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be away from her, chose to leave her. For can tell you. Not your way — unlimited, her part she felt only half living, and not you know ; but in moderation. By Jove ! at all real when he was not near enough your way was too good to last. Made out to be touched. He was all she had left your journey comfortable, el, Mr. Eastof reality out of the dissolving views into wood ? Got a companion now, I see.” which the past had broken up; she might Oh, how Frederick blessed that combe dreaming but for him. When he came panion for the opaqueness of her observato her side at last in Dover Harbour, she tion, for her want of interest in what was caught at his arm and clasped it, and done and said around. “ Yes, my cousin," stood close up to him, holding on as to he said, in a quiet undertone; and added, an anchor in the midst of all her con- “ Now I must get her into the train, and fusion. Frederick did not dislike the find a place for her. I am sorry I have heavy claim thus made upon him. The no time to talk to you just now. Don't girl was very young, and almost beautiful be afraid that I shall forget the — the in her strange way. She was ice except business – between us." to him. She had thrown herself into his “No, I don't think you will,” said Batarms the first time they met, and a certain ty, with a horse-laugh. “You couldn't if complacency of superiority, which was you would, and I shouldn't let you if you very sweet, mingled with the sense of pro-wanted to. And, by the way," he said, tecting and sustaining care with which he keeping them back from the wished-for looked upon the creature thus entirely landing, “ I recollected after I left you dependent on him.
that I had never given you my address. "Now the worst of our troubles is Stop a moment, I'll find it directly." over," he said, cheerfully, though he was “I will come back to you,” cried Fred. very white and even greenish in colour erick, desperate, “as soon as I have after the last hour's sufferings. “Two placed this lady in the train.” hours more, and we shall be at home.” “ Just a moment," said the man, pulling
Innocent made no answer. She did out his pocket-book. “I have your ad. not think at all of home; she only clung dress, your know. There I have the ada little closer to him, as the only inter- vantage,” he added, with a leer into Fredpreter of all the vague and misty wonders erick's face. which loomed about her. They were just Perhaps there is no ill-doing in this about to step out of the boat, she always world which escapes punishment one way clinging to him, when Frederick heard or other. Frederick had escaped a great himself called in a coarse but jovial voice, deal better than he had any right to hope which at first bewildered him with sur- for till this moment. But now the Fates prise before he recognized it, and then avenged themselves. Though he was gave him anything but a pleasant sensa cold and shivering, he grew red to his tion.
| hair with suppressed passion. “Glad to see you again, Mr. Eastwood,” “Let me pass, for Heaven's sake," he it said. “ Horrid passage, Sir; a thing cried, bursting into involuntary entreaty, not to be endured if one could help it. “Here it is," said Mr. Batty, thrusting I've been as sick as a dog, and judging a card into his hand, and with a chuckle by your colour, so have you.”
he turned round to some people behind, "No," said Frederick, coldly ; but it who were with him, and let his victim go. is not easy to be politely calm to a man Frederick hurried his silent companion who has you in his power, and who could on shore in a tumult of miserable and an"sell you up” to-morrow if he liked, with-gry feeling. It was the first time he had out benefit of clergy. He shivered as he felt the prick of the obligation under replied, feeling such a terror of the con- which he lay. He did not make the kind sequences as I should vainly attempt to and pleasant little speech which he had describe. It was like the death's head at intended to make to Innocent as he led the feast, suddenly presenting itself when her on to English soil. It had been drivhis mind was for the moment free from en out of his head by this odious enall dread of it. He turned rourd (though counter. Heavens! he thought, if it had he had recognized the voice) with super-been Nelly instead of Innocent! and next cilious surprise, as if he could not imagine time it might be Nelly. He hurried the who the speaker was.
girl into the train without one word, and "Oh, Mr.- ! You have been in Paris, threw in his coat and went off to get some I presume, ever since I saw you there?” brandy to restore his nerves and his cour
“ Just so," said Batty, “and some jolly age." Hallo! Eastwood !” some one evenings we've managed to have since, I else called out to him. “Bless my life,
how green you are ? been ill on the cross-/ ures rushed out of it, and took her pas: ing, eh?" This is not a confession which sive into their arms. She held Frederick the young Englishman is fond of making fast with one hand, while she gazed at in a general way, but Frederick nodded them. This was how she came home. and hurried on, ready to confess to anything, so long as he could be left alone.
CHAPTER XI. The brandy did him good, driving out the
AT HOME AND NOT AT HOME. shuddering cold, and putting some sort of spirit into him ; for indeed it was quite true ALL the events of that evening passed that, in addition to the mental shock, he | like a dream over the mind of Innocent. had been ill on the crossing, too.
The warm, curtained, cushioned, luxuInnocent had paid no attention to this rious room, with its soft carpets, its soft colloquy ; she received into her passive chairs, its draperies, its fullness and memory the voice and face of the man crowd of unfamiliar details, the unknown who had addressed her cousin ; but she faces and sounds, the many pictures on was not herself aware that she had done the walls, the conversation quick and faso. She was grieved when Frederick left miliar, carried on in a language which to her, and glad when he came back in a few be sure she knew perfectly, but was not minutes to ask if she would have any-accustomed to hear about her – all bething. “No; only if you will come," she wildered and confused her. She sat and said, putting out her hand. That was all looked at them with an infantile stare of she thought of. A kind of tremor had half-stupefied dull wonder, not altogether taken possession of her, not of expecta- understanding what they said, and not at tion, for she was too passive to speculate all taking in the meaning even when she - a thrill of the nerves as she approached understood the words. She made scarcethe end of her journey. “You will not ly any response to their many questions. go away from me when we get there ?” She said “Yes” when they asked if she she said, piteously. What with his dis was tired, but nothing at all in reply to agreeable acquaintances, and his too her aunt's warm and tearful welcome. clinging charge, poor Frederick had She felt disposed to wonder why they enough on his hands.
kissed her, why they unfastened her “Of course, I shall not go away ; but wraps and put a footstool for her feet beInnocent, you must put me in the second fore the fire, and made so much fuss about place now," he said, patting her shoulder her. Why did they do it? Nothing of the kindly as he sat down beside her. The kind would have occurred to Innocent had answer she made was to put her hand they gone to her. She did not understand softly within his arm. I don't think Mrs. their kindness. It seemed to her to require Eastwood would have approved of it, and some explanation, some clearing-up of Frederick found it rather embarrassing, the mystery. She sat with her lips shut and hoped the old lady did not observe it, close, with her eyes opened more widely who was in the other corner of the rail-than usual, turning to each one who way carriage ; she dozed all the way to spoke. She had felt no curiosity about town, and he did not know her ; but still them before she arrived, and she did not a man does not like to look ridiculous. feel any curiosity now. They were new Otherwise it was not unpleasant of itself. and strange, and wonderful, not to be ac
And then Innocent's bewildered eyes counted for by any principles within her were dazzled by a blaze of lights, and knowledge. They placed her by the fire, noise, and crowding figures. Out of that they took off her hat and cloak, they esshe was put into the silence of a dingy tablished her there to thaw, and be cab, and left there, feeling unutterably comforted. lonely, and not at all sure that now at the “Dinner will be ready directly - but last moment he had not forsaken her, will you have a cup of tea first? " said while Frederick was absent looking after Mrs. Eastwood, stroking her lank hair. the luggage, that dismal concluding piece “No," said Innocent, I am not ill." of misery after a long journey. By the time she thought, as was natural with her he came back to her she was crying, and Italian training, that tea was a medicine. sick with suspense and terror. And then “Would you like to go up to your room came a last quick drive, through gleaming before dinner, or are you too tired, dear ?" lights, and intervals of darkness, by shop- said Nelly. windows and through dim lanes, till at “I will stay here," said the girl. This last a door flew open in the glooin, send- was how she answered them, always gaz. ing forth light and warmth, and two fig-'ing at the one who spoke to her, and ever
turning to give a wistful look at Fred- to facts ; “they would have sent her to erick, who, for his part, felt himself some- you with a Pisan outfit, peasant costume, how responsible for the new guest, and for anything I can tell. I was very glad annoyed by the wondering looks of his to get there in time. I found the poor mother and sister.
child living in the house all alone, not “Let her alone,” he said, with some even with a maid, and a dark ghostly disimpatience. “Don't you see she is mal sort of house, which you would have frightened and tired, and scarcely under thought would have frightened her to stands you? We have been travelling ideath.” day and night since Tuesday. Innocent, “ Poor child !” said Mrs. Eastwood, are you very much tired ?' Should you " alone without even a maid ? Oh, that is like to go to bed ? or are you able to sit dreadful! Were you frightened, my poor up to dinner? Don't be afraid."
darling?" She looked up at him instantly respon- ' “ No,” said Innocent, glancing at her sive. She put out her hand to him, and questioner quickly, and then returning to grasped his, though this was a formula her habitual gaze upon Frederick. This which he could have dispensed with. was not encouraging, but of course Fred" Are you to sit up to dinner?" she asked. erick had been her first acquaintance, and “Then I will too.”
she had come to know him. His mother “I am the only one she knows," he dismissed him summarily to wash his said, turning to the others, half-pleased, hands before dinner. “Don't think of half-ashamed; perhaps more than half- dressing,” she said ; and Innocent was ashamed, the young man being English, left alone with them. She sat quite pasand in deadly terror of being laughed at. sive, as she had done with Mrs. Drainham, “I hope I am old enough to sit up to din-turning her eyes from one to the other ner,” he said, carrying off a little confu- with a wistful sort of fear, which half sion in a laugh ; "but I confess after all amused, half angered them. To be sure, this travelling I am tired, too."
in her fatigued state, there was every ex“Let me look at you, Frederick," said cuse to be made. Mrs. Eastwood. “ I see you are better; “You must not be afraid of us, my you are not so pale as when you went dear," said Mrs. Eastwood. “ Nelly and away. Your illness, on the whole, must I will love you very much if you will let have agreed with you. Why didn't you us. It will be a great change for you, write, you unkind boy ? Nelly and I and everything is very different here from would have gone over to nurse you — "what it is in Italy. I have lived in Italy
Heaven forbid! Frederick said to him- | myself when your poor dear mamma was self; the bare suggestion gave him a live-l a young girl like you. Do you remember lier idea of the dangers he had escaped your mamma, Innocent ?” than anything else had done. “No, no,”]“ No." he said, " a journey at this season of the “I think you must remember her a year is no joke. That was the very rea- little. You are not like her. You must son I did not write ; and then, of course, be like the Vanes, I suppose. Have you I was anxious to get on as quickly as I ever seen any of the Vanes, your father's could to poor Innocent, who was being relations?". made a victim of by all the ladies, the “ No," said Innocent, again getting bedoctress and the clergywoman, and all the wildered, and feeling that this time she rest
ought to say yes. Nelly came to the oth“Was she made a victim of?” said er side of the chair and took her hand, Nelly, looking at the new comer in her looking kindly at her. Why would these easy-chair, with doubtful wonder.
people say so much — do so much ? Why Innocent divined rather than under- did not they leave her alone ? stood that they were talking of her, and “Mamma, she is stupefied with cold once more raised her eyes to Freder- and fatigue," said Nelly. « To-morrow ick with a soft smile which seemed to she will be quite different. Lean back in consent to everything he said. She the chair, and never mind us. We will seemed to the ladies to be giving confir- not talk to you any more.” mation to his words, whereas, in reality, But she did not lean back in her chair ; it was but like the holding out of her hand she had not been accustomed to chairs - another way of showing her confidence that you could lean back in. She sat bolt and dependence on him.
upright, and looked at them with her eyes “ I took her out of their hands," said wide open, and looked at everything, takFrederick, with a delightful indifferenceling in the picture before her with the quick eves of a savage, though she was fied expression. She had no desire to be confused about what they said. How put into the heart of the house. And there close and warm everything was, how shut can be no doubt that this absolute want of in, no space to walk about or to see round all effusion, all response even on her part, the crowded furniture! The room, in chilled the warm hearts of her relations. English eyes, though very well filled, was “ She is tired,” they said to each other, not at all crowded with furniture ; but excusing her ; but that was an imperfect Innocent compared it with the Palazzo kind of satisfaction. Nelly herself had Scaramucci, where every chair and table meant to stay with her to help her to unstood distinct in its own perspective. dress. “But perhaps you would rather How different was the aspect of every- be alone ?” said Nelly. thing! the very tables were clothed, the “ Yes,” was Innocent's answer; and you windows draped to their feet, the room may imagine how discomfited poor Nelly crammed with pictures, books, things, felt, who was used to the gregarious way. and people. Innocent seemed to want of girls, and did not understand what this space; the walls closed and crowded upon could mean. her as they do upon people who have just “I will leave you, then," she said, so recovered their sight. Mrs. Drainham's completely taken aback that her self-posdrawing-room had been made very com-session failed her. She turned to go fortable, but it was not like this. The away, blushing and disturbed, feeling herwant of height and size struck her more self an unwelcome intruder in the room than the wealth and comfort. She was , which she had spent so much care upon. not used to comfort, never having had it Nelly did not know what to make of it. -- and did not feel the want of it. Even She had never encountered anything like the fire, after the first few minutes of re-lit in her life, and it puzzled her beyond vived animation produced by its warmth, expression. felt stilling to her, as to all Italians. The “I am here, Miss Ellinor," said the ladies by her side thought she was admir- voice of old Alice behind her, which ing everything, which disposed them startled Nelly once more ; for Alice had amiably towards her, but this was very disapproved of all the fuss about Innofar from the feeling in Innocent's mind. cent's arrival, and had done everything
And after dinner, when they took her she could to discourage it. “I'll put her to her room, this effect increased. She to her bed,” said Alice. “It's me that was led through Mrs. Eastwood's room am the proper person. · Go to your and Nelly's to that little snug bright mamma, my dear, and I'll come and tell chamber, with its bright fire blazing, the you when she's comfortable. She canna candles burning on the toilette table, the be expected to be pleasant to-night, for pretty chintz surrounding her with gar- she's tired, and all's new to her. I've lands, and the pictures on the walls which done the same for her mother many a day, had beeil chosen for her pleasure. With Leave her to me." what wonder and partial dismay she Innocent took no part in the discussion. looked upon it all! It was not much She stood in the centre of the little room, larger than the great carved chest which longing to be alone. Oh, if they would stood in a corner of her chamber at the only go away and leave her to herself ! Palazzo Scaramucci, and yet how much “ I never have a maid,” she exerted her. had been put into it! The girl was like self to say, when she saw that the tall old a savage sighing for her wigwam, and to woman remained in the room; “I do not be shut up here was terrible to her.”' want anything. Please go away." Mrs. Eastwood and Nelly both led her to “Maybe it's me that want's somethis room, explaining, poor simple souls, thing," said Alice, authoritatively, and behow they had placed her in the very heart gan her ministrations at once, paying very of the house, as it were, that she might little attention to the girl's reluctance. not feel lonely. “ Both of us, you see, are “ Hair clipped short, like a boy's -- that's within call, my dear,” said Mrs. Eastwood, her outlandish breeding,” said Alice to “but the room is very small.”
| herself. “A wild look, like a bit sauvage “Yes," said Innocent. They had, no out of the woods — that's loneliness; and doubt, expected her to say in answer to two great glowering een. But no like her this that the room was delightful, and to mother - no like her mother, the Lord show her sense of their kindness by some be thanked !” word of pleasure or admiration. But then this homely old woman said two nothing of the kind followed. She looked or three words, somewhat stiftly and fervacantly round, with a scared, half-stupe-heignly, in Italian, which made Innocent
stare, and roused her up at once. Shejners of her mouth drooped. At this had no enthusiasm for the country in thought she was ready to cry again. which she had lived all her life ; but still, “Go to your bed," said Alice, authorishe had lived there, and the sound of the tatively. "If I thought you knew what familiar tongue woke her up out of her you were saying, my bonnie woman, I stupor. “Are you not English ?" she would like to put you to the door. The said, “ like all the rest ? "
creature's no a changeling, for it says its “God be thanked, no, I'm no English,” | prayers,” she added to herself, when she said Alice, “but I'm Scotch, and it's no had extinguished the candles, and left the likely that you would ken the difference. stranger in her chamber; “but here's a I used to be with your mother when she bonnie handful for the mistress," Alice was young like you. I was in Pisa with went on, talking to herself while she arthe family, where you've come from. I ranged Mrs. Eastwood's room for the have never forgotten it. Do you mind night, “and plenty of mischief begun alyour mother ? Turn your head round, ready. She's no like her mother, which like a good bairn, that I may untie this is a comfort: but there's Ane that is." ribbon about your neck.”
Nobody heard these oracular mutter“Why do you all ask me about my ings, however, and nobody in the house mother?” said Innocent, in a pettish knew as much as Alice did, who had no tone. “No, I never knew her; why thought in the world but the Eastwoods, should I? The lady down stairs asked and kept her mental life up by diligently me, too."
putting one thing to another, and keeping “Because she was your mother's sister, watch and ward over the children she had and I was your mother's woman,” said nursed. It was common in the Elms to Alice. “I'm much feared, my honey, say that Alice was a “character;" but I that you've no heart. Neither had your do not think any of them had the least mother before you. Do you mean aye idea how distinct and marked her characto call my mistress "the lady down ter was, or how deeply aware she was of stairs ?'"
the various currents which were shaping “I don't know," said Innocent, in dull | unconsciously the life of the “family.” stupor. She felt disposed to cry, but She was nearly ten years older than Mrs. could not tell why she had this inclina- Eastwood, and had brought her up as tion. “What should I call her ? No one well as her daughter, commencing life as ever told me her name," she added, after a nursery-maid in the house of her presa moment's pause.
ent mistress's father, when Mrs. East“ This will be a bonnie handful,” said wood was six or seven years old, and her Alice to herself, reflectively. “ Did Mr. young attendant sixteen. She knew evFrederick never tell you she was your erything, and more than everything, that aunt? But maybe you do not ken what had taken place in the family since; more that means? She's your nearest kin, now than everything, for Alice in her private you've lost that ill man, your father. musings had thought out the mingled She's the one that will take care of you story, and divined everybody's motives, and help you, if you're good to her - or as, perhaps, they scarcely divined them whether or no," Alice added, under her themselves. She had married, when she breath.
was thirty, the gardener who took charge “ Take care of me? He promised to of a shooting-box in Scotland, which betake care of me," said Innocent, with her longed to Admiral Forbes, the Easteyes lightening up ; “I do not want any woods' grandfather, but had been absent one else.”
from them only about two years, return“ “ He,' meaning your cousin ?” said | ing at her husband's death to accompany Alice, grimly.
them to Italy, and to settle down after“ Frederick. I like his name. I can-wards into the personal attendant and sunot remember the other names. I never perintendent of her young lady's married have been used to see so many people,” | life. She knew all about them: she knew said Innocent, at length bursting into how it was that the old Admiral had made speech after her long silence. She could his second marriage, and how his second speak to this woman, who was a servant, daughter, Isabel, had developed by the but she did not understand the ladies in side of her more innocent and simple sistheir pretty dresses, who oppressed her ter. She recollected a great deal more with their kindness. “ Shall I have to about Innocent's father and mother than see them every day?" she continued, Mrs. Eastwood herself did — more than with a dismal tone in her voice. The cor-' it was at all expedient or profitable to re