Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

“Oh, she's a capital oar,” said the Cap-I am telling Sir Stephen how we amuse tain with pride. “She'd get her rating ourselves when we go out fishing, Jim," on board any Queen's ship.” Then put- she said, seeing the old man's bright listing his two hands to his mouth to form tening eyes fixed upon her. a speaking trumpet, he roared out to “Ah !” – and Jim gave a long sigh of Jim —

satisfaction. “ Them's the times. I “Sir Stephen wants to know if Miss haven't heerd nothin' nat'ral like, never Hero can take an oar ?"

since the 29th o' last October ; that's the “Ay, ay, sir," answered the man, in day we went to Batten Reach.” the low distinct kind of whisper, so often « What does he mean?" asked Sir used by very deaf people. “ That she Stephen. can ; I'd back her agen Ann Granville, “Well, if you speak to him you have Jinry Adams, or any othe Saltashers." to roar at him, and he says the noise is

“That's a compliment you won't ap- like thunder, but he can hear singing, preciate until you have been to one of the at least he says he can hear mine, - and regattas and seen the women row," said it so delights him to listen to his old sea Hero ; “then you will fully understand songs, that I often repeat them over and the pride I feel in Jim's flattering opinion over again for his amusement.” of my stroke."

“You refused the other evening; you The boat tumbled and tossed in the told me that you could not sing." foam, pretending every minute that it in-1 “Nor can I ; but when I was a child tended to be upset. To get into her it papa taught me several of his favourite needed the agility of a cat, which Hero nautical ballads which are not exactly seemed to possess ; for, seizing her op- company music, you know.” portunity, she sprang in first. Sir Stephen | “I dare say they are very much pretwas not so fortunate, but thought himself | tier.” lucky in meeting with no worse fate than Hero shook her head. “ breaking his fall” on Jim, and tumbling. “Let me hear one ?" on Hero.

“Oh, no, I could not; they are not in “Never mind," shouted the Captain, the least what you would care for.” who stood watching their departure from “You cannot tell that. Jim," he called the shore ; “ you'll shake down all right out, “ask Miss Carthew to sing one of by the time you get outside. Don't you your favourite songs." bother about the ropes, he'll manage them “ Will 'ee, Miss Hero ?” said Jim ; with his hook and his teeth.”

“'es now, do 'ee like a dear," he added “I hope you can swim," shouted Sir in a coaxing voice. Stephen, as soon as they were fairly off. “Yes, do'ee like a dear,” said Sir Jim put his hand to his ear and looked at Stephen, trying to imitate Jim's insinuatHero.

ing voice. "Sir Stephen hopes that you can swim." Hero held up her finger reprovingly, Jim shook his head.

but she nodded assent to Jim's further “Not I," he answered, “'taint lucky, pleading request that the song should be sir ; so far as I've a seed, most o they “ The lass who loves a sailor.” After a as puts their trust in swimmin' is pretty | momentary pause she began : her voice near certain to be drowned. Uncle Bill rose clear and sweet, doing justice to the could swim like a fish,” he said, turning | tuneful melody, which she sang with to Hero, “ so could Seth Lavis, and Osee heartfelt feeling. Her face was turned Triggs, and what comed of it? Why, so that the old man might hear; and he, they all three went down like lead, and I with his eyes on the sail and his hand to by their side was saved. No, no, sir, his ear, sat listening with a rapt expres. don't 'ee put no hold by swimmin'; set sion, which made his thin, worn face your trust in One above, who never fails | beam with delight. to save they who are to be saved, and if Sir Stephen gazed on the pair, and you'm born to be drownded, drownded then the beauty of the whole scene you'll be ; 'taint swimmin' will keep your seemed to come over him suddenly; the poor sinful body above water.”

calm “great heaven of blue” which re“Comforting!” ejaculated Sir Stephen. fected itself in the water below, the high

“ Oh! we are safe enough,” laughed samphire-patched rocks fantastically jagHero, “though I see yours is only make-ged and broken, the foam dashing and believe fear. In the summer, Jim and I lapping against them, frothy and white go out for whole days together, and he above the sea's borrowed depth of colour. tells me stories and I sing him songs. Il “Surely," he thought, “ my mother's prejudice would give way before this I like, that Jim, who was watching her, wild scenery, which she always admires. chuckled outI hope I shall succeed in getting her to “That's Lord Truscott to a T." feel an interest in these people. They “ There you see,” exclaimed Hero sighave made me somehow take to them nificantly," he was not very likely to gain wonderfully ; they have such simple ways their confidence.” and pleasures, and are so different to the “True, I see now that things must be common run of country folks. What a managed very differently in future. As I sweet face this girl has, and such a pretty explained to Captain Carthew this mornair of coquetry; conscious but not vain ing, I am anything but a rich man; my of her beauty; a real unspoilt woman, other estate, Pamphillon, was left to me with a heap of weakness to make the man encumbered with debts, so that instead who loves her proud of his strength, and of deriving any income from it, I have to a heap of strength to turn his pride into spend money on it every year. The fact weakness.” And then the vision of an- is, when I came of age I ought to have other face rose up before him — a face sold that place, but my mother would not which had once been to him the fairest hear of it; and I, shrinking, as one natin all the world, but which now was urally does, from giving up what has been shadowed by clouds of distrust and bit-in one's family for generations, tried to terness, lived out but not forgotten. see if, by any means, it was possible to

"God bless you for that sound to the keep it. Afterwards I went abroad for deaf ear," said old Jim reverently.

some years, and gave up attending to busSir Stephen, roused from his reverie, iness matters, but now I see so plainly smiled at her, saying “I can say noth- what is the right thing to do, that I shall ing, but that I am very much obliged to hesitate about it no longer, but put Pamyou. It must make you feel very happy, phillon into the market directly I return Miss Carthew, to be so beloved and have to town. I daresay I shall find a bidder," it in your power to make people so he added with a sigh; “it's a fine old happy."

place." *If you will but stay here and live “What a pity to have to sell it !” said among us, I will promise you an equal | Hero. share of popularity. As long as I can “Yes; better never to have had it at remember, people have been wishing all. My poor uncle, whom I succeeded, that you lived at Combe, and now we was a most eccentric man. He had no know you, and have seen you, nothing need to speculate; he had a good income, but your doing so will content us." and nobody to spend it on, for he ab

"I won't promise you to come and live horred the sight of women, and never here altogether, but I shall certainly come married, nor went into society; and yet, and stay some part of each year. Your after his death, it was found that he had father has been showing me that it is not entered into the wildest speculations, and fair to hold land and yet do nothing for completely beggared the property. I was those who live upon it. We decry Irish quite a child, and my mother had to econabsentees, and yet in many instances fol-omize and retrench in every possible way, low their example, and I feel I have been in order to try to get things a little very much to blame.”

straight during my minority. How she "But you knew so little about us,” | managed to keep things from going to

the dogs I can never tell; but it com"For the reason, I suppose, that I pletely broke down her health, and peoasked so little ; and then, as Mr. Trus-ple all say that she has never been the cott said that they never complained in same since. The strain on her nervous any way, I tried to hope they were in a system was too great, she over-estimated very flourishing condition.”

her responsibility in the desire to keep “ Mr. Truscott is a Dockmouth man,” | Pamphillon for me, and it has ended in said Hero, in a scornful voice, “and does her throwing herself into a fever of anxnot understand Mallett people ; it was iety at the bare mention of selling it, and not at all probable that he would hear yet disliking the place so that she hates many complaints by riding over when it to go near it." suited his convenience, and stopping such “ Poor thing,” said Hero compassionas he chose with, “Well, my man, and how ately, “what will you do to avoid paining does the world serve you ?" and Hero's her.” imitation of the hand on the hip, and the “ Say as little about it as I can, and wave of an imaginary whip was so life-linduce her to come down here. I think

said Hero.

you and she would soon be excellent quest that they might carry off Alice, a friends ; she is very fond of young peo-pretty, shy girl, who looked upon her ple's society."

friend Hero as the standard of perfection; “ You have no sisters ?”.

and, only waiting until she was ready to “No; my cousin always lived with my accompany them, they set off on their mother until she got married, and since return to Sharrows. then she has preferred to be alone.”

The wind dropping as the Captain had “I hope she may come here, then,” prognosticated, Hero's services were put said Hero, “ I should be very glad to try into requisition; and Sir Stephen, instead and make her like me.”

of attending to the tiller, found his eyes “That would not be a difficult task,” straying from the undulating movements said Sir Stephen, “the difficulty will be of Hero's lithe figure to her sweet face to get her to come ; she declares Mallett flushed by exercise, her hair a little is at the world's edge, and perhaps the tossed by the gentle breeze, and her eyes journey is a fatiguing one for her.” sparkling with fun and enjoyment of his “But not in the summer ?”

pretended surprise, and his assertion that “Oh, no; I must contrive it somehow; he was afraid to stir, although as soon as and if I can then manage to interest her the boat touched he sprang on shore, in the people, we shall soon set every- and insisted upon lifting her out, with a thing straight. I hope," he said, speak-care that made old Jim eye him suspiing to Jim, “that you will not have sociously. The boat landed them at the foot much to complain of another winter. I of Sharrows, and as Alice wanted to unam very sorry to hear how much many pack her bag the two girls went off tosuffered during the past one."

gether, leaving Sir Stephen to follow. “ Thank 'ee sir," said Jim; “mostly “Here, Jim,” he said, putting a few times is a little hard then, but as I says, shillings into the old boatman's hand, • Take heart, mates, the summer ’ill come,' “ you must drink my health.” and come it does; and so it will, Il Jim shook his head. reckon, for while the earth remaineth, “I gived it up years agone, sir. For seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, more than half of my life through love summer and winter, day and night, shall o' drink the devil stuck to me like a limnot cease ;' and after 'twill all be changed, pit, but, bless the Lord, who has overand there'll be winter no more, but to thrown the powers o' Satan in that rethey that praise the Lord, light and sun spect as in many others.", shine allays."

“Well, then," said Sir Stephen, "keep “ He is a local preacher,” said Hero, it and do what you like with it." answering Sir Stephen's surprised look, " Thank'ee, sir; but there's lots in Mal. “and a very eloquent one according to lett who has more need for it than me." Betsy's opinion, which is that preaching “Nonsense; Miss Carthew told me is a free gift, and not to be picked up like that you had been ill, and not able to do verses by reading books. Her sayings any work for a long time.” used to amuse poor old Mr. Despard “'Twas only a touch o' the screws," greatly. You knew him, did you not? I said the old man, smiling; “ the jints is mean the late rector,” she added.

gittin' a little rusty, I reckon, sir; but “ No. My mother gave him the living our Heavenly Father was good to me; when I was a boy; he had been, I be and as for Miss Hero," and he took off lieve, an old friend of my uncle's, and, his cap, seeming to forget Sir Stephen's through him, she had formed a high presence, and said reverently, “ May God opinion of Mr. Despard. I don't fancy send her the blessings I asks for her they were personally acquainted.”

amen,” he added, after a moment's pause, The sudden shift of the sail, as they turning with the money still in his open tacked into Winkle Creek, put an end to palm. the conversation. Their approach had “Keep it for my sake, Jim," said Sir been made known to Captain Joslyn by Stephen, patting the old fellow's shoulder; the signal-man, and by the time the boat “I hope that you and I will get good reached the shore, a line had been formed friends soon." by the fine stalwart coast-guard men to Jim smiled his satisfaction. rún her out of the surf up the beach, “I hope so, sir ; but," and he gave a where they could step out high and dry, knowing shake of his head towards Share and be welcomed by the whole family, rows, “ you mustn't mind us being main who were standing to receive them. Mrs. hard to please in regard to she.” Joslyn willingly acceded to Hero's re-! Sir Stephen nodded. “She?” he thought, as he walked up the path, “Il When Sir Stephen left England on his wonder what the old chap means?" and lengthened tour, she had obtained a at something which seemed not distaste- promise from him that all should go on ful to himself he smiled, and then in- as usual until his return — a return which dulged in a quiet laugh, and finally light for years she sighed after ; for, excepted a cigar, and sat down on one of the ing a few hurried visits for the express numerous seats the Captain had placed purpose of seeing her, Sir Stephen was up the steep ascent, as resting posts to always bent on some fresh expedition, the aged and weary.

and for six or seven years he had been

roaming about in all quarters of the globe. CHAPTER V.

When at length Mrs. Prescott received KATHERINE DOUGLAS.

the welcome announcement that now he

intended to settle at home altogether, her As Sir Stephen sat dreamily watching joy knew no bounds. She hardly asked the shadowy mists gradually encircling herself, and dare not ask him, the reason the sea-bound hills and rocks, he again of this resolution ; whether the exciteasked himself the cause of his present ment of travel had been worn out, or content. He recalled the journeys he whether the cause which had led him to had taken, the money and time he had seek diversion no longer existed. Could spent, and the fatigue he had undergone, it, she asked herself, have anything to do seeking, in the first instance, a remedy with Mr. Labouchere's death, and that against hopeless depression, and after- Katherine was again in England ? Kathwards, when his bitter disappointment erine! whose name had never been spokhad ceased, to ward off those fits of un- en between them for years. Katherine ! utterable weariness, which threatened to for dread of meeting whom he had bantake the place of an anguish he had finally ished himself, for bitterness of whom he succeeded in mastering. He was neither called all womankind hypocrites. What. particularly energetic, nor easily moved had wrought this wondrous change ? to fresh action ; but he had a wholesome And Mrs. Prescott would sit musing, unhorror of falling into a condition, in which til a softened expression, stealing over there seems nothing left to give attrac- her face, hailed the revived hope that, tion, or afford interest to the end of a use-after all, the dearest wish of her life might less and wasted life. Cramped as he had still be realized. been by his position and inadequate in- There had been a time when any doubt come, he always felt there was but one step that Katherine Douglas would be Steby which he could right himself – selling phen's wife had never entered Mrs. Preshis estate of Pamphillon. But from the cott's mind. Katherine was her favourite only two persons whose opinion affected brother's daughter, and had been almost his actions, he met with determined op- entirely brought up by her aunt, who, next position. His mother declared that such to her son, bestowed upon her the greatest an act would be her death-blow. She en- share of her affection. treated her son never to part with an in- When children, the two cousins had heritance which had been theirs for gen- scarcely ever been apart ; and, as they erations. She reminded him of the grew up to manhood and womanhood, it struggle which she had made during his gave Mrs. Prescott the greatest satisfacboyhood, to prevent an acre of the land tion to see this early attachment ripen being parted with ; and she asked him into a love of a more serious nature. whether now, when by a hundred ways a | Many persons (knowing how much Sir man of energy and talent could build up Stephen's fortune stood in need of repair) anew the fortunes of his house, he was wondered that his mother should be congoing tamely to sacrifice it all, and bury tent to see him woo a girl with nothing himself alive at a place, which was out but her good looks to recommend her ; of reach of all civilized society, and where but Mrs. Prescott loved her niece dearly, he must sink to the level of the people was proud of her beauty and talents, and, with whom he would be compelled to without either mother or son knowing or mix. Mrs. Prescott was a fragile, del-irksomely feeling it, Katherine entirely cate-looking woman, in all other things ruled both. She possessed her cousin's willing and ready to be guided by what- I love so completely, that he willingly gave ever best pleased her son ; but whenever in to every wish and plan she formed ; mention was made of this subject, she and her aunt leaned so confidently upon seemed to grow obstinate and unreason- her, that the idea of thwarting Katherine able.

never occurred to a mind thoroughly con

vinced that whatever Katherine did must into Katherine's schemes, and would rebe right.

monstrate with her son on his seeming To a formal engagement between her- rashness and selfishness. self and Stephen Miss Douglas objected, “Is not Katherine making a sacrifice on the ground that her grandmother Dor- equal to your own ?" she would say. mer might raise obstacles. They under- "Can it be pleasure for her to leave you, stood each other, she said, and, as they and shut herself up with a fidgety old could not marry for two years (when Sir | woman ?" Stephen would get an addition to his in- “Why does she go?" Sir Stephen come), what was the use of being talked would answer, “she is doing this for my of, and perhaps annoyed about it? Mrs. sake, she says, but I don't want the sacriPrescott thought there was a great deal of fice. I would rather a thousand times truth in what Katherine said, and between never touch a farthing of the money than them Sir Stephen was overruled. The gain the whole by giving her up for time of probation was within a few months months.” of being accomplished when Mrs. Dormer And Mrs. Prescott turning away would summoned Katherine to attend her to sigh, and ask herself if men ever appreNice, where she had been ordered for ciated the heavy burdens borne by women change of air, and from which place she for their sakes. lugubriously announced that it was high-! Before any of these discussions comly improbable she should ever return. menced, Katherine had determined to join What was to be done ? Mrs. Dormer her grandmother; during the time they must not be offended, or, though Kather- were going on she settled her plans and ine was her favourite grandchild, she made her necessary arrangements ; so would be safe to leave her money else that when, after every artifice had been where.

used to soften the matter, an unwilling “Well, let her,” said Sir Stephen, “I consent was forced from Sir Stephen, it would willingly give up every chance you was but an absurd matter of form, the have of her money, rather than let you go whole thing having been finally settled away from me, and we be parted all these several days before, and Mrs.' Dormer months.”

having heard from her granddaughter the “Stephen !” said Katherine, and she very day and hour she intended joining looked at him reproachfully, “how fool-her. Under the cloak of Mrs. Dormer's ishly you talk ! You know of what im- continued illness, Katherine's stay was portance money is to us. Without this greatly prolonged; her letters grew shortprospect from grandmamma it would be er, with longer intervals between. She madness in you to think of marrying me, gave up answering any questions, and but I hope that with it we shall be able to seemed distressed, often cold, and entire. set everything right.”

| ly different from herself. “She may live for years," he said Mrs. Prescott tried to soften down the moodily ; “ I am sure I don't desire oth-varied moods her son was thrown into erwise. The safest and only sure way through this air of mystery. She attribout of my difficulties is to sell Pamphil-uted it to anxiety, over-exertion, being lon, pay off the mortgages, and live on among strangers, Mrs. Dormer's caprices, what is left. A very fair income it would But all to no purpose ; Sir Stephen's susbe - and then if Mrs. Dormer left us any- picions were aroused, his fears increased, thing —" but the cloud on Katherine's until he determined to go to Katherine face would stop the indulgence of further and learn from her the meaning of her hopes, and she would say in a voice which strange behaviour ; but a stop was unbordered on a sneer —

expectedly put to his journey by an “Have you no ambition, Stephen ? for announcement in the morning paper:it seems to me that except as an object of " At Carabacel, Nice, Katherine Prescott barter Pamphillon has small value in your Douglas, second daughter of the late eyes ;” and this, or some such misinter- Stanhope Douglas, Esq., of Pentarn, to pretation, wounding the young man, the John Pitman Labouchere, Esq., of Endor two would grow vexed — he angry and Court and Great Danesfield.” sharp of speech, and she stubborn and cold.

CHAPTER VI. Mrs. Prescott quite held with Katherine, that to refuse compliance with Mrs. Dor- |

“RICH AND FREE !” mer's request would be folly. She, too, I LITTLE by little, from friends who knew counted on the expected fortune, entered them and people who had met them, Mrs.

« VorigeDoorgaan »