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ment, — and billiards with tobacco were “I think not. I thank God that hitherto better than the desolation of solitude. there have been no such blushes among us.

On the following morning he did not And I hope, Harry, that my heart may nevbreakfast till near eleven. Why should he er have to bleed for her. Come, Harry, let get up as long as it was possible to obtain me tell you all at once like an honest man. the relief which was to be had from dozing ? I hate subterfuges and secrets. A report As far as possible he would not think of the has reached the old people at home, - not matter till he had put his hat upon his head Florence, mind, that you are untrue to to go to the Adelphi. But the time for Florence, and are passing your time with taking his hat soon came, and he started that lady who is the sister of your cousin's on his short journey. But even as he wife.” walked, he could not think of it. He was “What right have they to ask how I pass purposeless, as a ship without a rudder, tell my time ? ing himself that he could only go as the " Do not be unjust, Harry. If you simwinds might direct him. How he did hate ply tell me that your visits to that lady imhimself for his one weakness! And yet he ply no evil to my sister, I, knowing you to hardly made an effort to overcome it. On be a gentleman, will take your word for all one point only did he seem to have a re- that it can mean." He paused, and Harry solve.

If Burton attempted to use with hesitated and could not answer. “Nay, him anything like a threat he would instant- dear friend, - brother as we both of us have ly resent it.

thought you, — come once more to Onslow Punctually at twelve he walked into the Crescent and kiss the bairns, and kiss Ceciouter office, and was told that Mr. Burton lia, too, and sit with us at our table, and was in his room.

talk as you used to do, and I will ask no “ Halloa, Clavering,” said Walliker, who further question ; nor will she. Then was standing with his back to the fire. “I you will come back here to your work, and thought we had lost you for good and all, your trouble will be gone, and your mind and here you are come back again.” will be at ease ; and, Harry, one of the best

Harry had always disliked this man, and girls that ever gave her heart into a man's now hated him worse than ever. “ Yes; I keeping will be there to worship you, and am here,” said he," for a few minutes; but to swear when your back is turned that any I believe I need not trouble you."

one who says a word against you shall be “ All right, old fellow," said Walliker; no brother and no sister and no friend of and then Harry passed through into the hers."

And this was the man who had dusted “I am very glad to see you, Harry,” said his boots with his pocket-bandkerchief, and Burton, rising and giving his band cordially whom Harry had regarded as being on that toj Clavering. “And I am sorry to hear account hardly fit to be his friend ! He that you have been in trouble. Is it any- knew that the man was noble, and good, and thing in which we can help you ?

generous, and true; and knew also that " I hope, — Mrs. Burton is well,” said in all that Burton said he simply did his Harry, hesitating

duty as a brother. But not on that account "Pretty well.

was it the easier for him to reply. " And the children ?”

Say that you will come to us this eve“Quite well. They say you are a very ning,” said Burton. “ Even if you have an bad fellow not to go and see them.”

engagement, put it off.” “I believe I am a bad fellow," said Har- “I have none,” said Harry. ry.

« Then say

that

you will come to us, and “ Sit down, Harry. It will be best to all will be well.” come at the point at once; — will it not ? Harry understood of course that his comIs there anything wrong between you and pliance with this invitation, would be taken Florence ?"

as implying that all was right. It would be “ What do you mean by wrong,

?

so easy to accept the invitation and any “I should call it very wrong, - hideously other answer was so difficult! But yet he wrong, if after all that has passed between would not bring himself to tell the lie. you, there should now be any doubt as to “ Burton," he said, “ I am in trouble.” your affection for each other. If such “ What is the trouble ?” The man's vocie doubt were now to arise with her, I should was now changed, and so was the glance of almost disown my sister.”

his eye. There was no expression of anger, * You will never have to blush for her.” none as yet, but the sweetness of his

inner room.

66

CHAPTER XXVII.

FRESHWATER GATE.

countenance was gone,- a sweetness that he thought that the life of a country gentlewas unusual to him, but which still was at man, with a nice place of his own, — with his command when he needed it.

such a very nice place of his own as was "I cannot tell you all here. If you will Ongar Park, — and so very nice an income, let me come to you this evening I will tell would suit him well in his declining years. you every thing, — to you and to Cecilja And he had certain advantages, certain too. Will you let me come?”

aids towards his object, which had come to Certainly. Will you dine with us?” him from circumstances ; – as, indeed, he “No;- after dinner; when the children had also certain disadvantages. He knew are in bed.” Then he went, leaving on the the lady, which was in itself much. He mind of Theodore Burton an impression knew much of the lady's history, and had that though something was much amiss, his that cognisance of the saddest circummother had been wrong in her fears respect- stances of her life, which in itself creates an ing Lady Ongar.

intimacy. It is not necessary now to go back to those scenes which had disfigured the last months of Lord Ongar's life, but the reader will understand that what had then occurred gave the count a possible footing as a suitor. And the reader will

also understand the disadvantages which Count PATEROFF, Sophie's brother, was had at this time already shown themselves a man who, when he had taken a thing in in the lady's refusal to see the count. hand, generally liked to carry it through. It may be thought that Sophie's standing It may perhaps be said that most men are with Lady Ongar would be a great advanof this turn of mind; but the count was, I tage to her brother; but I doubt whether think, especially eager in this respect. ' And the brother trusted either the honesty or as he was not one who had many irons in the discretion of his sister. He would have the fire, who made either many little efforts, been willing to purchase such assistance as or any great efforts after things altogether she might give, — not in Archie's pleasant beyond his reach, he was justified in expect- way, with bank-notes hidden under his ing success. As to Archie's courtship, any glove, – but by acknowledgments for serone who really knew the man and the vices to be turned into solid remuneration woman, and who knew any thing of the na- when the marriage should have taken place, ture of women in general, would have pre- had he not feared that Sophie might comdicted failure for him. Even with Doodle's municate the fact of such acknowledgments aid he could not have a chance in the race. to the other lady,

making her own barBut when Count Pateroff entered himself gain in doing so. He had calculated all for the same prize, those who knew him this, and had come to the conclusion that would not speak of his failure as a thing cer- he had better make no direct proposal to tain.

Sophie; and when Sophie made a direct The prize was too great not to be at- proposal to him, pointing out to him in glowtempted by so very prudent a gentleman. ing language all the fine things which such He was less impulsive in his nature than his a marriage would give him, he had hardly sister, and did not open his eyes and talk vouchsafed to her a word of answer. “ Very with watering mouth of the seven thousands well,” said Sophie to herself;- very

weli. of pounds a year; but in his quiet way he Then we both know what we are about.” had weighed and calculated all the advan- Sophie herself would have kept Lady tages to be gained, had even ascertained | Ongar from marrying any one had she been at what rate he could insure the lady's life, able. Not even a brother's gratitude would and had made himself certain that nothing be so serviceable to her as the generous in the deed of Lord Ongar's marriage-settle- kindness of a devoted friend. That she ment entailed any pecuniary penalty on his might be able both to sell her services to a widow's second marriage. Then he had lover, and also to keep Julie from marrygone down, as we know, to Ongar Park, ing, was a lucky combination of circumand as he had walked from the lodge to the stances which did not occur to her till Arhouse and back again, he had looked around chie came to her with the money in his him complacently, and told himself that the glove. That complicated game she was place would do very well. For the English now playing, and was aware that Harry character, in spite of the pigheadedness of Clavering was the great stumbling-block in many Englishmen, he had, -as he would her way. A woman even less clever than have said himselt, - much admiration, and Sophie would have perceived that Lady Ongar was violently attached to Harry; to Count Pateroff in the latter days of the and Sophie, when she did see it, thought lord's life; but as the manuscript was altothat there was nothing left for her but to gether in the count's writing, and did not make her hay while the sun was yet shin- even pretend to have been subjected to ing. Then she heard the story of Florence Lord Ongar's eye, it simply amounted to Burton; and again she thought that For the count's own story of their alleged contune was on her side. She told the story versations. There might have been no of Florence Burton, — with what result we such conversations, or their tenour might know; and was quite sharp enough to per- have been very different from that which ceive afterwards that the tale had had its the count represented, or the statements intended effect, - even though her Julie and opinions, if expressed at all by Lord had resolutely declined to speak either of Ongar, might have been expressed at times Harry Clavering or of Florence Burton. when no statements or opinions coming

Count Pateroff had again called in Bol- from him could be of any value. But as to ton Street, and had again been refused ad- these conversations, if they could have been mittance. It was plain to him to see by the verified as having come from Lord Ongar's servant's manner that it was intended that mouth when he was in full possession of he should understand that he was not to be such faculties as he possessed, - all that admitted. Under such circumstances, it would have amounted to nothing with Lady was necessary that he must either abandon Ongar. To Lord Ongar alive she had his pursuit, or that he must operate upon owed obedience, and had been obedient. Lady, Ongar through some other feeling To Lord Ongar dead she owed no obedithan her personal regard for himself. He ence, and would not be obedient. might, perhaps, have trusted much to his Such would have been her feelings as to own eloquence if he could have seen her; any document which could have reached but how is a man to be eloquent in his woo- her, purporting to contain Lord Ongar's ing if he cannot see the lady whom he cov- wishes; but this document was of a nature ets? There is, indeed, the penny post, but which made her specially antagonistic to the in these days of legal restraints

, there isno exercise of any such marital authority from other method of approaching an unwilling the grave. It was very long, and went into beauty. Forcible abduction is put an end small details, — details which were very to as regards Great Britain and Ireland. small; but the upshot of it all was a tenderSo the count had resort to the post.

ing of great thanks to Count Pateroff, and His letter was very long, and shall not, the expression of a strong wish that the count therefore, be given to the reader. He be- should marry his widow.

6 0. said that gan by telling Lady Ongar that she owed this would be the only thing for J's name.” it to him for the good services he had done “0. said that this would be the safest course her, to read what he might say, and to an- for his own honour.” “ O. said, as he took swer him. He then gave her various rea- my hand, that in promising to take this step sons why she should see him, pleading, among I gave him great.comfort.”.

" O. commisother things, in language which she could sioned me to speak to J. in his name to this understand, though the words were pur- effect." The O. was of course Lord Ongar, posely as ambiguous as they could be made, and the J. was of course Julia. It was all that he had possessed and did possess the in French, and went on in the same strain power of doing her a grievous injury, and for many pages. Lady Ongar answered the that he had abstained, and — hoped that letter as follows :he might be able to abstain for the future. She knew that the words contained no “Lady Ongar presents her compliments threat, — that taken literally they were the to Count Pateroff, and begs to return the reverse of a threat, and 'amounted to a enclosed manuscript, which is

, to her, perpromise, but she understood also all that fectly valueless. *Lady Ongar must still he had intended to imply. Long as his decline, and now more strongly than before, own letter was, he said nothing in it as to to receive Count Pateroff. his suit, confining himself to a request that Bolton Street, May 186—, she should see him. But with his letter he sent her an enclosure longer than the letter She was quite firm as she did this. She itself

, in which his wishes were clearly ex- had no doubt at all on the matter. She did plained.

not feel that she wanter to ask for any adThis enclosure purported to be an ex- vice. But she did feel that this count might pression of Lord Ongar's wishes on many still work her additional woe, that her cup subjects, as they had been communicated of sorrow might not even yet be full, and that she was sadly, – sadly in want of love engaged herself to go with her dear friend and protection. For aught she knew, the to the Isle of Wight! As a matter of course, count might publish the whole statement, Sophie was to be franked on this expedition. and people might believe that those words on such expeditions Sophies are always came from her husband, and that her hus- franked as a matter of course. And Sophie “band had understood what would be best for would travel with all imaginable luxury, her fame and for his honour. The whole a matter to which Sophie was by no means thing was a threat, and not to save herself indifferent, though her own private life was from any misery, would she have succumbed conducted with an economy that was not to a menace; but still it was possible that luxurious. But, although all these good the threat might be carried out.

things came in Sophie's way, she contrived She was sorely in want of love and pro- to make it appear that she was devoting tection. At this time, when the count's herself in a manner that was almost sacrifiletter reached her, Harry had been with her; cial to the friend of her bosom. At the and we know what had passed between same time Lady Ongar sent a few words, as them. She had bid him go to Florence,- a message, to the count by his sister. Lady and love Florence, and marry Florence, Ongar, having told to Madame Gordeloup

and leave her in her desolation. That the story of the document wbich had reached had been her last command to him. But we her, and having described her own answer, all know what such commands mean. She was much commended by her friend. had not been false in giving him these orders. “You are quite right, dear, quite. Of She had intended it at the moment. The course I am fond of my brother. Edouard glow of self-sacrifice had been warm in her and I have always been the best of friends. bosom, — and she had resolved to do with- But that does not make me think you ought out that which she wanted in order that to give yourself to him. Bah! Why should another might have it. But when she a woman give away everything? Edouard thought of it afterwards in her loneliness, is a fine fellow. But what is that? Fine she told herself that Florence Burton could fellows like to have all the money themnot want Harry's love as she wanted it. selves." There could not be such need to this girl, “Will you tell him, from me," said who possessed father and mother, and broth- Lady Ongar, " that I will take it as a kinders, and youth, as there was to her, who had ness on his part if he will abstain from comno other arm on which she could lean, be- ing to my house. I certainly shall not see sides that of the one man for whom she had him with my own consent.” acknowledged her love, and who had also Sophie promised, -and probably gave declared his passion for her. She made no the message; but when she also informed scheme to deprive Florence of her lover. In Edouard of Lady Ongar's intended visit to the long hours of her own solitude she never the Isle of Wight, telling him the day on revoked, even within her own bosom, the which they were going and the precise spot, last words she had said to Harry Clavering. with the name of the botel wbich they But not the less did she hope that he might were to stay, she went a little beyond the come to her again, and that she might learn commission which her dearest friend had from him that he had freed himself from given her. that unfortunate engagement into which her At the western end of the Isle of Wight, falseness to him had driven him.

and on the further shore, about three miles It was after she had answered Count from the point of the Island which we call Paterot's letter that she resolved to go out the Needles, there is a little break in the of town for three or four days. For some cliff, known to all stay-at-home English travshort time she had been minded to go away ellers as Freshwater Gate. Here there is a altogether, and not to return till after the au- cluster of cottages and two inns, and a few tumn; but this scheme gradually diminished bathing-boxes, and ready access by easy itself and fell away, till she determined that ascents to the breezy downs on either side, she would come back after three or four days. over which the sea air blows with all its salt Then came to her Sophie. – her devoted and wholesome sweetness. At one of these Sophie, - Sophie whom she despised and two inns Lady Ongar located herself and hated ; Sophie of whom she was so anxious Sophie; and all Freshwater, and all Yarto rid herself that in all her plans there was mouth, and all that end of the island were some little under-plot to that effect; Sophie alive to the fact that the rich widowed countwhom she knew to be dishonest to her in any ess respecting whom such strange tales were way that might make dishonesty profitable; told, had come on a visit to these parts. and before Sophie had left her, Sophie had | Innkeepers like such visitors. The more venomous are the stories told against them, had been very busy, and now had come the more money are they apt to spend, and down to make herself comfortable. the less likely are they to examine their bills. On the next evening Lady Ongar deA rich woman altogether without a charac- clared her intention of going up on the ter is a mine of wealth to an innkeeper. In downs by herself. They had dined at five, the present case no such godsend had come so that she might have a long evening, and in the

way, - but there was supposed to be soon after six she started. If I do not a something a little odd, and the visitor was break down I will get as far as the Needles," on that account the more welcome.

she said. Sophie, who had heard that the Sophie was not the most delightful com- distance was three miles, lifted up her hands panion in the world for such a place. Lon- in despair. “If you are not back before don was her sphere, as she herself had nine I shall send the people after you.” understood when declaiming against those Consenting to this with a laugh, Lady On, husbands who keep their wives in the coun- gar made her way up to the downs, and try. And she had no love for the sea spe- walked steadily on towards the extreme cially, regarding all winds as nuisances point of the island. To the Needles themexcepting such as had been raised by her selves she did not make her way. These own efforts, and thinking that salt from a rocks are now approached, as all the stay-atsaltcellar was more convenient_than that home travellers know, through a fort, and brought to her on the breezes. It was now down to the fort she did not go. But turnpear the end of May, but she had not been ing a little from the highest point of the hill half an hour at the inn before she was loud towards the cliffs on her left hand, she dein demanding a fire, and when the fire scended till she reached a spot from which came she was unwilling to leave it. Her she could look down on the pebbly beach gesture was magnificent when Lady Ongar lying some three hundred feet below her, proposed to her that she should bathe. and on the soft shining ripple of the quiet What, — put her own dear little dry body, waters as they moved themselves with a by her own will, into the cold sea! She pleasant sound on the long strand which lay shrugged herself , and shook herself

, and stretched in a line from the spot beneath without speaking a word declined with so her out to the point of the island. The much eloquence that it was impossible not evening was warm, and almost transparent to admire her. Nor would she walk. On in its clearness, and very quiet. There was the first day, during the warmest part of the no sound even of a breeze. When she seatday, she allowed herself to be taken out in ed herself close upon the margin of the cliff, a carriage belonging to the inn; but after she heard the small waves moving the stones her drive she clung to the fire, and consumed which they washed, and the sound was as her time with a French novel.

the sound of little children's voices, very Nor was Lady Ongar much more comfort- distant. Looking down, she could see able in the Isle of Wight than she had been through the wonderful transparency of the in London. The old poet told us how Black water, and the pebbles below it were bright Care sits behind the horseman, and some as diamonds, and the sands were burnished modern poet will some day describe to us like gold. And each tiny silent wavelet as that terrible goddess as she takes her place it moved up towards the shore and lost itself with the stroker close to the fire of the loco- at last in its own effort, stretched itself the motive engine. Sitting with Sophie opposite whole length of the strand. Such brightness to her, Lady Ongar was not happy, even on the sea-shore she had never seen before, though her eyerested on the lines of that mag- nor had she ever listened as now she listened nificent coast. Once indeed, on the eve- to that infantine babble of the baby waves. ning of their first day, Sophie left her, and She sat there close upon the margin, on a she was alone for nearly an hour. Ah, how seat of chalk which the winds had made, happy could she have been if Harry Clav- looking, listening, and forgetting for a while ering might have been there with her. that she was Lady Ongar whom people did Perhaps a day might come in which Harry not know, who lived alone in the world might bring her there. In such a case Atra with Sophie Gordeloup for her friend, Cura would be left behind, and then she and whose lover was betrothed to another might be altogether happy. She sat dream- woman. She had been there perhaps halfing of this for above an hour, and Sophie an-hour, and had learned to be at home on was still away. When Sophie returned, her perch, sitting there in comfort, with no which she did all too soon, she explained desire to move, when a voice which she well that she had been in her bedroom. She knew at the first sound startled her, and she

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