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Title: A Whim, and Its Consequences - Collection of British Authors Vol. CXIV
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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COLLECTION
OF
BRITISH AUTHORS.
VOL. CXIV.
----------
A WHIM, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
IN ONE VOLUME.



A WHIM,
AND
ITS CONSEQUENCES.

_COPYRIGHT EDITION_.



LEIPZIG
BERNH. TAUCHNITZ JUN.
1847



A WHIM, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.



CHAPTER I.


A solitary room at midnight: a single wax candle lighted on the table:
the stiff dull crimson silken curtains of the bed close drawn: half a
dozen phials and two or three glasses. Is it the chamber of a sick
man? He must sleep sound if it be, for there is no noise--not even a
breath; and all without is as still as death. There is awe in the
silence; the candle sheds gloom, not light, the damask hanging sucks
up the rays, and gives nothing back: they sink into the dark wood
furniture: one could hear a mouse creep over the thick carpet; but
there is no sound! Is it the chamber of the dead? But where is the
watcher?--Away! and what matters it here? No one will come to disturb
the rest of that couch: no brawling voices, no creaking doors will
make vibrate the dull cold ear of death. Watch ye the living! The dead
need no watching: the sealed eyes and the clayed ears have sleep that
cannot be broken.

But is it the watcher who comes back again through that slowly opening
door? No, that is a man; and we give all the more sad and solemn tasks
of life to women. A young man, too, with the broad, free brow
gathered into a sad, stern frown. He comes near the bed; he draws
slowly back the curtain, and, with the faint ray of the single
candle streaming in, gazes down upon the sight beneath. There
it lies, the clay--animate, breathing, thoughtful, full of feelings,
considerations, passions, pangs, not six-and-thirty hours before. But
now so silent, so calm, so powerfully grave: it seems to seize in its
very inertness upon the busy thoughts of others, and chain them down
to its own deadly tranquillity.

It is the corpse of a man passed the prime, not yet in the decline, of
life. The hair is gray, not white; the skin somewhat wrinkled, but not
shrivelled. The features are fine, but stern; and there is a deep
furrow of a frown between the eyebrows, which even the pacifying
hand of death has not been able to obliterate. He must have been a
hard man, methinks. Yet how the living gazes on the dead! How
earnestly--how tenderly! His eyes, too, fill with tears. There must
have been some kindly act done, some tie of gratitude or affection
between those two. It is very often that those who are stern, but
just, win regard more long-enduring, deeper-seated, more intense, than
the blandishing, light-minded man of sweet and hollow courtesies.

The tear overtops the eyelid, and falls upon the dark shooting-jacket;
and then, bending down his head, he presses his lips upon the marble
brow. A drop (of the heart's dew) will be found there in the morning;
for there is no warmth in that cold forehead to dry it up.

The curtains are closed again; the room is once more vacant of breath.
The image of human life upon the table, that decreasing taper, gutters
down with droppings like those of a petrifying spring. A spark of
fire, like some angry passion of the heart, floats in the melted wax
above, nourishing its flaming self by wasting that it dwells in. Then
comes back the watcher, with bleared and vacant eyes, and lips that
smell of brandy. She has sense enough yet to stop the prodigal
consumer of her only companion of the night; and sitting down, she
falls asleep in the presence of death, as if she were quite familiar
with the grave, and had wandered amongst the multitudes that lie
beneath.



CHAPTER II.


It was the autumn of the year, when men who do such things, shoot
pheasants, and go hunting. The leaves had fallen from the trees, and
were blown about in heaps by the chill wind; or if any hung upon the
sapless branches, it was but as the tatters of a shroud on the dry
bones of some violated tomb; the grass in the fields was brown, and
beaten down by wind and storm; the streams were flooded with yellow
torrents from the hills, and waved about in wild confusion the thick,
fleshy stems of the water weeds; and the face of earth, cold and
spiritless like that of a corpse, glared up to the sunless sky,
without one promise of the glorious resurrection of the spring. It was
night, too, dull, gray night. The raven's wing brooded over the whole
world; clouds were upon the firmament; no moonbeam warmed with sweet
prophecy the edge of the vapour; but, dim and monotonous, the black
veil quenched the starry eyes of heaven, and the shrill wind that
whistled through the creaking tree-tops, stirred not even the edges of
that dun pall so as to afford one glimpse of things beneath.

There was a dark clay-like smell in the air, too, a smell of decay;
for the vegetable world was rotting down into the earth, and the death
of the year's life made itself felt to every sense. All was dark, and
foul, and chilly as a tomb.

With a quick, strong step, firm, well-planted, unwavering, a man
walked along with a stick over his shoulder, and a bundle on the hook
of the stick. There was nothing gay or lightsome in his gait. It
betokened strength, resolution, self-dependence, but not cheerfulness.
He whistled not as he went: the wind whistled enough for the whole
world. He neither looked up nor down, but straight forward on his way;
and though the blast beat upon his breast and over his cheek, though
the thin, sleety rain dashed in his face, and poked its icy fingers in
his eyes, on he went sturdily. He never seemed to feel it. He was
either young and hardy, or had bitter things in his heart which
armoured him against the sharp tooth of the weather--perhaps both. He
seemed to know his way well too, for he paused not to consider or look
round; but on--on, for many an hour he walked, till at length a stream
stopped him, hissing along under its sedgy banks, and in some places
overtopping them with the swollen waters.

There he halted for an instant, but not longer; and then with a laugh,
short and not gay, he walked straight on, following the path. The
turbid torrent came to his knee, rose to the hip, reached his elbows.
"Deep enough!" said the night wanderer, but on he went. The stream
wrestled with, and shook him, tugged at his feet, strove to whirl him
round in its eddies, splashed up against his chest, and, like a hungry
serpent, seemed to lick the prey it was fierce to swallow up. He let
go the stick and the bundle, and swam. It was his only chance to reach
the other bank alive; but he uttered no cry, he called for no help:
perhaps he knew that it would be in vain. He could not conquer without
loss, though he gave the torrent buffet for buffet, but, like a
determined band fighting against a superior force, he smote still,
though turned from his direct course, and still made progress onward,
till catching the root of an old tree, he held firm, regained his
breath and his footing, and leaped upon the bank.

"Who are you? and what do you want here?" asked a voice the moment
after, as he paused by the tree, and drew a deep breath.

The wayfarer looked round, and saw, by what light there was a man of
apparently his own height and strength, standing by an alder near. "I
must first know where I am," he said in return, "before I can tell you
what I want."

"Come, come, that will not do," replied the other; "you must have some
sharp object, to swim across such a night as this, and must know well
enough where you were coming, and what you were coming for. Who are
you? I say--and if you do no tell, I will make you."

"That were difficult," answered the other; "but I will tell you what I
am, and why I swam the stream, if that will do. I am a man not of a
nature nor in a mood to be turned back. The river lay in my way, and
therefore I came over it; but I have lost my bundle, which is a pity;
and I am wetter than is pleasant."

"As for your bundle," said the other, "that will stick upon Winslow
wear; and as for your being wet, I could help you to dry clothes if I
knew who you were."

"Not knowing will not prevent you," rejoined the other. "Winslow
wear!--Now I know where I am. I was not aware I had walked so far by
seven good miles. Then I must be in Winslow park."

"Not far wrong," said the other man; "but you seem to be a somewhat
strange lad, and wilful withal. As you have lost your bundle, however,
and got your clothes wet, you had better come with me; for after all,
I dare say you mean no harm, and I may as well help you to a dry
jacket."

"I mean no harm to any one," was the reply; "and I think I must stop
somewhere near, for my clothes will not dry so soon to-night as they
would in the summer sunshine."

"Certainly not," answered the other, "there is more chance of
saturation than evaporation."

The swimmer of the stream turned suddenly and looked at him, in some
surprise: then fell into a fit of thought: and in the end, without
noticing his companion's fine words observed, "I am not getting any
dryer by standing here: and you are getting wetter; for the rain is
coming on more fiercely. If you have any will to give me shelter and
dry clothes, now is the time. If not, I must go and seek them
elsewhere."

"Suppose I say you shan't," inquired the other, "what would you do
then?"

"Walk away," was the answer.

"And if I stopped you?" said the other.

"Pitch you into the river, and see if you can swim it as well as I
did," rejoined the wayfarer.

"The chances would be against you, my friend," rejoined his new
companion: "we are about the same height and size, I think; and not
very different in make. Suppose us equal then in strength. You have,
however, taken a walk to-night long enough to make you lose seven
miles of your count; you have swam that river in flood, and have lost
somewhat of your strength at every mile of the way, and every yard of
the water. Your strength and mine then, being at first equal
quantities, you must inquire, whether _a_ can be equal to _b_, minus
_c_ the walk, and _d_ the stream?"

"Yes," answered the other, "for there is one thing you do not take
into account."

"What is that?" asked the arithmetician.

"Despair!" said his new-found friend; "for I tell you fairly, that if
you make me try to pitch you into the river, I do not care a straw
whether I go in with you or not."

"That is a different affair," replied his companion drily; "despair is
an unknown quantity, and I have not time to arrive at it; so come
along."

The other did not make any answer, but walked on with him, following a
path which in ordinary times communicated with that which he had
pursued on the other side of the stream, by a little wooden bridge,
which had been apparently washed away in the flood. Both the men
mused; and probably there was a good deal of similarity in the
questions which they were separately trying in their own minds. When
man first meets man, to each is presented a problem which he is bound
to solve as speedily as possible. Every man is a sphinx to his
neighbour, and propounds an enigma, which the other must answer, or
woe be to him. The riddle is, "What is within this casket of flesh
before my eyes?" and none can tell how important may be the solution.
We may be parted soon, whether the impression made by the one upon the
other be like the ripple of the wind upon the sea, or profound as the
channel which the torrent has worn in the rock; for--


    "--many meet, who never yet have met,
     To part too soon, but never to forget."


But on the contrary, under the most adverse circumstances, without a
probability, against all likelihood, the companion led in by the hand
of chance, is often linked with us by fate through life--bound by the
iron chain of circumstances to the same column in the prison of
destiny as ourselves, destined to work at the same day-labour, and
accomplish, with our help, the same task. None but the dull, then,
ever see another human being for five minutes, without asking, "What
is the god of the temple? what are his powers?"

There was not a word uttered by either, as they walked along. Yet each
knew that the other was not an ordinary man; but the person whom the
wayfarer had found upon the bank was much more curious in his
inquiries; for the other, though a quick and active-minded creature,
had many other thoughts in his bosom, stronger, more continuous than
those which the character of his companion had suggested, and which
the latter might cross and recross, like the thread upon the shuttle,
but did not interrupt.

Now for the first time on his long way--he had walked thirty miles
that night--he sometimes looked around him. The faint gray of dawn
aided his eyes; but the objects were not cheerful. The scenery indeed
was fine. There were hill and dale; and river and lawn; wood and
heath; fern, hawthorn, birch, oak, beech, and solemn yew, with the
broad, sturdy chestnut, and the tall, ghostlike larch. There were jays
amongst the trees, just stirring and screaming in the first light; and
herds of deer, with the thick-necked bucks lifting their heads to
snuff the morn. Nevertheless, there was a something which spoke
neglect--a keeper's house untenanted, with broken windows--long
rasping arms of bramble stretching across the paths, some trees cut
down and rotting where they lay, a Greek temple in ruins, with marble
columns, which in their own fair clime would have remained pure as the
snows of Olympus, green with the dark mould of English humidity. Ducks
were dabbling among their favourite weed, where swans had swam in the
clear water; and an infinite number of rich exotic evergreens,
untrimmed and forgotten, were mingling their low branches with the
long, rank grass. There was no mistaking it. The place had been long
neglected.

They passed quite across the park to a spot where the solid brick
wall had been carried out of the straight line, to enclose about
half-an-acre of ground beyond the exact limits. An open fence of
wood-work separated that half-acre from the actual park. The brick
wall run round without, forming three sides of a parallelogram. The
space within was neatly cultivated as a garden; and there were,
besides the long, straight rows of cabbages amongst the well-trained
trees, several beds of autumn flowers, still in bloom. They were as
stiff as all late flowers are; but still they were flowers, and it was
autumn; and they gave signs of care in the midst of neglect, of vigour
amidst decay, of life in death.

There was a little wicket-gate in the centre of the wooden fence, with
a latch, which the wayfarer's companion raised, and led the way down a
gravel walk, to a house amongst the apple-trees at the other side,
resting against the wall of the park--a small house of two
stories--built of brown brick, and covered with white and yellow
lichens. Another moment and they were within the door, which was not
locked. The room they entered had a brick floor, clean swept and
reddened. Everything was in good order, and a wood fire, which was
already lighted, had fallen into that state where glowing eyes look
out from the white ashes, like those of a lion from a bush. The walls
had two rows of shelves hanging against them, and a great old dark oak
armory or press, carved with apostles and wild beasts. Balaam and his
ass, were there too; and the old prophet and the lion. The shelves
supported, the one, crockery, the other, old books with greasy backs.
Standing in front of the books, on the same shelf, were two or three
small cups of precious old china, and an ink-glass. Amongst the
crockery, were a bullet-mould, a powder-horn, and half-a-dozen floats.
There was a neat white curtain over the window, and every one of the
tiny panes was as clear as a diamond.

The wayfarer looked around him with a faint smile, and then turned to
his host; and the two gazed upon each other in silence for a minute.
If there had been a struggle between them on the bank of the stream,
it would have been a very doubtful one; for never were two men better
matched. As they stood there, they looked like two well-chosen
carriage-horses, of an equal height within a quarter of an inch, both
broad in chest, strong in limb, thin in flank, both tanned with
exercise and exposure; both of that hardy rich brown complexion, where
the hair seems to curl from very vigour, and both in the prime of
strength and activity, though in point of years lay the principal
difference between them. The master of the house might, perhaps, be
three or four years older than his guest; but as the latter was at
least four or five and twenty, age gave the other no advantage.

The wayfarer was dressed in a dark velveteen shooting-jacket, leathern
gaiters, and strong but well-made shoes; and under the coat was a
waistcoat, with long rows of little pockets, for holding gun charges.
He had what is called a foraging cap on his head, and a good deal of
whisker and hair. His nose was straight, his eyes hazel, his teeth
fine, and his chin rounded and somewhat prominent. The other was
dressed in a fustian coat, with large pockets, thick hobnailed shoes,
and leathern gaiters, with a straw hat upon his head, and corduroy
breeches on his thighs. His features were good, and, like his guest,
he had a straight nose and a rounded chin, with eyebrows exactly like
the other's; but the eyes, instead of being hazel, were of a dark
gray, and his beard and whiskers were closely shaved, and hair cut
short. There were several points of difference between them, but more
of similarity; and the similarity depended upon feature, form, and
complexion, the difference more upon adventitious circumstances.

"You are my double," said the master of the house, after they had
gazed at each other for some time, both feeling that there was a
strong resemblance; "and as such you have as good a right to wear my
clothes as myself. They are not as good as yours; but they are dry,
which makes them better for the time."

He opened the old armory, which was full of guns and fishing rods, and
from one of two drawers at the bottom took out a very little used suit
of country-made clothes.

"There," he said, "put those on; and we will afterwards go and see if
we can find your bundle at the wear. Here, come into the back room,
and I will give you a clean shirt and stockings. I never let cotton
and wool lie together; for they might quarrel, being near akin."

The other followed, and after having fulfilled his promise as to the
shirt and the stockings, the master of the house left him, and
returned to blow the fire into a blaze.



CHAPTER III.


Man wonders why it happens so often that in our first manhood
disappointments, bitter as undeserved, fall upon us--why we are
crossed in honourable love--thwarted in noble ambition--frustrated in
generous endeavour--distracted in a just course--denied our reasonable
expectations. Some reply, It is a part of the original curse, and that
we must go on struggling and grumbling. Others--better and wiser men,
and far more religious--find out that it is to wean us from earthly
affections which, when the world is in its spring loveliness, are apt
to take too great a hold upon us. Both may be right; yet there may be
something of training in it too. We have things to accomplish in our
manhood, a course to be run, a contest to fight out; and at that time
of youth we are colts which must be bitted and bridled, put at the
longe, have the rollers between our jaws; and many a sore mouth and
galled withers must be endured before we are fit for the hard rider,
Fate, to get upon our back, and gallop us to the end of our career.
Does not that filly sporting in the field think it very hard that she
may not go on cantering up and down, with her head held high, and her
nostrils snorting fire, or that she may not go on cropping buttercups
and sweet grass--all very reasonable desires for a filly--but must
come and be driven round and round a ring, with a long whip at her
hocks, and a drunken horse-breaker in the middle, holding her from her
joyous freedom by a long cord? Truly, she may well think it a hard
case; but she was not made for her own service--nor was man.

There is something of the same feeling in the breast of that young
wayfarer as he sits there by the fire, after having changed his
clothes. That knitted brow and curling lip show that he thinks he has
been hardly used by fortune; and yet there is a thoughtful look about
his eyes which may indicate a search for, and a discovery of, the ends
and objects of disappointment. The power of thought is a wonderful
thing. See how it steals over him, smoothing the wrinkle out of the
brow, relaxing the bitter turn of the lip. He is forming plans--or
building castles--reawakening hope--recovering faith and trust.
Something is working in his mind for peace!

"You have made me very comfortable," he said, abruptly, while the
other lifted a small tin kettle from the fire, where it had been
hissing and spluttering for a minute or two; "and I am now ready to go
out and seek my bundle at the wear. My wet things can dry here till I
come back."

"We will have a cup of tea first," said his entertainer, "the girl
will bring the milk in a minute; and, though I can do without most
luxuries, I cannot do without tea. It is the only thing that goes into
the mouth which may be considered a luxury of the mind. It is
wonderful how it clears a man's head, and gives him a command over his
intellect. If I want to solve a problem, or translate a stiff passage,
I must have my cup of tea. The Chinese must be a wise people to grow
such a herb."

The wayfarer smiled. "You are a strange sort of person," he said;
"and, I suppose, are of a better rank and station than your appearance
betokens."

"I am the son of the blacksmith's daughter," replied the man, simply;
"I can shoe a horse or forge a bar with any man in the country. That I
learned from my grandfather. I can shoot a buck or bring down a snipe
nineteen times out of twenty. That I learned from the head keeper. I
know as much of gardening and botany as the old gardener did, who is
now himself a compost, poor man; and I know somewhat more of
mathematics, and Latin, and Greek, than the master of the
grammar-school, who taught me; but yet I am nothing but the son of the
blacksmith's daughter; and I wish to be nothing more."

"But what is your profession or trade?" asked his guest, with apparent
interest.

"Profession, I have none," was the man's answer, pouring some water
into the tea-pot. "They wished to make a parson of me, I believe; but
my wishes did not go with theirs. I liked hammering iron, or shooting
deer, or planting flowers and trees a great deal better. I was neither
fond of preaching nor being preached to; and, therefore, I studied
when I liked, wandered where I liked, read, shot, planted, worked at
the forge when I liked. I do believe, from all that I have seen in the
world, there has never been a man on earth who did as much what he
liked as I have done--except Adam, who had only one thing forbidden
him, and did that too. Now, however, I suppose the change is to
come--for a change always comes sooner or later in every man's fate.
One might as well expect to see four and twenty hours of sunshine as a
life without a change--and I suppose I must buckle to some business;
for, though I eat little, and drink little, and sleep little, yet that
little must be had."

"But why should you not go on as you have hitherto done?" inquired the
other. "Has anything happened to deprive you of your means?"


"Yes;" answered his companion, "I had fifty-two pounds allowed me
a-year, just a pound a-week, and this little house and garden; and
leave to shoot rabbits, ducks, and wild fowl of all kinds, except
pheasants, one buck in the year, to keep my hand in, and the right to
roam about the park at all times and seasons without question. I made
my own terms, and got them. But he who allowed all this is dead, and
the people tell me it will not be binding upon his heir. Well, what
matters it? I can work; and as soon as I heard how things were, I
determined I would first try a gardener's life, as Mr. Tracy, over at
Northferry, wants one. I never let myself be cast down by anything;
and when you talked about despair, an hour ago, I thought, What a fool
you must be."

"I believe you are right," answered his guest, "your philosophy is far
the best; but somehow I think you will not be obliged to take the
gardener's place unless you like it. But there is some one knocking in
the next room. I thought you were alone in the house. Are you
married?"

"Poo!" cried the other, "what should I do with a wife? Thank God,
there is no female thing about the place but my setter bitch. That is
the girl with the milk, knocking at the door in the park wall." And he
walked out into the passage to receive what she had brought.

While he was gone the other sat quite still by the fire, with his eyes
fixed steadily upon it. He saw not a spark, however. His
contemplations were very deep; and as the other came back again, with
the milk in his hand, he murmured, "If they would take him, why not
another?"

"Well, you were saying just now," continued his companion, carrying on
the conversation, "that you thought I should not be obliged to take
the gardener's place. I should like to hear what you can know about
it."

"Tell me your name," said the visitor, "and I will let you hear."

"You would not tell me yours, when I asked it," said the other, with a
smile. "But it does not matter. My name is William Lockwood. Now, what
do you say to that?"

"That you have no occasion to take the gardener's place," replied his
guest. "Sir Harry Winslow is dead, as you say; but yesterday morning,
in order to see what directions he had given for his funeral, the will
was opened, and read before the whole family, servants, and secretary,
and all. I was there, and heard it, and he did you full justice, left
you the annuity and all you have mentioned, and added a legacy of five
hundred pounds."

"And he left you nothing," said the other, fixing his eyes keenly upon
him, "though you thought you had a right to expect it."

"He left me dependent upon another," replied the young man, "which I
will not be," and he bent down his head and thought bitterly.

"That was hard! That was very hard!" said the other; "he was at times
a hard man.--It often happens so. Those who have in their youth been
what is called gay men, turn out in their old age as hard as the
nether millstone. Whatever is in a man's heart remains there for ever,
unless that heart be changed by the grace of God. Selfishness, which
leads to one kind of vices in youth, leads to another kind in old age.
The libertine turns the miser, that is all."

"But he was not a miser," cried the other, sharply, "that must not be
said of him; and should not by you, at least, his son."

"Hush!" said the master of the house, sternly, "I do not own him for
my father; and I told him so. For the wrong he did my mother, and
because of some letters of his which she held, and I hold, he did what
he has done for her son. But do not you suppose, young man, that I
ever basely truckled to him who injured her. As a child I took the
education that was given me; but when I was older and knew more, I
steadily refused to acknowledge him for my father, or to obey his
behests in any way. It is this that has made me what I am. I would not
go to a college as his bastard, and become a priest at his will. I
received the small atonement that he offered, as atonement, but as
giving no right over me; and I added other things, as demands, to that
which he vouchsafed, in order to show that it was a contract I entered
into, not a duty I acknowledged. Perhaps he was not a miser, as you
say; but yet look at this place, and see what it has become within the
last ten years. He has grudged every penny spent upon it since he last
lived here himself, and unless it is that my mother's spirit, either
visibly or invisibly, wandered round the place, and made it hateful to
him for the wrong he had done her, what but the miser could make him
discharge servants who had long dwelt here, and deny the means of
keeping up in decent state a place that gave him name, and had
descended to him from many ancestors? Now, what has he done with you
yourself, according to your own admission. You stand in the same
relation to him that I do--all the world knows it--your mother was his
wife's maid--he educated you, made you his secretary, employed your
talents, made you the companion of his amusements, took you out to
shoot and hunt, to plays and operas, put you nearly on a level with
his lawful sons, and then left you a dependant--I suppose, upon their
bounty. You have done well to cast such pitiful slavery from you. I
acknowledge you as a brother, which, perhaps, they will not; and the
five hundred pounds he has left to me is yours if you will take it."

The young man grasped his hand warmly, but said, "No, no--that can
never be. I have hands and arms strong enough to labour for myself,
and I will do so. I cannot take what is yours. I have no title to
it--I have no claim to it."

"I want it not," replied Lockwood. "I need nought but what I have. I
would rather not take ought but what I bargained for."

"At all events I cannot accept it," was the young man's answer; "he
left it not to me, but to you, and I will have none of it. Much that
you have told me I had never heard before; I was not aware of his
having had a son by Lady Winslow's maid, nor that his secretary was
that son."

"Men ever know less of their own history than the world knows," said
his companion; "but the thing is notorious. No one ever doubted who
you were; so let us children without marriage, share what he has left
to such, and let the lawful children take the rest amongst them."

"I cannot do that," said the young man; and leaning his head upon his
hand, he added, after a few moments' thought, "We will talk of other
things, my good brother--since such you are--I must meditate over all
this; and when I have done so, I will ask your help perhaps to carry
out my future plans of life. I can work as well as you, and am willing
to do so, though it has fallen upon me, who did not expect it, instead
of upon you, who did."

"My help you shall have as far as it will go," rejoined Lockwood, "but
that is not very far. It is true people like me well enough here,
because I never wronged any one of a penny, and give the old women
rabbits to make broth when they are puling; and they like me, too,
because I am one of themselves, and never pretend to be ought else,
though my father was a rich man, and I am richer than most of them;
but, poor things, the only matter I have to be proud of is, that I am
a plebeian. Not that I am ashamed of my dear mother; for if a man will
take advantage of a woman's weakness, under solemn pledge to marry
her, and then break that pledge, let the shame rise on him, not her."

"Assuredly!" replied his companion, with a ready warmth which would
have fully confirmed in the mind of Lockwood, had any confirmation
been necessary, the supposition of his guest's illegitimate birth; but
the moment after a deepened tint appeared in his cheek, and he said
abruptly, "But let us talk of other things, Lockwood. What is the
state of the people about here? I hope they have not been as much
neglected as the place."

"Why, you should know all about it, Mr. Faber," said Lockwood, "for
you used to write all the letters to the steward, he told me. However,
they are not altogether so badly off as they might be. The farmer has
his land at a fair rent enough, and so he can afford to give fair
wages to his labourers. The old man was not hard in that. He took what
was but just, for that which was his own, and the men have prospered
under it; but he did nothing else for the neighbourhood. Some of the
landlords round are different, get as much as they can wring from
their tenants--force them to starve their labourers; and then spend a
part of the money in parish schools and new churches. I have known
many a one who has made every one under him labour like galley-slaves
for mere existence, by reason of his exactions, cried up as a most
liberal gentleman, because he whitewashed the cottages, and built a
school-house. The whitewash and the school-house together did not cost
one-tenth of what he took too much for his land; and yet, to hear all
the gentry speak of him, you would have thought he was an angel of a
landlord. Men are queer things, Mr. Faber."

"Do not call me Mr. Faber, Lockwood," said the other with a smile;
"call me simply Chandos; that is better between brothers."

"Ah, that is your Christian name, then," said his stout kinsman; "'C.
Faber,' I remember the letter I saw was signed; but I thought the name
had been Charles. Take another cup of tea, Chandos: it is wrung from
no man's hard earnings, and will do you good."

"After all," said Chandos, resuming the conversation at a previous
point, "the man who does not exact too much is by far less culpable,
though he do not do all the good to his people that he can, than he
who, with a covetous grasp, wrings the last shilling from his
property, and spends sixpence of it in instructing the peasantry,
whitewashing their houses, or pampering his own vanity. The one is
only guilty of doing less than he might, the other of taking more than
he ought."

"I am not very sure," answered his companion, musing; "I have thought
over these matters a good deal, and I am not fond of splitting hairs
about right and wrong. If a man does not do what he ought, he does
what he ought not. 'Sins of omission,' as the parson calls them, are,
to my mind, sins of commission, as soon as ever a man knows what he
ought to do, and does not do it. I have a notion, Chandos, all these
fine differences are only ways by which people cheat themselves to
avoid self-reproach; and, I believe, what foolish people call the
higher classes, are taught to do so more than any others by reading
the classics; for a more wicked sort of worthless scoundrels than
those old Greeks and Romans never was. The very best of them contrived
to mix up so much bad with their best doings, that young lads at
school learn not to know right from wrong, and to think things
exceedingly fine that were very dirty."

"But there were some truly good and great men amongst them," replied
Chandos, whiled away for a moment from himself by his companion's
conversation: "they might be too stern and severe, perhaps, in their
adherence to right; but still excess of virtue is not likely to lead
others wrong who make it their example."

"I'll give you the advantage of the best of them," said Lockwood, "and
be bound to pick a hole in any of their coats. We all know about
Socrates, a nasty old he-goat, and won't talk of him. But take
Lycurgus for an example, I mean, the Spartan. Now what he did to his
countrymen would have been nothing better than swindling, if it had
been about money instead of laws. He took an oath from them to do
certain things till he came back from Delphi; and that certainly
implied that it was his intention to come back. But instead of that,
he went away from Delphi to Crete, for the express purpose of cheating
the Spartans; had his old bones cast into the sea, that they might not
play him as good a trick as he had played them; and left his laws to
Sparta, and his name to immortality. But if I were to say to any man,
'Lend me five pounds till I come back from London,' and instead of
going back, were to run away to Paris, just to avoid my creditor, what
would be said of me? Now because the laws of Lycurgus were good,
people think that his imposition was glorious; and thus they learn
that Jesuitical maxim of the end justifying the means."

"I agree with you so far," said Chandos, gravely, "that there was a
great deal of false philosophy, if I may use the term, amongst the
ancients: and I am thoroughly convinced that the only true philosophy
that ever was propounded to man is to be found in the Bible."

"Archimedes was the greatest man amongst them," rejoined Lockwood,
following the course of his own thoughts, a habit of which he was very
fond; "and in the study of his life and character, no great harm could
be done to any one. But at our schools and colleges, what between
Roman emperors, Greek magistrates, and gods and goddesses, we are
brought all at once in our early youth into the midst of a crowd of
rogues, prostitutes, and libertines, only fit for the back streets of
a great town."

Unwittingly, Chandos had been led from many a grave memory and painful
consideration to topics which had often engaged his youthful mind; and
he replied, with a gay laugh, which showed how naturally light and
cheerful was the spirit when free from the oppressive weight of
circumstances: "As to the gods and goddesses, I agree with you
entirely. There was not a lady amongst them who, in our times, would
not have figured in the Arches Court; and as to the men, Apollo was
the most gentlemanlike person of the whole, and yet he would have been
transported for rape or hanged for felony long ago."

In such easy conversation they went on for half an hour more. It is no
figure, but a certainty, that imagination has a charm--I mean, a power
unaccountable, and almost magical, of wrapping the mind in a golden
mist of its own, which hides or softens all the hard features of the
scene around. But often, as with the fabled spells of the necromancer,
the slightest thing--a word, a tone, a look--will waft away the
pleasant veil, and restore the heart in a moment to the cold and black
reality. Such was the case with Chandos. Something apparently
indifferent threw him back into deep thought; and after a long pause,
he started up, saying, "This is very strange, to be sitting here
beside you, Lockwood, within three days! But come, let us seek the
bundle I have lost. The clouds are clearing away. There is a gleam of
sunshine. When will the like fall upon my fate?"

"Before long, if you are strong-hearted," answered the other, rising
also. "One half of every man's fate is his own making; the other half
is made for him. Fortune's store is like one of those shops at a
country fair, where there are a number of articles of different value,
and of different use, each at the price of sixpence. Your sixpence you
must pay; but then you have your choice, if you choose but wisely."

"I am not sure of the choice," said Chandos with a sigh; "but I will
choose soon, at all events:" and he walked towards the door.

"Stay a minute," cried Lockwood; "I will take my gun. We may find some
teal by the wear; and you will want dinner."

As they walked along, the younger of the two remained in silent
thought. He was not full of the energetic inspiration of hope; and the
flame of expectation had waned dim and low. Doubtless he had dreamed
bright dreams in former times--doubtless he had looked at life through
youth's magnifying-glass--doubtless his anticipations had been
exuberant of the pleasant things of the future. But there seemed a
fiat gone out against him,--that he was not to enjoy even that which
had seemed within grasp. He looked over the future that he had fancied
his own but a few days before, and felt that, like the prophet on "the
top of Pisgah, which is over against Jericho," though there was a fair
land in sight, his feet would never tread it. He felt that he had been
proud, that he was proud; and he resolved to humble himself. But there
was a bitterness in his humility which produced a wayward pettishness
in all the plans which floated, like wreaths of smoke, before his
mind. They were many, many, like the troops of strange forms which
sometimes sweep--as it were, interminably--before the eyes in dreams.
Varying were they too, shifting and changing in hue, and form, and
position, like the streamers of the northern meteor lights. Now he
would forth into the great and busy world, and cull honour and
distinction with a fiery energy, with the genius he knew himself to
possess, with the learning he was conscious he had acquired, with the
courage he felt in heart. He would seek the camp, or the court, or the
bar, or the pulpit. He would make himself independent, he would make
himself great. Then again he said, No; he would cast off all the ties
which had hitherto bound him; the ties of blood, of station, of
society. He would take his position at the lowest grade, at the very
bottom of the ladder. He would try a state entirely new, a condition
different from all he had yet tried, and see what would come of it. He
could change, if he liked. His mind need not rust in humble life; his
abilities would not get mouldy; his small means would accumulate: He
would even, he thought, from time to time vary the scene: place humble
life and a higher condition side by side, upon alternate days, and
judge between them. As first disappointment is always whimsical, it
was upon the last scheme that his thoughts most pleasantly rested; and
with it he busied himself as, crossing the further part of the park,
they approached the river. The point they made for was lower down than
where he had swum across; but he paid little attention to anything;
and the first thing that roused him was the sudden rising of a plump
of teal from the rushes. They whirled round in a dense cloud.
Lockwood's gun was up in a moment, fired, and four birds came down
together. Then Chandos gazed at the rushing water, red and foaming,
and he thought it marvellous that he had ever crossed it alive.
"Perhaps it would have been better," he said bitterly to himself, "if
I had remained in its fell clasp." He spoke not a word aloud; but
Lockwood answered as if he could see the thoughts written.

"Poo! nonsense!" he said; "there is always something to live for in
life. And there lies your bundle, drifted ashore at the other corner
of the wear. You pick up the teal, and get that one out of the water,
and I will go and fetch it."

"How?" said Chandos. But the other made no reply, and, quietly
mounting the top of the wear, began to walk along its slippery and
narrow path towards the other side of the river. The younger man
watched him for a moment with anxiety; but he saw that Lockwood trod
the six-inch rail like a rope-dancer, and he turned himself to gather
up the dead birds. He had got two, and was reaching over the river to
pull out a third, which had fallen into the stream, with his head bent
down, when a light touch on the shoulder made him look up.

"Why won't you speak to one this morning, Mr. Lockwood?" said a
middle-aged man in a keeper's dress. "I thought it was your gun, but I
came down to see notwithstanding; for though Sir Harry is dead, that's
no reason the game should be poached."

The man looked down on his face while he spoke, and Chandos then
became aware how great was the likeness between him and his companion.

"My name is not Lockwood," he said, rising up to his full height. The
man drew a little back in surprise, saying, "Ay, I see you are not,
now; but you are devilish like him. Then, my young gentleman, what are
you doing shooting here?"

"It was Lockwood who fired," answered Chandos, gravely, with a certain
degree of haughtiness in his manner and tone. "He is over there,
seeking a bundle which I let fall into the water. There is his head
amongst the weeds--don't you see?"

A friendly shout from the person of whom he spoke called the keeper's
eyes in the right direction; and in a minute or two more, Lockwood,
crossing back again over the wear, stood by them with the bundle in
his hand.

"Here it is, Mr. Faber," he said; and instantly a gleam of
intelligence passed over the keeper's face.

"Well, I thought you were very like," he said; "no offence to the
gentleman I hope;" (for Chandos had coloured a good deal, either at his
words, or Lockwood's;) "only he has got whiskers and you havn't,
Lockwood. I was going down to your place this morning, to ask you if
you would come up and take a bit of dinner with me and my old woman at
the abbey; but as the gentleman is with you, I suppose I must not make
so bold as to ask him too."

"I will come with all my heart," answered Chandos at once; "only you
must take me in these clothes, for all the rest are wet."

Lockwood and the keeper smiled; and the former answered, "We don't
stand upon such matters in our station, Sir! Clean hands and a good
appetite are all that we need at our table. Well, Garbett, you had
better give your dame the birds, to make the dinner bigger; and we
will be with you at one, or before, for I dare say Mr. Faber has never
seen the abbey."

"Yes I have, often," answered Chandos, abstractedly; "but it was long
ago."

"Well I never knew that," replied Lockwood, with a puzzled look: but,
bidding the keeper good bye, and still carrying the bundle, he walked
back with his companion towards his house, both keeping silence.



CHAPTER IV.


"Here, you had better dry the things in the bundle," said Lockwood,
"for they are as wet as a sponge--but that is a very illogical figure;
for though a sponge may be wetted, yet a sponge need not always be
wet."

Chandos took the bundle and went with it into the neighbouring room,
on which the little sunshine that autumn had left was shining. He
opened it, displayed the few articles it contained--half-a-dozen
shirts, a suit of fashionable, well-cut clothes, with some combs and
brushes, a small inkstand, and a roller dressing-case, richly mounted
with silver. They were all as wet as water could make them; and he
proceeded to unfold the various articles of apparel, placing them one
by one over the backs of the wooden chairs. His eye was resting
steadily upon one of the shirts, when Lockwood came in, with a face
grave even to sternness, and an open letter in his hand, apparently
just received.

"You have deceived me," were the first words he uttered; and as he did
so his eye rested unwinking on his young companion.

"How so, Lockwood?" asked Chandos, without the slightest emotion. "If
any one tells you in that letter that you are not named in the will in
the manner I stated, he is deceiving you, not I."

"Not about that--not about that at all," answered Lockwood, "that is
all true enough; but--." He paused, and laid his finger upon a mark in
the wet linen, adding, "Look there!"

"My dear Lockwood," said Chandos, laying his hand familiarly upon his
arm, "I did not deceive you--you deceived yourself; but I did not
intend long to leave you in any mistake. I only wished my own plans to
be first arranged--I wished to give myself time to think, and be
prepared to act, before I spoke of matters that concerned me only, and
not you at all."

"It was hardly fair, Sir," answered Lockwood, not yet satisfied. "You
left me to say things that might offend you; and though I am a humble
man, yet we have what is called politeness of our own kind amongst us,
as well as amongst others; and we do not like to say what may be
offensive except upon necessary occasions."

"Could I have taken offence under such circumstances," replied
Chandos, "I should have been a fool, deserving to suffer by his folly.
But you must lay aside your anger, my good friend; first, because it
is uncalled for; secondly, because I have enough to grieve me; and
thirdly, because I am going to ask your hearty concurrence and
assistance in plans which are now formed to meet very painful
circumstances."

"Painful indeed!" said Lockwood, with much feeling.

"What has that letter told you?" asked his companion.

"All," replied the other; "everything. I now know why you have acted
as you have. The steward was always a good friend of mine, and of my
poor mother's; and he has told me all that happened. I do not wonder
at what you have done; I shall not wonder at anything you may do."

"All, he cannot have told you," answered Chandos; "for no one knows
all but myself and one other, who, I am sure, for his own sake, would
not tell it; nor would I. However, what is necessary to be said I can
tell you as we go up to the abbey. I would fain walk over the old
place from one end to the other; and therefore we will set out as soon
as you like. You shall hear my plans and purposes; you shall give me
help, if you can and will; and, at all events, I am quite sure you
will keep my secret."

"No fear of my not doing that. Sir," answered Lockwood, warmly; "and
help you I will, as far as I can, if you will only tell me how. That
is all that is wanted; for though I and mine have not been well
treated, you have been treated worse, I think."

"Do not call me 'Sir,' Lockwood," replied his young companion,
grasping his hand warmly; "call me Chandos; and say not a word against
those who are gone, if you love me. There is something so sacred in
death, that, though it may be a weakness not to scan the actions of
the dead as we would do those of the living, yet it is a weakness I
could not part with. There is something beyond--above reason in man's
nature--something that distinguishes him more from the brute, raises
him far higher above it. It is that feeling which is called by the
Word of God, _charity_; (very different from that to which we men give
the name;) and if we are forbidden to censure our living enemies, how
much more our dead friends! In this matter there has been some
mistake; the will is dated ten years ago, when all the circumstances
were very different, when no unfortunate dissensions had arisen, when
I was myself a mere stripling. So let that pass; and now let us go. As
I walk along I will tell you my plans. Do not attempt to dissuade or
advise me; for my resolution is taken, and all I require is help."

"I wish to Heaven you would have something more," rejoined Lockwood,
earnestly.

"What is that?" inquired Chandos.

"Why, the five hundred pounds," answered the other. "I can make no use
of it, indeed. I have no need of it. I am like a tree that has grown
into a certain shape, and can take no other. I have enough, Sir, for
all my wants and wishes. That is what few men can say, I know; but I
can from my heart; and when I get the money I shall not know what to
do with it. I shall only be put out of my way, and, perhaps, be
tempted to play the fool."

"No, no," answered his guest, "I neither can nor will take that which
was justly destined for you. Besides, I do not need it, I am not so
destitute as you suppose. Something--a pittance indeed, but still
something--was secured to me long ago, and it no one can take from me.
But, come; as we walk along, we will talk more."

And they did talk as they walked along, earnestly, eagerly, and took
more than one turn out of the way because their conversation was not
done. At length, however, they directed their course in a straight
line across the park, and in a few minutes Winslow Abbey stood before
them. Many of my readers who know the part of the country in which I
live must have seen it, some few perhaps wandered all over it; but for
those who have not, I must describe it as it appeared before the eyes
of Lockwood and his companion.

Winslow Abbey was one of the few buildings of Richard the Third's
reign. It was not of the most florid style of even that time, and much
less so than that of Richard's successor; but still there was
wonderful lightness and grace in the architecture. Some parts of the
building, indeed, were older and heavier than the rest, but rich and
beautiful notwithstanding. These were principally to be found in the
abbey church, which was quite in ruins, mantled with green ivy, and
fringed with many a self-sown ash. Growing in the midst of the nave,
and rising far above, where the roof had once been, was a group of
dark pines, waving their tops in the wind like the plumes upon a
hearse. Who had planted them no one knew; but the record might well
have passed by, for their size bespoke the passing of a century at
least. There, ruin had fully done his work, apparently without one
effort from man's hand to stay his relentless rage; but such was not
the case with the rest of the building. Old and somewhat decayed it
certainly was; but traces were evident, over every part, of efforts
made, not many years before, to prevent the progress of dilapidation.
In the fine delicate mullions, in the groups of engaged columns, in
the corbels and buttresses, in the mouldings of the arches, were seen
portions of stone, which the hand of time had not yet blackened; and
here and there, in the ornamental part, might be traced the labours of
a ruder and less skilful chisel than that which had sculptured the
original roses, and monsters, and cherubims' heads, scattered over the
whole. The ivy, too, which, it would seem, had at one time grown so
luxuriantly as to be detrimental, had been carefully removed in many
places, and trimmed and reduced to more decorative proportions in
others. Where the thin filaments of the plant had sucked out the
mortar, with the true worldly wisdom which destroys what it rests on
to support itself, fresh cement had been applied; and though some
years had evidently passed since these repairs had been made, the
edifice was still sound and weather tight.

Projecting in the centre was a large pile, which had probably been the
Abbot's lodging, richly decorated with mitre, and key, and insignia of
clerical authority; for the Abbot of Winslow had been a great man in
his day, and had sat in Parliament amongst the peers of the realm. On
either side were large irregular wings, with here and there a mass
thrown forward nearly on the line of the great corps de logis, and
more richly ornamented than the parts between; but all, as I have
said, beautifully irregular, for one of the great excellencies of that
style of building is the harmonious variety of the forms. From either
angle of the façade ran back long rows of lower buildings, surrounding
a court with cloisters, external and internal; and on both sides the
deep beech woods came boldly forward, offering, in their brown and
yellow tints, a fine contrast to the cold gray stone and the green
ivy. All that appeared on the mere outside of the building, was of
centuries long gone by, or, at least, appeared so to be. Even the
terrace in front, raised by a step or two above the surrounding
park.--though probably abbots and monks had passed away ere it was
levelled--had been made to harmonize with the Abbey by a screen of
light stone-work in the same style. But through the small-paned
windows of the building, the notions of modern times peeped out in
efforts for that comfort which we so much prize. Shutters of dark oak
were seen closed along the front, except in one room, where three
windows were open, and rich damask curtains of deep crimson flapped in
the November wind.

Chandos halted on the terrace, and gazed round. How many sensations
crowd on us when we first see again in manhood the places we have
known and loved in youth! But whatever were those in the young man's
bosom, they vented themselves in but one expression. "Pull it down!"
he exclaimed, in a tone at once melancholy and indignant. "Pull it
down!"

"Who, in the name of folly and wickedness, would ever think of such a
thing?" cried Lockwood.

"It has been spoken about, nevertheless," answered Chandos; "and he,
who had the bad taste to propose it, has now the full power to do it.
But let us go in: the house seems well enough; but the park is in a
sad neglected state."

"How can it be otherwise?" was Lockwood's answer, as he led the way
across the terrace towards one of the doors near the eastern angle of
the building. "There is but one keeper and one labourer left. They do
all they can, poor people; but it would take twenty hands to keep this
large place in order. But the house is better, as you say; and the
reason of that is, that, when Sir Harry was here last, just about five
years ago, though he only stayed one day, he saw with his own eyes
that everything was going to ruin. He therefore ordered it to be put
in proper repair. But the park he took no notice of; and it has gone
to rack and ruin ever since."

As he spoke, he pushed back a small door, plated with iron, and
studded with large nails, hardly wide enough for two persons to pass
at a time and pointed at the top, to fit the low arch of the
stone-work. A narrow passage, guiltless of paint or whitewash, led to
what had been the abbot's kitchen, in times long gone. It formed now
the sitting-room of the good keeper and his wife, who had been put in
to take care of the house. In honour, however, of an expected guest,
the cloth, which was already laid, although it wanted near an hour of
one, was spread in the housekeeper's room adjoining.

The good dame, who with a little girl fifteen or sixteen years of age,
her niece, was busied in hospitable cares, viz., in the spitting of
the already plucked teal, made a courtesy to Chandos on being caught
in the fact, which had nearly run the poor bird in her hands through
the body in a sense and direction totally different from that which
she intended. But Chandos soon relieved her from any little temporary
embarrassment, by saying, that he would walk through the house with
Lockwood, till dinner was ready.

A flight of steps led them up to paved galleries and halls, many in
number, confused in arrangement, and not altogether convenient, except
for the purposes for which they were originally destined. Chandos
seemed to need no guide, however, to the labyrinth; and it must be
observed, that the only use of Lockwood, as his companion, seemed to
be to exchange an occasional sentence with him, and to open the
window-shutters of the different rooms, to admit the free air and
light.

"Let us go this way, Lockwood," said his younger companion; "I wish to
see the library first; and the best way will be through the glazed
cloister, round the inner court."

"How well you remember it!" said Lockwood. "But I fear you will find
the library in bad order; for the people left in the place do not know
much about books."

Nevertheless, Chandos hurried on, and entered a long, broad,
stone-paved passage, which had been ingeniously fitted up, so as to
defend those who passed along from the wind and weather. This gallery,
or cloister, ran along three of the internal sides of the building,
only interrupted at one point by a large hall-door, through which
carriages could pass from the terrace to the inner court; and,
threading it quickly, Chandos and his companion reached a door at the
opposite angle, which, however, was not to be opened easily. The key
Lockwood had not got; but, pushing back a lesser door to the left,
which was unlocked, they found their way through a small, elegantly
fitted-up study to another door of the library, which did not prove so
stubborn. In this little study, or reading-room, were six old oak
chairs, curiously carved, and covered with rich crimson velvet; a
sofa, evidently modern, but worked by a skilful, and, doubtless,
expensive upholsterer, so as to harmonize with the other furniture; a
writing-table, of old oak, with bronze inkstands, lamps, penholders,
and some little ornaments of the same metal; and two small bookcases,
with glazed doors, which covered and discovered the backs of a number
of splendidly-bound books.

"This is all mine, Lockwood," said Chandos, gazing round with some
pleasure. "It is left to me so distinctly, that there can be no cavil
about it, or there would be a cavil, depend upon it. The words
are:--'The library, with all the furniture, books, pictures, busts,
and other articles of every kind whatsoever in the room so called; and
also everything contained in the small writing-room adjoining, at the
time of the testator's death.'"

"I'll make an inventory of them," said Lockwood, with a cheerful air.
"The library, too? Why, that's a fortune in itself."

His younger companion mused for several moments, with his hand on the
library-door. "That is true," he said; "I never thought of that. And
yet it were a painful fortune, too, to turn to any account; for it
would go hard with me, ere I sold the old books, over which I have
pored so often. However, Lockwood, take you an inventory, as you say:
and in the mean time, I will consider how I am to dispose of all these
things. I shall never have a house big enough to put those bookcases
in."

"You can't tell," answered Lockwood. "What you are going to try first,
you will soon get tired of; and then you will take some other course,
and may raise yourself to be a great man, yet. You have had a good
education, been to Eton, and college, and all that; and so you can do
anything you please."

Chandos shook his head sadly, and replied: "The road to high fortune,
my good friend, is not so easily travelled now as once it was. So many
are driving along it, that there is no room for one to pass the
other."

"There's another reason besides that," answered Lockwood, "why we see
so few mount high now-a-days. It's all like bread and butter at a
school; there's but a certain portion of butter for the whole; and if
the number of mouths be increased, it must be spread thinner. However,
as I have said, you can do what you like; for you are young,
determined enough for anything, and have a good education, so you may
be a great man, if you like."

"You have had a good education too, Lockwood," replied the other.

"Ay, but not so good as yours," said his companion. "Mine has been
picked up anyhow; and a man never makes much of that. Besides, you
have always been accustomed to keep company with gentlefolks; and I am
a boor. Education means something else than cramming a man's head with
Greek and Latin, or mathematics either; and, moreover, I don't want to
be a great man, if I could. To me it would be as disagreeable, as you
will find being a little one."

"Well, well, we have settled that question," said Chandos; "and for
the future God will provide."

He then walked up to one of the large bookcases, carved like the
screen of an old church, took down a volume so covered with dust that
the top looked as if it were bearing a crop of wool, opened it, and
read a few lines mechanically. Lockwood stood near, with his arms
folded on his broad chest, gazing at him with a thoughtful look, then,
tapping him lightly on the arm, he said, "You have forgotten one
thing: you will have to receive all these fine things some day soon;
how will that square with all your fine plans?"

Chandos took a moment or two to reply; for it would seem, he had not
indeed considered the subject. "I will tell you, Lockwood," he said;
"I will give you an order to receive them in my name. I shall be near
at hand, to do anything more that may be necessary."

"But what am I to do with them?" asked Lockwood, frightened at the
idea of such folio volumes, and awful bookcases. "But I will tell you
what I can do," he added, a moment afterwards. "There's the young
parson over at Northferry, he's a good young man and kind, I have
always heard, though I don't know him, and has a large house not yet
half furnished. He'll give them place, I'm sure. We can talk of that
afterwards. But it must be the good folks' dinner hour, by this time;
and keepers have huge appetites."

"Well, let us go back," said Chandos, with a sigh. "But we can walk
through the rooms. It will not take us longer."

"The base and the perpendicular are always in their sum more than the
hypotenuse," replied Lockwood, drily. "But doubtless they are not so
ravenous as to grudge a few minutes to look at places you have not
seen for so long, and may never see again.--Odd's life, pull the place
down! They must be mad!"

Chandos made no answer, but walked on, passing from room to room,
along the wide front of the building. He gazed around him as he went
with a slow pace, but only twice he stopped. Once it was to look at a
picture; that of a lady in a riding habit. It was an early portrait by
Sir Thomas Lawrence, with great breadth and power, and some careless
drawing and want of finish, in subsidiary parts. But the face was full
of life. The liquid eyes, with the clear light streaming through the
cornea, and illuminating the iris, seemed gazing into your heart. The
lips spoke to you; but there was a sadness in the tones, which poured
melancholy into the gazer.

"Ay, she had an unhappy life of it, poor thing," said Lockwood, at
once interpreting the expression in the portrait, and the feelings in
his companion's heart. "I, of course, had no reason to love her; but
yet, I grieved for her from my soul."

Chandos turned abruptly round, laid his left hand upon Lockwood's
shoulder, and seemed about to reply almost bitterly. But then he
stopped suddenly, looked him full in the face, with the finger of his
right hand extended to his companion's breast, and with a sad shake of
the head, moved away. The next time he stopped, it was before a small
work-table, which he gazed at for a minute or two, and then said, "If
there is a sale, Lockwood, as I dare say there will be, I should like
to have that. Purchase it for me; it cannot sell for much."

He then quickened his pace, and proceeded without a pause to the
abbot's kitchen. There was apparent, however, as he went along, a
quivering of the lip at times, and an occasional wide expansion of the
nostril, which made Lockwood think that strong emotions were busy
within him. Whatever they were, he threw off his gloom when he joined
the good keeper and his wife at their meal; and though not gay, he
chatted with the rest, and sometimes laughed; ate their good cheer
with a hearty appetite, and drank more than one glass of old ale. The
dinner was over, and they were sitting, about two o'clock, with that
pause for digestion, the necessity for which all animals feel, when a
grating sound, as of carriage wheels, was heard; and going to the
window, the three men saw a post-chaise, dragged on slowly by two
sorry jades, through the loose stuff of the long-neglected road.

"My goody! who can that be?" cried the keeper's wife, looking over her
husband's shoulder.

"It is Roberts, the steward," said Chandos, with a grave face. "Do not
let him be brought in here, Lockwood. I will see him afterwards; but
it must be alone."

Lockwood nodded his head significantly, and went out with the keeper,
who hurried to the principal entrance of Winslow Abbey, towards which
the chaise directed its course.

"Don't say anything at present of the young gentleman being here,"
whispered Lockwood to the keeper, as the latter unbolted the great
doors. An acquiescent nod was the reply, and the next moment Mr.
Roberts approached the entrance.

I must pause, both upon the character and appearance of that person;
for he was not an ordinary one. Richard Roberts was diminutive in
person, though exceedingly well formed; most of his features were
plain; and he was a good deal marked with the small-pox; but his eyes
were fine, large, and expressive; and his brow was both broad and
high. He had been educated as an attorney by his father, who was an
attorney also; but the father and the son were different. The father
was a keen, shrewd, money-making man, who had no scruples within the
law. He had married the daughter of a country banker, and treated her
very harshly from the hour the bank broke. He had been very civil
before. She bore all patiently; for she had a very high sense of duty,
which she transmitted to her son; but she died early; for she was too
gentle and affectionate to endure unkindness long. The young man
submitted to his father's pleasure, though the desk and the red tape
were an abomination to him; and he went on studying deeply till he was
out of his clerkship, when he entered into partnership with his
father. The father, who was a thick-necked man, ate too much, and
drank too much, at a hot corporation-dinner; and a thin alderman--for
there are such things--remarked, that Roberts had eaten and drank
enough that night to serve him his whole life. So it did, too; for,
just as he was peeling his third orange after dinner, and somebody was
getting up to make a speech, which nobody was likely to attend to, Mr.
Roberts leaned amicably upon his next neighbour's breast; and that
gentleman at first imagined--notwithstanding the improbability of the
thing--that Roberts was drunk. When he was set up in his chair again,
he moved not, except to fall slowly to the other side; and then it
began to strike people, that a man might be dead instead of drunk,
even at a corporation-dinner. So it proved; and the firm was changed
from "Roberts and Son," to "Richard Roberts." To the surprise of
everybody, however, the whole business of Mr. Roberts's office was
wound up within three months, and the office closed. Every one knew,
that the old man had been of a money-making turn; but still, they
argued, that he could not have left enough for young Roberts to turn
gentleman upon. This was true; and shortly after he accepted the
situation of steward and law-agent to Sir Harry Winslow, rejecting all
fees, and doing the whole business for a moderate fixed salary, which,
with what his father had left him, was sufficient for his ambition.
Thus he had gone on for five-and-twenty years. The tenants were always
well pleased with him; for he forced no man to take a lease, when an
agreement for one would do as well; but never refused a lease when it
was required. Sir Harry was not always well pleased; for there was a
rigidity about Mr. Roberts, and about his notions, which did not quite
suit him; but Mr. Roberts, like an indispensable minister, was always
ready to resign. He was now a man of more than fifty years of age,
with very white hair, very black eyebrows, and a pale, thoughtful
complexion; and, as he walked up from the chaise to the house, his
step, though not exactly feeble, had none of the buoyancy of youth and
strong health about it.

"Good morning, Garbett. Good morning, Mr. Lockwood. You have got my
letter, I hope?"

"Not till this morning, Mr. Roberts," answered Lockwood; "although I
should have had it last night, if the postman would but take the
diagonal line, instead of two sides of a parallelogram."

Roberts smiled gravely and entered the house, saying: "Mankind will
choose devious ways, Lockwood; but, at all events, I hope you were
satisfied with the information I conveyed. I thought it best to put
your mind at ease at once."

"Oh! it was never uneasy," answered Lockwood. "I have always my hands
and my head, Mr. Roberts, and I know how to make use of them. But I
suppose you have come to seal the things up here."

"Not exactly," answered Roberts; "only a little business connected
with my situation, which I trust to get over by to-morrow morning."

"Will your honour like any dinner?" asked Garbett, the keeper. "My old
woman can get it ready for you in a minute."

"Not just yet," answered Roberts; "about four o'clock, perhaps; but I
must get through some business first. Show me the way to the late Sir
Harry's business-room, Garbett. It is so long since I was here, that I
almost forget it."

The keeper did as he was desired; and Mr. Roberts, requiring pen and
ink, and apparently wishing to be left alone, Lockwood and Garbett
left him; and the former rejoined Chandos in the housekeeper's room.
After time had been given for the gamekeeper to supply the steward
with writing materials, and the voice of the former was heard in the
adjoining kitchen, Chandos walked away straight to the room where
Roberts was shut up, and remained there for nearly an hour. At the end
of that time the door opened; and Chandos shook the steward by the
hand, saying: "I shall see you on Saturday, Roberts, for the last
time, perhaps, for months, or years; but I trust entirely to you, to
take care that whatever rights I have are duly protected."

"That I will do, you may depend upon it, Sir," replied the steward;
"and, perhaps,--But no matter; things must take their course according
to law; for we have no power, unfortunately, over men's hearts."

Chandos turned away; and the steward remained gazing after him till he
was lost in the turning of the inner cloister.



CHAPTER V.


We have histories of almost everything that the earth contains, or
ever has contained--of kings, and bloody battles; (almost inseparable
from kings;) of republics, and domestic anarchy; (inseparable from
republics;) of laws, rents, prices; (Tooke has despatched prices;) of
churches, sects, religions; of society--that grand, strange,
unaccountable compound of evil and good; where men's vices and
virtues, ever at war, are made mutually to counteract each other, and
bring about an equilibrium balanced on a hair; always vibrating,
sometimes terribly deranged, but ever returning to its poise. But,
thank Heaven! we have not absolutely histories of everything; and,
amongst others, we have not a history of opinion. The world, however,
is a strange place; the men and women in it, strange creatures; and
the man who would sit down to write a true history of opinions,
showing how baseless are those most fondly clung to, how absurd are
those most reverently followed, how wicked are some of those esteemed
most holy, would, in any country, and in any age, be pursued and
persecuted till he were as dead as the carrion on which feeds the
crow; nay, long after his miserable bones were as white as an
egg-shell. I am even afraid of the very assertion; for the world is
too vain, and too cowardly, to hear that any of its opinions are
wrong; and we must swim with the stream, if we would swim at all.
There is one thing, indeed, to be said, which justifies the world,
although it is not the ground on which the world acts--that he who
would upset the opinions established, were he ten times wiser than
Solon, or Solomon either, would produce a thousand evils where he
removed one. It is an old coat that will not bear mending; and the
wearer is, perhaps, right to fly at every one who would peck it.
Moreover, there is _primâ facie_, very little cause to suppose that he
who would overthrow the notions which have been entertained, with
slight modifications, by thousands of human beings through thousands
of years, is a bit more wise, enlightened, true, or virtuous, than the
rest; and I will fairly confess, that I have never yet seen one of
these moral knights-errant who did not replace error by error, folly
by folly, contradiction by contradiction, the absurdities of others by
absurdities of his own. Nay, more; amongst all who have started up to
work a radical change in the opinions of mankind, I have never heard
but of one, the universal adoption of whose views, in their entirety,
would have made the whole race wiser, better, and happier. He was God
as well as man. Men crucified him; and, lest the imperishable truth
should condemn them, set to work to corrupt his words, and pervert his
doctrines, within a century after he had passed from earth. Gnostics,
monks, priests, saints, fathers, all added or took away; and then they
closed the book, and sealed it with a brazen clasp.

Still there are some good men withal, but not wise, who, bold, and
somewhat vain, set at nought the danger of combatting the world's
opinion, judge for themselves, often not quite sanely, and have a
pride in differing from others. Such is the case, in a great degree,
with that old gentleman sitting at the breakfast-table, on the
right-hand side, with the light streaming through the still green
leaves of plants in a fine conservatory, pouring on his broad bald
head and gray hair. I do not mean the man so like him, but somewhat
younger, who is reading a newspaper at the end of the table, while he
takes his coffee, colder than it might have been, if he had contented
himself with doing one thing at one time. They are brothers; but very
different in habits, thoughts, and views. The organ of reverence, if
there be such an organ, is very large in the one, nearly wanting in
the other; and yet there are some things that the elder brother does
reverence, too--virtue, honour, gentleness, purity. Now, he would not,
for the world, shock the ears of those two beautiful girls, his
brother's daughters, with many of the notions which he himself
entertains. He reverences conscientious conviction, even where he
differs; and would not take away a hope, or undermine a principle, for
the world.

The elder girl asked him if he would take any more coffee. "No, my
Lily," he answered, (for he was poetical in speech and mind,) "not
even from your hands, love;" and rising for a moment from the table,
with his hands behind his broad burly back, he moved to the window,
and looked into the conservatory.

"What makes you so grave, dear uncle?" asked the other girl,
following; "I will know; for I am in all your secrets."

"All, my Rose?" he said, smiling at her, and taking one of the rich
curls of her hair in his hand. "What heart ever lays bare all its
secrets? One you do not know."

"Indeed!" she cried, sportively. "Then confess it this instant. You
have no right to have any from me."

"Listen, then," he answered, pulling her to him with a look of
fatherly affection, and whispering: "I am in love with Rose Tracy.
Don't tell Lily, for I am in love with her too; and unfortunately, we
are not in Turkey, where polygamy gives vast scope to the tender
passions."

"What is he saying about me?" asked Emily Tracy, the elder of the
nieces, who caught the sound of her own abbreviated name. "Do not
believe a word he says, Rose; he is the most perfidious of men."

"I know he is," replied her sister; "he is just now sighing over the
prohibition of polygamy, and wishing himself in Turkey."

"Not if you were not with me, Rose," cried her uncle, with a hearty
laugh that shook the room. "Why should I not have a whole garden of
roses--with some lilies--with some lilies too? Ha, ha, ha!"

"It is always the way with men who never marry at all," said Emily;
"they all long for polygamy. Why do you not try what a single marriage
is like, my dear uncle, before you think of multiplying it?"

"Because two panniers are more easily borne than one, my Lily,"
answered her uncle, laughing again.

The two girls united to scold him; and he replied with compliments,
sometimes hyperbolical, sometimes bitter, and with much laughter, till
his brother was roused from his deep studies, laid down the newspaper,
drunk his coffee, and joined them at the window.

"Well, Walter," he said, "I see those amusing Frenchmen have given a
verdict of guilty, with extenuating circumstances, against another
woman who has poisoned her husband with arsenic. He was kind, tender,
affectionate, the evidence shows; forgave her a great many offences;
and treated her with anything but harshness, though she certainly was
not the best of wives. She poisoned him slowly, quietly, deliberately,
that she might marry a paramour, who had already corrupted her. Yet
they find 'extenuating circumstances.'"

"To be sure," answered General Tracy. "Do you not see them, Arthur?
You say, he forgave her a great number of offences, and consequently,
did not do his duty to himself, or to her. But the truth is, these
Frenchmen think murder better than execution; and, after massacring
thousands of honest men, some forty or fifty years ago, will not now
put one guilty man to death, though his crime is proved by
irresistible evidence."

"It is all slop," replied Mr. Arthur Tracy. "The word is, perhaps, a
little vulgar, but yet I repeat it, 'It is all slop.' I will write an
essay upon slop, someday; for we have just as much of it in England,
as they have in France; only we shelter murder under a _monomania_,
and the French under _extenuating_ circumstances. It is wonderful how
slop is beginning to pervade all classes of society. It already
affects even romance-writers and novelists. The people used to rejoice
in blood and murder, so that an old circulating library was like a
bear's den; nothing but gore and bones. But now one is sickened in
every page, with maudling sentimentality, only fit for the second
piece of a minor theatre. Love-sick dustmen, wronged and sentimental
greengrocers; poetic and inspired costermongers; with a whole host of
blind, lame, and deformed peasantry and paupers, transformed into
angels and cherubs, by the assistance of a few clap-trap phrases,
which have been already hackneyed for half a century on the stage.
Slop, slop, Walter; it is all slop; and at the bottom of every kind of
slop, is charlatanism."

"Humbug, you mean," said his elder brother. "Why do you use a French
word, when you can get an English one, Arthur?"

"If the men really wished to defend the cause of the poor," continued
Mr. Tracy, taking no notice of his brother's reproach, "why don't they
paint them and their griefs as they really are? Did you ever see,
Walter, in all your experience, such lackadaisical, poetical,
white-aproned damsels amongst the lower classes, as we find in books
now-a-days?"

"Oh yes," said General Tracy; "I'll find you as many as you like, on
the condition that they be educated at a ladies' charity-school, where
they stitch romance into their samplers, write verses in their
copy-books, and learn to scrub the floors to etherial music.--But
come, my Flowers," he added, turning to his nieces, "will you take a
walk? and we will go and see some real cottages, and see some real
peasants."

His proposal was willingly agreed to; and Mr. Tracy--who was of a
speculative disposition--was speculating whether he should go with
them, or not, when the butler entered and put his negative upon it, by
saying: "Please, Sir, here is a young man come to ask about the head
gardener's place."

"I will see him in a minute," said Mr. Tracy. "Show him into the
library."

While the father of the family, after looking at one or two more
paragraphs in the newspaper, walked into his library, to see the
person who waited for him, his two daughters had gone to put on
bonnets and shawls; and the old General sauntered out, through the
conservatory, to the lawn before the house. Nothing could be more
beautiful, or more tasteful, than the arrangements of the whole
grounds. Large masses of hardy exotics were planted round, now, alas!
no longer in flower; but a multitude of the finest and the rarest
evergreens hid the ravages which the vanguard of winter had already
made, and afforded shelter from the cutting winds to some few autumnal
flowers, which yet lingered, as if unwilling to obey the summons to
the grave. The old man gazed upon the gardens, and vacant parterres;
upon the shrubberies of evergreen, and upon the leafless plants beside
them; and a sad and solemn spirit came upon him as he looked. Poetry,
the magic mirror in the mind, which reflects all external things with
hues more intense than the realities, received and returned every sad
image, that the decay of nature's children presents, in colours more
profound and dark. He thought of the tomb, and of corruption, and of
the vanity of all man's efforts upon earth, and upon the sleep that
knows no waking, and the perishing of our very memory from among our
kindred and our race. The warm life that still throbbed high in his
old heart, revolted at the idea of cold extinction, he felt that it is
a terrible doom that rests upon all the children of the dust; but
threefold terrible, to the only being conscious of its inevitable
coming, filled with the first of the waters of life, instinct with
appreciation of all its excellence. He had been in battle, that old
man, he had faced the cannon and the bayonet, had heard the eager
balls whistle round his temples, screaming like vultures for his
blood; he had seen thousands dying about him; but he had never felt
what a dreary thing death is, as in the presence of those fading
flowers.

At length the two girls joined him, and he put on a less thoughtful
air; but Rose, the youngest and the gayest, had a shadow on her brow;
he knew not from what. It was not altogether sad; but it was as if a
cloud had passed for a moment between her eyes and the sun, rendering
the deep blue more deep.

The day was fine and bright, but cold; and a shrewd wind moved the dry
leaves about under the trees, making them whisper like ghosts as they
rustled past. The old man breasted the breeze, however; and his clear
rosy cheek seemed to glow only the more warmly in the spirit of
resistance. So, too, his mind opposed itself to the blast of chill
thoughts which had assailed him, and he laughed and jested with his
nieces, as they went, on the very subjects which had oppressed him
when alone.

"Look, Lily," he said, "how all the children of the spring are
gathered into the grave of winter, already massed up to crumble down,
and be succeeded by others doomed to pass away after a brief space
like themselves! And thus we shall all tumble from our boughs and
wither. There, that faded thing is me, full of holes and scars as a
politician's conscience; and that Michaelmas-daisy is you, Lily,
blossoming upon the arm of winter."

"You are lively, dear uncle," said Emily, laughing; "and Rose does not
seem gay, though she was so merry just now. You must have said
something very serious to her at the window, for she has been in a
reverie ever since we left the breakfast-room."

"Faith, I was very serious," answered her uncle: "I offered her
marriage; but she said it was against the laws of the realm and the
common prayer-book, to marry your grandfather or your uncle. What is
it, Summer-flower, that makes you hang your head?"

"Winter, I suppose, uncle," replied his younger niece. "But, if truth
must be told, I am not warm. Lest us walk more quickly, till we get
behind the grove, where there is shelter from this biting wind."

They did walk on more quickly; and Rose, either by an effort, or
naturally, grew gayer. They passed through the grove, and out upon the
fields, then through lanes again, deep, between banks, with withered
shrubs above, when suddenly there came upon them a smell, pleasant in
winter, of burning wood, mingled with turf.

"There are some of the yellow people near," said General Tracy. "Now,
Rose, is the time, if you would have your fortune told."

"I should like it, of all things," cried the girl, gladly. "Dear
uncle, let us find them out, and hear what a trifle of husbands and
wives they will give us. You will come in for your share, depend upon
it; and a sweet delusive vision of polygamy and 'famed Turkie' will be
afforded you yet."

"Oh! I am quite ready," said her uncle. "But, what say you, Lily?"

"That I think it is always very foolish," answered Emily, "to have
anything to do with such people. If you believe them, they make you
uneasy, and play upon your credulity. If you do not believe them, why
give half-a-crown for imposition?"

"Reasoned like Aristotle, dear Lily," exclaimed her uncle; "but there
is one point in philosophy which you have not taken into
consideration. Everybody has a certain portion of folly to expend,
which, like a boy's new guinea, burns his pocket till it is all gone.
Now I wish every one had as innocent a way of spending his
foolishness: so Rose and I will have our fortunes told. You shall do
as you like."

"I am as glad of having half-a-crown in my pocket," cried Rose, "as a
housemaid when she first hears the cuckoo."

While they had been speaking they had walked on through the lane to a
wider spot, where, under a yellow bank, with blackberries still
hanging above, like dark eyes amongst the withered leaves, rose up the
smoke of the forbidden pot. Two or three of the tents of Kedar were
seen under shelter of the high ground, dingy and begrimed with
manifold seasons of exposure, and apparently not large enough to hold
one of the bipeds which usually nestle in them in multitudes. The
reason given for an ostrich not sitting on its eggs (which is very
doubtful, by-the-by) might well be given for a gipsey not living in
his tent, _i. e_. because his legs are too long; but, not to discuss
the matter too philosophically, there were the tents, but no gipseys
in them. Nor were there many out of them in their immediate
neighbourhood; for only one was to be seen, and that a woman. Not the
slightest touch of Meg Merrilies, not the slightest touch of Lena, was
apparent in the worthy dame. She was a woman perhaps of six or seven
and twenty years of age, as yellow as a crow's foot, but with a good
warm glow shining through the golden russet. Her eyes were black as
sloes, and shining like polished jet. The features were all good,
though not as new as they once had been; very like the features of
figures found painted in Egyptian tombs, if ever you saw them,
reader--straight, yet not Grecian, and more resembling those of the
bust of the sybil than any others of classical lands and times. She
was still plump, and in good case, without having reached the full
amplitude (is that a pleonasm?) which it is probable she would attain,
and still farther removed from that state of desiccation at which she
would certainly arrive if she lived long enough. Her head was covered
with the peculiar straw bonnet, in the peculiar shape which has given
a name to a part of ladies' head gear; from her shoulders hung the red
cloak, and crossed upon her abundant bosom was a handkerchief of
crimson and yellow. She was not at all poetical or romantical, but a
very handsome woman notwithstanding. She was evidently a priestess of
Vesta, without vows, left to keep the sacred fire in, while the rest
of the sisterhood and brotherhood were absent upon different errands;
and as soon as she perceived a well-dressed party approaching, she
abandoned the flame, and came forward with her head bent coaxingly,
and her black eyes gleaming forth from beneath the raven hair. The
rapid look she gave to each, seemed enough to afford her every clue to
character she might want; and with vast volubility she cried, in a
musical but whining tone, "Cross my hand, dear ladies and gentleman;
cross my hand, pretty ladies--cross it with silver, or cross it with
gold, 'tis all the same; you have nice fortunes, I can see by the
corner of the eye. I shall have to tell you wonderful things, when I
look in your palms, I know, pretty ladies. And that old gentleman will
have half a dozen wives yet, for all his hair is so white, and
children like a covey of partridges."

Rose laughed gaily, drew out her purse, and tendered her fair hand.
The gipsey woman, after having got her fee, took the rosy tip of the
long, taper middle finger, and gazed as seriously into the palm as if
she believed there was truth in her art. Perhaps she did, for
imposture is often like a charge of gun-powder, and acts as strongly
towards the breech as towards the muzzle. But when she had examined
the few soft lines for a minute, she shook her head gravely, saying,
"You will live long and happily, pretty lady, though there's a sad
cross about the beginning of the line of life; but the line goes
through, and then it's all clear; and, let me see--yes--you shall
marry a gardener."

With a start, Rose drew away her hand, and her face became crimson;
while her sister and her uncle laughed aloud, with a little spice of
good-humoured malice.

"Come," cried the old General, "there's a fine fate for you, Flower!
Now are you satisfied? It is true, depend upon it; it is true. These
Egyptians were always masters of mighty secrets; witness their rods
turned into serpents, though it was but to feast Aaron's rod. But this
brown lady of Egypt shall tell my fortune, too; for she looks


                       'A palace
          For crowned truth to dwell in--.'


Here, my sorceress, look at my palm, and see what you can make of
that! It has been crossed by many a piece of gold and silver in its
day, as well as your own."

The woman resumed her examination; and studied the broad furrowed hand
attentively. At length she said, looking up in the old man's face,
"You shall live as you have lived, but not die as you have lived. You
shall not fall by fire or steel."

"Nor lead?" asked the soldier.

"No," she answered, "nor by accident of any kind; but by slow decay,
like a sick bird in a cage, or a sick horse in a stall; and you shall
see death coming for long days before he comes."

"That's not pleasant," said General Tracy. "But what will become of my
half dozen of wives?"

"They will all die with you," answered the woman with a grin, which
showed her white teeth to the back; "for no other wife will you have
than you now have."

"Hard fate!" cried Walter Tracy, lifting up his hands and eyes, and
laughing--"six wives all in one day, and their husband, to boot! But I
understand how it is. They must be all Hindoos, and will burn
themselves at my funeral, poor things! Now, Emily, it is your turn."

"Not I," replied the young lady, gravely; "I have not the slightest
inclination."

"Ah, pretty lady," cried the gipsey, "do cross my hand, and I will
tell your beautiful fortune in a minute."

"No, indeed, my good woman," replied Emily Tracy. "I am quite
contented to wait till God shows it to me. If I believed you could
tell, I should think it wrong to ask you; and as I do not believe you
can, it would be only foolish."

The gipsey woman looked at her fiercely, and exclaimed, with an angry
and menacing voice, "You do not believe? I will make you believe. I
don't need to look in your hand. Your proud heart will be humbled--you
will marry a felon."

"Come, come, this is somewhat too much," said General Tracy; "no
insolence, my good woman, or I may have occasion to punish it. Those
who are foolish enough to ask you questions, you may answer as you
will; but you have no right to say such things to those who make no
inquiries of you."

"It is true, and so you will find," answered the woman, returning
sullenly to her pot; and without taking any further notice of her, the
party walked on.



CHAPTER VI.


In the gray of the early morning a young man walked across the
country, near Winslow park. He was dressed like a respectable
countryman, with a good plain fustian coat upon his back, and leathern
gaiters on his legs. Robust and healthy, he went along at a quick
pace; but yet his look was not joyous, and his brow was stern. The
country rose gradually over gentle slopes at first, and then wooded
hills. Soon it reached a barer region, where downs extended far and
wide, and great hills were seen, scantily covered with short grass. No
trees; but here and there a stunted hawthorn, or solitary fir; no
hedgerows, no cultivated field were there, except where now and then
the traces of the plough were apparent in a dell, promising a thin
crop of barley or rye for the ensuing year. The air was cold and
invigorating, the sky clear, and the curlew, with its arched wings,
and wild whistle, skimmed away from the white patch of uncovered cliff
as the wayfarer passed by, even at a distance. He walked on, five--ten
miles; and then he passed through a gap in the hills where they had
been cut precipitously down, through chalk and flint, to give passage
to the cross-country road. When he had reached the middle of the gap,
another country was before him, lying beautiful and soft in the blue
morning. Cold might be the colouring, but dark, and fine, and clear.
There were woods, and fields, and two or three villages; and a small
river, down, down, several miles below. After walking on, gradually
descending, for about a quarter of an hour, the traveller saw a
finger-post, where the road divided. "To East Greys," said one limb.
"To Northferry," said the other; and he took the latter path.

Two or three minutes after, he overtook an old man in very ragged
robes. His face was both yellow and dirty, like a copper pot which had
been used several times. In his hand he carried an old kettle without
a spout, filled with charcoal, and under his arm a basket and a pair
of bellows. He seemed very poor.

"Won't you give a poor man something to help him on?" he said, in a
cracked voice, as the traveller turned round and looked at him.

"My good friend, I am nearly as poor as yourself," replied the other;
"however, there is sixpence for you.


    'For the poor man alone,
     To the poor man's moan,
     Of his morsel a morsel will give, well a' day!'"


The travelling tinker took the money, and put it in his pocket,
saying, "Thank you, Sir. Do you know where a man could get something
to eat, and a pint of beer?"

"No, indeed," answered the other; "I do not know this side of the
hills at all; and was just going to ask you the same question you have
put to me. I want very much to find some place where I can get food
and drink, for I am very hungry; and information, for I have several
questions to ask."

The tinker winked his eye; and, with his peculiar intonation, which
from cold, or crying for half a century, "Old pots to mend!" was half
a whisper, and half a scream, he said, "I think I know where we can
find all, if you are not afraid to come with me."

"Why should I be afraid?" asked the other. "I have very little to lose
but my skin, and it is not worth taking."

"I don't know that," said the tinker. "It would do finely to mend my
bellusses. But, come along; your skin shall be quite safe, and all the
rest too. You shall have your sixpenn'orth, for giving the sixpence
kindly."

The traveller walked on with him without deliberation, saying, "You
are going to a party of your own people, I suppose?"

"Ay," answered the other; "there are two or three of our families down
here--some of the best of them; Stanleys, and others. They can't be
far; somewhere out of the way of the wind."

With a few short sentences of this sort they went on for a mile and a
half further, and wound in amongst the woods and sandy lanes, which
now took place of the downs and chalk hills. Presently, the old man
pointed with his free hand, saying, "They are down there."

"You must have known that before," said his companion.

"Not I," rejoined the tinker. "I can see things that you cannot."

In five minutes more Chandos was seated near the entrance of a
gipsey-tent, with his comrade of the way by his side; about a dozen
yellow people, of all ages, around; and a wild shaggy horse or two
cropping the scanty grass hard by. They were a set of people he made
himself at home amongst in a moment; and his introduction by the
tinker was quite sufficient to obtain for him a supply of provisions,
better than what his sixpence would have procured in any other place,
and more than double in quantity. There was one good-looking comely
dame, of about six-and-twenty, who seemed to regard him with peculiar
interest, and took care to see that his wants were attended to
liberally, both with meat and drink. But the curse of all small
communities, curiosity, was upon them; and every one asked him,
instead of answering his questions. Where he came from, whither he was
going, what was his business, what the object of his journey, was all
inquired into without the least ceremony. His answers were cheerfully
given, to all appearance. He told them, that he had come from a good
distance, that he was going to Northferry, and that he was about to
seek the place of head-gardener at the house of Mr. Arthur Tracy.

"Oh, it is a beautiful place, surely," answered the brown lady, who
took so much care of him, and sat on his left hand.

"And a capital farm-yard there is," rejoined a stout merry young
vagabond just opposite. "Such hens and turkeys, my eye!"

"I shall have nothing to do with the farm-yard," answered Chandos,
with a smile and a nod; which the other understood right well, and
laughed at in return.

"And so you are a gardener," whispered the woman, while the rest were
talking loud. "I've a notion you have had other trades in your day."

"I never was of any other trade in my life," answered Chandos, boldly.
The woman looked at him through her half-closed eyes for a moment, and
then shook her head.

"Are you fondest of roses or lilies?" she asked in the same tone.
"Lilies, I should think, by the colour of your hands."

"There you are mistaken," said Chandos; "I prefer roses, much. But
tell me what you know of the place. Are they good, kind people there?"

"Oh, yes!--Two queer coves are the old men; (Did you never see them?)
but good enough for that matter," was the brown lady's reply. "They
are not over fond of persecuting, and such things. And then, the two
girls are well enough to look at. The eldest seems cold and proud, and
I dare say she is; but she gave little Tim there a shilling one day.
She didn't know he was a gipsey, as they call us, because he's so
white; or she wouldn't, I dare say. But I can tell you what, my lad:
if you do not understand your gardener's trade well, I'd advise you
not to go there; for the old Squire knows every flower in the garden,
they tell me, by its christened name."

Chandos laughed, and saying, "He won't puzzle me, I think," rose from
the turf. "I must go," he continued; "for you say it is three miles
yet, and I havn't time to spare."

To say the truth, he did not feel quite sure that he would be
permitted to depart so easily; for it was very evident to him, that
one at least of the party had found out that his profession of
gardener was assumed for the nonce; and he might well fancy that she
suspected him of having more money on his person than he really had.
No opposition was made, however; and the old tinker, who seemed to be
a man of consideration with his clan, sent one of the boys to show the
traveller on his way to a finger-post, which would direct him further.

The real distance in a straight line was not, in fact, more than two
miles; but the various turnings and windings which the road took
rendered it little less than the woman had said; and it was about ten
o'clock when he reached the back door of Northferry House, and stating
his object, asked for admission. The butler brought him into the hall,
and went, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, to ask if his
master would see the applicant. While he stood there, he gazed around
with some interest on the wide vestibule, the broad stone stairs, the
handsome marble columns, and the view through a pair of glass doors
into the garden beyond; but, whether he admired or not, his
contemplations were soon interrupted. The door of the breakfast-room
opened again, and while the butler held it back, two beautiful girls
came out, laughing gaily. There was a column in the way, which made
them separate, and the younger took the side of the hall, where he was
standing. Her eyes fell upon him, rested on his face, as if
spell-bound, and then her cheek turned first pale and next red. She
passed on in haste; but Chandos could see that she lingered behind her
sister on the stairs, and walked with her eyes bent down in deep
thought. He saw it with a faint smile.

"Come with me, master," said the butler, as soon as he had closed the
door; "Mr. Tracy will see you in a minute."

It was a large, fine room, into which Chandos was led, supported by
six marble columns like those in the hall. On three sides there were
books; on one, three windows down to the ground. And having been
introduced, he was left there to follow his own devices. His first
impulse was, to throw himself into a large easy chair; but then,
recollecting that was not exactly a gardener's place, and that it was
a gardener's place he was seeking, he rose up again, and walked to the
window, out of which he looked for about three minutes. That was all
very well, if he had remained there; for the windows fronted the
gardens, and he might be supposed to be contemplating the scene of his
expected labours. But Mr. Tracy did not appear very soon; the time
grew tedious; and once more forgetting what he was about, Chandos
walked up to one of the bookcases, and took out a large folio book,
in a vellum cover. He first looked at the title-page, where, printed
in all the luxury of amateur typography, stood the words--"Villa
Bromhamensis." He had never heard of the Villa Bromhamensis; and
turning over the leaves, he began to read some very fair Latin verses,
descriptive of the countryseat of a noble family now, I believe,
extinct.

While he was thus engaged, the door opened behind him. He was not too
deeply interested not to hear it, and recalled to himself in a moment,
he was hurrying to put the book back in its place, with an air of some
confusion, when the bland voice of Mr. Tracy stopped him, saying,
"What have you got there, my good man? Do not be alarmed, I like that
people should take every opportunity of instructing themselves; but I
should wish to see the subject of your studies."

Chandos gave up the book into his hands, with a low bow, and some
doubt as to the result of the investigation; but he was not altogether
without ready wit, and when Mr. Tracy exclaimed, with some surprise,
"Latin! Do you read Latin?" he answered, "Certainly, Sir. How should I
know my business else, when so many books are written upon it in
Latin?"

"True, true," said Mr. Tracy, whose humour, by a lucky accident, was
exactly fitted by such a reply; and at the same time, he looked the
soi-disant gardener over, from head to foot. "You have made a good
choice, too," he added; "for my old friend here, has given a very
pretty description of a very nice place."

"This, I should think, had the advantage, in point of ground, Sir,"
replied Chandos, in a well-chosen tone, neither too humble nor too
elevated: "as that young plantation grows up, to cover the bare hill
side, it will be very beautiful."

"I planted those trees five years ago, many of them with my own
hands," said Mr. Tracy, with pride in his own work, which he feared
might appear too plainly. "It is not very well done. You see, those
larches in another year, will hide that beautiful bit of distance."

"One can never tell, Sir, how trees will grow up," answered Chandos,
who was now completely in his part; "but that will be easily mended.
Cut the back trees down that stand highest; and if you want to thicken
the belt below, plant it up with a few quick-growing pines. You can
move them at almost any age, so as to have it done without anybody
knowing it, except by seeing the hills again."

"You seem to be a young man of very good taste," said Mr. Tracy; "but
come out with me, and we will see more clearly what you mean." He
opened the library window as he spoke, and they walked forth over the
lawn. Mr. Tracy asked many questions as they went, cross-examined the
applicant upon botany, and upon the more minute and practical part of
his art; found him at least theoretically proficient, and ended by
fearing that, notwithstanding his homely dress, he would prove too
complete a gardener for the wages which he intended to give. It was a
delicate point; for Mr. Tracy had a fondness for money. He was not a
miser, far from it; he was not even one of those men--they are almost
always vulgar men, in mind, if not in station--who love an economical
ostentation, who are lavish for show, and stingy in secret. But there
are a thousand shades in the passion of avarice, as well as in every
other, from the reasonable, the just, and the wise, to the senseless
self-abandonment to an all-consuming desire. Mr. Tracy had in his life
known what it is to need money; he had felt in youth the pressure, not
of actual want, but of straitened circumstances; and when his maternal
uncle's death put him in possession of a fortune, greatly superior to
his elder brother's, he retained a strong sense of the value of money,
and a passion for rapidly acquiring more.

"Well, my good friend," he said, as they approached the house again,
"I am quite satisfied with your knowledge and experience in these
matters; and, I dare say, you have got testimonials of your character;
but I fear that you have imagined the place you are now applying for
to be better than it really is. It is merely that of head-gardener, in
the service of a gentleman of very moderate fortune. You would have an
under-gardener, and three labourers to assist; but your own wages
would not be so large as, perhaps, your acquirements may entitle you."

Chandos replied, that whatever had been given to his predecessor would
content him; and produced a letter from Mr. Roberts, the steward of
Sir John Winslow, giving a high testimony to his general conduct, and
to his skill as a practical gardener. All was then soon arranged; Mr.
Tracy was anxious that his new servant should enter upon his duties as
soon as possible, for the predecessor had been dead some weeks; but
Chandos claimed four days for preparation, and made one or two
conditions; and having been shown the cottage which he was to inhabit,
took his leave, with the contract complete.

It was done; the plan he had proposed to himself was so far executed:
and when, after quitting Northferry, he sat down in a small solitary
room of a little road-side inn, he began to laugh, and reconsider the
whole with calmer, and less impassioned thoughts, than he had
previously given to the subject. How different a thing looks when it
is done, and when it is doing! As soon as Fate buys a picture from any
man, she turns it with its face to the wall, and its back to the
seller, writes INEVITABLE upon it, with a piece of black chalk; and
the poor fool can never have the same view of it again.

Chandos was a gardener--a hired servant--in that balanced state where
thirty shillings a-week is thrown into the scale against slavery, just
to prevent freedom from kicking the beam. A great many things had
entered into the concoction of the notable scheme which he had
pursued. There was the first vehement impulse of a noble but impetuous
disposition; a good deal of pride, a little philosophy, and a touch of
romance. He had determined to taste for a while the food of an
inferior station, to know feelingly how the lowly earn their bread,
and spend their lives; to see the things of humble condition not with
a telescope from a height, but with the eye close to the object, and
with a microscope, should need be. He had long been of opinion that it
would be no misuse of time, were every young man even of much higher
rank and pretensions than his own, to spend a year or more amongst the
labouring classes of society, taking part in their toils, sharing
their privations, learning in the school of experience their habits,
wants, wishes, feelings. Our ancestors used to send their children out
to a healthy cottage to nurse during their infancy, and, in many
cases, (not all,) ensured thereby to their offspring robust and hardy
constitutions, which could not have been gained in the luxurious
dwellings of the great and high. Chandos had fancied often that such
training might be as good for the mind as the body, had longed to try
it, had thought it would do him good, especially when he found false
views and cold conventionalities creep upon him, when he felt his
judgment getting warped to the set forms of class, and his tastes
becoming fastidious. Accident had fixed his resolution, and accident
had given the direction in which it acted. But there were
difficulties, inconveniences, regrets, which he had not thought of. We
never embrace a new state without remembering with longing some of the
advantages of the old one. He thought of being cut off from all
refined society, with sensations not pleasurable; he thought of being
discovered by old acquaintances with some sort of apprehension. But
then he remembered that he was little likely to be brought into
immediate contact with any of the great and high. He repeated to
himself that no one had a right to question his conduct, or control
his tastes. And in regard to refined occupations, to relieve the
monotony of manual labour, had he not books? could he not converse
with the dead? Besides, he had made one stipulation with Mr.
Tracy--well nigh the only one--that he should have a month's holiday
in the dead time of the year--to see his friends; such was the motive
assigned. But Chandos' purpose was to spend that month in London; to
re-appear for that period in his real character; to renew in it all
those ties that were worth maintaining, and to enjoy the contrasts of
a double life, combining the two extremes of society. His means might
be small, but for that purpose they were quite sufficient; and with
these consolatory reflections he finished his humble meal, and set out
upon his way again.

He did not pursue the same way back which he had taken to come to
Northferry, for he was anxious to save time; and he had learned at the
public-house that there was a coach which passed upon the high-road at
about two miles distance, which would spare him a walk of ten miles,
and do in one hour what would take him two. He wound on then along
lanes, through which he had been directed for about ten minutes, and
was still buried in reveries, not altogether sweet, when he was
suddenly roused by a loud and piercing shriek. There was a break in
the hedge about fifty yards distant, showing, evidently, by the worn
sandy ground before it, the opening of a foot-path. The sound came
from that side, and Chandos darted towards it without further
consideration.



CHAPTER VII.


There was a narrow broken path up the bank. There was a high stile at
the top. But Chandos was up the one and over the other in a moment. He
did not like to hear a scream at all, and still less a scream from a
woman's lips. When he could see into the field, a sight presented
itself not altogether uncommon in England, where we seldom, if ever,
guard against an evil till it is done, and never take warning by an
evil that is done. More than twelve years ago, a pamphlet was printed,
called, "What will the Government do with the Railroads?"--and in it
was detailed very many of the evils which a prudent and scientific man
could foresee, from suffering railways to proceed unregulated. It was
sent, I believe, by the author to a friend who undertook to answer it.
The answer consisted of two or three sheets of paper, folded as a
book, and bearing on each page the word "Nothing." The answer was
quite right. Government did _nothing_--till it was too late.

People never tether dangerous bulls till they have killed someone; and
when Chandos entered the field, the first sight that met his eyes was
a tall, powerful old man on the ground, and two young and graceful
women at some distance: one still flying fast towards a gate, under
the first strong irresistible impulse of terror; the other, stopping
to gaze back, and wringing her hands in agony. Close by the old man
was an enormous brindled bull, with short horns, which was running
slowly back, with its eyes fixed upon the prostrate figure before it,
as if to make another rush at him as he lay; and at a short distance
from the bull was a ragged little boy, of some eight or nine years
old, who, with the spirit of a hero, was running straight towards the
furious beast, shouting loudly, in the vain hope, apparently, that his
infant voice would terrify the tyrant of the field.

Luckily, Chandos had a stout sapling oak in his hand; and he, too,
sprang forward with the swift fire of youth. But before he could reach
the spot, the bull, attracted by the vociferations of the boy, turned
upon his little assailant, and with a fearful rush caught him on his
horns, and tossed him high into the air. The next moment, however,
Chandos was upon him. He was young, active, tremendously powerful,
and, though not quite equal in strength to bull-bearing Milo, was no
insignificant antagonist. He had a greater advantage still, however.
He had been accustomed to country life from his early youth, and knew
the habits of every beast of the field. The bull, in attacking the
boy, had turned away from both the old man and Chandos, and, with a
bound forward, the latter seized the savage animal by the tail,
striking it furiously with his stick. The bull at first strove to turn
upon him, or to disengage himself; but Chandos held on with a grasp of
iron, though swung round and round by the efforts of his antagonist;
and all the time he thundered blows upon it as thick as hail; now upon
its side, now upon its head, but oftener upon its legs; and still he
shouted--as, in the desperate conflict, his eyes passed over the
figures of the two ladies, or the old man, who was now rising slowly
from the ground--"Run! run!"

How the combat was to end for himself, of course he knew not, for,
though staggering, and evidently intimidated by so sudden an attack,
the bull was still strong and furious; but Chandos had all his senses
in full activity, and when, after several fierce plunges to escape,
the animal again swung itself round to reach him, he aimed a
tremendous blow with his full force at the fore-knee, on which its
whole weight rested. The leg gave way under the pain, and the
monstrous beast rolled prostrate on the ground.

Not a minute was to be lost: the bull was struggling up again; but the
instinct of self-preservation is strong, and in a moment Chandos drew
a knife from his pocket, and cut a sinew of the leg--although it was
with pain and a feeling almost of remorse that he did it. The animal
gave a sort of shrill scream, and instantly rolled over on its side
again.

"There, that is done," said the young man, speaking to himself; and
then running up to the old gentleman, he inquired, "Are you hurt,
Sir?--Are you much hurt?"

"A little--not much," said General Tracy; "but the boy--the boy! You
are a gallant fellow, upon my life; but so is that poor boy."

The General received no reply, for Chandos was already by the side of
the boy. He gazed into his face as the little fellow lay upon his back
motionless. The dark hazel eyes were clear and bright, and the
complexion, bronzed with exposure, still showed a good ruddy glow in
the middle of the check.

"He cannot be much hurt," thought Chandos, as he bent earnestly over
him; "there is none of the paleness of bodily suffering; and, thank
God! the after-crop of grass is long and thick. Well, my boy," he
continued aloud, "what has the bull done to you?"

"Given me a skylarking," answered the boy, in a good strong voice.

"But has he hurt you anywhere?" asked Chandos; while General Tracy
moved slowly up, and the two young ladies stood, trembling and out of
breath, at a distance.

"No," said the little fellow; "he didn't poke me; he guv me a thump
under the arm, and I went over his head."

"But why do you not get up then?" inquired Chandos.

"Because it is comfortable to lie here; and because, when I try to get
up, my shoulder twinges," was the boy's answer.

"Let me look," said Chandos; and turning him upon his side, he pulled
down the collar of the ragged jacket, when he evidently saw a
protuberance which was never put upon any mortal shoulder by nature.
It was dislocated. The grief of General Tracy was great for the poor
boy's misfortune, incurred in his defence; but he gave it no exuberant
expression.

"You are a good boy," he said; "a very good boy; and you shall be
rewarded. Your shoulder will soon be well, and I will take care of
you. Who are your father and mother? We must send and let them know;"
and as he spoke, he looked round towards the bull, who, with a true
philosophical spirit, seemed, by this time, to have made up his mind
to his fate, and was lying quite still, with his fore quarters in the
natural position of a bull at rest, and his hind quarters thrown over
on one side, not altogether easy. His tongue was hanging out of his
mouth, too.

"My mother is Sally Stanley," answered the boy; "and who my father is
I don't know."

"Right," said the General, laconically; "right, to a proverb."

"Did not I see you with the gipseys this morning?" inquired Chandos.
"Are you not little Tim?"

"Yes," answered the gipsey boy; and the moment after he added, "there
comes farmer Thorpe. He'll be precious angry with you for hocking his
bull."

"Then you are not the owner of the bull?" said General Tracy, turning
quickly to Chandos.

"Oh, no, Sir," answered the other; "I was only passing by chance, and
heard a lady scream, which made me run to give help. I have just been
engaged as head-gardener to Mr. Arthur Tracy."

"He should have engaged you as bull-driver," said the General, "as
bull-fighter, as matador."

"Perhaps he may not have much work in that way, Sir," answered
Chandos; and was about to retire; but the General exclaimed, "Stay,
stay! What can we do with this poor lad? He is a fine fellow. I must
take care of him for life; for I rather think he has saved mine at the
risk of his own. I wish we could get him down to my brother's place;
for we must have his shoulder looked to, in the first instance."

At that moment, a stout, black-browed, middle-aged man came across the
field, looked down at the bull for a moment, and then advanced, with a
sturdy and determined look, to General Tracy and Chandos, without
saying a word till he was close to them, when he exclaimed, with a
very menacing air, "Holla, Sirs, what have you been doing with my
bull?"

"What has your bull, if that one be yours, been doing with us? is the
question which should be asked," replied General Tracy, turning sharp
upon him; but wincing dreadfully, as if the sudden movement gave him
great pain.

"That's by the mark," answered the farmer, staring at the General
first, and at Chandos afterwards; as if the spirit of his own bull had
entered into him, and he was determined to toss them both. "He is a
brute beast, and accountable to no un; but them as ha' hocked un are
reasonable creeturs, and accountable to I. So, I say, what ha' you two
been doing with my bull?"

"The first thing I did with him," answered Chandos, "was what I will
do to you, if you are insolent, master farmer. I gave him a good
thrashing. And in the next place, as there was no chance of saving my
life, and that of others, from him, if I spared him, I was obliged to
cut the tendon of his leg, in self-defence."

"Oh! you thrashed un, did you?" said the farmer, pulling off his coat;
"and you'll thrash me, will you? Now, let's see."

"I insist upon nothing of this kind taking place," said General Tracy,
seeing Chandos quietly deposit his stick on the grass. "Rose, my love,
run by that gate, to the Plough and Harrow public-house. The landlord
is a constable. Tell him to come here. I intend to give this man into
charge. I recollect hearing before of this bull being a dangerous
animal, and of farmer Thorpe having been warned to take proper
precautions. Be quick, Rose; for I will punish this man if I live."

"Oh, that's to be the way, is it?" said the rude farmer, in a tone not
less insolent than ever; "if folks can't fight without constables for
their bottle-holders, that's not my plan; but I can tell you one
thing, old Tracy--for I know you well enough--I'll have the law of you
for doing a mischief to my bull; and this fellow I'll thrash heartily
the first time I can get him without a constable to back him. So, good
day to you all, and be damned."

With this just, eloquent, and courteous speech farmer Thorpe resumed
his coat, and returned to the side of his bull. While General Tracy
remarked dryly to the two young ladies, who had now joined him, "We
came out, my flowers, to see a specimen of the real English peasant,
and we have found one, though not a very favourable one, it must be
confessed. But now, what is to be done with the poor boy. If I could
but get him down to the house, we would send for old Andrew Woodyard,
the surgeon."

"I'd rather go home to mother," said the boy; "she'll put my shoulder
all right, in a minute."

"Your mother is no more capable of putting that shoulder right, than
she is of flying through the air on a broomstick," replied the
General.

"I will carry him down, Sir," said Chandos; "I was going to catch the
coach; but I must put off my journey till to-morrow, I suppose; for the
poor lad must be attended to."

He accordingly lifted him up off the grass, and was about to carry him
down to Northferry House, in his arms; but little Tim, though by the
grimaces he made it was evident he suffered much pain, declared he
would rather walk, saying, that it did not hurt him half so much as
being "lugged along by any one." Chandos, who knew something of the
habits of his people, exacted a solemn promise from him, that he would
not attempt to run away; and, in return, assured him that his mother
should be sent for instantly. With this little Tim seemed satisfied;
and as they walked along, the General entered into consultation with
his nieces and Chandos, as to what was best to be done with the boy,
on his arrival; for he suddenly remembered a very fierce and
intractable prejudice which his brother had against all
copper-coloured wanderers. "The boy might pass well enough," he said,
"for he's as fair (very nearly) as an Englishman; but if his mother
and all his anomalous kindred, are to come down and visit him, we
shall have brother Arthur dying of gout in the stomach, as sure as if
he ate two Cantalupe melons before going to bed."

It was finally settled, however, on the suggestion of Chandos, that
little Tim should be taken down to the head-gardener's cottage, which
was at some distance from the house, and he himself promised to remain
there the night, till the injuries the boy had received could be
properly attended to.

In the council of war, which ended in this determination, it must be
remarked that Rose Tracy took no part, though her sister Emily did.
Rose said not one word, but came a little behind the rest, and more
than once she looked at Chandos, with a long earnest gaze, then
dropped into silent thought.



CHAPTER VIII.


About two o'clock in the day, Chandos sat in the cottage, which was
destined to be his future abode for some time, with the gipsey-boy Tim
seated on a chair beside him. The old General had gone up to the house
to send off a servant to the village surgeon; and the two young ladies
had accompanied their uncle, promising to dispatch the housekeeper
immediately to aid Chandos in his task. The boy bore the pain, which
he undoubtedly suffered, exceedingly well. He neither winced nor
cried; but remained quite still in the chair, and only repeated, from
time to time, that he should like to go to his mother. Chandos soothed
and quieted him with great kindness, and was in the midst of a story,
which seemed completely to engage the little man's attention, when the
door suddenly opened; and a tall, thin old man entered, whose whole
dress and appearance, showed him at once to be an oddity. His head was
covered with what much better deserved the name of a tile, than that
which sometimes obtains it, in our good city of London. It was a hat
with enormous brims, and the smallest possible portion of crown, so
that it was almost self-evident that the organs of hope and
veneration, if the old gentleman had any, must be somewhat pressed
upon by the top of the shallow box into which he put them. From
underneath the shelter of this wide-spreading beaver, floated away a
thin wavy pigtail of white hair, bound with black ribbon, which, as
all things have their prejudices, had a decided leaning to his left
shoulder in preference to his right. He had on a coat of black, large,
easy, and wrinkled, but spotless and glossy, showing that its original
conception must have been vast, and that the disproportion between its
extent, and the meagre limbs it covered, was not occasioned by those
limbs having shrunk away from the garment, with which they were
endued. The breeches fitted better: and, indeed, in some parts must
have been positively tight; for a long line of snow-white cambric
purfled up, like the slashings of a Spanish sleeve, which appeared
between the top of the breeches and the remote silk waistcoat, showed
that the covering of his nether man maintained itself in position by
the grasp of the waistband round his loins. An Alderney cow can never
be considered perfect, unless the herd can hang his hat on her
haunch-bone, while he makes love to Molly, milking her; and the
haunch-bones of worthy Mr. Alexander Woodyard, Surgeon, &c. were as
favourable to the sustentation of his culottes, without the aid of
other suspenders. Waistcoat and breeches were both black; and so,
also, were the stockings and the shoes, of course. These shoes were
tied with a string, which was inharmonious; for the composition of the
whole man denoted buckles. Round his neck, without the slightest
appearance of collar, was wound tight, a snowy white handkerchief of
Indian muslin. In fact, with the exception of his face and hands, the
whole colouring of Sandy Woodyard, as the people improperly called
him, was either black or white. His face, though thin and sharp as a
ferret's, was somewhat rubicund. Indeed, if any blood ever got up
there, it could not well get out again, with that neckcloth tied round
his throat, like a tourniquet: and the hands themselves were also
reddish; but by no means fat, showing large blue veins, standing out,
like whipcord in a tangle.

To gaze upon him, he was a very awful looking person; to hear him
talk, one would have supposed him an embodied storm; so fierce were
his denunciations, so brutal his objurgations. But he had several good
qualities, with a few bad ones. He was an exceedingly good surgeon, a
very learned man, and the most sincere man upon earth--except when he
was abusing a patient or a friend, to their face. Then, indeed, he
said a great deal that he did not mean; for he often told the former,
when refractory, that they would die and he hoped they would, when he
knew they would not, and would have given his right-hand to save them;
and, the latter, he not unfrequently called fools and blackguards,
where, if they had been the one or the other, they would not have been
his friends at all.

When Mr. Alexander Woodyard entered the room, in the head-gardener's
cottage, he gazed, first at the boy, and then at Chandos, demanding,
in a most irate tone, "What the devil have I been sent here for?--Who
is ill?--What's the matter, that I should be disturbed in the very
midst of the dissection of a field-mouse in a state of torpidity?"

"If you are the surgeon, Sir," replied Chandos, "I suppose it was to
see this little boy that you were disturbed. He has--"

"Don't tell me what he has," replied Mr. Woodyard. "Do you suppose
I don't know what he has better than you. Boy, put out your
tongue.--Does your head ache?--Let me feel your pulse."

The boy did not seem to comprehend him at all; neither put out his
tongue, nor his wrist, and gazed at the old man with big eyes, full of
terror.

"There, don't be a fool, little man," said the surgeon, taking him by
the arm, and making him shrink with pain. "Oh, oh! that's it, is it?
So, you have luxated your shoulder. We'll soon put it in, my dear.
Don't be afraid! You are a brave boy, I dare say."

"That he is," answered Chandos; "for it was in endeavouring to defend
General Tracy from a bull, which had knocked him down, that he got
tossed and hurt."

"Plague light upon that old fool!" cried the uncourteous doctor; "he's
always getting himself, or some one else, into a scrape. It is just
two years ago I had to cut four holes in his leg, where he had been
bit by a mad dog, because he was as mad as the dog himself, and
insisted that the beast was quite sane, contrary to the opinion of the
whole village. When doggy bit his best friend, however, he became
convinced he was mad--though, if biting one's friends were a sign of
madness, we should have to cage the whole world. I had my revenge,
however, for I cut away deep enough--deep enough, till the old fool
writhed. He wouldn't roar, as I wished; but never a bullet went into
his old carcase, (nor ever will,) that made a larger hole than either
of the four that I made.--And now he has had to do with a mad bull! I
will answer for it, he went up and patted its head, and called it a
curly-pated old coxcomb--Didn't he, boy?"

"No," replied little Tim, boldly, "he didn't. He knocked at farmer
Thorpe's big bull with his stick, when it ran after the ladies; and
the bull poked him down; for it did not get him on his horns, like it
did me."

"That's a good boy--that's a good boy," replied the old man; "always
tell the truth, whoever says the contrary. Now, master what's your
name, we'll have his jacket off; for, though there seems but little of
it, still it may be in the way. You look strong enough, and can help,
I dare say; though I don't know who the devil you are--but mind, you
must do exactly what I tell you, neither more nor less. If you do,
I'll break your head, and not mend it. Put your arms round the boy's
waist."

Chandos did as he was directed, after having taken the little fellow's
jacket off; and the worthy surgeon then proceeded to replace the
dislocated arm in the socket, an operation which required more
corporal strength than his spare frame seemed to promise. He effected
it skilfully and powerfully, however, giving the poor boy as little
pain as possible; but, nevertheless, making him cry out lustily.

"Ay, that's right; roar!" cried the doctor. "That's the very best
thing you can do. It eases the diaphragm, my lad, and keeps the lungs
in play. I never saw any good come of a silent patient, who lets you
cut him up without saying a word. They all die; but your roarer is
sure to get well. There--there, it's in! Now, give me that bandage, my
man; we must keep it down tight, for the muscles have had an awful
wrench. It's all over, my dear--it's quite done, and you shall have a
shilling for bellowing so handsomely. You're a good little man for not
kicking me in the stomach, as a great lubber once did, who should have
known better. How do you feel now?"

"Oh, quite comfortable since it went _snack_," answered the boy.

The old gentleman laughed, saying, "Ay, '_snack_' is a pleasant sound
in a case of dislocation. You see it is when the round end of the
bone--;" and he was going on to explain to Tim and Chandos the whole
process and causes of going '_snack_,' which is very different, it
would seem, in the plural and singular number, when a voice was heard
without, exclaiming "Where's my boy?--What has happened to my boy?",
and the gipsey woman who had sat next to Chandos when he was at the
encampment in the lane rushed in, with her glittering black eyes
flashing like stars with excitement and agitation. "Where's my boy?"
she screamed again, before she had time to look around; and then,
seeing the little fellow in the chair, she exclaimed, "Oh, Tim, what
are they doing to you?" and was running forward to catch him to her
heart, when Mr. Woodyard waved her back with his left hand, while he
held the last fold of the bandage with his right. "Keep back, you
tawny baggage," he cried, "If you come near him till I've done, I'll
bruise you. Sit still, you little infernal bit of Egypt, or I'll
strangle you with the end of this thing. Hold him tight, young man, or
he'll have the joint out again, by--!" And the old gentleman, who had
been a naval surgeon in his day, added a very fierce nautical oath:
one of those which were unfortunately current in all mouths on board
ships of war in his youthful years.

The gipsey woman stopped at once, and made a sign to the boy, who was
instantly as still as a ruin; but the old surgeon continued to abuse
her most atrociously, till he had finished bandaging the arm, calling
her every bad name that a fertile imagination and a copious vocabulary
could supply. It is wonderful, however, how quick is sometimes the
conception of character amongst the lower classes, especially those
who are subject to any kind of persecution. The poor woman stood
perfectly calm; a faint smile crossed her lip at the old man's
terrible abuse, as if a feeling of amusement at his affected violence
crossed the deeper emotions which filled her large black eyes with
tears. She said not a word in reply; she showed no sign of anger; and
when at length all was done, and, patting the boy's head with his
broad skinny hand, Mr. Woodyard said, in another voice, "There, you
little dog, you may go to your mammy now," she started forward, and
kissed the surgeon's hand--even before she embraced her child. She had
understood him in a moment.

A short time was passed by mother and son in tenderness, wild and
strange, but striking; she kissed his eyes and his lips, and held him
first at a distance, then close to her heart; she put her hands upon
his curly head, and raised her look upwards, where hope and
thankfulness seek Heaven. Then she asked all that had happened; and
with simple prattle the boy told her how he had seen the bull attack
the old General, and had run to frighten it. And the woman laughed and
cried at her child's courage and his folly. But when he went on to
say--after relating how he had found himself flying in the air,--"Then
that man came up, and caught him by the tail, and whacked him till he
tumbled down," she turned to Chandos, and kissed his hand too.

"But the best of it all, mammy," cried the boy, who entered into the
spirit of his own story, "was when farmer Thorpe came up, and bullied
the two men as they were looking at me; and how that one told him he
would whack him as he had whacked the bull, if he did not cut his
quids."

"So farmer Thorpe bullied, did he?" cried the woman, "He's a tiger:
but snakes even bite tigers." And she added something in a low voice,
which sounded to Chandos's ear, "Let him look to his farm-yard."

Certain it is that the next night passed distressfully to the poultry
of farmer Thorpe. When he looked in the morning, where many a turkey
had been fattening for Christmas, and capons and fowls strutted proud,
he found feathers but not fowls. The geese, indeed, were spared,
Heaven only knows why; but from the imperial black bubblyjock down to
Dame Partlet's youngest daughter, all the rest were gone. Yet there
was a large fierce dog in the yard, as fierce as his master or his
master's bull. There are, however, always in this world _moyens de
parvenir_; and the fierce dog was found to have made himself very
comfortable during the cold wintry night with feathers which must have
been plucked off his tender flock under his nose. What a picture of


    "A faithless guardian of a charge too good!"


However, putting the morality of the thing out of the question, the
fact is curious, as the first recorded instance of a dog using a
feather-bed.

The whole of the last paragraph is a huge parenthesis; and as it is
not easy to get back again after such an inordinate digression without
a jump or an hiatus, we will take the latter, and end the chapter
here.



CHAPTER IX.


"There now, my good woman, you have hugged the boy enough," said Mr.
Woodyard; "you have kissed my hand, and the young man's; and the next
thing is to put the child to bed, and keep him there for the next
three days. I will see that he is taken care of; but mind you don't
give him any of your neighbours' hens, or hares, or partridges; not
because he or his stomach would care a straw whether they were stolen
or not; but because he must not eat animal food, however it is come
by."

"Mayn't I take him up to my own people?" asked the woman, with an
anxious look.

"Why! you lawless baggage, would you kill the child?" exclaimed the
surgeon, fiercely. "I tell you that he has been tossed by a bull, had
a severe shock to his whole system, has got his shoulder dislocated,
requires perfect quiet and careful attendance, cool food, and an
equable temperature, to prevent inflammation; and you talk of taking
him up to a set of jolly beggars, in rotten tents, to sleep upon the
ground, drink gin, and be stuffed with stolen poultry. You must be mad
to think of such a thing; or not his mother at all; which I have a
notion is the case, for he's as white as you are dingy."

The woman looked at him gravely for a moment, and shook her head with
a gesture of deep feeling, saying, as she laid her hand upon her
heart, "It matters little what you think; I feel that I am his mother.
But will the gentlefolks let him bide here?"

"Here come some of them, and they can answer for themselves," answered
the surgeon, pointing to the cottage window, before which General
Tracy and his eldest niece were passing, on their way to the door.

"Well, Doctor, what is the state of the case?" asked the old officer,
as he came in; "how is the poor boy?"

"A dislocated shoulder and a good shake," replied the surgeon,
abruptly; "only a proper punishment for a mite like that trying to
frighten a bull from goring an obstinate old man, who will go through
a field where an animal known to be vicious is roaming at large. I
hope, with all my heart, that some of your bones are broken."

"Your hopes are vain, Doctor," said Walter Tracy: "all my bones are as
sound as ever they were: only a little soreness of my back, where the
cursed beast struck me."

"Ay, you will have lumbar abscess," said the surgeon; "and a good
thing too. But the imp must be put to bed. Here is his yellow-faced
mother wants to carry him off to her filthy tents, where he would be
dead in three days."

"That must not be," said General Tracy. "So you are his mother, my
good woman. I am glad you have come down, for I want to speak with
you."

"Let the boy be put to bed first, before you begin gossiping," cried
Mr. Woodyard; "you can say all you have to say after. Here, young man,
take his things off; though there is not much to take. His trousers
and shoes are all that is needful; for as to a shirt, there is none to
dispose of."

"Well, what of that?" cried the gipsey woman, sharply. "I suppose you
had not a shirt on when you were born."

"No, indeed," answered Mr. Woodyard, gravely. "What you say is very
true. Naked we came into the world, and naked shall we go out of it;
so that it does not much matter whether we have shirts on while we are
here or not. Nevertheless, I will send him up something of the kind
from our school in the village; for I have somehow a notion, perhaps
erroneous, that he will be more comfortable when he has got some clean
calico about him."

"I don't think it," replied his mother; "he never had such a thing in
his life."

"Well, we'll try it, at all events," returned Mr. Woodyard. "But now
let us have quiet, and obey orders."

The boy was accordingly undressed, and placed in the gardener's bed;
and then, while the surgeon looked him all over, to ascertain that
there was no other injury, General Tracy took the gipsey woman to the
door of the cottage, and spoke to her for several minutes in a low
tone. His words brought the tears into her eyes, and the nature of
them may be derived from her reply.

"God bless you, gentleman," she said. "I dare say, to be rich, and
well brought up, and sleep in houses, and all that, is very nice when
one is accustomed to it, and better than our way of doing; but for my
part I should not half like it for myself. It is very kind of you,
however; and as to the boy, I suppose it is for his good. But I can't
part with him altogether. I must see him when I like. And if after he
has tried both, he likes our sort of life better than yours, he must
come away with me."

"Let him give it a fair trial, though," said General Tracy. "He is a
brave little fellow, with a heart like a lion. I look upon it that in
reality he saved my life; for if the bull had not run at him, it would
have gored me as I lay; and therefore I wish to do for him what I can.
He shall have a fair education, if you leave him with me; and I will
at once settle upon him what will put him above want. Of course, I
never think of preventing you from seeing your own child; but you must
promise me not to try to persuade him that your wandering life is
better than that which he will have an opportunity of following. Deal
fairly with the boy; let him judge for himself, and pursue his own
inclinations."

"That I will promise," answered the woman, in a decided tone; "for
what will make him happiest, will make me happiest."

"Then go at once and talk to his father about it," continued General
Tracy; "let him promise the same thing, and all the rest will soon be
settled."

"His father!" said the woman, with a sad and bitter laugh. "I wonder
where I should find his father? No, no, gentleman, there is no one to
be talked to about it but myself, Sally Stanley. He has never known
what it is to have a father, and his mother has been all to him."

When, after a few more words, they went back into the cottage again,
they found Emily Tracy sitting by the boy's bedside, and holding his
hand in hers, with the little face turned sparkling up to her
beautiful countenance, while with a smile at his eagerness she told
him some childish story, to engage his attention during the time that
Mr. Woodyard was employed in examining his spine. The gipsey woman
gazed at the two for a moment in silence; then, creeping up to the
young lady's side, she knelt down, and, with her favourite mode of
expressing thankfulness, kissed her hand. "I am sorry I said what I
did this morning," she whispered. "May God avert it!"

Emily started, and gazed on her earnestly. She had not suffered the
woman's angry words of the morning to weigh upon her mind in the
least. She had regarded them merely as a burst of impotent rage, and
never fancied that Sally Stanley had attached any importance to them
herself. But what she now said had a totally different effect. Emily
saw by her look and manner that the woman really believed in the dark
prophecy she had uttered; and there is something in strong conviction
which carries weight with it to others, as well as to those who feel
it. Emily was troubled, and for an instant did not reply. At length
she said, sweetly, "Never mind, my good woman. Forget it, as I shall
do. But do not give way to anger again towards those who have no
intention of offending you. I trust your little boy will soon be well;
and I am sure my uncle will reward him for so bravely seeking to
defend him at the risk of his own life."

"God bless you, and him too!" said the gipsey woman. "There is no fear
of my boy. He will do well enough. I knew he would meet with some harm
when he went out in the morning; but I knew too that it would not be
death, and would end in his good. So I only warned him to be careful,
and let him go."

All the woman's words were painful to Emily Tracy; for there is a germ
of superstition in every heart; and, in spite of good sense and every
effort of reason, a dull sort of apprehension sprang up in her bosom
regarding the bitter announcement which had been made as to her future
fate. Its very improbability--its want of all likelihood in her
station and position, seemed but to render more strange the woman's
evident belief that such an event as her marriage with a felon would
actually take place. That the very idea should enter into her mind had
something of the marvellous in it, and easily excited those feelings
of wonder which are strongly akin to superstition.

Emily did not like to let her thoughts dwell upon the subject; and
after telling her tale out to the boy, and making some arrangements
with the housekeeper, who came down at the moment, so as to ensure
that the little fellow should have the attendance of some woman, she
thanked Chandos in graceful terms for the gallant assistance he had
rendered in the morning, and proposed to her uncle that they should
return home.

Emily remained grave and thoughtful, however, during the whole day,
and Rose was also very much less gay than ordinary; so that when Mr.
Tracy, who had been out all the morning on business, returned towards
dinner time, he found the party who had left him a few hours before as
cheerful as a mountain stream, more dull than perhaps he had ever seen
it.

Before dinner but little time was given for narrative, and at dinner a
guest was added to the party who has been mentioned incidentally once
before. This was the young clergyman of Northferry, a man of about
eight and twenty years of age, but who had been the incumbent of the
parish only three or four months. Mr. Fleming was always a welcome
visitor at Mr. Tracy's house, it must be said to all parties. It was
not indeed because he was Honourable as well as Reverend; but because
few men were better calculated to win regard as well as esteem.
Handsome in person, there was a sort of harmony in his calling, his
manners, and his appearance, which was wonderfully pleasing. Mild and
engaging in demeanour, he was cheerful, though not perhaps gay; never
checking mirth in others, though giving but moderate way to it
himself. Yet his conversation, though quiet and calm, was so rich with
the stores of thought, that it was brilliant without effort, and light
even in its seriousness. Perhaps no man was ever so well fitted for
the profession which he had chosen; but I must not be mistaken, I mean
well fitted both as regarded his own destiny and that of others. In
the first place he loved it, and in the next he estimated it justly.
He was an aristocrat by family and by conviction; and he regarded an
hierarchy in the church as the only means of maintaining order and
discipline therein, of stimulating to high exertion every member, and
checking every tendency to neglect or misconduct. He had not the
slightest touch of the democratic tendencies usually attributed to
what is called the low church, but yet he had neither pride with him
nor ambition. He was perfectly contented with a small rectory of four
hundred a-year, with a congregation generally poor, and no prospect
either of display or advancement. His private fortune was sufficient,
not large; but it was enough with his stipend to maintain him in the
rank in which he was born, and he asked no more. Had a bishopric been
offered to him, he would certainly have refused it. In the next place
he had little vanity, and detested eloquent sermons. He sought to
convince and instruct, and belaboured night and day to qualify himself
for those tasks; but his language was as simple as his mind. If a
figure would now and then find place, it was because it sprung
naturally from a rich imagination, and was so clear, so forcible, so
just, that, like the rest of his discourses, there was no mistaking in
the least what he advanced. He never tried to enlist the fancy, and
seldom to engage the feelings of his hearers on his side. The latter
he regarded as engines, to be used only on great occasions, in order
to carry convictions into active effect; and he spared them purposely,
feeling that he had within the power of rousing them when it might be
necessary, and could do so more surely by rousing them rarely. Then he
was a charitable man in the enlarged, but not the licentious sense of
the word. He had vast toleration for the opinions of others, though he
was firm and steadfast in the support of his own. Thus anger at false
views never even in the least degree came to diminish the efficacy of
his support of just ones. He fearlessly stated, fearlessly defended
his own principles, but never disputed, and was silent as soon as a
quibble or a jest took the place of argument. There was moreover a
truth, a sincerity, an uprightness in his whole dealings and his whole
demeanour, which had a powerful influence upon all who knew him. To
every man but the most vain it became a natural question--"If one so
vigorous in mind, so learned, and so wise, is thus deeply impressed
with the truth of opinions different to my own, is there not good
cause for re-examining the grounds of those I entertain?" And thus his
arguments obtained more fair consideration than vanity generally
allows to the views of those who oppose us.

Even General Tracy, who differed with him profoundly, always listened
with respect, seldom indeed entered into discussion with him, and
never disputed. Not that he altogether feared the combat, for such was
not the case; nor that he was convinced entirely, for he still held
out on many points; but because he was thoroughly impressed with a
belief of his young friend's reasonable sincerity, and reverenced it.
Besides, General Tracy was a gentleman; and no gentleman ever, without
a worthy object, assails opinions which another is professionally
bound to sustain.

Such was the guest then at Mr. Tracy's dinner table; and there, as
soon as the first sharp edge of appetite was taken off, the adventures
of the morning were once more spoken of, and General Tracy, in a
strain half serious, half playful, recounted the dangers which he and
his nieces had encountered. The young clergyman's eyes instantly
sought the face of Emily Tracy with a look of anxiety. He did not look
to Rose also, which was not altogether right perhaps; at all events,
not altogether equitable, for both had run the same risk.

"Well," continued Walter Tracy, "Emily ran and Rose ran; but I thought
it beyond the dignity of my profession to run before a single enemy,
though he was defended by a horn-work--perhaps lumbago had to do with
it as well as dignity, if the truth must be told. But our worthy
friend soon applied a cataplasm to my lumbago more effectual than any
of Sandy Woodyard's; for in two minutes I was sprawling. Master Bull
then thought he might as well take room for a rush, and ran back five
or six steps to gore me the more vigorously; when suddenly a new
combatant appeared in the field, in the shape of a little urchin, not
so high as my hip, who made at the enemy with all sorts of shrieks and
screams, so that if the beast did not think it was the devil come to
my rescue, I did. But the poor boy fared ill for his pains; for just
as I was scrambling up, I saw something in the air, small and black,
with a great many legs and arms flying about in all directions, just
like a spider in a web between two cabbages; and down came the poor
child, with a fall which I thought must have dashed his brains out."

"Good Heaven!" cried Mr. Tracy, "was he hurt? Was he not killed?"

"Hurt, he certainly was," answered his brother; "and killed most
likely, both he and I would have been, but--as in the story of
Camaralzaman, which some heathen of the present day has changed into
Kummer al Zemaun, or some other horrible name, violating all the
associations of our childhood, the true temple of Cybele to the
heart--no sooner was one army disposed of than another appeared. Up
ran a man with a stick in his hand, a stout, tall, powerful country
fellow, in a fustian jacket; (Rose held down her head and smiled,
without any one remarking her;) and, seizing our friend the bull by
the tail, thrashed him for some five minutes in a most scientific
manner. He must have been used to belabouring bulls all his life, like
a Spanish _matador_; for nothing but long practice would have made him
so proficient in an art not very easy to exercise. Rose, my flower,
what are you laughing at?"

"I think it was enough to make any one laugh," answered Rose, "to see
how foolish the representative of our nation looked while he was
receiving such a cudgelling. I was too frightened to laugh then, my
dear uncle; but here, by the side of this table, I can enjoy the joke
at my ease."

"It was no joke then, indeed," said General Tracy; "for it was a
matter of life and death between the brave lad and the bull. He had no
resource in the end, however, but to hamstring him, which he also did
most scientifically; and I believe that more than one of us has to
thank him for being here at this moment. It turned out that the man
was your new gardener, Arthur; and we must really see what can be done
for him. As to the gallant little gipsey boy, I have taken care of him
myself, and will provide for him."

This last announcement roused curiosity, and brought on explanations,
in the course of which a good deal of what has been already told was
detailed, with several other particulars which have not seemed
necessary to relate.

"And did the woman really seem doubtful as to whether she should
accept your offer or not?" asked Mr. Tracy.

"Yes, she did," replied his brother. "And I am not quite sure that she
was not in the right. It is a very moot point with me, brother Arthur,
whether civilization tends to the happiness of the individual,
whatever it may do for society in general. When I offered what I did,
I thought, not that I was doing the boy a favour, for a man never does
another a favour; but that I was showing my gratitude for his
self-devotion and the real service he had rendered me, when I proposed
to put him in a position which I myself from my prejudices valued; but
when I came to consider the woman's doubts, I began to inquire, and to
doubt also, whether he would be happier in the one state than the
other."

"You proposed to give him a good education," said the young clergyman;
"and if you did so, he would assuredly be happier; for he would be
wiser and better."

"And yet, 'Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise,'" replied
General Tracy.

"Ignorance of evil, granted," answered Fleming. "But could that be
assured to him in the life he was likely to lead? Can it be assured to
any man in any course? I think not."

"Perhaps not," answered Walter Tracy; "but yet I have many doubts, my
young friend, whether the amount of evils of any kind is greater or
less (to the individual) in a civilized or uncivilized state of
society. These gipsies, were it not their misfortune to be placed
amongst nations in a different condition to themselves, would be one
of the happiest races on the face of the earth. Nomadic from their
very origin, they would wander about hither and thither, feeding their
sheep, or their cattle, or their horses, and pilfering a little. I
dare say, from their neighbours, if they had any; but where the rights
of property are very ill defined, a little pilfering is not very evil
in its consequences; and with a thin population there is no
opportunity of carrying it on to a great extent. Besides, I believe,
that almost all the bad qualities of the gipsey proceed from his
position. His hand is against every man's, because every man's hand is
against him. He is a wanderer amongst settled tribes; a stern adherer
to his ancient forms, amongst a people whose only constancy is that of
a cat to the house in which it is kittened; a despiser of the
civilization which, as he has constant proof before his eyes, does not
make those who are blessed (or cursed) with it a bit more wise, merry,
or virtuous than himself. It is very natural, therefore, that he
should despise the institutions and dislike the men, amongst whom he
is so located only for a short time. For my part, I only think it
wonderful, that these good people do not commit more crimes than they
do; and that our purses and our lives are not taken, instead of our
poultry, and the lives of our ducks and geese. I begin almost to think
it a sin and a shame to withdraw that bold boy from his freedom
amongst hedges and ditches, to poke him into a dull, fusty school; and
to cut him off from those blessings, of which he has learned the value
and tasted the enjoyment."

Mr. Fleming smiled. "If the mother were really doubtful," he said, "it
would be very easy for you, my dear Sir, to remedy the error you
regret. But I cannot help thinking, that for the sake of the jest, you
are taking a much narrower view of such questions than your mind would
otherwise lead you to. You seem, General, to consider the individual
as only born for the individual. But let me ask you, Is he not placed
here for much more than that? I would not push my notion, on the
subject to any of the extreme lengths which some of the gentlemen who
have called themselves philosophers have done. I do not look upon man
merely as a part of a great machine, one of the wheels or pulleys, or
cogs, of the instrument called society, and that he is bound to
regulate all his thoughts, feelings, and actions by one precise rule,
for the benefit of the country in which he lives, or even for the more
extended fellowship called society. There is a certain degree of
individual liberty, surely, due to all men; and, to a certain point,
they have a right to consult their own happiness, even by indulging
their whims and caprices, provided they are not detrimental to others.
The Spartan code and the Prussian system to me both equally tending to
take from man many of his highest qualities and rights; but still, to
a certain degree, man is bound to his fellow-man, as well as to God. I
say, _as well as to God_, because I know that there are some persons
who may not see that the one duty is a consequence of the other. But I
fear I am preaching out of the pulpit," he continued, with a laugh;
"and I must be forgiven as for an infirmity. The habit of preaching, I
fear, is a very encroaching one, which, with the authority that the
calling of teacher gives, renders many of us somewhat domineering in
society."

"No one can say that of you," answered Walter Tracy, "But I must
defend myself. I was certainly speaking of the boy's individual
happiness, not of his duty to society."

"Can the two be separated?" asked Horace Fleming, in a thoughtful
tone. "I have always myself considered that the greatest amount of
happiness on earth, is only to be obtained by the performance of all
duties. I should be sorry to part with that conviction."

"I doubt not it is just," answered General Tracy gravely; "and I would
not seek to take it from you even if I did; for it is a pleasant one,
and a most useful one. But I will only remark in passing, that the
most difficult of all points in ethics, is to define what duties are.
So many of those things that we call duties are but conventional
opinions, that I fear a rigid scrutator of the world's code of
obligations would soon strip moral philosophy very bare. As to society
itself, its rules are very much like the common law of England; a code
of maxims accumulated during centuries, by different races, and under
different circumstances, often contradictory, often absurd,
continually cruel, frequently unjust and iniquitous in practice, even
when theoretically right, and yet cried up by those who gain by them
as the perfection of human wisdom, to which all men must submit their
acts, and most men do submit their reason. Of one thing I am very
certain, that the aims and objects of society at present, the
tendencies which it encourages, and the rewards which it holds out,
are all opposed most strongly not only to that end which it professes
to seek, but to that religion the excellence of which you are not one
to deny--nor I either, be it remarked. Its tendencies, I contend, are
anything but 'to produce the greatest amount of good to the greatest
number,' which philosophers declare to be its object; its result is
anything but to produce 'peace and goodwill amongst men,' which is the
grand purpose of the Christian religion."

Mr. Fleming was silent; for he felt that, though he differed in some
degree, there was a certain amount of truth in the assertion. But Mr.
Tracy exclaimed, "I do not understand you, Walter. In what respect
does society so terribly fail?"

"In a thousand," answered General Tracy, abruptly.

"But an instance, but an instance," said his brother.

"Look around," replied the other; "do you not see, wherever you turn,
even in this very land of ours, which is not the worst country in the
world, that wealth gives undue power? that it is not the man who
labours in any trade who gains the reward of industry? that the
produce of labour is not fairly divided between the labourer and the
wealthy man who employs him? that the laws which regulate that
division are framed by the wealthy? and that an inordinate authority
has fallen into the hands of riches, which keeps the poor man from his
rights, drowns his voice in the senate, frustrates his efforts in the
market, defeats his resistance to oppression, whether it take a lawful
or unlawful form?"

"Pooh, pooh, Walter," replied Mr. Tracy; "this is all an affair of
legislation and political economy, and has nothing to do with
society."

"All laws spring from the state of society in which they are formed,
brother," replied Walter Tracy; "and political economy is but the
theory of certain dealings between man and man. But that society must
be a fearful and iniquitous conspiracy where a few are rolling in
riches, living in luxury, and rioting in idle wantonness, upon the
produce of other men's labour who are suffering all the ills of
extreme poverty, if not actually perishing for want. It is a gross and
terrible anomaly, brother Arthur, to see the great mass of a people
nearly destitute; to see many even dying of starvation; to see the
honest and the industrious man unable, by the devotion of his whole
time, and the exertion of all his energies, to obtain sufficient food
for his family;--and yet to see enormous wealth, which, if the fruits
of labour were fairly divided, would feed whole provinces of artizans,
accumulating in the hands of a few men supported entirely by the
labour of others. It is, I say, a gross and terrible anomaly; and it
will bring its curse sooner or later."

"But you surely would not advocate an agrarian law," said Mr. Fleming.
"That chimera has been slain a thousand times."

"Far from it!" exclaimed the old officer. "I would touch none of what
are called the rights of property; but I would drive to the winds that
most absurd of all false pretences, invented by the rich for the
purpose of oppressing the poor; namely, that it is wrong and dangerous
to interfere between master and workman. I contend, that instead of
wrong and dangerous, it is right and safe; it is just and necessary.
It is right to defend the weak against the strong; it is safe to
ensure that despair does not give overwhelming vigour to the weak. But
the question is not, what I would do. I was asked for an instance of
the evils of the society in which we live. I have given you one,
Arthur; but if that does not suit you, I could give a thousand others.
I could show how that society, of which you are so fond, is wicked and
iniquitous in every different direction, towards the rich as well as
the poor; how it encourages vice and depresses virtue; how it leagues
with crime and scouts honesty. I could point to the same course
pursued towards man, and more especially towards woman."

"Let us run away, dear uncle," cried Rose, "before we are brought upon
the carpet. I am of an excessively rebellious disposition, as you well
know; and I am afraid if I hear any more of such doctrines, I shall
revolt against the powers that be."

"The revolt of the roses!" cried her uncle, laughing; and very glad to
change the subject, though it was a hobby. "Heaven forbid such a
catastrophe amongst the flowers! But who would you revolt against, my
Rose? Against the gardener, eh?" and he looked shrewdly from her to
Emily, who smiled also. Rose coloured more than the occasion seemed to
warrant; but Mr. Tracy, who was not in the secret of the gipsey's
prophecy, joined in with high praises of his new gardener's science
and taste.

"He is a stout, good-looking, courageous fellow, as ever lived," said
General Tracy. "Pray, where did you pick him up, Arthur? He is not
from this part of the country, I should imagine, by his tone and
manners; for we are not the most polished, either in demeanour or
language."

"He came to apply this morning," answered Mr. Tracy; "and brought high
testimonials both of skill and character, from Roberts, the steward of
Sir Harry Winslow, who is dead, you know. I suppose he has served over
at Elmsly Park, though I never thought of inquiring; for I was so much
pleased with him, in every respect, that I engaged him at once."

"Upon my word, things are going on very favourably, Rose," whispered
General Tracy to his niece, in good-humoured malice. "Few sons-in-law
are received with such prepossessions." But he suddenly perceived that
Rose's fair face bore a look of much distress, and stopped at once in
his career of raillery, though not without some surprise.

A pause ensued, only interrupted by Mr. Tracy drinking wine with the
young clergyman, and a few quiet words between Fleming and Emily; and
then Rose Tracy asked, with a sort of effort, "How long has Sir Harry
Winslow been dead, papa?"

"I only heard of it yesterday," replied Mr. Tracy. "The funeral is to
take place the day after to-morrow, I hear."

"He was a very singular man, was he not?" inquired the young lady.

"Very," answered her father, laconically; "and by no means a good one.
I knew little of him, never having met him but twice, and then on
county business. But his haughtiness was insufferable, and his manners
like ice."

"Perhaps," said Mr. Fleming, "he knew that he was not liked or
respected. For I have often remarked that men who have placed
themselves in a position which prevents others from desiring their
society, affect to reject that which they cannot obtain."

"The fox and the grapes," said Emily, with a smile.

"As old as Æsop!" remarked her uncle; and there the conversation on
that head dropped. Soon after, the dinner came to an end, and the
whole party returned to the drawing-room. Mr. Fleming asked Emily to
sing, and seemed delighted with the sound of her voice. General Tracy
sat beside Rose and teazed her; but not about the gardener any more.
And Rose, after having been very thoughtful for some time, suddenly
resumed all her good spirits, sung with her sister, laughed with her
uncle, played a game at chess with her father, and was beat with
perfect good humour. But on the following morning when General Tracy
asked her, before breakfast, to go down with him to the cottage to see
the gipsey boy, she at first made some objection. They were alone. "My
dear Rose," said her uncle, "this is nonsense. You do not suppose for
one moment, that though I might joke you on that silly woman's
prophecy, I could think it would have the least effect upon your
mind."

"Oh dear, no!" answered Rose, "I am not so foolish as that, dear
uncle; and if it will give you any pleasure, I will go. But the
gardener has nothing to do with it," she added with a gay smile; "for
I happen to know he is not there, and does not take possession for
some days. My maid told me so this morning, without my asking any
questions; so your wicked smile has no point:" and away they went to
the cottage.



CHAPTER X.


A fine, tall, broad-fronted house, massy in architecture, and
placed upon a commanding height, in a beautiful park, had all the
window-shutters closed along the principal façade, though a number of
people going in and coming out showed that it was not empty. There was
no attempt at decoration to be seen in the building. All was plain,
solid, and severe. Some dark pines on either hand harmonized with the
sternness of the mansion; and the brown oaks and beeches behind
carried off the lines to the wavy hills above. Everything was neat and
in good order around; the trees carefully confined to their exact
proportions near the house, the lawns close mowed, the gravel walks
free from the least intrusive weed. The gardens, with their long lines
of green and hot houses, showed care and expense; and from a distance
one would have supposed that the whole open ground of the park had
been lately subject to the scythe, so smooth and trim did everything
look.

Within was death.

In the state drawing-room, with crimson curtains sweeping down, and
panelling of white and gold, upon a rich Axminster carpet, and
surrounded by furniture of the most gorgeous kind, stood the dull
trestles, bearing the moral of all--the coffin and the pall: splendour
and ostentation and luxury without; death and foulness and corruption
within. It was a still homily.

The library adjoining was crowded with gentlemen in black--they called
it mourning--and they were eating and drinking cake and wine. Why
should they not?--They would have done the same at a wedding. A little
beautiful spaniel stood upon his hind legs to one of the mourners for
a bit of cake. It was thrown to him; the dog caught it, and the
_mourners_ laughed. It was all very well.

Suddenly, however, they put on graver faces. Heaven! what a machine of
falsehood is the face! The tongue may lie now and then--the face lies
every minute. There was a little bustle at the door, and several of
those near made way, speaking a few words to a young gentleman who
entered, clothed, like the rest, in black, but with mourning written
on his face. Where have we seen that face before? Is it Chandos?
Surely it is. But yet how different is the air and manner; with what
grave, sad dignity he passes on towards the spot at the other side of
the room where Roberts, the steward, is standing, unconscious of his
entrance! And who is that who stops him now, and shakes hands with him
warmly, yet with a timid, half-averted eye--that pale young man with
the waving fair hair around his forehead? Hark! Chandos answers him.
"Well, quite well, Faber, I thank you. I have not been far distant;
but I must speak to Roberts for a moment, and then," he added, slowly
and solemnly, "I must go into the next room."

"You had better not, Sir," said Mr. Faber, the late Sir Harry
Winslow's secretary, speaking in a low, imploring tone; "indeed you
had better not."

"Do not be afraid, Faber," replied Chandos, "I have more command over
myself now. I was too impetuous then. I was rash and hasty. Now I am
calm; and nothing on earth would provoke me again to say one angry
word. I shall ever be glad to hear of you, Faber; and you must write
to me. Address your letters to the care of Roberts; he will be able to
forward them."

He was then moving on; but the young man detained him by the hand,
saying, in a whisper, "Oh, think better of it, Chandos. Be reconciled
to him."

"That may be whenever he seeks reconciliation," answered Chandos; "but
it will make no difference in my purposes. I will never be his
dependent, Faber; for I know well what it is to be so."

Thus saying, he turned away, and spoke a few words to the steward;
after which, with a slow but steady step, he walked towards the door
leading to the great drawing-room, opened it, and passed through. Many
an eye watched him till the door was closed; and then the funeral
guests murmured together, talking over his character and history. In
the meantime he advanced through the drawing-room, and stood by the
coffin of his father. Then slowly inclining his head to two men who
stood at the opposite door, he bade them leave him for a moment. They
instantly obeyed; and Chandos knelt down and prayed, with one hand
resting on the pall. In a minute or two he heard a step coming, and
rose; but did not quit the room, remaining by the side of the coffin,
with his tall head bowed down, and a tear in his eyes. The next
instant the opposite door opened quickly and sharply, and a man of two
or three and thirty entered, bearing a strong family likeness to him
who already stood there, but shorter, stouter, and less graceful.
Though the features were like those of Chandos, yet there was a great
difference of expression--the fierce, keen, eager eye, with its small,
contracted pupil, the firm set teeth, and the curl at the corner of
the mouth, all gave a look of bitterness and irritability from which
the face of the other was quite free.

The moment the new comer's eyes rested on Chandos, the habitual
expression grew more intense, deepening into malevolence, and he
exclaimed, "You here, Sir!"

"Yes, I am, Sir William Winslow," answered the younger man. "You did
not surely expect me to be absent from my father's funeral!"

"One never knows what to expect from you or of you," replied his
brother. "I doubt not, you have really come for the purpose of
insulting me again."

"Far from it," replied Chandos, calmly. "I came to pay the last duty
to my parent; to insult no one. It is but for a few hours that we
shall be together, Sir William: let us for that time forget everything
but that we are the sons of the same father and mother; and by the
side of this coffin lay aside, at least for the time, all feelings of
animosity."

"Very well for you to talk of forgetting," answered Sir William
Winslow, bitterly. "I do not forget so easily, Sir. The sons of the
same father and mother!--Well, it is so, and strange, too."

"Hush! hush!" cried Chandos, waving his hand with an indignant look;
and, not knowing what would be uttered next, he turned quickly away,
and left the room.

"Oh, he runs," said Sir William Winslow, whose face was flushed, and
his brow knit. "But he shall hear more of my mind before he goes. He
said before them all that he would never consent to be dependent on
one who was a tyrant in everything--to my servants--even to my dogs.
Was that not an insult?--I will make him eat those words as soon as
the funeral is over, or he shall learn that I can and will exercise
the power my father left me to the uttermost. It was the wisest thing
he ever did to enable me to tame this proud spirit. Oh, I will bring
it down!--Sons of the same father and mother! On my life, if it were
not for the likeness, I should think he was a changeling. But he is
like--very like; and like my mother, too. It is from her that he takes
that obstinate spirit which he thinks so fine, and calls resolution."

As he thus thought, his eyes fell upon the coffin; and he felt a
little ashamed. There is a still, calm power in the presence of the
dead which rebukes wrath; and Sir William Winslow looked down upon the
pall, and thought of what was beneath with feelings that he did not
like to indulge, but could not altogether conquer. He was spared a
struggle with them, however; for a minute had hardly passed after
Chandos had left him, when a servant came in, and advanced to whisper
a word in his master's ear.

"Well, I am ready," replied Sir William, "quite ready. Where are all
the carriages? I do not see them."

"They have been taken into the back court," said the man.

"Well, then, I am quite ready," repeated the baronet, and retired, but
not by the door which led to the room where the guests were assembled.

Half an hour passed in the gloomy preparations for the funeral march.
The callous assistants of the undertaker went about their task with
the usual studied gravity of aspect, and, at heart, the cold
indifference of habit to all the fearful realities which lay hid under
the pageantry which their own hands had prepared out of plumes and
tinsel, and velvet and silk. Then came the display of hearse and mutes
and plume-bearers, and the long line of carriages following with the
mourners, who were only in the mercenary point better than the hired
mourners of more ancient days. And the people of the village came out
to stare at the fine sight; and amongst the young, some vague
indefinite notion of there being something solemn and awful under all
that decoration might prevail; but with the great multitude it was but
a stage-procession.

None thought of what it is to lay the flesh of man amongst the worms,
when the spirit has winged its flight away where no man knoweth.

To one person, indeed, amongst those who were carried along after the
corpse, the whole was full of awe. He knew that his father had lived
as if the world were all: he knew not if he had died in the hope of
another; and the lessons early implanted in his heart by a mother's
voice, made that consideration a terrible one for him. Then, too, the
gaping crowd was painful to him. And oh, what he felt when the little
village boys ran along laughing and pointing by the side of the
funeral train!

They reached the gates of the churchyard, which was wide and well
tenanted; and there the coffin had to be taken out, and Chandos stood
side by side with his brother. Neither spoke to, neither looked at,
the other. It was a terrible thing to behold that want of sympathy
between two so nearly allied at the funeral of a father; but the eye
that most marked it, saw that the one was full of deep and sorrowful
thoughts, the other of fierce and angry passions.

The moment after, rose upon the air, pronounced by the powerful voice
of the village curate, those words of bright but awful hope, "I am the
resurrection and the life, saith the Lord, he that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and
believeth in me, shall never die." That solemn and impressive service,
the most beautiful and appropriate, the most elevating, yet the most
subduing that ever was composed--the burial office of the English
church--proceeded; and Chandos Winslow lost himself completely in the
ideas that it awakened. But little manifested were many of those
ideas, it is true; but they were only on that account the more
absorbing; and when the words, "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust
to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal
life," sounded in his ears, a shudder passed over him as he asked
himself--"Had he such a hope?"

Most different were the feelings of the man who stood by his side. The
customs of the world, the habits of good society put a restraint upon
him; but, with a strange perversion of the true meaning of the words
he heard, and a false application of them to his own circumstances, he
fancied that he was virtuous and religious when he refrained, even
there, from venting his anger in any shape upon its object; and heard
the sentences of the Psalmist, as a. sort of laudation of his own
forbearance. When the clergyman read aloud: "I will keep my mouth as
it were with a bridle, while the ungodly is in my sight," he fancied
himself a second David, and reserved his wrath for the time to come.

At length all was over; the dull shovelsfull of earth rattled upon the
coffin; the last "Amen" was said; and the mourners took their way back
towards the carriages, leaving the sexton to finish his work. But when
Sir William Winslow had entered the coach with two other gentlemen,
and the servant was about to shut the door, he put down his head, and
asked in a low but fierce voice, "Where is my brother? Where is Mr.
Chandos Winslow?"

"He went away, Sir William, a minute ago," replied the servant. "He
took the other way on foot."

Sir William Winslow cast himself back in the seat, and set his teeth
hard; but he did not utter a word to any one, till he reached Elmsly
Park. His demeanour, however, was courteous to those few persons who
were on sufficiently intimate terms to remain for a few minutes after
his return; and to one of them he even said a few words upon the
absence of his "strange brother." His was the tone of an injured
man; but the gentleman to whom he spoke was not without plain,
straightforward good sense; and his only reply was, "Some allowance
must be made, Sir William, for your brother's modification at finding
that your father has left him nothing of all his large fortune; not
even the portion which fell to his mother, on the death of her uncle."

"Not, Sir, when my father desired me in his will to provide for him
properly," said Sir William Winslow.

"Why, I don't know," answered the other in a careless tone. "No man
likes to be dependent, or to owe to favour that which he thinks he
might claim of right. I have heard, too, that you and Mr. Winslow have
not been on good terms for the last four or five years; but nobody can
judge of such matters but the parties concerned. I must take my leave,
however; for I see my carriage, and I have far to go."

Sir William Winslow made a stiff how, and the other departed.

"Now send Roberts to me," said the heir of immense wealth, as soon as
every one of his own rank was gone, speaking of his father's steward
and law-agent, as if he had been a horse-boy in his stable. But the
footman to whom he spoke informed him that Mr. Roberts was not in the
house. Sir William Winslow fretted himself for half-an-hour, when at
length it was announced that the steward had arrived. He entered with
his usual calm, deliberate air; and was advancing towards the table at
which the baronet sat, when the latter addressed him sharply, saying,
"I told you, Mr. Roberts, that I should require to speak with you
immediately after the funeral."

"I have come, Sir William," replied the other, calmly, "as soon as
important business, which could not be delayed, would permit me; and I
had hoped to be here by the time most convenient to you. I did not
know that the gentlemen who returned with you would go so soon."

"You have kept me half-an-hour waiting, Sir," replied Sir William;
"and I do not like to be kept waiting."

"I am sorry that it so occurred," answered the steward. "May I ask
your commands?"

"In the first place, I wish to know, where is my brother Chandos?"
said the baronet, "I saw him speaking to you in the churchyard."

"He did, Sir," replied Roberts, "and he has since been at my house.
But where he now is I cannot tell you."

"Oh, he has been arranging all his affairs with you, I suppose," said
Sir William Winslow, with a sneer; "and, I suppose, hearing from you
of my father being supposed to have made another will."

"No, Sir William," replied the steward, perfectly undisturbed. "He did
arrange some affairs with me; gave me power to receive the dividend
upon the small sum in the funds, left him by Mrs. Grant, amounting to
one hundred and sixty-two pounds ten, per annum; and directed me what
to do with the books and furniture, left him by your father. But I did
not judge it expedient to tell him at present, that I know Sir Harry
did once make another will; because, as you say he burnt it
afterwards, I imagined such information might only increase his
disappointment, or excite hopes never likely to be realized."

"You did right," answered the baronet. "I saw my father burn it with
my own eyes; and I desire that you will not mention the subject to him
at all. It is my intention to let him bite at the bridle a little; and
then, when his spirit is tamed, do for him what my father wished me to
do. Have you any means of communicating with him?"

But Mr. Roberts was a methodical man; and he answered things in order.
"In regard to mentioning the subject of the later will, Sir William,"
he said, "I will take advice. I am placed in a peculiar position, Sir:
as your agent, I have a duty to perform to you; but as an honest man,
I have also duties to perform. I know that a will five years posterior
to that which has been opened, was duly executed by your father. I
think you are mistaken in supposing it was burnt by him, and--."

"By him!" cried the baronet, catching at his words, "do you mean to
insinuate that I burnt it?"

"Far from it, Sir William," was the reply of the steward. "I am sure
you are quite incapable of such an act; and if I had just cause to
believe such a thing, either you or I would not be here now. But, as I
have said, my position is a peculiar one: and I would rather leave the
decision of how I ought to act to others."

"You have heard my orders, Sir; and you are aware of what must be the
consequence of your hesitating to obey them," rejoined the baronet,
nodding his head significantly.

"Perfectly, Sir William," answered Mr. Roberts; "and that is a subject
on which I wish to speak. When I gave up practice as an attorney, and
undertook the office of steward or agent to your late father, I would
only consent to do so under an indenture which insured me three months
clear notice of the termination of my engagement with him and his
heirs, &c.; during which three months I was to continue in the full
exercises of all the functions specified in the document of which I
beg leave to hand you a copy. This I did require for the safety of
myself and of those parties with whom I might enter into engagements
regarding the letting of various farms, and other matters which a new
agent might think fit to overset, unless I had the power of completing
legally any contracts to which your father might have consented,
though in an informal manner. Your father assented, and had, I
believe, no cause to regret having done so; as, without distressing
the tenantry, the rental has been raised twenty-seven per cent, within
the last fifteen years. Your father was pleased, Sir William, to treat
me in a different manner from that which you have thought fit to use
within the last week; and I therefore must beg leave to give you
notice, that at the termination of three months I shall cease to be
your agent. The indenture requires a written notice on either part;
and therefore I shall have the honour of enclosing one this
afternoon."

Sir William Winslow had listened, in silent astonishment, to his
steward's words, and the first feeling was undoubtedly rage; but Mr.
Roberts was sufficiently long-winded to allow reflection to come in,
though not entirely to let anger go out. The baronet walked to the
window, and looked out into the park. Had Mr. Roberts been in the
park, he would have seen the muscles of his face working with passion;
but when Sir William, after a silence of two or three minutes, turned
round again, the expression was calm, though very grave.

"Do not send in the notice," he said; "take another week to consider
of it, Roberts. I have had a good deal to irritate me, a good deal to
excite me. I am, I know, a passionate and irritable man; but--. There,
let us say no more of it at present, Roberts. We will both think
better of many things."

It is wonderful how often men imagine that by acknowledging they are
irritable, they justify all that irritation prompts. It affords to the
male part of the sex the same universal excuse that nervousness does
to so many women. I am quite sure that many a lady who finds her way
into Doctors' Commons, fancies she broke the seventh commandment from
pure nervousness.

Mr. Roberts was not at all satisfied that Sir William Winslow's
irritability would ever take a less unpleasant form; but nevertheless,
without reply, he bowed and withdrew.



CHAPTER XI.


Our variable skies had cast off their wintry hue, and assumed almost
the aspect of summer. Cloud and storm had passed away. Sleet and rain
no longer beat in the face of the traveller; and though November was
growing old, yet the melancholy month showed himself much more mild
and placable in his age than in his youth: there was a bright, warm
smile in the sky, and the sun towards midday was actually hot. There
was a great deal of activity and bustle in the gardens of Mr. Tracy.
The sage old folks in the neighbourhood remarked, that a new broom
swept clean; and the head-gardener was certainly seen from day-break
till sunset in every part of the extensive grounds, directing the
labours of the men under him, and preparing everything against the
wintry months that were coming. Mr. Tracy was delighted. For the first
time he saw all his own plans proceeding rapidly and energetically;
for the gardener, with more sound tact than gardeners usually have,
applied himself to execute, alone, what his master proposed or
suggested, but took care it should be executed well, and as rapidly as
possible.

A new spirit seemed to come into the whole house with the new
gardener. Everybody, but one, although it was certainly an
unpropitious season of the year, seemed to be seized with the mania of
gardening. Old General Tracy himself, after having been confined for
four or five days to his room, by the consequences of his intimacy
with farmer Thorp's bull, which he had at first neglected, but was
afterwards compelled to remember, might be seen with a spade in his
hand delving with the rest. Mr. Tracy and Emily were constantly here
and there in the grounds, conversing with the head-gardener, and
laying out plans for immediate or future execution; and the only one
who, like the warm beams of summer, seemed to abandon the garden as
winter approached, was Mr. Tracy's youngest daughter Rose, whose
visits were confined to the morning and the evening, when a task, to
which she had accustomed herself from her childhood, and which she had
no excuse for neglecting now, called her down to the end of what was
called "the ladies' walk." This task was, indeed, a somewhat childish
one; namely, to feed a number of beautiful gold and silver fishes
collected in a large marble basin, and sheltered from snow and frost
by a not very bad imitation of a Greek temple.

There is a very mistaken notion current, that fish are not
overburdened with plain common sense. We have too few opportunities of
observing them to judge; but Rose's gold and silver fish certainly
displayed considerable discrimination. One would have thought that
they knew the sound of her beautiful little feet; only fish have got
no ears. However, as her step approached, they were sure to swim in
multitudes towards her, jostling their scaly sides against each other,
and evidently looking up with interest and pleasure. They did not do
the same to any one else. They came indeed, but came more slowly, if
Emily approached; and hovered at a timid distance from the side if
anything in a male garb was seen.

Two or three times, whilst standing by the side of the basin, Rose saw
the head-gardener pass by; but he took no further notice of her, than
merely by raising his hat, with a bow, which might have suited a
drawing-room as well as a garden.

Rose had become very thoughtful--not at all times--for when she was
with the rest of the family, she was as gay as ever; but when she was
in her own room with a book in her hand, the book would often rest
upon her knee unread; and her eyes would gaze out of the window upon
the far prospect, while the mind was very busy with things within
itself. There was something that puzzled Rose Tracy sadly. What
could she be thinking of? Strange to say, Rose was thinking of the
head-gardener; yet she never mentioned his name, even when all the
rest were praising him, marvelling at his taste, at his information,
at his manners for a man in that rank of life. She never went near the
places where he was most likely to be found; and a fortnight passed
ere she exchanged a single word with him.

At length, one morning, a short conversation, of which it may be
necessary to transcribe only a few sentences, took place at breakfast
between her father and her uncle; which worked a great change in Rose
Tracy.

"It certainly is the most extraordinary will that ever was made," said
Mr. Tracy; "and so unjust, that I cannot think it will be maintained
in law. He leaves his whole property to his eldest son, towards whom
he showed nothing but coldness and dislike for many years, and leaves
the second actually nothing but a mere recommendation to his brother's
favour. Now, the whole Elmsly property, to the amount of at least
seventeen thousand a-year, came to him in right of Lady Jane; and it
is generally the custom for the mother's property to descend to the
younger children."

"At all events, they should have a fair share of it," answered old
Walter Tracy. "For my part, I would do away with the law of
primogeniture altogether. It is a barbarous and unnatural law. But
perhaps Sir Harry, in his eccentric way, left verbal directions with
his eldest son."

"Not at all, not at all," answered Mr. Tracy. "I understand from
Lawrence Graves, who is their near relation, that Sir William declares
he has no instructions whatever but those contained in the will. And,
as Mr. Winslow and his brother have not been upon good terms for some
years, the young gentleman refuses absolutely to receive any thing
from him whatever."

"Then, in Heaven's name! what will become of him," exclaimed Emily,
"if he is left penniless?"

"He might have done well enough in many professions," said the
General, "if this had occurred earlier. But he is three or four and
twenty now; too old for the army; and both the church and the bar are
sad slow professions; requiring a fortune to be spent before a
pittance can be gained."

"What will become of him no one knows," rejoined Mr. Tracy. "But it
seems, he set out for London, with a bold heart, declaring he would
carve his way for himself; and be dependent upon no man."

"A fine bold fellow--I like him!" cried the General. "Lily, my love,
another cup of coffee, and more cream, or I will disinherit you."

When breakfast was over, Rose ran up to her own room, locked the door,
and sat down and cried. "Then this was the cause," she murmured: "and
he must think me unkind and mean."

About two o'clock that day, Rose went out in a little park phæton,
with a small postillion upon the near blood-horse. She had several
things to do in the neighbouring village, about two miles distant:
some shops to visit; a girls' school to look into; and one or two
other matters of lady life. Horace Fleming, too, came up and talked to
her for a few minutes, standing by the side of the phæton.

The horses, one and both, agreed that it was very tiresome to be kept
standing so long in the streets of a dull little place like that. As
soon as they were suffered to go on, they dashed away in very gay
style towards their home; but Rose was not likely to alarm herself at
a little rapid motion, and the fastest trot they could go did not at
all disturb her. Horses, however, when they are going homeward, and
get very eager, are sometimes more nervous than their drivers or
riders. All went well, then, through the first mile of country roads,
and narrow lanes; but about a quarter of a mile further, a man very
like farmer Thorpe--Rose did not see distinctly, but she thought it
was he--pushed his way through the trees, on the top of the low bank,
just before the horses. Both shied violently to the near side; the
small postillion was pitched out of the saddle into the hedge; and on
the two beasts dashed, no longer at a trot, but a gallop, with the
rein floating loose. Rose Tracy did not scream; but she held fast by
the side of the phæton, and shut her eyes. It was all very wrong, but
very natural, for a woman who knew that there were three turns on the
road before the house could be reached, and there, a pair of iron
gates, generally closed. She did not wish to see what her brains were
going to be dashed out against, till it was done, nor to fly further
when the phæton overset than necessary; and therefore, she did as I
have said. But after whirling on for two or three minutes, turning
sharp round one corner, and bounding over a large stone; she felt a
sudden check, which threw her on her knees into the bottom of the
phæton, and heard a voice cry, "So ho! stand, boy, stand! so ho!
quiet, quiet!" and opening her eyes, she saw the horses plunging a
little and endeavouring to rear, in the strong grasp of the
head-gardener, who held them tight by the bridles, and strove to
soothe them. One of the under-gardeners was scrambling over the
palings of her father's grounds, where the other had passed before;
and in a minute the two fiery bays were secured and quieted.

"I hope you are not much hurt or terrified, Miss Tracy," said the
head-gardener, approaching the side, while the other man held the
reins; and Rose saw a look of eager interest in his eyes, and heard it
in his voice.

"Terrified, I am, certainly, Mr.--Mr. Acton," she said, hesitating at
the name; "but not hurt, thank God! though, I believe I owe my life to
you."

"I was much alarmed for you," he answered; "for I feared when I saw
them coming, as I stood on the mound, that I should not be in time.
But had you not better get out and walk home. I will open the
garden-gate; and then go and look for the boy. I hope the wheels did
not go over him, for I suppose he fell off."

"I trust he is not hurt," answered Rose, allowing him to hand her out.
"The horses took fright at a man in the hedge, and threw him; but I
think he fell far from the carriage."

"Here he comes, Miss," cried the under-gardener; "here he comes, a
running. There's no bones broke there."

So it proved: the boy came with a face all scratched, and hands all
full of thorns; but otherwise uninjured, except in temper.
Vanity, vanity, the great mover in half--half! might I not say
nine-tenth's?--of man's actions; what wonderful absurdities is it not
always leading us into! All small postillions are wonderfully vain,
whether their expeditions be upon bright bays or hobby horses; and if
they be thrown, especially before the eyes of a mistress, how
pugnacious the little people become! The boy was inclined to avenge
himself upon the horses, and made straight to their heads with his
teeth set, and his knotted whip, newly recovered, in his hand; but the
under-gardener was learned in small postillions, and taking him by the
collar, before he could do more than aim one blow at the poor beasts,
he held him at arm's length, saying, "Thou art a fool, Thomas. The
cattle won't be a bit better for licking. They did not intend to make
thee look silly when they sent thee flying."

"Thomas," cried the voice of Rose, "for shame! If you attempt to treat
the horses ill, I shall certainly inform my father."

"Why, Miss, they might have killed you," answered little vanity,
assuming--she is own sister to Proteus--the shape of generous
indignation.

"Never mind," answered Rose. "I insist upon it, you treat them gently
and kindly; or depend upon it you will be punished yourself."

"Half the vicious horses that we see, Miss Tracy," said the
head-gardener, "are made so by man. We are all originally tyrants, I
fear, to those who cannot remonstrate; and the nearer we are to the
boy in heart and spirit, the stronger is the tyrant in our nature. It
is sorrow, disappointment, and sad experience that makes us men."

He had forgotten himself for a moment; and Rose forgot herself too.
She looked up in his face and smiled as no lady (except Eve) ever
smiled upon a gardener, without being a coquette.

They both recovered themselves in a minute, however; and, walking on
in silence to the garden-gate, about three hundred yards further up
the lane, the gardener opened it with his key and then saw her safely
till she was within sight of the house. Rose paused for a moment, and
smiled when he had bowed, and retired. "This cannot go on," she said.
"I may as well speak to him at once, now I know the circumstance; for
this state of things must come to an end. I owe him life, too; and may
well venture to do all I can, and proffer all I can, to console and
assist him. My father, I am sure, would aid him, and my uncle too, if
he would but confide in them." And with half-formed purposes she
returned to the house, and horrified and delighted her sister, who was
the only person she found at home, with an account of her danger and
her deliverance.

About an hour and a half after, Rose Tracy stood by the basin of
gold-fish, with her little basket of fine bread crumbs in her hand.
The fishes were all gathered near in a herd, looking up to her with
more than usual interest in their dull round eyes--at least so it
might have seemed to fancy. Her fair face, with the large, soft,
silky-fringed eyes, was bent over the water; the clusters of her dark
brown hair fell upon her warm cheek, which glowed with a deeper hue,
she knew not why. The light green hat upon her head seemed like the
cup of a bending rose; and any one who saw her might have fancied her
the spirit of the flower whose name she bore.

With a careful and equitable hand she scattered the food over the
surface of the water; and never were brighter colours presented by the
finny tenants of the pond of the half marble king of the black
islands, than her favourites displayed as they darted and flashed,
sometimes past, sometimes over each other, while a solitary ray of the
setting sun poured through the evergreens, passed between the columns,
and rested on the surface of the water.

A slow, quiet, firm step sounded near; and Rose's cheek became a
little paler; but she instantly raised her head, and looked round with
a sparkling eye. The head-gardener was passing from his daily
avocations towards his cottage. Rose paused for a minute, with a heart
that fluttered. Then she beckoned to him, (as he took off his hat
respectfully,) and said aloud, "I want to speak with you."

He advanced at once to her side, without the slightest appearance of
surprise; and Rose held out her hand to him.

"I have to thank you for saving my life," she said in a hurried and
agitated tone--much more agitated than she wished it to be, or thought
it was; "and I believe we have all to thank you for saving the life of
my dear uncle. But I should take another time and means of expressing
my gratitude, had I not something else to say. I have a sadly
tenacious memory. Let me ask you frankly and candidly--have we not met
before you came here?"

The head-gardener smiled sorrowfully; but he answered at once. "We
have, dear Miss Tracy, in other scenes and other circumstances. We met
at the Duchess of H----'s: a day which I shall never forget, and which I
have never forgotten. And I had the happiness of passing more than one
hour entirely with you. For, if you remember, the crowd was so great
that we could not find your aunt; and you were cast upon tedious
company as your only resource."

Rose smiled, and answered not the latter part of his reply; but with a
varying colour, and in broken, embarrassed phrase, went on as
follows:--"You thought I had forgotten your appearance, Mr. Winslow;
but, as I have said, I have a sadly tenacious memory, and I
recollected you at once. I could not conceive what was the cause of
what I saw--of why or how you could be here--in--in such
circumstances--and it puzzled and--and embarrassed me very much; for I
thought--I was sure--that if I mentioned what I knew, it might be
painful to you--and yet to meet often one whom I had known in such a
different position, without a word of recognition--might seem--I do
not know what, but very strange."

"I thank you deeply for your forbearance," replied Chandos, "and I
will beseech you, dear Miss Tracy, not to divulge the secret you
possess to anyone. If you do, it will force me immediately to quit
your father's service, and to abandon a scheme of life--a whim, if you
will, which--"

"My father's service!" cried Rose, eagerly. "Oh, Mr. Winslow, why
should you condemn yourself to use such words. It is only this morning
that I have heard your history; but indeed, indeed, such a situation
becomes you not. Oh, be advised by one who has a title--the title of
deep gratitude, to obtrude advice. Tell my father, when he comes
to-morrow to thank you for saving his child's life, who you are. He
already knows how hardly, how iniquitously you have been used, and
this very day was expressing his sense of your wrongs. Oh tell him,
Mr. Winslow! You will find him kind, and feeling, and ready, I am
sure, to do anything to counsel and assist you. Pray, pray do!" and
Rose Tracy laid her fair beautiful hand upon his arm in her eager
petitioning.

Chandos took it in his and pressed it, not warmly, but gratefully.
"Thank you; a thousand times thank you," he answered. "Such sympathy
and such kindness as you show, are worth all the assistance and the
encouragement that the whole world could give. Yet forgive me for not
following your advice. I am poor, Miss Tracy; but not so poor as to
render it necessary for me to follow this humble calling for support.
I am quite independent of circumstances. A relation left me sufficient
for existence some years ago. My father bequeathed me a fine library
and some other things of value. But it is my wish to try a different
mode of life from that to which I have been accustomed. I will confess
to you," he added, "that when I came here, I had no idea you were Mr.
Tracy's daughter, or perhaps I should not have come--"

Her colour varied, and he went on--"The same causes," he said, with a
rapid and hasty voice, "which, had my expectations, reasonable or
unreasonable, been fulfilled, might have brought me hither eagerly,
would, in changed circumstances, have prevented me from coming. But
enough of this. I will not trouble you with all my motives and my
views--call them whims, call them follies, if you like; but I will
only say that I wish, for a short time, to give my mind repose from
the daily round of thoughts to which every man moving in one
particular circle alone is subject, which grind us down and fashion
our very hearts and spirits into artificial forms, till we deem
everything that is conventional right, and, I fear, are apt to imagine
that everything which is natural is wrong. I wish to see all objects
with different eyes from those with which I have hitherto seen them;
or, perhaps, to use a more rational figure, I would fain place myself
on a new spot in the great plain of society, whence I can obtain a
sight of the whole under a different point of view. I have looked down
at the world from the hill, dear Miss Tracy, I am determined now to
look up at it from the valley."

Rose smiled with a look of interest, but yet a look of melancholy; and
shaking her head she answered, "You will soon be found out for a
mountaineer; they are already wondering at you."

"That I cannot help," replied Chandos. "But at all events give me as
much time as possible; and if you would really oblige me, do not
mention to any one who and what I am. Let me be the gardener
still--except when, perhaps, at such a moment as this, you will
condescend to remember me as something else."

"Oh, I am bound to keep your secret," said Rose; "or, indeed, to do
much more, if I knew how. But my father must express both his own and
his daughter's gratitude for the preservation of her life; and in the
meantime I will of course be silent as to your name and character. But
had I not better, Mr. Winslow, let you know, if I perceive any
probability of your being discovered?"

"That would indeed be a great favour," replied Chandos; "for
circumstances might occur which would render discovery not only
painful, but highly detrimental."

"Then I will give you warning of the first suspicion," answered Rose.
"And now farewell; for it is nearly dark, and the dinner bell will
soon ring."

Chandos bent down his head, and kissed her hand. It was the first act
touching in the least upon gallantry which he had permitted himself;
but it called the colour into Rose's cheek; and with another farewell,
she left him.



CHAPTER XII.


It was evening. The cottage fire blazed bright and warm. Two tallow
candles were upon the table; for Chandos loved light, and burnt two
tallow candles. Moreover, the people of the hamlet thought him a great
man because he did so. Such is the appreciation of the world--such
the all-pervading influence of the spirit of the country and the
times--such the admiration of money in the _United_ Kingdom! of Great
Britain and Ireland, that the neighbouring peasantry thought him a
much greater man than the last head-gardener, because he burnt two
tallow candles, and the last burnt only one. Take it home to you, ye
gentlemen in Grosvenor-square. Your services of gilded plate, your
rich dinners, your innumerable lackeys, (none below six feet two),
which gain you such envious reverence from those who use Sheffield
plate, and content themselves with a foot-boy, is nothing more than
the burning of two tallow candles, in the eyes of your inferiors in
wealth. Be vain of it, if you can!

There was a neat row of books upon a shelf, against the little parlour
wall. Many related to gardening; but there was Shakespeare and Milton,
Ben, Beaumont and Fletcher, Herrick and Donne, and Cowley. Ranged
near, too, were seen, in good old bindings, Virgil and Horace, Lucan,
Tibullus, Martial, and Cicero. Ovid was not there; for Chandos had no
taste for gods and goddesses _en bagnio_. Homer and Lucretius were put
behind the rest, but where they could be got at easily.

There were tea-cups and saucers on the table; and the old woman who
had been hired to keep his house orderly, and attend upon little Tim,
after he had become a denizen of the cottage, was boiling the water in
the adjoining kitchen.

"Great A," said Chandos; and, out of a number of pasteboard letters on
the floor, the boy brought one, saying, "Great A. It looks like the
roof of a house."

"Great B," repeated his self-installed master; and the boy brought
great B, remarking that it was like two sausages on a skewer. For
every letter he had some comparison; and it is wonderful how rapidly
by his own system of mnemonics he had taught himself to recollect one
from the other.

"Now for the little bit of catechism, Tim," said the young gentleman;
"then a piece of bread-and-jam, and to bed."

The boy came and stood at his knee, as if it had been a father's, and
repeated a few sentences of the First Catechism, in answer to
Chandos's questions; and the young gentleman patted his head, gave him
the thick-spread bread-and-jam, and was dismissing him to the care of
Dame Humphreys, when the room-door was quietly pushed open--it had
been ajar--and the tall, fine form of Lockwood appeared.

"Ah, Lockwood! good evening," said Chandos. "Why, you are a late
visitor.--But what is the matter? You seem agitated."

"Nothing, nothing. Sir," answered the other. "Only, to see you and the
little boy, put me in mind of my poor mother; and how she used to cry
sometimes when she was teaching me my catechism, long before I could
understand that it made her think that she had been wronged, and had
done wrong, too, herself. But who is the lad? if it be not an
impertinent question. He's not one of your own angles?"

"I do not understand you, Lockwood," replied Chandos, in some
surprise. "If you mean to ask, whether he is a child of mine, I say,
'Certainly not.' Do you not see he is eight or nine years old?"

"I call all children angles," answered Lockwood, smiling, "because
they are the meeting of two lines. You, for instance, are an isosceles
angle, because the two sides are equal. I am not, you know; which is a
misfortune, not a fault. But whose son is the boy? He seems a fine
little fellow."

Chandos explained, and his explanation threw Lockwood into a fit of
musing. During its continuance, his half-brother had an opportunity of
examining what it was which had effected, since they last met, a
considerable difference in his personal appearance; and at length he
interrupted his meditation by observing, "I see you have let your
whiskers grow, Lockwood."

"Yes," replied the other. "Yours pleased me; and so I determined to be
_barbatus_ also. Why men should shave off their beards at all I cannot
divine. Saints and patriarchs wore them. All the greatest men in the
world have worn them, with the exception of Newton, Moses, Mahomet,
Friar Bacon, King Alfred, and Numa Pompilius, were all bearded, as
well as Bluebeard, that strict disciplinarian, with Mr. Muntz, and his
brother, the Shah of Persia, and Prester John, who, if we knew his
whole history, was probably the greatest man amongst them. But
whiskers must do for the present. Perhaps I shall come to a whole
beard in time. I have brought you a leash of teal, and some news; for
which you shall give me a cup of tea."

"I can give you a bed, too," answered Chandos; "for, thanks to your
good care, all the rooms are furnished now."

"Not for me," answered Lockwood: "I am back by moonlight. The goddess
rises at eleven, I think; and I will be her Carian boy to-night--only
I will not sleep, but walk while she kisses my brow."

Another cup was brought, and Chandos added some more tea to the
infusion. His companion seemed in a somewhat wandering mood of mind,
and many were the subjects started before he came to the news which he
had to tell. "What capital tea!" he said. "Mine is but sage and sloe
leaf to this. How we go on adulterating! There is not a thing
now-a-day that we eat or drink which is pure. Good things become
condemned by the foul imitations which men sell for them; and the
cheatery of the multitude robs the honest man of his due repute.
Instead of standing out in bright singularity, he is confounded in the
mass of rogues. Short measure, false weights, diminished numbers,
forged tickets, fictitious representations, adulterated goods, and
worthless fabrications, are the things upon which the once glorious
British trader now thrives. But it is only for a little day. Found
out, he will soon be despised; despised, neglected; and neglected,
ruined--or, at least, if it touches not this generation, it will the
next."

"But, my good friend, it is not the British trader or manufacturer
alone," answered Chandos; "I can tell you, by having travelled a good
deal, that it is the spirit of the age, and pervades the whole world,
except in its most uncivilized districts. You can depend upon nothing
that you buy. A rich traveller orders his bottle of Champagne at an
inn, and is charged an enormous price for a deleterious beverage
prepared within half-a-dozen yards of the spot where he drinks it,
though that may be five hundred miles from Champagne. A spirit drinker
requires a glass of brandy, gets some fermented juice of the potato,
and is charged for _old Cognac_. Another asks for Saxony linen, and
receives a mixture of cotton and lint that is worn out in half the
time which would be required to use the article he paid for. Every man
in Europe, with a very few exceptions, thinks only of present gain,
without regard to honesty or future reputation."

"He will kill the goose with the golden eggs," said Lockwood.

"He cares not for that," answered Chandos. "The grand principle of
action in the present day was developed nearly forty years ago, when
one of a family, the wittiest perhaps that ever lived, and the one
which most quickly seized the feelings of their times, asked, 'What
did posterity ever do for me?' That is the secret of everything
strange that we see around us. Each man lives alone for his own
earthly life: he cares not either for those who come after, or for
remote reputation, or for a world that is to come. In regard to the
first, he thinks, 'They will take care of themselves, as I have done.'
In regard to the second he says, 'It is a bubble that, as far as I am
concerned, breaks when I die.' In regard to the third, his ideas are
indefinite; and while he admits that there may be an hereafter, he
takes his chance, and says, 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the
bush.'"

"Ay, so it was with Mr. Parkington, the rich manufacturer who bought
Greenlees, close by Winslow, and died there," said Lockwood. "When he
was upon his death-bed, the parson of the parish went to console him,
and talked of the joys of Heaven. He spoke too finely for the old
spinner, I've a notion; for after he had told him of eternal happiness
in the knowledge and love of God, the sick man raised his gray head
and said, 'Thank you, thank you, Mr. Wilmington; but, after all, _Old
England fur my money!_'"

Chandos could not refrain a smile. "Too true a picture," he said, "of
the mind of a money-getting man. But the state of our society is in
fault in giving such a bias to human weakness. We are taught from the
earliest period of our lives to think that the great object of
existence is money, and what money can procure. The whole tendency of
the age, in short, is material; and political economists, while
systematizing one class of man's efforts, have (unwittingly, I do
believe) left out of all consideration the higher and more important
duties and efforts which his station in creation imposes upon him.
Were man but the most reasoning of animals, such systems might do very
well; but for those who believe him to be something more, who know, or
feel, or hope that he is a responsible agent, to whom powers are
confided in trust for great purposes, a system that excludes or omits
all the wider relations of spirit with spirit, which takes no count of
man's immortal nature, which overlooks his dependence upon God and his
accountability to Him, is not only imperfect, but corrupt. It may be
said that it teaches man but one branch of the great social science;
and that to mix the consideration of others with it, would but
embarrass the theories which in themselves are right; but when a
system affects the whole relations of man with his fellow-creatures,
such an argument is inadmissible, upon the broad ground of reason, if
it be admitted that man is more than a machine, and most vicious, if
it be allowed that he is an accountable being under a code of laws
divine in their origin. These two questions are inseparable from every
argument affecting the dealings of man with man. Let those who reason
either admit or deny our immortality. If they deny, they may be right,
I say nought against it; and their reasoning regarding the machine,
_man_, would in most instances be very fair;--but if they admit, they
must take a wider grasp of the subject, and show that their doctrines
are compatible with his responsibility to God."

"It would be wide enough and difficult enough," answered Lockwood.
"But it is a science of which I understand nothing. It seems to have
taught us more of the acquisition of wealth, than the acquisition of
happiness; and to lead inevitably to the accumulation of money in few
hands, without tending to its after-distribution amongst many. This is
all I have seen it do yet."

"And that is a great evil," replied Chandos.

"A great evil, indeed," answered Lockwood, laughing. "For instance:
your brother is a great deal too rich; and it would be a capital
thing, if his property were distributed."

Chandos thought for a moment or two, very gravely, and then replied:
"I envy him not, Lockwood. Perhaps you may think it strange; but, I
assure you, what I am going to say is true: I would a great deal
rather be as I am, with the poor pittance I possess, than my brother
with his thoughts and feelings, and all his wealth. There must be
things resting on his mind, which, to me at least, would embitter the
richest food, and strew with thorns the softest bed."

"Ah, I know what you mean," answered Lockwood; "I heard of it at the
time: seven or eight years ago. You mean that story of Susan Grey, the
Maid of the Mill, as they called her, who drowned herself."

Chandos nodded his head, but made no reply; and Lockwood went on,

"Ay, I remember her well; she was as pretty a creature as ever I saw,
and always used to put me in mind of the ballad of the 'Nut-brown
Maid.' You know, the old man died afterwards. He never held up his
head after your brother took her away. He became bankrupt in two
years, and was dead before the third was over. And the ruins of the
mill stand upon the hill, with the wind blowing through the plankless
beams, as through a murderer's bones in chains on a gibbet. But, after
all, though it was a very bad case, Sir William was but following his
father's example. The Greeks used to say, 'Bad the crow, bad the egg!'
and he trod in Sir Harry's footsteps."

"No, no, no!" said Chandos, vehemently; "my father might seduce,
but he did not abandon to neglect and scorn. He might carry
unhappiness--and he did--to many a hearth; but he did not, for the
sake of a few pitiful pounds, cast off to poverty and misery the
creature he had deluded. I know the whole story, Lockwood. This was
the cause of the first bitter quarrel between my brother and myself. I
was a boy of but seventeen then. But often I used to stop at the mill,
when out shooting, and get a draught of good beer from the miller, or
his pretty daughter. I was very fond of the girl, not with an evil
fondness; for, as I have said, I was a boy then, and she was several
years older than myself. But I thought her very beautiful and very
good, blithe as a lark, and, to all appearance, innocent as an early
summer morning. I saw her but two days before she went away; I saw
her, also, on the very day of her death, when she returned, pale,
haggard, in rags that hardly hid the proofs of her shame, to seek some
compassion from him who had ruined and deserted her; ay, and driven
her mad. It was I, who went in and told him she was in the park; and I
did so fiercely enough, perhaps. He called me an impertinent fool; but
went out to speak to her, while I ran hastily to my own room to bring
her what little store of money I had; for I doubted my brother. What
passed between them I do not well know; but, when I came to where they
stood in the park, under the lime trees, not far from the high bank
over the river, my brother's face was flushed and his look menacing;
he was speaking fiercely and vehemently; and in a moment the girl
turned from him and ran away up the bank. I followed to console and
give her assistance, never dreaming of what was about to happen; but
when I came up, I found some labourers, who were at work there,
running down the little path to the river side. One of them had his
coat and hat off, and, to my surprise, plunged into the water. But I
need not tell you more of that part of the story; for you know it all
already. I went back to the house, and straight to my father's room,
and I told him all. There, perhaps, I was wrong; but indignation
overpowered reflection, and I acted on the impulse of the moment. A
terrible scene followed: my brother was sent for; my father reproached
him bitterly for his ungenerous abandonment of the poor girl. He again
turned his fury upon me, and struck me; and, boy as I was, I knocked
him down at a blow before my father's face. Perhaps it is a just
punishment for that violence, that to his generosity my fate in life
was left. But yet it is very strange; for my father never forgave him;
and me he was always fond of."

"Very strange, indeed," answered Lockwood. "But this brings us by a
diagonal line to what I have got to tell you. Mr. Roberts has been
over at the Abbey for these last two days, and is putting all things
in order. A number of the tenants have been sent for, especially those
who have not got leases, but stand upon agreements; and he has given
them to know, that he is likely to quit your brother's service at the
end of three months."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Chandos. "I am sorry for that. But yet it does not
much surprise me. He and William are not made to act together. What
else has he done?"

"Why, he has behaved very well," answered Lockwood; "and I believe he
is an honest man. He left the people to judge for themselves, whether
they would demand leases upon their agreements, or not. But it has got
abroad, that the Abbey is to be immediately pulled down, all the
furniture sold, and perhaps the estates sold too. At all events, the
park is to be divided into two farms; though Mr. Roberts laughed and
said, he did not know who would take them, with my rights of free
warren over both."

Chandos leaned his head upon his hand, and closed his eyes with a look
of bitter mortification. "This is sad," he said, at length: "the fine
old Abbey, which has been in our family for three centuries! Well,
well! Every one has a bitter cup to drink at some time; and this, I
suppose, is the beginning of mine. Everything to be sold, did you say,
Lockwood? The family pictures and all?"

"All of them," answered Lockwood; "everything but what is left to you:
that is, the furniture of those two rooms and the books."

"I must have my mother's picture, let it cost what it will," said
Chandos. "I will write to Roberts about it, if you will give him the
note."

"Oh, there is time enough," rejoined his half-brother; "the sale won't
take place for some weeks yet. In the mean time we must think of
placing the books and bookcases, and all the rest of the things, in
some secure place; and next time I come over, I will go and talk to
Mr. Fleming about it. Here is the inventory I took of the things.
Roberts went over it with me and signed it, as you see. He says, you
may be rich enough after all; for, besides the books, which he
estimates at seven thousand pounds, he declares that the marble things
in the library are very valuable; and calls the little pictures in the
study, gems. I don't know what he means by that; for to me, they seem
as exactly like places, and things, and people I have seen a hundred
times, as possible. There's an old woman looking out of the window,
with a bottle in her hand, that, if the dress were not different, I
could swear, was a picture of my grandmother. However, he vows
it is worth a mint of money, though it is not much bigger than a
school-boy's slate."

"The Gerard Dow," said Chandos, smiling. "It is very valuable, I
believe; but I am so covetous, that I do not think I can make up my
mind to part with any of them. You must see to their being well packed
up, Lockwood; for the least injury to such pictures is fatal. The
books also must be taken great care of, especially those in the glazed
bookcases."

"Ay; but have you got the keys?" asked Lockwood. "Mr. Roberts was
asking for them, and says he does not know where they are."

"I have them not," answered Chandos; "I never had. My brother has
them, most likely."

"No," answered Lockwood; "he gave all the keys belonging to the Abbey
to Mr. Roberts; and these are not amongst them. But the locks can
easily be picked. I have always remarked, when people die, or change
their house, the keys go astray. But there's some one tapping at the
door; and so I shall go."

"Stay, stay," cried Chandos; "I should like to write that note to
Roberts at once: I would not have that picture of my mother go into
other hands, for all I possess. Come in!" and as he spoke, the door of
the room opened, and the head of the gipsey-woman, Sally Stanley, was
thrust in.

"You are not afraid of a gipsey at this time of night, master
gardener?" said the woman with a smile. "I want to see my boy, and
give him a kiss; for we are off at day-break to-morrow."

Lockwood stared at her, with a sort of scared look, as if her race
stood higher in his fears than estimation, and shook his head
suspiciously; while Chandos replied: "No, no, Sally, I am not afraid.
Go into that room; and the old woman will take you to your boy. He is
getting on very well, and knows his alphabet already."

The woman nodded her head, well pleased; and, with a glance from the
face of Chandos to that of his guest, walked on towards the door of
the kitchen.

"Now, Chandos," said Lockwood, "let me have the note."

The young gentleman raised his finger as a caution to his half-brother
not to mention aloud the name which he no longer bore. But the warning
was too late; the name was pronounced, and the gipsey-woman heard it.



CHAPTER XIII.


Time flew rapidly with both Chandos Winslow and Rose Tracy. They knew
not what had thus now plumed the great decayer's pinions for him.
Chandos thought that, in his own case, it was, that he had assumed one
of those old primeval occupations which in patriarchal days made the
minutes run so fast that men lived a thousand years as if they had
been but seventy. There was nothing for him like the life of a
gardener.

Rose was somewhat more puzzled to account for the cheerful passing of
the minutes. When she had been a hundred times more gay, which was,
upon a fair calculation, some six weeks before, she had often called
the hours lazy-footed loiterers; but now they sped on so fast--so
fast--she hardly knew that the year was nearly at the end. She was now
as much in the garden as her father, her sister, or her uncle.
Whenever they were there, she was with them. When they talked to the
head-gardener, she talked to him too; and sometimes a merry smile
would come upon her warm little lips, of which her companions did not
well see the cause. But Rose was seldom in the garden alone--never
indeed but at the two stated times of the day when she went to feed
her gold-fishes. That she could not help. It must be deeply impressed
upon the reader's mind--ay, and reiterated, that from childhood this
had been her task; and it was quite impossible that she could abandon
it now--at least, so thought Rose.

Every morning, then, and every evening, she visited the little basin,
and hung over her glossy favourites for several minutes. Well was she
named--for she was like her name--and very seldom has the eye of man
beheld anything more fair than Rose Tracy as she looked down upon the
water under the shade of the marble dome above: the soft cheek like
the heart of a blush rose, the clustering hair falling like moss over
her brow, the bending form, graceful as the stem of a flower.

I know not how fate, fortune, or design had arranged it; but so it
was, that the hours when Chandos returned to his cottage, either in
the morning to breakfast, or in the evening to rest, were always a few
minutes after the periods when Rose visited the basin; and his way at
either time was sure to lie near that spot. If Emily was with her, as
sometimes happened, the head-gardener doffed his hat and passed on. If
Rose was alone, Chandos Winslow paused for a time, resumed his station
and himself, and enjoyed a few sweet moments of unreserved intercourse
with the only person who knew him as he really was.

The strange situation in which they were placed, their former meeting
in a brighter scene, the future prospects and intentions of one, at
least, of the parties to those short conversations, furnished a
thousand subjects apart from all the rest of the world's things, which
had the effect that such mutual stores of thought and feeling always
have--they drew heart towards heart; and Chandos soon began to feel
that there was something else on earth than he had calculated upon to
struggle for against the world's frowns.

Yet love was never mentioned between them. They talked confidingly and
happily; they did not know that they met purposely; there was a little
timidity in both their bosoms, but it was timidity at their own
feelings, not in the slightest degree at the fact of concealment. She
called him Mr. Winslow, and he called her Miss Tracy, long after the
names of Chandos and Rose came first to the lip.

The quiet course of growing affection, however, was not altogether
untroubled--it never is. A gay party came down to Mr. Tracy's, to eat
his dinners and to shoot his pheasants. There were battues in the
morning, and music and dancing in the evening; and the wind wafted
merry sounds to the cottage of the gardener. Chandos was not without
discomfort; not that he longed to mix again in the scenes in which he
had so often taken part, to laugh with the joyous, to jest with the
gay. But he longed to be by the side of Rose Tracy; and when he
thought of her surrounded by the bright, the wealthy, and the great;
when he remembered that she was beautiful, graceful, captivating, one
of the co-heiresses of a man of great wealth; when he recollected that
there was no tie between him and her, he began to fear that the
bitterest drops of the bitter cup of fortune were yet to be drank.

He knew not all which that cup might still contain.

When they went not out early to shoot, the guests at Northferry House
sometimes would roam through the grounds, occasionally with their
inviter or his daughters, occasionally alone; and one day, when an
expedition to a high moor in the neighbourhood, where there was
excellent wild shooting, had been put off till the afternoon, a gay
nobleman, who fluttered between Emily and Rose, perfectly confident of
captivating either or both if he chose, exclaimed as they all left the
breakfast table, "I shall go and talk to your gardener, Tracy. Such a
fellow must be a curiosity, as much worth seeing as a bonassus.--A
gardener who talks Latin and quotes poetry! Upon my life you are a
favoured man! Will you not go and introduce me, Miss Tracy, to this
scientific son of Adam, whom your father has told me of."

"Excuse me, my lord," answered Emily, "your lordship will need no
introduction. I have a letter to write for post."

"Will not the fair Rose take compassion on me, then?" asked Viscount
Overton. "Who but the Rose should introduce one to the gardener?"

"Roses are not found on the stalk in the winter, my good lord,"
replied General Tracy for his niece, who, he saw, was somewhat
annoyed. "But I will be your introducer, if needful, though, according
to the phrase of old playwrights and novelists, a gentleman of _your
figure_ carries his own introduction with him."

"General, you are too good," replied the other, with an air of mingled
self-satisfaction and persiflage. "But really that was an excellent
jest of yours--I must remember it--Roses are not found _on the stalk_
in the winter! Capital! Do you make many jests?"

"When I have fair subjects," answered Walter Tracy, with perfect good
humour. "But let us go, Viscount, if you are disposed. We shall find
Mr. Acton in the garden at this time. It is a pity you are not an
Irishman; for he is the best hand at managing a bull I ever saw."

As they went, the story of the adventure with Farmer Thorpe's wild
beast was related, much to the delight of Lord Overton, who was a man
of a good deal of courage and spirit, though overlaid with an
affectation of effeminacy; and by the time it was done, they were by
the side of Chandos. General Tracy informed the head-gardener who the
noble lord was, and jestingly launched out into an encomium of his
taste for and knowledge of gardening.

"I can assure you, Mr. Acton," said Lord Overton, in a tone of far too
marked condescension, "that, though the General makes a jest of it, I
am exceedingly fond of gardening, and both can and do take a spade or
rake in hand as well as any man."

"I am glad to hear it, my lord," replied Chandos, who did not love
either his look or his manner; "our nobility must always be the better
for some manly employments."

The Viscount was a little piqued, for there certainly was somewhat of
a sneer in the tone; and he replied, "But I hear that you, my
good friend, occasionally vary your labours with more graceful
occupations--studying Latin and Greek, and reading the poets,
thinking, I suppose, 'Ingenuas didicisse fideliter, artes, emollit
mores, nec sinit esse feros.' I dare say you know where the passage
is."

"In the Eton Latin Grammar," answered Chandos, drily; and turning to
one of the under-gardeners, he gave him some orders respecting the
work he was about.

"He does not seem to have had his manners much softened," said Lord
Overton in a low voice to Walter Tracy. But the General only replied
by a joyous peal of laughter; and, though the peer would not suffer
himself to be discomfited, and renewed the conversation with Chandos,
he could win no sign of having converted him to a belief, that he was
at all honoured by his condescension.

"He's a radical, I suppose," said Lord Overton, when they turned away.
"All these self-taught fellows are radicals."

"No, there you are mistaken, my good lord," answered Walter Tracy; "he
is a high tory. That is the only bad point about him."

"Ah, General! you always were a terrible whig," said the Viscount,
with a shake of the head.

"And always shall be," replied his companion, with a low and somewhat
cynical bow; "though the great abilities I see ranged on the other
side may make me regret that I am too old and too stiff to change."

"Oh, one is never too old to mend," said Lord Overton; "and one never
should be too stiff. That harsh, violent, obstinate adherence to party
is the bane of our country."

"Surely your lordship has no occasion to complain of it in our days,"
observed the General. "If one read the speeches of the present men,
delivered twenty, fifteen, ten years ago, and mustered them according
to their opinions of that date, where should we find them? But I am no
politician. It only strikes me that the difference of the two great
parties is this, if I may use some military phraseology: the whigs,
pushing on, bayonet in hand, are a little in advance of their first
position. Their opponents are scattered all over the field, some
fighting, some flying, and more surrendering to the enemy. But, to
return, this young man, as I have said, seems to me a very rabid
tory--I beg your pardon--but a very honest fellow, notwithstanding."

"The two things are quite compatible, General," said the Viscount,
stiffly.

"Oh, perfectly," replied Walter Tracy. "As long as tories remain
tories they are very honest people; but when they have turned round
two or three times, I do not know what they are."

Lord Overton did not like the conversation, and changed it; and the
two gentlemen returned to the house. Not many days after he took his
departure for London, not quite able to make up his mind whether Rose
or Emily, or either, was qualified by wealth, beauty, and grace to
become Viscountess Overton. After three days thought in London, he
decided that neither was, upon the consideration of the great moral
objection that exists to men of rank marrying _Misses_, especially
where that most horrible denomination is not corrected by the word
honourable before it. If Emily had been even a maid of honour, so that
her name might have appeared in the newspapers as the Honourable Miss
Tracy, he might have consented; but as it was, he judged decidedly it
would be a _mesalliance_, although Mr. Tracy's direct ancestors stood
upon the rolls of fame, when his own were herding cattle.

He saved himself a very great mortification; for, to be rejected when
a man mistakenly thinks he is condescending, is the bitterest draught
with which false pride can be medicined.

Both Emily and Rose Tracy were very glad when the peer was gone, for
his fluttering from one to the other (though he annoyed Emily most)
had much the same effect as having a bee or large fly in the room; but
there was another person in the neighbourhood who rejoiced still more,
and that was Horace Fleming. He had dined twice at Mr. Tracy's while
the party of visitors were there, and he did not at all approve of
Lord Overton's attentions to Emily. Chandos Winslow was not sorry, for
although he had not such definite cause for uneasiness as Fleming, yet
that little god of love, whom we hear so much of, and so seldom see,
is not only a metaphysical god, but a very irritable god too. The
sight of Rose Tracy had always been pleasant to him during the whole
time he had been in Mr. Tracy's service. Her beautiful little ancle
and tiny foot, as she walked along the paths, had to his fancy the
power of calling up flowers as it passed. Her smile had seemed to him
to give back summer to the wintry day; the light of her eyes to
prolong the sunshine, and make the twilight bright. In the morning she
was his Aurora, in the evening his Hesperus; and in a word, in the
space of six weeks and a day, Chandos Winslow had fallen very much in
love. But it must be remarked, that the odd day mentioned, was far
detached from the six weeks, dating nearly one year before. It had
been an epocha which he had always remembered however--one of the
green spots in the past. A lovely and intelligent girl, fresh,
and unspoiled by the great corruptor of taste, feeling, and
mind--fashionable society--had been cast upon his care and attention
for several hours, in a crowd which prevented her from finding her own
party at a fête. They had danced together more than was prudent and
conventional, because they did not well know what else to do; and the
little embarrassment of the moment had only excited for her an
additional interest over and above that created by youth, beauty,
grace, and innocence. At the end of the evening, she had passed from
his sight like a shooting star, as he thought, for ever. But he
remembered the bright meteor, and its rays sometimes even had visited
him in sleep. Thus that day had as much to do with the love of the
case as the far-detached six weeks; though they had served to ripen,
and perfect, and mature a passion of which but one solitary seed had
been sown before.

Four days after Lord Overton had departed, and three after the rest of
the guests had taken flight, Chandos saw Rose through the trees come
along towards the marble basin with a quicker step than usual. The
little velvet and chinchilla mantle was pressed tight over her full,
fine bosom, to keep out the cold wind of the last day of the year; but
there was an eager look in her bright eyes which made him think that
her rapid pace had other motives than mere exercise; and he, too,
hurried his steps, to reach the spot to which her steps tended, at the
same time as herself. Just as they both approached it, however, one of
the under-gardeners came up to ask a question of his superior officer.
He got a quick but kindly answer; but then he asked another; and that
was answered too. The devil was certainly in the man; for, having
nothing more to say to Chandos, he turned to Rose, and inquired
whether she would not like the screens put up to keep the pond from
the cold wind; and by the time he had done, General Tracy appeared,
and took possession of his niece's ear.

Rose went away with a slower step and less eager look than she came.
But Chandos took care to be near the little basin at the time of
sunset, marking out some alterations in the surrounding shrubs which
he intended to propose against the spring. When Rose appeared, Emily
was with her; and Chandos was again disappointed. He showed the two
fair girls, however, what he intended to suggest to their father; and,
for one single moment, while Emily, taking the basket, scattered some
crumbs to her sister's favourites, Rose followed the head-gardener to
a spot which he thought might be well opened out, to give a view
beyond; and then, she said, in a low, hurried tone, "I am going to do
what perhaps is not right; but I must speak to you to-morrow morning,
at all risks. I will be here half-an-hour earlier than usual;" and
with limbs shaking as if she had committed theft, Rose left him, and
hurried back to her sister, ere Emily well perceived that she had left
her side.

They were two sisters, however; loving like sisters, trusting like
sisters, with barely a year between them; and though they knew that
the one was younger, the other elder, they hardy felt it; for Lily was
gentle and unpresuming, though firm as she was mild. She took nought
upon her; and though she acted as the mistress of her father's house,
yet Rose seemed to share her authority, and more than share her power.
Emily pretended not to question or to rule her sister; and, had she
been suspicious, she would have asked no questions: but she suspected
nothing.



CHAPTER XIV.


"Fie, for shame!" cries the old lady so exceedingly smartly dressed
in the corner, whom one who did not see her face, or remark her
figure, but who only looked at her gay clothing, would take to be
twenty-three, though forty added to it would be within the mark--I
mean the old lady with the nutmeg-grater face, so like the portrait of
Hans Holbein's grand-aunt, which figures in many of his wood-cuts,
but, especially in the accouchement of the Burgomaster's wife of
Nuremburg. "Fie, for shame! What a very improper thing for a young
lady, like Miss Rose Tracy, to make an appointment with her father's
head-gardener. It is a breach of three of the Commandments!" (Let the
reader sort them.) "It is indecent, dangerous, abominable, terrible,
disgraceful, contrary to all the rules and regulations of society!
What a shocking girl she must be!"

I will not defend her; I know that all the old ladies, in whatever
garments, whether bifurcate or circumambient, will reasonably cry out
upon Rose Tracy; but let us for a moment hear what it was that induced
her to perform that which the philosophers and critics of Lambeth, and
especially those nearest to the door of the famous peripatetic school
of the Bricklayers'-arms, would call "a very young trick."

"Well, Arthur, what news do you bring us from the other side of
the hills?" asked General Tracy, when his brother appeared at the
dinner-table, on the second day after the departure of his last guest.

"Why, that the Abbey estate is certainly to be sold," replied Mr.
Tracy. "I met Sir William at the court-house; and he informed me that
it was his intention to dispose of the property in lots. He was
particularly civil, and said, whatever arrangement might be necessary,
either for my convenience or that of this part of the county, he would
willingly make: so that the land required for the new road from H---- to
Northferry, will not cost more than the mere worth of the ground at a
valuation. I have seldom met with a more gentlemanly man, at least in
manners."

"The heart may be a very different affair," said General Tracy.

"Of that we may discover something more in a few days," answered the
other brother; "for I have asked him hereto settle the whole of this
affair with me, as the Germans say _unter vier Augen_; and he comes
here on Friday next, to spend a few days."

Emily made no remark. She would have been very well satisfied to be
without the company of Sir William Winslow; for from all she had at
different times heard of him, she had not conceived a high opinion of
him. But she cared little about the matter, Rose, however, was alarmed
and agitated on Chandos's account; and she conjured up all sorts of
fears--lest she should not have an opportunity of giving him notice of
his brother's coming--lest he should not be able to avoid him--lest
they should meet and quarrel, and a thousand other _lests_, with which
it is unnecessary to embarrass the page.

Turn we rather to the early hour at which she hastened down to her
little marble basin, where her gold-fish were certainly not expecting
her at that precise moment. Some one else was, however; and in that
expectation he had taken care that no such interruptions should occur
as on the preceding day. Dear Emily's graceful limbs were still in
soft repose too, or at least not clad in any presentable garments;
and, therefore the two had all the world of the little glade to
themselves.

Rose, however, trembled more with agitation than fear. There were
doubts in her mind, doubts as to her conduct, doubts as to her
feelings; and those doubts were continually asking, "What stirred the
bosom of the Rose so powerfully?" a very unpleasant question, which
she was not inclined to answer.

Chandos saw the agitation, and thought it very beautiful; for it made
her eye sparkle, and the colour of her cheek vary, and gave a
quivering eagerness to the half-open lips. Admiration was the first
feeling as he saw her come; but then some degree of anxiety to know
the cause of her emotion succeeded, and he advanced a step or two to
meet her.

"Oh, Mr. Winslow," said Rose, as she approached; "I fear you must
think this very strange of me; but I made you a promise that if ever I
saw any likelihood of your being discovered, I would give you
immediate notice; and I must keep my promise before anything else."

"And does such a likelihood exist?" asked Chandos, in some alarm;
"does any one suspect?"

"Oh no," replied Rose; "but your brother is down at Winslow Abbey, or
in the neighbourhood; and my father has asked him here for a few days.
He comes on Friday."

Chandos mused for a moment or two; and at length a faint and
melancholy smile came upon his fine countenance. "I know not well what
to do," he said at length, in a thoughtful tone, looking up in Rose's
face as if for counsel.

"I thought it would embarrass you very much," she answered; "and I was
most anxious to tell you yesterday; but some obstacle always presented
itself, so that I was obliged to risk a step, which I am afraid will
make you think me a strange, rash girl."

"A strange, rash girl!" said Chandos, gazing at her till her eyelids
fell, and the colour came up in her cheek. "A kind, noble, generous
one, rather; who will not let cold ceremonies stand in the way of a
good action, or mere forms prevent the fulfilment of a promise." He
took her hand and pressed his lips upon it; and then, looking into her
eyes, he added abruptly--"O, Rose, I love you dearly--too dearly for
my own peace, perhaps--and yet why should I fear? Rasher love than
mine has been successful; and one gleam of hope, one word of
encouragement will be enough to give me energy to sweep away all the
difficulties, to overcome all the obstacles, which seem so formidable
at a distance--nay, dear one, do not tremble and turn pale; surely you
must have felt before now that I love you--you must have seen even on
that first day of our meeting, which we both remember so well, that I
could love you, should love you, if we were to meet again."

"I must go," said Hose in a low voice; "indeed, I must go."

"Not yet," said Chandos, detaining her gently. "Sit down upon this
bench and hear me but for a moment; for my whole future fate is in
your hands, and by your words now will be decided whether by efforts,
stimulated and ennobled by love, I raise myself high in the world's
esteem, and recover that position in society of which I have been
unjustly deprived; or whether I linger on through a despairing life
without expectation or exertion, and leave my wayward fate to follow
its own course, without an attempt to mend it."

"Oh do not do so, Chandos," replied Rose Tracy, raising her eyes for
the first time to his. "Make those great and generous efforts; put
forth all the powers of a fine, high mind; control by strong
determination the adverse circumstances that seem to have set so
strongly against you; and depend upon it you will be enabled to stem
the torrent which seems now so black and overwhelming."

She spoke eagerly, enthusiastically; and her words were full of hope
to Chandos Winslow's ear--of hope; because he felt that such interest
could not be without its share of love; ay, and the very figure which
in her eagerness she used, recalled to his mind the swimming of the
stream near Winslow Abbey, which in its consequences had brought him
even where he then was.

"I will stem the torrent, Rose," he answered, "I will swim the stream;
but I must have hope to welcome me to the other bank. I came hither
with a dream of other things; but you have given me new objects, new
inducements. Take them not from me, Rose; for the light you have
given, once extinguished, and all would be darkness indeed."

"What would you have me say?" answered Rose, holding out her hand to
him frankly. "Were I to make any promises, were I to enter into any
engagements without my father's consent, you yourself would
disapprove, if you did not blame, and would not value a boon
improperly granted, or would always remember I had failed in one duty,
and doubt whether I would perform others well. You must not, Chandos,
no, you must not ask me to say or do anything that would lower me in
your opinion:" and she added, in an under tone, "I value it too
highly."

"Not for the world," cried Chandos eagerly; "for even to ask it would
sink me in your esteem; but only tell me this, Rose, only give me this
hope--say, if I return qualified in point of fortune and expectations,
openly to ask your hand of your father, and gain his consent, may I
then hope?"

The colour varied beautifully in her cheek, and this time she did not
look up; but, with her eyes bent down on the pebbles at her feet, she
said in a low, but distinct voice, "The objection shall not come from
me--I must not say more, Chandos," she continued in a louder tone;
"you must not ask me to say more. I know not on what your hopes and
expectations of success are founded; but you shall have my best wishes
and prayers."

"Thanks, thanks, dearest," answered Chandos, kissing her hand: "my
hopes are not altogether baseless of advancement in any course I
choose to follow. I have had an education which fits me for almost any
course; and although I know that, in this hard world, the possession
of wealth is the first great means of winning wealth, that poverty is
the greatest bar to advancement in a country which professes that the
road to high station is open to every one, still I have quite enough
to sustain myself against the first buffets of the world. A relation,
thank God, left me independent. My father's will adds property, which,
when sold, will amount to eight or ten thousand pounds more; and with
the dear hopes that you have given me, I will instantly choose some
course, which upon due consideration may seem to lead most rapidly to
the end in view. I have relations, too, powerful and willing, I
believe, to serve me; and with their aid and my own efforts I do not
fear."

"But what will you do at present?" said Rose anxiously. "If your
brother comes, of course he will recognise you. I have heard he is
very violent in temper, and I fear--"

"Nay, have no fears," answered Chandos; "We must not meet at present.
But I stipulated with your father for a month's leave of absence at
this season of the year; and, although I have lingered on here, if the
truth must be told, to sun myself in the light of those dear eyes from
day to day, yet I almost resolved to spend one month, at least, of
every year, resuming my right character, in London. I will now claim
your father's promise, as little remains to be done here. Long ere I
return, my brother will be gone; and by that time too I shall have
fixed upon my future course of life, so as to communicate to you all
my schemes for the future. I will speak to Mr. Tracy this very
morning: and to-morrow, if he does not object, will take my departure.
But before then I shall see you again; is it not so, Rose?"

"I dare say it will be so," she answered, with a faint smile: "there
has been seldom a day when we have not met. I begin to judge very
badly of myself; but I can assure you, I had no notion of what you
were thinking of till--till within these last few days, or I should
have acted differently, perhaps."

"Ob, do not say so," replied her lover. "Why would you make me believe
you less kind, less gentle than you have shown yourself? Why say that
if you had known how great was the happiness you gave, you would have
deprived me of the brightest consolation I could have, under many
sorrows and disappointments."

"If it consoled you I shall be more contented with myself," said Rose.
"But now I must go, Chandos; for indeed if any one were to catch me
sitting here talking to you, I should die of shame."

"All that could then be done," answered her lover, "would be to tell,
that Thomas Acton is Chandos Winslow, and to say how he and Rose Tracy
met one bright day many months ago, and how she passed hours leaning
upon his arm amongst gay bright folks, who little suspected that he
would one day turn out a gardener."

Rose laughed, and gave him her hand, only to be covered with parting
kisses; and, while she walked thoughtfully and with a much moved heart
back to the house, Chandos paused for full a quarter-of-an-hour to
gaze upon a bright and beautiful view, full of summer sunshine, and
life and light, which had suddenly opened before him in the world of
fancy. Oh what immense and uncountable wealth lies hid in the chambers
of a castle in the air! In youth we are all chameleons, and our lands
and tenements are as unsubstantial as our food.

When he had lived in cloudland for a while, Chandos went round the
grounds, gave various orders, directions, and explanations; and then,
following the path which Rose had pursued--he loved to put his feet
on the same spots where hers had trod--he too went up to the house,
and desired to speak with Mr. Tracy.



CHAPTER XV.


Amongst a crowd of persons who were waiting to get into the train, at
the--station of--railway, was one exceedingly well dressed young man
in deep mourning. He was tall, perhaps standing six feet in height, or
a little more, exceedingly broad over the chest, with long and
powerful arms, and a small waist. His features were fine, and the
expression of his countenance though very grave, was engaging and
noble. He had a first-class ticket, and got into a carriage in which
were already three other passengers. One was a tall middle-aged man,
with a dull-coloured handkerchief, high up, upon his chin; another, a
young dandified looking person, not very gentlemanly in appearance;
and the third, was a short personage, with an air of great importance,
a tin case, and a large roll of papers and parchments, tied up with a
piece of green ribbon. His face was round, his figure was round, his
legs were round, and his hands were round. In short, he would have
looked like a congeries of dumplings, if it had not been for the
colour of his countenance, which equalled that of an autumnal sun seen
through a London fog. Round and rosy countenances are not generally
the most expressive; and there was but one feature in that of this
worthy personage, which redeemed it from flat insipidity. That was the
eye; black, small, twinkling, ever in motion, it was one of the
shrewdest, cunningest little eyes that ever rolled in a human head.
There was not a vestige of eyebrow above it--nothing but a scalded red
line. There was very little eyelash around it, but yet it is wonderful
how it twinkled, without any accessories: a fixed star, shining by its
own light; and yet the simile is not a good one, for it was anything
but fixed, glancing from person to person, and object to object as
fast as it could go.

When the stranger entered the carriage, this round gentleman was
holding forth to him in the dark handkerchief, upon some subject which
seemed to be provocative of that very troublesome quality, called
_eloquence_; but, nevertheless, without for one moment interrupting
his declamation, he had in an instant investigated every point of his
new fellow-traveller's exterior, while he was getting in, and had
doubtless made his own comments thereon, with proper sagacity.

"It matters not one straw, my dear Sir," said the round man, with
infinite volubility, "whether it be the broad gauge or the narrow
gauge, whether it be well-constructed or ill-constructed, whether
well-worked or ill-worked, what are its facilities, whence it comes,
whither it goes, or any other accidental circumstance whatever. It is
a railroad, my dear Sir--a railroad, _in esse_ or _in posse_; and a
man of sense never considers a railroad, except under one point of
view, videlicet, as a speculation. That is the only question for any
man--How is it as a speculation? Is it up or down? Has it had its
_up?_--And here I must explain what I mean by having its _up_. Every
railroad that can be conceived, will, and does rise in the market, to
a certain height, at some time. Let me explain: By a certain height, I
mean a height above its real value. Well, it is sure to reach that
height at some time. All things are relative, of course. For instance,
and by way of illustration: Suppose some ingenious surveyor, with the
assistance of an engineer in some repute--say, Brunel, Cubit,
Vignoles--and a railway solicitor, were to start the project of a
railway to the Canary Islands. A number of stupid fellows would at
once say, 'That is impossible!' and scrip would be very low. But then
the projectors would wisely put a number of influential names in the
direction. The least scrap of writing in the world, will suffice to
justify you in putting a man's name in the direction; and if you
cannot get that, you take it for granted that he will support so
excellent a scheme, and put him on without. Well, _the rail to the
Canary Islands_ is before the public for some time--scrip very
low--perhaps no quotations--but two or three knowing ones are well
aware that it will have _its up_, and they buy. It gets rumoured that
Rothschild has bought, or Goldschmid has bought, or any other great
name has bought; scrip begins to rise. The bill goes in to the Board
of Trade--not the slightest chance of its being recommended--never
mind! There's an immense deal of bustle, an immense deal of talk: one
man says, it is folly; another, that it is a bubble--but then comes
some one and says, 'Look at Rothschild, look at Goldschmid, look at
the list of directors.' Scrip goes up! People begin to bet upon its
passing the Board. Scrip goes up! The last minute before the decision
arrives; and then, or at some period before or after, it may be said
to have its _up_. Then all wise men sell, and scrip goes down. If it
is a very bad job, it goes down, down, down, till the whole thing
bursts. If, however, it is feasible, with good and sturdy men
concerned, it will go on varying, sometimes high, sometimes low, for
months or years. But I would never advise any one to have to do with
such a line as that. The very worst and most impracticable are always
the best speculations."

"I do not understand that," said the man in the dull handkerchief. "I
made ten thousand clear in one day by the Birmingham, which, after
all, is the best line going."

"You might have made a hundred thousand if it had been the worst,"
answered the man of rounds. "You say you don't understand it. I will
explain--I am always ready to explain. On uncertain lines, very
uncertain indeed, there is always the most fluctuation. Now the
business of a speculator is to take advantage of fluctuations. You
will say it is not safe, perhaps; but that is a mistake. The
speculation in the bad-line business can be reduced to a mathematical
certainty, as I proved to the worthy gentleman with whom I have been a
doing a little business this morning, Mr. Tracy, of Northferry. He
preferred good lines, and thought them both safer and more right and
proper, and all that sort of thing. So I only dealt with the safeness;
for, after all, that is the question with a speculator; and I showed
him that the very worst lines have their up at some time; it may not
be very great, but the difference between it and the down is greater
always than in good lines. 'Suppose, my dear Sir,' I said, 'that the
fifty-pound share is at first at ninety per cent. discount; then is
the time to buy. You never suppose that it will rise to par; but when
the surveying is all done, the notices are served, the forms all
complied with, and after a tremendous bustle--always make a tremendous
bustle, it tells on the market--and, after a tremendous bustle, you
have got your bill into the Board of Trade, the share is sure to go up
till it sticks at seventy or seventy-five per cent, discount. Then
sell as fast as possible, and you gain more than cent. per cent. upon
your outlay.' There is no scheme so bad upon the face of the earth
that it cannot be raised full ten per cent. with a little trouble. Let
a man start a line to the moon, and if I do not bring it up ten per
cent. from the first quotations, my name is not Scriptolemus Bond."

"You must have made a good thing of it, Mr. Bond, I suppose," said the
man in the handkerchief.

"Pretty well, pretty well!" answered the other with a shrewd wink of
the eye; "not quite up to Hudson yet; but I shall soon be a head of
him, for he does nothing but dabble with paltry good lines. I have
enough in this box to make three men's fortunes;" and he rapped the
tin case by his side.

How the real Charlatan does vary its operations in different ages!
This same man, a century ago, would have been selling pills and
powders at a fair. His attention, however, was at this point called in
another direction, by the tall, elegant stranger in mourning, who had
lately come in, inquiring in a quiet tone, "Pray, Sir, does Mr. Arthur
Tracy speculate much in railroads?"

"No man more," answered Mr. Scriptolemus Bond. "Are you acquainted
with him, Sir?"

"I have seen and conversed with him several times," replied the other;
"but we are no farther acquainted."

"Well, Sir, Mr. Tracy is a lucky man," said Mr. Bond; "he has
several hundred thousands of pounds in some of the most promising
speculations going. Too much in the good lines, indeed, to get as much
out of it as possible; but he has this morning, at my suggestion,
embarked in an excellent affair. 'The diagonal North of England and
John-o'-Groats-House Railway.' The fifty-pound share is now at
seventeen and sixpence, and I'll stake my reputation that in six weeks
it will be up at five pounds; for a great number of capital people are
only waiting to come in when they see it on the rise. Now the very
fact of Mr. Tracy having taken five hundred shares will raise them ten
or twelve shillings in the market; so that he might sell to-morrow,
and be a gainer of fifty per cent. Oh, I never advise a bad
speculation. I am always sure, quite sure. Would you like to embark a
few hundred pounds in the same spec as your friend, Sir? I have no
doubt I could get you shares at the same rate, or within a fraction,
if you decide at once. To-morrow they will probably be up to twenty or
five-and-twenty. How many shall I say, Sir?" and Mr. Scriptolemus took
out his note-book.

"None, I thank you," answered Chandos Winslow; "I never speculate."

"Humph!" said the other; and turning to the dandified young man in the
corner, he applied to him with better success. The youth's ears had
been open all the time, and the oratory displayed had produced the
greater effect, because it was not addressed immediately to him.

No further conversation took place between Chandos Winslow and Mr.
Scriptolemus Bond. The latter found that he was not of the stuff of
which gentlemen of his cloth make conveniences, and, what is more,
discovered it at once. Indeed, it is wonderful what tact a practised
guller of the multitude displays in selecting the materials for his
work.

At the London terminus, the young gentleman got into a cabriolet, and
took his way to a small quiet hotel in Cork-street, and remained
thinking during the evening a great deal more of Mr. Scriptolemus Bond
and his sayings and doings, than of anything else on earth, except
Rose Tracy. It was not that the prospect of making rapidly large sums
of money by the speculations of the day had any great effect upon him,
although it must be owned that such hopes would have been very
attractive in conjunction with that bright image of Rose Tracy, had it
not been for certain prejudices of habit and education. But he had a
higher flying ambition; he longed not only to win wealth for Rose
Tracy's sake, but to win it with distinction, in the straightforward,
open paths of personal exertion. He did not wish that his marriage
with her should be brought about like the denouement of a third-rate
French comedy, by a lucky hit upon the Bourse. It was the words which
Mr. Bond had spoken regarding the large speculations of Mr. Tracy
which surprised and somewhat alarmed him. He knew well that the
railroad mania was the fever of the day, that it affected every rank
and every profession, that neither sex and no age but infancy was
free; but he was sorry to find that Rose's father was infected with
the disease in so serious a form. What might be the consequences of a
mistake in such a course, to her he loved best! How great was the
probability of a mistake on the part of a man in Mr. Tracy's position!
He was removed from all sources of immediate information; he had few
means of ascertaining the feasibility of the schemes in which he
engaged; he had no means of ascertaining the characters of those with
whom he was associated. Young as he was, Chandos saw dangers great and
probable in such a course; and not knowing the almost omnipotent power
of a popular passion over the minds of men, he could not conceive how
a person of Mr. Tracy's sense, blessed with affluence, in need of
nothing, with but two daughters to succeed to wealth already great,
could yield himself to such infatuation.

The next morning passed in visits to several of his old friends and
some of his mother's relations. His story, as far as regarded his
father's will, was already known, and he was received everywhere with
kindness--apparent, if not real; for it is a mistake to suppose that
the world is so impolitic as to show its selfishness in a way to
ensure contempt. One or two were really kind, entered warmly into his
feelings and his wishes, and consulted as to how his interests were
best to be served, his objects most readily to be gained. A cousin of
his mother's, an old lady with a large fortune at her disposal, wrote
at once to her nephew, one of the ministers, who had a good number of
daughters, begging him to espouse the cause of Chandos Winslow, and
obtain for him some employment in which his abilities would have room
to display themselves. An answer, however, was not to be expected
immediately; and Chandos went back to his solitary hotel with
gratitude for the kindness he had met with, but nevertheless with
spirits not raised.

Several days passed dully. The hopes of youth travel by railroad, but
fulfilment goes still by the waggon. He found petty impediments at
every step: people out whom he wanted to see; hours wasted by waiting
in ante-rooms; ministers occupied all day long; friends who forgot
what they had promised to remember, and were very much ashamed to no
effect. To a man who seeks anything of his fellow-men, there is always
a terrible consumption of time. Sometimes it is accidental on the
part of those who inflict it--sometimes, alas! though by no means
always--it is in a degree intentional, for there is a pleasure in
keeping application waiting. It prolongs our importance.

"My dear Sir, I am very sorry to have detained you," said a high
officer one day, running into the waiting room and shaking his hand;
"but I have had pressing business all the morning, and now I must ask
you to call on me to-morrow about two, for I am forced to run away
upon a matter that cannot be delayed."

What had he been doing for the last hour? What was he going to do? He
had been reading the newspaper. He was going to trifle with a pretty
woman.

A fortnight passed, and on the second Saturday of his stay in London,
Chandos, who loved music, went with a friend, a young guardsman, to
the opera. During the first act, for they were both enthusiasts in
their way, neither Chandos nor Captain Parker saw or heard anything
but what was going on upon the stage--I call him Captain Parker by a
licence common to those who write such books as this; for in reality
his name was not Parker, though in other respects the tale is true. At
the end of the first act, as usually happens with young men, they
began to look round the house from their station below in search of
friendly or of pretty faces. "There is my aunt, Lady Mary," said
Parker; "I must go up and speak with her for a minute. Will you come,
Winslow? I will introduce you. My two young cousins are very handsome,
people think."

"Not to-night," said Chandos; "I am out of spirits, Parker, and unfit
for fair ladies' sweet companionship."

Parker accordingly went away alone, and spent some time in his aunt's
box. Chandos looked up once, and saw bright eyes and a glass turned to
where he sat in the pit. "Parker is telling my story," he thought; and
an unpleasant feeling of being talked about made him turn away his
eyes and look at some other people. A few minutes after, his friend
rejoined him, and sat out the opera; then went to speak with some
other party; and Chandos, who was in a mood to be bored by a ballet,
and to detest even Cerito, walked slowly out. There were a good many
people going forth, and a crush of carriages. Lady Mary Parker's
carriage was shouted forth. (There may be another Lady Mary Parker; I
believe there is.) The lady advanced with her two daughters: the
servant was at the carriage-door: a chariot dashed violently up, and,
as her carriage had not drawn close to the curb, on account of another
that was before, cut in, jamming the footman, and almost running down
the old lady. Chandos started forward, caught the intruding horses'
heads, and forced them back, the coachman, as such cattle will
sometimes do, cutting at him with his whip. Of the latter circumstance
Chandos took but little notice, the police interfering to make the
coachman keep back when the mischief was done, according to the
practice of the London police; but he instantly approached Lady Mary,
expressing a hope in very courteous terms, that she was neither hurt,
nor much alarmed.

"Oh, no! Mr. Winslow," said the lady, leaning on her eldest daughter;
"but I fear my poor servant is. He was jammed between the carriages."

Ere Chandos could say anything in return, some one pushed roughly
against him, exclaiming, "Get out of the way, fellow!" and the next
moment Lord Overton was before him.

"What do you mean, Sir?" cried Chandos, turning upon him fiercely, and
for an instant forgetting the presence of women.

"I mean that you are an impertinent, blackguard," replied Lord
Overton. "I hope, Lady Mary, my fellow did not frighten you. He is
rather too quick."

"So quick, my lord, that he should be discharged very quickly," said
Lady Mary Parker, taking Chandos's arm unoffered, and walking with him
to the side of her carriage. The young ladies followed; a question was
asked of the footman, who said he was a little hurt, but not much; and
the door was shut.

Before the vehicle drove on, however, the ladies within had the
satisfaction, if it was one, of seeing Chandos Winslow lead Lord
Overton towards his carriage by the nose.



CHAPTER XVI.


Let us write an essay upon noses. Each organ of the human body, but
more especially an organ of sensation, has a sort of existence
apart--a separate sphere of being from the great commonwealth of which
it is a member, just as every individual has his own peculiar ties and
relationships distinct from the body of society, though affecting it
sympathetically and remotely. Each organ has its affections and its
pleasures; its misfortunes and its pains; its peculiarities, generic
and individual; its own appropriate history, and its unchangeable
destiny and fate. As the eye is supposed (wrongly) to be the most
expressive of organs, so is the nose of man the most impressible.
Tender in its affections, enlarged in its sympathies, soft in its
character, it is in this foul and corrupt world more frequently
subject to unpleasant than to pleasant influences. During one season
of the year alone does nature provide it with enjoyments; and during
the long cold winter it is pinched and maltreated by meteoric
vicissitudes. It is a summer-bird; a butterfly; a flower, blossoming
on the waste of man's countenance, but inhaling (not exhaling) odours
during the bright period when other flowers are in bloom. During the
whole of the rest of the year its joys are factitious, and whether
they proceed from Eau de Portugal, bouquet à la Reine, or Jean Marie
Farina, it is but a sort of hot-house life the nose obtains, produced
by stoves and pipes, till summer comes round again.

Like all the sensitive, the nose is perhaps the most unfortunate of
human organs. Placed in an elevated situation, it is subject to all
the rude buffets of the world; its tender organization is always
subject to disgusts. Boreas assails it; Sol burns it; Bacchus inflames
it. Put forward as a leader in the front of the battle, men follow it
blindly on a course which it is very often unwilling to pursue, and
then blame it for every mischance. Whatever hard blows are given, it
comes in for more than its share; and, after weeping tears of blood,
has to atone for the faults of other members over which it has no
control. The fists are continually getting it into scrapes; its bad
neighbour, the tongue, brings down indignation upon it undeserved; the
eyes play it false on a thousand occasions; and the whole body
corporate is continually poking it into situations most repugnant to
its better feelings. The poor, unfortunate nose! verily, it is a sadly
misused organ. It matters not whether it be hooked or straight, long
or short, turned-up or depressed, a bottle, a bandbox, a sausage, or
the ace of clubs; Roman, Grecian, English, French, German, or Calmuc,
the nose is ever to be pitied for its fate below.

I can hardly forgive Chandos Winslow for fingering so rudely the nasal
organ of Viscount Overton. It was of considerable extent, and very
tangible qualities: an inviting nose, it must be said, which offered
almost as many temptations to an insulted man as that of a certain
gentleman in Strasburg to the trumpeter's wife. So much must be said
in Chandos's favour; but yet it was cruel, harsh, almost cowardly. The
poor nose could not defend itself; and yet he had the barbarity to
pinch the helpless innocent between his iron finger and thumb for full
three seconds and a half. Pain and amazement kept the owner of the
nose from putting forth his own powers to avenge it for the same
space; and indeed it would have been to little purpose had he
attempted such a thing, for he was no more capable of defending his
nose against Chandos Winslow, than the nose was of defending itself.

At length the grasp of his antagonist relaxed, and the peer exclaimed
aloud, "Police! police! You scoundrel, I will give you in charge."

"That you can do if you please," answered Chandos, with a sneer; "but
methinks your honour will somewhat suffer. There, Sir, is my card, if
you wish to know who it is has punished your impertinence."

The police were very busy at a little distance; and the noble lord,
left to his own resources, exclaimed, "Your card, fellow! Do
you suppose I do not know you--a low vagabond dressed up as a
gentleman!--Police! I say."

A crowd had gathered round, and two gentlemen in anticipation of the
arrival of the police, were investigating the contents of the peer's
pockets, when a tall, thin, gentlemanly man, one Sir Henry d'Estragon,
a Lieutenant-Colonel in the service, well known about Wimbledon and
Molesey, and who had even reminiscences of Primrose Hill when there
was such a place unpolluted, pushed his way through, crying, "Why,
Winslow, what is the matter? How do you do, my dear fellow? Here seems
a row. What is going on?"

"Perhaps, d'Estragon, you can persuade this person, whose nose I have
just had the pleasure of pulling," replied Chandos Winslow, "that I am
not a low vagabond dressed up like a gentleman. He is not inclined to
take my card, but calls for the police."

"Rather strange," said Sir Henry d'Estragon. "I thought it was Lord
Overton: but I must be mistaken."

"No Sir, you are not," replied the peer; "but I have every reason to
believe this person to be an impostor."

"Pooh!" said the officer, turning away with a scoff. "Come, Winslow;
if he chooses policemen for his friends on such occasions, we had
better get away. Here they come."

"Stay a moment, Sir," said Lord Overton; "if you will be answerable
that this person is--"

"Mr. Chandos Winslow, my lord," replied Sir Henry, "second son of my
old friend Sir Harry Winslow, whom I had the honour of accompanying in
'twenty-seven, when he shot Michael Burnsley. I have nothing more to
say, except that there is the gentleman's card. Any friend of yours
will find me with him till twelve to-morrow. But if you prefer the
police, you must send them after us. Goodnight, my lord."

Lord Overton took the tendered card; and Sir Henry, putting his arm
through that of Chandos, walked away up Charles-street, while the
policemen came up and inquired what was the matter; but got no
satisfactory answer.

The next morning Sir Henry d'Estragon sat at breakfast with Chandos
Winslow in his hotel, making himself very comfortable with all the
etcæteras of an English breakfast, when Lord George Lumley was
announced; and, as Chandos knew no such person, the object of his
visit was not difficult to divine. All formal courtesies were gone
through in a very formal manner; and then, after a single instant's
pause, and a look at a patent-leather boot, Lord George addressed
himself to the business in hand.

"I have the honour, Mr. Winslow," he said, "of bearing you a message
from my friend, Lord Overton. It would seem a very strange
misconception took place last night, according to Lord Overton's
account, from whom I required a full explanation of the whole
circumstances, as I never undertake anything of this kind, without
having made myself master of the facts."

Sir Henry d'Estragon showed some signs of an impatience, which was not
decreased when Lord George went on to say: "Lord Overton mistook you,
it would appear, for a person in an inferior station, very like you; I
myself see no reason why mutual apologies should not set the whole
matter to rights; but--"

"We have no apologies to make, my dear lord," replied Sir Henry; "your
friend called Mr. Winslow an impertinent blackguard, in the presence
of three ladies; adding, afterwards, some very insulting language.
Under those circumstances, my friend pulled his nose--he always does;
it is a habit he has--and there we rest satisfied: if Lord Overton is
not satisfied, it is another thing."

"I will only add one word," said Chandos, "on my own part, and then
leave you two gentlemen to settle the matter; as, when I have put
myself in the hands of another, I have no farther right to interfere.
What I have simply to say, is this: that the language and manner of
Lord Overton towards me is not to be justified or excused by the plea
that he mistook me for any one else, for it was ungentlemanly and
unjustifiable towards any man, who gave him no offence, let that man's
situation be what it would. And now, gentlemen, I will leave you." And
he walked into the neighbouring room.

In about five minutes after, Sir Henry d'Estragon came in to him and
said, "Lord George requires, on the part of his friend, that you
should say you are sorry for having pulled his nose. I have already
given a general refusal; but Lord George is peacefully as well as
valiantly disposed; and, therefore, wishes the proposal to be
submitted to you, with a hint at the same time, that he does not know
whether his principal will be contented with the terms; but that he
shall withdraw from the business, if Lord Overton is not. What say
you? Do not let me bias you."

"I shall certainly not say that I am sorry," replied Chandos; "for if
I did, I should tell a lie. I think it was the only fitting punishment
for Lord Overton's conduct, though perhaps, less than he merited."

"Bravo!" said Sir Henry; and returning again into the sitting room, he
remained for about ten minutes in consultation with Lord George
Lumley, and then notified to Chandos, that all was arranged for a
meeting on the day after the next.

At seven o'clock in the morning--it was just gray daylight--a
post-chaise and a travelling-chariot were seen drawn up, near the
mill, on Wimbledon Common. At the distance of about five hundred yards
stood five persons, of whom Chandos Winslow and Viscount Overton were
the principals. Chandos was cool and calm, though there was some
little degree of hesitation in his own mind regarding his conduct.
Lord Overton was considerably excited, and eyed his adversary with a
steady look and a frowning brow. Lord George Lumley made one more
effort to bring about a reconciliation; but the peer repelled even his
own friend haughtily, saying aloud, so that no one could avoid hearing
him: "I tell you, Lumley, the time is past. I would accept no apology
now, if it were offered; and pray take care that there be no foolery:
for it is my determination not to quit this spot, till one or the
other of us cannot fire a shot."

Such a declaration was well calculated to remove any doubt from
Chandos's mind. D'Estragon placed him very scientifically, spoke a
word or two of caution and direction, and then retired with Lord
George to give the signal. The distance was eight paces; the ground
flat and unencumbered; both men very cool and steady; for Lord Overton
had grown calm, as soon as he was in position; and the "one, two,
three," were pronounced in a clear, loud voice. Both pistols were
fired in an instant. Chandos Winslow's hat was knocked off his head,
and fell a step or two behind; but he stood firm. On the contrary Lord
Overton wavered on his feet, though no one saw where the ball had
taken effect; and then dropped slowly down, with a motion as unlike a
stage death as possible. The surgeon and the seconds all ran up; and
Chandos Winslow, after pausing for a moment, followed more slowly.
D'Estragon, however, met him, as he came near, saying: "Come along,
come along! he has got sufficient." And, taking him by the arm, he
hurried him towards the chaise, into which they both got.

"Cork-street," he said to Winslow's boy; and, putting his head out of
the window, he called to the man with the other horses, "You had
better get up there as near as you can to those gentlemen."

Chandos leaned back in his carriage with very painful sensations at
his heart: he felt what it is for two men to meet full of life and
energy, and but one to go away again. At that moment he would have
given almost all he possessed on earth, that he had not fired.

"Is he dead?" he inquired at length.

"No, he was not when we came away," said d'Estragon, gravely, "but
hurt quite badly enough for you to be off, my dear fellow, and me too.
Just drop me at my house as we go by; and then get this fellow to take
you another stage out of town. It will be better for us to go
separately; for I have known awkward consequences from two men
travelling together under such circumstances."

The arrangement he proposed was followed, as far at least as dropping
him at his own house was concerned; but Chandos then returned to the
hotel, and remained for nearly half-an-hour in sad thought. He had
scarcely the heart to fly; but after a while, recalling the unpleasant
image of long imprisonment before trial, he made up his mind to his
course, and quitted London by one of the few stage coaches remaining.
About ten days were spent in retirement at one of the small villages
which are found scattered over the country within about twenty miles
of London, and then he made his way back towards Winslow Abbey. He had
heard no news of his antagonist's fate after he had left him with his
friend and the surgeon on Wimbledon Common. In a country paper,
indeed, he had seen, copied from a London paper, an account of the
duel, in which the facts were of course misstated, without being
altogether false. If newspapers would content themselves with telling
the plain truth or the plain lie about anything, they would be
beneficial or harmless; but it is the mixture of both which often
renders them dangerous and detrimental, ay, sometimes even after
nineteen years. From the journal which fell into his hands, all he
gathered was that Lord Overton had been carried to his own house,
supposed to be in a dying state, while the peer's conduct towards
himself was grossly exaggerated by a democratic paper, for the purpose
of crying down the aristocracy. He was grieved, anxious, remorseful;
for he could not exculpate himself from all blame. He knew that Lord
Overton had just cause to think that he was assuming a character which
did not belong to him; and all the motives which had actuated before
and during the duel seemed to vanish into thin air when he came calmly
and without passion to examine his own conduct. In vain he asked
himself if he could stand and be insulted without resentment in the
presence of persons nearly strangers to him. In vain he thought that
no law required him to remain passive and be shot at by a man who
declared his determination of not quitting the ground till one fell.
In vain he argued, that having put his honour into the hands of a
friend, he was bound to abide by whatever determination that friend
came to. He felt that he might have done better, and that by not doing
so he had endangered, if not taken, the life of a fellow-creature.

It was with a heavy heart then that, after having quitted the railroad
and the cross coach, and left his baggage to be sent to the little
public-house at Northferry, he walked on in the garments of an
inferior station, which he had resumed, towards the ancient seat of
his family, wishing to see his half-brother, Lockwood, and obtain
further information upon many points before he proceeded to Mr.
Tracy's.

The sun had set before he reached the park; and walking slowly along
under a row of broad chestnuts which bordered the paling on the east,
he approached Lockwood's house, thoughtful, and perhaps more sad than
when he had first visited it. But the house was all dark, and he
rapped and tried the door in vain. Then thinking that perhaps the
person he sought had gone up to the Abbey, he crossed the wide
savannahs and groves of tall trees, and came upon the house towards
the eastern angle. There were lights in several of the rooms, and a
suspicion that his brother might be at the house crossed his mind. How
to ascertain the fact without discovering himself, became the next
question; but the night was very dark, the tall windows came down to
within three feet of the ground of the terrace; the wind was high and
noisy, so as to cover the sound of his footfalls, and in most of the
rooms the curtains seemed not to have been drawn. He would look in, he
thought, and see who were the tenants.

The rooms nearest to him he knew were those inhabited by the keeper,
Garbett, and his wife; and passing on along the principal front,
he paused at what had been called in his boyish days the little
drawing-room. There were candles on the table, and two men within, one
holding a light in his hand, the other mounted on a ladder, pasting
printed numbers upon the old family pictures, previous to a sale. The
next room, the great drawing-room, was dark; but the music-room beyond
displayed to his eyes a tall, dry-looking person, in a frock coat and
a yellow waistcoat, probably an auctioneer, striking the keys of an
old piano which had stood there since his mother's days. Then came the
boudoir, without lights, and a little ante-room, also in darkness.
Beyond was the small study, the furniture of which had been bequeathed
to himself, and in it was a faint light, which, when he looked through
the windows, he perceived was afforded by the open door of the library
adjoining. Going on a few steps, he paused and gazed, not doubting
that if Lockwood was at the Abbey he would be there; but no such
figure presented itself.

At the large table sat Mr. Faber, the late Sir Harry Winslow's
secretary, and probably his son, with writing materials before him;
and--opposite one of the large gothic bookcases, with a candle on a
small table at his side--was Roberts, the steward. He was busily
engaged with a set of strange-looking iron instruments on a ring, in
what seemed to be picking the lock of one of the drawers, a range of
which ran between the book-shelves above, and a row of cupboards
below. The next instant, while Chandos was still gazing, the drawer
was pulled out, and Roberts took forth a whole handful of papers. He
threw one after the other down into a basket at his side with very
little consideration, till suddenly he paused, looked earnestly at one
of the few which remained in his hand, and then seemed moved by
stronger emotions than Chandos had ever before observed in his calm
and little perturbable countenance. The moment after he said something
to Mr. Faber, and then Chandos heard him distinctly say, "Call him,
call him."

The young secretary rose from the table, paused to look earnestly at
the paper in the steward's hands, and then left the room. Roberts sat
down and wrote, looking from time to time at the paper as if he were
copying something inscribed upon it; and at the end of perhaps two
minutes, Mr. Faber returned. As he entered the room his eyes turned
towards the window where Chandos stood, and he suddenly lifted his
hand and pointed. It was evident that he saw somebody looking in; but
Chandos was sure that in the darkness, and at the distance at which he
stood, his features could not be distinguished. He was agitated, and
his thoughts troubled with all he had seen. He felt convinced that his
brother was in the house, and had been sent for by Roberts. He feared
an encounter with Sir William at that moment and in that garb. He
feared himself and his own vehemence--it was a lesson he had lately
learned; and hurrying away, he plunged into the woods, crossed the
park again, and sought a village about two miles distant, where a
little inn was to be found.

Entering with as composed an air as possible, Chandos Winslow asked
for a room and some tea; and having been accommodated at once, for
persons dressed like himself were frequent and honoured guest, he sat
down to think.

What was the meaning, he asked himself, of the scene he had just
beheld at the Abbey? It was evident that the drawers of the bookcases
which had been left to him with all their contents of every kind, had
been opened without his consent or knowledge. All that those two rooms
contained, of every kind and description whatsoever, had been left to
him by his father's will. The papers which he had seen taken out might
be of infinite importance to him. Who could tell what might be done
with them? Roberts he believed to be perfectly honest. Faber, though
very weak, was kind and gentle; but his brother he felt he could not
depend upon. His notions of right and wrong were anything but strict;
and his ideas of his own privileges and rights distorted by that
species of haughty selfishness, which makes despots of crowned
monarchs and tyrants and unjust men in every walk of life, might
induce him to read the legacy to his brother in a very different sense
from the plain one, and lead him to take possession of the papers
which had been found by his steward and his secretary.

Chandos thought long--sadly--seriously. There are despairing moments,
when all earthly things seem nothing. When the objects of hope and
desire appear valueless--when we feel tired out with the struggle
against fate, and are inclined to give it up and let all things take
their chance. Those are dangerous moments. Let every man beware of
them. They are the first symptoms of the worst kind of mental
malady--apathy; and without prompt and speedy remedies, the disease
will get such a hold that it will be with difficulty cast off. Chandos
felt it creeping upon him, as he had once felt it before. It seemed as
if his destiny was to misfortune; as if nothing could go right with
him; as if every effort, every hope failed. What was the use of
prolonging the strife? What mattered it how the papers, the furniture,
the books, the busts, the pictures, were disposed of? Why should he
play out a losing game? Were it not better to spread out his cards
upon the board, and let his adversary make the most of them?

But, happily, like a ray of light breaking through the storm
clouds--like the first smile of summer after winter--like an angel
sent to comfort, the image of Rose Tracy rose up before his memory.
For her was the struggle. She was the spirit of hope to him; and the
strife against fortune was renewed. Every possession--every chance
became an object worth preserving, as Rose Tracy presented herself to
thought, and for her he resolved to neglect no effort which he had
power to make. The first thing he decided upon was to let Roberts, at
least, know that he was aware of what had taken place; and, calling
for pen and ink and paper, he wrote him a short formal note, to the
following effect:--


     Sir,

I am much surprised to find that the drawers of the bookcases left to
me by my father's will, together with everything that the library and
adjoining study contain, of every kind whatsoever, have been opened
with pick-locks, without my consent. I write this merely to remind you
that you are accountable to me, and only to me, for everything that
you may have found in those drawers, and to insist that the papers of
which you have taken possession, be given into the hands of no one but

     Your obedient servant,

                  Chandos Winslow.



CHAPTER XVII.


There is no sorrow like self-reproach. Chandos Winslow was by no means
a perfect character: he inherited much of his father's vehemence of
nature, though far less than his brother: but at the same time,
whether it be a natural or an acquired quality, (I think, the former,)
he had great conscientiousness. Now, great conscientiousness cannot
exist in the same breast with much vanity. They are incompatible
ingredients: the vain man thinks all he does is right; the
conscientious man is always trying if it be so, and censuring himself
more than he would others when he finds he has acted wrong. Chandos
felt that he had done so in the case of Lord Overton. How much soever
worldly usages might justify him, he would not exculpate himself. And
the burden was heavy: he groaned under it.

When he had written the note to Mr. Roberts, and obtained some tea, he
sat meditating sadly on his fate, till at length he thought, "It would
be better to give myself up! It is a duty--it may be some atonement. I
will see Mr. Tracy first; and Rose. Dear girl, I fear she has suffered
on my account."

His thoughts still remained sad; but they were calmer after he had
taken this resolution. And ringing the bell, he asked if there was a
newspaper in the house to amuse the time. The landlady, who appeared
herself, said there was no "fresh ones," as she termed them; for Mr.
Tims, the sexton, always had them first, and he kept them full three
days; which was a shame. She had all last week's Times, however, she
added, if the gentleman would like to see them.

"Better that than none," Chandos thought; and accepted, the offer. In
a few minutes, the huge pile which a week's accumulation of the Times
newspaper is sure to form in the month of January, when parliament
meets early, was placed before him, and he opened the one at the top.
It was six days old; but the young gentleman's eye rested first upon
one of those eloquent and masterly leading articles, where all the
powers of language and the acuteness of human reason, sharpened by art
and use, are employed to give a peculiar view of some passing subject,
in what may well be called an essay, which, if mental labour and
literary merit ever obtained reward in England, would raise the writer
far above the great body of those who are honoured by the crown and
paid by the nation. The vigour, the subtlety, the eloquence, ay, and
the wisdom of many passages captivated the mind of Chandos Winslow;
but they brought a sad moral with them. He had dreamed of employing
his own talents in the world of letters, of seeking fame and
recompense by mental exertion. But he now asked himself--"Who is it
wrote this splendid essay? What has been his reward in life? Who will
ever hear of him? What will be his future fate? A man who can shake
public opinion to its foundation, who can rule and command the minds
of millions by the sceptre of genius, will live unhonoured but by a
few, unrewarded except by the comparatively small remuneration, which
even such a journal as this can afford, and die forgotten. Print
calico, Chandos Winslow, twist cotton, paint portraits, feel pulses,
plead causes bad and good, cut throats, do any thing but follow a
course which in England is luxurious to the rich and great, thorny and
stony to all else. We are a great commercial people! we are a nation
of shopkeepers; and even in the distribution of honours and rewards,
those who have them to dispose of expect their material pennyworth in
return. Mind is nothing in Great Britain, except as it is employed
upon matter."

While indulging in such reveries Chandos had laid the paper down; but
when they were over, he took it up again; and his eyes fell upon
several other paragraphs, one after the other, till they rested upon a
brief passage, copied from another journal, and headed "THE LATE
DUEL."

"We are happy to be able to state," it went on to say, "that Lord
Overton, the sufferer in the late duel with Mr. Chandos Winslow, is
proceeding rapidly towards convalescence.--Very little fever followed
the extraction of the ball, and that which did supervene has quite
subsided. The answer to inquiries yesterday at his lordship's house
was, that he had been permitted to sit up for several hours. Under
these favourable circumstances, Sir Henry d'Estragon and Mr. Winslow
have returned to town, but have not yet shown themselves in public."

Chandos would have felt more satisfaction if there had not been one
lie at least in the paragraph; but still he judged that the writer was
more likely to learn Lord Overton's real state than his own movements;
and he sought eagerly through the later papers for further
information. He found at length a paragraph which stated that
"Viscount Overton, who was wounded in the late duel at Wimbledon, is
now quite convalescent, and drove out yesterday for two hours in the
park."

Chandos felt as if some angel's hand had effaced the brand of Cain
from his brow: his resolution of giving himself up was of course at an
end, it being, like all resolutions in regard to definite acts, the
mere plaything of circumstances; but he set to work to form other
resolutions, which men may frame with better hopes of their
durability, if their own minds be strong. They affected the regulation
of his own passions, the course of his own conduct, the control of his
own spirit. They were good; and they were lasting.

It is excellent for man to stand as on a mountain in the outset of
life, and gaze over the many ways before him; to choose deliberately
and with cool judgment, that upon which he will bend his steps, and to
pursue it to the end. Verily, he shall not want success.

Chandos Winslow did so; and he rose tranquillized. Warm and eager by
nature, he had learned from his mother to control himself to a certain
point; but that control was merely according to or within the limits
of worldly conventionalities. He had now found that there were wider
obligations; that to rule his own passions, to check his own
vehemence, to submit all his first impulses to a rigid law, totally
independent of the factitious regulations of society, was a duty
which, performed, must lead to peace of mind; and he resolved to
strive so to do against original disposition, and against what is even
more strong--habit.

On the subsequent morning he set out early for Northferry, not
choosing to revisit Winslow park again, lest he should encounter one
"a little more than kin and less than kind."



CHAPTER XVIII.


"Patience, and shuffle the cards," said the sleeper in the cave of
Montesinos; and an excellent good rule it was. Our cards want
shuffling; for the trumps have got packed.

A little more than a fortnight after Chandos Winslow had left
Northferry for London, the party assembled at the house of Mr. Tracy
on the evening of a cold January day, consisted of two or three
persons besides his own family. There was the clergyman, Horace
Fleming. There was an old lady, who lived at about twenty miles'
distance, and spent the night there, when she dined--very rich, and
somewhat egotistical. There was her niece, an exceedingly pretty
little girl, without a penny, and totally dependent upon her bounty,
who sang beautifully, and was kept under strict rule by her aunt--a
sort of human singing bird, which old ladies will keep in cages now
and then; and "last, but not least," was Sir William Winslow, who had
come for two days, and had stayed seventeen. Not that he had entirely
passed his time at Northferry; for he had ridden over more than once
to Winslow Abbey, had met lawyers, and agents, and surveyors, and had
received a proposal and nearly concluded an agreement, for selling the
estate, land, park, and house to the law-agent of Viscount Overton,
acting on his lord's behoof. Some little matters remained to be
settled, but nothing of any great importance. The title was to be
taken as it stood; the money was ready to be paid; and the only
question was, whether the timber should be given at a round sum, or be
regularly surveyed and valued. It was altogether an excellent
arrangement; for, although perhaps the price offered was about five
thousand pounds less than the real worth of the property, yet it saved
Sir William the barbarism of pulling down the Abbey; and that was well
worth the money.

These periods of his absence from Northferry, however, were very
short. Sir William brought them to a close as speedily as possible;
agreed to proposals, which nobody thought he would agree to, with a
facility most extraordinary; gave short answers and few words to every
one who applied to him on business, and rode back to Northferry as
soon as by any means he had scrambled through what he had got to do.

Sir William seemed a changed man; and nobody could tell by what means
the alteration had been effected. Most people indeed seemed to like
him, and to wonder at the bad reports which had got about concerning
him; but the cause of this marvellous change must be explained.

It was a change external, not internal. The man was the same; the
demeanour was altered. The same vehement passions were upon him which
had always moved him; but their operation had taken a different
direction. The first day he had passed at Mr. Tracy's, he had given
his arm to Emily, to take her in to dinner, and he had thought her
exceedingly beautiful. The high, pensive character of her countenance,
the voluptuous beauty of her form, the grace of all her movements,
even the coldness of her manner towards himself, had all
excited--however opposite in their apparent tendency--first
admiration, and then passion. He saw her every day; and, with the
uncontrollable impetuosity of his nature, he hurried on, pressing his
suit upon her, only restrained from declaring it openly by the extreme
brevity of their acquaintance. Every time he beheld her, his heart
seemed on fire; every time she spoke to him, her words were
enchantment that he could not resist; every time he touched her hand,
it sent the blood thrilling through his veins; and day by day, and
night by night he drank in draughts of love from her eyes, which
seemed to intoxicate and leave him no command over himself. It was, in
short, more like the passion of some warm eastern land than of our
cold climate; and there was no folly, hardly any impropriety, that he
would not have committed to call her his with as short a delay as
possible.

Emily, indeed, shrank from his fierce and fiery advances, but as he
had yet said nothing, it was impossible to check them as far as she
could have wished. Still she retired from his pursuit; but her very
hesitation and withdrawal seemed to inspire him with fresh vehemence
and ardour; and the strong passion that he felt, all animal as it was,
seemed to grow more and more upon him hour after hour. Mr. Tracy saw
the whole with some uneasiness; for he saw no sign of his daughter
returning the feelings which she had evidently inspired in Sir William
Winslow. He was not at all a man inclined to sacrifice his daughter;
nor was he indeed one, in any ordinary circumstances, to thwart her
inclinations; nor did he feel at all sure, in the abstract, that Sir
William was the man he would himself have chosen for her. Not that the
latter made himself by any means disagreeable; far from it. The bird
plumes his feathers in the eyes of his mate; the tabby cat washes her
face, and smooths her fur for the eyes of her companion, according to
Pope; and the intensity of his feelings, by the unaffected course of
nature, caused Sir William Winslow to display all that was good or
bright in his character, all that might captivate or attract. He was
witty, he was brilliant, he was gay; and the depth of his passion gave
a vigour and profoundness to his thoughts, a figurative splendour to
his expressions, which might well have carried away any heart not
armed and prepared against him. He was certainly very handsome, too;
not that in features or in form he could compare with his brother; but
still, when Chandos was absent, one would hardly be found to say, that
they had seen a finer looking man.

It was on the seventeenth evening of his stay there, that, with the
party I have mentioned, he was seated in the drawing-room, after
dinner. He had placed himself as near Emily as he could, but that was
not exactly at her side; for she had contrived, by an intuitive skill
in the science of defence, to get the old lady on one side of her, and
her uncle on the other. Mr. Tracy was talking to the pretty girl who
sang, and Horace Fleming--very wretched--was speaking in a low voice
to Rose. Rose was charity itself; and somehow, within the last two
months, her eyes had become wonderfully sharpened to what was going on
in people's hearts. What beautiful eyes they were, when she looked
kindly upon one; shining soft and yet bright, like the light of a
planet!

What Mr. Fleming had said I did not hear; but Rose replied, "It will
be of no avail. He can never induce her to like him."

They were the sweetest words Horace Fleming had ever heard; and with
courage renewed he went over, and standing before Miss Tracy, joined
in the conversation with quiet grace, which woke a world of fiends in
Sir William Winslow's bosom.

Now, there was one curse upon Northferry, proceeding directly from the
original sin--the love of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There
was a post from London twice a-day--excellent for commercial men;
sometimes good for solicitors; always agreeable to gossiping ladies,
young or old; but the greatest annoyance possible in a calm, quiet
little society, where all the business or agitation of the day is as
well got over at once. The second post at Northferry House arrived
about half-past nine; and the moment after Horace Fleming had left
Rose's side, the butler entered with a salver, upon which appeared an
enormous collection of letters, and a newspaper. Mr. Tracy took the
letters, and the General the newspaper. The former apologized for
looking at his correspondence, and the latter was besought by Rose to
see if any one was dead or married.

Poor girl, she did not know what she asked. She was like one of those
who seek to look into fate, and find condemnation in the voice of the
oracle.

General Tracy opened the paper, and turned to seek the important part
which gives so much satisfaction to all ladies; but as he ran his eye
down the columns, it was caught by the words "DUEL AT WIMBLEDON." He
was a soldier, be it remembered; so that he might be excused for
pausing.

"Why, what is the matter, my dear uncle?" asked Emily. "Are you
appointed to the command of the forces in India?"

"No, saucy flower," answered the old officer; "but here is something
in which we shall all take an interest, though a somewhat painful
one--a duel, Sir William, in which one of our acquaintances has
been engaged, with a relation of your own;" and he proceeded to
read,--"This morning, at an early hour, a hostile meeting took place,
near the old mill at Wimbledon, between Viscount Overton and Chandos
Winslow, Esq., younger brother of Sir William Winslow, Bart., of
Elmsly and Winslow Abbey, the consequences of which, we are sorry to
say, are likely to prove fatal"--Rose turned as pale as death; but her
uncle went on--"to the noble Viscount. The cause of quarrel, it
appears, would not admit of any apology on either side; and after
having in vain endeavoured to effect an accommodation on the field,
the seconds, Lord George Lumley and Colonel Sir Henry d'Estragon,
measured the ground; and at the first fire, Lord Overton fell,
severely wounded. The ball penetrated the right side, about six inches
below the clavicle, and is supposed to have lodged under the blade
bone, after having traversed the lungs. The noble Viscount was
promptly attended to by Mr. G--e, who was on the ground; but after
having staunched the effusion of blood, the eminent surgeon advised
the immediate removal of the patient to his house in ---- street, for
further treatment. After having ascertained that his opponent was not
actually dead, Mr. Winslow set out for the continent in a post-chaise
and four, which was in waiting, accompanied by Sir Henry d'Estragon;
and Lord George Lumley has also judged it expedient to absent himself
from London, till the fate of Lord Overton is ascertained. We regret
to say that the report in ---- street, is very unfavourable."

"I thought my brother would not be a fortnight without quarrelling
with somebody," said Sir William Winslow.

"Indeed, Sir William," said General Tracy, who did not love him; "what
made you so prejudge your brother? I have heard him very highly spoken
of."

"A poet shall answer for me, General," replied Sir William Winslow;
who, though the old officer's words did not please him, was unwilling
to take offence at anything said by Emily's uncle;--


    "There is a history in all men's lives
     Figuring the nature of the times deceased,
     The which observed, a man may prophesy,
     With a near aim, of the main chance of things
     As yet to come to life, which in their seeds
     And weak beginnings lie intreasured."


"I judge of my brother by the past, my dear Sir. But it is not for
brother to speak ill of brother; and, therefore, I can but say I am
very sorry for this affair, especially as Lord Overton is a very
popular man in London, and by no means quarrelsome."

"He is not a very popular man in the country," said Rose Tracy,
warmly; "and what you have said, Sir William, is surely quite
condemnatory enough of your brother, without your adding any more."

"We do not yet know the circumstances," said Mr. Fleming, in a mild
tone; "perhaps Mr. Winslow may not have been the aggressor."

"Really Sir, I do not see why you should 'perhaps' the matter,"
answered Sir William Winslow; "I must know my brother best, I imagine.
And I was not aware that clergymen advocated duelling."

"Nor do they, Sir William," replied Fleming; "on that point, both were
equally in fault. But the question was, I think. Who was the aggressor
in the quarrel which led to so sad and criminal a result? You will
excuse me, however, for believing that brothers do not always know
brothers best. Brotherly love is not found in all families; and where
it does not exist, the judgment is apt to be prejudiced."

"Sir, you are a clergyman," answered Sir William Winslow, with marked
emphasis, "and can venture to comment on family disagreements in a way
which others could not do."

"I was utterly unaware that there were any," answered Horace Fleming;
"and sincerely beg your pardon for touching on a subject which,
whatever be the circumstances, must be deeply painful to any
right-feeling man. My observation was intended to be as wide and open
as the day, I assure you."

"It was somewhat pointed for the breadth you give it," was the other's
reply; and turning away with a quivering lip, he crossed the room, and
spoke to the pretty little girl, who was seated not far from the small
table, where Mr. Tracy was reading his letters by a lamp. That
gentleman had not heard a word of all that passed regarding the duel
between his acquaintance, Lord Overton, and Chandos Winslow. There was
something in the very first letter he opened which took the colour
from his cheek; and the second and the third but blanched his face
still more. As the half light of the shaded lamp fell upon his
countenance, the deep line which had indented itself during the last
few minutes between his eyebrows looked like a dark gash, and every
furrow of the brow seemed doubly deep. General Tracy fixed his eyes
upon him with some anxiety; but Mr. Tracy communicated the contents of
his letters to no one; and as soon as Sir William Winslow crossed the
room, he rose and left it, carrying his papers in his hand.

When he reached his library, where a light was always burning at that
time of night, he sunk into a chair, and suffered the letters to drop
upon the floor, murmuring, "Heaven and earth! This is destruction--The
North line, too! To be made responsible for debts I had no share in
contracting, simply because I let them advertise my name as a
director. The Junction down at nothing, and to be abandoned! The
Western branch rejected! Why two hundred thousand pounds will not
cover it!" and he pressed his hand upon his brow, as if to control the
turbulence of thought.

Then he rose and paced the room rapidly, gazing wildly round him at
all the pomp and circumstance of wealth that surrounded him, and
comparing it bitterly with the future beggary which he saw impending.
But ere he had taken more than two or three turns, the door opened,
and his brother entered.

"What is the matter, Arthur?" he said. "Something has agitated you
terribly."

Mr. Tracy stooped, picked up the papers from the floor, and put them
in his brother's hands, with the simple word, "Read!"

General Tracy did read, and his countenance fell for a moment. He
instantly recovered himself. "A heavy loss, Arthur," he said; "and
lost in a very foolish manner. I like plain, straight forward gaming
better than this; but still the affair might be worse. Do not give way
after this fashion. We must meet the matter as it can best be met.
There is enough between you and me to cover more than this; and you
know, my dear Arthur, I have none but you and the two sweet girls--and
that little devil of a boy. A hundred a-year he must have; that I have
settled in my own mind. The girls must have their fortunes. That must
be done; but still the two estates will bear more weight than all
these sums; and if not, there is my pay. Two old men do not need much,
Arthur; and we shall have enough for a beefsteak and a bottle of wine,
notwithstanding."

Mr. Tracy pressed his brother's hand, murmuring, "Oh, Walter, how can
I involve you in my ruin? Besides, large sums will be required
immediately, or I shall be disgraced."

"Poo, poo!" said General Tracy; "no man is ruined so long as he has a
bed to sleep on, clothes to wear, a house to cover him, and food to
eat. We shall want none of these things, Arthur. We shall be as rich
as Sandy Woodyard, who is reckoned very well to do; and, as to raising
large sums, that will be easily done, without any loss of time. But
your thoughts are all in confusion with this unexpected stroke.
Cast the whole from your mind for to-night; come back into the
drawing-room, and do not let either the baronet or the parson see that
you are troubled; sleep quietly over the affair, and we will arrange
the whole to-morrow. I can raise seventy or eighty thousand pounds at
a day's notice. You can double that; and all I can say, my dear
brother, is, that, barring a fair provision for the two girls, I care
not a rush what becomes of the rest. Besides, some of the shares are
worth something. It is not all lost."

"Heaven forbid!" answered Mr. Tracy; "but the actual loss is immense;
more than you know, Walter."

"Oh, no! I see it all," replied the General, glancing again at the
letters. "But it is not so bad. It will be easily managed. The first
sight of bad tidings is always through a magnifying glass. The
spectacles will have fallen off your nose before to-morrow; and in the
mean time shut your eyes to the whole concern. Come along; the people
will think it strange if we are both absent together any longer; and
the dear girls will think it strange, which is worse."

Mr. Tracy suffered himself to be led back to the drawing-room; and
there, by a great effort, so far conquered the busy and rebellious
thoughts within, that his guests did not discover any difference of
manner. His daughters did, indeed; and both Emily and Rose retired to
bed that night thoughtful and sad; for they were well aware that their
father's friendship for Lord Overton was not strong enough for the
intelligence of his being wounded to cause the degree of agitation
they beheld. Rose, too, had her own particular share of sorrow and
anxiety, and her cheek was pale when she arose the next morning, as if
she had known little rest during the night.

With Mr. Tracy, the effect of a night's consideration--for it
certainly was not a night's sleep that he obtained--was to plunge him
into despair. The first blow had been stunning. As not unfrequently
happens with corporeal injuries, it had for a time crushed out the
full perception of the wound; but when he thought of the immediate
pressure, and the future beggary--when he looked all the difficulties
and disgraces which surrounded him in the face, as they stared at him
through his bed curtains, in the midst of the night, his heart sunk
low, low; and his brain had well nigh given way under the anguish of
mind he endured. He was up early the next morning, with the letters in
his hand, and pen and ink beside him, calculating the full amount of
his disaster. It would be tedious to the reader to enter into details
or explanations on the subject--how it happened, or by what means it
was brought about. Suffice it, that he found his ultimate loss would
probably be so large, as to compel the sale of all his estates. That,
if still willing to assist him, his brother must sell, or mortgage
deeply, the family property; and--a matter of much more immediate
concern--that the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds must be
raised within a fortnight, to save him from disgrace. He had taken up
money largely, which must be instantly repaid; and when he thought of
all the tedious processes of the law--the impossibility of hurrying a
transaction of such magnitude--the few persons who were capable, or
would be willing to lend such a sum without full investigation of the
security--the utter improbability of his obtaining it in time, his
brain whirled, and in imagination he saw himself torn away from his
luxurious home, a beggar, a bankrupt, and a prisoner.

He gazed wildly at the window; his daughter Emily passed across from
one green-house to the other--a vision of loveliness. "Better die,"
muttered Mr. Tracy, with his thoughts all whirling; "better die at
once!" and he reached out his hand to the pistols which lay upon the
top of the scrutoire. He looked at them for a moment, laid them down
beside him on the table, and pressed his hand upon his brow. Someone
knocked, and, without waiting for an answer, came in. General Tracy
looked at his brother, advanced to the table, put the pistols in his
pocket, and rung the bell sharply. "Arthur," he said, "you are not
well. We must have the doctor.--Go down immediately to Mr. Woodyard,"
he continued, when the servant appeared, "and tell him I should like
to see him without a moment's delay."

In half an hour more, Mr. Tracy was bled copiously, and found instant
relief.

"Good God!" he said, in a low tone, turning towards his brother, who
was the only person in the room besides the surgeon and himself, "what
was I going to do."

"Now what the devil is all this, Sir," said the surgeon, who had been
perfectly quiet, and even tender with his old friend, till he saw that
he was freed from the imminent danger which had menaced him, but then
instantly resumed his rude familiarity. "You have been about some
cursed folly, Tracy, and burnt your fingers. I know you--I know you!
Every man has some point on which he is a fool; and the wiser he is on
others, the greater the fool he is on that. I can guess what it is; so
there is no use of denying it. That infernal blackguard Scriptolemus
Bond, was not with you a whole morning for nothing, about a fortnight
ago. He has gone to smash; all his bubbles have burst, and he is off
to America with all he could collect. Thank God, he did not get a
farthing from me, though he tried hard; but I know he took you in to
the tune of many thousand pounds; for he told me so, and showed me
some of the drafts."

"That is not the worst of it, my good friend," answered Mr. Tracy, in
a low tone; "there is not one line in which I have taken shares--and I
am sorry to say I have done so to a large extent--which has not fallen
almost to the ground."

"Upon my word, you must be a very unlucky fellow, not to have one
folly escape without punishment," answered the surgeon. But General
Tracy interfered, saying, "There, there, let him alone, Woodyard. He
is not in a fit state of health or mind to be railed at."

"Do you suppose you know better than I do?" asked Sandy Woodyard. "You
are a conceited old gentleman, upon my word. Stick to your own tools,
General. I am determined I will know all about this business; for I
must, and will be informed of what is pressing on my patient's mind."

"It is," replied Mr. Tracy, in a slow, thoughtful tone, "that within
one fortnight, my good friend, I have to pay nearly one hundred and
fifty thousand pounds; and forty-nine thousand pounds thereof within
four days, without time to make the necessary arrangements, almost
without time for thought. I wrote up to sell shares, to meet the
latter sum, at whatever might be the loss; and the answer was that
letter, telling me that the shares I mentioned were a mere drug--worth
nothing in the market. Is not that enough to press hard upon any man's
mind, Woodyard."

"No," answered the surgeon, bluntly, "not unless he be a fool. You've
plenty to meet the demand. You may not be as rich as you have been;
but you have chosen to have your dance, and so you must pay the piper.
As to the forty-nine thousand pounds, you can get somebody to advance
it. If nobody else can be found, I will."

"You!" said Mr. Tracy.

"You, Woodyard!" cried the General.

"Oh, yes--why not?" replied the surgeon; "I'm a poor devil; but I have
got something, and I have made a little more by these same
speculations which have burnt your fingers, Tracy; only you see I
never ventured upon any thing that was not sure--I touched nothing
that was not going--I did not sow a field that was not ploughed and
harrowed. You have nothing to do, therefore, but to let me know the
day, and give me a little bill of sale of your personals and timber to
the amount advanced, and the money shall be ready. Come, come!--do not
lose heart. You will get somebody to advance the other money wanted;
and in the mean time, if I were the General, I would run up to London,
and look after these shares and scrip. I do not believe a word of some
of them not bringing in money yet."

Mr. Tracy pressed his hand for his only reply; but he felt deeply the
worthy man's kindness, the more, perhaps, from the blunt way in which
it was offered.

"There, now, keep yourself quiet, and all will go well," continued
Sandy Woodyard, taking up his hat and cane, and bending his steps
homeward. But Mr. Tracy could not do what the surgeon directed. What
man of lively imagination can ever keep himself quiet when danger is
still impending over him? Who but Washington Irving's Dutchman could
ever batten down the hatches, and sleep out the storm. Mr. Tracy felt
that the storm was not passed yet. The good surgeon had afforded
unexpected relief, it is true; but still the enormous sum to be paid
within one fortnight, without any preparation for it, rose up to his
eyes like the rock of adamant before the ship of Sinbad the sailor;
and he asked himself again and again how it was to be raised, where it
was to be found. There was no answer. Nevertheless, he assumed a
tranquillity which he did not feel; and assuring his brother that he
was better, and his mind relieved of its greatest burden, he went in
with him to breakfast.

Rose was pale; but Emily seemed to have had bright dreams, for seldom
had her beauty been more resplendent. Sir William Winslow sat near and
gazed at her from time to time, with eyes full of passion; and as soon
as breakfast was over, he requested to speak a few words with Mr.
Tracy alone. That gentleman had not yet got his newspapers, and, to
say the truth, was anxious in no light degree to look at the share
list; but he courteously acceded at once, and led the way to his
library. The conference was long; and when the young baronet came out,
his eyes were sparkling and his air triumphant. He ordered his horses
instantly, to ride over to Winslow Abbey; but while he waited at the
door for their coming, he murmured, "She must be mine--she will never
hesitate when her father's safety depends upon it!"

At a furious pace, up hill and down dale, rode Sir William Winslow, to
his old family property, half-killing the groom behind him; and as
soon as he arrived, he asked if Mr. Roberts or Mr. Grubbup, the
law-agent of Lord Overton, had been there.

"Mr. Roberts hasn't been since Thursday last, Sir William," replied
Mrs. Garbett, who opened the hall doors; "but the other gentleman with
the queer name, is in the drawing-room, waiting for you, Sir."

Sir William strode to the drawing-room, horsewhip in hand, as if
meditating mischief; but his salutation of the man of law was, on the
contrary, quite condescending; "Well, Grubbup," he said, "I have just
heard sad news of Lord Overton and my mad brother Chandos."

"Ay, very sad indeed, Sir William," said Lord Overton's agent; "but I
suppose, of course, Sir, you do not take up the quarrel of your
brother in a matter of business."

"Oh, certainly not, Mr. Grubbup," replied Sir William. "I do not take
up his quarrels at all. But what I wished principally to know was
this. How will the transaction between us be affected by the state of
Lord Overton. He was not expected to live, I understand?"

"He is better, Sir William, he is better," answered the man of law.
"There is every hope of his doing well. But even were it not so, I
took a little precaution, luckily, after our last conference, with the
approval of Mr. Roberts, which would render the arrangement binding
upon his heirs, exors, and admors. I drew up this agreement of
purchase and sale, which on Saturday last, not ten minutes before he
went to the opera, I got him to sign. Nothing is wanting but your own
signature, Sir William, and the transaction is complete."

"With the exception of the payment of the money," said Sir William
Winslow; "but that is a very important part, Mr. Grubbup, especially
at the present moment."

"But, Sir William," said the agent, "you know the timber--and it is
only usual--"

"All very well, my good Sir," rejoined the young baronet, whose eyes
had been running over the paper, and who assumed a very decided, not
to say domineering tone; "but I see the question of the timber is
provided for. It is, by this document, to be taken at a valuation,
although I fixed my own valuation before. Let that pass, however; I
will not contest that point. In regard to the payment, I am decided: I
will sign no paper till I am made sure that, by the fifth of next
month, at least one half of the purchase-money shall be paid into my
hands. If you do not make me perfectly sure of that, I will dispose of
the property at once to some one else. You know I have another offer."

Mr. Grubbup looked amazed and confounded; but Sir William Winslow
convinced him he was in earnest, by informing him that he had, in
fact, need of the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, on
the day named. The man of law was terribly afraid of losing all the
various comfortable pickings, which men of law get out of such
transactions, if he did not comply; but, after a little bush-fighting,
he found means to satisfy Sir William Winslow that all he desired
should be done; and the baronet rode away with a feeling of triumphant
joy in his heart, at the idea of soon possessing her who had inspired
him with a passion which deserved hardly any other epithet than that
of _fierce_.



CHAPTER XIX.


It was the evening of a beautiful day in February, when Chandos
Winslow returned by the lanes at the back of Northferry house towards
his gardener's cottage. The scene and the hour were peaceful; and
their tranquillity overspread his heart as if a balm were poured upon
it. Frosts had departed to the pole. A west wind, slightly veering to
the south, had brought the breath of summer from the distant lands.
The early-loving thrush was singing his first sweet song upon the top
of a bare tree. It was very pleasant. Chandos wished he had been born
a gardener. Nevertheless, he hurried his pace; for he had a rose to
tend. He fancied--he hoped that she might soon be by the little basin
of gold and silver fish; but he had only two ways of approaching it:
one by the gate near his own house, one by that at the other end of
the grounds, which would have brought him before the windows of the
mansion. He went into the cottage then for the key; and there good
dame Humphreys detained him, impatient, for a few minutes, telling him
how kind Miss Rose had been, coming down often to see little Tim; and
how the boy had been sent daily to the school in the village, from
which he had not yet come back, though it was late; and how the
gentleman, who had been there with him one night, (_i. e_. Lockwood,)
had been there the night before, and again, not ten minutes before,
asking about him, and exceedingly anxious to see him, and very much
provoked to find he had not come back; and how he had gone away
grumbling and mumbling, as the old woman called it, and saying to
himself, that as he, Mr. Acton, was not there, he must do it himself,
for there was no time to be lost.

Chandos did not mark her much; but merely telling her, if Lockwood
returned, to say that he would be back in half-an-hour, he took up a
light Dutch hoe, which stood in the corner of the cottage parlour, and
went out to the garden.

With a hand trembling with that sweet expectation which sometimes
shakes the powerful frame even more than the feeble one, he opened the
garden gate and went in. Close to the entrance he met one of the
labourers in the garden, who wished him good evening, and said he was
glad to see him, for the busy time was coming on. The man was going
home for the night, and Chandos soon got rid of him, and of one of the
boys who followed; for the sky was already very grey, and he feared
that any delay might deprive him of the sweet moments coveted. He felt
sure he should find Rose there. The very air seemed to breathe of
love. She could not be absent.

He was right. Rose was beside the marble basin, but her eyes were
dropping tears into it. He leaned the hoe against one of the pillars,
and her hand was soon in his. Chandos could not resist the impulse to
hold her for one moment to his heart.

"Oh, do not; do not, Chandos," she said. "I have much, very much to
tell you; and it is all sad."

"Speak, dear Rose," he answered; "let me hear it at once. Tell me
everything; tell me anything but that you are not mine--that you are
to be another's."

"Oh, no; it is not that," she said, with a faint smile. "I have not
time to tell you to-night, for you see it is growing quite dusk. Come
to-morrow. I must see you--I must speak with you."

"Oh, stay one minute!" cried her lover, detaining her; "let me know
something, at least, of what it is that grieves you--but a few words,
dear Rose."

"They must be very sad ones," she answered. "My father is ruined,
Chandos. My poor sister, dear, dear Emily, has consented, to save him
from immediate destruction, to wed, with terrible haste, a man she
does not, cannot love--your own brother, Chandos--and, oh!--what is
worse than all--I fear, I am sure, she loves another;" and Rose wept
bitterly.

Chandos was silent for an instant, holding her hand in his, and gazing
upon her with love and sympathy; but the next instant he heard voices
speaking, and steps advancing, in the narrow winding walk behind.

"Good Heaven, it is your brother!" cried Rose. "I hear his terrible
voice. Fly! fly! Where can I escape him?"

"Up that walk, dear girl," replied Chandos. "I will easily avoid him.
I will leap the hedge there. But let me see you safe first."

"No, no! Go at once, go at once," she cried; and Chandos, in obedience
to her wish, passed through between the pillars, and leaped the low
hedge which bordered a haw-haw that divided the grounds of Northferry
from the neighbouring fields. He had, at first, proposed to cross the
next enclosure at once, and return to his cottage; but it was lighter
beyond the precincts of the garden, than under the shadow of the
trees. He did not wish his brother to find him there; he wished to
assure himself that Rose got away unseen, and he remained on the other
side of the hedge, which, as he stood with his feet at the bottom of
the haw-haw, overtopped his head by about nine inches. He had no idea
that he would be witness to more than his brother passing by along the
walk, which approached within about ten paces of the haw-haw on one
side, and which skirted the little factitious ruin above the
fish-pond, within a foot or two, on the other. Had he had an idea of
the possibility even of his becoming an eves-dropper, he would not
have hesitated, but crossed the field at once; but the path was, as I
have said, at ten paces' distance, and unless the persons walking
along it spoke very loud, it was impossible for any one in the haw-haw
to hear more than an occasional word, unless the passers-by paused.
Thus much is necessary to the character of Chandos. He paused, but it
was to conceal himself, not to listen.

The moment after he had leapt the hedge, Sir William Winslow appeared
at the turn of the little path; but he was preceded a step by another.
His brother's figure Chandos recognised at once, notwithstanding the
growing obscurity; but, for an instant, he could not distinguish who
was his companion; for the short, slight-made man, who accompanied the
baronet, was wrapped in one of those loose formless sort of coats,
called paletôts. The next moment, however, the sound of their voices,
raised exceedingly high, and in angry tones, reached him as he stood
and gazed through the hedge; and he recognized that of Mr. Roberts.
None of the words were distinct; but it was evident that both were
highly excited; and, by the sharp and vehement gestures of Roberts, so
unlike his usual, quiet, and staid demeanour, and by the rapid pace at
which he walked, with the baronet following, Chandos judged that the
good steward was endeavouring to escape from provocation beyond
endurance, even to his tranquil and equable disposition. Just as they
came up to the little Greek temple, which had been built over the
fish-pond--that is to say, at the nearest point of the walk to the
spot where Chandos was concealed--Sir William Winslow laid a grasp
upon Roberts's collar, as if to stop him in his rapid advance,
exclaiming at the same moment, "Damn you, Sir, what do you mean?"

Roberts instantly shook off his grasp, and whirled round confronting
him. At the same moment he exclaimed vehemently, "I will not, Sir
William Winslow! If you will have it, I believe you burnt it."

The baronet instantly struck him with his fist, exclaiming, "You
damned rascal!" The next instant his eye seemed to light upon the
Dutch hoe, which Chandos had left leaning against the pillar. He
snatched it up, struck the steward a violent blow on the head with it,
which brought him instantly to the ground, and added another as he
fell.

Chandos sprang up, struggled over the hedge, and ran forward. But his
brother, hearing some one coming, darted away up the shrubbery walks,
and was out of sight in a moment. Kneeling down by poor Roberts's
side, the young gentleman raised his head. But what was his horror and
distress, when he found that the two middle fingers of his left hand
rested in a deep indentation in the skull, while a gaping wound in the
scalp, cut by the iron of the hoe, was pouring forth blood profusely!
Bending closely down, he saw a portion of the brain mingled with the
gray hair; and, with a feeling of sickening horror at his heart, he
laid the body gently on the ground again, and gazed at it for several
minutes, as if the sight had turned him into stone.

Oh, what a dark and terrible moment was that! What a whirlpool of
horrible thoughts did his brain become! What anguish of mind--what
wavering hesitation of purpose--what indignation--what sorrow did he
not feel! The first impulse was to run and call for assistance; but
then he shook his head, and murmured "He is dead! he is dead! No aid
can ever bring him back to life." Bending down again, he pressed his
hand upon the wrist, and then upon the heart. There was no pulsation.
All was still for ever! The complicated machine was broken, never to
be repaired again. The lamp drowned out, not to be re-lighted.

What should he do? How should he act? He had seen an honest, upright,
noble-minded man murdered before his eyes: but the murderer was his
own brother! They had lain in the same womb; they had hung at the same
breast; they had joyed in the same smiles; the same blood flowed in
their veins;--and yet one was a murderer, the other, the witness of
the crime. It was a terrible struggle. Duty called upon him to
denounce the criminal; indignation prompted him to the same course. By
that very brother's acts, brotherly love had long seemed extinguished
between them. Yet Chandos could not make up his mind to be his
brother's accuser, to give him up to trial and to death.

"I cannot--I cannot," he said, after a long and painful revery. "Poor
Roberts, I can do thee no good; and I cannot be a destroying angel to
my own race. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay;'" and,
turning away from the fatal scene, he hurried back to the small gate
which led out towards his own cottage.



CHAPTER XX.


"Who was that I saw crossing the lawn a little while ago?" said Mr.
Tracy, speaking to his valet, who came in to assist him in dressing
for dinner.

"I saw a gentleman at the door asking for Acton, Sir," replied the
servant; "and, as one of the men met him coming back this afternoon, I
told the person that he would most likely find him in the garden; for
he seemed quite a gentleman, and in a great hurry to speak with him. I
hope I did not do wrong, Sir?"

"Oh dear, no," answered Mr. Tracy; "I am glad to hear Acton has come
back. Let him know to-morrow morning, that I want to talk to him."

Mr. Tracy went on calmly with his dressing; and when he had done, as
the second bell had rung, he took up a book and read. He was very
grave. Thought was importunate; for, though he had freed himself from
present difficulties, yet the future was dark and menacing; and, at
what a price had he purchased temporary relief? His daughter's
happiness--he felt it--had been the sacrifice. He saw that she did
not, that she could not love Sir William Winslow; and yet the baronet,
bending all the energies of his mind to the speedy gratification of
the passion which moved him, had skilfully contrived, with as little
appearance of selfish policy as possible, to make the sum which was
immediately necessary to Mr. Tracy dependent upon the time of the
union of his daughter with himself. Without entering into long
explanations, he had stated that he had the power to settle that sum
upon his wife; implying, untruly, that he had not the power of lending
it under other circumstances. Mr. Tracy was obliged to accept his
terms without inquiry. Emily yielded with despair in her heart, and
dark forebodings in her mind. She had but one consolation--one
support--that, by the sacrifice of all that was most dear, she was
saving her father. She repeated it to herself a thousand times a-day;
and kept it ever before her in the weary and wearing hours of the
night. It was the only means she had of keeping the bitter anguish of
her spirit from bursting forth before every eye. Do what she would, it
did sometimes appear: and Mr. Tracy felt the silent reproach, and
dared not pause and think; but filled every moment with some
occupation, however trifling, which might withdraw his mind from the
terrible consciousness, that he was sacrificing his child.

When the bell rang, he walked down to the drawing-room with a quick
step. His two daughters were there alone--Emily exceedingly pale, but
calm, though very grave; Rose striving for cheerfulness with an effort
almost hysterical. The General was absent in London. Sir William
Winslow was not yet down, though he had only arrived that morning from
town, and might be supposed to feel eagerness to be with his betrothed
as much as possible. Five, ten minutes passed; dinner was announced;
and then some more time went by; till, at length, Mr. Tracy sent up a
servant to inform his guest that they waited for him; and in a few
minutes more, Sir William presented himself. His appearance, however,
struck everybody as very strange. His face was usually florid; his
manner calm and resolute; his tone quick and decided,--but now his
cheek was like a sheet of gray paper; his eyes wandering and haggard;
his step vacillating; his tone wavering, and his words confused. He
apologized for the tardiness of his appearance, saying, that he had
felt fatigued with his journey, and somewhat ill, and had fallen
asleep. Emily expressed no concern or sympathy, though his excuses
were principally addressed to her. They had had a full explanation
together. He knew the terms on which he obtained her hand; and she did
not wish him to suppose her moved by feelings she did not experience.
It was her person he sought to possess, not her love. That he
obtained; she could give no more.

Mechanically he offered her his arm, to take her in to dinner; sat
beside her, and talked. It was strange, rambling conversation;
sometimes distilled drop by drop, as if each word were the last he
would ever speak; sometimes frightfully rapid. They formed a strange
contrast, he and Emily--she in her calm taciturnity; he in his
perturbed, unequal eloquence. Yet there were strong feelings at the
heart of both: hers high, grand, ennobling; a battle fought, a
struggle striven, a victory won over self:--his turbulent, agitating,
oppressive; a fierce contest, a terrible strife, a losing battle
against remorse and dismay. There was nothing harsh, nothing resisting
in her demeanour. It was all done; the combat of the mind was
over--the assent was given: she yielded herself to the knife: she was
Jephthah's daughter in the mountains, the expiation of her father's
folly, prepared or preparing for the sacrifice. She was cold. How
could she be otherwise? But there was no harshness.

He, on the contrary, was strangely excited. Every time the door
opened, he turned round with a start, and looked with straining eyes
behind him. When the butler asked in a whisper of Mr. Tracy, what
wines he should set upon the table after dinner--a question he had
forgotten to put before--Sir William Winslow listened with all his
ears to catch the sounds, as if they bore matter of life and death to
him; and when Mr. Tracy answered aloud, "Some red hermitage and
claret," he applied himself to talk again with exceeding vehemence.

The shadow of the dead haunted him. The gaunt spectre of Remorse was
ever before his eyes.

Doubt too--terrible, vague, cloudy, indefinite doubt, the most
oppressive of all states of mind, the most fearful form of
Nemesis--hung over him like a brooding fury. "Was he really dead?" he
asked himself; "Was the man slain?" He had fallen very heavily. That
last blow had been followed by a sound strange and frightful: the
cracking of solid bone mingled with a deathly groan. The eyes--he had
seen them even in the dim twilight--had swum mortally in the sinking
head. There had been a gasp which he did not like to think of, a dire
clutching after breath of lungs that would receive it no more. What he
would have given to creep quietly and silently down those wintry
walls, and look at the spot where he had left him! to feel about with
his hands in the darkness, and ascertain if the body was still there!
But he sat chained to his seat in marble terror. He dared not turn his
eyes towards the side where the deed had been done; he hardly dared to
think of it, lest his thoughts unwittingly should find a tongue to
bear witness against him. Yet he remembered that no one had seen the
deed, as far as he knew; that he had met the object of his crime by
accident, as he was returning to the house after a short walk in the
grounds; that he had encountered no one by the way, either going or
coming; that he had even gone out of the house by one of the
conservatories, which led directly to a close and narrow walk, so that
none could tell he had ever set his foot across the threshold. All
these seemed comfortable reflections; but yet, strange to say, they
brought neither comfort nor assurance. There is a consciousness that
murder has its mysterious witnesses, which ever sits heavily on the
felon's spirit. Why, he knew not, but he felt detected, even while he
strove to prove to himself that detection was impossible. Oh, crime is
a terrible thing!

Nevertheless the whole of dinner-time passed over quietly: there was
nothing took place to cause alarm; and when Emily and Rose left the
table, Mr. Tracy remarked, "Sir William, you do not seem well. If you
would take my advice, you would send for our worthy surgeon, Mr.
Woodyard, and adopt some precautionary measures. I think you must have
overfatigued yourself."

"I had a hard day's work in London, yesterday," replied his guest,
"running after those lawyers all day long; and I travelled all night.
I did not sleep either, though I usually sleep as well in a carriage
as a bed. Perhaps I am a little heated. My face is flushed, is it
not?"

It was as pale as death.

By Mr. Tracy's persuasion the surgeon was sent for; and was soon in
the house.

"Well, what is the matter with you?" he asked, as soon as the young
baronet was pointed out as his patient; and, pressing his hand upon
the pulse, he stared into Sir William's face, as if he wished to put
him out of countenance.

"I do not know, doctor," replied the other. "I do not feel well--am
fatigued--have got a head-ache--my temples throb; and my thoughts are
somewhat confused."

"You have got something on your mind," said Sandy Woodyard, thinking
of Emily, whom the old man loved dearly, and did not like to see
sacrificed; "your conscience is not quiet, I should think--this is all
mental."

"What do you mean, Sir?" asked Sir William Winslow, fiercely; his
pride and his courage coming arm in arm to his aid the moment he was
attacked in front.

"I mean just what I say," replied the surgeon, nothing daunted; "there
is no sign in the pulse or the temperature of the skin, to show any
corporeal ailment. It must be mental; and the best thing to prevent
the mind acting too strongly on the body, will be to let you blood.
Bring me a basin and a good stout stick, flunky."

Sir William Winslow submitted willingly enough, though he hated the
old man mortally, for words which touched rudely but unwittingly on
the deep concealed wound. Sandy Woodyard made him grasp the stick
tightly in his hand, pierced the arm, and as the blood spirted forth,
indulged in a grim smile, muttering. "Ay, black--damned black--black
blood as ever I saw--very needful to draw this off--we must have a
good drop!"

And a good drop he did certainly take; for, whether, from judging it
really necessary, or from a slight touch of malice, he bled the
baronet till he fainted. Sir William was carried to his room, and soon
brought to consciousness again; but good Mr. Woodyard was not aware
that, in one respect, at least, he had conferred a favour, by
affording a fair excuse to his patient for not joining the party below
any more that night. Even that was a relief; but it was not till the
next morning that Sir William Winslow was aware of all he had escaped.

It was the custom at Northferry, for the under gardener, every night,
before he retired to rest, to perambulate the grounds, and then to let
loose some large dogs, serving as very necessary guards to a place
which, by its open boundaries, and solitary situation, was much
exposed to depredation. On the night in question, about ten o'clock,
he sallied forth, when the moon was just rising, faint, dim, and
watery, as she not unfrequently appears after one of those fine, warm,
unseasonable, February days, with a few thin lines of gray and white
cloud drawn across her sickly disk. She gave a good deal of light,
however; and he took his way along the paths, rather enjoying the walk
than feeling it a burthensome task. When he approached the confines of
the grounds, on the field side, and came near the little temple so
often mentioned, he saw, by the beams of the moon, something lying,
partly on the path, partly off, like a large dog curled up to spring
at him; and he paused in doubt and some alarm. The object remained
quite still; and drawing slowly nearer, he found it was the body of a
man. He touched the hand; it was deadly cold; and in terror and
consternation he ran straight across the lawns back to the house.
Servants and lights soon followed him down to the spot; and
consternation and horror reached their height, when it was found, that
the very person who a few hours before had been asking for the
head-gardener, at the mansion, had been murdered in the grounds. The
body was already quite stiff; but it was taken up and carried into one
of the tool-houses, while some of the people ran back to give Mr.
Tracy information of the event. The rest gathered round the corpse as
it lay upon a gardener's bench; and many were the comments made--some
ridiculous and almost laughable, some sad, some sublime in their
simplicity.

"Well, it is a queer thing to see a dead man, any how," said one of
the spectators, in a very low tone; "they all look so dull like."

"Poor man! I wonder what his wife is thinking about now," said
another.

"Ah! he saw the sun go down that will rise again to-morrow as bright
as ever, and he see it no more," was the observation of an old
servant. "Well, my night will soon come too. God send it be not a
bloody one, like his!"

Mr. Tracy was soon upon the spot; and walking up to the body, he took
a lantern from the hands of one of the men and held it near the
corpse, before he asked for any further information than he had
received by the way.

"I have seen that face before," he said, after considering the
countenance of the dead man for a moment. "It surely is Mr. Roberts,
the steward and agent of Sir Harry Winslow. Yes, it certainly is his
face. Here, come forward, Taylor, and bear witness what we find upon
the body. This is a most strange and terrible affair. I feel almost
sure that this is poor Roberts, and the fact of his being killed in
these grounds is most extraordinary."

The man he spoke to was his butler, and advancing to his master's
side, he held the lantern while Mr. Tracy examined the contents of the
dead man's pockets. The first thing that was taken out seemed to
settle the identity at once. It was a letter, which had been opened,
addressed to "Richard Roberts, Esquire, Winslow Abbey;" and although
Mr. Tracy proceeded to read it, in search of any information which
could lead to a discovery of the murderer, it may be unnecessary to
give the contents in this place, as they have been already laid before
the reader. The epistle, in short, was that which Chandos had written
the night before, after having quitted the park; but to Mr. Tracy's
mind it conveyed no hint of the state of the case. He only saw, that
Mr. Winslow had written somewhat sharply, and he thought, "The poor
young man will regret this when he finds what a sad fate has overtaken
an old and faithful servant of his family."

He handed over the letter, when he had read it, to the butler, with a
pencil, saying, "Mark it;" and then proceeded with his examination.
Nothing had been taken from the body. The watch was there; the purse
was safe in the pocket, though it contained a good deal of money. The
pocket-book, with various papers, receipts, bills, promissory notes,
memoranda, and letters, was also there. Even a pair of silver
spectacles, in a morocco-leather case, had not been disturbed in the
waistcoat pocket; and it became apparent that robbery had not been the
object, or that the assassin had been disturbed before he had time to
reap the fruits of his crime.

The next object of examination was the exact spot where the body had
been found; and Mr. Tracy proceeded thither with the under-gardener,
followed by all the rest. There were but few traces of feet, for the
gravel walk was hard; but there was a quantity of blood where the poor
man had lain; and while Mr. Tracy was looking narrowly at the place,
one of the men cried, "Here is what did it, Sir;" and at the same time
took up the Dutch hoe which was lying on the grass hard by. On holding
the lantern to the tool, some blood and gray hair was found upon the
blunt edge, and at one corner; and Mr. Tracy ordered it to be
conveyed, exactly as it was, to the tool-house, whither, after having
concluded his personal inspection of the spot, he returned himself. He
there paused and meditated, and at length said to the under-gardener,
"Go and call Mr. Acton hither."

In a few minutes, Chandos was in the tool-house. He was perfectly calm
and grave, for he had had time to think and to determine upon his
conduct.

"Here is a very terrible affair, Acton," said Mr. Tracy. "This poor
gentleman has been murdered in the grounds, close to the fish-pond. He
asked at the house for you, it seems; and was directed to seek you in
the garden. Look at him close, and tell me who he is."

"I do not need to look nearer, Sir," replied Chandos, gazing firmly on
the corpse; "it is the body of poor Mr. Roberts, the late Sir Harry
Winslow's agent--as good a man as ever lived."

"Did he find you in the garden?" asked Mr. Tracy.

"No, Sir," replied Chandos; "I quitted the garden after speaking a
few words to Miss Rose Tracy, by the basin, as she was feeding the
gold-fish."

"That must have been very nearly at the time he was seeking you," said
Mr. Tracy. "I saw him cross the lawn, and I saw my daughter return
about ten minutes afterwards. Did you quit the garden immediately
after you saw her?"

"Immediately," answered Chandos.

"Do you know whose hoe that is?" inquired Mr. Tracy, pointing to the
one that lay by the dead man.

"Mine, Sir," replied Chandos at once; "I left it leaning against the
pillar." And, taking it up, he added, as he looked at it, "The murder
must have been committed with this."

"Leave it there," said Mr. Tracy. "Pray what did Mr. Roberts want with
you?"

"Of that I can have no notion, Sir," was the young gentleman's reply.
"I did not even know that he had been seeking me, till you informed me
of the fact just now." He saw that some suspicion was beginning to
attach itself to him; but Chandos Winslow was not a man to suffer
himself to feel personal alarm easily, and he remained so calm and
self-possessed, that Mr. Tracy felt that some vague doubts which he
had entertained had done him injustice.

"This affair," he said, at lengthy "is as strange as terrible, and
must be immediately inquired into further. Taylor, you remain here
with one of the men till the constable can be brought up from the
village. Then give the body and the hoe into his charge, and render
him every assistance he may require; but nothing must be taken away or
altered till the coroner, to whom I shall write immediately, arrives.
Let everybody, too, avoid the spot where the crime was committed, in
order that any traces which may perhaps be apparent to-morrow, though
we have not been able to find them to-night, may not be effaced."

"It may perhaps be better, Sir," said Chandos, "to keep the door by my
cottage locked. Then the men will not pass that way to their work.
Here is my key; I can go round by the house. Sandes has also a key,
which can be fetched from him, if you like."

"Do you know when Sandes left the garden?" asked Mr. Tracy quickly, as
if a new thought had struck him.

"A little before myself," answered Chandos. "I met him and his boy in
the walk going homeward."

"And are you certain this crime had not been committed before he went
home?" was the next inquiry.

"Perfectly, Sir," said Chandos; "for I must have seen the body if it
lay by the fish-pond, as you said just now. Sandes must have been out
of the grounds, if he went straight forward, before I reached the
basin."

"It is all very strange!" said Mr. Tracy; and, taking the key, he left
the spot, followed close by Chandos, and some of the servants. No
further conversation took place, however; and the young gentleman,
with a feeling of deep gloom, returned to his cottage, leaving fate to
direct the course of events which had commenced so terribly.



CHAPTER XXI.


It was half-past eleven when Mr. Tracy returned; and Emily and Rose
had retired to rest. He had been called out of the room on business,
and neither of the two girls had an idea that anything painful had
occurred which might render their waiting his return either a duty or
a consolation to their father. Emily's days were days of hard labour;
of constant combat with feelings wearing and oppressive; and she first
proposed to her sister to go to bed.

"I am weary, dear Rose," she said; "weary of the world, and of myself.
Perhaps I may sleep, and that would be a blessing."

Rose hung upon her neck, and wept; but she answered not in words, for
she dared not counsel, and she could not console.

Mr. Tracy sat and wrote for some time after his return--to the
coroner, to some of the neighbouring magistrates; and then he, too,
retired to rest, excited, but not too much for sleep.

On the following morning he rose about half-past eight o'clock, and
rang his bell. It was one of the footmen who appeared, and informed
him that the valet had been summoned to attend the coroner's inquest,
which had been sitting since seven.

"It is strange they did not inform me," observed Mr. Tracy.

"Why, Sir, Taylor said he had all the papers," replied the man; "and
that it was a pity to disturb you, as you had not seemed well of
late."

"Is Sir William Winslow up?" inquired Mr. Tracy.

"No, Sir," answered the footman; "his windows are tight closed, and
his man says he often sleeps till ten."

Mr. Tracy dressed himself, and went down stairs. He found Rose alone
in the breakfast-room, making tea, after having inquired if he had
risen.

"Emily does not feel well, papa," she said; "and I advised her to
remain in bed. But what is this terrible news my maid tells me--a man
found murdered in our grounds last night?"

"Too true, my love," answered Mr. Tracy. "The coroner's inquest, it
seems, is now sitting; and I am not sure that your evidence may not be
required, Rose. I know you have a strong mind, my dear child, and a
true heart; and therefore I trust you will not let the unpleasantness
of such a circumstance pain you too much."

"My evidence!" cried Rose--"mine! What can I tell them? I saw nothing
of the matter, or you may be sure I should have told you at once."

"Of course," replied Mr. Tracy. "But it seems that Acton, the
head-gardener, must have been in the grounds, and nearly at the spot,
within a few minutes of the time when the crime was committed. He says
that he spoke with you at the basin, and then quitted the grounds at
once."

Rose now felt how dangerous a thing it is to have any concealment from
a parent. She had gone on in perfect innocence with Chandos Winslow;
she was accidentally a participator in his secret; she would have
thought it base to betray it, even if she had not loved him; yet how
much pain and embarrassment did the concealment in which she had
shared, in which she must still share, cause her at that moment. She
answered then with agitation and hesitation: "He spoke a few words to
me at the basin as I was feeding my gold-fish, and left me as if to go
from the garden. I was at the side of the pond after he quitted it. I
am sure he left the garden directly."

Mr. Tracy marked his daughter's manner, and thought it strange; but he
was not a very observant man; and his thoughts soon wandered away from
that which he concluded was some merely accidental circumstance. "I
must get some breakfast, and go down directly," he said: "so ring the
bell, my love, and pour me out some tea. Where is the inquest
sitting?" he continued, when the servant appeared.

"Down at the Cross-Keys, in the village," replied the man.

"Well, let me know when they come to view the body," rejoined Mr.
Tracy; but the footman informed him, that the part of the proceedings
which he mentioned had taken place a full hour before. Mr. Tracy then
ordered his horse in half an hour; but the first post came in earlier
that day than usual. Several letters engaged his attention first, and
then a paragraph in the newspaper; so that the horse was kept walking
up and down for fully twenty minutes. At the end of that time he
mounted and rode away; but, before he had been gone a quarter of an
hour, the butler, who had taken a cross-cut over the fields, entered
the breakfast-room, as if looking for his master.

"Papa's gone down to attend the inquest, Taylor," said Rose, who had
remained in deep thought at the table. "Tell me what has taken place?"

"Why, Ma'am, the inquest is all over," answered the butler; "and
master will find them all gone."

"But what is the verdict, then?" inquired the young lady eagerly;
"what have the jury discovered?"

"Why, I am sorry to say, Miss Rose," replied the man, who seemed to be
made very unwillingly the bearer of bad tidings, "they have given a
verdict of 'wilful murder' against Mr. Acton, our head-gardener."

"Impossible!" cried Rose, gasping for breath. "He could not be the
murderer; for he quitted the garden while I myself stood by the
basin."

"He came into it again, Miss Rose," said the butler in a sorrowful
tone; "his feet were traced straight from the haw-haw, back to the
very spot where the dead body was found. Some of his clothes were
bloody, too, and those the very clothes he had on last night. The hoe
too, with which the poor old man was killed was his; and nobody can
deny it is all very suspicious: and so they have sent him off to the
county gaol."

"Nonsense! nonsense!" cried Rose; "it was not, it could not be he;"
and darting out of the breakfast-room, she entered the adjoining
chamber, cast herself into a chair and burst into a violent fit of
tears. Then rising suddenly, she threw open the glass doors and walked
out into the grounds, as if she were half-crazed, without bonnet or
shawl. On she went straight towards the basin where the fatal event
had taken place, hurrying forward with a rapid pace, as if in hopes of
discovering something which might exculpate her lover. She had passed
through the first plantation, which lay within sight of the house, and
was then going round by the walk which bordered a little second lawn,
among the shrubberies, when she thought she heard a voice near, cry,
"Hist! hist!" and turning round, she saw coming out between two of the
stone-pines on the other side of the lawn, the gipsey-woman, Sally
Stanley.

"Rose! Rose Tracy!" cried the woman; "hark to me, pretty lady; I have
something to say to you."

"What is it?" cried Rose, advancing to meet her; "tell me, tell me
quickly! I think I shall go mad."

"Amongst the trees, amongst the trees," said the woman, "where nobody
can see us; though the gardener-people are all out of the way,
revelling, as men always do, over the misfortunes of their
fellow-creatures."

The day before, Rose would have been afraid to trust herself alone
with that woman among the shrubberies; but anxiety for him she loved
had extinguished all personal fear, and with a quick step she led the
way into a dark, narrow walk, seldom trodden.

"What is it?" she asked, as soon as they were beneath the boughs;
"what have you to tell me?"

"I saw him, as they were putting him into the chaise," said the old
woman, with a low voice; "and the constable let me ask him, what was
to become of my little boy. I knew what the answer would be well
enough; but I thought it would give him the means of speaking a word
with me."

"What did he say? what did he say?" cried Rose, totally forgetting in
her eagerness how she was committing herself to a stranger, of not the
most reputable class of society.

"He said," replied the woman, "that the boy would be taken care of by
the General, and then, in a quick whisper, he bade me 'tell her who
would be most interested in his fate' not to be alarmed; for he could
clear himself in a moment, whenever he chose to speak."

"Thank God!" cried Rose Tracy; and, clasping her hands together, she
burst into a flood of tears.

The woman stood and gazed at her with evident interest. "Ay," she said
at length, "love's a pretty thing; but yet it breaks many a heart and
turns many a brain. It turned mine once. But you'll marry him yet,
pretty lady; I know it, and I have told you so."

Her words recalled Rose to herself; and the thought of how clearly
she had exposed all the innermost feelings of her heart to that
gipsey-woman, made the blood rise to her cheek till it glowed with
crimson. Nevertheless, taking out her purse, she drew forth a
sovereign, to reward her for the relief she had given; but the woman
put it away with her hand, saying: "Not a penny--not a penny, from one
that he loves and who loves him. I will bring you news of him from
time to time. And don't you be afraid when you see the gipsies near
you; there is not one of them will hurt you. And he will be proved
innocent, depend upon it."

A thought--perhaps I ought to call it a suspicion--suddenly crossed
the mind of Rose Tracy. "Could the gipsies," she asked herself, "have
any share, or any knowledge, of the crime which had been committed?"
Here was one of them now in the garden, when she had every reason to
believe the gates were locked. Might not such have been the case with
some of the men of the tribe on the preceding evening? They were a
bold, reckless, lawless race; and any slight offence, any small
temptation, might have led them, she thought, to commit such an act.
Yet what was she to do? She was there alone with that strange woman;
there might be others near at hand. She had no proofs; she had no
legitimate cause even for imputing to her people so terrible a crime.
She dared not do it; and yet to save Chandos Winslow, what would she
not have done? A tremor came over her; and she continued for more than
a minute gazing fixedly upon the dark, sun-burnt countenance before
her, which, with all its beauty, had something wild and strange about
the eyes.

"What is the matter?" asked the gipsey at length; "what do you fear?"

"Nothing, nothing," replied Rose. "But I would only say one word to
you. Oh, if you know who has committed this crime! oh, if you can save
an innocent man by revealing the name of the guilty, I adjure you, by
all that is most sacred, to do so; I adjure you by the God that made
us, by the Mediator who saved us, by your feelings as a woman, by your
feelings as a mother, if you would not one day see your own child
condemned for crimes he did not commit, speak now, if you can give the
name of the real murderer."

"Poor thing!" answered the gipsey, "poor thing! you love him very
terribly. But be assured, that if I knew who had done this deed I
would tell it at once, even if there was no such person as Chandos
Winslow upon earth. The murdered man was a good man, and kind--kind to
me and my people, when there were few to be kind. But it will be found
out. Murdered men die; but the murder dies not; and it hunts the doer
of it to death. Murdered men are silent; but their blood cries out
from the dust, and makes itself heard. Murdered men are still; but
there is an arm stretched out to strike the murderer, which faileth
not, no, and shall never fail!"

She spoke like one inspired, with her dark eyes flashing, her round,
beautiful arm raised, and the extended finger trembling in the air;
then suddenly turning away, she left Rose silent and overpowered.



CHAPTER XXII.


The three following days were days of terrible activity; but that was
what was requisite to every one at Northferry--even for peace. There
was only one who took no part in all that occupied the rest--Emily
Tracy. She was totally inactive. She did nothing, spoke little, hardly
seemed to think.

Sir William Winslow was all fire and haste. When the news was first
communicated to him, that his agent, Mr. Roberts, had been murdered in
the grounds of Northferry-house, his manner denoted a severe shock;
and when it was added, that the head-gardener, one Acton, between whom
and Mr. Roberts there was some unexplained connexion, had been
committed for the murder, he seemed to rejoice almost with a fiendish
sort of triumph. He declared he would spare no means to bring the
fellow to justice--that he would pursue the rascal who had killed good
old Roberts, as if he had slain a relation of his own. Then, however,
he recollected what embarrassment and annoyance might take place, in
regard to all the affairs that his steward had been conducting, just
upon the eve of his marriage too; and he rode over to Winslow Abbey,
drove to Elmsly, paying the post-boys enormously to go quick. He went
hither and thither like lightning; never stayed in any place more than
an hour or two; was quick and hurried in his conversation, though
sometimes lapsing into fits of intense thought. He drank a great deal
of wine, too, at dinner, at supper, even in the morning; but it did
not make him tipsy; and he transacted much business in the most rapid
manner. Indeed, it was necessary that he should do so; for the third
day after the committal of Chandos was the time appointed for the
payment of the sums owed by Mr. Tracy, and for the signature of the
marriage settlements. The morning of the fourth the marriage was to
take place; and Sir William had a-thousand things to do before that
event. However, all was done. The agreement for the sale of the
Winslow Abbey estate finally signed, part of the purchase-money paid,
and received; Mr. Tracy's pressing debt discharged; and the marriage
settlements of Emily Tracy and Sir William Winslow marked with the
signature of both. Emily's name was written in a fine, clear, distinct
hand, every letter as straight and as firm as if it had been a
specimen of penmanship. Sir William's, on the contrary, was hardly
legible; each stroke running into the other, some big, and some small,
with a break here and there, as if the pen, or the hand, had refused
to perform its office.

Mr. Tracy was occupied all day, and the part of several nights, in the
business of different kinds which had lately accumulated upon him. He
had many letters to write, many preparations to make; and he made the
many more, the unimportant important. He saw little of his children,
except at their meals. Emily's eyes reproached him, and perhaps Rose's
still more; for she felt deeply--terribly, for her sister. But Mr.
Tracy tried hard to steel himself. He recollected all the conventional
cant of "romantic girls," and of "love coming after marriage;" and of
"those marriages being generally the happiest where reason was
consulted rather than passion." But Mr. Tracy could not convince
himself. He had lived too long out of the sphere of the great world
for its cold sophistries to have much weight with him. He felt that he
was destroying his daughter's happiness, if not affecting her health,
and endangering her life; and the only tangible consolation he could
apply to his own heart, was found in the reflection, that she must
herself have shared in the ruin which her marriage with Sir William
Winslow averted.

General Tracy was not at Northferry. Mr. Tracy had, with a cowardice
not altogether singular, concealed from his brother the compact
between Sir William and himself, till the old officer was in London;
and had then written to tell him that Emily was engaged to the young
baronet, and to be married immediately. Sheets of paper do not blush,
which is a great relief to many who are doing weak, wicked, or foolish
things. General Tracy had replied in a letter which Mr. Tracy had only
read half through, and then burned, with a shaking hand; but as the
day of the marriage approached, and he knew his brother would arrive
before it, he became uneasy, irritable, listening for carriage-wheels,
and evidently working his courage up for an encounter that he dreaded.

It was not till the day before that appointed for the marriage,
however, that General Tracy arrived; and his carriage passed the gate
about an hour before dinner. He found his brother, Sir William
Winslow, and Rose, in the drawing-room; shook hands with the former
and the latter, and bowed stiffly to the baronet. For five minutes he
talked of ordinary subjects, mentioned the world of fashion, and the
world of politics, talked of the mutations of stocks, and corn, and
men's opinions; and then saying, "I have a good deal of news to give
you, Arthur, after dinner; but it will keep till then," he rose, and
left the room.

General Tracy proceeded not to his own chamber, however; but walked
straight to that of Emily, and knocked at the door. The well-known
step was heard by her within, and the voice of Miss Tracy instantly
answered, "Come in." The maid, who was dressing her, left the room;
and the moment she was gone Emily threw herself into her uncle's arms,
and wept. "Oh, I am so glad to see you," she said.

"Calm yourself, dear Lily," said General Tracy, "and speak to me two
or three words with your own truth and candour. Answer me first one
question."

"Stay, my dear uncle," said Emily; "you first answer me one. I am sure
you went to London to seek means of relieving my father. He has told
me all; and therefore there need be no concealment. What have you done
to assist him?"

"But little, my dear child," answered her uncle. "There is every
probability, indeed, of many of these speculations rising in
importance ere long; but at the present moment, the sale of all the
shares would not produce a sufficient sum to meet even the first
pressure. Nevertheless, dear Emily, that must not be the cause of your
whole happiness for life being sacrificed. I have seen the principal
parties concerned; they seem ready to receive an offer I have made
them, after having my estate valued; and if, as I fear, this proposed
marriage is repugnant to all your feelings, it must not take place."

"After having your estate valued," repeated Emily, in an abstracted
tone; but then raising her head suddenly, she added, "my dear uncle,
the marriage is not only proposed, but finally settled. I will not
jilt any man. I will not ruin my uncle and my father. I will not
retract my promise given. Thank you, thank you, dear uncle. Love your
poor Emily ever; and your affection and my father's will be my
reward."

Emily again cast herself into his arms to weep there; but General
Tracy could make no impression, though he tried to shake her
resolution. Her fate was fixed; her mind made up. She was not to be
changed.

"What if I were to quarrel with, call him out, and shoot him?" thought
General Tracy, as he retired from his niece's room to his own. "Why,
it would be murder--that will not do." And, sad, angry, and
discontented, he dressed, and went down to dinner. He was a gentleman,
however; and he carefully avoided every subject which might lead him
to show the irritation he felt. He did not, indeed, court conversation
with Sir William Winslow; and his words, when any took place between
them, were as brief as possible, but perfectly civil. Indeed, when he
looked at him, and saw his pale cheek and haggard eye, he felt
inclined to pity him. "That fellow is creating his own wretchedness,
as well as that of the poor girl," he thought. "What a fool he must
be! He sees she does not love--never will love him; and yet he
persists. If he must _buy_ an unwilling wife, why the devil does he
not go to Constantinople?"

A moment or two after, however, anxious to turn his thoughts from the
most painful subject they could rest upon, he addressed Mr. Tracy,
saying--"By the way, Arthur, let me hear something more of this
horrible event which you just mentioned in your last letter; but which
is filling all the London papers, with tales of blood. Is it true,
that Acton has been taken up on suspicion?"

"Not only taken up, but committed upon the verdict of the coroner's
jury," replied Mr. Tracy.

Sir William Winslow filled the tumbler that stood next to him with
wine, and drank it off.

"The coroner's jury must be a pack of fools," said General Tracy.
"Really, juries are becoming worse than a farce: a pest to the
country. I have not seen a verdict for twenty years that did not bear
the stamp of prejudice, falsehood, or idiotcy upon it. There is a
regular hierarchy of fools in England, proceeding from the coroner's
jury to the grand jury, assisted by all their officers, from the
coroner to the chairman of the magistrates. Rose, my flower, you do
not seem well. Take a glass of wine with me."

"I do not wonder she turns pale," said Mr. Tracy, "when you call up
such a terrible subject again, Walter."

"Well, let us try something better," said the General. "How is Fleming
going on? Has he got his house in order, yet? all the great rooms
papered and painted?"

"He has been absent for ten days," said Mr. Tracy, who felt at his
heart that his brother had not been more fortunate in his choice of a
topic this time than before. "He is not expected back for a month."

"I am sorry for that," said General Tracy; "he is the most agreeable
parson I ever met with--a gentleman--a man of sense, of feeling, and
of talent. Such a man is a great resource in a neighbourhood like
this."

Rose raised her eyes imploringly to her uncle's face, then turned them
towards Emily, and the subject dropped.

With such a beginning, how could the evening pass?

The next morning, at the hour of nine, Mr. Tracy's carriage conveyed
four people, each enduring their own peculiar sort of wretchedness to
the parish-church of Northferry. Emily was--or seemed--the least
agitated of the whole party.

Sir William Winslow was there before them; and, in a few minutes, he
and his poor bride stood before the altar. She was deadly pale; but
she shook not, she wept not. She made no responses; but the clerk did
it for her; for he was so much accustomed to marrying, and giving in
marriage, that he could not refrain from playing the part of bride or
bridegroom, as the case might be, whenever he saw or thought the
parties were incompetent to play it for themselves.

At length there came something which roused the unhappy girl from the
stupor of her misery. The ring touched her ringer, glided up it,
making her his with its cold chilling clasp. It was over--the effort
was complete--the struggle finished! the die cast! She was the wife of
a man she detested! She felt it but for an instant. The next, she was
lying like a corpse at her father's and her husband's feet--pale as
monumental marble; and, to all appearance, as cold and lifeless, too.

They took her up, and carried her into the vestry; but nought they
could do seemed to have any effect in restoring animation. Yet it was
evident, that though the swoon was deathlike, it was not death; and
Mr. Woodyard was sent for in haste. Sir William Winslow gazed on her
with a dark brow and a chilled heart. He felt that she hated him: he
knew that he had marred her young dreams of love and joy; that he had
made life to her like her own fine frame as it lay there before him--a
body without a spirit. A cloud came over him, and snow fell from the
cloud upon the fierce animal fire of his breast. As he remained, with
eyes intent, and fixed upon her, some one opened the vestry-door, and
a voice asked, "Is Sir William Winslow here?"

He turned suddenly round, and after looking at the man who made the
inquiry--a man like an ostler or a groom--he replied. "Yes. What do
you want with me?"

"Please you, Sir William," said the man, advancing, and tendering a
letter, "I was told to bring you this as hard as I could gallop from
the town of S----; and I have not been more than two hours from post
to post. I was to deliver it wherever you might be."

The baronet took the letter, and as he gazed at the superscription, a
contemptuous smile curled his lip. "That will do, my good fellow," he
said, without opening it. "I know whom it comes from."

"Ye'd better read, Sir," said the man; "for the lawyer gentleman who
gave it me, said it was matter of life and death."

"I don't think so," answered the baronet. But he broke the seal,
nevertheless; and the moment his eye had run over the first lines, his
countenance changed. He became, if possible, paler than her on whom he
had just been gazing. He trembled in every limb. He could not at all
restrain it; his whole frame shook.

"Good God! what is the matter now?" cried Mr. Tracy, looking up from
his child. "What has happened, Sir William?"

"I must go," said the other wildly. "I must get over at once--I
must leave you, Mr. Tracy---leave my bride--my wife. This,
Acton--this--this--Heaven and earth, how shall I act?--what shall I
do?--He--he whom I--he is my brother--he knows--he is--my brother."

He let the letter drop as he spoke; but instantly picked it up again,
and grasped it tightly in his hand. Mr. Tracy and the General, greatly
shocked, and feeling for the agitation that they witnessed, though
they knew not all its causes, pressed him to go over to his brother at
once, leaving Emily to their care.

The young clergyman who officiated for Mr. Fleming, ventured quietly
to say--he was of a somewhat strict school--"The marriage cannot yet be
considered as complete, Sir; and the ceremony had better be performed
entirely again upon another day; for I have not yet joined their
hands."

Sir William Winslow gave him a fierce, impatient look, hurried out of
the vestry, threw himself into his carriage; and, amidst the wonder
and disappointment of the crowd of townsmen, ordered the post-boys to
drive to S----.

A moment or two after, Mr. Woodyard came in. The surgeon was an old
and dear friend; he was the first person who had held Emily in his
arms when she came into the world; his love for her was almost
paternal; and the sight of her in such a state, acting on his
affection and his peculiar character, induced him in the very first
instance to abuse everybody in the room in the most violent and
outrageous manner. Her father, her uncle, even the curate and clerk
had all some share of vituperation; but the moment the storm had blown
over, he applied himself zealously to restore her to consciousness,
and succeeded in about half-an-hour. As soon as she seemed capable of
comprehending anything that was addressed to her, General Tracy bent
down his head, saying, in a low voice, "He is gone, Lily--he is gone,
and will not be back for some time."

It was a strange topic of consolation for a bride to hear that her
bridegroom had left her; but yet, it afforded to Emily the only
comfort she was capable of receiving. She looked round the circle, she
saw none but friendly faces, and a faint smile came upon her beautiful
lips. Rose pressed her hand tenderly, and in doing so her fingers
touched the fatal ring. Without knowing well why--without pausing to
consider--acting solely on impulse, Rose drew it gently off, without
Emily being conscious of what her sister did. The moment it was done
Rose was half frightened at her own act. But she recollected that the
clergyman had said, the marriage was not complete, and she internally
prayed to Heaven that it might never be rendered so.

A few minutes more, and Emily could sit up; but it was nearly an hour
before Mr. Woodyard would suffer her to be removed to Northferry
house. Once there, she returned immediately to her own room, with
Rose; and an eager consultation followed between Mr. Tracy and his
brother, in regard to the embarrassed circumstances in which the
family were placed. General Tracy had much consideration for his
brother--I might almost call it tenderness. He felt that he wanted
vigour of character and power of mind; and he had all his life been
accustomed to spare him, from motives of affection and a certain sense
of dignity, which always prevented him from triumphing over weakness.
In the present case he recurred not at all to the past; but, with his
usual cutting decision, he expressed his opinion upon the present and
the future.

"The marriage is not complete, Arthur," he said; "and I thank God that
it is not--hear me out, my good brother. The clergyman himself has
pronounced, that the ceremonies required by the church have not been
performed, and we are bound, as Emily's relations, to look upon it as
no marriage at all."

"Then the whole will have to be performed over again," said Mr. Tracy;
"which will be terribly distressing to the poor girl's mind."

"I never yet heard," answered General Tracy, dryly, "that a man who is
going to be hanged objected to a respite, though the hanging might
come after all. Emily will have time for thought, aye, and time for
decision."

"I do not see that there can be any doubt to decide," said Mr. Tracy;
"although, as you say, the marriage may not be complete, yet it has
proceeded sufficiently far to be a bar to her union with any one
else."

"I dare say she would rather never marry at all," replied the General,
"than marry a man she hates. But, at all events, my dear brother, we
can have lawyers' opinions on that point. For my own part, I thank God
for any obstacle."

"But you do not consider, Walter, the whole of this large sum of money
which he advanced in my greatest need, must be repaid immediately,
even if we hesitate."

"Damn the money!" cried General Tracy, his impatience getting the
better of him. "Did I not write you word, Arthur, that the people who
hold the most pressing claims were willing to receive my property in
pledge for the payment?"

"But it was then too late," replied Mr. Tracy; "the whole matter was
arranged; my word given, and Emily's."

"The whole matter is now disarranged," answered General Tracy; "and if
Emily's reluctance, which is self-evident, continues unabated, I tell
you Arthur, it is your duty as her father to sell your estates at any
loss, to do anything, in short, rather than sacrifice your child.
However, I am determined that if there be a possibility of rescuing
her, I will do it. The point of law shall be ascertained immediately;
and I would rather fight Sir William Winslow a dozen times over, than
see our poor Lily as I saw this morning. If I shoot him the matter is
settled, and if he shoots me, I am sure enough that she will never
have anything to say to the man who killed her uncle."

"Nonsense, nonsense," cried Mr. Tracy, "do not talk of such extreme
measures."

"Why not?" demanded the General, "I have seen you going to shoot a
much honester man than he is, Arthur, merely to deliver yourself from
sudden embarrassment. Do you think I would not do the same, or be shot
myself, to deliver that sweet girl from the misery of a whole life?"

Mr. Tracy coloured highly, but did not reply. The consultation,
however, as so many consultations do in the world, proved perfectly in
vain. The day passed over without the return of Sir William Winslow.
General Tracy explained to Emily, first, what had so strangely and
unpleasantly called away Sir William Winslow, and then that her
marriage was not complete, that he and her father had determined that
the ceremony, if performed again at all, should not be renewed for
some weeks; and that in the meantime he would take the opinion of some
eminent lawyers, as to how far the engagement entered into was
actually binding. He asked her for no decision on her own part. He
hardly even hinted that she might be called upon to decide; and Emily
gladly seized the present relief, and cast the burden of thought upon
the future. More than once she looked down at her hand, however, and
at length said, in a low voice, "Surely the ring was upon my finger,
and now it is gone. Could it be a dream?" General Tracy could give her
no explanation, and therefore he held his tongue; but he had the
satisfaction of seeing that his niece's spirits in some degree
returned during the evening, that from time to time she was even
cheerful, although she often fell into deep fits of thought; and that
on the whole, her mind was relieved by delay.

On the following morning the post from S----, brought a letter for Mr.
Tracy, in Sir William Winslow's hand, the contents of which may tend
to shorten explanations. It was very brief and to the following
effect:--


         "My dear Sir,

"I write with a mind terribly agitated. The horrible situation in
which my brother is placed, the doubts I entertain of the result of
his trial, the disgrace and shame of such a proceeding altogether,
quite overwhelm me; and I feel myself unable to face the world.--I
hardly know what I write or what I am doing.--I have determined to
quit England till the first scandal of this has passed by. My love for
Emily is unabated--will never abate; but I dare not--cannot face all
this. I will write again when I can calm my mind, and will return as
soon as anything is sure regarding my brother's fate--at present I am
half-distracted; but nevertheless,

    "Yours ever,

            "WILLIAM WINSLOW."


Emily was not down, and Mr. Tracy handed the letter to his brother,
saying, "Some of our difficulties are removed for a time, Walter."

"A very strange epistle, indeed," replied General Tracy, when he had
read it. "I think he is somewhat more than _half_ distracted."

"May I see it?" asked Rose; and her uncle gave her the letter. She
read it attentively once--then read it again; and then she thrust it
from her, with a shudder.

"What is the matter, Flower?" asked her uncle, as he marked her
emotion; but Rose held down her head, with her eyes fixed upon the
pattern of the table-cloth, and replied, "Nothing, my dear uncle; but
that I do not think that letter is true. It does not seem to me
sincere. I think there is something more under it."

"Rose, you are prejudiced," said Mr. Tracy; for weak people are always
fond of being very candid. "You do not like Sir William Winslow, and
you judge harshly of him. His faults were anything but those of a man
wanting in sincerity--he was too vehement, too passionate for that.
What makes you think that there is any thing untrue in his letter?"

"Because he never showed the least feeling of any kind for his
brother," said Rose. "I do not think all this agitation, all this
distraction is natural, unless he is moved by stronger and more
personal feelings than either regard for his brother, or fears of
disgrace through him. But you must not ask me, my dear father, what I
think, what I feel, or why. I have often heard you say, that women
have more instinct than reason. God grant that my instinct be wrong in
the present instance."

"Rose, Rose," cried her father, "this is really too much, my love. Be
more generous; be more candid!"

"Well, papa," she answered, "I may be wrong, very wrong; but it would
be a great satisfaction to me to know, if Sir William Winslow ever saw
his brother yesterday--if he has taken any measures, or provided any
means for his defence."

Rose, to her own horror and dismay, had been suddenly led very near
the truth, by the doubts created in her mind by the wild and rambling
tone of Sir William Winslow's letter. Two or three facts presented
themselves to her memory in an instant, which, if she had not quite
forgotten them, had not connected themselves before in her thoughts
with the crime which had been committed. She now remembered that while
speaking with Chandos by the side of the pond, she had heard the voice
of his brother coming towards the very spot where the deed was done;
she remembered that there was another voice also speaking in tones not
familiar to her; and she also recollected that the sound of both was
loud and angry. She dared not express what she thought, without
further consideration; she feared to cast an unjust doubt upon a man
who might be innocent; but she determined, without the slightest
consideration of how it might affect herself, to state all that she
knew, if necessary, to Chandos Winslow's justification.

"You shall have your doubts solved this very day, my Flower;" her
uncle replied to her last words; "for I will go over to S----, and see
our poor prisoner. I like the lad much; I am quite sure he is
innocent; and I think with you, that this letter is not written in a
natural tone. As soon as I have seen dear Lily, I will have horses,
and go."

General Tracy did not fail to execute the intention thus expressed;
but it may be as well to state at once, what had been the course of
Sir William Winslow, without waiting for the old officer's report. On
quitting Northferry, the baronet sunk back in his carriage, and gazed
forth from the windows with a straining eye, full of horror and
dismay, for nearly a quarter of an hour. Then, with a start, he raised
himself, and looked at the letter which he held crumpled up in his
hand. He smoothed it out, he tried to read it; but his hand shook so
fearfully, that he could with difficulty make out the characters. "You
had better quit England as soon as possible!" he repeated. "He is
right--he is right!" Then turning to the page, he read--"I will not
betray you--but facts may be elicited at the trial of a dangerous
kind." "Not betray me," continued the baronet, commenting upon what he
read; "to be sure he will to save his own life--I will not trust
him--no, no! He is right. I will quit England. Shall I see him first?
It might be better, perhaps--No, I cannot, I will not--I must try and
be calm, however. People will suspect something. What shall I do with
this?" and he looked at the letter. "I wonder how he got them to bring
it without breaking the seal?--By the lawyer, I dare say--I must
destroy it."

He proceeded to do so, tearing it into very minute pieces. But then he
feared that they might be found, and put together again; and some he
strewed upon the road from the carriage window, letting piece by piece
blow away, each at a great distance from the other.

Some he let fall into the bottom of the carriage, taking care that
they should be disunited from the rest, and that they bore nought but
the most ordinary words without the context. Some he actually ate. Do
not let the reader think it improbable or exaggerated. He actually ate
them. When he arrived at the inn at S----, he did not either walk or
drive to the prison; but he ordered horses on to the sea-coast, and
then entering the hotel, wrote the short note we have already read to
Mr. Tracy. In ten hours his feet were no longer upon British ground.



CHAPTER XXIII.


It was in a cell of the prison of S----. The prison had not been
modernized. It was not a red brick building picked out with white: a
gaol in a harlequin's jacket. Nor was it a snug, free-stone,
gentlemanly house, with big fetters and a figure of Justice over the
door, looking half asleep under her bandage, and ready to drop both
scales and sword. It was an old-fashioned English prison--not a bit
the better for that--heavy, massive, soiled with the smoke of
manufactories, and turning its black unmeaning shoulder to the street,
with one window looking out, like the eye of Polyphemus, over the huge
mouth-like door, where so many victims went in. The interior
accommodation corresponded well with the unpromising exterior. Nobody
could say he had been deceived into high expectations by the outside,
when he found himself ushered into a cell of nine feet by six, with a
grated window high up, a chair, a table, and a bed. It was just what
the bricks in the wall foretold. There sat Chandos Winslow, by the
table, with fetters on his legs. The magistrates were very fond of
fetters. They fettered everybody and everything--oven their own
intellects--and they instantly fettered Chandos Winslow, though the
utility of the thing was not apparent, seeing that he could sooner
have eaten the prison than got out of it; and the injustice of the act
was self-evident, for he had neither committed nor been found guilty
of any crime "worthy of death or bonds."

Chandos was not alone, however. On the other side of the table sat a
gentleman of a very prepossessing countenance, dressed in black, with
exceedingly white linen. He was neither tall nor handsome, but his
figure though slight was well formed, and his face, though certainly
plain, was sparkling with high intelligence. There was a mildness in
it too, which chastened the vivacity; and an earnestness which gave
depth to the whole. You have seen him, reader, have you not, either
moving the hearts of the jury, and shaking the opinions of the judge;
or pouring forth in the Commons those rich, clear streams of
convincing eloquence, which carried heart and mind away with them. He
is gone! The brief bright career is finished! The grave holds him!
Peace to his ashes! honour to his memory!

And now he sat opposite Chandos Winslow gazing in his face with those
large earnest eyes of his, and addressing to him a solemn and
impressive exhortation. He had known him intimately for some years;
indeed, they were distantly connected, for Lady Winslow had been a
Devonshire woman; and the eminent barrister had come down at once, at
a great sacrifice, to make himself master of his friend's case in
person, more completely than he could have done, had he trusted alone
to briefs and consultations.

"My dear Chandos," he said, "the very first thing between us must be
perfect frankness. I have got rid of your solicitor, because he might
be an impediment; but I must know exactly how you stand, in every
respect, in order that I may defend you to the best of my ability."

"Of course, F----." said Chandos, "you do not suppose me guilty of the
murder of poor Roberts."

"Guilty of his murder, I certainly do not," answered the barrister;
"but a man may produce death without being guilty of murder. Now you
are all a very vehement family. Your father was hasty, your brother is
still more so; and you are yourself not without a tinge of the family
infirmity. You are by no means an unlikely man to strike a rash blow
in a moment of passion; but all I say is, you must give me a clear
view of all the circumstances, not for your own sake alone, but for
mine; for you must recollect that a lawyer, if he be worthy of his
calling--which is a high one whatever men may say--considers his own
honour as involved in the manner in which he conducts a cause; and he
never can do so well, without full and candid explanations on the part
of his client."

There are various modes of smoothing the way to confession, and the
great lawyer was trying one of them.

"All you say is very true," answered Chandos Winslow, "and had I any
acknowledgment to make, I assure you I would do it at once; but I give
you my word of honour as a gentleman, I declare by everything I hold
most sacred, that I had as much to do with this crime as you have."

"Well, I must believe you," replied the barrister; "I am sure you
would not deceive me in such a case, and with such asseverations. But
we must look at the case as it stands;" and he took some written
papers and a note-book out of his pocket. "I have read the evidence as
far as it goes," he continued, "as I came down; and I am bound to
inform you, Chandos, that the case looks very serious. I find, first,
that there was some dispute between you and your father's late
steward, proved by a letter found upon his person. This may be a
trifle; but stress may be laid upon it, and it may be magnified by
other circumstances into a fact of great importance. Secondly: it
appears that he came over to seek you at Northferry House, and went
out into the gardens in search of you. Thirdly: I perceive that it is
established beyond all doubt, that you were at, or very near the spot
where the event took place, at the time of its occurrence. A man named
Sandes saw you going in that direction, as did also his nephew. They
vary as to the time, I see: one says, it was not three minutes before
five; the other, five or ten minutes. Something may be made out of
that. Fourthly: it appears from the testimony of these two men, that
you had a Dutch hoe in your hand at the time they met you. Fifthly:
that a similar implement was found near the body, the edge being
covered with blood and gray hair. Sixthly: the surgeon pronounces the
wound which produced death to have been inflicted by such an
instrument. And seventhly: that the hoe found belonged to you.
Moreover, it is shown, that a few minutes after five, you returned to
your cottage in great agitation, washed your hands, and threw away the
water yourself. Nevertheless, some large marks of blood are found on
the dress which you wore that evening; and it is at the same time
shown, that though you might have quitted the garden without meeting
Mr. Roberts, as you assert, yet you must have passed to and fro from
the hedge to the very spot where the body lay, for there were traces
exactly fitting your shoe both ways, and one of the footprints was
marked with blood, as if you had stepped in the pool which lay round
the poor man's head when he was found."

Chandos listened with sad and serious attention till his friend
paused, and then replied: "It is certainly, as you say, a case of
heavy suspicion; and, what is more, my dear F----, I do not know that
I can do anything to remove it."

The barrister looked very grave. "My dear Chandos," he said,
"something must be done. You must give some account of your
proceedings--you must make some statement--or you are inevitably lost.
It is rare in instances such as this, where circumstantial evidence is
all which judge or jury have to guide them, that so strong and
unbroken a train is to be found against an accused person. In Heaven's
name! say something--tell me something."

"To you, I will," answered Chandos; "but it is upon one condition
alone, namely, that you give me your word of honour, not to use in my
defence any of the facts I am going to state, without my permission."

"It is a strange request; and I cannot conceive the motives," replied
the other; "but as you have it in your own power to grant or withhold
your confidence, I must accede, as your friend. Were I merely your
counsel, I would refuse."

"Well then, on that condition, I will tell you all that occurred on
that night, with the exception of one single fact," said Chandos; "and
you will see that I could break to atoms this chain of circumstantial
evidence in a moment, if I thought fit. But I do not. Some of the
facts may be useful, perhaps, as you will turn them, and some I shall
not object to have used in my defence; but others must remain for ever
between your breast and mine. I was in the garden, then, when Roberts
came to seek me. What he wanted, I do not know. I was close to the
spot where he was afterwards found murdered, when he must have been in
the walk leading thither, and not a hundred yards from it. I had laid
the hoe, in a sloping direction, against one of the pillars of a
little temple, covering a fish-pond, and was standing by the pond,
talking to Miss Rose Tracy, when--"

"Stay, stay!" cried the barrister. "Did Miss Tracy know who you really
are?"

"Rose did; not Emily," answered Chandos; "we had met before; and she
has known me all along."

"Ah! then the strange whim is accounted for," said the other with a
smile.

"Not quite," replied Chandos; "but I do not mean to conceal from you
that I love her. However, I was talking with her by the fish-pond,
when we suddenly heard the voices of persons coming quickly towards
us; for poor Roberts must have met another person in the grounds,
after inquiring for me at the house. Rose recognized one of the
voices; I both: and, as I had the strongest reasons for not wishing to
be found there by one of the persons who approached--"

"Mr. Tracy?" asked the barrister.

"No," answered Chandos, in a decided tone; "quite another person. But
as I did not choose him to find me there, while Miss Tracy made her
escape up one of the paths, I ran straight to the hedge, leapt it, and
stood in the ditch of the haw-haw for some time, concealed by the
hedge. While there, Roberts and the other person approached. They were
evidently in high dispute--indeed, they never agreed; but now, it
would seem, Roberts lost all respect; and when they were just opposite
the fish-pond and the little temple, the other person struck him a
blow with his fist. Then, perceiving the hoe, he snatched it up, and
hit him with it, twice, upon the head. I got over the hedge directly,
resolved to interfere, though I knew I should be recognized at once;
but before I could make my way over, poor Roberts lay dead upon the
ground, and the other person, hearing, and perhaps seeing some one
coming, had fled."

"Your brother!" said the barrister, in a tone of full conviction.

"Not even to you, my dear friend, will I say who that person was,"
replied Chandos. "Suffice it that I raised poor Roberts from the
ground, covered my hands and coat with blood, and perhaps my feet
also. I soon found that life was quite extinct; and, in horror and
anguish, which I will not trouble you with describing, I laid the body
down again, and returned to my cottage, in the hope of escaping all
question as to the perpetrator of the crime. At first, I never thought
that suspicion might attach to myself; but when I began to look at the
matter more closely, I saw the danger in which I stood. I then
considered my course; and I made up my mind never, under any
circumstances, to shield myself by accusing the person really
criminal. You must, therefore, according to your promise, let me know
precisely what line of defence you are inclined to adopt; for I will
not consent to anything being done by me or for me to point suspicion
against another."

The barrister fell into deep thought, and for many minutes he uttered
not a word. He was arranging all the facts and circumstances with that
wonderful precision which, when he pleased, rendered the most dark and
intricate subject as clear as noon-light. "Your position, my dear
Winslow," he said at length, "is indeed a very painful and very
difficult one; but I must exhort you, as a man of honour, and a
respecter of the laws of your country, not to let any personal
feelings impede the course of justice."

Chandos waved his hand. "There is no law," he said, "which could
require me to denounce the guilty in this instance."

"Oh yes, there is!" replied his friend: "no tie should throw a shield
over a murderer. But I can understand your feelings, and respect them.
However, your own life must not be risked; and it is now for me to
consider how, if I hold my promise to you, I can frame a reasonable
and legitimate defence. If you simply plead 'Not guilty,' and give no
account of yourself which may break through the chain of evidence
against you, there is not a panel in all England that will not condemn
you. If you state openly what you saw and heard, there may still be
great doubts and difficulties to contend with: the probability of your
having killed your father's steward will seem greater to a jury as the
case stands at present, than that your brother did so."

"Good God! why?" demanded Chandos.

"Because, in your case," answered the barrister, "a letter was found
upon the dead man, showing that some irritation of feeling had taken
place between you; and in his case there does not appear at present
any reasonable motive for the act. As far as I see things at present,
then, I believe that the best course will be to follow the line you
would yourself desire--to leave the matter vague; to let suspicion
float generally of the crime having been committed by another without
giving it a particular direction."

"But how can that be done?" asked Chandos, in amazement.

"Very easily," replied the barrister, "if your fair Rose be willing to
give her evidence, and have sense enough to give it in a particular
manner. If she will but swear that while talking with you near the
fountain or fish-pond, she heard the voices of two persons
approaching, and that those voices seemed to be speaking in angry
tones, it will create a doubt in the minds of the jury of which you
will have the benefit. She must stop there, however, and not enter
into particulars. Nor must you, in whatever defence we frame for
you--which will require much consideration; for the blood on your
clothes and hands must be accounted for as well as many other
circumstances--nor must we, I say, unless with some corroborative
proof, let you cast the charge upon your brother; for it unfortunately
happens that you have long been upon bad terms with him; that your
father's will has added other causes of family dissension between you;
and that you are next heir to his property. Under these circumstances,
if you were to accuse him when you are yourself accused, without being
able to bring very strong corroboration, and to show some reasonable
cause, you would only create a prejudice against yourself, which would
inevitably destroy you. I will think over it all; but as far as I see
at present, we may very well say, that of the two voices which you
heard as well as Miss Tracy, you recognized one as that of Mr.
Roberts; that not wishing to be recognized before a third person, you
had sprung over the hedge, which perhaps Miss Tracy can confirm; and
that from the other side of the hedge you saw a blow given on the head
to the unfortunate victim, by a man who fled immediately. Luckily, not
being subject yourself to cross-examination, there will be no
opportunity of asking you, if you knew the person of the assassin. The
want of explanation on this point will certainly be an omission which
the counsel for the prosecution will remark upon; and therefore we
must make the whole statement as brief and laconic as possible,
leaving out even some other facts of moment, in order that this may
not stand alone. But we must notice particularly your having returned
and raised the dead body. The difficulty will be to account for your
not giving immediate information; and that will be very hard to get
over. I think I can manage it, perhaps, by some bold figure or daring
appeal to the credulity of the jury. All, however, will depend upon
Miss Tracy; and however irregular the proceeding may be, her I must
see and converse with. I go to town to-night; to-morrow and the next
day I am engaged; but I will see her on Saturday; for I suppose the
trial will come on before the end of the next week. The calendar
at--is light; so that we shall have the judges here very soon."

He ceased speaking. Chandos did not reply, and both sat in silence for
several minutes.

The lawyer saw that there was a great and terrible probability that
the course he proposed to pursue--the only one open to him--would not
be successful. A sort of intuitive feeling that it was a desperate
game, came upon him. There was a want of confidence in the
arrangement; a want of trust in his own powers to carry it out
successfully, which oppressed him. The truth was, it was what may be
termed a mixed case. He was certain of the innocence of his client,
yet he was obliged to pursue as tortuous a course as if his client had
been guilty. The combination perplexed him. Could he have met the
charge with a bold and open defence, with no concealment, with no
reserve, he would have found no difficulty. Had he only had to make
the best of a bad case by legal skill, he might have disliked the
task, without any apprehensions of the result. But now to defend a
just cause insincerely; to prove the innocence of his friend, without
showing the guilt of that friend's brother; to keep back portions of
the truth, when the whole truth, if it could be proved, was Chandos
Winslow's best defence, puzzled and cowed him.

Chandos was filled with very different feelings; and I much doubt
whether I shall be able to convey to the reader any adequate idea of
his sensations at that moment. A sort of despair had come over him--a
self-abandonment--a loss of the bright hopes and strong aspirations
which had lately supported him--a paralysation of some of the great
energies of his nature; while others--the powers of passive
endurance--seemed strengthened and acuminated. He was disinclined to
struggle further with fate. Fortune had proved so adverse, whichever
way he turned, that he hoped not for her favour; and he was unwilling
for a bare chance to expose her he loved to all the pain and grief of
a public examination in a court of justice; to the badgering of rude
second-class lawyers; and, perhaps, to insinuations which he would
rather have died himself than have brought upon her head.

After a long silence, then, he tried to explain his feelings to his
companion; said he would rather not subject Rose to such agitation and
distress; that he was ready to rest upon his own innocence, and to
endure the worst, if that did not avail him.

But the barrister shook his head. "Not so, Chandos," he said, rising
and taking his hat. "I will see Miss Tracy. I will ascertain her own
views. Afterwards, I will frame your defence as best I can, upon the
grounds laid down. But mark me, my good friend, I have a duty to God
and my own conscience to perform; and if I should fail of convincing
the jury of your innocence, I will tell the whole to the advisers of
her majesty."

"But you have promised--you have pledged your honour!" cried Chandos.

The barrister wrung his hand hard. "Remind me of that afterwards," he
said, "and I will prove my confidence in your innocence by fighting
you." Without waiting for a word of reply, he retired.



CHAPTER XXIV.


The lock of the door grated again, within half-an-hour of the time
when his friendly lawyer left Chandos Winslow. It had a harsh sound to
his ear, that heavy lock, whether it opened to admit or give exit to a
visitor. It must always be so with a prisoner; for though he may long
to see a friendly face, though his heart may yearn for the dear
embrace and the look of love, yet there are always sad drawbacks in
the anguish, and regret, and fear of those who come, which all seem to
speak out in that rough grating sound.

"General Tracy is here, Mr. Winslow," said the turnkey, putting in his
head, "with a magistrate's order to see you, if you like him to come
in."

"By all means," answered the captive; "I shall be happy to see him;"
and in a minute after the old officer was in the cell.

He advanced straight towards Chandos as an old friend, and shook him
warmly by the hand; "Well, Mr. Gardener," he said, with a forced
laugh, for his heart was sad, though he sought to be cheerful, "see
what are the consequences of a whim; but I trust they are not likely
to be long as well as heavy--though disagreeable they must be."

"No one can tell the result, my dear Sir," answered Chandos. "I feel
deeply grateful for your kindness in coming over to see me; but I can
assure you I have the cord and the gibbet before my eyes as the very
probable termination of what you call a whim, but which I cannot help
thinking may deserve a better name."

"The cord and the gibbet!" exclaimed General Tracy; "nonsense! I for
one feel certain of your innocence; and I trust that the time of
judicial murders is past."

"Judicial, but not juri-dical, if I may make a sorry jest in sorry
circumstances," answered Chandos. "Do you think, General, that there
are no innocent men hanged in England even in the present day?"

"God forbid that I should be such a fool," replied General Tracy.
"Juries have now-a-days a great leaning to the side of mercy: they
hang very few men comparatively, but it is always the wrong men. So
far I agree with you--your innocence is decidedly against you; but
still let us hope that if the case is very glaring the judge will
recommend you to mercy. But, as you say, these are sad, bitter jests,
my young friend. All that I see before me, around me, is painful, and
I must be serious. Our method of treating prisoners before trial is a
disgrace to a civilized age and a civilized nation. We have, in the
first place, no regular law to rule the whole system. We have a
regular principle which the law recognises, but which it breaks from
the very beginning. 'Every man is to be considered innocent till he is
found guilty,' says the law; but, whatever he is considered, he is
treated as guilty of something, till he is found innocent of the
charge on which he is committed. Every bench of magistrates varies its
doctrine as it thinks best; but they all agree in taking measures for
a prisoner's safe custody which the object does not require or
justify, and in punishing him for being accused, before it is
ascertained whether he is criminal or not. The very deprivation of
liberty is an injustice towards an innocent man, for which the country
that requires it should make compensation the moment he is acquitted;
and every aggravation of that great hardship, inflicted by one or more
magistrates, ought to be punishable as a misdemeanour. Here I had the
greatest possible difficulty in getting an order to see you, and till
that order was obtained the prison doors were shut against me. What an
aggravation is this of the loss of liberty! Not only are you debarred
the free use of your limbs, of your ability, of your will; but you are
deprived of the comfort of sympathy, of the words of friendship, and
affection, of the very sight of loved faces and familiar tones. Better
far, as has been practised in several nations, to shut you up in a
cage and let all your friends, if they would, come and speak to you
through the bars."

"I fear," answered Chandos, "that the state of society requires a
great many safeguards, which inflict innumerable individual hardships.
To prevent a prisoner's escape, to prevent his suborning testimony,
and arranging a factitious tale with those without, may justify many
precautions."

"Does society take as much pains to prevent the subornation of
evidence against him?" asked General Tracy; "does it take pains to
prevent or punish the light and wanton, or the ignorant and stupid
committal of an honest man to the same infliction of imprisonment and
privation which is assigned by the law to a convicted rogue. No, no,
Chandos Winslow, it does not. Society is full of evil conventionalities,
and the cases of individual hardship are so numerous, that I much doubt
whether the benefits of society in its present state compensate for
the evils. Nor is this all, my good friend: its operations are all
iniquitous--iniquitous in their benefits as well as in their wrongs.
One man is as unjustly exalted as another is abased, with a few splendid
exceptions, just sufficient to prove the general rule. Society is, in
fact, the concentration of the whole world's selfishness. But one sort,
even of conventional virtue, is successful at any time, and it is
extolled beyond all praise, rewarded beyond all discrimination; but one
class of vices is punished, and it is persecuted rather than chastised.
The very charge of one of the proscribed sins is sufficient to entail
upon a man a punishment fit for a heinous offence, and in every other
sort of wickedness, a sinner within convention may revel at his will."

"Nay, you are too severe, General," replied Chandos; "I suffer; but
yet I do not think that society inflicts more hardships upon
individuals than is perhaps inevitable."

"You say so because you have been accustomed to look at these things
under one aspect alone," answered General Tracy. "Now, think how many
committals take place in the course of the year in proportion to the
convictions. Those can easily be ascertained; for the reports are
published. Then, again, consider how many of the innocent are
condemned, and you will find that an amount of punishment has been
inflicted upon people who do not deserve it, which is more than should
be necessary to chastise proved crime in any well organized state of
society for a population of double the extent of that of Great
Britain."

"But you assume," rejoined Chandos, "that all who are not convicted
are innocent, which perhaps may not be exactly the case."

"I assume what the rule of society justifies, and no more," replied
General Tracy. "Every man must be considered innocent till he is
proved guilty."

"Besides," said the prisoner, "I hope that few of the innocent are
really condemned, even if many of the guilty do not escape."

"Multitudes are condemned every day," replied his visitor. "I saw a
woman condemned some time ago, a woman in a high rank of life, for
stealing in a shop. She had taken up something off a counter, and
carried it away with her. It was in vain that her habits, her station,
her previous character, her fortune, the very money in her purse at
the moment, were brought forward to prove the improbability of her
filching a toy worth half a crown; the jury condemned her as a lady
thief, and probably would have been hooted had they not done so. And
yet the very same accident which sent her into a court of justice,
occurred to me not ten days ago in London. I went into an inn where I
am well known, with my mind full of anxious thoughts, and sent up to
see if a gentleman I wished to speak with was at home, while I
remained in the coffee-room. I had an umbrella under my arm. There was
another lying on the table near which I stood. I found that the person
I asked for was out; and, without thought, I took up the second
umbrella, and walked away with it. The waiter did not remark what I
was doing, and I had got to the end of two streets, when, to my horror
and consternation, I found that I had one umbrella in my hand and
another under my arm. It is a fact, I can assure you. I carried the
umbrella back instantly, and found the whole house being hunted for
it. 'Remember, my good friend,' I said to the waiter, 'if ever you are
on a jury where no sufficient motive can be assigned for an offence,
that it is well to doubt before you condemn.'"

"And what did he reply?" asked Chandos.

"'Very well, Sir.--Number six ringing his bell!'" said the old
officer; "and if the next day he had been on a jury with a lady-thief
case, he would have found the prisoner 'guilty,' and forgotten the
umbrella."

"I am afraid, then," said Chandos, thoughtfully, "there is very little
chance of my being acquitted."

"That does not exactly follow," replied General Tracy. "But you bring
me back to the subject from which I have wandered wide. I trust there
is no chance of your being found guilty; for I feel perfectly
convinced of your innocence myself. You could have no motive for
killing your brother's steward."

"Who was always attached to me from my youth," added Chandos; "and for
whom I ever felt a sincere regard and affection. I wrote him a letter,
indeed, in somewhat cold and formal terms, in regard to his having
opened the drawers in some rooms, the whole contents of which were
left by my father to myself without any reservation; but I did so
because I thought that he had made the examination of which I
complained by the orders of another. I also wished to render the
letter such as he could show, in case of need, as a demand on my part,
that whatever documents were found in those rooms should be safely
preserved for me. This is the only matter in which human ingenuity can
find the shadow of motive for such an act as I am charged with."

"That will not prove basis sufficient for their accusation," said
General Tracy; "and doubtless, my young friend, if you are well
defended, the whole case against you will fall to the ground. But let
me ask you, if you have taken any means to ensure that good counsel
shall be retained on your behalf."

"The best in the land," answered Chandos Winslow: "Sir ****, left me a
short time before you were kind enough to come to see me."

"That was, of course, at your brother's request," said the old
officer.

"Not in the least," replied the prisoner, sternly; "My brother and
myself, General Tracy, have unfortunately not been friends for some
years, and are less likely to be so now than ever. Sir ****, on the
contrary, is an old and dear friend of mine; and the moment he heard
of my situation from the worthy solicitor in this town, who wrote to
him at my request, he came down to see me himself. My cause could not
be in better hands."

"Assuredly," answered General Tracy. "But am I then to understand that
your brother has taken no measures for your defence? that he has not
been to see you?"

"That he has taken no steps I cannot say, for I do not know," was
Chandos Winslow's reply; "but I should think it most improbable. To
see me he has assuredly not been. Nor would I have admitted him
willingly, if he had come."

"It is very extraordinary," said General Tracy; "he received a letter
suddenly, in the vestry of Northferry church, which we all understood
came from you, and he set out immediately for S----, in order to see
you."

"The letter doubtless did come from me," replied Chandos; "for I sent
one to him privately, by the intervention of my solicitor. But if he
ever intended to visit me here, he changed his mind by the way; for
certainly he did not come."

General Tracy mused for a moment. Rose was evidently right in her
suspicions. The letter of Sir William Winslow was not natural. He felt
no affection for the brother by whose situation he pretended to be
moved so much. Even the honour of his house could not be at the bottom
of all the agitation he displayed, if he had taken no measures for his
brother's defence. Did General Tracy's suspicions extend further?
Perhaps they did; but if so he suffered them not to appear, but
proceeded to touch delicately upon some of the principal links in the
chain of evidence against his young companion, leaving him to give any
explanation if he thought fit.

Chandos listened for some time in silence; but at length he cut short
the observations of the old officer by saying, in a firm and placid
tone, "My dear Sir, it is as well to tell you at once, that there are
particular circumstances which will prevent me from explaining, even
at the trial, many of the facts to which you allude; and if inferences
to my disadvantage are drawn from my silence, I cannot help it. The
motives which actuate me in the line of conduct I have resolved to
pursue are in no degree personal. In fact, I could clear myself--at
least I think so--of all suspicion in five minutes; but I cannot or
rather will not, employ the necessary means to prove my complete
innocence. Doubtless my counsel will adopt a good line of defence, and
I must leave the rest to the will of God."

"Many persons," replied General Tracy, "would look upon you as guilty,
because you do not choose to explain everything. I am not one of them,
however, my young friend. It is a trick of women and the world to
suppose evil in all that is not made clear; but I can easily conceive
that there may be things hidden by a man, which imply no guilt in him;
and, to say the truth, if I had doubted your innocence of this act, I
should have been convinced of it by your unwillingness to account for
many of the circumstances which give weight to the charge against
you."

"Many thanks, my dear General, for your good opinion," said Chandos,
"though I do not see exactly how you deduce your effect from your
cause."

"By one very simple process," answered the General: "though it
is a vulgar error to suppose that terror always follows guilt,
yet every guilty man when placed in a situation of danger strives
eagerly--generally too eagerly--to escape punishment, and devises some
means of explaining away facts which tell against him. Now the absence
of all effort on your part in that direction would be sufficient for
me were there nothing more. But I will tell you, Chandos Winslow, that
there is something more. Your resolution to withhold explanation
excites suspicions, not in regard to yourself, but in regard to
others, which I will not now attempt to define; and undoubtedly as
soon as I return to Northferry, I will cause inquiries to be made for
the purpose of confirming or removing those suspicions. And now tell
me, is there anything I can do for your comfort? What means can be
devised of solacing the weary hours of imprisonment?"

Chandos Winslow thought for a few moments deeply, and then replied,
holding out his hand to General Tracy, "I thank you most deeply for
your kindness; but let me entreat you not to suffer anything I have
said to cast a suspicion upon others. I have no one to accuse. I meant
not in the least to imply that I am aware of any facts connected with
this sad event. I have my own reasons for the course I follow; but to
explain them would be to debar myself from that course. What you are
pleased to do in the matter, I cannot help; but pray let no inquiries
be founded upon or directed by anything I have said."

The old officer bowed his head gravely, but merely replied, "What can
we do to give you amusement during your confinement?"

"Oh, books, General," answered the prisoner; "that is the only solace
allowed me here. If you could send me some of those at my cottage, you
would indeed confer a great favour; for time flies heavily when my own
dull thoughts bear down his wings; but I have often found that the
current of imagination, when directed by authors that we love, has a
buoyancy which bears our dull thoughts away upon the stream, till we
lose sight of them in distance."

"You shall have your whole library before to-morrow night,"
replied General Tracy; "and now farewell. I will see you again;
but if in the meantime I can serve you in any way, write to me at
once." Thus saying, he left him; and immediately on his arrival at
Northferry-house, he inquired strictly of all the servants if they had
seen any one go out into the garden or return from it on the night of
the murder, and at the hour when it was supposed to have taken place.
Only one person, the second footman, recollected any circumstance of
the kind, and he could give no definite information. He said, however,
that just after sunset, as he was shutting the dining-room windows, he
saw somebody pass into the house through the conservatory. He thought
it was like the figure of Sir William Winslow, but he could not affirm
that it was so; and with this confirmation, weak as it was, General
Tracy was forced to be satisfied for the time.



CHAPTER XXV.


Rose Tracy sat in her own room, with her head resting on her hand. The
tears were streaming from her eyes; and yet the expression of her
countenance was not altogether that of grief. It seemed more as if her
heart and feelings had been touched for another, than as if she were
affected by personal sorrow. Such indeed was the case. The letter
before her was from Horace Fleming. It was the first she had ever
received from him; and it was couched in language which was guarded by
delicate feeling towards her sister, while it plainly suffered to
appear the deep anguish of spirit which he himself endured.

After wiping the tears from her eyes, she re-read several detached
passages from the letter, which we may as well place before the
reader:--

"You will think it strange, my dear Miss Tracy," was the commencement,
"that I should venture to write to you; but you have not only taken a
kind interest in me, and in feelings which I know you saw without
pain; but you also interested yourself much in the poor of my parish,
and in the schools which I had established. However, I will not make
an excuse which is not sincere for writing to you, for I have no one
to whom I can pour out the feelings of my heart but yourself; and I
should have written had my poor and my schools been out of the
question. Your sister, of course, I cannot venture to address, though
I should wish her to know that morning and night I offer earnest
prayers for her happiness, and beseech Him from whom alone all good
things come to avert those evils from her which I, perhaps weakly,
apprehend. I would not have her made aware of the sorrow and
disappointment I myself endure; for, if hers is a cup of joy, the
grief of a friend would but turn the sweet drops to bitterness; and if
it be already bitter, I would not for anything that earth can give add
to the sorrow of one so well deserving happiness."

After some further expressions of the same kind, he went on to say,
"Do not suppose, however, my dear Miss Tracy, that I give myself up to
grief; I trust that my religious feelings are too strong for that. I
struggle hard to cast all sorrowful thoughts from my mind. I occupy
myself all day in the duties of the small living I hold in this part
of the diocese, and I leave nothing undone--not to drive your sister
from my mind, but--to reconcile myself to the knowledge that she is
lost to me for ever, and to bow my heart humbly before the will of
God. Nevertheless, I think it will be wise for me, in all respects,
not to return to Northferry for some months; for I must avoid
everything that can reawaken regret and make me discontented with the
lot which it has pleased God to assign to me. Under these
circumstances, I will request you, in your kindness, to do one or two
things for me in the parish; for my curate, though an excellent man,
has not much experience, and moreover cannot be so well acquainted
with the wants and character of the people of the place as yourself."

I will not pause upon all the details he gave, nor mention whom he
recommended to Rose's bounty, nor to whom he called Mr. Tracy's
attention; but will proceed at once to another part of the letter,
which was the only portion thereof in which Rose could be said to have
a personal interest.

"I have seen in the daily papers," continued Mr. Fleming, "some most
extraordinary statements regarding a horrible event which has taken
place at Northferry, in your own grounds. I allude, of course, to the
murder of Mr. Roberts; and I am shocked to find that an innocent man
has not only been charged with the crime, but has actually been
committed for trial on the coroner's warrant. From your father's
account of his head-gardener, who under the name of Acton excited so
much wonder by his erudition, I was speedily led to believe that he
was superior to the station he assumed. To hear therefore that he was
in reality no other than Mr. Chandos Winslow, did not excite in me the
same surprise which it did, I dare say, in others. I never spoke with
him but once; and then he affected a certain roughness of manner,
mingled strangely enough with quotations from Roman poets; but I saw
him several times at a distance in your grounds, and felt sure from
his walk and carriage that he was no ordinary man. I was informed
accidentally of his relationship to Sir William Winslow the night
before I left Northferry; but little expected to hear such a charge
against him. Doubtless he will be able to prove his innocence; but
still such things ought not to be left to chance, and I shall
therefore tender my evidence, which, if the statements in the
newspapers be correct, must have some weight."

The letter was dated from Sandbourne Vicarage, a place about forty
miles distant, on the other side of the county; and Rose had just
finished looking over it again, when her maid entered her room to tell
her that a gentleman from London was below in the library, and wished
to speak with her immediately. At the same time the girl handed her a
card, on which was printed a name of which she had no knowledge,
except from having seen it mentioned frequently in the public
journals, as that of the most eminent barrister of the day.

Putting the letter she had previously received into her bag, she went
down with some degree of trepidation to the library, to meet a
complete, stranger, at a moment when her mind was by no means disposed
to society of any kind; but her visitor soon put her at her ease, by
the winning gentleness of his manner.

"I have to apologize Miss Tracy," he said, "for intruding thus upon a
lady without any proper introduction; but my anxiety for the safety of
a very dear friend must plead my excuse. Chandos Winslow, whom I think
you know, and whom you must at all events be acquainted with under the
strange guise of a gardener, is an old and intimate acquaintance of
mine; and I have undertaken, against my ordinary rule, to conduct his
defence, in the painful and dangerous circumstances in which he is now
placed."

"Oh, I am so glad to see you," said Rose; "but your words frighten me.
I had hoped that it would be perfectly easy to establish his
innocence, of which I am sure you can have no more doubt than I have."

"None," answered the barrister; "but I must not deceive you, my
dear young lady. His case is one of very great danger; for there
never was a stronger chain of circumstantial evidence against any
man than against him. But let us sit down and talk the matter over
calmly;--nay, do not weep;--for on the evidence that you can give, may
very likely depend the result of the trial."

Rose nevertheless wept only the more from that announcement; for to
think that the life of the man she loved might depend upon the manner
in which she told a tale, simple enough, but susceptible of being
turned in various ways by the skill of any unscrupulous counsel, did
not at all tend to decrease her agitation.

"This is very foolish of me," she said, at length, drying her eyes;
"but I shall be better in a moment. Pray go on: what is it you wished
to say?"

"I am altogether stepping out of the ordinary professional course,
Miss Tracy," replied the barrister; "but I have thought it better to
see you myself rather than trust the task to another, in order to
ascertain the nature of the evidence you can give; first, for the
purpose of judging whether it will be expedient to call you at all on
the part of my friend Winslow; and secondly, that I may so direct the
questions to be put to you in your examination in chief as to prevent
the cross-examining counsel from torturing you, or damaging the case
of my client. Winslow tells me that he was speaking with you the
moment before he quitted the garden. Now mind, in anything I say, my
dear young lady, I wish to suggest nothing; for, in the first place, I
am sure you are incapable of falsehood; and in the next, nothing can
serve our friend but the simple truth."

"But that is quite true," said Rose, "he was speaking with me near a
little basin of gold and silver fish, close by the spot where the body
was afterwards found. He then ran across the path and the greensward
beyond, and jumped over the hedge just above the haw-haw. I can show
you the precise spot."

"By and by that may be useful," said the other; "but at present tell
me, if you have no objection, what made you part so suddenly?"

Rose coloured a little: but she replied frankly, "We heard the voices
of two people coming down the arbutus walk, as we call it--a path
bounded by evergreens, which leads, with several turns, into the broad
walk past the fish-pond."

"Were the persons speaking at any great distance?" inquired the
barrister.

"In a direct line, I should think forty or fifty yards," she answered;
"but by the arbutus walk more than a hundred, I dare say."

"Then were they speaking loud that you heard them so far?" asked her
companion; "or only conversing quietly?"

"Oh, they were speaking very loud and angrily," replied the young
lady, "Sir William Winslow especially."

"Then Sir William Winslow was one of the speakers," said the
barrister.

Rose coloured a good deal, and was evidently agitated, but she
answered, "He was, beyond all doubt. His voice is very peculiar. It
was raised high; and I can have no doubt of it."

The lawyer played slowly with the eye-glass at his buttonhole, and
looked her full in the face; for he saw that there were suspicions in
her mind; but he answered deliberately and with some emphasis: "We
will avoid that point, Miss Tracy, in the examination in chief, and,
if possible, so frame our questions as to give the opposite counsel no
opportunity of inquiring who was the speaker; but, nevertheless, you
may be pressed upon the subject, and then of course the truth must be
told, whatever be the result. Where is Sir William now?"

"He has gone to the Continent, I believe," said Rose, with some
embarrassment.

"And probably has taken with him the servants who were here during his
stay," said the lawyer, drily: "nevertheless, we may get at some facts
regarding him, perhaps, from your own domestics. But you will swear he
was in the garden at that hour, should it be needed?"

"Without hesitation," answered Rose.

"And that he was conversing in loud and angry tones with some other
person?" continued the barrister.

"Undoubtedly," she replied.

"Did you know the other person's voice?" asked her interrogator.

"No; it was quite strange to me," answered the lady. "It was not the
voice of any of our own people, I am sure; but I remarked that he had
a slight hesitation in his speech; for when he said 'No, Sir William;
I tell you I will not,' he stammered at the word 'tell.'"

"You heard him say that?" inquired the lawyer.

"I did, distinctly," she answered; "but that was after Mr. Winslow was
gone."

A long pause succeeded, during which the barrister seemed totally to
forget Miss Tracy's presence, and leaned his head upon his hand,
looking forth from the window with an air of anxious thoughtfulness.
At length he said, as if reasoning with himself, "Perhaps it might
do--yet it would be a hazardous game--but what is not? I must remember
my promise, however, and that will turn the balance." Then again he
paused and thought; but at length turning to Rose, who began to feel
her position somewhat embarrassing, he said, "I thank you very much,
Miss Tracy, for your frankness, and will make use of your evidence to
a certain extent. It may not be necessary to enter into all the
particulars, and the best way under examination and cross-examination
is to answer perfectly sincerely and frankly the exact question that
is asked, without going at all beyond it. I say this because it must
be a painful thing at any time for a young lady like yourself to be
put into a witness-box. It is true, a better feeling exists at the bar
at present than was to be found some thirty or forty years ago. We do
not now think it necessary to brow-beat a witness, nor clever to
puzzle one, unless we find that there is a determination to conceal
the truth or to pervert it. However, I shall tell the solicitor in the
case to apply to your father, who I find is out, for a list of all the
servants in the family, who could, perhaps, be serviceable as
witnesses on behalf of our poor friend; and if you know of any other
evidence which could be brought forward in his favour, either to show
the probability of the unfortunate gentleman, Mr. Roberts, having been
engaged in a personal dispute with any other person, or to prove that
Chandos could not be guilty of the act, you would--"

"Why, I have received a letter this very morning," cried Rose, "from a
gentleman who seems to think that his testimony would be important. I
will read you what he says;" and, taking out Mr. Fleming's epistle,
she read all that referred to the case of Chandos Winslow.

"From whom might that come?" asked the barrister.

"From the clergyman of our parish," answered Rose, "the Honourable Mr.
Fleming. He is not at all likely to speak without good cause."

"Might I hear it again?" said the other.

Rose read it once more; and the lawyer, rising, took up his hat,
saying, "I will go to him at once. There are some remarkable
expressions there. He must have important evidence to give."

"I think so too," answered Rose Tracy; "for he never lays stress upon
trifles. But yet I cannot see how he can know much, for he was not
here that evening, and went away for Sandbourne early the next
morning, I hear."

"We cannot tell what information he may possess," said her companion.
"This gentleman is evidently a man of observation and ability. His
character and holy calling will give weight to his testimony; and I
will ascertain this very night what he knows of the circumstances."

"Unfortunately, he is absent," replied Rose; "Sandbourne, where he now
is, lies fifteen or sixteen miles on the other side of S----."

The lawyer took out his watch. "That shall not stop me," he said. "It
is now twelve: I can be there before dark, hold a consultation at
S---- after dinner, and get to London by six to-morrow. Thanks to the
marvellous combinations of railroads and post-horses, one sets
distance at defiance. But I must have the address, Miss Tracy, if you
will have the kindness to put it down for me."

Rose did as he required, and with a certain sort of antique
gallantry--though for his standing in the profession he was a young
man--the great lawyer, in taking his leave, raised his fair
companion's hand to his lips, saying, "If I win this cause, Miss
Tracy, my pleasure will be threefold: first, as I shall save my
friend; secondly, as I shall triumph over some difficulties; and
thirdly, as I shall gain a victory in which I think you have some
interest."

In four hours he was at the door of Sandbourne Vicarage, for he had
the secret of saving time by casting away sixpences, and the post-boys
did their best. There was some difficulty as to his admission, for the
servant informed him that Mr. Fleming did not like to see any one on
Saturday night after four in the evening, unless the business was very
important.

"Mine is business of life and death," answered the lawyer, with a
faint and fatigued smile. "Give your master that card, and assure him
I will not detain him long."

The servant went, returned, and admitted him. He remained nearly
half-an-hour, and when he went forth he shook Mr. Fleming's hand,
saying, "I would mention it to no one, my dear Sir; for we barristers
are sometimes apt to puzzle counsel when we find testimony goes
against us. The only place to state the fact is in the open court."

Then bidding him adieu, he got into his carriage again, waved his
hand, and the horses dashed away towards S----.

As soon as he was out of sight of the vicarage, he cast himself back
on the cushions, saying aloud, "Well, this is most extraordinary.
There must be some great falsehood amongst people who all seem the one
more sincere than the other. God grant neither judge nor jury may find
it out; but at all events we must keep to our story. Which shall it
be?--" and, laying his finger on a temple that ached more often than
the world knew of, he gave himself up to contemplation, the result of
which the reader will see hereafter.



CHAPTER XXVI.


We once wandered, dearly beloved reader, you and I together, over some
steep bare hills which lie between Winslow Park and Northferry,
watching Chandos in his gardener's guise, as he travelled towards the
house of Mr. Tracy. Those hills, not at all unlike the Mendips in some
of their features, were somewhat different in others. The high road
took the most sterile and desolate part of them, where the curlew
loved to dwell in solitude, and the wild plover laid her spotted
eggs. But here and there, in their long range--which might extend some
five-and-thirty miles from the spot where they began to tower above
the plain in one county to that where they bend the head again in
another--were some dells and valleys, in which the woods nestled and
the streams glided on. The river which Chandos had swam at Winslow,
and which, passing on, increasing in size, gave to the village or
small town near Mr. Tracy's property the name it bore, by reason of
what is called a horse-ferry established there from time immemorial,
had at some period of the world's history undertaken the troublesome
task of forcing a way for itself through the opposing barrier of hill,
and had somehow succeeded. It is wonderful what feats rivers and
people will perform when they are driven into a corner, and have no
way out of it but by a great effort. Then, when they have accomplished
their task, how they rejoice in the triumphant exertions of their
vigour, and play in scorn with the obstacles they have surmounted.

In a deep valley amongst those hills, seldom if ever trodden by human
foot--for there was wanting footing for man or beast in many parts of
the gorge--is one scene of exceeding beauty, well worthy of being more
frequently visited than it has been. I know not whether in the spring,
when the young leaves coming out decorate the sides of the dell with
every hue of yellow and green, or in the autumn, when the mellow brown
and red of the decaying year spreads a melancholy splendour over the
woods, the picture is more beautiful; but to see it in its best aspect
must always be when the tears, either of the year's wayward youth or
of its sorrowful age, have been pouring down for some days before. The
reason is this,--that over a high shelf of rock, the river, having
overcome all the obstructions of the previous way, bounds down towards
the goal to which its eager course tends in the distant plains, then
first in sight, and the boughs of a thousand kinds of trees and shrubs
wave round the rejoicing waterfall as if in triumph. It is not indeed
with one boisterous leap that the river springs from the height, some
fifty feet above, to the tumbling pool beneath; but as if at two great
steps it strides upon its way, setting one white foot in foam upon a
rocky point about half-way down, and then again another in the depth
of the valley. A projecting point of crag, upon which a sapling
ash-tree has rooted itself, stands out between the two falls; and
round the point, scattered amongst the roots of the trees, lie
numerous large blocks of stone, riven from the rocks above, in times
the remoteness of which is told by the yellow and white lichens and
green moss with which they are covered.

About a hundred yards in front of the waterfall, one fine day in the
early spring of the year, when several hours of heavy rain during the
preceding night had gorged the river, and given the cataract the voice
of thunder, sat the gipsey woman, Sally Stanley, with her picturesque
costume in its varied and bright colouring, contrasting beautifully
with the cold gray stone, the rushing water, and the brown tints of
the uncovered branches; while, here and there, an early green leaf, or
the warm reddish brown of the unevolved buds, served to harmonize in
some degree the scene with the glowing hues of her dress, or at all
events to render the contrast not too strong. Nobody else was seen in
the neighbourhood; and yet there were the three cross sticks, with the
suspended pot, the glowing wood fire well piled up, and one small
dingy tent between two large masses of stone. The woman sat beside the
pot and sewed, with her left shoulder turned towards the waterfall,
and her eyes apparently looking down the dell.

Opposite to her, spanning the river, was a little rude bridge, made
with two trunks of trees, joining a narrow path on the one side to its
continuation on the other which might be seen winding from shelf to
shelf of the rock in its way to the prolongation of the valley above.

Sally Stanley sat and sewed, as we have said, an unusual occupation
for a gipsey; and while she sewed she sang, a much more frequent
custom of her people. But to neither affair did she seem to give much
attention, turning her ear towards the stream and path, as if for some
expected voice or footfall.

At length a step was heard; but she made no sudden movement, and with
her head bent, listened still, slowly turning her face in the
direction of the descending path, so as to gain a sight of the person
who was coming down, before he crossed the river. The figure which
appeared was that of a man in the prime of life--in the early prime,
well dressed after a country fashion, bearing himself with a free and
easy air, and, with his well-turned powerful limbs, and fine cut
features, presenting the aspect of as handsome a man as one would wish
to see.

A faint, almost sad smile came over the face of the gipsey woman; but
she took not the slightest notice till the traveller was in the midst
of the bridge, when, dropping the coarse blue stocking she was
mending, she advanced towards him, and addressed him in the usual cant
of her tribe, begging him to cross her hand and have his destiny told,
and promising him as pretty a fortune, and as extensive a matrimonial
connexion, as any moderate man could well desire.

Lockwood, for he it was who now approached, laughed, and replied, "I
have not time now, my good girl; for I am hungry, thirsty, sad, and
sorry, and have a long way to go before I can get food, drink, or
consolation."

"Not so, Master, not so," answered Sally Stanley; "you only cross my
hand with a pretty little half-crown, and I will give you food, drink,
and consolation, such as you cannot get where you are going, I am
sure."

"That is no bad offer either," answered Lockwood; "and I may as well
sit down by the side of your pot, and have a chat with you, as go and
eat bread and cheese, and drink beer by myself in a frowsy tap-room."

"A great deal better," said the woman with a laugh. "Where could you
be more comfortable than here, if you were going to the best house in
all the land? Do you think that man builds better than God?"

"Why, no," answered Lockwood; "and in those respects I am a bit of a
gipsey myself. I am as fond of the free air as any of you, and do not
much fear foul weather, even when Æolus unchains all his blasts. But
come, let us see your promised fare. I dare say it is of the best in
the county, as you certainly have the choice of all that is going.
Here is your half-crown for you."

He was soon seated close to where the woman had been previously
sitting, with a deep tin dish upon his knee, while she, with a large
wooden ladle, dipped into the pot and brought up a mixed mess, very
savory to the nose, and consisting a various materials, whereof a fine
turkey's leg was at all events the most conspicuous. Bread she had
none to give him, but a hard biscuit supplied its place very well, and
to say sooth, Lockwood, whose appetite was sharpened by a long walk,
enjoyed his meal exceedingly.

"Now then," he said, "for your drink and your consolation;" and the
woman brought him forth from her little tent a black bottle, the odour
emitted by which, as soon as the cork was pulled out, announced it as
that liquor to which we justly give the same name that eastern nations
bestow upon an evil spirit. But Lockwood would none of it, and while
he finished the contents of the platter, she brought him a large jug
of water from the stream.

"Well," he said, after taking a long draught, "I must now wend on my
way."

"You are in mighty haste," she answered, "to set out for a place you
will not reach."

"How do you know I will not reach it?" he asked, smiling in his
strength.

"Because I know all about you," answered Sally Stanley, "where you are
going, why you are going, what has been in your thoughts all the way
from Winslow hither."

"You are mighty wise," exclaimed Lockwood. "I know well enough that
you gipsies are famous for fishing out of gentlemen's servants all
about their masters and mistresses, but I did not know you troubled
your heads with such people as myself. As to my thoughts, however,
there I defy you."

"Do you?" said the woman, laughing aloud. "Now I will show you. You
have been thinking of Chandos Winslow, your half-brother, and of the
murder of good old Roberts, the steward; and you have been fancying
that another hand, as near akin to your own, might have shed the blood
that is charged upon Chandos Winslow's; and you are going down to
Northferry to see what you can make out of the case."

"A marvellous good guess," replied Lockwood; "but I now recollect you,
my pretty brown lass. You are the mother of the boy down at the
cottage; and, like all your people, you are good at putting two and
two together."

"I am the boy's mother," answered the woman; "but you are wrong in
thinking that is my only way of knowing. I see more things than you
fancy, hear more than people dream of; and I tell you, you will not
get to Northferry to-day nor to-morrow either; nor will you go to the
assizes, nor give your evidence in court: and if you did, you would
only mar what you try to mend."

"That won't stop me," answered Lockwood sturdily; "truth is truth, and
it shall be told: 'Magna est veritas, et prævalebit,' my pretty lass.
I will tell my plain, straightforward tale in spite of any one; but I
do not know what you have to do with it, and am rather curious to
hear; for, to tell you the truth, I do not like you the better for
wanting to stop me. If there were any gratitude in human nature, you
would be grateful to Chandos Winslow, for he did all in his power to
make your boy a good scholar and a good Christian: though, by the way,
I suppose you care very little about his being either."

The woman's eye flashed for an instant, with a very wild and peculiar
gleam in it, which I think I mentioned before, and she answered
vehemently, "You are wrong, Henry Lockwood, you are wrong; I am
grateful to him for everything;" and then she burst into a flood of
tears.

Lockwood gazed at her with some emotion, and then put his hand kindly
upon her arm, saying, "I did not mean to grieve you, my good woman;
but still I do not understand you rightly: you say that you are
grateful to this young gentleman; and yet you would prevent me from
doing what I can to save him when his life is in danger for another
man's act. You seem to know so much, that perhaps you know more; for
your people are always prying about, and it is not unlikely that some
of them saw the deed done. However, from what you said just now, and
from the way in which you divined what I had been thinking about, I am
sure you do not suspect Chandos Winslow, and that your suspicions take
the same direction as my own; though mine are well nigh certainties,
and yours can be but doubts."

"Are yours well nigh certainties?" she exclaimed eagerly. "Can you
prove it? Can you satisfy judge and jury? But, no," she added, in a
mournful tone, "it were better not--you cannot prove it--you can have
nothing but suspicions either. You did not see your bad brother's hand
strike the blow--you cannot tell what was the provocation given--you
can mention no cause for a man killing his own steward."

"Yes I can," answered Lockwood. "The blow struck I certainly did not
see; for I was well nigh two miles off at the time."

"I know that as well as you do," said the woman with a laugh; "I know
where you were, and all about you. But what is it you can prove if you
were so far distant?"

"I can prove that there was a cause," answered Lockwood, "a cause for
the act in one case, and none in the other; for the very night before,
poor Roberts found a note in Sir Harry's own handwriting, declaring
that he had left a copy of his second will, dated not five years ago,
in the hands of his eldest son. Roberts showed me the memorandum
himself, the moment after he had found it, and he was as well aware as
I am that Sir William has destroyed the will, because it did not suit
his purposes. Was that not cause enough for giving a knock on the head
to one who possessed such dangerous information? Besides, there is a
great deal more: the very next day he came over to seize on the
furniture in those two rooms, and lock it all up; but I have been
beforehand with him. All the papers that Roberts had found were safe
enough, and the furniture was moved to farmer Richards's great barn
and under my lock and key. He sent me down word that he would
prosecute me. I told him to do so if he dared. But now I must go, my
good woman; and I say the truth shall be told, whatever comes of it."

"Do you think, Lockwood," asked the gipsey woman, "that if Chandos
Winslow himself had seen the murder committed, he would bring such a
charge against his brother?"

"Perhaps not," replied Lockwood; "but that is not the question. Here
am I, no way partial in the business, whose duty it is to an innocent
man to tell the truth, whether he wishes it or not; and therefore I
shall go on to Northferry at once, and see Mr. Tracy, and tell him all
I know. If he does not do what is right, I will go on to the lawyers
and tell them."

"Mr. Tracy you cannot and you will not see," said Sally Stanley. "Have
you not heard he was arrested for debt, and taken to London yesterday
afternoon; and the two girls and their uncle are gone up after him
this morning?"

"Arrested?" exclaimed Lockwood; "what! the rich Mr. Tracy arrested? he
who was supposed to be the most wealthy man in all the county?"

"Aye, there it is, Harry Lockwood," said the woman: "that is the
difference between your people and the gipsies. We are content with
food and clothing, the open sunshine, and the free air; but you are
never content. If you are poor you must be rich; if you are rich, you
must be richer. The madness of gain is upon you all; and this wealthy
Mr. Tracy must needs speculate, to make himself more wealthy, till he
has made beggars of himself and his children. All on account of these
railroads, with which they are putting the whole land in fetters; he
who, a month ago, was rolling in riches, has not so much in his pocket
as Sally Stanley, who once begged her bread at a rich man's door, and
was driven away with a cur at her heels. You will not see Mr. Tracy
for a long time to come."

"Then I will go to the lawyers," rejoined Lockwood; "for the story
shall be told."

"No, it shall not," answered the woman, "that I am resolved. I tell
you, you will spoil all; and if you leave the matter alone, he is
quite safe."

"I will not trust to that," answered Lockwood. "There, take off your
hand!--you are not such a fool as to think you can stop me;" and at
the same moment he shook off the grasp which she had laid upon his
arm, somewhat rudely and impatiently, perhaps.

The next instant his collar was seized by a stout man, who sprang from
behind the masses of broken stone, while another leaped out and caught
his right arm, and a third seized him round the legs and tried to
throw him down. His great strength, however, sufficed to frustrate
their efforts for a moment or two. He disengaged his arm, aimed a blow
at the man who grasped his collar, which was parried with difficulty,
and kicked off the other gipsey who was grasping his legs; but three
or four more came running down from amongst the woods, and after a
sturdy resistance he was overpowered and his hands tied.

"What the devil do you mean by ill-treating one of our women?"
demanded a tall, powerful fellow, of about fifty years of age. But
Lockwood only replied by a loud laugh; and the gipsey grinned at the
open falsehood of his own pretext.

"What shall we do with him, Sally?" said the latter, turning to the
woman; "he must be looked sharp after if we are to keep him, for he is
a rough customer, I can tell you."

"Ah, you have found that out," cried Lockwood; "you will find me
rougher still before I have done with you."

"Hush! hush!" said Sally Stanley; "take him away and keep him where we
agreed upon. I will find those who will watch him well. You had better
go with them quietly, young man; for you must see by this time that
there is no use of struggling."

"Not much, I believe," answered Lockwood. "But I should wish to know,
before I go, my good woman, what it is you want, and what you are to
do with me."

"To keep you from making mischief," replied Sally Stanley. "There,
take him away, lads, and I will come up directly; but mind you keep
him safe."



CHAPTER XXVII.


"This is weary work. Three days have I been alone; without the
sight of any human face but that of the turnkey. How burdensome
becomes the weight of thought as each hour goes by! It presses
upon the brain as if a heavy stone were laid upon the head. What a
terrible thing is solitude, notwithstanding all that Zimmermann has
said of it--notwithstanding all that can be done to alleviate it! But
this is something more than solitude. Alexander Selkirk on his desert
island could change the scene, could vary the occupation every hour.
Now, he could go up the Blue Mountain, and gaze afar, 'the monarch of
all he surveyed.' Then he could wander down to the sea-shore, and send
hope and expectation forth on a voyage of discovery over the green
waters before his eyes, to see if ship or boat from the far native
land were winging its way like a bird towards his place of exile. Or
else memory, like a bark freighted with treasure, would touch the
land, and he would see the stores of other days, the joys, the loves,
the dreams of youth and manhood spread out upon the beach. He could
tame his wild birds or his free goats; he could plant or reap his
little field; he could garner or grind his corn. He was no worse in
fate than Eve-less Adam; and though it may not be good for man to be
alone, yet, when there is variety and occupation, the evil is but
small. Here, what is the variety? Four or five short steps from wall
to wall; the heavy door on one side; the high grated window on the
other. But yet, it might be worse. What a terrible thing solitary
confinement must be! Here the jailor comes in and speaks civilly; will
stop a minute or two to tell you what is going on without; will press
me to walk in the yard, and tell me it is quite airy and _cheerful_.
Cheerful! Good God, what a word in the stony heart of a prison! I
declare I should regard the man who could be cheerful in such a place
as ten times worse than even his crimes had made him. To be cheerful
here would be an aggravation of every offence--and yet, perhaps, I am
wrong. Cheerfulness in some men is constitutional.

"Oh! yes, it might be worse. To be condemned to perfect solitude, and
silence too, with nothing but thought, thought, thought, rolling one
upon the other, like the eternal billows of a dark and gloomy sea: not
a sight for the eye, not a sound for the ear, till the one became
blind, the other deaf, for want of objects. It is horrible! What
monster could devise such a means of starving the senses one by one,
till the living death of hopeless idiocy became the wretch's fate?
What were the cord, or the axe, or the rack itself to that? Yet,
even that might have an aggravation--if there were guilt upon
the mind--some dark terrible crime--murder!--the death of a
fellow-creature, sent before to be our accuser at God's throne! What
awful storms would then move that black ocean of thought, prolonged
through the whole of life! What would it be with me, even through
three or four short days, when, innocent as I am, the passing of these
solitary hours is well nigh intolerable.--Innocent as I am! Who is
innocent? Who can lay his hand upon his heart, with God and his own
conscience to witness, and say, 'I am innocent; I have done no
wrong?'--Who can arraign the decree of the Almighty which strikes him
for many a hidden fault, through the instrumentality of the false
judgment or iniquitous persecution of his fellow-man? Not I, for one! I
raised my hand against Lord Overton unjustly; I shed his blood, though
I did not take his life; I was a murderer in intention, if not in act;
and now I am accused of--perhaps may suffer for--the death of one whom
I would have shed my own blood to defend. The ways of God are strange
and wonderful, but very just.

"How curious it is that in solitude all the things we have done amiss
in life return upon the mind, distinct and clear--magnified even, if
faults can be magnified--when in the pleasures, and the business, and
the every-day cares of life, we forget them totally! And yet man was
evidently meant for society. Is it that the ever-present consciousness
of our errors in this mortal state, would be a burden too heavy to
bear, were there not an alleviation in the thoughtful absorption of
the world's concerns--a burden which even faith in a Saviour (as far
as man's weakness will permit him to have faith) would not be
sufficient to relieve, unless his worldly carelessness lightened the
load, by deceiving him as to the weight? Perhaps it may be so; and
yet, it is strange how often in this life, our weakness is our
strength. Since I have been here, how reproachfully acts which I
thought before perfectly venial have risen up in judgment against me I
how dark have seemed many deeds committed! how sadly ungrateful many
an omission has appeared! And shall not the same be the case
hereafter? When a few hours of solitude are sufficient to draw back
thus far the glittering veil which habit and the world cast over our
faults, what will be the terrible sight when that veil is torn away
altogether, and the dark array of a whole life's sins and follies
stand naked and undisguised before us!--when the voice of conscience,
fully awakened, never to sleep again, exclaims, 'Lo your own acts! The
children of your mortal life! The witnesses against you for
eternity!'"

The above is an extract from a journal of Chandos Winslow, kept during
his imprisonment. I know that such grave subjects are not palatable to
most readers: they call them _longueurs_; they skip them; they want
the story, nothing more. Let them do as they please; the extract was
necessary to the depiction of the character. But I must show another
side of it also--a somewhat lighter and more cheerful one; but still
one which is as likely to be skipped as the other, by the mere
novel-reader. For some time Chandos went on in the same strain of
gloomy thought; and occasionally dark forebodings would mingle with
the text: for the more he reflected upon the course he had determined
to pursue, the more difficult, nay, hopeless, seemed to be the attempt
to defend himself. At length, however, came the following passage:--

"But I will have no more of such reveries. It is very strange, that
for the last four days I have not been able to read. The small space
of my brain seems too much crowded with thoughts of my own, to give
other people's thoughts admission. I will force myself to read,
however; and think of what I read."

Then came another passage, evidently after he had been reading for
some time.

"I know not how it is, but none of these Italian poets interest me
much--perhaps the most, that mad-cap Ariosto. There is a reckless
vigour about him which none of the rest possesses; and their
prettinesses tire. Tasso is certainly very sweet and very graceful,
but seldom powerful; and Dante, dark, terrible, and stern, wants the
relief of beauty. His Inferno is certainly a grand poem, the
personification of thousand hates and vengeances; but the Paradise is
a poor affair.

"It is very strange how much more difficult men find it to imagine and
to paint perfect happiness than exquisite torture. Perhaps it is
because in this life we are much more familiar with pain than
pleasure. Pain and grief are to human beings, positive; our greatest
happiness here below rarely more than negative--at all events, never
unmixed. But in none of the Italians do we find the grand march, the
sustained majesty of the Greeks and the Romans. I cannot help thinking
that Boccaccio had more poetry in his nature than most of his
brethren; and there are some fine passages in his great poem,
notwithstanding its many wants. Many of his novels, too, are full of
poetry. But, after all, ten lines of Homer are worth all the Italian
poetry that ever was written. Alfieri seems to have felt this
inferiority of the poets of Italy to the ancients, even too much; and
the effect has been a stiffness in his writings, produced by aiming at
dignity in a language which is not dignified. When the thought itself
is grand, its grandeur can only be preserved in so weak a tongue by
clothing it in the very simplest words. Dante was not alone aware of
this, but was impelled to that course by his own sharp character. He
never strove to embellish by mere words, though sometimes, as if to
impress the idea upon the reader's mind, he reiterates it in another
form, venturing upon pleonasm as a means of force, in which he was
probably mistaken; at least, the effect upon my mind is always
disagreeable. It would be better if the verses were spoken. I cannot
but think--though perhaps it is national partiality--that the poets of
England are superior to any that have ever lived since the fall of the
Roman empire. The French have no poetry. The Germans have two or three
great poets; but their literature may be considered as yet in its
infancy. The Spaniards have some beautiful poems, it is true; but in
all of them are blemishes which overbalance the perfections. In the
English tongue there has been excellent poetry enough written in every
different style and manner, to supply the whole world. A crowd of our
poets are unknown even to ourselves; and many of the very best are
imperfectly known, and that but to a few. The sonnet, indeed, attained
its highest point with Petrarch; and yet how beautiful are some of Sir
Philip Sidney's!--for instance, the one beginning--


    'No more, my dear, no more these councils try,
     Oh give my passions leave to run their race.'


I forget the rest. My memory fails me sadly. What a strange thing
memory is! It seems as if the brain had a court painter, who sketches
rapidly everything presented to the senses; and then the pictures are
pushed into the lumber-room of the past, to grow dim and mouldy, with
the smoke and damp of years, till they are wanted, when they are taken
forth again, and the dust is brushed off, though sometimes not
entirely--But who have we here? It is not the turnkey's hour."

Here ends the journal for the time; and it may be as well to
inquire, what was the circumstance which caused the interruption; for
it gave Chandos sufficient thought for the rest of the day.

Just as he had written the last words his solicitor was admitted, a
shrewd little elderly man, not without some kindness of disposition,
and with a great talent for making himself useful in small things,
which is one of the most serviceable qualities to himself that a man
can possess. His ostensible object was to tell Chandos that he had
been to London for the purpose of holding a consultation upon his
case, and to cheer him up with the prospect of certain acquittal; for
as physicians often think it necessary (and with good reason) to keep
up the spirits of their patients, as long as there is any hope, by
assuring them of recovery, so the solicitors in criminal causes judge
it right to comfort the accused by promising them acquittal. I do
believe that, there never yet was a man hanged, who had a hundred
pounds to fee lawyers, without being promised, in the words of the
toast, "long life and prosperity," till the very moment when the jury
gave their verdict. But the worthy solicitor had another object too,
it would seem; for as soon as he had disposed of all the evidence
which had struck the great barrister as so important with a mere
"Pshaw! we will soon get over that," he slipped a letter into
Chandos's hand, saying, "That came to my office for you while I was
gone, and I brought it myself; for you know they have a trick of
opening prisoners' letters here. I gave General Tracy a hint, that all
your friends had better address under cover to me; and if you have any
answer to send, let it be ready and give it to me to-morrow. Keep it
close until I am gone, and then you can read it at your leisure."

Chandos Winslow had glanced at the address, and had seen that the
handwriting was that of a lady. He had never seen Rose Tracy's
writing. The letter might come from either of a dozen other persons,
friends or relations, who had heard of his situation, and might wish
to express sympathy and kindness. Nevertheless Chandos did not doubt
who was the writer; and as soon as the solicitor was gone, he tore it
open, and pressed his lips on the name at the bottom.

"Dear Mr. Winslow," the letter began.--There had evidently been a
struggle how to commence it. She had even blotted the words Mr.
Winslow, though Rose Tracy was not apt to blot her letters. The
prisoner thought that he could discern the name of Chandos traced and
erased beneath; and he murmured to himself, "She might have left it."

"Dear Mr. Winslow," wrote Rose Tracy, "although I write under great
distress of mind, from the very painful circumstances in which my
father has been placed by the failure of some extensive speculations
in which he was unfortunately led to engage, I cannot quit Northferry
without writing you a few lines (for doing which I have my uncle's
sanction) to say, that I am ready and willing to come down and give
evidence at the approaching trial; being perfectly certain of your
innocence, and believing in my heart that the crime of which you are
accused was committed by one of those persons whose voices we both
heard when we last met. I have thought it necessary to write upon this
subject, because your friend, Sir ---- seemed to doubt whether you
would wish to call me as a witness. I thank you most sincerely for
seeking to spare me the agitation which public examination in a court
of justice must always cause; and I thank you still more for that
delicate sense of honour which I know is one great cause of your
hesitation. But I do beseech you, do not let any such feelings prevent
you from using the means necessary to your exculpation. I know the
world may blame me, when it is made public, that I was aware of your
name and family; that I did not inform my father of the fact; and that
I saw you at the same spot more than once--I dare not say by accident.
The blame will perhaps be just, and probably will be more severe than
if all the truth could be stated; but I will put it to your own heart,
my friend, how much less grief the severest censure of the world would
cause than to think that you had been lost for want of my testimony.
Oh, spare me that pain, Chandos! spare me the most terrible anguish
that could be inflicted on

                        "ROSE TRACY."


Chandos kissed the letter over and over again. It is wonderful in the
moments of distress and abandonment, when false friends forsake, and
the light world of acquaintances shun us, how sweetly, how cheeringly,
even small testimonies of undiminished regard come to us from the true
and firm. Oh, how Chandos Winslow loved Rose Tracy at that moment! How
he longed to tell her the sensations that her generous anxiety to save
him even at the expense of pain and shame to herself inspired in his
bosom! He dared not, however, write all he felt; but in the course of
that evening he expressed his thanks in a way which he thought would
shadow forth, to her eye at least, the deeper feelings which he could
not venture to dwell upon. To write the letter was a happiness to him;
but when he came to conclude it with a "farewell," something seemed to
ask him, if it might not be the last. He fell into deep, sad thought
again, and gloomy despondency took possession of him altogether. He
thought he could have been careless of life but for Rose Tracy; and he
felt sadly how acuminated and intense become the affections which
attach us to existence here when they all centre in one object.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


The assizes were opened at the town of S---- with all due solemnity.
There were sheriffs, and magistrates, and town council, and
javelin-men, all on the move. The judges went to church and to dinner.
The day of that most disgraceful of exhibitions, an assize ball, was
fixed, and the grand jury was sworn and charged. Did a grand jury
perform its functions properly, or even know all its attributes as
they were formerly exercised, and still exist, it would be one of the
most useful institutions in the monarchy; but, alas! its just
attributes are nearly forgotten, its functions are falling into
desuetude, and it confines its operations, almost always, to returning
as true those bills presented to it which have even a shadow of
probability on their side; or, instead of denouncing real and serious
evils, to the presentment of waggons overthrown and suffocating
court-houses.

The lawyers were seen flitting about the streets; the usual morning
consultations and evening revels took place: witnesses and jurymen
crowded the inns; an enormous quantity of bad port, bad sherry, and
worse madeira, was consumed; and solicitors merited well the simile
applied by sailors to personages who are peculiarly busy.

The calendar was very heavy. Nine very hard-fisted farmers had had
their ricks burnt; a manufacturer who indulged in truck, and was
notorious for reductions on Saturday, had been awoke in the night by
the blowing up of one of his factories; there had been a riot in one
of the workhouses where the poor were starved according to law, on the
pretence of feeding them, and punished for complaining. The
magistrate, wisely or unwisely, had sent the case to the sessions; and
it was flanked by those of a man who had died from the neglect of a
relieving officer, and a woman who had drowned her child from the
insanity of destitution. There were several affrays with poachers, in
which blood had been shed; and that of two gentlemen, who had first
horsewhipped and then shot at each other, to the extinction of one
life, and the risk of both. In short, it was an edifying display of
the results of civilization up to the period at which we have now
arrived, and of the peculiarly polished state of England, and its
respect for social order. I say nothing of the brotherly love, the
Christian charity, and the enlightened benevolence which oozed out
through the pores of the calendar. Verily it was fitted to raise us
high in the eyes of Europe.

It is marvellous with what celerity the grand jury returned true bills
against the whole of the accused. Did I say against the whole? It was
a mistake. Out of a hundred and thirty-four cases, they threw out one,
just to keep up the privilege of rejection. It was the case of a small
proprietor who had knocked down in the presence of three or four men,
a rascally labourer, who would insist upon passing along a path which
had been used by his ancestors for five generations. They threw it
out, however, and the path was closed thenceforth to all men for ever
and aye.

Amongst the other bills found, was one against Chandos Winslow, Esq.,
for the wilful murder of John Roberts, attorney-al-law, &c. &c. &c.
But it was a late case on the roll, and a good deal of condemnation
was done before that came on. The first sharp appetite was taken off
from both judge and jury, and the solicitor congratulated himself and
his client on the hanging period of the assizes being on the decline.
It is strange and not pleasant to think of, on how many small
circumstances a man's life hangs in the most civilized countries of
Europe, especially in the most Christian. A famished juror or two will
turn the balance any day; and I fear me that hunger is not an appetite
which leans to mercy. The beginning of the assizes is always a bad
time to be tried. I would not advise my felonious friend to attempt it
if it can be put off. The jury then think themselves a many-headed
Aristides. Brutus was nothing to them, and Cato a mere babe. They
would condemn their own children to magnify the law. Then, again, the
end of the assizes is as bad; for both judge and jurymen have got
tired of the thing, and want to get home to their wives and families.
This can only be accomplished by despatching their men out of hand;
and haste is always cruel, rarely just.

The charge of the judge to the grand jury is a more important matter
than people generally imagine. It is treated as a matter of course: or
at best as an opportunity afforded once in so many months for a great
functionary to make a clever speech on a very favourable subject. But
it is much more than this. It frequently gives a tone to the whole
proceedings of the court. From the grand jury it is reflected upon the
petty jury, and affects them more than it does the former. If the
judge represents strongly the serious increase of crime upon the
calendar, and urges the necessity of vindicating the law and rigidly
administering justice, the Aristides' spirit I have talked of becomes
very rampant, and you are sure to hear, "Guilty, my lord," very
frequently repeated in the court. If, on the contrary, he
congratulates the county on the small amount of crime that has
occurred since last he was seated in that place, and declares that
there are but one or two serious cases for their consideration, the
worthy jurymen think, when there are so few, it may be just as well to
let the poor fellows get off, as it is cold work hanging without
company.

As I have said, however, the calendar was heavy, and the judge made a
very serious and impressive charge, alluding particularly to the case
of the murder of Mr. Roberts. He called the attention of the grand
jury particularly to it; recommended them to cast from their minds
everything they had heard, and to consider the matter simply on the
testimony which supported the charge. He represented their duties as
merely preliminary; (in which, indeed, he was right;) but though he
never mentioned the name of the accused person, he declared the act to
have been most barbarous and horrible; spoke of the deceased as an
innocent, honourable, industrious man, whose murder was an awful stain
upon the county and the kingdom; and in aggravating the heinousness of
the offence, produced, naturally enough, a very unfavourable opinion
of the person charged with committing it. While he was speaking in
reprobation of the crime with so much eloquence, the minds of the
grand jury necessarily connected it with Chandos Winslow as the
perpetrator, and of course they returned a true bill, as they would
have done had not the evidence been half so strong against him. It is
very possible that the grand jury did dismiss from their minds all
they had heard before, though that is rarely done, and little to be
expected; but they assuredly did not dismiss from their minds the
judge's charge, and that was quite sufficient.

The speech of his lordship was printed and circulated in the town of
S---- that night, and when the solicitor read it, he muttered between
his teeth, "He will sum up against the prisoner, that is clear. Our
only hope is in the striking of the jury."

How horrible that any man should be able to divine, or pretend to
divine, how a judge will sum up in a case, the evidence upon which is
not yet before him! But, nevertheless, a solicitor of experience is
seldom wrong in such matters.

Chandos Winslow, too, read the charge, and came to the same
conclusion. In the cold and measured phrase, in the well-poised and
cautious words, even in the scrupulous abstinence from all allusion to
himself, he saw an impression against him, and was sure that it had
not only been felt, but communicated. The most deadly poison is that
which acts with the least outward signs. He thought over the
circumstances deeply, and remained in thought for many hours. He tried
to view his own case as if it were not his own. He recalled every
fact, and arranged the one in connexion with the other. He separated
what he himself knew, but was resolved not to communicate, from that
which was before the public eye, and a terrible mass of criminatory
circumstances was left unmixed. He looked at the whole steadfastly and
resolutely, and he asked himself what he had to oppose to it. The
answer was--"Nothing."

Vague professions of innocence, the testimony of persons who had known
him long to his general character--this was all; but he knew well that
all this was nothing in a case like that before him. He was aware,
moreover, that the refusal to give explanations would be construed
into a mere consciousness of guilt, and yet he could neither do away
the presumption of crime which existed in a thousand of the facts
against him, nor even account for one moment of his time without
casting back the charge of murder upon his own brother. It was a
terrible situation. The thought of Rose Tracy aggravated it, shook his
firmness, made his resolution waver; and starting up, he paced his
cell backwards and forwards for some minutes. But he conquered
himself; he conquered the repugnance to death and cold forgetfulness;
he conquered the clinging of the heart to life and love, and he sat
down again, saying aloud, "No, I will not be the destroyer of my
brother."

I will not say that hope went out, for the hope beyond this life
remained; but the hope of saving himself, the hope of his counsel
making any available defence, passed away as he reviewed the strong
presumptive proofs against him, spreading out, link after link, in a
long chain, which bound him ready for a death of ignominy. He made up
his mind to it. He gave up the consideration of the charge and the
defence. He took one step over the earthly future, and, as if standing
at the ports of the tomb, he ventured to cast his eyes beyond. It is,
it must be, an awful moment for any man, when the words of fate are
pronounced and heard, when the irreversible decree has been notified
to us, "This night shall thy soul be required of thee!" when all the
soft ties are to be broken; when all the warm affections are to come
to an end; when all the new cold things of an untried fate are before
us, and the prospect from the top of the bleak hill of death swells
into eternity. Then comes the terrible question, "How shall I answer
at the Throne of one perfectly pure, perfectly holy, for all the
trespasses committed in this mortal state? how have I stood the trial,
trod the path assigned to me? how have I fought the fight? how have I
employed the talent?"

Who is there at such a moment that can dare to answer, "Well?"

What would it be, when the presence of an earthly judge is terrible to
an offender, to plead one's own cause, to be one's own advocate before
the Almighty and Omniscient; to stand polluted in the Holy of Holies,
in the presence of Him who will not behold iniquity? But there is an
Advocate to raise his voice in our behalf; not to defend, but to
mediate, to justify us by his righteousness, to atone for us by his
blood, to make the compensation which eternal justice requires for
sin, and reconcile the offending creature to the offended Creator.

To Him Chandos Winslow raised his spirit in faith, and his voice in
prayer, and he found strength that no philosophy can give, hope when
all the hopes of earth had passed away.



CHAPTER XXIX.


It was the morning of Thursday, and generally understood that the
trial of Mr. Chandos Winslow, for the murder of his late father's
steward, would come on that day. Moreover, it appeared likely that the
case would occupy two days, unless it was early called on, as the
number of witnesses was considerable. Those who are knowing in such
things considered the arrangement as rather ominous: Friday being
looked upon as an excellent day for condemnation. The court was
crowded to suffocation; but the spectators had a long time to wait ere
they had the pleasure of seeing a gentleman placed in the felon's
dock. The court was occupied during the greater part of the morning
with cases of small interest; and, between two and three in the
afternoon, the crowd began in some degree to diminish; many persons
growing tired, and a belief becoming prevalent that the cause would
not be tried that day.

At length, however, when it was least expected, the cause was called
on, and two or three solicitors' clerks ran out of the court to call
the counsel in the case. The appearance of the leader for the crown
excited some attention; but that of the famous barrister, whom every
one knew to have been brought down especially from London, and who was
generally reported to be the intimate friend of the prisoner, created
a murmur which lasted for some minutes. The two lawyers were in the
court, before Chandos Winslow was placed in the dock; for the officers
of the prison had been taken somewhat by surprise, from the rapidity
with which the preceding case had been brought to a conclusion. After
a momentary pause, however, the accused appeared, and there was an
instant movement, causing a good deal of confusion, from many persons
endeavouring to gain a better sight of the prisoner.

It is probable that every one expected to behold a very different sort
of person from that which was now presented to him; but certain it is,
that the actual impression produced was highly favourable. The tall,
commanding, manly form; the air of calm unembarrassed grace; the
grave, but firm, and almost stern look; the lofty brow and speaking
eye; the lip that quivered a little with irrepressible emotion, at
being made the gazing-stock of thousands: all excited in the multitude
those feelings of admiration which predispose to sympathy and
confidence. Bearing his head high, with his shoulders thrown back, and
his chest open, with his eye fixed tranquilly on the judge, and his
step as firm as if he had been treading his father's halls, Chandos
Winslow advanced to the front of the dock; and immediately his friend
Sir ---- rose from his place, and with a kindly nod of the head, spoke
to him for a few moments, as if to show all persons that he was proud
of his friendship.

The indictment was read, setting forth in various counts the charge
against the prisoner. Sir ----, desired to see the instrument, and
then merely remarked, that it was bad in law, and could not be
sustained.

"When the case for the defence comes on, I will hear your objection,"
said the judge.

"I do not know that it will be necessary, my lord;" replied the
counsel. "My friend and client has an invincible objection to take
advantage of any technicality; and, I think, we can do without a flaw,
although I may judge it my duty to show your lordship that there is a
fatal one in this indictment."

When called upon to plead, Chandos replied, "Not guilty," in a firm,
slow, and distinct voice; and the confident tone of the leader for the
defence, as well as the calm self-possession of the prisoner, had its
effect both upon the spectators and the jury. It was soon to be driven
away, however; for the leader for the crown rose after a few words
from a junior; and a very different impression was speedily produced.
The lawyer who conducted the prosecution was a tall handsome man, with
strongly marked and expressive features, a powerful and flexible
voice, and great dignity of manner. He had one quality, however, which
was greatly in favour of a prisoner if he were retained as counsel for
the defence, but which told sadly against him if he appeared on behalf
of the crown. He seemed--it was merely seeming--so fully, so firmly
convinced of the justice of the cause he advocated, his manner was so
sincere, his apparent candour so great, that the jury, thoroughly
believing he had no doubt, and weighing their wits against his,
naturally asked themselves, "If so learned and shrewd a man has
arrived at this conclusion, why should we venture to differ from him?"

On the present occasion, he paused for an instant and rested his hand
upon the table, as if almost overpowered by his feelings--he never was
calmer in his life--and then, raising his head, went on, with the
clear, distinct, grave tones of his voice penetrating into every part
of the court, in which there reigned a dead silence.

"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury," he said, "the most painful task
of a life that has not been free from sorrows is imposed upon me this
day; and I know--I feel--that I shall acquit myself ill. I beg you,
therefore, to bear with me, if my statements are not so clear, if my
reasonings are not so forcible as they ought to be; for, in my anxiety
not to press anything too heavily against the prisoner at the bar, I
fear I may fall into the opposite error, and not give due weight to
many minor facts necessary to a full elucidation of the subject. That
error, however, is far less important than the grave and serious
fault--I might almost call it a crime, in a person in my present
position--of suffering either professional vanity, or the spirit of
partisanship, to seduce me into urging anything unjustly against a
prisoner under trial. Into that fault, at least, I will not fall--of
that crime, I will not render myself guilty. I will make no statement
that I do not feel sure will be borne out by evidence, I will use no
argument which may not be justly applied; and I do assure the court,
aye, and the prisoner, that, if I could have avoided the task, I would
have done so; that if he can prove himself innocent, I shall rejoice;
and if my learned friend can show that my reasonings are not just, my
views erroneous, I shall have a triumph in defeat, and sincere
satisfaction in a verdict against me. But I have a high and solemn
duty to perform to my country, gentlemen of the jury, as you have
also; and we must not suffer any personal feeling to interfere with
its due execution. We must recollect, that mercy to a criminal is
cruelty to society, and that to spare the offender is to encourage the
offence. With these views, I will 'nothing extenuate nor set down
aught in malice,' but succinctly state to you the facts, as many
witnesses will afterwards prove them, omitting all that seems to me
doubtful, and urging nothing that is not necessary to the due
understanding of the case. On the evening of the fifth of February,
gentlemen of the jury, a highly respectable gentleman, of the name of
Roberts, called at the house of Mr. Tracy, of Northferry, in this
county, and inquired for a person of the name of Acton, under which
name, or _alias_, as it is termed, you will find that the prisoner is
also indicted. This Mr. Roberts, it will be shown to you, was the
steward and confidential law agent of the late Sir Harry Winslow, a
gentleman of large property in this county; and in that capacity he
was well acquainted and had had numerous transactions with the younger
son of Sir Harry, a young gentleman, I must say, bearing a very high
character, but, at the same time, of a disposition to which I can only
apply the terms of _sharp_ and _vindictive_, as I shall be enabled to
show. This person, known by the name of Acton, was at the time acting
in the capacity of head-gardener, at the house of Mr. Tracy, where he
had been for nearly three months, or ever since the death of Sir Harry
Winslow. Upon my life, gentlemen of the jury, if the truth of the
whole were not too fatally established, I might think I was reciting a
romance. Mr. Roberts did not mention his business with the person he
inquired for, but being perfectly respectable in his exterior, was
directed by the servants to seek the head-gardener in the grounds,
where he was usually to be found at this hour. Now those grounds are
very extensive, and an authentic plan has been taken of them--I hold
it in my hand--of which a copy has been furnished for your guidance.
You will there see that the real front of the house is turned towards
the gardens, which are remarkable, I am told, for their beauty and
high cultivation: an earthly Paradise, into which murder now first
entered. Before the house is a very extensive lawn, bordered with
thick shrubberies, through which run several gravel walks. This lawn
is terminated by a belt of planting irregularly disposed, so as to
admit here and there views of the distant country to any eye looking
from the windows of the house; but completely concealing a second
lawn, somewhat less in extent, surrounded again by other shrubberies
and other walks, sloping down with a gradual descent to the open
fields, (also the property of Mr. Tracy,) from which the grounds are
separated by a hedge, and in some places by that peculiar species of
enclosure called a haw-haw, or sunk wall, with a broad ditch on the
external side, faced on the side of the grounds with perpendicular
masonry, surmounted by a holly hedge; number 5 in the plan, gentlemen
of the jury. In the inside of this haw-haw and the hedge which forms
its continuation, is a broad walk under beech-trees, called the Lady's
Walk; but just opposite to the part of the walk where the figure 5
appears, the beech-trees are interrupted, and a plot of grass occupies
the semicircular opening in the wood, in the bite or crescent of which
is situated a small building, in imitation of a Greek temple, covering
a fish-pond. Between that fish-pond and the haw-haw is a space of
about twenty-five yards, which is the scene of the tragedy that is
under our consideration: a narrow strip for so terrible an event. You
will see that the broad gravel path, called the Lady's Walk, passes
close to the little building, the temple, number 7 in the plan.
Another walk, winding round the two lawns, and through the thick
shrubberies, conducts to the western side of the building, where it
enters the Lady's Walk. Down this winding path, it is probable, that
poor Mr. Roberts came to meet his death, as it will be proved that he
crossed the first lawn (number 2) towards it from the western side of
the house. I should have mentioned that the hour at which he asked for
Acton, the head-gardener, was five in the evening, when the sun is
just down at that period of the year, but when the twilight is still
clear. He was never seen alive afterwards, that we know of, but by his
murderer; and about ten at night he was found lying on the grass
between the little temple and the haw-haw, with two severe blows on
the head, one of which had fractured the skull, and so severely
injured the brain that death must have been instantaneous. By his side
was found an implement used in gardening, and called, I believe, a
Dutch hoe, which will be produced for your inspection. It was
covered--at least, the iron head was covered--with blood and grey
hair, and the surgeon who made a post mortem examination of the body
will prove, that the wound which produced death must have been
inflicted by an instrument very similar. Such are the bare facts of
the murder of Mr. Roberts as they appear beyond all doubt; and I now
approach with deep pain, reluctance, and even diffidence, the
circumstances which connect the prisoner at the bar with the fatal
event. First, gentlemen, it will be my duty to show you that the
person who, under the name of Acton, filled the humble situation of
head-gardener to Mr. Tracy, of Northferry, is one and the same person
as Mr. Chandos Winslow, younger son of the late Sir Harry Winslow, of
Elmsly and Winslow Abbey, in this county. It might be irrelevant to
inquire what induced a gentleman of such birth and pretensions to
condescend to such an office, but if it could be shown that he quitted
his brother's mansion and abandoned the society in which he had moved
from his birth on some disgust, occasioned by transactions in which
this very unfortunate Mr. Roberts had a share, it might, indeed, be
important in establishing a motive for the act with which he is
charged."

Sir ---- instantly rose, and said aloud, "I hope my learned brother
will not make insinuations which he is not able fully to bear out by
evidence."

"If my learned friend had not interrupted me," replied the leader for
the Crown, "he would have heard me declare that I was unwilling to
press against the prisoner anything that could not be proved beyond
all doubt; and therefore, that it was not my intention to connect any
former disputes between the prisoner and the unhappy Mr. Roberts with
the present charge; but to beg the jury to dismiss from their minds
everything in their consideration of motives but the actual subject of
dispute which I am about to allude to, and which can be proved by
evidence unimpeachable."

"I must beg the interference of the court in protection of my client,"
said the prisoner's counsel, in a firm and stern tone; "it is contrary
to all practice, and, I must add, contrary to all justice, to allude
to imaginary circumstances as facts when there is no intention of
proving them, thereby producing an impression upon the minds of the
jury most detrimental to a prisoner, without giving the prisoner's
counsel a fair opportunity of removing it. Were it not a most
dangerous precedent, I should say that I am very glad such a course
has been pursued by my learned friend, as, in this case, I am in a
condition to rebut his insinuations as well as to disprove his facts;
but, reverencing law and justice, and seeing great inconvenience
likely to occur hereafter from such a practice, I must most solemnly
claim the protection of the court for my client."

"The jury will rely only upon evidence," said the judge; "the
assertions or insinuations of counsel, unsupported by evidence, are
mere wind. The course of alluding even to any circumstance not
intended to be proved, I must say, is very mischievous; but I dare say
it was in the brief."

"I bow to the decision of the court," said the leader for the Crown;
"but I can assure my learned friend, that I intended to produce no
impression upon the minds of the jury but a just one; and, without at
all recurring to the past, I am perfectly prepared to show by evidence
that at the time the murder was committed, the prisoner at the bar and
the unfortunate Mr. Roberts were engaged in a very sharp dispute about
some property left to the former. I have said, gentlemen of the jury,"
he continued, with perfect tranquillity and satisfaction, "that it
would be irrelevant to inquire what could induce a gentleman of the
prisoner's rank and pretensions to accept the humble post of gardener
in the family of Mr. Tracy. However, the fact that he did so will be
established, and in that situation he inhabited a cottage (number 9 in
the plan) close to the hedge bordering the Lady's Walk, and was
entrusted with a key of the small gate into the grounds (at number
10.) It will be in evidence, gentlemen, that after having been absent
for about a month, by Mr. Tracy's permission, during which he had
resumed his station, mingled with his own rank of society in London,
and fought a duel with Viscount Overton, in which the latter was
desperately wounded, the prisoner returned to his cottage at
Northferry on the afternoon of the fifth of February, the day of the
murder, and almost immediately went out again. It will be shown to
you, that the sun was then setting, or had already set, and that he
entered the gardens, and took his way towards the very spot where the
crime was committed, having in his hand the identical hoe (or one
precisely similar) which was afterwards found by the dead body. This
will be proved by two witnesses, whose veracity will not, I presume,
be impeached. You will soon have it in evidence, that he did not
return to his cottage till six, when he was in a state of much
agitation; that he then went to his room, and, after washing his
hands, threw the water he had used for the purpose out of the window;
but that, nevertheless, there was upon the towel a red stain, as of
blood diluted with water. You will find, that one arm of the fustian
coat which he wore that night was stained with blood; and it will be
also shown that footmarks, exactly corresponding with the shoes he
wore, even to the most minute particulars, were found coming and going
from the spot where the murdered man lay to the haw-haw. Now,
gentlemen of the jury, it may seem difficult to prove to you that the
murder, which was not discovered till ten, took place between the
hours of five and six. There would indeed be a presumption that such
was the case, from the fact of Mr. Roberts having gone down in that
direction at five in search of the prisoner, who was then in the
garden, and never having got further than the Lady's Walk; but still
there would be a doubt, and I should be the first to entreat you to
give the person accused the benefit of that doubt. But, unfortunately,
I regret most deeply to say it, by one of those strange accidents
which ever, sooner or later, bring their guilt home to the
perpetrators of great crimes, I have the means of showing that the
fatal deed must have been done some time between ten minutes or a
quarter after five and half-past five." Sir ---- leaned forward and
listened eagerly, and the leader for the prosecution continued, with
an air of solemn sadness, "I allow from ten minutes to a quarter of an
hour for any error that Mr. Tracy's servants may have made in regard
to the time of Mr. Roberts' visit to the house, and for the time
occupied by him in seeking through the grounds for the prisoner; but
at half-past five, it then being almost dark, a little boy, the son of
a gipsey woman, saw, in passing along as he returned from the school
at Northferry, a dark body lying on the ground, like the figure of a
man asleep, close by the little fish-pond or basin near which Mr.
Roberts was murdered. The boy's history is not without its interest.
He had, it seems, aided in saving the life of General Tracy, Mr.
Tracy's elder brother, from the attack of a furious bull. The General,
in gratitude, took the boy under his protection, and placed him to
board at the cottage of the head-gardener. The hour at which he
ought to have returned from school to the cottage was somewhat
earlier--about five, I believe; but he met with his mother in the
village, and lingered for a time with her. In order to shorten the
way, he stole through the gardens, and got over the gate near the
head-gardener's cottage, thus passing within twenty or thirty yards of
the spot where the body lay. He will prove that he thought it was a
man asleep, and that he is quite certain that it was a man."

The learned gentleman paused, and, from under his bushy eyebrows,
turned a glance towards the face of the leader for the defence. What
he saw there he did not exactly understand; for there was a very
slight smile on the great barrister's lip; but that smile had
something of triumph in it. He knew not if the smile was sincere, or
whether it was not assumed to cover mortification; but yet, it was
evidently kept down rather than displayed, and in this state of doubt
he might not have called the boy, perhaps, had it been possible to
avoid it. The passing of these considerations through his mind did not
arrest his eloquence for more than a moment, and he went on as
follows:--

"I have now, gentlemen of the jury, given you a brief outline of the
case against the prisoner, as I believe it will be fully proved by
evidence; and I do not think, if such be the case, and if the
respectability of the witnesses is unimpeached and their testimony be
not shaken by cross-examination, that you can come to any other
conclusion than that which, I grieve to say, I myself have arrived at.
You will hear what they have to say, you will judge from their words,
and even the manner in which their evidence is given, what credence
they deserve. God forbid that you should attach more to their evidence
against the prisoner than to any testimony which can be fairly adduced
in his favour. What course of defence my learned friend may adopt I
cannot divine, but mere testimonials of character, learning, high
qualities, and previous integrity cannot avail here. Nor must rank and
station be taken for one moment into consideration. A prisoner at the
bar of justice stands stripped of all adventitious advantages. He is
there as before the throne of Heaven, only in the common character of
man. If he be of high rank and good education, it is no reason for
pre-supposing innocence or extenuating guilt. Quite on the contrary.
Crimes of the most serious magnitude have been proved against persons
greatly elevated in station. Peers of England have suffered on the
scaffold for deliberate murder; and the advantages of rank and
education, in the immunity which they give from ordinary temptation,
only serve to aggravate the offence. Nor can a previous upright,
honourable, and even peaceful life, if it could here be proved, weigh
much to neutralize distinct evidence. We have too many instances,
gentlemen, of men, the great bulk of whose life has been high, holy,
and innocent, yielding to some strong temptation, and committing acts
which on cooler reflection they have often shuddered at. Need I cite
the case of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd? You must look upon the prisoner
merely as a man; you must weigh well every tittle of the evidence
against him. You will find that, as in almost all cases of murder,
that evidence is purely circumstantial; no man but a madman commits
such a crime when the eyes of any but accomplices are upon him. But
you have all too much good sense and experience not to know that a
long chain of circumstantial evidence, perfect and unbroken as this
seems to me to be, is more strong, more conclusive than even direct
evidence. In such cases, to suppose a fraud on the part of the
witnesses for the crown, is to imagine that an immense number of
persons are all combined in one common league to destroy another, and
that they have so well arranged their scheme that cross-examination
will not unravel it: whereas, in direct evidence, often afforded by
one or two witnesses only, a much greater opportunity is to be found
for successful falsehood if any motive for injuring a prisoner exists.
I do not ask a verdict at your hands. I am far from desiring one
against the prisoner at the bar. I pray Heaven that he may be able to
exculpate himself and quit that dock free from all suspicion. Even if
there be a reasonable doubt in your minds, you must give him the
advantage of it; but you will remember that it must be a reasonable
doubt. You must not say to yourselves, 'Perhaps he did not commit the
act, after all,' because no one saw him commit it; but if the chain of
evidence is clear and convincing, you must remember your oaths, your
duty to your country and your God; and, having consulted only
conscience, express by your verdict the conviction of your minds, as
you will answer for it at the dreadful day of judgment."

The learned gentleman sat down after having produced a terrible effect
upon the minds of the jury; but the judge, who was accustomed to such
speeches, and moreover hungry, interrupted the further proceedings by
inquiring, in the most commonplace tone in the world, if the evidence
for the prosecution could be got through that night. There seemed some
doubt upon the subject; and as it was now late; for the counsel had
spoken very slowly, his lordship suggested that it would be better to
take the evidence of one witness, and then adjourn to the following
day. The testimony given was of little importance, for it only went to
prove the identity of Chandos Winslow with John Acton--a fact which
there was no intention of denying; and after it had been heard the
court rose.



CHAPTER XXX.


There had been long and anxious consultations during the evening upon
the case of Chandos Winslow: first came the question whether the
objection to the indictment should be pressed; and it was ultimately
agreed that it should not be altogether abandoned, although the
leader seemed much more confident of making a good defence than his
junior. Then came the important question of cross-examination; and
Sir ----, with tact and delicacy, but in a very decided manner,
pointed out the course which he thought it would be necessary to
pursue, and the objects that he wanted to establish.

"Our good friend, the serjeant," he said, speaking to the younger
lawyer, "thought he had made a hit this morning in regard to the
gipsey boy; but he was doing our work for us. We must endeavour, my
dear Sir, to-morrow, instead of shaking the boy's testimony, to render
it as precise as possible, so as to leave not the slightest doubt that
the murder was committed between ten minutes or a quarter past five
and half-past five; and we must endeavour to get from the old
woman--Humphries, I think, is her name," and he looked at his
notes--"an admission that Mr. Winslow might have left the cottage some
minutes before five. For these two objects we must try, more than for
anything else."

"I almost think that the game is rash," said the junior; "but you know
best."

"We are positively precluded," replied the great barrister, "from the
straightforward course of defence. I, individually, am placed in the
most awkward position as the friend of the prisoner. I believe I ought
not to have seen him at all; but my regard for him overcame my
prudence; and when I did see him, he made communications to me which,
while they left no doubt of his innocence greatly embarrassed me,
under the circumstances, as to the defence. Those circumstances I
cannot explain, even to you, my dear friend, all legal etiquettes,
notwithstanding; but you will forgive me when you know that he bound
me by a solemn promise not to reveal them to any one."

The conference did not terminate till late; and the little solicitor
was in a mighty fuss from having found that the general opinion of the
bar was decidedly against his client; a matter of no slight
importance, be it remarked; for the bar is very seldom wrong.

On the following morning, at the usual hour, the judge took his seat,
and the jury their places; the court was even more crowded than on the
day before, and the prisoner was once more placed in the dock. No
change had taken place in his appearance, except, perhaps, that he was
even a shade graver. He asked, however, to be permitted the use of a
chair, and to be furnished with pen, ink, and paper, which was granted
to him. The name of James Wilson was then called, and one of Mr.
Tracy's footmen got into the box. I shall give his testimony in his
own words:--"I am a servant in the employment of Mr. Tracy, of
Northferry House. I was so on the fifth of February last. I
remember on that day, about five in the evening, a gentleman coming to
the door and asking me if I could tell him where to find Acton, the
head-gardener. I answered that I could not, for that he had been
absent for some time, by Mr. Tracy's leave. The gentleman seemed very
much vexed, and I think said, 'How unfortunate!' But Mr. Jones, my
master's valet, who was crossing the hall at the time, came up, and
said, 'No, no, Wilson; he came back this afternoon.' And then turning
to the gentleman, he said, 'If you go through that glass-door, Sir,
and across the lawn, you will most likely find him somewhere in the
grounds. If not, he must be at his cottage in the lane just beyond;
any of the gardener's men will show you the way.' The gentleman then
crossed over, as he had been directed, and went out into the grounds.
I had never seen him before, but I remarked his face well. I never saw
him afterwards alive; but the same night, about ten o'clock, I was
called upon, with several more, to go down to a tool-house not far
from the fish-pond, and I then first heard that the body of a dead man
had been found and conveyed thither. The moment I saw the corpse, I
knew it was that of the gentleman who had been inquiring for Acton.
The body did not seem to have been rifled; and some money, a
pocket-book, a watch, and a pair of spectacles, were taken from it by
Mr. Tracy, as well as several loose papers; all of which he gave to
Taylor, the butler, to keep, telling him to mark them, and, as I
understood him, to give them to the constable. After looking at the
body, we all went down to the place where the under-gardener had found
it; we looked, as well as we could by the light of a lantern, for
steps, but we could not find much then. As we were looking for the
marks of steps, I found what they call a Dutch hoe, the iron part of
which was covered with blood, and there was some gray hair sticking
about it. When we went back to the tool-house where the body lay, Mr.
Tracy sent for Acton, the head-gardener, who came up directly; he
walked straight up to the body, when he was told a man had been found
murdered in the grounds; and, in answer to a question from Mr. Tracy,
said, he knew the dead man quite well, that his name was Mr. Roberts,
and that he was agent to the late Sir Harry Winslow. He seemed very
sad, but quite calm and cool. I see the person I call Acton in the
court. He is the prisoner in the dock. I cannot say whether he was
surprised or not; he certainly looked horrified. Mr. Tracy showed him
the hoe, and asked him whose it was. He replied immediately that it
was his, and said, that he had left it leaning against one of the
pillars by the fish-pond, while he spoke a few words to Miss Rose
Tracy; he also said that he had quitted the garden immediately after
speaking with Miss Rose."

"Did he make any remarks upon the hoe?" asked the examining counsel.

"He took it up," answered the witness, "looked at it for a minute, and
then said the murder must have been committed with this."

The examination in chief here closed, and the counsel for the defence
rose to cross-examine the witness.

"You have told us," he said, "that when Mr. Roberts called at
Northferry House, in the evening, you remarked his face well. Had you
any light in the hall?"

Witness.--"No Sir; but there was light enough to see, and the
gentleman was quite close to me. The evening light comes through the
glass doors; and what there was of it fell right upon him, so that I
could see him quite well."

"That might very well be," said the barrister, "at a quarter after
five, or even later: is it not so?"

"Oh dear yes, Sir," replied the witness; "and I recollect now, it
could not be more than ten minutes after five; for Mr. Taylor said to
me just the minute before, 'James, it is past five, and you have not
rung the first bell;' and I looked at the clock over the kitchen door,
and saw it was six or seven minutes after. I was running up to ring
the bell when the gentleman came, and asked for Mr. Acton."

"Then was it ten minutes past five when Mr. Roberts called?"

"About it," answered the witness.

The Judge.--"How long would it take to walk down from the house to the
place where the body was found?"

Witness.--"About ten minutes by the walks, my lord."

Judge.--"What do you mean when you say 'by the walks?'"

"Why, a man may cut across the lawns," said the witness.

 Judge.--"Did Mr. Roberts cut across the lawns?"

Witness.--"Only a little bit; and then took the gravel walk on the
right, through the shrubbery."

After a short pause, this witness was ordered to go down; and Lloyd
Jones was called.

I shall proceed, copying from the report of the trial in "The Times."

Lloyd Jones said--"I am valet to Mr. Tracy, of Northferry House. I
remember the fifth of February last. On that day, about five o'clock,
I was passing through the entrance hall, towards my master's
dressing-room, when I saw a gentleman at the door, speaking to the
last witness. I heard him ask for Acton, the gardener, and the last
witness say that Mr. Acton was absent. Having heard one of the men say
he had seen Acton a few minutes before, going to his cottage, I
stepped forward and told the gentleman he had returned, and would most
likely be found in the grounds, if he would go through the glass doors
on the other side of the hall, and seek him. He said he would; and I
opened the glass doors for him. He cut across the corner of the lawn,
and went down the gravel walk. He walked rather fast, and seemed eager
to see Mr. Acton. I did not go down to the tool-house with Mr. Tracy
when the body was discovered. I happened to be out at the time; but I
saw the corpse next morning. It was that of the gentleman I had seen
speaking to James Wilson. I never saw the person before. The prisoner
at the bar is the person we have always called Acton. It was about
five o'clock when the gentleman came, I know; because the first bell
had not rung, and it always rang at five. There are two bells rung
every evening at Northferry; one at five and one at half-past. My
master dines at six in the country, and at half-past seven in London.
The second is called the dressing-bell. I am quite sure it was not the
second bell, which had not rung. It was the first; for I always go to
put out Mr. Tracy's things when the first bell rings."

Cross-examined by Mr. B----. --"You say that you always go to put out
Mr. Tracy's things when the first bell rings. How came you to do so on
that night before it had rung?"

Witness.--"Because it was later than usual. I suppose Wilson had
forgot it."

Counsel.--"Then you were in a great hurry, I suppose, to get your work
over, and to go and play the gentleman in the housekeeper's room."

Witness.--"No, Sir, I was not; but I know my duty, if other people do
not; and when I found by my watch that it was some time past five, and
the bell had not been rung, I said to Mrs. Hilston, 'If they do not
choose to ring the bell, it is no affair of mine. I will go and get
master's things ready.'"

Counsel.--"You seem to be a very punctual gentleman, indeed."

Witness.--"I hope I am, Sir."

"And pray how far did your punctuality extend on this occasion," said
the prisoner's counsel, in a sneering tone; "that you should risk
getting a fellow-servant into a scrape, by taking notice that the bell
had not rung at the right hour? It was not above two or three minutes
too late, I dare say."

Witness.--"I beg your pardon, Sir; it was near a quarter-of-an-hour."

Counsel.--"Are you quite sure?"

"Yes, I am quite sure," answered the witness; "for I looked at my
watch."

Re-examined.--"James Wilson is usually very accurate. I am sure I did
not intend to say a word against him; but that night he was a little
late. It might be ten minutes, or a quarter-of-an-hour. I cannot say
to a minute. I know it was a good deal after the time."

Edward Taylor was then called, and identified the prisoner as the
person who had served Mr. Tracy in the quality of gardener, under the
name of Acton. He then went on as follows:--"About a quarter-past ten
I was called to speak with Slater, the under-gardener, who seemed in a
great fright. He told me that in going his round, as he always did at
ten, he had found a dead man, lying near the pond of gold-fish. I went
directly down with him, thinking he might be mistaken, and that the
man might only be drunk. We took several of the servants with us and a
lantern. James Wilson was one of the party. We found there the body of
Mr. Roberts, quite dead and stiff, and took it up amongst us, and
carried it to the tool-house in the shrubbery. I sent up at once to
tell Mr. Tracy, who came down directly. We did not do anything to the
corpse, but carry it to the tool-house and lay it on the bench. We did
not examine the pockets till Mr. Tracy came. There was the mark of a
blow just above the temple, and a deep wound a little further back,
with some of the brains smashed upon the hair. There was a great deal
of blood about the corpse: the shirt-collar was all soaked with it.
When Mr. Tracy came he examined the pockets and took out a letter,
which I have delivered to the constable of Northferry, The letter was
addressed to 'Richard Roberts, Esq., Winslow Abbey;' and was signed,
'Chandos Winslow.' Besides the letter, Mr. Tracy took out two or three
papers, a pocket-book, a purse, a watch and seals, and a pair of
spectacles. As soon as he took anything out of the pockets, he handed
it to me, and by his orders I marked it as well as I could with a
pencil. I have delivered the whole to the constable, in whose
possession I believe they still are. He will produce them."

The witness then went on to describe the examination of the spot where
the body had been found, and confirmed, in all respects, the evidence
of the footman.

The next questions were, as to the conduct and demeanour of the
head-gardener when summoned to the tool-house, by Mr. Tracy's order.

To interrogatories upon this subject, the witness replied,--"When he
came into the tool-house, he seemed grieved and sad, but not at all
surprised. He expressed no surprise, but looked at the body very
sadly, and told at once who it was. He acknowledged that the hoe was
his, but said he had left it leaning against the pillar; and, after
looking at it, he said the murder must have been committed with it. He
said, he left the garden immediately after speaking a few words with
Miss Rose, near the fish-pond."

Judge.--"I suppose you call Miss Rose Tracy; but I do not see her name
here."

"We took it for granted, my lord, that she would be called for the
defence," said the counsel for the prosecution.

"I beg leave to say that the crown had no right to take that for
granted," observed Sir ----; "all that we could wish to get from Miss
Tracy could be obtained by cross-examination, or perhaps would appear
in her evidence in chief."

Judge.--"I think she ought to have been called for the prosecution.
Will you proceed?"

"Which way did the head-gardener return to his cottage after having
left the tool-house?" was the next question.

Witness.--"By the house; for the door near the gardener's cottage was
ordered to be locked. He could not pass to and fro between the spot
where the body was found and the haw-haw, without coming round again
by the house, or getting over the hedge or gate."

Here ended the examination-in-chief; and as it came to a conclusion, a
small slip of paper was handed from the prisoner to his counsel, who
read it, and immediately began the cross-examination. "You say that
before Mr. Tracy was informed of the fact of the murder, you went down
with some of the upper servants and removed the body to the tool-house.
At that time did any of you go from the spot where the corpse lay to
the haw-haw?"

Witness.--"No, Sir: we took up the body as soon as we were sure the
man was quite dead, and carried it to the tool-house."

"Will you swear," asked the counsel, "that when you afterwards
examined the spot with Mr. Tracy, none of you went down to the
haw-haw? Remember, Sir, you are upon your oath."

Witness.--"I never said nobody went down. Perhaps they might. I don't
recollect."

Counsel.--"Your memory seems to halt very strangely. Will you swear
that one of the men did not go down and look over the hedge into the
haw-haw to see if there was anybody there?"

Witness.--"I believe one of them did; but I am sure I do not recollect
who it was."

Counsel.--"Oh! Now, Sir, for another part of the subject; and be so
good as to be a little sincere; for recollect that you are sworn to
tell 'the whole truth,' as well as 'the truth.' You have said that Mr.
Tracy ordered the gate near the head-gardener's cottage to be locked.
Pray, did he do this of his own mere motive, or was it suggested to
him?"

Witness.--"It was suggested to him by Mr. Acton, that is to say, Mr.
Winslow, who said, that it would be better to lock that gate, and then
the men, having to go another way to their work, would not put out any
marks that might be upon the ground; and he gave up to Mr. Tracy his
own key."

Counsel.--"Well, that was not very like a guilty man. Now tell me, was
the ground hard or soft at that time?"

"Soft, Sir," answered the butler; "for the frost had not long broke
up."

"Then the marks of all the feet which went about the place would be
very distinct?" said the counsel.

Witness.--"Why, Sir, there were such a number of them, that they must
have cut one another up a good deal."

Counsel.--"Pray, were you with the constable on the following morning,
when he went to trace and measure the steps?"

Witness.--"Yes, Sir."

Counsel.--"Pray which of the line of traces was it that corresponded
with the shoes of the prisoner?"

Witness.--"They were all the same. There were two lines, one from the
fish-pond to the haw-haw, and one back again to the spot where the
corpse was found."

"That is to say, merely to and fro," said the counsel.

Witness.--"Yes, Sir; I did not see any more."

"Pray, did you measure any body else's shoes?" was the next question;
but immediately the counsel for the prosecution rose and objected to
the course of the cross-examination.

He said "that nothing in the examination-in-chief could naturally lead
to the questions now asked."

"I seek, my lord," said Mr. B----, "simply to elicit the truth, which
is, I believe, the object of the court. The witness has admitted that
one of the men, in examining the spot after the murder, went from that
spot to the haw-haw and back; and that there were but two lines of
traces. Now I wish to show--"

Judge.--"I cannot allow the argument to go on. There are rules of
evidence which no one is better acquainted with than the counsel for
the defence. He must be aware that this line of cross-examination is
inadmissible."

Counsel.--"I bow to the ruling of the court. You may go down, Sir."

He had, in fact, obtained nearly all he desired; and it may be as well
to remark, that poor Mr. Taylor was one of those victims of the bar
who, on entering a witness-box, show a certain sort of nervousness,
which immediately indicates to cross-examining counsel, the existence
in their minds of a quality which may be termed _perplexability_;
which, like the scent of the hare or the fox, instantly leads the
whole pack in full cry after them. Poor Taylor was as honest a man as
ever lived; but yet, confounded by his cross-examination, and not very
well recollecting the exact circumstances of events which had taken
place when his hair was standing on end with horror, he had told, or
admitted--which comes to the same thing--an exceedingly great
falsehood. None of the men who examined the spot with Mr. Tracy, had
gone down to the haw-haw; but the counsel had put it in such a way
that, in his confused remembrance of the events, he was at first
afraid of denying it; and afterwards became persuaded it was true. Had
he remained much longer in the witness-box, and had the counsel been
permitted to pursue his own course, there is probably nothing in the
range of possibility which Mr. Taylor would not have vouched upon
oath; for he was becoming more and more confounded every moment.

The counsel for the prosecution saw the state he was in too well to
venture to re-examine him; and thus he was suffered to depart in
peace.

The next witness who was called was 'William Sandes;' and a stout
countryman entered the witness-box, with a somewhat heavy, dogged
countenance. He deposed as follows:--"I am a labouring gardener in the
employment of Arthur Tracy, Esq. I remember the events of the fifth of
February last distinctly. I had worked in the garden all day, and at
five o'clock in the evening I was returning home with my son behind
me. In the walk that leads from the pond of gold-fish--what we call
the Temple basin--to the gate by the head-gardener's cottage, I met
Mr. Acton, the prisoner at the bar--I did not know he had come back.
He had a hoe in his hand--what we call a Dutch hoe. I have seen a
similar one in his hands often before. I saw the same, or one very
like it, before the crowner's jury--"

The prisoner here said aloud, "The hoe was mine."

The witness then continued: "Mr. Acton spoke a few words to me and to
the boy. I know him quite well, having served under him some months. I
can swear it was the prisoner I met. He was going from the gate near
his own house towards the basin. He had on a fustian coat with large
pockets, such as he generally wore on working days. I did not look at
his shoes. I did not hear of the murder till late that evening, when
one of the servants from the house came down for the key I have of the
gate. He woke me out of bed, and told me a man had been found murdered
in the grounds. I went the next morning before the crowner and told
all I knew."

The witness was then cross-examined.--"What induced you to go before
the coroner, when you knew nothing of the murder?"

Witness.--"Why the servant, that is, Burwash, the boy, who was sent
for the key, said that they all thought Mr. Acton had done it; and so
I said, 'Likely enough; for I met him just going down that way.' And
then he said I must go before the crowner, for Mr. Tracy had sent for
him; and I said I would."

Counsel.--"Very kind and liberal on all parts! But now tell me if you
were quite sure it was the prisoner. Remember, the sun was down, and
it must have been darkish."

Witness.--"Not a bit of if. It was quite light, master. I don't think
the sun was down. I saw him as plain as I see you."

"Pray, how could that be at past five o'clock?" asked the counsel.

Witness.--"I did not say it was past five o'clock. It might be a
minute or two before."

"But what I want to know is, are you quite sure?" continued the
counsel; "suppose another man, very like the prisoner, had passed you
in the same dress, at past five o'clock on a darkish evening, can you
swear that you would have distinguished him from the prisoner at the
bar?"

"Why, I tell you as plain as I can speak, it was not past five," cried
the witness; "it might be a quarter afore, for that matter."

Counsel.--"Ah! Then it was a quarter before five, and broad daylight,
was it?"

Witness.--"Yes, Sir, it was."

Counsel.--"Now then for another question, my man. I see you are a good
downright fellow, who will speak the truth for or against, without
caring. Did you and the head-gardener ever have any quarrel?"

Witness.--"We once had a bit of a tiff."

Counsel.--"What was it about?"

The counsel for the prosecution objected to the question. The judge
said he did not see how it bore on the examination-in-chief; but Mr.
B---- insisted, and he was supported strongly by his leader, who
declared that the answer of the witness would immediately show the
connexion. If it did not, it could be struck out of the evidence.

Counsel for the crown.--"After the impression has been produced?"

Counsel for the defence.--"Not at all. The cause of the quarrel is
immediately connected with the examination-in-chief. My learned friend
does not venture to put the question in a leading shape, as some
counsel would not scruple to do. But if we are overruled, I will so
frame the question in one minute as to be unobjectionable in point of
form, and perhaps less pleasant to those who seek a conviction, than
in its present shape."

He spoke with some heat, and the question was allowed, and repeated.

Witness.--"Why, it was in January last, when there was little to be
done in the garden, and I went away a bit before the time, because it
was our club night. He jawed me about it, and said as long as he was
head-gardener the men should keep their time."

Counsel.--"On the night of the fifth of February, I think you said
that you did not know the prisoner had returned till you saw him?"

Witness.--"No, that I didn't."

Counsel, emphatically.--"I have done."

Witness re-examined.--"I think it was five o'clock when I met the
prisoner, I cannot exactly say. I have a watch, but I do not always
look at it: I did not that night. I guessed it was five, and I went."

The next witness was Mr. Andrew Woodyard, surgeon, who deposed that he
had examined the dead body of a person who, he was informed, had been
found in the grounds of Mr. Arthur Tracy, of Northferry House. He had
discovered, he said, severe injuries on the head, consisting of a
contusion over the left temple, and a contused wound further back, on
the same side, which had fractured the skull and injured the brain.
The latter was the immediate cause of death. It must have been
inflicted with a sharp instrument. A blow from a Dutch hoe would
probably produce all the appearances which he had observed. He had no
doubt that the wound was the cause of death.

Counsel for the prosecution.--"Would such a blow always produce death
as an inevitable consequence?"

Witness.--"No."

Counsel.--"In what cases do you think, Mr. Woodyard, a more favourable
result might be anticipated?"

Witness.--"In cases of idiots, of atheists, and of young lawyers: that
is to say, where the brain is soft, is wanting, or is wrong placed."

Counsel for the defence, laughing.--"We shall decline to cross-examine
this witness;" and, without moving a muscle of his face, Mr. Woodyard
was about to quit the box, when the judge exclaimed in a severe tone,
"The witness will do well to remember, that to give evidence in a
court of justice is a serious matter."

"I am perfectly serious, my lord," replied the surgeon, turning full
upon him; "I am well aware that none but judges and queen's counsel at
the lowest, are permitted to play the fool in such places as this."

"I have a great mind to commit you, Sir," thundered the judge, bending
his brows upon him.

"In so doing, my lord, you would commit yourself," said Mr. Woodyard;
and without waiting for the falling of the storm, he hurried out of
the court. The judge hesitated. The judge was angry, but he saw that
the trial was likely to be long. He did not like interludes; and Mr.
Woodyard escaped.

Michael Burwash was then placed in the box, and deposed to all the
facts which had been proved by the other witnesses who had accompanied
Mr. Tracy to the tool-house on the night of the murder. He also stated
that he had been sent to ask Sandes for the key; and in addition to
the evidence of the others, he said he had seen the gentleman who was
murdered cross a corner of the lawn a little after five o'clock, on
his way to the spot where the body was afterwards found. The counsel
for the defence did not cross-examine him upon any of the points
deposed to by others. They were wise men, and let well alone. The
first question the junior counsel asked was, "Pray, what did you say
to Mr. Sandes when you asked him for the key?"

Witness.--"I told him a man had been found murdered in the grounds,
and master did not wish to have the footmarks disturbed."

Counsel.--"Nothing more?"

Witness.--"I might say a word or two more."

Counsel.--"Out with it, young man; we must have the whole."

"Why, I told him," said the witness, after having looked at the stern
face of the judge, and the impatient face of the leader for the
prosecution, "that all the servants thought that Mr. Acton had done
it; and that he ought to go before the coroner."

"What made you and the servants think the head-gardener had done it?"
asked the barrister.

Witness.--"Because he was in the grounds the last; and because we all
thought him so Eugene Aram like. He kept by himself, and talked Latin
and all that."

Counsel.--"I am afraid we of the bar are in great danger of accusation
of murder. This is the best reason ever given for having the pleadings
in English. You say, witness, that Mr. Acton, or the prisoner at the
bar, was the last person in the grounds; how did the servants know
that?"

Witness, in a whimpering tone.--"I cannot tell."

Counsel.--"I must have some answer. Will you swear that you yourself
did not see some person in the grounds after you saw Mr. Roberts cross
the lawn?"

Witness.--"No, I won't swear, because I did."

Counsel.--"Who did you see; and when?"

Witness.--"I don't well know who it was; but about ten minutes after
Mr. Roberts went across, I saw some one come up the dark walk--I was
shutting the dining-room window-shutters at the time--and he went in
by the door of the green-house."

"Then is there away through the green-house or conservatory in the
house?" asked the counsel.

"Yes; it leads into the hall on the left hand side," replied the
witness.

Counsel.--"Now we must hear more of the person. Who was it?"

Sir ---- turned and looked towards the dock. Chandos was sitting with
his arms upon the bar, and his eyes buried on them.

"I do not know--I cannot swear," replied the witness.

Counsel.--"Was it Mr. Tracy?"

Witness.--"No; it was a taller man than he."

"Was it General Tracy?"

"No; not so stout by a good deal."

Counsel.--"In a word: was it the prisoner at the bar?"

Witness.--"No; he is a good deal taller than the gentleman I saw."

Counsel.--"Was it a gentleman, then; or any of the servants?"

Witness.--"It looked like a gentleman's figure; but it was growing
dark, and he walked on very quick indeed. I could not clearly see who
it was."

Counsel.--"I have done with you;" and he sat down with a look of
satisfaction.

There was a murmur amongst the bar. The case for the prosecution
seemed breaking down. It was a result not at all expected, and the
cross-examination by the junior, who was a very young member of the
profession, but blessed with several eminent solicitors for relations,
was looked upon as highly creditable. None of the barristers were for
a moment deceived. They all clearly saw and understood that several of
the witnesses had been perplexed and confounded; and nothing had
shaken their conviction of the guilt of Chandos Winslow till the
admission made by the last witness, that some one had been seen
entering the house of Mr. Tracy, in a hurried manner, and by a private
and somewhat obscure entrance, some ten minutes or quarter-of-an-hour
after the murdered man had passed across the lawn. It was, in truth,
the first fact for the defence; and legal acumen instantly detected
that this was a verity of great importance. None of the lawyers
present, however, were ignorant of the great impression which the
admissions extracted from other witnesses might make upon a jury, if
followed up by any available line of defence; and they, therefore, as
I have said, looked upon the case as breaking down, under a pressure
of doubts, all of which must be favourable to the prisoner.

There has seldom been a trial, however, in which the opinions of the
most acute and sensible men varied so often, under the different
aspects which the evidence gave to it at different times. Through the
examination of the next witness the same feeling prevailed, namely,
that satisfactory proof would fail. The person who succeeded Burwash
in the witness-box was Henry Haldemand, the constable of Northferry,
who, after stating his rank, condition, and degree, went on as
follows:--

"There were delivered to me, when I went down, on receiving Mr.
Tracy's message, several articles which had been found on the person
of the deceased. I here produce them. The first is a letter, marked
No. 1."

This was the letter which Chandos had written to Mr. Roberts on the
night preceding the murder, and it was ordered to be read aloud. As
the reader has, however, already perused it, it will not be necessary
to reproduce it here. The impression did not seem so great upon the
court as the counsel for the prosecution expected.

The snuffling tone in which the letter was read detracted from the
effect; and it was generally regarded as merely showing that some sort
of dispute might have existed between the prisoner and the deceased,
without by any means establishing a sufficient motive for so great a
crime. It gave an additional shade of probability to the charge, but
that was all. Other papers, marked Nos. 2 and 3, were produced; but
the counsel for the prosecution thought they did not bear upon the
case, and they were consequently not read. The watch, the purse, and
the pocket-book, of course, threw no new light upon the matter,
and only occupied a few minutes more of the time of the court.
The constable then went on with his evidence in the following
strain:--"Early on the morning of the sixth of February I went to the
spot where the dead body had been found; I took with me Alfred Tims,
shoemaker, of Northferry. We found a great many footmarks round the
spot where the deceased had been lying, so many, that we could make
nothing of them. One line of steps we traced from the spot to the
haw-haw; they were very distinct upon the turf; the heel was towards
the haw-haw, the toe towards the spot where the murder was committed.
We found another line like it from the fish-pond to the haw-haw; the
heel was towards the fish-pond, the toe towards the haw-haw. In the
dry ditch beyond the hedge were several of the same footmarks, and the
hedge seemed to have been broken through. We measured the footmarks
exactly; there was but one line, either coming or going, made by a
right and left foot. After we had measured the marks, I went up to the
cottage of the head-gardener, from information I had received, and
desired to measure his shoes. He offered no opposition, and produced
the pair he had worn on the night before. They had not been cleaned;
and it seemed to me that there was some blood on the toe of the right
shoe: I can't swear it was blood; but there was certainly something
red upon it. We took away the shoes with us, and went back to the spot
in the grounds. The shoes corresponded exactly with the marks to and
from the haw-haw, and with those in the dry ditch. In the latter we
found one very distinct print; there were some small nails in the
outside edge of the shoe, and marks corresponding on the ground. I
afterwards went back to the cottage of the prisoner, to examine his
clothes; but found that he had gone down to Northferry, and taken the
clothes he had worn on the preceding night with him."

The cross-examination then commenced, and the counsel for the defence
said, "Two or three questions will be enough, witness. Are you aware
why the prisoner went down to Northferry and took his clothes with
him?"

Witness.--"To attend the coroner's inquest, I believe. I know he went
there."

Counsel.--"Voluntarily?"

Witness.--"Yes, I believe so."

Counsel.--"Pray did you measure the shoes of any one else besides
those of the prisoner?"

Witness.--"No, I did not."

Counsel.--"Were you informed that one of the men who accompanied Mr.
Tracy on the night before had gone down to the haw-haw, to see if
there was any one concealed in the ditch?"

Witness.--"No, I never heard it."

Counsel.--"That is a pity. I have done."

Judge.--"Where are the clothes? for by the notes of the inquest they
are important."

Witness.--"They are in the hands of an officer of the rural police. I
belong to the parish of Northferry: it is not in the same county. Mr.
Tracy's house is in this county, but Northferry is not." All the
counsel wrote rapid notes, expecting, probably, some nice points of
law.

A sergeant of rural police was then called, who produced a fustian
coat, upon the arm of which was evidently a large stain of blood. It
was on the inside of the arm, just at the bend, and there was no mark
upon the cuff. His evidence was very short. "I took the prisoner into
custody," he said, "after the coroner's jury had returned their
verdict: he had the coat I produce with him. I examined his person:
his hands were considerably torn and scratched, as if with thorns; in
his pocket there was five-and-thirty pounds six shillings, in gold and
silver, and also three letters, addressed to 'Chandos Winslow, Esq.'
It was then I first became aware of his real name. I had seen him more
than once before; but always thought his name was Acton. He gave no
explanation whatever in regard to the charge against him; but said,
when we were in the chaise together, that the coroner's jury had done
very right; for the evidence was strong, although he was perfectly
innocent."

Witness, in answer to the judge.--"The prisoner bore an exceedingly
good character in the neighbourhood, as a kind and humane young man.
He saved a lad from drowning--fetched him out from under the ice,
where he had been sliding, and never left him till the doctor had
brought him to."

This witness was not cross-examined; and the next witness that was
called was "Alice Humphreys." The poor old woman, who for the last
three months had acted as servant to Chandos Winslow, walked with
anxious look and trembling steps into the witness-box, and cast a
scared glance round the court, passing over the array of jurors and
barristers, till at length it lighted on the prisoner's dock, when she
exclaimed, in simple sorrow, "Oh, dear, Sir! dear me! To think of
this!"

Chandos Winslow gave her a kind look; and the judge exclaimed, in a
sharp tone, "Attend to the business before you, witness."

With a faltering voice, which called upon her many an injunction to
speak out, the poor old woman deposed as follows:--"I am servant to
the prisoner, and had kept house for him for about three months on the
fifth of February last. He had then been absent, by Mr. Tracy's leave,
about a month, and he came back on that day about half-past four. He
seemed very gay and cheerful, and asked me a great number of
questions, which I do not recollect. I remember he asked about the
little boy, Tim, that is the gipsey woman's son, whom General Tracy
took and put to live with us. Mr. Acton asked why he was not there,
and where he was; and I told him the young ladies sent him every day
to the day-school at Northferry. He seemed to be in a hurry to go out
again, however; and said he must take a look round the grounds before
it was dark; so that he did not much listen to me. It was just five
when he went out again. I know it was five, because the clock went as
he opened the door. He was gone about an hour, or a little better. The
boy, Tim, was late before he came home; he did not arrive till
half-past five, or more; and he usually came at a quarter before five.
When I scolded him, he said he had seen his mother in Northferry, and
she had kept him; and he told me, besides, he had seen a man asleep in
the grounds."

Judge.--"That cannot stand in evidence."

Counsel for the prosecution.--"Very well, my lord: we will have the
boy. Now, my good woman, when did the prisoner return?"

Witness.--"He was away more than an hour, and it was quite dark when
he came back."

Counsel.--"Describe his appearance."

Witness.--"Why, Sir, he was as white as a sheet, and his hands were
all over blood. The little boy ran up to him directly; for Tim is very
fond of him, as well he maybe, for he's a kind, good gentleman as ever
lived. But he said, 'Stay a bit, Tim, I will come down again in a
minute.' And then he went up stairs to his room, which is just over
the parlour; and presently after, as I was putting out the tea-things,
I heard some water thrown out of the window. When he came down again,
the blood was off his hands, and he had another coat on."

Counsel.--"Did you observe anything particular in his manner or
demeanour during the evening?"

Witness.--"He was very sad, and astray like, all the time. He took the
boy and kept him by his knee, and asked him a great number of
questions about his learning, and heard him a part of his catechism.
He said he had been a very good boy, and if he always behaved well and
did his duty, he would be a happy man; but he kept falling into
studies, as if he was thinking of something else; and once or twice he
got up and walked heavy up and down the room. He did not say anything
about what had made his hands bloody, nor take any notice of where he
had been."

Counsel.--"Did you remark if his hands bled at all after he came
down?"

Witness.--"No, Sir, I did not see them bleed. They seemed quite white,
as they always were: whiter than most gardeners' hands."

In answer to other questions, she proceeded to state that the prisoner
took a Dutch hoe with him when he went out, and had none when he came
back; that about half-past ten he was called away to speak with Mr.
Tracy, and then she heard of the murder; that she went up to his room
during his absence, to see if anything wanted putting to rights, when
she found his coat, all bloody on the sleeve, thrown over a chair, and
the marks of bloody hands upon the towel. "When he came back," she
deposed, "he seemed very sad, but not so astray-looking as before; and
he told her that the gentleman who had been murdered was a friend of
his, and that he should have to go down and give evidence before the
coroner. He bade me wake him, too, if he overslept himself," continued
the witness; "for he said he had walked a good way in the course of
the day, and was very tired."

Here ended the examination by the counsel for the prosecution; and a
momentary consultation was seen to take place between Sir ---- and his
junior.

"No, no; go on," said the great barrister; "no one could have done it
better. I am perfectly confident in your judgment."

"But I am somewhat fatigued," said Mr. B----; "and as it is of so much
importance, I would rather you undertook it."

"Very well; to relieve you, but for no other reason," said Sir ----,
and he rose to cross-examine the witness himself.

"When I remind you, witness, he said, that you are upon your oath, it
is simply because I believe you to have a sincere affection for your
master, as every one has who has the honour and pleasure of knowing
him; and I wish you to understand that nothing can so well serve him
as the plain, undisguised truth. Give, therefore, clear and
unhesitating answers to my questions, that the court, convinced of
your sincerity, may attach due weight to your testimony. Did the
prisoner, when he returned to his cottage, make any attempt to conceal
the blood upon his hands or coat?"

"Oh dear no, Sir," replied the witness; "he held his hands straight
before him, and came at once to the light."

Counsel.--"When you saw the coat, did it appear to you that any
attempt had been made to wash out the blood upon the arm."

Witness.--"No, Sir. There it was, plain enough."

Counsel.--"Did you remark any scratches or wound upon his hands?"

Witness.--"Yes, Sir, they were a good deal scratched, specially the
left. There was a good big tear in that."

Counsel.--"Now, you say, he came in first about half-past four. How
long did he stay?"

Witness.--"Some quarter of an hour or twenty minutes."

"But you say he went away at five," said the barristers; "how can that
be?"

The woman looked puzzled. "Why, I heard half-past four go just before
he came in, by the church clock; and clocks differ you know Sir."

Counsel.--"They do. You marked his coming by the church clock. Pray
what clock did you say struck when he went?"

Witness.--"No; it did not strike. It was the cuckoo that went."

Counsel.--"But does your cuckoo always sing right, my good woman?"

Witness.--"Not always, Sir. It is a bit too fast at times."

Counsel.--"It is not worse than other cuckoos, I dare say. There are
some of them fast, some of them slow, like men's minds--


    ''Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
     Go just alike, yet each believes his own.'


Can you give me any notion how much your cuckoo clock was usually
before the church clock? It differed, of course; but on the
average--at its ordinary rate of going?"

Witness.--"Why it got on two or three minutes a-day; but I do not
recollect when I last put it back with my thumb."

Counsel.--

   "'Ay, 'tis beyond the date of memory:
     Event upon event so oft hath trod,
     With quick recurring foot, 'tis hard to trace
     The worn-out print of Time's incessant step.'


But cannot you give me some idea of what day you usually put the
cuckoo clock back with your thumb? These things acquire a regularity
by habit which is rarely deviated from, especially in regard to
clocks. Every man, woman, and child in the kingdom who has a clock,
watch, or other indicator of Time's progress, has some particular day,
or perhaps hour for winding up and putting it right. Can you tell me
what day you wound up your cuckoo clock, and whether you put it by the
church or not on that day?"

Witness.--"I always wound it up o' Saturday, at about eleven, when I
had put the pot on; and I generally set it to rights by the church, if
I could hear it, that we might not be late at service the next day."

Counsel.--"And if you did not set it on Saturday, did you ever meddle
with it during the week?"

Witness.--"Not that I remember ever. I did the two jobs together; for
I had to get up upon the stool, which I was not over fond of, for the
stool was old, and I was old; and if we had tumbled we might both have
gone to pieces."

All the bar laughed heartily, and encouraged the good old woman
amazingly: but the great barrister did not forget his point.

Counsel.--"Am I to understand you, that if you did not set the clock
on Saturday, you did not set it during the week?"

Witness.--"No, never."

"Then can you tell me if you set it on the Saturday before the
prisoner returned?" asked the counsel.

Witness.--"I can't justly recollect."

Counsel.--"Well, it got on two or three minutes a-day, you say; so if
you did set it on Saturday, the thirty-first of January, it would have
got on from ten to twelve minutes, at the least, and might have done
so a quarter-of-an-hour, before the evening of Thursday, the fifth;
which would make your other calculation right, that the prisoner
returned about half-past four, by the church clock, remained a
quarter-of-an-hour or twenty minutes, and went away at five by the
cuckoo, or a quarter to five by the church."

"That is likely," said the witness; "I dare say our clock was a
quarter too fast--it generally was. It was quite light, I know, when
he went away."

Counsel.--"Then I won't trouble you with any more questions, Mrs.
Humphreys; and I am very much obliged to you for replying to those you
have answered."

Witness.--"Well, you are a civil gentleman, I do declare!"

Witness re-examined.--"I am sure the clock went fast, not slow. I said
I put it back that we might not be too late at church, because when it
was right we were right, and if it were wrong we might trust to its
being more wrong than it was.--Well! you are a saucy one!--The other
is a very civil gentleman. But I do not see why you should take
liberties with old women."

A roar of laughter followed in the court; and the judge coughed
sonorously.

I should say that the merriest place on earth--I go no further--is a
court of justice during certain criminal trials. It seems as if the
solemnity of the scene, and the awfulness of the circumstances,
brought out all that is risible with extraordinary effect, as a black
background throws out a bright figure. Perhaps, few trials had ever
excited more strong feelings than that which was now proceeding. There
stood the prisoner, whose life was at stake, an object of admiration
to many, of interest to all; in the prime of his youth and strength;
eminently handsome; richly endowed with powers of mind; of ancient
lineage and high name; connected with some of the noblest in the land;
kind, generous, high-spirited; with genius throned upon his brow and
flashing from his eye: his life hung upon a word; and yet, the whole
court laughed at the silly simplicity of a good but vulgar old
woman--laughed cheerfully, as if there were nothing like life and
death in the world--laughed as if human suffering and human crime were
unknown in the place where they were met to inquire into the murder of
one fellow-creature, and to adjudge another, either to prolonged
existence with all its bright companionships, or to speedy death--the
scaffold, the cord, the grave, the worm!

It was very horrible that laugh; and Chandos Winslow's brow grew dark,
as if they were sporting with his fate. He could not laugh--he could
not join in their heartless merriment. More than life was at stake for
him--honour and good name--ay, and perhaps love. Verily, we human
beings are lighter than vanity; and the lake of the spirits of men is
rippled by the least of all possible breezes.

The judge was the only one ashamed at his gravity being overset; and
he endeavoured to cover his merriment by saying in a stern tone. "Old
woman--that is to say, witness, you must respect the court. Was your
clock right or wrong on this identical evening, the fifth of February?
That is the question."

"I dare say it was not quite right," answered Mrs. Humphreys; "it
seldom is for two days together; but how far wrong it was on that day
I cannot tell--may be a quarter-of-an-hour, my lord."

"It is a very extraordinary thing," said the judge, "that they will
have such clocks in the country. Neither the clocks nor the rural
police ever go right. You may go down, witness."

"Timothy Stanley" was now called; and something very small was seen
making its way resolutely through the court towards the witness-box.
The persons near stared at the child and drew back, treading on the
toes of those behind; and one of the officers of the court caught hold
of him to administer the oath. But the judge, who had a conscience,
though it was peculiarly organized, shouted out: "Stay, stay! That is
an infant. Put him in the box for a moment before you swear him. Give
him something to stand upon;" and, adjusting his spectacles, he gazed
at the small intelligent features of the boy with interest and
curiosity.

"Do you know the nature of an oath, my little man?" asked the judge at
length.

The boy remained silent for a few seconds; and then the voice of
Chandos Winslow was heard amidst the stillness of the court, saying
aloud, "That he does, my lord. I taught him."

"Why does he not answer then?" demanded the judge.

"Because your language, my lord, is perhaps above his comprehension,"
replied the prisoner. "He is here as a witness against me; but if you
would permit me to suggest, you would ask him first, What are the
consequences of a lie?"

"Tell me, my little man," said the judge; "do you know what are the
consequences of a lie?"

"Disgrace and shame amongst men, and the anger of Almighty God,"
replied the boy, readily.

The judge wiped his spectacles; for something touched him.

"Now, if you would pardon me, my lord," said the prisoner, "you would
inquire, What are the consequences of calling upon God to witness a
falsehood?"

"Do you know, boy," asked the judge, "what is the consequences of
taking God's name to a falsehood?"

"The loss of his protection for ever," said the little witness, "for
the greatest offence and insult to his truth and holiness."

There were several eyes had tears in them, and the judge said, "Swear
him--you may swear him."

"I won't be sworn!" said Tim, stoutly.

"Why not, boy?" demanded the judge.

"Because I won't say anything that may hurt him," rejoined the boy,
pointing to the dock.

There was again a silence, and Tim stood resolutely in the witness-box
with his hands in his pockets, and his eyes fixed upon Chandos
Winslow.

"My dear boy," said the prisoner; "nothing you can say will hurt me if
you tell 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,' as
they will put the oath to you. But if you are silent, they will think
you know something against me."

"Oh! that I don't," cried the boy, clasping his hands.

"Then take the oath, and tell the whole truth," said Chandos; "by so
doing you will do me more good than by any other course."

The boy gazed in his face for an instant, and then said, "Well, I
will, then; for you always tell the truth; and I am sure you would not
cheat me."

"Not for the world," said the prisoner; and the oath was administered.

The counsel for the prosecution hesitated for a moment or two, as if
he doubted whether the boy's testimony would produce the effect he
desired; but then he began the examination, touching but lightly on
the point on which he had laid most stress in his speech. He was a
sagacious observer of an opponent's proceedings, and he had already
divined from the course of examination pursued, that it was as much
the object of the counsel for the defence to fix down the commission
of the crime to a certain period, as it had at first been his own. He
looked upon a criminal trial as a sort of game at chess, where there
were certain moves of necessity, but where it was expedient to vary
his play according to the skill and the moves of his adversary. The
method in which he conducted the examination produced the following
evidence.

Witness.--"On the fifth of February I went from the cottage of Mr.
Acton--the prisoner--to the day-school at Northferry. I went about
seven in the morning. I came back to dinner at one, and returned to
school at two. I left school at a little past four. I met my mother at
the corner of the lane, and went back with her into the town. She
bought me two penny buns at the shop, and we sat down and talked in
the marketplace while I ate them. She had been selling rabbit-skins
to the hatter. I do not know how she got them. She talked to me of a
great many things. She asked me if Mr. Acton had come home yet, and I
said, 'No.' She said he would be home soon, for she had seen him. She
did not say when she had seen him. She did not say whether that day or
the day before. She only said she had seen him. The church clock had
just gone five a few minutes before; and I said, 'I must get home,
mother, or Dame Humphreys will scold.' She kept me about five minutes
more, and then let me go. It was getting quite dark when I came to the
gates of the house--Mr. Tracy's house; and as they were open and it
saved a good bit I slipped in and down the walks, into the Lady's
Walk. When I came into the Lady's Walk it was a little lighter there,
for there were no trees to the west; and I saw some one lying upon the
grass close to the fish-pond of gold and silver fishes. I am sure it
was a man, for I said to myself, 'There is one of the fellows drunk.'
He lay quite still, and I went up the walk and got over the gate to
the cottage. The prisoner was not there when I arrived. He did not
come in for more than half-an-hour. I ran up to him; but he said, 'Do
not touch me, Tim. Stay a bit, and I will be down in a minute.' I saw
that his hands were all bloody, and that there was a great mark of
blood upon his arm. He went up stairs and stayed some time; and when
he came down he had on another coat, and his hands were clean. He was
very white when he came in. His face is not usually white. He seemed
heavy, but he heard me my catechism, and talked a good deal to me till
I went to bed. I thought he looked strange, different from what I had
ever seen him look before. Often while he was talking to me, he would
begin to think, and stop in what he was saying; and once he got up and
walked up and down the room. He was very strange till I went to bed."

Here ended the boy's examination-in-chief; and it was remarked that
the counsel for the prosecution had not asked at what hour the witness
had seen the man lying in Mr. Tracy's grounds, nor at what hour the
boy had reached the cottage. Nevertheless, the impression produced by
the witness's evidence was strongly against the prisoner. The
simplicity with which it was given, and the evident bias of all his
affections towards his friend and protector, when put in contrast
with the facts which he disclosed--the pale face--the agitated
demeanour--the moody thoughtfulness--the bloody hands--the stained
garb, told wonderfully upon the minds of the court and the jury.
Nor did the cross-examination remove this impression, though
Sir ---- seemed perfectly unaffected by it, and rose with as calm and
confident an air as ever.

"You are a dear, good little fellow," he said, in a kindly and almost
playful tone; "and I wish to Heaven a great number of grown witnesses
would take example from the clear and straightforward manner in which
such a child gives his evidence. Pursue the same course, witness, and
for my part, I will do nothing to puzzle or confound you; I seek but
the truth."

Perhaps he took a little advantage of his high position at the bar,
and the respect in which he was universally held, to commence the
cross-examination in this discursive manner; but he then proceeded as
follows. "You say that your mother asked you if the prisoner had
returned home, and told you that he would do so soon, for that she had
seen him. Can you recollect exactly at what time that was?"

Witness.--"It was after five, for the clock had struck."

Counsel.--"Did your mother leave you at any time after she first met
you and bought you the two buns you have mentioned?"

Witness.--"Yes, she left me just the minute before she asked me that
question: and she told me to sit by the pump till she came back."

Counsel.--"Did you yourself see the prisoner in the town while you
were in Northferry that evening?"

Witness.--"No, I did not; but I think mother did; she kept looking
down the street when she asked me."

Judge.--"That will not do; that is not evidence."

Counsel.--"Undoubtedly it is not, my lord; but I did not seek for it.
Now, witness, tell me at what hour, as near as possible, you left the
town."

Witness.--"The quarter had not gone, but it must have been hard upon
it."

Counsel.--"And at what hour did you reach the gardener's cottage?"

Witness.--"I looked at the clock when I came in, and it wanted a
quarter to six; but then our clock is well-nigh a quarter too fast,
and more of Friday nights, for Dame Humphreys only sets it on Saturday
morning."

"Then by that calculation," said the counsel, "it must have wanted
five-and-twenty minutes, or an half-hour to six when you got home. But
tell me, do you know the clock very accurately?"

Witness.--"Yes, Mr. Acton taught me two months ago."

Counsel.--"And his kindness will safe his life. How long does it take
you, witness, to go from the gardener's cottage to Northferry? I am
told the distance, from Mr. Tracy's house to the village or town, is
nearly two miles: can you walk that distance in a quarter of an hour?"

Counsel for the prosecution.--"That is a leading question."

Sir ----. --"I only wish to make the whole clear to the jury. I am not
seeking to puzzle or to mislead; but it has been stated that the
distance is nearly two miles. The boy has said he walked it in nearly
twenty minutes, and, without pretending to disbelieve him, I wish him
to explain, to reconcile the two facts, which at first sight seem
incompatible."

Judge.--"I think the question may be put. If not put by counsel, I
will put it. The point must be made clear."

The counsel for the defence then repeated the question.

Witness.--"I walked, and I ran a part of the way, because I was late;
but the distance is nothing like two miles by the fields. I never take
more than twenty minutes to go or come; and that time I went through
the grounds, which saves a good bit. I know Mr. Acton once walked
there and back in half an hour, and bought me a book too."

Counsel.--"Thus the matter is easily explained. One can see, by the
plan submitted by the prosecution, that the high road to Northferry
takes innumerable turnings and windings. Can you give me any distinct
idea, witness, of what o'clock it was when you saw the body of a man
lying by the fish-pond?--By Northferry clock, I mean."

Witness.--"It must have been half-past five, as near as possible."

Counsel.--"You are sure it was not six?"

Witness.--"How could that be? When I got home it wanted a quarter to
six by our clock, and that is always a good bit too fast."

Counsel.--"You are sure it is never too slow?"

Witness.--"Oh dear, no. If I were to go to school by it I should
always be there before any of the other boys."

Counsel.--"And you are sure the prisoner did not return for full half
an hour after your arrival?"

Witness.--"It was more than that--five or ten minutes more."

Counsel.--"Did you see any scratches on his hands, making them bleed?"

Witness.--"No, I did not see any. His hands did not bleed at all after
he came down again."

Counsel.--"How long might he be absent when he went up to his room?"

"Some five or ten minutes, I dare say," said the boy.

The counsel here sat down, and the boy was re-examined at some length
by the counsel for the prosecution, without eliciting any new fact, or
causing him at all to vary in his statements.

Four or five other witnesses were examined to various minute facts, of
no great importance in themselves, but all bearing more or less upon
the case.

The exact distance from Mr. Tracy's house to the place where the
murder was committed, the proximity of the body, when found, to the
temple over the fish-pond, the extent of space between that building
and the haw-haw, and the distance thence to the gardener's house, were
amongst the facts proved; and at length the counsel for the
prosecution declared his case closed.

It was between four and five in the afternoon, and the judge, who for
some time had been showing symptoms of impatience, inquired of the
prisoner's counsels whether they thought they could conclude, that
night.

"The court is intensely hot," said the learned judge. "We have sat
here from an early hour in the morning; but I am most anxious that
to-morrow should be left free for the remaining business of the
assize; and if sure of finishing to-night, we would proceed with the
trial, after taking some refreshment. I would rather sit till midnight
than not conclude to-day."

"Why, my lord," replied Sir----, "I and my learned friend who is with
me in the cause, think that four or five hours would be quite enough
for us; but if there is to be a long reply, of course the business
cannot be concluded to-night."

"I cannot limit myself as to my reply," said Sergeant ----. "Having an
important duty to perform, and not knowing what will be the line of
defence, I can make no promise as to time; and I can see clearly that
my reply cannot be very short."

"Then the court will adjourn," said the judge, somewhat sulkily; and
at the same moment he rose to retire.

Let it be remembered, that this day was marked in the calendar as the
ninth of the month; for dates may be important things even in a novel,
and in this instance a man's life hung upon the events of a single
day.



CHAPTER XXXI.


It was on the tenth of the month, in a very beautiful valley, between
bare hills, which, carrying their bold heads high above the rich cloak
of vegetation that clothed both sides of the dell, seemed to cool them
in the calm blue sky. Just above a waterfall, the same which has been
before described, two large irregular masses of stone, differing in
size, but both enormous, reared themselves up as gigantic door-posts,
to the entrance of a small amphitheatre of cliff, not less than two
hundred feet in height. The one rock had somewhat the appearance
of a chair of colossal size, the other, fancy might shape into a
reading-desk; and thus, amongst the people of the neighbouring
districts, the former had acquired the name of "the Pope's Throne;"
while the other was called "the Puritan's Pulpit." Between them there
was a narrow pass, of not more than ten feet in width, and on either
side was piled up a mound of loose shingly fragments, forty or fifty
feet high, with a tree or a shrub here and there, where some vegetable
earth had accumulated, forming a sort of natural wall, which joined
the rocky portal to the spurs of the amphitheatre of crag. At several
points, it is true, a man might easily climb over the mound, either to
enter or issue forth from the space within; but the only smooth way
was between the two great masses of stone, where was a carpeting of
soft mountain-turf, with not a blade of grass more than an inch long
in anyplace, while in one appeared the evident marks of often-treading
feet, in a narrow line worn nearly bare.

With his back leaning against the base of the Pope's Throne, and the
sunshine and shadow of a spring day chasing each other across his
brow, was seated a stout gipsey, of four or five and twenty. Half-way
up the mound, on the right, reclining upon the shingle, might be
perceived another, somewhat older than the former, in such a position
that his eyes could rest from time to time, upon his companion below.
The mound on the left hand had also its man; but he could not be seen
from without the natural enclosure, for he had stationed himself just
over the top of the heap, obtaining a view into the little enclosure;
and there he sat from six o'clock in the morning until eight, with a
number of green osier twigs beside him, and a half-finished basket
between his knees, at which he worked away like on honest, industrious
man.

From within the circle, came forth at times the sounds of merry
voices; and at one period of the morning there curled up a quantity of
light bluish smoke. Shortly after, there trudged forth from the
entrance an elderly man, with a pair of bellows slung over his
shoulders, and an old spoutless tin kettle in his hand. Then all
seemed quiet, and the man who had been making baskets, without
changing his position, changed his attitude, and suffered himself to
drop quietly back upon some mossy turf which had gathered round the
root of a tree, planted, Heaven knows how, amongst the stones.

About half-past eight o'clock, the figure of a tall stout man
appeared, close beside the basket-maker. His step was slow and
cautious; and the gipsey man did not move. He was sound asleep. The
other stood and looked at him for an instant, with a look not
altogether friendly: but the moment after he moved quietly on again,
passed behind the tree and began to climb the ridge of the mound,
towards the spur of the cliff. He took a step higher, and another, and
another, with great care and precaution, often looking back at the man
he had passed, often looking down into the little amphitheatre: but
still he advanced steadily towards a part where there was not a space
of more than ten or twelve feet between the summit of the cliff and
the top of the shingly mound, with an ash-tree waving its branches
under the shelter of the bank. He was within half-a-dozen paces of the
top, when some of the loose stones giving way beneath him, rolled
down, and startled the sleeper from his slumbers.

In an instant he was upon his feet. The next, he gazed up and gave a
loud shout. The scene of confusion that followed was wild and strange.
From a number of gipsey tents which had been pitched in the circle
below, issued forth some twenty or thirty persons, men, women, and
children, all in a state of great excitement, and all looking in the
direction from which the shout had proceeded. The basket-maker sprang
up after the climber of the hill, half-a-dozen young men followed from
below; and one of the other watchers joined in what was evidently a
pursuit.

But the fugitive had gained too much upon them; the shout warned him
to quicken his pace; in an instant he was under the ash-tree; and in
another, by the aid of its stout branches, he was at the top of the
cliff. There he paused for but one instant, then turned and hurried
on. His departing figure lessened rapidly to the eyes of those who
followed him, and at length he disappeared.

Three of the pursuers climbed up by the aid of the ash-tree, as he had
done; but as a fourth was mounting, he happened to turn his eyes
below, and beheld the object of the chase down in the valley, and in
the act of crossing the river, which rose to his arm-pits. By a bold
man[oe]uvre he had put the hounds at fault, and by the time the men
were called down from above, was out of sight.

A short consultation was held amongst the tribe; and then they all
quietly returned to their usual habits. The women and the children
betook themselves again to their tents, the basket-maker came down and
plied his trade more wakefully below; the young man who had been
sitting with his back against the huge rock abandoned his post, and
remained talking, within the little basin, to another of the tribe;
and his fellow-watcher on the outside, lay down at the back of the
encampment, and went to sleep.

About five minutes after, coming at great speed, the gipsey woman,
Sally Stanley, approached the place from the lower part of the valley.
There was anxiety in her look, and she gazed eagerly over the two
shingly mounds, as if in search of what she did not see, and then with
a step quickened almost to a run, she entered the little amphitheatre
of cliff, advancing straight to the youth who had been stationed at
the pass between the two rocks.

"Is he gone?" she asked, in breathless eagerness, "Is he gone?"

"Yes, Sally; he is gone," replied the young man; "but it was not my
fault, for he--"

"Fault!" cried the woman, "it might be no one's fault; for what right
have I to command? what need have you to obey? But cursed be he who
let him go; for he has done a bad act; he has killed one who has
always been kind to us; and the blood of the gipsey's friend be upon
his head;" and without waiting for reply, she ran out of the circle of
rock; and, with the speed of lightning, hurried down the valley.
Cutting off every angle, finding paths where none appeared, and
footing on places which a goat could hardly have trod, she darted on
till she reached the spot where, opening out with an ever-gentle
descent to the plain, the hill-valley was lost in other sweeps of the
ground, and the common foot-path entered into the cultivated grounds,
taking its onward course between two close hedges in the form of a
lane. She looked upon the somewhat moist sand beneath her feet with
eagerness, and examined it carefully for several yards. Then,
murmuring to herself, "He has not passed!--he cannot have passed!" she
placed herself behind the decayed trunk of an old willow, and,
waiting, watched with an attentive ear.

Two minutes had not elapsed when a step was heard; and then Lockwood
was seen coming along the lane at a rapid pace, with a thick newly-cut
stick in his hand. The woman instantly darted forth and threw herself
before him.

"Get out of my way!" he said, in a stern tone, as soon as he saw her.
"I am angry, and I would not do anything unbecoming. You may have done
mischief enough already. Do not do more by making me forget myself."

But she persevered in her attempts to stop him.

"I am a woman, and alone;" she answered, "you would not do anything
unmanly, I am sure. But hear me, Lockwood," she continued, more
vehemently; "hear me, and I will tell you what you are going to do.
You wish to save him, and you are going to ruin him. If you set your
foot in that court, he is lost. Nay, hear me! hear me!" she repeated,
as he strove to push his way past her; "you must, you shall--for your
own sake--for his sake--for my sake. I will beseech you--I will kneel
to you, to hear me but a few words;" and casting herself down before
him, she clasped his knees with her arms.

"I will not hear you," he answered, bitterly; "every moment is
precious. You have detained me shamefully two days, and there is
nothing to be told me that I could not tell you. I know all, girl--I
know you, Susan Grey--I know your motives--I know that you are fool
enough still to love him who ruined, betrayed, abandoned you--who left
you to misery, starvation, and death, for aught he knew; and I know
that to save him from the punishment of his crimes, you would
sacrifice one who was kind and good to you, when there was none other
to befriend you. Let me go, girl! for I will pass!" and, forcing
himself from her grasp, he walked hastily onward towards S----.

"Oh God! Oh God!" cried the woman, "he will destroy him he seeks to
save!"

This took place, let the reader remember, on the tenth of the month;
the second day of the trial of Chandos Winslow; and to that trial and
the court in which it was taking place, we must now return.



CHAPTER XXXII.


In many cases the inhabitants of an assize town are very little
affected by what is taking place in their courts. They see lawyers
flock in and juries assemble, witnesses moving about in troops, and a
rich crop of blue bags growing up. But with the causes or the
prisoners, they very little trouble their heads. The host of the inn
rubs his hands and rejoices: a heavy calendar to him is a God-send.
His waiters, probably increased in number, bustle about to feed those
classes which are proverbially ravenous; and the chamber-maids are in
great request. The pastrycook becomes a person of importance; the
cookshop has its share of business, and red tape and parchment rise in
value; while the ladies of the place think a good deal of the young
barristers, and very little of those whose causes brought them to the
town.

But there are occasions, on the contrary, when, either from the
intrinsic interest of the case, or from adventitious circumstances
connected with it, the people even of the town in which the trial
takes place become almost universally excited by what is occurring in
the courts; and upon every turn of the trial as it proceeds hangs a
world of emotions in the bosoms of men only linked to the transaction
by the tie of sympathy.

Such was the case in regard to the trial of Chandos Winslow. Not a
drawing-room, not a tea-table, not a chamber in a tavern, not even a
coffee-room did not hear discussed during the whole evening of the
ninth the various events which had taken place in the court-house
during the day, while calculations were formed, and even bets made, on
the probable result of the trial. The prisoner had become quite a hero
of romance to all the youth and much of the age of the place. He was
so young, so handsome, so noble-looking, that the women of S---- of
course felt interest in his favour; and the men declared he bore it
stoutly, struck by his firm and calm demeanour, and his resolute and
gallant bearing. Nevertheless, at the close of the case for the
prosecution, a very general impression prevailed that he would be
found guilty. So many startling facts had been proved against him: his
absence from his house precisely at the time of the murder; the exact
correspondence of his shoes with the footsteps to and from the spot
where the crime was committed; the bloody hands and coat; and the
terribly agitated demeanour which had been witnessed by the boy and
the old woman on his return, would almost have been enough for
conviction, even without the terrible and seemingly conclusive fact,
that the fatal deed had evidently been committed with the very hoe
which he had carried out in his hand.

Under such circumstances, the rush at the doors of the court-house on
the morning of the tenth was tremendous, and it was as much as the
officers on duty could do, aided by a strong body of police, to
prevent the multitude from crushing each other to death in the
passages and in the very court itself. Several of the magnates of the
county were accommodated with seats on the bench to hear the defence;
and the voice of the judge himself was raised to its very highest
tones to suppress the disorder that occurred when the prisoner
appeared in the dock.

Wearing anxiety will have its effect on every frame, and Chandos
Winslow looked paler and thinner than on the first day of the trial;
but still the magnificent head, the fine person, the tranquil and
undaunted bearing, and the firm, strong step had their effect upon
those who beheld them, and the impression was that though the jury
might and would say "Guilty," the man was innocent.

Sir ---- every one remarked, was exceedingly pale; and before he rose
he turned over the papers under his hand several times, with a look of
nervous anxiety; but the moment he was upon his feet, that look passed
away; he raised his head high; he cast back his shoulders as if for
full breath, and, fixing his fine and speaking eyes upon the jury,
began,

"My lord and gentlemen of the jury,--The learned sergeant who has
conducted the prosecution assured you that to do so was the most
painful task of his life. I doubt it not in the least; for it must be
a terrible task indeed to become the public accuser of such a man as
the prisoner, with even a doubt upon the mind of his guilt: and how
many doubts must have existed in this case? If such were the feelings
of my learned friend, judge, gentlemen of the jury, what must be mine,
when, in rising to defend the prisoner at the bar, I know that upon my
feeble efforts depends not only the life of an innocent man, not only
the life of one who is an ornament to the society in which he moves,
but the life and honour of my dearest friend! With what anxieties must
I be oppressed; how terrible must be the responsibility when the
slightest failure of my powers, the least oversight on my part, any
weakness, any indiscretion, may condemn to death one whom I love as a
brother--one whom I know to be innocent, as I have trust in God! I am
no paid advocate, retained to defend a bad cause; I am not a counsel
doing merely his professional duties: but I am a friend standing forth
in defence of a friend; an honest man raising his voice to save an
innocent one. Terrible are the difficulties which all these cases
present: more than ordinary are the difficulties in the present case;
and all these are aggravated in an enormous degree by the very
feelings of friendship which exist between myself and the prisoner, by
the doubts and fears of myself, which make me tremble at my own
incompetence, by the zeal which perplexes, by the eagerness which
confounds. The burden would be too great, gentlemen of the jury; it
would overwhelm me; but happily there are circumstances which
lighten the load. I see upon the bench one of the most learned and
clear-sighted of those judges who are an honour to the nation to which
they belong: I see in that box a body of Englishmen well calculated by
judgment and experience to distinguish between truth and falsehood;
between the factitious glozing of an artificial oratory, and the
simple eloquence of right and conviction: and I hold under my hand the
means of establishing, beyond all doubt, the innocence of my friend,
if friendship do not deprive me of reason, if enthusiasm do not
paralyse my tongue.

"I will now, however, do my best to grapple with the case as presented
to you by my learned friend; and, doing him full justice for his high
eloquence, believing most sincerely that he has stated nothing but
what he was instructed was true, I will still venture to say, that a
more terrible misrepresentation was never made to an English jury.
Now, in the very first instance my learned friend asserted that the
prisoner at the bar is of a sharp and vindictive disposition; and he
said that he should be able to show that such was the case. Gentlemen,
I will ask you, has he proved that fact? I will ask you if he has made
any attempt to prove it? I will ask you if his own witnesses have not
proved the exact reverse; if they have not shown that the prisoner is
of a kind and gentle disposition, winning the love and esteem of all
around, high and low, rich and poor? and, whether we see him teaching
the uneducated child, saving the drowning boy, or tending him in his
after sickness, I will ask, if all that _has_ been proved does not
excite admiration, and sympathy, and respect? Cast from your minds,
then, such unjustified and vague expressions: look upon his general
character as it is shown by the very evidence for the prosecution,
tender rather than sharp, benevolent instead of vindictive. But the
insinuation, gentlemen of the jury, has been made, though not
supported; and it forces me to establish the contrary by proofs.
Something was said too, gentlemen, of a duel between the prisoner and
Viscount Overton, and a connexion must have instantly established
itself in the minds of the jury, between that duel and the sharp and
vindictive character ascribed to the prisoner. But, gentlemen, I will
place that honourable nobleman in the witness-box, to speak to the
character of the prisoner. He shall himself tell you what he thinks of
the circumstances which produced the duel; and you shall judge from
facts, not from insinuations. All this shall be triumphantly swept
away, and I will not leave a vestige of such charges against my
friend. I will call the old servants of his father's house, I will
call the tenants, the parishioners, the neighbours. Their evidence
need not be long, but it will be conclusive to show that a more
honourable, upright, generous, kind-hearted man never existed; full of
noble enthusiasms, gentle in habits, benevolent in disposition,
incapable of a base or a cruel action.

"So much, gentlemen of the jury, for the first part of the charge: for
the general and vague insinuation, made for the purpose of preparing
your minds to regard the prisoner as a man of blood. But it seemed
necessary to my learned friend; and most necessary indeed it was to
his case, to show some apparent motive for the crime of which the
prisoner is accused; and a letter has been read in evidence to prove
that there was some dispute between the prisoner and the murdered man.
That letter shall be fully explained before I have done; and you shall
see how ridiculously petty is the motive assigned for so great an
offence. But besides that letter, allusion was made to former disputes
between the unfortunate Mr. Roberts and the prisoner, which, though
not proved, may have had some influence upon your minds. I will show
that no such disputes ever existed; that the two were on the best and
most kindly terms, that they had been so through life; and that those
causes of disgust which had induced the prisoner to quit his brother's
mansion were identical with the causes which induced Mr. Roberts to
give notice to Sir William Winslow that he was about to leave his
employment. In short, I will prove that Mr. Winslow and the man he is
accused of murdering, were acting on the most friendly terms together;
and that the letter which is supposed to prove that a dispute existed,
was written in cold terms merely as an authority to Mr. Roberts for
disregarding any orders he might have received from his employer to
meddle with things in which that employer had no right. It was, in
short, a formal notice to him to respect the rights of the prisoner,
without any regard to the illegal directions of a third party. I shall
be able to prove that Mr. Roberts possessed the full confidence of Mr.
Chandos Winslow; that he was acting with due regard for Mr. Winslow's
interests, and that he had actually applied or intended to apply to
that gentleman for an authority or warning to respect, in his capacity
of agent for Sir William Winslow, the rights of him, the prisoner at
the bar. Thus the pretence of motive furnished by the letter which he,
Mr. Roberts, had himself desired, falls entirely to the ground, and
leaves the accusation totally without foundation, except such as a
very doubtful train of circumstantial evidence can afford. Mr.
Roberts, in fact, was the only confidant of the prisoner at the bar,
the only person to whom he confided his address, when disgust at some
injuries he imagined he had received, and a desire to mingle as an
equal with classes in which he had long taken a deep interest as a
superior, led him to quit his high position in society, and accept the
humble station of gardener to Mr. Arthur Tracy, of Northferry. Was
this, gentlemen of the jury, like long disputes and acrimonious
bickerings, ending in malevolence and murder? Is that the man to
entertain such passions?--to commit such an act?

"But I will make no appeal to your feelings; I will address myself to
your judgment only. I will break through this chain of circumstantial
evidence; I will show that it cannot affect the prisoner, that it is
not applicable to him. I will proceed logically with my inferences;
though it may be somewhat out of the usual course. I will first
convince you that the prisoner was not a man likely to commit such a
crime, by the testimony of many witnesses. I will next prove that
there was no earthly motive for his committing that crime; but every
motive for his not doing so: and, in the end, I will establish beyond
all question that it was impossible that he could have committed it.
Before I proceed to call my witnesses, however, it may be necessary to
examine closely the evidence already adduced, in order that we may
separate the facts clearly and distinctly proved from an immense mass
of irrelevant matter. In so doing, I shall not attempt to explain
every fact and every circumstance; I shall not seek to prove why the
prisoner did this, or why he did that. To do so would occupy
unnecessarily the time and patience of the court. For, surely,
if I establish beyond all doubt, those three great points I have
named--That the prisoner was not a man likely by character,
disposition, and previous conduct, to commit such a crime; secondly,
that he had no possible motive for committing it; but the reverse: and
thirdly, that if the testimony already given be not altogether false,
he could not have committed it, that will be quite sufficient for the
satisfaction of the court.

"The evidence, gentlemen of the jury, divides itself into two
principal parts: that which relates to the death of Mr. Roberts: and
that by which it is attempted to connect his death with some act of
the prisoner. The simple facts regarding the death of the unhappy
victim of some other man's bad passions are clearly proved in
evidence, by the various witnesses you have heard in their examination
and cross-examination. Their testimony has not been shaken in the
least; and I do not wish to shake it. In considering this evidence it
is of the utmost importance to the establishment of truth, that
everything should be precise; and I must therefore impress the facts
upon your minds that you may take them in conjunction with the
evidence I shall myself offer, and from the whole draw the only
deduction which can logically be drawn: that it is impossible the
prisoner could have committed the act with which he is charged. You
have heard the testimony of James Wilson, the footman of Mr. Tracy,
the last person that we know of who spoke with Mr. Roberts, before the
murder; with the exception of Jones, the valet. This man stated at
first, that Mr. Roberts called about five o'clock; but afterwards
admitted, on cross-examination, that it was certainly ten minutes past
five. It might have been more, but I am contented with that. The
witness Jones corroborated the testimony of James Wilson, and fixed
the time of Mr. Roberts's call at ten minutes or a quarter after five.
These statements are not shaken. It was at least ten minutes past five
when the murdered man was at Mr. Tracy's house. He stayed apparently a
very short time there; but we find from Wilson's evidence in answer to
the court, that it would take ten minutes more to go from the house to
the spot where the murder was committed. We will not assume that any
time was lost on the road. It was, therefore, at least twenty minutes
after five before the criminal act was perpetrated. My learned friend
has attempted to fix the period of the murder. I will try to do the
same thing; but somewhat more accurately. The little boy, Timothy
Stanley, in evidence which, from its perspicuity, simplicity, and
truthful straightforwardness, you must all recollect, has shown that,
at half-past five o'clock the murder had been actually committed. I
take the time by Northferry clock to be the real time--at least it
must be assumed to be so for our purposes; and I may as well inform
the jury, here, that I last night sent off an express to Northferry to
ascertain what difference, if any, exists between the clock at Mr.
Tracy's house and that of Northferry church. By this man I shall prove
that there is but one minute difference between the church clock and
that in the hall so often alluded to, although that clock has not been
set for one week, owing to Mr. Tracy's unfortunate absence. But I
shall be in a condition to prove that it was set every day at noon
precisely, during that gentleman's residence at Northferry, and set by
the church clock. Thus it appears by testimony, which has not at all
been shaken, that the murder of Mr. Roberts must have taken place
between twenty minutes and half-an-hour after five; that at ten
minutes past five he was in Mr. Tracy's hall, and at half-past five
was seen murdered at the end of the grounds, the distance between the
two places being, I see by the plan, forty yards less than half-a-mile
in a direct line, and rather more than three quarters of a mile by the
walks. The body was not found till past ten o'clock, or more than four
hours and a half after it was seen by the boy. At this time it was
quite cold and stiff. The surgeon has proved that death was occasioned
by an incised wound on the head, penetrating the brain, of a kind
which might be given by a Dutch hoe, and a Dutch hoe was found on the
ground near the body, with blood and gray hair upon it. There can be
little doubt that this hoe was the instrument by which the murderer
perpetrated his crime. That it was so, struck the prisoner at once, as
you have heard; and moreover that he acknowledged the hoe to be his,
and said that he had left it leaning against one of the pillars of the
little temple over the fish-pond. These are the admitted facts
concerning the murder, of which there can be no doubt.

"We will now turn to the circumstantial evidence, by which it is
attempted to connect the prisoner with the crime. Now my learned
friend has repeated to you an old axiom of law that circumstantial
evidence is often more convincing than direct evidence; and he has
reasoned ably upon that question. Nevertheless, the numerous instances
of awful injustice which have been committed in consequence of giving
too much weight to circumstantial evidence, has shaken the confidence
of many of the wisest and most learned men in the reasoning by which
the axiom is supported, and in the justice of the axiom itself. I need
not call to your mind a sad instance which occurred not many years ago
in France, where an amiable and excellent man, mayor of a great city,
after submitting to the knife of the guillotine, was proved to be
perfectly innocent; and very many such instances are on record; but I
do believe that after the trial which now occupies this court has come
to its conclusion, all thinking men will regard circumstantial
evidence with much greater doubt than they have hitherto done, and
juries will pause ere they take upon themselves the frightful
responsibility of sending a fellow-creature to death while the shadow
of a doubt remains. I say that the result of this trial will show that
too great a dependence on circumstantial evidence may often betray
wise and good men into acts which must burden their consciences for
all their remaining days. I wish to produce this effect. I wish to put
in the very strongest point of view, not only for the present
occasion, but for future instruction, the very fallible nature of
circumstantial evidence; and therefore in this instance I shall deal
with it in a peculiar manner. I will not attempt to struggle with it;
I will not try to shake it; I will not even descend to explain it. It
shall stand in full force, bearing against my client to the very last;
but then I will prove that it is utterly worthless, that it does not
affect him even in the slightest degree; that there is not even a
possibility of his having committed the crime. I will explain not one
of all the circumstances that tell against him; and yet, without
quitting that box, you shall give a verdict of acquittal.

"Nevertheless, it will be necessary to examine the evidence, in order
to extract from it those facts which have a real bearing on the case,
and which fall into the line of defence. The rest I shall leave
intact, without attempting to weaken it in the slightest degree. The
evidence by which it is attempted to connect the prisoner with the
crime, divides itself into three heads. One portion is that which
shows that he was proceeding towards the spot where the dead body was
found, nearly at the time when the murder must have been committed.
The second refers to the traces of the deed left by the murderer, or
supposed to have been left by him--the hoe with which the deed was
done, the steps to and from the haw-haw and in the ditch. The third,
relates to the demeanour and personal appearance of the prisoner after
the murder had been committed. Under the first head we find from the
witness, William Sandes, that he met the prisoner as he was going home
from his work. The prisoner was going down towards the scene of the
tragedy. The witness at first asserted, that it was about five o'clock
when he met the prisoner, very naturally not wishing to make it
appear that he had quitted his work before the proper time. But in
cross-examination we got out of him, that he had on previous occasions
left the garden earlier than he ought to have done, and had been
reprimanded by the prisoner. He also admitted that it was broad
daylight, and might be a quarter before five. Thus the time at which
Sandes met the prisoner was rather more than half-an-hour before the
murder could have been committed. I beg you to mark this fact well,
gentlemen of the jury, for it is important. Then we have the evidence
of the old woman, Humphries. She shows that he came into his cottage
about half-past four, on the day of the murder, and went out again
exactly at five, by a clock which is proved to have been on that
night, from ten minutes to a quarter-of-an-hour too fast, thus
corroborating the statement on cross-examination of the witness,
Sandes. You will recollect, gentlemen of the jury, that on the fifth
of February the sun sets before five o'clock. The witness, Sandes,
says, that when he met the prisoner he does not think the sun was
down; that it was broad daylight. The good woman, Humphries, declares
that the prisoner went to take a look round the grounds before it was
dark, all showing that it must have been considerably before five
o'clock when he went out. Now, the murder could not have been
committed before twenty minutes past five. This is the evidence
tending to show that the prisoner was in the grounds and went towards
the fatal spot some time before the crime was perpetrated. He never
denies, or has denied, that such was the case. He admitted it in
conversation with Mr. Tracy. He said he had been speaking to Miss
Tracy within a very few yards of the place where the body was found.
And here I must remark upon two circumstances well worthy of your
consideration. First: that the counsel for the prosecution have not
thought fit to call Miss Tracy; but threw upon us the burden of so
doing. Now, Acton, the gardener, might have no hesitation in calling
that young lady; but, Mr. Chandos Winslow may have many reasons for
not subjecting one towards whom he entertains high respect--may I not
say affection?--to the torturing cross-examination of an adverse
counsel. Suffice it, gentlemen of the jury, that he refuses to call
her; and, respecting his motives, I have ventured to argue, but not to
insist.--She should have been called for the prosecution. The other
important fact to which I must call your particular attention is this,
that although it is proved the prisoner was in the grounds a short
time before the murder, we have it in evidence that some one else was
in the grounds exactly at the time when the murder must have taken
place. Michael Burwash, has sworn, that some ten minutes or
quarter-of-an-hour after Mr. Roberts went to the place where he met
his death, he saw some person enter the house from that very
direction, walking in a quick and hurried manner; that he passed
through the green-house instead of taking the usual entrance, as if he
desired to avoid observation. Who was it? The witness says it was not
Mr. Tracy, or General Tracy; and certainly not the prisoner at the
bar. I do not wish to throw any imputations; but the fact is proved,
that there was some man, not the prisoner, in the grounds at the very
time the murder must have been committed.

"Now I come to the second head of evidence--the traces of the
murderer's progress. The hoe has been admitted to be the prisoner's by
himself in this court. More may be very safely admitted; namely, that
he carried it out with him in his hand, that he had it out with him
when he met the witness, Sandes, and that he rested it against one of
the pillars while he spoke with Miss Tracy, leaving it there when he
went away. What more natural than to suppose, that the murderer,
seeing it there, snatched it up to effect his criminal design? The
footmarks in the grass, I not only deny to have been the prisoner's,
but I must say, that it is very nearly proved they were not. It is
sworn that there were but two lines, one coming and one going, between
the haw-haw and the spot; and it is admitted by the witness Taylor,
that one of the men who accompanied Mr. Tracy at night went from the
place where the body was found to the haw-haw and back. It is also
shown that the ground was so soft as to receive the impression of any
foot that trod upon it. These steps then could not have been the
prisoner's; but servants, and constable, and all, seem to have made up
their mind that the prisoner was the murderer, and the shoes of no
other person were examined. Now, gentlemen of the jury, I will touch
upon the third head of evidence--the prisoner's appearance and
demeanour after the murder. He returned to his cottage, it is shown,
somewhat after six o'clock, and I shall not in the slightest degree
attempt, as I told you I would not, to lessen the weight of this
evidence, nor even to explain the facts. I am precluded by his most
positive injunctions from doing so. I admit then that he returned in a
state of very considerable agitation; that he was annoyed, harassed,
vexed; that there was blood upon his hands and upon his coat, and I
will give no explanation of these facts. He forbids me to give the
true one; and I will give no other. Were there no means of
establishing his innocence, this refusal of explanation might create a
reasonable doubt in your minds; but that doubt would be far from
justifying you in a verdict of guilty. Any one can conceive a thousand
circumstances which might have produced that agitation, and which
might have covered his hands and stained his coat with blood, but
which the most honourable motives would prevent him from explaining.
The proof must always lie with the other side; the prosecutor is bound
to leave no reasonable doubt in your minds. It is not enough to
produce a doubt of the prisoner's innocence; and therefore it is I say
that though if no means existed of proving the prisoner to be not
guilty, this refusal of explanation might produce a suspicion that he
was guilty, yet that suspicion would be by no means sufficient to
justify a verdict against him.

"But, gentlemen of the jury, I will not be satisfied with this. My
friend must quit that dock without a stain upon his character. It must
be in his case as in that of the famous Lord Cowper, who was tried in
his youth for murder upon evidence much stronger than any which has
been adduced on this occasion, who triumphed over a false accusation,
left the court with honour unsullied, and rose to the very highest
rank in his profession, holding the first official station in the
realm beneath the crown. Nothing will content me but to see my friend
so acquitted; and therefore I will not plead the benefit of a doubt.
Nothing will content him but such an acquittal; and therefore he
forbids me to urge upon the court a fatal flaw which I have discovered
in the indictment. But I can ensure that acquittal; and before I have
done, I will prove, upon evidence unimpeachable, clear, distinct, and
positive, that the prisoner was far distant from the spot at the
moment the crime was committed; that it was, in short, physically
impossible that he could have had any share in it. I will prove it, by
persons above all suspicion of collusion, without motive, without
object of favouring or assisting him. I will show, I say, not alone
that the man round whom such a long chain of circumstantial evidence
has been entwined, did not commit the crime with which he is charged;
but that he could not have committed it; and I will call upon you for
such an immediate and unhesitating verdict as will leave his name and
honour clear of every imputation. Gentlemen of the jury, there is a
joyful task before you, after you have performed a long and arduous
one. Painful, yet mingled with satisfaction, have been the duties
which I have taken upon myself. At first the awful responsibility
overwhelmed me; the anxiety for my client, the apprehension for my
friend, the sense of my own incompetence, the tremendous stake in
peril, seemed too much for my mind; but every step as I have proceeded
has strengthened my confidence and reinvigorated my resolution.
Knowing my friend's innocence, seeing the proofs of it accumulate,
perceiving that the case for the prosecution crumbled away under
cross-examination, and assured that without a word for the defence
there was in reality no case to go to a jury, I felt that my own
weakness could not much affect the result, and that his safely
depended not on such feeble powers as mine. To God and to his country
he has appealed; to God and to his country I leave his fate, certain
that the one will defend, where my voice fails, the other do him
justice, whatever powers be arrayed against him."

The tears rose in his eyes; his voice trembled and almost failed at
the last words; but those last words were as distinctly heard in the
court as the most powerful tones of the adverse counsel; for there was
a dead silence, unbroken by a breath.



CHAPTER XXXIII.


It is very difficult to say whether the change in the practice of our
courts, by which prisoners are allowed counsel for their defence, is a
real advantage to them or not. It is probable that in most cases the
right of reply conceded to the prosecution, and the loss of that
assistance which the judge formerly thought himself bound to afford
the accused person, more than balances the advantage of a practised
defender. Indeed the privilege of reply on the part of the public
prosecutor seems a rank injustice. He brings the charge with all his
materials prepared; he is bound to establish all the facts clearly,
and at once, so as to leave no reasonable doubt. The prisoner replies
by his counsel to an accusation made; and if that reply is
satisfactory to the jury, the trial should end there, with the
summing-up of the evidence, and the exposition of the law by the
judge. Can any equitable motive be shown for granting the accuser the
last word? I do not think it.

The impression made by the speech of the counsel for the defence on
the trial of Chandos Winslow was very great. It carried the jury
completely away with it; and one of them whispered to another, that he
did not think they need hear any more evidence. It seemed to him that
there was no case for the prosecution.

The bar, who regarded it critically, praised it amongst themselves
very much, and took especial notice of the manner in which, as one of
them expressed it, "Sir ---- got lightly over the soft ground." They
were not all sure of Chandos Winslow's innocence; and during the
greater part of the speech, they even doubted whether the learned
counsel would get a verdict, though they generally agreed he ought.
But at the end, when he so boldly declared that he could prove an
unexceptionable alibi, their opinions changed, for they knew he was
not a rash man, or one to risk the whole success of his case by a mode
of defence the slightest shade of suspicion attaching to which, would
strengthen every unfavourable impression regarding his client.

The witnesses for the defence were called as soon as the speech was
concluded; and all the first were, contrary to general custom, those
who could speak to character only. Old servants, old friends of the
family, tenants, and neighbours were examined, and each testified with
zeal and affection that the prisoner was a man much more likely to
save life than to take it. But it was evident that the judge was
impatient for the conclusion of the trial; and the questions put for
the defence were few and pertinent. A private memorandum found amongst
the papers of Mr. Roberts, was then put in and proved to be in his
handwriting by his executor, in which the deceased had thus expressed
himself: "Mem: to ask Mr. Chandos for some formal notification to
respect his rights, and protect them against others in case of need."
A few witnesses then proved the terms of affectionate regard on which
the prisoner had always lived with his father's steward; and then Lord
Overton was called. The judge did not appear to like his evidence
being taken; but the counsel for the defence so shaped his questions,
that they could not be rejected, and the peer, in mild and dignified
terms, very different from his former rude and haughty manner,
acknowledged that he had been the aggressor in the quarrel between
himself and Mr. Winslow; and that in the whole transaction he had
behaved like a gentleman and a man of honour. It required some skill
to hang this testimony on to the cause; but that skill was evinced,
and the evidence received. All this part of the business was got over
very rapidly; but it greatly damaged the case for the prosecution, so
much so, that the judge more than once looked to Sergeant ----, as if
he were inclined to ask whether they need proceed further.

At length "Thomas Muggeridge" was called, and, to the surprise of
Chandos, a man in a plain livery got into the witness-box, and in
answer to the questions propounded to him, deposed as follows:--"I am
servant to the Honourable and Reverend Horace Fleming, Rector of
Northferry. I know the prisoner at the bar by sight. I have once
spoken to him. I spoke to him on the night of the fifth of February
last. He called and inquired for my master about five o'clock. It
might be ten minutes after; for the sun was down. It could not be
more; for it was still quite light. I am quite sure of the man; for I
had seen him in the streets of Northferry before, and knew him to be
Mr. Tracy's head-gardener. I went in and told Mr. Fleming that Mr.
Acton wanted to speak with him; and he told me to show him in. When he
had been with my master about ten minutes in the library, Mr. Fleming
rang, and ordered me to bring lights. The prisoner was then seated on
the opposite side of the table to my master. About five minutes after
that, my master and the prisoner came out together, and walked through
the large rooms which are unfurnished. They had alight with them. My
master carried it. I ran to open the doors, and at the same time I
said to my master that the gipsey woman, Sally Stanley, wanted to
speak to him about her little boy. I had been talking with her at the
outer door. Mr. Fleming said he would see her in a few minutes; and
when I went back to tell her so, she asked me if I knew who that was
talking to my master. I said, 'Oh! quite well;' and she answered, 'No,
you don't! That is the son of the late Sir Harry Winslow.' After my
master and the prisoner had come out of the empty rooms, they went
back into the library and remained there till a quarter to six. The
clock struck the quarter as the prisoner went out. He stopped a minute
or two at the door to say something to Mr. Fleming. He said, 'It is
very unlucky, indeed; but it cannot be helped;' and then he talked a
word or two in a language I do not understand. It sounded like Latin;
but I cannot say. It was not French; for I have heard that talked. I
have not the slightest doubt that the prisoner is the man; I had seen
him, half-a-dozen times before in the streets of Northferry; and I had
every opportunity of seeing him well that night."

The cross-examination then began by the counsel for the prosecution
giving the witness a long exhortation regarding the sanctity of an
oath; he then proceeded as follows:--

Counsel.--"How long have you been in the service of the Rev. Mr.
Fleming?"

Witness.--"Six years, Sir."

Counsel.--"And how long had you been in Northferry when this event
took place?"

Witness.--"A little more than two months."

Counsel.--"Then am I to understand that Mr. Fleming was newly
appointed to the rectory at Northferry?"

Witness.--"He had been there about five months at that time; but I
remained at the vicarage at Sandbourn for more than two months after
he got Northferry."

Counsel.--"Oh! he is a pluralist, is he? Will you swear that it was
not half-past five when the prisoner called?"

Witness.--"Yes, I will; for at half-past five it is quite dark."

"Will you swear it was not twenty-five minutes past?" asked the
counsel.

Witness.--"Yes, Sir, I think I will, quite safely; for, as I told the
other gentleman, though the sun was just down, and it might be a
little grayish, yet there was plenty of light, and I could see across
the street; for I remember wondering what Higgins, the grocer, was
doing with a barrel he was twisting round before his door."

Counsel.--"Now upon your oath, Sir, what time was it really when the
prisoner came?"

Witness.--"As near as I can guess, from five to ten minutes after
five."

Counsel.--"And on what day did you say?"

Witness.--"On the fifth of February."

Counsel.--"Do you happen to recollect some circumstances that took
place at your master's house on the morning of the first of that
month?"

Witness, rubbing his head.--"Not quite rightly, Sir. What
circumstances do you mean? I don't remember what day the first was."

Counsel.--"Then how do you happen to remember so accurately all that
took place upon the fifth?"

Witness, with a laugh.--"Oh, that is easily told. We came back to
Sandbourn on the sixth, and I had a precious quantity of packing up to
do on the fifth; so I recollect all about that day, well enough."

Counsel.--"Now as to the time when the prisoner went away, are you
quite sure that it was not half-past five that struck?"

"Quite, Sir," answered the witness; "I heard the half-hour go while I
was talking with the gipsey woman, and the quarter to six just as my
master and the prisoner were walking from the library to the
hall-door, which I had got open in my hand. I counted three-quarters."

"You can't struggle against that," growled the judge; and the witness
was suffered to go down.

"The honourable and reverend Horace Fleming," was then called, and
entered the witness-box with a calm, firm step, and a look of placid
dignity. "I know the prisoner in the dock," he said, in answer to the
counsel's questions. "I never spoke with him but once, but have seen
him several times in the grounds of Mr. Tracy, of Northferry. I always
believed his real name to be Acton, till the night of the fifth of
February, when I was told by my servant that he was the son of the
late Sir Harry Winslow. I recollect all the events of that night,
perfectly. I went into my library a little before five o'clock, to
select some sermons, as I was coming over to my vicarage at Sandbourn
on the following day; and about ten minutes after, my servant informed
me that Mr. Tracy's head-gardener wanted to speak to me. He was shown
into the library by my orders, and I asked him to sit down. I had
heard from Mr. Tracy that he was a man of extraordinary information
for his station in life; and it did not therefore surprise me to find
him mingle very appositely quotations in Latin and Greek with his
conversation. At the same time, I will own, both his manner and the
request he came to make, seemed to me very strange. He was a good deal
excited; and, after apologizing in a hurried manner for taking a
liberty, he said, a friend of his--indeed, a relation--had been left,
by Sir Harry Winslow, all the books and a great number of the pictures
at Winslow Abbey; together with the large book cases, and a great deal
of other furniture. Sir William Winslow, he said, was behaving very
ill about the whole business; and his friend was anxious to have the
various articles removed from Winslow Abbey at once, but had no place
to put them in. He then went on to explain to me, that having heard I
had several large apartments unfurnished in the rectory, he thought I
might be induced to give these articles house-room for a few weeks,
till they could be otherwise disposed of. I replied, that the rooms
though large for a rectory, were low pitched and difficult of access,
so that it would be impossible to place tall bookcases in them,
whatever inclination I might have to render the gentleman he mentioned
any service. We went to look at the rooms, and he acknowledged that
what he had proposed could not be done. He stayed some little time
afterwards, conversing on various subjects; and I found him a man of
very extensive information, which decidedly induced me to believe that
his original station in life was not that which he assumed. He spoke
with considerable acerbity of Sir William Winslow; and although he
affected a certain degree of roughness of manner, probably to
harmonize with his assumed character, it was quite evident to me that
he had received the education of a gentleman. I did suspect him to be
Mr. Winslow before our conversation was at an end; so much so, indeed,
that I asked him if he knew Sir William Winslow was at Northferry
House. He replied, Yes; but he should keep out of his way. He left me
just as the clock was striking a quarter to six. At the door, I
expressed my sorrow that I could not take care of the valuable things
he seemed to consider in danger; and he replied, 'It is very
unfortunate, indeed; but it cannot be helped: Dominus providebit.'"

Counsel.--"You say his manner was a good deal excited; pray, what do
you mean by that expression?"

Witness.--"I mean, hurried, hasty, impatient, agitated. Once he fell
into a reverie, which lasted two or three minutes."

Counsel.--"Will you have the goodness to state, Mr. Fleming, with as
much precision as possible, at what hour the prisoner visited you?"

"Silence!" cried the judge, in a voice of thunder. "What is all that
noise at the door?"

"A man will force his way in, my lord;" said one of the officers, from
the other end of the court; "and there is not a bit of room."

"Take him into custody," cried the judge.

"He says, he wishes to give evidence for the prisoner, my lord,"
shouted the officer; the noise and confusion still continuing.

"He will be called if he is wanted," said the judge. "Take him into
custody, if he continues disorderly."

The volunteer witness apparently did so; for there was a momentary
scuffle at the door, and then some one was removed by the officers.

The question of the counsel was then repeated to Mr. Fleming; and he
replied, "To a minute I cannot exactly say; but it must have been
somewhere between five and a quarter past; for the clock upon my
library table struck the quarter while he was sitting with me."

Counsel.--"Is that clock very accurate?"

Witness.--"It is set every day by that of the church; which is, I
believe, a very good clock."

Counsel.--"Then it was before a quarter to five that he called at your
door? How long does it take you generally to walk from the Rectory to
Northferry House?"

Witness.--"From a quarter of an hour to twenty minutes by the fields;
it would take about half-an-hour by the road."

"And you are quite certain that the prisoner left you at a quarter to
six--not before?" said the counsel.

Witness.--"No, rather after; for the clock struck when we were in the
passage, and I spoke to him for a short time at the door."

Counsel.--"Then, are you prepared to swear that the prisoner is the
man who was with you on that night, as you have described?"

Mr. Fleming turned round his head and gazed for a moment or two at
Chandos Winslow, after which he replied, in a firm, clear voice, "I
am. He is dressed very differently on the present occasion; but I have
not the slightest doubt."

Judge.--"I will put it to the counsel for the prosecution whether they
can proceed any further after the evidence they have heard?"

"My lord, I have done," said the counsel for the prosecution. "I am
not in the least prepared to invalidate the testimony of the reverend
gentleman. His character is above reproach; and I have nothing more to
say."

"Gentlemen of the jury," said the judge, "you have heard the evidence;
but I will sum up, if you think fit."

"There is not the slightest occasion, my lord," said the foreman of
the jury. "It would be only wasting your lordship's time, for we are
all of one mind, and have been so for the last half-hour. We therefore
beg at once to return a verdict of 'Not guilty.'"

Loud acclamations followed the verdict which were with difficulty
repressed; but it was remarked that the face of the accused did not
express the slightest pleasure, and that Sir ---- leaned his arms upon
the table and covered his eyes with his hands, as if overpowered by
deep emotion, or exhausted by his exertions. He was in very bad health
at the time; but not a member of the bar had ever seen him give way
before, and there was much marvelling. The judge addressed a few words
to the late prisoner, declaring that he quitted the court with his
honour unimpaired, and without a stain upon his name; but Chandos
Winslow only bowed with a grave and stately air, and seemed in no way
to participate in the satisfaction which his acquittal had produced in
the court.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


"Sir ---- will be with you in ten minutes, Sir," said the landlord of
the great inn, the Green Dragon, at S----, addressing the liberated
prisoner. "He has been sent for by the judges. Dinner was ordered at
six; but a message came to put it off for half-an-hour."

Chandos bowed his head, and the landlord withdrew, leaving him alone
in the sitting-room of the great barrister, who, as soon as the trial
was over, had sent him a note, begging him to dine with him. He took
up a book. It was a volume of celebrated trials. A page was turned
down at that of Mr. Cowper, afterwards Lord Cowper, for murder; and
although we have seen the very sparing use made of it by the counsel,
every page was marked with thick marginal notes in pencil, evidently
freshly written. Chandos had not much time allowed him to read; for a
minute or two after he had opened the work he heard the voice of his
little solicitor, inquiring with quick reiteration, "Where is he?
where is Mr. Winslow? What number did you say?" and in another moment
he was in the room.

"My dear Sir," said the solicitor, shaking him warmly by the hand, "I
congratulate you a thousand times upon the result of the trial. It was
a most splendid defence--magnificent--unequalled,--our learned friend
out-did himself. Did you mark how he jumped over all the difficulties?
how lightly he trod upon the dangerous ground? Really it was a treat
to hear him--the whole bar rings with it. It is really worth
undergoing a trial for such a defence."

"It is at least some compensation for the pain of one, to find that I
have such a friend," replied Chandos. "I am waiting for him now with a
heart full of gratitude."

"He may be a little while first," said the solicitor, with a very
cunning look, "he's about that little awkward affair; but it can make
no difference now--verdict given. In the meantime, I have just come to
say a word or two upon business, my dear Sir. You were considerate
enough to give me a power of attorney, and also to execute a deed in
case of the worst, which, when you have a moment's leisure, must all
be rearranged, as the best, and not the worst has happened. But in the
meantime I have taken the most prompt measures to secure the
furniture, books, statues, pictures, and other chattels, left you
under your late worthy father's will. Now perhaps, as the fees and
other expenses are heavy--perhaps you would--as I understand you are
going to London directly--give me some little security in the shape of
a lien upon said property for the amount of costs. I have got a small
document here merely a few words, which will answer all the purposes,
if you will look it over."

"Certainly," answered Chandos Winslow, taking the paper out of his
hand. "But you will understand, my good Sir, that I intend to pay
these costs from other resources; and therefore you must assure me
that you will not use this paper, which, I see, gives you power to
sell, unless I fail in discharging your account within a reasonable
time."

"Undoubtedly, undoubtedly," cried the lawyer, "it is merely as a
security--nothing more, I can assure you--all shall be taken care of,
and held sacred as the great seal."

"An inventory of all these effects," continued Chandos, "has been
already made by a friend of mine; and as it seems fair enough that you
should have some means of paying yourself, I will sign the paper upon
the understanding I have mentioned."

"Ah--oh--yes; here are pen and ink," said the solicitor: and the paper
was signed.

"I thank you most sincerely, my dear Sir," said Chandos Winslow, "for
the interest you have taken, and the skill you have displayed in this
sad affair. But let me inquire what you meant just now? You spoke as
if my friend, Sir ----, was absent on business of mine, and as if I
knew what that business is. Will you have the goodness to explain?"

"Oh, it is about that fellow who is so unfortunately like you," said
the lawyer, "the man whom Mr. Fleming and his servant must have
mistaken for you. He came to the door of the court just at the end,
and wanted to force his way in--did you not hear all the hubbub? But
Dickins, the tipstaff, is a capital fellow; and as soon as he had got
authority, he took him into custody, and walked him off. If he had got
in, he would have spoiled the whole defence, and played the devil."

Chandos Winslow sunk down into his chair in horror and mortification.
"And is it possible," he exclaimed, "that the life of an innocent man
can depend upon a mere mistake of one person for another, and that in
an English court of justice too?"

"Quite possible, my dear Sir," replied the little lawyer, "when the
party accused will not explain suspicious circumstances. I am
perfectly confident of your innocence--always have been--all those who
are well acquainted with you are the same; and it seems that our
leader knows it from the facts that you have stated to him. Indeed, it
was that carried him through; for if he had not been perfectly sure, I
do not think even he could have made such a defence. But I can tell
you, Mr. Winslow, that if that worthy had got into court when he
tried, you'd have had a verdict of 'guilty' against you; unless,
indeed, Sir ---- had some back card to play: which I think he
had--always did think he had--and that kept my courage up. Perhaps the
real story would have popped out, if the alibi had failed. However,
there is no use thinking of these things now. We've got a verdict:
all's safe; and not all the judges in England can overset it."

"But there is something more to an honest man than merely getting a
verdict," said Chandos, gravely. "When it is known how the verdict has
been obtained, what will men think of me? How can I be satisfied with
such an acquittal, obtained by a gross and extraordinary error."

"Oh! in courts of justice, my dear Sir, it is very customary to combat
error by error. You were likely to be hanged by one fallacious train
of evidence: we have saved you by another. Error for error, that's
all--rather odd, but very satisfactory."

"By no means satisfactory to me," replied Chandos Winslow.

The little lawyer grinned as if a merry reply was rising to his lips;
for to win the cause was all he cared for; and the means seemed to him
of very little consequence. But his answer was cut short by the
entrance of the great barrister, who shook the late prisoner warmly by
the hand, without, however, venturing to congratulate him upon the
result of the trial. The little solicitor took his leave; and as soon
as he was gone Sir ---- turned kindly to his friend, and, taking him
by the hand, he said, "I understand all that you feel, my dear
Winslow; but put your mind at ease. No one will doubt your innocence,
although we were obliged to take advantage of a good man's mistake to
gain a verdict from the jury."

"It is bitterly mortifying to me," answered Chandos Winslow; "to feel
that I have been acquitted solely by an error."

"What could be done?" answered the barrister. "You prohibited me from
using the only legitimate means of defence; and, although the
demolition of a great part of the evidence against you by my young
friend B----'s cross-examination, taken with the fact of another
person having been coming from the grounds at the very time of the
murder, might have raised a doubt in the minds of the jury, and you
might have obtained a verdict in your favour after long hesitation;
yet the suspicion which would then have attached to you, would have
been very strong, and very general. As it is, no doubt will rest with
any one, but the two or three who may have seen your friend Lockwood,
and remarked the extraordinary likeness between you."

"And yet that, my dear friend," replied Chandos, "will be enough to
embitter the whole of the rest of my life."

"Do not suffer it to do so," answered his friend; "for the judge who
tried the case is quite convinced of your innocence: and I must now
tell you, though it may spoil your dinner, that suspicion has lighted
on the right person."

"How so?" answered Chandos, starting up. "I trust you have not
mentioned any of the facts."

"They are all still under the seal of confession," replied the
barrister, with a smile; "but the circumstances are these. A person by
the name of Lockwood, who, it seems, is your half-brother, was taken
into custody for creating a disturbance at the door of the court. He
mentioned some circumstances to the constables, which were reported to
the judge, who saw him in his room after the rising of the court. The
great likeness instantly struck his lordship. He made inquiries which
brought out the whole story of Lockwood's visit to Mr. Fleming. I was
immediately sent for, and had to submit to a veiled and courteous
reproach for the course I had thought fit to pursue. For a moment
Lucifer had nearly prevailed to make me treat his lordship somewhat
cavalierly; for the trial was over, and he had nothing to say to it;
but thinking better of the matter, I showed him that it was impossible
for me to refuse evidence in your favour voluntarily tendered; and, at
the same time, I gave him my word of honour, that I would not have
pursued the course I did pursue, unless I had the most positive
certainty of your innocence, although circumstances which I was not
permitted to mention, prevented me from proving the real facts before
the jury. His lordship is very keen and quick in his combinations: he
had Lockwood in again while I was there, and asked him two or three
questions, which elicited the following facts: that your brother and
Mr. Roberts were by no means upon good terms, and that several sharp
discussions had taken place between them;--that Mr. Roberts had
discovered, among some papers at Winslow Abbey, a memorandum in your
father's handwriting, to the effect that a will of a much more recent
date than the one proved had been given into your brother's hands some
time before Sir Harry's death; that Roberts knew the particulars of
that will, which were very favourable to yourself; and that he had
gone over from Winslow Abbey to Northferry House, in order to
communicate the facts to you. This, of course, was sufficient to show
that you could have no earthly motive for taking the poor man's life;
but when Lockwood went on to state, that Sir William at the very time
of the murder was at Northferry House, his lordship immediately
connected that fact with the hasty return of some one from the grounds
through the green-house, and some strange circumstances which have got
abroad regarding your brother's marriage with Miss Tracy--with Miss
Emily Tracy, I mean," he added, seeing Chandos Winslow's face change
as he spoke.

"My brother's marriage with Miss Tracy!" exclaimed the latter; "I
never heard of it."

"Oh, yes," continued the barrister, "they were married--or half
married; for I believe the lady fainted in the midst of the ceremony;
and a letter having been suddenly given to your brother, he left his
bride in the church and went abroad. All these circumstances made out
a case of suspicion in the judge's mind against Sir William, which he
strove cunningly enough to confirm by putting some dexterous questions
to me. I was as silent as the dead; and after some further
conversation he dismissed your friend Lockwood with a reprimand.
Nevertheless, I feel sure his lordship will hold some communication
with the magistrates on the subject; but do not believe they will be
able to prove anything against your brother without your evidence."

"Which they will never have," replied Chandos Winslow.

"But which they ought to have," replied the barrister, shaking his
head; "and now my good friend, I must run away, to cleanse my face and
hands from the filth of courts. I have invited two or three of the bar
to meet you. After dinner, at half-past nine, and at a quarter-past
ten, I have two consultations. At eleven I am off for London; and if
you will take a place in my carriage, I will give you a little advice
by the way; for, from Lockwood's information, I think you would have a
good case for stopping the sale of Winslow Abbey."

"I must go over to Northferry first," replied Chandos; "but I will see
you when I come to town. I am afraid, however, it is too late to stop
the sale."

"Oh dear, no," replied his friend; "the only thing that is too late is
my toilet; for I hear the voice of our learned antagonist, inquiring
for my rooms;" and, running through the neighbouring door, he made his
escape just as Sergeant ---- was announced.

It was with no very pleasant feelings, it must be confessed, that
Chandos Winslow found himself tête-à-tête with a man who had moved
heaven and earth to hang him, not more than four or five hours before.
But whatever notion he had previously formed of the worthy sergeant's
demeanour in private life, from the part he had borne in the trial, it
was very speedily dissipated after he entered unwigged and ungowned.
The sergeant shook him heartily by the hand, congratulated him with a
very joyous laugh, upon the result of the trial, and talked of the
whole affair in which a fellow-creature's life had been at stake, as
if it had been a mere game at cards, where Sir ---- had held most
trumps, and won the rubber. Never was there a more jovial companion;
and when they sat down to dinner, after several other barristers had
arrived, the sergeant laughed and talked and cracked his jokes, and
drank his champagne, till one of the uninitiated might have thought a
consultation with him, after the meal, an expedient somewhat
dangerous.

The conversation during dinner principally turned upon snipe-shooting.
There was very little law; and the "feast of reason and the flow of
soul" did not afford the banquet the lawyers seemed most to delight
in. Habit is very strong in its power over the body; but, I think,
even stronger with the mind. The most vehement rivalries, the most
mournful ceremonies, the most tragic scenes, aye, even the most fatal
events lose their great interest when they become habitual. The
statesman, the undertaker, the physician, the soldier can bear witness
to it, as they feast after the fierce debate, the solemn funeral, the
painful death-bed, or the battle-field. Nothing on earth ever makes
twice the same impression. How those lawyers laughed and talked,
though two trials had taken place since that of Chandos Winslow had
terminated, and a woman had been condemned to death, a man had been
sent to expiate one half of a criminal life by labouring during the
rest in chains and exile!

Chandos felt benumbed by the heavy weight of the past, and not cheered
by the light emptiness of the present; so that he was glad when dinner
was over, and coffee drunk. The men of law betook themselves to
earnest consultations, reinvigorated by the temporary repose; for in
reality and truth, during that seeming revel, the giant minds had but
been sleeping. It was rest that they took: and happy are they who are
enabled to cast off the burden of heavy thought, the moment that it is
no longer necessary to bear it.

Chandos took leave of his friend for the time, and ordered a chaise
for Northferry; but while it was in preparation he issued forth to
inquire in the town for Lockwood. His search was vain, however. He
found out the place where his half-brother had dined, after being
discharged from custody by the judge's order; and he learned at the
prison that he had been there to inquire after him; but nothing more
could he discover, and the demeanour of the people of whom he inquired
was not pleasant. They neither said nor did indeed anything that was
uncivil; but there was an instant look of intelligence wherever he
presented himself, which said, as plainly as a look can speak, "There
is the man who was tried for murder!" It was all very painful; and he
returned to the inn, feeling himself a marked man for the rest of
life.

It was a very painful feeling: it must ever be so; to know that his
name would never be mentioned without suspicion--that wherever he
appeared the tale would be told--the past spoken of. He fancied he saw
the shrugged shoulder, the significant smile, the doubtful look--that
he heard the poisonous insinuation, the affected tone of candour, and
the half-veiled accusation. On his name there was a stain, in his
reputation a vulnerable point: every enemy could strike him
there--every false friend, every jealous rival could wound him, either
with the bold broad charge, or the keen and bitter sneer. He had been
tried for murder! It was a terrible fate; but it was irrevocable. The
brand, he thought, was upon him which no Lethe can wash out.



CHAPTER XXXV.


The chaise rolled on rapidly in the darkness of the night. Chandos was
fatigued--exhausted--but he slept not. Weariness of mind often
produces the same effect as overfatigue of body, and refuses that rest
which is needful for its cure. His thoughts, too, were very busy. What
was next to be done? What was the course he was to pursue in life? A
new chain was upon him, a fresh obstacle was in his way. He had stood
in the felon's dock accused of the highest crime known to the law.
What an impediment was that to all advancement! In what profession
would it not prove a barrier almost insuperable? And Rose Tracy, what
would be the effect upon her? He would not believe that it would
change her; but yet, though she might still love, though that
consolation might be left him, how could he expect that her father
would either listen to his suit, or permit his daughter to give even
hope to a man marked out by such a record as that which stood against
his name? Even if he did, what chance, what prospect was there of his
ever being in a position to claim her hand?

On such subjects rolled his thoughts, one following another,
innumerable, like the waves of an overflowing sea, while mile after
mile of the way went by. The night was dark and warm; one of those
dull, sultry spring nights, when the clouds seem to wrap the whole
earth in a dull, damp pall, shutting out the breath of heaven. The
windows were all down, and Chandos gazed forth upon the darkness,
finding something therein congenial to the heavy obscurity of his own
fate, offering nothing to interrupt the gloomy current of his
thoughts, yet tranquillizing them with a solemn stillness.

"Mr. Tracy I must see," he thought; "for we have business to settle:
and Rose I will endeavour to see, that I may know, or at least guess
at her feelings. But I will not try to bind her to anything. It would
be cruel--ungenerous. No, no; my fate must be cleared of these dark
clouds, before I dare ask her to walk forth under the same sky as
myself."

And then he thought of leaving her--perhaps, of losing her--of never
seeing that fair face, that sweet smile again--of hearing that she was
united to another. And his heart was very bitter.

On, on, rolled the chaise, as quick as the post-boy could induce the
horses to go. It was a long stage, a dark night, and a weary way back.
He wished it was over, and his boots off. They passed through
Milltown, and rattled over Longheath, then down they went into stony
Langburn, and then slowly up the hill again. When they got to the top,
the horses were once more put into a brisk pace, and away they went
over the downs, with darkness all around them, and the road hardly
distinguishable from the turf. But still the post-boy kept upon his
way, knowing the ground by habit, in the night as well as in the day.
At length they went rapidly down the hill near the bottom of which
stands the thirteenth milestone from S----, and just as the chaise
crossed the little rivulet which winds on through the valley, Chandos
felt a sudden jerk, and then a depression of the vehicle. A grating
sound followed, while the horses pulled on for a yard or two, and then
the chaise stopped. The post-boy got down and poked his head under the
carriage, swore a little, and approaching the door, told the traveller
that the axle was broken.

"That is bad news, indeed," said Chandos Winslow. "How far are we from
an inn?"

"About three miles, Sir," replied the man; "but if you just go back to
the stone, and take the path to the right, it will save you half-a-mile.
I must get the horses out, and leave the shay here; but I'll put your
portmanteau on the off horse, and get it up that way."

"But can I miss the road?" asked Chandos. "It is long since I was in
this part of the country."

"Lord bless you, Sir; you can't miss it, no how," rejoined the man;
"it is as straight as a line. You just go by the old, tumble-down
mill, and then half-a-mile further you come to the church, and then--"

"I know, I know," answered the young gentleman; "I recollect it now;"
and he walked away, turning back for a moment to tell the driver to
order him a fresh chaise for Northferry, if he arrived first at the
inn.

The little path on which he had been directed rose gently from the
place where the milestone stood, to surmount the shoulder of the high
range of hills over which they had been passing for the last two
miles; and it was plainly marked out by the white, chalky staff of
which it was composed, from the dark hue of the short turf upon the
downs. After Chandos had gone on for about the distance of a mile,
there seemed to be a glimmering amongst the clouds to the east, and
the objects around became more distinct. The moon was rising. Quarter
of a mile further, he caught sight of a mill, which he now remembered
well; for it had often served him as a sort of landmark in his youth,
and was connected with memories both very pleasant and very painful.
It lay upon his right hand as he went, and he knew that, from the high
point on which it had been placed, to catch all the winds, Elmsly, one
of his father's seats, was just seven miles distant by the hill paths,
and Winslow Abbey, just eleven on the other side; though the distance
between them by the roads was twenty-four.

He had not seen that mill, however, for many years; for unpleasant
associations had attached themselves to it of late, and overbalanced
the pleasant recollections of youth. As he now gazed on it, walking
on, the sight, as it stood out from the sky, which was of a pale gray,
with the moon's light amongst the clouds, did not cheer him; and the
long, thin arms of the rotting sails called back to his mind the
description which Lockwood had given of it.

From the point where the mill was passed by the path, the latter
descended towards the little town where Chandos expected to get
horses; but ere it reached that bourne, the road he was following had
a labyrinth of lanes and hedges to go through. Before it came to that
more cultivated part, however, it ran some way along at the bottom of
the bare hills amongst some green pasture-ground with the downs on the
right and the hedgerows on the left. Just in the midst on this track
stood a little detached church, called St. Mildred's, with a tall
conical spire, somewhat dilapidated, and a little churchyard, within
a ruined stone-wall. Though the faint moon through the veil of cloud
did not afford much light below the edge of the hill, yet the spot
where the church stood was marked out by its spire rising over
everything else around, and by the numerous black yew-trees in its
garden of graves. Chandos saw it some time before he reached it, and
the sight of it too was sad to him. Yet when he was opposite the rude
gate; with its cross-beam over-head, he stopped to gaze at the old
church and its dark funeral trees; and that sensation which sometimes
comes salutary over us, of the nothingness of human joys and sorrows,
stole upon him as he asked himself, where were the hands that raised
the building--where those who planted the trees--where the many
generations that had passed since the one arose, the others sprang up.
As he paused--it was but an instant--he thought he heard a low moan,
as of some one in distress. It was repeated, and came from the
churchyard; and, opening the gate, he went in. The moans led him on
nearly to the back of the church, which stood detached, with no other
building near; but presently they ceased, and he looked around over
the waves of graves, and their little head-stones, without seeing any
one. He felt certain that the sounds had proceeded from a spot not far
distant; and, raising his voice, he asked, "Is any one there? Does any
one want help?"

There was no answer; and, after stopping for a moment, Chandos walked
a step or two further; and then, looking a little to the left, he
thought he saw something like a human form stretched out upon one of
the little grassy mounds. He approached quietly, and looked down upon
it, perceiving that he had not deceived himself. It was the form of a
woman, lying with her face downwards upon a grave evidently not newly
made. She was living, for her breath came thick, and laden with sobs;
and Chandos asked in a kindly tone, "What is the matter, my good
woman? Can I do anything to assist you?"

At the sound of his voice, the woman started up, exclaiming,
"You!--You here? Oh, fiend!"--But then she suddenly stopped, gazed at
his tall figure in the dim light, and then added, "Ah! is it you, Sir?
I did not know you: I thought it was another." And she sat herself
down upon the adjoining grave, and covered her eyes with her hands.

"Surely I know your voice," said Chandos. "Are you not the gipsey
woman, Sally Stanley, the little boy's mother?"

"You know my voice better than I know yours, it seems," replied the
woman; "for yours deceived me."

"But what are you doing here, my poor woman?" inquired Chandos. "You
seem in great distress, on some account. Come, leave this place; it
can do no good to you, or any one, to remain weeping over a grave at
midnight."

"Every year of my life, at this day, and this hour, Chandos Winslow,"
replied the woman, "I come here to weep and pray over those I
murdered."

"Murdered!" exclaimed her companion. "But it is nonsense, my good
woman; your brain is wandering."

"I know it is," answered Sally Stanley; "I need no one to tell me
that. It does wander often, and sometimes long; but on this night it
wanders always. I said 'murdered,' did I not? Well, I said true. I did
murder him; but not as your brother murdered Roberts, the steward,
with one blow, that ended at once all pain and resistance--slowly,
slowly, I murdered him--by grief, and shame, and care, and despair;
aye, and want too had its share at last."

"Good God! then who are you?" demanded Chandos Winslow.

"Ask me no questions," answered the woman. "Ever since those days a
fire comes into my brain, from time to time, that nothing will put out
till it burns out of itself; and I see more than other people, know
more--I see the dead, alive; and I behold the unborn deeds before they
are committed; and the hand of God is upon me. Ever on this night--the
night when the old man died of sorrow, I am at the worst; for then it
is that my heart is given up to the hell of its own making, and I come
here to cool my brain and my bosom upon the green grass of his grave.
Disturb me not; but go, and leave me. I can have no help of man."

"Nay, poor thing!" said Chandos Winslow, "I cannot, in truth, leave
you in such sorrow and in such a place, without trying to give you
some consolation. You have said you come here to pray. Do you not know
then, that, whatever be your offences, there is pardon and comfort for
all who pray in faith and with repentance?"

"Aye; but we must all bear our punishment, nevertheless," replied the
woman. "Do not try to console me, young man. If you would needs stay,
(and it is better that you should, for I have wanted much to see you,
and have much to say to you,) sit down on the church step there for a
while, till this hour is past, and I will tell you things you want to
hear. But do not try to console me. God may give me consolation at his
own time. Man can never."

Chandos was eager to get to his journey's end; but yet he felt real
compassion for the poor woman, and a strong reluctance to leave her
there alone. He thought that if he remained for a while, and humoured
her sorrow, she might be the sooner induced to quit the spot; and he
determined to sit down on the church steps, as she had said, and wait
the result. Such as I have said were his strongest motives for
remaining; but at the same time a doubt, a suspicion of the truth, to
which he would hardly give a moment's attention, crossed his mind; and
then her strange words regarding his brother and the steward awakened
still stronger curiosity, and made him almost believe that there had
been other witnesses, besides himself, to the crime for which he had
so lately been tried.

"Well, I will wait, then," he said; and, retiring from the spot, he
seated himself at a distance, and gave himself up to thought. There is
nought so variable as the influence of thought upon our appreciation
of the passing of time. Sometimes it seems to extend the minutes into
hours, the hours into months and years. Sometimes thought seems to
swallow up time, and leave nought in existence but itself. The latter
was more the case with Chandos Winslow than the former. The church
clock struck one shortly after he sat down. It struck two before he
fancied that the hand had half paced round the dial, and a minute or
two after the woman was by his side.

"You have waited patiently," she said, "and I will try and repay you.
I longed to see you as soon as I heard that it was all done, and you
were free. I owe you much; but you owe the gipsey woman something,
Chandos Winslow; for, had it not been for me, they would have found
you guilty."

"Indeed!" said the young gentleman; "but how is that, Sally Stanley?"

"Did not the parson bear witness that you had been with him that
night?--aye, and his servant too?" she asked. "Well, I found out that
they had mistaken Lockwood for you, and had mistaken me in what I told
them; and I went over to Sandbourne, and first told the good young man
of what they accused you, and that he ought to go and give evidence at
the trial. He was for setting out directly; but I let him know that
the inquest was over, and that he could do no good till the trial, and
bade him keep himself quiet till then. Lockwood would have spoiled it
all," she added, in a rambling manner; "but I took care of Lockwood
too, and kept him close till it was too late for him to do any harm.
He had nearly done it though, they tell me. He is a harsh man,
Lockwood."

"But he has a good, kind heart," replied Chandos.

"He does not mind treading on other people's hearts," she answered,
leaning her head upon her hand, and seating herself upon one of the
lower steps. "But whither are you going now, Sir? This is not the road
to London."

"I am going to Northferry, Sally," replied Chandos. "I must see Mr.
Tracy, and your poor little boy. The dear child gave his evidence
nobly; but I find Mrs. Humphreys took him away out of the town as soon
as the trial was over."

"Aye, he little knew whom he was giving evidence against," said the
woman, in a wild way; "but they tell me he behaved well."

"You seem to have got intelligence of everything very soon," said
Chandos.

"Sooner than anybody else," answered Sally Stanley; "we always do. You
Englishmen may try what you like--coaches, and railroads, and
telegraphs; but the gipsies will always have the news before you.
There were many of our people there, and I soon had the tidings. But
what do you want at Northferry? The boy is there, but he will do well
enough without you; and as to Mr. Tracy, you will not find him. He is
far enough away with all his. Have you not heard all that has
happened?"

"No," answered Chandos; "I thought he was there. Has he gone to
London?"

"They have taken him to London," answered the woman; "but I will try
and tell you all about it, if my brain will let me. You know that he
ruined himself with buying what are called shares; and that, to save
himself from the first shock, he sold his child--his Lilly, as he used
to call her--to a murderer--a murderer of old men. He thought, that by
selling the best of his shares he would be able to stave off the rest
of the sums he owed; and that the Northferry property would, at all
events, be saved for his own daughter, as it would become her
husband's--the murderer's. I told her how it would be long before.
Then the other girl, I suppose, was to be provided for by the old
General.--I only tell you what the people say. Well, let me see, where
was I? All the shares were to be sold; but the shares could not be
found; for a lawyer-man--a rogue, called Scriptolemus Bond, had run
away and carried them all with him. So Mr. Tracy was arrested, you
see, and taken to London; and his brother and the two girls went up
the morning after."

"Good Heaven! did he really trust that man?" cried Chandos. "His
looks, his words, almost his gestures spoke him a charlatan. I heard
him boast he had a commission to buy shares for Mr. Tracy; but I
doubted the very fact, because he said it; and never believed that he
could be trusted to a large amount by a man not wanting in good
sense."

"Everyman is a fool in some points, and every woman a fool in one,"
answered Sally Stanley. "But I have nothing to do with his folly or
his wisdom.--What is it to me? However, he wanted to make his riches
more; and then every man goes mad. He trusted a knave, and the knave
ran off with the plunder. So Mr. Tracy is in prison, or something like
it, and the knave is free."

"This is sad--this is very sad," said Chandos. "Is there no trace of
this villain, who has brought a kind and generous family from
affluence to beggary?"

"Oh! he will go at large like other villains," replied the woman. "The
world is full of them, and they sit in high places. It is very strange
that all men take so much interest, and feel so much compassion for a
rich man that falls into poverty; while a world more misery may come
upon a humble household without drawing a tear beyond the four walls
of their own cottage."

"There is some truth in what you say," replied her companion,
thoughtfully; "but yet, the fall from high to low is deeper than from
low to lower: the contrast more painful. I should think, too, that you
would much regret this misfortune to Mr. Tracy's family, as thousands
of others, in a far inferior position to himself, in point of fortune,
will mourn over it. Can you tell me a family who were more kind to all
around them? Can you tell me a rich man whose wealth was more
liberally shared with the poor and needy? Was any man suffered to want
in his neighbourhood, if Mr. Tracy or his daughters could relieve him?
Did any child lack education in his neighbourhood from the parents'
poverty? Was he harsh even to those for whom the laws are harsh? Even
your own child: did not these two young ladies, who now, perhaps, are
weeping over their own and their father's ruin, show themselves kind,
and tender, and generous to him?"

"I am wrong, I am wrong, Chandos Winslow," cried the woman; "but
something makes me bitter this night. I am not myself, young man, I
tell you. You must come and speak with me another day, and perhaps I
can do something. The man you speak of is a good man, and should be
saved. Let us try to save him."

"But how can that be done?" asked Chandos, sadly. "He is already
ruined, it would seem."

"Oh, no; no one is ruined who has not broken a father's heart, and
laid him in the grave," replied Sally Stanley: "that is ruin! that is
ruin! It is ruin here--and here;" and she laid her hand upon her brow,
and upon her heart. "But you will come and see me, and talk to me
again, and see what can be done to save him."

"Why, what can you do in a matter like this?" asked her young
companion.

"Did I not help to save your life?" she demanded, quickly. "I may do
something in this too--come back and I will tell you more. I must have
time to think. To-night I have no thoughts. Will you come?"

"But where shall I find you, and when?" asked Chandos. "Your abode, I
fancy, is always varying; and I might seek you over the whole country
without discovering you."

"Come in a fortnight to the place where we met three months ago, when
you were going on a scheme that all the wise ones and the great ones
would have thought madness," was the woman's reply. "You recollect the
place in the lanes above Northferry: come there. I knew not at that
time what drove you out of that fine house at Elmsly, and made you put
on a gardener's coat, and take service like a hireling. I thought it
was the Jacob and Laban story; and that you were going to serve for a
fair wife; but I know more now. And a sweet, good girl she is, too.
Her gay heart will be dull enough now, I dare say, poor thing; but you
must go and comfort her."

"Where am I to find her? is the question," answered Chandos. "But,
doubtless, I shall hear from the servants at Northferry."

"The servants!" cried the woman, with a laugh: "there are no servants
there. The house is shut up. Half the servants are discharged; and the
rest are gone with the old General and his nieces to London. But I
will tell you where to find them. He has a house in a place they call
Green-street though it is as brown as all the rest of the den. Go
there, and ask for them, and you will find some of them, at least."

"Do you mean that Mr. Tracy has a house in Green-street?" asked
Chandos. "Or are you still speaking of the General?"

"Of the General, to be sure," replied the woman. "It is a small,
narrow house, fit for a solitary man. I was there once, and the old
soldier, his servant, was kind to me, because I talked to him of
Northferry, and the places round. He is not a bad man, General Tracy,
as men go--better than most; and I think he will keep his word with
the boy, whatever be his concern for his brother."

"You may be quite certain he will," replied her companion. "General
Tracy is a man of honour, and never breaks his word."

"What! not to a woman?" demanded Sally Stanley, with a mocking laugh.
"Well, go up to him, and see. Put him in mind of the boy; and tell him
for me, that mice sometimes help lions, as the old fable-book says
that I read at school. Then come down to me this day fortnight; and
perhaps I may tell you more--I do not say that I will--I do not say
that I can; but yet I have seen more unlikely things. Do you know
anything of your brother?"

"Nothing," replied Chandos, "but that he has gone to the
continent--whither, I know not."

"He has taken a bad heart and a heavy conscience with him," said the
woman. "But you must learn where he has gone; for some day you will
have to claim your own at his hands. He will not always triumph in his
wickedness. A day of retribution will come."

"I trust he is not so wicked as you seem to think," answered Chandos
Winslow; "and, at all events, I pray, if he have done wrong, as
doubtless he has in some things, that repentance rather than
retribution may reach him."

"If he has done wrong!" cried the woman, vehemently. "Chandos Winslow,
do you not know that there is upon him a load of crime that may well
weigh him down to perdition? I know not what you saw on that dark
fifth of February; but there were those who saw you with a dead man's
head upon your arm, mourning over him--there were those who saw that
dead man walking alive with your own brother five minutes before; and
fierce were the looks and sharp the words between them. Our people
never go into your courts to bear witness for or against you; but
there were words spoken and overheard that night which would have
taken the charge from you and placed it where it ought to be, had
those words been told again before the judge. There were words spoken
which shall not be forgotten, and which may yet rise up and bear fruit
that he wots not of."

Chandos Winslow laid his hand gently on her arm. "Vengeance," he said,
"is a terrible passion. It is possible my brother may have injured you
in times long past. I think it must be so, from much that you have
said. But if so, I beseech you, seek not in anyway to injure him; for
in so doing, you would but render yourself more wretched than you tell
me you are. You too may have done wrong--you too may have brought
unhappiness on others. Forgive, if you would be forgiven. I think I
know you now; and if I do, it explains much that was doubtful
regarding one for whom and for whose wrongs I have deeply grieved,
believing her dead full eight years ago. My brother has, I have reason
to believe, wronged me too; but if he has, I have forgiven him; and
you may see that it is so when you recollect that even to save my own
life I would not endanger his."

"And have you grieved for me, Chandos Winslow?" said the woman. "I
knew you pitied me; but I thought not the bold, brave boy would long
think of her he sought to see righted. I found sympathy and kindness
with those who saved my life, and I became one of them; but I thought
all the rest of the world had forgotten me. And you grieved for me!
God's blessing be upon you for it; be you blest in your love, and in
your fortune, and in your children; be you blessed in health of body
and of heart; be your age tranquil and your death calm. But, hark!
There are people calling. What can they want? It is not any of our
people. They know themselves better than to make such a noise."

"It is most likely some of the people from the inn seeking me,"
replied Chandos. "I sent on the post-boy with orders to have a chaise
ready for Northferry; and I am so late, they may think me lost, or
murdered."

"Go then, go quick," cried the woman; "do not let them come hither:
and forget not in a fortnight to return."

"I will remember," answered Chandos; and bidding her adieu in a kindly
tone, he left the churchyard.

It was as he thought. The people of the inn had become alarmed at his
long absence, and had sent out to seek him. He gave no account of his
detention, however, when he met the messengers, but merely said he had
stopped a while by the way.

On his arrival at the inn, he found the chaise he had ordered at the
door, ready to carry him to Northferry; but a change had come over his
purpose. He paused, indeed, and meditated for a moment or two, asking
himself if he could depend upon the woman's information, and
considering whether it might not be better to proceed as he had at
first proposed. But he speedily concluded in favour of the more
impetuous course; and, ordering the ticket to be changed, and the
chaise to drive towards London, gave occasion for some marvel on the
part of the landlord, at what the worthy host thought fit to call "the
gentleman's queer ways."



CHAPTER XXXVI.


There is a nice little country inn at Mantes, on the Seine. The rooms
are plain and small, but neat; and those three which were at the end
of the corridor, that is to say, a sitting-room and two bed-rooms,
were occupied by an English gentleman and his valet de chambre. The
English gentleman's name appeared in his passport as Mr. Somers; but
the valet when he was dressing him in the morning, or serving him at
dinner, which he did not trust to the waiters of the inn, called him
"Sir William." This valet was an Italian, but he spoke English
perfectly well; and nothing but his complexion and a very slight
foreign accent betrayed that he was not a native of Great Britain. He
was a quiet, exceedingly quiet man, with none of the vivacity of the
South about him; saying very little to any one, but that little of the
civilest possible character. Yet there was that in his eye which
seemed to say the spirit was not quite as tranquil as the body--a
sharp, quick glance when anything was said, be the subject what it
might; a flush when he was blamed, which supplied the place of words.
He had been brought over by Sir William (then Mr.) Winslow, from Rome,
three or four years before; and had remained with him ever since. His
fellow-servants loved him not; and it had been observed, that if any
of them ventured to offend him, that man did not remain long in Sir
William's service.

Now the people of the inn remarked two or three thing which they
thought somewhat strange in their guest. He very seldom went out in
the middle of the day, although the weather was by no means yet so
warm as to render the early mornings and late evenings pleasant, or
the high noon unpleasant. He seemed very restless, too, when he was in
the house, would walk up and down the room by the hour together, or
wander from his bed-room to his sitting-room and back, with unmeaning
activity. Then he never read anything but a newspaper: but he was an
Englishman, and that passed. He frequented no cafe either; and did not
even go to see the three great ostriches when they were exhibited in
the marketplace. All this seemed very strange; but the valet held his
tongue, and neither landlord, nor landlady, nor head-waiter could make
anything of it. They could not find out even whether he had lost his
wife or not; though such was the landlady's opinion, for he was
dressed in deep mourning. The head-waiter had vague notions of his
having stolen silver spoons, and being uneasy in his mind.

One morning he had either passed a very good or a very bad night, for
he rose before it was light; and as soon as it was, went and walked
upon the bank of the river. At a little after seven he came in again,
hurried up stairs, called loudly for Benini, his valet, did not find
him, and went into his bed-room to conclude his toilet, which was only
half finished when he went out. At the end of half-an-hour he was in
his sitting-room, and found the cloth laid for breakfast. He rang, and
his servant appeared.

"Have you got the letters and newspapers, Benini?" asked Sir William.

"No, Sir," replied the man.

Sir William gave him a fierce oath, and a bad name, and asked him why
the devil he had not, when he knew that his master was so anxious to
see the result of that cursed trial.

"Because the post never comes in till after eight, Sir William,"
answered the man calmly.

"Sometimes sooner, sometimes later," replied his master; "you should
have gone to see when you knew I was impatient for news. Go directly,
and do not let me find you grow negligent, or, by--! I will send you
packing back to your beggarly country a great deal faster than you
came out of it."

The gleam came up in the man's eyes; but he answered nothing, and went
quietly to the post-office.

In five minutes he came back again, without either letters or
newspapers. The post from Paris had not come in. Sir William ordered
breakfast, and told him to go again, and wait till he could bring the
packets. The man went, and was absent an hour. Either he or the post
had resolved to punish Sir William's impatience. It might be either;
for assuredly there is a perversity about fate in regard to letters,
which makes those most desired tarry by the way, those least longed
for come quick and unexpected. When he did come he brought several
letters and two newspapers; but it was the latter which were first
opened. The first and second pages of the voluminous sheet were passed
over unread, and part of the third; but then Sir William's eye
fastened upon the tall column, and with a straining gaze he went on to
read the defence in the case of the crown against Chandos Winslow.
Rapidly he ran the whole over, and his face lighted up with joy. His
name had never been mentioned; the defence was an alibi; his brother
had him not in his power. Chandos could not pretend to have witnessed
anything when he had proved that he was far from the spot; and Sir
William started up with joy and relief, saying aloud, "This is
excellent!" Then seeing the eye of the valet coldly fixed upon him, he
added, "You will be glad to hear, Benini, that my brother is
acquitted. He has shown that he was at a distance when the murder was
committed, by the evidence of Mr. Fleming and his servant--perfectly
unimpeachable--and I have no longer the dread of having my name
coupled with that of a felon, in such near relationship. I shall go
back to England directly: so get ready, and order horses at eleven."

"I am very glad to hear such news, indeed, Sir William," said the
Italian; "I knew Mr. Winslow was not guilty."

The words struck his master, and raised a momentary fear. "I knew Mr.
Winslow was not guilty!" he repeated to himself, when the man had
retired. "How could he know? Pooh! it was only his foreign way of
speaking! Now, dear Emily, in a few short hours you shall be mine!"
and he proceeded to read the letters he had received. The two first he
merely glanced at; the third he read attentively. "Ha!" he cried; "Mr.
Tracy arrested! It is lucky the mortgage is perfect. The man, Bond,
run away with all the shares; and this fair, cold Emily a beggar! It
matters not. By Heaven! with such charms as hers, she has wealth
beyond the Indies. That swelling bosom, that proud, pouting lip, those
glorious limbs, are worth a diadem. Aye! and the liquid eyes, too,
were they not so cold! I will put fire into those dark orbs, give me
but time! We can surely have the horses by ten."

There was no difficulty; the post had little to do in the spring of
the year; the carriage was soon ready, the horses too, the town of
Mantes left behind; Rouen, Dieppe, reached, and then the town of
Brighton. It looked gay and cheerful, with all its lights lighted, and
its population in motion, on a fine spring night, and the broad ocean
rolling dark and heavy along the shore. The fly was ordered to the
York, and Sir William Winslow walked into the nice rooms ready for
him, thinking still of Emily Tracy. Every man's mind is a web of which
one fixed and predominant idea forms the woof, while other threads
cross and recross it. With him the intense and vehement passion for
the fair girl whom he could hardly call his bride, was the foundation
of all his thoughts, as soon as the apprehension springing from
present peril of death and disgrace was removed. That passion had been
quelled and kept down for a time; but, like a fire upon which a load
of cold and heavy matter has been thrown, it burst forth again with
more vehement flame than ever, the moment it made its way through.
Remorse chequered it; vague, indefinite fears wove strange figures in
the web: but still the eager passion ran through all. When he felt
himself on English ground again, a certain degree of trepidation
seized him; and he remained in his handsome sitting-room at the York,
dull and heavy for sometime. His dinner at first would not down, and
it needed several glasses of Madeira and a pint of champagne to help
him through the meal. But then he grew quite gay again, and went out
to take a stroll in the town. He went into a library, and took share
in a raffle, and came back to set off early the next morning for
London. His mood was gay and happy, though an occasional touch of
gloom crossed it; but at all events it seemed to encourage his valet
to ask him for his quarter's wages, which were not due for four or
five days. The baronet, however, paid the money readily, and that
appeared to encourage the man still further.

"I hope, Sir William," he said; "you will consider the difference
between wages here and in Italy, and will make a small advance in
mine."

"Why, you damned vagabond," cried his master; "I give you half as much
again as most English gentlemen give their servants."

"I thought, Sir, considering the circumstances," replied the valet;
"you might be pleased to allow me a little advance."

"Considering the circumstances!" cried his master. "I know not what
circumstances you mean; but depend upon it you will not have a penny
more from me."

The man bowed without reply; but in a minute or two he re-entered with
one of his master's morning coats over his arm. The right sleeve was
turned inside out, and he said, "Please, Sir William, what am I to do
with this coat. There are two or three spirts of blood upon it, which
it had fresh when you dressed for dinner on the fifth of February. I
have got them out of the cloth, but the water has soaked them through
into the lining."

Sir William Winslow's face grew as pale as death, and then flushed
again, as he saw the man's cool, clear, dark eye fixed upon it. For an
instant he did not reply; but then he said, "I remember, my nose bled
several times in the spring. It does not matter; leave it as it is."

The man folded it up, and laid it on a chair; and the next morning,
before they set off for town, his master himself began upon the
subject of wages. Benini was very moderate in his views; but before
the conversation was ended his wages were nearly doubled.

Sir William Winslow seated himself in his carriage, with the
comfortable feeling, that the man who had such wages would be a fool
to deprive himself of such a master; but he recollected that he had
played the fool too--at least he thought so. "I ought to have told the
whole story at once," he said to himself. "The man insulted me, and I
struck him with the first thing at hand--harder than I intended; but
after all it was but a scuffle. If I had had the presence of mind to
state the facts at once, the inquest must have brought it in _chance
medley_." He forgot that juries sometimes inquire into motives too,
and might have asked whether the insult Mr. Roberts offered was not
the telling of too dangerous a truth. With the servant silenced,
however, by an annuity for secrecy, he thought the only grounds even
for a suspicion buried in oblivion; but nevertheless there came across
him a vague conviction, that he was for life a bondman to his own
valet.

It was but the beginning of unpleasant sensations; but that was
enough. Man is a strange animal; but there is an inherent love of
freedom in his heart which is often the source of very high and noble
actions--sometimes of actions the reverse of high and noble. The
lightest chain upon the once free limb, how it galls and presses! but
what is the shackle of steel upon the body, to the chain upon the
mind? To find the spirit a serf, the thoughts manacled! that is to be
a slave indeed. No custom can lighten the load of those fetters, no
habit render them less corroding, nought can harden us to their
endurance. On the contrary, every hour, every minute that we bear
them, the burden grows more oppressive; and Sir William Winslow felt
it, as his carriage rolled on, and he groaned in bitterness of spirit.



CHAPTER XXXVII.


Small progress is made in post-chaises across country at night. On the
public high road it may do very well. One may go from London to York
as fast as Turpin, even without a railroad; but from county town A to
county town B, you had better wait for daylight. So did Chandos
Winslow find it; and it was broad day when he reached the fine old
town of Salisbury. As he got out of the chaise, he inquired if there
were not a coach to the railroad. The answer was, that it had gone by
ten minutes. There was another three hours after; but the waiter
informed him, that the light coach, the Hero, direct to London, set
out for town in an hour, and beat the rail by an hour and a half; (the
landlord was a proprietor of the Hero;) and upon this assurance being
reiterated from various quarters, Chandos, though not very fond of
heros, determined to try this specimen of the class, as he thought it
very likely that the promised enterprise would be achieved. His
finances, also, were not in a nourishing condition. For the first time
in life he was obliged to calculate shillings: the Hero was a far
cheaper conveyance than the railroad and coach combined; and after
having ordered and obtained some breakfast, he got upon the top of the
stage, and was driven away on the road to London.

The number of passengers was very scanty; but some one had monopolized
the box; and Chandos was obliged to take up his position on the roof,
with a stout countryman on one side, a grazier by trade, who was full
of the famous cause which had just come off, as he termed it, at
S----. Chandos certainly gave him no encouragement; but when bottles
are filled too full they will run over; and his entertainment for the
next twenty miles was his own trial for felony. He had the
satisfaction, however, of finding a stout partisan in the good
grazier, who declared that he had been sure from the first the young
gentleman was innocent; for didn't he pay the fine two years before
for Matthew Green, the farmer's son, who was brought up for killing
some pheasants upon his father's farm? The reasoning did not seem
quite conclusive to Chandos, even in his own defence; but he knew that
he was not guilty of murder, and was glad to find that a good action
could live a day beyond its date.

It was dark when the coach rolled into London, for it was not heroic
as to time; and the crowded streets, the blaze of gas-lamps, the
illuminated shops with their wide crystal fronts, and the multitudes
pouring hither and thither, each busy with his particular selfishness,
had a strange effect upon one who, for so many days preceding, had
been engrossed with the weighing of his own life and death in the mere
chance-balance of a court of justice. If there were any in all the
masses of human mites he saw who had ever heard of him, it was but as
the prisoner in the felon's dock; and by this time they had forgotten,
and thought of him no more.

His own case had, in his eyes, seemed of immense importance not many
hours before. It had connected itself, in his imagination, with the
general administration of justice: it seemed to affect millions in its
chances and results. But now, in the midst of that wide ocean of life,
and feelings, and interests, all separate, all alone, yet all
connected with each other, it lost its magnitude, and seemed small
and insignificant in the diversified infinite around. "Birch,
pastry-cook;" "Gobble, mercer;" "Walker, fish-monger;" what was the
trial of Chandos Winslow to them? A tart, a yard of silk, a red
mullet, was of much more importance to each. And what more did care
any of the many who rushed past like ripples on a quick stream? Verily
there is truth in the saying, that the greatest solitude is in
multitudes; for there each man raises a thorny hedge of selfishness
around him, which excludes every other human being except the few for
whom he will be pleased to open the wicket.

On arriving at the dull-looking inn where the coach stopped, the young
wanderer paid his fare, sought a bed-room, removed the dusty garments
in which he had travelled, and set out for the other end of the town.
As he passed through some small, quiet squares of smoked brick houses,
and escaped from the pressure of the multitude, Chandos, for the first
time, began to ask himself, what was the object of his visit, and what
the excuse he was to make for so speedy an appearance at General
Tracy's house. He went to see Rose Tracy--to hear of her, if not to
see her. But what could he say when he did see her? How was he to act
towards her?--how towards her uncle and her father? Though Mr. Tracy
might be ruined, yet Emily and Rose were the co-heiresses of their
uncle, a man of ample fortune; and Chandos could not shut his ears to
the question, Was he--just tried for murder, and acquitted on evidence
which must soon be proved to have been given in error--he whose
pittance, originally so small, had been further diminished by an
expensive trial--was he in a position to ask the hand or seek the
promise of one of General Tracy's nieces? He found it difficult to
answer. Then he inquired what he should assign as his motive for
following the family at once to London; and he thought of many things,
but at length determined to trust to chance, as, perhaps, was the
wisest plan.

Ah! that chapter of accidents, with its manifold pages, how often do
its magic spells relieve poor mortals from their greatest
difficulties! What wonders has it not done for every man! Which man
amongst us, if he were to look back through life with sane and
scrutinizing eyes, would not find that far more than one-half of all
his successes--far more than one-half of all his reverses--far more
than one-half of all that has befallen him in life, is attributable to
that broad chapter of accidents, and not to his own efforts, his own
errors, or his own fore-thought.

Chandos Winslow walked up Green-street, at length; and then the
question became, which is General Tracy's house? He fixed upon one,
and rang the right-hand bell. An unknown and powdered servant
appeared, and informed him very civilly, (for Chandos Winslow's
appearance was not easily to be mistaken for anything but that of a
gentleman,) that the house was Lord ----'s; but he added the
information that was wanted. General Tracy's abode, he said, was about
ten doors further up, nearer to the Park: the gentleman would see a
small brass-plate upon the door. Chandos soon found the door and the
brass-plate, and as that house still possessed a knocker, he knocked.
The door was opened by the General's old servant, who had been with
him at Northferry; and the man almost started, certainly gazed with
wonder, when he saw the well-known face which presented itself. He was
an elderly man, whose wits when they once got into that state which I
must call "stirred-up," did not easily settle again; and in his ideas
regarding Chandos Winslow, there was some confusion. In his eyes
Chandos was, according to the happy figure of a celebrated lady,
"three gentlemen in one;" namely, Acton, the gardener, Sir William
Winslow's brother, and the prisoner upon trial for the murder of Mr.
Roberts; and there was in the man's air and manner a mixture of all
the expressions which those three personages were severally calculated
to call up--there was familiarity, there was respect, there was
consternation.

"Lord, Mr. Acton!" he exclaimed, "is that you? Well, I am very glad to
see you, Sir; Lord 'a mercy! only to think!"

"Is General Tracy, at home?" asked Chandos, in a somewhat agitated
tone.

"No, Sir," replied the man; "he has gone with Mr. Tracy to a meeting
of the lawyers; but the young ladies are upstairs, and I am sure they
will be glad to see you."

"Pray, tell them I am here," said Chandos: and the man went up to the
drawing-room accordingly. In a minute after, he came half-way down,
and, looking over, desired Chandos to walk up. With a quick step he
did so, and was ushered into the drawing-room, where he found those
two beautiful girls, both somewhat pale, and both somewhat agitated.
Emily remained upon the sofa; but Rose, with her lip quivering, and
tears in her eyes, advanced to meet him.

"Oh, I am so glad to see you," she said, holding out her hand. "This
is very kind of you, indeed, to come so soon."

Chandos could not refrain; he pressed his lips upon the hand she gave
him; and then turned his eyes for a moment to the face of Emily, to
see if the act surprised her. She only smiled kindly. Chandos saw at
once from her eyes, that the two sisters trusted each other; and a
restraint was at once removed.

"I am very happy, indeed, to see you, Mr. Winslow," said Emily; "for
till this morning we have been sadly anxious about you; and poor Rose
nearly ill with apprehension."

She too gave him her hand, as she spoke; but Chandos did not kiss it.
Yet Emily was quite satisfied.

It would be difficult to detail what followed; for it was but a
confused crowd of questions and answers, in all of which appeared the
deep interest which the parties took in each other.

Chandos found that they were already acquainted with all the details
of the trial; for the whole family had devoured rather than read the
report, which had appeared in the evening papers. They spoke not of
the particulars, indeed; and, with them, Chandos was not inclined, to
dwell upon the subject; but it was evident and gratifying to him, that
not one of all Mr. Tracy's family had felt a doubt of his innocence.
Yet whenever the matter was named, the conversation became strange and
vague; so much so, indeed, that had any person unacquainted with them
been a witness of what passed, he might have supposed, had it not been
for the warmth of manner displayed, that a suspicion had existed and
still lingered. There was a cloudy sort of doubt, indeed, which
overshadowed the minds of both those fair girls, but a doubt which
attached not in the least degree to Chandos Winslow. In the mind of
Rose, that doubt amounted almost to a certainty; and some words which
she had incautiously dropped in her agonizing suspense as to the
result of the trial, had communicated suspicions to her sister, less
defined, but more painful, than those which she herself entertained.
With Chandos, of course, there was no doubt; he knew the truth too
well; but all the horror of that truth seemed to present itself more
strongly to his imagination, when he sat in the presence of poor
Emily, and recollected the tie, imperfect as it was, which bound her
to his brother.

At length, after about a quarter of an hour had passed, Emily rose,
saying, with a smile, "I will leave you a little; for I know you must
have much to say to each other. My father and my uncle will soon be
back, and then I will join you again."

When she was gone, a few minutes were given to tenderness. Dark and
sad events are skilful pioneers for love and confidence. They hew down
in no time all the barriers of restraint and reserve, and leave the
way free for heart to approach heart, unresisted.

But Chandos Winslow felt that in deep enjoyment they were losing
moments precious for explanation: and at length he turned the
conversation, somewhat abruptly, perhaps, to his own situation, in
relation to herself.

"I see, dearest Rose," he said, "that you have made a confidant of
your sister, and I am delighted that it is so; but I must not let my
hopes carry me too far, and lead me to believe that the pain and
anxiety which you must have suffered, have driven you to communicate
all that is between us to your father and your uncle."

"I did not know that I might, Chandos," she answered: "in the dreadful
state of suspense and anguish in which your trial placed me, I could
not, indeed, refrain from sharing my thoughts with poor Emily. Thus
much, however, I thought myself bound to tell my father--that I had
known your real name from the moment you came to Northferry--that we
had met before, and passed one long, happy day together; but that you
had exacted from me a promise not to betray you, because you
particularly wished your brother not to know where you were. My father
asked but one question, which was, whether I believed I was myself in
any degree the cause of your coming to Northferry? I replied,
certainly not; for that I had every reason to believe you did not know
that I was there, or was his daughter. This seemed to satisfy him
perfectly; but indeed he has had so many painful things to think of,
that I do not wonder at his giving no further attention to the
subject. With my uncle, it is very different; for I am sure he
suspects, if he does not know the whole. You have heard, of course,
the sad change of fortune we have met with. My father is at liberty
now, on what they call bail, I believe; but I tremble every moment,
for what each ensuing day may produce. It is supposed, that the man
who has carried away all the shares, and bonds, and papers of that
kind, does not intend to sell them; as there would be difficulty and
danger in so doing, even in a foreign country; but is likely to
negociate with my father for the restitution, in consideration of a
sum of money, and indemnity for the past. Nothing has been heard of
him, however; and in the meantime it is ruin to my father."

"Has no part of his course been traced, dear Rose?" asked Chandos.

"It was at first supposed he had gone to the Continent," replied his
fair companion; "but every inquiry has been made at the passport
offices, and no trace of a person of his peculiar appearance can be
found at any of those places. They now fear that he may have escaped
to America."

"He is not a man to be mistaken," said Chandos: "I saw him once when I
was travelling up to London in January; and in the public carriage
itself he could not refrain from making use of your father's name to
entrap others. He tempted even me, Rose, poor as I am: and those words
bring me, dear girl, to matters which had better be spoken of at
once--spoken of even between you and me, although, perhaps, it is
strange to mention them to you at all--."

"Tempted you, Chandos!" exclaimed Rose Tracy. "Oh! I hope he did not
succeed."

"Oh, no!" answered her lover; "but yet I was in a degree tempted. I
was going to London, with my thoughts full of Rose Tracy, with my
heart full of passionate attachment. I felt that under the will of my
father, which had been proved, my means were far too small, without
some great exertion on my own part, to justify me in pretending to her
hand; and at the very moment when I was thinking of how I could mend
my broken fortunes--by what effort, by what scheme, however bold, I
could acquire a position which would give me even hope, this man
crossed me with visioned promises of speedy wealth. But a moment's
reflection on the means, a moment's examination of the man himself,
dispelled the illusion. Now, however, dear Rose, it behoves me to put
the same questions to myself which I then put. I am not richer, but
poorer; all I have on earth is but a pittance, barely enough to
maintain myself in the rank of a gentleman. What will your father,
what will your uncle say, if I presume to tell them of my love, and
ask for it their countenance and approbation?"

Rose leaned her head upon her hand, and her eyes filled with tears;
but she answered at length, "You must tell them, at all events,
Chandos. You cannot tell, you cannot imagine the pain--the agony of
mind which the concealment I have already practised has brought upon
me--innocent and justifiable as I thought it. Oh! Chandos, for my sake
you must abandon all further disguise."

"For your sake, dear Rose, I would do anything," replied Chandos
Winslow; "but of course you do not wish me to enter upon the subject
to-night. To-morrow I must go into the city to sell out a part of my
small portion, in order to pay the expenses of the late trial. I must
also see my friend, Sir ----, who so nobly and ably defended me. He
seems to entertain a belief--on which, however, I would not found the
slightest hope--that a subsequent will of my father's may either be
recovered, or the intention of it proved, or something of the kind--I
really do not exactly know what; and that I may be thereby enabled to
stop the sale of Winslow Abbey."

Rose started; but ere she could explain the effect which such a step,
if it were practicable, might have upon the fortunes of her father, a
carriage drew up to the house, and there was a footman's knock at the
door. Emily immediately joined them, and it was evident that she had
been weeping. Chandos knew not his strange position: but could he have
seen into the hearts of those two fair girls, what would he have
beheld?--That the one rejoiced at his acquittal of a crime she knew he
had not committed, yet saw therein the prospect of misery to herself
by the probable consequence of his brother's return to England; that
the other, while she could not but hope that he might establish his
rights, whatever they were, feared that her own father's utter ruin
would be thereby consummated.

The next moment General Tracy and his brother entered the room. Mr.
Tracy's face bore evident marks of the mental suffering he had
endured and was enduring. The tranquil, well-satisfied, somewhat
self-sufficient air was gone; and there was a look of sadness,
bordering on the morose, in its place. No man likes to find himself a
fool; and most men try to prevent others from discovering the same
fact, or at all events to hide their own mental assent thereunto, by
assuming a cold pride which will not bate a jot of its dignity. Thus,
though he was shaken and evidently enfeebled in frame, he walked into
the room with as stately a step as if he had never committed a folly
in his life.

General Tracy, on the contrary, was unchanged either in person or
demeanour. There was the stout, soldier-like, upright form; there was
the warm, rosy complexion; there was the frank, straightforward
bearing, and the warm, good-humoured smile, betokening the cheerful
disposition, so charming in an old man. He walked straight up to
Chandos Winslow and shook him heartily by the hand, saying, "Delighted
to see you, my young friend. None have taken a deeper interest in late
events than we have done in this small house; though it was impossible
for any of us to be down at S----. None have more rejoiced that you
have had fair play shown, and justice done you; for that was all we
feared--that some of the quirks and quibbles of the law, some of the
follies or obstinacies of jurymen, might make wrong seem right."

Mr. Tracy also held out his hand to his former gardener, but it was
more coldly; and he only said, "I can assure you, Mr. Winslow, I never
entertained the slightest doubt regarding you, and rejoice much that
you have been able so fully to justify the opinion every one
entertained of you; though why you thought fit to play gardener for so
many months, I have not yet been able to divine."

"That will be easily explained, Mr. Tracy," replied Chandos; "and to
explain it is one of the great objects of my coming here directly
after the trial. The facts are simply these: I had long entertained a
strong desire--a whim if you please to call it--to see the poorer
classes nearer than a rich man can usually see them. A good many years
ago, a very severe dispute occurred between my brother and myself,
into the particulars of which I need not enter. Whoever was in fault,
it left a coldness between us which never decreased. When my father's
will was read, I found that he had made me a dependent on my brother,
as far as it was in his power to do so. I was not disposed to be
dependent upon any man, nor to be under any obligation to one with
whom I was not on good terms. I expressed my determination--I trust,
in no ungentlemanly manner--to receive nothing from my brother; and a
sharp altercation ensued, which ended in my leaving a house that had
become his. A small property had been left me some time before by a
relation; my father had added by his will a very valuable library and
some fine pictures. With these I might either have limited my ambition
to what I had, or I might have opened for myself a new career; but I
accidentally heard, immediately after I quitted my brother's house,
that you were seeking a head-gardener. I had for four or five years
taken upon myself the entire superintendence of the fine gardens at
Elmsly, and my old whim of descending for a time from the station in
which I was born, and mingling with the poorer classes of the people,
as one of themselves, came back upon me. I had no knowledge that in
your daughter I should meet one who had known me in a different rank
of life; for the scenes where we had formerly met were so different
from the quiet seclusion of Northferry, that the identity of the name
of my fair acquaintance with that of the gentleman whose service I
sought, never struck me. I feel, however, Mr. Tracy, that I owe you an
apology for having deceived you as to who I was; but you will clearly
see that I had no hope of carrying out my scheme with any one, unless
my name and station were concealed."

"A curious whim, indeed," said General Tracy; "and one which has had
very serious results. Nevertheless, I can perfectly understand the
feelings in which it was conceived, my young friend; for it is a sort
of thing I have often entertained an idea of myself, without having
ever had the spirit to carry it out. I dreamed of it even as a boy,
when reading the adventures of the disguised Haroun al Raschid."

"I never had such visions," said Mr. Tracy; "nor do I think that the
enterprise would answer at all the object for which it was undertaken.
A man who descends, either voluntarily or involuntarily, from a higher
to a lower station in life, carries his own world of habits, thoughts,
feelings, and prejudices with him; and sees through the same
discoloured spectacles, though he may see a little nearer. But I
cannot afford to discuss such things to-night; for, to say the truth,
I am weary and harassed."

Chandos received the last words as a somewhat broad and not very civil
hint to go, and accordingly rose and took his hat; but General Tracy
stopped him, saying, "Stay a minute, stay a minute; I want to talk to
you about two or three things, Winslow: first, I must know where you
are to be found; next, when we shall see you again."

"I am, for to-night, the denizen of a very unfashionable part of the
world," replied Chandos, "and under the auspices of a somewhat
strange-looking monster, called the Swan with Two Necks, in Lad-lane;
but to-morrow I shall be at the ---- Hotel, in Cork-street. A man who
has been tried for murder will, of course, be an object of curiosity
and remark for a few days; and I wish to get it over as soon as
possible."

"You are right," said the General; "but come down into the
dining-room, and let me talk to you about one or two things connected
with that same trial. Arthur, I suppose you will be gone to bed before
I come up. Good night!" and, taking up a light, the old officer led
the way down.

Chandos bade adieu to the rest of the party, warmly in some cases,
somewhat coolly in another, and followed. When they were below the
General closed the door, and then shook his young companion by the
hand again, saying, "I congratulate you from the heart at the issue of
the trial, though that issue was brought about by means to me totally
unexpected."

"Not more so to you than to myself, General," replied Chandos Winslow,
frankly; "that is to say, if you mean the evidence of Mr. Fleming and
his servant. Nor will I conceal from you for a moment, that the whole
of that evidence was false--under an error, I am quite sure; but none
the less false. I was not at Northferry at all that night after I
returned to my own cottage. Mr. Fleming must have mistaken Lockwood,
my half-brother, a natural son of my father's, for me. Indeed, the
likeness, I believe, is very great."

"It is strange," said General Tracy, musing; and Chandos continued:
"Most strange! That the evidence which saved my life should be as
false as the accusation against me, is very curious indeed. Had I
known what Mr. Fleming was called for before he appeared, I would not
have suffered it; although I believe, had it not been for his
testimony, I should have been condemned for an act of which I am as
innocent as yourself; for, if you remark, there was but one
circumstance which could raise a reasonable doubt in my favour: that
of the servant lad, Michael Burwash, who saw some one return from the
grounds into the house after poor Roberts had crossed the lawn."

"Do you know who that was?" asked General Tracy, quickly.

Chandos was silent; and the old officer added: "It was your own
brother. You owe me that lad's evidence, Winslow; for, as soon as I
returned to Northferry, after seeing you in prison, I examined all the
servants myself, and sent word to your lawyer, that Burwash had
acknowledged the important fact you have mentioned. I then gave up
some time to an investigation of who the person could be who had come
in so late, and by such an unusual entrance. My brother was at home at
the time, I found. I was absent. None of the servants would think of
entering by the Green-house. On inquiring of Emily, whose room was
opposite to that where Sir William Winslow slept, I found that she
recollected having heard his door shut sharply just before she rang
for lights. Further, I found that he was very late down at dinner that
day; that he was agitated and strange in his manner; complained of
having over fatigued himself, and being unwell; and at length sent for
old Woodyard, and was bled. Since then, however, Rose has acknowledged
to me, that when speaking with you at the basin of gold-fish, she
heard your brother's voice, in the grounds, raised loud. After that I
had no doubt that Sir William was the person who returned in so
curious a manner--more I am not justified in saying."

Still Chandos was silent, and sat with his eyes bent down upon the
Turkey carpet; and after gazing at him for a moment, General Tracy
turned abruptly to another part of the subject.

"That brings me," he said, "to a point which I have hitherto
forgotten, Chandos, though it is one which should have been first
remembered. I have not yet thanked you, my dear young man, for the
delicacy and kindness you have shown in not calling Rose as a witness.
She was prepared to do her duty firmly; and when she spoke to me upon
the subject, I advised her to write to you and say so; but it is not
necessary to tell you what a painful task it would have been for her.
You must feel--indeed, you have shown you feel it; and I thank you
deeply for your consideration in this matter."

"I would not have had her called for the world," answered Chandos; "I
know what a frightful thing to a woman must be a cross-examination in
a court of justice. If the opposite party called her, I could not, of
course, help it; but then I could have ensured--at least, I trust
so--that she was subject to no pain by the cross-examination of my own
counsel; and that was something."

"Everything," answered the General; "and it seems strange to me that
they did not call her."

"All things concerned with the trial were strange," said Chandos. "I
suppose in this instance the lawyers were well aware that your niece's
evidence was not likely to suit their purpose; for, I am sorry to say,
it was but too evident that the object of the counsel for the
prosecution was to get a verdict against me."

"I remarked it, I remarked it," said General Tracy; "and, I am sorry
to say, I have seen the same very often in criminal cases. Man is a
beastly animal, my young friend, and the cause of half his brutality
is vanity, it was so here, and is so always. A counsel does not choose
to be beaten; and he moves heaven and earth, not so much to hang the
prisoner, as to triumph over his opponents. But it must all seem very
strange to you now, sitting here quietly in this dining-room, to think
that, only yesterday you were made the sport of circumstances which
held your life continually in the balance."

"Like a dream," answered Chandos Winslow; "and by no means a pleasant
one."

"Well, it is happy, at all events, that the dream has ended so well,"
rejoined the old officer; "you have come off with flying colours; and
although we are in sad tribulation here just now, from circumstances
which you have no doubt heard of, you must come and dine with me, and
we will have a long chat upon other affairs, which must be spoken of
before we have done. Can you come to-morrow?"

"I fear not," answered his young companion. "I shall be the greater
part of the day in the city; and have, besides, to consult lawyers
upon matters greatly affecting my interests, although I much fear that
no good will result from our consultations."

"Don't plunge into law! don't plunge into law!" said the General,
shaking his head ruefully. "I declare, I would rather lose all I
have, than to get into a law-suit about it. The roguery and folly of
the world, are the fields from which lawyers reap their harvests; and
a plentiful crop they get. In England, at least, there is as much
philosophy as charity in that passage of the Bible which says, 'If a
man take your cloak, give him your coat also;' for if you go to law
with him, hang me, if those human sharks, the lawyers, do not contrive
to get your breeches into the bargain. But can you come the day after
to-morrow then?"

Chandos assented, and, the hour being fixed at half-past seven, took
his leave, and returned to his inn in the city. The chamber assigned
to him was large and gloomy: the wainscoted walls were covered,
besides the paint, with the smoke and dust of half a century; the bed
in the far corner rose tall and ghastly, in curtains of brown moreen;
and the hangings at the windows had acquired a hue which can only be
given by long immersion in a London atmosphere. There was a feeling of
foul misery about the whole, which fell depressing upon the spirit of
Chandos Winslow. It was much more like poverty and wretchedness than
the gardener's cottage at Northferry. He thought of Rose Tracy; he
recalled her father's cold and repulsive manner; he inquired of his
own heart if it were possible to ask her to share poverty with him; to
expose her to all the ills of penury, the daily cares and grinding
inconveniences of narrow means, and to bind down her free spirit,
unaccustomed to a want unsatisfied, a wish unfulfilled, in the hard
chain of straitened circumstances. Chandos Winslow would not answer
the question; but his heart sunk as he propounded it to himself: and
he went to bed weary of the working-day world and the battle of
anxious thought.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.


The next was a busy day with Chandos Winslow. His first occupation was
to sell out a sum sufficient to pay the costs of the late trial, as
far as he was able to calculate them, from the rough data which he had
received. He added thereunto, two hundred and fifty pounds, for his
current expenses; and having arranged that affair, and placed the
money in his banker's hands, he proceeded to seek the friend who had
so ably pleaded his cause. From his house, he was sent to his
chambers; from his chambers, to a court of law, where he found him,
wigged and gowned, in the midst of a long and laborious argument,
which seemed likely never to come to an end. After enduring full two
hours, however, the speech was concluded; and Chandos, sending his
card, obtained a moment's interview with his friend. Sir---- shook him
warmly by the hand, saying rapidly, "Come to me at nine to-night,
Winslow: I cannot stay with you now; for I must hear what the
gentlemen opposite have to say. Don't eat much dinner; for I shall eat
nothing till then."

"At your own house, or at your chambers?" asked Chandos.

"At chambers, at chambers," said the barrister, turning to go back
into the court. "I shall not get home till two. Our lives are not easy
ones."

It was now about four o'clock; and, with feelings difficult to
describe, but to which he was resolved not to yield, Chandos Winslow
proceeded to call upon several of his most intimate acquaintances. It
required an effort to knock at the first door. The feeling of having
stood in the felon's dock, was strong upon him. The uncertainty of the
reception he should meet with; the knowledge that, with a mind which:
has the slightest tincture of vulgarity--that is to say, with nine
hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine persons
out of every million--an accusation, however false, leaves some stain;
he felt irritable and impatient beforehand, at the idea of being
treated coldly at a moment when he felt that society owed him
something, for having inflicted on him undeserved hardships.

Luckily he had chosen well in the person whom he had selected for his
first visit. She was the widow of a nobleman who had been
distinguished for many virtues himself; and she was mild, kind, and
charitable, though not without a certain degree of dignified
stateliness, which showed that she felt her high station, without the
slightest touch of pride. She received her young visitor almost as if
nothing had happened. I say, almost, because there was the least
possible difference in the warmth of her reception. It was more
cordial, less tranquil, than it might have been under ordinary
circumstances. She rose from her seat more quickly, held out her hand,
and said, "Oh, Mr. Winslow, is that really you? Well, this is very
kind of you, to call upon me so soon. Now sit down, pray, and tell me
all about yourself, and what you are going to do; how long you are to
be in London, and all."

Chandos was soon at his ease; and he thought, "With some few friends
such as this, I can afford to set the general world at nought." About
twenty minutes passed very pleasantly; and then he rose to proceed to
another house. His reception there was very different: the whole
family was cold; and he stayed not ten minutes. Then again, at the
next place, he heard the owner of the house, even after he had been
admitted to the drawing-room, tell the servant from a neighbouring
chamber to say that he had made a mistake, and that his master was
out. When the man re-entered to utter the prescribed lie Chandos had
his hat on his head, and was walking towards the door: "You may spare
yourself, my good man," he said, bowing his head haughtily, "I have
heard the whole," and he walked out of the house, never to enter it
again.

He made one other call. The lady of the house was at home, and
delighted to see him. She talked to him incessantly of his trial,
declared that it was the funniest and most delightful thing that had
ever happened; and invited him to a ball, where all the great people
in London were to be present.

Chandos had no inclination to be exhibited as a felon-lion; and did
not promise to go.

At nine o'clock precisely, Chandos was at his friend's chambers, and
found him alone, with a table spread for two, in a little dull room. A
note-book and some stray papers lay on one side of the table; and the
moment after the young gentleman had entered, a servant brought in a
tray, with soup and several other dishes upon it, sent from some
neighbouring hotel.

"Now, Winslow, sit down," said the barrister, "and we will talk as we
eat; for I can afford but one hour for repose and refreshment
to-day." The servant uncovered the dishes, and instantly disappeared.
The barrister took his place, helped his guest and himself to soup;
and between each spoonful, looked at the papers and notes beside him,
without apology. As soon as the soup was done, he rang a bell, which
was tied by a string to his chair; and while the servant took away the
plates, and handed some cutlets to his master's guest, the great
lawyer rubbed his temple with one finger, in a profound reverie. The
servant then disappeared, without venturing to disturb his master's
meditations by presenting the dish; and the next moment the barrister
roused himself, saying, "Come, Winslow, a glass of wine, and then I
will tell you what you must do. I think you must take a solicitor with
you, and go down very quietly into the neighbourhood of Winslow Abbey.
The first person you had better see is your good friend, Lockwood. Let
him dictate to the solicitor everything he knows regarding certain
papers found by Mr. Roberts, at the Abbey. He will do it willingly
enough, I am sure. Then you must get hold of a young gentleman, whose
relationship to yourself, or connexion with your family, I do not
know; but his name is--let me see--Faber."

"Oh! poor Faber," said Chandos; "he is a good young man, but weak; and
as to his relationship with me, I believe it is very much the same as
Lockwood's."

He spoke with a faint smile, and his friend laughed, saying, "Well
then, you must exercise your brotherly influence over him, for the
purpose of inducing him to give a full, true, and particular account
of all he knows concerning these papers, and of a will, made five
years posterior to the one proved, but which has not yet appeared."

Chandos mused for a moment, and the barrister took another glass of
wine. "I am afraid," said the former, at length, "that Faber will not
be easily induced to speak. He certainly loves me better than he does
my brother. He has been with me more, is kind and well disposed; but
still his is one of those characters on which the stern and determined
work easily, and which may be led to wrong those whom they love best,
for the sake of those whom they fear. I have seen him actually shake
in my brother's presence; and I do not think he dare utter a word
which would offend Sir William Winslow, even if he were at a thousand
miles' distance."

"If he is only to be moved by sternness and determination, you must be
stern and determined, too," said his friend; "you can be so when you
like, I know, Winslow."

"But Faber will never believe I shall prove so to him," answered
Chandos: "I may threaten; but he will trust to my regard for him to
render my threats of no avail."

"At all events, you must try every means to make him speak," rejoined
Sir ----; "for his testimony might be very important. He was present,
it seems, when Mr. Roberts found, in a drawer of the library, a
memorandum, in your father's handwriting, of his having given the
last will, which he made about five years ago, into the keeping of
your brother."

"Indeed!" said Chandos. "This is new to me. But if we have not the
will itself, I suppose the memorandum will be of little avail."

"Unsupported, of course, it will be of none at all," replied his
friend; "but I find that when the memorandum was discovered, Faber
showed so much agitation, that those who witnessed it were led to
suspect that he knew more of what had become of the will than he chose
to acknowledge. At all events, you must try every means with him; and
having got all the information you can from those two sources, I would
advise you to cross the country to see Mr. Roberts's executor, and
endeavour to obtain an inspection of his papers. If amongst them there
should be found a copy of a will of that date, though not signed, or a
sketch of one in your father's handwriting, and if you can prove that
the other will has been lately destroyed, I think--mind, I speak
doubtingly--but I think we might do something, by one means or
another."

"A law-suit with a brother," said Chandos, musing, "based on an
accusation of his having destroyed his father's will, and wronged his
brother! It would be a terrible thing!"

"It would, indeed!" replied Sir ----; "but my hope is, Chandos, that
we may not be driven to a law-suit, if we can accumulate sufficient
proofs to alarm the opposite party. Take some of that Sillery, and do
not let what I am going to say startle you. Mark me well, however. You
have your brother's life in your hands. As soon as he has time to
think, he will perceive, from the course of defence pursued on your
trial, that such is the case--that a foundation is already laid,
indeed, for building up a truth that would destroy him--that you have
nothing to do but to say in the ear of Justice, 'I would not let my
counsel defend me at the expense of a brother's life,' and to prove
that Lockwood was mistaken for you, in order to render your evidence
conclusive against him. These are terrible weapons, it is true; and I
would not have you use them even in menace, unless it be established
to your full conviction that your brother has destroyed your father's
last will, or has concealed it. Then, I think, you will be justified
in demanding that right be done you, in terms which cannot be
mistaken. But I do not think he has destroyed the will. Men seldom
dare to commit great crimes unless under the influence of hasty
passion--when lesser ones will serve their purpose. I think the will
is concealed; and if we can prove the clauses distinctly, I doubt not,
under all the circumstances, a search will be made for it, and it will
be found. Look here at a train of evidence that would not be pleasant
for your brother to have brought forward in a court, even though you
used no menace in reference to the terrible facts within your own
knowledge. I am already prepared to prove that Mr. Roberts came over
to Northferry to inform you of his having found the memorandum I have
mentioned; that your brother was at Mr. Tracy's house at the time;
that some one, hearing the appearance of a gentleman, entered the
house by the most private entrance, immediately after the murder; that
it was not yourself, Mr. Tracy, or his brother; that the only person
who could be injured by the tale Mr. Roberts had to tell was Sir
William Winslow. Do you not think, Chandos, that he must have a
consciousness that there are a thousand circumstances likely to be
brought out in any trial, which would render the train of evidence
complete against him, and bring the heavy hand of justice on his head,
even if you should remain silent? Depend upon it, if he have not
destroyed the will, he will speedily find it, as soon as you have
collected all the proofs of its having existed, and been in his
possession; and if he have destroyed it, and you can show what were
its provisions, that he will concede them all, rather than incur a
suit which must entail disclosures tending to consequences more fatal.
It is on this account that I advise you to go down at once, while he
is still absent, and collect all the information you can get. But, in
the very first place, you must enter a protest against the sale of
Winslow Abbey."

"I understood that it was already sold, and the money paid," replied
Chandos.

"Two-thirds of the money have been paid, I hear," replied the
barrister, "upon an undertaking, under Sir William's hand, to complete
the transfer within a given time. But still the transfer is
incomplete; and you must show, by a caveat, that you are not a
consenting party, so as to guard against even the semblance of laches
on your side. Get your protest drawn up in due form by a solicitor
to-morrow, have it laid before counsel for an opinion, and furnish
both _vendor_ and _emptor_ with a copy; then set out again upon your
voyage of discovery, and let me know the result. Linger not here, fond
youth, by the side of beauty; but away, in search of that which, in
the present day alone, can unchain Andromeda from the rock. Depend
upon it, my dear Winslow, that pretty fable of the lady upon the
sea-shore, and the Gorgon-slaying Perseus, has a very unpoetic
interpretation. Andromeda is the representative of a fashionable young
lady; the rock, the hard state of single blessedness to which her
parents chain her, in default of a suitable match; the sea-monster
destined to devour her, old maidenism; and Perseus, a rich
East-Indian, very bilious, who, with the sword of wealth, slays the
monster, and frees the damsel from her chains, to marry her himself.
And now let us empty that bottle of Sillery, and have another; for
alas! in the life that I lead, I am forced to combat corporal weakness
with that which saps corporal strength; and wine versus weariness is
the cause I am trying every day."

Chandos Winslow remained till a few minutes after ten, and then
proceeded, not to the inn which he had tenanted the night before, but
to his new abode in Cork Street. What a contrast! Damask curtains, gay
coloured carpets, polished mahogany, shining fire-irons, clean walls,
and a bright fire! But the contrast was not greater than between his
own mood that night and the mood of the night preceding. The words of
his friend had relighted the lamp of Hope, of which the everlasting
fire of Vesta was but a faint image.



CHAPTER XXXIX.


How many fruitless beatings of the heart there are in the world!
Whether it be from fear, anxiety, agitation, hope, anger, love,
hatred, that beating of the heart is one of the most vain and useless
operations which any part of the human frame performs. The heart of
Chandos Winslow beat very idly at the door of General Tracy's house,
in Green-street. He fancied that in about a minute and a half he would
be in the presence of Rose Tracy, he painted to himself her looks,
he seemed to hear her words; but when he found himself in the
drawing-room, the General was there alone; and the very simple words,
"Bring dinner," which were uttered as soon as he entered, showed him
as plainly as if the General had spoken an oration, that he and his
host were to dine tête-à-tête. He felt a good deal disappointed; but
he did not suffer his mortification to appear; and in about ten
minutes he was seated at the hospitable board and partaking of a very
excellent, though plain dinner. The wines were all exceedingly good,
though not very various; and Sherry, of the best vintage, Madeira,
which had twice seen the Cape, with Oporto, which had lived as wine in
part of two centuries, supplied well the place of Champagne, of
Claret, and of Burgundy.

The General suffered the meal to pass by, and also the two first
glasses of wine after dinner, without touching upon anything which had
a business tone in it. Chandos found that Rose, Emily, and Mr. Tracy
had moved during the preceding day to that gentleman's house, in
Berkeley-square.

"There is a great deal to be done there," said General Tracy; "and it
is well that they should be on the spot."

Some short time after dinner, came one of those pauses which are
generally produced by a slight feeling of embarrassment on both parts.
Chandos was not sure whether General Tracy expected him to begin upon
the subject nearest his heart, or not; and the General himself, though
a very brave and determined man in most matters, shrunk a little from
the commencement of a conversation, in the course of which he felt
that pain might be given to one whom he liked and esteemed.

At length he forced himself to the task; and, after putting over the
decanter to his guest, and rubbing his right temple for a moment, he
said, "Your friend, Sir ----, made an admirable defence for you,
Winslow. I could only have wished that he had omitted a few words
about my pretty niece, Rose. I think it was unnecessary, and not
altogether judicious."

"Had I possessed any power of stopping him," replied Chandos Winslow;
"those words should never have been spoken, my dear Sir. But I very
well understand the motives on which Sir ---- acted. He only thought
of his client's defence; and judged it was necessary to assign or hint
some reason for not calling Miss Tracy on my part, as it had already
appeared that she was the last person with whom I spoke before the
murder. I am exceedingly grieved, however, that the slightest pain
should have been inflicted upon her for my sake."

"No, no," said General Tracy; "do not vex yourself about that. I am
not inclined to think that Rose has felt any pain on that account. The
reason why I feel sorry, is, that what he said must force forward
explanations, my young friend, which might have been better delayed.
No one can accuse you, Chandos, of having acted in any way but with
the most perfect delicacy, except, perhaps, in having induced Rose to
conceal from her family your real rank and name, while playing
gardener at Northferry."

"I trust, General Tracy," replied Chandos, "that you and your brother
are both perfectly well aware, I had no notion whatever, when I came
to Northferry, that my London acquaintance, Miss Tracy, was a daughter
of the master of the house. Had I been informed of the fact, I give
you my word of honour, I should not have played gardener there at all.
When I had once applied for the place, however, if I had not bound her
to secrecy, of course, I must have abandoned my whole scheme."

"That certainly makes a difference," said General Tracy, with a smile;
"and would make a greater difference still, if there had not been a
little bit of love in the case, my young friend."

"There was none when I came there," exclaimed Chandos, eagerly; "I had
but seen Miss Tracy once. I admired her, as all who see her must
admire her; but I can assure you there was nothing more: though I do
not mean to deny that longer acquaintance, and the circumstances in
which we have been placed with regard to each other, have changed what
was then mere admiration into the most sincere and devoted
attachment."

"Well, well," said General Tracy, "we will not dwell upon the past,
Chandos, but rather turn to consider the future. I must enter into
explanations with you, my young friend, painful for me to give, and
which, in their deductions, may be painful, I fear, to you also."

"Do not tell me not to hope, General Tracy," replied Chandos, in a
gloomy tone; "for that would take all power from the efforts which I
am called upon to make to change a bad situation into a good one."

"Such is not at all my intention," said the old officer. "But it is
necessary that your position with my sweet niece should be exactly
defined; and as my brother was not willing to enter upon any
explanation, I have taken it upon myself: so listen patiently. You
must have heard, at least, I will take it for granted you are aware,
that grave embarrassments have most suddenly and unexpectedly fallen
upon Rose's father. In short, he has acted like a great fool; and has
only for his excuse, that the madness is epidemic just now. The
Northferry estate was engaged for its full value, or very nearly so,
to meet the first pressing difficulty some time ago. A further debt,
to the amount of more than one hundred thousand pounds remained to be
paid; but to meet that, he had shares which at their then value would
have covered the sum within a few thousand pounds. Some of the shares
fell in value; and I saw that there would be a necessity for my
stepping in to his aid. I exacted from him authority, however, to sell
the whole of the rubbish on which he had been spending his fortune, in
order to realize as much as possible; but when I came to inquire, I
found that the shares were in the hands of a broker; and two days
after I discovered that this broker has absconded, carrying all with
him. A reaction is taking place--several of the lines have risen much
in the market. If my brother had possession of the papers, all could
be cleared in an hour. But the man's retreat is not to be discovered;
and though he cannot sell them himself without great danger, he has
taken no steps as yet to negociate for the restitution of the property
to my brother, as we supposed might be the rascal's course. In the
mean while my brother was arrested and brought to London, where the
action was bailed; but a threat has been held out to make him a
bankrupt as a dealer--a thing most disgraceful to a gentleman. I have
always been anxious to spare my brother Arthur all unnecessary pain on
the subject, and willing to make any personal sacrifices for him; and,
after due consideration, I yesterday made a proposal to the creditors
to the following effect:--To sell my own estate; and, with the
reservation of ten thousand pounds for each of the girls, and ten
thousand more to buy an annuity for my own and my brother's lives, to
make over to them all the proceeds, upon their giving him a release,
and forbearing to strike a docket against him, with a covenant, that
if the papers respecting the shares are ever recovered, the whole
shall be sold to pay off what debt may remain. It is estimated by
competent persons, that what I offer, together with the proceeds of
the sale of his house in town, the books, pictures, &c., will afford a
dividend of about seventy per cent., and I think they will accept it.
My brother will then be saved from the disgrace of a bankruptcy court;
but you will remark that Rose's portion will be but ten thousand
pounds."

"I think I need hardly tell you, General Tracy," replied Chandos;
"that Miss Tracy's fortune was never for one moment a consideration
with me. Little or great, my attachment is the same, and would remain
so if she had nought but her hand to bestow."

General Tracy smiled. "You are too impetuous," he said. "I can easily
conceive that her fortune was no _inducement_, young gentleman; but a
matter of consideration it must be both with you and me. Could I
divide all I have at this moment between my two nieces, and give Rose
a portion which would enable you to live at ease, I should have no
hesitation, no care; but such is not the case. She has but a small
dower; you, if I mistake not, have not much more, and the amount that
you could together supply would not be sufficient to maintain you in
the station of life in which you have both been born. You have at
present no profession, Chandos; no means of increasing your income.
You must seek one--you must choose some course which will give a
reasonable hope of securing competence; and then, claim the dear
girl's hand if you will. I am not ambitious for my niece--I seek for
her neither high nor wealthy alliance; but I have lived long enough to
learn that, after health, competence is the best blessing of God. The
days of love in a cottage have long passed by; and as my brother has
fully authorized me to deal with this matter as I think fit, I say
thus shall it be--apply yourself to find some honourable means of
supporting a lady by your own abilities in the station of a lady, and
Rose Tracy's friends will oppose no obstacle; but till then, no sworn
vows or solemn engagements. If you cannot trust to her affection, her
affection is not worth having. If she cannot rely upon your honour,
she is better without yourself."

Chandos took his hand and pressed it warmly. "So be it," he said; "but
two questions more, General Tracy. What will you think sufficient to
justify us in marrying?"

"I have thought of no particular income," replied the old officer. "A
pursuit that may lead to one, is the first thing. As to the rest, say
five hundred a year more than you already possess together. Now for
the second question."

"It is, whether you intend to refuse me her society till such a point
be obtained," was Chandos Winslow's reply.

"Nay, Heaven forbid!" cried the old officer; "that were to inflict
unnecessary pain, and to take from you the best encouragement to
exertion. No! I trust entirely to your honour, my young friend, that
you do not pursue your suit beyond the bounds agreed upon; and, with
that understanding, when she becomes the inmate of my dwelling, as
will most likely soon be the case, you may see her when you
please--with due moderation, Chandos--with due moderation, remember."

"You thought that what you had to say would give me pain, my dear
General," answered Chandos; "but it is all I could wish or expect. I
have now an object in life, now a hope to lead me on; and energetic
efforts under such circumstances will not fail of success, I am sure.
I have, however, other tasks before me, which I must execute in the
first place, although I anticipate little success. If therefore, you
have any commands for Northferry, I am ready to perform them, as I
shall be down in that neighbourhood for a fortnight to come."

"I have none," replied the General. "Northferry and ourselves will
soon, I suppose, have to part for ever; and I should have thought your
connexion with that pleasant place was already severed. Alas! that it
should be so. I have come to that time of life, Chandos, when the
mind's food is memory. Hope is the pabulum of youth, my young friend;
recollection the diet of old age: and we cling to everything that
recalls pleasant memories, as one of your London diner's-out attaches
himself to a giver of good dinners. But what, I wonder, takes you to
Northferry?"

"A wild goose chase, I believe," answered Chandos; "I would fain
encourage expectation of some good resulting from it; but the hopes
fade away as soon as they are born; and I go more because a good and a
wise friend advises me, than from any conviction on my own part.
Neither do I exactly go to Northferry; but very near it I shall
certainly be, if you have any commands."

"Few, few," replied the General. "One thing, indeed, you may do, if
you will; namely, bring the little boy, Tim, to London with you. I
must put him to a school in the neighbourhood; for even misfortune
must not make me forget my given word."

Chandos promised to take all care of the boy; and the conversation
turned to other subjects.



CHAPTER XL.


Four days passed after Chandos Winslow's conference with General Tracy
ere he could quit London. Lawyers are not fond of moving fast. Some
difficulties occurred in drawing up the notice to be served upon Sir
William Winslow and Lord Overton, regarding the sale of Winslow Abbey;
and the whole arrangements were not completed till late on the fourth
night. Chandos consoled himself easily, however; for during those four
days he twice saw Rose Tracy; and he began to comprehend better than
he had ever done before, how Mark Antony had lost a world for
Cleopatra's eyes. At length, however, on the fifth morning, one of
those machines which the Londoners, in their monosyllabic propensity
call a "cab," whirled him and his light portmanteau down to the
railway terminus, and in two minutes after, Chandos was rolling away
upon the rails towards his native place. The morning had been
beautiful, dawning with a brightness and a lustre which do not always
promise well for the risen day; and ere the train had reached the
second station, the sky was covered with gray cloud, and a thin, fine
rain was dewing the whole earth. Thicker and faster it came down as
the traveller proceeded on his way, till at length when he got out,
about sixty miles from town, to perform the rest of his journey by
coach, a perfect deluge was pattering upon the roof of the shed under
which he alighted. He had neither umbrella nor great coat; and he was
glad to find an inside place disengaged, to carry him at least part of
the way warm and dry.

His companions were an elderly woman, with a large basket, well
furnished with sandwiches, and a wicker bottle full of gin-and-water;
and a tall, stout man, of about forty-five or forty-six, tolerably
well dressed, in a long brown great-coat, and endowed with an
exceedingly yellow complexion. The lady did not seem inclined for much
conversation, but consoled herself from time to time for the evils of
travelling by the sources of comfort which she had provided in her
bottle and basket. The male traveller was somewhat more communicative,
though in a peculiarly short, dry way. He saluted Chandos on his
entering the coach with a "Good morning, Sir;" which act of homeliness
of course bespoke the rude countryman, in a land where every
well-educated man demeans himself towards his neighbour as an enemy,
till something occurs to make them friends. Chandos, on his part, was
not in the slightest degree afraid of having his pocket picked, his
character injured, or his mind contaminated; and therefore he answered
his new companion civilly, and asked if he had come down by the train.

"Yes, Sir," replied the other; "from a fool's errand."

"How so?" asked Chandos.

"Seeking in London what I might have found in the country, and what I
did not find there," rejoined the stranger; "travelling up to look for
that which travelled down with me, without looking for."

"I never could find out riddles in my life," said Chandos. "How hard
it rains! I did not see you on the train."

"I saw you," answered the man: "I see everything."

"Indeed!" replied Chandos Winslow, not particularly well pleased with
his companion: "then you must see a great deal that does not please
you."

"Not much," said the other: "I am easily pleased. Did you see a green
chariot behind the train, and a gentleman in it, and a vally--an
Italian vagabond?"

Chandos started, and turned round, saying, "No. Whose carriage was
it?"

"The master of Elmsly was in it," said the man.

"Indeed!" said Chandos. And, after a moment's thought, he added, "You
seem to know me, I think."

"Oh, yes; I know you quite well," replied the stranger. "I was in the
court when you were tried for murder."

The old lady opposite gave a start, and exclaimed, "Lord a-mercy!" and
Chandos's face flushed, partly in anger, partly in shame.

"A recollection of such things is not particularly pleasant to me," he
replied, sharply.

"I don't see why not," answered his fellow-traveller. "You knew you
were innocent, and you proved it to the jury. If it should be
unpleasant to anybody, it is to those who accused you, and to the man
who committed the murder, and would have let you be hanged for it."

Chandos made no answer, but fell into thought; and full half-an-hour
passed without a word being spoken. At length the young gentleman
inquired, "Are you of the town of S----?"

"No," answered the other; "I do not live in a town, I live in the
country; but I happened to be there that day by accident, and I went
into the court to see what was going on. It was wonderful hot; but yet
I stayed it out, though I thought I should have been suffocated."

Another long pause succeeded; the man seemed determined to hunt down a
subject the most disagreeable for Chandos to pursue; and therefore the
young gentleman refrained from all further conversation till the coach
stopped to change horses, near a spot where a road branched off
towards Winslow Abbey. There Chandos alighted, and ordered his
portmanteau to be carried up to a bed-room in the neat little
road-side inn. The old lady and the stout, yellow-faced traveller,
proceeded on their way together; and Chandos ordered some refreshment,
preparatory to a long walk which he contemplated.

While the mutton-chop was in preparation, and he was taking out some
necessary articles from his portmanteau, the thick veil of clouds
which covered the sky became of a paler grey, and then, towards the
westward, where a wide open country extended before the windows of the
inn, the edge of the vapour drew up like a curtain, showing the yellow
gleam of evening between the woods and hedgerows in the distance.
Before the young traveller's light meal was concluded, the rain had
ceased entirely, and no trace of clouds remained upon the heaven,
except some white feathery streaks of rising vapour, chequering the
fresh deep blue.

Telling the people of the inn that he might not return till the
following morning, Chandos walked on, taking the narrow lane which led
along the side of the hill towards Winslow Abbey, then at the distance
of about seven miles. The sun was within half an hour of its setting;
but the sweet, long twilight of the late spring evenings was to be
depended upon for many minutes after the star of day was down, and
Chandos did not wish to reach the cottage of Lockwood before it was
dark. He walked therefore calmly and somewhat slowly, now mounting,
now descending, amongst the trees and copses of the hill side, as the
road pursued its varying course. Sometimes the view was shut out by
trees, and nothing was seen but the green branches and the round
silvery trunks of the old beeches, with the rays of the setting sun
stealing in amongst them, and tipping the moss and underwood with
gold; but more frequently he caught sight of the wide extended plains
to the west, lying in definite lines of purple and grey, with the
varied scenery of the hill-slope forming the foreground, the trees of
the old wood tossed here and there amongst the yellow, broken banks,
and every now and then part of the outline of a cottage or small
country-house contrasting its straight forms with the wavey lines of
the landscape, and bringing in images of social life amongst the
wildness of uncultivated nature.

The sun was more than half down; but a bright spot of gold upon the
edge of the horizon, with one line of dark cloud drawn across it,
still poured forth a flood of splendour, when a little turn of the
road brought Chandos nearly in front of a human habitation. It was a
simple little cottage, of two stories high, with a row of green paling
before it, a little garden in front, and two doors, one in the centre,
and the other at the side leading probably to the kitchen. It was
built upon the extreme verge of the steep bank, so that there seemed
no exit behind; and the road spread out wide before, under a cliffy
piece of the hill, which seemed to have been scooped out by man's
hands, probably for sand or gravel. It was a sequestered little nook;
and, in the green evening light, as it streamed through the trees,
looked as peaceful an abode as a weary heart could well desire.

The pleasant tranquillity of the scene had apparently attracted
another person, besides the inhabitants of the cottage, to make a
temporary sojourn there; for, underneath the high bank just opposite,
was a stream of silver-gray smoke rising up against the cliff, and
curling in amongst the trees which topped it; and below was seen the
dilapidated tin-kettle from which it proceeded, with an old man
blowing hard into the hole where once a spout had been. A number of
pots and pans lay around, and a wallet was cast upon the ground hard
by. The old man whistled a wild air in time as he blew, and his face
was turned rather towards the house than his work, so that Chandos had
a full view of his features. It required not two looks to bring to his
recollection the travelling tinker, who had conducted him to the
gipsey encampment on his first visit to Northferry.

Walking up to him with a smile, the young gentleman asked if he
remembered him; and the old man, laughing, winked his eye, answering,
in his peculiar cracked voice, "Aye, do I, master gardener. Do you
want food, and drink, and information to-day, as you did the last time
we met?"

"Food and drink I can dispense with to-day," replied Chandos; "but a
little information would not be amiss. Can you tell me, my good
friend, where I can find Sally Stanley."

"I can find her myself," answered the tinker; "that is to say, I could
find her if I could quit this; but I mustn't."

"Indeed!" said Chandos, in some surprise: "why not? I suppose you will
go before night; for you have not got even a tent here to cover you."

"That's nothing," answered the gipsey; "I shall be here all night,
unless some one comes to relieve me, as they call it."

"Why, are you on guard, then?" asked Chandos.

"I'm on watch, and that is as good," replied the tinker, winking his
eye, and looking towards the house.

"Who are you watching there, then?" demanded the young gentleman; but
the old man only grinned, and made no reply for a minute or two, till
Chandos repeated his question.

"Very likely!" said the tinker; "don't you think I'll tell you,
master? I'm watching some one who will not come out in a hurry while I
am here; and when I'm gone, there will be another, and when he's gone,
another, till we starve the rat out of his hole, or at all events find
out if he is in it. But you have nothing to do with that. You are not
one of us, you know. You've your own trade, and that's a gardener's.
Stick to that."

"I've given that up sometime, as I think you know," answered Chandos.

"Aye, may be, may be," said the old tinker; "I've heard something of
it. But what is it you want to say to Sally Stanley? Do you want your
new fortune told? She is the rarest hand amongst them for that. Never
was such a one; for she is always right, one way or another: and our
people think she has got a spirit that tells her all that is going to
happen, at those times when she gets into her tantarums and goes about
amongst the dead men's graves and that. I would not bide her curse for
a great deal. It fell hard upon poor Harry Chambers; for you know he
was sent over the water for life, just three months after. But what do
you want with her?"

"Nay, that is my business," answered Chandos; "only you tell her I am
down here again, and will speak to her when she likes. I have a good
many things to say that she may wish to hear; and she has something to
say to me."

"But where shall she look for you?" asked the tinker. "Though I dare
say she knows well enough; for she knows everything."

"It is better to make sure," replied the young gentleman; "so let her
know that I shall be at Lockwood's cottage to-night, and be gone by
day-break. I shall then be at my place at Northferry, for a day or
two, or between that and S----; and then, perhaps, over at Elmsly."

"I shan't see her to-night," said the tinker; "for she is a good way
off; and Garon comes up when I am to go. After that I'll find her
out.--But look, look--quietly, quietly! Don't you see a man in there,
at the back of the little parlour--a man with a round face and a pair
of green spectacles?"

"Yes, I do," said Chandos; "now that they have opened that window at
the back to let the light in, I see a man there; but I cannot well see
what he is like."

"Use your young eyes well," said the tinker; "and tell me if he has
not a round, red face, and a pair of green spectacles on, and a flaxen
wig, and a cravat high up about his chin--why, I can see the
spectacles myself."

"So do I now," said Chandos. But the next moment the front window was
shut, and all further view into the interior of the room cut off.
Chandos mused. He had more than once, as a native of a well-wooded
country greatly frequented by gipsies, remarked the extraordinary
knowledge which that curious race of wanderers acquire of all that is
passing in their neighbourhood, and had wondered how they arrived at
their information. The uses which they put it to when gained was more
evident; but he knew not till that night, and indeed few do know the
marvellous pains which gipsies often take to find out minute and
apparently insignificant facts, and the no less wonderful skill with
which they combine them when obtained, and draw deductions from them,
generally approaching very close to the truth. Sometimes they have an
object, and sometimes none; for curiosity by habit becomes a passion
with them. But in the present instance there was evidently some end in
view; and Chandos, from various circumstances, felt inclined to
inquire further ere he proceeded.

Following the same train of combinations which a gipsey would most
likely have followed, suspicions were excited which he longed to turn
into certainties; and after thinking over the matter for a time, he
said, "And so, my good friend, the gentleman with the round, red face
and green spectacles is hidden down here, is he?"

"I did not say he was hidden," answered the tinker, instantly upon his
guard.

"You said what amounts to the same thing," replied Chandos; "for you
told me he would not come out as long as you were here."

"Aye; that may be for fear of having his bones broke," said the other;
"you know, we don't easily forgive them who offend us."

"Come, come; I am not to be put upon the wrong scent," replied
Chandos. "Sally Stanley told me something of this before; but I did
not think she would have found out his hiding-place so soon."

"Why, what does she know of it?" asked the tinker, with the most
natural air in the world; "you are out in your guesses, master
gardener. You can't come over an old cove like me. If you know
anything of the gemman, go and ring the bell, and ask if Mr. Wilson's
at home. I dare say he'll see _you_;" and the old man laid a strong
emphasis on the last word.

"Is it a Mr. Wilson who lives there, then?" asked Chandos.

The gipsey nodded his head, and Chandos, saying, "It is not a bad
plan," walked straight up to the little gate, and rang the bell. The
gipsey put his tongue in his cheek, and winked his eye; but the next
moment a maidservant came to the door of the house, and, without
approaching the garden-gate, inquired, in a flippant tone, "What do
you want, young man?"

"Is Mr. Wilson at home?" demanded Chandos, not at all expecting that
the girl would admit the residence of such a person there. To his
surprise, however, she answered, more civilly than at first, "No, Sir;
he's gone to town."

"But I saw him in that room, a minute or two ago," replied the young
gentleman.

"Lord, Sir, no," said the maid; "that is his father, the old gentleman
who is ill with a quinsy, and don't see any one. Master has been in
London this week. He'll be down o' Thursday."

Convinced that his suspicions had led him wrong, Chandos turned away,
and saw the old tinker laughing heartily. It is not pleasant to be
laughed at, as the sapient reader is probably aware. But laughers
sometimes lose; and in this instance the half-crown which had been
destined for the old man remained in Chandos's pocket: not that it was
kept there by any feeling of anger on his part; but because the young
gentleman was not inclined to face the merriment his disappointment
had created, he turned away, and walked straight on in the direction
of Winslow Abbey.

Night fell when he was at the distance of three miles from the park;
and, hurrying his pace, he soon after stood before the gates of tall,
hammered iron-work, erected more than two centuries before. The great
gates were chained and padlocked; but the lesser one, at the side, was
open, and Chandos entered the park where he had played in boyhood,
with a bitter feeling at his heart, when he thought that all his
efforts might not be able to prevent it passing away from his name and
race for ever.

He followed the path which he had trod every Sunday during his
mother's life, from the Abbey to the parish church, and back; and at
the distance of about half-a-mile from the gates, he caught sight of
the mansion. There was a single, solitary light in one of the windows,
shining faint, like the last hope in his breast; and as he advanced it
flitted along the whole range, till at length, at the further extreme,
it blazed brighter, as if several candles had been suddenly lighted.
At the same time, turning to the right, the young gentleman took the
path which led away to the house of his half-brother. The park seemed
to him even more melancholy than when last he visited it. It had a
more deserted feeling to his mind. It was to be sold; and yet for all
that he clung to it the more. If it had cost him his right hand, he
would have kept it. As we attach ourselves the more fondly to a friend
in distress, so he held more firmly by the old place he loved, because
those who ought to have loved it likewise, abandoned it.

"Would that my father had left it to me!" he repeated to himself more
than once. "Had it been nought but the Abbey and the Park, I would
have worked the flesh from my bones to keep it up. But it is
gone--gone! and the hope is vain they hold out to me. I feel it, I
know it!"

With such melancholy thoughts he walked on, through the chestnut-wood,
all in green leaf, across the ferny savannah, where the deer lay
thick, amongst the old hawthorn trees, loading the air with aromatic
balm. He approached the park wall, and saw, by the clear gray light
sent before the yet invisible moon, the enclosure round the house of
Lockwood, and the house itself--a dark, black mass, upon the silvery
eastern sky. Yet the trees and shrubs in the garden before the windows
caught another ray, and in long beamy lines the misty light poured
forth from the lozenge panes of the casements. Chandos opened the
little garden gate and went in; but as he approached the door, he
heard voices speaking, and even laughter, very dissonant to his ear.
He was in no mood for merry company: there were few people he could
wish to meet, and many he would not meet; and ere he gave any
indication of his presence, he walked along the path before the
windows and looked in, to ascertain who were the guests within. Before
him, with his back to the casement, the neat white dimity curtain of
which was not drawn, appeared the tall, powerful frame of Lockwood
himself, while a bowl of smoking punch stood upon the table before
him, and his hand was stretched out, armed with a curious,
old-fashioned ladle, which he was dipping in the fragrant compound, to
supply the glass which another person opposite was holding out towards
him. In the face of that other person, which was turned towards the
window, Chandos instantly recognized the handsome but too delicate
features of Faber. Lockwood filled the glass to the brim, and then
raised his own, already full, exclaiming so loud that the words were
heard without, "Here's to him, then. Health to our good brother
Chandos: may God grant him his rights, and send confusion to those who
would wrong him!"

Chandos waited to hear no more, but approaching the door of the house,
was about to ring the bell. A peal of laughter, not from Lockwood's
lips, though with a far more joyous sound than he had ever before
heard those of Faber utter, made the visitor pause for a moment; and
then with a sudden and somewhat impatient movement, he lifted the
latch, and entered unannounced.



CHAPTER XLI.


As Chandos extended one hand to Faber and the other to Lockwood, he
remarked that the cheek of the former was a good deal flushed, and his
eye more bright and sparkling than usual. The bowl of strong punch on
the table was nearly empty, and the deduction was evident. Lockwood's
strong head and strong frame had resisted the effects of his
potations; but Faber, though not at all drunk, was a good deal
excited.

"Welcome, welcome back!" said Lockwood. "I was just going to write you
a letter, ending after Mrs. Penelope's fashion--'Nil mihi rescribas
attamen ipse veni.' You have come at the very nick of time, Chandos;
for here Mr. Faber has been telling me things which prove that your
father was not so unkindly negligent of you as you have supposed."

"For that, I am thankful," answered Chandos, "even if no other result
take place. What is it, Faber? Let me hear."

Lockwood's eyes were fixed upon the countenance of the young man to
whom Mr. Winslow spoke; and he saw the timid, hesitating look, which
was its habitual expression, steal over it again. "Come, Faber, you
and Chandos finish the punch between you," he said; "I have had
enough."

"And so have I too," answered Faber. But he suffered Lockwood to fill
his glass again, and drank it off at once. The effect was quick. He
reflected, perhaps, that what he had just said he could not unsay; and
at all events, the punch gave him courage to repeat it. The manner was
diffuse and circumlocutory, it is true; and where there was an
opportunity of putting anything in a doubtful manner, by a change in
the mood of the verb, from the direct indicative to the potential,
he never failed to do so; but the substance of the story was as
follows.--"He had seen, read, and copied," he said, "the will, to
which the memorandum found by Mr. Roberts referred. The late Sir Harry
Winslow, who had ordered him to copy it, had kept the transcript; but
he recollected the whole particulars. To himself, an annuity of four
hundred a year had been left, chargeable upon the Winslow Abbey
estate. The whole of that property, with the Abbey and all that it
contained, had been left to Chandos. The Elmsly property had been
assigned to his brother, as well as the whole personal property, with
the exception of four thousand pounds to Lockwood, in lieu of all
other claims, and a few legacies to servants."

There the young man paused; and Lockwood, after having given him a
little time to proceed, if he pleased, exclaimed, "Go on, Mr. Faber;
you have not half done! Remember about the burning of the will."

"I did not say he burned the will," cried Faber, turning white; "I
only said he burned a good many papers just after Sir Harry's death. I
saw him, as I was looking out of my window at Elmsly, which is just in
the corner, near the strong-room. What they were, I do not know."

"Then he burned papers in the strong-room?" said Chandos.

"Yes, Mr. Winslow," replied Faber, "that he certainly did. Three or
four, I saw him burn, with a great iron chest open before him; he held
them to the candle one after the other, and then threw them down on
the stone floor, and watched them till they went out. But, mind, I do
not know what they were. I never said that any one of them was the
will."

"Of course, you could not do so, Faber," replied Chandos; "for I know
the position of the two rooms well; and you could not at that distance
see what the papers were."

"No, I could not see," reiterated Faber.

"Nevertheless," said Chandos, gravely, "what you did see, and what you
do know, is so important, that I must request to have it in writing."

"Oh no, indeed, I cannot, Mr. Winslow," said the young man, very pale,
"Why, if Sir William Winslow were to know, what would happen? You will
not ask me, I am sure."

"Be quite sure, Faber, not only that I will ask; but that I will
insist," answered Chandos, with a frown. "Let me have pen and ink,
Lockwood, and we will have this down at once. My good friend, you have
no choice. You have made a statement this night which you will soon
have to repeat in a court of justice. Now your fault, Faber, is
timidity: that timidity might lead you to gloss over or attempt to
conceal facts in court, which would be speedily wrung from you by
cross-examination, and you would be put to shame, But by insisting
upon your signing the account you have given, I guard you against
yourself; for you will have no motive for hesitation or concealment.
You must there state what you have here stated, without a
consideration of the consequences."

"I cannot, indeed I cannot," exclaimed Faber, trembling violently.

"Faber, I insist," replied Chandos; "I did not think that you, whom I
have so often befriended, so often protected, would refuse to do a
simple act of justice in my favour, out of regard for a man
comparatively a stranger to you. Write down his words, Lockwood, as
well as you can recollect them. They shall then be read over to him,
that he may sign them."

"Oh, Mr. Winslow, I did not think you would do this," cried Faber;
"you know what a terrible man Sir William is."

"Write, Lockwood, write," cried Chandos, his lip slightly curling with
contempt. But Faber started up from the table, saying in a more
resolute tone than he had hitherto used, "It is of no use, I will not
sign it, I will go."

Chandos, however, threw himself between him and the door, locked it,
and took out the key. "Your pardon, Mr. Faber," he said; "you do not
go. You stay here, and sign the statement you have just made, or if
you go, you go in custody."

"In custody?" exclaimed the young man, his eyes staring wildly with
fear.

"Yes, Sir," answered Chandos; "in custody, on a charge of being
accessory to the destruction of my father's will, which, allow me to
tell you, is a felony. Sir William Winslow may be a very violent man,
but you will find that his brother is a very resolute one."

"Oh, Mr. Winslow, I am sure you would not do such a thing," cried
Faber.

"You will see in two minutes," replied Chandos sternly. "When Lockwood
has finished the paper, you shall have your choice. You either sign
it, or he fetches a constable. In the mean while, sit down; for I am
in no humour to be trifled with."

The young man cast himself on his chair, covering his eyes with his
hand. Lockwood wrote rapidly; and in about ten minutes the short
statement he drew up was finished. He then read it aloud, pausing upon
each sentence; and Chandos, satisfied that it was substantially the
same as the account which Faber had himself given, placed it before
him, saying, "There is pen and ink."

The young man hesitated for more than a minute; and then Chandos
withdrew the paper from before him, and turned to Lockwood, saying
coldly, "Fetch the constable, Lockwood. I will guard him till you
return."

"Stop, stop," cried Faber; "I will sign it. Only give me a little
time. You should have put in, that I was accidentally looking out of
my window that night."

"Put it in yourself above," answered Lockwood, handing him the pen.

Faber took it, and made the alteration he proposed; then paused and
hesitated again, but in the end wrote his name rapidly at the bottom.

"And now, Faber," said Chandos, laying his hand kindly on his
shoulder, "you will yourself have more peace of mind. Depend upon it,
the only way to preserve a man's dignity of character, his peace, and
self-respect, is to do what he knows is right, perfectly careless of
consequences. You were aware that I had been wronged. You had the
means of assisting me to regain my right, and that, by only making a
declaration which you were bound in honour and justice to make. You
should, indeed, have made it before; but I forgive your not having
done so, because I know you are afraid of a man whose violence gives
him anything but a claim to respect."

"Why I should gain more than lose," said the weak young man, bursting
into tears; "if you could prove this other will, I should have two
hundred a year more than by the other; so you must see it was not my
own interest I was consulting, Mr. Winslow."

"No, you were consulting nothing but your fears, Faber," said Chandos;
"and those fears of Sir William Winslow, depend upon it, are quite
vain and foolish. He has no power over you; he can do nought to injure
you."

"How I shall ever meet him again, when he comes hack, I know not,"
answered Faber, with a melancholy shake of the head.

"He Is back already," replied Chandos; "at least, I am told so."

The young man started off his chair at this announcement, actually as
if some one had fired a pistol at him; but while he was gazing in Mr.
Winslow's face with a look of terror almost ludicrous, some one shook
the door of Lockwood's house, and Faber darted away into the inner
room, as if he thought that it could be none other than the man he so
much dreaded.

"Who is there?" asked Lockwood.

"It is I, Sir," answered the voice of Garbett, the keeper; and, at a
sign from Chandos, Lockwood opened the door, saying, "What is it,
Garbett?"

The man started at beholding Chandos Winslow, and exclaimed, "Bless
me, Sir, is that you? Well, Sir, I am glad to see you, now I know who
you are. Why I taught you to shoot when you were a young lad at Eton."

"I am very glad to see you," answered Chandos; "but you wanted to tell
Lockwood something."

"Why, Sir, it is a night of surprises," said Garbett: "your brother,
Sir William, arrived at the Abbey about an hour ago. We have been
looking for Mr. Faber everywhere, and can't find him; and so he sent
me down to tell Mr. Lockwood that he wants to see him."

"If he wants me, he must come down to seek me," said Lockwood,
bluntly. "I want nothing with him; and therefore shall not go near
him. Just tell him what I say, Garbett. He knows me well enough, and
won't expect any civil messages."

While Lockwood had been giving this answer, Chandos Winslow had
remained with his arms crossed upon his chest, his teeth set fast, and
his lips compressed. There was a great struggle going on in his
breast. The feelings of indignation which had been raised against his
brother were very strong. He did not comprehend that it was vindictive
pride, rather than avarice, which had made Sir William Winslow destroy
his father's will--the desire of triumphing over, and trampling upon,
a brother who had offended him, rather than the love of mere money; he
called the transaction pitiful, as well as base; and when Garbett
entered, Chandos was resolved, without pause, to expose the whole in a
court of justice, at all risks. But, as the man spoke, gentler
emotions arose--feelings strong, though tender. He remembered early
days. He hesitated, though he did not yield. He asked himself, "Is
there not a middle course?" and before the keeper could reply to
Lockwood, he said aloud, "I will go up to him myself;" and he moved
towards the door.

"Think twice, think twice," said Lockwood, laying his hand upon his
arm.

"No; I am resolved," said Chandos, in a sad, but determined tone. "We
will meet once more as brothers, before we meet as adversaries. I will
forget for the time there is ought within his bosom but kindred blood,
and a brother's spirit. I will entreat, I will persuade, I will argue,
as a last resource before I am driven to menace and to act. I will try
what reason will do, in order to escape a course, the results of which
I dread to think of."

"Well," said Lockwood; "well, it is the right way; but he does not
deserve it, and no good will come of it."

Chandos made no reply, but walked out into the park, and took his way,
with a quick step, towards the Abbey.

"We had better go after him at once, Garbett," said Lockwood; "there
is no knowing what may follow. They are both sharp spirits; and I
should not wonder if there were blood shed."

"Lord, Mr. Lockwood, I hope not," cried the keeper; "but let us be
after him, then; for it is as well to be near to part them in case of
need."

"It might be difficult to part them," answered Lockwood; "but come
along;" and taking up his hat, he accompanied the keeper into the
park, leaving Faber, still trembling with apprehension, in the inner
room of the cottage.



CHAPTER XLII.


In the large drawing-room at Winslow Abbey, with four tallow candles
on the table, to give some light to its great extent, stood Sir
William Winslow, his brow heavy with thought, his cheek pale, and his
eye haggard with anxiety. The gloomy room, the faded hangings of dull
crimson velvet, which seemed to drink in all the rays of light and
give none back again, the many memories with which the place was
stored, the solitary aspect of the nearly deserted mansion, the
melancholy sighing of the wind through its courts and corridors,
tended not to raise the spirit in a heart already depressed by crime.
He had sent his valet to Elmsly, glad to be freed from his oppressive
presence, and had come on alone, full of bitter and even angry
fancies. The worm that never dies was in his heart, the fire that
cannot be quenched consumed his brain. He had given way to an
intemperate burst of passion at not finding Faber there waiting to
receive him, though the young man knew not of his coming; but when he
had sent Garbett out to find Lockwood, and he remained alone in that
wide room, his feelings became more gloomy and less fierce, his heart
sunk, to think of what he was, and of what he might yet become.

The memories of pleasant childhood, too, of innocence, if not of
peace, (for he had been turbulent from his infancy,) came back in
mournful contrast with the present, when peace and innocence were gone
together, when nought remained but bitter anxiety, and corroding fear,
and dark remorse. It was well nigh despair he felt.

Yet there was something like a gleam of sunshine upon the long, long
past which made him fix his eyes by preference upon it. He thought of
the young days when he had sported in that room, piled up the chairs
into castles, or built himself houses with the sofa cushions. He saw
his father's stately form stand gazing at him with pride; he beheld
his mother sit and watch him with affection; he knew that both had
looked forward with expectation of high things to his future career;
he asked himself where were these hopes? how were they fulfilled?
Gone, gone, with those days of childhood, with those innocent sports,
with the calm of infancy, with the fleeting ills of boyhood. Gone for
ever--a bar between them and fruition, which no repentance could ever
remove, no reformation ever do away.

He took a candle from the table, and held it up to the large picture
of his mother, gazing earnestly upon features which had almost faded
from memory. Suddenly his eye fell upon a ticket in the corner,
marked, "Lot 60;" and he exclaimed, "Good God! was I going to sell
that? No, that must not be sold!" And taking the ticket, he tore it
from the frame.

The next instant there was a timid knock at the door, and he said, in
a milder voice than usual, "Come in."

It was the keeper Garbett's wife, with something like a letter in her
hand; which, advancing many curtsies, she presented to Sir William.

"Who was it gave you this?" asked the baronet, taking a curiously
folded piece of vellum from her hand.

"A strange-looking man, Sir," she said, "gave it in at the door: more
like a corpse than a living man."

"You may go," said Sir William Winslow, without opening the letter,
which he conceived to be some law paper, connected perhaps with the
relations regarding property between his brother and himself; and when
she was gone he paused a moment, in thought. Whatever were his
meditations, they ended by his exclaiming, "No! Curse me if he shall!
It is unfair and unjust. I am the eldest son; and he had no right to
have it. I will fight it out to the last penny I have."

As he spoke, he tore open the letter hastily. What was his surprise to
find that the few lines it contained were written in blood-red ink,
and in a fine, clear, steady female hand. He held it to the candle and
read the following words:--

"William Winslow, alive or dead, meet me on Thursday at your father's
grave in the churchyard of Elmsly, at midnight. Fail not, or I will
come to fetch you.

   "SUSAN GREY."

He let the parchment fall from his hand, and gazed at it as it lay
upon the floor with a wild and straining eye. No one had scoffed more
loudly at all superstitions--no one in his life and conduct had shown
a more practical contempt for the very idea of supernatural
visitations. But his nerves were shaken by remorse and apprehension.
Terror and anxiety had enlisted fancy on their side. He knew the
handwriting well; he believed that no one was aware of his return to
England; he thought that the hand which must have traced those lines
had long been consigned to the grave. Hardihood, and firmness, and the
powers of reason, gave way together; and the fierce, firm, proud Sir
William Winslow, trembled in every limb. He called it a fraud--an
absurd, a ludicrous invention, an idle deceit, a scheme only fit to
frighten a child. But yet he gazed upon the parchment, yet his limbs
shook; notwithstanding every effort, yet his heart sunk; and he
thought of the injured and the dead; he thought of his violated
promises, his unfeeling abandonment, his brutal repulse of the prayer
for mercy and support; and he felt, ay, he felt in the heart of the
spirit, that if ever the dead are permitted to revisit earth and warn
those who have wronged them of approaching retribution, his was a case
in which such an awful interruption of the ordinary laws that govern
all things might well take place: in short, that he had called upon
himself a special curse, and might well expect a special punishment.

Ere he could nerve himself to throw off the first dark impression, the
door opened suddenly; and with a fearful start Sir William Winslow
sank into a chair. The next instant his brother stood before him.

"What brings you here?" cried the baronet, recovering himself the next
moment; "what brings you to this house? I thought, Sir, we had parted
not to meet again."

"You were mistaken, Sir William," answered Chandos, shutting the door
behind him. "Events have taken place since we parted which render our
meeting again necessary. When I left you, I told you I would never
enter your house again; but in coming hither I only come to my own."

"Your own!" exclaimed Sir William; "what do you mean? Have you gone
mad?"

"Far from it, my brother," answered Chandos, taking a chair and
seating himself before him; "let us not begin, William, with violence
and altercation. What may result from our conversation, God knows; but
let it, at all events, commence with calmness. That I bear you no ill
will, you ought to feel; for when your life was in my power I spared
it: nay, I spare it still."

"It is false," cried Sir William Winslow; "you have no power over my
life; you never have had. It was your own was in danger."

Chandos commanded himself: "You are very foolish to believe," he said,
"that deeds such as you have done, can ever be done in perfect
secrecy. Two words spoken by me at _my_ trial for _your_ crime, would
have brought forward such a mass of evidence against you, that by no
subtlety could you have escaped. I saw you strike the blow--ay, and
repeat it, as the old man fell; but my testimony would have been of
little avail, perhaps, unless corroborated. But corroboration was not
wanting. There were other eyes that saw you go down with him; there
were other ears that heard your angry words; there were those too who
saw you return; there were persons who watched your agitation, and
your wild whirling conversation, and drew the right deduction. But,
more than all, in your case there was a motive for the deed, which
explained all, and rendered it more horrible. Shall I tell you what
that motive was?"

Sir William Winslow sat silent, with his eyes bent down upon the
floor; and after a pause, Chandos went on. "You learned that night,
that your victim had discovered you had burnt your father's will to
wrong your brother; he taxed you with it; and you killed him!--Be
silent!--Do not deny it; but listen to me. I have the proofs, strong
and speaking proofs, of the crime with which he charged you, as well
as of the other. I know every item of the will, each legacy that it
contained; and I know, moreover, what is of greater importance
still--the very moment, and the very place at which you destroyed it.
Shall I tell you where and when? In the strong room at Elmsly, on the
night after my father's death. Alone, and with the door closed, you
thought no eyes saw you; but you were mistaken. Everything that you
did was observed by one competent to bear witness of the facts, and I
now ask you, William Winslow, whether you will drive me to bring
forward that witness in a court of justice? For, of one thing be
perfectly assured, that Winslow Abbey shall not be sold; and that you
shall do me justice, either voluntarily, or by compulsion."

He spoke slowly; and during the time that he did speak his brother's
hardy and resolute spirit had leisure to recover itself, and prepare
for resistance,

"You are violent, I see, as ever. But let me inform you that you are
mistaken--mistaken, first, as to your facts, and secondly as to the
person you have to deal with. Do you not know, Sir," he continued,
changing his whole manner, and assuming the stern and overbearing tone
more natural to him: "do you not know that I am not a man to be
bullied or insulted with impunity?"

"I neither bully nor insult you, Sir William Winslow," replied his
brother; "I tell you plain and undeniable facts. I do so in order that
you may spare yourself and me the pain of forcing me, much against my
will, to compel the concession of my just demands."

"And pray what are your sweet demands?" asked Sir William Winslow,
with his lip curling.

"The execution of my father's last will," answered Chandos. "If your
memory fail you as to the particulars, I can refresh it from a paper
in my pocket."

A momentary shade of hesitation appeared upon the face of Sir William
Winslow; but it passed away again immediately, and he answered boldly,
"The only will, Sir, that your father left has been proved, and is in
course of execution. In that I find no right or title given to you to
interfere with the disposal of Winslow Abbey; and I rather imagine you
will think twice, before you afford the world the disgraceful
spectacle of a younger brother attempting to dispossess the elder of
his patrimonial property."

"You did not go to Elmsly, I perceive, Sir William," said Chandos, "or
you would have discovered, before now, that such calculations upon my
forbearance are erroneous. When you do go there, you will find a
notice in due form, not to proceed with the pretended sale of that
which is not yours; and probably a letter from Lord Overton, to tell
you that he has received my protest against the whole transaction
between you and him, regarding Winslow Abbey."

"You have not done it," cried Sir William, starting up.

"You are mistaken; I have!" replied Chandos, firmly; "I have taken the
first step in a course which I will tread unremittingly to the end--if
I am driven to do so. But I beg of you, I beseech you, to think of the
consequences, and to spare me the pain. Remember, I entreat, what must
be proved in the course of such a suit. I shall have to prove," he
continued, "that poor Roberts discovered in the drawer of the library
here, a memorandum in my father's own handwriting, of having given a
signed copy of the will to you. I shall have to prove, by the same
witnesses, who were present when that memorandum was found, that he
came over in haste to Northferry, to bear me the important
information; and that he was murdered before he reached me. I shall
have to prove that he believed that you had burned the will: perhaps I
shall have to prove, also, that he told you so as you stood together
by the fish-pond at Northferry, the moment before his death."

His voice sunk almost to a whisper as he spoke; and a livid paleness
spread over Sir William Winslow's face.

Chandos thought he had produced some effect, and he went on more
eagerly. "Oh, William!" he said, "consider, and do what is right; for
the sake of our father's and our mother's memory; for the sake of the
honour of our name and race--for your own sake, if not for mine, do me
justice. Remember, O remember, that even to save my own life I would
not peril yours; that I abandoned and would not use the plain,
straightforward defence which would have freed me from danger and
anxiety in a moment; that I would not be a witness against a brother;
that I would not bring an accusation against you, even to cast the
burden from myself--an accusation which, once made, would have been
supported by a thousand other facts--by the testimony of her who heard
you speaking with poor Roberts, by the testimony of those who saw you
walking with him, by the evidence of the man who witnessed your return
to the house, by that of your own servants, who must have seen things
which could leave no doubt."

Sir William sank into his chair again, and grasped the arm tight, but
made no answer.

"Remember that I forbore," continued Chandos; "and do me simple
justice. But hear why I forbore:--I believed that you struck the fatal
blow under the influence of blind and headlong passion; but I knew
that a jury would not take that into account, when they found the
crime committed tended to cover another crime. I think so still: I do
believe, I do trust that with time for thought, that with any pause
for consideration, you would not deliberately have brought that old
man's gray hair to the dust, even to hide the wrong that you did me."

"I did you no wrong," muttered Sir William Winslow; "this is my
patrimonial inheritance. You have no right to it."

"You know at this moment," answered Chandos; "that my father left it
to me, because he was well aware that you do not value it as I do."

Sir William Winslow set his teeth hard, and said from between them, in
a low, bitter voice, "You shall never possess it!"

"Is that your last word upon the subject," asked Chandos.

Sir William Winslow nodded his head, and answered, slowly and
deliberately, "The very last."

"Then there is no resource," said the young gentleman, in a tone more
of sadness than irritation; and turning to the door he left the room.

A few steps down the corridor, he found Lockwood and the keeper
standing together, silent; but he was too much agitated by all that
had taken place to think of the motives which brought them there.

"Come, Lockwood," he said, in a low voice; "it is all in vain. He will
yield to no inducements. Where is Faber?"

"Down at my house still," answered Lockwood; "he is not likely to come
out, for he is as timid as a hare."

"He had better not see my brother any more till after the trial,"
answered Chandos. "I must go down and speak with him;" and walking
hastily away with Lockwood, he left the Abbey and crossed the park.

When they entered the little front room in Lockwood's house, they
found everything exactly as they had left it, except, indeed, that the
unsnuffed candles had guttered down nearly into the sockets. When they
came to try the inner door, however, in search of Faber, they found it
locked; and it was only when the young man heard the voices of Chandos
and his half-brother calling to him, that he ventured to speak or come
forth. Even then he was in a terrible state of agitation; and his
first words were, "Oh, Mr. Winslow, I cannot, I dare not go up to the
Abbey, or see your brother."

"I do not think it necessary or right that you should," replied
Chandos. "You had better come with me to the little village inn, and
go over with me to S---- to-morrow. You can thence write to Sir
William, informing him that you have made up your mind to tell the
whole truth regarding the will."

"I won't date the letter," said Faber; "and if you stay long at
S----, depend upon it he will come over, and find us out."

Sad as he was, Chandos could not refrain a smile; but he replied, "Do
not be alarmed, I will take care no harm happens to you. Moreover, I
shall only remain in S---- a few hours with my solicitor. I shall then
either go to Elmsly, to the house of poor Mr. Roberts, as I understand
his cousin, who is his executor, has taken up his abode there for the
time, or shall return to Northferry, as I find advisable. But if I go
to Elmsly, I will not ask you to go with me. Now, Lockwood, I think I
will set out for the inn; but you had better either come over with us
now, or join us early to-morrow morning; for there is much I wish to
say to you, and your presence, too, may be needed at S----."

"I will come now," said Lockwood; "there is no use of losing time.
_Carpe diem_, master Chandos. Only let me leave my place safe; for
these candles have been dropping perpendiculars too long."

Thus saying, he bolted the windows in both the rooms, shut and locked
the front door, extinguished the lights, and then led his two guests
out by the back door into the lane which ran under the park wall.

The walk through the narrow and tortuous roads passed nearly in
silence; for Chandos was sad, as well as thoughtful; and Lockwood,
though somewhat curious to know what had taken place between the
brothers, did not like to inquire, especially in the presence of
Faber. Nor was it a subject on which Chandos could venture to speak.
He saw and knew that Lockwood entertained suspicions in regard to his
brother's share in the death of poor Roberts, which were but too just;
but he could not tell him the words which had passed between himself
and Sir William Winslow, without confirming those suspicions--without
converting them into certainties. He did not choose to do so. He had
resolved indeed to let events take their course; to claim his own
boldly; and if discovery and destruction fell on him who opposed his
right, to let it fall; but not by any spontaneous act of his to move
the tottering rock which hung impending over a brother's head.

They arrived at the inn; they sat down in a small, neat, cheerful
room; but still they remained silent, till at length Faber rose,
saying he was tired, and would go to bed. As soon as he had retired,
Chandos saw questions hanging upon Lockwood's lips; but he stopped
them at once in his usual bold and decided way.

"Ask nothing, Lockwood," he said, before the other spoke. "My brother
is resolute: so am I. What passed between us must rest between us. My
plan at present is to go over to S----; and after seeing my solicitor
there, to proceed with him perhaps to Elmsly, where I hope to find
some confirmation of the facts of my case. Indeed there may be, not
unlikely, a draft of the will. You must make a formal statement of all
you know regarding the memorandum; we must induce Faber to do the
same; and when we have collected all the information which is to be
procured, I will lay it before counsel, and proceed as they advise.
Let us now to bed; for I would fain set out to-morrow as soon after
dawn as possible; for this is a business in which no time must be
lost."



CHAPTER XLIII.

"Hist! hist!" cried a small voice, as Chandos Winslow was walking
along in the cool of the early morning, with Lockwood on one side and
Faber on the other, towards the nearest place to Winslow Abbey where
post-horses were to be obtained. They were in the wood, clothing the
side of the hill through which he had passed on the preceding evening;
and though the path was wide, and the trees far apart, with no
underwood, he looked about in vain for the body whence the sounds
proceeded. Still, however, the voice cried, "Hist! hist!" and in a
minute after, a boy slid down the boll of one of the large trees, and,
running forward, sprang affectionately into Chandos's arms.

"Why, Tim, my little man, you here?" cried the young gentleman. "How
came you to be playing truant so far from Northferry?"

"I am not playing truant," replied the boy. "My mother took me;
because she said that it should be me who served you, and good old
General Tracy. She wants to see you very much; but would not go away.
You will find her on there; but I must go up the tree again to look
out."

"Is she before the cottage, a quarter of a mile on?" asked Chandos.

"No, no!" said the boy. "Go forward till you see a straw on the
branches, on the left; then you will come to two others, and then to
three. Whistle where the three straws are, and she'll come. Good bye,
good bye!" and running away again, he climbed up the tree like a
squirrel.

"He's a nice lad," said Lockwood: "'tis a pity!"--but he left _the
what_ unexplained, and the party walked on, looking carefully on the
left for the signs which the boy had mentioned. The first straw,
however, must have escaped their notice; for they came to the two,
without having perceived it; and the three were found not far on. But
Chandos had no occasion to give the signal; for he had hardly seen the
place, when Sally Stanley was before him. She looked worn and ill; but
her large, dark eyes had lost none of their wild lustre; and she
exclaimed as soon as she beheld him, "Ah! you have come: I knew you
would come. Fate would have it so. And you too, Lockwood: you are a
hard man; but you do not mean ill. But, who is this white-faced thing?
and what is he fit for?"

She looked full at Faber as she spoke; but Lockwood took upon him to
reply, saying, "Ay, my good girl, I'm not so hard, perhaps, as you
think: you made me savage with your strange ways. After all, you were
right in the main; and if you had not stopped me, I should have spoilt
all: but you should have told me what you were about; for how could I
tell? However, I am sorry for what I said. I did not mean to act so
harshly, and was sorry for it before I had gone half a mile."

"Enough, enough," answered the woman: "we all do things we are sorry
for;--I have done many. But you should have stayed to listen, and I
would have told you all."

"You had plenty of time to tell me before that," answered Lockwood,
who did not like any one to have the last word with him. "But we were
both a bit wrong; you for keeping me, when you had no right, without
any explanation; and I for hitting you upon a sore place, without
sufficient cause: so let us forget and forgive."

"So be it!" answered Sally Stanly. "You have no trust or faith; but
that is your nature."

"How the devil should I have trust or faith in a set of gipsey
ragamuffins, who take me by the throat, and make a prisoner of me,
without why or wherefore?" exclaimed Lockwood. "I am a plain man, and
will listen to reason, when it is given me; but I don't like force;
and will resist it to my dying day, my lass: so don't meddle with me
any more; or if you do, tell me why."

"Do not let us lose time in recurring to the past," said Chandos.
"Your son tells me, Sally, that you wish to speak with me; and to say
truth, I wish much to speak with you: but it must be alone. Tell me
now, what you are about here, if it be not a secret; for, to say
truth, I have some suspicions that I--or rather those I love are
interested therein."

"I am about that, in which you must help," said the woman. "I was sure
you would come; and yet, like a fool, I doubted, and had up our own
people to do the work if you did not arrive. But they are rude hands;
and though we have our own rules, they may be rough with the man. They
will not peach--they will not give him up; but they might break his
bones, or worse. You two shall do it; but you must promise to observe
our laws, and not betray him."

"I really do not clearly comprehend you," said Chandos. "Before I make
any promise, I must know fully what it implies."

"Stay, stay: I will go and talk to the men," said Sally Stanley; and
without waiting for reply, she darted in amongst the trees. She was
absent about ten minutes; and from time to time, Chandos could hear
the murmur of speaking voices. Neither he nor his companions uttered a
word; for they had thoughts in plenty; but they did not listen; and
Lockwood whistled a tune in an under tone, as if to pass the time. He
did not know that he was whistling. At length, Sally Stanley returned,
and standing in the midst of the three, she said, "First and foremost,
you must all promise me that this man shall go free, if he does what
is right, and restores what he has taken wrongfully."

"You speak ever in riddles," replied Chandos. "I know not of whom you
speak."

"Never mind," answered the woman: "it is a rule with us, not to betray
any one to that which you call justice--which no one should know
better than yourself, is always injustice. You must promise, that
whoever and whatever he is, you will not give him up to the vile
instruments of your bad laws. You may use the threat to frighten him;
but you must do no more. I have a certain power over those who are
round me; for I know more than they do; I see further than they do,
far as they can see. But that power has a boundary, and they will
resist. If you do not promise, and keep your promise, you will repent
it."

"I always keep my promise, when it is given," answered Chandos; "but I
tell you fairly, that if this man be, as I suspect, the person who has
so basely defrauded Mr. Tracy, he shall not escape out of England
without restoring the property he has attempted to carry off."

"Then, do your worst," said Sally Stanley, with a laugh; "Go and take
him, if you can! I tell you, Chandos Winslow, that it will require
more skill and power than you possess even to speak with him. One more
such word as you have spoken, and I hold my tongue for ever on the
means of catching him. Do not think that you can deal with me in such
sort. For your sake, and for the sake of the old man who has
befriended my poor boy, I have watched and laboured; but I will not be
made a reproach among the people that are now my people. You must
promise, or I give you no assistance. If I give you no assistance, all
your strength and foolish wisdom are vain. In ten hours from this
moment he will be beyond your reach. The wind is in his ship's sail;
the sea coast is but eight hours distant; and you may fret yourself in
vain, if you lose the present moment for the great object you have
before you."

"Promise, promise!" said Lockwood. "It is better to have the deer less
the umbles, than by refusing the keeper's fee to lose the buck."

"I am quite willing to promise," answered Chandos, "that if he
restores Mr. Tracy's property, I will make no attempt to stay him. I
am not a thief-taker; and though I believe it would be but right to
give him up to justice, and to inquire into many of his acts more
strictly; yet, as I owe all knowledge of his abode to you, my good
woman, I am ready so far to abide by your conditions. But still, I
say, if he do not give up Mr. Tracy's property, I will not let him
go."

"You must bargain with him for that," replied the woman; "he has got
an advantage over a man, who, like all others, has been seeking
advantages over his fellows. There are some advantages within your
law; some beyond it: but, your laws are nothing to us; and he has only
done what many of our own people would do, but in another way. When
cheat robs cheat, it is all fair. This Tracy wanted to gain great
wealth; some one must lose--nay, many must lose--to swell his fortune.
Then comes a bolder rogue, and says, 'What you intended to gain, I
will pocket.' Who can blame the man for being as greedy as his
employer? But all this is foolish babble. If you will promise, you
shall have him in your power in ten minutes; if not, you may follow
your own course."

"Well, I promise," said Chandos, after some consideration, "only to
use the opportunity you give me to make a bargain with him for the
restoration of the shares. Will that satisfy you?"

"Yes," replied the woman; "but there are more things to be thought of.
Come hither apart with me." And leading Chandos a few steps into the
wood, she remained for several minutes in eager conversation with him.

"That is but fair," he said, as they came back; "I will do all that;
but the people must wait for a few days."

"That they will do readily, on your word," replied Sally Stanley; "now
I will send them away. You three stay here a moment; and mind, do
everything very silently."

In about five minutes she returned alone, and made a sign to Chandos
to follow, which he did, with Lockwood and Faber, through a narrow
path amongst the trees, only wide enough to admit the passage of one
person at a time. It wound in and out considerably; but the direct
distance from the spot where they held their conference, to the top of
the bank, under which Chandos had found the old tinker on the
preceding night, could not be more than a hundred yards. I have before
mentioned that the top of the bank was thickly covered with trees and
underwood; but when the party reached the top, Chandos could perceive
that the path they were then following took a turn through the bushes,
and then descended in a sidelong manner to the road below. The
cottage, with all the windows still shut, was clearly to be seen
through the branches; and pointing to it with her hand, Sally Stanley
whispered, "You will have to wait a while. Keep quite still and silent
till you see the door opened; then down like lightning, and in."

"She will shut the door as soon as she sees us," answered Chandos, in
the same tone.

"I will provide for that," replied the woman; and after cautioning
Lockwood and Faber to be still, she left them on their watch.

For nearly half-an-hour they remained without seeing any movement of
human life upon the road or in the cottage; and Faber asked Chandos,
in a nervous whisper, if what they were about was legal. The only
reply was an injunction to silence; and the moment after the two upper
windows of the cottage were opened, and then the two lower ones. The
maid next put her head out, and looked round on every side, then drew
it in again, and pulled down the sash. Two or three minutes after a
boy was seen coming along the road, dressed in a blue smock-frock and
leathern leggings, with a white jug full of milk in his hand. For some
moments, so complete was the disguise, that Chandos himself did not
recognise Tim Stanley; but the boy at length gave a glance up towards
the top of the bank, and then approached the little gate of the
cottage garden. He tried it with his hand, apparently to see if it was
open, then put his shoulder to it and pushed it in. The instant he had
done so the door of the house was thrown violently open, and the
woman, rushing out, began to abuse him for breaking the gate, at the
same time snatching the jug of milk out of his hand. Chandos sprang
forward and darted down the bank, followed by Lockwood. Their sudden
apparition instantly changed the tactics of the woman, who ran towards
the house and endeavoured to shut the door; but little Tim was before
her, and setting his back stoutly against it, he resisted all her
efforts. Another force, however, seemed to be suddenly applied from
within; for the door was pushed forward, catching the boy between it
and the wall; and as he resolutely maintained his place, he was in
danger of being seriously injured, when Chandos came up, and by his
superior strength drove it open.

"Run, run!" cried the woman servant; and as the young gentleman forced
his way into the passage; a man's figure disappeared at the other end.
Pushing the woman aside, he pursued without pause, and found a door
leading out at once to the top of the high and precipitous bank, at
the edge of which the house was situated; and a rapid glance down
showed him a stout figure running along a narrow, ledge-like path on
the face of the cliff. Chandos took a few hurried steps down, fearing
that amongst the trees at the bottom he might still lose the object of
his pursuit; but no sooner did the fugitive reach the comparatively
level ground below, than a tall man, starting out from the bushes,
caught him by the collar, and threw him rudely back upon the ground.

"Here he is. Come and take him," cried the man, beckoning to Chandos;
and in another minute the young gentleman had his hand upon the
shoulder of Mr. Scriptolemus Bond. Lockwood was also by his side; and
between them, they raised the worthy gentleman from the ground, and
made him walk up the bank again. There is, certainly, something very
ludicrous in fear; and the expression of the rogue's countenance, as
he silently rolled his sharp black eyes from the face of Chandos to
that of Lockwood, had well nigh made the young gentleman laugh,
notwithstanding all the grave thoughts that were in his bosom.

"Walk in there, Sir," said Chandos, when they reached the door of the
little parlour; and then, turning to the maid who stood crying beside
Faber and little Tim, in the passage, he added, "If you have hurt the
boy by your brutality, my good woman, you shall not go without
punishment."

"Oh I am not hurt!" cried Tim; "she's not so bad as a bull."

"Now," said Chandos, entering the parlour, of which Lockwood already
had possession, "I think I have at length the pleasure of seeing Mr.
Scriptolemus Bond, alias Wilson, &c.; and I have to inform him that he
must immediately produce all the scrip, bonds, and papers of all kinds
belonging to Mr. Arthur Tracy."

"Who are you, Sir?" exclaimed Mr. Scriptolemus Bond, recovering
himself a little. "What authority have you to force your way into my
house? Where is your warrant or your staff? Do you suppose that
without authority I--"

"You ask for authority, do you, Sir," said Chandos. "By so doing you
will force me to seek it, and convey yourself to prison and to
Van-Diemen's-Land. I was willing to spare you, if you thought fit to
make restitution of that which you have wrongly taken from Mr. Tracy;
but let me tell you that you have no choice but to do so instantly,
and without hesitation, or go before a magistrate on a charge of
robbery."

"Stay, stay," said Mr. Scriptolemus Bond; "let us talk about the
matter quietly. Perhaps we can arrange it.--Betty, Betty, give me a
glass of brandy."

"Not a drop," said Chandos, sternly: "the matter needs no arrangement.
You have heard what I demand, and what are my intentions, and you have
but to answer 'Yes,' or 'No,' to this plain question--Will you deliver
up the papers?"

"But you are so hasty, so hasty," cried Mr. Bond. "For Heaven's sake,
shut the door, and let us speak two words. First of all, I must know
who you are, Sir; for one does not trust papers of consequence to a
stranger. I have been very ill, Sir; or I should have seen Mr. Tracy
before, and given the papers to himself. Very ill, indeed, I have
been, with a nasty affection of the throat."

"You are likely to be troubled with a still nastier one," said
Lockwood, drily.

"Mr. Bond," replied Chandos, "none of these evasions will serve your
turn in the least. My name is Winslow, a friend of General Tracy and
his brother. The fact of your having absconded is well known to
everyone: officers are in pursuit of you; you have been publicly
advertised in the newspapers; and I have nothing to do but to take you
before a magistrate, in order to send you to jail. Once more, then, I
ask you, Will you deliver the papers?"

"I don't see what good it would do me," said Mr. Scriptolemus Bond; "I
must see my way clearly, Sir. Pray, are you one of the Winslows of
Elmsly?"

Chandos was provoked by the rapid return of his cool impudence; and he
replied, "You shall see your way clearly, but it shall be to prison."

At the same time he laid his hand upon the worthy gentleman's collar
again, and turning to Lockwood, added, "You can pinion him with my
handkerchief, Lockwood. Then I and Faber can take him over to
S----, while you remain here to see that nothing is abstracted till a
proper search can be made."

"There, there, you are so very hasty," said the culprit; "now do be a
little reasonable. Can you expect me to give up such sums without some
small consideration for my pains."

"The consideration which you will get," answered Chandos, "is an
escape from punishment."

"I must have something more than that," said Mr. Bond. "And now, Sir,
I will tell you in one word how we stand; for you seem to think you
can have it all your own way; but you cannot. You have got the whip
hand of me in one way, and I have got the whip hand of Mr. Tracy in
another. It is very lucky for him that you are not an officer, as I
thought at first; for if you had been, not one shred of all his shares
would he ever have seen in his life. You think it is in this house, or
perhaps in my pocket; but you may search the premises and the pockets
too, and if you find a single share you may eat me. Now, Mr. Winslow,
I tell you there is nobody knows where the whole amount is but myself,
and there it shall lie till it rots, unless I have ten thousand pounds
for giving it up. That is my last word upon the subject."

"Then perhaps you will have the goodness to walk with me," said
Chandos; "only just a little way, till we can get a post-chaise to
carry you before a magistrate; for ten thousand pounds you certainly
will not have, or anything the least like it. If it had been a fifty
pound note you demanded, just to help you into some foreign country, I
might have given it to you on receiving the shares."

"But what am I to do when I get to a foreign country?" said Mr. Bond,
coolly. "You forget, my dear Sir, that a man must live. And if I am
not to live comfortably, I might as well go to Van-Diemen's-Land, and
let Mr. Tracy do without his shares."

"You had better give him something, Mr. Winslow," said Faber; "the
poor devil must have something to start with."

"Thank you, thank you, Mr. Faber," said Mr. Bond; "that is the right
view of the case. I wonder if you are any relation of Faber, my old
college chum--a wonderfully clever fellow he was."

Chandos could have knocked him down; but the negotiation was renewed
by Faber and Lockwood; and, after a great deal of haggling and
resistance, the rogue's demand was reduced to the sum of fifty pounds
in hand, and a draft for five hundred pounds at seven days' date, to
be drawn by him and accepted by Chandos on the spot. He moreover
exacted from the young gentleman, acting as agent for Mr. Tracy, a
receipt in full of all demands; and when these points were conceded,
he drew the draft and the receipt with his own hand, and even made an
effort to get them both signed by Chandos, before he produced the
papers.

Chandos, however, declined; and Lockwood laughed aloud, not without
being joined in his merriment by Mr. Bond himself; for there is a
point of roguery where all shame dies, and a man becomes vain of his
very impudence.

"Well now, gentlemen," he said, at length, "just have the kindness to
lock the door, that we may not be interrupted, and then we will see
what can be done."

There was a rosewood table in the middle of the room, with a drawer in
it; and, to the surprise of Chandos, it was to that drawer that the
knave applied a key which he drew from his breeches-pocket.

"Why, I thought you told me I might search the house for these papers
in vain," said Chandos, indignant at having been cheated.

"So you might," answered Mr. Bond, coolly, and drew open the drawer,
which presented nothing but a void.

The next instant, however, Mr. Bond pressed his thumbs tight on the
two sides of the drawer, and with a sudden click the bottom started
up. Removing the thin piece of wood thus displaced, the worthy
gentleman exhibited to the eyes of the bystanders some fifteen or
twenty bundles of papers, neatly tied up and ticketed.

"Now Sir," he said, "you have got my secret, be so good as to accept
the draft and sign the receipt." He turned towards Chandos as he
spoke; but that gentleman had suddenly seated himself at the other
side of the table, and was leaning his head upon his hand, lost in
thought. The words of Mr. Bond roused him, however, and he replied,
"Not till I am sure, Sir, that all the shares are there. Give them to
Mr. Faber, he will count them, and I will compare the number with the
printed list which I have in my pocket-book."

This was accordingly done, much to Mr. Bond's mortification; for there
is much reason to believe that it was his intention to lay claim to
some part of the spoil, in order to drive a second bargain at an after
period. But Chandos's precaution, in having cut out of a newspaper a
full description of the shares purloined, frustrated this last
attempt, and all were restored. There still remained in the drawer
three bundles, similar to those which were given up, belonging
probably to some other unfortunate clients of the worthy Scriptolemus
Bond; but with these of course Chandos had no power to meddle, and he
accordingly signed the papers which had been drawn up.

"Now," cried Mr. Bond, snapping his fingers as soon as he had received
them, "I am a free man. This paper is as good as a passport; and
to-morrow morning I shall be safe in France."

"I should think, Mr. Bond," said Chandos, with a somewhat contemptuous
smile, "that there are things in that drawer which will yet take the
wind out of your sail."

"A very pretty figure, but not applicable," replied Mr. Bond. "All the
other gentlemen have trusted to Mr. Tracy's catching me, and so his
passport is, as the French say, _valable_ for the present."

"I shall take care, at all events," said Chandos, "to make this matter
generally known when I reach London."

"Now that is not fair, that is not fair," said Mr. Bond. "But I will
be beforehand with you; and, as I think our business is concluded, I
will go and pack up my trunk. Good morning, Mr. Winslow; good morning,
gentlemen all."

Chandos did not deign to make any reply; but, taking the papers from
Faber, walked out of the house.

The little boy, Tim, was found in the garden, near the gate, which he
had burst open; for the proximity of Mr. Bond's strapping maidservant
did not seem pleasant to him.

"Have you got it? have you got it?" cried the boy. And when Chandos,
patting him on the head, answered in the affirmative, he clapped his
little hands with joy, exclaiming, "I will run and tell my mother; she
will be so glad!"

"I will go with you, Tim," said Chandos; "for she must take you home
to Northferry. All my plans are altered by this morning's work,
Lockwood; and I must speed up to London without delay. I will be down,
however, to-morrow or the day after, for a new light has broken upon
me in an instant, which I think may lead to great results. I wish to
Heaven I could see the memorandum which poor Roberts found."

"I can show it you, Sir," said Faber; "for by his direction I took a
copy of it, and have got it in my pocket-book."

It was produced in a moment, and, still standing in the open space
before the cottage, Chandos read it attentively.

"Were these initials at the end copied accurately?" he said, turning
to Faber, and pointing to some capital letters written under his
father's name.

"Yes, Mr. Winslow," answered Faber; "as far as I could make them out,
they stood just so, in two lines. No. 2, I.S. B.E. No. 3, P.D.".

"Then there is still a chance," said Chandos. "But come, I will away
to London, and take advice upon these points also."

His companions could not at all make out what he meant; but the new
light which he said he had got, greatly accelerated all Chandos's
movements. With a quick step he led the way to the copse where he had
left the gipsey woman; and having given little Tim into her charge, he
explained to her all that had occurred; but in terms so brief that
none but one of her rapid intelligence could have comprehended what he
meant. Then promising to see her again soon, he hurried away towards
the high-road to London, accompanied as before by Faber and Lockwood.
As they approached the little inn where Chandos had stopped on the
preceding day, but before they could see the road, the sound of
rolling wheels was heard; and with an impatient exclamation he said,
"There is the coach gone!"

But he was mistaken, for it still wanted a quarter of an hour of the
time at which the stage appeared. Faber would fain have gone with him
to London; but Chandos begged him to go over to Northferry, and wait
for him, saying, "Sir William will not come there, you may be very
sure."

In a few minutes after, the coach rolled up, the portmanteau was put
in the boot, Chandos sprang upon the top, and after a short delay,
away the vehicle rolled towards the great city.

"He's in a vast hurry," said Lockwood; "what can have struck him?"

"I don't know, I am sure," replied Faber; and they turned away.



CHAPTER XLIV.


It was about half-past four in the afternoon, when a common
street-cabriolet drove up to a house in Berkeley Square, in the
windows of which were exhibited large bills, stating that the lease
and furniture would be sold by auction, on a certain day, then not far
distant. Chandos Winslow sprang out of the vehicle, and knocked at the
door, which was opened almost immediately by a coarse-looking woman,
with her arms bare, and a wet cloth in her hand. In answer to the
young gentleman's inquiry for Mr. Tracy, the charwoman replied, that
he was not there; adding that he had left the house the day before
with his family, but that she did not know where he was gone. The next
drive of the cabriolet was to Green Street; but there Chandos paid the
driver before he got out. He then knocked at General Tracy's door, and
the face of his old servant, who soon appeared, showed him at once,
that no favourable change had taken place in the circumstances of the
family.

"My master and Mr. Tracy are both out, Sir," he said, even before he
was asked; "but Miss Rose is in the drawing-room."

"Are they all well?" asked Chandos.

"Pretty well; but very sad," replied the man. "Miss Emily, indeed, is
not very well; and has not been out of her room to-day."

"I hope I bring them all good news," replied Chandos, willing to
lighten the grief even of an attached dependent. "I will, therefore,
make bold, to go up at once, my good friend, without being announced:"
and walking rapidly up the stairs, he opened the drawing-room door.

Rose was seated at a table, writing; for she had not heard the sound
of a footfall on the well-carpeted stairs: but, the moment Chandos
entered the room, she looked up; and though there were still tears in
her eyes, a low exclamation of pleasure broke from her lips, when she
saw him.

"Oh, Chandos!" she said, "I was writing to you, by my uncle's
permission; for we thought you had left town yesterday--indeed, the
people at the hotel said so."

"I did, dearest Rose," he answered; "but I have come back to-day on
business of importance."

"I am exceedingly glad of it," replied Rose, as Chandos seated himself
beside her; "not alone because I am glad to see you; but because you
can answer in person the questions which I was going to put;--and yet
I do not know how I can put them, now you are here."

"What!--between you and me, dear Rose?" said Chandos. "Can you have
any hesitation in asking Chandos Winslow anything? Tell me frankly, my
beloved what it is you wish to know; and I will answer at once."

"Why, the fact is this," said Rose, looking down at the letter she had
been writing, till the rich beautiful hair fell over her fair face,
"the creditors have, this morning, returned an unfavourable answer.
They will not consent to my uncle's proposal. They will not permit the
reservation of ten thousand pounds from the sale of his estate for
Emily, and the same for myself; though they do not object to the sum
appropriated to purchase an annuity for my uncle and papa. Emily at
once begged that she might not be considered for a moment; and so did
I: but my uncle said, that, in my case, he was not a free agent; for
that he had promised that sum of ten thousand pounds to you: and that
he could not even propose to withdraw from his word. I took upon me,
Chandos, to answer for you; but he said that the proposal must come
from yourself, if at all, when you knew the whole circumstances; and I
had even a difficulty in gaining permission to write to you, though
everything must be decided by half-past twelve the day after
to-morrow. Was I wrong, Chandos, in what I said on your behalf?"

"No, dearest Rose, you were not wrong," answered Chandos; and then
kissing her fair hand, he gazed with a look of mingled gaiety and
tenderness in her face; adding, "and yet, my Rose, I do not think I
shall consent after all."

"Not consent!" she exclaimed; and then, shaking her head, as she saw
the bright look with which he regarded her, she said, "Nay, I know you
better: you are jesting, Chandos."

"No, my Rose," he answered, "I am not jesting. But I will not tease
you with suspense: what I mean, my love, is, that I do not think there
will be any need of my consent; for I trust the clouds are passing
away, and that your father's fortunes may be re-established, without
the noble sacrifice your uncle proposes to make."

"The change must be soon, Chandos," said Rose, sadly; "for these
people have announced their intention of making him a bankrupt the day
after to-morrow, if their demands are not complied with."

"The change has taken place, dear Rose," replied Chandos; "and I thank
God that I have been made the instrument of bringing good news and
comfort to you all. It is this which has brought me so suddenly back
to town. But, hark! that is the General's knock, or I am mistaken."

"My father is with him," said Rose; "but tell me, dear Chandos, tell
me the news. Let me be the first to give it him."

"It is that I have recovered all the property carried off by that
villain, Bond," answered Chandos Winslow. "I have the whole of the
shares with me now."

Rose clasped her hands in joy, and at the same moment the door opened,
and the dejected face of Mr. Tracy appeared. He gazed for an instant
sternly at the laughing countenance of his daughter, and then made a
movement as if to quit the room; but Rose sprang up and cast her arms
round him--whispered some words in his ear, and then, in the excess of
her joy, burst into tears.

"What? what?" cried Mr. Tracy. "I did not hear. What does she say?
What does she mean?" and he turned towards Chandos with an eager and
impatient look, while the foot of General Tracy was heard ascending
the stairs.

"She has good news to give you, my dear Sir," replied Chandos; "the
best that you have received for some time; but I really must not take
it from her lips. Be calm, be calm, dear Rose, and tell your father."

"Oh he has got them all!" cried Rose, still weeping; "all the
shares--all that the wretched man carried off."

"You, you, Chandos?" cried Mr. Tracy.

"Got them all!" exclaimed General Tracy, pushing past his brother.

"All," replied Chandos; "at least all that were advertised. They are
here, my dear Sir. I never was so loaded with riches before;" and he
produced the various packets from his pockets.

Mr. Tracy sat quietly down on the sofa, in profound silence; he did
not touch the papers; he did not even look at them. His emotions were
too strong, too overpowering; and he remained with his eyes bent upon
the floor, till Rose sat down beside him, and took his hand in hers,
when he threw his arms round her, and kissed her tenderly, whispering,
"Go and tell our dear Emily, my child."

General Tracy in the meantime ran hastily over the shares, comparing
them with a memorandum in his pocket-book. Then laid them down upon
the table; and marching across to Chandos, shook both his hands
heartily, but without a word. Chandos understood him, however, and it
was enough. The next minute the old officer rang the bell; and on the
servant appearing, said in a quiet tone, "Bring me the paper out of my
room, Joseph."

As soon as he had got it, he set to work, with pencil in hand, upon
the prices of the share market; and after a rapid calculation, looked
with a triumphant smile to his brother, saying, "Twenty-three thousand
pounds to spare, Arthur. Tomorrow, please God, they all go, for I
shall never have peace till the cursed trash is out of the house. Now,
Chandos, my dear boy, let us hear no more--."

But before Mr. Winslow could answer, Emily Tracy followed Rose into
the room, and cast herself into her father's arms. Her next movement
was to hold out her hand to Chandos, saying, "Oh, thank you, thank
you! You have saved us from horrors. But how has it been done?"

"Why I have now my confession to make," answered Chandos; "and if I
had been politic, I should have done it while the first pleasant
surprise was upon you all; for I have taken upon me, Mr. Tracy, to act
for you very boldly."

"Whatever you have promised, I will perform," answered Mr. Tracy, "and
that with deep and heartfelt thanks; for you have saved me from
disgrace which I could never have survived."

"If it be for twenty thousand pounds, it shall be paid gladly," said
the General.

"Nay, it is not so bad as that," replied Chandos; "the worse part of
my case, my dear Sir, is, that, unauthorised, I have taken upon me to
act as your agent, and in that quality to give the man a general
release. As to the money, there was not any great difficulty, for I
gave the scoundrel fifty pounds in hand to help him to France, and
accepted his bill at seven days for the rest, to close the whole
transaction at once; as at all events if I acted wrong, I could but be
the loser of the sum. He demanded ten thousand pounds--."

"Well, let him have it," said General Tracy.

"No," answered Chandos, "I would not let him have it; but I engaged
myself for five hundred; and it is for you to judge whether I acted
right in so doing, knowing, as I did, that in this case time was of
the greatest importance."

"You acted admirably," said Mr. Tracy; "and I have to thank you for
your decision, as well as for your prudent management."

"If it had been in my hands, I fear I should have given him whatever
he asked," said the old officer; "for the fearful idea of my brother
being made a bankrupt--a bankrupt, Chandos, like a mere trader--would
have swallowed up all cool prudence. But now tell us all about the
how, the when, and the where you found this pitiful knave."

"Do you know, General," replied Chandos, "I fear I must leave that
part of the tale untold for to-night. I have some matters of much
moment on which I wish to have the best legal advice I can get; and I
must seek it instantly. If I can obtain the opinion and directions I
want to-night, I shall leave town early to-morrow. If not, I shall
come in during the morning, and will tell you all."

"But do give me a hint, however slight," said Mr. Tracy; "it seems to
me like a happy dream; and I fear I shall wake and find it unreal,
unless I have some confirmation."

"All I can stop to say," replied Chandos, "is, that your little
protégé, General, the gipsey boy, acted a great part in the adventure;
and gallantly did he perform it, I assure you, at the hazard of life
and limb."

"I will make a soldier of him," answered the old officer; "I will buy
him a commission. But there has been danger then, in this affair."

"Oh no!" replied Chandos; "only danger to the poor boy. But now I will
bid you adieu. Farewell, dear Rose. The greatest happiness I have ever
known in life, has been to bring you news which took a heavy load from
your kind warm heart."

Chandos Winslow shook hands with the rest of the party, and was then
leaving the room, when the General exclaimed, "Chandos, Chandos!" and
followed him to the top of the stairs.

"My dear friend," said the officer, "you have done us the greatest
service that man could render us; but, in so doing, you have removed
obstacles to your own happiness. Rose and Emily, are, of course, my
heiresses. I do not see why they should not have now the greater part
of their future fortunes: for I have no expenses; and now, with
changed circumstances, it would not, of course, be so imprudent to
marry, as it appeared some days ago. Poor Emily is sad; for she has
heard from your brother, announcing his return to England; and
claiming the completion of her engagement with him. I must take it in
hand myself, I see; for I will not have the dear girl's happiness
thrown away. Now, however, farewell: for I see you are in haste; but
come in, whenever you return from your journey; and remember, that the
causes which induced me to exact a promise of you, to refrain from
pressing Rose to a speedy union have been removed. Only one word more;
and that on business. Are you at the same hotel where you were the
other day?"

"Yes," replied Chandos; "I left my baggage there as I came."

"Well then, I will send a cheque for the five hundred pounds there,
this evening," said the General.

"Perhaps, it would be better," answered Chandos, "if you would have
the kindness to pay it into my account at Curtis's; as it is very
possible, that I may not be home till very late to-night. Any time
within a week will do."

"It shall be done to-morrow," replied the old officer; and they
parted: Chandos to seek his friend, Sir----, through courts and
chambers; and the General, to rejoice with his brother on a
deliverance from that which had seemed an inevitable disgrace not
half-an-hour before. General Tracy was a good, kind man; but, like
everybody else in the world who fancies he has no prejudices, he had
several; and those he had were strong. He looked upon it undoubtedly
as a disgrace not to pay a just debt under any circumstances; but the
sting of the calamity which had menaced his brother, was to him that
he might be "made a bankrupt like a mere trader." There was the rub
with General Tracy. If none but "gentlemen and soldiers" could be made
bankrupts, he would not have felt it half as much, though he would
have deplored it still. But to be put in the _Gazette_ like a ruined
pork-butcher, that was terrible indeed! How strange it is, that in
estimating disgraces, we never look to the act, but to the
consequences!



CHAPTER XLV.


The ground-floor of Sir William Winslow's house at Elmsly, contained
as splendid a suite of rooms as any in England; and nothing that taste
could do to give grace to the decorations, or that skill could effect
to afford that comfort of which we are so fond, had been neglected by
the last possessor, during a period of three years before his death.
Sir William Winslow, however, was in some sort a stranger to the
house, which was now his own: for, during several years, great
coldness had subsisted between himself and his father. He had spent
much of his time on the Continent; and had not, in fact, been at
Elmsly for two years, when he was summoned thither in haste, a few
hours before Sir Harry's death. The interview between himself and his
brother Chandos at Winslow Abbey took place on the Tuesday; and on the
Thursday following, about nine o'clock at night, he was seated in the
large dining-room of the magnificent suite I have mentioned, with the
clergyman of the parish opposite to him.

The table, looking like a little island, in the ocean of Turkey carpet
which flowed around, was covered with the desert, and with sundry
decanters of choice wines; and two servants handed the plates of fruit
and preserves to their master, and their master's guest. When this
ceremony had been performed, the attendants left the room; and a
desultory conversation, mingled with wine took place between Sir
William and the clergyman. The latter was a stout, portly man, with a
good deal of the animal in his original composition; but rigidly and
pertinaciously kept down by a strong moral sense, and high religious
feelings. The motives which had produced so speedy an invitation on
the part of Sir William Winslow were various: but one was, that Sir
William did not like to be left alone. His own thoughts were
unpleasant companions. Again, he was anxious to retrieve some part of
the good opinions he had lost. He felt that he had undervalued
character; and, of late, things had appeared important to him, which
he had looked upon with contempt before. Amongst others, some sort of
religious opinions began to be objects of desire. He did not much care
what, for his notions on the subject were very indefinite; but he felt
a want, a craving for something that could give him the support which
he possessed not in his own heart--for something that would afford him
hope, when there was nought within him but despair. He had heard--he
knew, indeed--that the Christian religion promised pardon for
offences, hope to the sinner, peace to the repentant. And he sent to
the clergyman to seek a certain portion of religion, just as a thirsty
labourer would send to a public-house for a jug of beer.

The conversation, as I have said, was of a desultory kind: the subject
of religion was approached in a timid, uncertain sort of way by Sir
William Winslow; more as an opening than anything else: and the
clergyman answered in a few brief, but very striking words; which
produced a deep effect. He treated the matter less doctrinally than
philosophically, and in such a manner, that Sir William Winslow was
inclined to fancy what he said had a personal application to himself;
although the good man had no such intention.

"It is beautifully and happily ordained," said the clergyman, in
answer to something which had preceded, "that the commission of crime,
and the reproaches of conscience, very frequently, by the desolation
which they produce in worldly things, should awaken in us the
conviction of another state; give us a sense of our immortality; and
teach the man who has only known himself as a mere animal, that he
possesses a spirit, to be lost or saved, to live for ever to
punishment or felicity. That conviction once gained, and the question
naturally follows: 'What can I do to be saved?' The Word of God
replies 'Repent'; and repentance to salvation is not unfrequently the
consequence."

Sir William Winslow mused; but after a time he replied, in a
discursive manner, "It is a curious consideration what this same
spirit can be. I doubt not its existence; for I feel a moving power
within me, apart from, and independent of, mere _will_. But what is
it? I see it not. No one has ever seen it."

"Hold, hold," cried the clergyman; "you must not say that. The records
of Scripture bear witness, that spirits have been seen; and it can be
shown philosophically, that there is no reason for supposing such a
thing impossible."

The worthy pastor had been set upon a subject which was a favourite
one with him, and he went on, citing history after history, and
instance after instance, to prove that, under certain circumstances,
there were means of communication established between the dead and the
living. He even went so far as to argue that it would be absurd to
suppose it otherwise; that granting that there is such a thing as
spirit, and that spirit is immortal, all analogy would show that there
must be a power in the disembodied of producing certain influences
upon their brethren in the flesh. "You cannot point out any order of
beings," he said, "from the most imperfect to the most perfect, which
has not some knowledge and communication with those next to it in the
great scale of animated nature."

Sir William Winslow listened, but replied not, keeping his teeth tight
shut, and his lips compressed; and the clergyman proceeded in the same
strain, till the clock struck ten, when he suddenly rose to depart.

His host would willingly have detained him a little longer; for, as I
have said, he loved not to be alone; but he was too haughty to press
it beyond one request; and the clergyman, who was a man of habits,
always retired at ten.

When he was gone Sir William walked into the drawing-room and ordered
coffee. He took it very strong, and that agitated rather than calmed
his nerves. He walked up and down for half-an-hour, and then he said
to himself, "I will go and look over those letters. There is no use in
going to bed, I should not sleep." He then ordered candles in the
library; but he would not go thither till they were lighted. When that
was done he walked slowly in, and took up some of the unopened letters
with which the table was strewed. The second which he broke was signed
"Overton;" and after having run his eye down the page, he threw it
away with a look of anger. He would read no more, and sitting down in
the large arm chair, where so often his father had sat, he gnawed his
lip, with his eyes bent upon the ground.

The clock struck eleven, and Sir William started in his seat and
counted it. A minute or two after, he took out his pocket-book, and
drew from it a folded piece of vellum. He did not then look at the
contents, however, but thrust it into a drawer of the table. Then,
rising from his seat, he walked to the window and looked out. It was a
beautiful moonlight night, the soft, silvery rays resting on the lawns
and woods of the park, and the little stars, faint and sleepy in the
sky. He gazed for several minutes; but I know not whether he beheld
anything but the objects of his own fancy. Then he walked up and down
the room again, and twice stood for a moment or two opposite the
drawer in the library table. At length he suddenly pulled it open,
took out the vellum, unfolded it, and read the strange contents.

"By--," he exclaimed, after thinking for a moment, "this is devilish
strange! it is the very day she drowned herself!" and the vellum
trembled in his hand. "I won't go. Why should I go?"

He looked at the writing again: "She will come and fetch me!" he
repeated, with his lip curling; "I should like to see her;" and the
proud spirit seemed to rise up again in full force. But then he shook
his head sadly, and murmured, "Poor girl! she told me once before she
would come, and she did--to her own destruction."

The clock struck the half hour, and in great agitation--agitation
scarcely sane--Sir William Winslow walked up and down the room again,
with a wild, irregular step, his eyes rolling in his head, as if he
saw some strange sight, and his hand frequently carried to his brow,
and pressed tight upon his forehead.

At the end of about ten minutes, he stopped, gazed vacantly upon the
floor, and then, with a sudden start, exclaimed aloud, "I will go to
her! She shall not say that I feared her. She shall not come here--no,
no--yet I believe, alive or dead, she would do it, if she said it.--It
is her hand too. That name, how often have I seen it with different
feelings! Poor Susan!" and walking out of the library, and through the
corridor, he took his hat and quitted the house.

The moon lighted him on his way through the park. He could see every
pebble in the ground; but yet his step was as irregular as if the way
had been rough and rude. Nevertheless he went very quick; he seemed
impatient; and when he found the park-gates shut, he did not wait to
awaken the people of the lodge, but cut across to a stile which went
over the paling; and there he issued forth into the road. About two
hundred yards before him rose the church, with its good broad
cemetery, encircled by a low wall. The moon shone full on the white
building, rising like a spectre amongst the dark trees and fields
around.

Sir William Winslow stopped suddenly, crossed his arms upon his chest,
and thought. Then the heavy bell of the church clock began to strike
the hour of midnight; and walking rapidly on he reached the gate of
the churchyard, while the sound of the last stroke still swung
trembling in the air. He passed through the little turnstile, and
walked up the path. There was a new tombstone close upon the right,
which he had never seen before; and his eyes fixed upon it. The
letters of the inscription were all plain in the moonlight, and the
name "Roberts" stared him in the face, with these words following,
"Brutally murdered, by some person unknown, on the fifth of February,
one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, in the sixtieth year of his
age."

Sir William Winslow trembled violently, and murmured, "Who has done
this? Who has done this?"

His courage had well nigh deserted him entirely; and he paused, hardly
able to go on, when a voice from the farther side of the cemetery
asked, "Are you come?"

He knew the tongue, though it had sounded sweeter in other days; and
striding forward, he answered, "I am here! Where are you?"

"Here," answered the voice from the direction of a tall mausoleum,
over the mouth of the Winslow vault: "Come on!"

He advanced, but could perceive no one. He walked round the monument;
the space was quite clear around. "Where are you? What would you with
me?" he cried.

"I am where I have a right to be," answered the voice from a spot
apparently below his feet. "I am amongst those from whom sprang a man
who promised to make me one of them, and broke his promise. I am
amongst your dead, William Winslow! Your father is on my right hand,
and your mother on my left. Your place is here beside me, and will not
be long vacant, if your spirit does not bow itself to repentance, your
strong will does not yield to right."

"God of Heaven!" he cried, laying his hand upon the gate in the iron
railing which surrounded the tomb, and shaking it violently; but
instantly there was a low laugh, and a voice said, "Poor fool!--You
ask," continued the voice, "what I would with you? For myself, I seek
nothing. You can neither harm nor benefit me more. The time is past.
The hour is gone by; and what you could once have done, is now beyond
your power. But for our boy, you can do much; you can atone to the
mother, by love to the child. Take him to yourself; own him as yours;
and oh! above all things, teach him to avoid and to abhor such crimes
as you yourself have committed."

"Our boy!" cried Sir William Winslow, "I knew not that you had one,
Susan. Oh, Susan, in mercy, in pity, tell me where he is?"

"Ask your brother," answered the voice; "ask that kind, noble brother,
whom you have wronged, who has been a father to your child, when you
were depriving himself of his inheritance; who has taught him virtue,
and honour, and the love of God. He will give him to your arms, if you
show yourself worthy of him. Thus much for myself, William Winslow;
but, oh that there were any power in prayers, to make you grant that
which is needful for another."

"Speak, speak!" said he eagerly; "I will grant whatever you ask. I
wronged you basely, I know; I broke my plighted word; I forfeited my
honour given. Speak, Susan! Let me make atonement, as far as it can
now be made."

"The other for whom I prayed is yourself," answered the voice. "Oh,
William Winslow, beware. The cup is well nigh full. You cannot wake
the dead; but you can do justice to the living. Bend your knees to
God, and implore mercy; humble your heart even before men, and do not
persist in evil. Restore what you have wrongly taken, and all may go
well; but hear the last words that ever you will hear on earth, from
her you wronged on earth: If you persist in the evil you can by a word
redress, the crime that you think is buried for ever in darkness, will
rise up into light by the consequences of your own acts. Such is
judgment--such is retribution--such is the will of God. Amen."

"But of what particular wrong do you speak?" asked Sir William
Winslow.

There was no answer, and he exclaimed, "Speak, Susan! speak!"

All was silent, and again and again he endeavoured to obtain a reply,
but in vain.

At length, moving slowly away, he passed round the other side of the
church, to avoid the grave of the steward, and soon reached the park.
He hurried homeward; but he entered not his own house so speedily. For
two long hours he walked backwards and forwards upon the terrace, with
his head bent down and his eyes fixed upon the sand. Who shall
undertake to detail the terrible turns of the struggle then within
him. It was a battle between the whole host of darkness and the
cherubim of the Lord. Fear, and Doubt, and Pride, and Vanity, and all
their tribes were arrayed against the small, bright legion which had
gained one small spot of vantage ground in his heart. Doubt and Fear
he knew must remain for ever on this side of the grave, to hold that
part of the castle to which he had given them admittance; but their
very presence there made him anxious to exclude them from the rest;
and he repeated a thousand times in spirit, "Would to God I had not
burned that will! Would to God that aught would afford me a fair
excuse for acting as it dictated! What can I do? Where can I turn?
Heaven send me, light and help!"

Still the internal strife lasted long; and when at length he
re-entered the house, body and mind felt worn and exhausted. His valet
gazed at him with one of his quiet, serpent looks, and said, "You seem
ill, Sir. Had you not better have some cordial?"

"No, no," answered Sir William Winslow, turning from him with a faint
shudder; "I want nothing but rest. It matters not."

But that night he did not lie down to rest without bending the knee,
and imploring mercy and protection. It was the first time for many
years. It was the first night, too, that he had slept for more than an
hour at a time for several months; but now he remained in slumber
undisturbed till ten o'clock, and when he woke he felt the effect of
repose. He rose, threw on his dressing-gown, and approached the glass
on his dressing-table. He hardly knew the face that it reflected. He
did not feel ill. Sleep had refreshed him; his limbs were strong and
vigorous, but all colour had fled from his cheek. He was thenceforth
as pale as the dead.

He then went to the window for air, and the first thing his eye
lighted upon was his valet, advanced a step or two on the terrace,
talking to a tall, stout man, of a very sallow complexion, in a long,
brown great coat. Sir William Winslow's heart sunk, he knew not why.
He did not like to see that Italian talking with any one since he had
mentioned the spots of blood upon his coat; and he gazed for a moment
at the servant as he stood with his back towards him, with feelings of
pain and alarm. Suddenly a change came over him. He raised his head
high, and his proud nostril expanded. "It matters not," he said to
himself; "I will be no man's slave long. I will do Chandos justice--I
will provide for my poor boy--see him--embrace him--and then that
scoundrel shall go forth to do his worst."

With these thoughts he rang his bell sharply, and soon after descended
to breakfast. His meal was speedily concluded; and going into the
library, he wrote for some time. One paper which he covered seemed to
be a mere note; but for the other he consulted several times a law
book, which he took down out of the library.

When that was done, he rang again, and ordered the servant who
appeared to send the butler, the bailiff, and the housekeeper to him,
all together. Before they could be collected he had folded the note
and addressed it to "Chandos Winslow, Esq.," and when the three
persons he had sent for appeared, with some surprise at their unusual
summons, he said, I wish you to witness my signature of this paper.
Then taking the pen, he wrote his name at the bottom, saying, "This is
my last will and testament." The witnesses put their hands to the
paper and withdrew, each observing how ill their master looked, and
arguing by the sudden signature of his will that he felt more unwell
than he appeared.

The event became a matter of gossip in the housekeeper's room, and the
Italian valet rubbed his forehead and looked thoughtful; but he had
not much time for consideration before he was called to carry a
note, which had just arrived, to Sir William, who had gone to his
dressing-room previous to going out. The man looked at it somewhat
wistfully as he took it up; but he dared not finger the envelope, and
it was delivered without the contents having escaped by the way.

"Countermand my horse," said his master; "I will write an answer
directly. Some one is waiting, of course."

"Yes, Sir William," replied the valet, and his master walked out at
once, and descended to the library. There, he again spread out the
letter before him, and read to the following effect:--


    "The Golden Bull, Elmsly,

         "May, 1845.

"Sir,--I am directed by my client, Chandos Winslow, Esq., to inform
you, that from documents lately in the possession of Mr. Roberts,
deceased, and from private marks thereon, in the handwriting of the
late Sir Harry Winslow, of the true intent and meaning of which
private marks the said Chandos Winslow is cognizant, he has reason to
believe, that an authentic copy of the last will and testament of the
aforesaid Sir Harry Winslow, Bart., signed with his name, and dated,
'25th June, 1840,' is still to be found in a certain depository, at
Elmsly House; hitherto unsearched by you: and, in consequence, I beg,
in his name, to request that you will cause search to be made in the
said place or depository, with all convenient speed, in the presence
of myself, his attorney, or any other person or persons whom he may
select: or otherwise, that you will sanction and permit the said
search to be made by the said Chandos Winslow, Esq., or myself, as his
attorney, in presence of yourself, or any other person or persons by
yourself selected, as witnesses that the search or examination is well
and properly made, without fraud or favour, by, SIR,

         "Your most obedient Servant,

              "HENRY MILES,

     "Attorney-at-Law and Solicitor to the firm of
          Miles, Furlong, and Miles, S----."

"P. S. Sir, I am directed by my client to inform you, that he has no
desire to be present in person at the proposed search, as he judges
that, under circumstances, his visit to Elmsly might not be
agreeable."


When he had read, Sir William Winslow held the letter up with a
trembling hand, and there was evidently a renewed struggle in his
bosom. But his eye rested on the note he had written to Chandos; and
perhaps, he compared the feelings with which he had spontaneously
addressed his brother, with those which were now excited by irritated
pride, at what he conceived an attempt to drive him to that which he
had been willing to do undriven. At all events, he smiled--very
likely, at the first discovery of the secret springs of his own
actions; and sitting down again--for he had risen for a moment--he
wrote the following words:--


"Sir William Winslow presents his compliments to Mr. Miles, and begs
to inform him that he is perfectly at liberty to make the proposed
search at Elmsly. Sir William, however, would prefer that it should be
made in the presence of his brother, Mr. Chandos Winslow, whom he will
be happy to see at Elmsly, as soon as possible, for that purpose. He
sincerely hopes that the will maybe found, as it may save some
trouble; but, at the same time, he begs Mr. Miles to forward, or
present the inclosed note (written some hours ago) to Mr. Winslow,
begging him to understand that Sir William adheres to the contents,
irrespective of the result of the search now demanded.

    "Elmsly, &c."


The note was immediately despatched, and the master of the house
leaned his head upon his hand in deep thought. He was disturbed by the
entrance of the valet, who advanced with a low and humble bow, saying,
"Could I speak with you for a moment, Sir?"

"No," replied the baronet, sternly; "I am engaged."

"But, Sir William," said the man.

"Leave the room, Sir!" thundered his master; "did you not hear me?"

The man obeyed; but as he quitted the library, he muttered, "Oh! very
well."

Sir William Winslow felt he had gained something during the last few
hours. It was courage of a peculiar sort. The day before he would not
have found resolution so to answer a man, who, to a certain degree,
had his life and honour in his hands. Now he had no hesitation; and as
he sat and thought, he asked himself if it was the having taken the
first step towards atonement which had restored to him his long-lost
firmness. He thought it was; and he resolved to go on boldly. Perhaps
he mistook the cause of the change in himself. His was one of those
quick and irritable dispositions which cannot bear suspense of any
kind, which will rather confront the utmost peril than wait an hour in
fear; and the very fact of having taken a strong resolution gave the
power to execute it. But still he fancied that the purpose of doing
right, of making atonement, was the result of his renewed vigour; and
the mistake was salutary.

In the meantime, the man whom he had dismissed from his presence so
abruptly went out to one of the several backdoors of the house, and
looked about, casting his eyes over the wood, which there came near
the house. For a minute or two he seemed to be looking for something
and not discovering it; but then, he beckoned with his finger, and a
dark man, in a long great-coat, came across from under the trees and
joined him.

They spoke in low tones, but eagerly, for about five minutes; and at
last the dark man said, "No; we had better work separate. I will
manage it, you'll see; and you can do the same if you do but frighten
him enough. I must speak with the woman first; but I'll be back in an
hour, if you think he'll be alone then."

"I dare say he will," answered the valet, "there are not many people
come here now; but if there should be any one, you can wait about till
they are gone."

"Very well," replied the other; and with a nod and a low laugh, he
turned away, and left the Italian standing at the door.



CHAPTER XLVI.


Chandos Winslow sat in the little village inn at Elmsly, with his keen
old solicitor from S----; who had, as the reader has seen, just
mingled in a note to Sir William Winslow, a certain degree of
lawyer-like formality, with an affection of commonplace ease, which he
thought was masterly in its kind. They were awaiting the reply; and
the lawyer calculated upon either one or two courses being adopted by
the baronet to meet the pungent contents of his missive. "Sir
William," he said, addressing Chandos, "will, I imagine, either beg to
know where the will is supposed to be concealed, promising to cause
search to be made himself; or else he will roughly refer us to his
solicitors in London. Mark my words, if he does not. At all events,
that last hit of our's yesterday--coming in, and finding the rough
draught of the will in Roberts's handwriting, amongst the papers in
the cabinet left to you with the other things--was capital. Hang me,
Mr. Winslow, if I did not think for a minute that it was the will
itself. However, as it is, we shall have an excellent case of it; and
I should not wonder if it were to go through every court in England,
up to the House of Lords."

"A pleasant prospect," said Chandos, drily; and he fell into the
silence of expectation.

"Is Mr. Chandos Winslow here?" asked a good, clear, round voice, upon
the stairs about five minutes after; and starting up, Chandos opened
the door, when, to his surprise, he beheld Lockwood with the little
boy, Tim Stanley.

"Well, I hope I've got him here in time," said Lockwood, "though I
could not get over by noon, as you wished; for you see, Chandos, it is
a good long round first to Northferry and then to Elmsly; and I did
not receive the message till five this morning."

Chandos gazed on him in surprise, but shook him warmly, by the hand,
and caressed the boy, saying, at the same time, "I am glad to see you
both, Lockwood; but I certainly had no notion you were coming."

"Didn't you send?" exclaimed Lockwood. "Then who the devil did, I
wonder? I had a message this morning shouted in at my window, at five,
to bring the boy over here by noon to-day to meet you. But now we must
have some dinner; for I am hungry enough, and the boy is ravenous.
What have you done with Faber? Where's Atra Cura, if he is no longer
behind the horseman?"

"We left him at S----," replied Chandos; "he was afraid to come within
ten miles of Elmsly."

"He's a poor creature," cried Lockwood, "a very poor creature indeed.
There is something in such weakness that debases prosperity, and makes
even misfortune contemptible; though it is often an element of
grandeur, as Seneca justly says: 'Nihil æque magnam apud nos
admirationem occupet, quam homo fortiter miser.'"

"He's a little chicken-hearted," said the lawyer; "but he's very right
to keep out of harm's way when he is not paid for going into it. And
now, Mr. Winslow, I had better ring for something to eat for the nice
little fellow--a son of yours, I presume--we can take a bit of lunch
at the same time. It is an agreeable way of occupying time."

The luncheon was ordered; and though Chandos denied the degree of
relationship to little Tim imputed, the lawyer remained in the same
opinion. It did not at all spoil Tim's appetite, however. He was not
at all aware that he had ever had a father, and would quite as soon
have had Chandos in that capacity as any one else. He set to heartily
then; and so did Lockwood, and eke the lawyer; but before the latter
had eaten two mouthfuls, the messenger who had been sent to Elmsly
returned with a letter for him.

"Soon decided!" said Mr. Miles; "he has not taken long to consider."
And after opening the cover containing the epistle addressed to
himself, he held the one enclosed in his hand, without looking at the
direction, while he read the other.

"Well, this takes me by surprise!" said the lawyer; "remorse of
conscience, evidently! Read that, Mr. Winslow; the other is for you
too."

Chandos took the letters, and read first, with much wonder, the one
which had been opened; and then broke the seal of the other, which
contained these words:--


"Come to me, Chandos. Let us forget the past, and be really brothers
for the future. If you can show me, as I think you hinted, the
particulars of the last will, it shall be acted upon by me as if it
were before me. If not, I will put it in force as far as I recollect
it; for I certainly did read it once; but that is a long time ago, and
I do not perfectly remember it. At all events, come to me; for there
is a sort of heavy presentiment upon me, that my life will not last
long; and I would fain die in friendship with my brother.

    "Yours,
       "WILLIAM WINSLOW."


"It must be so, indeed!" said Chandos Winslow; "this change is too
great, too sudden to be in the ordinary course of events. Some severe
illness must be hanging over him. Come, Mr. Miles, let us go at once,
Lockwood will stay with the boy till we return."

"Nay, I will go with you part of the way, at least," said Lockwood;
"and you shall tell me what is the drift of all this as you go; for I
am in darkness. Tim can take care of himself; can't you, Tim?"

Chandos threw Lockwood his brother's two letters; and, while he read
them over in silence, little Tim declared he could take care of
himself very well. Lockwood, however, took his hat and accompanied his
half-brother and the lawyer on their way, sometimes asking a question,
sometimes falling into a fit of thought.

"I'll tell you what, Chandos," he said at length, "I cannot help
thinking there is some trick in all this. I never saw such a sudden
change. Why it is only three nights ago that he growled at you like a
dog."

"No, no, there is no trick," replied Mr. Winslow; "but I fear there is
some serious illness, either commenced or approaching, which has thus
depressed his spirits, and given conscience power to make her voice
heard in the stillness of the passions."

"Well, I am not quite satisfied of that," answered Lockwood, "and
shall be glad to hear the result; but I will not go in with you. We
were never friends, and the sight of me might raise the devil again. I
shall look out for you, however, as you come back."

"I will lead you the shortest way," said Chandos, speaking to the
lawyer, who was approaching the great gates; "that path takes one half
a mile round;" and proceeding along the road, he did not enter the
park till he reached a small doorway, which stood open during the day.

The path with which this doorway communicated, led through the depth
of a splendid wood of Spanish chestnuts, divided by somewhat formal
alleys, which crossed each other in various directions. When Chandos
and his companions had walked on not more than two hundred yards, they
could hear the voices of two persons speaking vehemently, and at the
first traversing alley which they came to, they all turned their heads
to the right, whence the sounds proceeded. Perhaps eighty or ninety
yards from them, under the green shade of the wide leafy trees, were
standing a man and a woman. The man Chandos immediately recognized as
his companion in the stage-coach some days before, and in the woman,
whose face was turned towards them, he saw Sally Stanley. She was
throwing about her arms in wild and even fierce gesticulation, and in
the stillness of their footfalls over the turf, he could hear her
exclaim, "If you do, a curse will cleave to you and destroy you, which
never failed yet--a curse which will,"--but then her eyes lighted on
the three persons who were passing, and she darted in amongst the
trees.

The man followed her, after taking a look round; and Lockwood asked,
"Do you know who those are?"

"Tim's mother," answered Chandos; "and one of her tribe, I suppose."

"One of the gipsies, if you mean that," replied Lockwood; "and the
worst fellow amongst them. If I catch him, I will break every bone in
his skin. He gave me a blow when I had my hands tied, and I will not
forget him. But as to Sally Stanley being one of the gipsies, Chandos,
that is a mistake."

"Then my suspicions are correct;" said Mr. Winslow, with an inquiring
look at the other's face. "How was she saved from the river?"

"That I don't know," replied Lockwood; "the gipsies pulled her out, I
suppose. But I thought you must have known all about it, from your
fondness for the boy. If you come to calculate, you will see whose son
he must be."

"How strange are the turns of fate!" said Chandos; and the whole party
fell into deep thought.

Two or three minutes after, Lockwood halted, saying, "I will go out
into the open part of the park, and wait for you under a tree; for I
am anxious to have the first news:" and Chandos and the lawyer walked
on to the house, which was not more than a quarter of a mile in
advance. When they were gone, Lockwood sauntered up and down for about
ten minutes--perhaps it might be a little more; for he was a man
accustomed to solitude and his own thoughts; so that lonely time flew
fast with him. At length, however, he thought he heard a light step
running; and the next moment Sally Stanley was by his side. Her face
was eager, and her eyes sparkling, but not with joy.

"Lockwood," she said, in a low tone, "Lockwood, run up to the village;
to the inn."

"Has anything happened to the boy?" cried Lockwood, with a look of
apprehension.

"No, no!" answered the woman; "but run up--find out what the two men
are doing over here--the two men from S----. Listen to what they say--
and save him if they are seeking him."

Her meaning was not very clear; but there was so much apprehension and
impatience in her look, that Lockwood, saying, "Well, well, I suppose
I shall find out what you mean when I get there," turned away and left
her.

His long legs and his quick steps soon brought him to the door of the
Golden Bull, at Elmsly; but all seemed quiet on the outside of the
house, at least. There was a little sort of gig, with the horse taken
out, standing in the road, and no other thing to attract attention.
Lockwood entered the house, and was about to walk up to the room where
the boy had been left, when in what was called the parlour, on the
left, he heard some men's voices speaking; and in he went.

The room contained two men and a servant girl, putting down some beer
and glasses before them; and Lockwood sat down and asked for a glass
of ale. Two or three sentences passed between the previous occupants
of the room, which seemed principally to refer to their own dinner;
but there were words mingled with their discourse which made the last
comer lend an attentive ear; and before the ale was brought to him, he
rose, walked slowly out of the room with a careless air, hurried up
stairs, and spoke a few eager words to the boy Tim.

He was answered only by a look of quick intelligence; and after
receiving a few words of clear direction as to the way to Elmsly
House, Tim snatched up his cap and ran off.

Lockwood then descended to the parlour again, drunk his ale, and took
up an old newspaper that lay on one of the tables.



CHAPTER XLVII.


We must now turn to Sir William Winslow again. He remained for full a
quarter of an hour in thought; but then he rose, and walked backwards
and forwards in the library, with a quick step: there was a struggle
within him. While he had remained seated, old feelings, old habits of
thought, old vices of the mind began to return upon him. None of the
devils which torture and tempt humanity ever give up their prey
without strife; and they wrestled with his spirit still; but remorse,
and wearing, constant apprehension had shaken their hold of him, and
he was strong enough to cast them off. There came too, in aid of
better feelings that longing for companionship, for the support of
love or friendship, which grows upon the heart when worldly enjoyments
fail. He thought, what a pity it was that he and Chandos had not lived
together in affection; he knew that it was his own fault, and he
resolved it should be his own fault no longer. Yet he doubted
himself--yet he feared; and at length, after he had walked up and down
at the same hurried pace for full three-quarters of an hour, he
started with a feeling almost of irritation, when the servant opened
the door, and announced that Mr. Winslow and another gentleman were in
the drawing-room.

"Show them in," said Sir William Winslow, and he stood leaning on the
library table, watching the door.

The expression of his brother's countenance at once did away all that
was painful in his feelings. It was full of kindness and tenderness,
and advancing with a quick step, Chandos took Sir William's proffered
hand in both his own, and pressed it warmly.

"This is very kind of you, William," he said. "But, good God! how ill
you look! In Heaven's name send for some physician."

"No, no, Chandos," said Sir William Winslow; "there is no need. I have
gone through much mental pain since I saw you--but of that no more:
let us for the future be brothers indeed--but now to business: you may
search where you please for the will you mention; and I trust in God
you may find it."

"No, William," said Chandos, frankly. "I will tell you where I think
it is. Search for it yourself; I trust you fully."

Mr. Miles pulled him by the sleeve, saying, "But my dear Sir, my dear
Sir--"

"Hush," said Chandos, sternly.--"I think, William," he continued,
"from a memorandum I have found, that the will is in the drawer of
that table; and I and my solicitor will quit the room, if you please,
while you search."

"Not for the world," replied Sir William Winslow. "But you are
mistaken, Chandos; the will is not there, as you may see;" and he drew
out the drawer with a sharp pull. There appeared nothing but a small
piece of vellum, folded like a letter, and the lawyer immediately
exclaimed, "There it is!"

"No, Sir, it is not," answered Sir William Winslow, sharply; "that is
a letter addressed to me, nothing more."

Chandos smiled, saying, "That is only a part of the contents of the
drawer. Press your thumb tightly on the right side at the back,
William. The memorandum is marked with the initials, S. D. E. which I
interpret 'Secret Drawer, Elmsly.' Now, I know of no secret drawer but
the one in that table, which I have once or twice seen my father
open."

Sir William instantly pressed on the inside, as he was directed, but
without effect; and he turned towards the bell, saying, "I will have
it broken open; for I feel it yield under my hand."

"Stay, stay," said Chandos, "let me try;" and coming round to that
side of the table, he put his hand into the drawer, and pressed hard.
At the first touch the piece of wood which formed the false back flew
out, and an inner drawer was pushed forward by a spring from behind.
It contained a considerable number of papers, and a small basket full
of gold coin. At the top of the papers, however, was a packet, sealed
with black, and marked, in a lawyer's hand, "Last will and testament
of Sir Harry Graves Winslow, Bart." Underneath was written, in Sir
Harry's own handwriting, "For Chandos Winslow, Esq. To be opened
before the funeral."

Chandos did not touch the will; but Sir William took it out and put it
into his hands, saying, "Stay! We had better have more witnesses
before you open it;" and ringing the bell, he ordered the butler to be
sent.

"My brother, Mr. Winslow," he said, when the man appeared, "has
pointed out to me this secret drawer, which I had not before
discovered; and in it we have found this paper, which seems to be a
later will of my father's than that already read. I wish you to be
present while it is examined. Now, Chandos, let us hear the contents."

Chandos opened it, and placed the paper which he found within the
cover in the hands of Mr. Miles, who, with spectacles on nose,
proceeded to read it aloud, having first ascertained that it was duly
signed and attested.

The purport of the will was precisely that which Faber had stated.
Winslow Abbey, and the estates attached, with all the furniture,
books, and pictures in the house, were left to Chandos Winslow; but
the property was charged with an annuity of four hundred a year to
Faber. A few legacies were given to servants. Five thousand pounds, in
lieu of all other demands, was assigned to Lockwood; and all other
property, real and personal, including a large sum in public
securities, of the existence of which Sir William had been hitherto
ignorant, was left to the deceased baronet's eldest son. The clergyman
of the village, and a gentleman in London, were named as executors,
together with Mr. Roberts, whom Sir Harry probably expected to act for
all.

When the will had been read, Sir William took his brother's hand, and
pressed it in his own; and nodding his head to the butler, he said,
"You may go. Now, my good Sir," he continued, turning to Mr. Miles,
"the best thing you can do is to take that paper down to the gentleman
there named, in the village of Elmsly; tell him how we found it, and
ask him if he is prepared to act. In fact, take all the necessary
steps for substituting this will for the other. I shall of course
consent to all that is required. There may be some difficulty indeed
as to the Abbey property, in regard to which I have acted rashly; but
that I must settle as I can. My brother will join you in a little, at
the inn. At present I wish to speak to him for a few minutes."

He spoke in somewhat of his old imperious tone; and the little lawyer
took the hint, and departed rapidly.

"And now, Chandos," said Sir William Winslow, in a voice that trembled
with emotion, "tell me one thing. Have you not a boy under your
charge, a boy of about seven or eight years old?"

"I have, William," answered Chandos, with a faint smile; "and as fine
and brave a boy he is as ever lived."

"Is he not my son?" demanded Sir William Winslow, in a low tone.

"I have every reason to think he is," answered Chandos.

"Where is he? where is he?" exclaimed his brother. "I must see him,
Chandos; I must have him here."

"That you can have in half-an-hour," answered Chandos: "I left him at
the village inn."

"Oh, send him to me!" cried Sir William: "I knew not she had had a
child. Yet, stay one moment; promise me, Chandos, as a man of honour,
if anything befalls to take me hence, that you will be a father to my
boy."

"Be you sure I will, William," answered Chandos Winslow. "Is there
anything more?"

"Yes, one thing more," replied his brother, taking up the paper he had
written in the morning; "I have there put down my wishes--informally
perhaps--in the shape of a will. I have named you my executor; and I
am sure that, whether the will be valid or not, you will carry it
out."

"Upon my honour," answered Chandos Winslow, "if you have left the boy
your whole property, it shall be his."

"No, I have not done that," said Sir William; "I have not wronged you,
Chandos, in this at least: and now send me my boy as soon as may be;
but come yourself afterwards. Take the will with you. No one can tell
what may happen from hour to hour in this life."

"That is true, William;" answered Chandos; "but yet I trust there is
no such imminent danger, though it is evident you are far from well.
If you would see a physician, you would really greatly oblige me; but
I will speak with you more on that subject, when I return, which shall
be ere long."

The moment his brother was gone, Sir William Winslow rang the bell,
and sent for his valet. The man entered with a peculiarly placable and
even smiling look; a visitation with which his countenance was seldom
troubled. But it was soon changed into one of dark malevolence; for
the first words of his master were:--"I sent for you, Benini, to tell
you that I shall have no further need of your services after the end
of a month. You have warning to that effect. You may go."

"Very well, Sir William," replied the man; "but it might be better for
you to think."

"I have thought," answered Sir William, sternly; "you may retire, I
say."

The man bowed, and left the room; and Sir Winslow murmured, "That is
done--I will not live in fear. Death is better."

"There is a man at the hall-door wishes to speak with you, Sir;" said
a footman, entering.

"I am busy," said his master; "I cannot be disturbed--Who is he?"

"I do not know, Sir," answered the servant; "a tall, strong man, well
dressed enough; but with a face like a gipsey, or a mulatto--he said
he must and would see you, as he had business of importance to speak
about."

"Well, if he must and will see me, send him in," said the baronet; "I
think I will soon dispatch his business."

The man retired, and soon returned with the same personage whom
Chandos had seen speaking with her whom we have called hitherto Sally
Stanley, in the park.

"What do you want with me?" asked Sir William Winslow, fiercely.

His visitor paused till the door was shut, and then replied, in a
rude, familiar tone, "I want a little money, Sir William; that's the
truth. But if I get money, I can give money's worth."

Sir William Winslow's heart sunk. "Indeed!" he said; "pray, what can
you give?"

"Silence," answered the man.

"Silence!" repeated the baronet in a low voice; "silence about what?"

"I will tell you a little story, Sir," was the answer; "I am a poor
man, who get my living how I can. On the fifth of last February, I was
in the grounds of Northferry-house, from a little before five till an
hour or two after. Now, I want a thousand pounds. When I have got it,
I will go abroad and join some of my own people in another country."

Sir William Winslow had fallen into a deep fit of thought, and his
lips were very white. Though conscience had cowed him, at first, even
with the valet; yet, on further consideration, his courage had
revived; and he had argued that the Italian could prove little or
nothing unsupported by the evidence of others. But this case was
different. He dared not grapple with it. His brain seemed to reel. His
heart felt as if the blood stood still in it. The man had been on the
spot at the time; he had evidently seen all. His testimony joined to
that of the Italian was death. Would he brave it? Would he dare him to
do his worst? Would he undergo trial--risk condemnation. He thought of
his son, of his brother, of his family, of the honour of his name and
race: and when the man went away, the basket, full of gold pieces,
which had been found in the secret drawer, was empty.

The unhappy man he left sat for a few minutes with his hands covering
his eyes. Who shall tell the agony of his thoughts? He was roused by
some one tapping at one of the windows which descended to the ground;
and starting up, he beheld a beautiful boy, with a sun-burned face,
plainly, but well dressed, gazing in.

Sir William strode forward, threw the window open, and gazed at the
boy with strange and new sensations: "Who are you, my dear?" he said,
taking his hand, and leading him in. "Did Mr. Winslow send you?"

"No," answered the boy; "I came to seek him: Mr. Lockwood sent me."

"But do you not live with Mr. Winslow?" asked Sir William; "is he not
kind to you?"

"Oh! that he is," replied the boy, warmly. "But is he here?"

Sir William Winslow cast his arms round him, held him to his heart,
and wept, without reply.

"No harm has happened to him?" asked the boy, anxiously.

"Oh no!" said his father; "no. He promised to send you down to me; but
he must have taken a different road from you. What did you want with
him? Do you know who I am?"

"No, I do not," replied the boy; "but if you are Sir William Winslow,
his brother, I was to tell you, in case he was gone"--

"And what were you to tell?" demanded the baronet. "I am Sir William
Winslow."

"Then put down your ear, and I will whisper it," said the boy; "for I
was not to let any one else hear. Mr. Lockwood said that you were to
mount your horse and ride over to Winslow Abbey as fast as possible,
by the east gates of the park; because there are two constables come
over from S----, drinking at the inn; and we heard them say that they
would have you in gaol in an hour, as they had your brother; but that
they would dine first."

Sir William gazed at the boy with straining eyes, but without reply;
and the sweet young voice added, "Oh go, go! It is a horrible place a
gaol. Any place is better than that."

"It is!" said Sir  William Winslow, solemnly; "It is!"

Again he held the boy to his heart; he pressed a warm and eager kiss
upon his broad forehead; laid his hand upon his bead, and said aloud,
"May God bless thee, my child!" He then turned abruptly, and quitted
the room by a door which led to a small cabinet beyond. The boy gazed
over all the fine things the library contained for a minute or two;
and then asked himself if he should go or stay. The next moment there
was a report of fire-arms, a heavy fall, and a low groan. The boy was
terrified; he knew not at what. He crept towards the door and
listened; but the moment after he heard the voice of Chandos in the
hall; and running out, he caught him by the hand as he was speaking to
one of the old footmen, and said, in a low voice, "Some one has been
shooting in the house; and there is a groaning in that room."

"What does he mean?" cried Chandos, addressing the old man in much
agitation.

"I thought I heard a shot too, Sir, when I was coming to answer your
bell," said the servant, with a white face; "I hope nothing has
happened. Master has been very odd all day."

"Where is it, Tim? Where is it?" cried Chandos.

"Here!" said the boy, leading the way to the library, and then
pointing to the door.

They opened it; and found what had been Sir William Winslow on the
floor, with a pistol firmly clenched in his right hand, and the barrel
grasped between his teeth. A powder-flask and bag of balls lay on a
chair; and the carpet was drenched with blood.



CHAPTER XLVIII.


Crowds came and went to and from Elmsly House. For a long week the
little world of the neighbourhood was kept in agitation by facts and
falsehoods. Coroner's juries sat, and returned a verdict as much
opposed to common sense as usual. The constables from S---- went back
to their own place unaccompanied, and lost their labour. The Great
Devourer had swallowed up the destined prey of judges and juries. Sir
William Winslow was pronounced to have destroyed himself in a moment
of temporary insanity; and there is no trying the dead for murder. The
people viewed the plain and unostentatious funeral with feelings of
greater awe than is usually felt; for crime, by its happy rarity, has
a greater effect than common death. Wild tales were told; some near
to, some far from, the truth; and the nine days' wonder subsided,
leaving the sky clear, and the waters smooth again.

So much for the outside of Elmsly House. In the inside, other scenes
were taking place. Chandos did not quit the house, but, with his
solicitor, remained in possession of that which was now his own; but
the second night after the fatal event, when the coroner had sat and
his jury had returned their verdict, the old servant Jacob came to his
young master in the library, to tell him that there was a woman
walking round and round the house, and weeping. "I saw her just now,
Sir," said the man; "and she seems flesh and blood; but were it not
for that, I could almost swear that it was poor Susan Grey, of the
mill, who drowned herself, you may remember."

"She was saved, my good friend," answered Chandos. "I will go and
speak to her."

He went, and what took place he did not ever care to repeat; but on
his return he ordered the hall door to be left open night and day, and
no one to oppose the entrance of that woman at any time, or to speak
to her if they saw her. Each night she visited the room where the body
of Sir William Winslow lay, and sat beside it from the hour of
midnight till the east grew gray. On the night before the funeral she
covered the coffin with ivy-leaves, and lingered till it was quite
light ere she departed. Chandos Winslow was already up; and a servant,
who watched at the door, instantly gave him notice that she was going
forth. He followed her at once, and spoke to her both long and
earnestly. The servants from the windows saw him show her a paper too;
but she did not return with him to the house, which they judged by his
gestures that he asked her to do.

On the following day, he and the boy Tim went out on foot, in deep
mourning, and remained away for several hours; and in the evening they
set out for London.

The first visit of Chandos was, as might be expected to the house of
General Tracy; but he had little more to tell than the party there
already knew, for his letters had been frequent during the last week.
He thought Rose looked more lovely than ever; and though all that she
had gone through, and the dark events which had connected themselves
with the rise and progress of their love, had cast a saddening shade
over the sparkling brightness of her face, yet there seemed to the
eyes of Chandos more gained than lost by that softening melancholy.
When Emily appeared, she was in mourning, not very deep, yet
sufficient to mark a sense of the painful circumstances under which
she had been freed from her ill-starred engagement to his brother. She
greeted him warmly and affectionately; and gazed at him and Rose as
they sat together on the sofa, as if she fancied, in her desponding
mood, that in their happiness would consist her future. A brighter
fate, however, was reserved for her at last.

A good deal of business remained for Chandos to transact. His
brother's will, by which a thousand per annum was bequeathed to "the
boy, now under the charge of Chandos Winslow, Esq.," was proved; and,
to avoid all doubt or cavil which such vague expressions might cause
at a future period, Chandos at once secured the annuity to his little
protégé by deed. With Lord Overton, he found no difficulty. The
production of his father's second will showed at once that Sir William
Winslow had no power to sell the Winslow Abbey estate; and the money
to repay the sum which had been received as part payment was easily
raised upon the Elmsly property. The remainder of the rents of that
portion of his land the young baronet set aside as a sinking-fund to
pay off the encumbrance; and from that source, with the money in the
public funds, the property was cleared in a few years. When all the
necessary arrangements were complete in London, Chandos left the
little boy at the house of General Tracy, and went down again to
prepare Winslow Abbey for the reception of a bride. Much was wanting;
but skill, and taste, and ample means accomplished with great speed
the reparation of all that many years of neglect had done to
dilapidate the building, and desolate the grounds.

It was one day while thus employed that he was joined in the park by
Lockwood, who came to tell him that a young gipsey had been to his
house to ask where Chandos was, and to request him to come down to the
wood on the other side of the river.

"I fear," said Lockwood, "that poor girl is very ill, from what the
lad told me."

Chandos went instantly to the spot pointed out, and found the
apprehensions of Lockwood fully verified. Under a coarse, dingy
blanket, hung between two trees, to give more air than one of the
ordinary gipsey tents afforded, with dimmed eyes and sunken cheeks,
lay the once lovely Susan Grey. Her mind was wandering very much; but
she knew Chandos at once; and from time to time the troubled stream of
her thoughts seemed to become suddenly clear. The young gentleman
remained by her side for more than two hours with several of the
gipsies, both male and female, looking on. In the course of her
rambling and broken conversation, much of her preceding history was
told. It seemed that when she had cast herself headlong from the bank
into the river, near Elmsly, some gipsies had been passing by; and an
old man, the head of the tribe, had rescued her. It was an exploit of
his old age, and he was proud of it; and loving her because he had
saved her from destruction, he adopted her as his daughter. Her
superior knowledge, for she had been carefully educated, and even the
occasional aberration of her intellect, and the quick decision of
character which bitter misfortune sometimes gives, soon obtained for
her great consideration in the tribe, which was confirmed by the
accidental fulfilment of many of her fortunate guesses. So of course
we must call them; but it is to be remarked that she herself, even in
her last hour, maintained that her predictions proceeded from a real
foresight of coming events. Although she had eagerly sought to see
Chandos, he could only discover that she had one request to make, and
that referred to her interment.

"Let me have Christian burial," she said more than once; "for I die a
Christian; and lay me beside him who should have been my husband."

Chandos promised, and he kept his word; for, much to the scandal of
some, the poor miller's erring daughter, the wandering gipsey woman,
lies in the vault of the Winslow family.

"Ay, she came to choose her place more than a month ago," said the old
sexton, after the funeral: "she gave me two golden sovereigns one
night, to let her have the keys of the vault for two hours; and I knew
very well what she came for, so I didn't disturb her."

It was in the brown autumn time that Rose Tracy gave her hand to
Chandos Winslow; and at Christmas the whole party assembled round the
fire at Northferry. By the side of Emily, whose cheek had regained the
rose, and whose lip had won back its smiles, sat Horace Fleming. He
looked very happy. Something was whispered to Emily, while the rest
were busy with other things. "No Horace," she said; "yet three months,
and then if you will."

A few other characters remain to be disposed of; but as no great
length of time has passed since the events just detailed took place,
the fate of several of our people is still hanging in the balance
where we weigh till death. Little Tim is now, I believe, at Eton; and
is a remarkably intelligent and amiable boy. The young gentleman will
excuse my not mentioning the name he now goes by. It is neither
Winslow nor Stanley. Lockwood is precisely the same being as when
Chandos first met with him--down to the leather gaiters. One
satisfactory thing has occurred within my own knowledge. The Italian,
Benini, is working in chains at Leghorn. He went into the service of a
Russian nobleman, who, to Benini's great grief, was cruelly
assassinated at Sienna. The police of Tuscany, however, did not like
Benini to be so much afflicted; and they tried him for murder. He
persisted in declaring his innocence; but the incredulous brutes would
not believe him; and under the mild laws of that mild government, he
was condemned to hard labour for life.

One word more: Mr. Scriptolemus Bond is a Valet de Place, in Paris,
where he exercises his abilities in the same direction as before,
though in a narrower sphere. He, however, is contented with his fate,
although repinings will sometimes visit him, especially when a share
list meets his eyes.

On the contrary, Chandos Winslow, and Rose his wife, are contented,
without repining. They may have to suffer some evils, as a healthy man
will have a cold now and then; but if we were to look into all hearts,
the grand secret which they would display is this, that, balance the
account of life how we will, the sum of happiness is in favour of
virtue. Without it, there is no contentment; and with it, the peace of
God which passes all understanding, surpasses everything that earth
can give.



THE END.





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