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DARL IS TO N.
directly he put the right sort of letter into my
hand. Here it is,A LITTLE
“MY DEAR MRS. GAINSBOROUGH,-Whe
ther mischance or design has ruled that my letter I went early to Cedar Lawn; and, as I of the 30th July should not have arrived, it is a hoped, found Mr. Ainslie at home. He admitted circumstance to me of very serious concero. I that in order to balance the difficulties accruing i would not for anything have given Helen cause from Mr. Wainwright's precarious state of to think me so negligent, even if all had been at health, it was necessary we should do as much its best with her. "Mr. Wainwright's illness, as possible to strengthen Helen's position. The your absence, the disclosure of the imposture of ladies were preparing for a party at Mrs. Well- the man who calls himself Witham, and the wood's which was to take place the Thursday return of Grant Wainwright, are all so many following, and although Alice appeared very occurrences inclining me the more to deprecate ready to give up the pleasure, her mamma was the circumstance. Helen does not appear to much averse to her so doing. Mr. Ainslie, how- impute the affair on the marsh to any more erer, arranged matters in a satisfactory way by serious design than might have endangered deciding that Alice could be sent for in time to her watch ; but I am far from convinced it is dress for the party, and might return to Dar. wise to think lightly about it, and havo written liston Hall the next morning.
on the subject to Mr. Ainslie. Some trustI was invited upstairs to å room which still worthy attendant must be provided to accompany bore the name of the nursery, to give my her rides. opinion on millinery matters ; and could not but sympathize in Mr. Ainslie's anxiety that I am glad to learn bis conduct is so much
“ In regard to Mr. Wainwrigbt's nephew ; Alice's pretty little figure should be set off to fair advantage, especially as this was to be her amended, and cannot think I have much to fear first appearance at a
from his mere assiduities. Helen is, I think, of “grand” party : 80, considering much bad yet to be done, I did not
too earnest a nature to engage in a flirtation, or urge her leaving home before Saturday evening; ductive of no good purpose to the bestower. I
encourage attentions she knows must be proThe pretty tarlatane dresses, the flowers and ribbons, and the pleasurable anticipations so complained, I remember, in a former letter, that evident among the ladies, incited me to regret
she would hardly condescend enough towards that dear Helen and myself had not been free myself ; I cannoi fear my right-minded English to accept the invitation sent to us. I wondered girl will suffer any presumptuous suit from Alice could be so apparently insensible to the Vienna and, I trust, may find letters calculated
another. Before this reaches you I shall be in attractions of the occasion.
to reassure me. Returning home to my early dinner I afterwards spent the remainder of the day with · Perhaps I am needlessly anxious; but if Helen. We sat in the drawing-room except at you knew how more and more precious to me
Grant Wainwright had been in are the hopes I have built on my dear Helen, during the morning, but did not intrude upon you would not wonder that in the present try
ing state of things some foolish dread should I promised to walk over with the letters cross my mind concerning her. I may not now directly they arrived and took care to be attired speak of my Italian travels ; I bore with me ready for the occasion before the postman came such responsibilities as have not hitherto been up. How indifferent he looked ! he was posi- my portion, and my thoughts have necessarily tively sauntering. I suppose it might be ex. been much devoted to them ; but in such cusable as he had come up hill on a warm moments as were free I have had strange enjoy. morning.
I thought of that excuse for him. ment, and ever in such enjoyment has been
joined the idea of having Helen by my side when said she looked a prim little quakeress, but on I again visited these beautiful scenes.
her discovering us among the throng of strangers "My last letter having failed to reach you, I her pretty face dimpled into such open gladowe you still thanks for the account you gave ness, that it was quite gratifying to have me of the occurrence at Cardington. I do feel occasioned such a brightening, albeit I did not very much obliged to you for it, and for other take all the credit to myself. I suggested to the kindness in your letter. I have a purpose in gentleman the propriety of bis escorting my connection with both which I trust shortly to cousin over the bridge, and he expressed his speak more fully concerning. The same lost approbation of the arrangement by a ready letter would have explained that circumstances assent and by continuing his attendance as far forbade my writing to England for some weeks as the gate of Darliston Manor. after its date. My courier was under ths strange I had much to tell and a good deal to bear, impression that I was a Russian Prince travelling though during Barbara's attendance at table incognito--a mistake I could not afford to we carefully avoided some topics. Arden Main. rectify until this day.
waring had written to his friend, and as it “ Yours sincerely,
appeared to me, had hastened his coming to us. “ ARDEN MAINWARING.” On his last visit to the neighbourhood, Mr.
Brown had been staying at the house of a Mr. With this letter, and one which gave promise Dennison on the other side of Cardington Park, of being at least as long, I proceeded to Dar. He had seen Alfred Merrivale several times liston, and saw Helen watching for me from and had made some endeavours to ascertain one of the drawing-room windows. She sits further concerning Mr. Witham. there to be out of Grant's way; and has acquain- Mrs. Wellwood had now other guests; two ted her grandfather that she thinks it desirable, nephews of her late husband being with her. without intimating she has received serious Miss Alice Ainslie had asked if he were going offence. The poor girl was much delighted with to the party there on Thursday; he had no her letter ; cried over and kissed it. It gave no doubt he should be invited, but should go over information as to the cause of his journey, but in the morning and make sure. said he had passed safely through many scrapes, Helen attended afternoon service, Mrs. Carand some dangers; and succeeded in the pur- gill being with her, and on the return we joined pose of his mission.
company and had a very pleasant walk, conversI read part of the letter I had received and ing with little restraint about the letters found it aroused afresh Helen's self-accusation. received from Mr. Mainwaring. Merton In seeking to appease the feeling, I reminded told us he spoke of his recent travels as her that her momentary forgetfulness had been undertaken for the purpose of investigating some succeeded by a courageous declaration that her doubtful assertions. His travelling name had heart was given to Mr. Mainwaring; and I been Monsieur Deschênes, an appellation he trusted this might have had more effect than had taken from his estate, "Forest Oaks,” but anything in convincing Grant he strove in vain. he was supposed to be a Russian, and bis Helen shook her head at this, and only answered, knowledge of languages had given great facility “ We won't talk about him; I don't like to in supporting the part required of him. nent.
which is very satisfactory, only that it is plain Helen told me Mr. Mainwaring had found a he leans upon Grant so much. It is remarkable pair of bracelets, which he thought would corres- how partial he is to Alice, and she reciprocates pond well with the necklace his mother had his fondness with a watchful attention to him, presented, and hoped soon to be able to forward and a willingness to please and be pleased, that them by a gentleman going to England. Lady is truly beautiful to witness. She even found Arabella was trying the waters of some celebrated courage to sing some hymns before us all when spa. Lord Cardington and Lady Althea were he asked for them; and sung them in her selfwith her.
forgetfulness with a fuller and more sustained Helen went on with her studies during the voice than I thought she had possessed. afternoon, and soon afterwards our pleasant On Monday we had quite a musical evening: friend Alice Ainslie appeared, and was made The old Squire seemed really to enjoy it and right welcome by all.
kept up an hour later than usual; when he The same evening brought Mr. Merton Brown retired charging us to continue, as he could not again to our neighbourhood. He arrived late now sleep without music. and put up at his old quarters at Dingleton. It was near ten' and rather dark when we While dressing for church the following morning left; the girls escorting us to the garden gate. I heard he was down-stairs. He consented to With so stout a protector I felt no need to dine with me and afterwards walk over to Dar- be nervous, but was certainly startled when, liston. Meanwhile we went to church. Alice having proceeded some twenty yards, the was in the Darliston pew with one of the maids, apparition of Grant Wainwright stood beside but not knowing where I sat, and wanting either our path. He made us rather a formal bow and courage or inclination for observing her "neigh- hoped we had enjoyed a pleasant evening. To bours, she did not perceive either of us until this my companion replied, “A very pleasant one we overtook her on leaving. Mr. Brown had | Mr. Wainwright. I hope we may spend many such in years to come, and you likewise. expected to spend the rest of the day alone, Good-night."
knowing Mr. Brown was engaged to dine at I said also, “Good-night;" and we pro- Harby Hall. To my surprise, about six o'clock ceeded: but as if some thought struck him Mr. a servant in General Wetheral's livery inquired Brown begged me to wait for a moment, and for me and delivered a note which ran thus : quickly retraced his steps. He spoke some few words to Grant Wainwright, the last of which “ DEAR MADAM,--Monsieur Deschênes has were alone audible to me; “You may tell him so communicated to me by telegraph, that he from me."
intends to be with you at eight this evening. We proceeded a little way in silence; then Will you, without mentioning his name, acquaint Mr. Brown said:
Miss Dalziel that the bearer of the bracelets “I am truly sorry for that unlucky young desires to present them in person? Should you fellow. There has he been, I have little doubt, think proper to send your servant Barbara, I standing outside in the darkness, listening to our beg to suggest she had better remain at Darlismusic, and trying to distinguish Miss Dalziel's ton until Miss Dalziel returns-say about halfvoice. Oh, this love! it does play all manner of past nine. I will be at hand to escort the young mischief with men !”.
lady. * Really, you seem to know something about
“ Yours truly, it," I said.
“MERTON BROWN.” He laughed light-heartedly enough. “You know what is said of lookers-on," was his reply. I wrote a line of acquiescence in return, and
"And of course you always mean to be a anxious to avoid awakening suspicion, provided looker-on?" I suggested.
an excuse for Barbara's detention. "Well may-be not. I suppose it is possible I packed a parcel of books and enjoined her I may some time be caught : but I hope to keep to walk over to Darliston Hall with them and out of all sentimentalities for at least a dozen wait for a pattern of a sleeve. I wrote to each years. I sometimes feel as if I ought to be of the girls, requesting Alice to keep Barbara, married before I am forty, and must allow some and acquainting Helen with all that seemed five years for the thing to come on."
necessary. "Mr. Merton Brown-what do you mean by Between Barbara and Lance there has always 'keeping out of all sentimentalities?' Did you existed more or less of warfare. Though not not sing" Juanita' to-night as if you had been himself aggressive, he resists strongly the idea fairly educated in thema's
she persists in presenting that he is under her. "O Psha! Mrs. Gainsborough! I'm fond I felt sure when I told him that I expected of music, and when I sing I fancy I'm some- visitors whom I did not wish her to gossip body else. That's the whole secret of it. Did about, he would feel bound to confidence and I not sing 'Rage, (thou angry storm,' just discretion. before? I fancied myself a desperate villain So, having done all in my power to keep then, of course. We are all fond of acting." matters quiet, closed my curtains, and litmy lamp,
"Well, I admit your argument, and pronounce I sat down and commenced a crochet antiyou in your own person a barbarous contem-macassar ; which, beginning with a number of Der of my own beautiful sex. You don't think plain rows, was not likely to suffer from divided there's one among us worth the risk of wooing ; attention. men ought to be above the weakness of loving It was scarcely dark when a post-chaise drew such poor silly, helpless, things! If you must up and my visitor alighted. I doubt however if have a companion best choose one in whose Lance would have recognized him. When he presence you can sit at ease with your feet on the first entered the room I was under the impression table, if you fancy it, and when you are tired of he had purposely disguised himself; but a light him be free to walk off and choose another ! travelling-cloak removed and his hat lifted, there He won't object to your smoking, or pester you stood Helen's handsome husband. with twaddle about curtains and flounces ; he His fair complexion was much embrowned won't ask you to hush a child to sleep; he with summer travel under southern skies, this, Fon't, he
and the addition of a moustache, had made the "He won't scold me till he's out of breath, difference perceptible to me.
His earnest eyes Mrs. Gainsborough."
were unchanged, and their look into my face “Oh, it's getting up hill makes me short of revealed tbat not yet had he ceased from exbreath, or I could have scolded you for twenty- pecting evil chance attended him. “Is all well ?” minutes !"
he asked, as he took my offered hand.
"All is tolerably well,” I answered. “I do not know that you had
any right to CHAP. XLII.
come, and feel a little frightened about it: but I
cannot, of course, send you back without seeing COMPORT,
Helen. She will be here in a few minutes."
“Could I help but come,” he said ; " when I Helen came early on Tuesday and I joined read your last letter? I went at once to Lord her in a ride along the Tudfield road, after St. George, he had been giving me unusual which we had our usual time of study. Il credit for my services, and begged if they had
seemed worthy of consideration he would pardon | she had passed the light on the table she sawmy departure, but I must go. He was kind on she knew him. A faint cry passed her lips, the occasion, made me bearer of despatches home. but she did not draw back her hand or shrink Mrs. Gainsborough, all you have told me of the from him when he took her in his arms. She way that young relation of Mr. Wainwright's is sobbed hysterically. He kissed her, soothed her wooing my wife, is ample excuse for my coming with loving names, and then, when she was somewithout leave granted. Can you assure me I am what calmer, said : safe in neglecting to take all means available “ Helen, look up. Let me see if you can to strengthen my cause in her heart? Can you look your husband in the face after four long tell me there is no peril to her constancy? No; months of absence?" your letter avowed to me that her faith in me She raised her head. I saw his face, not was assailed, that she was reminded I had merce- hers. Seriously, searchingly he looked upon nary interest in seeking her. This Grant Wainher ; but I judged by the returning glow on his wright has the advantage of a friendship formed cheek, by the smile and the kiss that followed, in childhood to back his protestations of affec. he was not ill-satisfied. tion and disinterestedness.”
“I come to look after my interests, Helen," “Yes, and I believe in the fact of bis disinter. he said. “I have heard of one making fierce estedness. He besought her recently to break off love to my little wife and that he is no mean her engagement with you and suffer you to rival. I have been told you may think me careretain her fortune, which somehow he has less, indifferent; worse, may-be; and I come to discovered is already in your hands."
deny it. To tell you with my own lips that you “Aye, Mrs. Gainsborough ; that matter, I are the hope of my life, my only happiness. know, tells cruelly against me, and again how Helen, speak to me; are you glad I have unfortunate was the loss of that letter! How
come po has she endured my apparent neglect? I thought He drew her to a seat on the sofa and placed her last letter unlikethose that had preceded it ; himself beside her. Helen was striving for there was something in its tone I could not composure, and it was good to me to see the understand ; and it was very brief. Has her gentle grace with which he soothed her, knowing faith stood firm, or has she credited evil of me?" the deep feelings stirred within him and how
“ Her heart has been more closely besieged precious he ḥeld the time to be. She found than you can well conceive. I never could have voice presently to say : believed that Grant Wainwright could suit “You have come--for how long po bimself so well to the character of a devoted “Too short a while. I would not be denied Jover; could so subdue his roughness and turn but am fain to be restricted. O Helen, would courtier."
that this cruel promise to your grandfather could “ You have not told me how she has stood all be cancelled ; that I could take you to myself this, I mean of late ?"
and shield you from all assailants! Helen, “ Helen has a woman's pity for the love borne have I much to forgive ?". towards her. I will leave her to tell you how Helen raised her head with a momentary she has stood it; she will tell you truly. Doubt. Aash of spirit, but he was looking so earnestly less it might have been better if the mischance in her face that her eyes sunk, and she half hid of the lost letter had not occurred; it was so them on his shoulder. much confirmation of all that an adversary “Mrs. Gainsborough knows all," she said. could suggest of your indifference towards her: “She does not think you ought to blame me but there is no ground for apprehension that her much." heart is turning aside from duty. She has “ Yet, tell it all to me, Helen; tell me fear loved you throughout, and you must not blame lessly; for you and I may be the happier. It her if, in so difficult a case, she has not every is right that I should know.” moment been equal to the emergency.'
“He loves me," she said in low tones. " It “ Do not fear that I can judge her barshly, has seemed wonderful to me that I could be so I dare not. Have I afforded her the protection loved. Could I help but pity him, knowingwhich she ought to have had ?"
knowing that to love so strongly without return A sound at the gate made me start up and and without hope is so sad a thing ?” turn towards the door.
She trembled with agitation, but she went on: “ I pray, Mrs. Gainsborough,” he said ; " you “ There was a moment when temptation came will let no sign betray that I am here. I feel to think it was sweeter to be so loved than to that I shall read in her face if I am welcome ; love the absent and-indeed, I feared it was 60, if I have much to forgive.”
the unloving. But I cast the thought from me; It was an anxious moment to me when her I did not harbour it. It was wicked. I bated step drew near. How could I be certain that myself that I could have let it come." the suddenness of the encounter might not Helen's colour went and came as she spoke, bring up a semblance of fear? she might shrink but her eyes were raised and pleaded with her from him as from an apparition. I told him so, tones for the merciful consideration of her con. but he only said " Hush, I entreat! she is fessor. Probably she read in his countenance coming."
much to encourage her to proceed. His arm She entered. Her light step crossed the caressed her and he held her hand pressed close room quickly, her hand was extended. When I to his heart,