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Title: Urith - A Tale of Dartmoor
Author: Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine)
Language: English
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URITH

A Tale of Dartmoor

by

S. BARING GOULD

Author of "Mehalah," "Arminell," "Old Country Life," etc.



London
Methuen and Co.
18, Bury Street, W.C.
1891



URITH:

A TALE OF DARTMOOR.



CHAPTER I.

DEVIL TOR.


In the very heart of Dartmoor, far from human habitation, near two
thousand feet above the level of the sea, but with no prospect in the
clearest weather on any side upon cultivated land, stands at present, as
stood two hundred years ago, and doubtless two thousand before that, a
rude granite monolith, or upright stone, about fourteen feet high,
having on it not a trace of sculpture, not the mark of any tool, even to
the rectification of its rugged angles and rude shapelessness.

In every direction, far as the eye can range, extends brown, desolate
moorland, broken here and there with lumps of protruding rock, weathered
by storm into the semblance of stratification.

A bow-shot from this upright stone rises such a hump that goes by the
name of Devil Tor; and the stone in question apparently formed
originally the topmost slab of this granite pile. But when removed, by
whom, and with what object, remains a mystery. The beauty of a vast
upland region lies not in its core, but in its circumference, where the
rivers have sawn for themselves valleys and gorges through which they
travel to the lowlands in a series of falls, more or less broken. About
the fringe, the mountain heights, if not so lofty as in the interior,
show their elevation to advantage, towering out of the cultivated plains
or undulating woodland at their bases.

In the centre there is less of beauty, because there is no contrast,
and it is by comparison that we form our estimates.

In the heart of the upland all is equally barren, and the variations of
elevation are small. This is especially the case with the interior of
that vast elevated region of Dartmoor, which constitutes bog from which
flow the rivers that pour into the Bristol Channel on one side, and into
the English Channel on the other.

The monolith, blackened by lichen, standing in such utter solitude, was
no doubt thought to bear some resemblance to the Great Enemy of Man, and
the adjoining Tor was regarded as his throne, on which he seated himself
but once in twelve months, on Midsummer Eve, when the Bale-fires flamed
on every hill in his honour. On all other occasions he was erect in this
eyrie region, peering east and west, north and south, to see what evil
was brewing in the lower world of men.

Devil Tor is reached by very few, only now and then does a shepherd pass
that way, as the bogs provide no pasturage. The peat there has grown
from hoar antiquity undisturbed by the turf-cutter on account of the
remoteness of the spot and the difficulty of transport. The fisherman
never reaches it, for it lies above the sources of all streams.

The surface of the moor is chapped and transformed by the chaps into a
labyrinth, of peaty hummocks and black and oozy clefts, the latter from
six to twelve feet deep, running in every direction, and radiating out
of each other at all angles. Why the peat is so cleft is hard to say,
there is no running water in the gashes, which in many cases go down to
the white granite like the fissures in the body of a leper that in
places disclose the bone. It would almost seem as though the bitter cold
of this region had chapped its surface, and that no soft warm weather
ever came to mollify, and to heal its gaping wounds.

Evening had closed in, but not attended by darkness, for the whole sky
was glowing. The moor was on fire.

The season was that early spring in which what is locally termed
"swaling" takes place, that is to say, the heather is set fire to after
the dry winds of March, so as to expose and to sweeten the herbage.

The recent season had been exceptionally dry, even for so rainless a
season, and the fires that had been kindled near the circumference of
the moor had run inwards, gained the mastery, and rioted over the whole
expanse beyond control. They leaped from bush to brake, they crossed
streams, throwing over tufts of flaming bracken, pelting the further
shore, till that also was ignited.

They circumvented bogs, they scrambled up moraines of granite, locally
termed _clatters_, they ran up the hills on one side, enveloped their
rocky crests in lambent flame, and descended the further side in a
succession of bounds, and now they raged unchecked in the vast untrodden
interior, where the wiry heather grew to shrubs, and the coarse grass
and rushes were dust dry. There it ate its way along, a red advancing
tide, working to windward, with a low roar and crackle, snapping at
every bush, mumbling the tufts of rush, tossing up sparks, flame, and
smoke, so that in the general glow and haze every landmark was disguised
or effaced.

To no distance could the eye reach, because the whole atmosphere was
impregnated with smoke, the smoke red and throbbing with the reflection
of the fires over which it rolled. Indeed, the entire firmament was
aglow, at one time flashing, at another darkening, then blazing out
again as a solar photosphere, responsive to the progress and force of
the conflagration.

Crouched at the foot of the great upright stone, that rose over her as
the Devil triumphing over his pray, was a girl, with sullen, bewildered
eyes, watching the fires as they folded about her, like flame fingers
interlacing to close in and squeeze, and press the life out of her.

Her hands were bandaged. She rested her chin on them. She was a handsome
girl, but with the features irregular. She had large dark eyes--possibly
at this moment appearing unduly large, as they stared with a vacant
unconcern at the mingled darkness and flame. Her complexion was by
nature a transparent sallow, but now it glowed--almost vermilion in the
light of the burning moor. Her brow was broad, but low and heavy. The
face was strange. When the long dark eyelashes fell, then there was in
the countenance, in repose, a certain pathos, a look of sadness, of
desolation; but the moment the eyes opened, this was gone, and the eyes
proclaimed a sullen spirit within, underground, a smoulder of fierce
passion that when stirred would burst forth into uncontrolled
fury--akin to madness. When the lids fell, then the face might be
pronounced beautiful, but when they rose, only the sullen, threatening
eyes could be seen, the face was forgotten in the mystery of the eyes.

As the girl sat beneath the great black monolith her brooding eyes were
turned as a brake exploded into brilliant flame. She watched it burn
out, till it left behind only a glow of scarlet ash; then she slowly
turned her head towards Devil Tor, and watched the fantastic shapes the
rocks assumed in the flicker, and the shadows that ran and leaped about
them, as imps doing homage to their monarch's chair.

Then she unwound the bandages about her hands, and looked at her
knuckles. They were torn, and had bled, torn as by some wild beast. The
blood was dry, and when she wrenched the linen from a wound to which it
adhered, the blood began again to ooze. Her wounds were inflamed through
the heat of the fires and the fever in her blood. She blew on them, but
her breath was hot. There was no water within the engirdling ring of
fire in which she could dip her hands. Then she waved them before her
face, to fan them in the wind, but the wind was scorching, and charged
with hot ash.

Sitting thus, crouched, waving her bloodstained hands, with the bandage
held between her teeth, under the black upright stone of uncouth shape,
she might have been taken for a witch provoking the fires to mischief by
her incantations.

Suddenly she heard a voice, dropped the kerchief from her mouth, and
sprang to her feet, as a shock of fear--not of hope of escape--went
through her pulses to her heart. Whom was she likely to encounter in
such a spot, save him after whom the Tor was named, and which was
traditionally held to be his throne?

On the further side of the encompassing fires stood a young man, between
her and Devil Tor; but through the intervening smoke and fire she could
not discern who he was, or distinguish whether the figure was familiar
or strange.

She drew back against the stone. A moment ago she was like a witch
conjuring the conflagration, now she might have been taken for one at
the stake, suffering the penalty of her evil deeds.

"Who are you? Do you desire to be burnt?" shouted the young man.

Then, as he received no reply, he called again, "You must not remain
where you are."

With a long staff he smote to right and left among the burning bushes,
sending up volumes of flying fiery sparks, and then he came to her,
leaping over the fire, and avoiding the tongues of flame that shot after
him maliciously as he passed.

"What!" he exclaimed, as he stood before the girl and observed her.
Against the ink-black, lichened rock, her face, strongly illumined,
could be clearly seen. "What! Urith Malvine?"

She looked steadily at him out of her dark, gloomy eyes, and said, "Yes,
I am Urith. What brings you here, Anthony Cleverdon?"

"On my faith, I might return the question," said he, laughing shortly.
"But this is not the place, nor is this the time, for tossing questions
like shuttlecocks on Shrove Tuesday. However, to satisfy you, I will
tell you that I came out in search of some ponies of my father's--scared
by the fires and lost. But come, Urith, you cannot escape unaided
through this hoop of flame, and now that you are contented with knowing
why I am here, you will let me help you away."

"I did not ask you to help me."

"No, but I am come, unasked."

He stooped and caught her up.

"Put your arms around my neck," said he. "The fire will not injure me,
as I am in my riding boots, but your skirts invite the flame." Then he
wrapped together her gown about her feet, and holding her on his left
arm, with the right brandishing his staff, he fought his way back. The
scorching breath rushed about them, ten thousands of starry sparks, and
whirled round and over them. He took a leap, and bounded over and
through a sheet of flame and landed in safety. He at once strode with
his burden to the pile of rocks where were no bushes to lead on the
fire--only short swath, and a few green rushes full of sap.

"Look, Urith," said he, after he had recovered breath, "between us and
the next Tor--whose name, by the Lord, I don't know, but which I take
to be the arm-chair of Lilith, the Devil's grandam--do you see?--the
very earth is a-fire."

"How, the earth?"

"The peat is so dry that it has ignited, and will smoulder down into its
depths for weeks, for months, mayhap, till a Swithurn month of rains has
extinguished it. I have known a moor burn like this all through the
summer, and he that put an unwary foot thereon was swallowed like the
company of Korah in underground fire."

The girl made no reply. She had not thanked the young man for having
delivered her from the precarious position in which she had been.

"Where am I?" she asked, turning her head about.

"On Devil Tor."

"How far from home?"

"What--from Willsworthy?"

"Yes, from Willsworthy, of course. That is my home."

"You want to find your way back? How did you come here?"

"You ask me two questions. Naturally, I want to get to my home. As for
how I came here--on my feet. I went forth alone on the moor."

"And lost your way?"

"Certainly, or I would not be here. I lost my way."

"You cannot by any possibility return direct over the bog and through
the fire to Willsworthy. I could not guide you there myself. No man, not
the best moor-shepherd could do this at such a time. But what ails your
hands? You have hurt yourself."

"Yes, I have hurt myself."

"And, again, what induced you to come forth on the moor at such a season
as this?"

The girl made no answer, but suddenly looked down, as in confusion.

She was seated on the rock of the Tor. Anthony Cleverdon stood somewhat
below, on the turf, with one hand on the stone, looking up into her
face, that was in full illumination, and he thought how handsome she
was, and what a fortunate chance had befallen him to bring him that way
to rescue her--not from death, but from a position of distress and
considerable danger. Even had she escaped the fire, she would have
wandered further into the recesses of the waste, becoming more and more
entangled in its intricacies, without food, and might have sunk
exhausted on the charred ground far from human help.

As Anthony looked into her face and saw the sparks travel in her eyes as
the reflections changed, he thought of what he had said concerning the
hidden fire in a moor, and it seemed to him that some such fire might
burn in the girl's heart, of which the scintillations in her eyes were
the only indication.

But the young man was not given to much thought and consideration, and
the notion that started to his mind disappeared from it as suddenly as
it flashed out.

"You cannot remain here, Urith," he said. "I must take you with me to
Two Bridges, where I have stabled my horse."

"I should prefer to find my way home alone."

"You are a fool--that is not possible."

She said nothing to his blunt and rude remark, but revolved in mind what
was to be done.

The situation was not a pleasant one. She was well aware that it would
be in vain for her to attempt to discover the way for herself. On the
other hand, she was reluctant to commit herself to the guidance of this
youth, who was no relation, not even a friend, only a distant
acquaintance. The way, moreover, by which he would take her home must
treble the distance to Willsworthy. That way would be, except for a
short portion of it, over high road, and to be seen travelling at night
with a young man far from her home would be certain to provoke comment,
as she could not expect to traverse the roads unobserved by passengers.
Although the journey would be made by night, the packmen often travelled
at night, and they were purveyors, not only of goods, but of news and
scandal. She could not calculate on reaching home till past midnight; it
would be sufficient to render her liable to invidious remark were she to
make this journey with such a companion alone by day, but to do this at
such a time of night was certain to involve her in a flood of
ill-natured and ugly gossip. This thought decided her.

"No," she said, "I will stay here till daylight."

"That you shall not."

"But if I will?"

"You will find another will stronger than your own."

She laughed. "That can hardly be."

"Why do you refuse my guidance?"

"I do not want to go with you; I prefer to remain here."

"Why so?"

She looked down. She could not answer this question. He ought not to
have asked it. He should have had the tact to understand the difficulty.
But he was blunt of feeling, and he did not. Without more ado, he caught
her in his arms and lifted her off the rock.

"If I carry you every step of the way," he said, roughly, "I will make
you come with me."

She twisted herself in his grip; she set her hands against his shoulders
and endeavoured to thrust him from her.

He threw aside his staff, with an oath, and set his teeth. Her hands
were unbandaged. She had not been able to tie them up again, but she
held the kerchiefs that had been wrapped round them in her fingers, and
now they fell, and in her struggles her hands began to bleed, and the
kerchiefs became entangled about his feet, and nigh on tripped him up.

"You will try your strength against me--wild cat?" he said.

She writhed, and caught at his hands, and endeavoured to unclinch them.
She was angry and alarmed. In her alarm and anger she was strong.
Moreover, she was a well-knit girl, of splendid constitution, and she
battled lustily for her liberty. Anthony Cleverdon found that he had to
use his whole strength to hold her.

"You are a coward?" she cried, in her passion. "To wrestle with a girl!
You are a mean coward! Do you mark me?" she repeated.

"On my soul, you are strong!" said he, gasping.

"I hate you!" she said, exhausted, and desisting from further effort,
which was vain.

"Well!" said he, as he set her down, "which is the strongest--your will
or mine?"

"Our wills have not been tested," she answered, "only our strength; your
male muscles and nerves are more powerful than those of a woman. God
made them so, alack! That which I knew before, I know now, that a man
is stouter than a woman. Boast of that, if you will--but as for our
wills!" she shrugged her shoulders, then stooped and recovered her
kerchiefs, and began impatiently, to cover her confusion, to re-adjust
them about her hands, and to twist them with her teeth.

"And you will remain unbent, unbroken--to continue here in the
wilderness?"

"My will is not to go with you."

"Then I use the advantage of my superior strength of nerve and muscle,
and make you come along with me."

She took a step forward, still biting at the knots, but suddenly
desisted, turned her head over her shoulder, and said, sullenly,
"Drive--I am your captive." The step she had taken was acknowledgment of
defeat.

"Come, Urith," said he, picking up his fallen staff, "it was in vain for
you to resist me. No one opposes me without having in the end to yield.
Tell me the truth--captive--captive if you will, tell me what brought
you out on the moor? Was it to see the fires?"

"No, I ran away."

"Why did you run away?"

She was silent and strode forward, still pulling and biting at the
knots.

"Come, answer me, why did you run away?"

"I was in a passion, slave-driver! Why do you say to me, 'Come, Urith?'
I do not come, I go--driven forward by you."

"In a passion! What about?"

"My mother and Uncle Solomon worried me."

"What about?"

"That I will not tell you, though you beat me with your long stick."

"You know well enough, little owl, that I will not strike you."

"I know nothing, save that you are a bully."

"What! because I will not leave you on the moor to perish? Be
reasonable, Urith. I am doing for you the best I can. I could not suffer
you to remain uncared for on this waste. That would indeed be inhuman.
Why, at sea it is infamy for a sailor to leave a wrecked vessel uncared
for if he sights it."

There was reason in what he said. That she admitted in her heart. In
her heart, also, she was constrained to allow that the difficult
situation into which she had fallen was due to her own conduct. Anthony
Cleverdon was behaving towards her in the only way in which a generous
lad could behave towards one found astray in the wilderness. But she was
angry with him because he was too dull to see that there were
difficulties in the way in which he proposed to restore her to her home,
difficulties which she could not, in delicacy, express.

Anthony did not press her to speak further. He led the way now, and she
followed; whereas, at first, she had preceded, in her angry humour, and
to maintain the notion that she was being driven against her will.
Occasionally he turned to see that she had not run away. She was chary
of speech, out of humour, partly with him--chiefly with herself.

The way led from one granite tor to another, through all the intricacies
of fissured bog, till at length the two travellers reached a sensible
depression or slope of the land, and now the water, instead of lying
stagnant in the clefts, began to run, and presently in a thousand rills
filtered down a basin of turf towards a bottom, where they united in a
river-head.

The aspect of the country at once changed. It was as when a
fever-patient passes from incoherent and inarticulate mutterings into
connected syllables, and then to clearly distinct sentences. The
wandering veins and seams in the bog had found direction and drift for
their contents, acquired a cant down which the water ran, and valley,
stream, and river were the definite result.

"Now," said Anthony, "our course is clear; we have but to follow the
water."

"How far?"

"About four miles."

"And then?"

"Then I will get my horse, and we shall have a direct course before us."

"What, the high road to Tavistock?"

"No. You shall not go that way."

"By what way then will you take me?"

"By the Lyke-Way."



CHAPTER II.

THE LYKE-WAY.


The whole of Dartmoor Proper is included within the bounds of a single
parish, the parish of Lydford. The moor belongs to the Duchy of
Cornwall, and at Lydford stood the Ducal Castle. For two hundred years
this castle has been in ruins, but stands a monument of possession, and
just as the estate has been eaten into and pillaged through a long
course of years, so has the castle of the Duke been broken into and
robbed, to furnish cottages with stone, and cowstalls with timber.

Parishes when first constituted followed the boundaries of manors,
consequently, as the Duke of Cornwall claimed the entire Forest of
Dartmoor, that whole forest was included within the parish limits. It is
the largest parish as to acreage in England, and that with the scantiest
population in proportion to its area.

In former times the moor attracted miners, it does so still, but to a
very limited extent; extensive operations were anciently carried on in
every stream bed in quest of tin.

The vast masses of upturned refuse testify to the vastness of the mining
works that once made the moors teem with people. The workers in the
mines lived in huts merely constructed of uncemented granite blocks,
thatched with turf; the ruins of which may still be inspected. But even
these ruins are comparatively recent, though dating from the Middle
Ages, for there were earlier toilers on the same ground, and for the
same ends, who also lived on the moor, and have also left there their
traces; they dwelt in circular beehive huts, like those of the
Esquimaux, warmed by a central fire, and covered in by a conical roof
that had a smoke-vent in the midst. Tens of thousands of these remain,
some scattered, most congregated within circular enclosures, and
hundreds of thousands have been, and are being, annually destroyed. In
connection with these are the megalithic circles and lines of upright
stones, cairns that contain tombs made of rude stone blocks set on end,
and covered with slabs equally rude.

Who were the people that made of Dartmoor at a remote period a scene of
so much activity? Probably a race that occupied Britain before the
British, and which was subjugated by the inflowing, conquering Celts.

Throughout the Middle Ages, down to the Civil Wars, the tin was much
worked, and men living on the moor also died there; and dying there had
to be buried somewhere, and that somewhere was properly in the parish
churchyard.

Now, as there is but a single road across the moor from Tavistock to Two
Bridges, where it forks, one road going to Moreton, the other to
Ashburton, and as the main road was of no great assistance to such as
desired to reach Lydford for the sake of their burying their dead, a way
was made, rudely paved, and indicated where not paved by standing
stones, for the sole purpose of conveying corpses to their final resting
place.

This way, of which at present but faint traces exist, was called the
Lyke-Way. Since the establishment of the prison at Prince's Town, first
for French captives in the European War, then for Irish and English
convicts, a church has been erected, and a graveyard enclosed and
consecrated, for the convenience and accommodation of those who live and
those who die on Dartmoor. The Lyke-Way has accordingly been abandoned
for three-quarters of a century; nevertheless it is still pointed out by
the moor-men, and is still occasionally taken advantage of by them.

In former days, when for weeks the moor was covered with snow, and its
road and tracks deep in drifts, corpses were deliberately exposed to the
frost, or were salted into chests, to preserve them till the Lyke-Way
was once more passable.

Where the Lyke-Way touches a stream, there double stepping-stones were
planted in the bed, for the use of the bearers, occasionally a rude
bridge was constructed, by piling up a pier in midwater, and throwing
slabs of granite across, to meet in the midst on this pier; but these
were always wide enough to permit of the bearers to cross the bridge
with the bier between them.

It is not to be marvelled at that superstition attaches to this road,
and that at night, especially when the moon is shining, and the clouds
are flying before the wind, the moor-men aver that there pass trains of
phantom mourners along this way, bearing a bier, gliding rather than
running, shadows only, not substantial men of flesh. And as, in the old
days, the funeral train sang hymns as they went along with their load,
up hill and down dale, so do the moor-men protest at the present time
that when the phantom train sweeps along the Lyke-Way, a solemn dirge is
wafted on the wind of such overwhelming sadness, that he who hears it is
forced to cover his face, and burst into tears.

It is said that if one be daring enough to hide behind a rock on the
side of the corpse-track when the phantom procession is on the move, so
as to suffer it to pass near him, he will see his own face upturned to
the moon on the bier that goes by. Then must he make the best of his
time, for within a year he will be dead.

Along the Lyke-Way, as the nearest way to her home, and also to his own,
in defiance of the superstition that clung to it, did Anthony Cleverdon
purpose to conduct Urith.

When she heard him suggest this way she shivered, for she was, though a
strong-minded girl, imbued with the belief of the age. But the power to
resist was taken from her. Moreover, along that way there was less
chance than on any other of encountering travellers, and Urith shrank
from being seen.

On reaching the point where she and her companion touched the Lyke-Way,
a point recognisable only by Anthony, who was familiar with it--for here
it was but a track over smooth turf, then Cleverdon bade his companion
seat herself on a stone and await him. He would, he said, go to the
tavern and fetch his horse.

Her opposition to his determination had ceased, not because her will was
conquered, but because she was without an alternative course to cling
to, without a purpose to oppose to his. She was weary and hungry. She
had rambled for many hours before Cleverdon had discovered her, and had
eaten nothing. Fatigued and faint, she was glad to rest on the stone,
and to be left alone, that she might unobserved give way to the tears of
annoyance and anger that welled up in her heart.

In an access of inconsiderate wrath--wrath is ever inconsiderate--she
had run away from home--run from a sick mother--and she was now reaping
the vexations that followed on what she had done. Her annoyance was
aggravated, not tempered, by the thought that no one was to blame for
the unpleasant predicament in which she was placed but her own self.

As Urith sat, awaiting the return of Anthony, gazing around her, it
appeared to her that the scene could hardly be more awful at the
consummation of all things. The whole of the world, as far as she could
see, was on fire; it looked as if a black crust were formed over an
inner glowing core, like the coal-dust clotted in a blacksmith's forge
above the burning interior. There were wandering sparks ranging over it,
and here and there a quiver of lurid flame. All that was needed to
excite to universal conflagration was a thrust with an iron rod, a blast
of concentrated wind, and then the crust would break up, and through its
rents would flare out rays of fire too dazzling to look upon, that would
swallow up all darkness and dissolve mountain and granite into liquid
incandescent lava, and dry up every river with a breath. There was water
near the rock where Urith sat, and she again unwound her hands and
dipped the bandages in the cool stream.

She was thus engaged, when softly over the velvet turf came Anthony,
leading his horse.

"Let me look," said he, bluntly; "let me tie up your rags. How did you
injure your knuckles?"

She obediently held out her hands.

"I did it myself."

"How? Against the rocks?"

"No--with my teeth."

"What! You bit your hands?"

"Yes. I bit my hands. I was in a rage."

"We men," said Anthony, "when we are angry, hurt each other, but you
women, I suppose, hurt your own selves?"

"Yes. We have not the strength or the means to hurt others. Not that we
lack the will--so we hurt ourselves. I would rather have bitten some one
else, but I could not, so I tore my own hands--with my teeth."

"You are strange beings, you women," said Anthony.

Then he threw the bridle on the ground, and set his foot on it, so as
to disengage his own hands.

He took hold of Urith's wrist, and the kerchiefs, one after the other,
and arranged the bandages, and fastened them firmly. Whilst thus
engaged, he suddenly looked up, and caught her sombre eyes fixed
intently on him.

"Would you hurt me--bite and mangle me?" he asked, with a laugh.

"Yes--if you gave me occasion."

"And if I gave you opportunity?"

"Assuredly, if I had the occasion and the opportunity."

"Which latter I would not be such a fool as to allow you."

"Opportunities come--are not made and given."

"You are a strange girl," he said; holding her hands by the bandaged
knots at the wrists, and looking into her gloomy eyes; "I should be
sorry to rouse the wild beast in you--there is one curled up in your
heart--that I can see. Your eyes are the entrance to its lair."

"Yes," answered Urith, without shrinking, "it is true there is a wild
beast in me."

"And you obey the wild beast. It stretched itself and sniffed the moor
air--than away you ran out into the wilderness."

He continued to study her face; that exercised a strange fascination
upon him.

"Yes; I was in one of my fits. I was angry, and when I am angry I have
no reason--no thought--no feelings, nothing save anger. Just as the moor
now is--all fire; and the fire consumes everything. I could not hurt my
mother--I did not want to hurt my Uncle Solomon. That other---- He was
beyond my reach, and so I bit myself."

Anthony made an attempt to shake himself free from the sensation that
stole over his senses, a sensation of giddiness. The effort was
ineffectual, it lacked resoluteness, and again the spell settled over
him; he was falling into a dream, with his hands on her wrists, and her
pulses throbbing against his fingers, a dream woven about him, enlacing,
entangling mind and heart and consciousness; a dream in which he was
losing all power of seeing anything save her eyes, of hearing anything
save her breathing, of feeling anything save the dull throb of her
pulse--a dream in which he was being caught and bound, and thrown
powerless at her feet--a dream of mingled rapture and pain and undefined
terror. She had called herself his captive a little while ago, and now
she, without a word or a movement, was subjecting him absolutely.

How long he stood thus fascinated he could not conjecture, he was
startled out of it by his horse jerking his bridle from under his foot,
and then at once, as one starting out of a trance, he passed into a
world of other sensations, he heard the rush of water and the wail of
wind, he saw the fires about him, and Urith's eyes no longer filled the
entire horizon.

"Come," said he, roughly, as he caught the bridle, "get on the horse; we
must waste no more time talking folly." He put his hands under her foot,
and with a leap she was in the saddle.

"You can ride of course," said he, churlishly; he detested the spell
that had been thrown over him; the conviction that he had been very
nearly falling wholly into her power.

"Of course I can ride--I am a moor-maid."

With his hand at the bit he urged the horse on, and strode forward,
looking down at the turf, without speaking. The sudden drunkenness of
brain that had come over him left its vapours that were not withdrawn
wholly and at once. But Anthony was not a man to brood over any
sensation or experience, and when Urith asked, "Did you find your
father's colts?" he recovered his good humour and gaiety, and answered
in his wonted tone, "No, the fire must have driven them further north,
maybe they are lost in Cranmeer." Then, with a laugh, he added, "I have
been like Saul seeking my father's beasts, and like Saul, have found
something better." He looked up at her with a flashing eye.

She turned her head away.

"You came to the moors alone?" she asked.

He did not reply, but pointed to the west. "The wind is shifting, I
hold. The direction of the smoke and flames is changed."

She did not observe that he evaded giving her a reply to her question.

The way now dipped into a broad valley, where the fire had already
burnt, and had exhausted itself.

It lay before them a dark trough, and yet scintillating in points where
ashes glowed after the flames had exhausted themselves. An auroral light
pervaded the sky overhead, especially bright above the hills to the
east, and against it the granite piles of rock on the mountain tops,
stood forth as ruined castles crumbling away in the conflagration, and
above one huge block, like an altar, smoke rose in columns intermingled
with flame, as though on it a gigantic sacrificial oblation were being
made.

"I suppose you were angry with me when I snatched you off Devil Tor, and
you strove to free yourself?" said Anthony.

"Not angry, but reluctant," she replied; "for I knew that you wished me
well, and that your violence was kindly meant."

He drew the reins sharply and arrested the horse, then turned, put his
arm over the neck, and looked up at Urith.

"Verily," said he, "I have the fancy that I should like to put you into
one of your fits--as you term them."

"Indeed," she answered; "it is a cruel fancy, for my fits end in some
hurt. When the devil entered into the child it cast him into the fire or
into the water, and tore him before it came out. You see what one fit
has cost me"--she extended her bandaged hands. "But you do not feel how
they sting and burn. It may have been rare sport for such as looked on
to see this child half scorched by the fire, half smothered by the
water, and prostrate, mangled by the devil--but I question if any one
would have had the heart to invoke the devil to possess the child; yet
that is what you would do."

"Nay," said Anthony, a little confounded by her vehemence and the charge
against him; "nay, I would not have you again hurt."

"Then would you stand to be torn yourself?"

"What--would you tear and bite me?"

"I cannot say. When I have one of my fits on me I do not know what I am
about."

"Are you repentant for your action afterwards?"

"Assuredly I am repentant when I have gnawed my hands, for they are full
of pain."

He turned away. The girl disturbed him. The young man was not accustomed
to meet with damsels who were not honey and cream, smiles and
allurements--the frank avowal of savagery in Urith, mingled with the
consciousness that she exerted over him a certain fascination against
which he had no counter-spell, caused him uneasiness. He turned abruptly
round and went forward with lowered head, and the vapours recently
lifted from his brain began to settle over them again.

Presently he came to the side of a foaming tumbling river. He halted,
and, without looking into Urith's face, said----

"Now we have come to the Walla, and my cob has been restive at crossing
water to-day, shall I help you to dismount? You can go over by the
stepping-stones. I must ride him across."

He put forth his hand, but she slipped to her feet unassisted, and
handed to him the crop or long-lashed whip that had hung at the
saddle-bow, but which she had taken in hand.

"Yes," he said, "I shall require the crop." Then he leaped into the
saddle and spurred the horse down into the water.

Urith tripped along the stones till she reached a broad block in the
midst of the river. She found no difficulty in crossing, as the light
overhead mirrored itself in the water, making of the Walla a very
Phlegethon. But for the same reason Anthony's cob objected to enter. He
reared and plunged, and when whipped and spurred, wheeled about.

Urith watched the futile efforts of her companion.

Presently she called to Anthony, "The cob will go into the water if you
pat him. You further frighten him by your violence when he is already
frightened. The river seems to roll down fire and blood."

"What!" laughed Anthony; "will you teach me how to manage a horse?"

"I have had to do with horses every whit as much as yourself," she
replied. "Remember, I am the Wild Maid of the Moors."

He made no reply, but again essayed to force the cob to enter the water.
Suddenly Urith, still stationed in midstream, uttered an exclamation of
surprise, not unmingled with alarm.

She saw black figures emerge on the hill shoulder, visible against the
lurid sky, and then descend along the Lyke-Way, coming along the same
track, in the same direction.

At once there rushed upon her the stories she had heard of ghostly
trains of mourners, sweeping at night along this road, and of the
ill-luck that attended such as cast eyes on them.

"Look!--look!" she exclaimed, now in real terror. "Who are they?--what
are they? They are following us, Anthony Cleverdon! Do not let us see
them more. Do not let them overtake us."



CHAPTER III.

CAUGHT UP ON THE WAY.


Anthony looked back. Strange was the appearance of the moor side,
half-lighted by the skies reddened with the reflection of fires beyond
the hills, but with its surface travelled ever by sparks. An imaginative
mind might have thought that mountain gnomes were alert, and were
rambling torch in hand over the moor. Now one red spark wandered along
in solitude, then out flashed a second, and ran to meet it; as if they
were the lights of comrades hailing each other. Suddenly a score
sparkled and danced in a ring, and were as suddenly extinguished. Or it
might be supposed that the spirits of the primeval tin-workers had
returned to earth once more, and were revisiting their ancient circles
and avenues of stone, to perform in them the rites of a forgotten
religion.

To the south-east rose Mistor, one of the loftiest summits on the moor,
on whose rocky crest, scooped out by wind and water, is a huge circular
bowl, called by the natives the Devil's Fryingpan, in which he prepares
the storms that lash and explode on the moor. And now it really seemed
as though the Spirit of the Tempest were at work, brewing in his bowl.

In the strange after-glow that partially lighted the hill-side could be
seen dark figures descending the Lyke-Way, and approaching the ford
where Anthony was vainly endeavouring to force his cob to cross.
Anthony uttered an oath, and then redoubled his attempts to drive the
brute into the water. But it came to the edge, snuffed, and recoiled.

"What is it?" asked Urith, still watching the pursuing shadows.

Urith ran back over the stones.

"Only some folks coming after us. By heaven! I wish I could get this
cursed beast over."

"If you take the bridle on one side, I on the other, and coax the horse,
we can cross by the double stones, and he can go in the middle."

"As the bearers with the dead," said Anthony.

Urith patted the frightened beast, talked to him, praised him, and
taking the bridle, quietly led him down to the stream. Ever and anon,
she turned to look back, and saw the shadowy figures rapidly nearing.
Who could they be? Would they recognise her? Were they such as would be
likely to recognise her? What, if they knew her, would they think of her
being at such a time, and in such a place, alone with Anthony Cleverdon?

Would it be advisable to step aside, and let these travellers pass
without seeing her? But she was too ashamed to make such a proposal to
her companion. So, as she was caressing the horse, and urging him into
the water, these pursuers, whoever they were, drew nearer. She could
distinguish that they were mounted.

Anthony stood on the stepping-stones on one side, Urith on those upon
the other. The frightened horse cautiously put his hoofs in, snuffed at
the water, began to drink, recovered confidence, and allowed himself to
be led along through the stream.

They were past the middle of the river when the pursuers came to the
side of the stream, and a loud male voice exclaimed----

"There is the runaway, and by God--not alone!"

Urith shuddered, her hand twitched at the bridle, and made the horse
start. She knew the voice well. It was not a pleasant one, harsh, and
with mockery and insult in its tones. As her hand contracted, so did her
heart, and sent a rush of blood tingling to her temples.

"That is Fox Crymes!" she said to her companion, "the last, the very
last man I would have had see me here."

"Why the last?" asked Anthony, stepping on the bank, and leading the
horse up on the land. "Why the last that you would have see you, Urith?"

"Because it was on his account I ran away."

"What," laughed Anthony, "Then it is Fox whom you would have bitten, had
he allowed you to fasten your teeth on him?"

Urith's colour deepened; if Anthony had had pity, he would not have said
this. If he had looked in her face, he would have seen how dark it was
with shame and vexation.

"You wring all out. You are cruel--yes, Fox Crymes," she muttered.

"And I am not surprised. I would like to thrash him," said Anthony. "For
one thing, for coming up with us now."

The pursuing party consisted of but three, Fox--his real Christian name
was Anthony--and two others, Bessie, the sister of Anthony Cleverdon,
and Julian, Fox Crimes' half-sister. Both Crymes and Cleverdon had the
same Christian name. Old Cleverdon, the father, had been sponsor to
Crymes, and in compliment to him had received at the font his
godfather's name.

Fox was the only son of Fernando Crymes. Since childhood he had borne
the nickname, partly because of his red hair, partly because of his
pointed features, also, in a measure, because it was thought that
somewhat of the craft and subtlety of Reynard was intwined in his
nature. He did not object to the designation; it had attached itself to
him at an early age, when it conveyed no meaning to his mind, and in
mature years he accepted it without demur, and was perhaps a little
proud that he should be credited with superior shrewdness.

After the death of Fox's mother, old Fernando Crymes had married an
heiress--a Glanville--and by her had a single daughter, Julian, at whose
birth this second wife had died. Fernando Crymes, though belonging to a
very ancient and estated family, had frittered away such remains of the
property as had come to him, and would have been reduced to threadbare
circumstances had not his second marriage rehabilitated him. He was
trustee for his daughter, and lived on her estate. His son, Anthony, was
but too well aware that the portion of goods that would fall to himself
must be small, whereas his half-sister would be wealthy. The
consciousness of this disparity in their prospects affected their
relations to each other. Julian was disposed to imperiousness, and Fox
let no opportunity pass of saying or doing something to annoy her.

"You have played us a scurvy trick, Anthony," said Fox, as he splashed
through the river, and came up with the two on the further bank; then
pushing close to Urith, whom Anthony had remounted on his saddle, he
peered rudely into her face. He uttered an exclamation of rage as he
recognised her, and turned away towards Cleverdon, and said, in a
rasping tone, "We awaited you at the tavern an endless age, ever
expecting you to come and let us know whether you had found the colts or
not. I assured your sister and mine that you were after game of some
sort, and the colt-seeking was a mask, but they would not believe me.
Finally, I went to the stable, and found that you had slipped away
without a word."

"Was I bound to let you know I was going home?" asked Anthony Cleverdon,
without an effort to disguise his ill-humour.

"Bound, certainly, by all the ties of breeding and good-fellowship,"
answered Fox. "But, in good faith, when a woman is concerned, all other
considerations are thrown to the winds."

Then he fell back, and addressing his sister Julian and Bessie Cleverdon
loud enough to be overheard by those in front, he said, "I never doubted
but that Anthony came after something other than colts, and to make a
mock of us. I told you as much when we were at the Saracen's Head, and
you scouted my words. You said the Fox was ever suspicious, but the Fox
has his eye and his nose, and ear keen, and I saw, and smelt, and heard
what was hidden to duller senses."

Cleverdon turned round. He was angry, but he said nothing.

Fox Crymes went on, tauntingly. "There is game of all sorts on the Moor;
but, good Lord! it is sometimes hard to say which is the game and which
the sportsman, and which has been in pursuit of the other."

"Silence that malicious tongue of yours, or _I_ will silence it for
you," said Anthony, angrily.

"O! I am always to be threatened whenever I draw my bow, but you--are
to be scatheless, whatever your conduct be."

"You fight unfairly, with poisoned weapons."

"And you retaliate, like a wild man, with a bludgeon," answered Crymes.
"Are we to hold our hands when treated by you as it has pleased you? You
invited us to attend you to the Moor and spend with you a merry day, and
then you desert us. Are we not free to question why we are thus
treated?"

Then Bessie rode forwards beside Urith, and asked, "Tell me, how came
you here?"

"She lost her way in the smoke, and no marvel," said Anthony Cleverdon.
"I discovered her strayed among the bogs, and engirded with flames; and
had I not done so, she would have stayed all night."

"But what brought her on to the moors?"

"The same occasion that brought you, Bess--she came to see the fires.
She became distraught with the smoke, wandered, and lost all knowledge
of her direction."

"It is well, brother, that you found her," said Elizabeth; and then, in
a lower tone, "Brother, brother, speak to Julian. You have been short of
courtesy to-day, and she resents it."

Anthony shrugged his shoulders.

"I will ride alongside of Urith," said Elizabeth Cleverdon. "You must
not allow it to be observed that you lack manners, brother Anthony. You
persuaded Julian and me to come with you and see the moor on fire, and
you have left us to ourselves, and now disregard her markedly."

Whilst the brother and sister were in conversation near the horse on
which Urith was mounted, Julian Crymes passed them with averted head,
and took the lead along the Lyke-Way. Anthony, admonished by Bessie,
strode forward after her, but with a frown and curl of the lips.

Julian Crymes was a handsome dark-haired girl, with a rich, warm
complexion, and full lips and rounded chin. Her eyes were large, with
that droop in the lids that gives an impression of sensuous languor.

She heard Anthony tread at her side, but did not deign to cast on him a
look, neither did she throw a word at him. Indeed, she was angry and
offended, her bosom was heaving, her blood was simmering, and her lips
she bit to prevent their quiver. Anthony was out of humour at having
been caught up by the party, and was conscious that he had not behaved
with civility, but was too proud in himself, too indifferent to the
feelings of others, to acknowledge himself to be in the wrong, and to
make amends for his lack of courtesy to others.

Accordingly they pursued their way, side by side, she riding with
averted head, he pacing with knitted brows and downcast eyes, in
silence, and for some considerable distance.

The situation was irksome. Each, instead of speaking, was endeavouring
to catch what was said in the rear, each with suspicion that Fox was
saying something behind their backs which would cause the left ear to
tingle.

Julian was the first to find the situation intolerable, and to break
from it. She turned her head over her shoulders and said,

"Bessie could hardly be persuaded to leave the Saracen's Head, even when
she heard that you had taken your horse and had ridden away. She has a
marvellous faith in you, not shaken by a thousand evidences that you are
wanting in those qualities on which faith can be reared. After this
day's experience, even if I at any time shared in her estimation of your
qualities of cavalier, I shall cease to do so for the future. The first
obligation of a cavalier is to be mannerly towards ladies."

"You had Fox with you. I found Urith lost in the morasses, and was
forced to help a damsel who was in jeopardy--that, I take it, is the
first duty of a cavalier. You were in no straits and she was. You had
help, she none."

"You might have called us to aid you in extracting her from the morass,
or in assisting her to reach her home afterwards."

Anthony made no reply to this. No reply was possible.

"Come!" said Julian, the pent-up anger in her heart flashing forth.
"Have you no apology to offer for your misconduct?"

"What would you have me say?"

"Nay! It is not for me to put the words into your mouth."

"I have told you my reason."

"A poor and pitiful reason, ungarnished with excuse to hide its sorry
nature. If the reason be bad, so much the more should it be trimmed with
excuses."

"If I have offended you, I am sorry. I cannot help it."

Julian tossed her head. She was highly incensed. He made no attempt to
mollify her.

Fox came alongside.

"I hope, Julian," he said, "that you have soundly rated Anthony for his
ill-conduct."

She did not answer.

"We might have had a merry canter home over the turf," continued Fox,
"had not Anthony spoiled our fun by setting all our tempers on the edge.
But it may be that it better comports with the character of the Lyke-Way
that we should travel over it rather as mourners than as merrymakers,
and that, forsooth, we are, bearing dead fellowship between us."

"There is no occasion for that," said Anthony.

"In truth there is, though you who have slain it may not be aware."

"I have no desire to spoil your mirth," said Cleverdon. "Ride on
yourself, Fox, with your sister, and leave me behind."

"Julian and I are the worst of company together. We snarl and snap at
each other when a third, not of the family, is not by to control us. We
will certainly not leave you. I can see that Julian is already in no
agreeable mood, and I dare not venture myself in her company
unprotected."

"I--!" said Julian Crymes, tossing her head, "I--you mistake, Tony, I am
merry."

Fox Crymes laughed mockingly, and spurred on his horse, leaving his
sister with Anthony. Bessie brought up the rear with Urith. The train
was, as he said, more in character with the way than if it had been
composed of merrymakers. Urith and Bessie spoke together in a low tone;
now that Fox had ridden forward, silence again fell on Anthony and
Julian. He could not have seen the face of Julian had he essayed to do
so, for he walked on the off-side, and she kept her head averted, and he
his eyes depressed. She was glad that her face was hidden from
observation, so agitated was it with disappointment, wounded pride, and
jealousy.

Then Fox, ahead, began to sing to himself in strident tones a snatch of
an old ballad, and every word in it fell on Julian's heart as a drop of
burning phosphorous that no water will extinguish, but that burns down
where it has fallen, burying itself, till it has exhausted its fire.


     If I of marriage spake one word,
       I wot it was not true.
     Man loveth none so easy won,
       So over fond as you.
     All in your garden grows a herb,
       I think they call it rue;
     There willows weep o'er waters deep--
       That is the place for you.


The tears of mortification rushed into Julian's eyes. Her bosom heaved,
and sharply she wheeled her horse about, rode back to those that
followed, and said to Bessie, in a voice quivering with emotion, "Go on
to the two Anthonys. I want a word with Urith."

Without demur Elizabeth left her place and passed Julian, who drew up
across the road to force Urith to rein in. Urith looked at her with some
surprise. She did not know Julian except by sight; she had never spoken
to her in her life. And now this latter stayed her course as though she
were a highwayman demanding her purse.

Julian at first was unable to speak, choked by her passion. She panted
for breath and laboured for words, and both failed her. With nervous
hands she plucked at her gloves, and dragged rather than drew them off.

"Will you allow me to go forward?" asked Urith coldly.

Then all at once Julian broke forth into a stream of words,
disconnected, fiery with the fury that raged within.

"You would snatch him away! You! And you do not know, or you do not
care, that he and I are destined for each other--have been ever since
our cradles. Who are you to come between us? What are you, Urith
Malvine, but a half-savage moor-girl? I have heard of you. Folks have
tongues, and tell tales. Why did you come forth on the moor, but because
you were aware that he was here? You came to play the forlorn damsel--to
attract the pity and ensure the attention of this knight-errant. Are
you crafty? I am not. I am straightforward, and do not deign to wear a
false face, and put the domino on my heart. I have heard of you; but I
never supposed you were crafty." She half-started up her stirrups:
"Would we might fight out our quarrel here, on this spot."

She had reared her arm with her whip, the horse started, and she sank
back on her seat; she had exhausted her words for the moment. Her blood
tumbled, roared, flowed in her arteries like the river on the moor
behind them.

"You are mistaken," said Urith with composure. "You flare forth
unprovoked; or is it that you are angry with me because I have refused
to have anything to say to your brother?"

"To Fox!" Julian laughed contemptuously. "I respect you for that. I
never supposed that you or any sane girl would care for him. But the
wherefore of his rejection I did not know till this day. I little
suspected that Fox was cast aside because you were questing him who is
mine--is mine, do you hear? Do you understand that he is not, and never
shall be, yours? He is mine, and neither you nor any other shall pluck
him from me. I would we might fight this out together with these
weapons!" She reverted to the thought that had occupied her when the
horse started and interrupted the thread of her ideas. "You, I see, have
Anthony's crop that I gave him on his birthday; and I have but this
lady's switch. I do not consider the difference. Just as we are--as we
sit on our horses, here, on the turf and heather, with our whips--would
to God we might fight it out!"

Again she paused for breath, and panted, and put both her hands to her
bounding heart--the hand that held the whip and that in which was the
bridle and her gloves.

Then she began to cut with her whip, and the horse she rode to curvet.

"Even with this little lash I would fight you, and slash you up and down
across your treacherous face; and if you struck me I should not feel the
blows--but there, it would not be seemly. Alack the day in which we are
fallen--when we are covered with a net of such delicacy that we may not
lift hand or foot to right ourselves!"

She drew a long breath and laid both her hands on the whip and bridle
over the mane of the horse, and, leaning forward, said--

"But who--what could interfere if we went a race down the hillside among
the bogs and rocks, so that one or other would be flung at a stumble of
our steeds, and dash out the brains from our heads on the boulders?
Would that please you? Would that approve itself to you? I should draw
rein and laugh were that to chance to you." Then in an explosion of
jealousy and rage, she dashed her gloves in the face of Urith. "I dare
you! Yes, I dare you to wrest him from me!"

Urith sat on the horse unmoved. She was surprised, she was not angry.
This was the foaming over of boiling passion, but not a frenzied
paroxysm such as came upon herself. The charges brought against her were
monstrous, untrue--so monstrous and so untrue that they bore no sting
that could pain her.

She replied in her rich deep tones, and with composure. "You mistake. I
will not take up your challenge. What is Anthony to me? What am I to
him? You are beautiful, clever, and rich--and I," she laughed, "I am but
an ungroomed, undisciplined moor colt, who never gave a thought to her
looks, whether fair or foul. I am without wit, without scholarship,
living with my mother on our poor manor, so poor in means as to be
hardly accounted gentle, yet, by birth, too gentle to be esteemed boors.
No, I will not contest with you. We are furnished unequally for a
contest, you have the long whip and I but the switch."

At that moment the wind, blowing strongly, carried a tuft of ignited
gorse overhead, and as it bore the tuft, fanned into fragrance, and the
glare momentarily kindled the faces of the two girls planted in
opposition.

Each saw the other clearer than in daylight, for the light fell on their
faces and the background was sable, unillumined. As Urith looked, she
saw how handsome was her opponent, with fluttering locks, her colour
heightened by wrath, her full lips trembling, her eyes flashing. She
thought that if she were to match herself against such an one she would
come away with ignominious defeat; and Julian, by the same light, and at
the same moment, formed her opinion of the rival facing her, recognised
her strength, her charm, and felt that she was a girl who would
jeopardise her hold over Anthony, and imperil her happiness.

Both were strong women, one threatening, the other reluctant to fight.
Would they come into real conflict? Would the reluctance of the one be
overborne? Would the threat of the first lead to action? And, if they
fought, which would win?

"No," said Urith, "I do not covet the prize. So much for one thing. For
the other, as I said, the odds are unequal."

"Then," said Julian, "return me my gloves."

"I suppose they have fallen. Would you have me dismount to search the
grass for them? Get off your horse yourself, or call Fox to your aid. I
will not stoop to look for them for you."

"You have my gloves. They are not on the ground. Return them to me, or
I--"

Then Urith impatiently whipped her horse and thrust Julian aside. "This
is arrant folly," she said; "I want to be at home. I will be stayed by
you no longer."



CHAPTER IV.

THE SUSPENSE.


The ill-assorted, discordant party pushed on as fast as possible along a
road that, as it neared inhabited country, became rough and uncertain,
and under a sky of diminished light, for the heather on this portion of
the moor had been burnt early in the day, and hardly any of the embers
remained aglow.

No combination was possible that would content all, for every one except
the good-humoured Bessie had some private grudge against another, and
Bessie herself was depressed by the general dissatisfaction.

Anthony Cleverdon was vexed that he had not been left to convey Urith to
her home undisturbed, though he admitted to himself that for her sake
the present accidental arrangement was the best. Julian Crymes, still
incandescent in her anger and jealousy, was unwilling to speak to
Anthony, and unwilling to allow him to leave her side to address a word
to, and show attention to, Urith. When she did speak to him, it was in a
taunting tone, and his answers were curt, almost to rudeness.

The temper of Fox Crymes, never smooth, was now fretted to considerable
asperity; for he was smarting under the sense of rejection. He had asked
for the hand of Urith, and had been refused, and he saw, or suspected
that he saw, a reason for his rejection--an attachment for Anthony
Cleverdon. Fox was vain and conceited, and envious of his namesake, who
had superior physical powers, a finer person, and a better fortune than
himself. He was not sorry that his half-sister was disappointed, for
whatever might distress her, gave pleasure to him. However, the occasion
of her distress on this occasion was something that wounded him as well
as her.

Fox loved Urith, as far as he was capable of loving, but the jealousy he
now felt was no measure of his love; like the famous Serpent's Egg, it
was bred of a score of parents. It was the produce of mortified vanity,
of envy of Anthony Cleverdon's superior gifts of nature and fortune, of
disappointed avarice, quite as much as of rejected love.

Fox Crymes' suit for Urith was not instigated wholly by his admiration
for her charms; it sprang quite as much out of his desire to obtain the
small patrimony which would fall to her on her mother's decease.

Willsworthy was an ancient manor, never of great importance, and without
fertility, yet not despicable in the eyes of a poor gentleman. It lay on
the extreme limits of cultivated land, or rather it may be said to have
occupied the debateable ground between the waste and culture. It
occupied a hill that ran as a spur out of the moorland, between
torrents, and seemed to be what, no doubt, it was, a portion of
wilderness snatched from savagery, and hedged in. It possessed no good
soil, it lay too high for wheat to ripen on it, it was destitute of
these pasture meadows by the waterside, where the grass grows knee-deep,
and is gold-sprinkled in spring with buttercups; it was dominated by
rugged tors, and stood near the entrance of the gorge of the Tavy, where
it roared and leaped, and shot as it came down into the lowlands, and
with it came down the cold blasts that also roared and whirled, and
beat about the lone Manor of Willsworthy.

Mrs. Malvine talked disparagingly of her farm, her brother Solomon Gibbs
averred it was an estate on which to starve, and not to live. Urith
accepted their verdict as final, she knew the need for money that ever
prevailed in her house; and yet Fox Crymes cast greedy eyes upon the
estate. He saw that it possessed capabilities that were disregarded by
the widow and her brother. The manor owned considerable rights. It had
the freedom of the moor, to send out upon it an unlimited number of
sheep and cattle and colts; at a time when English wool was fetching a
high price, and was exported to the Mediterranean, to Cadiz, to Leghorn,
to Palermo, to Marseilles; this was important--it afforded exceptional
opportunities of making money. There needed but the initial outlay on
the stock, their keep was free. Not only so, but sheep in lowlands were,
in wet seasons, afflicted with disease which slew them in great numbers,
which sometimes exterminated entire flocks. But sheep on the moor were
never known thus to suffer; they enjoyed perfect immunity from the many
maladies which attend keeping them on cultivated land.

The climate in the West of England is so mild that it was possible to
let the sheep run on the moor through the major portion of the year,
only for a few months in the depth of the winter, possibly only when
snow lay on the moor, was it needful to provide them with food; and the
meadows of Willsworthy, though they did not produce rank grass, yet
produced hay that was extraordinary sweet and nutritious, and in
sufficient abundance to support a large number of sheep and cattle for
the short time during which they were debarred from foraging for
themselves. Anthony Crymes saw plainly enough, that if he had the
management of the estate of Willsworthy he would make it a mine of gold;
and that the reason why it did not now flourish was the lack of capital
in the acres, and mismanagement. Anthony Crymes knew that some money
would come to him from his father, not indeed much, but just sufficient
for his purpose, should he acquire this property--and he was very
ambitious of obtaining it.

At present, Mrs. Malvine entrusted the conduct of the farm to her
brother Solomon who belied his name; he was a man without any knowledge
of farming, and with no interest save in his violin, and who took
delight only in good company. The farm was allowed to take its course,
which was naturally a retrograde one--a relapse from former culture into
pristine wilderness.

At the period of this tale, some two hundred years ago, every squire
farmed, if not his entire estate, at all events a portion of it. Men of
ancient pedigree, proud of their ancestral properties and mansions, of
their arms and their alliances, did not disdain to ride to market and
cheapen cattle.

The Civil War ruined most of the squires who had taken up arms for the
King, litigation ruined others; then came in the great merchants and
bought the old owners out, and established themselves in their room.
They understood nothing of farming, and esteemed it despicable and
unworthy of their new-fangled gentility to pursue it.

With the gall of envy bitter in his heart did Fox see the other Anthony
walk alongside of Urith, and assume towards her an intimacy to which he
himself had never attained. The girl had ever avoided him, had treated
him with coldness tinged with ill-disguised disdain. She had not made
that effort to veil her dislike which will gloss over a repulse. Fox saw
another man better favoured than himself, reach at a bound a position he
had laboriously tried to mount, and had failed.

Hall, or as the country-folk called it "Yall," was the house of the
Cleverdons. It had belonged to the Glanville estates--had been bought by
old Judge Glanville, in the reign of Elizabeth, who had founded the
family. The Glanvilles had flourished for awhile, and had spread over
the country-side, taking up estate after estate, and had collapsed as
suddenly as they had risen. The Cleverdons had been farmers, renting
Hall, and when that estate was sold old Cleverdon by some means got
together sufficient money to purchase it, and since the purchase had
laid out considerable sums to transform what had been a modest farmhouse
into a pretentious squire's mansion.

Old Anthony was in that transitional state in which, passing from one
rank of life to another, he was comfortable in neither. He was sensitive
and ambitious--sensitive to slights, and ambitious to push himself and
his son into a better social position than that which had been occupied
by his ancestors; and, indeed, by himself in early life. The Crymes
family had been connected with the Glanvilles by marriage, and now old
Anthony schemed on the acquisition of another portion of the Glanville
property, through the marriage of his son and heir with Julian Crymes.
The old man's success had fostered his ambition. He indulged in a dream
of the Cleverdons, by skilful management, assuming eventually the
position once maintained by the Glanvilles.

The Civil Wars had produced vast displacement in the social strata. The
old gentry were failing, and those who had taken part with neither side,
but had waited on their own interests in selfish or indifferent
neutrality, were rewarded by emerging, where others were falling into
ruin, into ripe prosperity. After that Anthony Cleverdon, the elder, had
acquired the freehold of Hall, he had become a widower, and showed no
disposition to take to himself another wife. His marriage had not been a
happy experience, and none had felt the disagreement in it more than
Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, who, after her mother's death, had been
called to manage the household. If the opinion of Magdalen Cleverdon
were to be taken--the unmarried sister of Anthony, senior--who lived in
a small house in Tavistock, the blame of the unhappiness of her
brother's married life lay with his wife; but then the judgment of
Magdalen was warped and partial. When Anthony brought home his young
wife, she--Magdalen--had endeavoured to remain at the head of the house,
to interfere where she could not direct, Mrs. Cleverdon had taken a very
decided line, and refused all intermeddlement, and Magdalen, after a
sharp struggle for supremacy, had left the house routed. Disappointment
had embittered her estimate of her sister-in-law.

But there were other and more substantial grounds for her charging her
sister-in-law with having rendered the marriage an unhappy one. Mrs.
Anthony had been a portionless girl, the daughter of a poor parson;
Margaret Penwarne might have been regarded as a suitable match socially,
but pecuniarily, she was most unsuitable, especially to an ambitious and
money-grasping man.

What her brother could see to admire in Margaret Penwarne, Miss
Cleverdon protested she never could see--she entirely forgot that
Margaret had been endowed with surpassing beauty.

Others beside Magdalen Cleverdon had marvelled at the choice of Anthony,
knowing the character of the man. What could induce a man, whose main
features were ambition and greed, to select as his partner one who had
not a penny, nor was connected with any of the gentle families of the
neighbourhood? Magdalen had not reckoned on the girl's beauty; the
others who wondered had not counted on Anthony's ambition, which would
exert itself in other directions than they considered. His ambition was
deeply tinctured with, if it did not originate in, personal vanity.
Vanity is but ambition in a fool's cap, and that of Cleverdon was well
hung with bells. Because he considered himself the richest man in the
neighbourhood of his class, he esteemed himself also irresistible as a
wooer. He had been treated with considerable severity by his father in
his early years, for the old man had been a strait Puritan, though not
such an one as to risk any money for his cause, or compromise his safety
for it in any way. He allowed his son no freedom, consulted his wishes
in no particular, and allowed him no pocket-money. When the old man
died, Anthony was left with a good deal of hoarded money, and freedom to
act as he listed. His fancy was taken by Margaret Penwarne, and his
vanity and ambition stimulated by the knowledge that she was already the
object of the attentions of Richard Malvine, the son of a neighbouring
parson, without profession and without inheritance. Richard Malvine was
a handsome man, and Margaret Penwarne certainly was attached to him, but
the marriage could not be thought of till Richard had a competence on
which to support himself and a wife. Anthony Cleverdon entered the list
against the handsomest young man in the district, but he had money and a
good farm to set against good looks. He and Richard had been together at
the Grammar School, and had been rivals there, Richard ever taking the
lead, and on one occasion had thrashed Anthony severely. It was with
eagerness that Cleverdon seized the opportunity of gratifying his malice
by snatching from Malvine the girl of his heart, and it flattered his
vanity to have it said of him that he had won the most beautiful girl of
the district over the head of the handsomest man. Margaret struggled
for some time between her affection and her ambition; the urgency of her
father and mother prevailed, she cast off Malvine and accepted
Cleverdon.

Anthony Cleverdon's pride was satisfied. He had gained a triumph, and
was wrapped up in the sense of victory for a while, then the gloss of
novelty wore off, and he began to regret his precipitancy in taking to
him a wife who brought nothing into the family save good looks. The
thriftiness of the father now came out in the son. He did not grudge and
withhold money where he could make display, but he cut down expenses
where no show was made, to the lowest stage of meanness. Margaret's
father died. She thought to take her mother to live with her at Hall,
but to this her husband would not consent, nor could she wring a silver
coin from him wherewith to assist her mother, reduced to great poverty.
This occasioned the first outbreak of domestic hostilities. Margaret was
a woman of temper, and would not submit tamely to the domination of her
husband. His sister Magdalen took sides against her, and fanned the
embers of strife when they gave token of expiring. If Margaret had been
of a meek and yielding temperament, the marriage might not have been so
full of broils; her husband would have crushed her, and then ignored
her. But her spirit rose against him, and stirred the discord that was
only temporarily allayed. She could not shut her eyes to his
infirmities, she would not condescend to flatter him. In her heart she
contrasted him with the man she had loved and had betrayed; her heart
never warmed to her husband; on the contrary, indifference changed into
hatred. She made no scruple about showing him the state of her mind, she
pitilessly unmasked his meannesses, and held them up to mockery; she
scoffed at his efforts to thrust himself into a position for which he
was not born; he found no more penetrating, remorseless critic of all he
did, than his own wife.

Anthony Cleverdon believed, and was justified in believing, that his old
rival, Richard Malvine, stood between him and domestic peace, as a
shadow that blighted and engalled his relations to his wife; that,
though he had triumphed formally over his rival, that rival had gained
the lasting and substantial success. Anthony Cleverdon might prize
himself as high as he pleased, but he could no longer blind himself to
the fact, that his money bags which had won his wife for him, were
unavailing to buy her affections, and secure to him the fruits of his
triumph.

This consciousness stimulated his hatred of Malvine to fresh acridity,
and in his meanness, he found a base satisfaction in humiliating his
wife by every means in his power, and on every available opportunity.

The birth of Bessie did not serve to unite the pair, for Anthony
Cleverdon had set his heart on having a son, and when, after the lapse
of a considerable interval of time, the desired son arrived, it was too
late to serve as a link of reconciliation. Mrs. Cleverdon died shortly
after his birth, her only regret being that she had to leave her
daughter, whom she loved with double passion, partly because her
desolate heart naturally clung to some object, and had none other to
which to attach itself, partly also because little Bessie was totally
disregarded by her father.

Richard Malvine consoled himself for his disappointment by marrying
Marianne Gibbs, of Willsworthy; he took her for the sake of Willsworthy,
as Margaret Penwarne had taken Anthony Cleverdon for the sake of Hall.
He was a feckless man, who had lived at home in the parsonage with his
father, had hunted, had shot, and had never earned a penny for himself.
He died, thrown from his horse, in hunting, a few years after his
marriage, leaving an only child, Urith.

The death of the mother produced no alteration in the conduct of Anthony
Cleverdon towards her daughter. What love he had in his heart was
bestowed on his son--the heir to his name and estate.

In nature all forces are correlated. Indeed it is said that force is a
pure and unique factor, and that light, heat, sound, etc., are but
various manifestations or aspects of the one primal force. It would be
hard to say whether old Anthony's love for his boy might not be
considered as another phase of his ambition. He had never himself been a
firm-built, handsome man; undersized and of mean appearance, he had felt
the slight that this physical defect had entailed on him. But the young
Tony was robust of constitution, burly of frame, and had inherited his
mother's beauty. At Hall, from the hour of his birth, young Anthony had
become a sovereign, and every one was placed beneath his footstool.
Every inmate of the house laboured to spoil him, either because he was
himself provocative of love, or out of a desire to curry favour with the
father. He tyrannised over his sister, he was despotic with his father,
he was wayward and exacting with the servants. Nothing that he did was
wrong in his father's eyes; he grew up into manhood demanding of the
outer world, as a right, that which was accorded to him in his home as a
favour.



CHAPTER V.

THE GLOVE TAKEN UP.


Every member of the little party felt sensible of relief when they came
out on the high road and left the moor behind. For some time all had
been silent; the efforts to start and maintain conversation had signally
failed, and a funeral party would have been livelier.

As soon as the hoofs of the horses rang on the roadway, the fetters that
had bound the tongues were thrown aside, and words a few were
interchanged.

After ten minutes or a quarter of an hour a little tavern by the wayside
was reached, named the Hare and Hounds; and then Anthony Cleverdon laid
his hand on the bit of the horse Urith rode.

"My cob must bait here," he said--"at least, have a mouthful; so must
you. I will go in and see what can be provided, and bid the landlady lay
the table."

"I thank you," said Urith; "but I desire to go home at once. The
distance is in no way considerable. I know where I am. But surely I hear
my uncle's voice."

That individual appeared at the open door. He was a stout man, with a
very red face and a watery eye. His wig was awry. He stood with a pipe
in one hand and a tankard in the other.

"Aha!" shouted Solomon Gibbs. "I said the truth! I knew that it was in
vain for me to go in quest of you on the moors, niece. Told your mother
so; but she wouldn't believe me. Come on--come, and let's be
jolly--drive away dull melancholy! I knew that you must come on to the
road somewhere; and, if on to the road, then to the inn. For what is the
inn, my boys, but the very focus and acme to which all gather, and from
which all radiate? Come in--come in."

"I wish to push on," said Urith.

"How can you without my cob?" asked Anthony roughly. "I have said--she
baits here. You, also--you must be perishing for food. We all are; have
been mum all the way home--no fun, no talking. So, come in."

"That is right--urge her, young man, to follow the advice of age and
experience," shouted Mr. Gibbs.

Then he began to sing:


     Come my lads, let us be jolly,
     Drive away dull melancholy,
     For to grieve it is a folly
                 When we're met together.

     So, my friends, let us agree,
     Always keep good company,
     Why should we not merry, merry be
                 When we're met together?


He brandished his tobacco-pipe over his head, in so doing striking his
wig with the stem, and at once breaking the latter, and thrusting the
wig over his ear, and then dived into the alehouse again. He was half
tipsy.

"You are right," said Elizabeth to Urith. "You must go on. Your mother
is anxious, probably in a state of serious alarm."

"My uncle's horse is in the stable, I doubt not," answered Urith, "and
as he will not be disposed to leave till he be unfit to accompany me, I
will borrow the horse, and send it back by a servant."

"I will accompany you," said Elizabeth, "and the serving man that brings
back the horse can accompany me. The distance is inconsiderable, yet you
must not at night travel it alone. Fox and Julian have, I see, turned
their horses' heads homewards without bidding us a farewell. I cannot
stay outside whilst Anthony is within, and I do not care to enter when
men are drinking."

"Your brother will hardly leave you alone outside."

"My brother will probably forget all about me when he gets with Mr.
Gibbs and others who can sing a good song and tell a merry tale."

She said this without any reproach in her tone. She was so accustomed to
be neglected, forgotten, to find herself thrust aside by her brother,
that she no longer felt unhappy about it; she accepted it as her due.

Urith sent a stable-boy for Mr. Gibbs' horse, and having mounted it,
gratefully accepted Bessie Cleverdon's company for the ride of three
miles to Willsworthy.

Urith knew Bessie very little. Old Mr. Cleverdon did not care that his
children should associate with the Malvines. His bitterness against the
father, Richard, overflowed all his belongings--wife and child and
estate; but he published no reasons for his dislike to association with
the owners of Willsworthy, who, moreover, on account of their poverty,
kept to themselves. The Cleverdons mixed with those who were in
prosperous circumstances, and kept themselves, or were kept, aloof from
those on whom Fortune turned her back. Mrs. Malvine had for some time
been a woman in failing health, and, having no neighbours, Urith had
grown up accustomed to be solitary, and not to know the value of the
friendship, or at least the companionship, of girls of her own age and
rank. She was too proud to associate, like her Uncle Solomon, with those
of a lower grade, and she had not the opportunity of forming
acquaintanceship of those fitted to be her comrades.

As Urith rode beside Bessie, her heart stirred with a sensation of
pleasure strange to her. There was a kindness, a sympathy in the manner
of Elizabeth Cleverdon that found a way at once to Urith's heart, and
she warmed to her and shook off reserve. And Elizabeth on her side was
touched by the simplicity, the loneliness of the girl's mind, and when
they reached the entrance gates to Willsworthy she held out her hand to
Urith, and said:

"This must be the beginning of our friendship. I do not know how it is
that we have not met before, or rather, have not met to make
acquaintance. Promise me that you will not let this be the beginning and
the ending of a friendship."

"That lies with you," said Urith, with timidity. It was to her too
surprising a glimpse into happiness for her to trust its reality.

"If it lies with me," said Elizabeth, "then you may be assured it will
be warm and fast; expect to see me again soon. I will come over and
visit you. But here--let us not part thus. Give me a kiss and take
mine."

The girls drew their horses alongside each other and kissed. The tears
came into Urith's eyes at this offered and given pledge of kindness. It
was to her a wholly new experience, and was to her of inexpressible
value.

Then Urith called a serving man, alighted, and delivered her horse up to
him that he might attend Bessie Cleverdon on her way back to the Hare
and Hounds, and leave it there for her uncle when it pleased Mr. Solomon
Gibbs to return home.

Bessie found that her brother was angry and offended when he came out of
the alehouse and discovered that Urith had departed without a word; he
had felt himself obliged to wait for his sister, because it would not be
seemly to allow her to ride home in the dark alone; but he vented his
ill-humour on her when she appeared. Bessie bore his reproaches with
patience. She was accustomed to be found fault with by her father, and
less frequently, nevertheless sometimes, and always unreasonably, by her
brother.

"I've promised the ostler a shilling to attend you to Hall," said
Anthony. "There is Fox returned, and there is Solomon Gibbs here, and--I
don't feel inclined to go home."

"Father will be ill-pleased at your remaining away so long,"
remonstrated Bessie.

"Father has seen so little of me to-day that another hour's absence
won't signify. The weather is going to change--we shall have a
thunderstorm. Get home as fast as you can. Here, Samuel, attend my
sister."

Then Anthony returned to the alehouse.

At Willsworthy, Urith had stood for a moment in the porch in hesitation.
She knew that she deserved to be reproached for her conduct, and she
expected it. Her mother was not a person to spare words. She was
repentant, and yet was certain that directly her mother addressed her
with rebuke her spirit would rise up in revolt.

To her surprise, when she did enter her mother's room, Mrs. Malvine
said no more than this, "Oh, Urith! what a many hours you have been
absent. But, my child, what is that? You have gloves hanging to your
dress."

Urith stooped and looked. It was as her mother had said--the gloves of
Julian Crymes had not fallen to the ground, they had been caught by the
tags in the gown of Urith, and hung there. She disengaged them, and held
them in her hand. She had unwittingly taken up the gage.



CHAPTER VI.

MAGDALEN'S PLANS.


Magdalen Cleverdon had come out for that day from Tavistock to visit her
brother at Hall. She did not appear there very often, but made a point
of duty to visit Hall once a quarter. Old Anthony had not interfered
when his wife resisted the interference of her sister-in-law, and
discouraged her visits to the house, and after his wife's death he had
not invited her to be more frequent in her expeditions thither; nor had
he shown her the slightest inclination to defer to her opinions, and
attend to her advice.

Magdalen's visits can hardly have conduced to her own pleasure, so
ungracious was her reception when she appeared, except only from Bessie,
who was too tender-hearted to be unkind, unconciliatory to any one.
Anthony, senior, regarded and spoke of his sister as an old and stupid
harridan, and the younger Anthony took his tone from his father, and did
not accord to his aunt the respect that was due to relationship and age.

Although one of her periodical visits to Hall usually brought on
Magdalen a rebuff, yet she did not desist from them, partly because it
satisfied her curiosity to see how matters fared in the old house, and
partly, if not chiefly, because she gave herself in Tavistock
considerable airs as the sister of the Squire of Hall, and she liked to
appear to her neighbours as if on the best of terms with her kindred
there.

Magdalen had never been pretty. Hers was one of those nondescript faces
which Nature turns out when inventive faculty is exhausted, and she
produces a being, much as a worn-out novelist writes a tale, because she
is expected to be productive, though she has nothing but hackneyed
features to produce. Or her face may be said to have resembled a modern
hymn-tune that is made up of strains out of a score of older melodies
muddled together, and void of individual character. Magdalen had,
however, not a suspicion that her personal appearance was unattractive.
If she had not been sought in marriage, that was due wholly to the
inadequate manner in which she had been provided for by her father's
will; he had, she held, sacrificed her to his ambition to make a rich
man of Anthony.

She was a short, shapeless woman, with a muddy complexion and sandy
hair, now turning grey, and therefore looking as if it were full of
dust. Her eyes were faded, so were the lashes. She had bad teeth, and
when she spoke she showed them a great deal more than was necessary. Any
one conversing with her for the first time found nothing in her to
notice except these teeth, and carried away from the interview no other
recollection of her than one of--teeth.

She made a point of being well-dressed when she made her periodical
visits to Hall, to show her consequence, and to let her brother see that
she held herself in condition equal to his pretensions.

When she learned that her nephew and niece were not at Hall, but had
gone to the moor for the day to watch the fires, and to endeavour to
recover some colts that had been turned out on it by old Cleverdon, she
expressed her satisfaction to her brother.

"It is as well, Tony," she said, "for I want to have a talk with you; I
am thinking----"

"What? Talk first and think after? That is the usual way," said
Cleverdon, rudely.

Magdalen tossed her chin. She did not think it prudent to notice and
resent her brother's discourtesy. She was not likely to gain much by
flattering or humouring him; but to quarrel with him was against her
wishes.

"Really, Tony, I have your interests so much at heart----"

"I never asked you to cupboard them there; but, if they be there, turn
the key on them, and let them abide where they are."

"You are clever and witty--that every one knows--and you like to snap
your lock under my eyes and make me wince as the sparks fly out; but I
know very well there is no powder in the barrel, and I do not mind. You
really must attend to me, brother. There has been so much small-pox
about, and it has been so fatal, that upon my word, as a woman, you
should lend me your ear."

"What has the small-pox to do with my interests?"

"Much. Have you made your will, or a settlement of the property?"

"What now!" exclaimed Anthony Cleverdon roughly. "You came to scare me
with thoughts of small-pox, and want me to draw my will, and provide for
you?"

"About that latter point I say nothing, though I do feel that I was
ill-treated by my father. You had the kernal and I had the rind of the
nut."

"I dispute that altogether. You are an incumbrance on the estate that I
feel heavily."

"I am likely to encumber it somewhat longer," said Magdalen, not showing
resentment at his brutality. "I do not fear the small-pox. I have had
it, and it has marked me; though not so as to disfigure. The Lord
forbid!"

Observing that her brother was about to make a remark, and being
confident that it would be something offensive, she hastily went on:
"But what, Tony--what if it were to attack your Anthony? What if it were
to take him off? You have but a single son. To whom would Hall go then?"

Old Squire Cleverdon started to his feet, and strode, muttering, about
the room.

"Ah! It is a thought to consider. The Knightons have lost their heir,
and he was a fine and lusty youth. Our Anthony is so thoughtless; he
runs where he lists, and does not consider that he may be near
infection. Please the Lord nothing may happen; but suppose that he were
carried off, who would have Hall? Bessie?"

"Bessie! Are you mad?" Old Cleverdon put his hands in his
breeches-pocket and turned and scowled at his sister.

"No. I reckon Bessie would be put off with scant treatment, like
myself. Then, Luke?"

"Luke!" Cleverdon burst out laughing. "Never a parson here in Hall, if I
can help it. A shaveling like he----"

"Then, who would have it?"

"Not you, if you are aiming thereat," said Cleverdon.

"I was not aiming at that. Such a prospect never rose before me. I do
not want Hall. I could not manage the estate."

"I shall take care you have not the chance."

"I have no doubt you will. But consider what are the accidents of life.
If you were to lose Anthony----"

"But I shall not. Anthony is flourishing, and not a thought of
small-pox, or the falling sickness, or the plague about him. He is sound
as a bell; so have done with your croak, you raven. I will call up the
servants and have in dinner. You can eat, I suppose?"

"Yes, I can eat, and digest your unkindness; but I cannot forget my
anxiety. I am considering the welfare of the family. I am looking beyond
myself and yourself. You have raised the Cleverdons from being
tenant-farmers into being gentlefolks. You have been to the Heralds to
grant you a coat of arms and a crest, and, now every one calls you the
Squire, who used to call your father a farmer. You have altered Hall
into a very handsome mansion, that no gentleman of good degree need be
ashamed to live in. I consider all that, brother, and then I think that
you are no fool, that you have wonderful wits to have achieved so much,
and I am only anxious lest after having achieved so much for the family
and the name of Cleverdon, all should go down again, as it did with the
Glanvilles--just because there was no heir male."

"Have done with your croak--here comes dinner."

During the meal old Anthony was very silent. He pulled long and often at
the tankard, and neglected the courtesies due to his sister as a guest.
She observed that he was uneasy, and was wrapped in thought. What she
had said had stuck, and made him uncomfortable. She was too shrewd to
revert to the topic during dinner, and when it was over he went out, and
left her alone. She knew her brother's ways, his moods, and the turns of
his mind, and was convinced that he would come back to her presently
and broach anew the subject.

She leaned back in the arm-chair, and indulged herself in a nap. The
doze lasted about three-quarters of an hour. Whilst she slept her
brother was walking about the farm, in great restlessness of mind and
body. He was quick-witted enough to see that Magdalen was right. He
could not count on matters not falling out as she had said, and then all
his labour to build up the Cleverdons would come down like a pack of
cards. His son was the main prop of the great superstructure raised by
his pride and ambition. If his son, by the dispensation of Providence,
were to fail him, he had none to sustain the succession save his
daughter Bessie and his cousin Luke, a delicate, narrow-chested lad, who
had been an encumbrance thrown on him, had been reared by him, and sent
to school by him, and then thrust into sacred Orders as the simplest way
of providing for him, and getting him out of the way. Hall to pass to
Bessie or to Luke! The idea was most distasteful to him.

He returned to the oak parlour, where he had left his sister, and shook
her until she roused from her nap.

"Sit up--gather your senses! You do not come here to sleep like a frog,"
said old Anthony with his wonted rudeness.

"I beg pardon, brother. I was left alone and had nought to occupy my
mind, and dozed for a minute."

"I say to you, Mawdline!"--Squire Cleverdon paced the room with his
hands knotted behind his back, writhing with the inward agitation of his
nerves--"I tell you Mawdline, that you did not come here to scare me
about small-pox without some design lurking behind. Let me hear it. You
have emptied the pepper-box, now for the salt-box."

"I do not know anything of a design behind," answered Magdalen, rallying
her scattered senses, and then plunging into the main communication with
less caution than if she had been fully awake; "but I think, brother,
you should get them both married as quickly as you may."

"Both!--what Anthony and Bess?"

"To be sure. Anthony might take Julian at any time; and for Bessie----"

Cleverdon laughed. "I never heard that Bessie had a gallant as yet, and
she never had good looks to lure one. If Tony takes a wife that is
sufficient."

"No, brother, it is hardly sufficient. He might, if he married, chance
to have no children. Besides, it is well to have alliances on all sides.
If only I had married----"

"Fernando Crymes," muttered her brother. "You tried hard for him before
he took his first wife."

Magdalen tossed and shook her head. "You indeed misunderstand me. You
try to provoke me, brother; but I will not be provoked. I am too
desirous to advance the family to be browbeat by you and forced to hold
silence. Elizabeth is getting forward in years, and she might be the
means of alliance to a good family that would help to give ours firmer
hold in the position it has won. There is Anthony Crymes, for instance."

"What!--Fox for Bessie? This is sheer folly."

"Yes, Fox. What against him?"

"Nay, naught other against him, save that he does not lay his fancy to
Bessie."

"I am not certain of that. Why else has he rid this day to the moor? He
has not gone for love of his sister, that all the world knows. Now see
this, brother Tony. If you was to marry Anthony to Julian, and Bessie to
Fox, then you would be close allied to one of the best families of the
country-side, and he who would lift a word against you would rouse all
the Crymes that remain. They were not unwilling to draw to us, or else
why did Squire Crymes bid you to be his son's godfather? Fox will not be
rich, but he will have something from his father, and that will be
enough with what you let Bessie have to make them do well. Then, if
there come a family of children on either side, it is well, for there
will be a large kindred in the district, and if there be none on one
side, but only on the other then what property there is, this way or
that, does not fall out of the family."

"If Bessie is to be married, we might look elsewhere for one richer."

"Where will you look? Who among the neighbours is old enough or young
enough? Some are over her age. You would not give her to Master Solomon
Gibbs. Some be too young and hot-blooded to care for her, not very well
favoured, and without much wealth."

Old Anthony stood still before the window and looked out.

"Then," said Magdalen, "there's another side of the matter to be
considered. What if Bessie should set her heart on some one of whom you
would not approve?"

Old Anthony laughed mockingly. "Not much chance of that I reckon."

"Do you reckon?" asked his sister, with some heat. "Yes, you men make up
your minds that we spinsters have no hearts, go through no trials,
because you do not see them. As our love is not proclaimed on the
house-tops you assume that it does not exist in the secret chambers of
the heart. If you are forced to admit that there is such a thing in us,
you suppose it may be killed with ridicule, as you put salt on weeds. As
for your own headlong, turbulent passions, they brook no control, they
are irresistible, but we poor women must smother our fires as if always
illicit, like a chimney in a blaze that must be choked out with damp
straw stuffed in. You men never consider us. You permit a pretty girl to
love, and you consider her feelings somewhat--just somewhat; but it
never occurs to your wise heads, but shallow thoughts, that the plain
faces and the ordinary-favoured girls may have hearts as tender and
susceptible as those who are regarded as beauties. Now, as to
Bessie----"

"Well, what as to Bessie?" asked Anthony roughly. He knew that his
sister was lightly lifting the corner of a veil that covered her past,
and he knew how that by a little generosity on his part, he might have
made it possible for her to marry.

"As to Bessie?" resumed Magdalen. "I can only speak what I suspect. I
have thought for some time she was fond of her cousin."

"What--of Luke?"

"Of Luke, certainly."

Old Anthony turned angrily on her, and said, "A pack of folly! He is her
cousin."

"I said so. Does that prevent her liking him? Have you aught against
that?"

"Everything. I will not hear of her marrying a pigeon-breasted,
starveling curate. I will speak to her."

"If you meddle you will mar. Take a woman's advice, and say not a word."

"Then be silent, on this matter."

"If you marry Tony," said his sister, "what are you going to do with
Elizabeth? Fernando Crymes has Kilworthy for his life, so that the young
people will, I doubt not, live here; and Julian will no more let Bessie
remain than would your Margaret suffer me."

"She shall abide here as I choose it."

"No, indeed. You may will it; but women's wishes, when they go contrary,
can make a bad storm in the house, and spoil it as a port of peace. You
take my counsel and mate the twain together--the one to Julian and the
other to Fox."

"Pshaw!" said the old man turning away from the window. "Because I was
godfather to Fox, it does not follow that he wants to be my son."

Then the old man came over to the table that stood near his sister,
seated himself, and began to trifle with a snuff-box upon it.

"I shall not part with Bess," he said, "till Tony is matched."

"Then let him be matched with speed," said Magdalen sharply. "How know
you but that, if you delay, Julian Crymes may turn her fancy elsewhere.
She is a wayward hussy."

"Pshaw! Where is there such a lad as my Tony? He is the chiefest of all
the youths about. Not one can compare with him. Are you mad to think of
such a thing?"

"There is no reckoning on a maid's eyes; they do not see like ours.
Moreover, there is no saying what freak might take your Tony, and he
might set his mind on some one else."

"No fear of that," answered the squire roughly. "He knows my will, and
that is law to him."

"Indeed! Since when? I thought that the cockerel's whimsies and vagaries
set the law to the house; and that you, and Bess, and every one of the
family danced to such tune as he whistled."

"I reckon he knows his own interests," said the old man grimly. He was
angered by his sister's opposition.

"None can trust to that in young men," answered his sister, "as you
ought best to know, brother."

Old Anthony winced, and became purple at this allusion to his own
marriage. He started up, struck the snuff-box across the table, then
seated himself again, and said grimly: "I asked you, sister, if you
could eat and digest a good, wholesome dinner, and I gave it you; but,
by Heaven, you have come here and fed me with unwholesome and unsavoury
diet that I cannot digest, and that gives me a worry and heartburn. I
wish you had never come."



CHAPTER VII.

IN THE HARE AND HOUNDS.


In the tavern with the sign of the Hare and Hounds, a fire of peat was
burning on the hearth. A huge oak settle occupied the side of the
fireplace opposite to the window; and beneath and before the window was
a long table, the end of which admitted of being drawn out so as to make
it serve as a shuffle-board for the use of such as liked to play at that
game so popular in the reign of Elizabeth, illicit in the time of the
Commonwealth, and at the epoch of my story almost obsolete, except in
stray corners remote from fashion.

The settle was of a construction then usual, now rarely met with, and
therefore deserving a description as a domestic curiosity. The seat was
on hinges, and could be raised, disclosing beneath it a cavity like a
clothes chest; the settle back opened in compartments and revealed sides
of bacon and hams that had been smoked, and there awaited cutting up.
Above the heads of those who sat in the settle was a sort of projecting
roof to cut off all down draught; but this also served as a cupboard for
vinegar, salt, spices, and other groceries. The chest, that was also
seat, to a mother with an infant, was of extraordinary service; when she
was engaged at the fire, baking or cooking, she raised the lid or seat
and buttoned it back, then she planted the babe in the box, where it lay
warm and secure, close to her, without the chance of coming to harm. If
the child were in the age of toddledum, then it ran up and down in the
box with the little hands on the edge, saw its mother, crowed to her,
watched her proceedings, and ran no risk of falling into the fire, or
of pulling over and breaking the crockery. Altogether the settle was a
great institution, and the march of culture, instead of improving it,
has abolished it. More is the pity.

The fireplace was of granite uncarved, but rudely chamfered, very wide
and very deep, so deep as to allow of a seat recessed in the wall at the
side, in which a chilly old man might sit and toast his knees, protected
from the down draught and falling soot by the arched roof of the recess.
It used to be said of one of these great fireplaces, in which wood and
peat were burned, that a necessary accompaniment was an old man and a
pair of tongs, for the logs when burnt through in the midst fell apart,
and required some one at hand to pick the ends up, and reverse them on
the hearth, and to collect and repile the turfs when they fell down. At
the fire-breast burnt, what was called a "spane," that is, a slip of
deal steeped in resin, which lighted the housewife at her operations at
the fire. But the "spane" emitted more smoke than light. Opposite to the
ingle-nook was the "cloam" oven, that is, the earthenware oven let into
the wall for baking.

In more ancient times ovens were constructed with enormous labour out of
granite blocks, which were scooped out in the middle, but the
disadvantage attendant on granite was that it became in time resolved
into sand by heat, and crumbled away like sugar.[1] These were rapidly
got rid of when the earthenware oven was introduced, and hardly a
specimen remains. Not so, however, with the stone frying-pan, which is
only just, and not altogether, superseded. Housewives contend that the
iron pan is not so good at frying as the scooped-out pan of stone, and
that rashers of bacon done in the latter are incomparably superior to
those burnt in iron. Thus, it will be seen that in the West we are only
recently, in some particulars emerging from the Stone-Age, but it is
with a leap over that of Bronze into the era of Iron.[2]

The walls of the "mug-house" of the Hare and Hounds were well
white-washed and ornamented with a quantity of broadside ballads, the
illustrations very generally bearing no intelligible relation to the
letterpress.

A single rush-candle burning on the table, served to light the room. The
servant-wench was expected to act as snuffer, and she regularly at
intervals of ten minutes left the work on which she was engaged,
cooking, washing, drawing ale, and like the comet that sweeps up to and
about the sun, and then dashes back into obscurity, so did she rush up
to the candle, snuff the wick between the forefinger and thumb, and
plunge back to the work on which she was engaged, at the fire, in the
back-kitchen, or in the cellar.

At the fire and about the table were seated Anthony Cleverdon, Fox
Crymes, the host of the Hare and Hounds. Mr. Solomon Gibbs, also a
quaint old grey-haired man in sorry garb, and a couple of miners from
the moor.

At the time of the tale, and, indeed for a century after, it was
customary for men of all classes to meet at the alehouse, parson and
Squire, surgeon, farmer, and peasant, comrades all in merry-making--and
at that period there was no social-democracy, no class-hatreds--how
could there be, when all classes met, and gossiped, and smoked, and
boozed together? No good thing comes without bringing a shadow after it.
Perhaps it is well that parson and Squire do not now go to the tavern to
take pipe and glass with yeoman and ploughboy, but--the misfortune is
that there has come class-alienation, along with this social
amelioration of the better sort.

Mr. Solomon Gibbs was at the table. He had occupied the corner of the
settle all the afternoon, searching for his niece in the bottom of his
tankard, but after a while, as evening settled in, he declared he felt
the heat too greatly by the fire, and then withdrew to the table. In
fact, when occupying the settle, his can of ale had stood on a
three-legged stool between his feet, and whenever he lusted after a
drink he was obliged to stoop to take it up. As the ale got into his
head, he found that this stooping produced a fulness of the veins that
made him giddy, and he had fallen forward once on his hands, and upset
the stool and his ale. Then he deemed it advisable to retire to the
table, but as men never give direct and true reasons for their
proceedings, he explained to those who were present that----

"There was thunder in the air, and when there was, he was liable to fits
of giddiness; moreover, the heat of the fire was insufferable."

His wig was very much awry; underneath it was a strong stubbly growth,
for Mr. Gibbs had not had his head shaved for a fortnight. His mulberry
coat was much stained with ale, and the elbows were glossy.

The old man in the threadbare coat occupied a chair near the table, and
he stood up, turned his eyes to the ceiling, extended his arms rigidly
before him, planted his legs apart, and began to sing a song at that
time exceedingly popular, "The Catholic Cause;" his voice ranging
through an extensive scale, from bass to falsetto.


     O the Catholic Cause! now assist me, sweet Muse,
       How earnestly I do desire thee!
     Faith I will not go pray to St. Bridget to-day,
       But only to thee to inspire me.


The singer was interrupted by a groan from all in the room, and a shout
from Mr. Solomon Gibbs, "Calvinist Géneva and Hollands for me! Catholic
French Claret is thin--deuced thin liquor!"


     Then the Church shall bear sway, the State shall obey,
       Which in England will be a new wonder!
     Commons, Nobles, and Kings, and Temporal things
       Shall submit, and shall truckle under!


The miners jumped to their feet, and began to swear that they'd rather
be crushed in their adits, than live to see that day.

"Things are coming fair on towards it, sure as the clouds have been
rolling up, and portending a thunderstorm," said the host.

"Ah!" growled Solomon; "give the Devil his due. Old Noll, who didn't sit
by right Divine, knew how to make Britain free and honoured."

"No Dutch in the Medway, then! No burning of Spithead and His Majesty's
fleet under His Majesty's nose," said the old singer.

"'Tis a pity," said one of the men present, "that there were not a few
more drowned on the Lemon and Ore than those who did. Nay, rather, that
certain who escaped should not have sunk, and such as drowned should not
have escaped."

This had reference to a sandbank near Yarmouth, on which the frigate
bearing the Duke of York had struck, when about a hundred and thirty
persons were drowned.

"Here!" called Sol Gibbs. "Here's bad luck to Lemon and Ore for doing
the work so foully!" and he put his jug of ale to his lips.

"Lemon and Ore," said each who drank, "better luck next time."

"Folks do say," put in the landlord, "that the King, God bless him, was
really married to Lucy Walters. If that be so, why then the Duke of
Monmouth should be King after him." Then he shook his head, and added,
"But, Lord! I know nought about such matters."

"Here's a health to the Protestant Duke!" said the miners, and looked
about them. "Now, my masters! Won'ty all drink to the Protestant Duke?"

"To be sure I will--drink to any one," said Solomon Gibbs.

"Why should he not have married her?" asked the singer. "Didn't the Duke
of York marry Mistress Ann Hyde? And Lucy Walters was a gentlewoman
every whit as much. When the Duke of Monmouth was born, then His Majesty
was Prince Charles, in France, with small chance of coming to his own
again; for Old Noll was then in full flower, and making the earth quake
at the name of England."

"When the Duke of Savoy was persecuting the Protestants, did not Old
Noll hold up his finger, and at the sight of his nail the Duke stayed
his hands?" said Anthony Cleverdon. "By the Lord! If it had been in my
time, I would have drawn the sword for them."

"When all the giants are dead, every Tom Thumb boasts he would have been
a Jack of Cornwall," sneered Fox Crymes.

"What is that you say?" asked Anthony, hotly.

"I was merely saying that it ill becomes a man of spirit to boast of
what he would have done had things been other than they are."

"Do you mean to hint that I am a coward?"

"I hinted nothing of the sort. I made a general observation. If the time
should come when your sword would be wanted to sustain the Protestant
cause, I make no doubt that you will be ready to prop it up--on the
point."

"No quarrels here," shouted Solomon Gibbs; then he sang:--


     Let nothing but harmony reign in your breast,
     Let comrade with comrade be ever at rest.
     We'll toss off our bumper, together we'll troll,
     Give me the punch-ladle--I'll fathom the bowl.


Then he called to the united assembly, "What say you all--shall we have
a punch-bowl? _Nem. con._ Carried. That is it which lacked to establish
sweetest concord. Landlord! Bring us the needful, and we'll brew."


     From France cometh brandy, Jamaica gives rum,
     Sweet oranges, lemons from Portugal come.
     Of ale and good cyder we'll also take toll,
     Give me the punch-ladle--I'll fathom the bowl.


The host called to his wife to produce the requisite ingredients, and
went in quest of the ladle, which he kept upstairs, as it had a silver
piece of Charles I. let into it.

"I ax," said one of the miners, throwing out his arm as if proclaiming
defiance, "how it came about that London was burnt? Warn't them Poperies
seen a doing of it--a firing it in several places?"

"And Sir Edmondbury Godfrey--weren't he cruelly and bloodily murdered by
'em?" asked the second.

"Ay! and whose doing is it that that worthy gentleman, my Lord Russell,
has been done to death? That every one knows. 'Tis said the Earl of
Bedford offered a hundred thousand pounds to save his life; but the
Catholic Duke would not hear of his being spared. And the Duke of York
will be King after his present Gracious Majesty. By heavens! I would
draw sword for the Protestant Duke and swear to his legitimacy."

"I'll tell you what it is," said Fox Crymes, "if this sort of talk is
going on here, I'm off and away. If you are not speaking treason, you go
pretty nigh to it, too nigh it for safety, and I'll be off."

"There are no informers and spies here," said the yeoman.

"I reckon us be all true Protestants and loyal to the Crown and
Constitution. The Constitution! God bless it!"

"You can't go, Fox," said Anthony, "for here comes the storm we have
been expecting." He spoke as a flash illuminated the room, and was
followed by a boom of near thunder, then down came the rain like the
fall of a water-spout on the roof.


     Our brothers lie drowned in the depths of the sea,
     Cold stones for their pillows, what matters to me?


Mr. Solomon Gibbs was erect, supporting himself on the table by his left
hand, whilst he mixed the bowl of punch and stirred it, and sang in
snatches:


     We'll drink to their healths and repose to each soul,
     Give me the punch ladle--I'll fathom the bowl.


"Now, then, landlord! Where's the lemons? Bless my soul, you're not
going to make us drink unlemoned punch? As well give us a King without a
Crown, or a parson without a gown."


     Your wives they may fluster as much as they please--
     Haven't got one, I'm thankful--a sister don't count--
     Let 'em scold, let 'em grumble, we'll sit at our ease.
     In the ends of our pipes we'll apply a hot coal.
     Give me the punch ladle--I'll fathom the bowl.


"--So! the lemons at last? Where's a silver knife to cut them with?
Bless my soul! How it rains! I thank Providence the water is without,
and the spirit is within."

"This rain will dowse the fires on the moor," said the yeoman.

"And would have washed your Tory zeal out of you," laughed Anthony,
"had you gone out in it just now, shocked at our Whiggery."

"Oh! you," sneered Fox, "you took good care to say nothing. You were
wise not to come within seeing distance with a pair of perspective
glasses of Tyburn gallows, where men have been hung, disembowelled, and
drawn for less offence than some of the words let drop to-night."

"Now--no more of this," shouted Mr. Solomon Gibbs, "I am president here.
Where the punch-bowl is, there is a president, and I waive my sceptre,
this ladle, and enforce abstention from politics, and all such scurvy
subjects. You began it, Taverner, with your damnable ballad of the
Catholic cause, and you shall be served last. Comrades! 'To the King,
God bless him!'"

"And the Protestant cause!" shouted Taverner.

"Ay, ay, which His Majesty swore to maintain," said the miners.

"Bar politics!" cried Mr. Gibbs, "or, curse it, I'll throw the punch out
of the door. I will, I swear I will. Taverner, give us something
cheerful--something with no politics in it to set us all by the ears."

"Shall I give you something suitable to the evening, Mr. Gibbs?"

"Certainly--tune up. I wish I had my viol with me to give a few chords;
but I set out to look for my niece who had strayed, and I forgot to take
my viol with me."

The grey-haired ballad-singer stood up, cleared his throat, and with the
utmost gravity sang, throwing marvellous twirls and accidentals into the
tune, the following song:


     My Lady hath a sable coach
       And horses, two and four,
     My Lady hath a gaunt bloodhound
       That runneth on before.
     My Lady's coach has nodding plumes,
       The coachman has no head.
     My Lady's face is ashen white,
       As one that long is dead.

     "Now, pray step in," my Lady saith,
       "Now, pray step in and ride!"
     "I thank thee, I had rather walk,
       Than gather to thy side."
     The wheels go round without a sound
       Of tramp or turn of wheels,
     As a cloud at night, in the pale moonlight,
       Onward the carriage steals.

     "Now, pray step in," my Lady saith,
       "Now, prithee, come to me."
     She takes the baby from the crib,
       She sets it on her knee.
     The wheels go round, etc.

     "Now, pray step in," my Lady saith,
       "Now, pray step in, and ride,"
     Then deadly pale, in wedding veil,
       She takes to her the bride.
     The wheels go round, etc.

     "Now, pray step in," my Lady saith,
       "There's room I wot for you."
     She waved her hand, the coach did stand,
       The Squire within she drew.
     The wheels go round, etc.

     "Now, pray step in," my Lady saith,
       "Why shouldst thou trudge afoot?"
     She took the gaffer in by her,
       His crutches in the boot.
     The wheels go round, etc.

     I'd rather walk a hundred miles,
       And run by night and day,
     Than have that carriage halt for me,
       And hear my Lady say:
     "Now, pray step in, and make no din,
       I prithee come and ride.
     There's room, I trow, by me for you,
       And all the world beside."[3]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Such a granite-oven was discovered in the author's own house in an
old and long-abandoned chimney-back, in 1866. It was impossible to
preserve it.

[2] Two such stone frying-pans are to be seen in the Museum at
Launceston. The one was given by a gentleman from his kitchen, where it
had been long in use, the other was found among the ruins of
Trecarrel--probably coeval with the buildings, the middle of the
sixteenth century.

[3] Published with the traditional melody in "Songs of the West,
Traditional Songs and Ballads of the West of England," by S.
Baring-Gould and H. Fleetwood Sheppard (Methuen, Bury Street, London,
1889).



CHAPTER VIII.

ST. MARK'S EVE.


The ballad of the "Lady's Coach," sung to a weird air in an ancient
mode, such as was becoming no more usual for composers to write in, and
already beginning to sound strange and incomplete to the ear, at once
changed the tenor of the thoughts of those in the tavern, and diverted
their conversation away from politics into a new channel. The wind had
risen, and was raging round the house, driving the rain in slashes
against the casement; and puffing the smoke down the chimney into the
room.

"You came back from the moor along the Lyke-Way, did you?" asked the
farmer of Anthony.

"Yes; it is many miles the shortest, and there was plenty of light."

"I wouldn't travel it at night for many crowns," said the yeoman.

"Why not!" asked one of the miners. "What is there to fear on the moor?
If there be spirits, they hurt no one."

"I should like others to risk it before me," said the yeoman.

"Anthony took good care not to ride it alone," muttered Fox, with a side
glance at young Cleverdon.

"You forced yourself on me," answered Anthony, sharply.

"Of course you wanted to be quite alone--I understand," sneered Fox.

"You can comprehend, I hope, that your company is no advantage to be
greatly desired on the Lyke-Way or elsewhere," retorted Anthony,
angrily. "It is possible enough that it was distasteful to others beside
myself."

"And your society was infinitely preferable. I make no question as to
that," scoffed Fox.

"Now, no quarrels here. We have banished politics. Must we banish every
other topic that arises?" asked Solomon Gibbs. "What is this that makes
you bicker now?"

"Oh, nothing!" said Crymes. "Anthony Cleverdon and I were discussing the
Lyke-Way, and whether either of us cared to go along it at night. I
shrink from it, just as does Farmer Cudlip. Nor does Cleverdon seem more
disposed to walk it."

"I am not disposed to travel over it in rain and wind, in the midst of a
thunder-storm. I would go along it any other night when moon and stars
show, to allow of a man finding his road."

"I'll tell you what," said the yeoman; "there's worst places than the
Lyke-Way on such a night as this."

"Where is that?"

"Do you know what night it be?"

"A very foul one."

"Ay, no doubt about that! after a fair day. But this is St. Mark's Eve,
and I'll tell you what befel my grandfather on this night some years
agone. 'Twas in Peter Tavy, too--it came about he'd been to the buryin'
of his uncle's mother's sister's aunt, and, as he said hisself, never
enjoyed hisself more at a buryin'. There was plenty o' saffron cake and
cyder, and some bottles of real old Jamaica rum, mellow--Lor' bless
you--soft and mellow as a cat's paw. He lived, did my grandfather, at
Horndon, and it were a night much such as this. My grandfer had rather a
deal stayed wi' the corpse, but he was a mighty strict and scrupulous
old man, and he knowed that his wife--my grandmother as was--would
expect him home about--well, I can't say for sartain, but, anyhow, some
hours afore daybreak. Us poor fellers in this world o' misery and trial,
can't a'ways have what we desires, so my grandfer had to sacrifice
hisself on the alter of dooty, and not to bide with the corpse and the
Jamaica rum, not to mention the saffron cake. 'Tes surprising,
gentlemen," said Farmer Cudlip, looking round at Cleverdon, Crymes, and
Solomon Gibbs, "'tes surprising now, when you come to reckon up, how
soon one comes to the end o' eating cake, and yet, in Jamaica rum, and
punch--I thanky' kindly, Mr. Gibbs, to fill me the glass. Thanky',
sir!--As I was saying, in drink one's capacity is, I should say,
boundless as the rolling ocean. Ain't it, now, Mr. Gibbs?"

"Ah! Solomon the Wise never said a truer word," answered Solomon the
Foolish.

"'Tes curious, when you come to consider, now," said the farmer; "for
meat and drink both goes the same way and into the same receptacle; yet
how soon one is grounded on cake, but can float, and float--I thank you
Mr. Gibbs, my glass is empty--float forever in liquor."

"We should like to hear what your grandfather did," said Cleverdon,
laughing.

"What he did? Why, he sot down," said Cudlip. "After leaving the house
of tears and bereavement, he was going home, and was very tired, his
legs began to give way under him. And as he came along by the wall o'
Peter Tavy Church, sez he to hisself, 'Why, dash me if it bain't St.
Mark's Eve, and many a time have I heard tell that they as wait on that
eve in the church porch is sure to see go by in at the door all they
that is sure to die in the rest o' the year.' Well, gentlemen, my
grandfer, he knewed he was a bit late, and thought his wife--my
grandmother--wouldn't take it over kindly, so he thinks if he could
bring her a bit of rare news, she'd mebbe forgive him. And, gentlemen,
what more rare news could he bring than a tale of who was doomed to die
within the year? So he went in at the churchyard-gate, and
straight--that is to say, as straight as his legs, which weren't quite
equal, could take him--to the porch, and there, on the side away from
the wind, he sot hisself down."

"I wouldn't have done it," said one of the miners, nudging his fellow;
"would thou, Tummas?"

"Not I," responded his comrade. "If it had been the Lyke-Way, that's
different. I'd walk that any night. But to go under a roof, in the
churchyard--it were tempting o' Providence."

"Go on with your story," said Solomon Gibbs. "Those that interrupt lose
a turn of filling from the bowl."

"Well, then," continued Cudlip, "my grandfather was seated for some time
in the porch, and uncommon dark it was, for there are a plenty of trees
in the churchyard, and the night was dirty, and the sky covered with
clouds. How long he sat there I cannot tell, but long enough to get
uneasy; not that he was afraid, bless your souls, of what he might see,
but uneasy at being there so long and seeing nothing, so that he must go
home to my grandmother without a word o' explanation or information that
might pacify her, should she be inclined to be troublesome. Just as he
was about to get up, in a mighty bad temper, and to go home, cursing
the fools who had got up the tale of St. Mark's Eve, why, looking along
the avenue in the yard, what should he see but some curious long, white
things, like monstrous worms, crawling and tumbling, and making for the
church porch. You will understand, gentlemen, that my grandfather
thought he would do better to wait where he was, partly, because he did
not wish to pass these worm-like creatures, but, chiefly, that he might
have something to report to his missus, to make her placable and
agreeable."

"But what where they?" asked Anthony Cleverdon.

"I'll tell you, Master Anthony. They was human arms, from the shoulder,
walking of themselves; first they laid along from shoulder to elbow,
then the hand from elbow forward lifted itself and looked about, and
then came down flat on the palm, and lifted all the hinder part from the
elbow-joint till it stood upright, and then turned a somersault, and so
on again, two steps, as it were, and then a somersault; a coorious sort
of proceeding, I take it."

"Very," said Crymes, with a sneer.

"There was about nine of 'em coming along, some fast as if racing each
other, some slow, but creeping on, and overtaking the others that was
going too fast, and fell over on the elbow-joint, when up went hand and
shoulder kicking in the air like a beetle on his back. My grandfather
felt that now sartainly he'd have news to tell his old woman. Presently
a lot of the arms was about the step to the church porch, shy-like, not
knowing whether to come in or no--some standing up on the shoulder and
poking the hands in, some curlin' of themselves up on the step, as
a-going to sleep, and some staggering about anyways. At last one of the
boldest of them made a jump, and came down on my grandfather's knee, and
sat there, with the shoulder part on his knee, like as a limpet fastens
on a rock, or the end of a barnacle on a log of wood, and there it sat
and curled itself about, and turned the hand just as it saw out of the
nails--which was very white, and served as eyes. It was curious, my
grandfather said, to see the fingers curling one over the other, just as
a fly preens its wings. My granfer' couldn't make it out at first, till
at last he saw it was pulling and picking at a gold ring on the last
finger but one. It was a very broad ring--and directly my granfer'
knowed it, and said, 'Why, blazes!' said he, 'that's Mistress Cake's
wedding ring!' And no sooner had he said that, than the arm jumped off
his knee and went on to the church door, and he saw it no more. Now, it
is a fact, gentlemen, that Mistress Cake, of Wringworthy, died a month
later of the falling sickness. But he had not a moment for
consideration, as in came another arm, that stood at his foot bowing to
him with the hand, and then patting him on the shin. This arm didn't
like to seem to make so bold as to come up and sit on his knee, so my
granfer stooped and looked at it. It stood up on the shoulder, and it
had very strong muscles; but rather stiff, they seemed, wi' age, for
they cracked like when the arm bent itself about, which it did in a slow
and clumsy fashion. 'Twas a brown arm, too, and not white, like Madam
Cake's; and the hand was big, and broad, and hairy, and it turned itself
over and showed the palm, and then it held up one finger after another,
which was all covered with warts. Then my granfer said, 'Lor' bless and
deliver! but this be the hand of Ploughman Gale!' And, sure enough, I
reckon it was. It seemed quite satisfied, and folded itself up, and made
a spring like a cricket--went out of sight to the church door."

"I should like to know how your grandfather saw all this," said Anthony
Cleverdon, "if it was, as you say, a dark night, and it was in the
church porch?"

"No interfering!" exclaimed Mr. Gibbs. "You've forfeited. Here's your
glass, Master Cudlip. Go on."

"There's not much more to be said," continued the yeoman. "One or two
more arms came on, and granfer said there was a sight o' difference in
their ways: some was pushing like, and forward; and others rayther hung
back, and seemed to consider small bones of themselves. Now it was a
fact that all those he saw and named belonged to folks as died within
the year, and in the very order in which they came on and presented
themselves before him. What puzzled him most to name was two
baby-arms--purty little things they was--and he had to count over all
the young children in the parish before he could tell which they was. At
last, up came a long, lean, old, dry arm, tossing its hand in a short,
quick, touchy fashion, and went up on grandfer's knee without so much as
a 'By your leave.' And there it sat, and poked its hand about, wi'all
the fingers joined together like a pointed serpent's head. It moved in a
queer, irritable, jerky manner, that was familiar, somehow, to my
grandfather. After a bit he put his head down to look at the elbow,
where he fancied he saw a mole, when--crack! the hand hit him on his
cheek such a blow that he tumbled over, and lay sprawling on the
pavement; and he knew, by the feel of the hand as it caught him, that it
was--my grandmother's. When he had picked himself up, he saw nothing
more, so he went home. You may be very sure of those two things,
gentlemen--[Thank you, Mr. Gibbs. I'll trouble you to fill my glass.
Talking has made me terrible dry]--he never told his missus that Madam
Cake's arm had sat on his knee, nor that he had seen and recognized her
_own_ arm and hand."

"I wouldn't go on this night to the church porch, not for a king's
crown," said one of the miners. "Did not your grandfather suffer for his
visit?"

"Well," answered the yeoman, "I reckon he did ever after feel a sort o'
cramp in his knees--particularly in wet weather, where the arms had
sat--but what was that to the relief? My grandmother died that same
year."

"I wouldn't go there for any relief you might name," said the miner
again, who was greatly impressed by the story. "I've heard the pixies
hammering down in the mines, but I think naught of them. As for the
Lyke-Way, what goes over that is but shadows."

"Some folks are afraid of shadows," said Fox, "and don't think
themselves safe unless they have at least a woman with them for
protection."

"You are again levelling at me!" exclaimed Anthony Cleverdon. "I have no
fear either of shadows or substances. If you choose to come out and try
with me, you will see that I am not afraid of your arm, and that I can
chastise your tongue."

"Oh! my arm!" laughed Crymes. "I never supposed for a moment you dreaded
that. But it is the arms without bodies, moving like worms in the
churchyard at Peter Tavy, on this St. Mark's Eve, you are more likely to
dread."

"I am not afraid of them," retorted Cleverdon.

"So you say; but I do not think you seem inclined to show you are not."

"Do you dare me to it?"

"I don't care whether you go or not. If you do, who is to stand surety
for you that you go where I say--to the churchyard of Peter Tavy?"

"One of you can come and see."

"There!" laughed Fox, "crying off already! Afraid to go alone, and
appealing for company."

"By heaven, this is too bad!" cried Anthony, and started to his feet.

"Don't go," shouted Mr. Solomon Gibbs. "It's folly, and break up of good
company."

"There's good company with Fox Crymes girding at me at every minute.
But, by heaven, I will not be jeered at as a coward. Fox has dared me to
go to Peter Tavy churchyard, and go I will--alone, moreover."

"No such thing," said the host; "it is too bad a night. Stay here and
help finish this brew; we'll have another bowl, if Mr. Solomon
approves--and Mr. Cudlip."

"I will go," said Anthony, thoroughly roused, and rendered doubly
excitable by the punch he had been drinking.

"You have done wrong to spur him," said Gibbs, addressing Crymes.

"Faith! I am a sceptic," said Fox. "I disbelieve altogether in the
walking arms, and I shall be glad to learn from a credible witness
whether the same be a mere fiction and fancy, or have any truth in it.
Master Cudlip's grandfather lived a long time ago."

"I do not believe in it either," said Cleverdon; "but although I did I
would not now be deterred. Fox casts his gibes at me, and I will show
him that I have metal enough to make such a trifling venture as this."

He threw on his coat, grasped his long walking-stick, and went out into
the storm. A furious gale was sweeping about the little hamlet of Cudlip
town, where stood the tavern. It was not possible to determine from
which quarter the wind came, it so eddied about the inn and the open
space before it. Anthony stood against the wall outside for a moment or
two till his eyes accustomed themselves somewhat to the dark. Every few
moments the glare of lightning in the sky illumined the rocky ridges of
White Tor and Smeardun, under which Cudlip town lay, and the twisted
thorns and oaks among blocks of granite that strewed the slopes before
the three or four old farmhouses that were clustered about the inn.

Then Anthony, having satisfied himself as to his direction, set down his
head against the wind, and strode forward, with his staff feeling the
way. On his right, below in this valley, roared the Tavy, but the song
of the water was mixed up with that of the wind so inextricably that
Anthony, had he tried it, could not have distinguished the roar of one
from that of the other. The lane was between stone walls and hedges of
half stone and half earth, in summer adorned with magnificent foxgloves.
For a while the rain slackened, and where the walls were high Anthony
had some shelter against the wind. Peter Tavy Church lay outside the
village, and he would reach it without passing another house.

The principal fury of the storm seemed to be concentrated over White
Tor, a lofty peak of trap rock fortified in prehistoric times, and with
beacons and cairns of angular fragments piled up within the enclosure.
In one place a huge fang of black rock stood upright, and was split by
lightning, with a block of basalt fallen into the cleft, where it swung
among the rocks. Over the cairns and embankments the thunder-cloud
flamed white, and threw out dazzling fire-bolts. Anthony stood one
moment, looking up at the Tor; it was as though the spirits of the air
were playing at tossball there with thunderbolts. Then he again pushed
forward. The wind, the cold--after the warmth of the tavern and the
spirits he had drank--confused his brain, and though he was not
intoxicated, yet he was not judge of his actions. At the next explosion
of the electric fluid he saw before him the granite tower of the church,
and the trees in the churchyard bare of leaves.

Those in the tavern became grave and silent for a moment after Anthony
left.

"It is a folly," said one of the miners; "it is tempting heaven."

"I don't care whether he sees aught or not," said Cudlip; "my
grandfather's story is true. It don't follow because Anthony Cleverdon
comes back having seen nothing that my grandfather told an untruth. Who
can tell? perhaps nobody in the parish will die this year. If there is
to be no burials, then no arms will be walking."

"I hope he's not gone the wrong road and tumbled into the river," said
Solomon Gibbs.

"I'll tell you what he will do," said Fox. "He will let us sit expecting
his return all night, and he will quietly take himself off to Hall, and
laugh at us for our folly to-morrow."

"Not he," said the innkeeper; "that's not the way with Master Cleverdon.
_You_ might have done that, and we should not ha' been surprised."

"I would have done it, most assuredly. If Tony does not, then he is more
of a fool than I took him. He loves a bit of brag as much as another,
and with brag he went forth."

"There is no brag in him," said Taverner, the ballad-singer. "Every one
knows what Anthony Cleverdon is; if he says he will do a thing, he will
do it. If we wait long enough, he will return from the churchyard."

"Or say he has been there."

"If he says it, we will believe him--all but you, Mr. Crymes, who
believe in nobody and nothing."

"Now, we have had threats of quarrel already more than once; I must stop
this," said Solomon Gibbs. "Storm outside is sufficient. Let us have
calm within over the sea of punch."

"Oh!" said Fox, contemptuously, "I don't quarrel with old Taverner; no
man draws save against his equal."

"Punch! more punch!" shouted Gibbs. "Landlord, we are come to the
gravel. And, Taverner! give us a song, but not one so dismal as 'My
Lady's Coach.' That set us about speaking of St. Mark's Eve, and sent
Cleverdon on this crazy adventure."

"What shall I sing?" asked the songman, but he did not wait for an
answer. He stood up and began:--


     Oh! the trees they are so high,
       And the trees they are so green!
     The day is past and gone, sweet love,
       That you and I have seen.
             It is cold winter's night,
               You and I must bide alone,
             Whilst my pretty lad is young,
               And is growing.


The door was burst open, and Anthony entered, with the water pouring
off him. He was blinded with the rain that had beat in his face, as he
came toward Cudlip's town. In his arms he bore something like a log.

"There!" said he, and cast this object on the table, where it struck and
shattered the porcelain punchbowl, sending its last contents over the
table and the floor.

"There!" shouted Anthony, "will you now believe I have been in the
churchyard?"

"By the Lord!" shouted Solomon Gibbs, "this is past a joke. This is a
mortal insult."

That which Anthony had cast on the table was one of the oak posts which
marked the head of a grave, square, with a sort of nick and knob on the
top. Such a post as was put up by those who could not afford granite
tombstones.

"It is an insult! It is an outrage!" roared Gibbs, "look there!" He
pointed to the inscription on the post--it ran thus:--


       RICHARD MALVINE,
     OF WILLSWORTHY, GENT.



CHAPTER IX.

WILLSWORTHY.


The night of storm was succeeded by a fresh and sparkling morning. The
rain hung on every bush, twinkling in prismatic colours. There still
rose smoke from the moor, but the wind had shifted, and it now carried
the combined steam and smoke away to the east. The surface of Dartmoor
was black, as though bruised all over its skin of fine turf. Hardly any
gorse bushes were left, and the fire had for more than one year robbed
the moor of the glory of golden blossom that crowned it in May, and of
the mantle of crimson heath wherewith it was enfolded in July.

Luke Cleverdon, Curate of Mary Tavy, walked slowly up the hill from the
bridge over the brawling River Tavy towards Willsworthy. He was a tall,
spare young man, with large soft brown eyes, and a pale face. His life
had not been particularly happy. His parents had died when he was young,
and old Cleverdon, of Hall, had taken charge of the boy in a
grumblingly, ungracious fashion, resenting the conduct of his brother in
dying, and encumbering him with the care of a delicate child. Luke was
older than young Anthony, and possibly for a while old Anthony may have
thought that, in the event of his wife giving him no son, Hall and his
accumulations would devolve on this frail, white-faced, and timid lad.
The boy proved to be fond of books, and wholly unsuited for farm life.
Consequently he was sent to school, and then to College, and had been
ordained by the Bishop of Exeter to the Curacy of Tavy St. Peter, or
Petery-Tavy, as it was usually called. His uncle had never shown him
affection, his young cousin, Anthony, had been in everything and every
way preferred before him, and had been suffered to put him aside and
tyrannise over him at his will. Only in Bessie had he found a friend,
though hardly an associate, for Bessie's interests were other than those
of the studious, thoughtful boy. She was a true Martha, caring for all
that pertained to the good conduct of the house, and Luke had the dreamy
idealism of Mary. The boy had suffered from contraction of the chest,
but had grown out of his extreme delicacy in the fresh air of the
country, and living on the abundant and wholesome food provided in a
farm. His great passion was for the past. He had so little to charm him
in the present, and no pursuit unfolding before him in the future, that
he had been thrown as a lad to live in the past, to make the episodes of
history his hunting fields. Fortunately for him, Dartmoor was strewn
with prehistoric antiquities; upright stones ranged in avenues, in some
instances extending for miles, with mysterious circles of unhewn blocks,
and with cairns and kistvaens, or stone coffins, constructed of rude
slabs of granite. Among these he wandered, imagining strange things,
peopling the solitude, and dreaming of the Druids who, he supposed, had
solemnised their ritual in these rude temples.

Old Cleverdon was angered with the pursuits of his nephew. He utterly
despised any pursuit which did not lead to money, and archæology was one
which might, and often did, prove expensive, but was not remunerative
from a pecuniary point of view. As soon as ever Luke was ordained and
established in a curacy, the old man considered that his obligation
towards him had ceased, and he left the poor young man to sustain
himself on the miserable salary that was paid him by his non-resident
Rector. But Luke's requirements were small, and his only grief at the
smallness of his stipend was that it obliged him to forego the purchase
of books.

He was on his way to Willsworthy, four miles from the parish church, at
the extreme end of the parish, to pay a pastoral visit to Mistress
Malvine, who was an invalid. Before reaching the house he came to a
ruined chapel, that had not been used since the Reformation, and there
he suddenly lighted upon Urith.

His pale face flushed slightly. She was seated on a mass of fallen wall,
with her hands in her lap, occupied with her thoughts. To her surprise,
on her return late on the preceding night, before the breaking of the
storm, her mother had not followed her accustomed practice of covering
her with reproaches; and this had somewhat disconcerted Urith. Mrs.
Malvine was a woman of not much intelligence, very self-centred, and
occupied with her ailments. She had a knack of finding fault with every
one, of seeing the demerits of all with whom she had to do; and she was
not slow in expressing what she thought. Nor had she the tact to say
what she thought and felt, and have done with it, she went on nagging,
aggravating, exaggerating, and raking up petty wrongs or errors of
judgment into mountains of misdemeanour, so that when at one moment she
reproved such as had acted wrongly, she invariably in the next reversed
positions, for she rebuked with such extravagance, and enlarged on the
fault with such exaggeration as to move the innate sense of proportion
and equity in the soul of the condemned, and to rouse the consciousness
of injustice in the accused.

Such a scene had taken place the previous day, when her mother, aided by
the blundering Uncle Solomon, had driven Urith into one of her fits of
passion, in which she had run away. When Mistress Malvine discovered
what she had done--that she had actually pressed her child beyond
endurance, and that the girl had run to the wilderness, where she could
no more be traced, when the day and evening passed without her return,
the sick woman became seriously alarmed, and faintly conscious that she
had transgressed due bounds in the reprimand administered to Urith for
rejecting the suit of Anthony Crymes. Consequently, when finally the
girl did reappear, her mother controlled herself, and contented herself
with inquiring where she had been.

Luke Cleverdon knew Urith better than did his cousins; in his rambles on
the moor, as a boy, he had often come this way, and had frequently had
Urith as his companion. The friendship begun in childhood continued
between them now that he was curate in charge of souls, and she was
growing into full bloom of girlhood.

He now halted, leaning both his hands on his stick, and spoke to her,
and asked after her mother.

Urith rose to accompany him to the house. "She is worse; I fear I have
caused her trouble and distress of mind. I ran away from home yesterday,
and might have been lost on the moor, had not"--she hesitated, her cheek
assumed a darker tinge, and she said--"had not I fortunately been guided
aright to reach home."

"That is well," said Luke. "We are all liable thus to stray, and well
for us when we find a sure guide, and follow him."

For a young man he was gaunt. He was dressed in scrupulously correct
clerical costume, a cassock and knee-breeches, white bands, and a
three-cornered hat.

Urith spoke about the fire on the moor, the bewilderment caused by the
smoke, and then of the storm during the night. He stood listening to her
and looking at her; it seemed to him that he had not before properly
appreciated her beauty. He had wondered at her strange temper--now
frank, then sullen and reserved; he did not know the reason why this was
now for the first time revealed to him--it was because in the night a
change had taken place in the girl, for the first time she had felt the
breath of that spirit of love which like magic wakes up the sleeping
charms of soul and face, gives them expression and significance. Not,
however, now for the first time did the thought cross his mind that, of
all women in the world, she was the only one he could and did love. He
had long loved her, loved her deeply, but hopelessly, and had fought
many a hard battle with himself to conquer a passion which his judgment
told him must be subdued. He knew the girl--wild, sullen,
undisciplined--the last to mould into the proper mate for a village
pastor. Moreover, what was he but a poor curate, without interest with
patrons, without means of his own, likely, as far as he could judge, to
live and die, a curate. He knew not only that Urith was not calculated
to make a pastor's wife, but he knew also that hers was not a character
that could consort with his. He was studious, meek, yet firm in his
principles; she was hardly tame, of ungovernable temper, and a creature
of impulse. No, they could not be happy together even were circumstances
to allow of his marrying. He had said all this to himself a thousand
times, yet he could not conquer his passion. He held it in control, and
Urith, least of all, had a notion of its existence. She exercised on him
that magic that is exercised on one character by another the reverse at
every point. The calm, self-ruled, in-wrapped nature of Luke looked out
at the turbulence or the moroseness of the wild girl with admiration
mingled with fear. It exercised over him an inexplicable but
overpowering spell. He knew she was not for him, and yet that she should
ever belong to another was a thought that he could not bear to
entertain. He walked at her side to the house listening to her, but
hardly knowing what she said. The glamour of her presence was on him,
and he walked as in a cloud of light, that dazzled his eyes and confused
his mind.

Willsworthy was a very small and quaint old manor house--so small that a
modern farmer would despise it. It consisted of a hall and a couple of
sitting-rooms and kitchen on the ground floor, with a projecting porch,
with pavise over it. The windows looked into the little court that was
entered through old granite gates, capped with balls, and was backed by
a cluster of bold sycamores and beech, in which was a large rookery.

Mrs. Malvine was in the hall. She had been brought down. She was unable
to walk, and she sat in her armchair by the hearth. The narrow mullioned
lights did not afford much prospect, and what they did reveal was only
the courtyard and stables that fronted the entrance to the house. To the
back of the house was, indeed, a walled garden; but it was void of
flowers and suffered from the neglect which allowed everything about
Willsworthy to sink into disrepair and barrenness. It grew a few
pot-herbs, half-choked by weeds. There was no gardener kept; but a
labourer, when he could be spared off the farm, did something in a
desultory fashion to the garden--always too late to be of use to it.

"Peace be to this house!" said Luke, and passed in at the door.

He found that, for all his good wish, nothing at the moment was farther
removed from Willsworthy, than peace, Solomon Gibbs had slept long and
heavily after his carouse, and had but just come down the stairs, and
had just acted the inconsiderate part of telling his sister of the
outrage committed by Anthony Cleverdon on her husband's grave. The poor
widow was in an hysterical condition of effervescent wrath and
lamentation.

The story was repeated, when Luke and Urith appeared, in a broken,
incoherent fashion--the widow telling what she knew, with additions of
her own, Solomon throwing in corrections.

Urith turned chill in all her veins. Her heart stood still, and she
stood looking at her uncle with stony eyes. Anthony Cleverdon, who had
behaved to her with such kindness--Anthony, who had held her in his
arms, had carried her through the fire, who had looked into her face
with such warmth in his eyes--he thus insult her father's name and her
family! It was impossible, incredible.

Luke paced the little hall with his arms folded behind his back. He had
heard nothing of this at Peter Tavy when he left it. He hoped there was
some mistake--some exaggeration. What could have been Anthony's object?
Mr. Solomon Gibbs's account was certainly sufficiently involved and
obscure to allow of the suspicion that there was exaggeration, for Mr.
Solomon's recollection of the events was clouded by the punch imbibed
overnight. But the fact that the headpiece of the grave had been brought
to the tavern by his cousin could not be got over. Luke's heart was
filled with commiseration for the distress of the widow, and pain for
Urith, and with bitterness against Anthony. He had nothing but
platitudes to say--nothing that could pacify the excited woman, who
went from one convulsion into another.

Suddenly the door was thrust open and in, without a knock, without
permission, came Anthony himself--the first time he had crossed that
threshold.

Urith's arms fell to her side, and her fists became clenched. How dare
he appear before them, after having committed such an offence? Mistress
Malvine held up her hands before her face to hide the sight of him from
her eyes.

"I have come," said Anthony, "I have come because of that bit of
tomfoolery last night."

Luke saw that his cousin was approaching the widow, and he stepped
between them. "For shame of you, 'Tony!" he said, in quivering voice.
"You ought never to show your face after what has been done--at all
events here."

"Get aside," answered Anthony roughly, and thrust him out of the way.

"Madame Malvine," said he, planting himself before the hysterical widow,
"listen to me. I am very sorry and ashamed for what I did. It was in
utter ignorance. I was dared to go to the churchyard last night when the
ghosts walk, and Fox said no one would believe me that I had been there
unless I brought back some token. We had all been drinking. The night
was pitch-dark. I got up the avenue under the trees, and pulled up the
stake nearest to the church porch I could feel. Whose it was, as Heaven
is my witness, I did not know. I was wrong in doing it; but I was dared
to do something of the kind."

"You must have known that my brother-in-law lay on the right-hand side
of the porch," said Solomon Gibbs.

"How should I know?" retorted Anthony. "I am not sexton, to tell where
every one lies. And on such a pitch-black night too, I could find my way
only by feeling."

"Your offence," said Luke, sternly, "is not against this family only,
but against God. You have been guilty of sacrilege."

"I will ask you not to interfere," answered Anthony. "With God I will
settle the matter in my own conscience. I am come here to beg
forgiveness of Mistress Malvine and of Urith."

He turned sharply round to the latter, and spoke with a deep flush in
his cheek, and with outstretched arm. "Urith! you will believe me! You
will forgive me! With my best heart's blood I would wipe out the
offence. I never, never dreamed of injuring and paining you. It was a
misadventure, and my cursed folly in sitting drinking at the Hare and
Hounds, and of allowing myself to be taunted to a mad act by Fox Crymes,
who is my evil genius."

"It was Fox Crymes who urged you to do it?" asked Urith, her rigidity
ceasing, and the colour returning to her cheeks and lips.

"He goaded me to the act, but he had nothing to do with my bringing your
father's headpiece to the tavern--that was the devil's own witchcraft."

"Mother," said Urith, "do you hear; it was Fox Crymes's doing. On him
the blame falls."

"You believe me, Urith--I know you must! You know I would not injure
you, offend you, grieve you in any way. You must know that, Urith--you
do in your heart know it; assure your mother of that. Here, give me your
hand in pledge that you believe--that you forgive me."

She gave it him at once.

"Now see, Mistress Malvine, Urith is my testimony--Good God! what is the
matter?"

Mrs. Malvine had fallen back in her chair, and was speechless.



CHAPTER X.

LUKE CLEVERDON.


Luke Cleverdon left the house. He could no longer endure to remain in
it. He saw the flash in Urith's eye as she put her hand in that of
Anthony in answer to his appeal. He had seen sufficient to shake and
wring his heart with inexpressible pain. He walked hastily down the
hill, but stopped at the ruined chapel, and entered there. The old
broken altar lay there, one of its supports fallen. Luke seated himself
on a block of granite, and rested his arm against the altar-slab, and
laid his head on his arm. That he had long loved Urith he knew but too
well for his peace of mind, but never before had his passion for her so
flamed up as at that moment when she took his cousin's hand. What had
occurred on the previous day on the moor was repeated again; a
smouldering fire had suddenly caught a great tuft or bush, almost a
tree, of gorse, and had mounted in a pillar of flame.

Was Anthony in all things to be preferred to him? In the house at Hall,
Luke had submitted without demur to be set aside on all occasions, for
Anthony was the son, and Luke but the nephew, of the old man; Hall would
one day be the inheritance of Anthony, and in Hall the son of old
Anthony's brother had no portion. But now that he had left his uncle's
house, now that he was independent, was Anthony still to stand in his
way, to lay his hand on and claim the one flower that Luke loved, but
which he dared not put forth his hand to pluck?

Timid and humble-minded as Luke was, he had never considered that he
could win the affections of any girl, leastways of one such as Urith.
But it was a delight to him to see her, to watch the unfolding of her
mind, and character, and beauty, to know that she was a wild
moor-flower, regarded by no one else but himself, sought by none, or, if
sought, rejecting such seekers with disdain. He was so simple and single
in his aims, that it would have well contented him to merely admire and
humbly love Urith, never revealing the state of his heart, asking of her
nothing but friendship and regard. But--when, all at once, he saw
another stand beside her, take her hand, and seize on her heart with
bold temerity, and by his boldness win it--that was too much for Luke to
endure without infinite pain, and a battle with himself. If he had
formed any ideal picture of the future, it was the harmless one of
himself as the friend, the gentle, unassuming, unasserting friend of
Urith, suffered by her, after some little resistance, to divert her
headlong character, brighten the gloomy depths of her strange mind. He
knew how greatly she needed an adviser and guide, and his highest
ambition was so to help her that she might become a noble and generous
woman. That he had not formed this hope out of pure pastoral zeal he
knew, for he who taught others to search their own consciences, not
lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God, had explored his
own heart, and measured all its forces; but till this moment he had
never realized that there was a selfishness and jealousy in his love, a
selfishness which would have kept back Urith from knowing and loving
anyone, and a jealousy intense and bitter against the man who obtained
that place in Urith's heart to which he himself laid no claim, but which
he hoped would be forever empty.

He tried to pray, but was unable to do more than move his lips and form
words. Prayers did not appease the ardor, lessen the anguish within. As
he looked up at the moor he saw now that it was still smoking. The storm
of rain in the night had not quenched the fires, nor could the dews of
Divine consolation put out that which blazed within his breast.

He had never envied Anthony till now. When he had been at school, he had
been but scantily furnished with pocket-money. There had been many
little things he would have liked to buy, but could not, having so small
a sum at his disposal; on the other hand, Anthony could at all times
command his father's purse, had spent money as he liked, had wasted it
wantonly, but Luke had accepted the difference with which they had been
treated without resentment; yet, now that Anthony had stepped in between
him and Urith, something very much like hatred formed like gall in his
heart.

He tried to think that he was angry with his cousin for having given
Mistress Malvine pain, with having been guilty of sacrilege, but he was
too truthful in his dealings with himself to admit that these were the
springs of the bitterness within.

Suddenly he looked up with a start, and saw Bessie before him, observing
him with sympathetic distress. His pale forehead was covered with
sweat-drops, and his long, thin hands were trembling. They had been
clasped, the one on the other, on the altar-stone, and Luke's brow had
rested on them, his face downward; thus he had not seen Bessie when she
approached.

"What is it, Luke?" she said, in kindly tones, full of commiseration.
"Are you ill, dear cousin?"

He looked at her somewhat vacantly for a moment, gathering his senses
together. As in bodily pain, after a paroxysm, the mind remains
distraught for a moment, and is unable to throw itself outward, so it is
with mental pain to an even greater degree. As Bessie spoke, Luke
seemed to be brought, or to bring himself, by an effort, out of a
far-off world into that in which Bessie stood surrounded by the old
chapel walls, hung with hartstongue leaves, still green, untouched by
winter frost.

"What are you suffering from?" she asked, and seated herself at his
side.

"It is nothing, cousin," he answered, and shook his head to shake away
the thoughts that had held him.

"It is indeed something," she said, gently; "I know it is; I see it in
your white and streaming face." She took his hand in hers. "I know it
from your cold hand. Luke, you have had no one but me to talk to of your
troubles in boyhood, and I had none but you to tell of my little girlish
vexations. Shall we be the same now, and confide in each other?"

O, false Bessie! knowing she was false, as she said this. The keen eye
of her Aunt Magdalen had seen what Bessie supposed was hidden from every
one, that she loved her cousin Luke. But to Luke would that secret
assuredly never be entrusted. It was to be a one-sided confidence.

"Are you ill? Are you in bodily pain?" she asked.

He shook his head--not now to shake away thought, but in negative. He
passed his disengaged hand and sleeve over his brow, and was at once
composed. "I am sorry you saw me like this, Bessie. I thought no one
would come in here."

"I have come to see Urith, after last night. I promised her I would come
some time, and I thought that I would ask if she were quite well, for
the day was to her long and trying."

"Do not go on there now," said Luke gently, releasing his hand. "There
has something happened. You have not heard, but it will be noised
everywhere shortly, and the shock has been too much for Mistress
Malvine; she has fallen into a fit."

"Then I had better go on, cousin; I may be of help to Urith."

"You have not heard----" Then he told her of what Anthony had done the
preceding night. Bessie was greatly disturbed; the act was so profane,
and so inconsiderate. The inconsiderateness might, indeed, partially
excuse the act, but hardly redeem it from sacrilege, and was certain to
arouse general and deep indignation; the inconsiderateness showed an
unbalanced mind, wanting in ordinary regard for the feelings of others.

"And yet," said Elizabeth, "this is not what has made you so unhappy.
You have not told me all."

Luke remained silent, looking before him. "Bessie," said he, "has it
never been observed by you that Anthony had an affection for Urith?"

"Never," answered Elizabeth; "I do not see how there could have sprung
up such a liking. They hardly ever can have spoken to each other before
yesterday, though they may have met; as, for instance, seen each other
in church. I never heard Anthony name her."

"He does not tell you what he has in his heart."

"I did not believe that he had any particular regard for any one. He has
not been a person to seek the company of young maidens; he has affected
to utterly scorn them, and has held himself aloof from their company."

"I think--I am sure that he likes her," said Luke slowly.

Then Bessie turned her face and looked at him steadily.

"Oh, Luke! Luke!" she exclaimed, and there was pain in her tone. "I have
read your heart. Now I know all." And now that she had discovered his
secret, Luke was glad to be able to pour out his heart into her
sympathetic ear, to tell her how that he did love Urith, but also how
that he had never dreamed of making her his wife.

"My wife!" said he, with a sad smile; "that is not a name I shall ever
be able to give to any woman. It is not one that any woman would care
for me to call her by."

Bessie listened as he talked, without a sign in her face of other
emotion than pity for him. Not in the slightest did she raise a fold of
the veil that concealed her heart, the rather did she wrap it round her
the more closely.

After a while Luke rose relieved. He took Bessie's hand in his, and
said, "Now, dear cousin, you must make me a promise. When you have any
trouble at heart, you will come and tell me." She pressed his hand and
raised her eyes timidly to his, but made no other answer.

They walked together down the hill, and then, at the bridge, parted.
When they parted, Bessie's eyes filled with tears.

But the heart of Luke was relieved, and he walked homewards encouraged
to fight out the battle with himself, and overcome the jealousy with
which he began to regard his cousin Anthony.



CHAPTER XI.

THE GLOVES AGAIN.


Anthony remained at Willsworthy. He had behaved exceedingly badly, had
wounded the good lady of the house where most susceptible to pain, and
so acutely that she had fallen into unconsciousness; yet he remained on.
He was accustomed to consult his own wishes, not those of others, and to
put on one side all considerations of expediency and good feeling, where
his own caprice was concerned.

Urith and the servant wench had carried Madame Malvine to her room, and
Solomon Gibbs had dashed off to the stables to get his horse, so as to
summon the surgeon from Tavistock.

Anthony was alone in the little hall, and he leaned his elbows on the
window-sill and looked out. There was nothing for him to see; nothing to
interest him in the barn wall opposite, which was all that was commanded
by the window; so he turned his eyes on a peacock butterfly that had
hybernated in the hall, and now, with return of spring, shook off sleep
and fluttered against the leaded panes, bruising its wings in its
efforts to escape into the outer air. There were no flowers in the
window; nothing at all save some dead flies and a pair of lady's
riding-gloves folded together.

Anthony looked round the hall. It was low, not above seven feet high,
unceiled, with black oak unmoulded rafters. There was a large granite
fireplace, no sculptured oak mantelpiece over it; nothing save a plain
shelf; and above it some arms, a couple of pistols, a sword, a pike or
two, and a crossbow. The walls were not panelled save only by the
window, where was the table, and where the family dined. The walls
elsewhere were plainly white-washed, and had not even that decoration
that was affected at the tavern--ballads with quaint woodcuts pasted
against them. There was no deer park attached to the house; there never
had been even a paddock for deer, consequently there were no antlers in
the hall.

Near the window was a recess in the wall over a granite pan or bowl
partly built into the wall. At first sight it might be taken as a basin
in which to wash the hands; but it had no pipe from it to convey the
fouled water away. Such pans are found in many old western farmhouses
and manor halls, and their purport is almost forgotten. They were
formerly employed for the scalding of the milk and the making of clouted
cream. Red-hot charcoal was placed in these basins, and the pans of milk
planted on the cinders. The pans remained there, the coals being fanned
by the kitchen maid, till the cream was formed on the surface, and in
this cream-coat the ring of the bottom of the pan indicated itself on
the surface. This was the token that the milk had yielded up all its
quotient of fatty matter. Thereupon the pan was removed to the cool
dairy. The presence of the granite cream-producer showed that the hall
served a double purpose: it was not only a sitting- and dining-room, but
one in which some of the dairy processes were carried on. Moreover, near
the entrance-door was what was called the "well-room," entered from the
hall. This was a small lean-to apartment on one side of the porch, paved
with cobble-stones, in which was a stone trough always brimming with
crystal moorland water, conducted into it from outside, and, running
off, was carried away outside again. As this was the sole source whence
all the water-supply required for the house was obtained--for dairy, for
kitchen, and for table--it may be imagined that the hall was a
passage-room, traversed all day long by the servant-wenches with pails,
and pans, and jugs.

Such an arrangement was suitable enough in the time before the Wars of
the Roses, when Willsworthy was built; but its inconvenience became
apparent with the improved social conditions of the Tudor reigns, and in
the time of Elizabeth an addition had been made to the house, so that it
now possessed two small parlours looking into the garden at the back;
but these Anthony had not seen. In these some attempt was made at
ornament. A manor house before the Tudor epoch rarely consisted of more
than a hall, a lady's bower, kitchen, and cellars, on the ground-floor;
Willsworthy had been enlarged by the addition of a second parlour, with
the object of abandoning the Hall, to become a sort of second kitchen.

But the family had been poor, and continued in its ancestral mode of
life. The second parlour had its shutters shut, and was never used, and
Madame Malvine sat, as had her husband, and the owners of Willsworthy
before them, in the Hall, and endured the traffic through it, and the
slops on the stone floor from the overflowing pails.

The paving of the Hall was of granite blocks, rudely fitted together,
and was strewn with dry brown bracken. We marvel at the discomfort of
ancient chairs, because the seats are so high from the ground. We forget
that the footstool was an attendant inseparable from the chair, when
ladies sat in these stone-floored halls. They were necessary adjuncts,
holding their feet out of the draught, and off the stone.

Small and mean as the manor house would appear in one's eyes now, yet it
was of sufficient consequence in early days to have its chapel, a
privilege only accorded to the greater houses, and wealthiest gentry.
The chapel was now in ruins. It had not been used since the Reformation.

Anthony became impatient of waiting. He would not leave, and he was
vexed, because he was kept loitering at the window without some one to
speak to.

He was tired of looking at the butterfly battering its wings to pieces,
so he took up the gloves and unrolled them--a pretty pair of fine
leather ladies' gloves, reaching to the elbow, and laced with silk
ribbon and silver tags. Elegant gloves; more handsome, Anthony thought,
than suited the usual style of Urith's dress. He had nothing else to do
but turn them inside out, unfold, and refold them.

As he was thus engaged, he thought over an interview he had had that
morning with his father. With all his faults, and they were many, the
young man was open and direct, and he had told his father what he had
done the night before.

To his surprise, directly old Cleverdon heard that he had pulled up
Richard Malvine's head-post, and thrown it on the tavern table before
the topers, he burst into an exultant laugh, and rubbed his hands
together gleefully.

When, moreover, Anthony expressed his intention of going to Willsworthy
to offer an apology, the old man had vehemently and boisterously
dissuaded him from so doing.

"What are the Malvines?" he had said; "a raggle-taggle, beggarly crew. I
won't have it said that a son of mine veiled his bonnet to them. That
was a fair estate once, but first one portion and then another portion
has been sold away, and now there is but enough to starve on left.
Pshaw! let them endure and pocket the affront. If they try to resent it,
and prosecute you in court of law, I will throw in my money-bag against
their moleskin purse, and see which cause then has most weight in the
scales of justice."

The intemperance of his father's conduct and words had on young Anthony
precisely the opposite effect to that intended. It opened the young
man's eyes to the gravity of his conduct. Without answering his father
he went to Willsworthy, leaving the old man satisfied that he had
overborne his son's resolution to make amend for his offence. Whether
this would have happened had not Urith produced so strong an impression
on his heart the previous day, and enlisted him on her side, may well be
questioned; for the visit of apology involved an acknowledgment of
wrong-doing which was not readily made by Anthony. He was thinking over,
and wondering at, his father's conduct, when Urith entered the hall, and
expressed surprise at seeing him.

"I tarried," said he, "to know how it fared with your mother."

Urith replied, somewhat stiffly, "The shock of hearing what you have
done has given her a fit."

"She has had them before."

"Oh, yes. She cannot endure violent emotion, and your behaviour----"

"I have said I am sorry; what can I do more? Tell me, and I will do it.
The stake was rotten, and broke off. If you will, I will have a stone
slab placed on the grave at my own cost."

Urith flushed dark.

"That I refuse in my mother's name and in mine. We will not be beholden
to you--to any stranger--in such a matter; and after what has been done,
certainly not to you."

Anthony stamped with impatience.

"I have told you I am sorry. I never made an apology to any one in my
life before. I supposed that an apology offered was at once frankly
accepted. I have told you it was all a mistake. I intended no ill. It
was a pitch-black night--I could not see what I laid hold of. My act
was, if you will, an act of folly--but have you never committed acts of
folly? You ran away from home yesterday. Did not that trouble your
mother, and occasion greater perturbation of feeling?"

Urith looked down. "Yes," she said, "one foolery followed another. First
came mine, then yours. The two combined were too much for my mother to
endure."

"We are a couple of fools; be it so," said Anthony. "Now that is
settled. Young folks' brains are not ripened, but are like the pith in
early hazel nuts. It is not their fault if they act foolishly. That is
settled. You believed my account. I never lie, though I be a fool."

"Yes, I have accepted your account, and I, in part, forgive you."

"In part! By Heaven, that is a motley forgiveness--a fool's forgiveness.
I must have a complete one. Come here. Come to this window. Why should I
shout across the hall to you, and you stand with your back turned to me,
as though we were on opposite sides of the Cleave?" He spoke with as
much imperiousness as if he were in his own house, commanded her as
though he expected of her as ready submission as was accorded him by his
sister.

"What do you want with me? I do not care to go near a man subject to
such outbreaks of folly."

"You are one to declaim!" said Anthony, scornfully. "You who run away,
and bite your knuckles till they are raw."

Urith's brow darkened. "You might have spared me that taunt," she said;
"you would have done so had you been generous."

"Come over here," commanded Anthony. "How can I measure my words when I
have to throw them at you from a furlong off? It is like a game of
quoits when one has not strid the distance, and knows not what force to
employ."

Urith without further demur came to him. This was a new experience to
her to be addressed in tones of command; her mother scolded and found
fault, and gave, indeed, orders which she countermanded next moment, so
that Urith had grown up with the habit of following her own desires, and
disregarding the contradictory or impossible injunctions laid on her.

"Come here, Urith," said Anthony; "I do not see why we have been such
strangers heretofore. Why do you never come to Hall?"

"Because Hall has never come to Willsworthy."

"But my sister; you would like Bessie--I am sure of that."

"I like her now."

"Then you will come and see her at Hall?"

"When she has first been to see me, and has asked me to return the
visit."

"She shall do that at once."

"She has promised to come here. She was very kind to me last night."

"She is a good creature," said Anthony, condescendingly.

"And no fool," threw in Urith.

"I don't say she is clever, but what brains she has are full ripe. She
is considerably older than I am."

To this Urith made no response.

Then Anthony took up the gloves, drew them out, and passed them under
the ribbon of his hat.

"I was your true knight yesterday, achieving your deliverance, and every
true knight must wear either his lady's colours or some pledge to show
that she has accepted him as her knight. That, I have heard say, is how
some crests were given or taken. Now I have assumed mine--your gloves. I
take them as my right, and shall wear them in your name."

"They are not mine," said Urith; "you will do me a favour if you will
take them for me to her to whom they of right belong, and say that I
return them to her. She lost them last night, and I found them. I never
go near Kilworthy--never have an opportunity of seeing her--and her
brother I am not likely to see. Therefore I beseech you to convey them
to her from me."

"To whom? Not Julian?"

"Yes, to Julian."

Anthony muttered an oath.

"I will take them from my hat and throw them under foot," he said,
angrily. "I did not ask for a favour of Julian Crymes, but for something
of yours, Urith."

"You did not ask any one for a favour," she replied, gravely. "You took
the gloves unasked."

He pulled them from his hat, and was about to cast them back on the
window-sill, when Urith arrested his hand.

"No," she said; "I asked you a favour, and you will not be so
discourteous a knight as to refuse it me."

"You take me as your knight!" exclaimed Anthony, with a flash of
pleasure from his eyes that met hers, and before which hers fell.

"My errand boy," she said, with a smile, "my foot-page to carry messages
from me. You will take the gloves to Julian Crymes."

"Not in my hat, but in my belt--thus," said Anthony, passing them under
his girdle. Then, after a pause, he said, "You have given me nothing."

"Yes, I have."

"What? Only another maid's gloves?"

"Something else. My forgiveness."

"Full?"

"Yes--full. Go now, and take the gloves."

"I shall return another day for something of your own."

Still he loitered; then suddenly looked up, with a laugh. "Mistress!
What is your livery? What is your colour?"

"My colour! Yellow--yellow as the marigold, for I am jealous."

"Then, here is my hat. You shall put your badge in it."

"Not till I admit your service."

"You have--you have given me a commission."

Urith laughed. "Very well. There are marsh marigolds in the brook. You
shall have them."



CHAPTER XII.

AND AGAIN.


Anthony went home to Hall. He was on foot--if he must go to Kilworthy
and return the gloves to Julian Crymes, he would ride. They hung in his
girdle. His hat was gay with marsh marigolds. A sudden, overwhelming
intoxication of happiness had come over Urith. She was loved, and loved
in return. Her heart had hitherto known no love, or only that which was
rendered as a duty to an exacting and trying mother. The world to her
had become wider, brighter, the sky higher. The condition in which her
mother was forgotten for a moment, for a moment only, as with fluttering
heart and trembling fingers, and pulses that leaped and then were still,
she picked the marigolds and put them in his cap. Then he was gone, and
she returned at once to her mother's room.

Anthony wore his hat ajaunt as he strode into the yard of Hall, and when
he saw his sister Bessie in the door, he called to her to come to him,
to save himself the trouble of taking a dozen steps to her out of his
way to the stable.

She obeyed the summons at once.

"Bess!" said he, "I have made a promise for thee. I have been to
Willsworthy, and have said that thou wilt go there to-day."

"Oh, Anthony!" said Elizabeth, in return. "How could you do as you have
done concerning the headpiece?"

"There, there! that is finished and done for. I sent it back the same
night. I called up the sexton to help me. But the matter is at an end,
and I will not have it stirred again. Do you hear, you must go to
Willsworthy to-day. I have passed my word."

"I cannot, Tony. I was on my way there when I met Luke, and he told me
what you had done. Then for shame I could not go on, but returned home."

"I went there and made my peace," said Anthony. "Do not blow a drop of
soap into a vast globe. It is all over and mended. I said I was sorry,
and that was the end of the matter."

"But Luke told me that Mistress Malvine has had a fit because of it."

"She has had the like before, and has recovered; she will be herself
again to-morrow--and, it matters not! sickly and aged folk must expect
these accidents. You shall go to Willsworthy to-day."

"I cannot indeed, brother, for my father has forbidden it."

"Forbidden you going there?"

"Yes, brother, when I came back, he asked where I had been, and when I
told him he was wrath, and bade me never go there again. He would not,
he said, have it appear that he was begging off from the consequences of
what you had done."

"I have begged off. That is to say--I explained it was all a mistake. I
meant no wrong, and so it is covered up and passed over."

"That may be, Tony, but against my father's command I cannot go."

"It is such folly," said Anthony, "I will go see him myself. You shall
go there. I told Urith that I would send you. My father shall not make
my word empty."

He went by her.

She caught his arm, and said, in a low tone, "Brother, why do you make
so much now of Urith Malvine? And you treating her as your true love?"

"True love!" repeated he, scornfully. "That is the way with all you
woman-kind. If one but sees a handsome girl, and speaks two words to
her, at once you arrive at the notion that we have chosen each other as
true lovers, passed rings and promises, and wished for a marriage
licence. Let me go by."

He walked into the house, and to his father's room, which he entered
without announcing himself.

The old man sat by the fire. His account-books were on the table, at his
side. The fire was of turf and wood.

"What is this, father?" began Anthony, in his imperious fashion, "That
you have forbidden Bess to go to see the Malvine family, and the Madame
is ill, had a falling fit this morning."

"It is not for us to make a scrape and a cringe to the like of them,"
answered the old man, raising himself in his chair by a hand on each
arm, as he had sunk together in the seat. "I take it the Cleverdons need
not stoop to that beggar brood."

"I did wrong," said Anthony, shortly. "And I have been to Willsworthy,
and said I was sorry. I offered to put up a monument of stone to Master
Richard Malvine at our own cost."

"You did!"

"Yes, father, I did, I would do it at my own expense."

"You have not a penny but what I allow you, and not one penny would I
hand out for such a purpose."

"Then it is as well that my offer was refused."

"I bade you forbear going to that house when you spake of it this
morning."

"You advised me not to go; but my conscience spoke louder than your
voice, father, and I went."

"How were you received?" asked old Cleverdon, with a malignant leer.

Anthony shrugged his shoulders: "The old Madam fell into a fit at the
sight of me. There was also Luke there."

"Oh, Luke!" said Anthony senior, with a sneer. "He may go there; but no
son or daughter of mine. We do not consort with beggars. That is enough.
You have been. Do not go again. If they bring the matter into a court of
law I am well content--more than content, for it will bring them to
utter beggary, and they will have, maybe, to sell, and I will buy them
out." He turned to the fire and laughed at the thought. Then, turning
his face round again over his pointed shoulder, he said, in an altered
tone, "I am glad you are in here; you do not often give me a chance of a
talk, and now I wish to speak with you of serious matters. You are
getting to be a man, Tony--quite a man--and must think of settling in
life. It is high time for us to have the arrangement with Julian
Crymes----"

"What arrangement?"

"Oh, you know. It has been an understood thing. You have not been
ignorant, though you may affect to know nothing about it. Fine property
hers! All the Kilworthy estate after her father's death. He has it for
his life. But there is money. A good deal, I doubt not, will go with
her hand at once. If we had that we could clear the mortgage off Hall."

Anthony frowned, and folded his arms.

"I am against delaying marriage till late," continued old Cleverdon; "so
I propose that you have a talk with Julian at once, and get her to say
when it is to be. Some time this year; but not in May--May marriages are
unlucky." The old man chuckled, and said, "I reckon your honeymoon you
will find a harvest moon."

"I have no fancy for Julian Crymes," said Anthony; "I never had."

"Pshaw! Of course you have a fancy for Kilworthy. It will fit on with
Hall bravely; and so the old Glanville property will come together all
in time to the Cleverdons."

"I am not going to take Julian for the sake of Kilworthy. That you may
be assured of," said Anthony.

"Oh, yes, you will; but I dare say you want to keep out of chains a
little longer. If so, I do not press you. Nevertheless, in the end it
comes to this--you must take Julian and her estate."

"I will have neither one nor the other," said Anthony. "I do not want to
marry--when I do I will please myself."

"You will consult my wishes and my plans," said the father. "But there,
I have said enough. Turn the thing over in your head; the girl likes
you, small blame to her--you are the bravest cockrell in the district,
and can crow loud enough to make all others keep silence."

"I will never take Julian," again said Anthony. "It is of no use,
father, urging this; she has been thrown at me, and has thrown herself
at me. I may have prattled and laughed with her, but I never cared much
for her. I shall never take but the maid that pleases me; I give you
assurance of this, father."

"Well, well, that will suffice. I was too early in speaking. Take your
time; in the end you will see through my spectacles. Now I am busy; you
may go."

Anthony left. He was irritated at his father for endeavoring to force
him to marry Julian Crymes, irritated with him for his depreciatory tone
when speaking of the Malvines, irritated with him for not allowing his
sister to go to Willsworthy.

At the present moment he felt very reluctant to go to Kilworthy and see
Julian, to return to her the pair of gloves. After she had been thrust
on him and he had declined to think of her, he felt out of humour for a
visit to her; he had lost command of himself, in his annoyance, and
might speak with scant courtesy.

"If I could light on Fox I would give him the gloves," said Anthony, as
he mounted the horse.

He rode out on a down near Hall, and there drew rein, uncertain whether
he would go direct to Kilworthy or not.

"No," said he, "I will ride first to Peter Tavy and see that the
head-post of Master Malvine be secure. I will give the sexton something
to have the foot scarfed, that it may not fall over or give way. After
that I can go to Kilworthy." So he turned his horse's head in the
direction of the inn, the Hare and Hounds at Cudliptown, where he would
fall into the road to Peter Tavy.

In his irritation at what his father had proposed, he forgot about the
bunch of flowers in his hat. He left them there disregarded, fretting in
his mind at his father's attempt to force him to a union that was
distasteful to him. He liked Julian well enough; she was a handsome
girl. He had admired her, he had played the lover--played without
serious intent, for his heart had not been touched--but now he
entertained an aversion from her, an aversion that was not old; it dated
but from the previous day, but it had ripened whilst his father spoke to
him of her.

Anthony was this day like a charged electric battery, and any one that
came near him received a shock. His father had seen that the mood of the
young man was not one in which he would bear to be contradicted; the old
man was aware that his son would discharge his feelings against him
quite as readily as against another, and he, therefore, had the
discretion not to press a point that irritated Anthony, and was like to
provoke an outburst.

And now, as Anthony rode over the down, past many old tumuli covering
the dead of prehistoric times, he had no eyes for the beauty of the
scene that opened before him, eyes for no antiquities that he passed,
ears for none of the fresh and pleasant voices of early spring that
filled the air; he was occupied with his own thoughts, grumbling and
muttering over the matters of dissatisfaction that had risen up and
crossed him. He had apologised for the outrage committed on Richard
Malvine's grave, but he could not excuse himself of having occasioned a
shock to Mistress Malvine. He was angry with his father for the
slighting manner in which he spoke of the Malvines, for having forbidden
Bessie going to them, for having endeavoured to force him into an
engagement with Julian. He would please himself, murmured Anthony to
himself; in such a matter as this he would brook no dictation. His
liking for Urith was too young to have assumed any shape and force, and
he had no thoughts of its leading any further. Such as it was, it had
been fed and stimulated by opposition--the interference on the moor, the
opposition of his father, the difficulties put in his way by his own
act--but then Anthony was just the man to be settled in a course by
encountering opposition therein.

He crossed the river, reached Cudliptown, and saw the surgeon's horse
hitched up outside the tavern. The doctor had been to Willsworthy, and
had halted at the Hare and Hounds for refreshment on his way home.

Anthony at once dismounted. He would go in there and ask tidings of the
health of the widow.

He fastened up his horse and entered the tavern, in his usual
swaggering, defiant manner, with his hat on, and a frown on his brow. He
found in the inn, not the surgeon only, but James Cudlip, and to his
surprise Anthony Crymes.

The relationship in which Anthony Cleverdon stood to Fox was intimate
but not cordial. They had known each other and had associated together
since they were children; they had been at school together; they hunted,
and rabbited, and hawked together. Anthony was not one who could endure
to be alone, and as he had no other companion of his age and quality
with whom to associate, he took up with Fox rather than be solitary. But
when together they were ever bickering. Fox's bitter tongue made Anthony
start, and with his slow wit he was incapable of other retort than
threat. Moreover, from every one else young Anthony received flattery;
only from Fox did he get gibes. He bore in his heart a simmering grudge
against him that never boiled up into open quarrel. Fox took a malicious
delight in tormenting his comrade, whom he both envied and disliked.

That Anthony Crymes had paid his addresses to Urith, and had been
refused, was unknown to Anthony Cleverdon, to whom Crymes confided no
secrets of his heart or ambition.

When Anthony caught sight of Fox at the table, he checked the question
relative to the condition of Madame Malvine that rose to his lips, and
came over to the settle.

"Why! what a May Duke have we here!" exclaimed Fox Crymes, pointing with
a laugh at Anthony's cap. "What is the meaning of this decoration?"

Instead of replying, Anthony called for ale.

"And wearing his mistress' gloves as well!" shouted Crymes.

"They are not my mistress' gloves," answered Anthony, hastily, and in a
tone of great irritation. "If you would know, Fox, whose they are, then
I tell you, they belong to your sister."

"How came you by them? And wherefore wear them?"

"I was on the lookout for you, Fox, to return them to you for her. I do
not want them. She lost them overnight."

"And where did you find them? On the moor?"

"They were given to me by the finder. Will that satisfy you? I will
answer no more questions."

Crymes saw that Anthony Cleverdon was in an irascible mood--such a mood
as gave him special opportunities of vexing Anthony and amusing himself.

"And now about your posie of golden cups?" he asked tauntingly.

"I said I would answer no more questions."

"It is not necessary. I know very well where you have been."

"I have been home--at Hall," said Anthony, going over to the table from
the settle, where he felt himself uneasy with all eyes fixed on him. He
pulled the gloves out of his belt and laid them before him, and drew
them their full length on the table, then smoothed them with his finger.
He wished he had not entered the inn; his face was clouded, and his
muscles twitched, Crymes enjoying his evident annoyance. He sat on the
further side of the table, with his mug of beer by him.

"I know very well where you have been," said he again, with his
twinkling, malicious eyes fixed on Anthony. "So was I the day before
yesterday; and also came off with a posie--but a better one than yours."

"It is a lie!" burst from the irritated young man, starting. "Urith
never----" Then he checked himself, as Fox broke into ironical laughter
at the success of his essay to extract from Anthony the secret of his
bunch of marigolds. Anthony saw that he had been trapped, and became
more chafed and hot than before.

"Do you know what she meant by giving you those flowers?" asked Crymes,
and paused with his eyes on the man he was baiting.

Anthony answered with a growl.

"You know what they are called by the people?" said Crymes. "Drunkards.
And, when you were presented with that posie, it was as much as to say
that none save one to whom such a term applied would have acted as you
had done last night by your offence against a dead man's grave, and by
adding insult to injury by your visiting the widow and child to-day."

The blood poured into Anthony's face and dazzled his eyes. A malevolent
twitch of the muscles of the mouth showed how Fox enjoyed tormenting
him.

"Go again a little later in the season, and Urith will find another, and
even more appropriate, adornment for your hat--a coxcomb!"

Yeoman Cudlip and Surgeon Doble laughed aloud, so did the serving wench
who had just brought in Anthony's ale.

The young fellow, stung beyond endurance, sprang to his feet with a
snort--he could not speak--and struck Fox across the face with the
gloves.

Crymes uttered a cry of pain and rage, and with his hand to his eye drew
the hunting-knife from his belt, and struggled out of his place to get
at Anthony. The surgeon and yeoman threw themselves in his way and
disarmed him, the girl screamed and fled to the kitchen.

"He has blinded me!" gasped Fox, as he sank back into a seat. "I cannot
see."

Anthony was alarmed. Water was brought, and the face of Crymes washed.
One of the silver tags of the glove had struck and injured the right
eyeball.



CHAPTER XIII.

WIDOW PENWARNE.


There are epochs in the lives of most men when a sad fatality seems to
dog their steps and turn athwart all that they do. Anthony had come to
such an epoch suddenly since that ride and walk along the Lyke-Way. He
had allowed himself to be taunted into a foolish visit to the churchyard
on St. Mark's Eve, when there he had desecrated a grave, then he had
thrown Madame Malvine into a fit, had disagreed with his father, and now
had injured the eye of his comrade.

Anthony's anger cooled down the moment he was aware of what he had done,
but this was not a piece of mischief that could be put to rights at
once, like the replacing of the headpiece of the grave. His presence in
the room was a distraction and cause of irritation to the man he had
hurt, now in the hands of the surgeon, and he deemed it advisable to
leave the inn, mount his horse, and ride away to Peter Tavy Church,
where he desired to have a word with the sexton and carpenter relative
to the old head-post of Malvine's grave.

Peter Tavy Church, or the Church of St. Peter on the Tavy, is a grey
granite edifice, mottled with lichen, with moorstone pinnacles, and a
cluster of fine old trees in the yard. Externally the church is
eminently picturesque, it was beautiful within at the time of our tale,
in spite of the havoc wrought in the period of the Directory; of more
recent times it has undergone a so-called restoration which has
destroyed what remained of charm.

For a long time it has been matter of felicitation that the old
opprobrium attaching to the men of the West Country of being wreckers
has ceased to apply; the inhumanity of destroying vessels and their
crews for the sake of the spoil that could be got from them has
certainly ceased. But we are mistaken if we suppose that wrecking as a
profession or pastime has come to an end altogether. The complaint has
been driven inwards, or rather, wrecking is no longer practised on
ships, which the law has taken under its protection, but on the
defenceless parish churches.

The havoc that has been wrought in our churches within the last thirty
years is indescribable. In Cornwall, with ruthless and relentless
activity, the parish churches have, with rare exceptions, been attacked
one after another, and robbed of all that could charm and interest, and
have been left cold and hideous skeletons. I know nothing that more
reminds one (speaking ecclesiologically) of the desert strewn with the
bones of what were once living and beautiful creatures, scraped of every
particle of flesh, the marrow picked out of their bones, the soul, the
divine spark of beauty and life, expelled for ever.

No sooner does a zealous incumbent find himself in the way of collecting
money to do up his church, than he rubs his hands over it and says,
"Embowelled will I see thee by and by." Falstaff was fortunately able to
get away from the knife. Alas! not so our beautiful old churches. The
architect and the contractor are called in, and the embowelling goes on
apace. All the old fittings are cast forth, the monumental slabs broken
up, the walls are scraped and painted, plaster everywhere peeled off,
just as the skin was taken off St. Bartholomew, and the shells are
exulted over by architect, contractor, parson, and parishioners, as
shells from which the bright soul has been expelled--_sans_ beauty,
_sans_ interest, _sans_ poetry, _sans_ everything. The man of taste and
feeling crosses the threshold, and falls back with the same sense as
comes on the reader of a young lady's novel, as at a mouthful of bread
from which the salt has been omitted, of something inexpressibly flat
and insipid. Before its restoration, Peter Tavy Church had the remains
of a beautiful roodscreen nicely painted and gilt, and an unique pew of
magnificent carved oak for the manorial lord to sit in, with twisted
columns at the angles supporting heraldic lions.

Anthony Cleverdon dismounted from his horse at the church-yard, hitched
up his beast, and entered the graveyard. He saw the sexton there, and
talking to him was an old woman in threadbare dress, grey hair, very
dark piercing eyes, bent, and leaning on a staff. She was a stranger, at
all events, he did not know her, and yet there was a something in her
features that seemed peculiar to him. The sexton said something to her,
and she at once came down the church path to meet Anthony, extending to
him her hand.

"Ah!" she said. "I can see, I can see my Margaret in your face--you have
her eyes, her features, and the same toss of head. I know you. You have
never, maybe, heard of me, and yet I am your grandmother. Have you come
here to see your mother's grave? I am glad, I am glad it is cared for,
not, I ween, by your father. Which of you thinks of the mother, and has
set flowers on the grave--see, it is alight with primroses?"

"I believe that was Bessie's doing," answered Anthony; then
involuntarily he looked at her shabby gown, patched and worn.

"I would like to see Bessie. Is she like you? If so--she is like your
mother. Ah! my Margaret was the handsomest girl in all the West of
England. You have not forgotten your mother, I hope, young man."

"I do not remember her--you forget she died shortly after I was born."

"How should I know?" The old woman took his hand, and held it fast as
she peered into his face with eager eyes. "How should I know, when your
father never took the trouble to let me know that my own, my dear and
only child, was dead? If I had known she was ill, I would have come to
her, though he took, as he threatened to take, the pitchfork to me, if I
crossed his threshold. I would have come and nursed her; then, maybe,
she would not have died. But he did not tell me. He did not ask me to
her burial, and not till long after did I hear she was no more. He was a
hard and a cruel man."

The clear tears formed in the old woman's eyes, and trickled down her
cheeks.

"I have been ill all the winter, and very poor; but that was not known,
and if known would not have concerned your father. When I got better, I
came here to ask if I might be buried, when I die, near my Margaret. Or
are you Cleverdons too great and fine now for that? Well--you will let
me lie at her feet, though I was her mother, just as I have seen a dog
put under the soles of the figures in old churches. You are her son, you
are my own grandchild, though you have never known me and cared for me,
and given me a thought. Please the Lord, you are not hard as your
father, and you will grant me this."

"I did not know I had a grandmother," said Anthony. "If there is
anything you want, it shall be done."

"No, I do not suppose that your father ever spoke of me. Your mother's
father was the parson here, and died leaving no money. I had to leave,
and become a housekeeper to maintain myself, and what little money I
then earned has been expended in my illness. Now, will you let me see
Bessie? She is good, she remembers her mother, and thinks of her."

Anthony endeavoured to withdraw his hand from the grasp of the old
woman, but she would not suffer it; she laid the other caressingly on
his, and said,

"No, my boy, you will not be unkind, you will not go from me without a
promise to bring me Bessie. I must see her."

"You shall come to Hall, and see her there."

She shook her grey head. "Never! never! I could not bear to be in that
house where your mother, my poor Margaret, suffered. Moreover, your
father would not endure it! He threatened to take the pitchfork to
me--when your mother was alive."

"He would not do that now," said Anthony. "But as you will. I will bring
Bessie to you. Where shall I find you?"

"I am staying at Master Youldon's. He knew my dear husband in the old
times, and knew me, and does not forget old kindnesses."

"Very well. You shall see Bessie. I have some business with the sexton."

Then he withdrew his hand from the old woman, and went to the grave of
Richard Malvine, where he gave directions what was to be done to that
and the headpiece. Widow Penwarne came to him.

"What is this?" she asked. "What have you to do with this grave?"

"I have some orders to give concerning it," answered Anthony, vexed at
her interference. "I will speak with you later, madam."

"But what does the grave of Richard Malvine matter to you?" again she
asked. "Ah!" she exclaimed, and went and picked some of the primroses
from the mound over her daughter, and then strewed them over the grave
of Richard, "Ah!" she said. "Here lie two whose hearts were broken by
your father--two for whom he will have to answer at the Judgment Day,
and then I will stand up along with them, and point the finger at him,
and accuse him. If there be a righteous God, then as He is righteous so
will He judge and punish!"

"Why, well, now, is not this strange?" exclaimed Anthony. "Here comes my
sister Elizabeth. I wonder much what has brought her."

Bessie appeared, with a wreath of spring flowers in her hand. She had
ridden, attended by a serving-man. She was surprised and pleased to see
Anthony at Richard Malvine's grave.

"Oh, brother!" she said, "I have been so troubled over what has been
done that I set to work to make a garland to hang on the grave, as some
token of respect, and regret for what had been done."

"What, you also!" exclaimed the old woman, and went to her and clasped
her hands. "You are Bessie Cleverdon, the dear child of my Margaret. Let
me kiss you, ay, and bless you." She drew the head of Elizabeth to her
and kissed her.

"This is our grandmother, Bessie," exclaimed Anthony.

"Ay!" said the old woman, studying the girl earnestly with her dark,
eager eyes. "Yes, I am the grandmother of you both; but you are not like
my Margaret, not in face, and yet not like your father--please God in
heaven--not like him in soul!" she said, with vehemence.

"Let us go aside," said Anthony, "out of earshot of the sexton, if you
cannot speak of my father without such an overflow of spleen."

"Then we will go to your mother's grave," said Madame Penwarne. "I see
you stand by your father; but I can see this in you--that you will stand
by him so long as he does not cross your will. Let him but oppose you,
young man, where your headstrong will drives, and there will be trouble
between you. Then, maybe, your father will begin to receive the
chastisement from the hand of the Lord that has been hanging over him
ever since he took Margaret to Hall. That is a strange turn of the
wheel, that his two children should meet at the grave of Richard
Malvine to care for its adornment. And I warrant you do not know, either
of you, what is owing to him who lies there--ay! and to her who rests at
our feet."

"I can't understand riddles," said Anthony, "and it is no pleasure to me
to hear hard words cast at my father. If you are in poverty,
grandmother, you shall be helped. I will speak to my father about you,
and when I speak he will listen and do as is fitting. Of that be
assured. If you have anything further to say of my father, say it to
him, not to me."

"I will take nothing, not a farthing of his," answered the old woman,
sharply.

"Why not, grandmother?" asked Bessie, gently, and kissed the old woman's
quivering cheek. "It will be the greatest unhappiness to Anthony and me
to think that you are not provided for in your age, and in comfort. We
shall not be able to rest if we suppose that you are in want. It would
fill us with concern and self-reproach. My father is just, and he
also----"

"No," said the old woman, interrupting her, "just he is not. Moreover,
he owes me too much--or rather he owes my dead daughter, your mother,
too much--he cannot repay it: not one thousandth part with coin. You,
Elizabeth, are older than your brother. You must know that your mother's
life was made miserable, that she had no happiness at Hall."

"And I trust and believe," said Bessie, "that my dear mother, in the
rest of Paradise, has long ago forgotten her troubles, and forgiven my
father if he had in any way annoyed her."

"Do not be so sure of that, child," exclaimed the old woman, with
vehemence. "If I were to go out of this life to-morrow, I should go
before the throne of God to denounce your father, and I would call
Richard Malvine and your mother as witnesses against him. Shall I tell
you what he did? These who lie here--he yonder, where you have placed
the garlands, and my poor Margaret--loved each other, and would have
been happy with each other. But her father died, I was poor, and then
for the sake of his money, Margaret was persuaded to take Anthony
Cleverdon, and give up Richard Malvine."

"If that be so----" began young Anthony.

"It is so," said the old woman, vehemently.

"Then the blame lies with you," said he. "You pressed her to take the
rich man and refuse the poor. My father was guiltless."

The widow drew back and trembled; but presently recovered herself and
said, "That may be--I bear in part the blame. But if he had been kind to
her it would have been other. I would not reproach him; but it was not
so, and Bessie was old enough to remember that little love passed
between them, that he was hard, and cruel, and unkind. He broke her
heart--and there she lies."

"I am not here," said Anthony, "to hear my father reproached. I respect
you as my grandmother; but you have doubtless a jaundiced eye, that sees
all things yellow. I will see what can be done for you. It does not
befit us that the mother of our mother should be in want."

As they spoke, from out of the church came Luke Cleverdon. His face was
pale, and his eyes were sunken. The sexton had not known that he was in
the sacred building. Luke came towards the little group, treading his
way among the graves with care. The tomb of the Cleverdons was near the
chancel south window. He extended his hand to Mistress Penwarne, saying,
"I was within. It was not my fault if I heard much that was said; and
now I have but come into your midst, Anthony, Bessie, and you, Madame,
to make a humble petition. I am curate in charge here; the rector is not
resident. I live in the old parsonage, that must be so familiar to
Mistress Penwarne--every room hallowed with some sweet recollection--and
I am alone, and need a kinswoman to be my housekeeper, and"--he smiled
at the old woman--"be to me as a mother. Madame, will you honour my poor
roof by taking up your abode therein? It is, forsooth, more yours than
mine, for there you lived your best days, and to it you are attached by
strongest ties; but I am but a casual tenant. It is not mine--I am but
the curate. Here we have no continuous city, and every house is to us
but a tavern on our pilgrimage where we stay a night."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CLEAVE.


Throughout the day Willsworthy was full of visitors. Never before had it
been so frequented. The act of Anthony Cleverdon had been bruited
through the neighbourhood, and aroused general indignation against the
young man and sympathy for the widow.

Mistress Malvine was sufficiently recovered in the afternoon to receive
some of those who arrived in her bedroom, and Mr. Solomon Gibbs
entertained the rest in the hall. Those who had known the Malvines
well--these were not many--and those who knew them distantly, persons of
the gentle class, of the yeoman and farmer ranks, all thought it
incumbent on them to come, express their opinions, and inquire after the
widow. Not only did these arrive, but also many cottagers appeared at
the kitchen door, full of sympathy--or at all events, of talk. It really
seemed as if Willsworthy, which had dropped out of every one's mind, had
suddenly claimed supreme regard.

It was a source of real gratification to the sick woman to assume a
position of so much consequence. It is always a satisfaction to hear
other persons pour out the vials of wrath and hold up hands in
condemnation of those who have given one offence, and Madame Malvine was
not merely flattered by becoming the centre of interest to the
neighbourhood, but was influenced by the opinions expressed in her ear,
and her indignation against Anthony was deepened.

Wherever in the house Urith went, she heard judgment pronounced on him
in no measured terms, the general voice condemned him as heartless and
profane. Question was made what proceeding would be taken against him,
and abundance of advice was offered as to the course to be pursued to
obtain redress. Urith was unable to endure the talk of the women in her
mother's room, and she descended to the hall, there to hear her Uncle
Solomon, amongst farmers and yeomen, tell the story of Anthony's deed
with much exaggeration, and to hear the frank expressions of
disapproval it elicited.

Then she went into the kitchen, where the poorer neighbours were
congregated. Everywhere it was the same. Condemnation fell on Anthony.
No one believed that he had not acted in wilful knowledge of what he was
about.

Urith could not fail to observe that there was a widespread latent
jealousy and dislike of the Cleverdons in the neighbourhood, occasioned
partly, no doubt, by the success of the old man in altering his position
and entering a superior class, but chiefly due to his arrogance,
hardness, and meanness. All the faults in Anthony's character were
commented on, and his good qualities denied or disparaged.

Urith could with difficulty restrain herself from contradicting these
harsh judges, and in taking on her the defence of the culprit, but she
saw clearly that her advocacy would be unavailing, and provoke comment.

She therefore left the house. Her mother was so much recovered as not to
need her. Whether the old lady acted wisely in receiving so much company
after her fit, Urith doubted, but her mother had insisted on the
visitors being admitted to her room, and under the excitement she
rallied greatly.

To be away from the clatter of tongues, she left the farm and went forth
upon the moor.

To the north of Willsworthy rises a ridge of bold and serrated rocks
that rise precipitously above the River Tavy, which foams below at a
depth of three hundred feet; they present the appearance of a series of
ruined towers, and are actually in places united by the remains of
ancient walls of rude moorstone, for what purpose piled up, it is not
possible to say.

A bar of red porphyritic granite crosses the ravine, and over this leaps
the river into a deep pool, immediately beneath the boldest towers and
pinnacles of rock that overhang. Among these crags, perched like an
eagle above the dizzy abyss, sat Urith on a rock, listening to the roar
of the river wafted up to her from beneath. Away to the north and east
of the moor extended shoulder on shoulder, to the lonely peak of Fur Tor
that rises in uttermost solitude near the sources of the Tavy, amidst
all but untraversable morasses. She was glad to be there, alone, away
from the lips that spit their venom on the name of Anthony.

The human heart is full of strange caprices, and is wayward as a spoiled
child. The very fact that the whole country side was combined to condemn
Anthony made Urith in heart exculpate him--that every mouth blamed him
made her excuse him. It was true that he had acted with audacious folly,
but there was merit in that audacity. What other youth would have
ventured into the churchyard on such a night? The audacity so qualified
the folly as almost to obliterate it. He had been challenged to the
venture. Would it have been manly had he declined the challenge? Did not
the blame attach to such as had dared him to the reckless deed? She
repeated to herself the words that had been spoken in her mother's house
about him, so extravagant in expression, exaggerated in judgment as to
transcend justice, and her heart revolted against the extravagance and
forgave him. If all the world stood up in condemnation, yet would not
she. Her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkled. She recalled his chivalry
towards her on the moor; she heard again his voice; recollected how he
had held her in his arms; she felt again the throb of his heart, heard
his breathing as he strode with her through the flames, as he wrestled
with her for the mastery; and she laughed aloud, she rejoiced that he
had conquered. Had she overmastered him, and her will had been submitted
to by him, she would have despised him. Because he was so strong in his
resolution, so determined in carrying it out, she liked and respected
him.

There flashed before her something like lightning--it was his eyes,
lifted to hers, with that strange look that sent a thrill through all
her veins and tingled in her extremities. That look of his had revealed
to her something to which she dare not give a name, a something which
gave him a right to demand of her that morning testimony to his
integrity of purpose, a something that constrained her, without a
thought of resistance, to give him what he asked, first her hand in
witness that she believed him, then the bunch of flowers in token that
she accepted him as her knight. As her knight?

Her heart bounded with pride and exultation at the thought! He her
knight! He, the noblest youth in all the region round, a very Saul,
taller by the head and shoulders than any other, incomparably handsome,
more manly, open, generous, brave--brave! who feared neither man nor
midnight spectre.

Yet--when Julian Crymes had charged her with attempting to rob her of
her lover, she, Urith, had repelled the charge, and had declared that
she did not value, did not want him. Nor had she then; but the very
violence, the defiance of Julian, had forced her to think of him--to
think of him in the light of a lover. The opposition of Julian had been
the steel stroke on her flinty heart that had brought out the spark of
fire. If anything had been required to fan this spark into flame, that
had been supplied by the chattering, censorious swarm of visitors that
afternoon.

And Anthony? How stood he?

At that moment he was weighed down with a sense of depression and
loneliness such as he had never felt previously. He had been accustomed
to be flattered and made a great deal of. His father, his sister, his
cousin, the servants, Fox Crymes, every one had shown him deference, had
let him see that he was esteemed a man born to fortune and success; he
had been good at athletic exercises, good in sport, a good horseman,
taller, stronger than his compeers, and heir to a wealthy gentleman. But
all at once luck had turned against him; he had committed blunders and
had injured those with whom he had come in contact; possibly blinded
Fox, had offended the Malvine family, thrown the old dame into a fit,
had quarrelled with his father, brought down on his head the reproach
and ridicule of all who knew him. Then came the encounter with his
grandmother, and the discovery of the wrong done to his mother and to
the father of Urith by his own father. Bold, self-opinionated as Anthony
was, yet this sudden shock had humbled him and staggered him: he had
fallen from a pinnacle and was giddy. A sort of irrational, blind
instinct within him drove him back in the direction of Willsworthy. He
felt that he could not rest unless he saw Urith again, and--so he
explained his feeling--told her more fully the circumstances of the
previous night's adventure, and heard from her own lips that her mother
was not seriously injured in health by the distress he had caused her,
and that she, Urith, forgave him.

His imagination worked. He had not been explicit enough when he came to
Willsworthy. The fainting fit of the mother had interrupted his
explanation. Afterwards he had forgotten to say what he had intended to
say, and what ought to have been said. When he was gone, Urith would
consider it strange that he had been so curt and reserved, she would
hear her Uncle Solomon's stories, tinged with rum punch past recognition
of where truth shaded into fiction.

Moreover, he felt a craving for Urith's sympathy; he wanted to acquaint
her with what he had done to Fox Crymes before the story reached her
embellished and enlarged. To his discredit it would be told, and might
prejudice her against him. He must forestall gossip and tell her the
truth himself.

So he rode in the direction of Willsworthy, but when he came near the
place, an unusual diffidence stole over him--he did not dare to venture
up to the house, and he hung about the vicinity in the road, then he
went out on the moor, and it was when on the down that he thought he
caught sight of her at some distance in the direction of the Cleave.

A labourer came by. "Who is that yonder?" he asked.

"I reckon any fool knows," answered the clown. "That be our young lady,
Mistress Urith."

"Take my horse, fellow," said Anthony, and dismounted.

He went over the moor in pursuit of the girl, and found her seated on
the rock with a foot swinging over the precipice. She was so startled
when he spoke to her as almost to lose her balance. He caught her hand,
and she rose to her feet.

They stood on a ledge. Two towers of rock rose with a cleft between them
like a window. The shelves of the granite were matted with whortleberry
leaves, now all ranges of colour from green, through yellow to carmine,
and with grey moss. A vein of porphyry penetrating the granite striped
it with red, and Nature had tried her delicate pencil on the stone,
staining or stippling it with her wondrously soft-toned lichenous
paints. Below, at the depth of five hundred feet, the river roared over
its red porphyry barrier, throwing into the air foam bubbles that were
caught by the wind and carried up, and danced about, and sported with
as are feathers by a wanton child. The great side of Stannon Down
opposite, rising to sixteen hundred feet, was covered by flying shadows
of forget-me-not blue and pale sulphurous gleams of sun. As the light
glided over it, it picked out the strange clusters of old circular huts
and enclosures, some with their doors and lintels unthrown down, that
were inhabited by an unknown race before history began.

Anthony put his arm round Urith. "We stand," said he, "on the edge of a
chasm; a step, a start, and one or other--perhaps both--fall into the
abyss to sheer destruction. Let me hold you; I would not let you go--if
you went, it would not be alone."

Urith did not answer; a trembling fit came on her. She stood, she felt,
at the brink of another precipice than that before her eyes.

"I could not keep away," said Anthony. "I have got into trouble with
every one, and I was afraid that you also would be set against me; so,
after I had been to see about your father's grave, that all was right
there--and Bessie had laid a garland of flowers on it--then I came back
here. I thought I must see you and explain what I forgot to say this
morning."

"You need say no more about that matter," answered Urith. "I told you at
the time that I believed your word. You said you intended no ill. I am
sure of that, quite sure. I know it is not in you to hurt."

"And yet I have hurt you and your mother, and also Fox Crymes." Then he
told her how he had struck him, and that he was afraid he had seriously
injured his eye.

"And you have brought back the gloves!" exclaimed Urith.

"Yes; here they are."

"You have not fulfilled my commission?"

"I will do it if you wish it; I have not done it yet. I was going to
give Fox the gloves; I did not desire to see Julian. You must understand
that my father has been speaking to me to-day about Julian--it seems he
has set his mind on making a pair of us. I do not know what Julian
thinks, but I know my own mind, that this is not my taste. After he had
spoken to me about her, I could not go on direct to her house and see
her. My father would think that I gave in to him, and--I should have
been uneasy myself."

Urith said nothing, she was looking down at the tossing, thundering
torrent far below.

"I never cared much for Julian," continued Anthony, "and after yesterday
I like her less."

"Why so?" Urith looked up and met his eyes.

"Why so? Because I have seen you. If I have to go through life with any
one, I will take you in the saddle behind me--no one else."

Urith trembled more than before; a convulsive, irrepressible emotion had
come over her. Sometimes it happens when the heavens are opened with a
sudden flare of near and dazzling lightning, that those who have looked
up have been struck with blindness. So was it now; Urith had seen a
heaven of happiness, a glory of love--a new and wondrous world open
before her, such as she had never dreamed of, of which no foretaste had
ever been accorded her, and it left her speechless, with a cloud before
her eyes, and giddy, so that she held out her hands gropingly to catch
the rock; it was unnecessary, the strong arm of Anthony held her from
falling.

The young man paused for an answer.

"Well!" said he. "Have you no word?"

None; she moved her lips, she could not speak.

"Come," said he, after another pause, "they who ride pillion ride
thus--the man has his leather belt, and to that the woman holds. Urith,
if we are to ride together on life's road, lay hold of my belt."

She held out her hands, still gropingly.

"Stay!" she said, suddenly recovering herself with a start. "You forgot;
you do not know me. Look at my hands, they are still torn; I did that in
one of my fits of rage. Do you not fear to take me when I go, when
crossed, into such mad passion as these hands show?"

Anthony laughed. "I fear! I!"

Then she put her right hand to lay hold of his girdle, but caught and
drew out the gloves.

"I have these again!" she exclaimed. "Even these gloves cast at me in
defiance. Well, it matters not now. I refused to take them up, yet I
could not shake them off; now I take them and keep them. I accept the
challenge." She grasped him firmly by the girdle, and with the other
hand thrust the gloves into her bosom.

"I do not understand you," said Anthony.

"There is no need that you should."

Then he caught her up in his arms, with a shout of exultation, and held
her for a moment hanging over the awful gulf beneath.

She looked him steadily in the eyes. She doubted neither his strength to
hold her, nor his love.

Then he drew her to him and kissed her.

It is said that the sun dances on Easter day in the morning. It was noon
now, but the sun danced over Urith and Anthony.

"And now," said the latter, "about your mother. Will she give her
consent?"

"And your father?" asked Urith.

"Oh, my father!" repeated Anthony, scornfully, "whatsoever I will, that
he is content with. As to your mother----"

"I know what I will do," said Urith; "Luke has great influence with her.
I will tell him all, and get him to ask her to agree and bless us. Luke
will do anything I ask of him."



CHAPTER XV.

FATHER AND SON.


When Anthony came home, he found that his father had been waiting supper
a while for him, and then as he did not arrive, had ordered it in, and
partaken of the meal.

The old man's humour was not pleasant. He had been over that afternoon
to Kilworthy, and had heard of his son's act of recklessness. Fears were
entertained for Fox's sight in one eye. He was ordered to have the eye
bandaged, and to be kept in the dark.

When Anthony entered the room where was his father, the old man looked
up at him from the table strewn with the remains of his meal, and said,
roughly, "I expect regular hours kept in my house. Why were you not here
at the proper time? About any new folly or violence?"

Anthony did not answer, but seated himself at the table.

"I have been to Kilworthy," said the old man, "I have heard there of
your conduct."

"Fox insulted me. You would not have me endure an insult tamely?" His
father's tone nettled the young man.

"Certainly not; but men pink each other with rapiers, instead of
striking with lace tags."

"That is the first time any one has let fall that I am not a man," said
Anthony.

There was always a certain roughness, a lack of amiability in the
behaviour of father to son and son to father, not arising out of lack of
affection, but that the old man was by nature coarse-grained, and he
delighted in seeing his son blunt and brusque. He--young Tony--was no
milk-sop, he was proud to say. He was a lad who could hold his own
against any one, and fight his way through the world. The old man was
gratified at the swagger and independence of the youth, and at every
proof he gave of rude and over-bearing self-esteem. But he was not
pleased at the brawl with Fox Crymes; it was undignified for one thing,
and it caused a breach where he wished to see union. It threw an
impediment in the way of the execution of a darling scheme, a scheme on
which his heart had been set for twenty years.

"I do not know what it was about," said the father, "more than that I
had heard you had been squabbling in an alehouse about some girl."

"The insult or impertinence was levelled at me," said Anthony,
controlling himself; "I did not mean to injure Fox, on that you may
rely. I struck him over the face because he had whipped me into anger
which I could not contain. I am sorry if I have hurt his eye. I am not
sorry for having struck him, he brought it on himself."

"It is not creditable," pursued old Cleverdon, "that your name should be
brought into men's mouths about a vulgar brawl over some village drab or
house wench."

The blood surged into Anthony's face, he laid down his knife and looked
steadily across the table at his father.

"On that score," said he, "you may set your mind at rest. There has been
no brawl over any village wench."

"I can quite understand," said the father, "that Fox Crymes was jealous
and did not measure words. He can pepper and spice his speeches till
they burn as cantharides. What is he beside you? If you cast a fancy
here or there, and there be naught serious in it, and it interferes with
his sport, he must bear it. But, Tony, it is high time you was married.
We must have no more of these wrangles. Whose name came up between you?
Was it his sister's? I can well understand he does not relish her
marriage. There has ever been rough water between them. She has the
property--and when old Justice Crymes dies--where will he be? Was that
the occasion of the dispute?"

"No, father, it was not."

"Then it was not about Julian?"

"About Julian? Certainly not."

"Nor about some village girl?"

"Nor about any village girl, as I have said."

"Then what was it about? or rather, about whom was it?"

"There is no reason why you should not know," answered Anthony, with
coolness, "though that is a side matter. Fox told me that a suitable
ornament for my cap was a coxcomb. That is why I struck him."

The old man laughed out. "You did well to chastise him for that."

"As you asked what girl's name was brought up, I will tell you," said
Anthony. "It was that of Urith Malvine."

"Urith Malvine!" scoffed old Cleverdon, his eyes twinkling malevolently.
"Not surprised at that light hussy bringing herself into men's mouths in
a tavern."

"Father!" exclaimed the young man, "not a word against her. I will not
bear that from you or from any man."

"You will not bear it!" almost screamed old Anthony. "You--you! make
yourself champion of a beggar brat like that?"

"Did you hear my words?" said the young man, standing up. "No one--not
even you--shall speak against her. It was because Fox sneered at her
that I struck him; he might have scoffed at me, and I would have passed
that over."

"And you threaten me? You will knock out my eye with your tags?"

"I merely warn you, father, that I will not suffer her name to be
improperly used. I cannot raise my hand against you, but I will leave
the room."

"It is high time you were married. By the Lord! you shall be married. I
will not be rasped like this."

"I will marry when I see fit," said Anthony.

"The fitness is now," retorted his father. "When a young gallant begins
to squabble at village mug-houses about----"

"Father!"

"The near time is ripe. I will see Squire Crymes about it to-morrow."

"I am not going to take Julian Crymes."

"You shall take whom I choose."

"I am to marry--not you, father; accordingly, the choice lies with me."

"You cannot choose against my will."

"Can I not? I can choose where I list."

"Anyhow, you cannot take where I do not allow. I will never allow of a
wife to you who is not of good birth and rich."

"Of good birth she is--she whom I have chosen; rich she is not, but what
matters that when I have enough."

"Are you mad?" screamed the old man, springing from his chair and
running up and down the room, in wild excitement. "Are you mad? Do you
dare tell me you have chosen without consulting me--without regard for
my wishes?"

"I shall take Urith, or none at all."

"Then none at all," snapped old Cleverdon. "Never, never will I consent
to your bringing that hussy through my doors, under my roof."

"What harm has she done you? You have not heard a word against her. She
is not rich, but not absolutely poor--she has, or will have,
Willsworthy."

"Willsworthy! What is that compared with Julian's inheritance?"

"It is nothing. But I don't want Julian, and I will not take her for the
sake of her property. Come, father, sit down, and let us talk this
matter coolly and sensible."

He threw himself into a chair, and laid his hands on the arms, and
stretched his legs before him.

The Squire stopped, looked at his son, then staggered back to his chair
as if he had been struck in the breast. He thought his son must have
lost his wits. Why--he had not known this girl, this daughter of his
most deadly enemy, not more than a day, and already he was talking of
making her his wife! And this, too, to the throwing over of his grand
opportunity of uniting the Kilworthy property to Hall!

"Come, father, sit down, and keep cool. I am sorry if you prefer Julian
to Urith, but unfortunately the selection has to be made, not by you,
but by me, and I greatly prefer Urith to Julian. Indeed, I will not have
the latter at any price--not if she inherited all the Abbey lands of
Tavistock. You are disappointed, but you will get over it. When you come
to know Urith you will like her; she has lost her father--and she will
find one in you."

"Never!" gasped the old man; then with an oath, as he beat his fist on
the table, "Never!"

Bessie heard that high words were being cast about in the supper-room,
and she opened the door and came in with a candle, on the pretence that
she desired to have the table cleared if her brother had done his meal.

"You may have all taken away," said Anthony. "My father has destroyed
what appetite I had."

"Your appetite," stormed the old man, "is after most unwholesome diet;
you turn from the rich acres to the starving peat bog. By heaven! I will
have you shut up in a mad-house along with your wench. I will have a
summons out against her at once. I will go to Fernando Crymes for it--it
is sheer witchcraft. You have not seen her to speak to half-a-dozen
times. You never came to know her at all till you had played the fool
with her father's grave, and now----. By Heaven, it is witchcraft! Folks
have been burnt for lighter cases than this."

Bessie went over to her father, and put her arms round him, but he
thrust her away. She looked appealingly to her brother, but Anthony did
not catch her eye.

"I do not see what you have against Urith," said Anthony, after a long
pause, during which the old man sat quivering with excitement, working
his hands up and down on the arms of his chair, as though polishing
them. "That she is not rich is no fault of hers. I have seen her often,
and have now and then exchanged a word with her, though only yesterday
came to see much of her, and have a long talk with her. I did her a
great wrong by my desecration of her father's grave."

"Oh! you would make that good by marrying the daughter. Well, you have
put out Fox's eye. Patch that up by marrying his sister." The old man's
voice shook with anger.

Anthony exercised unusual self-control. He knew that he had reached a
point in his life when he must not act with rashness; he saw that his
father's opposition was more serious than he had anticipated. Hitherto
he had but to express a wish, and it was yielded to. Occasionally he had
had differences with the old man, but had invariably, in the end,
carried out his own point. He did not doubt, even now, that finally his
father would give way, but clearly not till after a battle of unusual
violence; but it was one in which he was resolved not to yield. His
passion for Urith was of sudden and also rapid growth, but was strong
and sincere. Moreover, he had pledged himself to her, and could not draw
back.

Bessie was resolved, at all costs, to divert the wrath of her father
from Anthony, if possible to turn his thoughts into another channel; so
she said, stooping to his ear,

"Father; dear father! We met to-day our grandmother in the churchyard."

The old man looked inquiringly at her.

"Madame Penwarne," exclaimed Bessie.

He had forgotten for the moment that she could have a grandmother on any
other side than his own, and he knew that his mother was long dead.

"Yes, father," said Bessie. "And she says Anthony is the living image of
our dear, dear mother."

The old man turned his eyes slowly on his son. The light of the candle
was on his face, bold, haughty, defiant, and wonderfully handsome. Yes!
he was the very image of his mother, and that same defiant smile he had
inherited from her. The old man in a moment recalled many a wild scene
of mutual reproach and stormy struggle. It was as though the dead
woman's spirit had risen up against him to defy him once more, and to
strike him to the heart.

Then Anthony said, "It is true, father. We both of us met her; and it is
unfit that she should find a shelter elsewhere than in this house.
Something must be done for her."

"Oh! you will teach me my duty! She is naught to me."

"But to us she is. She is the mother of our mother," answered Anthony,
looking straight into his father's eyes, and the old man lowered his; he
felt the reproach in his son's words and glance.

Then he clenched his hands and teeth, and stood up, and wrung his hands
together.

Presently, with a gasp, he said, "Because I married a beggar, is this
mating with beggars to be a curse in the family from generation to
generation, entailed from father to son. It shall not be; by heaven! it
shall not be. You have had your own way too long, Anthony! I have borne
with your whimsies, because they were harmless. Now you will wreck your
own happiness, your honour, make yourself the laughing-stock of the
whole country! I will save you from yourself. Do you hear me? I tried
the sport, and it did not answer. I had wealth and she beauty, and
beauty alone. It did not answer. We were cat and dog--your mother and I.
Bessie knows it. She can bear me witness. I will not suffer this house
to be made a hell of again."

"Father," said Anthony, "it was not that which caused you
unhappiness--it was that you had interfered with the love of two who had
given their hearts to each other."

Bessie threw herself between her father and brother. "Oh, Anthony!
Anthony!" she cried.

"You say that!" exclaimed the old man.

"I do--and now I warn you not to do the same thing. Urith and I love
each other, and will have each other."

"I tell you I hate the girl--she shall never come here."

"Father," said Anthony--his pulses were beating like a thundering
furious sea against cliffs, as a raging gale flinging itself against the
moorland tors--"father, I see why it is that you are against Urith. You
nourish against her the bitterness you felt against her father. You
laughed and were pleased when I had dishonoured his grave. That
surprised me. Now I understand all, and now I am forced to speak out the
truth. You did a wrong in taking our mother away from him whom she
loved, and then you ill-treated her when you had her in your power. You
have nothing else against Urith--nothing. That she is poor is no crime."

Bessie clasped her arms about the old man. "Do not listen to him," she
said. "He forgets his duty to you, only because he has been excited and
wronged to-day." Then to her brother: "Anthony! do not forget that he is
your father, to whom reverence is due."

Anthony remained silent for a couple of minutes, then he stood up from
his chair, and went over to the old man. "I was wrong," he said. "I
should not have spoken thus. Come, father, we have had little puffs
between us, never such a bang as this. Let it be over; no more about the
matter between us for a day or two, till we are both cool."

"I will make an end of this affair at once," said Squire Cleverdon.
"What is the good of putting off what must be said?--of expecting a
change which will never take place. You shall never--never obtain my
consent. So give up the hussy, or you shall rue it."

"Nothing is gained, father, by threatening me. You must know that. I
have made up my mind." He folded his arms on his breast.

"And so have I mine," answered old Cleverdon, folding his arms.

Father and son stood opposite each other, hard and fixed in their
resolves--both men of indomitable, inflexible determination.

"Hear mine," said the Squire; "you give the creature up. Do you hear?"

"I hear and refuse. I will not, I cannot give up Urith. I have pledged
my word."

"And here I pledge mine!" shouted the old man.

"No--no, in pity, father! Oh, Anthony, leave the room!" pleaded Bessie,
again interposing, but again ineffectually; her brother swept her aside,
and refolded his arms, confronting his father.

"Say on!" he said, with his eyes fixed on the old man.

"I swear by all I hold sacred," exclaimed the father, "that I will never
suffer that beggar-brat to cross my threshold. Now you know my
resolution. As long as I am alive, she shall be kept from it by my arms,
and I shall take care that she shall never rule here when I am gone.
Now you know my mind, marry her or not as you please. That is my last
word to you."

"Your last word to me!" repeated Anthony. He set his hat on his head,
the hat in which hung the utterly withered marsh marigolds. "Very well;
so be it." He walked to the door, passed through, and slammed it behind
him.



CHAPTER XVI.

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.


Luke Cleverdon walked slowly, with head bowed, towards Willsworthy. The
day was not warm, a cold east wind was blowing down from the moor over
the lowlands to the west, but his brow was beaded with large drops.

Anthony had come to him the night before, and had asked to be lodged. He
had fallen out with his father, and refused to remain at Hall. Luke knew
the reason. Anthony had told him. Anthony had told him more--that Urith
was going to request his, Luke's, intercession with her mother.

Neither Anthony nor Urith had the least suspicion of the burden they
were laying on the young man. It was his place, thought Anthony, to do
what could be done to further his--Anthony's--wishes. Luke was under an
obligation to the family, and must make himself useful to it when
required. That he should employ his mediation to obtain an end entirely
opposed to the wishes of the old man who had housed and fed, and had
educated him, did not strike Anthony as preposterous. For the moment,
the interests, credit of the family were centred in the success of his
own suit for Urith, his own will was the paramount law, which must be
obeyed.

Urith thought of Luke as a friend and companion, very dear to her, but
in quite another way from that in which she regarded Anthony. Luke had
been to her a comrade in childhood, and she looked on him with the same
childlike regard that she had given him when they were children; with
her this regard never ripened into a warmer feeling.

Anthony had slept soundly during the night. Care for the future,
self-reproach, or self-questioning over the past had not troubled him.
His father would come round. He had always given way hitherto. He had
attempted bluster and threats, but the bluster was nothing, the threats
would never be carried out. In a day or two at the furthest, the old man
would come to the parsonage, ask to see him, and yield to his son's
determination.

"I don't ask him to marry Urith," argued Anthony. "So there is no reason
why he should lie on his back and kick and scratch. There is no sense in
him. He will come round in time, and Bessie will do what she can for
me."

But Luke had not slept. He was tortured with doubts, in addition to the
inward conflicts with his heart. He asked himself, had he any right to
interfere to promote this union, which was so strongly opposed by the
father--so utterly distasteful to him? And, again, was it to the welfare
of his cousin, and, above all, of Urith, that it should take place?

He knew the character of both Urith and Anthony. He was well aware how
passionate at times, how sullen at others, she was wont to be. He
attributed her sullenness to the nagging, teasing tongue, and stupid
mismanagement of her mother, and the blunderheadedness of her
uncle--interfering with her liberty where they should have allowed her
freedom, crossing her in matters where she should have been suffered to
follow her own way, and letting her go wild in those directions in which
she ought to have been curbed. He knew that this mismanagement had made
her dogged and defiant.

He knew, also, how that his cousin, Anthony, had been pampered and
flattered, till he thought himself much more than he was; did not know
the value of money; was wilful, impetuous, and intolerant of opposition.
Would not two such headstrong natures, when brought together, be as
flint and steel? Moreover, Luke knew that Anthony had been regarded on
all sides as the proper person to take Julian Crymes. It had been an
open secret that such an arrangement was contemplated by the parents on
both sides, and the young people had, in a measure, acquiesced in it.
Anthony had shown Julian attentions which were only allowable on such
an understanding. He may have meant nothing by them; nevertheless, they
had been sufficiently marked to attract observation, and perhaps to lead
the girl herself to conclude that his heart was touched, and that he
only tarried a few years to enjoy his freedom before engaging himself.

But Luke was so sensitively conscientious that he feared his own
jealousy of his cousin was prompting these suspicions and doubts; and he
felt that his own heart was too perturbed for him at present to form a
cool and independent survey of the situation.

As he expected and feared, so was it. Urith arrested him on the way up
the hill to Willsworthy. She knew he would come to see her mother, and
was on the lookout for him. She asked him to plead her cause for her,
and in his irresolution he accepted the office, against his better
judgment, moved thereto by the thought that he was thus doing violence
to his own heart, and most effectually trampling down and crushing under
heel his own wishes, unformed though these wishes were.

Luke found Mistress Malvine in her bedroom. She had been greatly
weakened by the fit on the previous morning, still more so by the
exhaustion consequent on the visits of the afternoon. However ill and
feeble she might be, her tongue alone retained its activity, and so long
as she could talk she was unconscious of her waning powers. In the
tranquillity that followed, when her acquaintances and sympathisers had
withdrawn, great prostration ensued. But she had somewhat rallied on the
following morning, and was quite ready to receive Luke Cleverdon when
announced.

She was in her bed, and he was shocked to observe the change that had
come over her. She held out her hand to him. "Ah, Master Luke!" she
sighed, "I have need of comfort after what I have gone through; and I am
grateful that you have come to see me. Whatever will become of my poor
daughter when I am gone! I have been thinking and thinking, and wishing
that it had pleased God you were her brother, that I might have
entrusted her into your hands. You were here and saw how she went on and
took sides with that Son of Belial, that Anthony, when he came
concerning the grave of my dear husband. She has no heart, that child.
I know she will be glad when I am gone, and will dance on my tomb. I
have not spared her advice and counsel, nor have I ever let her go, when
I have my rebuke to administer, under half an hour by the clock."

"Madam," said the young curate, "do not now make boast of the amount of
counsel and admonition you have administered; it is even possible that
this may have been overdone, and may have had somewhat to do with the
temper of your daughter. It is now a time for you to consider whether
you are prepared, should it please God to call you--"

"Oh!" exclaimed Mrs. Malvine, "I am thankful to say I am always
prepared. I have done my duty to my husband, to my brother, and my
child. As for Urith, I have perfectly fed her with my opinions on her
conduct in every position and chance of life. My brother has, I am sure,
also not to charge me with ever passing it over when he comes home
drunk, or gets drunk off our cider, which is no easy matter, but it can
be done with application. I have always, and at length, and with
vehemence, told him what I think of his conduct."

"You must consider," said the curate, without allowing himself to be
drawn into admiration for the good qualities of the sick woman, "you
must consider, madam, not how much you have harangued and scolded
others, but how much you deserve rebuke yourself."

"I have never spared myself, heaven knows! I have worked hard--I have
worked harder than any slave. There are five large jars of last year's
whortleberry jam still unopened in the store-room. I can die happy,
whenever I have to die, and not a sheet unhemmed, and we have
twenty-four."

"There are other matters to think of," said Luke, gravely, "than
whortleberry jam--five pots, sheets--twenty-four, rebuke of
others--unmeasured, incalculable. You have to think of what you have
left undone."

"There is nothing," interrupted the sick woman, "but a few ironmoulds in
Solomon's shirts, which came of a nail in the washing-tray. I gave the
woman who washed a good piece of my mind about that, because she ought
to have seen the nail. But I'll get salt of lemon and take that out, if
it please the Lord to raise me up again; at the same time, I'll turn the
laundress away."

"It is by no means unlikely that heaven will not raise you up," said the
curate, "and in your present condition, instead of thinking of
dismissing servants for an oversight, you should consider whether you
have never left undone those things which you ought to have done."

"I never have," answered the widow, with disdain, "except once. I ought
to have had Solomon's dog Toby hung, but I was too good, too
tender-hearted, and I did not. The dog scratched, and was swarming with
fleas. Solomon never cared to have him kept clean, and I told him if he
did not I would have Toby hung, but I did not. I have, I admit, this on
my conscience. But, Lord! you are not comforting me at all, and a
minister of the Word should pour the balm of Gilead into the wounds of
the sick. Now, if you would have Urith up and give her a good reprimand,
and Solomon also, and if you would hang that dog--that would be a
comfort to my soul, and I could die in peace."

"With your complaint, Mistress Malvine, you must be ready to die at any
moment--whether in a true or false peace depends on your preparation. I
am not here to lecture your brother and daughter, and hang a dog because
it has fleas, but to bid you search and examine your own conscience, and
see whether there be not therein inordinate self-esteem, and whether you
have not encouraged the censorious spirit within you till you have
become blind to all your own defects, in your eagerness to pull motes
out of the eyes of others."

"There! bless me!" exclaimed the widow. "Did you hear that? The soot has
fallen down the chimney. I told Solomon to have the chimney swept, and,
as usual, he has neglected to see to it. I'll send for him and give him
what I think; perhaps," she added, in a querulous tone, "when he
considers that the words come from a dying sister he may be more
considerate in future, and have chimneys swept regularly."

"I have," said the young curate, "one question on which I require an
answer. Are you in charity with all the world? Do you forgive all those
who have trespassed against you?"

"I am the most amiable person in the world, that is why I am so imposed
on, and Solomon, and Urith, and the maids, and the men take such
advantage of me. There is that dog, under the bed, scratching. I hear
it, I feel it. Do, prithee, Master Luke, take the tongs and go under the
bed after it. How can I have peace and rest whilst Toby is under the
bed, and I know the state his hair is in?"

"You say you are on terms of charity with all the world. I conclude that
you from your heart forgive my cousin Anthony his unconsiderate act on
St. Mark's Eve."

"What!" exclaimed the sick woman, striving to rise in her bed, "I
forgive him that--never--no, so help me Heaven, never."

"So help you Heaven!" said Luke, starting up, and answering in an
authoritative tone, whilst zeal-inspired wrath flushed his pale face.
"So help you Heaven, do you dare to say, you foolish woman! Heaven will
help to forgive, never help to harbour an unforgiving spirit. If you do
not pardon such a trespass, committed unintentionally, you will not be
forgiven yours."

"I have none--none to signify, that I have not settled with Heaven long
ago," said the widow, peevishly. "I wish, Master Luke, you would not
worry me. I need comfort, not to be vexed on my deathbed."

"I ask you to forgive Anthony, will you do so?"

She turned her face away.

"Now listen to me, madam. He has fallen into disgrace with his father.
He has had to leave his home, and his father will have no word with
him."

"I rejoice to hear it."

"And the reason is this--the young man loves your daughter Urith." He
paused, and wiped his brow.

The widow turned her face round, full of quickened attention.

"That he did not purpose a dishonour to the grave you may be assured,
when you know that he seeks the hand of Urith. How could one who loves
think to advance his suit by an outrage on the father's memory? It was
an accident, an accident he deplores most heartily. He will make what
amends he can. Give him your daughter, and then he will have the right
of a son-in-law to erect a handsome and suitable tomb to your husband,
and his father."

As he spoke, he heard the steps creak, Urith was ascending the stairs,
coming to her mother, to throw herself on her knees at her side, clasp
her hand, and add her entreaties to those of Luke Cleverdon.

"Help me up!" said Mrs. Malvine.

Then the curate put his arm to her, and raised her into a sitting
position. Her face had altered its expression from peevishness to anger.
It was grey, with a green tinge about the nose and lips, the lines from
the nostrils to the chin were deep and dark. Her eyes had a hard,
threatening, metallic glimmer in them.

At that moment Urith appeared in the doorway. Luke stood, with his hand
to his chin, and head bowed, looking at the woman.

"You are here, Urith!" said she, holding out her hand towards her spread
out. "You have dared--dared to love the man who has dishonoured your
father's grave. You have come here to ask me to sanction and bless this
love." She gasped for breath. Her face was livid, haggard; but her dark
eyes were literally blazing--shooting out deadly-cold glares of hate.
The sweat-drops ran off her brow and dropped upon the sheet. The lips
were drawn from the teeth. There was in her appearance something of
unearthly horror. "You shall never--never obtain from me what you want.
If you have any respect for your father's name--any love lingering in
your heart for the mother that bore you--you will shake him off, and
never speak to him again." She remained panting, and gulping, and
shivering. So violent was her emotion that it suffocated her.

"I know," she continued, in a lower tone, and with her hands flat on the
coverlet before her, "what you do not--how my life has been turned to
wormwood. His mother stood between me and my happiness--between me and
your father's heart; and, after what I have endured, shall I forgive
that? Aye, and a double injury--the wrong done by Margaret Penwarne's
son to my husband's grave?--Never!"

She began to move herself in bed, as though trying to scramble up into a
standing posture, and again her hand was threateningly extended.
"Never--never shall this come about. Urith! I charge you----"

The girl, alarmed, ran towards her mother. The old woman warned her
back. "What! will you do violence to me to stay my words? Will you
throttle me to prevent them from coming out of my lips?"

Again she made an effort to rise, and scrambled to her knees: "I pray
heaven, if he dares to enter my doors, that he may be struck down on my
hearth--lifeless!"

She gave a gasp, shivered, and fell back on the bed.

She was dead.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE COUSINS.


Some days passed. Mistress Malvine had been buried. No direct
communication had taken place between Anthony and his father. The gentle
Bessie, full of distress at the breach, had done what she could to heal
it; but ineffectually. Each was too proud and obstinate to make the
first advance. Bessie's influence with her father was of the
slightest--he had never showed love towards his plain daughter; and
Anthony was too much of a man, in his own idea, to allow himself to be
guided by a woman. Luke was perplexed more than ever. Urith was now left
wholly without proper protection. Her uncle was worse than useless--an
element of disorder in the household, and of disintegration in the
pecuniary affairs of the family. The estate of Willsworthy did not come
to him. It had belonged to his mother, and from his mother had gone to
his sister, and now passed to his niece. It was a manor that seemed
doomed to follow the spindle. But, though it had not become his
property, he was trustee and guardian for his niece till she married;
and a more unsatisfactory trustee or improper guardian could hardly have
been chosen. He was, indeed, an amiable, well-intentioned man; but was
weak, and over-fond of conviviality and the society of his social
inferiors, from whom alone he met with deference. He had been brought up
to the profession of the law; but, on his father's death, had thrown up
what little work had come to him that he might be with his mother and
sister, as manager of the estate. When his sister married Richard
Malvine he was again thrown on his own resources, and lived mainly on
subventions from his sister and friends, and a little law business that
he picked up and mismanaged, till his brother-in-law died, when he
returned to Willsworthy, to the mismanagement of that property which
Richard Malvine had barely recovered from the disorder and deterioration
into which it had been brought by Solomon Gibbs's previous rule. The old
fellow was unable to stick to any sort of work, to concentrate his
thoughts for ten minutes on any object, was irresolute, and swayed by
those with whom he associated. His sister lectured and scolded him, and
he bore her rebuke with placid amiability, and promises of amendment;
promises that were never fulfilled. One great source of annoyance to his
sister was his readiness to talk over all family matters at the tavern
with his drinking comrades, to explain his views as to what was to be
done in every contingency, and dilate on the pecuniary difficulties of
his sister, and his schemes for the remedy of the daily deepening
impecuniosity. This public discussion of the affairs of the family had
done much to bring it into disrepute. Those who heard Mr. Gibbs over his
cups retailed what they heard to their friends and wives with
developments of their own, and the whole neighbourhood had come to
believe that the Malvines were a family irretrievably lost, and that
Willsworthy was a poor and intractable estate. Those who used their
eyes--as Crymes--did not share in this latter opinion, they saw that the
property was deteriorated by mismanagement, but they all readily
accepted the opinion that bankruptcy was inevitable to the possessors at
that time of Willsworthy.

Luke Cleverdon, knowing all the circumstances, and having gauged the
character and abilities of Solomon Gibbs, was anxious concerning the
future of Urith. She had tendered a dubious, sullen, and irregular
submission to her mother, but was not likely to endure the capricious,
unintelligent domination of her uncle. His sister had, moreover,
exercised a very considerable restraint on Solomon. He always lived in
wholesome dread of her tongue; when relieved of every restraint, there
was no reckoning on what he might do with the money scraped together.
Urith herself was unaccustomed to managing a house. Her mother had been
an admirable disciplinarian in the house, and kept everything there in
order, and Urith had run wild. Her mother had not attempted to join her
with herself in domestic management, and had driven the girl into a
chronic condition of repressed revolt by her unceasing fault-finding.
The girl had kept herself outside the house, had spent her time on the
moors to escape the irritation and rebellion provoked by her mother's
tongue.

The only tolerable solution would have been for Luke to have made Urith
his wife, and taken on himself the management of the property, but such
a solution was now impossible, for Urith's heart was engaged. It had
never been a possibility to Luke's imagination, for he had sufficient
cool judgment to be quite sure that he and Urith would never agree. He
was quiet, reserved, devoted to his books or to antiquarian researches
on the moor, and she had an intractable spirit--at one time sullen, at
another frantic--with which he could not cope.

Besides this uncongeniality of temperament, he had no knowledge of or
taste for agricultural pursuits, and to recover Willsworthy a man was
needed who was a practical farmer and acquainted with business. If he
were, moreover, to live at Willsworthy and devote himself to the estate,
he must abandon his sacred calling, and this Luke could not justify to
his conscience. The choice of Urith, fallen on Anthony, was
unobjectionable as far as suitability for the place went. Anthony had
been reared on a farm, and was familiar with all that pertained to
agriculture. He had energy, spirit, and judgment. But the strong
unreasoning opposition of old Squire Cleverdon, and the refusal of
Urith's mother to consent to it, made Luke resolve to do nothing to
further the union.

Luke spoke to Anthony on the matter, but was met with airy assurance.
The old man must come round, it was but a matter of time, and as
Mistress Malvine was but recently dead, it could not be that the
daughter should marry at once. There must ensue delay, and during this
delay old Cleverdon would gradually accustom himself to the prospect,
and his anger cool.

Time passed, and no tokens of yielding on the part of the father
appeared. Luke spoke again to his cousin. Now Anthony's tone was
somewhat altered. His father was holding out because he believed that by
so doing he would prevent the marriage, but he was certain to relent as
soon as the irrevocable step had been taken. Just as David mourned and
wept as long as the child was sick, but washed his face, and ate and
accommodated himself to the situation when the child was dead, so would
it be with the Squire. He would sulk and threaten so long as Anthony was
meditating matrimony, but no sooner was he married than the old man
would ask them all to dinner, kiss, and be jolly.

Luke by no means shared his cousin's sanguine views. Mistress Penwarne
was in the house, and from her he learnt the circumstances of the
marriage and subsequent disagreement of old Anthony and Margaret; and he
could to some extent understand the dislike the old Squire had to his
son's marrying the daughter of his rival. He knew the hard, relentless,
envious nature of the man, he had suffered from it himself, and he
doubted whether it would yield as young Anthony anticipated. It was true
that Anthony was the Squire's son and heir, that he was the keystone to
the great triumphal Cleverdon arch the old man had been rearing in
imagination; it was certain that there would be a struggle in his heart
between his pride and his love. Luke was by no means confident that old
Cleverdon's affection for his son would prove so mastering a passion as
to overcome the many combined emotions which were in insurrection within
him against this union, and impelling him to maintain his attitude
towards his son of alienation and hostility.

When Luke spoke to Anthony of the difficulties that stood in his way,
Anthony burst forth impatiently with the words, "It is of no use you
talking to me like this, cousin. I have made up my mind, I will have
Urith as my wife. I love her, and she loves me. What does it matter that
there are obstacles? Obstacles have to be surmounted. My father will
come round. As to Urith's mother, the old woman was prejudiced, she was
angry. She knows better now, and is sorry for what she said."

"How do you know that?"

"Oh! of course it is so."

"But do you suppose that Urith will go in opposition to her mother's
dying wish?"

"She will make no trouble over that, I reckon. Words are wind--they
break no bones. I appeal from Alexander drunk to Alexander sober, from
the ill-informed and peppery old woman, half-crazed on her death-bed, to
the same in her present condition. Will that content you?"

"You have not spoken to Urith on this matter?"

"No--I have not seen her since the funeral. I have had that much grace
in me. But I will see her to-day, I swear to you. I will tell you what I
think," said Anthony, with vehemence. "You are as cold-blooded as an
eel. You have never loved--all your interest is in old stones, and pots
and pans dug up out of cairns. You love them in a frozen fashion, and
have no notion what is the ardour of human hearts loving each other. So
you make one difficulty on another. Why, Cousin Luke, if there were
mountains of ice I would climb over them, seas of fire, I would wade
through them, to Urith. Neither heaven nor hell shall separate us."

"Do not speak like this," said the curate, sternly. "It is a tempting of
Providence."

"Providence brought us together and set us ablaze. Providence is bound
to finish the good work and unite us."

"There has been neither consideration nor delay in this matter, and
Providence, maybe, raises these barriers against which you kick."

"I will kick them over," said Anthony.

"Yes," said Luke, with a touch of bitterness; "always acting with
passion and inconsideration. Nothing but headlong folly would have led
you to do violence to Master Malvine's grave. The same rash impetuosity
made you injure Fox Crymes' eye; and now you will throw yourself
headlong into a state of life which involves the welfare of another,
just because you have a fancy in your head that may pass as quickly as
it has arisen."

"I am not going to listen to a sermon. This is not Sunday."

"I do not believe you will make Urith happy."

"No, not in the fashion you esteem happiness. Certainly not in that. In
grubbing into barrows after old pots and counting grey stones on the
moor. No. Urith would gape and go to sleep over such dull happiness as
this. But I and she understand happiness in other sort from you. We
shall manage somehow to make each other happy, and I defy my father and
the ghost of old Madam Malvine to stand between us and spoil our bliss."

Luke bowed his head over the table, and put his hand before his eyes,
that his cousin might not observe the emotion that stirred him at these
cutting but thoughtlessly uttered words of his cousin. He did not answer
at once. After some pause he said, without looking up, "Yes, you may be
happy together after your fashion, but something more than passion is
wanted to found a household, and that is, as Scripture tells us, the
blessing of the parents."

"My father is all right," said Anthony. "He has set his head on my
uniting Kilworthy to Hall, and trebling the family estate. He can't have
that, so he is growling. But Urith does not come empty; she has
Willsworthy. If we do not extend the kingdom of Cleverdon in one
direction, we shall in another. My father will see that in time, and
come round. The weathercock does not always point to the east; we shall
have a twist about, a few rains, and a soft west, warm breeze of
reconciliation. I will make you a bet--what will you take?"

"I take no bets; I ask you to consider. In marriage each side brings
something to the common fund. What do you bring? Urith has Willsworthy."

"And I Hall."

"No; recollect your father's threat."

"It was but a threat--he never meant it."

"Suppose he did mean it, and perseveres; you will then have to be the
receiver, not the giver."

"The place is gone to the dogs. I can give my arms and head to it, and
bring it round from the kennel."

"That is something, certainly. Then, again, you are wilful, and have had
your way in all things. How will you agree with a girl equally wilful
and unbending?"

"In the best way; we shall both will the same things. You don't
understand what love is. Where two young creatures love, they do not
strive, they pull together. It is of no profit talking to you, Luke,
about love; it is to you what Hebrew or Greek would be to me--an
unintelligible language in unreadable characters. I will be off to see
Urith at once."

"No," said Luke, "you must not go to Willsworthy; you will cause folks
to talk."

"I care nothing for their talk."

"If you care nothing for what people say, how is it you fell out with
and struck Fox? You must consider others besides yourself. You have no
right to bring the name of Urith into discredit. Do you not suppose that
already tongues are busy concerning the cause of your quarrel with your
father?"

"But I must see her, and come to some understanding."

"I will go to Willsworthy at once, and speak to her of your matter. I
have not done so hitherto--I have only sought to comfort her on the
death of her mother."

"I do not desire a go-between," said Anthony, peevishly. "In these
concerns none can act like the principals."

"But I cannot suffer you to go. You must think of Urith's good name, and
not have that any more put into the mouths of those who go to the
pot-house. It has been done more than enough already. Stay here till I
return."

Luke took up his three-corner hat and his stick and went forth. On
reaching Willsworthy he did not find Urith in the house, but ascertained
from a maid-servant that she was in the walled garden. Thither he betook
himself across the back courtyard. The rooks were making a great noise
in the sycamores outside.

He found the girl seated on the herb-bank in the neglected garden, with
her head on her hand, deep in thought. She was pale, and her face drawn;
but the moment she saw Luke she started up and flushed.

"I am so glad you are come. You will tell me something about Anthony?"

She was only glad to see him because he would speak of Anthony, thought
Luke; and it gave a pang to his heart.

"Yes," said he, taking a seat beside her, "I will speak to you about
Anthony."

She looked him full in the face out of her large, earnest, dark eyes.
"Is it true," she asked, "what I have been told, that he has fallen out
with his father, and is driven from Hall?"

"He has taken himself off from Hall," answered Luke, "on your account.
His father refuses to countenance his attachment to you."

"Then where is he? With you?"

"Yes, with me. I have come to know your mind. He cannot always remain
with me and at variance with his father."

"On my account this has happened?" she said.

"Yes, on your account. How is this to end?"

She put her hands to her brow, and pressed her temples. "I am pulled
this way and that," she answered, "and I feel as if I should go mad. But
I have made my resolve, I will give him up. I have been an undutiful
daughter always, and now I will obey my mother's last wishes. In that
one thing that will cost me most, I will submit, and so atone for the
wrong I did all the years before."

"Then you determine to give up Anthony, wholly?"

The colour came and went in her cheek, then deserted it entirely. She
clasped her hands over her knee--she had reseated herself--and she said
in a low voice, "Wholly."

"You give me authority to tell him this?"

"Yes. It can never be that we can belong to each other after what my
mother said. You heard. She hoped if he ever passed through this door,
that he might be struck dead on the hearth."

"They were awful words," said Luke, "but----"

"They were her last words."

Luke returned to his home and found Anthony there, pacing his little
parlour, to work off his impatience. When he heard what Luke had to say,
he burst into angry reproach. "You have spoken like a parson! It was
wrong for you to meddle, I knew no good would come of it! I will not
hear of this! I will go to Urith myself!"

"You must not."

"I will! Nothing shall stay me." He caught up his hat and swung out of
the room.



CHAPTER XVIII.

A LOVER AND HIS LASS.


Anthony strode along the way to Willsworthy. That way took him past
Cudliptown. The landlord was at the door of his inn.

"What! pass my house without a step inside?" asked he. "There's Master
Sol Gibbs there and Moorman Ever."

"I cannot stay," answered Anthony.

"Oh!" laughed the taverner, "I see;" and he began to whistle a country
song--"An evening so clear."

Instantly the strains of a viol-de-gamba were heard from within taking
up the strain, and Uncle Solomon's voice singing lustily:


     An evening so clear
       I would that I were,
     To kiss thy soft cheek
       With the faintest of air.
     The star that is twinkling
       So brightly above,
     I would that I were
       To enlighten my love!


Anthony walked on. His brow knitted, and he set his teeth. The innkeeper
had guessed that he was going to Willsworthy, and suspected the reason.
That idiot Solomon Gibbs had been talking.

As he strode along, the plaintive and sweet melody followed him; all
that was harsh in the voice mellowed by the distance; and Anthony sang
to himself low, as he continued his course:


     I would I were heaven,
       O'erarching and blue,
     I'd bathe thee, my dearest,
       In freshest of dew.
     I would I the sun were,
       All radiance and glow,
     I'd pour all my splendour
       On thee, love, below!


He remembered how--only a few weeks agone--when he had been at the
tavern with some comrades, and songs had been called for, he had
expressed his impatience at this very piece, which he said was rank
folly. Then he had not understood the yearning of the heart for the
loved one, had not conceived of the desire to be all and everything to
its mistress. Now he was expelled from his father's house, threatened
with being disinherited, and was actually without money in his pocket
wherewith to pay for ale or wine at the tavern, had he entered it. He
who had been so free with his coin, so ready to treat others, was now
unable to give himself a mug of ale. That was what had driven him past
the tavern door without crossing the threshold, or rather that was one
reason why he had resisted the invitation of the host. Yes--he had
suffered for Urith, and he rather plumed himself on having done so. She
could not resist his appeal when he told her all he had risked for her
sake.

Besides, Anthony was stubborn. The fact of his father's resistance to
his wish had hammered his resolution into inflexibility. Nothing in the
world, no person alive or dead--neither his father nor her
mother--should interfere to frustrate his will. Anthony's heart beat
fast between anger and impatience to break down every obstacle; he sang
on, as he walked:--


     If I were the waters
       That round the world run,
     I'd lavish my pearls on thee,
       Not keeping of one.
     If I were the summer,
       My flowers and green
     I'd heap on thy temples,
       And crown thee my Queen.


He had reached the ascent to Willsworthy, he looked up the lane--and saw
Urith in it; outside the entrance gates to the Manor House. She was
there looking for her uncle, who had been required about some
farm-business. She saw Anthony coming to her, with the sun glistening on
him over the rude stone hedge hung with fern. She heard his song, and
she knew the words--she knew that he was applying them to her. For a
moment she hesitated, whether to meet him or to retire into the house.
She speedily formed her resolution. If there must be an interview, a
final interview, it had better be at once, and got over.

The evening sun was low, the moor peaks over the manor house were
flushed a delicate pink, as though the heather were in bloom. Alas! this
year no heather would wrap the hills in rose flush, for it had been
burnt in the great fire. High aloft the larks were shrilling. She could
hear their song in broken snatches between the strophes of Anthony's lay
as he ascended the hill. He had seen her, and his voice became loud and
jubilant:--


     If I were a kiln,
       All fire and flame,
     I'd mantle and girdle thee
       Round with the same.
     But as I am nothing
       Save love-mazed Bill,
     Pray take of me, make of me,
       Just what you will.


He had reached her. He held out his arms to engirdle her as he had
threatened, and the flame leaped and danced in his eyes and glowed in
his lips and cheek.

She drew back proudly.

"You have had my message?"

"I take no messages--certainly none sent through parsons. The dove is
the carrier between lovers, and not the croaking raven."

"Perhaps it is as well," said Urith, coldly. She had nerved herself to
play her part, but her heart was bounding and beating against her sides
like the Tavy in one of its granite pools beneath a cataract. "I sent by
Master Luke Cleverdon to let you know that we must see each other no
more."

"I will take no such message. I will--I must see you. I cannot live
without."

"My mother's wishes must be followed. I have promised to see and speak
to you no more."

"You promised! To whom? To her?"

Urith was silent.

"I will know who twisted this promise out of you. Was it Luke? If so his
cassock and our cousinship shall not save him."

"It was not Luke."

"It was your mother?"

"I did not actually promise anything to my mother. But--I must not
shrink from telling you--I have made the promise to myself, we can be
nothing to each other."

"Unsay the promise at once--do you hear? At once."

"I cannot do that. I made it because I considered it right. Your father
is against our--acquaintance----" She hesitated.

"Go on--he is against our being lovers, and more against our marrying.
But what of that? He always gives way in the end, and now the only means
of bringing him to his senses is for us to go before the altar."

"My mother, with her last breath, warned me from you."

"I know perfectly well for what reason. My mother and your father were
to each other what are now you and I; then, by some chance, all went
wrong, and each got wed to the wrong person. Neither was happy after
that, and my father on one side and your mother on the other, could not
forget this, so they have carried on the grudge to the next generation,
and would make us do the wrong that they did, and give you to--the Lord
knows who?--perhaps Fox Crymes; and me, certainly, to Julian. I have
seen what comes of wedding where the heart is elsewhere. I will not
commit the folly my father was guilty of. Julian Crymes shall take
another, she shall never have me. And you, I reckon, have no fancy for
another save me; and if your mother had made any scheme for you, she has
taken it with her to the grave, and you are not tied to make yourself
unhappy thereon."

As he spoke, Urith retreated through the gateway into the court, and
Anthony, vehement in his purpose, followed her.

They were as much alone and unobserved in the little court as in the
lane, for only the hall windows and those of an unused parlour looked
into it. But Anthony raised his voice in his warmth of feeling. "Urith,"
said he, "I am not accustomed to take a No, and what I am not accustomed
to I will not take."

"No!" she answered, and looked up, with a kindling of her eye. "And what
I say, to that I am accustomed to hold; and what I am accustomed to
hold, that hold I will. I say No." She set her foot down.

"And I will not take it. I throw it back. Why, look you, you have said
Yes. We are pledged to each other. You and I on The Cleave. There I have
you, Urith. You passed your word to me, and I will not release you."

She looked on the paved ground of the court, with grass sprouting
between the cobble-stones, and played with her foot on the pebbles. Her
brows were contracted, and her lips tight closed. Presently she looked
up at him steadily, and said--

"It is for the good of both that I withdraw that word, stolen from me
before I had weighed and appraised its worth. I will not be the cause of
strife between you and your father, and I dare not go against the last
words of my mother. Do you know what she said? She prayed that you might
be struck dead on the hearth should you dare enter our doors again."

"Very well," said Anthony, "let us see what her prayer avails. Stand
aside, Urith."

He thrust her away and walked forward to the entrance of the house, then
he turned and looked at her and laughed. The sun shone on the porch, but
it was dark within. He put out his hands and held to the stone-jambs,
and looking at Urith with the dazzling evening sun in his eyes, he
said--

"See now! I defy her. I go through!" and walking backwards, with arms
outspread, he passed in through the porch, then in at the second
doorway.

Urith had remained rooted to one spot, in astonishment and terror. Now
she flew after him, and found him standing in the hall on the
hearthstone, his head above the dark oak mantel, laughing, and with his
legs wide apart, and his hands in his belt.

"See, Urith!" he jeered, "the prayers are of no avail. Prayers bring
blessings, not curses. Here am I on the hearthstone, alive and well.
Now--will you fear an idle threat?"

He laughed aloud, and broke out into a snatch of song.


     "If I were a kiln,
       All fire and flame,
     I'd mantle and girdle thee
       Round with the same."


Then he caught her round the waist and drew her towards him; but by a
sharp turn she freed herself from his grasp.

"No," she said; "one must give way, and that shall not be I."

"Nor I," he said, resolutely, and the blood rose in his cheeks; "I am
wholly unwont to give way."

"So am I."

"Then it is--which is strongest."

"Strongest in will--even so; there I doubt if you will surpass me."

"I tell you this is folly, mad folly," said Anthony, with violence; "my
happiness--my everything depends on you. I have broken with my father. I
am too proud to go back to Hall and say to him, 'Urith has cast me off,
now she finds that I am penniless.' What am I to do? I cannot dig, to
beg I am ashamed, and I have no stewardship in which to be dishonest. If
I cannot have you, I have nothing to live for, nothing to work for,
nothing, and no one to love." He stamped on the hearthstone. "By
heavens, may I be struck dead here if only I get you, for without you I
will not live. Let it be as your mother wished, so that I have you."

She remained silent, with hands clasped, looking down--her face set,
colourless, and resolved with a certain dogged, sullen fixity.

"Am I to be the laughing-stock of the parish?" asked Anthony, angrily.
"Turned out of Hall, turned out of Willsworthy! My father will have
naught to do with me because of Urith Malvine, and Urith Malvine will
have naught to say to me because of Squire Cleverdon. This is too
laughable--it would be laughable if it concerned another than me--but I
am the sufferer, I am the ball tossed about and let drop by every hand.
I will not be thus treated. I will not be the generally rejected. You
must and you shall take me."

"Listen to me, Anthony," said Urith, in tones that hardly vibrated, so
complete was her self-control. "If you will not ask your father's
pardon----"

"What for? I have done him no harm."

"Well, then, if you will not, go to your father and say I will not take
you, and therefore all is to be as before."

"No, that I will not do; I will have you even against your will. You may
give me up, but I will not so lightly let you fall."

"Hear me out. If you will not do this, go away from this place."

"Whither?"

"Nay, that is for you to decide. I should say, were I a man, that I
could always find a where--in the King's army."

Anthony laughed scornfully. "In the King's forces, that on the accession
of the Duke of York will be employed to put down the Protestants, and
treat them as they have been treated in Savoy and in France? No, Urith,
not at your wish will I do that; but if the Duke of Monmouth or the
Prince of Orange were----"

Urith held up her hand. In at the door came her uncle, red and
wine-flushed, carrying his viol.

"Halloo!" shouted Mr. Solomon Gibbs, "_in vino veritas_. Hussey, you
don't understand Latin. I have learnt something--slipped out unawares
from Moorman Ever. To-morrow--What think you? A Drift."

"A Drift!" For the moment Urith forgot all about the presence of
Anthony, in the excitement of the announcement.

"A Drift!" Anthony tossed up his head and clasped his hands, and forgot
Urith and all else, for a moment, in the excitement of the announcement.

"Ay," said Uncle Solomon; "and Tom Ever would have bitten out his tongue
when he said it, he was so vexed."



CHAPTER XIX.

A DRIFT.


A Drift? What is a Drift?

The vast expanse of Dartmoor, occupying nearly a hundred and fifty
thousand acres, for the most part, but not altogether, belongs to the
Duchy of Cornwall. Considerable, and, in many cases, fraudulent
encroachments have been made on Duchy property--slices taken out of it
in past times--and the Duchy agents bribed to turn their eyes away; or
simply taken and secured to the squatters by prerogative of long
squatting unmolested. The main mass of moor constitutes the ancient and
Royal forest of Dartmoor; but much waste land exists outside the forest
bounds in the possession of private owners, or as common land, over
which the lord of the manor has but manorial rights.

Around the circumference of the moor are, and always have been,
stationed certain men having a position under the Duchy, corresponding
to that of foresters elsewhere. But, as there are no trees on Dartmoor,
these men have no care of timber; nor have they, as foresters elsewhere,
the custody of the deer, as there are no red deer in this Royal forest.
Red deer there were in times past; but they were all destroyed at the
close of the last century, when large plantations were made on the moor
and in its confines, because the deer killed the young trees.

On account of the rugged and boggy nature of Dartmoor, no Royal hunters
had come there since the Saxon kings; consequently, no pains were taken
to preserve the deer, and every moorman and squire neighbouring on the
wilderness considered that he had a right to supply himself with as much
venison from off it as he could eat, and every farmer regarded himself
as justified in killing the deer that invaded his fields and swarmed
over his crops. The men answering to foresters elsewhere, living under
the Duchy, and posted around the borders of the moor, inherited their
offices, which passed in families for generations, and it is probable
that the Evers, the Coakers, and the Widdecombes of to-day are the
direct descendants of the moormen who were foresters under the
Conqueror--nay, possibly, in Saxon times.

They are a fine-built race, fair-haired, blue-eyed, erect, better able
to ride than to walk, are bold in speech, and perhaps overbearing in
action, having none above them save God and the Prince of Wales--_the_
Duke, the only Duke above their horizon.

Around the forest proper is a wide tract of common land,
indistinguishable from moor proper, and this does not belong to the
Duchy, but the Duchy exerts, for all that, certain rights over this belt
of waste. The parishes contiguous on the moor have what are termed
Venville rights, that is to say, rights to cut turf and to free
pasturage on the moor; the tenants in Venville may be said to have the
right to take anything off the moor that may do them good except green
oak and venison, or more properly, vert and venison. This has led to
the most ruthless destruction of prehistoric antiquities, as every
farmer in Venville carries away as his right any granite-stone that
commends itself to him as a gate-post, or a pillar to prop a cowshed;
sheep, bullocks, and horses are turned out on Dartmoor, and the horses
and ponies live in all weathers on the wilderness, defy all boundaries,
and ask for no care, no shelter, no winter quarters. Bullocks and sheep
have their lairs, and want to be levant and couchant, and to be cared
for in winter, and therefore are not driven on to the moors till spring,
and are driven off in autumn.

The moor is divided into regions, and over each region is a moorman. In
each quarter of the moor a special ear-mark is required for the ponies
turned out in that district, a round hole punched in the ear, through
which is passed a piece of distinguishing tape, scarlet, blue, white,
and black. Ponies wander widely: a herd will disappear from one place
and appear at another like magic, in search after pasture; but the
moormen of each region claim the fines on the ponies belonging to their
region, and, to a certain extent, exercise some sort of supervision over
them.

Although every tenant in Venville has an undisputed right to free
pasturage, yet it is usual for him to fee the moorman for each horse or
beast he sends out, and, if this be refused, he may find his cattle
stray to a very remarkable extent, and be liable to get "stogged" in the
bogs and be lost.

As horses, etc., that are driven on parish commons, or on moors
belonging to private individuals, very often leave these quarters for
the broader expanse of the Royal Forest, it is necessary, or deemed
advisable, on certain days arbitrarily determined on, without notice to
anyone, to have a "Drift." A messenger is sent round in the night or
very early in the morning to the Venville tenants, from the moorman of
the quarter, to summon them to the Drift; on certain tors are upright
holed stones, through which horns were passed and loudly blown, to
announce the Drift. All the neighbourhood is on the alert--dogs, men,
boys are about, squires and farmers armed with long whips, and formerly
with pistols and short swords and bludgeons.

All the ponies and colts on the quarter, not only on Dartmoor Forest,
but on all the surrounding zone of waste land, are driven from every
nook and corner by mounted horsemen and dogs, towards the place of
gathering, which is, for the western quarter, Merrivale Bridge. The
driving completed, a vast number of ponies and horses of all ages,
sizes, colours, and breeds, and men and dogs, are collected together in
a state of wild confusion. Then an officer of the Duchy mounts a stone
and reads to the assembly a formal document with seals attached to it.
That ceremony performed, the owners claim their ponies. Venville tenants
carry off theirs without objection; others pay fines. Animals unclaimed
are driven off to Dinnabridge Pound, a large walled-in field in the
midst of the moor, where they remain till demanded, and if unclaimed are
sold by the Duchy.[4]

To this day a Drift causes violent altercations; formerly free fights
between Venville tenants and those who were outside the Venville
parishes were not uncommon, and blood was not infrequently shed. That a
Drift should excite a whole neighbourhood to the utmost may be imagined.
The dispersion of the horses by the fire on the moor occasioned the
Drift at this unusual time of early spring.

The morning was windy, clouds large and heavy were lumbering over the
sky, turning the moor indigo with their shade, and where the sun shone
the grey grass, as yet untinged with spring growth, was white as ashes.

On the top of Smerdon stood a gigantic moorsman, with lungs like
blacksmith's bellows, blowing a blast through a cow's horn that was
heard for miles around. But the yelping of dogs, the shouts of men
proclaimed that the whole world was awake and abroad, and needed no horn
to call to attention. Men in rough lindsey and frieze coats and leather
breeches, high boots, with broad hats, wild-looking as the horses they
bestrode, and the hounds that bayed about them, galloped in all
directions over the turf, shouting and brandishing their long whips.
Colts, ponies of every colour, with long manes and flowing tails, wild
as any bred on the prairies, leaped, plunged, raced about, snorting,
frightened, and were pursued by dogs and men.

Although there was apparent confusion, yet a rude order might be
observed. All the men were moved by one common impulse--to drive the
horses and ponies inwards, and though these frightened creatures often
broke the ring that was forming and careered back to the outer downs
whence they had been chased, to be pursued again by a host of dogs and
men, yet there was observable a rough chain of drivers concentrating
towards a point on the Walla, spanned by a bridge under Mistor.

The whole neighbourhood was there--Anthony had come, ashamed to be seen
afoot, and yet unwilling not to be there. He saw one of his father's
servants on his own horse, and he demanded it; the fellow readily
yielded his saddle, and Anthony joyously mounted his favorite roan. Fox
Crymes was there with his eye bandaged, and glancing angrily at Anthony
out of the one uninjured eye. Old Squire Cleverdon did not come out, he
could no longer sit at ease on horseback, and had never been much of a
rider. Mr. Solomon Gibbs was out in a soiled purple coat, and with hat
and wig--as was his wont--awry. And Urith was there. She could not
remain at home on such an occasion as a Drift. Her uncle was not to be
trusted to recognise and claim the Willsworthy cobs. He was not to be
calculated on. There was a tavern at Merivale Bridge, and there he would
probably sit and booze, and leave his colts and mares to take care of
themselves. There was no proper hind at the manor, only day-labourers,
who were poor riders. Therefore Urith was constrained to attend the
Drift herself.

She was the only woman present; Julian Crymes had not come out. When
Anthony saw Urith he approached her, but she drew away.

"Why, how now!" shouted Fox. "Whose horse are you riding?"

"My own," answered Anthony, shortly.

"Oh! I am glad to hear it. I understood that you had been bundled out of
Hall without any of your belongings; but your father, I suppose, allowed
you to ride off on the roan?"

"I will thank you to be silent," said Anthony, angrily.

"Why should I, when even dogs are open-mouthed? And as for Ever and his
horn, he is calling everyone to speak in a scream, so as to be heard at
all. Were you allowed to take off oats and hay as well?"

Anthony spurred his horse, to be out of ear-shot of his tormentor; but
Fox followed him.

"What was it all about?" he asked. "All the country-side is ringing with
the news that you and your father are fallen out, and that he has turned
you out of doors; but opinions are divided as to the occasion."

"Let them remain divided," answered Anthony, and dug his spurs in so
deeply that his horse bounded and dashed away. Fox no longer attempted
to keep up with him, but turned to attach himself to Urith. She saw his
intention, and drew near to her uncle, who was in conversation with
Yeoman Cudlip.

They were now riding through a broad vale or dip between a range of
serrated granite heights to the east, and the great trap-rounded pile of
Cox Tor crowned with vast masses of cairn piled about the blistered
basaltic prongs that shot through the turf at the summit. These cairns
were probably used as beacons, for all were depressed in the middle to
receive the heaps of fern and wood that were ignited to send a signal
far away to the very Atlantic on the north, from a warning given on the
coast of the English Channel.

The turf was free from masses of boulder, but was in places swampy. At
the water-shed was a morass with a spring, and from this point the
stream had been laboriously worked in ancient times for tin; the bed was
ploughed up and thrown into heaps in the midst of the course.

"Look yonder," said Cudlip. "Do you see that pile o' stones with one
piece o' granite atop standing up? There's P. L. cut on that. Did you
ever hear tell how Philip Lang came by his death there? and how he came
to lie there? For I tell y' there he is buried, and it is the mark where
Peter Tavy parish ends and Tavistock parish begins, and they say he do
lie just so that the parish bound goes thro' the middle of him. It all
came about in the times of the troubles between the King and the
Parliament. Sir Richard Grenville was in Tavistock, and was collecting
men for the King; and Lord Essex came up with the Roundheads, and there
was some fighting. Then some of the train bandmen were out here, and
among them was Philip. He was a musketeer; but, bless your soul! he
didn't know how to use the piece, and I've heard my father say that was
the way with many. It was an old matchlock, and to fire it he had a fuse
alight. Lord Essex was skirmishing round the country and Sir Richard had
set a picket at this point. Well, Philip Lang, not knowing but the enemy
might surprise him from one side or the other, had his fuse alight, and
his musket charged. But by some chance or other, the fuse was uncoiled,
and the lighted end hung down behind him and touched the horse on the
croup. The beast jumped and kicked, and Lang could not make it out, for
the fuse was behind him. Every time the horse bounded, the burning end
struck him again in another spot, and he sprang about, and ran this way
and that, quite mad; and Philip Lang, who was never a famous rider, let
go his matchlock, and had hard to do to keep his seat. But, though he
had dropped the musket, the fuse was twisted round him and kept bobbing
against the horse, and making it still madder. Then the beast dashed
ahead across the valley, and went head over heels down into the old
miners' works, and Philip was flung where you see that stone, and he
never breathed or opened his eyes after. 'Twas a curious thing that he
fell just on the boundary of both parishes, and there was no saying
whether he lay in one or the other. There was mighty discussion over it.
The Peter Tavy men said the body belonged to Tavistock, and the
Tavistock men said it belonged to Peter Tavy; and neither parish would
bury him, for, you see, he was a poor man, without friends or money."

"Say, rather," threw in Fox, "without money and friends."

"As you like," answered the yeoman, and continued. "Well, it was thought
that the parishes would have to go to law over it, to find out which
would have to bury him, but after a deal o' trouble they came to an
agreement to bury him where he fell, and three Peter Tavy men threw
stones over him on one side, and three Tavistock men threw stones the
other; and when the stone was set up the Peter Tavy men went to the
expense of cutting one letter, P, and the Tavistock men went to the cost
of the other letter, L."

"Come," said Mr. Solomon Gibbs, "we are fallen into the rear."

They pricked on, and descended the slope to the River Walla, that foamed
and plunged over a floor of broken granite at some depth below. In the
valley, where was the bridge, two or three mountain-ash trees grew;
there was an inn and by it a couple of cottages. Here was now a scene of
indescribable confusion and noise. The wild, frightened horses and
ponies driven together, surrounded on all sides by the drivers, were
leaping, plunging over each other, tossing their manes and snorting. The
ring had closed about them. Every now and then a man dashed among them,
on foot or mounted, when he recognized one of his own creatures, and by
force or skill separated it from the rest, shouted to the drivers, who
instantly opened a lane, and he drove the scared creature through the
lane of men back on to the free wild moor. To effect this demanded
daring and skill, and the men rivalled each other in their ability to
claim their animals, and extricate them from the midst of the crowd of
half-frantic creatures plunging and kicking. Neither Urith nor Solomon
Gibbs had any intention of attempting such a dangerous feat, but
purposed waiting till all other horses had been claimed, when they would
indicate their own creatures, and the good-humoured moor-men of their
quarter would discharge them. Accordingly they remained passive
observers, and the sight was one full of interest and excitement; for
the extrication of the horses claimed was a matter of personal danger,
and demanded courage, a quick eye, great resolution, and activity.

Fox Crymes had no intention of venturing within the ring; he was
standing on foot near Anthony's horse. Anthony was awaiting his time
when he would rush in to the capture of his father's colts. All eyes but
those of Urith were riveted on the struggle with the horses. There were
some tall men, or men on large horses, between her and the herd of wild
creatures, and as she could not well see what went on within the ring,
she looked towards Anthony.

She was a little surprised at the conduct of Fox. In the first place, he
seemed to be paying no attention to what was engrossing the minds and
engaging the eyes of the rest. He held a little back from Anthony, and
was striking a light with a flint and a steel which he had taken from
his pocket.

What could be his purpose?

Urith was puzzled. Fox was no smoker.

She noticed that he had a piece of amadou under the flint, and the
sparks fell on it; it kindled, and Fox enclosed it within his hollowed
hand and blew it into a glow.

Then he looked hastily about him, but did not observe Urith. His
bandaged eye was towards her, or he must have seen that she was watching
him, and watching him with perplexity.

Then he took three steps forward.

Urith uttered a cry of dismay.

Fox had thrust the fragment of burning amadou into the ear of the horse
Anthony rode.

FOOTNOTE:

[4] See an article on Venville rights on Dartmoor, by W. F. Collier,
Esq, in the Devon Association Transactions for 1887.



CHAPTER XX.

A BLOODY HAND.


The effect on Anthony's horse was instantaneous. With a snort it bounded
into the air, threw back its head, then kicked out and began to dance
and revolve, put its head down between the fore-legs, then reared into
the air, every violent motion fanning the burning bunch of amadou into
stronger heat.

Anthony was taken by surprise, but maintained his seat. The horse
quickly scattered those around. One man, struck by the hoofs, was drawn
away in a state of unconsciousness. Some men were driven in among the
enclosed ponies, but quickly ran away; and, in less time than it takes
to write, the circle of lookers-on had reformed, enclosing Anthony on
his maddened steed in the same arena with the wild cobs and colts.

A scene of indescribable confusion ensued. The tortured horse bounded in
among the throng of ponies, and threw them, if possible, into wilder
disorder. All that could be seen for some moments was a tumult of heads,
flying manes, hoofs, beasts leaping on and over each other, and Anthony
with difficulty, and in extreme danger, carried up and down above the
sea of horses' heads and heels. If he had fallen, his brains would have
been dashed out in one minute. He knew this, and endeavoured to force
his horse by deep spur out of the tangle; but, agonised by the fire in
its ear, it disregarded rein and spur. Of its own accord, however, it
disengaged itself, or by chance found itself free for an instant from
the surrounding tossing, plunging mass of its fellows; and then, with a
scream rather than a snort, it dashed right among the surrounding men.
They divided at once--not a man ventured forward to catch the rein and
stay the mad beast.

In front was the river, with the low wall of the bridge over it, and
under the arch, among huge masses of granite, leaped, and roared, and
tumbled the Walla, as mad as the frightened moorland ponies--of a rich
brown, but transparent, colour, where not whipped into foam.

Anthony's horse was dashing at the wall. The brute's head was now round
biting itself, then down between its fore-hoofs, in a frantic paroxysm
of kicks. Then it rushed forward, halted, spun round, then leaped with
all four feet into the air, uttering screams. Everyone was cowed--no one
dared approach, and yet the situation of Anthony was critical. Another
bound, maybe, and his horse would be over the wall, and roll with him
among the masses of rock big as haystacks, over and among which the
river dashed itself to threads and flakes of foam, or went down into one
of the wine-dark pools, where the eddies swirled and dissolved their
foam before taking another leap.

Instinctively, overawed by one of those waves of feeling which come on
men and beasts alike, all sounds ceased, the men no longer spoke, nor
did the dogs bark. Only the churning of the colts' and ponies' feet was
heard within the living ring of men, and the tinkle, tinkle, tinkle of a
sheep-bell beyond the river.

The horse was rearing to leap.

At that moment--a shot, and the horse fell like lead. Urith had snatched
the pistol from the holster of her uncle's saddle, had leaped to the
ground, run forward, and fired.

Silence remained as unbroken as before, save for the tinkle of the
sheep-bell, till Anthony disengaged himself from his fallen horse,
stood up, shook himself, and then a cheer burst from all the men
present, who pressed forward to congratulate him.

"Stay!" said Urith, still on the bridge, and with the pistol in her
hand. She was white with emotion, and her eyes flaming with wrath.
"Listen to me--you--all of you. I saw him do it--I saw him light a ball
of tinder and thrust it into the horse's ear, to drive the beast mad."

She looked round--her flashing eyes sought out him of whom she spoke.

"I saw him do it, when all were looking elsewhere after their cobs. He
hated him, and he sought this mean, this cruel, this treacherous revenge
on him."

She panted, her heart was beating furiously, and the blood rushed to her
temples, and then ebbed away again, leaving her giddy.

"Take him!" she cried. "He deserves it. Take him and fling him among the
horses, and let them trample him down into the dirt. The man who did
what he has done deserves no better."

"Who!--who!--name!" shouted the bystanders.

"Who it was who did this? Did I not name him? It is he." She had caught
sight of him with his bandaged eye. "Bring him forward--Fox Crymes."

In a moment Fox was hustled forth out of the throng into the foreground.

"I would," gasped Urith, in quivering fury, "that I had another pistol,
and I would shoot you as I have the horse, base, vile coward."

Fox looked at her contemptuously out of his one eye. "It is well that
none is in your hand--a maniac should not be trusted with firearms, or
should practise them on herself."

"What has he done?" shouted Farmer Cudlip. "What is the charge against
him?"

"I say," answered Urith, "that whilst all were engaged looking for their
colts, I saw him light a piece of tinder with flint and steel, and then
thrust it into the ear of the horse."

Silence followed this announcement. The men had been too surprised to
follow her charge when first made.

"What do you say to that, Master Crymes?" asked Cudlip.

"It is a lie," retorted Fox. "She did it herself, so as to make a
spectacle and appear as the preserver of her lover."

Again silence, save only for the trampling of the enringed ponies. The
sheep-bell had ceased; maybe the sheep that bore the bell was lying
down.

Urith spoke slowly, in her deepest tones.

"On the moor there is no law--or only the plain law of God that all can
understand and obey. He is a murderer in heart. He tried to kill Anthony
Cleverdon, and now he--coward that he is--insults me. Take him up and
throw him among the horses."

At once a score of hands were laid on Fox Crymes. It was true, there was
no law on the moor. There every man was a law unto himself. The Stannary
Court sat but once in the year on the top of one of the central Tors,
but that took cognisance only of offences against the mining laws. There
was no criminal jurisdiction over the moor lodged anywhere--or, it was
supposed that there was none. But then--crime was unknown on Dartmoor.

When an act of violence is to be done, especially when sanctioned by
some rough rule of justice, there is no lack of hands to commit it.

Fox Crymes was generally disliked, his stinging tongue, his lack of
geniality had alienated every acquaintance from him; the farmers present
were rude men of the moor confines, brought under little or no control,
kings on their own estate, and free of the moor to do thereon what they
listed, take thence what they desired, fight thereon any with whom they
were at feud, avenge themselves with their own arms for any wrong done
to them. Never had a lawyer been invoked to unravel a doubtful claim, or
to settle a dispute. Every knot was, if not cut through with a sword, at
all events beaten out with the quarterstaff; and every dispute brought
to an end by silencing one side with a bludgeon or a pistol.

In one moment, Fox Crymes was caught up, with a roar of many voices
giving consent to the execution of the sentence pronounced by Urith, at
once accuser and judge.

"Hold off!" cried Fox, and drew his knife; freeing himself by a twist
of the body from those who held him, and who shrank back at the flash of
steel.

His one eye glared. "I will drive it up to the haft in the first man who
touches me!" he said.

"Strike it out o' his hand!" shouted Cudlip.

Fox, stabbing with his blade to right and left, backed from his
assailants towards the wall. Cudgels were raised and aimed at him, but
he dexterously withdrew his arm as each descended. The sight of the
drawn weapon kindled the blood of the moor men, and those who had held
back at first, now pressed forward to take him.

A shout! the colts and horses had made a rush, a dash, and had broken
through the ring. It was quickly reformed, and away after those who had
escaped rushed some of the men with their whips whirled about their
heads.

This caused a momentary diversion. Anthony took advantage to leave his
place by the fallen horse, come forward, and with his elbows force his
way through to Crymes, and then, planting himself between Fox and his
assailants, he shouted:

"No harm has been done. It was a joke. He and I had sport together, and
I hit him in the eye and hurt him; he knows I never designed to injure
him. Now he tried a merry prank on me. He designed no hurt to me--but it
has gone further than he would, as did mine with him. Hands off--here,
Fox, show them we bear each other no malice--here before all, give me
your right hand, good friend."

Crymes held back.

Cudgels were lowered, and the men drew away.

Fox slipped his hunting-knive up his sleeve, and sullenly extended his
arm.

"You see!" called Anthony, looking round, and not regarding Crymes. "You
see! We are good friends, and hearty comrades."

Then he clasped the right hand of Fox. As he did so, the blade slipped
down the sleeve into the hand of Crymes, and as Anthony clenched his
fingers about those of Fox, they closed on the blade in his hand, which
was keen, and cut. He felt the knife, but he did not relax his grasp,
and when he drew his hand away it was covered with blood.

"It was a mischance," said Crymes, with a malicious laugh. "You did not
give me time to sheath the knife."

"Many a mischance falls between us," answered Anthony, hastily, drawing
his glove over the wounded hand, lest it should attract attention.

Then he strode up to Urith, who stood palpitating near.

"I have saved you from yourself to-day," he said.

"Yes--I thank you."

"You can thank me but in one way."

"How so?"

"Give me your hand. Take me forever."

She put her hand into his: "I cannot help myself," she said, in a low
tone. "Oh, mother, forgive."

Then she loosed her hand, looked on it, and said, "There is blood!"

The blood had oozed through his glove.

"It is my blood," answered Anthony, "on your hand."



CHAPTER XXI.

FIXED.


Squire Cleverdon gave no token of relenting towards his son. Bessie had
her brother's interests so at heart that she ventured, without
sufficient tact, to approach him on the subject, but was roughly
repelled. The old man was irritated when she spoke, and irritated when
she was silent; for then her eyes appealed to him in behalf of Anthony.
The father held out, believing that by so doing he would break down
Anthony's resolution. He did not believe in the power of love, for he
had never experienced love. His son had taken a fancy, a perverse fancy
for this Urith, as a child might take a fancy for a new toy. When the
lad had had time to feel how ill it was to be an exile from his father's
house, without money, without authority over serving-men, hampered and
clipped in every direction and all sides, he would come to a better
sense, laugh at his folly, and return to obedience to his father and to
the suit for Julian Crymes and Kilworthy.

His heart overflowed with gall against Urith. The thought of having a
poor daughter-in-law could never have been other than distasteful to
him, when he had set his mind on the wealthy Julian; but there were
special reasons which made the acceptance of Urith impossible to him.
She was the daughter of the man over whom he had gained a triumph in the
eyes of the world, but it was a triumph full of shame and vexation
inwardly. It was due to that man that his married life had been one of
almost intolerable wretchedness. Not for a moment did he consider
himself to blame in the matter; he cast all the responsibility for his
unhappiness on Richard Malvine; on him he heaped all the hate that
flamed out of envy at the personal superiority of the latter, jealousy
because he had won the heart of his wife, and held it so firm that
he--Anthony Cleverdon--had never been able to disengage it and attach it
to himself; revenge for all the slights and insults he had received from
her unsparing, barbed tongue, slights and insults she had known well how
to administer, so as to leave rankling wounds which no time would heal.
Even now, as he brooded over his quarrel with Anthony, the sneers, the
mockery she had launched at him for his meanness, his pride, his
ambition, rose up fresh in his memory, charged with new poison, and
rankled in him again. But he did not feel anger against his dead wife
for that, but against him who had used her as his instrument for
torturing him; and as Richard Malvine was dead, he could but retaliate
on his daughter.

Old Cleverdon attributed the worst motives to Urith. Margaret Penrose
had married him for his money, and, naturally, Urith Malvine compassed
the capture of Anthony, his son, for the same reason; he did not see how
he involved himself in contradiction, in that he charged Urith with her
attempt to become the wife of his son for the sake of his wealth, as if
it were a deadly crime, whilst he himself acted on no other motive than
ambition and money-greed. She had entangled the young fellow in her net,
and he would tear this net to pieces and release him. He would break
down his son's opposition. He was not one to be defeated in what he took
in hand, and no better means could be chosen by him for his purpose than
making Anthony feel what poverty and banishment signified. Anthony had
hitherto had at command what money he needed, and now to be with empty
pockets would speedily bring him to reason. To attempt gentle means with
his son never occurred to him; he had been accustomed to command, not to
persuade. He became harder, more reserved, and colder than before; and
Bessie in vain looked for a gentle light to come into his steely eyes, a
quiver to come on his firm-set lips, and a token of yielding to flicker
over his inflexible features.

And yet the old man felt the absence of his son, and had little sleep at
night thinking of him; but never for one moment did he suppose that he
would not in the end triumph over his son's whim, and bring the young
man back in submission to his usual place.

Luke had been to Hall to see his uncle, in behalf of, but without the
knowledge of, young Anthony.

"Oh! tired of keeping him, are you?" asked the old Squire. "Then turn
him out of the parsonage. I shall be the better pleased; so will he be
the sooner brought to a right mind."

Nothing was effected by this visit. After it, with bent head, full of
thought, Luke took his way to Willsworthy. On entering the house, he
found Anthony there, in the hall, with Urith and Uncle Solomon, the
latter on the settle smoking, with a table before him on which stood
cider. The light from the window was full and strong on the toper's
face, showing its blotched complexion. Mr. Gibbs appeared to his best
when partially shaded, just as a lady nowadays assumes a gauze veil to
soften certain harshnesses in her features.


     I saddled my horse and away I did ride
     Till I came to an ale-house hard by the road-side,
     I called for a glass of ale humming and brown,
     And hard by the fireside I sat myself down,
         Singing tol-de-rol-de-rol, tol-de-rol-dee,
         And I in my pocket had one penny!


Uncle Sol sang in subdued tones till he came to the tol-de-rol! when he
drew the pipe from the corner of his mouth and sang aloud, rattling his
glass on the table. He was not intoxicated, but in that happy, hilarious
mood which was his wont, even out of his cups.

"Oh, uncle! do be silent," pleaded Urith. "Here comes Mr. Luke, and we
want to talk of serious matters, and not of----"

"I in my pocket had one penny!" shouted Uncle Sol, diving into the
depths of his pouch and producing the coin in question, which he held
out in his open palm; "never got more--never from this confounded place.
Squeeze, squeeze, and out comes one penny. Never more. If Anthony can do
better with it, let him try. I have done my utmost, toiled and moiled,
and at the end of all these years I in my pocket have one penny:--


     I tarried all night, and I parted next day;
     Thinks I to myself, I'll be jogging away--


but you won't send me off with in my pocket but one penny?"

"We will not send you off at all, uncle," said Urith. "But here is
Master Luke. Let us talk the matter over with seriousness, and without
snatches of song."

"I can't help myself, I must sing," said Mr. Gibbs. "You say on, and I
will warble to myself. It is your affair rather than mine."

Luke looked at Anthony and Urith, who stood near each other. He folded
his hands behind his back, that he might conceal the nervous twitching
of his fingers.

"What is it, Anthony?" he asked.

"Luke, we want your help. I know very well that this is early times
since the death of Urith's mother; but that cannot be helped. I cannot
live on upon you longer. You are poor, and----"

"I grudge you nothing that I have."

"I have a vast appetite. Besides, I like to have money of my own to
spend; and I am not like Mr. Solomon Gibbs, who has in his pocket one
penny, for I have none."

"I will give you what I can."

"I will not take it, Luke; what I have and spend shall be mine own. So
Urith and I will ask you to make us one, and give me a right to a penny
or two."

Luke was confounded; this was acting with precipitation, indeed. He
quite understood that Squire Cleverdon would not receive Urith as a
daughter-in-law with open arms, and that he would oppose such an
alliance by all means in his power. Like Anthony, he supposed that the
old man's violence of language and threats of disinheritance meant
nothing. He would cut off his right hand rather than give up his
ambitions set upon his son. But in the end he would yield to the
inevitable, if inevitable this were. But this haste of Anthony in
precipitating the marriage, in disregard to all decency, must incense
the old father, and, if anything could do so, drive him to act upon his
word.

Luke became, if possible, graver; the lines in his face deepened. He
withdrew his hands from behind his back.

"Anthony," said he, "this will not do. You are acting with your usual
hot-headedness. You have angered your father, and must seek
reconciliation and the abatement of his wrath, before you take such a
step as this."

"I said so," threw in Urith.

"My father never will yield so long as he thinks that I may be brought
to change my mind. When he finds that I have taken the irrevocable step,
then he will buckle under."

"And is it for the son to bid the father do this?" asked Luke, with some
warmth. "No, I will be no party to this," he added, firmly, and set his
thin lips together.

"I love her, and she loves me; we cannot live apart. God has made us for
each other," said Anthony; "my father can't alter that; it is God's
will."

Luke did not meet Anthony's glowing eyes, his were resting on the
ground. He thought of his own love, and his own desolate heart. For a
moment the bitterness therein overflowed; he looked up sharply, to speak
sharply, and then his eyes fell on the two young things--Anthony big,
sturdy, wondrously handsome, and full of joyous life, and at his side
Urith, in her almost masculine and sullen beauty. Yes, they were as
though made for each other--the bright, light temper to be conjoined to
the dark and sombre one, each qualifying, correcting the exuberance in
the other, each in some sort supplementing the deficiencies in the
other. The harsh words that were on his lips remained unspoken. On the
settle Uncle Sol was murmuring his tune to himself, every now and then
breaking forth into a louder gush of song, and then at once suppressing
it again.

Perhaps it was God's will that these two should belong to each other;
perhaps the old hostility, and wrath, and envy that had embittered the
lives of their several parents were to be atoned for by the mutual love
of the children. Luke was too true a Christian to believe that the words
of hate that had shot like fire-coals from a volcano out of the mouth of
Madam Malvine, when dying, could avail aught now. In the better light
into which she had passed, as he trusted, in the world of clearer vision
and extinguished animosity, of all-enwrapping charity, she must, with
inner anguish, repent, and desire to have unsaid those terrible words.
The dying utterances of the woman did not weigh with Luke, or, if they
had any weight, it was to turn the scale against them. No better comfort
to the soul of the dead could be given than the certainty that those
words had been reversed and cast aside. Luke passed his hands over his
brow, and then said, "I will see your father again, Anthony."

"That will avail nothing; you have spoken with him already. I tell you
he will not alter till he sees that his present conduct does not affect
me. What can he say or do after I am married? He may, indeed, cut me off
with a shilling; but he will not do that. He loves me too well. He is
too proud of having founded a family to slay his firstborn. Whom could
he make his heir but me? You do not suppose he would leave all to you?"

"No," answered Luke. "If he did--as an extreme measure--it would all
come to you. I would not keep one penny of it."

"And I in my pocket----"

"Do be quiet, uncle!" pleaded Urith.

"Then what _can_ he do? He must come round. He is as certain to come
round as is the sun that sets every evening in the west."

"I hope so."

"I am sure of it. I know my father better than do you, Luke. See here.
Urith has Mr. Solomon Gibbs as her guardian, and he is quite willing."

"Oh, heartily!--heartily!" shouted Mr. Gibbs. "I'm quite incompetent to
guardian any one, especially such a defiant little devil as my niece.
She snaps her fingers in my face."

Luke stood biting his thumb.

He was as fully confident as was Anthony that the old man would not
leave Hall away from his son. He might be angry, and incensed against
Anthony; but his pride in the family position which he had won would
never suffer him to disinherit his son, and leave the estate away from
him--away from the name.

"I cannot--I cannot!" exclaimed Luke, with pain in his tone, for he felt
that it was too great a sacrifice to be required of him that he should
pronounce the nuptial blessing over Anthony and Urith. He laboured for
breath. His brow was beaded with sweat. His pale face flushed.

"Anthony! this is unconsidered. You must postpone all thought of
marriage to a later season. Consider that Urith's mother is but recently
dead."

"I know it; but whether now or in three months, or three years, it makes
no matter--I shall love her all the same, and we belong to each other.
But, see you, Luke, I cannot go on three years--nay, nor three months,
and hardly three weeks--without an occupation, and without money, and
without a position. I am as impatient as you are for my reconciliation
with my father. But we can be reconciled in one way only--through
Urith's wedding-ring. Through that we will clasp hands. The longer the
delay, the longer the estrangement, and the longer does my father
harbour his delusion. If you will not marry me at once to Urith----"

"That I will not."

"Then I shall remain here, and work for her as her steward, look after
the farm and the estate, and put it straight for her. Why, this is the
time of all the year of the greatest importance to a farmer--the time
that my direction is most necessary. I tell you, Luke, I stay here,
either as her husband or as her steward."

"That cannot be, that must not be," said Luke, with heat, "and that
Urith herself must feel."

Urith did feel it. But Urith's mind was disturbed by what had taken
place. She had no knowledge of the world, and Anthony's arguments had
seemed to her conclusive, so conclusive as to override her own
repugnance to an immediate marriage. She had resolved to give him up
altogether, and yet she had yielded; that resolve had gone to pieces.
She had resolved that if she did take him it should be at some time in
the future, but when he pointed out to her that his only chance of
reconciliation with his father was through marriage, as to abandon her
was an impossible alternative, and that he was absolutely without work,
without a position, without means--sponging on his cousin, a poor
curate, then she saw that this, her second resolve, must go to pieces,
like the first.

"Anthony," said Luke; "you will have to go away for a year--for some
months at the least."

"Whither?--To whom?"

"Surely Justice Crymes knows of----"

"How can I accept any help from him when I refuse his daughter, and when
I have blinded his son?"

"That is true--and your mother had no relatives?"

"None that I know of but my grandmother, who is with you."

"Then go to sea."

"I have no taste to be a sailor."

"Be a soldier?"

"No, Luke, here I can serve Urith--save Willsworthy from going to
destruction. It is not a bad estate, but has been mismanaged. Here I can
be of utility, and here I can be a help to Urith, and find work that
suits me, and which I understand. It seems plain to me that Willsworthy
is crying out for me to come and take it in hand; and, unless it be
taken in hand at once, a whole year is lost."

"That is true," threw in Solomon Gibbs, whose great eagerness now was to
be disembarrassed of a task that was irksome to him, and obligations
that were a burden. "You see, I was never reared to the farm, but to the
office. I can draw you a lease, but not a furrow; make a settlement, but
not a turf-tye. I wash my hands of it all."

"Then, in God's name," said Luke, in grey pallor, and with quivering
features, "if it must be, then so be it. May be His finger points the
way. As you will. I am at your service--but not for one month. Concede
me that."

"From to-day," said Anthony. "So be it. That is fixed."



CHAPTER XXII.

BANNS.


Sunday morning. A more idyllic and peaceful scene than Peter Tavy Church
on Sunday could hardly be found. The grand old granite church with its
bold grey tower and rich pinnacles standing among trees, now bursting
with leaf; overhead, the soaring moors strewn with rock; the river or
brook bounding, brawling down between the hills, with a pleasant rush
that filled the air with a fresh, never-failing music.

The rooks cawing, pee-whits calling, larks thrilling, wood-pigeons
cooing, and the blackbirds piping during the pauses of the church-bells.
And within the church, after the service had begun, when the psalm was
not sung, as an accompaniment to the parson's prayer came in through the
open door, with the sweet spring air and the sunlight, and through the
ill-set and cracked wavy-green glass of the windows--that wondrous
concert of Nature. As an organist sometimes accompanies the Confession
and the Creed and Lord's Prayer, with a subdued change of harmonies on
the instrument, so did mighty awakening Nature give its changing burden
to this voice of prayer within, without a discord, and never unduly
loud.

A quaint old church, with fragments of stained glass in the windows,
with old oak-carved benches representing on shields various strange
sea-monsters, also rabbits running in and out of their holes, moor-birds
fluttering over their young, and along with these symbols of trade, a
spit with a goose on it, a flax-beating rack, a sheaf of wheat, and a
sickle, and again the instruments of the Lord's Passion, and armorial
bearings of ancient families, a queer jumble of subjects sacred and
profane, a picture of human life. The screen existed almost intact,
richly sculptured and gilt, and painted with the saints and apostles.
Above this a great Royal Arms.

The church was full. In the great carved pew, mentioned in a former
chapter, were the Crymes family; in another, newly erected, were Squire
Cleverdon and his daughter. Urith and her uncle sat in the old bench
belonging to the Willsworthy Manor; the family had not had the stray
cash at command to replace this with a deal pew, according to the new
fashion. Anthony was within the screen, in the rectory seat.

Looking through the screen, he could see his father, with his blue
coat--the collar dusted over with powder--his dark eyebrows and sharp
features. The old man looked straight before him, and purposely kept his
eyes away from the chancel and his son when he stood up during Psalm and
Creed.

The Second Lesson was read, and then ensued a pause. Even Anthony's
heart gave a leap and flutter then, for he knew what was to follow.

Luke, in distinct tones, but with a voice in which was a slight tremor,
announced: "I publish the banns of marriage between Anthony Cleverdon,
of this parish, bachelor, and Urith Malvine----"

He was interrupted by a strange noise--something between a cry of pain
and the laugh of a madman. Squire Cleverdon, who had risen to his feet
on the conclusion of the Lesson, had fallen back in his pew, with livid
face and clenched hands.

The curate waited a moment till the commotion was abated; then he
proceeded--"Urith Malvine, of this parish, spinster. If any of you know
any just cause why these persons may not be joined together in holy
matrimony----"

Squire Cleverdon staggered to his feet, and, clasping the back of the
pew with both hands, in a harsh voice that rang through the church,
cried, "I forbid the banns."

"This is the first time of asking." Luke proceeded, with a voice now
firm: "If any objection be raised, I will hear it immediately after
Divine Service."

Little attention was given through the rest of public worship to
anything save the old father, his son, and to Urith. All eyes wandered
from the Cleverdon pew, in which the Squire sat screened, and in which
he no more rose, to Anthony in the chancel, and then to Urith, who was
deadly pale.

Luke's sermon may have been eloquent and instructive; not a person in
the congregation gave heed to it.

There was another person present who turned white at the announcement,
and that was Julian Crymes; but she speedily recovered herself, and,
rising, looked across the church at Urith with eyes that flamed with
jealousy and hate. Her hand clenched her gloves, wrapped together in it.
Yes, that wild moor-girl had won in the struggle, and she--the rich, the
handsome Julian--was worsted. Her heart beat so furiously that she was
afraid of leaning against the carved oak sides of the pew lest she
should shake them. Her eye encountered that of her half-brother,
twinkling with malice, and the sight gave back her self-possession; she
would not let Fox see, and triumph over her confusion.

The congregation waited with impatience for the conclusion of the
service, and then, after defiling into the churchyard, did not disperse;
they tarried to hear the result of the objection raised to the
publication.

Urith hastened away with her uncle, but she had difficulty in persuading
him to go with her. He had so many friends in the churchyard, there was
such a topic for discussion ready; but her will prevailed over his, and
after a forlorn look back at his friends, and a shrug of the shoulders,
he left with her.

But Anthony remained with head erect; he knew that no objection his
father could make would avail anything. He nodded his head to
acquaintances, and held out his hand to friends with his wonted
confidence; but all showed a slight hesitation about receiving his
advances, a hesitation that was so obvious that it angered him. He was
at variance with his father, and the father held the purse-strings. All
knew that, and none liked to be too friendly with the young man fallen
out of his fortune, and out of place.

Fox alone was really friendly. He pushed forward, and seized and shook
Anthony's hand, and congratulated him. The young man was pleased.

"Bygones are bygones," said Fox, whose eye was covered with a patch, but
no longer bandaged. "My sight is not destroyed, I shall receive it
again, the doctor says. As for that affair on the moor, at the
Drift--you know me better than to suppose I meant you harm."

"Certainly I do," answered Anthony with warmth. "Just as you knew that
when I struck you with the glove, I had not the smallest desire to hurt
you. It was--well, what you like to call it--a passage of arms or a
frolic. It is over."

"It is over, and all forgotten," said Fox. "You will not be deterred by
your father's refusal to give consent to this marriage?"

"Certainly I will not," answered Anthony. "He will come round in time.
It is but a question of time."

There was no vestry. Old Cleverdon waited in the church till Luke had
taken off his surplice, and then went up to him in the chancel.

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked, rudely. "How dare you--who have
eaten of my bread, and whose back I clothed, take the part of Anthony
against me?"

Luke replied gravely, "I have done my office; whoever asks me to read
his banns, or to marry him, I am bound to execute my office."

"I will send to the rector, and have you turned out of the cure."

"You may do so, if you please."

Luke maintained his calm exterior. The old man was trembling with anger.

"If you have objections to the marriage, state them," said Luke.

"Objections! Of course I have. The marriage shall not take place. I
forbid it."

"On what grounds?"

"Grounds!--I do not choose that it shall take place; let that suffice."

"That, however, will not suffice for me. I am bound to repeat the banns,
and to marry the pair, if they desire it, unless you can show me
reasons--legitimate reasons--to make me refuse. Anthony is of age."

"He _shall_ not marry that hussy. I will disinherit him if he does. Is
not that enough? I will not be defied and disputed with. I have grounds
which I do not choose to proclaim to the parish."

"Grounds I know you have," answered Luke gravely; "but not one that will
hold. Why not give your consent? Urith is not penniless. Willsworthy
will prove a good addition to Hall. Your son loves her, and she loves
him."

"I will not have it. He shall not marry her!" again broke from the
angry man. "He does it to defy me."

"There you are in error. It is you who have forced him into a position
of estrangement, and apparent rebellion, because you will not suffer him
to obey his own heart. He seeks his happiness in a way different from
what you had mapped out; but it is _his_ happiness, and he is better
able to judge what conduces thereto than are you."

"I do know better than he. Does it lead to happiness to live separated
from me--for I will never see him if he marries that hussy? Will it be
to his happiness to see Hall pass away into other hands? Never, so help
me God! shall he bring her over my threshold--certainly never as
mistress. Answer me that."

The blood mounted to Luke's cheeks, and burnt there in two angry spots.

"Master Cleverdon," he said, and his voice assumed the authority of a
priest, "your own wrongdoing is turning against you and yours. You did
Urith's father a wrong, and you hate him and his daughter because you
know that you were guilty towards him. You took from him the woman he
loved, and who loved him, and sought to build your domestic happiness on
broken hearts. You failed: you know by bitter experience how great was
your failure; and, instead of being humbled thereby, and reproaching
yourself, you become rancorous against his innocent child."

"You--you, say this! You beggar, whom I raised from the dunghill, fed,
and clothed?"

"I say it," answered Luke, with calmness, but with the flame still in
his cheek, "only because I am grateful to you for what you did me, and I
would bring you to the most blessed, peace-giving, and hopeful state
that exists--a state to which we must all come, sooner or later--some
soon, some late, if ever we are to pass into the world of Light--a
knowledge of self. Do not think that I reproach you for any other
reason. You know that I speak the truth, but you will not admit it--bow
your head and beat your breast, and submit to the will of God."

The Squire folded his arms and glared from under his heavy eyebrows at
the audacious young man who presumed to hold up to him a mirror.

"You will not refrain from reading these banns?"

"Not without just cause."

"And you will defy me--and marry them?"

"Yes."

The old man paused. He was trembling with rage and disappointment. He
considered for a while. His face became paler--a dusky grey--and the
lines between his nostrils and the corners of his mouth hardened and
deepened. Forgetting that he was still in the church, he put his hat on
his head; then he turned to walk away.

"I have shown all--all here, that I am against this; I have proclaimed
it to the parish. I will not be defied with impunity. Take care you,
Luke! I will leave no stone unturned to displace you. And as for
Anthony, as he has made his bed so shall he lie--in his pigstye.
Never--I call God to my witness--never in Hall."

As he passed through the richly-sculptured and gilt and painted screen,
an old woman stepped forward and intercepted him on his way to the
church door.

He put out his hand impatiently, to wave her away, without regarding
her, and would have thrust past. But she would not be thus put aside.

"Ah, ha! Master Cleverdon!" she exclaimed, in harsh tones. "Look at me.
Do you not know me--me, your wife's mother. Me, whom you threatened with
the stick should I venture through your doors to see my daughter?"

Old Cleverdon looked at her with a scowl. "Of course I know you--you old
beldame Penwarne."

"There is a righteous God in heaven!" cried the old woman, with
vehemence--extending her arms to bar his passage. "Now will he
recompense to you all the heartache and misery you brought on my
child--aye, and through your own child too. That is well! That is well!"

"Stand aside!"

"I will not make a way for you to go," continued the old woman. "If you
venture to go away until I have spoken, I will run after you and shriek
it forth in the churchyard where all may hear. Will you stay now?"

He made no further attempt to force his way past her.

"You thought that with your money you could buy everything--even my
child's heart; and when you found you could not, then you took her poor
heart, and trampled on it; you spurned it; and you trod it again and
again under your cursed foot till all the blood was crushed out of it."
Her eyes glowed, there was the madness of long-retained and fostered
hate in her heart. "You made a wreck of her life, and now your own child
spurns you, and tramples on all your fatherly love, laughs at your
ambition, mocks all your schemes, and flings back your love in your face
as something too tainted, too base, to be worth a groat. Ah, ha! I have
prayed to see this day. I see it, and am glad. Now go."

She stepped on one side, and the Squire walked down the church. In the
porch he found Bessie, or rather Bessie found him, for he did not
observe her. She put her hand on his arm, and looked earnestly,
supplicatingly into his eyes. He shook off her hand, and walked on.

Half the congregation--nearly all the men, and a good many of the women,
were in the churchyard in groups, talking. Fox was with Anthony, but as
soon as the Squire appeared, he fell from him and drew back near one of
the trees of the church avenue, and fixed his keen observant eye on the
old man. But every other eye was on him as well. Cleverdon came slowly,
and with that mixture of pomposity and dignity which was usual with him,
but which was this day exaggerated, down the avenue, he nodded and
saluted with his hat the acquaintances whom he observed, but he said no
word of greeting to any one. Presently he came opposite his son, then he
stayed his foot, looked at him, and their eyes met. Not a muscle was
relaxed in his face, his eye was cold and stony. Then he turned his head
away, and walked on at the same leisurely pace.

The blood boiled up in Anthony's arteries. A film passed over his sight
and obscured it, then he turned and went down another path, and abruptly
left the graveyard.



CHAPTER XXIII.

IN THE PORCH.


The marriage had taken place; the banns were no further opposed. Old
Cleverdon, indeed, sought a lawyer's advice; but found he could do
nothing to prevent it. Anthony was of age, and his own master. The only
control over him he could exercise was through the strings of the purse.
The threads of filial love and obedience must have been slender, they
had snapped so lightly. But the Squire had never regarded them much, he
had considered the others tough to resist any strain--strong to hold--in
the wildest mood.

He was not only incensed because Anthony defied him, but because the
defiance had been open and successful. He had proclaimed his disapproval
of the match by forbidding the banns before the entire parish;
consequently, his defeat was public.

Urith had been carried, as by a whirlwind, out of one position into
another, without having had time to consider how great the change must
necessarily be. She had, in her girlhood, hardly thought of marriage.
Following her own will, independent, she had not pictured to herself
that condition as invested with any charm which must bring upon her some
sort of vassalage--a state in which her will must be subordinate to that
of another.

The surroundings were the same: she had spent all her days since infancy
in that quaint old thatched manor-house; looked out on the world through
those windows; seen what of the world came there flow in through the
same doors; had sat at the same table, on the same chairs; heard the
tick-tick of the same clock; listened to the same voices--of Uncle Sol
and the old family maid. The externals were the same; but her whole
inner life had assumed a new purpose and direction.

She could think, at first, of nothing save her happiness. That rough
home was suddenly invested with beauty and fragrance, as though in a
night jessamine and rose had sprung up around it, covered its walls,
and were breathing their fragrance through the windows.

The course of her life had not been altered, broken by a leap and fall,
but had expanded, because fuller, and at the same time deeper.

Now and then there came a qualm over her conscience at the thought of
her mother. She had defied her last wishes, and her marriage had
followed on the burial with indecent haste, but in the dazzle of
sunshine in which she walked the motes that danced before her served but
to intensify the brilliance of the light.

Summer was advancing. The raw winds of early spring were over, and the
east wind when it came down off the moor was no longer edged as a razor,
but sheathed in velvet. The world was blooming along with her heart, not
with a lone flower here and there, but with exuberance of life and
beauty.

Her mother had kept but a single domestic servant, a woman who had been
with her for many years, and this woman remained on. A charwoman came
for the day, not regularly, but as frequently as she could.

The circumstances of the Malvines had been so bad that they could not
afford a large household. Mistress Malvine had helped as much as she was
able, and Urith, now that she was left mistress, and had introduced
another inmate into the house, was called on to consider whether she
would help in the domestic work, or keep another servant. She wisely
resolved to lend a hand herself, and defer the enlargement of the
household till the farm paid better than it did at present. That it
would be doubled in value under prudent management, neither she nor
Anthony doubted.

She believed his assurances, and his assurances were well-grounded. To
make it possible to double its value, however, one thing was wanted,
which was not available--capital, to buy sheep and cattle.

Anthony attacked the task with great energy. He knew exactly what was
wanted, and he had great physical strength, which he did not spare.

Some of the walls of moonstone--uncemented, unbound together by mortar,
piled one on another, and maintaining their place by their own
weight--had fallen, and presented gaps through which the moor-ponies
and cattle invaded the fields, and their own beasts escaped.

Anthony set to work to rebuild these places. The stones were there, but
prostrate, and, through long neglect, overgrown with moss, and embedded
in the soil. Urith brought out her knitting and sat on a stone by him,
as he worked, in the sun and sweet air. Never had Urith been so
happy--never Anthony so joyous. Never before had Urith cared about the
preparation of a meal, and never before had Anthony so enjoyed his food.
They were like children--careless of the morrow, laughing, and in
cloudless merriment. The old servant, who had grumbled and shaken her
head over the precipitate marriage of Urith, was carried away by the
joyousness of the young couple, unbent, smiled, and forgave the
indiscretion.

They received visitors--not many, but some. Urith and her mother had had
few acquaintances, and these came to wish the young couple happiness.
Those of old Cleverdon kept aloof, or came hesitatingly: they were
unwilling to break with the rich father for the sake of the son out of
favour. Luke made his formal call. He came seldom; he had not
sufficiently conquered his own heart to be able to look on upon the
happiness of his cousin and Urith without a pang. When, a month after
the wedding, he met Anthony one day, the latter flew out somewhat hotly
in complaint of the neglect with which he had been treated.

"I suppose you also, Cousin Luke, are hedging, and trying to make
friends with my father by showing me the cold shoulder."

"You say this!" exclaimed Luke, in pained surprise.

"You have rarely been to see me since my marriage. I hardly know what is
going on in the world outside our boundary-walls. But it does not
matter--I have a world of work, and of content within."

Luke made no reply.

"There is Bessie, too--I thought better of her--she has not been over to
us. I suppose she knows on which side her bread is buttered."

"There you wrong her," answered Luke, hotly. "You little have understood
and valued Bessie's generous, unselfish, loving heart, if you can say
such a word as that of her."

"Then why has she not been near me?"

"Because she has been forbidden by your father. You know, if you have
any grace in you, Anthony, that this prohibition troubles her, and costs
her more tears and heartaches than you."

"She should disobey in this matter. I see neither reason nor religion in
blind obedience to irrational commands."

"She may serve your interests better by submission. You may be well
assured that your welfare is at her heart; and that she seeks in every
way to bend your father's stubborn will, and bring him to a
reconciliation with you."

"By the Lord, Luke!" exclaimed Anthony, "I wish you would take Bessie
yourself. She would make an admirable parson's wife."

Luke paused a moment before he replied, then he answered, in a
constrained voice, coldly: "Anthony, in such matters I follow my own
impulse, and not the directions of others. You speak thinking only of
yourself, and your wish to be able once more to see your sister makes
you suggest what might be distasteful to her and unsuitable to me."

"There, there, it was a joke," said Anthony. "Excuse me if I be a little
fretted by separation from Bessie. She would be of the greatest possible
assistance to Urith, and Urith has no one----"

"There is still one course open to you, which may lead to
reconciliation," said Luke.

"And that----?"

"Is to go to Hall and see your father. Try what effect that has on him.
It cannot make matters worse, and it may make them better."

"Oh, repeat the story of the Prodigal Son! But I am not a prodigal. I
feel no repentance. I cannot say, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven
and against thee--make me as one of thy hired servants.' I cannot say
what I do not feel. It is he who has transgressed against me."

"And you expect him to come to you, beating his breast; and then you
will kill the fatted calf and embrace and forgive him?"

Anthony laughed, with a heightened colour. "Not so, exactly; but--it
will all come right in the end. He can't hold out, and in the end must
take me back into favour. To whom else could he leave Hall?"

One market day Anthony and Urith were in Tavistock. Every one was there
that he knew; market was attended by all the gentry, the farmers, and
tradespeople of the country side; by all who had goods to sell or wanted
to buy, and by such as wanted to, or were able to do, neither one the
other, but who could exchange news and eat and drink at the ordinary,
and perhaps thereat get drunk.

Urith rode to market on pillion behind Anthony, holding to the leather
belt about his waist. The day was bright, and as they rode, he turned
his head over his shoulder and spoke to her, and she answered him. They
were as children full of mirth, only one little cloud on the horizon of
each--on that of Anthony the lack of warmth with which his old
acquaintance greeted him, a matter that vexed him more than did the
estrangement from his father; on that of Urith, the consciousness that
she had disobeyed her mother's last wishes; but in the great splendor of
their present happiness these little clouds were disregarded.

In Urith's bosom was a rose--the first rose of summer--that Anthony had
picked, and he had himself fastened in with a pin to her bodice, and she
had kissed his head as he was engaged thereon.

The day was not that of ordinary market; it was the Whitsun fair as
well; and, as Anthony approached Tavistock, numbers of holiday makers
were overtaken, or overtook him, on his way to the town. The church
bells were ringing, for there was Divine Service on such festival days,
and this was usually attended by all the women who came to fair, whilst
their husbands saw to the putting away of their horses, saving only such
as had wares for sale, and these occupied themselves during worship with
their stalls, if they had them; if not, with spreading their goods on
the ground in such advantageous manner as best to attract purchasers.

"You will come to me to the church porch, Tony!" said Urith, as she
dismounted. "In the crowd we may miss each other, and I shall like to go
on your arm."

So it was agreed, and Urith entered the church. This, a fine four-aisled
building, was in ancient times, as it is now, the parish church; it
stood in the shadow of the mighty Minster of the Abbey, dwarfed by it, a
stately pile, second only in size in the county to the Cathedral Church
of Exeter. Ruins of it remained at the time of this tale, tall pillars
and arches, and the main road from Plymouth had, out of wilful
wickedness, been run, in the days of the commonwealth, up what had been
the nave, and the east end torn down, so that market could be held in
the desecrated House of God, under the partial shelter of the vaulted
aisles. All is now gone, quarried away to supply every man with stone
who desired to rebuild his house; most of it removed for the
construction of the stately mansion of the Earls of Bedford, who were
possessed of the Abbey property.[5]

"What--you here! So we see you again?" exclaimed Fox, as Anthony
dismounted in the inn-yard. Fox Crymes held forth his hand, and it was
warmly grasped by Anthony, who at once looked at his eye. Crymes had
discontinued the bandage, but all did not seem right with the orb. "I
can see with it," said the latter, observing the look of Anthony, "but
with a cloud; that, I fear, will ever hang there."

"You know that I would pluck out one of my own eyes and give it you,"
said Anthony, with sincerity and emotion. "I shall never forget that
unhappy blow."

"Nor I," answered Crymes, dryly.

"Is your sister here?" asked Anthony.

"Yes--in the church. By the way, Tony, how is it that we never see you
at the Hare and Hounds? Does not the apron-string extend so far? Or are
your legs so clogged with the honey in the pot into which you are
dipping for you to be able to crawl so far?"

"Oh, you will see me there some day; but now I am too hard-worked. All
Sol Gibbs's muddles to mend, you understand, and neglects to be made up
for. I work like a slave?"

"How about your father? Any nearer a reconciliation?" There was a leer
in Fox's eye as he asked this.

Anthony shrugged his shoulders.

"I must be off," said he.

"Where to?"

"To the porch. I promised Urith to meet her there."

"Oh! she is pulling at the apron-string. Let me not detain you."

Anthony walked away. He was annoyed. It was absurd, preposterous of Fox
to speak to him as if he were in subjection to his wife. The words of
Fox left an uneasy feeling in his breast, as if it had been touched by a
nettle, a tingle, a sting, nothing to signify--but a perceptible
discomfort.

He reached the church-porch as Urith and Julian were leaving the church,
and he arrived at a critical moment.

That morning before leaving Willsworthy, Urith had taken her gloves to
draw them on, when she found them stuck together with some adhesive
matter. On pulling them over she found that the palms and fingers were
covered with pitch. It then occurred to her that she had laid her hands
on some rails that been recently blackened with pitch to preserve them
from decay, by her husband and that it was not dry as she had supposed.
The gloves were spoiled--she could not wear them. She was not possessed
of another pair, and could not ride to Tavistock with hands uncovered.

Her eyes fell on the pair that had belonged to Julian, and which had
been cast at her in defiance. After hesitating for a moment, she drew
these on, and resolved to purchase herself fresh gloves in the fair.

On reaching church, she drew off her gloves, and laid them across the
rail of the pew.

Julian Crymes was near, in the Kilworthy pew--that belonging to the
Glanvilles, as did the pew in Peter Tavy Church also, attached to
another house owned by the family in that parish.

Urith did not give her gloves a thought till she saw Julian's eyes fixed
on them, and caught a dark glance from her.

Then she coloured, conscious of the mistake she had made, but recovered
herself immediately. She had won in the match--a fair one, and had
carried off the stakes. A sense of elation came upon her, she held up
her head, and returned Julian's look with one of haughty triumph. She
saw Julian's colour darken, and her lips tremble; a passage of arms took
place in the church, the weapons being but glances of sharp eyes.

What was played and sung neither considered, each was engaged on her
own thoughts. Elated Urith was--happiness fills the heart with pride.
She--she whom no one hitherto had regarded, had wrested away the great
prize against tremendous odds--Julian's beauty, family position, wealth,
and the weight of his own father's advocacy. For her sake he had thrown
away everything that others esteemed. She had cause to be proud--reason
to feel her heart swell with the sense of victory: and who that has won
a victory does not desire a public triumph?

No sooner was service over, than Urith, with a little ostentation, drew
on the gloves, then took the rose Anthony had pinned to her stomacher,
and looking fixedly at Julian, loosened it, pressed it to her lips, and
replaced it. Her rival read in the act the very thoughts of her heart.
That rose which had been given her was the pledge of Anthony's love.

Julian panted with anger. It was well for her that none was in the pew
by her to notice her emotion. At the last Amen she flung open the door,
and stepped out into the aisle, at the same moment as Urith, and both
made their way to the porch, side by side, without a look at each other.
They passed through the doorway together, and saw Anthony standing
there.

Instantly--the whole thing was done so quickly as to escape Anthony's
notice--Julian turned with flashing eye on Urith, plucked the rose from
her bosom, pressed it to her own lips, then threw it on the ground and
crushed it under her foot.

There was no time--that was no place for retaliation. Urith's blood
rushed to her heart; then she caught her husband's arm, and with him
walked away.

All that day a sense of alarm and unrest troubled her. Julian had
renewed her defiance; had threatened both her and Anthony. Would this
threat be as vain as her former defiance? Urith swallowed her fears,
scorned to entertain them--but the sting remained.

In the evening, when about to start on her return, when his horse was
ready--"You must wait for me a moment, Tony," she said, and hurried back
to the porch.

The rose, trampled out of shape, trodden on by many feet, lay there,
soiled and petalless.

If Julian were to snatch him away, were to cast him down under foot and
crush him--what would she do? Would she wear him again? Would she stoop
to him?

She stood in the grey, cool porch, looking at the battered flower. Then
she bent, picked up the rose, and hid it in her bosom.

FOOTNOTE:

[5] Now the Bedford Inn.



CHAPTER XXIV.

KILWORTHY.


Anthony helped Urith to the saddle, saying,

"I am not coming home just now. You must ride back alone."

"But why not?" Urith asked, in surprise, and a little disappointment.

"Must I account to you for all my acts?" said Anthony, somewhat testily.

"Not at all," answered Urith; "but surely there is no objection to my
asking so innocent a question as that. If, however, it gives you
displeasure, I will abide without an answer."

"Oh!" said Anthony, the cloud passing from his face, "I have no reason
not to answer. I am going with Fox. He has asked me to return with him
to Kilworthy; and as I have seen no one for a couple--nay, for three
months, and have well-nigh lost the use of my tongue, I have accepted."

"I do not like Fox. I do not like you to be with him."

"Am I to consult you as to whom I make my friends? He is the only one
who has come forward with frankness, and has braved my father's
displeasure by showing me a countenance of old friendliness."

"I do not like Fox--I mistrust him."

"I do not," said Anthony, bluntly. "I am not going to take my opinions
from you, Urith."

"I do not suppose you will," retorted she, with a little heat; "but do
not forget what he did to you at the Drift. That was a false and
cowardly act."

"Oh!" laughed Anthony, somewhat contemptuously; "you maidens do not
understand the sort of jokes we men play on each other. He meant no
harm, and things went worse than he intended. None can have been more
vexed at the turn they took than himself. He told me so."

"What! That a horse should go mad when burning touchwood is set in his
ear?"

"He did not purpose to put it into his ear. The horse tossed his head,
and Fox's hand slipped."

"And his hand slipped when your fingers were cut?"

"No, not his hand, but his knife; it was in his sleeve. You would not
have had it slip upwards?"

Urith was silent; she was angered, vexed--angered and vexed at Anthony's
easy good-nature. Any excuse satisfied him. So with regard to his
father's displeasure; it did not concern him greatly--cost him not an
hour's wakefulness. All would come right in the end, he said, and
satisfied himself with sanguine hope. His was a buoyant nature, the
opposite to her own, which was gloomy and mistrustful. She raised no
further objection to Anthony leaving her to return home alone. He was in
a touchy mood, and, for the first time since their marriage, answered
her testily.

But she made allowance for him. He had been cut off from his friends, he
had been forced out of his wonted course of life. He had been pinched
for money, obliged to work hard. Was it not reasonable that on a
fair-day and holiday he should wish to be with his old companions and
make merry, and have a glass of ale or a bottle of sack? Uncle Sol could
not or would not accompany her home; he also had friends to detain him,
and purposed to pass the evening in an alehouse singing and making
merry.

Urith's knowledge of men, their ways, and their fancies, was limited to
the study of her uncle; and though she could not believe that her
Anthony was a sot and witless, yet she supposed that he partook of the
same taste for society and for the bottle, which she regarded as much a
characteristic of men as a rough chin and a masculine voice.

Anthony, with unconcern, was on his way to Kilworthy. This ancient
mansion stood high, with its back to the north wind; before it the hills
fell away in noble park-land studded with oak and beech over a century
old--trees that had been planted by Judge Glanville in the reign of
Elizabeth--and beyond the valley of the Tavy rose the tumbled, desolate
ridges of Dartmoor, of a scabious blue, or wan as ashes.

The side of the hill was hewn away near the house into a series of
terraces, one planted with yews, the others rich with flowers. The house
itself had that stately beauty that belongs to Elizabethan mansions.

When Anthony arrived along with Fox, he was not a little surprised to
see a large company assembled. Many of the young people and their
parents of the best families around were there, sauntering in the
gardens, or playing bowls on the green.

He was surprised, for Fox had not prepared him to meet company, but he
was pleased, for he had been cut off from society for some months, had
hardly seen old friends, and now he was delighted to be among them,
and--his father being absent--on the old familiar terms. The depression
of his spirits gave way at once, and he was filled with cheerfulness and
fun; he played bowls, and when the dew fell, and it was deemed advisable
for all to retire from the garden, he was most ready of all for a dance.

Julian was also in high spirits; she was looking remarkably pretty in a
light summer dress. She met Anthony with frankness, and he engaged her
for the first dance.

The beauty of the place, the pleasant society, the profusion of good
food and wines, united to give Anthony satisfaction. He appreciated all
this so much the more, as he had been deprived of these things for some
time. It was true that he had enjoyed the company of Urith, but then
Urith's circle of associates was almost nothing; she did not know those
people that he knew, was not interested about matters that woke in him
curiosity. She could talk only of Willsworthy, and Willsworthy as a
subject of conversation was easily exhausted. There was a freedom in the
society of those he now met, a want of constraint that delighted him.
When one topic ran dry another was started. With Urith conversation
flagged, because there was no variety in the subjects of conversation.

Then again the beauty and richness of the place gratified his eye after
the bleakness of Willsworthy. There, high on the moor side, only
sycamores would grow--here were trees of royal appearance, huge-trunked,
with broad expanding branches, the aristocracy of trees as only seen in
English parks, where they are given scope to expand from infancy. At
home, moreover, the general narrowness of means and lack of management
had not made of the table a place of enjoyment. A meal was necessary,
something to be scrambled through and got over. No effort was made by
Mrs. Malvine in earlier days to make it a gratification for the palate,
and it did not occur to Urith when she was married and mistress of the
household that things might in this respect be improved. Anthony was no
epicure, but young men as well as old like to have palatable dishes set
before them, and to have not only their wives well-dressed and tricked
out, but also their dishes. Here also Urith failed. She disregarded
personal adornment. Handsome though she was, she would have looked far
handsomer had she cared to set off her charms with tasteful dress. She
despised all solicitude about dress, and it was a little disappointment
to Anthony that she took so little pains to do justice to herself in
this respect. Now that he was in the midst of pretty girls, charmingly
set off by their light gowns and bright ribbons, he felt as if he had
stepped out of association with moths into that of butterflies--out of a
vegetable, into a flower-garden.

Again, since his marriage--indeed, ever since he had left Hall, he had
felt the irksomeness of being without money, he had discovered the value
of coin, and had learned that it could not be thrown away. He had
nothing of his own, what coins he had in his pocket came to him from his
wife.

Now he was in a house where money seemed to be disregarded. He need not
drink sour cider, but take his choice of wines. He was not served at
table by one old maid-of-all-work, but by liveried footmen, in the blue
and yellow Glanville colours. The table was furnished with abundance of
plate, engraved with the Glanville stags or the Crymes martlet. At
Willsworthy he had used bone-handled knives and forks, and had eaten off
pewter.

He danced with Julian once more. She was bright, sparkling with
merriment, full of lively sally, and she looked marvellously pretty.
Anthony wondered at himself for not having observed it before, or at not
having sufficiently appreciated it.

His sister arrived, somewhat late, and Anthony at once went to her, with
both hands extended.

"Is Urith here?" she asked.

"No."

"Why not?"

"She was not invited."

"Then why are you here?"

"For this good reason, that I was invited."

"But, Tony," said Bessie, "you ought not to have accepted unless she was
asked as well."

"Nonsense! Bet," exclaimed Anthony, fretfully. "I am not tied to her
apron-strings. We have not met for months, and your first address to me
is--a rebuke."

He walked away, annoyed, and rejoined Julian.

What! was he to be debarred visiting his friends--spending a pleasant
social evening with them--because he was asked without his wife!

"I say, Tony," said Fox, into his ear, "what do you think of Kilworthy
now? You have thrown it away for the sake of a pair of sulky eyes--aye,
and Hall, too? Well I have always heard say that love was madness; but I
never believed it till I heard what you had done."

Anthony's pleasure was spoiled. The contrast between Kilworthy and
Willsworthy had been unconsciously drawn in his mind before; now it was
fixed and brought into prominence, and he saw and realised in a moment
the tremendous sacrifice he had made. From this minute he looked on all
around him with other eyes. He saw what might have been his position,
his wealth--how he would have been esteemed and envied had he followed
the course mapped out for him by his father--had he taken Julian instead
of Urith.

He looked again at Julian--his eyes insensibly followed her--and again
he marvelled that hitherto there had been a veil over them, so that he
had not appreciated her beauty. He could not withdraw his eyes: they
pursued her wherever she went.

All at once she turned, with the consciousness that he was looking at
her. Their eyes met, and he coloured to the temples. He blushed at his
thoughts, for he was asking himself whether life, with such comfortable
surroundings, would not have been more than bearable--even
delightful--at her side.

In a moment he had recovered himself; but not his
lightheartedness--that was gone. He asked for his horse, and then
remembered that he had none. Urith had ridden home on his horse,
therefore he must walk.



CHAPTER XXV.

GATHERING CLOUDS.


Next day Anthony's brow was clouded, and his manner had lost its usual
cheerfulness. He was angry with himself for having been to Kilworthy.
Bessie was right, he acknowledged it now--a slight had been put on his
wife by his being invited without her. He ought to have seen this
before. He ought to have refused the invitation. Then he remembered that
he had been told nothing about a party at the house, so his anger was
turned upon Fox, who had entrapped him into a false position.

But this was not all. He was ashamed at himself for having for a moment
reconsidered his conduct in taking Urith instead of Julian. In vain did
he reason with himself that he had done something heroic in resigning
such enormous advantages for the sake of a girl; whether he liked it or
not, the odious thought lurked in a corner of his heart and would not be
expelled--Was Urith worth the sacrifice?

There was much to humiliate him in his present state. He who had been
wont to spend his money freely, had now to reckon his coppers and
calculate whether he could afford the small outlay that slight pleasures
entailed. And then--these coppers were not his, but his wife's. He was
living on her bounty, indebted to her for every glass of ale he drank.
Of his own, he had nothing. His confidence that his father's obstinacy
would give way, and that he would be taken into favour again, was
shaken. He began to fear that so long as his father lived he would
remain in disfavour. That, on his father's decease, he would inherit
Hall, he did not doubt for a moment. There was no one else to whom the
old man could bequeath the estate. Bessie was a girl, and Luke a
parson--disqualifications absolute.

Most heartily did he wish that the misunderstanding with his father
were at an end. It was a degradation for him--for him, the heir of the
Cleverdons--to be sponging on his wife. The situation was intolerable.
But how was it to be altered? He could not force his father to
reconciliation. His pride forbade his going to him and acting the
prodigal son. His heart grew hot and bitter against the old man for his
unreasonable and persistent hostility, which had reduced him to a
position so pitiable and humiliating.

Then there arose before his mind's eye the beautiful grounds and noble
mansion of Kilworthy, the pleasant company there--and Julian. He shook
his head impatiently, set his teeth, and stamped on the floor, but he
could not rid himself of the thoughts.

"I do not see, 'fore Heaven, why we should not have a clean
table-cover," he said at dinner; "nor why every dish should be huddled
on to the board at once. I am not a pig, and accustomed to feed as in a
stye."

Urith looked at him with surprise, and saw that displeasure was lowering
on his brow.

She answered him gently, but he spoke again in the same peevish,
fault-finding tones. He complained that the pewter dishes were hacked
with knives, and the mugs bent out of shape and unpolished. If they must
eat as do servants in a kitchen, let them at least have the utensils in
trim order.

Urith sought in vain to dispel the ill-humour that troubled him; this
was her first experience of domestic disagreement. The tears came into
her eyes from disappointment, and then his ill-humour proved contagious.
She caught the infection and ceased to speak. This annoyed him, and he
asked her why she said nothing.

"When there are clouds over Lynx Tor there is vapour over Hare Tor as
well," she answered. "If you are in gloom I am not like to be in
sunshine. What ails you?"

"It is too maddening that my father should remain stubborn," he said.
"You cannot expect me to be always gay, with the consciousness that I am
an outcast from Hall."

She might have answered sharply, and the lightning would then have
flashed from cloud to cloud, had not, at that moment, Luke entered the
house.

"Come at last!" was Anthony's ungracious salutation.

"I have not been here often, certainly," said Luke, "for I did not
suppose you wanted me; the parson is desired by those in sorrow and
tears, not by those in perfect happiness."

"Oh!" said Anthony, "it is not as the parson we want you, but as a
cousin and comrade."

Urith asked Luke if he would have a share of the meal just concluded. He
shook his head; he had eaten before leaving the rectory. He had taken
his meal early, so as to be sure of catching Anthony at home before he
went abroad.

As Luke spoke he turned his eyes from his cousin to Urith, and saw by
the expression of their faces that some trouble was at their hearts; but
he had the tact not to advert to it, and to wait till they of their own
accord revealed the cause.

"Have you been to Hall lately? Have you seen my father?" asked Anthony,
after a pause, with his eyes on the table.

"I have not been there; your father will not see me. He cannot forgive
the hand I had in making you happy."

"Then you have no good news to bring me?"

"None thence. I have talked to Bessie----"

"So have I. I saw her yesterday at Kilworthy, and she scolded me instead
of comforting me."

"Comforting you! Why, Anthony, I do not suppose for an instant that she
thought you needed comfort."

"Should I not, when my father shuts me out of his house--out of what
should be mine--the house that will be mine some day! It is inhuman!"

"I can quite believe that your father's hardness causes you pain, but no
advantage is gained by brooding over it. You cannot alter his mood, and
must patiently endure till it changes. Instead of altering his for the
better, you may deteriorate your own by fretful repining."

Anthony tossed his head.

"You, too, in the fault-finding mood! All the world is in league against
me."

"Take my advice," said Luke; "put Hall out of your thoughts and
calculations. You may have to wait much longer than you imagined at one
time till your father relents; you know that he is tough in his purpose,
and firm in his resolution. He will not yield without a struggle with
his pride. So--act as if Hall were no more yours than Kilworthy."

Anthony winced, and looked up hastily, his colour darkened, and he began
hastily and vehemently to rap at the table.

"Kilworthy!" Why had Luke mentioned that place by name? was he also
mocking him, as Fox had yestereven, for throwing away his chance of so
splendid a possession.

Luke did not notice that this reference had touched a vibrating string
in his cousin's conscience. He went on, "Do not continue to reckon on
what may not be yours. It is possible--though I do not say it is
likely--that your father may disinherit you. Face the worst, be prepared
for the worst, and then, if things turn out better than you anticipated,
well!--you unman yourself by living for, reckoning on, dead men's boots;
make yourself shoes out of your own hide, and be content that you have
the wherewithal to cover your feet."

"You think it possible that my father may never come round--even on his
death-bed?"

"God grant he may," answered Luke, gravely. "But he entertains an old
and bitter grudge against your wife's father, and this grudge has passed
over to, and invests her. God grant His grace that he may come to a
better mind, for if he goes out of this life with this grudge on his
heart, he cannot look to find mercy when he stands before the throne of
his Judge."

Anthony continued drumming on the table with his fingers.

"My recommendation is," continued Luke, "that you rest your thoughts on
what you have, not on what you have not. And you have much to be
thankful for. You have a wife whom you love dearly, and who loves you no
less devotedly. You are your own master, living on your own estate, and
in your own manor house. So--live for that, care for that, cultivate
your own soil, and your own family happiness, and let the rest go
packing."

"My own house! my own land!" exclaimed Anthony. "These are fine words,
but they are false. Willsworthy is not mine, it belongs to Urith."

"Anthony!" cried his wife, "what is mine you know is yours--wholly,
freely."

"Well," said Luke, with heat, "and if Hall had been yours when you took
Urith, it would have been no longer mine or thine, but ours. So it is
with Willsworthy. Love is proud to receive and to give, and it never
reckons what it gives as enough, and accepts what it receives as wholly
its own."

Anthony shrugged his shoulders, then set his elbows on the table, and
put his head in his hands.

"I reckon it is natural that I should grieve over the alienation from my
father."

"You are not grieving over it because it is an alienation from your
_father_, but from Hall, with the comforts and luxuries to which you
were accustomed there."

"Do you not see," exclaimed Anthony, impatiently, "that it is I who
should support my wife, and not my wife who should find me in bread and
butter? Our proper positions are reversed."

"Not at all. Willsworthy has gone to rack and ruin, and if it be brought
back to prosperity, it will be through your energy and hard work."

"Hard work!" echoed Anthony. "I have had more of that since I have been
here than ever I had before."

"Well, and why not? You are not afraid of work, are you?"

"Afraid! No. But I was not born to be a day labourer."

"You were born, Anthony, the son of a yeoman family which has worked
hard to bring itself up into such a condition that now it passes for a
family of gentry. Do not forget that, and do not blush for yourself when
you use the muck-fork or the spade, or you are unworthy of your
stout-hearted ancestors."

Anthony laughed. The cloud was dispelled. This allusion to the family
and its origin touched and pleased him. He had often joked over his
father's pretensions. He put forth his hand to his cousin, who clasped
it warmly.

"All well, old friend, you are right. If I have to build up a new branch
of the Cleverdons, it is well. I am content. Fill the tankard to the
prosperity of the Cleverdons of Willsworthy--and to the dogs with Hall!"

Anthony put his arm round Urith's waist. The clouds had cleared, and, as
they rolled off his brow that of Urith brightened also. Luke rose to
depart. He would not suffer his cousin to attend him from the door. He
went forth alone; and, when he had passed the gate, he halted, raised
his hand, and said, "Peace be to this house!" Yet he said it with doubt
in his heart. He had seen a ruffle on the placid water, and that ruffle
might forebode a storm.



CHAPTER XXVI.

ON THE TERRACE.


Months had passed. On the 6th of February, 1685, died Charles II., and
James, Duke of York, succeeded to the throne. At once, through England,
the story was spread that he had been poisoned by the Jesuits to secure
the succession for James, and forestall the purpose of the King to
declare the legitimacy of his son, the Duke of Monmouth. So great was
the suspicion entertained against James, that this slander was very
widely believed, and alarm and resentment grew in the hearts of the
people. On the very first Sunday after his father's death James went in
solemn state to Mass, and at his Coronation refused to receive the
Sacrament at the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When the crown was set on his head it slipped, and nigh fell on the
floor; and this little incident was whispered, then bruited, through
England, and was regarded as a token from heaven that he was not the
rightful Sovereign, but an usurper.

Then came the punishment of that scoundrel, Titus Oates, richly
deserved; but Oates was a popular favourite, and his chastisement raised
him to the pedestal of a Protestant martyr.

It was well known that James aimed at the repeal of the Habeas Corpus
Act, and at the toleration--even promotion--of Popery, and the country
was in fevered agitation and brooding anger at what was menaced.

Such was the condition of affairs in the spring of 1685.

There had been catching weather, a few days of bright sunshine, and then
thunder-showers. Then the sky had cleared, the wind was well up to the
north, and, though the sun was hot, the air was fresh. It was scented,
everywhere except on the moor, with the fragrance of hay.

Julian Crymes was out of doors enjoying the balmy air and the sloping,
golden rays of the evening sun. She had some embroidery in her hands;
but she worked little at it. Her eyes looked away dreamily at the
distant moor, and specially at a little grey patch of sycamores, that
seemed--so remote were they--against the silvery moor, to be a
cloud-shadow. Behind that grey tuft rose Ger Tor, strewn with granite
boulders; and on one side opened the blue cleft of the Tavy, where it
had sawn for itself a way from the moor-land into the low country. The
dark eyes of the girl were full to spilling--so full that, had she tried
to continue her needlework, she would have been unable to see how to
make her stitches.

Her breath came short and quick, for she was suffering real pain--that
gnawing ache which in its initiation is mental, but which becomes
sensibly physical.

Julian had loved Anthony. She loved him still. When he had come that
evening of the fair to Kilworthy, her heart had bounded: her head had
been giddy with pleasure at seeing him again--above all, at seeing him
without his wife. Towards Urith she felt implacable, corroding hatred.
That girl--with no merit that she could see, only a gloomy beauty--a
beauty as savage as the moors on the brink of which she lived, and on
which Anthony had found her--that girl had shaken to pieces at a touch
her cloud-castle of happiness, and dissolved it into a rain of salt
disappointment.

Anthony was taken from her, taken from her for ever, and her own hopes
laid in the dust. Julian had battled with her turbulent heart; her
conscience had warned her to forget Anthony, and at times she really
felt as if she had conquered her passion. No sooner, however, did she
see Anthony again, than it woke up in full strength; and whenever she
saw Urith, her jealous rage shook itself and sharpened its claws.

Her father was away in London, and on the seat beside her lay a letter
she had that day received from him. He had written full of uneasiness at
the political and religious situation. Recently the Earl of Bath had
been down in the West of England with new charters to towns in Devon
and Cornwall, constituting new electoral bodies, or altering the former
bodies, and a hurried election had ensued, in which great pressure had
been used to obtain the return of the Court party, of Catholics and
Tories, by intimidation on the one side and by bribery on the other. Mr.
Crymes, however, supported by the authority of the Earl of Bedford, had
been returned for Tavistock in the Protestant interest, and he was now
in London, sitting in the first Parliament summoned by James II.

Titus Oates, whom the Protestants, or at all events the more ignorant
and prejudiced among them, believed in as a faithful witness, had been
whipped from Aldgate to Newgate one day, and two days after, again from
Newgate to Tyburn, for having revealed the Popish Plot, which was
declared to be a fabrication of his own imagination. He and Dangerfield,
another of these witnesses, had been pilloried. The King meditated the
repeal of the Habeas Corpus and the forcible introduction of the Roman
Catholic religion. It was rumoured that there was a rising in Scotland,
headed by the Duke of Argyle; there was a great uneasiness in London,
and a disturbance of spirits throughout the country. Though the Members
of Parliament had been elected in a questionable manner, so as to bring
together an undue preponderance of creatures of the Court; yet it had
not proved itself as submissive as the King expected. The letter
concluded with the words:--"How this will all end, God knows. For
myself, I doubt whether there will not be great troubles again even as
there were in the times of His Sacred Majesty King Charles I. For mine
own part, I would resist even unto blood, rather than see our religion
set at naught, and our liberties trampled under foot by Jesuits; and my
daily prayer is that the Lord will avert such things from us, and yet
with such extravagance and determination do things appear to be pressed
forward with this end, that I have not hope myself of a peaceable
issue."

Had Mr. Crymes been then beside his daughter, he might have supposed
that the sad political outlook had disturbed her mind, and had brought
the tears to her eyes and the flush to her cheeks; but she had read his
letter with indifference. His gloomy forecasts had hardly affected her
at all, for her heart was filled with its own peculiar bitterness.

What prospect of happiness opened before her? She cared for no one; she
could care for no one after having given up her heart to Anthony. From
childhood she had looked up to him as her allotted husband--she had
grown up with a daily-increasing devotion to him. His good looks, his
frankness had helped to make of him an idol before whom she bowed down
and worshipped. He was swept out of the horizon of her ambition, and it
had left that prospect utterly blank and colourless. She had valued her
fortune, her home, only as means of enriching Anthony, and giving him a
worthy position in the county. Her fortune was now wholly without value
to her. She would have been contented to be a beggar with him, if she
could have possessed him wholly as her own.

Suddenly she started, and lost her colour; she saw Anthony coming up the
drive to the house. He also saw her on the terrace, in her white gown
under the yew-trees, and he waved his hat to her. She beckoned to him;
she could not help herself. She knew that it would have been right for
her to fly up the steps and hide in the walled garden which occupied the
slope of the hill above the terraces, but she was powerless to move--to
withhold her hand from signing to him to draw near.

He obeyed at once, and came up the steps to the first terrace with a
shouted salutation.

How handsome he was! What dark, sparkling eyes! What wavy long hair,
that fell over his brow and cheeks as he took off his broad-brimmed hat,
so that he was forced to put his hands to his face and brush the thick
curly locks back.

Julian did not rise; she sat on her bench as though frozen, and her
blood stood still in her arteries. She looked at him with eyes large and
trembling between the lashes. Then he came striding towards her, with
his hearty salutation, and at once all the blood that had been arrested
in her veins, as Jordan when the Ark stood in its course, rushed back in
pent-up, burning floods, and so blinded and stunned her that for a
moment or two she could neither see nor speak.

After a few moments, during which he stood respectfully by her, hat in
hand, she looked up into his eyes, and asked why he had come.

He was warm with walking, and the drops stood on his brow, and he had a
heightened glow in his face. He was handsomer than ever, she exclaimed
inwardly, and then thought, "Oh! if he had been mine! been mine! as he
ought to have been--as he would have been but for----" Then she checked
herself, assumed a coolness she did not feel, and asked, "Has anything
else brought you here than the desire to give us honest pleasure at
seeing again an old friend?"

"Indeed, Julian," answered Anthony, "I have come on more self-seeking
purposes. We are behind with our hay at Willsworthy. The place lies so
high, and is so bleak, that we are a fortnight behind you here; and then
the weather has played us tricks, so that none has as yet been saved. I
want additional help; there are none save our two men and myself.
Solomon Gibbs counts naught, and I cannot ask help from Hall, as you
well know. I do not desire to ask a favour elsewhere, and so I have come
here to see Fox, and ask his help."

"Fox is away--I believe he is at Hall. But I can answer your question,
and grant your petition, which I do with a ready heart. How many men do
you want? I will send all you desire--I will come myself and help toss
the hay--No," she checked herself, as the thought of Urith rose within,
"no, I will not go near Willsworthy myself, but I will send the
workmen."

"I thank you," answered Anthony. "We do not grow rich shears of hay as
you do here; but what does grow is said to be sweet. I hope it may be
so, for it is not over-much."

There was a tone of disparagement in reference to Willsworthy that
struck Julian.

"I have heard Fox comment on the place," she said, "and he thinks well
of it."

"A thing may look well at a distance, that won't bear looking into close
at hand," said Anthony.

She looked at him, and his eyes fell. He had not meant more than he had
said, but when she thus glanced up with a query in her eyes, he thought
that perhaps his words might apply to other things than grass fields and
tumble-down farm buildings.

Julian took up the letter from the seat by her, and passed her hand
lightly over the seat, as a sign to him to take it.

He did so, without more ado. He was heated and tired with his walk.

Then Julian resumed her embroidery, and bowed her head over it. She
waited for him to start some topic of conversation. But he was silent.
He who had formerly been full of talk and mirth, had become reserved and
grave.

After a long and painful silence, Julian asked, in a low voice, "What is
Urith about?"

"I beg your pardon?" asked Anthony, roused out of a reverie.
"Urith--what about Urith?"

"I asked what she was about."

"I cannot tell. Nothing in particular, I suppose."

The same tone as that in which he had spoken about Willsworthy.

"Your marriage does not seem to have improved your spirits. I miss your
olden gaiety."

"I have enough to take that out of me. There is my father's continued
ill-humour. What think you of that, Julian? Is there any immediate
prospect of his coming to a better mind?"

"My brother could answer this question better than I, for I have no
occasion or opportunity for speaking with your father, whereas Fox is
over at Hall twice or thrice in the week."

"What makes him go there?"

"There you ask me what once more I cannot answer. But let us say he goes
in your interest. He is your friend."

"About the only friend I have left," said Anthony, with bitterness.

"Fox is not the man I would choose if I had the selection," said Julian.
"I should know him better than most, as he is my brother--that is to
say, my half-brother. I thank God--only my half-brother. Take heed to
yourself, Anthony, that he does not play you a scurvy trick."

"What can he do?"

"You are generous and forgiving. Fox is neither. He has not forgiven you
that blow with the glove that injured his eye."

"You wrong him, Julian."

"All I can say to you is--do not trust him. I never--never trust him.
If he says one thing he means the contrary. Did he tell you that he went
to Hall with the end of persuading your father to forgive you?"

"He did not even mention to me that he saw my father often."

"Well," said Julian, drawing a long breath, "whilst we are together,
which is not often now, not as it was, let us talk of matters more
pleasant than the habits and ways of action of Fox."

"What shall we talk about?"

"There!" said Julian, putting her father's letter into his hand. "Read
that. If you cannot find a topic, I must help you to one."

Anthony read the letter with an elbow on each knee and his legs wide
apart, so that his head was bent low. As he read, Julian's eyes were on
him. Involuntarily a sigh escaped her bosom. If he thought of it at all
he attributed it to sympathy with her father's anxiety; had he looked up
and seen her face, he would have been undeceived. It was well for him
that he did not.

The letter interested him greatly. Like the bulk of the young men of the
West, he was keenly alive to the political situation, and was a hot
partisan. The gathering together of the men in taverns led to eager
discussion of politics; the orderly Government of the Protector, and the
extravagance and exactions of the restored Royalty, had aroused
comparison. Under Old Noll the name of England had been respected
abroad, and the English people could not forget and forgive the
humiliation of the Dutch fleet in the Medway and the burning of Chatham.
Those who had no love for Puritanism were, nevertheless, ardent
supporters of Liberty, and firmly resolved that their country should not
be brought under Roman Catholic despotism. The ill-treatment of the
Waldenses had roused great feeling in England, collections for them had
been made in every parish church, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
was not forgotten, the exiled Protestants filled all England with the
tale of the cruelties and oppression to which they had been subjected,
and had helped to deepen to a dogged determination in men's hearts the
resolve never to suffer the Roman religion to obtain the mastery again
in the land.

Anthony's brow darkened and his lips tightened as he read. When he had
done the letter he started to his feet, planted his hat on his head, and
exclaimed:

"My God! I wish it would come to blows, and that I could carry a pike."

"Pshaw!" said Julian; "what excitable creatures you men are concerning
matters that move us not a whit. I have forgotten what my father wrote
about. Against whom would you trail a pike? With whom come to blows?"

Anthony did not answer, for it was not easy to reply to these questions.
He would fight for liberty and religion. But against whom? He dare not
breathe even to himself the thought that it would be against his King.

"And, pray, why come to blows?"

"If you had read your father's letter with attention, you would know.
For my part, I should hail war, if there were a chance of it, that I
might have some occupation for my hands."

"You have the hay," said Julian, ironically.

"I want space to move, air to breathe. I am cramped. I--I do not know
what I want," he said, and dashed his hat on the ground again, and threw
himself into the seat by Julian.

"How would Urith relish you taking the pike for any cause?"

Anthony did not answer. He was looking sullenly, musingly before him. He
had found out what troubled him--what took the brightness out of his
life. The circle in which he moved, in which his energies were expended,
was too cramped. To make hay! Was that a fitting work to occupy his mind
and powers of body? His world--was that to be the little
two-hundred-acre estate of Willsworthy?

"You have not been married above two months, and you are already sighing
with impatience to be away in a battle-field--anywhere but at home, poor
Anthony!" Her face was turned from him that he might not see how her
cheeks flamed.

He said nothing. He did not even bid her a good-by; but he rose, resumed
his hat, and walked away, with his head down, absorbed in his thoughts.



CHAPTER XXVII.

MATRIMONIAL PLANS.


Squire Cleverdon did not often visit his sister. She was vastly proud
when he did. What she would have liked would have been for him to drive
up to her door in a coach and four, the driver cracking his whip on the
box; but Squire Cleverdon did not keep a coach. Why should he? He had no
womankind to consider in his household. Of the fair and inferior sex
there was but Bessie, and Bessie never counted in old Anthony
Cleverdon's calculations. Had his wife lived, he probably would have had
his coach, like other gentlemen, not to please and accommodate her, but
out of ostentation. But as his wife had departed to another world, and
Bessie was too inconsiderable a person to be reckoned, he was glad to be
able to spare his purse the cost of a coach, which he could hardly have
purchased under a hundred pounds. As Magdalen Cleverdon could not see
her brother drive up in a coach, she was forced to be satisfied to see
him come as he would, on horseback, followed by two serving-men in his
livery, and to be content that her neighbours should observe that the
Cleverdons maintained so much state as to have men in livery to attend
on the head of the house.

She was much surprised one day to see him come on foot without
attendants. He was not a man to show his thoughts in his face, which was
hard and wooden, but his eyes expressed his feelings when the rest of
his face was under control--that is, when he did not screw down the lids
and conceal them.

Accordingly Magdalen could not gather from her brother's countenance the
purport of his visit, though she scrutinised it curiously.

He seated himself in one of her chairs, near the table, and laid his
stick across his knees; Magdalen waited with the deference she usually
paid him till he began the conversation; but he also, with unwonted
hesitation, deferred his communication to allow her to open the ball.

The silence became irksome to her, and she was the first to interrupt
it, and then with the remark that she was surprised to see him arrive
alone, and on foot.

"One does not require to have all the town know I am here, and know how
many minutes I remain," said he rudely, in reply.

Then again silence fell on both.

After another painful pause, Magdalen began: "Really, brother, I should
like to know for what reason you have come to do me the honour, and
afford me the _pleasure_ of your company. The white witch has a crystal
into which he looks, and in which he reads what he desires to know; but
you veil your eyes, and I cannot discover, or attempt to discover,
thence what your purport might be in coming hither."

Old Cleverdon fidgeted in his chair, dropped his stick, picked it up
again, and blurted forth: "I suppose you get that disobedient son of
mine tumbling in here every few days."

"Indeed, I do not, brother. Do you suppose that I countenance such
rebellious conduct?"

"I did not know. I considered, as he might not show his face in Hall,
that he came here for news about the place and me."

"I do not deny that I have seen him; but only rarely. He never did
affect my company greatly, and I cannot say that he visits me more
frequently since his marriage than he did before."

"I am glad to hear it. How is he getting on in his pigstye."

"I have not been there to see. He and she are content with it for a
while, and make no doubt that in the end you will forgive them, and be
the best of fathers."

"Do they?" exclaimed the Squire, with a harsh laugh and a flame on his
cheek. "Do they think that I have a head of dough, to be moulded into
what shape they list?" He struck the table with his stick, so as to
startle his sister and make her jump in her chair.

"Good heavens, brother! How excitable you are," said Magdalen; "and I
dare be bound you do not know that Mistress Penwarne is taken into the
Rectory at Peter Tavy, as housekeeper to your most dutiful and
respectful nephew Luke--an ancient harridan who, having set her
daughter against you, now does her utmost to make wildfire between your
son and you."

"What wildfire burns atwixt us is of his own kindling," said Squire
Cleverdon. "And does she reckon on setting herself in my armchair, and
ruling in my house, indeed! My son I might forgive had he married any
other, but not for having taken Urith."

"One beggarly marriage is enough in the family," said Magdalen. The
expression had slipped her tongue without consideration. She saw at
once, by the twitching of her brother's muscles, that she had stung and
enraged him. She hastened to amend her error by saying, "Yes, you were
drawn in by their designing ways. You had not then the knowledge of the
world that you now have. Having been entangled by unscrupulous and poor
wretches yourself, you would not have your son fall a prey to the
like--but he would sow his wild oats, and now must reap his crop."

"Yes," said old Anthony, "he must reap his crop, which will not grow one
of oats, but of thistles and nettles. 'Tis a cruel shame that Kilworthy
should go from the family."

"It has never been in it."

"That is true--never in actual possession, but so long in prospect as to
almost constitute a claim."

"But gone it is. Gone past the possibility of your getting it."

"I am not so confident of that as you seem to be," said Old Cleverdon,
snappishly. "In faith, sister Magdalen, you appear wondrous blind. Is
there no way of it coming, nevertheless, to be joined to Hall?"

"None that I can see. If Fox took Bessie to wife, he could not bring
Kilworthy with him, for that goes with Julian."

"Exactly. It goes with Julian; but who will take her?"

"You have no second son."

"No, I have not."

"Surely you do not dream of making Luke your heir, and marrying him to
Julian Crymes?"

"Luke!--who defied me by marrying Anthony to that hussy?"

"I thought not, brother, but--as the Lord is my helper--I see no other
way of compassing it."

"It has never lightened on your mind that I might take a second wife."

"You!"--Magdalen fell back in her chair, and raised her hands in
amazement. "You, brother Anthony! You!"

"Even so," he answered, grimly. "I am not young, but I am lusty; I am a
man of substance, and I reckon that Mistress Julian is not so besotted
as was my son. She, I presume, has had a desire like to mine, that the
two estates should be united, so as to make a large domain, and as she
cannot effect this by marrying an unripe fool, she can gain the same end
by taking me, a wise and mellow man of the world. The end is the same.
The two properties are united, and Julian Crymes has ever struck me as
having a clear and healthy mind. So--I doubt not--she will be as content
to have me as that Merry Andrew and Jack o' the Green, who has thrown
himself away at Willsworthy."

Magdalen's astonishment held her speechless for some time; at last,
seeing that her brother was offended at the astonishment she exhibited,
she said, "But, brother! has she given you any--hopes?"

"She has not. I have not approached her on the subject, but I thought
that you, as a woman, might sound her. Yet, I am not without my reasons
for believing that my suit would be accepted--though not immediately.
Fox Crymes has given me reason to hope."

"Fox!--But what----"

"If you will have patience, Magdalen, and will allow me to conclude what
I was saying, your mind will be more enlightened, and you will cease to
express so unbecoming, such indecorous, so gross incredulity. You forget
my position and my wealth. I am not, indeed, a Member of Parliament, as
is my friend Crymes, but I might have been had my views been more
favourable to the Catholic party. I have seen a good deal of Master
Anthony Crymes, my godson, of late; he has been to Hall several times in
the week, and then I threw out--in an uncertain way, and as if in
sport--the notion that, as Anthony had proved false, and had
disappointed Julian of her ambition to have the two estates united,
that I would consider about it, and might persuade myself to accommodate
her views by stepping into the position thrown up by my son."

"And what did he say?"

"He did not open his mouth and eyes into a stare unbecoming to the face,
and impertinent to me. He accepted the proposition cordially. He saw
nothing strange, preposterous, ridiculous in it. I should like to see,"
said the squire, working himself up into a white heat, "I should like to
see anyone, you, sister Magdalen, excepted, who would dare to find
anything strange, preposterous, ridiculous in me, or in any proposition
that I make."

"I tender ten thousand excuses," said Magdalen, humbly. "But, brother,
you entirely misunderstand me. If I gaped--"

"You did gape."

"I know I gaped and stared. I admit I opened my eyes wide, it was with
astonishment at your genius, at the clever and unexpected way in which
you overcame a great difficulty, and rallied after a great
disappointment."

"Oh! It was that, was it?" asked the Squire, relaxing some of his
severity and cooling.

"On my word as a gentlewoman. I never employed those words you attribute
to me. Indeed I did not. The only expletives becoming are of a very
different quality. So Fox agreed to the proposal?"

"Most heartily and warmly."

"But, brother, I misdoubt me if Fox has much influence with his sister.
They are ever spitting and clawing at each other, and it hath appeared
to me--and yet I may be wrong--that whatsoever the one suggests the
other rejects; they make a point of conscience of differing from each
other."

"All that," said the squire, "all that have I foreseen, and I have
provided against it. The proposal shall not be covertly favoured by Fox.
He shall, indeed, appear to set his face against it, but we shall make
Bessie our means of breaking the ice, and drawing us together. I have
some notion of letting Fox become Bessie's suitor--now, when he is
accepted, and has----"

"But--brother!"

"What in the name of the seven stars do you mean by your buts thrown in
whenever I speak? It is indecorous, it is insulting, Magdalen."

"I meant no harm, brother--all I ask is, has Bessie given her consent?"

"Bessie is not Anthony. What her father chooses, that she is ready to
submit to. I have always insisted on her obedience in all things, and
without questioning, to my will, and I have no reason to suppose that in
this matter she will go against my interests."

"But--brother!"

Master Cleverdon impatiently struck the table. "Did I not tell you,
sister Magdalen, that your _buts_ were an offence to me? Will you join
with Anthony in resistance and rebellion against me--_me_, the head of
the house? I have not come here, pray understand, to discuss this matter
with you, as though it needed to be considered and determined upon
conjointly between us, but to tell you what I have decided upon, and to
require you, as you value my regard, and look for any advantages to be
gotten from your connection with Hall, to support me, and to exercise
all your influence for me, and not against me."

"You cannot suppose for one moment, brother, that I would do anything
against you."

"I cannot say. Since Anthony revolted I have lost all confidence in
everyone. But I have no time to squander. Understand me. Persuade
Bessie, should she show tokens of disobedience--which is catching as the
plague--a dislike to submit herself in all things to my wishes, then you
may hold up Anthony as a warning to her, and let her understand that as
I have dealt by him, so I will deal by her if she resists me. Now you
will see what is my intention. When Bessie is married to Anthony Crymes,
they will live with me, for Anthony and Julian will be much forward and
backward between the two houses, as Bessie is her best of friends; and
thus she will come to see much of me and of Hall, and will be the more
ready insensibly, so to speak, to slide into my arms, and into the union
of the two estates. Not that I suppose at present she has any objection
to me, but, as Fox says, she will require some justification before the
world for taking the father after having been rejected by the son. If
she is often over at Hall, why--all wonder will cease, and it will come
about with the smoothness of an oiled wheel."

"I suppose so, brother--but----"

The Squire started up with an oath. "I shall regard you as an
opponent," he said, "with your eternal objections. Consider what I have
said, act on it, and so alone will you maintain your place in my
regard."

Then he left the house, grumbling, and slammed the door behind him, to
impress on his sister how ill-pleased he was with her conduct.

Time had not filled the cleft between Anthony and his father; and Fox
Crymes had done his best to prevent its being filled or being bridged
over; for he now saw a good deal of the old Squire Cleverdon, and he
took opportunity to drop a corrosive remark occasionally into the open
and rankling wound, so as to inflame and anger it. Now it was a reported
speech of Anthony, showing how he calculated on his father's
forgiveness; or a statement of what he would do to the house, or with
the trees, when his father died and he succeeded to Hall; or else Fox
told of some slighting remark on the beggary of everything at
Willsworthy, made by a villager, or imagined for the occasion by
himself.

The old man, without suspecting it, was being turned about the finger of
the cunning young Crymes, who had made up his mind to obtain the hand of
Elizabeth and with it Hall. So could he satisfy his own ambition, and
best revenge himself on Anthony and Urith.

The wit and malice of Fox acted as a grinding-stone on which the anger
of the Squire was being constantly whetted, as if it had not at the
first been sharp enough.

The old man could not endure the idea of his property ever falling to
the daughter of Richard Malvine--of Malvine blood ever reigning within
the walls of his mansion.

He had not yet altered his will, and he could not resolve how to do
this. He did not desire to constitute Bessie his heiress. He could not
reconcile himself to the thought of Hall passing out of the direct line,
of another than a Cleverdon owning the estate where his ancestors had
sat for centuries, and which he had made into his own freehold. All the
disgust he had felt when Elizabeth was born, and he found himself father
of a daughter as his first-born, woke up again, and he could not bring
himself to constitute her his heiress. Yet, on the other hand, it was
equally, if not more, against his will that it should pass to his
revolted son and the daughter of his mortal enemy. As he was thus
tossing between two odious alternatives, the idea of marrying Julian
himself lightened on his mind, and he seized it with desperate avidity;
yet not without a doubt he refused to give utterance to, or permit in
another. In a vague manner he hoped that the union of Fox and Bessie
might pave the way to his own marriage with Julian.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

A WIDENING OF THE RIFT.


"Urith," said Anthony, "we are to go together to the dance at the Cakes;
I have said we would."

"The dance, Anthony! It cannot be."

"Why not? Because I particularly desire it?"

"Nay--not so, assuredly; but the time is so short since my mother's
death."

"But our marriage makes that as nought. It has turned the house of
mourning into one of merriment--or--it should have done so. It suffices
I intend to go, and I will take you with me."

"Nay--Anthony, I would not cross you----"

"You do--you object." He spoke with irritation. "Do you not see, Urith,
that this life of seclusion is intolerable to me? I have been
unaccustomed to the existence which befits a hermit. I have been wont to
attend every merry-making that took place--to laugh and dance and sing
there, and eat and drink and be happy. I protest that it is to me as
displeasing to be without my amusement as it would be to a kingfisher to
be without his brook, or a peewhit to be condemned to a cage."

"But cannot you go without me?" asked Urith, disconcerted.

"No; it will be noted and remarked on. You are my wife--you are a bride.
You ought to, you must, appear where others are. Why should you spend
all your life in the loneliness of this--this Willsworthy? Do you not
feel as cramped by it as must have felt Noah in the Ark?"

"I do not, Anthony."

"You do not, because you have never been out of the Ark; bred in it,
you are accustomed to its confined atmosphere. I am not. I love to meet
with and be merry with my fellows, and I cannot go alone. Why, Urith, on
the fair day I went to Kilworthy, and there was Bessie. What did she say
to me, but--'You should not be here, be at any entertainment in a
neighbour's house without Urith?'"

"Did Bessie say that?"

"Yes, she did."

"Then I will go with you to the Cakes, Anthony."

It was customary in former times for the gentlefolks of a neighbourhood
to meet at each other's houses, at intervals, for dances and
carouses--the young folks for dances, their elders for carouses. On such
occasions the burden of entertainment did not fall wholly, or to any
serious extent, on the host in whose house the assembly took place. Each
guest brought with him or her a contribution to the feast--ducks, geese,
capons, eggs, cheese, bottles of wines, pasties, honey, fruit, candles,
flowers--very much as at a picnic nowadays, each party invited
contributes something. The host actually furnished little more than the
use of his house. Even the servants of the guests were expected to
assist, and generally attended on their own masters and mistresses,
behind whose chairs they stationed themselves.

The Cakes occupied a quaint old barton, named Wringworthy, in a central
position for the neighbourhood; and they had an excellent hall for a
dance, well appreciated by the young gentlefolks of the neighbourhood.

The evening for the dance arrived. Folk went early to a dance in those
days, before the darkness had set in. Many were on the road; none in
coaches; all on horseback--the young ladies seated on pads behind their
grooms.

Clattering along at a good pace came Fox, riding alongside of Elizabeth
Cleverdon. He had gone to Hall to fetch her. She was annoyed: she did
not understand the attention, in her simple mind. The idea never entered
that he had designs on her hand. She did not wish to feel prejudiced
against him; at the same time she did not like him, and was unable to
account to herself for this dislike.

Her father made much of him. Fox was now constantly at Hall, and he made
himself companionable to the old man. Bessie with pain contrasted his
conduct with that of her brother, who had never put himself out of the
way to be agreeable to his father--had not courted his society and
sought to be a companion to him. She was grateful to Fox for his efforts
to relieve the old Squire of his desolation by giving him so much of his
society.

Fox was her brother's friend, and she had no doubt that he was at Hall
with the purpose of doing his utmost to further a reconciliation between
Anthony and his father. For this she thanked him in her heart, yet she
could not stifle the dislike that would spring up and assert itself
notwithstanding. Nor did she like the look that Fox cast at her
occasionally. He meant no harm, doubtless; he was but showing her that
he was acting as her confederate in the cause which, as she trusted,
both had at heart. Nevertheless, she wished he would not look at her
with that cunning, wounding twinkle in his eyes.

Presently Fox and Bessie caught up Anthony riding with Urith on pillion
behind him. Fox greeted them boisterously, and Bessie threw him and
Urith a kiss. Anthony acknowledged Fox's greeting with warmth, but that
of his sister with a little coldness. He was annoyed with her for her
tameness in submitting to her father. There was no opportunity for more
than a word, as Fox urged on his horse and that of Elizabeth Cleverdon,
with his whip, to a pace with which Anthony was unable to keep up. The
old Willsworthy mare was a clumsy piece of horseflesh, not comparable in
any way with the beasts from Hall and Kilworthy stables. Anthony was
aware of this, and somewhat ashamed.

On reaching the house of the Cakes, the sound of music was audible--a
couple of fiddles, a bass, and a clarionette; but, in the noise of
voices, salutations, and laughter, the melody was drowned; only
occasionally the deep grunt of the bass, and the shrill wail of the
clarionette, like that of a teething babe, were audible.

The hall was full. It was not large, as we nowadays reckon size; but it
was of sufficient size to accommodate a good many, and not so large as
to make them feel chilled by the vastness of the space. From the hall
opened a parlour, in which were set out card-tables for the elders.

Directly Anthony and his wife entered, Bessie signed to Urith to sit by
her. She was uneasy at the pointed way in which Fox paid her attention,
kept near her, and talked with her. She could see that his conduct had
attracted notice, and that she was the subject of a good deal of remark.
She was sad at heart--little inclined for merriment; but she had come as
her father desired it; and always conscientious, and desirous to sink
her own feelings so as not to disturb and distress others, she concealed
her inner sadness, assumed a gentle, pleased manner natural to her when
in company. She had been wont from early childhood to shut up her
troubles within her heart from every eye, and to wear a composed
exterior; consequently this was less difficult to her now than it might
have been to others less self-disciplined.

Urith, moreover, was not best satisfied to find herself at a merrymaking
so shortly after her mother's death; and, besides, was so wholly
unaccustomed to one, that she felt frightened and bewildered. She
snatched at once at the chance of sitting by Bessie, as a relief to the
painful sense of loneliness and confusion in which she was, confused by
the crowd that whirled about her--lonely in the midst of it, because
strange to most of those composing it. Anthony was among friends. He
knew every one, and was greeted heartily by all the young people, male
and female; but she was thrust aside by them as they pushed forward to
welcome him, and she was jostled outside the throng which had compacted
itself around him.

At the most favourable time she would have felt strange there, for her
mother had never taken her to any rout at a neighbour's house; she had
been to no dances, no dinners--had been kept entirely aloof from all the
whirl of bright and butterfly life that had made country life so
enjoyable; and now she was oppressed with the inner consciousness of the
impropriety of appearing at a dance at such a brief interval after the
earth had closed over her mother. At once, with nervous
self-consciousness, Urith rushed into self-exculpation.

"I would not have come--indeed, I did not wish to come; but Anthony
insisted. He said he would not come without me; you had told him that,
and--I did not wish to stand in the way of his pleasures. He has worked
very hard; he has been cut off from his usual associates; he has had no
holiday--so I thought it well to come."

"Yes, you did right. You will find Anthony exacting. That he always
was, but good at heart," said Bessie.

"I do not dance myself--I cannot dance," said Urith, in further
self-excuse; "so that it will not seem so very strange my being here, if
I simply look on."

"You will have to dance--to open the ball with Anthony, I suppose, as
you are the bride."

"I! Oh, but I do not know how to dance. I never have danced. I do not
understand the figures. I do not distinguish between a brawl, a rant,
and a jig."

"That is unfortunate--but it will serve to excuse you; yet I think you
must essay to foot it once with Anthony. He is certain to insist on it."

"But I do not know----" Urith flushed. "How can I dance when I have
never practised the measures and the paces?"

At that moment Anthony came up.

"Come, Urith," said he; "we must open the ball. All are waiting for
you."

"But I cannot, Anthony."

He made a movement of impatience. "Nonsense, you must!" That was in his
old imperious manner, which Bessie knew so well.

Bessie said aside to Urith, "Make the attempt. You cannot well go
wrong."

Urith stood up--nervous, trembling, turning white and red, and with the
tears very near the surface.

"Look here," said Anthony. "Father thinks, because I am thrust out of
Hall, that everyone may kick at me--that I am of no account any more.
Let us show that it is otherwise. Let them see that I am something
still, and that my wife is not a nobody. Come!" He whisked her to her
place at the head of the room.

Urith saw that all eyes were on her, and this increased her nervousness.
As she passed Fox she caught his malicious eye, and saw the twirl of
laughter and cruel jest on his lip.

"I cannot--and let me alone, Anthony," escaped her again. She was
frightened.

"Have done. I do not want you here to make a fool of yourself and me;
and that you will do if you slink back to your place."

"But I cannot dance, Anthony."

"Folly! I will put you to-rights. With half a pinch of wit you cannot go
wrong."

The music struck up, the clarionette squealed, the violins sawed, and
the bass grunted. In a moment Urith was caught away--felt herself swung,
flying, she knew not where. She knew not what she was doing. She could
neither keep step with the music, nor discover the direction in which
she had to go. She saw faces--faces on every side--full of laughter,
amusement, mockery. She was thrown adrift from Anthony, was groping for
his hand; could not tell where he was, what she had to do; got in the
way of other dancers, was knocked across the floor, knocked back again;
ran between couples--then, all at once, she was aware of Anthony pushing
his way to her, with an angry face, and an exclamation of, "You are no
good at all; get back to your chair. I won't dance with you again and be
made a laughing-stock of."

He left her, where he had thrust her out of the dance, to find her way
back to Bessie, and strode off to Julian, caught her by the hand, and in
a moment was fully engaged.

He was maddened with vexation. It was unendurable to him that he had
been the occasion of laughter. Every other girl and woman in the room,
however plain, could dance--only his wife not. She alone must sit
against the wall! That it was his fault in forcing her to come against
her wishes--his fault in making her attempt to do what she had protested
her ignorance of--he did not recognise. The wife of Anthony Cleverdon
ought to take a prominent place--ought to be able to dance, and dance
well--ought to be handsomer, better dressed, more able to make herself
agreeable, than any other woman! And there she was--helpless! Handsome,
indeed; but with her beauty disguised by an unbecoming dress; silent,
sulky, on the verge of tears. It was enough to make his heart fill with
gall!

On the other hand, here was Julian Crymes in charming costume, bright of
eye, fresh of colour, full of wit and banter, moving easily in the
dance, light, confident, graceful. Julian was glowing with pleasure; her
dark eyes flashed with the fire that burned in her soul, and the hot
blood rolled boiling through her veins.

For some moments after she had taken her seat Urith was unable to see
anything. The tears of shame and disappointment filled her eyes, and she
was afraid of being observed to wipe them away.

But Bessie took her hand, and pressed it, and said, "No wonder you were
agitated at this first appearance in company. No one will think anything
of it, no doubt they will say you are a young and modest bride. There,
do not be discouraged; the same would have happened to me in your
circumstances. What--must I?"

The last words were addressed to Fox, who came up to ask her to dance
with him. She would gladly have excused herself, but that she thought a
dance was owing to him for his courtesy in coming to Hall to accompany
her.

"I am not inclined for more than one or two turns this evening," she
said to Fox; "for there are many here younger than I, and I would not
take from them the dances they enjoy so much more than myself."

As the tears dried without falling in Urith's eyes, and her heart beat
less tumultuously, she was able to look about her, and seek and find
Anthony.

It was with a stab of pain in her heart that she saw him with Julian.
They were talking together with animation, her great eyes were fixed on
him, and he bent his head over her. Urith knew the heart of Julian--knew
the disappointed love, the rage that consumed it; and she wondered at
her husband for singling this girl out as his partner. Then she
reproached herself; for, she argued, that this heart, with its boiling
sea of passion, had been revealed to her, not to him. He was unconscious
of it.

Urith followed him and Julian everywhere; noted the changes in his
countenance when she spoke; felt a twinge of anguish when, for a moment,
both their eyes met hers, and they said something to each other and
laughed. Had they laughed at her awkwardness in the opening dance?

Elizabeth passed before her on Fox's arm, and, as they did so, she heard
Fox say, "Yes, your brother is content now that he is with Julian. You
can't root old love out with a word."

Bessie winced, turned sharply round, and looked at Urith, in the hope
that this ill-considered speech had not been heard by her. But a glance
showed that Urith had not been deaf: her colour had faded to an ashen
white, and a dead film had formed over her sombre eyes, like cat-ice on
a pool.

Bessie drew her partner away, and said, with agitated voice, "You should
not have spoken thus--within earshot of Urith."

"Why not? Sooner or later she must know it--the sooner the better."

Bessie loosened herself from him, angry and hurt. "I will dance with you
no more," she said. "You have a strange way of speaking words that are
like burrs--they stick and annoy, and are hard to tear away."

She went back to take her place by Urith, but found it occupied. She was
therefore unable at once to use her best efforts to neutralise the
effect produced by what Fox had said.

Urith's face had become grave and colourless, the dark brows were drawn
together, and the gloomy eyes had recovered some life or light; but it
was that of a Jack-o'-Lantern--a wild fire playing over them.

Anthony danced repeatedly with Julian. The delight of being with him
again, of having him as her partner--wholly to herself--if only for a
few minutes, filled her with intoxication of pleasure, and disregard of
who saw her, and what was said concerning her. Her heart was like a
flaming tuft of gorse, blazing fiercely, brightly, with intense heat for
a brief space, to leave immediately after a blank spot of black ash and
a few glowing sparks; and Anthony stooped over her enveloped in this
flame, accepting the flattering homage, forgetful of his
responsibilities, regardless of the future, without a thought as to the
consequences. Her bosom heaved, her breath came hot and fast, her full
lips trembled.

Urith's eyes were never off them, and ever darker grew her brow, more
sinister the light in her eyes, and the more colourless her cheek.

Suddenly she sprang up. The room was swimming around her; she needed
air, and she ran forth into the night. The sky was full of twilight, and
there was a rising moon. Though it was night, it was not dark.

She stood in the road, gasping for air, holding the gate. Then she saw
coming along the road a dark object, and heard the measured tramp of
horses' hoofs. It was a carriage. Along that road, at midnight, so it
was said, travelled nightly a death-coach, in which sat a wan lady,
drawn by headless horses, with on the box a headless driver.

For a moment Urith was alarmed, but only for a moment. The spectral
coach travelled noiselessly; of this that approached the sound of the
horse-hoofs, of the wheels, and the crack of the whip of the driver were
audible.

The carriage drew up before the entrance-gates of the house, and a
gentleman thrust forth his head.

"Ho! there! Do you belong to the house? Run in, summon Anthony Crymes.
Tell him his father wants him--immediately."



CHAPTER XXIX.

CAUTIONS.


Urith entered the hall again, and told Fox that his father was without,
and wanted him.

"My father!" exclaimed young Crymes. "Oh! he is home from the Session of
Parliament, where they and the King have been engaged in offering each
other humble pie, for which neither party has a taste. What does he want
with me?"

"I did not inquire," answered Urith, haughtily.

Mr. Crymes had not known her in the road, when he called out to her to
send his son to him.

Fox was annoyed to have to leave the dance, but he could not disobey his
father, so he took his hat and coat, and went forth.

Mr. Crymes was waiting for him, in the coach.

"I heard you were here, on my way. Stirring times, my boy, when we must
be up and doing."

"So am I, father; you took me off from a saraband."

"Fie on it! I don't mean dancing. Come into the coach, and sit with me.
I have much to say."

"Am I to desert my partners?"

"In faith! I reckon the maids will be content to find another better
favoured than thee, Tonie."

Fox reluctantly entered the carriage, but not till he had made another
effort to be excused.

"Julian is here, is she to be left without an escort?"

"Julian has her attendants, and will be rejoiced to be free from your
company, as when together ye mostly spar."

When the coach was in movement, Mr. Crymes said, "I have come back into
the country, for, indeed, it is time that they who love the Constitution
of their country and their religion should be preparing for that
struggle which is imminent."

"I thought, father," said Fox, "you were sent up to Westminster to fight
the battle there. It is news to me that warfare is to be carried on by
Cut and Run. I suppose you were in risk of being sent to the Tower?"

The old man was offended.

"It will oblige me if you reserve your sarcasms for others than your own
father. I come home, and you sneer at me."

"Not at all; you mistake. I wondered how the Constitution was to be
preserved here, when the great place of doctoring and drenching the
patient, of bleeding and cupping, is at Westminster, and you were sent
thither to tender your advice as to how that same Constitution was to be
dealt with."

"The battle is not to be fought there," said Mr. Crymes, "nor with
tongues. The field of conflict will be elsewhere, and the weapons keener
and harder than words."

"The field of conflict is, I trust, not to be here," remarked Fox; "your
sagacity, father, has assuredly taken you to the furthest possible
distance from it. As soon as these weapons stronger than tongues are
brandished, I shall betake me to Lundy or the Scilly Isles."

"You are a coward, I believe," said Mr. Crymes, in a tone of annoyance.
"I expect to find in you--or, rather, but for my experience of you, I
might have reckoned on finding in my son--a nobler temper than that of a
runaway."

"But, my good father, what other are you?"

"If you will know," said Mr. Crymes, petulantly, "I have come into the
country--here into the West--to rouse it."

"What for?"

"For the cause of the Constitution and Religion."

"And when the West is roused, what is it to do? Stretch itself, and lie
down to sleep again?"

"Nothing of the kind. Tonie. I do not mind confiding to you that we
expect a revolution. It is not possible to endure what is threatened.
The country will--it must--rise, or will lose its right to be considered
a free and Protestant country." Mr. Crymes waited, but, as his son said
nothing, he continued. "The Duke of Monmouth is in the Low Countries,
and is meditating an invasion. The Dutch will assist; he is coming with
a fleet, and several companies levied in Holland, and we must be
organised and ready with our bands to rise as soon as he sets foot in
England."

"Not I," said Fox. "If you, father, venture your neck and bowels for
Monmouth and the Protestant cause, I content myself with tossing up my
cap for King James. Monmouth's name is James as well as his Majesty's,
so my cap will not compromise me with either; and, father, I only toss
up my cap--I will not risk my neck or bowels for either by drawing
sword."

"You are a selfish, unprincipled rogue," said Mr. Crymes. "You have
neither regard for your country nor ambition for yourself."

"As for my country, I can best care for it by protecting such a worthy
member of it as myself, and my ambition lies in other lines than
political disturbance. I have not heard that either side got much, but
rather lost, by taking parts in the Great Rebellion, whether for the
Parliament or for the King. The only folk who gained were such as put
their hands in their pockets and looked on."

"By the Lord!" exclaimed the old gentleman, "I am sorry that I have such
a son, without enthusiasm, and care for aught save himself. I tell you
the Earl of Bedford secretly inclines to the cause of Monmouth, and has
urged me to come down here and stir the people up. Now, when his
Lordship----"

"Exactly," scoffed Fox. "Exactly as I thought, he keeps safe and throws
all the risk on you. Nothing could so induce me to caution as the
example of the Earl of Bedford."

In the meantime, Bessie, at the dance, was in some uneasiness. She had
missed Urith when she went out of the house, and, after her return,
noticed that her face was clouded, and that she was short of speech.
Bessie took Urith's hand in her lap and caressed it. She did not fully
understand what was distressing her sister-in-law. At first she supposed
it was annoyance at her failure in dancing, but soon perceived that the
cause was other. Urith no longer responded to her caresses, and Bessie,
looking anxiously into her dark face and following the direction of her
eyes, discovered that the conduct of Anthony was the occasion of Urith's
displeasure. Anthony was not engaged to Julian for every dance, but he
singled her out and got her as his partner whenever he could, and it was
apparent that she took no pleasure in dancing with anyone else; she
either feigned weariness to excuse her acceptance of another partner, or
danced with him without zest, and with an abstracted mind that left her
speechless.

Bessie Cleverdon, the last person in the room to think hardly of
another, the most ready to excuse the conduct of another, was hard put
to it to justify her brother's conduct. He did not come to his wife
between the dances, treating her with indifference equal to a slight,
and he lavished his attentions on Julian Crymes in a manner that
provoked comment.

"They are old friends, have known each other since they were children,
have been like cousins, almost as brother and sister," said Bessie, when
she felt Urith's hand clench and harden within her own as Anthony and
Julian passed them by without notice, engrossed in each other.

"You must think nothing of it--indeed you must not. Anthony is pleased
to meet an old acquaintance and talk over old times. It is nothing
other," again she protested, as Urith started and quivered. The bride
had encountered Julian's eye, and Julian had flashed at her a look of
scorn and gratified revenge. She was fulfilling her threat, she was
plucking the rose out of Urith's bosom.

Presently, Julian came across the room to Bessie with eyes averted from
Urith.

"Come with me," said she to Bessie Cleverdon, "I want a word with you.
I am hot with dancing. Come outside the porch." She put her arm within
that of Anthony's sister, and drew her forth on the drive, outside.

When there, Julian said, "Bessie, what is this I hear on all sides. Are
you engaged?"

"Engaged! What do you mean?"

"Engaged to Fox. I am told of it by first one and then another;
moreover, his attentions to you were marked, and all noticed them; that
has given strength to the general belief."

"It is not true. It is not true!" exclaimed Bessie, becoming crimson
with shame and annoyance; "who can have set such a wicked story afloat?"

"Nay, I cannot tell that. Who can trace a piece of gossip? But the talk
is about, in the air, everywhere. There must be some foundation for it."

"None at all, I assure thee--most seriously, and most honestly, none at
all. You pain me inexpressibly, Julian. Deny it whenever you hear it.
Contradict it, as you love me."

"I do love thee," answered Julian, "and for that reason I have hoped it
was false, for I pity the maid that listens to Fox's tongue and believes
his words. If it be true----"

"It is not true; it has not a barleycorn of truth in it."

"But he has been much at Hall, every week, almost every other day."

"Because he is Anthony's friend, and he is doing what he can for him
with my father."

Julian laughed. "Nay, never, never reckon on that. Fox will do no good
turn to anyone, leastwise to Anthony. He go twice or thrice a week to
Hall on other concern than his own! As well might the hills dance. Trust
me, if he has been to Hall so oft, it has been that he sought ends and
advantages of his own. I never knew Fox hold out the end of his
riding-whip to help a friend."

"That may be," said Bessie Cleverdon. "But he has not come for me. I
pray let my name be set aside. I have nothing to do with him. He has not
so much as breathed a word touching such a matter to me. I pray you deny
this whenever you hear it, and to whomsoever you speak concerning it."

Julian laughed.

"I am glad I have thy word that there is naught in it, as far as thou
art concerned. I spoke of it to Anthony, and he also laughed me out of
countenance thereat. But he trusts Fox. I would not trust him save to
trip up or stab in the back, an enemy. Do'st know, Bess, what notion
came on me? I fancied that Fox was seeking thee, because he reckoned
that the strife between Anthony and his father would never skin over,
and that the old man would make thee his heir."

"No! no!" exclaimed Elizabeth, in distress. "Do not say such things, do
not think such things. I am certain that you mistake Fox. He is not so
bad as you paint him."

"What! you take up the single-stick to fight in his defence?"

"I will fight in defence of any man who is maligned. I cannot think of
Fox what you say. I pray say no more hereon. You pain me past words to
express, and there really is no ground for what you do say."

"Take care! take care! Bess. I know Fox better than do you, better than
does anyone else, and he may yet play you such a move as will checkmate
you."

Elizabeth did not answer. The two girls took a turn on the lawn
together, and Bessie drew Julian's arm tighter to her side; she even
laid her disengaged hand on her shoulder, clinging to her as a
supplicant.

The attitude, her manner was so full of entreaty, that Julian halted in
her walk, turned to her, and asked, "What is it that you want, Bess?"

"My dear--dear Julian," Elizabeth stroked Julian's arm with her gentle
hand, "O Julian! Do, I pray thee, not dance any more with Anthony."

"Why not, Bess?"

Elizabeth hesitated. She was unwilling, almost unable to express her
reasons. An unrest was in her bosom, a fear in her heart, but nothing
had taken distinct shape.

"My dear, dear Julian, I entreat you not. You should feel that it were
fit that my brother should dance this evening with his wife--with
Urith."

"She can no more dance than a goose," answered Julian, bluntly.

"That is true--I mean she cannot dance very well; but it is not seemly
that she be left out altogether, and that he should be so much with
you."

"Why not? We are old friends."

"Do you not feel, Julian, that it is unfitting? She--I mean Urith--must
feel hurt."

"She is hurt!" repeated Julian, with a thrill of triumph in her voice;
but this Bessie did not notice. It never for a moment occurred to her
that it could give exultation to Julian to know that she had pained
another.

"Indeed, you must consider," pursued Bessie. "The poor young thing has
not had the chance of learning to dance, and Anthony is without much
thought; he seeks his pleasure. Young men do not think, or do not
understand the hearts of girls. I watched Urith, and I believe that
every step you took trod on her heart."

"It did!" Her tone shocked Bessie, who for a moment released her arm and
looked in her face, but in the darkness could not see the expression.

"Indeed it did," she continued; "for, as she could not dance, it seemed
a slight to and forgetfulness of her that she was left to sit out, and
Anthony amused himself with you and with others. He meant no harm, I
know that very well; but, nevertheless, he hurt her much, and she bled
with inward pain. She was shamed, and should not have been shamed before
a great many people on her first appearance after her marriage, at a
rout."

"You should administer your exhortations, Bess, to Anthony. I have not
the custody and responsibility of that wild, vixenish colt, Urith."

"I cannot get a word with Anthony, and you, Julian, are dancing with him
three times to any other partner's one."

"Would you have him sit down at her side and twiddle his thumbs, like a
disgraced child in a corner?"

"I would have him and you think of the feelings of a young girl who is
sad at heart," said Bessie, gravely. Julian's tone distressed her; a
glimmer of the true condition of affairs entered her mind and filled it
with horror and indignation.

"Julian," she said, in a firmer tone, with less of appeal in it and more
of command, "at one time I used to think that we were like to become
sisters----"

"What, by your taking Fox? It is not too late."

"Do not--do not banter on that subject. You know my meaning. I did
suppose that Anthony would have sought his happiness in you. But it has
pleased God to order it otherwise. Now he must find his happiness--not
at Kilworthy, nor at Hall, but at poor little Willsworthy, that bleak
moor farm, and not with you, but with Urith. He has sacrificed a great
deal for her--lost his home, lost his father, almost lost me, has given
up wealth and position, and he must be compensated for these losses in
his own new home. It is not right that you--that anyone should do
anything to spoil this chance, to rob him of his compensation in full.
Anthony can be nothing to you for the future. Leave him alone. Do not
play with him, do not draw him away from Urith. He has now already
mighty odds against him; do not, for God's sake, do anything that may
make the odds overwhelming, and blight and ruin his happiness here and
for ever. For, Julian, it is now, in the first months of marriage, that
his state will be determined one way or the other. Mar the concord
between him and his wife now, and it may never again be found; and that
concord lost, with it to wreck goes the whole life of my brother. If
ever, Julian, you had any love for Anthony, if now you have any kindly
feeling towards him, let him alone."

She paused and waited for an answer. None came, Julian walked faster,
dragged her up and down the lawn as she clung to her.

"It was Anthony's doing that Urith came to-night; she was averse to
appear, but he insisted on it. She told him she could not dance; he
forced her to take her place with him at the head of the room for a
measure. Did she ever seek him out? Never. He thrust himself upon her.
When her mother died, she had no desire to be hurried into marriage, but
he overruled all her objections. He, ever thoughtless, inconsiderate of
others, has taken her up out of her old course of life----"

"Enough, enough about her," said Julian, "when you speak of her my anger
foams. Speak of him, of his happiness jeopardised, and I cool. What! Has
it come to this, that I--I in my gloveless hands hold the fortunes, hold
the hearts of these two, to beat and batter them together, and crush
and break them both? What if I threaten to do it?"

"You are too good at heart to make the threat, or, if made, to make it
good."

Julian was silent again. She took several turns in front of the house.
The sounds of revelry streamed out to them. Through the open porch door,
along with the light, and occasionally in the porch itself, came a flash
of colour as a girl stood there in her bright-tinted dress with the
blaze of the candles upon her. Bats were wheeling, and their shrill
scream pierced the ear.

"Let me alone, Bess," said Julian. "I cannot breathe, I cannot think
when you are by me; my head is like a weir, and all my thoughts tumble,
boiling, spattering over, beaten to foam."

Elizabeth withdrew to the porch, where she seated herself, and watched
the excited girl on the lawn. She had put her hands to her head and was
still pacing up and down, now fast, then slowly, according as her
passion or her good nature prevailed.

Then out at the door came Anthony, shouting, "Where is Julian? She
promised to dance the Mallard with me! Bessie, have you seen her? I
claim her for the Mallard."

Julian heard his voice, and stepped back under the shade of a bank of
yews. There was before her gravel, and in that gravel a piece of white
spar that shone like a flake of snow in the dark. If she stepped out to
that piece of spar he would see her, claim her, and--her evil nature
would have got the upper hand. Whither would it lead her? She did not
ask that. She saw before her now only the alternative of a half-hour's
mad pleasure on the arm of Anthony, of cruel triumph over his already
humiliated wife, and abandonment of the contest.

The struggle was over with unexpected brevity. The tune of the Mallard
struck up, and Anthony went back into the hall without her, to seek for
her there, or to find there another partner.

Then Julian heard the burst of voices in song, for the Mallard was a
country dance led by two, with chorus by all the performers as they
turned their partners, and went in chain with linked, reversed arms,
down the room.


     SHE:  When lambkins skip, and apples are growing,
            Grass is green, and roses ablow,
           When pigeons coo, and cattle are lowing,
            Mist lies white in the vale as snow.

         CHORUS:  Why should we be all the day toiling?
                   Lads and lasses along with me!
                  Done with drudgery, dust, and moiling,
                   Come along to the greenwood tree.

     HE: The cows are milked, the teams are a-stable,
           Work is over with set of sun.
         Ye farmer lads, all lusty and able,
           Ere the moon rises begins our fun.

         CHORUS: Why should we, etc.


Julian came to the porch to Elizabeth.

"Go," said she, "tell my servants to make ready. I will return home. I
will not go indoors again, till the horses are at the door. My father
has returned, and Fox is with him. Be that my excuse."

Bessie put up both her hands to the face of Julian, drew down her head
to her, and kissed her. Then she disappeared.

Julian remained without, listening to the ballet.


     SHE:  O sweet it is to foot on the clover,
             Ended work, and revel begun,
           Aloft the planets never give over,
             Dancing, circling round of the sun.

         CHORUS: Why should we, etc.

     HE: So Ralph and Phil, and Robin and Willie,
           Kiss your partners, each of you now;
         Bet and Prue, and Dolly and Celie,
           Make your curtsey; lads! make a bow.

         CHORUS: Why should we be all the day toiling?
                   Lads and lasses along with me!
                 Done with drudgery, dust, and moiling,
                   Come along to the greenwood tree.



CHAPTER XXX.

THE RIDE HOME.


When Julian Crymes had departed, it appeared to Anthony that the dance
had lost its principal charm, and he wearied of it.

"Come, Urith," said he; "I think we will go. It is late." This was
almost the only time he had spoken to her since the opening dance.

"I am ready," she answered; "have been for two hours."

He went forth to see after the horse, and had it brought round to the
door. He took his place in the saddle, and Urith sat behind him. They
rode forth from the grounds into the high road, along which their course
lay for a mile and a half, after which it diverged over moor. Anthony
did not speak, and Urith remained equally silent. She had her hand on
his belt, and he felt the pressure. He was vexed with her; she had not
done him credit that evening. She was uncouth, and unfit to associate
with people accustomed to social intercourse--unable to take a part in
the amusements such as is expected of every young person. She was
decently dressed, but without richness and refinement of taste, and in
an old-fashioned gown that had been her mother's. The blood rushed into
his head as he thought of how folks must have laughed at him and her
when she failed in the opening dance. She was the bride of the evening;
every one was prepared to concede to her the place of pre-eminence, but
she had shown herself wholly incapable of occupying the place offered
her. Then how uninteresting she had appeared beside the other girls
present! Their faces had been radiant with mirth, hers dull with
discontent and ill-humour.

What if he had appeared there with Julian as his bride? How different
all would have been! She would have been well, handsomely dressed, and
in all the inherited jewelry of the Glanvilles. She would not have sat a
whole evening mum against the wall. She would have shown herself queen
of the revel. A warm breath, sweet as if laden with gorse essence,
fanned his face at the thought, and was followed at once by a sharp and
icy blast. Julian had been refused by him with all her wealth, her rank,
her accomplishments, her beauty, and what had he acquired instead?

How could he have supposed that Urith was devoid of all those feminine
delicacies of manner which enable a woman to place herself at ease in
all society? She had thrown a cold, wet blanket over his joy on this
first coming forth into the world from his seclusion at Willsworthy.
Then Anthony went on spinning at the same dark thread of ideas. He asked
himself what there was in Urith that had attracted him, why it was that
he had been so infatuated as to throw his luck to the winds so as to
possess her. When the head begins to reckon, then the heart is on the
way to bankruptcy.

He counted over the advantages he had rejected, measured the sacrifices
he had made for Urith's love, and he asked what she could throw into the
scale to outweigh all this?

His hand twitched the bridle, and made the horse toss his head and
plunge.

Urith also was occupied with her own thoughts. It had been a relief to
her to get away from the laughter and music and revelry of Wringworthy;
she thought that, could she be away from the heated room and swaling
candles, in the cool night air, under the stars, her tranquillity of
mind would return. But it was not so. Anthony's silence, her sense of
having offended him by her clumsiness, her dread lest his love for her
should be cooling; above all, the haunting spectre of a fear lest Julian
should be fulfilling her threat, and be weaning from her the heart of
her husband, followed her, and filled her blood with fever. But she
strove against this fear, fought it with all the weapons at her command.
It was impossible that his love, so strong, so unselfish, which had cost
him so much, should evaporate, and that his heart should sway about like
a weathercock. The resolution wherewith he had pursued his end, that
proved him to have a strong character, and not one that is turned about
in every direction.

He had some excuse for being out of humour. He was proud of her. He had
desired to let all see what a woman he had got as his wife. He was
disappointed, and the depth of his disappointment was the measure of
his pride in her.

But then there rose up before her mind the picture of Julian on
Anthony's arm, with burning cheeks and bright eyes, looking up in his
face, and his eyes resting upon her with a warmth that should be in them
only when fixed on the face of his wife. Did she not know that glow in
his countenance? That fire in his eye? Had he not looked at her in the
same way before they were married?

"Do you intend to drag me off my horse?" asked Anthony, "that you pull
at my belt so roughly?"

"And you, that you draw the rein so short and make the mare rear?"

Urith knew nothing of the world. It had ever seemed to her inconceivable
that after the bond and seal of marriage the thought of either should
stray; that any one should dare to dream of loving a man who was pledged
in heart and mind and soul to another woman. Yet Julian as much as told
her she still loved Anthony, would use all her fascinations to draw him
to her and away from his wife. Was Anthony so weak that his conscience
would suffer him to be thus attracted from the place of duty? No--a
thousand times, no. He was not so feeble, so lacking in moral strength
as this.

They had turned off the high road upon the moor. Here was no stoned
road, no road that lay white in the darkness before them, but turf, by
daylight recognisable as a road by hoof marks, and the fret of feet over
the turf. By night it could be followed only by observing stones set up
at intervals and capped with whitewash. Stones had been picked off the
roadway and thrown on one side, so that the turf was smooth almost as a
racecourse. The head of the horse was turned now somewhat easterly. The
sky above the rugged moor range was silvery, and from behind a rocky
crest rose the moon, doubled in size by the haze that hung over the
moor, and seemed like a mighty flame of the purest white light.

"There, there!" said Urith. "Do you see, Anthony; the moon is up above
that old Lyke Way, along which we made our first journey together."

She disengaged her hand from his belt, and put it round his waist.

He raised his head and looked away to the east, at the ridge of moor
and rock, black against the glittering orb. He remembered then how he
had mounted her on his horse--how he had stood by her and looked into
her eyes! He recalled the strange magic that had then come over him--a
longing for her, mingled with a presentiment of evil--a fear lest she
were drawing him on to destruction. That fear was verified--she had
lured him on to his ruin. He was a ruined man; he had lost all that he
valued--the esteem of his fellows, the comforts and luxuries of life.
Then began again the odious and monotonous enumeration of the sacrifices
he had made.

Why did Urith remind him of that ride? Did she want to find occasion to
reproach him? Was it not enough that he was scourging himself with the
whips of his own thoughts for his precipitate folly in marrying her?

But Urith was not at that moment thinking of reproach. She breathed moor
air, was beyond hedges and enclosures, in the open, vast, uncultivated
heather-land, and there her brain had cooled, and her heart had
recovered composure. The atmosphere was other than that of a ball-room,
which had filled her with intoxication, and had bred phantoms that had
affrighted her.

As he rode on, with the light of the rising moon on his face, Anthony
felt the pressure of Urith's hand below his heart. The pressure was
slight, and yet it weighed heavy on him, and interfered with his
breathing; that light hand, as it rose and fell with the motion of the
horse, and at each inhalation, seemed to strike reproachfully against
his side, to knock, and bid him open to better thoughts.

How was it that he was so changed--that he, who had forced himself on
the reluctant Urith, had not let her alone till she had yielded to his
persistency to precipitate the marriage--that he should be trying to
shift the blame on her? If he had made sacrifices to win her, she had
not invited him to do so; he had done it with his eyes open--he had done
it moved by no other influence, urged by his own caprice solely.

It had never occurred to him that Urith had made sacrifices on her part;
that he had demanded them of her, and given her no rest till they were
made. He had made her marry him against her conscience and wishes, too
quickly after her mother's death, and against her mother's dying
orders. But he considered that what was done could not be undone, that
as he had made his bed, so must he lie, as he had laden himself, so he
must trudge. What then was the use of repining, and fretting over the
past?

"Yet--it was the Lyke Way," he said, in a low tone, "the way of death,
on which we set our feet together."

"No," she said, "not altogether." She released her hand from his heart,
and placed it on the arm that held the bridle. "Stay the mare a moment,
Tonie."

"Why?"

"I have something to tell you."

"Can you not say it as we ride on--it is late?"

"No--stay the mare."

He drew rein.

"Well--what is it?" he asked, a little impatiently.

She looked round.

"We are quite alone?"

"Yes--of course--who else could be here?"

Then she put her hand on his shoulder. "Turn your ear to me, Tonie. I
will not say it aloud."

He did as required. But she did not speak for a few moments.

He showed signs of impatience.

Then she gathered resolution, and whispered something into his ear; only
a word or two, but he started, and turned in his saddle.

"What! Urith--is it true?"

"I must not ride with you more after to-night," she said, and her eyes
fell.

Then he put his arm round her, and drew her to him, and kissed her on
one cheek, then on the other, then on her mouth, and laughed aloud.

"Hold tight!" he said. "Put both arms round me, both hands on my heart!
O Urith! Urith! What will my father say when he knows this? He will
relent. He must."



CHAPTER XXXI.

FAMILY JARS.


"What is the meaning of the strange talk that is about concerning thee
and Elizabeth Cleverdon?" asked Julian of her brother, at breakfast next
morning.

"Nay, that is putting on me more than I can do. I should be sorry to
account for all the idle talk that blows and drifts about on the stream
of conversation, like leaves of autumn on a trout pool."

"I heard it yesterday, and you certainly showed her great attention so
long as you were at the dance."

"Did I show her more attention than you showed to one I do not name?
Faith! if I had listened to and picked up the scraps of scandal cast
about, I might have filled an apron with what wanton words I heard
concerning thee."

He looked hard at Julian, and their eyes met. She coloured, but shook
off her embarrassment, and turned to her father and said: "The saying is
that my brother is setting his cap to catch Bessie Cleverdon."

Mr. Crymes became grave, and looked at his son. He was a stern and
Puritanical man, who had kept himself aloof from his children, never
entering into their amusements, and concerning himself with what they
did. Julian's fortune was assured to her, and his son would inherit
something, the relics of the paternal estate, and what he had saved when
managing for Julian.

"Is there anything in this, Anthony?" he asked. "On my honour, I am
surprised."

"There is truth and there is falsehood in it," answered Fox, carelessly.
"It has come to this, that as Julian cannot be Anthony Cleverdon's wife,
it lies open to her to become his mother. Old Master Cleverdon is
nothing loth, and, if she will accept him, she will have the opportunity
of bringing the father to good terms with the son, for, from what I have
seen, the happiness of Tonie lies very near to my sister's heart. If she
declines the old man, I shall try my fortune with his daughter."

"This is absurd, Fox," said Julian, highly incensed.

"Absurd it may be--but the old gentleman has his head full of it, and
has commissioned me to sound his way with you."

"Be silent," said Julian, very red, very angry, "I do not believe one
word of this; but that you are aiming at Bessie, that I do believe,
though when I asked her about it, she had no knowledge of anything of
the kind."

"Before we proceed to consider my affairs, let us settle yours," said
Fox. "Am I to tell Squire Cleverdon of Hall that you will not favour his
suit, being already too deep gone in attachment to the son?"

"Silence to that slanderous tongue!" said Mr. Crymes, wrathfully.
"Julian at one time was thought of in reference to young Tony Cleverdon,
but he did not fancy her, but took Urith Malvine. From that moment the
name of Tony Cleverdon, in connection with my daughter and your sister,
is not to be employed in jest or earnest, by you or any other.
Understand that."

"Then," said Fox, with his eye on his father, out of the corner, "let
her keep herself out of folks' mouths, and not be like a rat I saw
'tother day, that ran into the jaws of my terrier, mistaking his open
mouth for a run."

"What is he aiming at?" inquired Mr. Crymes, turning to his daughter. "I
know he has a wicked tongue, but I cannot think he can speak without
some occasion."

"There is nothing--that is to say--" Julian became confused. "Why may I
not speak to--why not dance with an old, old friend?"

"I have no command to lay on you not to speak to, not to dance with an
old friend," said her father, "but everything in moderation; take notice
from your brother that evil eyes look out for occasion, therefore give
none. If Ahab had no weak places in his armour, the bow drawn at a
venture would not have sent an arrow to him with death at the point. No
bluebottles are bred where carrion is not found."

Julian looked down abashed, then, with woman's craft, shifted the
subject.

"It is nonsense that Tony speaks. I do not believe for an instant that
Master Cleverdon has any suit for me in his head--if he has, no marvel
if folk talk, but God be wi' me, it will not be I who occasion it."

"What do you mean by this?" asked the father, now turning to his son.
"Has my friend Cleverdon said aught to justify you?"

"My dear father, if you wish it, and Julian does not object, he will
step from the position of good friend into son. He has cast an eye on
Kilworthy, and as Kilworthy cannot be had without Julian, i' faith, he
will take both."

"Let him dare to offer this to me!" exclaimed Julian, "and until he
does, pass it over. I refuse to accept any message through such a
go-between."

"It is no fault of mine," said Fox, "if the father thinks that some of
the overspill of love and languishment for his son may rebound to him. I
do not see how Jule, if she desire to chastise her faithless lover for
having despised her charms, can do so more effectually and more
cuttingly than by taking his father. Then Tony Cleverdon is in her hands
absolutely. She can reconcile her father to him or tear them apart for
ever. She can bring him, if she will, to bite the dust at her feet, to
fawn at her knee, and to a woman such power is precious."

"That suffices," said Mr. Crymes; "you heard what was her answer. She
will speak no more on this matter with you. If Cleverdon comes to me
with the suit, I will know what reply to make; if he goes to Julian, she
can answer him herself. Meanwhile do you keep silence thereon. I but
half trust what thou sayst. Such fancies breed in thy perverse mind.
Come now to the other matter. Is it true that you see Elizabeth
Cleverdon? For her sake I trust not, for I esteem her exceeding well, as
much as I reckon thee below the general level of good men. If I thought
there was aught mendable in thee that could be shaped by the hands of a
good wife, I would say God prosper thee. But I fear me thou art
over-rotten at the heart to be ripened to any good, over-hard to be
moulded to a vessel of honour."

"I do not see why you should think so ill of me, father," said Fox,
sullenly; "unless it be that your ear has drunk in all the complaints
Julian has poured out against me. What she says you accept, what I say
you cast away. Then, I fancy, the time is come when you will be glad to
have me married and got rid of."

"You do seek marriage?"

"I seek to be away from those who flout and despise me, who cross me
and mistrust me. At least Squire Cleverdon and I understand each other,
and regard each other."

"Yes," broke in Julian; "for in each is the same yeast of sourness."

"Be silent, Julian," commanded her father. "Let me hear the boy out."

"What concern me the quirks and hints I hear concerning Jule?" pursued
Fox, unable, in spite of his father, to contain himself from a stroke at
his sister; "let them fly about thick as midges, they are naught to
me--they do not sting me. Why, father, you should grudge me Bessie
Cleverdon, I cannot see. If you respect her so highly--think so
excellent well of her--I doubt but no other maid would so content you as
a daughter-in-law as she."

"A better girl does not exist," answered Mr. Crymes. "I would desire her
a better fate than to be united to thee."

"She is not comely, that is a fact," continued Fox, "but she will be the
richest heiress in all the Tavistock district--between here and Plymouth
and Exeter. Now that Master Cleverdon has fallen out with his son, and
that there is no riddance by Anthony of the wife with whom he has
saddled himself, not to please his father, or himself--or Jule
yonder----"

Mr. Crymes brought his fist down on the table.

"I will drive thee out of the room at another word against thy sister."

"Do you notice, father," exclaimed Julian, with flaming cheeks, "it is
poor Bessie's money and the lands of Hall that he covets, and he seeks
this by levering out of his place his best friend and old comrade."

"Did I lever him out of his place?" retorted Fox. "He did it himself,
and never a little finger did I put to help in his upsettal."

"No, but you are ready to profit by his loss; ready, if you could, to
get me as your confederate in fencing every inlet by which he might
return to his father," said Julian, vehemently.

"Because one man is a fool, is that reason why his friend--as you choose
to term me--should not be wise? Because one man throws away a diamond,
why his comrade should not pick it up and wear it on his finger?"

"The case is not the same. It is taking the jewel, and smiting the
rightful owner in the face when he puts forth his hand to reclaim it,
and that rightful owner--your friend."

"My friend!" exclaimed Fox, angrily. "Why should you call Anthony
Cleverdon 'my friend?' Was it an act of a friend--a dear, considerate
friend--to strike me in the eye and half blind me? Look!" Fox turned his
left side towards his sister. "Do I not carry about with me a mark of
friendship--a pledge to be redeemed? Trust me, I shall return that blow
with usury some day, when the occasion comes."

"And you will employ poor Bessie as your lash wherewith you filip him in
the face. You are a coward--a mean----"

"Silence!" commanded Mr. Crymes. "There is no grain of brotherly love
between you two----"

"Not a grain," threw in Julian, hotly.

Fox bowed sarcastically.

"You observe, father," he said, "that here I am at a disadvantage,
between a sister who spars at me and a father who treads me down."

"I do not tread on you save when you grovel in the dirt," answered Mr.
Crymes, "in base and dishonest matters, and I do esteem this suit of
Elizabeth Cleverdon as one such."

"Opinions vary. You make me willing to leave my home, though it be not
mine, nor thine neither, father, but that of sister Julian, who stuffs
my pillow with thorns and the seats of her chairs with nettles. I would
be away at any price, and if I can go to Hall and live there with Squire
Cleverdon, I doubt not I shall be more content than I be here."

"You will live there?" said his father.

"No doubt. Master Cleverdon has ever had his daughter Elizabeth with
him. He might have sent her packing, as he sent his own sister packing,
when he needed her no more, and that would have been when Anthony
brought home a wife to his taste. As he has not--if Julian still
persists in declining to be my mother-in-law--why, I reckon that Bess
will remain at Hall. A man must leave father and mother and cleave to
his wife--so it will be scriptural, and that should content thee,
father."

The old man drew forth his 'kerchief and wiped his face.

"I suppose, father," continued Fox, "that you will hardly let me go
penniless out of the house? That would be a pretty comment on your
professions. You must have saved something, and there is that little
scrap of land still ours in Buckland----"

Mr. Crymes again wiped his face. He did not know what answer to make.

"Or, is the fashion set by Squire Cleverdon of cutting his son off
without a shilling infectious, that my father has taken it, and will
follow suit, and sicken into the same green infirmity?"

"No," said Mr. Crymes, "I will do what is right; but you spring this on
me, I am taken aback----"

"I did not spring it on you. That is one of the many kindnesses I have
received from Jule."

"I do not know what to say. You must give me time to consider. This
journey to London has cost me a considerable sum of money."

"There comes the usual excuse for shirking out of a money obligation
which cannot be enforced by law. Say on, father--the times have been
bad, the hay was black with rain, the corn did not kern well, the
mottled cow dropped her calf, the tenants have not paid, and so my poor
boy gets nothing but advice in bushels and exhortations in yards."

"Having insulted your sister, now you throw your jibes at me. That is
not encouraging to me to deal handsomely towards you."

"I did not think, father, that you needed to be coaxed and caressed to
do an act of justice."

"I do not ask that of thee, but I must consider. It ill pleases me that
you should have thought of Bessie Cleverdon."

"If I had chosen some worthless wench without a penny to bless herself
withal, you would have shaken the head and broken the staff over me. Now
that I have chosen one who is in all ways unexceptional, who is a
wealthy heiress of irreproachable manners of life, the favourite of
everybody, a dutiful daughter, it is all the same--you disapprove. Is
there aught I could do--any change that I could make--that would give
thee pleasure?"

"None--till I saw there was an amendment in thyself."

"If I can give satisfaction in no way to thee, father, I may assuredly
make choice for myself. Bess may not be beautiful, but she pleases
me--she has what is better than beauty, all Hall estate on her back. It
will be to your advantage and to that of Jule that I should take
her--you will thus be rid of me, who content neither of you, simply
because my tongue has a point to it, and I do not suffer it to lie by
and be blunted."

Then Julian laughed out.

"What avails all this reckoning and debating over a matter that cannot
be settled till the main person concerned has been consulted? Bessie, I
am very sure, has not the faintest waft of a notion that such schemes
are being spun about her, or had not till I spoke with her yestreen. She
will never take thee, Fox. Bessie has a good heart and a shrewd
understanding, and neither will suffer her to take thee."

"You think not?" asked Fox, superciliously.

"I am sure she will not," answered Julian.

"We shall see," said Fox. "She is not as was her brother, one to fly in
the face of a father. He has set his mind to it, and if Julian will not
have him, then he will yet have an Anthony Cleverdon to sit on his seat,
and reign in his stead, when he has been gathered to his old yeoman
fathers."

"How mean you?"

"Why, thus--I am Anthony. I was thus christened. And if I take Bess, I
will throw aside my surname of Crymes, which brings me little--and take
that of my father-in-law. So he will have an Anthony Cleverdon to carry
on the name, and I--" his face assumed a malevolent expression--"I shall
have spoiled for ever his own son's chances. It shall be down in
black-and-white, and bound as fast as I can bind him. See if I cannot
manage for myself."

He stood up, took his hat, and set it jauntily on his head, then at the
door turned, and with a mocking laugh, said:

"There, sister Jule! Is not that a slap in the face for Anthony that
will make his cheek tingle?"

He left the room.

Mr. Crymes laid his brow in his hand, and his elbow on the table.

"'Fore heaven!" he sighed, "I curse the day that gave me such a son."



CHAPTER XXXII.

MORE JARS.


A drizzling rainy day. A day on which nothing could be seen but a
wavering veil of minute dust of water. A drizzle that was wetting, and
which penetrated everywhere. The air was warm, laden with moisture,
oppressive, and depressing. From a window could be seen nothing beyond a
hedge. Trees seemed to be bunches of cotton wool; the drizzle crawled or
was drawn along by a damp wind over the grass along the hedge, beading
every blade and twig with the minutest drops of moisture. The shrubs,
the plants stooped, unable to support the burden deposited on them, and
shot the impalpable water-dust down on the soil in articulate drops.

Although the drizzle was excluded by roof and walls from the house, the
moisture-charged atmosphere could not be shut out, and it made the
interior only less wretched than outside the house. The banisters, the
jambs of the door, the iron locks were bedewed, and the hand that
touched them left a smear and came off clogged with water. The slates of
the floor turned black, and stood with drops, as though the rain had
splashed over them. Wherever there was a stone in the wall of a slatey
or impervious nature, it declared itself by condensing moisture,
sweating through plaster and whitewash, and sending tears trickling down
the walls. The fireirons became suddenly tarnished and rusty. The salt
in the cellar and salt-box was sodden, and dripped brine upon the floor,
as did the hams and sides of bacon hung up in the kitchen. The
table-linen and that for the beds adhered to the fingers when touched.

Anthony stood at the window in the hall looking out, then he went to the
fire; then took down a gun from over the mantel-shelf, and looked at the
lock and barrel; stood it in the corner of the fire, and resolved by and
by to clean it. Then he went to the window again, and wrote his
initials on the window-pane, or tried to do so, and failed, for the
condensation of moisture was not inside but without, on the glass.

He had nothing to occupy him; no work could be done on the farm, and
employment or amusement lacked in the house.

Where was Urith? She might come and talk to and entertain him.

What is the good of a wife, unless she sets herself to make home
agreeable to her husband, when he is unable to go out-of-doors?

Where was Solomon Gibbs? He might have talked, fiddled, and sung,
though, indeed, Anthony had no relish just then for music, and he knew
pretty well all the topics on which Uncle Sol had aught to say. His
anecdotes had often been retailed, and Anthony loathed them. He knew
when Sol was preparing to tell one, he knew which he was about to
produce, he was acquainted with every word he would use in telling his
tale.

Anthony had grown irritable of late with Sol, and had brushed him rudely
when he began to repeat some hacknied anecdote. On such a day as this,
however, even Uncle Sol were better than no one.

At length, Anthony, impatient and out of humour, went upstairs and
called Urith. She answered him faintly from a distance.

"Where are you hidden? What are you about?" he called.

"In the lumber-room," she replied.

He followed the direction of her voice, and came to a sort of garret
full of every kind of discarded article of domestic use, old crocks that
had lost a leg, broken-backed chairs, a dismantled clock, corroded
rushlights, bottles that were cracked, a chest of drawers which had lost
half the brass handles by which the drawers could be pulled out.

In the obscurity, dishevelled, covered with dust, and warm with her
exertions, stood Urith. She put her hand to her face, and pushed her
strayed hair from her eyes.

"I want thy help, Tony," she said. "I have been searching, and at
length, I have found it. But I cannot carry it forth myself."

"Found what?"

"O--how can you ask? Do you not see what it is?"

It was an old, dusty, cobweb-covered, wooden cradle. "What do you want,
Urith, with this wretched bit of rummage?"

"What do I want it for? O--Tony, of course you know. It is true I shall
not need it immediately--not for some months, but I shall like to have
it forth, and clean it well, and polish its sides, and fit it up with
little mattress and pillows, and whatsoever it need, before the time
comes when it is required to be put in use."

"I will not have this wretched old cradle," said Anthony. "It is not
meet for my son--the heir to Hall and Willsworthy."

"You are reckoning too soon--" laughed Urith. "Perhaps you may have a
daughter, not a son."

"A daughter! I do not want a maid; no--I shall never forgive you, if it
be not a boy. Urith, My--everything depends on that. When there is a new
Anthony Cleverdon, my father can hold out in his obstinacy no longer. He
must give way. An Anthony Cleverdon of Willsworthy, and _not_ of Hall!
It would go against all his pride, against his most cherished ambition.
It cannot, it shall not be. Urith, a boy it must be, and what is more,
he shall not lie in that dusty, cobweb-clad pig-trough. It would not
become him."

"But, Tony," laughed Urith, "it was mine, I was rocked in that. It was
not so bad that I could not sleep therein."

"Oh, you!" he spoke disparagingly in tone. "You were only heiress of
Willsworthy, but my young Anthony will be something much different from
that."

"I want my child to lie in the same crib in which I was rocked. It will
be a pleasure to me."

"I will not have it. This is too mean."

"What does it signify?"

"If it does not signify, then let me go and buy a new cradle."

"No," said Urith. "No--there I lay when a poor little feeble creature;
and there, in the same, it shall lie when it comes."

"I will go into Peter Tavy to the carpenter, and order a new cradle."

"I will not use it if you do. We have not the money to waste on
luxuries. A child will sleep as well in this as in a painted cradle."

All at once, Anthony flushed to the roots of his hair. A thought had
struck him, that if he bought a new cradle he must do so with his wife's
money. He had nothing of his own. He was her pensioner. There stood at
his side an old rusty bar of iron; in his anger and disgust he grasped
this, raised it, and brought it down on the cradle, breaking down its
side.

"Anthony!" exclaimed Urith. "Anthony! you would not have done that had
any love, any respect remained in your heart for me. You would have
loved the little crib in which I was laid, if you loved me."

He did not answer her. Ashamed at his own conduct, embittered at her
opposition to his wishes, discontented with his lot, he left the garret
and descended the stairs.

On reaching the hall, he found Solomon Gibbs there; he had been out in
the rain, and had come in very wet. His face was red and moist,
proclaiming that he had been drinking, but he was not intoxicated, only
hilarious. He had cast his hat on the table, a broad-brimmed felt hat
that had absorbed the rain like a sponge, and was now giving it forth in
a stream that made a puddle on the table and ran over the side, dripped
on to a bench, and having formed a slop there fell again to the floor,
there producing another pool. The water ran off Uncle Sol's dress and
oozed from his boots that were rent, and had admitted water within,
which now spirited forth from the gaps at every step. Solomon had taken
down a single-stick, with basket handle, from the wall, and was making
passes, wards, and blows in the air at an imaginary opponent, and, as he
delivered his strokes, he trilled forth snatches of song:--


     I'm a hearty good fellow, as most men opine.


Then he whacked from right to left--


     So fill up your bumpers, and pass round the wine,
         Singing, Tol-de-rol-lol-de-rol.


He fell to the ward.

"Come on, Tony lad! 'Tis cursed moist weather, and no fun out of doors.
I've been to the Hare and Hounds, but no one there, and not even I can
drink when there be no comrades with whom to change a word. Come, Tony,
take a stick and let us play together, perhaps it will dry me, for I am
damp, uncommon damp."

"Take your hat off the table," said Anthony, in ill-humour. He was
accustomed to order and cleanliness in his father's house, and the
ramshackle ways of Willsworthy displeased him; Uncle Sol was a prince of
offenders in disordering and befouling everything. "Take your hat off.
We shall have the board spread shortly, and how can we eat off it when
it is slopped over by the drainage of your dirty beaver?"

"Nay, Tony, boy; let it lie. See--here I be. I will stand on the
defence, and you take t'other stick; and, if you beat me off, you shall
remove my hat; but, if I remain master, you shall pull off my boots.
Can't do it myself, by heaven, they be so sodden with water."

"I will make you both remove your hat and kick off your own boots," said
Anthony, angrily. "Dost think because I have married the niece that I am
abased to be the uncle's serving-man? 'Fore heaven, I'll teach thee the
contrary."

He went to the wall, took down a stick, and attacked Solomon Gibbs with
violence.

Uncle Sol, for all the liquor he had drunk, was sober enough to be able
to parry his blows, though handicapped by his drenched garments, which
weighed on his shoulders and impeded rapid movement.

Anthony was not an accomplished single-stick player; he had not a quick
eye, and he had never possessed that application to sports which would
render him a master in any. Satisfied if he did fairly well, and was
matched with inferiors who either could not or would not defeat him, he
had now small chance against the old man, who had been a skilful player
in his youth--who, indeed, had stuck to his sports when he ought to have
held to his studies.

The old man held the stick between his hands over his head
jauntily--carelessly, it seemed--but with perfect assurance; whereas
Anthony struck about at random and rarely touched his antagonist.
Anthony was in a bad temper--he faced the window; whereas Uncle Sol
stood with his back to the light, and to the table, defending his soaked
hat. Anthony was the assailant; whereas Sol remained on the defensive,
with an amused expression in his glossy face, and giving vent at
intervals to snatches of melody--showing his unconcern, and heightening
his opponent's irritability, and causing him every moment to lose more
control over his hand and stick.

Once Anthony struck Uncle Sol on the side, and the thud would have
showed how dead with wet the old man's coat was, even had not water
squirted over the stick at the blow.

"Well done, Tony! One for thee!" Then Mr. Gibbs brought his stick down
with a sweep, and cut Anthony on the left shoulder.

The sting and numbness roused Anthony's ire, and he made a furious
attack on his antagonist, which was received with perfect equanimity and
the hardly-broken strain of--


     I sing of champions bold,
     That wrestled--not for gold.


With ease, and without discontinuing his song, Sol caught a blow
levelled at his skull, dealt with such force that Tony's hand was jarred
by it.


             And all the cry
             Was Will Trefry,
         That he would win the day.
         So Will Trefry, huzzah!
     The ladies clap their hands and cry--
         Trefry! Trefry, huzzah!


Down came Sol's stick on his antagonist's right shoulder.

"There, there! You are no match for me," laughed the old man. "Will you
give over--and pull off my boots?"

"Never!" shouted Anthony, and struck at him again, again ineffectually.

"Look out, Tony! save your head!"

The old man, by a dexterous back-handed blow, struck up Anthony's staff,
and with a light stroke he touched his ear. He had no intention to hurt
him, he might have cut open his head had he willed; but he never lost
his good-humor, never took full advantage of the opportunities given
him by the maladroitness of his antagonist.

It was exasperating to the young man to be thus played with, trifled
with by a man whom he despised, but who he felt was, at all events at
single-stick, his master.

"Hah!" shouted Anthony, triumphantly. His stick had caught in Sol's wig,
and had whisked it off his skull, but instantly the old man with a sweep
of his staff smote his stick from the hand of Anthony, leaving him
totally disarmed.

"There, boy, there! Acknowledge thyself vanquished."

Then the old fellow threw himself down on the bench, with his back to
the table.

"Come, lad, pull off my boots."

"I will not," said Anthony, savagely, "you had unfair odds. You stood
with your back to the window."

"I was guarding my hat. Leave it where it lies, dribble, dribble--drip,
and take my place on the floor, and try another bout, if thou wilt. Come
on, I am ready for thee."

Mr. Solomon Gibbs stood up, resumed his single-stick, and stepped into
the midst of the hall. Anthony, with face on fire with annoyance and
anger, stooped for his own weapon, and then took the place with the
table behind him, where previously Mr. Gibbs had stood.

"Ready!" called Sol. "Come along! so be I."

Another bout, staves whirling in the air, feet dancing forward,
backward, to this side, then to that.

Reports as of pistols, when the sticks met.

Anthony was no match for the old gentleman even now that he had the
advantage of the light. Sol was without his wig, he had not resumed it,
and his shaven pate exhibited many a scar, the mark of former encounters
in which he had got the worst, but in which also he had acquired his
skill.

"My foot slipped!" said Anthony, as, having dealt an ineffectual blow
from which Uncle Sol drew back, Anthony went forward to his knee,
exposing himself completely to the mercy of his antagonist. "It is that
cursed wet you have brought in--not fair."

"Choose a dry spot," said Sol.

"You have puddled the whole floor," answered the young man.

"Then it is equal for both of us. I have given thee many advantages,
boy."

"I want none. I will have none."

His eye was on the old man's bald head; the sting of the blows he had
received had exasperated him past consideration of what was due to an
aged man, the uncle of his wife. The blows had numbed in him every sense
save anger. He longed to be able to cut open that smooth round skull,
and so revenge his humiliations and relieve his ill-humour. But he could
not reach that glossy pate, not smite which way he would, so dexterous
was the ward of Uncle Sol, so ready was his eye, and quick his arm in
responding to his eye.

Not an advantage of any kind could he get over his adversary; he rained
his blows fast, in the fury of his disappointment, hoping to beat down
his guard by mere weight of blows; and Uncle Sol saw that he was blinded
with wrath and had lost all sense of play, having passed into angry
earnest. Then he twirled the stick from Anthony's hand once more, so
that it flew to the ceiling, struck that, and fell by the hearth.

Mr. Gibbs laughed. "Mine again, Tony, boy!" He cast himself into the
settle by the fire, stretched forth his legs, and said, "Come, pull off
my boots."

Anthony stood lowering at him, panting and hot.


     "He strip't him to the waist,
     He boldly Trefry faced,
         I'll let him know
         That I can throw
       As well as he to-day!
       So little Jan, huzzah!
     And some said so--but others, No,
       Trefry, Trefry, huzzah!"


Sol sang lustily, with his hands in his pockets and his legs extended.

"Come, lad, down on your knees, and off with my boots."

Anthony did stoop, he went on one knee, not on both, and not to pull off
the old man's boots, but to pick up his single-stick, whirl it round his
head, and level a blow at the head of the undefended Uncle Sol; the blow
would have fallen, had not Urith, who had entered the room at the
moment, sprung forward, and caught it in her hand.

"Coward!" she exclaimed, "coward!--my uncle! an old man! I hate you.
Would God I had never seen you!"

He had hurt her hand, he saw it, for she caught it to her bosom, then
put it to her mouth, but her eyes glared at him over her hand like white
lightning.

"A scurvy trick, lad--did not think thee capable of it," said Uncle Sol.
"Has he hurt thee, child?"

He stood up.

Anthony flung the single-stick from him with an oath, put his hand to
his brow, stood for a minute confronting Urith, looking into her fiery
eyes, without exculpation, without a word. Then he turned, took up Uncle
Sol's hat, without observing that it was not his own, flung it on his
head, and went forth.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

INTO TEMPTATION.


Never is man so inflamed with anger, so overflowing with gall against
others, as when he is conscious that he has laid himself open to
animadversions. Anthony was bitter at heart against his wife and against
her uncle, because he was aware, without being ready to acknowledge it,
that he had acted ill towards both.

Why should not Urith have yielded at once to his wishes about the
cradle? How obtuse to all delicate and elevated feeling she was to think
that such a dusty, dingy, worm-eaten crib would suffice for his son, the
representative of the house of Cleverdon--the child who was to be the
means of reconciliation between himself and his father--the heir of
Hall, who would open to him again the internal mansion, and enable him
to return there and escape from Willsworthy, a place becoming daily more
distasteful, and likely to become wholly insupportable! That he had seen
the cradle under disadvantage, in its abandoned, forgotten condition,
and that it could be made to look well when a little feminine skill and
taste had been expended on it, did not occur to him.

Moreover, his wife had no right to resist his wishes. He knew the world
better than she--he knew what befitted one of the station his child
would assume better than she. What might do for an heir to Willsworthy
would be indecent for the heir to Hall--what might have suited a girl
was not adapted to a boy. A wife should not question, but submit; the
wish of her husband ought to be paramount to her, and she should
understand that her husband in requiring a thing acted on his right as
master, and that her place was to bow to his requisition. The old sore
against his father that had partially skinned over broke out again,
festered and hot. He was angry against his father, as he was against
Urith. He was angry also with Mr. Gibbs for having proved a better man
than himself at single-stick. Of old, Anthony had shown himself a
tolerable wrestler, runner, single-stick player, thrower of quoits,
player at bowls, among the young men of his acquaintance, and he had
supposed himself a match for any one. Now he was easily disarmed and
defeated by a half-tipsy old loafer, who had done no good to himself or
any one in his life.

He had gone down in public estimation since his marriage--he who had
been cock of the walk. And now he was not even esteemed in his own
house; resisted by his wife, who set at naught his wishes, played with
and beaten by that sot--her uncle.

There was no one who really admired and looked up to him any longer,
except Julian Crymes.

He had wandered forth in the wet, without a purpose, solely with the
desire to be away from the house where he had met with annoyance, where
he had played--but this he would not admit, though he felt it--so poor a
figure. He took his way to Peter Tavy, and went into the little inn of
the Hare and Hounds at Cudliptown, the first hamlet he reached.

No one was there. Uncle Sol had sat there, and tippled and smoked; but
had finally wearied of the solitariness, and had gone away. Now Anthony
sat down where he had been, and was glad to find no one there, for in
his present humour he was disinclined for company. The landlord came to
him and took his order for _aqua vitæ_, brought it, and seated himself
on a stool near him. But Anthony would not speak, or only answered his
questions shortly, so as to let the man understand that his society was
not desired. He took the hint, rose, and left the young man to his own
thoughts.

Anthony put his head in his hand, and looked sullenly at the table. Many
thoughts troubled him. Here he had sat on that eventful night after his
first meeting and association with Urith on the moor. Here he had sat,
with his heart on fire from her eyes, smouldering with love--just as an
optic-glass kindles tinder. Here he had drunk, and, to show his courage,
had gone forth to the churchyard and had broken down her father's
head-post. He had brought it to this house, thrown it on this
table--there! he doubted not, was the dint made by it when it struck the
board.

How long was it since that night? Only a little over a twelve-month. Did
Urith's eyes burn his heart now? There was a fire in them occasionally,
but it did not make his heart flame with love, but with anger. Formerly
he was the well-to-do Anthony Cleverdon, of Hall, with money in his
pockets, able to take his pleasure, whatever it cost him. Now he had to
reckon whether he could afford a glass before he treated himself to one,
was warned against purchasing a new cradle as a needless expense, a bit
of unpardonable extravagance.

He tossed off his glass, and signed for it to be refilled.

Then he thought of his father, of his rebellion against him, and he
asked whether any good had come to him by that revolt. He, himself, was
like to be a father shortly. Would his son ever set him at defiance, as
he had defied his father? He wondered what his father was thinking of
him; whether he knew how straitened his circumstances were, how clouded
his happiness was, how he regretted the unretraceable step he had taken,
how he was weary of Willsworthy, and how he hungered to hear of and to
see Hall once more. There was little real conscious love of his father
in his heart. He did not regret the breach for his father's sake, think
of the desolation of the old man, with his broken hopes, his
disappointed ambitions; he saw things only as they affected himself; he
was himself the pivot about which all his meditations turned, and he
condoled with, lamented over, himself as the worst-used of men, the man
most buffeted by misfortune.

Anthony kicked the legs of the table impatiently. The host looked at him
and smirked. He had his own opinion as to how matters stood with
Anthony. He knew well enough that the young man was unlike Mr. Gibbs,
was no toper; he had rarely stepped within his doors since his marriage.
As the host observed him, he chuckled to himself and said, "That fellow
will come often here now. He has a worm at the heart, and that worm only
ceases to gnaw when given _aqua vitæ_ or punch."

What if the old Squire were to remain obdurate to the end? What if he
did not yield to the glad news that he was grandfather to a new Anthony
Cleverdon? Anthony's heart turned sick at the thought. His son to be
condemned to a toilful life at Willsworthy! But what if Urith should at
some future time be given a daughter, then her estate would pass away
from the young Anthony, and the representative of the Cleverdons would
be adrift in the land without an acre, with hardly a coin--and Hall
would be held by an alien.

He stamped with rage.

His father was possessed with madness; the whole blame fell on his
father. Why was the old grudge against Richard Malvine to envenom the
life of the son and grandchildren of the Squire? By the course he took
the Squire was not hurting the man whom he hated, who was in his grave
and insensible to injury, but his own living direct descendants! Anthony
was stabbing at his own family, in his insensate malice. He thought over
his quarrel with the old man, and he regretted that he had not spoken
plainer, given his father sharper thrusts than he had--that he had not
dipped his words in pitch, and thrown them blazing into his father's
face.

His cheeks were burning; he clenched his fists and ground his teeth, and
then bowed his hot brow upon his clenched hands. No doubt his father
would hear how absurdly Urith had danced at the Cakes, and would laugh
over it. He held up his head and looked round him, thinking he heard the
cackle of his father, so vividly did he portray the scene to his
imagination. No one was in the room save the taverner; but Anthony
caught his eye fixed on him, and he turned impatiently away.

Urith was not--there was no blinking the matter--a wife suitable to him.
He compared her with his sister. Bessie was sweet, gentle, and with all
her amiability dignified; Urith was rough, headstrong, and sullen. She
was uncouth, unyielding--did not understand what were the tastes and
requirements of a man brought up on a higher plane of refinement. He was
weary of her lowering brow, of her silence, her dark eyes with a sombre,
smouldering fire in them. He wondered how he could ever have admired
her! He never would feel content with her. He had sacrificed for her the
most splendid prospects that any man had, and she did not appreciate the
sacrifice, and bow down before him and worship him for it.

He knocked over his glass and broke it. By heaven! He wished he had
never married Urith.

Anthony stood up, and threw down some coin to pay for his brandy and for
the broken glass. He had knocked over the glass in the gesture and start
of disgust, when he had wished himself unmarried, and now--he must pay
for the glass with money that came to him from Urith. He knew this, it
made him writhe, but he quickly deadened the spasm by the consideration
that for every groat he had of his wife, he had given up a guinea. She
was in debt to him, and the ridiculous little sums placed at his
disposal were but an inadequate acknowledgment of the vast indebtedness
under which she lay.

He stood for a few minutes irresolute in the rain, uncertain in which
direction to turn. Home?--To Willsworthy? To the reproaches of Urith, to
the tedious jests and drawled-out songs of Mr. Gibbs? To the sight of
Urith ostentatiously holding her hand in a sling to let him know that he
had hurt her, when she intercepted the blow aimed at her uncle?

"Pshaw!" said Anthony. "She is not hurt, she cannot be hurt. She caught
the stick in her palm. It stung her, no doubt, but will pass. But what
an outcry and fuss will be made over it."

Yet his heart reproached him for these complaints. He knew that it was
not the way with Urith to make an outcry and a fuss. If he had hurt her,
she would disguise the fact. Anyhow, he resolved not to go back to
Willsworthy.

Should he go on to Peter Tavy, and visit his cousin Luke?

No--he had no desire for the society of a parson. Luke had married him
to Urith; Luke was in part to blame for his present condition of
dissatisfaction. Luke might surely; if he had poked about in his books,
have discovered some canonical reason why the marriage could not have
taken place, at least as early as it did. Then--with delay--his love
might have abated, his head would have become cooler, he would have been
better able to balance loss and gain.

"Loss and gain!" scoffed Anthony; "all loss and no gain!"

Luke would surmise that all was not right, he was keen-sighted--he had
already had the impertinence to give an oblique admonition to Anthony to
be tender and forbearing to his wife. If he went to him now, Luke would
nail him, and hammer remonstrances into him.

By heaven! no--he wanted no sermons preached to him on week-days.

He walked to the door of Farmer Cudlip. The Cudlips had been on that
estate much as the Cleverdons had been at Hall, for centuries, but the
Cudlips had owned their own land, as yeomen, whereas the Cleverdons had
been tenant-farmers. Now the Cleverdons had taken a vast stride up the
ladder, whereas the Cudlips, who had given their name to the hamlet, had
remained stationary. The Cudlips, though only yeomen, were greatly
respected. Some of the gentle families were of mushroom growth compared
with them. It was surmised that the Cudlips had originally been
Cutcliffs, and that this yeoman family had issued from the ancient stock
of Cutcliffe of Damage, in North Devon, which had gone forth like a
scriptural patriarch and made itself a settlement on the verge of the
moor, and called the land after its own name; but there was no evidence
to prove this. It was at one time a conjecture of a Hector of Peter
Tavy, who mentioned it to the Cudlip then at Cudliptown, who shrugged
his shoulders and said, "It might be for ought he knew." In the next
generation the descent was talked about as all but certain, in the third
it was a well-established family tradition.

Anthony stood in the doorway of the old ancestral farm. He had knocked,
but received no answer; no one had come to the door in response. He knew
or guessed the reason, for overhead he heard Mistress Cudlip putting the
youngest child to bed; he had heard the little voice of the child raised
in song, chanting its evening hymn:--


     Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
     Bless the bed that I lay on.
     Four angels to my bed,
     Two to bottom, two to head;
     Two to hear me when I pray,
     Two to bear my soul away.


Probably Farmer Cudlip was not within. Had he been, the knock of Anthony
would have been responded to by a loud and hearty call to come in.

Anthony did not repeat the knock. It was of no use his entering that
house if the master were out; he did not want to pass words with women
folk. But he halted where he was in order to make up his mind whither he
should go. He craved for--not exactly flattery, but something of that
adulation which had been lavished on him by all alike--old and young,
men and maids--when he was Anthony Cleverdon of Hall, and which had been
denied him since he had become Anthony Cleverdon of Willsworthy.

Under the humiliation he had received in his own house, under the sense
of disgrace which he had brought on himself, first by his anger over the
cradle, and the breaking it down with a blow of an iron bar; then, by
his hand raised over an old man, defenceless; he felt a real need for
adulation. He could not hold up his head, recover his moral elasticity
till he had encountered some one who did not flaunt and beat him down.
Fox--should he go and see Fox at Kilworthy? Fox was his friend; Fox had
a sharp tongue and could say cutting things that would make him laugh,
would shake the moths out of his fretted brain. Yes, he would go to
Kilworthy and see Fox.

As he formed this resolution he was conscious that he was false to
himself. He did not want to see Fox. Fox would not look up to him with
eyes full of loving devotion. Fox's colour would not flush to the cheek
when he entered. Fox's pulses would not bound when his step was heard
on the gravel. Fox would not in words encourage him to think well of
himself, to esteem himself again as the old cock of the walk in plumage,
instead of a wretched draggled fowl. No--he did not want to see Fox, but
Fox's sister. He would go to Kilworthy to see, to hear Julian Crymes,
but he repeated to himself--"I must have a talk with Fox."

Then he heard the little child's voice upstairs repeating the Prayer of
Prayers after its mother.

"Forgive us our trespasses," said Mistress Cudlip.

"Tespusses," said the child.

"As we forgive them that trespass against us."

"As we 'give them----" a pause. The mother assisted the little one, and
it completed the sentence.

"And lead us not into temptation."

"And lead us not----"

Anthony drew his cloak closer about him, shook the water from Solomon's
hat, that he wore, and set it again on his head.

"Into temptation," said the mother.

"Lead us not into temptation," repeated the child. Anthony bent his
head, and went out into the rain, went heedless of the warning that
hammered at his heart, went wilfully--into temptation.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

A COLD WOOING.


"Get yourself ready," ordered Squire Cleverdon, looking at Bessie across
the table. "Your aunt is unwell, and I have sent word that we would come
and see her. A wet day, and nothing better to be done, so we can find
out what is the matter with her."

"Certainly, father," answered Elizabeth, with alacrity. "I hope nothing
serious is the matter with her?"

"Oh, serious, no."

The manner of the Squire was never gracious to his daughter; always
imperious, but this day there was a peculiarity in it that struck her.
There was, she felt instinctively, something in the background.

"What is it, father? I pray you tell me. She is not in any danger?"

"Oh, danger? No." A twitching of his cheeks marked inner uneasiness.

Bessie looked anxiously at him. "I am sure, father, you are hiding
something from me."

"Go at once and get ready! Do not stop chattering here like a parrot,"
he roared forth, and Bessie fled.

Elizabeth had no anxiety over the weather. That was not the day of
umbrellas, but then, neither was it the day of fine bonnets. The skirts
were worn short, and did not trail in and collect the mud. A woman
pinned up her gown, or looped it at the girdle, exposing a bright
coloured petticoat, and below that her ankles, and there were many
inches between the mud and the petticoat. A thick serge mantle covered
gown and petticoat; it was provided with a hood that was drawn over the
head, and bright eyes looked out of the hood and laughed at the rain and
cold.

We sometimes wonder now how the world got on before the introduction of
the umbrella. Very well. It was dryer, warmer, better protected in
former days. It is only since the invention and the expansion of the
parapluie, that those marvels of millinery, the nineteenth-century
bonnet, piled up of feathers and flowers, and bead and lace, became
possible. The umbrella has been a bell-shade under which it has grown.

Mr. Cleverdon was not communicative on the ride to Tavistock. Now and
then he growled forth a curse on the weather, but said nothing against
Magdalen. This surprised his daughter, who was accustomed to hear him
grumble at his sister if she occasioned him any inconvenience; but she
charitably set it down to real concern for Magdalen, and this increased
her fear that more was the matter with her aunt than her father chose to
admit.

Aunt Magdalen really was indisposed; but the indisposition was partly,
if not chiefly, due to her distress of mind about her niece. She knew
that her brother had resolved to act upon her own to marry Bess to young
Crymes, and that he expected his sister to help him to overcome any
opposition that might be encountered from Bessie. Poor Elizabeth had as
little suspicion, as she accompanied her father to Tavistock, that he
was about to sacrifice her, as had Isaac when he ascended Moriah at the
side of Abraham.

When Mr. Cleverdon and Bessie arrived at the house of Miss Magdalen,
near the Abbey Bridge, they observed a man's hat and cloak hung up in
the hall.

"Oh!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "the doctor is here! I am sure my aunt is
really very ill."

At the same moment the side door opened, and the old lady appeared, and
caught her niece in her arms.

"He is here," said Magdalen--"arrived only a minute before you."

"Who is here?" asked Bessie. "What do you mean?"

"Come aside with me into my snuggery," said her aunt. "I have a word
with you before I speak with your father, and in the parlour he will
find Anthony."

"Anthony! My brother!" with a joyful flash from Bessie; and she flung
her arms round her aunt. "Oh, you dear--you good Aunt Magdalen! You
have----"

"Have done with this folly," said the Squire, angrily. "Are you still
such a fool as to think that when I say a thing I shall change about?
No--your brother is not in there, but your bridegroom."

Miss Cleverdon put up her hand entreatingly to stop her brother, and
hastily brought her niece into the adjoining room and shut the door.

"What is the meaning of this?" asked Bessie, with some composure. She
had now a suspicion that the visit concerned herself, and not her aunt.

"My dear," said Magdalen, "do seat yourself--no, not in that chair; it
is hard, and there is something wrong with the back--the bar comes
exactly where it ought not, and hurts the spine--at least, I find it so.
I never sit in it myself, never. Take that seat by the fireplace. I am
so sorry there is nothing burning on the hearth, but, on my word, I did
not expect to have you in here. I thought I might have spoken a word
with you in the parlour before he came, or--but, bless my heart, Bess! I
am so distracted I hardly know what I thought."

Bessie shook down her skirt over her dark-blue petticoat, and seated
herself where her aunt desired, then laid her hands in her lap, and
looked steadily at Miss Cleverdon.

"You are not ill, then?" she said.

"Oh, my dear, ill! I have not slept a wink, nor had a stomach for aught.
I should think I was indeed ill, but all about you. You must remember
that the commandment with promise is that which refers to the submission
of a child to the parent; but, Lord! Bess, I would not have you forced
against your wishes. Your father's mind is made up, and he has met with
a sore disappointment in the case of Anthony. I do think it will be a
comfort to him, and heal over that trouble somewhat, if he finds you
more pliant than was Anthony. But, Lord! Bess, nothing, I trust, hinders
you--no previous attachment. Lord! I did at one time think that your
heart was gone a-hankering after Luke."

Bessie, who had become very pale, flushed, and said, "I entreat thee,
aunt, not to have any fancies concerning me. I never gave thee grounds
for any such opinion."

"I know that, I know that, child. But, Lord! an old woman like me must
have her thoughts about those she loves and wishes well for."

"Aunt," said Bessie, "I think I can understand that my father desires to
have me married, and has asked you to see me thereon. I have had some
notions thereupon myself, but I would gladly hear from you whom he has
fixed on, though, indeed, I think I can guess."

"It is Fox," answered Miss Cleverdon, and looked down on the floor, and
arranged her stool, which was slipping from under her feet. "There,
there, I have told thee; thy father put it on me. And I can only say to
thee that which thou knowest well thyself. He belongs to an ancient
family, once well estated, but now sadly come down; nevertheless, there
is something of the old patrimony remaining. He is thy father's friend's
son; and as it has come about that the families that were to be united
by my nephew have not been thus joined, it is not wonderful that your
father would see them clipped together by thee."

"I cannot indeed take Fox," said Bessie, gravely.

"Well--well--the final choosing must be with thee, wench. All that thy
father can do is to say he desires it, and all I can do is to support
him. God forbid that we should constrain thee unwilling, and yet a
blessing does rain down from above the clouds on the heads of such
children as be obedient. Now look to Anthony, and see if he be happy,
having gone against his father's wishes."

"Is he unhappy?" asked Bessie.

"I do not think him the same at all. He is restless, and his mood has
lost all brightness. I have not seen much of him, but what I have seen
has made me uneasy concerning him, and what Fox tells me still farther
disconcerts me."

"I may not go to Willsworthy. I may not see my brother nor Urith--except
by very chance I meet them," said Bessie, heaving a sigh, and her eyes
filling. "My father seems no nearer forgiving than he was at first."

"I do not think that aught will move him to forgiveness save, perchance,
the finding of ready obedience in thee."

"I cannot--indeed I cannot, in this," said Bess.

"Lord! I would not counsel thee against thy happiness," pursued
Magdalen. "But see how ill it has worked with Anthony. He followed his
own will, and went against the commandment of his father, and it eats as
a canker into his heart, I can see that; now if then----"

Then the door was thrown open, and the Squire appeared in it, with Fox
behind his back in the passage.

"Sister," said old Cleverdon, "time enough has been spent over preparing
Bess for what must be. As you have not brought her unto us, to the
parlour, we've come in here to you. Come in, Tony! Come in! Look at
her--there she sits; kiss her, lad! She is thine!"

But Fox did not offer to do what he was required; Bessie started and
drew back, fearing lest he should, but was at once reassured by his
deprecatory look and uplifted hand.

"May I enter?" asked Fox.

"Come in, boy, come in!" said the old man, answering for his sister, as
though the house were his own; and his own it might be considered, for
it was paid for and furnished out of Hall; the maintenance of Miss
Cleverdon fell on him and his estate.

"Come!" said the Squire, roughly, "shut the door behind you boy. Go over
beside her. Take her hand. Hold out yours, Bess. Doy' hear? It is all
settled between us."

Fox entered the room, fastened the door, and remained fumbling at the
lock, with his face to it, affecting great diffidence. Mr. Cleverdon
took him by the arm and thrust him away, and pointed imperiously to
where Bess sat, near the fireplace, on which burnt no spark; her hands
lay in her lap folded, and her eyes on the hearth. The window was behind
her. The little room was panelled with dark oak that was polished. There
were no pictures, no ornaments on the wall--only one oval pastel over
the mantelshelf of Magdalen when she was a girl. The colour had faded
from this, the pink gone wholly--it was a poor bleached picture of a
plain maiden; and now beneath it sat one as blanched, for all the colour
had gone out of Bessie's face, and she had assumed the same stiff
attitude that her aunt had maintained when drawn by the artist.

Fox, with apparent reluctance, went over to the fireplace; Elizabeth
looked at her father with great drops formed on her brow, as though the
damp of the atmosphere had condensed on that surface of white alabaster.

"Give him your hand. Are you deaf?"

Elizabeth remained with her hands folded as before, her eyes wide open,
fixed reproachfully on her father. She had given her young life to him,
borne his roughness, experienced from him no love, no consideration--in
every way sacrificed herself to make his home happy, and now he cast her
happiness from him, gave her up to a man for whom she had no regard,
without considering her feelings in the smallest degree. Then Magdalen
looked at the crayon drawing of herself and down at Bessie, and some
reminiscence at once painful and yet sweet in its bitterness came back
to her--a remembrance, may be, of some sacrifice she had been called to
make when about Bessie's age, and the tears came into her eyes.

"Brother," she said, "you are too hasty. The poor child is overcome with
surprise. You handle her too roughly. Tell her that her well-being is
dear to you, tell her that this plan of yours has been considered by you
as the best for her, but do not attempt to drive her, as you might a
sheep into the fold to be shorn, with a crack of whip and bark."

"You keep silence, Magdalen," said the Squire. "You have had time to say
what you had, and have, it seems, wofully mismanaged the task set thee.
I ought to know how to deal with my children."

"Nay, brother, I cannot be sure of that, after what has fallen out with
Anthony."

Magdalen regretted having made this sharp reply when it was too late to
recall it.

"You understand me, Bess," said the old man; "I have let you see by the
way in which I have treated that rebellious son of mine, that my wishes
are not to be slighted, my commands not to be disobeyed. You do as I
tell you. Give your hand to Tony Crymes, or else----"

Bessie's calm, steadfast eyes were on him. He did not finish his
sentence.

"Or else, what, father?" she asked.

He did not answer her; he put out one hand to the table, leaned on it,
and thrust the other behind him under the coat-tails. His brows were
knit, and his eyes glittered into stony hardness and cruel resolve.

"I cannot obey you, father," said Bessie.

"You will not!" shouted the old man.

"Father, I neither will, nor can obey, you. I have known Fox, I mean
Anthony Crymes, ever since I have been a child, but I have never cared
for him." She turned to Fox apologetically; even then, in that moment of
trial and pain to herself, she could not endure to say a word that might
seem to slight and give a pang to another. "I beg your pardon, Fox, I
mean that I have never cared for you more than, in any other way than,
as a friend, and as Julian's brother."

"Pshaw! What of that?" asked the old man, somewhat lowering his voice,
and attempting to keep his temper under control. "Love comes after
marriage where it did not precede it. See what love comes to when it is
out of place before it, in your brother's case."

"I cannot promise Anthony Crymes my love, for I know it never will come.
I am glad he is the friend of my brother, and as such I regard him, but
I esteem him only for what merits he has in him. I never can love
him--never--never!"

"Disobedient hussy!" exclaimed the old man, losing the slight control he
had exerted momentarily over himself. "Am I to be set at defiance by you
as well as by Anthony? By heaven, I did not think there was such folly
in the family. It did not come from me--not from my side. I will be
obeyed. I will not have it said in the town that I cannot have my own
way with my children."

He looked so angry, so threatening, that Fox interfered. He slipped
between Bessie and her father, and said:

"Master Cleverdon, I will have no constraint used. If you attempt to
coerce Bessie, then I withdraw at once. I have known and loved her for
many years, and would now have hardly dared to offer myself, but that
you cast out the suggestion to me. I saw that Bessie did not love me,
and I held back, hoping the time might come when she would, perhaps, be
guided less by the feelings of the heart and more by the cool reason of
the brain. If she refuses me, it shall be a refusal to me, to an offer
made in my own way, with delicacy and consideration for her feelings,
not with threat and bluster. Excuse plain speaking, Squire, but such are
my views on this matter, and this is a matter that concerns Bessie and
me first, and you, Master Cleverdon, afterwards."

"Yes," said Magdalen, "your violence, brother, will effect nothing. You
will only drive your remaining child from under your roof, as you drove
Anthony."

"Be silent, you magpie!" shouted old Cleverdon, but he looked alarmed.

"Now," said Fox, "you have frightened and offended Bessie, and effected
no good. Let her walk home, although it is raining, and I will accompany
her part of the way, if not the whole, and speak to her in my own
manner, and hear her decision from her own lips."

Bessie stood up.

"I am content," she said; "but do not for a moment think that my
determination is to be changed. Have with you, Fox. Father, you will
follow when your business in the town is over, and will catch me up. You
said, I think, that you were going up to Kilworthy to see Mr. Crymes."



CHAPTER XXXV.

A WET WOOING.


Bessie and Fox walked side by side, but without speaking, as long as
they were in the street of Tavistock, with houses on both sides. Here
there were, perhaps, more mud, more numerous puddles, than outside the
town. Moreover, the water that fell on the roofs dripped or shot in
streams down on the heads of such as ventured to walk near the walls,
and the only escape from these cataracts and douches was in the
well-worn midst of the street where the dirt was deepest because the
roadway was there most trampled. The douching from the descending shoots
of water, the circumventing of the pools, caused the walk of the two to
be no more than approximately side by side. No walk could be direct, but
must consist of a series of festoons and loops; but on passing the last
house, Fox came boldly up to the side of Elizabeth Cleverdon, and said:

"Bessie, I am at a disadvantage; who can be the lover in such weather,
and how can I lay myself at thy feet when the road is ankle-deep in
mire? I should sink into the slough of despond and the mud close over my
head and back or ever I had an answer from thee."

"There can and will be no romance in the matter," answered Elizabeth.
"It is to me a sad and serious business, for if there be truth in what
you say--that you have cared for me, then I am sorry to disappoint you;
but, on my honour as a maid, Fox, I never suspected it."

"That may well be, for thou art so modest," replied Fox Crymes. "Yet I
do assure thee the attachment has been of a long time, and has thrown
its roots through my heart. Even now--or now least of all, would I have
held my tongue had not thy father encouraged me to speak."

"Why least of all now?"

"Because now, Bessie, that thy brother Anthony is out of favour thou art
an heiress with great prospects; and neither would I seem to make my
suit to thee because of these prospects, nor to step into the place and
profits that should have belonged to Anthony."

Bessie looked round at him gratefully.

"I am glad you think of Anthony," she said.

"Of course I think of him. He is my friend. None have mourned more than
I at his estrangement from his father. It has affected him in many ways.
Not only is he cut off from Hall and his father, but disappointment has
soured him, and I do not believe he is happy with his wife."

"What!--Anthony not happy with his wife!" Bessie sighed and hung her
head. She remembered the dance at the Cakes, Anthony's neglect of Urith,
and the attention he paid to Julian. No doubt this had occasioned a
quarrel when he reached his home. Poor Anthony! Poor Anthony!

"And now," said Bessie, gently--"now that we are quite alone together,
let me assure you that, though I am thankful to you for the honour you
have done me by asking for me, that yet I must beg you to desist from
pressing a suit that must be unsuccessful. I can--after what you have
said, and after the good feeling you have shown--I will, respect you. I
can do no more."

"You have given your heart to another?" half-asked Fox, with a leer that
she did not notice.

"No--no one has my heart, for no one has thought it worth his while to
ask for it, except you; and, alas! to you I cannot give it."

"But, if it is still free, may I not put in a claim for it?"

"No--it can never be yours."

"I will not take such a refusal. At bob-apple any boy may jump for the
fruit, till it is carried away. Your heart is hung up to be jumped for,
and I will not be thrust aside, and refused permission to try my luck
along with the rest."

"No one else will think of coming forward."

"There you are mistaken, Bess. Consider what you are now--at all events
what you are esteemed to be. You will inherit Hall and all your father's
savings. Your father has made no secret of his determination to
disinherit Anthony. He has told several persons that he has made his
will anew, and constituted you his heiress, your husband to take the
name of Cleverdon. This is known and talked about everywhere. Do you
suppose that with such a prospect there will not be a score of aspirants
ready to cast off their names and become at once the husband of the most
charming girl anywhere in South Devon, and a rich Squire Cleverdon of
Hall?"

Bessie was infinitely hurt and shocked. She to rob her brother of his
birthright! God forbid!

"Fox," she said, "this can never be. If I should at any time become
owner of Hall, I would give it up immediately to dear Anthony."

"But," said Fox, with a mocking laugh on his face, "is it not likely
that your father knows what you would do, and will take precautions
against it, by settling the estate through your husband on your eldest
son? You could not, were the estate so settled, do as you propose."

Bessie was silent, looking down into the mud, and forgetting to pick her
way among the puddles. The rain had formed drops along the eave of her
hood, and there were drops within on the fringes of her eyes.

"You will be persecuted by suitors," Fox continued, "and I ask you is
there any you know about here whom you would prefer to me?"

She did not answer him, she was thinking, with her hood drawn by one
hand very close about her face, that no one approaching, nor Fox, should
see her distress.

"Do not speak of others," said Bessie, at length; "sufficient to let
things be till they come. I am, and you need not pretend it is not so--I
am but a plain homely girl, and that will dampen the ardour of most
young men who sigh for pretty faces."

"You do yourself injustice, Bessie. For my part I look to the qualities
of the heart and understanding, and you have a generous and noble heart,
and a clear and sound understanding. Beauty withers, such qualities
ripen. I never was one to be taken with the glitter of tinsel. I look to
and love sterling metal. It was your good qualities which attracted my
admiration, and, 'fore Heaven, Bess, I think you uncommon comely."

"I pray you," urged Bessie, "desist from your suit. I have told thee it
is fruitless."

"But I will not desist without a reason. Give me a reason, and I am
silent. Without one, I will press on. I have a better right than any of
the unknown who will come about thee like horseflies after awhile."

"I do not love thee. Is not that a reason?"

"None at all. I do not see why thou mayest not come to like me."

Bessie walked on some way in silence.

Presently she said, in a plaintive, low voice: "I will give thee, then,
a reason; and, after that, turn on thy heel and leave me in peace. I
have--" Her voice failed her, and she stepped on some paces before she
could recover it. "I tell thee this, Fox, only because thou hast been
frank with me, and hast shown me a generous heart. My reason is
this--and, Fox, there must, I reckon, be some confidence between two
situated as we are--it is this, that long, long ago I did dearly love
another, and I love him still."

"Now, Bessie!" exclaimed Fox, standing still in the road, and she halted
also, "you assured me that you had given your heart to none."

"I have given it to none, for none asked it of me."

"I do not understand. You speak riddles."

"Not at all. Cannot a poor, ugly girl love a man--noble, wise and
good--and never let him know it, and never expect that it will be
returned? I have heard a tale of a Catholic saint, that he wore a chain
of barbed iron about his body, under his clothing, where it ate into his
flesh and cankered his blood; but none suspected it. He went about his
daily tasks, and laughed with the merry-makers; yet all the while the
barbs were working deeper into him, and he suffered. There may be many
poor, ill-favoured--ay, and well-favoured--wenches like that saint. They
have their thorny braids about their hearts, and hide them under gay
bodices, that none suspect aught. But--God forgive me," said Bessie,
humbly, with soft, faltering voice--"God pardon me that I spoke of this
as a chain of iron barbs, festering the blood. It is not so. There is no
iron there at all, and no fester whatsoever--only very long-drawn pains,
and now and then, a little pure, honest blood runs from the wound.
There, Fox, I have shown this only to thee. No one else knows thereof,
and I have shown it thee only as a reason why I cannot love thee."

Fox Crymes made a grimace.

Bessie stepped along her way. Fox followed.

Presently she turned, hearing his steps, with a gesture of surprise, and
said, "What, not gone yet?"

"No, Bessie, I admire thee the more, and I do not even now give over
the pursuit. I would yet learn, hast thou any thought that he whom thou
lovest will be thine."

"No! no! never; I do not desire it."

"Not desire it?"

"Nay, for he has loved another; he has never given me a thought. I must
not say that. Kind and good he has ever been--a friend; but he can and
will be nothing more."

"There you mistake, Bessie. When he learns that you are the heiress to
Hall his eyes will be wonderfully opened to your charms, and he will
come and profess he ever loved thee." He spoke bitterly, laying bare his
own base motives in so doing. But Bessie was too guileless to suspect
him. She reared herself up; his words conveyed such a slight on the
honor of Luke that she could not endure it.

"Never! never!" she said, and her eyes flashed through her tears. "Oh,
Fox! if you knew who he was you would never have said that."

"But if he should come and solicit thy hand?"

"He cannot. He has told me that he loved another."

She resumed her walk.

Fox continued to attend her, in silence. He was puzzled what line to
adopt. What she had told him had surprised and discomfited him. That
Bessie--the ordinary, plain-faced, methodical Bessie--should have had
her romance was to him a surprise.

How little do we know of what passes under our very feet. Who dreamed of
magnetic currents till the magnetometer registered their movements?
Waves roll through the solid crust of earth without making it tremble at
all; magnetic storms rage around us without causing a disturbance in the
heavens, and but for the unclosing of our eyes through the scientific
instrument we should know nothing about them--have laughed at the
thought of their existence.

"I must needs walk on with thee," said Fox; "for I cannot leave thee
till thy father come and overtake thee. And if I walk at thy side,
well--we must talk, at all events I must, for my tongue has not the
knack of lying still behind my teeth."

Fox was at heart angry at his ill-success; he had hoped to have made a
great impression on Bessie by the declaration of his love. She was but
an ordinarily-favoured girl, as he knew well enough had never been
sought by young men, always thrust aside, accustomed to see others
preferred to herself--at a dance to be left against the wall without a
partner, after church to be allowed to accompany her father home,
without any lad seeking to attach himself to her and disengage her from
the old man. To a girl so generally disregarded his addresses ought to
have come as a surprise, and have been accepted with eagerness. He was
in a rage with her for the emphatic and resolute manner in which she
refused him.

"Let us talk of Anthony," said he.

"With all my heart," she replied, with a sigh of relief.

"Do you see any way in which your brother can be received again into
favour?" he inquired.

She shook her head. "Nothing that I can say has any effect on my father.
He will not permit me to go near Willsworthy."

"Then I can say what is the only way in which peace and good will may be
brought back into the family. It lies in your hands to build a bridge
between your father and Tony. I am certain that in his heart the old
Squire is discontented that things should remain as they are, but he has
spoken the word, and he is too proud to withdraw it. If it could have
come to pass that you took my hand, then I do not believe that your
father would resist our united persuasion. See how much weight we could
have brought to bear on him, how we could have watched our
opportunities, how--if it should happen at any time that Tony should
have a child, we might have brought it to the old man, set it on his
knees, and then together have taken the right moment to plead for
Anthony."

Bessie drew a long breath.

"I would do a great deal, almost anything, to bring about what you speak
of, but this means is beyond my power. It cannot be. I know now how good
and faithful a friend you are to my dear, dear brother Anthony. I must
again speak very plainly. I do desire, Fox, in all ways to spare you a
wound, but you will take no refusal. You said, 'Let us talk of Anthony,'
and you work it round to the same point. I shall never marry; I cannot
marry you; I shall take no one else. I pray you desist from your
pursuit. You heard what Aunt Magdalen said, that my father, if he
persisted, would drive me to run away, as did Anthony. It will be so. If
my father will not accept my refusal, then I must go. I shall go to
Anthony and his wife, or to my aunt. I could not swear what is false to
you or to any one else. Before the minister of God I would not promise
love, and love to my husband only, knowing that I could not love, for my
love was elsewhere. No," added Bessie, shaking her head, "I must be
true, always true, to myself, and before God."

As she spoke, both heard the clatter of horse's hoofs. They halted,
parted, one on each side of the road, and looked back. A man was
galloping along with his head down against the rain, he did not look up,
but remained bowed as he approached.

"Father!" called Bessie, for she recognised both the horse and the
rider. He did not draw rein, apparently he did not hear her. Certainly
he saw neither her nor Fox. Wrapped in his own thoughts, forgetful of
his daughter, of his promise to take her up, he galloped past, and sent
the mud flying from his horse's hoofs, bespattering her as he passed.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

IN TEMPTATION.


Anthony entered the little parlour, or bower, of Kilworthy. It looked
comfortable and bright. A fire of logs burnt on the hearth, with turf
thrust into the interstices between the logs, and the pleasant fragrance
of the peat filled the room, without being strong enough to be
offensive. Outside, everything was grey and moist and dull, within a red
and yellow sparkle, and a sense of dryness. The walls were hung with
good paintings, in silvered frames, richly carved. A crimson mat was on
the polished floor and embroidered crimson curtains hung by the window.

Julian was doing no work. She was sitting by the fire in a day-dream, in
much the attitude that was assumed by Bessie at that very time in the
little parlour of Aunt Magdalen's house, beside her cold, cheerless
hearth.

Anthony had thrown off his wet cloak and sopped hat; and was fairly dry
beneath them, he wore high and strong boots, and these he had made as
clean as was possible on the mats before entering.

"How are you, Julian? Where is Fox?"

Julian started as he spoke. Her mind had been engaged on him, and the
sound of his voice came on her unwelcome at that moment.

Sitting over her fire she had been considering her conduct, asking
herself whither she was going, what was to be the end of her
encouragement of Anthony.

She repeated to herself as excuse, that she had thrown the glove at
Urith, and that the challenge had been accepted. The contest was a fair
and open one; each used what weapons she had. If men might call each
other out and fight, why not women also contend on their own special
ground, in their own manner?

Urith had won in the first round, had carried off the prize, but in this
second round, she--Julian--was beating her adversary. She could not take
the prize over to herself, and wear it as her own; that she knew well
enough; but she could render it worthless in the eyes of Urith--spoil
irretrievably her pleasure in it.

Was she justified in pursuing her advantage? Was the result she would
arrive at one to fill her with content? She would destroy the happiness
of Urith, perhaps that also of Anthony, break in pieces all domestic
concord for ever in Willsworthy, to satisfy her own pride and revenge.
She loved Anthony, always had loved him, but had sufficient cool
resolution not to go a step with him beyond what she would allow
herself, to establish the completeness of her triumph over Urith. She
loved him out of pure selfishness, without the smallest regard for his
well-being, hardly more compunction for the torture she was
administering than has the child that plays with a cockchafer by
thrusting a pin through it, attaching a thread to the pin, and whirling
the insect round his head. But Julian was not suffered to proceed
without some qualms of conscience, some warnings given by her better
nature, and when Anthony entered it was at a moment when she had almost
resolved to give up the contest, satisfied with what she had gained.

Fox was out, answered Julian to Anthony's inquiry, he had gone into the
town. Then she was silent.

Anthony went into the window, where was a box seat, and planted himself
there, not looking at her, but looking away, at the door; and he took
his knee between his hands. Both remained silent. He was weary, not with
the length of his walk, but with walking wrapped in a cloak that had
become heavy with moisture, and with the closeness of the day. He was,
moreover, in no good mood, dissatisfied with himself, discontented with
the world, and at a loss what to say, now that he found himself in the
company of the girl he had come to see.

Julian pouted, and looked at the fire. The day, with its continuous
drizzle, had been one of tedium to her. She was not accustomed to work,
like Bessie, whose hands were never idle. She took up some embroidery,
tried to paint, attempted knitting, and threw all aside, after ten
minutes, with restless impatience. She had taken a book in the
afternoon, read a chapter, remembered that she had read the same book
before, and cast it into the window seat. She did not even replace it on
its proper shelf. Then she had fallen to her desultory musings, to
listening languidly to her conscience, and answering its remonstrances
evasively. She had, as already said, almost resolved to leave Anthony
alone, and to be content with what mischief she had already done. But
the resolution was no more than _almost_ arrived at; for she had not the
moral courage to make a final resolution to which she would force
herself to adhere.

Anthony, on his side, had been spoiled, so, on her side, had Julian. He
had been flattered and made much of as the heir to Hall; she had been
treated in a similar manner as heiress to Kilworthy. Her mother had died
early, her father was an unpractical political and religious dreamer,
who had exercised no control over her; and she had been brought up
chiefly by servants, who had fawned on her, and given her whatever she
wanted. She was therefore wayward, wilful, and selfish, with no fixed
principles, and no power of self-control--a feminine reflex of Anthony,
but with more passion and latent force of character than he.

The two sat silent for full ten minutes, each looking in an opposite
direction, and each with a shoulder turned to the other. Anthony had
come hoping to be received with pleasure; but Julian showed no alacrity
in receiving his visit, and this helped to depress him.

Presently Julian turned her face over her shoulder, and said, "I suppose
you do not know where Fox is, or you would not have come to his lair."

"Certainly I do not know."

Anthony looked at the window-glass. Either the fire had considerably
heated the atmosphere of the room, or the wind without had veered
northward and made the air colder, for breath had condensed on the
glass. He put up his finger, and wrote on a pane "A. C."

"I know, for he was too full of his plans to keep them from bursting
forth at his mouth," said Julian.

"I dare be bound it was so," answered Anthony, listlessly; then on
another pane he wrote "J. C."

"And you are not interested to know whither he has gone and what he
seeks?"

"No," said Anthony, "I came here to see him. I found no one at
Cudliptown, and Sol Gibbs is dull company at Willsworthy."

"You have other company there than Sol Gibbs."

"Whom do you mean?"

"There is Urith--your wife," with a sharp flash of her eye out of the
corner; and insensibly she put one knee up and hugged it as did Anthony.

"Oh! Urith," he repeated, in a tone in which she discerned something
like a sneer.

"Your wife."

"One cannot be talking to a wife all day," he said, peevishly, and let
fall his leg and loosened his plaited fingers. She instinctively did the
same.

"Can you not? Oh, indeed, that is news to me. I should have thought that
you would never have lacked material for talk. Flames, darts--hymeneal
altars smoking."

He looked sullenly out of the window, turning his back to her, and made
no reply. She waited for a response, then said,

"If not these subjects, then chickens and goslings."

He turned his head impatiently, and said,

"You are mocking me. You!--and I came here for comfort from you--you,
Julian!"

There was pain in his manner and expression, and she was somewhat
touched.

"Oh, Anthony, you said you had come here after Fox, and now you say you
came to see me."

He passed his hand over his forehead to wipe away the drops formed
there. He did not answer her, to correct the effect of his words, but
put up his hand to the glass, and with a shaking finger drew on the
diamond pane, between the initials, a lover's knot.

"Anthony," she said, after a pause, "I suppose I must tell you why Fox
has gone into Tavistock, for it concerns you mightily, and you should
not be kept in the dark concerning him. Do you recall what I said when
we were dancing together at Wringworthy?"

"No, Julian, nothing. That was a bright and delightful dream. I have
awaked out of it, and remember nothing."

"I told you that Fox had set his mind on Bessie--your Bessie. You
scouted the notion, but I spoke the truth. And he has been as open to
his father and me thereon as is possible for him. You, Anthony, have a
good and kind nature--you are too ready to trust any one. Always upright
and straightforward yourself, never thinking evil in your heart, never
putting forth a foot to trip up an enemy--certainly never a friend."

Anthony's head was raised. This was what he wanted--a few words of
commendation came down as warm rays of sunshine on his depressed and
drooping heart.

"You, Tony, have never mistrusted Fox, for it was not in you to mistrust
any one. But I know his real nature. He is seeking his own ends. He has
been over at Hall two and three times a week, and----" she laughed,
"will you believe it? has been cajoling the old man, your father, into
the belief that it is possible he may win and wear me, as--as--" she
hesitated. "As he was disappointed----"

Anthony turned and looked at her, and their eyes met. Hers fell, and he
looked again hastily at the window-pane--at the initials, and the
lover's knot between them. The moisture had collected in the figures he
had described, and had formed drops at the bottom of each downstroke.

"That is not all. Whether your father builds greatly on this or not I
cannot say; but Fox has dangled the prospect before him, whilst he
snatched at something for himself--even at Bessie, the heiress of Hall,
now that you are thrown out into the wet and cold."

Anthony sighed involuntarily. Yes, he was out, indeed, in the wet and
cold at Willsworthy--not metaphorically only, but actually as well.

"Now," continued Julian, "you shall hear the whole plan as worked out.
Fox has gone in to-day to meet Bessie and your father at your Aunt
Magdalen's house, and your aunt has been inveigled into uniting her
persuasion to the commands of your father to induce Bessie to jump down
the Fox's throat."

"It cannot be," said Anthony. "Bess will never--and she does not care
for Fox."

"She may not have the power to resist. Girls have not the daring and
independence of you men. When Fox has got his way, then he intends to
change his name, and live at Hall with your father, who will re-settle
the property on him and his heirs, that so there may still be an Anthony
Cleverdon of Hall."

"Never! No--never!" exclaimed Anthony, springing to his feet. "He
cannot--he shall not do that. Fox will never play me such a base trick
as that! Bessie never will lend herself to be made a tool of like that!"

"Bessie is true to you--that never doubt; but do not lean on my brother:
he is false to every one."

"He never shall become a Cleverdon. What! Good heavens! He take my name,
my place, my rights, my inheritance, my everything?"

"Not everything," said Julian, maliciously. "He does not stretch a hand
for your Urith and for Willsworthy--only for what you tossed away as
valueless."

Anthony uttered an oath, and cast himself back where he had been before,
in the seat in the window, and put his hands to his brow and clasped
them there, leaning his head against the window sill.

Then, for some while, both remained silent, but Julian turned herself
about in her seat to look at him.

Was that the same Anthony she had loved and admired? This dejected, sad
man, with his head bowed, his face pale, and lined with trouble? it was
certain that he was vastly altered. Her woman's eye detects a
difference in his clothing. Formerly he had been ever dapper; without
foppishness, his dress always of the best and well cared for; now it was
old and worn, in places threadbare. Nor was it, though poor, yet with
the merit of being attended to. Timely stitches had not been given where
they had been needed, nor tags and buttons added that had fallen off.
His boots were shabby and trodden down at the heel. The wet and dirt
undoubtedly gave to them a special shabbiness on that day, but Julian
could see that they were out of shape and past their best days. The
trimness and gloss had gone out of Anthony's outer case and his spirit
within had lost as much, if not more. There was none of the ancient
merriment, none of the self-conscious swagger, none of the old assurance
of manner in him. He had become morose, peevish; he showed a diffidence
which was the reverse of his former self. It was a diffidence mingled
with resentment, the product of his consciousness that the world was
turned against him, and of his bitterness at knowing this. Anthony's
nature was one that required sunshine, as a peacock demands it that its
beauty and splendour may appear. Come rain, and how the feathers clog
and droop and draggle--how squalid a fowl it appears! So was Anthony
now--a faded disconsolate shadow of his old self, without the nerve to
bear up against what depressed him, the adaptability to shape himself to
his new surroundings.

As Julian looked at him she pitied him. Her love for him warmed her, and
made her forget the cruelty of the part she was playing. The child of
impulse, feeling this qualm of compassion, she rose and gently came
across the room to him.

He heard her not, coming in her light slippers on the carpet, so
engrossed was he in his wretched thoughts. Every one had turned against
him--every one in whom he had trusted. His friend Fox, the only man who
had seemed not to be affected by the general adverse tone of opinion, he
had given him the most stinging blow of all. He was now at variance with
his father, with his friend--if Bessie consented to take Fox, he could
never regard her with esteem again; at home he had quarrelled with Uncle
Solomon, and raised his hand against him; he had alienated from him his
wife; his aunt was in league against him; the servants at Willsworthy
would take sides with their mistress. What wretchedness! what
hopelessness was his! There was no one--no one but Julian who had a word
of kindness, a spark of feeling for him. He heard the rustle of her gown
and looked up.

She was standing by him, looking down on his ruffled hair, that hung
over his hands, clasped upon his forehead. He hastily brushed away the
scattered locks.

"Oh, Anthony!" she said, "what have you been doing here? What drawn on
the glass?"

He slightly coloured, put his hand to the panes and covered them.

"Nay," she said, taking hold of his hand, and drawing it away, "nay, let
me read it."

"I have writ," said he, bitterly, "what might have been, and then----"
he gulped down his rising emotion, "then I had been----"

She stooped and kissed him on the brow, "Poor boy!"

Instantly he threw his arms round her neck and drew her face to his, and
kissed her cheeks and lips, passionately. She--she alone remained to
him--and yet--how far apart they were.

She sprang away with a cry.

The door was open, and in it stood old Anthony Cleverdon.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

ANOTHER TEMPTATION.


Anthony rose, when he saw his father, with instinctive filial respect,
but he did not look him in the face. He could not do this.

"Hah!" said the old man, entering the room, and closing the door behind
him. "I had come here with an intent that is now set aside. I had come,
Julian, to tell thee that it was yet in thy power to weld together the
estates of Hall and Kilworthy, notwithstanding what has occurred--that
is, if thou wouldst overlook a certain disparity in years, and keep
thine eye fixed on the main advantage. But that is over. I am glad I
came when I chanced, and in time to save me from running a great risk.
Thou art too free with thy kisses, too lavish in thy love to please me."

He spoke as though what he said must wither Julian, crush her under the
sense of her great loss. His assurance that she must be attracted by the
same ambition as himself was so grotesque that Julian at once rallied
from the confusion that had covered her, laughed, and said:

"You do me a mighty honour."

"Not at all--I decline to show you the honour."

"So much the better. When I walk through a wood I do not like to have
the bramble claw at me. If it does, then I must turn and put my foot on
it. Let the bramble hug the nettle, and not aim at the lady."

Her impudence staggered him.

"It is mighty sport," she continued, "to hear that little Hall desired
to hitch itself on to the skirts of Kilworthy. But Master Cleverdon, if
thou art in a marrying mood, prithee go to the next giglet fair, and
choose thee there a wench."

Her insolence had its effect; the effect designed. Instead of being
attacked by the old Squire, she was the assailant, and she hit him where
she knew she could keenly wound him, so as to draw off his thoughts from
what he had just seen. He was offended and angry.

"There," said she--"sit down in my seat by the fire. I meant no harm;
but as you were absurd on your side, I made grimaces on mine. I am glad
you are here, and face to face with Anthony, for, mayhap, I can persuade
you to that which, unpersuaded, you were loth to do."

The old man was so angry that he did not answer her. He remained near
the door, doubtful whether to retire or to come forward. He had not
expected to meet his son there, and was unprepared for an interview;
though hardly regretting it, for, in his bitter and resentful spirit he
was willing that Anthony should hear from his own lips what he
designed--learn to the full the completeness of the severance between
them.

"Whatever persuasion you may attempt," said he, looking at Julian,
"comes at a wrong time, after you have shown me that you are a person
who, not respecting herself, deserves no respect from another, and after
you have grossly insulted me. But I will listen to you, though, I tell
you, what you say will not weigh with me as a feather."

"If that be so," laughed Julian, "I will spare myself the trouble. But
look at your son; look at him calmly, and tell me whether I was wrong in
pitying him, ay, and if, in consideration of old, tried friendship, that
has been almost cousinship--so well have we known each other since
childhood--was I so very wrong in lightly touching his brow with my
lips, for from my heart I was sorry for him. Think what it would have
been for you, when you married, had your father lived and treated you as
you have treated Anthony! Is a man to be cast out of every home because
he has committed one folly? I dare stake my word that Anthony has rued
his act almost daily; and is all his regret to count for nothing?"

"A man must take the consequences of what he has done."

"Julian, I do not wish you to plead my cause," said Anthony, coming
before his father; "I will speak to him myself. I want to ask of him a
question or two."

"I will answer them," said the old man. "Say on."

"I desire to know for certain whether you intend to give Bessie to Fox
Crymes?"

"Yes, I do."

"And she consents?"

"All are not so disobedient as yourself."

"And if she refuses?"

"She will not refuse. I can but let her go, as I let you go. But she
will not refuse; I have that to say to her which will make her give
way."

"Then if she takes Fox, do you intend to take him into Hall?"

"Yes, I do."

"And under my name?"

"Certainly. He changes his name of Crymes to that of Cleverdon when he
becomes my son."

"Then I tell you it shall not be. There shall not be another Anthony
Cleverdon in Hall. I give you and Fox fair warning. There cannot--there
shall not--be a supplanter in Hall bearing my name."

"We shall see."

"Yes you shall see. Tell Fox what I have said."

"Tell him yourself. I will be no bearer of messages between you."

"Mr. Cleverdon," said Julian, "I cannot let you meet and part in my
presence, spoiling all my pleasure in this little room forever with the
remembrance of this scene, without one more effort to bring you to
agreement. Come, now--what if Anthony returns to you?"

"Returns to me?"

"Yes, what if he throws up all connection with Willsworthy? He is
wretched there--poverty-stricken. He is unhappy in a hundred ways. Look
at his face. Where is the old brightness--where the old pride? He has
lost all the ancient merry Anthony, and now is a sad one. Let him come
back to Hall, and leave Urith to manage with her uncle--to manage, or
mismanage--as before, till all goes there to pieces. He has committed a
boyish folly, and he knows it. He has thrown away gold for dross, and he
has found it out. He will now be twice the Tony to you that he was. Then
he was thoughtless, careless, devil-may-care; now he has learned a
lesson, and learned it so sharply that he will never forget it again. He
has learned what disobedience costs--what it is to go against a
father--what boy's fancies are compared with matured plans in the head
of a man. Give him that chance. Come, you do not know Fox as I know him.
Take him into your house, and he will not be more dutiful to you than
has been your own Tony. He will make you unhappy, and your Bessie
wretched. I saw by Tony's face, when he came here, that he had
quarrelled with his wife. He came here because his home was hateful to
him--because it was unendurable to him to be there any more. We cannot
retain him here. Let him go to thee, and there will be an end to Fox and
his story with Bessie. Anthony will be dutiful and loving henceforth,
and cling to thee, and esteem thee, as he never clung to thee and
esteemed thee heretofore."

Anthony was speechless. The blood rushed into his face. Everything might
be as it was--or almost everything.

Old Anthony Cleverdon stood irresolute.

He had misgivings relative to Fox. One crafty malevolent nature
mistrusts another of the same quality. His daughter's peace of mind
troubled him little, but he was by no means certain that Fox, once in
the house, might not presume, and that there would not be sharp contests
between them. Moreover, when Fox was there, married to his daughter, his
place would be assured, and the old man could not well drive him from
it. There were other reasons which made the old Squire feel that, to
some extent, Fox would be unassailable, and might be eminently
disagreeable.

The suggestion made by Julian was inviting. In the depths of his heart
lurked love for his only son; his old pride in him was there, and was
wounded and sore with the spectacle of the lad humbled, sinking out of
men's favour, and out of his old dignity. He looked at him, and saw what
an alteration had taken place in him--how oldened and worn in face he
was, how shabby in his clothing.

"Do you know, Mr. Cleverdon," pursued Julian, "why it was that poor Tony
caught me by the neck and kissed me? It was because he was so utterly
forlorn and disconsolate; he had lost all his friends, his heart was
void through bereavement from his father; he was estranged from that
Jacob, that supplanter, Fox; he saw his own sister turning against him,
and--I doubt not he has not found that solace and sufficiency in his own
home that would make up for these mighty losses. He held me, because he
had none other. I do not want him, I have no right to him--let me cast
him off--but only on to his father's bosom, into his father's arms."

The old man went to the window and looked forth. His face was agitated.
He must have time to consider.

Anthony, moreover, remained mute, and his face was troubled. A terrible
temptation was presented to him. He believed that now, were he to throw
himself at his father's feet, take his hand, and ask his forgiveness,
the old man would receive him back at once into favour on the terms
proposed by Julian. That he would forgive him on any other, he might not
expect. That he knew full well.

And the old man saw that an opportunity was offered to deal the most
insulting and cruel stroke to the daughter of the man who had incurred
his undying hatred. He could by a word rob her of her husband, of the
prize she had laboured to win, but which he could prevent her from
retaining.

To Julian was offered the most complete and open triumph over her
enemy. A triumph more complete than she could have hoped to gain.
Anthony could be nothing to her, he would remain as a friend, that was
all; but she would see, and show to Urith, her threat made good to
wrench Anthony away from her.

Anthony stood with downcast eyes. The temptation was a strong
one--strong, to a young man who had been humoured and allowed to have
his own way uncontrolled, allowed to follow his pleasure or whim without
hindrance. He could not return home without having to face his wife,
angered and resentful, without having to acknowledge himself to have
been in the wrong. Anthony Crymes was playing him a treacherous and
cruel trick, and here was a chance offered him of at once recovering his
old position, wiping out his past mistake, and discomfiting Fox when on
the eve of success. Was he sure that he could ever be on the same terms
as before with Urith? Had she not been gradually estranged from him,
till she had declared to him that she hated him, that she wished she had
never seen him? Would it not be a relief to be rid of him, to be spared
any more domestic broils?

Old Anthony Cleverdon was at the window, and as he stood there he marked
the initials drawn on the fogged glass, and turned and looked at his
son. Young Anthony noticed the look, and observed what had attracted his
father's attention. He moved hastily to the window, and his father drew
away, went to the fireplace, and rested his elbow against the
mantel-shelf and fixed his eyes intently on his son. So also did Julian.
Both saw that the moment was a crucial one. The young man was forced to
make up his mind on a point which would determine his whole after-life.
It was more than that, it was a crucial moment in his moral life. He
must now take a step upward or downward, in the path of right or that of
wrong. This neither Julian nor his father considered, intent only on
their selfish ends. But this appeared clearly to Anthony. His inner
consciousness spoke out and told him plainly where went the path of duty
and where lay the deflexion from it. But the path of duty was a painful
one full of humiliations, promising no happiness, only a repetition of
contests with a sulky wife, and jars with the foolish Solomon Gibbs, of
struggle against poverty, of labour like a common hired workman, of
loss for ever of his old position, and deprivation of all the amusements
that had filled his former life.

He and Urith did not suit each other. His temperament was sanguine, his
spirit mirthful; he was sociable, and full of the sparkle of youth;
whereas she was moody, almost morose, had no humour and laughter in her
soul, brooded over imagined wrongs as well as those that were real, and
could as little accommodate herself to his mood as could he to hers.
Surely it were best, under these circumstances, that they should part.

Now Anthony was standing at the window where he had stood before when he
drew those initials on the panes, in the place occupied recently by his
father. So full was he of his thoughts, of the rolling of conflicting
waves of feeling, that he forgot where he was, forgot the presence of
his father and of Julian--the very sense of the lapse of time was gone
from him. Though he looked through the window, he saw nothing.

Then, all at once, uncalled for, there broke and oozed forth in his
heart the old vein of love which had been filled with so hot and full a
flood when he was Urith's suitor; he saw her with the old eyes once
more, and looked in mental vision once more into the sombre eyes, as he
had on the moor, when he lifted her into his saddle, and there came over
him that sensation of mingled love and fear. It seemed to him that now
only did he understand the cause of that fear; it was fear lest he
himself should prove a wreck through lack of love and devotion to her.
He thought now of how, after their wedding, on his coming to Willsworthy
he had taken her in his arms, how her dark head had lain on his bosom,
and he had stooped and kissed her brow, and she had looked up into his
face with eyes expressive of perfect confidence, of intensest love. He
thought now how he had forced her against her will, against her
conscience, to marry him prematurely, after her mother's death, and
against the dying command of that mother. He thought how that he had
lived on her estate, had been, as it were, her pensioner. He thought
also of the efforts she had made, efforts he had perceived, to
accommodate herself to him, to meet his humour, to overcome her own
gloom, to struggle against the bad habits of slovenliness into which
the household had fallen, and to correct her own want of order, because
she saw it pained her husband. She had done a great deal for him, and
what had he done for her? Grumbled, been peevish, disappointed her. He
recalled that evening at the Cakes, where he had slighted her. He
thought of how he had trifled with his old regard for Julian, allowed
her to lure him away from his wife, and had let her see that he was no
more at one with Urith, and that he wished he could have undone the
marriage and re-tied the old threads that had bound him to Julian.
She--this Julian, had been playing with him--she, for her own ends, had
been making mischief between him and his wife--and what had he done?

His eyes were opened, and he saw the initials on the glass, and the
love-knot between them.

With the blood surging to his brow and cheeks, and a fire in his eye, he
raised his hand, and angrily brushed his palm over the three panes,
effacing utterly the characters there inscribed, then he remained with
uplifted hand and forefinger extended, still, as in dream, unconscious
that he was being watched.

A new thought had occurred to him--that he was about to become a father.

A father! and he away at Hall, while the deserted Urith sat at
Willsworthy--wan, with tears on her cheek, drip, drip, over the cradle
he had treated so insultingly--her cradle, which he had deemed unworthy
of his child, and which, for all that, with his child in it, he was
inclined to abandon!

Then the blood went out of Anthony's face, went back to his heart, as he
grew pale and still with the thought of the infamy of the conduct that
had been his, had he yielded to the temptation.

And tears, tears of shame at himself, of love for Urith, of infinite
longing for that little child that was to be his, and to nestle in his
arms, filled his throat and choked him. With a trembling finger on
another clouded pane he drew an U and interlaced with it an A, twisting
and turning the initials about, weaving them inextricably together, till
the U was lost in the A, and the A confounded with the U.

He could not speak. He did not look round. With his eyes fixed before
him, and his mind full of the thoughts that opened to him, he went out
of the room, out of the house, and spoke to no one.

But old Anthony and Julian knew his decision--knew it from his
finger-writing on the little diamond pane.

Yet the old man would not accept it--he called after his son.

"I give thee three days. I will do no more for three days in the
matter."

But Anthony did not turn his head or answer.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ON THE ROAD.


Fox Crymes walked on toward Hall with Bessie. He could not well leave
her to take the rest of her course alone, after the old man, her father,
had ridden past, forgetting her, and leaving her to make her way home
without him. They therefore walked on together, speaking at intervals
and disconnectedly to each other. Bessie feeling the irksomeness of her
position, and he unwilling further to jeopardize his suit by pressing it
on her any more. He had said what was sufficient and he left the father
to use pressure to force her to comply with his wishes.

The two had not, however, proceeded more than a mile before they saw
Squire Cleverdon riding back to meet them. He had recalled his promise
before he reached home, and then remembered having passed two persons
whom he did not particularly observe, but whom he concluded were his
daughter and Fox.

The first impression he had received from Anthony's conduct was that he
put the offer from him altogether; and yet, on further consideration, he
persuaded himself that he had been mistaken. Had Anthony finally decided
to reject his offer, why had he not said so in words? The old man's
nature was coarse--he could not understand the struggles of a generous
mind and resistance to mean motives. Anthony had not spoken, because he
did not choose to speak before Julian, because he thought it seemly to
affect difficulty of persuasion, because he wanted time in which to
consider it, because--because--the father could find many reasons why
Anthony should not immediately close with the proposal.

The more the old Squire turned the matter over, the more obvious it
became to him that Anthony would do as he wished. It was inconceivable
to him that he should persist in a course of opposition to his best
interests. The boy was proud; but he had learned, by sore experience,
that pride brought to misery. He had tried his strength against his
father's--had shown what he could do; and now, if he gave way, he was
not humiliated. Why, in the Civil Wars, when Salcombe Castle was held by
Sir Edmund Fortescue for five months against the Roundheads, and held
after every other fort in the country had been taken or had surrendered;
and then, when starved into yielding, it was on the most honourable
terms, and Sir Edmund marched forth with all the honours of war, bearing
away with him the key of the castle he had so gallantly defended. This
was no disgrace to him, it was a proud act of which all Devon men would
speak with elation. Why then should not Anthony surrender? He should
march forth with flying colours, and it would be no blow to his
self-respect, no jar to his pride. The old man, having worked himself
into the conviction that his case was won, was full of elation, and,
with the petty spite of a mean mind, he resolved at once to show Fox he
had no longer need of him. Then it was that he remembered that Fox and
Bessie were to walk towards Hall till he caught them up, and he turned
his horse's head and rode back till he met them.

"Heigh, there!" shouted the old man; "how goes the suit, Tony Crymes?
Hast thou won her consent?" He paused for an answer.

"Her mother brought her naught," he continued, when Fox remained silent,
not well knowing what answer to make.

"That I know," said Fox; "but he who wins Bessie Cleverdon wins a
treasure."

"I am glad thou thinkest so. I hope that will satisfy thee. Come, Tony,
lend a hand to the maid's foot, and help her up on the pillion behind
me."

Fox obeyed; the dirty road had soiled Bessie's boot so that he could not
preserve a clean hand.

"Find her heavy, eh?" asked the Squire, in a mocking tone.

"Much gold and many acres stick to thy hand when thou puttest it forth
to her, eh?"

Fox looked questioningly at the old man. His tone was changed.

"Bessie will bring luck that will adhere to whatever hand holds her,"
said the young man.

"No doubt--no doubt," said the Squire. "You may walk at our side, and I
will have a word with thee. Come on to Hall if it give thee pleasure.
The road is well known to thee, thou hast trod it many a time of late. I
doubt but soon thou thinkest to set up thy home there, and not to have
to run to and fro as heretofore."

Fox looked again inquiringly and uneasily at the old man. He did not
understand this new style of banter.

"Thou hast helped Bessie now into pillion, and I suppose thou art
reckoning on the stuffing of the pad on to which thou thinkest her hand
will help thee up, eh?"

Fox, usually ready with a word, was uncertain how to meet these sallies,
and still remained silent.

The old man rode on, casting an occasional glance, full of cynicism, at
young Crymes, who walked at the side of the horse.

Fox would not return till he was enlightened on this change in his
manner; nor would he say much, resolving on silence as the best method
of forcing old Cleverdon to show what was in his mind.

"What dost say to Anthony coming home?" asked the Squire of his
daughter, turning his head over his shoulder.

"Anthony--is he really coming to Hall?" gasped Bessie, her heart leaping
with gladness.

"It will be a pleasure to thee to be able to retain the name of Crymes,"
sneered the Squire, turning to the walker. "A fine, ancient, gentle
name; thou did'st doubt about exchanging it for one less venerable--that
of Cleverdon, though of better sound, and the name that goes up, whilst
Crymes goes down?"

Anthony Crymes's colour changed; "I do not understand what you aim at,"
he said, in uncertain tone.

"Nay, there is naught hard to be understood in what I say. If Anthony
should come back to me, then there will be no need for Tony Crymes to
spend some forty guineas to obtain license to call himself Cleverdon."

"Then Anthony is coming back! Oh, father!" exclaimed Bessie, "this is
glad tidings." She disregarded all his hints and allusions to her
marriage with Fox.

"This it is--you, Bess, say you are pleased to hear it, and I am very
sure it will delight Tony Crymes. This it is--my Anthony has had the
offer made him by me that he shall return to Hall, and all be forgiven
and forgot that was between us."

"Oh, father, and you will receive Urith!"

"Not so fast, Bess. Anthony comes back, but never, never, will I suffer
that hussy to cross my threshold. I swore that when he married her, and
I will not go from my oath. No--Anthony returns, but not with that
creature--that beggar wench. He comes himself. He comes alone."

"He cannot, father; he cannot--she is his wife."

"She is, as his madness made it to be--she is his wife. But he is tired
of the folly; he repents it. He will be glad to be quit of her. He comes
back to me, and she remains in her beggary at Willsworthy."

"Never, father! never. Anthony could not have agreed to that."

"I tell thee he did; that is, he has almost agreed to it. He did not
close with the offer I made at once, but, for appearance sake, made some
difficulty--yet only for appearance sake. I have given him three days,
and in that time he will have let the matter be noised abroad, have
broken his intention to the girl, and have made himself ready to return
to me."

"Father!" said Bessie, in a voice choked with agitation, "I can never
regard--never think of Anthony again, in the old way, if he do this. He
must not leave his wife. He swore before God to hold to her in poverty
or in wealth till death, and thou wilt make him forswear himself?"

"His first duty he owes to me--nay, he owes it to himself, to return
from the evil ways in which he has gone. Heaven set him in Hall, and he
went against Heaven when he left it; now he is the prodigal that has
been among swine, but comes back to his father. That is Scripture--that
is the Word of God, and stands before all foolish words said in oath,
without weighing what they meant."

Fox Crymes caught the bridle, and stayed the horse.

"Is this jest, or is it earnest?" he asked, huskily.

"It is most serious and solemn earnest," answered the Squire.

"Then I insist on a word with thee, and I will hold the bridle till thou
dismount. I will not let thee go on till I have spoken alone with thee.
Let Bessie go forward, we must say somewhat together."

Squire Cleverdon had no whip, but he struck spurs into the flanks of his
horse; but Fox held the rein, and, though the beast plunged and kicked
out, he would not let it break away. Bessie was almost thrown off, and
in her danger threatened to drag her father with her.

"Nay, thou shalt not escape me," said Fox. "Dismount, Master Cleverdon,
and tell me plainly what this new matter is between thee and thy
graceless fool of a son, or I will make the horse fling thee into the
mud, and perhaps break thy neck."

The old man thought best to comply, and, growling, he dismounted. Then
Fox let go his hold of the rein, and bade Bessie ride forward beyond
earshot.

"What is the meaning of this?" asked Fox, who was livid with rage and
mortification, so livid, that the freckles on his face stood out as
black spots on the hide of a coach-dog. "It is ill to trifle with me.
You arranged all with me. I was to have your daughter, and succeed to
Hall, I was to take your name, and step into all the rights forfeited by
Anthony. You brought me face to face with Bessie at her aunt's, and then
sent me walking back toward Hall with her, to press my case. When all is
nearly over, then you turn round, cast me over, and reinstate that son
who has maltreated and half-blinded me, and make a mock of me for my
pains?"

"It is you who have trifled with me," retorted the Squire, with less
heat, but more bitterness. "You told me that you would urge my suit with
your sister; you brought me weekly accounts of how she was becoming more
disposed to think of me, you flattered and encouraged me, and all the
while you knew----"

"I knew what? I knew nothing, save that you are old, and she young."

"That is not it," said the Squire, peevishly, "that is not what I refer
to. You knew that she was encouraging my son, and that the old
attachment that subsisted before this hateful affair with Urith Malvine
had reasserted itself."

"It is false," answered Fox, furiously, "not content with making your
sport with me, you insult my sister."

"I suppose you will not dispute the testimony of my own eyes," sneered
old Cleverdon.

"And to what do they bear testimony?"

"To what I said. I entered the parlour where they were, she standing
over him, at the window; he seated, with his arms thrown about her neck,
kissing her, and above them on the glass, scrawled by his finger, their
initials woven together, with a true lover's knot."

Fox glared at him, in speechless wrath.

"Now--what say you to that?" asked the old man. "With such proceedings,
allowed, connived at in your house, I am to be lured on to offer myself
to your precious sister, and then to be laughed at, and scouted for my
folly--a folly into which you were drawing me."

"It is false"--that was all Fox could say, so disconcerted, so choked
was he with rage.

"It is not false. I have but just come from your house, and saw that,
and because I saw it, I made overtures to Anthony to return. It was
clear to me that all the fever of fancy for that hussy at Willsworthy
was dead as ashes. That the reputation of Julian will need looking to,
should he return to me, and be separate from Urith, is naught to me."

"He has enough to answer to me without this," gasped Fox. Then, by an
effort, he steadied his voice and resumed his usual manner. "Now," said
he, "let us have all brought into measure and rhyme between us. You tell
me that Anthony comes back to Hall and abandons his wife."

"Aye! That is my offer to him. Let him leave Willsworthy and return to
me, and all shall be forgiven. 'Tis a misfortune that he cannot be rid
of his wife, but the tie by law alone will remain. She shall never be
mentioned between us."

"And he agrees to this?"

"I have granted him three days to consider. In three days he gives me
his answer, but who can doubt what that answer will be? Is he not
wearied with his toy? Has he had good cheer at Willsworthy? Has he aught
there now to retain him?"

"And what about Bessie?"

"Oh! you are welcome to her, as I said before; but after my death Hall
will go to Anthony, only the reversion to thee and any child thou hast
by Bess. Should my Anthony survive Urith and marry again, then to his
son by his second wife, never--that I have ever maintained--never to any
child of his by Urith Malvine."

Fox laughed contemptuously.

"A poor prospect for Bess and her husband."

"A poor prospect, mayhap, but the only one on which they can look
through their windows when they set up house together."

"And what allowance will you make Bessie when she marries?"

"But a trifle--I cannot more."

"So her husband and she are to live on the expectation of succession
should they survive Anthony, and should Anthony not be remarried."

"That is all."

"But what if Anthony refuses your offer?"

"Then all remains as before. He will not refuse."

"I will hear that from his own mouth. Where is he?"

"I did not overtake him on the road. He had not yet left the town. I
doubt not he has gone to his Aunt Magdalen."

"One word more. Hold up your hand to Heaven and swear that he
dared--dared to put his arms round and kiss my sister! He--he--Anthony
Cleverdon!"

"I will do it! It is true!"

Fox remained in the midst of the road, and his hand convulsively caught
and played with his hunting-knife that hung to his belt. His red, thick
brows were knitted.

As old Cleverdon looked at his mottled face, he allowed to himself that
Bess would have bad taste to choose such an one wittingly; and that,
unwilling, it would take some compulsion to drive her to accept him.

"And, if Anthony does not come within three days, all remains as
heretofore?" again asked Fox, looking furtively up at the father, and
then letting his eyes fall again.

"Yes, all as heretofore. Should he dare to disappoint me in this, not a
thread from my coat, nor a grass-blade from my land, shall fall to him."

Fox waved his hand. "That will do," he said, and turned away.

He was at the junction of the road or track that led from Willsworthy
with the main highway along which Squire Cleverdon had been riding. He
remained at this point, waiting till the old man had remounted, and had
trotted away, with Bessie behind him. There he stood, still playing with
the handle of his hunting-knife, his red, lowering brows contracted over
his small eyes, watching till the riders disappeared over the hill. Then
he turned along the track-way that led to Willsworthy, with his head
down against the drizzling rain, which had come on again, after having
ceased for an hour; which came on again thick, blotting out the
scenery--all prospect within a hundred feet--as effectually as though
veils of white gauze had been let down out of the heavens, one behind
another.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

TWO PARTS OF A TOKEN.


Anthony had, as his father surmised, gone to see his Aunt Magdalen. His
heart was soft within him--softened at the sense of his own
unworthiness, and with the return flow of his old love to Urith. And as
he did not desire at once to go back to Willsworthy, and at the same
time remembered that some time had elapsed since he had seen his aunt,
he went to her house. There he found his grandmother, Mistress Penwarne.
Some of the bitterness of the old woman seemed to be rubbed away.
Perhaps daily association with the gentleness of Luke Cleverdon had done
this.

She was in tears when Anthony entered. Magdalen had been talking with
her over the plan mapped out for Bessie, to the complete, final
exclusion of Anthony from return to his father's house.

"Now--now does the righteous God pay back to old Anthony Cleverdon all
the wrong he did my daughter," she said. "See--drop for drop of gall.
Where there fell one on my child's heart, his own son spirts a drop on
to his father's heart. There is retribution in this world."

"Oh, Mistress Penwarne," remonstrates Magdalen. "How can you take
delight in this?"

"I delight only in seeing justice done," answered the old woman. "You
hold with your brother--naturally--to some extent; but you never loved
my daughter. You never showed her kindness----"

"Indeed, now," interrupted Magdalen, "there you do me a wrong. It was
Margaret who would not suffer me to enter the house and be of any
consequence more in Hall, who withstood me when I would draw near to my
brother."

"She had no power to withstand any one. That you know full well. She
weighed naught with her husband. But let that be. If you sinned against
her, God is bringing the whip down on your shoulders as well, for I know
that what is now falling out is to you great pain and affliction."

"That it is indeed," sighed Magdalen.

"Anthony is used by the hand of Providence as its rod with the father;
Heaven rewards on the proud Squire of Hall every heartache, every
humiliation to which he subjected my child. You know not how I have
prayed that I might be suffered to see the day when the rod should fall
and beat and bruise the back of the offender."

"You do not reckon," said Magdalen, "that the chief suffering falls, not
on my brother, but on your daughter's son. Is not Anthony the very image
of his mother? Has he not her eyes and hair--all the upper part of his
countenance? Does not her blood run in his veins? You have desired
revenge on my brother, and you have got it through the breaking to
pieces of your own grandson."

Mistress Penwarne was silent. It was as Magdalen said.

"Yes, and whom does Bessie resemble most? She has none of the
handsomeness of your Margaret. It is true that she is her child, but she
has inherited the plain homeliness of the Cleverdons. Look at yonder
picture over the mantel-shelf. That was drawn of me when about her age.
Does she not so resemble me at that time that you would say she had
taken nothing of the Penwarnes, that she was altogether and only
Cleverdon? Yet to her will come Hall. She will be mistress there, and
to her child it will descend, to the utter exclusion of Anthony. Nay, I
cannot think that the judgment of God, to which thou appealest ever, is
falling all to thy side in its weighted scale."

The old woman was about to answer when Anthony entered. He was pale, and
his pallor reminded her of her daughter as the wan picture recalled
Bessie. Mrs. Penwarne rose from her chair and stepped up to him, took
him by both his hands, and looked him steadily in the face. As she did
so great tears formed in her eyes and rolled down her wrinkled cheeks.

"Ah!" said she, seeing in him her dead daughter, and her voice quivered,
"how hardly did the Master of Hall treat her, but Magdalen--aye, and
Bessie--know that better than thou. He was rough and cruel, and now thou
hast felt what his roughness and cruelty be--now thou canst understand
how he behaved to thy poor mother; but thou art a man and able to go
where thou wilt, fight thine own way through the world, carve for
thyself thine own future. It was not so with my poor Margaret. She was
linked to him--she could not escape, and he used his strength and
authority and wealth to beat and to torment and break her. And Margaret
had a spirit. Have you seen how a little dog is mended of lamb worrying?
It is attached to an old ram--linked to it past escape, and at every
moment the ram lets drive at the little creature with his horns, gets
him under his feet and tramples him, kneels on him and kneads him with
his knees, ripping at him all the while with his horns. Then, finally,
the little dog is detached and taken away, covered with wounds and
bruises, before the ram kills it. It was so with my Margaret, but she
was no lamb-killer--only had a high spirit--and she was tied to that
man, your father. He rent her away from Richard Malvine, whom she loved,
just because it was his pleasure, and he broke her heart. Look here."

The old grandmother drew from her bosom a token, a silver crown-piece of
Charles I., on which the King was figured mounted on horseback; but the
coin was broken, and to her neck hung but one half.

"Look at this," said Mrs. Penwarne. "Here is the half-token that Richard
Malvine gave to my daughter, and the other half he kept himself. That
was the pledge that they belonged to each other. Yet Anthony Cleverdon
of Hall would not have it so. He took her away, and on her marriage day
she gave me the broken half-token. She had no right to retain that; but
with her broken heart she could not part so readily. As if it were not
enough that he had torn her away from the man she loved, your father
left not a day to pass without ill-treating her in some way. He was
jealous, because he thought her heart still hung to Richard Malvine;
though, as God in heaven knows, she never failed in her duty to him, and
strove faithfully to cast out from her heart every thought of the man
she had loved, and to whom the Squire of Hall had made her unfaithful.
As he could not win her love, he sought to crush her by ill-treatment.
Now, O my Lord! how it must rejoice my poor Margaret, and Richard also,
in Paradise, to think that their children should come together and be
one--be one as they themselves never could be."

She ceased and sobbed. Then with shaking hands, she put the ribbon to
which the broken token depended round Anthony's neck.

"Take this," she said. "I never thought to part with it; but it of right
belongs now to thee. Take it as a pledge of thy mother's love, that her
broken heart goes with thee to Willsworthy, and finds its rest there;
and with it take my blessing."

Anthony bowed his head, and looked at the silver coin, rubbed very much,
and placed it on his breast, inside his coat.

"Thank thee, grandmother," he said. "I will cherish it as a remembrance
of my mother."

"And tell me," said she, "is it so, that thou art forever driven away
from Hall, that thy father will take thy name, even, and give it to
another, and that thou and thy children are forever to be shut off and
cast away from all lot and inheritance in the place where thy
forefathers have been?"

"It is even so," answered Anthony. "But hark!"

A horn was being blown in the street, and there was a tramp of running
feet, and voices many in excitement.

"What can be the matter?" exclaimed Magdalen, going to the window.
"Mercy on us! What must have taken place?"

Anthony ran out of the house. The street had filled; there were people
of all sorts coming out of their houses, asking news, pressing inward
toward the man with the horn. Anthony elbowed his way through the
throng.

"What is this about?" he inquired of a man he knew.

"The Duke of Monmouth has landed at Lyme in Dorsetshire. Hey! wave your
hat for Protestantism! Who'll draw the sword against Popery and
Jesuitism?"

More news was not to be got. The substance of the tidings that had just
come in was contained in the few words--the Duke has landed at Lyme;
with how many men was not known. What reception he had met with was as
yet unknown. No one could say whether the country gentry had rallied to
him--whether the militia which had been called out in expectation of his
arrival had deserted to his standard.

Anthony remained some time in the street and market-place discussing the
news. His spirits rose, his heart beat high; he longed to fly to Lyme,
and offer himself to the Duke. His excitement over, the tidings
dispelled his concern about his own future and gloomy thoughts about his
troubled home. In that home there was at the time much unrest. After he
had departed from Willsworthy, Uncle Sol Gibbs had burst into laughter.

"Ah, Urith!" said he, "I hope, maid, thy hand is not hurt. It was not a
fair hit. The lad was nettled; he thought himself first in everything,
and all at once discovered that an old fool like me, with one hand
behind my back, could beat him at every point. Your young cockerells
think that because they crow loud they are masters in the cockpit. It
disconcerts them to find themselves worsted by such as they have
despised. There, I shall bear him no grudge. I forgive him, and he will
be ashamed of himself ere ten minutes are past in which his blood has
cooled. None of us are masters of ourselves when the juices are in
ferment."

He took his niece's hand and looked at the palm; it was darkened across
it, by the stroke of the stick.

"So! he has bruised thee, Urith! That would have cracked my old skull
had it fallen athwart it, by heaven! Never mind, I kiss thee, wench, for
having saved me, and I forgive him for thy sake. Look here, Urith, don't
thou go taking it into thy noddle that all married folks agree like
turtle-doves. Did'st ever hear me sing the song about Trinity Sunday?


     When bites the frost and winds are a blowing,
       I do not heed and I do not care.
     When 'Tony's by me--why let it be snowing,
       'Tis summer time with me all the year.
     The icicles they may hang on the fountain,
       And frozen over the farmyard pool,
     The east wind whistle upon the mountain,
       No wintry gusts our love will cool.


That is courtship, Urith--summer in the midst of winter. Now listen to
matrimony--what that is:--


     I shall be wed a' Trinity Sunday,
       And then--adieu to my holiday!
     Come frost, come snow on Trinity Monday,
       Why then beginneth my winter day.
     If drudge and smudge on Trinity Monday,
       If wind and weather--I do not care!
     If winter follows Trinity Sunday,
       It can't be summer-time all the year.


That's the proper way to regard it. After marriage storms always come;
after matrimony nipping frosts and wintry gales. It can't be summer-time
all the year. Now just see," continued Uncle Sol, climbing upon the
table and seating himself thereon, and then fumbling in his pocket.
"Dos't fancy it was ever summer-time with thy father and mother after
they were wed? Not a bit, wench--not a bit. They had their quarrels. I
don't say that they were exactly of the same sort as be yours, but they
were every whit as bad--aye! and worse, and all about this." He opened
his hand and showed a broken silver crown piece of Charles I.,
perforated, and with a ribbon holding it. "I'll tell thee all about it.
Afore thy father was like to be married to my sister, he was mighty
taken in love with someone else. Well, Urith, I won't conceal it from
thee--it was with Margaret Penwarne, that afterward married old Squire
Cleverdon, and became the mother of thy Anthony. Everyone said they
would make a pair, but he was poor and she had naught, and none can
build their nest out of love; so it was put off. But I suppose they had
passed their word to each other, and in token of good faith had broken a
silver crown and parted it between them. This half," said Uncle Sol,
"belonged to thy father. Well, I reckon he ought, when he married thy
mother, to have put away from his thoughts the very memory of Margaret
Cleverdon. I could not see into his heart--I cannot say what was there.
Maybe he had ceased to think of her after she was wed to Anthony
Cleverdon, and he had taken thy mother; maybe he had not. All men have
their little failings--some one way, some another. Mine is--well, you
know it, niece, so let it pass. I hurt none but myself. But thy father
never parted with the broken half-token, but would keep it. Many words
passed between them over it, and the more angry thy mother was, the more
obstinate became thy father. One day they were terrible bad--a regular
storm it was, Urith. Then I took down my single-stick, and I went up to
Richard, and said I to him, 'Dick, thou art in the wrong. Give me up the
half-token, or, by the Lord, I'll lay thy head open for thee!' He knew
me, and that I was a man of my word. He considered a moment, and then he
put it into my hand--on one condition, that I should never give it to my
sister. I swore to that, and we shook hands, and so peace was made for
the time. There"----said the old man, descending from the table. "I will
give thee the half-token, maid, for my oath does not hold me now. Thine
it shall be; and when thou wearest it, or holdest it, think on
this--that there is no married life without storms and vexations, and
that the only way in which peace is to be gotten is for the one in the
wrong to give up to the other."

He put the half-token into Urith's hand.

She received it without a word, and held it in her bruised palm. Her
face was lowering, and she mused, looking at the coin.

Yes, he who is in the wrong must abandon his wrongful way--give up what
offended the other. What had she to yield? Nothing. She had done her
utmost to retain Anthony's love. She had not been false to him by a
moment's thought. She had striven against her own nature to fit herself
to be his companion. She loved him--she loved him with her whole soul;
and yet she hated him--hated him because he had slighted and neglected
her at the Cakes, because he was suffering himself to be lured from her
by Julian, because he was dissatisfied with his house, resented against
her his quarrel with his father. She could hardly discriminate between
her love and her hate. One merged into the other, or grew out of the
other.

"Come!" said the old man, looking about for his hat. "By the Lord! the
boy has gone off with my wet cap. Well, I shall wear his, I cannot tarry
here. I will go seek out my friend Cudlip at the Hare and Hounds. I
shall not be late, but I want to hear news. There is a wind that the
Duke of Monmouth has set sail from the Lowlands. The militia have been
called out and the trainbands gathered. Come, Urith, do not look so
grave. Brighten up with some of the humours of the maid who sang of
winter on Trinity Monday. It cannot be summer-time all the year--why,
neither can it be winter."

Then he swung out of the house trolling:--


     So let not this pair be despised,
       That man is but part of himself;
     A man without woman's a beggar,
       If he have the whole world full of wealth,
     A man without woman's a beggar,
       Tho' he of the world were possessed,
     But a beggar that has a good woman,
       With more than the world is he blessed.



CHAPTER XL.

"THIS FOR JULIAN."


Urith was left alone looking at the broken token. It did not bring to
her the cynical consolation that her uncle intended it to convey. It was
not even poor comfort, it was no sort of comfort whatever to learn that
others had been unhappy in the same way as herself--that there had been
discord between her father and mother. The broken token was to her a
token of universal breakage--of broken trust, broken ambitions, broken
words, broken hearts--but that all the world was in wreck was no relief
to Urith, whose only world for which she cared was contained within the
bounds of Willsworthy.

She had dreamed with reverence of her father; but Uncle Sol had shown
her that this father had been false in heart to her mother. Her own
story was that of her mother. Each had married one whose heart had been
pre-engaged. After a little while, no doubt of sincere struggle, the
heart swung back to its eldest allegiance. As Urith sat in the hall
window, looking out into the court, her eyes rested on the vane over the
stables. Now that arrow pointed to the west! Sometimes it veered to
other quarters, but the prevailing winds came from the Atlantic, and
that vane, though for a few days it may have swerved to north or south,
though for a whole month, nay--a whole spring it may have pointed east,
as though nailed in that aspect, yet round it swung eventually, and for
the rest of the year hardly deviated from west. So was it with the heart
of Anthony; so had it been with the heart of her father. Each had had a
first love; then there had come a sway towards another point, and
eventually a swing round into the direction that had become habitual.

Fox's words at the dance in the house of the Cakes returned to
her:--"You cannot root out old love with a word." With Anthony it had
been old love. Since childhood he and Julian had known each other, and
had looked on each other in the light of lovers. It was a love that had
ramified in its roots throughout his heart and mind. It was with this
love as with the coltsfoot in the fields. When once the weed was there,
it was impossible to eradicate it; the spade that cut it, the pick that
tore it up, the sickle that reaped it down, only multiplied it; every
severed fibre became a fresh plant--every lopped head seeded on the
ground and dispersed its grain. For a while a crop of barley or oats
appeared, and the coltsfoot was lost in the upright growth; but the crop
was cut and carried, and the coltsfoot remained.

Was this a justification for Anthony? Urith did not stay to inquire. She
considered herself, her anguish of disappointment, her despair of the
future--not him. With all the freshness and vehemence of youth, she had
given herself wholly to Anthony. She had loved--cared for--no one
before; and when she loved and cared for him it was with a completeness
to which nothing lacked. Hers was a love infinite as the ocean, and now
she found that his had been but a love, in comparison with hers, like a
puddle that is dried up by the July sun.

She did not consider the matter with regard to Anthony's justification,
only as affecting herself--as darkening her entire future. The coltsfoot
must go on growing, and spread throughout the field. It could not be
extirpated, only concealed for a while. She could never look into
Anthony's face--never kiss him again, never endure a word of love from
him any more, because of that hateful, hideous, ever-spreading,
all-absorbing, only temporarily-coverable weed of first love for Julian.
An indescribable horror of the future filled her--an inexpressible agony
contracted her heart as with a cramp. She threw up her hands and
clutched in the air at nothing; she gasped for breath as one drowning,
but could inhale nothing contenting. Everything was gone from her with
Anthony, not only everything that made life happy, but endurable. Down
the stream belonging to the manor was a little mill, furnished with
small grinding-stones, and a wheel that ever turned in the stream that
shot over it. No miller lived at the mill. When rye, barley, or wheat
had to be ground, some person from the house went down, set the mill,
and poured in the grain. Night and day the wheel went round, and now in
her brain was set up some such a mill--there was a whirl within, and a
noise in her ears. The little manor-mill could be unset, so that, though
the wheel turned, the stones did not grind unless needed; but to this
inner mill in her head there was no relaxation. It would, grind, grind
as long as the stream of life ran--grind her heart, grind up her trust,
her hopes, her love, her faith in God, her belief in men--grind up all
that was gentle in her nature, till it ground all her nobler nature up
into an arid dust.

The day declined, and she was still looking at the broken token.

The mill was grinding, and was turning out horrible thoughts of
jealousy, it ground her love and poured forth hate, it ground up
confidence and sent out suspicion. She sprang to her feet. Where was
Anthony now? What was he doing all this while? He had been away a long
time; with whom had he been tarrying?

The mill was grinding, and now, as she threw in the jealous thoughts,
the hate, the suspicions, it had just turned out, it ground them over
again, and sent forth a wondrous series of fancies in a magic dust that
filled her eyes and ears; in her eyes it made her see Anthony in
Julian's society, in her ears it made her hear what they said to each
other. The dust fell into her blood, and made it boil and rage; it fell
on her brain, and there it caught fire and spluttered. She was as one
mad in her agony--so mad that she caught at the stanchions of the window
and strove to tear them out of the solid granite in which they were set,
not that she desired to burst through the window, but that she must tear
at and break something.

Why had Anthony marred her life, blistered her soul? She had started
from girlhood in simplicity, prepared to be happy in a quiet way,
rambling over the moors in a desultory fashion, attending to the farm
and garden and the poultry yard. She would have been content, if left
alone, never to have seen a man. Her years would have slipped away free
from any great sorrow, without any great cares. Willsworthy contented
her where wants were few. She loved and was proud of the place; but
Anthony, since he had been there had found fault with it, had
undervalued it, laughed at it; had shown her how bleak it was, how
ungenerous was the soil, how out of repair its buildings, how lacking in
all advantages.

Anthony had taught her to depreciate what she had highly esteemed. Why
need he have done that?

The wheel and the grindstones were turning, and out ran the bitter
answer--because Willsworthy was _hers_, that was why he scorned it, why
he saw in it only faults.

She paced the little hall, every now and then clasping her hands over
her burning temples, pressing them in with all her force, as though by
main strength to arrest the churn of those grindstones. Then she put
them to her ears to shut out the sound of the revolving wheel.

On the mantel-shelf was a brass pestle for crushing spices. She took it
down. Into it were stuffed the old gloves of Julian Crymes. It was a
characteristic trait of the conduct of the house; nothing was put where
it ought to be, or might be expected to be. After these gloves had lain
about, at one time in the window, at another on the settle, then upon
the table, Urith had finally thrust them out of the way into the pestle,
and there they had remained forgotten till now. In the train of her
thoughts Urith was led to the challenge of Julian, when she recalled
where the gloves were, and these she now took from the place to which
she had consigned them.

She unfolded them and shook the dust from them. Then she stood with one
foot on the hearthstone, her burning head resting against the granite
upper stone of the fireplace, looking at the gloves. Had Julian made
good her threat? Was she really, deliberately, with determinate malice,
winding Anthony off Urith's hand on to her own? And if so--to what would
this lead? How would she--Urith--be tortured between them? Every hair of
her head was a nerve, and each suffering pain.

She lifted her brow from the granite, then dashed it back again, and
felt no jar, so acute was the inner suffering she endured. It were
better that Anthony, or she--were dead. Such a condition of affairs as
that of which the mill in her head ground out a picture, was worse than
death. She could not endure it, she knew--she must go mad with the
torment. Oh, would! oh--would that Fox's fuse had been left to take its
effect in the ear of Anthony's horse, and dash him to pieces against the
rocks of the Walla!

She could no longer bear the confinement of the house. She gasped and
her bosom laboured. She put the gloves between her teeth, and her hands
again to her head, but her dark hair fell down about her shoulders. She
did not heed it. Her mind was otherwise occupied. In a dim way she was
aware of it, and her hands felt for her hair, how to bind it together
and fasten it again, but her mind was elsewhere, and her fingers only
dishevelled her hair the more.

The air of the room oppressed her; the walls contracted on her; the
ceiling came down like lead upon her brain. She plucked the gloves out
of her mouth and threw them on the table, then went forth.

The rain had ceased. Evening had set in, dark for June, because the
twilight could not struggle through the dense vapours overhead.

"Where is Anthony? I must see Anthony!" Her words were so hoarse, so
strange that they startled her. It is said that when one is possessed,
the evil spirit in the man speaks out of him in a strange voice,
utterly unlike that which is natural. It might be so now. The old demon
in Urith that had gone to sleep was awaking, refreshed with slumber, to
reassert his power.

Where was Anthony? What delayed his return? Had he on leaving
Willsworthy gone direct to Julian to pour out into her sympathetic ear
the story of his domestic troubles? Was he telling her of his wife's
shortcomings?--of her temper?--her untidiness?--her waywardness? Were
they jeering together in confidence at poor little moorland Willsworthy?
Were they talking over the great mistake Anthony had made in taking
Urith in the place of Julian? Were they laughing over that scene when
Anthony led out Urith for the dance at the Cakes? She saw their hands
meet, and their eyes--their eyes--as at the Cakes.

Then there issued from her breast a scream--a scream of unendurable
pain; it came from her involuntarily; it was forced from her by the
stress of agony within, but the voice was hoarse and inhuman. She was
aware of it, and grasped her hair and thrust it into her mouth to gnaw
at, and to stifle the cries of pain which might burst from her again.

She had descended the hill a little way when she thought she discerned a
figure approaching, mounting the rough lane. It might be Anthony--it
might be Solomon Gibbs. She was unprepared to meet either, so she
slipped aside into the little chapel. The portion of wall by the door
was fallen, making a gap, but further back grew a large sycamore, out of
the floor of the sacred building, near the angle formed by the south and
west walls. Behind this she retreated, and thence could see the person
who ascended the path, unobserved.

She was startled when Fox Crymes stepped through the gap where had been
the door. There was sufficient light for her to distinguish him, but he
could not observe her, as the shadows thrown by the dense foliage of the
sycamore from above, and the side shadows from the walls, made the
corner where Urith stood thoroughly obscure.

She supposed at first that Fox had stopped there for a moment to shake
out his wet cloak and readjust it; he did, in fact, rearrange the
position of the mantle, but it was not so as more effectually to protect
himself from rain as to leave his right arm free. Moreover, after that
he had fitted his cloak to suit his pleasure, he did not resume his
ascent of the lane to Willsworthy.

For a while Urith's thoughts were turned into a new channel. She
wondered, in the first place, why Fox should come to Willsworthy at that
hour; and next, why Fox, if Willsworthy should be his destination,
halted where he was, without attempting to proceed.

His conduct also perplexed her. He seated himself on a stone and
whistled low to himself through a broken tooth in front that he had--a
whistle that was more of a hiss of defiance than a merry pipe. Then he
took out his hunting-knife, and tried the point on his fingers. This did
not perfectly satisfy him, and he whetted it on a piece of freestone
moulding still in position, that formed a jamb of the old door, of which
the arch and the other jamb were fallen.

This occupied Fox for some time, but not continuously, for every now and
then he stood up, stole to the lane, and cautiously peered down it,
never exposing himself so as to be observed by any person ascending the
rough way.

The air was still, hardly any wind stirred, but what little there was
came in sudden puffs that shook the foliage of the sycamore burdened
with wet, and sent down a shower upon the floor. Urith could not feel
the wind, and when it came it was as though a shudder went through the
tree, and it tossed off the burden of water oppressing it, much as would
a long-haired spaniel on emerging from a bath.

Bats were abroad. One swept up and down the old chapel, noiseless, till
it came close to the ear, when the whirr of the wings was as that of the
sails of a mill.

An uneasy peewhit was awake and awing, flitting and uttering its
plaintive, desolate cry. It was not visible in the grey night-sky, and
was still for a minute; then screamed over the ruins; then wheeled away,
and called, as an echo from a distance, an answer to its own cry.

Fox stood forward again in the road, and strained his eyes down the
lane; then stole a little way along it to where he could, or thought he
could, see a longer stretch of it; then came back at a run, and stood
snorting in the ruins once more. Again, soft and still, came on a
comminuted rain--the very dust of rain--so fine and so light that it
took no direction, but floated on the air, and hardly fell.

Fox turned to the sycamore-tree. No shelter could be had beneath its
water-burdened leaves, that gathered the moisture and shot it down on
the ground. But he did not look at it as wanting its shelter. He stepped
toward it, then drew back; exclaimed, "Ah! Anthony. Here's one for
Urith," and struck his knife into the bole. The blade glanced through
the bark, sheering off a long strip, that rolled over and fell to the
ground attached to the tree at the bottom. "You took her and Willsworthy
from me," said Fox, drawing back. Then he aimed another blow at the
tree, cursing, "And here is for my eye!"

Urith started back; each blow seemed to be aimed at and to hit her, who
was behind the tree. She felt each stroke as a sharp spasm in her heart.

Fox dragged at his knife, worked it up, down, till he had loosened it;
then withdrew it. Then he laid his left hand, muffled in his cloak,
against the sycamore trunk, and raised his knife again. "That is not
enough," he whispered, and it was to Urith as though he breathed it into
her ear. He struck savagely into the side of the tree, as though into a
man, under the ribs, and said, "And this for Julian."

Before he could release his blade, Urith had stepped forth and had laid
her hand on him.

"Answer me," she said: "What do you mean by those words, 'And this for
Julian?'"



CHAPTER XLI.

"THAT FOR URITH."


Fox cowered, and retreated step by step before Urith, who stepped
forward at every step he retreated. He seemed to contract to a third of
his size before her eyes, over which a lambent, phosphorescent fire
played. They were fixed on his face; he looked up but once, and then,
scorched and withered, let his eyes fall, and did not again venture to
meet hers.

Her hands were on his shoulders. It might have been thought that she was
driving him backward, but it was not so. He recoiled instinctively; but
for her hands he might have staggered and fallen among the scattered
stones of the old chapel that strewed the floor.

"Answer me!" said Urith, again. "What did you mean, when you said--'This
for Julian?'"

"What did I mean?" he repeated, irresolutely.

"Answer me--what did you mean? I can understand that in thought Anthony
stood before you when you struck--once because I had cast you over, and
had taken him--once because he touched and hurt your eye--but why the
third time for Julian?"

He lifted one shoulder after the other, squirming uneasily under her
hands, and did not reply, save with a scoffing snort through his
nostrils.

"I know that you are waiting here for Anthony--and like yourself,
waiting to deal a treacherous blow. It is not such as you who meet a foe
face to face, after an open challenge, in a fair field."

"An open challenge, in a fair field!" echoed Fox, recovering some of his
audacity, after the first shock of alarm at discovery had passed away.
"Would that be a fair field in which all the skill, all the strength is
on one side? An open challenge! Did he challenge me when he struck me
with the gloves in the face and hurt my eye? No--he never warned me, and
why should I forewarn him?"

"Come!" said Urith, "go on before--up to Willsworthy; I will not run the
chance of being seen here talking with you, as if in secret. Go on--I
follow."

She waved him imperiously forth, and he obeyed as a whipped cur, sneaked
through the broken doorway forth into the lane. He looked down the road
to see if Anthony were ascending, but saw no one. Then he turned his
head to observe Urith, hastily sheathed his knife, and trudged forward
in the direction required.

Urith said nothing till the hall was entered, when she pointed to a
seat, and went with a candlestick into the kitchen to obtain a light.
She returned directly, having shut the doors between, so that no servant
could overhear what was said. The candlestick she placed on the table,
and then planted herself opposite Fox Crymes. He was sitting with his
back to the table, so that the light was off his face, and such as there
was from a single candle fell on Urith; but he did not look up. His eyes
were on the skirt of her dress and on her feet, and by them he could see
that she was quivering with emotion. He seemed to see her through the
flicker of hot air that rises from a kiln. He wiped his eyes, thinking
that his sight was disturbed, but by a second look ascertained that the
tremulous motion was in Urith. It was like the quiver of a butterfly's
wings when fluttering at the window trying to escape.

"I am ready," said Urith. "What did you mean when you said 'This for
Julian?'"

He half-lifted his cunning eyes, but let them fall again. He had
recovered his assurance and decided on his course.

"I suppose," sneered he, "that you will allow that I have a right to
chastise the man who insults our good name, to bring my sister into the
mouths of folk?"

"Has he done so?"

"You ask that?" he laughed, mockingly. "How remote this spot must be to
be where the breath of scandal does not blow. You ask that? Why, 'fore
heaven, I supposed that jealousy quickened and sharpened ears, but yours
must be singularly blunt, or, mayhap, deadened by indifference."

"Tell me plainly what you have to say."

"Do you not know that your Anthony was engaged, or all but engaged--had
been for some fifteen years--to my sister? Then he saw you under
remarkable circumstances, saw and attended you along the Lyke Way that
night of the fire on the moor. Then a spark of the wild fire fell into
his blood, and he forgot his old, established first love, and in a mad
humour took you. Take a scale," pursued Fox. "Put in one shell my sister
with her wealth, her civilized beauty, her heritage, the grand old house
of Kilworthy, and her representation of a grand old line. Put in
also"--he suited the action to his word, in imaginary scales in the air
before him, and saw the shrink of Urith's feet at each item he
named--"put in also his father's favor, Hall--where he was born and
bred, the inheritance of his family for many generations, with its
associations, his sister's company, the respect of his neighbours; all
that and more that I have not named into the one shell, and into the
other.--Come, come!"--he crooked his finger, and made a sign with his
knuckle, and a distorted face full of mockery and malice--"come, skip in
and sit yourself down with a couple of paniers of peat earth, that grows
only rushes. What say you? Do you outweigh Julian and all the rest? And
your peat earth, sour and barren, does that sink your scale heavier than
all the bags of gold and rich warm soil of Kilworthy and Hall combined?"

He glanced upward hurriedly, to see what effect his words had. All this
that he said Urith had said it to herself; but though the same thoughts
uttered to herself cut her like razors, they were as razors dipped in
poison, when coming articulate from the lips of Fox.

"Do you not suppose," continued he, "that after the first fancy was
over, Anthony wearied of you, and went back in heart out from this
wilderness, back to Goshen and to the Land of Promise rolled into one,
with the flesh-pots, and without hard labour? Of course he did. He were
a fool if he did not, or your hold over him must be magical indeed, and
the value of Willsworthy altogether extraordinary."

Again he furtively looked at her. Her eyes were off him, he felt it,
before he saw it. She was looking down at the floor, and her teeth were
fastened into her clenched hands. She was biting them to keep under the
hysteric paroxysm that was coming over her. He took a malevolent delight
in lashing her to a frenzy with his cruel words, and so avenging himself
on her for his rejection, avenging himself on her in the most terrible
way possible, by making her relations with her husband henceforth
intolerable.

She could no longer speak. He saw it, and he waited for no words. He
went on: "You married him; you married him, notwithstanding that he had
offered the grossest insult to the memory of your father. You married
him indecently early after your mother's death, and that was an outrage
on her memory. Whether you have the blessing of father and mother on
your union is more than doubtful. I should rather say that out of heaven
they fling their united curses on you for what you have done."

A hoarse sound issued from her throat. It was not a cry, nor a groan,
but like the gasp of a dying person.

"And now the curse is working. Of course Anthony is hungering after what
he has thrown away. But he cannot get Kilworthy. You stand in the way.
He can get Hall only by casting you over. That he will do."

Suddenly Urith became rigid as stone. She could not speak, she dropped
her hands, and looked with large fixed eyes at Fox. He saw, by the
cessation of the quiver of her skirt, that she had become stiff as if
dead.

"That," repeated Fox, "he is prepared to do. His father made him the
offer. If he would leave you, then, said the old Squire, all should be
as before. Anthony should go back to Hall, live with his father, be
treated as heir, and command his pocket--only you were to be discarded
wholly, and he was not to see you again."

Fox paused, and began his hissing whistle through his broken tooth. He
waited to let the full force of his words fall on her to crush her,
before he went on still further to maltreat her with words more terrible
than blows of bludgeons or stabs of poisoned knife.

Now he twisted his belt round, and laid the scabbarded hunting knife
before him on his lap, played with it, and then slowly drew forth the
blade.

"But now--" he said leisurely, "now I reckon you can see why I took out
my knife, and why I would strike him down before he leaves you and
returns to Hall. Already has there been talk concerning him and my
sister. He gave rise to it at the dance at the Cakes. But you know
better than I what happened there, as I went away with my father, who
arrived from London. When young blood boils, it is forgotten that the
sound of the bubbling is audible. When hearts flame, it is not
remembered that they give out light and smoke. I suppose that Anthony
and my sister forgot that they were in the midst of observant eyes when
they met again, as of old so often; just as they forgot that you existed
and were a bar between them. I tell you I do not know what took place
then, as I was not there, but you had eyes and could see, and may
remember."

He put the knife upright with the haft on his knee, and set his finger
at the end of the blade, balancing it in that position. She saw it, her
eyes were attracted by the blade; the light of the candle flashed on
the polished steel; then Fox turned the blade and the light went out,
then again it flashed, as the surface again came round over against the
candle.

"When Anthony is back at Hall, I know well what will take place. Even
now he comes over often to Kilworthy, too often, forgetful of you,
forgetful of all save his old regard, his love for Julian, that draws
him there; he cannot keep away even now. When he is at Hall nothing will
retain him, and he will bring my sister's fair name into the dirt. Have
I not a cause to take out this knife? Must I not stand as her guardian?
My father is old, he has no thoughts for aught save the Protestant cause
and Liberty and Parliamentary rights. He lets all go its own way, and,
unless I were present to defend my sister, he would wake, rub his eyes,
and find--find that all the world was talking about the affairs of his
house, and his grey hairs would be brought in shame to the grave. Julian
has no mother, and has only me. She and I have bickered and fought, but
I value the honour of my family, and for that I can, when need be,
strike a blow. You know now what it is I fear; you know what it is I
meant when I took out my knife and waited in the chapel for the man who
would bring my sister to dishonour. I could tell you more--I could tell
you that which would make you kiss the blade that tapped his blood, that
entered his false heart and let out the black falsity that is there,
but----" He looked hesitatingly at her, then slowly rose, and, watching
her, went backwards to the door.

She stood motionless, white, as though frozen, and as still; her hands
were uplifted. She had been about to raise them to her mouth again, but
the frost had seized them as they were being lifted, and were held
rigid, in suspense. Her eyes were wide and fixed, her mouth half-open,
and her lower jaw quivered as with intense cold, the only part of her in
which any motion remained. So stiff, so congealed did she seem, that it
occurred to Fox, as he looked at her, that were he to touch and stir her
wild flowing hair, it would break and fall like icicles on the floor. He
stepped back to the door, then held up his finger, with a smile about
his lips--

"I am coming back again. I am not going to run away."

A convulsive movement in her arms. Her hands went up with a jerk to her
mouth.

"No," said Fox; "do not bite your pretty hands. There"--he turned to the
table and picked up the old pair of gloves that lay there--"if you must
tear something, tear these. They will do you good."

He put the gloves to her hands, and they mechanically closed on them.
Her eyes were as stones. All light had deserted them, as fire had
deserted her blood, had died out of her heart.

Fox went out, and remained absent about five minutes. Suddenly the door
was dashed open, and he came in excitedly. "He is coming--he is hard at
hand. I have more to say. Do you mistrust me? Do you think I am telling
lies? I will say it to his face; and then----" He drew his knife and
made a stroke with it in the air, then sheathed it again. "Go," said he,
"go in yonder." He pointed to the well-chamber that opened out of the
hall. "Remain there. The rest I will tell Anthony to his face." He
caught her by the wrist and led her to the door, and almost forced her
into the little chamber.

Then he went across the hall to the door that led to the kitchen, opened
it, and looked into a small passage; crossed that to another door
communicating with the kitchen, and turned the key in it. He returned to
the hall, and was shutting the door behind him when Anthony entered from
outside.

Anthony raised his brows with surprise at the sight of Fox there, and
flushed with anger. This was the man who was going to displace him at
Hall, occupy his inheritance, and take his very name. And Fox--this
treacherous friend--had the daring to come to his house and meet him.

"What brings you here?" asked Anthony, roughly.

"An excellent reason, which you might divine."

Fox had completely recovered his assurance. He came across the room
toward the seat he had occupied before, and, with a "By your leave,"
resumed it. He thus sat with his face in shadow, and his back to the
door of the well-chamber.

"And, pray, what are you doing in my house? Hast come to see me or
Master Gibbs?"

"You--you alone."

Anthony threw himself into the settle; his brow was knit; he was angry
at the intrusion, and yet not altogether unwilling to see Fox--for he
desired to have a word with him relative to his proposed marriage with
Bessie, and assumption of his name.

"And I," said he; "I desire an explanation with you, Fox."

"Come, now!" exclaimed young Crymes. "I have a desire to speak with you,
and you with me. Which is to come first? Shall we toss? But, nay! I will
begin; and then, when I have done, we shall see what desire remains in
you to talk to me and pluck thy crow."

"I want then to know what has brought you here? Where is my wife? Where
is Urith? Have you seen her?" Anthony turned his head, and looked about
the room.

"What!" said Fox, with a jeer in his tone, "dost think because thou
runnest to Kilworthy to make love to my sister Julian, that I came here
to sweetheart thy wife?"

"Silence!" said Anthony, with a burst of rage, and sprang from his seat.

"I will not keep silence," retorted Fox, turning grey with alarm at the
hasty motion, and with concentrated rage. "Nay, Anthony, I will not be
silent! Answer me; hast thou not been this very day with Julian?"

"And what if I did see her? I went to Kilworthy to find you."

"You go there oftentimes to find me, but, somehow, always when I am out,
and Julian is at home. When I am not there, do you return here, or go
elsewhere? Nay, you console yourself for my absence by her
society--bringing her into ill-repute in the county."

"You lie!" shouted Anthony.

"I do not lie," retorted Fox. "Did you not remain with her to-day. Where
else have you been? Who drew your initials on the glass beside hers, and
bound them together with a true lover's knot?"

Anthony's head fell. He had planted himself on the hearthstone, with his
back to the fireplace--now without burning logs or peat in it. The flush
that had been driven by anger to his face deepened with shame to a dark
crimson.

Fox observed him out of his small keen eyes.

"Tell me this," he pursued. "Was it not indiscreet that thy father
should come in and find thee and Julian locked in each other's arms,
exchanging lovers' kisses?"

Anthony looked suddenly up, and in a moment all the blood left his face
and rushed to his heart. He saw behind the chair in which sat Fox, the
form of his wife. Urith--grey as a corpse, but with fire spirting from
her eyes, and her nostrils and lips quivering. Her hand was lifted,
clenched, on something, he could not see what.

"Tell me," repeated Fox, slowly rising, and putting his hand to his
belt. "Tell me--can you deny that?--can you say that it is a lie? Your
own father told me what he had seen. Did he lie?"

Anthony did not hear him, did not see him; his eyes were fixed in
sorrow, shame, despair, on Urith. Oh, that she should hear this, and
that he should be unable to answer!

"Strike--kill him!" her voice was hoarse--like that of a man; and she
dashed the gloves, torn to shreds by her teeth, against his breast.

Instantly, Fox's arm was raised, the knife flashed in the candle-light,
and fell on him, struck him where he had been touched by the gloves.

"That," the words attended the blows, "that for Urith." Anthony dropped
on the hearthstone.

Then, as Fox raised his arm once more--without a cry, without a word,
Urith sprang before him, thrust him back with all her force, that he
reeled to the table, and only saved himself from a fall by catching at
it, and she sank consciousless on the hearthstone beside Anthony.



CHAPTER XLII.

ON THE BRIDGE.


Fox soon recovered himself, and seeing Anthony moving and rising on one
hand, he came up to him again and thrust him back, and once more
stooping over him, raised the knife.

"One for Urith," he said, "one for myself, and then one for Julian."

Before he could strike he was caught by the neck and dragged away.

Luke Cleverdon was in the hall; he had entered unobserved. Fox stood
leaning against the table, hiding his weapon behind him, looking at Luke
with angry yet alarmed eyes.

"Go," said Luke, waving his left hand. "I have not the strength to
detain you, nor are there sufficient here to assist me were I to summon
aid. Go!"

Fox, still watching him, sidled to the door, holding his knife behind
him, but with a sharp, quick look at Anthony, who was disengaging
himself from the burden of Urith, lying unconscious across him, and
raising himself from where he had fallen. Blood flowed from his bosom
and stained his vest.

"It was she. She bade me!" said Fox, pointing towards Urith. Then he
passed through the door into the porch, and forth into the night.

Luke bent over Urith, who remained unconscious, and raised her to enable
Anthony to mount to his feet, then he gently laid her down again, and
said:

"Before any one comes in, Anthony, let me attend to you, and let us
hide, if it may be, what has happened from other eyes."

He tore open Anthony's vest and shirt, and disclosed his breast. The
knife had struck and dinted the broken token, then had glanced off and
dealt a flesh wound. So forcible had been the blow that the impress of
the broken crown, its part of a circle, and the ragged edge were stamped
on Anthony's skin. The wound he had received was not dangerous. The
token had saved his life. Had it not turned the point of Fox's knife, he
would have been a dead man; the blade would have entered his heart.

Luke went to the well-chamber, brought thence a towel, tore it down the
middle, passed it about the body of Anthony, and bound the linen so fast
round him as to draw together the lips of the wound, and stay the flow
of blood.

He said not one word whilst thus engaged. Nor did Anthony, whose eyes
reverted to Urith, lying with face as marble and motionless upon the
floor.

When Luke had finished his work, he said, gravely, "Now I will call in
aid. Urith must be conveyed upstairs; you ride for a surgeon, and do not
be seen. Go to my house, and tarry till I arrive. Take one of your best
horses, and go."

Anthony obeyed in silence.

When Mistress Penwarne had returned from the visit to Magdalen
Cleverdon, she had communicated the intelligence of Fox's suit, and of
the old Squire's resolution, to Luke, and he at once started for
Willsworthy, that he might see Anthony. Of the offer made by the father
to Anthony he, of course, knew nothing; but the proposal to marry Bessie
to Fox, and for the latter to assume the name of Cleverdon, filled him
with concern. Bessie would need a firmer supporter than her Aunt
Magdalen to enable her to resist the pressure brought upon her.
Moreover, Luke was alarmed at the thought of the result to Anthony. He
would be driven to desperation, become violent, and might provoke a
broil with Fox, in which weapons would be drawn.

He arrived at Willsworthy in time to save the life of Anthony, and he
had no doubt that the quarrel had arisen over the suit for Bessie, and
the meditated assumption of the Cleverdon name. Anthony was hot-headed,
and would never endure that Fox should step into his rights. But Luke
could not understand what had induced Fox to run his head into danger.
That he was audacious he knew, but this was a piece of audacity of which
he did not suppose him to be capable.

Anthony saddled and bridled the best horse in the stable, and rode to
Tavistock, where he placed himself in the hands of a surgeon. He did not
explain how he had come by the wound, but he requested the man to keep
silence concerning it. Quarrels over their cups were not infrequent
among the young men, and these led to blows and sword thrusts, as a
matter of course.

The surgeon confirmed the opinion expressed by Luke. The wound was not
serious, it would soon heal; and he sewed it up. As he did so, he
talked. There was a stir in the place. Squire Crymes of Kilworthy had
been sending round messages to the villages, calling on the young men to
join him. He made no secret of his intentions to march to the standard
of the Duke of Monmouth.

"It is a curious fact," said Surgeon Pierce, "but his Lordship the Earl
of Bedford had been sending down a large quantity of arms to his house
that had been built out of the abbey ruins. His agent had told folks
that the Earl was going to fit up a hall there with pikes, and guns, and
casques, and breastplates, for all the world like the ancient halls in
the days before Queen Elizabeth. Things do happen strangely," continued
the surgeon. "All at once, not an hour ago it was whispered among the
young men who were about in the market-place talking of the news, and
asking each other whether they'd fight for the Pope or for the Duke,
that there were all these weapons in his Lordship's hall; and that no
one was on the spot to guard them. Well, they went to the place, got in,
and no resistance offered, and armed themselves with whatever they could
find, and are off the Lord knows where."

When Anthony left the surgeon's house, he considered what he should do,
after having seen his cousin. To Luke's lodgings in the rectory at Peter
Tavy he at once rode. His cousin he must speak to. To Willsworthy he
could not return. The breach between him and Urith was irreparable. She
knew that he had tampered with temptation, and believed him to be more
faithless to her than he really had been. He would not, indeed he could
not, explain the circumstances to her, for no explanation could make the
facts assume a better colour. It was true that he had turned for a while
in heart from Urith. Even now, he felt he did not love her. But no more
did he love Julian. With the latter he was angry. When he thought of
her, his blood began to simmer with rage. If he could have caught her
now in his arms, he would have strangled her. She had played with him,
lured him on, till she had utterly destroyed his happiness.

What had he done? He had kissed Julian. That was nothing; it was no
mortal crime. Why should he not kiss an old friend and comrade whom he
had known from childhood? What right had Urith to take offence at that?
Had he written their initials on the glass, and united them by a true
lovers' knot? He had; but he had also effaced it, and linked his own
initial with that of Urith. He loved Urith no longer. His married life
had been wretched. He had committed an act of folly in marrying her.
Well, was he to be cut off from all his old acquaintances because he
was the husband of Urith? Was he to treat them with distance and
coldness? And then, how Julian had looked at him! how she had bent over
him, and she--yes, she--had kissed him! Was he to sit still as a stone
to receive the salutation of a pretty girl? Who would? Not a Puritan,
not a saint. It was impossible--impossible to young flesh and blood. A
girl's kiss must be returned with usury--tenfold. He was in
toils--entangled hand and foot--and he sought in vain to break through
them. But he could not remain thus bound--bound by obligation to Urith,
whom he did not love--bound by old association to Julian, whom he once
had loved, and who loved him still--loved him stormily, fervently. What
could he do? He must not go near Julian--he dare not. He could not go
back to Urith--to Urith who had given to Fox the mandate to kill him! He
had heard her words. It was a planned matter. She had brought Fox to
Willsworthy, and had concerted with him how he, Anthony, was to be
killed. And yet Anthony knew that she loved him. Her love had been
irksome to him--so jealous, so exacting, so greedy had it been. If she
had desired and schemed his death, it was not that she hated him, but
because she loved him too much--she could not endure that he should be
estranged from her and drawn towards another.

But one course was open to him. He must tear--cut his way through the
entangled threads. He must free himself at one stroke from Urith and
from Julian. He would join Monmouth.

He rode, thus musing, towards Peter Tavy, and halted on the old bridge
that spanned in two arches the foaming river. The rain that had fallen
earlier had now wholly ceased, but the sky remained covered with a dense
grey blanket of felt-like cloud. A fresher air blew; it came from the
north, down the river with the water, and fanned Anthony's heated brow.

His wound began now to give him pain; he felt it as a line of red-hot
iron near his heart. It was due to pure accident that he was not dead.
If matters had fallen out as Urith desired, he would now be lying
lifeless on the hearthstone where he had dropped, staggered and upset by
the force of Fox's blow, when unprepared to receive it.

Now he recalled that half-challenge offered on the moor when first he
met Urith, and had wondered over her bitten hands. He had
half-threatened to exasperate her to one of her moods of madness, to see
what she would do to him when in such a mood. He had forgotten all about
that bit of banter till this moment. Unintentionally he had exasperated
her, till she had lost all control over herself, and, unable to hurt him
herself, had armed Fox to deal him the blow which was to avenge her
wrongs.

He could not go back to the house with the girl who had sought his life.
No--there was nothing else for him to do than throw in his lot with
Monmouth, and, at the moment, he cared little whether it should be a
winning or a losing cause.

"Anthony?"

"Yes. Is that you, Luke?"

A dark figure stepped on to the bridge, and came to the side of the
horse.

"I have been home," said the curate. "Urith is ill; she scarce wakes out
of one faint to fall into another. I have sent your grandmother to
Willsworthy to be with her."

"It is well," answered Anthony. "And, now that we have met here, I wish
a word with you, Luke. I am not going back to Willsworthy."

"Not--to Urith?"

"No, I cannot. I am going to ride at once to join the Duke of Monmouth.
You have the Protestant cause at heart, Luke, and wish it well; so have
I. But that is not all--I must away now. I do not desire to meet Fox for
a while."

"No," said Luke, after a moment of consideration; "no, I can understand
that. But Bessie must not be left without some one to help her."

"There is yourself. What can I do? Besides, Bess is strong in herself.
She will never go against what she believes to be right. She will never
step into my shoes, nor will she help Fox to draw them on."

"You cannot ride now, with your wound."

"Bah! That is naught. You said as much yourself."

"Tony, there is something yet I do not understand," said Luke,
falteringly. "Did you first strike Fox?"

"No--no. I had my hands behind me. I stood at the hearth."

"But the quarrel was yours with him, rather than his with you. If you
did not strike him, why did he aim at you?"

"Luke, there were matters passed of which you need know naught--at least
no more than this. My father had offered to receive me back into his
good-will once more, to let the past be blotted out, no longer to insist
on Bess being wed to Fox, and to return to live at Hall."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Luke, joyously. "Now can I see why Fox came to you,
and why he struck you."

"It was on one condition."

"And that was----"

"That I should leave Urith, and never speak to her again."

"Anthony!" Luke's tone was full of terror and pain. "Oh, Anthony! Surely
you never--never for one moment--not by half a word--gave consent, or
semblance of consent, to this! It would--it would kill her! Oh,
Anthony!"

Luke put up both his hands on the pommel of the saddle, and clasped
them. What light there was fell on his up-turned, ash-grey face.

"Anthony, answer me. Has she been informed of that? She never thought
you could be so cruel--so false; and she has loved you. My God! her
whole heart has been given to you--to you, and to no one else; and you
have not valued it as you should have done. Because you have had to lose
this and that, you have resented it on her. She has had to bear your
ill-humour--she has suffered, and has been saddened. And now--no! I
cannot think it. You have not let her know that this offer was made."

The sweat drops poured and rolled off Luke's brow. He looked up, and
waited on Anthony for a reply.

"She did know it," answered the latter, "but that was Fox's doing. He
told her; and told her what was false, that I intended to accept the
offer, and leave her. No, Luke, I have done many things that are wrong,
I have been inconsiderate, but I could not do this. And now I bid you go
to-morrow to my father, see him, and tell him my answer. That is
expressed in one word--Never."

Luke seized his hand, and wrung it. "That is my own dear cousin
Anthony!" he said, and then added, "But why away at once, and Urith so
ill?"

"I must away at once. I cannot return to her." Anthony hesitated for
some while; at last he said, in a low tone, "I will tell you why--she
thinks me false to her, and in a measure I have been so. She thinks I no
longer love her--and it is true. My love is dead. Luke--I cannot
return."

"Oh, Urith--poor Urith!" groaned the curate, and let his hands fall.

"Now I go. Whatever haps, naught can be worse than the state of matters
at present. If you can plead in any way for me, when I am away, do so. I
would have her think better of me than she does--but I love her no
more."

Then he rode away.

Luke remained on the bridge, looking over into the rushing water--the
river was full.

"Poor Urith! My God--and it was I--it was I who united them." Then he
turned into the direction of Hall. "I will go there, and bear Anthony's
message to his father at once."



CHAPTER XLIII.

AN EXPIRING CANDLE.


When Squire Cleverdon arrived at Hall, he found there awaiting him a man
booted, spurred, whip in hand, bespattered with mire. The old man asked
him his business without much courtesy, and the man replied that he had
ridden all day from Exeter with a special letter for Master Cleverdon,
which he was ordered to deliver into his hands, and into his alone.

Old Cleverdon impatiently tore away the string and broke the seal that
guarded the letter, opened it, and began to read. Then, before he had
read many lines, he turned ghastly white, reeled, and sank against the
wall, and his hands trembled in which he held the page.

He recovered himself almost immediately, sufficiently to give orders for
the housing and entertainment of the messenger; and then he retired to
his private room, or office, into which he locked himself. He unclosed
a cabinet that contained his papers, and, having kindled a light,
brought forth several bundles of deeds and books of accounts, and spread
them on the table before him. Some of the documents were old and yellow,
and were written in that set courthand that had been devised to make
what was written in it unintelligible save to the professionals. Squire
Cleverdon took pen and a clean sheet of paper and began calculations
upon it. These did not afford him much satisfaction. He rose, took his
candle, opened and relocked the door, and ascended the stairs to his
bedroom, where he searched in a secret receptacle in the fireplace for
his iron box, in which were all his savings. Thence he brought the gold
he had, and, having placed the candle on the floor, began to arrange the
sovereigns in tens, in rows, where the light of the candle fell. After
the gold came the silver, and after the silver some bundles of papers of
moneys due that had never been paid, but which were recoverable.

Having ascertained exactly what he had in cash, and what he might be
able at short notice to collect, the old man replaced all in the iron
case, and reclosed the receptacle.

In the mean while, during the evening, after darkness had set in, to
Bessie's great annoyance, Fox appeared. Directly he left Willsworthy, he
thought it advisable to visit Hall before going home, and forestall with
old Cleverdon the tidings of what had occurred. He did not doubt that
the story of his attack on Anthony would be bruited about--that Anthony,
or Luke, or both, would tell of it, to his disadvantage, and he
determined to relate it his own way at once, before it came round to the
ears of the Squire, wearing another complexion from that which he wished
it to assume.

"You desire to see my father," said Bessie. "He is engaged, he is in his
room; he would not be disturbed."

"I must see him, if but for a minute."

Bessie went to the door and knocked, but received no answer. She came
back to the parlour. "My father is busy; he has locked himself into his
room. You had better depart."

"I can wait," said Fox.

"Then you must pardon my absence. There has come a messenger this
evening for my father, with a letter that has to be considered. I must
attend to what is fitting for the comfort of the traveller."

When left to himself, Fox became restless. He stood up, and himself
tried the door of old Anthony's apartment. It was locked. He struck at
the door with his knuckles, but received no answer. Then he looked
through the keyhole; it was dark within. The old man was not there, but
at that moment he heard him cough upstairs. He was therefore in his
bedroom, and Fox would catch him as he descended. He returned to the
parlour.

Presently Bessie entered with Luke; she had gone to the door, had stood
in the porch communing with herself, unwilling to be in the room with
her tormentor, when Luke appeared, and asked to see her father.
"Verily," said she, with a faint smile, "he is in mighty request this
night; you are the third who have come for him--first a stranger, then
Fox----"

"Fox here?"

"Yes, he is within."

"I am glad. A word with him before I see your father, and do you keep
away, Bessie, for a while till called."

Fox started to his feet when Luke came in, but said nothing till Bessie
left the room, then hurriedly,

"You, raven--what news? But mark you. I did it in self-defence. Every
man must defend his own life. When he knew that I was to take his place
in Hall, he rushed on me, and I did but protect myself."

"Anthony's wound is trifling," said Luke, coldly.

"So! and you have come to prejudice me in the ear of his father."

"I am come with a message from Anthony to his father."

"Indeed--to come and see his scratch, and a drop of blood from it; and
then to clasp each other and weep, and make friends?"

"The message is not to you, but to his father."

"And--he is not hurt?"

"Not seriously hurt."

"I never designed to hurt him. I did but defend my own self. I treated
him as an angry boy with a knife."

"No more of this," said Luke. "Let the matter not be mentioned. I will
say naught concerning it, neither do you. So is best. As for Anthony, he
is away."

"Away? Whither gone?"

"Gone to-night to join Monmouth. Your father is gathering men for the
Protestant cause, Anthony will be with him and them."

Fox laughed. His insolence had come back, as his fears abated.

"Faith! he has run away, because I scratched him with a pin. At the
first prick he fainted."

Luke went to the door, and called in Bessie. He could not endure the
association with Fox.

"Bess!" he said, "can I see your father?--I have a message for him from
Tony."

"He is upstairs--in his bedroom," said Bessie. "I will tell him you are
here when he descends."

"Come here," exclaimed Fox, who had recovered all his audacity, and with
it boisterous spirits. "Come here, Bess, my dear, and let Cousin Curate
Luke know how we stand to each other."

"And, pray," said Bessie, colouring, "how do we stand to each other?"

"My word! you are hot. We shall be asking him ere long to join our
hands--so he must be prepared in time--he will have a pleasure in
calculating the amount of his fee."

"Cousin Luke," said Bessie, "I am not sorry that he has mentioned this,
for so I can answer him in your presence, and give him such an answer
before you as he has had from me in private, but would not take. Never,
neither by persuasion, nor by force, shall I be got to give my consent."

In spite of his self-control, Fox turned livid with rage.

"Is that final?" he asked.

"It is final."

"We shall see," sneered he. "Say what you will, I do not withdraw."

"For shame of you!" exclaimed Luke, stepping between Bessie and Fox. "If
you have any good feeling in you, do not pester her with a suit that is
odious to her, and after what has happened to-night, should, to
yourself, be impossible."

"Oh!" jeered Fox, "you yourself proposed silence, and are bursting to
let the matter escape."

"Desist," said Luke. "Desist from a pursuit that is cruel to her, and
which you cannot prosecute with honour to yourself."

"I will not desist!" retorted Fox. "Tell me this. Who first sought to
bring it about? Was it I? No. Magdalen Cleverdon was she who prepared
it, then came the Squire himself. It's the Cleverdons who have hunted
me--who try to catch me; not I who have been the hunter. You call me
Fox, and you have been hue and tally ho! after me."

"There is my father!" gasped Bessie, and ran from the room. She found
the old man in the passage with his candle, unlocking his sitting-room
door.

"Oh, father!" she said, breathlessly, for the scene that had occurred
had taken away her breath, "here is Luke come--he must see you."

"What! at night? I cannot. I am busy."

"But, father, he has a message."

"A message? What, another? I will not see him."

"For a moment, uncle. It is a word from Anthony," said Luke, entering
the passage. "One word, shall I say it here, or within?"

"I care not--if it is one word, say it here; but only one word."

He was fumbling with the key in the lock. His hand that held the candle
shook, and the wax fell on his fingers and on the cuff of his coat. He
had the key inserted in the door, and could not turn it in the wards.

"Very well," said Luke. "You shall have it in one word--Never."

The old man let the key fall--he straightened himself. His voice shook
with anger. "It is well. It is as I could have wished it. I take him at
his word. Never. Never--let me say it again. Never, and once again,
never; and each never shuts a door on him for all time. Never shall he
have my forgiveness. Never shall he inherit an acre or a pound of mine.
Never will I speak to him another word. Nay, were he dying, I would not
go to see him; could I by a word save his life, I would not do it. Go
tell him that. Now go--and Elizabeth, hold the candle. I will open the
door; go in before me to my room; I'll lock the door on us both. Now all
is plain. The wind has cleared away the mists, and we must settle all
between us this night, with the way open before us."

He managed to unfasten the door, and he made his daughter pass in,
carrying the light. Then he turned the key in the lock.

The little table was strewn with deeds and papers and books. Bessie cast
a glance at it, and saw no spot on which she could set the candle. She
therefore held it in her hand, standing before her father, who threw
himself into his chair. She was pale, composed, and resolved. He could
have nothing further to urge than what had been urged already, and she
had her answer to that. The candle was short, it had swaled down into
the tray, and could not burn for more than ten minutes.

"Elizabeth," said her father, "I shall not repeat what has been said
already. I have told you what my wishes, what my commands are. You can
see in Anthony what follows on the rebellion of a child against the
father. Let me see in you that obedience which leads to happiness as
surely as his disobedience has brought him to misery. But I have said
all this before, and I will not now repeat it. There are further
considerations which make me desire that you should take Anthony Crymes
without delay." He drew a long breath, and vainly endeavoured to conceal
his agitation. "I bought this place--Hall--where my forefathers have
been as tenants for many generations; I bought it, but I had not
sufficient money at command, so I mortgaged the estate, and borrowed the
money to pay for it. Then I thought soon and easily to have paid off the
debt. The mortgagee did not press; but having Hall as mine own was, I
found, another thing to having Hall as a tenant. My position was
changed, and with this change came increased expenditure. Anthony cost
much money, he was of no use in the farm, and he threw about money as he
liked. But not so only. I rebuilt nearly the whole of the house; I might
have spent this money in paying off the mortgage, or in reducing it, but
instead of that I rebuilt and enlarged the house. I thought that my new
position required it, and the old farmhouse was small and inconvenient,
and ill-suited to my new position. But I had no fear. The mortgagee did
not require the money. Then of late we have had bad times, and I have
had the drag of the mortgage on me. A little while ago I had notice
that I must repay the whole amount. I did not consider this as serious,
and I sought to stay it off. The messenger who has now come from Exeter,
comes with a final demand for the entire sum. The times are precarious.
The Duke of Monmouth has landed. No one knows what will happen, and the
mortgagee calls in his money. I have not got it."

"Then what is to be done?"

Bessie became white as the wax of the candle, and the flame flickered
because the candle shook in her hand.

"Only one thing can be done. Only you can save Hall--save me."

"I! Oh, my father!" Bessie's heart stood still, she feared what she
should hear.

"Only you can save us," pursued the old man. "You and I will be driven
out of this place, will lose Hall, lose the acres that for three
centuries have been dressed with our sweat, lose the roof that has
covered the Cleverdons for many generations, unless you save us."

"But--how, father?" she asked, yet knew what the answer would be.

"You must marry Anthony Crymes at once. Then only shall we be safe, for
the Crymes family will find the money required to secure Hall."

"Father," pleaded Bessie, "ask for help from some one else! Borrow the
money elsewhere."

"In times such as this, when we are trembling in revolution, and none
knows what the issue will be, no one will lend money. I have no friend
save Squire Crymes. There is no help to be had anywhere else.
Here"--said the old man, irritably--"here are a bundle of accounts of
moneys owed to me, that I cannot get back now. I have sent round to
those in my debt, and it is the same cry from all. The times are against
us--wait till all is smooth, and then we will pay. In the mean time my
state is desperate. I offered to Anthony but this day to forgive the
past and receive him back to Hall--but the offer came too late. Hall is
lost to him, lost to you, lost to me, lost forever, unless you say yea."

"Oh, Luke! Luke!" cried Bessie; "let me speak first with him;" then
suddenly changed her mind and tone,

"Oh, no! I must not speak to him--to him above all, about this."

"Bessie!" said the old man; his tone was altered from that which was
usual to him. He had hectored and domineered over her, had shown her
little kindness and small regard, but now he spoke in a subdued manner,
with entreaty. "Bessie! look at my grey hairs. I had hoped that all
future generations of Cleverdons would have thought of me with pride, as
he who made the family; but, instead, they will curse me as he who cast
it forth from its home and brought it to destruction."

Bessie did not speak, her eyes were on the candle, the flame was nigh on
sinking, a gap had formed under the wick, and the wax was running down
into the socket as water in a well.

"I have hitherto commanded, and have usually been obeyed," continued the
old man, "but now I must entreat. I am to be dishonoured through my
children, one--my son--has left me and taken to himself another home,
and defies me in all things. My daughter, by holding out her hand, could
save me and all my hopes and ambitions, and she will not. Will she have
me--me, an old grey-headed father, kneel at her feet?" He put his hands
to the arms of his seat to help him to rise from the chair that he might
fall before her.

"Father!" She uttered a cry, and, at the shock that shuddered through
her, the flaming wick sank into the socket, and there burnt blue as a
lambent ghost of a flame. "O father!--wait!--wait!"

"How long am I to wait? The answer must be given to-night; the doom of
our house is sealed within a few hours, or the word of salvation must be
spoken. Which shall it be? The messenger who is here carries my answer
to Exeter, and, at the same time, if you agree, the demand for a
licence, that you may be married at once. No delay is possible."

"Let me have an hour--in my room!"

"No; it must be decided at once."

"Oh, father--at once?" She watched the blue quiver of light in the
candle socket. "Very well--well--when the light goes out you shall have
my answer."

He said no other word, but watched her pale face, looking weird in the
upward flicker of the dying blue flame, and her eyes rested on that
flame, and the flicker was reflected in them--now bright, then faint,
swaying from side to side as a tide.

Then a mass of wax fell in, fed the flame, and it shot up in a golden
spiral, revealing Bessie's face completely.

"Father! I but just now said to Fox Crymes 'Never! never! never!'"

She paused, the flame curled over.

"Father! within a few minutes must I go forth to him and withdraw the
'Never?'"

He did not answer, but he nodded. She had raised her eyes from the dying
flame to look at him.

Again her eyes fell on the light.

"Father! If I withdraw my 'Never,' will you withdraw yours about
Anthony?--never to forgive him--never to see him in Hall--never to count
him as your son?"

The flame disappeared--the old man thought it was extinguished, but
Bessie saw it still as a blue bead rolling on the molten wax; it caught
a thread of wick and shot up again.

"Father! I do not say promise, but say perhaps."

"So be it--Perhaps."

The flame was out.

Bessie walked calmly to the door, felt for the key, turned it, went
forth, still holding the extinguished candle in her hand. It was to her
as if all that made life blessed and bright to her had gone out with
that flame.

She went into the parlour and composedly put out her hand to Fox.

"Take me," she said. "I have withdrawn the 'Never.' I am yours!"



CHAPTER XLIV.

LADING THE COACH.


Fox hastened back to Kilworthy. He also knew that time was precious. His
father was in a fever of excitement about the landing of Monmouth, and
was certain to give him all the assistance in his power both with men
and with money. Not only so, but he would so compromise himself that,
in the event of the miscarriage of Monmouth's venture, he would run the
extremest risk of life and fortune.

He had for some time past been acting for the Duke in enlisting men in
his cause. The whole of the West of England was disaffected to the
King--was profoundly irritated at his overbearing conduct, and alarmed
lest he should attempt to bring the realm back to Popery. The gentry
were not, however, disposed to risk anything till they saw on which side
Fortune smiled. They had suffered so severely during the Civil War, and
at the Restoration had encountered only neglect, so that the
advisability of caution was well burnt into their minds. The Earl of
Bedford, who owned a vast tract of property about Tavistock, secretly
favoured Monmouth, but was indisposed to declare himself. He had not
forgotten--he bitterly resented the execution of his son, Lord William
Russell, for complicity in the Rye House Plot--a plot as mythical as the
Popish Plot revealed by Titus Oates, and which he attributed to the
resentment of the Catholic party. He was willing that Squire Crymes
should act for him, and run the risk of so doing.

Fox had the shrewdness to see this, but his father was too sincere an
enthusiast, and too indifferent to his own fortunes to decline the
functions of agent for Monmouth pressed on him by the Earl of Bedford.

"What dost want? I cannot attend to thee," said Mr. Crymes, when his son
entered the room. On the table lay piled up several bags tied with
twine, and sealed.

"What do I want?" retorted Fox. "Why, upon my honour, you have
forestalled my thought. I came for money; and, lo! there it is."

"I am busy," said the old man. "Dost see, though it be night, I am ready
for a journey? I have the coach ordered to be prepared. I must travel
some way ere day-dawn."

"If you are going away, father, so much the more reason why you should
give ear to me now."

"Nay, I cannot. I have much to do--many things to consider of. I would
to God thou wast coming with me! But, as in the case of those that
followed Gideon, only such as be whole-hearted and stout may go to the
Lord's army."

"I have the best plea--a scriptural one--for biding at home," laughed
Fox; "for I am going to be married. Ere ten days be passed, Bess
Cleverdon will be my wife."

"I am sorry for her. I esteem her too well," said the old man,
impatiently. "But away with thy concerns; this is no time for marrying
and giving in marriage, when we approach the Valley of Decision in which
Armageddon will be fought. Go out into the yard and see if any be about
the coach."

"I passed through the court in coming here. The coach was there--no
horses, no servants."

"I must take the coach," said the old man. "I was a poor rider when
young; I cannot mount a horse now in my age."

"Then, verily, father, thy coach and four will be out of place in the
Valley of Decision," scoffed Fox. "Of what good canst thou be in an
army--in a battle--if unable to mount a horse? Stay at home, and let the
storm of war blow across the sky. If thou wantest Scripture to justify
thee, here it is: 'Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.'"

"The cause of true religion is in jeopardy," retorted the father. "I
know what is right to be done, and I will do it. Go I must, for, though
I cannot fight myself, my counsel may avail; and I bear to the Duke the
very nerves of war." He pointed to the money-bags.

"I did not know thou hadst so much gold by thee, in the house," said
Fox, going to the table, taking up, and weighing one of the bags.

"A hundred pounds in each," said his father; "and good faith! I had not
the coin. There, thou art right. But it has fallen out that the Earl of
Bedford has called to mind certain debts to me, or alleged debts for
timber, wool, and corn, and has sent orders to the steward to pay me for
the same in gold. The Earl--" he stopped himself. "But there, I will say
no more. The money is not mine."

"What, no real debt?"

"I say nothing. I take it with me, whether mine or not signifies naught
to thee; it goes to the Duke of Monmouth."

"It concerns me, father, for I want, and must have money. I am shortly
to be married, and I cannot be as a beggar. I have sent to the College
of Arms for licence to change my name, and that will cost me a hundred
pounds. I want the money."

"I cannot let you have it."

"But it is here. Let me toll it."

"Never--get thee away, I cannot attend to thee now."

"But, father; I cannot be left thus, your clearing away all the money in
the house, and I about to marry; who can say but Armageddon may turn all
contrary to your expectations."

"Put off the marriage till I return."

"It cannot be put off. What if all goes wrong, and the land be given up
to the Jesuits? What then with thy neck? What with thy money? Will
either be spared? Give me, at least, the gold, and take care of thy neck
thyself; then one will be safe at all events."

"If it be the Lord's will," said the old man, with a look of dignity, "I
am well content. If I follow Lord William Russell's steps, I follow a
good man, and die in a righteous cause. I shall seal my faith with my
blood."

"And the Jesuits will lay their hands on all thou hast----"

"I have nothing. Kilworthy belongs to thy sister. As for what I have
saved, it is not much. I have some bills, I have contributed to the
suffering saints, I have helped the cause of the Gospel with my
alms----"

"More the reason, if so much has been fooled away that this should be
secured. The cause of the Gospel is the providing for thine own
household, and there never yet was a more suffering saint than myself. I
will lay hands on this coin, and take it as my wedding portion!"

"Hands off!" shouted the old man, half drawing his sword. "Though thou
art mine own son, I would run thee through the body or ever thou
shouldst touch this, which is for the justest, truest, holiest cause,
and I am a steward that must give account for the same. I will give thee
twenty pounds."

"That will not pay the clerks of the Herald's College."

"I will not pay for that--to change the ancient name of Crymes for
another."

"What! Not when one name brings to me a vile twenty pounds, and the
other name will give me a thousand pounds a year!"

"Heaven gave thee to me, for my sorrow," said the old man, "and in
giving thee to me, covered thee with my name. It is tempting heaven to
cast it off and take another. But there! I have no time for talk. Would
God I could persuade thee to draw a sword for the good cause."

"Not a bodkin!" mocked Fox, who was very angry. The sight of the bags of
money fevered him. "But you have one after your own heart ridden
forward, and that is 'Tony Cleverdon. I heard as much from Luke."

"'Tony Cleverdon!" repeated Mr. Crymes. "I am rejoiced at that. Ah!
would that Providence had given him to me as a son! 'Tony Cleverdon!
That is well. He will take my place at the head of a brigade from this
region. My infirmities and age will not suffer me to ride, but I will
speak to the Duke, and he shall be the captain over our men from
Tavistock. But come now, and be of good mind for once, and help me,
lad." The old man took up one of the money bags. "I have sent the men to
the kitchen for their supper, and I would remove all these to the
carriage whilst they are away, as they know naught about the treasure,
and it is well that they should remain ignorant. Not that I misdoubt
them, they be honest men and true, and would not rob me of a shilling,
but their tongues might clack at the taverns, and so it get noised that
there was money in the coach, and come to the ears of scoundrels, and we
be waylaid. Not but that we shall be well provided against them; for I
shall be armed, so also the footman on the box beside the driver, and
there will be two riders armed, with each a horse led to hitch on when
we go up the hills, so as to have six to pull the coach up. And I shall
have two of our recruits to go on, with carbines, ahead, and spy about,
that there be no highwaymen awaiting us on the road. So! Anthony
Cleverdon is gone on without tarrying for me to ask him. That is like
the lad. 'Fore Heaven! even were a party of footpads to waylay us, if I
said, 'Gentlemen of the Road, I am travelling for the Protestant cause,
bearing specie to the camp, and we are rising against the Jesuits and
the Inquisition, and the Pope of Rome, join us and march along!' I
believe not one of them would touch a coin, but all would give a cheer
and come along. Why, who will stay us? There is but the High Sheriff,
John Rowe, is a Catholic, and perhaps three or four more among the
gentry, and among the common, simple folk ne'er an one that would stay
us, and not wish us God speed! Come, lend a hand with the bags; I will
hold the candle. Let all be stowed away whilst the men are supping."

In the courtyard of Kilworthy stood the glass coach of Mr. Crymes--a
huge and cumbrous vehicle, so cumbrous that it required four horses to
draw it along the roads, and six to convey it to the top of a hill.
Travelling on the highways was not smooth and swift in those days; the
roads were made by filling the ruts with unbroken stones of all sizes,
unbroken as taken off the fields. Where there was a slough, faggots were
laid down, and the horses stumbled over the faggots and soused into the
mire between them as best they could. Travelling in saddle was in those
days slow, especially in wet weather, but travelling in a coach was a
snail-like progress, and the outrunners had not to exert themselves
extraordinarily to distance the horses, for they could trip along on the
turf at the side of the ways, which were part slough, part rubble-beds
of torrents, without the inconvenience and perils that assailed the
travellers on wheels.

Mr. Crymes always journeyed in his coach, for, owing to an internal
malady, he was unable to sit a horse; but a coach-journey tried him
greatly, owing to his age, and the jolting he went through in his
conveyance.

The courtyard was deserted, the monstrous vehicle looked in the darkness
like a hearse, so black and massive was it, only the flicker from the
reflection of the light relieved its sombreness as Mr. Crymes crept
round to the back with his lantern, and a bag of gold under one arm.

Fox sulkily obeyed his father. At the back of the carriage was the boot
that had a flap which, when unlocked, fell down. The old man fumbled for
and produced the key, unfastened the receptacle, and thrust his bag
inside.

"Now give me thine, and go for two more," said he, "and I will tick them
off in my note-book as they are placed in the boot."

"It is a pity, father," said Fox, "that you have not a stouter lock."

"Nay, it sufficeth," answered Mr. Crymes. "None will know what is
fastened within. If we were--and the chance is not like to
come--overpowered by highwaymen, I trow they would demand the key and
open the boot though the lock were twice as strong. My own luggage shall
travel in the front boot. Go, lad, fetch me more of the gold. Even in
the best cause men will fight faintly unless they be paid."

Fox obeyed, and brought all the bags in pairs to the carriage, and saw
the old man stow them away. He was in an ill-humour, and cursed his
father's folly in his heart.

"How if the venture fails?" he asked, "and then you be led to Tyburn. It
will be a sorry end to have lost all this gold as well as thy life. Thy
life is thine own to throw away, but the gold I may claim a right to. I
am thy son, I want it; I am about to be married, and have a use for the
money; now it will all go into the pockets of wretched country clowns,
who will shoulder a musket and trail a pike for a shilling--if it were
given to me, I could put it to good usage."

"Come with me to my study," said the old man. "Here come Jock and Jonas
from the kitchen. Come along with me, and thou shall have twenty pound
in silver and gold, and a hundred more in bills that may be discounted
when the present troubles are over."

"I will ride with thee, father, some part of the road as thy guard--till
the daybreak."



CHAPTER XLV.

UNLADING.


The hour was past midnight and before dawn when the great coach of
Squire Crymes approached the long hill of Black Down. The road from
Plymouth to Exeter was one of singular loneliness for a considerable
part of its course, but in no part did it traverse country so desolate
and apart from population as in the stretch, a posting stage between
Tavistock and Okehampton, a distance of sixteen miles. It ran high up on
the flanks of Dartmoor, mounting it nearly nine hundred feet above the
level of the sea, with the trackless waste of the forest on one hand,
and on the other a descent by ragged and rugged lanes to distant
villages. Lydford, almost the sole one at all near the road, was severed
from it by ravines sawn through the rock, through which the moor rivers
thundered and boiled, ever engaged in tearing for themselves a deeper
course.

Precisely because this track of road was the most inhospitable and
removed from human haunts, was it one of the safest to travel even in
the most troublous times, for no one dreamed of traversing it after
nightfall, when aware that for sixteen miles he would be cut off from
help in the event of a breakage of his carriage or the laming of a
horse; and as no one ever thought of taking this road except in broad
day, when it was fairly occupied by trains of travellers, no footpads
and highwaymen thought it worth their while to try their fortunes upon
it.

Roads in former days to a large extent made themselves, or were made by
the travellers. In the first place the bottoms of valleys were deserted
by them as much as might be, because of the bogs that were there, and
the lines of communication were laid on the ridges of hills above the
springs that undermined and made spongy the soil. Then the roads were
traced before the enclosures were made, and originally were carried as
directly as possible from point to point. But obstacles, sometimes
temporary, intervened: perhaps a slough, perhaps a rut of extraordinary
depth had torn into the road, and became the nucleus of a pool; perhaps
an unduly hard and obstinate prong of rock appeared after the upper
surface had been worn through. Then the stream of travellers swayed to
one side, and gave the course of the road a curve, which curve was
followed when hedges were run up. These hedges following the curves
stereotyped the line of road, which thenceforth became permanently
irregular in course.

A roadway in those days was about as easy to go over, and to go over
with expedition, as the beach of Brighton. Consequently it was slow work
journeying on such highways on horseback; and it was journeying like a
snail, when travelling in a coach. The outrunner had no very arduous
task to outstrip the horses. He put his foot on the turf by the
road-side, and tripped along at his ease, leaping the puddles and
stones which were occasional by the road-side; whereas they were
continuous in the roadway.

Fox rode sulkily beside the coach, as it rolled and rocked along the
highway from Tavistock to the North. The night was overcast, after
midnight, as it had been before the turn of the night; no wind was
blowing, nor did rain fall, but the aspect was utterly sombre and
uncheering. Every light was out in such houses as were passed, and not a
passenger was met, or overtook the carriage that lumbered along, sending
squirts of muddy water to this and that side as the wheels plunged into
ruts. Fox came occasionally to the coach window, and said something to
his father, and was bespattered from head to foot, boots, clothes, and
face.

Presently the point was attained where the road left the valley of the
brawling Tavy and climbed Black Down. There was a directness in the way
in which old roads went at hills that was in keeping with the characters
of our forefathers. A height had to be surmounted, and the road was
carried up it with a rush, and with none of our modern zig-zags and easy
sweeps. The hill must be ascended, and the sooner it was surmounted the
better. Now, the great road to the North from Plymouth by Tavistock had
the huge hogsback of Black Down to surmount, and it made no hesitating
and leisurely attempts at it; it went up four hundred feet as direct as
a bow-line.

On reaching the foot of the Down, the driver paused and the footman on
the box dismounted. The men with the spare horses went ahead and hitched
on their beasts. Then ensued loud cries and shouts, and the cracking of
whips, each man attending to a horse, and encouraging it to do its
uttermost to haul the great coach up the hill. The only men who kept
their places were the driver on the box, and Mr. Crymes within.

Now, a good many other coaches had halted at the same spot, and halting
there had ground away the soil, so as to make a very loose piece of
road; moreover, the water falling on the road had run down it to the
lowest level, and finding this rotten portion there had accumulated and
done its utmost to assist the disintegration. The result was that the
wheels sank in liquid mire to the axles, and six horses did little more
than churn the filth and jerk the coach about.

Mr. Crymes having been subjected to several violent relapses as the
coach was half pulled out of the pit and then sank back again, thrust
his head out of the window and called:--"Wilkey! will it not be best to
have all the horses harnessed? There is rope in the box."

"Well, perhaps it were best, your worship."

Thereupon much discussion ensued, and much time was spent in attaching
ropes; and finally, with great hooting, and with imprecations as well,
and some words of encouragement, the whole team was set in motion, and
the coach was hauled out of the slough, and began slowly to snail the
way up the two-mile ascent.

Again Mr. Crymes thrust forth his head.

"Wilkey! Perhaps if Mr. Anthony were to ride forward, it might be an
encouragement to the horses to go along with more spirit."

"Your worship, I do not see Mr. Fox! I beg pardon, Mr. Anthony. I think
he has returned."

"What! without a farewell? The boy is unmannerly, and inconsiderate of
what is due to a father. But such is the decay of the world, alas! Go
on, Wilkey! there was no necessity for all the men and horses to halt to
hear what I had to say to thee."

Again there ensued a cracking of whips, objurgations, and cheers, a
great straining at ropes, and a forward movement of the coach.

The vehicle proceeded some way with more ease, for the stream of water
that had here flowed over the road had smoothed it, and cleared it of
obstructions.

Presently the men and horses came to a dead halt, and there ensued ahead
much conversation, some expostulation, and commotion.

Again Mr. Crymes' head was thrust out of the window, and he called,
"Wilkey! I say; come here, Wilkey! What is the matter? Why dost thou not
go on? Has any rope broken?"

But several minutes elapsed before Wilkey responded to his master's
call, and when finally, in answer to further and more urgent shouts, he
did come, it was not alone, but attended by several of the other men,
dragging with them by the arms a man whom they had found in the road.

"What is it? Who is he? What does he here?"

"Oh, I will be good! I promise--I swear, I will be good! I'll say my
prayers! I'll not get drunk any more! I do not want to go inside--I'd
rather walk a hundred miles and run by night and day, than have this
carriage stop for me, and hear----"

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" asked Mr. Crymes. "Some of you
bring the lantern. Let me look at him. Is he a footpad?"

"No--never--never robbed any one in my life. I pray you do not ask me to
step in. I thank thee, I had rather walk than gather to thy side. I
really will be good. 'Pon my soul I will. Drive on, coachee!"

"Why--'fore Heaven!" exclaimed Mr. Crymes, "this is Mr. Solomon
Gibbs--and, the worse for liquor. Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Gibbs!"

"Eh!" said the gentleman, coming to the coach door, "why, by cock! it
isn't my Ladye at all! By my soul, you must excuse me, Master Crymes. I
was in that state of fright! At this time of night, and on Black Down! I
thought it could be no other than the Death Coach, and that my Ladye wi'
the ashen face was inside, and would make me ride by her."

Then half-humorously, but half-scared still, and not wholly sober, Mr.
Solomon Gibbs trolled forth in broken tones,


     I'd rather walk a hundred miles
       And run by night and day,
     Than have that carriage halt for me
       And hear my Ladye say--
     "Now pray step in and make no din,
       Step in with me to ride;
     There's room I trow, by me for you,
       And all the world beside."


"Why, how came you here?" asked Mr. Crymes. "My men took you for a
highwayman, and might have fired their holsters or carbines at you."

"And I might ask, how came you here at night, in your coach! By cock!
You do not know the scare you gave me, at the very midnight--too--and I
on the very road that my Ladye goes over in her Death Coach! But--I
thought it stopped for me, and that upset my mind altogether. When I saw
something--black horses, and a coach coming along, I tried to skip out
of the way and hide somewhere, but, not a hiding-place could I find on
the moor. I did suppose at first that it was on its way for my poor
niece--for Urith, but when it stopped--when it stopped--" he shivered.
"I felt my heart go into my boots. And I have been looking for him
everywhere, in every ale-house, and not so much as a thread of his coat,
nor the breath of a word as to his whereabouts, and she--so ill--dying.
I should not be surprised, dead. By cock! when I saw the coach come
along, and at or about midnight, I made sure my Ladye was on her way to
Willsworthy, to fetch Urith; but when the coach stopped--when it
stopped--" again he shuddered.

"Whom are you seeking?" asked Mr. Crymes.

"Anthony, to be sure, my nephew-in-law. But I say, Justice, thou art a
religious man and a bit of a Puritan; now solve me this. When I thought
this was my Lady's coach, and that she was about to put out her bony
hand, and to wave me to come in, then I swore and protested I'd not
touch another drop of drink and be good as any red-letter day saint.
Now, as the carriage is not hers, but yours, and instead of the Lady wi'
the Ashen Face it is the Right Worshipful Justice Crymes, what say you?
Does it hold? Mind you, the oath was taken under misapprehension. Does
it hold?"

"What is that you say, Master Gibbs, about your niece? Is she really so
ill?"

"Ill! So ill that I made sure the coach was on its way for her. I've
been running about the world all night like the Wandering Jew, to first
one ale-house and then another, after Anthony. Confound the fellow! what
does he mean, running away, hiding where none can find him, when Urith
is so ill?"

"What ails her?" asked Mr. Crymes. "Step in by me----"

"No. 'Fore Heaven, I don't like the risk. You may be my Lady in
disguise, and I may rub my eyes and find that a trick has been put on
me, I will into no coach whatever to-night. I will keep to my own feet,
though, indeed, they are so shaken with much running about that I can't
rely on them. I'll to the surgeon and have him examine them, and let me
know why they do not hold up under me as they was wont."

"How long has Urith been ill?"

"Now, look here!" said Mr. Solomon Gibbs, approaching the window closer,
and lowering his voice. "Poor thing, poor thing! Prematurely, and the
babe dead--she out of her mind, crazed like--the house upside down, and
me running about the country, looking into every alehouse I can call to
mind, to make inquiries after Anthony, and not a footprint of him
anywhere, and he has gone off with a horse--the apple-grey--you know
him."

"I can tell thee where Anthony Cleverdon is--he has followed the highest
call--the voice of religion and of his country's need. He has ridden
away to join the Duke of Monmouth."

"Whew!" whistled Solomon. "And his wife like every minute to die! I'll
go back and tell her. This is ugly tidings--he tried to give me a blow
'gainst all laws of the game, this past day, but that I forgive him. But
to run off and never leave a word at home, and Urith dying! That I'll
never forgive."

"If I encounter him in the camp I will tell him the tidings; and now I
must along. This delay has been great. Wilkey! what are you standing
there agape for? Urge the horses on; by this time we should have been at
the top of Black Down. Fare thee well, Master Gibbs."

He waived his hand out of the window.

The whips were cracked, shouts, oaths, and entreaties recommenced, and
the vehicle was again in motion. Mr. Solomon Gibbs remained standing.

But the carriage had not gone forward many yards before Mr. Gibbs came
striding up to the window; he put his head through and said, "Your
worship! Are you aware that the boot-flap behind is down?"

"Boot--behind!" almost screamed Mr. Crymes. "Let me out! Heigh! Stay the
horses! Wilkey! the door!"

He scrambled out of the coach, called for the lantern, and ran behind.

The flap was down, the boot open--and empty.

The coach had been unladen either at the slough at the foot of the
hill, or during the commotion occasioned by the discovery of Mr. Solomon
Gibbs.



CHAPTER XLVI.

AN EVENING SO CLEAR.


Luke paced his room at the parsonage, Peter Tavy, the greater part of
the night. He had much, very much to trouble him. Urith was seriously
ill. Mistress Penwarne was with her, otherwise she would have been left
to servants who, with the best intentions, might not have known what to
do. Her fainting fits had continued one after another, and then had been
succeeded by an event which left her in fever and delirium.

Luke's hands clenched with wrath as he thought of Anthony--Anthony, to
whom had been entrusted the care of this precious jewel, who had
undervalued her, wearied of her, neglected her, and broken her heart,
perhaps destroyed her young life. He was gone before, indeed, that he
suspected how ill Urith was, and unaware of the danger she was in. Luke
could not communicate with him, and if he did send a message after him,
this might reach him when too late, or when unable to return. Urith's
life hung on a thread; and, as Luke paced his room, he could not resolve
whether it were better to pray that it should be spared or taken.

If her life were spared, it would be to what? To a renewal of
misunderstandings, to the greatest of unhappiness, probably to
deep-seated, embittered estrangement. Anthony and Urith were unsuited to
each other--she sullen, moody, and breaking forth into bursts of
passion; he impulsive, reckless, and without consideration for others.
Was it conceivable that they could become so tempered and altered as to
agree? He did not think this possible, and he folded his hands to pray
for her release; but again he shrank from framing such a prayer lest, by
making it, he should bring upon himself a sense of guilt, should his
petition be answered.

What was to become of Urith if she lived? Best of all that Anthony
should fall on the battle-field fighting for liberty and his religion.
That would ennoble a life that lacked dignity, that had been involved in
one disaster after another, that had alienated the hearts most
attached--his father's, his own, Luke's, and, lastly, his wife's. But
what if it were so? What if Urith were left a widow?

Luke's heart gave a leap, and then stood still and grew faint. She would
then be free. Dare he--he, Luke--think of her, love her, once more? He
had the strength of moral power to think out the situation, and he saw
now that it must ever remain impossible that they should unite. He had
his sacred calling, that brought on him obligations he dare not cast
aside; and Urith's husband must be one to live at Willsworthy, and
recover her property from the ruin into which it had fallen by devoting
thereto all the energies of his mind and body. Moreover, the radical
difference in their characters, in the entire direction of their minds,
must separate them, and make them strangers in all that is best and
stoutest in the inner nature. No, not even were she left a widow, could
Luke draw nearer to her.

With his delicate conscientiousness, he took himself to task for having
for a moment anticipated such a contingency springing out of the
possible death of Anthony. Then Luke turned his thoughts to Bessie, and
saw almost as dark a cloud over Hall as that which hung upon
Willsworthy. If Anthony and Urith were unsuited for each other, far
greater was the difference which existed between Fox and Bessie. Luke
knew Fox--knew his unscrupulousness, his greed, his meanness, his moral
worthlessness; and he valued no woman he knew higher than he did Bessie,
for her integrity, her guilelessness, and self-devotion. By no right
could Fox claim the hand of Bessie, for by no possibility could he make
her happy. To unite her to him was to ensure the desolation of her whole
life, the blighting of all that was beautiful in her. It was to consign
her to inevitable heartbreak. She would take an oath to do what was
impracticable; she could neither honour nor love such a man as Fox; she
would strive to do both, but must fail. Luke vowed that nothing would
induce him to pronounce the marriage benediction over their heads.

Luke was still up and awake, but kneeling at his table, and with his
head in his hands, when a rattle of gravel at his window-panes brought
him to his feet with a start, and he went to see who was in want of him.
He opened the casement and looked out, to see Mr. Solomon Gibbs below.
Luke descended and unfastened the door.

"Is Urith worse?" was his breathless question.

"Whew! I can say nothing," answered Mr. Gibbs. "I am cold. Always
dullest before dawn, it is said, and daybreak cannot be a bowshot off.
What dost think? High-way robbery on Black Down--this night Justice
Crymes plundered whilst on his way to Exeter in his glass coach. The
rascals prised open the boot behind, and though there were six men with
the carriage, no one either saw the robber or heard him at work. It must
have been done whilst they were urging the horses up the ascent; but it
is passing strange. The highwayman must have been mounted, for he could
not have escaped with the plundered goods had he not bestrid a horse.
How it was done, when it was done, by whom, no one can tell anything,
and by cock they're all talking, and every one has an opinion."

"Where is Mr. Crymes now?"

"Gone on. He was as one distraught--what with losing his money, and the
call of the business he was on."

"His money taken!"

"Ay, and more than his own--in all about four hundred pounds, that was
to be conveyed to the Duke of Monmouth at Taunton. He told me about it,
as I have to go to Mr. Cleverdon about it, and see that the
neighbourhood be searched for footpads. It must have been done quickly,
for Fox rode behind the carriage, and now and then alongside it, to the
rise of Black Down, when he turned and went back to Kilworthy. 'Twas
dexterously done, and must have been the deed of a skilled hand. Now,
what I am come here for is that I do not care myself to go to Squire
Cleverdon. There has not been pleasantness between him and my family, so
seeing your light, I came here to ask you to do the matter. Tell him
that steps must be taken to have the neighbourhood searched for
strangers--strangers they must be. We've none here could do the trick;
all honest folk. And I can be of better service going round to the
ale-houses. I am well known there, and there I can pick up information
that may be of use. Every cobbler to his bench, and that is mine. Will
you go to Hall as soon as you can in the morning?"

"I will do so, certainly. Now tell me about Urith."

"Urith! I cannot. I have not seen her; nor been near Willsworthy since
you came away. I have been going about the country, to the taverns
looking for Anthony, and not hearing any tidings of him."

"I can tell you where he is."

"I know myself now. Squire Crymes informed me that he had ridden across
the moor towards Exeter, also bound for Taunton. Let me sit down.
Nothing can be done yet; every one sleeps. The Hare and Hounds at
Cudliptown will be closed. Do you hap to have any cider that can be got
at? I am dry as old hay."

Mr. Gibbs took a seat.

"Lord, I have had a day," said he, "enough to parch up all the juices of
the body. There was the affair with Tony to begin with, and I should not
be surprised if the cut of the single-stick he gave her----"

"What!" exclaimed Luke, with a cry. "He strike her!"

"Well--not that, exactly. He and I were playing at single-sticks, when
he gave me a cut out of all rules, and might have laid my skull bare had
not Urith caught it on her hand. I doubt not it stung. It must have
stung, and that may have begun the trouble. No--he never ill-treated her
to that extent, intentionally, but they have not been happy together,
and she has been very miserable of late."

Luke sighed, and said nothing. He had covered his face with his hand.

"Poor wench!" continued Uncle Sol, "she has no pleasure in anything
now--that is to say, she has not for some while, not even in my stories
and songs. Everything has gone contrary. Anthony has found fault with
all I do--has complained of the state of the farm and the buildings, as
if I could better matters without money. He has been discontented with
everything, and Urith has seen it and fretted over it, and now things
are at their worst; he is away; she dying, if not dead; and, Heavens
help us--here, have you any cider? I am dried up with troubles."

"Come!" said Luke, "I can bear to be here no longer; I will go with you
to Willsworthy; I must know how Urith is. I cannot endure this
uncertainty longer."

Luke walked to Willsworthy with Mr. Gibbs, who was somewhat reluctant to
pass Cudliptown without knocking up the taverner of the Hare and Hounds
to tell him what had happened that night on Black Down, and to obtain
from him a little refreshment before he traversed the last stage of his
walk.

The grey of dawn appeared over the eastern ridge of moors by the time
Willsworthy was reached, and the birds were beginning to pipe and cry.

No one had gone to bed that night in the house, a rush-light was burning
in the hall, unregarded, a long column of red-hot snuff. The front door
was open. Mr. Gibbs strode into the kitchen, and found a servant-maid
there dozing on the settle. He sent her upstairs to call Mrs. Penwarne
down, and the old lady descended. When she saw Luke, she was glad, and
begged him to come upstairs with her and see Urith. It was possible that
his presence might calm her. She was excited, wandering in mind, and
troubled with fancies.

Luke mounted to the room where Urith was.

By the single candle contending with the grey advancing light of dawn he
saw her, and was alarmed at her condition. Her face was pale as death,
save for two flames in her cheeks, and her eyes, unusually large, had a
feverish fire in them. She was sitting up. Mrs. Penwarne had striven all
night to induce her to lie down, but Urith incessantly struggled to
rise, and she had taken advantage of her nurse's absence to do so.

Luke went to her side and spoke. She looked up at him with hot eyes, and
without token of recognition.

"I have killed him," she said. "I did it so!"--she raised her hand,
clenched it, and struck downwards, imitating the action of Fox. "He fell
on the hearthstone, as mother said he would, and then I tried to strike
him again, and again, but was torn away." She began to grapple in the
air with uplifted hands--"Where is the knife? Where are the gloves? That
for Urith!"

Luke took her burning right hand, and said, "Lie down, lie down and
sleep. You must be very quiet, you must not distress yourself. Anthony
is well."

"Anthony is dead. I killed him. And my baby is dead. They killed it,
because I had killed Anthony."

"Anthony is alive, he is but little hurt."

"Where is he? You have carried him away and buried him. I know he is
dead. Why does he not come if he is not dead. I am sure he is dead.
Look!"--she again struggled with her hand to be free, and show how the
blow was struck--"Look! You shall see how I did it!"

"No--Urith, lie down! Hush! I will pray with you."

Luke knelt at her side, but she turned her head impatiently away. "I
will not be prayed for. I cannot pray. I killed him. I am glad I killed
him, he was untrue to me. He had always loved Julian, and he grew tired
of me. I killed him. I would not give him up. Julian should not have him
back."

"Listen--I will pray."

"It is of no use. I do not regret that I struck him--I struck him to the
heart. Answer me. Is there forgiveness if there be no repentance?"

She looked eagerly, almost fiercely, at Luke, who did not know what to
answer. She was, it seemed to him, partly conscious, but partly only, of
what had taken place--to be in a state of half dream. She knew him, she
could reason, but she believed herself to have done that which was done
actually by Fox Crymes.

"There!" she exclaimed, and threw back her head on the pillow. "It
cannot be. I am glad I killed him. I could not do other. He brought it
on himself. He was untrue to me. He loved Julian all his life, all but
for a little while, when he fancied me. But you--you gave him to me at
the altar. He could not remain mine. He was drawn away. But I could not
let Julian have him. She defied me--it was a fair strife. She won up to
a certain point, then I won the last point. Look! I will show you how I
did it."

Once more she strove to sit up in the bed, and raised her hand, and
clenched it.

"Do not be afraid. I have no knife now. They have taken it away to wash
off the blood. I have heard them cleaning it. But my hand has the stain.
That they cannot clean away. I had his blood on me once before--at the
Drift. But then I did not know what that meant. See--this is how I did
it. Here is a feather, a feather from my pillow. That will do. I will
let you see how I killed him. I will strike him with the feather. Then
take that and clean it too."

Luke held her wrist, and gently forced her back on her pillow.

"Urith!" he said, "leave him to God. Commit the matter to God. Do not
take the revenging of your wrongs, real or fancied, into your own
hands."

She allowed him to compose her for a moment, and closed her eyes. But
presently opened them again, and they were as full of fire as before.

"All is to pieces," she said, "all is broken, and Anthony broke it. Look
here!" she plucked at her neck, and drew forth the halved token that was
suspended there. "Look, he gave me this--but it was false. He has only
given me one half, he has given the other to Julian. If she comes here,
I will put my hand in between the ribbon and her throat and throttle
her. Then there will be three dead--Anthony and my baby and she; and I
will die next. I hope I shall. I long to die."

"You must not desire death, it is sinful."

"But I do; I have nothing to live for. I have killed Anthony, and my
baby is dead; they say it was born dead. Then I will kill Julian. Look!
you shall see how I killed Anthony."

Again she struggled to sit up. Luke rose from his knees, and said,
peremptorily, "Lie down."

She obeyed, and he laid his cool hand on her burning temples. Below
could be heard Solomon Gibbs tuning his fiddle, and then playing a few
snatches.

Urith began to struggle under Luke's hands. "Do you hear? He is playing
Anthony's song. Let him play it out and sing it also."

Mrs. Penwarne went to the head of the stairs and told Mr. Gibbs the
request of Urith; then he put the violin to his chin and played:


     An evening so clear
     I would that I were
     To kiss thy soft cheek
     With the faintest of air.
     The star that is twinkling
     So brightly above,
     I would that I were
     To en-lighten my love.


He played very softly, and as he played the words of the song formed and
passed faintly over Urith's lips. She may have recalled that evening
when Anthony sang it, coming up the hill, and so was carried away from
the torturing present back into a pleasant past.


     If I were the seas,
     That about the world run,
     I'd give thee my pearls,
     Not retaining of one.
     If I were the summer,
     With flowers and green,
     I'd garnish thy temples,
     And would crown thee my queen.


She was quieter, lying with eyes closed, murmuring the words as Uncle
Sol played in the room below.


     If I were a kiln,
       All in fervour and flame,
     I'd catch thee, and then be
       Consumed in--the--same.


Luke lightly raised his hand, and put his finger to his lip.

Urith was asleep.



CHAPTER XLVII.

IN THE HALL GARDEN.


Bessie was in the garden, the following afternoon, with scissors and an
apron pinned up, trimming her flowers, yet with her mind away from the
plants; she was unhappy on her own account, yet strove after
resignation, and she felt the consciousness of having done right in
sacrificing herself for her father. He must now behave more kindly
towards her; be more ready to listen to her intercession for poor
Anthony. Poor Anthony! she had heard that morning that he was gone, gone
to extreme risk, and that Urith was in danger. She had resolved that now
she must go to Willsworthy and see her sister-in-law, and be of what use
to her she could. Her father could no longer forbid that. Even if he
did, in that she would not obey him.

She was stooping over her plants, with tears in her eyes, snipping,
picking off dead flowers and leaves, and tying up the carnations, when
she heard behind her the voice of Fox.

"What!--busy?"

She winced, but rose, and with a little hesitation, held out her hand to
him.

"Yes," she said, "I must do something with my hands to keep my thoughts
from resting on troubles."

"Troubles! what troubles?"

Bessie gave him a look of reproach. "I must feel anxious about my
brother, and also for Urith. How is it that you did not go as well as
your father and my Anthony, to draw a sword for the good cause?"

"You ask that? Why, you are my attraction. I cannot leave you to venture
my precious life in crack-brain undertakings. Before either of them
returns, I suppose we shall be married."

"I am ready to fulfil my promise at any time," said Bessie.

"The sooner the better. Your father has already sent a messenger for a
licence. I shall not rest till you are mine."

Bessie knew that what Fox desired was to have his foot in Hall, and be
established there in the position of heir, and that his pretence of
caring for her was hollow. A colour came into her cheeks like the
carnations she was tying up. "Enough of that," she said; "you know the
conditions on which I take you?"

"Conditions! On my soul I know of none."

"I told you that I did not love you, that I never had felt any love for
you."

"You had the frankness to inform me of that, and to say that you had
thrown your heart away on some one else, who declined the gift
altogether."

Bessie bowed her head over her flowers.

"Yes, you told me that as we walked in the mud on the road; and then
you refused me, but changed your mind before many hours had passed. I
have no doubt that, when I am your husband, you will learn to love and
admire me. However, this is no condition."

"No condition?" asked Bessie, rising, and looking him in the face.
"Surely it is. I will take you, as you insist on it, and as my father
desires it; but it must be on the understanding that you do not ask of
me at once what is not in my power to give, I will try to love you, I
promise you. I will strive with my whole heart to give you all I
undertake; but I cannot do that at once."

"Oh! you call that a condition. It is well. I accept it." There was a
veiled sneer in his tone.

"Then, again," continued Bessie, "I made my father promise, if I gave my
consent, that he would try to forgive Anthony."

"What!--forgive and reinstate him?" asked Fox, sharply.

"There was nothing said about reinstating him. I suppose that my father
and you have talked about Hall, and everything that concerns the
property, and that you understand the circumstances fully."

"To be sure I do," said Fox.

"Then, of course, I said nothing to him about reinstating Anthony,
except in his old place in my father's heart. I believe that he will,
himself, be glad to forgive the past. He cannot have cast out all the
old love for, and pride in Anthony."

"And he has promised that?"

"He has promised to try and forgive him. And now, Fox--I mean Tony
Crymes--you are ready to take me, knowing that I do not love you, and
can only try to render you that love which will be due from a wife to a
husband?"

"Oh, yes! I take you as you are."

Of course he would. It was indifferent to him whether Elizabeth loved
him or not, so long as his ambition and greed were satisfied.

"You see, Bess, I have a sharp tongue, and have made many enemies with
it, who say in return sharp things of me, but with this difference--I
say these things to their faces, they malign me behind my back. When we
are married you will know me better, and not believe all you hear said
of me."

Bessie slightly shook her head, and stooped again over her carnations.

"There is one thing further," she said; "you must help me to persuade my
father to be completely reconciled to Anthony."

"To be sure I will," answered Fox. "You want to see how good a fellow I
am, in spite of all that is said of me. Here, take my hand, in token
that I will do all you ask of me."

He gave her a cold, moist hand.

"And you promise me," she said, taking it, "on your honour that you will
stand by me and back me up when I try to bring Anthony and my father
together once more on the old terms?"

His mistrust was roused, and he did not answer at once. Her frank grey
eyes rested full on his face, and his eyes fell before her steady
glance.

"I will do what you will," he said; "but I do not suppose that your
father will prove as wax in our hands, to mould as we like. Anthony has
too deeply offended him, and Urith he will never see."

They dropped hands, for at that moment Julian entered the garden.

"I will go, see your father at once, and make trial in this matter,"
said he.

"You will find him in his room; he is looking at some papers."

Fox walked away, giving Julian a nod and a sneer as he passed, and
entered the house.

Julian came hastily up to Bess.

"My dear Bessie! Is it true? Are you really going to take my brother? It
cannot--it must not be. It is intolerable to be in the house with him
when one is master, and he there only on sufferance; but to have him
lord superior, and to be his slave!" Julian shivered.

"It is settled. I have passed my word, and I will not withdraw it."

"Bess! And after the lesson you have had from Anthony!"

"How a lesson, Julian?"

"Why, dear child, a lesson that it does not answer to marry without
love."

"Surely, Julian, there was love there, on both sides."

"Oh! love! A passing caprice. Do you not know that Anthony always loved
me? Why has he gone off to join the Duke of Monmouth? Do you suppose it
is because he cares so greatly for the Protestant cause? Nay, wench, it
is that he may escape from me--and from the sight of Urith. I am
dangerous, Urith is odious to him. Better be where balls are flying than
where my eyes flash with temptation and Urith's dart with jealousy."

"Julian! how canst thou speak thus?" Bessie stepped back from her
visitor, without offering to take her extended hands.

"Nay! do not be so offended. What I speak is the truth, and it all comes
of marrying where there is no true affection. I am holding up thy
brother as a warning to thee. Dost think that Fox cares a rush for thee?
Not half a rush--all he looks to is Hall; he takes thee because he
cannot have Hall without thee; and to have Hall is double pleasure to
him, for he will have the place as his own, spiced with the satisfaction
of having robbed his friend of it."

"I cannot help myself. I have passed my word, and stand to it."

"Look how things are now at Willsworthy. There is Urith dying, maybe;
and Anthony far away. I hope she may die. It is best so, for she will
have no happiness any more with Anthony. He is weary of her, he has
found out that he cannot find his rest in her, his heart is with me. It
has come back to me. It flew away a little while, and now it has
returned. Anthony is mine. He does not belong any more to Urith."

"Shame on you!" said Bessie. "But I am glad you have spoken on this
matter. You have acted sinfully, you have striven to turn Anthony from
his duty."

"I have done so. Urith and I have wrestled a hitch together, and I have
given her the turn, a fair back--three points. That is what she knows,
and she is eating her heart out at the thought."

"Do you know what has happened? Urith has become a mother of a dead
child."

"Is it so?" Julian was startled and changed colour. She had not heard
this, she only knew that Urith was ill.

"She is in high fever and derangement of mind. If you have driven
Anthony away, driven him to his death in the battle-field, and Urith
also dies, then there will be the lives of all three you will be
answerable for. It may be that Anthony was too hasty in marrying Urith,
but once married, you should have left him alone. I do not believe,
Julian, that he ever loved you. No, you may look at me in anger and
doubt, but I am sure of it; I am his sister, I have seen and heard him,
and if you fancy that he ever loved you, you are utterly in error. He
never did. He never loved any girl till he saw Urith. She was his first
love, not you. No, you never stirred his heart. He liked you. It
flattered his vanity to see that you admired, almost worshipped him, but
love you he did not. No, Julian, never--never! Urith was his first love,
and, please God! will remain his only love."

Julian Crymes turned deadly white, and clenched her hands against her
bosom.

"I saw what you were doing at that dance at the Cakes. Then you strove
to draw him from his wife--then you threw the seeds of mistrust into her
heart! You played a cruel and wicked game. But do not think, even
although you may for a while have lured Anthony away from his wife, that
you will separate them for ever. No! She was his first love, and to her
he will return with redoubled love when this misunderstanding, this
estrangement, is at an end--that is to say, if they live."

Bessie did not speak reproachfully, but sadly.

"Julian, you have been thoughtless, not malicious. I can tell you what
the end will be, if Anthony do come back and find Urith dead. He will
not go to you, and throw himself at your feet. No; he will hate you with
a hatred that will be lasting as his life. He will look on you as--if
not his wife's murderer--at all events, as one who engalled the last
hours of her life--who drew briars and thorns between them, tearing
their hearts when they last met. What passed between them I cannot say;
but something must have--something terrible--to account for her present
condition, and for his absence. You are answerable for that. Your
thoughtlessness, and Anthony's love of flattery, have contrived to ruin
a home. Anthony and Urith might have been happy parents of a sweet,
innocent little one, who would have bowed the heart of his grandfather,
and wiped off it all the rust that has gathered there. That little life,
with all it might have been to itself, or to others, is destroyed--by
you! You and Anthony broke the heart of Urith, and brought about what
has taken place. You cannot give back the little life--you cannot mend
the wreckage of happiness you have brought about. Pray to God to have
pity on you, and forgive you your sins!"

"I have no cause to repent," answered Julian; but she did not speak with
her old confidence, and she spoke with veiled eyes, resting on the
gravel of the walk. "I am sorry Urith is ill. I am sorry that she and
Anthony are disappointed in their hopes. I have always loved Anthony.
There is no sin in that. If Urith succeeded in drawing him away from me
to whom he was all but assured, must I not feel it? May I not resent it?
She stole him from me, and the blessing at the altar does not hallow her
theft."

"What are you saying!" exclaimed Bessie, fixing her eyes on Julian. "Is
it not a sin to love a man who has sworn before heaven that he will be
true to one, and one only, and that not yourself? Is it not a sin to
endeavour to make him false to his oaths?"

"I cannot force him to be true to Urith, and to love her. You are going
to marry Fox. You will swear to love and honour him, and you know you
can do neither. You will swear and be false to your oath, for it is an
impossibility to keep it. Anthony swore, but he could not keep his oath,
he found out that he had make a mistake----"

"You tried to persuade him that he had. Be sure he will return to Urith
with tenfold deeper, sincerer love, and will bitterly rue that he let
himself be deluded by you."

Julian stood brooding, with her eyes on the ground. She recalled how
Anthony had brushed out her initials linked with his, and interwoven in
their place his own with those of Urith.

"There," said she, hastily, "I came here for something else than to be
judged and condemned by you."

"I neither judge nor condemn you," answered Bessie, "but I tell you the
truth. Anthony can never be yours, not even if Urith dies. He never did
love you."

Julian stamped. "You do not know--he did, and I loved him."

"What token did he give that he cared for you?--answer me now."

"I loved him, I love him still. In love all is fair. If I thought he did
not love me----"

"Well," said Bessie, "what?" She looked steadily into Julian's eyes.

"I would dash my head against the stones, and kill thought for ever."



CHAPTER XLVIII.

A WEDDING DAY.


The marriage took place so speedily after the report of the engagement
as to take every one by surprise; for everywhere a wedding is expected
to be much discussed and prepared for beforehand. In the case of Fox and
Bessie, all was over almost as soon as it was known to be in the air.

No great ceremony was made of it. Indeed, there was not time to make
great preparations; nor did Squire Cleverdon care for display, or, on
this occasion, for expense. His one desire was to have it over, and Fox
settled in his house, for his affairs were causing him the utmost
alarm--they were gathering to a crisis. It was with them but a matter of
days; and, unless Fox were married to Bessie before the crisis arrived
and became known, it was possible that the engagement, on which now all
his hopes for the salvation of the property hung, might be broken off.

The licence was obtained, and almost simultaneously came the grant from
the Garter King of Arms, and Clarenceaux King of Arms, "of the South,
East, and West parts of England, from the River Trent southwards," to
the effect that "whereas His Majesty, by warrant under his Royal Signet
and Sign Manual, had signified to the Most Noble the Earl Marshal that
he had been graciously pleased to give and to grant unto Anthony
Crymes, Gent., son and heir apparent to Fernando Crymes, Esquire," the
licence to bear henceforth the arms and name of Cleverdon, in lieu of
that of Crymes; that therefore a patent to this effect was issued, etc.
Consequently, Anthony Crymes was married, not in his paternal name, but
in that which he had acquired.

The day was grey and sunless, with a raw northeast wind blowing.

Bessie returned, after the marriage, to the house where she had been
born, and Fox came with her. She went to her old room, and there laid
aside her wedding-dress, and then came quietly down the stairs into her
father's chamber, where she patiently awaited him.

The old man had been giving orders without, and she heard his voice in
the passage. She had not long to wait before he came in.

He looked at her with lifted eyebrows, and took off his hat, and asked
what she wanted there.

"One word with you, dear father," said she, gently.

"Very well; make haste--I am busy. There is much to see to to-day. Where
is Fox?"

He threw himself into his armchair, and crossed his feet.

"Father," said Bessie, "I have done what you desired, and with this day
a new life begins with me. I have come to ask your pardon for any grief,
annoyance, or trouble I may have at any time caused you. I also ask you
to forgive me for having opposed your wishes at first when you wanted me
to marry Fox. I did not then understand your reasons. But it has been a
hard thing for me to submit. I dare say, dear father, you can have no
idea how hard it has been for me. Now I have sworn to love Fox, and I
will try my best to do so."

"Oh, love! love!" said the old man; "that is a mere word. You will get
accustomed to each other, as I am to this chair."

"That may be. And yet--there is love--love that is more than a word. I
suppose you loved my mother."

The old man made a deprecatory motion with his hand.

"Oh! father, without love in the house, how sad life is! I ought to know
that, for I have had but little love shown me by you. Do not think I
reproach you," she said, hastily, a little colour mounting into her
pale face; "but I have felt the want of what, perhaps, I was not worthy
to receive."

"Come--come!" said the old man; "I have no time for such talk that leads
to nothing."

"But it must lead to something," urged Bessie; "for that very reason
have I come here. You know, my dear father, that you made me a promise
when I gave my consent, and I come now to remind you of it."

"I made no promise," said the old man, impatiently.

"Indeed, father, you did; and on the strength of that promise I found
the force to conquer my own heart, and make the sacrifice you required
of me."

"Oh, sacrifice! sacrifice!" sneered Squire Cleverdon. "I have been a
cruel father, to be sure; I have required you to offer yourself up as a
victim! Pshaw! You keep your home--it becomes doubly yours--you get a
husband, and retain your own name of Cleverdon. What more do you
require? It is a sacrifice to become heiress of Hall! Good faith! Your
brother would give his ears for such a sacrifice as this. Go and get
ready for the guests."

"I cannot go from you, father," answered Elizabeth, with gentleness, and
yet, withal, with firmness. "I should be doing an injustice to myself,
to my brother, and to you, were I not now to speak out. There was a
compact made between us. I promised to take him whom you had determined
on for me because it was your wish, and because it was necessary for the
saving of the estate. I suppose Fox made it a condition. He would not
help you out of your difficulties unless I gave him my hand."

"Fox knows nothing about them."

"What!" Bessie turned the colour of chalk. "Father! you do not mean what
you say? He has been told all. He is aware that the mortgage is called
in, and must be paid."

The old man fidgetted in his chair; he could not look his daughter in
the face. He growled forth:

"You wenches! what do you understand of business--of money
concerns--mortgages, and the like? Say what you have to say and be gone,
but leave these money-matters on one side."

"I cannot, father," exclaimed Bessie, with fluttering heart; "I cannot,
indeed, father. Is it so that Fox has been drawn on to take me without
any knowledge of how matters stand with regard to the property?"

"All properties are burdened more or less with debts. He knows that. He
does not keep his wits in his pocket. I have told him nothing, but he
must know that there are mortgages. Show me the estate without them. But
there, I will not speak of this matter with you; if you will not leave
the room, I shall." He half rose in his seat.

"Very well, father, no more of that now. Time will show whether he was
aware of, or suspected the condition Hall is in; and I trust that he may
not then have to reproach you or me. That is not what I desired to speak
of when I came here. I came about Anthony."

"I know but one Anthony Cleverdon, and he is your husband."

"I came in behalf of my brother and your very flesh and blood, which Fox
is not. Father, you must--you must indeed suffer me to pour out my heart
before you."

He growled and turned uneasily in his chair, and began to scrape the
floor with his heel. His brows were knit, and his lips close set.

"Father," said Bessie, with her clear, steady eyes on him, "you speak of
love as empty air, but it is not so. What but love induced me to submit
myself to your will? I love you. To me Hall is nothing; a cottage with
love in it, where I might sit at your feet and kiss your hand, were a
thousand times dearer to me than this new, cold house, where all is
hard, and love does not settle to live." She drew a long breath. "I love
you, therefore I have bowed myself before you; and I love Anthony, and
for his sake I have made the greatest sacrifice any mortal can make. I
have given my life up to another, whom as yet I can neither love nor
respect, that I might by so doing obtain from you pardon for my
brother."

"A fine pattern of love Anthony has shown!"

"Father, there is great sorrow and sickness in his house, and he is far
away, venturing his life for a cause that he thinks right. He may never
return. His babe is dead, his wife ill. See what misery there is hanging
over him! Nothing but my love for my brother, my desire to see him again
in your arms, has kept me here. When I was plagued about Fox--that is
to say, when I first heard about him as seeking me--I had resolved never
to marry him, and rather than marry him, I would have run away to
Anthony; he would have taken me in. But I thought of you alone in this
house, deserted by both your children, and I thought that by staying
here I might do something for Anthony, find a proper time for speaking
in his favour, and so I stayed; and then, father, when you told me in
what peril the property stood, when I saw what agony of mind was yours,
when I thought that with the break down of the whole ambition of your
life, your grey hairs would certainly be bowed to the dust--then I
conquered myself and gave up my will to yours. There is love that is
more than a mere word, it is a mighty force, and oh! father, I would
that you knew more of it! Father, you--your own self--have suffered most
of all through your lack of love. I have seen how the consequences of
your harshness towards Anthony have fallen on you, and you have
suffered. I dare say you may have loved him, but I think, as you say
love is nought but a word, that you can have had only pride in him, and
not love--for love suffereth long and is kind. He rebelled against you
because you showed him pride--not love. He offended your ambition
because you had set your heart on his taking Julian and winning with her
Kilworthy; he embittered your heart because he married the daughter of a
man that was your enemy. What has been wounded in you has been ambition,
not love. Well, Anthony has done wrong. He ought to have considered you.
He has ill repaid you all that was lavished upon him from infancy. But,
father, if you had given him love, instead of setting your ambition on
him, it would not have been so light a matter for him to resist your
will. I feel his conduct more than do you. It is because of him that I
have married Fox. I have loved and cared for him since he was an infant,
as though I were his mother as well as his sister. I promised my mother
and his to be his guardian angel, and I have been what I could to him,
and now, dutiful to my promise to her and my love of him, and my desire
for your own happiness, I have given up myself. So now, father, accept
the sacrifice I have made, and forgive Anthony his inconsiderate offence
against you."

The old man felt rather than saw that she was nearing him with extended
hands, with tearful eyes fixed entreatingly on him. He thought how he
had almost gone on his knees to her to obtain her consent to marry Fox,
and he was ashamed of his temporary weakness, the outcome of his
distress; now he thought he must compensate for this weakness by
obstinate perseverance in his old course.

"Now, Bess," said he, roughly, "no more of this. What I did promise that
I will keep. I did not undertake to forgive Anthony. I never--no, not
for one instant--gave way to your intercession for that girl--that
Urith. Her I will never forgive!"

"What, father! Not if she dies?"

"No, never! not if she dies!"

"Then how can you expect forgiveness for your transgressions? Father,
consider that it was not her will to marry Anthony. It was his. You
taught him to be headstrong, self-willed, imperious. You taught him to
deny himself nothing that he wished. He acted on the teaching you gave,
and yourself is answerable for the result."

The old man drew back in his armchair and clenched his hands on the arm
of the seat, so that the tendons stood out as taut strings, and the dark
veins were puffed with blood.

"Father! You have now a son-in-law, taking the place in the house that
should have been--that was--Anthony's. He takes his place, occupies his
seat, wears his very name. Compare the two. Which is the most worthy
representative of the Cleverdons, of whom you are so proud? Which is the
finest man--the tall, strong, splendidly-built Tony, your own son, with
his handsome face and honest eyes, or this other Anthony--this Fox who
has stolen into his lair? Which is the better in heart? Tony, with all
his faults, has a thousand good qualities. He has been vain,
self-willed, and self-indulgent, but all this came on him from outside;
you and I, and all who had to do with him, nurtured these evil
qualities. But in his inner heart he is sound, and true, and good. What
is Fox? What good do we know of Fox? Will anything make of him a
generous and open-hearted man?"

It seemed to Bessie as though the hands of her father that clenched the
chair-arms were trembling. He moved his fingers restlessly; and for a
moment she caught his eye, and thought she saw in it a tender look. She
threw her arms about him, and, stooping, kissed the backs of his hands.
It was the first time she had dared to kiss him. He thrust her from him.

"Pshaw!" said he. "Do you suppose I am to be cajoled against my
judgment?"

"Is that all you have to say?" asked Bessie, drawing back. "No, father,
you shall not put me off. I will not be put off. I have won a right to
insist on what I ask being heard and granted."

"Indeed!" He looked up at her with recovered hardness in his eye, and
with his hands nerved to the same icy grip. "Indeed! You have acquired a
right over me?"

"I have, father. I will be heard!"

"Very well; I hold to what I promised. Perhaps," he laughed bitterly,
"perhaps I may think of the possibility of Anthony obtaining my
forgiveness. Yes," said he, as a sudden access of better feeling rushed
over him, as in his mind's eye the form of his handsome son rose up
before him; "yes, let him come to me as the prodigal son, and speak like
the prodigal, and desert his swine-husks, and then I will kill the
fatted calf and bring forth the ring."

Still the same. He could see no fault in himself--no error in his
treatment of his son.

Bessie would have answered, but that the door was thrust open, and in
came Fox, agitated, angry, alarmed.

"What is the meaning of this?" he shouted, addressing the Squire,
regardless of the presence of Bessie. "What is this about? Here is that
fellow--that man from Exeter--here again at the door, with two
others--and----"

"And what?"

"He says they are bailiffs, come to take possession."

"What! to-day! Then, son-in-law, you must pay them off. I cannot. Save
Hall for yourself."



CHAPTER XLIX.

THE PIGEON-COTE.


"What is the meaning of this?" asked Fox. "Are these wedding-guests
invited to help to make merry?"

Old Cleverdon looked at Fox, then at the door, in which, behind his
son-in-law, entered the stranger from Exeter.

"This is Master French," said the Squire.

"I do not care what be his name, but what his business?" said Fox,
rudely. "Come in, Master French, and let us have this load winnowed. You
had better go." The last words were addressed to Bessie.

"This is what I have come about," said the stranger, entering: "The bill
for foreclosure has been filed; and, unless the mortgage-money be paid
within fourteen days, then, Master Cleverdon, you stand absolutely
debarred and precluded from all rights, title, suit, and equity of
redemption in or to the premises, which thenceforth become the absolute
property of the mortgagee."

"And this," exclaimed Fox--"this is the meaning of my being constituted
heir to Hall! Come, Squire, you must take me into council; for, please
to know that now you have hooked me into your family and house, I must
eat off the same trencher as you. You don't suppose I married Bess for
her beauty, do you? What have you there?"

The old man had gone to his desk, and unlocked it.

Fox pressed after him, put his hand on his shoulder, and thrust him
aside. "Let me see your accounts, your mortgages, and whatever you have
beside stuffed into that cabinet of mysteries."

"Is there no means of raising the requisite money?" asked French. "Times
are bad; but--still money is to be had somewhere. You must have friends
and relatives who can help."

"Relatives--none," said the old man. "Friends--I have but Justice
Crymes."

"And he is away," said Fox, looking over his shoulder "Away, putting his
head into a noose."

"You have a fortnight," said French. "I was sorry for you, but--I must
perform my duty. If in a fortnight the sum be not forthcoming----"

"A pretty sum it is!" shouted Fox, who had got hold of the mortgage.
"And this is what my father is to be cajoled into finding? That is the
meaning of all the hurry and scramble of the marriage?"

"I have debts due to me, but I cannot get the money in--in time," said
old Cleverdon.

"If not in time, then as well never," said Fox. "Come, you French, tell
me all about it."

The stranger--an attorney from Exeter--looked at Mr. Cleverdon, who
nodded his head. He knew that eventually the whole matter must be made
known to his son-in-law, but he had not reckoned on it coming to a
crisis so soon.

Mr. French plainly stated all the circumstances. A large sum had been
borrowed on the property some years ago when purchased by Anthony
Cleverdon, the elder, and this sum had been called in. His client, the
mortgagee, was dead, and the executors were resolved, obliged, in fact,
to realise the estate, and could not be put off. Mr. Cleverdon had been
given due notice, and had neglected to attend to it; the mortgage money
had not been paid, consequently a bill had been filed in Chancery, and
unless the entire sum were forthcoming within fourteen days, the
Cleverdons would have to leave the place, which would pass over to the
executors, who would sell it.

Fox followed what was said with close attention, and without
interruption. The only token of his feelings was the contraction and
twitching of his hard sandy eyelashes. When Mr. French ceased speaking,
he laughed aloud, hoarsely and hysterically, and became deadly white.
His eyes turned to old Cleverdon, and with lips curled and livid over
his teeth, he looked at him in speechless rage for some minutes. He was
like a mean and angry beast, driven to bay, and watching his opportunity
to fly out and bite.

Then all at once, with a voice half in a scream, half-choked, he poured
forth reproaches on the Squire.

"By heaven! I did suppose that no one could get the better of me; but I
had not reckoned on the craft of an old country farmer, in whom sharp
dealing has gone down from father to son, and roguery has been an
heritage never parted with, never diminished, always bettered with each
generation. And I have had to take this scurvy name of Cleverdon so as
to involve me in the disgrace of the family, and mated with it to a maid
with an ugly face and no wit--all to get me entangled so that I must
with my own hands pull the Cleverdons--the Cleverdons," he sneered and
spat on the floor, "pull with my hands, these Cleverdons out of the
ditch into which they have tumbled, or lie down and be swallowed up in
the mire with them. I will not do it. I will neither help you nor go
into the dirt with you. I will leave you to yourselves, and laugh till
my sides crack when you are turned out of the house. Where will you
go--you and your beggarly daughter? Shall I see if there be room in the
poorhouse at Peter Tavy? Listen!" he screamed and turned to the
attorney, "listen to what this man, this old grey-haired rascal has
done. He comes of a breed of sheep-dealers, accustomed to get a wether
between the knees and sheer her; got horny hands from the plough-tail,
boots that smell of the stables, arms accustomed to heave the
dung-fork--this is what they have been, and he goes and buys Hall with
other folks' money, and buys himself a coat of arms with other folks'
money, and builds a mansion in place of his old tumble-about-the-ears
farmhouse with other folks' money, and puts what money he will into the
hands of that brag and bombast talker, his son, to humble and insult the
young gentles of good blood and name--and, mark you, it is other folks'
money--and then--then he offers to make me his heir if I will take his
daughter, whom no one else will look at and give a thank-you for, and
assume his name--his name that reeks of the stable-yard. When I do so,
then I find I am heir to nothing but beggary!" He shrieked with rage,
and held out his hands threateningly at the old man.

The Squire became at first purple with rage; he rose from his seat
slowly. His eyes glittered like steel. He was not the man to be spoken
to in this manner, to be insulted in himself and his family! His hand
clenched. Old though he was, his sinews were tough and his hands were
heavy.

Fox came at him with head down between his shoulders, his sharp chin
extended, his hand like the claws of a hawk catching the air.

The attorney stepped between them, or father and son-in-law would have
done each other an injury. He laid hold of Fox by the shoulder and
thrust him back, and bade him cease from profitless abuse of an
unfortunate man, who was, moreover, his father, and to collect his
thoughts, consider the situation, and decide whether he and his father
would find the money and save Hall.

"Find the money!" said Fox. "Do you not hear that my father is away on a
fool's errand, gone to join the rebels; was taking them money, several
hundreds of pounds, when he was robbed by the way." He burst into harsh,
hysterical laughter once more. "My father will not be home for a
fortnight if he does come home at all. How am I to find the money?
Kilworthy is not mine. It belongs to my sister."

"Cannot your sister assist you?"

"She would not if she could, but she can touch nothing, it is held in
trust, and my father is trustee. Let Hall go, and the Cleverdons along
with it. What care I?"

"You are now yourself a Cleverdon," retorted the Squire.

"By heavens," gasped Fox, "that I--that I should be outwitted, and by
you!" Then he swung through the door and disappeared.

The old man remained standing with clenched hands for some minutes. The
sweat had broken out on his brow, his grey hair, smoothed for the
wedding ceremony, had bristled with rage and shame, and become entangled
and knotted on his head. If it had not been for the convulsive twitching
of the corners of the mouth, he might have been supposed a statue.

Presently he put his hands down on the arms of his chair, and slowly let
himself sink into the seat. The colour died out of his cheeks and from
his brow, and he became ashen in hue. His hands rested on the
chair-arms, motionless. His lips moved as though he were speaking to
himself; and he was so--he was repeating the insolent words--the words
wounding to his pride, to his honour, that had been shot at him from the
envenomed heart of Fox; and these hurt him more than the thoughts of the
disaster that menaced.

"Do not be overcome by his spite," said French. "He is disappointed,
and his disappointment has made him speak words he will regret. He must
and will help you. My clients would not deal harshly with you--they
respect you, but are forced to act. They do not want your estate but
their money--that they are compelled to call together. If this young
gentleman be your son-in-law and heir, it is his interest to save the
property, and he will do it if he can. His father can be found in a
couple of days, and when found can be induced to lend the money, if he
has the means at his disposal. Perhaps in a week all will be right."

Squire Cleverdon did not speak.

"And now," said French, "with your consent I will refresh myself, and
leave you to your own thoughts. It is a pity that you did not take steps
earlier to save yourself."

"I could not--I could not. I was ashamed to ask of any one. I thought,
that is, I never thought the demand was serious."

Fox had gone forth to the stable to saddle a horse; finding no one about
in the yard, he seated himself on the corn-box, and remained lost in
thought, biting his nails. All the men connected with the farm were in
the kitchen having cake and ale, and drinking the health of the bride
heartily, and secretly confusion to the bridegroom, whom they detested,
both for his own character, which was pretty generally judged, and also,
especially, because he had stepped into the place and name of their
beloved young Anthony, who, though he had tyrannised over them, was
looked up to, and liked by all.

All was silent in the stable save for the stamp occasionally of a
horsehoof and the rattle of the halters at the mangers. Bessie's grey
was nearest to Fox, and the beast occasionally turned her head and
looked at him out of her clear, gentle eyes.

Fox put his sharp elbows on his knees, and drove his fingers through his
thin red hair. He was in a dilemma. He was married to Bessie, and
adopted into the family. As the old man had said to him, he was now a
Cleverdon. It had cost him a large sum to obtain this privilege, and he
could not resume his patronymic without the cost of a fresh grant from
the College of Arms. Moreover, that would not free him from his
alliance.

Nothing, perhaps, so galled the thoughts of Fox as the consciousness
that he had been over-reached--he who had deemed himself incomparably
the shrewdest and keenest man in the district; who had despised and
laughed at old Cleverdon--never more than when luring him on with the
hopes of winning Julian. He had done this out of pure malice, with the
desire of making the old man ridiculous, and of enjoying the
disappointment that was inevitable. He had played his trick upon his
father-in-law; but the tables had been turned on him in compound degree.

His father-in-law was right--he was a Cleverdon, and his fortunes were
bound up with Hall. If Hall were lost, he had lost all but the trifle he
was likely to receive from his father. If Hall was to be saved, it must
be saved by him; and, had he known that it was likely to be sold, he
would never have encumbered himself with a wife--with Bessie--and
degraded himself to take the name of Cleverdon instead of his own
ancient and honourable patronymic. He would have waited a fortnight;
and, if he could get the money together, would have bought Hall, and
enjoyed the satisfaction of turning the Cleverdons out of it.

It was now too late. He must decide on his course of conduct. He did not
think of doing what Mr. French supposed he would--ride in quest of his
father. He would not venture himself near the quarters of Monmouth, and
run the risk of being supposed to have any sympathy or connection with
the rebellion. Moreover, he very much doubted whether his father could,
if he would, assist in this matter.

Presently he stood up, went to the grey, saddled her, and rode to
Kilworthy.

On reaching that place he put up the horse himself, and stole up the
steps to the first terrace, on which grew a range of century-old yews,
passed behind the yews to the end of the terrace, where was an abandoned
pigeon-house, a circular stone building, with conical roof. The door was
open, and Fox went in. The wooden door had long disappeared, for the
pigeon-house had been given up. Within were holes in tiers all round the
building, in which pigeons had formerly built and laid. But the owls
and rats had so repeatedly and determinedly invaded this house, and had
wrought such havoc among the pigeons, that at last it had been abandoned
wholly, and the pigeons were accommodated in the adjoining farm-yard, on
casks erected on the top of poles, where, if not out of reach of owls,
they were secure from rats. The neglected pigeonry was too strongly
built to fall to ruin, but the woodwork was rotted away, and had not
been replaced. It was a dark chamber, receiving its light from the door,
and was not used for any purpose.

Into this, after looking about him cautiously, Fox entered. A short
ladder was laid against the wall, and this he took, and after carefully
counting the pigeon-holes, set the ladder, and after ascending it,
thrust his hand into one of the old resting-places, and drew out a
canvas bag. It had been sealed, but the seal was broken. It had been
opened and then tied up again. Then Fox went to the next pigeon-hole,
and felt in that, and again drew forth a bag similar to the first.

"Here is the money," muttered he. "Enough to save Hall, but whether I
shall risk doing it is another matter."

Suddenly the place was darkened--the light entering by the door was
intercepted.

Fox's heart stood still. For a moment only he was in darkness. He fell
rather than climbed down the ladder, hastily put it back where he found
it, and ran outside.

At the further end of the terrace was Julian. As he caught sight of her
he attempted to withdraw, but she had seen him, and she beckoned, and
came to him with quick steps.

"Why, Fox! you here!--and you were married but an hour or two agone! Why
here? Why not at the side of Bessie at table answering the toasts?"

"Where have you come from?" retorted Fox, uneasily.

"Nay? that is for me to ask. I have but just come to walk up and down
for air, and you--you spring out of the earth. What has brought you
back? Quarrelled already with your bride?"

"I have returned for you, Julian. Bess is pained and aggrieved that you
have not come to Hall to be with her. She has none as a friend but you."

"What! you have come after me?"

"For what else should I come?"

"Nay," laughed Julian; "who can sound thy dark and deep thoughts, and
thread thy crooked mind? I cannot believe it."

"I have ridden Bess's own mare."

"That may be. And you came here to fetch me? And for that only?"

"I did."

"I won't go." Julian looked at Fox with twinkling eyes. "Oh, Fox! I do
love and pity Bess too greatly to bear to see her at thy side. So you
came for me? You came out here on the terrace after me?"

"I have told you so. How long have you been here?"

"But this minute. I took one walk as far as the old pigeon-house and
back, and then--saw you. Did you come up the other way? From the yard?"

"I did."

"Oh! I will not go with you. Return to Bess. Tell her I love her and
wish her well, but I cannot see her; I cannot now, I love her too well.
Get thee gone, Fox."



CHAPTER L.

ANOTHER FLIGHT.


The day was drawing to its decline before Fox returned to Hall. He had
been alarmed at having been seen by his sister in the dove-cote, and he
tried by craft to extract from her whether she had observed what he had
been doing in it. He hung about Kilworthy for several hours, uncertain
what course to pursue. He could draw nothing from Julian to feed his
alarm, and he persuaded, or tried to persuade, himself that she had no
suspicions that he had been in the dove-cote; then he considered what he
had best do with the money-bags concealed there. He could remove them
only at night, and if he removed them, where should he hide them? No
more effectual place of concealment could well be imagined than the
pigeon-house with its many lockers, the depths of which could not be
probed by the eye from below, and only searched by the hand from a
ladder. He puzzled his brain to find some other place, but his ingenuity
failed him. He was angry with Julian for having come on the terrace at
the inopportune moment when he was in the pigeon-house, and he was angry
with himself for having gone there in daylight.

He asked, was it probable that Julian, had she suspected anything, would
not at once have assailed him with inquiries wherefore he had gone to
that deserted structure, and what he was doing within it, on the ladder.
It would be unlike her not immediately to take advantage of an occasion
either against him, or of perplexity to him, and he almost satisfied
himself that she had believed his account, and was void of suspicion
that there was concealment behind it. Even if she did suspect and search
the lockers of the pigeon-cote, he must know it. He would find she had
been there, and he deemed it advisable not to disturb his arrangement,
but leave the money hidden there till he was given fresh cause for
uneasiness relative to its safety, at all events for a few days, till he
could discover another and more secret place for stowing it away.

He remained for some hours, lurking about and watching; for he argued
that, if Julian entertained any thought that he had been in the
dove-cote on private ends, like a woman she would take the earliest
occasion of trying to discover his ends, and would go, as soon as she
thought she was unobserved, to the place and explore its lockers.

But though he kept himself hidden, and narrowly watched her proceedings,
he could find no cause for mistrust. She left the terrace and went off
to the stables to see her horse; she ordered it out for a ride; then, as
rain began to fall, she countermanded it; then she went to the parlour,
where she wrote a letter to her father to give him an account of the
marriage of his son, and to express her views thereon.

Finding her thus engaged, and with his mistrust laid at rest, Fox left
Kilworthy and went to Tavistock, where he entered a tavern and called
for wine. He had not resolved what to do about the mortgage money on
Hall.

He believed that, with the five hundred pounds stowed away in the
pigeon-holes at Kilworthy, and with what money old Cleverdon was able to
raise, sufficient, or almost sufficient, could be paid to secure Hall.
If more had to be found, it could perhaps be borrowed on the security
of the small Crymes estate in Buckland; but Fox was most averse to
having his own inheritance charged for this purpose. If Hall were let
slip, then he was left with nothing save his five hundred pounds and the
small Buckland property.

He sat in the tavern for long, drinking, and trying to reach a solution
of his difficulty, consumed with burning wrath at the manner in which he
had been imposed upon, and entangled in the embarrassments of a family
into which he had pushed his way, believing that by so doing he was
entering into a rich heritage.

When he reached Hall, at nightfall, he had drunk so much, and was in
such an inflamed and exasperated frame of mind, as to promise trouble.

Bess saw the condition he was in the moment he entered the door, and she
endeavoured to turn him aside from her father's room, towards which he
was making his way, unsteadily.

The serving-men and maids were about, and a few guests. Comments,
unfavourable to Fox, had passed with some freedom, and not inaudibly,
relative to his absence on that afternoon. No one desired his presence,
and yet the fact of his being away provoked displeasure. It was taken as
an insult to those present. That some trouble had fallen on Squire
Cleverdon, that his position in Hall was menaced, was generally known
and commented on in the house, by guests and servants alike. That Fox
had left in connection with this difficulty was admitted but
nevertheless not excused.

French was there disposed to make himself merry, with a fund of good
stories to scatter among the guests. When Fox appeared, all present,
guests and servants, were in jovial mood, having eaten and drunken to
their hearts' satisfaction; some were in the passage, some in the
dining-room that opened out of it, with the door open. Mr. Cleverdon was
with the guests, and when he beheld his son-in-law in the entrance, he
started up and came towards him. Fox saw him at once, and hissed, caught
at the side-posts of the door with his left, and pointed jeeringly at
the Squire.

"I want to have a talk with you, my plump money-bag, my well-acred
Squire father-in-law, and if there are others by, so much the better. It
is well that all the world should see the bubble burst. Ha! ha! ha! This
is the man who was a little farmer, and pushed himself to become a
justice! The little shrivelled toad who would blow himself out to be
like an ox. His sides are cracking, mark you!"

"Take him away," said the old man, "he is drunk."

"Go--I pray you go!" pleaded Bessie. "Prithee, respect him, at least in
public, look at his grey hairs, consider the trouble he is in."

"His grey hairs!" retorted Fox. "Why should I respect them? They have
grown grey in rascality. So many years of sandy locks, so much roguery,
so many more with grey hair, double the amount of roguery. Why should I
respect an old rogue? I would kick and thrash a young one out of the
house. His trouble--forsooth! His trouble is naught to mine, hooked on
to a disreputable, drowning family, and unable to strike out in their
faces, and wrench their hands away, and let them swallow the brine and
go down alone."

The Squire and the guests stood or sat spell-bound. What was to be done
with the fellow? How could he be brought to silence? The stream of words
of a drunken man is no easier stopped than is a spring by the hand laid
against it.

"Ha! ha!" jeered Fox, still pointing at his father-in-law; "there is the
man who has ruled so tyrannically in his house, who drove his son
out-of-doors because he followed his own example and married empty
pockets. But his son did better than the father, he did take a girl with
a few lumps of granite and a few shovelfuls of peat, but the father's
own wife had nothing. What he suffered in himself he would not suffer in
his son."

The old man, shaking with rage as with the palsy, and deadly white,
turned to the servants, and called to them to take away the fellow.

"Take me away!" screamed Fox. "Take and shake me, and see if there be
any gold in my pockets that will fall out, and which he may pick up. I
tell you I am rich; I have the money all ready, I could produce that in
an hour, which would save Hall, and send that fellow there, the lawyer,
and his men back to Exeter to-night, if they cared to go over Black
Down in the dark, where robbery is committed and coaches stopped and
plundered. I have the gold all ready, but do not fancy I will give one
guinea to help a Cleverdon. I hate them all--father, daughter, and son;
I curse the whole tribe, I dance on their heads, I trample on their
hearts, I scorn them. They hold out their hands to me, but I will not
pick them up."

Bessie put her arms about him, and, with eyes that were full of tears,
and face blanched with shame, entreated him to go, to control himself,
to remember that this old man that he insulted was his father-in-law,
and that, for better, for worse, in riches or poverty, he was her
husband.

"I am not like to forget that," hissed Fox. "O, troth, no! Linked to
thee--to thee, with thy ugly face and empty purse; thee, whom no one
else would have, who has been hawked about and refused by all, and I am
to be coupled to thee all my life. 'Fore heaven, I am not like to forget
that."

This, addressed to Bessie, whom every servant in the house loved, and
every guest who knew her respected, passed all bounds of endurance.

An angry roar rose from the men and maids who had crowded into the
entrance-hall from the kitchen, from the courtyard, from the stables.
The guests shouted out their indignation, and a blow was aimed at Fox
from a groom behind, that knocked him over, and sent him down on his
knees into the dining-room. He was not seriously hurt--not deprived of
his senses--but other blows would have followed from the incensed
servants had not Bessie thrown herself in the way to protect him.

"Take him up--throw him into the horse-pond!"

"Get a bramble, and thrash him with it till he is painted red."

"Cast him in with the pigs."

Such were the shouts of the servants, and, but for the interposition of
Bessie, serious results would have followed. She gave Fox her hand, and,
leaning on her shoulder, he was able to stagger to his feet. The blow he
had received had driven the final remains of caution he had about him
from his brain; he glared around in savage rage, with his teeth showing,
and his short red hair standing up on his head like the comb of an angry
cock.

"Who touched me? Bring him forth, that I may strike him." He drew his
hunting-knife, and turned from side to side. "Ah! let him come near, and
I will score him as I did Anthony Cleverdon."

Bessie uttered a cry and drew back.

Fox looked at her, and, encouraged by her terror and pain, proceeded.
"It is true, I did. We had a quarrel and drew swords, and I pinked him."

"A lie!" shouted one present. "Thou wearest no sword."

Fox turned sharply round, and snarled at the speaker. "I have not a
bodkin--a skewer--but I have what is better--a carving-knife; and with
that I struck him just above the heart. He fell, and ran, ran, ran"--his
voice rose to a shriek--"he ran from me as a hare, full of fright, lest
I should go after him and strike him again, between the shoulder-blades.
Farmer Cleverdon! Gaffer Cleverdon! Thou hast a fool for a son--that all
the world knows--and a knave as well, and add to that--a coward."

He stopped to laugh. Then, pointing with his knife at his father-in-law,
he said:

"They say that he has gone to join the rebels. It is false. He is too
great a coward to adventure himself there, and add to that I have cut
too deep and let out too much white blood. He is skulking somewhere to
be healed or to die."

Bessie had staggered back against the wall. She held her hands before
her mouth to arrest the cries of distress that could barely be
controlled. The old man had become white and rigid as a corpse.

"I would he were with the rebels. I hope he will be so healed, and that
speedily, that he may join them, and then he will be taken and hung as a
traitor. I' faith, I would like to be there! I would give a bag of gold
to be there--to see Anthony Cleverdon hung. I'd sit down on the next
stone and eat my bread and cheese, and throw the crusts and the rinds in
his face as he hung.--The traitor!"


An hour later there came a tap at the door of Willsworthy. Uncle Sol
opened, and Bessie Cleverdon entered, pale.

She asked to see her grandmother, Mistress Penwarne, who was still
there.

"I am come," she said, "to relieve you. Go back to Luke, and I will
tarry with Urith. Luke must need you, and I can take your place here. I
will not lay my head under the roof of Hall whilst Fox is there. It is
true that I promised this day to love and obey him, but I promised what
I cannot perform. He has forfeited every right over me! Till he leaves
Hall I remain here--with Urith--both unhappy--maybe we shall understand
each other. My poor father! My poor father! I cannot remain with him
whilst Fox is there!"



CHAPTER LI.

ON THE CLEAVE AGAIN.


Ever full of pity and love for others, and forgetfulness of self, Bessie
sat holding Urith's hand in her own, with her eyes fixed compassionately
on her sister-in-law.

Urith's condition was perplexing. It was hard to say whether the events
of that night when she saw Anthony struck down on the hearthstone, and
her subsequent and consequent illness, with the premature confinement
and the death of the child, had deranged her faculties, or whether she
was merely stunned by this succession of events.

Always with a tendency in her to moodiness, she had now lapsed into a
condition of silent brooding. She would sit the whole day in one
position, crouched with her elbows on her knees and her chin in her
hands, looking fixedly before her, and saying nothing: taking no notice
of anything said or done near her.

It almost seemed as though she had fallen into a condition of melancholy
madness, and yet, when spoken to, she would answer, and answer
intelligently. Her faculties were present, unimpaired, but crushed under
the overwhelming weight of the past. Only on one point did she manifest
any signs of hallucination. She believed that Anthony was dead, and
nothing that was said to her could induce her to change her conviction.
She believed that everyone was in league to deceive her on this point.

And yet, though sane, she had to be watched, for in her absence of mind
and internal fever of distress, she would put her hands into her mouth,
and bite the knuckles, apparently unconscious of pain.

Mrs. Penwarne, who was usually with her, would quietly remove her hands
from her mouth, and hold them down. Then Urith would look at her with a
strange, questioning expression, release her hands, and resting the
elbows on her knees, thrust the fingers into her hair.

The state in which Urith was alarmed Bessie. She tried in vain to cheer
her; every effort, and they were various in kind, failed. The condition
of Urith resembled that of one oppressed with sleep before consciousness
passes away. When her attention was called by a question addressed to
her pointedly by name, or by a touch, she answered, but she relapsed
immediately into her former state. She could be roused to no interest in
anything. Bessie spoke to her about domestic matters, about the
rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth, about the departure of Mr. Crymes,
finally, after some hesitation, about her own marriage, but she said
nothing concerning the conduct of Fox on the preceding evening, or of
her desertion of the home of her childhood. Urith listened dreamily, and
forgot at once what had been told her. Her mind was susceptible to no
impressions, so deeply indented was it with her own sorrows.

Luke, so said Mistress Penwarne, had been to see her, and had spoken of
sacred matters; but Urith had replied to him that she had killed
Anthony, that she did not regret having done so, and that therefore she
could neither hope in nor pray to God.

This Mrs. Penwarne told Bessie, standing over Urith, well aware that
what she said passed unheeded by the latter, probably unheard by her.
Nothing but a direct appeal could force Urith to turn the current of her
thoughts, and that only momentarily, from the direction they had taken.

"She has been biting her hands again," said Mrs. Penwarne. "Bessie, when
she does that, pull out the token that hangs on her bosom and put it
into her palm. She will sit and look at that by the hour. She must be
broken of that trick."

Urith slowly stood up, with a ruffle of uneasiness on her dull face. She
was conscious that she was being discussed, without exactly knowing what
was said about her. Without a word of explanation, she went out,
drawing Bessie with her, who would not let go her hand; and together, in
silence, they passed through the court and into the lane.

Their heads were uncovered, and the wind was fresh and the sun shone
brightly.

Urith walked leisurely along the lane, accompanied by Bessie Cleverdon,
between the moorstone walls, thick-bedded with pink and white flowering
saxifrage, and plumed with crimson foxgloves. She looked neither to
right nor to left till she reached the moor-gate closing the lane, a
gate set there to prevent the escape of the cattle from their upland
pasturage. The gate was swung between two blocks of granite, in which
sockets had been cut for the pivot of the gate to swing. Urith put forth
her hand, thrust open the gate, and went on. It was characteristic of
her condition that she threw it open only wide enough to allow herself
to pass through, and Bess had to put forth her disengaged hand to check
the gate from swinging back upon her. This was not due to rudeness on
the part of Urith, but to the fact that Urith had forgotten that any one
was with her.

On issuing forth on the open waste-land among the flowering heather and
deep carmine, large-belled heath, the freedom, the fresh air seemed to
revive Urith. A flicker of light passed over her darkened face, as
though clouds had been lifted from a tor, and a little watery sunlight
had played over its bleak surface. She turned her head to the west,
whence blew the wind, and the air raised and tossed her dark hair. She
stood still, with half-closed eyes, and nostrils distended, inhaling the
exhilarating breeze, and enjoying its coolness as it trifled with her
disordered locks.

Bessie had tried her with every subject that could distract her
thoughts, in vain. She now struck on that which nearly affected her.

"Urith," she said, "I have heard that a battle is expected every day,
and Anthony is in it. You will pray God to guard him in danger, will you
not?"

"Anthony is dead. I killed him."

"No, dear Urith, he is not dead; he has joined the Duke of Monmouth."

"They told you so? They deceived you. I killed him."

"It is not so." Bessie paused. Her hand clenched that of Urith tightly.
"My dearest sister, it is not so. Fox himself told me, and told my
father--_he_ struck Anthony."

"I bade him do so--I had not strength in my arm, I had no knife. But I
killed him."

"I assure you that this is not true."

"I saw him fall across the hearthstone. My mother wished it. She prayed
that it might be so, with her last breath; but she never prayed that I
should kill him."

"Urith! Poor Anthony, who is dear to you and to me, is in extreme
danger. There is like to be bloody fighting and we must ask God to
shield him."

"I cannot pray for him. He is dead, and I cannot pray at all. I am glad
he is dead. I would do it all over again, rather than that Julian should
have him."

"Julian!" sighed Elizabeth Cleverdon. "What has been told you about
Julian?"

"She threatened to pluck him out of my bosom, and she has done it; but
she shall not wear him in hers. I killed him because he was false to me,
and would leave me."

"No--no--Urith, he never would leave you."

"He was going to leave me. His father asked him to go back to Hall."

"But he would not go. Anthony was too noble."

"He was going to desert me and go to Julian, so I killed him. They may
kill me also; I do not care. God took my baby; I am glad He did that. I
never wish for a moment it had lived--lived to know that its mother was
a murderess. It could not touch my hand with his blood on it; so God
took my baby. I am waiting; they will take me soon, because I killed
Anthony. I am willing. I cannot pray. I have no hope. I wish it were
over, and I were dead."

On her own topic, on that which engrossed all her mind, on that round
which her thoughts turned incessantly, on that she could speak, and
speak fairly rationally; and when she spoke her face became expressive.

They walked on together. Bessie knew not what to say. It was not
possible to disturb Urith's conviction that her husband was dead, and
that she was his destroyer.

They continued to walk, but now again in silence. Urith again relapsed
into her brooding mood, went forward, threaded her own way among the
bunches of prickly gorse, now out of flower, and the scattered stones,
regardless of Bessie, who was put to great inconvenience to keep at her
side. She was forced to disengage her hand, as it was not possible for
her to keep pace with her sister-in-law in such broken ground. Urith did
not observe that Bessie had released her, nor that she was still
accompanying her.

She took a direct course to Tavy Cleave, that rugged, natural fortress
of granite which towers above the river that plunges in a gorge, rather
than a valley, below.

On reaching this she cast herself down on the overhanging slab, whereon
she had stood with Anthony, when he clasped her in his arms and swung
her, laughing and shouting, over the abyss.

Bessie drew to her side. She was uneasy what Urith might do, in her
disturbed frame of mind; but no thought of self-destruction seemed to
have crossed Urith's brain. She swung her feet over the gulf, and put
her hands through her hair, combing it out into the wind, and letting
that waft and whirl it about, as it blew up the Cleave and rose against
the granite crags, as a wave that bowls against a rocky coast leaps up
and curls over it.

Bessie allowed her to do as she liked. It was clearly a refreshment and
relaxation to her heated and overstrained mind thus to sit and play with
the wind.

Rooks were about, at one moment flashing white in the sun, then showing
the blackness of their glossy feathers. Their nesting and rearing
labours were over: they had deserted their usual haunts among trees, to
disport themselves on the waste lands.

The roar of the river came up on the wind from below--now loud as the
surf on reefs at sea, then soft and soothing as a murmur of marketers
returning from fairing, heard from far away.

Something--Bessie knew not what--induced her to turn her head aside,
when, with a start of alarm, she saw, standing on a platform of rock,
not a stone's throw distance, the tall full form of Julian. Her face was
turned towards her and Urith. She had been watching them. The sun was on
her handsome, richly-coloured face, with its lustrous eyes and ripe
pouting lips.

Bessie's first impulse was to hold up her hand in caution. She did not
know what the effect produced on Urith might be of seeing suddenly
before her the rival who had blighted her happiness; and the position
occupied by Urith was dangerous, on the overhanging ledge.

Bessie rose from her place and walked towards Julian, stepping
cautiously among the crags. Urith took no notice of her departure.

On reaching Julian Crymes, Bessie caught her by the arm and drew her
back among the rocks, out of sight and hearing of Urith.

"For heaven's sake," she entreated, "do not let her see you! Do you see
what has fallen on her? She is not herself."

"Well," retorted Julian, "what of that? She and I staked for the same
prize, and she has lost."

"And you not won."

"I have won somewhat. He is no longer hers, if he be not mine."

"He is not, he never was, he never will be yours," said Bessie,
vehemently. "Oh, Julian! how can you be so cruel, so wicked! Have you no
pity? She is deranged. She thinks she has killed Anthony--dead; but you
have seen--she cannot speak and think of anything now but of her sorrow
and loss."

"We played together--it was a fair game. She wrested from me him who was
mine by right, and she must take the consequences of her acts--we must
all do that. I--yes--Bess, I am ready. I will take the consequences of
what I have done. Let me pass, Bess, I will speak to her."

"I pray you!" Bess extended her arms.

"No--let me pass. She and I are accustomed to look each other in the
face. I will see how she is. I will! Stand aside."

She had a long staff in her hand, and with it she brushed Bess away, and
strode past her, between her and the precipice, with steady eye and firm
step, and clambered to where was Urith.

She stood beside her for a minute, studying her, watching her, as she
played with her hair, passing her fingers through it, and drawing it
forth into the wind to turn and curl, and waft about.

Then, her patience exhausted, Julian put forth the end of her staff,
touched Urith, and called her by name.

Urith looked round at her, but neither spake nor stirred. No flush of
anger or surprise appeared in her cheek, no lightning glare in her eye.

"Urith," said Julian, "how stands the game?"

"He is dead," answered Urith, "I killed him."

Julian was startled, and slightly turned colour.

"It is not true," she said hastily, recovering herself, "he has gone off
to serve with the Duke of Monmouth."

"I killed him," answered Urith composedly. "I would never, never let you
have him, draw him from me. I am not sorry. I am glad. I killed him."

"What!" with a sudden exultation, "you know he would have been drawn by
me away! I conquered."

"You did not get him away," said Urith, "you could not--for I killed
him."

Julian put out her staff again, and touched Urith.

"Listen to me!" she said, and there was triumph in her tone. "He never
loved you. No never. Me he loved; me he always had loved. But his father
tried to force him, he quarrelled with him, and out of waywardness, to
defy his father to show his independence, he married you; but he never,
never loved you."

"That is false," answered Urith, and she slowly rose on the platform to
her feet. "That is false. He did love me. Here on this stone he held me
to his heart, here he held me aloft and made me promise to be his very
own."

"It was naught!" exclaimed Julian. "A passing fancy. Come--I know not
whether he be alive or dead. Some say one thing and some another, but
this I do know, that if he be alive, the world will be too narrow for
you and me together in it, and if he be dead--it is indifferent to both
whether we live, for to you and me alike is Anthony the sun that rules
us, in whose light we have our joy. Come! Let us have another hitch, as
the wrestlers say, and see which gives the other the turn."

Urith, in her half-dreamy condition, in rising to her feet, had taken
hold of the end of Julian's staff, and now stood looking down the abyss
to the tossing, thundering water, still holding the end.

"Urith!" called Julian, imperiously and impatiently, "dost hear what I
say? Let us have one more, and a final hitch. Thou holding the staff at
one end, I at the other. See, we stand equal, on the same shelf, and
each with a heel at the edge of the rock. One step back, and thou or I
must go over and be broken on the stones, far below. Dost mark me?"

"I hear what you say," answered Urith.

"I will thrust, and do thou! and see which can drive the other to death.
In faith! we have thrust and girded at each other long, and driven each
other to desperation. Now let us finish the weary game with a final
turn[6] and a fair back."[6]

Urith remained, holding the end of the staff, looking at Julian
steadily, without passion. Her face was pale; the wild hair was tossing
about it.

"Art ready!" called Julian. "When I say three, then the thrust begins,
and one or other of us is driven out of one world into the other."

Urith let fall the end of the staff; "I have no more quarrel with you,"
she said, "Anthony is dead. I killed him."

Julian stamped angrily. "This is the second time thou hast refused my
challenge; though thou didst refuse my glove, thou didst take it up. So
now thou refusest, yet may be will still play. As thou wilt: at thine
own time--but one or other."

She pointed down the chasm with her staff, and turned away.

FOOTNOTE:

[6] Terms in wrestling. A "turn" is a fall; a "fair back" is one where
the three points are touched--head, shoulders, and back.



CHAPTER LII.

THE SAW-PIT.


At Hall, that same morning had broken on Squire Cleverdon in his office
or sitting-room--it might bear either name--leaning back in his leather
armchair, with his hands clasped on his breast, his face an ashen grey,
and his hair several degrees whiter than on the preceding day.

When the maid came in at an early hour to clean and tidy the apartment,
she started, and uttered a cry of alarm, when she saw the old man in his
seat. She thought he was dead. But at her appearance he stood up, and
with tottering steps left the room and went upstairs. He had not been to
bed all night.

Breakfast was made ready, and he was called; but he did not come.

That night had been one of vain thinking and torturing of his mind to
find a mode of escape from his troubles. He had reckoned on assistance
from Fox or his father, and this had failed him. Fox, may be, for all
his brag, could not help him. The Justice might, were he at home; but he
had gone off to join the Duke of Monmouth, and, if he did return, it
might be too late, and it was probable enough that he never would
reappear. If anything happened to Mr. Crymes, then Fox would step into
his place as trustee for Julian till Julian married; but could he raise
money on her property to assist him and save his property? Anyhow it was
not possible for matters to be so settled that he could do this within a
fortnight.

The only chance that old Cleverdon saw was to borrow money for a short
term till something was settled at Kilworthy--till the Rebellion was
either successful or was extinguished--and he could appeal to Fox or his
father to secure Hall.

But to have, ultimately, to come to Fox for deliverance, to have his own
fate and that of his beloved Hall in the hands of this son-in-law, who
had insulted, humiliated him, publicly and brutally, the preceding
night, was to drink the cup of degradation to its bitter and final
dregs.

It was about ten o'clock when the old Squire, now bent and broken, with
every line in his face deepened to a furrow, reappeared, ready to go
abroad. He had resolved to visit his attorney-at-law in Tavistock, and
see if, through him, the requisite sum could be raised as a short loan.

The house was in confusion. None of the workmen were gone to their
duties; the serving-maids and men talked or whispered in corners, and
went about on tip-toe as though there were a corpse in the house.

His man told the Squire that Fox was gone, and had left a message, which
the fellow would not deliver, so grossly insolent was it; the substance
was that he would not return to the house. The Squire nodded and asked
for his horse.

After some delay it was brought to the door; the groom was not to be
found, and one of the maids had gone to the stable for the beast, and
had saddled and bridled it.

The old man mounted and rode away. Then he heard a call behind him, but
did not turn his head; another call, but he disregarded it, and rode
further, urging on his horse to a quicker rate.

Next moment the brute stumbled, and nearly went down on its nose; the
Squire whipped angrily, and the horse went on faster, then began to lag,
and suddenly tripped once more and fell. Old Cleverdon was thrown on the
turf and was uninjured. He got up and went to the beast, and then saw
why it had twice stumbled. The serving girl, in bridling it, had
forgotten to remove the halter, the rope of which hung down to the
ground, so that, as the animal trotted, the end got under the hoofs.
That was what the call had signified. Some one of the serving-men had
noticed the bridle over the halter as the old Squire rode away, and had
shouted after him to that effect.

Mr. Cleverdon removed the bridle, then took off the halter, and replaced
the bridle. What was to be done with the halter? He tried to thrust it
into one of his pockets, but they were too small. He looked round; he
was near a saw-pit a bow-shot from the road. He remembered that he had
ordered a couple of sawyers to be there that day to cut up into planks
an oak-tree; he hitched up his horse and went towards the saw-pit,
calling, but no one replied. The men had not come; they had heard of
what had taken place at Hall, and had absented themselves, not expecting
under the circumstances to be paid for their labour.

The old man wrapped the halter round his waist, and knotted it, then
drew his cloak about him to conceal it, remounted, and rode on. Had the
sawyers been at the pit he would have sent back the halter by one of
them to the stable. As none was there, he was forced to take it about
with him.

Five hours later he returned the same way. His eyes were glassy, and
cold sweat beaded his brow. His breath came as a rattle from his lungs.
All was over. He could obtain assistance nowhere. The times were
dangerous, because unsettled, and no one would risk money till the
public confidence was restored. His attorney had passed him on to the
agent for the Earl of Bedford, and the agent had shaken his head, and
suggested that the miller at the Abbey Mill was considered a well-to-do
man, and might be inclined to lend money.

The miller refused, and spoke of a Jew in Bannawell, who was said to
lend money at high rates of interest. The Jew, however, would not think
of the loan, till the Rebellion was at an end.

All was over. The Squire--the Squire!--he would be that no more--must
leave the land and home of his fathers, his pride broken, his ambition
frustrated, the object for which he had lived and schemed lost to him.
There are in the world folk who are, in themselves, nothing, and who
have nothing, and who nevertheless give themselves airs, and cannot be
shaken out of their self-satisfaction. Mr. Cleverdon was not one of
these, he had not their faculty of imagination. The basis of all his
greatness was Hall; that was being plucked from under his feet; and he
staggered to his fall. Once on the ground, he would be proper, lie
there, an object of mockery to those who had hitherto envied him. Once
there, he would never raise his head again. He who had stood so high,
who had been so imperious in his pride of place, would be under the feet
of all those over whom hitherto he had ridden roughshod.

This thought gnawed and bored in him, with ever fresh anguish, producing
ever fresh aspects of humiliation. This was the black spot on which his
eyes were fixed, which overspread and darkened the whole prospect. The
brutality with which he had been treated by Fox was but a sample and
foretaste of the brutality with which he would be treated by all such as
hitherto he had held under, shown harshness and inconsideration towards.
He had been selfish in his prosperity, he was selfish in his adversity.
He did not think of Anthony. He gave not a thought to Bessie. His own
disappointment, his own humiliation, was all that concerned him. He had
valued the love of his children not a rush, and now that his material
possessions slipped from his grasp, nothing was left him to which to
cling.

He had ridden as far as the point where his horse had fallen, on his
way back to Hall, when the rope twined about his waist loosened and fell
down. The old man stooped towards his stirrup, picked it up, and cast it
over his shoulder. The act startled his horse, and it bounded; with the
leap the rope was again dislodged, and fell once more. He sought, still
riding, to arrange the cord as it had been before about his waist, but
found this impracticable.

He was forced to dismount, and then he hitched his horse to a tree, and
proceeded to take the halter from his body, that he might fold and knot
it together.

Whilst thus engaged, a thought entered his head that made him stand,
with glazed eye, looking at the coil, motionless.

To what was he returning? To a home that was no more a home--to a few
miserable days of saying farewell to scenes familiar to him from
infancy; then to being cast forth on the world in his old age, he knew
not whither to go, where to settle. To a new life of which he cared
nothing, without interests, without ambitions--wholly purposeless. He
would go forth alone; Bessie would not accompany him, for he had thrown
her away on the most despicable of men, and to him she was bound--him
she must follow. Anthony--he knew not whether he were alive or dead. If
alive, he could not go to him whom he had driven from Hall, and to
Willsworthy, of all places under the sun, he would not go. Luke he could
not ask to receive him, who was but a curate, and whom he had refused to
speak to since he had been the means of uniting his son to the daughter
of his deadly rival and enemy. What sort of life could he live with no
one to care for him--with nothing to occupy his mind and energies?

How could he appear in church, at market, now that it was known that he
was a ruined man? Would not every one point at him, and sneer and laugh
at his misfortunes? He had not made a friend, except Mr. Crymes; and not
having a friend, he had no one to sympathise with, to pity him.

Then he thought of his sister Magdalen. Her little annuity he would have
to pay out of his reduced income; he might live with her--with her whom
he had treated so unceremoniously, so rudely--over whom he had held his
chin so high, and tossed it so contemptuously.

What would Fox do? Would he not take every occasion to insult him, to
make his life intolerable to him, use him as his butt for gibes, anger
him to madness--the madness of baffled hate that cannot revenge a wrong?

Anything were better than this.

The old man walked towards the saw-pit. The tree was there, lying on the
frame ready to be sawn into planks, and already it was in part cut
through. The men had been there, begun their task; then had gone off,
probably to the house to drink his cider and discuss his ruin.

Below his feet the pit gaped, some ten or eleven feet, with oak sawdust
at the bottom, dry and fragrant. Round the edges of the pit the
hart's-tongue fern and the pennywort had lodged between the stones and
luxuriated, the latter throwing up at this time its white spires of
flower.

A magnificent plume of fern occupied one end of the trough. Bashes and
oak-coppice were around, and almost concealed the saw-pit from the road.

That saw-pit seemed to the old man to be a grave, and a grave that
invited an occupant.

He knelt on the cross-piece on which the upper sawyer stands when
engaged on his work, and round it fastened firmly the end of the rope;
then fixed the halter with running knot about his own neck.

He stood up and bent his grey head, threw his hat on one side, and
looked down into the trough.

He had come to the end. Everything was gone, or going, from him--even a
sepulchre with his fathers, for, if he died by his own hand, then he
would not be buried with them, but near that saw-pit, where a cross-way
led to Black Down. It was well that so it should be; so he would retain,
at all events, six foot of the paternal inheritance. That six foot would
be his inalienably, and that would be better than banishment to the
churchyard of Peter Tavy. But he would make sure that he carried with
him something of the ancestral land. He crept along the beam, with the
rope about his neck, fastened near the middle of the saw-pit, like a dog
running to the extent of his chain, and scrabbled up some of the soil,
with which he stuffed his ears and his mouth, and filled his hands.

Thus furnished, he stepped back, and again looked down. He did not
pray. He had no thought about his soul--about heaven. His mind was fixed
on the earth--the earth of Hall, with which he must part, with all but
what he held, and with which he had choked his mouth.

"Earth to earth!"

No words of the burial office would be said over him; but what cared he?
It would be the earth of Hall that went back to the earth of Hall when
he perished and was buried there. His flesh had been nourished by the
soil of Hall, his mind had lived on nothing else. He could not speak as
his mouth was full. How sweet, how cool tasted that clod upon his tongue
under his palate!

Though he could not speak he formed words in his mind, and he said to
himself--

"Thrice will I say 'Earth to earth!' and then leap down."

Once the words were said, and now he said them again, in his mind--

"Earth to earth."

There was a large black spider on the oak-tree, running up and down the
chopped section, and now, all at once, it dropped, but did not fall--it
swung at the end of its silken fibre. Mr. Cleverdon watched it. As the
spider dropped, so, in another minute, would he. Then the spider ran up
its thread. The old man shook his head. When he fell he would remain
there motionless. What then would the spider do? Would it swing and
catch at him, and proceed to construct a cobweb between him and the side
of the pit? He saw himself thus utilised as a sidestay for a great
cobweb, and saw a brown butterfly, with silver underwings, now playing
about the pit-mouth, come to the cobweb and be caught in it. He shook
his head--he must not yield to these illusions.

"Earth to----"

A hand was laid on his shoulder, an arm put about his waist; he was
drawn to the side of the pit, and the rope hastily disengaged from his
throat.

With blank, startled eyes old Squire Cleverdon looked on the face of his
preserver. It was that of Luke, his nephew.

"Uncle!--dear uncle!"

Luke took the halter, unloosed it from where it had been fastened to
the beam, knotted it up, and flung it far away among the bushes.

The old man said nothing, but stood before his nephew with downcast
eyes, slightly trembling.

Luke was silent also for some while, allowing the old man to recover
himself. Then he took his arm in his own and led him back to the horse.

"Let me alone! Let me go!" said old Cleverdon.

"Uncle, we will go together. I was on my way to you. I had heard in what
trouble you were, and I thought it possible I might be of some
assistance to you."

"You!" the Squire shook his head. "I want over a thousand pounds at
once."

"That I have not got. Can I not help you in any other way?"

"There is no other way."

"What has happened," said Luke, "is by the will of God, and you must
accept it, and look to Him to bless your loss to you."

"Ah, you are a parson!" said the old man.

Luke did not urge him to remount his horse. He kept his arm, and helped
him along, as though he were conducting a sick man on his walk, till he
had conveyed him some distance from the saw-pit. As the Squire's step
became firmer, he said,

"A hard trial is laid on you, dear uncle, but you must bear up under it
as a man. Do not let folk think that it has broken you down. They will
respect you when they see your courage and steadfastness. Put your trust
in God, and He will give you in place of Hall something better than
that--better a thousand times, which hitherto you have not esteemed."

"What is that?" asked the old man, loosening his arm, standing still,
and looking Luke shyly in the face.

"What is that?" repeated Luke. "Wait! Trust in God and see."



CHAPTER LIII.

BAD TIDINGS.


On reaching Hall, the first person that came to meet them was Bessie.
She had returned, anxious about her father, and to collect some of her
clothes. On arriving, she had been told that he had not gone to bed all
night, that he looked ill and aged; that he had ordered his horse and
had ridden away without telling any one whither he was going, and that
some hours had elapsed without his re-appearing. Bess was filled with
uneasiness, and was about to send out the servants to inquire as to the
direction he had taken, and by whom he had been last seen, when the old
man returned on foot, leaning on Luke, who led the horse by the bridle.

"Has any accident happened?" she asked, with changing colour. The old
man gave a shy glance at her, then let his eyes fall to the ground. He
said nothing, and went into the house to his room. Bess's uneasiness was
not diminished. Luke spared her the trouble of asking questions. He told
her that he had met her father on the way, and that they had come to an
understanding, so that the estrangement that had existed between them
since Anthony's marriage was at an end.

Bessie's colour mounted to her temples, she was glad to hear this; and
Luke saw her pleasure in her eyes. He took her hand.

Then she lowered her eyes and said:--"Oh, Luke! what am I to do? Can I
withdraw the promise made yesterday? I cannot fulfil it. I did not know
it then. Now it is impossible. I can never love Fox--never respect him.
He has behaved to my father in a manner that even if forgiven is not to
be forgotten. And, indeed, I must tell you. He said he had struck
Anthony and half killed him. I do not know what to think. Urith----"

"I know what Urith says. I was present. I saw the blow dealt. Fox did
that--Urith bade him do it."

Bessie's breath caught. Luke hastened to reassure her.

"Anthony was not seriously hurt. Something he wore--a token on his
breast--turned the point of the knife; but I am to blame, I am greatly
to blame, I should have come and seen your father before your marriage
and told him what I knew, then you would not have been drawn into
this----"

"Oh, Luke!" interrupted Bessie, "I do not think anything you said would
have altered his determination. He was resolved, and when resolved,
nothing will turn him from his purpose. As we were married at Tavistock
and not in your church, you were not spoken to about it."

"No--but I ought to have seen your father. I shall ever reproach myself
with my neglect, or rather my cowardice, and now I have news, and that
sad, to tell you. It is vague, and yet, I believe, trustworthy. Gloine,
who went from my parish to join the Duke of Monmouth, has come back. He
rode the whole way on a horse that belonged to some gentleman who had
been shot. There has been a battle somewhere in Somersetshire. Gloine
could not tell me the exact spot, but it does not matter. The battle has
been disastrous--our side--I mean the side to which nearly all England
wished well, has been routed. There was mismanagement, quarrelling
between the leaders: bad generalship, I have no doubt; it was but a
beginning of a fight; and then a general rout. Our men--I mean the
Duke's--were dispersed, surrendered in batches, were cut and shot down,
and those who fled were pursued in all directions, and slain without
mercy. What has happened to the Duke I do not know, Gloine could not
tell me. But Mr. Crymes is dead. He passed the coach and saw the
soldiers plundering it, and the poor old gentleman had been shot and
dragged out of it, and thrown on the grass."

"But Anthony!"

"Of him, Gloine could not tell me much. He was greatly in favour with
the Duke and with Lord Grey. There was a considerable contingent of men
from Tavistock and the villages round, who had been collected by the
activity of Mr. Crymes and one or two others, whose names we will now
strive to keep in the background; and, as Mr. Crymes himself was
incapacitated by age and infirmity from officering this band of
recruits, Anthony was appointed captain, and I am proud to say that our
little battalion showed more determination, made a better fight, and was
less ready to throw away arms and run, than was any other. That is what
Gloine says."

"And he can say nothing of Anthony?"

"Nothing, Gloine says that when the rout was complete, he caught a horse
that was running by masterless, and mounting, rode into Devon, and home
as hard as he could, but of Anthony he saw nothing. Whether he fell, or
whether he is alive, we shall not know till others come in; but, Bess,
we must not disguise from ourselves the fact that, supposing he has
escaped with his life, he will stand in extreme danger. He has been one
of the few gentlemen who has openly joined the movement, he has
commanded a little company drawn from his own neighbourhood, and has
given the enemy more trouble than some others. A price will be set on
his head, and if he be caught, he will be executed--almost certainly. He
may return here if alive, he probably will do so; but he must be sent
abroad or kept in hiding till pursuit is over."

"O, poor Anthony!" said Bessie. "Will you tell my father?"

"Not at present. He has his own troubles now. Besides, we know nothing
for certain. I will not speak till further and fuller news reaches me.
But, Bess, you must be with him--he is not in a state to be left alone.
Now, may be, in his broken condition, he may feel your regard in a
manner he has not heretofore."

"Heigh, there. Have you heard?"

The voice was that of Fox. He came up heated, excited.

"Heigh, there! Luke, and you, Bess, too? Have you heard the tidings?
There's our man, Coaker, come back--came on one of the coach-horses.
There has been a pretty upset at the end, as I thought. My father is
dead--the soldiers shot him as he sat in the coach, and proceeded to
turn everything out in search of spoil. What a merciful matter," he
grinned, without an audible laugh, "that the five or six hundred pounds
had been lifted on Black Down instead of falling into the hands of the
Papist looters! Aye?"

Neither Luke nor Elizabeth answered him.

"You know that now I am owner of the little estate in Buckland," said
he, "such as it is--a poor, mean scrap that remains of what we
Crymes----"

"You are now a Cleverdon," said Luke, dryly.

"But not for long. I shall change my name back, if it cost me fifty
pounds. There is something more that I am. I am trustee for Julian till
she marries--I step into my father's place. How do you suppose she will
like that? How will she find herself placed under my management?" He
laughed.

"Your father dead," said Luke, "one might expect of you some decent
lamentation."

"Oh! I am sorry, I assure thee! But Lord! what else could I expect? And
I thank Heaven it is no worse. I expected him to be drawn to Tyburn,
hung, and disembowelled as a traitor. I swear to thee, Luke, I was
rejoiced to hear he died honourably of a shot, since die he must. And
Anthony dead----"

"Anthony! Have you heard?"

"Nay--I cannot swear. But Coaker says it is undoubted. The troopers were
in full pursuit of our Tavistock company of Jack-Fools, cutting them
down and not sparing one. Anthony cannot escape. If he ran from the
field, he will be caught elsewhere. If they spitted the common men, they
will not spare the commanding officer."

"Poor Anthony!" sighed Bess.

"Ay! poor Anthony, indeed, with nothing left at all now--not even the
chance of life! But never mind poor Anthony, Bess; please to consider
me. I know not but what now I shall be able at my ease to pay that
attorney from Exeter--if I choose; but that shall only be to make Hall
my own, and no sooner has my money passed hands than out turns your
father. He and I will never be able to pull together. He has his notions
and I mine. No man can serve two masters, as Parson Luke will tell thee;
and neither can a land be held by and serve two masters, one choosing
this and t'other that. No sooner is Hall cleared with my money than out
walks the old Squire. Then you and I Bess----"

"You and I will remain as separate as we are at present," answered
Elizabeth. "I go with my father. Never will I be with you."

"As you will," said Fox, contemptuously. "Your beauty is not such as to
make me wish to keep you."

"Then so let it be. We have been married, only to part us more than
ever," said Bess. Then, turning to Luke, she said, "I cannot help
myself. I swore with good intention of keeping my oath, but I cannot
even attempt to observe it. He--" she pointed to Fox, "he has shown me
how impossible it is."

Luke did not speak. The words of Fox had made him indignant; but he said
nothing, as any words of his he felt would be thrown away, and could
only lead to a breach between him and Fox, in which he must get the
worst, as unable to retort with the insolence and offensiveness of the
latter. He looked with wonder at Bessie, and admired her quiet dignity
and strength. He could see that, with all his rudeness to her, Fox stood
somewhat in awe of her.

"Yes," said Fox, "Anthony is dead; I do not affect to be sorry, after
having received from him a blow that has half blinded me--a continuous
reminder of him."

"His sister strove to make amends for that yesterday," said Luke, unable
further to control his wrath. "You then demanded of her an atonement far
more costly than any wrong done you."

Fox shrugged his shoulders. "A pretty atonement--when she flouts me, and
refuses to follow me."

Bessie, shrinking from hearing her name used, entered the house, and
went into her father's room.

She found the old man there, lying on a long leather couch against the
wall, asleep.

She stood watching him for a moment in silence, and without stirring.
His hair was certainly more grey than it had been, and his face was
greatly changed, both in expression and in age. The old hardness had
given way, and distress--pain, such as never before had marked his
countenance, now impressed it, even in sleep. He had probably hardly
closed his eyes for many nights, as he had been full of anxiety about
the fate of Hall, and the success of his scheme for its preservation.
The last night had been spent in complete and torturing wakefulness. Now
Nature had asserted her rights; weary to death, he had cast himself on
his couch, and had almost immediately lost consciousness.

After observing her father for some little while, Bessie stepped lightly
back into the passage, closed the door, then sought Luke, who was
standing before the house with his finger to his lips, a frown on his
brows, looking at the ground steadily. Fox was gone.

Bessie touched him, and beckoned that he should follow, then led him to
her father's parlour, opened the door gently, and with a sign to step
lightly and keep silence, showed him the sleeping Squire. A smile
lighted her homely but pleasant face; and then she gave him a token to
depart.

For herself, she had resolved to remain there, her proper post now was
by her father. She knelt at his couch, without touching him, and never
turned an eye from him. In her heart swelled up a hope, a belief, that
at length the old man might come to recognise her love, and to value it.

An hour--then another passed, and neither the sleeper nor the watcher
stirred; when suddenly the old man opened his eyes, in full wakefulness,
and his eyes rested on her. He looked at her steadily, but with growing
estrangement; then a little hectic colour kindled in his pale face, and
he turned his head away.

Then Bessie put her arm under his neck, and drew his head to her bosom,
pressed it there, and kissed him, saying,

"My father! my dear, dear father!"

He drew a long and laboured breath, disengaged himself from her arms,
and putting down his feet, sat up on the couch. She was kneeling before
him, looking into his face.

"Go--" said he, after a while, "I have been hard with thee, Bess! I have
done thee wrong."

She would have clasped and kissed him again, but he gently yet firmly
put her from him, and yet--in so doing kept his eyes intently,
questioningly, fixed on her. Was it to be--even as Luke said, that in
losing Hall he was to find something he had not prized hitherto?



CHAPTER LIV.

A DAISY.


As briefly as may be, we must give some account of the venture of
Monmouth, which ended in such complete disaster.

Charles, natural son of Charles II. by Lucy Walters, born in 1649,
created Duke of Monmouth in 1663 by his father, was, as Pepys writes, "a
most pretty spark;" "very handsome, extremely well made, and had an air
of greatness answerable to his birth," says the Countess D'Aulnay; was
his father's favourite son, and for some time it was supposed that King
Charles II. would proclaim his legitimacy and constitute him heir to the
Throne. He was vastly popular with the nation, which looked up to him as
the protector of the Protestant religion against the Duke of York, whose
accession to the Throne was generally dreaded on account of his known
attachment to the Roman Church. James therefore always regarded him with
jealousy and suspicion--a jealousy and suspicion greatly heightened and
intensified by a memorable progress he had made in 1680, in the West,
when incredible numbers flocked to see him. He first visited Wiltshire,
and honoured Squire Thynne, of Longleate House, with his company for
some days. Thence he journeyed into Somersetshire, where he found the
roads lined with enthusiastic peasants, who saluted him with loud
acclamations as the champion of the Protestant religion. In some towns
and villages the streets and highways were strewn with herbs and
flowers. When the Duke came within a few miles of White Ladington, the
seat of George Speke, Esq., near Ilminster, he was met by two thousand
riders, whose numbers rapidly increased to twenty thousand. His personal
beauty, the charm of his manners, won the hearts of every one, and thus
the way was paved for the enthusiastic reception he was to receive later
when he landed at Lyme, in Dorsetshire, as a defender of religion and a
claimant for the Throne.

On June 14th, 1680, that landing took place. It had been arranged
between him and the Duke of Argyle that each should head an expedition
with the same end, and that a landing should be effected simultaneously,
one in Scotland, under Argyle, the other in England, under Monmouth.
Money and nearly everything else was wanting, and Monmouth was dilatory
and diffident of success. But finally, two handfuls of men were got
together, some arms were purchased, and some ships freighted. Argyle
sailed first, and landed before the Duke of Monmouth, loth to tear
himself from the arms of a beautiful mistress in Brussels, could summon
resolution to sail. Argyle was speedily defeated and lodged in Edinburgh
Castle on June 20th. Six days before his capture, Monmouth landed in
Dorsetshire. He had with him about eighty officers and a hundred and
fifty followers of various kinds, Scotch and English. Lord Stair, who
had fled from the tyranny of James when Duke of York and Commissioner in
Scotland, did not join the expedition; but Lord Grey did, an infamous
man, who was one main cause of its miscarriage. The ablest head among
the party was that of Fletcher of Saltoun, who in vain endeavoured to
dissuade the Duke from an enterprise which he saw was premature and
desperate, but from which he was too brave and generous to withdraw.

On landing at Lyme, Monmouth set up his standard, and issued a
proclamation that he had come to secure the Protestant religion, and to
extirpate Popery, and deliver the people of England from "the usurpation
and tyranny of James, Duke of York." This was dispersed throughout the
country, was passed from hand to hand, and with extraordinary rapidity
was carried to the very Land's End, raising the excitement of the
people, who chafed at the despotism of King James II., and were full of
suspicion as to his purposes. In the Declaration, promises were made of
free exercise of their religion to all kinds of Protestants of whatever
sect; that the Parliament should be annually chosen; that sheriffs
should also be annually elected; that the grievous Militia Act should be
repealed; and that to the Corporations of the towns should be restored
their ancient liberties and charters.

Allured by these promises, the yeomanry and peasantry flocked to
Monmouth's standard, and had the Duke entrusted the volunteers to the
direction of a man of talent and integrity, it is not impossible that he
would have met with success.

But the infamous Lord Grey was made commander, and when, shortly after
landing, the Earl of Feversham, a French favourite of King James, threw
a detachment of regular troops into Bridport, some six miles from Lyme,
and Monmouth detached three hundred men to storm the town, Lord Grey,
who was entrusted with the command, deserted his men at the first brush,
and galloping back into Lyme, carried the tidings of defeat, when
actually the volunteers, with marvellous heroism, had accomplished their
task, and had obtained a victory.

Monmouth inquired of Captain Matthews, what was to be done with Lord
Grey.

Matthews answered as a soldier, "You are the only General in Europe who
would ask such a question."

The Duke, however, dared not punish Lord Grey, and actually entrusted to
him the command of the cavalry, the most important arm he had. Having
thus given a position of trust to the worst man he could, he lost the
ablest man in his party, Fletcher, who had quarrelled with a
Somersetshire gentleman about his horse, which led to a duel, in which
the Somersetshire man was shot, and Fletcher had to be dismissed.

On June 15th, four days after landing, the Duke marched from Lyme with a
force that swelled to three thousand men. He passed through Axminster,
and on the 16th was at Chard; thence he marched to Taunton, his numbers
increasing as he advanced. At Taunton his reception was most flattering;
he was welcomed as a deliverer sent from heaven; the poor rent the air
with their joyful acclamations, the rich threw open their houses to him
and his followers, his way was strewn with flowers, and twenty-six young
girls of the best families in the town appeared before Monmouth, and
presented him with a Bible. Monmouth kissed the sacred book, and swore
to defend the truth it contained with his life's blood.

Here it was that he was met by the detachment from Tavistock and its
neighbourhood. The men came in singly or in pairs, and somewhat later
Mr. Crymes appeared in his coach. Anthony was immediately presented to
the Duke, who, taken by his manly appearance, at once appointed him to
be captain of the contingent from Tavistock.

On June 20th Monmouth claimed the title of King. It was a rash and fatal
mistake, for it at once alarmed his followers, and deterred many from
joining him. Many of those who followed him, or were secretly in his
favour, still respected the hereditary rights of kingship; and others
had a lingering affection for Republican institutions. These two
opposite classes were dissatisfied by this assumption. Moreover, the
partisans of the Prince of Orange, already pretty numerous, considered
this claim as infringing the rights of James's eldest daughter, Mary,
Princess of Orange, who, by birth and by religion, stood next in order
of succession.

On June 22d Monmouth advanced to Bridgewater, where he was again
proclaimed King; and here he divided his forces into six regiments, and
formed two troops out of about a thousand horse that followed him.

We need not follow his extraordinary course after this, marked by
timidity and irresolution.

Few of the gentlemen of the counties of the West joined him, and the
influx of volunteers began to fail. Discouragement took possession of
the Duke's spirits; and, when St. Swithin's rains set in before their
proper time, not only was his ardour, but also that of his followers,
considerably damped.

At length, on July 5th, it was resolved to attack the Royal army,
encamped on Sedgmoor, near Bridgewater, where the negligent disposition
made by Lord Feversham invited attack. Here the decisive battle was
fought. The men following Monmouth's standard showed in the action an
amount of native courage and adherence to the principles of duty which
deserved better leaders. They threw the veteran forces into disorder,
drove them from their ground, continued the fight till their ammunition
failed them, and would at last have obtained a victory, had not the
misconduct of Monmouth and the cowardice or treachery of Grey prevented
it.

In the height of the action, when the fortune of the day was wavering,
Lord Grey told Monmouth that all was lost--that it was more than time to
think of shifting for himself. Accordingly, he and Monmouth, and a few
other officers, rode off the field, leaving the poor enthusiasts,
without order or instructions, to be massacred by a pitiless army. The
battle lasted about three hours, and ended in a rout. The rebels lost
about fifteen hundred men in the battle and pursuit; but the Royal
forces had suffered severely.


Urith sat in the parlour at Willsworthy. She had reverted to the stolid,
dark mood that had become habitual with her. Her hands were in her lap.
She was plucking at the ring affixed to the broken token, through which
passed the suspending ribbon. But for this movement of the fingers of
the right hand she might have been taken to be a figure cut out of
stone, so still was her face, so motionless her figure; not a change of
colour, not a movement of muscle, not a flicker of the eyelid betrayed
that she was alive and sentient; no tears filling the eye, no sigh
escaping her lips.

The heat of her brow showed that she was labouring under an oppressive
sorrow.

She spoke and acted mechanically when roused into action and to speech,
and then instantly fell back into her customary torpor. Only when so
roused did the stunned spirit flutter to her eyes, and bring a slight
suffusion of colour into her face. Next moment she was stone as before.

She had been given, by Mrs. Penwarne, some flowers to arrange for the
table.

"For his grave?" asked Urith, "and for my baby."

She took them eagerly, began to weave them, then they fell from her
fingers into her lap, and she remained unconscious, holding the stalks.

The old lady came to her again, and scolded her.

"There! there! this is too bad. Take your token, and give me the
flowers. I must do everything."

She put the broken medal again into Urith's hand; and left her, carrying
the flowers away.

Urith was at once back again under her overwhelming cloud--the
ever-present conviction that Anthony was dead, and that she had killed
him.

She saw him at every moment of the day, except when roused from her
dream, lying across the hearthstone with his heart pierced. She had seen
a little start of blood from the wound, when it was dealt, and this she
saw day and night welling up inexhaustibly in tiny wavelets, flowing
over his side, and falling in a long trickle sometimes connected,
sometimes a mere drip upon the hearthstone, and then running upon the
pavement in a dark line.

This little rill never dried up, never became full; it pushed its way
along slowly, always about the breadth of the little finger, and
standing up like a surcharged vein, hemmed in by grains of dust and
particles of flue. Urith was ever watching the progress of this rivulet
of blood, as it stole forward, now turning a little to this side from
some knot in the floor, then running into a crevice and staying its
onward progress till it had filled the chink, and converted it into a
puddle. She watched it rise to the edge of a slate slab, swell above it,
tied back, as it were, by each jagged in the slate edge, then overleap
it, and run further. The rill was ever advancing towards the main
entrance to the hall, yet never reaching it, making its way steadily,
yet making no actual progress.

On more than one occasion Urith stooped to remove a dead wasp that stood
in the way of its advance, or to sop up with her kerchief some plash of
water which would have diluted its richness.

Now, on the floor, lay a daisy head that had fallen from the flower
bunch Mistress Penwarne had brought to her and then had taken away.
Urith's eyes were on the daisy, and it seemed to her that the red rill
was touching it. It was nothing to Urith that she was in the parlour,
and that Anthony had fallen in the hall. Wherever she went, into
whatsoever room, into the garden, out on the moor--it was ever the hall
she was in, and the floor everywhere, whether of oak boards or of soft
turf, or of granite spar, was in her eyes the pavement of the hall, and
ever over that pavement travelled the little thread of blood, groping
its way, like an earthworm, as endowed with a half consciousness that
gave it direction without organs of sense.

And now on the floor lay the garden daisy-head, and towards it the
purple-red streamlet was pushing on; was the daisy already touched, and
the edges of the fringe of petals just tinctured? Or was its redness due
to the reflection on the pure white of the advancing blood? The dye or
glow was setting inward, whatever it was, and would soon stain the
petals crimson, and then sop the golden heart and turn it black.

How long this process would require Urith did not ask, for time was
nothing to her. But she looked and waited, she fancied that she saw the
clotting together of the rays, and their gradual discoloration as the
red liquid rose up through the yellow stamens.

And now the flower-head began to stir and slide over the floor, and the
blood-streak to crawl after it.

Urith slowly rose to her feet, and, with bent head, observing the
flower, step by step followed it. There was a draught blowing along the
floor from a back-door that was open, and this stirred and carried
forward the light blossom. Urith never inquired what moved the daisy; it
was natural, it was reasonable, that it should recoil from the scent and
touch of blood.

As the daisy-head slid forward--now with easy motion, now with a leap
and a skip--so did, in Urith's diseased fancy, the rill of blood advance
in pursuit, always just touching it, but never entirely enveloping it.

Urith stepped forward slowly towards the hall-door and opened it, to let
the flower-head escape. Had she not done so, in a moment the daisy would
have been caught, and have sopped up the blood like a sponge, lost all
its whiteness, and become but a shapeless clot in the stream.

The draught, increased by the opening of the door, carried the little
delicate blossom forward rapidly, into the hall and along its floor, and
after it shot the head of the rivulet, pointed, like that of a snake
darting on its prey. Then the daisy was arrested suddenly; it had struck
against an obstruction--a man's foot.

Urith rose from her stooping position, and saw before her the man whose
foot had stopped the daisy--it was Anthony, standing on the hearthstone.
To her dazed sense it was nothing that the blood-stream should run in
the course opposed to that it might have been supposed to run, from the
parlour to the hall, from the door to the hearth. To her mind the ideal
hall and the actual hall only coincided when they overlapped.

And now, standing on the actual hearthstone, with the fancied
blood-stream running up to, and dancing about his foot, was Anthony.

"Urith!"

The voice was that of Anthony.

He had seen Luke, he knew in what condition he might expect to find her;
and he had come to the house to see her, to let her light unsuspecting
on him, in the hopes that the surprise might rouse her, and change the
tenor of her thoughts.

He looked at her with love and pity in his heart, in his eyes, and with
a choking in the throat.

Urith remained standing where she had risen from her bowed position, and
for a long time kept her eyes steadily fixed on him; but there was
neither surprise nor pleasure in them.

Presently she said slowly, with a wave of her hand, "No! I am not
deceived. Anthony is dead. I killed him."

Then she averted her face, and at once fell into her usual trance-like
condition.



CHAPTER LV.

FATHER AND SON AGAIN.


Anthony sat in the house of his cousin Luke, his head in his hand.
Bessie had come there to see him. She had been told of his return, and
Luke had advised her to meet him at the parsonage.

"O Tony!--dear, dear Tony! I am so glad you are back. Now, please God,
all things will go better."

"I do not see any turn yet--any possible," said Anthony.

His tone was depressed, his heart was weighed down with disappointment
at his inability to rouse Urith.

"Do not say that, my brother," said Bessie, taking his hand between both
of hers, "God has been very good in bringing you safe and sound back to
Willsworthy."

"No exceeding comfort that!" Anthony responded, "when I find Urith in
such a state. She does not know me again."

"You must not be discouraged," urged Bess. "She has this darkness on
her now, but it will pass away as the clouds rise from off the moor. We
must wait and trust and pray."

"Remember, Anthony," added Luke, "that she received a great shock which
has, as it were, stunned her. She requires time to recover from it.
Perhaps her reason will return gradually, just as you say she herself
came groping along step by step to you. You must not be out of heart
because at the first meeting she was strange. Perhaps some second shock
is needed as startling as the first to restore her to the condition in
which she was. I have heard of a woman thrown into a trance by a flash
of lightning, unable to speak or stir, and a second thunderstorm, months
after, another flash, and she was cured, and the interval between was
gone from her recollection."

Anthony shook his head.

"You both say this because you desire to comfort me, but I have little
expectation, Bess," said he, pressing his sister's hand. "God forgive me
that I have never hitherto considered and valued your love to me, but
have imposed on you, and been rough and thoughtless. One must suffer
one's self to value love in others."

His sister threw her arms about his neck, and the tears of happiness
flowed down her cheeks. "Oh, Tony! this is too much! and father also! He
loves me now."

"And you, Bess, you have been hardly used. But how stands it now betwixt
you and Fox?"

Bessie looked down.

"My father forced you to take him; I know his way, and you had not the
strength to resist. Good heavens! I ought to have been at your side to
nerve you to opposition."

"No, Tony, my father employed no force; but he told me how matters stood
with regard to Hall, and I was willing to take Fox, thinking thereby to
save the estate."

"And Fox, what is he going to do?"

"I cannot tell. Nothing, I think. He says he has the money, but he will
not pay the mortgage; and yet I cannot believe he will allow Hall to
slip away. I think he is holding out to hurt my father, with whom he is
very angry because the state of matters was not told him before the
marriage."

"You suffered her to throw herself away?" asked Anthony, turning to
Luke.

"I did wrong," he said. "I ought to have spoken to your father, but he
had forbidden me the house, and--but no! I will make no excuse for
myself. I did wrong. Indeed--indeed, Anthony, among us all there is only
one who stands blameless and pure and beautiful in integrity--and that
is our dear Bessie. I did wrong, you acted wrongly, your father, Fox,
all--all are blameworthy, but she--nay! Bess, suffer me to speak; what I
say I feel, and so must all who know the circumstances. The Squire must
have eyes blinder than those of the mole not to see your unselfishness,
and a heart harder than a stone not to esteem your worth."

"I pray you," pleaded Bessie, with crimson brow, "I pray you, not
another word about me."

"Very well, we will speak no more thereof now," said Luke, "but I must
say something to Anthony. You, cousin, should now make an attempt to
obtain your father's forgiveness."

"What has he to forgive?" asked Anthony, impatiently. "Are not his own
hard-heartedness and his hatred of Richard Malvine, the cause of all
this misery?"

"His hard-heartedness and hatred have done much," said Luke, "but
neither of these is the cause of Urith's condition. That is your own
doing."

"Mine?" Though he asked the question, yet he answered it to himself, for
his head sank, and he did not look his cousin in the face.

"Yes--yours," replied Luke. "It was your unfaithfulness to Urith that
drove her----"

"I was not unfaithful," interrupted Anthony.

"You hovered on the edge of it--sufficiently near infidelity to make her
believe you had turned your heart away from her for another. There was
the appearance, if not the reality, of treason. On that Fox worked, and
wrought her into a condition of frenzy in which she was not responsible
for what she said and did. From that she has not recovered."

"Curse Fox!" swore Anthony, clenching his hands.

"No, rebuke and condemn yourself," said Luke. "Fox could have fired
nothing had not you supplied the fuel."

Anthony remained with his head bowed on the table. He put up his hands
to it, and did not speak for some time. At last he lowered his hands,
laid the palms on the table, and said, frankly, "Cousin! sister! I am to
blame. I confess my fault freely, and I would give the whole world to
undo the past."

"Then begin a new life, Tony," said Luke, "by going to your father and
being reconciled to him."

"I cannot. I cannot. How can I forget what he has done to Bess?"

"And how can your Heavenly Father forgive you your trespass if you
remain at enmity with your earthly father?" said Luke, sternly. "No,
Tony, begin aright. Do what is clearly your first duty, and then walk
forward, trusting in God."

A struggle ensued in Anthony's breast. Then Bess took his hand again
between her own, and said, "You have been brave, Tony, fighting on the
battle-field; now show your true courage in fighting against your own
pride. Come!" She held his hand still, and drew him after her. She had
risen.

"Very well!" said Anthony, standing up. "In God's name."

"He has heard that you are returned," added Bessie. "It will be a
pleasure to him to see you again."

On reaching Hall, Elizabeth found her father in his room. He was seated
at his table, engaged on his accounts, turning over the list of sums due
to him, reckoning his chances of recovering these debts, considering
what money he could scrape together by cutting down timber, and by the
sale of stock. He thought that he might raise five or six hundred pounds
at once, and perhaps more, but the time was most unpropitious for a
sale. It was the wrong season in which to throw oak, and to sell the
crops in the ground would at that time be ruinous at the prices they
would fetch.

When the door opened and Bessie entered with Anthony, the old man looked
up, and said nothing. His sleep had restored his strength, and with it
something of his natural hardness. His lips closed.

"Well, father!" said Anthony, "here am I, returned, without a shot
through me."

"So I see," said his father, dryly.

Anthony, disappointed with his reception, was inclined to withdraw, but
mastered his disappointment, and going up to the table, extended his
hand, and said,

"Come, father, forgive me, if I have vexed you."

Old Cleverdon made no counter-movement. The request had been made
somewhat coolly.

"Father! what did you promise me?" asked Bessie, her heart fluttering
between hope and discouragement. "Here is Anthony, whose life has been
in jeopardy, come back, asking your forgiveness, and that is what you
required."

Then the old man coldly placed his hand in that of his son; but he said
no word, nor did he respond to the pressure with which Anthony grasped
him. His hand lay cold and impassive in that of his son. Then Anthony's
cheeks flamed, and a sparkle of wrath burnt in his eye. Bessie looked up
to him entreatingly, and then turned pleadingly to her father, and
implored him to speak. Anthony did not await the word, but drew his hand
away.

"So," said the old man, "you are back. Take care of yourself; you are
not yet out of danger." And he took up again the papers he had been
examining.

"I am interrupting you," said Anthony; "anything is of more interest to
you than your own son."

He would have left the room, but Bessie held him back. Then she went up
to her father and drew the papers away from him. In her fear lest this
meeting should prove resultless she became bold. The old man frowned at
her audacity, but he said nothing.

"Father," said Anthony, "I came here as a duty to you, to tell you that
I ask nothing of you but your forgiveness for having been hot-headed in
marrying without and against your will."

"I have nothing else to give," answered Mr. Cleverdon. "I no longer call
this place mine. The place where I was born, and for which I have
toiled, which I have dreamed about, loved--I have nothing more, nothing
at all." He was filled with bitter pity for himself. "I, in my
destitution, must thank you that it has seemed worth while to you to
come and see me."

"Father!" gasped Bessie.

The old man proceeded: "I cannot forget that all this comes to pass
because you disregarded my wishes. Had you married Julian, had you even
proposed to marry her, this could not have happened. It is this," his
voice rang hard and metallic, and the light in his eye was the glisten
of a flint; "it is this that is the cause of all. It brings my grey head
into the dust. It deprives the Cleverdons of a place in the county, it
blots them out with a foul smear." The pen he had been holding had
fallen on a parchment, and, with his finger, the old man wiped the
blotch and streaked it over the surface.

"I could not marry Julian," said Anthony, with difficulty controlling
himself. "A man is not to be driven to the altar as is a poor girl." He
turned to his sister. "I am sorry for your sake that Hall goes--not for
mine; I do not care for it. It has been the curse that has rested on and
blasted your heart, father, turning it against your own children,
marring the happiness of my mother's life, taken all kindness and pity
out of yours. It is like a swamp that sends up pestilential vapours,
poisoning all who have aught to do with it."

The old man raised himself in his seat, and stared at him with wide-open
eyes. This was not what he had deemed possible, that a child of his, a
Cleverdon, should scoff at the land on which he was born, and which had
nourished him.

"What has been cast into thankless soil?" asked Anthony. "All good
feelings you ever had for my mother, all, everything, has been
sacrificed for it. But for Hall, she would have never taken you, but
have been happy with the man of her heart. But for Hall, I would have
been better reared, in self-restraint, in modesty, and kept to steady
work. But for Hall, Bess's most precious heart would not have been
thrown before that--that Fox! Very well, father. I am glad Hall goes.
When it is gone clean away, I will see you again, and then maybe you
will be more inclined for reconciliation."

The old man's blood was roused.

"It is easy to despise what can never be yours. The grapes are sour."

"The grapes were never other than sour," retorted Anthony, "and have set
on edge all teeth that have bitten into them. Sister--come!"

He went out of the door.



CHAPTER LVI.

EURYDICE.


In the hall again, seated in the window, is Urith. The window is planted
high in the wall, so high, that to look out at it a sort of dais must be
ascended, consisting of a step. On this dais is an ancient Tudor chair,
high in the seat, as was usual with such chairs, made when floors were
of slate and were rush-strewn, calculated to keep the feet above the
stone, resting on a stool. Thus, elevated two steps above the floor, to
whit, on the dais and the footstool, sat Urith as an enthroned queen,
but a queen most forlorn, deadly pale, with sunken eyes that had become
so large as to seem to fill her entire face, which remained entirely
impassive, self-absorbed.

She made no allusion to Anthony; after he had withdrawn, she forgot that
she had seen him. His presence when before her rendered her uneasy, so
that, out of pity for her distress, he removed, when at once she sank
back into the condition which had become fixed. But Anthony was again in
the hall on this occasion, resolved again to try to draw her from her
lethargy.

She sat uptilted in her chair, trifling with a broken token. She was
swinging it like a pendulum before her, and to do this she leaned
forward that the ribbon might hang free of her bosom. Though her eyes
rested on the half-disc, its movement did not seem to interest her, and
yet she never suffered the sway entirely to cease. So soon as the
vibration became imperceptible, she put a finger to the coin and set it
swinging once more.

Anthony had seated himself on the dais step, and looked up into her
face, and, as he looked, recalled how he had gazed in that same face on
Devil Tor, when he had carried her through the fire. An infinite
yearning and tenderness came on him. His heart swelled, and he said low,
but distinct, with a quiver in his voice----

"Urith!"

She slowly turned her head, fixed her eyes on him, and said, "Aye."

"Urith! Do you not know me?"

She had averted her head again. Slowly, mechanically, she again turned
her face to him, seemed to be gathering her thoughts, and then said:

"You are like Anthony. But you are not he. I cannot tell who you are."

"I am your Anthony!"

He caught her elbow to draw her hand to him, to kiss it, but she started
at the touch, shivered to her very feet, so as to rattle the stool under
them, plucked her arm from him, and said quickly:

"Do not touch me. I will not be touched."

He heaved a long breath, and put his hand to his head.

"How can you forget me, Urith? Do you not recall how I had you in my
arms, and leaped with you through the fire, on Devil Tor?"

"I was carried by him--he is dead--not by you." She looked steadily at
him. "No--not by you."

"It was I!" he exclaimed, with vehemence. "I set you on my horse,
dearest. It was I--I--I. Oh, Urith! do not pretend not to know me! I
have been away, in danger of my life, and I thought in the battle of
you, only of you. Urith! my love! Turn your eyes on me. Look steadily at
me. Do you remember how, when I had set you on my horse, I stood with my
hand on the neck, and my eyes on you. You dazzled me then. My head spun.
Urith! dear Urith, then I first knew that you only could be mine, that
nowhere in the whole world could I find another I would care for. And
yet--whilst I discovered that, I foresaw something dreadful, it was
undefined, a mere shadow--and now it has come. Look me in the eyes, my
darling! look me in the eyes, and you must know me."

She obeyed him, in the same mechanical, dead manner and said, "I will
not thus be addressed, I am no man's darling. I was the darling of
Anthony once--a long time ago; but he ceased to love me; and he is dead.
I killed him."

"Anthony never ceased to love you. It is false. He always loved you, but
sometimes more than at other times, for his self-love rose up and
smothered his love for you--but never for long."

"Did Anthony never cease to love me? How do you know that? How can you
know that? You are deceiving me."

"It is true. None know it as I do."

She shook her head.

"Listen to me, Urith. Anthony never loved any but you."

"He had loved Julian," answered Urith. "He had from a child, and first
love always lasts, it is tough and enduring."

"No, he never loved her. I swear to you."

She shook her head again, but drew a long breath, as though shaking off
something of her load. "I cannot think you know," she said, after a
pause.

"I knew Anthony as myself." He caught her hand. "I insist--look me
steadily in the face."

She obeyed. Her eyes were without light, her hand was cold and shrinking
from his touch, but he would not let it go. For a while there was
symptom of struggle in her face, as though she desired to withdraw her
eyes from him, but his superior will overcame the dim, half-formed
desire, and then into her eyes came a faint glimmer of inquiry, then of
vague alarm.

"Urith?"

"It is a long way down," she said.

"A long way down? What do you mean?"

"I am looking into hell."

"What! through my eyes?"

"I do not know; I am looking, and it goes down deep, then deeper, and
again deeper. I am sinking, and at last I see him, he is far, far away
down there in flames." She paused, and intensity of gaze came into her
eyes. "In chains." She still looked, the iris of each orb contracting as
though actually strained to see something afar off. "Parched." Then she
moaned, and her face quivered. "All because he loved Julian when he was
mine, and I shall go there too--for I killed him. I do not care. I could
not be in heaven, and he there. I will be there--with him. I killed
him."

Anthony was dismayed. It seemed impossible to bring her to recognition.
But he resolved to make one more attempt.

He had let go her hand, and as he withdrew his eyes, her head returned
to its former position; and once more she began to play with the pendant
token.

Her profile was against the window. The consuming internal fire had
burnt away all that was earthly, common in her, and had etherialised,
refined the face.

"Urith!"

"Why do you vex me?"

"Turn fully round to me, Urith. What is that in your hand?"

"A token."

"Who gave it you?"

"It belonged to my father."

"It is broken."

"Everything is broken. Nothing is sound. Faith--trust--love." She paused
between each word, as gathering her thoughts. "Everything is broken.
Words--promises--oaths--." Then she looked at the token. "Everything is
broken. Hearts are broken--lives--unions--nothing is sound."

"Look at this, Urith."

Anthony drew from his breast the half-token that had belonged to his
mother, and placed it against that which Urith held.

"See, Urith! they fit together."

It was so, the ragged edge of one closed into the ragged edge of the
other.

She looked at it, seemed surprised, parted the portions, and reclosed
them again.

"Everything broken may be mended, Urith," said Anthony.
"Faith--trust--love. Do you see? Faith shaken and rent may become firm
and sound again, and trust may be restored as it was, and love be closed
fast. Unions--a little parted by misunderstanding, by errors, may be
healed. Do you see--Urith?"

She looked questioningly into his eyes, then back at the token, then
into his eyes again.

"Is it so?" she asked, as in a dream.

"It is so, you see it is so. See--this broken half-token belonged to
your father; that to my mother. Each had failed the other. All seemed
lost and ruined forever and ever. But it could not be--the broken pledge
must be made whole, the promises redeemed, the parts must be
reunited--and Urith! they are so in us."

He caught her by both hands, and looking into her face, began to sing,
in low, soft times:--


     An evening so clear
       I would that I were
     To kiss thy soft cheek
       With the lightest of air.
     The star that is twinkling
       So brightly above
     I would that I might be
       To enlighten my love!


A marvellous thing took place as he sang.

As he sang he saw--he saw the gradual return of the far-away soul. It
was like Orpheus in Hades with his harp charming back the beloved, the
lost Eurydice.

As he sang, step by step, nay, hardly so, hair'sbreadth by
hair'sbreadth, as the dawn creeps up the sky over the moor, the spirit
returned from the abysses where it had lost its way in darkness.

As he sang, Anthony doubted his own power, feared the slightest
interruption, the least thing to intervene and scare the tremulous
spirit-life back into the profound whence he was conjuring it.

The soul came, slow as the dawn, and yet, unlike the dawn in this, that
it came under compulsion. It came as the treasure heaved from a mine,
responsive to the effort employed to lift it; let that strain be
desisted from, and it would remain stationary or fall back to where it
was before.

An explosion of firearms, the crash of broken glass, and the rattle of
bullets against the walls.

Instantly Anthony has leaped to his feet, caught Urith in his arms, and
carried her where she was protected by the walls, for the bullets had
penetrated the window and whizzed past her head.

At the same moment he saw Solomon Gibbs, who plunged into the hall, red,
his wig on one side, shouting, "Tony! for God's sake, fly! the troopers
are here, sent after you. I've fastened the front door. Quick--be off.
They'll string you up to the next tree."

He was deafened by blows against the main entrance, a solid oak door on
stout iron hinges let into the granite. It was fastened by a
cross-bar--almost a beam--that ran back into a socket in the jamb, when
the door was unbarricaded.

"Tony! not an instant is to be lost. Make off. But by the Lord! I don't
know how. They are clambering over the garden wall to get at the back
door. There are a score of them--troopers under Captain Fogg."

Anthony had Urith in his arms. He looked at her, her eyes were fixed on
him, full of terror, but also--intelligence.

"Anthony!" she said, "what is it? Are you in danger?"

"They seek my life, dearest. It is forfeit. Never mind. Give me a kiss.
We part in love."

"Anthony!" she clung to him. "Oh, Anthony! What does it all mean?"

"I cannot tell you now. I suppose it is over. Thank God for this kiss,
my love--my love."

The soldiers were battering at the door; two were up at the hall window,
ripping and smashing at the panes. But there was no possibility of
getting in that way, as each light was protected by stout iron
stanchions.

"By the Lord! Tony. I'll fasten the back-door!" shouted Gibbs. "Get out
somehow--Urith! if you have wits, show him the trapway. Quick! not a
moment is to be lost--whilst I bar the back-door." Solomon flew out of
the hall.

"Come," said Urith. "Anthony! I will show you." She held his hand. She
drew it to her, and pressed it to her bosom. It touched the broken
token--and she had his half-token in her hand. "Anthony! when joined--to
be again separate?"

They passed behind the main door, whilst the troopers thundered against
it, pouring forth threats, oaths, and curses. They had drawn a great
post from the barn over against the porch, and were driving this against
the door. That door itself would stand any number of such blows, not so
the hinges, or rather the granite jambs into which the iron crooks on
which the hinges turned were let; as Anthony and Urith went by, a piece
of granite started by the jar flew from its place, and fell at their
feet. Another blow, and the crook would be driven in, and with it the
upper portion of the door.

On the further side of the entrance passage, facing the door into the
hall, was one that gave access to a room employed formerly as a buttery.
In it were now empty casks, old saddles, and a variety of farm lumber,
and, amongst them that cradle that Anthony had despised, the cradle in
which Urith had been lulled to her infantine slumbers.

Urith thrust the cradle aside, stooped, lifted a trap-door in the
wooden-planked floor, and disclosed steps.

"Down there," she said, "fly--be quick--grope your way along, it runs in
the thickness of the garden wall, and opens towards the chapel."

"One kiss, Urith!"

They were locked in each other's arms. Then Anthony disengaged himself.

A shout! The door had fallen in. A shot--it had been fired through the
window by a soldier without who had distinguished figures, though seen
indistinctly, through the cobwebbed, dusky panes of the buttery window.
Anthony disappeared down the secret passage. Urith put her hand to her
head a moment, then a sudden idea flashed through her brain; she caught
with both arms the cradle, and crashed it down the narrow passage,
blocking it completely, and threw back the door that closed the
entrance.

Next moment she and Solomon Gibbs were in the hands of the troopers who
had burst in.

"Let go--that is a woman!" called the commanding officer. "Who are you?"
This to Mr. Gibbs. "Are you Anthony Cleverdon? You a rebel?"

"I!--I a rebel! I never handled a sword in my life," answered Mr. Gibbs,
without loss of composure; "but, my lads, at a single-stick, I'm your
man."

"Come!--who are you?"

"I am a man of the pen, Mr. Solomon Gibbs, attorney," answered the old
fellow; "and, master--whatever be your name, I'd like to see your
warrant--breaking into a house as you have done. I can't finger a sword
or a musket, but, by Saint Charles the Martyr, I can make you skip and
squeak with a goose-quill; and I will for this offence."

"Search the house," ordered Captain Fogg, the officer in command of the
party. "I know that the rebel is here; he has been seen. He cannot have
escaped; he is secreted somewhere. Meanwhile keep this lawyer-rascal in
custody. Here--you, madame!"--to Urith--"what is your name, and who are
you?"

"I am Anthony Cleverdon's wife."

"And he--where is he?"

"Gone."

"Where is he gone to."

"I do not know."

"Who is this fellow in the hands of my men?"

"He is my uncle, my mother's brother, Mr. Solomon Gibbs."

"Search the house," ordered the captain. "Madame, if we catch your
husband, we shall make short work of him. Here is a post with which we
broke open the door; we will run it out of an upstair window and hang
him from it."

"You will not take him; he is away."

In the mean time the soldiers had overrun the house. No room, no closet,
not the attics were unexplored. Anthony could not be found.

"What have we here?" A couple of troopers had lifted the trap and
discovered the passage.

"It is choked," said the captain. "What is that? An old cradle thrust
away there? 'Fore heaven! he can't have got off that way, the cradle
stops the way. The bird had flown before we came up the hill."



CHAPTER LVII.

ANOTHER PARTING.


Immediately after Sedgemoor, a small detachment had been sent under
Captain Fogg to Tavistock from the Royal Army to seek out and arrest,
and deal summarily with, such volunteers as had joined the rebels from
thence. Not only so, but the officer was enjoined to do his utmost to
obtain evidence as to what gentlemen were disaffected to the King in
that district; and to discover how far they were compromised in the
attempt of Monmouth. Mr. Crymes's papers had been secured in his coach.
They contained correspondence, but, for the most part, letters of excuse
and evasion of his attempt to draw other men of position into the
rebellion. With the letters were lists of the volunteers, and names of
those who, it was thought, might be induced later to join the movement.

There existed in the mind of James and his advisers a suspicion that the
Earl of Bedford, angry at the judicial murder of his son, was a favourer
of Monmouth, and Captain Fogg was particularly ordered to find out, if
such existed, proofs of his complicity.

The part Anthony had taken was too well known for him to remain
neglected; and Fogg had been enjoined to seize and make short work of
him.

Between two of the tors or granite crags that tower above the gorge of
the Tavy where it bursts from the moor, at the place called The Cleave,
are to be seen at the present day the massive remains of an oblong
structure connecting the rocks, and forming a parallelogram. This was
standing unruined at the time of our story. For whatever purpose it may
have served originally, it had eventually been converted into a
shelter-hut for cattle and for shepherds.

There was a doorway, and there were narrow loophole windows; the roof
was of turf. At one end, against the rock, a rude fireplace had been
constructed; but there was no proper chimney--the smoke had to find its
way as best it might out of a hole in the roof above, which also
admitted some light and a good deal of rain. A huge castle of rock in
horizontal slabs walled off the hut from the north, and gave it some
shelter from the storms that blew thence. There was a door to the
opening that could be fastened, which was well, as it faced the
southwest, whence blew the prevailing wind laden with rain; but the
windows were unglazed--they were mere slots, through which the wind
entered freely. The floor was littered with bracken, and was dry. The
crushed fern exhaled a pleasant odour.

Outside the hut, in early morning, sat Anthony with Urith among the
rocks, looking down into the gorge. The valley was full of white mist,
out of which occasionally a grey rock thrust its head. Above the mist
the moor-peaks and rounded hills glittered in the morning sun.

Anthony sat with his arm about Urith; he had drawn her head upon his
breast, and every moment he stooped to kiss it. Tears were in her
eyes--tears sparkling as the dewdrops on bracken and heather--tears of
happiness. The dusky shadows of the past had rolled away: a shock had
thrown her mind off its balance, and a shock had restored it. What led
to that brief period of darkness, what occurred during it, was to her
like a troubled dream of which no connected story remained--only a
reminiscence of pain and terror. She knew now that Anthony loved her,
and there was peace in her soul. He loved her. She cared for nothing
else. That was to her everything. That he was in danger she knew. How he
had got into it she did not dare to inquire. But one thought filled her
mind and soul, displacing every other--he loved her.

It was so. Anthony did love her, and loved her alone. When he was
away--in the camp, on the march, in the battle-field--his mind had
turned to Urith and his home. Filled with anxiety about her from what he
had heard from Mr. Crymes, he had become a prey to despair; and, if he
had fought in the engagement of Sedgemoor with desperate valour, it had
been in the hopes of falling, for he believed that no more chance of
happiness remained to him.

After his escape, an irresistible longing to see Urith once more, and
learn for certain how she was, and how she regarded him, had drawn him
to Willsworthy. And now, that she was restored to him in mind and heart,
he stood, perhaps, in as great peril as at any time since he had joined
the insurgents. He knew this, but was sanguine. The vast extent of the
moor was before him, where he could hide for months, and it would be
impossible for an enemy to surprise him. Where he then was, on the
cliffs above the Tavy, he was safe, and safe within reach of home. No
one could approach unobserved, and opportunities of escape lay ready on
all sides--a thousand hiding-places among the piles of broken rock, and
bogs that could be put between himself and a pursuer. Nevertheless, he
could not remain for ever thus hiding. He must escape across the seas,
as he was certain to be proscribed, and a price set on his head. That he
must be with Urith but for a day or two he was well aware, and every
moment that she was with him was to him precious. She did not know
this: she thought she had recovered him for ever, and he did not
undeceive her.

Now he began to tell her of his adventures--of how he had joined the
Duke, and been appointed Captain of the South Devon band; of how they
had been received in Taunton; how they had marched to Bristol, and
almost attacked it; and then of the disastrous day at Sedgemoor.

"Come!" said Anthony, "let us have a fire. With the mists of the morning
rising, the smoke from the hut will escape notice."

The air of morning was cold.

Holding Urith still to his side, he went with her into the hut. It was
without furniture of any sort. Blocks of stones served as seats; but
there was a crook over the hearth, and an iron pot hanging from it. A
little collection of fuel stood in a corner--heather, furze-bushes, dry
turf--that had been piled there by a shepherd in winter, and left
unconsumed.

Urith set herself to work to make a fire and prepare. They were merry as
children on a picnic, getting ready for a breakfast. Urith had brought
up what she could in a basket from Willsworthy, and soon a bright and
joy-inspiring fire was blazing on the hearth.

Anthony rolled a stone beside it and made Urith sit thereon, whilst he
threw himself in the fern at her feet, and held her hand. They talked
watching and feeding the fire, and expecting the pot to boil. They did
not laugh much, they had no jokes with each other. Love had ceased to be
a butterfly, and was rather the honey-bearing bee, and the honey it
brought was drawn out of the blossoms of sorrow.

To Urith it gave satisfaction to see how changed Anthony was from the
spoiled, wayward, dissatisfied fellow who had thought only of himself,
to a man resolute, tender, and strong. As she looked at him, pride
swelled in her heart, and her dark eyes told what she felt. But a little
time had passed over both their heads, and yet in that little while much
had been changed in both. How much in herself she did not know, but she
marked and was glad to recognise the change in him.

As they talked, intent in each other, almost unable to withdraw their
eyes from each other, the door opened, and Mr. Solomon Gibbs entered.

"There!--there!" said he, "a pretty sharp watch you keep. You might have
been surprised for aught of guard you kept."

"Come here," said Anthony; "sit by the fire and tell me what is being
done below."

Mr. Solomon Gibbs shook his head. "You cannot remain here, Tony; you
must be off--over the seas--and I will take care of Urith, and have the
windows patched at Willsworthy."

"I know I must," said Anthony, gloomily, and he took Urith's hand and
drew it round his neck; never had she been dearer to him than now, when
he must part from her.

"Oh! uncle!" exclaimed Urith, "he must not indeed go hence now that he
has returned to me."

"I am safe here for a while," said Anthony, and he pressed his lips to
Urith's hand.

"Can you say that, with the rare look-out you keep?" asked Mr. Gibbs.
Then he gazed into the fire, putting up his hand and scratching his head
under the wig. He said no more for a minute, but presently, without
looking at Anthony, he went on. "Those fellows under their Captain--Fogg
is his name--are turning the place upside down; they have visited pretty
nigh every house and hovel in quest of rebels, as they call them. The
confounded nuisance is that they have a list of the young fellows who
went from these parts. As fast as any of them come home, if they have
escaped the battle, they drop into the hands of the troopers."

Anthony said nothing, he was troubled. Urith's large dark eyes were
fixed on her uncle.

"The Duke of Monmouth has been taken, I hear; he hid in a field, in a
ditch among the nettles. No chance for him. His Majesty, King James,
will have no bowels of compassion for such a nephew. For the Protestants
of England there is now no hope save in the Prince of Orange."

Then Uncle Solomon put his hand round behind Anthony and nudged him, so
as not to attract the attention of Urith.

"And whilst we are waiting we may be consumed," said Anthony.

Then Solomon nudged Anthony again, and winked at him, and made a sign
that he desired to have a word with him outside the door.

"'Fore Heaven, Tony!" said he, "we are as careless as before. I who bade
you keep a watch have forgotten myself in talking with you. Go forth,
lad, and cast a look about thee."

Anthony rose from the fern, and went to the door. He stood in it a
moment, looking from side to side, then closed the door, and went
further.

Mr. Gibbs took off his wig and rubbed his head. "The mist in the valley
has taken the curl out, Urith. I wish you would dry my wig by the blaze,
and I will clap my hat on and go out and help Anthony to see from which
quarter the wind blows, and whether against the wind mischief comes."

Then he also went forth.

Urith at once set herself to prepare the food for breakfast; her heart
was heavy at the thought of losing Anthony again as soon as she had
recovered him, when all the love of their first passion had rebloomed
with, if not greater beauty, yet with more vigour.

When Anthony re-entered the hut, he was alone, very pale, and graver
than before; Urith saw him as he passed the ray of light that entered
from one of the loop-holes, and she judged at once that some graver
tidings had been given him than Uncle Sol had cared to communicate in
her presence.

She uttered a half-stifled cry of fear, and started to her feet. "O
Anthony! What is it? Are the soldiers drawing near?"

"No, my darling, no one is in sight."

"But what is it, then? Must I lose you? Must you go from hence?"

She threw herself on his breast and clung to him.

"Yes, Urith, I must go. You must be prepared to lose me."

"But I shall see you again--soon?"

"We shall certainly meet again."

She understood that he was no longer safe there, that he must fly
further, and that she could not accompany him on his flight; but her
heart could not reconcile itself to this conviction.

He spoke to her with great affection, he stroked her head, and kissed
her, and bade her take courage and gather strength to endure what must
be borne.

"But, Tony!--for how long?"

"I cannot say."

"And must you cross the seas?"

He hesitated before he answered. "I must go to a strange land," he
replied in a low tone, and bowed his head over hers. She felt that his
hand that held her head was trembling. She knew it was not from fear,
but from the agony of parting with her. She strove to master her despair
when she saw what it cost him to say "Farewell" to her. If she might not
share his fate, she could save it from being made more heavy and bitter
by her tears and lamentations.

"Tony," she said, "you gave me that other half-token, take it again;
hang it about your neck as a remembrance of me, and I will wear the
other half--wherever we may be, you or I, it is to each only a half, a
broken life, an imperfect life, and life can never be full and complete
to either again till we meet."

"No," he said, and took the token, "no, only a half life till we meet."

He hung the ribbon round his neck, and placed the half token in his
breast. Then he said:

"I must go at once, Urith. Come with me a part of the way. Uncle Sol
will take you from me."

They left the hut together. Urith pointed to the food, but Anthony's
appetite was gone. He drew her to his side, and so, silently, folded
together with interlaced arms, they walked over the dewy short grass
without speaking. After a while they reached a point where Solomon Gibbs
was awaiting them, a point at which their several ways parted.

There Anthony staved his feet. Overcome by her grief Urith again cast
herself into his arms. He put his hands to her head and thrust it back,
that he might look into her eyes.

"Urith!" he said.

"Yes, Anthony!" She raised her eyes to his.

He was pale as death.

"Urith, your forgiveness for all the sorrow I have caused you."

"Oh, Anthony!" she clung to him, quivering with emotion. "It is I--it is
I--who must----"

"We have been neither of us free from blame. One kiss--a last--in token
of perfect reconciliation."

A kiss that was long--which neither liked to conclude--but Anthony at
length drew his lips away.

"We shall meet again," he said, "and then to part no more."



CHAPTER LVIII.

ON THE WAY TO DEATH.


Anthony had seen Urith for the last time. They would meet again only in
Eternity. Though the moor was wide before him and he was free to escape
over it, yet he might not fly. Captain Fogg had taken his father
prisoner, had conveyed him to Lydford Castle, which he made his
headquarters, and had given out that, unless Anthony Cleverdon the
younger, the rebel, who had commanded the insurgent company from the
neighbourhood of Tavistock, surrendered himself within twenty-four
hours, he would hang the old man from the topmost window of the castle
keep.

This was the tidings that Mr. Solomon Gibbs had brought to Anthony. Mr.
Gibbs made no comment on it, he left Anthony to act on what he heard
unpersuaded by him, to sacrifice himself for his father, or else to let
the old man suffer in his stead.

There could be little doubt that Squire Cleverdon had done his utmost to
forfeit the love of his children.

All the unhappiness that had fallen on Anthony, Urith, and Bessie was
due in chief measure to his pride and hardness of heart; nevertheless,
the one great fact remained that he was the father of Anthony, and this
fact constituted an ineradicable right over the son, obliging him to do
his utmost to save the life of his father.

Moreover, the old man was guiltless of rebellion. Anthony's life was
forfeit, because he had borne arms against his rightful sovereign, and
his father had not compromised his loyalty in any way. Anthony had
never, as a boy, endured that a comrade should be punished for his
faults, and could he now suffer his father to be put to death for the
rebellious conduct of the son?

Not for one moment did Anthony hesitate as to his duty. But a struggle
he did undergo. He thought of Urith. He had sinned against her, led
astray by his vanity and love of flattery; and, after having suffered,
he had worked his way to a right mind. And at the very moment of
reunion, when his love and exultation over his recovered wife shot up
like a flame--at that very moment he must pronounce his own sentence of
death; at the moment that he had felt that she forgave him, and that all
was clear for beginning a new and joyous life together, he must be torn
from her, and exchange the pure and beautiful happiness just dawning on
him for a disgraceful death, and the grave.

He knew that Urith's grief over his death would be intense, and, maybe,
bring her down almost into the dust; but he knew, also, that the day
would come when she would acknowledge that he had acted rightly, and
then she would be proud of his memory. On the other hand, were he to
allow his father to die in his room, he would remain for ever
dishonoured in his own sight, disgraced before the world, and would lose
the respect of his wife, and with loss of respect her love for him would
also go.

The worst was over: he had bidden her farewell without betraying to her
that the farewell was for ever. He took his way to Lydford, there to
hand himself over to the Royal officers.

He had not left the moor, but was on the highway that crosses an
outlying spur of it, when he suddenly encountered Julian Crymes.

Julian had heard of the return of Anthony before Captain Fogg and his
soldiers arrived. She heard he was at Willsworthy, but he had not been
to see her; and yet he had an excellent excuse for so doing--he must be
able to tell her about her father. She had waited impatiently, hourly
expecting him, and he had not come. She did not like to leave the house
for a minute, lest he should come whilst she was away. Every step on the
gravel called her to the window, every strange voice in the house caused
her heart to bound. Why did not he come?

She went to the window of her little parlour and looked forth; and as
she looked, her hot, quick breath played over the glass, and in so doing
brought out the interwoven initials "A" and "U." They had long ago
faded, and yet under the breath they reappeared.

When she had heard a rumour of his return, the life blood had gushed
scalding through her veins, her eye had flashed, and her cheek flamed
with expectation. Her father was dead, but the sorrow she felt for his
loss was swallowed up in the joy that Anthony was home and in safety.
Now all was right again, and in glowing colours she imaged to herself
their meeting. She could hardly contain the exultation within; yet her
reason told her that he could be no nearer to her than he was; he was
still bound to Urith. The reproaches of Bess had stung her, but the
sting was no longer felt when she heard that he was back.

But as she breathed on the window-pane, and first the interwoven
initials "A" and "U" reappeared, and then the smirch where Anthony had
passed his hand over her own initials linked to his, it sent a curdle
through her arteries. He came not near her. He loved her no more--he had
forgotten her. Little by little the suspicion entered, and made itself
felt, that he did not love her. It became a conviction, forming as an
iron band about her heart, rivetted with every hour, firmer,
contracting, becoming colder. She was too haughty to betray her
feelings, and she had not suffered a question relative to Anthony to
pass over her lips.

Then she heard that Captain Fogg had arrived, and was searching the
neighbourhood for Anthony, and was arresting every returned insurgent.
The Captain visited Kilworthy, and explored the house for treasonable
correspondence, but found none.

The anxiety and alarm of Julian for the safety of Anthony became
overmastering. She could no longer endure imprisonment in her own house.
Moreover, there was now no need for her to remain there. Anthony was in
hiding somewhere, or he was taken--she knew not which--and could not
come to her.

She had not slept all night, and when morning dawned she rode forth,
unattended, to obtain some tidings about him. She would not go to
Willsworthy. She could not face Urith, but she would hover about between
Willsworthy and Hall, and wait till she could hear some news concerning
him.

In this restless, anxious condition of mind, Julian Crymes was
traversing the down when she lit on Anthony himself.

She greeted him with an exclamation of joy, rode up to him, sprang from
her horse, and said, "But surely, Tony! this is reckless work coming on
to the highway when they seek thy life."

"They will not have long to seek," said he.

"What do you mean?"

He made no answer, and strode forward to pass her, and continue his
course to Lydford.

"Anthony!" exclaimed Julian, "you shall not meet and leave me thus. I
have not seen you since your return."

"I cannot stay now."

"But you shall!" She threw herself in his road, holding the reins of her
horse with one hand, and extending her whip in the other. "Anthony! what
is the meaning of this?"

"I must pass," said he, stepping aside to circumvent her.

"Anthony!" she cried--there was pain and despair in her tone--"where are
you going? and why will you not speak to me?"

He stood still for a moment, and looked steadily at her; then she saw
how pale he was.

"Julian," said he, quietly, "you have acted towards me in a
heartless----"

"Heartless, Tony!"

"In an utterly cruel manner, and have brought me to this. It was you who
sowed the seeds of strife between Urith and me; you who drove her off
her mind; you who forced me to leave home and go to the standard of the
Protestant Duke; and it is you now who bring me to the gallows."

"The gallows!"

"The captain at the head of the troopers has taken my father, and
threatens to hang him within a day unless I surrender to the same fate."

"But, Anthony!" She could hardly speak, she was trembling, and her
colour flying about her face like storm-driven cloudlets lit by a
setting sun, red and threatening. "Anthony!--not to--to death?"

"To death, Julian!"

She uttered a cry, let go the bridle, dropped her whip, and ran to him
with extended arms. "Anthony!--O Anthony!"

He put forth his hand and held her from him. No; not on his breast where
his Urith had just lain, that should never be touched by another--not by
such another as Julian Crymes.

"Stand back," he said, sternly.

"Anthony! say you love me! You know you have--have always loved me."

"I never loved you, Julian. No--never."

She shook herself free, drew back, pressed her clenched fists against
her bosom. "You dare to tell me that--you!"

"I never loved you," he said.

Her face became white as that of a corpse. She drew on one side and
said, "Go--and may you be hanged! I hate you. I would I were by to see
you die."



CHAPTER LIX.

A LAST CHANCE.


Julian was left alone. She watched Anthony depart, till he had
disappeared round a turn of the road and a fall of the hill; then she
cast herself upon the heather in a paroxysm of agony. She drove her
fingers into the bushes of dwarf gorse, and the needles entered her
flesh and drew the blood; but she heeded it not. The rough heather was
against her cheek, a storm of sobs and tears shook and wetted the harsh,
dry flowers. He did not love her! He never had loved her! She had
fought against this conviction that, like a cold, gliding snake, had
stolen into her heart and dripped its poison there.

Now she could resist it no more. It was not told her by Bessie--it was
not a new conjecture formed on certain scribblings on the glass; it had
been proclaimed by his own lips, and at a solemn moment when he would
not lie--when he was on his way to death.

He had trifled with her heart, and he dared to reproach her! She had
loved him before ever he had known Urith, and then he had shown her
attention. Had she mistaken that attention for love? Had not her own
flaming passion seen in the reflection it called up in him a real
reciprocal flame?

After he was married she could not hide from her conscience that she had
made a struggle to win back his heart--had disregarded the counsels of
prudence and the teachings of religion in the furious resistance she had
offered to the established fact that he had been given to another, and
belonged to that other.

He did not love her! He never had loved her! And his life had been to
her precious only because she loved him, and believed that he loved her.

She drew herself up in the heather; her cheeks were flaming, scratched
by the heather branches, and her hair dishevelled. Her great dark eyes
were like a storm-cloud full of rain, and yet with fire twinkling and
flashing out of it. He was on his way to death. He would be no more in
this life to be fought for, to be won by her or by Urith.

"I am glad he is going to die!" she cried, and laughed. Then she threw
herself again on the ground in another convulsive fit of sobs.

Urith had won. She--Julian, had dared her to the contest for the prize.
Each had come off ill; but Urith had gained the object--gained it only
to lose it--won Anthony's heart, only to have it broken as her own brain
was broken.

"It is well," moaned Julian, catching at the tufts of heath and tearing
at them, but unable either to break them or root them up. "It is well! I
would never have suffered her to regain him. I would have killed her!"

Rage and disappointment tore her, as the evil spirit tore the possessed
under Tabor, and finally left her, exhausted and sick at heart. A cool
air came down off the moor and fanned her hot cheek, and dried the tears
that moistened them.

A few hours--perhaps only an hour--and Anthony would be dead. She saw
the gallows set up below Lydford Castle, and Anthony brought forth, in
his shirt; his eyes bandaged; his hands bound behind his back. She heard
the voices of the soldiers, and the hum of compassion from the
bystanders. She saw the rope fastened about his neck, and cast over the
crosstree of the gallows. Then one of the soldiers leaped, and caught
the free end of the rope, and began to haul at it. Julian uttered a cry
of horror, struggled to her knees, clasped her palms over her eyes, as
though to shut out a real sight from them, and swayed herself to and fro
on her knees.

The black 'kerchief, with the jerk, fell from his eyes, and he looked at
her. Julian threw up her hands to heaven, and screamed, with horror, "My
God, save him!"

Then she saw, indistinctly, through her tears, and out of her
horror-distended eyes, some one standing before her. She could not see
who it was; but, overmastered by her terror, she cried, "Save him! Save
him!"

"Julian!" said a voice; and it had a composing effect at once on her
disordered feelings.

"Bess! O, Bess! is that you? O, Bessie! do you know? He has given
himself up. Anthony! Anthony!" She cowered no more; her bosom labored,
and she bowed herself, with her head in her lap, and wept again.

Bessie put her hand under her arm, and raised her. "Stand up, Julian. I
did not know it; but I was quite sure he would do this. I am glad he
has. It was right."

"Bess, you are glad?"

"It is like himself; he has done right. He is my own dear, dear
Anthony."

"O Bess!--such a death!"

"The death does not dishonour; to live would have dishonoured. He has
done right."

"He has betrayed my love!" gasped Julian, "and I should be glad he died,
yet--I cannot bear it. Indeed--indeed, I cannot. O Bess! I would that it
were I who was to die--not he. Bess! will they take me and let him go?
He has been false to me, and I am true to him."

"He has not been false to you," said Bessie; "he has come to a sense of
the wrong course he was engaged in, into which you drew him. But he
never was false to you, for he never cared for you. Come! poor unhappy
girl. I know how full of sorrow you must be--so must all who love Tony."

"But, Bess! is there no way of saving him?"

Elizabeth shook her head, and said:--

"I do not suppose so. It is true that Gloine has got off, and there is a
whisper that his uncle saw the captain, and some money passed, but----"

"Oh! if money were all----"

"But, remember, Gloine was only a common soldier, and Anthony was the
captain who led the men from these parts. I do not think any money could
save him."

"Let us try." Julian sprang to her feet.

"Where is money to be had? Enough, I mean. You know the state we are
in."

"But Fox has it."

"Fox!" Bessie considered; then, turning colour, said, "I do not think
that even to save Anthony's life I would ask a favour of Fox."

"Then I will. He can and must save Anthony. Where is he?"

"At Hall. He has gone over there; that is why I left, and I was on my
way to Willsworthy when I saw your horse; I caught him by the bridle, I
knew whose it was, and came in search of you. I feared some accident.
But, Julian, I am very certain nothing can be done for Anthony, save by
our prayers. I have heard that special orders were issued that he was to
be hung. The captain came here on purpose to take and execute him. He
cannot, he dare not spare him."

"O Bess!--we will try!"

"Prayer alone can avail," said Bessie, sadly.

"Come with me. Come back to Hall. You must be with me. I will see Fox.
He alone can help us."

"I will go with you," said Bessie. "But I know that it is hopeless."

"He must be saved. He must not die!" gasped Julian.

She remounted her horse, mechanically, and Bessie walked at her side.

Julian said no more. She was a prey to conflicting emotions. A little
while ago she had wished Anthony's death, and now she was seeking to
save it. If she did succeed in saving it, it was for whom? Not for
herself. He did not love her--he never had loved her. For Urith--for her
rival, her enemy! She knew that Urith was in a strange mental condition.
She did not know that she was recovered from it. But she gave no heed to
the state in which Urith was. She thought of her as she had seen her,
handsome, sullen, defiant. That was the girl Anthony had preferred to
herself, and she would save Anthony to give him to the arms of Urith,
that Urith might take him by the neck, and cover his face with kisses,
and weep tears of joy on his breast. Julian set her teeth. Better that
he should die than this! But, next moment, her higher nature prevailed.
She had loved Anthony--she did love Anthony--and true love is unselfish.
She must forget herself, her own wrongs, real or imagined, and do her
utmost for him. How could she love him, and let him die an ignominious
death? How could she let him die, when, by an effort, she might save
him, and bear to live an hour longer? She would feel as though his blood
lay at her door.

"Bessie, I cannot stay. You walk. I must ride on as fast as I can. Time
must not be wasted. Every moment is important."

Then she struck her horse, and galloped in the direction of Hall. Her
hair, wild and tangled, flew about her ears. Her hands were full of
gorse-spikes, and every pressure on the bridle made the pain great, but
she did not regard this. Her mind was tossed with waves of contrary
feeling, and yet, as in a storm, when the surges seem to roll in every
direction, there is yet a prevailing set, so was it now. There had been
a conflict in her heart, but her nobler, truer nature had won the day.

As she drew up in the courtyard of Hall, Fox came out, and uttered an
exclamation of surprise at seeing her.

He was in a high condition of excitement. Without waiting to hear her
speak, he burst forth into a torrent of complaint.

"I will have the law of them--soldiers though they be, and with a
search-warrant, they are not entitled to rob--we have been treated as
though we were foreigners, and subjected to all the violence of a sack.
They have torn open every cupboard, broken into every drawer and
cabinet, thrown the books and letters about--I can find nothing, and
what is worst, I cannot lay my hands on the money. To-morrow is the last
day, to-morrow the mortgage must be paid, and I know that my
father-in-law had some coin in the house. By the Lord! I wonder whether
he had the wit to secrete it somewhere, or left it where any plunderer
would go straight in quest of it. And he is to be hanged in an hour, and
I cannot ask him."

"Fox, it is not true; Master Cleverdon escapes."

"I know he will be hanged, and I do not suppose that set of ruffians
will let me see him and find out where the money is. I have searched
everywhere, and found nothing but broken cabinets and overturned
drawers, account-books, title-deeds, letters, bills, all in confusion
along with clothing. It drives me mad. And--unless the money be
forthcoming to-morrow, Hall is lost. I have heard that the agent of the
Earl of Bedford will offer a price for it--and that there is like to be
another offer from Sir John Morris. They would out-bid me. The mortgage
must be paid, or Hall lost, and if the old man be hanged to-day, Hall is
mine by this evening. It will drive me crazed--where can the money be?
He was fool enough for anything--to put it in his cabinet, or in a box
under his bed, or in the chimney, tied in an old nightcap like as would
have done any beldame. If he has done that--then the soldiers have taken
it. Who was to interfere? Who to observe them? They drove all the
servants out. They took the Squire in custody, and I was not here. I was
at Kilworthy, as you know."

"Fox," said Julian. "It is no matter to me whether Hall be saved or
lost. Anthony has surrendered, and the Squire is free."

"Anthony surrendered!" Fox fell back and stared at her, then laughed.
"'Fore heaven! we live in crack-brained times when folk take a delight
in running their heads into nooses. There was my father did his best to
get hung, drawn, and quartered. A merciful Providence sent him into the
other world with a bullet in his heart, and saved the honour of the
family, and made a more easy exit for him. And now there is Tony--runs
to the gibbet as though to a May-dance! Verily! there are more fools
than hares. For them you must hide the snare, for the fools expose it,
cross-piece, loop, and rope, and all complete, and ring a bell and
call--come and be hanged! Come!"

"Fox, we must save Anthony."

"Save him? Why, he will not be saved! He had the world before him, and
he might have run where he would; now he has gone where he ought not,
and must take the consequences. Save him! Let him be hanged. I want his
father. I want to know what money he has, and where it is. I can't find
the whole amount. I know he has, or had, some hundreds of sovereigns
somewhere."

"Fox, you must assist me to save Anthony; we cannot let him die. I will
not! I will not! He must not die!" Her passion overcame her, and she
burst into tears.

"Pshaw! He is past salvation. If he is in the hands of Captain Fogg, he
is in a trap that has shut on him and will not let him go.
Besides--nothing can be done."

"Yes, there can. Gloine escaped. His uncle, the rich old yeoman at
Smeardon, bought him off."

"No money will buy Anthony off. Besides, where is the money to come
from?"

"You have some. Fogg let off Gloine, and he will let Anthony off if he
be paid a sufficient sum. If he was a rascal in small game, he will be
rascal in great."

"I do not care to have Tony escape; I owe him a grudge. Besides, and
that is just as well, his father is not here; what money the old fellow
has is hidden in some corner or other, where I cannot find it, unless it
has been carried off by those vultures, those rats."

"If this is not available you must help."

"I! pshaw! I cannot, and I will not."

"You can; you have a large sum at your disposal."

Fox turned mottled in face. He stared at his sister with an uneasy look
in his eye.

"What makes you suppose that?" he said. "It is a folly; it is not true.
I am poor as the yellow clay of North Devon. No small sum would serve,
and I have but a couple of groats and a crown in my pouch."

"You have the money; you yourself admitted it, two minutes ago. You
said that if you could find the money Squire Cleverdon had laid by, you
would be able to make up the rest."

"Oh! that was talk! I would mortgage my Buckland estate."

"You have the money. Fox, this is evasive."

"What will satisfy you? Here is a crown, and here two groats, and, by
Heaven--there is a penny as well. Take this and go--try your luck with
Captain Fogg."

"I will have nothing under five hundred pounds. Fox, you can help me,
and you will."

"I have not the coin. If I had I would not spare it. I will not throw
Hall away. What is Tony to me? If he puts his neck into the noose, who
is to blame if the rope be pulled and he dangles? No; here is the extent
of my help--a crown, two groats, and one penny."

"Fox! I will sell you all my rights in Kilworthy. I will make over to
you everything I have there--land, house--all--all--if you will give me
five hundred pounds in gold."

Fox looked down, considered, then shook his head.

"There is not time for it. By the time we had got the transfer engrossed
and signed, all would be over. Fogg won't let the grass grow under his
feet, nor the rope rot for lack of usage. No; if there were time, I
might consider your offer; but, as there is not, I will not. Let Tony
hang: it is his due. He ran his head into the loop."

"Your final answer is--you will not help?"

"To the extent of one crown, two groats, and a penny."

"Then, Fox, I shall help myself."



CHAPTER LX.

EXIT "ANTHONY CLEVERDON."


Old Squire Cleverdon had spent the night in Lydford Castle. The Castle
was more than half ruinous; nevertheless, there were habitable rooms
still in it, and one or two of these served as prison cells. The walls
were damp, and the glass in the windows broken; but it mattered not, he
had but that night longer for earth, and the season was summer.

The Squire did not lose his gravity of deportment. He had held up his
head before the world when things went well with him; he would look the
world defiantly in the face as all turned against him. He knew that he
must die. He did not entertain a hope of life; it may also be said that
he was indifferent whether he lived or died. His only grievance was that
the manner of his death would be ignominious. It was hardly likely that
the news of his capture and of Captain Fogg's threat should reach
Anthony. Where his son was he did not know, but he supposed that he had
taken refuge in the heart of the wilderness of moors, and how could he
there receive tidings of what menaced his father? Or, if the news did
reach him, almost certainly it would reach him when too late to save his
father. But, supposing he did hear, and in time, what was menaced, was
it likely that he would give himself up for his father? His life was the
more valuable of the two; it was young and fresh, he had a wife
dependent on him, he had an estate--his wife's--to live on; and the old
man was near the end of his natural term of life, was friendless, he had
cast from him his children, and was acreless, he had lost his patrimony.
Anthony would be a fool to give himself up in exchange for his father.
What did the Squire care for the scrap of life still his? So little that
he had been ready to throw it away; and if the mode of passage into
eternity was ignominious, why it was the very method he had chosen for
himself at the sawpit. He was an aged ruined man, who had failed in
everything, and had no place remaining for him on earth. He did not ask
himself whether he had been blameworthy in his conduct to his children,
in his behaviour to Anthony. He slept better that night in Lydford
Castle than he had for many nights, but woke early, and saw the dawn
break over the peaks of the moor to the east. He would not be brought
before the captain and sent to execution for a few more hours. From his
cell he had heard and been disturbed by the riot and revelry kept up by
the captain and some boon comrades till late.

The morning was well advanced when Julian Crymes rode to the Castle
gates, followed by a couple of serving men and laden horses. At her
command the men removed the valises from the backs of the beasts and
threw them over their own shoulders. The weight must have been
considerable, judging by the way in which the men walked under their
burdens.

Julian asked for admittance. She would see Captain Fogg. The sergeant at
the gate hesitated.

"Captain Fogg was at Kilworthy yesterday in search of papers--my
father's papers. I have found them, and bring them to
him--correspondence that is of importance."

The sergeant ascended to the room where was the captain, and immediately
came down again with orders for the admission of Julian.

Followed by the men, she mounted the stone flight that led to the upper
story, where Captain Fogg had taken up his quarters, and bade the
servants lay their valises on the table and withdraw.

Captain Fogg sat at the table with a lieutenant at his side; he was
engaged on certain papers, which he looked hastily over, as handed to
him by the lieutenant, and scribbled his name under them.

Julian had time to observe the captain; he was a man of middle height,
with very thick light eyebrows, no teeth, a blotched, red face, and a
nose that gave sure indication of his being addicted to the bottle. He
wore a sandy scrubby moustache and beard, so light in colour as not to
hide his coarse purple lips. When he did look up, his eyes were of the
palest ash colour, so pale as hardly to show any colour beside the
flaming red of his face, and they had a watery and languid look in them.
His appearance was anything but inviting.

He took no notice of Julian, but continued his work with a sort of sulky
impatience to have it over.

Not so the younger officer, who looked at Julian, and was struck with
her beauty. He turned his eyes so often upon her that he forgot what he
was about, and Fogg had to call him to order. Then Fogg condescended to
observe Julian.


"Well," said he, roughly, "what do you want? Are these papers? What is
your name?"

"I sent up my name," answered Julian.

"Ah! to be sure--the daughter of that rebel. I know--I know. What do you
want?"

"I have come to ask the life of Anthony Cleverdon," she answered. "He
does not deserve death; it was all my fault that he joined the Duke. He
was no rebel at heart; but I drove him to it. See what a man he is--to
come and surrender himself in order to save his old father from death."

"Bah! A rebel! He commanded--a chief rebel! He shall die," answered
Fogg, roughly.

"I implore you to spare him! Take my life, if you will. It was all my
doing. But for me he never would have gone. I sent him from his home--I
drove him into the insurgent ranks. I alone--I alone am guilty."

"And who are you that you plead for him so vehemently?" asked the
Captain, his watery eye resting insolently on her beautiful, flushed
face. "Are you his wife?"

"No--no; I am not."

"Ah, you are his sweetheart."

Julian's colour changed. "He does not love me. He is innocent, therefore
I would buy his life."

"Buy!" echoed the Captain.

"Yes--buy it."

"It cannot be done. It is forfeit. In a quarter of an hour he dies! Look
here, pretty miss: I have my orders. He is to die. I am a soldier: I
obey orders. He dies."

He put his hand to his cravat and drew it upwards. The action showed how
Anthony was to die.

"I have brought you here something worthy of your taking," said Julian,
lowering her voice--"documents of the highest value. Documents, letters,
and lists--what you have been looking for, and worth more than a poor
lad's life. What is his body to you when you have driven out of it the
soul? A cage without a bird. Here, in these valises, I have something of
much more substantial value."

"Let me look," said Fogg.

"By heaven!" he swore, after he had leaned across the table and taken
hold of one. "Weighty matters herein."

Julian gave him the key, and he opened; but not fully. Some suspicion of
the contents seemed to have crossed his mind. He peered in and observed
bags, tied up.

"Ah!" said he. "State secrets--State secrets only for those in the
confidence of the Government. Friswell!" he turned to the lieutenant,
"leave me alone for a few minutes with this good maiden. She has matters
of importance to communicate that concern many persons high up--high
up--and young ears like yours must not hear. Wait till you have earned
the confidence of your masters."

The lieutenant left the room.

Then Captain Fogg signed to the soldiers at the door to stand without as
well.

"So--matters of importance concerning the Government," said Fogg. "In
confidence, tell me all--I mean about these valises and their contents."

"I have come here," said Julian, "to implore you to save the life of
Anthony Cleverdon. I am come with five hundred guineas, some in silver,
some in gold--some in five-guinea pieces, the rest in guineas; they are
yours freely and heartily, if you will but grant me the life of your
prisoner."

"Five hundred guineas!" exclaimed the Captain; and his pale eyes
watered, and his cheeks became redder. "Let me look."

He thrust his hand into the saddle-bag before him on the table, and drew
forth a canvas bag that was tied and sealed. He cut the string and ran
out some five-guinea pieces on the table. A five-guinea piece was an
attractive--a beautiful coin. James I. had struck thirty-shilling
pieces, and Charles I. three-pound gold pieces, but the five-guinea coin
had been first issued by Charles II. Noble milled coins, on the reverse
with the shields arranged across, and each crowned. Captain Fogg took
three in his hand, tossed them, rubbed one with his glove, put his hand
into the bag and drew forth more.

"Five hundred guineas!" he said. "Upon my soul, it is more than the
cocksparrow is worth. I wish I could do it. By the Lord, I wish I could.
Give me up that other bag."

Julian moved another over the table to him.

"Why," said he, "what do you reckon it all weighs?"

"I cannot say for certain; one of my men thought about eighty pounds."

"More, I'll be bound; and mostly gold. Why, how come you by so much down
here? You country gentry must be well off to put by so much; and all
coins of his late Majesty. You may have been nipped and scraped under
Old Noll, but under the King you have thriven. Five hundred pounds!
Where the foul fiend did you get it? You have not robbed the Exchequer?"

Julian made no answer.

The Captain continued to examine, rub, weigh, and try the coins; he
ranged them in rows before him, he heaped them in piles under his nose.

"Upon my word, I never was more sorry in my life," he said. "But I can't
do it. My orders are peremptory. If I do not hang him I shall get into
trouble myself. But I'll tell you what I'll do--give him a silk sash, a
soldier's sword-sash, and hang him in that. It's another thing
altogether--quite respectable. Will that do?" After a pause.

"Now look at me," said the Captain; "it is cursed unpleasant and scurvy
treatment we gentlemen of the sword meet with. I know very well that
such prisoners as we deliver over to be dealt with by the law, supposing
they be found guilty and sentenced to transportation or death, will be
given the chance of buying off. Why, I've known it done for ten or
fifteen pounds. Look at me and wonder! Ten or fifteen pounds in the
pocket of this one or that--may be a Lady-in-Waiting. But here be I--an
honest, blunt, downright soldier, and five hundred guineas, and many of
them five-guinea pieces, too, that smile in one's face as innocent as a
child, and as inviting as a wench, and, by my soul! I can't finger them.
Orders are peremptory, I must hang him. 'Tis enough to make angels
weep?"[7]

He wiped his watery eyes.

"By the Majesty of the King, I'll do my best for you, saving my honour.
I'll hang the old man, the father, and let the young one go free."

"Sir," said Julian, "Anthony will never accept life on those terms."

"Then, by my sword and spurs, I can't help you! But I'll do what I can
for you--I will, upon my soul! I'll make him dead drunk before I hang
him. Will that do? Then he won't feel. Not a bit. He'll go off asleep,
and wake in kingdom come, as easy as if he were rocked in a cradle. No
unpleasantness at all, and I'll stand the liquor. He shall have what he
likes. By Heaven, they're making noise enough outside! Here, help to put
this money into the valise. I will call to order."

He set to work and pocketed as many five-guinea pieces as he could, then
thrust the rest into the bags.

Having assumed a grave manner, he knocked with the hilt of his sword on
the table, and roared to the sentinel to open the door.

He was at once answered. The commotion without had not ceased.

"I will go in. I insist!--I must see Captain Fogg."

"Who is without?" asked the Captain. "Who is that creating such an
uproar?"

"It is some one who desires to be admitted into your presence, Captain!"
said the Lieutenant. "He says he has been robbed; he claims redress."

"I can't see him--I am busy---- State secrets? Very well, let him in."

He changed his order as Fox burst into the room in spite of the efforts
of the sergeant and sentinel to stay him.

"Who are you? What do you here?" asked Fogg. "Stand back. Guard, hold
his hands. Take him into custody. What is the meaning of this?"

"I have been robbed," said Fox, his face streaming with sweat and red
with heat. "I have had my money taken; she has brought it here; she is
trying to bribe you with it; she would buy off that fellow; he deserves
to be hung. I will denounce you if you take the money; it is mine. You
have come here to hang him, and hanged he shall be. You shall not take
my money and let him escape." He gasped for breath; he had been
galloping, and galloping in a state of feverish excitement and rage.
Some time after Julian had left him at Hall, her final remark had
occurred to him, "Then I shall help myself," and he asked himself what
she could mean by that, what she possibly could do.

Suddenly he remembered his doubts about whether she had seen him in the
pigeon-cote, and at once he was overwhelmed with fear. He mounted his
horse and rode to Kilworthy, to hear that his sister had left an hour
before with servants and horses. He flew to the dove-cote and explored
the pigeon-holes. Every one had been rifled. Sick, almost fainting with
dismay, with baffled avarice and ambition, he remounted his horse, and
rode at its fastest pace to Lydford.

"You are an impudent scoundrel," said Captain Fogg; "an impudent
scoundrel to dare insinuate--but, who are you, what is your name?"

"I am Anthony Crymes of Kilworthy," said Fox.

"It is a lie!" exclaimed Julian, starting forward. "Captain Fogg, take
him, if you must have a victim. Take him. He is Anthony Cleverdon, son
of the old Squire, and heir to Hall."

"What is that?--what is that? Clear the room," shouted Fogg. "Stand back
you rascal!--traitor!--rebel! Sergeant, keep hold of him till you can
get a pair of manacles--or stay, take your sash, bind his hands behind
his back, and leave the room. Friswell, you need not stay; I will call
you when wanted. Matters of State importance, secrets against the
Government and his sacred Majesty the King, are not for ears such as
yours--till tried, tried and proved worthy. Go."

When the room was cleared of all save Julian and Fox, the Captain said,
"Now, then, what is the meaning of this?"

"I have been robbed," said Fox, trembling between apprehension and rage.
"My sister has taken advantage of having seen where I keep my money, and
has carried it off--therewith to bribe you to let off"--he turned
fiercely at Julian, his white teeth shining, his lips drawn back, and
his eyes glittering with hate--"to let off--her lover."

"You are quite mistaken," said Fogg, stroking his moustache. "These
saddle-bags and valises contain documents of importance, correspondence
of the rebels----"

"They contain my money," screamed Fox--"five hundred pounds."

"Five hundred guineas," said the Captain, and thrust his hand into his
pocket, "and some of them five-guinea pieces?"

"Even so. They are mine."

"And you are----?"

"Anthony Crymes. Most people know me as Fox Crymes."

"Captain Fogg," said Julian, "that is false. I do not deny that he was
once called Crymes, but he obtained a royal license to change his name;
he is Anthony Cleverdon."

"Anthony Cleverdon!" echoed Captain Fogg. "By the Lord, you seem to be a
breed of Anthony Cleverdons down here! How many more of you are there?"

"There are three," said Julian--"the father, the old squire; there is
his son, an outcast, driven by his father from his home; and there is
the Anthony Cleverdon of Hall, who has assumed the name, stepped into
the rights and place of the other, and walks in his shoes."

"And, by Heaven!--why not wear his cravat? You swear to this."

"I will swear."

"Come--I must have another to confirm your word."

"Call up the old father, if he be not already discharged."

Fox for a moment was stunned. He realized his danger. He had run his
head into the noose prepared for Anthony, and that five hundred pounds
had saved Anthony and sold him.

The paralyzing effect of this discovery lasted but for a moment. Then he
burst forth into a torrent of explanation, confused, stuttering in his
rage and fear, now in a scream, then in a hoarse croak.

Captain Fogg rapped on the table.

"Gag him," ordered he, "stop his mouth. We have made a mistake--locked
up the wrong man. This is the veritable Anthony Cleverdon, the rebel.
Stop his mouth instantly. He deafens me."

Fox--writhing, plunging, kicking, struggling to be free--was quickly
overmastered, his mouth gagged, his feet bound as well as his hands. He
stood snorting, his eyes glaring, the sweat pouring from his brow, and
his red hair bristling.

In another moment old Squire Cleverdon was introduced, looking deadly
pale. He had not been released--had not as yet heard that his son had
delivered himself up. He looked with indifference about him. He believed
he was brought up to receive sentence, and he was prepared to receive it
with dignity.

"Old man," said the Captain, "a word with you. Friswell, you may stay.
Sergeant, keep at the door. I want a short and direct answer to a
question I put to you. Prisoner, do you know that fellow there, with his
hair on end and his mouth stopped?"

"I know him very well. I have good reason to know him," answered the
Squire.

"What is his name?"

"His name is the same as mine--Anthony Cleverdon."

"And his place of residence?"

"Hall."

"Is he your son?"

"He is my son-in-law; he----"

"Enough. He is your son?"

"Yes; that is to say----"

"Exactly," interrupted Captain Fogg. "I want to hear no more; the lady
says the same. Say it again. This is your assert----"

"Anthony Cleverdon, the younger, of Hall," said Julian.

"Sergeant," said Fogg, "is the beam run out?"

"Yes, your honour."

"And the rope ready?"

"It is, your honour."

"Then take this prisoner--Anthony Cleverdon the younger--and hang him
forthwith. The two other prisoners are discharged. They were
apprehended, or gave themselves up, by mistake. That is the true Anthony
Cleverdon. Hang him--at once. He who steps into another man's shoes may
wear as well his cravat."

FOOTNOTE:

[7] This was the case. Among those sentenced by Judge Jeffreys, the
majority escaped with a payment. The Queen had 98 delivered to her
order, Jerome Nimo had 101, Sir Wm. Booth 195, Sir Christopher Musgrave
100, Sir Wm. Howard 205, and so on. They paid sums varying in amount,
and got off clear. See Inderwick's "Sidelights on the Stuarts," 1889.



CHAPTER LXI.

EXEUNT--OMNES.


Anthony was in his cell. He expected every moment to be called forth,
and to hear his doom. He was perfectly calm, and thought only of Urith.
He had the half-token about his neck, and he kissed it. Urith had given
it to him: it was a pledge to him that she would ever be heartaching for
him, living in the love and thought of him. Time passed without his
noticing it.

Steps approached his cell, and he rose from his seat, ready to follow
the soldier who would lead him forth to death. But, to his astonishment,
in the door appeared Julian, with the lieutenant. Anthony's face
darkened, and he stepped back. Why should this girl--this girl who had
poisoned his life--come to torment and disturb him at the last hour?

Perhaps she read his thoughts in his face by the pale ray of light that
entered from the window; and, with a voice trembling with emotion, she
said, "Anthony, you are free!"

He did not stir, but looked questioningly at her. She also was pale,
deadly pale, and her whole frame was quivering.

"It is true," said Friswell. "You are free to depart, you and the old
man; both are discharged. There has been a mistake."

"I do not understand. There can have been no mistake," said Anthony.

"Come, quick; follow me," said Julian. Then, in a low tone, turning to
the lieutenant, she said, "Suffer me one moment to speak to him alone."

"You may speak to him as much as you will," said the young man. "I only
wish I were in his place."

"Anthony," said she, "say not another word to anyone here. I have
delivered you."

"You, Julian! But how?"

"I have bought your life, with gold and----"

"And with what?"

"With--but I will tell you outside, not here. Come, your father awaits
you."

"I thank you for what you have done for me, Julian. If I have wronged
you in any way hitherto, I ask your forgiveness. Indeed, we have been in
the wrong on all sides--none pure, none--save Bessie."

"None, save Bessie," repeated Julian.

"Come with me," she added, after a silence; and he obeyed.

Near the castle stands the weather-beaten church of St. Petrock, with
its granite-pinnacled tower. Outside this church, on a tombstone, sat
the old Squire. He first had been released, not at all comprehending how
he had escaped death; not allowed to ask questions, huddled out of the
castle, and sent forth into the street, bewildered and in doubt.

Now, with wide-opened eyes, he stared at Julian and his son as they
came to him, as though he saw spirits from the dead.

"He is free, he is restored to you!" said Julian. The old man tried to
rise, but sank back on the stone, extended his arms, and in a moment was
locked in those of his son.

He could not understand what had taken place. He knew only that both he
and Anthony were free, and in no further danger, but how that had come
about, and how it was that Fox was in bonds, he could not make out. The
reaction after the strain on his nerves set in. Great tears rolled out
of his eyes, and he sobbed like a child on the breast of Anthony.

Then Julian told him how that his son had come and had surrendered
himself to save his father. The old man listened, and as he listened,
his pride, his hardness gave way. He put his hand into that of his son
and pressed it. He could not speak, his heart was overfull.

But how had Anthony escaped? That he could not understand.

Then Julian told how that she had discovered that Fox had a hidden store
of gold in the pigeon-cote at Kilworthy. She was convinced that this was
the money that her father had lost, the money he was conveying to
Monmouth at Taunton. Fox must have robbed the coach, robbed his own
father, secreted the bags near the place where he had stolen them, and
conveyed them by night, one by one, to the pigeon house at Kilworthy,
where he had supposed they were safe, as the cote was deserted and no
one ever entered it, least of all ascended a ladder to explore the
pigeon-holes. She, by accident, had observed him, but had not allowed
him to suppose that he had been seen.

When Anthony gave himself up, then Julian had entreated Fox to use this
money to obtain the freedom of his friend and brother-in-law. As he had
refused to do so, Julian had gone home, and taken the gold, brought it
to Lydford, and with it had purchased Anthony's freedom.

As they spoke, the sexton passed them, rattling the keys of the church.
He took no notice of them, nor they of him. They, indeed, were immersed
in their own concerns.

"But," said Anthony, "you said something more to me. You had sacrificed
something for me besides the gold. What was it----?"

"A life," answered Julian, in a low tone.

Hark! as she said the word, the bell of the church began to toll.

"There is some one dying," said the old man, rising from the gravestone.
"Let us pray for him as he passes."

There was a noise of voices in the street, exclamations, heard between
the deep deafening notes of the bell.

Presently the old man said. "What did you say, Julian! A life--whose
life?"

She did not answer. He looked round. She was gone.

"And what did the Captain mean," he added, "when he said--he who has
stepped into another man's shoes must wear his cravat?"

As he looked about, searching for Julian--he saw his question answered;
understood why the bell tolled, why the whole of the population of the
little place was in the street, talking, gesticulating, crying out, and
looking at the topmost window of the Castle.

He who had stepped into Anthony's shoes, assumed his name, occupied his
place, was wearing the cravat intended for his neck.

But where was Julian?

That was a question asked often, repeatedly, urgently, and it was a
question that was never answered.

A shepherd boy declared that he had seen her going over the moor in the
direction of Tavy Cleave. Search was made for her in every direction,
but in vain.

When the writer was a boy, he was with a party at a picnic at Tavy
Cleave, and was bidden descend the precipitous flank to the river to
bring up water in an iron kettle. He went down--jumping, sliding,
scrambling, and suddenly slid through a branch of whortleberry plants
between some masses of rock that had fallen together, wedging each other
up, and found himself in a pit under these rocks. To his surprise he
there found a number of bones. His first impression was that a sheep had
fallen from the rocks into this place, and had there died, but a little
further examination convinced him that the remains were not those of a
sheep at all. Among the remains, where were the little bones of the
hand, was a ring. The ring was of gold and delicately wrought. It
probably at one time contained hair, but this had disappeared, and the
socket was empty, within the hoop was engraved "Ulalia Crymes, d. April
6, 1665." It was clearly a mourning ring. Now Ulalia Glanville was the
last of that family, the heiress who married Ferdinando Crymes, and the
day of her burial was April 10th, therefore, probably she died about
April 6th, in that very year, 1665. And this was the mother of Julian.
Can this have been the ring commemorative of her mother worn by Julian
Crymes, and does this fact identify the bones as the remains of that
unhappy girl? If so she must have either slipped or precipitated herself
from the rocks over head, and fallen between these masses of stone,
where her crushed body escaped the observation of all searchers, and of
accidental passers-by.

As already said in an earlier chapter, the parish church of Peter Tavy
has gone through that process which is facetiously termed "restoration,"
on the principle of the derivation of _Lucus à non lucendo_; restoration
meaning, in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases the utter destruction of
every element of interest and loveliness in an ancient church. Among the
objects on which one of those West of England wreckers, the architects,
exhibit their destructive energies are the tombstones.

Now, in Peter Tavy Church, previous to its restoration, there were--in
the interest of my story--two tombstones, fortunately transcribed before
the wrecker began his work.

Here is one, cut on a slate slab let into the floor:--


             "TO THE MEMORY OF

          ANTHONY CLEVERDON, GENT.,

     [_Then a pair of clasped right hands_]

            AND URITH, HIS WIFE,

          DAUGHTER AND HEIRESS OF

     RICHARD MALVINE, OF WILLSWORTHY, GENT."


     Under this stone the corps of them abide
     What lived and tenderly did love, and dyed.
     Wedlock and Death had with the Grave agreed
     To make for them an everlasting marriage bed,
     Where in repose their mixed dust might lye.
     Their souls be gone up hand in hand on high.


Curiously enough, there was no date to this tomb.

It would appear that for a hundred years the descendants of Anthony and
Urith remained at Willsworthy, and then the family became extinct. It
would also appear that Hall passed completely out of the family of
Cleverdon, the old Anthony Cleverdon, on his death, being entered in the
register as "Anthony Cleverdon the Elder, once of Hall, but now of
Willsworthy, Gentleman;" and the date of his burial was 1689, so that he
just survived the accession of the Prince of Orange.

It cannot be doubted that the few remaining years of his life saw him an
altered man, and that he had discovered that with the loss of Hall he
had gained something, as Luke had said, far more precious--the love of
his children, and the knowledge how precious it was.

In the floor of the chancel, below the Communion-rails, was another
Cleverdon monument, but not one of a Cleverdon of Willsworthy, but of a
rector of Peter Tavy. His Christian name was Luke. We may therefore
conclude that Luke from being curate became incumbent of the church and
parish he had served so faithfully. Beneath his name stood a second. The
inscription ran thus:--"Also of Elizabeth, his true helpmeet, daughter
of Anthony Cleverdon, formerly of Hall." There was no mention on it of
the marriage with Fox. Below stood the text from Proverbs:--

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The
heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. She will do him good, and
not evil, all the days of her life."


THE END


_THE GRESHAM PRESS_,

UNWIN BROTHERS,

CHILWORTH AND LONDON.


_18, Bury St., W.C., Sept. 1891._



MESSRS. METHUEN'S

NEW BOOKS

AND

ANNOUNCEMENTS.

1891-2.



CONTENTS.

                                     PAGE
GENERAL LITERATURE                  2, 10

FICTION                                 4

NEW BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS            6

NOVEL SERIES                            7

ENGLISH LEADERS OF RELIGION             8

SOCIAL QUESTIONS OF TO-DAY              8

UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SERIES             9

NEW AND RECENT BOOKS:
FICTION                                11
HISTORY AND POLITICS                   12
GENERAL LITERATURE                     12

BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS               13

EDUCATIONAL WORKS:
SCIENCE SERIES                         14
CLASSICAL WORKS                        15
WORKS BY A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A.        15
SCHOOL EXAMINATION SERIES              16


GENERAL LITERATURE.

THE SPEECHES AND PUBLIC ADDRESSES OF THE RT. HON. W. E. GLADSTONE,
M.P. With Notes and Introductions. Edited by A. W. HUTTON, M.A.
(Librarian of the Gladstone Library), and H. J. COHEN, M.A. With
Portraits. 8vo. Vol. I. 12s. _net_.

                                                      [_In preparation._

Messrs. METHUEN beg to announce that they are about to issue in six
volumes, 8vo, an authorized collection of Mr. Gladstone's speeches, the
work being undertaken with his sanction and under his superintendence.
Notes and Introductions will be added.

In form it will be uniform with Professor Thorold Rogers' edition of Mr.
Bright's Speeches, and each volume will contain a portrait of Mr.
Gladstone.

It is evident that this important work will be indispensable to the
politician, the historian, and the publicist, and indeed to all those
who take an interest in the history of the last sixty years, and in the
career of Mr. Gladstone.


_RUDYARD KIPLING._

BALLADS. By RUDYARD KIPLING. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                         [_March_, 1892.

Also an edition on handmade paper, limited to 150 copies. Large crown
8vo, 10s. 6d. _net_.

This volume contains some of Mr. Kipling's finest literary work, and
includes the magnificent ballads 'East and West' and 'The Flag of
England.' A large number of these poems have never been published
before.


_GRAHAM R. TOMSON._

A SUMMER NIGHT, AND OTHER POEMS. By GRAHAM R. TOMSON. With
Frontispiece by A. Tomson. Fcap. 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.

Also an edition on handmade paper, limited to 50 copies. Large crown
8vo, 10s. 6d. _net_.


_F. LANGBRIDGE._

A CRACKED FIDDLE. Being Selections from the Poems of FREDERIC
LANGBRIDGE. With Portrait. Crown 8vo, 5s.
                                                               [_Ready._


_TWO BROTHERS._

POEMS OF LIFE. By TWO BROTHERS. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_W. G. COLLINGWOOD, M.A._

JOHN RUSKIN: His Life and Work. By W. G. COLLINGWOOD, M.A., late
Scholar of University College, Oxford. 8vo, 21s.
                                                      [_In preparation._

An edition on handmade paper, limited to 250 copies, with the
Illustrations on India paper, 42s. _net_.

This important work is written by Mr. Collingwood, who has been for some
years Mr. Ruskin's private secretary, and who has had unique advantages
in obtaining materials for this book from Mr. Ruskin himself and from
his friends. It will contain a large amount of new matter, and of
letters which have never been published, and will be, in fact, as near
as is possible at present, a full and authoritative biography of Mr.
Ruskin. The book will contain numerous portraits of Mr. Ruskin, and also
some sketches by Mr. Arthur Severn.


_S. BARING GOULD._

THE TRAGEDY OF THE CÆSARS: The Emperors of the Julian and Claudian
Lines. With numerous Illustrations from Busts, Gems, Cameos, &c. By S.
BARING GOULD, Author of 'Mehalah,' &c. 8vo, 21s.
                                                      [_November, 1891._

This book is the only one in English which deals with the personal
history of the Cæsars, and Mr. Baring Gould has found a subject which,
for picturesque detail and sombre interest, is not rivalled by any work
of fiction. The volume is copiously illustrated.


_F. T. PERRENS._

THE HISTORY OF FLORENCE FROM THE TIME OF THE MEDICIS TO THE FALL OF THE
REPUBLIC. By F. T. PERRENS. Translated by HANNAH LYNCH. In 3 vols. Vol.
I. 8vo, 12s. 6d.
                                                      [_November, 1891._

This is a translation from the French of the best history of Florence in
existence. These volumes cover a period of profound interest--political
and literary--and they are written with great vivacity. The work will be
in three volumes, of which this is the first.


_EDITED BY A. CLARK, M.A._

THE COLLEGES OF OXFORD: Their History and their Traditions. By Members
of the University. Edited by A. CLARK, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Lincoln
College. 8vo, 12s. 6d.
                                                       [_October, 1891._

This is the first book which has dealt with the history of the Oxford
Colleges as distinct from that of the University. The various chapters
are contributed by distinguished Oxford men, and the book will be of
permanent historical value.


_EDITED BY C. WHIBLEY._

SWIFT'S JOURNAL TO STELLA. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by
CHARLES WHIBLEY. 2 vols. 8vo.
                                                       [_January, 1892._


_EDITED BY W. E. HENLEY._

BYRON'S LETTERS. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by W. E. HENLEY.
8vo.
                                                      [_In preparation._


_EDITED BY J. WELLS, M.A._

OXFORD AND OXFORD LIFE: With Chapters on the Examinations. By Members
of the University. Edited by J. WELLS, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Wadham
College. Crown 8vo.
                                                         [_March, 1892._

IN TWO PARTS:--
 I. Oxford Life,          3s. 6d.
II. The Examinations,     3s. 0d.

This work will be of great interest and value to all who are in any way
connected with the University. It will contain an account of life at
Oxford--intellectual, social, and religious--a careful estimate of
necessary expenses, a review of recent changes, and a statement of the
present position of the University. The second part will treat fully of
the various examinations.


_WITH PREFACE BY SIR EDWIN ARNOLD._

THE IMITATION OF BUDDHA: Being Quotations from Buddhist Literature for
each Day in the Year. By E. M. BOWDEN. With Preface by Sir EDWIN
ARNOLD. 12mo, 2s. 6d.

                                                       [_October, 1891._


_HENRIK IBSEN._

BRAND. A Drama by HENRIK IBSEN. Translated by WILLIAM WILSON. Crown
8vo, 5s.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.

This is the first English translation of the most famous and powerful of
Ibsen's dramas. It is a work of extraordinary interest, and on it
Ibsen's fame abroad chiefly rests.


_W. CUNNINGHAM, D.D._

THE PATH TOWARDS KNOWLEDGE: Essays on Questions of the Day. By W.
CUNNINGHAM, D.D., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Professor of
Economics at King's College, London. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_P. ANDERSON GRAHAM._

NATURE IN BOOKS: Studies in Literary Biography. By P. ANDERSON GRAHAM.
Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.

This is an attempt to trace the influence of surrounding circumstances,
and especially the influences of nature on some great writers. The
chapters are entitled: I. 'The Magic of the Fields' (Jefferies). II.
'Art and Nature' (Tennyson). III. 'The Doctrine of Idleness' (Thoreau).
IV. 'The Romance of Life' (Scott). V. 'The Poetry of Toil' (Burns). VI.
'The Divinity of Nature' (Wordsworth).


New and Cheaper Editions.


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

THE LIFE OF ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of
'The Wreck of the Grosvenor.' With Illustrations by F. BRANGWYN. New and
Cheaper Edition. Crown 8vo, 5s.
                                                      [_In preparation._

This will be a cheaper edition uniform with the author's 'Nelson.' This
book has been cordially welcomed in its more expensive form, and has
taken its place as a standard work of naval history.


_S. BARING GOULD._

HISTORIC ODDITIES AND STRANGE EVENTS. By S. BARING GOULD. First
Series. Third Edition. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                      [_December_, 1891.

FREAKS OF FANATICISM. By S. BARING GOULD. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                      [_December_, 1891.

A new and cheaper edition of the book originally published as a second
series of 'Historic Oddities.'


FICTION.


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

MY DANISH SWEETHEART. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of 'The Wreck of the
Grosvenor.' Crown 8vo, 3 vols., 31s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


_F. MABEL ROBINSON._

HOVENDEN, V.C. By F. MABEL ROBINSON, Author of 'The Plan of Campaign.'
Crown 8vo, 3 vols., 25s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


_THE AUTHOR OF 'MEHALAH.'_

MARGERY OF QUETHER. By S. BARING GOULD, Author of 'Mehalah,' &c. Crown
8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_W. E. NORRIS._

JACK'S FATHER. By W. E. NORRIS, Author of 'Matrimony.' Crown 8vo, 3s.
6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_W. H. POLLOCK & A. G. ROSS._

BETWEEN THE LINES. By WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK and A. G. ROSS. Post 8vo,
1s.
                                                               [_Ready._


_MRS. WALFORD._

A PINCH OF EXPERIENCE. By L. B. WALFORD, Author of 'Mr. Smith.' With
Illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                      [_November, 1891._


_MRS. MOLESWORTH._

THE RED GRANGE. By MRS. MOLESWORTH, Author of 'Carrots.' With
Illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                               [_Ready._


_MRS. CUTHELL._

IN TENT AND BUNGALOW: Stories of Indian Sport and Society. By MRS.
CUTHELL. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                      [_December, 1891._


_J. MACLAREN COBBAN._

A REVEREND GENTLEMAN. By J. MACLAREN COBBAN. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                       [_October, 1891._


_E. M'QUEEN GRAY._

ELSA. A Novel. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                               [_Ready._

"A charming novel. The characters are not only powerful sketches, but
minutely and carefully finished portraits."--_Guardian._


New and Cheaper Editions.


_S. BARING GOULD._

URITH. A Story of Dartmoor. By S. BARING GOULD, Author of 'Mehalah,'
'Arminell,' &c. Crown 8vo, 6s.
                                                               [_Ready._

A cheaper edition of a story which has had a very cordial reception.


_F. MABEL ROBINSON._

MR. BUTLER'S WARD. By F. MABEL ROBINSON, Author of 'The Plan of
Campaign.' Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                          [_In October._


_LESLIE KEITH._

A LOST ILLUSION. By LESLIE KEITH, Author of 'The Chilcotes,' 'A
Hurricane in Petticoats,' &c. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


_G. MANVILLE FENN._

A DOUBLE KNOT. By G. MANVILLE FENN, Author of 'The Vicar's People,'
'Eli's Children,' &c. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

A MARRIAGE AT SEA. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of 'The Wreck of the
Grosvenor,' &c. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                      [_November_, 1891.

A cheap edition of one of Mr. Clark Russell's exciting sea stories.


_M. BETHAM EDWARDS._

DISARMED. By M. BETHAM EDWARDS, Author of 'Kitty.' Crown 8vo, 3s.
6d.
                                                               [_Ready._


_EDNA LYALL._

DERRICK VAUGHAN, NOVELIST. By EDNA LYALL, Author of 'Donovan.' Crown
8vo, 1s.
                                                               [_Ready._

A cheap edition of a book which in a more expensive form has passed into
its 30th thousand.


_MRS. LYNN LINTON._

THE TRUE HISTORY OF JOSHUA DAVIDSON. By E. LYNN LINTON. Post 8vo,
1s.
                                                               [_Ready._

A new edition, being the eleventh, of this famous book.


New Two Shilling Editions.


ARMINELL. By the Author of 'Mehalah.'                        [_Ready._
ELI'S CHILDREN. By G. MANVILLE FENN.                         [_Ready._
THE QUIET MRS. FLEMING. By RICHARD PRYCE.
DISENCHANTMENT. By F. MABEL ROBINSON.


NEW BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.


_L. T. MEADE._

HEPSY GIPSY. By L. T. MEADE. Illustrated by EVERARD HOPKINS. Crown
8vo, 2s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.

THE HONOURABLE MISS: A Tale of a Country Town. By L. T. MEADE, Author
of 'Scamp and I,' 'A Girl of the People,' &c. With Illustrations by
EVERARD HOPKINS. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


_MRS. LEITH ADAMS._

MY LAND OF BEULAH. With a Frontispiece by GORDON BROWNE. Crown 8vo,
3s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


_AUTHOR OF 'MDLE. MORI.'_

THE SECRET OF MADAME DE MONLUC. By the Author of 'The Atelier du Lys.'
Illustrated by W. PARKINSON. Crown 8vo, 5s.
                                                      [_November_, 1891.


New and Cheaper Editions.


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

MASTER ROCKAFELLAR'S VOYAGE. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of 'The Wreck
of the Grosvenor,' &c. Illustrated by GORDON BROWNE. Crown 8vo, 3s.
6d.
                                                               [_Ready_.


_G. MANVILLE FENN._

SYD BELTON: Or, The Boy who would not go to Sea. By G. MANVILLE FENN,
Author of 'In the King's Name,' &c. Illustrated by GORDON BROWNE. Crown
8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                               [_Ready_.


NOVEL SERIES.

Three Shillings and Sixpence.

MESSRS. METHUEN will issue from time to time a Series of copyright
Novels, by well-known Authors, handsomely bound, at the above popular
price. The first volumes (ready) are:

1. THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. _F. MABEL ROBINSON._

2. JACQUETTA. _S. BARING GOULD_, Author of 'Mehalah,' &c.

3. MY LAND OF BEULAH. _Mrs. LEITH ADAMS_ (_Mrs. De Courcy Laffan_).

4. ELI'S CHILDREN. _G. MANVILLE FENN._

5. ARMINELL: A Social Romance. _S. BARING GOULD_, Author of 'Mehalah,'
&c.

6. DERRICK VAUGHAN, NOVELIST. With Portrait of Author. _EDNA LYALL_,
Author of 'Donovan,' &c.

7. DISENCHANTMENT. _F. MABEL ROBINSON._

8. DISARMED. _M. BETHAM EDWARDS._

9. JACK'S FATHER. _W. E. NORRIS._

10. MARGERY OF QUETHER. _S. BARING GOULD._

11. A LOST ILLUSION. _LESLIE KEITH._

Other Volumes will be announced in due course.


ENGLISH LEADERS OF RELIGION.

_Edited by A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A._

Under the above title MESSRS. METHUEN have commenced the publication of
a series of short biographies, free from party bias, of the most
prominent leaders of religious life and thought in this and the last
century.

Each volume will contain a succinct account and estimate of the career,
the influence, and the literary position of the subject of the memoir.

The following are already arranged:--

CARDINAL NEWMAN. _R. H. HUTTON._
                                                               [_Ready_.

"Few who read this book will fail to be struck by the wonderful insight
it displays into the nature of the Cardinal's genius and the spirit of
his life."--WILFRID WARD, in the _Tablet_.

"Full of knowledge, excellent in method, and intelligent in criticism.
We regard it as wholly admirable."--_Academy._

"An estimate, careful, deliberate, full of profound reasoning and of
acute insight."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

JOHN WESLEY. _J. H. OVERTON, M.A._
                                                               [_Ready._

"It is well done; the story is clearly told, proportion is duly
observed, and there is no lack either of discrimination or of
sympathy."--_Manchester Guardian._

"Admirable alike in tone and style."--_Academy._

CHARLES SIMEON. _H. C. G. MOULE, M.A._
                                                             [_Shortly._

BISHOP WILBERFORCE. _G. W. DANIEL, M.A._
                                                               [_Ready._

JOHN KEBLE. _W. LOCK, M.A._

F. D. MAURICE. _COLONEL F. MAURICE, R.E._

THOMAS CHALMERS. _MRS. OLIPHANT._

CARDINAL MANNING. _A. W. HUTTON, M.A._

Other Volumes will be announced in due course.


SOCIAL QUESTIONS OF TO-DAY.

_Edited by H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._

Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

MESSRS. METHUEN beg to announce the publication of a series of volumes
upon those topics of social, economic, and industrial interest that are
at the present moment foremost in the public mind. Each volume of the
series will be written by an author who is an acknowledged authority
upon the subject with which he deals, and who will treat his question in
a thoroughly sympathetic but impartial manner, with special reference to
the historic aspect of the subject and from the point of view of the
Historical School of economics and social science.

_The following form the earlier Volumes of the Series:_--

1. TRADES UNIONISM--NEW AND OLD. _G. HOWELL, M.P._, Author of 'The
Conflicts of Capital and Labour.'
                                                               [_Ready._

2. THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT OF TO-DAY. _G. J. HOLYOAKE_, Author of
'The History of Co-operation.'
                                                               [_Ready._

3. MUTUAL THRIFT. _REV. J. FROME WILKINSON, M.A._, Author of 'The
Friendly Society Movement.'
                                                               [_Ready._

4. PROBLEMS OF POVERTY: An Inquiry into the Industrial Conditions of the
Poor. _J. A. HOBSON, M.A._
                                                               [_Ready._

5. POVERTY AND PAUPERISM. _REV. L. R. PHELPS, M.A._, Fellow of Oriel
College, Oxford.

6. ENGLISH SOCIALISM OF TO-DAY. _HUBERT BLAND_, One of the Authors of
'Fabian Essays.'

7. THE COMMERCE OF NATIONS. _C. F. BASTABLE, M.A._, Professor of
Economics at Trinity College, Dublin, and Author of 'International
Commerce.'
                                                        [_Nearly ready._

8. ENGLISH LAND AND ENGLISH MEN. _REV. C. W. STUBBS, M.A._, Author of
'The Labourers and the Land.'

9. MODERN LABOUR AND OLD ECONOMICS. _H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._ (Editor),
Author of 'The Industrial History of England.'

10. CHRISTIAN SOCIALISM IN ENGLAND. _REV. J. CARTER, M.A._, of Pusey
House, Oxford, Editor of 'The Economic Review.'

11. LAND NATIONALIZATION. _HAROLD COX, M.A._

12. THE EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE. _J. R. DIGGLE, M.A._, Chairman of the
London School Board.


UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SERIES.

Under the above title MESSRS. METHUEN are publishing a series of books
on historical, literary, and scientific subjects, suitable for extension
students and home-reading circles. The volumes are intended to assist
the lecturer and not to usurp his place. Each volume will be complete in
itself, and the subjects will be treated by competent writers in a broad
and philosophic spirit.

_Edited by J. E. SYMES, M.A.,
Principal of University College, Nottingham._
Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

_The following volumes are already arranged, and others will be
announced shortly_.

THE INDUSTRIAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND. _H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._, late
Scholar of Wadham Coll., Oxon., Cobden Prizeman. With Maps and Plans.
                                                               [_Ready._

"A compact and clear story of our industrial development. A study of his
concise but luminous book cannot fail to give the reader a clear insight
into the principal phenomena of our industrial history. The editor and
publishers are to be congratulated on this first volume of their
venture, and we shall look with expectant interest for the succeeding
volumes of the series. If they maintain the same standard of excellence
the series will make a permanent place for itself among the many series
which appear from time to time."--_University Extension Journal._

"The writer is well-informed, and from first to last his work is
profoundly interesting."--_Scots Observer._

"A careful and lucid sketch."--_Times._

A HISTORY OF ENGLISH POLITICAL ECONOMY. _L. L. PRICE, M.A._, Fellow
of Oriel Coll., Oxon., Extension Lecturer in Political Economy.
                                                               [_Ready._

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY: An Inquiry into the Industrial Conditions of the
Poor. _J. A. HOBSON, M.A._, late Scholar of Lincoln Coll., Oxon., U. E.
Lecturer in Economics.
                                                               [_Ready._

VICTORIAN POETS. _A. SHARP_, formerly of Newnham College, Cambridge.
                                                               [_Ready._

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. _J. E. SYMES, M.A._, Principal of University
Coll., Nottingham.
                                                        [_In the Press._

PSYCHOLOGY. _F. S. GRANGER, M.A._, Lecturer in Philosophy at
University Coll., Nottingham.
                                                               [_Ready._

ENGLISH SOCIAL REFORMERS. _H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._, late Scholar of
Wadham Coll., Oxon., Cobden Prizeman.

NAPOLEON. _E. L. S. HORSBURGH, M.A._, Camb., U. E. Lecturer in
History.

ENGLISH POLITICAL HISTORY. _T. J. LAWRENCE, M.A._, late Fellow and
Tutor of Downing Coll., Cambridge, U. E. Lecturer in History.

SHAKESPEARE. _F. H. TRENCH, M.A._, Fellow of All Souls' Coll., Oxon.,
U. E. Lecturer in Literature.

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. _G. C. MOORE-SMITH, M.A._, Camb., U. E. Lecturer
in Language.

AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY. _J. SOLOMON, M.A._, Oxon., late
Lecturer in Philosophy at University Coll., Nottingham.

ENGLISH PAINTERS. _D. S. MACCOLL, M.A._, Oxon., Fellow of Univ. Coll.,
London, U. E. Lecturer in Art and Literature.

ENGLISH ARCHITECTURE. _EARNEST RADFORD, M.A._, Camb., U. E. Lecturer
in Art. With Illustrations.

THE EVOLUTION OF PLANT LIFE: Lower Forms. _G. MASSEE_, Kew Gardens, U.
E. Lecturer in Botany. With Illustrations.
                                                          [_In October._

THE CHEMISTRY OF LIFE AND HEALTH. _C. W. KIMMINS, M.A._, Camb., U. E.
Lecturer in Chemistry.


GENERAL LITERATURE.


_Works by S. BARING GOULD_,

Author of 'Mehalah,' &c.

OLD COUNTRY LIFE. With Sixty-seven Illustrations by W. PARKINSON, F.
D. BEDFORD, and F. MASEY. Large Crown 8vo, cloth super extra, top edge
gilt, 10s. 6d. Third Edition.
                                                               [_Ready._

"'Old Country Life,' as healthy wholesome reading, full of breezy life
and movement, full of quaint stories vigorously told, will not be
excelled by any book to be published throughout the year. Sound, hearty,
and English to the core."--_World._

"Mr. Baring Gould is well known as a clever and versatile author; but he
never wrote a more delightful book than the volume before us. He has
described English country life with the fidelity that only comes with
close acquaintance, and with an appreciation of its more attractive
features not surpassed even in the pages of Washington Irving. The
illustrations add very much to the charm of the book, and the artists in
their drawings of old churches and manor-houses, streets, cottages, and
gardens, have greatly assisted the author."--_Manchester Guardian._

HISTORIC ODDITIES AND STRANGE EVENTS. Demy 8vo, 10s. 6d. Second
Edition. Cheap Edition, 6s.

"A collection of exciting and entertaining chapters. The whole volume is
delightful reading."--_Times._

"The work, besides being agreeable to read, is valuable for purposes of
reference. The entire contents are stimulating and delightful."--_Notes
and Queries._

FREAKS OF FANATICISM. (First published as Historic Oddities, Second
Series.) Demy 8vo, 10s. 6d. Cheap Edition, 6s.

"Mr. Baring Gould has a keen eye for colour and effect, and the subjects
he has chosen give ample scope to his descriptive and analytic
faculties. A perfectly fascinating book. Whether considered as merely
popular reading or as a succession of studies in the freaks of human
history, it is equally worthy of perusal, while it is marked by the
artistic literary colouring and happy lightness of style."--_Scottish
Leader._

SONGS OF THE WEST: Traditional Ballads and Songs of the West of
England, with their Traditional Melodies. Collected by S. BARING GOULD,
M.A., and H. FLEETWOOD SHEPPARD, M.A. Arranged for Voice and Piano. In 4
Parts (containing 25 Songs each), 3s. each. Part I., Fourth Edition.
Part II., Second Edition. Part III., _ready_. Part IV., 5s. In one
Vol., roan, 15s.

"A rich and varied collection of humour, pathos, grace, and poetic
fancy."--_Saturday Review._

YORKSHIRE ODDITIES AND STRANGE EVENTS. Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo,
6s.
                                                               [_Ready._

JACQUETTA, and other Stories. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. Boards, 2s.

ARMINELL: A Social Romance. New Edition. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

"To say that a book is by the author of 'Mehalah' is to imply that it
contains a story cast on strong lines, containing dramatic
possibilities, vivid and sympathetic descriptions of Nature, and a
wealth of ingenious imagery. All these expectations are justified by
'Arminell.'"--_Speaker._

URITH: A Story of Dartmoor. New Edition. Crown 8vo, 6s.

"The author is at his best."--_Times._

"He has nearly reached the high water-mark of 'Mehalah."'--_National
Observer._

MARGERY OF QUETHER, and other Stories. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
                                                       [_October_, 1891.


MESSRS. METHUEN'S NEW & RECENT BOOKS.


FICTION.


_E. LYNN LINTON._

THE TRUE HISTORY OF JOSHUA DAVIDSON, Christian and Communist. By E.
LYNN LINTON. Eleventh and Cheaper Edition. Post 8vo, 1s.


_G. MANVILLE FENN._

A DOUBLE KNOT. By G. MANVILLE FENN, Author of 'The Vicar's People,'
&c. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.


HISTORY AND POLITICS.


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

THE LIFE OF ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of
'The Wreck of the Grosvenor.' With Illustrations by F. BRANGWYN. 8vo,
15s.

"A surprisingly good book."--_Manchester Guardian._

"A really good book."--_Saturday Review._

"A most excellent and wholesome book, which we should like to see in the
hands of every boy in the country."--_St. James's Gazette._


_HANNAH LYNCH._

GEORGE MEREDITH: A Study. By HANNAH LYNCH. With Portrait. Crown 8vo,
5s. A limited Large-Paper Edition, 21s.

"We strongly recommend this essay to Meredithians, still more to not yet
Meredithians."--_Journal of Education._


_E. LYNN LINTON._

ABOUT IRELAND. By E. LYNN LINTON. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, boards,
1s.

"A brilliant and justly proportioned view of the Irish
Question."--_Standard._


_T. RALEIGH, M.A._

IRISH POLITICS: An Elementary Sketch. By T. RALEIGH, M.A. Fellow of
All Souls', Oxford, Author of 'Elementary Politics.' Foolscap 8vo, paper
boards, 1s.; cloth, 1s. 6d.

 "A very clever work."--MR. GLADSTONE.

"Unionist as he is, his little book has been publicly praised for its
cleverness both by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Morley. It does, in fact, raise
most of the principal points of the Irish controversy, and puts them
tersely, lucidly, and in such a way as to strike into the mind of the
reader."--_The Speaker._

"Salient facts and clear expositions in a few sentences packed with
meaning. Every one who wishes to have the vital points of Irish politics
at his finger's end should get this book by heart."--_Scotsman._


_F. MABEL ROBINSON._

IRISH HISTORY FOR ENGLISH READERS. By F. MABEL ROBINSON. Fourth
Edition. Crown 8vo, boards, 1s.


GENERAL LITERATURE.


_EDITED BY F. LANGBRIDGE, M.A._

BALLADS OF THE BRAVE: Poems of Chivalry, Enterprise, Courage, and
Constancy, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Edited, with
Notes, by REV. F. LANGBRIDGE. Crown 8vo.

"A very happy conception happily carried out. These 'Ballads of the
Brave' are intended to suit the real tastes of boys, and will suit the
taste of the great majority. It is not an ordinary selector who could
have so happily put together these characteristic samples. Other readers
besides boys may learn much from them."--_Spectator._

"The book is full of splendid things."--_World._

Presentation Edition. Handsomely Bound, 3s. 6d. (School Edition, 2s.
6d.) Or, in Three Parts, 1s. each, for School Readers.

I. TROY TO FLODDEN. II. BOSWORTH TO WATERLOO. III. CRIMÆA TO KHARTOUM.


_P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A._

OUR ENGLISH VILLAGES: Their Story and their Antiquities. By P. H.
DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.R.H.S., Rector of Barkham, Berks. Post 8vo, 2s.
6d. Illustrated.

"A pleasantly written little volume, giving much interesting information
concerning villages and village life."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"The object of the author is not so much to describe any particular
village as to give a clear idea of what village life has been in England
from the earliest historical times. An extremely amusing and interesting
little book, which should find a place in every parochial
library."--_Guardian._


_P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A._

OLD ENGLISH SPORTS. By P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.
Illustrated.

"A charming account of old English Sports."--_Morning Post._


_A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A._

OXFORD: Its Life and Schools. Edited by A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A.,
assisted by members of the University. New Edition. Crown 8vo, 5s.

"Offers a full and in most respects a satisfactory description of the
country through which students must travel, and affords to parents who
are desirous of calculating the expenses and rewards of University
education, a mass of useful information conveniently arranged and
brought down to the most recent date."--_Athenæum._

"We can honestly say of Mr. Stedman's volume that it deserves to be read
by the people for whom it is intended, the parents and guardians of
Oxford students, present and to come, and by such students
themselves."--_Spectator._


_J. B. BURNE, M.A._

PARSON AND PEASANT: Chapters of their Natural History. By J. B. BURNE,
M.A., Rector of Wasing. Crown 8vo, 5s.

"'Parson and Peasant' is a book not only to be interested in, but to
learn something from--a book which may prove a help to many a clergyman,
and broaden the hearts and ripen the charity of laymen."--_Derby
Mercury._


BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.


_W. CLARK RUSSELL._

MASTER ROCKAFELLAR'S VOYAGE. By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of 'The Wreck
of the Grosvenor,' &c. Illustrated by GORDON BROWNE. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

"Mr. Clark Russell's story of 'Master Rockafellar's Voyage' will be
among the favourites of the Christmas books. There is a rattle and 'go'
all through it, and its illustrations are charming in themselves, and
very much above the average in the way in which they are produced. Mr.
Clark Russell is thoroughly at home on sea and with boys, and he manages
to relate and combine the marvellous in so plausible a manner that we
are quite prepared to allow that Master Rockafellar's is no unfair
example of every midshipman's first voyage. We can heartily recommend
this pretty book to the notice of the parents and friends of sea-loving
boys."--_Guardian._

"In the frank and convincing narrative of Master Rockafellar there
happens to be set a short story which should make the fortune of the
book. 'La Mulette' is as fine a piece of story-telling as ever Mr.
Russell has given us, and we heartily commend it to any boy who has the
sense to distinguish between the author who has a story to tell, and the
author who has to tell a story."--_Speaker._


_G. MANVILLE FENN._

SYD BELTON: Or, The Boy who would not go to Sea. By G. MANVILLE FENN,
Author of 'In the King's Name,' &c. Illustrated by GORDON BROWNE. Crown
8vo, 3s. 6d.

"Who among the young story-reading public will not rejoice at the sight
of the old combination, so often proved admirable--a story by Manville
Fenn, illustrated by Gordon Browne! The story, too, is one of the good
old sort, full of life and vigour, breeziness and fun. It begins well
and goes on better, and from the time Syd joins his ship exciting
incidents follow each other in such rapid and brilliant succession that
nothing short of absolute compulsion would induce the reader to lay it
down."--_Journal of Education._

"The pick of the adventure-books for this season. There is not a dull
page in it. 'Syd Belton' is a capital book."--_Speaker._

"From beginning to end the book is a vivid and even striking picture of
sea-life."--_Spectator._


_MRS. PARR._

DUMPS. By MRS. PARR, Author of 'Adam and Eve,' 'Dorothy Fox,' &c.
Illustrated by W. PARKINSON. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

"One of the prettiest stories which even this clever writer has given
the world for a long time."--_World._

"A very sweet and touching story."--_Pall Mall Gazette._


_L. T. MEADE._

A GIRL OF THE PEOPLE. By L. T. MEADE, Author of 'Scamp and I.' &c.
Illustrated by R. BARNES. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

"An excellent story. Vivid portraiture of character, and broad and
wholesome lessons about life."--_Spectator._

"One of Mrs. Meade's most fascinating books."--_Daily News._


EDUCATIONAL WORKS.


METHUEN'S SCIENCE SERIES.

MESSRS. METHUEN propose to issue a Series of Science Manuals suitable
for use in schools. They will be edited by Mr. R. Elliot Steel, M.A.,
F.C.S., Senior Natural Science Master in Bradford Grammar School, and
will be published at a moderate price. The following are ready or in
preparation--

THE WORLD OF SCIENCE. Including Chemistry, Heat, Light, Sound,
Magnetism, Electricity, Botany, Zoology, Physiology, Astronomy, and
Geology. By R. ELLIOT STEEL, M.A., F.C.S., Senior Natural Science Master
in Bradford Grammar School. 147 Illustrations. Second Edition. Crown
8vo, 2s. 6d.

"Mr. Steel's Manual is admirable in many ways. The Book is well
calculated to attract and retain the attention of the young."--_Saturday
Review._

"If Mr. Steel is to be placed second to any for this quality of
lucidity, it is only to Huxley himself; and to be named in the same
breath with this master of the craft of teaching is to be accredited
with the clearness of style and simplicity of arrangement that belong to
thorough mastery of a subject."--_Parents' Review._

Elementary Light with numerous Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s.
     "     Electricity and Magnetism.
     "     Heat.

Other Volumes will be announced in due course.


_R. E. STEEL, M.A._

REVISED FOR NEW SESSION.

PRACTICAL INORGANIC CHEMISTRY. For the Elementary Stage of the South
Kensington Examinations in Science and Art. By R. E. STEEL, M.A., Senior
Natural Science Master at Bradford Grammar School. Crown 8vo, cloth,
1s.


_R. J. MORICH._

A GERMAN PRIMER. With Exercises. By R. J. MORICH, Chief Modern
Language Master at Manchester Grammar School.
                                                        [_In the Press._


_H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._

COMPANION GERMAN GRAMMAR. By H. DE B. GIBBINS, M.A., Assistant Master
at Nottingham High School. Crown 8vo, 1s. 6d.


_E. McQUEEN GRAY._

GERMAN PASSAGES FOR UNSEEN TRANSLATION. By E. MCQUEEN GRAY. Crown 8vo,
2s. 6d.


CLASSICAL WORKS.

TACITUS: The Agricola. With Introduction, Notes, &c. By R. F. DAVIS,
M.A., Assistant Master at Weymouth College. Crown 8vo.
                                                        [_In the Press._

SELECTIONS FROM HERODOTUS. With Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary.
By A. C. LIDDELL, M.A., Assistant Master at Nottingham High School.
Fcap. 8vo.
                                                      [_In preparation._

CICERO. De Oratore I. Translated into English by N. P. MOOR, M.A.,
Assistant Master at Clifton. Crown 8vo.
                                                      [_November_, 1891.


WORKS by A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A.

WADHAM COLLEGE, OXON.

FIRST LATIN LESSONS. Second Edition, Enlarged. Crown 8vo, 2s.

FIRST LATIN READER. With Notes adapted to the Shorter Latin Primer and
Vocabulary. Crown 8vo, 1s. 6d.

EASY LATIN PASSAGES FOR UNSEEN TRANSLATION. Second Edition, Enlarged.
Fcap. 8vo, 1s. 6d.

EASY LATIN EXERCISES ON THE SYNTAX OF THE SHORTER AND REVISED LATIN
PRIMERS. With Vocabulary. Third Edition. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. Issued
with the consent of Dr. Kennedy.

NOTANDA QUAEDAM: Miscellaneous Latin Exercises on Common Rules and
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LATIN VOCABULARIES FOR REPETITION: Arranged according to Subjects.
Third Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 1s. 6d.

FIRST GREEK LESSONS.
                                                      [_In preparation._

EASY GREEK PASSAGES FOR UNSEEN TRANSLATION.

EASY GREEK EXERCISES ON ELEMENTARY SYNTAX.
                                                      [_In preparation._

GREEK VOCABULARIES FOR REPETITION: Arranged according to Subjects.
Fcap. 8vo, 1s. 6d.

GREEK TESTAMENT SELECTIONS. For the use of Schools. New Edition. With
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FIRST FRENCH LESSONS. Crown 8vo. 1s.

EASY FRENCH PASSAGES FOR UNSEEN TRANSLATION.
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EASY FRENCH EXERCISES ON ELEMENTARY SYNTAX. With Vocabulary. Crown 8vo,
2s. 6d.

FRENCH VOCABULARIES FOR REPETITION: Arranged according to Subjects.
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See also School Examination Series, below.


SCHOOL EXAMINATION SERIES.

Edited by A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A.

Crown 8vo. 2_s._ 6_d._ each.

In use at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Repton, Cheltenham, Sherborne,
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FRENCH EXAMINATION PAPERS IN MISCELLANEOUS GRAMMAR AND IDIOMS. By A. M.
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A KEY, issued to Tutors and Private Students only, to be had on
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Part I.   Chemistry.
Part II.  Physics (Sound, Light, Heat, Magnetism, Electricity).
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and arranged by J. T. MEDHURST, F. S. Accts. and Auditors, and Lecturer
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ENGLISH LITERATURE, Questions for Examination in. Chiefly collected from
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ARITHMETIC EXAMINATION PAPERS. By C. PENDLEBURY, M.A., Senior
Mathematical Master, St. Paul's School. KEY, 5_s._

TRIGONOMETRY EXAMINATION PAPERS. By E. H. WARD, M.A., Assistant Master
at St. Paul's School. KEY, 5_s._



+-------------------------------------------------+
|Transcriber's note:                              |
|                                                 |
|Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.  |
|                                                 |
+-------------------------------------------------+





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