Page images


The Archdeacon returned to Car was certainly the very reverse of lingford before Thursday, as he had her deliverance upon him. To tell anticipated; but in the interval Mr the truth, she had rather studied Cavendish had not recovered his him too much, and gave too keen an courage so far as to renew his visit edge to his characteristic qualities, to Miss Marjoribanks, or to face the as is natural to all literary portraitman who had alarmed him so much. ure, and even went so far that, in Everybody in Grange Lane remark- the end, people began to ask whether ed at the time how worried poor she had any personal spite against Mrs Woodburn looked. Her eyes him. lost their brightness, which some “ She don't know him," Mr people thought was the only beauty Woodburn said, when he heard she bad, and her nerves and her some faint echo of this suggestion. temper both failed her, no one “ She's clever, and it carries her could tell why. The personal sketch- away, you know. She enters into es she made at this moment were it so, she don't know how far she truculent and bitter to an unheard- is going; but I can answer for it of degree. She took off Mr Beverley she never saw the Archdeacon bewith a savage force which electri- fore; and Hal isn't here to give fied her audience, and put words her the key-note, as she says. He into his mouth which everybody has met everybody, I believe, one admitted were exactly like him, if place or another," the simple man he could ever be imagined to have said, with a little natural pride ; fallen into the extraordinary cir- for in his heart he was vain of his cumstances in which the mimic fashionable brother-in-law. As for placed him. In short, Mrs Wood- Mr Cavendish himself, it began to burn made a little drama out of be understood that he was with a the Archdeacon. She brought him friend who was sick, on the Contiinto personal contact with an offen- nent; and soon— for news had a sive stranger, and made the most wonderful tendency to increase and elaborate study of his dignified in- grow bigger as it spread in Grange dignation, his growing wrath, and Lane—that his friend was dying, the final sublime manifestation of and that a probable large increase physical force with which he over- of fortune to the popular favourite came his enemy. “I hope I have would be the result, which was very not given up my manhood by be well as an addition, and did credit coming a priest,” Mrs Woodburn's to the imagination of Carlingford. hero said, in the Archdeacon's very He had disappeared completely once voice. “A gentleman should sure- more after the eventful day which ly know how to use his natural we have described, carrying out in weapons as well as a coalheaver. the fullest way Lucilla's prediction, It is one way of getting one's self but striking Barbara Lake with in sympathy with one's fellow- bitter disappointment. Miss Marcreatures.” To be sure, Mr Bever- joribanks had a great many things ley knew nothing about this, and to occupy her, but Barbara had showed some surprise now and nothing except the humble duty then at the restrained laughter of looking after her little brothers which he heard in the corners; and sisters, and attending to her but when anybody spoke of Mrs father's comfort, which had never Woodburn, he showed an instinct been occupations particularly to her ive want of confidence. “I have mind. And then Barbara was aware not studied her sufficiently to give that, if she neglected her duties, an opinion of her," he said, which Rose, on her return from the School of Design, would do them, though friend avoided this subject, and with a fierce little outbreak of in- thought sometimes that he was fordignation, which the elder sister gotten, sometimes that the poor felt she could bear; and according- dear was breaking her heart for ly, Barbara did little else but brood him; but it is needless to say that over his sudden disappearance, and neither of these suppositions was spent her time at the window look in the least true. ing for his return. Naturally Lu. And then it began to be concilla conducted herself in a much sidered rather odd in Carlingford more rational and dignified manner. that the Archdeacon should pay such She made herself very agreeable to a long visit. Mrs Chiley no doubt the Archdeacon, who unbended very was very kind and hospitable, and much, and grew very nice, as Mrs exceedingly glad to receive such a Chiley herself allowed. " But, distinguished clergyman; but when my dear, I am uneasy about his a man has been six weeks in any opinions," the old lady said. He one's house, and shows no inclinacertainly had a very free way of tion of going, it is natural that talking, and was ready to discuss people should feel a little surprised. anything, and was not approved of His visitation was over, and he had by Mr Bury. But still he had very dined with everybody, and studied good connections and a nice posi- the place and its characteristics, tion, and had always a chance of and entered into everything that being Bishop of Carlingford; and was going on. The only thing, inin marriage it is well known that deed, that he did not seem to think one never can have everything one of, was going away. If it had been wants. So that, on the whole, even Mr Cavendish, the chances are that Mrs Chiley did not see what differ- he would have made himself so ence his opinions made, so far as much one of the family, that his Lucilla was concerned. When Miss departure would have been felt as Marjoribanks went down to Colo- a domestic calamity; but the Archnel Chiley's in the evening and deacon, as was to be expected, was made tea for the old people, like a very different from Mr Cavendish. daughter of the house, Mr Beverley So long as he was in the house it was always disposed to go over to was impossible to forget either his the enemy, as the old Colonel said. position or his ways of thinking, No doubt he had enough of Colonel or the absence of any real connecChiley, who had not received a new tion between himself and his hosts. idea into his mind since the battle He did not combat or contradict of Waterloo, and did not see what anybody, but he would give a faint people had to do with such non- smile when the Colonel uttered sense. And then the Archdeacon his old-fashioned sentiments, which would very often walk home with drove the old soldier frantic. “As the young visitor. In all this time, if I was not able to form an opinion, as was natural, Mr Beverley heard by Jove!" Colonel Chiley said: Mr Cavendish's name a hundred while, on the other hand, the Archtimes, and regretted, like all the deacon was quite ready to enter inworld, that so eminent a member to the young people's absurd theoof the Carlingford commonwealth ries, and discuss the very Bible should be absent during the time itself, as if that were a book to be of his visit; but, at the same time, discussed. As for the Rector, he Lucilla took great care to avoid all turned his head away when he personalities, and kept a discreet passed Colonel Chiley's door, and silence even about the gifts and Miss Bury made visits of condolaccomplishments of her almost ence and sympathy. “You must lover. Mrs Chiley sighed, poor feel it a great responsibility having soul, when she saw how her young Mr Beverley with you,” the Rector's

sister would say, though naturally quite conscientious; but I do feel without any distinct explanation of for you with such a responsibility," her meaning; and then she would said Miss Bury, with a look that look at Mrs Chiley and sigh. made the old lady nervous in spite

“Oh, I am sure it is a great plea- of herself. Thus, notwithstandsure,” Mrs Chiley answered, not ing all her sense of the duties of willing to let down the prestige of hospitality, and her anxiety about her guest. “He is very nice, and Lucilla's interests, she could not takes a great deal of interest in but feel that it would be rather a everything; and then, you know, he relief to get so formidable a guest is a connection of ours. The Colo fairly out of the house. It is nel's niece, Mary Chiley- " uncomfortable, it must be allow

“Yes, I know," said Miss Bury. ed, to entertain in your house any"Poor thing! she looked suffering body, particularly a clergyman the last time I saw her. I hope of whom your Rector does not she has found the true consolation approve ; and there could be no to support her, now she has entered doubt that the Archdeacon was not into the troubles of life.”

like the clergymen that Mrs Chiley “Well, yes, I hope so," said Mrs had been accustomed to. “And Chiley, a little doubtfully; “ but he could come back another time," you know one does not feel the she said to herself, by way of controubles of life very severely at her ciliating her own weariness with age; and I don't think I should her visitor's advantage and the inhave called a baby a trouble when terests of Lucilla. But notwithI was like her. I never had any, standing these reflections on Mrs you know, and I used to fret over Chiley's part, and notwithstanding it a great deal ; but the Colonel the Colonel's less amiable growl, never liked the noise of children, uttered every morning —" Does and I suppose it is all for the best." that parson of yours never mean to

“One may always be sure of go away?”—the Archdeacon showthat,” said Miss Bury, in her in- ed no intention of budging. It structive way. “I suppose the was poor Mrs Chiley who had all Archdeacon is going soon," she the brunt to bear, to exhaust heradded; "he has been here a long self in civilities and to be upbraidtime now. I almost wonder heed with “ that parson of yours"likes to be so long absent from whereas he was not in the least her his parish. Two months, is it not?” parson, nor even the kind of man

"Oh no—not quite six weeks,” she approved of as a clergyman. said Mrs Chiley, briskly. “I hope All this, however, the brave old he may be persuaded to stay some woman bore with fortitude for Lutime longer. I look upon it as quite cilla's sake: certainly it must be a compliment to Carlingford; for, Lucilla who kept him in Carlingto be sure, he would not stay if he ford—if it were not something else. had not some attraction," said the Things were in this condition, imprudent old woman. And this Mr Cavendish having again disapwas precisely what Miss Bury want- peared into utter darkness, and Cared, as any one of acute perceptions lingford beginning to enter warmly might have seen from the first into the question whether or not Mr

“It must be a great responsi- Beverley was paying attention to bility for you," said the Rector's Lucilla, when it happened to Miss sister, with a sigh, pressing Mrs Marjoribanks one morning to meet Chiley's hand. “If it should turn the Archdeacon in a little lane runnout badly, you know — Of ing between Grove Street and Grange course, my brother and I don't Lane. Opening from this lane was agree with Mr Beverley on all points a little door in the wall, which ad—though I am sure I hope he is mitted to a little garden very bright with flowers of the simplest old- other time. And it was just my fashioned kinds, with a little house luck, as usual. She is so nice, and planted at its extremity, which quite a lady. If you will not say had pretensions to be an old you are an Archdeacon, to frighten fashioned and quasi-rural cottage, the children, I will let you come on the score of being very rickety, in." uncomfortable, and badly arranged. “You shall call me whatever you But it must be a very impracticable like," said Mr Beverley; " when erection indeed which does not look I am with the lady-patroness, what tolerable under the bright sunshine does it matter what I call myself ? on a summer noon, at the end of a Let me see how you manage your pretty garden where children are educational department. I have alplaying and birds singing, and a ready bowed before your genius in woman or two about. Lucilla was the other branches of government; standing at the door of this little but this ought to be more in my closed-up hermitage, almost filling own way.” up the opening with her crisp sum- “I don't think you care for visitmer draperies, and affording only a ing schools,” said Lucilla. “I know very partial and tempting glimpse you think it is a bore; but she is of its flowers and shrubs and white- so nice, and so nice-looking ; I am washed walls inside; and when Mr sure you will be pleased with her. Beverley came up to Miss Mar- I am quite sure she is a lady, and joribanks he felt bis curiosity ex- has seen better days." cited. “Is it Armida's garden, or “Oh, those dreadful women that the Elysian fields ?” said the Arch- have seen better days," said the deacon; and he made a dead stop Archdeacon ; “I think Mrs Chiley before the door, not knowing any has a regiment of them. It is hard more than any other blind mortal to know how to get one's self into what he was going to find inside. sympathy with those faded exist

I don't know anything about ences. They fill me with an inArmida," said Miss Marjoribanks; finite pity; but then what can one “ unfortunately they were all Cam- do? If one tries to recall them to bridge in their ways of thinking the past, it sounds like mockery at Mount Pleasant, and our classics and if one speaks of the present, it got dreadfully neglected. But wounds their feelings. It is a great you may come in if you like, social difficulty,” said Mr Beverley; at least I think you may come in, and he fixed his eyes on the ground if you will promise not to frighten and entered meditatively, without the children. I am sure they never looking where he was going, in his saw an Archdeacon in their lives.” Broad-Church way.

“ Are there children ?" said Mr “Dear Mrs Chiley is so kind," Beverley, with a doubtful air ; for, said Lucilla, who was a little puzto tell the truth, he had come to the zled for the moment, and did not age at which men think it best to know what to say. avoid children, unless, indeed, they “Mrs Chiley is a good, pure, happen to have a personal interest gentle woman," said the Archin them; and he stretched his neck deacon, in a tone which settled a little to see in over Miss Marjori. the question, and from which there banks's head.

was no appeal ; and no doubt it “There are a whole lot of chil- was a perfectly true, though not a dren and a pretty governess," said very distinct characterisation. Thus Lucilla. “It is a school, and I am they went in together into the so much interested in it. I may bright little garden, thinking of call it my school, for that matter. nothing particular, and loitering as I came to know her in the funniest people do who do not know what way; but I will tell you that an- is coming. There was something that morning in Mr Beverley's tone going, nor who it was whom he and manner which struck Lucilla was about to see. as something more than usual. But as it happened, Lucilla's pro. She was not a young woman to tégée, who had seen better days, had attach undue importance to looks just then finished one of her lessons, and tones ; but the Archdeacon's and sent her little pupils out into manner was so softened and mel- the garden. She was preparing lowed, and his eyes had so much for the next little class, when, raisexpression in them, and he looked ing her eyes accidentally, she saw at Lucilla with such marked regard, Miss Marjoribanks coming through that it was impossible for her not the garden with the Archdeacon by to recognise that a crisis might be her side. She was the same person approaching. To be sure, it was whom Mr Bury had brought to not by any means so near as that Lucilla with the idea of recomcrisis manqué which had so lately mending her to Dr Marjoribanks passed over her head in respect as a companion and chaperone for to Mr Cavendish. But still Miss his daughter; but since then Mrs Marjoribanks could not but remark Mortimer's appearance had conthe signs of a slowly-approaching siderably changed. She had grown and most likely more important younger by ten years during the climax; and as she remarked it, period of comparative comfort and Lucilla naturally by anticipation tranquillity which Lucilla's active prepared herself for the coming help and championship had proevent that thus threw a shadow cured for her. Her house, and her upon her. She did not make up garden, and her little scholars, and her mind to accept Mr Beverley any the bloom on her cheeks, and the more than she had made up her filling-up of her worn frame, were mind to accept Mr Cavendish ; but all Miss Marjoribanks's doing. In she thought it only her duty to the intervals of her legislative cares him and to herself, and to society Lucilla had run about all over Carin general, to take his claims into lingford searching for pupils, and full consideration. And no doubt, at the same moment had cut and if these claims had seemed to her stitched and arranged, and papered sufficiently strong to merit such walls, and planted flower-beds, for a reward, Miss Marjoribanks had the feeble creature thus thrown it in ber to marry the Archdeacon, upon her. This was a side of Luand make him an admirable wife, cilla's character which certainly though she was not at the present she did nothing to hide from the moment, so far as she was aware, public, but which, at the same absolutely what foolish people call time, she never made any fuss in love with him. At the same about; and it was an endless pleastime, as was only natural, she made ure to her to find a protégée so perherself all the more agreeable to fectly content to be “done for," Mr Beverley from her sense of the and do as she was told to do. It dawn of tenderness with which he was thus that the poor faded regarded her. And in this way widow, who was sensitive and had they went up the broad central feelings, and forgot herself so far path which traversed the little gar- as to faint, or nearly to faint, just den, neither looking to the left nor at the most unlucky moment posthe right, but presenting all that sible, when the Rector's character appearance of being occupied with and dignity demanded superior each other, which, especially to a self-control on her part, had found female observer, is so easy of inter- her youth again and her good looks pretation. For, to be sure, the under Lucilla's shadow. When Archdeacon had not the remotest she looked up and saw the two idea into whose house he was approaching, Mrs Mortimer's first

« PreviousContinue »