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eleine's. The first pronounced him clever heard nothing since, or he would have let and agreeable; and the second, still puz- us know.' zled by a notion that he had seen him pre- * Nothing since that strange meeting in viously, though he could not remember Paris,' said Madeleine. “I almost wish he where, said he was a gentlemanly young had not seen her at all; now he knows she man, with something to talk about worth is living, and unhappy, poor girl; what listening to, and content to acknowledge does it all mean?' himself ignorant of subjects he knew noth- The beautiful brown eyes of Madeleine ing about. Mr. Horace Holmes had not a filled with sudden tears, and an expression little propitiated Frank Burdett's liking by of sweet, heavenly compassion came into promptly declining Stephen's invitation to her face which became it better than its join the shooting-parties, adding a candid brightest, gayest, most smiling aspect. confession that he had not the least notion She is not much older than I am, aunt,' how to use a gun.
the girl continued; she was seated on the So different from that fellow Bingham!' floor, beside Julia's sofa, and her nutsaid Frank, who felt deeply and spoke brown head nestled by her aunt's side; strongly about this, his favourite grievance; and she has known so much trouble that “he delights in spoiling sport, I do believe we are sure of, besides what we cannot even How Gaynor can ever have put up with that guess at. How strange it is that the destiinsufferable booby, who must have been still nies of people in this world should be so more odious when travelling than when different! Think of her and me, – and staying at home, I cannot make out.' she so good and useful too. I think I al
* But then, you see, Mr. Gaynor is of a most ought to be ashamed of being so happy.' patient disposition, and you are not,' said • But you are good and useful too, MadMadeleine ; you are such a terrible Turk. dy,' said Julia ; your sunshine is not all I am sure, however, you are right about undeserved, my dear.' Herbert Bingham's being an unpleasant • Ah,' said Madeleine, with momentary travelling-companion; I could make that thoughtfulness, 'I am only a creature of out from his own account - always stand- the human-butterfly species, after all, and ing on his own rights, and not caring in the you all spoil me. It's very nice to be least about any other person's tastes or spoiled, and I hope none of you will leave wishes.'
off, mind.' • You have not heard from Gaynor lately, • I don't think we shall,' said Julia, with have you ? ' asked Mr. Burdett of his broth- a grave smile; and then she lay still for er-in law.
some minutes, her hand, thinner and whiter • No,' said Stephen. •I suppose we shall than it usually was, resting on her niece's see him when he returns.'
sunny head. The young girl's words had This trifling conversation was destined to sent her fancy back to her own youth, and have an effect out of proportion to its to a brief contemplation of the dealings of seeming insignificance. Madeleine laugh- destiny with herself. How completely all ingly related her father's strictures on Her- the conditions of her early life were reversed bert Bingham, and his reflected commenda- now! What calm and prosperity bad come tion of Horace Holmes, to her aunt, and so after the storm! Must there indeed be led their conversation in the direction of storm in every life, sooner or later? Could Hugh Gaynor, to whom Madeleine - grate it not be that Madeleine's life might pass fully aware of his sympathy in her love without any tempestuous weather? affair, and confident in his taking her view "I wonder,' said Madeleine, breaking of the inviolability of her faith and Verner's, through Julia's reverie suddenly, and lifting and the eternal nature of their reciprocal up her face full of the animation of a new constancy — was sincerely attached. idea, —- I wonder whether those French
• I wonder whether he has learned any- clergymen in Paris that Herbert Bingham thing about Alice Wood,' said Julia thought- knows — you remember the people I mean; fully. It was so like him to be so ear- Lady Bredisholme worries us about collectnestly anxious about the poor girl; so like ing for their church, don't you recollect? him not to forget her among all his other but said the demands upon her own purse anxieties and cares. It does one good to were so numerous she could not give any. see any human being so disinterested and thing herself — could help Mr. Gaynor? 80 conscientious; one cannot imitate, I Alice Wood being English and a Protessuppose – at least, I could not — but one tant, I should think it likely they might can admire him. I wonder what has be- know something about her — should not come of her? I feel pretty sure he has you ? She was so pretty, and so very uncommon-looking, if she came across them Angelina considered them quite vulgarly at all they would be certain to take an in- expressive - dark eyes of his, and anyone terest in her, and remember her. Don't might perceive by their glance when Madeyou think so, aunt?'
leine's figure was hidden by the row of Certainly I do,' answered Julia. That plants and the orange-trees, and when it is a capital idea of yours, Maddy, a most emerged into the light, as she and her comexcellent idea. Everything renders it likely panion walked and talked in the conservathat the Protestant clergymen in Paris, or tory. After some time, IIerbert Bingham one of them at any rate, should know some- came from the conservatory into the drawthing of the poor girl, especially her being ing-room, crossed that apartment without a in some undeniable trouble.'
moment's delay, and left it by the opposite * Then do you think I might write to Mr. door — proceedings which Angelina regardGaynor, - when I ask Herbert Bingham ed with intense curiosity. Madeleine was the names and addresses of Lady Bredis- evidently awaiting his return. Angelina holme's friends, - and tell him you think it placed the chess-table in a position whence likely they could help him to find Alice she could command a good view of the conWood? I cannot tell you what a strange servatory, sat down, and began to arrange feeling I have about this matter, aunt; I the chessmen. The young artist stood becannot make you understand it exactly, hind her chair, and asked her — his eyes as if I might show some thankfulness for still following Madeleine -the names of the being so happy, and so well taken care of, pieces on the board. After a few minutes, and protected against every kind of trouble Herbert Bingham returned and rejoined myself
, by helping, in any little insignificant Madeleine. Ås he passed her by, Angelina way that I could, to bring some consolation saw that he carried a pocket-book in his to this poor girl.
hand. The interview in the conservatory I understand your meaning perfectly,' soon came to a termination, and when said Julia; “and I think the feeling does Madeleine rejoined the party in the drawyou credit.
ing-room, her face was troubled. Mr. Madeleine seized the first opportunity Bingham did not seem to be in a particuafforded her of getting the desired infor- larly good humour either; and though Anmation from Herbert Bingham. That op- gelina succeeded in inducing him to play portunity occurred after dinner, when An- chess with her, she was unpleasantly congelina was preparing to ensnare her hon- scious that she did not make progress in ourable victim into playing a game of chess her other little game. with her. This was a solemn sort of pastime which suited the slow and pertina- Can you imagine anyone being so selfish, cious temperament of Mr. Bingham, and in so utterly inconsiderate of other people's it Angelina had great hope. Extreme, feelings, aunt?' said Madeleine, her eyes therefore, was the indignation with which sparkling with anger as she narrated' to she beheld Madeleine approach, intimate to Mrs. Haviland the particulars of her interMr. Binghain that she had a message for view with Herbert Bingham. Just fancy him from her aunt, and withdraw with him his coming back to Paris, and the waiter's from the drawing-room to the conservatory, faithfully giving him the memorandum – where she immediately began to talk to him look there,' and she pointed to the last line with an air of confidential animation inex- of some writing on a paper in Julia's hand, pressibly disgusting to Angelina. That – This is very important to Mr. Gaynor, discomfited young lady had not even the and never sending it on, or telling him he satisfaction of expressing her sense of bad got it, or anything. I have no patience Madeleine's conduct to Clementina, who with such people! Ånd he talks cant by was at the other end of the room, gazing at the hour, like his mother, and thinks no Captain Medway, and welcoming every silly amount of attention and consideration too sentence he uttered with fish-like gasps of much to be shown to him.' admiration. No one was near her but Mr. • Not at all an uncommon character, my Holmes, and he seemed more than usually dear,” said Julia, who was amused at the absent-minded; besides, Angelina did not young girl's vehemence, while she fully “cultivate: Mr. Holmes, who had, in addi- shared her solicitude. It strikes you betion to his inherent insignificance, the un- cause you have not reached the age of obpardonable fault of having followed the servation yet; it is not new to me, I assure multitude to do homage to Madeleine Bur- you.' dett. It was really too laughable, but at • It's very disgusting to me, I can tell you that very moment he was following her that," said Madeleine; and if I found Verwith those singularly expressive — indeed Iner out in anything of the kind, I should —
• You would make excuses for him, Mad- | dear, indeed. But you must be satisfied to dy,' interrupted Julia, with a smile. • But remember that you have gained much more don't let us mind either Verner or his than you had any reason to hope for, by brother just now. The mischief — all the your capital notion of speaking to Herbert mischief delay can do — is done, and we Bingham. The most you expected was incannot help it. Let me understand you direct aid; whereas you have obtained a clearly. Herbert Bingham knew nothing direct, and we may hope unerring, clue. about the poor girl, I think, or about Mr. You ought to be satisfied with your day's Gaynor's search for her?'
work, Madeleine. It really looks as it yon Nothing. Mr. Gaynor had too much were destined to be of use to this poor girl.' sense, I
suppose, to confide anything of Julia paused for a moment, and then adthe sort to an unsympathising block like ded: Herbert Bingham. He knew that the party · We will not write to Mr. Gaynor until had consented to remain a day longer in we know about this Honorine Duclos. It Paris than had originally been agreed upon, would only grieve him more if the clue had because there was some woman Mr. Gaynor been found but to be lost again.' wanted to see; but he knew nothing more, • Then Herbert Bingham shall write toand thought nothing more about it, until I morrow to the Hôtel Bristol,' said Madeforced him much against his will, for he leine with decision. wanted to talk his dreary nonsense to me On the following day Mr. Bingham wrote to think whether he could help us by apply- the required letter to the dame de charge at ing to the Protestant clergymen in Paris. the Hôtel Bristol. By return of post he Then, by degrees, the thing seemed to take received a reply. Ilonorine Duclos was form in his stupid, egotistical head.' still in service at the hotel, and, in case of
• Maddy, Maddy, strong language!' her leaving, Mr. Bingham should be ap
*O, never mind, aunt, — it's only to you; prised, as he desired, of the occurrence. and I do hate Herbert Bingham so. Well, A good many days had now gone by since at last he seemed to get hold of a notion Julia had been forced to acknowledge heron the subject, and then, in his chilly way, self ill, and she was not yet able to leave he remembered that he had a message given her room. She did not recover her strength; him for Mr. Gaynor; but, indeed, as Gay- she suffered from lassitude and depression; nor wasn't on the spot, and couldn't have and though she would probably have made looked into the matter, he hadn't thought it an effort to join the family party, she did of any consequence. Did you ever hear not exert herself for the entertainment of anything like that? I actually could not the stranger element. There was no demake out whether he now understands that cided suffering about her state, and she behe did a sellish and unfeeling thing; and came less impatient of her seclusion with you may imagine the state I was in, until I every day it lasted. Sometimes she passed found that he had not destroyed the paper sleepless nights, and then she was low and
– I suppose he was just gentlemanly enough drowsy in the mornings, and would occanot to do that — or that he put it by and sionally sleep after she had been dressed forgot it; however, there it is there's the and placed upon her sofa, close by the clue that Mr. Gaynor wants.'
cheerful window which looked out upon the • Unless this woman has left the place she flower-garden. She was never disturbed at mentions,' said Julia.
such times; and care was taken to keep the • O, don't even think of such a thing!' grassy terrace beneath her windows free said Madeleine ; .that would be too bad. from trespassers, whose voices might rouse At all events, we can make Herbert Bing- her from her much-needed slumber. It ham ascertain that. If she is still there, chanced, however, that on one beautiful could we make any inquirtes ?!
soft autumn day Julia fell asleep in the • I fear not,' said Julia; “this Honorine afternoon, contrary to her usual custom, Duclos does not know anything of us, nor and when no precautions had been taken; does Alice Wood herself; and there is sulli- and after a short time was awoke by a cient mystery about the whole affair to ren- sound which came from outside and beneath der it very unlikely that she would confide her window, and was evidently uttered by anything to strangers.?
She sat up with a start; the laugh Then there is nothing for it but to write was repeated, and she looked out. On the and tell Mr. Gaynor what we have heard, edge of the grassy terrace nearest to the to send him this memorandum, and he and garden Madeleine Burdett was standing, a we must wait with what patience we can bouquet of late antumnal flowers in her until he returns from the Holy Land.' hands held out to her companion, who was
There is nothing else to be done, my rather awkwardly twisting a piece of bass
matting round the stalks. The girl's com- the common-place, middle-class order, Engpanion was a young man of an elegant fig- glish picture-dealers, or French bourgeois. ure; his profile was turned towards Julia, Since he had left school, and lost sight of but she could see that it was handsome, of Hugh Gaynor, he had never associated with a dark, haughty type. Madeleine was smil- a man who was at once a scholar and a ing brightly, and talking gaily. Julia drew gentleman; bis artistic tastes had never quite close to the window and looked out. known the gratification of domestic surOnce more she caught the sound of the roundings full of refinement, luxury, and young man's laugh; and at that moment beauty. The English vie de château was inMadeleine looked up and saw her. Julia deed unknown to him, as he had bitterly hurriedly drew back, and lay down again said, and when he was introduced to it, it on her sofa. In another minute Madeleine appealed irresistibly to all his tastes and was in the room, hoping she and Mr. instincts. Holmes had not disturbed her aunt; re- Ilis life had had a good deal of pleasure gretting she had drawn back her head so in it, pleasure too which in Paris may be quickly that Mr. Holmes had not had a had cheaply, without being necessarily chance of seeing her; exulting that it was coarse and degrading; but of real luxury, all right about her drawing-lessons, and as the normal condition of daily existence, she had begun that very day, and explain- without fear of its loss or diminution, he ing that they had been laughing at the mel had never before had any actual experience. ancholy manner in which Captain Medway These people among whom fate had now was just then taking the air in the flower- brought him knew no other life than this ; garden, under the inexorable escort of in whose every hour money was expended Clementina.
without a thought, without the intrusion of • And so that handsome young man is Mr. its material agency, even as his visions had Holmes?' said Mrs. Haviland.
shown him it ought to be used, if life were • Yes,' said Madeleine. • He is hand to be a happy, enviable possession. Here, some, isn't he?
beauty of form and decoration reigned; 'I only caught a glimpse of him,' said there was nothing to pain the eye with a Julia.
hint of mere frugal practical utility. With • But he really is. Rather stern — not what loathing the recollection of the dull an open, happy, pleasant face, you know.' apartment in Paris filled him! How he
• I know — like Verner Bingham's.' turned from the remembrance of the mean • Yes then, of course, I mean not like seaside cottage where Alice dwelt, with its Verner's. I don't like men to have dark humble furniture, and its little ornaments, eyes at least, I shouldn't like Verner's so significant in their vulgarity! eyes to be dark. But he is handsome; I'm In the young man's mood of mind there sure you'll like him, aunt.'
was much low and vulgar envy, combined So she chattered on for a little while; and with the sensuous and materialistic instincts when Julia was again alone, she tried in- and the really artistic sense of beauty, luxeffectually to find out what was the impres- ury, and refinement which he had always sion which had mingled with the sound of possessed. He could not permit himself to the laugh that had aroused her from her enjoy the temporary pleasure of his present sleep, and what was the association of ideas sojourn at Meriton, because of the sullen which brought suddenly to her memory a anger which consumed him. Why was this dreadful dream which had come to her luxury, this ease, this constant succession many years ago.
of social pleasures, this well-bred society, this life, from which everything that could offend the senses or hurt the sensibilities was excluded, to be theirs always, by right, and
his only for a little while, by accident, by The Mitfords departed from Meriton, sufferance ? If all the instincts in him did and Mr. Holmes was invited by Stephen not lie, if there were any truth at all in the Haviland to leave his neat but narrow quar- promptings of blood and race, his rightful ters at the village inn, and take up his place was in some such sphere as this into abode for the present at the great house. which he had strayed. How many men had All the young man's previous life had bad he known in his own class who could apnothing in it like the experience of the preciate all this even as he appreciated it, short time during which he had been a daily but who would never have dreamed of guest at Meriton. All his former associates coveting it, would just have looked and adhad been either wild, struggling, more or mired, and passed on and thought no more less disreputable young men, or persons of labout it, - have been disturbed by no tor
menting pangs of envy! Did not this dif- involuntarily-reproachful face, of her humference mean something? Did it not con- ble dress, her subdued manner, her lowly firm his conviction that the wrong which mind, which he called ignorant !) as she was fate had inflicted upon him had been the unlike the meretricious women in whose cruellest and worst of wrongs ; - that he had company he had so often forgotten poor been born to that alone which makes life Alice's tiresome virtues, and tedious acquiworth having — wealth and station ? escent talk. Her conquest of his whole There was
no incongruity between the nature was as swift, as sudden, as irresistiyoung man and the hitherto unknown sphere ble, as it was unconscious. If he had ever in which he found himself. His appearance, been capable of any such superstitious his manners, his address, were in keeping scruple as he would have considered an obwith it all. If he wanted the unobtrusive, ligation of fidelity of feeling to his wife to unconscious, consummate ease which is the be, he would have ridiculed the idea of its decisive trait of good manners, the defi- being active in this case. How could he ciency passed unnoticed by reason of a resist such a spell as this? He had come certain gravity, amounting at times to stern-into a new world, and one of its fairest inness, which was not unsuitable to his dark, habitants had enchanted him so that he was expressive face.
no longer his own master. Had not all If the people among whom he was now that had gone before been but a mere misthrown were conscious, as they undoubtedly erable delusion — the wretched tinsel that were, that Mr. Holmes was not of them, the untutored, unaccustomed eye takes for the difference did not consist in a lower gold? Who but an idiot would bold himtone of manner, or in the awkwardness of self accountable for the blunders of ignoan inferior station, but in some inexplicable rance, or turn from such a revelation of mental distinction which made itself felt. delight as this new life had offered him ? More than one of the guests at Meriton He would not listen for a moment to any thought, as Madeleine had said to her aunt, whisper of his well-nigh dumb conscience. that lIr. Holmes · looked like a man with a Society had deeply injured him; he had story.'
been the victim of wrong and treachery, He was far from reciprocating the good- which he had no means of measuring, from will with which Stephen Haviland and Frank his birth; and not least among those wrongs Burdett regarded him. On the contrary, was the ignorance of the world, the narrow be hated them both. He hated Stephen be- sphere of life which had made him capable cause he was the owner of this luxurious of the fatal blunder of his marringe. Such dwelling, the master of this fine establish- a mere boy as he had been ! Ile did not ment, this new-found world of pleasure, in remember he did not think with any pity which he was but a passing accident. His or remorse - how mere a girl Alice had perverted mind turned the very kindness he been, and how soon and sadly her girlhood received into an offence, and took — though had ended — in what faint-heartedness and no sullenness, no awkwardness of manner melancholy defeat.
For her he had no betrayed the evil interpretation - genial thoughts except those of impatient conhospitality for purse-proud patronage. He tempt. He had hung a millstone round his hated Frank Burdett because he was the neck. She might, indeed, have been as infather of that girl who had crossed his path sensible as one for any care he had for like. a splendid unearthly vision, and yet suffering of hers. His callousness would was real, the embodiment of all he had ever have surprised only a superficial observer; fancied as most beautiful and enchanting. those whose observation goes deep, know In his miserable mood, he hated everyone that the interval between selish indi itirence who had the right to be with her, everyone and tyrannical impulse in domestic life, and to whom her presence gave innocent, right- active aggression and cruelty, is but trilling, ful delight. Because the love of her had and easily bridged over by circumstances. come to him as a curse, he hated all to In the tumult of his feelings, the young whom it was a blessing:
man did not ask himself what ho hoped or To Horace Holmes the beauty, the fasci- what he feared; did not argue with himself nation, the enchanting grace, and sunny, that under any circumstances — even supfearless mirth, the brilliant prosperous girl-posing that the barrier of his marriage, of ishness, of Madeleine Burdett was a reve- whose existence he alone was aware, were lation of the utmost possibilities of feminine removed or had never been — he was hopecharm. No woman in any respect or degree lessly divided by her wealth and station resembling her had ever been thrown in bis from Madeleine Burdett. That he was a way. She was as unlike Alice (how he nameless man, and not of or in her world, loathed the memory of her pale, unsmiling, he knew indeed, and felt with the bitterness