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Title: Morley Ernstein - or the Tenants of the Heart
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford)
Language: English
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MORLEY ERNSTEIN

OR THE

TENANTS OF THE HEART

A ROMANCE

BY G.P.R. JAMES ESQ.



BRUSSELS.
MELINE, CANS AND CO.
M DCCC XLII



MORLEY ERNSTEIN
OR
THE TENANTS OF THE HEART.



CHAPTER I.


"Pouvons-nous pas dire, qu'il n'y a rien en nous, pendant cette prison
terrestre, purement, ni corporel ni spirituel?" asks good old
Montaigne, and certain it is that in many an act where we imagine the
body alone takes part, the spirit has as great a share; and in many a
thought where the mind seems to divest herself of clay, the impulse
was given by the body, not the soul. But besides the contention
between the corporeal and spiritual part of our nature, and the sort
of swindling that goes on on both sides, he that looks into his own
heart must acknowledge with him of old, that there seem to be two
spirits within us. I do not only mean two spirits distinguished by
their promptings to good and evil, but two principles separate in
their nature, in their objects, and in their ultimate dwelling-place,
the one tending to the earth, the other aspiring to the heavens; the
one the principle of animal existence, the other the principle of
immortal life; the one shared with the brutes that perish, the other
that essence which raises us above them here and hereafter. What shall
we call these two spirits? How shall we distinguish them, the one from
the other, in speaking of them hereafter? Let us name the higher and
the purer one, _the spirit of the soul_; and call the other, _the
spirit of the flesh_; for both are distinct from mere intellect, which
each uses as an agent, as each gains the ascendancy, or appeals to as
a judge when the struggle is nearly equal. It is upon this struggle
between these two principles that turns the greater part of each man's
moral history.

One of the strangest points in that contest is, that _the spirit of
the soul_, as we have called the one, appeals less frequently to the
intellect than her earthly sister, leaving it, in general, to the
latter, as if for her uses in this earth the powers of intellect were
given, while the soul obtains its impulses from other sources, and,
marked out for a higher destiny, receives winged inspirations from the
world to which it tends--faith, conviction, sentiment, feeling,
conscience;--and oh, how often does that better spirit seize the happy
moment to open the eyes which all our powers of mind could not
unclose, and strip the world and all its pleasures of the delusions
which no force of intellect has been equal to dispel!

At the age of one-and-twenty years--It is a beautiful age, full of the
spring, with all the vigour of manhood, without one touch of its
decay; with all the fire of youth, without one touch of its
feebleness! Oh, one-and-twenty! bright one-and-twenty!--wilt thou
never come back to me again? No, never! The cord of the bow has been
so often drawn that it has lost its elasticity; there have been a
thousand flowers cast away that have withered in the dust of Time's
sandy path; there have been a thousand fruits tasted that have left
but the rind in my hand; there have been a thousand travel stains
acquired that never can be washed off till the journey is done. That
which has been lost, and that which has been gained, have both been
gathered into the two baskets of the past; and whatever the future may
have in store, one-and-twenty, with its many hopes, its few fears, its
buoyancy of spirit, its elasticity of limb, its eagerness of
expectation, its activity of pursuit, its aspirations, its desires,
its faith, its confidence, its frankness, its garden of visionary
flowers, and its atmosphere of misty light, can never, never come back
to us, were we to whistle till we broke our hearts. No, no; in the sad
arithmetic of years, multiply by what numbers you will, you can never
get at one-and-twenty more than once.

At the age of one-and-twenty years, Morley Ehrenstein, or Ernstein, as
it had been contracted, a gentleman--descended, as his name evinces,
from a very old German family, who had made themselves a home in a
foreign land, some three centuries before--sat in one of the large
chambers of an English country-house, not many miles from the good
town of Doncaster. No one tenanted the chamber but himself, and though
it was a cheerful day of summer, and the room was one of a bright and
sunny aspect, there was a degree of melancholy on the young man's
countenance, which might be difficult to account for, if we did not
look a little into his heart, and pause for a moment on his previous
history. Let him gaze then at the ceiling, and study the quaint
arabesques into which the plaster of Paris had been drawn; let him
lean his head upon his hand, and examine the pretty nothings with
which his table is covered; let him gaze out of the window into
the far distance, as if he were about to paint a portrait of the
weather-cock on the village church; but let you and I, dear reader,
first put our friend into a microscope, and note down exactly every
limb and feature and sinew, as if we were true Kirbys, anatomising a
moth; and then let us look in the old almanacks, to discover some of
the antecedents of his present state.

The young man, then, of whom we speak, was above the middle height,
powerful in limb, and though so young, with but little of the
slightness of youth remaining. Health, and strength, and activity,
were to be traced in every swelling muscle, and those who regard what
is merely corporeal, might well pronounce him a fine animal, even when
at rest. When in activity, however--when hunting, swimming, leaping,
or performing any of those rude exercises whereof Englishmen are so
fond, and also so proud, with the glowing cheek and expanded nostril,
the flashing eye, and the strong rounded outline of every limb, he
looked like a fierce young horse, before the bit has taught it the
force of any other power than its own strength. In every moment of
excitement the animal spirit, _the spirit of the flesh_, started up
strong and bold within him; his veins seemed to be filled with molten
fire, his heart to be full of eagerness and impetuosity, his whole
mind one active enthusiasm. He felt within him a thirst for unceasing
action of any and every kind, and had it not been for certain
qualities, which we shall notice hereafter, he would have been merely
one of those who look upon all things round them, as objects on which
to employ their reckless energy, and life itself but as a child's
plaything.

He was young, dear reader, very young, and had neither learned from
the bitter teaching of years nor from any sudden and sad experience,
that the face must be, as it were, a veil to hide the countenance of
the heart. There are few men who reach thirty, without more or less
becoming hypocrites, and still fewer women; at least, as far as the
expression of the features goes. There are some with whom the waters
of time are like those of certain springs, and gradually petrify the
face into a mask. There are others who retain their pliability of
features, but reverse the action; cover hate and sorrow with a smile,
or conceal joy and satisfaction with an air of icy indifference. There
are some endowed by nature with lineaments of marble, and some who, by
habit and by art, form for themselves an India-rubber countenance,
which will stretch to whatsoever they require.

Morley Ernstein was none of these. He was very young, as we have said,
and nature had made his looks the reflection of all that passed in his
heart. His face was as a clear stream, through which one sees to the
very bottom. He had never learned to rule its expressions, and those
impulses which were but too apt to sway his actions, had still more
power over his countenance.

Why then did he now look so sad? Women will imagine that he was in
love, for they are all inclined to say, with Alfred de Musset, that--


   "La vie est un sommeil, l'amour en est le rêve."


Men--but especially Frenchmen--may be inclined to suppose, with
Balzac's gamblers, when they first beheld Raphael, that there was,
under his melancholy aspect, "quelque horrible mystère;" and imagine
it proceeded from some "douleur inouïe." Neither of those
suppositions, however, would be correct. There was no one point in his
history or situation, that should have produced anything like gloom.

Morley Ernstein was born to wealth and honour; his father had died
early, leaving but one child, to the care of a fond but a wise mother,
who, though young and beautiful at her husband's death, kept,
throughout the rest of her life, the colours of mourning in her
garments and in her heart. Some six years before the time of which we
now speak, she too had left this world for another state of being, and
her son had fallen into hands of guardians, somewhat strict, but still
prudent and kind. They had seen that his talents were great, that his
mind approached, if it did not absolutely reach, the height of genius,
and they had taken care that it should have such cultivation as the
land afforded. They were as conscientious with the young baronet's
property as with his intellect; and the old family-house had been left
in the care of two faithful good women, who had withered in the
service of his ancestors, and who now shewed themselves scrupulous in
maintaining everything in the same precise order, and clean propriety
which had been kept up during the life of the lady of the mansion.

The guardians of Morley Ernstein had resisted all his entreaties to
let him pass the vacations of school and college in his ancestral
house; but on the day that he was one-and-twenty, a carriage and four
horses were at the door of his temporary abode before six in the
morning, and ere night he was in the dwelling of his youth. Everything
had been prepared to receive him, and he had hastened from room to
room, while all the moonlight joy of memory lit up each chamber with
associations from the past. He slept little, and rose on the following
day, to go through the accounts of guardians and executors, and he
found, as paper after paper was laid before him, new cause to applaud
their care and wisdom--new reason to look upon his situation as one of
the brightest that man could fill. The subsequent night he slept
soundly; but now, when he rose on the day we have mentioned, which was
the one that succeeded, he sat in the large drawing-room, where his
mother used to pass the morning, with his head resting on his hand,
the broad, fine forehead contracted, the bright dark eyes full of
melancholy, the corners of his mouth turned down, gazing at things he
did not see, and forgetting all the bright expectations of youth, and
all the joys that hope had spread out before him.

Of what was it that he thought? Was it of his mother? No! Time had
healed the only wound that fate, within his own memory, had inflicted
on him; and his thoughts were of no external kind whatever: It was
that _the spirit of the soul_ then, for the first time, made her voice
heard strongly. She might have whispered before, but now she spoke
aloud. It was as a warning at the gates of life: it was as if some
hand, for a moment, drew back the glittering veil with which pale
reality covers her wrinkled front, and had shewn him, instead of the
bright young features he expected to see, nothing but deformity and
age. Unhappy is it--at the time, most unhappy--for the man, in whose
mind age and youth can change places, even for an hour. God wills us,
while we are young, to view things youngly, and when the thoughts of
age force themselves upon us in youth, we are like the living clasped
in the cold arms of the dead.

Such, then, were the sensations of Morley Ernstein, as he sat in the
house of his fathers, master thereof, master of himself, master of
fortune, station, youth, strength, and expectation! Oh, how he had
longed for that hour! What bright visions had risen before his eyes,
of enjoyment to come! How he had strode in imagination over every
field--how he had visited every cottage--how he had consoled the old
servants for his long absence--how he had made in fancy every change
that he had devised in boyhood. He had dreamed bright dreams, though
most innocent ones; and now the dream was accomplished--he was there,
with nothing but his own will to control him in any act! Yes, the
dream was accomplished, but it was ended too! Whenever we grasp life's
flowers with too hot a hand, they are sure to wither almost ere they
reach our bosom. He had not felt as much joy as he had expected; he
had been happy certainly, but he had discovered that even happiness is
not the bright thing he had thought it; and now he sat and mused, the
spirit of the soul seeming to tell him, that thus he would still find
it throughout the whole of life; that there is a rich ingredient
wanting in the cup of mortal joy which never can be found on earth.

There was a dull oppression on his heart that he could not account
for; there was a voice rang in his ear, telling of the emptiness of
all human things. "But a few short years ago," he thought, "here
moved my father, filled with plans and purposes, hopes and
expectations,--here crowded round him the gay, the bright, the
beautiful, the wise, the good--here honour waited, wealth supported,
renown followed him--here, too, my mother spent days of joy and
sorrow--here she looked with tenderness upon my cradle--here she
watched with pride my growing years--here she often talked of the
bright future with her beloved son. And they are both gone: their
shadows no longer cross the household floor; the roof tree no longer
echoes back their voices; their tongues are silent, and their smiles
are cold; and the place where they once dwelt, now knows them no more.
Thus, too, shall it be with me ere many years have passed; my joys, my
hopes, my affections shall soon be in the dust with theirs."

Such were his thoughts as he sat there, though the room was full of
sunshine--though the object before his eyes were bright--though
one-and-twenty years were all that he had numbered. Judge then, dear
reader, whether _the spirit of the soul_ was not strong within him,
thus to rise and reprove the animal spirit, even at the very threshold
of youth. Each was indeed powerful: the elements of earthly and
immortal existence had been poured into him profusely; the eager,
impassioned, vehement being of this world, was met by the calm, grand,
mysterious essence of a higher sphere; and sometimes the impetuous
energy of the one, sometimes the stern majesty of the other, gained
the victory, and ruled the course of life.



CHAPTER II.


We will have done with the philosophy of the human heart; we will talk
no more of abstract sensations--at least, for the present; we will
enter into no further investigations of causes and effects; but
will tell a simple story to the end; never deviating into
discussions--except when it suits us; for, as the gentle reader is
well aware that resolutions, whether made by man or woman, are
intended from the very first to be broken, it would be hard upon a
poor writer to force him to keep his better than kings, or ministers,
or philosophers.

The thoughtful fit into which Morley Ernstein had fallen did not last
long. The entrance of a servant dispelled it in a moment; and starting
up, as if half ashamed of the gloom that had fallen upon him, he
resumed the tone of ordinary life. Youth, with its consciousness,
feels as if man's bosom were but a glass case, where thoughts may be
examined like curious insects, and the young man doubted not that the
servant would see all that was passing within if he cleared not his
brow of the shadows that covered it.

"Bring me round a horse!" he said; "I will ride out." And after taking
his hat, his gloves, and his cane, he went into the old portico before
the door, and sat down on one of the stone benches which flanked it on
either side. The air was warm and balmy, for it was the month of May,
the period of the year in which Morley had been born. There is surely
something in the season of our birth which transfuses itself into our
character, and, I have sometimes been inclined to think, influences
our fate. Byron was born in the dark and stormy winter; Napoleon, in
the fiery and blazing month of August.

Morley had first seen the light in the fitful spring; and now, in that
month, when very often the heat of summer and the cold of winter
struggle with each other on alternate days, especially in the land
that gave him birth, he sat and watched the bright sunshine and the
dark cloud chase each other over the blue sky. The scene impressed
itself upon his heart and gave its hue to his feelings, for he was one
of those whose bosoms are like a deep, clear lake, reflecting vividly
the aspect of nature, except when the demon of the tempest sweeps over
it with his ruffling wing. He felt himself falling into a new fit of
thought, but resisted the inclination; and when the horse was brought
round, he sprang at once into the saddle, and struck the flank with
his heel. The animal darted forward, but instead of turning its head
towards the gate the rider took his way at full gallop across the
park, leaped the enclosure at a bound, and was soon out of the old
servant's sight, who beheld him depart, with the exclamation--"He is
but a boy after all!"

There was as much envy and admiration as anything else in the old
man's speech; for who would not be a boy if they could?--who would not
go back to the freshness of early years?--who would not shake off the
burden of age and its heavy thoughts? At that very moment Morley was
flying from thoughts too old for his years; the animal spirit had
resumed its sway, and, in the fiery career of the high-bred beast he
rode, the energies of his own corporeal nature found exercise and joy.

A little accident happened, however, almost at the outset of his ride,
which checked the speed at which he was flying over the country. We
have said he leaped the enclosure of the park at a bound; but he
certainly did so without thinking that any one might be upon the high
road at the other side. Such was the case, however; and, as Morley
Ernstein darted over the fence, he perceived a lady and a gentleman on
horseback, riding gently along.

The sudden and unexpected apparition of a mounted horseman at full
speed, where there had been nothing but solitude the moment before,
made the lady start, but it made her horse start still more; and being
of that race of animals that is restive without being spirited, the
beast plunged, reared, and would have fallen backwards, but, as quick
as light, Morley was upon his feet by the lady's side, and with her
bridle in his firm, manly grasp. The horse became quiet instantly; it
seemed as if the animal felt at once that it could not resist; and
though it passaged away from him who held it, it no longer tried to
rear with that strong determination of crushing its fair rider which
it had shewn at first.

The lady, however, agitated with all that had happened, slipped from
the saddle, quickly but gracefully, and of course Morley Ernstein
aided her to the best of his abilities, apologizing for frightening
her horse, and assuring her that the animal was now quiet, that the
danger was over, and adding a multitude of other things of the same
kind, in a breath.

Our measures of time are all false and absurd together; we might
find a thousand better clocks than any that have ever been carried
up into the sky by a church steeple. Thoughts, feelings, passions,
events--these are the real moral time-keepers. What is to me the
ticking of a pendulum? There is many a five minutes, as they are
called when measured by that false scale, that form two-thirds of a
lifetime. One fortnight of existence has withered more than twenty
years, cast down the barrier between youth and age, and dried up the
fountains of the heart, like the simoon.

It was not exactly thus with Morley Ernstein and the lady; but the
brief moments in which all passed that I have just narrated, comprised
for the young gentleman a world of other things besides. She was young
and very beautiful.--Is not that enough to load the wings of a single
minute with the thoughts of years, for a young man of one-and-twenty?
But that was not all; hers was the sort of beauty that he had always
most admired, most thought of, most wondered at. It was all gentleness
and brightness, but withal resplendent with high feeling and thought.
It was the mixture that we so seldom see of all that is lovely in mere
corporeal form and colouring: the rich contour, the flowing lines, the
warmth but softness of hue, the contrasted tints of the hair, the
eyes, the cheeks, the forehead, and the lips, with the lofty, yet
gentle, the tender, yet deep in expression. The young horseman had
remarked all this in a moment, and he had seen that beautiful face
agitated, that graceful form rendered more graceful by the effort to
keep her seat upon the vicious beast that bore her. At the same time,
the morning sun shone, mellowed through the foliage of a tree over
head, and cast that rich mysterious yellow light upon the whole scene
which is only produced when the sun-shine falls through the green
leaves that owe their brief and strange existence to his glorious
beams. That light seemed to give a peculiar lustre to her face--a
something that the youth, in his fond enthusiasm, could have fancied
unearthly, had not the soft hand that rested upon his as he aided her
to dismount, and the deep-drawn sigh of apprehension relieved, told
him that she was but a being of the same nature as himself. It was all
done in a moment, as I have said, and the manifold thoughts, or we may
call them impressions, which took place in his bosom, were like the
ripples of a moonlight sea; a thousand bright things received all at
once into the mind.

Scarcely, however, had Morley Ernstein time to utter the few words
which have been mentioned when the lady's companion interposed,
saying--"At this time of the year sir, one does not expect to see
people flying over a park fence like madmen. The periodical season of
insanity--I mean the hunting season--is at an end, and I do not wonder
at the horse being surprised and alarmed."

Morley turned his eyes suddenly to the speaker's face; but he was an
old man, with grey hair, and the youth had a certain foolish reverence
for age, which was much inculcated amongst those weak people, our
ancestors; though it has given way very generally now, under the
influence of improvement and the diffusion of knowledge. He refrained,
therefore, and strangled an angry reply between his teeth, merely
saying--

"I am extremely sorry I have alarmed the lady, and trust she will
forgive me. You still look frightened," he continued, addressing her
with a voice in which some young timidity, and the slight agitation of
admiration mixed strangely with a consciousness, not so much of varied
powers as of high purpose and noble feelings; "you still look
frightened, and somewhat faint. Were it not better for you to repose
for a moment at my house, hard by?"

"At your house!" said the gentleman, with peculiar emphasis, and
gazing at him from head to foot; "I thank you, sir, but the lady can
very well pursue her ride. The horse, too, will be perfectly quiet,
unless he be again startled, and it is not reasonable to expect two
such pleasant occurrences in one day."

The young lady bowed her head with a smile that seemed intended and
fully sufficient to compensate for the harsh coldness of her
companion. "I am not faint," she said--"a little frightened; but I can
well go on." She thanked him, too, for his kindness, in a somewhat
lower tone; not so low, indeed, as to be unheard by either of the two
who stood beside her, but still softened, and with somewhat of
timidity in her manner, as if she felt that what she said to the one
might not be pleasing to the other.

Morley aided her to remount, and gave her the rein, for her companion
made no effort to assist her. As he did so, he gazed for one instant
in her face, and his eyes met the deep blue heavenly light of hers,
pouring through the dark lashes, like the first dawn of morning
through the clouds of night. It was but for an instant, and bowing her
head once more, she rode on, leaving him standing on the road, and
marvelling still at the bright vision which had thus crossed his path,
and vanished. Who has not, in his childhood, seen a shooting star
cross the sky and disappear, on a bright autumn night?--and who has
not then gazed long into the wide vacant heaven, to see if the shining
wanderer would not appear again? Thus gazed Morley Ernstein after the
fair being that had just left him, with that sort of admiration in
which wonder has so great a share.

He stood motionless, his horse's bridle over one arm, his cane
drooping from his wrist, and his eyes fixed upon the receding figures,
till they reached an angle of the road. They were riding slowly, and
by no movement in either did it appear that they gave another thought
to what had occurred--to that momentary meeting which had furnished
him with so many thoughts. He had no reason to suppose they would.
Perhaps, indeed, with man's true perversity, Morley might have deemed
it not quite feminine if the lady had turned her head as she rode
away; but yet he was mortified that she did not do so; and sighed to
think that he should most likely never see her more. At the angle of
the road, however--it was, perhaps, some three hundred yards distant
from the spot where he stood, far enough, in short, to render features
indistinct, but not to hide the gestures of the body--the two riders
directed their course to the left, and then--but only for a single
instant, with a glance withdrawn as soon as given--the lady turned her
face towards the scene of the little incident which had delayed her on
her way. It was but for an instant, we have said; but Morley felt that
in that instant she must have seen him standing and gazing after her,
and in his young enthusiasm he could not but fancy that she must have
seen, too, the admiration she had excited in his bosom.

Who could she be? he asked himself--Who and what? Was she the old
man's daughter? He did not like to think it was so. He persuaded
himself that it was not. There was not the slightest resemblance
between them; his aspect was harsh, and hers was gentle; his eyes were
dim, and hers were bright; his brow was brown and wrinkled, hers was
fair and smooth; his hair was gray, and hers--. But as he thus thought
he smiled at himself, seeing that all the differences he had found
might be solely those of age. "'Tis but that he is old and she is
young," he thought; "but no! there is no resemblance, and then the
voices were as different as the croak of the raven and the song of the
lark--the voice which is almost always hereditary."

If not his daughter, who could she be? was the next question; and as
there is always in the bosom of every one, a ready devil to suggest
that which may torment us most, he next inquired, "May she not be
his wife?" In England, however, it is not so common as in other
countries--where marriages are mercantile transactions, and the altar
and the commune often become a mere slave-market--for men to marry
girls who might be their grand-daughters; and Morley Ernstein soon
determined that she could not be his wife. She might be cousin, niece,
connexion--anything, in short: but neither his daughter nor his wife.
His daughter! No, she was too lovely, too gentle, too bright, for the
same blood to run in her veins, and in the cold icehouse of her
companion's heart. His wife!--Heaven and earth! it was impossible!

The young man mounted his horse, and rode on, but more slowly than
before. The very sight that he had seen had calmed him, for such is
generally the first effect of very exquisite beauty. There is power in
it as well as loveliness--we are impressed as much as attracted; it
awakens admiration before it excites passion, and, with love as with
the ocean, the calm precedes the storm. He rode on, then,
thoughtfully, and many were the workings of his spirit within him.

Not long after, he reached a village, which stood upon his own
property; the cottagers were all people who had known him in his
youth, and though they had not seen him for six years, they all
remembered him well. It was, by this time, the peasant's hour of
dinner, but some one caught a sight of the young landlord as he
entered the place, and the tiding spread like lightning. Every door
had its occupants, and low courtesies and respectful bows greeted him
as he advanced. There was a kindliness in Morley's heart, that would
not let him deal coldly with any one; and, though he would fain have
gone on, thinking of the engrossing subject that had taken hold of
him, he could not resist the good cottagers' looks of recognition;
and, dismounting from his horse, he called a boy to lead it through
the village, while, walking from door to door, he spoke a few words to
his humble friends.

"God bless him!" cried one, as soon as he had gone on; "he is a nice
young gentleman."

"He is very like his father," observed another. "I remember his father
well."

"He has got his mother's beautiful eyes, though," said a third. "Well,
I do think she was the prettiest creature I ever yet did see!"

At the fourth or fifth cottage an idea seemed to strike Morley
Ernstein suddenly, and he asked if any of the inhabitants thereof had
seen a lady and a gentleman pass through the place on horseback,
intending to follow up that enquiry by demanding who they were. But he
got no satisfaction there. The cottager had been out in the fields,
his wife had been cooking the dinner, and no such persons as the young
gentleman described had been seen by either. He put the same question
again and again at other houses, but no tidings were to be obtained;
and, vexed and disappointed, he returned to his home and made
enquiries there.

To the old servants he described the gentleman he had met with
accurately enough; on the lady he would not venture to say much, for
like all Englishmen he was keenly sensitive to a laugh, and feared to
awaken the least feeling of ridicule, even in the mind of a dependent.
He dwelt upon the person and dress of the horseman at large; but in
regard to the lady, added only that she was young and handsome.

Human nature is very obtuse to description, and we seldom if ever find
any one who either attends to or applies the details that we give,
respecting any object which we wish to call up before the mind's eye
by means of the ear. Do not let poets or historians ever believe that,
by the lengthened descriptions they give, the reader ever becomes
impressed with the very scene or person that they themselves behold.
Oh, no! the reader manufactures a scene of his own, out of some of the
writer's words and many of his own imaginations or memories; or
fabricates a personage out of his own fancies and predilections; but
both scene and personage as unlike that which we have wished to
represent as possible. Thus was it, too, with Morley Ernstein and his
servants. One declared that the persons he had seen must be Mr.
Ferdinand Beckford and his young wife. Mr. Beckford was the good
priest of a neighbouring parish, and was just six-and-twenty years of
age. Another vowed that the horseman must be Mr. Thomas Ogden, Member
of Parliament for the town hard by, and the lady must be his wife.
Mrs. Ogden was somewhere between forty and fifty, and though she still
preserved a pretty face, her person was as round as a tub of Dutch
butter. A third insisted that it was Lawyer Chancery; but Ernstein
knew the lawyer, and replied--"Why he is six feet high, and I told you
this person was short."

He saw that it was in vain to enquire further in that quarter, at
least; and he now resolved to pursue another plan, to reverse the
course of proceeding which he had proposed to follow, when he had
first arrived, and to visit immediately every gentleman's house within
twenty miles. His eager spirit would bear no delay, and before night
he had called on five or six of the principal personages in the
neighbourhood. All the gentlemen around declared that it was evident
Sir Morley Ernstein intended to be very sociable; and all the ladies,
who had daughters to marry, pronounced him a very charming young man;
but Morley did not find what he sought.

He dined, wandered out through his beautiful park, hurried here and
there till bed-time, and then cast himself down to repose, but found
it not, thinking only of the places where he would call the next day,
and the chances of his finding the fair girl who had so much excited
his imagination. In short, _the spirit of the animal_ was triumphant
in his bosom for the time. Let us guard, however, the expression well
against mistake. Do not let it be supposed that one evil thought found
place in his bosom at that moment. He was far too young, and fresh in
heart, to admit aught to the council chamber of his bosom, which the
fair girl ho had seen might not herself have witnessed and approved,
even supposing her to be all that her countenance bespoke her--pure,
and bright, and holy, as the spirits of a better world. No! but we
still say that the spirit of the animal was triumphant--the eager,
active, impetuous spirit, the same that leads the lion to rush after
his prey, the same that carries the warrior through the battle
field--the spirit of this world's things, of mortal hopes, and
passions, and affections--the spirit which, in all its shapes, in all
its forms, in camps and cities, courts and cabinets, gaining both high
worldly renown and the visionary immortality of fame, is still but an
animal energy--the spirit of dust and ashes.

Early the next morning he rose and pursued his eager course; another
and another round of hours and visits succeeded, till at length he had
called on every one that he could hear or think of, within the reach
of a lady's riding, and yet he had neither seen, nor obtained the
least intelligence of the horseman and his fair companion. The
disappointment but excited him the more for some days, and he left no
means untried to relieve himself from the irritable curiosity into
which he had wrought himself.

Still, all excitements come to an end; and in time he learned to feel
angry at himself for what he began to call boyish enthusiasm. He felt
somewhat disgusted with the life of the country, however; and as the
London season was then at its height, and everybody was carrying up
their stock of faults and follies to that great mart of wickedness and
vanity, from the less profitable markets of the country, he determined
to see what was passing in the metropolis, and to take his part in all
its energetic idleness. Be it said to his honour that he knew London
well, and loved it not; but he had seen it only as a boy, under the
somewhat rigid tutelage of others, and he was now to see it as a man,
master of himself and of a princely fortune.



CHAPTER III.


Scarcely had Morley's visits in the country been paid, when first came
four invitations to dinner, and then a grand ball was determined on by
a lady, who lived near the county town, and had four sons and six
daughters. Who can tell whether Morley Ernstein's appearance in the
neighbourhood had aught to do with all these gay affairs? Old Miss
Cumbertown, who had seen sixty and more drying summers and freezing
winters pass over her, till all the sweeter essences of her nature
were parched up to a dry haricot, muttered and grinned at all she
heard, and prognosticated that the young gentleman would not be caught
yet awhile. She knew well what it was to be disappointed in the
attempt to catch a lover; and when she heard, some days after this,
that the young master of Morley Court had declined all invitations,
announcing that he was about to go to town on the very day the first
dinner-party was to take place, she grinned a thousand times more. It
is so pleasant to see other people visited by the same misfortunes
that have fallen upon ourselves!

In the meantime the young gentleman was totally unconscious that there
was anything like a design upon him in any of the five invitations, or
that he was creating the least disappointment in the inviters;
although they did not fail to believe--for cunning always fancies
itself opposed by cunning--that he partly saw through their devices.

"Oh, he gives himself great airs!" said one.

"I suppose we must beg his company in very humble terms," cried
another.

But, as we have before declared, Morley was quite unconscious of.
offence, and never once recollected the fact either of his having the
command of a number of votes for the county, or of his being an
eligible match for any lady in the land. Indeed, he thought not at all
of any man's daughter in Europe, except, indeed, of her whose birth,
parentage, and education, he had not been able to discover.

After he had settled the period of his journey, the next thing was to
settle the mode of travelling. It was very natural that, with great
wealth in possession, which he had never been allowed fully to enjoy,
he should dream of tasting the sweets of it in every possible manner,
and that the chariot-and-four should first present itself to his
imagination, as the only fitting way for him to seek the capital. He
had very nearly given orders for the horses, and had visions of going
at least thirteen miles an hour. Rapidity of motion is one of the
inherent joys of youth and vigour--it may be called, almost, a
necessity, and Morley was one of those who enjoy to the highest
extent that peculiar sensation which is produced by the rapid passing
of the fair objects of nature before the eye; tower and town, and
church-steeple, and green fields, and bright rivers, and tall trees,
and rich woods, resting just long enough upon the organs of vision to
call up sweet, but undefined imaginations, and then passing away--like
distant music which swells and falls upon the ear, bringing back
vaguely airs that we have heard elsewhere, and leaving fancy to play
them to an end.

He forgot, however, to give the order for the horses at the hour of
dinner, and afterwards he strolled out into the country round, and
visited the cottages of some of the peasantry who were reported to be
in a state of great poverty. He now saw real misery, for the first
time, and it had a powerful effect upon him. We have not space, dear
reader, to enter into the details; to paint the pale face of squalid
misery, and the eager anxious eyes of hopeless destitution. Suffice
it, that Morley Ernstein was young; his heart had not been hardened in
the furnace of the world, and it was not originally formed of that
adamantine stuff, called selfishness. He was not, as some, lavish in
his bounty, from mere want of any principle of action whatsoever; but
he relieved the unhappy people fully, and on his return home, gave
such directions, as to prevent their falling back into misery again
during his absence, except by their own fault.

After this was done, he sat and thought, and ended, by ordering a
servant to go to the neighbouring town, and secure him a place in the
stage-coach to London. His scheme of travelling had been changed by
his visit to the poor; but not in the manner, or from the motives that
many persons may imagine. It was not that he proposed to save small
sums out of a princely fortune, for the purpose of devoting the whole
of that fortune to the poor, for Morley knew right well that the
industrious mechanic, the artisan, the farmer, the builder--all, in
short, who contribute by the labour of their hands and minds to the
convenience, comfort, and welfare of their fellow-creatures, have a
first claim upon those to whom God has entrusted the distribution of
great wealth. He believed that though the poor, the honest and worthy
poor, must be supplied, must be cared for--that though it is a duty to
make up, by active charity, for the inequalities and accidents that
the fundamental constitution of society, and the very nature of man
must always produce--still the industrious of all classes have their
great primary right, which ought to be attended to. It was not that
the actual sight of misery made him purpose to deny himself anything
that was rational and just in the station in which he was placed, or
resolve to refrain from any expense which might encourage the
industrious in all classes, but that sight had called up _the spirit
of the soul_ to speak within him, and to check the animal spirit which
had fired his imagination. After he returned from those poor cottages,
he found no pleasure in the idea of the gay postilions and foaming
horses; his mind took a sadder, a more thoughtful tone. He felt almost
ashamed of the bright eagerness of pampered life in the presence of
the dim eyes and tear-stained cheeks of misery. His whole scheme
changed. "I will go to the capital," he said, "quietly and modestly. I
will not present myself in that gay place as the rich man, coming to
enjoy, but as the thoughtful man, going to examine and to consider. I
will not, indeed, conceal myself; but I will retire rather than
advance, till I have good cause to do so. I will seek to find friends
rather than to make acquaintances, and rather than simply endeavour to
spend my income, I will endeavour to spend it well."

Nothing occurred to check _the spirit of the soul_, and he continued
in the same mood till the stage-coach passed by the gates of his park,
the next day. A number of passengers covered the outside of the
vehicle, so that there was no room for him in that part which
Englishmen always choose in preference to the interior, as if they
loved the dust of summer, the rain of autumn and spring, and the cold
winds of winter, better than any other of the enjoyments of those
seasons. To foreigners this seems an extraordinary taste; but the
origin of it probably is that the Englishman, who pushes almost all
his affections to extravagance, loves, with a vehemence that few other
people can feel, the free air of heaven. Morley would willingly have
changed places with the poorest traveller on the outside of the coach;
but as that could not be done, he took his seat in solitude in the
interior, where he found plenty of room for thought, there being
nobody within it but himself.

The coach rolled on with a celerity which no one who has not travelled
in one of those small, inconvenient, but wonderfully rapid, vehicles,
can imagine to be produced by any animal under the sun. The nearer
objects flew past like lightning, the further ones kept gradually
changing their place with a quickness proportioned to their respective
distances from the coach, which, for its part, like the mind of a vain
man, seemed the centre of a circle round which all other objects were
running; and Morley's impetuosity was well nigh satisfied with the
rate of progression at which they were going.

After all, movement is the grand principle of animal life; it runs in
our veins, it beats in our hearts, it advances with our ideas, it
enters into every change, is more rapid in youth, slower in infancy
and age, fails as desires are extinguished or objects wanting, grows
dull in sickness, pauses in sleep, and ends alone in death.

After driving on at the same pace for three-quarters of an hour,
during which, Morley gave himself up to the sort of dreamy pleasure
which I have mentioned, of feeling himself whirled on through a
thousand beautiful objects, the coach stopped to change horses, and
one of the travellers from the outside came in, and took his seat by
the previously solitary tenant of the interior.

"It is as hot as if it were summer on the outside," he said,
addressing nobody, "and the seat I had got was so unpleasant, that I
am not sorry to quit it."

Morley did not answer; but--with the sort of habitual coldness which
affects almost all Englishmen, in part pride, in part timidity, in
part contempt for all other beings than themselves, in part fear that
others should entertain the same contempt for them--he sat silent,
gazing out of the window, following his own meditations, and quite
willing that his travelling companion should follow his likewise.

The personage who had entered was not one, however, that had anything
repulsive in his manners or appearance. He was tall, gracefully
formed, with an air of distinction, and a countenance often full of
fire and animation, although the habitual expression was that of quick
but easy-flowing thought. His brow was high and fine, his eyes
peculiarly large and bright, and his hair strongly curled; the only
feature in his face which could be termed even not good, was the
mouth, the lips being somewhat thick and heavy. His complexion was
dark, and the skin very brown, apparently with exposure to the air and
sun, but the whole exterior was extremely pleasing; and had Morley
looked at him at all, he would in all probability have spoken in
return; but the young gentleman did not look at him, and the stranger,
after pausing for a moment, spoke again--resolved, it would seem, to
make some impression upon his temporary companion.

"Pray, whose house is that?" he demanded, pointing to a handsome
mansion on the right.

"I do not know," replied Morley, turning round, and gazing at him, for
the first time.

"Indeed!" said the stranger; "I thought you were well acquainted with
this country. The coachman told me that you were Sir Something
Ernstein, and that the park, at the gates of which we took you up,
belongs to you."

Morley smiled. "It is all very true," he answered; "but, nevertheless,
I do not know. I have not been in this part of England for six or
seven years."

The stranger mused; but between two men not absolutely repulsive in
themselves, nor particularly disposed by any circumstances mutually to
repel each other--the poles of whose minds, in short, are not
reversed--conversation soon establishes itself after a few words have
been spoken. A single syllable will often do the whole with people
whose characters are well balanced, and a word act like the hair
trigger of a pistol, upon which hangs the fate of a life.

Oh, how strange and complicated is the web of God's will! How the
smallest, the most pitiful, the most empty of things, by his great and
wise volition, act their part in mighty changes! How a look, a tone, a
sound, a pebble in our path, a grain of dust in our eyes, a headache,
a fit of gloom, a caprice, a desire, may not only change the whole
current of one man's existence, but affect the being of states and
empires, and alter human destinies to the end of time! The present
state of France, the whole mass of facts, circumstances, incidents,
accidents, and events, which are there going on, may all be owing to a
lady, whom I knew well, having splashed her stocking fifty years ago.

"As how, in the name of Heaven?" demands the reader.

Thus! She was going out of her house with a relation in the town of
Douai, when, carelessly putting her foot on a stone, she splashed her
stocking. She went back to change it; the delay occupied a quarter of
an hour. When she went on again, she met, at the corner of the
_Place_, a man, since too famous in history, then scarcely known as
anything but a clever fop. His name was Francis Maximilian
Robespierre. Instead of going on, he turned with her and her relation,
and walked up and down the _Place_ with them for half an hour. In one
of the houses hard by, a debating society was in the act of canvassing
some political question. As they passed to and fro, Robespierre
listened at the door from time to time, and at length, pronouncing the
debaters to be all fools together, he rushed in to set them right.
From that moment, he entered vehemently into all the fiery discussions
which preceded the revolution, in which he had never taken part
before, and grasped at power, which opened the doors of the cage, and
let out the tiger in his heart. Thus, had the lady not splashed her
stocking, she would not have met the future tyrant; he would have
pursued his way, and would not have turned back to the _Place_; he
would never have heard the debate that first called him into action,
for he was going to quit Douai the next day, and who can say how that
one fact, in the infinite number of its combinations with other
things, might have affected the whole social world at present?

The stranger mused, as we have said, but after a moment's thought, he
replied, in a meditative tone--

"How strange is the sensation when, after a long absence from
any place, we return to it suddenly! How different everything
appears!--how shrunk, and changed, and withered, seem many objects
that we thought beautiful and bright!--how many a light gone out!--how
many a sweet sound silent! I believe that it is very happy for us that
in point of time we cannot go back again, as we can in space."

"Nay, I do not think so," answered Morley, growing interested in his
companion's conversation; "I cannot, indeed, judge from experience,
but I should imagine that many an old man would willingly return to
the days of his youth; that every man, indeed, when he finds life
beginning to lose its energies, health failing, the muscle relaxing,
the eye growing dim, the limbs feeble, would willingly go back to the
time when all were in their perfection."

"They would do so willingly, beyond all doubt," replied his companion;
"but whether they would do so wisely is another thing. We all wish to
see again the scenes of our boyhood, when we have been separated from
them long; but when we are gratified, we are always disappointed."

Morley smiled, to find the stranger speaking to all his late
sensations, as if he would have divined them; but he only enquired--

"Always?"

"Always, I think," said the other; "because it is in the nature of
things that it should be so. Enjoyment is a harmony--the person that
is pleased with anything and the object of his pleasure must be
adapted to each other. Thus the boy loves a particular scene of his
youth, returns to it as a man, and does not find the same delight; not
because it is changed, but because it has remained the same, and he is
altered; he has lost his fitness for it. It suited the boy; but it no
more suits the man than would the wooden sword and the rocking horse."

"I do not know," replied Morley, "but I should think that the memory
of enjoyment would make up for the change in his own nature. Memory is
the hope of the past, and both brighten the objects that they rest
upon."

"True!" answered his companion; "but then that which he enjoys is not
the same, but the memory of his own pleasure therein. Oh no! the life
of man is still, forward--forward! Each period of existence,
doubtless, has its powers and its joys, as well as its hopes and its
desires."

"But I have heard many that I have loved and respected, declare," said
Morley, "that in their own case the pure joys of youth were those on
which memory had rested through life with the greatest satisfaction."

"Simply because they were the furthest off," replied the other; "but
why call them the pure joys of youth? I do not see why they should be
purer than those of any other period. Surely all joys are pure--I mean
those that are not criminal. Anything that gives me pleasure, or by
which I can give others pleasure, and which injures no one, is just as
pure as the gathering of a flower, or the pruning of a tree--certainly
more pure than crucifying a worm upon a hook, or shooting an
inoffensive bird, or many another of those sports and pastimes of
which youth is fond."

Morley was silent for some little time; he felt that there was
something dangerous in his companion's doctrines, if pushed to the
extreme; but still, as far as he had expressed them, there was nothing
Of which he could take hold. The other seemed to perceive, with fine
tact, that the young man who sat beside him, had taken alarm at the
indefinite nature of his argument, and he added in haste--

"You will understand that I mean strictly to limit enjoyment to that
which is not criminal--which is not wrong--in short, all I mean to say
is, that the wisest plan for man to pursue is, to go on without ever
turning back his eyes to the past; to enjoy all that is natural for
his period of life, without regretting others that are gone. Each
pleasure is as a precious stone, picked up upon the sea-shore, a thing
to be treasured by memory; but because we find an emerald at one
moment, that is no reason why we should neglect the diamond that we
find the next, or the ruby that comes a little further on. Our
capabilities of enjoyment were intended to be used, and he who does
not do so, fails to fulfil one of the great obligations of his
nature."

Morley was better satisfied, but still not completely so; and had he
been older and more experienced, he might have thought that his
conversation with his travelling companion, is like that which
Conscience and Desire sometimes hold together, when temptation is very
strong. Desire still finds an argument to lead us up to the very verge
of wrong, assuring Conscience all the time that we are upon the safe
ground of right, and trusting to some momentary impulse to make us
leap the barrier when we have reached it.

Morley, however, was too young, too inexperienced, and be it added,
too innocent even in heart, to have had many such debates with
conscience, and to be experimentally acquainted with the tactics of
temptation. There was certainly something in his companion's arguments
which did not satisfy, but at the same time there was a peculiar charm
in his manner, in his conversation, in his very look, which made words
that might otherwise have failed to produce any effect, now sink into
the mind, and remain, like seeds, to produce fruit at a future period.

The manner and the look that we have just spoken of, were certainly
very fascinating apart, but still more so together; not so much
because they harmonized as because they differed. The manner was
gentle, soft, and though full of rapid thought, yet easy, and glowing
with a sort of conviction that made assent easy; and yet there was
nothing in the least presumptuous in it. On the contrary--indeed,
every word appeared to be spoken, more as a suggestion than a
decision; while the soft richness of the speaker's voice seemed
calculated to persuade and lead. The look on the other hand was full
of quick vivacity and fire--the eye brightened up at a word, the lip
changed its expression twenty times in a minute, and withal there was
an air of reckless joyousness, of rapid careless quickness, which
contrasted wonderfully with the metaphysical themes he touched upon,
and by contrast, gave the stronger effect to his deeper thoughts.

That he was a man of station and high breeding one would scarcely
doubt; and in his dress there was that scrupulous neatness which is
one of the distinguishing marks of a gentleman in youth. In older
life, a man may well lose a part of that attention to his apparel
which no young man should be without; but before the grand passage of
forty-five, no one should deem himself old enough to go out in a bad
hat if he can get a good one, or wear ill-blacked boots. The neatness
of his dress did not at all approach to puppyism, but every article of
his clothing was so well adapted to the other, that the whole
harmonized perfectly, and gave that peculiar and undefinable tone to
his appearance which has a vague sort of connexion with the mind
within, a reflection perhaps we might call it, of the habitual
thoughts and feelings influencing the dress without the wearer knowing
it. Man is but a species of chameleon, in general taking all his tints
from the things that surround him; but when these fail--like the stalk
of the balsam plant--his external colouring is affected by that which
passes within; and a man's fondness for particular hues, or sounds, or
scents, is often no bad indication of the character of his mind.

Morley Ernstein felt not a little impressed in favour of the stranger.
He was, indeed, not without strong good sense himself, but still there
was a charm that he could not resist; and never dreaming that he was
doing aught but passing agreeably an hour which might otherwise have
proved tedious, he soon renewed the conversation, but on a different
subject.

Let no one, however, venture to think that even a brief half-hour's
conversation with another man of strong mind can be a matter of mere
indifference--indeed, I know not that it ever is so, with any one,
wise or foolish, ugly or pretty, good or bad. We are all nothing but
traders in this world, mere hucksters, travelling packmen, with a
stock continually changing, increasing, diminishing. We go forth into
the world carrying a little wallet of ideas and feelings; and with
every one to whom we speak for a moment, we are trafficking in those
commodities. If we meet with a man of wisdom and of virtue, sometimes
he is liberal, and supplies us largely with high and noble thoughts,
receiving only in return sweet feelings of inward satisfaction;
sometimes, on the other hand, he will only trade upon equal terms, and
if we cannot give him wisdom for wisdom, shuts up his churlish shop
and will deal with us no more. If we go to a bad man we are almost
always sure to be cheated in our traffic, to get evil or useless
wares, and often those corrupted things which, once admitted to our
stock, spread the mould and mildew to all around. Often, often, too,
in our commerce with others do we pay for the poisons which we buy as
antidotes, all that we possess of good, both in feeling and idea. But
when we sit down by beauty, and gentleness, and virtue, what a world
of sweet images do we gain for the little that we can give in
exchange! Ay, and even in passing a few light moments with a dear,
innocent child, how much of bright and pure do we carry away in
sensation!--how much of deep and high may we gain in thought! Oh
no!--it is no indifferent thing, with whom we converse, if ideas be
the riches of the spirit.

Thoughtful men, and men of rapid combinations, are almost always
abrupt in conversation. A topic is started, two of them pursue it like
hunters for some time together, mutually hallooing on one another; but
the time comes when they separate, ride rapidly on alone, till they
have run down the game, and then they come back to rouse a new quarry.
Thus Morley Ernstein had soon got far away from the subject of their
former discourse; and had followed the thoughts suggested by it to an
end, with many a collateral idea likewise, before he spoke again. When
he did so, it was merely of an object that attracted the corporeal
eye.

"What a beautiful sunset!" he said, gazing out of the window of the
coach towards a spot where, through a break in the large wood by which
they were passing, the last rays of day were streaming in floods of
gold and crimson, seeming to make the forest air thick and misty with
light--"What a beautiful sunset! Might not one imagine the glades of
that wood filled at this moment with every sort of fairy and fanciful
being, to which the curious superstitions of old times gave birth?"

"One might, indeed!" replied the stranger. "It is a haunt formed
expressly for the 'good people,' as you call them, in this country.
Here the belief in such beings is very nearly extinct, even in the
lowest classes. In my country, such is by no means the case; and there
is scarcely one of us, whatever be his grade, in whose bosom, if you
were able to search into all its hidden corners, you would not find
some belief--ay, and a strong belief, too--not only in the existence
of spirits, but in their assuming tangible forms and opening a
communication with man."

"Are you not an Englishman, then?" demanded Morley, with so much
astonishment in his countenance at the discovery that one who spoke
his own difficult tongue so well was from another country, as to call
up a smile upon the lip of his companion--"Are you not an Englishman,
then?"

"No!" replied the stranger; "I am not; but some foreigners can speak
your language tolerably, especially when they have lived long in the
land. But, as I was saying, there are very few persons in Germany who
are totally free from such a belief; and, indeed, it is scarcely
reasonable to suppose, if we admit there is another order of created
beings above ourselves, that there should be no means whatever of
communication between the two next links in the same great chain. I
confess, that I cannot conceive such a thing possible. If there be
such things as spirits--if all be not merely material in this moving
clay, there must be some means by which the superhuman being can make
his presence felt and known to his fellow spirit in the earthly
tabernacle. All our great men have certainly believed such to be the
case. Who can read either Goëthe or Schiller, without perceiving that
creed peeping through philosophy, and wit, and history, and poetry?"

"Oh, Goëthe certainly entertained such feelings!" replied Morley. "It
was impossible for any one so to extract intense sublimity from human
superstitions, without being tinctured with them strongly himself. Had
Goëthe written whole volumes to prove that everything is material, a
few lines of the choruses in Faust would have shewn him to be
insincere."

"The picture of Mephistophiles himself," said his companion, "were
surely quite enough."

"Yes," replied Morley; "and yet there are parts of the character of
Mephistophiles which I do not clearly understand. He is all-powerful
over Faust, and yet seems subservient to him. He appears at his
command, obeys his behests, and yet leads, directs, and overpowers
him."

"In short," replied his companion, "he serves but to command; and,
depend upon it, whether it be an allegory or a portrait, the picture
is a true one. It may be, that the great poet meant to represent the
power of the passions. But I imagine that he drew, almost by
inspiration, the likeness of that mighty being, whose fate and
character have been summed up by Milton, in the words--


   'Evil, be thou my good!'


You must remember, that the infinite variety of that being is as
wonderful as his power. Milton might draw one portrait; Goëthe
another: both different, but both alike. If Goëthe really meant a
picture rather than an allegory, he shewed that Mephistophiles had
bound himself simply to serve, for a certain time, the views of a vast
mind which otherwise might have escaped him. He ruled Faust by his
wisdom, governed, directed him--ay, even enlightened him; but the
spirit adapted himself to the mortal with whom he had to deal. Even by
the very tone of sadness that pervades the character of
Mephistophiles, the gravity that is in his mirth, the depth that is
below his lightness, he was fitted to deal with Faust. Had the
character of the man been different, so would have been the character
of the spirit. The Magician had power over the finer essence for the
time, and the prince of one class of spirits willingly devoted himself
to the service and instruction of a mortal--nay, more, it is evident,
as far as he could feel affection or pity for a being so placed as
Faust, he felt it for him."

"But," exclaimed Morley, "do you imagine Satan to be capable of
affection and pity?"

"Why not?" demanded his companion--"more, in all probability, than
beings that have never known sorrow or pain."

"You seem inclined to defend the Prince of Darkness!" rejoined Morley,
with a smile.

"Certainly!" answered his companion, laughing--"if I did not defend
him, no one else would; and I am always inclined to take part with the
weaker side."

Almost as the stranger spoke, the coach which had been going down a
long hill with terrible rapidity, swayed from side to side for a
moment, like a ship in a stormy sea. A violent concussion then took
place as the vehicle, in turning the corner of a bridge, struck a
large stone, and the next instant Morley felt that the carriage was
going over towards the side on which he sat. He had but time by one
hasty glance to see that the low parapet of the bridge was close to
the wheels, when the stage went over; the stones gave way beneath it,
and the whole mass rolled headlong into the river below. It fell upon
the top, and struck the stones in the bed of the stream. The
concussion was terrible--the carriage was nearly dashed to pieces, and
Morley Ernstein only felt one violent blow, only saw a thousand bright
sparks flash from his own eyes, and then lost all consciousness, even
that of pain.



CHAPTER IV.


The sensations of Morley Ernstein, when he returned to consciousness,
were all of the most unpleasant kind. There was a numbness over his
whole body, and a feeling of tingling from head to foot, which, to
those who have not felt it, may be difficult, if not impossible to
describe. A violent weighty pain in the head too, a sluggish
oppression at the heart, and a great difficulty in drawing the breath,
all made the consciousness of life so burdensome, that, when he saw a
number of people standing round the bed in which he had been placed,
and employing every means that art could devise and skill execute, to
restore him entirely to life, he could not but feel a desire that they
would let him alone, and leave him to that quiet insensibility from
which they were taking such pains to rouse him. For the moment it
seemed to him that death was a very pleasant thing; and he who, full
of health, life, and buoyant youth, had thought half an hour before
that there would be nothing more awful than to lie "in cold
obstruction and to rot," now that he had become more familiar with
"the lean, abhorred monster," felt not the same repugnance, and almost
longed for the still quiet of the grave. Life and death are the two
grand adversaries; fighting incessantly for the kingdom of man's body,
and in proportion as the dominion of Life in us is powerful, so is our
reluctance to yield ourselves to her enemy.

Such as I have mentioned were the first feelings of Morley Ernstein;
but, as life came back more fully--as he felt his heart beat more
freely, his benumbed frame regain its true sensations, his bosom heave
with the unrestrained breath--his love for the bright angel, and his
abhorrence for her dark opponent, returned in full force; and he could
feel grateful to those who were giving him back to all the warm
associations of earthly being. His eyes wandered round the little
circle that encompassed his bed; but all the faces were strange,
except one--that of his travelling companion in the stage-coach; who,
amongst the most eager, and the most busy, was superintending with
active skill the execution of every mandate pronounced by the lips of
a tall, thin, yellow-faced man in black, that sat by the side of the
bed near the head. All eyes were fixed upon the patient, with a look
of interest in his fate and satisfaction at the change that was coming
over him; but the moment he attempted to speak, every one raised a
finger to the lip, in order to impose silence upon him.

"You may take away the salt from under the shoulders," said the thin
yellow man; "circulation is coming back rapidly. Keep the hot water to
the feet, however, and bring me a little Madeira, Mr. Jones. We must
give it him by teaspoonfuls. Your friend, sir, will do," he continued,
speaking to Morley's travelling companion; "but we must be very
careful!--very careful, indeed! I knew a poor fellow once, who died,
when every one thought him quite recovered, merely from the people
imprudently raising him up in bed.--Pray do not move a muscle, sir!"
he added, seeing that the young gentleman himself was evidently
listening to all he said.

"You have had a very narrow escape, sir--a very narrow escape, indeed;
and the least thing may undo all we have done. I never knew, in my
life, a case of suspended animation, where a relapse did not prove
fatal.--Oh, the Madeira!--now, sir--a teaspoonful every five minutes!"

From all that Morley Ernstein saw and heard, he judged rightly that he
had undergone, and perhaps required, the treatment applied to persons
who are apparently drowned. He learned, moreover, in the course of the
evening, that, at the moment that he had received the severe blow on
the head, which had deprived him of sensation, the carriage had sunk
deep in the water, and that he would have infallibly perished had it
not been for the exertions of his fellow-traveller, who, not being
stunned as he was, had soon perceived that he remained under the
water, and had dragged him out, through the door of the broken
vehicle. He was quite insensible, however, when brought to land, and
remained so for nearly an hour, although every means of resuscitation
were skilfully employed.

The dangers of our poor friend were not by any means over when life
once more bounded freely in his bosom. The headache which he had felt,
on first recovering his senses, increased every minute; and ere the
next morning, violent fever and delirium had succeeded. For ten days
he hung between life and death; but the thin yellow man, whom he had
seen sitting by his bedside, was, in truth, a surgeon of great skill;
and the unwearied care and attention of his fellow-traveller, whose
whole interest in him was only that which could be excited by the
companionship of a few short hours, did as much as art to withdraw him
from this new danger.

When the young gentleman recovered sufficiently to comprehend what was
passing around him, he found another face by his bedside, better known
than that of any one near. His old servant, Adam Gray, had been
brought, it seemed, from the mansion to attend upon his young master,
at a period when very little hope was entertained of his recovery, and
for the four last days he had been employed in aiding the stranger in
his care of the patient.

Every writer who has ever taken a pen in hand has written, and every
heart, even the most selfish, has felt, how sweet is the sight of a
familiar face in times of sorrow, sickness, or difficulty; so that the
observation is trite enough, and yet few have analyzed the sensations
which that familiar face produces, or told us why we love to see it
better than fairer countenances, or even those that express as great
an interest in us. It is that a familiar face comes loaded with those
sweet associations of other times, which are no mean medicaments to
the body or the mind. There is a light of hope upon it, reflected from
those past days, which seems to brighten all the dark spots in the
present; and such was the sight of that old man's countenance to
Morley Ernstein. It brought to him the recollections of his early
years, a feeling of balmy spring, the thoughts of health and rural
sports, and many bright hours long gone; and from the moment that he
saw him hovering round his sick bed, the sensation of convalescence
came upon him, and he could say to himself, "I am getting well."

Ere long, conversation was allowed him, and he soon found the
opportunity of doing that which he had more than once wished to do,
while the grave doctor and the officious nurse had continued to impose
silence upon him--namely, to thank the man, who, on so slight an
acquaintance, had tended him with the care and kindness of a brother.
His travelling companion, who had been absent for about an hour,
entered the room, shortly after the permission to speak was granted
him, and took his seat by the bedside in which he now sat up, while
the balmy air of the first days of June found their way in through the
open window of the little inn. Morley lost not the occasion, and
expressed, as he well could do, in the fine eloquent language of the
heart, the feelings of gratitude, which he experienced for all the
generous kindness that had been shown him.

"Mention it not!--mention it not!" replied the stranger; "I have no
title to thanks whatsoever; I did it for my own gratification, solely
and simply, and consequently have no right to claim or to receive
gratitude."

"Nay, nay," said Morley, "I have heard of such disclaimers before, my
good friend, and know that some men always put good actions upon
selfish motives, when they perform them themselves. But the way I
distinguish is, to ask whether, abstracted from the pleasure of doing
good, this man or that, who denies the merit of all he has done, would
have so acted. This man jumps into a river, to save a child from
drowning; that visits a prison, to give comfort to a sick man--would
the one have plunged into the water with his clothes on merely for
amusement, or the other have spent an hour in the prison if no sick
man had been there? If the pleasure felt be derived solely from the
goodness of the action, the man who experiences it is a good man, and
well deserving the gratitude and admiration of his fellows. You saved
my life, the landlord informs me, by dragging we out of the carriage
while it was under water, and--"

"Yes, that is true," replied his companion, half laughing; "I did.
indeed, as Sheridan called it, play the Newfoundland dog, when I found
you were likely to be drowned unless assisted; but that is all, and
surely that is little enough. I have done the same for a fly in a
cream jug."

"But you have never stayed three weeks in a country inn," answered
Morley, smiling, "to nurse a fly in a fever; and for that, at least,
you deserve my deepest gratitude."

"Not at all!" answered his friend--"not at all! Even on your own
principles, you owe me no thanks. I never thought whether I was doing
a good action or not. In regard to the first of your mighty
obligations, that of staying three weeks in a country inn, it might
truly have been a great tax upon me under some circumstances; but just
at that time, I had nothing on earth to do. I was going back to London
out of pure weariness of the place I was in; for in general, I never
am in town before the first or second of June. Here I have had fine
air, fine scenery, and a fine trout-stream. What would you have more?
Then as to watching and taking care of you in your delirium, I have no
merit there: the truth is, I am fond of all strong emotions, and the
watching you, the wondering whether you would live or die, the changes
of your countenance, the gray shade that would sometimes come over
your face, the flush of fever, the restless tossing to and fro--and
then, again, the gambling, as it were, each moment in my own mind for
your life?-all this was surely excitement enough. Besides your
delirium was worth any money. There is something so strange and
fantastic in the ravings of a man in fever--very much more curious and
metaphysical than mere madness. In madness, one always finds one
strong predominant idea; but in delirium it is as if all the ideas of
a lifetime were mixed in one wild chaos. Nor Talma, nor Schroeder, nor
Malibran, could have afforded me so much interest as you in your
delirium."

"You have a strange taste," replied Ernstein, not altogether well
pleased, in the first instance, at the explanation of his companion's
feelings. A moment's reflection, however, convinced him that there was
some affectation in the account, but that the affectation was of that
generous kind which seeks to diminish the value of an obligation
conferred upon another, even at the risk of appearing hard or selfish.
"Well," he continued, "your motives are your own affairs; but the
kindness you have shown me is mine, and I must feel gratitude
accordingly."

While they were still speaking, the surgeon again entered, and his
appearance put a stop to the conversation for the night. On the
following morning, however, the patient was so far better as to be
permitted to rise for a short time, and his fellow-traveller visited
him towards the middle of the day, announcing that he came to bid him
farewell, as he had just received letters which summoned him to
London. "I do not go unwillingly," he continued, "for my plan of life
is ever to hasten forward. Existence is so short that we have no time
for long pauses anywhere; each joy of each period--each thought, each
feeling of each period of animal being should be tasted, or they will
be lost, for we must never forget the great axiom, that every minute
we are a minute older."

"But do you not think," said Morley, "that we may sometimes, in our
haste, taste a bitter instead of a sweet?"

"So much the better--so much the better," replied his friend,
laughing; "it is by such things that we become wise. I am quite of the
opinion of your great poet, Coleridge, that--


          'The strongest plume in Wisdom's wing
          Is memory of past folly;'


and depend upon it every man will find in life, that to be very wise,
he must be a little foolish. The child that does not cut its finger
before it is eight years old, will cut its hand by the time it is
twelve, and perhaps its throat by the time it is twenty. What I mean
is--for I see you are surprised--that we must learn what is evil or
dangerous, by that acquaintance with evil and danger which is fitted
for our time of life, otherwise we are sure to get our portion all at
once, at some after period. It is like one of those medicines which
doctors tell us accumulate in the system, and kill us suddenly when we
least expect it; or rather, like one of those Eastern drugs, which are
very salutary when we take a little of them every day, but utterly
poisonous if we take a large dose at once."

"Might it not be better for a healthy person to take none at all?"
demanded Morley; and added, the moment after, seeing his companion
about to reply, "but I am not fit to argue to-day, though I think that
your system has some flaws in it."

"Doubtless--doubtless," replied the other. "It would not be a human
system if it had not. Heaven forbid that I should originate a perfect
system of any kind! I would not commit such a crime for the world. I
will only answer your question, therefore, by saying, that if we were
on this earth in a healthy state, as your words suppose, it would
certainly be very foolish to take drugs of any kind; but depend upon
it, a portion of physic, and a portion of evil, are reserved for every
man to take, to suffer, to commit, and he had better spread them over
as wide a space as possible, that they may not be too thick anywhere.
And now I must leave you, for the coach will soon pass."

"But," said Morley, eagerly, "I must ask you first, to tell me where I
can find you in London, for you will let me hope that an acquaintance
begun under such unusual circumstances is not to end here, and as yet
I do not even know your name."

"It is not Mephistophiles!" replied the other, who had marked with a
keen eye the expression of his young companion's countenance, at every
doctrine which might be considered as doubtful in tendency, and had
smiled, moreover, at what he considered the boyish innocence of Morley
Ernstein--"it is not Mephistophiles! I am a very inferior devil, I
assure you. My name is Everard Lieberg. In England, which is as much
my home as Germany, people put Esquire at the end of it. On the other
side of the channel, I put Graff before it, and the one title
signifies about as little as the other."

"But tell me, Count, where I am to find you?" demanded Morley, the
other having risen to depart.

"Nay, do not call me Count!" exclaimed Lieberg, laughing; "if you do,
I shall fancy myself walking about London, with mustachios and a
queer-looking coat, and lodging somewhere near Leicester Square. No,
no, I put off the Count here, and I have a bachelor's lodging in
Sackville Street, where I shall be very happy to see you--so
farewell."

Morley Ernstein was left alone, and, as usual with the young, his
first thoughts were of the character of his late companion. Before we
grow old, we learn that the character of nineteen men out of twenty is
not worth a thought. There was something in Lieberg that did not
altogether please him--not alone displayed in his opinions, but also
in his manner, a lightness which was superficial--not affected, but
habitual--and which covered the depths of his character with an
impenetrable disguise. It was like a domino, which, though nothing but
thin, fluttering silk, hides form and feature, so that the real person
beneath cannot be recognised, even by a near friend.

"Has he any heart, I wonder?" thought the young gentleman. "If so, he
takes pains to hide it. All things seem to pass him by, affecting him
but as breath upon a looking-glass, leaving no trace the moment after,
upon the cold, hard surface beneath. Here he has nursed me like a
brother for the last fortnight, and now he leaves me with the same air
of indifference as if we had just got out of a stagecoach in which our
acquaintance had commenced two hours before."

Morley felt as if he were somewhat ungrateful for scanning so closely
the character of one who had treated him with much kindness, and, soon
quitting such thoughts, he rang for his good old servant, Adam Gray,
and enquired into all that had passed at Morley Court since he had
left it--the situation of the poor cottagers, whose fate he had
endeavoured to soften; the health of his horses and his dogs; the
promises of the game season; and all those things that the most
interest a very young Englishman, in his hours of health. The horses
were all well; the dogs were in as good a state as could be wished;
the game bade fair to be abundant.

"But as to Johnes, and Dickenson, and poor Widow Harvey," the old man
said, "I can tell you very little, sir. They have had the money, and
the bread and soup; and Johnes had work at the Lee farm. Widow Harvey
got wool given her to spin, and I sent the apothecary to Dickenson,
but did not hear how he was; for you see, sir, I was just going down
to look in at the poor fellow's cottage, when Miss Carr came to tell
me of the accident, and--"

"Miss who?" demanded Morley Ernstein, in some surprise.

"Oh, Miss Carr, sir, you know!" replied Adam Gray. "She was in a
great flurry, poor young lady, and did seem to be very sorry about
you--indeed every one knows she has a good heart, and does as much for
the poor as she can, though that's less than she likes, poor young
lady!"

"And, pray, who is Miss Carr?" demanded Ernstein; "and why does your
compassion run over on her account, my good Adam? Why do you call her
'poor young lady' so often?"

"Oh, because she has such a father, to be sure, sir!" replied the
servant. "Surely you recollect Old Carr, the miser, and his daughter,
Miss Juliet--a beautiful girl she was--and is, too, for that matter,
poor thing!"

"I do not recollect anything about them," answered Morley; "and yet I
remember everything for many years before my poor mother died. But no
such name as Carr ever comes back to my memory. Who is this Mr. Carr?"

"Ay, ay, I recollect," answered the old man, "it was long ago--before
your time. But as to this Mr. Carr--he's a miser, and was a
lawyer--ay, and cheat into the bargain, if all tales be true. However,
sir, he's got money enough, they say, to buy out half the county; and
there he lives, in that old tumble-down house, at the back of
Yelverly, and not a shilling will he spend to repair it. He has two
maids now, but till Miss Juliet was grown up, there was but one; and
then the man that does the garden and looks after the farm, takes care
of the two horses. Miss Juliet, they say, has some money of her own,
but she spends all that upon the poor people about Yelverly, and upon
books."

Morley mused; there was a feeling in his bosom--not an operation of
the mind, but one of the revelations of the heart--which instantly
convinced him that the lady, whose horse he had contrived to frighten,
was no other than Juliet Carr. How she had discovered his situation,
so as to give notice to his servants, and send one of them to him, was
his first thought; but, before he gratified his curiosity on that
subject, by asking any questions, he returned to something which had
attracted his attention a few minutes before, demanding--

"What was it you meant just now, Adam, when you said, '_It_ was long
ago, before my time?'"

"Oh, the quarrel, sir," replied the old man--"the quarrel between your
father and Lawyer Carr; when he came about something, and vowed he
would prosecute Sir Henry for defamation, as they called it, which
means scandal, I take it; and your father struck him, and turned him
out of the house, and he has never been near the place since."

"Did you hear how Miss Carr knew that I was ill?" demanded Morley, now
fully convinced that his supposition was right.

"She told me they had been passing by this place, sir," answered Adam
Gray, "and they heard the whole story from the ostlers; so she walked
over, that very night, to tell us, poor young lady! It's a long walk,
too, from Yelverly; so she was tired, and sat down for a minute or two
in the library, and took up the book that was open upon the table--it
was called 'Herrick's Poems,' I think--and asked if you had been
reading it; and said, she hoped that you would soon be able to read it
again, with such a sweet voice, she made us all love her. I do wonder
how that man happened to have such a daughter as that--her mother was
a good lady, too."

"Well, that will do, Adam!" said his master; "now bring me some soup."



CHAPTER V.


The next day Morley Ernstein was permitted by his doctor to go out,
and strange, most strange, were the feelings with which he did
so.--There is nothing positive on earth but truth; all other matters
are relative. Truth, indeed pure abstract truth--is the starting point
of all morals, and without it we should have no starting point at all;
so that the world might well be Pyrrhonists or Epicureans, or what
they would, were it not for the simple doctrine that two and two make
four, and the consequences thereof; for, once having established that
truth is right and falsehood wrong, every other moral tenet follows
step by step, as a matter of course. That ethics are as much a certain
science, when rightly pursued and understood, as mathematics, I have
no more doubt than of my own existence, ethics being, in fact, the
mathematics of the spirit.

But nevertheless, to return from our digression, it is wonderful how
many things on this earth are relative, which we fancy to be quite
positive; amongst the rest, every kind of sensation, every kind of
pleasure, every kind of taste; so that it is quite easy for us, from
our own occasional experience, to conceive how, in another state of
being, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, and cast away the
fibres of the flesh, many of those things that gave us pleasure here
below, will be abhorrent to us, and much that might seem dull, heavy,
incomprehensible to the animal walking in darkness on the earth, will
then, brightened by higher perceptions, be all light, and glory, and
enjoyment.

With Morley Ernstein, however, as with all convalescents, the
sensations were not exactly changed from what they were before; some
were acuminated, some were softened, since he had lain on the bed of
sickness, and strange indeed were his feelings as he walked out,
leaning on the arm of his old servant. It was only into the little
garden at the back of the inn that he ventured, but it was all delight
to him. Nature seemed never to have been so bright and beautiful; the
broad bosom of each common rose that was planted by the side of the
gravel walk, appeared a chamber of enjoyment, in which some small
angel might well pass away the perfumed hours. The cobweb, spangled
with morning dew, was a miracle; the breath of the breeze was heaven.
There was withal a sensation of calm, peaceful repose within his own
breast, which was very different from the eager fire of his nature in
ordinary health; and during that day, and the one that followed it, he
contemplated with pleasure a return to Morley Court, to a long lapse
of dreamy hours amongst woods, and fields, and streams, with, perhaps,
some thoughts of finding out fair Juliet Carr, and thanking her for
the interest she had taken in him.

Day by day, however, health came back, and strength along with it, and
eager activity with strength. The longing for objects on which to
spend the energies within him; the curiosity of a young fresh heart
for a knowledge of the deeper and more powerful things of life; that
ambition for the vigorous occupations of mature minds, which possesses
all who set out in life with strong bodily and intellectual faculties,
returned upon the young Baronet with every pulse of renewed health;
and four days after his first walk in the garden, he despatched Adam
Gray for the chariot from Morley Court, and on the sixth was rolling
away towards London.

London is certainly the most wonderful city in the world, and probably
the most unlike any other on the earth. On approaching it, one is lost
in surprise from its immensity of extent--an immensity that makes
itself felt one hardly knows how. It seems to press upon you before
you reach it; to multiply its forms and appearances around you, when
you fancy yourself far from it; to surround, to grasp, to overwhelm
you, ere you know that a city is near. Nevertheless, when once in it,
the effect upon any one who is not an indigenous plant of the soil, is
anything but impressive. In general, the smallness of the houses, the
long rows of iron railings, the littleness of the windows, and their
numbers, give the streets a petty and poor effect; while the colour of
the bricks, which, when seen in grand masses, is imposing enough, has
there a dull and dirty appearance, very unsatisfactory to the eye. Add
to all this, the thick and heavy atmosphere, foul with the steam of
fifteen hundred thousand human beings, and full three hundred thousand
fires, so that a vast dome of smoke nightcaps the great capital, and
only suffers the sun to penetrate, as the dim vision of a brighter
thing.

In summer, indeed, the extinction of all the fires--except those which
man, the cooking animal, maintains everlastingly, for the
gratification of his palate--leaves the English metropolis somewhat
clearer and brighter than at any other season of the year; and as it
was a warm and brilliant day, in the beginning of June, when Morley
Ernstein entered London, the streets looked gay and cheerful, and he
drove up to the Hotel in Berkeley Square, with that feeling of
pleasant expectation which comes upon us all when we enter a new
abode, where a thousand means and opportunities of pleasure, a
thousand channels and highways of gratification, are opened before us,
and where sorrow, and pain, and misery, and sickness, and death, are
hidden beneath those pompous and glittering veils with which it is the
business of society to conceal the abhorrent features of all that is
distressing and frightful in human existence.

There are some people who, on entering a great capital, feel a weight,
an oppressive load fall upon their bosom, as if all those miseries of
which we have spoken were infused into the burdensome atmosphere of
the place, and were drawn in with every breath; but these must be men
who have lived long, and known sorrows tangibly, who have felt the
tooth of gnawing care, and the beak and talons of fierce anxiety,
preying day by day upon the bleeding heart. Such, however, was not the
case with Morley Ernstein; there seemed a well of hope in his bosom,
the waters of which possessed a power ascribed to those consecrated by
the Roman Church, of driving out all dark spirits from the spot over
which they were sprinkled. The busy life, the eager energy within him,
the warrior-spirit of strong animal existence, always ready to combat
the ills of fate, guarded the door of imagination, and suffered no
thought of coming evil to intrude.

Thus all things seemed to smile around him; and although the lilacs
and the laurels, the laburnums and the privets, which tenanted the
square before his eyes, might look somewhat dull and smoky, when
compared with the green trees of the country; though the air he
breathed might seem but a shade thinner than pea soup, and the noise
of eternal carriages might strike his ear as something less tuneful
than the birds of his own fields; yet it was not upon these things
that his mind rested. He thought, on the contrary, of all the wonders
of that mighty place; of the vast resources comprised within it; of
the intellectual pleasures that were there collected as if in a
store-house; of the magnificent monuments of art that it contained; of
the wealth, the abundance, the splendour, the beauty, the fancy; the
genius, the wisdom, the grace, with which every street was thronged;
of the vast and strange combinations that were there produced; of the
laws, the systems, the philosophies, the wars, the colonies, the
enterprises, that had thence issued forth; of the piety, the charity,
the benevolence, the great aspirations, the noble purposes, the fine
designs, the wonderful discoveries, which had there originated;
and--as if to give the finishing touch of the sublime to all--came
over his mind the vague, spectre-like image of the crime which there
had a permanent existence, an unchangeable and undiscoverable home.
Such were the feelings with which he viewed London, on returning to it
as his own master, free to taste, to examine, to inquire, to judge,
and to enjoy.

It would require more time than I could bestow on any one part of my
subject, to trace the life of Morley Ernstein during the first
fortnight of his stay in London. With the eagerness of novelty he
followed various pleasures, sought out various amusements, and dipped
somewhat, but not deeply, in the stream of dissipation. What is called
the season was that year protracted to a period later than usual. Gay
carriages still thronged the streets in the end of June. The
Parliament continued its sittings far into July, and gaiety succeeded
gaiety, till those who had commenced the pleasures of a London life at
the beginning Of the year, with bright eyes and rosy cheeks, were pale
and haggard, with the round of midnight parties and crowded rooms.

Not so Morley Ernstein: health and strength were returning to him
every hour, in spite of the current in which he was now immersed, and
by one of those strange physiological phenomena for which it is
difficult, if not impossible, to account, the vigour of his frame, the
impetuosity of his animal nature seemed to be increased rather than
diminished by the consequences of the malady which had nearly crushed
out existence altogether.

The reader, perhaps, may think that the young Baronet shewed somewhat
like weak caprice, or still weaker vacillation of purpose, in plunging
into the high tide of gaiety, when he had set out for London with the
design of studying calmly and quietly his fellow-beings, and the
strange complicated form of existence in which they moved in the great
capital; but the difference between the execution and the design, as,
indeed, is generally the case, was produced by the operation of
external as well as internal causes, by the accidents of situation as
well as the vehement impulse of high blood and energetic youth,
contending against the calmer admonitions of a holier spirit within.
On his first arrival in London, he followed the plan which he had
proposed, and called upon no one but his guardian and Count Lieberg.
He felt himself, indeed, bound in gratitude not to make any
unnecessary delay in visiting either. The latter, with whom the reader
is already acquainted, had saved his life; the former had protected
his early years and had administered his fortune with anxious care and
successful wisdom. He, however, not being yet known to the reader, we
must bring him on the stage for a moment, and dwell briefly upon a
character, which, though presenting no very salient points, is
nevertheless worth studying as the type of a class. Mr. Hamilton was a
banker--an English banker, which is as different an animal from that
which goes by the same generic name in other countries, as the mammoth
or antediluvian elephant is from the elephant of the _Jardin des
Plantes_. He was a calm, quiet, reasoning man, of aristocratical
family, (his brother was a peer of the realm,) and of aristocratical
habits and manners. He had been selected from among three younger
brothers, to take a share in one of the great London banking-houses,
on account of his talent for calculation and his habits of business;
and during the course of a long career, he had shewn that knowledge of
detail and attention to minutiæ which is the essence of accuracy in
every sort of transaction. He possessed, however, another set of
qualities which are but too rarely combined in this world with those
which we have ascribed to him. His general views were broad and
extensive; his heart benevolent and kind; and he valued not in any
degree, except as a means, that gold with which he was called upon to
occupy his thoughts during a considerable portion of every day in his
life. There is many a reader who may, perhaps, say, "This character is
unnatural--this is one of those phantasms of ideal perfection only to
be found in a romance; every one knows, that the habit of dealing with
gold contracts the heart, and even if it does not diminish the
intellect, it so concentrates it upon one favourite object, as to
render it unavailable for all the grander purposes of life."

Thus, reasoning from abstract data, we may all produce very pleasant
criticisms, as philosophers have often produced very pleasant
theories, and yet be very wrong. The character of the banker is not an
ideal one; and though I certainly do not intend to make him the hero
of these pages, or to bring him often on the stage, I must proceed to
paint him, and must add another touch, which will add to the
incredibility of the whole. He was not ambitious any more than he was
avaricious. He had a family of several children whom he loved passing
well. His eldest daughter was the pride of his heart; she might have
bound her brow with a Coronet, or have seen herself mistress of the
most splendid mansion in her native land. With her father's full
consent and approbation, she married a man of no great wealth and no
very high expectations, having for every recommendation that he was a
gentleman both in heart and manners, and a gallant soldier of a
gallant race. This was not like ambition; and there are eyes which may
sometime or another rest upon this page, who have witnessed those acts
of generous liberality, which shew that wealth may be gained without
begetting avarice, and that the most expansive liberality is perfectly
compatible with the most clear and accurate knowledge of detail. Mr.
Hamilton was a politician as well as a financier, but he carried the
same spirit into all his proceedings, and displayed the clear and just
views which spring from a high mind, combined with the noble and
generous feelings which originate in a fine heart.

Such was the English Banker; it is certain that he might have some
faults, that there might be an error here or a weakness there; but I
envy not the man whose mental eye can gaze through the smoked glass of
a misanthropical philosophy, to discover spots amid such light as
that.

To the house of Mr. Hamilton, then, Morley Ernstein's very first visit
was paid. He had always felt the deepest gratitude and regard towards
his guardian, and he was now well pleased to express all such
sensations at the end of that period, during which the one had the
right to control, and the other was bound to obey. Ere he left Mr.
Hamilton, he told him the plan which he had laid out for himself in
London, but the good banker did not altogether approve of it.

"You are wise," he said, "Morley, not to plunge deeply into what may
be called innocent dissipations, but still the society of persons in
your own rank is a necessary which you must not deny yourself, not a
luxury which can enfeeble or injure the mind. Besides, my young
friend, if you would study man and society, you must study both
under their various aspects; nor must you look at them apart, for if
you would judge sanely, you must see, each grade acting and reacting
upon the other. The man of rank and station is but a mere automaton,
pretty to look at, amusing to examine; it is not till he is considered
in his relations with those around him and below him, in the reference
which his acts bear to his inferiors, to his equals, and to his God,
that you have the great moral agent, the most wonderful subject of
contemplation which this world can furnish. Such, too, is the case
with the inferior grades of society. All their arts, all their
thoughts, all their pleasures, all their sufferings, become tenfold
more interesting, tenfold more important, as an object of meditation,
when considered in reference to, and in comparison with, the pleasures
and sufferings, thoughts and acts of others. Beware, my dear boy,
beware, how, in your very outset of life, you gain a _one-sided_ view
of the grand scheme of society. It is this capital error which is the
prevailing fault of politicians and philosophers. It is from this
error that we have so many declaimers, and so few reasoners. It is
this error which makes the staple commodity of those men, who are
continually exciting one class of society against another. It is with
this that they trade, and often win themselves most undeserved renown,
of which future ages will strip them, and leave them naked and
disgraced. It is this one-sided view which actuates the many good,
and, in some respects, wise men, whom we see daily altering laws
without mending them, and founding institutions without benefiting
society. See, my dear Morley, the lower classes, but see the the
higher also--see with your own eyes, judge with your own
understanding; but see all, and not a part; judge, but judge not
without knowing all that is in dispute."

"I will try to follow your advice, my dear sir," replied Morley; "for
I perfectly understand and appreciate your reasoning. I merely felt
inclined to look first into those lower grades, where so much misery
and crime, I fear, exist, thinking that I could study with much more
ease, the class in which I move myself, at an after-period."

"Study them together, Morley," said the Banker; "look at no one part
of the scheme, without a reference to the other. When you consider me,
consider, at the same time, what influence my personal character and
habits may have upon the footman that opened the door to you, and upon
all my other servants. Then, if you will trace them home to the family
cottage in the country or the lodging in some little back street in
London, you will find, that just as I am a good or bad man, just as I
am a kind or unkind master, just as I deal well and wisely with my
inferiors, a corresponding result is transmitted through a long chain
of cause and effect, to the tenants of the cottage or the lodging, of
which I have been speaking. The same will be the case, though the
process will be with more difficulty perceived, if you begin with a
person in inferior station, and trace the results of his acts upon
those above him. I have known a casual word spoken by a vicious
servant, plant the seeds of vice in a young and previously-innocent
mind, which have afterwards produced a harvest of misery, desolation,
and remorse, in the bosom of a happy and virtuous family. I give you
this as but an instance, to shew that we are continually acted upon
from below, as well as from above. Take, therefore, the best means,
examine both at the same time: thus will you gain a perfect view, and
will not suffer the ideas acquired by the contemplation of one side of
any question, to be so fixed in your mind as to exclude those
arguments and facts which would modify or remove them."

"I will certainly follow your advice, my dear sir," replied Morley,
"both because I am convinced that it is good, and because you give it;
but I only fear that my time in London will be too short to see
anything deeply, if, by comparing continually, I double the inquiry."

"Do you know, Morley," said Mr. Hamilton, musing, "I am not sure that
there is not a greater, a more miserable kind of evil brought about by
studying only one side of a question deeply, than by studying both
superficially. However, my dear boy, dine with us to-night, where you
will see some of those in the higher ranks, who are worthy of being
known. There is a little party, too, I believe, in the evening, and
you can begin 'Don Quixote' to-morrow."

Morley smiled, and promising to join the Banker's dinner-table, turned
his steps towards the dwelling of his new friend, Lieberg. He easily
found the house, which, as the reader well knows, was in a very
central situation. The step of the door was washed with the greatest
care, and rubbed with the peculiar kind of stone, to that especial
purpose appropriate, till it was as white as snow. The door was of
mahogany, with a small lozenge-shaped brass knocker, and a
copper-plate fixed immediately under the instrument of noise,
recommending, with the soft persuasion of the imperative mood, that
the visitor should ring as well as knock. Morley Ernstein obeyed to
the letter, and without a moment's delay, a servant out of livery
opened the door, and replied to his demand, that Colonel Lieberg was
at home. The addition of military rank to his friend's titles did not
at all surprise Morley Ernstein; for there was in his whole appearance
a certain soldier-like look which is seldom acquired by a civilian.

Every thing within the doors of the house was the pink of perfection.
The drawing-room was beautifully furnished, and in every part of it
were to be seen objects of taste and _vertu_, not precisely those
things which have acquired for themselves the technical terms of
nic-nacs, and serve but to please the eye or amuse the fancy; but, on
the contrary, things which appealed to the mind through various
associations--small cabinet pictures of great value, bronzes from
Herculanum, marbles from Greece and Rome, beautiful specimens of the
_cinque cento_ workmanship, a little Venus from the hands of John of
Bologna, and two or three tables of exquisite Florentine mosaic.

Lying on a sofa, near the open window, which was curtained, if we may
use the term, with manifold odoriferous flowers, habited in a
dressing-gown of rich embroidered silk, and with his fine countenance
full of eager interest in what he was reading, lay Everard Lieberg,
with a book in his hand, on which his eyes were so intently fixed,
that he did not seem to observe the opening of the door, till his
servant pronounced the name of Morley Ernstein.

Starting up from the sofa, he laid down the book, and grasped his
young friend's hand, welcoming him to London, and congratulating him
on the full recovery which his looks bespoke. The conversation then
turned to Morley's plans and purposes, as it had done with Mr.
Hamilton. But Lieberg declared that he had already laid out
half-a-dozen schemes for Ernstein, which he must insist upon being
executed. There were beautiful horses to be bought, there were races
to be attended, there were singers to be heard, there were pictures to
be seen, there was a wonderful mechanical invention which brought into
action new powers in the physical world, there was a splendid orator
in a chapel in Sloane Street, there was the loveliest woman in all
Europe in the third box of the first tier of the opera, there was a
new pamphlet on the immortality of the soul, and there was a romance
of Balzac's, which seemed written for the express purpose of proving,
that--


     "Nought is everything, and everything is nought."


The multitude, the diversity, the opposition of the various matters
which Lieberg proposed for his pursuit, at once bewildered and amused
his young friend. But there was a fascination about his eloquence that
was scarcely to be resisted. He contrived to describe everything in
such a manner, as to place it in the most attractive aspect to his
hearer, seeing, with a skill that seemed almost intuitive, the exact
nature and character of his tastes and feelings, and shaping his
account accordingly. As an instance, his description of the lady, whom
he had beheld on two successive nights at the opera, was such, that
Morley almost fancied he must have seen Juliet Carr, although, to the
best of his belief, she was nearly two hundred miles from London.

"I shall get bewildered with all that I have to see, to do, and to
think of," replied Morley, "and so I fear must leave one half of your
fine plans unexecuted. But at all events, we must classify them
somewhat better, for you have propounded them in rather a
heterogeneous form."

"Not at all, not at all!" cried Lieberg, "the very contrast gives the
charm! Depend upon it, we should not think half so much of beauty if
there was no ugliness in the world. Life ought to be like a Russian
bath, the hot and the cold alternately; nothing will strengthen the
mind so much, nothing will give us such powers of endurance, nothing
will keep the zest of pleasure so fresh upon us, nothing will enable
us to change with so little regret, as the changing periods of our
life compel us to seek new enjoyments, and follow fresh pursuits."

"I should think," replied Morley, "that with your incessant activity
in the chase of pleasure, you would soon meet with satiety, and the
world's stock of enjoyment would be exhausted while you are yet
young."

"Impossible--impossible!" cried Lieberg; "the world's stores are
inexhaustible to a man who has the capabilities of enjoying them all.
But come, Ernstein, we are losing time even now. Come with me to
T--'s; this is a sale day; I know of three horses that are perfect in
every point; you shall buy which of them you like, and I will take any
that you do not buy. Wait one moment for me while I put off my
dressing-gown and on my coat. There is 'Don Juan' for you, or a
Pamphlet on the Currency, as you happen to be in the mood."

The horses were bought, and justified fully Lieberg's knowledge and
taste; and the rest of the day Morley Ernstein spent with his new
friend, hurried on from scene to scene, and from object to object,
with that impetuosity which suited but too well with his own nature.
At the same time, there was a degree of wit, sufficient to enliven,
but not to dazzle, a degree of eloquence, which carried away without
convincing, in the conversation of Lieberg, whatever was the subject
that it touched upon, which added interest to all that Morley heard
and saw, by the remarks which followed. Thus, when he returned home to
dress for dinner, his mind was in that state of giddy excitement,
which every one must have sometimes felt after a hard day's hunting.
As he made his preparations for the party at Mr. Hamilton's he
resolved that the next day should be passed in more calm and
thoughtful pursuits; but he little knew how difficult it is for a man
to halt in any course on which he has once entered vehemently.



CHAPTER VI.


The dinner-party at Mr. Hamilton's was such as might be expected, from
the character as well as the situation of the man. Splendour,
chastened by good taste, reigned at the table; and as he possessed
none of the harsh austerity which sometimes accompanies age, although
his whole demeanour displayed that calm gravity which sits so well
upon the brow of years, the guests around his table were chosen from
amongst the most cheerful, as well as from amongst the best of the
society which London can afford. There were one or two distinguished
statesmen, there were one or two mere politicians--and these classes
are very distinct--there were one or two men of high rank and vast
possessions; there were one or two persons distinguished for genius
and for virtue; there were one or two gay young men, with very empty
heads, who chattered to one or two pretty young women, who were easily
satisfied in point of conversation. The rest of the party consisted of
the wives of some of those we have mentioned, and the family of Mr.
Hamilton himself.

All were London people; all had been accustomed to mingle much in
London society: all were acquainted with everything that existed in
the part of London which they themselves inhabited, and in the society
with which they were accustomed to mix. I do not mean to say, that--as
is so common--they knew nothing more. On the contrary, the greater
part of the men and women who sat around that dinner-table, possessed
extensive information upon many subjects; but still the locality in
which they dwelt, and the society in which they moved, acted in some
sort as a prison to their minds, from the limits of which they did
certainly occasionally make excursions, but to which they were
generally brought back again by the gaoler, custom, ere they had
wandered far.

Such is ordinarily the great evil of London society to a stranger.
Unless an effort is charitably made for the sake of the uninitiated,
the conversation of the English capital is limited to subjects of
particular rather than general interest; and where a Frenchman would
sport over the whole universe of created things, solely for the
purpose of shewing his agility, an Englishman's conversation,
following the bent of his habits, sits down by his own fireside, and
seldom travels beyond the circle in which he lives. The effect of this
contraction is curious and unpleasant to a stranger; but that stranger
himself, if he be gentlemanly in habits and powerful in mind, very
often produces a miraculous and beneficial change upon the society
itself. If the people composing it really possess intellect and
information, and the narrowness of their conversation proceed merely
from habit, there is something in the freshness of the stranger's
thoughts which interests and excites them. They make an effort to keep
up with him on his own ground; the animation of the race carries them
away, and off they go, scampering over hill and dale, as if they were
driving after a fox.

Such was the case in the present instance. Morley Ernstein, though he
had been in London several times during his school and college life,
knew little of it but the names of certain streets, the theatres, the
opera, and the park. He could not talk of what had taken place at
Almack's the night before. He was not conversant with any of the
scandal that was running in the town; he did not know who was going to
marry who; and was quite unaware that Lady Loraine had had two
husbands before, and was going to take a third. All the tittle-tattle,
in short, of that quarter of London in which fashionable people live,
was as unknown to him as the gossip of the moon; and during some ten
minutes, as he sat at a little distance from Mr. Hamilton himself, he
remained in profound silence, eating his soup and his fish, with as
much devotion as if the _Almanach des Gourmands_ had been his book of
common prayer.

After talking for some time to other people, Mr. Hamilton cast his
eyes on his former ward, and knowing that he was neither shy, nor
stupid, nor sullen, nor gluttonous, he wondered to see him buried in
profound meditations over the plate that was before him. At that
moment, however, his ear caught the sound of the conversation that was
taking place on either side of Morley.

"The Duchess has such excellent taste," said the lady on his right
hand; "so she insisted upon it, that it should be dark green, with a
thin line of stone colour, between the black and the green, and the
arms only in light and shade."

Mr. Hamilton perceived that she was talking of the Duchess of
Watercourse's new carriage, but Morley Ernstein knew nothing about it.

"Oh! but I know it did!" replied the young lady, on Ernstein's other
side, speaking to a young gentleman, who might quite as well have been
a young lady too; "it cost five hundred francs in Paris, and that is
twenty pounds--is it not? But then it was _à point d'armes_, and it
was trimmed with the most beautiful valenciennes, three fingers
broad."

Mr. Hamilton guessed that she was talking of a pocket-handkerchief;
but what she said was as unintelligible to Morley, as an essay on the
differential calculus would have been to her. At that moment the young
Baronet raised his eyes, with a curious sort of smile, to the face of
his former guardian, and Mr. Hamilton certainly read his look, and
connected it with their conversation of that morning. It seemed to
say--"Notwithstanding all your exhortations, my good friend, the study
of the higher classes of society does not appear to me to tend much to
edification." But Mr. Hamilton, who knew that there is such a thing as
being stupid by convention, made an effort to give his young friend an
opening, and consequently addressing the lady who had last been
speaking, he said--"Pray, what do you call _à point d'armes_, Lady
Caroline?--I confess I am very ignorant, and so, I fear, is my friend
Morley, next to you."

The young lady coloured a little, and laughed, saying--"I was only
talking of a pocket-handkerchief which cost five hundred francs."

"Was any one wicked enough to give it?" said Morley, to whom she had
addressed the last few words.

"O dear, yes," she replied; "we good people in London are wicked
enough to do anything for the sake of fashion."

"There is candour enough, at least, in the avowal," thought Morley
Ernstein, and there was something in the young lady's tone as she
answered, which struck him, and made him conceive that his first
opinion of her mental powers, might not be altogether accurate.

Let it be remarked, that, the very general idea, that speech consists
of words alone, is extremely erroneous. That the parts of speech,
indeed, which are beaten into us at school, and for which, during a
certain period of our lives, we curse all the grammarians that ever
lived, from Priscian down to Lily, consist entirely of words, is true;
but he who looks closer than any of these grammar-makers at the real
philosophy of language, will find that speech consists of three
distinct branches--words, looks, and tones. All these must act
together to make what is properly called speech. Without either of the
two last branches, the words rightly arranged form but what is called
language; but that is a very different thing. How much is there in a
tone?--what a variety of meanings will it give to the same word, or to
the same sentence! It renders occasionally the same phrase negative or
affirmative; it continually changes it from an assertion to an
interrogation. The most positive form of language in the world, under
the magic influence of a tone, becomes the strongest expression of
doubt, and "I will not" means "I will" full as frequently as anything
else.

Tones, too, besides shewing the meaning of the speaker at the moment,
occasionally go on to display the character of his mind or the
habitual direction of his thoughts; and it was by this interpreter
that Morley Ernstein was led at once to translate the little
insignificant moral that fell from his fair neighbour's lips, into a
hint, that her mind did not always dwell upon the frivolous things of
which she had just been speaking. He followed the direction in which
she led: the conversation grew brighter, more animated; many persons
took part in it; many subjects were discussed; the freshness of
Morley's mind led others gaily after him. The vehemence and eagerness
of his natural character, carried him off to a thousand subjects,
which he at first never dreamed of touching upon; and in short, the
conversation of the next half hour was like the wild gallop which we
have seen him take across his own park; and, as then too, he ended by
leaping the wall at a hound, and plunging into a topic, which might
well be compared to the high road, being neither more nor less than
politics.

A sudden silence followed, and the young gentleman, feeling that he
had gone quite far enough, drew in the rein, and stopped in full
course. The impetus however was given, the thoughts of those around
him were led so far away from all the ordinary subjects of discussion
at a London party, that they would have found it difficult to get back
again, even if they had been so inclined, which, however, was the case
with but few of them; and one or two of the elder and more
distinguished persons present, purposely led Morley on to speak upon
various subjects with which they judged him to be well acquainted. It
was done with tact and discretion, however, in such a manner as to
draw him out, without letting him perceive that any one looked upon
him as a sort of American Indian.

On rising from table, a Peer who had figured in more than one
administration, drew Mr. Hamilton aside, and made Morley the subject
of conversation, while that young gentleman himself was talking for a
few moments with an elderly man of amiable manners, called Lord
Clavering.

"A very remarkable young man, Mr. Hamilton!" said the
statesman--"somewhat fresh and inexperienced; but his ideas are very
original, and generally just. Is his fortune large?"

"Very considerable!" replied Mr. Hamilton; "his father, whom you must
have known, left two large estates, one called the Morley Court
estate; the other still larger, but not so productive, in the wilds of
Northumberland. He succeeded when very young, and as you may suppose,
I have not let the property decrease during his minority."

"I know, Mr. Hamilton--I know, Mr. Hamilton!" replied the Peer, with a
meaning smile. "Would it not be better to bring the young gentleman
into the House of Commons? There is the old borough, you know,
Hamilton, will be vacant after this session; for poor Wilkinson
accepts the Hundreds, on account of bad health. My whole influence
shall be given to your young friend, if he chooses to stand."

Mr. Hamilton bowed, and thanked the Peer, but somewhat drily withal,
saying, "I will mention to him what your lordship says;" and then,
turning away, he spoke to some of his other guests.

Not long after, the knocker of Mr. Hamilton's door became in great
request, footman after footman laying his hand upon it, and
endeavouring, it would seem, to see how far he could render it a
nuisance to every one in the neighbourhood. Crowds of well-dressed
people, of every complexion and appearance under the sun, began to
fill the rooms, and certainly afforded--as every great party of a
great city does--a more miscellaneous assortment of strange animals
than can be found in the Regent's Park, or the Jardin des Plantes.
Putting aside the differences of hue and colouring--the fair, the
dark, the bronze, the sallow, the ruddy, the pale--and the differences
of size--the tall, the short, the fat, the thin, the middle-sized--and
of name, the variations of which were derived from every colour under
heaven, black, brown, green, grey, white, and every quarter that the
wind blows front, east, west, north, and south--and the difference of
features--the bottle-nosed, the small-eyed, the long-chinned, the
cheek boned, down to the noseless rotundity of a Gibbon's countenance,
and the saucer-eyes that might have suited the owl in the
Freyschutz--putting aside all these, I say there were various persons,
each of whom might have passed for a _lusus naturæ_, were not many
such to be found in every assembly of this world's children. There
were some without heads, and some without hearts, some without
feelings, and some without understanding. Some were simply bundles
of pulleys and ropes, with a hydraulic machine for keeping them
going--termed, by courtesy, flesh, bones, and blood, but none the less
mere machines as ever came out of Maudslay's furnaces. Some were but
bags of other people's ideas, who were propelled about the world as if
on castors, receiving all that those who were near them chose to cram
them with. Others were like what surveyors call a spirit-level, the
fluid in which inclines this way or that, according to that which it
leans upon. There were those, too, whose microscopic minds enlarge the
atoms under their own eyes, till mites seem mountains, but who yet can
see nothing further than an inch from their own noses; and there were
those, also, who appear to be always gazing through a theodolite, so
busily gauging distant objects as to overlook everything that is
immediately before them. There was, in short, the man of vast general
views, who can never fix his mind down to particular truths, and the
man of narrow realities, who cannot stretch his comprehension to
anything that he has not seen. Besides all these, there was the
ordinary portion of the milk-and-water of society; a good deal of the
vinegar; here and there some spirits of wine, a few flowers, and a
scanty portion of fruit.

In the midst of all this, what did Morley Ernstein do? He amused
himself greatly, as every young man of tolerable intellect might do;
he laughed at some, and with others; was little annoyed by any; and,
with a heart too young to be a good hater, he saw not much to excite
anger, though a good deal to excite pity. There were some, however,
who pleased him much. One or two young men, whose manners, tone, and
countenance he liked; and more young women, whom, of course, he liked
better still. He was a good deal courted, and made much of; and many
ladies who had daughters, marriageable and unmarried, sent people to
bring him up, and introduce him. Morley thought it very natural that
such should be the case. "Were I a mother," he said to himself,
"which, thank Heaven, I never can be, I would do just the same. People
cry out upon this sort of thing--I really do not see why they should
do so, more than censure a father for getting his son a commission in
the Guards. It is right that we should wish to see our children well
provided for; and so long as there is nothing unfair, no deception, no
concealment, the purpose is rather honourable than otherwise."

Morley Ernstein knew that his large fortune and position in society
must cause him to be regarded as a good match by more than half the
mothers in England; he had heard so, and believed it; but he did not
suffer that belief to make him either conceited, or suspicious. "It is
a great advantage to me," he thought; "for it gives me the entrance
into many a house where I could not otherwise penetrate, and puts me
above the consideration of wealth, which I might otherwise be driven
to, in the choice of my future wife. Thank. God! I can afford to wed
the poorest girl in Europe if I find that she possesses those
qualities which I believe will make me happy."

With these feelings, Morley Ernstein could hardly fail to make himself
agreeable in the society of women; and certain it is, that many of
those intriguing mothers, who go beyond that just limit which his mind
had clearly fixed, thought, when they saw his careless and
unsuspicious manner, his want of conceit in the gifts of fortune, and
the readiness with which he met any advances, that he would be an easy
as well as a golden prize, and prepared themselves to do battle with
their rivals in the same good cause, for the possession of the young
Baronet. They found themselves mistaken, for the simplest of all
reasons, that mothers who could scheme, and contrive, and deceive, for
the purpose of entangling him, were precisely those who could by no
possible means bring up a daughter in such a way as to satisfy, even
in manners, the young heir of Morley Court.

However, the evening passed pleasantly for Morley Ernstein. He was
amused, as I have said; but, in truth, there was something more. He
was interested and excited. Where is the young man of one-and-twenty
to be found, who will not let his heart yield, in a great degree, to
the effect of scene and circumstance?--to the moving of fair and
graceful forms around him?--to the sound of sweet voices, mingled with
music?--to the glittering of bright jewels, and of brighter eyes? and
to soft words and gentle looks, enlivened from time to time by flights
of gay wit, or even thoughtless merriment. Morley certainly passed
through the rooms, criticising as he went, and found much interest in
examining the characters of the persons present; but that was not all:
he gradually became one of them himself in feeling, took an individual
interest as well as a general one, in what was going on, shared in the
excitement, and went home at length, after having enjoyed the whole
probably ten times as much as any one there, except it was some young
girl of eighteen, who met the man she hoped might love her, or some
unknown youth who had never before obtained admission to the higher
classes of English society.



CHAPTER VII.


The general diffusion of knowledge is a very great thing, no doubt,
and the cultivation of intellectual powers, in every grade of life and
class of society, may probably produce a very excellent result; but
yet, the man who goes about the world with his eyes open--it is
certainly very rare to find such a man, for the great mass of human
beings decidedly keep their eyes shut altogether, or, at best, but
half unclosed--the man who goes about the world with his eyes open
will be inclined, from a great number of very curious facts that he
perceives, to deduce a theory, or, perhaps, if that be too positive a
term, we may say, to build up an hypothesis, very much at variance
with the dream of the French philosophers before the first revolution,
regarding the perfectibility of human nature. He will be inclined to
imagine that the will of God may allot to a certain number of mortals
only a certain portion of genius, and that when a very great share of
this genius is concentrated in a few individuals of the number, the
rest of the multitude remain dull and incapable, while the few produce
the most sublime fruits of human intellect; and, on the contrary,
where the allotted portion of talent is spread over a great surface,
divided amongst many, not only few distinguish themselves from the
rest, but none produce anything equal to the works brought into being
by the two or three more gifted men which we have referred to in the
other case. Thus, in the present age, where all is light, in not one
of the arts do we find such wonderful results as we might anticipate
from the general diffusion of knowledge. It is very true, great
discoveries have been made--that we have had Herschells, La Places,
Faradays--that we have discovered steam-engines, railroads, electric
telegraphs; but, though the assertion may seem bold, the gauge of
original powers in the human mind is to be found more in the arts than
in the sciences. The sciences build upon tradition; they are
cumulative, and all the generations of the past together hold out the
hand to raise up the diligent aspirer to a height above themselves.
Not so the arts; for though the scientific part of each may be
improved, by, the accumulation of knowledge, that part which gives
them their fire and vigour depends upon the genius of each individual
artist; and just in the same proportion as you find a certain degree
of skill very generally diffused, you will find a multitude of poets,
painters, statuaries, and a sad deficiency of excellence amongst them.

Nothing, perhaps, shewed the grandeur and the grasp of ancient art
more strongly than the vigour with which the old painters used the
effect produced upon the human mind by the power of contrast, and the
infinite skill with which they employed that power, so as never to
violate those essential principles of harmony which affect painting
and sculpture fully as much as they affect music and poetry. Where is
the man of the present day who can set red, and yellow, and blue
garments side by side with hues of the most sparkling brightness, and
yet in no degree offend the eye, or produce the least sensation of
harshness upon the mind? So, nevertheless, it is in the paintings of
almost all the finest old masters; and we shall also find, that in
life itself, one of the greatest zests to enjoyment is striking
contrast, provided we can obtain it without any harshness of
transition.

Morley Ernstein sat at breakfast, on the following day, somewhat later
than usual, thinking over all the people and the things he had seen,
and all the words and sounds he had heard, and as, though somewhat
variable in his moods, he was not one of those monsters of philosophy
who come out into the world at the age of one-and-twenty, like Minerva
all armed from the head of Jove, with a sombre and supercilious
disgust for common life and its vanities--as he was, in short, neither
less nor more than an eager, impetuous, though talented and feeling,
young man, it must be confessed, he felt a little of that sort of
giddiness of brain, and hurry of ideas, which follows excitement of
any kind. His reveries, however, were soon broken in upon by the
appearance of his friend Lieberg, who did not take the seat placed for
him, but immediately exclaimed--

"Come, Ernstein, you are on the search for strange things; I have one
all ready for you. I am going to Bow-street, and on what occasion I
will tell you by the way. There you may make a mental breakfast upon
all the rogues and vagabonds that are served up fresh every morning
about eleven, like new shrimps at Worthing."

"I shall be delighted," replied Morley. "I long extremely to see a
good deal more of those gentry; they and their manners have always
formed a subject of wonder and interest for my imagination."

"You may pamper its appetite here to the full," answered Lieberg; "but
come, I shall be late."

Morley Ernstein was speedily equipped and rolling along in Lieberg's
cabriolet towards that street where, in days of yore, a thieves'
coffee-house appeared on one side of the way, nearly opposite to the
place whence so many of them were sent to trial and to death. As a
Bow-street officer once expressed it--"The house had been established
there, that the gentlemen might always be ready when they were
wanted." As they proceeded, Lieberg told him that his pocket had been
picked of a gold snuff-box, coming out of the opera on the preceding
night.

"The thing was done in the most deliberate manner," he said. "I found
myself pressed upon very hard by three strong fellows, and feeling a
sort of waving undulation of my pocket behind, I turned round to look,
and saw a very well-dressed man in the act of abstracting the box,
without any great ceremony or delicacy. With the fullest intentions of
knocking him down, I was prevented from moving in many way by the two
men who pressed me on either side, and who, by a well-devised method
of squeezing their victim, held me as if in a vice. Scarcely could I
turn my head round again, when I found something tugging hard at my
watch; luckily there was a strong guard round my neck, but,
nevertheless, after the conquest of my snuff-box had been fully
effected, the fellow who was before me still gave two hearty pulls,
and when he ceased, had the impudence to say, with a grin--'That's a
good chain, sir--I'd advise you to take care of it.' They then shouted
to each other--'Be off--be off!' and began running up the Haymarket
at full speed. I chased the man who had got the box for some way,
crying--'Stop thief!' A watchman sprang his rattle, and tried to seize
one of the fellows; but, by a dexterous movement, the pickpocket
tripped up the poor Charley's feet, and he, rolling down before me,
stopped one for the moment, and the fellows escaped. I immediately
sent for a Bow-street officer, described my friend who had got the
snuff-box, and this morning was told that he is in custody. A curious
hint, however, was given me by my good friend R----, the officer.
'Which do you want to do, sir--get your snuff-box, or punish the man?
You can't do both, you know.' 'To get my snuff-box,' I replied; 'so if
you can manage that for me, I can contrive not to be quite sure of his
identity, you know.' 'No, no, sir,' said R----, with a wink of his
eye, 'that's no go; you must swear to him positively, otherwise the
fellows will think you've got no hold of him, and they'll keep the
yellow. You be quite sure, and we'll have an alibi ready.' So you see,
Ernstein, I am going to play my part in a pretty farce."

As he spoke the last words, the cabriolet rolled up to the door of the
police-office, in Bow-street, round which were standing numerous
groups of men and women, whose character was anything but doubtful,
and whose appearance was certainly by no means prepossessing, whatever
their practices might be. There might be seen the face pale and
swollen from habitual drunkenness, looking like a moulded lump of
unbaked dough, with an expression which will bear no logical
description, though it was marked and peculiar enough. It was the
expression of stupid cunning, if one may use such a term, and is
seldom to be met with, except in the countenances of those in whom
drunkenness is only an accessory to other vices. There, too, might be
beheld all the terrible marks, with which crime brands upon the
forehead of the guilty the history of their faults and punishment. The
red vermilion lines about the mouth and eyelids; the swelled and
sometimes blackened eyes; the face covered with many a patch and
plaster; the hair rugged and dirty; the dull, downcast look, not of
active but of passive despair, seeing nothing round it, but fixing the
corporeal eyes upon blankness, while looking with its mental eyes into
itself. Oh! who can tell what it must be sometimes for the spirit to
stare into the dark cavern of the heart, with that heavy, straining
gaze, ineffectual, hopeless, finding nothing there--nothing to solace
or to soothe; nothing to elevate or to support; nothing from the past,
nothing for the future; nothing to be derived from memory; nothing to
be bestowed on hope. Nothing!--nothing! All blank darkness, blotted
over with the night of crime!

Through a crowd of such beings standing round the door of the
police-office in Bow-street, Morley and his friend drove up to the
side of the pavement, and jumped out of the cabriolet, while Lieberg's
young groom sprang to the head of the tall, powerful horse, who seemed
as if he could have run away with him like a feather, and held him
firm with both hands, like a small bull-dog pinning an immense bull.
Along the dirty passage, the wainscoted walls of which, on either
side, about five feet from the ground, were traced with a
long-continued smear of greasy black, from the incessant rubbing of
human shoulders, Lieberg, and his companion, walked on--one or two
very doubtful-looking people giving way before the two swells, as they
internally termed them--into the room where the magistrates were
sitting.

There were several persons already at the bar, and in the place
assigned to the attorneys were various shrewd-looking, keen-faced men,
with eyes full of business, while in one or two instances an
ostentatious blue bag appeared beside them. More than one personage,
however, who seemed merely, an idler, was also amongst the select;
while at the back of the part appropriated to the people, chatting
carelessly over totally different subjects, was a group of friendly
officers and pickpockets, screened from the bench and the bar by a
tolerable thick row of human heads, male and female, through the
interstices between which, a girl of fourteen, who seemed already a
prostitute, and a boy somewhat younger, were striving to get a view of
what was passing at the bar. The court itself possessed an atmosphere
redolent of a peculiarly disagreeable smell of human nature, mixed
with second-hand whiffs of beer, tobacco, and gin, which, to the more
refined noses of the two gentlemen who now entered the court, and
especially to that of Morley Ernstein, which was principally
accustomed to the free air and sweet scents of the country, was
anything but fragrant.

The case before the magistrates was disposed of ere any notice was
taken of Lieberg and his companion; but then, the gentleman who had
relieved him of his snuff-box on the night before, being placed at the
bar, and the rank, station, and appearance, of the two friends being
taken into due consideration by His Worship, they were invited to take
their places on the bench, and the charge was entered into. Lieberg
detailed the whole affair, and swore to the prisoner's identity; a
keen-faced man asked him several questions on behalf of the prisoner,
and the magistrate, after giving the personage at the bar a proper
warning not to say anything more than he liked, interrogated him in
turn.

The man positively declared, that the gentleman must be mistaken,
affirming, with a sly look and half-suppressed grin, that he did not
mean to impeach the truth and honour of such a gentleman as he was,
but that there was a mistake somewhere; for at that very hour, and for
a full hour before and after, he was with a club called the "Rum
Fellows," which met weekly at a certain house that he named. Very
honest men, they were, he said, though they was Rum Fellows, and a
number of respectable tradesmen too. He could prove it, he said, for
there were lots of witnesses. He would call one immediately, whom he
had sent for as soon as he was taken up.

He accordingly called a Mr. Higgins, but for a moment or two Mr.
Higgins did not appear, and there was a murmur ran through the court
in consequence, which no one took pains to keep from the ears of the
bench, of, "where is he? where is he?--where's Bill Jones's alibi?"
and at length the call for Bill Jones's alibi was roared with a
stentorian voice along the passage, and transmitted to the
public-house on the opposite side of the street.

A moment after, in rushed a short, stout, swarthy man, very well
dressed, after the fashion of a respectable tradesman. His coal-black
hair was as smooth as a mirror; his linen was clean, and white; he had
a pair of drab gaiters upon his sturdy legs, a black coat, a Marcellas
waistcoat, and a coloured handkerchief. His eyes were black and large,
his teeth fine and white, and on a fat little finger he wore a fat,
long ring. He was a little out of breath with haste, and, as he
appeared before the magistrates, he wiped from the corners of his
mouth the last vestiges of what the people of that place generally
term "something _short_," which he had taken to keep him fresh
before the court. He bowed low to the sitting magistrates, low to
Lieberg and to Ernstein, and then nodded to the prisoner at the bar,
exclaiming--"Ah, Bill! what's the matter? Surely you did not get drunk
last night after you left us!"

His innocent mind being enlightened, in regard to the charge against
his friend, he swore most positively, that Bill Jones had been with
him and others, at a public-house named the "George," celebrating the
mysteries of a club called the "Rum Fellows," at the very hour when
Colonel Lieberg's snuff-box had been extracted from his pocket. He
swore that the said Bill Jones had been there an hour before and an
hour afterwards; and he did, moreover, what, to the uninitiated, might
seem a dangerous proceeding--that is to say, he entered into minute
particulars as to what Bill Jones said or did on that occasion.

"Well, then, Mr. Higgins," said the magistrate, "if such be the case,
there must be, doubtless, others of your club who can swear to the
same facts as yourself; if the prisoner thinks fit, he can call
another witness."

The prisoner was prepared upon this point also, and he accordingly
called a Mr. Farebrother. While Mr. Farebrother was being sought for,
Mr. Higgins thought fit to enlighten the court upon his profession,
saying, he did not see why his word should be disbelieved, as he was a
respectable tradesman.

"Yes, Mr. Higgins," said the magistrate, "I know you; you are a
pawnbroker. You may go down."

Mr. Farebrother presented an appearance the most opposite that it is
possible to imagine to that of his club-fellow, Mr. Higgins. He was a
small, thin, narrow-made man; with a coat of good quality, but
originally constructed for a much more considerable person than
himself. Indeed, he seemed to have a strong desire to be at room in
his clothes, for the slate-coloured trowsers with which his nether man
was ornamented, lapped vaguely over his shoes behind; which, if the
stockings were in harmony with those shoes, might be, upon the whole,
advantageous to him. His look was humble and sanctimonious, and,
either from tenderness of heart or of eyes, he had a weeping look
about him, which those who knew him believed to increase greatly under
reiterated tumblers of brandy and water. We need not enter largely
into the testimony which he gave; suffice it to say, he corroborated,
in every point, the testimony of Mr. Higgins, and the story of Bill
Jones.

The magistrate, as a matter of form, asked him some shrewd, sensible
questions, premising them, however, by saying, in a low voice, to
Colonel Lieberg, "You wont convict him; the thing is too well got up."

Mr. Farebrother resisted manfully every attempt to wring the truth
from him; he had more than once been under the hands of Mister
afterwards Baron Garrow, and, consequently, there was not an art by
which a witness can be made to forget or betray himself, that he was
not thoroughly acquainted with, and ready to resist. Having terminated
his examination, the magistrate turned to the accuser, with a silent
smile, as if asking--"What am I to do next?"

"I certainly thought I was sure of the identity," said Lieberg, "and,
accordingly, swore to the fact; but, after what we have heard, I
suppose the matter must be given up."

The magistrate accordingly dismissed the charge; but Bill Jones, who
stood upon character, seemed resolved to have the last word: "I hope,
your worship," he observed, "that I quit this bar with honour."

"Pooh! nonsense!" said the magistrate. "Go along;" and the worthy
gentleman slunk out of court, like a dog, under the influence of fear.
Lieberg and Ernstein took leave, and departed also, followed, a step
behind, by R----, the officer, who had been standing near the prisoner
during the whole time.

"I beg your pardon, Colonel," he said, as soon as they got into the
passage, "but I sha'n't be able to come up to you, to-day, so here's
your box;" and he pulled out of his pocket, and presented to Lieberg,
the splendid box, of which he had been robbed the night before. "The
men will expect you to stand something, sir," he said; "but I'll do
what's right, and let you know what it comes to to-morrow."

"Do, do!" replied Lieberg. "But, harkye, R----, here's a young friend
of mine who wishes to become acquainted with what is going on in all
stations in society. Could you not give him a little insight into the
lives of such gentry as we have just seen?"

"Lord bless you!--yes, sir," cried R----; "I will introduce him to
them all, if he likes; but, you know, sir, there's a proverb about
touching pitch."

"If there's any danger in it," said Lieberg, "of course he had better
not."

"Oh, no danger in life, sir!" replied R----; "as I will manage for
him; but he had better mind his watch, and his purse, and all that; or
leave them at home. The gentleman, I take it, wants a lark; and if
that's the case, he can have it; but it may cost him something,
perhaps."

"It is not exactly a 'lark,' as you term it," replied Morley, in a
more serious and sedate tone than the officer had expected from his
years; "as my friend has told you, I want to see something of the mode
of life of these people, as well as others."

"Oh! you are a flosofer, sir--are you?" said R----, "or, perhaps, a
flantrofist! Well, sir, there's no reason why you shouldn't. It may
cost a pound in lush, or what not; but as for your being safe, make
your mind at ease about that; they know me too well to meddle with
you. I wouldn't introduce you to any of that sort of fellows. Why, you
know, sir, there are only two kind of people that set about regularly
committing a murder. First of all, there's the fellow that knows he is
well nigh up to the mark; he gets not to care what he does, and takes
his chance of one thing or another. Those are the old, bad hands, that
have been at every kind of thing for many a long year, and having got
down low, are not able to keep upon the quiet lay, but must make some
grand stroke to set them up altogether, or send them to the drop. Then
there are others, sir, that do it unaccountably--men that haven't been
half so bad as some others, who seem to take it into their head all of
a sudden; those are the fellows that give us the greatest trouble, for
we are not up to them; and sometimes we may be a week or ten days
before we find out who has done it. But I wont put you in the way of
anything that is dangerous. The best thing I can do for you, is, to
make you acquainted with Master Higgins, there; you'll find him a very
gentlemanly sort of man, and as he lost, I suppose, a matter of three
or four pounds upon this snuff-box, it is but right to be civil to
him. I could take you over there, sir, where they have gone to talk of
the affair; but I think you had better let me bring him to you
to-night, and then you can settle the matter together."

This plan was accordingly agreed upon; Morley gave his address to the
officer, and as soon as it was dark R---- entered the young
gentleman's sitting-room, in Berkeley-square.

"Oh, you are alone, sir, are you?" said he.

"Yes," replied Ernstein. "Have you not brought your friend with you?"

"Oh, yes," replied R---; "but I have left him behind, there, in the
passage, talking with your servant, sir; for I thought you might have
somebody with you, and might not like to have him seen."

Morley smiled at the officer's estimates of respectability; but he
merely replied, "Is he so well known, then?"

"Oh, yes, sir; he is well known enough," said R----; "especially
amongst us. However, as a hood for what he was coming about, he
brought something to offer you for sale, as if he were a regular
tradesman."

"Which, I suppose, he expects me to buy," said Morley, "as the price
of his favour and protection."

"Oh, no, sir," answered R----; "you need not buy anything, unless you
like. He is always sure to get his market--it is the price that he
takes the things at which he makes by."

"Well! bring him in, then," said Morley; "and we will talk about the
matter afterwards."

Mr. Higgins was speedily introduced, and, as he entered, gave a rapid,
but very marking, glance round the whole room. It is probable, that
there was not a table, chair, or piece of china, down to the coffee
cup and saucer with which Morley was engaged when he entered, that he
would not have known again, had it been brought to pawn at his shop.
Mr. Higgins made a low bow to the inhabitant of the apartment, after
he had remarked upon the other things which it contained, and, seeing
that Morley was making as keen an investigation of his person as he
himself ever had made of any object for sale or pledge offered to him
by the children of vice and misery with whom he had generally to deal,
he thought fit to begin the conversation first, and cut short a
scrutiny of which he was not fond.

"Mr. R---- has done me the honour, sir," he began, in very tolerable
language, "of bringing me here, because, he said you wished to see
some little things in my way;" and having uttered this very equivocal
sentence, he held his tongue, and left Morley to take it up in what
sense he chose.

Morley was amused, but he replied in such a manner as still to leave
the task of explanation to the other.

"I am very much obliged to Mr. R----," he said. "Pray, what have you
got to shew me?"

The man grinned, to find that the young gentleman could deal in
equivoques, as well as himself. Ere he answered, he gave an approving
wink of the eye to the Officer, which might have been translated,
perhaps--"He is not a fool, after all, though he is gentleman."
However, he would not be brought to the point; and putting his hand in
his pocket, he produced a small shagreen case, which he opened, and
laid on the table before Morley Ernstein; displaying to the wondering
eyes of the young baronet, a pair of very beautiful diamond ear-rings.
Morley gazed at them for a moment or two, in no small surprise.

"They are very handsome, indeed," he said, at length--"they are very
handsome, indeed, as far as I am any judge of such things; but, pray,
what do you intend me to do with these?"

"To buy them, sir," replied the man, quite coolly.

"I hope not to wear them, too," said Morley, "for that I shall
scarcely consent to."

"O no, sir!" answered Mr. Higgins, laughing; "but such gentlemen as
you, are always wanting diamond ear-rings. Why, there isn't one of all
those ladies that you want to make a present to, who would not say
they are as handsome a pair as ever were seen. I will let you have
them a great bargain, too. Why, Lord ----'s young lady sold me a pair,
the other day, for twice the money, which he had given her only two
days before."

"A pleasant comment on such sort of connexions," thought Morley
Ernstein; but he answered, aloud--"There is one objection to my taking
these, even if I did want them, my good friend--namely, that I do not
exactly know where they may come from."

The man paused, and stared in his face for a moment.

"Ha, now I take you, sir--now I take you!" he cried, at length. "But I
can assure you, you are mistaken; they are not exactly mine. I am
disposing of them for another party; but I think if you knew what an
act of charity you are doing in buying them, you would give the full
money willingly enough, and perhaps something into the bargain."

"Indeed!" said Morley, with his curiosity somewhat excited; "pray, who
do they belong to?"

"Oh, as nice a young lady, sir, as ever lived!" replied the man. "Her
father was a clergyman, and her mother a lady of good fortune, and
amongst the tip-top of the world; but there was a law-suit about the
mother's fortune, to whom these ear-rings belonged, I have heard, and
that ruined her husband, and broke her heart. She died first, and the
parson not long after; and they left this daughter and a boy, who is a
wild one, with about a couple of hundred between them, and some
nic-nacs. Well, the boy soon got through his money, and his sister's
too; and from time to time he came to me, with a lot of things to
sell: His sister, he let out the other day, had kept him and herself
too by teaching; but now she hasn't had much to do for some time,
because she fell ill in the winter, and so lost her pupils. They are
well nigh starving, the boy tells me, and in the end she is driven to
sell her mother's ear-rings. She only asks forty pounds for them,
sir--I think they are worth a hundred."

The story had every appearance of truth about it to the mind of Morley
Ernstein. Such things were very likely to happen; and the man told it,
too, like a true story. After asking why Mr. Higgins did not buy the
diamonds himself, and receiving the satisfactory answer, that he had
bought just such a pair before from Lord ----'s young lady, and could
not afford to buy two, as well as having received truth-like replies
to one or two other questions, Morley made up his mind somewhat
precipitately to do three things: to purchase the ear-rings, to find
out the brother, and to see if, through him, he could not do something
for the sister.

"Pray, where does this young man live?" he said, after having
concluded the purchase; "do you think he will have any objection to
speak with me about his affairs?"

"Oh, not he, sir!" cried the man; "the young scamp don't mind talking
about them to the whole world. He's no shame left! He lives at No. 3,
Dover-street, New-road, and his sister too. A prettier girl I never
saw, in all the course of my life, for I went there one day."

Morley put down the address; and having dismissed this subject, and
arranged to make an expedition with the worthy Mr. Higgins, into some
of the most reputable resorts of rogues and vagabonds, on the
succeeding night, he suffered him and R---- to depart, waiting with
some impatience for the following morning, when he proposed to put his
Quixotic purpose, regarding the sellers of the diamond earrings, into
execution.

When the Officer and Higgins were on the pavement of Berkeley-square,
the former whistled three bars of an air as popular in its day as the
elegant tune of Jim Crow has been within our own recollection. These
bars were whistled with emphasis, which ought in all grammars to be
considered as an additional part of speech, adding more significance
to a sentence than either noun or verb. Higgins seemed to understand
perfectly well what he meant, and said, in a tone of reply--

"He wants to see life, Master R----. We'll shew it him, wont we? His
old servant told me that he was a tender-hearted young gentleman, and
did a world of good in his own parish!"



CHAPTER VIII.


Morley Ernstein made all sorts of good resolutions--that is to say,
not virtuous resolutions, because, as yet, there was no temptation for
him to be otherwise; but worldly good resolutions--the resolutions of
prudence, propriety, economy. In short, all those sort of resolutions
which one makes when one has fixed upon a certain line of conduct,
from feeling rather than from judgment, and wish to enchain our
purpose in its execution, by the exercise of that very power whose
sway we have cast off. Morley Ernstein resolved, then, that he would
inquire into all the facts with the most scrupulous accuracy; that he
would not assist this young man and his sister beyond a certain point;
that he would not assist the youth at all, unless he found that there
were hopes of amendment; and that, should such not be the case, he
would employ the intervention of Mr. Hamilton to give aid to the young
lady. No one on earth can doubt that these were all very prudent
resolutions. If he had been forty, he could not have been more
reasonable, though, probably, if he had been forty, he never would
have formed them. But resolutions are always the sport of accident,
and however harsh and hard it may be to say, yet I fear it is
nevertheless true, that the course of conduct which needs to be
guarded with such scrupulous care, had better never to be entered upon
at all.

To return to Morley Ernstein. At the hour of eleven, his new
cabriolet, which the poetical coachmaker had assured him would roll
over the pavement like a cloud through the sky, and one of his new
horses, which, if the same figurative personage had beheld him, would
most likely have been compared to the wind impelling the cloud, were
at the door of the hotel, together with a groom upon the most approved
scale, bearing gloves as white as the Horse Guards', and the usual
neat, but unaccountable sort of clothing, called leather breeches and
top-boots. Morley Ernstein descended with a slow step, entered his
cabriolet thoughtfully, and drove towards the house to which he had
been addressed, not going above a mile out of his way, in consequence
of his ignorance of all those narrow turnings and windings which a
professed London coachman is fond of taking. The street was a small
one, and evidently a poor one, but Morley Ernstein had expected
nothing else, and the house was neat and clean, with a white doorstep,
a clean door, and a small brass knocker. The young gentleman's groom,
by his directions, applied his hand to the implement of noise, and
produced a roll of repeated knocks, which, in any other country, would
be held as a nuisance. A few minutes after, a neat maid-servant
presented herself, and, in answer to the question, "Is Mr. William
Barham at home?" replied in the affirmative.

Morley Ernstein then descended, gave his name, and was ushered up a
flight of stairs, having a centre line of neat stair carpet, not much
wider than one's hand. The drawing-room into which he was shewn was
very nicely furnished with a number of little ornaments, not indeed of
the kind that could be purchased, but of the sort which a dexterous
and tasteful female-hand can produce, to trick out and decorate the
simplest habitation. There was a small piano in one corner of the
room, a Spanish guitar, with a blue ribbon, lying on the sofa, a pile
of music on the top of the piano, some very well executed landscapes
lying, half finished, on the table, together with a box of colours,
and a glass of water. All, in short, bespoke taste and skill, and that
graceful occupation of leisure hours, which is so seldom found
uncombined with a fine mind.

The room was empty of human beings, and while Morley was making his
survey, he heard the maid-servant run up stairs to another flight, and
say--"Master William--Master William, there is a gentleman below in
the drawing-room wishes to speak to you."

There was no reply; and after some running about, the girl returned to
say, that Master William had gone out without her knowing it. As she
spoke, however, there was a knock at the door, and, exclaiming, "Oh!
there he is!" she ran down to open it.

Morley Ernstein remained in the middle of the drawing-room, with the
door partly unclosen, so as to allow him to hear the murmur of voices
in the passage below, and the moment after, some light foot-steps
ascending the stairs. They were not the steps of a man, and ere he
could ask himself, "What next?" the door of the room opened wide, and
a young lady entered the room, whose appearance answered too well the
description which had been given, for him to doubt that she was the
late possessor of the diamond ear-rings.

She seemed to be about nineteen; and, both in features and figure, was
exceedingly beautiful. Dressed in mourning, there could be no bright
colours in her apparel, but every garment was so arranged as
tastefully to suit the other; and the whole was in the very best
style, if not absolutely from the hands of the most fashionable
dressmaker. Yet all was plain--there was nothing at all superfluous;
and, indeed, her beauty required it not. The luxuriant dark hair
clustered under the close bonnet, and contrasted finely with the pure,
fair skin, warmed by a bright blush, like that of a rose, which one
could hardly believe that the air of London would leave long
unwithered. The large and dark, but soft eyes, spoke mind and feeling
too; though there was an occasional flash of brightness in them, which
seemed to say, that mirth had not always been so completely banished
as it seemed at this moment. The whole face looked but the more lovely
from the darkness of her garb; and the beautiful small foot and ancle
were certainly not displayed to disadvantage in the tight-fitting
black silk stockings and well-made shoe. She bowed distantly to
Morley, as she entered the room, with a look that expressed no sort of
pleasure, adding--"The servant tells me, sir, that you wish to see my
brother. He will be here in five minutes; for I left him only at a
little distance, at a shop where he wanted to purchase something. Will
you not sit down?"

She pointed coldly to a chair, and as she spoke, began removing the
drawings from the table; but Morley replied--"Perhaps I had better
return again; I fear I interrupt you."

The lady looked up with an air of hesitation--

"Indeed, sir," she said, after a moment's pause, "I do not know well
how to reply to you. My brother will be angry, perhaps, if I say what
I think, and yet--"

Morley was not a little surprised at this unfinished reply, and he
answered, with interest, which, it is not to be denied, was increasing
every moment under all he heard and saw--

"Pray explain yourself, madam. I think you must be under some mistake;
but at all events, your brother cannot be made angry by what you say;
for of course, unless you desire it, I shall never repeat it to him,
or to any one."

"Well then, sir," she said, gravely and sadly, "I was going to say,
however rude and harsh you may think it, that I certainly would rather
that you did not wait for my brother, and cannot but hope that he may
be absent also when you come again."

Morley smiled at this very strange reception, but still he could not
help thinking that there was some mistake. "Indeed, Miss Barham." he
replied, "this is so unexpected and extraordinary, that I rather
believe you are in error regarding me."

"Oh, no!" replied the lady in the same tone; "his description, sir,
was very accurate. Are you not Mr. Neville?"

"Oh, no!" answered Morley, with a smile, "my name is Morley Ernstein,
and I came with a view of doing your brother good and not harm."

"Ernstein!" she cried, starting with a wild look of joy and
satisfaction. "Morley Ernstein! Oh! then you are the gentleman whose
name was to the draft! It was you who bought the diamonds, then; but
my brother told me he had not seen you--that it was through a third
person--" and she blushed deeply as she spoke.

"He said true, miss Barham," replied Morley; "it was through another
person, but from that other person I learnt something of your own and
your brother's situation, in explanation of the cause for which the
diamonds were sold."

"Oh! they should not have told all that!" murmured the young lady.
"How did they know it? It was sad enough to sell them at all!" and her
eyes filled with tears.

"I made the inquiry," said Morley; "and came here, believe me, without
any intention of obtruding myself upon your confidence, but simply
with the intention of seeing your brother, and ascertaining whether
anything could be done for him. But now I am here," he added, "may I
venture to ask who is this Mr. Neville for whom you took me? I hope I
do not presume too far."

"O no, sir," she answered, with a faint smile, accompanied by another
deep blush--"if you were aware, sir, of all that you have done by
giving that sum for the ear-rings, you would feel that you have a
claim to ask such a question. I do not know this Mr. Neville; my
brother says he is a man of fortune, but I do not believe it. I know,
however, that he has led William into sad extravagance, that he and
his companions have ruined him, and that William has ruined me,
leaving me literally destitute, till your kindly taking those trinkets
at a price I am afraid too high, has set me free from the difficulty
that pressed upon me."

It may well be believed, that a young man of one-and-twenty, with a
heart not the coldest in the world, began to feel some sensations of
satisfaction at having met with the sister rather than the brother,
notwithstanding all the good resolutions he had previously made.

"I have the ear-rings with me now," said Morley; "you will easily
understand that I had no object in buying such things but to afford a
little assistance where it seemed needful. I am aware that it has
caused you much pain to part with these jewels. You must take them
again, and keep the money as a loan, till such time as it is quite
convenient for you or your brother to pay me;" and taking out of his
pocket the little case which he had previously sealed up, he offered
to return it.

The fair girl drew back, however, though not without a look of
pleasure.

"Oh, no!" she answered, "I cannot take them. You must excuse me--I do
not borrow money of--of--."

"Of a stranger you would say," said Morley. "But surely, miss Barham,
that objection may soon cure itself. When you know me better----."

"Ah, then," she replied, "perhaps I might feel differently; but now,
I cannot, indeed--besides, if my brother knew----."

"Would he be angry?" demanded Morley, thinking; "if such were the
case, the youth would be more scrupulous than had been represented."

"Oh, no!" answered the young lady; "but he would think--he would--he
would--I cannot explain myself," she added. "But before he comes, let
me express my deep sense of your generosity and kindness, sir. It is
what one so seldom meets with, that it touches me the more."

"Nay, then," said Morley, "shew that you do not reject it by keeping
these trinkets. I have no use for them--I can do nothing with them;
the money that I gave will never even be missed in my banker's
account; and, as I said before, you or your brother can pay me when
you can find it convenient. My object in coming here today," he added,
"was to see what could be done for him; and, as I was prepared to find
him somewhat wild and thoughtless, what you have said concerning him
has not surprised me. If I can befriend him, however, I will; but
whatever may result from this visit between him and me, let me, at all
events, be considered as a friend by you, Miss Barham."

"You have acted like one, indeed, this day!" she answered, with the
tears rising in her eyes.

"Well, then," said Morley, "as the first proof that you regard me as
such, take these things back: they only embarrass me."

As he spoke, there was another loud knock at the door, and before the
quick step, which was instantly heard on the staircase, had reached
the room, Morley had placed the little case in Miss Barham's hand, and
she had received it with evident confusion and hesitation. The next
moment the door opened wide, and a young man, scarcely of eighteen
years of age, entered quickly, with his long and shining, but somewhat
dishevelled hair, tossed loosely about a face, quick and intelligent
enough, but bearing an expression both wild and cunning. His
complexion was very different from that of his sister, for he was very
pale and sallow, and there was a certain look of premature dissipation
about him, which is not easily to be mistaken.

"Here is Neville, Helen!" he exclaimed, as he entered; but the instant
his eyes lighted upon Morley Ernstein, he started, and looked both
surprised and annoyed.

Ere anything more could pass, however, a slower step was heard
mounting the staircase, and through the door, which the youth had left
open behind him, appeared a fashionably-dressed man coming up with an
air of easy nonchalance, as if he were entering the abode of people
very much below him, looking at his boot, which he tapped occasionally
with his cane, and not raising his eyes in the slightest degree
towards the drawing-room--though the door, as I have said, was
open--till he was upon the very threshold. When he did look up,
however, and saw the figure of Morley Ernstein standing exactly
opposite to him, he started, with an appearance of even greater
surprise than had been shewn by the brother of Miss Barham; and at the
same time his brow contracted, and his eye flashed, in a way that he
seemed to think very imposing, for it was evident that his whole
demeanour had much preparation in it.

Morley, in the meantime, could hardly suppress a smile, at seeing the
man for whom he had been mistaken, and who had been described as so
much like himself. This Mr. Neville was certainly not less than
fifteen or sixteen years older; he was shorter, too, by two or three
inches, not nearly so powerful in make, and though dressed in the very
extreme of the fashion, which, in that day, was somewhat extravagant
in itself, he wanted that easy tone and indescribable grace which
marks the gentleman, both in mind and in station.

The feelings of Miss Barham, however, were evidently anything but
pleasant, and it was with some satisfaction that Morley saw her draw
in a slight degree nearer to himself, as her brother and his companion
entered. All the parties gazed upon each other for a moment in
silence; but the very first words which were spoken, and which
proceeded from the lips of Mr. Neville, at once showed Morley that the
fable of the borrowed plumes might be acted in real life. "I say,
Barham!" he exclaimed--"what is all this, my boy?"

Morley might perhaps have felt himself a little awkward at being found
alone with Miss Barham, by any high-toned man of his own class; it
might have produced an instant shyness--an uncertainty as to whether
he should explain the circumstance or not; but the words, the manner,
and the voice of the worthy who now entered, at once set him at his
ease.

"Mr. Barham," he said, "I called here to speak a few words to you,
but as I find you are occupied, I shall take another opportunity."

"And pray, sir, who may you be?" demanded Mr. Neville, not suffering
the young man to reply.

"I really do not know, sir," said Morley Ernstein, looking at him from
head to foot, with a contemptuous air, "why I should answer you any
questions, until I know who it is that presumes to put them to me."

"My name is Neville, sir--my name is Neville," exclaimed the other;
"have you anything to say to that?"

"Nothing at all, sir," replied Morley, "as my business does not lie
with Mr. Neville, but with Mr. Barham."

"But I am Mr. Barham's friend, sir," said Mr. Neville, "and he does
not seem to know you any more than I do. I am Mr. Barham's friend, I
say."

"I am very sorry to hear it," replied Morley, calmly, though provoked;
"for, from all I can see, your acquaintance does not seem likely to be
advantageous to him."

"Oh, sir! oh!" exclaimed the other, with a furious look--"now, I
insist upon having your card. I will have satisfaction, sir--I will
have satisfaction."

"Nay, my dear young lady," said Morley, gently passing Miss Barham,
who was endeavouring to interpose; "I understand this gentleman, and
you do not.--I never give my card, sir, to people that I do not know.
If you are the sort of person I take you to be, such satisfaction as a
horsewhip may give, you shall command. If you be not such a personage,
and prove the fact to my conviction, I will either make you an
apology, or meet you in the way that you require. Stand out of the
way, sir, for I am very likely, at this moment, to throw you from the
top of the stairs to the bottom. Mr. Barham, I much wish to have a few
words of conversation with you, and if you could make it convenient to
call upon me to night, at Thomas's, in Berkeley-square, towards seven
o'clock, I should be glad to see you. You will ask for Sir Morley
Ernstein. Miss Barham, I shall have the honour of paying my respects
to you on another occasion."

"Missed fire, by Jove!"--exclaimed Mr. Neville, as Morley descended
the stairs, opened the door, and beckoned to his cabriolet, which was
wandering up and down the street--"I say, what's to be done now? That
bird's worth plucking, and you are a fool if you don't do it. I must
have a feather, too, if it can be managed--but pray, introduce me to
your sister. Miss Barham, how do you do?"

Miss Barham drew back. "I must beg to decline the introduction, sir,"
she said; "I have no inclination to make your acquaintance; I told
William so, this morning, and he might have saved me the pain of
seeing you here, as his only pretext was an appointment to meet you,
and it seems that you had joined each other before you came in."

"Hey! how is this, Barham?" exclaimed the other; "I thought you had
talked to her about it all."

"So I did," replied William Barham; "but she is foolish. I tell you
what, Helen; this wont do--you don't know what you are about; and it
is all nonsense, too, because you have often told me about such things
that--"

"It will so far do, William," replied Helen Barham, interrupting him,
"that I will beg you will leave me my rooms to myself. If you do not,
I must take means to free myself from society I do not like."

Thus saying, she passed through the door leading into another chamber,
and was heard to lock it behind her.

"Leave me with her, Neville," said her brother--"leave me with her; I
will bring her to, and will join you in an hour at Williams's."

"Well, mind you!" cried the other, somewhat sternly--"remember, my
lad, I have got my thumb upon you!" and uttering these words, Mr.
Neville marched out of the room. As soon as the door of the house
closed upon him, the youth knocked gently at that of his sister's
room. "Helen!" he exclaimed; "Helen!--he is gone. Do come out and
speak to me, there is a dear girl!"

Helen Barham did come out; but her eyes were red with tears. "Oh,
William!" she said, "I wonder you are not ashamed to see me----"

"Nonsense, Helen," he cried, "I have often heard you laugh at idle
prejudices."

"Fie--fie!" she continued, not attending to him; "to wish to sell
your sister to such a being as that! I did say that there is nothing I
would not do to save you from destruction, but--oh! William----"

"Well, then, Helen," he said, "this is the only way of saving me from
destruction."

"Not now, William," she exclaimed, "not now! The money which you got
for the ear-rings will do for some time, surely; and before that is
spent, I may get some other means of keeping myself and you."

"You will never get enough to keep us comfortably," replied the youth;
"and as to that, it does not matter whether you do or not; I tell you,
the only way to save me from destruction, is----"

"Is by my own, you would say," replied his sister.

"Stuff and nonsense!" answered her brother; "they never hang people
for that, Helen; and I tell you, that man could hang me, or very near
it, if he chose."

The face of Helen Barham turned as pale as death, and she sank into a
chair without any reply, gazing in her brother's countenance, with
silent agony, for several moments.

"It is true, Helen," said her brother, doggedly, and setting his teeth
hard, "it is true what I tell you."

"Whoever heard of such horror!" exclaimed Helen Barham. "The brother
would sell his sister, to be the mistress of a low-bred, horrible
villain; and that villain would hang the brother, if the sister will
not consent to her own destruction. Is that it, William?"

"Not exactly," replied the youth; "you twist the matter which way you
please, Helen. I said he could hang me if he liked, not that he would;
and as for the rest, Helen, I don't sell you. I only want you to do
the best for yourself, and for me too. You can never get enough by
teaching, to keep me or you either. You are fond enough of fine
clothes, I can tell you; and here's a man will give you as many as you
want. He will settle five hundred a-year on you, just as if you were
his wife. He can't marry you, you know, because he is married
already."

"Hush! hush! hush!" cried Helen Barham, stopping her ears "hush! and
leave me. Do not make me hate myself! What did I ever say, William, to
make you think that I would become any man's mistress for fine
clothes?"

"No," replied her brother, "but I have heard you say that marriage is
love; that a man and woman who have promised themselves to each other,
ought to consider themselves just as much married as if all the
ceremonies in the world had passed between them."

Helen hid her eyes in her hands, saying, "I have been very foolish,
William, and I have talked wildly; but you have misunderstood
me--sadly, too. I meant, that they had never a right to break that
promise. Love!--can you talk to me of love with such a man as that?"

"Why, I suppose, then, you are in love with the other I found here,"
said her brother. "Pray, what was he doing here with you alone?--What
is it he wants with me, too?"

"He wants," exclaimed Helen, her face brightening up with renewed
hope--"he wants to save you, William; he wants to aid you--to deliver
you, if you will let him. Go to him, William--go to him; tell him the
whole--tell him all the truth, and, I am sure, if it be in the power
of man to help you, he will. He is generous and kind; and came here
for the purpose of assisting you; he came not to see me; but the man
from whom he bought the diamonds told him something about you, and he
came on purpose to offer you aid."

"That old fool, Higgins, has made a blunder," said the youth,
thoughtfully; "I'll go and call upon him, Helen, and see if anything
can be got out of him; but, as to telling him the whole, you do not
think me such a fool, do you, to put my neck in two men's power,
because it happens to be in that of one? You seem to be mightily
smitten with him, Helen; and perhaps might not object to the
arrangement there, eh? But, I'll tell you what--that wont do, my lady.
Neville's the man, depend upon it; and I insist that you treat him
civilly, at least. For to-day, I must quiet matters down as well as I
can, but to-morrow I shall bring him here to tea."

Helen Barham again burst into tears, and in that state the youth left
her. But ere half an hour was over, Mr. Neville was again in the
house, and, passing by the maid, he entered the drawing-room
unannounced, saying, he "only wanted to speak two words to Miss
Barham." He certainly was not long with her, and what he said was in a
low tone, for the maid, who was not at all inquisitive, could not
catch the words through the keyhole of the door. In less than a minute
and a half, he quitted the house again, and the maid looked at him
from the parlour-window, as he mounted a beautiful horse and rode
away. The moment after, she heard something heavy fall in the room
above, and running up, found Helen Barham lying senseless on the
floor.



CHAPTER IX.


I a not fond of scenes of low vice; I love not to dwell upon them.
Although in endeavouring to form for myself a just estimate of human
nature, to learn, for the sake of comparing them, the effects produced
upon the mind of man by every station of life, and every earthly
pursuit, I have visited the haunts of the low and the guilty, and
mingled, for a brief season, with the profligate, the criminal, and
the base, in many of the countries that my feet have trod, yet I look
back upon such moments, and such scenes, as a physician may be
supposed to look back upon the lazar-house and the plague-hospital,
whither he has gone for instruction, but which he recollects with
horror and with pain.

What was very justly said, by a man who had made acquaintance,
actuated by no evil views, with that most miserable class of
beings--the fallen women of a great city--that "each carries a tragedy
about with her," may well be said of the criminals who every day
expose themselves to fresh punishment by fresh crimes. It is not,
indeed, with the latter as with the other unhappy beings I have just
mentioned, that there is always a fund of broken hopes and lost
affections and crushed sensibilities; for man, made of sterner stuff,
often strides on rapidly into evil by his own choice, and corrupts
himself with his eyes open. With men the tragedy is not enacted in
their own heart; it is amongst parents, relations, friends--amongst
those who have built up their hopes and loves upon a being who shakes
them all to the ground, and leaves scarcely a ruin standing. But even
were it not for this--were the criminal alone in all the world--had he
disappointed no father's brightest wishes--had broken no mother's
heart had he never scattered dismay and sorrow round the fond domestic
hearth, nor cast the shadow of the Upas on the hearts of brothers and
sisters, surely the degradation of high intellect, the debasement of
all man's powers, corporeal and mental, the extinction of bright
innocence, the condemnation of an immortal spirit, are tragic acts,
enough to wring the heart of even the sternest when he beholds crime.
It is the apathy of age, the deadened sense of habit, or the levity of
youth, that enable us all to walk almost indifferent through scenes,
where, every day, sorrow, and sin, and destruction, are taking hold of
beings like ourselves.

The character of Morley Ernstein, as I have before depicted it, will
enable the reader to judge easily of the feelings with which he
visited, in company with Mr. Higgins, one of the nocturnal meetings of
a body of notorious criminals. The eager and impetuous part of his
nature was, for the time, predominant; and the spirit of adventure
which the act implied, heightened by a change of dress, with which the
worthy pawnbroker had furnished him, and the novelty of the whole
scene, made him feel amused rather than otherwise, and caused him to
forget altogether the more painful aspect of that which was before his
eyes.

I will not dwell upon all that took place, though, for reasons which
will be seen hereafter, it is necessary to touch upon these events in
some degree. Suffice it to say, that Mr. Higgins introduced his young
friend, pledged himself for his _honesty_, and bestowed such
commendations upon him as the society and the circumstances required.
Morley, not very many years before, had been at a public school,
where, amongst other branches of learning, nothing is acquired more
thoroughly than the art of making one's way in every sort of male
society. On this occasion he gave himself up to the impulse of the
moment, and, without affecting to talk their slang, or imitate their
manners, he soon found himself highly popular amongst the ruffians by
whom he was surrounded. There was a blithe jollity about them, which,
probably, nothing but utter recklessness of all that others hold dear
could produce; and one of the men in particular, whom the rest called
Harry Martin, had a gay, good-humoured frankness; a daring, insolent,
but cheerful merriment, which Morley could very well conceive might
prove not a little engaging to persons of his own class. Martin also
seemed struck and amused with Morley, laughed with him, talked with
him, tried to make him drink, and, not being successful, had many a
joke at his puny habits, even while he evidently admired his
self-command.

After having remained with these men for about an hour, Morley
perceived a note brought in, or rather a scrap of paper, for it was
not doubled up into the form of a letter, which, being handed to Harry
Martin, he replied--"Oh, very well;" and pushed it over to Higgins. A
momentary consultation ensued, and then a youth of about two or three
and twenty was singled out, and placed at the top of the table, when
Martin, pulling out a handsome gold watch, remarked, aloud--

"It is now half-past nine, gentlemen; and this is our friend, Billy
Barham."

Morley Ernstein stared. Although the name was similar, there was not
the least resemblance in the world, between the Billy Barham before
his eyes, and the William Barham whom he had seen in the morning.
However, everything went on as before; Billy Barham laughing,
drinking, and talking with the rest, and his friends around always
taking especial care to address him by his two names.

After a certain space of time, Morley found the scene begin to grow
tiresome. It was not exactly what he had expected; there was less
distinctive character about it than he had imagined he should find;
very little, indeed, to bring away, or which could bear in any degree
upon views of philosophy, or serve the purposes of instruction. He
accordingly gave Higgins, who sat next to him, the signal that had
been agreed upon, as indicating his wish to depart.

"Stay a bit, sir," whispered Higgins--"stay a bit. We mustn't go yet,
the time's not up."

Morley accordingly remained, till Higgins informed him that they might
go, adding, in the same low tone--"You'll pay for the lush, I
suppose."

"Oh, yes!" replied Morley; but, upon putting his hand into his pocket,
where he had left a few sovereigns for accidental expenses, he found
that they had disappeared. He uttered not a word, however, in regard
to his suspicions, though he saw the eyes of Higgins, Martin, and one
or two others upon him at the moment.

"Come, Mr. Higgins," he said, "you know me well enough to trust me.
You pay the reckoning for us all, for I have forgot to bring any
money."

"That's a hearty, now!" cried Martin, tossing down the sovereigns upon
the table--"they've been handed up to me; but I wouldn't take them
from such a fellow, for my little finger."

"Well then," said Morley, leaving them on the table--"let all that is
over the reckoning, be spent by the party, and so good night to you
all."

"We'll drink your health, sir!" cried one of the persons present, and
with such benediction, Morley and Higgins were suffered to depart.

"And now, Mr. Higgins," said Morley, as, after treading a great number
of narrow streets, they entered King-street, Covent Garden--"pray,
tell me, was that young man's name--I mean the one they took up to the
top of the table--really William Barham, as well as the youth you
mentioned to me yesterday?"

"Lord bless you!--no, sir," replied Higgins, "no more than yours!"

"Then, why did they call him so?" demanded Morley Ernstein.

"Why, that's a bit of a secret, sir," replied Higgins; "but, however,
I don't mind telling you; and now, let me see how I can manage to make
you understand. You know something of an alibi already, I think, sir.
Well, you see, many a good witness might be caught tripping, if he
were to come into court with a story told him by another: and so, when
we know that any one is upon the lay, or have notice given us that
something's going on, where such and such men that we know may chance
to put themselves in need of an alibi, we call one or two of the
fellows present, by the names of the men that are out, and talk to
them all night as such. Then every man that is there present, can
swear with a safe conscience, that he saw Billy Barham, or any one
else, at this house or that, and he can swear to the place, and name
what was said, and be quite sure that if any one else is called he
will swear to the same likewise; so that there can be no contradicting
oneself or one another. That's the way we get up an alibi. So, you
see, to-night some one sent in to say that Billy Barham was out upon
some job; and though he did not tell us himself, we did the thing just
out of kindness to him, because he's a  young hand. But it wont do,
sir; he'll get pulled up some of these days! He is going it a great
deal too fast."

"I should think so, indeed," said Morley; "and, pray, Mr. Higgins,
who is a personage named Neville?"

"Oh, sir," replied Higgins, "Neville was what we call a _prime swell_;
he's getting a little bit down now, but I can recollect the time when
his line of business was altogether on the race-course, and at certain
houses in the neighbourhood of St. James's. Then he took to getting
money by lending it, and as long as he kept to pianoforte selling, and
all that, it did very well; but he was fool enough to let a story get
into the papers, about his filching some bills, and though the
serjeant cleared him of that cleverly, it blowed him a great deal.
Then he got horsewhipped one day, and shewed a little bit of the white
feather, and that did him no good with any party. But, if you are
asking because of what happened this morning, I can put you up to all
that in no time."

"Indeed!" said Morley. "Then you have heard all about this morning's
business, it seems."

"To be sure!" replied Higgins. "The stupid young fool came to me
to-night, about six o'clock, or so, and told me the whole; so I shewed
him that Neville would never do for his sister, and told him what I
wanted to make up for her. I said to him: 'There's Sir Morley
Ernstein, he may do very well, if you like, and what he promises he'll
keep; but as for Neville, he may have a hundred pounds in his pocket
to-day, and not twopence to-morrow; and as for his doing what he says
he will, even when he can, there's no use in trusting to that.' We
know him well enough--Master Neville. He's not a man of honour, sir."

A new light was beginning to shine upon Morley Ernstein; he was now,
indeed, seeing human existence, under a fresh aspect; he was too young
to be suspicious, but yet he had heard a good deal of the world, if he
had not mingled with it much; and the horrible scheme of villany and
vice, of which the reader is already aware, but which now first broke
upon him, made him ask himself, which were the agents, which the
victims, in the sad affair wherein he had himself become so suddenly
and unexpectedly a participator? or, was he alone the object of this
nefarious arrangement? Was Helen Barham, beautiful and high-minded as
she seemed, but a light woman, seeking for some new paramour; or was
she in reality what she appeared, and a mere victim to be immolated by
the criminal selfishness of her brother? He paused then, for several
minutes, without making any answer; he was, in fact, putting on his
armour, if one may so call it, finding himself suddenly attacked in a
manner that he did not expect. Accordingly, after some silence, he
replied, "Well, Mr. Higgins, I think you spoke quite reasonably. She
is a very beautiful girl, certainly. Pray, who did she live with
last?"

"No, sir; no," said Mr. Higgins, with more warmth than Morley had
expected. "She never lived with anybody that I know of--no, I'm sure
she hasn't--but I'll tell you the plain truth of the matter. I have
been given to understand, that you are a gentleman that wants to see
life; now you know very well, sir, that young gentlemen that set out
upon that lay, make a point, in the first place, of picking up some
lady. Well, sir, what I've got to say is no bad compliment to you,
either. I had seen this youth--this William Barham--almost every day,
for the last three or four months; and I had heard all about his
sister from him, and how she had laboured to support him in his wild
ways. Well, sir, I found that now, having pawned or sold everything he
had in the world, and almost everything she had, too, and done a great
many other things besides, which we wont talk about, he was determined
to sell his sister at last to some one. So, sir, when I saw you, and
heard you talk, I thought that you were one who, if you did take the
young lady, would not treat her as some men do, but, if some time you
liked to marry, and part with her, would provide for her handsomely.
It was that made me put you up quietly to go into that house."

"A very hopeful scheme, indeed!" said Morley. "But it seems to me, my
good friend, that this youth, who is, evidently, as hopeless a
scapegrace as ever cut a purse, or trod the drop, has other views for
his sister."

"Ay, sir; he's a bad one," answered Mr. Higgins. "He's one that will
come to no good. He might have been in a very genteel way of business,
if he had liked it, without any risk either; but there's no keeping
him steady, and he's got into bad hands that don't care how soon they
ruin the young man altogether, provided they screen themselves."

The moralizing vein of Mr. Higgins might, in some degree, have
surprised Morley Ernstein, had he not thought that there was something
equivocal in the good gentleman's expressions, and that, perhaps, what
he termed a genteel way of business, might be neither more nor less
than gambling, swindling, or thieving dexterously, and that the more
dangerous courses to which he alluded, might only be crimes easy of
detection. Mr. Higgins went on, however, after a moment's pause,
saying--"I can't help thinking, that young scoundrel has got himself
entangled with Neville, in a way that he'll not easily, break through;
Neville's got a string round his foot, I have a notion."

"I do not understand exactly what you mean," replied Morley.

"Why, I mean, sir," replied Higgins, "that the fellow has got Bill to
do something which might swing him, if Neville were to peach. I don't
know what it is, either; but I could soon know, if I liked."

"Well, then," answered Morley, "I wish you would like, and let me
know; and if ten pounds or so will get at the matter, I should not
mind giving it, though you know very well that I would not use the
information to the young man's harm."

"Oh, I understand, sir, what you want," replied Higgins, while at one
comprehensive view he saw every possible use that a gentleman,
situated as Sir Morley Ernstein was, could make of the intelligence he
was desirous of obtaining; and, remaining perfectly satisfied that the
object was to frustrate Neville, and at once to put brother and
sister into his own power, he repeated, with greater emphasis than
before,--"Oh, I understand, sir--I understand!"

"You will almost always find me, Mr. Higgins," said Morley, "at about
six o'clock, when I come home to dress for dinner; and, of course, I
need not say that I should like the information as soon as possible."

"You shall have it, sir--you shall have it," replied Higgins, "if not
to-morrow night, for certain, the night after."

"So be it, then," replied Morley; "good night! Mr. Higgins;" and
taking his way homeward, he left his worthy companion to pursue his
path to the shop.



CHAPTER X.


At the hour of ten, on the following morning, Morley Ernstein sat at
breakfast with his friend Lieberg. He had come thither in haste, but
as his friend's servant was in the room, he had suffered the cup, the
saucer, the plate, the knife and fork, and every usual implement of
breakfast-eating, to be placed, before he touched upon the subject
which had brought him thither at that hour of the morning. As soon as
all was arranged, and Morley had scanned the whole of the beautiful
china upon the table, each piece of which was worth a Jew's eye--as
soon as the young gentleman himself had reached the middle term of his
first cup of coffee--as soon as some very thin broiled ham, and some
excellent caviare, looking like all the black eyes of a harem put
together, had been handed round--as soon, in short, as the servant,
having no pretext for staying longer, had retired from the room,
Morley Ernstein threw an open note across to Colonel Lieberg,
saying--"There, my dear Count, I have taken the liberty of referring
my gallant correspondent to yourself, though I fear it may make you
get up to-morrow an hour or two earlier than usual."

Lieberg read it, and smiled. "That will be exactly as you please,
Ernstein," he replied. "Of course, you are aware that it is not the
least necessary for you to fight that man, unless you like it."

"Oh, I will fight him, certainly!" replied Morley, "as a matter of
course. Having told him I would horsewhip him, or something
equivalent, I will not refuse to fight him, especially as he seems to
have got a friend to stand by him."

"You mean this Captain Stallfed," said Lieberg; "who writes you the
note? The greatest rascal in Europe, my dear Morley, except Neville
himself! the one a common swindler, the other a blackleg, of the very
lowest character. Nevertheless, I think you are very right, for
several reasons. In the first place, every man should do a thing once
or twice in his life, just to get over the novelty of it, and to see
what it is like--a duel, as well as every thing else. In the next
place, having made up your mind to fight somebody, you could not
choose anybody better to fire at than Neville. Whether you hit him or
miss him, your conduct may well be regarded as philanthropical. If you
kill him, the benefit to society at large will be immense; if you miss
him, you restore to him a rag of that reputation which was never
otherwise than in a very tattered condition, and of which there is not
now a scrap left. Then, again, my dear Morley, as you are known to be
a gentleman and a man of honour, and I am known to be a man of the
world, with a tolerable portion of respectability also, your fighting
Neville, with Stallfed for his second, will be considered as the
surest proof that you are resolved to fight anybody and everybody that
asks you, as nothing could justify such a proceeding except that
resolution. This will have the effect of sparing you the chance of
twenty duels in times to come; for, depend upon it, in this brave
world of ours, the reputation of a readiness to fight keeps a man
clear of a thousand petty insults and annoyances. There is one thing,
however, which I very much doubt--namely, that these men will ever
give us the meeting at all."

"That is their affair," answered Morley; "the honour of fighting this
man, I can assure you, Lieberg, is not what I can desire; but, of
course, one must either make up one's mind to meet a man, or set a
great guard upon one's tongue towards him."

"I do not know that there is any 'or' in the question, Ernstein,"
replied Lieberg; "with such a man as this, indeed, there are twenty
alternatives--kicking, horsewhipping, throwing out of the window,
sending him to Marlborough-street. But with any other sort of person,
there is nothing to be done but fighting when he asks you, for a man
of courage and a gentleman."

"I differ with you, Lieberg," said Morley. "I can easily conceive, that
the man who upon principle refuses to fight a person to whom he gave
no reasonable cause for offence, may be both a man of courage and a
gentleman; but the man who chooses to give rein to his tongue against
another man, and then refuses to fight him, can be nothing but a
coward; and, therefore, though this Mr. Neville be a scamp, I will not
baulk him of his humour."

"You will sadly disappoint him," answered Lieberg; "or, depend upon
it, he calculates upon your dislike to meet such a man as he is, and
hopes to make something of it, either as a salve for a sore
reputation, or a plaster for a broken purse. But come, Ernstein, pray
explain to me, if there be no secret in it, how you were brought in
contact with this very reputable personage. You really must have been
making your way in the world."

Morley Ernstein found more difficulty in replying to Lieberg's
question than he anticipated. Between one-and-twenty, and seven or
eight-and-twenty, there is an extraordinary gap, a vaster space, at
least in general, than is to be found betwixt any other two periods of
life, with a similar interval of years. That gap is filled by the
curious thing called experience--a sort of vapour, through which we
see every object under a totally different aspect on the one side of
the space and the other--a smoke, raised from the burning of a great
bonfire, formed partly of certain weeds called hopes, enthusiasms,
confidences, expectations, and partly of certain withered sticks,
round which these weeds were accustomed to cling not ungracefully
--called illusions. To the eyes on the one side of this gap--I mean the
youthful one--a person standing on the other side seems so far off,
that it is scarcely possible for them to reach the hand unto them; and
such was the case with Morley Ernstein and Lieberg. That gap, and
perhaps more, was between them, and Morley was afraid that Lieberg
could not or would not understand him: or, to resume the figure
which I have twisted this way and that--somewhat too often,
perhaps--already, he was afraid of giving up to him any of those
flowering weeds whereof I have spoken--those enthusiasms, hopes, and
confidences--lest he should cast them down and burn them in the
bonfire of experience.

That part of the affair which related to Helen Barham he did not like
to mention to one whose views were formed in a different school from
his own. He knew not what might be Lieberg's comments, what his
inferences, what he might say, what he might suspect; and there is
nothing that a young and high mind shrinks so timidly from as
suspicion; it is the cowardice of a generous heart. As the matter was
to be told, however, for he could not very well avoid it, he spoke
with his wonted candour of the whole affair, related the manner in
which the situation of Helen Barham and her brother had first been
brought to his knowledge, his interview with her, and the subsequent
conversation which he had had with good Mr. Higgins. But the demeanour
of Lieberg was very different from that which he had expected. Not a
smile appeared upon his lip which could have alarmed a heart the most
sensible to ridicule; not a word passed from his tongue which could
shock one feeling in Morley's breast. He listened in perfect silence,
with his eyes bent gravely on the ground, and remained without
answering for some moments after the other had done speaking.

"This is a curious and interesting history," he said, at length; "and
has some of the strangest points in it that I know of. Many men in
London, who practically know as much of its ways as I do, but who
perhaps have not speculated upon them quite so philosophically as I
have, at least, tried to do, would conclude that a story thus told to
a young and inexperienced man of fortune, by a mere 'fence,' as they
call such fellows as Higgins, must be a trumped-up tale for the
purpose of cheating; the woman a loose woman, the boy a swindler, and
the man Neville merely brought in to give greater effect to the scene.
But I know better than this, Morley, and can very well conceive the
whole story to be true. Those who see a great deal of London will
find, if they do but take the trouble to investigate the matter
impartially, that even in the innermost recesses of vice and iniquity,
mingling with all that is wicked and bad in the very hearts of men
given up to various sorts of crime, there are peculiar virtues, good
qualities, bursts of feeling, touches of generosity, and even of
truth, which lie, like the jewels of Golconda, diamonds amongst mud,
or grow, like some of our most beautiful plants, from a soil formed of
filth and corruption. Do not misunderstand me: I do not mean to make
heroes of pickpockets and swindlers, forgers and housebreakers; but I
mean to say, that in the very blackest of them there is some good
point, some virtues carried to a high pitch--some which, perhaps I
might say, are almost peculiar to the hearts of vice. Many a man who
risks his life daily to take the money of another will give his own as
freely as water to one of his fellows in distress. The tenderness, I
have heard, with which some of the most abandoned women in Europe will
nurse a sick friend, is quite extraordinary; and a strong and active
feeling for sorrow and distress of every kind, is, I know, very much
more common amongst ruffians than amongst the pampered men of
pleasure. I can thus very well conceive that this good man, Higgins,
might be touched by compassion for the situation of this poor girl,
and lay out the plan that he says he has done, thinking it the very
best thing for her and for you too, in which, perhaps, he is right."

Lieberg's last words were spoken calmly, deliberately, and
thoughtfully; and not the most learned argumentations in favour of
licentiousness would have been calculated to produce such a
demoralizing effect as the deliberate matter-of-course manner in which
he gave them utterance. It at once, in the very fewest possible words,
and with the least possible shock, placed before the mind of Morley
Ernstein the idea of seducing Helen Barham, and keeping her as a
mistress, in the light of something not at all evil, and perhaps
right; a thing to be considered, simply in regard to its convenience
and expediency, without the slightest reference in the world to the
morality or immorality of the transaction. Morley did not reply, but
remained with his eyes thoughtfully fixed upon the floor, meditating
over what he had just heard, and asking himself, it must be confessed,
whether there is really an absolute right and wrong in such matters,
or not. It is the most dangerous question that youth can ask itself,
not because it is difficult to answer--not because there should be any
doubt or hesitation on the subject. It is because passion not only
raises the voice against reason, but is sure to reiterate the same
demand a thousand times in every life, and often--too often, waits for
no reply.

"You must see your way in the business clearly, Ernstein," continued
his friend, "and make very sure that you are not deceived in the
girl's character; but I am inclined to think with you, that she is
what she appears. However, one or two interviews will easily enable
you to ascertain the fact. Art never yet looked so like nature to
deceive an eye sharpened by doubt and in a reasonable head."

"I shall most likely never see her again," replied Morley, "and
therefore shall have small opportunity of judging."

"Indeed!--and why not?" demanded Lieberg.

"Simply because I think it dangerous," replied Morley. "She is very
beautiful, very graceful, very charming. With such a brother it would
be quite beyond my most romantic ideas to make her my wife; and as to
the other sort of connexion which you speak of, I can conceive a man
being betrayed into it by accident, or rather by a combination of
unfortunate circumstances, but could never dream, for my own part at
least, of sitting down deliberately to plan such a thing. It does not
enter into my scheme of life, Lieberg."

Lieberg laughed.

"I know that I am not without strong passions," continued Morley, "as
well as you do. When I love, it will be vehemently, ardently; and
whatever may be her fortune or station, I will make that woman my wife
if she will become so. It is for this very reason that I do not choose
to run the risk of falling in love with any one that I would not
choose to marry. I shall therefore take care not to visit such
dangerous precincts again."

"Well, if you don't, Ernstein," said Lieberg, "I think I shall."
Morley was mortified. "Perhaps, Lieberg," he replied, "if you do go,
you may not find the opportunity that you expect."

"Nay, nay," answered Lieberg, laughing again; "you have no right to
excite one's compassion for this fair orphan, and then, with a
resolution to abandon her yourself, prevent any other generous man
from showing her his sympathy."

"You mistake me," replied Morley, gravely. "I do not intend to abandon
her myself."

"Why, you said you never intended to see her again!" exclaimed
Lieberg, with surprise.

"I did," replied Morley; "but I intend also, Lieberg, the moment I
quit your house to go to that of my worthy friend, Mr. Hamilton, to
tell him this young lady's story; to beg him, with that prompt
benevolence for which he is famous, to investigate the whole
circumstances, and on my part to do whatever may be necessary to
enable Miss Barham to extricate herself from the situation in which
she is placed. I feel myself lucky in knowing such a man; his years
and character enable him to do what I could not do, and I can trust at
once to his wisdom and to his zealous benevolence."

"You are quite right, Morley," answered Lieberg. "You are acting
generously and well--not perhaps so well for the girl's happiness as
if you had followed the other plan--but at all events, using
self-denial that will do you good, and neither doing yourself nor
making her do anything that is irretrievable. Heaven forbid that I
should interfere for a moment to spoil such a scheme! Every man in
life must calculate which he thinks will procure him the greatest sum
of happiness, keen joys or calm pleasures. One man will argue that the
joys--which undoubtedly are the brighter of the two commodities--are
only followed by those counterbalancing griefs which moralists tell us
of, in consequence of man's subserviency to various foolish prejudices
and unjust regulations in his artificial state of being. Others again
may contend that calm pleasures, though not so brilliant, are more
durable; that they are extended over a greater space; that if a man
obtains many joys and shakes off many griefs by throwing from him the
prejudices of society, on the other hand, the very struggle with those
prejudices is in itself an annoyance equal to the endurance of them
all. I have never calculated the matter very nicely myself, but I
recollect once going to see a fair cousin of mine who, when I went in,
was in the act of giving two of her sons some jelly, or jam, or
something of that kind. The one boy spread it thinly over a large
piece of bread and butter; the other ate it plain all at once; my
cousin, who was a very wise girl as well as a pretty one, let each do
as he liked; and I, who stood by and watched, thought that it was a
good picture and a good lesson of life."

"You mean," said Morley, "that the one boy was the image of the man
who chooses the calmer pleasures spread over the greater space; the
other, the representation of him who gives himself up to the brighter,
but the briefer joys of life?"

"And my cousins's conduct," replied Lieberg, "gave me the lesson of
letting every man do as he likes, and eat his bread and butter as he
pleases. Thus, my dear Morley, I say to you; make up your mind upon
the matter, and do as you think fit, though from all I have seen of
you, I should suspect that there never was a man in this world more
inclined by nature to eat his jam plain."

Morley laughed, and Lieberg added, "At all events, I will not meddle
with your plans. I would not for the world, now I hear that you are
really going to do something to assist the poor girl; my own views
were very indefinite when I spoke of seeing her myself. My general
purpose was merely to free her from her present situation, in whatever
way seemed to me best suited to her own inclinations. However, I leave
the matter in your hands; and now to return to this business of
Neville and Stallfed. When the lesser of the two scoundrels comes to
me, I suppose I am to say that you refuse all apology."

"Except such as can be conveyed by a horsewhip," replied Morley.

"Nay, nay," said Lieberg, "we will not deal in such figures of speech.
I am to name a place and a time of course?"

"The earliest possible," answered Morley. "I do not like such things
hanging over me."

"To-morrow morning then," said Lieberg. "Primrose-hill, half past
five, a pair of my friend Joe's best, with all the improvements, and
we will soon settle Mr. Neville."



CHAPTER XI.


"Is Mr. Hamilton gone into the city yet?" demanded Ernstein, as the
door was opened to him by a servant who knew him well.

"No, Sir Morley," replied the man, with a look which well might be the
harbinger of bad tidings. "Have you not heard, then, that my master
was taken very ill in the middle of the night, and we were obliged to
send for Doctor Warren?"

"No, indeed," answered Morley; "and I am extremely sorry to hear it.
What is the matter, pray?"

There has not been for many years a servant in England who rightly
knew what ailed his master or mistress; whether from a general
indifference to sickness and discomfort in others, or from that want
of sympathy between the two classes, which, under the fostering care
of what we call political institutions, is daily growing up amongst
us, I cannot tell. In former times, the good old blue-bottle--the
faithful serving man, in country or in town, who--very often born on
the estates of the master whom he served--never changed his place
during the course of a long life, but went on respected, from one
station in the household to another, till very likely, loaded with
years, he died in the arms of the grandson of him whom he first
served--he had a personal interest in each sensation of his master,
and watched the looks and words of the physician, to catch his augury
of good or evil. Now, however, when every kitchen in the land is more
or less a debating society, all such individual interests are merged
into considerations of the public weal; and the cosmopolite lackey
changes his place every two years to see the world, with a trembling
apprehension lest the progress of time should produce such a foolish
feeling as attachment towards a master.

The servant of Mr. Hamilton, though a very respectable man, and a good
servant, as the world of London goes--that is to say, some four or
five shades better than an American help--had not the slightest idea
of what was the matter with his master, having only the disagreeable
impression on his mind that he, amongst other servants, had been
called up in the night, and had lost some four or five hours of rest.

"Is Mrs. Hamilton visible?" demanded Morley, finding that no further
information was to be obtained from the man.

"I dare say she is to you, sir," replied the servant; "though she bade
me not admit any one."

"Send up, and ask," said Morley; and the butler at the same moment
appearing, declared that, of course, his mistress would see Sir Morley
Ernstein.

That young gentleman was accordingly shewn into the drawing-room, and
Mrs. Hamilton soon after joining him there, gave him the unpleasant
tidings that his worthy guardian had been attacked by inflammation of
the lungs during the preceding night, and was in a state of imminent
danger. Morley was seriously grieved; for, having long been deprived
of his own father, he looked upon that gentleman in the light of a
parent. He felt also that his loss at the present moment might be far
more disastrous to him than the death of his own father had proved
many years before. Perfect quiet and tranquillity were, of course,
necessary to the invalid, and Morley did not press to see him, though
he felt an eager wish to do so; but turned his steps back towards
Berkeley-square, meditating and sad, with a shadow cast across the
bright thoughts of youth, like that flung upon the gay spring world by
the passing cloud of an April sky.

On entering his own apartments in the hotel, a waiter followed him,
saying, with that sharp, quick tone peculiar to waiters, who always
speak as if there was, not a drawn sword, but a ringing bell hanging
over their heads--"Beg pardon, sir--forgot to tell you a young
gentleman called upon you last night, named Barham--eight o'clock.
Your servant out also--beg pardon, sir note came this morning--somehow
left down stairs till you were gone."

Morley took the note; it was small, neat, well folded, addressed, in a
fine sort of a gossamer hand--"An invitation to dinner," he thought;
but when he opened it, the length at once shewed him he was mistaken.

"How to excuse myself to you, sir, I know not," it ran; "how even to
exculpate myself in my own eyes, for venturing to address a gentleman
almost a stranger to me, with the request that I am about to make. The
only palliation for such conduct is, that in the short moment during
which I saw you, you shewed yourself generous and considerate, and
that you yourself expressed an interest, which could but spring from
noble benevolence, in the wretched boy who has ruined himself, and is
now striving to drag his sister down with him. After you were gone,
and the base man who has helped to destroy him had taken his
departure, I was made acquainted with the terrible secret of his
situation. It is so awful, it is so agonizing to me, that I have
remained all day in a state almost approaching madness, not knowing
how to act, torn by contending feelings, with no one to advise me, and
with no means of deliverance, abhorring my brother's conduct and
views, abhorring the base man that has us in his power, and yet bound,
by natural feeling and long affection, to save, at any risk and at any
sacrifice, the erring being who is still my brother, but seeing no way
of so doing without becoming the victim myself. You said, sir, that
you wished to save him, but, alas! he will not let you with his own
good will. He will seek to make you a prey--to extract money from you;
but he will not tell you the secret which places him in the power of
that horrible man. I am resolved to do so, if I can see you again; and
yet I fear, even by making the request that you would come to me, to
encounter, as perhaps I may deserve, your contempt at the same time as
your pity. Whether such be the case or not, I shall always remember,
with deep thankfulness, your past conduct, and ever remain your
unhappy but grateful servant,

"HELEN BARHAM."


To fly to her at once, to give her every assistance and consolation in
his power, to treat her tenderly, kindly, generously, was the first
impulse of Morley Ernstein, and he obeyed it. He gave one casual
thought as to how he could act most prudently; but Mr. Hamilton's
illness had put all his wisely-constructed schemes to flight. He had
no one to trust to take counsel with, and though, to say truth, he
doubted himself where matters of passion were concerned, but one
course presented itself to his mind at the moment; and without waiting
for aught else than to put on his hat again, he was in the street the
minute after he had read Helen Barham's letter.

It was some time ere he reached her dwelling, and he thus might have
had plenty of space for forethought and deliberation; but men of a
vehement temperament like himself, when approaching any particular
object, occupy the time, by corporeal efforts to get forward, which
they might employ in thoughts that would much more facilitate their
after progress. Morley was upon foot, and he strode on so rapidly, as
nearly to overturn half a dozen people in his way--sometimes having to
stop to apologize for his rudeness, sometimes half inclined to pause,
and punish some of those who made impertinent observations on his
haste--while all the cool considerations of right and propriety, with
which, during the last week, he had striven to bind himself down, were
now totally forgotten in the sole object of aiding the fair girl who
was thus cast upon him for assistance.

If he was eager in the business at the first reading of the letter, he
had worked himself into more eagerness before he reached the door, and
it was only after the servant had said that her mistress was at home,
and his step was upon the stairs, that he began to think of calming
even his demeanour. He had but little opportunity, however, of doing
on those twelve or fifteen feet of stairs, what he had neglected to do
during a walk of a mile and a half. He did not give himself more time
than was necessary either, for the impetus still carried him on, and
he was treading on the maid's heels when she announced him.

Helen Barham had evidently heard his knock, and knew it, for she was
standing on the other side of the table watching the opening door,
blushing up to the eyes, and looking far more beautiful with nothing
round her face but her own rich black hair, than she had done in her
walking-dress. She moved not--she spoke not, but remained with her
eyes fixed upon him, and the hand that rested on the table trembling
with emotion. Morley easily understood that she could not welcome
him, and advancing at once towards her, he took her hand in his,
saying--"Miss Barham, I fear you have thought me very negligent for
not coming earlier, but the people of the hotel stupidly neglected to
give me your note till after my return from calling upon two friends."

"Oh, no!" she said, in a trembling and agitated voice; "you are only
too kind to come at all. It is better, too, that you did not come
earlier, for that wretched boy has only just gone out, and I believe
he would kill me if he knew that I betrayed his secret to any one."

"He need not fear your telling it to me," replied Morley; "for, depend
upon it, I will only use it for his own advantage. Let me know, then,
my dear Miss Barham, how I can serve you. Tell me what I can do to
deliver you from the terrible situation I saw you placed in
yesterday."

"I will, in a moment," she replied; "but I must first recall my
thoughts. The very fact of your coming, Sir Morley Ernstein, may well
agitate me very much. Since I wrote to you I have scarcely known
whether to regret or to be glad that I did so--whether to be sorry or
rejoice, that I had not, in my despair, abandoned myself and my
unhappy brother to our fate."

"Nay, nay," said Morley, in a soothing tone--"view it in a different
light, Miss Barham! Say simply that you saw I was interested in you,
that I was inclined to deal differently with you and yours from most
other men; that you trusted in my honour and my good feeling, and that
you were not deceived."

"I know you are generously inclined," she said--"I am sure you are;
but yet I have been thinking, since I wrote, you must despise me for
the rashness and the boldness of what I have done; or, at least, that
you must fancy it strange I should have no friends, no connexions here
to whom I can apply even for advice. Indeed--indeed, it is not my
fault! For the nine months before my poor father's death, he was a
continual sufferer; we came to London for medical advice, from a
distant part of the country, and knowing nobody here, of course made
no acquaintances. After his death, I got two pupils for singing, and
one to whom I taught drawing. That poor child is dead, and the other
two have left London: My brother, alas! has made acquaintances enough,
but I have made none."

She spoke in a tone of deep sadness, and her eyes rested fixed upon
the ground, but without tears. Morley was deeply touched, and soothed
her with every assurance of sympathy. He took her hand in his, as he
sat beside her; he besought her to trust in him fully and entirely,
promising, with all his own impetuosity, but in sincerity and truth,
to do all for her that man could do for a sister.

"If it be possible, dear Miss Barham," he said, "I will save your
brother; but at all events, it is possible to save you from the
infamous person into whose hands he would cast you. That, at least,
you must allow me to do. But now, tell me at once your brother's
situation, and let us consider together what can best be done to
disentangle him, which will apparently be the best means of serving
you."

"Oh, that I will!" she exclaimed, gently withdrawing her hand from
his, in which he had detained it perhaps an instant longer than he
himself thought right; and she then proceeded to explain to him more
fully what had taken place after he left her the day before. It was a
terribly difficult task for her. She had to allude to, if not to speak
of, so much that was wounding to all her feelings; she had to shew to
a young, handsome, and distinguished man, that, unless means could be
found for delivering her brother from the power of the low-born
swindler whom he had seen there the day before, she must either
abandon herself to that base man, or see her brother perish by an
ignominious death. She had deliberately to poise and dwell upon the
idea of becoming that man's mistress, or of destroying her own
brother, and that to the ears of one of another sex, and a higher
station than herself; and yet she did it well, at least as far as it
was possible so to do. She often turned, and paused, and hesitated,
and the tears came up in her eyes, and her voice frequently refused to
obey her will, and she told the whole in half sentences, leaving
imagination to fill up that which she dared not speak.

Thus did Morley Ernstein pass the most dangerous hour that he had ever
yet been subjected to in life. The poor girl's secret, however, was
told at length, and he found that her brother had committed a forgery
to the amount of five hundred pounds; that the note which he had
signed with a name not his own, was to pass through the hands of the
man Neville, before it was presented for payment, and that William
Barham himself did not know where it was, who possessed it, or any
means that could be employed to stop it, till it reached the fiend to
whom he had sold himself.

By the time that Helen Barham had done, Morley Ernstein was nearly as
much agitated as herself, and the sympathies that were established
between those two, as they sat there together--the deep, the strong,
the thrilling sympathies, the feelings speaking from heart to heart,
and answering each other; the admiration, the tenderness, the
compassion, on one side--the admiration, the anguish, the gratitude,
on the other, were as perilous a host as ever forced their way into
the bosom of man and woman. The interest that Morley took in her, the
anxiety that he felt to serve her; the apprehension for herself and
for her brother, which her history excited, were all open to the eyes
of Helen Barham, and were all in return powerful upon her spirit. At
that moment, when, trembling, agitated, tearful, breathless, she
concluded the sad tale with that one terrible truth, and when he,
listening with quivering lips and eyes straining upon her bright face,
heard the dark conclusion of the whole, which seemed to leave no
course for him, no hope for her, but to snatch her at once from her
unworthy brother, one rash impulse, two rash words, "Be mine!" would
have sealed the fates of both for ever. Had he uttered them, she could
but have cast herself upon his breast, or died.

Oh, it is sad to feel that there is but one thing on earth to which we
can cling, and yet not dare to cling to it! Oh, it is sad to feel
within ourselves the power to cherish and to comfort, and yet not dare
to use it! Those words, "Be mine," presented themselves to Morley's
mind, rose up in his heart, trembled upon his lips; but as the
destinies of men and states have ever depended upon accident, one
instant's pause saved him and Helen Barham; whether permanently, or
only for the time, those who read will learn. "Shall I say it?" he
asked himself; and while his heart beat like an imprisoned eagle
against the bars of its cage, his eyes turned towards the table and
rested there for a moment. There was a book upon it, which she had
evidently been reading before he came in, open, and turned upon its
face. There was a word stamped upon the back, and Morley's glance
passed over it--it was, Prayer!

In a moment lightning-like thought had passed round the whole range of
the mental horizon.

"She has been praying," he thought--"praying to that God, who made her
beautiful, and innocent, and bright--praying for help against the
infernal powers of wickedness and evil, that seem to surround her; and
shall I, the only help that he has sent her, shall I sully her
brightness, destroy her innocence, and blister that fair brow with the
name of harlot? God forbid!"

The ethereal spirit within him was triumphant in a moment, the hour of
the animal spirit was over.

"Prayer!" he said, aloud--"prayer!" and rising from his seat, he took
her hand tenderly and respectfully, and pressed it to his lips. "Here,
Miss Barham," he said, laying his hand upon the book, "is the true
means of comfort and consolation. He only to whom the words in this
book are addressed, can certainly give you deliverance. I, however, as
an instrument in his hands, will do my very best to help you; and
whatever my fortune or my influence can effect, shall not be wanting,
and what cannot fortune and influence do in this or any other land!"

He paused, and cast his eyes thoughtfully upon the ground; and she
answered simply, as if she had been speaking her thoughts to an old
and dear friend--"I was praying before you came in; and though my mind
was somewhat confused, I felt comforted and relieved. I felt as if my
heart told me, that God would send somebody to help me--I think he
sent you."

"May it prove so, dear lady," said Morley; "I trust it will prove so.
You have put your confidence in one, who, though, in some respects, a
strange, wayward young man, will try what he can do to merit it. First
let me tell you, however," he continued, seeing a slight blush come up
in Helen Barham's cheek, at the thought of having put her trust in _a
strange, wayward young man_--"let me tell you what I have done in this
business since I saw you yesterday, for you have not been absent from
my thoughts. In the first place, the person who brought me the
ear-rings saw me again last night, and gave me an intimation that this
man Neville must have some extraordinary hold upon your brother,
probably by a fault or crime which he has seduced him to commit. He
also explained to me partially the conduct and views of your brother
towards yourself. For the purpose of aiding you as far as possible, I
offered him a sum of money if he would ascertain what was the nature
of this man's power over your brother, and he promised me to obtain
the information quickly. Considering the matter further, however, I
thought that it might be necessary to remove you at once from the
influence of one who, however near akin, is most dangerous to you, and
to place you under the care of some one who would protect you against
Neville and your brother, and at the same time, guard you against all
the evils of straitened circumstances."

Helen Barham cast down her look upon the ground, and the red blood
crept up into her forehead; she then turned her eyes rapidly to the
book of Prayer, and raised them to Morley's countenance with an
inquiring glance. He understood it all as well as if she had spoken a
volume.

"Nay, my dear Miss Barham," he said; "do not misunderstand me; though
passion may often lead me to do what is wrong, I am not the cool,
deliberate villain to lay out a regular scheme for the ruin of any
one. Your youth, your beauty, your unfriended situation altogether,"
he continued, while the blush grew deeper and deeper on her cheek,
"all made me think that it would be better some man of advanced years
and high reputation--some man whose very character would be the
noblest shield for yours, should act in this business rather than
myself; and one of my visits this morning, ere I received your note,
was to the Honourable Mr. Hamilton, the great banker, who was my
guardian in times past, and has ever acted as a second father to me. I
intended to tell him the whole case, and to beg him to do what I could
not, or ought not to do--to remove you from this house altogether, and
to use every nerve to deliver your brother, but to put you quite out
of his power, both in respect of pecuniary affairs and moral
influence. Unfortunately, I found Mr. Hamilton had been seized only
last night with a dangerous disease. Mrs. Hamilton, though an
excellent person, is very different in heart and mind from her
husband; thus the whole scheme is deranged for the present. We must
therefore do the best that we can, as no time is to be lost, however
painful it may be to you to depend solely upon the assistance and
efforts of a young man like myself."

"Oh, no!" she cried, interrupting him eagerly, and laying her hand
upon his arm, while she looked up in his face with a bright smile of
confidence, that repaid him well for all that he had said and done.
"Oh, no!" she cried; "it is not painful to me. I could trust anything
to you, after your conduct to-day--my life, my honour, anything! Oh,
no! it is not painful to me;" and bending down her face upon her two
hands, she wept for a minute, with one of those bursts of emotion in
which joy and sorrow are strangely, but perhaps we may say sweetly,
blended together. Morley soothed her, but she wiped away the tears in
a few moments, and said--"Do not mind, it is only agitation, not
grief. What were you going to say?"

"Merely this," replied Morley; "we have but one course to pursue, my
dear Miss Barham, for the present. It is this--to discover, if
possible, who is the person whose name your brother has thus forged.
You must try to wring it from him, and, that being once obtained, I
will endeavour, to the utmost of my power, and by all the means at my
command, to make the person, whoever it is, abandon the thought of
proceeding against him."

"But whoever it is will never consent to save a criminal by paying so
large a sum," said Helen Barham.

"I will do that," replied Morley; and before he could prevent her, she
caught his hand, and pressed her lips on it.

"God bless you!" she cried, "and return it to you a thousandfold, in
treasures uncountable!--But, alas! I fear," she continued, after a
thoughtful pause, "I shall never induce William to give me the name."

"Try, at all events," replied Morley. "I will endeavour, through the
man who seems his confidant. If we fail by all other means, we must
come openly to himself, show him his danger, prove to him that, as
your resolution is taken, nothing can save him but confession, and
offer to do everything for him if he will but be candid. But, indeed,
my dear Miss Barham, before that time, you ought to be removed from
him entirely, and put in safety and at ease. You say you have no
friends in London; have you any in the country, with whom you could
be?"

"But few," she replied, with a sigh. "Who loves to be burdened with
the unfortunate? My father's parish was extensive, but poor;
containing no gentry of any kind. There were several large and
respectable farmers in it, and their wives were, in many cases,
excellent women; some of them loved me well enough, I believe; but
I could hardly ask any of them to receive me. My father, too, was
retired in his habits, and made few acquaintances. There was the wife
of a neighbouring clergyman, indeed, who was almost the only person
near of the same station as ourselves; he is dead, but she lives in
the village still, and, perhaps, might be willing to have me with her;
but I could do nothing there to earn my own livelihood, and I would
not be a burden to her, or to any one. Besides, I wrote to her a week
or two ago, and have not heard from her since."

"Your stay need only be for a few weeks," replied Morley. "Ere long, I
trust, Mr. Hamilton will be quite well; I will place your affairs in
his hands, Miss Barham, and then the matter will soon be settled. It
is only for the present that I do not know what to do for you. I think
it absolutely necessary that, for a time, even on his own account,
your brother should be cut off from all communication with you, if he
will not give that information which is necessary to deliver him from
the hands of this man, Neville; and yet I myself can suggest no means,
no place of refuge, without danger or discredit to you; and, believe
me," he added, "I would not, for any consideration, bring upon you
either."

"Indeed, I do believe you!" she said, looking brightly up in his face;
"but, oh, sir! you seem to fix your whole hopes and expectation upon
Mr. Hamilton's recovery. Are you very sure that, if he were well
to-morrow, he would feel in this matter as you do--that he would judge
as you do? The old see things very differently from the young; the
heart gets cased by experience, if not hardened--and judgment is a
sterner person to deal with than feeling. I recollect one of my young
pupils wanted to persuade her mother to take me with them into the
country, because I looked sad at their going--as well I might. The
mother explained to her kindly, that it would never do; and I could
not but own that she was right; and yet I loved the daughter better
than the mother."

She blushed immediately she had uttered those words, seeing that they
might have an application which she did not intend; but Morley was too
much a gentleman in heart, to give to any words a meaning different
from their real one; for there are some things which we understand
with our heart rather than with our head; and the meaning of those we
speak with is read by the spirit within ourselves, whatever may be the
mere sounds that address themselves to the ear. "What I mean,"
continued Miss Barham, "is only, you must not be disappointed if you
find that Mr. Hamilton does not quite approve of all you have done,
and does not encourage, or assist you in doing all that you would, be
willing to do. Nor can any one say that he is wrong, for indeed, Sir
Morley Ernstein, I cannot but feel that you have already done more
than the calm judgment of any man of the world would approve."

Morley smiled. "You do not know Mr. Hamilton," he said; "he is as
young in heart as I am, though old in experience, and mature in
judgment. He is one of those few, Miss Barham, in whose enthusiasms I
can trust."

"I doubt not," replied Miss Barham, "that he will take a kind interest
in me, on your account; that he will give me countenance and
protection, and ensure me the means of obtaining my own living
respectably. That is all I can desire, or expect. Most grateful to him
shall I be; but he can never do for me what you have done--raise me up
from the depth of sorrow and despair; comfort, support, protect
me--and all with honour and consideration, without one selfish or
ungenerous feeling,--without one evil thought mingling with your
benevolence to make me blush at the pity I excited, or the assistance
I received."

It was Morley who blushed now, for he felt that though he had been
generous, he had not been altogether so generous as she supposed. He
felt that the passions which man encourages, and thinks no evil,
though subdued and kept down, might have had their share; and that
those feelings had been there which we will not believe have power to
sully till we place our own heart in contrast with something brighter
than itself. He coloured, as we have said, and was somewhat confused;
and, after promising to see her again on the following morning, and
beseeching her to use every means to wring the required information
from her brother, he left her, and returned thoughtfully to his
temporary home.



CHAPTER XII.


The table was covered with notes, but they were all insignificant, and
Morley glanced over them with an eye which shewed how abstracted the
mind was, and how busy with other topics. He had thrown the last down,
and, with his hand still resting on the table, was gazing forth into
vacancy, when the door of the room opened, and Lieberg entered, with
his usual gentlemanly, but impressive manner.

"Well, Morley," he said, "I have arranged it all for you, as was
proposed; these two men, Stallfed and Neville, had evidently heard all
about you, so far as your being wealthy, young, and unacquainted with
London; and they proposed to make a very pleasant speculation of
Neville's quarrel with you, and share some five hundred pounds between
them, or perhaps more; but the fact of your referring them to me,
instead of some of your college companions, as they expected, has
sadly disappointed them."

"Why, how could they calculate so wildly?" exclaimed Morley. "They
could never imagine that I was to be frightened into paying them money
for the privilege of not fighting?"

"Oh, no, no!" answered Lieberg; "that was not the way, at all. The
way it was to be arranged was this. Stallfed was to treat you in the
most gentlemanly manner, and no one can assume the tone of a high-bred
gentleman better than he can, when he likes it. The slightest apology
on your part was to be accepted; the Captain was to be smitten with
high admiration of your gentlemanly bearing, and bold demeanour. You
were to be invited to dinner, accommodated with champagne, and claret,
perhaps a little laudanum, or some other exhilarating fluid; cards and
dice were to be at your service--and the result was to be, the
enriching of themselves, and the pillaging of you."

"Why, how did you discover all this?" said Morley. "You certainly have
some extraordinary way of getting at people's secrets!"

"Not at all," replied Lieberg--"not at all; it is pure intuition,
Ernstein. I know the whole thing, as well as if it had been done and I
had seen it. This man, Neville, I have long known, to the very
innermost corners of his dark mind. He won two hundred pounds of me at
Ascot, last year, with such barefaced cheatery, that he himself did
not expect me to pay the money--"

"But did you pay it?" exclaimed Ernstein, in some surprise.

"To be sure!" answered Lieberg. "Was it not well worth two hundred
pounds to keep one's name out of the newspaper, in connexion with that
of a blackleg? The very reputation of having overreached Colonel
Lieberg, was as much to him as winning another great battle would be
to the Duke of Wellington. The consequence was, that I pretended to be
looking another way and very busy about other business, paid the money
as fast as ever I could, for fear the whole affair should be exposed
by other people who had bets, and got off the course before the thing
was inquired into, leaving Hartley, of the Third, to horsewhip
Neville, and have his name in the 'Times,' coupled with an action of
battery. However, Ernstein, my simple reply to the worthy Captain,
was, that you were quite prepared to give Mr. Neville satisfaction;
that your place was Chalk Farm, your hour half-past five, and that we
set our watches by the Horse-Guards. If Neville comes to the ground, I
am very much mistaken; though Stallfed has one virtue--namely,
courage, and will bring him if possible. I will call for you at a
quarter after five to-morrow, and roll you up to the place. What do
you intend to do, if the fellow does come? I know you have odd notions
about these sort of things."

"Shoot him!" replied Morley, vehemently. "Shoot him, as I would a mad
dog, and upon the same principle. I am not a man to miss what I fire
at, Lieberg, let it be living or dead; and if he calculates that I am
too humane to kill a viper like him, who is spreading poison and
destroying wherever he goes, he is very much mistaken."

"I think you are quite right, Ernstein," replied Lieberg. "For my own
part, I do not see any use of going out to fight a man, unless one
fires at him; it is very silly work to stand up to be shot at, and
then to waste a certain portion of good powder by firing in the air."

"But there are some circumstances," said Morley, "when a man could not
fire at another--after having done him a great injury, for instance."

"I know none," replied Lieberg, drily. "The man who calls out another
with any reason to believe that his adversary will not fire at him,
must be somewhat of a coward, and deserves to be shot for his pains.
Oh, no; child's play does not become reasonable men! Of course, I
never interfere with what a friend chooses to do in such cases. But I
think you are quite right; and in shooting Neville, you will be doing
a benefit to society; in reward for which, there ought to be a general
subscription, to present you with a very handsome pair of long
barrels. Mind you don't miss him--don't take him too fine!--I am going
to see that great picture of Rubens," he continued, in his usual easy
tone--"will you come? He is a magnificent painter--Rubens; and yet I
hate his pictures--it always seems to me as if he had skinned all his
men, and pinched all his women. Many of them are certainly very
natural, but it is a fat and undignified nature, too. Was there ever
anything like that St. Peter at Cologne? How the saint is roaring in
his unpleasant position! One seems to hear the very cries of agony
coming from his mouth; and yet it does not give us a very elevated
idea of the saint--to see him with his head downwards, bellowing, like
a cross man with the gout. Will you come?"

Morley, however, declined; he had much to think of; and after Lieberg
had left him, he sat for a long time, revolving in his own mind the
situation of Helen Barham, but endeavouring in vain to arrange some
plan to place her in a less dangerous situation, till Mr. Hamilton was
well enough to give him counsel and assistance. He thought of her
much--he thought of her long--of her beauty, of her grace, of a
certain wild, sparkling manner, very different from the demeanour of
the young lady of the fashionable society, but very winning withal,
and very charming. Pity mingled with the train of reflection, and
softened admiration into tenderness; at the same time, there was a
sort of consciousness that she was entirely in his power--that she was
the creature of his will, not by any tie of mere circumstance, but by
the tie of gratitude and admiration. The better spirit, however, as we
have said, had gained the triumph; and though passion might urge, and
vanity prompt, it was all in vain--Morley did not yield for a moment,
but went on in high speculations on the destinies of human beings--of
the strange, and, apparently, wayward turns of fate--and of that far,
but sublime period when the ways of God will be justified, even to the
eyes of his creatures, when those who have suffered, and yet believe,
will rejoice, and those who have doubted and rebelled, will be covered
with confusion, on finding that all is bright, and good, and excellent
in the scheme of Divine wisdom.

The spirit of the soul, as I have called it, exerted her sway during
that hour with calm, but mighty power. He dwelt upon many a curious
question with himself, both general and referring to the chief matter
of the day, and although the idea of marrying Helen Barham, and thus
freeing her from all her difficulties, never entered into his mind as
a thing that could take place, because he could not dream of allying
himself to one so base as her brother was proved to be, yet he asked
himself, had circumstances been different, would he have offered her
his hand? The answer was--"No--she was not the being he would have
chosen." And why was she not so? became the next question. Could any
one be more lovely?--could any style of beauty whatsoever be more fit
to excite ardent passion? Had he a doubt of her virtue? of her
simplicity, or truth? No, no, no! He could not tell why. He did not,
or he would not, investigate why he felt that, although, had he given
way to the temptation of circumstances, and the strong inclination of
his own heart, he might have made Helen Barham his mistress--he would
not choose her for his wife. Let not the reader suppose that it was
any evil in her character, anything that betrayed itself therein, and
which he felt, though he could not define it. No; she was all that she
seemed--pure, bright, generous-hearted, tender, devoted, not without
some faults, but those such as would little affect domestic peace. No!
it was nothing in her character, but it was something in his heart.
Reader! it was a memory!

Great part of the men and women that are cast by the will of God into
the world, go about seeking a mere match of some kind. For most of
them, if not exactly anything, very nearly anything will do. It
matters not what is the first thing that links their affections to
another, whether beauty, or similar thoughts, or similar tastes, or
circumstances, or proprieties, or follies, or accidents; one or two
slight causes combining is sufficient to produce the effect; the words
are spoken, the altar gives its sanction, the ring encircles the
finger, the white ribbons and the orange blossom, the smiles and
gaiety, are worn and pass away, and the union settles down into
tranquil happiness, continual irritation, fierce strife, or speedy
rupture, as the temper, the passions, and the principles of the
parties impel or bind them. But there are others, however, of a finer
clay, and a higher mould, who form, at a very early period, a bright
ideal image of the being that must be their soul's companion, in which
every trait and feature is made harmonious, (to use boldly a mixed
figure,) to the pre-existing tones of their own heart; where each
taste, each feeling, each thought, finds a responsive note in the
spirit of another, and where the corporeal form represents but as a
symbol, that grand quintessence of all that we desire in the heart of
the being that we love. Seldom, very seldom does it happen in life,
that those who have thus, if I may so call it, preconceived their
love, ever find the being they have dreamt of. Seldom, if they do find
her, is it their fate to win her; but if they do, they may well die
the day after, for they have known enough of human joy to fill up a
whole existence. Seldom do they find her; they may find the face and
the form, but the one harmonious whole is rare--oh, how rare! The
mines of Golconda do not furnish fewer diamonds, the river of Ceylon
roll down fewer rubies, than the whole world produces, ay, in a
thousand years, of beings fully worthy to be loved.

Morley Ernstein was one of those who had formed for himself the
picture of her who was to be his; and, as we have shewn the reader, he
had once seen the face of his visions. Whether the mind was there he
knew not, but that face was ever present to his memory, and it was not
that of Helen Barham. Bright, and beautiful, and sunny as she was, he
might feel passion towards her, pity, tenderness, esteem--but no, not
love! There was a something wanting still; I cannot well tell what,
and will not seek to do so, for love is like one of those fine
elixirs, which some skilful and life-restoring hands have formed, and
which we may analyze as we will, separating the parts with every
scientific aid, but still something escapes, which we cannot discover,
something which gives virtue and efficacy to the whole.

The thoughts of Morley Ernstein strayed naturally and by imperceptible
steps from Helen Barham back to that fair young being whom he had seen
once, and only once in life. The idea brought back the thoughts and
feelings of the day when he had met her, so short a time before, and
yet seeming far, far away in the past; so many had been the fresh
incidents which had crowded into that brief period of his career.
There was a sweet and soothing pleasure in the very remembrance. There
always is, in the memory of first love; it is like the memory of our
early home. A first love is surely the early home of the heart. It
came upon him so pleasantly, with such tranquillizing influence, with
such balmy power, that he resolved, as soon as he could disentangle
himself from the affairs which now pressed upon him, he would return
to his own old hall; to his own park, and its shady trees; to the
sweet singing of the summer birds, the smoke of the peasant's cottage,
the village church, the cheerful upland, and all that made the bright
picture to memory of the native place he had left behind.

Suddenly, however, the questions broke upon him--how should he return
to it? and should he ever be able to enjoy, as he had enjoyed it--to
taste the same pleasures with the same zest? Had he not passed by the
moment of such delights? Had he not known, and felt, and lived, beyond
the hour of such calm happiness? Then imagination went on to the work
laid out for the following day; to the act that he was about to
commit; to the bringing of blood upon his hand; to the slaying of a
fellow-creature; to the imprinting on the irrevocable roll of deeds
done, the dark word--"Death!"

He started away from his own thoughts; his mind was made up and fixed;
his determination had been announced, and he resolved that he would
think upon the matter no more. He would amuse his thoughts; he would
mingle with the crowded world; he would go to the party to which he
was invited that night, and do the deed he had purposed to do, as a
mere matter of course; and yet there was one thing which he had to
consider, and which, till late on that day, he did not consider at
all--namely, that he might himself fall in the encounter. He did not
think it likely, but such an event might take place. Neville was a
coward, evidently well known to be so; but the most notorious cowards,
aided by accident, and the cat-in-a-corner courage of despair, have
been known to shoot men of duelling reputation. He might fall, then,
and at all events it was necessary to make some preparation for such a
result. He sat down accordingly, pen in hand, to draw up a little
memorandum of his last wishes; and although, as I have already said,
his property was originally very large, and had been increased greatly
by the care of Mr. Hamilton, his will was soon made, and compressed in
a few lines.

He left his two former guardians his executors; explained very briefly
his knowledge of Helen Barham, her circumstances, and the bad conduct
of her brother. He besought Mr. Hamilton to act entirely as her
guardian, knowing that, with him, that would be only another name for
acting as her father, and he left her so large a portion of the sum
accumulated during his minority, as to place her in a state of
affluence for life, with one or two thoughtful provisions, to ensure
that it should never fall within the grasp of a sharper. His landed
property he suffered to take its legal course, which led it, in case
of his death, to a very distant branch of his family, none of whom he
had seen above two or three times in the course of his life, and whose
representatives had satisfied themselves, during his minority, by
inquiring tenderly, once or twice in the year, after his health, which
had always proved so vigorous as to exclude them from all reasonable
hope of entering into possession themselves.

There was still a larger sum to be disposed of, and Morley thought
for a moment what he should do with it; for it sometimes so happens,
that when thousands are starving, and worse than starving, around, a
rich man, caught by the sudden arrest of death, looks about him
embarrassed for some object on which to bestow his wealth. There were
several things that Morley had proposed to do; institutions he had
dreamt of founding; good deeds of various kinds which he had thought
to perform; but, alas! of all the many things that are killed by
delay, none are so easily slaughtered as those same good deeds. Morley
found now that there was no time to make such arrangements as he had
proposed, with that precision and circumlocution which the law of
England requires, as if for the express purpose of embarrassing a
man's mind at a period when his mind is rarely very clear, and wasting
his time, when time is too seldom very abundant. He therefore
contented himself with leaving the great bulk of his funded property
to Mr. Hamilton, for the purpose of being distributed amongst such
persons as that gentleman should find most necessitous and deserving,
in the course of the next three years. From this, indeed, he reserved
a few small sums for annuities to his servants, and for remembrances
to one or two of his college friends. To Lieberg he left some fine
pictures; and an impulse that he could not resist, made him bequeath
some diamonds which had been his mother's, as a token of gratitude to
Juliet Carr.

"Mr. Hamilton will smile," he thought, "if he have occasion to open
this will, and may well smile, if he should ever know that Helen
Barham I have seen twice, Juliet Carr perhaps once--perhaps not at
all;" and leaning his head on his hand, he began again to think of the
scene which had taken place in the road under his own park wall, and
of the beautiful being he had there beheld, upon whom his imagination
had fixed a name which might very well belong to some one else.

There are strange things told of presentiment; there are a thousand
recorded instances of men firmly and clearly anticipating the death
that awaited them, often when there was no reasonable cause for
expecting it. But we may go further still. Who is there that, without
any distinct motive that he can perceive, has not often found his
thoughts resting strongly upon some particular theme, very loosely
related, if at all, to the circumstances around him, and returning,
whether he would or not, to that one topic, his mind seemingly
impelled to its consideration by an irresistible power out of himself,
and then, ere many hours were over, has found the things connected
with that theme rise up around him as if by magic? Who is there that
has not had occasion to say to himself in life--"My thoughts were
prophetic?" Who is there that has not more than once in life almost
fancied himself endowed with the second sight?

Morley Ernstein dined, dressed himself, and went out to a party, which
had been announced to him, by the lady who gave the invitation, as a
small and an early one. Perhaps of all others this was the kind of
society that he would not have chosen on that occasion. He would
rather have been in the midst of a gay world of sights and sounds,
each appealing strongly to imagination for a moment, and changing
again ere the mind could get weary: But the lady who had asked him had
some claims upon him; she was an old friend of his mother's; had been
kind and affectionate to him in his youth; was of a very amiable
character, though somewhat eccentric in her enthusiasms and her
self-devotion; and thus, as he knew she counted much upon his presence
that night, he would rather have disappointed any person in London
than Lady Malcolm. Be accordingly proceeded to her house not very long
after the hour she had named; but there was already a number of people
in the rooms, almost all of them belonging to the best society in
London, but deviating from their usual late habits to please a person
universally respected and liked.

Lady Malcolm herself, always lady-like, notwithstanding some touches
of eccentricity, was in the small outer room, receiving and talking to
a group of gentlemen who had entered not long before Morley himself.
She greeted her young friend gladly, and then added, with a marked
smile--"If you go on, Sir Morley, you will find an acquaintance in
those other rooms."

As she said this, she turned to speak again with the other party, and
Morley advanced into a larger chamber beyond, where a number of
gentlemen and ladies were collected, talking of everything and nothing
upon the face of the earth. As the room, however, was not very large,
neither of the three being at all upon a grand scale, Morley's
entrance caused some little sensation, for, as we have before said,
his appearance was distinguished, his countenance handsome, the
expression not ordinary, and his whole carriage that of a very
high-bred gentleman. The first persons who saw him, asked others who
stood near, who he was, and it soon spread through the whole, that he
was the rich young Baronet who had lately come of age. Those who were
acquainted with him, approached eagerly to speak with him, and several
others asked to be introduced.

In the demeanour of a man pre-occupied with any grave and powerful
feelings, there is generally a tone of cold firmness, which is
impressive to the indifferent and the light-hearted, and Morley, at
that moment, was too full of the thoughts of to-morrow to be at all
carried away by the light conversation of a party like that. Some
called him haughty; some thought him vain; some pronounced him cold;
some said he was purse-proud. One or two men of high rank judged more
favourably of him, and declared that his bearing was just what it
should be; but after suffering himself to be detained for a few
minutes, the young gentleman moved on, and entered the third chamber,
which concluded the little suite of Lady Malcolm's receiving rooms. He
was making his way towards a table covered with drawings, when a sight
presented itself, which caused him to stop short, and pause, as if
suddenly rooted to the ground. The sight, however, was certainly a
pleasant, one, for it was that of as beautiful a face as was ever
seen, but if it had been that of Venus herself, fresh risen from the
sparkling Mediterranean wave, it could not, independent of
association, have had the effect upon Morley Ernstein which was
produced by that fair countenance.

There--there before him, in the rooms of Lady Malcolm, was the same
soft, yet dazzling face; the same deep blue eyes, with their dark
lashes; the same clear forehead and fair brow; the same short,
chiselled lip, with the rosy mouth half open, in the act of speaking;
the same beautiful form, every line of which was contour and symmetry,
the same bright being, in short, which he had seen once, and as he
believed only once, in life before, when they had stood together for a
moment, by her horse's side, in the mellow light of a spring morning.
She was conversing with a lady who sat on the sofa beside her, but her
eyes were full upon Morley Ernstein; and, on his part, after the first
sudden pause of surprise was over, with a look of bright satisfaction
that could not be mistaken, he crossed the room at once, and took her
hand in his, as if he had known her twenty years, forgetting
altogether, that at that moment he was not even sure of her name.

She smiled upon him kindly, evidently recollecting him well, and not
displeased with the recollection. There was a faint blush, too, came
up in her face, not like the blush of agitation, indeed, but that sort
of sudden transient glow, which comes over a cheek unhackneyed to any
strong sensations, upon even a slight emotion. There are few people in
the world more to be pitied than women who have lost the power of
blushing. With them the bloom has gone off the fruit indeed. She
blushed slightly, as I have said, and Morley inquired after her
health, and spoke of the time when they had last met, and his eyes
sparkled, and his lip became full of expression, and there was
eagerness in his whole tone, so that those who had seen him in the
other room would hardly have known him now. So much can two steps do
to change the whole feelings of the human heart.

Scarcely, however, had he uttered many sentences when the feeling that
he had never been introduced to the fair being to whom he was speaking
in so intimate a tone--that he had, in fact, according to the usages
of society, no right even to know her, first embarrassed, and then
made him smile at his embarrassment, and seeing a vacant seat beside
her on the sofa, he took possession of it at once, resolved to wait
till Lady Malcolm came into the room, in order that no idle form for
the future might stand in the way between them. They spoke of ordinary
subjects for a few minutes--that is to say, subjects which any one
might talk of to another, though in London society in general people
do not do so--of the beauty of the country where they had last met; of
the pleasures of the country in general; of the superiority of that
which, according to the old adage, God himself made, over that which
man made. The lady who sat beside them, either thought their comments
very tiresome, or perceived that one of the party might feel it as
pleasant if he were left alone with his neighbour, and, contrary to
the usual course of human benevolence, she rose, and went away to
speak to a dear friend in the doorway.

If she supposed that the conversation of Morley Ernstein and his fair
companion would be more free after she was gone, she was very much
mistaken. For the first few minutes, they had both very nearly fallen
into absolute silence, though their thoughts were busy. As often
happens on such occasions, it was the lady who first spoke.

"I am happy," she said, "to see that you are so completely recovered."

"Then you are Juliet Carr," said Morley, abruptly; "I was sure it was
so, from the description of my good old servant Adam Gray."

"Indeed!" said the young lady, with the warm blood now rushing quick
into her glowing cheek--"indeed! The truth is," she added, a moment
after, "that in passing by the place where you were lying ill, I heard
of the accident that had occurred, and in going near your house, in
one of my walks round Yelverley, I thought it best to inform your
servants that such was the case, suspecting that they might not know
it, as, indeed, they did not."

"And most grateful am I, dear Miss Carr," replied Morley, "for your
taking the trouble of letting them know. However much interest you
might create in me on our first meeting, I could hardly hope that I
had excited any such kind feelings in you, when my rash folly, in
leaping my horse over the park palings, might have killed you, and
certainly did alarm you very much."

"Your kindness after it was done," replied Juliet Carr, in a calm
tone, "made ample compensation; but," she added, in a lower voice, and
with her eyes cast down upon the ground, "that was not the first time
that we ever met."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Morley, in his turn surprised, and under the first
impulse speaking out the plain truth, without any of the softenings of
conventional life--"I did not think it possible, that if I had once
seen you on the whole earth before, even for a single moment, I could
ever have forgotten you."

His fair companion answered not for a moment, and he added
"Where--where was it, Miss Carr? I do not recollect any one even of
your name in our neighbourhood. Where was it?"

"In this very house--in this very room," replied Juliet Carr. "We have
played together many a time upon the carpet, and you used to tease me
sadly," she added, with a playful look, "when you were eight years
old, and I was seven."

"God give me the opportunity of teasing you again!" exclaimed Morley,
with a bright laugh--her words illuminating, in a moment, the whole
dark void of the past, like a flash of lightning in a murky night;
"and is it possible that you were my little July, my little
summer-month, as I used to call you? It is the only name by which I
ever knew you; for, indeed, dear Juliet, I was not aware that your
name was Carr. Do you recollect"--he added--but ere he could conclude
his sentence, the memory of the light, boyish feelings of the past,
became mingled so strangely with the intense manly feelings of the
present, as to make him almost regret he had begun the question, and
caused his voice to tremble as he went on, feeling that he must
conclude--"Do you recollect how you promised to be my wife?"

Juliet Carr turned deadly pale, and Morley could scarcely hear her
voice, as she replied, "Oh yes, oh yes! I remember something of it."

His heart sunk, for he was inexperienced in matters of love, and
thought that, in that paleness, and that low tone, he perceived a
thousand things which they did not imply in the least. Such feelings
as his, however, are seldom without hope, and he soon rallied again;
but he resolved, ere he said more upon subjects of so deep an
interest, to watch and see, to mark every word and every tone, to
gather by some means, in short, the certainty that there was no such
bar as another attachment between her heart and his. So far he
resolved wisely; but he went on to determine that he would guard his
own affections carefully, that he would take care not to fall in love
with Juliet Carr till he was certain there was no obstacle to her
loving him again. In this he resolved very foolishly, as every man
does who takes resolutions in regard to things that are past. Morley
Ernstein had no longer any power not to love Juliet Carr. He might
guard the posterns of the citadel as he would,--the garrison had
already surrendered, and the enemy had entered by the great gates.

Morley might have been somewhat puzzled to renew the conversation,
after the momentary pause for thought which succeeded the last word
spoken. It is a great art in that sort of communion which he was
holding with Juliet Carr, never to let any subject drop entirely
without leaving some sort of link in the chain open to hook it on to
another. Morley was relieved from his difficulty, however, though not
in the manner which he might have liked the best. The lady who had
been talking with his fair companion when he first saw her that
evening, returned, and spoke with her again for a few minutes. What
she said Morley did not hear, for he went on thinking upon the subject
which, for the time, was predominant in his own mind. After a moment
or two, however, he saw Miss Carr's eyes directed towards the man with
whom the other lady had been speaking in the doorway, and at the same
time a sort of shudder seemed to come over her, while she said, "Can
you really admire such conduct?"

The lady made some reply, which Morley did not hear, laughed, with a
gay toss of her head, and went away again.

Morley Ernstein was now better prepared to carry on the conversation,
for his mind had turned to the past, and to the childish days which he
had spent in that house with Juliet Carr. "Am I mistaken in thinking,
Miss Carr," he asked, "that you are a niece of Lady Malcolm's? It
seems to me, that I recollect having heard such was the case, long
ago."

"Oh no," replied Juliet Carr; "our relationship is not so near. My
mother was Lady Malcolm's cousin; but you know how generous and
high-spirited she is; and since my mother's death she has always acted
towards me more as a mother than anything else--at least, when she has
been permitted to do so."

"I really do not see, Miss Carr," replied Morley Ernstein, "the exact
connexion between Lady Malcolm's generosity and high spirit, and her
affection for you; I should think it very possible to love you dearly,
without any great liberality of feeling."

He spoke with a smile, and evidently in a tone of assumed playfulness;
but Juliet Carr replied, eagerly--"Oh, indeed! in this case you are
mistaken; it needed great kindness and generosity for Lady Malcolm to
feel any affection for me at all, as my birth kept her from a
considerable property, which, at that time, I have heard, she was much
in need of."

"Then, I trust, you are with her now for a long time," said Morley
Ernstein.

"I have only leave of absence for three weeks," she answered; and the
moment after added, in a low tone, "Thank Heaven, he is gone!"

Morley had remarked that, during the last five minutes, her eyes had
turned frequently towards the gentleman who stood in the doorway, and
who had now just moved away with a slight degree of lameness in his
walk. There was quite sufficient love in Morley's breast to make him
feel an eager--I might almost call it an apprehensive, interest in all
Juliet Carr's thoughts, and, with his usual impetuosity, he said at
once, "May I know who the gentleman is, Miss Carr, whose departure
seems to afford you so much relief?"

"I really do not know," replied Juliet, with a smile, which might,
perhaps, be at Morley's impetuous questioning, or perhaps, at her own
ignorance of the man's name, for whose absence she had thanked
Heaven--"I really do not know," she answered, and then stopped, gazing
in his face, with that smile, as if to puzzle him still further.
Morley looked down upon the ground, but would ask no further
questions; and seeing a sort of determination in his countenance not
to do so, Juliet Carr added, in a lower tone, and with a graver look,
"I can tell you what he his, though I cannot tell you who."

"What, what?" asked Morley, eagerly.

"He is a duellist!" replied Juliet Carr. "Lady Emily Greenfield came
up, just now, to tell me a good deal about him; she says that he
killed another man in a duel, a fortnight ago."

There was a look of abhorrence and pain in her beautiful face as she
spoke, which brought some strange sensations into Morley's heart, when
he thought of the part he was about to play the next morning; and he
replied, "Perhaps he could not help it."

"Could not help it!" exclaimed Juliet Carr, with a look of surprise,
and forgetting, in her eagerness, the lapse of thirteen or fourteen
years she added--"Could not help it! Oh, Morley!"

Morley felt as if he could have cast himself at her feet, in gratitude
for that one word; but he governed his impetuous nature, and followed
out the subject on which they were speaking. "Perhaps," he said, in
explanation, "he was grossly insulted by this man whom he shot.
Perhaps his adversary called him out, and made him fight."

"But, do you mean to say," asked Juliet Carr, "that there are any
circumstances in which a man cannot help deliberately killing another?
I myself think, that no man ought to fight a duel at all; but even if
he be weak enough to risk his own life for a vain prejudice, he has no
right to take that of another. God will ask the blood of his brother
at his hand," she added, lifting her beautiful eyes as if towards the
heavens; "and though he may smother the voice of conscience, in this
world, he must not hope that he will escape punishment in another. Oh!
think what a horrible thing it is to take away that existence which we
can never restore; to cut off, in a moment, a fellow-being, from all
the warm and sweet relationships of life; to change the living being,
instinct with a bright spirit, into a dull mass of inanimate clay,
and, worse than all, to put the seal of fate upon the sins, and
follies, and crimes, of a fellow-being; to cut him off for ever from
repentance, and bring the day of judgment upon his head, without time
for thought, or preparation, or hope, or atonement! Oh, no, no! if
such a thing had happened to me, I would hide myself from all eyes in
the darkest corners of the earth. I would spend my whole life in
bitterness and tears. I should never know a moment's peace--I should
think I heard the voice of him whom I had murdered, crying for ever in
my ears, 'You have not only destroyed the body, but condemned the
soul!'"

Morley had been gazing thoughtfully on the ground, but he now replied,
"There may be some cases, Miss Carr, where we should be doing a
benefit to society, in firing at a man opposed to us in a duel.
Suppose that he were one of those criminals who are daily committing
crimes that the laws will not reach?"

"Leave him to God!" replied Juliet, eagerly. "Leave him to God! His
law will sooner or later reach all, and it is a law of mercy as well
as justice."

They both paused; Juliet with a warm glow upon her cheek, from a
feeling that she had been speaking with some vehemence, and Morley
doing what so few people ever do in conversation, really weighing the
arguments that were addressed to him, and applying them to his own
heart.

"But suppose," he said--"suppose a man so placed that his own life is
at stake. There are circumstances in which there is every probability
that a man must either take life or lose it. For instance, when your
adversary is known as an infallible shot, where you have but one
chance for your own existence, and where, judging yourself in the
right, you have every reason to defend your own life, even at the
sacrifice of that of an enemy whom you know to be in the wrong?"

"It is a hard case," replied Juliet Carr, with her eyes cast down upon
the ground; "but I am really not fit to be a judge upon such matters,
and perhaps have said more than I ought upon the subject already."

"Nay," said Morley; "I really wish to hear your opinion. Believe me,
it is valuable to me, for I think a woman often judges these sort of
things more sanely than a man."

"Well, you shall have it!" replied Juliet Carr, "though it is little
worth having. You must recollect that I think no man has any right to
fight at all, if he be a Christian. He ought, therefore, never to be
there, and if he will go there, I cannot see why, to save his own
life, he should add a great crime to a great fault, and make murder
terminate strife. Perhaps this is speaking too harshly; but what I
mean to say is, that I should love, and respect, and admire the man
most who, if he have not resolution enough to refuse to fight, would
shew that his courage went to the high pitch of risking all, rather
than do that which he knew to be the highest pitch of evil. Were I a
man I would rather lose life than keep it under a continual sense of
remorse--nay, even as a weak woman, I say the same; and I am sure in
the choice my courage would not fail."

Morley gazed at her for a moment with tenderness and admiration; but
he then replied, as he saw Lady Malcolm approaching them, "Well, then,
I promise you, that if ever I should be called upon to fight, I will
recollect your lesson of to-night, and not fire at my adversary."

Juliet looked as if she would fain reply, but Lady Malcolm came up,
with a smile, saying, "So you have found each other out! She is
scarcely at all changed--is she, Morley?"

"So little, at least in manner," replied Morley, "that every instant I
feel myself inclined to forget the years that have past, and to call
her Juliet."

If ever lover made an artful speech in this world, it was that which
had just proceeded from the lips of Morley Ernstein; for it brought
about quietly, as he well knew it would, that which he did not dare to
ask openly.

"Why should you call her anything else?" asked Lady Malcolm. "You were
like brother and sister in your childhood. Call her Juliet, to be
sure. I am certain she has no objection. Have you, my dear girl?"

Morley felt very strongly that they were not brother and sister now,
and perhaps Juliet Carr did the same, for she blushed while she
replied, "None, assuredly."

"And will you call me Morley again?" demanded her lover--for so we may
now well name him.

"Yes," answered Juliet Carr, looking up with that candour of heart
which is far, far more attractive than the finest art that ever
coquette devised; "I shall find no difficulty in it, for old habits
come back with such force that I can scarcely call you anything else."

Morley felt that in the new game he was playing, he had won a point;
and, casting from him all thoughts of the following morning, he
lingered on at Lady Malcolm's house till he was the last guest
present. He then took leave, and quitted the house where he had spent
a night of joy, such as he had never known till then; but as he turned
from the door, and the memory of the dark business before him rushed
upon his mind, it seemed as if a cold wind blew upon him.



CHAPTER XIII.


In the evening and the morning, small objects cast long shadows; but
in the mid-day, the meridian sun makes all bright. Not so exactly,
however, is it with the day of life, as any man must have felt who has
been called upon to repeat, at two distant times in his existence, the
same unpleasant act. Take fighting a duel for an instance: with what
different feelings the same man sets about the deed, at two or
three-and-twenty, and five or six-and-thirty. How the gay buoyancy of
youth carries us over the light ruffle of the sea at one period! how
little do we heed the menacing storm! how little do we care for the
momentary tempest! how confident are we of safety and success! But, at
the other period, however strong may be our resolution, however firm our
purpose, however, unshaken our nerve, we go to the task set before us
with a knowledge of every particle of the peril, with a clear notion
of all the consequences, with a calculation of each point of the
result. The grasp of a friend's hand comes with a consciousness that
it may be for the last time; the look we give to those we love has in
it the tenderness of a farewell, and at the same time, all the mighty
responsibility of taking the life of another is pressed upon
reflection by every sight of human existence around us, by all the
fresh joys and hopes that we see in the bosoms of our own fellow-men.
Morley Ernstein, however, was in the early day of life; fear was a
thing unknown to him, and even with awe he was not very familiar.
Thus, when Lieberg's cabriolet came to the door in Berkeley-square, he
sprang in with a light step; and, with as cheerful a voice as if he
had been going to a wedding, he gave his friend the "Good morning,"
and asked if he were not a little late.

"Oh, no!" answered Lieberg; "in very good time, and my chesnut here
will carry us up as if he were running for the Derby."

Away they rolled at a rate which had something exhilarating in its
rapidity. London was soon left behind; its lengthy suburbs were
speedily crossed, and the singing of a lark in the early morning, told
that the horse's hoofs were treading the country. The spot appointed
was soon reached, the boy handed out the pistol case, and took the
horse, and Morley and his friend walked forward into the field, where
no one as yet had made his appearance. It was a beautiful summer
morning as ever was seen; the country, even in the neighbourhood of
London, looked lovely in the early light, and the world altogether
seemed too pleasant a place to quit willingly. But Morley Ernstein,
though his was the especial time of life when joys are fullest and
hopes brightest, and all the things that endear to us mortal existence
are in their most attractive aspect, never thought about quitting the
world at all. He found it difficult to impress upon his mind the idea
of danger; and though a momentary sensation of awe had come over him
during the preceding night, all such feeling had gone off, and he
looked about for his adversary, in the mere desire of getting a
disagreeable business over as soon as possible.

"I would bet five to three that he does not come," said Lieberg; "and
really I think that if he do not, I shall go and horsewhip him myself,
for making me get out of my bed at half-past four."

Scarcely had he spoken, however, when the roll of wheels was heard,
and a very handsome travelling chaise, with four post-horses,
appeared, and drew up at the gate leading into the field. The door
was opened, and forth came Mr. Neville, with his friend, Captain
Stallfed, whom Morley had seen once before, and a gentleman in black,
possessing extensive whiskers, not very well combed, long French-cut
hair, and a surgical appearance about the nose and eyes, which at once
bespoke his profession.

"Upon my word," said Lieberg, "this looks like execution! Now, Morley,
what will you bet that all this is not part of a solemn farce, to
squeeze an apology out of you?"

"It will not succeed," answered Morley, and he walked on with Lieberg,
to meet the advancing party.

As they came near, the two seconds took a step forward, and Captain
Stallfed, as Lieberg had anticipated, began, after the ordinary
salutations, to work his way up to the demand of an apology.

"My friend, Mr. Neville," he said, "has certainly been grossly
insulted by your friend, Sir Morley Ernstein. However, as Neville is
peculiarly situated in some respects, Colonel Lieberg, I have advised
him to content himself with an apology." He paused for a moment, as if
to see whether Lieberg would reply; but that gentleman was as silent
as the grave; and Captain Stallfed went on, with a slight degree of
embarrassment. "A-hem!" he said; "if, therefore, your friend thinks
fit to say that he is sorry for having used the threat of
horsewhipping my friend Neville, I have advised him to drop the
matter, and rest satisfied."

"I think you are labouring under a mistake, Captain Stallfed," said
Lieberg; "my friend Sir Morley Ernstein would have the greatest
pleasure in saying that he is sorry for having threatened to horsewhip
your friend Mr. Neville, if he were at all sorry; but, as he fully did
intend to horsewhip him, in case Mr. Neville did not find a gentleman
of honour and repute, such as Captain Stallfed, to bring the matter to
another issue for him, you will easily perceive that my friend can
offer no apology whatsoever."

Stallfed looked a little disconcerted, and merely saying--"Very well,
sir--very well!" retired to confer with Neville again, whose eyes,
during the brief conversation between his friend and Lieberg, had been
round the field, and up the road, and over the hill, with a very
anxious and expectant expression. Lieberg marked all this with a
smile, saying to Morley--"He is like a cowardly felon at the
gallows-foot, asking to be allowed time for another prayer; but we
must interrupt his shrift, otherwise I should not wonder if we were
interrupted in our proceedings. Captain Stallfed," he said, advancing
again a step or two, "we wait your pleasure, and, as it seems to me
that your friend is very apprehensive lest we should be annoyed by the
Bow-street officers, we had better proceed as fast as possible."

Captain Stallfed bowed, frowned at Neville, and saying, not too low
for the other party to hear--"Nonsense--nonsense, man!--the thing
must be;" he came forward to make the necessary preparations with
Lieberg.

The spot was chosen, the ground measured, and each second threw down a
glove, for his friend's standing place, Lieberg calmly overruling a
man[oe]uvre of Stallfed's, to place Morley in a line with a tree. In
the meanwhile, the young Baronet walked up and down, with his arms
folded on his chest, thinking the preparations somewhat long, while
Neville, with the surgeon at his elbow, stood at some distance,
listening to such consolations as the man of healing could give him,
and evidently under the influence of no very dignified trepidation.
Morley, who, from time to time, cast a glance that way, could not help
smiling at the bend of the knees, the rounding of the shoulders, and
the wandering eagerness of the eye. He thought every moment, indeed,
that his gallant antagonist would take to his heels and run, and
probably it was only the proximity of the surgeon that prevented such
a consummation. Everything being at length complete, however, Lieberg
placed his man, saying--"Now, don't miss him, Morley."

"I don't intend to fire at him," replied Morley.

Lieberg looked at him with astonishment, but there was no time for
further explanation, and merely saying--"You are joking, surely," he
withdrew.

In the meanwhile, Neville, in dead silence had been brought to his
ground, and Stallfed gave him some directions in a low voice. "Is the
handkerchief tight round your arm?" he asked--"well, raise your pistol
smartly, keep him on the outside of your elbow, and you are sure to
hit him. Can't you steady your hand, man? That d--d shaking will ruin
you!"

Neville answered not a word, and it is probable that at that moment he
neither saw, heard, nor understood. The two seconds, however, retired;
and, as it had been arranged that the parties were to fire together,
the "one, two, three" was pronounced, and both pistols went off very
nearly at the same moment. Neville's, indeed, was a little the first,
as he had been instructed by his friend, to fire even before the word
"three" was pronounced. To the surprise of all parties present, not
only did Morley fire directly in the air, but Neville, notwithstanding
his terror, his confusion, and his shaking hand, sent his ball with so
true an aim, that it passed through Morley's coat, and slightly
wounded him, by grazing his right shoulder. Unconscious of his
success, however, he fell to the ground at once, as soon as he heard
the report of his adversary's pistol; but upon Stallfed and the
surgeon coming up, both of whom had clearly seen, that Morley had
fired in the air, the swindler got upon his feet again, declaring that
he had stumbled over a stone.

"Stumbled!" exclaimed Stallfed, in an angry tone; "why what the devil
business had you to move at all? I suppose, Colonel Lieberg, as your
friend fired in the air, we cannot demand another fire!"

Ere Lieberg could reply, the party in the field was increased by three
or four other persons, at the head of whom appeared R----, the
Bow-street officer, coming up, as was then usually the case, in
encounters of such a kind, somewhat slowly and tardily, to prevent a
duel, which had already taken place.

"These, I presume," said Lieberg, as he marked the approach of the new
comers; "these, I presume, are the gentlemen whom your friend
expected, and of course we shall have the pleasure of figuring at
Bow-street, while you have the satisfaction of seeing the whole in a
newspaper."

By the time this was said, the officers were up with them, and gave
them intimation that they must present themselves before a magistrate.
To Lieberg and Morley, R---- and his companions were perfectly civil
and deferential; but with Neville and Captain Stallfed--ay, and with
the surgeon those gentlemen had brought thither, the officers were
quite friendly and familiar. Promising to appear at Bow-street as soon
as the magistrates took their seat in the office, Lieberg and Morley
got into the cabriolet, and drove away, Morley tying a handkerchief
round his arm to stanch the blood, which was now trickling through his
coat. The officers remained with the res-t of the party, and R--- with
his hands in his breeches pockets, gazed over the chariot and four
horses with a cunning smile.

"Why Nevvy," he said, "this is a flare-up, and will cost you a
trifle--I take it!"

"I'll tell you what, R----," said the Captain, "it ought to be worth
five hundred pounds to him, if he manages the matter well. Why, having
fought a duel with Sir Morley Ernstein, and wounded him in the arm, is
enough to make a man of him."

"Hard to do that," said R----, with a knowing look; "why, Nevvy, how
did you ever screw yourself up to come to the scratch?--cost you a
pint of thunder and lightning, I'll bet. But come, we must be jogging;
as the chay is full, I'll get up behind. We wont put the darbies on
you, this time, Nevvy; though, if you don't mind what you're about,
it'll come to that, I give you warning. I had some talk about you, the
other day, with the old gentleman in the wig, and he said, it wouldn't
do much longer; so keep quiet, there's a good fellow."

The first case called on before the magistrates that morning, was that
of the duel; the tidings of which had spread far and wide through
London, before ten o'clock, and the office was consequently full of
reporters. The matter was soon settled, in the usual manner; but the
magistrate in a grave, but kindly, tone, thought fit to address to
Morley a few words of remonstrance, upon the practice of duelling in
general, adding a caution, in regard of the choice of associates,
while his eye rested with stern severity upon Neville and his worthy
second.

"I thank you much, sir," said Morley, with his usual firm and manly
manner, "for the warning that you give me; but, you will understand
that these persons are not my associates, and not even my
acquaintances. I chanced to meet one of them in the commission of acts
which I judged imprudent and wrong, and I threatened him with
chastisement. As he found a person bearing his Majesty's commission,
to act as his friend on the occasion, I thought fit to give him that
satisfaction which is usual amongst gentlemen; reserving to myself the
right, and holding firmly the determination, of chastising him as I
promised, should he give me further occasion for offence."

"I will beg of these gentlemen of the press, to remark," said Lieberg,
turning towards the reporters, "that my friend, Sir Morley Ernstein,
only consented to meet Mr. Neville, because he did not choose to
refuse any man satisfaction when it was demanded; but in order to
guard against a bad precedent being established in favour of Mr.
Neville, let me add, that I consider him a coward as well as a
blackguard, and only regret that my friend treated him with so much
lenity."

He was going to add more, but the magistrate interfered, and Lieberg.
left the place, accompanied by Morley, the former saying, with a
laugh--

"It was necessary, my dear Ernstein, to make some observation on the
business, which these gentlemen would not very much like repeated,
otherwise they would dress up so smart a story of it in the
newspapers, that Neville, for the rest of his life, would be treated
as a gentleman, and have the privilege of plundering all sorts of
young fools with impunity."

Notwithstanding all Lieberg's precautions, the report of the affair in
the newspapers, was such as newspaper reports but too frequently are.
There was so much truth in the statement as to give it perfect
verisimilitude, and to render it impossible to say that it was all a
lie, but with so much left untold as to create an impression as
erroneous as if the whole had been untrue. It appeared by the report,
that Sir Morley Ernstein had fought the well-known Mr. Neville, and
had been severely wounded in the arm; that the parties had been
brought to Bow-street, and bound over to keep the peace, some sharp
words passing between them in the office. The statement ended with the
words--"The quarrel, we find, took place about a lady!"



CHAPTER XIV.


Morley Ernstein cast down the evening newspaper in disgust, and walked
up and down the room with angry feelings in his heart, which would not
bear control. Whither was it that his thoughts first wandered? The
reader need hardly ask--it was to Juliet Carr. As early in the day as
the usages of society had permitted, he had called upon Lady Malcolm,
but, as almost invariably happens when one has a particular object in
seeing any friend, male or female, both Lady Malcolm herself, and Miss
Carr were reported by the servant to be out. His next visit was to Mr.
Hamilton, and there the report was very unfavourable. The next was to
a surgeon; for his shoulder, though the wound had been but slight, was
becoming very painful. The man of healing, of course, put him to ten
times more pain, in order to give him relief; and thus Morley had all
the most unpleasant preparatives that a man can have, for seeing his
name in a newspaper. He had been disappointed in his expectations--he
had been grieved for a friend--he had been put to positive pain
himself, and now he saw such an account of an affair, which was
assuredly not discreditable to himself, as to produce an impression
the most to be dreaded, on the minds of those he loved and esteemed.
His imagination was a quick one, and with the rapid magic of thought,
he summoned to his mind, all that Juliet Carr would think--all that
Juliet Carr would feel, on hearing that he had quarrelled with, and
fought a swindler "_on account of a lady!_"

Men little know to what an immense extent their own acquaintance with
all the evil and wickedness of the world affects their estimate of
other people's thoughts and opinions. The rascal, nine times out of
ten, supposes every body to possess the same rascally feelings as
himself; and men, in picturing to their own mind the thoughts of
women, imagine that those thoughts are founded upon knowledge that few
of the gentler sex have any means of possessing. Morley Ernstein,
himself, though he believed the mind of Juliet Carr to be as pure as
that of an angel, fancied nevertheless, that the moment her eye rested
upon that paragraph, she would see him in the midst of scenes of vice
and licentiousness, quarrelling with a blackleg, for an abandoned
woman.

Morley was quite mistaken, however. It is true, that scarcely one of
all the many male eyes which that day read the news of Bow-street,
failed to receive exactly such an impression from the paragraph
concerning himself. But what did Juliet Carr think? Any thing but what
her lover supposed. Juliet Carr was a great reader of character; she
was endowed by nature with that discriminating power--for depend upon
it, reader, it is a gift, not an acquirement--which enables us by some
traits, often even undefinable to ourselves, and generally totally
unnoticed by others, to distinguish at once the innate or habitual
springs of action in those with whom we are brought in contact. I know
not well, whether that gift be most likely to prove a blessing or a
curse. It may often guide our actions, but it seldom guides our
affections, and too often renders the struggle between inclination and
reason, more painful than it always is. Juliet Carr had discovered
very rapidly all the principal traits of Morley Ernstein's character;
but even had not that been the case, she was not sufficiently
acquainted with the evils of the world in general, to conjure up the
picture which Morley supposed would present itself to her imagination.

Thus, when she read the account of the duel, she felt quite certain
that the cause of quarrel was some impetuous act springing from a
generous impulse. When she came to the fact of his having fired in the
air, a smile of pleasure brightened her face, crossing the look of
painful anxiety with which she had been reading; but when in the end
she found that he was wounded, she dropped the paper from her hand
with feelings of mingled fear and sorrow, and with something like
self-reproach, as if her counsels of the night before had caused the
injury under which he suffered. Taking up the newspaper quickly again,
she carried it at once into the neighbouring room, where Lady Malcolm
was sitting, and pointing out the paragraph with a pale cheek and an
anxious eye, which her worthy cousin did not fail to remark, she asked
Lady Malcolm, if she could not send to obtain some more certain
information as to the real state of their young friend. Lady Malcolm
replied, that she would write at once, and the letter was accordingly
despatched.

It was now about half-past eight o'clock at night, and to make sure of
the note being properly delivered, and that a correct account of
Morley Ernstein's health should be brought, Juliet's cousin despatched
an old and faithful servant of her own; who was well acquainted with
good Adam Gray, the young gentleman's attached dependent. In about
three quarters of an hour the man returned, saying, that he had left
the note, and that Sir Morley Ernstein must be better, for he had gone
out, the waiter said, on purpose to see Miss Barham.

Lady Malcolm remarked that Juliet turned slightly pale, and being the
best disposed woman in the world to relieve persons from unpleasant
sensations, she replied, "Nonsense! there must be some mistake,
William. Did you see old Adam Gray."

"No, my lady," replied the man; "I did not; but the waiter told me;
that Sir Morley had especially directed him, if any one called, to say
that he had gone to see Miss Barham."

Lady Malcolm was one of those who make the most of a difficulty by
attempting to get over it, and she was in the high road to try whether
she could not persuade the man that he was mistaken, when Juliet rose
quietly, and went into the other room, as if to seek a book. Her
ladyship then saw that there was no need of proceeding further, and
suffered her servant to depart.

In the meanwhile, Juliet rested her hand upon the table in the next
room for a moment, and gazed thoughtfully at the lamp. The flame was
bright and clear--and whether she found some fanciful affinity between
the object on which her eyes were fixed, and that of which her mind
was in search, I know not; but certainly at that moment she was
seeking for light, upon subjects connected with her own feelings, and
with the circumstances round her, and the lamp of the mind had
suddenly become dim and shadowy. Now many a reader may think that the
question with which she busied herself was, whether Morley Ernstein
was really in love with another? whether, after all that his lips had
said, and all that his look had said--nay, all that his whole
demeanour had said, during the preceding evening, his heart could
really be given to a different object--his affections at that very
time engrossed by another? Such, however, was not the question that
Juliet Carr addressed to herself. It did not at all refer to the
feelings of Morley Ernstein. It referred to her own. She asked
herself, what it was that made such strange sensations shoot through
her bosom, at the thought of his passing that evening with another?
She asked herself, why she should feel as if a cold hand pressed her
heart, at the idea of his being attached to another? Had she been
dreaming? Had she been indulging visions that she had no right to
indulge? or, had she really suffered her imagination to be captivated
by a wild, gay, ardent, young man, who perhaps addressed the same
flattery of words and manner to some new acquaintance every night?
Juliet Carr was frightened at her own feelings, and for the rest of
the evening, though not absolutely melancholy, she was grave and
thoughtful.

About eleven o'clock on the following day, Lady Malcolm went out, not
telling her fair visitor where she was going at that early hour. It
must be recollected, that she was first cousin to Juliet's mother, and
her period of life was somewhat more than that mother's age would have
been had she been still living. She was, perhaps forty-eight or nine;
and cares and sorrows--those sad beauty-killers--had left her less of
the appearance of youth than might have been her portion, if her life
had passed smoothly and happily. It was upon the strength of her age,
then, that Lady Malcolm now ventured towards Berkeley-square, in order
to visit Morley Ernstein, and enquire into his proceedings with her
own lips.

In the meantime, however, that young gentleman himself, as so often
happens on such occasions, had been impelled towards the house of Lady
Malcolm, taking his way, as if on purpose, by streets the most
distinct and opposite to those which the good lady herself pursued. He
had not the slightest idea, it is true, that there was a chance of her
coming to call upon him; but still, if the truth must be told, his
heart beat with a pleasurable pulse when he heard that Lady Malcolm
was out, and that Miss Carr was at home.

He followed the servant quickly up the stairs, through the first
drawing-room, and into the second, where Juliet was busy, writing a
letter; so that she scarcely heard his name announced ere he was
before her. The colour mounted up into her cheek, a smile came upon
her lip, and she received him kindly and courteously; but still there
was, in her manner, or at least Morley thought so, a certain degree of
coldness, which his warm and eager nature could not endure, even for a
moment. Time to think had been allowed him since the first impression,
which had been produced upon his mind by reading the newspaper-account
of his duel with Neville, and various other circumstances had
combined, to fix him in a resolution which he now proceeded to
execute. He sat down, then, at once beside Juliet Carr, saying--

"You must forgive me for coming at this early hour, and, still
further, you must forgive me for preventing you from writing your
letter, perhaps for a long time, as I intend to stay here till Lady
Malcolm comes back."

There was something in his manner that agitated Juliet Carr, but she
would not give way to the sensations of her own heart, nor suffer
herself to fancy, for a moment, that there was any other feeling
towards her in his, than common friendship.

"Indeed, I am very happy to see you," she replied; "we were very
anxious to hear of you last night; for we saw, in the newspaper, an
account--"

"Of my having become a duellist, notwithstanding all your kind
cautions," said Morley.

"Yes," answered Juliet Carr, with a bright smile; "but also of your
having acted well and nobly, even though you did yield to the bad
influence of man's customs."

"You mean in not firing at my adversary," said Morley. "Well, I will
confess to you, that at the moment I was conversing with you, the
night before, I had fully made up my mind to shoot him. Nay, more, I
thought I should be serving society by so doing."

"Oh, then," exclaimed Juliet, warmly, "I do rejoice that I said what I
did, if I am to believe it had any effect upon you. Think, with what
different feelings we should now have met, if you had killed that
man--think how sad and melancholy you would have been."

"Your words had every effect," replied Morley, "for they entirely
stopped me in my purpose, and I will own, now, that I am most glad I
listened to them; not only, because it gives me pleasure to have
followed your counsel, but because I am satisfied, that counsel was
right; and now let us speak, Juliet," he continued, "of that newspaper
account which you saw of the business, for, believe me, your good
opinion is more valuable to me than anything else in life."

Juliet blushed, and her heart beat quickly; but following that first
impulse, which generally affects the mind of woman on such occasions,
she sought to avoid the more agitating part of the theme, and replied,
quickly, "I see that one part of the account must be false; for it
stated that you were severely wounded. It was that which made me and
Lady Malcolm so anxious to hear how you were. She wrote to you last
night, but--"

"I was out," replied Morley, with that straight-forward frankness of
demeanour, which wrought a change in Juliet's feelings at every
word--"I would have come, in answer to her note, myself, but I was
obliged to go out, early in the evening, to see a young lady of the
name of Barham, whose situation is one which, I think, will interest
you deeply when you come to hear the particulars."

Juliet Carr drew a long, deep sigh; her eyes remained fixed upon the
table; the fine turned upper lip quivered, as she listened; and the
beautiful nostril expanded, as if some struggling feelings in her
breast required more breath in their eager contest.

"It was my intention," continued Morley, "to interest Mr. Hamilton, my
former guardian, in this business, and to induce him to do all for
Miss Barham that I could wish to do; but he, I am sorry to say, is
extremely ill, and I must apply to Lady Malcolm and yourself to help
me."

"Oh, that we will, willingly!" exclaimed Juliet. "But what is the
matter, Morley?--why cannot you act for yourself? Is this the lady,
about whom they say you fought the duel?"

There was a slight smile upon her face as she asked the last
question--but each of the three was somewhat difficult to answer, and
Morley chose the least.

"It was not exactly about her that the quarrel took place," he said,
"though it was in her house. This man, Neville, who is a swindler, had
gone there with purposes which, perhaps, Juliet, I could better
explain to Lady Malcolm than yourself. It is sufficient to say, that
they were insulting to an innocent and amiable girl, overwhelmed with
misfortunes of various kinds: first, the death of her father, a poor,
but respectable clergyman, after a long and tedious illness, which
exhausted all his resources; next, the pressure of poverty; and last,
but greatest of all, the infamous conduct of a brother, who has
abandoned himself to every sort of evil, and would sell or betray his
sister for a very slight consideration. It was the wish to see if I
could do something, both to relieve and reclaim this youth, that took
me to Miss Barham's house, when I met the man, Neville, there. I had
never beheld her before, but I then saw enough to make me sure that
she was innocent and good, and you may easily imagine, that I did not
feel disposed to suffer her to be injured or insulted in my presence."

"Oh, no, no!" exclaimed Juliet, enthusiastically, "I am sure you would
not--I am sure that you would do everything in your power to protect
and assist her."

Somehow or another, I know not well how, Morley Ernstein seemed to
feel he had got a little the advantage of Juliet Carr, and he replied,
with a smile--

"I am most anxious to do everything; but how it is to be done is the
question, Juliet; for I must let you into one secret--this Miss Barham
is young and very beautiful."

He saw the colour in Juliet's cheek vary, in a manner that gave him
greater pleasure than anything that he had beheld for many a day; and
yet he hastened to restore it to a steadier tone.

"There are two difficulties, Juliet," he said; "one of which I do not
like to encounter, and one of which I have no right to encounter. You
will easily understand," he continued, with a smile, "that I cannot
take this pretty Helen Barham to my house, or even send her thither
and give her an asylum there, though, for a thousand reasons, it were
better that she should leave London. If she remains, I cannot shield
her from persecution and annoyance; and my being with her frequently,
might produce an impression on the minds of others, that my views
towards her were of an evil nature; while in herself," he added,
slowly and gravely, "it might induce a belief that I am actuated by
feelings of personal attachment, which I can never feel. Do not
suppose me vain, Juliet; but it is right to remember that, thrown
altogether into my society, resting upon me for protection and
support, experiencing some kindness from me, and feeling more
gratitude than I deserve, she might learn to entertain sentiments that
I could never return, and should be deeply grieved to disappoint."

Juliet's lips moved, though there was no sound proceeded from them,
but her heart said something that Morley Ernstein might have been glad
to hear.

"To speak the truth, Juliet," continued Morley, "it is more lest she
should mistake me, than lest others should mistake me, that I am
anxious. It so seldom happens that a man is very eager to serve a
woman without some motive, that she might well think I am influenced
by an attachment to herself, unless--unless--unless, in short, I can
find some more proper person than myself to stand prominently forward
in this business. Some facts which I heard last night, and which made
me hurry to her instantly, render it the more necessary that she
should be removed from her present abode at once."

"Why?" demanded Juliet; "is she in any danger?"

"She is in danger of being placed in the most painful situation
possible," replied Morley. "Her brother has thrown himself entirely in
the power of the swindler Neville. Their views upon this poor girl are
such as I can hardly explain, for there are things which, to ears so
pure as yours, are offensive even to hear named."

"Alas!" replied Juliet, looking up in his face, with a sweet yet sad
smile, "one cannot live any time in the world, Morley, without being
well aware that there are many vices and evils of all kinds going on
around us. I am not sure that it would be beneficial to us to be
ignorant that such things exist, if they must exist; but, however, I
can easily conceive that this man's views and purposes are infamous.
The only thing I cannot comprehend is, how a brother can lend himself
to disgrace a sister. What can be his inducement? What can be the
motive strong enough to lead him to an act which one would imagine the
most depraved mind would shrink from with horror?"

"The hope of life, Juliet," replied Morley--"the fear of death. These
are his inducements; but that part of the subject I must not touch
upon with you. Wherever he is concerned, I will deal with the affair
myself, and hope still to save him from the consequences of his own
crime and folly. If he cannot be saved, however, we must shield his
sister from his importunities; and if you will help me in this--if you
will give her your countenance, assistance, and protection, I am sure
she will be grateful, and I, Juliet, will be deeply so."

"I will do anything you like," cried Juliet, with a glowing
countenance; "I will go to her this moment, if you please. Oh, I
forgot I was in London!" she added, sitting down again on the sofa,
from which she had partly risen. "But, however, whatever you think
best to be done, I am quite ready to do. You know, I believe, Morley,
that my means of helping her--in point of money, I mean--are not very
large, and that I have some poor pensioners at home, but still I have
quite enough to give her assistance for the time, and I shall soon
have more."

Morley gazed at her with sensations that kept him silent for a moment.
"It is unnecessary," he replied, at length; "I can supply all that. I
have far more than I know how to employ properly, Juliet, and, indeed,
I think that when I have engaged you so deeply in this affair that you
cannot escape me, I shall try to induce you to give me counsel in the
disposal of that wealth which is too great not to imply a serious
obligation to employ it properly. Will you be my monitor, Juliet?"

Juliet Carr looked down, and again turned pale, saying, in a low
voice, "Willingly, Morley, if I could be vain enough to think my
counsels would aid or benefit you."

Strange as it may seem, the same sudden paleness which had alarmed
Morley Ernstein on the preceding night, making him doubt whether
Juliet's heart was free, and resolve to bridle his impetuous spirit
and proceed coolly and slowly to ascertain what were her real feelings
before he committed himself, lest vanity should meet a rebuff and love
a disappointment--the same sudden paleness now produced a contrary
effect. During their conference of that morning there had been a
thousand little signs, a thousand little passing expressions of the
countenance, which had raised hope and expectation. There had been a
light in her eyes when she raised them suddenly to his face, a
changing colour under his glance, an agitation in the voice, an
occasional embarrassment in the manner,--all of which shewed Morley
Ernstein that he had the power, at least, of producing emotion in the
heart of Juliet Carr, and there is something in that power which
renders it akin either to love or fear. Morley was very sure that
there was no touch of the latter passion in her feelings. He hoped,
then, naturally enough, that there might be somewhat of the former.
How the matter would have gone on at that moment, Heaven only knows,
but just as the words passed Juliet's lips, there was a loud knock at
the street-door, and Juliet added--"There is Lady Malcolm!"

There was no time left then for any long explanations, but Morley took
the hand which rested on the table--it was certainly a fair book,
that might have been kissed by Jews or infidels, with no light
devotion--and pressing his lips upon it, he said--"Thus, dear Juliet,
I seal your promise."

"What promise?" exclaimed Juliet Carr, with a start and a blush.

"To be my monitor," replied Morley. He would have fain added "for
life," but he dared not risk all at that moment, and ere either of
them could utter more, Lady Malcolm entered the room.



CHAPTER XV.


Each act and fact in human nature, and in human life, is connected by
so many links, with everything around, that the man who sets out to
tell a history, if he would tell it completely, has as many different
threads to follow, as a spider in the middle of his web. If he pursue
one for any length, without deviating, he finds that he has left forty
or fifty other branches on either side, which--each of them more or
less--affect the narrative in the end. He has to come back for each,
to follow each out carefully, or else some of the meshes in the web
will be found broken, when most he wants them. Thus must we return, to
take up the history of Morley Ernstein, at that particular point where
we left off to expatiate upon men's miscalculations of the thoughts of
women, being thence seduced away by very natural inducements, to tell
what was really going on in the mind of sweet Juliet Carr; and thence
again, as speedily to recount her interview with Morley on the
subsequent day.

After having thrown down the newspaper, then, and strode up and down
the room for some time, with indignation and bitterness of heart,
Morley began to consider what was the best course for him to pursue in
order to prevent such impressions, as he feared had been produced,
from becoming permanent in the mind of her he loved. In short, he
acted like any other impetuous man. He first became violently angry at
the apprehension of an evil, and then, after having wasted half an
hour in the whirl of passion, began to do what it would have been
better to do at first, and think of means to remedy what had gone
amiss. He determined, then, as we have seen, to tell Juliet Carr as
much as he could tell of Helen Barham's history, and to explain
frankly and straightforwardly his whole conduct. The only question
was, how was this to be brought about naturally? Juliet Carr would
certainly never demand any account of how or why he had fought the
duel, or who was the lady to whom the newspapers referred. Nay, more,
most probably she would even shrink from the subject altogether, if
such suspicions were excited in her mind as he anticipated.

After some thought, the plan suddenly flashed upon his mind, of
interesting Lady Malcolm, and even Juliet herself, in the situation of
Helen Barham, and thus delivering himself from two difficulties at
once. What politicians love does make of us! As soon as the idea
struck him, he saw the whole benefit of it, and resolved to follow it
out immediately. He would break through all ceremony; he would go to
Lady Malcolm that very night, and with this view he rang the bell, and
asked if he could have his dinner earlier than he had ordered it.

The waiter replied, "Yes, sir;" and, as usual in such cases, the
dinner was half an hour later than ever. Morley ate it, when it did
come, as fast as possible, but he had just concluded when information
was brought him, that a gentleman wished to see him upon business, and
ordering him to be admitted, with a somewhat impatient expression, Mr.
Higgins was ushered in with a deferential air. With that careful
eschewance of all listening ears, which was one point of Mr. Higgins's
prudence, that gentleman remained bowing in silence, till the waiter
was out of the room, after which he approached a little nearer to the
table, saying--

"I have done the matter, sir. I can tell you all about it, now; I set
somebody to pump Nevvy himself, for I could make nothing of Bill, and
I find the lad has done that which shews he prefers hemp to lint any
time, by way of a neck-handkerchief. He'll swing, sir--there's no
helping it. He'll swing--you'll see," and Mr. Higgins stuck his hands
forcibly into his breeches pockets, as the most powerful mode of
asseveration which he could adopt. "I don't like exactly to tell you
what he's done, sir," he continued, "though I'm sure you wouldn't
peach, but still--"

"I know what he has done," answered Morley, calmly; "all I want to
know now is, whose is the name he forged?"

Higgins gazed at him in some surprise, at finding that the young
gentleman had arrived so rapidly at so dangerous a piece of
information.

"Why, sir," he replied, "as you know so much, I might as well tell you
all, but yet, when a lad's neck's in jeopardy--"

"All I seek," said Morley, somewhat impatiently, "is the lad's own
good. If I cannot benefit him I will not hurt him, depend upon it; so
speak out, Mr. Higgins--who is the man?"

"Why, he is a friend of yours, sir," replied Higgins, "that is what
makes me so careful."

"Mr. Hamilton!" said Morley, looking in the man's face with
consternation; for he well knew that the crime of forgery was one
which, in the eyes of the banker, however tender and lenient he was on
other occasions, could only be expiated by death. "Mr. Hamilton! That
is, indeed, unfortunate!"

"No, no, sir," answered Higgins, "both he and Neville knew better than
that. The Colonel, sir--the Colonel's the man. No one would ever
believe that any of Neville's party could have a bill of Mr.
Hamilton's, but as for the Colonel, sir--the Count, some folks call
him--being a little bit upon the turf, and a good deal in the world,
and all that, the thing was likely enough."

While the man had been speaking, Morley Ernstein had revolved in his
own mind all the consequences of Lieberg's possessing the power of
life and death over William Barham. He doubted not, for a moment, that
his friend would abandon all thought of proceeding against the
unfortunate young man, at his request; but after what had passed
between them the morning before, his mind could not help entertaining
a fear, that Lieberg might use the hold he had acquired, to the injury
of Helen Barham. He knew that Lieberg would think it doing her no
wrong, to seek to place her in a situation of affluence and ease, at
the expense of what the world in general calls virtue. He could not
help acknowledging, too, that Lieberg's chance of success in such a
pursuit was very much more probable than that of the man Neville.
Strikingly handsome as he was in person, there was a fascination about
his manners, a charm in his eloquence, which Morley himself could not
resist. He felt that it was sometimes dangerous to him, but yet it was
most agreeable; and even he himself, with all his strong good sense,
while talking with Lieberg, lost the clear distinction of what was
right and wrong, or only retained it by a great struggle, which, if he
abandoned for a moment, all his ideas on such subjects became vague
and shadowy, as in that pleasant moment when tired, but not too tired,
we sink into the arms of sleep, scarcely knowing at what point our
waking thoughts desert us. What might be the influence of such a man,
Morley asked, over a young and inexperienced girl like Helen Barham,
when he had the life of her brother in his hands? Morley feared very
much for the result: he had marked, in that poor girl, the traces of
strong and deep feelings; eager and somewhat wild enthusiasms--seeds,
in short, that might be speedily made to shoot up into powerful
passions. Yes, he feared very much for the result! There was nothing
to be done, but to remove her speedily and at once from the scene,
before the attempt to save her brother was made, and his resolution
was taken accordingly.

"There, Mr. Higgins," he said, pushing across a note to that worthy;
"there is what I promised; and now tell me one or two things more
about this business. First of all, how soon is the matter likely to be
discovered?"

"Why, on Saturday, sir," replied Higgins; "I hear it's a promissory
note at a month, and it's up on Saturday. Neville has made the boy
believe that he can and will stop the thing, but he can no more do
that than he can fly. The note is out of his hands long ago. The way
the thing was done was very unfair to the lad, too, I hear. He has a
great art of imitating any writing he sees, and they got him to copy
the Colonel's name, which he had never heard of before, making him
think that it was that of somebody who had been dead a long while.
When he found out the trick, however, and was in so great a fright
that they thought he would go and blab the whole directly, they coaxed
him down by giving him some forty or fifty pounds of the money, which
he went and spent directly with a girl named Sally Cole. Neville, too,
persuaded him that he would take the bill up, though Neville took care
not to be present when William signed the name."

"It is strange," said Morley, "how a set of men, so well known to be
scoundrels as these are, can ever get a forged bill like that into
circulation."

"Oh it is very easily done, sir," replied Higgins, "it goes through
half-a-dozen hands, each of whom make a good thing by it. They sold it
to a man for half the money, or perhaps less; then he sold it to one
of the low regular money-lenders for thirty or forty pounds more. He
again sent it to another, who had a somewhat better name; and then,
when my Lord This-thing or my Lord That-thing comes to him for four or
five thousand pounds, he will give him this bill as part payment.
However, they'll soon get hold of poor Bill, for every one of them
will give him up, and there are plenty ready to turn evidence against
him."

"Then you think there is no chance," said Morley, "of Neville ever
recovering the bill?"

"Not he," answered Higgins; "a thousand to one, sir, it is in the
hands of some banker by this time, and unless one could prig the
clerk's pocket-book, there is no stopping the matter now. The only way
would be, to get Bill out of the way, but I doubt if these fellows
would let him go; for they know very well, that Sir Richard will have
one of them: and as the boy is boots, you see, sir, they think he had
better swing early."

"They may find themselves mistaken," said Morley; "however, I must see
what can be done. Good night, Mr. Higgins."

"I say, sir," said Higgins, with a sly look, before he departed: "Have
you got hold of the young lady yet?"

"You mistake, my good friend," said Morley, sternly; "I have no such
intentions as you suppose."

"Well, sir," said the man, nothing abashed, "you'll easily manage it
if you like. Bill Barham told me he was going to call upon you
to-night between seven and eight; and you could easily bring him to
terms--that I saw very well. No offence, sir, I hope. Good night."

Morley Ernstein remained standing for a moment in thought. "The girl
must be removed," he said, speaking to himself, "and if the youth can
be induced to go and confess all to Lieberg, with an offer of repaying
the money, I doubt not all may yet go well. When Lieberg finds that
Helen Barham is gone, and that even her brother does not know where to
find her, he will of course think that I have seduced her, and taken
her away. Well, let him do so, for the present! If Lady Malcolm helps
me, we will soon convince him of the contrary. In the meantime things
must take their course; I will go to her at once, and see if she will
put herself entirely under my direction, before I speak with Lady
Malcolm."

Ere he set out, he left directions to inform William Barham, if that
praiseworthy young gentleman called, that he was gone to his
sister's house; and in Davis-street he got into a hackney-coach with
the intention of proceeding thither more quickly. That sad and tardy
contrivance for wasting men's time, however, was not at all suited to
the eager spirit of Morley Ernstein, and ere it had rumbled through
more than two or three streets, he made the coachman stop, paid him
his fare, jumped out, and proceeded on foot. On arriving at Helen
Barham's dwelling, he was admitted instantly; for the maid, who had
her own notion of the object of his visits, had heard all about him
from the groom, who had accompanied him at first, and judging that the
arrangement would do very well, took care to be especially civil to
one whom she supposed would be her future master. She even made way
for him to go up the stairs before her, and Morley, who was too eager
to be ceremonious, passed on, and opened the drawing-room door
himself.

Helen Barham had learned to know his knock and his step, however, and
with her pencil in her hand, as she sat working hard at a drawing
before her, she gazed up with a glad and eager look towards the
opening door, to see if her ear had not deceived her. It was by this
time night. There might be a ray or two of daylight still in the sky,
but not enough for her to see her drawing. The windows therefore had
been closed, and the lamp lighted, and as she sat with the rays
falling full upon her face, with her bright eyes raised towards the
opening door, her lips apart and shewing the white teeth, her form
bent forward with expectation, and the fair, delicate hand holding the
pencil suspended over the paper, certainly nothing more lovely could
have presented itself to the eyes of Morley Ernstein. Then came up in
her face the light of joy as she saw him, the beaming of gratitude and
regard, as if to give sunshine to the picture.

It was altogether like a fine Rembrandt, for, both morally and
physically, the full light was all concentrated in that one spot in
the room, and everything else around was dark to the eye, and to the
heart. There she sat, alone--a being, formed to ornament society, to
give happiness to others, to receive happiness from them, to animate,
to cheer, to soothe, to taste, to feel, to enjoy! There she sat,
alone, pursuing solitary and ungrateful labour through the long hours
of the night, with sad thoughts as her only companions, and no voice
of father, of brother, or of husband, to comfort and support her. The
first reflection that crossed the mind of Morley Ernstein, after the
impression of her dazzling beauty subsided, was, how sad and gloomy
must her existence have been for many a long day past! The feelings in
his heart might well have tempted him to take the stricken lamb to his
bosom, to nourish, and to cheer her there, without one evil sensation,
or one thought but for her good; and the reader may well pardon him,
if--although he was guarded by a passion, intense and true, for
another--if, notwithstanding all he could do, there was a tenderness
in his manner, a gentle affection in his tone, that was very dangerous
to poor Helen Barham. She sprang up, she held out her hand to him, she
exclaimed, with a look that told the whole joy of her heart--

"Oh! how glad I am to see you! Do you know, I have found a way of
supporting myself quite well, till I can get some more scholars. Since
I saw you, I have sold two of my drawings to a shop in Pall Mall, and
received two guineas for them. I did not think the things were worth
anything, but merely for my scholars to copy; but as I went past the
windows of a drawing shop, I saw some that did not seem better than
mine, so I resolved to try. The man gave me two guineas at once, and
said he would take as many more as I could bring; so that now, you
see, I am rich."

"I am afraid, my dear Miss Barham," said Morley, with a smile, "that I
have come to destroy all your fine projects; but, do not be alarmed,
it is to substitute others in their place, which, I trust, may not be
disagreeable to you."

The sensation of her position in regard to Morley Ernstein, her total
dependence, as it were, upon him, the power he seemed to have over her
fate, and the right of interfering in it, which he had at once
assumed, never seemed to affect Helen Barham painfully when she was
pouring forth expressions of gratitude for what he had done, or when
showing her thankfulness in word, in look, or in tone. But when he
seemed about to propose any line of conduct, or offer any further
assistance, a vague sensation of apprehension, as it were, a sort of
indistinct consciousness that whatever he asked her, were it right or
wrong, she would do, caused the fluttering blood to come into her
cheek, her heart to beat, and her breathing to grow quick with
expectation.

"What is it you wish me to do?" she asked, in a tone that implied,
"You have but to tell me, and I will do it."

Morley paused for a moment before he answered. There was something in
the whole circumstances of the moment, and especially in the
extraordinary difference between the manner with which Helen Barham
now received him, and that with which she had first met him some days
before, which affected him strangely. Was there again a struggle in
his heart? Was there again temptation? Was there again the voice of
the earthly spirit prompting him to rush impetuously to the
gratification of every impulse without fear or thought of the
consequences to himself and others? Reader, we will not pry-into his
heart too closely; we will not look for that which it might be painful
to find. If Morley Ernstein was tempted, he overcame the temptation;
nor did it reach such a point, that the better spirit was called to
fight vehemently against the adversary.

He paused for a moment, and his heart beat quick--but that was all;
and he then explained to Helen that he had discovered the person whose
name her brother had so criminally used--that he was a friend of his
own--and that he believed, beyond all doubt, he should have the means
of inducing him to stop all proceedings against the offender. In the
next place, he told her, that he still thought it absolutely
necessary, both on her own and her brother's account, that she should,
immediately remove from her present abode, into the country. He
informed her that it was his intention, if possible, to induce William
Barham to go abroad to one of the British Colonies, where employment
of an honourable kind would be found for him; but, at the same time,
he showed her, that if her brother was still suffered to entertain any
hopes of concealing the forgery, by playing into the hands of the man
Neville, he might be kept lingering on in England till it was too late
to save him, and at all events might never be disentangled from the
evil companions to whom he had devoted himself. At the same time he
urged that the only way to make him abandon every attempt to carry out
his infamous bargain with Neville, was to place her beyond his reach
altogether, and not even to let him know where she was.

She listened for a moment in silence, with her eyes bent down, and
evidently full of thought, and then looked up in his face, with
something like a tear upon her eyelashes. "You have been so kind and
good," she said, in a faltering voice, "and have shewn yourself so
generous, that I scarcely ought to ask you any questions, but only, I
am afraid--that is to say, having no friend who has yet expressed a
willingness to receive me, I think people might judge it strange, if I
were to go anywhere with you alone--I mean, under your care--without
my own brother knowing it. But I see you are smiling--I have mistaken
you. But, oh, no! indeed I have not doubted you--I am sure, Sir Morley
Ernstein, you would not wrong me in any way;" and she gave him her
hand.

"Not for the world," he replied. "I smiled at myself, Miss Barham--my
mind being fully occupied with my own plans for you. I forgot to tell
you one half of them, which ought to have been told you at first. My
friend, Mr. Hamilton's illness has embarrassed me; but there is an
excellent lady, an old friend of my mother's, to whom I intend to
apply for assistance, which I know she will give, for she is not a
little of an enthusiast herself in all that is good, and is ever eager
to help misfortune. I will apply to her, and to a young lady who is
now with her, an old friend of mine, and I feel perfectly certain--or
at least very certain--that they will not refuse to give me every sort
of aid in carrying my plans for you into execution. I will go to them
early to-morrow, and doubt not soon to bring you back good news from
them. But let us consider the worst, my dear Miss Barham: suppose I
were to find Lady Malcolm and Miss Carr either not disposed, or not
able to afford or ensure you a safe asylum, I still believe that it
would be absolutely necessary for you, at any risk, and whatever the
world may say, to quit this place, and separate yourself from your
brother for a time. There are occasions on which we must brave the
world's opinion, when we know that we are doing what is right, when
our purposes and views are high and pure, and when, by obeying the
cold dictates of society, we should incur still greater dangers, or
fall into real errors."

Was the doctrine that he preached a perilous one? Perhaps it might be
so--at least, as far as human happiness is concerned; for the laws and
customs of the world are exactly like the military code of Great
Britain, which strictly forbids a man to fight a duel, and disgraces
him if he refuses.

Helen Barham again looked up in his face, and replied, at once--"I
will do anything that you please. Tell me what I ought to do! I am
sure, as I said before, you will not tell me wrong; and I am sure,
also, that when I am away, however criminal you may think him, you
will do the best for my poor brother William."

Morley gave her every assurance. There was much, however, to be
thought of--much to be spoken of, between them; and he remained nearly
two hours longer with her, in that sort of conversation which, of all
others, perhaps was the most dangerous--dangerous, indeed, to her,
poor girl! They had to speak of all the subjects most interesting to
her--of everything which touched her heart, or her feelings, which
awoke memories of the past, hopes of the future, which aroused dreams,
expectations, wishes, sensations, many of them still living, many of
them gone, and sounding upon the ear of memory like a death-bell in
the midst of the night. She had to talk of all these things with a
man, young, handsome, graceful, captivating, full of varied powers and
rich imagination--her only friend, her preserver, her benefactor.
Alas! for poor Helen Barham!



CHAPTER XVI.


Such as we have described in the last chapter, had been Morley
Ernstein's interview with Helen Barham, on the night preceding his
early visit to Lady Malcolm. When that worthy lady herself returned,
and entered the room where Morley and Juliet Carr were seated, she
might well assure him that she was delighted to see him; for she was
truly delighted to see him there, in that exact spot, seated by
Juliet's side; and yet had she known that he was there, she certainly
would not have seen him at all, for she would not have come home for
an hour. Lady Malcolm loved Juliet Carr sincerely; she loved Morley
Ernstein, too, with affection that had been going on and increasing
from his childhood. She thought it the most natural thing in the world
that they should love each other, and she was quite sure, to see them
wed each other, would very greatly contribute to her own happiness.
Whenever circumstances were in such a predicament, Lady Malcolm, who,
in these respects, was the wisest as well as the kindest woman in the
world, made a point of getting out of the way of the lovers as fast
and as far as possible, but, in the present instance, she discovered
her young friend's visit too late.

Morley's story was quickly told, and Lady Malcolm soon became deeply
interested in the fate of Helen Barham. She had lived long enough in
the world to comprehend, at a word, the views of Neville, and the sort
of danger from which Morley sought to screen the fair being he had
befriended. To say sooth, on the mind of Lady Malcolm, the newspaper
account of the duel had in some degree produced the effect which
Morley had expected it would produce on every one. The bold and candid
way, however, in which he now told who the lady was, and how the duel
had arisen, not only removed all suspicions from Lady Malcolm's
thoughts, but prevented anything like apprehension of Morley's being
seriously attached to any one else than Juliet Carr; which--to
acknowledge a sad truth--would have been more painful to her, than if
her young friend had really been engaged in some passing intrigue; for
Lady Malcolm was one of those who, from seeing a great deal of the
dissipated society of a court and a metropolis, believed that every
young man must and would commit a certain portion of vices and
follies; forgetting that those vices and follies, though we may turn
from them at an after period and learn to do better, leave behind
them stains of two kinds--stains upon our happiness and upon our
candour--not only regrets, but suspicions--not only the memory of evil
acts, but the knowledge of wickedness and of crime. The tree of which
man rebelliously ate in the garden of Eden, was called the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil. Had our unhappy first parent paused to
consider, he would have known that he possessed already the knowledge
of good, and that the prohibition of God referred, in fact, to the
tasting of that which could give him the knowledge of evil. He did
eat, and the stain of that fruit came upon his soul; and so is it with
every child of man; we cannot know evil without a spot remaining on
our hearts for ever.

However, such was Lady Malcolm's code, in respect to the licence
allowed to men, and such, alas! is the code of many another excellent
woman. She was glad, indeed, to find that it was not the case with
Morley Ernstein; but she was still more glad to find, as I have said,
that the cause of the duel was no serious attachment on the part of
Morley Ernstein to any other lady than Juliet Carr, and she now most
willingly entered into all his views with the zealous benevolence and
kind feeling, which she displayed in all cases, even when her judgment
was not so much in the right as it was in the present instance.

"I will go and see her immediately, my dear Morley," she said; "and I
and Juliet will settle the whole affair with her in five minutes. As
you say, it would be very improper for you to take her into the
country yourself. Why what would the people say, Juliet?--And then he
might fall in love with her, you know," she added, laughing.

But Morley answered at once--"There is no fear of that, my dear Lady
Malcolm. I have a buckler against all such dangers. A shield that was
given me accidentally on the very day after I came of age--under my
own park wall too," he added, turning towards Juliet Carr.

But her eyes were bent down upon the back of a book which she was
examining attentively, and she only raised them when Lady Malcolm
asked--"Well, Juliet, wont you come upon this good errand? Though I
don't know, I am sure, where we can place her for the time. Must it
absolutely be in the country, Morley? Why could it not be here? She
could have a bed in the little room next to yours, Juliet; and be
quite as well as in the country."

"For a day or two," replied Juliet, to whom she looked as if for
approval of her plan; "but I think not for long, my dear cousin.
The object is, you see, to remove her from her brother. Now as long as
she remained entirely in the house, that object would be attained
here, but the first time she went out she might meet him; and one
could not keep the poor girl a close prisoner.--I will write to my
father," she continued; "there are many rooms in our house that are
never used at all."

"Oh, my dear Juliet!--write to your father!" exclaimed Lady Malcolm,
with some warmth--"write to your father! You know him as well as I do,
and that he would not give you board and lodging yourself, if you did
not pay him."

Juliet coloured painfully; and Lady Malcolm, perceiving that she had
hurt her, said--"Forgive me, dear Juliet, I did not mean to grieve
you."

"You do not quite know my father," said Juliet Carr, gently; "but I
think I can arrange the matter with him so that he will willingly
receive Miss Barham for a month or two."

Lady Malcolm looked at her, divining what she intended to do, and
said--"You are a good girl, Juliet; but you must not be a hypocrite
with me. Write to your father, and if you find any difficulty, let me
know. We can easily manage the matter together then. The season is now
at an end, or nearly so; I must go out of London very soon, and I can
take you both with me. Nay, do not shake your head, I am very poor I
know, but you shall bear half the expense, heiress!"

"And pray, what share am Ito bear in this business?" said Morley,
laughing. "You forget, my dear Lady Malcolm, that all I desired, and
all I can consent to, is, that you and Miss Carr should kindly shield
the reputation of the whole party, by giving that protection to this
poor young lady, which I, as a man and a young man, should not be
permitted to do by this good meddling world. I must insist, that
whatever expense is incurred in the matter, may fall upon me. I know
already," he added, "how many claims there are upon this sweet lady's
bounty. I have heard of all her good doings round Yelverly."

"Very little are they, indeed," said Juliet, with a sigh: "I wish I
could do more. Still I have enough to bear my part in this kind act
which you have devised for us, and dear Lady Malcolm will not be
satisfied without doing something, too; so you must be content,
Morley, with your fair third--and now I will go and get ready to
accompany you at once," she added, speaking to Lady Malcolm.

As soon as Juliet was gone, and after a note had been despatched to
Helen Barham, at Morley's suggestion, to make her aware of the
intended visit, a fit of prudence suddenly seized upon Lady Malcolm,
which threatened to be very severe, as, to say sooth, such fits were
few and far between. Morley knew how to quiet the awakened demon,
however, and when Lady Malcolm asked him anxiously--"Now, are you
quite sure, Morley, that this girl has nothing of the impostor about
her, that she is quite the sort of person she ought to be?"

"Perfectly certain, upon my honour," replied Morley. "Put your mind
perfectly at ease, my dear Lady Malcolm, I have not been deceived,
depend upon it."

"You are very young in the world, Morley," said the good lady, still a
little doubtfully; "and, remember, I am going to take Juliet with me."

"You may, with all safety," answered Morley Ernstein. "Indeed, dear
Lady Malcolm, I wish you would, for many reasons; and, believe me,
neither you yourself, nor her very best and dearest friends, could
have such a tender regard for Juliet Carr's reputation and conduct as
I have."

"Oh, indeed!" exclaimed Lady Malcolm, with a look of satisfaction; "if
that be the case, then I am perfectly content. But you must have made
quick progress, Morley!"

Morley saw that the good lady had put a much wider construction upon
his words than he intended, and not knowing how far her view of the
matter might spread ere long, he thought it better to limit her
imagination to the truth at once, although he certainly had no
inclination to make a confidant of his love, while it was yet so new.

"Now, do not, my dear Lady Malcolm," he said, taking that tone of
affectionate playfulness which he often assumed towards his mother's
friend. "Now, do not tell all the world that I am Juliet Carr's
accepted lover, for such, I can assure you, is not the case, and you
may break many a heart for nothing. I do not even yet know that she is
not engaged to some other man."

There was a sort of cloud came over Morley's brow as he spoke the last
words, which gave Lady Malcolm an insight into what was passing in his
heart, and that advantage over him which such an insight always
affords to woman in her dealings with man.

"It would break your heart, Morley, would it not?" she asked,
laughing, "if such were really the case. Well, I should not
wonder--she must have plenty of lovers, and who can tell?--But never
mind! Go along, foolish boy! Were you never told when you were young
something about jesting with edged tools? Take my word for it, Morley,
it is fully as dangerous for a lover of one-and-twenty to venture a
joke in regard to his love, as for an infant to play with a
razor--especially when he speaks in the presence of a woman! You do
not at all believe that Juliet Carr is engaged, only you wish to be
made quite sure that she is not. I have a good mind to punish you for
your pride, by telling you nothing upon the subject. However, I always
spoiled you, and gave you too many sweetmeats when you were a boy; and
so I must divulge, I suppose, that I know she is not engaged--either
heart or hand. But that is not to say she will accept you, if you
propose to-morrow. Indeed, I do not think she will.--But here she
comes; so now you leave us, for we do not intend to take you with us
to see this pretty lady."

Morley accordingly took his leave, and Lady Malcolm proceeded with
Juliet to the house of Helen Barham. They were on foot with a servant
behind them, for Lady Malcolm, as she had said, was not rich, and did
not keep a carriage. The position of the house, its distance from the
part of the world they were accustomed to frequent, and the appearance
of several streets which they passed through to arrive at it, caused
good Lady Malcolm's heart to sink a little; and, like a cowardly
child, who has determined rashly to brave the terrors of the
churchyard by night, she was almost tempted to turn and to run away
before she reached the place itself. The greater air of
respectability, however, which the street displayed when she did
arrive at it, and the neatness of the house to which she had been
directed, revived her very much; while Juliet, unconscious of all that
had been passing in her companion's mind, looked up to the windows,
somewhat tired with a long walk through the streets of London, and
congratulated herself upon having reached the place at length.

The door was opened by the usual maid-servant, who seemed somewhat
surprised to see two ladies of such an appearance, and their names
being given, she ushered them up to the drawing-room. The note, which
Lady Malcolm had sent, was on the table when that lady entered; and
beside it, Helen Barham hastily laid down a newspaper. Her eyes were
looking wild and agitated, and they fixed upon the visitor with an
enquiring look, as if her coming, notwithstanding the note, was quite
unexpected.

Juliet had delayed a moment in order to give Lady Malcolm, who had
lost some activity with years, time to climb the stairs, and before
the younger lady appeared, the kind-hearted widow had taken Helen by
the hand, and was saying a thousand gentle and tender things to her,
telling her how highly Sir Morley Ernstein had spoken of her, and what
an interest he had created for her, in the bosom of herself and Miss
Carr.

Helen was very much agitated with emotions of many kinds, and during
the few minutes that followed, those emotions increased every instant.
She had just been reading, for the first time, the account of the duel
between Morley and Neville; and the danger he had run, the wound he
had suffered and had never mentioned to her, as well as the thought
that it was in her defence that he had fought, had created in her mind
a world of apprehension and gratitude, which was well nigh
overpowering her at the moment the door of the room opened. Then,
again, the kindness of Lady Malcolm, the benevolence of her demeanour
and her tone, all moved her in another manner, so that the tears were
in her eyes when Juliet entered. Helen suddenly turned her look from
Lady Malcolm to Juliet, and those two beautiful beings stood gazing
the one at the other, as if in surprise at each other's loveliness;
but--whether it was that Helen read her fate in the exquisite and
high-souled beauty of Juliet Carr, or whether it was that, agitation
after agitation, and one emotion upon another, was more than her
overwrought mind could bear, I cannot tell--she grew gradually paler
and paler, and then sank down upon the floor, her fair head falling
back upon the sofa behind her.



CHAPTER XVII.


All had gone well with Morley Ernstein's plans. Lady Malcolm and
Juliet Carr had remained with Helen Barham some time, had tended her
with care and kindness, and had entered into every arrangement with
her for the purpose of removing her speedily from the situation in
which she was placed. Each became interested in her almost as much as
Morley himself, for there was in her that quality which does more to
prepossess than even beauty itself, and which may be called
engagingness. She remained very sad indeed, during the whole of the
conversation with those two ladies; but that sadness seemed to them so
natural under the circumstances, that it produced no surprise, and
excited no suspicion, as to what might perhaps be the real cause
thereof. It was settled that she was to come to Lady Malcolm's house
the next day, and to remain there till Juliet received an answer from
her father, or till Lady Malcolm herself could execute her scheme of
quitting London for a short period.

Thus, then, as I have said, Morley's plans were proceeding as
prosperously as could be; but, alas! how often, and how sadly does it
happen, that the shoals and rocks of disaster lie close to the port of
success! It is strange to see how very, very frequently, at the very
moment that all seems sure to the eye of human calculation, the will
of God disappoints man's expectations, and the voice of fate
proclaims--"It shall not be!" Wisely and excellently, we know, it must
be so ordained; and human presumption certainly requires such checks,
however painful they may be.

Morley Ernstein had heard from Lady Malcolm all that had been done;
and a sort of feeling, which he could not very well define, prevented
him from going to see Helen Barham that day. We, however, may well
enquire, though he would not, what was the nature of his sensations.
Was it that her society, with the constant consideration of sorrows,
and painful circumstances, was becoming at all wearisome to him? Not
at all. It might have been so with some men, with those who are
volatile as well as eager, the straw-fire of whose enthusiasm is
quenched as soon as lighted. But such was not the case with Morley
Ernstein. He was, as we have seen, often struggled for by two spirits,
but both spirits were powerful and resolute, and their action was to
give energy and perseverance to all he undertook.

Was it that he himself, notwithstanding his love for Juliet
Carr--love, which was every moment becoming more ardent and
passionate--felt in the society of Helen Barham a charm that he would
not indulge in?--that there was a pleasure in soothing and consoling
her, a degree of excitement in sitting beside her, talking with her
over all her inmost feelings, dwelling with her upon the past,
consulting with her upon the future--a sentimental luxury, if we may
so call it, in the very tenderness of his compassion which he knew to
be dangerous, if not wrong?

Perhaps it was so. There was a vague impression upon his mind that it
was something like wronging Juliet Carr to give so much of his
tenderness to another; and the higher spirit having then the power, he
resisted his inclination, and did not go. But that fact itself made
him listless.

Morley remained in his own room, writing and reading, and had not been
out since he left Lady Malcolm, when a note was brought up in
Lieberg's handwriting. It was to the following effect:--"My dear
Ernstein,--If you dine at home, will you let me share your dinner, for
I have something of importance to say to you." Morley instantly wrote
to beg him to come; and a few hours after, he and Lieberg were seated
together at the social meal, waiting till the servants had taken their
departure ere they approached the business which the visitor had to
speak upon.

"This trout is excellent," said Lieberg; "your host shows his taste,
Morley, in giving you trout instead of sea-fish at this season of the
year. Sea-fish is intolerable at Midsummer, and especially as you
English people dress yours. Who could endure the thought of frying and
grease; or even of boiled fish and lobster sauce, cayenne pepper, and
anchovy, and all the concatenation of horrors which follow the
invariable dish of fish, at an ordinary English table? Trout or smelts
are the only things tolerable at this season of the year. I must have
had a presentiment that you would have trout to-day, when I invited
myself to dine with you. Do you give in to the doctrine of
presentiments, Morley?"

"All men, I suppose, have a vague superstition of the kind in regard
to great events; but I do not think, Lieberg, that supernatural
warnings would be wasted upon a dish of trout."

"I don't see why," replied Lieberg. "These little things are great to
little men; and if, as I believe, the whole universe around us swarms
with kindred spirits, only separated from us by the thin partition of
our mortal clay, interesting themselves in our happiness, and giving
us intimation of things that affect our present state, I do not see
why one of these same aërial brethren of ours should not tap at the
wainscot to tell me that there is a dish of trout, or any other little
pleasant sin, awaiting me at the house of my friend."

Morley smiled in spite of himself; for the knowledge that Lieberg had
come to speak to him upon some important business, and the fact of
being obliged to wait till after dinner to know what that business
was, oppressed his eager spirit, and occupied his thoughts too much
for him to relish any ordinary conversation. "I should not think," he
replied, "that they would take the trouble of knocking at all, except
upon great occasions."

"True," replied Lieberg. "But men's estimation of what are great
occasions is various. Some may think death itself but a light thing,
and a bad dinner a very serious one. I do not know that I am not of
that opinion myself. I certainly know one thing--that I would rather
die a thousand times, than live on, forty or fifty years, gorging fat
pork every day, as I have seen your peasantry in Hampshire."

Adam Gray, who stood behind his master's chair, and the waiter, who
was taking away Lieberg's plate, were both on the broad grin; but he
went on, with the same grave face, treating habitually the servants
who were in the room exactly as if they had no being for him, except
in so far as the moving about of various objects in the room was
concerned.

"But tell me, Ernstein," he said, "now that we are talking
metaphysically, are you not a predestinarian?--but, indeed, I am sure
you are."

"In truth, my dear Lieberg," replied Morley, "I think we know very
little of the matter. I believe in God's overruling providence. I
believe in his foreknowledge of all that must take place. I believe
that it is by his will or permission that it does take place; but
still I believe in man's responsibility for his own actions, and in
his perfect freedom to choose between good and evil!"

"And in that of spirits, too?" demanded Lieberg, gravely.

"Really, I have never considered the matter, with reference to such
personages as that," replied Morley, with a laugh. "I think it better
to mind my own business, and not to pry into their affairs. But
really, Lieberg, your mixture of moral philosophy and roast lamb,
metaphysics and mint sauce, is too German for my English
understanding."

Lieberg in turn laughed, saying--"It is not very usual table-talk, I
confess, but it was suggested to me by the subject that brought me
here to-day. One part of my creed is, that persons who are destined to
affect each other's fate, are generally brought together by a power
manifestly superior to their own will, and that--struggle against it
as much as we please--the overruling hand which is upon us links in
act with act, life with life, and circumstance with circumstance, in
such a manner as to connect two persons together in particular events
by means the most unlikely."

"Well!" exclaimed Morley, eagerly, and with his curiosity greatly
excited--"well, Lieberg, what then? How does this bear upon the
matter?"

"Why, I think, my dear Morley," replied Lieberg, "that you and I seem
destined by fate, though, perhaps, not by disposition, to act
together. Our first acquaintance was strange. The singular accident
that happened to you; the danger that you ran; the fit of sickness
that followed; my having a week or ten days to spare, for the purpose
of nursing you;--all gave a marked commencement to our intimacy; and
now, many other things are combining to compel us, whether we will or
not, to co-operate in matters of some moment."

"Indeed!" said Morley. "Can you not tell we in what respect?"

"Not just at present," replied Lieberg. "But, to look once more to the
past, I can recollect various curious circumstances which brought
about our first meeting in the coach, and without which it could not
have taken place. It hung upon the balance of a straw, whether I
should go back to Germany in the end of April last, or whether I
should go to the south of France, when, meeting a young fisherman
accidentally at dinner, I was captivated by his account of fly-fishing
in the north, and went to bestow my idleness there. Then, again, I had
actually taken my place in the coach from York to London for the
preceding day; but a packet of letters which I expected, was delayed
for two or three hours, by some accident happening to the mail, and I
lost my place and my money rather than come away without them:
otherwise we should, in all probability, never have met."

Morley paused, and pondered over the past. He, too, recollected the
accidental circumstances which had prevented him from taking post
horses and coming to town in his own carriage, and he could not help
acknowledging that there was something strange in the whole affair.

There was something strange--there is something strange in every mesh
of the fine network of fate, for the eye of him who examines it
curiously; and every part of every man's history, if he could trace
the connexion with other parts, would present points as curious and
interesting as those to which Morley's attention was now called. He
did not reply, however, directly to Lieberg's observations, and both
falling into a reverie for a few minutes, went on towards the
conclusion of their dinner very perseveringly. At length the dishes
were taken away, the wine set upon the table, and the room cleared. No
sooner was this done, than Morley burst forth impetuously--"Now,
Lieberg--now, what is it? I am anxious to hear."

Lieberg smiled, replying--"I see you are, Morley, and I will not keep
you in suspense a moment longer.--I did not know that this man had
such good claret--this is real La Tour.--Well, you recollect the story
you told me about your quarrel with Neville, and the wild young scamp
you wanted to save from what old ladies call 'his evil courses,' and
his pretty sister, and the whole of that business?"

"Yes," replied Morley, impatiently, "I recollect very well. What of
that?"

"Why, simply this," replied Lieberg--"I find that there is floating
about London a note, or draft or bill of exchange, or something of
that kind, for five hundred pounds, purporting to be from my hand. Now
it so happens, that being tolerably well to do in this world of
ours--that is to say, having perhaps a thousand a year more than my
habits or wishes require--I never gave such a thing to any man on earth;
and having received intimation of the fact, I caused inquiries to be
quietly made, as to the person who had taken this unpleasant liberty
with my name. I have obtained pretty good information upon the
subject, and I find that there is little or no doubt that the forger
is no other than your friend and protégé, William Barham."

Few things on earth could have been more painful to Morley Ernstein at
that moment than to find that full information regarding the crime and
the criminal had reached Lieberg's ears from any other lips than his
own. I have already shown the nature of his apprehensions in respect
to his friend's future conduct; but his mind was too candid and
straightforward to shuffle or palter with the open facts in any way,
and he replied, after a very brief pause given to thought, "I am
afraid what you have heard is quite true, Lieberg. I had intimation of
the fact likewise, and intended to speak with you about it to-morrow.
I trust and hope that you will not think of proceeding against this
young man, and all I can say is, that I am quite  willing to pay the
money myself, if you will consent to receive the bill without
disowning the signature."

Lieberg laughed. "Oh!" replied he, "you value the young lady's smiles
at five hundred pounds, do you, Morley? Well, if such be your
arrangements, I will do whatever I can."

Morley paused, and there was a strong struggle in his mind. He knew
what Lieberg suspected; and he believed that a strange view of honour,
not uncommon in the world, would both prevent his friend from
interfering in any way, if he thought that Helen Barham was likely to
become connected with him by the ties of illicit love, and would make
him consent to receive and pay the forged bill, and, in fact, enter
into all those arrangements most to be desired for her very benefit.
He was strongly tempted, it must be acknowledged, to suffer Lieberg to
remain in the belief which he evidently entertained. But the idea of a
falsehood, even implied, was so repugnant to his principles, that he
would not admit it into any part of his conduct.

"You are mistaken, Lieberg," he said, at length. "I still tell you, as
I told you before, that I have no such purposes towards Miss Barham as
you suppose. I wish to spare her the agony of seeing her brother die
upon the gallows. I wish to save the unfortunate lad himself, who is a
mere boy, and has been misled by others. But I tell you fairly, I have
no intention whatsoever of even attempting to injure this poor girl in
the way you mean, nor do I think there would be the least chance of
success, even if I were to try. She is a girl of good principles, of
firm character, and seems to have monopolized the whole of the high
feelings which Nature intended for her brother and herself."

"You will certainly not succeed," answered Lieberg, in a calm and
reasoning tone, "if you leave her any hope of your marrying her. If
her brother were hanged, or transported, or anything of that kind, the
disgrace would so strongly forbid the bans, that she would lose the
expectation, and yield to your views very readily, depend upon it.
Indeed, seriously, I think that it would be far the best arrangement
for all parties. The youth would only have one light swing between
heaven and earth, very soon over, which would relieve him from a
multitude of cares. The young lady would be placed under the
protection of a gentleman and a man of honour, one who has generously
befriended her, who would treat her well and tenderly, and provide for
her when it was necessary for them to part; instead--as will most
certainly happen, if you do not take her--instead of her falling into
the power of some other man, who may be a rascal and a scoundrel, who
may ill-treat and abuse her even while they live together, and abandon
her to the public streets when he is tired. You will place yourself in
the situation that nine young men of fortune out of ten are placed in,
with only this difference, that instead of an opera dancer, a chorus
singer, a stage soubrette, or any other mercenary woman, you will have
a companion really attached to you, and influenced by gratitude and
affection."

"Do you know, Lieberg," exclaimed Morley, "that I have scarcely
patience to sit and listen to you! I tell you that I have no such
intentions as you suppose. I tell you that I shall never dream of
entertaining them; and that whatever may happen to the young man, Mr.
Hamilton, myself, and two or three other people, whom I have engaged
or will engage in the business, will take ample care that no
temptation--at least in the shape of poverty and exposure--shall ever
be thrown in Miss Barham's way, either to become the mistress of an
unprincipled scoundrel, or be thrown upon the public streets. Pray
speak to me no more upon such a subject, or, on my honour, I shall
think you the Devil himself."

Lieberg burst into a fit of laughter. "Well, Morley," he said, "if you
will not take the opportunity that offers, I cannot help it; but,
really, the chances in my own favour are now so great, that I, who
have not such powers of resisting temptation as you have, must yield a
little."

"Lieberg!" exclaimed Morley, starting up, and laying his hand upon his
arm, "you promised me--"

"Ay," replied Lieberg, "but our position is very much changed now. I
have now become a party interested, without seeking it."

"And will you," exclaimed Morley Ernstein--"and will you really
follow the base example of that man Neville, and trade with the
brother's blood, for the purpose of taking the sister's honour?"

"Sir!" exclaimed Lieberg, raising his head, and gazing at him for a
moment, with his dark eye flashing fiercely. But the next instant he
recovered himself; his brow lost its frown, his eye its fire, and he
replied, "No, Morley, no. Put that on one side altogether, and rest
satisfied that, as far as depends upon me, her brother does not die. I
do not intend to trade with her fears, whatever I may do with her
gratitude."

"Then you assure me he shall be saved," said Morley.

"Nay," answered Lieberg, "I cannot promise that."

"Why not?" demanded his friend. "I am sure, Lieberg, you will not act
ungenerously by him. Be generous at once, and let it not be said that
you did a noble and kind act by halves. Save the youth, even though he
be criminal, and aid me also in placing him in such a situation as to
remove him from temptation to commit such acts again. Leave this poor
girl to those who will do all that is possible to raise her rather
than to sink her, to soften her present fate, and make her forget the
many sorrows that have already befallen her. Indeed, indeed, Lieberg,
she has suffered bitterly in heart and spirit, and cruel would that
man be who would open before her a path, beginning in sin, going on in
self-reproach, and ending in disappointed affection and unavailing
remorse.

"Well," answered Lieberg, after a moment's thought, "I promise you,
firmly and fully, as far as it is possible for me, to save this young
man. In regard to my further conduct in the business, I will make no
promises of any kind. I will be guided by circumstances, and no one
has a right to demand anything further of me. I confess I have become
interested in the girl from your account of her, and I shall certainly
like to see her; but you mistake me if you suppose that I am
deliberately planning the seduction of a woman I have never beheld.
Besides, I take it for granted, from all you have said, that she is as
much in love with you as you seem to be with her, otherwise I think
she must be a very hard-hearted sort of person. If she be in love with
you, she is, of course, not likely to fall in love with me, and the
matter will, doubtless, end as it has begun. So set your mind at ease,
for she has three strong safeguards. If I find that she loves you, I
shall stop short, for I never rival my friend; if I find that she is
coy, I shall stop short, for I love not maids that are long a wooing:
and if I find that she is in no way coy, perhaps I may not love her
the better either. So rest satisfied, my young Don Quixote."

Morley, however, was not satisfied, and he determined to hasten by
every means in his power the arrangements which would place Helen
Barham at a distance from a more dangerous pursuer than Neville. On
another point, too, he was not satisfied--namely, with regard to the
conditional sort of manner in which Lieberg spoke of saving William
Barham. He did not see why the promise should not be positive, and he
said, after thinking over all that had passed for a moment,

"You mistake, Lieberg, in regard to my being the least in love with
Miss Barham; depend upon it, if I were, I should take a different tone
with any one who spoke lightly of her. I am not the least in love with
her, and never shall be. But, putting that aside, let me ask why you
speak of saving William Barham conditionally; of doing what you can;
of doing all that depends upon you? Why cannot you certainly save him,
by destroying at once the forged draft, or whatever it may be, if I am
willing to pay the money?"

"The latter part will be an easy business," replied Lieberg, "for I am
not very penurious, myself, Morley; and, though it is entirely at your
intercession I do it, yet, if I am able to save him, nobody pays the
money but myself. Why I speak conditionally is, simply because, in
this business, I have not the absolute disposal of the young man's
fate. Other people know the facts besides myself. My banker, when the
bill is presented, will see that it is not my handwriting directly.
Several of the officers of Bow-street are already aware of the
business. There is such a thing as compromising felony; I have heard,
in your law, and I can only do for him that which will not bring me
under the arm of Justice myself. Let me warn you also to be careful,
Morley, for we may get ourselves into difficulties, from which we
shall not easily be extricated."

Morley mused, embarrassed; he had never thought of the circumstances
that Lieberg brought at once before his view, and all he replied, for
several minutes, was,

"The fact of the officers being aware of this has, I suppose,
prevented him twice from coming when he promised. He has called here
more than once at my request; but never at the hour stated."

"He is afraid of being taken in a trap," said Lieberg; and then
falling into thought again, he suffered Morley to pursue his
meditations uninterrupted. At length, however, he held out his hand to
his young friend, saying, "Come, Ernstein, let us act together, we
have had a little spar, but we will be friends again. You fancy me a
much greater _roué_ than I am, simply because I am charitable towards
all human failings, and because I advised you to do what I judged the
best for you--what I thought, and do still think, would be no great
harm to any one. For my own part, I am a very moderate man in my
views, I can assure you--a quiet, calm, sober, steady person, who,
upon principle, never do anything _éclatant_, except when people drive
me to it by trying to pull me back. Let us consider, then, what can be
best done for this young man."

Morley shook his hand warmly, saying, "I believe, Lieberg, you have
the vice of making yourself appear much worse than you really are; and
I do not always feel sure whether you are not jesting with me, in
advocating things that I never see you plunge into yourself."

"There may be a little joke in the matter," said Lieberg, "for depend
upon it, Morley, men who have seen a great deal of the world, and have
got the ferocity of their virtue softened down, feel a little inclined
to sport with those who come upon them full of the sweets of
innocence, and thinking every peccadillo a mountain of iniquity. But
now, as I have said, let us consult what may best be done to save this
youth from the gallows which he so well merits."

The consultation between them was long, and at length it was
determined, that Lieberg should use every means to get hold of the
forged document; that he should pay it, if presented, without
hesitation; that, if possible, William Barham should be brought to
confer with the two friends; that the spurious bill should be shewn to
him, and that it should be made a sine qua non of his being forgiven,
to go out immediately to the East or West Indies, where some situation
was to be found for him. Pains were also to be taken to stop all
inquiries on the part of the police, and Lieberg joined so heartily in
every part of the scheme, that he left Morley with the charm of his
influence fully re-established, and the mind of his young companion
convinced that he had done him some wrong in the suspicions he had
entertained.



CHAPTER XVIII.


What was it carried Morley Ernstein to the door of Helen Barham's
house at so early an hour on the following day? Was it that his
resolution had given way, and that the attraction which was about her
had prevailed, notwithstanding all the considerations which had
restrained him on the preceding day? If the angels are permitted to
look into men's hearts, and see with their eyes of light, the motives,
as well as the actions to which they lead, it must always afford a
curious and sometimes an amusing, though very often a sad speculation
to the bright beings above us.

So seldom does it happen, that man cannot find a valid excuse to his
own understanding for following his own inclinations, that it is not
to be wondered at that Morley Ernstein drew out of his conversation
with Lieberg on the preceding evening, a valid excuse for visiting
Helen Barham. I do not mean to say, indeed, that he was wrong; but one
thing is certain, his inclinations led him thither, as well as his
reason, and he was not sorry that a just motive impelled him to go.
Dear reader, it was very natural, and certainly not in the least
blamable; nor does it prove in the slightest degree that his affection
wavered from Juliet Carr. She was certainly a bright, a beautiful, and
an engaging creature, that he went to see; but to Morley Ernstein, she
was the creature of his compassion, of his benevolence, of his
tenderness. "We take a withering stick," says Sterne, "and plant it in
the ground, and then we water it, because we planted it."

Such was the case with Morley Ernstein, and now he went to do one of
the most difficult things on earth; to guard Helen Barham against
Lieberg, and yet not to assail the character of his friend. As usual,
he was admitted at once, for Helen was now rarely out; but when he
entered the drawing-room, and saw her, he could not help thinking that
there was some difference in her manner towards him--at least it
appeared so at first. There was a timidity, a shrinkingness--if we may
use the expression--a faltering of the voice, a dropping of the eye, a
want of that frank and straightforward pouring forth of excited and
grateful feelings, which had hitherto characterized the whole
demeanour of Helen Barham towards himself.

It puzzled Morley Ernstein; he could not understand the change.
Perhaps the reader can; at all events he will easily do so when he is
told, that Helen had been looking into her own heart, and enquiring
what were her feelings really towards the man who now stood before
her. Her emotion at the sight of Juliet Carr had first shewn her that
there were strange things in her own bosom, and she had passed a
sleepless night, thinking of but one subject on earth--Morley
Ernstein.

She gave him her hand, however--a hand which was usually as cold as
the marble from which, to judge by the colour, it was formed; but that
hand was now burning with fiery heat, and the once rosy cheek had
become much paler. As Morley felt that feverish touch, and gazed on
her face, the cause of the difference in manner he had observed,
seemed at once to display itself.

"You are ill, Miss Barham," he exclaimed with an eager and an anxious
look, that made Helen's heart beat fast, and her knees tremble under
her. "For Heaven's sake let me send for a physician."

"Oh, no, no!" she exclaimed, "I am quite well, indeed."

"Then what makes your hand burn so?" he demanded, still holding it in
his own, "and what makes you look so pale?"

"I did not sleep very well last night," she said; "there had been a
good deal to agitate me during the day, and I lay awake thinking,
anxiously enough."

"And of what were you thinking?" demanded Morley, leading her to a
sofa, and seating himself beside her. "Nay, you must tell me; for
perhaps I can relieve some of your anxiety."

Helen hesitated, and he added, "Nay, you must tell me; you will not
surely refuse?

"Refuse!" she exclaimed; "do you think I would refuse you anything,
after all you have done for me?" She paused for a moment, but then,
seeming to take a sudden resolution, she looked up, saying, "I was
thinking of you--I only heard yesterday of your having fought that
wretched man Neville, and risked your life on my account. I pondered
upon many things, but that was one of those I thought most of during
the night; and I asked myself, what would have become of me if you had
been killed?--I think I must have died."

Morley felt that both Helen and himself were standing on dangerous
ground. He was half sorry that he had come at all; but, shutting his
eyes resolutely to all that he feared to see, he replied gravely,
though in the same kind tone he always used towards her, "I had not
forgotten, Miss Barham, the situation in which you were placed, and
that it might be aggravated by the very fact of an unexplained quarrel
having occurred in your house, between myself and another person; and
therefore, to guard against the worst, I wrote down my wishes to two
gentlemen who, I knew, would attend to them, and would take care that
you were shielded through life from everything like danger and
difficulty."

"Oh, I know you are noble and good," she cried; "I know it, I know it
well:" and putting her hand over her eyes, she burst into tears.

Morley soothed her, and feeling that it would be best to change the
subject as soon as possible, he said, "Where is your brother? I was in
hopes that by coming so early, I might find him here."

Helen shook her head. "He has not been home all night," she replied;
"indeed, he very seldom is. Sometimes I do not see him for a week."

Morley mused. "I came to tell you," he said at length, "that as far as
this business of the forgery is concerned, I think you may consider
him safe. I have seen the gentleman, Colonel Lieberg, whose name was
used, and he has promised me not to proceed against your brother at
all."

"Oh, that is joyful indeed!" exclaimed Helen; "then all danger is
past, and I need not become a burden to Lady Malcolm, and Miss Carr."

This was certainly quite the contrary effect to that which Morley
wished to produce, and he went on to explain to his fair companion,
that all Lieberg and himself could do might perhaps be ineffectual. He
assured her, at the same time, that he looked upon it as more
necessary than ever she should be removed from the neighbourhood and
influence of her brother, and from the house in which she then dwelt,
till such time as an appointment in one of the Colonies could be
procured for William Barham, or some means could be taken to get him
out of England, and separate him from his evil companions.

Morley urged it upon her in various ways, and with so many arguments,
that she replied at length with a smile, though it was a sad one, "Are
you not sure that I will do anything you tell me? I should either be
very obstinate or very base, if, after all your generous kindness, I
did not follow your advice precisely. Lady Malcolm is to call for me
at one o'clock to-day, and I am quite ready to go. The only thing that
embarrasses me is, that I do not well know what to do with this house,
which my father had taken for a year. There are two or three months
still to run, and I do not like to deprive William of a home when he
chooses to have one. Yet Lady Malcolm says, I must bring the maid with
me, otherwise he will find out from her where I am."

Morley undertook to arrange the whole of that business for her, to see
the landlord of the house, and to have some person put in to take care
of it, as soon as she was gone. He then rose to depart, though the
chief object of his coming had not been spoken of as yet; but when he
took her hand to wish her good bye, he said, "There is one thing that
I must ask you to promise me, and to keep your promise most strictly,
without asking me why."

"You have but to name it," said Helen, looking up in his face timidly.

"It is simply this," replied Morley; "and it will not be very
difficult to keep, I trust. Give me your word that, under no
circumstances whatsoever, you will mention where you are going to
before you leave this house for Lady Malcolm's, or even that you are
going away at all, till you are actually gone. I say, to no one,
meaning, not only to your own brother, but speaking generally, to no
one--not even to my dearest friend."

He laid so strong an emphasis upon the last words as to make Helen
Barham give a little start, and gaze inquiringly in his face. But she.
replied, the next instant--

"I will mention it to no one upon earth. I see that you have some
strong reason for what you say, but I am quite contented to be
ignorant of it, till you think fit to tell me--though, perhaps, I may
not see you again for a long while."

Morley understood that she did not venture to ask the question "When?"
and he replied, "I shall meet you this very night, I trust, for Lady
Malcolm has asked me to spend the evening there. Believe me, dear Miss
Barham, it will be the greatest satisfaction to me that I have ever
known, to see you there; for, under the protection of that excellent
lady, and with the acquaintance and friendship of Miss Carr, you may
set the frowns of fortune at defiance; and I trust that such sorrow--I
may say, such agony of mind, as you must have been suffering when I
saw you a few days ago, may have passed away for ever."

He let go her hand as he spoke, and turned towards the door, while
Helen Barham, with her eyes gazing upon the ground, stood murmuring to
herself--"And in those few days you have done all this!"

When he was gone, she pressed her hand tightly upon her brow for
several minutes, and then saying--"I must not think of it, I will not
think of it; it is foolish--it is mad--it is wrong!" she proceeded
hastily to occupy herself with other things; putting by all the
objects that she did not intend to take with her; locking up this
drawer and that; sometimes sitting down for a moment, and sketching
with her pencil some wild, fanciful head, upon a sheet of paper which
lay on the table, and then starting up again, to employ herself more
actively--struggling vehemently, in short, against feelings and
thoughts that called loudly for attention, in every pause of
occupation. She had been thus engaged for about an hour, and the clock
stood at a quarter to twelve, when there came the roll of wheels, and
a loud knock at the door.

"There he is again!" exclaimed Helen, thinking it was the knock of
Morley's groom; "there he is again! How kind of him to come back!"

The maid, however, was the first person who appeared, bearing a card
in her hand, upon which was written--"Lieutenant-Colonel, Count
Lieberg." The girl gave the ticket to her mistress, and informed her
that the gentleman whose name it bore was below, and begged the honour
of a few minutes' conversation with her.

"Oh, let him come up!" exclaimed Helen, gladly, recollecting that the
name was that of Morley's friend, who had so generously agreed to
spare her brother--"shew him up directly;" and she waited with eager
expectation, well pleased to have an opportunity of thanking him for
his promised forbearance.

I have before described Lieberg, but still I must pause for a moment
to notice the effect his appearance produced on the mind of Helen
Barham. He came up the stairs with a quick and easy step, his whole
dress being in the height, but not the excess, of fashion, his hat,
shining like glass, held in his hand, his glossy black hair waving
lightly over his high clear forehead, his fine eyes sparkling with
that peculiar fire and lustre which rendered them so different from
the eyes of any other being, and his lips bearing a mild and pleasant
smile, while his whole air and look was that of a high-finished and
graceful gentleman. There was not a feature, there was not a line,
there was not a movement, that Helen Barham could find fault with; and
yet, strange to say, when she beheld him, though prepared to be
pleased, and ready to admire; though full of gratitude, and with a
heart tenderly alive to kindness, an unaccountable shudder came over
her the moment that her eyes rested upon him.

Is it that some faculty altogether independent of and finer than
reason itself, gives us instant intimation of the presence of a being
who purposes, or is destined to work us some grievous harm? Who is
there that has not felt antipathies, for which he could find no
motive, and against which he strove in vain, till at length something
has discovered that the being thus strangely disliked was exercising
some dark influence upon our fate and happiness? Helen Barham did not
strive to reason with her feelings; she resisted and overcame the
impression, as far, at least, as her outward demeanour was concerned;
and advancing, with the grace which she always displayed, she held out
her hand at once to Count Lieberg, saying--"Sir Morley Ernstein, sir,
has told me how nobly and kindly you are disposed to behave towards my
brother. I need not assure you that I am full of deep gratitude; and
most sincerely do I pray God to reward you as you deserve."

A strange dark shade came over Lieberg's countenance, but he
replied at once, pressing Helen's hand gently, but not a moment too
long--"Morley has been beforehand with me, then? I thought I should
have been early enough to convey you intelligence which I was sure
would please you, myself. However, I must not be angry with him; for
the satisfaction of giving you happiness and relief might well lead
him to steal a march upon his friend. I have a little, however, still
to tell you myself, which he cannot know of, as I have only heard the
intelligence this morning. I think, beyond all doubt, that I shall be
able to obtain possession of the draft without suffering it to fall
into the hands of any of the myrmidons of justice. In that case, all
danger will be at an end."

"But if not," said Helen, with her heart sinking at the idea of there
still being so much peril--"but if not, will his fate then be sealed?"

Lieberg seemed to hesitate, and taking a seat near her, he looked down
upon the floor for a moment or two, apparently in deep thought, and
then replied--"It might be difficult to save him, if we cannot get
hold of the draft ourselves, and destroy it. One would need to bribe
the officers with some enormous sum; or else I should have to refuse
to give evidence, which might place me in a dangerous position myself.
But I trust that this will not be; I trust that, ere two days more are
over, I shall have the document in my own hands. So let us not think
of such unpleasant circumstances. You must have had, I fear, a sad
time of it lately, my poor young lady. Morley's account of you and
your fate has been enough to melt a heart of stone, and, I can assure
you, it interested me not a little; so that I trust not only to be
able to relieve your mind in regard to your brother, but to do
something more for your happiness hereafter, if you will permit me."

"You are very kind, indeed," replied Helen; "but were this once off my
mind, I think, with the friends who have unexpectedly risen up around
me, I should have nothing to desire or wish for. My hours would have
been sad, indeed," she added, "if it had not been for the comfort and
consolation which have been given me by Sir Morley Ernstein."

Lieberg smiled. "He is, indeed, very amiable," he said: and Helen
blushed, till her face and neck were all one crimson. The words that
Lieberg spoke were nothing, but it was the tone and meaning smile that
brought the bright blood up into her face. There was a slight touch of
indignation, however, in her feelings; and though her face still
glowed, she raised her head high, while she replied--"He is, indeed,
very amiable, and not alone amiable, but generous; ay, and good, too.
He is one of those who, I am sure, would never take an ungenerous
advantage of any one, not even to obtain that which he most desired in
life."

"You are quite right," said Lieberg, seeing that the well of Helen's
feelings was all pure. "Morley's impulses are all generous and noble;
sometimes, perhaps, a little too generous for his own happiness, and
for those he wishes well to. There are occasions, my dear young lady,
when our own gratification is the means of gratifying another too, and
in those instances self-denial is unkind."

Helen did not understand what he meant, for she was a high-hearted,
tender being, but by no means metaphysical; and Lieberg, seeing more
deeply into her character every moment, skilfully changed the
conversation to less dangerous ground, and, in the open field, where
she was less prepared to defend herself, he put forth all those
fascinating powers which he possessed, and which were far greater than
it would be easy to do justice to. Helen listened with pleasure, and
with some surprise, and to a certain point Lieberg succeeded, for he
excited a kind of admiration; but it was the admiration of the mind,
the heart had nothing to do with it; and even had the little citadel
of Helen's bosom not been fully garrisoned, as it was, Lieberg would
have made no progress that day in attempting to storm it.

There seemed, however, to be a greater impression produced upon
himself than perhaps he had anticipated. Often, in the midst of his
brilliant conversation, he bent his eyes upon the ground for some
moments, and then raised them thoughtfully to Helen's face, gazing
upon her beauty, and seeming, as it were, to drink it in, but at the
same time with a grave and meditative air, which took from it all
offence.

With an art peculiar to himself, he brought up subject after subject
the most unlikely to arise from the circumstances in which he and
Helen Barham were placed, and he listened to all her replies with a
look of interest, which was not without its flattery. He was
surprised, it is true, to find her mind so richly stored. He was
pleased and struck with much that she said, and his whole manner, as
well as his words, shewed that it was so, while, at the same time, he
never gave up--though he never presumed upon it--that position of
mental superiority which he was so well calculated to maintain against
almost all men, and which, when not painfully felt, has no slight
effect upon the hearts of women. They do not always love those they
most approve, but in general they love those whom they look up to, be
it in right or wrong.

At length, however, as the hands of the clock approached the point of
half-past twelve, and his fair companion became somewhat penurious of
her replies, Lieberg, with quick perception, saw that his visit must
come to an end, or be tedious to her, and he knew there is nothing so
dangerous as to remain long enough to be wished away.

"She is either going out to meet Morley, or she expects him here," he
thought, "and I had better take my leave at once. He will disappoint
her ere many days be over, and then it may be my task to console. Her
heart is not so far gone to him as I imagined.--I will now wish you
good-bye, Miss Barham," he said, rising, "but I hope you will not
exclude me for the future from society that, I assure you, I value
highly. You love music, I see, and I am passionately fond of it. You
like drawing too, if I may judge from that table. I am not without
some slight knowledge of that art, and I possess some of the finest
small pictures in Europe. I will not give up the hope of some day
shewing them to you. However, for the present we have other things to
think of; the first of which, of course, is your brother. I doubt not,
by this time to-morrow, I shall have good news to bear to you; I
suppose this is as good a time to find you as I could choose?"

Helen was about to reply at once, that she would not be there on the
following day, and to inform him where he would find her; but the
promise she had made to Morley suddenly rushed to her mind. Then again
she thought, "But surely I may tell him! He has my brother's life in
his hands, and could never be meant----. But, no," she said to herself
again, "I have promised, and he shall never say that I swerved from
any promise to him, even in the least degree."

The consideration of all this, and of what she should reply, together
with the consciousness that she was long ere she did answer, called
the colour into her cheek again, as she said, with an evasion that she
did not like to use,

"I am very seldom, if ever, out."

Lieberg saw that she was more moved than was natural, by the simple
question that he had asked; but he himself was too much impressed by
her beauty and grace to judge with his usual acuteness of what was
passing in her mind. When he got into his cabriolet, his thoughts were
full of Helen Barham.

"Beautiful, indeed!" he muttered--"Beautiful, indeed! This boy is a
fool, with his advantages!" and driving on, busy with reveries of his
own, he well nigh killed two people at the corner of Oxford-street,
and grazed one of the posts with the wheel of his vehicle.



CHAPTER XIX.


The under-workings of the passions in the human heart, the movements
and the progress of that central fire in the world of each man's
breast--that fire which is never guessed at by the surface, except
from some slight and often unobserved indications, or from some
violent outburst, like the eruption of a volcano--the underworkings of
the passions, I say, are generally far more worthy of the
investigation of philosophy, if we would take the trouble, are far
more replete with the tragic and the sublime, than all the external
demonstrations to which we give so much attention. When sitting in the
midst of a social circle, and often when gay looks and light jests
abound, who is there shall say, what are the feelings really within
the very bosoms that are next to us--what the passions that are
gnawing the core of the hearts that seem all merriment?--the
cankerworm of envy--the sharp tooth of hatred--the bitter grinding
jaws of disappointment--the locusts of ill-requited love eating up all
the green things of hope? Alas! Alas! too often in the world in which
we live, if we could draw back the veil from the hearts of the most
cheerful scene, there would be much weeping amongst us for the sorrows
of others, or our own!

The drawing-room of Lady Malcolm was a pleasant and a cheerful room;
and--though in the midst of London--she had contrived, by manifold
flowers and shrubs, frequently renewed, to give it a certain degree of
freshness, an air and a scent of the country, which were wonderfully
refreshing to the London-tired senses at the end of a long season. In
that drawing-room, with the windows open and the warm air of a
summer's night stealing through the half-closed blinds, sat the good
lady herself, together with Juliet Carr and Helen Barham, waiting for
the arrival of Morley Ernstein. He was the only person invited, for
Lady Malcolm not only wished Helen Barham to remain as quietly as
might be in her house, but she also wished Morley and Juliet Carr to
have as much of each other's society, uninterrupted, as possible.

As far as all the external circumstances of life could go, nothing
could be happier for Helen Barham than the change which had occurred,
and the situation in which she was now placed. Good Lady Malcolm was
feeling and acting towards her as a mother. That worthy lady, after
embracing Morley's proposal, as eagerly as we have seen her do, had
for a little time been puzzled by the question of how she was to treat
the person whom she had promised to protect, but she had wisely put
off the consideration of it till she had seen Miss Barham with her own
eyes. When she did see her, however, all doubt upon the matter
vanished; the engaging charm which pervaded Helen's whole demeanour,
whether in sorrow or joy, gloom or gaiety, affected instantly so very
impressible a person as Lady Malcolm; and she had come away, declaring
to Juliet as soon as she got into the street, that Helen was the
sweetest creature she had ever seen in her life, and that she should
not wonder, if properly brought out, and introduced into good society,
were she to end by marrying a Duke. She consequently at once set Helen
on a par with herself and Juliet, and treated her as her own child
from the moment she entered her house, doing everything that motherly
tenderness could do to remove any little sensation of shyness and
dependence, and to make her perfectly at home and at ease in her new
abode.

Juliet, though perhaps not quite so easily charmed as Lady Malcolm,
had not only felt the fascination of Helen Barham's demeanour very
strongly, but had been more deeply interested in her than Lady Malcolm
herself, entering into all her sensations--perhaps almost divining her
thoughts. On their very first interview she had watched her beauty
with a curious and attentive eye, even while occupied in recalling her
to herself after she had fainted; and when Helen recovered, Juliet
remained meditative, if not sad, for some time. There is nothing like
woman's heart for finding out woman's secrets, and Juliet--perhaps by
questioning herself as to what would have been her own feelings had
she been so situated with Morley Ernstein--in a great degree
discovered those of Helen Barham.

When the conviction of what the poor girl's sentiments towards her
deliverer must be, flashed upon Juliet's mind, her sensations were
strange, and for a moment beyond all control. The first question she
asked herself was, "Does Morley love her after all?--Can he help
loving her--so beautiful, so interesting, so much to be pitied?" But
the next moment she recollected all she knew of his character, every
trait that she had remarked of his demeanour in regard to the very
matter with which her thoughts were busied; and, though she had at
first clasped her hand upon her heart to stop its insufferable
beating, she now took it away relieved, saying in her own mind--"'Tis
I whom he loves. Alas, poor Helen Barham!"

For an instant, for a single instant, Juliet Carr had felt the pangs
of jealousy, but the moment after, when her feeling of security in
Morley's love returned, she reproached herself bitterly for the joy
she felt at that which must needs produce another's sorrow. The few
hours' calm reflection which intervened between their visit to the
fair object of their care, and her arrival at Lady Malcolm's house,
calmed down and quieted Juliet's feelings, and enabled her to play her
part towards Helen, when she did arrive, in the manner which might be
expected from her character. AS a sort of atonement for loving Morley
Ernstein, and being beloved by him, as well as from tenderness and
interest, and kindness towards Helen, no sister could have shewn her
more affectionate care and attention than were displayed by Juliet
Carr. She sat with her in the room which had been assigned to her near
her own; she aided her to arrange it with taste; she saw if anything
was wanting, and had it instantly supplied; she talked with her of
future prospects and bright hopes, and lavished on her all those
little acts of gentle attention, which removed every feeling of
strangeness, and made Helen feel that she had a friend upon whose
bosom she could cast herself in danger, or sorrow, or temptation if it
should come, and tell her all without fear or hesitation.

That conviction was in itself a relief, a mighty relief to the poor
girl's heart; and though her mind still wandered to Morley Ernstein,
and thought dwelt, in spite of all her efforts, upon the connexion
between him and Juliet Carr, when she looked upon her lovely
companion, marked her transcendent beauty, listened to her melodious
voice, and experienced such tenderness and generous kindness, she
could not refrain, even in Juliet's presence, from looking down with a
sigh, and murmuring indistinctly with a melancholy movement of the
head, "No wonder that he loves her."

The day passed over in this manner, but before night, Helen Barham was
quite familiar with the house and its inhabitants. Everything that
Lady Malcolm saw of her, led that lady to approve her conduct more and
more. Her manners were so graceful, her whole demeanour so
distinguished, that the good lady began to feel proud of her protégée,
and looking from Helen to Juliet, as she sat at dinner, she could not
help thinking, that seldom on the face of this earth, had two such
beautiful beings sat side by side.

Helen was sad and thoughtful during the early part of the evening, but
in consideration of those with whom she dwelt, she struggled against
the gloom that oppressed her; sought her usual occupations, and
followed her ordinary pursuits. Thus while Lady Malcolm herself fell
quietly asleep over a purse that she was netting, and Juliet busied
her fingers with embroidery, Helen went on sketching with a masterly
hand, though with the carelessness of absent thoughts, a scene from
Milton's Paradise Lost, representing the contention of the archangel
and the fiend.

Juliet talked to her from time to time, and then came round to view
her work. "Why, Helen!" she exclaimed, with the first impulse of
surprise, as she looked over her shoulder; "you have drawn a friend of
ours for the angel!"

Helen looked up in her face with her large lustrous eyes, but made no
reply, and Juliet returned thoughtfully to her seat again. Helen added
several more strokes to the other figure, and then pushed it gently
across the table to her fair companion, saying, with a sad smile--

"You shall have it, for you are an angel too, I think. It is like him,
I believe--though I did not intend it."

Juliet gazed for several minutes intently at the drawing, which was
beautifully, though slightly executed, and while she was still thus
employed, Sir Morley Ernstein was announced and entered the room.

Lady Malcolm started up out of her sleep; and not a little emotion was
felt both by Helen Barham and Juliet Carr. Strange to say, however,
Juliet shewed it most. She, who had usually so much command over
herself, was now fluttered and agitated. It is true there were
sensations in her bosom towards Morley Ernstein, which produced a
thrill whenever she saw him; but in the most profound lakes the
gushing of the fountains is hidden by the depth of the waters; and
those feelings confined themselves to her heart, and did not at all
appear on the surface. In the present instance it was the presence of
Helen Barham that agitated her more than the coming of Morley
Ernstein. She sympathized with the poor girl deeply, and by a power,
which true benevolence really has, she placed herself in the situation
of her fair companion so completely, as to feel all that she felt
without losing the emotions natural to her own situation also. There
was always a great abnegation of self in the character of Juliet Carr,
and though she could not have sacrificed Morley's love for any
consideration, yet she did wish that he would now speak to Helen
first.

But Morley did not do so, and would not have done so for the world,
even on Helen's own account. There had been something in her manner
that morning which he would not suffer his mind to rest upon, the
remembrance of which he had cast from him as an idle vanity, but
which, nevertheless, influenced his conduct, making him feel that it
would be better to mark at once his attachment to Juliet Carr as
strongly as possible. After speaking for a moment, then, with Lady
Malcolm, he turned to Juliet, and took her hand in his, with his face
beaming with all the affection that was in his heart. He called her by
her Christian name, too, as she had permitted him, and every look and
every tone was calculated to leave no doubt on the mind of any one, as
to what were his feelings towards her.

Juliet was only the more agitated; but Helen was less so than might
have been expected. The marked conduct of Morley towards Juliet Carr
did her good. She had previously made up her mind, and read her fate,
and the only thing that could have shaken her greatly at that moment,
would have been the renewal of doubt and hope. Thus, when Morley
turned towards her, and spoke to her, as he had been accustomed to do,
kindly, gently, tenderly--ay, tenderly!--for a slight inclination,
which he detected in his own breast, to make his manner towards Helen
a little less warm than it had been when they were alone together,
caused him resolutely to resist such a feeling as dishonourable to
her, to Juliet, and to himself--when he spoke to her, then, kindly,
gently, and tenderly--as if, in short, he were a brother--she received
him, not without emotion, indeed, but with a much greater appearance
of calmness than she had previously hoped to obtain.

Morley congratulated her upon her change of abode, and upon the
friendship of Lady Malcolm; for it was a part of his plan, and,
indeed, was only consistent with his impetuous character, to go
straightforward to every difficult or unpleasant point, and never to
be satisfied till all was said that it might be necessary to say. Many
people do great things by avoiding difficulties, but bolder minds love
the task of overcoming them. He spoke at once, therefore, of the
change which had taken place in Helen's situation, though he knew it
might awaken unpleasant thoughts, feeling that as much must be
referred to, and even discussed at different periods, concerning her
past and her future fate, it would be better to touch upon the subject
immediately, lest every hour of reserve should render it more
difficult. He then added, in a rather lower voice--

"I have seen your brother, my dear Miss Barham, and we are to meet
again to-morrow; when I hope all things will be settled to your
satisfaction. In the meantime, I need not ask if you are comfortable
and happy with these friends, for I know Lady Malcolm is all kindness,
especially where she meets with undeserved sorrow. I think, too," he
added, turning his eyes to Juliet, "that we might very well trust the
happiness of any one to Miss Carr's tenderness."

"We have done what we could to soothe her, Morley," replied Juliet
Carr, "but it is not to be expected that Miss Barham should yet be
quite as cheerful as we will hope to see her. She can amuse herself,
however, even now, and at the same time gratify her friends--Look
here!"

"Oh, no, no!" exclaimed Helen, trying to prevent Juliet from shewing
the drawing; but ere she could stop her, it was in Morley's hand--

"Good Heavens!" he exclaimed, as soon as he had cast his eyes upon it,
"Why this is Lieberg!"

"Oh, no, no!" exclaimed Helen again, "I did not mean it for anybody.
Indeed, I never thought of what I was drawing!"

"But this cannot have been by accident, surely," said Morley; "the
likeness is so striking. Did you ever see Count Lieberg, Miss Barham?"

"I saw him this morning," replied Helen, at once. "He called upon
me--not long before Lady Malcolm came--to tell me, what you had told
me before regarding my brother."

"And did he do anything to offend you?" asked Morley, looking at the
drawing with a smile, as he marked the character in which she had
depicted Lieberg.

"Oh, no!" replied Helen, "nothing; on the contrary, he was as kind as
he could be; but I can assure you I meant nothing by that drawing, and
had not an idea that I was sketching any one, till Miss Carr remarked
one likeness; and now you have remarked another. If there be any, it
is purely accidental, though, perhaps, without thinking of it, one
naturally takes the features which one has lately seen, as I have
remarked after reading a book, the thoughts come back to us as if they
were our own. Will you give it to me," and taking it out of Morley's
hand, she added, speaking to Juliet--"You must let me tear it, and I
will draw you another.--You shall have the angel as before," she said,
with a sad smile, and an earnest look into Juliet's eyes, "but I must
change the face of the fiend; as it seems that I most unintentionally
took that of one who has shewn himself anything but unkind to me and
mine."

"Tear it--tear it, Helen!" said Juliet "I am sure you did not mean to
give the portrait of any one in such a character."

"On my word I did not," replied Helen, and then, after putting her
hand to her brow for an instant, she added--"Come, dear Miss Carr, to
make up for destroying the drawing I gave you, if Sir Morley Ernstein
will sit down on the sofa and talk to you, I will take his portrait. I
am sure you will be glad to have it, for you said you had known him
long. I can sketch very quickly, and I once thought of trying to make
my bread by portrait-painting. But I took fright at the thought of all
the people that might come to me, and gave up the idea."

Juliet Carr blushed at the proposal, partly with feelings of pleasure,
but partly abashed; for the remembrance that Morley had not yet said
one word which could justify her, or any one, in looking upon his
attachment to her as certain, was still present to her mind. She
answered not, then, but Lady Malcolm replied for her, eagerly--

"Do--pray do, my dear child--and then you shall copy it for me."

At the same time Morley took his seat upon the sofa by the side of
Juliet Carr; Lady Malcolm rang for tea; and Helen, while she pursued
her work, joined in the conversation, not only frequently, but gaily,
as if the object on which she was employed had given her back her
cheerfulness. Once, when Juliet was about to rise she exclaimed,
quickly--

"Sit still--pray sit still--he will not remain in the same attitude if
you move!" and, about ten minutes after, she beckoned to Lady Malcolm,
asking her, "Will that do?"

"Oh, beautiful, beautiful!" exclaimed Lady Malcolm--"that is quite
perfect!"

"Not yet," said Helen, and she added some touches more.

Juliet became impatient to see the sketch likewise, and, starting up
playfully, she said--"I will be excluded no longer, Helen."

When she came round, however, her cheek took the colour of a rose. It
was not alone Morley's portrait, but her own likewise, that Helen
Barham had drawn; and, with a skill that nothing but intense feeling
could have taught her, she had cast into the looks of both, as they
seemed gazing upon each other, that expression of deep affection which
she was but too sure was in their hearts.

Morley followed Juliet to Helen's side, almost at once, and gazing
upon the picture, he first smiled with pleasure; but, the next
instant, a thoughtful expression came over his countenance, and he
looked down upon the beautiful head of Helen Barham--as she bent over
it, resting her cheek upon her hand--with sensations that it would be
difficult to describe. He asked himself hurriedly, what had been
really her feelings? and then he would not suffer his heart to answer
the question. He voluntarily suffered his ideas to remain confused;
but in their vagueness was mingled not only much apprehension, lest
there should be those things in the bosom of Helen which might affect
her after-peace, but pity for her in every way, and a certain portion,
if not of unmerited self-reproach, at least of regret, that it had not
been possible for him to protect and support her from the beginning,
through the medium of others.

Helen, however, seemed pleased with her work, she forced herself to be
cheerful, and the evening passed over apparently brightly for all. The
conversation, which had been diverted, for the time, from the subject
of Count Lieberg's visit, returned to it ere long, and Helen
recapitulated, in her own artless manner, all that had passed. At
length she came to speak of his question in regard to calling upon her
the following day, and she added--

"I was quite sure that I might tell him I was coming hither--"

Morley started, with a feeling of apprehension, but Helen instantly
added--"However, as you had told me I was not to mention the fact to
any one, I refrained, and merely said that I was seldom out, knowing
that you could inform him of what you thought fit, afterwards."

"You did quite right, dear Miss Barham," replied Morley--"you did
perfectly right. I entreated you to tell no one, and if I had wished
any exception made, I would have said so."

Both Helen and Juliet gazed at Morley with some surprise; but Lady
Malcolm instantly read a comment upon her young friend's reply,
saying--"He is too gay a personage, Helen--this Count Lieberg--to be a
very safe intimate for you. Not that I mean, my dear child, he would
or could do you any harm; nor do I know, indeed, of any harm that he
ever did do; but some men establish for themselves, by tolerating all
vices, and associating intimately with persons of dissolute habits,
the reputation of licentiousness, even when they do not deserve it.
Now, I never in all my life heard the least harm of this Count
Lieberg. I never saw his name in the papers, or anything of that kind;
but, at the same time, he is a great deal with people who are
notorious for dissipated habits, and consequently he is looked upon as
one of the same class, though, perhaps, the best of the class.
Nevertheless, Morley was quite right, Helen; there is no need at all
of his knowing where you are, and, to say the truth, I think it better
he should not."

Morley said nothing, but he was not a little obliged to Lady Malcolm
for saving him the pain of an explanation; and, shortly after, he took
his leave, promising to return the following day, and let Helen know
what was the result of his second conference with her brother.

As soon as he was gone, Helen rose to retire to her room. A slight
degree of paleness had come over her face, a look of exhaustion, which
Juliet remarked, and very well understood. She came round, then, to
where Helen stood, and putting her arm gently round her, she kissed
her cheek, saying, in a low voice--"I think, Helen, you are more of an
angel than any of us."

Helen pressed her hand gently in hers; and though not a word more was
spoken on either part, each felt that she understood the other; and
Helen Barham, with swimming eyes, retired to her chamber, and wept
with very mingled feelings.



CHAPTER XX.


The interview between Morley Ernstein and William Barham was to take
place at the hotel in Berkeley-square; and Morley had written to
Lieberg, giving him notice that the young man would be there, and
begging him, if possible, to meet him, as the draft was to be
presented on the ensuing day, so that no time ought to be lost.
Lieberg breakfasted an hour earlier than usual, but it was not with
the object of being in time for the proposed meeting, as mid-day was
the hour appointed; and as soon as he had done breakfast, he got into
his cabriolet to drive to the house of Helen Barham.

When he reached the house, he got out and knocked himself, and his
keen and marking eye at once perceived that it was not Helen's
neat-looking maid who opened the door, but, on the contrary, a person
bearing the look, which is very peculiar, of people that are put in to
keep houses, which would otherwise be vacant.

In reply to his demand for Miss Barham, the woman said, in a short,
quick tone--"She's not here, sir--she's gone."

"Pray, where is she gone to?" demanded Lieberg, in a quiet tone, as if
the tidings did not surprise him in the least.

"I can't tell, sir," answered the woman. "Two ladies called for her,
and took her away with them, but I don't know where, nor who they
were."

"Ladies!" said Lieberg, with some emphasis; but the other replied
immediately, with a toss of her head--"Yes, ladies, every inch of
them; that I'll answer for; and so is she, too, poor thing, though she
is not so rich as some; but as for their being ladies, the servant
called his mistress 'My Lady' twice--that's all I know."

"And pray, who put you in here, to take care of the house?" said
Lieberg.

"Why, the landlord, to be sure," replied the woman; "and he bade me,
too, take great care of all Miss Barham's things, and to dust all
that's in the drawing-room every day."

"So, then," said Lieberg, "Miss Barham has left some things behind
her?"

"Oh, yes, a great many," replied the woman, who seemed not to be in
the most respondent humour in the world; "but really, sir, I cannot
stay answering questions all day. I have told you everything I know
about the young lady, and that is little enough."

"It is so," replied Lieberg; and getting into his vehicle, without
farther comment, he drove away.

As he was still a full hour and a half before his time, he sought for
occupation, and to all appearance gave not a second thought to Helen
Barham's place of residence. It was not so, however, in reality; and
as he drove away, he repeated twice--"This is Ernstein's doing!" But
he had now regained all that self-possession which Helen's beauty had
for a time disturbed; and when--after attending a sale of pictures and
bronzes, at Phillipps's Rooms, for about an hour--he proceeded to
visit Morley Ernstein, his look was as calm and cheerful, his manner
as unembarrassed and graceful, as ever. Not one word passed his lips
in regard to his visit of that morning to the house of Helen Barham,
though there was some meaning in the smile with which he shook hands
with Morley on their meeting. To the call he had made on the preceding
day, however, he referred at once, saying--"Well, Morley, I have seen
this fair object of your benevolence, and must confess that her
beauty, her grace, and her talent too, far exceed what I had expected.
I cannot help thinking you a great fool, begging your pardon for so
saying; but I suppose we shall never think alike upon these matters,
and I shall give up attempting to convert you to my doctrines, for
every man must seek happiness in his own way; and I do not see why a
man's prejudices should not be considered as a part of his property
which it is felony to rob him of, as well as anything else."

"Why, Lieberg," replied Morley, "prejudices, I should think, would be
a sort of property of which, like paving-stones in a man's pocket, it
would be kind to free him as soon as possible. But I rather think the
dispute between you and me would be, as to which of my views are
prejudices--which are principles. I do not mean to claim any
outrageous morality, but in what I am doing now, I am quite sure I am
right."

"I hope you are equally sure that you will be successful," replied
Lieberg; "for my part, I think I shall soon leave the matter in your
hands altogether, for I have some intention, ere the earth, and all it
bears about with it, be a month older, of setting out for the
Continent, and taking, what the people who travel and write books,
call 'an autumn tour,' somewhere."

"Why, I thought," said Morley, "that you were going down to the house
of Lord Medway for the season?"

"He invited me," answered Lieberg; "but I am not in a humour this
year, either for stalking after partridges through a turnip-field, or
for the beastly butchery of a battue. The last time I was at one, I
felt myself like the dog that the man shewed about London some time
ago--'Billy,' you know, that killed a hundred rats in a minute--and I
determined never to go to such barn-door slaughter again. But here
comes this good youth, I suppose," he added, seeing the door open; "do
not tell him at first. We may see some of the workings of the
passions, which is better sport than a battue."

Morley thought that it was as cruel sport, too; but the waiter
announcing that a gentleman desired to speak with him, he directed him
to be shewn in, and the moment after William Barham, with his pale,
dissolute countenance, and his long light hair straggling as usual
over his face, entered the room, but stopped suddenly short, on
beholding Lieberg.

"Good morning, Mr. Barham," said Morley; "this gentleman is a friend
of mine, who has promised me to do what he can to assist you. Take a
seat, and let us talk over this affair."

"William Barham glanced first at Morley, and then at Lieberg, and then
at the door, as if he would fain have made his escape; but finding
that impossible, he sat down, and looked doggedly at the table. Morley
turned to Lieberg, as if to ask him to begin the discussion; but
certainly Lieberg did it in a way that Morley the least expected and
approved.

"I find, Mr. Barham," he said, fixing his dark, piercing, intelligent
eyes upon him, with a gaze that seemed to look into his very heart--"I
find that you have committed a forgery, and are likely to be hanged."

William Barham started up from his seat, and stared at Lieberg and
Morley with eyes full of the wild, wandering expression of terror.

"I have it from the best authority," said Lieberg, still bending upon
him the same eagle glance. "Cousins, the Bow-street officer, who is
watching for you, told me the whole story."

The lad sank down in the chair again, clasped his hands over his eyes,
and sobbed aloud. Still Lieberg held him under his dark, firm gaze,
and Morley, puzzled and surprised, did not know well whether to
interfere, and endeavour to assuage the unnecessary suffering which
his companion was inflicting upon the unhappy young man, or not. A
pause of more than a minute ensued, and even a short pause, under such
circumstances, is long. Perhaps Lieberg himself was in doubt how he
should proceed.

"Is it not so?" he said, at length; and then, as the boy sat silent,
he turned his eyes towards Morley Ernstein with a strange expression,
which Morley did not well understand. There was a degree of unsated
fierceness in it, and yet it seemed to ask--"Shall I rack him
farther?--Will you abhor me, and interpose, if I do?"

Morley made a gesture, as if supplicating him to forbear, and in an
instant the whole expression of Lieberg's countenance changed.

"Hark, young man!" he continued, speaking to young Barham, in a milder
tone--"Do you know who I am?"

"No, sir," replied the unhappy youth; "I never saw you before, that I
know of."

"And yet you have used my name for five hundred pounds!" said Lieberg.

The lad instantly sprang off his seat, and cast himself upon his knees
at Lieberg's feet, exclaiming--"Forgive me--oh, forgive me!"

"I will forgive you," replied Lieberg, "upon one condition, which
is, that you at once quit this country, and go to one of the
Colonies--whichever I and my friend, Sir Morley Ernstein, may
determine. You shall be furnished with money for your passage."

"But how shall I live when I am there?" exclaimed the youth. "I can
but do as I have done here, and get into trouble again."

"There is no fear of that," interposed Morley; "some place or some
occupation shall be found for you, which will put you above want, and
if you behave well, means will be taken to procure your advancement."

"Besides," said Lieberg, "your sister will in all probability be able
to do something for you. At all events, I and my friend, Sir Morley
Ernstein, pledge ourselves that you shall be taken care of, if you
conduct yourself properly. I must have no hesitation--this is your
only chance of escaping the gallows, so choose quickly."

"Oh, I have chosen--I have chosen!" cried the young man, at once. "It
would, of course, be far better for me to go and take my chance there,
than stay here, and be hanged to a certainty."

"That is according to taste," answered Lieberg, who could not refrain
from one of his bitter jests, even at that terrible moment; "however,
if such be your opinion, come to me to-morrow at this same hour, and I
will shew you the note you drew, paid by my banker."

"But," said the boy, gazing earnestly in his face, as if to discover
what was passing in Lieberg's inmost thoughts, yet with a look of
cunning fear also, both lest he should offend and lest he should be
deceived: "but--but--suppose you should change your mind!"

"And hang you after ail!" rejoined Lieberg, with a contemptuous sneer:
"it would be a very pleasant trick, young gentleman, for any of your
present friends--such as Neville and others. But be so good as to
recollect, that I have nothing to gain by hanging you: were I a
surgeon, there might be some object, for I dare say you would make a
very good subject for the anatomist's knife; but I am not a surgeon.
Moreover, remember that if I wanted to send you to the gallows, I
should have nothing to do this moment but to put my hand on your
collar, call in the waiter, and send for an officer."

He took a step forward as he spoke, and the boy, in an agony of
terror, started back, and looked behind him, as if he expected to see
the whole array of Bow-street at the other side of the room.

"Now mark me, my good youth," said Lieberg, "and answer me
straightforwardly; will you, or will you not come, as I have directed
you?"

"I will, upon my honour, sir," replied the boy.

"Your honour!" exclaimed Lieberg; "but I have got a better hold upon
you than your honour. Mark me, my good sir, if you do not come
precisely to the minute, you will find yourself at the new drop before
a month be over. The sessions are coming on, and we will make short
work with you, for I will not be trifled with. Do not suppose, either,
that you can escape, for you ought to know well enough, that every
movement you make is known, and I could have taken you out of your bed
last night, if I had thought right, for I knew quite well where you
were."

"Where?" exclaimed the youth, with a shrewd look; "where?"

"Where you should not have been," replied Lieberg, sternly; "not many
yards from ---- street, in the Strand."

The colour that comes up from agitation, not from shame--for alas, he
was past that point--rose in the boy's countenance, and he only
replied, "I will come--indeed I will."

Morley Ernstein had perceived from the first that Lieberg wished to
conduct the whole business with William Barham himself, and although
he might feel a suspicion, of which he was at the same time ashamed,
regarding his companion's motives; yet he felt not only that he had no
right, but also that it would be imprudent to interfere in a matter
which entirely depended upon Lieberg himself. He had therefore
abstained, as far as possible, from saying anything, but he now added
a caution, which was totally independent of his friend's proceedings.

"If you will take my advice," he said, speaking to William Barham,
"you will, in the meantime, that is to say, before you go to Colonel
Lieberg's, avoid all your recent companions; and going home at once,
remain quietly, without setting your foot beyond the doors till
to-morrow."

Remarking that the boy hesitated, and answered nothing, and knowing
what a hold evil habits have upon the mind, Morley resolved to try
what fear would do, and for that purpose to make use of the
information he had gained from Higgins. "I advise you alone for your
own good," he said, "and to prevent you from missing the only chance
of safety. You know quite well, that there are a number of other
people engaged in this affair. Now those scoundrels will be glad
enough to keep you here, in order to get your neck into the noose,
instead of their own."

"I will peach against them all, if they do!" replied the youth,
vehemently.

"That will not save you," replied Morley; "you are a principal, they
are only accessories."

"I will not go near any of them," exclaimed the boy suddenly--"I will
not go near any of them."

"Well, then, keep your resolution," rejoined Morley, "and you will do
well. I pledge myself for your safety, as well as Colonel Lieberg, if
you go to him to-morrow; but if you fail, I tell you as he has done, I
abandon you from that moment, and will take no farther interest in
you. Do you know where he lives?"

The young man replied in the affirmative, and took up his hat as if to
depart, but then looked hesitatingly, first at Morley, and then at
Lieberg, and then at Morley again. At length, however, he said,
addressing the latter--"But I wanted to speak with you, Sir
Morley--can't I have a word with you for a minute?"

Morley caught the quick eye of Lieberg glancing from the boy's face to
his, and he replied at once: "If what you want to say refers to this
business, it must be said to Colonel Lieberg, not to me, for upon him
alone does your fate depend--or, at least, it must be said in his
presence."

"It is not about that at all," answered the youth; "it is something
which nobody has anything to do with, but you and I."

"Let him speak with you--let him speak with you, Morley," said
Lieberg; "I am going to make a call on the other side of the square,
and will be back with you again in ten minutes."

Thus saying, he left the room, and, the young man, after gazing in
Morley's face for a few moments, demanded, abruptly--"Pray, where is
my sister, sir?"

"Your sister is quite safe," replied Morley, in a calm tone, "and
under the protection of those who will take care that no harm happens
to her."

"That is to say, under yours, I suppose," said William Barham, looking
at him with a keen and eager glance; "but I'll tell you what, sir, if
such is the case, I think I have a right to ask, that you should
settle something upon her, that she may not come to poverty too."

Morley grew angry. "You young scoundrel!" he said, "I have a great
inclination to take you up, and throw you out of that window into the
square. You have a right to ask, indeed! You, who would have sold your
sister to a low and vagabond swindler--you, now to talk of having any
right to meddle in her affairs!"

"You are wrong, sir," said the young man, boldly, and with a more
straightforward tone than Morley had seen him yet assume; "you are
wrong, sir; I would not have sold my sister. I would not have taken a
penny for myself. Now that the truth must come out, I will tell you
how it was--a man will do many things to save his life--what is there
that he wont do, indeed?"

"Nothing dishonourable, if he be not a coward," answered Morley.

"Coward, or no coward!" rejoined the young man--"coward, or no coward,
no man likes the gallows, and it was to save myself from that, that I
did what I did; besides, I saw that, some day or another, she would
not have bread to eat. She has been forced to sell almost everything,
even now. Neville offered to settle five hundred a-year upon her, if I
would consent, and to hang me if I didn't. So I had no choice; but I
would not have taken a farthing from him myself, for all the world."

"You are not quite so bad as I thought you," replied Morley; "but,
nevertheless, you are an atrocious scoundrel, and not a bit better for
being a coward too. In regard to your sister, however, if you have
really any feeling for her--and I can hardly think that such is the
case with one who would prey upon her in the way that you have
done--make your mind easy; she is no farther under my protection, than
that I will see she is not subjected either to insult or annoyance.
She is with two ladies who have taken an interest in her; one, a lady
of high rank, and one, a young lady who is very dear to me. They will
provide for and take care of her; but, as to your present demand, I
should be wronging her and myself both, were I to do anything which,
even in the eyes of the world, might cause it to be supposed there
exists any other connexion between myself and her, than interest in
her fate, and sorrow for her misfortunes."

"I suppose--" said the young man; but Morley stopped him at once.

"There is nothing more, sir, to be said upon the subject," he
exclaimed. "I am very likely to be made angry in this matter; and,
therefore, the less you speak, or suppose, the better."

"I was only going to say," replied the young man, "that I suppose, of
course, as you know where she is, you'll have no objection to my
seeing her."

"I certainly do know where she is," answered Morley; "but you will
easily understand that, as she removed from her own house for the
purpose of keeping at a distance from the influence you had so
misused, and from the insulting solicitations which you had permitted
and encouraged, there is not the slightest chance of your being
permitted to see her. It was from yourself and your acquaintances that
she fled; and, therefore, you will know nothing farther about her than
you do know now, till you embark on board a vessel for one of the
colonies. Your sister's address will then be furnished to you; you can
write to her, if your wishes prompt you to do so, and she will answer
you, informing you of her own situation, hopes, and prospects. This is
all I have to say upon the subject, and you must expect nothing more."

The young man frowned upon him fiercely as he spoke; and after looking
at him with a bitter and a disappointed glance, for a moment or two,
he said--"God give you as hard a measure!"

"I hope he may give me just the same," replied Morley; "for I can call
him to witness that I am acting as I judge best for the happiness both
of yourself and her."

"Ay," said the young man, thoughtfully, "I may, some time or another,
have the means of paying you this;" and without more ado, he quitted
the room.

"He is a determined young villain!" was Morley's comment, as Helen's
brother left him. "How strange it is that we sometimes see the gifts,
both of mind and person, so unequally apportioned in the same family!
Beauty, and talent, and virtue in one member of it, and vice,
stupidity, and deformity in another. Who, even in look, would take
that youth for Helen's brother?"

He had not long to consider the matter farther, for Lieberg soon came
back, full of schemes of pleasure and amusement. He had a thousand
things for Morley to see; he had a thousand things for Morley to do;
and it was with difficulty that his friend, upon the excuse of other
business, freed himself from him for an hour or two, in order that he
might, as he had promised, convey to Helen Barham tidings of what had
passed in regard to her brother. Perhaps it might have been a truer
way of putting the matter, if we had said: in order to avail himself
of the excuse he had made for visiting Juliet Carr. He promised,
however, to join Lieberg in the park within two hours, and, certainly,
those two hours were amongst the sweetest that ever he knew in life.
He found Juliet Carr sitting with Lady Malcolm; Helen was in her own
room; and after the elder lady had remained some short time, she rose,
discreetly saying that she would send Miss Barham to hear what tidings
he had brought. Juliet begged Lady Malcolm to let her go; and, I
believe, that if one could have seen into her bosom, her heart would
have been found beating terribly as she made the proposal. Lady
Malcolm, however, replied--"I am going up for another pair of gloves,
Juliet, and therefore I will tell her as I go."

Juliet and Morley were left alone. Strange to say, however, they both
remained silent for several minutes. There was much that Morley
desired to say, but yet the thought that Helen might come down every
moment made him pause and hesitate, and lose even the time that he
had. Juliet, on her part, divined something of what was passing in his
breast, and she was afraid of speaking first, for she knew, whatever
topic she chose, her voice would tremble so as to shew that her
thoughts were busy with agitating subjects.

I do believe that seldom, if ever, has a declaration of love been made
in this world without being managed in the most awkward way that it is
possible to conceive. Indeed, though it may seem a contradiction in
terms to say that imperfection is a part of perfection, yet I do
believe that awkwardness is necessary to a proper declaration; for it
is scarcely possible to believe two persons to be very much in love
with each other, without being greatly agitated at that moment, and,
consequently, not sufficiently master of their own thoughts to act
with calmness and propriety.

Morley, however, at length discovered that the pause must not last any
longer; and, as it was quite out of the question at that moment to
talk of any indifferent subject, he went round the table, seated
himself on the sofa by the side of Juliet, took her right hand, which
lay idle in her lap, and pressing his lips upon it, added the small
word "Juliet."

Juliet answered nothing, but sat with her beautiful eyes bent down,
the colour glowing in her cheeks, her lip quivering, her bosom
panting. Morley was beloved, and he felt it. "Juliet," he
repeated--"Juliet, dear girl, after what I see, need I ask you any
questions?"

"Oh, no, no!" murmured Juliet, turning her head slowly round, still
bent so that he could scarcely see her glowing face for the rich hair
that clustered over it; and, leaning her forehead and her eyes upon
his shoulder, she repeated--"oh, no, no!"

The doors of Lady Malcolm's house were such as doors should always be,
and opened noiselessly. Juliet's face was hid upon Morley's
shoulder--her hand was clasped in his--his eyes were bent in
tenderness upon her--his arm was thrown around her--when the door
opened without their seeing it--closed again softly the moment after;
and they remained alone for near an hour.

Alas! poor Helen Barham!



CHAPTER XXI.


William Barham was punctual to his hour; but Lieberg made him wait for
fully twenty minutes in an empty room, looking out into the dull back
court of a London house, where there was nothing to amuse his mind
within the chamber or without: not a picture, not a print upon the
walls: not the sight of a chimney, the smoke of which would have given
occupation to the eye: not an odd-looking table, with carved legs: not
anything, in short, on which the energies of the spirit could spend
themselves. The very carpet was in long straight lines of monotonous
colours, and the walls were painted of a blank greyish hue.

The mind, when surrounded by dulness from which it cannot escape, is
like the scorpion when hemmed in by fire, and turns to sting itself.
That room seemed the very abode of gloom and despondency. The windows
were dusty, and admitted but little light; they were not as regularly
opened as they ought to have been, and there was a closeness in the
atmosphere, a smell of desolation, if we may so call it, which made
one feel faint. The grate looked somewhat rusty from neglect, and
there were no fire-irons.

William Barham first walked to a window, and looked out, but nothing
met his eye, except the tall, unpleasant, dingy brick wall of an
opposite house, without a single casement looking that way. He then
turned, and gazed round the room. It was all cheerless and dull. His
eye found nothing on which it could rest. It was empty and gloomy as a
heart that has been bereaved of the object of its love. He tried the
window again, and then let his eye run over the walls of the room; but
all was dark and sad. There was not even a Greek border on the broad
expanse of dull, grey painted stucco, with which the mind might form a
labyrinth for thought to lose herself withal. He walked up and down
for a moment or two, and then cast himself down upon a chair, and his
fancy gave itself up to that which was most painful--his own fate and
circumstances.

Did Lieberg do it on purpose? Who can say? There are few men who know
human nature better than he did. There are few who could more
correctly appreciate the effect of solitary thought, with gloomy
adjuncts, upon a mind loaded with crime, and weakened by vice and
intemperance. None, then, could judge better what would be that effect
upon William Barham, and yet he had ordered him, with particular care,
to be placed in that room, which he himself had never entered above
once or twice since he had hired those apartments; and yet while the
youth remained there, Lieberg was not occupied with any important
affair. He was trifling with some objects of art; writing a note or
two in answer to invitations; doing a thousand things, in short, that
might have been done at any other time. It seemed, certainly, that he
calculated upon producing a particular effect upon the mind of the
unhappy boy who was in his power.

William Barham's eye, in the meantime, strained upon the floor. It
grew more and more anxious in expression, its gaze more and more
intense. He looked as if horror-struck with some object on which his
eyes fell upon the carpet--but the unhappy boy saw nothing before him
but his own fate. Remorse, if not repentance, visited his heart! He
thought of all that he had done, of all that he might have done; he
saw that, by his own folly, and by his own crimes, at the best he had
driven himself from his native land, and had, but for an accident,
condemned himself to death, to an ignominious and terrible death. He
had lost all the advantages of a fair education, an honourable
teaching, and of a good example. He had voluntarily chosen evil when
good was within his grasp, and now the consequences had fallen upon
his head, without any place of shelter, any hope, any refuge, except
in the mercy of a man who had shewn him some harshness, and whose
objects he was strongly inclined to doubt. He had come thither with a
palpitating heart, and he remained in agitation and distress.

Minute after minute went by, and each one seemed an age, till at
length he began to think--"Is this man deceiving me?--Perhaps he is
playing me false!--Perhaps even now he has sent for the officers of
justice to seize their prey!"

He started up and approached the door, intending to steal out if he
found no one, and to say that he could not wait any longer, if he met
with any of the servants in the passage. There was a footman within a
few yards, however, and when he had repeated that which he had made up
his mind to speak, the man answered, with the cold sauciness of a
London lackey,--"My master said you were to wait for him, and so you
must wait, if you please."

The man stood directly in the way, and William Barham, re-entered the
room, with a sinking heart. His thoughts, hurried and confused, first
turned to flight, but flight, he soon saw, was impossible. The window
was high--there was a fall of five-and-twenty feet, or more, into the
area below. His next thought was, what else could give him safety?
Where was there any other hope? "This man must want something,"
he thought. "He must have some object, some purpose, some end to
answer!--What can it be?--I will do anything, everything, if he will
but spare my life."

It was at that moment that Lieberg, as if he had calculated it by a
watch, sent to call the unfortunate William Barham to his presence;
and when the youth appeared, he questioned him sternly and steadily,
as to the whole transaction of the forgery, writing down his replies.
Had William Barham been an old and wily offender, he might have
refused to plead in this illegitimate sort of court; but fear now
superseded everything: even natural cunning gave way before it, and he
told all, though he saw Lieberg taking notes of each word he spoke.

"Now," asked the interrogator, when he had finished, "will you sign
that?" and he put the paper before him.

"But will you promise me safety?" said the boy, torn by terrors of
several kinds, and gazing upon the countenance of Lieberg with eyes
that seemed as if they would start from their sockets--"will you
promise me safety?"

"Yes," answered Lieberg, "I will promise you--but on one condition,
that you will help me with your whole heart and mind in something that
I desire to accomplish."

"Oh, that I will!" exclaimed the youth, "in anything that you like."

"In _anything?_" said Lieberg, with emphasis, and at the same time
holding up his finger, to mark more particularly, that he had some
especial object.

The blood rose slightly in William Barham's cheek, but the game was
for life and death, and he had made up his mind. "Yes," he replied,
nodding his bead significantly; "perhaps I understand what you mean.
But I say, I will help you in anything you like."

"That is right," answered Lieberg, "that is quite right; and if you do
help me, instead of death, or exile, and poverty, and privation, and
gnawing want, you shall have comfort, and respectability, and
affluence, in your own land."

The youth's eyes sparkled, and Lieberg went on, "Attach yourself to my
fortunes," he continued, "and you are safe. I tell you fairly, all I
wish you to sign this paper for, is, that I may have such a hold upon
you, that neither any of those rascally companions whom you have
unfortunately met with, nor any of the whining Methodists and
hypocrites who are scarcely better than the others, may ever persuade
you to play me false in this matter. Mark me! It is not any knavery on
your part that I fear, it is weakness; but I think you know me well
enough, to be sure that I will hang you, as certain as I live, if you
fail me----"

"But will you certainly spare me, if I do not?" cried the youth. "Will
you write it down?"

Lieberg paused for a moment, in meditation, drawing in his eyelids, as
if to shut out even the daylight from his busy brain, and he replied,
at length--

"Very well, I will, marking the condition, that you pledge yourself to
assist me in one particular object, with your whole power and might."

"Very well," said the youth, and Lieberg wrote down the stipulations.

The boy signed, what might be called, his confession, and Lieberg put
his hand to the promise. After he had done so, however, he shook his
head, gazing on the boy with a smile full of pity and contempt.

"I will keep that promise, my good youth, firmly," he said, "but at
the same time I will tell you, it is of no earthly value; for I have
nothing to do but to let this bill slip into the hands of the
Bow-street officers, and you are arrested, tried, and executed in the
shortest possible time. No promise of mine could save you. It is the
state that prosecutes, the law that condemns. I have nothing to do
with it but to swear that this name, purporting to be mine, is not my
handwriting," and he took out of his pocket-book the identical bill
which William Barham had forged, and laid his finger upon the fatal
words, "Frederick Lieberg," at the bottom.

The unhappy youth gazed at it, with eyes of eager fire--and oh, what
would he have given to snatch it from the hand of him that held it,
and tear it into a thousand pieces that moment! The bright eyes of
Lieberg seemed to read his very thoughts, and again the dark and
bitter smile curled his lip, as he said--

"You cannot get it, my good youth. It will remain with me till there
is a stronger bond between you and me, and what I desire is
accomplished.--Where is your sister?"

"I do not know," replied the youth, boldly. "Do you not know?--I
thought you did."

"No, indeed," replied Lieberg, "I am utterly ignorant. But we must
both know ere long. This is the first business we have before us.--You
tell me true, I see it--but how happens it that she was removed
without your knowledge?"

"I was away for two days," replied the youth, "and when I came back
she was gone. But he knows--that Sir Morley Ernstein! Cannot you get
him to tell you?"

"I would not ask him for this right hand," replied Lieberg, "but we
will soon find out without him."

"He refused to tell me," said the youth; "he would give me no tidings,
indeed, but that she is safe and with two ladies, one of whom is a
lady of rank."

"Ha!" exclaimed Lieberg. "A lady of rank? Who can that be? And he
positively refused to let you know where she is?"

"That he did," answered the youth; "but I'll tell you what he told
me, too; he said that I should know where she is, and she should write
to me, as soon as I was aboard ship to go to the colonies. Can't we
make something of that, sir?"

"Certainly," answered Lieberg, "we will make everything of that, if we
cannot do what we desire before; for that might produce a long delay,
which must be avoided if possible.--Oh, we will arrive at it!" he
said, after a moment's thought--"where did you sleep, last night?"

"In our own house," replied the boy. "The rent is paid, the woman told
me, and she is put in to keep it, with seven shillings a week; but the
place is still ours, till the twenty-ninth of September."

"Well then," said Lieberg, "go back at once to the good woman who is
in the house, and in the course of the evening get her to tell you
exactly what was the appearance of the ladies who came for your
sister, and what was the livery of the servant whom she talked of to
me. Whether he was a tall man or a short man, and, in a word, all the
particulars that she can furnish you with. Do not let her see that you
are cross questioning her, for I suspect, from her manner to me
yesterday morning, she has been told not to tell the truth to any one.
You must therefore proceed cautiously."

"Oh, I understand--I understand!" replied the boy. "I must fish it
out, you mean."

"Exactly," said Lieberg, with a smile at the expression. "Fish it out,
and come to me at six o'clock to-day. I shall then be dressing for
dinner, but you will be admitted; and now, as perhaps you are in want
of money, there is a ten-pound note for you. If we proceed
successfully, your fortunes are begun."

The youth took the money eagerly. It was certainly the wages of
iniquity, but evil--whatever be its kind--always smoothes the road for
more; and William Barham had so often tasted burning pleasures bought
by money wrongly acquired, that there were no great scruples left in
his mind. His sister's honour and soul, her happiness, and her peace
of mind, he was very ready to sell for the combined temptation of
safety and enjoyment; and, taking the money greedily, he gave Lieberg
a meaning smile, which even sickened the superior demon with whom he
was dealing; for surely it is a part of the punishment which evil
spirits are destined to feel, even in the joys which they propose to
themselves, that they must abhor the tools they work with, and loathe
the means which they employ for their own ends. If Lieberg, at that
moment, had given way to his own inclination, he would have driven the
youth, with contempt and hatred, into the street. But he suffered him
to depart quietly, saying--"Do not fail;" and William Barham proceeded
on his way.

Exactly at the hour appointed he was at Lieberg's door again, and was
instantly admitted to his dressing-room. The splendour and the luxury
of everything that he beheld, the beautiful arrangement, the exquisite
taste, struck him so much, that for a moment he did not speak, gazing
round at all the richly-chased silver implements, the china, the
glass, and the steel-work, with which the dressing-table was covered,
and thinking that his sister would be a very happy girl, if, on any
terms, she was permitted to live in the midst of such magnificence as
that. And yet William Barham had been taught good principles; had
heard, during his early youth, moral and religious doctrines from the
lips of his mother; and, until his father's health had failed
entirely, had daily received instruction from him. But there are some
minds which seem incapable of imbibing any clear and definite notion
of right and wrong. They can recollect that they have been told one
thing is good, and another thing is evil, and perfectly distinguish
between the two, but without feeling in their hearts, even in the
slightest degree, the excellence of the one and the hatefulness of the
other. They are like that arid soil, which will produce abundance of
weeds, but in which any good shrub withers as soon as it is planted.

Such was very much the case with William Barham; but there was another
cause which had tended also to make him what he was, and which must be
clearly pointed out. His father, though an excellent man and a sincere
Christian, was fond of indulging in speculative opinions--not of
embracing, but of discussing them--the most dangerous practice in the
world before young people, for if they do not absolutely adopt the
opinion that is wrong, they learn not to be quite sure that
any opinion is right. The mind of Helen herself might have been
affected by this fault on the part of their father, but she had two
safeguards--a pure, high-spirited heart, and the memory of her
mother's counsels, she having been somewhat older than her brother,
and more capable of receiving principles than he was, at the time of
that mother's death.

The tidings which William Barham brought were fuller than Lieberg had
expected. The appearance of the servant and of the ladies was detailed
with great accuracy, and even the crest upon the servant's button was
known; but when Lieberg sent his valet to bring him a book that he
named, in which the crest of all the principal families of England
were displayed, he found that several would answer the description,
which, as may easily be supposed, had not been given with true
heraldic accuracy. William Barham seemed at his wits' end, when he
found that this was the case; but Lieberg, whatever might be the
strength of his passions, was not one of those who give them vent at
every trifling obstacle. On the contrary, like the great propelling
power of the present day, they were kept pent up within the iron of
his bosom, but to carry him on with the fiercer vehemence to the end
desired; and on this occasion he only laughed, saying--"We shall
arrive at it--do not be afraid. Combining the crest with the colour of
the livery, and then applying the description of the man himself and
the ladies, to discriminate among the various branches of the
family, we shall find out the facts. I will put it in the hands of
an Argus this very night, who will ferret out the whole matter ere
eight-and-forty hours be over. Difficulties, my young friend, to a man
of a firm mind, and obstacles in his path, of whatever nature they may
be, only afford him stronger inducements to follow his course, and
render his pursuit a passion. I remember a man who was told that he
could never throw the same combinations four times running with the
dice, and he sat for three months in the same room till he had done
it. That man was fit to struggle for an empire. I have seldom suffered
myself to seek anything very eagerly; but I never yet was baffled when
I did. And now go home, and keep yourself as quiet as may be. Have no
communication of any kind with the men that you know in London, and
confide no secrets to the women. Always be at your own house, so that
I may find you from nine in the morning till night-fall; the rest of
the four-and-twenty hours is your own."



CHAPTER XXII.


Two days elapsed, and on the third morning Lady Malcolm was sitting in
her drawing-room alone, when the servant threw open the door, and
announced "Colonel Lieberg." Her visitor upon the present occasion was
personally known to her, so far as a mere bow went, when they met in
society. But this was the first time that he had ever presented
himself at her house; and Lady Malcolm, therefore, as she well might,
looked somewhat surprised when she received him. Her demeanour,
however, was perfectly courteous, though somewhat distant withal, and
after begging him to be seated, she enquired what fortunate
circumstance procured her the honour of his visit.

"I beg your ladyship's pardon," said Lieberg, "for intruding upon you,
especially at this hour of the morning; but, in truth, though I asked
for you--thinking it would be more proper so to do--my visit is
intended for a young lady, who is, I find, under your kind care and
protection, and to whom I have some intelligence to communicate, which
may, perhaps, give her pleasure."

Lady Malcolm, however, had lived long enough in the great world to
have the faculty of misunderstanding, when she thought proper; and she
therefore replied--"I am really very sorry, Count, but Miss Carr is
out, and probably will not return till the evening."

"Your ladyship is under a mistake," replied Lieberg; "my visit was not
intended for the lady you mention, but for Miss Barham, who, her
brother informs me, is residing at your house."

"He is quite in error," replied Lady Malcolm; "Miss Barham did,
indeed, do me the favour of passing a few days with me, but she left
me yesterday morning."

Lieberg's cheek grew hot; and though he still maintained the
appearance of the utmost suavity, there was a certain degree of
sharpness in his tone, which shewed how mortified and disappointed he
was.

"Then, of course," he said, "your ladyship can favour me with her
address."

"No, indeed," replied Lady Malcolm, "I cannot. All I can tell you is,
that she is gone into the country."

"May I humbly enquire," rejoined Lieberg, "whether your difficulty, in
regard to telling me her address, is voluntary, or from ignorance of
where she is?--beg pardon," he added, in a softer tone "if I am
asking anything extraordinary; but as I have matters of importance to
communicate to Miss Barham, it is very necessary that I should learn
her address by some means, in order to write to her speedily."

"To answer you candidly, Count Lieberg," replied Lady Malcolm, "and as
you put the question so distinctly, I must acknowledge that I do not
give you the information you wish for, partly because I have not the
exact address, and partly because Miss Barham requested me not to say
where she is gone to any one."

"But I should certainly think she would make an exception in my
favour," said Lieberg, earnestly, "considering that business of the
greatest importance, affecting her brother in the highest degree, is
left entirely in my hands. I say, therefore, Lady Malcolm," he added,
as that lady remained perfectly silent--"I say, therefore, that I
should think she must have made an exception in my favour."

"She did not," answered Lady Malcolm, drily; "she never hinted at any
exception at all; and such being the case, I cannot take upon myself
to make one."

"Really, this is very extraordinary," exclaimed Lieberg; "and allow me
to say, very mortifying also. Nor can I think that Miss Barham will be
at all obliged to those who prevent her from receiving intelligence
which it is necessary she should be made acquainted with directly."

"Indeed," said Lady Malcolm, "I feel it to be a very painful and
disagreeable position; but you must see clearly, my dear Count, that I
have only one course to pursue."

"No, indeed," replied Lieberg, "I cannot say that I agree with you. I
cannot but think that, under, present circumstances, and considering
my character and station in life, you might, without hesitation or
apprehension of the consequences, make that exception in my favour
which I am perfectly certain Miss Barham would have done had she
thought of it."

"Ay," replied Lady Malcolm, with a sly smile, "but you men are so bold
and resolute, Count Lieberg, and I am but a poor timid woman, always
afraid of doing wrong. You must forgive me, indeed, if I do not act as
you wish; and besides, as I say, I have not got her exact address. She
is to write to me in a few days, and then if she tells me to give you
her address, I can send it. If not, I will write to her, and ask. This
is all I can do."

The tone in which she spoke was firm and determined; and Lieberg,
seeing that it was vain to press the matter further, made a virtue of
necessity, saying--"Well, my dear Lady Malcolm, you judge for the
best, I am sure; but believe me it may cause great inconvenience,
especially as I myself much want to go out of town. What a beautiful
little picture that is! That must be a Correggio!"

"It is generally esteemed so," replied Lady Malcolm. And Lieberg,
before he took his leave, examined the various pictures which the room
contained, praising several with that degree of discrimination which
took from his commendation every appearance of flattery to the taste
of the lady who had selected the paintings, though in reality he was
skilfully smoothing down all the feelings of irritation which he
feared his own irritation might have produced. He succeeded so far as
to make Lady Malcolm say to herself, after he left her, "Well; he is a
very pleasant person, certainly.--But Morley is right," she added, "I
would not trust him in matters such as this."

Whatever were Lady Malcolm's motives, the story which she had told
Count Lieberg was perfectly true. Miss Barham had left her on the
preceding day, and had gone down into the country. Juliet Carr, as she
had promised when Morley first mentioned the situation of his poor
protégée, had written at once to her father, asking if he would
receive Helen as her companion and friend, when she herself came down,
and hinting at those pecuniary arrangements which she knew would have
weight with her somewhat too covetous parent.

To her surprise, however, she had received a letter by return of post,
making no reference whatsoever to money matters, but "begging Juliet
to ask only one question of her fair companion--namely, whether she
was or was not the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Barham, the curate of
Elmes, in Cumberland, and if both her father and mother were dead. If
so, he said, he would have the greatest pleasure in receiving her, as
he had been an intimate acquaintance of her grandfather, and done what
he could to prevent him from spending his fine property. He added,
moreover, that if from the circumstances at which Juliet had hinted,
it was more pleasant for Miss Barham to come down at once, without
waiting for his daughter, he begged she would do so, and remain as
long as she liked, when he would treat her in every respect as his
child."

The whole letter was so unlike her father, that unless Juliet had seen
the handwriting she could scarcely have believed it was his
composition. That fact, however, was not to be doubted, and she
accordingly shewed the epistle to Helen, who immediately replied that
she was the daughter of the Mr. Barham mentioned, and she had some
faint idea of having heard him once or twice speak of Mr. Carr. Juliet
then proposed to write back to her father and inform him that, such
being the case, Helen would accompany her to Yelverly in a fortnight.
But Helen laid her fair hand upon her companion's arm, and gazing
earnestly in her face, replied, "I would rather go at once, if
possible."

"But why so, dear Helen?" said Juliet. "Lady Malcolm wishes you to
stay, and go with us to some watering-place for a time, and Morley has
promised----"

"I would rather go at once," said Helen, with that sad shake of the
head which speaks that the heart is faint and weary within us,--"I
would rather go at once, dear Juliet--there is much that I would
willingly avoid here, in London."

Juliet understood her in a moment, and opposed her no farther; and it
was settled, at Helen's own desire, that she and her maid should
proceed part of the way to Yelverly on the following morning. This
plan was put in execution, and Helen herself seemed more than ever
anxious to fly from the scenes that surrounded her. She was to visit
for one day, as she went, the house of the friend to whom she had
previously written, and whose prolonged silence she did not
understand; after which, she was to go on to the house of Juliet's
father, and to write immediately on her arrival. Thus, Lady Malcolm
could safely say that she did not absolutely know where she was,
though Juliet Carr could not have done so with as much sincerity had
she been present, for Helen left the address of the friend she was
about to visit with her.

We will not enquire into the feelings of Lieberg as he returned to his
own home, suffice it that he immediately sent for the youth, William
Barham, with whom he held a long conference. At the end of their
disquisition of ways and means, he despatched the lad to seek for
Morley Ernstein in Berkeley-square, but that gentleman was not at
home, and Lieberg himself, in riding through the park a few hours
afterwards, met him walking with Lady Malcolm and a young lady, whose
dazzling beauty of face and symmetry of form at once let Lieberg into
the secret of a part, at least, of his friend's conduct. "Ha, this is,
good!" he said to himself, as he rode on after bowing to Lady Malcolm,
and nodding familiarly to Morley. "This is good! However, Sir Morley,
you shall not frustrate me."

Lieberg did not attempt to stop; nor appear to take any further notice
of Juliet Carr; and Morley walked on by her side with very little
restraint upon their feelings from the presence of Lady Malcolm.
Whatever restraint did exist was, perhaps, not altogether unpleasant.
It is strange to say, that the fact of being prevented from doing what
we could wish to do, can ever be agreeable; and yet, though the lover
may long to be altogether alone with her he loves, there is a sweet
excitement in expressing all the warm and glowing feelings in the
heart, by shadowy figures, half veiling, half exposing, the thoughts
and the sensations that we should have told openly had there not been
an indifferent ear to listen.

Good Lady Malcolm, indeed, was by no means indifferent; and though her
presence, as I have said, was some restraint, yet that restraint was
too small ever to be painful. The marriage of Morley Ernstein and of
Juliet Carr, was a thing that she had long set her heart upon; and
that they would fall in love with each other as soon as they met, was
one of those facts which she had predetermined, with that peculiar
sort of vaticination which many elderly ladies experience in regard to
affairs of the heart. When they did meet, then, and did fall in love
with each other, she received it more as a compliment to her
prophetical powers than anything else; and, well pleased with them and
herself, she left them to settle the rest as much to their own
satisfaction as possible.

Having used the words, "when they did meet, and did fall in love with
each other," I must dwell for a minute or two upon the process of that
act, as, in the hurry of tale-telling, I could not pause upon it
sufficiently to explain some part of the mystery at the exact period
when it might be most proper to do so. I have shown, indeed, how it
took place with Morley Ernstein, that in his case it was, in fact,
_love at first sight_--a thing much more common, by the way, with
eager and impetuous hearts and quick imaginations, than is generally
supposed. It was, literally, love at first sight; for though there
might be some vague boyish impressions of what he had loved and liked
in childhood still remaining undefined in his mind, and making his
heart spring to Juliet Carr as soon as he saw her, yet they were too
indefinite to be taken into the account; and it was, simply and truly,
admiration of her dazzling beauty, and the translation of that
loveliness into a guarantee, under the hand of nature, that the heart,
and mind, and spirit within were of the brightest kind, which made
Morley Ernstein love Juliet Carr from the first moment he beheld her.

With her, the matter was very different. Woman's love is nursed with
more visionary food than man's; and, in our cold climate at least, is
of slower but more solid growth than his. Circumscribed in her sphere
of action, even from her childhood, her feelings and her thoughts are
more concentrated within her own bosom, and fix more firmly upon the
great master topic of her whole existence--love. Juliet, the reader
has remarked, had recollected the early days she had passed with
Morley Ernstein, better than he had done. The reason was, that she was
a woman; and from a very early period, all the affections are matters
of more importance to a woman than a man. She had recollected those
early days, not only as a passing dream, but as a definite existence;
there was scarcely a sport or a pastime which they had enjoyed
together, that she could not call up before the eye of memory. The
voice of Morley Ernstein, in all the soft tones of boyish attachment,
had often rung in her ears as she grew towards womanhood. His young,
bright face often presented itself in her waking and her sleeping
hours, and sometimes she would try to picture the changes that must
have come over him, and would ask herself, "What the boy would be, now
he was become a man!"

Her annual visit to Lady Malcolm too--her father allowed her to make
an annual visit--called Morley frequently back to her mind, for that
good friend would often talk of him in the manner which the little
scheme he had established, in her own mind, suggested; and by one
means or another, Juliet's imagination was supplied with plenty of
food for nursing up young affection into full-grown love. Thus was it,
then, that the germ of the future passion went on in her heart; so
that when she saw Morley Ernstein again under the wall of his own
park, it was with no slight emotion that she recognised the companion
of her early days; that she beheld him far surpassing, in personal
appearance, all which she had herself anticipated; that she heard the
tones of the same voice, which still echoed in her ear from the
pleasant places of her childhood, and that she beheld--although it was
evident that he did not know her--his eyes filled with admiration, and
with the promise of love. She dreamt upon that meeting for many a long
day, and dreamt joyfully, though the interview itself had been mingled
with some pain, in consequence of her father's harsh and rude repulse
of Morley's apology for the accident which had occurred.

And now what were her feelings? Reader, she had given herself entirely
to the passion that had taken its place in her heart. Everything which
she had seen of Morley Ernstein was so noble, so generous, so kind,
that reason confirmed all that the voice of love prompted, and told
her that she might well, and without hesitation, acknowledge her
choice in the eyes of all the world. She felt that the glow of pride
would mingle with the blush of modesty on her cheek, as she avowed her
affection for one so well worthy of attachment, and she could not see
in the whole range of probability, one objection that any one could
urge against her union with him whom she had chosen. The eye of
avarice itself, greedy as it is, might be dazzled with the splendour
of his fortune. His attainments, his character, his connexions, were
all high, and such as might well satisfy a far nobler race than hers.
He was master, too, of himself, and of his own choice, so that there
did not appear the slightest chance of any obstacle to their union.

Indeed, between Morley Ernstein and Juliet Carr, difficulties were
never thought of--objections were never anticipated. Morley had never
asked her to wed him. He had told her of his love; he had painted it
with all the fire and eagerness that he felt; he had seen that he was
loved in return, and, not satisfied with that, he had drawn from her,
by questions, and entreaties, and all the arts of passion, an
acknowledgment that it was so. More than one day had passed in all the
pleasant visions of the future, in all the words, and looks, and
caresses which form that bright and rapturous dream in which the hours
of young affection fleet by. Rarely, very rarely, do lovers think much
of difficulties, and certainly if there ever was a case were it seemed
needless to do so, it was that of Morley Ernstein and Juliet Carr.
While they were together--and it must be admitted that they were so
during the greater part of each day--the minutes flew by like
lightning; and had their whole lives been destined to pass in the same
manner, life and death would have seemed but two points with an
instant of joy between them.

There were times, however, when the ordinary proprieties of society,
or the particular arrangements of Lady Malcolm, kept them apart, and
in those hours Lieberg was almost always with Morley Ernstein. Now,
let not the reader suppose that Morley was very foolish, or very weak,
for putting any trust in one who was so little trust-worthy, or in
associating with a man, whose views, thoughts, and principles, were so
different from his own. The reader, it is true, knows what were
Lieberg's views, thoughts, and principles. For the eyes of the world
we have drawn back the veil, and exposed his heart; but such was not
the case with Morley Ernstein. No hand had laid bare for him the
objects and the views of his travelling companion--no one had shewn
him Lieberg's dealings with William Barham--no one had told the
purposes he nourished against Helen with but the more eagerness and
determination from the opposition that he had met with. On all these
points Morley was in the dark. He only knew Lieberg as the most
fascinating person that he had ever met with; as a man full of talent,
information, and taste; as one who possessed that sort of candour,
which, far from concealing opinions when opposed either to the views
and prejudices of others, or to the general feelings of society,
rather exaggerates and aggravates them, and makes them appear worse
than they really are. He knew him, besides, as one capable of doing
generous actions, and at the same time denying all merit in performing
them; as one, who was even at that moment sacrificing a large sum,
rather than proceed to the destruction of a fellow-creature; as one
who had saved his own life, and who had attended him through a long
and painful sickness with the care and tenderness of a brother.

Such was the light in which Morley had alone a right to regard Count
Lieberg, although his friend's openly-avowed principles, in regard to
some points of morality, might well cause him to avoid as far as
possible placing the fate of a young and lovely being, like Helen
Barham, in any degree at his disposal. Nor did the least point appear
in Lieberg's present conduct, which could excite Morley's suspicions.
He entered warmly into his views for hastening the departure of
William Barham from England; he drove with Morley down to the docks,
for the purpose of seeking a vessel to bear the youth to a foreign
land. He aided eagerly in obtaining the promise of a small place of
considerable labour, but no great trust, for Helen's brother, and in
every respect he seemed almost to have forgotten herself. So at least
it appeared, though, indeed, if there was anything which should have
excited Morley's suspicion, it was the fact of Lieberg's total silence
in regard to an object which had once seemed to interest him so
deeply. But Morley was not of a suspicious nature, and he judged that
Lieberg, a man of the world, and a man of pleasure, had looked upon
poor Helen Barham as a beautiful picture, which he had seen and
perhaps desired, but had forgotten very soon. Thus he was well pleased
to enjoy Lieberg's society, whenever he was obliged to be absent from
Juliet Carr. Yet, if the truth must be told, Morley did feel that his
companion's conversation was not calculated to improve him, though it
might be to instruct and to amuse. Nevertheless he did not bring the
conviction home to his own heart so far as to prevent him from
accompanying Lieberg to various places of entertainment, and enjoying
the comments of his friend fully as much as that which he went to see
or to hear.

Once, and only once, during their rambles about London, Lieberg jested
with him slightly upon the subject of Juliet Carr, and claimed a right
to be present at the marriage, saying--

"Pray tell the fair lady, Morley, that I pulled you out of the water
just in time to fulfil your country's vulgar proverb, about the
propensity to hanging counteracting the risk of a watery death."

"Oh, you shall be present," replied Morley, gaily, "but recollect,
Lieberg, you have been wrong once in regard to your calculation of my
proceedings, and you may be mistaken, even now."

Lieberg looked at him with a quiet smile, but made no reply, and the
conversation dropped there. As usually happens in London, two or three
gay _fêtes_ took place, as if to close the season brilliantly, and,
whenever it was possible, Lieberg induced his young friend to go to
these parties, and introduced him to a number of the persons present.
Although, by this time, all Morley's plans and purposes, in regard to
the study of society, had been burnt up, like old acts of parliament,
in the fire of passion, he was not sorry to see such scenes, and to
know such people. But if Lieberg thought that Morley was likely to
plunge into the vortex of dissipated life, to have his attention
distracted, and his eyes blinded, by the gay scenes and bright objects
around him, so as to forget his purposes in regard to Helen Barham,
and to leave her to her fate, even for a short period, Lieberg was
mistaken.

Had Morley not known Juliet Carr, he might have drunk of the cup of
pleasure to intoxication; for there were many beautiful, and
sparkling, and brilliant, who were right willing to lead him into
paths more flowery than safe, and to assail him on all sides, with
arms very difficult for a young man to resist. But Morley was defended
now with that highest and noblest of armours, love for a pure and
beautiful being. His life, in short, was in Juliet Carr, and all the
rest around him was but a pageant or a dream.



CHAPTER XXIII.


"Take care you're not done, Bill--that's all I say!" was the
exclamation of the good-looking, powerful fellow, who has once already
been placed before the reader's eyes, under the name of Harry Martin,
and who now sat with Helen's brother in the house she had inhabited.
"If he gets you on board ship, you mayn't get out again, I take it;
but you know your own business best. I don't like the job, I can tell
you. I think you're all wrong, my lad, and you'll find it out some
day.--Come, pass us another glass, and I'll be jogging.--If I were
you, I would stick to my sister; she's a very good girl, I hear; and
hang me, Bill, it's very well talking, but a good girl's a good girl,
you know, and a bad one's a bad one--there's no mistake. You that are
born a gentleman, too, I should have thought you'd something more of
it in you. Why didn't ye fly at the fellow's throat when he shewed you
the paper, and tear it all to pieces in a minute?"

"I couldn't," said William Barham, who had been gazing down upon the
floor, with a look half sullen, half ashamed; "there was a table
between us, and I couldn't get at it."

"If you could get hold of that," said Harry Martin, "the job would be
at an end, you know; you could do what you pleased. Can't you make him
shew it you again?"

The boy shook his head. "It wont do, Harry," he said; "he keeps it in
a little pocket-book, with some other things; and I would have tried
to get it out of his pocket quietly, as Simes showed me how one day,
but you see it's an inside pocket, and I can't get at it."

"Why, for that matter, one could cut his pocket off," said Harry
Martin; "and I shouldn't care if I had a hand in it; but we must have
two or three, and unless there was a good deal of tin to be had
besides, the men would not like to risk a trip to Botany, just to get
that note of yours. However, I'll think over it, and talk with some
other fellows about it, and perhaps we shall bring the thing right
after all. I'll take one more glass, and then I'll go."

William Barham thought for a moment or two, and then said, "I'll tell
you what, Harry, when we find out where Helen is, he's sure to go down
into the country after her. Don't you think that one could do
something, as he goes? He has always lots of money about him, and that
gold snuff box which there was a piece of work about once with Bill
Jones, you know; and if he goes into the country for any time, his
dressing-case is worth a cool couple of hundred, just to make soup of,
as you call it. It's all gold and silver together."

"What! a touch of the highway, as men used to have long ago?" said
Harry Martin. "But that's not so easy done now, my boy. We have
changed all that--trade has fallen off sadly too. I wish those days
would come again, for there's scarce a man of us keeps a horse now."

"Why, you've got your horse and gig, Harry," said the youth.

"Ay, but one can't stop a gentleman on the road with a horse and gig."

"Very true," answered William Barham; "but if he were to go down into
the country, you could go after him, and make a smash of it."

The man with whom he was talking, laughed, but seemed to think the
idea not a bad one. "We can't do it for nothing, Bill," he said;
"though if he puts up in a place where there's something to be got,
and the thing's easy, I shouldn't mind undertaking it, for your sake,
though I am not a cracksman, myself--especially if it's a good way
down in the country, for you see, there's not so much chance of being
pulled up for it. We could have the gig waiting, and after the job
was done, get in and drive thirty miles or so, and then take the
coach. All I can say is, if you choose to cut this business about your
sister entirely, and want really to get out of the fellow's power,
I'll help you as far as I can; so look out, there's a good boy, and
let me know; for hang me, if I like to see a poor girl bought and
sold, like a sheep in Smithfield!--And now, good night, Bill. I would
fain see you a free man again, for now you're no better than a
nigger-slave in the West Indies."

Thus saying, he left him, and I will not pause to investigate and lay
bare all the curious combinations in the bosom of Harry Martin, which
produced his strange and anomalous notions of honour and dishonour,
honesty and dishonesty. It would be a very difficult task in his case,
and perhaps if we knew all, it would not be much less so in the case
of many men of far higher reputation--for too, too often, in this good
world, do we see the frauds to which they are accustomed, the
dishonest--ay, and criminal acts, which suit their purposes and
conveniences, placed in as strange contrast with better things in the
life of high and distinguished persons, "all honourable men," as the
habit of plundering was, with his notions in regard to Helen Barham,
in the breast of Henry Martin. The man who takes a solemn vow at the
altar, in the presence of his God, and breaks it ere three months are
over, would cut the throat of his dearest friend, if he called him a
liar; and yet, what is he? The politician, who, on the hustings, or on
the table, excites the passions of the people, vows that he is seeking
their own interests solely, when his object is place, or power, or
station; or he, who in his canvass promises all sorts of things that
he never can, and never will perform, what is he but a hypocrite? and
yet he would grin at you like a dog if you gave him his right name. I
could go on for an hour to shew how we felons of high station contrive
to render our notions of honour quite as compatible with crime and
dishonour, of the basest sort, as were the plundering habits of
William Barham's companion, with his indignation at the brother's
carelessness of the sister's honour.

However, as I have said, I must not pause upon such things, for I fear
very much, with the slow rate at which my story proceeds, I may be
obliged to infringe the boundary which the customs of the present day
ascribe to the teller of a tale. Nor will I delay the reader with all
that took place between Lieberg and William Barham, previous to the
embarkation of the latter in the river Thames, for a long and distant
voyage. The whole business was conducted with the knowledge, and under
the eye, of Morley Ernstein. Money was furnished to him for all
necessary expenses, and Mr. Hamilton, who was now slowly recovering,
promised his interest, at Morley's solicitation, to obtain advancement
for the young man in the distant land to which he was going, if his
conduct during a couple of years justified the belief that he would
act honourably for the future. Before he embarked, he wrote a letter
to Helen, and gave it into Morley's hands to put upon it the right
address. Morley did so, and forwarded it himself, but no answer had
been received at the time the ship dropped down the river.

Such were the principal events connected with the fate of William
Barham which took place in London; but I must now suddenly change the
scene, and beseech the reader to accompany me to a distant spot, and
take up his abode for a short space in a small room--for the inn had
no other but small rooms--in a house known by the distinctive
appellation of "The Sandown Castle," in the small town of Deal.

It was night, and the wind had been blowing freshly from the westward
during the whole day; but as the sun went down it increased to a gale,
varying somewhat to the southward, with an unpromising blackness about
the sky in that quarter, mingling with the faint red of evening, in
the west and north. It was altogether as ominous and unpleasant a
night to commence a long voyage upon, as any one could wish to see;
and nobody whose destiny was not very well assured, would have chosen
the neighbourhood of the Goodwin Sands for his night's lodging on the
deep. Although the wind had got to the south, as I have said, the
night was one of those which are more generally met with in this
favoured climate than any other--that is to say, cold, raw, and damp,
in the very midst of the summer, giving us back all our recollections
of December in the heart of July.

The room of which I have spoken in the little inn, had been made as
comfortable as possible, under existing circumstances. The table had
been well rubbed, to take out the marks of tumblers, imprinted in
rum-and-water; the windows had been opened to "air the room"--a
proceeding which, to say the truth, was not a little required, as a
dull and heavy atmosphere of tobacco-smoke and mixed spirits reigned
within, and seemed very ill-disposed to go out, either at door or
window, in that cold and boisterous night. There was a small fire,
too, in the grate, and once or twice, as the evening drew in and night
fell heavy over the world, a very genteel-looking personage, with a
foreign countenance, and a grave, sedate air, entered the room, looked
about him to see that everything was right, put this thing and that
thing in order; smoothing down a great coat, that hung over the back
of a chair, stirring the fire, arranging the furniture, and doing all
those little acts which give notice that some personage is expected,
for whom everything must be prepared in the nicest manner.

At length, he shut the windows and lighted the candles, and in about
ten minutes after, a gentleman, dressed in the very height of fashion,
with a large blue military cloak, of the finest cloth, hanging from
his shoulders, entered the room, and advancing to the fire, gazed into
it for a minute or two in silence. The other personage whom we have
mentioned, stood at a respectful distance, without saying a single
word, till at length his master, for so it was, turned round and gave
him his hat and wet cloak, saying, "Here, Martini, take these, and
then go down to the beach. It is a terrible night, and I am uneasy
about the ship--one can see the surf running upon the sands quite
plain. There was a vessel too, apparently coming into the Downs, but I
could make nothing of it myself, and the jargon of these pilots I do
not pretend to understand. I suppose the boy will come ashore
directly, of course."

"If he can, sir," replied the man, with a strong foreign accent; "but
I should not like to trust myself, I know, in an open boat, on such a
night as this."

"There are several boats out," said Lieberg, for it was our friend who
spoke; and then making a sign for the man to leave him, he sat till
nearly eleven o'clock at night in that worst of all states of
idleness; the idleness of a strange inn, which is the next thing to
solitary confinement. Lieberg, on most occasions, had plenty of means
of employing and amusing himself, but at the present moment his mind
was evidently not at ease. He gazed during the greater part of the
evening into the fire, and one might have supposed that it was the
thought of being baffled in his pursuit, by the destruction of the
ship which bore William Barham, that troubled him, had not a word or
two escaped from his lips towards the end of the period we have
mentioned, which shewed that, in reality, some better feelings were
mingled with his emotions, and that it was about the youth himself,
and the risk he ran for the time, he was anxious. The words indeed,
dear reader, to which I allude, were all harsh, and, apparently,
unfeeling; but still they shewed that Lieberg was occupied rather with
the boy's fate than with his own plans and purposes.

"Curse him!" he said, rising from his chair, towards eleven
o'clock--"he may as well die that way as any other. He would be
hanged, that's certain, sooner or later, if he escaped the water. So
it is as well if he be drowned after all. There is no reason for my
making myself uneasy about him. It might be as well, indeed, if he had
some other business in hand when called upon to join the world of
spirits; but I dare say, let him live as long as a patriarch, he would
be engaged in some rascality at the day of his death, and as well this
as anything else; so good bye to him!"

Thus saying, Lieberg rang the bell and ordered supper to be brought,
of which, when it did appear, he partook moderately, and then retired
to bed, his valet having by that time returned without any tidings
whatsoever of William Barham, or the ship that bore him. If the truth
must be told, however, Lieberg did not sleep much, for while he was
undressing, a dull, distant peal came from the sea, loud, but heavy.

"'Tis some ship firing for a pilot, sir," said his valet.

Lieberg took out his watch and listened; ere the minute was quite
done, there came the roar of another gun, and then another, and
another. For near an hour the same sounds went on, when all became
still, except the rushing of the wind, and the heavy, thunder-like
fall of the sea upon the beach. Stoicism may do its utmost, but the
human heart generally finds a time to speak, and Lieberg was so
evidently uneasy, that his _valet de chambre_--who had about as
much feeling as that race of created beings generally have, and no
more--evidently saw that his master was very much more moved than was
usually the case with him, and went to bed, wondering what could be
the occasion thereof--that is to say, not asking himself exactly what
was the object of Lieberg's emotion, but what possibly could induce
him to give way to any emotion at all.

Perceiving, however, that such was the case, and wishing, as all
well-disposed _valets de chambre_ are expected to do, to set his
master's mind at ease, his tap was heard at Lieberg's door towards six
o'clock on the following morning, and his voice exclaimed--"He is
arrived, sir! The ship has gone to pieces, but all the crew are
saved."

Lieberg instantly started up, threw on his brocaded dressing-gown, and
opened the door. The man, who was standing there, pointed to the
sitting-room, which was on the opposite side of the passage, and his
master instantly crossed over and entered the room.

Certainly never on earth did a more disconsolate object present
itself to the eyes of man, than that which was offered to Lieberg's
sight by the unfortunate William Barham. He was seated on a chair by
the fire--which had just been relighted and had not well burnt
up--without a coat or waistcoat; his long, silky, light hair drenched
with water, and hanging upon his cheeks and neck; his countenance,
previously pallid with licentiousness and habits of vice, now ten
times paler than ever, and purplish at the extremes, with the cold and
terror he had undergone; his eyes languid, his teeth chattering, and
his whole limbs trembling, while a bad cut upon his forehead, received
in getting into one of the boats, made him look still more miserable,
and a stain or two of blood oozing through the breast of his shirt,
shewed that he must have received some other blow upon the chest.

Lieberg was truly moved by what he saw, and exerted himself
energetically to comfort and assist the unhappy young man. "Get a bed
ready, and have it warmed, immediately!" he exclaimed, addressing a
drowsy chambermaid, who was trying, by various pokes and thumps, to
irritate the cold-hearted coals, in the grate, into some degree of
warmth. "You, Martini, bring him some Madeira as quick as possible,
while I get him some dry clothes."

The girl proceeded as slowly as possible, according to the usual
custom of such personages; but Martini sprang rapidly to obey his
master's orders, and Lieberg himself soon procured all that was
necessary for arraying the unfortunate youth in dry clothing, and
bringing some degree of warmth back into his chilled and exhausted
frame. A surgeon also was sent for, and, as soon as possible, William
Barham was placed in a warm bed, and received such treatment as the
man of art thought necessary in the existing circumstances.

While this was taking place he said very little himself, only
answering in a monosyllable; and Lieberg asked but few questions for
the time. All that he thus learnt was, that the vessel had got well
out of the mouth of the Thames, and was making the best of her way
towards her destination, notwithstanding the Captain's previous
intimation that he would touch at Deal, when the change of wind had
forced him to try for an anchorage in the Downs, and, by some
mismanagement towards nightfall, the ship, instead of getting into a
place of security, had been driven upon the Goodwins, and become a
complete wreck. Though the gallant boatmen of Deal had done all in
their power, it had proved utterly impossible to save any one from the
wreck before daybreak. But then, with great difficulty, and at the
imminent risk of their own lives, the hovellers, as they are called,
had contrived to bring off the whole of the crew, except one or two,
who had been swept from the wreck during the night. Further
particulars were obtained by Lieberg in the course of the day; and
with the spirit of liberality which he always shewed, he contributed
largely to assist the unfortunate persons who had lost the whole of
their stores in the ship, and also to reward the brave fellows who had
saved their lives.

Lieberg thus occupied himself during the day, and at night returned to
the inn, where his servant met him at the foot of the little stairs,
and communicated to him two pieces of intelligence, the latter of
which seemed to affect him the most.

"He is up, sir," said the man in a low tone; "and in the sitting-room;
and he has received a letter from the post-office, addressed to
William Barham, Esq., in the ship Mary Anne.'"

"In what sort of hand?" demanded Lieberg, eagerly. "Did you see the
post-mark?"

"The hand was a very good one, sir," replied the valet. "The post-mark
was Doncaster."

Lieberg started, and turned red. "Morley Ernstein's post-town!" he
exclaimed. "But nonsense!" he continued, after pausing for a moment,
"he is still lingering on in London. The thing cannot be. He must have
got somebody to receive her in the neighbourhood;" and with some
doubts still upon his mind, he mounted the staircase and entered the
room, where William Barham was seated over the fire, though by this
time the weather had become sultry to the feelings of every one else.

"How hot the room is!" exclaimed Lieberg, as he entered. "Tell the
people to serve dinner as soon as possible.--Well, William, how do you
feel now?"

"Very much bruised, and very cold," replied the youth, sullenly. "I
hear you have had a letter from your sister," said Lieberg, in a
quiet, easy tone. "Pray where is she now?"

The man Martini was in the room; and it is probable that Lieberg
calculated upon the youth giving him an answer at once. But
William Barham still sat over the fire, without looking up, and
replied--"We'll talk about that by-and-by."

"Leave the room, Martini," said Lieberg, adding, as soon as he was
obeyed--"Well, William, now, where is your sister?"

The youth rose up from before the fire, and stood opposite to Lieberg,
pale, ghastly, and haggard, replying, boldly--"I do not mean to say I
do not know where my sister is, for I do, and I know too that you have
got me in your power; but before I tell you any more, or help you any
farther, I will have you promise me to settle something upon her, so
that she may never want."

Lieberg gazed at him for a moment, with a dark, considering look, not
unmixed with contempt, and he then replied--"Make your mind easy, she
shall never want. Now answer my question, and quickly, for I do not
love being trifled with."

The worm he trod upon turned against him, and the youth replied--"I
shall not tell you anything more, or help you any farther, unless you
give me some better assurance than that. I'll tell you what, Count;
last night in the storm, when I was clinging to the wreck, I thought I
heard Helen's voice in the wind, and this morning I have been thinking
of her ever since I woke; and I have made up my mind sooner to die
than to do anything farther, unless you will give me something, under
your hand, which will ensure that she shall never be walking about the
streets in misery, as I have seen some poor girls do."

Lieberg frowned upon him darkly, with feelings that it may be best to
explain. We can only do so in part, it is true, for there was one dark
side of his character upon which we cannot throw light. Such
explanation, however, as we can give, we will. There had been
something in the beauty of Helen Barham--ay, in her innocence and
somewhat wild simplicity--which had struck and captivated him much.
Her talents, too, and tastes, were of a kind to attract him; and
though he had beheld her but once, he had seen quite sufficient to
show him that she was exactly the being for whom he had been long
seeking, to be his companion, his paramour, the object of passion, the
amusement of idle hours; to be sported with, conversed with, to be
lapped in luxury, spoiled, petted, and perhaps loved, but to be
dependent entirely upon his will--the slave of the Eastern harem, not
the wife of a civilized land.

He saw all this in a moment, and had determined to obtain her: yet
perhaps he might have been diverted from the pursuit by any small and
ordinary obstacle, which did not pique his vanity or excite his
passions. The difficulties he had met with, however, had been the work
of human beings; he had been thwarted and opposed by those who seemed
inferior to himself; and every stumbling-block that he met with, every
barrier in his way, made him but the more resolute to overleap them
all, and to pursue his course with a degree of vehemence and passion,
which mere love for Helen Barham could not have excited in the short
space of time that he had known her.

Determined to win her, and thinking that no sacrifice would be too
much for that object, he would not have hesitated, in the least, to
make any provision for her that was in his power, had it not been
dictated to him; but that her brother, who was bound hand and foot
before him, chained to his will, as a sinner to the power of
Satan--that he should turn and make conditions, excited the evil
spirit that reigned in him to the very highest pitch, and made him
reply, after gazing upon the youth darkly for a moment--"Very
well.--you would sooner die, would you? That is easy. I had better
send for a constable;" and he put his hand towards the bell, adding,
as he did so--"You make your own choice, young man; but do not let any
wild notions of romance enter into your head, and make you believe
that you can frustrate me. You will only be hanged yourself, and make
no change in your sister's fate, for I know that she is in the
neighbourhood of Doncaster as well as you do. So now I shall give you
into charge at once; then go down to see her, and return in time to
bear testimony to your merits at the trial:" and he rang the bell.

The youth's resolution failed him; he gasped, as if he were half
strangled, exclaiming--"For God's sake--for God's sake, spare me!" and
thrust into Lieberg's hand--even as the landlord entered the room--the
letter which he had received from Helen Barham.

Lieberg's lip curled, and grasping the letter tight, he turned round
to the landlord, saying--"Is not the dinner ready? I ordered it at six
precisely! What wine can you give me?" and he entered, in the calmest
tone possible, into a discussion upon things to be eaten and drunk,
which would not edify the reader to hear.

After he had done, and the landlord was dismissed, Lieberg walked with
the letter to the window, read it attentively, took a note of one or
two things on some tablets, and then returned it to William Barham.

"Mark one thing, my good young man," he said, "and recollect it well
in your future dealings with me--I am not a man to be dictated to.
Nothing was ever obtained from me by threat or opposition yet. What
you required for your sister just now, and I would not grant, because
you asked it in a high tone, I will now consent to, since you have
yielded obedience, and will give you a promise under my hand of that
which will always put your sister above need. Where is the paper I
gave you when we were in London? I will add it to that."

The boy shook his head sadly, saying--"It is lost, with everything
else that I had, in that ship. You must write it on another piece of
paper."

"That I will do at once," said Lieberg, drawing a writing-desk to him.
"Do not be cast down, my good youth, at your losses, I will soon
repair them amply if we succeed. But come, here is the dinner, and you
want some refreshment. I will write it afterwards. Sit down; what will
you take--some soup, or some fish?"

The youth sat down to table with him, and Lieberg treated him with
kindness. But the reader learned in the human heart need not be told,
that William Barham hated him as much for his after-condescension as
he did for his previous tyranny.

Lieberg kept his word. After dinner he wrote a promise, which was
quite as satisfactory to William Barham as such a promise could be: he
provided him also with all that was necessary for his comfort, while
weakness obliged him to remain in Deal, and gave him money to journey
to London as soon as he had taken some repose, charging him strictly,
however, to go to the house he had formerly inhabited, and keep
himself out of sight of Sir Morley Ernstein. Lieberg himself set off
early in the following morning for London, proposing to go down at
once to Doncaster, in pursuit of Helen, but hoping to return
successful ere many days were over.

Not wishing his proceedings to be particularly remarked, and fearing
that he might meet some one in the coach who knew him, Lieberg had
come down to Deal in his own carriage, and in it he returned; but
scarcely was he gone, when William Barham demanded at what hour the
coaches started, and in less than half an hour after he also was on
his way to town, with feelings of hatred in his heart towards him who
had just left him, which were not without their fruit in due time.



CHAPTER XXIV.


Wend back with me, dear reader, into that distant part of the country
where this tale first began; not exactly, indeed, to the same scene,
but to a spot about three or four miles from Morley Court, which you
have already heard of, under the name of Yelverly. The aspect of that
place, and of the whole country round it, was so peculiar, that I
should have wished to pause, and give some description of the house
and grounds, even if I had not been impelled to do so by the necessity
of the case. But there are things to come, which may render it
requisite that the reader's eye should be able to call up, like a
magistrate, each individual part of the scene before it, and examine
it strictly as a witness in regard to the events that are taking
place. Oh, those silent witnesses!--those trees, those shrubs, those
fields! those dark panels of the old oak chamber! those carved figures
and antique busts of ancient heroes!--oh, those silent witnesses in
every old domain! Could we but endow them with a voice, what tales
might they tell of merry or sad scenes in the long past; of secret
sins, and horrible treacheries; of human absurdity, folly, and vice;
of crime, of agony, and of despair! How might they, with their quaint
old legends, make the lips laugh, the bosom heave, and the eyes
overflow!

The house of Yelverly was a curious old stone structure, of firm and
solid masonry, on which few repairs had taken place, for few had been
necessary, but which had been subjected to several alterations, as was
evinced by apertures blocked up here and there, and by the lines of
different coloured stone-work, which indicated that the tops of the
windows, which were now square, had once displayed pointed, or Tudor
arches. What the building had originally been I do not know, probably
some dependence of a monastery or abbey, in the neighbourhood. It had
never been large, though it now formed a roomy and convenient house
for a small family. But, notwithstanding its antiquity, and the
picturesque taste of the architects of the age in which it was built,
it had not one single pretension to beauty of any kind; sort, or
description whatsoever. It was grey, and cold, and flat, with the
windows apparently scattered over the face of it by accident, each
having been put in, beyond all doubt, wherever it was found
convenient; here, to light one room--there, to light another; at one
point to clear up the obscurity of a staircase--at a second, to let
the sun shine into a passage.

As if to disfigure the front more completely, a penthouse had been
thrown out from one side, at the height or about ten feet from the
ground, covering an eighth part the building, and rendering the rooms
thus sheltered dull and sunless enough. The principal door would have
been as ugly as the rest of the house, had it not possessed an
old-fashioned stone porch, with a seat on either side, which, by no
means beautiful in itself, yet relieved the eye, in some degree, by
breaking the flatness of the building.

Before the house, extended a long grass court, up which no carriage
could drive, and which was separated from a cross road that run in
front, by a wall about three feet high, surmounted by a row of tall,
thin, iron railings. The ornaments of the court were ten magnificent
old yew trees, forming, as it were, a sort of avenue from the gate in
the iron railing, up to the door of the house, the trees being ranged
at equal distances on either side, and a small path, formed of
dumpling-like stones placed edgeways, running between them. On either
side the court was flanked by a tall brick wall, and the only entrance
for a carriage was down a narrow lane at the side, which led by some
gates into a large paved court behind. It is true that Mr. Carr,
having quarrelled with all the gentry in the neighbourhood, and not
being particularly beloved by the great farmers, who had an idea that
he was fond of fomenting disputes, was seldom troubled with the
approach of curricle, or carriage, or one-horse chaise. But still that
lane was necessary and useful to him, as he was himself a skilful and
experienced agriculturist, though so avaricious, as often to injure
himself by grudging a load of manure where it was really necessary.

The country round was of a very curious aspect. For more than a mile
on either side, it displayed chiefly fine old grass-land, separated
into fields of every size and shape by thick-set hedges, well kept,
but totally without trees. The scenery, though not at all mountainous,
or even hilly, might be called hillocky, for it was so undulating,
that if a field contained more than four acres, it was certain to have
in it both a hill and a valley; and through several of the latter ran
a clear trout-stream, giving great luxuriance to the grass, and
rendering it the finest pasture ground in the world. There was an air,
however, of bareness about the landscape, from the want of trees,
which accorded well with the bald antiquity of the old house, and on a
summer evening, when the sun was going down, and the slant beams
peered over the green uplands, one might sit in that stone porch, and
fancy oneself a yeoman of the olden time, so much did the ancient
aspect of the whole scene sink into the heart.

It was on such a summer evening, then, that Old Carr, the miser--as he
was called in the neighbourhood,--walked forth between those black
yews with fair Helen Barham. Nature, who loves contrasts, and who
places the bright red berries amidst the dark green leaves, might well
be satisfied with the opposition of those two: Helen, as she came
forward, the picture of youth and grace and wild simplicity; and
Robert Carr, with age, and heaviness, and slow computation in all his
steps and looks. I have already described his personal appearance, and
have only to add, in that respect, that he seemed to the eye much more
aged when on foot than on horseback, as is very often the case. His
hair was not white, indeed, but it was very thickly mingled with grey,
and though he was not fat, yet, as I have said, he was heavy. His step
was deliberate and weighty, and his face, which had certainly once
been handsome, was marked with many lines, which one might have taken
for the traces of strong passions, had it not been for the thoughtful,
calculating expression of the countenance, which seemed utterly at
variance with passion of any sort but one. The greed of gain was
written there in characters easily read, though it also was of its
particular kind. It was more the eagerness of the beast of prey, than
the spirit of petty accumulation; nor was it alone the rapacity of the
wolf, for the subtlety of the fox was there also.

The eyes were bent down upon the ground all the time he walked, but
the right eyebrow was raised up and down, as the feelings, called
forth by the conversation, produced any change upon his countenance,
and always, while he was listening, his upper lip was raised on the
opposite side, displaying a long, fang-like tooth, with much of the
look of a dog when one strives to take away a bone. He must have been
a tall man and powerfully formed, though now very much broken; and it
is said that he beat another attorney almost to death in the streets
of York, for having foiled him in an unjust suit. The other prosecuted
him, indeed, for an assault; but by some of the extraordinary
loopholes of the law, Robert Carr crept through the danger, and
escaped unpunished.

He did not give his arm to Helen Barham as they walked, but held a
thick staff in his right hand, with which he steadied his steps, and
strove to give himself the appearance of youthful firmness. He had
shewn to Helen Barham so much kindness and courtesy since her arrival,
however, that she would have been very willing to pass over the want
of any small attention, even had she perceived it, which certainly she
did not; and, walking on beside him, with her bonnet loosely thrown
on, her rich hair clustering round her beautiful face, a look of
thoughtful sadness in her dark bright eyes, and a somewhat listless
grace in all her movement, very different from the wild buoyancy of
her step before she knew Morley Ernstein, she listened to the old
lawyer's questions, and gave him true and simple answers, with little
or no reservation, for he did not touch upon any of those points where
she might have felt some difficulty in framing her reply.

"And so," said old Carr, "your brother is seventeen years of age."

"Nearly eighteen," replied Helen; "his birthday is in December."

"A cold month," said the lawyer--"mine is in October. And so you, left
him in London?"

"Yes," replied Helen, "but he was very speedily to sail for the West
Indies."

The old man started--"Sail for the West Indies!" he exclaimed. "Sail
for the West Indies! That is very unfortunate. What could make him
think of such a thing as that?--that is very unfortunate, indeed!"

"Perhaps not so much as you imagine," said Helen, colouring, and
determined to meet the point at once, with the general truth, lest she
should be cross-questioned in regard to the particulars. "My poor
brother had got into very bad society, I am sorry to say, and some
kind and generous friends have obtained for him a small post in one of
those colonies."

"He must come back--he must come back!" said the old lawyer. "I was
just going to bid you invite him down here. Do you think he is gone?
Are you sure he is sailed?"

"By this time he certainly is," replied Helen. "In your kind
daughter's letter, which I received two or three days ago, she
informed me of the day that he was to sail, and enclosed to me a
letter from himself, confirming the same tidings, and bidding me write
to him at Deal, as that would be the last opportunity of communicating
with him ere his departure. I wrote yesterday, accordingly."

"That is very unlucky," said the old man, "and now the post is gone
out. He must come back--he must come back!"

"Nay," answered, Helen, somewhat surprised, and, to say the truth,
thinking the old gentleman verging towards dotage. "It will be better
for him, I believe, to stay where he is. You know that he has no means
of gaining his bread in England, and there at least he has a
provision."

"I know--I know," said the lawyer, impatiently. "You are all poor--you
are all beggars--Juliet said so. But, I tell you, your brother must
come back--he is heir to a large property unjustly withheld from him,
and I will undertake to cause restitution. Why, I have got all the
papers myself! I did not know, till Juliet wrote, that your father had
any children; and your father himself was a fool, and would not let me
act for him; but would have suffered you both to live like beggars and
die on a dunghill, out of a mere idle whim. But your brother will be
wiser, and I will get back the estates for him, if he will give
me--give me ten thousand pounds."

Helen smiled, and in gayer days, she might have laughed, though many
things that the lawyer had said had made her shrink as if he had put
his hand upon a wound.

"Where is my brother to get ten thousand pounds, think you, Mr. Carr?"
she said. "We are, as you said, if not quite beggars, very nearly so,
and I think poor William would find it difficult to find ten thousand
pence."

"I mean--I mean," cried Mr. Carr, "he shall give me ten thousand
pounds when I have got the property for him. I will stand all the
expenses in the meanwhile. Ten thousand pounds shall cover all, and he
shall give me a bond to pay it when I have got back the property for
him. I will be like the quack doctors--'no cure, no pay,' my dear Miss
Barham. Ha, ha, ha!" and he laughed aloud. "Why the thing is as easy
as possible," he continued; "the name is William Henslow Barham in the
deed, and his name was John."

"John was my grandfather's name," said Helen--"that I know very well,
because I have his miniature set in gold, with the name at the back,
with the day of his birth, and his age when it was taken."

"To be sure--to be sure," said old Carr, "his name was John. It was
your great grandfather's name that was William, and the drunken clerk
made a mistake in copying the old deeds. He shall have it back, every
inch of it, and Warmstone Castle and all; and you, my dear young
lady--why you will be a fortune. There is an old settlement, I know,
providing for younger children. There will be plenty of back rents to
pay, enough to beggar him, the coxcomb! Ha, ha, ha!" and again the old
lawyer laughed at some merry subject in his own breast.

Helen, too, looked joyfully up, for the words of Mr. Carr awakened in
her bosom various memories of the past, and convinced her that,
whether he was right or wrong in the expectation of recovering a
fortune for her brother, there was not wanting a foundation for what
he said. She remembered, in her father's room, at the Rectory, an old
water-colour painting, dim with dust and age, but under which she had
often spelt, in early years, the words "Warmstone Castle, the seat of
John Henslow Barham, Esq;" and she remembered upon one occasion
hearing her father and a neighbouring clergyman commenting upon the
drawing, while she was standing near. Her father had then replied, in
answer to some question put by his friend, "How did we lose the
property? By the simplest process in the world. My father was a
prodigal, his son an honest man. That is the way that half the
properties in Europe are lost."

The words had made an impression at the time, and Helen recollected
them now, so that she gained, in some degree, a clue to the old
lawyer's thoughts; and her heart, it must be owned, rejoiced; not for
her own sake, poor girl, but for the sake of her brother. Her fancy
was a lively one, and in an instant it presented to her mind's eye
that unhappy young man, freed from all the troubles and difficulties
in which he had placed himself, and--like him wit was afterwards the
victor of Azincourt--shaking from him the vices of his youth when
placed in a loftier station.

I do not mean to say, that Helen thought not at all of herself; but
she thought of herself only for a moment, and then shrunk away from
the ideas that imagination conjured up. She could not but feel that it
would be a joy and satisfaction--perhaps I might call it, more
properly, a consolation, placed as they were at that moment--to meet
Morley Ernstein, even for a brief space, as his equal in worldly
gifts; and yet there was a voice whispered at the bottom of her heart,
that there could never be anything like pride in her bosom towards
him. Oh, could he but have loved her, how willingly would she have
been the creature of his bounty--dependent upon him for everything on
earth! From his hand she could have received all, and enjoyed all that
she did receive, because it was he that gave it!

She would not pause upon such things--she dared not; and though she
mused for several minutes over the various pictures called up, she
soon returned to a consciousness of the questions which Mr. Carr was
asking her, and to which for a time, she had returned but irrelevant
answers. She promised immediately to write to her brother urging him
to return; or, at least, to tell him the facts, and let him return if
he thought fit; and the conversation soon led to her own recollections
of former times, in regard to which Mr. Carr cross-examined her as if
she had been a witness at the Old Bailey.

There was something, however, Mr. Carr suffered to appear, which
surprised and puzzled Helen in some degree. His words led her to
imagine that her father had known fully that a fortune of considerable
amount was due to himself and his children, but that on some account
he had refused, or neglected to claim it. Helen enquired why, and more
than once during their walk pressed Mr. Carr upon the subject. That
gentleman would give her no distinct information, however, sometimes
saying that it was a whim, sometimes saying that it was laziness; but,
in truth, Mr. Carr did not choose to tell Helen that it was a
conscientious scruple which had prevented Mr. Barham from pursuing the
course pointed out by his legal adviser. There was something in the
truth and simplicity of that sweet girl's heart which was formidable
to knavery; and Mr. Carr at once understood that there would be
difficulties with her which might not exist in the case of her
brother, and he therefore avoided the question altogether.

They strolled on slowly till it was nearly dusk and then returned
towards the house, still conversing on the same subject, when, as they
approached the front gate, walking over the crown of one of the little
hilly fields in the neighbourhood, Mr. Carr's eyes were astonished and
dazzled by the sight of a very handsome carriage standing opposite the
iron railings, with two post-horses, hot and panting with a long
stage.

"Who can that be?" said the old lawyer. "Thank God, I have not seen
fools in gilded carriages for a long time! It must be either for you,
Miss Barham, or there must be some mistake."

"Perhaps it is Morley Ernstein!" thought Helen Barham; but she did not
speak it, for that was a name which deep feelings in her own bosom had
prevented her from uttering once to the cold ear of Mr. Carr; and now,
the very thought of Morley, probably, being there, made her heart
flutter violently.

There was a servant out of livery standing at the carriage door, but
no one was in the inside of the vehicle, and the iron gate was open.
In the porch of the house, too, through the avenues of yews, could be
seen one of Mr. Carr's maid-servants, as if looking out for his
return; and, as soon as they were within hearing, the girl exclaimed,
in a jargon, which I shall not attempt to transpose to these
pages--"There's a gentleman, sir, in the drawing-room, waiting to
speak with Miss Barham upon business."

"Business!--Let me go in with you, Miss Barham," said the old lawyer;
"perhaps my advice may be of use."

And as Helen saw no reasonable objection to be offered, she did not
object, though she would rather have gone in alone. Her heart
throbbed, and her knees somewhat trembled, but nobody could have
perceived her agitation in the easy, graceful step in which she
advanced towards the door of the drawing-room.

When she entered, however, all agitation ceased, though not surprise,
for the person who came forward to meet her, with calm and tranquil
aspect, was no other than Colonel Lieberg, who had been standing near
the table, with his hat in his hand, waiting for her arrival, and
affecting to look over an old illustrated copy of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's
Progress," which the lawyer, from some unaccountable motive, would
always have in a conspicuous part of the drawing-room.

"My dear Miss Barham," said Lieberg, taking her hand, with a smile,
which certainly was as bright and engaging as any that ever crossed a
mortal lip--"I dare say you are surprised to see me here; but, having
obtained your address from your friends in London, I came hither with
all speed from Doncaster, where I had some business to transact,
knowing that you must be very anxious about your brother."

Helen glanced her eye to Mr. Carr, who was now entering the room, and
lest Lieberg should suffer the secret of her brother's conduct to
escape, she introduced the Count to her host, saying, "Colonel
Lieberg--Mr. Carr;" and then immediately added, "I heard from my
brother, sir, the other day. He wrote me a letter which quite relieved
my apprehensions regarding him. I am very much obliged to you, indeed,
however, for the kind trouble that you have taken. Pray sit down."

While she had been speaking, Lieberg with cool effrontery had measured
Mr. Carr from head to foot with his eye, and returned his bow with a
cold and stately inclination of the head. He turned to Helen, however,
as soon as he had done so, saying--"I imagine from your words that my
visit has been more useful than I expected, dear Miss Barham, for I
have outrun bad news that might have alarmed you."

Helen turned somewhat pale; for the idea of her brother having
committed some fresh crime or folly was the first that imagination
presented. Lieberg, however, who marked each variation of her cheek,
hastened to relieve her.

"Do not be frightened," he said, "the danger is all past now. Your
brother is well, and in safety; I left him at Deal, two days ago, but
he was soon to follow me to London. The vessel he was in was wrecked
upon the Goodwin Sands."

Helen clasped her fair hands together, and looked up to heaven, in
Lieberg's eyes more beautiful than any object that he had ever beheld
on earth. Had he dared, he would have thrown his arm round her,
carried her, willingly or unwillingly, to the carriage at the gate,
and bade the postilion drive anywhere on earth, so that he might
secure possession of her. Such were the feelings which had grown up in
his heart under the influence of opposition and disappointment; but,
as is too usual, his demeanour was the most opposite that it is
possible to imagine.

"Come, my dear young lady, sit down," he continued, "and do not let
this matter agitate you. Poor William certainly has had a very narrow
escape, and remained all night upon the wreck with the sea washing
over him; but he was much better when I left him, though somewhat
bruised and chilled."

"Poor boy!" exclaimed Helen. "Oh! how I wish I could be with him!"

"That is what I was about to propose," said Lieberg, in a quiet, easy
manner. "I think it would be better for you to be with him, for he
really needs some nursing, and a sister's care and tenderness may make
the difference of life and death to him."

"Good God!" cried Helen--"what shall I do? There is no one to take
care of him there!--The very maid I have taken with me--"

"Nay," answered Lieberg, "do not suppose that I would leave him
without aid, Miss Barham, if not on his own, on your account. I would
not act such a part, believe me. I left him attended by a skilful
surgeon, with plenty of money and every convenience; and in London I
gave directions to my own servants to watch for his arrival in town,
and treat him as if he were my own brother. You think me very
hard-hearted and unkind, I see."

"Oh, no, no!" exclaimed Helen, clasping her hands again: "God in
heaven will bless you! I will pray to him to bless you for your
kindness and humanity to that poor boy."

A dark shade came over Lieberg's countenance, as it had done once
before when Helen had used nearly similar expressions; but some words
she added immediately afterwards, changed his feelings, whatever they
were, making him believe himself on the point of succeeding to a
greater extent than he had even dared to hope would be the case so
speedily.

"What shall I do?" exclaimed Helen. "I wonder what I ought to do?"

Lieberg paused for a moment, not to seem too eager, and then
replied--"I cannot think that you will hesitate, dear Miss Barham.
Your brother wants much tendance and care, and--"

"Go, my dear young lady--go!" said Mr. Carr, much to Lieberg's
surprise, at finding so unexpected an ally. "His life is infinitely
valuable just now; and as you ought not to travel alone, I think I
will go with you. We will have post-chaise over to Doncaster
to-morrow, and then take the coach to London."

Lieberg's countenance fell, and his expectations likewise. He laid a
strong curse upon the old man in his own mind, and still more so, when
Mr. Carr, with the sarcastic bitterness he sometimes displayed,
added--"Colonel Lieberg would doubtless have much pleasure in
escorting you but I think my plan is the most proper one."

Lieberg was instantly upon his guard, and he replied--"Most certainly,
my dear sir; and though I should have been very happy to escort Miss
Barham, yet I could scarcely have done so to-morrow, as I have
business of importance to transact at Doncaster. There is one little
matter I have to settle with you also, Mr. Carr," he continued; "you
are, I think, the proprietor of the manors of Yelverly and Maxtown,
and wish to let the sporting for the next year?"

Mr. Carr's face assumed quite a different aspect; he smiled graciously
upon Lieberg, and replied that such was certainly the case. He had
long given up shooting himself, he said--his family required very
little game; it annoyed him to deal with poachers continually; and
therefore he always liked to let his manors when possible; that the
two years' lease of them had lately fallen in, and the gentleman who
had before taken them, being but a poor, second-rate sort of man, had
not been able to keep them on. There could not be better manors in
Europe, he continued. There were the finest covers it was possible to
see; the best partridge-ground in Europe; trout-streams, where the
fish jostled each other in the river; and moors, the higher parts of
which were actually swarming with grouse and black game.

Lieberg appeared charmed with the account, regretted that it was too
late to take a canter over the ground that afternoon, but added, that
he would return the next morning to see them, that he might know how
the ground lay. He imagined, he said, that he could not find an inn
without either returning to Doncaster or going on to Bingley, and he
should prefer the latter, as it was much nearer, and there were also
two manors there which he had heard of, and which he could see early
in the morning, before he returned.

Now, Lieberg had taken care to get plenty of good information at
Doncaster, and knew perfectly well that, in a sporting point of view,
the manors at Bingley were infinitely preferable to those of Mr. Carr.
Mr. Carr was very well aware of the same fact, and, bent upon taking
in Lieberg to hire the sporting of his manors, instead of the better
ones a little further on, he was himself taken in to ask Lieberg to
stay the night, which was all that his visitor wanted. It may seem
that he employed a complicated man[oe]uvre to obtain that end, but in
truth it was a very simple one, with a man who knew the facts, and saw
profoundly into the heart, as Lieberg did.

Mr. Carr assured him that, after the manors of Yelverly and Maxtown,
the two manors at Bingley were not worth his seeing. He took down the
county map, and demonstrated to him that the estates could not be
compared for a moment, with as much ease as any other falsehood can be
demonstrated when there is nobody to contradict it. If Coronel Lieberg
would do him the honour of taking a bed at Yelverly, they could very
easily ride over the manors in the morning, before it was necessary
for himself and Miss Barham to set off for Doncaster. The coach from
York was late ere it passed, he said, and they had plenty of time
before them.

Lieberg, on his part, affected to be afraid of putting Mr. Carr to
inconvenience--there was his servant, too; he really thought he had
better go on to Bingley for the night. But Mr. Carr was determined
that such should not be the case--a bed could be found for the
servant, too. His calculation was, that the whole expenses of
Lieberg's stay, even if his servant had beer and meat for supper, and
the Count himself took a glass of wine before he went to bed, could
not amount to four shillings, while, if he missed the opportunity of
letting his shooting for two years, it might be a couple of hundreds
of pounds out of his pocket, besides all the expenses of gamekeepers,
lookers, etc. The matter, then, was at length arranged, the
post-horses sent away, Lieberg's carriage placed in the yard, and his
valet, with his goods and chattels, brought into the house.

The Count very soon suffered to appear, without saying so directly,
how much he proposed to give for the shooting he desired, and from
that moment Mr. Carr's civilities knew no bounds. Tea was sent for,
and Helen Barham presided over the "odoriferous infusion," as some
gentleman, prodigal of fine words, has called it; while Lieberg,
seating himself by her side, put forth all his powers of fascination,
which, as we have before informed the reader, were anything but small.
He had a peculiar habit of fixing his large dark eyes, with all their
deep, intense light, upon the persons to whom he spoke, not with what
is termed a stare, or anything that could be looked upon as rude or
annoying; but with a sort of thoughtful interest, as if that glance
established a communication between his soul and theirs, making
thought answer to thought, before any words were spoken. There was
something overpowering in it, especially when he used all his
exertions to please, as he did this night; and, in truth, as he sat
there, gazing on the lovely face of Helen Barham, it might well put
one in mind of the serpent fascinating the bright birds of the warm
climates of the south, by the lustre of his dangerous eyes.

In this case, however, the bird had a talisman which set such magic at
defiance; and, though there was in his whole conversation and
demeanour, that mingling of sportiveness and depth; that appearance of
pride bent down to please, of confident reliance on innate powers of
mind, yet deference to the opinions of the being spoken to; that light
and sparkling brilliancy, which seems merely the sport of strength;
that combination of all things, in short, which are engaging--except
the heart--though the manifold expressions that he brought over his
fine and striking countenance rendered the beauty thereof more marked
and attractive; though every movement was full of grace and
gentlemanly suavity--though all those small cares and little
attentions, which win so much upon the heart of woman, seemed as
familiar to him as any of the daily acts of life, yet upon Helen
Barham the whole had no more effect than to make a few hours pass
pleasantly, and occupy her somewhat sad and wandering thoughts.
Reader, she was in love with another!

What was the effect upon Lieberg himself? His arts recoiled and
wounded him; her beauty, her grace, her talents, her enthusiasms, all
struck and captivated him more than he had ever been with any other
mortal being; but, strange as it may seem, her indifference attracted
him more than all. He saw it--he could not help seeing it. There was
something to conquer, and he resolved to conquer it. But how?--that
was the question. It mattered not! Lieberg was one who had few
scruples of any kind. "Once she be mine," he thought, "I will soon
teach her to love me. First let me overcome her, and the rest will be
easy enough."

I have said that Lieberg's presence and conversation made the hours
pass pleasantly to Helen Barham. It cannot be denied that such was the
case, and that she certainly thought him one of the most gentlemanly
and agreeable men she had ever met with, though nothing more. She grew
much more cheerful, however, under this influence, and was prevailed
upon, ere the evening came to an end, to sit down to Juliet's piano,
and sing one of those songs for which her full rich voice was
peculiarly adapted. It was at Mr. Carr's request that she did so, and
he named a song that he had heard his daughter sing.

Helen had sung it many a time before; and she sat down without
dreaming that either the words or the music would touch her in the
least; but the changes that are within us affect the influence of all
external things upon ourselves, fully as much as the changes of
external things affect our feelings. Since last she had sung that
song, there was a new spirit in the breast of Helen Barham, and a new
sensation--love and hopelessness. In the stormiest hours of former
days she had not given way to despair; though the spot on which she
stood was ever so dark, there had been bright hopes lighting the
future. But now, the cloud hung above the coming days--dark,
impenetrable, gloomy; and if we could make a distinction between
hopelessness and despair, we might say that the former was her state,
rather than the latter. Thus it was she herself was changed, and yet
the song seemed entirely altered to her. It spoke to her heart; it
seemed to thrill through her bosom; it was like the voice of her own
sorrows poured forth whether she would or not; and the very feeling
with which she sang, the expression she gave to each note, acted upon
herself even more than upon those that heard her, and made the tears
rise in her eyes, and well nigh overflow when she had done.

The song had a great effect upon Lieberg, too; it made him sad, though
it excited him; it seemed like the voice of an angel singing to a
fallen spirit, mourning over his degradation and loss, and drawing
from his heart tears of regret, though not of repentance--the glow of
shame, though not of contrition. For, as the inspired writer
says--"There is a shame that bringeth sin; and there is a shame which
is glory and grace." There were moments with him, as with all others
like him, when he felt the bitterness of wrong, but without even a
dream of turning unto right; and one of the times at which that
feeling was most strong upon him was when he heard plaintive
music--not the music of the opera, of the concert, or the oratorio,
for those are places in which it is easy to cast aside one's heart,
and become the mere connoisseur, but the song sung in private, the
piece of music played by a delicate hand, and breathing softly to the
ear, like the low, still voice of conscience, or like the tongue of
memory, speaking to us of early days--of innocence--and of peace.

Such was the case now; and when Helen had done, when she had turned
away till the drops had disappeared from her eyelids, and looked round
again, she saw Lieberg sitting with his head bent thoughtfully
forward, his eyes fixed sadly upon the ground, and his whole attitude
and look displaying deep and sad abstraction. Had Helen's affections
been free, that would have been the moment in which Lieberg would have
made more impression upon her than at any other, for the widest door
of woman's heart is pity, and he seemed sorrowful.

The effect soon passed away with the whole party, and not long after,
Mr. Carr left the room for a moment, to see for some supper, as he
expressed it. Strange to say, Lieberg was agitated; he, the calm, the
composed, the immovable, felt shaken in a way that he had never known
in all his earthly course before; and angry at himself for what he
called such weakness, he at length drew a little nearer to Helen's
side--who, as if placed in stronger opposition than ever to him, was
not in the least degree agitated or embarrassed and said--"Dear Miss
Barham, I wish very much to obtain a few minutes' private conversation
with you."

Helen looked a little surprised, but answered with a degree of
calmness that provoked him--"Certainly!--I suppose about my brother,
of course--I hope there is nothing worse concerning him to be told me,
Count Lieberg!"

Lieberg resolved to keep her imagination at work, and he
replied--"Nothing worse exactly, but still something of much
importance."

"Can you not tell me now?" she asked, eagerly; but ere he could reply,
Mr. Carr returned, and did not quit the room again, till Helen Barham
rose and proposed to retire to rest.

Lieberg and M. Carr sat for about a quarter of an hour after she was
gone, and the Count then was shewn to his room, which he found a very
comfortable one; while the display of all his dressing apparatus had
given it even an air of splendour, notwithstanding the dimity
curtains, and the plain Kidderminster carpet. The valet, Martini, was
still busy, arranging everything in the place, when Lieberg entered,
and the Count having made him take out some writing materials, sat
down, and wrote--

"Dear Miss Barham--Will you kindly write underneath, merely in pencil,
at what time to-morrow I can have a few minutes' conversation with you
alone, upon the subject that we mentioned?"

"There, take that!" he said, folding up the paper, "and find out Miss
Barham's maid directly; bid her give it to her mistress, and let me
have an answer."

The valet took the note, and disappeared. Helen's toilette for the
night was well nigh done, and she was on the point of seeking her bed,
when she received it; and, guileless and innocent herself, without a
thought of evil, she wrote underneath the lines sent by Lieberg, in
pencil, "Whenever you like.--Helen Barham."

When the note was brought back, Lieberg gazed at it with a keen,
triumphant look, though his cheek was pale with intense feeling.

"Do you know which is Miss Barham's room?" he said, addressing the
valet.

"The one at the end of the corridor, sir," said the man; "that on the
right; the opposite door leads to a store-room, I find."

"And where do you sleep yourself, Martini?" said Lieberg.

"I sleep just above Miss Barham's room, sir," replied the man.

"Get a horse early to-morrow," said Lieberg; "go over to the
post-office at Doncaster, and let me have my letters before eleven."

The man bowed, and very little further conversation took place, while
Lieberg undressed, and retired to bed. His last words were, "Leave the
light burning."

As soon as the man was gone, Lieberg rose from his bed again,
carefully cut the sheet of note-paper on which he had written to Helen
in two, separating the part containing his enquiry from Helen's reply,
burnt the former part, and then gazed steadfastly upon the other,
repeating--"Whenever I like! whenever I like!--I like this very
night!--This shall justify me;" and putting the paper into his desk,
he extinguished the light, and retired to bed again, but not to sleep.



CHAPTER XXV.


For a short space we must not only leave sweet Helen Barham in the
house of Yelverly, but Lieberg, with all machinations in his head, and
turn to schemes of a different kind, and at a different spot. It was
in the back room of a low public house that, on the very day which
witnessed Lieberg's arrival in London from the town of Deal, there sat
together four as powerful and determined-looking fellows as ever
perhaps met, with a view of consulting upon the grand purpose of
cutting a purse, or proving that there are other people, as well as
the little god of love, who can laugh at locksmiths. In the chair--for
it will always be found, in civil and political matters alike, that
the meetings which assemble for the purpose of setting all laws and
regulations at defiance, must have their laws and regulations
likewise--in the chair of this gallant and respectable assembly, was
placed that worthy gentleman, Harry Martin, whom we have had the
honour of bringing before our readers on more than one occasion. On
his right was a gentleman who was delivering himself with a great deal
more eloquence than is usually met with, either on the hustings or the
Commons House of Parliament--though, like the oratory of those places,
his had its peculiar characteristics, which suited it to the auditory
who were to hear it--he was delivering himself, I say, of a speech, to
which I can only do partial justice, both from a want of a thorough
knowledge of the copious tongue in which it was composed; and also
from lack of space to give all the figures of rhetoric, the tropes,
the metaphors, the similes, with which it was ornamented. The tendency
of the speech, however, was to incite his hearers to undertake a great
enterprise; and an expedition against Carthage, or a war against
Philip, was never debated with more vehemence and animation.

"I'll tell you what, Simes," he said--"you think that Martin and I do
this out of regard to Bill Barham; but I tell you it is no such thing.
I do it only because I think that such good luck does not fall in a
man's way every day. Did you ever see a blackbird, on a sunshiny
morning, sitting upon a bough, and singing as quietly as I might do at
the club? Well, if he sees a great fat worm wriggle out his head, down
he pounces upon him, and never ceases pulling till he has got him all
out of his hole. Well, I am the blackbird, and this Old Miser Carr is
the worm. I have sat cherupping here in London for a long while, till
I got scent of this old fellow, and now I'll pounce upon him just like
a sparrow-hawk upon a ground-lark. We will get help enough, if you
don't like to go; it's not every man that has the same liberality of
feeling as you think you have, to refuse his share of four or five
thousand pound, just for a little bit of a smash that can be done in a
minute, and we can be all over to Sheffield again, and then to London,
before any one knows that we have been in the place at all. If the
thing were to be done near town, I would not press it upon you,
gentlemen, for there's all the risk in the world of being trapped, if
we do such things too near home. But down there it's easy to do, and
not easy to discover; and when four or five thousand pound is to be
got, it's worth the touch of a crow-bar, or ten minutes' work with the
centrebit."

"Ay, but there's the job!" cried the man he called Simes; "I want to
be made sure that the thing's worth the journey. I can pick up a nice
little living here in London, without going down into Yorkshire, and
perhaps getting myself hanged into the bargain; so let me be sure, I
say, that there is this tin, or I shall say, I would rather be
excused. I am not fond of eating an empty pudding, and do not
particularly like the cordwainer's company. I don't choose to be made
a freeman of it, and wear the riband upon the jugular; not that I am
afraid, when there's anything really to be done, but I should like to
know more about the money first."

"Why, as for that, Mr. Simes," observed a stout man, with a hawk's
nose, on his right hand; "you see I knew the country well enough, not
long ago, when I used to do a little with the thimbles, at Doncaster.
You may recollect that we, one time, had an engagement with the other
gentlemen of the course; but they were too much for us, and drove us
off with the butt ends of their horsewhips, and then we scattered
about the country. Well, I had a gossip with one of the maids there,
and sold her some real French muslin, which I picked up at York, and I
asked her all about her master, Old Carr; the miser, as they called
him in those parts, and she said he was prodigious rich, and never had
less than two or three thousand pounds in the house, besides lots of
plate."

"You hear, Simes," said Harry Martin; "so you see, whatever you may
think, we don't stand only upon what Bill Barham says, because Bill
does not know whether the man's rich or poor, and only knows that he's
called Carr, the miser. However, you shan't want for full information;
Bill has promised to bring some one with him here to-night who knows
the whole place, and the people round about, for he was the Squire's
groom at Bingley, which is close by. His name's Andrews, and he's now
in another way of business, as a horse-dealer--and has done a clever
thing or two."

"Oh, yes," replied Simes, "I know him very well--a pleasant gentleman
he is. He sold old Major Groundsell the same horse three times over;
first, as a black horse, with not a spot of white about him; then with
the two fore feet white; and then he shaved him, docked him, and made
another creature of him; but the Major could never ride him first nor
last."

"No, nor anybody else," said another of the men present, "for he was a
plunger, a bolter, and a rearer, and when he couldn't get you off he
went over with you."

"A pleasant chap to be on the outside of," said Harry; "but let us
have some more lap. Mr. Simes, may I trouble you to ring the bell. Oh,
here comes Bill, and Mr. Andrews too! Mr. Andrews, good evening to
you--I hope you're well, sir."

Various civilities now took place between the whole party, for the
meeting was evidently a formal one, and gentlemen of that class are
generally much more ceremonious on such occasions than people who
consider themselves better bred. Fresh supplies of drink were brought,
and as soon as the room was again clear, the subject matter of the
debate was once more brought forward, and the account given by Mr.
Tony Andrews was so conclusive, that even the cautious soul of Mr.
Simes was fired with generous ardour, and it was determined, nem.
con., that the thing should be undertaken. As soon as this was
settled, William Barham--who occupied a seat by the side of
Harry Martin, but a little behind the general line, not being one of
the active participators in the enterprise--whispered a word or two in
his friend's ear, who immediately pronounced a new oration upon the
occasion. The tendency of the harangue was to shew the absolute
necessity that there existed of setting about the thing at once; but
in this, Martin met with no opposition whatsoever, for every man
present was a veteran in his profession, and knew well that in great
undertakings promptness of execution is only secondary to maturity of
deliberation.

"I'm ready this minute," said Simes--"I only want to go home to get a
tool or two."

"And I think there's no time to be lost either," said the man with the
hook nose. "But," continued he, turning his left eye downward, and
looking with that orb alone into the bottom of his glass with an air
of deliberate wisdom--"but how are we to go? If we four get upon the
mail together, the guard will be in such a fuss about his bags, that
he'll blow who we are, all the way down. Then, I think, Harry, you
talked of your mare and the gig; but your mare can't run half the way,
and the gig wont hold four, though I've seen you put three into it,
and bad enough it looked."

"Oh, I'll lend you a phaeton for one horse," cried Mr. Andrews--"and
if Mr. Martin can make him run forty miles before this time to-morrow,
I'll give you a note to a friend of mine at ----, who will contrive to
horse you on. You see, gentlemen, I shall expect a trifle--not so
much, in course, as if I went out of town myself, but say a tenth, and
upon honour."

The claim was agreed to, upon the condition of the horses being all
ready and no mistakes made; and then the gentleman with the beak again
brought his peculiar eye to bear upon the lump of sugar at the bottom
of the tumbler, and remarked--"What I said myself, just now, gives me
a good hint. Suppose we were to get Jerry Knowles and Sam Harrison
to----"

"Oh, that will never do," cried Mr. Andrews, who was a man that stood
upon his reputation, "those gentlemen have such a bad character that
we must not bring them into the business, for there's always somebody
looking out after them."

"That's the very reason," said the other. "You gentlemen from
Yorkshire are so quick, that you see gooseberries upon cherry trees.
These are the very men who ought to be employed for what I mean. The
worse, the better for my purpose. We put dung upon a field, to make it
bear, not ice cream. What I mean to say is, that everything is good in
its way, and these gentlemen, though they certainly have gained
themselves a reputation, may very well serve my purpose."

"Well, well! what is it?" exclaimed Harry Martin, impatiently, for he
loved long speeches in nobody's mouth but his own. "Speak out, and let
us hear!"

"It is," answered the hook-nosed man, "that they should be sent down
by coach to Doncaster, with a promise of a five-pound note each, if
the thing answers. They can go down by coach, you know, and be absent
for a day or two, and go back again, taking care to get into mischief,
and to have proof of where they were."

"Oh, I understand--I understand!" cried two or three voices at once.

"As a blind," said Harry Martin--"a devilish good plan; and then if
they get into the brown jug, we must give them a trifle more."

Some farther conversation in the same strain took place; and then
Harry Martin said in a low voice to William Barham--"But what share
are you to have, Will?"

"Not a farthing," answered the boy eagerly, "not a farthing. If you
get me those papers that's all I care about. He always carries them in
a Russia leather pocket-book, in a pocket inside his coat. It is a
brown pocket-book, you know, with a steel spring and clasp."

"But are you sure he is there?" asked Martin.

Bill nodded his head, saying, in a low tone--"Helen is there, and
he'll find a way to fix himself where she is. But the papers are all I
want."

"Well, well, you shall have them," answered Harry; "and if I find the
fellow himself, I'll put my mark upon him. Now, Simes, you get your
tools, and I'll get mine and have the horse in the phaeton before a
couple of hours are over. Let's all meet and have a little supper here
at ten o'clock, and then we can drive out pleasant by the moonlight."

The rest of their arrangements were soon settled, and the party
separated; William Barham returning to his own abode, where he
remained for several days, waiting, with no light anxiety, to hear the
result of an enterprise which was first devised for his benefit.



CHAPTER XXVI.


No sleep visited the eyes of Everard, Count Lieberg. He heard people
moving about, doors opened and closed, and various other sounds, for
near an hour. Then all was silent, and remained so for another hour.
At the end of that time he raised himself upon his elbow and listened,
struck his repeater, which gave him half-past one; lay down for about
a quarter of an hour more, with his head resting upon his hand, and
then started, at hearing sounds again. A muttered curse broke from his
lips, and he sat up, endeavouring to distinguish what could be the
occupation of the person who was watching, and busy at that "very
witching time of night." He could make nothing of it, however, for his
ear only caught a low whirring sort of sound, very much like that of a
watch running down. He thought he heard some people speaking or
whispering also in the court, and rising from his bed he threw on his
dressing-gown, drew back the curtain of his window, and looked out.

It was a bright and beautiful moonlight night as ever was seen. One
could almost distinguish the blades of green grass in the turfed court
below; but Lieberg could perceive nothing of any human being. He
found, indeed, that the penthouse of the large shed, which I have
mentioned as disfiguring the front of the building, came nearly up to
the window of his room; and he concluded that the noise he heard must
proceed from some of the early farm servants, busily at work in those
agricultural mysteries which he himself did not understand. By this
time, however, the sound had ceased, and another kind of noise
succeeded for a moment, which also came to an end, and then all was
quiet.

Silence maintained her reign for about a quarter of an hour, during
which time Lieberg gazed out upon a scene which was well calculated to
afford high and holy thoughts, had his been a breast to receive them.
The beautiful orb, which, like woman's love to man, follows this
earthly sphere through all its wandering course, was shining bright
and pure, in her highest glory. The green lawn, the dark yew trees,
the sloping upland, the well-trimmed hedges, caught the rays as they
fell, and deep shadows, like those which must ever fall to the eye of
memory over various spots in the past, when we look back from the end
of a long life, were cast over the turf from every rising object.
Round about, at a distance from their queen, in the blue heaven,--for
those that were near were swallowed up in her light,--the bright
attendant stars filled up the glory of the sky, and spoke to man's
heart of the majesty of that God who made a thousand worlds, and yet
bows himself to regard the lowest being on the earth.

Such, however, were not the thoughts with which Lieberg gazed. We
shall not, indeed, attempt to penetrate them; they were deep
inscrutable, and would do no good to the mind of any one. Suffice it,
that as his eye strayed upon the dark blue expanse, and seemed
shooting back rays to the bright orb above him, a dark shadow came
upon his brow, his lip curled, his head was raised higher than before,
his chest expanded, as if with some struggle within him. Indeed, it
would seem that he heard some warning voice, and succeeded in drowning
it in the clamour of pride and passion, for he muttered to himself as
he turned from the window--"So hypocrites would tell us, and so fools
would yield!"

He left the curtains open, and with a quiet and steady step, walked
towards the door. As he did so, however, and as his hand was actually
upon the lock to open it, he thought he heard a faint cry, and paused
for a minute to listen. "Busy imagination!" he said, finding the sound
was not repeated; and he opened the door.

All was dark, but the moonlight, which streamed through his room,
crossed the corridor and gave a faint light. There was a sudden step
heard in the passage, and Lieberg instantly drew back; but before he
could shut the door, or see what was coming, he received a heavy blow
upon the head, which struck him to the ground, and for a few minutes
deprived him of all thought and feeling. When he opened his eyes, one
of the candles on his dressing-table was lighted, and he saw two tall,
stout men, covered with smock frocks, each with a large piece of black
crape drawn over his face, busily engaged, the one in packing up
quietly all his dressing apparatus, at least that part of it which was
formed of silver or gold, whilst the other, who had, to say the truth,
opened various portmanteaus and carriage-boxes, without their master's
privity or consent, was examining a purse and a pocket-book by the
light of a candle.

Lieberg was a man of dauntless courage; and though there were two to
one against him, yet he strove to rise, trusting to his own powers to
enable him to contend successfully with the housebreakers, till he
received some assistance. The very first effort to move, however,
shewed him that his hands were tied tightly behind his back, and his
feet linked together, for which purpose two of his own silk
handkerchiefs had been employed. As soon as he found that such was the
case, he perceived that it was vain to make any effort; and he took
his resolution at once, lying as still as if he was dead, and only
watching the proceedings of the plunderers, through his half-closed
eyes.

After having examined the contents of the pocket-book, the man put it
in his pocket, saying to himself, "That will do!" He then proceeded to
aid his companion, and their arrangements were very soon made. The
larger articles were tied up in a towel; Lieberg's rings, watch, seal,
and various other trinkets, were disposed about their persons, and
then, shading again a dark lantern which they had brought with them,
they approached the door, leaving the candle burning on the table.
Lieberg closed his eyes completely, and lay quite still, though his
heart burnt within him; and had there been the slightest possibility
of success, had he been able to free himself, even in a degree, he
would have undoubtedly struggled up, at all risks, rather than remain
in a situation which wounded his pride perhaps more than anything that
had ever occurred to him in life.

He could hear, as he lay with his eyes shut, however, that the two men
stopped beside him; and the one said to the other--

"You've done for him, Harry!"

"No, I haven't!" exclaimed the other, in a loud, rough tone. "D--n his
heart and limbs, I have a great mind to do for him, though! He's only
stunned, like--see how he breathes! but if he were up to knowing why I
did it, I'd take and thrash him till I drove the soul out of his body.
I'll tell you what--this is the fellow that you heard of, who got hold
of the poor boy, and threatened to hang him for forgery, if he
wouldn't make his sister go into keeping with him. Now, that's what I
call being a rascal, indeed. These gentlefolks call you and I,
blackguards, and scamps, and criminals, and felons; now, I should like
to know who is the greatest rascal, who is the greatest felon--he or
I? I never take anything but a little money from those that can spare
it, but he--curse the pitiful mongrel--wants to take away a poor
girl's life and soul, and threatens to hang her brother if he wont
help him. If it were with all her own good will, I've nothing to
say; but to think to go to buy her with the price of her brother's
blood!--if that isn't a blackguard trick, I don't know what is. How it
happens that what you call gentlemen keep him amongst them, I can't
say; but I know if he were to come amongst us, we would kick him out.
But come along; if I stand looking at him any longer, I shall do a
something that I shall be sorry for. I don't like taking a man's life
in that way, unless he stands up to me; so come along, for I feel
inclined to put my foot upon him, and tread his dirty soul out, as I
would to a toad."

The next moment came the sound of receding steps, and then voices were
heard, speaking in another part of the house, and then doors opening
and shutting again, and what seemed tones of lamentation and
supplication. Those were followed by the banging-to of a heavy door,
and the sound of a key turned in the lock; and then all was still,
till what seemed the noise of distant cart-wheels came upon the air,
and silence resumed her sway again.

All these sounds Lieberg might have heard, and did hear as far as the
external organs were concerned, but his heart was moved with passions
far too strong for the mental ear to give heed to anything. Had it
been possible for his strong, clear mind to give way, it would have
yielded at that instant, when, lying bound and helpless, and forced to
counterfeit insensibility, he listened to the comments of a town-born
ruffian upon his own base conduct, and felt himself, in spite of all
the resistance of vanity, placed in a state of utter degradation both
in his own eyes and in those of the two men who had been gazing upon
him. There was no excess of frantic vehemence in which he could not
have indulged had he given way to the sensations of his heart; but,
instead of doing so, he lay perfectly still, concentrating all his
feelings within his own dark bosom, and continuing to shut his eyes,
as if to prevent the rage over which he brooded, from venting itself
by any of the senses whatsoever.

It required nearly an hour for his feelings to become tranquil in any
degree, and during that time everything remained quiet in the house,
while the calm, sweet dawn of day came gradually on, throwing warmer
and warmer tints into the room, till at length all was sunshine. As
soon as the day was bright and high, the ear of Lieberg caught the
sound of knocking and shaking, as if some persons at the top of the
house were locked in a room, and trying to make themselves heard. Then
came the voice of his own servant, Martini, exclaiming, with his
Italian accent--"Why have you locked me in? Some one let me out! My
master ordered me to go for the letters early. Let me out, I say!"

"We can't!" screamed a woman's voice, still further off; "they have
locked us in, too."

"They!" exclaimed the voice of Martini, again--"who the devil are
they?"

"The men who broke in, and robbed the house, and murdered my master
and the strange gentleman--I dare say," screamed the woman, who had
spoken before. "Lord have mercy upon us! I saw one of their black
faces"--and she plunged into a personal description of the
housebreakers, which was certainly borrowed very greatly from
imagination, although she had preserved judgment enough, as she said,
to lie still, pretending to be asleep, and do nothing but shiver while
the men were in the room. This was the lady who exercised the function
of cooking, which is a wakeful sort of profession, there arising a
kind of salamanderishness in the nature of a cook, from living
constantly in fiery atmospheres, which prevents her from giving way
more than is absolutely necessary to the cold and frozen state of
sleep. The housemaid, however, following the characteristics of
housemaids, had slept through the whole, and did not even wake with
the cook's shivering, although the latter was her bedfellow, and added
a number of thumps in the side to rouse her, as soon as she found
courage to move hand or foot. Not even did the shouted dialogue
between her close companion and Signor Martini disturb her slumbers,
and the conversation soon dropped.

At length, the notes of some early country-man, whistling gaily as he
went to his labour, caught Lieberg's ear, and he now raised his voice,
calling to his servant as loud as it was possible; and bidding him,
holla out of the window, and tell the man to break open the doors.
Fortunately, Martini's ears were quick, and he heard and distinguished
his master's orders. The window was thrown open, and several loud
shouts soon brought the country-man, who was passing along the road,
into the green court, and under Martini's window.

"What is the matter, master?" he cried. "What do you want? It seems
Master Carr has got you there in a cage, that you are chirping out so
early in the morning."

"I want to be let out," exclaimed Martini. "Break open the doors, and
let me out."

"No, no," said the man, "that wont do. We never meddle with any of
Master Carr's birds. He's a queer hand to deal with, and so I'll let
him alone."

He was actually stalking off, when the head of the cook popped out of
another window, and she exclaimed--"Master Turnbull--Master Turnbull!
break open the door, there's a dear heart! There have been robbers and
murderers in the house last night; and I don't doubt you'll find
master, with his throat cut, down stairs. Do break open the door,
there's a good soul, and let us out, for we are all locked in
together; though by the blessing of God, we are all alive!"

"I'll go and get somebody to help me," said the man, with a knowing
look--"the fellows may be there still. It would take them some time
to break open old Carr's strong box, I take it. No one ever got in
there easily. I'll go and get help--you wait there till I come!"

The poor cook had no choice except that of doing so, or throwing
herself down upon the top of the penthouse, and probably breaking her
legs; and the man began to walk away, with as slow a step as if he had
been following the plough. Fortune, however, decided that their state
of durance should not continue much longer; for no sooner had Master
Turnbull issued forth into the road again, than his eyes lighted upon
two labourers, coming leisurely up towards him. With their aid and
assistance he now determined to encounter all the powers of darkness
which might be found in Mr. Carr's house, and approached with a steady
purpose of breaking open the door, and restoring egress and regress to
the inhabitants. All violent proceedings, however, were spared him;
for, on coming nearer, he found that one of the windows, under the
shed which we have before mentioned, was wide open, a large hole
having been cut in the window shutter with a saw, and the sash having
been raised quietly by a hand introduced through the aperture.

One of the labourers made his way in by this entrance; but in the
meantime, Master Turnbull had been examining the door, and discovered
that, though it was locked, the key was on the outside. This he
turned, and, accompanied by the other peasant, entered by the ordinary
passage. The first thing that the three deliverers did, was to proceed
together to that part of the house from which they had heard
articulate sounds; and the door of the maid's room, as well as that of
the valet, was opened. Forth from their several apartments issued the
male tenant, in haste to set his master free--the cook, all alive to
look after her old gentleman, as she called him--and the housemaid,
still rubbing her eyes.

The countrymen followed as quick as it was in their nature, upon the
steps of Martini, to Count Lieberg's room, and arrived in time to see
the valet raise his master from the floor, and place him in a chair.
The floor of the room displayed a good deal of blood, which had flowed
from Lieberg's head, and Master Turnbull exclaimed--"Lackadaisy, that
is a bad cut!"

"Off my hands, off my hands, first!" exclaimed Lieberg, as Martini was
endeavouring to untie the tight knot round his ancles. "Cut it, cut
it! What matters the price of a handkerchief, in comparison with this
torture?"

The man took a knife from his pocket, and, solving these Gordian knots
in the Alexandrine fashion, set his master at liberty.

"Now, my men," cried Lieberg, "where can my servant find a
magistrate?"

"Oh, there's a magistrate at Bingley, master," replied Turnbull; "but
you can't get a surgeon nearer than Doncaster."

"Never mind a surgeon," said Lieberg; "never mind a surgeon, for me at
least. What has become of Mr. Carr and Miss Barham?"

"That we can't tell," replied one of the peasants; "the maids are gone
to see after them."

"Let us go too; though," replied Lieberg, "they would not hurt the
lady, and I do not think from what they said, that they have killed
the old man. But let us go and see--some one had better run for a
magistrate immediately. These fellows must be pursued at once."

As Lieberg spoke, he rose from the chair in which he had been placed;
but for some moments he could scarcely stand, and, motioning the rest
to leave him, he said--"Go quick, go quick! I must put on some more
clothes. Go with them, Martini, and bring me intelligence as soon as
may be."

The man obeyed at once, and Lieberg proceeded to dress himself, as
quickly as possible, though it was but slowly after all--for both his
arms and feet were cramped and swollen, from the tightness of the
ligatures which had bound them. As he proceeded, he paused two or
three times in thought, and once struck his hand vehemently upon the
dressing-table, saying--"Curses upon them!--Well, well, Martini," he
exclaimed, as the man entered the room; "what have you found?--what
has happened?"

There was a grin upon the man's countenance which assured Lieberg that
no life had been lost; and the Italian replied--"We found the old man,
sir, tied naked to the bed-post, cold, shivering, and miserable
enough, but he has contrived to warm himself since, for never did I
see a man in such a fury about his money and his plate? They have
cleared the whole house out, that is certain, and got some seven
thousand pounds, the old man says."

"They have got five or six hundred from me," said Lieberg. "But what
of Miss Barham?"

"Oh, she is very well, sir, I suppose," said the man, with a peculiar
expression of countenance. "I met her maid just now going to her room,
and she did not say that her mistress had been disturbed at all. The
truth is, sir," he added, approaching close to Lieberg, and speaking
in a low tone, "I did hear some noise in the night, but I did not know
what it might be, and thought it better to keep quiet, and take no
notice."

Lieberg shut his teeth hard, and clenched his hand with a frowning
brow; but he made no reply, and having dressed himself as far as was
necessary, issued forth and proceeded to the room of Mr. Carr. That
gentleman was coming out, with nothing but his stockings, breeches,
and a grey dressing gown on; and grasping Lieberg's arm, he dragged
him on towards the drawing-room, saying, "They have robbed me--they
have plundered me--they have ruined me, sir!"

Now there was nothing on earth that excited Lieberg's scorn and hatred
so much as to see a human being give way to passion or emotion, simply
because he had great powers of concealing his own; and the agony of
Mr. Carr, on account of his loss, only served to curl his companion's
lip with a contemptuous smile, and render all his movements, as if for
the contrast's sake, as cool, as self-possessed as possible.

While the old man, then, walked about the room in a state of
half-frenzied agitation, Lieberg calmly approached the table, and
after looking at him for a moment, with a cold, sneering, gaze, he
opened quietly the leaves of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and began to
turn over the engravings.

"Do you know, Mr. Carr," he said, in the tone of a connoisseur, "I
think they have made a very great mistake in representing Apollyon as
so fearfully ugly. Surely, if that good gentleman, who tempts us all,
be so frightful as he is here put down, we sinners must be men of good
stomachs to run after his sweet things so greedily."

Mr. Carr thought him perfectly insane; but Lieberg went on in the same
spirit--"He should be rendered very beautiful and attractive, powerful
certainly, and well armed, but still very charming; for we all of us
paint our own particular fiend as a pleasant, sweet personage. Now
you, for instance, never represent to yourself Mammon with horns and a
tail, and all this paraphernalia of episodical horrors, fangs, and
hoofs, and claws, and all that sort of a thing. I dare say, in your
eyes, he is a sweet little cherub, with a purse in his hand, as I
paint Asteroth to myself as a beautiful woman."

The miser gazed at him as if he had suddenly found himself in the
presence of a furious madman, and he exclaimed vehemently, in the
first excitement of passion, "Why I believe that you are Satan
himself! Is it not enough to drive me mad, to have lost seven thousand
pounds in one night, without having a stranger insulting me in my own
drawing-room, talking of Asteroth, and Mammon, and Apollyon, and all
the follies that ever were concocted in the brain of that half-drunken
idiot, John Bunyan?--Was it you that robbed me?--How should I know
that it was not?--I never saw you before--you may have had a hand in
it for aught I know!"

"It is very probable," answered Lieberg, "especially as there has been
another robbery committed in your house that you are not aware of, and
that to a large amount."

Mr. Carr instantly ran to a little old oak cabinet, and shook the door
to see if it had been opened. All was safe, however, and he exclaimed,
"Where?--how?--in what room?"

"In my room"--answered Lieberg; "that is to say, in the room where I
slept last night; and where, if I robbed you as you say, I committed
the folly of robbing myself also, to the amount of some six or seven
hundred pounds--It seems to me, Mr. Carr," he continued, in a quicker
but less ironical tone, "that this loss of yours has made you mad, and
that instead of thinking of recovering your property by pursuing these
men at once, with all the activity in your nature, you are, instead,
raving like an insane person. Why don't you saddle every horse in your
stable, and track the wheels of the cart in which they carried off
your goods and mine? I have already sent for a magistrate, and no time
ought to be lost in taking other measures."

"True--very true, Count!" said Mr. Carr, who, now that the first burst
of passion had passed, was coming to his senses again, and recollected
that it would not do to offend a guest, who was likely to hire his
manors--"I will send out some men directly. I beg your pardon, sir,
for being so violent, but this is a great loss.--We must despatch
people to the village, too, and after we have taken all sorts of
measures, we can just go over the manors together. But, dear me, what
shall I do about going to town with Miss Barham!--Hark!--what is that?
There is somebody calling me--they do not know where to find us.
Perhaps they have found some of the plate. It was very heavy, and the
men may have thrown it away. Here I am--here I am!" he continued,
putting his head out of the drawing-room door, "What do you want with
me? Have you found anything?"

"No, sir, no!" exclaimed the cook, running up with eager eyes. "We
have not found anything, but what is worse than finding anything in
this world, we can't find the young lady--we can't find Miss Barham!"

"God of Heaven!" exclaimed Lieberg, starting forward. "Can't find her?
Are there any signs of violence?"

"Oh, dear! Lord bless you, sir! they have murdered her!" exclaimed the
cook, with her eyes as big as saucers, while the housemaid gaped
behind, and Helen's maid appeared with the tears on her cheeks. "They
have murdered her, and taken away the body to bury it, like a dead
dog, in some field. I'll wager any money she saw them and screamed,
and they cut her throat. They would have cut mine, too, if I had
screamed, but I knew better."

"I declare I heard her scream in the night!" cried the housemaid; "but
I thought it was only a screech owl."

"Get along, you fool," said the cook, in reply, "you heard nothing at
all, not even yourself snoring."

"Let me pass!" said Lieberg, with his face as pale as death. "This
must be seen to at once."

He was confronted, however, by Helen's maid, who said, wiping the
tears from her eyes--"I don't think they have murdered my young lady,
sir, for the shoes and the gown that she wore last night are gone,
though everything else is left, even the combs for her hair. I think
she must have seen them, too, and they must have made her go away with
them for fear she should tell."

"Come with me--come with me!" cried Lieberg, and away he rushed to the
room where Helen had inhabited. He found everything as the girl had
described. There were no signs of any violence, but evident proof that
Miss Barham had quitted the place suddenly, and but half-dressed.
Nothing seemed to have been plundered, however; two rings which she
had worn were on the dressing-table; and the picture of her
grandfather, which she had spoken of to Mr. Carr on the preceding
evening, lay beside them, having been apparently taken out of the
lower part of a small dressing-case, on which was inscribed--"To Helen
Barham, from her affectionate Father." Her drawing-box was also on the
table, and beside it, a sketch which she had been drawing. Signs of
her mind were in everything about the room, and Lieberg gazed around
it with sensations such as he had never experienced before. He felt
that, for the first time he loved--passionately, strongly; and when
he thought of the fair being who had so lately tenanted that
chamber--whose spirit seemed to live in every object round him--of her
grace, her loveliness, her bright mind, her glowing heart; of his own
evil designs against her, and of her uncertain fate, of her being cast
into the hands of ruffians, and left entirely to their will and
disposal, he struck his hand against his brow, and then shook it
wildly in the air.

The moment after he had done so, his eye rested upon the form of Mr.
Carr, standing before him, with a bitter sneer upon his countenance.

"And so," said the old man, evidently finding his revenge in Lieberg's
agitation, "Mammon is a sweet little cherub--a sweet little cherub,
with a purse in his hand; and Asteroth is a beautiful lady! Well,
Count, you see, we have all our weaknesses, and I agree with you
perfectly that we should paint Apollyon good-looking, though powerful.
I do not know that you might not sit for the picture yourself."

"I will give five guineas to any man," exclaimed Lieberg, "who brings
me a saddle-horse to the door in half-an-hour."

"I will--I will!" said Mr. Carr, "and give you credit for the sum,
Count, for I believe they have taken your purse as well as mine."

"I have more that they did not find," answered Lieberg, abruptly.
"Quick with the horse then, sir! Every minute is precious. Let my
servant, when he returns, wait for me here. If I should not come till
to-morrow, let him have his food, Mr. Carr! You shall be paid. I know
the principles of your proceedings. Quick with the horse, I say!"

In less than a quarter of an hour the horse was brought round, and
Lieberg was upon its back. He tracked the marks of wheels for a long
way with the skill of a wild Indian, but at length they entered upon a
high road where they were lost amongst other traces. Lieberg chose his
direction after a moment's consideration, and then galloped on till he
came to a large town.



CHAPTER XXVII.


It is not in the least my intention to keep the reader in suspense
regarding the fate of Helen Barham, or, indeed, of any of the other
personages in this book. It is a plain unvarnished tale, without
mystery or secret in any part of it, narrating the events exactly as
they occurred, and preparing no other surprises for the public, than
precisely those which fate and fortune destined for the actors in the
scene itself. We will, therefore, at once, with good leave and
permission, return, in point of time, to the night preceding the
attack upon Mr. Carr's house, and venture, in our ghostly capacity,
into the bedchamber of sweet Helen Barham.

She was certainly as fair a being as ever was seen, and the great test
of loveliness, which the poet gave in his few masterly words, proved
hers--that ornament made no addition to her charms; that dress added
nothing, but rather took away, and that her beauty was assuredly,
"when unadorned, adorned the most." She was indeed so lovely that
eyes, not in general accustomed to contemplate or appreciate very
great refinement, admired as much as those which fed upon rare flowers
every day; and the girl whom Helen had brought from London with her,
was almost as much her lover as if she had been a man.

Helen's toilet for the night, though always careful, was not long;
and, it must be repeated, that in her bed-gown she was not a bit less
lovely than in the richest robe that ever came from the hands of a
Parisian artist. She had approached the side of her bed, to kneel down
and pray to that God who had mingled most unexpected mercies with his
chastisements, whom she had never forgotten in her misfortunes, and
who had saved her from temptation to sin. She was about to kneel,
then, when her maid, whom she had dismissed for the night some time
before, re-entered the room, and said--"A little note from Count
Lieberg, Miss Helen."

Helen turned round, perhaps somewhat impatiently, for her thoughts
were full of other things--full of all the wants and wishes which she
was about to express to the ear of God; and she asked, "What is it,
Mary?--open it, and read it."

The girl obeyed, and taking the note to the light, read aloud the
words which the reader has already heard. Helen returned to the table,
and wrote her hasty reply beneath; and then dismissing the maid, knelt
down and prayed. Amongst other petitions was the request that God
would pardon, reform, and bless her brother; and her thoughts
naturally ran on, after she had done, to his future fate, and to the
hopes of fortune which Mr. Carr had held out. She could not help
thinking that his having been prevented from proceeding on his voyage
just at the time that such a discovery was likely to take place,
seemed like an interposition of Providence. Such a train of thought
induced her to take out of the lower part of her dressing-case the
picture of her grandfather, and compare it with that of her father,
which had belonged originally to her mother, and which, since her
mother's death, she had constantly worn round her neck, night and day.
The latter portrait was an extremely small miniature in a gold case,
surrounded by small brilliants; but it had been painted for her father
in the times of his happiness and prosperity, by an artist who has not
long been dead, but whose works are of high value still to all who
possess them, and who was known in his own day by the name of
Gentleman Shelley. His skilful hand had preserved the likeness in a
size scarcely greater than that of a large ring, and in comparing the
two pictures, the resemblance between the father and the son was
extraordinary.

Helen gazed on them for several minutes; her memory ran back to the
past, and to the last looks of that father who had been taken from her
at an hour when a father's care was most needful. No one can wonder
that her eyes filled with tears; but feeling that it was in vain to
indulge such sorrow, she extinguished the light and retired to bed,
with her own heart free from guile, though crime, in various shapes,
was hovering round--crime of one kind destined, by the wisdom and
mercy of God, to disappoint another.

She lay awake for some time, for from the bosom of Helen Barham had
gone for ever that balmy peace which sheds the downy blessing on the
eyes of childhood. Passion, the scarer of slumber, had taken
possession of her bosom, and the lids that not a year before used to
drop at the first invitation of repose, now refused to shut out busy
waking thought from the troubled brain. At length, however, weariness
overcame her, and after a deep-drawn sigh, she fell into profound
sleep.

How long it lasted she knew not, but when she woke, it was with a
start. There was a light in the room which dazzled her eyes, and to
her horror and consternation she beheld three men, dressed as we have
described those who entered Lieberg's chamber, except that one had for
the moment withdrawn the crape from his face, and was drinking a
draught of cold water from a tumbler which she had left upon the
table. All three were standing near the dressing-glass, and one was
examining some of the little trinkets which she had laid down.
Although they all seemed so peaceably disposed, Helen could not
restrain the first impulse of terror, and uttered a scream, though it
was rendered a faint one by an effort to repress it. The man whose
face was uncovered, instantly drew the crape over it again, and darted
towards her bedside with a crow-bar in his hand, exclaiming--"By--she
has seen me!"

Helen, overpowered by terror, could not utter a word, but clasped her
hands in an attitude of supplication. She was so young, so beautiful,
there was so much of the light and spirit of life about her, that it
must have been a heart of stone indeed that could have struck her, as
she there lay, in her innocence and her loveliness. The man paused
suddenly, repeating--"She has seen me!" and then asked in a harsh and
grating tone, "Did you not see me?"

Even then Helen would not tell a falsehood, and she murmured forth, "I
did; but I will never, never say a word of it to any one."

The man continued gazing at her for a minute or more, in perfect
silence, and then thrust the end of the crow-bar into his pocket,
saying, "It's no use!--I can't do it! Look ye, my young lady, I know
ye, your name is Barham--I have seen you with your brother. Now if I
spare your life, and you help to take mine, damme if you're not a
great deal worse than I am."

"I will never say one word against you, so help me Heaven!" exclaimed
Helen.

At that moment one of the man's companions pulled him by the sleeve,
and they had a quick whispering conference together at the other side
of the room.

"Very well," said the man who had approached her bedside, "that will
do. You stay here at her door, on the outside, d'ye see, while Simes
and I go to the other room.--Don't you do her any harm, mind ye, for I
wont have her hurt. I know she's a good girl.--Come, ma'am, you must
get up, and put on some things, and go with us. They don't choose to
leave ye here. So now be quick, Don't be afraid; no harm shall happen
to ye. I give you my honour I'll take care of ye, and nobody shall lay
a finger on ye. If they do, I'll take care of them--that's all. Get up
quick, there's a good girl," he added, in a softer tone, and all three
left the room.

Astonished, surprised--scarcely knowing whether she was dead or
alive--Helen lay for a moment ere she proceeded to execute the
commands she had received. She then rose, though it was with terror
and agitation, which scarcely left her power to dress herself, so
terribly did her hands tremble and her knees shake under her. Her
dress was still in sad disarray, when the man who was watching on the
outside put his head in, exclaiming, "Be quick--be quick!--we can't
stay here all night. They'll soon have done."

But, as may well be supposed, his exhortations to speed only tended to
agitate Helen more, and take from her the power of making haste. A
minute after, another man appeared, who, by his voice, she recognised
as the man whose face she had seen. "Come, come!" he exclaimed, "you
must be quick."

She would fain have supplicated to be allowed to remain, but he caught
her sharply by the hand, and led her along, saying, "Not a word, as
you value your life."

With these words he led her down stairs, through the passages at the
bottom of the house, and to the door leading out into the court.
Another man who preceded them, darted away towards a room, which she
knew to be Mr. Carr's, and returned in a minute, bearing a large and
heavy load, and followed by a third similarly burdened. A fourth
carried another large package, and as soon as they were all collected
in the hall, they opened the door and issued forth, one of them
pausing for a moment to lock the door behind them. Poor Helen, still
grasped by the arm, was hurried along through the grass court, and
down the road, which passed before the house, to a spot at about a
hundred yards' distance, where they found a double-bodied phaeton, and
two knavish-looking horses, which apparently had come some distance
that morning. These animals had their forelegs tightly tied with
handkerchiefs, so as to prevent them from moving; but the bandages
being speedily taken off, the packages, which the men had brought,
were placed in various parts of the carriage, and Helen, in a state
scarcely to be described, was lifted into the vehicle.

The man who had hitherto shewn her some kindness, now took his place
by her side, seized the reins with an experienced hand, and drove on,
as fast as the horses would go, for the space of nearly two hours,
only stopping for one single minute to let the poor animals breathe at
the top of a hill. He shewed no hesitation as to which way he should
turn, though one of the men--of whom there were three, crowded into
the second body of the carriage--called out from time to time, "To the
right, Harry--to the left!" as they approached any lane or road, up
which it was necessary to go.

It seemed to Helen from the way in which they turned and re-turned,
that they were making more than one circuit, in order to evade
pursuit; and such indeed was the case, for the spot which they at
length reached was not, in a direct line, more than sixteen miles
from Yelverly, and the round they had taken must have been at least
twenty-four. Instead of slackening their pace, they quickened it
towards the end of the journey, and entered a large smoky-looking
town, just as the darkness of the night was beginning to turn grey
with the light of the morning. There was nobody stirring in the
streets, and they did not drive far into the town, stopping at a small
public house on the left hand, almost immediately after they had
entered. All was darkness in the aspect of the dwelling, but one of
the men springing down, opened the door without knocking, and Helen
was lifted out, by another, and taken into a small parlour, where she
found a rushlight on the table, the faint twinkling of which shewed
her, that the people who were with her had not yet taken the crape
from off their faces. One of the two who had got out of the phaeton
stayed in the room with her, without saying a word, while the other
ran out, and returned with a candle, which he lighted at the
rushlight; and then both quitted the parlour, leaving Helen alone, and
locking the door upon her.

Nearly half-an-hour passed without any one returning, and the poor
girl remained shivering with terror, and with a sensation of cold all
over her; although it was in the midst of summer, and the morning was
in reality warm. No sounds stirred in the house--nothing gave any
indication of its being inhabited; but at length the door was again
opened, and a man appeared, in whom, though the crape was gone, and
the smock-frock was thrown off, Helen recognised without difficulty,
the man whose face she had seen in her room at Yelverly. He was a
handsome, powerful, active-looking man, with a frank and bold, but
somewhat stern countenance; and though his brow was frowning when he
entered, yet, to say the truth, Helen felt more security in his
presence, than probably she might have done in that of any of his
companions.

She had been sitting upon a wooden chair, with her head resting upon
her hands, but she started up as soon as the man entered, and gazed
upon him as if enquiring her fate. The expression of apprehension upon
her face seemed to move him, and his first words were--"Don't be
afraid, young lady; I told you nobody should do you any harm, and they
shan't; so make your mind at ease on that score.--You can hurt nobody
but me, and I'll take my chance."

"On my word," cried Helen--"on my honour, I will never say anything to
injure you."

"Well, well, I believe you," he said; "and if you did think of
peaching, I don't fancy you will, when I give you what I've got
in my hand. Look here, Miss Barham; you know your brother's a
d--d fool.--There, that paper might have hanged him--ay, and it was
kept for the purpose of hanging him, too, by that bitter bad scamp,
Lieberg, if he did not do what was wrong by you. So there, now, take
it, and do what you like with it:" and he held out towards her the
very bill that her brother had forged.

"Oh, no, no!" cried Helen, drawing back; "I do not know what to do
with it."

"Not know what to do with it!" cried the man; "why, you foolish girl,
I'll shew you then;"--and twisting it up in his fingers, he put it to
the light. In a moment it blazed up, and the chief record of William
Barham's guilt was at an end. Though Helen dared not do that act
herself, yet her heart beat gladly when she saw it done, and starting
forward with one of her wild impulses of gratitude, she caught the
man's hand, and pressed it to her lips.

"Nonsense, nonsense!--don't do that," he cried, actually colouring
with a feeling of shame. "Look here! here's another paper I got out of
that same pocket-book--a sort of confession that he made your brother
sign, all for the sake of getting hold of you--I can't well wonder at
it, after all. But then he should have gone honourably about it, and
asked you yourself. However, we will serve this the same," and he set
fire to it likewise, and threw it into the empty grate. "And now,"
continued he, "you're to stay here for an hour more, Miss Helen! After
that, you may go where you please--back again if you like; but take my
advice, and have nothing to do with that d--d rascal, Lieberg, for
he's as bad a one as ever lived. He would have made your brother sell
you, like a sheep, to save his neck; and that's not the way to get a
woman's love, I'm sure."

"But how can I get back?" said Helen; "how can I get home?"

"Oh! easy enough," replied the man; "you have nothing to do, but to
turn to the left out of the door, and walk straight up the street,
till you come to the Tontine Inn, and the coach-office; and so now
remember, that whenever you see me again, you're not to know me from
Adam."

"I have promised you most sincerely," said Helen, "and on my word I
will keep that promise--you need not be in the least afraid."

"I am not--I am not," said the man; "there, give us your hand upon it.
Stay here for an hour, and then go where you like."

Thus saying, he shook her hand heartily, and was turning to depart,
but Helen stopped him, saying, timidly, "But am I safe here?"

"Perfectly," replied the man--"perfectly! Why bless your little heart,
there's nobody in the house but yourself."

"But if the people to whom it belongs should come?" said Helen, "they
may think--"

"Well, tell them how you were brought here," said the man; "in an hour
you may say anything you please;" and he added, "we shall be far on
the road into Scotland by that time, so don't forget your word, and
good bye!"

Thus speaking, he quitted the room, and Helen stood watching the
light, as it burnt slowly down in the candlestick.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


In an hour after the period at which we closed the last chapter, Helen
Barham stood before a house, bearing the name of the Tontine Inn, in
the town of Sheffield. It was now broad daylight, and there were a
many artisans and people of the lower classes going about the streets
on their various employments; but yet very few of the houses and shops
that she had passed were open, it being barely half-past five o'clock
in the morning. About the inn itself there was no appearance of
wakefulness, and the coach-office was not to be seen.

Poor Helen Barham's heart sunk as she gazed up at the closed shutters
and blank face of the tall house. She knew not where to go, or what to
do; and had she recollected that her appearance at that moment was
certainly somewhat wild and strange--her hair dishevelled, her bonnet
scarcely tied, without shawl or handkerchief, or gloves--she might
have felt still more abashed and apprehensive than she did.

After pausing for several minutes, Helen wandered some way on, and
then came back again, when, to her great satisfaction, she saw one of
the drudging housemaids of the establishment sweeping out the passage.
Helen approached her timidly, and asked which was the coach-office?

"Why, bless you, Miss!" replied the girl, "it wont be open these two
hours; those lazy fellows are never in it much before eight o'clock.
The early coach started an hour ago and more; and then Mr. Jones, who
is the night clerk, goes away, and it's long enough before the others
come."

"That is very unfortunate!" said Helen, "for I wanted to go to
Yelverly as fast as possible."

"There's no coach, ma'am," answered the girl, "till ten o'clock. But
hadn't you better step into the waiting-room, and remain there? What
coach did you come by?"

"I came by none," replied Helen; "I was brought here from Yelverly
against my will, and want to get back, as soon as possible, to Mr.
Carr's."

"Oh, what miser Carr's house!" said the girl. "I know that very well,
for I was born at Bingley; and I know Miss Juliet very well, too, for
she was kind to my poor dear mother before she died."

"She is a very dear and good friend of mine," answered Helen; "and I
have been staying at Mr. Carr's for some time: but a party of men
brought me away by force this morning."

The girl's, wonder and compassion were both moved by Helen's short
account of herself; and after a moment's thought, she said--"May be,
you would not like to go into the waiting-room, where everybody can
come in. Hadn't I better shew you into a private room, Miss? Some of
the waiters will be up soon, and then you can get some breakfast."

Helen very willingly agreed to this proposal, and by the maid's
assistance she was, in the space of half-an-hour, not only seated in a
comfortable room in the inn, but had before her such tea and toast as
the place could afford, and all that constitutes the inn idea of a
breakfast. It must not be supposed that Helen forgot her purse had
been left behind her, and that she had no money with her; but she had
busily turned in her own thoughts the situation in which she was
placed, and had made up her mind as to the course she was to pursue,
in order to pay both for he accommodation at the inn, and her place
back to Yelverly.

The personage who attended upon the room where she sat, who brought
her breakfast, and took away the things when she had done, could not
exactly be called a dumb waiter, because he possessed at least two
words, which were--"Yes, ma'am!" and once even, in a fit of Laputan
abstraction, he replied to a question from Helen--"Yes sir!"--though,
bless her, she looked as little like a gentleman as it is possible to
conceive. From this personage, it may be easily supposed, Helen could
get but very little information of any kind, either respecting the
starting of the stages, or aught else; and, after having waited till
she heard, by the chime of the clock, that the hour of the coach's
departure would be the next that struck, she rang the bell, and asked
the waiter if she could speak with the mistress of the house?

The waiter replied--"Yes, ma'am"--perhaps with the intention of
informing his mistress; but by this time, as I have hinted, it was
nine o'clock: people were coming and going; much gossiping was taking
place at the door of the house; bells were ringing, and a variety of
calls, objurgations, screams, applications, and scoldings, were flying
about the chambers and passages, fit to deafen the ears or distract
the brain of any personage but Figaro or the waiter of an inn.

The consequence was, that, after waiting for about a quarter of an
hour more, Helen again rang the bell, made the same demand, and
received the same reply. "Pray do not fail," she added, in a gentle
tone; and the man hastened away, determined to obey her behest, before
he did anything else. In a minute after, a tall, fine-looking, stately
dame, dressed in black silk, with an apron and cap as white as snow,
notwithstanding the manifold globules of soot that float about in the
air of Sheffield, entered the room, and asked the young lady, what was
her pleasure, surveying her, at the same time, from head to foot, with
some degree of curiosity.

Helen, by this time, had indeed done something at the looking-glass,
to take away the wildness of her appearance; but still she was
conscious of not being dressed with that care which becomes a lady,
and her situation altogether gave a timidity to her tone, as she
replied--"I wished, madam, to ask a favour of you. The case is,
simply, this: I have been spending some time at Mr. Carr's, at
Yelverly; but I was brought away from that place last night by four
men, perfect strangers to me, and against my will. All my money was
left behind----"

The landlady uttered an ominous "Oh!" and pursed up her lips, with a
very significant expression of countenance. But Helen hastened on to
the principal point of her story, saying--"I desire to get back again
to Yelverly, as fast as possible, and I have no means of doing so,
but----"

"I never lend money to nobody, ma'am," said the landlady, tossing her
head; "and I always expect people to pay for their breakfast when they
order it." And as she thus spoke, she took a step towards the door, as
if to consult with her excellent spouse upon ulterior proceedings. But
Helen was made a little angry at the worthy lady's sharp selfishness;
and she replied, in a tone of more firmness, and command--

"Stop a minute, madam, and be so good as to hear me out, before you
come to such rapid conclusions. I do not expect you to lend me money,
or to trust me in any way, without some certainty of being paid. I
have, luckily, one thing with me, which--though I have never parted
with it for an hour, from the time I first had it till the present
day--I must now give up for a time, till I can get to Yelverly, and
send the money to you."

As she spoke, she unclasped the little gold chain that suspended her
father's picture around her neck, and looked at the miniature for a
moment, with a glistening eye. "This picture, madam," she continued,
"is set in gold--those are brilliants round it, of no great value it
is true, but more than enough to make you quite sure that you will not
lose by trusting me with whatever may be the amount of my bill here,
and with a sufficient sum to carry me to Yelverly. You will be good
enough to give me a little memorandum of having received the picture;
and as soon as I arrive at Mr. Carr's house, I will send back the
money to redeem it."

The landlady's manner was altered in an extraordinary degree, as she
looked at the miniature, and saw that it was set round with a row of
small diamonds, intrinsically worth, perhaps, seven or eight guineas.
"I will speak to my husband, ma'am," she said. "Indeed, I did not mean
to say anything----"

Helen bowed her head gently, replying--"There is no need of any
apology. It is very natural that you should not trust a mere stranger.
Speak to your husband by all means; shew him the picture, and tell him
what I say. Indeed, if he likes to send some one with me to Yelverly,
I shall greatly prefer it. Then he can have the money at once, and I
will pay his messenger."

"Oh dear, no, ma'am, there's no occasion for that, I'm sure," cried
the landlady; "he'll be quite satisfied, I'm certain. I'll be back in
a minute, ma'am," and away she went to tell her husband all about the
nice young lady in No. 5, whom ten minutes before she had set down for
a swindler and a reprobate.

When she came into the bar, however, she found her husband speaking
busily with a gentleman whose whole attire was dusty, as if from long
travelling.

"No, sir, no," said the landlord; "I have heard nothing of the
kind--Lord have mercy! you had better go to the magistrates. What do
you think, my dear? They have broken into Mr. Carr's house, at
Yelverly, and carried off every thing out of the place."

"Then I'll bet any money," cried the landlady, "that this here picture
is a part of the stolen goods.--But no, that can't be it, neither; for
the young lady wants to go back again."

"What young lady?--What picture?" cried Lieberg eagerly, for he it
was. "Let me look at it!"

"Why, sir," rejoined the landlady, handing it to him, "the young lady
says she was carried away by force by four men against her will. To
say the truth, I did not believe it at first----"

"Then you were a fool for your pains!" thundered Lieberg. "It is Miss
Barham! Where is she? Poor girl, what she must have suffered!" and
Lieberg, who without scruple would have wrung her heart, and condemned
her to a life of regret and remorse, did, nevertheless, feel sincere
compassion for Helen Barham under sufferings not a thousandth part so
intense.

The landlady, however, who did not at all like being called a fool in
the presence of her husband and her waiter, determined to stand up for
Helen Barham's dignity, now that she was thoroughly convinced that the
young lady was what she professed to be; and to Lieberg's repeated
question of "Where is she?" she replied, "I must first ask the lady,
sir, whether she desires to see you. What name shall I tell her?"

"Colonel Lieberg," he exclaimed, sharply. "But, as there is no doubt
about her seeing me, I shall accompany you."

The landlady led the way to No. 5, and opened the door sufficiently
wide to admit her own portly person, but not to let Lieberg pass,
saying, at the same time, "Madam, if your name is Miss Barham, here is
a gentleman, who calls himself Colonel Lieberg, wishing to see you."

In an instant the warnings of the housebreaker came back to Helen's
recollection, but more powerfully still the words of Morley Ernstein.
Her countenance spoke at once plainly that her visitor was not one
whom she most eagerly desired to see, but, ere she could reply,
Lieberg pushed the door impetuously out of the landlady's hand, and,
passing by her, advanced at once towards Helen.

"Dear Miss Barham," he cried--"we have almost been in despair about
you. This is, indeed, joyful to have found you so soon. I have been
galloping about the country these last three hours in search of you."

There was so much real joy and satisfaction in his whole look, that
Helen could not refuse to give him her hand; and the landlady having
shut the door, Lieberg, in the excitement of the moment, pressed his
lips upon it, resolved to hazard everything at what he believed to be
a favourable opportunity.

Helen would have drawn away her hand instantly, but he held it firmly,
and led her to her seat, saying--"Oh, Helen, what have I suffered on
your account this night!"

Helen coloured and trembled, feeling that a moment of trial was
approaching. She replied gravely, however--"I am extremely sorry that
you should have been put to any pain on my account; but as the stage
will soon be departing for Yelverly, I must settle with the people
here, and take my place."

"Nay, nay, Helen," said Lieberg, "you must first listen to me for a
moment."

Helen turned very pale; but he continued, eagerly, though in that
bland, persuasive tone which he knew well how to use, his voice
assuming the softest modulations, his brow cleared of every thing that
was stern and dark, his magnificent features glowing with animation,
but full of gentleness and entreaty, his eyes beaming like stars in a
dark night, but with a subdued and gentle light.

"Helen," he said, "dear Helen, you must know, you cannot but know,
since last night, that I love you; deeply, passionately, tenderly;
with an ardour, strength, a profoundness that I never felt before
towards any woman. I know not what it is, or how, but you have
fascinated me--enchanted me. That song which you sang last night
seemed to waken in my heart feelings that had slept for years--those
early dreams of love and ecstatic joy with one adored being, separate
from all the rest of earth, bound to her by none of the cold worldly
ties that unite the dull earthly insects which crawl about the world
and call themselves society, but united to her by the bond of strong
affection--of passion, powerful, overpowering, everlasting,
indestructible--of passion, neither to be changed by the world's cold
maxims, nor restrained by idle ceremonies or empty laws. Oh, Helen,
listen to me! Turn not away your head--let not your cheek grow pale as
if you thought I wished to deceive or to wrong you, for I am yours
altogether, and you shall dictate anything to me that you, please. You
shall command we in all respects; I will be your slave, the creature
of your will. I, who never bowed my head to human being--who never
found any to resist or to control me--I will take my law from your
lips, and do in all things as you would have me!--Only, only, do one
thing. There are circumstances which I cannot explain now, for want of
time, but which shall be entirely made clear to you as we go. Only, I
beseech you, let me order horses, and go with me at once to London and
to your brother. I would fain have you, too, go on with me to the
Continent; but you shall stay in London if it please you better. All I
have is at your command, myself, my fortune, my life itself; and you
shall always dictate to me every thing that you would have done, and
it shall be done at once. Helen, dear Helen, come with me! True
passion bears no cold delay, and a rapid resolution, taken in a moment
like this, when love speaks out, when opportunity presents itself and
there is nothing to oppose, often goes on to happiness the most
intense, the most durable, when, if we lose the instant, we give
ourselves up to grief for our whole lives. Nay, shrink not from my
arms, beloved--for once let me clasp you to a bosom that burns for you
alone."

Helen did shrink from him, however, farther and farther, as with
increasing energy and vehemence, with his eyes lighting up, his words
rushing rapidly from his lips in a thousand varied intonations, and
his whole spirit moved by the strong feelings within him, he poured
forth his passionate solicitations. She shrunk from him, I say,
farther and farther, with the small, finely cut ear glowing with the
scarlet blood, her cheek as pale as death, her lip quivering, her eye
fixed upon her suitor, in terror, surprise, and horror. She could
hardly speak. But however Lieberg veiled his purposes under vague,
though glowing language, warned as she had been, she understood him
only too well, and saw that all which had been told her was true.

Her lips moved for a moment without uttering a sound, but at length
she murmured, "Monster!"--and turned to ring the bell.

Lieberg, however, caught her hand and stopped her, and she stood
gazing at him with such a look of horror and pain as, in the moment of
the great temptation, the mother of mankind might have worn, had some
angel whispered the real nature of the being to whom she listened, and
displayed to her mind's eye the endless misery, through unnumbered
generations, that was to follow on man's fall.

"Beware!" said Lieberg, at length, as he marked that look and read it
aright; and his tongue, while he spoke, lost its poisonous melody, his
face its fascinating smile--"beware what you do! Remember, Helen
Barham, that you are in my power. The moment is now before you to
choose between my love and my hate. Be mine, and I swear by all that I
hold sacred, such a life of joy and love shall be yours as even your
fancy could never dream; but if you reject all that I offer, recollect
that your brother's fate is in my hands, his life, his shame, ay--and
your own fate, too--that reputation of which you may be idly vain.
Disappoint me now, and men shall laugh, and say that she was Count
Lieberg's paramour; but that he tired of her, and cast her off in a
single day. Your fate, I say, as well as his, is in my hands."

"Mine, mine!" cried Helen, with astonishment and terror. "Mine in your
hands? What is it that you mean?"

"Nay, nay," said Lieberg, softening his tone again, "though what I say
is true, think not of it. I meant but to shew you what was in my
power, Helen. I have not thought of using that power. To wring or pain
your heart would pain my own, dear girl. Forgive me for what I have
said--think that it was but the mad vehemence of passion. Oh, feel for
me, Helen!--you that seem made for love and joy, feel for the intense,
the burning love you have inspired. Think not that I would hurt your
brother. On the contrary, I have tended him with kindness and care,
when there was no one to tend him but myself. I have furnished him
with all that was needful for his happiness, and it is his first wish
and desire you should be mine. My vehemence has frightened and
surprised you, I see; but you know not what it is I feel. Sit
down again, dear girl, and listen to me--listen to me but for a
moment----."

"No, Count Lieberg," she replied, firmly, "I will not! I will neither
sit down nor listen to you at all, but upon one subject. I can easily
conceive that you suppose my brother's fate entirely in your hands;
but, thank God, my reputation is not; and I believe you speak a
falsehood when you say that you can make even the general world, much
less those that love and esteem me, believe that I ever was the
paramour of a man whom I hate and despise. I believe, sir, that you
have told a gross falsehood, for the same base purpose for which you
have threatened a brother's life to the ears of his sister."

The look of Helen Barham had changed under the emotions that she felt.
Instead of fear, and timidity, and horror, it bore now the look of
indignant pride. Her head was raised high, her beautiful nostril
expanded, her bright eyes flashed, and Lieberg, though all these signs
of anger were displayed against himself, felt passion but the stronger
in his heart.

"Nay, nay, Helen," he said, in a quick, but half sportive tone, "if
you so dare me, dear lady, I must shew that I threaten not without
power. Look at these few words of written invitation, in Helen
Barham's hand! Sent to me by my own valet last night, after all the
household were in bed--'_Whenever you like.--Helen Barham!_'"

To Lieberg's surprise, the horror and detestation which became the
predominant expression of Helen's countenance, was ummingled with
anything like fear.

"You are a fiend, indeed!" she cried. "You are a fiend, indeed! But,
like the machinations of all other fiends, your devices are controlled
by the good will of God! When the note that you wrote to me last
night, and which you have torn off from the answer, was brought to me,
know that I was not alone. It was read by another to me--by one who
can swear to every word of it. Thus I set you at nought, scorning you,
as well as hating you, feeling as much disgust as horror at your
conduct. Let me tell you more, Count Lieberg, that, were there no
other man on earth, I would regard you with the same contempt that I
do now; that you are personally odious to me; and that were you at my
feet to-morrow, with proposals as high and pure, as those of to-day
are base and infamous, though I were a beggar in the streets, seeking
my bread from door to door, I would spurn you from me, with the same
scorn that I do now," and passing him boldly, she rang the bell.

The moment that Helen's hand had left the bell rope, the stately old
landlady burst into the room, with her face all in a glow.

"You shan't be injured, or insulted, in my house, ma'am," she said. "I
beg your pardon for listening, ma'am, but I thought you might want a
little help from what I saw. The gentleman may take himself where he
likes, but he shan't affront you any more here."

Helen burst into tears at this unexpected support; and the good woman,
who really, except in money matters, deserved that name, held out her
arms towards the agitated and beautiful being before her, saying, in
the tone of a mother--

"Come here to me, my dear! You are a good, virtuous girl, and deserve
to be taken care of. The coach will go in a quarter of an hour, and my
son, Will, shall go with you on the top, to see that no harm comes to
you. There's the picture, my dear--we don't want it; and as for the
gentleman, he had better budge, for if my husband had heard all that I
have heard, he would have leathered his jacket."

Lieberg gazed at her for a moment, with a look of calm scorn, for his
self-possession had been restored in a moment.

"My good woman," he said, "you are a very foolish person; and, if you
meddle in this way, with things that don't concern you, you will burn
your fingers some day. Miss Barham, we shall meet again, when you will
think differently."

"Never!" said Helen; and Lieberg, without more reply, quitted the
room, and ordered his horse over to the other inn.

"Feed him," he said, to the hostler who took him, "and bring him round
as soon as he is ready."

He then called for a private room, and buried his eyes in his hands
till the sound of a coach setting out from the office opposite made
him look up. Then biting his lip, without any other gesticulation, he
muttered--"Curses upon it all!"



CHAPTER XXIX.


In passing through life we must have remarked, not only that the
satirical maxim of La Rochefoucauld is true, with a great number of
people, in regard to the pleasures that they derive from the
misfortunes of their friends, but that the general world contrives to
extract an infinite quantity of amusement, delight, and satisfaction
from all the evils that are going on throughout the universe. What a
fund of pleasant excitement is there to the minds of many, in that
column of a newspaper, headed "Accidents and Offences." What
gratification to multitudes in a child being scalded to death, a house
being burnt down, a retired tradesman, in a solitary cottage,
undergoing the process of murder! And such is the joy and delight the
great mass of mankind in crime and sorrow, that I do really
believe, if any person could invent an unheard-of iniquity, or
contrive to die some unknown kind of death, not only would rags of his
clothes be kept as relics, locks of his hair preserved in lockets, or
the rope that hanged him be sold at a guinea an inch, but a very
handsome subscription might be gathered, to raise a statue to him, as
the man who furnished the public with a new kind of excitement.

Fie upon it! The morbid taste for stimulating things, that habitual
drunkenness of the mind, which is increasing day by day more and more
throughout the whole world, excluding the sane, the simple, and the
just, must end in moral death--the sad, worn-out, apathetic death of
the spirit drinker. On my life, I have a great inclination to shake
hands with Father Mathew, and preach a mental teetotalism!

The prevailing spirit, the love of excitement, which is in every human
being, was not wanting even amongst the quiet fields and villages
around Yelverly; and the news of that famous burglary having spread
far and wide, the retired house of Mr. Carr became an object of
attention and visitation, for all the places in the neighbourhood.
Magistrates flocked in, farmers and yeomen made their appearance,
constables, from every place in the vicinity, travelled thither
without loss of time; and though many a one winked the eye and laughed
at Old Carr's misfortune, the general pleasure derived by the
multitude from an extensive robbery in that part of the country was of
the higher and more interesting kind called excitement.

The retired lawyer, himself, as his first step, shut up his house, and
would let no one in but those whom he knew; and, after he had
collected his thoughts in some degree, he visited various parts of the
building, opened different drawers and secret cupboards, and found, to
his great relief, that the robbers, from their ignorance of his
habits, had missed many of the stores which he had fancied carried
off. He then gathered together his papers, which were scattered about
his room, examined the marks and memorandums upon them, and, to his
great joy, perceived that they were all correct. Another thing tended
to relieve him from a still greater portion of the load of care, which
was, that the plunderers, with a fine apprehension of detection, had
displayed a goodly contempt for bank-notes, so that two packets,
amounting each to five hundred pounds, were found cast down upon the
floor without the slightest sign of veneration.

In the midst of these operations, several magistrates poured in upon
him, and all the local wisdom of the neighbourhood was expended during
the next three hours, in consulting and considering what was to be
done. As will ever be the case where there are manifold persons, each
of whom has as much right to speak as another, a great deal of
nonsense was talked, and a great deal of time was expended to very
little purpose.

The abduction of poor Helen Barham formed one of the principal topics
with the magistrates; and Mr. Carr himself expressed much greaser
anxiety upon the subject than he had ever been known to evince in
regard to anybody, except his daughter. By the time that the premises
had been thoroughly examined, the means by which the robbers had
obtained an entrance clearly ascertained, and the route that they had
taken in their escape rendered as confused and puzzled as possible, by
conflicting testimonies and innumerable conjectures. Count Lieberg's
servant had returned from Doncaster, bringing information from some of
the magistrates of that place, that three persons of very suspicious
look, and one of whom was known to be an infamous character, had
appeared in that town on the preceding day, and had suddenly
disappeared towards night. All attention was now turned towards
Doncaster, every man who thought himself an active magistrate, or who
wished to establish for himself such a reputation, set off instantly
for that town, while the rest retired to their own houses, satisfied
with having talked much and done nothing at all, as is too much the
case with county justices and with members of parliament.

When they were all gone beyond recall, and Mr. Carr was left alone,
the real track of the plunderers, as so generally happens, was
discovered at once by no other event than the passing of the Sheffield
coach, and the arrival of Helen Barham. Mr. Carr was really delighted
to see her, both because she had proved a pleasant companion to him,
and because in the prospect of managing her own and her brother's
affairs, he foresaw, or thought he foresaw, the means of recovering,
and more than recovering, the riches which the housebreakers had
carried away.

Many and eager were his questions, to all of which Helen gave a
sincere answer, telling exactly what had occurred, with the exception
of those points which referred to her brother William. She related how
she had seen the man's face in her bed-room; how she had been forced
to rise and accompany the robbers; how she had pledged herself most
solemnly never to give evidence against the man at whose intercession
her life was spared; and how she had taken refuge at the Tontine Inn,
and come thence by the stage to Yelverly. She would willingly have
ended her history there, but Mr. Carr asked, as soon as she paused, if
Colonel Lieberg, then, had not found her?

"I regret to say he did, my dear sir," replied Helen, with much
agitation; "he found me alone and unprotected, and took that
opportunity, when I most needed comfort and help, to insult and grieve
me. Had it not been for the kindness of the people of the inn, I do
not know what I should have done. I trust," she added, with the tears
in her eyes, "that he will not return here while I remain. If he have
any feeling of honour or shame left he certainly will not."

"But the manors! my dear Miss Barham--the manors!" cried Mr. Carr;
"what can be done about the manors? Oh, he certainly must return here,
for he has left his carriage and his servant."

"Then if he does," said Helen, "by your permission, my dear sir, I
will remain in my own room till he is gone, and will not see him on
any account whatsoever."

"Oh, quite right--quite right, my dear Miss Helen," replied Mr. Carr;
"the foolish fellow doubtless thought you poor and friendless; but he
will find himself mistaken; and when he sees you with seventy or
eighty thousand pounds, or, may be, with a hundred--for I have not
calculated what the arrears will be, and, indeed, cannot, till we
enter into the accounts fully--he will change his tone, I am sure."

Helen smiled sadly, for, notwithstanding the belief, which had gained
a strong hold of her, that there might be some truth in what Mr. Carr
said regarding the claims of her family to greater fortune than they
possessed, she could not help looking upon his expectation of
recovering it as a mere dream.

"If he were to alter his tone," she replied, "I should certainly never
alter mine. But I will go now, Mr. Carr, and write at once to my
brother. I have many important things to tell him."

"Bid him come down here, with all speed," exclaimed Mr. Carr--"bid him
come down here, with all speed. He will soon recover his health here,
and if he do not, you will do quite as well; the entail was in the
female line, as well as the male, and, indeed--"

"But I thought you proposed, Mr. Carr," said Helen, "to accompany me
to London. I know that it is too late to-day, and, indeed, I feel too
faint and weak to undertake such a journey without repose; but I did
hope that you might be able to go to-morrow, for I only intended to
write to my brother to comfort him in the meantime. You heard what
that miserable man said about his state of health."

"Oh, he exaggerated--he exaggerated!" answered Mr. Carr. "Don't you
see, he had an object to gain? But, however, I will go up, if you like
it; and, indeed, perhaps it would be the best way. Then we could
settle all things with your brother speedily, and I could set the
Bow-street fellows upon the track of these villains who have carried
off so much of my property. You say very right, my dear, it will be
the best way, and we will go to-morrow--that is, if you be well
enough, for we must not risk your life too. You must take care of
yourself--you must take care of yourself, my little lady, for you will
be a rich dame some of these days, and life becomes well worth
preserving, when people have plenty of money."

Helen gazed down upon the ground, and her eyes filled with tears, but
she merely replied--"A little repose is all that I require--I shall
be quite able to set out to-morrow; but now I will go and write to my
brother, and pay the young man from the inn at Sheffield, who is
waiting in the kitchen, I fancy."

"Ay, do, my dear Miss Barham--do," said Mr. Carr. "I would offer to
pay him, but, really, these men have taken all the money I have got."

"That would be quite unnecessary," replied Helen; "I do not think they
took anything from my room, and I have, luckily, plenty of money in my
desk."

"Plenty?" said Mr. Carr, with a smile. "Never think you have plenty,
my dear Miss Barham; you will always find more than enough to do with
it, if you had twenty times as much."

Helen made no reply, but retired to her chamber as she had said, and
after having paid the boy from Sheffield, wrote a long letter to her
brother, and another to Juliet Carr. To the first she told all that
had taken place between herself and Mr. Carr, regarding the fortune
which he said was unjustly withheld from them. She entered into the
whole of her own recollections, and the facts which induced her to
believe that there was some ground for the statements of the old
lawyer, and at the same time she informed her brother of her
approaching return to London. The most important intelligence of the
whole, however, was conveyed in a postscript of a few words, to the
following effect:--"You need no longer be under any apprehension
regarding the consequences of an act that you lately committed, which
you once told me of. Both the papers were destroyed before my own
eyes, by a man who seemed to know something of you, and who had
obtained possession of them in the commission of another crime."

The letter to Juliet was upon other topics, though she noticed briefly
all that had occurred at Yelverly, and stated that she was about to
return to London, accompanied by Mr. Carr. In the end of the letter
she said--"Count Lieberg has been here, and has justified too sadly
the opinion which Sir Morley Ernstein and Lady Malcolm entertained of
him. He has insulted me cruelly, dear Juliet; and, I do not know why,
but since I have had your friendship, and the support and protection
of one who is, I know, very dear to you, my spirit has risen, even in
spite of much sadness; and those insults which, a few weeks ago, I
looked upon as a part of my fate, a misery that I was born to endure,
I now feel angry and indignant at, and my heart burns within me. It
seems as if being admitted to call myself your friend, has given me,
back a dignity of feeling that misery and friendlessness had before
taken from me. The poor teacher of music and of drawing, who could
hardly gain enough, by her utmost labour, to keep herself and her
brother from absolute want, seemed to consider herself, as well as to
be considered by others, as merely a being to be pursued by the wicked
and licentious, and with no other task before her, than to struggle
and resist, till age came to relieve her from any share of
attractions, without feeling the least anger or surprise at views and
proposals the most degrading. Now, however, it is different, and I
feel the insult that this man has offered me to the very heart.
Nevertheless, my dear Juliet, you must, on no account, mention this to
Sir Morley Ernstein; we both know his noble and his generous nature
too well to doubt that it might, and very probably would, produce a
quarrel between him and the other, which might end fatally. Just in
the proportion as I am unprotected, poor, and without any claim to the
generosity and friendship of any one, would he think himself called
upon to resent an injury and an evil inflicted upon her to whom he has
shewn so much disinterested kindness. I tell it to you, because I will
conceal nothing from you; but you must on no account let him hear one
word of what I have said, as you value your own peace, and as you
value mine."

Before Helen had concluded her letter to Juliet Carr, she received a
message from the old lawyer, informing her that Count Lieberg had sent
somebody from Sheffield with post horses, to bring away his carriage
and servant, as he did not intend to take the manors or return to
Yelverly; and about half-an-hour after she was summoned to the
drawing-room to speak with two of the magistrates, who had been
recalled by Mr. Carr. Their object was, of course, to ascertain in
what direction the house-breakers had fled, and by what signs they
could be recognised. In regard to the first point, Helen made a clear
statement of what had taken place, and repeated what the man, Harry
Martin, had said, respecting their soon being safe in Scotland,
without at all imagining that these words had been spoken for the
express purpose of misleading; but the information that she could or
would give in order to identify the plunderers was very small. She
described the phaeton generally; but as to the colour, or any other
distinctive mark, she could say nothing, having only seen it in the
night, and being too much agitated and frightened to take any great
notice if it then. The forms and features of the men had been so
thoroughly concealed by the smock frocks which they wore, and the
crape which was drawn over their faces, that Helen said truly, she
could tell nothing regarding them in general by which they could be
distinguished from any other men.

"But," exclaimed one of the magistrates, "you saw one of them, Miss
Barham! Let us have an account of him, at least. It very often happens
that one being known, his accomplices are speedily traced."

"But I told you, sir," replied Helen, apparently with some surprise at
the request, "I told you that I had promised most positively never to
say anything by which he could be recognised."

"But of course," cried the magistrate, "you do not intend to regard
such a promise as binding!"

"As much as any other promise I ever made," answered Helen; "he might
have taken my life if he had liked it, and----"

"But listen to me, my dear young lady," said the other magistrate,
"promises made under threats and intimidation are always held to be
invalid. Neither law, religion, nor justice, recognise them for a
moment."

"I really do not know," replied Helen--"I am no great casuist in such
matters. The man did not threaten me in the least degree, but he might
have taken my life if he had thought fit. If he had done so, the law
would have assigned to him no worse punishment than for breaking into
the house; and on no consideration whatsoever will I give the
slightest indication by which he may be discovered."

The magistrates then took another turn, and tried to alarm her,
saying, they had power to compel her to answer their questions, that
she might be treated as an accessory after the fact. Helen, however,
turned to Mr. Carr, asking--"Do you suffer this, sir? You are a
magistrate also, I think, and I must know if you wish me to be treated
in this manner."

"No, no, my dear young lady," said Mr. Carr, moved by very different
feelings from those which either Helen or the magistrates attributed
to him, and, in fact, looking upon her already as the heiress which he
presumed her to be. "No, no, my dear young lady, this shall not be
done. Gentlemen, Miss Barham must either be persuaded by fair means,
or must be silent at her will. I cannot have her bullied."

The two magistrates seemed somewhat offended at the term which Mr.
Carr employed; but the ci-devant lawyer was quite chivalrous in
defence of his young friend, quoted all sorts of law to prove that his
brethren of the bench were perfectly in the wrong, overwhelmed them
with a multitude of obsolete terms, and would hear no argument in
reply whatsoever. The two magistrates took up their hats, mortified
and annoyed, and, with the dogged stalk of two British mastiffs,
marched out of the room and the house, saying, "that Mr. Carr might
manage the affair as he liked best himself."

"I will tell you how I will manage it, my dear Miss Barham," he said.
"I will put two of the Bow-street runners on the track, and promise
them a percentage on every ounce of gold and silver they recover. Much
better is it for me to lose a little and get back the money, than to
pay a great sum and hang them all. These county magistrates, with one
thing or another, would let them go on till all the money was spent,
and all the plate melted; but the Bow-street officers will take care
of that, if they hope to have a share; and so we will set out for
London to-morrow without fail."

The good gentleman's purpose was executed, and he and Helen proceeded
to Doncaster, and thence to London, without pause or delay. Mr. Carr
himself had a strong objection to inns and hotels, and he consequently
drove at once to Lady Malcolm's house, having a sort of claim to the
hospitality of that lady, as his wife's first cousin, which he did not
fail to put forward on all occasions when he visited London. To his
surprise, and that of Helen's, however, a maid-servant opened the
door, and informed Mr. Carr that her lady, Miss Juliet, and Sir Morley
Ernstein, had gone down together to spend a few days at the little
watering-place called Sandgate.

Helen remarked that there was something in this intelligence which
made a scowl, such as she had seldom or ever seen there before, come
upon the face of Mr. Carr.

"Gone down to Sandgate with Sir Morley Ernstein?" he exclaimed,
swearing a desperate oath at the same time. "That is strange enough!"

"Oh, but she will be up in a day or two, sir," replied the maid, who
knew Mr. Carr quite well, and attributed his anger to a wrong cause;
"and I am sure she will be delighted if you will stay here till she
comes; for she always said that a bed was to be ready for you--and
Miss Helen, too, I am sure she will be glad to see. I hope you are
well, ma'am, and have passed a pleasant time in the country, though
you look a little tired like--But I'll go and call the housekeeper."

That functionary accordingly appeared, and confirmed all the maid had
said; and though Helen had some hesitation as to remaining at Lady
Malcolm's house without an invitation from its mistress, yet the
assurances of the housekeeper, who knew her lady well, were so strong,
and Mr. Carr insisted so vehemently, that she yielded, and took up her
abode in the little room which she had tenanted before, close to that
of Juliet Carr.

No sooner was Mr. Carr installed, than he wrote a note of the most
pressing kind to his daughter, telling her that he had come to London
on business of great moment, and begging her to return instantly to
meet him in the capital. He entered into no explanations of his views
whatsoever, but requested Juliet, as probably it would be inconvenient
for Lady Malcolm to come up with her, not to make any delay on that
account, but to set out at once, immediately after receiving this
letter.

This being done, and having taken some refreshment, he proceeded at
once to the house which Helen had formerly inhabited, where her
brother William, who had received her letter in the morning, was
waiting in a state of excitement of joy and astonishment impossible to
describe. Helen, who accompanied Mr. Carr, remarked one thing,
however, which made her fear that her brother had once more fallen
amongst bad associates; he was extremely anxious to go into the
country, vowed that though Lieberg was a liar, as he termed broadly
it, and he had never been seriously ill at all, it would do his health
good to be away from London; and added, that if Helen had only given
him time, he would have come down to her in the country, without
giving her the trouble of coming up to him.

Like all weak persons, William Barham was ever ready to attach himself
to any one who would flatter his hopes or his wishes, hating
unpalatable truth of all kinds, almost as much when it regarded his
own situation, as when it affected his own conduct. With Mr. Carr he
was delighted, vowed that he was a very honest fellow--that he would
put himself entirely in his hands--and that there could be no earthly
doubt that he was quite right in regard to the view he took of the
case. Thus, after a long conversation, they parted, and Mr. Carr
returned with Helen to Lady Malcolm's house, enjoying the idea of
having so soft a person to deal with, almost as much as if he had
still been a solicitor in full practice.

Helen, however, was sad and dispirited, and felt that the tone of her
brother's conversation altogether was painful and distressing. Some
time had now elapsed since she had seen him; the effect of the country
on her mind had been calm and refreshing; and all that was dark and
bad, all that was weak and foolish in the character of her brother,
seemed to stand out the more prominently from the state of her own
mind. When we wish to see an object distinctly through a glass, we
take care to wipe it clean from all specks and dust; and there is
nothing that clears the mental vision so much of all the dark and
dimming things of earthly life, as calm communion with the spirit of
God's works in scenes where man's handy-work has wrought but little.



CHAPTER XXX.


In looking at one of the finest and most sunshiny pictures of Claude
Lorrain, and in marking the calm and gentle brightness which his
pictures generally display, it has often struck me that they afforded
a fine image of happiness--of that pure dreamy happiness which is
sometimes the portion of youth. The calm, refreshing shades in the
foreground--shades produced not by clouds or by storms, or by the
proximity of night, but by some sweet object softening the light, and
mitigating the heat--the immense boundless distances, blending into
the blue sky, Earth losing itself in Heaven--the prospect embracing
every sort of object that can enchant the eye, fields, and plains, and
hills, and woods, and villages, bridges, and streams, and lakes, in
gay confusion, and ruined temples waking sweet associations of the
past, and man's living habitations giving the idea of dear domestic
peace, each catching the bright sunshine, and each beautiful, though
vague--the poet-painter surely intended all this as the symbol of a
happy dream, where present enjoyment is calm though full, and every
object of desire and hope is stretched out before the future, and
lighted by the sun of youth and fancy, till the remote end mingles
with heaven itself.

The three days that Morley Ernstein and Juliet Carr had passed at
Sandgate, had been, like one of those pictures of Claude Lorrain, all
brightness, all hope. There seemed not to be a cloud in the whole sky;
but those sweet days of happiness are often like the glowing mornings
of tropical climes, where, in the midst of a heaven previously without
spot, a small, dark cloud appears, no bigger than a man's hand, and
ere many hours are over, the hurricane sweeps past, and all is
destruction, desolation, and sorrow.

The fourth day broke as brightly as any of the former, and Morley
Ernstein, who, for propriety's sake--or for the sake of that which a
corrupted state of society believes to be propriety--had been driven
by Lady Malcolm to sleep at another house, came in to breakfast as
usual, and to arrange with her he loved some pleasant scheme for the
passing of the coming hours. They had sat up late on the preceding
night, enjoying the balmy summer air, as it swept over the sea, and
Juliet had not yet quitted her room. At the place where she usually
sat, however, had been laid down a letter, and Lady Malcolm, who
entered the room first, wondered from whom it could come. Juliet
herself soon appeared, and, without noticing the epistle, talked to
Morley for some time, upon all those things which first interest
lovers when they meet, and might have gone on still longer, had not
Lady Malcolm--who was at an age when small matters are great, and who,
moreover, had always been gifted with that peculiar sort of
irritability which never suffers one to rest till the inside of a
letter has been seen--insisted upon Juliet opening hers, though Juliet
had said before that it was from her father, and was only that which
he wrote her every week.

To please her cousin, however, she broke the seal; but poor Juliet's
countenance underwent a sad change as she read the few lines that it
contained, and her voice faltered sadly, as she said--

"My father is in London; he has come up in great haste about various
matters, and requires my presence immediately, without a moment's
delay. He refers me to a letter from Helen, which I have never
received, and speaks of Yelverly having been broken into by robbers. I
am afraid I must go directly, Harriet."

As one may suppose every thing was soon in confusion. Lady Malcolm
read the letter, and saw that it was imperative. Juliet wished to go
alone, but her cousin would not hear of such a thing, and said she was
quite ready to return to London: Morley Ernstein professed himself
rejoiced that Mr. Carr had come to town, and spoke a few words for
Juliet's ear alone, which made the blood mount into her cheek. Lady
Malcolm did not seem so well contented, however, and after breakfast
she and Juliet consulted together, sending Morley to see that
everything was ready for their immediate departure. In five minutes
after, however, Lady Malcolm despatched her maid to call him back
again, and when he entered the little sitting-room of the inn, he
found that good lady standing ready to speak with him, and bearing
very much the air of one who has something unpleasant to communicate,
and does not well know how to do it.

"My dear Morley," she said, "I have just been talking to Juliet about
you and her father; for on hearing that he had come suddenly to town,
I began to be in a fright lest something unpleasant might take place,
if he saw you at once as the acknowledged lover of his daughter,
before he is a little prepared----"

"But, why--why?" demanded Morley, with some surprise. "If he had not
come, I should have gone down, as soon as Juliet herself left town, to
ask her hand at once. She is well aware that such was my intention.
Why should anything unpleasant happen, my dear lady?"

"That is what I was explaining to Juliet," said Lady Malcolm. "A long
time ago, there was a sad quarrel between your father and Mr.
Carr--all about me, too, unfortunately--and though the thing is passed
by and gone, my dear Morley, yet I think it would be very much better
if you would let us go up first, and follow to-morrow, when I have
seen Mr. Carr, and explained the whole matter to him. Now do not look
sad and discomposed; it is only a precaution, but, depend upon it, it
is a wise one. He is an irritable, and a passionate man, Mr. Carr,
and, in the haste of the moment, he might say something which he would
never retract. But as I will manage it, all will go right, depend upon
it."

"But what says Juliet?" demanded Morley, while that small dark cloud
which we have spoken of as announcing the tempests of tropical skies;
now first appeared upon the horizon of his own happiness. "What says
Juliet, Lady Malcolm? I would fain speak with her. You alarm and
surprise me."

Lady Malcolm immediately called Juliet from her room; but she came in
with so cheerful a countenance, that the fears which had suddenly
taken possession of Morley's heart, disappeared before its sunshine.

"What is this, Juliet," he asked, "that Lady Malcolm tells me? It
seems," he continued, "that she and you have determined to cut me off
from a day's happiness, dear Juliet; and wish me to stay here till you
have seen your father?"

"You are not angry with me for wishing it?" said Juliet, giving him
her hand, for he had spoken in a tone of vexation. "If you are, you
shall come, Morley. But I thought what dear Lady Malcolm proposed was
much better. She has explained to me the cause of my father's
crossness on that day when first we met you, which I never knew
before. But I am sure that if we have an opportunity of speaking with
him calmly and quietly, he will not oppose us in any degree. He never
does thwart me, and the only danger lies in taking him by surprise,
and provoking him to utter something harsh. When he has said a thing,
he adheres to it inflexibly, and, therefore, I thought it much better
not to risk anything.--I tell you the whole truth, Morley, as I ever
will, and now, having done so, you shall act as you like."

"Then I will stay here, Juliet," replied Morley; "for as my whole
happiness depends upon obtaining you, it shall never be said that any
rashness of mine whatsoever cast away the cup of happiness when it was
so near my lips. I will not set off for London, then, until to-morrow
morning, for I fear, Juliet, I could not keep myself away, if I were
in the same town with you, and then I should never cease to reproach
myself, if anything went wrong."

"Nothing will--nothing can!" said Juliet, with a smile.

Lady Malcolm, finding that their plan was settled, quitted the room
for a moment; and Juliet Carr, seeing that a slight shade of
apprehension still hung upon her lover's countenance, added--"Nothing
will go wrong, Morley, depend upon it; and though I dare not make any
other promises, this, at least, I may venture to say; the hand you
have sought, Morley, shall never be given to any one else--believe me,
on my honour."

"I do believe you, dear Juliet," cried Morley, enthusiastically--"I do
believe you, from what I feel myself; for I cannot think that those
who have loved as we have, could ever forget that love so far as,
under any circumstances or for any consideration, to enter into an
union with another than the person who first possessed their heart.--I
do not know why I am apprehensive, Juliet, or of what; but certainly
it is not lest you should give your hand to another."

The half-hour that was to intervene before the departure of Lady
Malcolm and Juliet Carr passed as rapidly as the half-hours of
happiness usually do; and Morley Ernstein was soon left alone to while
away the time, amidst scenes which had seemed full of joy and beauty.

There is a fine paper in the _Spectator_, from the hand of Addison
himself, upon the effect which would be produced in the physical world
by the absence of the coloured rays of light, showing the dull,
greyness that would spread over the whole universe; and certainly in
the moral world, the absence of those we love produces the same
effect. How instantly does all around us become changed!--how rapidly
does everything lose its brightness and its glow!--how grey, how
leaden, how heavy, falls upon the eye every object in which we took
pleasure while the beloved were with us when the light of love is
gone! Morley had fancied the scenery around him beautiful--he had
thought everything full of loveliness and brightness; but it was in
truth Juliet Carr that he saw reflected from all on which his eye
rested; it was her beauty, her beaming countenance that he beheld on
the sunshiny sea, in the bright landscape, in every ride or drive
around; and now that she was gone, all things seemed, indeed, "flat,
stale, and unprofitable."

In vain he sought for occupation or for amusement; his spirit was
impatient, his heart was apprehensive. Twenty times in the course of
the day, he felt angry with himself for not accompanying Juliet to
London--twenty times he felt tempted to send for horses, and follow
her as fast as possible.

The day ended at length, notwithstanding all its tediousness, and
gladly did he see the following morning break, and the horses brought
to the door. The coach went wondrous slow for his impatience, and
every stoppage seemed to him an unpardonable crime on the part of the
coachman. But the journey, as the tedious waiting of the preceding day
had done, and as everything else, whether pleasant or unpleasant, must
do, passed away in the end; and towards seven o'clock, he found
himself at the door of the hotel.

On his table was a note from Lady Malcolm, very brief, and evidently
written in haste. The few words which it contained were as
follows:--"My dear Morley, pray come here directly. I have a great
deal to talk to you about; Helen Barham too is here, and has promised
to stay with and console me."

Morley Ernstein let the note drop out of his hand. "To stay with and
console her!--Console her, for what?" he exclaimed. "In the name of
Heaven what has happened?" and snatching up his hat, he darted away to
Lady Malcolm's, with the speed of lightning, making no answer to the
waiter's demand of, "Dine at home to-day, sir?"

At Lady Malcolm's the quiet appearance of everything provoked him. The
footman who opened the door presented as calm a face, answered with as
easy a tone, and moved with as slow a step, as if everything had gone
on in peace and happiness since Noah and his train issued forth from
the ark. Morley Ernstein could not affect a tranquillity he did not
feel, and while the man was walking up the stairs before him, as if
his joints were becoming ossified, the young gentleman suddenly pushed
past him, and entered the drawing-room unannounced.

Lady Malcolm was seated quietly at work, and Helen Barham was reading;
but, though Morley looked round for the bright angelic face of Juliet,
and the less prepossessing one of Mr. Carr, no such objects presented
themselves; and the grieved, anxious expression of Helen's
countenance, as she raised her eyes and beheld him, told at once that
something painful had happened, something which she knew would
distress him much.

"Oh, dear, I am so glad you are come!" exclaimed Lady Malcolm, "though
I am sure I do not know what is to be done--but you must judge
yourself."

"Where is Juliet?" demanded Morley, eagerly interrupting Lady
Malcolm--"where is Juliet, dear Lady Malcolm?"

"She is gone," replied Lady Malcolm; "Mr. Carr would take her home
with him, in spite of all I could say. I explained the whole to him;
and Juliet herself, I am sure, told him all; but he said nothing but
'hum,' and 'ha!' and in reply, when I told him you would be here
to-night, he only grumbled that he was sorry, but could not stay."

Morley was agitated far more than lady Malcolm had expected. Love is
blind in some respects, and in moments of joy is very dull of sight
indeed; but at the first touch of sorrow, comes upon it a prophetic
spirit which teaches it to see the evil afar off, and shrink at the
anguish that too often besets its path. Morley stood still in the
middle of the room, without attempting to take a seat, and looked
steadfastly down upon the ground, asking himself what he should do
next.

"My dear Lady Malcolm," he said, at length, "you must forgive me for
making my visit a very hurried one. I can bear anything but
uncertainty, and I must set off immediately for Yelverly."

"Not to-night!" exclaimed Lady Malcolm.

"Yes, this very night, dear lady!" replied Morley; "I should not sleep
five minutes if my head were on the softest pillow in England; so I
may as well pass the hours of darkness in my carriage as anywhere
else. I shall be at Morley Court about mid-day to-morrow, and can see
Juliet and her father, and know my fate before another night pass over
my head."

"Oh! it will all go very well," said Lady Malcolm; "do not be afraid,
my dear Morley. If you but consider, you will see that Mr. Carr will
never be so foolish as to make any difficulty. He thinks of nothing on
earth but money, you know, and in that point he certainly cannot
object to you."

Morley smiled sadly, but still with some renewal of hopes, and he
answered: "Well, we shall see; but at all events I cannot bear
uncertainty, and will go away at once."

"Nay, nay," rejoined. Lady Malcolm--"stay a little; here is your young
friend Helen Barham, to whom you have not said a word."

Morley felt that he had been unkind, and going round, he took Helen's
hand. It was as cold as marble; and, as she looked up in his face, it
was with an expression that struck him much, and carried him away for
a moment from the selfishness of his own sorrow. The look was not a
grave one; on the contrary, it was intended to be cheerful; but the
forced smile, the eyes that were full of sadness, the quivering of the
lip and nostril, betraying a struggle against tears, all spoke of
grief at heart; and Morley, after conversing with her for some little
time, went away from Lady Malcolm's house, saying to himself--as I
have had occasion to say more than once--although he saw nothing
of the feelings that he commiserated, except that they were
sorrowful--"Alas, poor Helen Barham!"



CHAPTER XXXI.


It was at Yelverly on a summer's evening, but not upon one of those
bright evenings which I have described in another place. The weather
had sadly changed, with all the mutability of temperature which
manifests itself so strangely in England, as if for the purpose of
affording a contrast to the firm and constant character of the people.
The sky was covered with grey clouds, the wind was from the cold
north-east, sweeping sorrowfully over the fields and through the
hedge-rows round Yelverly; and that which had seemed sunshiny, rich,
and beautiful, was now to the eye all cold, sad, and desolate. The
cattle gathered themselves under the shelter of the hedges, the sheep
drew close together, the birds sat motionless upon the boughs, and
some wheeling flights of crows, high up in the sky, added to the
autumnal-look which had so suddenly come over the world.

Notwithstanding the inauspicious aspect of the afternoon, Juliet Carr
had wandered forth with a shawl wrapped close over her fair bosom to
keep out the rude touch of the blast, and her veil thrown over her
head and face. Her heart was somewhat sad, as may well be supposed,
for she had been suddenly separated, without the slightest expectation
of being so, from him that she loved best on earth. But still, though
her mind was not of a very sanguine or hopeful nature, and her
feelings were as deep and keen as ever dwelt in woman's heart, yet she
was no more than sad, for not one word had passed her father's lips to
make her think he would absolutely disapprove of her union with Morley
Ernstein. He had remained perfectly silent upon the subject: somewhat
gloomy, indeed, but nothing more; and that gloominess Juliet thought
might, perhaps, proceed from a feeling of indisposition, for the
fatigues of the journey had brought on an attack of illness, which,
though not alarming, was severe.

To see him suffer, of course, had not lightened the load upon his
daughter's heart; more especially as, at such moments, he repelled
every effort to soothe and comfort him. Indeed, it was clear that, in
sickness, he preferred being attended by any one else than Juliet; and
the sight of her, whose appearance was hailed in the cottage of the
poor as the visit of a consoling angel, seemed rather to affect Mr.
Carr, in his hours of illness, with painful and unpleasant feelings.
It was not that he was cross or morose with her, for it was scarcely
possible for any human being to be so; and, on the contrary, he was
usually much more gentle with her than with any other person, seeming
to pay a sort of deferential respect to her opinion, which sometimes
surprised even Juliet herself. But when he was ill, he had always some
excuse ready for sending her away, and this was so marked that she
perceived it, and perceived it with sorrow.

Such had been the case on the present occasion. Juliet and her father
had arrived the day before, at Yelverly, Mr. Carr feeling himself at
the time extremely unwell. His illness had increased considerably
during the night; and Juliet, though evidently not much to his
satisfaction, had remained attending upon him during the whole day.
Towards evening, however, he became more impatient; and upon pretence
that it was better for her health to take exercise, he insisted upon
her going out--reminding her, that the cottagers on different parts of
the estate had not seen her for some weeks.

Juliet, at the time I have brought her before the reader's eyes again,
had strolled out to one of the distant hamlets which belonged to her
father, had called at two or three of the houses, where no slight joy
and satisfaction had greeted her arrival, had seen that all which
could be done to promote the happiness and comfort of the poor had
been executed during her absence, and was walking home again, with a
heart somewhat sorrowful, when she heard the sound of a horse's feet
proceeding at a rapid pace along the highway hard by. She was at this
time in one of the small green fields that I have mentioned, about a
mile and a half from Yelverly house, and was crossing the meadow by a
foot-path running from one corner to another, which was terminated by
a gate and stile leading to the main road.

Juliet's heart beat at the sound of that horse's feet, she knew not
well why, for manifold were the horsemen who rode along that road, and
not a few of them went at the same rapid and impatient pace which
those footfalls indicated; but yet her heart beat with the thought
that it might be Morley Ernstein; and, though it was very natural that
she should so think, for love is as full of hopes as fears--rapid,
causeless, wild--yet she scolded herself for entertaining idle
expectations, when she had no right whatever to suppose that Morley
could have followed her so soon.

Juliet looked eagerly forward as she approached the stile, before
which the horseman must pass, and in a moment after, the figure of
Morley Ernstein himself flitted across like lightning, mounted on the
same splendid horse which he was riding when they met under the walls
of his own park. He turned not his head to the right or to the left,
little dreaming that Juliet was so near; and though she would have
given a world to call to him, knowing right well that Yelverly was the
object of his ride, and that he would be sadly disappointed at not
finding her there, yet a feeling of modest shame withheld her till it
was too late.

Quickening her pace to look after him, however, Juliet approached the
stile rapidly; but just as she reached it the clatter of the horse's
feet for a moment increased, then ceased altogether--it seemed to her
very strangely; and when, throwing open the gate, with a beating
heart, she looked down the road in the direction which Morley had
taken, she saw the horse just struggling up from the ground, and her
lover lying motionless beside it.

Juliet screamed not, she paused not, she uttered not a word, but
darted on like lightning. The horse was all cut and bleeding, shewing
with what a shock he had fallen; but the poor animal, as if with
generous forgetfulness of his own suffering, after the first trembling
gaze around him, bent down his head to the prostrate body of his
master, seeming to enquire why he lay there so still and silent.

Oh, how cold was the heart of Juliet Carr, when coming up she looked
upon the motionless form of him she loved best on earth, and asked
herself--"Is he dead!" She knelt down, she raised his head, she gazed
upon his face. It was covered with dust from the road, but there was
no blood. The fine expressive eyes were closed, the teeth were hard
set; but as she looked upon him he drew a deep breath. There was still
life! and her first words were--"Praise be to God!"

Just at that moment, clear and gay, came the merry note of some
peasant boy, as he whistled across the lea. Sad, sad were those merry
sounds to the ear of Juliet Carr, and yet they brought the hope of
relief, for the place was at the distance of half a mile to any
dwelling-house, and she feared to leave Morley lying there while she
ran to procure help. Advancing to a gate a little further on, she
looked into the field, and saw the boy whose wild music she had heard,
coming slowly and heavily along, with some instrument of husbandry
upon his shoulder, and beckoning him eagerly to her, she sent him away
to the nearest cottages to procure all the assistance that he could.

In the meanwhile she remained by the side of him she loved, gazing
down upon him with eyes from which the tears now began to drop fast,
and watching with faint hope for some sign of returning consciousness.
She made some efforts, too, to call him to life herself: she untied
the handkerchief that was round his neck, she opened the collar of his
shirt, she brought some water in her fair hands from a neighbouring
stream; and, kneeling down beside him, sprinkled his brow; and, as she
did so, Juliet looked timidly around to see if any one was near, and
then pressed her lips upon his forehead and dewed it with her tears.

Morley moved not, however, even at the touch of love, though he still
breathed; and in about a quarter of an hour four men came down,
bringing a hurdle from one of the neighbouring fields. Upon it Morley
Ernstein was laid, and the men, lifting him up, under Juliet's
direction, carried him to Yelverly, the boy leading the horse, which
had never attempted to stir from the spot.

Arrived at the house, Morley Ernstein was carried up stairs and laid
in the room which had been inhabited by Lieberg, Juliet accompanying
the people who bore him thither, and casting aside the consideration
of everything else but the one great object of doing all in her power
to restore him to life. A man was instantly despatched on horseback
for a surgeon, and Juliet hastened to tell her father what had
happened, and to seek his approval of her conduct.

She found, however, that the news had been already communicated, but
what surprised her more was to find a stranger seated by her father's
bedside. He was a sickly-looking young man--but to spare further
description, I may add, that though a stranger to Juliet, he is not so
to the reader, being no other than the brother of Helen Barham. The
young man started up somewhat awkwardly, for he had been little used
to the society of ladies, and had not those qualities in his own
character which enable men of fine minds to assimilate themselves
rapidly to what is higher, nobler, and more graceful in the mind and
demeanour of others.

Juliet's pale face and haggard look, while she told her father of the
accident which had occurred, did not escape the old man's eyes, and he
fixed a keen and searching look upon his daughter's countenance which
pained Juliet, and added other apprehensions to those which she
already entertained.

"I think, Juliet," he said, as she concluded, "that you might have
taken him to some cottage nearer than this house, and not have put me
to all the expense and trouble of having him here."

"Oh, my dear father!" exclaimed Juliet, turning away with a sad and
reproachful look; but Mr. Carr, who displayed in general a deference
for her opinion, which he did not evince for that of any one else,
cried out quickly, "Well, well, Juliet, the thing is done now and
cannot be helped; we must make the best of it."

At that moment one of the maids entered the room with a quick step,
saying, "Miss Carr--Miss Carr! there's Mr. Langley, the surgeon, up at
the rectory, with Mrs. Lee the rector's wife."

"Send for him directly," cried Juliet, following the maid out of the
room--"lose not a minute, Jane."

The girl hastened away herself, and in about ten minutes more the
surgeon was in the house. Juliet accompanied him to the room where
Morley Ernstein lay, and watched with anxiety--which may have been
deeply felt by those who love, but can never be described even by
those who have felt it--the long, the terribly long examination on
which hung the hopes of life and death. She uttered not a word; she
breathed not a sigh; she was so still in that intense anxiety, that
she not only felt but could hear her heart beating.

The surgeon turned round, at length, and looked at her, seeing then,
for the first time, that some deep feeling was busy in her bosom. He
spoke not to her, but bowed his head gently, with a look of
encouragement; and then the tears burst forth in floods from her eyes,
and she turned away towards the window. At the same moment the surgeon
drew from his pocket that little case of instruments, the sight of
which has so often produced the shudder of mortal antipathy on the
manly frame--the operation of which has with equal frequency plunged
hearts full of affection and tenderness into the bitterest agony of
earthly sorrow, or restored smiles and sunshine to the bright domestic
hearth.

The lancet and the bandage were soon produced, and the red blood
spouted freely from the arm of the injured man. A minute or two after,
while Juliet was still looking forth from the window, she heard a
voice which made her whole frame thrill. It was the rich melodious
tone of the lips of him she loved, but low and softened; and darting
to the bedside, she cast herself upon her knees, exclaiming, "Thank
God!--thank God!"

Great indeed was the change which the flowing of that blood produced.
The dull heavy aspect of life without intelligence was gone. The clear
bright soul had resumed its sway in the mortal tenement, and looked
out from the window of the eye.

"Juliet, Juliet!" said Morley Ernstein, "where am I? Something has
happened!"

But the surgeon held up his hand, saying, "Do not speak. You must be
kept perfectly quiet, especially till the blood has flowed freely.
This will all pass away, but we must guard against any fever.--Do not
be agitated, my dear Miss Carr, all will go well, I assure you. The
only thing that is necessary is quiet: and therefore I must now have
the room cleared. Two or three days of perfect tranquillity and
confinement will remove all evil, except aches and bruises. So you may
rest satisfied, and leave this gentleman to my care without any
apprehension."

"I will leave him for the present," replied Juliet; "but I must be his
nurse, Mr. Langley. I have known this gentleman from childhood, and I
am sure that sir Morley Ernstein will like my tending as well as that
of any other."

"Better--far better--than any on the earth," replied Morley, holding
out his hand to her, while the surgeon was busy binding the bandage
round his other arm. "To see you near me, Juliet, is enough of itself
to make me well.--I remember now that my horse fell, but how I came
hither I do not recollect."

"We will tell you all that afterwards," replied the surgeon; "and if,
in order to make you well, Miss Carr must come back again," he added,
with a meaning smile, "I can have nothing to say; only she must leave
you for the present--for two or three hours at least. During that time
I must stay and watch you; but when I am sure that all is going on
right, she shall take her turn."

On leaving the room of Morley Ernstein, Juliet proceeded at once to
the chamber of her father, to report the state of their young guest;
for although she was almost sure to find, in any communication with
Mr. Carr, something to shock and pain her, yet she struggled against
the repugnance naturally engendered by his words and demeanour, and
overcame, from a sense of duty, every inclination to conceal from the
eyes of her parent the feelings of her own heart.

Had she found her father alone on the present occasion, all that she
felt towards Morley Ernstein would undoubtedly have been poured forth;
but William Barham was still with him, and Juliet saw with some
apprehension that Mr. Carr's face was flushed and feverish. He was
irritable too, and spoke angrily of her having been so long away. She
listened with patience, and made no reply, but informed him of the
state of Sir Morley Ernstein, and told him the surgeon's opinion, that
the young Baronet would soon be well.

"I wish, my dear father," she added, in the end, "that you would see
Mr. Langley yourself. You do not seem at all better, and as he is now
in the house, it would be wiser to consult him."

"If he will not charge it as a visit to me," said Mr. Carr, "I shall
have no objection. But I am not going to pay him for doctoring me when
he is getting paid for his time by this young Baronet."

"Then I will send him, sir," said Juliet, and much reason had she to
be glad that she had persuaded her father to see the surgeon; for it
proved that Mr. Carr was more seriously ill than he imagined, and the
recovery of Morley Ernstein was much more rapid than his own.
Nevertheless, more than one week passed before the young Baronet was
suffered to quit his room; and the situation of Juliet Carr, it must
be owned, was somewhat strange, not only in relation to Morley, but
also in relation to William Barham, who, at Mr. Carr's request,
continued to reside in the house.

All the cold proprieties of society--the icy fetters with which the
evil acts of the bad have contrived to chain the warmest affections of
the generous and the good--did certainly from time to time present
themselves to the mind of Juliet Carr, and acted, in some degree, as a
check upon her. But that degree was a very small one. Her heart was
too pure, her mind too candid, all her intentions and all her thoughts
too high and holy for evil in any shape to present itself to her
imagination; and that which she herself knew not to be wrong, she
could with difficulty believe would be represented as wrong even by a
harsh world.

Many hours of the day, then, did she spend with Morley Ernstein,
cheering him, soothing him; and the only restraint that she did put
upon herself was to ensure that those hours were not passed with him
alone--so long, at least, as he was confined to his own chamber. There
was always some servant in the room with her--not a little to Morley's
annoyance, if we may say the truth--but two or three gentle words from
Juliet, explaining to him her reasons, convinced him that she was
right. He loved her too well to wish that, for his sake, she should do
anything which might bring one reproach upon his future wife.

Still those hours were most sweet to both of them--perhaps not the
less sweet for the slight restraint under which they laboured; for
there are times, as every one must have felt, when the partial
indulgence of our feelings gives greater delight than even the full
enjoyment, as the slight airy haze which sometimes covers a landscape
makes it seem more beautiful than it would appear, unveiled and
distinct. The time soon came, however, when he could come down to the
drawing-room, and sit with her there alone, but it was only during one
day that he enjoyed that privilege, for William Barham, who had
previously remained almost entirely in Mr. Carr's room, except in
those hours when he was rambling over the country round, now contrived
to intrude his society continually upon Morley Ernstein and Juliet,
although it must have been very evident to him that his company was
anything but pleasant to them, and although he himself always seemed
ill at ease in the presence of the young Baronet.

On their first interview, as may be well supposed, Morley was not a
little surprised to find him in England, and at Yelverly; but the
account of his shipwreck was soon given, and his appearance there was
explained by the old friendship of Mr. Carr for several members of his
family. After some questions on these subjects, Morley paid little or
no attention to him, except as an annoying restraint upon Juliet and
himself. In order to free himself from such a check, Morley urged the
surgeon vehemently to let him go out sooner than the man of healing
was inclined to permit. At length, however, the prohibition was taken
off; and that very day the lover accompanied Juliet Carr upon her
morning walk. But of the walk itself, and of all that followed, we
must speak in another chapter.



CHAPTER XXXII.


Love is certainly a strange and wonderful power, affecting all things,
within us and without us, by its own magical influence, brightening
all things, calling forth beauty from all things, bringing out
infinite variety from objects that would otherwise be tame and full of
sameness, and impressing with the stamp of immortal memory, feelings,
thoughts, and words that seem the most evanescent, light, and
transitory.

Morley and Juliet walked on with love for their sole companion; but,
oh! how that sweet comrade of the way enriched with marvellous
splendour the calm fields of Yelverly! But not only for them did he
produce changes, but in them also were wonderful alterations effected.
The lovely countenance of Juliet Carr, always full of deep and high
expression, now became the mirror of all the thousand emotions that
trembled in her bosom. It was like a beautiful lake, rippled by the
gentle wind of an April day, which wafted over it innumerable bright
gleams and soft shadows, rendering it not only lovely in itself, but
lovely in its varieties. The sunshine was predominant, though there
were still some clouds, as I have said, for where can there be vast
hopes without light fears? and though Juliet knew not what it was she
apprehended, yet, from time to time, there was a doubt came over her
to soften the feeling of joy, like the flattened third, which will
often throw into a gay piece of music a tone of melancholy, which
renders the whole far more touching.

She knew not, as I have said, what she doubted or what she feared; and
perhaps such fears as she did entertain might arise only from that
uncertainty of the stability of any human enjoyment which is implanted
in the deepest depths of man's heart--a voice, as it were, from the
tomb, telling him that all in this unstable world must perish and pass
away--the brightest hopes, the warmest feelings, the fondest
affections, purposes, desires, enjoyments, must know decay as well as
every other earthly thing, as well as every leaf, and flower, and
bright form, and beautiful conception, and give place to things of
other unknown worlds, which, we may fondly trust, are more stable than
any of the joys of this. It might be that impression of the mortality
of all this earth's beings that made Juliet Carr, even in the midst of
love and joy, feel the faint shadow of some undefined apprehensions
cross the sunshine of her mind from time to time. Nevertheless, the
summer of love was not less bright, the harvest of joy not less
abundant.

With Morley Ernstein that bright dream of youth was warmer and more
glowing still, and he would have called himself completely happy, had
it not been that fate still left that _something to be wished for_
which accompanies us from the cradle to the grave--which is an
absolute ingredient in all the happiness of this earth where fruition
is but a point, and which leads us on to that grand state of being
where everything is eternal, whether it be joy, and hope, and love, or
pain, remorse, and despair,--that something to be wished for, the
great main-spring of human action and endeavour, without which the
senses, and the heart, and the brain would all stand still, like a
clock run down,--that something to be wished for, which leads us
sweetly on from the soft days of infancy, when we clutch with feeble
efforts the daisy in the grass, through the flowery paths of love,
through the noble but more laborious ways of a high ambition, unto the
bed of death itself, where, still beyond the tomb, the higher, holier
object stands, and the something to be wished for is seen, at length,
in the infinite promises of Heaven!

That there was something to be wished for, that the hand of Juliet
Carr was not yet his, that it was still the object of hope and
expectation, could scarcely be said to diminish the enjoyment of
Morley Ernstein; but yet his eager nature, the fiery and impetuous
spirit, of which I have so often spoken, was at that time in full
ascendancy, and did not suffer the calmer, the more placid spirit of
the soul, to rest satisfied with that tranquil happiness which he
possessed, and which might have lasted for many a day longer, had he
not grasped at more. He was anxious to know his fate, he was anxious
to call Juliet his own, and he pressed her vehemently to communicate
at once to her father the love that existed between them, and to beg
his sanction of their immediate union.

There were contending emotions in Juliet's breast, there was a timid
shrinking from the task of avowing her love to any one but him who
possessed it, and yet a reluctance to withhold any part of her
confidence from her father, even for an hour. Had it not been for this
latter feeling she would have urged Morley to wait patiently for some
time to stay till Mr. Carr was no longer oppressed and irritated by
sickness, to enjoy the bright present, and not to rush too rashly into
the dim future; but the thought of duty intervened, though she did
hesitate in some degree, saying--

"My father is still very unwell, Morley, and I really do not know
whether I shall have any opportunity to-day; for that youth is now
continually with him, and not only that, Morley, but when he is sick
he seems so impatient of my society, and, in spite of all that I can
do to soothe and please him, sends me so soon away, that whatever I
have to say to him I am generally compelled to say abruptly. Now, dear
Morley, I could not enter upon this subject abruptly--at least, it
would be with very great pain that I did so."

Nevertheless, Morley Ernstein still pressed his request, and Juliet,
not grieved but agitated, consented to do what he wished, and returned
with him to the house, thoughtful, silent, and with steps somewhat
wavering and uncertain.

"It must be done, some time, dear Juliet," said Morley, after they had
entered the mansion, "and it were better done at once, my beloved. I
will wait for you here; and, oh! come back to me, Juliet, with bright
looks and happy tidings."

Morley Ernstein remained alone in the drawing-room, and he had not
been there five minutes before he began to think that Juliet was long
in returning. He then walked up and down the room, and looked out of
the window; and then there was the sound of a closing door, and Morley
Ernstein listened for Juliet's step. A step, indeed, was heard, but it
was not that of her he loved; and, in a minute or two after, he saw
William Barham issue forth from the porch, walk slowly up between the
yew trees, and, passing through the iron gate, stop to speak, for a
moment, with one of his (Morley's) grooms, who had brought a horse
over for him from his own house. After that the young man walked on,
and Morley Ernstein sat down and tried to look at a book. He neither
saw one letter of the printed page, nor one line of the engraving that
illustrated it, and he soon closed the volume again, and resumed his
impatient pacing up and down the room.

A quarter of an hour went by--half-an-hour came to an end, and,
muttering, "Surely something must be the matter," Morley opened the
drawing-room door. There came a low murmuring sound from the chamber
of Mr. Carr, as if two persons were conversing eagerly, and in the
tone of one of them Morley recognised, at once, the voice of Juliet.
Although the door between Mr. Carr's room and the passage prevented
what was said from being heard, Morley instantly drew back, lest even
a word should catch his ear; but he was not destined to remain long in
suspense. A moment after, the door of Mr. Carr's room opened and
closed, and the step of Juliet Carr was heard in the passage. But
where was its elastic lightness? Where the quick and bounding tread
with which she used to seek the room where Morley Ernstein waited her?

She came slowly, seemingly sadly. He could bear the doubt no more, and
once more going forth, he looked up the passage in the direction of
Mr. Carr's chamber. Juliet was there, but she was pale, trembling,
supporting her half-fainting steps by laying her hand upon the cornice
of the old wainscot, and with her bright eyes deluged in tears.
As soon as she saw him, she made an effort and came forward more
quickly, and Morley, throwing his arm around her, drew her into the
drawing-room and closed the door. He pressed her to his bosom, he
asked her again and again, in a tone of wild anxiety, what it was that
grieved her; but Juliet continued to hide her face upon his breast,
and weep in silence for several minutes, speech, and almost thought,
seeming for the time denied to her.

At length, however, she sobbed forth a few inarticulate words. They
were merely--"It is all in vain, Morley--it is all in vain! I can
never be yours. I have promised not to stay with you either--I must
leave you, to see you no more;" and again her face, which she had
raised for a moment to speak, fell upon his bosom, and her eyes
deluged it with tears.

"God of Heaven!" cried Morley Ernstein, "what is the meaning of this,
Juliet? I must not--I cannot--I will not, lose you so! To what can
your father object? With what can he find fault, in myself, my
fortune, and my station?"

"It is not that--it is not that!" cried Juliet. "It is ancient hatred,
Morley--it is other plans, other designs. Oh, Heaven! that my father
should ever have a share in causing you such grief!"

"Grief, indeed?" cried Morley Ernstein. "But will you, Juliet--will
you suffer yourself to be the means of inflicting such grief upon me?
Juliet, you must not, you cannot act so. You are pledged and plighted
to me. You are mine, my beloved, and I will never forego my claim upon
your hand. Oh, Juliet! if you love me, if you have ever loved me, you
will not fail me now in this hour of terrible trial. Juliet, you must
consent to be mine at all risks, and without the consent of any one,
if that consent is withheld upon such unworthy grounds. If one word
can be brought against my character and reputation, if it can be shewn
that I have done anything in life base, dishonourable, or wrong, I
will submit, not without agony, but without a murmur. But, Juliet, if
such is not the case, and if you have no reason to believe that I am
unworthy of you, you have a duty to perform to me as well as to
others, and, dear Juliet, I call upon you; by every tie of love and
affection, to perform it at once. You have no right, Juliet, to be the
means of trampling upon my heart; to doom all my future years to
misery and solitary despair, to take away all the brightness of my
youth, and but to bless me for a moment in order to make me miserable
for ever. Fly with me, Juliet--fly with me! Once united, your father
will readily forgive a step to which he himself drove us. Fly with me,
and be mine at once--."

As he spoke he pressed her closer to his bosom, but Juliet drew back
and disengaged herself from his arms, still leaving her hand in his,
however. "Morley, it must not, and it cannot be," she said. "What!
would you have Juliet Carr fly from the house of her sick father, for
the purpose of violating his express commands? Oh, no, Morley!--no,
that can never be. You would despise me if I did it. But that is not
the only obstacle, Morley; there are a thousand things that you will
learn too soon, which would render it impossible for me to give you my
hand now, even were I willing to forget my duty to my parent. Oh, no,
no," she continued, while the tears which had ceased for a moment
again burst forth from her eyes--"the time will come when you will
hate me, Morley, when you will abhor the day that you first knew
anything of me or mine. That--that is worse than anything to bear--to
think that you should ever have cause to look upon the day that you
met Juliet Carr, as the most unfortunate of your life."

Morley Ernstein gazed upon her for a moment in silence, puzzled by the
words she uttered; but at length he said--"What is it you mean,
Juliet?--You are going to give your hand to another? Oh, Juliet Carr!
beware, beware! Think upon the responsibility you draw upon your own
head. Remember, you not only blast my happiness and peace for ever,
but you take from me all confidence in virtue--all belief in
honour--all trust in human love! You drive me to vice, to wickedness,
perhaps to crime; you plunge me into that whirl of dissipation and
folly, which is the only resource for reckless, hopeless, trustless
despair.--Juliet, you are going to wed another, and ruin both yourself
and me!"

"Never, never, never!" cried Juliet, vehemently. "Morley, you do me
wrong; indeed, indeed you do! I call that God to witness, whose will I
believe I am obeying in sacrificing my own happiness to the commands
of my parent, that no consideration upon earth shall ever induce me to
give my hand to any other man; that I will love you ever, dear Morley,
to the last hour of my life, that I will pray for you as for a brother
dearest to my heart, and that, when death shall free me from a world
where there is nothing but sorrow before me, you shall have a token to
know that my affection was unchanged even to the last hour. I ask
nothing of you, Morley, in return," she continued, after a moment's
pause--"I ask nothing in return, but that you should try never to
think harshly of poor Juliet Carr; to separate her acts in your mind
from the acts of others, and, if you have ever loved her and esteemed
her truly, to remember her but for the purpose of keeping yourself
firm and steadfast in all those high and noble principles that shed
around you a glory in her eyes which shall never pass away from the
picture that memory will supply of the only man she ever loved. Let me
ever hear of you with pride and pleasure, Morley. Let me hear, too, of
your being happy--as happy as the circumstances will permit. Yes,
Morley," she added, laying both her hands gently upon his arm, "happy
with another, who may love you, perhaps, nearly as well as I do, and
who may render your future life brighter than I can do. Oh, yes,
Morley! yes, you were not formed for solitary existence. You were
formed for giving and receiving happiness, and night and day will I
pray that it may be your lot, and that, whatever course of life you
pursue, you may ever be remembered amongst the great, and good, and
happy."

Morley cast himself down in a seat, and hid his eyes with his hands;
not that they contained a tear, for they burned in his head like
living coals, but to shut out, as it were, the terrible and confused
images that flitted before his sight as a vision of the future.

"Farewell, Morley," said the voice of Juliet, sadly and solemnly, as
if she was speaking on the bed of death--"farewell, Morley--farewell
for ever!"

Morley Ernstein started up and caught her again to his bosom. Tears
came then to his relief, he kissed her again and again with agony
which those only can conceive who have known what it is to part for
ever with those that they loved best on earth. Juliet wept, too, in
silence for a moment, and then again murmuring--"Farewell!" she tore
herself from him, and darted away.



CHAPTER XXXIII.


The chilly wind that sighed in long heavy gusts over moor and fell and
wild grass-covered mountain, the damp rawness of the air, the heavy
clouds that lay detached in strange-shaped masses upon the edge of the
distant horizon, all told that the sweet season of the summer was come
to a close, and that the world was dropping into the old age of the
year.

In the northern parts of England, the summer often seems to go out, as
it were, at once, and autumn, especially towards sunset, puts on the
chilling aspect of the winter. But the moment at which I choose to
open this chapter was beyond that of sunset by some hours, and the
traveller who rode alone through a wild, bleak part of Northumberland,
appeared, by the rapidity of his pace, to be eager to arrive at some
place of shelter for the night. Such, however, was not the case; and
little did that traveller care at what hour he reached the home to
which his steps were bent, for despair was in his heart, and all was
barren. The cheerful hall, the blazing hearth, the gay banquet, the
familiar faces, were all to him cold, and lifeless, and not less
desert than the wild hill-side over which he now took his impetuous
way.

The fresh and beaming countenance of Morley Ernstein, which but a few
short months before, when he was first introduced to the reader,
breathed health, and strength, and energy, was now pale, and anxious,
and depressed. The air, the bland expression of youth, was gone,
sorrow and disappointment, and strong passionate thought, had set the
seal of mature life upon his brow. Every touch of early years and
fresh inexperience was done away, and any one who could have looked
upon his countenance would have said that six or seven-and-twenty
years must have passed over his head, rather than the shorter,
brighter count of one-and-twenty.

Though the night was chilly and raw, as I have stated, it was not
dark; a grey film indeed covered the sky, composed of cold damp
vapours, driven hastily along by the keen wind. But beneath was the
moon, which was now near the edge of the horizon, and which not only
afforded a considerable portion of light, even when her broad disk was
not seen, but from time to time glanced through the hurrying clouds,
and glared, large, and cold, and wan upon the traveller's eye.

Still he rode forward along the sandy road, now having nothing before
him but the dim forms of the hills over which his way lay, cutting
upon the sky, now catching a glimpse of some distant tower or village
steeple, rising black and sad above the horizon for a moment, and then
sinking into the confused darkness of all around, as he dashed onward.
At length the light-coloured sand, which had marked out the road,
became mingled with some darker substance, and the path he was
following was thenceforth scarcely to be distinguished. The speed of
the traveller, however, was not relaxed, and with that sort of
recklessness which bitter disappointment brings with it, instead of
striving to guide his horse he let the rein float loose upon the
animal's neck, thinking--"He will find his way--and if not, it matters
little."

He was thus crossing an open moor at a rapid rate when a faint cry of
some kind struck his ear. He paid no attention to it, however,
thinking that it proceeded from some wild bird of night, startled from
its marshy nest by the sounding feet of his horse; and rode quickly
on, still plunged in his own thoughts, when suddenly the beast that
bore him shied wildly from some object at the side of the road, and
Morley Ernstein, catching up the rein, drew the animal in, and turned
his head towards the thing that had frightened him. He then heard the
voice of a child, apparently crying bitterly, and although he had
become by this time reckless and careless of himself, the better part
of his heart's feelings was still untouched, and, springing to the
ground, he approached the spot where the little wanderer sat.

Morley found there a boy of about four years old, who at first made no
answer to his manifold questions but by tears. At length, however, he
made out that the poor child was crying for some one whom he had lost,
and whom he called "Annie;" but difficult indeed was it to discover
where or how this person was to be found. All that the boy could tell
was, that he had left her "by the fire," and Morley in vain
endeavoured to discover where the cottage lay to the fire in which he
fancied the poor child alluded; the urchin still replying to all
enquiries that he had left Annie by the fire.

"Well, my boy," said Morley, in a kindly tone, "shall I take you to
seek for Annie?" and the child, instantly starting up, held out his
hand. "I will take you up before me on the horse," continued
the gentleman, and the boy shewed anything but unwillingness,
exclaiming--"Harry did that."

The young gentleman accordingly remounted, taking the little fellow up
on the pommel of the saddle. "Now, which way shall I turn, my man?" he
said. But the boy could give him no information; and he rode on,
determined to place the child in safety at the next village, and then
to send out different persons to enquire for his parents. Proceeding
more slowly than he had hitherto done, Morley advanced across the
moor, the undulations of the ground preventing him from seeing beyond
a few hundred yards around him. At length a bright glare suddenly
burst upon his sight, rising over the slope before him, and a moment
or two after he came in sight of one of those immense fires of waste
coal, which mark out the edges of pits in the North. The flame rose up
many yards in height, waving to and fro, as the keen wind drove it,
and canopying itself with a loud of lurid smoke, while below appeared
the intense glow of the fire, spreading over some twenty or thirty
feet of ground.

"There--there's the fire!" cried the boy; "Annie's by the
fire--Annie's by the fire!" and Morley, beginning to comprehend what
the poor baby meant, pushed his horse onwards toward the glare, though
it was not without great difficulty that he forced the animal to
approach it. No human form, however, appeared by the light, and the
boy, after seeming somewhat bewildered, exclaimed--"No, it is not
there--no, it is not there.--It is the other fire."

At the same time he pointed with his hand towards the east, and
Morley, following that indication, turned his horse once more upon the
road. As soon as he had issued forth from the bright red light that
spread around, he perceived a faint glow at some distance, in the
direction towards which the boy had pointed; and, as he rode onward,
he found that he was approaching another of the pit-mouths, where a
still larger pile of waste coal than that which he had before seen was
blazing up into the sky. Before he reached it, however, the road
dipped down into a little ravine, and as he followed its course,
losing sight of the fire for a moment, he heard the voice of
lamentation, and a moment or two afterwards some one from the top of
the bank exclaimed, in a tone of agony--"Have you found him,
Harry?--have you found him?"

Morley drew in his horse. "If it be of a child you are speaking," he
cried, raising his voice, "I have just found one on the moor. He is
quite safe, and I will bring him round to the fire a minute."

The voice which had spoken made no reply, but in a moment or two
after, Morley's horse carried him again within sight of the pit-mouth,
which was still at the distance of three or four hundred yards. By the
light of the burning coal, he beheld a female figure walking about
with gesticulations which he easily conceived to be those of grief;
but it was evident that the person whom he there saw could not be the
woman whose voice he had heard from above, when he was in the ravine.
He rode on, however, towards the fire, and was again saluted by the
name of Harry as he came up, though, the moment after, the mistake was
perceived, and the old woman, for such she was, who stood by the
blaze, drew back a step or two, as if inclined to avoid him. No sooner
did she behold the child, however, than she darted forward, and held
out her arms, exclaiming, with a wild cry of joy--"He's saved!--he's
saved!"

The young gentleman lifted the boy gently down to her, and then
dismounted himself, not a little interested in all that he saw; and,
to say the truth, at that moment Morley Ernstein was not a little glad
to find that any subject upon earth could afford him matter of
interest even for a moment; for the dull and heavy load of despair was
upon his heart, and, not an hour before, all the things of life had
seemed in his eyes to have become light and valueless when put in the
balance against that ponderous weight.

The woman's first impulse led her to kiss the child again and again,
even before she offered any thanks to his restorer. The boy also
shewed not a little joy at finding himself again in the arms of the
old woman, and by the terms of endearment which he applied to her,
Morley discovered that it was herself he had wished to designate by
the name of Annie--by which, probably, he meant Granny. While he stood
and gazed, however, at the joyful meeting, between old age and
infancy, the group was joined by another person, who seemed more
deeply affected than even the old dame. It was a young  woman of some
three or four-and-twenty years of age, who now came running at full
speed from the bank above the ravine, and she, too,  without noticing
Morley, caught the child to her bosom, pressing it close, and kissing
it a thousand times. The young Baronet did not doubt for a moment that
she was the boy's mother, for only a mother's heart could prompt such
emotions as he there beheld.

When she had given vent to her feelings for a moment or two, however,
she set the child down beside her, still holding it tight by the hand,
and turned to gaze in silence upon Morley Ernstein, in which
occupation the old woman was already deeply busy.

Morley returned the enquiring looks of both; for, to say the truth, he
was somewhat surprised at the reception which he met with, and that
not the slightest word of thanks or gratitude was proffered by either
of the women for that which they evidently conceived to be a very
great service. He could understand, indeed, that the elder woman
might, either from natural rudeness or from timidity, be unwilling or
unable to express her thanks, for she was plain and homely in her
attire, and in her appearance altogether, and was evidently a person
of the lower orders. The younger woman was not only pretty, graceful,
and dressed in a style very much superior to her companion, but was
distinguished by a lady-like and intelligent look, which seemed to
promise a mind capable of comprehending what was due to her child's
deliverer, and of expressing it easily and well. Both, however, gazed
for more than a minute at Morley Ernstein without speaking, and then
turned their looks enquiringly towards each other, as if doubtful what
to say or how to act, and at length the younger drew the elder aside,
and spoke to her for a moment or two in a whisper, while Morley
Ernstein looked around him, not a little surprised at everything that
he beheld.

Morley was unacquainted with that part of the country, having never
visited his northern estates; and the sight of those immense fires,
blazing in the midst of the night, surrounded by wild moors and naked
hills, was calculated in itself to excite an imagination unusually
rich and active, while the meeting with those two women in the midst
of so desolate a scene, with not a trace of human habitation, except a
low, miserable shed of turf, which he saw not far from the mouth of
the pit, and some of the machinery for raising coal, which lay at no
great distance, supplied plenty of materials for fancy to work upon.
Their strange manner, too; the contrast between the appearance of the
one and that of the other; their deep emotions at recovering the
child, and yet their seeming ingratitude to him who restored it; were
all matters of curious speculation, and for the time diverted Morley's
mind from the thought of himself.

"I will stay and see what comes of all this," he said to himself.
"Occupation must now be my great object in life, the deadening of
remembrance and regret, the striving for forgetfulness. I may as well
take the matter for fresh thoughts wherever I find it.--I will pass
the night here, it will be better than the dull solitude of Warmstone,
where I should have nothing but bitter memory for my companion."

As he thus communed with himself, the murmured conversation between
the two women was brought to an end, and the younger one advanced
towards him, still speaking a word or two more to the other, "No, no,
mother," she said, "he is not one of those; I know such sort of people
better than you do. They may put on the clothes of a gentleman, but
they never look like him. This is not one of them, depend upon it. See
how he stands; you never saw a thief-taker stand like that."

The old woman made no reply, and the young one continued addressing
herself now to Morley Ernstein. "I am very much obliged to you, sir,"
she said, "and thank you a thousand times for saving my child, and
bringing him back to me. He strayed away from his grandmother while
she fell asleep by the fire, and we feared that he might have fallen
into some old pit. I am very much obliged to you, sir, indeed, and
thank you with my whole heart!"

As she spoke, she made Morley a low and graceful courtesy; but he
replied, "Is not your husband looking for the child?--What you said to
me from the top of the bank, when you first heard my horse's feet,
made me think so, at least."

"He _is_ looking for the boy, sir," answered the younger woman, "but
he will soon be back again.--I am very much obliged to you, sir;" and
again she made a low courtesy, as if to intimate that she wished the
conference to come to an end. But Morley did not choose that such
should be the case, and he exclaimed--"I will go and seek for him. He
is doubtless anxious about the child, and may very likely not return
for long, unless he knows that the boy is found."

"Oh, he will return--he will return!--there is no fear, sir," replied
the younger woman. "He is anxious enough, poor fellow, no doubt; but
he will soon return, I am sure."

"You had better go away, young gentleman--you had better go away,"
cried the old woman, chiming in, with a more peremptory tone; "they
are wild people in these parts, and you can do no good by staying
here, and may do harm. You had better go away, I say, for this is no
place for you--nor for me either," she added, in a lower tone. "I was
never born for all this."

I have attempted to shew before, that the mind of Morley Ernstein was
not very susceptible of fear; and though there was certainly a sort of
menace in the tone of the old woman, his curiosity was but the more
excited, and he replied, without hesitation--"Oh, dear, no! You had
better let me go and look for him. It is the way of this world, where
a man who has lost one thing must always go and help his neighbour who
has lost something else."

"I think you are laughing at us," said the younger woman, gravely;
"and I tell you, too, I wish you would go, sir. It may be better for
you if you do. If you have really lost anything, and any one here has
found it, it shall be sent back to you."

"I am not laughing at you, my good lady," replied Morley; "what I have
lost is my way, and I meant that I was going to call your husband back
to his, when I have lost my own. Thus it was myself I was laughing at,
if at any one. But the truth is, having, as I said, lost my way, I am
about to ask you for shelter here during the night, as I must have, by
the best calculation I can make, some sixteen or seventeen miles, if
not more, to ride to my own home."

"Shelter here!" cried the old woman, looking at him eagerly, and even
sternly--"what sort of shelter do you expect here, young man? Is this
a place to seek shelter, or are we people that can give it?"

"I really do not know," answered Morley Ernstein. "I certainly thought
that such a thing was possible, or I should not have asked it; there
seems a cottage there----"

Before the old woman could reply, there came the sound of a horse's
feet approaching at a quick pace, and the boy's mother, catching him
up in her arms, darted away like lightning towards the spot where she
had first been standing when met by Morley Ernstein. She seemed to
reach it before the horseman, and Morley could just hear her
exclaim--"He is safe, Harry--he is safe!--Wait till I come down to
you!--Do not come on, I have something to say."

The horse apparently paused; for two or three minutes no other sound
was heard from that quarter; and Morley would have been left to
pursue, uninterrupted, his meditations upon the somewhat peculiar
position in which he found himself placed, had not the old woman who
stood beside him urged him somewhat eagerly to mount his horse and
ride away.

"You don't look like a bad man," she said, "and you are certainly a
young one, and it's a pity to risk a fresh and happy life for an idle
whim. If you had seen as much sorrow as I have, you might very well
sport with danger; but now, I tell you fairly, you are hazarding your
life for nothing."

"I have seen sorrow enough, my good dame," replied Morley, "to care
very little about life; but I believe, as you say, it were better not
to risk it. We have no right to do so in this world; God gave it to,
us for others, as much, if not more, than for ourselves. I will take
your advice, then, and go."

Thus saying, he put his foot in the stirrup, mounted, and turned the
rein to ride away; but he could not make up his mind to go fast, for
the idea of flight from any sort of danger was unpleasant to him.
Before he had gone two yards, then, the sound of the other horse's
feet was renewed, and a moment after he saw a stout man, mounted on a
powerful grey, come round by the road which he himself had followed,
and approach at a quick pace towards the fire.

The young Baronet felt that a struggle might be approaching of a
somewhat desperate character, and he grasped his riding-whip by the
middle, without any sensation of fear, certainly, but with that degree
of emotion which every one must experience at the prospect of coming
strife. Without taking any apparent notice of the new comer, however,
he pursued his way in the direct course, which he had at first taken,
and which brought him within about ten yards of the path along which
the other was now approaching.

Morley rode on, but as they crossed each other, the child's father
drew up his horse, and seemed to gaze at the young Baronet
attentively. He then said, "Good night!" to which Morley replied by
exactly the same salutation, still riding on. The next instant,
however, the other exclaimed--"Holloa! Sir Morley Ernstein! You must
give a word to an old acquaintance, after bringing us back the babe!"



CHAPTER XXXIV.


The old and vulgar proverb--that misfortune makes us acquainted with
strange bedfellows, is true in more senses than in one; for it not
only brings us into contact with persons that we should never
otherwise have met, but it makes us seek companionships which nothing
else, perhaps, could have produced. To be recognised in such a tone,
in such a place, might at any other time have made Morley Ernstein
start with some surprise; but now he drew in his horse calmly and
deliberately, and turned towards the man who addressed him, very
little caring, to say the truth, who was the person, or what was his
trade. In the meanwhile the other approached, and the light of the
fire was sufficiently strong where they stood to shew Morley a
countenance that was familiar to him, but which, for a moment, he
could not connect in memory with any particular circumstance or
situation.

"Ay, you don't recollect me, sir," said the man; "and you saw me only
in a place which I should not think of mentioning anywhere else than
where we now stand--nor, indeed, for that matter, should I take the
liberty of claiming acquaintance with you here, only it can do you no
harm, and I wish to thank you for bringing back the babe."

While he had been speaking, the man's voice led Morley's mind back, by
the paths of remembrance, to the point in the past which referred to
their first meeting. "I recollect you, now, Mr. Martin," he said;
"but, to say the truth, we are at such a distance from the spot where
we last saw each other, that you took me by surprise. So this was your
child I found upon the common. How did it happen to stray so? The poor
thing might have perished in such a night as this."

"True, sir--true!" replied Harry Martin, for it was that bold, and
somewhat unscrupulous personage with whom Morley now stood face to
face. "True, sir--true, the boy might have perished, and with him my
only tie to life. No, not my only tie either, for there is my poor
girl, Mary, I must think of her a bit, too, though I often fancy she
would be better off if I were gone. She would have been better off,
sure enough, if she had never known me; but, however, she loves me,
and I love her, dear little soul; and though I know you gentle people
and others think that we in our way of life have little or no feelings
of any kind, but just to drink and smoke, and fight a main of cocks,
or something of that sort, yet it is not altogether so either, and we
can love our wife, or our sweetheart, or our child, just as much as
the best in the land. I know one thing, that if we had lost the babe,
it would have broke my heart outright, though I I can remember very
well the time when I did not care anything about children, and thought
they would only be a bother to one; but, somehow, since I had one of
my own, I have got very fond of it, and I don't know how it is that
fondness has made me think very differently of many other things too.
So you see, sir, I am very much obliged to you,--only there is one
favour I'll ask of you, which is not just to mention that you have
seen me here; for the beaks are after me for a little job I did some
time ago, and I think of taking a swim over the herring-pond as a
volunteer, for fear, as they say on board the ships, they should make
me work my passage to Heaven by pulling at a rope's-end."

"I will certainly not mention it, Martin," replied Morley; "but I
should like to hear something more of you. I asked that young woman,
who is, I suppose, your wife, and her companion, to give me shelter in
the cottage for this night, having got somewhat out of my way, and
being, I fancy, some sixteen or seventeen miles from Warmstone
Castle."

"Not so far as that, sir--not so far as that," said Harry Martin;
"but, nevertheless, you shall be welcome to stay if you like it. I
know I can trust you; but the women did not know who you were, and
they are in a sad fright about me, poor things! I had left them, for
an hour or two, to go and look out for news; but my poor wife could
not be satisfied, and as I did not come so soon as she expected, went
away to meet me, leaving the boy with his grandmother. The poor old
woman was so tired with all our dodging about for the last two or
three days, that she fell asleep by the fire, and the boy strayed away
after a will-o-the-wisp, or something of that kind, I suppose. But
come, Sir Morley, if you like to stay with us, we will do the best we
can for you, though what you call a cottage is but a hovel, and that
the two women must have. There are some pitmen's cottages, however,
two miles further up on the moor; but between you and I, bad as they
call me, you may rest more safely with me than with them."

"I will stay by your fire, Martin," said Morley, dismounting and
leading his horse back; and in a few minutes more, after some
formalities and introductions of a particular kind, he was seated in
what may be called Harry Martin's domestic circle, and in full
conversation with him, his wife, and mother-in-law.

He perceived that the elder woman looked at him hard from time to
time, and at length she said--"I was stupid not to know you, Sir
Morley, for you are so like your father. There is something of your
mother, too, about the eyes, but you are more like your father."

"I suppose you knew my father well, then?" answered Morley, looking at
her steadfastly, in order to see whether he could trace in her worn,
but still fine features, the countenance of any of the dependents of
his family whom he had known in youth. It was in vain that he did so,
however; the face of the old woman was quite unknown to him, as her
reply soon showed him that it must be.

"Ay, I did know him well," replied the old woman, "and a good man he
was. I wish I had always followed what he told me. It is now about
eighteen years since I saw him, and then he said, very truly, that
those who seek riches by wrong means, are sure to find poverty
straight on their road."

"I certainly am sorry that you did not take his advice," said Morley;
"but I trust you were led to do nothing very wrong in opposition to
his counsel."

"Tut, nonsense, granny!" cried Harry Martin; "you are doting with your
old stories. What wrong did you ever do, if it was not letting me
marry your daughter? You were as good an old body as ever lived, and
as thriving a one, too, after you came back from India, till both
mother and daughter, I believe, fell in love with a scapegrace like
myself."

"I did not fall in love with you, Harry," replied the old woman; "but
I thought you better than you seemed, and, to say the truth better
than you are. You were frank and free; I believed you would be kind to
my poor girl, and, to do you but justice, you have been so. But what I
am talking about is many years ago; she was then a babe, not so big as
little Harry here, and I was the wife of Serjeant More, a good man and
a kind, but somewhat too fond of money withal. Ay, it was a bad
business, that; but it is of no use thinking of it now. I have not
been in those parts, sir," she continued, "since I came back to
England, and I should like much to hear of all the people there. Your
father is dead, sir, I know; pray, how is your mother? She was a
beautiful creature!"

"Alas!" replied Morley, "she has been long dead, too."

"Well-a-day!" exclaimed the old woman, and then, after a pause, she
asked--"and Mr. Sanderstead's family, sir--how are they? He was just
married then."

"He has now eight or nine daughters, I believe," answered Morley; "I
know the room was full of them when I called there one morning."

"Ay," said the old woman, abstractedly, "and what has become of Lawyer
Carr and his wife?"

Morley shrunk, as if a rude hand had been laid upon a fresh wound, but
he replied, after a moment's hesitation--"The old man is still living,
but his wife has been dead, I find, for some years."

"Dead!--dead!" cried the old woman; "and is the child living--the
daughter?"

"Yes, she is," replied Morley, rising--"she is living--Martin, I think
I shall go on."

"Why, what's the matter, sir?" said Harry Martin, gazing on the young
Baronet's face; "a minute ago you were all for staying, and now you
must be gone."

"I am, perhaps, whimsical," replied Morley Ernstein; "I have become so
lately. However, before I go, let me speak a word or two with you on
your own affairs. You talk of going to America, if I understood you
rightly. I do not wish to hear why, or anything about it--I can guess,
perhaps; but two women and a child must be a burden to you under such
circumstances. If they like to come up to Warmstone, while you make
your escape, there is a vacant cottage, I hear from my agent, which
they can have, till they go to join you. Some furniture can be sent
down from the Castle, and if you think fit, I will give full orders
before I leave Warmstone, for I shall not be there more than a day."

Harry Martin had risen while Morley was speaking, and was gazing in
his face, with an expression in which doubt and suspicion seemed to
mingle with satisfaction. "I don't think you would play me a trick,
sir," he said, as Morley concluded, "and yet it's strange enough, your
starting up in that way the moment the old woman mentioned Lawyer
Carr!"

Morley returned his gaze with a look of unmixed surprise, "I don't
understand what you mean," he answered; "what have you to do with
Lawyer Carr? or Lawyer Carr to do with you?"

"Everything in the world," cried Harry Martin, knitting his brows, and
stamping his foot--"everything in the world--don't you know that?"

It was the old woman who now replied, for she seemed now the most
astonished of the party, and catching Martin by the arm, she
asked--"Is it old Carr, then, that you are afraid of? He had better
not touch a hair of your head!"

"Nonsense--nonsense, granny!" said the man; "you don't understand what
you are talking about. But I see Sir Morley has not heard of the job.
Sir, I'm very much obliged to you for your offer, and wont say No, but
will just talk to my wife about it after you are gone, if it would not
be too much trouble for you to give the orders upon the chance."

"I will not fail to have the place put in order," replied Morley; "and
you may be sure that if they do come, they shall be well taken care
of. As for yourself, Martin, I can offer you nothing, for your own
words have, of course, given me to suspect that you have placed
yourself in a situation which precludes me from affording you shelter,
or any sort of aid, except of a pecuniary kind. If, however, you are
in want of money, all that I have about me is at your service."

"Thank you, sir," said Martin, with a light, laugh at the double
meaning of that which was about to spring from his lips; "I am very
much obliged to you, but I do not want your money, or I would have
taken it, I can assure you.--Though that is not true either," he
added; "I might have taken a stranger's, but not yours, Sir Morley;
but the fact is, I don't want money."

"Of that I am very happy," answered Morley; "but I cannot help
expressing a regret, Martin, that you should adhere to a course so
dangerous as well as so evil. I thought, when first I saw you, and
think still, that you were intended for better things, and might
distinguish yourself, and raise yourself high in a good and honourable
course."

The man he spoke to cast down his eyes, and gazed musingly upon the
ground for several minutes, but he then replied--"Thank you, sir, for
your good opinion; but it's all nonsense talking or thinking of such
things now--it's too late in the day to mend. The worst of the laws of
this country, and of what people call society, is, that they never
allow any man to get better. A man may get worse in this world every
day, if he likes it; the bad road is always open before him, and
plenty there are to drive him on upon it. But if he tries to go back
again, sir, to the good road that he has left, there is sure to be
some one to bang the turnpike in his face, and stop him ere he has got
half a mile. I cannot help thinking, sir, that it is a pity those men
who set about making laws and customs, do not recollect that there is
such a thing as amending as well as punishing. I believe it would be
better for all of us if they did; for now, even a hardened scoundrel
like myself, as they would call me if I were in a prison tomorrow,
why, a very little thing would have made me a better man at one time,
and I don't believe it would take very much even now. It may be an odd
thing to say, for a man who does something wrong every day, that he
never does anything that is wrong without being sorry for it very soon
after it's done; but yet it is true; and, even now, a word or two of
encouragement, such as you spoke to me just this minute, makes me feel
quite vexed with myself that I have not gone in the right way instead
of the wrong."

"There is some truth in what you say," replied Morley, "that our laws
and our customs, in dealing both with man and woman, seem to lose
sight altogether of the great object of reformation. Terror is the
only instrument we use, and terror never yet reclaimed. Nevertheless,
though the path back, Martin, must always be more difficult and
laborious than the path onward, still I believe it may be trodden, if
a man have a strong heart and a good resolution; and I trust that,
when you have made your escape to another country, and are out of
danger altogether, you will think of what we have been saying tonight,
and will see whether, in a new world, you cannot live a new life.

"On my soul and honour I will, sir!" replied the man, eagerly. "I'll
do my best, at all events. I'll tell you what it is, Sir Morley
Ernstein--the thing that ruins half of us is want of hope. The least
little bit of hope would very often lead on a man to do much better,
but we don't get it, sir. Once we have done amiss, as the world goes
now, there's no object in stopping. However, sir, I have had some
encouragement, and, as I said just now, I'll do my best, if I can
contrive to get off this time."

"I trust you may do both," replied Morley--"I trust you may do both,
my good friend, for I believe that you are not without good feelings,
if they were well directed. But I will now go on, and before to-morrow
night the cottage shall be all ready for your wife and her mother."

"Stay a bit, sir," said Harry Martin; "I'll walk up with you beyond
the pitmen's hovels. They are somewhat of a wild set, and some of them
may be stirring yet."

Morley threw the rein of his horse over his arm, and walked on with
Harry Martin by his side. Most men would have considered it not the
safest sort of companionship in the world; but no idea of danger to
himself crossed the young Baronet's mind, and his thoughts, to say the
truth, were busy in a struggle which every one must have endured who
has felt for his fellow-creatures.

Amongst all the pieces of casuistry which man puts to his own heart,
there is none more difficult, I might say more painful, to resolve,
than the question of where lenity should stop and just severity begin;
how far, in short, compassion for an offender may be extended, without
injustice to the innocent and to society. I must not say that Morley
felt a strong inclination to aid the man, Martin, in making his
escape, for that was not altogether the sensation which affected him;
but he did regret sincerely, that what he owed to the laws of his
country, prevented him from aiding, in the least degree, the flight of
one whom he believed to be formed for better things, and in whom he
saw, or thought he saw, a tendency to repentance, which would
certainly lead to a new course of life. Nevertheless, he felt that he
had no right to place his individual opinion, his hopes or
expectations, of the man's reformation in direct opposition to the law
of the land, and, consequently, he felt anxious to turn from the
subject as soon as possible, though he felt some difficulty in so
doing.

Harry Martin himself, however, soon relieved him by speaking
first--"Pray, Sir Morley," he said--"can you tell me what has become
of that young scamp, William Barham? I saw him after he escaped from
being drowned--which he never will be, if there's truth in the old
proverb--for he is as bad a youth as ever lived or died unhanged. He
partly put me up to this last job, and then, when it was done, sneaked
out of the way somewhere, and I never could get sight of him
afterwards."

The recollection of the last time he had seen William Barham was,
as the reader may suppose, agitating to Morley Ernstein; but he was
more upon his guard upon the present occasion, than when all the
painful circumstances of his fate had been suddenly recalled to his
mind, a few minutes before, by the questions of the old woman. He
paused for a moment, indeed, ere he replied; but he then answered
calmly enough--"Not many days ago, he was staying at the house of Mr.
Carr, at Yelverly."

"Ha!" replied his companion; "the young villain's betraying me: he is
fit to sell his own soul, though it is not worth buying if he did; but
he had better take care what he is about, or I will break his neck for
him."

"Do nothing rashly, Martin," replied Morley Ernstein; "he is, I
believe, bad enough; but I have a faint recollection of having heard
that some connexion or other has been discovered between him and Mr.
Carr--some relationship or friendship between their parents--I forget
what; but, certainly, it had no reference to you."

"I trust it has not," replied Martin, in the same stern tone with
which he had before spoken; but he still seemed dissatisfied, and
continued to walk by Morley's side in silence, till they had passed a
long row of low-built cottages, and had gone on for about half a mile
on the moor. At length he paused, and pointing on the road before him,
he said--"That is your way, sir. About a mile on you will find a
finger-post, with two roads separating to the right and left; take the
left-hand road, and follow it till you come to a village, where you
must get further directions. Good night, sir!"

Morley wished him good night, and was about to proceed, but he thought
he perceived a degree of hesitation in the man's manner, which made
him pause for a moment. "You seem to have something more to tell me,
Martin," he said; "speak without reserve, if you have."

"Why, there is a word or two, sir," replied Harry Martin, approaching
close to his horse's side, and speaking in a low tone. "If things go
right with me, and I get away, it's all well and good; but you know,
sir, matters may go another way, and then the game's up. As for dying,
I declare, I care no more about it, than about going to sleep; but you
see, sir, there's my poor wife--she is as good a girl as ever lived,
and I don't know how or why it is, but since we were married it has
made a great difference in me. I am not half so wild as I was before;
and I have got a sort of tenderness, if I may call it so, towards all
women for her sake. I believe it is, that I did no rightly know what a
good woman was before I married her; but it is very different now, and
that is the only thing that rests upon my mind. You see, sir, she has
never been used to hard work, but has been brought up as a sort of a
lady, and if I were gone, what would come of her? I think, if I knew
she would be well taken care of, I should not care for anything in
life."

"Make your mind easy," said Morley, "though I cannot exactly say what
I should be able to do for her under such circumstances; I will
promise you to see her established in some honest way of life--some
small school, or other thing, that does not imply any severe
exertion."

The man made no answer, but he grasped the young Baronet's hand tight,
in a way that was not to be mistaken, and thus they parted.



CHAPTER XXXV.


Morley Ernstein rode on more slowly than during the former part of his
journey. His mood was changed, another spirit had come over him. It
was no longer the rash, and reckless vehemence of bitter, perhaps we
might call it angry, disappointment, that tenanted his bosom; but it
was the dark, sad, listlessness of a heart which has given up all
expectation for itself, and only lives faintly in its sympathies with
others. If ever the poet's words were made true, it was in his case,
for "black care did, indeed, sit behind the horseman," and was his
only companion by the way. His mind rested frequently, it is true,
upon the fate and character of the man he had just left, but it was
with a vague, careless, indistinctness of thought, very, very
different from the keen and eager scrutiny which he gave to every
phase of human life, in former times. He thought too, occasionally, of
himself--of the change which he felt had come upon him--of the
lifelessness of the world around--of the painful memories of the
past--of the dull and cheerless prospects of the future. He asked
himself, what he should do to fill up existence? and he answered
himself, with a bitter smile--"It will pass somehow, I suppose; and
the space which now seems long, will probably then seem short. Man's
eye in youth is at the wrong end of the telescope. It is in age that
we see clearly how short are the spaces over which we have passed."

Thus musing, he wended on his way, his journey being much like the
life he contemplated--dull, gloomy, dark, and long; but yet, mile
after mile, slipping away he scarcely knew how. At length, he saw a
faint redness in the sky before him, but took little notice, thinking
that it was occasioned by another of the waste coal-fires. It grew
redder and redder, however, and touches of warm yellow began to
brighten the edges of the clouds--

"Can it be morning already?" he said; but the clear grey which took
place of the blackness of night, soon shewed him, that another day had
indeed begun.

A little more than an hour after dawn brought him to a bridge over a
small stream, but he made his horse pass through the water, and
suffered it to pause to drink. As he did so he gazed around him, and
his eyes rested upon a scene strongly characteristic of that part of
the country.

From the edge of the river stretched up a small field full of ripe
corn, which, notwithstanding the advanced period of the year, had not
yet felt the sickle. Beyond, the land rose, swelling gradually into a
considerable hill, about half way up which appeared an old grey stone
mansion, with a wide sort of park before it, spreading down to the
edge of the cornfield, and covered with short grass. On either side of
the house, stretching half way down the hill, with somewhat prim
regularity of outline, was seen a large, dark mass of wood, leaving
the open space of park lawn between, unencumbered by a single tree of
any kind. The only object that broke the calm, still regularity of the
scene was a group of fine deer, which trotted at an easy pace across
the park, as if seeking for some other spot, where the herbage was
richer, or the sheltering fern more abundant.

The house itself was of a castellated form, and a part of it had
evidently been built at that period when each man was obliged to hold
his own with a strong hand, and the sword of justice was impotent to
protect those who could not find shelter within walls and battlements.
Various plans had been adopted to give modern comforts to the ancient
habitation; windows had superseded loop-holes, and gardens had been
laid out where the spears once bristled and the cannon roared. Morley
did not in the least recollect the mansion, for he had not seen it
since he was an infant; but, nevertheless, from the descriptions which
he had heard, he instantly recognised the house he was in search of;
and, finding his way to a gate, he entered the park, and was soon in
the court-yard of his own dwelling.

Servants had gone down before him; everything had been prepared for
his reception; the place looked as gay and bright as it was possible
to make it; and the time had been, not long before, when Morley would
have walked well pleased through the long, wainscoted corridors and
quaint old rooms,--would have enjoyed that calm look of the past which
ancient houses have about them; and might have compared it to the
tranquil aspect of a good old man at the end of a happy life, and
wished that his own latter day might come with as little decay and as
much quiet cheerfulness. Now, however, he walked straight to the old
drawing-room, without looking either to the right or left, and cast
himself down in a chair, each new thing which the hopes of the past
had linked to happiness in the future, producing nothing but bitter
pain, now that the golden chain was broken by the hand of
disappointment. The first sight of the old dwelling had instantly
brought back the bitterness to his heart, and the entrance into his
home only made him recollect that that home was to be for ever
companionless.

His old servant, Adam Gray, had followed him, and marked his haggard
eye and faded cheek with pain. He sought for no explanation,
however--he wanted none; for, with the instinct of old affection, he
had divined the grand cause of the sorrow he beheld, and cared little
for the minor particulars. It was wonderful, too, how accurately the
old man guessed the course which grief and disappointment would take
with his master's mind.

"I am afraid, sir," he said, "that you have been up all night. Had you
not better lie down for an hour or two? Your room is quite ready, for
we expected you last night, and I waited up till two o'clock, thinking
you might come."

"I should not sleep, Adam," replied Morley; "and it is as well to
remain awake where I am--where there are things to employ the eyes
upon--as to shut out everything but thought, which is not pleasant to
me just now, good Adam. Let me have some coffee, my good friend, and
afterwards I will walk round the place with you, for I have something
to give you in charge, Adam. You must see to it yourself, after I am
gone away."

"Gone away, sir!" exclaimed the old man; "I hope you don't intend to
go very soon. There is a great deal to be done here, sir--a great deal
that would amuse and please you, I am sure."

"It must be done by others," answered Morley, sadly; "I shall return
to Morley Court to-morrow morning. There I shall stay but a day or two
ere I set out for London. From London I shall most likely go to the
Continent; but I have not fixed upon any plan yet. Get me the coffee,
Adam."

It is a sad sign when, in youth--the period of innumerable plans, when
everything is to be attempted, and nothing seems impossible--the
scheme of the future is left vague and undefined. The prospects, the
views, the purposes may change every hour, and afford no indication of
anything but youth's bright eagerness; but still each hour must have
its plan for the next, or you may well pronounce the heart to be
vacant, desolate, or broken. It is my firm belief, that the history of
a man's past life, as far, at least, as its happiness or unhappiness
is concerned, may almost always be told distinctly from the plans he
can form for the future. It is the burden of disappointment that
weighs down the butterfly wings of expectation that carry us insects
on from flower to flower.

The old man well understood that such is the case; and he grieved more
at seeing his master without plans and purposes, than at any of the
other signs of listlessness and sorrow which his whole conduct
displayed. He brought him the coffee, then, in silence; he laid out
the breakfast table with care; he found a thousand little excuses for
lingering in the room; and he watched his master's countenance, with
that sort of anxious but humble attachment, which is rarely to be
found anywhere but in an old servant or a faithful dog. For, alas!
truth and honour, and true, deep love, are jewels more frequently to
be found in the plain oak coffer than the gilded casket. At length, he
ventured to say, in a low tone, as if it were more an involuntary
observation he was making for his own relief, than intended for the
ear of the young Baronet--"Well, I did not think Miss Juliet would
have done so!"

Morley raised his finger sternly, with a knitted brow, but he only
said--"Leave me!" and the old man, seeing that a touch upon the wound
was agony, quitted the drawing-room, sorry for the words that he had
uttered.

As soon as he was gone, Morley Ernstein rose from his seat, and, with
his hands clasped together, and his eyes cast down, strode up and down
for several minutes, in bitter meditations. Hitherto the feelings of
heart-broken disappointment--disappointment of the best and brightest
hopes of his existence--the crushing of the sweetest, the tenderest,
the most elevating sensations of his heart, had been unmingled with
any other passion. It had been alone deep sorrow--despair, if one
will--but now the words of the old servant threw in a new ingredient.

I have not represented the character of Morley Ernstein as a perfect
one, for he was anything but perfect, and now--to use what may be
considered a strange expression--one of the most powerful weaknesses
of man's nature was called into action by finding that he was an
object of commiseration to others. Vanity, oh, reader!--vanity, which
lurks in some shape or in some disguise in every human breast, perhaps
without exception--vanity, which is the spring of more actions, good
as well as bad, noble as well as base, than have ever been catalogued
to any other author--vanity, which has made kings and conquerors,
prelates and statesmen, saints and hermits--vanity, which has led men
to the height of pomp, and the lowest acts of humiliation, was roused
in the breast of Morley Ernstein by the one sentence that old Adam
Gray had spoken, and took its course according to the peculiarities of
his character. He felt himself an object of compassion, and he loved
not to be so. There was a feeling of being lowered, degraded, in
knowing that his misery had been observed and pitied; and he muttered
to himself--"This must not be: I shall have my tale of disappointment
sent over all the world. I shall be called love-sick, broken-hearted;
I shall be laughed at by unfeeling puppies, commiserated by
sentimental girls, and scorned by the cold and calculating, who know
nothing of life but its material things. Though she has contrived to
make my existence desolate, and to chill the warm fountain of my
heart's blood into ice, yet I must not suffer myself to become an
object of contempt or neglect. I must move and act in this world as if
it still had matters of interest for me. I must taste of pleasure,
since I cannot taste of happiness; and I must have occupation,
amusement, gaiety, as I cannot have calm tranquillity and domestic
joy. I, too, will do as others do--make my face a mask for my heart,
teach my voice to become but as an instrument of music, to give forth
what sounds art may make me seek to produce, and shut up my spirit
with all the fetters of disappointment heavy upon it, as an unseen
captive within the prison of this earthly frame. Such shall be my
scheme of life; and, come what may, I will follow it with the stern
determination of one who can find for the future no obstacle in all
the things of a world, which is now become a place of emptiness and
vanity in his eyes, no guiding channels for his conduct in those
customs and usages which have lost their importance for ever. I am
afraid, however," he continued, "that I spoke somewhat harshly to that
poor old man. Heaven forbid that I should give him pain!--There is
nothing upon earth of sufficient value to justify us in making even a
worm writhe."

Morley Ernstein sat down, drank some of the coffee, more to shew that
he had used the breakfast things set down before him than from
appetite, and then rang for his old servant. It was another, however,
who now appeared, and Morley had to send for Adam Gray, not indeed
with the intention of referring at all to the stern answer he had
given, or to anything which had passed, but merely to evince towards
him that kindness and confidence which he knew would be the best
atonement for any harshness.

"Now, Adam," he said, in a tone not cheerful indeed, but less gloomy
than before, "shew me which is my dressing-room, and while I shave and
change my clothes, you shall give me some account of all the wonders
of Warmstone. Then you shall take a walk with me round the place, and
we will talk of the disposal of one or two of the cottages that are
vacant."

The old man was well pleased; and, standing by his master's side,
while he dressed and refreshed himself after his long night's ride,
Adam Gray, with some degree of loquacity, which, though not
inseparable from age, is its very frequent companion, proceeded to
relate and comment upon a thousand little particulars which he had
remarked since his arrival at Warmstone three or four days before. He
believed firmly that he was driving from his master's mind some
painful remembrances, though, to say the truth, ere he had pronounced
a dozen sentences, Morley's mind was far away, and the words were
gathered by his ear, bearing but a small part of their meaning with
them, like over-ripe corn which drops the grain ere it be garnered.
Occasionally, indeed, he saw that the old man paused for an answer,
and to satisfy him he replied at random, sometimes successfully as far
as sense went, but sometimes with words totally inapplicable to what
had gone before, and then Adam Gray explained again, and Morley was
obliged to listen more attentively.

At length his toilet was concluded, and, taking his hat and gloves, he
sauntered forth, followed by the old servant, half a step behind. It
was a pleasant, but somewhat cold day, for the time of year, and
strange were the sensations of the young gentleman as he strolled
forward over the short turf, gilded by the autumnal sunshine, with the
woods just beginning to grow brown upon their edges, resting calm in
the tranquil noontide, and an antique solitude of aspect spread over
the whole place. Guided through the tall oaks and beeches on the
right, Adam Gray led him to the old pleasure grounds of the castle,
where high walls of thick black yew, trimmed with the utmost neatness,
flanked broad gravel walks, and protected from the wind various formal
beds of flowers, which, though well kept, and not selected amiss, were
shewing a good deal the hand of autumn. Half way down the principal
walk was a small grassy mound with a sun-dial, on one side of which
was inscribed the name of some former proprietor of the castle, who
had erected it, and thus thought to save himself for a little from
oblivion, while on the other side was inscribed a quaint old rhyme,
shewing the vanity of all temporal things, as if intended as a curious
comment on the vain memento of the opposite face.

A few yards beyond the time-teller appeared the first living thing
which Morley had seen since he issued forth from the house. It was an
old gardener, who seemed in shape to have imitated the sun-dial, with
the erection of which, it is probable, his birth was coeval. He was
habited in a longwaisted coat, with broad flaps and large pockets, and
his breeches, which scarcely covered his knees and mounted no farther
than his hips, displayed a portion of a coarse, but very white shirt
about his stomach, and were fastened with large silver buckles just
above the calves of his legs. Similar buckles of still vaster
dimensions appeared on his shoes, and the costume was completed by a
pigtail and a low-crowned broad-brimmed hat. He was hale and hearty,
though upwards of eighty-five, and his profession was marked by the
spade on which he leant, and which had been familiar with his hand for
more than two-thirds of a century.

Reader, will you forgive me when I acknowledge that this antique
gardener has nothing to do with our history, but yet I could not
forbear giving you this little picture of a sort of being which has
passed away for ever. Morley advanced to the old man and spoke a few
words to him, the answers to which were as quaint as his attire; and
when his young master had passed on, the gardener continued to rest
upon his spade, and look after him with an expression of calm,
speculative thought, evidently regarding him merely as a new sort of
plant, and wondering, perhaps, what sort of flower or fruit he would
bear.

From the garden, Morley and his old servant proceeded across the park
to the little village which lay upon the property at the distance of
about a mile from the house. Morley walked through it, spoke to the
different cottagers, enquired into their situation, gave some
directions regarding them, and then told Adam Gray to take him to the
two small houses which he had said were untenanted. The old man then
led him back upon the road towards Warmstone Castle, but turning, soon
after, up a broad well-kept path by the side of a stream, he conducted
his master into a little glen, at the end of which might be seen a
small water-mill. Some way further down, however, between the mouth of
the glen and the mill, were two pretty stone cottages joined together,
with a little sweep of the hill behind them, and a garden in the front
coming down to the path.

"You seem to know this place well, Adam," said Morley, "though you
cannot have been much here."

"Oh, bless you! yes, sir," replied the man. "In your father's time we
used to spend four or five months at Warmstone every year, and as it
was his particular wish that it should be well kept up, Mr. Hamilton
has sent me over once or twice a year since."

Morley made no reply, but walked on with the melancholy feeling of the
passing away of all things more strong upon him than ever; and he
could not help thinking that the lingering of earthly affection, which
teaches us in the hour of death to care for even inanimate things, and
provide for their preservation after we ourselves have fallen into the
ruin of the tomb, is like the clinging love which the human heart will
sometimes feel towards a fellow-being, the thoughtful tenderness, the
longing aspiration for the happiness of another, which will continue
to exist throughout our being, long after the despair of ever uniting
our fate with hers, has trampled out the selfishness of passion. He
felt that such was the case with himself; and that, though from some
unexplained causes, Juliet Carr had left him hopeless and miserable,
with a heart dead to all the fond expectations of love, yet for her,
and for her happiness, he would always pray, would think of her when
he was careless of himself, and feel an interest in her when all the
rest of the world was nothing but an empty show.

He stopped opposite the gate of the cottage garden, while the old man
went in and opened the doors and windows. Morley then shook off the
load of thought, and looked round the place, examining the different
rooms, and seeing that all was in a state of good repair. Although a
place destined to be the scene of busy life always looks somewhat
melancholy when vacant, there was an air of comfort about the cottage
which satisfied the young Baronet, and turning to Adam Gray, he
said--"You must stay here a day or two, Adam, after I have gone to
town. Have a sufficient quantity of furniture, of a suitable kind,
brought down here from the castle, and let the garden be put in
somewhat better order. Probably to-morrow, or the next day, you will
have an application about the cottage from some people whom I have
promised to let it to rent free--a respectable-looking old woman and
her daughter, a younger one, with a little boy, her child. The younger
woman--and, indeed, both--have been in a better situation. You will
therefore do everything to make them comfortable."

The old man gazed in his master's face for a moment, without reply;
but then enquired--"May I ask what is the old lady's name, Sir Morley?
for a great many old ladies might come, you know."

"That is not likely," replied Morley; "but I have almost forgotten her
name, my good Adam, though it is one, I believe, you ought to know,
for she lived near Morley Court, in my father's time. Oh, I remember
now!--her name is More, the widow of Serjeant More."

The old man's face changed in a moment--"The wife of Serjeant More
come back again!" he exclaimed. "We all heard that she had died in
India. Ha! I shall like to have a chat with her, of old times. Every
one said she was a very good woman--too good a woman to do a wicked
thing--but yet people did suspect that she did one thing which was not
quite right--"

"Well, my good Adam," said Morley, interrupting him, "the scandals of
the past have, doubtless, more interest for you than for me. You will
have plenty of time to hold any conversation you like with the old
lady, for I shall not want you in town till to-morrow week. In the
meantime, however, you must give directions for taking care of the
horses, and see that everything be put in good order, both at Morley
Court and here, for I am going to the Continent, good Adam, and shall
most likely be absent many months."

"I hope you are not going without me, sir," exclaimed the old man. "I
would fain go with you, if you please; for if you leave me behind, I
shall take a sad fancy that I shall never see you again."

"It shall be as you like, Adam," replied Morley. "It is the custom, my
good old friend, on these occasions, to take with one a personage,
who, according to the law of fashion, must not be one's own
countryman, nor have one single tie to the master whom he serves. His
business is, to pay postmasters and postilions more than they ought to
have, to aid the landlords of inns, and the officers of Custom-houses,
the cicerone and the waiter in plundering his employer to the best of
his abilities, to run away from him in case of danger, and to
appropriate such parts of his goods and chattels, in case of sickness
or death, as may be most easily secreted. This personage is called a
courier; and as I go, you know, in the quality of an English gentleman
of fashion, such a piece of roguery is, of course, a necessary
appendage to my travelling carriage. You may go with me too, however,
if you like; but there is one bargain which I must make with you--no
complaints or representations in regard to the courier! You must even
let him cheat me according to the best esteemed mode, till I find him
out myself in something too gross, and then--"

"What will you do then, sir?" demanded Adam Gray, in a quiet tone.

"Throw him out of the window," answered Morley.



CHAPTER XXXVI.


We must pass over the space of two days, and then return to the
cottage, of which we have spoken in the last chapter, having now to
dwell for some time upon the fate and history of persons in a very
different station of life, and of a very different character from Sir
Morley Ernstein. Yet let not the reader think that we thus go from
scene to scene, and from person to person--leaving those for whom we
have just created an interest, almost as soon as that interest is
excited, and turning to others whom the reader cares little
about--from any wantonness of imagination, or carelessness of plan. On
the contrary, it is done deliberately and designedly; not only because
it is in the ordinary course of nature, and because the fates of the
great and the small, the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish,
are linked together in such a manner throughout the whole scheme of
human life, that they all affect each other in the most intimate
manner, but also because it is absolutely necessary to pursue such a
course, in order that the reader may, in the least degree, comprehend
the story of this book. Let him be forewarned, then, that if he misses
one chapter, one page, or perhaps one sentence, he may very probably
lose the key to the whole, and understand no more at the end than he
did at the beginning; for the destiny of each person herein spoken of,
was so twined and intertwisted with that of the others, by the decree
of fate, that the life, property, and happiness of the greatest and
the best amongst them, was often entirely dependent upon the actions
of the least and the worst, and the ultimate result of all was brought
about by circumstances that seemed the most trivial.

To the cottage, then, we must turn, on the evening of the second day
after that on which Sir Morley Ernstein had visited it; premising,
that the young Baronet had set off for London on the day after we last
saw him. The little tenement had undergone a considerable change, and
though it may seem strange to attribute anything like poetry to tables
and chairs, yet I must say there was the poetry of comfort about
it--ay, dear reader, there is a poetry in anything which calls up
before the eye of imagination all the sweet relationships of domestic
life; the household joys, the bright hearth's happy circle, parental
fondness, the husband's protecting care, the wife's devoted love.
There is a poetry in it all, the blandest, the most soothing to the
human heart; for it is the poetry of the purest happiness that man is
permitted to know on earth. That sort of poetry had been produced in
the cottage I have spoken of, by the change from the vacant rooms, and
dull uncovered walls, to the cheerful, furnished cottage-kitchen, with
the bright fire blazing on the hearth, the long row of shelves loaded
with various articles for daily use, all clean and shining; the
polished oaken table in the midst, the stools and seats around, the
large chair by the fire, and a thousand little objects, not of
absolute necessity, perhaps, but which all more or less contribute to
comfort; for good old Adam Gray had taken an interest in the orders
his masters gave him, and had forgotten nothing--no, not even a small
crib for the child.

At the moment that we speak of, the elder woman, whom the little boy
himself has introduced to us by the name of Granny, was seated in the
arm-chair by the fire, and looking round with a feeling of relief and
satisfaction, though her face was somewhat worn with the anxiety and
watching which she had undergone during the last week, and with being
hunted, as she expressed it, like a wild beast, over the moors. The
boy, her grandson, was on the floor near her feet, rolling to and fro
a large round mass of wood, which was used to keep the cottage-door
open in fine weather; while his mother was gazing down upon him with a
look of sorrowful affection; and in her eyes might be read deep and
sad comments upon, the fate of her child, upon human love, and human
errors. Oh! could one have seen into her heart at that moment, how
touching--how strangely touching--would have been the terrible
blending of intense affection, and strong anxiety, and profound
sorrow, which would have been found there as she gazed upon her boy!

The two women had been in the house for several hours, but had been
busily engaged in arranging all things in their future abode, so that
this was the first moment that leisure had been found for calm
contemplation. Neither mother nor daughter spoke for some time, and
nothing was heard but the ticking of the clock behind the door, and
the rolling to and fro of the wooden ball by the little boy. Suddenly,
however, there was a footfall in the garden, and the younger woman
started and listened, but the moment after she shook her head,
saying--"It is not he."

The well-known music of the step we love, the sweetest of all sounds
to those who have been long absent from the arms of affection, was not
there. It was the slow and heavy tread of an old man, and in another
minute, after tapping at the door, good Adam Gray entered the cottage
and approached the fire. He had not thought fit to be present when the
little party took possession of their new dwelling; but he now came,
both to see that his young master's orders had been executed, and to
satisfy, in some degree, his own curiosity upon more than one point.

The younger woman had said--"Come in!" and her mother had turned round
to see who it was that entered, but the eye of the latter rested upon
the form of the old butler without the slightest sign of recognition.
He gazed upon her in return as he advanced; but whether it was that
his memory was better, or that she was less changed by time than he
was, it was very evident, from the expression of his countenance, that
he saw in her an old acquaintance.

"Good evening," he said--"good evening. I hope you find everything
comfortable here. It was my young master's strict order that I should
do everything to make you so."

"I thank you, sir," replied the younger woman, with a tone and manner
that would not have disgraced any society, "we are deeply indebted to
Sir Morley Ernstein, and have found everything far more comfortable
than we could even hope, certainly far more than we had any right to
expect."

"I am glad to hear it--I am glad to hear it," said good Adam Gray. "But
by your leave, ma'am, I will take a chair. I have come here as an old
friend, Mrs. More; do you not recollect me? Do you not recollect Adam
Gray?"

The old woman looked in his face with some surprise--"And are you Mr.
Gray, the butler?" she asked. "Why, your hair used to be as black as
jet, and you seemed to me taller by a couple of inches."

"Ay," answered old Adam, "'tis very true, good dame--'tis very true
indeed; but time, you know, will whiten the hair and bow the body, and
I do not stand near so tall as I once did. Good lack! when I look in
the looking-glass, I can scarcely recollect what I was like twenty
years ago. You are much changed, too, Dame More, though not so much as
I am, I think. You were a buxom woman in those days, and we were all
sorry when you left the village, though some said it was for your own
good; but others shook the head, you know, Dame More."

"Well they might," said the old woman, in a low, sad tone, fixing her
eyes upon the fire--"well they might, indeed!"

Adam Gray and his old acquaintance sat silent for several minutes,
evidently engaged in meditations over the past; and the younger woman;
feeling, perhaps, that their thoughts were busy about things which
were not familiar to her own mind, laid hold of the arm of her little
boy, who was staring inquisitively in the face of the stranger,
saying--"Come, Dick, it is time for you to go to bed, boy, and rest
your young limbs."

The child went away willingly enough, and the old man and woman were
left alone.

"Well, Mrs. More," said Adam Gray, "I am glad that we have met once
again in life, though I suppose you will be as silent about all the
stories of those days as you were when last I saw you."

"I don't know that," answered the old woman, musing; "times have
changed, Mr. Gray, and I may not care to talk about things now that I
did not choose to talk about then. Sir Morley Ernstein has been kind
to me, too--"

"And I am sure so was his father," said the butler.

"Yes," replied she, "so he was; but, as I have said, times have
changed, and those who were then befriending me and mine, may now be
persecuting us. However, I shall say nothing till I see what comes of
it."

"I should like very much, however, to hear all that story," rejoined
Adam Gray, "and I am sure I would not say a word to any one. It is
only for my own satisfaction I speak, and to know if my good master
was right or wrong in what he said."

The old woman gazed for an instant down upon the ground, then turned
her eyes upon the old man with a very strange expression, saying--"He
was wrong, M. Gray; and I told him what was true. Yet, odd as it may
seem, he was right too, and I deceived him. I will tell you what, you
where always a good-hearted man, and a sensible one, and some day or
another I'll tell you the whole story, but it sha'n't be now."

"It must be every soon, then," said Adam Gray, "for I am going to
London in two days, and to the Continent immediately after."

"That will do!" cried the old woman--"that will do quite well."

"Do you mean when I come back again?" demanded Adam Gray. "Who can
tell, good dame, when that may be? Who can tell whether it ever will
be?"

"I don't mean that," said the old woman, somewhat peevishly, "but I
mean that you are not likely to tell it again till I am dead and
buried, and then you may tell it if you like; so you shall hear all
before you go, if you will promise to keep it a secret, as I have
done, till I be gone to join my husband and my son."

"Why, where are they?" Asked Adam Gray. "I thought you were a widow,
Dame More. Did you leave your husband and your son in India?"

"Yes," replied the old woman, fixing her eyes upon the fire--"I left
them in the grave."

The good old servant seemed somewhat shocked that he had called up
such painful memories, and after remaining silent for a short time,
Dame More, as he called her, went on--"There is many a thing, Mr.
Gray," she said, "that I may weep for, and many a thing that I wish
had gone otherwise; but there is only one thing that I repent, and
that is what we are now talking about. If you will come to me
to-morrow, however, I will tell you all about it, for I do wish some
one person to know the thing besides myself. Your master is too young,
or I would have told him; and Harry, my girl's husband, is too wild
and not to be trusted; and if I told Jane herself, she would never
keep it from her husband; so I will tell you, because I believe you
have always been an honest man--I should like to know that Harry gets
safe away first, however, for if that man persecutes him, I will stop
him, or have vengeance."

"Vengeance!" observed the old man--"vengeance, my good dame, is like a
sword without a hilt, sure to cut the hands of those that use it."

"It may be so, Mr. Gray," replied the old woman--"it may be so,
indeed, but I must save him, for my poor girl's sake."

"I do not exactly understand what you mean," said Adam Gray. But the
old woman shook her head, replying, "You had better not. However, I
will tell you at all events, for it is fit that some one should know.
Life is uncertain at the best, and at my years it's but like the
dying flame of a candle, flickering up and down before it goes out
for ever.--Come, you shall hear the story now," she continued; "but
first let me go and tell the girl not to come down. Poor Jane! she
has enough sad secrets of her own without having to bear mine too."

The old woman rose from her chair, supporting herself by the arm, for
she seemed somewhat stiff, and was turning towards the door which led
to the staircase, when her daughter's step was heard descending
quickly, and Jane Martin entered with an eager look, saying--"He is
there--he is there! I heard his step in the garden. I am sure he is
there!" and as she spoke, she turned her eyes with an apprehensive
glance from the countenance of her mother to that of Adam Gray.

"You may trust him--you may trust him!" cried the old woman. "Open the
door, Jane, and see. Do not be afraid, girl--you may trust him, I
say."

The younger woman approached the door with a quiet and noiseless step,
and lifting the latch, looked out. A quick and eager respiration was
all that was heard, but the moment she had opened the door, she darted
out, and returned the instant after, with her fair slight form clasped
round by the powerful arm of her husband.

The eyes of Harry Martin rested at once upon Adam Gray, as he sat by
the fire, but it was with no expression of apprehension, and he
answered some words which his wife whispered rapidly to him, by
saying--"I understand--I understand, Jane."

Adam Gray, however, saw at once that there was something more in the
situation of the parties than had been communicated to him by his
master; and, being a prudent and sagacious man, though not without his
share of curiosity, he rose after a few brief words had passed between
him and the rest, and took his leave, promising to return on the
following day, and have a further chat with Mrs. More.

The night was somewhat dark as the old butler issued forth, and,
accustomed as his eyes had lately been to the light within the
cottage, he could scarcely see his way along the narrow gravel
foot-path which led from the door to the end of the little garden.
When he reached the low gate, however, a sudden light, proceeding from
some object which he could not distinguish, came in his face and
nearly blinded him, but the moment after, it ceased, and he caught the
faint outline of a man standing close by the palings.

The appearance of this personage, who seemed to have a dark lantern
with him, was not at all satisfactory to good Adam Gray, but judging
that civility would be the best policy, he merely said, "Good night,"
and passed through the gate. His friend with a lantern made no reply,
and Adam hurried down the little path which led towards the mansion
house, not by any means sure that certain notes, together with sundry
round pieces of gold and silver, which at that moment tenanted his
breeches pocket, would be permitted to remain in occupation till he
reached Warmstone Castle.

On arriving at the high road, however, he saw another man advancing
rapidly towards him, but bearing in no degree the aspect of a person
of that neighbourhood. The stranger stopped exactly opposite to him,
but seemed more inclined to examine than to annoy him, and suffered
him to pass on, replying, "Good night," to Adam's salutation, in a
civil tone, but without any Northumbrian accent. The sight of a
post-chaise, standing in the road at some distance, put an end to the
good old man's apprehensions, though it did not clear up the mystery;
but wisely judging that the affair was no business of his, he made the
best of his way back to the castle, without taking any farther notice,
or enquiring into things that did not concern him.



CHAPTER XXXVII.


It was nearly twelve o'clock at night, and Harry Martin stood with his
wife, gazing down upon their sleeping child. Curious as are all the
contrasts which life presents, there are few more extraordinary, more
full of deep and strange interest, than the contrast between the vices
and strong passions of unbridled manhood, and the calm reproachful
innocence of infancy. Oh! what a mirror it holds up to shew man,
hardened by sin, and strife, and selfishness, what he once was, what
he might still have been; and yet, how seldom do we take the reproof
to our hearts, how rarely do we apply to ourselves the comment which
is secretly made within us! The bold, reckless man who stood there and
gazed, felt a deep strain of solemn sensations, mingling with the
feelings of paternal love, which the sight of his child called forth.
But he asked himself not why or how it was that he experienced a
sorrowful emotion totally distinct from the idea of parting from the
beloved, as he gazed down upon the sleeping boy--an emotion which, if
he had investigated all the causes, he would have found to be the
voice of memory reproaching him for the innocence he had cast away.

"Well, Jane," he said, at length, "it is no use lingering--I must go.
It would have been wiser, perhaps, not to come, but I could not go
without seeing you again, my dear girl. Six hours now will bring me to
the coast, and then the lugger the man talked of will soon take me to
Liverpool, and the 'Mary Anne' sails on Saturday morning; so I shall
soon be on my way to another far country, and you must follow as soon
as may be--Hark! I thought your mother was gone to bed!"

"It is only the kitchen window," said his wife; "it makes that noise
when the wind shakes it."

"You are sure that you have money enough for all that you want?"
continued her husband.

"Quite sure," she answered; "more than enough, Harry. You know I have
not been accustomed to such extravagance as you have taught me. I can
do upon very little, and the passage-money I will put by and keep,
without--"

"Hark!" he exclaimed, grasping her arm, and looking with a wild and
eager gaze towards the door. "There is certainly some one below."

Jane turned as pale as death, for she distinctly heard a step, but she
lost not her courage--her husband's life was at stake, and the
resolute spirit of deep love rose up within her.

"Out through that room behind," she said; "the window is not high;
then up the side of the hill, there are woods and moors. I will go
down and stop them. Away, Harry, away!" and printing one kiss upon his
cheek, she darted towards the staircase, and ran down, exclaiming, in
a tone of alarm that needed no affectation to assume--"Who is
there?--There is surely some one in the house! Mother, mother!" she
was heard to exclaim aloud; "here are strange men in the house! Who
are you?--what do you want here?"

"It's no use talking, ma'am," said a voice the moment after,
proceeding from a stout, thickset personage, who stood in the middle
of the kitchen floor, while another man was thrusting himself through
the lattice window. "We want just to say a word or two to Mr. Martin,
and we must say it, too. He knows that the game's up well enough, so
it's no use dodging about in this way."

The wife, however, continued to stand in the doorway that led to the
stairs, calling out aloud, "Mother! mother!"

Even as he spoke, there were the sounds of a window thrown open above,
a leap, and steps running over the greensward; and Jane, giving a wild
scream, fell forward upon the floor.

The officer, for such the person was whom she found in the occupation
of the kitchen below, sprang over her, and rushed up stairs; old Mrs.
More came down in her night-gear, and raised her daughter fainting
from the floor; and the other officer, who had been scrambling in by
the window, made his exit by the door, and ran round to the back of
the house. Numerous cries, shouts, and directions, were then heard,
vociferated by the man above, who at length leaped out of the window
himself, and seemingly took his way over the hill. Comparative silence
succeeded, though voices, shouting to each other, were still heard
faintly, and Jane was raising her head in her mother's arms, and
enquiring--"Is he safe?" when the distant report of a pistol came upon
the wind, then some fresh calling; and then all was silent. Jane and
the old woman listened with eager and beating hearts, but not a sound
more reached them to give them any satisfaction. At length, the child
in the room above, disturbed in its sleep by all that had taken place,
began to cry aloud, and the half-distracted mother ran up to soothe
it.

Still no further sound broke upon the anxious ear from the hill side,
and hour after hour passed by without tale or tidings. Jane lay down
upon her bed towards the morning, and wept with fear and agitation,
but she slept not. At length the grey dawn appeared, and she rose to
go forth and see if she could gather anything to calm her anxiety,
from the appearance of the footsteps on the hill side. At the door,
however, she was met by one of the men whom she had seen the night
before. He had a dogged, sullen look, which she thought might proceed
from disappointment, and that itself was a relief to her; but when he
said, in a civil tone--"Good morning, ma'am, I have come to search the
house," the poor girl could have embraced him, for she misconstrued
his words, and imagined that he was still in pursuit of her husband.

"You may search as much as you please," she said, with a lightened
heart; "you will find nobody here."

"As to nobody," replied the officer, "I suppose you are right, ma'am;
but it's not body, but thing I'm looking for. We've got his body safe
enough."

"What do you mean?" exclaimed Jane, nearly sinking to the earth, while
a new terror took possession of her heart, "His body!--you have not
killed him?"

"Oh, no, no!" cried the officer; "he's safe and hearty, ma'am, don't
be afraid. I was only speaking as the lawyers do. We caught him in the
wood over the hill there, and we shall soon have his body into court,
for the assizes are just coming on, you know, and he's gone over to
Doncaster in a shay, which we had all ready for him, quite like a
gentleman, I can assure you. These foolish country constables would
never have caught him. They can deal with a stray thief, or a
horse-stealer, or any of your petty-larceny rogues, as the gentleman
says in the play; but they don't know how to manage a regular
professional man at all. So it is lucky for Mr. Martin, too, that they
had us down from London, for he'll be treated quite politely, you may
be sure. Howsoever, I must just go in and search the house, ma'am, for
some of the things may be here, you know."

This long oration had fallen upon the ears of Jane like her husband's
knell of death, and retreating into the cottage kitchen, she sank down
on a chair, letting the man proceed with his search as he would. That
search disturbed, as a natural consequence, the mother of the
unfortunate wife; and while the poor girl sat by herself, with her
head drooping and her hands clasped on her knee, the image of
disconsolate bereavement, she heard Dame More's voice in eager
conversation with the officer, and at length distinguished the words
"I will prove him innocent. Do not you be so confident, for you shall
hear another story at the trial."

"What, you will prove an alibi, my good woman?" said the officer, in a
sneering tone; "but that's an old go--it wont do this time. Juries are
getting accustomed to alibis; they don't answer now;--or, mayhap, you
committed the burglary yourself, and, if so, you had better come along
with me to Doncaster."

"I did not commit it myself," replied the old woman, in a stern
tone--"I did not commit it myself, nor can you prove that he committed
it."

"Come, come," said the officer--"this is all gammon. What's in this
box, old lady? that's what we want to see at present."

"Search, and you will see," answered Mrs. More. "We have nothing to
conceal from you here!"

"That's coming it strong, howsoever," replied the man; and, leaving
him to pursue his search as he pleased, the old lady descended to
comfort her daughter.

"Don't be afraid, Jane," she said--"don't be afraid; they shall do
nothing to him. It were worth as much as that old miser's life, to
hurt a hair of is head. Don't be afraid, Jane, but put on your bonnet,
my girl, run up to the castle, and tell the old man Gray to come down
and speak to me. I might die, or some accident might happen, so I had
better see him before I set out."

With trembling hands--but little reassured by what her mother said,
and, unfortunately, but too certain of her husband's guilt--the poor
girl put on her bonnet, and hastened, as fast as her limbs would carry
her, up to Warmstone Castle. Before she returned again with Adam Gray,
after about half-an-hour's absence, the officer had completed his
search, and had left the house, swearing, with an oath, that it was
very strange he had been able to discover nothing bearing in the least
degree upon the robbery which had been committed. Jane found her
mother putting on the boy's clothes, and, taking him out of the old
lady's hands, she left her to speak with Adam Gray alone. On coming
down again, both the child and herself were completely dressed, as if
to go upon a journey; and the eagerness of her look amounted almost to
wildness, as, in answer to her mother's question of where she was
going, she replied--"You know I must get to Doncaster as fast as I
can, that I may be with him. Think of his being in prison, mother, and
alone!"

"Nay, nay, Jane," replied her mother--"stay a bit, my girl--they would
not let you be with him even if you were there; but this good
gentleman, Mr. Gray, says he will take us all over in the chaise, with
which he is going to drive back to Morley Court to-morrow. It will be
a sad thing for me to see all those places again; but never mind, I
will go."

"I cannot stay till to-morrow," cried the younger woman. "I would
rather walk, mother--indeed I would. My heart will break if I do not
go to him directly;" and she burst into tears.

Adam Gray, in the meanwhile, had stood with his eyes fixed upon the
floor, musing deeply, as if some subject of extraordinary interest
occupied him altogether. It very often happens, however, that the mere
corporeal senses, like servants afraid of disturbing their master when
he is busy, receive and retain impressions, which they do not
communicate to the intellectual soul, till after she has fully
discussed and dismissed some particular subject with which she is
occupied, or till the urgency of external applications compel them to
break in upon her meditations. It was so in the present instance; the
ear of Adam Gray had heard all that had passed, but his mind was so
fully engaged with the conversation which had taken place between him
and Mrs. More, that he had not given any attention to what was
passing, till the tears of the young woman roused him from his
reverie, and then the ear conveyed to his mind all that it had
collected.

"There is no use," he said, addressing Jane, "of your trying to go on
foot. You do not know what a distance it is, and you will be there
twice as soon by going with me. Besides, if it comes to that, and you
are so very anxious, I could set out to-day, about three o'clock. We
shall get to Greta Bridge by ten, and then there will be the coach
to-morrow, which will land you at Doncaster in the evening. If you
were to set off on foot this minute, it would take you four days, or
more, do what you would."

"Oh, the shortest--the shortest!" cried Jane. "But will they not let
me be with him, mother? Did you say they will not let me be with him?"

"No, indeed, my dear child," replied her mother, "that will they not;
but he shall soon be with you. Be comforted, Jane--be comforted."

The poor girl, however, could receive no comfort; and, to say the
truth, she trusted not to her mother's promises, for she believed them
to be solely intended to soothe and tranquilize her. Her whole
thoughts, however, were bent upon setting off as soon as possible, and
she wandered about without occupation, till at length, about half-past
two, for the good old man was earlier than his hour, a boy ran up the
little glen from the high road, to say that Mr. Gray was waiting, and
to carry down anything that was to go.

Never did journey seem so long as the drive from Warmstone to Greta
Bridge, to poor Jane; and to say sooth, the horse, though strong and
well fitted for such a journey, was not the swiftest that was ever put
in harness, nor was M. Gray the most dashing of charioteers. At
length, however, they reached the borders of Yorkshire, and put up at
the little inn at Greta, where Adam Gray's well-known face procured
them instantly a warm reception from the shrewd Yorkshire landlord.

The good butler took care that the two women under his charge should
be well treated in all respects; but Jane and her boy retired to rest
almost immediately, leaving old Dame More once more alone with her
ancient acquaintance. They remained together, in earnest conversation,
for two or three hours, and Mr. Gray, in the course of the evening,
called for pen, and ink, and paper, so that it was evident to the
landlord some business of importance was being transacted between his
two guests.

On the following morning the tax cart was sent back to Northumberland,
and, proceeding in the coach, which at that day was not altogether so
rapid a conveyance as at present, the whole party were, ere long, set
down at Doncaster, where the old servant of sir Morley Ernstein passed
the night, for the kindly purpose of putting his two companions into
what he called the way of doing for themselves at Doncaster. He was up
early on the following morning, and was enjoying the sunshine for five
minutes before breakfast at the door of the inn, when the landlord
himself sauntered out, with a--"Good morning, Mr. Gray! So sir Morley
is gone to London, I hear; an odd time of the year to go to London,
too!"

"He has some business there," replied Adam Gray, laconically. "Pray
what is doing in Doncaster, Mr. Beilby?"

"Oh, nothing much to talk of," answered the landlord. "Yesterday there
was a great piece of work, for they brought in the man who robbed Mr.
Carr's house at Yelverly, not long ago. They have been looking after
him for the last fortnight, or more, but he always managed to give
them the slip till the other day, when they caught him in
Northumberland, up somewhere in your parts, I believe; and a
prodigious number of people there were to see him.--A fine-looking
fellow he is, too, and set them all at defiance. He would not say a
word before the magistrates; and, indeed, as Mr. Carr was too ill to
attend, little Jeremy Sharpset, the lawyer, who appeared for the
prisoner, insisted that they should discharge him, or, at the worst,
remand him."

"And did they remand him?" exclaimed Adam Gray.

"Oh! not they," replied Mr. Beilby; "they would not hear any nonsense,
but committed him to York Castle, at once."

Adam Gray heard the tidings in silence, and turned into the inn to
communicate the news he had obtained to those who were more interested
in the matter than himself.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.


We must now endeavour to give the picture of a woman's mind under deep
affliction, as a contrast to that which we have drawn of a man
suffering from similar sorrow. Juliet Carr sat sad and lonely in her
own room at Yelverly, meditating over lost happiness and bitter
disappointment. Her father's health was better--that is to say, he was
stronger, able to rise, and go about in the immediate neighbourhood,
though the surgeon shook his head, warned him that no great exertions
must be made, and gave Juliet herself to understand that Mr. Carr was
still in a very precarious state. It was a great relief to her,
however, to see his health even so far improved, for it removed the
necessity of making that anxious struggle to do her duty towards him,
by tending him in sickness, which she never failed in, notwithstanding
his unwillingness to receive her attention, or be indebted to her
care.

She sat, then, lonely in her chamber, thinking over her fate, and it
must be acknowledged that sad indeed were all her feelings, and deep
was the depression that rested on her mind. But very, very different
was her endurance of the sorrow from that of Morley Ernstein. She was
sensible that her happiness was gone for ever, her brightest hopes
disappointed, the treasured affections of her heart, the first deep,
earnest love of her young spirit cast away upon the ocean of Time--one
of all the manifold things which in the course of the world are
wrecked and perish in that engulfing sea. She felt her fate in all its
bitterness, but she writhed not under the pang; she knew that it is
woman's lot to endure, and she prepared her mind for a life of
endurance. She wept often, it is true, but she prayed often, too. She
prayed not only for herself, but for him whose peace was shipwrecked
with her own--she prayed that God might give him happiness,
consolation, relief--that the grief which had befallen him might not
drive his impetuous nature to seek for amusement or occupation in
paths of danger or of wrong--nay more, that he might find others to
cheer and to support him--that his fate might be brighter than her
own--that he might not remember, nor feel, nor love as long as she
must do.

For her own part her mind was made up; the day-dream of life was over
to her; she asked nothing, she expected nothing from the future. All
the aspirations of the young heart were at an end, and though she
might expect some pleasures of a certain kind--in the doing good to
others, the wiping away some tears, the relief of sorrows, the
comforting and the consoling of the poor and the distressed--she
dreamt of nothing more. She was well contented, indeed, to bound her
hopes to the being an instrument in the hands of God to benefit her
fellow-creatures; and if imagination did present a vision to her mind
of anything like real joy for herself, if her heart did lift a prayer
to Heaven for anything like individual gratification, it embraced but
one bright object, it implied but one earnest petition that the time
might sooner or later come when she should be of some use to him she
loved--that she might have some opportunity of showing him the
undying, the unchanging affection which existed in her heart. Oh! with
what delight she sometimes dreamed of the possibility of following his
footsteps unseen through the world, of hovering round him like a
protecting spirit, warding off from him dangers and difficulties,
shielding him from malice, enmity, and strife, guarding him against
others--perhaps against himself! Such, for a moment, would sometimes
be the waking vision of Juliet Carr; but then she would endeavour to
shut it out.--It seemed too bright, too happy, for her to believe that
anything so joyful could yet be in store for her.

These, then, reader, were the feelings of the woman's heart under the
same affliction which had produced very different sensations in Morley
Ernstein. He, it is true, longed for the happiness of Juliet Carr,
even independent of himself; his voice would ever have been ready to
defend her, his arm to protect; he would have gone to strife, and to
certain death to procure her even a moment's happiness; but with his
endurance of his own grief was mingled a bitterness and a repining
which made him writhe and struggle under it. The character of man,
born for effort and exertion, destined and taught to resist and to
strive, rendered it scarcely possible for him to bow with resignation
like hers to the stroke that separated them; there was anger mingled
with the tears that he shed, and wrath was in his heart as well as
sorrow.

Morley, however, had the world to go to for relief and for occupation.
Juliet, in this respect, was far more unfortunate than he was, for she
had nothing to take off the first edge of her sorrow; there was no
variety in her existence, there was no one object to turn her thoughts
from herself. Her father--though the sort of habitual respect with
which he was accustomed to treat her, prevented him from breaking
forth even into an angry word, nevertheless regarded her, when they
met, with a stern and an enquiring eye; and the continual presence of
the youth, William Barham, drove her often to seek the refuge of her
own chamber, in order to avoid society which she did not like, and
which every day was becoming more and more unpleasant to her.

From motives, and with views which Juliet could in no degree divine,
Mr. Carr used to indulge the weak, idle, selfish youth whom he had
taken into the house, in every sort of whim and fancy. He, who was
usually so parsimonious, refused the young man nothing that he
desired, and an evident taste for drinking soon manifested itself in
his unpromising protégé. Mr. Carr caused him to be supplied with wine,
or spirits, or whatever he might think necessary, taking a note,
indeed, of every farthing of expense, but still with a degree of
liberality which astonished all who witnessed his proceedings. It may
be easily supposed, that the sort of unlimited command which the youth
had over everything in the house, was not only unpleasant to Juliet
personally, but also was painful for her to witness, from the evil
effects it was evidently producing upon the brother of Helen Barham.

In one of her letters to Helen, who still remained with Lady Malcolm,
Juliet, after much hesitation, mentioned the facts and her
apprehensions; and about four days afterwards, while her father and
William Barham were both out, she suddenly heard the rolling of
wheels, and the moment after her maid ran in to tell her that Miss
Barham had just arrived from London.

Juliet went down in haste, and the meeting between Helen Barham
and herself was like that of two sisters. In regard to human
affections--as indeed in regard to almost everything else--time is a
mere relative term; for there are circumstances and situations which
bind heart to heart in a few hours by ties more strong than can be
woven by the intimacy of a lifetime. It is alone upon the
deceitfulness of the world that is grounded the sad necessity of
choosing slowly and thoughtfully the friends of the heart; but there
are cases where the inmost secrets of the bosom are so clearly
displayed that caution may be well done away; and generally it is in
such cases that those circumstances exist which draw us irresistibly
towards another, and teach us at once to love and to esteem.

So had it been with Helen Barham and Juliet Carr. In a few days--nay,
in a few hours, they had known each other well, and loved each other
dearly; and if in the character of Helen Barham there were points
which Juliet grieved for, yet they were points which excited
tenderness and pity rather than condemnation, and proceeded from
errors in education, never from defects of the heart. When they had
last met there had existed a difference in their state of mind, which
was the only impediment to the deepest attachment. It was, that Juliet
Carr was then perfectly happy, and happiness, which is at best a
selfish thing, prevented her from feeling altogether as she might have
done that full sympathy for Helen, which none but those who have
themselves known deep grief can experience towards those who grieve.
Let me not be misunderstood, however--Juliet had sympathized with her
fair companion deeply, and had loved her warmly, and the only
abatement was, that Juliet was herself completely happy. Now, however,
happiness had passed away from her heart, and as she held Helen in her
arms for a moment, at their first meeting, she felt that she had
hardly loved her half enough.

Luckily for themselves, they were suffered to be alone for several
hours, for they had much to explain to each other which was difficult
to tell--many subjects to speak upon, in regard to which even woman
with woman hesitates. And Juliet had dreamt a dream, so mingled of
sweet and noble purposes, of painful expectations, of devotion, of
resignation, and of tenderness, that it was hard for her even to
approach the subject--hard even to think of it, without the tears
rising in her eyes, and her heart throbbing as if it would beat
through her bosom. She gazed on Helen Barham, while they sat and
talked together; she looked at her bright and sparkling beauty, almost
as if she had been a lover; she read the deep, strong affections of
those bright heart-full eyes, she fathomed in her own mind the well of
intense feelings that existed in that soft bosom, and in her humility
she asked herself--"What am I, that he should love me rather than
her?"

Juliet went on with her enquiries, and demanded of herself, "Is it not
possible--is it not even probable, that, knowing we can never be
united, with his attachment to me broken by the cold hand of despair,
his affections may turn to one who so well deserves them, and Helen
Barham, happy in his love, may, in the end, make him happy likewise?"
Not only was it likely, she thought, but scarcely to be doubted. It
was impossible that he could see much of one so beautiful, so
talented, so engaging, without learning to love her, if love for
another could once be extinguished in his heart.

A pause had taken place while she thus thought, and Juliet saw her
fair companion's eyes rest upon the green expanse before the house,
while an expression of deep melancholy stole over her countenance.
Juliet read that look, and read it rightly; and though she felt
somewhat timid, in regard to touching upon the subject at all, and
sought not to raise any expectations, especially when she could not be
sure that they might not be disappointed, yet she resolved, with the
generous confidence of a pure and high mind, to let Helen know the
exact position in which she herself stood towards Morley Ernstein. "I
am sure," she said to herself, "that Helen will not rejoice in my
disappointment. But, nevertheless, the knowledge that he whom she
loves is not actually about to be united to another, may make a
difference in her own fate and conduct."

Thus thinking, she fixed her eyes for a moment upon Helen Barham
again, saying--"Dear Helen, you look somewhat pale and sad."

The blood rushed up into Helen Barham's cheek, from the well of
consciousness in her heart. But Juliet went on, anxious to prevent her
making any reply--"I am afraid, dear Helen," she continued, "that you
are not very happy, though there never yet was one who more deserved
happiness, I am sure. I can now sympathize with you, dear Helen, more
deeply than I ever could do before, for I am not happy, either."

Helen started, and gazed eagerly in her face--"What is it you mean?"
she cried. "You unhappy, Juliet!--you, whose days I thought were to be
all sunshine, blessed and blessing from the beginning of life to the
close!--you, whose fate I believed was destined to show to man that it
is possible to be happy, even on this earth!--you, who I fancied were
to be for ever a being of brightness, and goodness, and joy!--you to
be unhappy! Then, indeed, is this world a place of trial to every one;
and, as old Comines says--'Right loyally has God kept his word with
man, that in sorrow shall every one eat of the fruit of the ground,
all the days of his life!' Oh, Juliet! this is very sad to me, for it
takes away that belief in the mere existence of such a thing as
happiness, which was all that was left to make me remember my own."

"Why should I be exempt, Helen?" replied Juliet. "I am not vain enough
to think I deserved that which I believed was in store for me; and
though deep and bitter has been the disappointment of all my hopes,
yet I trust to be enabled, by God's mercy, to bear that disappointment
calmly."

Helen Barham gazed earnestly and sadly in her face, making no reply,
for some moments; but she then said--"Speak, Juliet, speak; tell me
more, now you have told so much; but do not, do not say he was
unworthy, for that I can never believe, even from your lips."

"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed Juliet, eagerly, with her whole soul coming
into her beautiful eyes. "Unworthy! oh, no!--he is worthy of all the
deepest, the tenderest, the most ardent, the most enduring love that
even a woman's heart can bestow. But, alas, Helen, it is all in vain!
He and I can never be united. Say not a word, dear Helen; for on this
subject I must be very, very brief. I dare not speak--I cannot speak
much, lest these tears should drown me. We can never be united, Helen;
there is a barrier between us that cannot be removed; and my only
hope, my only wish, is, to see him happy with some one who may deserve
to share his fate."

Helen Barham cast her arms round Juliet's neck, and, for a moment or
two, gave way to an overwhelming flood of tears. She made no comment,
she asked no further question; and all she said, even in the end, was
"Oh, Juliet Carr--dear Juliet Carr!--would to God, that I might spend
my life with you! I know not, but I think that I might comfort you, as
you have often comforted me; and that peace, Juliet--calm peace, which
is all that either of us can hope for now, might sooner come to our
dwelling if we were together. To be with you, even for a brief space,
is a great happiness to me; and when your father sent for me--oh, how
gladly did I come, although I had long tried to fancy that I was
better away!"

There was a pause for several minutes, but at length Juliet
asked--"Did my father, then, send for you, Helen?"

"Yes," replied Helen Barham. "Did you not know it, Juliet? He sent a
messenger express to London for me, begging me to come down
immediately, on business of importance."

"I never heard of it," said Juliet. "I thought you had come on your
brother's account. But there are my father and Mr. Barham in the
avenue. I will speak to you more about your brother, Helen, when I
have an opportunity. There are many things of which I wish to warn
you."

To the heart that deals with facts as they exist, and not according to
the conventional mode of viewing them--to the heart that tries things
by its own feelings, and not by the appreciations of others to the
heart, in short that feels and acts for itself, the world, and the
world's customs, the idle apathy, the selfish indifference, the narrow
calculations, the dark, and often stupid caution of that ordinary
crowd which forms what is called the mass of society, must ever be
considered as a host of natural enemies. Thus we close our bosoms
against them; and when the gates have been unbarred for a moment, and
the feelings have been permitted to issue forth, it is wonderful how
soon, if any of the adversaries' troops approach, in the persons of
the worldly and the indifferent, the soldiers of the heart retreat
within the walls of the fortress, the drawbridge is pulled up, the
doors and sally-ports closed, and everything is put in a state of
stern defence.

Such was the case with Helen Barham and Juliet Carr. The traces of
tears were rapidly wiped off, the every-day look put on as a veil, and
the very thoughts with which they had been so busy were chased away,
lest they might still affect the countenance, as soon as Mr. Carr and
William Barham approached the house.

The old lawyer himself had become extremely thin and haggard since
Helen had seen him, and though he had recovered sufficient strength to
drive to Doncaster on that very morning, he was evidently sadly broken
and enfeebled. He met Miss Barham, however, with a good deal of that
fawning courtesy which he always displayed towards those whom he
sought to flatter and to win, and which was strangely, but not
unnaturally, contrasted with the acerbity and sarcastic bitterness
that he assumed towards those he disliked or despised.

The conduct of William Barham, on meeting with his sister, was such as
the reader may very well conceive it would be. There was a shy
coldness about it, a sort of schoolboy-awkwardness, which was mixed
with an affectation of ease; and, through all, an enquiring underlook
of apprehension was apparent, as if he feared that Helen might have
been betraying his secrets to Miss Carr. In short, every word and
gesture rendered their meeting painful, even to Helen herself. Indeed,
for many months, each conversation between the brother and sister had
added but one source of grief or another to the number which the more
amiable of the two had to bear; but now she remarked not alone the
unpleasant and ungentlemanlike demeanour of her brother, but that in
personal appearance a considerable and painful change had taken place.
He looked thin and worn, and his face, which always bore a look of
pale dissipation, was now marked by several purple blotches, in
various places, and a bright red spot in the centre of each cheek. He
had a peculiar cough, too, which Helen did not like; for she was old
enough to remember something very like it, before her mother's death;
and the course which Juliet told her that her brother was pursuing was
certainly not one to improve his health and restore his vigour. After
Mr. Carr and the young man had been about ten minutes in the room, the
former left it, with a chuckling laugh, saying to Helen, that he had a
little note for her in his desk. He returned almost instantly, and put
into her hand a long slip of writing, upon which she gazed with
enquiring eyes, finding it very nearly, if not totally unintelligible.
"It is a sort of summons, my dear young lady," said the old man, "to
appear, and give evidence upon the trial of those villains who broke
into the house. It is all in proper form."

Helen Barham turned very pale, saying--"I thought I should have been
spared this;" and sitting down with the document in her hand, she
continued gazing upon it in silence, with a thoughtful and anxious
expression of countenance, as if placed in a situation of sudden and
unexpected difficulty.

"Pray, Mr. Carr," she asked, at length, "was it on this account that
you sent for me from town?"

Mr. Carr saw that he had pained her, and he was evidently not a little
anxious to give her no offence.

"No, no," he replied, eagerly--"not entirely, my dear Miss Barham--not
entirely; there are various other important things to be done. I must
have your authority, as well as your brother's, to act upon. He is not
quite of age yet, you know; and I have to consult with you upon a
great many matters, though I have put your affairs into the hands of a
gentleman, who agrees to take it upon the 'no cure, no pay' system. He
sees his way as clearly as I do, and signs an agreement to stand all
the expenses if he does not recover your property. Nevertheless, there
is much to be talked about; and as to this affair," he continued,
seeing that the first effect upon Helen's mind was wearing away--"you
know, my dear Miss Barham, I acted for the best in giving you the
subp[oe]na here, where I was at your elbow to afford you advice and
assistance. If I had not done so, they would have sent it to you in
London, and what would have come of it then? Nobody can escape such a
thing, you know, my dear Miss Barham; it is one of the bounden duties
of Englishmen to give evidence for the purpose of promoting the ends
of justice."

Helen sat silent for a moment, and then asked--"What are the
consequences, Mr. Carr, of a person refusing to give evidence?"

"Oh, very terrible, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Carr; "I can scarcely tell
you what might, or what might not be done; but, certainly, in the very
first instance, anybody doing so would be committed for contempt of
court, and then they might stay their whole life in prison."

Helen's cheek turned very pale, and Mr. Carr continued--"When anything
happens to make witnesses wish not to answer, they generally contrive
to evade the question, to say they are not sure of this thing or
that--to equivocate a little, in short."

"But suppose they do not choose to equivocate?" said Helen.

"Then they tell the truth," said Mr. Carr, sharply.

Helen was silent and thoughtful, but there was a look of resolution in
her face, which made Mr. Carr somewhat apprehensive that she would not
act exactly in the way that he wished; and he was preparing all his
eloquence to show her the dangers and inconveniences of the plan he
suspected she was about to pursue, when one of the maids came into the
room quickly, saying, with an impatient air--"There is an old woman,
sir, at the door, wants to speak to you."

"I can't speak with her now, Sally," replied Mr. Carr; "she must come
again."

"But she says she must speak with you directly, sir," rejoined the
maid; "indeed, she is very saucy about it."

"Oh, I dare say it is that old woman, Brown," said Mr. Carr, "who says
always there was five shillings owing to her son who died. Tell her it
is no such thing, and that she had better go away, or I will send for
a constable."

"It isn't Goody Brown, at all," answered the woman, in a tone of very
little reverence for her master--"she told me something about her
name, but I forget what it was."

"Go, and ask it--go, and ask it, then!" said Mr. Carr; and he was
about to recommence his argument with Helen during the girl's absence;
but she was not away more than a minute, and returned with a vastly
indignant air, saying--"The saucy old thing says she must and will see
you directly--that her name is Jane More, widow of Sergeant More; and
she will take no refusal."

Mr. Carr turned as pale as death, pressed his hand upon his heart, and
sunk into a chair.

"You are not well," cried Juliet, starting up. "Let me go and speak to
her, sir."

"No, no, no!" cried N. Carr, eagerly--"on no account. Take her into my
little room, Sally. Some one give me a spoonful of brandy. Tell her I
am not well, or I would have spoken to her at once, but I will come
directly."



CHAPTER XXXIX.


As soon as Mr. Carr had left the room, Helen Barham turned towards the
place where her brother had been standing the moment before--not,
indeed, to ask his advice as to her future proceedings, for, alas, she
did not respect that brother sufficiently to trust in any of his
counsels!--but with the sort of enquiring look which nature has taught
us to direct towards any one nearly allied to us, in circumstances of
difficulty or danger. To her surprise, however, William Barham was no
longer there; and Juliet informed her that her brother had quitted the
room as soon as Mr. Carr began to speak of the robbery. "Indeed," she
added, with a smile, and little thinking her words would give pain, "I
perceive that he always does so."

Helen Barham looked down, for the knowledge which she possessed of her
brother's former course of life produced some apprehension lest
William himself might be by some means implicated in the terrible
transaction which was about to undergo the investigation of the law.
When she recollected the conduct and the words of Harry Martin, too,
the probability seemed so great, that she actually trembled at the
thought of what might be the consequence; and the difficulties of her
own situation became aggravated a thousand fold by fears for her
brother.

Juliet remarked her agitation, perhaps with some surprise, but she
made no observation, and Helen, as soon as she had recovered herself,
left the room, saying, that she wished to speak with William for a few
moments. She found him in the room to which she was directed by one of
the servants of the house, busily engaged in packing up a portmanteau.
He was looking extremely pale, and in answer to Helen's enquiries,
said that he intended to go back to London the next day. He made some
excuse for this sudden determination, which Helen did not clearly
understand, alleging that it was necessary he should see "the lawyer;"
but his sister could draw no farther information from him, and,
indeed, he appeared anxious to free himself from her presence. She
remained for some time, however, trying to soothe him, and
endeavouring to call up some better feelings in his heart; but she
found that her efforts were spent in vain, and with sorrow of various
kinds in her bosom, she returned to the room where she had left
Juliet.

As she laid her hand upon the lock of the drawing-room door, she heard
her friend's voice calling loudly from a little room at the end of the
corridor,--"Helen! Helen!" cried Juliet; "pray send some of the maids.
Come to me, dear Helen--my father has fainted!"

Helen ran into the room in which Mr. Carr usually transacted his
business, and found him seated in a chair, as pale as death, with his
daughter supporting his head.

"Something has happened," said Juliet, in a low voice--"something has
happened between him and that woman who was here just now; for the
moment that she was gone, he called for me eagerly, but before I could
reach him he was in the state that you see."

Measures were immediately taken for restoring Mr. Carr, and in about
half-an-hour they proved successful. He opened his eyes faintly and
looked around him, and then endeavoured to rise from his chair, but
was unable to do so. He was very angry, however, when he found that a
medical man had been sent for, vowed it was ruin and destruction, and
reproached Juliet bitterly for bringing him, as he termed it, to
poverty and disgrace.

Poor Juliet wept, not so much at the sting of her father's reproaches,
as because she thought his senses were bewildered; for although Mr.
Carr throughout life had displayed his avarice in acts, he had been
very careful to avoid suffering the miser to appear in his words. He
often, on the contrary, affected a tone of liberality; talked much
about "petty savings," and people being "penny wise and pound
foolish;" with all those old proverbs and saws of liberality, which
are more frequently in the mouths of the greedy and the avaricious
than of the really generous and open-handed.

Gradually, as he recovered himself, he became more guarded again, said
that as the doctor had been sent for he could not help it, but at the
same time put Juliet away from him with a cold air, and begged that
she would not act in such a way another time without his authority. He
asked, moreover, with a look of doubt and suspicion, if she had seen
that old woman, and seemed relieved when he was informed that such had
not been the case.

The surgeon, when he arrived, would fain have sent Mr. Carr to bed,
declared that he was much more ill than he believed himself to be, and
protested that he would not answer for the consequences if his
directions were not obeyed. Mr. Carr resisted, however, saying, that
there could be no use of his going to bed then, as he must set off for
York at six o'clock on the following morning, to be present at the
assizes.

It was in vain that Juliet remonstrated, and besought him to refrain
from an act which the surgeon assured him might cost his life,--it was
in vain that she represented how little it mattered whether the men
who robbed his house were convicted or not, if his own death was to be
the result. He grew angry with her arguments, telling her that she
knew not what she was talking about, and could not enter into his
views, or understand his motives; and so far, at least, he seemed to
be in the right, that the very exertion appeared to do him good, for
during the evening he went about making his preparations with much
greater strength than either Juliet or Helen believed him to possess.

He was pale when he rose on the following morning, and his hand shook
a good deal, as if he had had a slight stroke of the palsy; but his
determination of proceeding to York was so evident, that Juliet dared
offer no farther opposition, and only petitioned to be allowed to
accompany him. He did not comply with her request, however, saying,
somewhat impatiently, that there was no need of increasing the charges
at an inn. His daughter judged, and judged rightly, that the
apprehension of expense was not the sole cause of her father's
unwillingness to take her with him, and she did not venture to propose
that arrangement which had but too often taken place between him and
herself--namely, that she should pay her share from her own private
income.

As soon as the chaise appeared, Mr. Carr and Helen Barham got into it,
and the door was already shut when William Barham, who had been
wandering about the house during the whole morning, as if not knowing
what to do with his vacant time, ran up to the side of the vehicle,
and spoke a few words to Mr. Carr. The old man seemed surprised, but
after a reply and a rejoinder, exclaimed--"Very well--very well,
then--only make haste!"

The youth's portmanteau was immediately sent for, and strapped upon
the carriage; he himself took his place inside, and the whole party
were borne away in a very few minutes. To Juliet, who watched them
from the window, the words which William Barham had spoken where
inaudible; and she was not a little surprised to see the young man
depart, even for a short time, without the ordinary courtesy of
bidding her adieu; for, to say the truth, there had been a growing
familiarity in his manner, which, though difficult to check, had been
not a little disagreeable to her. On the present occasion, she
concluded that he was going to witness the trial at York, and was glad
of the relief; but she would have been still more surprised at his
conduct, though even better satisfied with the result, if she had
known that he only proposed to accompany M. Carr as far as the high
road, and there to get a place in the first coach for London.

While in the carriage with Mr. Carr and Helen, William Barham
maintained that sort of dull reserve which his sister's presence
seemed now to produce invariably, and only entered into conversation
for the purpose, of hinting to the old lawyer that he wanted a supply
of money. With scarcely a moment's hesitation given to his habitual
reluctance to part with money on any consideration, Mr. Carr produced
his pocket-book, and handed over at once two ten-pound notes to his
young companion, only stipulating that, when they arrived at the inn,
he should give a note of hand for the sum which he had received.

"This man has been called a miser and a usurer," thought Helen, "and
yet he deals thus liberally and kindly. So do people gain the
reputation of vices that they do not possess."

But poor Helen Barham knew not, that for every shilling which Mr. Carr
lent to William, he calculated that he would gain fifty, if not a
hundred per cent. On their arrival at the inn, which occupied the
angle where the by-road from Yelverly joined the high road from York
to London, Mr. Carr and William Barham got out of the carriage; and
the old lawyer carefully took a memorandum from the young man of the
sum which had been given him. William then took leave of his sister,
merely shaking hands as if she had been some common acquaintance, and
the chaise rolled on towards York, while Helen's brother remained
waiting the arrival of the coach. When it came, he got into the
inside, seeing that is was already tenanted by two well-dressed young
women, and an elderly gentleman; and in a few minutes the youth was in
full conversation, casting away entirely all that reserve which he had
displayed in the presence of his sister, and giving himself all sorts
of airs, as if he were the scion of some noble house, frequenting the
first society in the land, and possessing wealth at will.

Fast drove the coach along the road, and faster went the young man's
tongue, the innocent girls within the vehicle giving full credit to
every word he said, though not particularly liking his manners and
appearance, and their elder companion, with more experience and
knowledge of the world, setting him down, not exactly for what he
really was, but for some saucy shopboy, suddenly possessed of a few
pounds, and raised in his own impudent imagination to the highest
pitch of fortune.

At the end of about two hours, the coach drove up to an inn to change
horses, and at the same moment a dark-coloured, but highly-finished
barouche, rolled rapidly past on the side next to William Barham. The
old gentleman who occupied the other corner, could only perceive that
the carriage contained a man of a distinguished aspect, with fine
features and a very dark complexion; but William Barham recognised
with terror the well-known countenance of Lieberg, and saw that the
keen dark eye rested upon him while the finger was raised and the brow
contracted. He turned deadly pale, and became as silent as the grave.

The old gentleman remarked all this, and whispered to one of
his daughters, "I suppose this vulgar young coxcomb is some
valet-de-chambre, and if so, depend upon it that was his master who
passed just now."

William Barham's sharp ears caught the meaning of the whisper, and his
heart burned within him, but he did not dare to reply. His only
resource was to betake himself to the outside of the coach at the next
stage, and to drown the mingled feelings of apprehension and rage in
five or six glasses of strong brandy and water, taken wherever the
vehicle stopped long enough to give time for such potations.



CHAPTER XL.


It was in the interior of the well-known prison of York, just after
nightfall, that the prisoner Harry Martin sat by himself, having been
permitted a long interview with his wife in the course of the day, and
having apparently derived great comfort and consolation from her
presence--much greater, indeed, than that which he had derived from a
conversation with his lawyer, who had taken a view of his case not the
most encouraging. During the first day or two of his imprisonment he
had, to say the truth, felt a degree of despairing anxiety which he
had never before known in life; not, indeed, that he had displayed any
external sign of apprehension, unless it were a stern gravity of
language rather different from his usual gay and reckless tone. But
upon the whole he had been calm, talking with any one who saw him upon
indifferent subjects, and seemingly not at all engrossed with his own
situation, but only feeling the general impression of a serious
charge. His demeanour altogether had much pleased not only the
governor of the prison, but also the turnkeys; and the former declared
that he had seen many a guilty man in his day, but he had never seen
any who had less the manner of one than Mr. Martin, nor could he
conceive that what all the London officers said of him was true; while
the turnkeys, on their part, vowed that, whatever he had done, Mr.
Martin was "quite a gentleman."

Although even in those days the prison licentiousness, commemorated in
the Beggar's Opera and in the works of our older novelists, had been
very nearly done away, yet a degree of licence existed in our gaols
unknown to our stricter rule. The discipline of a prison was a very
different thing then from that which it is now, and it rarely happened
that a harsh magistrate interdicted a prisoner before trial from any
reasonable communication with his friends and acquaintances. All that
was required from the governor of a gaol was the secure custody of the
prisoner's person, and if that was properly cared for, few questions
of any kind were asked.

There were hours fixed, however, beyond which any visits to the prison
were not usually permitted, and it was with some surprise, therefore,
that Harry Martin saw the door of his cell open a few hours after the
ordinary time of admission.

"A gentleman wants to speak with you, Mr. Martin," said one of the
turnkeys, and the prisoner, raising his eyes, beheld a tall and
powerful man, wrapped in a travelling cloak, enter the room while the
gaoler held the door for him to pass in.

Harry Martin was not one to forget readily a face he had once seen,
but it took the reflection of a moment or two to connect that of his
visitor with the events of the past; and ere his recollection served
him, the door was closed, and he stood face to face with the personage
whom we have called Count Lieberg. The moment that he became aware of
who it was, the brow of the prisoner contracted, and he demanded
sternly--"What do you want with me?"

Lieberg's dark, keen eye rested upon him heavily, with that sort of
oppressive light which seemed at once to see into and weigh down the
heart of those he gazed at, and he remained for a moment or two
without making any reply, as if to let the man before him feel the
full force of that basilisk glance.

"When last we met," he said, at length, "you took away some papers--"

Harry Martin had by this time recollected himself, and he replied.
with a loud laugh--"When last we met? Did we ever meet at all? That is
the question, my fine fellow. You seem to me as impudent as a quack
doctor, and I dare say are as great a liar as a horse-chanter."

"When last we met," repeated Lieberg, in an unaltered tone, "you took
a pocket-book of mine, containing some papers of value to me and of no
value to you. What has become of them?"

"What has become of them!" cried Harry Martin. "If I took any papers
of yours, depend upon it that they are by this time what you and I
soon will be."

"And what is that?" demanded Lieberg.

"Dust and ashes--dust and ashes!" replied Harry Martin.

"You make a mistake," said Lieberg, calmly, "I have no intention of
being anything of the kind. But listen to me for a moment, my good
friend, and I will give you sufficient motives for making you change
your mind in this business. Those papers are of great consequence to
me; if they can't be found, the proofs of the facts to which they
referred are the next important things to obtain. If you can furnish
me with either the one or the other, you will benefit me and yourself
too. Hear me!--you will save your own neck from the gallows--You will
save your own life, I say."

"I would not, to save fifty lives," answered Harry Martin. "Come,
don't talk to me any more about it, for I don't want to hear such
stuff. You have no power to give life or to take it. You, who, if laws
were equal, and punishments proportioned to crime, would find a far
higher gallows than any of us poor fellows--you, who are a robber of
more than money--a murderer of more than life--who gave you power to
offer me safety, or anything like it?"

"The chance that placed me in the house which you broke into," replied
Lieberg, "and the wit that made me lie quiet when I found there was no
use in resisting. Upon my words hangs your life, and I pledge my
honour to save it, if you but restore me those papers."

"Your honour!" exclaimed Harry Martin. "What's your honour worth? I
have heard some tricks of your honour, that make it of as little
value, to those who know what is underneath the surface, as a coiner's
shilling."

"You are in the wrong," said Lieberg, calmly, keeping still fixed upon
him that peculiar look which Harry Martin could not prevent himself
from feeling, notwithstanding all his daring hardihood--"you are quite
in the wrong, my good friend, and are risking your neck, or rather, I
should say, absolutely condemning yourself to death for the sake of a
youth who has betrayed you, and who was the first to bring upon you
the eye of the law."

"Has he betrayed me?" demanded Harry Martin, with his eye flashing.
"Has he betrayed me? If I thought that--"

"I can prove it," replied Lieberg. "You have mistaken your friends for
your enemies, my good man. Listen to me for a very brief space of
time, and you shall soon see that you have not only done me injustice,
but yourself too. All the information that you possess, with regard to
me and to my proceedings, has been derived from a youth whom you
yourself know to be one of the most egregious liars in Europe, who has
misrepresented my conduct to every one, even while I was acting for
his own good. I should have supposed that you were too wise to trust
to one word that he says, even from what you knew of him before; but
surely you will not be foolish enough to give the slightest credit to
the falsehoods which he has spoken of me, when you find that he is
rascal enough to betray you without the least hesitation. Of the
latter fact you may be quite sure, although he may very likely have
bargained not to be brought forward at your trial. Take any means that
you like to satisfy yourself, and you will find that almost
immediately after the robbery had been committed, he went to the house
of Mr. Carr, and has remained there ever since. You will find, also,
that his sister has been brought down to give evidence against you;
and every enquiry that you make will prove to you, more and more
strongly, that it was he who pointed you out to the police as the man,
even when suspicion had very naturally fallen upon two other persons."

Harry Martin walked up and down the narrow space of the cell, in a
state of terrible agitation. "So, so!" he said, "this is the game! He
shall smart for it!--I wish I had my hand upon his shoulder, that's
all; but I will have my day, yet. Never mind--revenge will come, and
it is sweet!"

"It is, indeed!" said Lieberg, with a tone of such earnestness, that
no one could doubt he felt the burning passion, the hell-thirst of
which he spoke, with strong intensity, notwithstanding the calm and
indifferent demeanour which he so generally affected. "It is, indeed,"
he said, "and no man who knows how sweet it is, lets slip the
opportunity when presented to him. The way before you, my good friend,
is open, and easy; give me those papers; or, if you really have them
not, furnish me with the proofs, which I know you possess, against the
boy, William Barham, and you at once save your own life, and gain your
revenge against him; for I tell you fairly, it is at him I strike."

"Pooh! nonsense!--don't talk to me," cried Harry Martin; "it's his
sister you want. You care devilish little about him. Do you think to
come humbugging me in that manner?"

"You are mistaken," said Lieberg, sternly; "I may seek revenge upon
them both, and so may you, too, for she is as much your enemy as he
is, and has come down for the express purpose of giving evidence
against you."

"Not she!" cried Harry Martin; "that's a lie--I'll never believe it!"

"I tell you, she arrived in York last night, with Mr. Carr," replied
Lieberg; "and, as you know, the trial comes on the day after
tomorrow."

"She'll give no evidence against me, I'm sure," said Harry Martin,
gazing down upon the floor, but speaking in a less assured tone than
he had used before. "I don't think she would, if her life were at
stake."

"If you are quite sure of that," answered Lieberg, in a meaning
tone--"if you are quite sure that the fear of being committed, and of
suffering a tedious imprisonment will not induce her to give some
intimation of the facts, you can trust her, and make yourself easy
upon her score. It were as well, however, to recollect all the
arguments that may be used to induce a girl like that to speak what
she knows, however strongly she may have promised you not to do so. In
the first place, they will shew her, that, both morally and
religiously, promises extorted under threats and the fear of death are
always held to be no promises at all, and quite in vain. They will get
lawyers, and priests, and friends, to tell her all this; and then they
will set before her eyes her duty to her country, and shew that
everybody is bound, by the strongest of moral obligations, to aid in
bringing an offender to justice. All the arguments, in short, which a
poor gentleman, whom you call the devil, has supplied to make people
betray each other under the idea of being very virtuous, will be used
towards her, and with effect; and then, to back all these persuasions,
will be held out the terror of the law, which is armed with power to
punish those who do not do their duty to society. Do you think any
girl will hold out against all this--against the arguments of lawyers,
and friends, and divines--and most likely, against her own convictions
also; and will quietly walk into a prison for an uncertain space of
time, solely to save a man from the gallows whom she never saw but
once in her life? If you do, my good friend, trust her--trust her by
all means; you are the best judge of the value of your own neck,
though probably there are some other people besides yourself, who may
grieve for you, and who may be left destitute if you are hanged."

Harry Martin seemed shaken. He sat down at the table, he leaned his
head upon his hands, and the workings of his countenance told how
strong was the emotion within him. Lieberg watched him, with eyes
terribly skilled in reading the passions and weaknesses of the human
heart; and after he had paused for a moment, to let what he had said
have full effect, he went on--"So much for the girl!--and you must
recollect, that if she refuses to swear that you are the man, and
assigns for the reason that her life had been spared, even that will
tell against you, in some degree. Then comes her brother, and says all
that he knows of you; then come I myself, and swear to you positively.
Now, if you do what I want, you sweep away the whole of this mass of
evidence at once, and, in fact, may be said to set yourself free."

"Why, how so?" cried Harry Martin. "How would that prevent her giving
her evidence?"

"Do you think she would give her evidence against you, if by so doing
she condemned her own brother to death?" demanded Lieberg, in a low,
but emphatic tone; "and I promise you, she shall have that before her
eyes, at all events."

Harry Martin gazed at him from under his bent brows, and for a moment
or two a variety of different expressions passed over the prisoner's
countenance, from which the dark, keen eye of Lieberg could extract no
information in regard to what was passing in his bosom. All that his
tempter could divine was, that he was shaken, that his resolution
wavered, though there was a certain look of scorn mingled with all the
shades that flitted across Martin's face, which was not very pleasant
to his proud companion. He failed not, however, to ply him with every
argument, to tempt him by every inducement, and Martin sat and
listened, sometimes gazing full upon Lieberg, sometimes bending his
eyes down upon the table, sometimes frowning heavily, and sometimes
indulging in a flickering smile, which crossed his countenance like
the lights that we occasionally see carried across the open windows of
a house, the tenant of which we know not, as we travel past it in a
dark night.

"Well now, sir," he said, at length, looking up with a softened look,
in Lieberg's face--"Well now, sir, suppose I were to do as you wish,
what surety should I have that you will stand by me, in the time of
need?"

Lieberg bent down his head, speaking across the table, and replied, "I
will acknowledge this night in presence of the turnkey, that in seeing
you, and hearing your voice, I have become convinced you are not one
of the men who broke into Mr. Carr's house, at Yelverly."

"That might do," said Harry Martin, in a thoughtful tone--"that would
go a great way; but don't you think it would be a lie?"

"A lie!" exclaimed Lieberg, with his lip curling--"Are you fool enough
to suppose, that a man of the world cares two straws about the mere
empty shade of truth, when a great and important object is to be
obtained? Where is the minister, the statesman, the patriot, who ever
dreams of the abstract truth or falsehood of a particular proposition?
The greatest reformer that ever lived, who harangues multitudes upon
corruption, and all the evils that afflict a state or a religion, will
no more scruple to falsify the truth in regard to an opponent, or to
tell a bare falsehood to gain an end, than a schoolboy will to rob an
orchard. Take them all, from Luther down to the lowest of your
purity-mongers in this happy island, and you will find that there is
not one of them who considers truth and falsehood, except in reference
to the end they have in view. Away with such nonsense between us--it
is only fit for a school-mistress's homily to girls of twelve years
old. I will do what I say, and that is sufficient; and ere your trial
comes on, I will so contrive to tutor Helen Barham that she shall work
your acquittal, without committing herself."

"That will do--that will do!" said Harry Martin, meditating. "But
then, sir, I thought you intended to have your revenge upon this young
woman. I should not be sorry to have mine upon that scoundrel, her
brother. Now let me see; though we jump together in that. I should not
like the poor girl ill treated at all--I don't suppose you would ever
go to strike a woman, or to punish her in that sort of way, at all?"

Lieberg smiled contemptuously, and replied--"You cannot understand, my
good friend, the nature of the revenge I seek; but be satisfied! It is
nothing of the kind you imagine."

"But I should like to know what it is, sir," said Harry Martin--"I
should much like to know what it is before I consent.--Anything in
reason, but no violence!"

His tone was very much altered, and Lieberg marked with no light
satisfaction that everything promised well for his purposes.

"Well," he said, at length, "my revenge should be this: to force her
to be mine, to bind her to myself by ties she loathes and abhors--to
bow her pride to the dust, by none of the ill-treatment that you dream
of, but by caresses that she hates--ay, and daily to know that her
situation, as my paramour, is a pang and an anguish to her, while she
has no means of freeing herself from the bond!"

"Well!" cried Harry Martin, starting up, with such fury that he
overset the table, "you are a damneder scoundrel than I thought man
could be! Get out, or I will dash you to atoms!" And at the same
moment he seized Lieberg by the shoulder, as if to cast him headlong
forth from the door.

To his surprise, however, he found that, notwithstanding all his own
great strength, he could not move him in the least, and that the dark
man before him stood rooted like a rock to the floor.

"Beware!" said Lieberg, lifting up his finger with a scornful smile,
as the prisoner drew back in some astonishment--"beware!" and at the
same moment one of the turnkeys opened the door to enquire what was
the matter.

Lieberg went out without making any reply, and the prisoner was once
more left alone.

"Ay," said Martin when he was by himself; "now if they have a cell in
the place fit to receive a man that has murdered his own father, they
should put that fellow into it. How the scoundrel was taken in, to
tell all his rascality!--I don't believe a word of it--never peach. I
know a little bit about women, too, and I'll bet my life she doesn't
say a word--only those rascally fellows may get it out of her; those
lawyers. I have seen them puzzle a cleverer head than hers with their
questions. However, we will see: a man can but die once, and I'd
rather do that while I'm about it, than give the poor girl up into the
hands of such an infernal villain as that, even if I had the papers to
give him, which, thank God, I have not!--for no man can tell what he
will do when he is tempted.--I suppose it will go hard with me after
all!" And with this not very pleasant reflection, Martin cast himself
into a chair, and appeared to give himself up to calculate the chances
for and against himself, with a heavy brow and a sad and anxious eye.



CHAPTER XLI.


Man, in his collective quality, is undoubtedly a gin-drinker, a lover
of ardent spirits, a seeker of all that stimulates the palate, both
mental and corporeal. The wholesome food of every-day life we soon
learn to loathe, and even the excitement of the imagination by the
mimic scene or tale of fictitious distress, is willingly cast away for
the more potent taste of real sorrow and actual crime. How we flock to
see the trial of any notorious criminal!--how eagerly we watch the
workings of apprehension, and anguish on his countenance!--how
critically we examine the gradations of emotion, and fear, and awe,
and despair, as they move the stubborn features, or make the strong
frame writhe! How we gloat upon the deadly anguish of a fellow-human
heart through all the terrible scenes in the administration of
justice, from the first examination of the captured criminal, to the
last dread moment upon the fatal drop!

Is it then, indeed, that man loves to witness misery, that he enjoys
the spectacle of agony in a creature like himself? No; no more than he
enjoys pain in his own person when he drinks those burning things from
which his infant lips would have drawn back, or eats those flaming
condiments which set the palate in a blaze. Stimulus--it is all for
stimulus! Stimulus that makes up one half of all the enjoyments of the
passions, the great ingredient in strife and exertion, the incentive
in the course of glory, the companion of ambition!

The criminal court at York was filled to the doors. The reporters for
the London newspapers were all present, come down to the mart of
excitement for the purpose of hawking it in retail over the whole
country. Manifold were the lawyers present to hear what they justly
expected would prove a curious case, and the rest of the place was
occupied by a various multitude, not only from the city itself and the
neighbouring county, but from various parts of England, and even from
the capital. There was expectation in every countenance, and each
little movement that took place in the court created not only a slight
rustling murmur, and a motion of every head forward to see what was
taking place, but also produced the palpitation of many a heart from
mere eagerness and anxiety for the result. A great part of the crowd
consisted, as is usually the case, of women, and a more than ordinary
interest had been excited amongst the fairer and tenderer portion of
the community, by the rumours which had been circulated regarding the
prisoner Martin. He had become, as it were, the hero of the day; and
his long evasion of the officers' pursuit, his sojourn on the moors,
and his capture in attempting to escape from a distant cottage, had
all been magnified, and made the theme of wonder and comment, so that
more than one penny pamphlet, containing an account of "the adventures
of Harry Martin," had been produced from the brains of several
marvel-mongers in York. Then, again, there was the tale of his
beautiful young wife and her mother having followed him to the place
of his confinement; and a report was current that the old woman had
been heard to say, on several occasions, that Harry was not guilty,
and that it would prove so; which created a very general belief in his
innocence amongst the many whose ignorance of all the mass of crime
that exists in this world renders them ever ready to believe that
those who boldly assume virtue, are virtuous.

The first cause that came on was one of no possible amusement to any
but the parties concerned; one of those cases of horse-stealing or
sheep-stealing, which sadly try the patience of an expecting auditory,
when something more interesting, if not more important, is to follow
immediately after. The counsel, however, on both sides, were brief,
the jury themselves were impatient, and that trial was soon over; for
it is no less true than strange, that even in courts of justice the
accidental circumstances connected with any particular case make an
immense difference in the portion of attention paid to the
investigation thereof, though the crime and the punishment remain the
same.

The judges of the land, indeed, generally hold, as far as is
necessary, that calm and dignified impartiality which preserves the
same estimation of all things submitted to their judgment, without any
reference to aught but that which is brought before them. Such is not
the case, however, either with juries or with the gentlemen of the
bar, and any vulgar crime will be investigated, judged, and punished,
with a rapidity truly surprising, when the same act, dignified by the
situation of the parties, or brought into notice by something new and
striking in the mode of its perpetration, will occupy a court for
whole days, and call forth the most profound affections in the breasts
of jurors, counsellors, and auditory.

The barrister who would conduct a trial for horse-stealing, with a
light and flippant speech of five minutes, although by the sanguinary
laws of old, the life of the prisoner was in as great danger as if he
had committed murder, would become impressed by the deepest sense of
his situation, and speak by the hour together, if some great man were
slain by the hand of an inferior; and the slightest touch of romance
will hold a court for hours over a trial for murder, which would hang
a dozen men for simple forgery in an hour and a half; and yet the
responsibility is the same--the life of a fellow-being is in both
cases at stake.[1] Although, perhaps, it no longer happens that
"Wretches hang, that jurymen may dine;" yet many a man has a cause
affecting his life, or his happiness through life, tried with no
slight inattention, because he has not committed some distinguished
crime, or performed it in a remarkable manner.

At length, the expected moment came for the trial of Martin and his
companions, and the prisoners were brought in and placed at the bar.
All eyes were upon them, and certainly an awful moment must it be,
when a man enters a crowded and expecting court, loaded with the
charge of a heavy crime, waiting for the ordeal of a public trial,
knowing that his fate for life or death is there to be sealed in a few
short hours, and sees fixed upon him the thousand eyes of a multitude
who have come there to pry into and enjoy all his emotions, to witness
the terrible struggle, and mark how he bears his destiny. It must be a
strong heart, or a hard one, that can endure that first look with
calmness.

Very different from each other, in aspect and demeanour, were the four
men who now advanced into the dock. Two of them hung their heads and
looked down upon the ground; one of them gazed around with a faint and
affected smile, nodding to some one that he saw in the crowd, and
labouring painfully to appear at ease. Martin, on the contrary, came
forward, looking straight before him, with his head erect, his broad
chest expanded, and his step slow, but firm. His brow was somewhat
knit and thoughtful, but his air was frank as usual, and after having
gazed towards the bench and the barristers' table, he turned his eyes
slowly to the right and left, scanning the eager faces of the crowd
with an unquailing eye and an unchanging countenance. The clerk of the
arraigns then read the indictment, charging the four prisoners with
breaking into the house of Mr. Carr, at Yelverly, and stealing thence
various sums of money, and articles of gold and silver, and he then
asked the prisoners severally for their plea.

Contrary to the expectation of all present, while the three men who
had seemed most cowed by the aspect of the court, pleaded "Not
guilty," in a firm and distinct tone, and gave an immediate answer,
Martin paused for a moment, ere he replied, as if he had some
hesitation, and then answered likewise, but in a low voice, "Not
guilty."

It may seem strange, it may be called unnatural, but I believe that,
at that moment, there was in the heart of the bold and criminal man of
whom I speak, a repugnance to tell a public falsehood, and to put in a
plea that was not true. He would have given a great deal, as he stood
there, to have been permitted to claim the old battle ordeal--ay, if
there had been twenty champions against him; but with all his faults
and crimes, he liked not to say he was not guilty, when he knew
himself to be so.

The jury was then called over and sworn, no challenges being made, and
after the usual formalities, the counsel for the crown addressed the
court, with a due sense of the responsibility that rests upon him who
undertakes the part of public accuser. Not one word did he say to
display his own skill, or eloquence, to excite the passions of his
auditory, or to prejudice the cause that was about to be tried. He
mentioned the facts of the robbery, as they had taken place, the
evidence by which he intended to prove those facts, the circumstances
which he thought might justly fix the crime upon the prisoners at the
bar, and then left it to the jury to decide whether they were guilty
or not, according to the impression produced by the testimony about to
be given before them.

After the conclusion of the counsel's speech, a momentary interruption
of the proceedings took place, and a report ran round the court, that
one of the principal witnesses had been taken suddenly ill. The judge
and the counsel for the crown held some conversation together, the
principal part of which was only heard by those near them; but at
length the former said, distinctly--"I think that such is the best
course to pursue. It does not much matter to you in what order the
evidence is taken, and, probably, before we have proceeded far, the
witness may be able to appear."

The counsel acquiesced in the judge's view, much to the relief of the
spectators, who had become apprehensive that they might lose their
amusement for the morning.

The two witnesses first called were the female servants of Mr. Carr,
who, together with the labourers who had come to the rescue of the
inhabitants of Yelverly, proved the facts of the robbery, but could
say nothing to fix the guilt upon either of the prisoners in the dock.
The housemaid, indeed, dealt a little in the marvellous, and though
her fellow-servant had declared that she was asleep the whole time,
vowed that she had seen one of the robbers, and that he was at least
six inches taller than any of the prisoners; which called from the
prisoner's counsel the significant remark, that the maid's testimony
would go far to fix the burglary upon the Irish Giant. He declined to
cross-examine her, however, saying, with a nod and a shrewd look to
the jury, that her evidence was very well as it was, and would be
received for as much as it was worth--but no more. Some of the
prisoners smiled, but Harry Martin still remained grave, and
thoughtful. His brow, indeed, gathered into a stern frown when the
name of the next witness was pronounced, and Frederick, Count Lieberg,
was called into court.

The foreign appellation, and the rank of the witness, caused a
movement of curiosity amongst the spectators, and a slight murmur, in
the midst of which, Lieberg advanced, and took his place in the
witness-box, with that sort of calm and impressive demeanour, which
bespeaks both attention and belief--very often, alas! where neither is
due; for those who have been accustomed to frequent senates and
courts, must have observed how much attention an empty speech will
gain from an attractive tone and manner; and how readily a falsehood
is believed, when the face of the teller bears the appearance of a
firm conviction. Let the reader be sure that the lie is as much in the
manner as the words, and that its success depends more upon the former
than the latter.

Lieberg's handsome face, too, and fine person, the accurate taste of
his dress, and his military carriage, all struck the spectators, and
the court, and prepared them to give full credit to every word that he
uttered. The judge alone, long accustomed to remark the slightest
changes of the human countenance--whose memory was, in short, a
dictionary of looks--remarked a something when the eye of the witness
lighted on the prisoner Martin, which made him say to himself--"There
is hatred there." It was no permanent expression, but one that passed
like a gleam of lightning, over his face, and was gone--a flash of the
eye, a sudden convulsive curl of the lip, a momentary contraction of
the brow, and then all was calm again.

After stating who and what he was, and that he had visited the house
of Mr. Carr for the purpose of hiring some shooting in the
neighbourhood, Lieberg went on to give, in a clear and perspicuous
manner, and, as usual, without the slightest foreign accent in the
world, his account of all that occurred on the night of the robbery.
Nor was that account far different from the truth, for Lieberg well
knew that truth is always more convincing than falsehood, and,
consequently, he contented himself with as little of the latter
ingredient in his story as was possible, consistent with his purposes.
The only part, then, of his statement which was calculated to deceive,
was that he had been roused out of his sleep by a scream, and was
issuing forth from his room to see what it was, when he received a
blow on the head, which stunned him for a few minutes. He next
proceeded to say, that on recovering his senses, he found himself
bound, and, looking through his half-closed eyes, saw two men in his
chamber, rifling his trunks and dressing-case. They remained there, he
continued, for some time, talking aloud, and then went away, leaving
him still tied.

"Have you seen either of those men since?" demanded the examining
counsel.

"I have," replied Lieberg, firmly. "I see one of them now,"--and he
fixed his eyes upon Harry Martin, with a stern look.

The judge smiled, as he saw the direction of his glance; but the
counsel bade the witness point out the man, if he still saw him in
court. Lieberg immediately held out his hand towards Martin,
saying--"Of the four prisoners in the dock, the one upon the extreme
right, I can swear to, as one of those whom I saw in my room that
night." As he spoke, he bent his eyes full upon Martin's face, and the
prisoner returned his stare, with a look as proud and powerful as his
own; and again a murmur ran through the court, as the spectators
remarked the glances which those two men interchanged.

"Do you see in the court the second man who was in your room?"
demanded the counsel.

"I think that the other prisoner, at the further end of the dock, is
he," said Lieberg; "but I cannot swear to him."

After a few more questions, the examination in chief was ended, and
Count Lieberg was turned over to the hands of the prisoners' counsel,
who proceeded to cross-examine him at length.

It is a terrible engine, a cross-examination, in the hands of one who
knows how to wield it properly. It is a sort of mental torture, for
the purpose of making a witness confess the truth, but which, like the
rack and the thumb-screw, has as often brought forth falsehood, as
that which is sought to be elicited; and yet it is impossible,
perhaps, to do without it. The proud spirit of Lieberg writhed
within him at all that he was obliged to endure, during his
cross-examination, but with the wonderful command which he possessed
over himself, he covered, for a long time, all his feelings with an
exterior of cold composure; revenging himself, from time to time, upon
the counsel, by a bitter sneer, which made the court smile, though his
own lip remained unmoved and stern.

He was made to go over and over again the exact position in which he
stood, when he received the blow that stunned him; and a number of
questions were asked which seemed directed to puzzle the witness, more
than to accomplish any other object; and then the counsel demanded,
suddenly, whether he were not actually up, and at the door of his
room, when he heard the scream he had mentioned?

"I have already said," replied Lieberg, "that it woke me from my
sleep; and I must appeal to the court, whether this course of
examination is to be persisted in?"

The judge, however, did not see that the question was at all
objectionable, and the counsel had the pleasure of finding that he had
irritated the witness. He then went on to ask him, by what signs and
external marks it was that he recognised the prisoner; and he made him
acknowledge that the faces of the men he had seen were covered with a
black crape, and their figures enveloped in smock frocks.

"How was it, then," the counsel asked, "that the Count recognised one
of them so rapidly?--was it by his feet, which might have appeared
from under the smock frock--or was it by his hands?"

Lieberg replied that it was by his general appearance; and, knowing
that his visit to the prisoner's cell might, sooner or later, be made
a subject of discussion, he determined, with his usual decision of
character, to touch upon it at once himself.

"I remember him," he said, "by his general appearance, and also by
another indication. I have told the court that I heard him speak for
some time----"

"But," exclaimed the counsel, interrupting him, and evidently prepared
for what was to follow, by some intimation from Martin himself--"but
you have not heard him speak in this court; and I will now ask you,
Count Lieberg, upon your oath--remember, you are upon your oath,
sir--whether you did not visit this prisoner in York Castle, for the
purpose of entering into a compromise with him, which would have
nullified your evidence here this day?"

The counsel for the crown here interfered, and the court declared that
the question could not be so put in such a shape, though the counsel
for the prisoner asserted that it was necessary for his defence.
The very discussion, however, produced what the keen lawyer
desired--namely, a doubt in the minds of the jury; and Lieberg's eye
gathered, in a moment, from the countenances around him, that an
advantage had been gained by his adversary. He decided at once upon
his line of conduct, and, bowing to the court, said, with a degree of
rapidity which rendered it difficult to stop him--"The question has
been asked, and I am not only willing, but desirous, of answering it
at once. It is very easy for a hireling advocate, by base
insinuations, to affect the character of a witness, but the stain must
not rest upon my honour. I did visit the prisoner the night before
last; but it was, as I explained to those who gave me admission, for
the purpose of hearing him speak in common conversation, with a view
to make myself quite sure of his identity. He threatened me, it is
true, if I gave evidence against him, and----"

But the court again interfered, in a peremptory tone, signifying
distinctly, that neither the counsel nor the witness could be allowed
to go on in the course which they were following, and Lieberg's
cross-examination was soon after terminated, the barrister who
conducted it being satisfied with the impression which he had
produced, and which remained unfavourable to Count Lieberg; for
suspicion is one of those evil weeds which, when once planted, can by
no possibility be eradicated from the soil in which they have taken
root.

Lieberg left the witness-box with a frowning brow, but took a place in
the court to see the rest of the proceedings. At the next name that
was called, there were two hearts that beat in the court--that of the
prisoner, and that of Count Lieberg; but it was the heart of the
latter which throbbed most violently when the crier pronounced the
words--"Helen Barham!" He looked round the people, and thought it
strange to see the indifference upon the faces of all; for so intense
were his own sensations, that he forgot the crowd were not aware who
Helen Barham was, and that the name, for aught they knew, might
appertain to some inferior person in the household of Mr. Carr. When
she appeared, however, and lifted her veil, her extraordinary
loveliness produced at first a dead silence, and then a low murmur of
admiration. Helen's cheek, which was unusually pale when she entered,
grew crimson as she saw the multitude of eyes upon her, and read in
every look the effect of her beauty upon the crowd. To one, feeling as
she did, that admiration was a very painful part of a situation
already too terrible. She turned pale again--she turned red--she felt
as if she should faint; and, while in this state, an old mumbling
officer of the court put a book into her hand, ran over indistinctly
some words she did not hear, and then added, in a louder tone--"Kiss
the book!" Helen obeyed mechanically; and, after a short pause, to
allow her to recover herself, her examination began. The counsel for
the crown addressed her in a softened voice; and while she spoke in
answer to his questions, and detailed all that had occurred on the
night of the robbery, the prisoner, Martin, never took his eyes from
her face. At the same time, the dark light of Lieberg's--if I may use
a term which seems a contradiction--poured upon her countenance
unceasingly. It seemed as if he were trying to intimidate her by that
stern fixed gaze; but Helen had now regained her composure, and
proceeded unwavering, with her soft musical voice, in a tone low
indeed, but so clear, that each word was heard by every ear. There was
no backwardness no hesitation; and there was not a heart in that hall
which did not feel she was uttering the simple, undisguised truth. She
told how she had been awakened; how she had seen the face of one of
the robbers; how she had uttered an involuntary cry; how he had rushed
towards her, with the intention of burying her testimony against him
in the silence of the grave, and how he had spared her.

She paused for a moment, while a tear or two ran over her cheek, and
hers were not the only eyes in the court that shed bright drops.

She then went on to tell all that had occurred afterwards, till the
period when she was left alone in Sheffield; and then the counsel took
a grave, and somewhat sterner tone with her, saying--"Miss Barham, I
feel deeply for your situation, after the promise that you have made,
for the purpose of saving your life; but before I propose to you the
question which I am about to ask, I beg to remind you, first, that no
promise, exacted under fear of death, can be held binding for one
moment; secondly, that you have a duty to your God and country to
perform--to the laws, and to society in general, which duty must be
accomplished unflinchingly; and I now ask you, by that duty, however
much pain it may give you--Do you, or do you not, see in this court
the man whose face you beheld on the night in question?"

Helen paused, and there was a dead silence through the whole hall.

"I will not prevaricate in the least," she replied, in a voice still
firm, though her face was very pale, "and I know fully what I expose
myself to; but I will not answer, in any way, a question which
endangers the life of a man who spared mine when my death would have
ensured his safety. I will not say, whether I do see him or do not see
him, and I will bear no testimony against him whatsoever."

Again there was a profound silence in the court; and then the counsel
expostulated, and the judge, in a mild but serious manner, brought
forward every argument which could be adduced, to persuade Helen
Barham to answer the question asked her; but nothing moved her, and
when he added a threat of using the authority with which he was
invested for punishing contempt of the court, she replied in a mild
and humble, but still a firm tone--"I came hither, my lord, with a
full knowledge of what you might be obliged to do; and I have only to
beseech you, in consideration of the circumstances in which I am
placed, to deal with me as leniently as possible, believing that it is
a firm belief I should be committing a great crime, were I to act
otherwise, that makes me maintain a silence which, whatever it may be
called, does not border in the slightest degree upon contempt."

The good judge looked down, evidently distressed and puzzled how to
act. But the counsel for the crown--resolved at all events to
gain some admission which might prove the fact he wanted to
establish--demanded, somewhat suddenly--"Is it your final
determination, Miss Barham, not to point out in this court the man
whose face you saw on the night in question?"

"I did not say he was in the court," replied Helen, who had studiously
kept her eyes turned from the dock ever since she entered--"I know not
whether he is in the court or not. I merely said that I would not
answer any question on the subject. If it were to affect my life
itself I would make the same reply, for that life which he spared he
has every right to require again, if by the sacrifice of it his own
can be shielded."

"I fear," said the judge, "that the dignity of the court must be
vindicated. Miss Barham, I warn you, that if you still refuse to give
evidence, I must commit you for contempt, as the most lenient method
of dealing with you."

Helen bowed her beautiful head, replying, in a low tone--"I know it,
my lord."

"Let the warrant be made out," said the judge; "and let the witness be
removed in custody."

As he saw Helen quitting the witness-box in charge of the officers of
the court, Harry Martin took a quick step forward to the front of the
dock, as if about to speak, but at that moment a warning voice was
heard amongst the crowd, exclaiming--"Harry!"

His eyes ran rapidly round to that side of the court, and he saw his
wife with her two hands clasped, gazing with a look of agony in his
face. He instantly cast down his eyes again, and drew slightly back,
while one of his companions in captivity whispered--"Well, that girl
is a diamond!"

In the meanwhile, a pause had taken place in the court; and the judge,
anxious to get rid of the impression which Helen's conduct had
produced upon himself as well as others, directed the next witness to
be called. The name of Mr. Carr was accordingly pronounced, the
counsel at the same time asking some one who stood near if that
gentleman were well enough to appear. Ere an answer could be given,
however, Mr. Carr himself was supported into the witness-box, and was
accommodated with a seat. He was deadly pale, and shook very much, as
if affected by cold or fear; and he gave his evidence in so low a
tone, that the examining barrister was more than once obliged to bid
him raise his voice. He, as the rest of the witnesses had done,
detailed all that he knew of the robbery, but as his room was the one
which had been the most completely rifled, he appeared to have seen
more of the actual robbers than any one else. There were four of them,
he said, and he had had a good opportunity of marking them well while
they tied him to the bed-posts, and stripped his chamber of all that
was valuable in it. He had not seen their faces, it is true, but
nevertheless, from their general appearance, he could swear to them
anywhere.

Towards this part of Mr. Carr's evidence, he seemed to become heated
by the thought of the property he had lost, and he spoke much louder
and quicker than before, but just then there was a little bustle and
confusion on the opposite side of the court, and Mr. Carr raised his
eyes. What he saw there no one knew, but his voice fell, and his
countenance changed; and when the counsel told him to point out the
persons who had robbed him, if he saw them in the court, Mr. Carr
gazed into the dock with a vacant look, and shook his head, saying--"I
do not think any of those are the men. The three on this side, indeed,
might be amongst them, but that man beyond "--and he pointed to the
prisoner Martin--"was certainly not one."

A murmur of surprise, and it must be said of indignation, took place
at the counsel's table, for lawyers are not easily deceived in such
matters, and there was not one man there who was not perfectly
convinced that the prisoners at the bar were the persons who had
committed the robbery, and, moreover, that Mr. Carr knew it to be so.
The examining counsel made one more effort, by asking Mr. Carr how he
happened to be so sure in the case of Martin.

"Because," replied Mr. Carr, "none of the housebreakers were so tall
and powerful."

"And yet," said the barrister, turning round to his brethren, "two of
the other prisoners are taller than he is. My lord, I think it is
inexpedient, after what we have heard, to call any further witnesses."

"I think so too," said the judge; "but I shall let the case go to the
jury."

The prisoners declined making any defence, and the judge remarked it
was scarcely necessary for him to sum up the evidence, adding--"A more
disgraceful case I have never had the misfortune to see tried." The
jury, without quitting the box, returned a verdict of "Not Guilty."

The judge then addressed the prisoners, saying--"A jury of your
country has acquitted you of a great crime, and I will not take upon
myself to make any observation tending to impugn the only verdict it
could return under the circumstances; but, at the sane time, you will
feel that there are facts connected with this trial which give it a
peculiar character, and that the same are never likely to occur again.
If, then, either or any of you have hitherto led a vicious or criminal
life, let the danger you have now run be a warning to you.--I do not
think, sir," he continued, addressing the leading counsel for the
crown, "that after what has taken place, we can deal very severely
with Miss Barham. Let it be notified to her, that upon due petition
the court will order her discharge;" and he turned, to his paper to
see what was the next case set down for trial.



CHAPTER XLII.


"The climate, not the heart, he changes who flies across the wave." So
said the old Roman, some thousand years ago, and doubtless what he
said was true, both in his own day, when men cultivated a firm, fixed
spirit within them, and also in the present, in the case of some
individuals, to whom has descended the gem-like hardness of the
antique mind, on which lines, once engraved, are never to be effaced.
Nevertheless, in the rapid change of scene, in the running from land
to land, in new sights and new excitements, in the companionship of
fresh acquaintances, and even in the every-hour collision with our
fellow-creatures which takes place only in travelling, one wears away
the sharpness of some sorrows, as the gem which has rolled for ages in
the waters of the Tiber, or which is cast up by the waves of the Ægean
Sea, though it retains the figures which were cut into it ages ago,
loses the sharp outline that it received from the graver's tool.

As there is scarcely a plant on earth from which the bee cannot
extract honey, so there is scarcely a scene in the wide world from
which the mind that seeks real wisdom cannot draw a moral; and every
moral has its consolation. The very aspect of strange cities, whatever
be the grief in our heart at the time, brings its comfort, derived we
seldom examine how, and often mistake when we do examine, but wrought
out justly and reasonably, by the silent working of that spirit within
us, which, if we would let it, would always deduce its homily from
every object of the senses. We wander through the streets of a great
town, we gaze up at the tall houses, we mingle with the busy crowd, we
see the sunshine streaming upon some mansions, and the deep shade
resting upon others; at one window we behold a group of merry faces,
at another the close-drawn curtain, indicative of sickness, anguish,
and death. From the one door, with tabor, and pipe, and garlands, and
scattered flowers, goes forth the bride to the altar; from another,
streams out the dark procession of the grave. On each countenance that
we meet is written some tale of joy or sorrow; each street has its
history, each dwelling presents an episode in the great poem of human
life. We return to our own chamber with a calmness in our sorrows,
with a resignation in our melancholy that we have not before felt--and
why?

Is it the universality of human misery that gives us a false support?
Is it, as the most misanthropical of philosophers has declared, that
there is comfort for each man in the sorrows of his fellow-creatures?
Is this the process by which we derive consolation from mingling in
the busy haunts of unknown races of beings like ourselves, and
discovering the same cares, pursuits, and joys, and griefs throughout
the world?

Oh, no!--it is, that we are taught our own littleness, as one
individual ant in a whole ant-hill; and from the sense of our own
littleness we gain humility, and from humility resignation, and from
resignation love and admiration for that great God who made the
wondrous universe, of which we are an atom--some knowledge of his
power--some trust in his wisdom--confidence in his goodness, and some
hope in his protecting arm.

Who is there that has ever stood amongst the multitudes of a strange
city, that has not asked himself--"What am I in the midst of all
these? what are all these to the God that made them? and is not that
God mine?" There may be such, but those who seek it will ever find, in
the contemplation of any scene where the workings of Almighty will are
displayed, some balm for those wounds which almost every man, in the
great warfare of the world, carries about beneath his armour; for--to
end as we have begun--there is a drop of honey in every flower.

Morley Ernstein had executed his purpose; he had quitted England to
search--not for happiness, but for forgetfulness--not forgetfulness of
her he loved, but forgetfulness of himself and of his situation. But
alas, reader, it must be acknowledged, he sought not the drop of honey
in the way that it might most easily be found! The same impatient
spirit was upon him, which rebelled against the share of human sorrow
that was allotted to him; and, full of its suggestions he struggled to
drown thought and reflection, rather than to find comfort by their
aid. Pride, too, as we have shewn, had its share in his feelings; he
was angry with himself that his heart had bent before any blow. He
accused himself of weakness, not knowing where he was really weak; he
strove to steel his bosom, and, in fact, only hardened his external
demeanour.

A fit of illness which overtook him at Calais, of no very serious
character or long duration, only served to increase his irritation and
impatience. He had been angry before with the weakness of his mind, as
he called it; he now felt a degree of scorn at himself and at human
nature, for that weakness of body which yields to any of the trifling
accidents of air and climate; and the very irritation which he felt,
increased and prolonged the sickness under which he laboured.

At length, however, he was convalescent, and being permitted to go out
for an hour or two, walked forth into the town, thinking that in its
streets he might find something to call his mind away from himself.
But little indeed can the good town, whose name was written upon
Mary's heart, display, even to the eyes of an Englishman, to occupy or
interest him for a moment. It is a sad, dull place, but in those days
the communication between France and England having been interrupted
for many years, and only opened for a few, there was a kind of local
colouring about Calais which supplied the want of other attractions.
There one saw a great many things that one had never beheld before.
Postilions were to be found with enormous pigtails, and as much wood
as leather in their boots; ropes served for harness, and peasant women
came to market covered with great ornaments of gold. The contrast,
indeed, was strong between the two sides of the water, and Morley
Ernstein's eye soon became occupied, even when he believed his mind
was taking no part in any of the objects around him.

The dull lethargy which comes upon the spirit of man under the
influence of any bitter disappointment, is never so easily thrown off
as when fancy is awakened by some of the magic tones of association.
There are few places in this good world that are not linked on to some
interesting event in history, and even the small, dull town of Calais
itself figures in the records of the past on more than one important
occasion. Nothing, however, presented itself, in the aspect of the
place, or in anything on which his eye rested, that could carry the
mind of Morley Ernstein away to other days, till he paused for a
moment, after a ramble round the market-place, before a bronze bust,
which is not easily to be passed unnoticed.

There are some heads, as the reader must often have remarked, which
are very beautiful in painting, but which lose all their interest when
sculptured; there are others, however, which seem to demand the marble
or the bronze; and if we compare accurately the busts that have come
down to us from ancient times with the history of the persons whom
they represent, we shall find that the man of fixed and powerful
thoughts, of stern and rigid determination, affords almost always the
best subject for the statuary, as if the character of his mind
required something analogous to receive the expression which it gave
to his features. Of all the heads in modern times, perhaps that of the
Cardinal de Richelieu was the one which afforded the finest subject
for the sculptor. All the paintings of him are weak when compared to
his character; it is in bronze that his image ought to go down to
posterity.

The moment Morley's eyes fixed upon his bust, the lightning of the
mind flashed back into the chasm of past years--the scenes of other
days, the block, the axe, the chamber of the torture, and all the dark
implements with which that terrible man built up the fabric of his
greatness, came before his eyes in a moment, and, for the first time
since the cloud of sorrow had fallen upon him, his spirit found a
momentary sunshine in the memories of ancient lore.

He stood and gazed, then, with his arms folded on his chest, while the
people walking to and fro passed and repassed him, and many a one
commented as they went, and assigned him a history and a character
from their own imagination. How seldom is it, in the busy world with
which we mingle, that any of the conjectures regarding our thoughts,
our feelings, our state of existence, are correct! How rarely, from
any of the indications that man's external demeanour affords to
society, can one single trait of the heart's countenance be divined!
Alas, dear reader, that it should be so! but to one another we all
wear a mask.

One man, as he passed by Morley Ernstein, and saw the traces of care
and thought on his countenance, settled it at once that he was some
young prodigal flying from his creditors--a very natural supposition
in the town of Calais or Boulogne. Another, moralizing with a friend
who walked beside him, declared, from his youth, his gloomy look, and
his distinguished attire, that he must have killed his best friend in
a duel, or committed some of those other dark crimes which society
never punishes, but conscience, sooner or later, always does; another
set him down for an indifferent _milord:_


    "Parfait Anglais voyageant sans dessein,
    Achetant cher de modernes antiques,
    Regardant tout avec un air hautain,
    Et méprisant les saints et leurs reliques."


But at that moment there was one near him who knew better; and while
Morley continued to gaze at the bust of Richelieu, careless altogether
of what any one thought of him--shut up, in short, like the lady of
the Arabian giant, in a glass-case of his own sensations and thoughts,
through which he could be seen, but could not be approached--he was
suddenly roused by hearing his name pronounced, and, turning round,
saw a countenance not less striking than that of Richelieu himself,
nor, upon the whole, very different in character.

The first impression was not pleasant, for the loneliness of heart
that he felt upon him, made him repugnant to all companionship.
Neither was the man he saw one in whom he was inclined to trust, or to
confide--one whose sympathies were with him, or upon whose counsel he
could rely; but yet, to say the truth, when he remembered the charm of
his conversation, the power that he seemed to possess of leading the
mind of others, with whom he held any communication, away from all
that was unpleasant or painful, to brighter objects and to calmer
thoughts, the first shrinking feeling of unwillingness passed away,
and he stretched out his hand frankly, exclaiming--"Lieberg! I little
dreamed of meeting you here."

Now the reader may remark, with great justice--"What, then, Morley
Ernstein was by this time willing to seek entertainment!--If so, his
sorrow was on the wane." He may likewise observe, that after all the
acts and deeds committed by the worthy gentleman who now stood before
him, it would surely have been more characteristic of Morley Ernstein
to turn his back than to hold out his hand. True, O courteous
reader!--true, in both cases--with the qualification of a "_but_." Did
you ever happen to take, under the influence of any of the many ills
that flesh is heir to, a dose which seemed somewhat bitter at first,
but which produced great relief to the sick heart, or the aching head?
If you have, you will know that though you might nauseate the remedy
at first, you sought it eagerly again as soon as you had experienced
the benefit thereof. Now Morley Ernstein was exactly in that
situation. Under the first pressure of grief, he had turned from the
very thought of amusement with disgust; but in mere occupation he had
found a mitigation of pain; and while gazing at the bust of that great
and terrible man, and suffering his mind to run over the scenes of the
past, he had felt an interval of tranquillity which he had not known
for many a-day. Conscious therefore that in Lieberg's society he would
find more of the same kind of relief than in that perhaps of any other
man living, he was not unwilling to take the same medicine for his
wound again, although there might be still a degree of repugnance
lingering at his heart. In regard to the second point, let it be
recollected, dear reader, that although our good friend, Count
Lieberg, had done everything on earth which Morley Ernstein would have
looked upon as base and villanous, had he been aware of the facts, not
one particular of all those transactions with which the reader is
fully acquainted had been made known to him either by Helen or Juliet;
and he was utterly ignorant of the whole. He looked upon Lieberg
merely as a man of the world, with better feelings than principles;
for although Morley was somewhat philosophically disposed by nature,
he wanted totally that experience which, in the end, convinces us that
the separation between good principles and good feelings is much more
rare than youth and passion are willing to admit.

Principle may be one check upon a man, good feeling another; the man
who has both is sure to go right, but the man who has either will not
go far astray, and in this case too you may know the tree by its
fruits. Of Lieberg's conduct to Helen Barham, of his conduct to her
brother, Morley was ignorant; and though at first, as I have said, he
felt but little disposed to like the society of any one, yet the
second impulse made him hold out his hand, and utter the words that I
have mentioned.

"I as little thought to see you in Calais," said Lieberg, in reply;
"but I did trust to overtake you in Paris; for on my return to town, I
heard that you had suddenly quitted England, that something had gone
wrong with you, and that you were about to make an autumnal wandering
in other lands."

Lieberg paused, seeing that the allusion which he had made to the
cause of his companion's quitting England made Morley's brow knit
heavily, and his eyes seek the ground. "To say the truth," continued
Lieberg, "I am not in the best spirits myself, and I am somewhat
aweary of this working-day world. I tried all the various resources of
Great Britain for shaking off the dulness of this season of the
year--fired a gun or two upon the moors, spent a day at a fashionable
watering-place, and finding that everything was vanity and vexation of
spirit, set off, post haste, to overtake you in Paris, and see if you
would take a grumbling tour with me through foreign lands."

The picture which he gave of his state of mind was adapted with
infinite art to the mood which his keen and penetrating eyes saw at
once was dominant with his companion. A faint, and, as it were,
unwilling smile, was Morley's only reply; but he passed his arm
through that of Lieberg, and as they turned back, towards the inn, the
latter proceeded--"We can go, you know, across from Paris to Cologne,
then ramble along the banks of the Rhine, make our way through the
Tyrol into Italy, spend the cold season at Rome or Naples, and then,
if you like it, '_mitescente hyeme_,' return to England. Or," he
continued, "if that suits you not, we can ramble still farther, plunge
into Calabria, visit the blue shores of Greece, see the fairy-tale
wonders of Constantinople, range through the scenes of the crusades in
Syria and Palestine, and scour on fleet horses the sandy deserts of
Egypt. Where need we stop, Morley? where need we stop? I have no tie
to one quarter of the globe--you have none either, that I know of; the
world is all before us, and the wonders, not only of a hundred
countries, but a hundred ages. Where shall we not find some astounding
record of the mighty past? Some of those marbles, which, in their
slowly perishing grandeur; teach us the littleness of all things
present, and, amongst the rest, of the cares and sorrows that we may
both be suffering? Of those cares and sorrows we will speak no more; I
ask you not what are yours--you question me not regarding mine. But
let us onward, onward together, through all the varied scenes of
earth, pausing no longer anywhere than while enjoyment is in its
freshness, taking the grape while the bloom is upon it, and the flower
before a leaf is shed. Once more, what say you?--shall it be so?"

There was something in the tone in which he spoke, in the picture that
he presented, in the very rapid succession of objects which he
proposed, that seemed addressed with careful calculation to the weaker
part of Morley's character--to the rash, the impetuous, the
excitement-loving spirit, which had been long kept down by the
influence of the better soul within him. There was nothing in the
scheme against which that better soul could raise the warning voice;
there was no one thing suggested which could be branded with the name
of evil. It was like offering to an eager and a fiery horse a wide and
swift career, while, faint at the far extreme, appeared a goal hung
with prizes, which seemed to glitter, though dim and confused from the
distance at which they were placed.

Morley hesitated not, but replied, his eyes for a moment lighting up
with the fire which used once to be kindled so readily in them--"I
will go willingly, Lieberg. It is, in fact, the scheme I had laid out
for myself, only improved and brightened by having you for my
companion. I have been ill since I have been here; but to-morrow they
assure me I shall be ready to continue my journey."



CHAPTER XLIII.


"Providence," says a powerful but dangerous author of another
land--"has placed Disgust at the door of all bad places."

But, alas, she keeps herself behind the door as we go in, and it is
only when we come out that we meet her face to face! The road to evil
is undoubtedly a flowery path, smoothed down and softened with every
care, so that no obstruction, no difficulty, may retard our steps, or
keep us within the bounds of right. It is only when we would turn
again that we discover the thorns.

Such may seem a strange homily wherewith to begin an account of the
journey of Morley Ernstein and Frederick, Count Lieberg. It is
nevertheless an undoubted fact, dear reader, that of all the many
persons well calculated to smooth that high road to vice, of which we
have just spoken, the young Baronet could have found none more
dangerous than the man who, placed side by side with him, commenced,
on the day following that with which we terminated our last chapter, a
tour through lands where temptation is cheap, example abundant, and
punishment rare--except, indeed, that silent punishment of the heart,
the sentence of God's own law, to which man has sometimes added
corporeal infliction, but from which he can never take away one fiery
drop.

They sat side by side in Morley's carriage, turning over that of Count
Lieberg to servants and baggage; for, as we have seen, Morley had no
less than three men in his train--the courier, the groom, and good
Adam Gray--while Lieberg was armed with a courier and a valet, so that
they were plenty certainly to occupy both vehicles. The conversation
between the two travelling companions was, of course, modified by the
circumstances in which they were placed. It was no longer the wide,
discursive, rambling play of fancy which had characterized their
communications at an earlier period of their acquaintance, but it was
full of deeper thoughts and feelings. It was no longer the even flow
of a bright and sparkling rivulet, dancing rapidly on, uninterrupted
by any obstacle, glistening over the pebbles of its bed, and whirling
in murmuring eddies from the banks; but it was the mountain-torrent,
amongst rocks and precipices, now pausing in deep silent pools, now
dashing through stones and crags, and now plunging, in an eager
cataract, over the edge of the precipitous cliff.

It might be that Lieberg's mind had itself taken a different mood from
the various scenes through which he had lately gone, from the violent
passions which had actuated him, from the bitter disappointment of
pride, and vanity, and love. Or was it that he purposely gave to all
he said that tone which made it harmonize with the mood and temper of
his companion at that moment? Who shall say which? Certain it is,
however, that he, as usual, led the conversation, and led it in that
exact strain which bore the mind of Morley Ernstein along with him. He
suffered the pauses that took place to be long; he forced not his
fellow-traveller to speak; he meditated, as well as Morley, and only
roused himself from his silence to cast forth some fierce and flashing
sarcasm at the world and all that it contains, or to utter some deep
and stern comment upon human happiness or human efforts. It was like
the stillness of the storm's approach broken by the flash of the
thunder. Then, if he found his companion so disposed, he would go on
in a rambling and meditative manner, with a dark gloom pervading all
he said, like the shadow of the cloud, remaining even when the voice
of the tempest is still.

"Do you see that mother nursing her child, Morley?" he said, after a
pause, as they drove through one of those small, miserable villages,
to be found so frequently upon the road from Calais to Paris--"do you
see yon mother nursing her child? Is it not a pretty sight?"

"I think it is," replied Morley, somewhat surprised at the sneering
turn of the lip that accompanied his words.

"Ay," continued Lieberg, "it is indeed a sweet sight to see the sowing
of hopes that go on from blight to blight, till all are blasted to the
very root. For what is she nursing it, Morley? For sickness, and
sorrow, and disappointment; for anguish of body and of mind; to find
virtue become a curse, or pleasure alone in vice; for sin, crime,
misery, and death, the grave and corruption, and hell hereafter! It is
a sweet sight, indeed; and yet, if there be truth, either in Holy
Writ, or in worldly experience, such is what we have just seen. The
child was a girl, was it not?"

"I think so," replied Morley, gloomily.

"Poor thing!" said Lieberg--"the more her misery. Men can find
pleasure, or, at all events, relief from their cares, if they are wise
enough to seek it. Women are altogether slaves--their minds to
prejudices, their bodies to passions or to follies. They are worse
than any other slaves, the slaves of two masters--of man, and of
vanity."

Morley replied not, and the conversation dropped; but it is true, and
therefore must be admitted, that the tone assumed by his companion was
that which harmonized with the feelings in his own bosom, although he
might see in many cases the falseness of his arguments, and the
fallacy of all his deductions. Those feelings were of angry
discontent, and he would not take the trouble to refute Lieberg, even
where he perceived he was most wrong. It was like hearing a man who
has deeply injured us accused of faults that he has not committed--too
often do we listen, and internally dissent, but are silent, and
perhaps are pleased.

After a pause of some minutes, Lieberg took up the same topic again,
pointing out how superior was the situation of man to woman; but still
the theme was, that man could drown every sorrow and every care by
varying excitements. It was too pleasant a doctrine for Morley, in his
state of mind at the time, willingly to resist, and he yielded
gradually to the belief that the only course for him to pursue was, to
drown the memory of Juliet Carr by anything that could occupy or
interest him. He proposed to himself innocent objects, it is true; but
where is the man who can gallop his horse headlong at a fence, and say
that he will not leap it?

The first day's journey passed in such conversation as we have
described, and the carriages paused at Beauvais, for the night. It was
yet light; and to while away an hour ere dinner was ready, Morley
Ernstein, without giving any notice to Lieberg, who had gone to
another room, strolled out to the fine old cathedral, and entered
those doors which, in Roman-catholic countries, are never shut against
the worshipper.

He gazed up towards the high transept, the magnificent proportions of
which must ever bow the heart to religious feelings, first calling to
taste, and taste leading on imagination, and imagination bringing a
thousand devout images in her train, as is always the case when
appealed to by anything grand and solemn. There is something, also, in
the architecture of Gothic churches, which has certainly a more
devotional effect than the light and graceful buildings of the Greeks.
There are near relationships between all grand sensations. Awe is the
sister of Devotion; and I believe that feelings truly sublime can
never be awakened in the human heart without ideas of religion rising
up with them. Man often becomes sensible of his littleness in the
midst of the works of his own hands; the eye runs up the tall column,
till it loses the tracery of the capital in the airy gloom above; he
stands at the foot of it as an insect, and thinks of the God for whose
worship that structure was raised, and to whom it is less than the
ant-hill on which we set our unconscious feet.

Morley Ernstein felt the influence of the place. The shady hour; the
solemn arches; the sober hue of the building; the solitary lamp at a
shrine on the other side; the kneeling figure of a woman, half
hidden in the gloom; a receding step, that echoed along the vacant
vault;--all made him feel inclined to stay and meditate; and the
better spirit seemed to think her hour was come again, and lifted her
voice to take the bitterness from his wounded heart. It was in vain,
however, for the fiend was near him, and ere Morley had reached the
end of the choir, Lieberg was by him, and his hand upon his arm.

How was it that he whiled Morley away from those contemplations, which
were likely to lead him to higher and holier feelings than those which
his counsels could inspire? It was by no light laugh--it was by no,
bitter sneer--it was by none of those means which he might have
employed at another time. He knew that there was a spirit dwelt in the
air of that place which would not suffer any method of the kind to
succeed. He called Morley's attention, then, to the beauties of the
building, he descanted upon columns and arches with the most refined
and delicate taste, he destroyed the grand effect of the whole by
engaging his companion's fancy in the examination of details, and,
drawing him out of the church, after having taken a turn round it, he
pointed to some of the grotesque ornaments, the grinning heads, and
monstrous forms which found place in the architecture of that day, and
then, and not till then, he ventured upon a sneer.

"See, Morley," he said, "how these people think fit to decorate the
temples of their God, with heads of devils and serpents! Thus is it
with us all, I fear; and if we were to look to the temple which we
raise to God in our own hearts, we should find it as full of grinning
fooleries as the outside of a French cathedral. The very image that we
draw of him, nine times out of ten, if we could embody it, would be no
better than the great idol of Juggernaut; and, alas! like that idol,
we often make it, in bloody triumph, roll over a crowd of human
things, crushing all sweet affections, and joys, and happiness,
beneath the wheels of one superstition or another. Is it more
drivelling or more foolish to ornament a temple like that with toads,
and bats, and dragons of stone, than to suppose that the God who made
us and gave us powers of enjoyment, should quarrel with us for using
those powers, or tasting pleasure wherever we find it?"

"It must depend upon the kind of pleasure, Lieberg," replied Morley,
somewhat sharply. "God will never quarrel with us, I am sure, for that
which neither injures ourselves, nor other individuals, nor society in
general--which neither degrades the spirit that he has given us, nor
takes away from the glory of the giver. But it is a wide subject,
Lieberg, which I will not discuss with you in my present mood; one
thing, however, is very certain, that man's foolish imaginations can
no more alter the nature of God, than those foolish ornaments can
affect the prayers that are offered in sincerity beneath those walls.
He has told us what he is, and with that we must rest satisfied."

Lieberg made no farther reply, for he was well aware, that one evil
thought, that one dark doubt in regard to right and wrong, once
implanted in the human mind, remains for its time buried in silence
and apparent forgetfulness, till the summer day of temptation causes
it to germinate and produce the richest harvest which a tempter can
desire. He left the subject, therefore, were it was, and the following
morning the two companions proceeded on their way towards the French
metropolis.

They stayed not long in that capital, nor shall I pause upon all the
events that occurred there. Lieberg took care that Morley should not
want temptation, and it was not by any ordinary means that he
stimulated him to yield to it. He urged him not, he argued not with
him in order to induce him to plunge into the ordinary dissipations of
youth, but he proceeded by the sap and mine: every word, every tone,
and every look being directed to show without an effort--to impress
upon the mind of his companion as a self-evident truth, that a greater
or a less degree of vice was an inevitable necessity, an incident in
the life of every young man, without which, youth never reached
manhood. He took it for granted--or, at least, he seemed to do
so--that Morley's views on those subjects must be the same as his
own--nay, that he must be already in some degree dipped in the stream,
which is certainly neither that of immortality nor oblivion; and he
more than once thought fit to suppose that his young companion went
hither, or went thither with views which never entered into his head.
At the same time, as his acquaintance was very extensive in Paris, he
contrived that his fellow-traveller should be cast, whether he liked
it or not, into such society as he thought fit.

Tools for any work are never wanting in Paris; a thousand accidents
brought about a meeting between Morley and this fair lady, or that
beautiful girl; and amidst the bright, the gay, and the fascinating,
there were many willing and well-skilled to lead youth upon the
flowery path of passion. A moment of strong temptation came, working
itself up by various accidents like clouds gathering together for a
storm. Lieberg watched it coming, and chose the precise moment when
the whole fabric of Morley's good feelings and good principles
tottered, for the purpose of making a great effort to overthrow them
altogether; but he strove for it, not as other men would have striven.

It was a sombre evening, the moment of danger he knew was to be
towards nine o'clock that night, and Lieberg sought not to make his
companion pass the hours in any occupation which might banish thought
and reflection; on the contrary, it seemed as if a deep and heavy
gloom had fallen upon himself; his conversation was of the darkest and
desponding character; and, as they sat alone together, he skilfully
called up every idea that might pile such a load upon Morley's heart
and mind, as would impel him to anything in order to cast it off.

"Such evenings as this make me sad," he said, with his dark, bright
eyes resting mournfully upon the young Englishman. "Autumn, indeed, is
always to me a time of darkness. It is the death-bed of the year, and
still, when I think how many pleasures have slipped by us
untasted--how few will ever return again,--when I think of the
emptiness of many things that I have sought and cared about, I feel a
cloud come over my spirit that I would give worlds to disperse! What a
difference, Morley," he continued, looking out of the window--"what a
difference between this evening and that on which I some time ago met
you in the park, with a beautiful girl hanging on your arm, and
looking as if she loved you!"

Morley shrunk as if he had been rending open his heart, and bent down
his eyes upon the table, but Lieberg went on--"I, too, was happier
then," he continued; "but those dreams fade, and I do believe, after
all, that with women, the virtue and the high principle which we
admire is but coldness of nature. They will be to all appearance as
fond, as attached, as devoted, as may be, but put some small
stumbling-block in their way, and we shall find that they will whirl
all our happiness to the wind without a hesitation or a care."

Morley stretched out his hand to the Burgundy that stood by with a
sort of convulsive grasp, filled the tumbler to the brim, and drank it
off without a pause.

"Give me the woman of passion," continued Lieberg--"she who yields to
the impetuous torrent of her love without fears of the consequences or
thoughts of the future--a thousand to one she betrays me, it is true,
but still she is mine while I possess her, and she can never inflict
upon me the pang of the cold-hearted, virtuous coquette, who raises
love almost to a pitch of agony, and then disappoints it with an agony
more terrible, verifying the Icelandic fable of the damned, whose
torture is, to be first burned in the heart of Hecla, and then plunged
into its eternal snows. There have been periods in my life, Morley,
when I have felt more bitterly than you know of; and it is ever in
such dull times as this that the memory of all which is sad and dark
in the past comes upon me. I wish the Salon was opened; I think I
could go and stake my last louis, to see if, by the gambler's feverish
joy, I could cast off this oppressive weight upon my breast. Give me
the wine, Morley, and let us have the windows closed--I love not the
world nor anything in it!"

Thus went he on for some time in a tone of dark despondency, which
made the moral poison that mingled with all he said ten times more
potent and dangerous than when it came diluted with gayer things. Had
he presented to Morley's mind the memory of Juliet Carr in all her
purity and goodness, he would have called up a warning angel rather
than a fiend; but it was the memory of sorrows alone that he recalled,
of that anguish of mind which--as corporeal pain will sometimes drive
the wretch, in a moment of madness, to fly to deadly poison for the
repose of death--will often urge on the spirit to a thousand harmful
things, even for a moment's relief.

As he proceeded, the load seemed to lie more and more heavy upon
Morley's heart. At first it bore him down, and seemed to overpower
him, but gradually he rose to struggle against it; the wine seemed to
strengthen him; he took another and another draught, but then he
paused, saying, he would drink no more: Already, however, it had
produced some effect, not in intoxicating, not in clouding his senses,
but in sending that fire through the veins which none but the
Burgundian grape can produce. He became impatient of Lieberg's gloomy
tone--he was glad when the clock struck nine.

"Ha! there is the hour," cried Lieberg. "Now will you come to the
Salon, Morley? We shall find some excitement, at least, in those
mischievous pieces of pasteboard."

"No," answered Morley, "I have an engagement to-night; my carriage
must be by this time in the court;" and hurrying away to escape
further question, the sound of wheels were heard the moment after.

A dark smile came upon Lieberg's countenance. He, too, went forth, but
he was not absent more than an hour; and then, speaking a word to his
valet as he passed, he walked into the sitting-room, and sat down to
read. It was past one o'clock when the valet entered, suddenly
saying--"That is his carriage now, sir."

Lieberg went out into the corridor, and passed Morley Ernstein, as,
with a slow step, the young Englishman mounted the stairs. He gave him
but a word of salutation, and hurried on; but Lieberg marked the
haggard eye and the flushed cheek, and, entering his own bed-room, he
stood silent for a moment in the midst of the floor, with a look of
fierce triumph. It was as if he had won a great victory.

But there must have been a motive for all this. There was, and his
words showed it: "He has fallen!" he cried--"he has fallen! The first
plunge is taken! Who shall stop him now?--Neither Heaven nor hell. He
shall go on--he shall go on! and ere many a year, I will show her this
god of her idolatry as low and empty a licentious debauchee as any
that crawls through opera saloons, or spends his days and nights
between the gaming table and the brothel!"



CHAPTER XLIV.


At breakfast the following morning, the two travelling companions met
again, and by that time a great change had come over the aspect of
Morley Ernstein. A change in a very small particular, but one so
remarkable that it instantly struck the eyes of Lieberg, surprised and
puzzled him. Morley was grave--perhaps one might say, sad--but there
was a calm, a tranquillity in his grief which had not appeared in his
demeanour since his parting with Juliet Carr. There seemed none of
that bitterness, that struggling against the hand of fate which had
before characterized his sorrow: he was sad, as we have said, but he
was no longer moody, indignant, and discontented.

Although, alas! we have no window through which to look into the
breast of man, and see the springs and wheels of thought and action as
they work, yet imagination may pry into the motives, and, perhaps,
obtain some insight. It is but supposition, reader, yet we will try to
show the causes of the change in Morley Ernstein. Previous to this
period, the share of pride, which is in every human heart, had fixed
itself upon his high and steadfast adherence to right; there had been
in his bosom, in short, a sense of deserving; and a feeling of
ill-treatment and angry repugnance to submit to the will of God had
risen up when the first touch of sorrow lighted on him. He seemed to
think that he had a right to happiness, and that to make him take his
part in human griefs was an injustice.

Of course it must not be supposed that he acknowledged such sensations
to his own mind; I paint them in the broad light as I believe they
stood, without the veils with which the deceitfulness of man's heart
covered them to Morley's own eyes. Had he analyzed his feelings, in
truth he would have discovered that--though he might have experienced
sorrow, deep poignant sorrow, at his disappointment under any
circumstances--the bitterer, the more fiery part of his grief would
have been absent, had he not set up a claim to deserving a better
fate. He had looked round, saying, as did the apostle, but with a
different feeling--"What man convinces me of sin?"

Such had been his state up to the day before, and now the change which
had come over him was produced by self-abasement. He no longer stood
in the same proud position in his own eyes, he felt all his weakness,
all the weakness of human nature, and his spirit was bowed down in
humility before the will of God. He could no longer say--"I have
deserved;" and although his sadness was increased by knowing that he
had himself erred, yet it was a more wholesome grief than that which
he had before experienced, and bitter repentance opened his hearth, so
that resignation could take the place of despair.

I have said that his demeanour puzzled Lieberg; he could not
comprehend the change that he saw in Morley Ernstein; but the truth
is, his own character was so different, that similar events would with
him have produced the reverse result. His spirit was one neither to
sorrow nor repent, and the consciousness of evil would but have made
him raise his head to meet the avenger; he might bow, indeed, under
the force of circumstances, but it was only for the purpose of an
after-struggle. He watched his companion attentively, then, but he
commented upon nothing that he saw; he took no note of their
conversation on the preceding evening, or of any events which might
have followed, but he began in a lighter, though not a gay tone,
asking Morley how he had slept, and adding--"What a stormy night it
has been."

"Indeed!" replied Morley; "I did not hear it."

"Innocence sleeps sound," said Lieberg, with a laugh--


     "'Virtue, without the doctor's aid,
     In the soft arms of sleep was laid;
     Whilst vice, within the guilty breast,
     Could not be physick'd into rest.'


"Is it so, Morley? But after all, what conventional nonsense those
poets write! Well may it be said that they deal in fiction, and their
morality is not a bit more real than the rest. A pretty sort of
morality, truly, one finds in all these moral poets, and other
righteous personages; they think no more of manufacturing a falsehood
to serve the cause of truth, as they call it, than a poor, honest,
wicked man like myself thinks of drinking my cup of coffee. Now what a
gross lie it is--so gross, indeed, as to be quite impotent--to tell us
that virtue is happiness, and that innocence always sleeps
comfortably! For my part, everything that I see around me makes me
believe, that, in this world at least, virtue is more akin to misery
than to happiness; and how many pangs and sorrows are there that from
time to time disturb the repose of innocence, and break the rest of
the purest and the best!"

"That is true," replied Morley, thoughtfully. "Griefs may often break
the sleep of innocence, but can vice ever repose, Lieberg? And as to
the happiness or unhappiness of the good and the bad, thank God there
is another world where things may be made even!"

"Your English proverb says," rejoined Lieberg, "that 'a bird in the
hand is worth two in the bush.' I would rather take out my stock of
happiness here, my good friend."

"I have been thinking much over that subject this very morning,"
answered Morley, "and have made up my mind upon the matter, Lieberg."

"And to what conclusion?" asked his companion.

"That the balance even here is in favour of right," replied Morley.
"Supposing that there be an equal portion of misfortunes and
disappointments, successes and advantages, allotted to the virtuous
and the vicious--and there is nothing either in reason or experience
to show that the bad man is more favoured by fortune than the
good--the very nature of the virtuous man's own mind leaves his
pleasures not only more pure, but more poignant from the freshness of
his heart, while his sorrows are diminished by resignation to the will
of Him who sent them, and by those bright hopes which lighten half the
load of life."

"I am glad to think that you have got up such a comfortable
philosophy," answered Lieberg, "for of late I have certainly seen that
you are very sad, Morley, and I have striven to the best of my power,
though somewhat vainly, to cheer you."

"I thank you for it deeply," replied Morley, extending his hand, "and
I wish I had been wise enough to get up this philosophy, as you call
it, before. You would not have found it, then, so difficult to soothe
me, Lieberg."

"It is an excellent good philosophy," answered his companion; "and the
only part of it with which I might be inclined to quarrel, my good
friend, is the actual estimation of what is right and what is wrong,
what is innocent and what is vicious. I do not take for granted the
dictum of every would-be philosopher--no, nor of every puritan--when
he tells me that a thing which makes me very happy, and does no harm
to anybody, is a vice or a wickedness;--but there is no use of
talking any more about it. Ethics are a very uncertain science;
what's excessively wicked in one country is highly virtuous in
another--polygamy is an honoured observance in Turkey. Dwindle it down
to bigamy in England, and it becomes a great crime, for which you send
the poor wretch to hard labour in a penal colony, as if the fool's act
would not be punishment enough if we did but compel him to abide by
the consequences, and live with the two wives at once."

Lieberg laughed aloud, half drowning Morley's reply--"The Christian
has always a standard of morality, Lieberg."

The former, however, wished to pursue the subject no more, for he was
satisfied with the advantages he had gained, and was well inclined to
leave the boundaries of vice and virtue vague and undefined.

He therefore turned the matter off with a jest, and as their breakfast
concluded, demanded--"Well, Morley, what shall we do to-day?"

"For my part," answered Morley, "I shall quit Paris this very day, but
I do not wish to influence your conduct, Lieberg, as you many have
affairs to keep you here somewhat longer. I wish to be away from the
place, and will wait for you anywhere that you like, till you rejoin
me."

Lieberg's eyes flashed with an angry expression for a moment, when
Morley talked of leaving the French capital so suddenly; but the
latter part of his companion's speech cleared his brow again, and he
replied--"Nay, nay, I will go with you. I have nothing to do here,
unless it were to take leave of some of the fair girls we know; but as
you are in such haste, we will do without even that. Doubtless, as the
poet says--


     'Fresh freres will clear the bright blue eyes
     We late left swimming o'er.'"


All the arrangements were soon made, passports were signed, bills were
paid, accounts were closed, horses were procured, and, ere night,
Morley Ernstein and his companion were some miles on their way towards
the banks of the Rhine.

It was rather late in the year for the German watering places, and
about one half of the company which, during the summer, had thronged
the picturesque villages of Nassau and Baden had taken its flight
towards greater cities. A number still remained, however, to linger
out the last fortnight of the season, and roulette and rouge-et-noire,
and certain select gambling parties, went on with only the greater
vigour from the want of that excitement which the more extended
society of the full season brought with it. It is just at that time of
year that the arrival of strangers--especially if they come with some
little display of importance--creates the greatest sensation, and it
may be easily believed that the two handsome English carriages, the
servants and the couriers which accompanied Morley and his companion,
made many a head protrude itself from the windows, and many an idler
gather round the vehicles. The appearance of those within them did not
diminish the interest felt, and some questions were asked of the
servants as to the names of the two gentlemen, which soon circulated
amongst the inhabitants of the place. The dinner at the table-d'hôte
passed off pleasantly; Lieberg meeting with several persons whom he
knew, and Morley being placed next to a most respectable looking old
German Baroness, with her white hair beautifully arranged round her
fair though wrinkled face. Notwithstanding the melancholy which still
hung heavily upon Morley Ernstein, the frank and ladylike manner of
his fair neighbour at the board, soon seduced him into conversation,
which the society of the young and the beautiful, perhaps, might have
not been able to effect.

In the evening, he strolled with Lieberg into the great hall where the
company had assembled, intending but to gaze for a moment at the
splendour which such a place generally displays, and then to wander
out into the walks round about which had been cut with careful taste
to give every attraction to the little town. Very different indeed was
the scene presented from that which he had often witnessed before in a
Parisian gaming-house. Roulette and rouge-et-noire, were, it is true,
going on in one part of the vast hall, and card-tables were to be seen
laid out in another; but besides the parties occupied with such
dangerous pursuits, there were various gay and glittering groups
moving here and there, or seated at various tables taking different
kinds of refreshment. A band was playing in the open space before the
manifold windows of the building, the night was clear and warm, for
the time of year, and everything that heart could do had been done to
render the scene splendid, and to banish thought by forcibly engaging
the mind with a whole host of amusements.

Again Lieberg, as they moved onward, met with many acquaintances--some
of them foreigners, some of them Englishmen. Indeed, in every place,
and amongst every nation, he seemed to have friends, and he took care
to introduce his young companion to all the most distinguished
personages present; princes, and counts, and barons without number,
and more than one noble lord whom Morley had often heard of as men of
high repute, but had never met with before.

Not anxious for much society, Morley Ernstein, at length, disengaged
himself from Lieberg, telling him that he was about to stroll out
through the walks; but the moment after he was stopped by a
fine-looking elderly man, of a fresh and pleasing, though somewhat
melancholy countenance, who held out his hand to him as an old
acquaintance. After a moment's thought, Morley recollected the old
nobleman whom he had met in London, and to whom he had been introduced
at the house of Mr. Hamilton. Well pleased at what he remembered of
their conversation on those occasions, he returned his greeting
warmly, and willingly sat down beside him for a few moments in one of
the windows.

"I hope you are not in search of health, Sir Morley," said Lord
Clavering. "You do not look so well as when I met you in London."

"Oh, no!" answered Morley; "my health is good; but I am seeking what
most people seek, after they have found the uselessness of seeking
happiness--I mean amusement. But I trust your lordship is not less
fortunate in point of health, though I am afraid, from your asking me,
that you yourself have been driven to these baths by some of the
unpleasant ills of the flesh."

"Not exactly so," replied the old nobleman, "though I always think
that mineral waters are medicines with which nature herself furnishes
us for almost all diseases, if we do but apply them rightly. It is now
many years ago since I myself received great benefit from these
waters. I had just suffered a deep and terrible affliction which,
through the mind, had preyed upon my constitution, and no one expected
that I should ever recover. I was then a younger son, seeing life, as
it is called, in the Austrian service. I accordingly threw up my
commission, and was returning home to die in England, little cared
for by anybody, and, to say the truth, caring little for anybody
myself--except, indeed, one who has also been snatched from me since,
by the inexplicable decrees of God. I paused, however, at this very
place; and though at that time I thought life a very valueless
possession, and was prepared, like Cawdor, 'To throw away the dearest
thing I owed, as 'twere a careless trifle,' I remained here for six
weeks, and by so doing recovered health and life."

"And have you never had to curse the waters since?" asked Morley,
gloomily, "and to wish that you had not tasted them?"

"No, my young friend," replied the old lord; "though I thought at that
time, as you seem to think now; yet I have since had to bless them for
affording me time to judge better of many things, and to learn
submission to the will of the Almighty--nay more, for having left me
to the enjoyment of many blessings, the calm sunshine of health and
ease, and that degree of freshness of heart--notwithstanding some
bitter sorrows and deep disappointments--which enables me still to
feel many endearing affections, partaking, perhaps, less of the eager
passions which are the portion of youth, but more of the permanent
convictions of experience. I can now love worth," he continued, with a
smile, "better than beauty, and seek in the companion of my later
hours the friend rather than the mistress."

"I have been wrong, my lord," said Morley, "and gave way to a
bitterness of spirit which I do not wish in general to indulge----"

At that moment Lieberg came up hastily, and spoke to his young
companion in a low voice, saying--"Will you do me a favour, Morley? I
know you hate play of all kinds, but I know also you do not care about
losing a crown or two. The old Baroness Von L----, next whom you sat
at dinner, is very anxious for a quotidian game of whist. She has
pressed me into the service, and there is the old Prince of
Naggerstein, but we cannot get a fourth, all we can do. Come, only sit
down for one rubber. I hate that dull drivelling game as much as
anybody, but I could not well refuse."

Morley rose and walked slowly to the table, feeling that it was
utterly impossible he could take the slightest interest in any one of
all the gambler's pursuits. In his eyes, rouge-et-noir was as stupid
as whist, and whist as stupid as draughts. Of all the games that were
ever invented, if he had been forced to choose one, it would probably
have been marbles. He sat down to play, however: the old lady was
charmed with his politeness; the Prince of Naggerstein was courtesy
itself. Morley soon found that the stakes were enormously high, and
that the two old opponents of Lieberg and himself were a couple of
thorough-paced gamblers. Lieberg seemed to discover the fact at the
same moment, and gave a warning look across the table towards Morley.
He himself played well and carefully, but during the first rubber the
young Englishman could not bend his attention sufficiently on the
game, made several mistakes, and the two companions were losers of a
very considerable sum.

"For Heaven's sake, Morley, be careful!" said Lieberg. "You have lost
me five hundred louis by not playing up to my lead. We must have our
revenge, however, for it is impossible to rise with such a loss as
that. I understand the old lady's game now; only be careful, and we
shall recover."

In the evening, he strolled with Lieberg into the great hall where the
company had assembled, intending but to gaze for a moment at the
splendour which such a place generally displays, and then to wander
out into the walks round about, which had been cut with careful taste
to give every attraction to the little town. Very different indeed was
the scene presented from that which he had often witnessed before in a
Parisian gaming-house. Roulette and rouge-et-noir, were, it is true,
going on in one part of the vast hall, and card-tables were to be seen
laid out in another; but besides the parties occupied with such
dangerous pursuits, there were various gay and glittering groups
moving here and there, or seated at various tables taking different
kinds of refreshment. A band was playing in the open space before the
manifold windows of the building, the night was clear and warm, for
the time of year, and everything that heart could do had been done to
render the scene splendid, and to banish thought by forcibly engaging
the mind with a whole host of amusements.

Again Lieberg, as they moved onward, met with many acquaintances--some
of them foreigners, some of them Englishmen. Indeed, in every place,
and amongst every nation, he seemed to have friends, and he took care
to introduce his young companion to all the most distinguished
personages present; princes, and counts, and barons without number,
and more than one noble lord whom Morley had often heard of as men of
high repute, but had never met with before.

Not anxious for much society, Morley Ernstein, at length, disengaged
himself from Lieberg, telling him that he was about to stroll out
through the walks; but the moment after he was stopped by a
fine-looking elderly man, of a fresh and pleasing, though somewhat
melancholy countenance, who held out his hand to him as an old
acquaintance. After a moment's thought, Morley recollected the old
nobleman whom he had met in London, and to whom he had been introduced
at the house of Mr. Hamilton. Well pleased at what he remembered of
their conversation on those occasions, he returned his greeting
warmly, and willingly sat down beside him for a few moments in one of
the windows.

"I hope you are not in search of health, Sir Morley," said Lord
Clavering. "You do not look so well as when I met you in London."

"Oh, no!" answered Morley; "my health is good; but I am seeking what
most people seek, after they have found the uselessness of seeking
happiness--I mean amusement. But I trust your lordship is not less
fortunate in point of health, though I am afraid, from your asking me,
that you yourself have been driven to these baths by some of the
unpleasant ills of the flesh."

"Not exactly so," replied the old nobleman, "though I always think
that mineral waters are medicines with which nature herself furnishes
us for almost all diseases, if we do but apply them rightly. It is now
many years ago since I myself received great benefit from these
waters. I had just suffered a deep and terrible affliction which,
through the mind, had preyed upon my constitution, and no one expected
that I should ever recover. I was then a younger son, seeing life, as
it is called, in the Austrian service. I accordingly threw up my
commission, and was returning home to die in England, little cared for
by anybody, and, to say the truth, caring little for anybody myself?
except, indeed, one who has also been snatched from me since, by the
inexplicable decrees of God. I paused, however, at this very place;
and though at that time I thought life a very valueless possession,
and was prepared, like Cawdor, 'To throw away the dearest thing I
owed, as 'twere a careless trifle,' I remained here for six weeks, and
by so doing recovered health and life."

"And have you never had to curse the waters since?" asked Morley,
gloomily, "and to wish that you had not tasted them?"

"No, my young friend," replied the old lord; "though I thought at
that time, as you seem to think now; yet I have since had to bless
them for affording me time to judge better of many things, and to
learn submission to the will of the Almighty--nay more, for having left
me to the enjoyment of many blessings, the calm sunshine of health and
ease, and that degree of freshness of heart? notwithstanding some
bitter sorrows and deep disappointments? which enables me still to
feel many endearing affections, partaking, perhaps, less of the eager
passions which are the portion of youth, but more of the permanent
convictions of experience. I can now love worth," he continued, with a
smile, "better than beauty, and seek in the companion of my later
hours the friend rather than the mistress."

"I have been wrong, my lord," said Morley, "and gave way to a
bitterness of spirit which I do not wish in general to indulge----"

At that moment Lieberg came up hastily, and spoke to his young
companion in a low voice, saying--"Will you do me a favour, Morley? I
know you hate play of all kinds, but I know also you do not care about
losing a crown or two. The old Baroness Von L----, next whom you sat
at dinner, is very anxious for a quotidian game of whist. She has
pressed me into the service, and there is the old Prince of
Naggerstein, but we cannot get a fourth, all we can do. Come, only
sit down for one rubber. I hate that dull drivelling game as much as
anybody, but I could not well refuse."

Morley rose and walked slowly to the table, feeling that it was
utterly impossible he could take the slightest interest in any one of
all the gambler's pursuits. In his eyes, rouge-et-noir was as stupid
as whist, and whist as stupid as draughts. Of all the games that were
ever invented, if he had been forced to choose one, it would probably
have been marbles. He sat down to play, however: the old lady was
charmed with his politeness; the Prince of Naggerstein was courtesy
itself. Morley soon found that the stakes were enormously high, and
that the two old opponents of Lieberg and himself were a couple of
thorough-paced gamblers. Lieberg seemed to discover the fact at the
same moment, and gave a warning look across the table towards Morley.
He himself played well and carefully, but during the first rubber the
young Englishman could not bend his attention sufficiently on the
game, made several mistakes, and the two companions were losers of a
very considerable sum.

"For Heaven's sake, Morley, be careful?" said Lieberg. "You have lost
me five hundred louis by not playing up to my lead. We must have our
revenge, however, for it is impossible to rise with such a loss as
that. I understand the old lady's game now; only be careful, and we
shall recover."

He spoke in English, which language the other two did not understand,
and Morley, vexed with himself, continued at the table. He did now
pay attention--nay, more, he became interested, eager. The dark bright
eyes of Lieberg were fixed upon him sharply from the other side of the
table, and Morley fancied that he read in them anxiety to see what he
was about to play. It was, on the contrary, only to mark how far the
gambling spirit of the place was getting a hold upon his mind. The
scheme had been well arranged, and it was so far successful, that Morley
felt that dangerous degree of excitement which he had never experienced
before, the first symptoms of the growing disease--of that fell and
terrible disease, which, when once it has taken full possession of any
human being, never leaves him till it has destroyed him--the immedicable
fever of the mind.

Once he raised his eyes from the table, and saw Lord Clavering standing
opposite to him with a look of melancholy interest in his face. Morley
averted his glance, and went on eagerly with the game, the impetuosity
of his nature affecting him in this, as in all other pursuits, and
carrying him on with a vehemence which he wished to restrain without
being able. As his mind was clear and rapid, and his memory good, he
played well now that he paid attention; Lieberg also managed his game
with admirable skill, leading Morley on almost to the very last with the
expectation of winning.

The end of the rubber was again approaching; Morley Ernstein had
played, the Prince of Naggerstein had just made a trick; the result of
the whole depended upon Lieberg's next card, and while he paused, as
if in thought, Morley again lifted his eyes. Lord Clavering was still
there, but another figure now stood beside him which made the young
Englishman turn, for a moment, as pale as death. The next instant the
blood rushed from his heart into his face and temples, he saw and
understood nothing more of what had passed at the card-table, except
that Lieberg had played, and that the game was lost.

Rapidly paying what the other party had won, Morley turned away, saying,
in a determined tone, that he would play no more. Lieberg marked the
look, and said, in a low voice to himself, "The time will come!" But the
next instant, following Morley with his eyes, he saw him standing
beside one of the most lovely creatures he had ever beheld, with a
degree of agitation in the manner of both, which not even all the
crowd that was around them could repress. The lady was dressed in deep
mourning, but Lieberg had no difficulty in recognising the same fair
being whom he had once seen with Morley in the park, and with Lady
Malcolm upon another occasion.

What were the sensations of Morley, as he stood beside Juliet Carr,
and, with a low voice and beating heart, enquired into what had passed
since he left her! Juliet was not less agitated than himself. It was
evident that she was glad, not sorry to see him, though melancholy
mingled with her joy, and she left the soft, fair, trembling hand in
his as long as he thought fit to detain it. She told him that the
cause of the mourning which he beheld was the death of her father, and
those tidings, it must be owned, produced but one sensation in
Morley's heart. He had respect for Juliet's grief, however, and for a
moment or two bent down his eyes for fear glad hopes should sparkle up
in them, and jar with her natural sorrow. In the brief pause that took
place, Lord Clavering, who had stood by with Juliet's arm resting in
his, watching with no slight interest, apparently, the agitation of
his fair companion and her lover, disengaged himself from her,
saying--"I will see if the carriage is there, Juliet. Sir Morley, will
you take care of this lady till I return; I will not be long."

"Oh, Morley," said Juliet, the moment he was gone, "I have one great
favour to ask of you--a favour that will make me as happy as anything
can!"

"Name it, Juliet," replied Morley; "are you not sure that, to make you
happy I would sacrifice life itself?"

"Never sit down again to a table like that, Morley," said Juliet. "You
know not the agony of watching one that we love with a countenance
full of passions which only the dark spirits of this place can impart.
Promise me, Morley--promise me, if you have ever loved me. You cannot
tell what I have suffered within the last five minutes."

"I do promise you, Juliet," replied Morley; "but you know not what I
have suffered during many weeks. I told you, Juliet, that I could not
answer for what occupations I might seek, in order to cast off the
misery which your loss inflicted on me."

"That which is wrong," replied Juliet, "depend upon it can but add
gall to the well of bitterness. Oh, Morley, for my sake--for Juliet's
sake--strive for better consolations. To know that you are happy, were
the only happiness that I could now possess; and I am sure that such a
heart as yours can never find anything but wretchedness in vice."

"I will trust," said Morley, "that the state of despair which might
well drive me to any source of relief is to last no longer. Where are
you to be found, Juliet? I will come early to-morrow; and you must
then give me up at least an hour--to myself and by myself, Juliet."

She shook her head mournfully, but replied at once--"We are at the
place called the Towers. Come if you like, but it is all in vain. I
would fain be with you often, Morley--I would fain be with you always,
to advise--to counsel, to soothe you; but it must be as a sister. I
can never be more."

"This must be explained," answered Morley; but at that moment Lord
Clavering again appeared, saying--"The carriage is here;" and at the
same time offering his hand to Juliet to lead her from the hall.

Morley, however, would not give up his post till the last minute, and
he himself conducted Juliet to the side of the carriage. He waited
with a heavy heart and frowning brow, till the old nobleman, taking
his seat by Juliet in the vehicle, ordered the coachman to drive to
"The Towers." Then, after pausing moodily for a moment or two before
the door of the building, he looked up into the sky, and, with a deep
and long-drawn sigh, turned into the paths that wound away, through
the woods, up towards the summit of the hills.



CHAPTER XLV.


Night and meditation were friendly to Morley's spirit; he wandered on,
rising higher and higher as he advanced, over the busy world of
emptiness, of folly and vice that he had just left in the great hall.
The fresh breeze of the mountain played around his head, and quieted
the feverish throbbing of his temples. He looked up to the Heavens,
and saw star beyond star, till the deep blue sky seemed, to his
intense gaze, to grow white with the multitude of brilliant orbs that
shone forth from the very bottom of the depth. Was it possible that he
could see that infinite immensity of worlds without thinking of God,
without wondering at the mightiness of his power, without asking
himself if his goodness or his strength could ever fail, and without
deriving thence powers of endurance--ay, and powers of resistance,
too--which no other philosophy could have afforded?

The very sight of Juliet Carr, too--the very words that she had
uttered, though their import was sad, and though not a ray of hope
could be elicited from anything that she had said, woke the better
spirit in the bosom of her lover, and led his thoughts on to higher
and to holier things than those to which the earthly spirit would have
prompted him.

He wandered on, thinking of endurance: for the first time since the
bitter disappointment that he had met with, the heavenly spirit in his
bosom seemed to have free sway, to clear away, as in days of yore, the
mists and shadows of earth from his eyes, to unveil the skeleton face
of earth's ordinary pleasures, and to show him the rankling corruption
of even the fairest forms of vice.

"I will endure," he thought, "firmly, strongly, resolutely. I will
endure with resignation, with submission, with the courage of a man,
with the humility of a Christian. Juliet shall not grieve to see me
plunge into those things which my own heart condemns. I will learn,
once for all, whether there be any real and substantial obstacle
between us; and if my life must be passed in sorrow and regret, I will
not add remorse also to the burden."

He had now climbed high up the side of the hill, with nothing but the
stars above him, and turning his eyes from them down upon the town
below, he beheld the place where he had so lately sat, with the lights
glittering from the manifold windows, and the music sighing faintly up
to his distant ear. The sight and the sounds only filled him with
disgust; and it was with regret that, after remaining for some time
longer upon the hill, he took his way back again to the busy haunts of
men.

On arriving at the inn, and entering the rooms which had been assigned
to himself and Lieberg, he found considerable confusion and disarray.
The cause was soon explained to him, for the moment after he appeared,
his companion issued forth from the left-hand room, saying, with an
eager look--"What say you, Morley, to a journey by night? I have just
received intelligence which obliges me to set off for Munich
immediately--every hour is of consequence. Will you come?"

Morley thought of Juliet Carr, and replied, that he was sorry that he
could not go--that it was impossible. Lieberg pressed him much, and
seemed mortified that he would not consent; but his friend explained
to him that he had made an engagement for the following morning which
he could not break; and it was at length arranged that they should
meet at Augsburg or Munich, Morley adding, with a faint light from
hope still shining in his bosom--"If nothing should occur on either
part to prevent it."

In less than half-an-hour the wheels of Lieberg's carriage rolled
away, and Morley, finding that it was hopeless to attempt to sleep,
sat up and read for some hours. How few books are there, amongst all
the many that come from the hand of man, on which the mind can rest
when the heart is sad! How often is even the very best of human
productions taken up and laid down, looked at and cast away, as the
sad thoughts wander round the one painful subject to which they are
fixed, like an animal tethered in a field to one particular point,
which he may turn round and round in every direction, but from which
he can never break away. Many a book will amuse the couch of pain,
will draw away the mind from corporeal uneasiness, but the anguish of
the heart has a property in our thoughts that cannot be dissolved; and
if any work can call us from that anguish, even for a moment, its
chief characteristic must be goodness. Wit, and fancy, and imagination
jar sadly with the tones of sorrow, but high and pure philosophies
come as a balm to the wounds of the spirit.

It was over some of the smaller poems of Milton that Morley paused;
and though he could not go on very connectedly, yet there was a depth
and a freshness in the whole as invigorating as the waters of a clear,
cool river to the limbs of one who has wandered far through a hot day.
His spirit seemed to plunge into that well of pure poetry, and rose up
refreshed.

At length he retired to rest, and though he slept not for some hours,
yet his thoughts were calm. He determined that he would go early on
the following morning to see Juliet Carr--that he would not wait for
any formal time of visiting, although he saw that she was travelling
with a party consisting of persons whom he believed to be nearly
strangers to him; and he lay and revolved all that he would say and
all that he would do, with the usual vain calculation of man, who
never till the end of life learns to know that the very next minute is
not his own. Thus passed the first four hours of the night, and then
came a short period of repose, broken with thought running into
dreams, and then came deep and profound slumber.

It seldom, if ever, happens that we can obtain sleep when we most
require it, but the unbidden guest visits us at the times when we wish
him most away. Morley Ernstein slept longer than he intended, but,
nevertheless, it was not late when he woke; his watch pointed to a
quarter to eight, and, starting up, he rang eagerly for his servant,
intending to proceed upon his errand at about half-past nine. There
was a note in the hands of old Adam Gray as he entered, and, as may be
easily imagined, it was with some emotion that Morley opened it when
he saw the hand writing of Juliet Carr; but that emotion was greatly
increased when he read the contents.

"We go early," she said; "and though I will never refuse to see you
when you think fit to come, I am inclined to believe that it would be
better you should not come to-day at all. I could say nothing, Morley,
to console you. All that I could tell you would, perhaps, but make you
the more unhappy. For me the dream of life is over, and I feel from
what passed last night, that it agitates us both too much at present
to meet frequently. I will not say 'too much for me,' because I resign
myself entirely to my fate--it is fixed and determined--I hope
nothing, I fear nothing, I expect nothing. There is only one thing
that I pray for in this life, to know that you are happy, and never,
by any chance, to have cause to think otherwise of you than I have
always hitherto done. Such is my fate, Morley, and such must be the
fate of every woman situated as I am; but with a man it is very
different. Suffer the memory of these days to fade away--I do not say
forget me, for that I think you will never do; but remember me only as
one that is dead. Form other ties, open your heart to other
attachments, and believe me, that I shall experience the only
consolation that I can receive in knowing that your affection for me,
and the bitter disappointment that we have both undergone, has not
permanently affected the happiness, or in any degree changed the
nature of the man I love."

"When did this come?" exclaimed Morley, in a tone that made the old
man start.

"About an hour ago, sir," replied Adam Gray. "I knocked at your door,
but you were sound asleep."

Morley cast down the paper, dressed himself as rapidly as possible,
and hurried out.

There were two or three people lounging quietly at the door of the inn
called "The Towers," without any one of those signs and appearances
which indicate to the eye of the experienced traveller that a
departure is about to take place. There were no boxes in the passage,
nor leather cases, nor cloaks and shawls, nor portfolios and
drawing-books, the stray volume of a new romance, nor the couriers'
innumerable straps and buckles. There were two or three men with
whiskers, and one with mustachioes, and each bearing about him that
indescribable something which points out the travelling servant; but
they were all in a state of calm tranquillity; and Morley, by the
whole aspect of the place, became convinced he was not, as he had
feared, too late. He went into the house, then, and enquired of a
person whom he met, and whom, from certain signs and symptoms, albeit
as unlike an English innkeeper as possible, he took to be the master
of the hotel, where he should find Miss Carr?

The man stared, and then replied, that there was no such person there.
Morley next asked for Lord Clavering, which name immediately brought
up a look of intelligence in the innkeeper's countenance; but the
answer that instantly followed, at once damped the young Englishman's
hopes.

"Oh, they are gone--they are gone!" replied the man. "They have been
gone three quarters of an hour."

"Who do you mean by they?" demanded Morley.

"Why, the old 'milord', and the lady, and the beautiful young lady,
and all--maids and servants and couriers, and all," answered the host.

"Are you sure they are the persons I mean?" said Morley with the last
faint hope struggling up.

"I will shew you their names in the book," rejoined the innkeeper;
and, taking him into a small room at the side of the passage, he
opened a huge book before him, and pointed to a long string of names,
half way down the page.

Morley read, but he soon saw enough, for there stood the words--"Lord
Clavering, Lady Malcolm, Juliet Carr." He turned away in, silence,
with his heart full of bitter thoughts, and, taking his way back to
the inn, he gave but one order--"Let everything be prepared for
departure."

"Do you know, sir," said Adam Gray, after hesitating for a moment or
two--"do you know, sir, that Miss Juliet is here? I saw her maid this
morning, in the street, and I did fancy that note came from her--"

Morley waved his hand impatiently, and the old man stopped. "She is
gone," replied Morley Ernstein; "do as I told you, Adam."

"Will you not take breakfast, sir?" demanded the old servant, with a
wistful look in his master's face.

"No, no!" answered Morley, impatiently; and Adam Gray quitted the
room. He paused musing at the door, however, laying his finger upon
his bald forehead, and muttering to himself--

"If I was sure it was she who is making him miserable--I would--that I
would! But she never seemed to have any pride in her. What right had
she, indeed? But I can't think it's her doing; she was always a good,
kind young lady, as ever lived, and I am sure I thought she was fond
enough of Master Morley, as well she might be. She wont find such
another match in a hurry. But I'll watch, and see; she may be playing
the fool after all, for there's no knowing about women--they are so
devilish uncertain."

With this moral reflection old Adam Gray concluded his soliloquy, and
went to give the orders with which his master had entrusted him, in
regard to preparing for departure. Ere noon all was ready, and Morley,
alone in his carriage, with his arms folded on his chest, his brow
bent, and his hat pressed over his forehead, drove out of the little
town, while many a foreign idler of the baths stood gazing at him,
sneering at the gloomy aspect that they did not comprehend, and
pointing him out as the true personification of English spleen.

Buried in the depth of his own thoughts, Morley cared little what
comments were made upon his appearance. The brief glimpse he had had
of Juliet Carr, the momentary revival of hope, had but plunged him
into deeper gloom now that it was gone, and for a time all the better
feelings which reflection had produced passed away, and left him as
bitter in spirit as ever. There was one strong, predominant
determination, however, in his mind, which was, to seek another
meeting with Juliet wherever she had gone; to induce her to give him
reasons for her conduct; to make her speak plainly why she debarred
him and herself of hope, why, if she loved him, as she did not deny
that she did, she made him miserable now that her father's death had
removed his opposition to their union.

Such were the feelings with which he went on through the wild valleys
and deep ravines that led him back to the banks of the Rhine. This is
not the journal of a tourist, reader! but still I must pause, to say a
word or two upon the scenes through which Morley Ernstein now passed,
because those scenes were not without effect upon his mind. At first
the impression was imperceptible, but gradually it became more and
more strong, operating like some fine restorative balm, and producing
a slow but salutary effect, as he journeyed on. It is not through the
ear alone, nor by the written words addressed to the eye, neither by
the tale, nor the fable, nor the moral, that man's heart may receive
instruction, if he will but take it. There is not--I say again--there
is not a sight, there is not a sound, from the flower in the valley to
the cloud-covered peak of the mountain--from the song of the lark to
the thunder of the storm, which does not speak to the heart of man
sweet counsel, and wisdom without end; sinking softly, calmly, almost
imperceptibly, into the mind.

The mere aspect of nature's ever-varying face must, if we will let it,
tranquillize the passions, harmonize all the jarring affections of our
nature, and with a solemn, and a soothing voice, proclaim to us the
love, and the wisdom of Him--


     "Who shapes our fate, rough-hew it how we will."


Such also was the effect upon Morley Ernstein, as he journeyed onward,
though it was produced very slowly. When he first raised his eyes, the
mouth of the valley through which his course had been directed was
just opening out upon the Rhine. High on either side rose grey ruins,
pinnacled upon the ancient mountain-tops, all that remained of the
feudal domination of the past; dark, and solemn, and sad, each itself
a legend, appealing more strongly to the imagination than any of those
with which tradition had ornamented the walls. Fancy might there range
at liberty, might people the deserted halls with life, might see fair
faces gazing from the casementless windows, might cover the winding
roads with the bands of horsemen, and might see the plundered
merchants, or the train of captives, borne up to the hold of the
lordly robbers who reigned in the towers above. The ruined church
called fancy to other creations--the bridal song, and gay procession,
the joyful birth of the young heir, the dark funeral of the departed
lord, and all the manifold acts to which the ceremonies of religion
lend their aid.

It is true, the imagination of Morley Ernstein, occupied with one sad
subject, was not disposed to tear his mind away from the present; but,
still, as the eye rested upon this object or upon that, his thoughts
would stray for a moment to the scenes of the dim past; or, leaving
his own fate for an instant, would find a temporary occupation in that
of others. The merry vintage was going on; and on every bank, and on
every hill, thousands and thousands of the peasantry, rejoicing in the
reward of honest industry, poured forth their songs as he passed by.
While he gazed around, perhaps, he pictured to himself the return home
of the labourers he saw, the embrace of affection, the soft domestic
love, and all the household joys that were never to be his; but still
he was not so selfish that he could not bless God for the happiness of
others, though he himself could not partake of it. The better spirit,
reader, gained the ascendancy, and in deep and pensive thought, calm
though sad, he went upon his way.

All those who have travelled along the banks of the Rhine--and few
there are who have not done so, now-a-days--know well, that though,
perhaps, the Rhone presents more picturesque beauties, there is
scarcely any spot on earth where, to loveliness of scenery, are joined
so many thrilling memories, and such a wide extent of associations.
Well might it be called the Storied Rhine; for there is not one step
along its banks which has not its history; and from the ages of the
Roman domination, down to the "Now," when the stranger stands beside
it, there is scarcely a year in the wide course of time, which has not
marked the Rhine by some great event. He, indeed, must have become
dead to life, or never have been alive to half the wonderful things
that life presents, who can wander by the side of that mighty river,
without giving himself up to dreams of the past--ay, and perchance of
the future.

Morley Ernstein was neither; and though the tone of his own feelings,
of course, gave a colouring to all his thoughts, yet his meditations
on the things around him soon became deep and long, and in those
meditations he himself found relief.

Thus passed the next four days, but, as he went from inn to inn, he
perseveringly strove to trace the road that Juliet Carr had taken.
Once only, however, he met with the name of Lord Clavering, with the
words, "and party," attached to it; and he knew not why, but a painful
feeling that Juliet Carr should be included in the party of another
passed across his mind. He strove to banish it instantly; he asked
himself, with a sort of scornful smile, if he were jealous of Lord
Clavering; but still the idea continued painful; and now, convinced
that Juliet had taken the same road which he was following, he simply
pointed out the name of the party to his courier, and directed him to
search for it in the inn-books, and let him know when he found it
again.



CHAPTER XLVI.


When the fall of Napoleon Buonaparte had opened the gates of Europe to
the little body of islanders who had been knocking at them for so many
years in vain, the first that rushed in to see all the wonders of the
great continental fair, were, of course, the great and the wealthy,
having every means at hand to satisfy to the full the expectant
innkeepers and postilions, who were well prepared to make the purses
of our good countrymen pay for the sights which and been so long
forbidden. But in the rear of these, only by a very short distance,
came a number of very respectable people of an inferior class, who
were firmly resolved to have their holiday also, and that it should be
spent on the Continent. The means of locomotion, indeed, were not so
plentiful then as now; no steam-boats bridged over the Straits of
Dover; no railroads saved one the trouble of seeing anything in Europe
without depriving one of the pleasant consciousness of making a tour.
People set out actually to travel in those times; and many a worthy
citizen of London contemplated the journey to Paris with as much wild
excitement, and strong sense of personal enterprise and merit in
braving danger, as did Le Valliant, or Bruce, or Cook, or any other
traveller of past days.

To facilitate them in their undertaking, however, there was
established, at a house on the eastern side of the Haymarket, what may
be called a dépôt of _voituriers_, where a man was almost always to be
found or heard of, ready, for a specified sum, to carry any lady,
gentleman, or child, who might be locomotively disposed, from one part
of Europe to another. In truth, the manner of travelling was not at
all an unpleasant one, and being then in its first freshness, fewer
tricks were played upon the traveller, more conveniences provided for
him, and the rogues and vagabonds with which Europe is superabundantly
supplied, had not then fully discovered that the trade of _voiturier_
was one which afforded them great facilities for the exercise of their
talent.

It was one day, then, in the month of September, a short time after
various events had taken place, which have been related in this true
history, that a Swiss _voiturier_, ready, for any man's money, to go
to any part of the civilized world, was standing in the shop in
question, having left his horses and carriage in the good town of
Calais and come over to England, for the express purpose of seeing
what the English could be about, that nobody had hired him up to that
late period of the year. The master of the house expressed himself not
a little grieved that such was the case, but assured him that he had
not had one single application, and was in the very act of counselling
him to go back to Switzerland empty, when a tall, powerful, and
good-looking man, dressed in black, and with a very pretty and
lady-like young woman leaning upon his arm, entered the shop, and made
some enquiries, which instantly caused the Swiss to raise his ears,
and listen with great attention.

His knowledge of the English language was certainly very limited, but
at the same time he understood the meaning of the word carriage, and
was well aware that the word Naples, though somewhat different from
the Italian name of the place, was applied by us Englishmen to the
City of the Syren. Be soon found, then, that the gentleman was
bargaining to be carried, lodged, and boarded by the way, from the
town of Calais to that of Naples. He, moreover, understood, that two
ladies and a child were to be of the party, so that four places, out
of the six which his vehicle afforded, might be speedily secured. He
perceived, likewise, that the gentleman made his bargain shrewdly and
strictly--in fact, as a man accustomed to deal with a world which has
rogues in it; and as he thought he saw an inclination on the part of
the master of the shop to risk losing a customer by demanding too
much, he hastened to join in to the best of his abilities, and make
his bargain for himself. His next discovery was, that the gentleman in
black could not speak a word of any language but his own; and that the
lady who was with him could only converse in French of a certain sort;
but after about three-quarters of an hour's discussion, the whole
matter was arranged satisfactorily, and the Swiss set off again for
Calais, to prepare for a journey to Naples, to which city he was to
convey the party of travellers, upon terms set down in a written
agreement.

When all had been settled, the two future travellers took their way
through the streets of London to one of the small houses, which,
placed in the neighbourhood of the more fashionable parts of the town,
afford to the younger and poorer branches of distinguished families
many a convenient residence at no great expense.

"No. 15, did you not say, Jane?" said the gentleman, addressing the
lady on his arm. "It seems a wonderfully nice house; I wonder how that
is kept up."

Knocking as he spoke, he asked the servant who appeared--a man in
mourning livery--if Miss Barham were at home. But even while he was
putting the question, the door of what seemed a dining-room opened,
and a distinguished looking elderly man, apparently not in the best
health, came out, saying, to some persons within--"Well, gentlemen,
all I can say is, that he shall hear the whole particulars. You have
dealt candidly with me, in shewing me the deeds, and, without giving
an opinion on the case, I will promise you to communicate the whole
facts fairly."

As he came forth the door was closed, and the servant who was in the
passage drew back to give him egress.

"That is Mr. Hamilton, the famous banker," observed the gentleman in
black, in a whisper, to his fair companion--"a very good man, they
say."

At the same moment the servant replied, that Miss Barham was at home,
and ushered the two up to the drawing-room, while a great deal of loud
talking, with evident haste and eagerness, was heard from the chamber
which they passed on the right.

"What name shall I give, sir?" demanded the servant at the
drawing-room door.

"Martin," replied the stranger; and the moment after Mr. and Mrs.
Martin were announced, in a loud tone.

In an elegant, though somewhat small drawing-room, with everything
which could contribute to comfort and convenience around her, sat
Helen Barham, not less beautiful than ever, though with a deep shade
of melancholy hanging upon her fair brow, and a colour, almost too
delicately lovely, in her cheek. She raised her eyes as the man threw
open the door, and then started up with a look almost of alarm,
paused, and hesitated till the servant was gone, and then, with one of
her radiant smiles, chasing away the cloud, like the sun at noon, she
pointed to a chair, saying--"I am glad to see you--pray sit down. I
know not what startled me, but the name brought back painful
memories."

"I do not wonder at it, ma'am," answered Harry Martin--"though, after
all, I think, if I were you, it would bring up the proudest and
happiest memories that could come into my heart. Memories of having
done, Miss Barham, what there are not two people in all Europe would
do--ay, not only of having saved a fellow-creature from death, but of
having saved him from perhaps worse destructions. I have come to thank
you, ma'am--and my poor wife, too; and the first name we shall teach
our baby to pray for is yours--isn't it, Jane?"

Jane Martin went round the table, and dropping upon her knees beside
Helen Barham, kissed her hand, and bathed it with tears.

"Oh, no, no!" cried Helen, trying to raise her. "Pray do not do
so!--you agitate--you distress me. I did but keep the promise I had
made."

"Ay, ma'am, and nobly," replied Harry Martin; "give me those that _do_
keep their word in this world of promise-breakers. But Jane has got
something to tell you, she will say it better than I can, for such
words are so new in my mouth that they come rather awkwardly."

Helen turned an inquiring look towards Jane Martin, who had now risen,
and was standing by her side, wiping away the tears that the sweet
feelings of gratitude had drawn forth. "He means me to tell you,
madam," said the latter, "something that I am sure, if I judge you
rightly, will repay you for all you did, and all you suffered on that
terrible day at York. He has determined, madam, more out of gratitude
to you and one other, who has befriended us, too, in our time of need,
to change his way of life altogether. We are going to a far country,
ma'am, as far from England as we can get, without going out of Europe;
I mean to Naples, where I had once an uncle, who is, I believe, living
still. There we may do honestly and industriously, and, if possible,
in time, will pay back everything that is not rightly ours."

"Oh, do so!--do so!" cried Helen, gladly; "the blessing which that
very thought will give you, will be worth any other kind of
happiness."

"I begin to think so too, Miss Barham," replied Harry Martin; "and one
thing more I will say, which is, that I know what will make me the
happiest man alive."

"What is that?" said Helen; "I am sure if it be possible for me to
help you I will. I cannot forget that, besides sparing my life when
many other people would have taken it, you aided to deliver my brother
from the power of those who would have most basely used the means of
injuring him which they possessed. Tell me what it is; I am far more
capable of doing something to show my gratitude now, than I have ever
been before, and if money--"

"No, no!" exclaimed Harry Martin, "it is not money that I want, Miss
Barham! All I wish for is an opportunity of serving you. But do you
know, Miss Barham," he added, after a moment's pause, "I am almost
sorry to hear you have money to spare."

"Why so?" said Helen, in some surprise.

"Why, I don't know well how to tell you what I mean," replied Harry
Martin; "but it's this, you see, Miss Barham from what I know, I don't
see how you or your brother can have much money to spare, if he gets
it in a way that may not some time or another bring you into a worse
scrape than the last."

Helen Barham's habit of blushing had not been lost, even in all the
painful scenes she had lately gone through, and the blood came warm
into her cheek at the man's words, though she knew that they were not
intended to offend or pain her. There was something in them, however,
which caused her mind instantly to refer to her late position--to the
position of danger and temptation in which she had been placed when
first she was presented to the reader's eyes--and the very thought
made the true modesty of her young and candid heart shrink as if from
contamination.

"You are mistaken, in this instance," she said, mildly; "a great
change has taken place in our situation. I cannot tell you all the
particulars, for I do not know them; and, indeed, I believe on some
account I have been purposely kept in the dark--but it has been
discovered that a large property rightly belonging to my brother has
been kept from him. It was old Mr. Carr who first told me of the
facts; since then, the matter has been referred to several London
lawyers, who are so perfectly convinced the property cannot be
withheld any longer, that the solicitor is quite willing to advance my
brother any money that he needs--more so, indeed, than I could
wish--for William is yet too young to use it rightly."

"He'll never be old enough," replied Harry Martin; "but, however,
whatever is for your good is a blessing; and, I trust, notwithstanding,
though God may give you, young lady, the fortune you well deserve, I
shall some day be able to show you my gratitude. I wont ask to see your
brother, Miss Barham, for the meeting would not be very pleasant to him
or to me, but I can tell him one thing, if he would have health or
happiness either, he must live a very different life from that which he
was following when I knew him. Why, we ourselves, who did not stick at
a trifle, as you may well suppose, used to get sick of his way of
going on."

Helen Barham cast down her eyes, and for a moment or two made no
reply. It was painful enough for her to think that her brother should
ever have been the companion of the man who stood before her; but to
bear that even the profligates, the lawless, and the reckless, were
outdone by the son of her own mother, was terrible indeed. Her
silence, however, arose from other sensations, likewise produced in
her bosom by the words of Harry Martin. The stores of the past, the
things that have been--ay, and the things that are--are often garnered
up in our hearts like the inflammable substances of a magazine,
apparently cold and lifeless, but requiring only a spark to blaze
forth. That spark is frequently a mere accidental word; a look, a tone
will sometimes communicate the flame. There had been a deep anxiety
preying upon Helen Barham for some weeks, a new anxiety, a fresh
grief, which mingled with all the others painful feelings in her
bosom, and produced a sort of dread, which cast an additional gloom
over every prospect. She had remarked in her brother a bright red spot
in the pale cheek, increasing towards nightfall, an eye full of
unnatural lustre, a hurried and fluttering respiration, a slight but
frequent cough--all of which she had seen once before in another, a
few months previous to the time when the turf was laid upon her
mother's head. She had questioned him eagerly and often; she had
endeavoured to prevent him from committing excess in various ways, but
he had always insisted that he was quite well, and any attempt to
restrain his inclinations seemed but to irritate him, and to drive him
to wild extremes. Lately she had tried hard, and successfully, to shut
out his state of health from her mind: she had kept the truth at a
distance; but the words of Harry Martin not only opened her eyes, and
showed her that her brother was hurrying on towards death, but that it
was his own deed.

"I fear," she said, in reply--"I fear that his health has suffered
very much! Indeed, he is anything but well; and I trust, when all this
business is settled, to induce him to try a better climate."

"Induce him, Miss Barham," said Harry Martin--"induce him--"

He was going to add--"to try a better life," but he gazed in the fair
face of Helen Barham, saw the deep melancholy that overspread it, and
felt afraid that he might add one drop more of bitter to the lot of
her, who, born with every endowment of person and mind which the
prodigal hand of nature could bestow upon a favourite child, had been
placed in circumstances where beauty was peril, where excellence was
trial, and where tenderness was anguish. He would not add another
word, but paused in the midst of what he was saying, and then turned
abruptly to his wife, exclaiming--"Come, Jane, let us go, we are only
keeping Miss Barham. God bless you, madam, and protect you. May you
find kind friends wherever you go, and may every one be as honest to
you as you have been to me. God bless you, I say, and make you happy,
and give me some opportunity of helping you when you need it."

Thus speaking, he turned away and left the room, followed by his wife;
and Helen, bidding them adieu, resumed her occupations.

They had not been long gone, however, when her brother came in, with
his face flushed and excited, and a look of triumph in his
countenance. "I have him," he said--"I'll do for him, Helen! We have
got hold of the only admission that was wanting. I'll make a beggar of
him before I have done with him!"

"I hope not, William," answered Helen, reproachfully. "I hope you will
make a beggar of no one upon the earth. You, of all people, William,
ought to know how terrible a thing it is to be a beggar. But who is it
you are talking of?"

"Ay! that I sha'n't tell you, Helen," replied William Barham, with a
laugh. "I know you'd be for interfering, and that wouldn't do. The
business is my own, and I'll manage it myself. You shall know nothing
about it till it's all done; and who can tell if the matter may not be
more for your advantage than you think?"

"Well, William," rejoined Helen, with a sigh, "as I said to you
yesterday, if you do not tell me more, tell me nothing. But listen to
what I have to say to you. The man, Harry Martin, who was tried at
York, has been here to thank me. You know very well that he took, and
destroyed, those papers which were so dangerous to you. Now, I think,
as you say you have money to spare, you ought to send him some
immediately."

"Not I," cried William Barham, though his face for a moment had become
very pale. "You say he destroyed the papers. He can't do anything
against me, then--I shall send him no money. You were a fool for not
letting him be hanged," and he turned sullenly from her, and left the
room.

Helen Barham leaned her head upon her hand, pressed her handkerchief
upon her eyes, and wept bitterly.



CHAPTER XLVII.


THE night was dark and tempestuous, the rain beat violently against
the windows of the carriage, the wind blew so vehemently as to shake
it upon the springs, and the hollow moanings of the gale, as it swept
down the valley of Treisam, sounded like the screams of souls in
torture. Once or twice, but once or twice only, the features of the
scene around were displayed for an instant by a sudden flash of
lightning, and rock, and chasm, and rushing stream, swelled into a
torrent by the deluge that was pouring down, started out from the
darkness and instantly disappeared again. The effect was fine, but
awful; and for the sake of postilions and servants, Morley Ernstein
would have willingly turned back, but that the storm did not commence
till Freiburg was left far behind, and had not reached its height till
the carriage was nearly half way through the pass, known by the gloomy
name of the Valley of Hell. To go on, then, was a matter of necessity,
and Morley contented himself with calling old Adam Gray into the
inside of the carriage, to shelter his white hair from the storm of
night. The journey, indeed, was not without danger, for the pit of
Acheron was certainly never darker than the Höllen-Thal, in the
intervals of the lightning; and the windings of the road, amongst
rocks and streams, are conducted with a greater regard to brevity than
to the traveller's neck.

"It is a dreadful night, indeed, sir," said good old Adam Gray, with a
shudder, "and it seems to be a terribly wild country. Why, the
carriage can scarcely get on, and I believe will be broken in pieces
before we get to the end of the stage."

"Oh, no!" replied Morley; "it is too well built for that, Adam; and
the darkness makes you think every jolt worse than it is. Through this
very valley General Moreau made his famous retreat, bringing with him
his baggage and artillery, so it is impossible that it can be so very
bad."

"It's bad enough, sir, any way!" exclaimed Adam Gray, as the carriage
passed over an immense stone, producing a jolt that nearly knocked the
heads of the travellers against the top of the vehicle. "I would
almost sooner be a cannon than a Christian to go through here--at
least in this dark night!"

"I certainly should have waited till to-morrow," replied Morley, "if I
had known we should have such a storm, but now it is not to be helped,
and the stage, I believe, is not a very long one. We must sleep where
we can for to-night, as there is no use of attempting to go on to
Schaffhausen."

The way, however, seemed to Adam Gray interminably long, for the
German drivers, with very proper caution, proceeded at a rate
certainly somewhat slower than that with which an English
broad-wheeled waggon wends its way along the drawing-room roads of our
own favoured land. At the end of about an hour the storm decreased,
the sharp gusts of wind ceased almost entirely, the lightning no
longer illuminated the valley from time to time with its fierce glare,
and the rain itself subsided into a thin and drizzling mist, through
which the lamps of the carriage poured a red and confused light,
occasionally catching upon some wild rock, or bringing forth from the
darkness the large boll of some old tree, but generally showing
nothing but the dim expanse of vapour which wrapped the harsh features
of the valley in a foggy shroud.

How long they had thus gone on through that tempestuous night, Morley
Ernstein did not know, but he judged by guess that the next post-house
could not be far off, when the sound of what seemed a distant call met
his ear, and, turning to old Adam Gray, he said--"Well, Adam, your
rough journey will soon be over; we must be coming near Steig, for I
hear voices, and some persons shouting."

"Perhaps some one has got hurt in this terrible night," replied Adam
Gray. "God send us well out of this horrid place!"

Morley Ernstein listened eagerly, for the old man's words brought
suddenly into his mind the very probable case of some accident having
happened in such a storm and such a scene; and, letting down the
window, he put his head out, gazing round to see if he could descry
anything, but in vain.

A moment or two after, however, a loud shout from the right, and at no
great distance, showed that the lamps of the carriage, though of no
great service either to the travellers or the postilions attached to
it, had sent their glare far enough into the gloom of the valley to
reach the eyes of some person in distress. The shout was repeated
again and again, and Morley thought that he distinguished an English
tone and English words, though let it be remembered that such sounds
may very well be heard in Germany, without the speakers being
Englishmen or knowing one syllable of our native tongue. This Morley
recollected, but, nevertheless, he was just as anxious to give
assistance as if he had been quite sure that the persons calling for
aid were his fellow-countrymen.

The postilions, although they must have heard the cry fully as well as
those within the carriage, did not seem in the slightest degree
disposed to stop, but went on with the same indifferent jog-trot,
which probably they would have continued if the father of each of them
had been drowning in the stream below. Three times did Morley himself
call to them before they condescended to pay any attention. They at
length brought up, however, and quietly asked what was the matter.
Without waiting to inform them, but bidding the servants get down to
aid him, Morley sprang out of the vehicle, drew one of the lanterns
with his own hands from the socket, and called aloud, in very good
German, to ascertain where were the personages who had been so
vociferously appealing for help.

The reply left him no doubt as to its being an Englishman who now
spoke, for the very first sentence was adorned with one of those oaths
which unhappily are but too often in the mouths of our countrymen.
"Holloa hoy!" cried the voice. "D--n you, if you don't make haste you
will be too late! This way, I say--this way!"

It was not without some difficulty, however, that any means were found
of reaching the spot from whence the voice proceeded. The bank was
steep and rugged, large masses of rock and stone obstructed the way,
and the darkness of the night, increased by the mist, prevented Morley
Ernstein and his servant from seeing more than a few yards even by the
aid of the lantern, which the young gentleman himself carried. All
this delayed them much, but still they advanced, guided by several
voices talking rapidly and eagerly together; and bad French and bad
English were to be heard spoken in sharp and sometimes angry tones,
between people who seemed to have a very great difficulty in making
themselves mutually understood.

At length, however, the exact place where all this was going on became
more distinct; and the forms of two men, two or three women, a child,
four horses, and an overturned coach, were seen against a back ground
of white spray and foam, occasioned by the stream--now swelled, as I
have before said, into a torrent, and dashing in angry fury amidst the
crags and rocky fragments which encumbered the valley. The men and
most of the women were all gathered closely round the carriage, and
seemed to be holding on thereby as if endeavouring to move it, while
one of the group was giving eager orders to another, in a somewhat
extraordinary compound of English and French, to attach the horses to
the overthrown vehicle in a particular manner, and endeavour to pull
it up; while the man to whom he spoke seemed to have taken the wise
resolution, in the first place, of not understanding him, and in the
next place, of not doing what he was told when he did.

Such was the state of things when Morley Ernstein approached within a
few yards of the carriage, and perceived that the vehicle, and
whatever it might contain, was certainly in a very dangerous position,
being balanced as nicely as can be conceived, upon the edge of a
second bank, and apparently only kept from falling over into the
stream by the weight of the persons who held it down. Such was the
first fact that presented itself to Morley's mind; but there was
another point which struck him nearly at the same time--namely, that
the figures of two, at least, out of the personages in the group, were
quite familiar to him; and the combination of the voice which he had
heard, with the appearance of the people now before him, instantly
brought to his recollection our old acquaintance Harry Martin, and his
wife. The latter, it would seem, instantly recognised the young
Baronet in the person who now came to their aid, for at the very
moment that Morley recognised her husband, she exclaimed--"Oh, how
fortunate! It is Sir Morley, Harry--it is Sir Morley Ernstein!"

"That is luck, indeed!" cried Harry Martin. "We shall now have
somebody to help us."

The matter was soon explained; the Swiss driver of the vehicle in
which Martin had engaged a certain number of places for himself and
his family, had, in the darkness of the night, mistaken a small
cart-road on the right, for the highway to Steig, had soon become
embarrassed amongst the rocks, and had ended by overturning the
carriage in the most dangerous part of the valley.

"The worst part of the whole job, is," said Harry Martin, "that the
old woman is a good deal hurt, I am afraid; and we couldn't get her
out the carriage, as it lies there. I had nobody to help me but this
d--d fellow, and he will not help at all."

With the aid of Morley and his servants, the vehicle was soon freed
from the dangerous situation in which it hung, and drawn back into the
bad cart-road from which it had strayed. The jolting, however, was so
terrible to poor old Mrs. More--who had, as her son-in-law declared,
received considerable injuries--that she now very willingly agreed to
do that which she had at first refused, and quit the rough and
ill-hung coach for Morley's more comfortable conveyance.

Finding that the distance to the post-house was not more than an
English mile, the young Baronet determined to go the rest of the way
on foot, sending only one servant with his carriage, and giving the
places thus left vacant to the women, whom he had found in such a
deplorable situation in the valley. Harry Martin's wife and the little
boy took their seats beside old Mrs. More, in the inside. There was
room for another behind, but there were still two persons to be
provided for, both foreigners--one seeming the mistress, and the other
the maid. The lady, however, insisted that her attendant should go,
saying--"You are bruised, Marguerite, and I am not; I can walk very
well."

The attendant needed no great pressing, but took her place at once,
and Morley Ernstein, offering his arm to her mistress, gave directions
to his courier to remain with the Swiss, in order to aid him in
getting his carriage safely back into the main road, and then
proceeded, with Harry Martin on his right hand, talking sometimes to
one of his companions, sometimes to the other. The lady spoke very
little English, but French she understood thoroughly, although her
accent betrayed the tones of a southern land; and, now that the danger
was over, she laughed with light-hearted gaiety at the misadventures
of the night, though a tone of sadness mingled every now and then with
her merriment, when she mentioned the situation of the poor old lady,
Mrs. More. The impression produced by her conversation upon the mind
of Morley Ernstein was altogether agreeable; and indeed it must be a
hard case, where a young and graceful woman and a young and
accomplished man, finding their way on together along a road they do
not know, in a dull and drizzly night, dislike each other very much in
the end.

The mind of Harry Martin seemed, for the time, wholly taken up with
the accident which had happened to Mrs. More, for whom he apparently
entertained as much affection as if he had been her son. Although he
in no degree affected to have forgotten Morley Ernstein, and spoke to
him in a tone of respect--perhaps one might say, of gratitude--yet he
referred, not even by a word, to the circumstances of their previous
acquaintance. Morley himself kept aloof from any such topic also, on
account of the proximity of his servants' ears, though he determined,
if occasion served, to enquire into all which had lately occurred to
his companion, and to ascertain by what train of events he now found
him in a remote part of Germany, with his wife and family. The
opportunity was soon given to him. On their arrival at Steig, they
found the little post-house full of bustle and confusion. Poor Mrs.
More had been taken out of the carriage, and removed to bed, it having
been found that her leg was broken in two places. Her daughter was in
the room, attending upon her, with no little distress of mind; and the
fair Italian, who had accompanied Morley Ernstein--though there was
evidently a little struggle in her breast as to whether she should
stay below in the hall, and pass the evening with the young English
gentleman, or go up and give what assistance she could to the sufferer
up stairs--decided, at length, in favour of the more amiable, though
less pleasant occupation. Bidding Morley a graceful good night, she
left him and Harry Martin in possession of the great, odd-shaped room,
which is almost always to be found on the lower story of a German inn,
and proceeded to the chamber of Mrs. More, where, we may as well add,
in passing, she shewed much good humour, and benevolent attention,
aiding Jane in putting her child to bed, and soothing and tending her
mother.

In the meantime, Morley Ernstein's servants busied themselves in
preparing their master's room, taking care of the carriage, and
removing a part of the contents to the house; while the courier paid
the postilion within a few florins of the sum he intended to charge
his master, ordered the best of everything for his own supper, and the
next best for that of Sir Morley, and looked into the saloon three
times to see what the young gentleman was about, and to prove that he
was very attentive.

On the part of Sir Morley Ernstein, the first proceeding was to send
for the post-master, and to enquire where a surgeon could be procured.
No good one was to be heard of nearer than Freiburg; and, accordingly,
a man on horseback was sent off by Sir Morley's directions, to bring
the best bone-setter that the capital of the Breisgau could afford.
Then--after various enquiries as to the real situation of the old
woman, after some going to and fro between her chamber and the saloon,
and all the little bustles, orders and counter-orders, enquiries and
replies, examinations and discoveries, precautions, preparations, and
annoyances, which attend the first arrival at an out-of-the-way inn,
on a dark and rainy night, after a journey of adventures and
mishaps--after all this was concluded Harry Martin stood upon the
other, with his arms crossed upon his broad, bull-like chest.

"You see, Sir Morley," said the latter, at length, as if in
explanation of his feelings towards Mrs. More--"you see, that I am
very anxious about this old woman, for she has been kind to me ever
since I first knew her, and ended by saving my life. She was
the first one, sir, that ever made me think--love being out of the
question--that any one could care about me for myself, and she has
always kept tight to the same way of acting by me; though, God knows,
little was the good I ever did her or hers! However, I am sure I ought
to be well contented with the world, for when I was at the hardest
pinch that ever man was at, I found people to be generous to me,
people to be true to me, and people to be zealous for me, which,
altogether, was what saved my life, when I as much deserved to be
hanged as any man that ever was born."

"How was that?" demanded Morley Ernstein, not doubting, indeed, the
truth of Harry Martin's confession, but merely desirous of hearing
something more of his history: "I left you in a fair way of making
your escape, I thought."

"Ay, sir, so you did," replied his companion, "but I was fool enough
to put my foot in a trap, and was caught. I should have been hanged,
too, if it hadn't been for that noble girl Miss Helen Barham, who
should be a queen if I had my will. She kept her word with me in spite
of all that any one could say, and she'll go to heaven for it, if it
was for nothing else, for she's given me time to think and to change
my life altogether, and that's what the law would not have done. My
wife was reading me the Bible, the other day, where it says--'There's
joy in heaven over one sinner that repents;' and if it be so,
which I don't pretend to doubt, she must have made the place very
happy--which, indeed, I suppose it was before--for certainly I was as
bad as I could be, but now I have repented a good deal, and mean to do
so a great deal more. It would not have been the case, sir, if it
happened any other way at all; if they had hanged me, I should have
died game; and if I had got off by some trick of the lawyers, some
flaw in the indictment, or something of that kind, I should have been
at the old work again in a week; but to see that beautiful girl sit
there, badgered by the judge and all the lawyers, and quietly make up
her mind to go to prison sooner than to break her word with a man like
me,--why, sir, it changed my whole heart in a moment; and I thought to
myself, if I get off this time I will lead a different life altogether
for your sake, you angel, just to shew you that I'm not altogether so
bad as people think!"

By degrees, Morley Ernstein obtained a general idea of all that
occurred to Harry Martin, since he left him in the north of England.
It was not with little interest that the young Englishman questioned
him concerning Helen Barham, and we need hardly say that it was with
pleasure he heard, not only her praises from the man beside him, but
an account of the actions which had called forth his gratitude. It was
with great satisfaction, too, he learnt that a change had taken place
in her pecuniary affairs and that competence, if not wealth, was at
all events assured to her; for though he had written to Mr. Hamilton
about her before he left England, and placed her future fate beyond
doubt, he was not a little pleased to find that she would be dependant
upon no one. The relative situation into which they had been thrown,
the high qualities of her mind, the compassion that he had felt for
her--ay, the very temptation which had at one moment assailed him, had
left a tenderness in his feelings towards Helen Barham, which was
certainly not love, and yet was something more than friendship, It was
a sensation, strange, complicated, difficult to be defined even to his
own mind; it was the blending of many memories and many sweet
impressions into something like the affection of a father for a child,
something like the love of a brother for a sister, and yet differing
from both, inasmuch as there was nothing conventional in it, inasmuch
as there was no bond or tie of duty, inasmuch as it differed from the
common forms and modes into which the rules of society shape our
feelings as well as our actions.

The presence of such sensations in his bosom was rendered more
sensible to him by the conversation taking place at that moment, than
it had ever been before, and he paused for some short time thinking
that it was all very strange, and enquiring into the nature of the
things within him. The man Martin, in the meantime, remained beside
him, with his keen, intelligent eyes fixed upon his countenance,
apparently reading, or attempting to read, the thoughts that were busy
in his breast.

At length he said--"Well, Sir Morley, I am going to bid you good
night, and I thank you very heartily for all the kindness you have
shewn me. There's one thing I can't help saying, however--and you must
not think me impudent or meddling for saying it, though I must not
mention any names--but I can't help thinking, sir, that you have
thrown away your own happiness, and quitted the good, and the true,
and the beautiful, to follow one that you'll find out some day,
perhaps when hope, and comfort, and peace are all ruined together.
Forgive me for saying it, sir, but I owe it to one who has been kind
to me to give him a warning. I wish you good night, sir!"

"Stay, stay!" cried Morley; "explain what you mean, at least, before
you go."

"No, no, I can't say any more," replied Harry Martin, moving steadily
towards the door, "I have said all that I have a right to say; and I
only add, that if you watch you will see, and if you enquire you will
find out. You will be convinced, at last, although I should think that
you had had enough to convince you already."

Without waiting for further question he turned and quitted the room,
and Morley remained bewildered and surprised, applying the words just
spoken to Juliet Carr, although they referred to quite a different
object; and asking himself how the man who had just left him could
have gained such a knowledge of his affairs. Surprise was certainly
the first feeling, but suspicion is a guest that finds but too easy
admission into the human heart.

"Peace, and comfort, and happiness are indeed gone already," he said,
"and gone by her act--must I call it by her fault? Can this be
trifling?--Love, they say, is blind.--Can it be coquetry? Can she be
sporting with my misery?"

But, as he put the question to his own heart, the idea of Juliet Carr,
in all her beauty, in all her frank simplicity, in all that
openhearted candour which gave the crowning grace to her demeanour,
rose up before his sight, and he became not only angry with himself
for having given credit to one word against her; but angry also and
indignant, with the man who had uttered aught that could raise a doubt
of her sincerity in his mind.



CHAPTER XLVIII.


Early on the following morning the carriage of Morley Ernstein stood
prepared for departure before the little inn at Steig. He had sent to
ask after the health of the old woman who had suffered from the
accident of the preceding night, and had heard, certainly with
pleasure, that the surgeon made a favourable report of her situation,
though he at once pronounced that she must remain for many weeks in
the room to which she had been carried. For Martin himself the young
gentleman had not asked; nor did he speak more than a few words to him
when he met him at the bottom of the stairs, in descending to go into
his carriage. Although convinced that the man intended well, he was
still angry, to say the truth, at the words which the other had
addressed to him on the preceding evening; the more angry, perhaps,
because he felt irritated with himself on account of the shade of
doubt which lingered in his own mind, which he had combated during the
whole night without being able to conquer it, which had fled but to
return, and which still raised its head against reason and
argument--ay, and even conviction itself.

With one of the party which he had encountered the night before,
however, he did stop to speak for some minutes. It was with the
Italian lady, who had been his companion on foot from the place where
the accident had occurred to the inn; and he now perceived clearly--a
fact of which he had only a faint notion from his glance during the
preceding evening--namely, that she was a young and very pretty woman;
not exactly beautiful, for there was not a feature in her face which
deserved that often misapplied epithet, if we except the eyes. They,
indeed, were remarkably fine, as most Italian eyes are--bright,
sparkling, and full of merry light, but chastened withal by a frequent
look of feeling and thoughtful meditation. To behold them, and to
watch their expression for any length of time, reminded one of a
sunshiny prospect with an occasional cloud floating over it and
varying by its soft shadows the sparkling brightness of the scene.

With her, then, Morley stopped to speak for some time, enquiring after
her health, and hoping that she had not suffered from the accidents of
the night before. She replied, gaily, that she had nothing to complain
of, except that she was stopped on her journey, which, indeed, was not
only an annoyance, but a misfortune. It would be two or three days,
she said, before the carriage would be able to proceed, and delay
would be most inconvenient to her, as she had engagements in Milan and
Venice, on account of which she had determined on going by the
Brenner, as the pass most certain to be open. If she could but reach
Constance, she would soon be able to find a conveyance for the rest of
the journey which was not to be done at Steig.

Morley hesitated; English prudence came in the way--the question which
every Englishman first puts to himself, "What will people say,"
instantly suggested itself; and it took him a minute, which under such
circumstances is a long time, ere he could make up his mind to do that
to which good-nature prompted him. How often is it that good feelings
are panders to bad actions! Alas! too frequently do they lead us so
near the door of evil places, that we are tempted to go in. Morley
Ernstein took his resolution at length, and replied, that if she were
not bound by any means to go in the same conveyance which had brought
her so far, a seat in his carriage was much at her service.

Many persons may, perhaps, enquire whether her sparkling dark eyes had
anything to do with Morley's civility. I can conscientiously
reply--"Nothing in the world." He would have made the same proposal if
she had been as ugly as Cerberus perhaps more readily; and the only
part that her bright eyes could take in the business, was to make her
even a more dangerous companion than that three headed gentleman
himself.

She did not refuse the young Baronet's proposal, but laughed with an
arch look as she accepted it, saying--"You are afraid of your
reputation. Is it not so? All Englishmen are so prudent and careful!
We Italians have much more confidence in virtue, bad as they call us;
but I am not the least afraid, though my reputation is much more
likely to be endangered than yours--for I, too, have a reputation to
lose."

She spoke the last words somewhat proudly, and there was a frankness
in her whole demeanour which pleased Morley Ernstein, and set him more
at ease. The carriage was ordered to wait for half-an-hour, the
voiturier was easily settled with, the trunks and packages were
removed to Morley Ernstein's chariot, and the young Englishman
followed the fair Italian into the vehicle, a third place being taken
therein by her maid. Good Adam Gray looked grave; and although his
brow was somewhat cleared when he saw that his master and the strange
lady were not to be without a companion, yet, to say sooth, the old
man was not well satisfied. Whether it was experience or nature taught
him that, for a young man like Morley to sit side by side, during a
somewhat long journey, with a gay and pretty Italian girl was a
dangerous sort of proximity, matters very little; but Adam Gray could
not help fancying that the matter might end ill, having no great faith
in the virtue of any lady born beyond the precincts of the four seas,
and, perhaps, not quite so much confidence in his master's powers of
resisting the impetuous fire of his own nature as Morley really
deserved.

Now might I, dear reader, trace the journey of the young Englishman
and his fair companion, tell all that took place between them, and
point out how she gradually won upon Morley Ernstein--amused, pleased,
interested him. I might dilate upon all the little incidents of the
road, all the attentions which he thought himself bound to pay her,
all those small and accidental circumstances which occasionally lead
people on, to use Shakspeare's expression, upon "The primrose way to
the everlasting bonfire." There were many of those things took
place--there was the flash of similar thought, there was the
admiration of similar objects, there were the slight differences that
give variety, there were the touches of feeling which, like the
cabalistic words pronounced by the magician, in the tales of eastern
lands, open the heart, however firmly it may be locked against
intrusion. But we must pause upon very few of these matters, and will
only notice two little incidents, and one brief part of their
conversation.

At the moment they set out, Morley made up his mind not to stay at
Schaffhausen, but to go on to Constance at once; it must be admitted
that he took this resolution from an unacknowledged conviction that he
was not doing the most prudent thing in the world, in travelling with
the fair Italian at all. In fact, he wished not to make more than one
day of the journey. It was somewhat later, however, than he had
calculated upon when they arrived at Schaffhausen, the hour of the
table-d'hôte was over, dinner could not be obtained for an hour, and
the host enquired, as if it were a thing absolutely necessary to be
done, at what time they would like to see the falls. The lady looked
in Morley's face, and left him to answer. It seemed to him that there
would be a rudeness in not giving her a choice; and the consequence
was, they went to see the falls together, by the light of a fine
afternoon, and returning to Schaffhausen remained there that night.

In the saloon to which they were shown there was a piano; and Morley's
companion, in one of the unoccupied moments--of which there are more
in inns than in any other places, perhaps, in the world--walked up to
the instrument, ran her fingers over the keys, with a touch of
complete mastery, and hummed, rather than sang, a few bars of a
popular opera; but it was done in a manner which left Morley in no
doubt that her voice itself had been cultivated with the utmost care.
It may easily be supposed, then, that the evening did not pass without
music--without that enjoyment, which, whether we may consider it an
entity or not, is in all its forms one of the greatest blessings that
ever was bestowed on man.

Music--what is it? How can one say what it really is? Substantial it
is certainly not, or rather, I should say, material. Where is it to be
found? Is it not in the spirit itself? Is it not, in fact, one of the
highest and holiest qualities of the soul; a perception of that
harmony which we may well believe to be an attribute of God, from
finding it in all his works--from seeing it in all his revelations of
himself. In what part of creation is it that the heart of man may not
find music, if he will? Sweet sounds may, indeed, by the ear produce
the impression most distinctly; but sights presented to the eye will
raise exactly the same sensations in the spirit; and sounds, and
sights, and sense, all link themselves together in memory, shewing
their near affinity to each other and their reference to one
harmonious whole. Nevertheless, on this earth the grand expression of
that innate music, which--as fire is latent in every existing material
thing--lies hid in every object of the spirit's action, is still to be
found in the union of sweet tones; and as the reader may easily
imagine, from all we have said of his character, no one was ever more
deeply moved by the power of harmony than Morley Ernstein. He
listened, then, entranced to the singing of the fair Italian, perfect
as it was in every respect, for nature had given her, in her rich
Italian voice, an instrument such as no art could fabricate; and
science and long study had taught her to wield all its powers with
unrivalled effect. Taste, too, and, apparently, deep feeling were not
wanting; and when she had sung something exquisitely beautiful, and
then looked up in Morley's face to see the effect it had produced on
him, there was as much music in her eyes as on her lips.

These, reader, are the two incidents which I promised to relate; and
now for the conversation. Their second day's journey was verging to a
close; a sort of soft languor had come over the fair Italian--a touch
of melancholy, such as almost every one must feel in drawing nigh the
moment of parting from one with whom we have held sweet intercourse
even for a few short hours. They had glances of the Rhine as they
rolled along; they caught the distant towers of Constance, to which
they were rapidly approaching; gleams of far mountains; and, once, a
sight of the wide lake met their eyes as they advanced; and all told
them that the time of separation was coming. The maid was apparently
asleep; and, at all events, Morley and his companion, were speaking
French, which she did not understand. The sights before their eyes,
the yellow evening tint that was spreading over the sky, not only led
their thoughts to that moment of parting, but brought the conversation
suddenly to it also. The lady looked up, from the reverie of a minute
or two, with a smile, in which there was a touch of the sadness of
which I have spoken.

"Well," she said, "we are now drawing near our journey's end. I have
to thank you much for your kindness. It will prove of great service to
me, and, I trust, be of no disservice to you. You see we have passed
along our way without meeting any one, so that neither your reputation
nor mine can have suffered."

"I know it is very foolish," answered Morley, in his usual frank
manner; "but I do not deny that I may feel the prejudices of my
country in these respects, though not sufficiently, I hope, to prevent
me from doing what is courteous and right. But still, I do think it
would be a dangerous practice, generally speaking, for young and
pretty ladies, such as yourself, to travel alone with any man unallied
to them in blood."

"Why?" demanded the Italian lady, simply.

It was rather a difficult question to answer with sincerity; and,
after hesitating for a moment, Morley Ernstein said--"Why, nobody can
tell where they go to--how they spend their time. In short, they throw
off that sort of responsibility that they owe to society--the eyes of
the world are no longer upon them."

"And is it only the eyes of the world which keep people from doing
wrong?" asked the lady.

Morley laughed, and, wishing to change the subject, he answered--"Many
other inconveniences might happen, you know--they might fall in love
with each other, or do a thousand things of that kind."

"Oh, then I am quite safe!" replied the lady--"for I never yet saw the
man whom I felt the least inclination to fall in love with in my
life."

"Perhaps you are incapable of love," said Morley. "There are some
women so happily constituted by nature, that they never know what it
is to be touched by any but the more tranquil affections."

"Perhaps such is the case," she rejoined quite seriously, "or perhaps,
what is more likely, I may spend all my feelings upon matters of
imagination. A song, a piece of music, a scene in a play, will move me
in a degree that I cannot describe. I have generally remarked, and am
inclined to believe it is an invariable rule, that people of a strong
imagination are very seldom troubled with strong affections."

Her observation threw Morley into a reverie. He asked himself whether
it were true, and paused in doubt, not having sufficient experience to
solve the question at once by his own knowledge, and plunging into
those metaphysical deductions, which lead as often to what is false as
to what is true.

The lady went on to say--"I hope--indeed I am sure, that such is the
case with myself; for I would not for the world feel such passions as
I see depicted and hear told. Thus I know myself to be perfectly safe,
and can trust myself in any situation without fear."

"And yet," rejoined Morley, with a meaning smile, "you are an
Italian."

"True," she answered, with one of her sparkling looks; "but perhaps
the very fact of the existence of such strong passions amongst my
countrywomen, as you would insinuate, may have been my warning and
safeguard."

"Where there is no danger, there is no need of a safeguard," said
Morley. "You acknowledge, then, that it is by reason, and not by
nature, that you are guided."

"You must not press me too hard," exclaimed the lady, laughing--"you
know we women never understand how to argue. All I know is, that I
never did love, and never shall love any man--not even you, fair sir,"
she added, laughing--"though you have certainly been much more kind
and courteous than most of your countrymen; and the only way I can
repay you is, by asking you to come and see me, should you visit
Venice, or, at least, should you be there some two months hence. I may
then be enabled to return your courtesy in some shape, and perhaps may
procure you the means of seeing more of the city of the waves than
foreigners usually do see."

"I will certainly avail myself of your invitation," replied Morley;
"but you forget that, owing to the strange way in which our
acquaintance commenced, I am ignorant, up to the present moment, even
of your name."

"Oh, that omission will soon be remedied," answered the lady--"my name
is Veronica Pratesi. You will easily find me in Venice."

Thus ended the conversation to which we wished to refer. The lady and
Morley spent the evening together at Constance, and part of the next
morning. A carriage was easily procured to convey her on her way, and
Morley placed her in it, and bade her adieu with feelings of regret.

Her sparkling manner, too, was somewhat overshadowed by passing
clouds. At one moment, she was gay and bright as ever; at the next,
fell into deep thought. She bade him farewell however, with all the
levity of a Frenchwoman; but as soon as the adieu was spoken, and
while something was doing to the interminable harness, she gazed down
into the bottom of the vehicle, as if to prevent herself from having
any more last words. The moment the driver's whip cracked for
departure she turned round to look at Morley again; and her face was
then overclouded.



CHAPTER XLIX.


"Hi! ha!" said Lieberg, as he sat at breakfast with Morley Ernstein,
in the Golden Stag, at Munich--"so you met with the cold and fair
Veronica, and actually travelled with her in your own carriage. I
trust, Morley, you did not fall in love with her, for there is no hope
there. When she first appeared at the opera at Naples--"

"What! she is an actress, then?" demanded Morley Ernstein.

"A singer--a singer," replied Lieberg--"the famous cantatrice. But, as
I was saying, when first she appeared at Naples, all the dissolute old
nobles of that kingdom, and half-a-dozen others of your own, Morley,
thought no expense would be too great to add this fair linnet to their
aviary. Various were the proposals made to her, more flattering to her
avarice than her virtue; but to every offer of the kind Veronica
returned but one answer--that of silent contempt. Then came the young,
and the gay, and the fascinating; and many a woman, Morley, as you
well know, surrenders to the wordy siege of a penniless young
libertine, who has resisted the golden bombardment of his grandfather.
But it was all in vain: Veronica gave them to understand that she
objected to young fools just as much as to old ones. Some were driven
into the despair of matrimony, and made what they called honourable
proposals, after having made what, by a plain inference, she was bound
to consider the reverse. But Veronica answered that whatever she
thought of their former offers, she thought still worse of these,
adding, that whatever folly she did commit, it should not at least be
the folly of marriage. Every one then said that she would make her own
choice, and would select some one, either for his rank, his person, or
his mind. But four years and more have since passed; all ranks,
classes, conditions, and degrees, have been at her feet, and Veronica
has continued to shew herself exactly the same piece of ice which she
from the first declared herself to be."

"In fact," said Morley, "a cold coquette."

"No," answered Lieberg gravely--"no. I was at Naples the time the
thing first began, and I must do her the justice to say, she gave no
encouragement to any one. People always will seek what is difficult to
be had; and that quality, together with her singing, her fine eyes,
and her beautiful figure, were the great attractions. She sets up for
a sort of Corinne, too, writes poetry, goes about and sees the world,
makes an immense deal by her singing, and is a person very much
_recherchée_ in Venice, I can assure you."

"Is she a Venetian?" demanded Morley.

"No," replied Lieberg--"she is a Milanese, but she lives principally
in Venice, because, as she says truly, it is a city without noise, and
there is nothing she abhors so much as the rolling of carriage-wheels,
except the plaudits of a theatre."

"Then the fact simply is," said Morley, "she is a woman without
passions, and whose vanity takes a high tone."

"In the last, you are right," answered Lieberg--"with regard to the
first, I doubt. There is something in the flashing of her eye, in the
brightness of her smile, and, occasionally, in the impetuous torrent
of her song, that gives the lie to her whole conduct. But as I do not
know her in private life, and never intend to know her either, I
cannot say, with any certainty, what is really beneath the appearance
of coldness. I never put myself in a situation to fall in love with a
woman with whom I am not likely to succeed; and if you will take my
advice, Morley, you will keep out of the way of Veronica Pratesi,
especially as you are very fond of music."

"I am not at all afraid," replied Morley; "there is not the least
chance of my ever falling in love with a barrel organ, let the tunes
be ever so pretty."

Lieberg smiled, well pleased to see that a bitterness not natural to
his young companion still held possession of him, so far as to affect
even his speech upon ordinary occasions. The conversation dropped
there, and at the end of about ten days, once more in full
companionship, their carriages were rolling down into the valley of
the Inn.

I forget who it is that has said, that there is consolation in all
things. Perhaps he meant _for all things_; but I believe that the
observation were more just when taken in the most apparent
sense--namely, that from all things that do surround us, we may
extract consolation if we will. I have dwelt upon this topic already
perhaps at too great length; and what I have said respecting the
scenery on the Rhine, and its effect upon the mind of Morley Ernstein,
need be repeated here in regard to the scenery of the Tyrol: only, as
the objects around him were here grander and wilder, so the
impressions conveyed were more strong, more elevating, and also more
permanent.

It would seem to me impossible, did I not know that it is frequently
done, for any man to stand in the presence of gigantic mountains, or
dwell long amidst the snowy peaks, and cloud-mantled summits of the
Alps, without finding his heart enlarged and his spirit raised by the
sublime aspect of the world around him. It is possible, however--but
too possible; and, although such was not the case with Morley
Ernstein--although he felt his bosom expand, as it were, to take in
the sensations produced by such majestic sights--the mind of his
companion remained unchanged, whatever was the scenery through which
he passed. And yet, let me not be mistaken; perhaps his mind also did
undergo some alteration, not in its nature, not in its character, but
in its capacity. The evil spirit might, in its own dark purposes,
assume a loftier range, but without the slightest difference in the
ends proposed, without a change even in the means employed. The
sensation of joy and satisfaction at any progress made, of dark
malevolence and angry impatience when aught obstructed its course.
might become more energetic, more grand, more awful, though all the
rest remained the same. There is a sublime in bad as well as in good,
and the feelings of Lieberg, it would appear, were in intensity, as
much influenced by the sights which presented themselves hourly to his
eye in the Tyrol, as even that of his companion.

One thing, however, is to be remarked, the country in which they now
were was quite new to Morley, but not so to Lieberg. He had seen it
often before, and the freshness of first impressions was at an end.
Nevertheless he gladly took part with his fellow traveller, in all his
wanderings through that bright scenery; he climbed the peaks of the
mountains with him; he gazed down into the valleys; he trod the wide
tracks of snow; he accompanied him through the deep woods of pines; he
stood upon the edge of the beetling precipice, or gazed over the wild
dark lake; and it must be said, that his companionship gave additional
charms to the expedition. Untiring in mind and in body, seeming never
to know weariness for a moment, always well pleased at whatever course
was taken, and always deriving a fresh current of thoughts, equally
new and striking, from every change of scene that presented itself,
Lieberg kept the thoughts of Morley Ernstein in a continual state of
excitement, pleasing, though too strong. Occasionally, indeed, some of
those strange observations, or perverted trains of reasoning, to which
I have already adverted more than once, would burst forth, as it were,
irrepressibly; and dark and awful words, betokening a spirit angry
with, and rebellious to the will of God, would startle Morley at the
very moment when his own heart felt inclined to raise itself in praise
and adoration.

It was thus one day, after climbing nearly to the summit of a high
peak, that they stood with their feet among the fresh fallen snow of
the preceding night. There was a bright blue sky above them, and a
light cloud rolled round the edge of the mountain, about half way
down, while, beyond it--bursting forth in strong relief of light and
shade--appeared one of those splendid valleys, surrounded on every
side by Alps, and a thousand lesser hills rising up from the bottom of
the depth, and bearing high their ancient castles to catch the
noon-day sun. Morley gazed round with feelings of love and gratitude
towards that Being who has robed the earth in splendour, and cast a
mantle of beauty over all his works. But then, even then, as their
eyes rested upon an infinite multitude of things, varying through
every form of loveliness, and running up in magnificent harmony, from
the fair delicate flower on the edge of the snow, to the stupendous
sublimity of the icy crags above their head--it was then, even then,
that Lieberg, after several minutes of dark thought, exclaimed, "Where
shall man flee from God, from him, who has pronounced himself a God of
vengeance--from him whose will is death and destruction--who has
allotted a portion of sorrow to every being he has created, and cast
the miserable insects he has formed into a sea of wretchedness, and
strife, and mutual destruction? Where shall man flee from this fierce
God? If he go into the cities, the pestilence and the sword, the
midnight robber, the slow disease, the poisoned cup, the faithless
paramour, disappointed hopes, agonized limbs, pangs, and death, meet
him there; he can scarcely breathe the air without drawing in some
calamity; he can scarcely lay himself down to rest without finding an
asp upon his pillow. If he climb to the top of the mountains, and take
refuge in the solitude of these eternal hills, the lightning and the
rending fragment, the false footing and the thundering avalanche
follow him there, and crush the writhing object of tyrannical power,
as man himself sets his foot upon the worm."

Morley turned round, and gazed at him with sensations of wonder and
horror; but after a moment's pause, the awful cloud which had hung
upon Lieberg's fine brow, passed away, and noticing the expression of
his companion's countenance with a smile, he added--"You are
surprised, Morley, to find such gloomy feelings in one so gay as I am;
but, perhaps, it may be the conviction of all life's many miseries
that teaches me so eagerly to drain its scanty joys."

"No, Lieberg, no," answered Morley, somewhat sternly; "I was not
surprised at finding such gloomy feelings; but I was surprised at
finding such impious thoughts, and hearing such blasphemous words."

"But are they not true ones?" demanded Lieberg, with his eye flashing.
"For what did God make man, but to curse him?"

"Man is his own curse," replied Morley. "We see it in everything. Are
not his luxuries and his vices the cause of his diseases? Are not his
strife and contention the effect of his own pampered passions? Are not
almost all the evils that beset him, in a civilized state, the work of
his own refractory will, opposed to the declared will of God? You may
say that God formed him with those passions, and therefore that still
the curse was his; but God gave them to him for good, not for evil;
and not only with beneficent generosity left him to choose the good or
evil course, according to his own volition, but guarded him against
the one by warning and exhortation, and persuaded him to the other by
every inducement, and every reward. Man is his own curse, Lieberg; man
is his own curse, and if, as we daily see, he brings two-thirds, at
least, of the misery that exists upon his own head, by his own act,
we may very well conclude, that the rest of the load also was
purchased in times past by errors and disobedience of the same kind."

"By eating an apple in a garden," said Lieberg, with a sneer, turning
on his heel to descend the mountain.

"By rebellion against God, in some shape!" replied Morley.

Lieberg paused suddenly upon the verge of the crag, with his eye
flashing fiercely, as if from personal offence, and for an instant the
same demon-like expression came over his whole face, and even form,
which had once caught the eye of Helen Barham. As he stood there, with
his fine limbs thrown into strong action while balancing himself
proudly upon the very edge of the precipice, and with the dark shadow
on his haughty features, he certainly looked like one of the fallen
spirits come down to hold dangerous communion with mortal men. The
passion which moved him, however, passed away in a moment, and,
without saying another word, he proceeded in his descent.

Though nothing that could be called a dispute had taken place, yet
this conversation cast a shadow both upon Morley and Lieberg, during
the rest of the day. They proceeded in the afternoon to Meran, and put
up at the little inn, where stories of Hofer, and thoughts of past
times, served, like the evening sun, to clear the clouds away, and
they rose for their journey the following morning in a more cheerful
mood.

I have said this book is not a road-book--I wish to Heaven it were,
for there are few things more pleasant than journeying lightly along,
taking the reader as one's companion, and discussing with him, in a
quiet, easy kind of way, sometimes the bright and beautiful things of
nature, sometimes the follies and absurdities of man; telling a story
here, gleaning an anecdote there; moralizing on the strange destinies
of states and individuals; looking into the domestic home of the
peasant in one place, sitting down with the statesman in his
retirement in another; sometimes listening to the thunders of
eloquence, sometimes to the music of the shepherd's pipe. But all this
must not be, and we must hurry upon our way with Morley and his
companion passing along by the side of the clear and sparkling Adige,
and issuing forth into the plains of Lombardy; but, strange to say,
with far different feelings from those which are described by
universal tourists in the language of conventional admiration for the
land of song and ancient arts.

The weather in the Tyrol had been fine and warm, for the season of the
year. The days had been clear, the nights fine, as if summer had come
back in the train of autumn, to usurp, for a time, possession of the
earth in despite of winter. The scenery had thus appeared to the
highest advantage, and the Lombard plains seemed flat and meaningless
to the eyes of Morley Ernstein, as they bent their way towards Verona.

After sleeping in that fine old city, seeing all the curious monuments
Which it contains, Juliet's apocryphal tomb, and that splendid
amphitheatre which first wakes up in the mind of the traveller the
images of the mighty past, that Rome is destined to call forth still
more vividly, it became a question whether they should proceed on
their way southward, while the weather was yet fine and clear, or turn
aside to visit Venice, and other places of interest on that side of
Italy.

Lieberg seemed somewhat anxious to go on, but Morley had dreams about
Venice which he wished to realize. It was to him a place of greater
interest than Rome itself. He had few sympathies with the Cæsars, but
with "_The Rialto, Shylock, and the Moor_," he had a thousand, and
easily induced his companion to give up his own opinion, and accompany
him, by Vicenza and Padua, to the City of the Sea, proposing, as they
returned, to pass by Mantua and Modena, on their way to Naples.

Venice is certainly a place of enchantment--the only town I ever saw
which leaves fancy far behind. Morley Ernstein yielded to the magic
influence of the place, as he had yielded to the effect of every other
beautiful thing along the road. The buildings, the pictures, the air,
the Adriatic, the moonlight walks in the Piazzetta, the solemn
mysterious gloom of the jewel-fretted dome of St. Mark's,--all excited
his imagination to a pitch which he had thought scarcely possible; he
lived as if in another world; he felt as if his Spirit were refreshed
and renewed. The powers of enjoyment came fully back upon him, and the
vein of melancholy, of unfading and unfaded regret, that mingled with
every pleasure, seemed now to elevate and not to lower the tone of his
sensations.

Such was h