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CHAP. XXIV.

too much reverence for religion, to bring his

faith forward for scoffers to sneer at.” It was Io the course of the same day, Colonel one of my own worst of grievances, that Tarragon came again to bid his sister farervell. religious observances of any kind seemed utterly Lady Laura was dressing to go out, when he banished from my father's house ; and I was came; and being in attendance on her, I asked obliged to keep a watch over myself, lest I too, her to convey my best wishes to her brother, should be betrayed into laxity in those duties deceptive I admit, on my part; love teaches which at Miss Norman's I had justly been taught deceit, as a first lesson. 'The want of agitation were of the highest importance. or emotion with which I heard his message I had Sundays, however, generally to myself, delivered evidently greatly amazed my step- at least the evenings for reading and reflection; mother. She shot a glance of triumph at me as for Mr. Castlebrook and Lady Laura were she left the room. I knew well her thought- always at the select parties held at Carlton Vincent at any rate would be removed out of House on that day. In the mornings I my sphere. I fear, at that time, Lady Laura, to invariably attended divine service, though my gratify her viodictive feeling, would have cheer- step-mother at first tried to interfere with this fully parted with half-a-dozen brothers.

practice. Yet as I was bome in time to attend I heard that Colonel Tarragon was to leave on her before her four o'clock drive, she town that night, en route for his regiment; but gradually ceased opposition, which she knew Mrs. Martin delivered to me, privately, a small | was unavailing; for, willing enough to co three-cornered note, which contained three lines, anything of no moment, I had the merit, or the whose fervour almost made up for their brevity. obstinacy, which ever the reader pleases, of being

inflexible in the right, and from my earliest "My Own Best Love,'

youth I had been accustomed to regard Sunday "Above all, be not faint-hoarted ; trust in as a sacred day for rest, prayer, and thought. me; love me but one-third as well as I idolize you, Indeed I will do my contemporaries the justice to and believe firmly in the truth of"

say that those who were disinclined to religious " V. T.”

observances contented themselves with neglectApy girl who has loved will easily credit that ing the Sunday without endeavouring (as in the I committed these lines immediately to my

present day) to ignore it as a divine institution. memory. to be conned over and considered, I Without desiring the rigour of a Puritan when afterwards' doubts intruded and fears

Sabbath, and conceding that the law of Moses predominated.

is to us perhaps no more binding with regard Strange thoughts would from time to time to the seventh day than many of the burdens intrude even in the first halcyon days of requited of the ceremonial law imposed on the Jewish love. I began now to tax my memory, for the race; I yet freely state that I should deeply regret first time, as to what was Vincent's own belief in to see the laxity of a continental Sunday prevail bigher matters. I could not for my life recollect 1 in England. Besides, it seems to me that in one observation that ever had reference to his rejecting the fourth commandment we might as religious opinions, or that gave evidence of his reasonably refuse to abide by the divine authority principles being founded on a firmer, surer code,

of the other nine, which as a code of duty and than that of human honour.

moral obligations nons will refuse to accept. My reason gave me no satisfactory answer,

| If therefore we should say the sixth commandand I strove to silence inquiry by giving my

ment is not binding on Gentiles, what restraint lover credit for not obtruding matters of sanctity have we against killing or slaying ad libitum ? in a circle so frivolous as that of Lady Laura's | Christ accepted these laws, and why should we rerawing-room. " Doubtless," I said," " he has i fuse? Heimpressed on the Jews that charity and humanity were not to be sacrificed to the letter His brow clouded like a brooding thunderof the law; that “the Sabbath was made for storm. man, not man for the Sabbath"-an aphorism “ How! girl ? You will not dare disobey ! which has certainly been twisted out of all shape What do you mean?” to suit the views of the Anti-Sabbatarian; but “Only that my marriage with Lord Dorning. which was simply meant to unite those duties ton is now and for ever entirely out of the which the Pharisee would have evaded by acting question.” according to the letter, and not according to the “ Wretch !"-Mr. Castlebrook when angered spirit. Let the working-men have their gardens was not particular to an epithet—"fool! would to walk in; their galleries if they want them; you annihilate your own hopes of fortune?" their Crystal Palaces-surely as lawful for the “I would rather, oh much rather, work to work man and his wife and children, as for gain my own bread; than marry against my own shareholders-only let us have warranty that inclinations." leisure will not degenerate into licence, and that At this minute Lady Laura's bell sounded the man who will not listen to sermons in what I knew to be a summons for me. I wished churches, has perceptions sufficiently awakened to terminate a painful contention. I rose. to find them in stones and " good in “Let me say, father, once for all, I will not everything."

| marry any one whom my heart and my judgBut this is grave matter for such frivolous ment cannot approve." memoirs, and I must proceed with my own story, “ Romantic stuff! I will not hear it.” which, though I knew it not, was fast hastening I must go now, Lady Laura wants me.” to a crisis.

“Stay here if you please; this matter is not The storm broke presently over my head in to be glossed over so easily." perfect fury, on the morning after Colonel A knock came to the door. Tarragon's departure.

“Plague on everybody! come in and be After breakfast, taken by my father in forebod

od hanged," said Mr: Castlebrook, substituting the ing silence, Mr. Castlebrook desired in a voice

last word, evidently with a vast effort of of authority that I would follow him to the

forbearance. library. I rose to obey him with a heart beating |

Hannah the housemaid, on this, entered with alarm, though my father, in fact, did not seem

hesitatingly. angry, only grave and embarrassed. Something,

“Please, Miss Castlebrook, my lady begs you evidently, was on his mind. He was not long

will go to her directly." in commencing his explanation.

“Tell your lady, Miss Castlebrook cannot " Isabella, there is a subject on which I have

come,” said her master with a voice of thunder

to the frightened housemaid-the same woman long desired to speak to you. I cannot reproach

whose services were declined as femme de chambre, you with any misconduct since your return

because of her awkwardness, and propensity to home; you have, I am bound in strict justice to

sup off unsavoury-smelling condiments, admit, becn obedient and conciliating-qualities

“Hannah, I am engaged particularly. Will of temper which lead me to infer that you will

' you ask Mrs. Martin to go up to Lady Laura no doubt be happy in a home of your own. You have personally grown up beyond my hopes;

this morning?" but every girl is well acquainted with her own

“Mrs. Martin, miss, is hill a bed,” said

| Hannah, aspiratiog violently in her terror at Mr. charms, and certainly you have been approved

Castlebrook. of by the select few who visit here. That is all

“ Deuce take all the women-then go your. very well; but you have no fortune, and it will

self," said my father, slamming his fist on the be utterly out of my power to give you any

table in violent irritation. portion, or provide for you at my death. Even

And Hannah, in a dismay that might have my wife has no jointure settled on her; and I

provoked a smile, had I been in the least dishope you have sense enough to see, that mere

posed to mirth, bolted out of the room. beauty may hang on your hands and mine

On such trifles do our destinies depend! undisposed of, till too late. I have therefore, under these peculiar circumstances," said my

Hannah the housemaid, knowing how much father, "accepted the proposals of Lord Dor.

Lady Laura disliked her services, bethought her nington, a worthy Peer to whom I have observed

of recommending herself by a little judicious

gossip. It was shewhoon the previous morning bad you have listened with complacency, and who,

let in Colonel Tarragon, during the absence of Lady Laura assures me, is viewed by you with preference. He is anxious to have the affair

the man-servant, and had shown him to the

drawing-room. Some curiosity had, no doubt, brought to a conclusion. You will therefore

ore induced the inquisitive domestic to apply to immediately make preparations for your

"ways and means known best to herself to witmarriage. As for money, it must, I suppose, be found somehow; but for heaven's sake do

,'ness our interview; but the result, with which with as little as you can."

40 only I have to do here, was a full particular ac

count, garnished plentifully with fanciful adornThere was a panse, broken at last by my own ments, of what we said and what we did on that parched lips-parched by terror and amazement. occasion. The consequences, perhaps, Hannah

“I shall require nothing, sir, for the purpose had not quite anticipated. Her lady said little ; you have named,”

but when she was dressed, she sent the girl to

desire Mr. Castlebrook would go to her dressblood nearly burst through my finger-nails in ing room immediately.

| the efforts I made for self-control. On our parts a stormy interview was just “My--my-mother is an angel; and you are coming to a close, when Hannah, pale and hur- / --a---" ried, made this announcement. My father, in- ' “Go on-go on !” biting her lips and stampcensed beyond control at my firmness, now ling her foot. “Do not mince the word, pray : became alarmed: for Lady Laura, whose ac- 1 often hear it”-a glance at her husband. couchement was expected in a few months, be- / “Devil!--that is your word! Delightful lantween her own imprudences and health not guage for the éleve of the pious Miss Norman really strong was often subject to dangerous | the friend of that saint and martyr Miss Lis. attacks of spasms. He left me abruptly, a ter combe !” rible oath on his lips, and ascended the principal

| “Oh, woman-if you are woman! cease staircase to his wife's room.

| taunts and threats, madam, pray! How can I I remained mechanically in the library, and

have erred so deeply? We can wait.” was absorbed in painful thought, when a peal

“No more of this folly! I'll have no brawlfrom Lady Laura's bell vibrated through the

ing from women's tongues, distracting one. A house. Hannah could not have been far off,

card of invitation, Miss Castlebrook, has been for she rushed in. “Oh, goodness, miss, for

sent from Carlton House : you will be presented give me! I didn't mean for to say any harm.

to the Regent as the future wife of Lord DorI'm sure I didn't know as there was any- and

nington; or- you may leave my house, as a handsome young gentleman as give me half a

your detested mother was sent from her father's, sovereign, which the colour of my lady's money

to expiate your disobedience and disgrace in I never see yet. Ob, miss, I wouldn't for

poverty and solitude !" twenty gold sovereigns have done it; but my

"I will not enter society on these terms !" lady was so cross, I did it, like, to pacificate

My anger rose fast, faster than I could check her !”

it: an avalanche of passion flooded my soul: I I hastily passed the girl, and went up-stairs. I fire.

knew not what I said or did. My eyes flashed

I raised my voice as one with authority : As I knocked at the door of Lady Laura's “My mother was too good for so hard and apartment, I heard my father's voice loud in cruel a man! And the wife you have chosen to stormy anger. “Come in”-and I entered. fill her place is not worthy to have kissed the My stepmother was sitting in her usual chair;

dust from her feet! You are both alike wicked but Mr. Castlebrook was pacing up and down - wicked, I tell you! And-and-oh, my the room, biting the end of a riding-whip which God! my God! save me from them from myhe carried in his hand, His hat had been

been self!" dashed down on the floor. At sight of me his Lady Laura was close to me, for she had wife burst out into vituperation.

risen. She stretched forth her hand, and in “There is the base, ungrateful creature, Mr. I one instant I was felled to the ground, only for Castlebrook, who has abused my kindness, my an instant. I was on my feet directly-on my confidence, by intriguing with my foolish feet, conscious but of one thing-that Mr. brother !

Castlebrook, by the application of his riding“So, madam, this precious discovery accounts whip across my shoulders-covered only by a for your refusal of a nobleman, a man of family thin scarf (high-bodied dresses being then unand fortune sufficient, methinks, for your pre- known), had in a second of time lacerated the tensions !

| flesh, till blood and a sickening faintness folShe took up the theme.

lowed: but, stinging as was even the physical “After this commend me to your amiable pain, the wounds were not so grievous as those people - hypocrites all! turning round so l inflicted on my soul by this action. meekly one cheek when the oiher is smitten Personal chastisement! and from the hand of and all for purposes of their own!”

a man-that man my father—the being who had “How dare you presume to put me to the given me life, to whom my duty and obedience expense of that cursed drawing-room? You were due! Personal chastisement! Oh, it is knew you were introduced as the intended wife deep, deep degradation to a woman! In that of Lord Dornington!”

| hour of agony I did not believe I could survive "And to admit his attentions so palpably !" it-only, death does not come at our demand; screamed, rather than said, Lady Laura- else, how many souls would be left on earth ?” " while at the same time you were entangling “Go to your own room, and dare not come poor dear silly Vincent into an engagement !"" from thence till you have made submission !"

"Madam"-when I could get in a word I had bruised my temple severely in my fall, “ Colonel Tarragon, unasked, sought my affec- and the blood had started from my nostrils ; it tion. I am not—"

was necessary, indeed, to seek some refuge--ere “You are all that is vile! But what I did so I turned to Lady Laura : “I trust, could your father expect?- bad blood-bad madam, when you yourself become a mother, blood! Your mother vas a murderess!" you will better understand the affection which

Oh! if a look could have slain, should I | I can never forget is due to a parent's memory!" not have been one too at that moment ? At that she was still quivering with rage, and my cruel, cruel speech, I clasped my hands till the defather, after his last speech, had seized his hat,

and, with the whip in his hand with which he “Yes, mies: don't know the shop; per bs had scourged his own child, left the room, and you'll pull the check-string?” directly after the house.

He mounted the box and drove on, choosing, I entered my own chamber, visited once by as I thought, all the narrow streets he could the penitent Hannah to whom I refused admit. find by way of route. At last, just as we were tance. I washed the traces of blood from my in the purlieus of Leicester-square, the coach face and shoulders, and, mained in heart and came crash against some obstacle, turned over person, I covered my face with my hands, and on its side, and thereupon my senses-weakrested thus some time. But I could not dis ened, I suppose, by previous exhaustion and miss the storm of shame and resentment which loss of blood-deserted me, and I fainted. had been roused in my naturally passionate na- When I came to myself, I was in an apotheture. I rose up presently, and paced up and cary's sbop, surrounded by a host of people, down my room: “Oh, Vincent, why are you and supported by an elderly, decent-looking not here to take me from this cruel, cruel woman of the lower classes, who was bathing house!” Then I thought, had lie been near, my temples. they would not have dared so to act. “I can "My what a bruise!" she said, pointing to never again meet them," I said at last. “My the ono before inflicted. father himself desired I would quit his house! | "That was on her forehead, before my I will, I will! No home- none for me! But wehicle upset, said the hackney-coachman,who I will not crouch meanly for the mere bread I was waiting to see if I were dead or alive; eat, nor sell myself for a slave-nay, worse! “I'll take my oath it was. Father, farewell! You may yet repent your “Now, good people, clear the shop," said the deed !"

j apothecary, a little fussy man, bringing me a It was easily resolved to go-but whither? draught, which I found myself forced to swaland the means? I had no regular allowance of low, much on the same principle that when you pocket-money: when I was compelled, I asked go into an inn you must order refreshment; my father for it, and received a pittance, gene- , then a dreadful idea came across me--" Where rally accompanied with such frowns, and often is my money?" I felt in my pocket-joy!-the oaths, that I never asked till I could not help it. little therein was perfectly safe. I now examined my purse-there was exactly "I have something to pay-the cab fare." a sovereign and a-half in it, and I had few But to that observation there arose a strong dejewels. All I possessed, however, I placed in bate. The honest woman who had charitably my pocket, and selecting a plain dark dress, I taken charge of me when I was dragged out of put on a simple straw hat and veil, with a cloth what my Jehu termed his “ wehicle," and the pelisse, and then watching my opportunity, I apothecary, both declared I had no right to pay glided down-stairs, and opening the ball-door, I a farthing; and the hackney-coachman, no whit was in the street before anyone in the house inferior in abuse and imposition to his confrère had observed me. In putting into execution of 1865, as vehemently declared he had a right this rash scheme, I had not the slightest notion to it, and have it he would. I settled the diswhere to go, or what to do. The thought of pute by changing iny largest gold coin, and out Benvolere first occurred to me; and, could I of the change giving the man half-a-crown, at find hin. I was sure he would extend shelter to which, being more than his legal fare, of course me, and give his advice for the future ; but I he grumbled. Then as the gazers and gapers knew not how to ascertain bis abode, or if even dispersed, following him as the most clamorous, he was in London. In those days the state of and therefore the most interesting of the the Continent was so disturbed, that the return parties concerned, I asked the apothecary, then, of those who went thither was at best uncertain. what I had to pay him. I paused, but I was in fear of every moment ;

ent: "A mere trifle, miss— five shillings-thank meeting some one who knew me. At last a thought occurred.

A very short time previously, the Londoners The good woman, who still lingered, raised had been excited by the Princess Charlotte's es- her hands, either in admiration or deprecation. cape from Warwick-bouse, on an occasion when ! Five shillings might be a mere trifle; but, for she deemed her father harsh and tyrannical. ten minutes shelter and a sal volatile draught, I remembered the royal young lady's' proceed. it was a good deal ; and just then the sum to ings, and beckoned a coach from a stand nearly 'me was a material object. What if I could not. opposite to me. My call was instantly re. after all, find Benvolere? Could I return? Imsponded to, and in another moment I was safe possible! My Alight, no doubt, had been disfrom observation.

covered, and that supposition made return out - Where to, miss?" said the man. civilly, I of the question. Besides – no-better anything touching his hat.

than live in such splendid misery. I had not thought of that. What was my! I turned to leave the shop. The woman aim? There was a shop in Oxford-street came after me. I thought she looked for paywhere Benvolere's musical compositions were ment, and took my purse out to proffer her published - they might tell me there where he some trifle, wbich she indeed most deserved; but resided,

| she said: I begs pardon, miss; you look like a “ Drive me to Minim's, Oxford-street." 'lady, that's certain. Can I put you in the way

you."

where you want to go? London streets is bad size. I stroked and petted the cat; but I am for a young creature like you. Let me see you bound to confess that be did not evince the home, miss."

slightest personal interest in me. “ Home,” said I, absently, “I have none.” “But, iniss, how is it you are from home?"

“ Lord help ye! that's a bad thing to have to “I will tell you that to-morrow, dear, kind say, and you so young a lady. But I has a Betsy. If I can have a cup of tea, it will be girl of my own, and-bless us! I hope, miss, all I shall require to-night, and will you show you ain't going to faint again.”

ine to my room.” “No; I am weak, and I capnot, I think, These poor people had true delicacy: they go this evening where I intended; it will be too asked me no more questions; and presently a late. You seem a kind, honest person; will cup of excellent tea, and some toast, with an you tell me where I can get a lodging-a pooregg, were served in very humble potter's ware ; one will do, if it be only respectable."

but all neat and spotlessly clean, as I found my “ Well, miss, I dare say I can: I hare a room bed-room to be, though the sheets were unto let myself ; but you don't seem to be much bleached, and the coverlid a coarse rug. used to poor places, and I am only a widder! But I thought little of such things. When who takes in washing and has a mangle. But I was alone, I breathed a fervent thanksgiving my Betsy is at home just now, out of place, and that I had found shelter beneath a honest roof; she knows something, she do, of fine folks' and with the protection of “Tootsy," whom ways-so"

Betsy had insisted in domiciling in my room, I eagerly assured her that any accommoda lest there should be mice, I speedily lost in a tion would do, if it were only clean and decent. second, but sweeter oblivion, all memory of Had I known London better, I might have wrongs, of friends and foes. hesitated at the offer ; but the poor woman's hard features and homely dress spoke of poverty, but bad no trace of anything worse. "Well, then,” she said, “come with me,

THE USELESS. miss; its up a court, but perhaps you won't mind that."

BY MRS ABDY. We trudged on, and, at last, taking me up a close but clean-flagged court, my conductress knocked at the door of a one-storied house, and it was quickly opened by a young woman, who

"No one is useless in this world, wlio lightens the cried out-“Why, mother, for sure, I thought I burden of it to any one else." you was lost!”

Our Muluul Friend." "No; here I am, safe and sound. Come in, miss. Betsy, my dear, get a light.”

There was a cozy fire, and a sinall tea-kettle was singing with all its might, on a bright black The Useless! How truly I feel for their lot! hob.

| How dull and insipid a sceno it discloses ! “ Yes, mother, directly," was the cheerful How same must the sky be, that clouds shadow not ! answer, in a voice whose accents seemed How tedious the way that lies all among roses ! strangely familiar to my ear. In a minute the • dip' was kindled, and placed on the table. I No wonder that oft, as they languidly pass had dropped into a seat, weary and heart-sick,

Along the smooth road of their sunny existence, and taking off my bat. one of the strings | They long with the workers and doers to class, got knotted in my hair. The girl came

Who struggle and toil in the world at a distance. civilly forward to assist me, and the light, such

I pity their case ; yet to me it appears, as it was, fell full on my face. “My goodness gracious alive, mother! Why Whatever our talent, whatever our years,

I That none need complain of their useless condition: it is-- it can't be-it is though, grown into a We all have a duty, we all have a mission. grown-up young lady! Miss, don't you know me, Miss Castlebri ok? Oh! this is prime. To the children of affluence Providence sends Why, mother, you've heard me talk of Miss, | A gift truly precious—the dear gift of leisure ; over and over again. And-Well, to think how You may solace the hours of your neighbours and fortunate I should be at home.”

friends, "Betsy-my dear good Betsy! Thank Assuaging each trouble, enhancing each pleasure. God! I have found a friend at last.”

Yes, Betsy it was Mnemosyne Betsy-a / You may kindly encourage the lowly of hoart; trifle thicker and broader, hut the same good

You may speak consolation and peace to the tempered creature, unheeding trouble or diffi

grieving,

" And daily enjoy all the good you impart, culty.

Since giving is ever more blest than receiving. She ran to a corner, from whence she dragged Torun aarge black cat, woose laenuity with my O'er Time's lagging course it is futile to mourn : old pet kitten "Tootsy” was only to be discovered! This truth I maintain, and will ever declare itby his collar and silver bells, the former neatly The burden of life may be easily borne, pieced, for he had greatly outgrown his original! If we only enable another to bear it!

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