining to
his wife. He was anxious to return to France and resume the humble
profession which he had found for himself there. Lady Helena said that
wherever he went she would go too, and nothing but the slowness of Mrs.
Stanburne's recovery prevented them from leaving England.

They were in this state--being, as things in life often are, in a sort
of temporary but indefinite lull and calm--when an event occurred which
produced the most important changes.

Mr. John Stedman being on a visit to his friend at Stanithburn Peel,
took one of his customary long walks amongst the wild rocky hills in
that neighborhood, and was caught--not for the first time--in a sudden
storm of rain. By the time the storm was over he was wet through, but
being interested in the search for a plant, went on wandering till
rather late in the evening. If he had kept constantly in movement it is
probable that no harm would have resulted from this little imprudence,
but unfortunately he found the plant he was in search of, and this led
him to do a little botanical anatomy with a microscope which he carried
in his pocket. Absorbed in this occupation, he sat down on the bare
rock, and forgot the minutes as they passed. He spent more than an hour
in this way, and rose from his task with a feeling of chill, and a
slight shiver, which, however, disappeared when his pedestrian exercise
was resumed. On returning to the Peel he thought no more of the matter,
and ate a hearty dinner, sitting rather late afterwards with Philip
Stanburne, and drinking more than his usual allowance of
brandy-and-water. The next day he did not go out, and towards evening
complained of a slight pain or embarrassment in the chest. The symptoms
gradually became alarming, a doctor was sent for, and Mr. Stedman's
illness was discovered to be a congestion of both lungs.

Of this malady he died. In his will, after various legacies, liberal but
not excessive, to all the poor people who were his relations, and the
relations of his deceased wife, he named "his dear friend and son,
Philip Stanburne," residuary legatee, "both in token of his own
friendship and gratitude towards the said Philip Stanburne, and also
because in making this bequest the testator believes that he is best
fulfilling the wishes of his beloved daughter, Alice."

But, notwithstanding John Stedman's affectionate friendship for the man
whom Alice had loved, there still remained in him much of the resolution
of a stalwart enemy of Rome, and the resolution dictated a certain
codicil written not long before his death. In this codicil he provided
that, "in case the said Philip Stanburne should enter any order of the
Church of Rome, whether secular or ecclesiastical, or endow the said
Church of Rome with any portion of his wealth, then the foregoing will
and testament should be void, and of none effect. And further, that the
said Philip Stanburne should solemnly promise never to give or bequeath
to the Church of Rome any portion of this bequest, and in case of his
refusal to make such promise," the money should be disposed of as we
will now explain.

The testator proceeded to affirm that it was still his desire to leave
part of his property in such a manner as to testify his gratitude to
Philip Stanburne; and therefore, if the latter took orders in the Church
of Rome, Mr. Stedman's bequest should still pass to a person of the name
of Stanburne, but professing the Protestant religion--namely, to John
Stanburne, formerly of Wenderholme. In this case, however, a large
deduction would be made from the legacy in favor of an intimate friend
of the testator, Joseph Anison, formerly of Arkwright Lodge, near
Whittlecup. All this was set forth with that minute and tedious detail
which is necessary, or is supposed to be necessary, in every legal
document.

Now for several years past Philip Stanburne had been firmly resolved, on
the death of Mr. Stedman (which would release him from his promise to
Alice), to enter a monastic order remarkable for industry and simplicity
of life, founded by the celebrated Father Muard, but since affiliated to
the Benedictines; and it was a suspicion of this resolve, or perhaps
more than a suspicion, which had dictated Mr. Stedman's codicil. The
will made no difference in Philip Stanburne's plans, and he was
delighted that the Colonel should inherit what would probably turn out
to be a fortune. When the question was formally put to him, he affirmed
his intention of being a monk of _La Pierre qui Vire_.

In consequence of this declaration, the codicil took effect. The factory
in Sootythorn, the house at Chesnut Hill, and a capital sum of £20,000,
went to Mr. Joseph Anison; but even after all the legacies to poor
relations, there still remained a residue of £35,000, which passed
directly to the Colonel. Mr. Stedman had been much richer than any one
believed, and his fortune, already considerable in the lifetime of his
daughter, had doubled since her death.

Philip Stanburne, who had been occasionally to Wenderholme since the
Colonel's return, to inquire after Mrs. Stanburne, and pass an hour or
two with an old friend, now proposed to sell him Stanithburn Peel. "It
would make me miserable," he said, "to sell it to anybody else, but to
you it's different. Buy it, and go to live there."

But he did not really sell the Peel itself. He sold the land, and gave
the strong old tower. The place was valued by friends, mutually
appointed, who received a hint from Philip that they were not to count
the Peel. The Colonel knew nothing about this, but gave £20,000 for the
estate, and invested the remainder of his capital in something better
than the Sootythorn Bank.

As Mrs. Stanburne was now well enough to be left, the Colonel and Lady
Helena set off one fine day for Stanithburn. The Peel had been admirably
restored, though with great moderation, in Philip Stanburne's quiet and
persevering way, and all its incongruities and anachronisms had been
removed. When they came to the front door, who should open it
but--Fyser!

"Please, sir," he said, "would you be so kind as to take me on again?"

The Colonel said not a word in answer, but he gave honest Fyser's hand
such a shake that it was perfectly natural the tears should come into
his eyes. The tears would come into anybody's eyes if his hand was
squeezed like that.

Whilst her ladyship went to take her things off, Fyser said, "Would you
like to step this way, sir?" The Colonel followed obediently.

"This will be your den, I suppose, sir, unless you would like to have it
in another part of the 'ouse."

John Stanburne felt like a man in a dream. There was every scrap of his
old den-furniture in the place. Philip Stanburne had bought it all at
the Wenderholme sale--every atom of it, even to his old boot-jack. And
as Mr. Fyser had had the arrangement of it, you may be sure that it was
in the old convenient and accustomed order.

But the Colonel and Lady Helena were still more surprised to find in the
principal rooms of the house various cabinets and other things of value
which had formerly been at Wenderholme, and especially a museum of
family relics which had occupied the centre of the great hall. In these
cabinets and cases little plates of silver were discovered, on
examination, to be inlaid, and each of these little plates was engraved
with the inscription, "Presented to Colonel Stanburne by the Officers of
the Twentieth Royal Lancashire Militia."

The regiment happened to be just then up for its annual training under a
major-commanding, no new colonel having as yet been appointed. And one
day there came rather a solemn deputation of officers to Stanithburn
Peel, all in full uniform.

The spokesman of the deputation was our old acquaintance, Captain
Eureton. He began by informing Colonel Stanburne that, although the
lieutenant-colonelcy had been offered to the senior major, he had begged
the lord-lieutenant to permit him to remain at the head of the regiment
as major-commanding; and that now he and all the officers unanimously
joined in entreating Colonel Stanburne to withdraw his resignation, and
resume his old position amongst them. There was no mistaking the
earnestness and sincerity of this petition, and John Stanburne
consented. He was received at Sootythorn at a great banquet given by the
officers just before the disbanding of the regiment; and at the review
which concluded the training, it was John Stanburne who commanded.



CHAPTER XX.

A SIMPLE WEDDING.


"I could so like to go to little Jacob weddin'," said Mrs. Ogden one day
in her little home at the Cream-pot, "but I'm like as if I were 'feard
to leave our Jacob for one single day. He's just same as a childt, an'
to-morrow's his pay-day, an' I couldn't like anybody else to pay him his
week's wage. But what I suppose they'll be just as well wed as if I'd
been there, for that matter."

It seems to us quite a pity that Mrs. Ogden could not contrive to be at
Wenderholme church on the wedding-day, for she would have been well
received by Mrs. Stanburne at the breakfast given by that lady at
Wenderholme Cottage, but ever since "our Jacob misfortin'" no power on
earth could get her away from the Cream-pot, and all reasoning on the
subject was trouble thrown away. Little Jacob's wedding-day passed like
all other monotonous days for Mrs. Ogden, so far as action or variety
was concerned, but she thought of him from morning till night. As for
the elder Jacob, he tranquilly pursued his digging in the garden,
looking forward with eager anticipation to the payment of his week's
wages on the same evening, for he had some consciousness of the lapse of
time, especially towards the close of the week. On Thursdays he began to
ask if it were not Saturday, on Fridays the question became frequent,
and on Saturday itself his mother had to promise a hundred times that
she would pay his wages at six o'clock. His old habits of energy and
perseverance were still visible in his daily work. He labored
conscientiously to make the garden produce as much as spade labor could
do for it, he carefully economized every inch of ground, and did all
that mere physical labor could for its advantage. On the other hand,
wherever the intelligence of a gardener was necessary, his shattered
intellect was constantly at fault, and he committed the wildest havoc.
He rooted up the garden-flowers as weeds, and could only recognize one
or two of the most familiar and most productive plants. He knew the
carrot, for example, and the potato, and these he cultivated in his own
strange way. His mother sacrificed the little Cream-pot garden to him
entirely, and got the vegetables for house use from Milend, and the
fruit from Wenderholme, so that he could destroy or cultivate at his own
absolute will and pleasure, and this he did with the cunning and
self-satisfaction of the insane.

The evening of that day when little Jacob was married, his grandmother
had a new idea about her afflicted son. "Jacob," she said to him when
the time for payment came, and his eyes were glistening as he clutched
the golden coin, "Jacob, thou shouldn't let thy money lie by same as
that without gettin' interest for it. There's twenty pound in thy purse
by this. Lend me thy twenty pound, an' I'll give thee five per cent,
that'll make a pound a-year interest for thee."

When the magical word "interest" sounded in his ear for the first time
since the break-down of his mental faculties, uncle Jacob's face assumed
a look of intelligence which startled his mother and gave her a gleam of
hope. "Interest, interest!" he said, and paused as if lost in thought;
then he added, "Compound interest! doubles up, compound interest,
doubles up fast!" These words, however, must have been mere
reminiscences of his former state, for he proved utterly incapable of
understanding the nature of even simple interest as a weekly payment.
Mrs. Ogden offered him sixpence as a week's interest for his money, but
he asked for a sovereign being accustomed to weekly payments of one
pound, and he seemed troubled and irritated when it was not given to
him. He understood the pound a week for his digging, but he could not
grasp any more complicated idea. His constant secret occupation, when
not at work, was to handle his accumulating sovereigns. In this way,
notwithstanding his insanity and his incapability of imagining the great
fortune he had heaped up when in health, he enjoyed money as much as
ever, for the mere quantity has really very little to do with the
delight of the passion of avarice. It is the _increase_ which gives
delight, not the quantity, and Jacob Ogden's private store was
incessantly increasing, so much indeed that his mother had to give him a
money-box. When the weekly sovereigns became numerous, he was incapable
of counting them, but he had a certain sense of quantity and a keen
satisfaction in the evident increase of his store.

Little Jacob's marriage was strangely simple, considering the wealth of
one of the two families and the station of the other; but the elder
Jacob's condition, and recent events in the life of Colonel Stanburne,
had so sobered everybody that there was not the slightest desire on
either side for any demonstration or display. As it concerned Lady
Helena, this simplicity was not displeasing to her, for reasons of her
own. She was glad, in her own mind, that Mrs. Ogden did not come, for
she keenly dreaded the old lady's strange sayings on a semi-public
occasion like the present, and the privacy of the marriage was a good
excuse for not inviting many of her own noble friends. The bridesmaids
were the Prigley girls and a young sister of Lady Helena. Mr. Prigley
performed the ceremony, and there was not a stranger in the little
Wenderholme church, except a reporter for the "Sootythorn Gazette," who
furnished a brilliant account of this "marriage in high life," which we
have no disposition to quote.

If Mrs. Ogden had chosen to bring to bear upon poor Edith all the weight
of her terrible critical power as a supreme judge of housekeeping
accomplishments, I am afraid that the young lady would have come out of
the ordeal ignominiously for she could neither darn a stocking properly
nor make a potato-pie, but criticism is often mollified by personal
favor and partiality; and the old lady never goes farther in the
severity of censure than to say, "Little Jacob wife is not much of a
housekeeper, but she was never brought up to it you know; and they'll
have plenty to live upon, so it willn't matter so much as it would 'ave
done if they'd been poorer people."

Poverty is certainly not the evil which the young couple need apprehend,
for the condition of Jacob Ogden the elder being considered permanent, a
judicial decision transferred his income to his brother Isaac, after
deducting £1,000 a year for his maintenance, which was paid to his
mother; an entirely superfluous formality, as she accumulated the whole
of it for her grandson, and kept Jacob Ogden well supplied with all that
he needed, or had intelligence to desire, out of her own little
independent fortune. Isaac Ogden was now charged with the management of
the business and estates. It then became apparent how splendidly
successful the life of the cotton-manufacturer had been. At the time of
the opening of this history, he was already earning, or rather
_netting_, since the operatives earned it for him, an income larger than
the salary of a Prime Minister, and successive years raised him to a
pecuniary equality with the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, and the Governor-General of India. At the time of his
cerebral catastrophe, he was at the height of his success; and his
numerous rills and rivers of income, flowing from properties of all
kinds, from shares, from the print-works at Whittlecup, and from his
enormous mill at Shayton, made, when added together, an aggregate far
surpassing the national allowance to princes of royal blood. In a word,
at the time of what Mrs. Ogden always called "our Jacob's misfortin',"
"our Jacob" had just got past £50,000 a year, and was beginning to
encourage the not improbable anticipation that his income would get up
to the hundred thousand before he died. Such as it was already, it
exceeded by exactly one thousand times the pittance for which, as the
slave of his own disordered imagination, he was now toiling from morning
till night.

Nothing is more difficult than to get rid of a great business. Such
mills as Jacob Ogden's are very difficult to let, and to close them
entirely would be to throw a whole neighborhood out of work and diminish
the value of property within a considerable radius. There was nothing
for it, therefore, but to keep the business going, so Mr. Isaac Ogden
threw aside his habits of leisure at Twistle Farm and came to live at
Milend. He managed the work for some time with considerable energy; but
he had been so long unused to the employment, that this business life,
with its incessant claims upon time and attention, required a constant
effort of the will, and he felt himself incapable of continuing it
indefinitely. Young Jacob helped him energetically; but the vast concern
which his uncle had established, with the addition of the print-works at
Whittlecup, required more looking after than even he was equal to; so in
order that Isaac Ogden might have some leisure at Twistle Farm, and be
able to join the militia at the annual training, the calico business at
Whittlecup had to be given up. It could not be sold during old Jacob
Ogden's life; but it was let, together with Arkwright Lodge, to Mr.
Joseph Anison, on terms exceedingly advantageous to the latter, who will
be able, after all, to give handsome dowries to his younger daughters,
and to leave Miss Margaret the richest old maid in Whittlecup.

Young Jacob and his wife established themselves at Wenderholme, but she
soon complained that he was too much away on business, and declared her
intention of accompanying him on his journeys to Milend, which she has
ever since been in the habit of doing. When at Milend (which has been
much beautified and improved), they go a great deal to the Cream-pot,
where old Mrs. Ogden still devotes herself to the care of her
unfortunate son. "I'm thankful to God," she says, "that our Jacob is so
'appy with his misfortin'. Every time I give him his sovereign of a
Saturday night he's as 'appy and proud as a little lad ten year old. And
he's as well in 'ealth as anybody could wish for." Young Jacob and Edith
are both very attentive to him, but it is thought better not to bring
him to Wenderholme again, nor even to Milend. This makes it a great tie
for poor Mrs. Ogden, but she fulfils her duty with a noble
self-abnegation, and tends "our Jacob" with the most minute and
unrelaxing care. As for her fine carriage, she made a wedding-present of
it to Edith, and has never been in it since, not even to do a little
knitting. Her life is the simple old life that she was accustomed to in
her youth, and it suits her health so well, that if all old women that
one hears of did not finish some day by dying, one might almost expect
her to prolong her sojourn permanently upon the earth, in the green
"Cream-pot" fields. But the recent death of old Sarah at Twistle Farm
has been a serious warning, and the new Shayton clergyman is a frequent
visitor at the Cream-pot. Dr. Bardly is not so much in request, on
account of his heterodox views, and because Mrs. Ogden's physical
condition is still excellent, whatever may be her spiritual state.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE MONK.


The Colonel and Lady Helena made a tour on the continent in the autumn,
and visited the little French city where he had earned his living as a
teacher of English.

Young Jacob and Edith accompanied them as far as Geneva, and on their
way from Paris it was decided that they should stop at Auxerre, and go
thence to Avallon, which was not very far from the monastery of _La
Pierre qui Vire_. The Colonel desired to see Philip Stanburne once
again.

Through narrow and rocky valleys, indescribably picturesque, and full of
a deep melancholy poetry of their own, they journeyed a whole day, and
came at last to the confines of the monastery, in a wild stony desert
amongst the hills, through which flowed a rapid stream. The ladies could
not enter, but young Jacob and the Colonel passed through the simple
gateway. A monk received them in silence, and, in answer to a question
of the Colonel, put his finger upon his lips. He then went to ask
permission to speak from his superior.

The monk promised to lead the Colonel to Philip Stanburne. They passed
along wild paths cut in the rock and the forest, with rudely carved
bas-reliefs of the chief scenes of the Passion erected at stated
distances. They saw many monks engaged in the most laborious manual
occupations: some were washing linen in the clear river; others were
road-making, with picks and wheel-barrows; others were hard at work as
masons, building the walls of some future portion of the monastery, or
the enclosures of its fields. All worked and were silent, not even
looking at the strangers as they passed. At length the three came to a
little wood, and, having passed through the wood, to a small field on
the steep slope of a hill. In the field two monks were ploughing in
their monastic dress, with a pair of white oxen.

Suddenly the Angelus rang from the belfry of the monastery, and its
clear tones filled the quiet valley where these monks had made their
home. All the monks heard it, and all who heard it fell instantaneously
on their knees in the midst of their labor, wherever they might happen
to be. The masons dropped their stones and trowels, the washermen prayed
with the wet linen still in their grasp, the ploughman knelt between the
handles of his plough, and the driver with the goad in his right hand.
The Colonel's guide dropped upon the ploughed earth, and prayed. All in
the valley prayed.

When this was over, the two Englishmen were led forward towards the
oxen, and before the slow animals had resumed their toil, the Colonel
had recognized their driver. So this was the life he had chosen--a life
of rudest labor, with the simplest food and the severest discipline--a
life of toil and silence. He knew the Colonel at once, but dared not
speak to him, and placed his fingers on his lips, and goaded his oxen
forward, and resumed his weary march.

A special permission having been procured, the monk talked with John
Stanburne freely, saying that he loved his new life and the hardships of
it, dwelling with quiet enthusiasm on the beautiful discipline of his
order, and leading him over the rude and picturesque lands which had
been reclaimed by the industry of his brethren.

But when they parted, there came a great pang of regret in Philip
Stanburne's heart for the free English life that he had lost--a pang of
regret for Stanithburn, and that Alice should not be mistress there
instead of Lady Helena.

And after the service in the humble chapel of the monastery--a service
singularly devoid of the splendors of the Catholic worship--a monk lay
prostrate across the threshold, doing penance. And all his brethren
passed over him, one by one.

      Cambridge: Press of John Wilson & Son.

       *       *       *       *       *

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'painful mystery of brute [Transcriber's note: This is where the text
ends.]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] This publisher was not a member of the firm of Messrs. W. Blackwood
& Sons, who afterwards purchased the copyright of _Wenderholme_, nor was
the story ever offered to him; but his opinion had great influence with
the author on account of his large experience.

[2] Careful.

[3] Spent.

[4] Slake; it is good slake--it slakes thirst well. The expression was
actually used by a carter, to whom a gentleman gave champagne in order
to ask his opinion of the beverage.

[5] Till.

[6] Almost.

[7] Quiet.

[8] Seek.

[9] "Some and glad" is a common Lancashire expression, meaning
"considerably glad."

[10] The possessive is omitted in the genuine Lancashire dialect.

[11] Perhaps.

[12] All the. In Lancashire the word _all_ is abbreviated, as in
Scotland, to a', but pronounced _o_.

[13] Value.

[14] Without.

[15] Push beyond.

[16] For the information of some readers, it may be well to explain that
the epaulettes of flank companies, which were of a peculiar shape, used
to be called wings.

[17] The reader who cares to attain the perfection of Mrs. Ogden's
pronunciation will please to bear in mind that she pronounced the _d_
well in "soldiers" (thus, sol-di-ers), and did not replace it with a
_g_, according to the barbarous usage of the polite world.

[18] The reader will please to bear in mind that _who_ means _she_ in
the pure Lancashire dialect.

[19] Half.

[20] The reader will remember that the best part of the estate had been
mortgaged to Mr. Jacob Ogden.

[21] Where hast thou been.

[22] Nothing but what is right.

[23] Have.

[24] The engraved copper rollers used in calico-printing. The larger
printing firms sink immense sums in these rollers, far surpassing the
above estimate for Mr. Anison, who was only in a moderate way of
business.

[25] Fain is a combination of happy and proud. It answers very nearly to
a certain sense of the French word "content."

[26] Any thing.

[27] A common form of sobriquet in Lancashire.





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