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thea might wish or try to do, I thought she can- love me; not as he has loved, as he can love. not yet have hurt Helen in any serious way. It is quite another thing. I am his little sister And 'I do feel some faith in my Vienna corres- in comparison. But, dear," and she smiled pondent.
very sweetly, “I did not marry him in the Saturday afternoon came, and Helen appeared thought that he loved me. I dared not dream to meet me with a bunch of roses in her hand. of such a love. And now, I only feel that he We proceeded to the favourite nook in the rocks, is worthy to be loved by the best woman that where her work-basket had already been deposi- ever breathed; and I love him-he is my husted. She looked so bonny and cheerful that band. I wish indeed I could think it possible though longing to ask explanation of her part- he ever might love me, even as he loved her ing speech, I would not at once remind her of when he wrote; but at least I can deserve what seemed painful. I asked her about certain better than she has done. Ah, he thought singing lessons her letter had mentioned, and she was an angel, he loved her as one ; and found they had afforded her much pleasure. she is-what she is.” The gentleman who gave them was an Italian “ You believe she did this intentionally?” concert singer, who having an engagement at “ I am certain of it. I did not cry about it, I Liverpool, had been induced by Lady Althea to felt stunned. Then thinking how malicious it come as far as Cardington Castle. Some was of her, I rallied my spirit, went to the additional payment had been made to him by drawing-room and restored the letter. I said, Lady Arabella on Helen's account. “ The 'I conclude, Lady Althea, you do not wish worst of it, was,” said that young lady, the your maid to read this, so I have brought it to gentleman was so unwise as to give most you. What do you think of it ?' she asked, encouragement to the pupil who paid least.” but her eyes were down on her book. It is
“ Lady Althea did not like that, I suppose?" truly poetic, I answered, and does great
“No, it brought matters to a crisis. From credit to the imagination of the writer. She the first I doubted that her kindness towards looked up then; her eyes met mine. In that me was genuine, and expected she would not glance I had assurance enough that she well let me go without something to make me feel her knew what she had given me. She knew too, power. After all, though she stabbed me deeply I was awake to her intention," enough, and I am afraid I am the weaker at “ It was a mean and cruel part to play. heart for it, there was not all the poison in the You did not say anything about it to Lady wound she thought there might be.”
Arabella ?" “Tell me, dear, what it was."
“Yes, I did. I used to go to her room every “It fell out just this way. It was on the even morning before she rose. Of course I did not ing of Tuesday, during supper, that conversation charge Lady Althea with any intention of hurtturned upon The Princess, and so, thanks ing my feelings, but I mentioned what it was I to him who thought of sending me the book, read, and said that I was before quite aware I was able to join in with a little confidence. there had been an attachment between Mr. The following morning while I was engaged Mainwaring and Lady Althea. Lady Arabella setting right some embroidery Lady Arabella affected to treat the matter lightly, as a boy's had made mistakes in, Lady Althea mentioned romantic folly, and went on to assure me of his that Mr. Mainwaring had won a prize at Oxford profound affection for myself. In fact, she for poetry. She said a bit or two of his writing tried to console me and over-shot the mark. she had thought so pretty as to be worth keeping, The one thing I most desired she assured me and would shew them to me if I would come was as I would have it, but I could not believe to her boudoir. I did not feel very desirous, her." for I anticipated something laudatory of the May I know what that was ?” lady herself, but of course it would not have “I had noticed that the handwriting of the done to decline.
letter, though the same in all essential points, “ When I entered her boudoir-a lovely little was less flowing and decided in character than room it is-she had several objects of interest to Mr. Mainwaring's is. There was no date of point out to me; and I believe purposely month or year upon it, but the envelope was dallied with them until Miss French, from the stamped with June, last year, and I did not terrace under the window, threw up a flower perceive the difference I have described in and called to her to make haste to see some the address upon that. I wished to believe the strange bird one of the gardeners had taken enclosures had been written at some earlier in a net. Then, all in a hurry, Lady Althea time. Lady Arabella pretended to be certain opened a drawer in her cabinet, and just glan. it must have been so. She said her neice cing at one of the numerous papers it contained mixed up her papers anyhow; that there had said, 'Ah,- that is it,' gave it into my hand been no love nonsense between her and Arden and departed. What do you think it was, since he was a mere boy. I knew better than poetry? Yes, poetry in prose. It was a love that, for last summer their engagement was letter. I never knew what a love-letter could spoken of as a settled thing. It was at the be before."
time he came up from Oxford after having “Helen, my dear girl, do not say that. He greatly distinguished himself. There was a loves you now better than he loved her.” large party at the Castle, but the two were
"Oh, dear Mrs, Gainsborough, he does not constantly together, Mr Hawkins spoke of it
for one: he had been talking with the groom , would permit it. Their Arden required that who attends Lady Althea in her rides, and the they should watch over him, for fear without man made a joke of their riding together before their wisdom he should do some wrong or breakfast without his attendance."
foolish thing. Now I have been feeling all this, “ Well, dear Helen, Lady Arabella may have but never said it so plainly--not to myself. I overstated facts in her anxiety to set your mind have felt cheerful or dejected according as I at rest; still, I do not think your idea was un- have believed in my own Mr. Mainwaring, or likely to be correct. The evening before your have been troubled with the ghost of theirs. The marriage I spoke freely to Mr. Mainwaring on sight of you seemed to do me good; for though the subject of his previous engagement. I you may not think him perfect, still you do not happened to know before, how I may tell you look upon him in that light.” some day, that the said engagement existed no “I should like to lay that ghost effectually. longer.”
Do you remember a conversation we had the “Are you sure?” she asked eagerly ; are first time you visited me about ideal personages, you quite sure it was not resigned when he and concerning selections?” was tempted by my grandfather's offer?”
“Yes, I remember you said great minds “My darling Helen, I am sure. What could would be likely to select for observation what put such an idea into your head ?"
was best worth consideration, and inferior per “ I have been fighting it hard, but it would sons could not appreciate the nobler points in a come, again and again.
character. I think I understand what you would “Now to punish you for letting it come at say, selfish and unprincipled people are not all, I will tell you that Arden Mainwaring's likely to appreciate Arden Mainwaring." heart was carried by storm at the early age of “ That is what I was thinking of. When fifteen. He had then, I understand, just they praised him it was for what they held most returned from a long stay on the continent, worthy of praise in him, all that they could and no doubt that circumstance was propitious make subservient to their glorification or conto his fair enslaver. I hear she was even more venience. Moreover if you could have been lovely then, than she is now.”
persuaded that he was mere wax in their hands, “Oh yes, she was ; her face was exquisite the government which he as your husband when I first saw her.”
claims, must have been conceded by you to “I do not know at what age Mr. Mainwaring them.' was engaged to her, but Mr. Brown acquainted " I should not like to have Lady Althea for me with the fact that three years back he was my
husband's director, that is very certain." jilted. However, her ladyship contrived to “Do you consider Lady Althea kas great make up matters, and although while he has influence with her father ?” been studying at Oxford she may have been "Oh, yes; she rules him entirely, and flirting in all directions, I do not see that we although she would not suit me as a ruler, I need think the worse of him for being constant do think she is indispensable to him. I am in his attachment until he was fairly convinced, afraid too that she suits Lady Arabella better as he says he was, that it was undesirable their than I am likely ever to do; but of course union should take place."
I must try.
She chooses all her dress for “ Had that happened before the archery her, and is useful in many ways. One thing meeting ?"
I find really to admire in Lady Althea, she is " Oh, yes."
not self-indulgent in small things, and appears I hoped so. I thought he did not quite very ready to consider the comfort and conlove her then. I feel now that I wonder I venience of her father and aunt. Indeed in should have suspected otherwise, considering many respects she is admirable; I do not wonsome things he has said in his letters. I der at any one falling in love with her while believe it was Lady Althea's manner of speak- her want of principle is unknown to them. She ing of him induced the thought. The first days has a fine taste, a fine appreciation of poetry, of my visit, when she was trying to get round and, as appears to me, of all that is beautiful. me, she spoke indeed as if she were Arden's She honours and worships what is excellent up sister. So anxious for his happiness, 80 to a certain point, that point seems to me to be conscious of his goodness, so desirous that I her own interest or convenience.” should love him! And yet, all the time she “Have you not noticed that, though all, I conveyed to me the idea that he was somehow suppose, would wish to be loved, there is a vast less worthy of love than I have thought him. difference between desiring to be loved and Oh, I am sure they cannot understand him ; desiring to love? You, I consider, most incline neither Lord Cardington nor Lady Althea, nor to the latter. You thought more of Mr. Mainhis own mother even! They seemed to raise waring's being worthy of your love than of up in my mind another Arden Mainwaring ; his loving you, or you would not have accepted a very much admired, clever, handsome, bril bim?" liant relation of theirs, but not the same as my “ It does seem to me the first consideration." own Mr. Mainwaring. Theirs seemed almost “In the same way some supremely love to be weakly fond on some points. It seemed he was admired, some to find what is deserving one who must cling to them and love them their admiration. Now, desiring to be loved, through good and through evil, if only they though the source of much that is sweet and
pleasant in a character, is, if not held in sub-dozen or more gentlemen who were eager to servience to principle, a dangerous weakness; devote their services to me, he said he would but the desire to be admired is even less safe endeavour to unite them, if I would only to indulge. This seems to be Lady Althea's assign to them some task worthy of high empredominating passion : strong feeling of any prise. Miss French suggested to me to charge other kind might have held it in check, but I them to extirpate the Black Band, and I could should think she never had much heart, and not help smiling as I said that task had already ten years reign as a beauty has been sufficient been successfully commenced. Indeed?' said to overset her understanding, so that, as Mr. Miss Frenclı, “but do you mean by one of your Merton Brown says, “she is mad upon that knights? Have you really done anything that point.'”
way Mr. Brown?" “ He told me she considered everybody ought “He knew who it was, for I bad spoken to acknowledge her supremacy, and I must be about the affair at the sea-gate as prepared either to fall into the same opinion, riding to the Castle. So he laughed as he or steadily to resist it. The latter he counselled denied it. I could not help glancing at him, and as the safest course in the long run; but I laughed too; and to make matters worse the must expect to have my patience and temper a colour mounted into my face. Miss French was good deal tried. 'She is a very cool hand' he puzzled in right earnest. Lady Althea prosaid ' and you I am afraid - there he hesi- fessed she could not imagine what we were tated, which made me laugh. I said 'you laughing at, but I think she could; and then are afraid I am of the same family as Grant Lord Cardington, who we thought had fallen Wainwright?' and I promised him she should asleep, cried out suddenly, “The fellow denot make me swear.”
served hanging,' wbich did not make us laugh “I hear you had some flowers sent you. Did any the less. Miss French, after looking in you find out who they came from?”
vain to Lady Althea for an explanation questo “ Lady Arabella surmised that it came from tioned, 'What fellow, my lord ?' Lord Carding. one of the gentlemen I danced with at the Fête, ton answered, “The fellow Arden drove out of and I suppose she was right, though I cannot my park for breaking the fence and insulting think which. It came in a neat little paste- Miss Dalziel. He's got fourteen years for it, board box by post from Marsham. The flowers that's a comfort.' were quiet fresh, and Miss French translated “Poor Miss French was still in a mist. I them for me into a profession of love. There suppose she thought the sentence quite severe upon I handed them immediately to Lady ) enough for such offences. Lady Althea at last Arabella.”
condescended to throw light on the matter by “Very correct of you."
saying, 'Ah, I understand. The man Papa Oh, but they teased ine all the same. It means was mentioned by Arden to the police in happened the day Mr. Brown was expected to attendance here on the day of the Archery dinner, and Miss French fixed upon him as the Fête, and he proved to have been concerned in render and told me I should drive him to des- a robbery at York.' pair at once if I did not wear one flower. Lady “5. And was he one of the black band?' Miss Althea went on too about it, but in a less French asked. disagreeable fashion. She acquiesced in Miss “I replied that he was one of the men who French's proposal that Mr. Brown before the had entered Darliston Hall. Thereupon she evening was over should have an opportunity said 'oh I beg your pardon. It did not occur of clearing up my doubts, and they contrived to to me to think of Mr Mainwaring as
one of trap us into the conservatory and leave us alone your humble servants. There was a tone of together. However, I had spoken about the spite in this speech, and Mr. Merton Brown flowers when he first arrived. I told him at answered for me, “ You were not then present, once that as he was the only gentleman Miss I presume, at the Archery contest or you would French knew was acquainted with me, it be have seen Arden Mainwaring laying his trophies hoved him to defend himselffrom the imputation. at the feet of this young lady.' She murmured You can fancy how he took the matter, with something about having thought too slightly perfect good-humour and self-possession; and of the circumstance for it to have dwelt on her he did not let it deter him from being very kind memory.” and attentive to me throughout the evening. “ Was Lady Arabella present?” Miss French I believe had only suggested the "No; she had retired to her room. She sel. idea to tease me, but I think ended in really dom sat up long after dinner." suspecting something more than friendship “Now tell me what sort of news you had existed between us. As I expected, our entry from Vienna.” into the drawing-room from the conservatory My letter was short, but Mr. Mainwaring was the signal for one of her quizzical attacks sent it in a long one to his mother, and told me on me. Mr. Brown turned it entirely on him- he supposed she would read most part of it to self, so I had only to look on and Jaugh. He me. She did not do so, but told me he was was provokingly grateful to Miss French for being made much of, and going to two or three her endeavours to convert him into a devotee parties in a night. So, if he is well and merry, in particular' as he called it instead of a general I must be satisfiod." admirer. Then, pretending there were some She did not look othersise, and I was about
AINSLIE DETERMINES SOME
to proceed to further questionings, when a shrill | sian serf falling in love with a countess; and whistle came borne on the air from the Darliston she overlooks bis origin in the nobility of his side of the rocks. It was a signal to Helen that character, and marries him. It is a beautiful her grandfather had returned; and she started play, but certainly ought never to have fallen to her feet, collected the stockings into her into his hands. Poor fellow! I tried, of course, basket, and bade me a hurried good-bye; when he recovered, to make as light of the cirdesiring I would take charge of the key of the cumstances as I could; but the housekeeper croft-gate, as I could restore it when we met was more outspoken. She promised me, hownext morning on leaving church.
ever, that she would not talk about the matter. What she gave him did him some good; but he was hardly fit to walk home. I cannot think
what ought to be done for the poor boy: Chap. XXIX.
something ought, I am sure.
She looked from one to the other, and I saw
was really distressed, and most anxious we THING MUST BE DONE; AND MRS. GAINS should devise something, BOROUGH, SETTING ABOUT IT, FINDS IN “ Laura thinks,” said Mr. Littington, “that
there would be no good done by mentioning ACTIVE COADJUTOR.
the matter to his mother or sisters.”
"O no,” said Laura, quickly; "they would On the afternoon of Tuesday I was sitting at give him more blame than comfort. A friend my window with my work, expecting to see of mine knows the family, and she says Alfred Helen pass on her return from Tudfield, when is not at all understood by them. I think, mytwo other equestrians drew up at my gate, and I self, he is an ugly duckling'-I mean, like recognized Mr. Littington and Miss Laura Ainslie. I the one in that beautiful little story of AnderWhen they were in my parlour, Mr. Littington sen's: he was abused by all, you know, but entered on the object of their visit, thus proved to be a swan when he grew up!" “This young lady has had her nerves not a “I think, myself, they do not understand little shaken, by an incident of rather a distress him," I observed ; "and, without meaning posiing nature, and came to me this morning com tive unkindness, they might do him great plaining of a sleepless night, and a mind which injustice.”. could find no rest until something was done by “What is your own opinion of the youth?” somebody; and although I tell her it is not our Mr. Litttingon asked. “Is there any industry affair, and neither is it yours, she has perse- | in him?" veredinurging me to give you an account of the “ That depends upon the question of what matter. Certainly, if anything can be done, you he ought to be doing. His mother considers are more likely than myself to know the best he is wanting in industry because he has not way of doing it, for I am almost a stranger to settled down to farming; neither would he the person concerned.”
accept a place in an accountant's office which " Who is that?" I asked.
a relation offered him. I think, in the line of “Oh,” said Laura, “it is that young Mr. work he had chosen, he inust have worked well, Merrivale who was here. I am so sorry, now, for he can have had but few advantages, I fear, that I said anything to him about her, but I did though hitherto he has not been able to earn not know, at least I did not think, there was anything.” anything so serious in it. I thought, of course, Mr. Littington shook his head~"A young if he admired Lady Althea, it was just as I did." fellow circumstanced as he is ought to think it
I had had some uneasiness about Alfred for his first duty to earn his living. I hear his the last day or two, having heard from Helen father was much liked and respected; but, that he had been at Cardington Castle fre- though everybody says he was clever, and very quenily, and was engaged on a portrait of her good-hearted, it is known he died leaving his fair and coquettish ladyship. I knew, too, that family in difficulties. I have been told this boy she had chosen to beguile the time of her sitting was his favourite, and I suppose, like many with reading poetry to the young artist; but I another foolish lad who fancies he is a genius, hardly apprehended that the case was so serious he thinks he ought to be exempt from earning as it now appeared.
his daily bread.” Laura narrated that, having the privilege of "Now, uncle," said Laura, in her quick helping herself to any books she pleased from the way, "is it fair of you to judge him so ? Look library at Cardington Castle, she had gone there at young Cotingdean; he is not half so clever the day before, and, entering with the house as Mr. Alfred Merrivale; and all his family are keeper, had found Alfred Merrivale extended so proud of him they are going to Italy on puron the floor in a fainting-fit. He had proceeded pose to facilitate his studies.' with the accessories of the portrait during the "The case is quite different, Laura. The morning, but must have been reading at the Cotingdeans are independent; but, granting time, his pallet being on the table, and a book, even that some sacrifices are made by them, a containing a play called “Love,” having fallen sacrifice is what no young man has a right to beside hind on the floor.
claim. He may sacrifice what is his own. I “The story,” said Laura, “is about a Rus can commend a man who, from a confidence
that he has superior ability in any profession, I have a mind to-and I am sure General prefers to follow it and live upon sixpence a-day Wetheral will readily give his leave.” rather than make more money in another call I undertook to call and see Alfred the following ; but, if fortune has not bestowed the six- | ing day. I trusted to discover some definite pence, he has no right to expect it to be worked plans or aims in which friendly assistance for by his brother.
might avail; and thought that to get him away “Now, Mrs. Gainsborough, would you be from the neighbourhood, though it were only lieve it-uncle supported mamma and grand for a short time, was at present most desirable. mamma for ten years, and would not let them Mr. Littington concurred in this view, and I do anything for themselves ?”
promised he should have a visit from me on my “Ah, but they were women, and I suppose return from Leyton Farm. no man capable of earning money would hesitate On Wednesday afternoon I accordingly about its being his duty to support a helpless mounted my pony, and was safely carried mother and only sister. You wander from the through rocks and over sands to Mrs. Merriquestion, Laura. Valentine Merrivale is now vale's. That good lady met me in the doorway. supporting his mother and three sisters. If Some excitement appeared in her countenance, I had had a younger brother, should I not have and I soon found it was not entirely to be atthought him a lazy young rascal if, at nineteen, tributed to the appearance of a visitor. he expected me to keep him because he believed “Hey dear, Mrs. Gainsborough!" she cried; he had got the key to the discovery of perpetual “ I am very glad to see you—and how well you motion, and should one day astonish the world? are looking! Do come and sit down in the If I had been rich at the time I might have parlour, though we're all at sixes and sevens. afforded him as a luxury ; but, as I was work- Here, Kate, take these upstairs-they're done; ing pretty hard myself, I should have expected and go and look in my little drawer next the him to work too.”
window, there's an old habit-shirt you must “Very well, uncle, I know you are right take the buttons off, and bring them down to about that, and he ought to work; but are not Quite warm, are you not, Mrs. Gains. you, too, wandering from the point; for we did borough? The sun's very hot upon those not come here to discuss poor Alfred Merrivale's sands. Phillis, where are my keys?" merits or demerits, but how to help him?" As a preamble to inquiry about Alfred I
“ Laura, you're a minx-and a very foolish asked after her family in general. minx, too; but I dare say Mrs. Gainsborough “We are all pretty well, ma'am, I thank you; has found that out before now. If we are to but my head is all in a whirl; for, first there's help the young fellow, his merits and demerits Alfred comes home the other day as white as a must be considered, or we may do more harm sheet-it gave me quite a turn to see him. than good.”
Well, and he went and shut himself up in his “I can say this for Alfred," I now observed, room; and all yesterday he was moping, and "there is a good deal of honourable feeling seemed as ill as could be. I thought he was about him, and I know he is not likely to be going to have the scarlet fever--and a pretty happy in being dependent, although his brother house we should have had! He's the most Valentine does not reproach him : indeed I have troublesome lad when he's ill, there's no getting heard the latter speak in his defence when their him to take anything. And now, when this mother implied that he was a do-nothing. We morning there comes a letter wanting him to go must consider that he is inexperienced, and to London, he's all in a hurry to be gone, and he
may have counted upon his profession we can't get his things ready quick enough; yielding more to him. His father encouraged he must needs start to-morrow.” him during his lifetime, and I dare say he has “He is going to his brother's, I suppose ?" had many a hard struggle since, and may really “Well, he has written to say he is coming ; have acted for the best according to his know- so I suppose they will manage to take him in ledge. Bearing in mind what must have been somehow.” the influence of this last great misfortune (for I began to feel as if my head were in a whirl, such I am
sure Lady Althea Shuttleworth's for it was not plain to me whether his brother patronage has been to him), I think we must wanted him or not. I said I came purposely to give him all the allowance possible.”
see Alfred, and talk to him about his painting. Yes, poor youth, a misfortune it certainly Kate, who had re-appeared with the buttons, is; and if he has the spirit to fight under it, he told me he was sitting in the arbour, and I rose is one worthy to be helped. Now, have you, at once, and begged she would show me the Mrs. Gainsborough, any idea in what way he way. Mrs. Merrivale made a little polite opcan best be assisted? I might give him a small position, deeming it more proper he should come commission myself, and perhaps find one or two to me; but I persevered, and Kate led me to the more among my acquaintance, but that would garden. not help him forward much."
“He really has been very ill,” she said, and a " It might be of considerable service to him, look in her face made me conjecture she had at for in these cases one thing may lead to another.” least some inkling of the truth concerning him.
“Then we will see how he succeeds in copying I proceeded down the path alone, and was a picture for me. There is one at Harby Hall close to the arbour before he perceived it was