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Title: Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 03
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
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 "Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 03" ***

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BOOK III.



CHAPTER I.

IF there were a woman in the world who might be formed and fitted to
reconcile Kenelm Chillingly to the sweet troubles of love and the
pleasant bickerings of wedded life, one might reasonably suppose that
that woman could be found in Cecilia Travers.  An only daughter and
losing her mother in childhood, she had been raised to the
mistress-ship of a household at an age in which most girls are still
putting their dolls to bed; and thus had early acquired that sense of
responsibility, accompanied with the habits of self-reliance, which
seldom fails to give a certain nobility to character; though almost as
often, in the case of women, it steals away the tender gentleness
which constitutes the charm of their sex.

It had not done so in the instance of Cecilia Travers, because she was
so womanlike that even the exercise of power could not make her
manlike.  There was in the depth of her nature such an instinct of
sweetness that wherever her mind toiled and wandered it gathered and
hoarded honey.

She had one advantage over most girls in the same rank of life,--she
had not been taught to fritter away such capacities for culture as
Providence gave her in the sterile nothingnesses which are called
feminine accomplishments.  She did not paint figures out of drawing in
meagre water-colours; she had not devoted years of her life to the
inflicting on polite audiences the boredom of Italian bravuras, which
they could hear better sung by a third-rate professional singer in a
metropolitan music-hall.  I am afraid she had no other female
accomplishments than those by which the sempstress or embroideress
earns her daily bread.  That sort of work she loved, and she did it
deftly.

But if she had not been profitlessly plagued by masters, Cecilia
Travers had been singularly favoured by her father's choice of a
teacher: no great merit in him either.  He had a prejudice against
professional governesses, and it chanced that among his own family
connections was a certain Mrs. Campion, a lady of some literary
distinction, whose husband had held a high situation in one of our
public offices, and living, much to his satisfaction, up to a very
handsome income, had died, much to the astonishment of others, without
leaving a farthing behind him.

Fortunately, there were no children to provide for.  A small
government pension was allotted to the widow; and as her husband's
house had been made by her one of the pleasantest in London, she was
popular enough to be invited by numerous friends to their country
seats; among others, by Mr. Travers.  She came intending to stay a
fortnight.  At the end of that time she had grown so attached to
Cecilia, and Cecilia to her, and her presence had become so pleasant
and so useful to her host, that the Squire entreated her to stay and
undertake the education of his daughter.  Mrs. Campion, after some
hesitation, gratefully consented; and thus Cecilia, from the age of
eight to her present age of nineteen, had the inestimable advantage of
living in constant companionship with a woman of richly cultivated
mind, accustomed to hear the best criticisms on the best books, and
adding to no small accomplishment in literature the refinement of
manners and that sort of prudent judgment which result from habitual
intercourse with an intellectual and gracefully world-wise circle of
society: so that Cecilia herself, without being at all blue or
pedantic, became one of those rare young women with whom a
well-educated man can converse on equal terms; from whom he gains as
much as he can impart to her; while a man who, not caring much about
books, is still gentleman enough to value good breeding, felt a relief
in exchanging the forms of his native language without the shock of
hearing that a bishop was "a swell" or a croquet-party "awfully
jolly."

In a word, Cecilia was one of those women whom Heaven forms for man's
helpmate; who, if he were born to rank and wealth, would, as his
partner, reflect on them a new dignity, and add to their enjoyment by
bringing forth their duties; who, not less if the husband she chose
were poor and struggling, would encourage, sustain, and soothe him,
take her own share of his burdens, and temper the bitterness of life
with the all-recompensing sweetness of her smile.

Little, indeed, as yet had she ever thought of love or of lovers.  She
had not even formed to herself any of those ideals which float before
the eyes of most girls when they enter their teens.  But of two things
she felt inly convinced: first, that she could never wed where she did
not love; and secondly, that where she did love it would be for life.

And now I close this sketch with a picture of the girl herself.  She
has just come into her room from inspecting the preparations for the
evening entertainment which her father is to give to his tenants and
rural neighbours.

She has thrown aside her straw hat, and put down the large basket
which she has emptied of flowers.  She pauses before the glass,
smoothing back the ruffled bands of her hair,--hair of a dark, soft
chestnut, silky and luxuriant,--never polluted, and never, so long as
she lives, to be polluted by auricomous cosmetics, far from that
delicate darkness, every tint of the colours traditionally dedicated
to the locks of Judas.

Her complexion, usually of that soft bloom which inclines to paleness,
is now heightened into glow by exercise and sunlight.  The features
are small and feminine; the eyes dark with long lashes; the mouth
singularly beautiful, with a dimple on either side, and parted now in
a half-smile at some pleasant recollection, giving a glimpse of small
teeth glistening as pearls.  But the peculiar charm of her face is in
an expression of serene happiness, that sort of happiness which seems
as if it had never been interrupted by a sorrow, had never been
troubled by a sin,--that holy kind of happiness which belongs to
innocence, the light reflected from a heart and conscience alike at
peace.



CHAPTER II.

IT was a lovely summer evening for the Squire's rural entertainment.
Mr. Travers had some guests staying with him: they had dined early for
the occasion, and were now grouped with their host a little before six
o'clock on the lawn.  The house was of irregular architecture, altered
or added to at various periods from the reign of Elizabeth to that of
Victoria: at one end, the oldest part, a gable with mullion windows;
at the other, the newest part, a flat-roofed wing, with modern sashes
opening to the ground, the intermediate part much hidden by a veranda
covered with creepers in full bloom.  The lawn was a spacious
table-land facing the west, and backed by a green and gentle hill,
crowned with the ruins of an ancient priory.  On one side of the lawn
stretched a flower-garden and pleasure-ground, originally planned by
Repton; on the opposite angles of the sward were placed two large
marquees,--one for dancing, the other for supper.  Towards the south
the view was left open, and commanded the prospect of an old English
park, not of the stateliest character; not intersected with ancient
avenues, nor clothed with profitless fern as lairs for deer: but the
park of a careful agriculturist, uniting profit with show, the sward
duly drained and nourished, fit to fatten bullocks in an incredibly
short time, and somewhat spoilt to the eye by subdivisions of wire
fence.  Mr. Travers was renowned for skilful husbandry, and the
general management of land to the best advantage.  He had come into
the estate while still in childhood, and thus enjoyed the
accumulations of a long minority.  He had entered the Guards at the
age of eighteen, and having more command of money than most of his
contemporaries, though they might be of higher rank and the sons of
richer men, he had been much courted and much plundered.  At the age
of twenty-five he found himself one of the leaders of fashion,
renowned chiefly for reckless daring where-ever honour could be
plucked out of the nettle danger: a steeple-chaser, whose exploits
made a quiet man's hair stand on end; a rider across country, taking
leaps which a more cautious huntsman carefully avoided.  Known at
Paris as well as in London, he had been admired by ladies whose smiles
had cost him duels, the marks of which still remained in glorious
scars on his person.  No man ever seemed more likely to come to direst
grief before attaining the age of thirty, for at twenty-seven all the
accumulations of his minority were gone; and his estate, which, when
he came of age, was scarcely three thousand a year, but entirely at
his own disposal, was mortgaged up to its eyes.

His friends began to shake their heads and call him "poor fellow;"
but, with all his wild faults, Leopold Travers had been wholly pure
from the two vices out of which a man does not often redeem himself.
He had never drunk and he had never gambled.  His nerves were not
broken, his brain was not besotted.  There was plenty of health in him
yet, mind and body.  At the critical period of his life he married for
love, and his choice was a most felicitous one.  The lady had no
fortune; but though handsome and high-born, she had no taste for
extravagance, and no desire for other society than that of the man she
loved.  So when he said, "Let us settle in the country and try our
best to live on a few hundreds, lay by, and keep the old place out of
the market," she consented with a joyful heart: and marvel it was to
all how this wild Leopold Travers did settle down; did take to
cultivating his home farm with his men from sunrise to sunset like a
common tenant-farmer; did contrive to pay the interest on the
mortgages, and keep his head above water.  After some years of
pupilage in this school of thrift, during which his habits became
formed and his whole character braced, Leopold Travers suddenly found
himself again rich, through the wife whom he had so prudently married
without other dower than her love and her virtues.  Her only brother,
Lord Eagleton, a Scotch peer, had been engaged in marriage to a young
lady, considered to be a rare prize in the lottery of wedlock.  The
marriage was broken off under very disastrous circumstances; but the
young lord, good-looking and agreeable, was naturally expected to seek
speedy consolation in some other alliance.  Nevertheless he did not do
so: he became a confirmed invalid, and died single, leaving to his
sister all in his power to save from the distant kinsman who succeeded
to his lands and title,--a goodly sum, which not only sufficed to pay
off the mortgages on Neesdale Park but bestowed on its owner a surplus
which the practical knowledge of country life that he had acquired
enabled him to devote with extraordinary profit to the general
improvement of his estate.  He replaced tumble-down old farm buildings
with new constructions on the most approved principles; bought or
pensioned off certain slovenly incompetent tenants; threw sundry petty
holdings into large farms suited to the buildings he constructed;
purchased here and there small bits of land, commodious to the farms
they adjoined, and completing the integrity of his ring-fence; stubbed
up profitless woods which diminished the value of neighbouring arables
by obstructing sun and air and harbouring legions of rabbits; and
then, seeking tenants of enterprise and capital, more than doubled his
original yearly rental, and perhaps more than tripled the market value
of his property.  Simultaneously with this acquisition of fortune, he
emerged from the inhospitable and unsocial obscurity which his
previous poverty had compelled, took an active part in county
business, proved himself an excellent speaker at public meetings,
subscribed liberally to the hunt, and occasionally joined in it,--a
less bold but a wiser rider than of yore.  In short, as Themistocles
boasted that he could make a small state great, so Leopold Travers
might boast with equal truth, that, by his energies, his judgment, and
the weight of his personal character, he had made the owner of a
property which had been at his accession to it of third-rate rank in
the county a personage so considerable that no knight of the shire
against whom he declared could have been elected, and if he had
determined to stand himself he would have been chosen free of expense.

But he said, on being solicited to become a candidate, "When a man
once gives himself up to the care and improvement of a landed estate,
he has no time and no heart for anything else.  An estate is an income
or a kingdom, according as the owner chooses to take it.  I take it as
a kingdom, and I cannot be /roi faineant/, with a steward for /maire
du palais/.  A king does not go into the House of Commons."

Three years after this rise in the social ladder, Mrs. Travers was
seized with congestion of the lungs followed by pleurisy, and died
after less than a week's illness.  Leopold never wholly recovered her
loss.  Though still young and always handsome, the idea of another
wife, the love of another woman, were notions which he dismissed from
his, mind with a quiet scorn.  He was too masculine a creature to
parade grief.  For some weeks, indeed, he shut himself up in his own
room, so rigidly secluded that he would not see even his daughter.
But one morning he appeared in his fields as usual, and from that day
resumed his old habits, and gradually renewed that cordial interchange
of hospitalities which had popularly distinguished him since his
accession to wealth.  Still people felt that the man was changed; he
was more taciturn, more grave: if always just in his dealings, he took
the harder side of justice, where in his wife's time he had taken the
gentler.  Perhaps, to a man of strong will, the habitual intercourse
with an amiable woman is essential for those occasions in which Will
best proves the fineness of its temper by the facility with which it
can be bent.

It may be said that Leopold Travers might have found such intercourse
in the intimate companionship of his own daughter.  But she was a mere
child when his wife died, and she grew up to womanhood too insensibly
for him to note the change.  Besides, where a man has found a wife his
all-in-all, a daughter can never supply her place.  The very reverence
due to children precludes unrestrained confidence; and there is not
that sense of permanent fellowship in a daughter which a man has in a
wife,--any day a stranger may appear and carry her off from him.  At
all events Leopold did not own in Cecilia the softening influence to
which he had yielded in her mother.  He was fond of her, proud of her,
indulgent to her; but the indulgence had its set limits.  Whatever she
asked solely for herself he granted; whatever she wished for matters
under feminine control--the domestic household, the parish school, the
alms-receiving poor--obtained his gentlest consideration.  But when
she had been solicited by some offending out-of-door dependant or some
petty defaulting tenant to use her good offices in favour of the
culprit, Mr. Travers checked her interference by a firm "No," though
uttered in a mild accent, and accompanied with a masculine aphorism to
the effect that "there would be no such things as strict justice and
disciplined order in the world if a man yielded to a woman's pleadings
in any matter of business between man and man."  From this it will be
seen that Mr. Lethbridge had overrated the value of Cecilia's alliance
in the negotiation respecting Mrs. Bawtrey's premium and shop.



CHAPTER III.

IF, having just perused what has thus been written on the biographical
antecedents and mental characteristics of Leopold Travers, you, my
dear reader, were to be personally presented to that gentleman as he
now stands, the central figure of the group gathered round him, on his
terrace, you would probably be surprised,--nay, I have no doubt you
would say to yourself, "Not at all the sort of man I expected."  In
that slender form, somewhat below the middle height; in that fair
countenance which still, at the age of forty-eight, retains a delicacy
of feature and of colouring which is of almost womanlike beauty, and,
from the quiet placidity of its expression, conveys at first glance
the notion of almost womanlike mildness,--it would be difficult to
recognize a man who in youth had been renowned for reckless daring, in
maturer years more honourably distinguished for steadfast prudence and
determined purpose, and who, alike in faults or in merits, was as
emphatically masculine as a biped in trousers can possibly be.

Mr. Travers is listening to a young man of about two and twenty, the
eldest son of the richest nobleman of the county, and who intends to
start for the representation of the shire at the next general
election, which is close at hand.  The Hon. George Belvoir is tall,
inclined to be stout, and will look well on the hustings.  He has had
those pains taken with his education which an English peer generally
does take with the son intended to succeed to the representation of an
honourable name and the responsibilities of high station.  If eldest
sons do not often make as great a figure in the world as their younger
brothers, it is not because their minds are less cultivated, but
because they have less motive power for action.  George Belvoir was
well read, especially in that sort of reading which befits a future
senator,--history, statistics, political economy, so far as that
dismal science is compatible with the agricultural interest.  He was
also well-principled, had a strong sense of discipline and duty, was
prepared in politics firmly to uphold as right whatever was proposed
by his own party, and to reject as wrong whatever was proposed by the
other.  At present he was rather loud and noisy in the assertion of
his opinions,--young men fresh from the University generally are.  It
was the secret wish of Mr. Travers that George Belvoir should become
his son-in-law; less because of his rank and wealth (though such
advantages were not of a nature to be despised by a practical man like
Leopold Travers) than on account of those qualities in his personal
character which were likely to render him an excellent husband.

Seated on wire benches, just without the veranda, but shaded by its
fragrant festoons, were Mrs. Campion and three ladies, the wives of
neighbouring squires.  Cecilia stood a little apart from them, bending
over a long-backed Skye terrier, whom she was teaching to stand on his
hind legs.

But see, the company are arriving!  How suddenly that green space, ten
minutes ago so solitary, has become animated and populous!

Indeed the park now presented a very lively appearance: vans, carts,
and farmers' chaises were seen in crowded procession along the winding
road; foot-passengers were swarming towards the house in all
directions.  The herds and flocks in the various enclosures stopped
grazing to stare at the unwonted invaders of their pasture: yet the
orderly nature of their host imparted a respect for order to his ruder
visitors; not even a turbulent boy attempted to scale the fences, or
creep through their wires; all threaded the narrow turnstiles which
gave egress from one subdivision of the sward to another.

Mr. Travers turned to George Belvoir: "I see old farmer Steen's yellow
gig.  Mind how you talk to him, George.  He is full of whims and
crotchets, and if you once brush his feathers the wrong way he will be
as vindictive as a parrot.  But he is the man who must second you at
the nomination.  No other tenant-farmer carries the same weight with
his class."

"I suppose," said George, "that if Mr. Steen is the best man to second
me at the hustings, he is a good speaker?"

"A good speaker? in one sense he is.  He never says a word too much.
The last time he seconded the nomination of the man you are to
succeed, this was his speech: 'Brother Electors, for twenty years I
have been one of the judges at our county cattle-show.  I know one
animal from another.  Looking at the specimens before us to-day none
of them are as good of their kind as I've seen elsewhere.  But if you
choose Sir John Hogg you'll not get the wrong sow by the ear!'"

"At least," said George, after a laugh at this sample of eloquence
unadorned, "Mr. Steen does not err on the side of flattery in his
commendations of a candidate.  But what makes him such an authority
with the farmers?  Is he a first-rate agriculturist?"

"In thrift, yes!--in spirit, no!  He says that all expensive
experiments should be left to gentlemen farmers.  He is an authority
with other tenants: firstly, because he is a very keen censor of their
landlords; secondly, because he holds himself thoroughly independent
of his own; thirdly, because he is supposed to have studied the
political bearings of questions that affect the landed interest, and
has more than once been summoned to give his opinion on such subjects
to Committees of both Houses of Parliament.  Here he comes.  Observe,
when I leave you to talk to him: firstly, that you confess utter
ignorance of practical farming; nothing enrages him like the
presumption of a gentleman farmer like myself: secondly, that you ask
his opinion on the publication of Agricultural Statistics, just
modestly intimating that you, as at present advised, think that
inquisitorial researches into a man's business involve principles
opposed to the British Constitution.  And on all that he may say as to
the shortcomings of landlords in general, and of your father in
particular, make no reply, but listen with an air of melancholy
conviction.  How do you do, Mr. Steen, and how's the mistress?  Why
have you not brought her with you?"

"My good woman is in the straw again, Squire.  Who is that youngster?"

"Hist! let me introduce Mr. Belvoir."

Mr. Belvoir offers his hand.

"No, sir!" vociferates Steen, putting both his own hands behind him.
"No offence, young gentleman.  But I don't give my hand at first sight
to a man who wants to shake a vote out of it.  Not that I know
anything against you.  But, if you be a farmer's friend rabbits are
not, and my lord your father is a great one for rabbits."

"Indeed you are mistaken there!" cries George, with vehement
earnestness.  Mr. Travers gave him a nudge, as much as to say, "Hold
your tongue."  George understood the hint, and is carried off meekly
by Mr. Steen down the solitude of the plantations.

The guests now arrived fast and thick.  They consisted chiefly not
only of Mr. Travers's tenants, but of farmers and their families
within the range of eight or ten miles from the Park, with a few of
the neighbouring gentry and clergy.

It was not a supper intended to include the labouring class; for Mr.
Travers had an especial dislike to the custom of exhibiting peasants
at feeding-time, as if they were so many tamed animals of an inferior
species.  When he entertained work-people, he made them comfortable in
their own way; and peasants feel more comfortable when not invited to
be stared out of countenance.

"Well, Lethbridge," said Mr. Travers, "where is the young gladiator
you promised to bring?"

"I did bring him, and he was by my side not a minute ago.  He has
suddenly given me the slip: 'abiit, evasit, erupit.' I was looking
round for him in vain when you accosted me."

"I hope he has not seen some guest of mine whom he wants to fight."

"I hope not," answered the Parson, doubtfully.  "He's a strange
fellow.  But I think you will be pleased with him; that is, if he can
be found.  Oh, Mr. Saunderson, how do you do?  Have you seen your
visitor?"

"No, sir, I have just come.  My mistress, Squire, and my three girls;
and this is my son."

"A hearty welcome to all," said the graceful Squire; (turning to
Saunderson junior), "I suppose you are fond of dancing.  Get yourself
a partner.  We may as well open the ball."

"Thank you, sir, but I never dance," said Saunderson junior, with an
air of austere superiority to an amusement which the March of
Intellect had left behind.

"Then you'll have less to regret when you are grown old.  But the band
is striking up; we must adjourn to the marquee.  George" (Mr. Belvoir,
escaped from Mr. Steen, had just made his appearance), "will you give
your arm to Cecilia, to whom I think you are engaged for the first
quadrille?"

"I hope," said George to Cecilia, as they walked towards the marquee,
"that Mr. Steen is not an average specimen of the electors I shall
have to canvass.  Whether he has been brought up to honour his own
father and mother I can't pretend to say, but he seems bent upon
teaching me not to honour mine.  Having taken away my father's moral
character upon the unfounded allegation that he loved rabbits better
than mankind, he then assailed my innocent mother on the score of
religion, and inquired when she was going over to the Church of Rome,
basing that inquiry on the assertion that she had taken away her
custom from a Protestant grocer and conferred it on a Papist."

"Those are favourable signs, Mr. Belvoir.  Mr. Steen always prefaces a
kindness by a great deal of incivility.  I asked him once to lend me a
pony, my own being suddenly taken lame, and he seized that opportunity
to tell me that my father was an impostor in pretending to be a judge
of cattle; that he was a tyrant, screwing his tenants in order to
indulge extravagant habits of hospitality; and implied that it would
be a great mercy if we did not live to apply to him, not for a pony,
but for parochial relief.  I went away indignant. But he sent me the
pony.  I am sure he will give you his vote."

"Meanwhile," said George, with a timid attempt at gallantry, as they
now commenced the quadrille, "I take encouragement from the belief
that I have the good wishes of Miss Travers.  If ladies had votes, as
Mr. Mill recommends, why, then--"

"Why, then, I should vote as Papa does," said Miss Travers, simply.
"And if women had votes, I suspect there would be very little peace in
any household where they did not vote as the man at the head of it
wished them."

"But I believe, after all," said the aspirant to Parliament,
seriously, "that the advocates for female suffrage would limit it to
women independent of masculine control, widows and spinsters voting in
right of their own independent tenements."

"In that case," said Cecilia, "I suppose they would still generally go
by the opinion of some man they relied on, or make a very silly choice
if they did not."

"You underrate the good sense of your sex."

"I hope not.  Do you underrate the good sense of yours, if, in far
more than half the things appertaining to daily life, the wisest men
say, 'Better leave /them/ to the /women/'? But you're forgetting the
figure, /cavalier seul/."

"By the way," said George, in another interval of the dance, "do you
know a Mr. Chillingly, the son of Sir Peter, of Exmundham, in
Westshire?"

"No; why do you ask?"

"Because I thought I caught a glimpse of his face: it was just as Mr.
Steen was bearing me away down that plantation.  From what you say, I
must suppose I was mistaken."

"Chillingly!  But surely some persons were talking yesterday at dinner
about a young gentleman of that name as being likely to stand for
Westshire at the next election, but who had made a very unpopular and
eccentric speech on the occasion of his coming of age."

"The same man: I was at college with him,--a very singular character.
He was thought clever; won a prize or two; took a good degree: but it
was generally said that he would have deserved a much higher one if
some of his papers had not contained covert jests either on the
subject or the examiners.  It is a dangerous thing to set up as a
humourist in practical life,--especially public life.  They say Mr.
Pitt had naturally a great deal of wit and humour, but he wisely
suppressed any evidence of those qualities in his Parliamentary
speeches.  Just like Chillingly, to turn into ridicule the important
event of festivities in honour of his coming of age,--an occasion that
can never occur again in the whole course of his life."

"It was bad taste," said Cecilia, "if intentional.  But perhaps he was
misunderstood, or taken by surprise."

"Misunderstood,--possibly; but taken by surprise,--no. The coolest
fellow I ever met.  Not that I have met him very often.  Latterly,
indeed, at Cambridge he lived much alone. It was said that he read
hard.  I doubt that; for my rooms were just over his, and I know that
he was much more frequently out of doors than in.  He rambled a good
deal about the country on foot.  I have seen him in by-lanes a dozen
miles distant from the town when I have been riding back from the
bunt.  He was fond of the water, and pulled a mighty strong oar, but
declined to belong to our University crew; yet if ever there was a
fight between undergraduates and bargemen, he was sure to be in the
midst of it.  Yes, a very great oddity indeed, full of contradictions,
for a milder, quieter fellow in general intercourse you could not see;
and as for the jests of which he was accused in his examination
papers, his very face should have acquitted him of the charge before
any impartial jury of his countrymen."

"You sketch quite an interesting picture of him," said Cecilia.  "I
wish we did know him: he would be worth seeing."

"And, once seen, you would not easily forget him,--a dark, handsome
face, with large melancholy eyes, and with one of those spare slender
figures which enable a man to disguise his strength, as a fraudulent
billiard-player disguises his play."

The dance had ceased during this conversation, and the speakers were
now walking slowly to and fro the lawn amid the general crowd.

"How well your father plays the part of host to these rural folks!"
said George, with a secret envy.  "Do observe how quietly he puts that
shy young farmer at his ease, and now how kindly he deposits that lame
old lady on the bench, and places the stool under her feet.  What a
canvasser he would be! and how young he still looks, and how monstrous
handsome!"

This last compliment was uttered as Travers, having made the old lady
comfortable, had joined the three Miss Saundersons, dividing his
pleasant smile equally between them; and seemingly unconscious of the
admiring glances which many another rural beauty directed towards him
as he passed along.  About the man there was a certain indescribable
elegance, a natural suavity free from all that affectation, whether of
forced heartiness or condescending civility, which too often
characterizes the well-meant efforts of provincial magnates to
accommodate themselves to persons of inferior station and breeding.
It is a great advantage to a man to have passed his early youth in
that most equal and most polished of all democracies,--the best
society of large capitals.  And to such acquired advantage Leopold
Travers added the inborn qualities that please.

Later in the evening Travers, again accosting Mr. Lethbridge, said, "I
have been talking much to the Saundersons about that young man who did
us the inestimable service of punishing your ferocious parishioner,
Tom Bowles; and all I hear so confirms the interest your own account
inspired me with that I should really like much to make his
acquaintance.  Has not he turned up yet?"

"No; I fear he must have gone.  But in that case I hope you will take
his generous desire to serve my poor basket-maker into benevolent
consideration."

"Do not press me; I feel so reluctant to refuse any request of yours.
But I have my own theory as to the management of an estate, and my
system does not allow of favour.  I should wish to explain that to the
young stranger himself; for I hold courage in such honour that I do
not like a brave man to leave these parts with an impression that
Leopold Travers is an ungracious churl.  However, he may not have
gone.  I will go and look for him myself.  Just tell Cecilia that she
has danced enough with the gentry, and that I have told Farmer Turby's
son, a fine young fellow and a capital rider across country, that I
expect him to show my daughter that he can dance as well as he rides."



CHAPTER IV.

QUITTING Mr. Lethbridge, Travers turned with quick step towards the
more solitary part of the grounds.  He did not find the object of his
search in the walks of the plantation; and, on taking the circuit of
his demesne, wound his way back towards the lawn through a sequestered
rocky hollow in the rear of the marquee, which had been devoted to a
fernery.  Here he came to a sudden pause; for, seated a few yards
before him on a gray crag, and the moonlight full on his face, he saw
a solitary man, looking upwards with a still and mournful gaze,
evidently absorbed in abstract contemplation.

Recalling the description of the stranger which he had heard from Mr.
Lethbridge and the Saundersons, Mr. Travers felt sure that he had come
on him at last.  He approached gently; and, being much concealed by
the tall ferns, Kenelm (for that itinerant it was) did not see him
advance, until he felt a hand on his shoulder, and, turning round,
beheld a winning smile and heard a pleasant voice.

"I think I am not mistaken," said Leopold Travers, "in assuming you to
be the gentleman whom Mr. Lethbridge promised to introduce to me, and
who is staying with my tenant, Mr.  Saunderson?"

Kenelm rose and bowed.  Travers saw at once that it was the bow of a
man in his own world, and not in keeping with the Sunday costume of a
petty farmer.  "Nay," said he, "let us talk seated;" and placing
himself on the crag, he made room for Kenelm beside him.

"In the first place," resumed Travers, "I must thank you for having
done a public service in putting down the brute force which has long
tyrannized over the neighbourhood.  Often in my young days I have felt
the disadvantage of height and sinews, whenever it would have been a
great convenience to terminate dispute or chastise insolence by a
resort to man's primitive weapons; but I never more lamented my
physical inferiority than on certain occasions when I would have given
my ears to be able to thrash Tom Bowles myself.  It has been as great
a disgrace to my estate that that bully should so long have infested
it as it is to the King of Italy not to be able with all his armies to
put down a brigand in Calabria."

"Pardon me, Mr. Travers, but I am one of those rare persons who do not
like to hear ill of their friends.  Mr. Thomas Bowles is a particular
friend of mine."

"Eh!" cried Travers, aghast.  "'Friend!' you are joking.

"You would not accuse me of joking if you knew me better.  But surely
you have felt that there are few friends one likes more cordially, and
ought to respect more heedfully, than the enemy with whom one has just
made it up."

"You say well, and I accept the rebuke," said Travers, more and more
surprised.  "And I certainly have less right to abuse Mr. Bowles than
you have, since I had not the courage to fight him.  To turn to
another subject less provocative.  Mr. Lethbridge has told me of your
amiable desire to serve two of his young parishioners, Will Somers and
Jessie Wiles, and of your generous offer to pay the money Mrs. Bawtrey
demands for the transfer of her lease.  To that negotiation my consent
is necessary, and that consent I cannot give.  Shall I tell you why?"

"Pray do.  Your reasons may admit of argument."

"Every reason admits of argument," said Mr. Travers, amused at the
calm assurance of a youthful stranger in anticipating argument with a
skilful proprietor on the management of his own property.  "I do not,
however, tell you my reasons for the sake of argument, but in
vindication of my seeming want of courtesy towards yourself.  I have
had a very hard and a very difficult task to perform in bringing the
rental of my estate up to its proper value.  In doing so, I have been
compelled to adopt one uniform system, equally applied to my largest
and my pettiest holdings.  That system consists in securing the best
and safest tenants I can, at the rents computed by a valuer in whom I
have confidence.  To this system, universally adopted on my estate,
though it incurred much unpopularity at first, I have at length
succeeded in reconciling the public opinion of my neighbourhood.
People began by saying I was hard; they now acknowledge I am just.  If
I once give way to favour or sentiment, I unhinge my whole system.
Every day I am subjected to moving solicitations.  Lord Twostars, a
keen politician, begs me to give a vacant farm to a tenant because he
is an excellent canvasser, and has always voted straight with the
party.  Mrs. Fourstars, a most benevolent woman, entreats me not to
dismiss another tenant, because he is in distressed circumstances and
has a large family; very good reasons perhaps for my excusing him an
arrear, or allowing him a retiring pension, but the worst reasons in
the world for letting him continue to ruin himself and my land.  Now,
Mrs. Bawtrey has a small holding on lease at the inadequate rent of L8
a year.  She asks L45 for its transfer, but she can't transfer the
lease without my consent; and I can get L12 a year as a moderate
rental from a large choice of competent tenants.  It will better
answer me to pay her the L45 myself, which I have no doubt the
incoming tenant would pay me back, at least in part; and if he did
not, the additional rent would be good interest for my expenditure.
Now, you happen to take a sentimental interest, as you pass through
the village, in the loves of a needy cripple whose utmost industry has
but served to save himself from parish relief, and a giddy girl
without a sixpence, and you ask me to accept these very equivocal
tenants instead of substantial ones, and at a rent one-third less than
the market value.  Suppose that I yielded to your request, what
becomes of my reputation for practical, business-like justice?  I
shall have made an inroad into the system by which my whole estate is
managed, and have invited all manner of solicitations on the part of
friends and neighbours, which I could no longer consistently refuse,
having shown how easily I can be persuaded into compliance by a
stranger whom I may never see again.  And are you sure, after all,
that, if you did prevail on me, you would do the individual good you
aim at?  It is, no doubt, very pleasant to think one has made a young
couple happy.  But if that young couple fail in keeping the little
shop to which you would transplant them (and nothing more likely:
peasants seldom become good shopkeepers), and find themselves, with a
family of children, dependent solely, not on the arm of a strong
labourer, but the ten fingers of a sickly cripple, who makes clever
baskets, for which there is but slight and precarious demand in the
neighbourhood, may you not have insured the misery of the couple you
wished to render happy?"

"I withdraw all argument," said Kenelm, with an aspect so humiliated
and dejected, that it would have softened a Greenland bear, or a
Counsel for the Prosecution.  "I am more and more convinced that of
all the shams in the world that of benevolence is the greatest.  It
seems so easy to do good, and it is so difficult to do it.
Everywhere, in this hateful civilized life, one runs one's head
against a system. A system, Mr. Travers, is man's servile imitation of
the blind tyranny of what in our ignorance we call 'Natural Laws,' a
mechanical something through which the world is ruled by the cruelty
of General Principles, to the utter disregard of individual welfare.
By Natural Laws creatures prey on each other, and big fishes eat
little ones upon system.  It is, nevertheless, a hard thing for the
little fish.  Every nation, every town, every hamlet, every
occupation, has a system, by which, somehow or other, the pond swarms
with fishes, of which a great many inferiors contribute to increase
the size of a superior.  It is an idle benevolence to keep one
solitary gudgeon out of the jaws of a pike.  Here am I doing what I
thought the simplest thing in the world, asking a gentleman, evidently
as good-natured as myself, to allow an old woman to let her premises
to a deserving young couple, and paying what she asks for it out of my
own money.  And I find that I am running against a system, and
invading all the laws by which a rental is increased and an estate
improved.  Mr. Travers, you have no cause for regret in not having
beaten Tom Bowles.  You have beaten his victor, and I now give up all
dream of further interference with the Natural Laws that govern the
village which I have visited in vain.  I had meant to remove Tom
Bowles from that quiet community.  I shall now leave him to return to
his former habits,--to marry Jessie Wiles, which he certainly will do,
and--"

"Hold!" cried Mr. Travers.  "Do you mean to say that you can induce
Tom Bowles to leave the village?"

"I had induced him to do it, provided Jessie Wiles married the
basket-maker; but, as that is out of the question, I am bound to tell
him so, and he will stay."

"But if he left, what would become of his business?  His mother could
not keep it on; his little place is a freehold; the only house in the
village that does not belong to me, or I should have ejected him long
ago.  Would he sell the premises to me?"

"Not if he stays and marries Jessie Wiles.  But if he goes with me to
Luscombe and settles in that town as a partner to his uncle, I suppose
he would be too glad to sell a house of which he can have no pleasant
recollections.  But what then?  You cannot violate your system for the
sake of a miserable forge."

"It would not violate my system if, instead of yielding to a
sentiment, I gained an advantage; and, to say truth, I should be very
glad to buy that forge and the fields that go with it."

"'Tis your affair now, not mine, Mr. Travers.  I no longer presume to
interfere.  I leave the neighbourhood to-morrow: see if you can
negotiate with Mr. Bowles.  I have the honour to wish you a good
evening."

"Nay, young gentleman, I cannot allow you to quit me thus.  You have
declined apparently to join the dancers, but you will at least join
the supper.  Come!"

"Thank you sincerely, no.  I came here merely on the business which
your system has settled."

"But I am not sure that it is settled."  Here Mr. Travers wound his
arm within Kenelm's, and looking him full in the face, said, "I know
that I am speaking to a gentleman at least equal in rank to myself,
but as I enjoy the melancholy privilege of being the older man, do not
think I take an unwarrantable liberty in asking if you object to tell
me your name.  I should like to introduce you to my daughter, who is
very partial to Jessie Wiles and to Will Somers.  But I can't venture
to inflame her imagination by designating you as a prince in
disguise."

"Mr. Travers, you express yourself with exquisite delicacy.  But I am
just starting in life, and I shrink from mortifying my father by
associating my name with a signal failure.  Suppose I were an
anonymous contributor, say, to 'The Londoner,' and I had just brought
that highly intellectual journal into discredit by a feeble attempt at
a good-natured criticism or a generous sentiment, would that be the
fitting occasion to throw off the mask, and parade myself to a mocking
world as the imbecile violator of an established system?  Should I
not, in a moment so untoward, more than ever desire to merge my
insignificant unit in the mysterious importance which the smallest
Singular obtains when he makes himself a Plural, and speaks not as
'I,' but as 'We'?  /We/ are insensible to the charm of young ladies;
/We/ are not bribed by suppers; /We/, like the witches of 'Macbeth,'
have no name on earth; /We/ are the greatest wisdom of the greatest
number; /We/ are so upon system; /We/ salute you, Mr. Travers, and
depart unassailable."

Here Kenelm rose, doffed and replaced his hat in majestic salutation,
turned towards the entrance of the fernery, and found himself suddenly
face to face with George Belvoir, behind whom followed, with a throng
of guests, the fair form of Cecilia.  George Belvoir caught Kenelm by
the hand, and exclaimed, "Chillingly!  I thought I could not be
mistaken."

"Chillingly!" echoed Leopold Travers from behind.  "Are you the son of
my old friend Sir Peter?"

Thus discovered and environed, Kenelm did not lose his wonted presence
of mind; he turned round to Leopold Travers, who was now close in his
rear, and whispered, "If my father was your friend, do not disgrace
his son.  Do not say I am a failure.  Deviate from your system, and
let Will Somers succeed Mrs. Bawtrey."  Then reverting his face to Mr.
Belvoir, he said tranquilly, "Yes; we have met before."

"Cecilia," said Travers, now interposing, "I am happy to introduce to
you as Mr. Chillingly, not only the son of an old friend of mine, not
only the knight-errant of whose gallant conduct on behalf of your
protegee Jessie Wiles we have heard so much, but the eloquent arguer
who has conquered my better judgment in a matter on which I thought
myself infallible.  Tell Mr. Lethbridge that I accept Will Somers as a
tenant for Mrs. Bawtrey's premises."

Kenelm grasped the Squire's hand cordially.  "May it be in my power to
do a kind thing to you, in spite of any system to the contrary!"

"Mr. Chillingly, give your arm to my daughter.  You will not now
object to join the dancers?"



CHAPTER V.

CECILIA stole a shy glance at Kenelm as the two emerged from the
fernery into the open space of the lawn.  His countenance pleased her.
She thought she discovered much latent gentleness under the cold and
mournful gravity of its expression; and, attributing the silence he
maintained to some painful sense of an awkward position in the abrupt
betrayal of his incognito, sought with womanly tact to dispel his
supposed embarrassment.

"You have chosen a delightful mode of seeing the country this lovely
summer weather, Mr. Chillingly.  I believe such pedestrian exercises
are very common with university students during the long vacation."

"Very common, though they generally wander in packs like wild dogs or
Australian dingoes.  It is only a tame dog that one finds on the road
travelling by himself; and then, unless he behaves very quietly, it is
ten to one that he is stoned as a mad dog."

"But I am afraid, from what I hear, that you have not been travelling
very quietly."

"You are quite right, Miss Travers, and I am a sad dog if not a mad
one.  But pardon me: we are nearing the marquee; the band is striking
up, and, alas!  I am not a dancing dog."

He released Cecilia's arm, and bowed.

"Let us sit here a while, then," said she, motioning to a
garden-bench.  "I have no engagement for the next dance, and, as I am
a little tired, I shall be glad of a reprieve."

Kenelm sighed, and, with the air of a martyr stretching himself on the
rack, took his place beside the fairest girl in the county.

"You were at college with Mr. Belvoir?"

"I was."

"He was thought clever there?"

"I have not a doubt of it."

"You know he is canvassing our county for the next election.  My
father takes a warm interest in his success, and thinks he will be a
useful member of Parliament."

"Of that I am certain.  For the first five years he will be called
pushing, noisy, and conceited, much sneered at by men of his own age,
and coughed down on great occasions; for the five following years he
will be considered a sensible man in committees, and a necessary
feature in debate; at the end of those years he will be an
under-secretary; in five years more he will be a Cabinet Minister, and
the representative of an important section of opinions; he will be an
irreproachable private character, and his wife will be seen wearing
the family diamonds at all the great parties.  She will take an
interest in politics and theology; and if she die before him, her
husband will show his sense of wedded happiness by choosing another
lady, equally fitted to wear the family diamonds and to maintain the
family consequences."

In spite of her laughter, Cecilia felt a certain awe at the solemnity
of voice and manner with which Kenelm delivered these oracular
sentences, and the whole prediction seemed strangely in unison with
her own impressions of the character whose fate was thus shadowed out.

"Are you a fortune-teller, Mr. Chillingly?" she asked, falteringly,
and after a pause.

"As good a one as any whose hand you could cross with a shilling."

"Will you tell me my fortune?"

"No; I never tell the fortunes of ladies, because your sex is
credulous, and a lady might believe what I tell her.  And when we
believe such and such is to be our fate, we are too apt to work out
our life into the verification of the belief.  If Lady Macbeth had
disbelieved in the witches, she would never have persuaded her lord to
murder Duncan."

"But can you not predict me a more cheerful fortune than that tragical
illustration of yours seems to threaten?"

"The future is never cheerful to those who look on the dark side of
the question.  Mr. Gray is too good a poet for people to read
nowadays, otherwise I should refer you to his lines in the 'Ode to
Eton College,'--


     "'See how all around us wait
       The ministers of human fate,
           And black Misfortune's baleful train.'


"Meanwhile it is something to enjoy the present.  We are young; we are
listening to music; there is no cloud over the summer stars; our
conscience is clear; our hearts untroubled: why look forward in search
of happiness? shall we ever be happier than we are at this moment?"

Here Mr. Travers came up.  "We are going to supper in a few minutes,"
said he; "and before we lose sight of each other, Mr. Chillingly, I
wish to impress on you the moral fact that one good turn deserves
another.  I have yielded to your wish, and now you must yield to mine.
Come and stay a few days with me, and see your benevolent intentions
carried out."

Kenelm paused.  Now that he was discovered, why should he not pass a
few days among his equals?  Realities or shams might be studied with
squires no less than with farmers; besides, he had taken a liking to
Travers.  That graceful /ci-devant/ Wildair, with the slight form and
the delicate face, was unlike rural squires in general.  Kenelm
paused, and then said frankly,--

"I accept your invitation.  Would the middle of next week suit you?"

"The sooner the better.  Why not to-morrow?"

"To-morrow I am pre-engaged to an excursion with Mr. Bowles.  That may
occupy two or three days, and meanwhile I must write home for other
garments than those in which I am a sham."

"Come any day you like."

"Agreed."

"Agreed; and, hark! the supper-bell."

"Supper," said Kenelm, offering his arm to Miss Travers,--"supper is a
word truly interesting, truly poetical.  It associates itself with the
entertainments of the ancients, with the Augustan age, with Horace and
Maecenas; with the only elegant but too fleeting period of the modern
world; with the nobles and wits of Paris, when Paris had wits and
nobles; with Moliere and the warm-hearted Duke who is said to have
been the original of Moliere's Misanthrope; with Madame de Sevigne and
the Racine whom that inimitable letter-writer denied to be a poet;
with Swift and Bolingbroke; with Johnson, Goldsmith, and Garrick.
Epochs are signalized by their eatings.  I honour him who revives the
Golden Age of suppers."  So saying, his face brightened.



CHAPTER VI.


KENELM CHILLINGLY, ESQ., TO SIR PETER CHILLINGLY, BART., ETC.

MY DEAR FATHER,--I am alive and unmarried.  Providence has watched
over me in these respects; but I have had narrow escapes.  Hitherto I
have not acquired much worldly wisdom in my travels.  It is true that
I have been paid two shillings as a day labourer, and, in fact, have
fairly earned at least six shillings more; but against that additional
claim I generously set off, as an equivalent, my board and lodging.
On the other hand, I have spent forty-five pounds out of the fifty
which I devoted to the purchase of experience.  But I hope you will be
a gainer by that investment.  Send an order to Mr. William Somers,
basket-maker, Graveleigh, -----shire, for the hampers and game-baskets
you require, and I undertake to say that you will save twenty per cent
on that article (all expenses of carriage deducted) and do a good
action into the bargain.  You know, from long habit, what a good
action is worth better than I do.  I dare say you will be more pleased
to learn than I am to record the fact that I have been again decoyed
into the society of ladies and gentlemen, and have accepted an
invitation to pass a few days at Neesdale Park with Mr.
Travers,--christened Leopold, who calls you "his old friend,"--a term
which I take for granted belongs to that class of poetic exaggeration
in which the "dears" and "darlings" of conjugal intercourse may be
categorized.  Having for that visit no suitable garments in my
knapsack, kindly tell Jenkes to forward me a portmanteau full of those
which I habitually wore as Kenelm Chillingly, directed to me at
"Neesdale Park, near Beaverston."  Let me find it there on Wednesday.

I leave this place to-morrow morning in company with a friend of the
name of Bowles: no relation to the reverend gentleman of that name who
held the doctrine that a poet should bore us to death with
fiddle-faddle minutia of natural objects in preference to that study
of the insignificant creature Man, in his relations to his species, to
which Mr. Pope limited the range of his inferior muse; and who,
practising as he preached, wrote some very nice verses, to which the
Lake school and its successors are largely indebted.  My Mr. Bowles
has exercised his faculty upon Man, and has a powerful inborn gift in
that line which only requires cultivation to render him a match for
any one.  His more masculine nature is at present much obscured by
that passing cloud which, in conventional language, is called "a
hopeless attachment."  But I trust, in the course of our excursion,
which is to be taken on foot, that this vapour may consolidate by
motion, as some old-fashioned astronomers held that the nebula does
consolidate into a matter-of-fact world.  Is it Rochefoucauld who says
that a man is never more likely to form a hopeful attachment for one
than when his heart is softened by a hopeless attachment to another?
May it be long, my dear father, before you condole with me on the
first or congratulate me on the second.

     Your affectionate son,

          KENELM.

Direct to me at Mr. Travers's.  Kindest love to my mother.


The answer to this letter is here subjoined as the most convenient
place for its insertion, though of course it was not received till
some days after the date of my next chapter.


SIR PETER CHILLINGLY, BART., TO KENELM CHILLINGLY, ESQ.

MY DEAR Boy,--With this I despatch the portmanteau you require to the
address that you give.  I remember well Leopold Travers when he was in
the Guards,--a very handsome and a very wild young fellow.  But he had
much more sense than people gave him credit for, and frequented
intellectual society; at least I met him very often at my friend
Campion's, whose house was then the favourite rendezvous of
distinguished persons.  He had very winning manners, and one could not
help taking an interest in him.  I was very glad when I heard he had
married and reformed.  Here I beg to observe that a man who contracts
a taste for low company may indeed often marry, but he seldom reforms
when he does so.  And, on the whole, I should be much pleased to hear
that the experience which has cost you forty-five pounds had convinced
you that you might be better employed than earning two, or even six
shillings as a day-labourer.

I have not given your love to your mother, as you requested.  In fact,
you have placed me in a very false position towards that other author
of your eccentric being.  I could only guard you from the inquisition
of the police and the notoriety of descriptive hand-bills by allowing
my lady to suppose that you had gone abroad with the Duke of
Clairville and his family.  It is easy to tell a fib, but it is very
difficult to untell it.  However, as soon as you have made up your
mind to resume your normal position among ladies and gentlemen, I
should be greatly obliged if you would apprise me.  I don't wish to
keep a fib on my conscience a day longer than may be necessary to
prevent the necessity of telling another.

From what you say of Mr. Bowles's study of Man, and his inborn talent
for that scientific investigation, I suppose that he is a professed
Metaphysician, and I should be glad of his candid opinion upon the
Primary Basis of Morals, a subject upon which I have for three years
meditated the consideration of a critical paper.  But having lately
read a controversy thereon between two eminent philosophers, in which
each accuses the other of not understanding him, I have resolved for
the present to leave the Basis in its unsettled condition.

You rather alarm me when you say you have had a narrow escape from
marriage.  Should you, in order to increase the experience you set out
to acquire, decide on trying the effect of a Mrs. Chillingly upon your
nervous system, it would be well to let me know a little beforehand,
so that I might prepare your mother's mind for that event.  Such
household trifles are within her special province; and she would be
much put out if a Mrs.  Chillingly dropped on her unawares.

This subject, however, is too serious to admit of a jest even between
two persons who understand, so well as you and I do, the secret cipher
by which each other's outward style of jest is to be gravely
interpreted into the irony which says one thing and means another.  My
dear boy, you are very young; you are wandering about in a very
strange manner, and may, no doubt, meet with many a pretty face by the
way, with which you may fancy that you fall in love.  You cannot think
me a barbarous, tyrant if I ask you to promise me, on your honour,
that you will not propose to any young lady before you come first to
me and submit the case to my examination and approval.  You know me
too well to suppose that I should unreasonably withhold my consent if
convinced that your happiness was at stake.  But while what a young
man may fancy to be love is often a trivial incident in his life,
marriage is the greatest event in it; if on one side it may involve
his happiness, on the other side it may insure his misery.  Dearest,
best, and oddest of sons, give me the promise I ask, and you will free
my breast from a terribly anxious thought which now sits on it like a
nightmare.

Your recommendation of a basket-maker comes opportunely.  All such
matters go through the bailiff's hands, and it was but the other day
that Green was complaining of the high prices of the man he employed
for hampers and game-baskets.  Green shall write to your protege.

Keep me informed of your proceedings as much as your anomalous
character will permit; so that nothing may diminish my confidence that
the man who had the honour to be christened Kenelm will not disgrace
his name, but acquire the distinction denied to a Peter.

Your affectionate father.



CHAPTER VII.

VILLAGERS lie abed on Sundays later than on workdays, and no shutter
was unclosed in a window of the rural street through which Kenelm
Chillingly and Tom Bowles went, side by side, in the still soft air of
the Sabbath morn.  Side by side they went on, crossing the pastoral
glebe-lands, where the kine still drowsily reclined under the bowery
shade of glinting chestnut leaves; and diving thence into a narrow
lane or by-road, winding deep between lofty banks all tangled with
convolvulus and wild-rose and honeysuckle.

They walked in silence, for Kenelm, after one or two vain attempts at
conversation, had the tact to discover that his companion was in no
mood for talk; and being himself one of those creatures whose minds
glide easily into the dreamy monologue of revery, he was not
displeased to muse on undisturbed, drinking quietly into his heart the
subdued joy of the summer morn, with the freshness of its sparkling
dews, the wayward carol of its earliest birds, the serene quietude of
its limpid breezy air.  Only when they came to fresh turnings in the
road that led towards the town to which they were bound, Tom Bowles
stepped before his companion, indicating the way by a monosyllable or
a gesture.  Thus they journeyed for hours, till the sun attained
power, and a little wayside inn near a hamlet invited Kenelm to the
thought of rest and food.

"Tom," said he then, rousing from his revery, "what do you say to
breakfast?"

Answered Tom sullenly, "I am not hungry; but as you like."

"Thank you, then we will stop here a while.  I find it difficult to
believe that you are not hungry, for you are very strong, and there
are two things which generally accompany great physical strength: the
one is a keen appetite; the other is--though you may not suppose it,
and it is not commonly known--a melancholic temperament."

"Eh!--a what?"

"A tendency to melancholy.  Of course you have heard of Hercules: you
know the saying 'as strong as Hercules'?"

"Yes, of course."

"Well, I was first led to the connection between strength, appetite,
and melancholy, by reading in an old author named Plutarch that
Hercules was among the most notable instances of melancholy
temperament which the author was enabled to quote.  That must have
been the traditional notion of the Herculean constitution; and as for
appetite, the appetite of Hercules was a standard joke of the comic
writers.  When I read that observation it set me thinking, being
myself melancholic and having an exceedingly good appetite.  Sure
enough, when I began to collect evidence, I found that the strongest
men with whom I made acquaintance, including prize-fighters and Irish
draymen, were disposed to look upon life more on the shady than the
sunny side of the way; in short, they were melancholic.  But the
kindness of Providence allowed them to enjoy their meals, as you and I
are about to do."  In the utterance of this extraordinary crotchet
Kenelm had halted his steps; but now striding briskly forward he
entered the little inn, and after a glance at its larder, ordered the
whole contents to be brought out and placed within a honeysuckle
arbour which he spied in the angle of a bowling-green at the rear of
the house.

In addition to the ordinary condiments of loaf and butter and eggs and
milk and tea, the board soon groaned beneath the weight of pigeon-pie,
cold ribs of beef, and shoulder of mutton, remains of a feast which
the members of a monthly rustic club had held there the day before.
Tom ate little at first; but example is contagious, and gradually he
vied with his companion in the diminution of the solid viands before
him.  Then he called for brandy.

"No," said Kenelm.  "No, Tom; you have promised me friendship, and
that is not compatible with brandy.  Brandy is the worst enemy a man
like you can have; and would make you quarrel even with me.  If you
want a stimulus I allow you a pipe.  I don't smoke myself, as a rule,
but there have been times in my life when I required soothing, and
then I have felt that a whiff of tobacco stills and softens one like
the kiss of a little child.  Bring this gentleman a pipe."

Tom grunted, but took to the pipe kindly, and in a few minutes, during
which Kenelm left him in silence, a lowering furrow between his brows
smoothed itself away.

Gradually he felt the sweetening influences of the day and the place,
of the merry sunbeams at play amid the leaves of the arbour, of the
frank perfume of the honeysuckle, of the warble of the birds before
they sank into the taciturn repose of a summer noon.

It was with a reluctant sigh that he rose at last, when Kenelm said,
"We have yet far to go: we must push on."

The landlady, indeed, had already given them a hint that she and the
family wanted to go to church, and to shut up the house in their
absence.  Kenelm drew out his purse, but Tom did the same with a
return of cloud on his brow, and Kenelm saw that he would be mortally
offended if suffered to be treated as an inferior; so each paid his
due share, and the two men resumed their wandering.  This time it was
along a by-path amid fields, which was a shorter cut than the lane
they had previously followed, to the main road to Luscombe.  They
walked slowly till they came to a rustic foot-bridge which spanned a
gloomy trout-stream, not noisy, but with a low, sweet murmur,
doubtless the same stream beside which, many miles away, Kenelm had
conversed with the minstrel.  Just as they came to this bridge there
floated to their ears the distant sound of the hamlet church-bell.

"Now let us sit here a while and listen," said Kenelm, seating himself
on the baluster of the bridge.  "I see that you brought away your pipe
from the inn, and provided yourself with tobacco: refill the pipe and
listen."

Tom half smiled and obeyed.

"O friend," said Kenelm, earnestly, and after a long pause of thought,
"do you not feel what a blessed thing it is in this mortal life to be
ever and anon reminded that you have a soul?"

Tom, startled, withdrew the pipe from his lips, and muttered,--

"Eh!"

Kenelm continued,--

"You and I, Tom, are not so good as we ought to be: of that there is
no doubt; and good people would say justly that we should now be
within yon church itself rather than listening to its bell.  Granted,
my friend, granted; but still it is something to hear that bell, and
to feel by the train of thought which began in our innocent childhood,
when we said our prayers at the knees of a mother, that we were lifted
beyond this visible Nature, beyond these fields and woods and waters,
in which, fair though they be, you and I miss something; in which
neither you nor I are as happy as the kine in the fields, as the birds
on the bough, as the fishes in the water: lifted to a consciousness of
a sense vouchsafed to you and to me, not vouchsafed to the kine, to
the bird, and the fish,--a sense to comprehend that Nature has a God,
and Man has a life hereafter.  The bell says that to you and to me.
Were that bell a thousand times more musical it could not say that to
beast, bird, and fish.  Do you understand me, Tom?"

Tom remains silent for a minute, and then replies, "I never thought of
it before; but, as you put it, I understand."

"Nature never gives to a living thing capacities not practically meant
for its benefit and use.  If Nature gives to us capacities to believe
that we have a Creator whom we never saw, of whom we have no direct
proof, who is kind and good and tender beyond all that we know of kind
and good and tender on earth, it is because the endowment of
capacities to conceive such a Being must be for our benefit and use:
it would not be for our benefit and use if it were a lie.  Again, if
Nature has given to us a capacity to receive the notion that we live
again, no matter whether some of us refuse so to believe, and argue
against it,--why, the very capacity to receive the idea (for unless we
receive it we could not argue against it) proves that it is for our
benefit and use; and if there were no such life hereafter, we should
be governed and influenced, arrange our modes of life, and mature our
civilization, by obedience to a lie, which Nature falsified herself in
giving us the capacity to believe.  You still understand me?"

"Yes; it bothers me a little, for you see I am not a parson's man; but
I do understand."

"Then, my friend, study to apply,--for it requires constant
study,--study to apply that which you understand to your own case.
You are something more than Tom Bowles, the smith and doctor of
horses; something more than the magnificent animal who rages for his
mate and fights every rival: the bull does that.  You are a soul
endowed with the capacity to receive the idea of a Creator so divinely
wise and great and good that, though acting by the agency of general
laws, He can accommodate them to all individual cases, so that--taking
into account the life hereafter, which He grants to you the capacity
to believe--all that troubles you now will be proved to you wise and
great and good either in this life or the other.  Lay that truth to
your heart, friend, now--before the bell stops ringing; recall it
every time you hear the church-bell ring again.  And oh, Tom, you have
such a noble nature!--"

"I--I! don't jeer me,--don't."

"Such a noble nature; for you can love so passionately, you can war so
fiercely, and yet, when convinced that your love would be misery to
her you love, can resign it; and yet, when beaten in your war, can so
forgive your victor that you are walking in this solitude with him as
a friend, knowing that you have but to drop a foot behind him in order
to take his life in an unguarded moment; and rather than take his
life, you would defend it against an army.  Do you think I am so dull
as not to see all that? and is not all that a noble nature?"

Tom Bowles covered his face with his hands, and his broad breast
heaved.

"Well, then, to that noble nature I now trust.  I myself have done
little good in life.  I may never do much; but let me think that I
have not crossed your life in vain for you and for those whom your
life can colour for good or for bad.  As you are strong, be gentle; as
you can love one, be kind to all; as you have so much that is grand as
Man,--that is, the highest of God's works on earth,--let all your acts
attach your manhood to the idea of Him, to whom the voice of the bell
appeals.  Ah! the bell is hushed; but not your heart, Tom,--that
speaks still."

Tom was weeping like a child.



CHAPTER VIII.

NOW when our two travellers resumed their journey, the relationship
between them had undergone a change; nay, you might have said that
their characters were also changed.  For Tom found himself pouring out
his turbulent heart to Kenelm, confiding to this philosophical scoffer
at love all the passionate humanities of love,--its hope, its anguish,
its jealousy, its wrath,--the all that links the gentlest of emotions
to tragedy and terror.  And Kenelm, listening tenderly, with softened
eyes, uttered not one cynic word,--nay, not one playful jest.  He,
felt that the gravity of all he heard was too solemn for mockery, too
deep even for comfort.  True love of this sort was a thing he had
never known, never wished to know, never thought he could know, but he
sympathized in it not the less.  Strange, indeed, how much we do
sympathize, on the stage, for instance, or in a book, with passions
that have never agitated ourselves!  Had Kenelm jested or reasoned or
preached, Tom would have shrunk at once into dreary silence; but
Kenelm said nothing, save now and then, as he rested his arm,
brother-like, on the strong man's shoulder, he murmured, "Poor
fellow!"  So, then, when Tom had finished his confessions, he felt
wondrously relieved and comforted.  He had cleansed his bosom of the
perilous stuff that weighed upon the heart.

Was this good result effected by Kenelm's artful diplomacy, or by that
insight into human passions vouchsafed unconsciously to himself, by
gleams or in flashes, to this strange man who surveyed the objects and
pursuits of his fellows with a yearning desire to share them,
murmuring to himself, "I cannot, I do not stand in this world; like a
ghost I glide beside it, and look on "?

Thus the two men continued their way slowly, amid soft pastures and
yellowing cornfields, out at length into the dusty thoroughfares of
the main road.  That gained, their talk insensibly changed its tone:
it became more commonplace; and Kenelm permitted himself the license
of those crotchets by which he extracted a sort of quaint pleasantry
out of commonplace itself; so that from time to time Tom was startled
into the mirth of laughter.  This big fellow had one very agreeable
gift, which is only granted, I think, to men of genuine character and
affectionate dispositions,--a spontaneous and sweet laugh, manly and
frank, but not boisterous, as you might have supposed it would be.
But that sort of laugh had not before come from his lips, since the
day on which his love for Jessie Wiles had made him at war with
himself and the world.

The sun was setting when from the brow of a hill they beheld the
spires of Luscombe, imbedded amid the level meadows that stretched
below, watered by the same stream that had wound along their more
rural pathway, but which now expanded into stately width, and needed,
to span it, a mighty bridge fit for the convenience of civilized
traffic.  The town seemed near, but it was full two miles off by road.

"There is a short cut across the fields beyond that stile, which leads
straight to my uncle's house," said Tom; "and I dare say, sir, that
you will be glad to escape the dirty suburb by which the road passes
before we get into the town."

"A good thought, Tom.  It is very odd that fine towns always are
approached by dirty suburbs; a covert symbolical satire, perhaps, on
the ways to success in fine towns.  Avarice or ambition go through
very mean little streets before they gain the place which they jostle
the crowd to win,--in the Townhall or on 'Change.  Happy the man who,
like you, Tom, finds that there is a shorter and a cleaner and a
pleasanter way to goal or to resting-place than that through the dirty
suburbs!"

They met but few passengers on their path through the fields,--a
respectable, staid, elderly couple, who had the air of a Dissenting
minister and his wife; a girl of fourteen leading a little boy seven
years younger by the hand; a pair of lovers, evidently lovers at least
to the eye of Tom Bowles; for, on regarding them as they passed
unheeding him, he winced, and his face changed.  Even after they had
passed, Kenelm saw on the face that pain lingered there: the lips were
tightly compressed, and their corners gloomily drawn down.

Just at this moment a dog rushed towards them with a short quick
bark,--a Pomeranian dog with pointed nose and pricked ears.  It hushed
its bark as it neared Kenelm, sniffed his trousers, and wagged its
tail.

"By the sacred Nine," cried Kenelm, "thou art the dog with the tin
tray! where is thy master?"

The dog seemed to understand the question, for it turned its head
significantly; and Kenelm saw, seated under a lime-tree, at a good
distance from the path, a man, with book in hand, evidently employed
in sketching.

"Come this way," he said to Tom: "I recognize an acquaintance.  You
will like him."  Tom desired no new acquaintance at that moment, but
he followed Kenelm submissively.



CHAPTER IX.

"YOU see we are fated to meet again," said Kenelm, stretching himself
at his ease beside the Wandering Minstrel, and motioning Tom to do the
same.  "But you seem to add the accomplishment of drawing to that of
verse-making!  You sketch from what you call Nature?"

"From what I call Nature! yes, sometimes."

"And do you not find in drawing, as in verse-making, the truth that I
have before sought to din into your reluctant ears; namely, that
Nature has no voice except that which man breathes into her out of his
mind?  I would lay a wager that the sketch you are now taking is
rather an attempt to make her embody some thought of your own, than to
present her outlines as they appear to any other observer.  Permit me
to judge for myself."  And he bent over the sketch-book.  It is often
difficult for one who is not himself an artist nor a connoisseur to
judge whether the pencilled jottings in an impromptu sketch are by the
hand of a professed master or a mere amateur.  Kenelm was neither
artist nor connoisseur, but the mere pencil-work seemed to him much
what might be expected from any man with an accurate eye who had taken
a certain number of lessons from a good drawing-master.  It was enough
for him, however, that it furnished an illustration of his own theory.
"I was right," he cried triumphantly.  "From this height there is a
beautiful view, as it presents itself to me; a beautiful view of the
town, its meadows, its river, harmonized by the sunset; for sunset,
like gilding, unites conflicting colours, and softens them in uniting.
But I see nothing of that view in your sketch.  What I do see is to me
mysterious."

"The view you suggest," said the minstrel, "is no doubt very fine, but
it is for a Turner or a Claude to treat it.  My grasp is not wide
enough for such a landscape."

"I see indeed in your sketch but one figure, a child."

"Hist! there she stands.  Hist! while I put in this last touch."

Kenelm strained his sight, and saw far off a solitary little girl, who
was tossing something in the air (he could not distinguish what), and
catching it as it fell.  She seemed standing on the very verge of the
upland, backed by rose-clouds gathered round the setting sun; below
lay in confused outlines the great town.  In the sketch those outlines
seemed infinitely more confused, being only indicated by a few bold
strokes; but the figure and face of the child were distinct and
lovely.  There was an ineffable sentiment in her solitude; there was a
depth of quiet enjoyment in her mirthful play, and in her upturned
eyes.

"But at that distance," asked Kenelm, when the wanderer had finished
his last touch, and, after contemplating it, silently closed his book,
and turned round with a genial smile, "but at that distance, how can
you distinguish the girl's face?  How can you discover that the dim
object she has just thrown up and recaught is a ball made of flowers?
Do you know the child?"

"I never saw her before this evening; but as I was seated here she was
straying around me alone, weaving into chains some wild-flowers which
she had gathered by the hedgerows yonder, next the high road; and as
she strung them she was chanting to herself some pretty nursery
rhymes.  You can well understand that when I heard her thus chanting I
became interested, and as she came near me I spoke to her, and we soon
made friends.  She told me she was an orphan, and brought up by a very
old man distantly related to her, who had been in some small trade and
now lived in a crowded lane in the heart of the town.  He was very
kind to her, and being confined himself to the house by age or ailment
he sent her out to play in the fields on summer Sundays.  She had no
companions of her own age.  She said she did not like the other little
girls in the lane; and the only little girl she liked at school had a
grander station in life, and was not allowed to play with her, and so
she came out to play alone; and as long as the sun shines and the
flowers bloom, she says she never wants other society."

"Tom, do you hear that?  As you will be residing in Luscombe, find out
this strange little girl, and be kind to her, Tom, for my sake."

Tom put his large hand upon Kenelm's, making no other answer; but he
looked hard at the minstrel, recognized the genial charm of his voice
and face, and slid along the grass nearer to him.

The minstrel continued: "While the child was talking to me I
mechanically took the flower-chains from her hands, and not thinking
what I was about, gathered them up into a ball.  Suddenly she saw what
I had done, and instead of scolding me for spoiling her pretty chains,
which I richly deserved, was delighted to find I had twisted them into
a new plaything.  She ran off with the ball, tossing it about till,
excited with her own joy, she got to the brow of the hill, and I began
my sketch."

"Is that charming face you have drawn like hers?"

"No; only in part.  I was thinking of another face while I sketched,
but it is not like that either; in fact, it is one of those patchworks
which we call 'fancy heads,' and I meant it to be another version of a
thought that I had just put into rhyme when the child came across me."

"May we hear the rhyme?"

"I fear that if it did not bore yourself it would bore your friend."

"I am sure not.  Tom, do you sing?"

"Well, I /have/ sung," said Tom, hanging his head sheepishly, "and I
should like to hear this gentleman."

"But I do not know these verses, just made, well enough to sing them;
it is enough if I can recall them well enough to recite."  Here the
minstrel paused a minute or so as if for recollection, and then, in
the sweet clear tones and the rare purity of enunciation which
characterized his utterance, whether in recital or song, gave to the
following verses a touching and a varied expression which no one could
discover in merely reading them.


          THE FLOWER-GIRL BY THE CROSSING.

     "By the muddy crossing in the crowded streets
       Stands a little maid with her basket full of posies,
      Proffering all who pass her choice of knitted sweets,
       Tempting Age with heart's-ease, courting Youth with roses.

     "Age disdains the heart's-ease,
       Love rejects the roses;
      London life is busy,--
       Who can stop for posies?

     "One man is too grave, another is too gay;
       This man has his hothouse, that man not a penny:
      Flowerets too are common in the month of May,
       And the things most common least attract the many.

     "Ill, on London crossings,
       Fares the sale of posies;
      Age disdains the heart's-ease,
       Youth rejects the roses."


When the verse-maker had done, he did not pause for approbation, nor
look modestly down, as do most people who recite their own verses, but
unaffectedly thinking much more of his art than his audience, hurried
on somewhat disconsolately,--

"I see with great grief that I am better at sketching than rhyming.
Can you" (appealing to Kenelm) "even comprehend what I mean by the
verses?"

KENELM.--"Do you comprehend, Tom?"

TOM (in a whisper).--"No."

KENELM.--"I presume that by his flower-girl our friend means to
represent not only poetry, but a poetry like his own, which is not at
all the sort of poetry now in fashion.  I, however, expand his
meaning, and by his flower-girl I understand any image of natural
truth or beauty for which, when we are living the artificial life of
crowded streets, we are too busy to give a penny."

"Take it as you please," said the minstrel, smiling and sighing at the
same time; "but I have not expressed in words that which I did mean
half so well as I have expressed it in my sketch-book."

"Ah! and how?" asked Kenelm.

"The image of my thought in the sketch, be it poetry or whatever you
prefer to call it, does not stand forlorn in the crowded streets: the
child stands on the brow of the green hill, with the city stretched in
confused fragments below, and, thoughtless of pennies and passers-by,
she is playing with the flowers she has gathered; but in play casting
them heavenward, and following them with heavenward eyes."

"Good!" muttered Kenelm, "good!" and then, after a long pause, he
added, in a still lower mutter, "Pardon me that remark of mine the
other day about a beefsteak.  But own that I am right: what you call a
sketch from Nature is but a sketch of your own thought."



CHAPTER X.

THE child with the flower-ball had vanished from the brow of the hill;
sinking down amid the streets below, the rose-clouds had faded from
the horizon; and night was closing round, as the three men entered the
thick of the town.  Tom pressed Kenelm to accompany him to his
uncle's, promising him a hearty welcome and bed and board, but Kenelm
declined.  He entertained a strong persuasion that it would be better
for the desired effect on Tom's mind that he should be left alone with
his relations that night, but proposed that they should spend the next
day together, and agreed to call at the veterinary surgeon's in the
morning.

When Tom quitted them at his uncle's door, Kenelm said to the
minstrel, "I suppose you are going to some inn; may I accompany you?
We can sup together, and I should like to hear you talk upon poetry
and Nature."

"You flatter me much; but I have friends in the town, with whom I
lodge, and they are expecting me.  Do you not observe that I have
changed my dress?  I am not known here as the 'Wandering Minstrel.'"

Kenelm glanced at the man's attire, and for the first time observed
the change.  It was still picturesque in its way, but it was such as
gentlemen of the highest rank frequently wear in the country,--the
knickerbocker costume,--very neat, very new, and complete, to the
square-toed shoes with their latchets and buckles.

"I fear," said Kenelm, gravely, "that your change of dress betokens
the neighbourhood of those pretty girls of whom you spoke in an
earlier meeting.  According to the Darwinian doctrine of selection,
fine plumage goes far in deciding the preference of Jenny Wren and her
sex, only we are told that fine-feathered birds are very seldom
songsters as well.  It is rather unfair to rivals when you unite both
attractions."

The minstrel laughed.  "There is but one girl in my friend's
house,--his niece; she is very plain, and only thirteen.  But to me
the society of women, whether ugly or pretty, is an absolute
necessity; and I have been trudging without it for so many days that I
can scarcely tell you how my thoughts seemed to shake off the dust of
travel when I found myself again in the presence of--"

"Petticoat interest," interrupted Kenelm.  "Take care of yourself.  My
poor friend with whom you found me is a grave warning against
petticoat interest, from which I hope to profit.  He is passing
through a great sorrow; it might have been worse than sorrow.  My
friend is going to stay in this town.  If you are staying here too,
pray let him see something of you.  It will do him a wondrous good if
you can beguile him from this real life into the gardens of poetland;
but do not sing or talk of love to him."

"I honour all lovers," said the minstrel, with real tenderness in his
tone, "and would willingly serve to cheer or comfort your friend, if I
could; but I am bound elsewhere, and must leave Luscombe, which I
visit on business--money business--the day after to-morrow."

"So, too, must I.  At least give us both some hours of your time
to-morrow."

"Certainly; from twelve to sunset I shall be roving about,--a mere
idler.  If you will both come with me, it will be a great pleasure to
myself.  Agreed!  Well, then, I will call at your inn to-morrow at
twelve; and I recommend for your inn the one facing us,--The Golden
Lamb.  I have heard it recommended for the attributes of civil people
and good fare."

Kenelm felt that he here received his /conge/, and well comprehended
the fact that the minstrel, desiring to preserve the secret of his
name, did not give the address of the family with whom he was a guest.

"But one word more," said Kenelm.  "Your host or hostess, if resident
here, can, no doubt, from your description of the little girl and the
old man her protector, learn the child's address.  If so, I should
like my companion to make friends with her.  Petticoat interest there
at least will be innocent and safe.  And I know nothing so likely to
keep a big, passionate heart like Tom's, now aching with a horrible
void, occupied and softened, and turned to directions pure and gentle,
as an affectionate interest in a little child."

The minstrel changed colour: he even started.  "Sir, are you a wizard
that you say that to me?"

"I am not a wizard, but I guess from your question that you have a
little child of your own.  So much the better: the child may keep you
out of much mischief.  Remember the little child.  Good evening."

Kenelm crossed the threshold of The Golden Lamb, engaged his room,
made his ablutions, ordered, and, with his usual zest, partook of his
evening meal; and then, feeling the pressure of that melancholic
temperament which he so strangely associated with Herculean
constitutions, roused himself up, and, seeking a distraction from
thought, sauntered forth into the gaslit streets.

It was a large handsome town,--handsomer than Tor-Hadham, on account
of its site in a valley surrounded by wooded hills, and watered by the
fair stream whose windings we have seen as a brook,--handsomer, also,
because it boasted a fair cathedral, well cleared to the sight, and
surrounded by venerable old houses, the residences of the clergy or of
the quiet lay gentry with mediaeval tastes.  The main street was
thronged with passengers,--some soberly returning home from the
evening service; some, the younger, lingering in pleasant promenade
with their sweethearts or families, or arm in arm with each other, and
having the air of bachelors or maidens unattached.  Through this
street Kenelm passed with inattentive eye.  A turn to the right took
him towards the cathedral and its surroundings.  There all was
solitary.  The solitude pleased him, and he lingered long, gazing on
the noble church lifting its spires and turrets into the deep blue
starry air.

Musingly, then, he strayed on, entering a labyrinth of gloomy lanes,
in which, though the shops were closed, many a door stood open, with
men of the working class lolling against the threshold, idly smoking
their pipes, or women seated on the doorsteps gossiping, while noisy
children were playing or quarrelling in the kennel.  The whole did not
present the indolent side of an English Sabbath in the pleasantest and
rosiest point of view.  Somewhat quickening his steps, he entered a
broader street, attracted to it involuntarily by a bright light in the
centre.  On nearing the light he found that it shone forth from a
gin-palace, of which the mahogany doors opened and shut momently as
customers went in and out.  It was the handsomest building he had seen
in his walk, next to that of the cathedral.  "The new civilization
versus the old," murmured Kenelm.  As he so murmured, a hand was laid
on his arm with a sort of timid impudence.  He looked down and saw a
young face, but it had survived the look of youth; it was worn and
hard, and the bloom on it was not that of Nature's giving.  "Are you
kind to-night?" asked a husky voice.

"Kind!" said Kenelm, with mournful tones and softened eyes, "kind!
Alas, my poor sister mortal! if pity be kindness, who can see you and
not be kind?"

The girl released his arm, and he walked on.  She stood some moments
gazing after him till out of sight, then she drew her hand suddenly
across her eyes, and retracing her steps, was, in her turn, caught
hold of by a rougher hand than hers, as she passed the gin-palace.
She shook off the grasp with a passionate scorn, and went straight
home.  Home! is that the right word?  Poor sister mortal!



CHAPTER XI.

AND now Kenelm found himself at the extremity of the town, and on the
banks of the river.  Small squalid houses still lined the bank for
some way, till, nearing the bridge, they abruptly ceased, and he
passed through a broad square again into the main street.  On the
other side of the street there was a row of villa-like mansions, with
gardens stretching towards the river.

All around in the thoroughfare was silent and deserted.  By this time
the passengers had gone home.  The scent of night-flowers from the
villa-gardens came sweet on the starlit air.  Kenelm paused to inhale
it, and then lifting his eyes, hitherto downcast, as are the eyes of
men in meditative moods, he beheld, on the balcony of the nearest
villa, a group of well-dressed persons.  The balcony was unusually
wide and spacious.  On it was a small round table, on which were
placed wine and fruits.  Three ladies were seated round the table on
wire-work chairs, and on the side nearest to Kenelm, one man.  In that
man, now slightly turning his profile, as if to look towards the
river, Kenelm recognized the minstrel.  He was still in his
picturesque knickerbocker dress, and his clear-cut features, with the
clustering curls of hair, and Rubens-like hue and shape of beard, had
more than their usual beauty, softened in the light of skies, to which
the moon, just risen, added deeper and fuller radiance.  The ladies
were in evening dress, but Kenelm could not distinguish their faces
hidden behind the minstrel.  He moved softly across the street, and
took his stand behind a buttress in the low wall of the garden, from
which he could have full view of the balcony, unseen himself.  In this
watch he had no other object than that of a vague pleasure.  The whole
grouping had in it a kind of scenic romance, and he stopped as one
stops before a picture.

He then saw that of the three ladies one was old; another was a slight
girl of the age of twelve or thirteen; the third appeared to be
somewhere about seven or eight and twenty.  She was dressed with more
elegance than the others.  On her neck, only partially veiled by a
thin scarf, there was the glitter of jewels; and, as she now turned
her full face towards the moon, Kenelm saw that she was very
handsome,--a striking kind of beauty, calculated to fascinate a poet
or an artist,--not unlike Raphael's Fornarina, dark, with warm tints.

Now there appeared at the open window a stout, burly, middle-aged
gentleman, looking every inch of him a family man, a moneyed man,
sleek and prosperous.  He was bald, fresh-coloured, and with light
whiskers.

"Holloa," he said, in an accent very slightly foreign, and with a loud
clear voice, which Kenelm heard distinctly, "is it not time for you to
come in?"

"Don't be so tiresome, Fritz," said the handsome lady, half
petulantly, half playfully, in the way ladies address the tiresome
spouses they lord it over.  "Your friend has been sulking the whole
evening, and is only just beginning to be pleasant as the moon rises."

"The moon has a good effect on poets and other mad folks, I dare say,"
said the bald man, with a good-humoured laugh.  "But I can't have my
little niece laid up again just as she is on the mend: Annie, come
in."

The girl obeyed reluctantly.  The old lady rose too.

"Ah, Mother, you are wise," said the bald man; "and a game at euchre
is safer than poetizing in night air."  He wound his arm round the old
lady with a careful fondness, for she moved with some difficulty as if
rather lame.  "As for you two sentimentalists and moon-gazers, I give
you ten minutes' time,--not more, mind."

"Tyrant!" said the minstrel.

The balcony now held only two forms,--the minstrel and the handsome
lady.  The window was closed, and partially veiled by muslin
draperies, but Kenelm caught glimpses of the room within.  He could
see that the room, lit by a lamp on the centre table and candles
elsewhere, was decorated and fitted up with cost and in a taste not
English.  He could see, for instance, that the ceiling was painted,
and the walls were not papered, but painted in panels between
arabesque pilasters.

"They are foreigners," thought Kenelm, "though the man does speak
English so well.  That accounts for playing euchre of a Sunday
evening, as if there were no harm in it.  Euchre is an American game.
The man is called Fritz.  Ah!  I guess--Germans who have lived a good
deal in America; and the verse-maker said he was at Luscombe on
pecuniary business.  Doubtless his host is a merchant, and the
verse-maker in some commercial firm.  That accounts for his
concealment of name, and fear of its being known that he was addicted
in his holiday to tastes and habits so opposed to his calling."

While he was thus thinking, the lady had drawn her chair close to the
minstrel, and was speaking to him with evident earnestness, but in
tones too low for Kenelm to hear.  Still it seemed to him, by her
manner and by the man's look, as if she were speaking in some sort of
reproach, which he sought to deprecate.  Then he spoke, also in a
whisper, and she averted her face for a moment; then she held out her
hand, and the minstrel kissed it.  Certainly, thus seen, the two might
well be taken for lovers; and the soft night, the fragrance of the
flowers, silence and solitude, stars and moon light, all girt them as
with an atmosphere of love.  Presently the man rose and leaned over
the balcony, propping his cheek on his hand, and gazing on the river.
The lady rose too, and also leaned over the balustrade, her dark hair
almost touching the auburn locks of her companion.

Kenelm sighed.  Was it from envy, from pity, from fear?  I know not;
but he sighed.

After a brief pause, the lady said, still in low tones, but not too
low this time to escape Kenelm's fine sense of hearing,--

"Tell me those verses again.  I must remember every word of them when
you are gone."

The man shook his head gently, and answered, but inaudibly.

"Do," said the lady; "set them to music later; and the next time you
come I will sing them.  I have thought of a title for them."

"What?" asked the minstrel.

"Love's quarrel."

The minstrel turned his head, and their eyes met, and, in meeting,
lingered long.  Then he moved away, and with face turned from her and
towards the river, gave the melody of his wondrous voice to the
following lines:--


          LOVE'S QUARREL.

  "Standing by the river, gazing on the river,
     See it paved with starbeams,--heaven is at our feet;
   Now the wave is troubled, now the rushes quiver;
     Vanished is the starlight: it was a deceit.

  "Comes a little cloudlet 'twixt ourselves and heaven,
     And from all the river fades the silver track;
   Put thine arms around me, whisper low, 'Forgiven!'
     See how on the river starlight settles back."


When he had finished, still with face turned aside, the lady did not,
indeed, whisper "Forgiven," nor put her arms around him; but, as if by
irresistible impulse, she laid her hand lightly on his shoulder.

The minstrel started.

There came to his ear,--he knew not from whence, from whom,--

"Mischief! mischief!  Remember the little child!"

"Hush!" he said, staring round.  "Did you not hear a voice?"

"Only yours," said the lady.

"It was our guardian angel's, Amalie.  It came in time.  We will go
within."



CHAPTER XII.

THE next morning betimes Kenelm visited Tom at his uncle's home.  A
comfortable and respectable home it was, like that of an owner in easy
circumstances.  The veterinary surgeon himself was intelligent, and
apparently educated beyond the range of his calling; a childless
widower, between sixty and seventy, living with a sister, an old maid.
They were evidently much attached to Tom, and delighted by the hope of
keeping him with them.  Tom himself looked rather sad, but not sullen,
and his face brightened wonderfully at first sight of Kenelm.  That
oddity made himself as pleasant and as much like other people as he
could in conversing with the old widower and the old maid, and took
leave, engaging Tom to be at his inn at half past twelve, and spend
the day with him and the minstrel.  He then returned to the Golden
Lamb, and waited there for his first visitant; the minstrel.  That
votary of the muse arrived punctually at twelve o'clock.  His
countenance was less cheerful and sunny than usual.  Kenelm made no
allusion to the scene he had witnessed, nor did his visitor seem to
suspect that Kenelm had witnessed it or been the utterer of that
warning voice.

KENELM.--"I have asked my friend Tom Bowles to come a little later,
because I wished you to be of use to him, and, in order to be so, I
should suggest how."

THE MINSTREL.--"Pray do."

KENELM.--"You know that I am not a poet, and I do not have much
reverence for verse-making merely as a craft."

THE MINSTREL.--"Neither have I."

KENELM.--"But I have a great reverence for poetry as a priesthood.  I
felt that reverence for you when you sketched and talked priesthood
last evening, and placed in my heart--I hope forever while it
beats--the image of the child on the sunlit hill, high above the
abodes of men, tossing her flower-ball heavenward and with heavenward
eyes."

The singer's cheek coloured high, and his lip quivered: he was very
sensitive to praise; most singers are.

Kenelm resumed, "I have been educated in the Realistic school, and
with realism I am discontented, because in realism as a school there
is no truth.  It contains but a bit of truth, and that the coldest and
hardest bit of it, and he who utters a bit of truth and suppresses the
rest of it tells a lie."

THE MINSTREL (slyly).--"Does the critic who says to me, 'Sing of
beefsteak, because the appetite for food is a real want of daily life,
and don't sing of art and glory and love, because in daily life a man
may do without such ideas,'--tell a lie?"

KENELM.--"Thank you for that rebuke.  I submit to it.  No doubt I did
tell a lie,--that is, if I were quite in earnest in my recommendation,
and if not in earnest, why--"

THE MINSTREL.--"You belied yourself."

KENELM.--"Very likely.  I set out on my travels to escape from shams,
and begin to discover that I am a sham /par excellence/.  But I
suddenly come across you, as a boy dulled by his syntax and his vulgar
fractions suddenly comes across a pleasant poem or a picture-book, and
feels his wits brighten up.  I owe you much: you have done me a world
of good."

"I cannot guess how."

"Possibly not, but you have shown me how the realism of Nature herself
takes colour and life and soul when seen on the ideal or poetic side
of it.  It is not exactly the words that you say or sing that do me
the good, but they awaken within me new trains of thought, which I
seek to follow out.  The best teacher is the one who suggests rather
than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach
himself.  Therefore, O singer! whatever be the worth in critical eyes
of your songs, I am glad to remember that you would like to go through
the world always singing."

"Pardon me: you forget that I added, 'if life were always young, and
the seasons were always summer.'"

"I do not forget.  But if youth and summer fade for you, you leave
youth and summer behind you as you pass along,--behind in hearts which
mere realism would make always old, and counting their slothful beats
under the gray of a sky without sun or stars; wherefore I pray you to
consider how magnificent a mission the singer's is,--to harmonize your
life with your song, and toss your flowers, as your child does,
heavenward, with heavenward eyes.  Think only of this when you talk
with my sorrowing friend, and you will do him good, as you have done
me, without being able to guess how a seeker after the Beautiful, such
as you, carries us along with him on his way; so that we, too, look
out for beauty, and see it in the wild-flowers to which we had been
blind before."

Here Tom entered the little sanded parlour where this dialogue had
been held, and the three men sallied forth, taking the shortest cut
from the town into the fields and woodlands.



CHAPTER XIII.

WHETHER or not his spirits were raised by Kenelm's praise and
exhortations, the minstrel that day talked with a charm that
spellbound Tom, and Kenelm was satisfied with brief remarks on his
side tending to draw out the principal performer.

The talk was drawn from outward things, from natural objects,--objects
that interest children, and men who, like Tom Bowles, have been
accustomed to view surroundings more with the heart's eye than the
mind's eye.  This rover about the country knew much of the habits of
birds and beasts and insects, and told anecdotes of them with a
mixture of humour and pathos, which fascinated Tom's attention, made
him laugh heartily, and sometimes brought tears into his big blue
eyes.

They dined at an inn by the wayside, and the dinner was mirthful; then
they wended their way slowly back.  By the declining daylight their
talk grew somewhat graver, and Kenelm took more part in it.  Tom
listened mute,--still fascinated.  At length, as the town came in
sight, they agreed to halt a while, in a bosky nook soft with mosses
and sweet with wild thyme.

There, as they lay stretched at their ease, the birds hymning vesper
songs amid the boughs above, or dropping, noiseless and fearless, for
their evening food on the swards around them, the wanderer said to
Kenelm, "You tell me that you are no poet, yet I am sure you have a
poet's perception: you must have written poetry?"

"Not I; as I before told you, only school verses in dead languages:
but I found in my knapsack this morning a copy of some rhymes, made by
a fellow-collegian, which I put into my pocket meaning to read them to
you both.  They are not verses like yours, which evidently burst from
you spontaneously, and are not imitated from any other poets.  These
verses were written by a Scotchman, and smack of imitation from the
old ballad style.  There is little to admire in the words themselves,
but there is something in the idea which struck me as original, and
impressed me sufficiently to keep a copy, and somehow or other it got
into the leaves of one of the two books I carried with me from home."

"What are those books?  Books of poetry both, I will venture to
wager--"

"Wrong!  Both metaphysical, and dry as a bone.  Tom, light your pipe,
and you, sir, lean more at ease on your elbow; I should warn you that
the ballad is long.  Patience!"

"Attention!" said the minstrel.

"Fire!" added Tom.

Kenelm began to read,--and he read well.


          LORD RONALD'S BRIDE.

               PART I.

  "WHY gathers the crowd in the market-place
    Ere the stars have yet left the sky?"
  "For a holiday show and an act of grace,--
     At the sunrise a witch shall die."

  "What deed has she done to deserve that doom?
     Has she blighted the standing corn,
   Or rifled for philters a dead man's tomb,
     Or rid mothers of babes new-born?"

  "Her pact with the fiend was not thus revealed,
     She taught sinners the Word to hear;
   The hungry she fed, and the sick she healed,
     And was held as a Saint last year.

  "But a holy man, who at Rome had been,
     Had discovered, by book and bell,
   That the marvels she wrought were through arts unclean,
     And the lies of the Prince of Hell.

  "And our Mother the Church, for the dame was rich,
     And her husband was Lord of Clyde,
   Would fain have been mild to this saint-like witch
     If her sins she had not denied.

  "But hush, and come nearer to see the sight,
     Sheriff, halberds, and torchmen,--look!
   That's the witch standing mute in her garb of white,
     By the priest with his bell and book."

   So the witch was consumed on the sacred pyre,
     And the priest grew in power and pride,
   And the witch left a son to succeed his sire
     In the halls and the lands of Clyde.

   And the infant waxed comely and strong and brave,
     But his manhood had scarce begun,
   When his vessel was launched on the northern wave
     To the shores which are near the sun.

               PART II.

   Lord Ronald has come to his halls in Clyde
     With a bride of some unknown race;
   Compared with the man who would kiss that bride
     Wallace wight were a coward base.

   Her eyes had the glare of the mountain-cat
     When it springs on the hunter's spear,
   At the head of the board when that lady sate
     Hungry men could not eat for fear.

   And the tones of her voice had that deadly growl
     Of the bloodhound that scents its prey;
   No storm was so dark as that lady's scowl
     Under tresses of wintry gray.

  "Lord Ronald! men marry for love or gold,
     Mickle rich must have been thy bride!"
  "Man's heart may be bought, woman's hand be sold,
     On the banks of our northern Clyde.

  "My bride is, in sooth, mickle rich to me
     Though she brought not a groat in dower,
   For her face, couldst thou see it as I do see,
     Is the fairest in hall or bower!"

   Quoth the bishop one day to our lord the king,
    "Satan reigns on the Clyde alway,
   And the taint in the blood of the witch doth cling
     To the child that she brought to day.

  "Lord Ronald hath come from the Paynim land
     With a bride that appals the sight;
   Like his dam she hath moles on her dread right hand,
     And she turns to a snake at night.

  "It is plain that a Scot who can blindly dote
     On the face of an Eastern ghoul,
   And a ghoul who was worth not a silver groat,
     Is a Scot who has lost his soul.

   "It were wise to have done with this demon tree
     Which has teemed with such caukered fruit;
   Add the soil where it stands to my holy See,
     And consign to the flames its root."

  "Holy man!" quoth King James, and he laughed, "we know
     That thy tongue never wags in vain,
   But the Church cist is full, and the king's is low,
     And the Clyde is a fair domain.

  "Yet a knight that's bewitched by a laidly fere
     Needs not much to dissolve the spell;
   We will summon the bride and the bridegroom here
     Be at hand with thy book and bell."

               PART III.

   Lord Ronald stood up in King James's court,
     And his dame by his dauntless side;
   The barons who came in the hopes of sport
     Shook with fright when they saw the bride.

   The bishop, though armed with his bell and book,
     Grew as white as if turned to stone;
   It was only our king who could face that look,
     But he spoke with a trembling tone.

  "Lord Ronald, the knights of thy race and mine
     Should have mates in their own degree;
   What parentage, say, hath that bride of thine
     Who hath come from the far countree?

  "And what was her dowry in gold or land,
     Or what was the charm, I pray,
   That a comely young gallant should woo the hand
     Of the ladye we see to-day?"

   And the lords would have laughed, but that awful dame
     Struck them dumb with her thunder-frown:
  "Saucy king, did I utter my father's name,
     Thou wouldst kneel as his liegeman down.

  "Though I brought to Lord Ronald nor lands nor gold,
     Nor the bloom of a fading cheek;
   Yet, were I a widow, both young and old
     Would my hand and my dowry seek.

  "For the wish that he covets the most below,
     And would hide from the saints above,
   Which he dares not to pray for in weal or woe,
     Is the dowry I bring my love.

  "Let every man look in his heart and see
     What the wish he most lusts to win,
   And then let him fasten his eyes on me
     While he thinks of his darling sin."

   And every man--bishop, and lord, and king
     Thought of what he most wished to win,
   And, fixing his eye on that grewsome thing,
     He beheld his own darling sin.

   No longer a ghoul in that face he saw;
     It was fair as a boy's first love:
   The voice that had curdled his veins with awe
     Was the coo of the woodland dove.

   Each heart was on flame for the peerless dame
     At the price of the husband's life;
   Bright claymores flash out, and loud voices shout,
    "In thy widow shall be my wife."

   Then darkness fell over the palace hall,
     More dark and more dark it fell,
   And a death-groan boomed hoarse underneath the pall,
     And was drowned amid roar and yell.

   When light through the lattice-pane stole once more,
     It was gray as a wintry dawn,
   And the bishop lay cold on the regal floor,
     With a stain on his robes of lawn.

   Lord Ronald was standing beside the dead,
     In the scabbard he plunged his sword,
   And with visage as wan as the corpse, he said,
    "Lo! my ladye hath kept her word.

  "Now I leave her to others to woo and win,
     For no longer I find her fair;
   Could I look on the face of my darling sin,
     I should see but a dead man's there.

  "And the dowry she brought me is here returned,
     For the wish of my heart has died,
   It is quenched in the blood of the priest who burned
     My sweet mother, the Saint of Clyde."

   Lord Ronald strode over the stony floor,
     Not a hand was outstretched to stay;
   Lord Ronald has passed through the gaping door,
     Not an eye ever traced the way.

   And the ladye, left widowed, was prized above
     All the maidens in hall and bower,
   Many bartered their lives for that ladye's love,
     And their souls for that ladye's dower.

   God grant that the wish which I dare not pray
     Be not that which I lust to win,
   And that ever I look with my first dismay
     On the face of my darling sin!


As he ceased, Kenelm's eye fell on Tom's face upturned to his own,
with open lips, an intent stare, and paled cheeks, and a look of that
higher sort of terror which belongs to awe.  The man, then recovering
himself, tried to speak, and attempted a sickly smile, but neither
would do.  He rose abruptly and walked away, crept under the shadow of
a dark beech-tree, and stood there leaning against the trunk.

"What say you to the ballad?" asked Kenelm of the singer.

"It is not without power," answered he.

"Ay, of a certain kind."

The minstrel looked hard at Kenelm, and dropped his eyes, with a
heightened glow on his cheek.

"The Scotch are a thoughtful race.  The Scot who wrote this thing may
have thought of a day when he saw beauty in the face of a darling sin;
but, if so, it is evident that his sight recovered from that glamoury.
Shall we walk on?  Come, Tom."

The minstrel left them at the entrance of the town, saying, "I regret
that I cannot see more of either of you, as I quit Luscombe at
daybreak.  Here, by the by, I forgot to give it before, is the address
you wanted."

KENELM.--"Of the little child.  I am glad you remembered her."

The minstrel again looked hard at Kenelm, this time without dropping
his eyes.  Kenelm's expression of face was so simply quiet that it
might be almost called vacant.

Kenelm and Tom continued to walk on towards the veterinary surgeon's
house, for some minutes silently.  Then Tom said in a whisper, "Did
you not mean those rhymes to hit me here--/here/?" and he struck his
breast.

"The rhymes were written long before I saw you, Tom; but it is well if
their meaning strike us all.  Of you, my friend, I have no fear now.
Are you not already a changed man?"

"I feel as if I were going through a change," answered Tom, in slow,
dreary accents.  "In hearing you and that gentleman talk so much of
things that I never thought of, I felt something in me,--you will
laugh when I tell you,--something like a bird."

"Like a bird,--good!--a bird has wings."

"Just so."

"And you felt wings that you were unconscious of before, fluttering
and beating themselves as against the wires of a cage.  You were true
to your instincts then, my dear fellow-man,--instincts of space and
Heaven.  Courage!--the cage-door will open soon.  And now, practically
speaking, I give you this advice in parting: You have a quick and
sensitive mind which you have allowed that strong body of yours to
incarcerate and suppress.  Give that mind fair play.  Attend to the
business of your calling diligently; the craving for regular work is
the healthful appetite of mind: but in your spare hours cultivate the
new ideas which your talk with men who have been accustomed to
cultivate the mind more than the body has sown within you.  Belong to
a book-club, and interest yourself in books.  A wise man has said,
'Books widen the present by adding to it the past and the future.'
Seek the company of educated men and educated women too; and when you
are angry with another, reason with him: don't knock him down; and
don't be knocked down yourself by an enemy much stronger than
yourself,--Drink.  Do all this, and when I see you again you will
be--"

"Stop, sir,--you will see me again?"

"Yes, if we both live, I promise it."

"When?"

"You see, Tom, we have both of us something in our old selves which we
must work off.  You will work off your something by repose, and I must
work off mine, if I can, by moving about.  So I am on my travels.  May
we both have new selves better than the old selves, when we again
shake hands!  For your part try your best, dear Tom, and Heaven
prosper you."

"And Heaven bless you!"  cried Tom, fervently, with tears rolling
unheeded from his bold blue eyes.



CHAPTER XIV.

THOUGH Kenelm left Luscombe on Tuesday morning, he did not appear at
Neesdale Park till the Wednesday, a little before the dressing-bell
for dinner.  His adventures in the interim are not worth repeating.
He had hoped he might fall in again with the minstrel, but he did not.

His portmanteau had arrived, and he heaved a sigh as he cased himself
in a gentleman's evening dress.  "Alas! I have soon got back again
into my own skin."

There were several other guests in the house, though not a large
party,--they had been asked with an eye to the approaching
election,--consisting of squires and clergy from remoter parts of the
county.  Chief among the guests in rank and importance, and rendered
by the occasion the central object of interest, was George Belvoir.

Kenelm bore his part in this society with a resignation that partook
of repentance.

The first day he spoke very little, and was considered a very dull
young man by the lady he took in to dinner.  Mr. Travers in vain tried
to draw him out.  He had anticipated much amusement from the
eccentricities of his guest, who had talked volubly enough in the
fernery, and was sadly disappointed.  "I feel," he whispered to Mrs.
Campion, "like poor Lord Pomfret, who, charmed with Punch's lively
conversation, bought him, and was greatly surprised that, when he had
once brought him home, Punch would not talk."

"But your Punch listens," said Mrs. Campion, "and he observes."

George Belvoir, on the other hand, was universally declared to be very
agreeable.  Though not naturally jovial, he forced himself to appear
so,--laughing loud with the squires, and entering heartily with their
wives and daughters into such topics as county-balls and
croquet-parties; and when after dinner he had, Cato-like, 'warmed his
virtue with wine,' the virtue came out very lustily in praise of good
men,--namely, men of his own party,--and anathemas on bad
men,--namely, men of the other party.

Now and then he appealed to Kenelm, and Kenelm always returned the
same answer, "There is much in what you say."

The first evening closed in the usual way in country houses.  There
was some lounging under moonlight on the terrace before the house;
then there was some singing by young lady amateurs, and a rubber of
whist for the elders; then wine-and-water, hand-candlesticks, a
smoking-room for those who smoked, and bed for those who did not.

In the course of the evening, Cecilia, partly in obedience to the
duties of hostess and partly from that compassion for shyness which
kindly and high-bred persons entertain, had gone a little out of her
way to allure Kenelm forth from the estranged solitude he had
contrived to weave around him.  In vain for the daughter as for the
father.  He replied to her with the quiet self-possession which should
have convinced her that no man on earth was less entitled to
indulgence for the gentlemanlike infirmity of shyness, and no man less
needed the duties of any hostess for the augmentation of his comforts,
or rather for his diminished sense of discomfort; but his replies were
in monosyllables, and made with the air of a man who says in his
heart, "If this creature would but leave me alone!"

Cecilia, for the first time in her life, was piqued, and, strange to
say, began to feel more interest about this indifferent stranger than
about the popular, animated, pleasant George Belvoir, who she knew by
womanly instinct was as much in love with her as he could be.

Cecilia Travers that night on retiring to rest told her maid,
smilingly, that she was too tired to have her hair done; and yet, when
the maid was dismissed, she looked at herself in the glass more
gravely and more discontentedly than she had ever looked there before;
and, tired though she was, stood at the window gazing into the moonlit
night for a good hour after the maid left her.



CHAPTER XV.

KENELM CHILLINGLY has now been several days a guest at Neesdale Park.
He has recovered speech; the other guests have gone, including George
Belvoir.  Leopold Travers has taken a great fancy to Kenelm.  Leopold
was one of those men, not uncommon perhaps in England, who, with great
mental energies, have little book-knowledge, and when they come in
contact with a book-reader who is not a pedant feel a pleasant
excitement in his society, a source of interest in comparing notes
with him, a constant surprise in finding by what venerable authorities
the deductions which their own mother-wit has drawn from life are
supported, or by what cogent arguments derived from books those
deductions are contravened or upset.  Leopold Travers had in him that
sense of humour which generally accompanies a strong practical
understanding (no man, for instance, has more practical understanding
than a Scot, and no man has a keener susceptibility to humour), and
not only enjoyed Kenelm's odd way of expressing himself, but very
often mistook Kenelm's irony for opinion spoken in earnest.

Since his early removal from the capital and his devotion to
agricultural pursuits, it was so seldom that Leopold Travers met a man
by whose conversation his mind was diverted to other subjects than
those which were incidental to the commonplace routine of his life
that he found in Kenelm's views of men and things a source of novel
amusement, and a stirring appeal to such metaphysical creeds of his
own as had been formed unconsciously, and had long reposed unexamined
in the recesses of an intellect shrewd and strong, but more accustomed
to dictate than to argue.  Kenelm, on his side, saw much in his host
to like and to admire; but, reversing their relative positions in
point of years, he conversed with Travers as with a mind younger than
his own.  Indeed, it was one of his crotchety theories that each
generation is in substance mentally older than the generation
preceding it, especially in all that relates to science; and, as he
would say, "The study of life is a science, and not an art."

But Cecilia,--what impression did she create upon the young visitor?
Was he alive to the charm of her rare beauty, to the grace of a mind
sufficiently stored for commune with those who love to think and to
imagine, and yet sufficiently feminine and playful to seize the
sportive side of realities, and allow their proper place to the
trifles which make the sum of human things?  An impression she did
make, and that impression was new to him and pleasing.  Nay, sometimes
in her presence and sometimes when alone, he fell into abstracted
consultations with himself, saying, "Kenelm Chillingly, now that thou
hast got back into thy proper skin, dost thou not think that thou
hadst better remain there?  Couldst thou not be contented with thy lot
as erring descendant of Adam, if thou couldst win for thy mate so
faultless a descendant of Eve as now flits before thee?"  But he could
not abstract from himself any satisfactory answer to the question he
had addressed to himself.

Once he said abruptly to Travers, as, on their return from their
rambles, they caught a glimpse of Cecilia's light form bending over
the flower-beds on the lawn, "Do you admire Virgil?"

"To say truth I have not read Virgil since I was a boy; and, between
you and me, I then thought him rather monotonous."

"Perhaps because his verse is so smooth in its beauty?"

"Probably.  When one is very young one's taste is faulty; and if a
poet is not faulty, we are apt to think he wants vivacity and fire."

"Thank you for your lucid explanation," answered Kenelm, adding
musingly to himself, "I am afraid I should yawn very often if I were
married to a Miss Virgil."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE house of Mr. Travers contained a considerable collection of family
portraits, few of them well painted, but the Squire was evidently
proud of such evidences of ancestry.  They not only occupied a
considerable space on the walls of the reception rooms, but swarmed
into the principal sleeping-chambers, and smiled or frowned on the
beholder from dark passages and remote lobbies.  One morning, Cecilia,
on her way to the china closet, found Kenelm gazing very intently upon
a female portrait consigned to one of those obscure receptacles by
which through a back staircase he gained the only approach from the
hall to his chamber.

"I don't pretend to be a good judge of paintings," said Kenelm, as
Cecilia paused beside him; "but it strikes me that this picture is
very much better than most of those to which places of honour are
assigned in your collection.  And the face itself is so lovely that it
would add an embellishment to the princeliest galleries."

"Yes," said Cecilia, with a half-sigh.  "The face is lovely, and the
portrait is considered one of Lely's rarest masterpieces.  It used to
hang over the chimney-piece in the drawing-room.  My father had it
placed here many years ago."

"Perhaps because he discovered it was not a family portrait?"

"On the contrary,--because it grieves him to think it is a family
portrait.  Hush!  I hear his footstep: don't speak of it to him; don't
let him see you looking at it.  The subject is very painful to him."

Here Cecilia vanished into the china closet and Kenelm turned off to
his own room.

What sin committed by the original in the time of Charles II. but only
discovered in the reign of Victoria could have justified Leopold
Travers in removing the most pleasing portrait in the house from the
honoured place it had occupied, and banishing it to so obscure a
recess?  Kenelm said no more on the subject, and indeed an hour
afterwards had dismissed it from his thoughts.  The next day he rode
out with Travers and Cecilia.  Their way passed through quiet shady
lanes without any purposed direction, when suddenly, at the spot where
three of those lanes met on an angle of common ground, a lonely gray
tower, in the midst of a wide space of grass-land which looked as if
it had once been a park, with huge boles of pollarded oak dotting the
space here and there, rose before them.

"Cissy!" cried Travers, angrily reining in his horse and stopping
short in a political discussion which he had forced upon Kenelm,
"Cissy!  How comes this?  We have taken the wrong turn!  No matter, I
see there," pointing to the right, "the chimney-pots of old Mondell's
homestead.  He has not yet promised his vote to George Belvoir.  I'll
go and have a talk with him.  Turn back, you and Mr. Chillingly,--meet
me at Terner's Green, and wait for me there till I come.  I need not
excuse myself to you, Chillingly.  A vote is a vote."  So saying, the
Squire, whose ordinary riding-horse was an old hunter, halted, turned,
and, no gate being visible, put the horse over a stiff fence and
vanished in the direction of old Mondell's chimney-pots.  Kenelm,
scarcely hearing his host's instructions to Cecilia and excuses to
himself, remained still and gazing on the old tower thus abruptly
obtruded on his view.

Though no learned antiquarian like his father, Kenelm had a strange
fascinating interest in all relics of the past; and old gray towers,
where they are not church towers, are very rarely to be seen in
England.  All around the old gray tower spoke with an unutterable
mournfulness of a past in ruins: you could see remains of some large
Gothic building once attached to it, rising here and there in
fragments of deeply buttressed walls; you could see in a dry ditch,
between high ridges, where there had been a fortified moat: nay, you
could even see where once had been the bailey hill from which a baron
of old had dispensed justice.  Seldom indeed does the most acute of
antiquarians discover that remnant of Norman times on lands still held
by the oldest of Anglo-Norman families.  Then, the wild nature of the
demesne around; those ranges of sward, with those old giant
oak-trunks, hollowed within and pollarded at top,--all spoke, in
unison with the gray tower, of a past as remote from the reign of
Victoria as the Pyramids are from the sway of the Viceroy of Egypt.

"Let us turn back," said Miss Travers; "my father would not like me to
stay here."

"Pardon me a moment.  I wish my father were here; he would stay till
sunset.  But what is the history of that old tower? a history it must
have."

"Every home has a history, even a peasant's hut," said Cecilia.  "But
do pardon me if I ask you to comply with my father's request.  I at
least must turn back."

Thus commanded, Kenelm reluctantly withdrew his gaze from the ruin and
regained Cecilia, who was already some paces in return down the lane.

"I am far from a very inquisitive man by temperament," said Kenelm,
"so far as the affairs of the living are concerned.  But I should not
care to open a book if I had no interest in the past.  Pray indulge my
curiosity to learn something about that old tower.  It could not look
more melancholy and solitary if I had built it myself."

"Its most melancholy associations are with a very recent past,"
answered Cecilia.  "The tower, in remote times, formed the keep of a
castle belonging to the most ancient and once the most powerful family
in these parts.  The owners were barons who took active share in the
Wars of the Roses.  The last of them sided with Richard III., and
after the battle of Bosworth the title was attainted, and the larger
portion of the lands was confiscated.  Loyalty to a Plantagenet was of
course treason to a Tudor.  But the regeneration of the family rested
with their direct descendants, who had saved from the general wreck of
their fortunes what may be called a good squire's estate,--about,
perhaps, the same rental as my father's, but of much larger acreage.
These squires, however, were more looked up to in the county than the
wealthiest peer.  They were still by far the oldest family in the
county; and traced in their pedigree alliances with the most
illustrious houses in English history.  In themselves too for many
generations they were a high-spirited, hospitable, popular race,
living unostentatiously on their income, and contented with their rank
of squires.  The castle, ruined by time and siege, they did not
attempt to restore.  They dwelt in a house near to it, built about
Elizabeth's time, which you could not see, for it lies in a hollow
behind the tower,--a moderate-sized, picturesque, country gentleman's
house.  Our family intermarried with them,--the portrait you saw was a
daughter of their house,--and very proud was any squire in the county
of intermarriage with the Fletwodes."

"Fletwode,--that was their name?  I have a vague recollection of
having heard the name connected with some disastrous--oh, but it can't
be the same family: pray go on."

"I fear it is the same family.  But I will finish the story as I have
heard it.  The property descended at last to one Bertram Fletwode,
who, unfortunately, obtained the reputation of being a very clever man
of business.  There was some mining company in which, with other
gentlemen in the county, he took great interest; invested largely in
shares; became the head of the direction--"

"I see; and was of course ruined."

"No; worse than that: he became very rich; and, unhappily, became
desirous of being richer still.  I have heard that there was a great
mania for speculations just about that time.  He embarked in these,
and prospered, till at last he was induced to invest a large share of
the fortune thus acquired in the partnership of a bank which enjoyed a
high character.  Up to that time he had retained popularity and esteem
in the county; but the squires who shared in the adventures of the
mining company, and knew little or nothing about other speculations in
which his name did not appear, professed to be shocked at the idea of
a Fletwode of Fletwode being ostensibly joined in partnership with a
Jones of Clapham in a London bank."

"Slow folks, those country squires,--behind the progress of the age.
Well?"

"I have heard that Bertram Fletwode was himself very reluctant to take
this step, but was persuaded to do so by his son.  This son, Alfred,
was said to have still greater talents for business than the father,
and had been not only associated with but consulted by him in all the
later speculations which had proved so fortunate.  Mrs. Campion knew
Alfred Fletwode very well.  She describes him as handsome, with quick,
eager eyes; showy and imposing in his talk; immensely ambitious, more
ambitious than avaricious,--collecting money less for its own sake
than for that which it could give,--rank and power.  According to her
it was the dearest wish of his heart to claim the old barony, but not
before there could go with the barony a fortune adequate to the lustre
of a title so ancient, and equal to the wealth of modern peers with
higher nominal rank."

"A poor ambition at the best; of the two I should prefer that of a
poet in a garret.  But I am no judge.  Thank Heaven I have no
ambition.  Still, all ambition, all desire to rise, is interesting to
him who is ignominiously contented if he does not fall.  So the son
had his way, and Fletwode joined company with Jones on the road to
wealth and the peerage; meanwhile did the son marry?  if so, of course
the daughter of a duke or a millionnaire.  Tuft-hunting, or
money-making, at the risk of degradation and the workhouse.  Progress
of the age!"

"No," replied Cecilia, smiling at this outburst, but smiling sadly,
"Fletwode did not marry the daughter of a duke or a millionnaire; but
still his wife belonged to a noble family,--very poor, but very proud.
Perhaps he married from motives of ambition, though not of gain.  Her
father was of much political influence that might perhaps assist his
claim to the barony.  The mother, a woman of the world, enjoying a
high social position, and nearly related to a connection of
ours,--Lady Glenalvon."

"Lady Glenalvon, the dearest of my lady friends!  You are connected
with her?"

"Yes; Lord Glenalvon was my mother's uncle.  But I wish to finish my
story before my father joins us.  Alfred Fletwode did not marry till
long after the partnership in the bank.  His father, at his desire,
had bought up the whole business, Mr. Jones having died.  The bank was
carried on in the names of Fletwode and Son.  But the father had
become merely a nominal or what I believe is called a 'sleeping'
partner.  He had long ceased to reside in the county. The old house
was not grand enough for him.  He had purchased a palatial residence
in one of the home counties; lived there in great splendour; was a
munificent patron of science and art; and in spite of his earlier
addictions to business-like speculations he appears to have been a
singularly accomplished, high-bred gentleman.  Some years before his
son's marriage, Mr. Fletwode had been afflicted with partial
paralysis, and his medical attendant enjoined rigid abstention from
business.  From that time he never interfered with his son's
management of the bank.  He had an only daughter, much younger than
Alfred.  Lord Eagleton, my mother's brother, was engaged to be married
to her.  The wedding-day was fixed,--when the world was startled by
the news that the great firm of Fletwode and Son had stopped payment;
is that the right phrase?"

"I believe so."

"A great many people were ruined in that failure.  The public
indignation was very great.  Of course all the Fletwode property went
to the creditors.  Old Mr. Fletwode was legally acquitted of all other
offence than that of overconfidence in his son.  Alfred was convicted
of fraud,--of forgery.  I don't, of course, know the particulars, they
are very complicated.  He was sentenced to a long term of servitude,
but died the day he was condemned; apparently by poison, which he had
long secreted about his person.  Now you can understand why my father,
who is almost gratuitously sensitive on the point of honour, removed
into a dark corner the portrait of Arabella Fletwode,--his own
ancestress, but also the ancestress of a convicted felon: you can
understand why the whole subject is so painful to him.  His wife's
brother was to have married the felon's sister; and though, of course,
that marriage was tacitly broken off by the terrible disgrace that had
befallen the Fletwodes, yet I don't think my poor uncle ever recovered
the blow to his hopes.  He went abroad, and died in Madeira of a slow
decline."

"And the felon's sister, did she die too?"

"No; not that I know of.  Mrs. Campion says that she saw in a
newspaper the announcement of old Mr. Fletwode's death, and a
paragraph to the effect that after that event Miss Fletwode had sailed
from Liverpool to New York."

"Alfred Fletwode's wife went back, of course, to her family?"

"Alas! no,--poor thing!  She had not been many months married when the
bank broke; and among his friends her wretched husband appears to have
forged the names of the trustees to her marriage settlement, and sold
out the sums which would otherwise have served her as a competence.
Her father, too, was a great sufferer by the bankruptcy, having by his
son-in-law's advice placed a considerable portion of his moderate
fortune in Alfred's hands for investment, all of which was involved in
the general wreck.  I am afraid he was a very hard-hearted man: at all
events his poor daughter never returned to him.  She died, I think,
even before the death of Bertram Fletwode.  The whole story is very
dismal."

"Dismal indeed, but pregnant with salutary warnings to those who live
in an age of progress.  Here you see a family of fair fortune, living
hospitably, beloved, revered, more looked up to by their neighbours
than the wealthiest nobles; no family not proud to boast alliance with
it.  All at once, in the tranquil record of this happy race, appears
that darling of the age, that hero of progress,--a clever man of
business.  He be contented to live as his fathers!  He be contented
with such trifles as competence, respect, and love!  Much too clever
for that.  The age is money-making,--go with the age!  He goes with
the age.  Born a gentleman only, he exalts himself into a trader.  But
at least he, it seems, if greedy, was not dishonest.  He was born a
gentleman, but his son was born a trader.  The son is a still cleverer
man of business; the son is consulted and trusted.  Aha!  He too goes
with the age; to greed he links ambition.  The trader's son wishes to
return--what? to the rank of gentleman?--gentleman! nonsense!
everybody is a gentleman nowadays,--to the title of Lord.  How ends it
all!  Could I sit but for twelve hours in the innermost heart of that
Alfred Fletwode; could I see how, step by step from his childhood, the
dishonest son was avariciously led on by the honest father to depart
from the old /vestigia/ of Fletwodes of Fletwode,--scorning The Enough
to covet The More, gaining The More to sigh, 'It is not The
Enough,'--I think I might show that the age lives in a house of glass,
and had better not for its own sake throw stones on the felon!"

"Ah, but, Mr. Chillingly, surely this is a very rare exception in the
general--"

"Rare!" interrupted Kenelm, who was excited to a warmth of passion
which would have startled his most intimate friend,-if indeed an
intimate friend had ever been vouchsafed to him,--"rare! nay, how
common--I don't say to the extent of forgery and fraud, but to the
extent of degradation and ruin--is the greed of a Little More to those
who have The Enough! is the discontent with competence, respect, and
love, when catching sight of a money-bag!  How many well-descended
county families, cursed with an heir who is called a clever man of
business, have vanished from the soil!  A company starts, the clever
man joins it one bright day.  Pouf! the old estates and the old name
are powder.  Ascend higher.  Take nobles whose ancestral titles ought
to be to English ears like the sound of clarions, awakening the most
slothful to the scorn of money-bags and the passion for renown.  Lo!
in that mocking dance of death called the Progress of the Age, one who
did not find Enough in a sovereign's revenue, and seeks The Little
More as a gambler on the turf by the advice of blacklegs!  Lo!
another, with lands wider than his greatest ancestors ever possessed,
must still go in for The Little More, adding acre to acre, heaping
debt upon debt!  Lo! a third, whose name, borne by his ancestors, was
once the terror of England's foes,--the landlord of a hotel!  A
fourth,--but why go on through the list?  Another and another still
succeeds; each on the Road to Ruin, each in the Age of Progress.  Ah,
Miss Travers! in the old time it was through the Temple of Honour that
one passed to the Temple of Fortune.  In this wise age the process is
reversed.  But here comes your father."

"A thousand pardons!" said Leopold Travers.  "That numskull Mondell
kept me so long with his old-fashioned Tory doubts whether liberal
politics are favourable to agricultural prospects.  But as he owes a
round sum to a Whig lawyer I had to talk with his wife, a prudent
woman; convinced her that his own agricultural prospects were safest
on the Whig side of the question; and, after kissing his baby and
shaking his hand, booked his vote for George Belvoir,--a plumper."

"I suppose," said Kenelm to himself, and with that candour which
characterized him whenever he talked to himself, "that Travers has
taken the right road to the Temple, not of Honour, but of honours, in
every country, ancient or modern, which has adopted the system of
popular suffrage."



CHAPTER XVII.

THE next day Mrs. Campion and Cecilia were seated under the veranda.
They were both ostensibly employed on two several pieces of
embroidery, one intended for a screen, the other for a sofa-cushion;
but the mind of neither was on her work.

MRS. CAMPION.--"Has Mr. Chillingly said when he means to take leave?"

CECILIA.--"Not to me.  How much my dear father enjoys his
conversation!"

MRS. CAMPION.--"Cynicism and mockery were not so much the fashion
among young men in your father's day as I suppose they are now, and
therefore they seem new to Mr. Travers.  To me they are not new,
because I saw more of the old than the young when I lived in London,
and cynicism and mockery are more natural to men who are leaving the
world than to those who are entering it."

CECILIA.--"Dear Mrs. Campion, how bitter you are, and how unjust!  You
take much too literally the jesting way in which Mr. Chillingly
expresses himself.  There can be no cynicism in one who goes out of
his way to make others happy."

MRS. CAMPION.--"You mean in the whim of making an ill-assorted
marriage between a pretty village flirt and a sickly cripple, and
settling a couple of peasants in a business for which they are wholly
unfitted."

CECILIA.--"Jessie Wiles is not a flirt, and I am convinced that she
will make Will Somers a very good wife, and that the shop will be a
great success."

MRS. CAMPION.--"We shall see.  Still, if Mr. Chillingly's talk belies
his actions, he may be a good man, but he is a very affected one."

CECILIA.--"Have I not heard you say that there are persons so natural
that they seem affected to those who do not understand them?"

Mrs. Campion raised her eyes to Cecilia's face, dropped them again
over her work, and said, in grave undertones,--"Take care, Cecilia."

"Take care of what?"

"My dearest child, forgive me; but I do not like the warmth with which
you defend Mr. Chillingly."

"Would not my father defend him still more warmly if he had heard
you?"

"Men judge of men in their relations to men.  I am a woman, and judge
of men in their relations to women.  I should tremble for the
happiness of any woman who joined her fate with that of Kenelm
Chillingly."

"My dear friend, I do not understand you to-day."

"Nay; I did not mean to be so solemn, my love.  After all, it is
nothing to us whom Mr. Chillingly may or may not marry.  He is but a
passing visitor, and, once gone, the chances are that we may not see
him again for years."

Thus speaking, Mrs. Campion again raised her eyes from her work,
stealing a sidelong glance at Cecilia; and her mother-like heart sank
within her, on noticing how suddenly pale the girl had become, and how
her lips quivered.  Mrs. Campion had enough knowledge of life to feel
aware that she had committed a grievous blunder.  In that earliest
stage of virgin affection, when a girl is unconscious of more than a
certain vague interest in one man which distinguishes him from others
in her thoughts,--if she hears him unjustly disparaged, if some
warning against him is implied, if the probability that he will never
be more to her than a passing acquaintance is forcibly obtruded on
her,--suddenly that vague interest, which might otherwise have faded
away with many another girlish fancy, becomes arrested, consolidated;
the quick pang it occasions makes her involuntarily, and for the first
time, question herself, and ask, "Do I love?"  But when a girl of a
nature so delicate as that of Cecilia Travers can ask herself the
question, "Do I love?"  her very modesty, her very shrinking from
acknowledging that any power over her thoughts for weal or for woe can
be acquired by a man, except through the sanction of that love which
only becomes divine in her eyes when it is earnest and pure and
self-devoted, makes her prematurely disposed to answer "yes."  And
when a girl of such a nature in her own heart answers "yes" to such a
question, even if she deceive herself at the moment, she begins to
cherish the deceit till the belief in her love becomes a reality.  She
has adopted a religion, false or true, and she would despise herself
if she could be easily converted.

Mrs. Campion had so contrived that she had forced that question upon
Cecilia, and she feared, by the girl's change of countenance, that the
girl's heart had answered "yes."



CHAPTER XVIII.

WHILE the conversation just narrated took place, Kenelm had walked
forth to pay a visit to Will Somers.  All obstacles to Will's marriage
were now cleared away; the transfer of lease for the shop had been
signed, and the banns were to be published for the first time on the
following Sunday.  We need not say that Will was very happy.  Kenelm
then paid a visit to Mrs. Bowles, with whom he stayed an hour.  On
reentering the Park, he saw Travers, walking slowly, with downcast
eyes and his hands clasped behind him (his habit when in thought).  He
did not observe Kenelm's approach till within a few feet of him, and
he then greeted his guest in listless accents, unlike his usual
cheerful tones.

"I have been visiting the man you have made so happy," said Kenelm.

"Who can that be?"

"Will Somers.  Do you make so many people happy that your reminiscence
of them is lost in their number?"

Travers smiled faintly, and shook his head.

Kenelm went on.  "I have also seen Mrs. Bowles, and you will be
pleased to hear that Tom is satisfied with his change of abode: there
is no chance of his returning to Graveleigh; and Mrs. Bowles took very
kindly to my suggestion that the little property you wish for should
be sold to you, and, in that case, she would remove to Luscombe to be
near her son."

"I thank you much for your thought of me," said Travers, "and the
affair shall be seen to at once, though the purchase is no longer
important to me.  I ought to have told you three days ago, but it
slipped my memory, that a neighbouring squire, a young fellow just
come into his property, has offered to exchange a capital farm, much
nearer to my residence, for the lands I hold in Graveleigh, including
Saunderson's farm and the cottages: they are quite at the outskirts of
my estate, but run into his, and the exchange will be advantageous to
both.  Still I am glad that the neighbourhood should be thoroughly rid
of a brute like Tom Bowles."

"You would not call him brute if you knew him; but I am sorry to hear
that Will Somers will be under another landlord."

"It does not matter, since his tenure is secured for fourteen years."

"What sort of man is the new landlord?"

"I don't know much of him.  He was in the army till his father died,
and has only just made his appearance in the county.  He has, however,
already earned the character of being too fond of the other sex: it is
well that pretty Jessie is to be safely married."

Travers then relapsed into a moody silence from which Kenelm found it
difficult to rouse him.  At length the latter said kindly,--

"My dear Mr. Travers, do not think I take a liberty if I venture to
guess that something has happened this morning which troubles or vexes
you.  When that is the case, it is often a relief to say what it is,
even to a confidant so unable to advise or to comfort as myself."

"You are a good fellow, Chillingly, and I know not, at least in these
parts, a man to whom I would unburden myself more freely.  I am put
out, I confess; disappointed unreasonably, in a cherished wish, and,"
he added, with a slight laugh, "it always annoys me when I don't have
my own way."

"So it does me."

"Don't you think that George Belvoir is a very fine young man?"

"Certainly."

"/I/ call him handsome; he is steadier, too, than most men of his age,
and of his command of money; and yet he does not want spirit nor
knowledge of life.  To every advantage of rank and fortune he adds the
industry and the ambition which attain distinction in public life."

"Quite true.  Is he going to withdraw from the election after all?"

"Good heavens, no!"

"Then how does he not let you have your own way?"

"It is not he," said Travers, peevishly; "it is Cecilia.  Don't you
understand that George is precisely the husband I would choose for
her; and this morning came a very well written manly letter from him,
asking my permission to pay his addresses to her."

"But that is your own way so far."

"Yes, and here comes the balk.  Of course I had to refer it to
Cecilia, and she positively declines, and has no reasons to give; does
not deny that George is good-looking and sensible, that he is a man of
whose preference any girl might be proud; but she chooses to say she
cannot love him, and when I ask why she cannot love him, has no other
answer than that 'she cannot say.'  It is too provoking."

"It is provoking," answered Kenelm; "but then Love is the most
dunderheaded of all the passions; it never will listen to reason.  The
very rudiments of logic are unknown to it.  'Love has no wherefore,'
says one of those Latin poets who wrote love-verses called elegies,--a
name which we moderns appropriate to funeral dirges.  For my own part,
I can't understand how any one can be expected voluntarily to make up
his mind to go out of his mind.  And if Miss Travers cannot go out of
her mind because George Belvoir does, you could not argue her into
doing so if you talked till doomsday."

Travers smiled in spite of himself, but he answered gravely,
"Certainly, I would not wish Cissy to marry any man she disliked, but
she does not dislike George; no girl could: and where that is the
case, a girl so sensible, so affectionate, so well brought up, is sure
to love, after marriage, a thoroughly kind and estimable man,
especially when she has no previous attachment,--which, of course,
Cissy never had.  In fact, though I do not wish to force my daughter's
will, I am not yet disposed to give up my own.  Do you understand?"

"Perfectly."

"I am the more inclined to a marriage so desirable in every way,
because when Cissy comes out in London, which she has not yet done,
she is sure to collect round her face and her presumptive inheritance
all the handsome fortune-hunters and titled /vauriens/; and if in love
there is no wherefore, how can I be sure that she may not fall in love
with a scamp?"

"I think you may be sure of that," said Kenelm.  "Miss Travers has too
much mind."

"Yes, at present; but did you not say that in love people go out of
their mind?"

"True! I forgot that."

"I am not then disposed to dismiss poor George's offer with a decided
negative, and yet it would be unfair to mislead him by encouragement.
In fact, I'll be hanged if I know how to reply."

"You think Miss Travers does not dislike George Belvoir, and if she
saw more of him may like him better, and it would be good for her as
well as for him not to put an end to that, chance?"

"Exactly so."

"Why not then write: 'My dear George,--You have my best wishes, but my
daughter does not seem disposed to marry at present.  Let me consider
your letter not written, and continue on the same terms as we were
before.' Perhaps, as George knows Virgil, you might find your own
schoolboy recollections of that poet useful here, and add, /Varium et
mutabile semper femina/; hackneyed, but true."

"My dear Chillingly, your suggestion is capital.  How the deuce at
your age have you contrived to know the world so well?"

Kenelm answered in the pathetic tones so natural to his voice, "By
being only a looker-on; alas!"

Leopold Travers felt much relieved after he had written his reply to
George.  He had not been quite so ingenuous in his revelation to
Chillingly as he may have seemed.  Conscious, like all proud and fond
fathers, of his daughter's attractions, he was not without some
apprehension that Kenelm himself might entertain an ambition at
variance with that of George Belvoir: if so, he deemed it well to put
an end to such ambition while yet in time: partly because his interest
was already pledged to George; partly because, in rank and fortune,
George was the better match; partly because George was of the same
political party as himself,--while Sir Peter, and probably Sir Peter's
heir, espoused the opposite side; and partly also because, with all
his personal liking to Kenelm, Leopold Travers, as a very sensible,
practical man of the world, was not sure that a baronet's heir who
tramped the country on foot in the dress of a petty farmer, and
indulged pugilistic propensities in martial encounters with stalwart
farriers, was likely to make a safe husband and a comfortable
son-in-law.  Kenelm's words, and still more his manner, convinced
Travers that any apprehensions of rivalry that he had previously
conceived were utterly groundless.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE same evening, after dinner (during that lovely summer month they
dined at Neesdale Park at an unfashionably early hour), Kenelm, in
company with Travers and Cecilia, ascended a gentle eminence at the
back of the gardens, on which there were some picturesque ivy-grown
ruins of an ancient priory, and commanding the best view of a glorious
sunset and a subject landscape of vale and wood, rivulet and distant
hills.

"Is the delight in scenery," said Kenelm, "really an acquired gift, as
some philosophers tell us?  Is it true that young children and rude
savages do not feel it; that the eye must be educated to comprehend
its charm, and that the eye can be only educated through the mind?"

"I should think your philosophers are right," said Travers.  "When I
was a schoolboy, I thought no scenery was like the flat of a cricket
ground; when I hunted at Melton, I thought that unpicturesque country
more beautiful than Devonshire.  It is only of late years that I feel
a sensible pleasure in scenery for its own sake, apart from
associations of custom or the uses to which we apply them."

"And what say you, Miss Travers?"

"I scarcely know what to say," answered Cecilia, musingly.  "I can
remember no time in my childhood when I did not feel delight in that
which seemed to me beautiful in scenery, but I suspect that I vaguely
distinguished one kind of beauty from another.  A common field with
daisies and buttercups was beautiful to me then, and I doubt if I saw
anything more beautiful in extensive landscapes."

"True," said Kenelm: "it is not in early childhood that we carry the
sight into distance: as is the mind so is the eye; in early childhood
the mind revels in the present, and the eye rejoices most in the
things nearest to it.  I don't think in childhood that we--


  "'Watched with wistful eyes the setting sun.'"


"Ah! what a world of thought in that word 'wistful'!"  murmured
Cecilia, as her gaze riveted itself on the western heavens, towards
which Kenelm had pointed as he spoke, where the enlarging orb rested
half its disk on the rim of the horizon.

She had seated herself on a fragment of the ruin, backed by the
hollows of a broken arch.  The last rays of the sun lingered on her
young face, and then lost themselves in the gloom of the arch behind.
There was a silence for some minutes, during which the sun had sunk.
Rosy clouds in thin flakes still floated, momently waning: and the
eve-star stole forth steadfast, bright, and lonely,--nay, lonely not
now; that sentinel has aroused a host.

Said a voice, "No sign of rain yet, Squire.  What will become of the
turnips?"

"Real life again!  Who can escape it?"  muttered Kenelm, as his eye
rested on the burly figure of the Squire's bailiff.

"Ha!  North," said Travers, "what brings you here?  No bad news, I
hope?"

"Indeed, yes, Squire.  The Durham bull--"

"The Durham bull!  What of him?  You frighten me."

"Taken bad.  Colic."

"Excuse me, Chillingly," cried Travers; "I must be off.  A most
valuable animal, and no one I can trust to doctor him but myself."

"That's true enough," said the bailiff, admiringly.  "There's not a
veterinary in the county like the Squire."

Travers was already gone, and the panting bailiff had hard work to
catch him up.

Kenelm seated himself beside Cecilia on the ruined fragment.

"How I envy your father!" said he.

"Why just at this moment,--because he knows how to doctor the bull?"
said Cecilia, with a sweet low laugh.

"Well, that is something to envy.  It is a pleasure to relieve from
pain any of God's creatures,--even a Durham bull."

"Indeed, yes.  I am justly rebuked."

"On the contrary you are to be justly praised.  Your question
suggested to me an amiable sentiment in place of the selfish one which
was uppermost in my thoughts.  I envied your father because he creates
for himself so many objects of interest; because while he can
appreciate the mere sensuous enjoyment of a landscape and a sunset, he
can find mental excitement in turnip crops and bulls.  Happy, Miss
Travers, is the Practical Man."

"When my dear father was as young as you, Mr. Chillingly, I am sure
that he had no more interest in turnips and bulls than you have.  I do
not doubt that some day you will be as practical as he is in that
respect."

"Do you think so--sincerely?"

Cecilia made no answer.

Kenelm repeated the question.

"Sincerely, then, I do not know whether you will take interest in
precisely the same things that interest my father; but there are other
things than turnips and cattle which belong to what you call
'practical life,' and in these you will take interest, as you took in
the fortunes of Will Somers and Jessie Wiles."

"That was no practical interest.  I got nothing by it.  But even if
that interest were practical,--I mean productive, as cattle and turnip
crops are,--a succession of Somerses and Wileses is not to be hoped
for.  History never repeats itself."

"May I answer you, though very humbly?"

"Miss Travers, the wisest man that ever existed never was wise enough
to know woman; but I think most men ordinarily wise will agree in
this, that woman is by no means a humble creature, and that when she
says she 'answers very humbly,' she does not mean what she says.
Permit me to entreat you to answer very loftily."

Cecilia laughed and blushed.  The laugh was musical; the blush
was--what?  Let any man, seated beside a girl like Cecilia at starry
twilight, find the right epithet for that blush.  I pass it by
epithetless.  But she answered, firmly though sweetly,--

"Are there not things very practical, and affecting the happiness, not
of one or two individuals, but of innumerable thousands, in which a
man like Mr. Chillingly cannot fail to feel interest, long before he
is my father's age?"

"Forgive me: you do not answer; you question.  I imitate you, and ask
what are those things as applicable to a man like Mr. Chillingly?"

Cecilia gathered herself up, as with the desire to express a great
deal in short substance, and then said,--

"In the expression of thought, literature; in the conduct of action,
politics."

Kenelm Chillingly stared, dumfounded.  I suppose the greatest
enthusiast for woman's rights could not assert more reverentially than
he did the cleverness of women; but among the things which the
cleverness of woman did not achieve, he had always placed "laconics."
"No woman," he was wont to say, "ever invented an axiom or a proverb."

"Miss Travers," he said at last, "before we proceed further, vouchsafe
to tell me if that very terse reply of yours is spontaneous and
original; or whether you have not borrowed it from some book which I
have not chanced to read?"

Cecilia pondered honestly, and then said, "I don't think it is from
any book; but I owe so many of my thoughts to Mrs. Campion, and she
lived so much among clever men, that--"

"I see it all, and accept your definition, no matter whence it came.
You think I might become an author or a politician.  Did you ever read
an essay by a living author called 'Motive Power'?"

"No."

"That essay is designed to intimate that without motive power a man,
whatever his talents or his culture, does nothing practical.  The
mainsprings of motive power are Want and Ambition.  They are absent
from my mechanism.  By the accident of birth I do not require bread
and cheese; by the accident of temperament and of philosophical
culture I care nothing about praise or blame.  But without want of
bread and cheese, and with a most stolid indifference to praise and
blame, do you honestly think that a man will do anything practical in
literature or politics?  Ask Mrs. Campion."

"I will not ask her.  Is the sense of duty nothing?"

"Alas! we interpret duty so variously.  Of mere duty, as we commonly
understand the word, I do not think I shall fail more than other men.
But for the fair development of all the good that is in us, do you
believe that we should adopt some line of conduct against which our
whole heart rebels?  Can you say to the clerk, 'Be a poet'?  Can you
say to the poet, 'Be a clerk'?  It is no more to the happiness of a
man's being to order him to take to one career when his whole heart is
set on another, than it is to order him to marry one woman when it is
to another woman that his heart will turn."

Cecilia here winced and looked away.  Kenelm had more tact than most
men of his age,--that is, a keener perception of subjects to avoid;
but then Kenelm had a wretched habit of forgetting the person he
talked to and talking to himself.  Utterly oblivious of George
Belvoir, he was talking to himself now.  Not then observing the effect
his /mal-a-propos/ dogma had produced on his listener, he went on,
"Happiness is a word very lightly used.  It may mean little; it may
mean much.  By the word happiness I would signify, not the momentary
joy of a child who gets a plaything, but the lasting harmony between
our inclinations and our objects; and without that harmony we are a
discord to ourselves, we are incompletions, we are failures.  Yet
there are plenty of advisers who say to us, 'It is a duty to be a
discord.'  I deny it."

Here Cecilia rose and said in a low voice, "It is getting late.  We
must go homeward."

They descended the green eminence slowly, and at first in silence.
The bats, emerging from the ivied ruins they left behind, flitted and
skimmed before them, chasing the insects of the night.  A moth,
escaping from its pursuer, alighted on Cecilia's breast, as if for
refuge.

"The bats are practical," said Kenelm; "they are hungry, and their
motive power to-night is strong.  Their interest is in the insects
they chase.  They have no interest in the stars; but the stars lure
the moth."

Cecilia drew her slight scarf over the moth, so that it might not fly
off and become a prey to the bats.  "Yet," said she, "the moth is
practical too."

"Ay, just now, since it has found an asylum from the danger that
threatened it in its course towards the stars."

Cecilia felt the beating of her heart, upon which lay the moth
concealed.  Did she think that a deeper and more tender meaning than
they outwardly expressed was couched in these words?  If so, she
erred.  They now neared the garden gate, and Kenelm paused as he
opened it.  "See," he said, "the moon has just risen over those dark
firs, making the still night stiller.  Is it not strange that we
mortals, placed amid perpetual agitation and tumult and strife, as if
our natural element, conceive a sense of holiness in the images
antagonistic to our real life; I mean in images of repose?  I feel at
the moment as if I suddenly were made better, now that heaven and
earth have suddenly become yet more tranquil.  I am now conscious of a
purer and sweeter moral than either I or you drew from the insect you
have sheltered.  I must come to the poets to express it,--


  "'The desire of the moth for the star,
     Of the night for the morrow;
    The devotion to something afar
     From the sphere of our sorrow.'


"Oh, that something afar! that something afar! never to be reached on
this earth,--never, never!"

There was such a wail in that cry from the man's heart that Cecilia
could not resist the impulse of a divine compassion.  She laid her
hand on his, and looked on the dark wildness of his upward face with
eyes that Heaven meant to be wells of comfort to grieving man.  At the
light touch of that hand Kenelm started, looked down, and met those
soothing eyes.

"I am happy to tell you that I have saved my Durham," cried out Mr.
Travers from the other side of the gate.



CHAPTER XX.

AS Kenelm that night retired to his own room, he paused on the
landing-place opposite to the portrait which Mr. Travers had consigned
to that desolate exile.  This daughter of a race dishonoured in its
extinction might well have been the glory of the house she had entered
as a bride.  The countenance was singularly beautiful, and of a
character of beauty eminently patrician; there was in its expression a
gentleness and modesty not often found in the female portraits of Sir
Peter Lely, and in the eyes and in the smile a wonderful aspect of
innocent happiness.

"What a speaking homily," soliloquized Kenelm, addressing the picture,
"against the ambition thy fair descendant would awake in me, art thou,
O lovely image!  For generations thy beauty lived in this canvas, a
thing of joy, the pride of the race it adorned.  Owner after owner
said to admiring guests, 'Yes, a fine portrait, by Lely; she was my
ancestress,--a Fletwode of Fletwode.'  Now, lest guests should
remember that a Fletwode married a Travers thou art thrust out of
sight; not even Lely's art can make thee of value, can redeem thine
innocent self from disgrace.  And the last of the Fletwodes, doubtless
the most ambitious of all, the most bent on restoring and regilding
the old lordly name, dies a felon; the infamy of one living man is so
large that it can blot out the honour of the dead."  He turned his
eyes from the smile of the portrait, entered his own room, and,
seating himself by the writing-table, drew blotting-book and
note-paper towards him, took up the pen, and instead of writing fell
into deep revery.  There was a slight frown on his brow, on which
frowns were rare.  He was very angry with himself.

"Kenelm," he said, entering into his customary dialogue with that
self, "it becomes you, forsooth, to moralize about the honour of races
which have no affinity with you.  Son of Sir Peter Chillingly, look at
home.  Are you quite sure that you have not said or done or looked a
something that may bring trouble to the hearth on which you are
received as guest?  What right had you to be moaning forth your
egotisms, not remembering that your words fell on compassionate ears,
and that such words, heard at moonlight by a girl whose heart they
move to pity, may have dangers for her peace?  Shame on you, Kenelm!
shame! knowing too what her father's wish is; and knowing too that you
have not the excuse of desiring to win that fair creature for
yourself. What do you mean, Kenelm?  I don't hear you; speak out.  Oh,
'that I am a vain coxcomb to fancy that she could take a fancy to me:'
well, perhaps I am; I hope so earnestly; and at all events, there has
been and shall be no time for much mischief.  We are off to-morrow,
Kenelm; bestir yourself and pack up, write your letters, and then 'put
out the light,--put out /the/ light!'"

But this converser with himself did not immediately set to work, as
agreed upon by that twofold one.  He rose and walked restlessly to and
fro the floor, stopping ever and anon to look at the pictures on the
walls.

Several of the worst painted of the family portraits had been
consigned to the room tenanted by Kenelm, which, though both the
oldest and largest bed-chamber in the house, was always appropriated
to a bachelor male guest, partly because it was without dressing-room,
remote, and only approached by the small back-staircase, to the
landing-place of which Arabella had been banished in disgrace; and
partly because it had the reputation of being haunted, and ladies are
more alarmed by that superstition than men are supposed to be.  The
portraits on which Kenelm now paused to gaze were of various dates,
from the reign of Elizabeth to that of George III., none of them by
eminent artists, and none of them the effigies of ancestors who had
left names in history,--in short, such portraits as are often seen in
the country houses of well-born squires.  One family type of features
or expression pervaded most of these portraits; features clear-cut and
hardy, expression open and honest.  And though not one of those dead
men had been famous, each of them had contributed his unostentatious
share, in his own simple way, to the movements of his time.  That
worthy in ruff and corselet had manned his own ship at his own cost
against the Armada; never had been repaid by the thrifty Burleigh the
expenses which had harassed him and diminished his patrimony; never
had been even knighted.  That gentleman with short straight hair,
which overhung his forehead, leaning on his sword with one hand, and a
book open in the other hand, had served as representative of his
county town in the Long Parliament, fought under Cromwell at Marston
Moor, and, resisting the Protector when he removed the "bauble," was
one of the patriots incarcerated in "Hell hole."  He, too, had
diminished his patrimony, maintaining two troopers and two horses at
his own charge, and "Hell hole" was all he got in return.  A third,
with a sleeker expression of countenance, and a large wig, flourishing
in the quiet times of Charles II., had only been a justice of the
peace, but his alert look showed that he had been a very active one.
He had neither increased nor diminished his ancestral fortune.  A
fourth, in the costume of William III.'s reign, had somewhat added to
the patrimony by becoming a lawyer.  He must have been a successful
one.  He is inscribed "Sergeant-at-law."  A fifth, a lieutenant in the
army, was killed at Blenheim; his portrait was that of a very young
and handsome man, taken the year before his death.  His wife's
portrait is placed in the drawing-room because it was painted by
Kneller.  She was handsome too, and married again a nobleman, whose
portrait, of course, was not in the family collection.  Here there was
a gap in chronological arrangement, the lieutenant's heir being an
infant; but in the time of George II. another Travers appeared as the
governor of a West India colony.  His son took part in a very
different movement of the age.  He is represented old, venerable, with
white hair, and underneath his effigy is inscribed, "Follower of
Wesley."  His successor completes the collection.  He is in naval
uniform; he is in full length, and one of his legs is a wooden one.
He is Captain, R.N., and inscribed, "Fought under Nelson at
Trafalgar."  That portrait would have found more dignified place in
the reception-rooms if the face had not been forbiddingly ugly, and
the picture itself a villanous daub.

"I see," said Kenelm, stopping short, "why Cecilia Travers has been
reared to talk of duty as a practical interest in life.  These men of
a former time seem to have lived to discharge a duty, and not to
follow the progress of the age in the chase of a money-bag,--except
perhaps one, but then to be sure he was a lawyer.  Kenelm, rouse up
and listen to me; whatever we are, whether active or indolent, is not
my favourite maxim a just and a true one; namely, 'A good man does
good by living'?  But, for that, he must be a harmony and not a
discord.  Kenelm, you lazy dog, we must pack up."

Kenelm then refilled his portmanteau, and labelled and directed it to
Exmundham, after which he wrote these three notes:--


NOTE I.

TO THE MARCHIONESS OF GLENALVON.

MY DEAR FRIEND AND MONITRESS,--I have left your last letter a month
unanswered.  I could not reply to your congratulations on the event of
my attaining the age of twenty-one.  That event is a conventional
sham, and you know how I abhor shams and conventions.  The truth is
that I am either much younger than twenty-one or much older.  As to
all designs on my peace in standing for our county at the next
election, I wished to defeat them, and I have done so; and now I have
commenced a course of travel.  I had intended on starting to confine
it to my native country.  Intentions are mutable.  I am going abroad.
You shall hear of my whereabout.  I write this from the house of
Leopold Travers, who, I understand from his fair daughter, is a
connection of yours; a man to be highly esteemed and cordially liked.

No, in spite of all your flattering predictions, I shall never be
anything in this life more distinguished than what I am now.  Lady
Glenalvon allows me to sign myself her grateful friend,

K. C.


NOTE II.

DEAR COUSIN MIVERS,--I am going abroad.  I may want money; for, in
order to rouse motive power within me, I mean to want money if I can.
When I was a boy of sixteen you offered me money to write attacks upon
veteran authors for "The Londoner."  Will you give me money now for a
similar display of that grand New Idea of our generation; namely, that
the less a man knows of a subject the better he understands it?  I am
about to travel into countries which I have never seen, and among
races I have never known.  My arbitrary judgments on both will be
invaluable to "The Londoner" from a Special Correspondent who shares
your respect for the anonymous, and whose name is never to be
divulged.  Direct your answer by return to me, /poste restante/,
Calais.

Yours truly,

K. C.


NOTE III.

MY DEAR FATHER,--I found your letter here, whence I depart to-morrow.
Excuse haste.  I go abroad, and shall write to you from Calais.

I admire Leopold Travers very much.  After all, how much of
self-balance there is in a true English gentleman!  Toss him up and
down where you will, and he always alights on his feet,--a gentleman.
He has one child, a daughter named Cecilia,--handsome enough to allure
into wedlock any mortal whom Decimus Roach had not convinced that in
celibacy lay the right "Approach to the Angels."  Moreover, she is a
girl whom one can talk with.  Even you could talk with her.  Travers
wishes her to marry a very respectable, good-looking, promising
gentleman, in every way "suitable," as they say.  And if she does, she
will rival that pink and perfection of polished womanhood, Lady
Glenalvon.  I send you back my portmanteau.  I have pretty well
exhausted my experience-money, but have not yet encroached on my
monthly allowance.  I mean still to live upon that, eking it out, if
necessary, by the sweat of my brow or brains.  But if any case
requiring extra funds should occur,--a case in which that extra would
do such real good to another that I feel /you/ would do it,--why, I
must draw a check on your bankers.  But understand that is your
expense, not mine, and it is /you/ who are to be repaid in Heaven.
Dear father, how I do love and honour you every day more and more!
Promise you not to propose to any young lady till I come first to you
for consent!--oh, my dear father, how could you doubt it? how doubt
that I could not be happy with any wife whom you could not love as a
daughter?  Accept that promise as sacred.  But I wish you had asked me
something in which obedience was not much too facile to be a test of
duty.  I could not have obeyed you more cheerfully if you had asked me
to promise never to propose to any young lady at all.  Had you asked
me to promise that I would renounce the dignity of reason for the
frenzy of love, or the freedom of man for the servitude of husband,
then I might have sought to achieve the impossible; but I should have
died in the effort!--and thou wouldst have known that remorse which
haunts the bed of the tyrant.

Your affectionate son,

K. C.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE next morning Kenelm surprised the party at breakfast by appearing
in the coarse habiliments in which he had first made his host's
acquaintance.  He did not glance towards Cecilia when he announced his
departure; but, his eye resting on Mrs. Campion, he smiled, perhaps a
little sadly, at seeing her countenance brighten up and hearing her
give a short sigh of relief.  Travers tried hard to induce him to stay
a few days longer, but Kenelm was firm.  "The summer is wearing away,"
said he, "and I have far to go before the flowers fade and the snows
fall.  On the third night from this I shall sleep on foreign soil."

"You are going abroad, then?" asked Mrs. Campion.

"Yes."

"A sudden resolution, Mr. Chillingly.  The other day you talked of
visiting the Scotch lakes."

"True; but, on reflection, they will be crowded with holiday tourists,
many of whom I shall probably know.  Abroad I shall be free, for I
shall be unknown."

"I suppose you will be back for the hunting season," said Travers.

"I think not.  I do not hunt foxes."

"Probably we shall at all events meet in London," said Travers.  "I
think, after long rustication, that a season or two in the bustling
capital may be a salutary change for mind as well as for body; and it
is time that Cecilia were presented and her court-dress specially
commemorated in the columns of the 'Morning Post.'"

Cecilia was seemingly too busied behind the tea-urn to heed this
reference to her debut.

"I shall miss you terribly," cried Travers, a few moments afterwards,
and with a hearty emphasis.  "I declare that you have quite unsettled
me.  Your quaint sayings will be ringing in my ears long after you are
gone."

There was a rustle as of a woman's dress in sudden change of movement
behind the tea-urn.

"Cissy," said Mrs. Campion, "are we ever to have our tea?"

"I beg pardon," answered a voice behind the urn.  "I hear Pompey" (the
Skye terrier) "whining on the lawn.  They have shut him out.  I will
be back presently."

Cecilia rose and was gone.  Mrs. Campion took her place at the
tea-urn.

"It is quite absurd of Cissy to be so fond of that hideous dog," said
Travers, petulantly.

"Its hideousness is its beauty," returned Mrs. Campion, laughing.
"Mr. Belvoir selected it for her as having the longest back and the
shortest legs of any dog he could find in Scotland."

"Ah, George gave it to her; I forgot that," said Travers, laughing
pleasantly.

It was some minutes before Miss Travers returned with the Skye
terrier, and she seemed to have recovered her spirits in regaining
that ornamental accession to the party; talking very quickly and
gayly, and with flushed cheeks, like a young person excited by her own
overflow of mirth.

But when, half an hour afterwards, Kenelm took leave of her and Mrs.
Campion at the hall-door, the flush was gone, her lips were tightly
compressed, and her parting words were not audible.  Then, as his
figure (side by side with her father, who accompanied his guest to the
lodge) swiftly passed across the lawn and vanished amid the trees
beyond, Mrs. Campion wound a mother-like arm around her waist and
kissed her.  Cecilia shivered and turned her face to her friend
smiling; but such a smile,--one of those smiles that seem brimful of
tears.

"Thank you, dear," she said meekly; and, gliding away towards the
flower-garden, lingered a while by the gate which Kenelm had opened
the night before.  Then she went with languid steps up the green
slopes towards the ruined priory.





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