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´╗┐Title: Waynflete
Author: Coleridge, C.R.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Waynflete" ***

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Waynflete
By C.R. Coleridge
Published by A.D. Innes and Co, 31-32 Bedford Street, Strand, London.
This edition dated 1893.

PROLOGUE.

IN 1785.

  "That the character of the inhabitants of any country has much to do
  in forming a distinct devil for that country no man can doubt."

  From "_John Inglesant_."

At ten o'clock at night on the 4th of October, 1785, the master of
Waynflete Hall sat playing at cards with Mr Maxwell of Ouseley, his
neighbour and his enemy.  By the fireside sat Waynflete's brother, the
parson of the parish, and over the chimney, in the light of the candle's
on the card-table, was the picture of his eldest son and heir.  The
squire and the vicar were big, powerful men, with fair, bushy brows, and
faces that told of rough riding and coarse living, hard weather and hard
drinking, the only mark of their gentle blood that frank expectation of
deference and service which marks a ruling class.  The keener, thinner
face of their visitor had the opposite look, that of a man accustomed to
defer, and perhaps to flatter, for his livelihood.  The face of the boy
in the picture was fair and delicate, with eyes that seemed pleading and
entreating for dear life.

Outside, all was dark and dreary, a wild autumn wind sweeping over the
wide Yorkshire moors, and a noisy river, swelled by recent floods,
rushing through the valley in which Waynflete stood.  Within, the
candles and the fire were reflected in panels of polished oak all round
the little octagon-shaped chamber, and showed choice furniture with
slender spindle legs and fine inlaying.  The common mould candles burnt
in heavy silver candlesticks of Corinthian pattern, and the many-times
used cards lay on a pattern of thick twining roses worked in finest
tent-stitch.

On a little side table was placed a shabby leather case, and a small oak
chest with iron hasps and hinges.  On another, within easy reach of the
card-players, was a plentiful supply of port wine and of spirits.

Now and again, when the tall clock in the corner struck a quarter or a
half-hour, the vicar got up and, opening one of the deep-recessed
windows, stared out into the night.  Then he flung the casement back
again in silence, came back to his chair, and he and his brother filled
their glasses full and drank them down.  But Mr Maxwell of Ouseley only
set his lips to his.  At last eleven strokes, quick, sharp, and loud,
rang out from the clock in the corner.  The squire flung his cards down,
and the parson swore a round oath.

"Time gets on," said Maxwell of Ouseley.  "I hope Mr Guy's journey has
not been unduly delayed.  I hope it sincerely."

"Do you, Mr Maxwell of Ouseley?" said the squire.  "Your hope's very
likely to be disappointed, for my son Guy never fulfilled anybody's
hopes in his life.  Not his mother's."

And the squire looked round at the familiar furniture, dropped his rough
hand on the delicate needlework, and looked with his frowning brows at
the picture, the token of his dead wife's love for her first-born son.

"Time yet, time yet," said the parson, and got heavily up once more, and
flung the window open.  The wind rushed in, wailing and howling, and
with it a sound as of a horse galloping on the wet ground.

"He is coming!" cried Maxwell; but the Waynfletes laughed.

"No, no, no!" cried the squire; "that horse never draws bridle.  He has
galloped ever since Guy Waynflete betrayed his friend to King James the
Second, and saved his own dirty skin.  Ye'll hear him, Mr Maxwell, when
you sleep under this roof when the wind's up--and luck's down.  Maybe
ye'll see the traitor's ghost.  My son Guy has seen him--or else he
lied, which is like enough.  Shut the window, brother Godfrey, and snuff
the candles."

"Will you deal again, sir?" said Maxwell of Ouseley.

"No," cried the squire; "cards won't bring the lad back.  Get your book,
brother Godfrey, and read us a prayer.  Pray, man, pray! and Mr Maxwell
can join us."

"With pleasure, sir," said Maxwell of Ouseley, bowing.

"The prayer-book's in the church, brother," said the parson.

Then the squire got up and opened a drawer in the little side table, and
took out a well-worn book with a red cover.

"There's the mother's book," he said.  "Read on.  We'll fight it out to
the last."

Then the parson of the parish turned his heavy chair round towards the
light, and knelt up against the back of it, for his bones were something
too stiff to reach the floor.

"What--what do you want to pray for, brother?" he said.

"What?" cried the squire with an oath, "that my fool of a son may get
here before the clock strikes twelve, and save his honour and his house.
Can't you find a prayer?  Read the first in the book.  The Almighty'll
understand it."

The squire leant his elbows on the card-table and his forehead on his
hands.  Mr Maxwell of Ouseley stood up decorously, and held his
three-cornered hat before his face.

And the parson turned to the evening service, and read it straight
through sonorously.  The words implored pardon and peace, and light in
darkness; but they carried but one prayer up to the throne of Heaven,
"Let him come."

Then the parson began the Litany till he came to the travellers by land
and by water, when he rustled over the leaves of his book, and behold
there was a mark in the prayer for those at sea, which did not run so
ill in a storm of trouble and distress.  "Save, Lord, or else we
perish," he said, and the squire groaned and said, "Amen."

And through the storm and the loud rough voice the clock ticked and
struck, quarter, half-hour, and three quarters, till at last, with his
rough voice shaking and growing thick, and his dull old heart beating
fit to choke him, the parson found himself reading the prayer for "All
sorts and conditions of men."

"Mind, body and estate--"

"Eh-h!" groaned the squire.

"And a happy issue out of all--"

The first note of twelve clanged out, and the parson flung down his
book.

"Lord help us!" he cried, and Mr Maxwell of Ouseley took his hat from
before his face, and waited till the clock had struck twelve.  Then the
squire got up from his chair, and took up the oak chest and set it down
upon the card-table with a heavy thud.  He turned the key in the lock,
and took out a bundle of parchments and laid them down on his dead
wife's needlework, among the cards and the wine-glasses, with her
prayer-book by their side.

Then he drew himself straight up, and bowed.  "Mr Maxwell of Ouseley,"
he said, "these are the terms on which we stand.  This house and estate
were to pass to you, my attorney-at-law, in repayment of the loans ye've
made me, unless my son Guy came back by twelve to-night, ready to sign
such other bonds as ye might please, and to marry your girl whom ye'd
like to make a lady of quality as well as the heiress of ye're gains and
gettings."

"Yes, Mr Waynflete, those were the terms, and I regret--"

The squire turned and swore at him, then went on in the same tone as
before, "But my eldest son Guy, who broke his mother's heart, and was
too late for her deathbed, is _too late_ to save his father, and
himself.  I leave him my curse for a coward and a fool.  And I leave it
for all that come after him to follow in his steps.  And for t'other
one, brother Godfrey, you'd better take and put him into the Church, if
you can; he's a thickhead, but an honest lad.  So there, Attorney
Maxwell, take your own, and the luck ye've earned go with it!"

And Mr Maxwell, still murmuring regrets that he daren't speak aloud,
closed his long fingers over the deeds.  And the parson, the son of the
house, put his handkerchief over his face and wept, while the wind rose
higher and wailed louder, till it seemed as if cries and prayers for
mercy mingled with the thud of the hoofs of the horse that never drew
bridle at any door.

Then Waynflete of Waynflete Hall took up his dead wife's prayer-book and
kissed it, then he walked over to the side table, and stood with his
back to the other two.  "God have mercy on my soul!" said he, and took
something out of the leathern box.  And there was a loud noise and a
heavy fall, and the old drinking, gambling, hard-living squire never
lived to see whether his unlucky son came home too late.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

But in the gloomy mists of the next morning, while the scared household
were watching the body laid out for its last sleep in the room where it
had fallen, there staggered into the midst of them the ruined heir, his
trim locks wild and wet, his fair face marred and degraded, and his eyes
mad with fear.

"The traitor's ghost--or the devil in his shape--stood in my way--I was
coming--" he stuttered in thick, shaking tones.

"To the devil with your ghost!  You're drunk!" shouted the old parson,
and lifted his hand.

The boy cowered, stumbled and fell on the threshold.  He was indeed too
late.

That was what happened at Waynflete Hall, in October, 1785.

PROLOGUE.

IN 1785.

  "That the character of the inhabitants of any country has much to do
  in forming a distinct devil for that country no man can doubt."

  From "_John Inglesant_."

At ten o'clock at night on the 4th of October, 1785, the master of
Waynflete Hall sat playing at cards with Mr Maxwell of Ouseley, his
neighbour and his enemy.  By the fireside sat Waynflete's brother, the
parson of the parish, and over the chimney, in the light of the candle's
on the card-table, was the picture of his eldest son and heir.  The
squire and the vicar were big, powerful men, with fair, bushy brows, and
faces that told of rough riding and coarse living, hard weather and hard
drinking, the only mark of their gentle blood that frank expectation of
deference and service which marks a ruling class.  The keener, thinner
face of their visitor had the opposite look, that of a man accustomed to
defer, and perhaps to flatter, for his livelihood.  The face of the boy
in the picture was fair and delicate, with eyes that seemed pleading and
entreating for dear life.

Outside, all was dark and dreary, a wild autumn wind sweeping over the
wide Yorkshire moors, and a noisy river, swelled by recent floods,
rushing through the valley in which Waynflete stood.  Within, the
candles and the fire were reflected in panels of polished oak all round
the little octagon-shaped chamber, and showed choice furniture with
slender spindle legs and fine inlaying.  The common mould candles burnt
in heavy silver candlesticks of Corinthian pattern, and the many-times
used cards lay on a pattern of thick twining roses worked in finest
tent-stitch.

On a little side table was placed a shabby leather case, and a small oak
chest with iron hasps and hinges.  On another, within easy reach of the
card-players, was a plentiful supply of port wine and of spirits.

Now and again, when the tall clock in the corner struck a quarter or a
half-hour, the vicar got up and, opening one of the deep-recessed
windows, stared out into the night.  Then he flung the casement back
again in silence, came back to his chair, and he and his brother filled
their glasses full and drank them down.  But Mr Maxwell of Ouseley only
set his lips to his.  At last eleven strokes, quick, sharp, and loud,
rang out from the clock in the corner.  The squire flung his cards down,
and the parson swore a round oath.

"Time gets on," said Maxwell of Ouseley.  "I hope Mr Guy's journey has
not been unduly delayed.  I hope it sincerely."

"Do you, Mr Maxwell of Ouseley?" said the squire.  "Your hope's very
likely to be disappointed, for my son Guy never fulfilled anybody's
hopes in his life.  Not his mother's."

And the squire looked round at the familiar furniture, dropped his rough
hand on the delicate needlework, and looked with his frowning brows at
the picture, the token of his dead wife's love for her first-born son.

"Time yet, time yet," said the parson, and got heavily up once more, and
flung the window open.  The wind rushed in, wailing and howling, and
with it a sound as of a horse galloping on the wet ground.

"He is coming!" cried Maxwell; but the Waynfletes laughed.

"No, no, no!" cried the squire; "that horse never draws bridle.  He has
galloped ever since Guy Waynflete betrayed his friend to King James the
Second, and saved his own dirty skin.  Ye'll hear him, Mr Maxwell, when
you sleep under this roof when the wind's up--and luck's down.  Maybe
ye'll see the traitor's ghost.  My son Guy has seen him--or else he
lied, which is like enough.  Shut the window, brother Godfrey, and snuff
the candles."

"Will you deal again, sir?" said Maxwell of Ouseley.

"No," cried the squire; "cards won't bring the lad back.  Get your book,
brother Godfrey, and read us a prayer.  Pray, man, pray! and Mr Maxwell
can join us."

"With pleasure, sir," said Maxwell of Ouseley, bowing.

"The prayer-book's in the church, brother," said the parson.

Then the squire got up and opened a drawer in the little side table, and
took out a well-worn book with a red cover.

"There's the mother's book," he said.  "Read on.  We'll fight it out to
the last."

Then the parson of the parish turned his heavy chair round towards the
light, and knelt up against the back of it, for his bones were something
too stiff to reach the floor.

"What--what do you want to pray for, brother?" he said.

"What?" cried the squire with an oath, "that my fool of a son may get
here before the clock strikes twelve, and save his honour and his house.
Can't you find a prayer?  Read the first in the book.  The Almighty'll
understand it."

The squire leant his elbows on the card-table and his forehead on his
hands.  Mr Maxwell of Ouseley stood up decorously, and held his
three-cornered hat before his face.

And the parson turned to the evening service, and read it straight
through sonorously.  The words implored pardon and peace, and light in
darkness; but they carried but one prayer up to the throne of Heaven,
"Let him come."

Then the parson began the Litany till he came to the travellers by land
and by water, when he rustled over the leaves of his book, and behold
there was a mark in the prayer for those at sea, which did not run so
ill in a storm of trouble and distress.  "Save, Lord, or else we
perish," he said, and the squire groaned and said, "Amen."

And through the storm and the loud rough voice the clock ticked and
struck, quarter, half-hour, and three quarters, till at last, with his
rough voice shaking and growing thick, and his dull old heart beating
fit to choke him, the parson found himself reading the prayer for "All
sorts and conditions of men."

"Mind, body and estate--"

"Eh-h!" groaned the squire.

"And a happy issue out of all--"

The first note of twelve clanged out, and the parson flung down his
book.

"Lord help us!" he cried, and Mr Maxwell of Ouseley took his hat from
before his face, and waited till the clock had struck twelve.  Then the
squire got up from his chair, and took up the oak chest and set it down
upon the card-table with a heavy thud.  He turned the key in the lock,
and took out a bundle of parchments and laid them down on his dead
wife's needlework, among the cards and the wine-glasses, with her
prayer-book by their side.

Then he drew himself straight up, and bowed.  "Mr Maxwell of Ouseley,"
he said, "these are the terms on which we stand.  This house and estate
were to pass to you, my attorney-at-law, in repayment of the loans ye've
made me, unless my son Guy came back by twelve to-night, ready to sign
such other bonds as ye might please, and to marry your girl whom ye'd
like to make a lady of quality as well as the heiress of ye're gains and
gettings."

"Yes, Mr Waynflete, those were the terms, and I regret--"

The squire turned and swore at him, then went on in the same tone as
before, "But my eldest son Guy, who broke his mother's heart, and was
too late for her deathbed, is _too late_ to save his father, and
himself.  I leave him my curse for a coward and a fool.  And I leave it
for all that come after him to follow in his steps.  And for t'other
one, brother Godfrey, you'd better take and put him into the Church, if
you can; he's a thickhead, but an honest lad.  So there, Attorney
Maxwell, take your own, and the luck ye've earned go with it!"

And Mr Maxwell, still murmuring regrets that he daren't speak aloud,
closed his long fingers over the deeds.  And the parson, the son of the
house, put his handkerchief over his face and wept, while the wind rose
higher and wailed louder, till it seemed as if cries and prayers for
mercy mingled with the thud of the hoofs of the horse that never drew
bridle at any door.

Then Waynflete of Waynflete Hall took up his dead wife's prayer-book and
kissed it, then he walked over to the side table, and stood with his
back to the other two.  "God have mercy on my soul!" said he, and took
something out of the leathern box.  And there was a loud noise and a
heavy fall, and the old drinking, gambling, hard-living squire never
lived to see whether his unlucky son came home too late.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

But in the gloomy mists of the next morning, while the scared household
were watching the body laid out for its last sleep in the room where it
had fallen, there staggered into the midst of them the ruined heir, his
trim locks wild and wet, his fair face marred and degraded, and his eyes
mad with fear.

"The traitor's ghost--or the devil in his shape--stood in my way--I was
coming--" he stuttered in thick, shaking tones.

"To the devil with your ghost!  You're drunk!" shouted the old parson,
and lifted his hand.

The boy cowered, stumbled and fell on the threshold.  He was indeed too
late.

That was what happened at Waynflete Hall, in October, 1785.

PART ONE, CHAPTER ONE.

THE FAMILY.

The splendid sunset of a late August day in the year 1885 was staining
the smoky atmosphere which enveloped the manufacturing district of
Ingleby with rich and subtle tints.

Margaret Waynflete sat at an upstairs window of a large square stone
house, looking across a garden, filled with brilliant flowers and
smoke-dulled shrubs, over lovely undulations of wood and field, and
unlovely forms of mill and chimney half veiled in tawny, luminous mist,
Beyond, hill behind hill, and moor above moor, in endless succession,
were lost in grey-gold smoke and fog.  She was an old woman, with a line
strong face of marked outline, and a tall, strong frame, dressed
handsomely in sober and dignified garments suitable to her years and
position.  Her face was wrinkled and weather-beaten, with the look that
comes of facing hard weather through a long life; but it told of perfect
health, of unimpaired strength of mind and body.

Nevertheless Margaret Waynflete was engaged in the religious duty of
"considering her latter end."  So probably she would have expressed
herself, for she was a person who always endeavoured to fulfil any duty
that she recognised, and such consideration was becoming to a woman of
seventy-six.  But what she was really considering was her former life,
and that, not so much with a view to repenting her sins, or regretting
her shortcomings--though if she had such she was truly desirous of
repenting and regretting them--as of shaping the future in such a way
that her past work should not be undone by those who would come after
her.

She had had a life work.  She had attempted something and had done it.
She had lifted her good old name out of the dust, and had restored her
fallen family to its natural station.  And she was intensely proud both
of her family name, of her own success, and of the means by which the
success had been obtained.  When she thought of the day when she should
be laid in the old churchyard at Waynflete, she desired as much that the
business, to which the restored fortunes of the family were owing,
should be honourably and skilfully managed, as that the family name
should be borne with grace and dignity.

"We owe the old place to the business," she said once to her two
great-nephews; "and it's a poor thing to forget the bridge that carries
you over."

Sixty years before Margaret Waynflete had been a fine, strong girl,
intensely conscious of her good blood, though her father was but a
working farmer, and she herself had had a humble education, and spoke
with the strongest accent of her native county.  The family had fallen
so completely that every one but Margaret had forgotten the fact, and it
hardly appeared extraordinary, though it might be sad, when her father's
death left her with the choice of going to service or of working in the
mills with her little brother.

Margaret put her shawl over her head and went to her work every day; a
fair, rosy girl with abundant flaxen hair, and large, finely cut
features.  Her beauty attracted the attention of the mill-owner, Thomas
Palmer, a man no longer young, of humbler origin, and not much better
education than her own, but of rapidly increasing wealth.

He courted Margaret honourably, and she married him on condition that he
would send her little brother Godfrey to school.  Years passed, of
rising fortune which no children came to inherit.  Thomas Palmer's
relations were all well established in businesses of their own, and when
he died he left everything he possessed to his wife, and Godfrey
Waynflete was her natural heir.  Already, a little bit of the old
Waynflete property, which lay in a moorland valley twenty miles away
from Ingleby, had been bought by the wealthy mill-owner, and as time
went on, Margaret, in whose hands the mills prospered, recovered it all,
and when the house itself came into her possession she took her own name
again.  Her brother had married well; but he died young, leaving a son
who bore the other family name of Guy.  He should be the future
Waynflete of Waynflete; but again disappointment came, for Guy was
killed by an accident three years after his marriage.  His young wife
died in giving birth to a second son, and the old great-aunt was left
with two babies, Guy and Godfrey, on whom to fix her long-deferred
hopes.

Sixteen years had passed since that day, during which the business had
been the duty, and the family name the romance of her life.  She loved
both now, as people do love the objects of a life's devotion, with an
imperious demand that those who came after her should love them also;
and now, as she sat in her armchair, and thought of her age, and of
preparing for death, she was really thinking about the two young lads,
whose future fate lay in her power.

The eldest ought to have Waynflete; but it did not suit with her ideas
to make him the squire and his brother the mill-owner, as might have
seemed natural.  The money that had been made in Ingleby Mills ought not
to be diverted from their interests for the support of the Squire of
Waynflete.  He must be a partner in the business, even if the chief
management of it fell to his brother.  And the Squire of Waynflete ought
to be the eldest son.

Such was the view of life maintained by this hard-working old lady, who
had never known an idle day, nor a doubt as to the value of her day's
work.

But she liked the youngest boy the best, and believed that he was the
most likely to follow in her footsteps.  Old people do not always regard
young ones with blind admiration, and Mrs Waynflete appraised her
great-nephews exactly according to her own measure.  She did not know
that there were other scales in the universe differently weighted.

So, as she reviewed her past life, she questioned herself whether all
her payments had been fair, whether she had exacted enough, and not too
much, work from her subordinates; whether she had spent enough money on
improvements, or too much on buying back the last piece of unprofitable
moor that had belonged to the old Waynfletes; whether, on the other
hand, she had ever sacrificed honesty to gain, or failed honourably to
fulfil an obligation.  And in all these respects her conscience was
clear.

And when she thought of the future--she took heaven for granted, as her
well-earned portion; but she could picture nothing but Guy and Godfrey
in her place, and herself somehow cognisant of their actions.  Their
young voices, through the open window, disturbed her meditations, as
they came across the lawn together.

She rapped on the window, and called to them to come up, and in a minute
or two, they were in the handsome, heavily furnished drawing-room, in
which their white tennis-suits hardly looked at home.  They were tall
lads of eighteen and sixteen, like each other, and like their
great-aunt; Godfrey the younger, remarkably so.  He was the taller of
the two, with high cheek-bones and prominent features, light flaxen hair
and large grey eyes, with a certain direct honesty of expression.  He
was still only a big boy, while his brother was slighter, and of more
finished appearance, and more delicate outlines.  His eyes were also of
a light grey, but they were softened by dark eyelashes set thickly on
the lower lids as well as on the upper, which gave them a wistful,
pleading look, quite independent of their owner's intentions, and
inconsistent with his slightly critical smile and reticent manner.

"Did you want us, Auntie Waynflete?" said Godfrey, in blunt, boyish
tones, and using the old-fashioned form of address, in which he had been
trained.

"Yes.  I've an invitation for you, which I've a mind you shall accept."

"Are the Rabys giving a dance?" asked Guy, who was becoming an eligible
partner.

"No; this is from Constance Palmer.  Her husband was your great-uncle's
cousin.  She wanted to spend some months in bracing air, so I let
Waynflete to her.  You know the old lease of the house fell in this
spring.  She asks you two to come there for a visit.  You shall go."

"I should like to see Waynflete," said Guy, with some curiosity, while
Godfrey said--

"Is it only an old lady?  Will there be any other fellows there?"

"She isn't old, young gentleman.  There are some little girls--or young
ladies, perhaps you'd call them--that she has brought up.  She says the
neighbours have called on her."

"Is Waynflete much of a place?" asked Guy.  "Why have we never seen it?"

"No, Guy," said Mrs Waynflete.  "It's but a poor place, and while the
house was let to strangers--as, indeed, a good part of the property is
still in the hands of the old tenants--I did not care for you to go
there.  Now, you can both see what you think of it."

Guy gave a quick glance at her, while Godfrey said--

"I don't suppose it's jollier than this."

"Before you go," said the old lady, sitting up in her chair, "there's
something I want to say to you."

"Yes, auntie," said Godfrey, staring at her, while Guy said, "Yes?"
politely.

"You both know how Waynflete has been got back for the family.  By hard
work, and doing of duty, and courage.  When my heart is set on a thing,
lads, I don't fear trouble.  I don't fear man, and I've no need to fear
the devil, since I know I'm in the right.  And I never shall fear what
folks may say of any course I choose to follow.  I'm an old woman, and I
tell you that a single aim always hits the mark."

As she spoke in her strong voice, and looked at the lads with her strong
eyes, Guy felt that the manifesto had a purpose.  Godfrey listened quite
simply as to an improving remark.

"You know how, bit by bit, your great-uncle Palmer and I have got
Waynflete back.  And I've often told you how _my_ great-uncle Guy lost
it?"

"Oh yes, auntie," said Godfrey, cheerfully.  "He got screwed, and then
made up a cock-and-bull story about the family ghost stopping him at the
bridge.  Awful bad lot he must have been.  Then he died, didn't he, and
Maxwell of Ouseley had the place till _he_ went to the bad, and had to
sell it?"

"Yes, he died delirious, and my grandfather was turned out to make his
way in the world.  So you see, 'twas self-indulgence, drinking and
gambling that lost the place, and ruined the family."

"I don't think my namesake deserves all the blame," said Guy.  "His
father, as I understand the story, got him into a pretty tight place."

"He had his chance, Guy, and he lost it by his cowardice--if, as some
think, he was stopped by highwaymen, or by his vicious habits, if he was
drunk.  He was a very fine gentleman, I've heard; played the fiddle,
Guy, and wrote verses; but that was no stand-by in his hour of need."

"The family ghost, himself," said Guy, in a slow, dry voice, "seems to
have been an unpleasant person to know."

"Ay; there was a young Waynflete who betrayed his friend in Monmouth's
rebellion, to save his own life.  He went mad, and shot himself--as the
story runs--so ignorant folk say his ghost haunts Waynflete, and think,
when the wind blows, they hear his horse galloping."

"That Guy who was too late was an awful duffer, if he wasn't drunk!"
said Godfrey.  "I'd have got over the river, ghost or highwayman, or
been killed on the spot."

"It's not a nice story," said Guy.  "I should think Waynflete was
haunted by all their ghosts!"

"Ghost-stories are very proper for old families," said Mrs Waynflete;
"but of course no one believes them.  There, it's a disgraceful story;
take it as a warning.  You'd better get ready for dinner."

She rose and walked out of the room as she spoke, with a quick, firm
step, while Guy laughed rather scornfully.

"What an anachronism the dear old lady is!" he said.  "As if all the
world depended on Waynflete!"

"I don't know what you mean!" said Godfrey, angrily.  "I think she's an
awfully splendid old woman to have stuck to her point all her life and
won it.  Catch a highwayman stopping me!"

"My unlucky namesake said it was a ghost."

"Well, but it wasn't, you know.  There aren't any."

"You're the right heir for Aunt Margaret, Godfrey.  She ought to leave
you Waynflete."

"Why; you're the eldest," said Godfrey; "she says interfering with
natural laws is wicked."

"If primogeniture _is_ a natural law?"

"It's the law of England," said Godfrey, as if that settled the point.

Guy laughed again.

"Ah, Godfrey," he said, "you'll always get past the ghosts!  Well, the
visit will be rather jolly.  I've a great curiosity about Waynflete, and
at least it will be clean.  I agree with Ruskin that smoke is sinful."

"There's a great deal of rot in Ruskin," said Godfrey, "and you ought
not to say things are sinful, when they ain't.  Plenty of things are."

PART ONE, CHAPTER TWO.

THE HOUSE.

Constancy Vyner was sitting at a table, sorting and arranging a little
pile of manuscripts, neatly clipped together, and written in the
distinct upright hand of the modern high-school girl.  She was dressed
in a plain, girlish frock, well cut and well put on, her thick brown
hair hung on her shoulders, and curled over her square low forehead in
vigorous waves, as if every hair was full of elastic life.  Her handsome
eyes, of a clear shade of hazel, looked out under straight brown
eyebrows, from a brown, rosy face with an air of keen and critical
observation; while the straight nose and firm round chin added to her
purposeful look.  She was tall and strongly made for her sixteen years,
and the white, well-shaped hands that held the papers looked as if made
to carry out the work which the well-shaped head would conceive.  The
room in which she sat was as old-fashioned as she herself was modern and
up to date, with small irregular panels, sloping roof, and tiny
casements, through which the evening sun danced in distorted gleams.

"I _think_ I'm doing well," said Constancy aloud to herself, as if
convincing an opponent.  "Ten shillings from the _Guide of Youth_ for
the best essay on Reading.  I'm glad I was so careful as to what books I
mentioned.  One must respect people's prejudices.  I have much the best
chance for all those acrostics and search questions.  The editor of _The
Children's Friend_ has asked me for another story.  This will do.  The
little delicate boy must catch cold in a thunderstorm when his sister
takes him out without leave.  Shall he quite die?  I think not.  The
district-visitor shall save his life.  And this story for _The Penny
Pleasure Giver_.  There mustn't be any moral in that at all!  Altogether
I have got twenty pounds in the last year, and some of the editors write
`Dear Madam,' and don't find out I'm only a little girl!  Something
ought to come out of this place.  It's beautiful copy!" she continued,
leaning back in her chair and glancing round her, while a certain
absorbed receptive look came into her keen eyes, altering her whole
expression.

She jumped up, and swinging herself into the deep high recess of the
little casement, pushed it open and looked out.

Beneath her lay a wild untrimmed garden divide! by a sunk fence from a
large paddock sloping towards a narrow valley, with heathery hills
beyond.  The sky was blue and still, with long streaks of pearly silvery
cloud across the hilltops.  A flight of rooks came home to a group of
tall elm trees beside the house, filling the still air with sound.

"It's awfully jolly and heavenly!" said Constancy, staring at the
dazzling clouds with strong, unfaltering eyes.  "It'll do for a
description."

"What will do for a description?" said an answering voice, like a softer
echo of her own, as another girl, a year or so younger than herself,
came in and stood below the window, lifting up a face of almost exactly
the same shape, more delicate and perhaps less forcible.

"Rooks--peace--brownish meadows, and blue sky," said Constancy.  "Nice
description.  What have you been doing, Florella?"

"Talking to Aunt Constance about the Waynfletes, and the place.  She
says she is glad we have come; the house is gloomy, and she has heard
odd noises.  Oh, Cosy, do you think it could be haunted?"

"That would be luck!" said Constancy, jumping down.  "Oh, I say, even a
little noise would do to begin with!  If I could only get a ghost, and
the way people behaved with a ghost, it would be beautiful!  It would do
for the _Penny Pleasure_.  Now, Flo, remember, you are not to tell
auntie I read all those novels at Weymouth.  One must have lovers, if
one writes a novel, and I never can understand going into raptures about
anybody, so I must get it at secondhand.  Let us come down to tea--the
Waynflete boys will be coming.  Perhaps they can tell us about the
ghost.  I shall investigate it thoroughly, and if ever I am interviewed
by the Psychical Society, I shall take care to give more lucid answers
than most people seem to do."

Constancy and Florella Vyner were the orphan daughters of a man who had
never known how to make his considerable talents marketable, or to adapt
his style to the _Guide of Youth_, or to the _Penny Pleasure Giver_, as
self-interest required.  He lived and died the vicar of a small town
parish, and his two little girls, already motherless and with only a few
thousand pounds between them, came under the care of their mother's
sister, Mrs John Palmer, who had married one of Mrs Waynflete's
connections.  She was a widow, well off and childless, with a house in
London, and she gave all the advantages to Constancy and Florella which
she would have bestowed on her own daughters.  She was very fond of
Florella, and as much so of Constancy as a not very clever aunt was
likely to be of a girl who not only thought that she knew better than
her elders, but, like Prince Prigio, always did.

Constancy did not mean to be the mere society young lady into which her
aunt expected the shining light of the high-school to develop.  She had
definite ambitions, and definite powers to enable her to fulfil them.

"What sort of noises did auntie hear, Flo?" she asked as she put away
her papers.

"She hasn't heard any.  But the servants say there are queer whisperings
and rustlings, and the lodge-keeper told them that one of the old
Waynflete's `walks.'  Oh! what's that?"

"The ghost," said Constancy, laughing, and emerging from behind the
rustling, fresh calendered chintz of the old-fashioned four-post bed.
"You hear a little faint rustle all round you, then _crack_ goes a
panel!  You listen for footsteps, and pit-a-pat up the stairs they come.
The door slowly opens--"

"Don't, Cosy; I don't like it," said Florella, shrinking.

"Stop a moment, I'll show you," cried Constancy, opening a door, and
running along the narrow polished oak passage beyond it.  The younger
girl stood still at the head of the dark old staircase, and looked
timidly around her.  The wind whistled softly round the house, and
stirred the neglected creepers outside, so that they creaked on their
rusty nails, and tapped with their long arms against the windows.  She
felt the bygoneness and unusedness of the place, and a feeling of awe
stole over her.  Suddenly a sound of eerie sobbing and sighing, followed
first by a wild, mournful cry and then by a ringing laugh sounded
through the house.  The next moment Cosy came running down the passage,
laughing still.

"There!  See how easy it is," she said.  "That's how ghost-stories are
hatched.  I can make up a beauty for Waynflete, and study the results.
Bless me! is it ringing the door-bell?  No, that must be the Waynflete
boys arriving.  Come along, Flo, we'll be ready to receive them."

Mrs John Palmer, kind, pretty, and easy-mannered, was a charming
hostess, and the two lads had not been many minutes in the long, low
drawing-room of the ancestral home that was so strange to them before
she had set them quite at their ease.  She pointed out to them the
quaint old furniture, some of which must have been in Waynflete Hall
before it was sold, and praised the old panelling and the low ceiling,
with big black beams running across it.  Then she encouraged them to
talk about themselves, found out that they were both at a great public
school, but that Guy was just going to Oxford.  He was musical, and
meant to read for honours, while Godfrey, besides being well up in the
school, had done everything in the way of athletics which was possible
at sixteen.

Then she proposed that the girls should show them round the place; and
the four young people went out together, across a lawn cut up by
odd-shaped flower-beds, full of old-fashioned flowers, "inconvenient,
but unique," as Constancy said, moving towards the paddock, where they
discovered the possibility of making a tennis-ground.

The two boys were soon congenially employed in stepping it out, and they
all grew intimate over their respective experiences of the game, and of
other occupations and amusements.  Florella was a kind and cheerful
girl, wishful of giving pleasure; and Constancy, though she watched the
two Waynfletes keenly, and "studied" them as she talked with spirit, was
not at all occupied with her own relations to them; and, as Godfrey
remarked afterwards, "was more like a fellow than a girl, except that
she talked about the work her form was doing, which a fellow never
wanted to do."

The four found their way into the old kitchen garden, with lavender and
rosemary bushes nearly as tall as themselves, and wildernesses of
untrimmed raspberries, which, in that northern country, were still
bearing large specimens of red and white berries.  Then, through a gate
in the old stone wall, they came out into the stables and
farm-buildings, picturesque and woefully tumble-down.

"Shabby old place," said Godfrey, contemptuously; but Guy already knew
that the whole scene was fastening itself on his affections.  He had
never liked any other so much.  Constancy watched his soft gazing eyes
and satirical little smile as they turned round to the entrance of the
farmyard where were a pair of large iron gates with handsome stone
gate-posts.  Beyond was the remains of an avenue of elms, leading
through rough, sunlit fields.

"The river is down there," said Constancy.  "I believe this used to be
the entrance."  And Guy instantly thought of his unhappy namesake riding
up to the gates--too late.  A vivid picture presented itself to his
eyes.

"Is that the church?" asked Godfrey, pointing to a little grey building
low down at one side; while Guy said, "Let us go and see where our `rude
forefathers sleep.'"

"Isn't it like a slug?" said Cosy.

The comparison was not romantic, but it was apt.  The long, low,
moss-grown church seemed to cling to the uneven, heaped-up ground.  An
old woman was cleaning it, and the young people went in.

The church was dark, damp, and cold, but a flood of yellow sunlight
streamed through the open door and fell upon a flat stone at the
entrance on which was no name, but only a date, "1785," and two
words--"Too Late."

"Cruel!" ejaculated Guy, and caught himself up.

"Eh, sir," said the old woman, coming forward with a curtsey; "there be
the last o' t'owd Waynfletes, him as saw some'at and died raving.  Here
outside's fayther, as shot hisself, and could na' lie in t'kirkyard,
so's brother, t'vicar, laid un here in t'field and pu'd t'wa' doon, and
built 't oop agen, round 's tomb.  Here a ligs."

She led them out among the heaped-up graves, and showed them a round
excrescence in the churchyard wall, within which was an old-fashioned
oblong tombstone.

A tall, fair-haired, young man, with a lanky figure and stumbling steps,
went before them, as if doing the honours of the dreary neglected place.

"Yon's soft Jem Outhwaite," said the old woman in a whisper.  "He've
seen t'owd genleman--_him as walks_, sir.  He seed un when he wor a
laddie, and went silly.  He maks a bit o' brass by fetchin' and carryin'
fer t'sexton and me."

"Soft" Jem touched his hat and grinned cheerfully.  Guy gave him a
shilling, and the old woman another, with youthful lordliness but he
disliked the sight of these dishonoured graves more than he could have
supposed possible, and the poor delighted softy, tying up his shilling
in an old spotted handkerchief made a vivid impression on him.

PART ONE, CHAPTER THREE.

THE INHERITANCE.

Constancy made Godfrey tell her all the story of the loss of Waynflete,
of the traitor's ghost, and of the Guy who was too late, as they walked
home round the paddock, and looked down over Flete Edge to the river
Flete at the bottom of the valley.  A rough, ill-grown plantation
covered the steep descent, while scattered cottages were planted on the
equally steep hill opposite to them.  Guy studied it with silent
interest, while Godfrey compared it unfavourably with the Ingleby
valley, and scoffed at the legends which he was repeating.

"Ghosts are all bosh," he said, with decision.

"Well, there are some odd noises at Waynflete," said Constancy, as they
reached the house.  "Now, come and see a picture.  It must be this
wretched Guy who was too late."

She took them upstairs to the extreme end of the wing of the house next
the stables.  Here, with windows looking out three ways, was a little
octagon room, with polished oak floor, and scanty old-fashioned
furniture.  Over the chimney was the head of a handsome fair-faced
youth, with the last rays of sun falling on his face.

"I declare, Guy," said Godfrey, "he's uncommonly like you, especially
about the eyes."

"I dare say," said Guy, but the likeness annoyed him.

"He looks very sad, poor fellow," said Florella, softly; while Constancy
looked from one to the other, and thought, "I've got a lot of `study.'"
Rooms had been assigned to the two boys at the other end of this same
wing of the house, opening into each other, as was the way of rooms at
Waynflete.

Godfrey went to bed, thinking that he did not much like these old
legends and old scandals; and as for ghosts, the idea was too
ridiculous!  Still, there were certainly an odd variety of nocturnal
noises at Waynflete--scratch, tap--rats and mice?  Then a low murmuring
and sobbing--the wind?  He stuck his candle in the open window, and the
flame hardly stirred.  There was an interval of silence, and he got into
bed and fell asleep as he ran through in his mind all the causes of
mysterious noises--distant trains, coughing sheep, scraping creepers,
pecking pigeons, whistling wind, scratching mice, etc, etc.

He was awakened by a violent clutch on his shoulder, and starting up
saw, in the stream of moonlight from the window, his brother, half
dressed and deadly pale, who fell on his knees beside him, hiding his
face and grasping him so tightly that he was hardly able to move.

"Guy--I say!  Guy!  Good Lord, what's the matter with you?  Ill?  Got
the nightmare?  I say--let go--I can't stir!"

Guy loosened his hold after a moment or two, but he shook from head to
foot, and Godfrey, tumbling out of the bed, pushed him up on to it, and
stood staring at him as he lay with hidden face.

"What the dickens is the matter with you?  I say, Guy!  Can't you
speak?"

There was no answer, and Godfrey bethinking himself that cold water was
supposed to be an appropriate remedy for sudden ailments, plunged his
sponge into the water-jug, and soused it on his brother's head.  It was
so far effectual that Guy began to fetch his breath again, in long
sobbing gasps, while Godfrey, to his increased horror, felt that there
were tears on the face that was pressed against his hand.

"Oh, I say, Guy!  I say--what is making you such an awful duffer?  What
_is_ the matter with you?"

Poor Guy shivered and trembled, perhaps not finding Godfrey's method
very helpful; but he came more to himself by degrees, asked for some
water to drink, and pulled the coverings round him.

"Didn't you see--him?" he whispered at last.  "See--see what?  Oh, I
say!  Guy, you haven't been dreaming of the ghost?  Oh, I say! how can
you be such a duffer!  You're as bad as when you used to climb into my
crib, and Auntie Waynflete whipped you, after that nursemaid made the
bogie and scared you."  What difference it might have made to Guy
Waynflete if, at that moment of terrible experience he had had some
comprehending friend to soothe and sustain him, it is impossible to say;
as it was, his boyish pride and self-consciousness began to revive,
under his brother's rough dealing; he made an effort to pull himself
together, laughed in an odd, startling way, and said--

"Dreaming!  Yes, of course I was dreaming.  Don't you ever say one word
about it."

"Not I," said Godfrey.  "A nice story it would be to get about.  Now, am
I to go into your room, and sleep with the ghost?  It's getting chilly."

Guy raised himself on his arm, and stared out into the moonlight.

"No," he said, "I'll go back myself.  You'll never hear another word
about it."

He got up, still tremulously, and went away, _shutting the door_ behind
him.

Godfrey was but a boy, with all the callous stupidity of his sixteen
years.  He thought that the incident had been very odd, and rather
disgraceful to Guy's manhood.  He was glad it was over, and he tumbled
back into bed again, and went to sleep.

Guy looked much paler than usual the next morning, but confessed to
nothing amiss.  As he went out with the others to join in trying the new
tennis-ground, he saw Florella, standing a little apart from the others,
evidently just getting over a fit of crying.

"I say--can I help you about anything?" he said, good naturedly.

"No," said Florella, turning upon him a pair of translucent eyes, almost
as steadfast as Constancy's, and even more candid.  "I--I--I've been
helping to do something wrong--that's all."

She ran away before he could speak; but, surprised as he was, there
remained in his mind the feeling that somehow she was a nice little
girl.

Godfrey heard no more of Guy's midnight adventure during the remaining
three days of the visit.  The time passed pleasantly, and the aged vicar
of the parish and one or two of the neighbouring gentlemen called
formally on "Mr Waynflete."  The recognition pleased Guy, or at least
that part of him which was free to care about it.  He had very little to
say to his aunt when they came back about Waynflete, speaking of it in a
satirical, rather contemptuous fashion, which annoyed her very much;
while Godfrey described it fully, though he staunchly declared that he
liked Ingleby best.

Shortly afterwards Guy had a sharp attack of illness.  He had never been
quite so strong as his brother, and he did not recover from its effects
for some time.  Mrs Waynflete had little patience with any ailment less
definite than the measles, and thought him fanciful and self-indulgent.

She was also much put out by Mrs John Palmer's complaints of odd and
unaccountable noises at Waynflete, which upset her nerves and frightened
her servants.  But for these, she would have liked to take the house
again next summer, as the air suited her, and she was glad to be near
her husband's family.  As it was, she did not feel able to settle down
comfortably.

Mrs Waynflete thought Constance Palmer would have had more sense.  She
let Waynflete Hall to a working farmer, with directions to look after
the house carefully, and keep it dry.

Nothing more was heard of mysterious noises, and Guy and Godfrey did not
see the place again for nearly five years, when the farmer's tenancy had
come to an end.

PART ONE, CHAPTER FOUR.

HEREDITARY FOES.

"Very few people appreciate the feeling of a place.  Hardly any one can
feel the London atmosphere," said Constancy Vyner, one Sunday afternoon
nearly five years after the events last recorded, as she sat drinking
tea on a balcony in a square on the London side of Kensington.

"I shouldn't have thought our atmosphere so ethereal as to be
imperceptible to any one," said a young man who formed one of the party.

"That's a most obvious remark, Mr Staunton; but I didn't mean fogs.  I
don't believe the country ever gives one just such a feel of summer as
there is now.  Hot air, balcony-flowers, rustling brown trees, they're
drier and more papery than country ones; sunny dust, dusty sun, and
people, pavements, and omnibuses, and undergrounds--and smart
fashionable clothes.  It's so summery!  Nobody's got the idea exactly,"
she said.  "Of course Dickens has a London feel; but that's on another
level, ghastly and squalid--or best parlour and hot-buttered toast; nor
does it quite belong to the swells, though it has fashion and the season
in it, too."

"Your idea is coming?" said Mr Staunton, watching her curiously.

"I've got it!" said Constancy, sitting up with a broad smile of
pleasure.  "It's modern--it's democratic.  It's life's fulness, roses,
strawberries, sun, summer--got with some trouble, for the many.  So
there's a little dust.  You have the best of everything--music, parties;
but you go by the underground!"

When Constancy was present, she always took the stage--or, rather,
people gave it to her--she commanded attention.  She was now at college,
thinking, talking, making friends according to her wont, and though her
literary ambitions were necessarily much in abeyance, she wrote, now and
then, an article or short story, which had just the distinction that
wins acceptance, and was not quite like every one else's.

The youngest Miss Staunton was a college friend, and Constancy was
intimate with her family, which consisted of two or three sisters, all
busy with various forms of self-help and self-expression, and of the
brother now present.  The whole party lived harmoniously together, on a
conjunction of small incomes, on terms of mutual independence, and, as
Constancy epigrammatically put it, "went into society in the
underground," and into very good society too, which is no doubt a modern
and democratic development.

"Don't let us collect material for magazine articles," said Violet
Staunton; "but let us settle about the reading party.  Cuthbert has
heard of a jolly old-fashioned place on the moors up above Rilston, in
Yorkshire, within reach of all kinds of fine scenery."

"Rilston!" interposed Constancy.  "We stayed once with Aunt Connie, at a
place near there--Waynflete."

"How odd!" said Violet.  "It was from Mr Waynflete that Cuth heard of
the place."

"Guy Waynflete is a friend of mine," said Mr Staunton.  "I stayed with
him once at Ingleby.  We came upon Moorhead in our walks, and I should
think it might suit for the preparation of future double firsts and
senior-wranglers."

"Thank you, Mr Staunton," said Constancy, frankly rising to the bait.
"I dare say you would expect to find us crocheting antimacassars!"

A little more discussion followed as to ways and means, and as to the
number of the party, which was to consist of Constancy and her sister,
of the eldest and youngest Miss Stauntons, and of two other college
students.

"I should like to see Waynflete again," said Constancy; "it was a lovely
old place--haunted, too.  The family lost it to a villain called
Maxwell, and the old lady who has it now bought it back again."

"I never heard anything of the family history from Waynflete," said
Cuthbert Staunton, "beyond the fact that the old place had been
recovered.  But I believe we are connected with some Yorkshire Maxwells.
Do you know any particulars of the `villain,' Miss Vyner?"

"You, descended from the hereditary foe, and friends with Guy Waynflete,
without knowing it?  How splendid!" said Constancy, sitting upright.
"This is the story."

And with exact memory and considerable force she related the legend of
the loss of Waynflete as she had heard it five years ago from Godfrey;
putting in a vivid description of the eerie old house, and the still
more eerie picture of the unhappy heir, concluding with--

"The eldest one was so like the picture.  He is in the business now,
isn't he?  I heard he didn't take a good degree.  And Godfrey was such a
big boy."

"Well, he is a very big boy still," said Cuthbert Staunton, who had
listened with much interest.  "He is a fine fellow, still at Oxford.
Guy is made of rather complex stuff.  Perhaps you may see him--he is in
London, and I asked him to look in to tell my sisters about this
moorland paradise."

As he spoke there was a movement, and a fair, slight young man came in,
whom Cuthbert greeted cordially, and introduced as Mr Waynflete.

The five years had not greatly changed him.  He had the same slightly
supercilious manner and the same "pretty" wistful eyes, into which, at
the sight of Constancy, there came a startled look.

"I remember Waynflete so well," she said, after the greeting.  "Is it as
delightful as ever?"

"I have never seen it since," said Guy; "but the lease is out this year,
and I believe some of us are to go and inspect it.  Moorhead is eight or
ten miles off--up on the moors."

"Will you tell us about it, Mr Waynflete," said the elder Miss
Staunton.  "We want to go in August.  Is it a place where we are likely
to be shot, or glared at by indignant keepers, if we walk about?  We
shouldn't like to be a grievance--or to be treated as one."

"No," said Guy, with a smile.  "It's only the fringe of the moor, and
there are very few grouse there.  I think you'd be tolerated, even if
you picked bilberries and had picnics."

"That's just what we want to do," said Constancy, "picnics on improved
principles.  But we shall each have an _etna_, we shan't trust to sticks
and a gipsy-kettle."

"I don't know how young ladies amuse themselves when they're not
reading," said Guy.  "But there's nothing to do at Moorhead.  It's two
miles from High Hinton, and four from Kirk Hinton, and nine from
Rilston--and it mostly rains up there.  But Mrs Shipley's very good at
scones and tea-cakes, and the view is first-class of its kind."

"Then, when it rains, we can put on our mackintoshes, and walk two--or
four--miles to buy postage stamps," said Constancy, rising.  "Good-bye,
Kitty, I must be going.  Mind you look up your duties as chaperon and
eldest of the party.  Mr Waynflete, I'm sure my aunt will be delighted
to see you if you like to call.  We are at home on Tuesdays--12, Sumner
Square.  Mr Staunton, perhaps we shall see you too?"

The young men made proper acknowledgments, and when Constancy, with no
ladies' last words, had taken her departure, Guy stated that he wished
to hear the evening service at Westminster, and asked his friend to walk
there with him by way of the Thames Embankment.

PART ONE, CHAPTER FIVE.

INTERESTING.

Cuthbert Staunton was a man with a history, and rather a sad one.  He
had been engaged to be married to a girl who had died within a week of
the wedding-day.  In the first shock of his trouble, he threw up his
appointment, a recorder-ship which had been obtained for him by some
legal connections, and went off on an aimless wandering, which greatly
exhausted his small means, and put him out of the running for the prizes
of life.  He quieted down in time, however, his trouble receded into the
background, and he came back to the family home, settled down, as his
sisters said, into a regular old bachelor, with set little tastes and
set little ways, a quiet, contented face, and a very kind heart.  He had
much cultivation and some literary power, and felt himself more
fortunate than he could have hoped in being employed by his University
as an Extension lecturer on literature and modern history.  In this way
he obtained interesting occupation, and a sufficient addition to his
income for his very moderate wants.

Now, at two and thirty, no one would have suspected him of having had a
"Wanderjahr" in his life; but perhaps it was from an under-sense of
sympathy with a not very lucky person that he had taken to Guy
Waynflete; when he had met him first abroad, and then at Oxford, a year
or two before the present occasion.

For Guy was a person who did not get on well with life, he experienced
and caused a great many disappointments.  Once or twice at important
examinations some sudden illness had come in his way and spoiled his
chances.  Such, at least, was his own account of his ill success, when
he was pressed to give one.  With other engagements he was apt, his
friends said, to fail to come up to the scratch.  If he undertook to
play cricket, sometimes he did not turn up, and sometimes he played
badly.  He was musical enough to be a coveted member of various clubs
and societies, but his performances could never be calculated on, and
were sometimes brilliant and sometimes disappointing.  There were times
when his friends could make nothing of him, and no one felt really to
know him.  Cuthbert Staunton did not know much about him, he suspected
him of more uncertain health than he chose to confess, and had
discovered that the home life was not smooth for him.  But he did not
want to bring his own past into the present, or to inquire into Guy's.
He found him congenial, in spite of the eight or nine years between
them, and did not think that his various shortcomings were due to any
discreditable cause.

"You are doing your London?" he said, as they started.

"Yes," said Guy, "I've hardly ever been in town.  You know we haven't
many friends who can be said to be in London society.  Most of the
Ingleby neighbours come up for three weeks to a good hotel, and do
pictures and theatres, and visit each other a little.  I am sent up now
to `make my way' with some of our city business connections."

"By the way," said Staunton, "what Maxwells were those who seem to have
been rather unpleasantly connected with your family history?  My mother
was a Yorkshire Maxwell."

"Was she?" said Guy.

He was quite silent for a noticeable moment, then he said, with the
little ring in his voice which people called satirical, "This is very
interesting.  Did your mother come from the Rilston neighbourhood?  When
we've settled the fact, we can consider of our future relations to each
other."

The Stauntons were not people of pedigree; but Cuthbert produced facts
enough to prove that his mother had really belonged to a family which
had originally owned a small estate called Ouseley, not far from
Rilston.

"That's the place," said Guy.

"But as for Waynflete," said Cuthbert, "my forefather must have had to
drop it again pretty quickly.  I suppose he played cards too often.  I
never heard of its having been in the family.  My grandfather Maxwell
was a country doctor, and didn't think family traditions consistent with
hard work.  I never thought about the matter, till Miss Vyner was so
much excited at discovering your hereditary foe."

"I don't myself care about traditions," said Guy, in a slow, soft,
argumentative tone that told of his county.  "I don't, you know,
unfortunately share my aunt's profound respect for the house of
Waynflete.  She is an ancestor worth having, I grant you I think, if she
knew, she'd make a Christian effort to receive you kindly; but we won't
tell her.  As for me, I object to feuds and obligations--and--ghosts,
and heredity's a hobby that's overridden nowadays.  We won't part for
ever."

He turned his soft eyes round on his friend, with a smile, but Staunton,
who had spoken without a serious thought, saw with surprise that he had
thought the avowal necessary.

"Well, my dear boy," he said, "I'm glad you don't say, `Here's Vauxhall
Bridge and there's Vauxhall Bridge Road--take the tram, I take the 'bus.
Farewell.'  But we must hurry up; it's getting late."

When they came into the Abbey, Guy looked all round him in a searching,
attentive way.  He joined in the singing with a voice full and sweet
enough to do justice to his Yorkshire blood, and when it was over, and
they parted, said, as if it was a thing to be thankfully noted, "I have
very much enjoyed it."

When, on the Tuesday afternoon, the two young men appeared in Mrs
Palmer's handsome drawing-room, it was full of other visitors, and their
entertainment fell at first to Florella's share.  Her figure, as she sat
a little apart by a table covered with the usual knick-knacks and
flowers, had a harmonious and pictorial effect which caught Guy's fancy
and remained in his memory.  She was still very like Constancy, but with
softened tints; hair and eyes had not the same bright chestnut hue, but
were of a dim shady brown; she was paler, and though her young outlines
were plump and full, they had an indescribable grace and softness.  She
had Constancy's straight brows and square forehead; but the eyes beneath
were of another but equally modern type, seeking, longing, as the eyes
of Fiametta or of the Blessed Damozel herself, but with this difference:
they were happy as if in faith that a good answer waited their
questioning.  Florella did not talk, or learn, or do, as much as
Constancy; but she knew all about learning and doing, and, in a girlish
way, lived in the face of the questions of her time.  She had one gift,
too, which was likely to bring her much joy, and to this, after a few
commonplaces, Cuthbert turned the conversation.

"And your painting, Miss Vyner?  Has it been getting on?"

"Yes," said Florella, "I have been having lessons."

"May we see?"

Florella, without any excuses or shyness, took a little portfolio from
the table, and showed some sketches of flowers in water-colour.  The
execution was slight and not perfectly skilful; but each little drawing
had a characteristic suggestiveness which freed it entirely from the
inexpressible dulness of most fruit and flower pieces.

A bunch of growing sweet peas labelled, "A tiptoe for a flight," had the
summer breeze blowing through them; "Pure lilies of eternal peace," had
a certain dreamy, unearthly fairness that suggested "airs of heaven,"
and "A bit of green" was a cheerful, struggling plant of flowering musk,
in sooty soil, on a smutty window-sill, with a yellow fog behind it.

"Why, that's just how flowers look against smoke," said Guy.  "They
_glare_ with brightness."

"Ah, that's what I meant!" said Florella, pleased.  "Do you draw, Mr
Waynflete?  You are fond of pictures?"

"I can't draw," said Guy; "but I can _write down_ faces in pen-and-ink
outline.  I can't make pictures.  I don't think I enjoy them."

"Waynflete likes music," said Cuthbert; "that is more in his line."

"Tunes often put drawings into my head," said Florella, simply.  "The
time when I began to do flower pictures was at Waynflete," she added.
"Some of the flowers there looked so wonderfully old; and age is a very
difficult sentiment to convey in a flower!  I never could manage it."

As she spoke, there was a movement among the guests, and Mrs Palmer
caught the name.

"Ah, Waynflete!" she said.  "It was such a delightful old place, and so
bracing.  I should have liked to stay there very much, but the noises
were such a worry.  I declare when I sat in that old drawing-room by
myself in a summer evening, I used to feel quite creepy.  Mr Waynflete,
do tell me if any noises have been heard since?"

Some of the company pricked up their ears.  There are several aspects
under which "ghosts" may be viewed, and there is no question that they
are both fashionable and interesting.  A haunted house and its owner are
not often under notice at once.

Guy did not speak very quickly, and Constancy struck in.

"Aunt Con," she said, "the situation would be quite spoiled if Mr
Waynflete was willing to talk of his own ghost--or his own noises.  Of
course he will not.  It would not be the thing at all."

"It had not struck me that a ghost was interesting," said Guy, dryly.
"As for the noises--"

"Oh," interposed Florella, decidedly; "the noises were all nonsense."

"My dear Flo," said Mrs Palmer, "they are not pleasant when you can't
explain them.  They might be burglars or the servants' friends, or
anything.  But it's a lovely place."

The conversation now developed into ghost-stories, some of a scientific,
others of a romantic type.  Mr Staunton remarking that cock-crow would
be nothing to ghosts nowadays, since they were accustomed to the
searching light of science.

Guy stood by the mantelpiece, and fingered a Dresden-china figure in a
way that gave Mrs Palmer a distinct presentiment of its downfall.

He looked up suddenly, "Did it ever occur to you to wonder," he said, as
a lady concluded a rather ghastly story, of a white lady who brushed by
people on the staircase, and left a cold chill behind her, "whether
contact with us makes the spooks feel hot?"

"Ah, Mr Waynflete," said Mrs Palmer, as there was a general laugh.
"You're very sceptical, I can see.  But you're behind the age."

She was rather glad to shake hands and say good-bye, as she was anxious
to see whether he had damaged the Dresden shepherdess.  But it was quite
safe, even to the fine edges of its gilt roses.

"He is a nice-looking fellow, but his fingers should have been rapped
when he was little to cure him of fidgeting," she said, when they were
alone.  "But I shouldn't think old Mrs Waynflete knew much about
children."

"He didn't like to discuss his ghost," said Constancy; "that was why he
fidgeted.  Family ghosts are personal."

"Cosy," said Florella, as her aunt left the room, "I can't bear to think
of the tricks we played at Waynflete.  We ought to tell.  It's far too
serious a thing to give a place the name of being haunted."

"It was a very curious study," said Cosy; "but, somehow, it did not
frighten people nearly as much as we expected.  And we did not make
nearly all the noises that people fancied they heard."

"We may have set them fancying," said Florella.  "I could have fancied
things myself, after you had been whispering and scuttering about those
passages.  And, remember, I don't feel bound to keep up the idea."

"It was rather disappointing," said Cosy, reflectively; "because the
boys never took any notice.  I don't believe they heard us, the walls
are so thick.  But there, Flo," she added, laughing, "it was just a bit
of fun.  And there are times when I feel as if I _must_--well--kick up a
shindy.  It's the shape in which I feel the fires of youth."

"That's all very well," said Florella.  "You kick up a good many
shindies.  But I don't like making fun of what I don't understand."

"I don't see all the new pseudo-science," returned Constancy.  "I think
it's all a delusion."

"I wonder if Guy Waynflete thinks so," said Florella, thoughtfully, as
she went to dress.

PART ONE, CHAPTER SIX.

GOOD COMRADES.

Under a great copper-beech on the lawn at Ingleby one hot afternoon,
Godfrey Waynflete was enjoying the "summer feeling" on which Constancy
Vyner had expatiated in London, and was spending an idle hour in
teaching his young Skye terrier to jump over a stick.  Rawdon Crawley, a
name appropriate to the creature's hairy simplicity, was a long grey
object, like a caterpillar, with huge pricked black ears, and an
expression which combined guileless innocence and philosophic power.
Nevertheless, when he was coaxed, he ran under the stick, and when he
was threatened, he sat still and sulked, for the perverseness of his
race is fathomless.

"You confounded little obstinate beggar," cried Godfrey, shaking the
stick at him; "you'll have to learn who's master."

Rawdon Crawley wriggled away to some distance, like a snake, then lay
with his face on his paws, looking at his owner.

"Eh, Godfrey, ye're letting that pup get the better of ye!"

"He'd die rather than give in," said Godfrey, as his old aunt came
across the lawn towards him.

The last five years had increased Mrs Waynflete's wrinkles, but she was
still upright, slim, and vigorous, enjoying the presence of her younger
nephew, and, possibly also, the elder one's absence.  The expression is
rather strong; but Guy was so uncongenial to her that his presence could
not be said to add to her happiness.

"Eh, well," she said; "I like a man that can speak up to you, and has
got some grit.  I've no opinion of limp characters."

"Things generally settle themselves if a fellow looks them in the face,"
said Godfrey, cheerfully.

"Ay, but they don't always settle themselves to our liking.  I'd like,
maybe, to look myself back into a young woman; but I'm in my eighty-two,
and there's no help for it."

"Eh, what, auntie?  You're as young as the best of us," said Godfrey,
warmly.

"Why, I've no cause of complaint.  The Lord's given me a long life, and
I've kept my health and my faculties through it all.  But, all the same,
I'm an aged woman, and I might be struck down any day.  So I've asked
Susan Joshua, my cousin Joshua Palmer's widow, to come here and make her
home for a time, and bring Sarah Jane with her.  She was poorly left,
poor thing; and then, if I should have a stroke, there'll be some one to
look after the maids, and make you lads comfortable."

Godfrey was much taken aback, but before he could interpose, she went
on--

"And I've another reason for sending for her, Godfrey.  I've made up my
mind to spend some time at Waynflete before I die.  So she can attend to
the house here while I'm absent."

"At Waynflete, auntie?  But it's not in any sort of order.  Have you
ever seen it?"

"Once, my lad, once," said the old lady, face and voice softening.  "I
made your good uncle take me there for a honeymoon trip, and I said to
him, as we stood on the bridge, and looked up and down the bonnie
valley, `Eh, Mr Thomas, ye'll be wanting a bit of land, as the money
comes in to ye.  Ye wedded me with my shawl over my head, but ye might
be Waynflete of Waynflete yet, if ye liked to try.'  And he said,
`Margaret, if I can give ye your will, my lass, ye shall have it.'  So I
educated myself for this, and I kept his house well, and was as saving
as was fitting for him and me.  But there, Mr Thomas never owned but
Upper Flete Farm before the Lord took him, and it was a lonesome thing
for an old woman like me to set up in a fine house alone; besides that,
I had the mill to attend to.  But now, it's time I took my place before
I die.  Guy can go and see what's wanting."

"Let me go, auntie.  Guy does not care about Waynflete," said Godfrey,
thoughtlessly.

"Eh?" said his aunt.  But here a rapturous bark from Rawdon Crawley, who
had been penitently licking the blacking off his master's boots,
directed attention to Guy's figure at the house door.

He had had a long, hot journey from London, and now threw himself into a
garden-chair, exclaiming with delight at the coolness and shade.

"So you've seen the Miss Vyners again?" said Godfrey, referring to a
note previously received from his brother.

"Yes; they and two of Staunton's sisters are coming down to Moorhead for
a reading party in their vacation."

"A reading party," said Mrs Waynflete.  "Young ladies?"

"That's all quite correct, auntie," said Godfrey.  "Girls go to college
nowadays, and of course they must read for their exams.  They _do_,
generally."

"Eh, well," said the old lady.  "I see no reason against it.  I never
doubted that a woman's brains were as good as a man's.  I could have
taken a degree myself.  I'll ask Constance Palmer to bring them here
before we go to Waynflete.  They can pursue their studies afterwards."

"Waynflete?" said Guy, with a start.

"Yes.  I've been telling your brother,"--here she recapitulated her two
proposals.  "I'll get you to go over, and see if the place is in order."

"Oh yes, Aunt Margaret, if you wish; but I've been some time away from
the mill, and there are one or two matters--"

"I hope you've brought back no new-fangled notions from town,"
interrupted the old lady, sharply.

"Well, I've acquired a few ideas in conversation," said Guy, slowly.
"John Cooper, no doubt, will show me the fallacy of them."

"You'll have to live a long time before you're wiser than John Cooper.
Tea?" as the servant appeared with some for which Guy had asked as he
came through the house.  "I never take tea between meals myself."

"It's new-fangled," said Guy, meekly, "or _was_ once."

"Eh, Godfrey," said Mrs Waynflete, "there's a plant broken in the
ribbon border.  That's Crawley, I'll be bound.  He needs a whipping."
But her tone, as she walked over to the border, had lost all its
asperity.  Godfrey and his dog were privileged offenders.

"Going to Waynflete is a jolly idea," said Godfrey; "but Cousin Susan
and Sarah Jane will be confounded bores, if they're to stay here for
good."

"They will so," said Guy.  "As for Waynflete, it's a great move for my
aunt at her age."

"Oh, she's up to anything.  I say, do you remember waking me up because
you had the nightmare.  You ate too many raspberries with those jolly
girls in the old fruit-garden.  That story would be a fortune to the
fellows who _go_ in for spooks.  Do you ever see ghosts now?"

"If I do, I shall not come to you for protection.  You threw too much
cold water on that early effort of my subliminal self to rise into
consciousness."

"I say, I don't go in for that jargon.  Give me a good square ghost with
a sheet and a turnip, not all that psychical rot."

"If ever you do see a ghost, my boy, it will certainly be a sheet and a
turnip, and by George, how it'll frighten you!"

Godfrey was boy enough to rise to this bait; though he did not like his
brother very much nor get on very smoothly with him, his growls were not
much more serious than those of Rawdie at the end of a stick.  He was
too prosperous to be discontented with his surroundings.

When Constancy came down with her aunt to the Mill House--Florella had a
previous engagement, and did not accept the invitation--she found plenty
of contrasts to study, and she studied each with equal zest.

She was never tired and never bored, she was ready to play tennis from
four till eight, and then, after supper, as was customary at Ingleby
parties, to dance from nine to twelve.  She waltzed with Godfrey as
untiringly as if all her brains were in her feet.  She made him coach
her up in all the ways of grouse shooting, and then she roused him to
fury, by wondering how long the barbaric desire to kill something would
survive in the English gentleman.  She made much of Rawdie, till a
certain proverb occurred frequently to the mind of his master.  But she
also went over the mills with Guy, and learned how to tell good wool
from bad, and what were the processes of conversion into broadcloth and
tweed.  She picked his brains about her own special subjects, or his.
She had been writing an article on English musical instruments, she had
worked it all up from books, but there was a bit about music itself.

"What it does for humanity," she said; "as it does nothing for me, I
have to guess it all.  You are musical, have I got it right?  I don't
have these experiences, you know.  There are such a splendid lot of
things to do and to think of, I can't tell how people have time for
feelings."

Guy was apparently as willing to discuss music as Godfrey to defend the
game laws, and it was impossible to say whether Constancy preferred his
languid, satirical courtesy and soft, preoccupied eyes, or Godfrey's
overflowing vitality, and look as of a vigorous young Viking, with his
exaggeration of the high, marked family features, and of the family
fairness, so that his old school nickname of "Towhead" was still
extremely appropriate.  The rosy, round-faced Sarah Jane, who desired to
be called Jeanie, and blushed whenever Guy or Godfrey spoke to her, and
was always wondering how familiar she ought to be with so-called
cousins, looked on in amaze.  When Constancy called Godfrey a
Philistine, Jeanie thought that a flippant allusion was being made to
Scripture characters, and when she talked of writing an article, as
simply as of making a pincushion, the allusion appeared as a social
_faux pas_ to Jeanie's idea of propriety.  If Constancy was so unlucky
as to possess an unpopular taste, she had better have said nothing about
it.  But the young men did not appear to be repelled, and were both of
them on most friendly terms with the visitor, while they regulated their
conduct to Jeanie with a propriety and skill which any chaperon might
have envied.  They were aware of a crowded background of Palmer aunts
and cousins, and, though they did not think it becoming to make
objections to her introduction to the family, they were agreed on the
point of their relations towards her.  Jeanie was a good little girl;
but she knew quite well which "cousin's" attention to Constancy meant as
she called it, "something particular;" she knew quite well which of the
two was the most interesting to herself.

But Constancy took the young men much for granted.  She was more struck
with Mrs Waynflete than with either of them.

Cousin Susan Joshua--it was the custom in the Palmer family to call the
wives by their Christian names attached to those of their husbands--
limited her intercourse with "Aunt Waynflete," to receiving her
commands; "Constance John," as she submitted to be called with a shrug,
to sympathetic and polite commonplaces, Jeanie was far too much afraid
of her hostess to say anything but, "Yes, aunt," and "Very well, aunt;"
but Constancy talked and listened by the hour together.  Her imagination
was caught by the stately, flaxen-haired old woman whose strong
personality was impressed on every detail of the life around her, whose
household must breakfast at eight, and go to bed at ten, go to church on
Sunday afternoon, and stay at home on Sunday evening, as by the law of
the Medes and Persians.  She heard, more than any one else had ever
done, of old Margaret's early struggles, of her strong purpose, and of
how the only birthright of which she had been actively conscious had
been won at last, since of that she was more than worthy.  Constancy
noted keenly how impatient she was of any change in the methods of her
prime; she saw plainly how Guy's indifferent manner irritated her, and
how Godfrey was the kind of youth that pleased her.  It was to
Constancy's credit that she could bridge over sixty years, and see a
point of view so alien to her young modern spirit; and Mrs Waynflete
was flattered by her preference as age must be by the admiration of
brilliant youth.

Godfrey looked on delighted, and drew quite false conclusions; for, if
Constancy loved Rawdie, and admired Mrs Waynflete, it was for their own
sakes and not for his.

The hour and the maiden had come for the happy, prosperous youth.  The
vigorous inspiring companionship filled him with delight, the roses of
that summer were redder and its sun warmer than he had ever known.  Love
came upon him with a rush of joyful hope, and, as was natural to him,
his passion became a purpose, which he expected to fulfil.  He would
work hard for a degree, for she would scout a failure.  He must win her;
but Guy--He was furiously jealous when Guy obtained a monograph on the
"Music of the Greeks," and presented it to Miss Vyner, though it was
given openly in the family circle.  Godfrey could not dare to give her a
bunch of the dark red dog roses of the north country, which he had heard
her admire.

He was "over head and ears in love,"--no other expression could express
his condition--and when she went to join her friends at Moorhead, and
her aunt tired, as she said in private, of making talk for Mrs Joshua,
betook herself to Harrogate, only hopes of speedy meetings modified his
despair.

The girls' reading party must come over both to Ingleby and to
Waynflete, and Cousin Susan and Jeanie would both want to see the
spinster housekeeping at Moorhead.

But before these visits took place, the situation, already strained,
between Guy and his aunt was intensified in an unexpected manner.

PART ONE, CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE CUPBOARD IN THE WALL.

Guy had really returned from London with a "new-fangled idea," or,
rather, with plans for carrying out one long entertained, and with more
courage than usual for putting it forward.  He liked the business, and
had no lack of ideas concerning it; but during the two years that he had
been at work in the mill his position there had become more and more
difficult.  He could not feel himself a nobody, and he knew what ought
to be done; but his aunt had given him no place and no authority; to use
the idiom of his county, "he had no say in the work," and Mrs Waynflete
thought so little of his powers or of his character that she never
received his suggestions with favour.  She distrusted him, and he knew
it, and to a certain extent he knew why.  But he was quite sure of his
ground now, and as soon as the visitors had departed, he proceeded to
unfold his mind.

He told her, with as much delicacy as he could, but with something of
her own tenacity, that in his opinion the two faithful old managers were
hardly up to the requirements of the day.  He thought that more pains
should be taken to follow the changes of fashion, and that besides
producing broadcloth and plain tweed, certain classes of fancy goods
should be undertaken.  This would involve an outlay for machinery suited
for weaving patterns, and it might also be necessary to engage an
overseer who could superintend the production of this class of goods;
some extension of the premises might also be required.  If his aunt
disliked the notion of alterations in the old mills, there was a little
mill near which had been worked in a small and unsuccessful way by a man
without sufficient capital to carry it on, who would gladly let it to
"Palmer Brothers," as the Ingleby firm was still called, from Mr
Thomas's father and uncle.  Guy adduced facts and figures, and made it
plain that he knew what he was talking about; and, in short, showed more
of the old lady's own faculty for business than she had ever given him
credit for.

But one of the principles of Palmer Brothers had always been that it was
a risky and unsound way of doing business to follow the changes and
chances of fashion.  People would always want broadcloth and tweed, but
fancy goods might lie on hand, and fail to find a market; and, in short,
did not suit with Palmer's way of doing business.

Old Mrs Waynflete sat in her chair in what was called the library at
the Mill House, though it contained very few books.  She watched the
pale, slight youth before her with the most absolute want of respect for
his personality, with an innate distrust for his facts and figures, and
yet feeling with the first painful pangs of old age that she could not
entirely grasp the argument.  Guy was talking of conditions unknown to
her.  Surely the day had not come when she and her good old servants
were unable to judge what was the best for the business.  Surely this
lad could not have pointed out to her what she had failed to see for
herself.  Surely he could not be in the right.

"Is there any other matter you want to find fault with?" she said.  "I'd
like to hear your true opinion."

Guy hesitated a little; but, quiet as he looked, he had the obstinacy of
his race, and he could not resist giving his true opinion.

"Well," he said, "I don't think the mills are as popular with the
work-people as they were once.  There are modern ways of attending to
their health and their comfort, in which we're deficient.  Ventilation,
and so on.  But a small outlay would set all that to rights.  One must
move with the times."

"So you think John Cooper and Jos Howarth are past their work?"

"Not exactly.  I think Cooper's a good old fellow.  Howarth I'm not so
sure of."

"You seem very sure of yourself, Guy.  Late hours and days away from
business were not the way to make a fortune in my time."

Guy flushed up.

"I should do my best," he said; "and I believe--I am sure--that I am not
incapable of carrying out these plans.  And one thing more I wish to
say, Aunt Waynflete.  After Christmas, Godfrey will be coming in to the
business.  As things are now, there is no scope for both of us.  With
the scheme I propose, there would be plenty to do--if you allow us to do
it."

"You need not to think that all the ideas come first into your head, my
lad.  I have thought of that.  There'll be an agent wanted for
Waynflete."

Now, this was a remark which it was nearly impossible for Guy to answer.
He was the natural heir of Waynflete, but Waynflete was in the old
lady's own power, and she had never dropped a word as to her intentions
regarding it.  He could not assume that Waynflete concerned him rather
than Godfrey; and yet, if it did not, the whole principle of his aunt's
life would be falsified.  Besides, the idea was most distasteful to him.
He said hurriedly and unwisely--

"Waynflete is hardly enough of a place to occupy a man's whole time, in
any case."

"Well," said Mrs Waynflete, "you have said your say, and I'll consider
my answer.  But I've known the business forty years before you were
born, my lad, after all."

It was the way of the Waynfletes to hide their real selves from each
other as carefully as if each one had been plotting treason.  They
erected quickset hedges round their hearts and souls, as if to be
misunderstood was needful to their self-respect.  Guy said no more, and
withdrew, and he never spoke a word to Godfrey of what had passed
between his aunt and himself.

The next day, just before luncheon, Jeanie was gathering flowers on the
lawn, when a door in the wall that led to the mills opened, and Guy
dashed in, with so white and wild a look, and a step at once so hurried
and so faltering, that she ran up to him, exclaiming--

"Guy!  Are you ill?  What is the matter?"  Guy looked at her, as she
said afterwards, as if he did not see her, and hurried in and upstairs
without a word, and as she followed, scared and puzzled, she heard him
shut and lock his bedroom door behind him.  Turning away in distress and
alarm, she met Godfrey strolling along in the sunshine, with Rawdie at
his heels, and a book under his arm, a picture of idle holiday
enjoyment.

"Oh," he said, in answer to her appeal, "Guy is like that if he has a
headache.  He likes to be let alone; he never wants anything."

Jeanie still looked doubtful.

"People don't generally look so with a headache," she said.  "Does he
often have such bad ones?"

"No," said Godfrey; "only once in a way.  He'll be all right in an hour
or two.  Let him alone."

Jeanie thought it a very odd headache; but no more was said, though,
from Mrs Waynflete's face when Guy did not appear at luncheon, it might
have been argued that his sudden illness told against his plans.

She put on her bonnet, and took her way down to the mill with a step
that was still firm, though slower than of old, and asked for John
Cooper.  She was no unusual visitor, and had never let her hold of the
business drop; and as she sat down in the little office, and cast her
still keen blue eyes round her, it was more than ever difficult to
believe, more than ever distasteful to feel, that her day was almost
done.  The two old men who had long managed the business, though some
years younger than herself, now seemed like contemporaries.  She had
worked under their fathers in her girlhood, she had seen them rise in
office under her husband, she had now worked with them for many years,
and with them she felt at one.

Partly from this, and partly, perhaps, from the incautiousness of old
age, before many minutes had passed, she had made John Cooper aware,
both of Guy's plans and of his strictures.  It was so natural to discuss
the crude ideas of the youth with her experienced old friend.

John Cooper was very much taken by surprise.  The reticent and cautious
Guy had never betrayed how carefully he had been "takin' notes."  Had
this lad really put his finger on the weak places?  John Cooper was much
too careful to commit himself to a direct contradiction.

"Well, Mrs Waynflete," he said; "Mr Guy is young, and young folks like
to have something to show for their opinions.  But, there's been many
new fashions since you and I began to work the business.  The old master
never held with following the fashion."

"You can be making changes every year if you do."

"So you can do, Mrs Waynflete; so you can.  Eh, but I've seen changes."

"Mr Guy has a notion of business, too," said the old lady.

"Did ye see Mr Guy when he came home, ma'am?" said John Cooper,
suddenly.

"No; he had a bit of headache, and went to his room.  Young men aren't
as tough as they used to be."

There was a silence.  The old man watched the lady over the
writing-table between them.  He, too, was a vigorous old grey-head, with
a hard mouth and keen eyes wrinkled up close.  The little room was full
of bills and letters and safes.  A stray ray of afternoon sun shot
through the small-paned window, and showed the dusty air and the dusty
floor, and the well-arranged contents of the dusty shelves.

John Cooper crossed the little room, and stood in the streak of
sunshine.  It shone upon his well-known grey hair, on his shrewd,
weather-beaten face, and glittered on a small key left in a little oak
cupboard in the wall.  John Cooper opened the cupboard, and the sun shot
in and sparkled with sudden brilliant reflections on something inside.

"Eh, what have you there?" said Mrs Waynflete.

John Cooper took out a tall brandy-bottle, nearly empty, and a glass
still containing some drops of spirit, and set them on the table.

"Mr Guy left the key by mistake," he said.

"John Cooper!  What do you mean?"

No asseveration could have added to the abrupt force of the intonation,
as Mrs Waynflete sat upright, grasping the arms of her wooden chair,
and looking straight at the manager.

"Mr Guy keeps that cupboard close locked.  But to-day he left it
swinging open, when he went home--with a headache."

"Did ye see him go?"

"I came in at the door here, Mrs Waynflete, and Mr Guy staggered past
me, and never saw me.  He went stumbling out and up the lane.  Hurrying
and reeling as he went--as once and again I've seen him before."

Mrs Waynflete's brown old face grew a shade paler, she still held by
the arms of the chair, as she rapidly weighed what had been said.

It seemed to her that the fact of the young man's possessing a bottle of
spirits was as nothing compared with the secrecy with which he had
concealed it.  Nor would he be the first in the house of Waynflete to
fall a victim to such a temptation.

On the one hand, Mrs Waynflete had seen it in her father, and feared it
for her brother; on the other, there was nothing in Guy's look or ways
to suggest it, save the occasional attacks of illness, as to which he
was always mysterious and secretive.

"Lock up the cupboard," she said, "and give me the key.  And ye'll not
say a word of this matter."

"Nay, not to Joshua Howarth, nor to young Jos, nor to my own John Henry.
It's no matter for talking of."

Mrs Waynflete put the key in her pocket, rose, and standing at her full
height, said--"Good day to you," and walked away with firm, unfaltering
step, across the paved entrance, up the bit of lane that led to the
garden wall.  She went in through the gate and across the garden, and
upstairs to Guy's room, at which she knocked sharply.

"Guy, I wish to come in."

The door was unfastened, and Guy stood there in great surprise.

"Aunt Margaret!" he said.  "What is it?  I am much better.  I am coming
down for some tea."

Mrs Waynflete put him aside with her hand, entered the room, and shut
the door.

It was a large, comfortable room, with a bookcase and a good supply of
books, a writing-table, a sofa and an armchair, besides the little iron
bed in the corner, and it was brilliantly light, for there was not a
curtain or a hanging of any sort in the room.  Such was Guy's taste.  He
looked pale still, but quite himself, and there was nothing peculiar in
his manner, as he repeated--

"What is it, Aunt Margaret?"

"This," said his aunt, as she sat down in the armchair, and held out the
key.

"What is it that you mean?" said Guy, with a sudden look of being on his
guard, and much in the tone of her own question to John Cooper.

"You left your cupboard open, Guy, and John Cooper, very properly,
locked it up, and gave me the key.  What should a lad of your age do
with a bottle of brandy?"

"Confound John Cooper's meddling impertinence!" said Guy, passionately.
"It is nothing to him or to any one what I choose to keep there."

"That depends upon the use you make of it."

"Has John Cooper been setting it about that I've been drinking?" said
Guy, with an angry laugh.  "Is that--is _that_ what it looks like?"

He caught himself up with a start, and turning away to the window, stood
staring out of it, while his aunt said--

"It's a matter I'll have cleared up, Guy, before I answer all your
questions of this morning.  I've known many young fellows take a drop
too much in company.  That wasn't thought so much of when I was young.
But it's different nowadays; and what that bottle of brandy means, if it
means anything at all, is a very different matter again."

Whether Guy was struggling with temper or embarrassment, or whether he
really did not know what to say, he was silent for some time.  At last
he turned round, and said ungraciously--"On my word and honour, I don't
drink.  I have never been drunk in my life--yet."

"Then what does this mean?" still holding out the key.

"Sometimes--very seldom--I get faint or dizzy--with a headache--I hate a
fuss, and I can set myself right with a little brandy."  There was
something in the extreme reluctance with which the answer was given that
justified suspicion.

"You ought to see a doctor, if that is so," said Mrs Waynflete, with
much reason; "and when I hear what he says, I'll think of what you say."

"As you please, Aunt Margaret," said Guy.  "If my word is not to be
taken, I don't care in the least to be cleared by another person's."

"You ought to care how your character stands in my eyes," said Mrs
Waynflete.  "Take back your key.  I shall judge for myself."

She looked keenly at the young man standing in the sunlight.  It was
obvious that now, at any rate, he was fully master of himself, and Mrs
Waynflete had lived too much with men, and knew their ways too well, not
to perceive that there was nothing in his look to substantiate the
charge against him.

Suddenly he looked round at her, in a curious, furtive way--a look which
he withdrew at once as she met it, but which startled her.  She had
caught the glance of fear and suspicion.

"Time will show," she said, as she left the room.  "But I'll have it all
made clear to me, before I trust matters in your hands."

When left alone, Guy hastily locked his door again, then flung himself
down on the sofa.

"Oh, I am a fool, a fool!" he cried to himself.  "God knows what will
become of me!"

He turned his face downwards with a gesture of despair.  There was no
one to help him, and he could not help himself.

PART ONE, CHAPTER EIGHT.

THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD.

After a few moments Guy recalled himself from his despair, and, turning
his face to the light of the open window, began, with what courage he
might, to consider the situation.  A shameful charge had been brought
against him, and an untrue one, and yet the truth was so inexpressibly
galling to him that he could hardly bring himself to contradict the
falsehood.

Drinking, especially in secret, was a degrading vice; but, however
sinful, it was natural, being shared by thousands of poor miserable
fellows.  But the secret curse of Guy's life was, he thought, peculiar
to himself, alien from and repugnant to happier folk.  It was worse than
wicked, it was abnormal.  He himself would have pitied, but he would not
have liked, certainly not have respected, another man who--Even to
himself he would not think the fact in quotable words.  That he could
and did bear his hard fate in secret was all that preserved for him a
shadow of self-respect.

A crisis had now, however, come, and his instinctive decisions must be
reconsidered.  He got up, and, unlocking his desk, took from its most
secret corner a little pen-and-ink drawing, and, laying it on the table,
sat down, and leaning on his elbows, looked it full in the face.  For it
was a face "written down," as he had phrased it to Florella Vyner,--a
face almost identical with his own, and with the picture of his unhappy
namesake, but neither framed by the close-cut hair of the present day
nor by the powdered peruke of the Guy who was too late, but set in wild,
fair locks that hung loosely round it, while, through the misery of the
large, mournful eyes, there was a look of malice, fitting the Guy
Waynflete who had betrayed his friend, and whose apparition had, by
tradition, caused the second Guy to die disgraced and ruined.  The
present Guy sat and gazed at it, till the likeness grew in his own face,
and he tried to force his trembling lips into the contemptuous smile
which he felt himself to deserve.  Once, as he believed, he had seen
this fatal face with his bodily eyes, and since then the fear of it, the
sense of its unseen presence, the influence of it, was enough to shake
his manhood and shatter his nerves, was altogether irresistible to him.
He never knew when he might wake from sleep with this awful dread upon
him.  Never had he been able to stand up against it.

The code of the British schoolboy, backed by the reserve of proud and
canny Yorkshire, is not calculated to deal with an abnormal strain on a
delicate nervous system.

When Guy first "saw the ghost," if it may be so phrased, at Waynflete,
he had felt its effect upon him simply as a disgrace; and, though he
knew somewhat better now, his instincts had never allowed him to treat
it otherwise.  A reasonable man might have consulted a doctor, and found
out how to deal with his own nerves; but down below all Guy's opinions
on the subject, all the explanations which he gave himself, there was an
awful conviction of the personality and reality of this thing, which
seemed half his double and half his evil genius; and what could any
doctor do for that?--while he entertained the most utter disbelief in
the genuineness of all modern scientific inquiries into such matters.
What! analyse this frightful thing for other people's benefit?--have his
experiences printed?--be regarded as a person possessing an enviable
faculty denied to others?  No; no one who knew what "seeing a ghost" was
like could undergo such torture!  They were all humbugs.  While, as for
religious help or consolation, Guy feared spiritual impressions or
spiritual efforts; and whether his trouble was the work of his own
fancy, a possession of the devil, or a revelation from the unseen, it
put him in a different relation to all supernatural questions to that of
his fellows.  He kept altogether apart from the subject, never joined in
religious discussions, nor let himself speculate on religious questions.
He feared, also, all his finer impulses; they touched on the terrible
and tender point.

As he was liable to nervous headaches on other occasions than when the
fear of a spiritual presence overwhelmed him, he usually attributed all
disturbance that he could not conceal to such a cause.  Nobody troubled
about a headache.  Fainting or palpitations might lead to questions, and
be supposed to be dangerous.  Of course all this was crude and young and
foolish in the extreme; but it was instinctive to a nature, one part of
which was so antagonistic to the other.  It never could have continued
if he had belonged to people of ordinary insight or experience; but the
spiritual terrors, to which he was subject, were very uncertain in their
recurrence, and, in fact, were usually apt to come upon him at some
crisis which excited his nerves; and, in his ordinary life at college,
he had suffered less from them than at home, when, certainly, his
grand-aunt and his brother were not likely to suspect them.

But what was he to do now?  If he told, if he could so far oppose his
instincts, his aunt would think him a liar, like the other Guy--or mad?
That last might be.  It was a view of the matter which had not escaped
him.  As for drinking, well, he might be driven to that before the end.
There were times when the brandy was tempting.  That was another
ancestral ghost that might be more dreadful than the first.

But he could not confute the charge, and, besides--here a much simpler
part of the Waynflete nature came into play--he was not going to notice
such confounded insolence on Cooper's part, or such suspicious mistrust
on that of his great-aunt.

He locked up the picture, and then, perceiving that it was still only
five o'clock, and that the mill had not yet "loosed," he took up his hat
and went down there, walking in upon the astonished John Cooper, with as
cool a manner as if nothing had passed.

"Step into my room, will you?" he said.  "There are two or three letters
that I left this morning."

Then, as the old manager took up and turned over the letters indicated,
not knowing what to say, and feeling his statements to Mrs Waynflete
considerably invalidated by the young gentleman's look and manner, Guy
deliberately unlocked the cupboard, took out the brandy-bottle, and held
it up to the light.

"Nearly empty," he said, in his soft, mocking voice.  "Here, Joe Cass,"
to the office boy, "just run down to the Lion, and ask for a bottle of
the best French brandy--for me.  Bring it back with you."

"Lord! sir!" exclaimed Cooper, as the boy departed staring; "if you _do_
want brandy, you'd a deal better bring it down from the house yourself,
than send the boy on such errands!"

"Perhaps Mrs Waynflete wouldn't give it to me; and you see, I like to
have it, to `put to my lips, when I feel so dispoged.'  Take half a
glass of the remains of this?  No?  Then I will.  Now, as to that
colonial contract--"

Guy poured out the remainder of the brandy and drank it off.  He felt
revived by it, and went on with the details of the colonial contract
with the most accurate clearness, till the boy came back, when he took
the bottle, locked it up, put the key in his pocket, and gave Joe the
old bottle to throw away.

"Well, Mr Guy," said Cooper, desperately; "I ask your pardon if I
mistook your condition; but I'd as soon see my own son with a locked-up
brandy-bottle as you--at your age.  Eh, my lad, it's a grand mistake
ye're making."

"I shan't let the business go to the dogs in consequence, if I've ever a
hand in it," said Guy, but with more softness; "but just make up your
mind that I don't care a--" Here Guy used an expression which appeared
to Cooper almost as bad a breach of business propriety as the brandy,
and added with much bathos, "I don't care a brass farthing what any one
thinks."

This act of schoolboy defiance was the refuge of Guy's manhood, which
had not learned a better mode of self-assertion.  His soft eyes had a
somewhat evil look as he watched his routed enemy, and then went back to
the house, where he was unusually lively at dinner, and through the
evening.

But either the brandy or the excitement revenged itself next day with a
real headache, so violent that he could not lift up his head, and which
left him pale and languid and without spirits for any more defiance of
consequences.  Moreover, Mrs Waynflete decreed that he was to go with
her to Waynflete.

Guy resented the proposal as an act of mistrust, and dreaded it from the
bottom of his soul.  He resisted it, and offended his aunt more bitterly
than he had ever done before, since he could only put forward
indifference to and contempt of Waynflete and its interests.

And after all, Howarth, the second manager, had a violent attack of
gout, and Guy's presence at Ingleby could hardly be dispensed with.  So
he remained, in semi-disgrace, with Cousin Susan Joshua to keep house
for him.  Jeanie went up to Waynflete with the rest of the party.

He had got no answer to his proposals, and no definite authority for the
mill.  Nevertheless, he made his presence felt there, and people began
to feel that he was master.

PART ONE, CHAPTER NINE.

"GO BACK, MY LORD, ACROSS THE MOOR."

"Cousin Susan," said Guy, a few days after he had been left behind at
Ingleby, "I promised Miss Vyner that she and her friends should see the
mills.  If it suits you, I should like to ride over to Moorhead, and ask
them to come down next Thursday, and have luncheon here.  Then I would
take them round."

"Yes, my dear Guy; yes, certainly.  I think it would be most proper,
under the circumstances; and with my being here, there can be no
objection.  I'm glad you've given me the hint, my dear Guy."

Guy thought his very straightforward request had been something more
than a hint.  He had made it partly because he was extremely dull, and
wanted a little variety, and partly because he did not choose to
acquiesce in the idea that he was out of favour.  Most of Guy's actions
at this time were marked by a certain note of defiance.

He set off on a fresh breezy afternoon, when great clouds flung great
shadows over the open moor, and the dark green of the bilberry and the
purple of the heather were in full glory of contrast.  He rode slowly
uphill, over wide roads with low grey walls on either side, behind which
grew oats and turnips, past strong-looking stone villages, all white and
grey and wind swept, till the land grew poorer and more open, and turf,
mixed with furze and heather, began to appear, and at length he turned
over the top, and came out upon the great rolling moors, here clear and
sunny, there veiled in the smoke and fog of distant centres of human
life.

As he drew near the end of his ride, he saw a figure sitting on some
rough ground by the roadside, and looking up and away at a broken
hillock of rock and heather, which, owing to the falling away of the
ground behind, was relieved against the sky.

By the pose of her head and the lines of her figure he at once
recognised Florella Vyner, and as he came near she saw him, and rising,
answered his greeting with a smile as he dismounted beside her.

"I have ridden over," said Guy, "with a message from Mrs Joshua Palmer,
to ask if your sister still cares to show Ingleby Mills to her friends.
My aunt and my brother are at Waynflete, but I have been left behind.
And I hope, too, that Moorhead is satisfactory?"

"Oh yes," said Florella, "we are delighted with it.  It suits us quite.
The others are all very near by.  Would you like to take your horse to
the farm, and then come and join us?  You will see them a few steps
further on."

"There's Bill Shipley," said Guy, looking up the road.  "I'll ask him to
take Stella."

He came back after giving his horse to the boy, with a brighter and
sweeter look on his face than it often wore.  "May I look first at the
drawing?  What have you found out about the moor flowers?"

"Oh, they are so difficult--look at those harebells on the top of the
road, swinging about in the wind--blue against blue.  It is such
heavenly colour.  But I can't paint them!  I haven't begun to try.  I'm
seeing them!"

"I see," said Guy.  "Yes, the sky seems to show through.  But what do
they say?  Your pictures all say something.  Are they moor spirits?"

"Well," she said, "I don't think I quite know.  But what I want to say
is `living blue,'--you know the hymn?--

  "`Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
  All dressed in living green.'

"That gives one such a feeling of spring."

"Yes," said Guy, "things growing.  And `living blue'?"

"Well," said Florella, looking up at the harebells, "I think it must
mean thoughts--spirit, soul, growing and springing, perhaps.  They are
so very ethereal!"

Florella had much of Constancy's self-possession.  In her it showed in a
calm simplicity of manner, absolutely without effort or constraint.  Guy
forgot himself also, for him a rare pleasure.

"I see," he said, "I hope you'll get them done."

"But they _shine_ so," she said; "one can't make them glisten.  And the
heather is very difficult, too.  But that I have tried."

She showed her sketch-book, containing more flower studies and a few
landscapes.

"I should like to sketch," said Guy, as he looked, and made a few
comments.

"But you could, I think, because you can see.  And it is very
interesting.  It is impossible to think of anything in the world but the
thing you are drawing.  That is all I have.  My sister and all of them
are just behind the harebell rock--shall we come?"

Guy followed, and in a few minutes they were looking down on a cheery
group gathered in a hollow of the ground--five skirts and hats among the
heather.  One or two little puffs of steam showed where the
sophisticated "Etnas" were boiling the water, and in the midst
Constancy, in a red blouse and brown cap, was evidently concluding an
argument.

"Very likely we might like it as well as they did, if we had the same
opportunities."

"Cosy! you're a traitor.  As if we want young men to come and interrupt
us, like those dreadful girls in--"

"Mr Waynflete," said Florella, descending upon the party.

Violet Staunton, who was the last speaker, sank into the heather with a
gasp, and a sensation ran through the party.  Constancy stood up and
held out her hand.

"Mr Waynflete, we are abusing Miss Austen's heroines for liking
visitors.  But, you know, we promised to give you some tea."

Guy coloured and smiled.  He felt a little shy, but much as if he had
stepped into a fairy-ring.  Away from his own people and his
perplexities, he was like another person, bright and gay, and was soon
giving his invitation, and asking if Cuthbert Staunton had made his
holiday plans, or if he could come to Ingleby for a bit, while he helped
to hand round the tea and the tea-cakes, for the merits of which he had
vouched in London.  Thus, at his ease, he had a gentle, friendly manner
and a pleasant face, as he dealt with the eccentricities of an "Etna"
which refused to boil.  Florella felt as if her short, childish
intercourse with him had been longer and more recent.

"There!" he said, in a low, half-shy voice, as he glanced at Constancy,
"I'm sure Mr Elton could not have made himself more useful."

"It is humiliating," said Constancy; "but that `Etna' beat us!  Would it
if we had the franchise?"

Constancy did most of the talking.  Florella sat silent and looked, as
she mostly did, happy.  The other girls thought that Cosy need not have
made it so evident that she was amused by the intruding visitor.
Presently a trap was seen coming along the rough, narrow road.  One man
only was in it, and as the sound of the wheels attracted his attention,
Guy looked up and said, in a tone of surprise--

"That's Godfrey!"

Another moment or two, and they saw the dog-cart stop at the farm; the
driver dismounted, picked a long and hairy object off the seat beside
him, together with a large basket, and came over the heather with long
striding steps.  In a minute Godfrey and Rawdon Crawley appeared at the
top of the hollow.

"My aunt has sent me," he began, but at sight of Guy a cloud fell upon
his handsome, joyous face, his air of happy expectation faded entirely,
and he paused in his speech.  Constancy again came to the rescue.  She
introduced him all round, remarked with cool amusement on the odd chance
that had sent both brothers to see them at once, and as Godfrey refused
her tea, offered it to Rawdie, who had greeted first her and then Guy
with simple cordiality.  Guy fell silent, and watched his brother with
slightly lifted brows, as if a new idea had struck him.  He was quite
cool, and not at all put out.

"Has Aunt Margaret asked the ladies to Waynflete?" he said.

"Yes, on Tuesday.  She thought the Miss Vyners would like to see it
again."

"Immensely," said Constancy.  "She promised me to ask us."

Guy, still looking slightly amused, got up and said that he had the
longer ride, and must get back, and would expect to see them all on
Thursday at Ingleby.

"Tell my aunt I'll come over to Waynflete on Tuesday by the first train
in the morning," he said as he made his farewells, and went to get his
horse.

Godfrey was desperate.  He hated all the other ladies who surrounded
Cosy.  He hated Guy, who had, he thought, come with the same object as
himself.  He could hardly bring himself to refer to the basket which he
had filled that morning with all the fruits and flowers which he had
thought Constancy might recollect seeing at Waynflete.  When he did
bring it forward, he muttered, that his aunt had sent it, which was not
true.

Cosy dived into it.

"White raspberries!" she exclaimed.  "Now, didn't they grow just by the
gate into the stables?  I hope that lovely garden is as untidy as ever."

"It's worse, I think," said Godfrey, more amiably; "but there are plenty
of raspberries ready for you to pick."

"Delightful!" said Cosy, and Godfrey's brows smoothed till he looked as
friendly as Rawdie.

Presently they all walked back to the house together, and Constancy
showed him the long, low sitting-room, full of their books and
writing-materials.  She took his visit to herself, and entertained him
in the most cheerful fashion.  But she expressed great pleasure at Guy's
invitation to Ingleby, and finally sent Godfrey away when his cart was
ready, with a perplexed and appealing look in his grey eyes, and a
puzzled wrinkle on his brows, even while she lifted Rawdie into the cart
and kissed his nose tenderly, telling him to look out for her on Tuesday
morning at Waynflete.

"Constancy," cried Violet, "you abominable girl!  You behaved worse than
any of the Miss Bennets, or Emma Woodhouse either.  I'm sure those young
men must have thought you were delighted to see them."

"Well, I didn't mind them.  I could not summon the daughters of the
plough and bind them in chains, could I?  You are all so narrow minded."

"Narrow minded?"

"Yes; you should take everything as it comes.  The Miss Bennets couldn't
exist without morning callers; but if we can't stand half an hour of
them, we make them of equal importance.  And besides, you know, they
represent a side of life which exists.  We must ignore nothing."

"It's a most contemptible side," said Violet.  "And besides, if Cuthbert
knows, he _will_ laugh at us.  I do want him to see we mean business."

"I mean business," said Cosy; "if by business you mean reading; but I
like to study life all round."

"Yes," said the elder Miss Staunton, "just as you like to study opinions
all round, and consider smiling, views which, if they were true, would
send one out into a moral and spiritual wilderness.  You see the force
of nothing."

"If so, there must be an awfully stupid piece in me," said Constancy, as
if rather struck.

"But, after all, you know, whatever is true, the world has got along
somehow hitherto, and I suppose it will continue to do so; so why
worry."

"Look here," said Florella, "if we quarrel over the young men, we shall
be more like the Miss Bennets than ever.  We belong, you know, a little
to the Waynfletes through Aunt Connie, and we knew them long ago.  I am
going back to my harebells.  Violet, will you come?"

A great many young women aspired to the friendship of Constancy Vyner,
and courted her, as girls do court each other.  Florella's friends did
not make her of so much importance; but they told her all their
troubles.

PART ONE, CHAPTER TEN.

"THE ONE MAID FOR ME."

When old Margaret Waynflete drove up to the door of Waynflete Hall in
the Rilston fly--for the old stables were not calculated for the
accommodation of valuable horses--she never thought of herself in a
picturesque light, nor felt, as Godfrey and even Jeanie in a measure
did, for her, that this was the moment for which she had lived.

But she looked round her with the most lively curiosity.  When she sat
down in the low, crowded, old-fashioned drawing-room, she did not admire
it, nor feel comfortable as she drank her cup of tea and looked about
her.  She scolded Godfrey and Jeanie for expressing anxiety as to the
effect upon her of the unwonted journey; for she felt quite strong and
vigorous, even while she repeated to herself that it was right for her
to see Waynflete before she died.  And see it she did, for she inspected
the old house from attic to cellar.  She went over the gardens and
outbuildings, she had herself driven up and down the steep sides of the
Flete Valley and through the shabby village, she attended service in the
picturesque old church, where a newly arrived young vicar, himself
aghast at the condition of his church and parish, only struck her as an
unpleasing contrast to the old rector of Ingleby.  She liked none of it
very much.  She _was_ an old woman, and she could not take to new
surroundings.  Ingleby was home.  Waynflete was for the next generation.
All the neighbourhood called upon her, and paid attention to her and
her nephew.

Godfrey was well aware that his position, as apparent master of the
house, was an awkward one.  He would also have preferred Jeanie's
absence; the new neighbourhood would draw conclusions, which his
downright old aunt would never have anticipated.  He meant, when the
visit of the Moorhead party was safely over, to write to Guy and to
offer to change places with him; but, when he found him at Moorhead
before him, inviting Constancy to Ingleby, and proposing to come to
Waynflete to meet her, all other thoughts were swallowed up in angry
jealousy.  All places were the same to him where she was not, and he
could only think of keeping his chance of seeing her some time without
Guy's interference.  Guy appeared early on the appointed Tuesday.  He
could only, he said, stay one night, as Staunton was coming to him on
the next day.

"As you kindly allowed me to ask him, Aunt Margaret," he said,
punctiliously.

"I've no objection to Mr Staunton, you can bring him over," said Mrs
Waynflete.  But whatever her own feelings as to the new home were, she
watched keenly for Guy's impressions of it.

He said no word to gratify her; but in that perfect summer day, he, in
his turn, noted every detail.

The old house, with the deep and varied tinting of its lichen-covered
tiles and bushy creepers, seemed to him, as he stood in the garden, and
looked at it intently, to be full of character and individuality.

In his secret heart, he thought, as he had thought before, that the
place had a charm altogether its own.  How he should like its quaintness
and its beauty if it ever was his own, and if--Nay, how he did like it
now, and how oddly he felt himself to be a son of its soil--to be,
somehow, akin to it.  Guy was in all ways sensitive and impressionable,
open to the influences that surrounded him, to every change of scene and
atmosphere.  He wandered round the flower-beds, and looked for the
quaint "old" flowers of which Florella had spoken.  Could he find any to
show her?  Yes; there were columbines of odd, dull, artistic tints,
roses of sorts unheeded by the horticulturist, and sundry blossoms,
somewhat belated in the keen northern air, of which the ignorant Guy
knew nothing.

As he looked, Rawdon Crawley began to bark; the sound of wheels was
heard, and a waggonette, full of straw hats and bright dresses, drove up
the rough ill-kept road that led to the house.  Guy, half-smiling, held
a little back, as he saw his brother press forward eagerly; he was
amused at the idea of Godfrey in love, not having ceased to regard him
as a schoolboy.  He was not in love himself; but even for him, as he
came forward, it was Constancy who held the stage, looking handsome and
happy, a concentration of life.

"I am perfectly convinced," she said, looking round, after the greetings
were over, "that this place breathes out a story.  It quite _talks_ with
characteristicness!"

"I should like to think that you had to do with the story of it," said
Godfrey, feeling his ears hot with the sense of self-committal.

Constancy looked at him, and at that moment there entered into her a
particularly charming and engaging little demon, who recommended himself
to her in a form which disguised his old and well-known features, and
made him come out quite new.  Godfrey was betraying himself in every
word and look; but to Constancy, whose even pulses had never yet beat
quicker for any emotion whatever, his boyish passion did not present
itself in a serious light.  She might study this side of life a little,
it would be amusing and instructive.  It has been amusing, ever since
Cleopatra angled for fishes.

The result of her study was that Godfrey spent a day of chequered but
tumultuous bliss, and that the story of the old house mingled itself
inextricably with her own.

For Guy the hours passed so pleasantly that he forgot his dread of the
coming night.  Not being in any way conscious, he asked Florella to come
and look for subjects among the flowers, quite easily.  And she came,
remembering them much better than he did, looking for old favourites,
and showing him which she had formerly tried to paint.

"I cannot do the harebells," she said.  "I have drawn them; but the
colour and the light is altogether impossible, and I have had to come
down to a little bunch in the rock--quite earthly--but they just recall
the others.  Perhaps some day, when I have practised a great deal, I may
be able to paint the heavenly ones."

"You made me _see_ them," said Guy.

"That's something, isn't it?" she said.  "But that's why drawing is so
good.  It teaches one to see."

There was plenty of general chatter, and the whole party strolled about,
ate fruit, and picked flowers together.

A tall fair young man was rather feebly sweeping the garden path.  He
touched his cap as the party passed him, and said, in a cracked, but
cordial voice, "There's rasps down yonder, sir, for t'yoong leddies."

Guy recognised him, with a start of distaste, as the "soft" lad he had
seen in the churchyard.

"Thank you, Jem," said Godfrey, "we'll look for them.  This way, isn't
it, Jeanie?"

Jeanie was very shy, and very much afraid of these "clever girls;" she
secretly disliked the thought of them.  But it was pleasing to find how
open they were to raspberries and Morelia cherries, and, in the
afternoon she felt a pride in showing them over the house, and pointing
out the pictures and other curiosities.

Guy avoided this part of the entertainment, on the excuse of making
arrangements about the time of return, and as he came back from
interviewing the driver of the waggonette, he found that Florella was in
the garden, sketching a bit of snap-dragon on the top of the low wall
that divided it from the fruit-garden.  Guy made for her pretty blue
dress, which reminded him of her blue harebells.

"Do you like the flowers better than the house?" he said.

"I did not much want to go over the house," she answered; "and if you
please, Mr Waynflete, I think I should like to tell you why."

"Why, have you any reason?" said Guy, startled.

"Yes," she answered.  "Of course it is a very silly thing, and my sister
never thought of it but as the merest joke; but I have always felt it
was more wrong than we knew.  When we were here, we used to hide and
make odd noises, to see whether we could make people think it was the
ghost."

"What?" exclaimed Guy.  "What did you do?"

"Why--nothing very much," said Florella, "after all.  But we rustled
about when we thought the maids would hear us, and stamped along the
passages to make footsteps, and hid when any one was coming, and
Constancy pretended to sob and cry, and then we watched to see how
people would take it; we never dressed up, you know, it was only noises.
Of course there was a notion that there _were_ noises, or no one would
have noticed."

"And didn't--did no one find you out?"

"No.  I don't think that really we frightened any one very much.  Of
course, I always knew it was naughty, and that Aunt Connie would be
angry if she knew.  But, as we went on doing it, I got to have a feeling
of what it would have been like if it had been true; perhaps I
frightened myself, for we didn't make all the noises that we heard.  And
I don't know, Cosy did it quite simply; but I got to feel as if there
was something _profane_ in playing tricks with things one could not
understand, and it has always been on my conscience.  So, as you were
here when we did it, and as you belong to the place, I thought I would
confess, for really I have always felt it more wrong than many things
I've been punished for."

"Why do you think that?" said Guy, quickly.

"Why, I suppose taking false and silly views of great subjects is one of
the chief things that prevent people from being really good.  Then you
_can't_ see."

"If you don't mind," said Guy, "will you come with me and look at that
picture?"

He could hardly tell what prompted the request; but he felt that he
could better bear the sight of the picture with her than alone.

Florella agreed, though a little surprised, and they followed the rest
of the party into the house and upstairs.  They heard their voices as
they made the round, but the little octagon room was empty.

"Look at him," said Guy, "and tell me _just_ what you see in his face.
Yes," as she glanced at him, "I know he is like me.  But if you were
drawing that face--like a flower--what should you try to show?"

"He looks very unhappy," said Florella.  "He wanted some one to help
him."

"He had no one.  He was a victim to himself or his fate.  Don't you
think he looks rather a despicable fellow?"

"No; but he looks as if he did so need to be helped.  Yes; he does look
like a person who might fail in a desperate crisis."

"As he did," said Guy.  "A man with that face must, you know.  Isn't
that what you see?"

"I suppose," said Florella, suddenly and simply, "that if he had really
realised the presence of God, he could have borne--even the ghost."

"Why?" said Guy, abruptly.

"It would be a spiritual power, great enough to conquer the spiritual
fear," she answered.

"I wish I could have masses said for his soul," said Guy.  "If we were
Roman Catholics, I'd ask you to pray for him."

"Well, I will," she answered.  "He is living, somewhere, and I am sure
it is right to pray for him."

"Thank you," said Guy, earnestly.

There was a call, and they hurried away to join the others.  They had
forgotten both themselves and each other.  It was only afterwards that
Florella realised that she had said unusual things, or Guy that he had
heard them.  But strange to each other they never could be again.

Constancy and Godfrey had thought of each other, and of the effect they
were producing on each other, all day long.  Nevertheless, they parted
as "Strangers yet."

PART ONE, CHAPTER ELEVEN.

"STRIVING FOR DEAR EXISTENCE."

In the soft interrupted stillness of the summer night Godfrey Waynflete
leant out of his window, and lived over again the hours of the day.  The
country stillness was constantly broken by the whirr of a bat, the
twitter of a disturbed sparrow, or by the homely sounds of cattle and
poultry in the farm and fields close by.  But Godfrey neither heard nor
heeded.  He was deaf to the sounds within the house, the occasional
strain and creak of the old boards and panels, the patter of rats and
mice, which constantly disturbed the slumbers of Rawdie, who slept on a
mat in his master's room.  His blood was all on fire; sleep was
impossible to him.  He could think of nothing but that in two days he
would meet Constancy again at Ingleby.  It did not seem possible to
Godfrey that so intense a desire should fail to work its own fulfilment.
No one and nothing should stand in the way of this demand of his spirit
for the thing it craved.  The whole world was widened, transformed,
glorified.  Constancy--_Cosy_.  How the name suited her!  The memories
of that old boyish visit started into life, till the old house seemed to
thrill with her presence.

"Talk of haunting," thought Godfrey, laughing to himself.  Constancy was
the presence that filled Waynflete through and through.  There was no
room there for any ghosts!  Then suddenly, without warning, there fell
upon him a doubt, a fear, a presentiment of disappointment, a change of
spirit so complete that it was almost as if a sudden change of
atmosphere had swept through the room, and chilled him.  A moment before
his joy had had hardly a misgiving, now he suddenly felt utterly without
hope.

He started upright, and pulled the casement to, for the night-air felt
all at once chilly.  He shook himself together, and began to pull off
his coat, when Rawdie sat up in the moonlight, and began to howl as if
he thought his last hour had come.

"Confound you, Rawdie, hold your tongue!" cried Godfrey, himself
reviving, when the door leading into the next room opened, and Guy stood
there, fully dressed.

"What, the deuce is the matter with Rawdie?" he said, sharply.

"It's the moon, I suppose," said Godfrey, pulling vainly at the curtain.
"He's got the nightmare this time, instead of you!  I never knew him
howl at the moon before.  Here Rawdie, Rawdie!  Hold your noise!  Shut
up!"

Rawdie jumped into his master's arms, his howls subsiding into whines
and whimpers.

Guy stood leaning against the door, watching them.  He set his teeth
hard, as, in the broad white streak of moonlight, the Presence which he
feared took, as it seemed to him, visible shape.  It was not now a face
flashing into his own, but a shadowy figure, with averted head, moving
across the room, as if in hurried, timorous flight.  Guy's pulses stood
still, but this time his nerves held their own.  He waited, and the
figure, the _impression_, passed him quickly by, through the doorway,
into the room he had just left.  Guy shut the door suddenly upon Godfrey
and Rawdie, and stood with his back against it--looking.  Then the
figure turned the never-to-be-forgotten face full upon him, and it was
to him as if his own eyes looked back on him, with malicious scorn of
himself; as if this scared and hunted creature were an aspect of
himself.  He crouched and cowered against the wall, and gazed back at
the spectre, but he felt that the sight, if sight it were, was as
nothing to the inward experience of the soul of which it was the
expression, the despair, the degradation of irresistible fear.

Whether it was a second or an hour before the moonlight had gone from
the room, and with it the impression, Guy could not tell; but he knew at
once when it was gone, and stumbling towards the bed, threw himself down
on it.

There was a candle burning, but the room swam and darkened before his
eyes, he was deadly faint, and as the life came back to him a little,
the panic which was wont to come upon him, overwhelmed him, and he
trembled and hid his face.  It passed sooner than usual, much sooner
than usual self-command came back, though the throbbing of his heart
forced him to be quite still, and took all his strength away.  As the
power of thought slowly came back to him, the memory of Florella's words
came back also.  The Presence of the Divine Spirit!  Could that become
real to the soul?

Guy knew what one spiritual experience was, and he did not deceive
himself into thinking that he had ever known this other.  If the door of
his soul was open to the unseen, no such messenger had ever sought
entrance; indeed, he had done his best to bar the way.

But now, over his bewildered spirit there swept another vision, new and
fair, the vision of a human sympathy that might make the weak strong.
If this wise girl could know--could _see_?  Before the hope of her
helpfulness, his foolish pride would give way.  He could nerve himself
to confession.  The next moment he knew that to lay his burden on the
innocent soul of another, to seek a love which must suffer in his
suffering, would be of all cowardly methods of escape the most
contemptible.  He must try to think more clearly.  He managed to stand
up, and to find the brandy, which, with most pitiful foresight, he had
brought with him.  He had drunk it before he suddenly felt how
significant was the eagerness with which he took it.  It was another
terror, indeed, and he threw himself down again on the bed and lay half
dozing, till with the daylight and the singing of the birds, he started
awake, with his nerves all ajar, and without energy enough to undress
and go to bed properly.

He managed, however, to make his appearance downstairs, where Rawdie's
cheerful bark recalled the poor little dog's terror of the night before.
Guy picked him up, and looked into his cairn-gorm coloured eyes, but no
change had come into them.  Godfrey, too, was eating his breakfast, and
making Jeanie talk about Constancy.

Guy played with his tea-cup, and made critical remarks on the young
ladies, till the trap that he had ordered to take him to the station
appeared, when he cut short his farewells, and went off hastily, without
giving his aunt time to say that she wished him to come back again
shortly.

As he grew calmer with the increasing distance, he took a resolution,
which was the first beginning of a struggle against his fate.

Cuthbert Staunton arrived in due time, in a holiday humour, and having
plenty of conversation, he occupied Mrs Palmer's attention until the
hour came for the two young men to wish her good night, and betake
themselves to a room devoted to the use of Guy and Godfrey, where they
could talk and smoke at their leisure.

"Yours is a charming climate," said the visitor, "where any one may
light a fire in August with a clear conscience.  Short of southern
moonlight, etc, there is nothing so delightful."

"Sit down in front of it," said Guy; "we're generally glad of one here,
and it looks cheerful.  Now, I'm expecting you to put me up to all the
newest lights--one gets rusty down here.  About the spooks, for
instance, the Miss Vyners were talking of in London.  I want to examine
into them a bit.  Did you ever come across a fellow who had seen one--by
any chance?"

"No," said Staunton.  "I should like to come across a first-hand one,
very much."

"Well, here's your chance, then.  I have--twice."

"Seen a man who has seen one?"

"No, better than that, seen the genuine article, myself.  I--I want to
know how to manage him.  It seems the correct thing, nowadays, to
entertain ghosts and imps of all kinds."

"I don't know any, personally," said Cuthbert, purposely echoing Guy's
bantering tone, though he noticed the matches he struck in vain, and the
suppressed excitement of his manner.  "But I should like to hear your
experiences very much."

"He paid me a visit last night," said Guy.

"And what is he like?"

Guy left off trying to light his pipe, and leant back in a corner of the
big chair in which he was lounging.  The plunge was made.  He was shaken
to pieces with the effort, but he still endeavoured to maintain a tone
of indifference.

"I think I'll have to tell you a little family history," he said; "if it
won't bore you."

"Not at all.  Tell me just as you can--as you like."

"Well, but you know, I believe, about the old traitor who drank himself
to death from remorse, and naturally, haunted his descendants.  Some of
them drank, and, in fact, there was always an inclination to an
occasional good-for-nought.  Well, then came the Guy who was too late--
my namesake--so, by the way, was the traitor--that story you know, too.
I don't believe my father, or grandfather, were quite all my aunt could
have wished.  They died young, you know; but I'm not aware that they
ever saw the ghost.  But, five years ago, when we went to Waynflete, to
see Mrs John Palmer, I did."

"You saw the ghost of your ancestor?"

"Well!  I had seen Guy's picture; I was full of it, and full of seeing
the place for the first time, and the face flashed upon me just like the
picture.  The picture's _like me_, you know; absurdly so.  I saw him--
plain as I see you.  Well, that once wouldn't have mattered, it would
only have been a queer thing.  But--"

"But that was not the only time?" said Cuthbert.

"I never _saw_ him again till last night, but--I--_feel_ him.  I wake up
half mad with fear.  I have dreamed of him.  I don't know what it is,
the fit seizes me, and when I've scourged the folly out of me, I faint,
or my heart gets bad.  I haven't quite been able to hide that; but no
one knows why.  No one knows that I am afraid of my own shadow!"

"Gently, my dear boy," said Staunton, kindly.  "Keep quiet for a minute.
It's hard work telling me; makes your heart beat now, doesn't it?"

"Let me get through it.  These fits have come and knocked me up, over
and over--muffed my exam--for my degree--made a fool of me, times out of
number.  But, last night--he was there--the whole of him, _myself_ in
that queer old dress, as one might look when one's chance was over, and
one wanted others to share one's disgrace.  I saw him; but, oh, my God,
Cuthbert!  It's not the _seeing_; but no other Presence is ever so
real--so close!  So, I'm catching at a rope.  He'll have me; I shall
have to follow him--but--I'm trying to fight."

Guy had dropped all his pretence at indifference; he spoke in short,
stifled whispers, his eyes dilated with fear.

Cuthbert laid his hand on the fingers that were clutching the arm of the
chair, and said gently, "I am very glad you have told me.  You'll feel
better soon.  It is very bad for you to suffer without any help."

Guy clung to the warm, human clasp, it was unexpectedly comforting.
Then he whispered, "I don't drink, you know, _yet_.  But he'll drive me
to it.  He's ruining my life!"

Cuthbert did not speak for some moments.  Then he said, "Of course,
there is more than one view to be taken of these things."

"Oh yes, I might be mad--or lying."

"Well, I don't feel driven to those conclusions.  Do you mind being
questioned a little?"

"No; I think I should like it.  I've felt so much alone."

"Yes.  You feel more afraid of the terror that seizes on you
unexpectedly, than of the--thing itself?"

"Yes," said Guy, hesitating; "at least, I mind _feeling_ he is there,
more than seeing him.  That's a detail."

"Try to tell me what you mean by _feeling_."

"I can't.  It's another sense."

"And do you feel nothing else with this sense?"

"No," said Guy, decidedly.  "Nothing.  And, many things that I could
like--"

"Yes.  Try and tell me.  I think I shall understand."

"Yes; oh, you're so kind.  I've always felt he never would come where
you were.  Some people fret me, even in the next room.  But, music now--
that might lift one away from him, but he stops it; he always stops what
I care most for.  I could bear it, but my body won't; that betrays me."

"Yes, that wants careful looking to.  Now, my boy, try and tell me what
your own view of the matter is.  What you think most likely to be true
about it."

Guy looked up with pitiful puzzled eyes.

"Ask me more questions," he said.

"Ever read up the subject?"

"No, I began; but I daren't--"

"You feel sure it is something besides your own nerves?"

"Yes."

"Something or somebody outside yourself?"

"Outside myself?  I don't know that."

Guy suddenly caught Cuthbert's hand again and pressed it hard against
his forehead, as if to steady his brain.  Then he spoke more clearly.

"I don't know if what comes over me is my ancestor himself, or the fiend
that tempted him, or my own worst self.  As for the vision, I'm not so
much afraid of _that_."

"Then what you want is to be able to resist this influence?"

"Yes, before it ruins me, body and soul."

"Well, you must let me think it over.  Depend upon it, I'll not leave
you alone to fight the battle.  Now, you'll sleep to-night?"

"Oh yes, I am not frightened now," said Guy, simply.

"Well then, we'll go to bed, and talk it over again to-morrow.  But you
must come up to town with me and see a doctor, you need only tell him
that your nerves have had a shock.  But I wouldn't avoid the general
subject.  Such experiences are not altogether exceptional."

"Nervous affections, in fact," said Guy, dryly.

"Well, sometimes, you know.  Anyway, there are safer remedies than
brandy, if your heart gives you trouble.  And mind, come to me at any
time, or send for me.  Bring it into the light of day."

Guy felt soothed by the kindness, and he knew that the advice was good.
But, all the same, he knew that it was Florella who had touched the
heart of his trouble.

"You're awfully kind," he said, gratefully.

"I know the look of trouble," answered Cuthbert; "and fate hasn't left
me many anxieties.  I'm quite free to worry about you."

Guy's eloquent eyes softened.  The fellow-feeling was better than the
reasoning.  But as he got up to go to bed, he said in his usual
self-contained voice, "You know, Rawdie saw him too, and had
palpitations."

PART TWO, CHAPTER ONE.

A BIG SITUATION.

Florella Vyner lay awake in the cool misty light of a moorland morning,
and thought, not for the first time, of her conversation with Guy
Waynflete.  She had the power of intense and steady contemplation, that
was the faculty that enabled her to "see," and when she woke to the
sense of the unusualness of what had passed, she felt quite certain that
the circumstances were also unusual enough to justify the words which
she had spoken.  They had surprised herself; and now, on the day when
she would see Guy again she divined that he had been speaking of
himself.  It was he who suffered spiritual fear, he whose soul was in
danger, and needed prayers to help it.  A sense of awe came upon her.
Guy believed that she saw; but she felt herself to have been hitherto
blind.  She had entered into a spiritual conflict, and, suddenly, she
knew that it was a real one.  "Pray for his soul."  What a tremendous
thing she had promised!  And oh! how tremendous must be the Power whom
she had invoked.

There came upon Florella a moment when "this earth we hold by seemed not
earth," a moment when she did indeed "see."

Her sister's voice startled her.

"It's not going to be a fine day.  Never mind, wet mist is
characteristic of Ingleby."  Constancy was sitting up in bed.  Her
abundant hair fell over her shoulders in thick vigorous waves, her hands
were clasped round her knees.

"Cosy," said Florella, with sisterly straightforwardness, "I hope you're
going to behave better than you did at Waynflete."

"I haven't done any harm," said Cosy, with entire good humour.  "Why
should you all grumble?  I haven't read an hour the less, nor given up a
discussion, nor got a bit tired of being here.  But I won't be only one
sort of girl.  People who have brains can manage a situation."

"I should have thought their brains ought to tell them when a situation
was too big for them to manage."

"Really, Flo!  You do say extremely clever things sometimes.  Yes, so
they ought.  But this isn't a big situation, though Godfrey Waynflete is
a _very_ big young man."

"No, it isn't," said Florella, beginning to get up.  "You're simply
flirting, and talking fine about it.  But, I don't think Godfrey
Waynflete _is_ flirting, and you may find that the situation grows."

"Well!  I'll see if I can grow up to it," said Constancy.  "But you
know, in these days a girl like me is much more likely to flirt too
little than too much."

Godfrey appeared at the carriage door as they drove up to the Mill
House, full of hearty greetings, big, bright and boyish as ever, but
with a certain glow in face and manner which was unmistakable as
Constancy sprang out, and lifting Rawdie, kissed him between his eyes.

Guy stood behind, looking on with repressed amusement, for he had not
yet perceived that it was a "big situation."  He acted host, and showman
to the mill.  He was pale, but so self-contained and like himself that
Cuthbert could have thought the agitated confidence of the night before
had been a dream.  But Florella felt quite sure of her surmise regarding
him, though he said no word to recall it to her.

Constancy had no intention but of spending another pleasant day in
studying the "other side of life," and in teasing her companions; but
she did not know with whom she had to deal.  If Godfrey had been either
old enough to understand her, or timid enough to hesitate and lose his
chance, she might have appeared to "manage the situation."  But he began
the day with a definite purpose, and laid his plans to suit it.  The wet
weather was much against him, as he could not offer himself to her,
either when walking round the mill, or when sitting in the drawing-room,
with Cousin Susan acting hostess.  He did not, however, mean to be
baffled, and while the whole party were listening to Guy's explanation
of the looms, as well as the noise they made permitted, he said to her,
with decision--

"I want you to come and see this," and as she complied, he led her
quickly out of the long, many-windowed room, where the hands were
working, into another where the great bales of wool were stored ready
for use.

The windows were wide open, with the wet air blowing through, there was
a strong smell of oily wool; but Godfrey, with a soft, persistent step,
led her round the piled-up bales, into a little open space between them.
The window looked across miles of misty, smoky country, and the
ceaseless roar of the machinery was softened by distance, so that they
could hear themselves speak.

"I don't see anything to look at here," said Constancy, "and I want to
understand how the weaving is done."

"There is nothing to see," said Godfrey.  "I brought you here on purpose
to tell you something.  I--I love you.  I mean to work with all there is
of me to be worthy of you.  I've only that one object in life, and I
shall never have another.  I--I've thought you liked me a little.  You
do--Constancy, don't you?  You will, won't you?  You know that I care
for nothing else in the world but you."

He came close to her, taking her hands and looking down at her, with
eyes to which his eagerness lent a sort of fierce determination.

Constancy's heart gave a great throb as the blood rushed to her face,
but startled as she was, she held her own.

"Now you are spoiling everything that is so extremely pleasant.  You
know quite well I never thought of anything of that sort.  We have had
such a very good time.  Now, don't say any more.  I never meant--"

"You must have meant it at Waynflete; you meant me to believe it."

"Now, you are making a great deal too much of things.  Why, you know, I
have my work at college--"

"If you care a bit for me, what does that matter?"

Godfrey's face darkened, and filled with passionate desire.

"You don't care for me?" he said, hoarsely.

"Well, no," she said, "not in that way.  I'm not sentimental; and you--
we--are much too young to think of such nonsense.  Let us find the
others."

Godfrey stood in her path for a moment.  He was smarting, not only under
her refusal, but under her deliberate ignoring of his depth of feeling.

"I _am_ young," he said, "young enough to wait, and I will _make_ you
care.  The love I offer you is worth a great deal more than you pretend
to think.  I'll--I'll make you see that yet.  Allow me--to show you the
way back to the others."

He stood aside and pointed the way, forcing his manner into rigid
politeness, but his face white, and his eyes fixing hers.  His whole
nature rose against defeat, though, as he fell behind her, he felt so
miserable that, boy as he was, his throat ached, and unshed tears stung
his eyelids.

Constancy felt strange thrills.

She dashed into the midst of the others, as they came out, and
breathlessly remarked on the beauty of the bridge they were crossing,
"So picturesque," she said.

"If the stream was clean," said Guy.

"Well, you often call a dirty child picturesque; why not a dirty river,
with a tree and a barn, or whatever it is?  I think it's beautiful."

"Beauty that is marred," said Guy.

"Then it has more human interest," said Constancy.  "It is another
aspect of what I said about the summeriness of London."

She dashed into the discussion, and talked brilliantly, rousing both Guy
and Cuthbert Staunton to talk too, while Godfrey hung behind, angered
more than ever.  He was obliged occasionally to speak, and even to hand
tea-cups and open doors for the ladies.  Such is the power of
civilisation.  As she talked and smiled and managed, into her complex
mind there flashed new ideas, and new knowledge.  She had learned ever
so much by that queer little interview.  All kinds of new "mind stuff"
had come into her head.  She had conceived her part of the scene very
badly--but certainly--it was an experience, and as they drove home
through the rainy mist, the experience translated itself into all sorts
of forms.  Godfrey had held the door of the waggonette for her; had
given her her wraps, had offered all politeness, but he had neither
spoken to her, nor touched her hand.

"Yes," she thought, as she laid her head on her pillow, "I can't be
sorry for any experience.  It's quite different from reading about it."

Then suddenly, as she lay in the darkness, she not only knew, but felt;
something new and strange did indeed sweep over her, an overwhelming
_might be_.  Her spirit fell before it, and she hid her face, and cried.

"Cosy, did you find the situation bigger than you expected?" said
Florella.

Constancy was silent till she could trust her voice, then said,
abruptly--

"Yes; I wasn't skilful.  Never mind, I'll manage better another time.  I
think it was inevitable--really."

"And you don't--"

"Don't reciprocate?  No!  It would upset all my ideas to marry before
I'm twenty-five.  And oh--you know, Flo, the Waynfletes are a fine type,
and so on; but, dear me, one belongs to another century, another world,
another universe.  I don't know where the dividing line is exactly; but
there's a mighty deep one somewhere."

"Perhaps he'll cross it--now."

"He did beat the record for the wide jump at his college!" said Cosy.
"But he's just like his great-aunt.  How _could_ one marry a person who
thinks it signifies so dreadfully _what_ one thinks about everything.
It's not that such as we think differently; but we don't think it
matters much what we think, and they do."

"Poor Godfrey Waynflete!" said Florella.  "He certainly thinks it
matters what you think about him."

"Good night," said Cosy, ending the conversation.

PART TWO, CHAPTER TWO.

CROSSING THE FLETE.

Almost before the waggonette had driven away from the door, Godfrey
turned, round to his brother.

"I shall catch the last train," he said.

"The last train!  Now?  How do you mean to get from Kirk Hinton?"

"I can walk."

"In this weather?  You'll reduce Rawdie to a mass of pulp."

"He can stop with you.  Good night," said Godfrey, ramming on his hat,
and marching off through the driving rain, while Guy shrugged his
shoulders, and detained Rawdie.

"Ha, ha! you poor little beggar, you're nowhere," he said.  "You'll have
to put up with me."

Kirk Hinton was a little station on the branch line which connected
Rilston with the junction for Ingleby.  It was four miles from Moorhead,
and six from Waynflete, and as it contained no sort of conveyance, it
was necessary for travellers to make arrangements beforehand if they
desired to be carried to their destination.

Godfrey had ordered a trap to meet him on the next morning; but now
there was nothing for it but to walk up hill and down dale through the
pouring rain, and chew the cud of his bitter thoughts as he went.

The field path to Waynflete was of the roughest, and led over rain
washed stony tracks, through copse-wood and thicket, down to the bottom
of Flete Dale, where the Flete beck was crossed by a rough wooden bridge
near which was the Dragon, the little old public-house which had been
there from time immemorial.  On the other side of the river a steep
ascent led up to Flete Edge, beyond which lay the Hall.  The road from
Kirk Hinton took a much more gradual route, and crossed the Flete by
another bridge at the end of the old avenue at the back of the house.

Godfrey was way-wise; but he had never taken the walk before, and he was
confused by the storm and the darkness, and by his own miserable
thoughts.

He had not given up his point.  No; he was not defeated.  He would
neither avoid Constancy nor cease to recommend himself to her.  He would
meet her on every possible opportunity; he would not give way an inch.
He would succeed unless--other fellows--?  There were other fellows, of
course.  There was Guy.

Godfrey stumbled through a great clump of brambles and bushes, over a
low wall and down a rough field to the riverside, where he dimly saw the
bridge in the uncertain light.  He felt chilled and miserable; his
resolute hope failed him.  There was Guy.  She always liked Guy, and he
always roused himself to talk and laugh with her.  Godfrey's angry
spirit exaggerated these memories of friendly intercourse.  His heart
sank lower and lower.  He paused on the bridge, and listened to the
dreary roar of the wind through the wide plantations, and to the
swirling rush of the stream beneath him.  He could not see anything
distinctly, but driving mist and swaying trees; but he came up out of
the gloomy hollow as much convinced of his brother's imaginary rivalry
as if the fiend, or the spirit, who had stood in the path of his unlucky
ancestor, and so wrecked the fortunes of succeeding generations, had
whispered the deluding suggestion into his ear.

How he reached the house he hardly knew, and then he wondered how he
could account to his aunt for his sudden return.

Mrs Waynflete, however, kept no count of his movements; she took no
notice till the first train the next morning brought over the Ingleby
stable-boy with Rawdie, Godfrey's bag, and a note from Guy, in which he
stated that he would not be able to come to Waynflete at present, as he
was going on "a little outing" with Staunton.  Godfrey felt certain that
the little outing was to Moorhead, and when he read as a conclusion,
"Cheer up, old boy; there's worse luck in the world than yours," he felt
as if Guy was mocking his trouble.

Mrs Waynflete was angry at the message.  She thought Guy neglectful and
indifferent to the place she loved so well.  In those days, when the
novelty of her surroundings destroyed her sense of accustomed comfort,
she thought much.  She was too good a woman of business to have left the
future unprovided for, and she had long ago made a will in which the
Waynflete property, together with certain investments, and half the
share in the profits of Palmer Brothers was left to Guy, while the other
half share made a fair younger son's portion for Godfrey.

But now, how could she trust Guy, either with the property or with the
business?  Was he not too likely to ruin both?  Could she rely on him to
carry on the work she had so bravely begun?  She distrusted him deeply,
and he did nothing to remove her distrust.  She had always kept her will
in her own hands; it would be easy to destroy it.  But then, if anything
happened to her, everything would be in confusion.  An idea occurred to
her, which in its simplicity and independence attracted her strongly.
She would have another will made, in which Godfrey's name was
substituted for that of Guy, and then she would keep both at hand.  At
any moment it would be easy to destroy one of them, much easier than to
alter it, or to draw out a new one in a hurry, and she would put Guy to
certain tests, and judge him accordingly.  She would drive into Rilston
and see the solicitor there this very afternoon, for it struck her that
she did not wish to explain the workings of her mind to the old family
man of business who had made the will now in force.

At luncheon-time she was unusually silent, while Jeanie questioned
Godfrey as to the events of the day before, and at last remarked, as she
cut up her peach, "How funny it is that Guy should be such friends with
Mr Staunton!"

"Why?" said Mrs Waynflete, abruptly.  "Mr Staunton seems a very
well-conducted young man."

"Oh yes, aunt; but don't you know that he is descended from the wicked
old Maxwell who ruined the Waynfletes.  Constancy Vyner told us all
about it.  She said it was so interesting--to be friends with your
hereditary foe."

"What's that?" said the old lady.  "I ought to have been told, Godfrey;
it's a very singular fancy on the part of your brother."

"Oh, I dare say Guy has very good reasons for the friendship," said
Godfrey, sulkily.

Mrs Waynflete made no reply.  She released Jeanie from the duty of
accompanying her on her afternoon drive, and before she started, she
wrote a note to Guy.

She drove into Rilston, gave her directions to the solicitor, and
arranged to have the new will made out, and brought for her signature on
the next day.  Then she went back, and, dismissing her carriage at the
bridge, prepared to inspect the needful repairs that were being made in
the farm-buildings and stables.

Godfrey, hanging listlessly about, saw her tall, upright figure, walking
steadily over the bridge, and then, whether she caught her foot in a
stone, or lost her balance, suddenly she tripped and fell.

With a shout of dismay he rushed towards her.

"Auntie!  Auntie Waynflete!  Are you hurt?"

"No, my dear, no; gently, don't be in such a hurry," she said
imperatively, having already got up on her hands and knees.

Godfrey put his strong young arms round her, and lifted her on to her
feet, holding her carefully, and entreating her to tell him if she was
hurt; while she told him sharply not to make a fuss about nothing, even
though, to her own great vexation, she was so tremulous as to be obliged
to lean on his arm, and let him lead her back to the house.

"No," she said.  "No, I don't want to lie down, and I don't want a glass
of brandy and water, and I don't want the doctor.  I want to sit down in
my chair, and see if my bones are in their right places."

Jeanie now appeared, fussing about, and very anxious to do the right
thing, but the old lady would not even have her bonnet taken off, and
hunted the two young people out of sight, asking them if they thought
she had had a stroke, just as they were whispering to each other that,
at any rate, it was nothing of that sort.  They peeped at her from
behind the creepers through the open window, and discussed whether they
ought to send for the doctor.  But, as Godfrey said, he didn't know if
there was a doctor to send for, such a person having rarely been seen
within the walls of the Mill House; and, besides, to act for Aunt
Waynflete was a new departure which neither dared undertake.

In the mean time, old Margaret, to her own great annoyance, found
herself shedding tears.  She was more shaken than she had guessed.  She
dried them rapidly, and then walked cautiously round the room, to see
whether she was really herself and unhurt.

"The Lord be praised, there's no harm done!" she said.  "But I've had a
warning; and, please God, I'll take it, and prepare for my latter end.
I'm an old woman, and should mind my steps, and not be mooning over the
future or the past, when I should be picking my way.  If my nephew Guy,
like others before him, is but poor stuff, Godfrey's a different sort.
I'll keep my eyes open."

She appeared to be none the worse for her accident in the anxious if
inexperienced eyes of Godfrey and Jeanie, who scarcely dared to ask her
how she felt.

The new will was brought to her, and was duly signed and witnessed.  She
locked it away with the former one, and with other business papers, in a
table-drawer in her bedroom.  She was prepared now for any emergency;
but, in her heart, she was far from satisfied, and, in the solitude of
the thoughts of age, she weighed the two young men against each other
with a sincere desire to judge them aright.  All the settled
convictions, and all the saddest experiences of her life, told against
Guy.  All her affection, all her inclination, swayed towards Godfrey.
And yet, angry as she was with her elder nephew, the tones of his voice,
the set of his mouth when he had spoken his mind to her, recurred to her
keen judgment, and she doubted still.

On the day after the signing of the new will, she received the following
answer to her note to Guy.

  "Mill House, Ingleby,--

  "September 16.

  "Dear Aunt Margaret,--

  "I shall not, of course, invite my friend to stay in your house again,
  now that I am aware of your sentiments on the subject; but I will
  avail myself of your permission to leave matters as they stand for the
  present, as I should be unwilling to involve myself in so ludicrous an
  explanation.  Family feuds appear to me entirely out of date.  I fear
  I shall not be able to come over to Waynflete at present, as I cannot
  leave Staunton, and you probably will not care to see him there.

  "Your affectionate nephew,--

  "Guy Waynflete."

This judicious and conciliatory epistle was put away by Mrs Waynflete,
with the two wills in her table-drawer.

It appeared to her that Guy, with a frivolity not new in her experience,
scorned the sentiments and the convictions which had ruled her life.

PART TWO, CHAPTER THREE.

MINISTERS OF GRACE.

Cuthbert Staunton took Guy up to London to the house in Kensington to be
inspected by a well-known doctor, who was also a personal friend of his
own.

Guy despatched his petulant little note to his aunt before he started,
and, perhaps, it was edged by his own discomfort, for he could hardly
endure to be the subject of discussion and inquiry, and, the immediate
effect of the night at Waynflete having passed off, held himself with
difficulty to his resolution.

"You may trust me to tell him nothing against your wish," said Staunton,
beforehand.

"I don't think you could tell him much," said Guy, oddly.  "But," he
added, "I wish to tell him that I am afraid of the brandy."

The man of science, when told that he suffered from palpitations and
exhaustion after any "nervous strain," the expression substituted by
Cuthbert for Guy's straightforward "when I am frightened," and also of
this means of remedy, made due examination of him, and asked various
questions, eliciting that he was easily tired, and that his heart did
throb sometimes after over-fatigue or over-hurry, "but not to signify at
all, that didn't matter."

And could he foretell when periods of nervous excitement were likely to
occur, so as to avoid them?

"No," said Guy; and then he added, while his lips grew a little white,
"I want to be told how to deal with the effects of it so that the remedy
mayn't be worse than the thing itself.  No one can help me as to the
cause."

"Ah!" said the doctor, thoughtfully.  Then he gave various directions as
to avoiding fatigue, worry, or excitement.  A winter abroad would be
good, change of scene and occupation.  There was no serious mischief at
work at present; but there was need of great care and consideration.
And with a gravity showing that he understood one part of the matter,
severe restrictions were laid on the use of brandy and everything
analogous to it, and other prescriptions substituted.  "Mr Waynflete
mustn't be alarmed about himself; care for a year or two would make all
the difference.  He would grow stronger, and the nervous strain would
lessen in proportion."

Guy looked back at him, but said nothing; and as he took leave, Cuthbert
remained for a minute or two.

"That young fellow is a good deal out of health," said the doctor.
"Hasn't he a mother or any one to look after him?"

"Not a soul capable, except me," said Staunton.  "I'm going to do it as
well as I can, and he will let me."

"Well, remember this: whether he can avoid nervous shocks or no, _he
must not have them_.  And he can't be too much afraid of the brandy.
Get him out of whatever oppresses him.  It's the only plan.  The heart
is weak, and the brain--excitable."

"Should you like a spell abroad?" said Staunton, as they sat at luncheon
at his club.

"I could not go," said Guy.  "That would mean giving up having any
concern with the business.  And I haven't enough money."

"But if Mrs Waynflete knew that it was a matter of health--You must
really let your friends know that you have to be careful."

It was a new idea to Guy that the effects of his attacks were of
importance in themselves, and naturally an unwelcome one.  He looked
rather obstinate, and went on eating his salad.  After a minute or two,
he said--

"I will do what I come to think is right.  No one else can quite know."

"No; but don't you see, my dear boy, that whatever strengthens your
constitution altogether will help you to--to--contend with your
trouble--and make it less likely to attack you?"

"Yes," said Guy, slowly.  "What other people say does help one to
think."

"Well, there's no hurry to decide," said Cuthbert.  "You still think you
would like to go down to-night?  Certainly, there isn't much on at
present here.  What shall we do this afternoon?"

A friend of Staunton's here turned up and pressed on their acceptance
some tickets for a morning performance of Hamlet, in which he was
interested.

"Should you like to go, Guy?" said Cuthbert; "there would be plenty of
time to dine afterwards, and get our train."

Guy thought that he would like it, and it was not till they were sitting
in the stalls that it struck his friend that Hamlet was not calculated
to divert his mind from the subject that engrossed it.  Still, it must
be familiar to him.

But Cuthbert failed to realise that, though Guy believed himself to have
"read Shakespeare," it is possible for a country-bred youth, brought up
in an unliterary and non-play-going family, to bring an extremely fresh
interest to bear on our great dramatist, and though Guy was not quite in
the condition of the lady who, in the middle of the murder scene in
Macbeth, observed tearfully to her friend, "Oh dear, I am afraid this
cannot end well!" he was but dimly prepared for what he was going to
see.  He gave an odd little laugh as the ghost crossed the stage, but
watched intently and quietly.

"What do you think of it?" said Cuthbert, in a pause.  "He's not so bad,
is he?"

"He says some very remarkable things," said Guy, seriously.  "Things
that seem true; but I never thought of them.  Don't you suppose the
ghost was _there_, watching for him to act, often though he couldn't see
him?"

"Well, really," said Cuthbert; "I do think you have made a new remark on
Hamlet.  I never heard that suggestion.  We can go, you know, if you're
bored, any time."

"No," said Guy; "I like it."

Guy had the faculty of calling up distinct mental pictures.  It was the
method by which he thought, and the moving scene stamped itself, as
plays sometimes will, both on his eyes and on his memory.  When they
came out into the daylight he felt bewildered as if the world outside
was the unreal one.

"The ghost didn't do much good," he said; while Cuthbert, wishing he had
had more forethought, talked lightly and critically about the acting,
concerning which Guy was not critical at all.

When they set off on their night journey, Guy grew quiet, and presently
fell asleep.  He looked tired, and the heavy eyelashes and the
wistfulness, which, in sleep, his mouth seemed to share, made him seem
younger than usual, and more in need of help.  Suddenly he moved and
started, while a look of shrinking terror came into his face.  Cuthbert
roused him, and he opened his eyes and caught his breath.

"Dreaming of the play?" said Cuthbert, lightly.

"No," said Guy.  He leant back in his corner, and seemed slowly to
master himself, for presently he gave a little smile, and said, "I'm all
right, thank you."

Cuthbert thought that he could see exactly what the sort of thing was
now, and how it came about.  Presently Guy began to talk about Hamlet,
asking many well-worn questions, and a few more unexpected ones.
Cuthbert, who had been working up all the criticisms for a set of
lectures, felt as he answered him rather like an orthodox, but
personally inexperienced professor of religion in the presence of an
earnest young inquirer.

After a little while, Guy said reflectively, "It is odd that he found it
so hard to obey the ghost, rather than to resist him.  I don't much
think Shakespeare ever felt one himself."

This tone of calm consideration of the psychological truth of Hamlet
nearly made Cuthbert laugh, even while he was thinking of how to manage
the young visionary beside him.  It was years since his easy life had
been invaded by so much anxiety for any one, years since he had had so
lively an interest.

Guy fished out the right volume of "Shakespeare" from among the books
that played propriety in a glass bookcase in the dining-room at Ingleby,
when he had finished his supper at two o'clock in the morning, and took
it upstairs with him.

On the next afternoon, perhaps happily to change the current of his
thoughts, they were engaged to Mrs Raby's garden party at Kirkton Hall,
a big house between Ingleby and Kirk Hinton, and the source of much of
the gaiety of the neighbourhood.  On arriving, after the long drive,
they beheld Godfrey's flaxen head towering above the other tennis
players as he prepared to play a match with Miss Raby, who was the
champion lady-player of the district, against her brother and Constancy
Vyner, who turned to Guy with a cordial and friendly greeting.  She
looked fresh and bright, and quite at her ease in Godfrey's presence.
Indeed, she had told her sister that she came on purpose to show that
she could "manage the situation."  She had written Godfrey, instead of
Geoffrey of Monmouth, three times in her Modern History notes that
morning, and she spent much time in telling herself that she could never
return his feelings.

And now, with boy and girl defiance, and yet with instincts old as the
earth on which they stood, the one thing for which each of the pair
longed was to conquer the other.

The play in that notable set was discussed by tennis-lovers for all the
rest of the season, and the players never heeded the darkening of the
sky, and the increasing weight of the air.  Cosy's hand was as steady
and her aim as direct as if no inner consciousness existed, she put into
her skilled play every atom of force that she possessed.  As for
Godfrey, he was as mad as a Berserker, and he looked like one.

The game, owing to the equality of the players, was very long, and it
by-and-by became evident to Florella that Miss Raby was getting tired,
and was no longer playing at her best.

They were playing the last game of the set.  "Thirty all" was called as,
without a moment's warning, down fell a torrent of thunder, rain, and
hail, enough to stop the most ardent players.  Yet half a dozen more
strokes--Miss Raby stepped back, exclaimed, "Oh, what a pity; we must
declare the match drawn," and fled to the house, while Mr Raby snatched
up and held over her a lovely and useless white lace parasol.

Constancy and Godfrey stood opposite each other for a moment in the
drenching rain, both at once exclaiming, "Too bad!"

Then she laughed and scudded off with lifted skirt, while Godfrey felt a
sense of baffled anger which even defeat would not have brought to him.

Then he had to walk rationally back to the house, and change his things,
for the notes of a waltz suddenly sprang up.  A big hall with a polished
floor was cleared for dancing, fruit and ice were being handed round,
and nobody cared very much for the thunderstorm.

Guy, looked out for the harebell blue gown, which he always associated
with Florella.  It did not occur to him that she had very few smart
frocks at Moorhead.  He asked her to dance, and it was not till they had
spun two or three times round the dark polished floor that his heart
began to throb and flutter, and that it struck him that this was
probably the sort of "exertion" forbidden to him.  He felt miserable,
and wished, not for the first time, that he had never spoken of his
troubles.  It was more endurable, locked up as it were in the cupboard
in the wall, than now when it mixed itself up with his ordinary life.
But the slight discomfort could not signify, the chief thing was to
conceal it.  He would go on dancing, and presently get some champagne.
Florella, however, stopped of her own accord in the deep recess of a
window.

"I'm not a very good dancer," she said, in her composed way.  "You know
I haven't been out very much yet."

"Don't you care for it?" said Guy, rather breathlessly.

"I like it a little," she said; "and it is lovely to watch, especially
on a dark floor--crumb-cloths have no beauty."

The light was streaming in under the storm-clouds through the narrow
windows in dull yellowish rays, the flying figures passed in and out of
the shadow, against a background of polished oak.

"I suppose," said Guy, "that you like painting better than dancing?"

"Oh, well," said Florella, in a tone that showed her to be Cosy's
sister; "to say that is either a truism or a very priggish remark.  You
might as well ask if one liked strawberry ice best or poetry.  But I
like looking on best of all--feeling pictures."

"Do tell me what you mean?" said Guy, eagerly.

Florella was always impelled to talk, or, perhaps more truly, to think
by Guy.  She was drifting again into talk that belonged only to him, and
that she would not have held with any one else.

"I don't quite know what else to say," she answered.  "It is not exactly
seeing things or noticing them.  It is feeling the picture in them.
This dance has a picture in it.  Often I don't feel so about things that
are very beautiful."

"Did you ever see Hamlet?" said Guy, apparently with an abrupt change of
subject.

"Oh yes, more than once.  Have you seen the new Hamlet?"

"I saw it yesterday.  I wish you'd tell me the meaning--what you see
inside that."

"Oh," said Florella, laughing.  "That's what many people have tried to
see."

"I have read it all through to-day," said Guy, naively.  "What puzzles
me is how, as the ghost was real, Hamlet had any doubt about him."

"Why, you see he thought that it might be an evil spirit taking his
father's shape."

"But if he had really _felt_ it, he must have known whether it was good
or evil.  Seeing a ghost isn't like seeing a person outside you.  Didn't
you know that the other day when you spoke of the only thing that could
have helped--Guy Waynflete?"

She flushed a deep crimson.  There was something overwhelming to her in
the conversation, and she could hardly speak.  "That came into my mind,"
she said.  "I never thought of it before."

"But you believe it?"

"Yes."

The rain was ceasing, and the dusty, misty light grew clearer and more
radiant.  The waltz finished in a glow of sunshine.  Somehow the ghost
and his own condition went right out of Guy's head.  He took Florella to
eat peaches, and began to talk to her in a more ordinary way, while the
strain of their previous intercourse lifted itself from her spirit.
They felt quite intimate and at home with each other, so much so that
Guy explained why he did not ask her to waltz again, quite simply and
without effort, admitting that he had been told to be careful.  It
seemed quite natural to tell her what he had been unwilling to own to
himself.

He had hardly ever felt so happy, and when he was at ease, there was
something sweet and bright in his face and manner which had a great
charm.

Constancy, who paid him a gratifying amount of attention, told herself
many times that he was much more agreeable than his brother.  Certainly
Godfrey looked neither sweet nor bright.  He danced with Jeanie because
there was no occasion to make conversation for her, and glowered at
Constancy, and when Guy, certainly in rather an off-hand way, told him
of his visit to London, and of the doctor's opinion, he only looked
savage, and said--

"You don't seem as if there was much the matter with you to-day;" an
answer which Cuthbert thought brutal, but which did not strike Guy as at
all singular.

Godfrey had intended to say much to Guy about the advisability of coming
to Waynflete, and taking his place as the elder brother, but he was
unable to express it amiably, so his honourable scruples took the form
of remarking--

"I can't think why you're such a fool as to annoy Aunt Waynflete by
having Staunton with you.  You ought to come over, and of course she
doesn't want to see him."

"I am not going to make myself absurd," said Guy, coldly.  "What do I
care who Staunton's great-grandfather was?  He has been very kind to
me."

"There's a great deal in bad blood," said Godfrey, obstinately.  "It's
sure to come out.  He'll come across you somehow."

"There's not much to choose between our great-grandfathers," said Guy.
"I'd just as soon have his as ours."

The agreeable little discussion was interrupted, and Guy only laughed as
Godfrey was called away.

But it might have been a different person who said suddenly to Staunton,
as they drove back to Ingleby in the moonlight--

"Cuthbert, the doctor thought I should get well, if I do take care,
didn't he?"

"Oh yes, certainly.  But you mustn't play tricks with yourself."

"Well," said Guy, seriously and cheerfully, "I mean to try; and,
somehow, I think there's a chance for me, altogether."

Guy slept that night without dream or disturbance; but for Florella
there was no sleep for a long time.  A whole rush of thoughts filled her
mind; of ghosts and demons, black spirits and white, bad and good
angels.  She did not feel "creepy," or in any way personally concerned,
but she mentally realised, or, as she called it, "saw" all sorts of
eerie situations.  Guy Waynflete--she did not try in her thoughts to
separate the generations--seemed to have been pursued by an evil power.
Was there no good angel to help him?

Florella saw--as she saw the thought in her pictures--the radiant image,
all light and wings and glory, the instinctive presentment of a heavenly
being which was her spiritual and artistic inheritance.  Perhaps, in the
light of that fair fancy, she fell asleep; but suddenly there was no
outward vision any more, but a great awe and a passionate yearning
within.  A voice seemed to cry from the depths, "Oh, helping is so
hard--so _hard_!  There is no _angelness_ left.  It takes it all.  My
wings can't be smooth and tidy!"  Florella woke right up in the morning
sunshine.  The vision was over, but she did not forget it.

PART TWO, CHAPTER FOUR.

THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET.

Shortly after this day at the Rabys, Mrs Joshua Palmer went up to
Waynflete ostensibly because she thought that she could be of some use
to Aunt Waynflete in getting comfortably settled in there, and in
finally arranging her household if, as seemed likely, she remained there
for the winter, but really moved by something in her daughter's letters
which excited her anxiety.  It would not do at all to have "anything"
between Godfrey and Jeanie, at their age.  By-and-by, if anything really
came of the fancy, things might be different.

Guy and his friend were therefore left alone at Ingleby, and two or
three weeks passed without much outward event, but of much inward
importance.

Guy, whether wisely or unwisely, plunged into the study of such
experiences as his own, and their possible explanations.  He had no
difficulty in these days in finding material, and he brought to bear on
the subject an amount of acute intelligence and reasoning power for
which Staunton had hardly given him credit.  He puzzled him a good deal
by his ridicule of some recorded stories, and his keen interest in
others.  He mastered the point of the various theories, stating and
criticising them with much force, and the discussions were certainly so
far good for him that he lost some of his sense of unique and shameful
experience.  But Cuthbert saw that he tested everything by an
incommunicable and inexplicable sense, and he never uttered any definite
conviction as regarded himself.  He had no "nervous attacks" as Cuthbert
called them; but whether the terrible night at Waynflete had done him
permanent harm, or whether the strain was more continuous than appeared,
he was certainly far from strong, and suffered from any extra exertion,
so that the need of care was evident enough.

"I believe I was a fool to set you upon all this reading," said
Cuthbert, one day.  "You'll wear yourself out with it when I have to
leave you."

"It would be very difficult to be alone," said Guy, thoughtfully.

"It's out of the question.  You're not fit for the mill or for the hard
winter here.  You ought to have a sea-voyage, or something of that sort.
Or, at any rate, come and stay on the south coast somewhere where I
could make my headquarters while I'm lecturing, and see you now and
then."

"There are a great many things I can't quite tell you," said Guy, after
a pause, "and they don't only concern myself.  It's all right about the
reading, but I've got something to do to-day.  It's quite simple, only
rather hard.  And I know `he' doesn't want me to do it."

Guy had said nothing so personal since his first confession, and, as he
got up languidly, and prepared to return to the mill for his afternoon
work, giving his friend an odd, half-smiling look, as he moved away,
Cuthbert felt an uncomfortable thrill.

It startled him to feel that Guy's conviction lay absolutely untouched
by all his recent study.  There was something inscrutable behind the
pathetic eyes, and what was it?  Was the boy "mad north-north west?" or
would he at last compel belief in the incredible?  Horatio, Cuthbert
thought, had a great advantage in having actually seen the ghost that
haunted Hamlet.

Then he remembered making some remark to Guy on the "objective"
character of this famous apparition, and Guy had answered, "But they
only saw it, as you see a house or a tree.  I don't suppose it made much
difference to them."

Guy betook himself to the mill, and called John Cooper into the room
where the bottle of brandy was still locked up in the cupboard in the
wall.  He had often been as conscious of its presence there, as he could
have been of that of the ghost; every morning he thought about it more
and more persistently, and every evening when he went away he knew that
the day's victory had left him with less strength for the morrow's
conflict.

Now, when he went up to the cupboard, and turned the key in the lock,
and, with his keen ears heard the old manager's step crossing the
court--it was to him as if another hand pushed the lock back--and
another than himself suggested a different reason for the summons.  But
he stood still, leaning against the wall, till the old man came into the
room.

Then he put up his hand, and let the door swing open.

"John Cooper," he said, "take that out, and take it away with you.  I'll
own you had right on your side.  But you shouldn't have cackled about it
to Mrs Waynflete."

"Well now," said Cooper, in a rougher echo of the young man's slow,
musical voice, "I've thought of that myself.  I'm glad you've come to a
better mind about it, Mr Guy, for I'd not be willing to see the old
missus disappointed in your future."

"She don't expect much," said Guy.  "Now then," after Cooper had taken
the brandy-bottle out of the cupboard, and set it beside a file of
bills.  "Now that you see I'm not going to send the business and myself
to the dogs, shut the door, I've something to say."

John Cooper obeyed, and Guy sat down by the table.

"Now then," he repeated, "we are going to the dogs, and you know it.
Let's look it in the face."

"Eh, Mr Guy, trade's fluctuating.  We'll pull round without letting th'
owd lady know there's aught wrong."

"Look here," said Guy, opening a paper, "d'ye think I've no brains in my
head?  Look at the number of orders for this year, and last year, and
ten years back.  Look at the receipts.  What's the use of spending money
on setting all those out-of-date old looms in order?  Where's the sense
of manufacturing the sort of goods people don't want, instead of what
they do?  Is that the way these mills were run sixty years ago, when old
Mr Thomas managed the business?"

"He got the new looms, sir."

"Exactly so; and wouldn't he have seen long ago that they were worn out.
Look here, John, we'll have to pull up, and put our shoulders to the
wheel, or we'll have Palmer Brothers down among the failures before many
months are over."

"Eh, Mr Guy, for the Lord's sake don't say so.  Don't mention such a
thing.  'Tis those new mills over Rilston way--and the price of coals--
and trade being bad ever since the Government--Eh, my lad, just think of
your old auntie, seeing all her life work undone, and having to sell the
property she's so proud over."

Here Guy started slightly, as the old man's voice choked.

"But we're not going to fail," he said.  "We're going to fight it out
and pull through; that is, if you back me up."

John Cooper stared at him incredulously.  Besides his natural surprise
that this "laddie" was old enough to have a say in the matter, and
besides his not unjustifiable suspicions of him, Guy's delicate outlines
and look of ill-health--in fact, his whole air--was so unlike that of
the powerful old woman who had so long held the reins, that the
identical form of the lines into which his lips set, was unperceived,
and the sudden, keen glance that came through the silky black lashes,
from the usually absent eyes, was startling.

"You know well enough, sir," said Cooper shakily, "that there's nought I
wouldn't do for the old lady and the business.  She's been a grand
character all her days, and if there's a curse on the Waynfletes, she
set her teeth against it when she was but a slip of a lass, with rosy
cheeks and eyes that could look the sun down."

"Ay?" said Guy.  "What d'ye mean by a curse on the Waynfletes?"

"Well, sir, of course it's only a manner of speech; but there were
plenty to say that Margaret Waynflete'd bring Palmers her own ill luck.
Now, I say, Margaret never brought ill luck to any man; and Mr Thomas
had the best of good fortune when he took her with her shawl over her
head and without a penny.  Bad luck'll never overtake her now in her old
age."

"It will, unless we set our teeth against it pretty hard.  I'm going to
tight.  Now, look here, it all depends on what money or credit can be
produced now.  In a few months it will be too late.  I'm going to make
my aunt attend to what I have to say; and, if I can, get her to trust
me.  For she'll have to trust me with all she has, and make me the
master, or down we shall go.  And what you've got to do, is to tell her
honestly, from the bottom of your soul, that _you_ trust me, and know
I've got her own grit in me.  So now, I give you my solemn word of
honour that I'll never touch a drop of strong drink till `Palmer
Brothers' is itself again, and Waynflete safe; and, if I fail, may I
become part of the curse myself.  So here goes!"

He took up the brandy-bottle, and threw it out of the window, down into
the shallow, dark-dyed stream below.  They heard it crack against the
stony bottom.

"Now then," said Guy, "will you back me up?"

"Lord, Mr Guy!  That was unnecessary behaviour," said the bewildered
Cooper; "and very strong language to use.  But I'll go along with you.
You've brought me to look the Lord's will in the face--which isn't easy
at seventy-eight--for there's not a matter of four years between me and
the missus.  But I'll serve you faithful, Mr Guy; and if the Almighty
means us to fail--"

"But He don't," said Guy.  "It's quite another sort of person that means
it.  Now sit down, and we'll talk business."

As Guy marshalled his figures and his facts, asked penetrating
questions, and prepared the statement to which Mrs Waynflete must at
all costs be made to hearken, Cooper, who had a hard enough head of his
own, silently gave in and yielded his whole allegiance.  Only when the
interview was over, he said, pleadingly--

"You'll be gentle, Mr Guy?  For it don't come easy to old folks to turn
their minds upside down.  It is easy for a young lad like you to act."

"Think so?" said Guy, with a queer, sad look.  "Well, I'll do what I
can."

He was much more tired than was good for him, as he came in to the
study, in the rapidly increasing darkness of the autumn afternoon.
Cuthbert was not there, and all his sense of courage and energy failed
him; for, the more resolutely a nervous strain is encountered, the less
power of resistance is left.  He grew drowsy in the dusk, then roused up
suddenly to the agony of panic-fear, to the intolerable sense of his
enemy within him.  He might cover eyes and ears, but it entered by no
such avenues--anything to drown--to bury it.  There was whisky in the
cupboard.  He staggered to his feet, and the next moment Cuthbert's hand
was on his shoulder.

"Steady, my boy, steady.  What is it?  Lie down again.  I am here;
you'll be better in a minute."

Guy clung to the hand of flesh and blood as if he had been drowning.  He
hid his face, not hearing one word that Cuthbert said.  He was not
merely suffering terror, but struggling, fighting to free himself, to
escape, to _separate_ himself from the influence that seemed to be upon
him, resisting and opposing it with all his strength.  "Oh, help--help!"
he gasped.

"Yes--yes, my dear boy.  Lie still.  It will pass off directly."

And very soon, in two or three minutes, as Cuthbert counted time, the
agony seemed to cease, and Guy dropped back, deadly faint, but with
closed eyes and smooth brow.

Cuthbert brought him, as soon as he let go his desperate hold, some of
the remedy provided by the doctor, and tended him with a care and
kindness altogether new to him.

"It's _much_ better with you here," said Guy, presently, as if
half-surprised.

"Of course it is.  You were so tired; no wonder a bad dream upset you."

Guy lifted his heavy eyes for a moment, and looked at him.

"A _very_ bad dream," he said drily.  "It's over now."

"Tell me what it was?"

"He came, that's all.  No, I can't tell you.  You don't understand; but
you help."

Cuthbert did not think him fit for an argument, and sat by him in
silence.  He felt that the sight of Guy's agony had tried his own nerves
somewhat.  It was an odd turn of fate, he thought, that brought a quiet,
everyday person like himself, to whom no great heights or depths, either
of character or of fortune, were likely to come, who held steady,
unexciting opinions, and expected no revelations about anything, to be
guide, philosopher, and friend, to this strange being, for whom the
balance swung with such frightful oscillations.

Guy was very quiet all the evening, submitting with a little surprise to
his friend's precautions, but evidently finding it comfortable to have
done with concealment.

Only, the last thing of all, he looked at Cuthbert with his mocking
smile on his lip--"What a `softy' I should be," he said, "if this was
what you think it!"

PART TWO, CHAPTER FIVE.

THE MOTHER'S BOOK.

Some few days before the stay at Moorhead came to an end, Kitty Staunton
received a letter, which surprised her greatly, as it came from a person
of whose existence she had never previously heard.  It was signed
"Catherine Maxwell," and began, "My dear young cousin," and stated that
the writer had heard from her old friend Mrs Raby that the Miss
Stauntons were staying at Moorhead, and that, as she believed them to be
her cousin George Maxwell's grandchildren, it would give her great
pleasure to make their acquaintance; would they come over and spend the
day with her at her little cottage at Ousel well, bringing with them any
of their young friends who cared for the drive?

Kitty and Violet being curious and interested, and Florella being
inclined for the expedition, the three set off one fine brisk morning;
over the moors on the opposite side to Kirk Hinton, and came to a little
cold, fresh village, high up on the side of a narrow valley.  Here in a
cold, fresh little house, with latched doors painted with thin white
paint, and deeply recessed windows looking into a little garden full of
hardy plants, now turning brown and yellow with the autumn frosts, they
found an apple-cheeked old lady dressed in a shot-silk gown of so old a
style that it was just about to come again into fashion.  She spoke with
so strong a northern accent that the London girls caught what she said
with difficulty; but she made them most heartily welcome, gave them some
very thin and long-legged fowls for dinner, followed up by curds and
red-currant jelly.  Then she showed them sundry curiosities, which they
knew how to admire.  There was a filigree basket, like to the one which
Rosamond of the Purple Vase made for her cousin's birthday, and for
which she was so unmercifully snubbed by the common sense of her
unfeeling parents.  There were engravings in oval frames, bits of Leeds
china, an old spinning-wheel, and finally, a quaintly shaped card-table,
which on being opened, displayed, instead of green cloth, an exquisitely
worked pattern of faded roses in the very finest tent-stitch.

"And that, cousin love," she said, "was in Waynflete Hall when it
belonged to my great-grandfather Maxwell."

"Really!" said Kitty, with much interest.  "Our brother Cuthbert is
staying with Mr Guy Waynflete at Ingleby now.  It was through him that
we came to Moorhead."

Miss Maxwell looked quite awestruck.

"Well, well," she said, "young people's ways are different.  I should
never have made myself known to Mrs Waynflete, nor should I think of
calling at Waynflete, even if I visited at that distance.  Not that I
keep up old grudges, my love, but there's a delicacy in such matters."

"Cuthbert knew Mr Waynflete a long time before they knew about any
former connection.  I don't think it troubles them, they are great
friends."

"Ah!" said Miss Maxwell.  "_Guy_, too, I hope--"

"Cousin Catherine," said Violet, boldly; "I am sure you can tell us
delightful old stories of the two families.  Do!  Tell us about the
ghost and the Guy Waynflete who never got back in time.  Have we got a
ghost as well as the Waynfletes?"

"Oh no, love," said Miss Maxwell, "our family was never of that kind;
and indeed, when there's so much drinking and dissipation as there was
among the Waynfletes, there's no need of ghosts to bring ruin.  And I'm
sure your brother will always remember, that it was all in the way of
business my great-grandfather obtained the place."

"And how did he lose it again?" asked Violet.

"My dear, through business misfortunes," said Miss Maxwell, with
dignity.  "And Ouseley, which is only a few miles up the valley, was
sold in my father's time.  But I've been thinking, there are no Ouseley
Maxwells left but me.  And I have a few old letters which perhaps your
brother ought to have."

"I'm sure Cuthbert would be delighted to come and see them and you,"
said Kitty.

"Oh no, Cousin Catherine," interposed Violet; "do let us see them.  We
can tell Cuth, or give them to him; but old family letters, especially
about Waynflete and the ghosts, would be quite too awfully jolly."

Miss Maxwell looked at the blooming girl with her outspoken voice and
her straight-looking eyes, her sailor hat, and her boyish jacket, as if
she had never thought of any one like her before; she sighed and looked
solemn, but pulled out the drawer of the card-table, and took therefrom,
with great mystery, two or three yellow-looking letters, an old
Prayer-book, and a very dirty pack of cards, and on one of these she
pointed out a dark stain.  "My loves," she whispered; "this was stained
on that fatal night with Squire Waynflete's life blood."

Violet became suddenly serious, and Florella could hardly help crying
out in protest against touching these things which seemed to her full of
a living trouble.

Miss Maxwell opened the Prayer-book which was bound in red morocco, most
delicately tooled and gilt.  On the title-page was written "Margaret
Waynflete" and the dates of the births of her two sons.  "Guy Waynflete,
born June 19th, 1760," and then "My Pretty Baby;" then "Godfrey
Waynflete, 1764," and then in the same pointed, careful hand--

"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him."

Florella could not speak a word, and when the book was handed to her to
look at, she laid her hand on it with a soft, reverent touch.

Then Miss Maxwell with some ceremony opened the two papers, and begged
Kitty to read them aloud.

The first was in the hand of this long dead Margaret Waynflete, and was
evidently the brief commencement of a journal or diary.

_February 10th_, 1785.--My son Guy has gone to London.

_February 12th_.--We have killed another little Pig.

_February 13th_.--Attorney Maxwell is more Obliging than I like to See.

_February 14th_.--My Brother Godfrey did begin by Mistake the Funeral
Service instead of the Marriage, for an honest couple.  This Comes of
Carousing.  Alas!

_March 25th_.--My Chittyprat Hen has a Fine Brood.  There be no letter
from my son Guy, which angers his Father.  My poor Boy.  He is better
even in Town than Here.  Does God indeed permit the Spirit of His wicked
Ancestor to Trouble Him?  Alas! there is Wickedness Enough Alive.

_April 15th_.--The Pain at my Heart is great, I have nigh Swooned with
it.  N.B.--To distil lavender and drop Into it Cloves, for a Cordial.
Death would be No evil, but for my two Sons, but this House would be no
Home.

Here the brief record suddenly stopped, only lower down on the page were
faintly and unsteadily written the words, "My dear son."

"There _was_ the ghost then, you see," said Violet, in awestruck tones.
"Oh, go on, Kitty.  It _is_ interesting."

"There's no more," said Kitty.  "The other paper is quite different."

This was dated October 10th, 1785, and began--

"I, George Maxwell, Attorney-at-law, feel it incumbent upon me for the
Establishment of my Character as an Honest Man, to state in writing what
passed after the Shocking and Lamentable Suicide of Guy Waynflete,
Esquire, of Waynflete Hall, which Property is legally mine by the Terms
of the Bond between Us.  Since there be not wanting envious Persons to
say that!  Took advantage of young Mr Waynflete's Illness, which
Prevented his Return at the Given Date.  When he Arrived in the Early
Morning, he was Undoubtedly in liquor, which was his Custom, therefore
His Statement that the Spirit of his Ancestor, Guy Waynflete, Who
Betrayed his Friend, and the Father of his Future wife, and so Disgraced
his Family at the Time of the Lamentable Rebellion of the Duke of
Monmouth, stood in his Path, and Prevented Him from Crossing the River
Flete, hath no Credit with Reasonable Men.  There be Some that say
Highwaymen are Plentiful, but Lies, in the mouth of this Young
Gentleman, are more Plentiful still.  At the sight of His Father's
Corpse he fell into a swoon and Awoke Raving, in which Condition he Died
This Morning.  The Lad Godfrey is but a Loutish Youth, but I am Willing
to Assist Parson Godfrey to put Him to some Honest Calling.  I do not
Hold with Country superstitions, and I shall Instruct my Wife and
Daughters that the Gallopping of the Horse Round the House be nothing
but the Wind in the Plantations."

"Well!" said Violet, with calm emphasis, "whatever the Waynfletes were,
our ancestor was a beast, and I hope the Stauntons were more
respectable."

Florella sat quite still.  She knew the sound that was called the
gallopping of a horse, and had once or twice been taken in by it, as a
child at Waynflete, and she felt as sure as if she had herself
experienced it, that whatever the evil was, inward or outward, which had
defeated this unhappy Guy Waynflete a hundred years ago, it was alive
and at work still.  And she knew, too, that she had ranged herself on
the other side, and entered into definite conflict with it.

The result of this visit was that a post-card from his sister summoned
Cuthbert Staunton up to Moorhead on the day after Guy's interview with
John Cooper.

He was shown his old cousin's treasures, which she had entrusted to
Kitty for the purpose, as soon as he arrived, and studied them with a
grave face, and with a far deeper interest than his sisters guessed.

"I think," he said, "that these things ought to be given back to the
Waynfletes.  I shall go and see this old lady, and see what her view
is."

"Oh yes," exclaimed Florella, suddenly, "Mr Staunton, I am sure they
ought to have them."

"In any case," said Cuthbert, "I will take them and let Waynflete see
them.  And I say, I think you had better drop joking about the ghost.
It was a great tragedy, and they might not like it."

"Well, but it's all nonsense, and dead and done for," said Violet.

"It happened," said Cuthbert.

He looked so serious, that Constancy's keen eyes noticed him with
inquiry, and Florella, oh, how much she wondered what he knew.

They all walked out together to see the departing purple of the autumn
moor, now fading into russet, and as they went down the road, a boy
trotted up on a pony, and put a telegram into Cuthbert's hand.

"_From Guy Waynflete, Ingleby Station.  My aunt has sent for me.  I must
go, excuse me.  Make yourself comfortable.  Will telegraph when to
expect me back, but not to-day_."

Cuthbert uttered a dismayed exclamation which frightened the girls, and
obliged him to read the telegram aloud.

"Why, how very polite, and how very extravagant to telegraph up here!
You would have heard when you got back.  He must have paid five
shillings for it!" said Kitty.

"He is rather punctilious," answered Cuthbert.  "But I hope nothing is
wrong.  He is not well, and I am sorry he has had to go off in this way.
He meant to go to-morrow."

The words expressed Cuthbert's anxiety very inadequately; he fell
silent, and Violet said--

"Well, he'll have a more comfortable journey than the old Guy, and there
won't be quite so much depending on his getting there by a particular
moment."

"I told you to let all that subject drop, Vi," said Cuthbert, sharply.

When the visitor was gone, Florella walked aside, and, in the late
afternoon, she went away by herself over the withering heather to the
rock where she had shown Guy the harebells.

There was no blue now, either in flowers or sky; the wind was driving a
heavy, smoky mist before it, and the air was, as Dante calls it,
"brown."

Could it be possible that Guy had meant _her_ to know what he was doing?

She knew, she saw, that the old story was not "dead and done for!"
There came upon her an awful, formless dread that Guy would never reach
Waynflete "safe."  She stood quite still, with her eyes wide open, and
one hand holding by the jagged rock beside her.  Her soul was alive
within her, and wrestled with the angel--whether of light or of
darkness, she did not know.  She held Guy's soul with hers as with her
hand she might have held his, giving him all her strength, and her
spirit stretched and strained as the muscles might have done in a
struggle for dear life.  There were at first no words within her.  It
was a shapeless foe; but gradually as she pitted all the force of her
soul against it, there came into her the sense, not only of fear and
peril, but of evil--images, thoughts, words, flashed into her innocent
soul.  Hitherto she had had no consciousness of prayer, only of
struggle, but now she cried out to the Presence that was with him and
her to reinforce her strength.  And happily, blessedly, that Presence
within her was not without form and void, she dropped on her knees,
sobbing out over and over again the prayers of her earliest childhood.
For the form that was within her was that of the Son of God.

When Florella came back to the outer world, and felt the wet mist on her
face, and the wind blowing through her hair, and pulled at the damp
heather with her hand, there was scarcely any daylight left.  She could
hardly recall at first what had passed within her, nothing remained
clear, but a picture in her mind of the Flete beck, and of the woody
hollow through which it ran, such a picture as she "saw" when she was
going to make a sketch.  She felt silly and confused, as if she did not
quite know where she was, and as if she had worked herself up into an
agony that had no cause or meaning.

Then she thought of Guy Waynflete, and she knew that the unconscious
child-heart, with which she had entered that valley, had gone for ever,
and that, whatever else she had given him in that mysterious hour, her
love had gone out to him beyond recall.  Interest, helpfulness,
sympathy?  These he had in a manner asked for, and in giving them, she
had given how much more?  She had flung herself out of herself to help
him, and behold, she had come back to herself, with yearnings and
longings and hopes and fears, that seemed full of selfish passion.  The
poor angel had fallen out of the sky!

The wet wind stung her hot cheeks with its cold blast.  Suddenly she
moved, and climbing up the rock, peered anxiously into the bunch of
withered harebells, which had once stood up so brave and blue in the
heavenly blue around them.  There was--yes, there was one little living
bud at the tip of a withering stem.

Florella did not pick it or take it to herself.  She was going away
to-morrow; she would never know if it came into flower.  Perhaps she
would never know how Guy had reached Waynflete.

She kissed the little bud, and then pulled her cloak straight and went
home to supper, shutting up the new burden tight in her breast.

Constancy, meanwhile, was sitting comfortably by the fire, when there
was a crack of wheels on the wet gravel, a deep voice outside, an
opening door, and Godfrey Waynflete's tall figure and flaxen head in the
doorway.

"Why, this is a surprise!" exclaimed Cosy.  "Then there is nothing amiss
at Waynflete, though your brother was sent for."

"Then Guy has been here?  I knew it--"

"Not at all.  But Mr Staunton has, and your brother telegraphed to him
to say that Mrs Waynflete wanted him, and he had to go over."

"Guy had to go to Waynflete?  My aunt sent for him?"

"So it appeared.  Did you come here to look for him--so late?"

Godfrey stood still, confused and unable to put two and two together so
as to see what had taken place.  He had posted some letters for his aunt
yesterday, in his careless preoccupation, half an hour too late, and
to-day he had had a telegram from Guy.

"Constancy!" he cried, "I see, think, feel, no one but you.  I was
determined that Guy should not spoil my one chance of a last word with
you."

"But what made you suppose your brother was here?" interrupted
Constancy.

"He sent a telegram about a trap--at Kirk Hinton.  I tore it up.  I
wasn't going to let him interfere with my last word with you.  He might
get a trap for himself."

"And you didn't send it?  Then you had better go after him as quick as
you can; Mrs Waynflete wanted him, and I wouldn't have her disappointed
for the world.  Is she ill, dear old lady?  Why did you come away?  And
oh, if I was your brother, wouldn't I give it you when you got home
again!"

Cosy stood up by the mantelpiece.  Her eyes glittered mischievously.
She enjoyed seeing Godfrey out of countenance.

But Godfrey, after the first moment of surprise, felt nothing but that
he was with her and alone.  He came close up to her, and stood towering
over her.

"Constancy, I'd do a good deal more than that to buy this five minutes.
Won't you give me a little hope?  You'll never have another fellow give
himself, heart and soul and body, to you as I do.  I love you."

"And I love fifty other things and other people.  I haven't got a bit of
feeling for you!" cried Cosy, desperately.  "Why, I'm making a story out
of you as you stand there before me.  Is that caring anything about
you?"

"I don't know, and I don't care.  I only know that I want you.  Give me
a chance.  Without you I shall never come to good."

"I don't think you will," said Constancy, suddenly and keenly.  "I have
said no, and there's an end of it.  You seem to have played a very mean
sort of trick on your brother, and you can't expect to get any good out
of it.  You certainly won't from me."

"Constancy--"

"If you were a little older and wiser, you would know what an impossible
sort of way you have behaved in.  But I suppose you must be excused,
because you are a boy, and know no better."

He turned white with anger.

"I don't know if I love you, or hate you," he said.  "But you shall
never say that to me again."

He was gone in a moment, leaving Constancy stirred, upset, and
frightened, so strong was the contest between his boyish and foolish
behaviour, and the impression of strength and passion made upon her by
himself.  She was quite sure that she hated him.

Godfrey sprang into his dog-cart, and drove down the rough, stony
hillside, at a break-neck pace.  He was mad with anger at Constancy and
at himself, while stings of conscience and vague alarm pierced the
tumult of wrath, and added to its heat.  He thought neither of ghost nor
ancestor, as he drove madly along the stony lanes that led through the
valley of the Flete; but he pressed on, as though driven by furies, fear
of what he might find gradually forcing itself upon him, till, as he
reached the bridge, and looked towards the house, he saw that the
windows of the octagon room were full of light.  In sudden alarm, he
dashed on up the old avenue to the stable door.

PART TWO, CHAPTER SIX.

  "As I went down to the water-side,
  None but my foe to be my guide,
  None but my foe to be my guide."

Mrs Waynflete said nothing about the effects of her fall on the bridge,
but she did not quite recover from the shock of it; and, accidental as
it had been, she knew quite well that it would not have happened if her
tread had been as steady and her sight as clear as had been the case six
months before.  She had one or two other little slips and escapes, and
she said to herself that they were "warnings."

People often know their own condition much better than is supposed, or,
than others do, and Mrs Waynflete knew as well as any doctor could have
told her that her hour was coming.  She was very glad that no one else
appeared to suspect the fact.  She did not like sympathy, and even yet
she did not feel herself to require support.  But she thought much
within herself.  Those two wills lay heavy on her mind, and so did Guy's
criticisms on the management of the mills.  She hated to acknowledge as
much; but she was really too clever and too experienced a woman not to
know that there was more than a possibility of his being right.  She had
known too much of the books and accounts in past days not to know that
of late she had not known them so well.  Moreover, her first distaste to
Waynflete continued.  She did not get accustomed to the bed that she had
to sleep in, nor to the chair she had to sit on.  She scorned the young
vicar, Mr Clifton.  She even felt that she would have liked to have a
talk with old Mr Whitman of Ingleby, and perhaps let him read her a
chapter, though she never had consulted him in her life on any matter,
spiritual or temporal.  And on one point, in these autumn days, spent in
this unfamiliar ancestral home, she changed her mind.  She had always
meant to be buried at Waynflete, though she had never chosen to live
there; but, now, she resolved that she would lie by her husband's side,
in Ingleby churchyard.  All her life had been spent at Ingleby; she had
been born there, in the poor farmhouse which she had so despised.  "The
lads," the male heirs, her brother's descendants, might make their
graves among the old Waynfletes if they liked.  As she had dimly felt at
first, the object of a life's labour is not so dear as the labour
itself; and whenever the charms of Waynflete were discussed, Margaret
felt that she was an Ingleby woman.  She was as constant to the facts of
her life as she had been to the idea that had dominated it.

Under the influence of these feelings, she one day sat down, and wrote
to Guy a note in which she told more of the truth than she had admitted
to those living in the house with her.

  "Waynflete Hall.

  "My dear Guy,--

  "I took your remarks as to the management of the business very much
  amiss, as it has always been my way to follow my own judgment, not
  finding that of other people any improvement on it.  But I perceive
  that it is your right to have your say, and I wish to hear it.  I am
  an old woman, and I shall not have my hand on things much longer.  I
  feel my time is coming, and I would not wish to leave injustice behind
  me.  So I desire that you come over here at once without delay, and
  put before me what you have got to say, and satisfy my mind on the
  points that lie between us.  Besides, my dear, I wish to have you both
  here with me.

  "Your loving aunt,--

  "Margaret Waynflete."

When Guy received this letter by the second post, on the day that
Staunton went to Moorhead, the last sentence more than all the rest made
him feel that he must start at once for Waynflete; manifestly the note
had been delayed, or he would have got it in the morning.  As it was, he
could not reach Kirk Hinton till four o'clock.

He was touched and a good deal alarmed, not so much at the summons as at
the inclination to listen to him, and hurriedly putting his papers
together, set off, and at Ingleby station sent a telegram to Godfrey,
since his old aunt disliked receiving them, saying briefly--

"_Send trap without fail to meet the four train at Kirk Hinton_."

And then, moved partly by a desire to explain himself to Cuthbert, and
partly by a sudden strange impulse to tell Florella what he was doing,
he despatched the other to Moorhead.  Spite of this impulse, he thought
little of his dread of Waynflete, as he pursued his journey by train,
and waited at the junction for that which was to take him to Kirk
Hinton.  He was very full of what he had to say to his aunt, and much
moved at the tone of her summons.

As the train stopped at Kirk Hinton, the station-master hurried up.

"Mr Waynflete!  Have you had a telegram from Waynflete Hall?"

"No; what's the matter?"

"We despatched one, sir, an hour ago, to say that Mrs Waynflete had had
an accident this morning.  Here's a copy, sir."

"A telegram?  What was it?"

  "Aunt Waynflete has had a bad fall.  Come.  From Mrs Palmer to Guy
  Waynflete."

Guy stood still for a moment, and caught his breath.

"They expect me," he said.  "Is the trap here?"

"No, sir; nothing's here.  We sent on your telegram this morning.  The
lad that brought this one said he gave it to Mr Godfrey."

"I must go on," said Guy.  "Send my things as soon as you can.  I
suppose the field way is the quickest?"

"Yes, sir, by a matter of two miles.  The evening's very soft--we'll be
having a wet night.  Good evening, sir.  Keep on by the stiles.  And I
hope ye'll not get there too late."

The words struck on Guy's ears, as he hurried down the hill in the
dismal light of the October afternoon.  When Godfrey, also troubled in
spirit, had been forced to take this rough and dreary walk, its
discomforts had added to his sense of anger and injury, but Guy hardly
heeded them, though he knew that the six miles up and down the sharp
edges of Flete Dale was almost more than he could manage without
breaking down, especially as the sudden summons and alarming news had
been a bad preparation for extra exertion.

"Too late!"  If he did not reach his old aunt in time to satisfy her, if
not about his view of the business, at least about himself, it would be
a bitter hour for him indeed.  If it was possible--if he could be
satisfactory?  Thoughts, hitherto latent, rose up so strong and full
within him that he felt as if he had received a sudden increase of
reasoning power, in spite of the fatigue against which he could hardly
struggle.

There was his bad health to begin with.  How could he ever satisfy any
one, any more than that Guy Waynflete whose face, whose constitution,
and doubtless whose soul he inherited?  That Guy who _drank_?  Who ever
overcame that impulse, which seemed no more moral or immoral than the
palpitation of his heart?

Probably, after all, the cynical common-sense view of that Guy's
miserable failure was the true one.  The Dragon, the little public-house
which must be passed close by the river might account for it better than
highwayman or ghost.  Perhaps he, too, had been tired and ill, and had
stopped there to get strength to go on--and had not gone on in time.
And the Dragon was there still in the same place.  The turn to it must
still be passed on the way to the bridge.

And as for the ghost?  Was that, too, an hereditary affection of the
nerves, a monomania; in fact, just that dislocation of the brain which
made both him and his ancestor irresponsible for their actions, a sign
that showed that they were not free agents, that the dreadful and
degrading fate that had overtaken his namesake was equally inevitable
for himself?  Yes.  The Being that haunted him and controlled him was
nothing but Himself, and his "objectivity" only the chimera of an
abnormal brain.  He looked, and behold there was nothing, no voice, nor
any to answer.

This awful conviction was more terrible to Guy than any haunting
ancestral spirit, than any tempting fiend.  It was possible to fight
with "principalities and powers, rulers of darkness;" but to wait
helpless for the inevitable outcome of his _Self_, to see drunkenness,
degradation and madness unroll before him--to know, not that he would
lose his soul, but that he had no soul to lose; no foe to fight with--no
friend to help.

For, if this dreadful sense of an evil presence within him which grew
and darkened as he came down the rough field to the river's side, was
only a bogie of his imagination, then no heavenly presence could be real
either, if the only spiritual experience that he had ever, as he called
it, "felt," was a delusion, he could not believe that any other could be
real.

But, in the horror of these thoughts, he passed the turn that would have
led him to the respite and relief of the Dragon public, and never knew
the moment when he did so.  He came to the riverside.  The water was
deep enough here for drowning, for making an end both of the past and of
the future, a fit end for the fool who lived in dread of his own fancy,
and feared--_himself_.  Well, he was not frightened now, only desperate,
which was a worse thing.

What was this, that mingled with, that almost lightened his formless
horror?  It was the old familiar panic that he knew so well; the
physical terror that was wont to seize upon him unawares.  It did not
surprise him that there, on the centre of the crazy bridge, stood,
visible to his eye, the "counterfeit presentment" of the terror that he
felt within, the ghostly image of his ancestor and of himself.  He sank
down on his knees, he could not stand, or he must have turned and fled.
The form was shadowy, but the awful, hopeless, evil eyes were clear as
if they looked close into his own, much clearer, as he knew, than mortal
eyes could have been, so far off, in so dim a light.  He and his Double
looked at each other.  Guy was perfectly conscious, wide awake, alive
all through.  He fell forward on the grass, and hid his face, but the
companion Presence was not to be so shut out.  "Feeling," as he had
said, was worse than seeing.  He looked up again.

"Will he come here, if I don't go there?"

And, suddenly, he knew that _he had a choice_.  Through his agony of
nerve and bewilderment of brain this conviction shot like an arrow.

"I shall fall, or he'll drown me.  I can never pass him; but _I can
try_."

He staggered up on to his feet.  His soul was set on edge by the jarring
contact of this thing of evil, to draw near, instead of to fly, was more
than flesh and blood could bear.  He broke into a wild, mad fit of
laughter--laughter that echoed, till he did not know which laughed,
himself or his Double.  They seemed to mock and to defy each other.

"Myself or my devil!" shouted the living Guy.  "If you kill me, or damn
me, you shall not stop me!  Here or there--within or without.  Come with
me if you choose, I'll not be too late!"

He staggered forward, his head swam, his eyes grew dizzy, his Double
swayed before him, he knew not which was plank and which whirling,
rushing water.  Then, in the murky, swinging mist, there was a sense of
something still and blue, and, for an instant, Florella's face.

He sprang at it, and knew no more, till he found himself lying on the
stones, half in and half out of the shallow water.  The bridge was
behind him, and, as he looked fearfully round, the haunting figure still
before.  Yes, before him on the hillside.  It had _come with him_, while
the angel face that had saved him was gone.

He came to himself, as usual, with the sense of deathlike fainting and
sinking, which he knew too well.  It was almost dark, he had no idea of
the time, or whether he had been moments or hours in crossing the
bridge.  He had no longer any thoughts, hardly any fears.  No words of
prayer had come through to him in the awful conflict; but now, as he
tried to move and lift himself up, he instinctively murmured, over and
over, like a lost child, "Oh God, help me to get up the hill."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Volume One.

PART TWO, CHAPTER SEVEN.

WAITING FOR GUY.

Mrs Waynflete never told any one that she had sent for Guy.  She did
not know that he could not get a conveyance at Kirk Hinton, nor that her
letter had been late for the post; and when he did not come by the first
train in the morning, she grew angry and bitterly hurt with him, and
still listened when he was long over-due.  If she had never heard the
galloping horseman before, she heard him then, the monotonous
disappointing sound that began and grew near, and nearer, and never
stopped; but, when it was nearest, went by and began again.

She wandered up into her bedroom, and looked to see if the two wills
were safe.  Jeanie, who did many little offices, hardly enough
appreciated, ran in with some flowers for her table.

"Oh, aunt, I didn't know you were there."

"Look here, Sarah Jane.  You can do as you're bid without asking
questions.  Look in this drawer.  D'ye see this blue envelope, in the
right-hand corner?"

"Yes, aunt."

"Now, here's the key in the pocket of my gown, and if I give you the
word, you go and take it out, and unlock this drawer, and take that blue
envelope, and drop it in the fire.  Do you understand?"

"Yes, aunt; but--"

"Which envelope are you to take?"

"The blue one, aunt--"

"It's well to be on the safe side--and I might be prevented--I might be
prevented!  So, if Guy comes--"

"Guy, aunt?  Do you expect Guy?"

"I wrote to him, desiring him to come.  But there! he's taken no heed of
my words.  And the train's in by this time."

"There's another one, aunt, comes in at four, but--"

Mrs Waynflete turned the key in the drawer, put it in her pocket, and
moved restlessly over to the window, to look out once more.  The wind
swirled round the old house, and cried mournfully in its eaves and
chimneys, and mingling with it, the odd, unceasing noise of the
galloping horse startled her with the fresh possibility that this time
it was really Guy coming.  She went hurriedly along the passage into the
octagon-room, and looked out through the broken iron gates across the
new buildings in the stable-yard, through the scanty avenue of
wind-blown elm trees, to the bridge across the Flete.  There was no one
coming, and all the distance was dim with mist and fog.  The future was
also dim and indistinct.  What would the future be for this old house,
which had so strange a past?  Who would come after her?  Who ought to
come?

"Guy is sure to be too late," she muttered, though she did not know for
what he needed to be in time, and then with a sudden thought she turned
to look at the picture over the chimney, the face, on which in that
many-windowed room the light always seemed to direct itself.  "Eh!" she
thought to herself, "It's a comfortless countenance!"  And having
looked, she turned quickly, thinking she heard an arrival at last, and
either her foot caught in the hearthrug, or a sudden dizziness seized
her, she fell at full length on the slippery floor, her head striking
against the boards, and the noise of the fall echoed through the house,
and brought Jeanie and her mother both, running to see what had chanced.

When Mrs Palmer found that the old lady was apparently stunned,
certainly unconscious, she was afraid to run the risk of having her
carried to the other side of the house, but caused a little iron
bedstead to be brought in from one of the servants' rooms, and, with
some difficulty, the tall, bony figure was lifted upon it.  She had to
send to Rilston for the doctor, where Godfrey was, no one exactly knew,
but she ordered a telegram to be sent to Guy at Ingleby, hardly knowing
if it would give him time to come that day.

Then ensued an afternoon of distress and perplexity.  The doctor
fortunately was encountered on the road, and came within an hour; but
his verdict was bad.  The head had been injured by the fall, and
besides, it seemed to him, that the vital powers, the activity of the
heart, more weakened by age than had been supposed, had failed in the
shock, and revival was most improbable.  He feared it was a question of
hours.

Mrs Palmer did her best.  She was a soft, comfortable woman, not used
to emergencies, and perhaps happily, the weird surroundings did not
impress her slow imagination.  She never thought of the picture that
looked down at his descendant with his hopeless eyes, of the curious
fate that brought this second waiting for those who did not come into
the fatal chamber, and she only thought of the ghastly horseman, when
the puzzling noise made her start up expecting to see one of the young
men arriving.  Most of the servants were strangers, and the one old
housemaid, who was accustomed to wait on her mistress, was in tears and
despair, afraid that "missus," when she came round, would be displeased
with everything that was done for her.

Jeanie, in frightened whispers, confided to her mother what her aunt had
told her about the blue envelope.

"Burn a paper!" said Mrs Palmer.  "Whatever she may say, Jeanie, don't
you think of doing such a thing.  Who knows if she has her faculties?
Don't take such a responsibility on you for worlds.  Godfrey must be
back in an hour or so; I believe he was only going to lunch at the
Rabys.  See if you can send after him."

So the fire was lighted in the octagon-room, and all the incongruous
necessaries of sudden illness appeared among the old furniture, and
contrasted with the unused solitude of the place.

Mrs Waynflete lay on her bed.  She had moved and opened her eyes, but
she did not speak, and whether she was conscious of waiting either for
death, or for the coming of her nephews--who could say?

The women about her waited for a "change," or for some one to come to
them out of the gathering twilight, and the doctor stayed and watched
the case.  The wind drove and cried, and the unresting horseman galloped
round and round the house.  Even the young vicar happened to be out for
the day.  Mrs Waynflete had trenchantly informed him that "she hadn't
often much necessity to call on other folks to help her."  But Mrs
Palmer and Jeanie would have been very glad to welcome him now.  Lights
were brought, and the octagon windows shone out into the surrounding
gloom.

The two women did not think much about Guy; but they grieved much over
the continued absence of Godfrey.

Suddenly Mrs Waynflete looked up, with eyes into which a clearer light
had come--

"I'm dying," she said abruptly, with some strength still in her deep old
voice.  "I'm dying, and they're neither of them here.  The Lord forgive
me all my sins."

"Oh, dear aunt, I'm sure you're a little better; the dear boys are just
coming!"

Mrs Waynflete folded her hands together, and looked straight out before
her.

"It might have occurred to you, Susan Joshua, to put up a prayer."

"I didn't know if you'd like it aloud, Aunt Waynflete.  I'm sure I have
been praying for you--to myself."

"Pray for them; it's more to the purpose."  Then poor Susan Joshua knelt
down by the bed and put on her spectacles, and while Jeanie found a
Prayer-book, and kneeling beside her held the light, read straight
through the absolution and all the prayers for the visitation of the
sick, and, if she did not apply the words to any but the passing soul
before her, there was many a petition that suited well with the needs of
the two, who "whether by the fraud and malice of the devil, or by their
own carnal will and frailty," were so sore bested.

And in the midst, a sound of creaking wheels, a loud tone of inquiry and
speeding footsteps, and Godfrey rushed in, pale and horrified, and fell
on his knees beside her, clasping her hand.

"Oh, Auntie--Auntie Waynflete!" he cried, almost sobbing.  "Oh, Auntie!
why wasn't I here?  Auntie, speak to me!"

Mrs Waynflete's fingers feebly answered to his agitated clasp.  She
looked hard at him, and she smiled a little, then she said faintly but
imperiously--

"Go on with the prayer."

Mrs Palmer read on; and the old woman's breath came fainter and fainter
still, and her hands grew feebler, till as almost the last words came,
"Deliver her from fear of the enemy, and lift up the light of Thy
countenance upon her, and give her peace," Jeanie sprang up from her
knees with a scream, and let the candle she held fall over and go out
upon the floor.

There, within the door, stood Guy, white and wild, with eyes that seemed
the very home of fear.

He came unsteadily forward, and, as Godfrey started up, sank on his
knees by the bedside.

Mrs Waynflete opened her eyes wide, and looked hard at him, struggling
to speak.

"Aunt Margaret," he said, steadily and clearly, "I am _not_ too late; I
can't satisfy your mind about the business, but you may be satisfied
with me.  I have got past, and I have come.  You can die in peace."

It hardly seemed as if it was Guy who spoke, but old Margaret
understood.  She looked at him and smiled, a strange sweet smile, such
as had never been seen on her lips before, and before memory could
remind her of what she had done or left undone, her head fell back, and,
with hardly a straggle, she was gone.

Guy stood up for a moment, looked vaguely round him, then fell forward
across the foot of the bed, as unconscious and as death-like as she.

PART TWO, CHAPTER EIGHT.

"UNADVISEDLY WITH HIS LIPS."

When old John Cooper arrived at Ingleby Mill on the next morning, an
orange-coloured envelope lay on the top of the heap of letters awaiting
him.

He opened it deliberately, and read--

"_From Godfrey Waynflete.  Mrs Waynflete died suddenly last night_."

The old man sat staring at the brief words, as their sense gradually
bore itself in upon him, first their meaning, and then their
grievousness, the blank space in life left by the fall of that vigorous
tree.  He was still sitting, dazed and stunned, when there was a hasty
step, and Cuthbert Staunton, with another telegram in his hand, came in.

"Ah, you have heard?" he said.  "I am going to Waynflete.  Have you any
particulars?  No?  Mine is only the same news, and also that Mr Guy is
ill, and wants me."

"Oh Lord, sir," said old Cooper, with a sob, "it's as if the mill was
dead and gone too!"

Ill news spreads quick.  The old man's son and the younger Howarth,
middle-aged men themselves, were soon in the room, listening with
impassive faces but with heavy hearts to the evil tidings.

"It's very bad news," said Howarth, huskily--"very bad indeed."

"I must catch the early train," said Cuthbert, "and I will take care
that you have further news as soon as possible."

"I must go to Jos Howarth," said old Cooper, getting up.  "I'll hear
what he has to say first."

He went away to find his old fellow-worker, and the younger men looked
at each other.

"It's very difficult," said John Henry Cooper, "to say what will come
next!"

Cuthbert went off; and as this first train did not compel a delay at the
junction, it was still quite early when he reached Kirk Hinton, where a
Rilston fly was waiting for him, and in this he was soon driving up to
the house of which he had heard so often, but which he had never seen.

The rain had all cleared off, the air was fresh and the sky blue, the
old elms near the house stood up like pillars of gold, the house itself
was clothed in every shade of russet and dark green.  The first
impression on one coming from the noisy, smoky Ingleby was of utter
peace.

Mrs Palmer hurried out to meet him, with a sense of relief at sight of
his brown, sensible face, and at sound of his kind, quiet voice, and
behind her stood Godfrey with a dazed, scared look, and never a word of
greeting.

"Oh, Mr Staunton, I am indeed glad to see some one to speak to.  We
have done nothing; Guy has been too ill to give directions, except to
send for you, and Godfrey is not willing to act without him."

She proceeded, as he questioned her, to tell him of the events of the
day before, and of Guy's condition.  He had been a long time unconscious
after his aunt's death, and had fainted over and over again afterwards.
He was better now, but the doctor had insisted on perfect stillness, and
had seemed much alarmed about him.

"I think," said Cuthbert, "that Guy has been too reserved about his
state of health.  He was not at all fit for so much exertion and for
such a shock.  But Godfrey, hadn't you better see if your aunt has left
any directions, anything to show you what she wished?"

"She did, certainly," said Mrs Palmer, "in a table by her bed.  She
told my daughter to burn a certain envelope if she gave her orders to do
so, when Guy arrived."

"_What_ did she tell her?" exclaimed Godfrey, suddenly.

"To burn a blue envelope.  But as you know, dear aunt never spoke a word
after Guy came, and if she had, I should never have allowed Jeanie to do
such a thing."

Cuthbert was perplexed by Godfrey's scared look.

"Can _he_ have seen the ghost?" he thought.  "I think," he said aloud,
"that you had better see if you can find any directions.  May I go to
Guy at once, Mrs Palmer?  I have been with him lately, and I think I
shall know how to manage."

"Oh, Mr Staunton, I am only too thankful to see you here, to share the
responsibility."

When Guy looked up into his friend's welcome face, it seemed to Cuthbert
that there was a new and different expression in the black-ringed eyes.
The hands he held eagerly out, shook, and he was as white as his pillow;
but the colourless lips smiled a little, and in his eye a was a sort of
triumph.

"I've been very bad.  I mustn't talk," he whispered.  "You'll
understand, and not mind--if I get--frightened."

"I shall not mind at all.  I'll take care of you.  You'll be better in a
few hours."

"Perhaps!" said Guy, quietly.

In the mean time, Godfrey, to whom Mrs Palmer had given his aunt's
keys, went into the deserted bedroom, and, shutting the door, sat down
in an old square chair by the writing-table, and tried to collect
himself and to command his senses.

Constancy had shown him that his action in disobeying the telegram had
either been ridiculously childish, or despicably mean; in either case
contemptible.  The shock that met him on his arrival had startled away,
for the moment, all feelings but those of real and natural grief, till
the alarm at Guy's condition had forced him to recollect whose fault the
over-exertion had been, whose doing was whatever anxious waiting had
befallen his old aunt on her death-bed, and whatever grief his brother
would feel at being absent from it.  And now the report of Jeanie's
words filled him with a vague fear, born perhaps of his own bad
conscience, which caused him to dread turning the key in the lock.
There was, too, the first chilling experience of the change made by
death.  The day before, he would never have dreamed of touching those
keys.

He opened the drawer, however, at last.  There were various packets of
bills and letters, and on the top a long white parchment envelope, a
long blue one, and a smaller square one of the cream-laid paper, which
Mrs Waynflete had always used.

Godfrey took this last timidly in his hand.  It was labelled,
"Directions as to my Funeral."  He looked at the parchment envelope on
which was engrossed, "Last Will and Testament of Mrs Margaret
Waynflete, April 5th, 1880."

Then he looked at the blue one, and on this was written in his aunt's
laboured writing--writing which, if not acquired, had been practised
since childhood, "My Will, September 25th, 189-."

The blue envelope which his aunt had perhaps meant to destroy!  Godfrey
caught up all three documents in his hand, all were unsealed, but he
could not resolve to open them by himself, and hurried up to Guy's room.
On the way he met Jeanie, in a black frock, her face swelled with
crying, and some autumn flowers in her hand.

Poor Jeanie!  All that had passed bore for her the message, "We shall
not live with Godfrey any more."

Godfrey caught her arm.  "Jeanie, _what_ did she say about the blue
envelope?"

"She said, `burn it,' if she told me, and she would perhaps tell me when
Guy came.  She was wondering why he did not come all day.  She had never
told us she wrote to him."

Godfrey dropped his hold and went on upstairs.  He found Guy lying
still, with Cuthbert beside him.  There was but little light through the
old-fashioned deep-set windows, and the room was full of the glow of the
fire.

"Must Guy see these papers?" said Cuthbert, moving.  "Can't we manage
without troubling him?"

"I--I _cannot_ look at them without Guy," said Godfrey, in confused,
stammering accents.

"What is it?" said Guy.  "About the funeral?  Read it to me, I can
listen."

Godfrey slowly took the paper out of the square envelope, his hand
shook, and he could not get his voice.  Cuthbert took it from him, and
read--

"It is my desire that I should be buried by my husband's side in Ingleby
churchyard, and that all members of my husband's family, who are within
reach, should be invited to attend.  Also all my work-people.  I wish
Matthew Thompson, of Ingleby, to be the undertaker, and that everything
should be done the same as at my husband's funeral.  I consider that in
being laid in my grave at Waynflete, I should be putting a slight on my
dear husband, which I am not willing to do.  I have sometimes regretted
that I gave up my married name, and I should wish it to be placed on my
tombstone.  Waynflete belongs to the one of my great-nephews I consider
the least likely to follow the evil example of those who went before
him, and I hope he will restore the family to its right position, and
lead a sober and God-fearing life.  Also that he will never consider
himself above the business, to which he owes his education and his
property.  And I hope that those who come after me will conduct the
business honestly, and never take a penny that is not fairly earned.

"And I wish it to be remembered that the recovery of Waynflete is owing
to my having kept to one purpose all my life, and to my dear husband's
generosity and business abilities.

"I desire that my Will may be read at once on my decease, as I object to
people's minds being disturbed at such times by speculations.  I have
acted all my life on such judgment as the Almighty has chosen to give
me, and though I have endeavoured to reflect on my past conduct, I
cannot see that I have judged amiss.

"I forgive all my enemies.  I forgive every one who made a mock of my
family when I worked in the mill.  I forgive my brother's wife, who was
a fine lady, and no good to him.  I forgive Vendale, Vendale and Sons,
who supplied me with worthless goods, and charged a dishonest price for
them.  I consider that I was wrong in objecting to my great-nephew Guy
forgiving the enemies of his family, though I warn him not to gamble or
lay bets with a person who comes of Maxwell blood.  And I pray that my
trespasses may be forgiven, as I forgive other peoples'.

"Margaret Waynflete."

There was a silence as Cuthbert ceased.  He himself felt how strange it
was that he should be the reader of this manifesto.  Godfrey sat on the
foot of the bed, his face turned away and his broad shoulders heaving.
Guy listened intently.  He was the first to speak, in a quiet level
tone.

"Now, let us look at the Will.  Give it to me."

Cuthbert took up the blue envelope, opened it, and put the long
parchment it contained into Guy's hand, helping him to raise himself a
little.  Godfrey hid his face in his hands.

Guy looked down the page with his lips set hard.  He laughed a little as
he read to himself, then flung the parchment towards his brother.

"You can act for yourself, now, Godfrey," he said.  "Aunt Margaret has
followed out her principles.  _You_ are the one least likely to follow
the sins of our fathers, and you are master of Waynflete.  So--
so--_that_ couldn't have been what `_He_' wanted?"

"She meant to burn it--and I will," cried Godfrey, seizing the paper.
"So help me, God, I'll never--"

"Hold hard!" cried Guy, starting up and seizing his arm, "don't be such
an infernal fool!  Stop him, Cuthbert!"

But Cuthbert had already laid detaining hands on the parchment.

"Stop--stop.  That's no earthly good.  I've seen it.  I'll not allow it
to be done.  Hang it all, Godfrey, come to your senses, and control
yourself!"

"Guy," cried Godfrey, rushing back and throwing himself on his knees
beside him.  "You know--you know I did not want it.  Say you know it, or
I shall go mad.  I wanted to keep you from Moorhead--I never thought--I
did not know--If I had--and now it is too late--"

"What's all this?" said a new voice, as the doctor came into the room.
"Funeral?  You'll have two funerals to arrange for, Mr Godfrey if you
can't settle this one without your brother.  Go at once, and take all
your confounded business papers with you."

But Cuthbert, not thinking Godfrey's hands safe ones, put both the wills
into his own pocket, and giving the stupefied, half-maddened youth the
paper of directions, told him to give it to Mrs Palmer, and pushed him
out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

Godfrey stumbled past Mrs Palmer as he met her on the stairs, and threw
the paper towards her.  "Telegraph--settle it," he said, and pushing
blindly on to the old unused library, shut himself into it.

A young man, with a strong _physique_, sufficient talent, and a good
wholesome record, is unaccustomed to emotional agonies, Godfrey woke
from the simple take-it-for-granted life of healthy, prosperous youth,
to the dreadful consciousness of having committed a disgraceful action,
from which he reaped advantage at his brother's expense.

The cruel wound of a slighted and rejected passion had sapped his powers
of endurance.  He went a little mad for the time under the awful
pressure.  At whatever cost, it must be lightened.

He stood in the window leaning his head against the black oak panel
behind him, and staring out with haggard eyes at the fair fields and
gardens, which were, it seemed, his own; the hateful inheritance which
he had gained for himself.

He could not bear the days as they passed, he could not look into a
human face, much less into that of his brother, unless he could find
some means of lightening his passionate self-disgust.  He took his way
slowly through the darkened house up to the chamber of death.

Margaret Waynflete was still lying in the octagon-room where her end had
come upon her.  The place had all been made scrupulously tidy, and the
little bedstead was standing in the middle of the polished floor.  There
was no attempt at softening the chill, bare fact of death, by flowers or
lights.  "Aunt Waynflete wouldn't have liked it," Mrs Palmer said, in
answer to Jeanie's faint suggestion; nor was there any emblem of hope
and faith.

The white, cold daylight came in through the half-closed shutters, and
fell upon the grand and awful outlines of the tall old woman whose
vigour in life emphasised the contrasting stillness of death.  The long,
strong hands that had worked so hard, the strong will that had known no
paralysing doubts, were idle and inoperative now.

Godfrey had never seen death before, and he saw it with a grim and
unsoftened aspect; but he was so set on his own purpose that his natural
grief and awe were in abeyance.

He stood by the prostrate figure looking down at it, while the picture
over his head looked at them both.

Then he knelt down, and laid his hand on that of the dead woman,
starting a little at the unaccustomed chillness of the touch, and before
her face, and in the sight of God, he vowed that he would never profit
by the results of his wicked action, never enjoy the fortune from which
he had ousted Guy, never be master of Waynflete.

"As _she_ had one purpose, so will I.  I'll free myself from this
property that ought not to be mine, and till I have, I'll seek no good
for myself, and I'll have no other object.  Even Constancy shall not
come before it.  So help me, God!"

Then Godfrey got up from his knees, and felt the sting of shame and
self-reproach a little blunted, so that his natural reticence and pride
began to revive, and he felt that he would behave properly and not make
the family affairs a spectacle for surprised and disapproving Palmers.

He did not again go near Guy, who was, indeed, quite unfit to talk to
him, and who puzzled Cuthbert more than ever, as, even while the
perilous faintness was hardly kept at bay, he whispered, with a sort of
triumph--

"Remember; if I _die_, I'm not beaten."

"I shall remember," said Cuthbert, quietly.  He could not himself resist
the discomfort of the creaks and the whispers, the cracks and the
murmuring which were always the talk of visitors to Waynflete; he
noticed the low, incessant sound of the horseman coming nearer and never
coming close.  He turned his head to the window as the dusk was closing
in, and Guy said, coolly--

"That's the horseman, I suppose, I never heard it before.  Miss Vyner
says it is certainly the effect of wind in the narrow valley."

"I suppose all old houses have odd noises," was Cuthbert's original
remark.

"Yes; there's nothing in these.  I say, where are those two wills?"

"I have them safe till the solicitor comes."

"Read the last one over.  I must know about the mill.  Excite me?  No.
I'm getting better."

Cuthbert judged it best to comply, and Guy lay quite still and listened.

"Ha!" he said finally; "there's a chance then for us."

He smiled his secretive, self-reliant smile, and said nothing further;
but in a few minutes more he beckoned Cuthbert close, and grasped his
arm, as if in agony beyond control.  But he mastered himself at last.

"I _will_ not go crazy!" he muttered, and, at length, clinging to the
hand that seemed to hold him back from the abyss, he fell asleep.

The young vicar of the parish came to offer help, and the family
solicitor, Mr Manton, arrived on the next morning, much hurt that his
old client should have made a second will without applying to him.  He
interviewed his Rilston brother, and even hinted a question as to the
old lady's faculties; but every one in the house answered for her full
possession of these to the last.  He managed the arrangements for the
funeral, which was to take place on the Tuesday, at Ingleby, a short
service being held first in the old church at Waynflete.  This was the
vicar's proposal, and by Guy's desire, it was accepted.

"I shall be able to go on Tuesday," he said; "and, Cuthbert, I want you
to send for a beautiful white wreath for me.  Yes; I know Aunt Margaret
disapproved of flowers, but I want this one."

In spite of this disapproval, when a wreath of deep-coloured autumn
flowers came from Constancy, "more like her than white flowers, and in
memory of an intercourse, unlike every other to me;" there was no
question as to its use.

Rawdie, miserable in the changed house, took refuge in Guy's room.

"We can sympathise," said Guy, with an odd look; and he liked to have
his hand on the long, hairy slug, as Rawdie lay stretched out beside
him.

Rawdie's master kept away until the Monday evening, when Guy sent for
him, and he went reluctantly, and with secret dread.

Guy was dressed, and sitting up by the fire.

"Come in, Godfrey," he said; "I'm much more fit to-day, and I want to
talk to you before to-morrow."

Godfrey sat down and looked at him.  He had so much to say that he was
quite silent.

"There'll be a good deal to surprise you, presently," said Guy; "but as
to the will, it represents Aunt Margaret's wishes exactly.  She had very
good reason to distrust me, and the end has been shaped, no doubt, quite
rightly."

"She would have burnt it, but for me," said Godfrey.

"What do you mean?"

"She meant to burn it if you came in time.  She told Jeanie so; and--I
tore up your telegram, and did not send the trap on purpose."

"What did you do that for?"

"It was my last chance of a word with--with Constancy Vyner; and I
thought you wanted to go to Moorhead--to get the chance."

"Well," said Guy, slowly, "I shouldn't have thought it of you."

"I met the telegraph-boy on the bridge.  I shouldn't have thought it of
myself.  I believe some fiend lay in wait to tempt me."

"Very likely he did!  Well, I've never had any thought of Miss Vyner.
Of course, I have always known that you were gone on her--you wasted
your trouble."

Even at that moment, Godfrey felt a sense of relief at the convincing
dryness of Guy's tone.  But it stung him.

"I was mad," he said; "but don't imagine I shall profit by the
consequences.  I shall treat the will as so much waste paper.  As if it
had been burnt, as it ought to have been."

"There are two words to that," said Guy.

"I've spoken mine," said Godfrey, standing up and speaking hotly.  "I
swore before--by her side, as solemnly as I knew how, that I wouldn't
inherit under that will, and I will not."

"_What_ did you do?"

Then Godfrey told him what he had done, ending passionately, with--

"I could never have faced you otherwise."

"You have only got yourself and everybody into a hopeless hole.  Making
vows like a romantic girl, which depend on your own state of mind for
their meaning," said Guy, angrily.  "The fiend was handy then, I should
say;" and he laughed in an odd, fierce fashion.

"I know what I meant," said Godfrey; "but, of course, I've given you the
right to say what you please to me."

"No," said Guy, after a moment's silence.  "Don't be angry.  I'm
disappointed, and there's more in it than I can tell you now.  But--
shake hands.  There's only us two in the world.  Of course I knew you
wouldn't wrong me of a halfpenny.  And I'll take good care no one thinks
you have."

Godfrey shook the offered hand, in a formal, schoolboy fashion.  He had
nothing more to say.  His feelings were too strong to be articulate, and
he was, moreover, desperately afraid of making Guy faint.

So that he was not sorry when Cuthbert came back and turned him out.  He
had made his confession, but nothing in those dreary days seemed real to
him, not even himself.

PART TWO, CHAPTER NINE.

THE WHITE WREATH.

There could not be much sorrow at Waynflete for so new a comer, but
there was much respectful interest.  All the villagers crowded into the
little church and churchyard on the stormy morning of Mrs Waynflete's
funeral, at their head "soft" Jem, with a bit of crape on his sleeve;
and the neighbouring gentry and clergy either came themselves or sent
their carriages to follow the procession from the church to Kirk Hinton
station.  The actual mourners were few, and Cuthbert Staunton came into
the church behind the two brothers.

"She said that she forgave your family," Guy said gravely.  "It is right
that you should be there."

Guy seemed quite able to bear his part.  He hardly looked paler than
Godfrey, and was less agitated, as he stood with the white wreath in his
hand, looking down at the pavement.  It was a day of heavy driving
clouds, and the light in the dark old church dimmed and brightened
alternately, catching now and then the stony figures of the older
Waynfletes, till Cuthbert felt as if it would hardly have surprised him
if the ghostly form of the traitor ancestor had stood among the mourners
and mocked their grief.  It grew so dark as the service went on that he
could see little but the fair heads of the two brothers before him, and
the white surplice of the vicar.

The prayers and hymns were over, the coffin was lifted up again and
carried out across the nameless grave of the unhappy Guy, whose
shortcomings she who was gone had retrieved so resolutely.  But the Guy
who followed the funeral, who had also lost the inheritance for himself,
stopped short.  He stooped and laid the white and scented wreath over
the brief record on that unhonoured stone, then drew himself up, and
slowly and resolutely looked all round the church, his eyes resting at
last on the door in front of him.  There was, or Cuthbert fancied so, an
instant's recoil, then he walked straight on, as if he were walking up
to a cannon's mouth, and followed the coffin out of the church.
Godfrey, who had stood with drooping head, fighting with boyish tears,
stared after him in amazement at his action.

The long drive to Kirk Hinton, and the weary commonplaces of the railway
journey were got through in time, and at Ingleby station the scene
changed.  The invited guests were waiting on the platform--rough,
sensible-looking business men, with some few of the more nearly
connected ladies, in handsome black.

Outside, it might have been the burying of a princess--the open space in
front of the station was filled with grave, weather-beaten faces.  And
two and two, the work-people, in their Sunday clothes, formed behind the
funeral party and walked after them through the smoky town, into the
big, ugly parish church, full of pews and galleries, and with plain
square windows letting in a dull glare of cold grey light.  It was soon
filled to overflowing with silent men and women.

There were only two surpliced figures; but in the west gallery were the
choir, by their own request, and the funeral hymn rose up, full, sweet
and strong, joined in by all the vast concourse of people.

Then they passed out into a large churchyard, filled with square grey
stones, in which the family vault of the Palmers had been opened, and
there Margaret Waynflete's body was laid among those for whom, and with
whom, she had worked through all her long life.

In consideration of Guy's fatigue, and of Godfrey's obstinate reluctance
to take his place, there was no formal meal, but the party gathered in
the big dining-room at the Mill House, where various cold refreshments
were placed on the table, with a great display of heavy, handsome plate.

Presently Guy, after such civilities as were required of him, raised his
voice above the decorous murmur of the guests, and said--

"I have asked Mr Manton to read aloud my great-aunt's will, as I have
no doubt every one here will wish to know what it is.  And, first, I
wish to say that, though its contents were a great surprise to my
brother Godfrey, they were not at all unexpected by me.  I know the
grounds on which my aunt acted, and I am fully aware that, to the best
of her belief, she acted rightly."

It perhaps goes without saying that the two young Waynfletes were not
very popular with the Palmer clan.  Guy, in especial, with his delicate
face and girlish eyes, was an incomprehensible person to them.  He
compelled attention now, however, as after this little speech he sat
down near the head of the table, while Godfrey shrank into a dark
corner, only withheld from a protest by the force of his brother's will.

In the silence that ensued, the solicitor began to read; the various
Palmers listened critically, John Cooper and Joshua Howarth, with their
two sons, with deep anxiety.  They listened to the statement of various
legacies to old servants, and more considerable ones to Cooper and
Howarth, and then to the startling fact that Godfrey Waynflete was to be
heir of Waynflete Hall and all the land belonging to it, and of certain
sums of money invested in various railways and securities.  The
management of the business was entirely in the hands of the two
brothers, and Ingleby Mill House was also left for the use of both or
either as should be convenient, neither being able to let or sell it
without the consent of the other.  It was soon evident to the
intelligent audience that besides the money spent on Waynflete, and
invested in the business, the fortune realised was unexpectedly small,
and the long-standing family suspicion of Thomas Palmer's wisdom in
leaving everything in the hands of his wife gained in strength.

Godfrey heard nothing after the little murmur of surprise that greeted
his name.  His ears and face burned and tingled with the sense of shame
and wrongful dealing.

Guy sat looking at the table.  He knew, of course, exactly what was
coming, but the sound could not be other than bitter.  He knew that his
character was gone in the eyes of these shrewd, suspicious men of
business.  He set his mouth hard, and his eyes fell on the old-fashioned
stand of small cut-glass spirit-decanters that stood in front of him.
He stretched out his hand and poured out a wine-glassful of whisky.  He
forgot the will, and ceased to hear the solicitor as he drew it towards
him, till Mr Manton, in the long dry catalogue of farms and fields,
read: "the land going by the name of Upper Flete, lying between the
river and the township of Kirk Hinton--" Guy moved his hand, and knocked
the full glass over, then pushed his chair back from the table, and sat
absolutely still till the reading was over.

"Well, Mr Guy," said Mr Matthew, the oldest and most important of the
Palmers, "your great-aunt was a very shrewd woman of business, for a
woman, so to speak, and you don't seem to have met with her approval."

"No," said Guy, shortly, "I did not.  Hush, Godfrey," he added, as the
poor boy pushed desperately forward and stood beside him.  "Hold your
tongue--there's nothing you can say.  We understand each other."

"I've been at work in Ingleby Mills for sixty-five years," said John
Cooper, coming to the front, "and I'm not at all dissatisfied to work
under Mr Guy.  He knows the business as well as a lad of his age can
do."

"Thank you, John Cooper," said Guy, with a look of almost
disproportionate pleasure.  He rose rather unsteadily, and caught at
Godfrey's arm.  "Come," he said, in a sharp, imperative whisper, "get me
out of sight."

He rather pulled Godfrey, than was guided by him, through the door
behind him into the empty library, and sank into a chair, while Godfrey
broke down into a tempest of uncontrollable misery.

"Now, look here," said Guy, in the same faint, sharp tones, "you have
nothing like the bargain you think for.  To-morrow I'll go into it all.
I'm done for now; you must manage without me."

How Godfrey managed through the rest of the hateful formalities of that
wretched day he hardly knew; but when it was at last over, and he went
to bed, he was so worn out with the weary misery of it that he fell dead
asleep and slept till morning.  He woke, with a sudden impulse so strong
upon him that it seemed like an inspiration that had come in sleep.  He
would cut the whole concern.  He would take his younger brother's fair
portion, whatever it might be, and make a new life for himself,
somewhere, at the ends of the earth, away from Constancy's scorn and his
own conscience.  So he would keep his vow, and cut the knot which he
himself had tied so tight.  Then Guy would see that he must take his
own, and _she_ would no longer despise him.  A definite purpose, however
rash, made him feel more himself.  As he came downstairs he met
Cuthbert.

"Guy wants you to go down to the mill," he said, "and tell old Mr
Cooper that he will see him to-morrow, and to ask for any message from
him.  And then he wants to talk to you.  He will do it; but be as
careful as you can.  He is not fit for business."

"Very well," said Godfrey; "I want to talk to him too.  He won't mind
what I want to tell him, and it won't take five minutes to discuss it."

PART TWO, CHAPTER TEN.

GRIT.

Godfrey paid but scant attention to poor old Cooper's feelings when he
reached the mill.  He hardly took the trouble to glance round him, and
never realised that he was, in part, owner of the great concern, and a
person on whom its future depended.  He gave Guy's message, and asked
indifferently if there was any in return.  Cooper looked up the whole
length of the young man's tall figure, ending with the gloomy,
indifferent face.

"Nay," he said, "I've no message to send by you, Mr Godfrey."

"All right, then," said Godfrey, going, still thinking of nothing but
his own purpose.

He found Guy on the sofa in the study, with some papers in his hands.
Godfrey sat down opposite, and stared straight before him.  Guy lay,
looking down, very quiet but with a curious air of something held under
and suppressed.

"I'm not up to long explanations," he said; "but you ought to know at
once that matters are in a bad way at the mill.  It will take every
penny we both possess, and all the energy and sense too, to pull through
and turn the corner.  Things have been going downhill for some time.
Look here--"

Here he showed the statement which he had partly prepared to lay before
his aunt, adding a few explanations and comments.

"Then--is the mill going to fail?" said Godfrey, confusedly.

"Not if I can help it," answered Guy.  "No!  But we've got our work cut
out for us."

"But we couldn't take out--realise--any part of the capital."

"Rather not," said Guy, with a shrug.  "But what I want to say is this.
You can't do anything till you have taken your degree--except give your
consent to certain measures.  I'll explain by-and-by.  But, then, if you
come back, and give your mind to it and work, as the old folks did,
we'll get on our legs again.  I--of course Aunt Margaret thought you
would be able to live at Waynflete."

"Nothing would induce me to live at Waynflete, apart from the horrible
injustice of it--I hate it.  I should never endure it!"

"Shouldn't you?" said Guy, and paused for a minute.  "Then, I think you
should use some of the investments to put it properly to rights, and let
it again.  Don't sell it."

"I don't regard it as mine to sell," said Godfrey; "and no--that would
be undoing all she lived for."

"Just so.  And remember this.  We owe it to her strong purpose that
we're not driving some one else's plough, or working at some one else's
looms; that we are as we are, such as it is.  That work can't be undone.
I don't mean to give up.  But, I can't depend on my own health, or
powers; I mayn't live long, or be able to work constantly.  But if you
co-operate, we'll pull through.  Aunt Margaret trusted you, and you're
bound not to disappoint her.  Her memory _shall_ not be dishonoured."

Guy was moved to speak more warmly from the kind of stupefaction with
which Godfrey heard him.  He thought that he had been too abrupt.

"You're surprised," he said more gently.  "I've known how it was for a
long time.  It's not at all a hopeless case."

"I can't take it in," said Godfrey.  How could he propose to "cut the
whole concern," and go away in the face of this news.  Even if he went
without a penny, how could he leave his sick brother with such a weight
on his shoulders?  Did dropping Waynflete out of his hands merely mean
shirking a hard struggle?  At any rate, he could not tell Guy his
intention at that minute.

"You know," said Guy, "after all the legacies are paid, and Waynflete is
put to rights, I'm afraid you'll have very little ready money.  The work
of restoring the family isn't complete.  You've got it to finish."

"If--if the will had been burned, you wouldn't have sold Waynflete, and
put the money into the business?"

"_No_!" said Guy.  He stopped to rest a minute, and then said, "If the
business really failed, neither of us could honourably keep Waynflete.
It would have to be sold to pay the creditors.  And it is possible that,
to save the business--But no, Godfrey--no--it won't come to that.  It
shall not.  Aunt Margaret shan't be defeated."

"I'll think it over," said Godfrey, after a moment.  "Ought I to take my
degree?"

"Of course, what's the use of leaving a thing half-finished?  But you'll
have to understand a little what has to be done at once, and give your
consent to it.  I'll tell you about it another time.  Take these papers,
and read them."

"Yes," said Godfrey, escaping; "anything.  I consent to whatever you
wish.  That is the least I can do!"

So then, there was no such easy way of escape as he had hoped.  It was a
burden, not an honour, that he had unduly won.  For the momentary act
there was no momentary atonement; but years of uncongenial labour.  He
hated the mills.  Surely, if he dropped all claim on the profits, and
gave his brother an entirely free hand, it would be enough?  He would
willingly sell Waynflete, and throw the price into the business, if Guy
had not objected so vehemently.  He had thought that his mind was
settled, and behold! it was more unsettled than ever before.  To give
Waynflete to Guy, he could have worked tooth and nail; without a settled
purpose, he was all at sea.

Guy felt a little baffled and disappointed.  He had expected to find, as
he put it, more grit in Godfrey.

"I suppose you will have to go away soon," he said to Cuthbert
afterwards.

"Yes--on the 18th, I fear--but I want you to come with me.  There's no
one here to look after you even as clumsily as I can.  I suppose Mrs
Palmer stays; but her notions are limited to good beef-tea."

"It's not a bad notion.  Cuthbert, don't you want to know what happened
to me?"

"Yes--when you can tell me."

"I'm going to tell you now.  Come here--quite close--lock the door
first."

Cuthbert did as he was told, and sat down quietly.

"Well," he said, "how was it?"

"Well, that night when I was walking from Kirk Hinton, I got on very
slowly, and it was a long--long time."

"Yes--you got very tired."

"Yes, but I thought hard.  I almost made up my mind that the whole thing
was a craze inherited from the other Guy, or at least shared with him.
I thought nothing existed outside my own brain; that the old Guy had
probably got drunk at the old public in the valley, and that I should
too.  That the cause of the whole horror was in _me_, because my brain
was made wrong or crooked."

He paused, and Cuthbert said no more than, "Well?"

"You've always wanted me to think that.  You don't know what it's like
to think so, when there is a great horror that your brain has made for
you."

Guy spoke very quietly.  Cuthbert hardly ventured to answer him.  "You
would never understand what I meant by `feeling.'  But then I
felt--_nothing_.  I don't think even Christ felt like that--quite, when
He said God had forsaken Him.  For _I_ felt that there was no one even
to forsake me."

"But, my dear boy," exclaimed Cuthbert, distressed, "I do not think so.
I never meant to teach you to think so.  That one hallucination--"

"If you knew what a spiritual presence in your soul is, good or evil--
you would know what is involved in finding it a delusion.  I was _glad_
when I felt him come."

"Did you see--it?"

"I saw the figure on the bridge, standing in my way.  Well, it was a
question of drowning myself or letting him drown me.  I was almost mad--
I--I think he laughed at me--I'm not sure.  His eyes--"

Guy dropped his voice, and into his own eyes there came a wild,
uncertain look, as of a sorely shaken brain.  But he sat up and spoke
emphatically.

"Suddenly I knew that I could try to get across.  That's the point, you
see, Cuthbert--that's the point!  One can try, one _can_ fight--devil or
delusion--I don't know which--one can resist, and he will flee.  I think
he will always flee--for there's help.  _All_ spiritual presences are
not evil; something helped me.  I fainted, I suppose; but I got across
the river--I set myself to get on, but the hill was so steep--and long--
I was so deadly faint.  It took an awful time, I had to stop so often;
oh, I don't wonder the other Guy was too late!  But I got there in time.
Aunt Margaret knew it, she quite understood."

"It is all over now," said Cuthbert, soothingly; "you won't see the
figure again."

Guy slowly turned his eyes away from Cuthbert's face, and looked
straight in front of him.

"I see it now," he said.  "Listen--don't stop me.  I saw it ahead all
the way.  I've seen it ever since.  But--but--it's not _him_--now.  Oh,
you won't understand.  I _know_ he's not here now.  This is a spectre--a
delusion--but it's very bad to bear.  Stop; let me rest a bit."

He put his hand over his eyes and lay still--whispering, "I've some more
to say."

"Yes, tell me everything--tell me just what it is," said Cuthbert,
gently.

"I can't," said Guy.  "Shakespeare was right--and it's very hard to be
quite sure.  The more one thinks, the harder it is.  But whatever that
is--which comes to me, I _can_ fight it; I _can_ resist.  And I will.  I
mustn't give in an inch.  I've got to hold on with the business, and
against the drink, and against the terror.  That's all I know; but I
know that, though I've almost died of learning it."

Guy turned faint after this eager speech, and was forced to lie back and
be silent.  Presently he spoke again in a faltering whisper--

"Doesn't all this--"

"What, my boy?  Yes, tell me."

"It is so queer--you'll dislike me for it," said poor Guy, simply, and
with tears in his eyes.  "Anybody would."

"Well, I don't," said Cuthbert, in his dry, gentle voice.  "You know, I
promised to see you through."

"It eases me so to have you know it.  But no one else--promise me--no
one else."

"Well--but your best help in the fight would be the doctor."

"Oh yes--you may tell him anything you like, anything you can.  The real
thing is past man's understanding.  Only," and he collected his
strength, and looked up again steadfastly, "remember--devil or
delusion--it is not irresistible, and I can resist."

When Guy, soothed by his friend's sympathy, had dropped into a
much-needed sleep, Cuthbert still sat beside him puzzled, and, spite of
himself, awed by the terrible story.  He could not forget the records of
that earlier struggle, which had come into his hands, and which Guy must
see, as soon as he was fit to do so.  He did not understand the
experience enough to see why, as he put it, in the half-jesting thought
with which deep feeling veils itself, Guy preferred the devil to a
delusion.  But he saw that mind and soul and body were all in danger,
and he recognised that the belief in a resisting power must be fostered
and guarded to the utmost.

"Only his faith can save him," thought Cuthbert, with a mental start at
the familiar ring of words, of which he had never made any personal
application.

"It's beyond me," he thought, "and I'll take off my hat and wait.  He
may be crazed, but he's pretty much of a hero.  And as for disliking
him--well--not much fear of it.  I'll do all I know for him."

Then Cuthbert thought the whole matter through, from beginning to end,
and finally, with wise and uncommon mental patience, made up his mind
not to rush in like a fool, where a man of any ordinary experience might
well fear to tread.  He would take every care of Guy; but, in that
unknown region of his trial, he would let him judge for himself.

PART TWO, CHAPTER ELEVEN.

HELPING AND HINDERING.

After Godfrey's wild visit to Moorhead, the first news that came to
Constancy and Florella from Waynflete, was the announcement to their
aunt from Mrs Joshua Palmer of the death in the family.  It came after
they had joined her at Harrowgate, and was quite short and formal,
without any mention of the two young men.

Constancy was honestly shocked and grieved.  The high-spirited, vigorous
old lady had struck her fancy, and the wreath she sent was a genuine
expression of feeling.

The next thing was a polite visit from old Mr Matthew, as it was the
custom to call him, with his report of the funeral, and of the contents
of the will, together with his comments thereon.

"Neither of the lads looks as if he'd make a hand of the business.  The
eldest is but a poor, weakly fellow, and of course the old lady must
have had very good reasons for passing him over and preferring his
brother.  Eh! they're a queer lot, are the Waynfletes, a bad stock--a
bad stock--and that's a thing there's no getting over."

Mrs John Palmer replied with polite hopes that their bringing up might
have partly got over it; but though she was not very fond of her
husband's family, on family occasions she remembered Palmer prejudices,
and felt for the moment that the two Waynfletes were interlopers.

Constancy heard of Godfrey's inheritance with a great throb of surprise.
How would he take it?  How had it come about?  She remembered how Guy
had been sent for at the last, and she wondered, being keen enough to
guess how much there was to wonder at.  Just before she left Yorkshire
she received a letter.  It began abruptly--

"I am writing to you because, little as you may care to hear, I could
never look in your face again, unless you knew the worst of me.
Probably face to face I never shall see you, but let me at least have
the right to think of you with less utter shame.  My aunt intended, if
my brother had obeyed her summons at once, to have talked over business
matters with him, and to have destroyed the will in my favour, under
which I have the misfortune to inherit.  I first of all forgot, in my
preoccupation, to post her letter to Guy, so that he could not come till
the later train, and then, as you know, in my mad desire to see you once
more, and alone, I failed to send to meet him at Kirk Hinton.  If he had
come in the morning, as but for me he would, probably my aunt's accident
would never have happened, and he could have satisfied her mind on the
points between them.  As it was, he only came just before the end, when,
though she knew him, she could not speak to him.  Moreover, the long
walk and the hurry and shock, all through my act, so injured him, that I
thought his death, as well as all the rest, would lie at my door.  I see
Staunton thinks it may be so even yet.  Guy has been most generous to
me, but that only increases the dreadful weight of remorse that lies on
me.  You will see how impossible it is that I should profit by the
results of my own wicked jealousy.  I have pledged myself never to do
so.  I have now no right to tell you that I love you, or to come forward
for your favour any more.  I have often been stung by your contempt; but
you see it was quite justifiable.  I have but one purpose now, to free
myself from the responsibilities I have brought on myself.  Guy insists
on my taking my degree, and by the time that is done, I hope my course
may be clear to me.  I mean this letter for a farewell.  Don't think I
hope that you will answer it.  Even now, I can't be sorry that I love
you.  In the very ends of the earth I shall remember you.  I have often
said that nothing should come between me and my longing for you, but my
own violence has put me off from you.  I have loved you a great deal
better than my honour, and you were right to turn away.  But, oh,
Constancy, you are the one thing in the universe to me, and no one else
will ever love you half so much.  I feel as if I must some day wake from
a dream, and find myself fit and free once more to move Heaven and earth
in my cause, and to win you yet.  Say what you will, I believe that I
could.  But now I can only sign myself in the fullest meaning of the
word, unworthy as I am to use it,--

"Yours faithfully,--

"Godfrey Waynflete."

Constancy read this letter through with burning cheeks, and feelings in
her heart that showed themselves as impatient anger.  She quite
understood it, and Godfrey stood out before her mental vision, vivid and
picturesque with his single aim, and his single heart.  But her soul
rebelled against the demand on her sympathy.  Like all people of strong
imagination, she was a moral coward; to enter into the depths of such
passionate remorse--such devotion of purpose, was too serious, too
absorbing a thing.  To realise it, so as to say anything real about it,
demanded too much, and she scorned such unreality as she recognised.
She knew that an appeal had been made to her, not so much for her love,
as for the support of her comprehension.  She could not say soft,
unmeaning words; she knew what was asked of her much too well.  She
could have comprehended him and helped him through, but, "I don't
believe in the need of it all!" she said to herself.  "He had much
better forget all about it, and turn away to something fresh.  I don't
want to go down into the depths with him.  I want my own soul to
myself."

So she got a little sheet of rough, square paper, and wrote upon it a
little note in the individual characteristic hand which was like nobody
else's.

"Dear Mr Waynflete,--

"I was extremely sorry to hear of dear Mrs Waynflete's death.  I never
knew any one like her, and she was very kind to me.  I can't think that
she would have altered her intentions at the last moment, though I am
sure you must be very sorry to have prevented your brother from coming
to her sooner.  I hope he will soon be quite well again.  I never think
there is much good in dwelling on things that are over and done with.
Do you think anything ever matters quite as much as one thinks it does?
I cannot pretend to be so constant to the past.  And blaming one's self
only makes one stupid and spoils one's future chances.  All sorts of new
things will be sure to happen, and whatever is, is likely to be just as
right as anything else.

"Yours truly,--

"Constancy Vyner."

"There!  It would be rather horrid of me not to write," she thought, as
she directed the rough square envelope, "but I couldn't enter into all
those desperate heroics."  Yet all the while she was preaching new
things, the image of such a desperate hero was forcing itself on her
imagination, a story built itself up in her mind, in which the nobleness
of such a single aim, the grandeur of such depth of feeling was shown in
clear, strong outline.  But in real life the type was too inconvenient.

Perhaps it was in defiance of an uneasy conscience, to prove to herself
her own self-satisfaction, that she showed Florella the letter, and
described her answer to it.

"Why don't you speak, Flo?" she said impatiently.  "You make my soul
wriggle before you.  What have I done?"

"Nothing, it seems," answered Florella, in sombre tones.

"Well, what could I do?  I should be very wrong to encourage him, and he
would take it as encouragement if I went down with him into such a
Slough of Despond!"

"Did you really want him to think that what he did was of no
consequence?  I wonder if you have succeeded."

"I don't mean to have anything to do with him," said Constancy,
resolutely.

But she knew in her secret soul that she had been a coward.

She went back to college, to all the engrossing interests of college
life, and Florella returned with her aunt to London, for a winter to be
spent partly in the ordinary duties and pleasures of a young lady at
home, and partly in the steady and careful study of her art.

For what was she to Guy Waynflete but a blight acquaintance, a girl who
had met him a few times, and with whom his intercourse had been so
slight as hardly to raise a remark.

That was strange, when all the force her spirit could transmit went into
her promised prayers for him, and, when to such entire ignorance of what
had outwardly happened, she united that inner sense of living with him
through all.  The contrast made her shy of mentioning his name; but when
some few days after her return to town, she went over one afternoon to
the Stauntons, it was with the hope of hearing something about him.  She
was told that Miss Staunton would be in directly, if she liked to go
upstairs and wait for her, and she went up into the pleasant shabby
drawing-room.  Some one was lying back in a low easy-chair by the fire,
and Florella knew in a moment that it was Guy himself.

He sat up and looked at her with an eager, half-doubtful, half-delighted
look, but though her heart gave a great throb, she came forward holding
out her hand, and speaking in her soft, composed voice.

"Mr Waynflete!  Please don't get up.  I hope you are better."

"Oh yes!  But Staunton has made me come up with him to see the doctor
again.  We came yesterday; I was tired to-day, so I have only just come
downstairs.  But I am a great deal better."

After this Florella sat down on a low chair in front of the fire, and
there was a silence.  She could speak no more commonplaces.

"You know," said Guy, after a minute, "that I was not beaten.  I was not
quite too late."

"Yes, I know."

"It was very hard."

"Very."

"You helped me."

"I tried."

"Do you know _what_ happened?"

"No."

"That doesn't matter.  You mustn't know, you mustn't see.  But enough
strength came."

"Yes."

"I shall hold on, and you will--help."

"I will; I do."

"Pray for _my_ soul."

"Yes."

They had spoken in low, quiet tones--the words seemed to drop out; but
now the spell broke, and Florella looked away and spoke with a falter.

"But it has been very bad for you; you are ill--and things went wrong."

"Oh," said Guy, "I shall be able, I hope, to set things pretty right.  I
can get along--"

As he spoke there was a step, and Cuthbert came in, followed by his
sister.

"Ah, Guy--here you are," he said.  "Getting rested?  I should think you
wanted some tea."

There was a little bustle, and the tea-things were brought with a lamp,
and in the talk that followed, Florella learned more of how things were
going at Ingleby.  Godfrey had returned to Oxford; Mrs Joshua Palmer
and Jeanie were to stay on at the Mill House for the present; and Guy
meant to go back there as soon as he had seen the doctor, and Cuthbert
was claimed by his work.

"He has much business on hand," Staunton told her aside; "but I cannot
think how he will get on in that dull house.  I wish the doctor would
insist on sending him abroad.  But he wouldn't go; his heart is set on
his work."

"Then I think the work is best for him," said Florella.

"Yes, one can't interfere.  But it is a frightful risk.  I believe he'll
kill himself over it."

Cuthbert spoke with some irritation.  He was very anxious, and his wise
resolve was hard to keep.  Florella's heart sank.  She might lend Guy
her strength for the battle, but she could not save him from a single
blow.

They asked her to dim with them quietly on the next night, and she
gladly promised to come.  She would hear a little more.

When she came, Guy seemed better.  He sat by her at dinner, and joined
in the cheerful trivial talk, with a look of ease and pleasure.  They
said nothing special to each other, there was hardly the ordinary
consciousness of mutual attraction between them, yet she was happy, and
he for once at rest.

After dinner there was music, and as Kitty Staunton played softly, and
they listened to it together, Guy watched her gracious harmonious
outlines, and felt glad that her dress, though long and ruffed, with a
broad silk sash, quite unlike the linen frock she had worn at Moorhead,
was still of a soft tender blue.  It still suggested the harebells.  He
said nothing more about himself; indeed he forgot himself and thought of
her.

He wished her good night with a smile, and a long, steady look, as if he
was drinking in the comfort of her presence.  It never occurred to him
for a moment that the help she gave him was at the cost of suffering to
herself.  He did not understand that a star must burn before it can
shine.

But when he went upstairs, and looked steadily round to face his enemy
in a new place, he woke to the sense that, through all the evening he
had never seen or dreaded him.  The fear had been forgotten.  With the
first thought the strange thing was before him; but just then, he looked
with indifferent curiosity.  He had told his own story to the doctor,
and had heard in return that he would risk his life by over-exertion, or
by any mental shock or strain; and that rest, change, and amusement were
by far the most likely cure for the nervous affection that troubled him,
and for every other tendency that he had cause to dread.

"Still," said Guy, "there is no chance for me, but going back and doing
what I can."

And to Cuthbert's surprise, the doctor gave in and admitted that a
strong interest in his work was good, and perhaps with due care, he had
better try, for a time.  Guy promised prudence, and gained his point.

He parted from his friend in the same determined fashion, though he did
not try to hide that the parting was hard.  Cuthbert wondered, as he had
often wondered before, how any one could be at once so dependent and so
self-reliant.

In the same breath he said, with wistful eyes, "You'll write to me
often, won't you?  Even a card; or if you just wire, it will be
something;" and, "I can't help it, you know, if it does kill me; I've
got to do it."

And the grounds of this conviction were quite incommunicable.  As for
Florella, she felt as if all power of "help" had deserted her, and that
nothing was left but anxiety.

What had he known of her strange experience?  When she had gone down
into the depths with him, how had he known it?  He had taken her
knowledge for granted, and claimed her continual help.  But _what_ did
she know, and what had she done?  Florella's spirit dealt with strange
things, and she paid the penalty of trouble and disturbance of soul.
Thoughts and questionings which her young spirit could hardly bear, came
to her, and since she had so thrown herself out of herself to aid him,
the delicate balance of her nature was risked as well as his.

The minute and exceeding care with which she practised her
flower-painting was her refuge and safeguard through these difficult
months.

And she was not left alone, with only herself and Guy to think of.  She
had a great many acquaintances, old school-fellows, and others; some of
whom were struggling to find a place among the workers of the day,
others who were in the swing of the London circle to which Mrs Palmer
belonged.

Florella had always obtained confidences.  Her reposeful manner, her
good sense, and her kindliness brought them.  But now she heard story
after story of trouble and temptation, perplexity, or discontent.  "I
always feel as if you could see my soul!" one girl said to her.  She
listened, and said such words as came to her.  She felt sometimes as if
she was in the very whirl and rush of life's battle, while outwardly
nothing happened to her at all.  She painted flowers, and went out to
parties with her aunt.

PART TWO, CHAPTER TWELVE.

HAREBELLS IN SNOW.

Fifty thousand pounds!  For a penniless girl to find herself suddenly
possessed of such a golden dower is a very wonderful experience.  This
was the fate which, towards the end of November, descended upon little
Jeanie Palmer, and, as she truly said, "It was quite upsetting."  It
came in a natural, though unexpected manner.  An uncle died, possessed
of a much larger fortune than had been supposed, and divided it by will,
between Jeanie and another niece.  That "something" might come to her
from this quarter, her mother had always hoped; but nothing so splendid
had ever been anticipated.  It meant, in the first place, frocks of an
altogether different quality to any Jeanie had previously possessed;
and, in the second, an entire change of plans for herself and her
mother.

It had been a great advantage last summer to come to Ingleby, and live
in so comfortable and dignified a fashion; but now Jeanie would have her
own house, and needed her mother to arrange it for her.

Besides, Godfrey would be coming back, and if he chose to seek out
Jeanie again, he should see her in a new light.  No one would ever feel
her to be anybody at Ingleby; but, among the Palmers, she would be now a
person of consequence, and her mother told Guy that she was sorry to
break up their comfortable arrangements, but Jeanie had business to
attend to, and must go to old Mr Matthew Palmer's, near Rilston, he
being her trustee.

"I am very sorry you must go, Cousin Susan," said Guy, with perfect
truth.

And yet it did not seem to the two ladies that their presence in the
house could have made much difference to him.  Every hour that his
strength held out he spent on his work, and when he was driven to what
he called resting, he often shut himself up in the study, and what he
did there, they knew not.  He had what Mrs Palmer called,
"uncomfortable ways."  They felt him to be an uncomfortable person.  His
colourless face and preoccupied eyes--eyes that seemed always watchful,
but that watched for something out of other people's ken, like a wild
creature's, who scents or hears some far-off foe--were too odd to be
pleasant.

In the mill, however, he proved himself born to rule.  In spite of his
youth and his bad health, he made himself felt in every corner of it,
and won allegiance, if not affection.  It was not his way to be
irritable, but he was always grave; often stern and sarcastic,
determined and dictatorial as ever old Margaret had been in the hey-day
of her strength.  When he stood leaning against the doorway of the long
rooms, breathless with climbing the stairs, there was not a worker who
did not wish to avoid his criticism; while the old managers gave in to
his daring new departures, and never doubted that he could sail the
ship.

His chief comfort was the entire and unexpected devotion of old John
Cooper.  He obeyed Guy loyally, but he also watched over him like a
father.  He had a careful old wife, who sent him in cups of tea, and
provided him with luncheons, and this care he contrived should be
extended to the young man too.  He worked hard, so as to save him
exertion, and never resented the quick, sharp orders, or the short,
absent manner, and Guy was grateful--more grateful than he knew how to
show.  The old manager's devotion helped him very much.  There was
Rawdie, also, whom he had begged of Godfrey, who slept on his bed and
nestled at his side, and was a living presence, and a loving one too.

If the demands of the business upon him saved his wits, it strained them
to the utmost.  It was touch and go with Palmer Brothers, all through
the winter, and if Guy had not been as clever as he was desperate, they
must have gone under.  It was just a case of holding on.  If that had
been all, he could hardly have borne it.  But such anxiety was swept out
of his mind by the other thoughts that thronged upon him.  He could not
sleep, so he read half the night--medicine and science, metaphysics and
religion, magic and mysticism, demonology and witchcraft, theories of
heredity and legends of possession, psychical researches and spiritual
revelations.  And then it struck him that the Bible might throw some
light on the subject.  He had learned "divinity," and frequently heard
and occasionally read the lessons, like other well-brought-up young men;
but he had never read it with any personal object.  He came to the
conclusion that Saint Paul knew something about the matter.  "Resisting
unto death--striving against sin," exactly expressed it.  And sometimes
the foe pressed hard and home--and then there were perilous moments for
reason's sway.  Guy looked the haunting terror in the face.  He took its
likeness--"wrote it down," as he had said--spoke to it--defied it--well,
those were times better forgotten, and when Rawdie hung on to his
trousers and pulled him back, he knew that he was making a mad rush at--
nothing at all.  But more and more the conviction strengthened, that
whatever personal influences shaped the forms of his experience, behind
it lay a "power outside himself that made for" _evil_, a power at one
with all the evil of the world.  Where, then, was the power that makes
for good?

He sat alone one evening by the study fire, and asked this question in
vain.  Could he hold on any longer?  He was so lonely, and the weather
was so cold, it took away all his little strength.  Godfrey was not
coming home for Christmas.  Nerves and brain would endure no longer the
solitude--that was _not_ solitude.  He put his hand over his eyes.

"If Rawdie had not been there last night."  But Rawdie had been there--
there always was something.  As to the mill, there were flashes of
certainty as to the right course, and a word or a kindly deed of old
Cooper's just gave strength to put them in practice.  The sun struggled
through the fog yesterday, and raised his spirits; the day before there
was a letter from Cuthbert.  Sometimes he dreamed of Florella, or the
sense that she was "helping" pressed warm upon his soul.  And now there
was the connected thought of all these rescuing facts.  But the source
from which they came was veiled.  He could not "feel" good as he "felt"
evil.  He could not trust himself to think of the gun in the
gun-cupboard at the side of the bookcase, of the doctor's medicine, of
which too large a dose would be so easy--of the brandy in the cellar--
which would drown all this agony or give strength to defy it.  These
images of escape pressed on him like living souls.  Either would be so
easy.  Pray?  Yes, but in such moments, before the prayer is offered,
the victory must be won.  The will of steel that had endured so much was
breaking now.  Guy got up and thought that he would look at that gun,
which had been unused all the autumn.  The drops were upstairs, and the
brandy was in the cellar; but the gun was in the very room.  He went
over to the cupboard; but he was dizzy, and his hand shook a little; the
key did not turn very easily.  He fumbled with it.  If he shot himself,
what would happen to his double?  Why--_that_ would be gone out of the
world with himself--and the world would go on without him.  Would
Florella ever learn to paint blue harebells in the sun?  The dancing
flowers shone and smiled before his mental vision.  The key turned in
his hand; but he turned it back again.

"I can bear it--another day," he thought, as he leaned against the
bookcase, with his hand still on the key.

Suddenly Rawdie burst into loud barking; the door bell pealed through
the empty house.  Guy started away from the cupboard, the room door
opened, and a telegram was brought in.

"_Don't like your last note.  Coming to you for Christmas; arrive 9:30.
Staunton_."

When the door was shut again, Guy flung the key of the gun-cupboard into
the fire, and fell down on his knees and gave thanks.  Assuredly it was
not himself that had saved him.

When Cuthbert came, after a long day of travel from the far west, he
found supper ready, lights bright and fire warm, and Guy with a welcome
that was beyond words, quiet and even cheerful, but so white and worn,
that his friend rejoiced in the sudden impulse that had induced him to
brave his sisters' wrath, and give up Christmas at home to come to him.

"Why are you alone," he said.  "Where is Godfrey?"

"Godfrey went off to the Rabys.  He has got off the track altogether
somehow; his degree, you know, was a disappointment--and--well, he'll
have to come back soon and face matters out.  Never mind!  The mill
hasn't yet put up the shutters, and I'm still here, you see, spite of
the devil and all his angels, to say nothing of the frost, which I think
is going to kill me, and save farther trouble.  No; but I'm rather bad,
old fellow, and you've just come in time to take care of me, for I can't
take care of myself a day longer.  I get such bad nights, and I want you
to read me to sleep, I'm so tired."

Guy gave himself up to the comfort of his friend's presence, with a
grateful sense of his need of it.  His boyish pride was gone.  He told
Cuthbert very little; but his silence was the reticence of one who knew
that surface words were of no avail, and that no one's opinion made any
difference to his own judgment.  He had regained the mastery of his
nerves; but his strength had been over-taxed, and he could but just
manage the most necessary business, till, when on Christmas Day itself,
snow fell heavily and the frost intensified, the cold tried him so much
that nothing but lying still by the fire was possible to him.

A belated postman struggled through the snow, with a bundle of letters,
of which a whole sheaf of loving home greetings fell to Cuthbert's
share; but to the lonely Guy, only a very smart Christmas card from
Cousin Susan.

His home had never been a very tender one; but still, such as it was, he
had lost it since last year.  He felt hurt at his brother's silence, and
his heart failed him utterly.  Why struggle to keep hold of so hard a
life?  He turned his face towards the wall.

"Here's something for you," said Cuthbert, as he opened his last letter.
"Violet says, `Florella Vyner asked me to send you this little drawing
for Mr Waynflete.  She says he saw her failures in drawing harebells,
last summer, and she hopes these will not look quite so bad, as it is
winter now.'  She--hum--ha--well--Here's the drawing," said Cuthbert,
breaking off as he read aloud.

Guy turned round with a start, and taking the envelope, opened it.

There, blue against the blue of heaven, was the little bunch of
harebells, dim and cold doubtless, as compared to the originals in sun
and light, but "living blue" still, fair enough to tell of springing
thoughts and hopes and loves, in the dead cold of the winter snow.

A warm flush came over Guy's face.  How much the high consolations
within him were reinforced by this little bit of human joy!  Hope and
courage came back, and life was worth living again.  Cuthbert watched
him this time with full comprehension.

"Ah," he thought.  "So--is that to be the cure?"

Violet had remarked that Florella was apparently too shy to send the
card herself.

"But, it's no use pretending, she always manages to hear what we know
about him.  Don't you tell him I said so."

Cuthbert said nothing, for nothing was needed.  A new vision had opened
itself before Guy's spirit.  Was the strange comprehension between
himself and Florella to bloom out into so lovely a flower?

"I owe her all," he thought.  "She set me fighting.  I knew she was a
saint and an angel.  And I love her."

He took up his arms again with renewed courage.  Before he won Florella,
he must be free.  She was not only a helping angel, she was his heart's
love, and he must be strong enough to take care of her.

He gazed long at the little picture, then folded it away, and getting up
from the sofa, went over to the old piano, unused for many weeks, and
began to play the old North-country Christmas hymn, familiar to his
earliest childhood, "Christians awake."

"I can't sing now," he said; but he hummed the words softly, and sang a
line or two at intervals--

"Peace upon earth, and unto men good will."

"We'll have a little Christmas," he said, with a smile.

PART THREE, CHAPTER ONE.

HANDICAPPED.

In the meantime Godfrey, stung to the very quick by Constancy's shallow
answer to the confession which he had forced from the depths of his
soul, was kicking against the pricks of disappointed passion, and trying
to persuade himself that they did not hurt him.  He could not work, he
barely scraped through his final examination; he could think of nothing
but how to escape from himself.  He could not face Guy till his plan of
restitution was matured, and he caught at the Rabys' invitation to go
and spend a gay Christmas among a lively set of other young people at
Kirkton Hall.  He was very miserable, but, when people are young and
strong, it is possible to be amused in spite of inward misery, and
nobody guessed that Godfrey was either conscience-stricken or
broken-hearted; and while he was thus keeping thought at bay, there
befell him a great and unexpected temptation.

Jeanie, being now at Rilston with the Matthew Palmers, appeared on the
scene in the altogether new light of a flattered and considered guest.
She was talked of as a prize to be won, and in some occult and
mysterious manner it was conveyed to Godfrey that this prize might be
his for the asking.

Perhaps her Palmer kindred, who were people of much sense in a quiet
way, knew what might be the lot of a simple and homely little girl whose
great fortune bought a husband of good family and with bad debts.  And
Godfrey Waynflete, even if his fortune was not great, was no doubt a
shrewd young fellow, or his shrewd old aunt would never have preferred
him to his elder brother.

These ideas were conveyed by sober Palmer cousins to Godfrey's mind, and
they offered him the chance of a life of his own apart from Waynflete
and Ingleby.  Guy would have fewer scruples if Godfrey did not need the
wrongfully gained inheritance.  These purposes served as excuses, but it
is an old story and never a very creditable one; Godfrey's heart or,
rather, his hand, was just ready to be "caught on the rebound."
Constancy's contrast had a double charm.  And Jeanie, who had always
loved attention, now that she could attract it, like Miss Mercy
Pecksniff, rose to the occasion.  She had both sense and self-esteem,
she was no longer the meek little cousin ready to make herself useful,
and though she had an honest fancy for Godfrey, life had blossomed out
with new possibilities.  She knew very well that he had never sought her
before, and she did not mean him to walk over the course.  Pretended
indifference was due to her ideas of propriety.

It was intoxicating to find herself made much of by a number of lively
young people, all of the sort she knew, and liked, who flirted in her
own style, and talked the kind of talk to which she could respond.
Under such encouragement she was both pretty and lively, and the young
folks at Kirkton and the neighbourhood had what Godfrey, and even Guy a
year before, would have thought a very good time.  One thing led to
another, jokes to blushes, blushes to whispers, whispers to a
half-acknowledged understanding, and almost before Godfrey knew what he
was about he had practically committed himself, been laughed at and
congratulated, and, by the time Christmas week was over, would have been
irrevocably bound, had Jeanie ever allowed him to come quite to the
point.

There had been one of those friendly dances among an intimate set of
very young people, when much can pass as the jest of the moment, though
the undercurrent of earnest gives the jest its charm.

Godfrey and Jeanie had waltzed and whirled through more dances than the
young lady chose to count, and Godfrey's last sight of her was as she
skimmed along the polished floor of the gallery after Minnie Raby,
refusing to stop and say good night.  She peeped round the corner, and
flung a rose right into his face, then vanished into her room and banged
the door, while a sound like "To-morrow!" caught his ear.  Every one was
saying good night and running about.  She had just refused him the rose
in a cotillion, all was "jest and youthful jollity," but Godfrey felt
that "to-morrow" was big with fate.  For about the tenth time that
evening, he informed himself that he had completely forgotten Constancy.

Before he came downstairs the next day, two letters were brought to him.
One was from the young vicar of Waynflete, stating that a thaw having
taken place on the Sunday after Christmas, four umbrellas had been put
up during service, and did Mr Waynflete see his way to a subscription
for mending the church roof?  The letter was several pages long, and
gave a very unflattering picture of the condition of the Waynflete
property.  The vicar expressed himself with youthful energy, and begged
the owner of the property to come and see for himself what had to be
done.

And let Godfrey say what he would, he was that owner.  The other letter
was from Guy, and did not fill half a sheet.

"Dear Godfrey,--

"There is a great deal that must be faced and settled.  Pray come home
at once, for I must know what you mean to do, and the frost made me so
good for nothing that I don't see my way to getting on without help.  I
am better now, and Staunton is here with me.

"Your affectionate brother,--

"Guy Waynflete."

This letter brought Godfrey face to face with his own intentions.  If he
really meant to present himself before Jeanie's trustees he must know
exactly what he had to say to them.  There must be no false pretences.
He would go back to Ingleby that very day.  His decision, when he
proclaimed it, roused a chorus of opposition.

"He must come back for the dance on Twelfth Night."

"Oh yes!  I mean to come back," said Godfrey, steadily, with a glance at
Jeanie.  "But I must go home now.  I've sent off a telegram to say so."

He got off as soon as he could, and told Jeanie as he wished her
good-bye that he was coming back again.  But he forgot the rose, and
left it in a glass on his dressing-table.

On the next morning, on the last day of the old year, the two brothers
found themselves alone and face to face, each determined to say his say;
Guy watching his big young brother with quiet intentness, and Godfrey
heeding nothing but his own purpose.  He spoke first--

"Guy, I must make you understand once for all that I am not going to act
under the will which Aunt Waynflete meant to destroy.  I won't profit by
it, and it is important to me just now that every one should know that I
regard it as a dead letter.  I've thought the matter out--the thing must
be done legally; I shall execute a deed of gift which will give
Waynflete and the money left with it to you and your heirs for ever.
And I will have nothing more to do with it.  That is one thing."

"And what is the next?" said Guy.

"As to the business, I quite see the difference made by the bad times,
and poor returns.  I suppose we want more capital.  There's young Mat
Palmer.  If you offered him a partnership, he might put money into the
concern, and would do the work as well.  As for me, of course any
profits that come from my shares under the first will are fairly mine,
as I must bear any loss also.  And I don't wish to cut myself out of the
concern.  But I want to know exactly how I stand, on that footing."

"Well," said Guy, "anything else?"

"Yes; I have practically engaged myself to marry Jeanie Palmer.  I made
a great mistake last summer in--in--what then passed.  That's over, but
I must know, of course, exactly what I'm liable for here, before I can
honourably speak to old Matthew."

"Anything more?" said Guy again.

"No," said Godfrey, with some dignity.  "That's what I had to say."

"And what," said Guy, "do you suppose are the profits of the Waynflete
estate which you're going to give me?"

"I suppose it has a value."

"Godfrey," said Guy, suddenly, "I beg your pardon.  I did not mean to
take this tone at all.  But I too have a great deal to say, and it's
hard.  I--I'm not strong, you know, and you must be very patient with me
while I tell you.  And first, I want you to answer me one or two
questions."

"Well?" said Godfrey, surprised in his turn.

"What do you consider was the great object of Aunt Margaret's life?"

"To get back Waynflete--to restore the family."

"Is it the same thing?"

"Well, yes, isn't it?  She thought so."

"She did.  Now, what was _your_ object when you made that vow, which I
suppose you are now trying to carry out?"

"To get rid of Waynflete, to free my conscience, to do you justice,"
said Godfrey.

"You mean that you did not want me to suffer because your proceeding
made me too late to persuade Aunt Margaret that she had misjudged me?"

"Well, yes."

"Now listen.  Please don't speak till I've told you--even if I stop."

Then Guy briefly recapitulated his recent history, beginning with the
midnight alarm which Godfrey remembered at Waynflete.  He told the awful
story in the driest and most matter-of-fact way, showing no trace of the
effort which it cost him, while Godfrey listened in utter silence.

"Now," Guy continued.  "Staunton will tell you particulars.  I thought
it right you should know how I'm handicapped.  No wonder our ancestors
drank or blew their brains out.  Whether you think I have a tile loose
or no, there's no doubt our family went down through its own wickedness,
and Aunt Margaret pulled it up again by pluck and resolution.  But the
business isn't done, and instead of throwing over Waynflete to me, you
ought to do your part of the work she left us."

Godfrey nodded; he was pale, and could not speak.  He was perplexed, but
he heard the story with instinctive belief.

"She has set us on our legs," Guy went on; "but the place is a sink of
wickedness, and poverty-stricken into the bargain.  I have had letters
from Clifton, and I know.  Now, I've come to see that it's no good
saving my own skin, or my own soul either, while that's the case.  We
have got really to restore Waynflete, but I can't do it alone.  If I get
too bad, in mind or body, to carry on the business, it would have to be
sold, and then _He_--No, stop.  I love the very breath of the air of it!
Why, Godfrey, we should be contemptible scoundrels to give in while
there's breath in our bodies, or sense in our brains."

Godfrey still sat silent.  If Guy was handicapped, how heavily had he
handicapped himself!  Still, devotion to his brave old aunt's purpose,
the inheritance which, after all, was bred in his bone, began to stir
within him.  He got up and held out his hand.

"I'll help," he said hoarsely.

Guy's hand, all bones and blue veins, met the firm muscular fingers in
an equally vigorous clasp.

"That's good!" he said.  "We'll do it."

"But, Guy," said Godfrey, after a silence, "you know, if I'd known about
it, I never would have left you alone with a ghost--never!"

Guy laughed.  "Never mind that now," he said.  "Go down to the mill, and
get John Henry Cooper to tell you how things are.  He's made of just as
sound stuff as his father, and is a good deal sharper.  We'll pull
round.  But you must get your hand in.  Some one must be able to go
about and investigate openings and offers, and I can't at present.  As
for Jeanie, you'd better let that slide, I should say, for a bit.  Old
Mat won't be very encouraging, when he knows how it is with us."

Godfrey went to the mill, and heard John Henry Cooper's business
statements almost in silence.  Then he said--

"I am here now to do what Mr Guy is not strong enough to manage.  He
will direct everything."

"Ay, sir, so best; you'll not better Mr Guy's notions of business
requirements; but it's nothing but your place to do your utmost for the
business," said Cooper, composedly.

As Godfrey went back to his brother, it struck him how strange it was
that the two narratives to which he had just listened should apply to
the same person, that the sharp, keen struggle for success in life, and
the awful mystical combat with an unknown power, should hang on the same
indomitable will.

"Guy," he said, "it's all right.  Cooper's going to show me about wool
samples to-morrow, and--and--I wish you'd let me black your boots for
you!"

"If you like," said Guy, with his odd little smile.  "You shall do all
the dirty work for me.  There's plenty of it in a mill."

PART THREE, CHAPTER TWO.

"A LITTLE HINT--A MYSTIC FLASH."

"Mill House, Ingleby,--

"December 27th.

"Dear Miss Vyner,--

"I hope you will allow me to thank you for your lovely drawing.  It gave
me a happy Christmas.  The harebells say to me all that you would say
yourself.  They do indeed help me.  Again thanking you, and with every
good wish for the New Year,--

"I am yours most gratefully,--

"Guy Waynflete."

This composition, which had cost Guy much pains, was brought to
Florella, as she sat putting delicate finishing touches to her latest
picture, a procession of snails, walking along the top of a moss-grown
wall, moist with a recent shower.

"To take the air, and hear the thrushes sing," was the motto written
below, and, as Violet Staunton had said, Florella must have got inside a
snail's shell and seen the world from between its horns when she painted
it.  She laid her brush down now, and with throbbing heart held the
letter against her cheek.  Yes, she had known that he wanted the
harebells.  She had known it not only because, from one source and
another, from Godfrey's letter to Constancy, and from Cuthbert
Staunton's reports to his sisters, she knew something of his outward
life, but from that curious inward sense that told her when a time of
special trial was upon him.  The inward vision was dim and faint, the
very intensity of her anxiety for him blurred and confused it, and the
outward intelligence seemed either to render it superfluous or to show
how little it was worth.  If she could but "see" more clearly!

That same evening she went to a party with her sister.  The "willing
game" was played, and there were thought-reading experiments and wonders
performed with "Planchette."  A lady looked into Florella's eyes as she
sat apart, and told her that she would be more successful than any one
in the room.  She ought to "develop her faculties."

Florella's heart gave a great leap.  Could she obtain more power to help
him so?

The fear of betraying either his secret or her knowledge of it held her
back.  That, and an instinct that no stranger should intermeddle with
the deep things which filled her with wonder and awe.  She refused to
try, and saved her delicate spirit from risks unknown.  Constancy tried
every experiment, and laughed at them all.  No influence touched her
spirit or shook her nerves.  She got hold of "Planchette," and
manipulated it so cleverly, guessed so keenly, and invented so boldly
that she took in a whole group of not very wise inquirers, who thought
she had developed a surprising power of receptiveness.  She laughed and
held her peace; but Florella still held apart, and the more she saw, the
more she felt that she must guard Guy's experiences from such intrusion.
She found that it would have been very easy to betray them.

It was not in this surface region of easy puzzles and useless surprises
that her soul touched his.

In two or three days' time she received another note from him, hastily
written and much less formal in style.

"It has suddenly come upon me that I have been taking your help without
one thought of what it may cost you to give it.  Why did I never know
before that such help, even to one so innocent as you, must cost pain
and effort?  Never let that be!  Forgive my selfishness; the sympathy
you gave me seemed divine.  But even Divine help costs suffering, and I
should be the worst of all cowards, the most contemptible of traitors,
to let you suffer with me.  You have done so much--enough to win for
ever the thanks of--

"Guy Waynflete."

So then he knew.  He knew that, when she fought for him, she too must
"feel" the foe.  He knew what the strain of self-giving meant.  But
there was no doubt of the answer.  Florella sat down and wrote:--

"Dear Mr Waynflete,--

"I think, if God lets the help go through one, one need not be afraid.
I am not good as you think, but I am not afraid.  God understands it.  I
wish I could help more.  I am very glad you liked the harebells, and I
hope that Mr Staunton will not let you work too hard in this cold
weather.

"Yours truly,--

"Florella Vyner."

Poor little inadequate human words!  Florella finished and directed her
letter, and then she sat down by the fire and cried very much.  She was
not afraid, but it was almost more than her tender soul could bear.  To
be good _enough_ To let every bit of selfishness and silliness and idle
vanity be burnt away by the spiritual fire!  To think largely enough of
so large a thing!

More outside news came through the medium of Christmas letters from the
various Palmer cousins.  The attraction that had kept Godfrey at Kirkton
Hall was freely commented on, and it need hardly be said that it was
well to the front in Constancy's mind when, on paying a New Year's call
on the Stauntons with her aunt and sister, she beheld a tall flaxen head
in dangerous proximity to the chandelier, and recognised it as Godfrey
Waynflete's.

"I have come up on business about the mill while Staunton is still able
to be with my brother," he said, after the stiffest of greetings.

"I am very glad to see you," said Mrs Palmer, cordially.  "Do you know
I want to ask a question?  Are you going to let Waynflete again for the
summer and autumn?  No air ever suited me so well, and as for the
noises, one gets used to them.  I found the old horseman at last quite
companionable."  Suddenly Constancy broke in, in clear, deliberate
tones.

"If you think of going to Waynflete, Aunt Con, I think I'll make a
confession.  It entered into my wicked head, when we stayed at Waynflete
before, to try the effect on my family of supernatural terrors.  I did
most of the ghosts that people heard in the house.  It's very easy to
take people in.  And as I shall probably be in the Tyrol next summer, I
dare say there won't be any mysterious noises."

"Constancy, can I believe you?" exclaimed Mrs Palmer.

Godfrey came and stood in front of her, towering over her chair.

"I must ask you to tell me exactly what you did?" he said sternly.

"Nothing much," interposed Florella.  "I told Mr Waynflete about it
last summer."

"Guy knows?"

"Yes; he knows it was nothing of consequence.  But of course it was very
foolish of us."

"And very amusing," said Constancy, defiantly.

"I hope the inhabitants of Waynflete were frightened enough to afford
you amusement.  In that case, no doubt, it was worth while."

"Oh, amusement is always worth while.  I heard you had a most amusing
Christmas at Kirkton.  And you go back soon, I believe?"

"I should have gone back, Miss Vyner, if my brother had not been too ill
to spare me.  I have explained to my Rilston friends that I am tied to
Ingleby for the present."

Here the Stauntons and Florella struck up the swords of the combatants
by a rush of questions as to their Yorkshire acquaintances, while
Constancy could have bitten out her tongue as she recalled the
commonplace feminine spite of her retort on Godfrey.

"Worse than any Miss Bennet!" she thought, as the discussions of last
summer came back on her memory, and she knew that her sudden confession
had been prompted by the determination to make him notice her at any
cost.

"So, Florella," she said, when the sisters were at home and alone
together, "you needn't have been so angry with me for that bit of frivol
last autumn.  You see he has neither broken his heart nor gone to the
ends of the earth, and given up Waynflete to Guy.  He has got engaged to
Jeanie--and her money."

"You heard him say that his brother wanted him," said Florella, after a
moment.  "How could he go away?"

"Poor Guy!" said Cosy.  "He is a nice fellow.  I hope he won't die of
his heart complaint!  But Flo, speak out!  What would you have done if
you had had such a letter?  I couldn't tell him I liked him--when--when
I didn't mean to."

"I think you do," said Florella, "whether you mean to or not.  But you
might have helped the best side of him to make amends for what he had
done.  You left him all to himself."

"Well," said Cosy, after a half-offended pause, "if I _am_ a fool, at
least I have the sense to know it."

She threw herself into a chair by the fire, and sat staring into the
blaze with her chin on her hands.  She, brilliant, admired, successful,
had done a small and a stupid thing, and her pride was stung by the
knowledge.  The sleeping soul began to stir within her.  Life had been
to her like the music described by hearsay--a sound without a tune.  Her
clever mind had dealt with words and signs, while the undeveloped and
childish spirit had never realised their meaning.  If Godfrey, as she
had sometimes called him, had been "only a great boy," poor Cosy herself
was still but a great girl, and a selfish girl too, shrinking from the
disturbance of passionate emotion.

In such a form she experienced the "conviction of sin," and the change
in her mental outlook was so great that it might well be called a
conversion, as conversions come to such as she.

She got the thought of her own shortcoming quite clear in her mind, as
clear as if it had been a mathematical problem, or the plot of a story.
Then she got up, shook herself together, and went to get ready to recite
at a "slum concert" patronised by some of her friends.

PART THREE, CHAPTER THREE.

SAINT MICHAEL.

Godfrey's brief glimpse of Constancy had sent his "forgetfulness" to the
winds.  He had written a very proper letter to Jeanie's trustee uncle,
telling him, in confidence, the exact state of the Ingleby affairs,
owning that he had made advances which just now were difficult to follow
up, but by which he should consider himself bound in future.  And he
further made it quite plain that he considered himself only master of
Waynflete Hall _de facto_, and not _de jure_.  The answer was also a
very carefully considered composition, and was more encouraging than it
probably would have been, if Guy's health had been considered less
precarious.  A year was skilfully indicated as the time that it might
take Godfrey to "see his way."  Of course there was to be no engagement;
still, at the end of a year, if not before, they would like to hear how
Mr Godfrey was getting on.

"It'll take a deal of bad management to upset Palmer Brothers," said old
Mr Matthew; "and like enough it'll all come to Godfrey."

By this arrangement Godfrey had to abide.  He had tied a clog round his
neck, and it was heavy to carry.  He set himself with dogged resolution
to master the details of business, and in the long evenings the two
brothers looked over their aunt's letters and papers, together with the
relics handed over to the Stauntons by old Miss Maxwell, and which
Cuthbert had given to Guy.

Godfrey, who had been at first reluctant, grew more and more interested
in what he found, and Guy abstained entirely from comment on any of the
facts brought to light, though these explained many things to him.  He
saw that his aunt had had good reason for her anger and alarm, when she
had seen the brandy-bottle in his cupboard, for there were bitter
letters of reproach and warning, the sort of letters that start up
indeed like spectres from the other side of the grave, and in one,
addressed to his father, there was an indication that his own enemy had
been at work, for it consisted of a sharp and angry rebuke to the
unsatisfactory nephew for "excusing his own faults by untruths and
fancies like others before him."  Margaret's own letter had evidently
come back into her hands, but the corresponding one had been destroyed.

They found a few little relics of their mother and grandmother, who had
belonged to the same family, small North-country gentry.  They had been
almost the last of their race, and there were no near cousins left.  The
lads had to make the most of a few bits of needlework, a stiff little
note or two, and a photograph of their mother, of so much weaker a type
that it had left but little impress on their strong Waynflete features.
There were old likenesses, too, of father and grandfather, at which Guy
looked earnestly, and then cast a stealthy glance across the room.

"The same old face," he said, under his breath; while the hand that held
the photograph shook a little.

They also pieced out the family history during its period of eclipse,
realising with something of a shock, at least to Godfrey, how entirely
it had sunk to the working-farmer level.  They learned to know "the rock
from which they were hewn," and their sense of their old great-aunt's
energy and courage increased accordingly.  Godfrey had escaped these
more degrading temptations, and Guy, perhaps, was _quitte pour la peur_.

Godfrey went over to Waynflete, more willingly after these discoveries,
to see what could be done for it, but came back late in the evening in
very low spirits.

He hated the place, he said; the vicar had walked him about, and so had
the bailiff.  The church was tumbling down, and the farms were just
worthless.

"I never saw such a God-forsaken hole," he said.  "I declare, as I came
over that rickety old bridge, through that crooked old plantation, and
those miserable weedy fields, pasture that wouldn't feed a donkey, and
beastly old hay so rotten that nobody had ever thought it worth leading,
I--I wished Aunt Waynflete had let it alone.  I never noticed it much in
the summer.  I didn't notice anything much then, and I suppose it's
pretty; but it took all the heart out of me."

"I dare say it did," said Guy.

"I believe there's a fate against it's coming to good."

"What if there is?" said Guy, sharply.

"Where should we be if Aunt Margaret had stopped to think about fate?"

Godfrey leant over the fire with his elbows on his knees.

"I don't see that she did get the better of fate, after all.
Waynflete's a beastly hole, and there's no money to keep it up, and it's
touch and go with the business, and you have half killed yourself."

"But not quite," said Guy.  "Now, look here, it's disgraceful to own a
place in this condition, and it's got to be pulled round, spite of fate
or fiend either.  Of course the work is not done, when the place is a
sink of iniquity, and the property gone to destruction.  We've got to
finish it.  Come, cheer up; get some supper.  I've got a notion.  We'll
get Clifton to come here, to dine and sleep, and talk matters over.
Don't you play devil's advocate.  He doesn't want one."

Godfrey looked up, half-scared, half-fascinated, into his brother's
face.  There were times when he was more than half afraid of him.

Mr Clifton, a lively and energetic young man, full of plans and
schemes, for which he found Waynflete hardly ripe, came over as invited,
and soon suggested starting a subscription for the repairs of the
church.

"The curious old Norman architecture makes it a county concern," he
said, "and Mrs Waynflete's memory is so much respected that I am sure
people would like to show it by helping us."

"Yes," said Guy, "I expect Mrs John Palmer, our connection, who wishes
to take the house for the summer, would give us something."

Mr Clifton looked much cheered by the notion of a tenant in the shape
of a well-to-do lady.

"We might get a good deal done by Michaelmas," he said.  "I find the
church is dedicated to Saint Michael."

"Is that so?" said Guy, as if struck.

"Yes; I've been looking up the records--and--I believe it's illegal; but
I found some such curious matters in the old registers, that, as they
concern your family, I ventured to bring them with me."

He produced two worm-eaten old volumes, in which he had placed various
marks.

It appeared that the last Waynflete parson had lived to extreme old age.
His death in 1810 was set down, and had been followed by three long
incumbencies of men of the illiterate and not over-reputable class, too
common formerly in the north of England.

"The last was more decent," said the vicar; "but he did nothing.  The
roots of evil are old and deep.  Now, here's a queer thing, noted
comparatively recently by the vicar before last, in 1864.

"Buried _John Outhwaite_.  Stated on his death-bed that, when a lad, he
saw the ghost of one of the old Waynfletes, on Flete Bridge, on an
autumn night.  Probably a trick played on him by a comrade."

"Is there any more?" said Guy, eagerly.

"The ghost of `t' owd Guy' is a tradition in the place," said the vicar;
"but there seems nothing recent at all authenticated."

Next he showed them the entry of the death of the last squire, and of
the luckless Guy, with _Died by His own Hand_, and _Died in Delirium_,
written in crabbed, ill-spelt characters by the parson-brother, and
then--

"It is not to be credited that my Unlucky Nephew saw His Ancestor's
Spirit.  That is the same Idle Tale as was told by Peter Outhwaite when
he came home from Rilston Market, and drowned his horse in the Flete.
Albeit, there is Waynflete blood in the Outhwaites, for my Grandfather
and his brother were Wild Youths.  We be more Prudent now."

"Ha!" said Guy, drawing a long breath.  "I could not understand how
these Outhwaites could see him.  That soft lad is an Outhwaite, isn't
he?  Is he the last of them?"

"Yes, except his old mother.  She is a character, and very proud of her
family.  Her contempt for me is considerable.  But poor Jem is an
institution, and believes himself a pillar of the church.  He is a good
fellow in his way."

"You spoke of enlarging the churchyard," said Guy, suddenly, "if we--if
my brother gave the ground.  Couldn't the wall come down, and the last
squire's grave be included?  He could be forgiven now, couldn't he?"

"Surely," said the vicar.  "If the ground were given, it could be done
easily."

"Of course," said Godfrey, briefly.  "What else ought we to do?"

Then the vicar unfolded his cherished scheme.  The lease was just out of
the Dragon, "that rowdy little public in Flete Dale, a curse to the
place in every way, and the centre of mischief."  If Mr Waynflete would
refuse to renew the lease--that was the place he should like for club,
coffee-tavern, everything; several rooms--one large--the lads,
unluckily, used to going there.  "We should turn the devil's flank on
his own ground."

As the young clergyman expounded the details of the newest and most
up-to-date recipe for social, moral, and religious improvement, Guy
moved the hand with which--it was a trick he had--he was shading his
eyes, and looked him full in the face with such a gaze as brought him
suddenly to a dead stop, a look of awe, inspiration, and resolute daring
beyond description.

"That's right.  That shall be done!" he said.  "That _will_ turn the
devil's flank!"

Mr Clifton believed quite orthodoxly in the devil; but he had used his
name at the moment more or less metaphorically.  He felt as he looked at
Guy, as he had never felt before, that "improving" his parish meant
literally dragging it away from the power of evil.

"The place won't answer in that depressing hole," said Godfrey.  "It
gives one the shivers to think of it."

"It'll answer, if we're not afraid," said Guy.

It was not surprising, on any grounds, that he had a bad fit of
palpitation and faintness that night, after the long discussion was
over.

"I must lie still," he said in the morning; "but bring Clifton here
before he goes.  I want to speak to him."

"I am afraid I over-tired you last night," said the vicar, penitently,
when he obeyed this summons.

Guy was lying back on his pillows, with the winter morning sun shining
through his unshaded window, full on his hair and face.

"Thanks--it couldn't possibly be helped," he said.  "It doesn't matter.
You're quite right about the Dragon.  Don't give the notion up.  You
know we have neither of us much money, but we'll help.  And you're right
about the subscription.  Every one that lends a hand brings more force
to help."

"We must give a long pull and a strong pull and a pull all together,"
said the vicar, cheerily.

"Yes," said Guy, with a vivid smile.  "Now I understand that.  And when
we have won, you could paint in Michael above the Dragon, beating him
down under his feet."

"Surely, most appropriate in Saint Michael's parish.  Oh, I felt very
much out of heart before; but you have greatly encouraged me, and I hope
and pray that we may make some way now."

"Pray?" said Guy.  "Yes.  That's a very hard thing to do; but it makes a
great difference."

And the young vicar, as he looked into Guy's eyes, felt for the first
time that he understood what was meant by "_wrestling_ in prayer."  He
was so much impressed that he could make no sort of obvious and natural
answer.  He was silent for a moment, and then said--

"You will tell me every idea that occurs to you?  I shall be too
grateful.  And--when you are strong enough--if the Hall is occupied, or
uninhabitable, do come to the Vicarage.  I've made that weather-tight,
and--you could see everything for yourself."

"Thanks," said Guy; "I think I could do that--I will, sometime.  And
Godfrey will be coming over about the repairs."

To Godfrey it was a distinct relief when Guy called him after the
visitor was gone, and dictated the letter to be written to the agent of
the Australian sheep-farmers, who supplied the mill with raw wool, and
who had not supplied it in the past, according to the samples offered.
Palmer Brothers did not intend to be cheated in the future.

Then Guy was left alone in the wintry sunshine to think over the past
night.

"The Enemy"--as he phrased it--had indeed come to him as before; but he
had not been afraid, for, in the same inward region of unspeakable
experience, he had felt for the first time, the presence of a Friend.

PART THREE, CHAPTER FOUR.

THE FAMILY FACE.

Mrs John Palmer replied by a handsome subscription to the letter
informing her of the condition of Waynflete church.  "Miss S.J.  Palmer"
sent fifty pounds as a tribute to her dear aunt's memory, from the
Riviera, where she had gone with her mother; and others of the family
and neighbours came forward liberally enough to put Mr Clifton in very
high spirits.  Miss Florella Vyner offered a modest five pounds, and,
finally, Constancy sent fifteen, being the entire fruit of the story
that had come into being at Moorhead.  She sent it to Guy, and stated
that it was a token of affection for dear Mrs Waynflete; but it was,
perhaps, something of a sin-offering as well.

Godfrey beheld her contribution with strange thrills.  He was pleased,
and yet life was harder after he had read, and secreted her little note,
on the loss of which Guy did not comment.

Life could not be very easy.  Apart from his own troubles, there was a
strain in living with any one in such a state of nervous tension as Guy,
carefully as the elder brother controlled himself.  His very reticence
began to have an effect on Godfrey, and though he himself felt more and
more the blessing of comparative inward peace, he could not but suffer
much from the outward trial, and once his carefully maintained caution
gave way, and he made a great mistake.

"Look here," he said one morning in the early spring, as he studied his
letters, "I asked Clifton to get this done for me."

"What?" said Godfrey, looking.  "A photo graph?  Oh, that picture.  What
did you want it for?"

"You don't mind?  I wanted really to see it."

"It's not much like you now," said Godfrey.  Guy got up, and, unlocking
a drawer, he laid a row of small objects on the table, setting the
photograph of the Waynflete picture beside them.

These were the old likenesses of their father and grandfather, a
handsome, well-set-up photograph of himself taken at Oxford, and another
more recent one.

"Oh, I say," said Godfrey, "why did you sit when you were looking so
ill?  Yes, there's a good deal of likeness; but, oh, chuck this one with
the eyes into the fire--I don't like it.  Eh!  What's this?  Have you
been drawing yourself?  You have made yourself look quite fiendish."

Guy had laid a rough pen-and-ink outline beside the line of photographs.
They certainly formed a curious study of a persistent type, but the
last photograph of the living Guy seemed to blot the others out, the
mournful eyes were so full of terrible suggestion, the mocking lips were
set into lines of so much stronger purpose.  And the drawing repeated
the photograph with a difference.

"What?" said Godfrey, as Guy's silence suddenly suggested an idea to
him.  "What?  Do you mean that--the ghost--your bogie--looks like that?"

"Yes," said Guy, "I think so."

Godfrey swept the pictures together with an angry motion.  He had
believed in the ghost, but somehow this definite presentment struck a
sudden scepticism into him.

"Oh, come," he said, "nonsense!  You never ought to look at them.  It's
very bad for you.  You may get to fancy anything."

Guy gave him an odd look of comprehension.

"Never mind," he said quietly, "I ought not to have brought them out.
They won't hurt me.  Here's quite another matter.  You've managed those
Devonshire dyers very well.  They're coming round to our terms.  See."

In the gentle steady look with which Guy spoke these encouraging words,
the likeness to these wild versions of the family face was lost; but
Godfrey had received a shock.  In the instinctive recoil of his being
from the incredible horror, he doubted Guy's sanity, even his truth; he
shrank from him, even while he loyally obeyed him, and did all he knew
for his comfort.  And yet as the slow days wore on, in close contact
with his brother, an awful sense of comprehension began to steal into
him.  He too was a son of the Waynfletes; he too had been tempted, was
tempted hourly to give up the hateful drudgery, to shake off the fate to
which he was bound.  He began to understand Guy.  And though Guy
controlled not only his face and words, but his very thoughts, before
Godfrey, the mischief was done.  Guy's very presence filled him with
weird suggestions.  It struck him that _that other figure must be there
too_, and the longing for escape became almost irresistible, a longing
much intensified when he received the following letter from Mrs Joshua
Palmer, one Saturday, by the second post--

"Jeanie enjoys the new places and the amusements of hotel life, and I
may say, without a mother's vanity, that she is greatly admired; but I
think she loves her old friends, and has enjoyed nothing so much as her
Christmas at Raby.  We are most glad to hear that the Ingleby business
is prosperous, and that Guy is stronger, and we look forward to seeing
you on our return from abroad, my dear Godfrey, with great pleasure.
Jeanie hears from a Rilston friend, who has a cousin at Constancy
Vyner's college, that there is a very learned professor there who
admires her very much, and that when she has taken her degree they will
be married, a very suitable arrangement; but I am an old-fashioned,
ignorant person, and I don't think that these new studies teach girls
how to make home happy, and I am glad dear Jeanie has simpler tastes."

Godfrey flung the letter down, and tore open another.  It was from a
college friend in Queensland, and gave a lively picture of the life of a
sheep-farmer.

"Come out and join me," it said; "let your brother manage the business.
He can buy our wool, and we'll make a good thing of it."

If he could but go, and escape from his misery!  He looked up and
started violently as he saw Guy standing beside him, watching him with
his intent, searching look.

"I've been having a turn with Rawdie," he said, and sat down by the
fire, still looking at Godfrey, under his hand.

There was a short silence, and then suddenly, without warning, Godfrey
burst out.

"I see no good in all this work, nor in anything else.  I believe there
_is_ a curse upon us.  We'd better cut each other's throats."

"That's what I want to talk about," said Guy; "not about cutting
throats, but because I know you're in a bad way.  I've been thinking a
great deal about you.  What's the matter?"

Then Godfrey showed his two letters, and in confused words, helped out
by Guy's questions, he told that he loved Constancy to distraction, that
she had failed him in his hour of need, that Jeanie was his inevitable
fate, and, finally, that he wanted to run away.  He hated Waynflete--no,
not only because of the way he had got it, but because--well, there was
something--Waynflete took the heart out of him.  Guy leant forward and
looked hard into his brother's face.

"We have got to go down to the bottom of it together," he said.  "It
won't do to be afraid of one's thoughts.  There are no other ghosts so
fatal.  And as for cutting one's throat, no doubt it's simple, but how
about when it's done?"

"Guy," said Godfrey, hurriedly, "do you--do you really see that Thing--
you showed me?"

"Yes," said Guy, gently; "but that has nothing at all to do with you.
That is only a nervous affection, wholly physical.  It has no existence
whatever for you."

"But you said you had seen the ghost?"

"I believe," said Guy, choosing his words carefully, "that I have gone
through experiences, not new in our family, and to which our
constitutions make us liable.  It's an unusual kind of thing, but there
are other cases on record.  As to what agency causes these delusions and
visions--I use both words advisedly--I am not prepared to say.  As to
the Waynflete traditions, it is my belief that there is some connection
between these experiences and the place where they occur, and the people
to whom they happen, somehow, where nerves and Spirit and the hidden
forces of Nature meet.  I know no more, and I don't think they'll fall
to your share."

The definite words, the composed manner steadied Godfrey's spirit.  He
had felt the brush of the unseen wings, and he was able to recognise
what Guy meant.

"There is something more," said Guy.  "It is under these forms of
experience that _I_ have had to resist temptation.  Temptation is common
to man, but some of us are made so as to _know_ when it tears soul and
spirit--yes, and body, asunder.  But it's just as hard, no doubt, for
other people to keep their heads above water as for me.  But," he paused
and hesitated; then went on in still quieter tones, "whatever men, in
all ages and all places, have meant by spiritual experience, what they
meant when they said that they were `tempted of the devil,' that I have
known, and I know.  And I know, also, what they meant when they said
that the Lord had delivered them out of his hands.  And I thank God for
the knowledge, even if it came by fire!  Remember that!  But as for you,
the devil, or what he stands for, would give you just as much trouble in
Queensland as here.  You're not married to Jeanie yet, nor even engaged
to her.  And you promised not to leave me alone with the ghosts."

Guy's manner was so reticent and calm that Godfrey hardly grasped at
once all the force of what he had said.  He leant his head on his hands,
and was silent for some minutes.  Then he said, not very steadily--

"If I left you now, I should be a deserter.  But I nearly did.  And you
know what I did do--as to you--and what a fool I was at Christmas.  Some
day I shall knock under."

"No, you won't," said Guy; "you'll stick to your colours.  You'll stand
by me."

Godfrey nodded; he still sat with hidden face.  Guy laid a hand on his
shoulder.

"Poor old lad!" he said.  "I'd rather fight seven devils, more wicked
than the first, than have my angel fail me!  But, Godfrey, stick to
this.  Never mind _what_ the fate or the curse may be.  We have to fight
it, and, God helping us, we _can_.  And I've no reason to suppose that
the fight would be over, even if we had cut our throats, and been--
gathered to our fathers.  If it were, it would be a dirty trick to turn
tail and leave the fiends--or the bailiffs--in possession at Waynflete."

Poor Godfrey looked hardly reassured by this suggestive speech; but
suddenly Guy's face softened, and he said, pleadingly--

"Don't make me into a bugbear, old boy; it's rather hard, and there's
really no occasion."

"I should be a confounded fool if I did," said Godfrey, with some
embarrassment.  "No, I'll not turn tail.  I'll stick to the shop."

He kept his promise manfully; but it was a relief to both brothers when
Easter week brought Cuthbert Staunton for a flying visit.  He was going
abroad, he said, to look up materials for a set of lectures on the
sources of English culture.  He had set his heart on getting Guy to come
with him.

"We'll take it easy," he said; "and drop all the bogies in the Channel
as we go."

"Paradise wouldn't be in it," said Guy, with a long breath.  "But no;
first I must go to Waynflete."

"I don't approve of that move."

"I'm much better, and I mean to go."

"That's always conclusive."

"Well, I know best.  But by-and-by--Poor Godfrey frames very well to the
business.  Perhaps he would be better without me.  I say, is Constancy
Vyner really going to marry a learned professor?"

"Not that I know of.  She is going abroad with my sisters, as soon as
the term is over.  She is not coming to Waynflete, and that, perhaps, is
best."

"Well, I don't know.  I think the heavens will have to fall some time."

"Florella Vyner has a sweet little drawing, which she means for the
Academy.  `Above the Stars'--a ditch full of wide-open celandines."

"Does she come to Waynflete?"

"I believe so--to study primroses," said Cuthbert, sedately.

Guy pulled Rawdie's ears, and said nothing; but Cuthbert ceased to
oppose his intention of accepting Mr Clifton's invitation, and looking
after the improvements for himself.

PART THREE, CHAPTER FIVE.

T' OWD GEN'LEMAN.

Guy went to Waynflete.  The sweet, clear atmosphere, fresh from the
moors, delighted him, and he felt daily stronger and better, while his
inborn love for the home of his fathers withstood all painful
associations.  On his little rough pony, with Rawdie beside him he
appeared suddenly in the fields and lanes, like "t' owd Guy hissel," as
Jem Outhwaite's old mother declared.

"Eh! but we've got a master!" one old man said, quite unimpressed by
Guy's careful quoting of his brother's name, as he gave orders about
repairs and improvements, and made himself acquainted with every
dilapidation.  He bearded old Cowperthwaite, the publican of the Dragon,
in his den, resisted the telling plea that Cowperthwaites had kept the
Dragon before Waynfletes lost the Hall, and refused him the renewal of
his lease at Michaelmas on the ground of disorder and disreputableness,
and of various poaching scandals, which he hunted up as diligently as if
old Margaret had bought back Waynflete for the single purpose of
preserving its game.  It was a proceeding calculated to bring a hornet's
nest about Godfrey's ears; but Guy was as determined as if no other spot
in the valley would have served for a village club.  His aims were so
visionary, and his methods of carrying them out so practical, that the
vicar felt as if two men were working beside him.  Guy knew nothing of
the parochial side of a country squire's life; but he hunted down the
old Dragon, as if turning a public-house into a coffee-tavern was his
life work.

One glorious morning of spring and promise, as he was riding in and out
of the lanes in the valley, his pony cast a shoe.  He took him into the
forge, which was close to the Dragon, to have him re-shod, and, while he
waited, strolled on by the side of the dancing, laughing beck towards
the old footbridge.  In this blue and sunny air, when the once weird and
desolate wood was beginning to swell with living green, when the birds
were singing, and the earth was full of life, he felt able to look again
on the scene of his trial.

He saw the rocky field down which he had stumbled in weary haste, now
fresh and green, with a dozen or so of little black-faced lambs skipping
about on it.  The sunlight shot through and through the opposite wood,
now bright and delicate with primroses and anemones; the sky was of
cold, but radiant blue.  Rawdie pricked his long black ears, and watched
the lambs with deep interest, but with admirable self-restraint.

Guy sat down on a bit of broken wall at the foot of the field, and
looked across the river.  The haunted hollow was lovely with all the
rough charm of the north; for Guy it had the charm of home.

"New heavens and a new earth!" he thought.

"Good day t' ye, Mr Waynflete!"

He turned with a start, and saw a tall old woman, with a red shawl over
her head and a handsome, weather-beaten face.

"Good day," he said.  "Mrs Outhwaite, isn't it?"

"Ay, sir.  Margaret Outhwaite's my name.  My old man and I were
cousins--I'm as good as the last of 'em.  Ye'll ha' heard, sir, maybe,
that the Outhwaites ha' the reet to see t' owd Guy--_him as walks_--as
John Outhwaite, my husband, could have told ye."

"Ay!" said Guy.  "So I've heard.  Won't you sit down, and tell me about
it?"

"Nay, I'll stand.  But sit ye down, sir; ye look but poorly.  Ay?  Ye'll
maybe have had a _warstle_ wi' him yersell.  Eh--ay?  John saw him, here
on t' brig.  He held to it--at his death, and said 'twas a warning.  Eh
dear--he never took it!"

"Did you ever see him yourself?" asked Guy.

"Nay--I never saw un; the Lord's left un no room.  Eh, sir, have ye got
religion?"

"Not quite," said Guy.

"Eh, sir, ye mun get it; ye're the sort to need it."

"I do," said Guy; "that's so."

"Sithee," said the old woman, resting the basket she carried on the
wall, and dropping the tone of honest pride with which she had spoken of
her family's share in the Waynflete ghost, for a coaxing whisper,
"sithee, Mr Waynflete.  There's my lad; he's a bit soft is Jemmy; but
he can do a job of work; he can use a besom wi' the best, and he've
fettled up t' kirk for t' oud sexton, and pu'd t' bell and fetched t'
watter for t' christenings, these twenty year.  But this 'ere vicar he's
a stranger.  Now, Mr Waynflete, canna' ye speak a word for my lad, t'
last Outhwaite as Waynflete'll ever see.  T' vicar, he knows nought o'
Waynflete, and 'twas from the Glory Hallelujah men I got salvation.  But
'tis all the same, sithee, t' kirk's never opened without my Jem, and I
doubt na the Lord speaks to his saul.  Eh, here a be; I've been a
looking for him.  He's feared to cross t' brig by 'issell.  There's no
telling, there's no telling, sir, what t' ow'd Guy may have done to
him."

Jem, still with the weird boyishness that often clings to those of
imperfect intellect, came shambling down the path from the Dragon.

"T' pony's shod," he said, in a high, cracked voice, as he came in
sight.

"Thanks," said Guy, moving.  "Good day to you, Mrs Outhwaite; I'll see
the vicar."

The sunny valley had lost its smile, and for the moment Guy yielded to
his sudden sense of shrinking distaste, and hurried on without a
backward glance.  This burlesque of his most inward and individual
experience gave him a new sensation.  He took his pony, and rode on up
the hill to the church, where the vicar was watching the placing of the
new grey slabs of stone, in place of the broken ones on the high-pitched
roof.  Guy tied up his pony, and sitting down on a flat tombstone,
looked on also.

"Peter cast a shoe," he said; "and Mrs Outhwaite has been pleading for
Jem's place as second grave-digger."

"Oh, of course, one must let him literally `fool around' as long as he
can.  His mother is pretty much of a Ranter; but so is every one here
with any religion.  How else would they have got it?  She watches over
poor Jemmy.  Now and then he gets drunk at the Dragon.  It'll be a good
day for him when we close it.  He's a nervous, timid creature; I've seen
him shiver and shake sometimes in a way that was pitiful."

"The mother says t' owd Guy scared him."

"Oh, well," said the vicar, "I believe that tradition would have died
out long ago but for old Peggy Outhwaite.  She takes a pride in it.  `T'
owd Guy' is used as a sort of bogie to frighten the children; I've heard
a mother say, `T' owd Guy'll get ye.'  It's a sort of proverb."

Guy made no answer; but he reflected that Mr Clifton was a
South-country stranger, to whom the natives did not confide their inmost
beliefs, and, being himself a North-country man, and no stranger, he
enjoyed this opinion in silence.  He started a little when he turned and
saw the subject of the conversation standing close by him, touching his
cap, and smiling at him, a slow, foolish smile.

"So you're come to look after the church?" said Guy.

"When t' church is fettled oop, me and sexton'll have new clothes," he
said, in a cracked but confidential whisper.

"That'll be fine," said Guy, good-naturedly.

Jem grinned, nodded, and shambled off again; but, from that day forward,
he attached himself to Guy with curious persistency, watching for his
coming, starting up unexpectedly to hold the pony, made happy by a word
or smile.  He followed Guy as closely, and more humbly than Rawdie.

So it came to pass that, on the morning after her arrival with her aunt
at the Hall, Florella, having found her way into part of the wood that
covered Flete Edge, heard a sharp bark, and beheld Rawdie come scurrying
over last year's leaves and this year's primroses, till a shrill whistle
stopped him short.

Florella stood still also, as, coming across a clearing in the
underwood, she saw Guy riding his little rough pony, and behind him,
like a shadow, the grotesque figure of Jem Outhwaite.  They were a
strange and unusual pair, with the grotesque little dog for a herald.

Guy sprang off the pony, and came forward with an eager greeting.

"We knew you were coming yesterday," he said.  "Clifton and I meant to
call this afternoon.  I am so glad I am still here.  Oh yes," as she
murmured an inquiry and a greeting, "I am quite strong now."

After a few more sentences, he paused and said, with a smile, and a
little shyness, "I want to show you something."

He led her a few steps aside, along a little foot-track towards a bank,
covered all over with the long trails and open flowers of the smaller
periwinkle.

"There!" he said.  "I have been watching these every day, to see if they
would be ready for you.  The spring blue-bells won't be here for a long
time; but these--they are blue--they are like stars--won't they make a
picture?"

"They are just what I wanted to see," she said.  "I have hardly ever
been in the country in spring."

"Let me get you some to take home and learn them.  When I look at
flowers, I almost think of how you will see them, and then I know how
pretty they are."

He put the long sprays into her hand, and they looked into one another's
eyes, and felt nothing but the spring, the flowers, and each other's
presence.

At first Guy wished for no more.  He did not try to draw Florella more
closely into his inner life, she made the outer one so fair.  It was
delightful to see her cut cake and pour out tea, to hear her chat to her
aunt, or play with Rawdie, and when, at Mr Clifton's suggestion, she
undertook some little kindnesses to a few old women, a little notice of
some rough girls, when she put her hand to the help of Waynflete, it
seemed to Guy in truth like the descent of an angel.

A sweet and natural magic drowned the dark hues of his soul in rainbow
tints.  From the moment when he knew himself to love her, his inward
appeal to her paused.  So far as he knew, he had been to her but a soul
in distress, and now he had a foolish, pathetic impulse to come to her
in sunshine and flowers, to please her fancy, not to move her pity.  So
surely, he might touch her heart, just touch it--one day he might
perhaps win it outright.

And she?  She never "saw" his thoughts now; how could she, when the
sight of his face blotted them out?  She did not even get on very fast
with painting his periwinkles.  One little word about his trouble would
have been sweeter to her than the bluest of blue flowers; the very word
he was so careful not to speak.

For his blissful content did not last very long.  Surface intercourse,
however sweet, could not long be sufficient for him.  He could not come
to her as any other wooer might have done, and, if he could, he would
not.  He never swerved from his conviction, that until he was free from
every trace of his strange bondage, he must never seek to take her to
himself.  "Why, Godfrey had not been able to stand the knowledge of his
secret, should he inflict it upon her?"  So he was distant and reserved,
and gave her pain far worse than any that his confidence could have cost
her.

But he himself was full of eager hope; and hope, doubtful of fulfilment,
though a very good thing in its way, is something of a foe to patience.

PART THREE, CHAPTER SIX.

HOPES AND FEARS.

But Art is impersonal.  Downy palms and snown blackthorn may be offered
to an artist as subjects for a sketch, just as well as if they would not
also serve as tokens of love and hope.  As Guy, one sunny morning,
followed the path that all through Flete Dale led along by the
riverside, he suffered no bud or blossom that indicated the coming of
his tardy northern spring to escape him.  As he gathered and combined
them, it struck him that the glory of them was in the relief of their
delicate tints and airy forms in the cold spring sunshine, against the
pale spring sky, and that the thing would be to show them to Florella
where they grew.

And, turning round a great tangle of rosy stems and shining brown buds,
he saw her in the brown dress that had a sort of woodland tinting, and
suited her, he thought, as well as harebell blue.  She was listening to
a tall, strong-limbed girl, with the handsome features and wind-blown
complexion of the district, picturesquely set off by the yellow
handkerchief which she wore on her head, listening with a troubled face.
Her companion's face was quite impassive, though there was a melancholy
tone in her voice, as at sight of Guy, she turned off with a "Good day
t'ye, sir."

"Is that one of the girls you have been making friends with?" he said,
after he had offered his spring buds to Florella, and she had taken them
smiling, but still with wistful eyes.

"Yes.  But I feel so ignorant and stupid with them.  It is difficult
quite to understand."  It was still more difficult, it was impossible to
keep on the surface of things, when these two were together.  But
perhaps the inhabitants of Waynflete might be treated as an abstract
subject, like the spring flowers.  Rawdie thought that the discussion of
their needs might occupy some time, and went off to investigate
water-rats and other objects of interest.

"They talk to you, of course," said Guy.  "But no other stranger would
get a word out of our folks."

"They don't talk much," she answered.  "But, one seems half to find
out--and then one comes across such real troubles, and temptations.  It
seems so hard."

"But, Clifton shouldn't!" exclaimed Guy, with a sudden change.  "There
are very few people here fit for _you_ to have anything to do with."

"Oh, not that," said Florella.  "But, you see, I haven't known much of
any one but girls of my own sort.  A friend of mine looks after a girl's
club in London, and some of us go to teach French and drawing there, or
to sing.  She thinks every one ought to spread whatever good things they
may have.  But it isn't French and drawing that these girls want!"

"Do tell me just what you mean?" he said entreatingly, as they walked
slowly on by the riverside.

"I mean," she said, with a glow at thus taking counsel with him, which
he little guessed, "that girls like me, tell each other their troubles,
and we try to help each other, and sometimes we can.  But one finds out
much worse sorrows and trials than we ever have."

"That is what you ought to have nothing to do with!" exclaimed Guy,
imperatively.

"But," she said, "you can't help people just by being sorry for them in
a general way.  You have got to _feel_ in _yourself_ just what they
feel.  So one must try to understand them."

Guy was silent.  He could not keep his angel to himself.  The more
divine was the help she gave him, the more freely it must flow.  He felt
responsible for the welfare of Waynflete; he knew that he did not fight
his battle for himself alone; but she had no obligations but the impulse
to give herself in helpful love.  She touched the flowers in her hand,
and, with a sudden smile, said--

"You know, one has to `see.'"

"Yes," he said, gravely.  "Well!  So the world was saved!"

She had given him the thought; but to herself it was new.  She could not
speak; while Guy felt for the moment as if the power to understand her
had been cheaply bought by all the agony of his own experience.

They were brought suddenly back to earth again, to the spring flowers
and the sunlight, and to the squalid cottages across the field, by wild
and frantic barks from Rawdie, who rushed into view, wet and muddy, with
a large rat in his mouth, while Jem Outhwaite, climbing up the bank
behind him, cried out triumphantly, "He've got 'im, sir; he've got 'im
hissel'!"

Rawdie went home in a state of absolute self-satisfaction.  For Guy, it
had been a moment for which to live; but, such are the conditions of
this poor mortal life, that it was followed by a great reaction, by
passionate longings to take this beloved maiden to himself, by the old
disgust at all that was abnormal in his fate.  He soon went back to
Ingleby, where he puzzled Godfrey by fitful spirits, intermittent
efforts to seem more like other people, and by hours of gloom and
silence.  The mental fever quieted down after a time, or perhaps he
learnt to endure it.

But Florella was happier for the moment of approach.  They had not
ceased to understand each other.  She could not paint the sun on the
spring flowers, she could not satisfy herself with any tint with which
she tried to match them.  But, if light and hue escaped her, she could
seize on their form, and she made delicate and exquisite pen-and-ink
sketches of every swelling leaf and bursting bud.

She went, also, and stood on the bridge which she had seen in vision on
that murky autumn evening, when her soul had followed Guy's through its
strange encounter.  She looked at the laughing, living water, sparkling
in the spring sunshine, and at the woods, now fresh and green.  It was
the fairest spot that ever was cursed by haunting memories.  And yet, in
the midst of all its sweetness, she felt conscious of something that she
did not see, that eluded any insight that she might possess.  And she
did make some friends, and took into her heart some troubles, and learnt
to love the weird and lovely place, because Guy loved it so much.  She
did not regret the London season which she was missing; she would not go
and stay with the Stauntons to see the pictures; there were pictures
enough in the woods, such as she had never seen before.

Once Godfrey came over on business about the estate, and came to call.
He had lost his boyish manner, and had caught his brother's gravity and
reticence.

"Ah!" said Mrs Palmer, afterwards, when he had somehow extracted the
fact that Constancy was working hard at college, and thinking of nothing
but her examinations, "I've always known that boy admired Cosy.  He's
too young for her, and Ingleby wouldn't suit her at all.  But clever
girls often take to handsome men with nothing in them."

"But Godfrey Waynflete has a good deal in him, Aunt Con."

"Well, he hasn't much to say.  I expect Guy was too clever for old Mrs
Waynflete, and wouldn't give her her own way.  But what Cosy will do
when she comes home, I can't think.  She'll never find enough to occupy
her talents.  I wish she would marry--some one who could give her a
career."

Florella did not pass over to her aunt a letter which she had just
received from Constancy.

That Florella had powers of an unusual kind, except for painting, was an
idea that had never formulated itself in the elder girl's mind.
Nevertheless, she was always open with her, and was never quite happy
under her disapproval.  She wrote--

"People ought not to have to decide on their future lives till they are
thirty at least.  I feel so extremely young sometimes.  It's much easier
to learn moral philosophy than to find it make any difference in one's
life.  I shall go in for society, and see if that has a developing
effect.  New sorts of people teach one more than hooks.  I got heaps of
ideas from Mrs Waynflete.  All that business life was so new to one.  I
do like meeting new kinds of people.  Every one here is so groovy.
University life is very narrow.  It is much more original and
interesting, if you have brains, to spend them on doing than on
learning.  Mrs Waynflete was far cleverer than any literary woman.  I
am glad Guy is better, and that `Mr Godfra',' as old Cooper called him,
is being such a good boy, and minding his business.  If you can manage a
_private_ interview with Rawdie, you might give him my love.  The only
thing I regret in the events of last summer, is that that enchanting
beast's former master promised to get me a similar puppy.  And now that
chance is lost to me for ever.  Well, I have no more time.  If I don't
come a cropper, I believe Miss --, will offer me a lectureship here.
Only in _that_ way shall I think of coming back again.  But I think a
London winter would pay best.  The tour with the Stauntons is the next
thing, at any rate, and I mean to enjoy that to my heart's content."
Florella mused over this letter.  She thought it significant that Cosy
should find time to speculate on life, when her final examination was
imminent, and she understood the veiled allusion to the attentive
professor, whose attentions, though she did not know it, had been so
carefully brought to Godfrey's notice by Cousin Susan.  She had always
thought that Cosy had liked Godfrey better than she had chosen to
confess.  But she had done her best to offend him, and with her sister
he was stiff and shy.  Besides, there was a general belief that he was
engaged to Jeanie.  He did not look very happy, and Guy had never
dropped a hint of such an arrangement, and always managed to put Godfrey
in a favourable light, in any chance mention of his name.

But Florella had heard Cuthbert Staunton call him a "young ruffian," and
she could not think him good enough for her brilliant sister.  He was
certainly on Constancy's conscience; but whether he was also on her
heart, was a different matter.  On the whole, Florella hoped not.

PART THREE, CHAPTER SEVEN.

LIFE AND DEATH.

Constancy's college career ended, as had always been anticipated, with
credit, and even with a share of renown.  She helped to prove the power
of her sex to compete for laurels formerly reserved for the other, and
she was made much of accordingly.  She was very much pleased, and not
greatly surprised, for the kind of power that she possessed is rarely
unconscious.  It was not through the sense of intellectual failure that
the gospel was to come to her.  She was not even tired with the hard
work, only ready for a holiday, and Kitty and Violet Staunton were glad
enough to share it with her.

So off they went, prepared for every sort of exercise and adventure.
After about a fortnight of successful sight-seeing the three ladies
found themselves in a charming little settlement in a broad mountain
valley, which we will here call Zwei-brucken, where cool green rivers
rushed through green fields and flowed from the heart of dark,
snow-tipped mountains.  There were large fawn-coloured oxen and little
fawn-coloured goats, houses surprisingly like toy Swiss cottages, and a
new hotel in the same style, with the usual variety of tourists.  It was
a centre for mountain ascents and for excursions, and Constancy and
Violet sat under a wide verandah, on the afternoon of their arrival, and
watched the groups of travellers.

"Don't you remember," said Constancy, "talking about the feeling of
London?  What's the feeling of this?  It's green, it's cool, it's windy,
it's rushing and fresh."

"When Guy Waynflete came in in the middle, and we settled about
Moorhead," said Violet, "I was provoked with him this year for not going
abroad when he promised, for Cuthbert simply buried himself in the
British Museum, and said all the sources of culture were to be found
there."

Constancy did not answer; she had fallen into a dream.  She leant her
chin on her hand, and looked over the wide valley, while into her open
eyes there came the same look with which Florella "saw" the picture in
her flowers.  At such moments there was a promise for the future in
Constancy's young face of which, with all her successes, the present had
shown no performance.  Suddenly her intent look brightened.

"The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty," she exclaimed.  "You can't get
`back of that.'  Free, free, free!  That's the feeling of it!  The
river, the wind, the sky--every one out on a holiday, and--the curate
there in his flannels, how he enjoys them.  It makes one a little mad--
Why, Vi!  Good gracious!"

For Violet, in startling confirmation of the last words, had suddenly
rushed forward and launched herself on the neck of a young man in brown
tweed, who was coming up the steps of the verandah.

"Cuth, Cuth!  Oh, how lovely!  Oh, did you know we were here?"

"I have known long enough to mitigate my alarm at your greeting.  Your
letters were at the post-office.  Yes--here we are.  How do you do, Miss
Vyner?"

"I shall believe in brain-waves in future," said Constancy, as she gave
him her hand.  "I had just recalled a conversation with you and Mr
Waynflete, and I see you coming.  Is he with you?"

"Yes, at last.  His brother thought him overworked, and very sensibly
wrote to me to come and carry him off.  There he is."

Constancy had not seen Guy for more than nine months, her last
remembrance of him was among the dancers at the Kirkton Hall
garden-party, and she realised at once, as he came along the verandah,
that the slight youth with his pathetic eyes had grown into a very
remarkable person.

"Why--he looks like a mystic, or a martyr!" she thought.  "No wonder
people turn and look at him.  It's a startling face."

Guy's greeting was, however, simple enough.  He was cordial, but he
smiled his little reserved smile as he said--

"Yes, it was very good of Staunton to wait for me.  I couldn't get away
before.  When I go back, I hope Godfrey will go to Scotland and get some
shooting."

"And Rawdie?  Is he thriving?  And have you seen my aunt and Florella?
Are they quite settled at Waynflete?"

Guy answered appropriately, and presently took his letters, and went
away to study them.

He was still sitting in a quiet corner of the verandah, when Staunton,
who had remained to exchange news and plans with his sisters, came in
search of him.

"The girls are getting coffee," he said, "and then they are going to
stroll out and see the bridges.  Will you come?"

"Better not.  I walk so slowly.  I'll come and meet you."

"Come now," said Cuthbert.  "This trip isn't quite answering for you.
What is it?  You must tell me just what you like."

"Well--new places and so many changing people worry me.  _He_--it looks
uncommonly grim and grotesque in new combinations.  It spoils the look
of the world.  It's a little queer, you know, and tiring.  I'm much
stronger, really; I can do what I've got to do.  But I expect that's
about all.  It's months since the real trouble touched me; but I think
there's something more to come--some day."

"Suppose we find some more out-of-the-way place, and stay there quietly.
What you really want is rest."

"No.  I like this place, and everything is really going on well with us.
Godfrey shall get out of his hole yet.  Oh no, I'm not beaten.  We're
not going to the dogs ourselves, nor is Waynflete.  And as for other
things--well--the world goes wrong with others."

He glanced at Cuthbert for a moment, then sat upright, and said--

"It won't do, of course, to shirk any of it.  I'll come.  I want to
cultivate Miss Constancy, and improve my mind."

Cuthbert made no demur.  He thought that the change, however painful,
had not come a moment too soon.  He had never favoured the notion of a
definite task to be accomplished; a definite foe to be conquered.  He
could not square such a view with any habit of his mind.  But Guy had
certainly accomplished something.  Was it given to man to do so much,
and yet to have more?  Cuthbert knew well how sweet the outlook was into
"the level of every day," how natural and healthful were the hopes, and
even the fears, that had dawned on Guy's spirit.  But could flowers grow
on such a field of battle?

Constancy and her friends intended to spend at least a week at
Zwei-brucken.

Guy said that it looked bad to ride when the ladies were walking, but he
was able in this way to share in mountain expeditions, and Cuthbert
hoped that he enjoyed them.  Constancy had always liked him, and was
ready to plunge into all the new discussions for which her recent
studies had prepared her.  She was well aware that he now and then said
things which enabled her to think as well as talk, and he argued with
her, and drew her out, feeling as if she were a clever and agreeable
child.  When he cut out a square of tiny flowerets and still tinier
growths of leaf and blade, and packed it carefully in a sandwich box to
send it home, he felt as if he was laying an offering before a shrine.
When he studied the names of the flowers with Constancy, he felt that he
had a good comrade in a mountain ramble.

One day something happened to her.  She went out alone by a little
craggy path behind the hotel, which led along the top of a steep descent
to the river.  She pursued it thinking of nothing but of adding a new
specimen or two to her store of flowers, and presently saw a dog-rose of
a peculiarly bright pink, hanging over the edge, and bent to pick it;
the stone on which she stepped gave way, and she slid downwards, and
stopped herself by catching at the rose just on the edge of--nothing.
An inch further, and she would have fallen into the roaring torrent a
hundred feet below.

For one awful moment, she believed that she could not turn and save
herself; the next, strong, cool, and active, she had cautiously felt for
hand and foot hold, and began to climb up again, to find her hand, as
she neared the top, enclosed in a firm clasp, while Guy's voice said--

"Steady; you're all right.  Hold on.  I can't lift you, but I won't let
you go."

As he spoke, she was safe on the path again, but shaking from head to
foot.  He drew her away from the edge of the precipice, and she sat down
on a bit of rock, and hid her face in her hands.  She was mentally, as
well as physically, dizzy, and he did not speak to her till she dropped
her hands on her lap, and said, with an odd ring in her voice--

"Well!  I was nearly killed!"

"Your nerve saved you.  You were nearly safe when I came up, but it was
an awkward place.  Remember, you can't be too careful on a mountain."

"Well!" she said again, "I thought I should be killed; I thought of
everything.  I thought of the bit in the college magazine about me--
about my being found--and Florella--"

"Yes," said Guy, "one does think, in such moments, of the dearest."

Constancy was silent.  A deep crimson blush burned over her face and
neck down to her very finger-tips.

Suddenly she turned, and looked up in his face.

"If I had been killed, there'd have been an end of me to all intents and
purposes.  I don't care for anything that _could_ go on.  Oh, I don't
mean anything about opinions; but there _couldn't_ be anything
afterwards that's real to _me_.  There couldn't be anything that _I_
want."

"You have found that out," said Guy.

"I never thought about God at all," she said abruptly.  "He never came
into my head!"

"Well, He has come now," said Guy.

She recognised his tone of conviction.  Thoughts, speculations, flashed
into her mind, at last, not as words, but as facts.

"Well," she cried again, "if I didn't believe in Him, I'd have stood to
it, and not been afraid.  But I do--I always have--and yet I just forgot
Him--then."

"But not now," said Guy.  "I think I ought to take you back," he added;
"you ought to rest, and recover yourself."

"I'll go back," she said, standing up.  "But I'm quite well."

She walked on slowly beside him; but presently broke out again.

"You've been very ill, I know.  Did you think then that to die, and
leave off everything would be--horrid?"

"No," he answered.  "For one thing, when I've been in danger, I've been
too bad to know it.  But I do know what it is to face--destruction.  And
certainly there is something beyond it."

She turned round to him as they came up to the hotel.

"I'm awfully obliged to you," she said, in girlish speech, but in a
deeply moved voice.

"You'll not tell any one, will you?  I want to think about it quietly."

Guy promised, and they came back on to the verandah together.

PART THREE, CHAPTER EIGHT.

MR VAN BRUNT.

There was a little commotion in front of the verandah, caused by some
new arrivals, as Guy and Constancy approached it from the side.  A stout
lady in a bonnet and a handsome travelling-cloak, came up the steps,
looked round her, and made a sudden rush towards them.

"My dear Guy!  Oh, what a delightful surprise!  I never was so glad to
see any one.  After all these months, it is indeed a relief to see some
one of the family."

And Mrs Joshua Palmer seized Guy's hands, and all but embraced him; a
ceremony he had carefully avoided from his earliest childhood.

"Why, Cousin Susan!  I didn't know you were still abroad.  I'm very glad
to see you," he said, astonished at this effusive greeting.

"And Miss Vyner?  How do you do, my love?  Well, Guy, and how are you?
and is _dear_ Godfrey here too?  Jeanie, Jeanie, here's your cousin."

Jeanie, blooming, and very well turned out, came up also with
outstretched hand.

"How d'ye do, Guy?  I'm very glad we've met you."

"You look very warm, Cousin Susan," said Guy; "won't you sit down and
have some coffee?  I suppose your courier--you have one, I see--has
engaged your rooms?"

"Oh, my dear Guy, that is part of the pleasure of seeing you.  For I am
quite certain that courier is a cheat, and if you, with your head for
figures, would only look at our bills--" Here she tore open a
travelling-bag, and thrust a bundle of papers into his hands.  "I can
speak to _you_..."

"Well, mother," said Jeanie, "you never would allow any one else to help
you to manage, however well accustomed they were to travelling."

"No, Jeanie," said Mrs Palmer, emphatically, "that I certainly would
not."

Constancy, unable for once to come to the front, sat down at a little
distance.  She heard Jeanie, with a much readier, and more assured
manner than of old, saying all the things to the Stauntons that might be
expected from a young lady on her travels.  She said that the mountains
were perfectly sweet, and so were the cows and the peasants.  Mother got
into fusses sometimes, but it did not matter; she was quite happy when
she could sit down.  They had met _charming_ people.  Constancy felt a
frightful conviction that, if she spoke, she should cry.

After the manner of her day, and of her kind, however, she got over her
agitation for herself.  She never could have supposed that the sight and
sound of Jeanie would be so aggravating.  No more than she could have
guessed beforehand, that the one face that would flash before her mental
vision in that supreme moment, when life and death had hung in the
balance, would be Godfrey's, angry and miserable, as it had looked at
her from the doorway at Moorhead, or in the dim light of the Stauntons'
drawing-room.  That had come to her, and that was all.

Constancy endured this self-revelation in silence.  She had not, at any
rate, revealed this to Guy, in the moment of impulsive confidence that
had ensued.  What had induced her to say so much?  She remembered that,
in one of the discussions in which she delighted, she had cheerfully
asked him what he thought Tennyson had meant by "the abysmal deeps of
personality," and he had answered dryly--

"I haven't quite sounded them--yet."

It had passed for a jest; but as she recalled the short, unexpected
sentences with which he had answered her, she felt that he had meant it
for a statement of fact, and of very remarkable fact too.  It was
characteristic of her that she speculated about Guy even at this moment
of personal emotion.

She gave herself a little mental shake, and turned to get ready for the
_table-d'hote_.

She had never been really unhappy in her life before.  She had never
really been beset by a thought that prevented her from thinking of what
she wished to think of, and claimed her for its own.

Guy disliked the fatigue of the long dinner, and rarely attended it.  He
was sitting in his favourite corner, when a movement made him aware that
people were coming out again, and Mrs Palmer, in much smarter clothes
than of old, but with an unmistakable air of Ingleby and home, came and
sat down by him.

"My dear Guy," she said, "you're one of the family, and I want to
confide in you."

Guy was not given to consider himself as one of the Palmers, but he
accepted the compliment, and said--

"Is anything the matter, Cousin Susan?"

"Well, yes, Guy.  I think there's a great deal the matter.  Indeed,
perhaps it's my duty to write to Mr Matthew; but he isn't exactly
considerate at a distance."

Guy allowed that this might be the case.

"And--my responsibilities are great with Jeanie, so much admired and an
heiress.  And I'm quite sure there's nothing to be gained by going out
of one's own circle, especially among foreigners and Americans--people
of no character at all."

Guy said that this charge was rather sweeping.

"Was there any American in particular?"

"Yes; there is a Mr Van Brunt.  He has been most attentive, and
followed us about.  I shouldn't be surprised if he came here.  He speaks
of himself as a man of fortune, and says his father has a great
dry-goods store in Chicago.  It doesn't sound well--a _store_ is a
shop--very different from a mill.  And, besides, if there's one thing I
like it's constancy; and poor Godfrey at home in England--such cruel
treatment for him, after that week at the Rabys."

"But, Cousin Susan, it's quite as easy to inquire about a man in Chicago
as in London.  Of course he ought to give a reference.  And as for
constancy,"--Guy could not help a little smile as he spoke,--"of course
Godfrey knows that Jeanie is perfectly free.  Our affairs made that
imperative."

"Oh, my dear Guy, I'd rather trust Palmer Brothers, in difficulties,
than all the dry-goods stores in America out of them.  Do reason with
her, my dear Guy, and plead Godfrey's cause.  Jeanie is a very good
girl; but, of course, she feels her independence.  Couldn't Godfrey come
out, and look after his own interests?"

Guy was capable of hearing a good deal without committing himself.  He
would not promise to reason with Jeanie, nor to telegraph to Godfrey;
but he agreed to interview Mr Van Brunt, and in his secret heart, he
hoped that that dry-goods store in Chicago might prove to be solvent,
and its owner's character and intentions clear as the day, and that his
duty as "one of the family" would not be to protect Jeanie from the
snares of an adventurer.

There were sounds of arrival late that night, and when he came down the
next morning, Jeanie waylaid him on the stairs, looking, in spite of her
smart tailor-made frock and well-dressed hair, very like the shy Jeanie
of the Mill House, Ingleby.

"Oh, Guy," she said, "mother's been talking to you--and please--I've got
something to say.  It's your brother's own fault, if I've changed my
mind.  Besides, I hadn't seen anything of society _then_.  I've quite a
right, it was settled I had--to choose for myself."

"Certainly," said Guy, leading the way out on to the verandah.  "I've
promised your mother to talk to Mr Van Brunt, if he comes."

"He has come," said Jeanie, meekly.  "He came after we went to bed last
night.  Oh,"--sitting down at one of the little tables laid for
breakfast, and making a pattern on the tablecloth with the
rolls--"people are silly--and--and there was ever so much nonsense at
Kirkton.  But there--Godfrey won't be disappointed.  I'm sure, if he had
wanted to come back, he never would have stopped away because you were
ill.  Any one may give away roses to anybody.  But when you leave them
behind on your dressing-table, and they come down in the vase, to be
done up for the next person--well, you don't care very much anyhow.
Oh--oh--you didn't stay long at Munich, Mr Van Brunt--good morning.
This is my cousin--Mr Waynflete."

A slender, dark-haired young man, with bright eyes behind a pair of
_pince-nez_, made Guy a formal bow, and Jeanie vanished, while her
"cousin," considerably embarrassed, bowed much less gracefully, and
remarked that it was a fine morning.

"It is so," remarked the American; "but, Mr Waynflete, I'm very glad to
make your acquaintance, understanding that you take quite the place of a
brother to Miss Palmer."

"Well--a--not exactly," began Guy, thinking that Jeanie must have come
down very early to produce this understanding.

"She assures me that, if you are satisfied, her mother's scruples will
be set at rest.  Allow me to make it clear.  Here is my card--Lawrence
P.  Van Brunt.  I refer to my bankers, -- and --, London, and to the
American Minister in Great Britain, also the British Consul at Chicago.
I--I dare say I may seem hurried, but I came over a month ago on
business, and must cross again in a fortnight."

He laid a row of papers and letters of introduction beside the rolls on
the table.

"I--I don't care what I do to post you up in my circumstances--it's all
perfectly square, I assure you.  And Miss Palmer allows me to hope."

"I see no reason why you should not apply to Miss Palmer's uncle and
trustee," said Guy, after a little more had passed.

"Yes; but I'm told you have great influence with her mamma!" said the
young American, wistfully.

"I didn't know it," said Guy; but he met the stranger's eyes, and they
both laughed.  "Won't you have some breakfast?  Staunton, this is a
friend of Mrs Palmer's, Mr Van Brunt.  Have you ordered coffee?"

Mr Van Brunt swept up his papers, and sat cheerfully down, proceeding
to make himself very agreeable.  The other little tables filled.  Jeanie
and her mother sat at one some way off.  Constancy, with her friends,
watched curiously, till the stranger, as soon as he politely could,
edged off towards the object of his attraction.

"Eh what?" said Staunton, as the grave Guy for once went off into a
hearty fit of laughter.

"Oh, I say!" he said; "it was quite outfacing.  Fancy playing heavy
father to Jeanie!  I'd better wire to Godfrey at once."

The energetic American produced a Continental Bradshaw, and proposed to
start that afternoon to interview Mr Matthew.  First, however, he went
to walk with Jeanie.

And poor Cousin Susan, wiping her eyes, and with a heart full of
feelings, of which the young ones took little enough heed, exclaimed, as
she finally yielded the point--

"Oh, Guy, dear aunt would have thought me so weak.  Chicago!"

The party soon dispersed.  Jeanie and her mother followed the ardent
lover home to Rilston; Constancy and her friends pursued their intended
path among the heights of the Tyrol; while the good-hearted Cuthbert
managed to find sources of culture wherever he fancied that Guy was most
at ease.

Godfrey was evidently ashamed to express relief on paper, and simply
wrote, "I shall begin again," but there was new purpose in every line of
his letters, and most affectionate promises of keeping everything
straight, if Guy would only stay away, get strong, and enjoy himself.

Guy said no more about himself; but he had little ways which showed his
friend that he still had something to undergo.  The steady look round in
a fresh place, the shading hand over his eyes, the trick he had of
finding a special corner, and of keeping to it, with his face turned one
way, were significant; and he was more silent and quiet than ever; but
also much more gentle.  Cuthbert hardly knew how, one still bright
evening, when some trifle recalled his own past, he found himself
telling the story long buried even from himself.

Guy listened, looking at him with his searching eyes.

"Does it all seem over?" he said.

"Ah well," said Cuthbert, with a long sigh, "I can't say no.  For
average people like me, death _is_ parting for the present, and as to
the future--I'll leave it in the Hands that frame it.  But for me, the
moss has grown over her grave, I'm not unhappy, but I think the kind of
business is over for me.  No, Gladys was quite human, it all belonged to
this good earth of ours, and it _was very_ good--while it lasted--and
worth while."

"Love does not belong to earth," said Guy; "it is never over."

"Ah, my boy," said Cuthbert, "not for you, perhaps; but I'm a blind old
earthworm, and my soul doesn't soar.  Yours is a blessed conviction."

"Yes," said Guy; "it is.  But it isn't quite so sweet--as--as having it
now."

He moved hurriedly away.  He had gained a "blessed conviction."  But it
is very hard to feel as well as to know, that the soul is worth the
whole world, the whole "good earth," as Cuthbert truly called it.

He came home early in August, with much-improved physical health, to
find Godfrey like another man, full of the prospects of the business,
and as he shortly expressed it, "out of his hole."  Rawdie was in
raptures.

"He has got along," said Godfrey, "by worrying cats and hiding bones.
But he will sleep on your bed, and sit on your slippers.  Just look at
the sentimental little beggar, cuddling into your waistcoat."

Guy sat down when his brother left him, in his old corner in the study,
with Rawdie on his knee, and looked round him.  The sense of constant
effort slipped away from him.

"I can _do_ here," he said to himself, in his northern idiom, "I'm used
to it.  One must pay the price."

PART THREE, CHAPTER NINE.

THE ARCH-FEAR.

One sunny afternoon towards the end of August, Florella was sitting on
the wall of old Peggy Outhwaite's garden, sketching a tuft of house-leek
that adorned the roof of the ancient and ill-kept cottage.  This little
homestead, which was Peggy's own, and had belonged to her fathers before
her, was tucked into a corner of the wood above the Flete, through which
the footpath led up to the Hall; the cottage was reached from that side
by a little side-track.

The like of Florella had never come into Peggy's life before, and she
took to this new kind of creature very kindly, finding her a most
attentive listener to Waynflete traditions.

Whether in old Peggy, inglorious, though not mute, there rested the soul
of a romance writer, or whether, as she herself averred, the Outhwaites
knew a deal, she told "Miss Flowra," as she called Florella, more about
"t' owd Guy" than any one had ever heard before.  She was a true
reciter; and while Florella sketched, she would stand before her, and
describe the passage of the Flete on that awful night when Waynflete was
lost, as if she herself had been standing by.  She told her the original
legend of the traitor who had betrayed his friend's life, and therefore
had "walked" ever since.  She mentioned his appearances, and talked
about him with a kind of grotesque familiarity as if "t' owd gen'leman"
had been in the habit of taking constitutionals about the valley.  But
now and then her tone deepened.

"Eh, my dear," she said, "ye mun look on't aright.  A poor lost soul
does na' coom back to tempt, but to warn--to warn us fra' sin, Missy.
He's boun' to coom, though happen the devil drives 'un.  But 'tisna a'
can see.  T' owd Guy may walk oop till most on us, and we be noon wiser.
There's my Jem, puir lad, sees 'un, he do, and Mr Guy, he knaws 'un
well."

"Did he ever tell you so?" said Florella.

"Eh, d'ye think I need tellin'?  Eh, there a be.  Good day to ye, sir."

Florella's palette fell out of her hand before this friendly greeting
revealed to her that it was not the old, but the young Guy, who stood at
the garden gate.

He had not been at Waynflete since his return, and now came forward with
outstretched hand, while Jem appeared behind him like his shadow.

"Godfrey has been away," he said, "and I couldn't get over before.  I
have come to the Vicarage for a week.  There are a good many
arrangements to make, and I want to ask Mrs John Palmer a favour.  I
should like--it's an odd fancy--but I should like old Miss Maxwell, the
Stauntons' cousin, to come to the church opening.  You saw her, I think.
I know Mrs Palmer is going kindly to do the entertaining."

"Oh yes," said Florella.  "I had thought of her.  But she'd like you to
ask her yourself."

"So I know," he said; "I shall ride over.  Staunton says he won't come
in the character of an hereditary foe; but I shall get him somehow."

"We asked Violet," said Florella, "and she says that ancestors are such
a novelty that she is delighted to have even a villain."

Guy and Florella had a laugh in common as he turned and spoke to Peggy,
and she gathered up her sketching things.

"Eh," said the old woman, as they went out at the gate together, "t' owd
Guy winna mak' an end yet o' Waynfletes!"

When old Miss Maxwell, picking York and Lancaster roses in her little
garden, looked down the bleak grey street of Ouselwell, and beheld a
stranger riding up, she felt, as she said afterwards, a presentiment of
something unusual, which, as strange and striking young men were not
common in Ouselwell, was perhaps not surprising.  But it was fulfilled
when the stranger left his horse at the inn, and walking up to her gate,
bowed politely, and introduced himself as Guy Waynflete, a friend of her
cousin, Mr Cuthbert Staunton.

Miss Maxwell made him a formal bow and led him into her little
drawing-room, and the little old maid and the tall young man sat down
opposite to each other, and Guy said quite simply--

"Miss Maxwell, we have been restoring Waynflete Church.  It is to be
opened on Michaelmas Day, and my brother and I wish very much that you
should be with us on the occasion.  We have to thank you for the family
papers which you allowed us to have."

"You do me a great honour, Mr Waynflete," said the old lady, formally.
"It is long since I was so far from home; but I should, I assure you, be
glad to share in the rejoicing.  Although the relations between our
families were not as happy as could be wished, yet somehow, sir, any
connection so long ago creates an interest."

"Yes," said Guy; "that is just my feeling."

Then she gave Guy bread and salt in the shape of tea and hot cakes, and
lapsed into more friendly chat, shaking hands tenderly with him when he
took leave, and the interview, a somewhat quaint one for the end of the
nineteenth century, concluded.

"A most distinguished young man," as she wrote to Kitty Staunton; "but I
fear he has the look of a doom upon him."

"Which only means that he looks delicate," said Constancy, when this
cheerful sentence found its way to Waynflete.

For Constancy was there, having finished her trip, and having assured
herself that Godfrey was pretty well tied to Ingleby.  The world was
going well.  The old incapable tenant of Upper Flete, the only farm on
the estate of any value, died, and was succeeded by a nephew, with more
education and capital, who came to terms with Godfrey as to needful
improvements, and rented some more land.  A purchaser was found for the
copse-wood, which had not been cut for many years, who bought it
standing, and undertook all the expenses of cutting and carriage.  A
great change would therefore soon be seen in the whole aspect of the
valley, and, as for the house, Mrs John Palmer's fancy for it
continued, and she thought of taking it, as she could well afford to do,
for a summer residence; in which case, she would, no doubt, prove a good
friend to the village.

Godfrey came forward and made all the arrangements without any apparent
reluctance; but a queer little smile, not unlike his brother's, came
over his face when he was questioned by the neighbouring squires on his
views on preserving or politics, and he would not commit himself as to
the future.

All this was satisfactory to Guy, and so, in another way, was his
"reconciliation" with the last of the Maxwells of Ouseley.  Matters
seemed to be drawing towards a point of success, of which the coming
gathering was a kind of symbol.  As he was returning from a ride in the
broad, spreading sunlight of an August afternoon, he thought of all that
the past year had brought to him.  It was but a year since he had shown
Florella the picture in the octagon-room, and her words had roused him
to make a fight for his freedom.  Till she touched his spirit, he had
been tossed and driven in helpless and hopeless bondage to fear, his one
notion of fortitude, concealment, his one refuge, a remedy worse than
the disease.  That danger he recognised with critical self-knowledge,
had, in his case, been born of fear, and was itself something of a
spectre of his fancy.  Apart from maddening terror, he would never "take
to drink."  And, after this year of stern and steady conflict, it did
not seem to him that any bewilderment of the senses could ever again
terrify him beyond the power of self-control.  While, as for that inward
sense of possession, that presence, which for him lay behind all else,
if that should spring into consciousness again, after its long sleep, he
was prepared to face it.  There was another force, deeper and stronger
still, which, in dim and awful glory, had made itself felt within him.

Guy believed that his soul was saved.  There are no other words for it,
though these may convey a hundred other meanings.  But there was "more
to come."  Whether this conviction was well-founded, or whether, as
Cuthbert would have told him, it sprang from the depression of exhausted
nerves and spirits; from the melancholy too often associated with trials
such as his, it equally proved that he was not free as other men were
for the sweetness of life and love.

As other men?  Were other men free?  "The drink" might have been a
bugbear to him, but it was an awful fact to thousands of those others.
How many devils had possessed his rough ancestors, whose clutch had not
closed on him, because the one great gain of old Margaret's courage had
been that he and his brother began life on a higher level?  How did this
poor Jem Outhwaite, who burlesqued and caricatured his own grim
experiences, come to be what he was?  As this thought occurred to him,
Jem himself started out of a gateway beside him, and, after a grin and
nod of greeting, picked up Rawdie, and carried him over a muddy piece of
ground, through which he himself humbly shambled beside Guy's horse.
The royal favourite should not needlessly wet his feet.

Jem was a conversational person, and fired off short remarks at
intervals.

"Owd Cowperthwaite says Waynfletes'll tak' t' bread out o's mouth."

"Old Cowperthwaite's a scoundrel," said Guy.

"Ay, sir," said Jem, cheerfully.  Then, after a pause, "I see twa
rabbits over Flete Edge.  Mr Godfrey can shoot 'em."

"Ay, I dare say he will."

"I see t' owd gen'leman by t' brig on Friday," said Jem, in the same
contented treble.

"Nay, Jem, I don't think you did," said Guy, didactically.

"I see Miss Flowra," said Jem, in the same tone of cheerful
indifference.

Guy sprang from his horse, and Jem, setting Rawdie delicately down on a
bit of turf, grinned, nodded, shambled away across a field towards the
river, and was out of sight in a minute.

"Oh," said Florella, as she came up, "I hope Jem will go straight home,
he has been about all day.  Old Peggy is really ill.  She got a chill
the other day waiting for him at the bridge in the rain.  You know he
stops at the Dragon, and the doctor says he must be found quick, or it
may go hard with her."

"I know," said Guy, briefly.  "I'll just go and put my horse up, and
then go and fetch him.  He'll come with me.  He was here this minute."

"You know," said Florella, in a half-whisper, "that he says t' owd Guy
stops him."

"I know," said Guy.  "But don't listen to stories about him.  _You_
mustn't get to fancy the place is haunted."

"I am not afraid," she said, and there was a touch of reproach in her
voice.  Guy paused a moment, then spoke in another tone.

"I think I have been wrong," he said.  "I wanted you to forget what you
had done for me, for fear the least influence from which you have saved
me should breathe on your spirit.  But you ought to know that you have
saved me.  You _have_ led me to that saving Presence of which you spoke.
Whatever may come, whatever it may cost, yet the snare is broken, and I
_am_ delivered."

She looked at him without a word.

He went on in the same steady, controlled tones.  "Now you see there's
another.  Will you help that poor lad through the next hour, I think
he'll be hard pressed?  Good-bye, he shall come to his mother.  He
shan't be _too late_."  He took her hands, and bent as if to kiss them.
A little sob broke from her, and in a moment the kiss was on her lips.

He was gone before the blood had time to burn up in her cheek, and she
broke into a passion of tears, while formless and awful, all the terror
that he might be going to meet, rushed over her spirit.  She felt
helpless, powerless, certain of evil.  Her soul was full of mist and
cloud.  All she could do was, like a child, to follow his behest, and
pray for Jem.

Guy, thrilled with a new and high excitement, put up his horse, and with
Rawdie still at his heels, pursued his way towards the Dragon, intending
to call Jem away from its enticing attractions, and to escort him over
the old footbridge back to his mother.  A simple thing to do, but he had
only crossed that bridge once before.

The hot bright sunlight had thickened into a thundery mist, and the
light rapidly faded.  Guy was not tired now, he walked easily enough,
nor did any perplexing thoughts beset him.  He saw--no more than usual.
He felt no inward horror.  But upon his rapturous mood there fell as
strong a conviction that he was going to dare his fate as if he had gone
to pick up a bomb of dynamite.  He felt as if the very air was a
resisting force as he pushed on through it.  He went on, and a deep
sadness came upon him, and all in a moment, as he came to the top of the
hollow, he knew that it was the expectation of death.  He stopped and
looked down into the mist.  He could not see across the valley, and he
could not see across that expectation.  He could not think of any
definite danger.  He stood still with his eyes on the ground; upon the
mist the spectral shape that went before him, showed out sharp and
clear.  Words came into his mind.  "Fear not him that can kill the
body."  But "_the body_" meant life and work, and love and joy.  It
meant Florella.  Perhaps his body was the price that had to be paid for
his soul.  And when the end was past?  What did death mean?  When the
spirit was free from the flesh, would the spiritual foes be gone?  Or
would the last veil be withdrawn from their terrible faces?  What would
await him in the world where the other Guy had gone before?

Guy went on down the hill till into the misty air gleamed the paraffin
lamps of the Dragon public, and into his misty thoughts came the need of
sharp and prompt action.

He stepped inside the door, and called out, "Is Jem Outhwaite here?  I
want him."

Two or three men were standing about, in the bar.  They looked at Guy,
and fell back before him with surprising readiness.

"Here a be, sir," said one, pushing Jem's reluctant figure forward, as
he tried to slink behind them.

"Come Jem," said Guy; "your mother's bad, and I'm going to take you back
to her across the bridge.  Come along with me."

He laid his hand on Jem's arm, and with a short "Good evening," pulled
him out of the cheerful circle, into the foggy dusk.  Jem, who followed
him usually like a dog, now hung back, and dragged against his hold,
trembling and reluctant; not drunk, he thought, but manifestly dazed
with fear.  He was tall and big, and perhaps it was the dead weight of
his resistance that made Guy feel as if the very mist oppressed him, and
forced him back.  Against himself, against his poor companion, against
uncomprehended forces he struggled on.

"Sithee, there a be.  We canna get by.  He'll get me!" gasped Jem, as he
struggled.

"Jem," said Guy, "I have got past him, though I was just as much afraid
as you.  And I am not going to let him stop you.  He can't do it, Jem.
Say your prayers your mother taught you, and come on.  He can't stop
you."

"Eh, but he can--but he can!  He's a coomin'; he's a gripped me!" gasped
Jem, flinging his arms round Guy, and dragging him back, then shrinking
behind him.

"No, he hasn't, Jem," said Guy, in clear, firm tones.  "I'm going first
over the bridge; so if he gets either of us, he'll have me.  You come
after, like a man, and God have mercy on us both!"

Guy pushed forward.  Surely the poor fellow would follow now!  But again
Jem held him back.

"Naw, sir," said the poor half-wit, in his cracking treble, "I'll gang
ower first, and yo' coom arter," and with a quick, unsteady run, he
shambled on to the bridge.

PART THREE, CHAPTER TEN.

TWO, OR THREE?

Godfrey had come to Waynflete Vicarage for a couple of nights, to make
his final arrangements as to the timber.  He was walking along the lane
at the top of Flete Wood, in the dusk of this misty evening, when he
heard an angry bark, and then a howl as of a dog in distress.

"That's surely Rawdie," he thought.  "What can bring Guy down there?"

He hurried on to a point in the lane, where the fall of the ground made
the river and the bridge visible, and looked down through the gathering
dusk.

He saw figures on the bridge; whose, and how many he could not tell; but
there was evidently a struggle in the middle.  Was it a fight--or was
one dragging or guiding the other?  Were there two--or _three_?  He
gazed for a moment, puzzled and uncertain, then the bridge and the
figures swung and reeled before his eyes, there was a noise of crashing
timber, then a tremendous splash, and bridge and figures disappeared
into the water.

Godfrey gave a great shout and call, as he sprang over the wall, and
dashed headlong down the slope, over rock and wood and thicket, till he
came to the edge of the river.

The great pool under the bridge was all stirred and seething with broken
timber.  Godfrey could see nothing else at first; but in a moment he
caught sight of something like a human form.  He jumped into the water.
It was hardly out of his depth; but the floating, cracking timber made
the greatest caution needful, and it was a minute or two before he could
grip the collar of the man seen, and drag him towards the shore.  It was
Jem Outhwaite, dripping, shaking, choking with water, not absolutely
senseless, but quite unable to help himself, as only by the exertion of
all his great strength, the powerful Godfrey managed to tug him towards
a shallow place, and pull him ashore.

"Who else--who else?" gasped Godfrey, breathlessly; but Jem was quite
incapable of speech, and only cried feebly.

Godfrey pushed him on to a safe place, and stepped again into the pool.
The water was very cold, and the planks and rails of the bridge were
drifting and knocking about in the current, so that Godfrey had to be
most careful in the uncertain light to feel his way among the timbers as
he waded through the water.  As it was, he tore his clothes and bruised
his shoulders.  He turned towards the relics of the bridge, and there,
caught in the timbers, lay Guy, face upwards, swaying with the swaying
piles.

Godfrey pushed his way near, and got his arms round him; but he was
afraid of bringing down the whole fabric by one incautious movement.  He
raised Guy's head against his shoulder, when a voice close above him
said, clearly--

"I think I can help you.  This first piece of plank is firm.  Can we
lift him on to it?"

He looked up.  Constancy was standing on the planks of the broken
bridge.  Her steady eyes were looking down, her firm hand was stretched
out.

Godfrey leant his shoulder against the still standing stake, and held
Guy more firmly.

"No," he said, steadily.  "I can't lift him from below, and you couldn't
do it.  Listen.  Go back to the shore, cross over the pebbles where the
water is shallow above, then run to the Dragon and get help."

She went without an instant's delay, calling in loud clear tones as she
went, tones that echoed through the wood and penetrated to the garden
gate of old Peggy's cottage, where Florella stood straining her eyes
into the darkness.  The next thing for her, when Guy left her, had been
to go back to the old woman, to tell her cheerfully that Mr Guy was
going to see Jem home, so that there was no need to worry herself about
him.

"Eh then, hinny," groaned Peggy, "bide till they coom, and mak yersell a
coop a tay, for it's weary wark waiting, though they'll noan be lang
getting ower t' brig."

Florella--such is life--looked at her watch to see how much time there
remained before dinner, and, finding that she had an hour to spare,
proceeded to boil the kettle and make the tea, while Peggy praised her
handiness, and took her tea with pleasure, as she sat in her old wooden
chair by the fire.  She looked quite cheerful and absorbed in the
present; while on Florella's mind pressed a weight of fear.  Her hands
were cold, she could not swallow the tea.  Yet what was there to be
afraid of?

"Eh," said Peggy, with a chuckle, "t' owd gen'leman'll meet his match
wi' twa on em.  Gae oot till t' gate, honey, and see if they're coomin'
up t' path."

Florella went gladly.  She stood at the gate, and strained her ears and
eyes.  Surely the water rushed noisily below, surely there were sounds
of--something.  Suddenly there was a loud, clear call, in a woman's
voice.

"Cooey--cooey."

No one in Waynflete but Constancy could have uttered that call, and
Florella answered it with another, then flew down the path towards the
bridge, just as a man ran down the field from the opposite side.  She
saw this man plunge into the water, and fight his way towards the ruin
of the bridge.  Then in the dusk she saw him reach another figure
staggering under a weight.  Slowly and with difficulty they reached the
shore, and laid their heavy burden down.

"Eh!" cried the new-comer; "Eh--Lord a' mercy on us.  Eh!  It's Mr Guy,
drooned dead!"

Then Florella knew of what she had been afraid.

She could never clearly recall what next happened.  The news of the
catastrophe suddenly spread, so that, as it seemed, a crowd came up.
Constancy's clear voice, self-possessed and resolute, sounded through
the confusion.

"He had better be carried to the Hall; it is much nearer than the
Vicarage, and I will run on and make ready."

Rougher tones close by, as some one shook poor Jem by the shoulder.

"Coom, man, coom; coom till mither.  Nay, tha bain't droonded yet."

Then Constancy again, as she went away.

"Flo, you had better run on first, and prepare the poor old woman."

They had lifted Guy up, and were carrying him away, and the fleet-footed
Constancy was far ahead, before her words had penetrated Florella's
brain.  Then she climbed up the hill to the cottage, where she found
neighbours gathering, and close behind her came Jem, hauled along by a
friend, dripping and scared, but alive, and able to swallow, as a
friendly neighbour poured hot drink down his throat.

"T' owd gen'leman'd a thrawed me in t' watter, but Mr Guy thrawed 'un
in instead, and t' brig smashed," was his story.

"Eh, eh!" said Peggy; "he's got 'is death, and Mr Guy, too.  Eh! they
can baith lig in t' new kirkyard, and me alongside on 'em."

There was nothing for Florella to do, and she fled from this grotesque
presentment of the mystic horror that haunted her.  As she came up to
the Hall, the doctor tore past her in his gig, having happily been
caught close at hand.  Guy had been carried upstairs, and Mrs John
Palmer, flurried, but full of kindness, was saying--

"Oh yes, Cosy; yes, you were quite right, my dear.  So much more
appropriate that he should die under this roof."

Florella came in, and sat down in the lamp-lit drawing-room.

"Is he dead?" she said, in a slow, dull voice.

"They don't know," said Constancy.  "We'd better see that they have
plenty of hot blankets, and what's wanted."

She went off to the kitchen; but Florella sat, stupid and helpless, it
seemed to her, for hours.

Then there were voices in the hall, and then the sound of the gig
driving off at full speed.  Still Florella never moved, till Mrs Palmer
came in.

"The vicar's gone in the gig to get dry things for Godfrey; he won't
leave his brother."

"Then Guy isn't dead?" said Florella, composedly.

"No; just breathing.  He was caught in the timber so that his head was
above water.  It's the shock to the heart that has done it.  But he
isn't gone--yet."

Then Florella came to herself with a shock that was like the stab of a
knife.  The room swayed and darkened, and she barely kept her senses;
but in a moment the life forces seemed to come back again with pain and
anguish, but clear and ready for action.

"I'll go and help Cosy," she said.

Mrs Palmer had an effective maid, who was able to carry out the
doctor's directions, and the other women prepared what was needed, till
the news came downstairs that the long fainting-fit had yielded at last,
and Guy was able to swallow, and had moved and opened his eyes, though
without any sign of recognition.

"The doctor would stay for the night, and every one not wanted had
better go to bed."

"Godfrey sits there, at the foot of the bed, like a big dog," said the
vicar, as he came downstairs.  "He's no earthly good, but he won't
stir."

When Godfrey, pale with that long, mute watch, and not daring to take
hope from the mere fact that his brother still lived, at last went down
to breakfast, there by the table sat Constancy, holding Rawdie on her
knee, and feeding him with bits of chicken.

"Oh," she said, "this poor little darling must have been in the wood all
night.  See, his paw is hurt; he came crying to the door this morning."

"Let me take him to Guy," said Godfrey, eagerly.  "He might notice him--
he has never come to himself."

"Not till you have had some breakfast," said Cosy, with brisk decision.
"The first principle of nursing is to take care of yourself."

Godfrey was not capable just then of going back to first principles; but
to be taken care of by Constancy was something new, and his spirit
revived as she poured out coffee for him, and cut bread, and insisted on
his eating his breakfast.  Presently the others came down, and the
vicar, who had been out, came back, and the story of the accident was
pieced together.

Florella had to tell how Guy had gone to fetch Jem Outhwaite back to his
mother.

"So good-natured of him," said Mrs Palmer.

Godfrey had heard Rawdie howl before anything had happened, and
Constancy, being out in the wood, had heard his shout for help when he
came down to the river.

"Old Cowperthwaite's in a fright," said the vicar.  "He confesses that
he had been used to keep `t' owd brig' repaired for his customers; but
that since his notice, he'd let it alone.  But I don't see now why it
smashed so completely."

"Nor I," said Godfrey.  "I looked, and saw two or three figures--I
couldn't count in the mist--struggling.  Of course it was Guy dragging
Jem over.  But I thought I saw three."

"Jem is wandering, and off his head," said the vicar.  "He says `t' owd
Guy' tried to throw him in."

Godfrey looked very much startled; his colour changed, but he did not
speak; and soon the question rose as to what next.

He must telegraph at once to Ingleby, and also he said, faltering, "If--
if Guy--he would want Cuthbert Staunton."

Mrs Palmer begged him to telegraph at once, and the doctor's view was
that they had better wait a few hours, and--see how things went, before
doing anything more.

Florella heard, as in a dream.  A numb dullness was on her spirit.
Constancy came and told how Rawdie had been taken upstairs, and that
Godfrey thought Guy had moved and touched him.

"Poor little dog!" said Florella.

Then Constancy, with unwonted confidence, told, in hushed accents, the
story of her escape at Zwei-brucken, of her sense of the finality of
death, and of Guy's words, "There is something beyond."

"He _knew_ it," Constancy said, in her strong, emphatic tones.

But even this did not stir Florella's soul; she wanted something _now_.

Late in the evening, Cuthbert Staunton arrived, full of anxious concern,
and it fell to Florella to give him supper, and to answer his questions
as to what had happened.  She went through it all, in a matter-of-fact
voice; but she knew that Cuthbert knew what it all implied.

There was a little silence, and then she suddenly said--

"It has been all in vain!"

Then Cuthbert leant over the corner of the table, and laid his hand on
hers; she seemed to him so young and lonely in her despair.

"My dear," he said, in his kind voice, "he would not think so Very
strange things have passed; but though I don't see them quite as he
does, he has made as noble a struggle as man ever made.  And he _has_
conquered.  He has mastered his weakness, and risen above it.  It is a
thing never to be forgotten.  Even if we lose him--as may be--as may
be--I cannot think--I cannot think, Florella, that he will lose himself.
And--I think you must not fail him now.  The conditions of the fight
are very mysterious, and I could not say that our courage may make no
difference to him.  His perceptions are keener than ours."

"I'll _not_ fail him," said Florella, with a light in her eyes.  "I'll
fight it out too."

She went up to her room, and knelt down by the bed, and fought as hard a
fight with her own soul as ever Guy had waged with his.

If her thoughts could affect his, if her will could share in the
struggle, she must not will for him a lesser thing than he had willed
for himself.  She would not pray only that Guy might live and not die;
but that, at all costs, his work might be carried through, his victory
completed.  She must give him as he gave himself.  She prayed the prayer
of faith with all her waking will; but when at last, exhausted, she fell
asleep, in her dreams she prayed that he might be given back to life.

PART THREE, CHAPTER ELEVEN.

WAYNFLETE OF WAYNFLETE.

And Guy did not die.  At first he lay in a state of collapse, hardly
kept alive from hour to hour, silent, motionless, and apparently
unconscious of all around him; but gradually there was some slight
improvement, now and then a response by word or look, more power of
taking food, and a stronger pulse.

At last, about a week after the accident, on a calm sunny day, when
Cuthbert was with him alone, he lay with open eyes, watching the window.

"Cuthbert!" he said suddenly.

"Yes," said Cuthbert, quietly.  "What is it?  Want something?"

"Help me up, please.  I want to look out of the window."

They were the old imperative tones, and Cuthbert cautiously put his arm
round him, and raised him a little.  Guy looked out at the sunny garden,
at the wooded hills, all round the room, and then up into Cuthbert's
face.

"Yes!" he said, "I thought so.  The spectre's _gone_."

"That's a good thing," said Cuthbert; "but now you must be very still
and quiet.  Lie back again.  You're much better."

"How's Jem?" said Guy, after a minute.

"Well, he had a chill, you know; but he's safe at home with his mother."

"Oh," said Guy, with a long breath, "the room looks so nice and natural!
I've been looking at it for hours!"  Then, "Don't have that bridge
mended.  It must be in a new place."

"You recollect all about its being broken?" said Cuthbert.

"Oh yes; I recollect everything.  But I had to rest.  I've _really_
rested."

"Go on resting," said Cuthbert, quietly.

But Guy was always a surprising person.  He came back to life with a
suddenness and a vigour that, as the doctor said, showed "almost
abnormal rallying power."  He was not allowed to move for fear of the
least strain on his heart; but he was awake to everything, and soon made
Godfrey lift him on to a sofa by the window, "to look at the world;" and
his delight in so looking showed how the world had been recently spoiled
for him.  He was soon downstairs, in the garden, out for a drive; every
step in recovery was achieved before any one thought he was ready for
it, and each new enterprise seemed more enjoyable to him than the last.

The tension which had held the whole household on the stretch, relaxed.
Preparations for the ceremony on Michaelmas Day were pushed forward with
cheerful alacrity, and Guy took his own presence at it as a matter of
course.

The wreck of the broken bridge was cleared away, and orders were given
for a new one to be built of rough stone, nearer to the Dragon; while a
different turn was to be given to the footpath.

"It was," said Guy, "more convenient."

Old Cooper, unable to endure his anxiety any longer, arrived one day in
the Rilston fly to satisfy himself as to Mr Guy's condition.  He found
Guy able to welcome him warmly, to ask searching questions as to what
had been done during his illness, and to promise a speedy return to
Ingleby.

"That's well, Mr Guy," said the old man.  "We've made a fair year's
work of it at the mill, and it would be a pity if ye were cut off just
as the business is looking up again."

"I've got to thank you for giving me a start in the right direction,"
said Guy, with meaning.

"Eh, sir," said Cooper; "ye've done more than your aunt expected of you,
and we'll all be glad to see you at work again.  I'm glad to have seen
the place that the old lady set her heart on; but it's but a lonesome
situation.  And you seem to have been far from fortunate in crossing yon
beck."

"Unlucky!" said Guy, as Godfrey went to show the old manager out, and
left him alone with Staunton.  "I can but wonder at my great good
fortune.  I was so sure that I was going to my death, that my life was
the price I had to pay, that I can't believe that I shall live; that
I've come off scot-free for a ducking--so far."

"Why, my dear boy, it was touch and go," said Cuthbert.

"Ay.  It was so queer to feel no contact myself with the terror, and to
see poor Jem in the throes of the struggle.  And he put me back, and
went to face him first."  Here Guy faltered, and almost broke down.  "He
won the battle.  But then, on the bridge--you'll say I was faint, and
felt the dead weight of Jem--there was nothing; but, well--_people talk
of the powers of the air_.  I could not stir--an inch.  Then Jem yelled
out, and I got loose, and the bridge cracked--no wonder!--I woke up here
by degrees.  I knew when you came and held my hand, and when Rawdie
licked my face; but I couldn't do a thing.  I had to _stop_.  And now to
be alive--and alone!"

"Thank God, my boy, it's all over."

"Yes, I thank God," said Guy.  Then he added, quietly, "It doesn't
matter how much of it has been what you call natural, or what caused the
horror that poor Jem burlesqued.  I had _to fight_.  It's true enough--
all temptations are common to man.  I might have been as he is.  Now,
Cuthbert, let the rest be silence.  I shall never speak of these things
again.  Believe me, they _are_ all over.  But, a thousand times I thank
you."

He looked up, and Cuthbert saw the conflict and the victory, both in his
face.

The shadow, if shadow it could be called, was the fading out of life of
poor Jem Outhwaite.  Less ill at first than Guy, he had no vitality to
resist the shock and chill he had received.  He had one word more to say
about the crossing of the bridge, when his poor feeble soul had put
forth its one flower of courage, and he had tried to take the post of
danger.

"Ay, sir," he said, in his cracked voice, to all the vicar's words of
comfort and hope.

But, when Guy came at the very last to see him, he looked up in his face
with a smile that was not foolish, and said--

"We thrawed t' owd gen'leman in to t' watter, _not he we_."

His mother said that now her poor lad was safe, she could lie in her
grave; but she never could have left him behind her.  He was laid in the
new churchyard, next to the grave of the old squire; and both, all
barriers thrown down, awaited the consecrating words that would join
their resting-places to those of their kindred and neighbours who rested
in peace.  Guy and Godfrey stood together at the head of his grave.

Godfrey, through all the time of suspense, had fallen into the way of
bringing all his hopes and fears to Constancy.  She had hunted him out
to take exercise, just as she trotted Rawdie, who had been a devoted
nurse to his master, daily round the garden, and sacrificed the peace of
the stable-cat's life, that he might have the refreshment of chasing her
up a tree.  Now, after the funeral, as Guy lingered to look at the
progress made in the church restoration since he had last seen it,
Godfrey went back and found her, as he hoped, taking Rawdie for a walk
on the lawn.

It did not seem unusual when he began--"I've got something to ask you.
Don't you see how this place is like a part of Guy?  Can't you tell me
how to make him see that that mere mistake must be undone?  It _is_ his.
If he would but call it so.  It is never out of his thoughts."

"I think," said Constancy, looking straight before her, "that it ought
to be his.  And I think you have done all you can to make up to him.
And I think you are quite right to want to make up, and to care about
it.  And, I am ashamed of having said I did not think so.  I was horrid
and narrow and small.  I always have been, ever since I played ghost for
fun.  I'm a `finished and finite clod, untroubled by a spark.'  That's
all."

"Oh, Constancy," cried Godfrey, unheeding, if recognising, this apt
quotation.  "You know that I've been a brute to Guy, and an ass about
myself.  Thank Heaven, Jeanie threw me over; she'll be married next
month.  I'm a mere duffer compared to you; but I love you with all my
heart and soul, and if you would--"

"Stop," she said, with a kind of dignity; "you mustn't _make_ me."

She stood still, her face turned away.  Once, when she had been asked
what she would do with her life, she had answered, "Why, _live_ it, of
course."  Would the life now offered her be really her own?  The simple
yielding of the ideal maiden, to whom the lover comes as a great god,
with all the gifts of life in his hand, is not for such as she.  She
knew very well now, that it was "a big situation."

"Yes" was not easy to speak; but "No" was impossible.

She turned towards him, pale, and with trembling lips.

"I never thought I would," she said; "but--but you've been so _much_
better than I have--all through--if you can't be satisfied without me--
we'd better try it--some day."

Rawdie was found, soon afterwards, sitting by himself in another part of
the garden.  He had retired with discretion.

"And now, Guy," said Godfrey, by-and-by, when his tale was told, and
Guy, after more sympathetic congratulations, had dryly remarked that it
was fortunate that Mr Van Brunt's character and credit had proved above
suspicion, "I want you to listen.

"You know well enough which of us has carried on Aunt Waynflete's
purpose.  You know what she really meant, and that this wretched will
was a mere mistake.  But for you, the business would have gone to the
dogs, and this place to the hammer, or, perhaps, to the devil; for,
remember, I'm your own flesh and blood, and I know what this last year
has been as well as you.  And I can be just as determined.  I took an
oath, and I'll not break it.  And, look here, that's as much an inward
prompting of my soul as ever you knew in yours.  It's my share of the
work.  Now, for once, you must give in."

"Yes, I will, Godfrey," said Guy, "I'll give in.  And, my boy, I
wouldn't give the stoniest field in Waynflete for the finest estate in
England; and I took it hard I hadn't got it.  I loved it from the first
moment I saw it, and now--"

For once Guy faltered, and could not finish, but by a great squeeze of
Godfrey's hand, though the next minute he said--

"Mind, we'll have to consider how to do it in a proper and legal manner.
We'll keep it quiet till that's done."

"All right," said Godfrey.  "Aunt Waynflete would be satisfied now."

It was Michaelmas Eve, a lovely still day, without a leaf stirring.
Florella was gathering Michaelmas daisies.  Nobody thought much about
her in these exciting days, and she did the odds and ends, and filled up
the holes and corners.  Suddenly a shadow fell on her flowers, and Guy's
voice said--

"I want you to come with me to look at the picture."

"I'll come," she said, and they went slowly upstairs, and along the
passage to the little octagon-room, flooded with autumn sunlight, and
stood together in front of the picture.

"How could I think it was like you?" she said.

Guy smiled.

"You know," he said.  "I think you know all.  I owe you my very soul,
and for that which you have done, no words are holy enough."

"It was not I!" she murmured.

"It was _with_ you, and _through_ you.  God knows I could not have done
without one help that came to me, Cuthbert Staunton--the hard work at
the mill--even poor old Rawdie--I have been helped so much!  And now,
Florella, my body as well as my soul is free.  I think that I shall
never be a slave again.  If my health holds out, if I can do man's work
in the world yet--when I have tested myself--will you let me come to you
by-and-by?  And, oh, Florella, my angel, my darling, will you be afraid
to share my life then?  Is it only pity you have for me? or is it--Can
you love me, as well as help me?"

"A great deal _more_" said Florella, with half a sob.  She stood for a
moment, facing him with shining eyes.  "I want you to take all myself--
all there is of me," she said, with a ring in her voice.  "If--if _that_
should come again to you, it shall get through _my_ soul first."

She hid her face on his breast; he held her in his arms, and, in the
transfiguring sunlight, the sad eyes of the picture above their heads
seemed at last to smile.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

When there is a Prologue to a story, it should have an Epilogue as well.
Should this take the sound of wedding-bells, when Flete Dale smiled in
the sunlight, when the murky woods were cut away, and the dreary noise
of the restless horseman was heard no more, when friends filled the old
house with rejoicing, and the good days of Waynflete were come?

That would bring the story to a happy pause.  But surely the true end of
Guy Waynflete's story, of the battle which every soul that is born into
the world must fight, but which he waged under such strange conditions,
is not here, but in that unseen world, where the souls of the old
Waynfletes had gone before him, where the real issues of the battle are
decided, where the real story began.

There only, where the souls of the wicked, as well as of the righteous,
are in the hand of God, can be gathered the fruits of Guy's victory.

The Epilogue of the story of Waynflete, as of all other stories, is
elsewhere--is out of sight.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The End.





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